Editor: You got that, right? Do the interview and get some good dope on Neptune.
::NR cringes at the inadvertent pun::
NR at Neptune’s apartment
::Rings doorbell again::
A lady in a flow-y chiffon outfit opens the door.
NR: Hi, I’m here to see Neptune. From the paper? We had an appointment.
Lady: Oh! I thought that was next week!
NR: Well, it’s today. I have a deadline on this one. It goes to print tonight.
Lady: In that case, come in, come in.
NR steps inside and stops. Takes in the room. Blinks. The windows are covered in multi-colored saris; there are rugs everywhere: some oriental, some with space-age designs, lots of books: in shelves, on the floor, on tabletops; the walls sport an eclectic collection of art.
She blinks again. The room is…hazy somehow. Her eyes water.
::muttering:: NR: I get it, I get it. Guy rules fog and smoke and haze. But does he have to makes such an exhibition of it? Jeez!
Lady: Bless you!
::She sneezes again::
Lady: Oh, dear! I think the agarbatti smoke it getting to you. Allergic are you?
NR: Planets in the sixth square Neptune in my natal chart.
Lady: Oh, my! Sorry about that. Let me open a window.
::Fresh air dispels the smoke and NR gets back to the subject at hand::
NR: Is Neptune in?
Lady: You’re looking at me!
NR: You? But I thought Neptune was a guy!
Neptune: Well, I can be anything anyone wants me to be, you know? In your head, you see me as a woman; so for you, I am a woman.
NR: Ah! I see, it’s that projection thing. What I expect to see is what I get. Isn’t that a bit misleading, though?
Neptune: That depends on your point of view, I guess. There’s objective reality and there’s subjective reality. Which do you think is more powerful?
NR: Why, objective reality, of course! See, this is a wooden stick. What else can it be?
Neptune: For you it’s just a wooden stick. For someone else, it could be a murder weapon. They might recoil at the sight of it. It might freak them out. You know?
NR: Huh. Yeah, okay. I get that. But since we’re on the subject, I believe that, at best, your message is that this is a world of illusions. I don’t think I get that one.
Neptune: Let me tell you a story. That’s one of the ways in which I communicate. Through stories, parables, fables. This one’s from India. Once upon a time there was a young god and he goes to this older god and asks what is maya?
NR: You know, not everyone might know that word. Let me just look it up and get a good definition. Okay, this is what Encarta says, “Illusion of material world: in Hinduism, the material world, considered in reality to be an illusion.”
Neptune: Good, thanks. What a delight your Mercury in Virgo is. So helpful and precise. Yeah, so where, was I? Oh, yeah, so he’s like, “What’s maya?” So this other god waves his hand or something and they find themselves on earth. Now because of heavy rains, there’s a flood on and everything is chaotic.
Our young god sees a woman in distress and he swims over and rescues her. So, naturally, they fall in love and marry and go on to have a child. Our hero is now so busy getting food for his family and taking care of them that he’s forgotten why he’s on the earth in the first place. But he’s happy enough.
One day, he has to go away on a trip and when he comes back, he sees that heavy rains have destroyed his home. His wife and son have been swept away by the flood. He sits down near his ravaged home and cries.
In midst of his grief, he feels a soft touch on his shoulder and sees the familiar face of the older god. He gets up and embraces the other man, pouring his tale of woe into the other’s ears. The older god waves a hand, earth disappears and they are back in heaven again. “That,” says the older god gently, “was maya.”
NR: So, what are you saying? This world here ::taps the chair:: isn’t real? That this is my imagination? Are you saying…
Neptune: We’ll get to that. Relax. Have a drink.
NR: I don’t know if I should.
Neptune: Don’t make me laugh, kid. You want to understand Neptune, and you won’t drink?
NR: Okay, just a glass of wine then.
Neptune: Here you go.
NR: Thanks ::takes a sip:: Hey! That reminds me! I’ve got another question. And this is rather a serious one. Addictions. ‘Fess up!
Neptune: It’s true, my hard contacts with personal planets can lead to substance abuse. But they can just as easily lead to inspired writing or great art. It’s like a spectrum, see? It’s up to you which part of it you want to experience.
NR: But don’t you feel bad about that guy who drinks every night or that woman who’s ruining her lungs by smoking cigarette after cigarette?
Neptune: I feel bad. I feel bad for everyone. God, you have no idea! ::looks visibly upset:: Man, I need another drink!
Neptune refills both glasses
Neptune: Oh, that’s better. You don’t know what it’s like to feel so much! I see the grief in every life and I have to get away from it all. The drink helps.
NR: You could just as easily meditate.
Neptune: I’ve tried that. But my challenge is not to merge with the infinite, it’s to stay grounded. And meditation, well, I pop out of my body.
NR: Really? You mean like astral travelling?
Neptune: Oh, yeah. You know about that?
NR: Yeah, I read that they teach the Tibetan monks astral travelling to bring home to them the fact that “This is a world of illusions.”
Neptune: Some things you have to experience to understand. With your third eye open, you can see auras, heal others, astral travel. Have beings from other levels come to you in dreams with messages. These things you’ll remember, so the next time, when your faith is tested, when you wonder whether there is more to the world than just what you can see, you’ll remember. And remembering, know. That there is more.
NR: Oh, that reminds me of something lovely that Christina Georgina Rossetti wrote:
‘I might show facts as plain as day;
But since your eyes are blind you’d say
“Where? What?” and turn away.”‘
Neptune: Yeah, sweet kid. Jupiter conjunct Neptune in her third, you know.
::scribbling in her notebook:: NR: So, you rule poetry, too, huh?
Neptune: Poetry, photography, the cinema, the oceans…
NR: …lies, deceits, half-truths…
::cringes:: Neptune: No need to be so harsh, kid!
NR: Just telling the truth here.
Neptune: The truth. What is the truth? Facts? Don’t give me facts, tell me what your soul needs. What will make life meaningful for you, makes you want to live? It ain’t facts. Soul food, kid. What’s your soul food? That’s what I’m about.
NR: Love, I guess…Hey, that’s another thing! What’s with all this unrequited love you’re inflicting on people? I just heard that song recently by The Cardigans called ::snorts:: “Love me, love me, just say that you love me.”
Neptune: Ah, yes, I adore love. The longing…the dream…
NR: …the suffering…
Neptune: All feelings are blessings, even pain. You’re alive, aren’t you? You want to live, don’t you? Well, life is also suffering. And suffering can be beautiful. If you let it be, don’t get attached to the pain…let it flow through you, talk about it, write about it, make poems, create stories, put it in a movie, share it with the world.
Glasses are refilled again by Neptune
NR: Okay, got that. I think. My head’s feeling a bit funny. What time is it? Omigod! Gotta go! Got a story to run.
Neptune: Bye, darling!
NR is at her desk reaching for a headache pill and coffee when the phone rings.
::wincing:: NR: Hello?
Editor: Get in here right now!
Editor: Why are you wearing sun glasses?
NR: The light…it hurts me eyes.
Editor: What have you been up to? Are you drunk?
NR: Well, sir, Neptune kinda insisted and it seemed rude to say no…
Editor: That explains it! What is this incoherent rubbish that you’ve written? What kind of an interview is this? There’s no structure, no clear beginning and end! It rambles and worse, it’s vague!
NR: Yeah…but, don’t you see? It captures the spirit of Neptune perfectly.
Editor: See if you can fix it! We’ll run it, but only because we don’t have a choice. But, watch yourself, no more drinking during working hours!
::Backs away slowly, bangs into the door::
Back at her desk
::groans:: NR: “O thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the road I was to wander in,
Thou wilt not with predestin’d evil round Enmesh,
and then impute my fall to sin.”
Maybe Omar Khayyam ran into Neptune, too. Hey! That’s a good quote! I’ll finish my interview piece with that!