'Sei in ritardo!' Bashai says to his grown up son - as a matter of fact in time.  You are late!

'If I am,' his son replied back in subdued anger, 'it is your fault. You are the one who brought me to this world - after all.'

Like father like son. Both, in their own good time, love to complain whenever the opportunity arises..

About what?

Perhaps, as Bashai would put it, for just being born into this wretched world – this miseria of life.'

Bashai looked at his own son in total bewilderment. He could as well be looking at himself in the mirror.

'What have I said now? Do you always have to pick up a fight and get ignited by whatever I say?' Bashai was at the end of his wits… and waiting.

'Why do you have to say I am retarded?' Bashai's mirror demanded an explanation.

'Retarded?' Bashai repeated. 'I only said Sei in ritardo! It only means you are late in Italian. We were supposed to meet alle cinque. E gia le cinque e un quarto. Cristo!'


More silence.

They were supposed to meet at 5:00 pm and the 'mirror,' minor, major or junior was late and didn't understand the language… late in Italian.

Clash of cultures or languages or ages? Or just a communication breakdown?

'I thought you said retarded,' says the son and apologises, 'Sorry.'

And both took time to calm down.

'What are you having?' invited Bashai while trying to control his temper.

They were sitting in a bar at that time.


'Caffe? A quest'ora? Una birretta, piuttosto!' suggested Bashai. Or pushed his son to have a beer. To break the ice. Forget the lemon.


They had a drink together and, later, decided to take a stroll in the twilight zone.

It was late in the day. Late in the decade. Late in the century and late in the lifetime of Bashai.

Overall, a case of better late than never - maybe.

The streets were not that quiet but Bashai's mind was in search of some quiet moments of resolution or reflection to the minor or major exchanges of fire between his 'mirror' and himself.

They kept on walking and talking while avoiding the heart of the matter - whatever the matter was.

At one crucial moment, their steps synchronised and there was a spark of some kind - the kind of spark that twitches the eye and calms the heartbeat. And during that brief twitch or twilight, Bashai's soul was under containment and not besieged - as he would normally perceive it.

Time and space collided or collapsed in mid-air. The gap was closed. Cultures, languages, ages and mirrors dissolved in zero time and the people around started walking in slow motion.

Even if the sun was about to go down far away in the horizon, it somehow marked the triumph of life during that magical moment. The promise of continuity was in store while the night was in readiness to take over matters into its own hands for the moment.

Slow as it may seem, it was transition in motion.

La vita e bella per chi se la gode   Bashai came up with another saying.

In English, please. His 'mirror' didn't ask.

Life is good for those who know how to enjoy it – or something to that effect.

The mirror was on fire.

But you used to say that we have to fight life to the death. Remember?

Bashai was reminded by his own memory – in flesh and blood. The question had a ring of accusation around it.

Bashai ignores that. Or absorbs it!

He began.

'They tell us paradise is out there. After we die… imagine!'

He continues.

'Dopo tutta questa miseria [after all this misery], I don't think so.'

He makes a statement.

'I believe paradise is here. The problem is, we always fail to see it. Or, may be we can't open our eyes to it anymore.'

People are streaming around while he talks. He walks and talks totally absorbed in the twilight zone.

He goes on.

'Sometimes, I wonder why we have to fight to the death. Per niente? For nothing?'

He reflects.

'I fought all my life. Other than for a few moments of allegria [relaxed moments of laughter and happiness] here and there, my life era una guerra. It was war.'

'Are you talking to me?' The mirror was thinking.

Bashai stops in his tracks.

'Il paradiso deve essere qui! '[paradise must me here !]. Bashai wants paradise now.

Another must. Another Bashai. Only for the better. Without the force and the violence. With hope.

'How come?'  The inevitable question arrives. 

'Per forsa!' comes back Bashai with his usual force (of course) of being and becoming while radiating a facial expression of realisation. He expressed something outside his usual self. He gave the impression of being centred in the moment.

The evening glides and slides to a tranquil night as rays of the late sun shower the formless clouds far above while moments were being absorbed like particles of light sink in the sea every fleeting moment.

It was so effortless and natural – a beauty to behold.


Bashai is informed that his four-year old grandson is migrating to Europe – with his parents of course.

'L'Europa!' Bashai exclaims.

Yes, Sir.

'Porca miseria! cominciamo un altra vita!'

In English, please.

Here we again! We begin another life!

Bashai smiles in wonder and gazes far away into the horizon - a gaze that perfectly matched the spirit of that moment.

'La lotta continua!' (The struggle continues!), Bashai says with his usual grumpy voice.

Paradise can wait.