“I came across this book in a village on the plain, and I traded a few rupees and a Bible for it. The man who owned it didn’t know how to read. I suspect he saw the Book of Books as an amulet. He was of the lowest caste; people could not so much as step on his shadow without being defiled. He told me his book was called the Book of Sand because neither sand nor this book has a beginning or an end.”
He suggested I try to find the first page.
I took the cover in my left hand and opened the book, my thumb and forefinger almost touching. It was impossible: several pages always lay between the cover and my hand. It was as though they grew from the very book.
“Now try to find the end.”
I failed there as well.
“What language is thine, O sea?”
“The language of eternal question.”
What language is thy answer, O sky?”
“The language of eternal silence.”
The question haunted me. I tried turning it around: the lack of interruptions seemed a lack of information, information indicating the intelligent source of the emission. But what if actually that was additional information? What could such a thing mean? That the “beginning” and the “end” of the message were nonessential. That one could read it starting at any point.