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Posts Tagged ‘Out Of My Mind’

I first heard about Richard Bach when I was a college. My teacher recommended his book ‘Illusions‘. I later borrowed it from a friend and read it and loved it. Then later, I read ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull‘. I remember reading it while waiting to be called for an interview at a college, for which I had applied for admission as a student. I remember finishing it before my turn came up and feeling very inspired when stepping into the interview room. I never got around to reading a third Richard Bach book. Yesterday, when I was thinking on which book to read next, this book leapt at me. I have had this book on my bookshelf for years and yesterday finally the stars got aligned and the time arrived.

In ‘Out of My Mind‘, Richard Bach is flying his Piper Cub and one day encounters a problem in his plane. He ponders on how to fix the problem but is not able to come up with a solution. He goes to sleep that night and when he gets up the next day morning, the problem is still there in front of his eyes. But when he looks at the image in front of his eyes carefully, he discovers that the image contains both the problem and the solution. The solution is simple and elegant and ingenious. Bach goes and writes down and sketches the solution in his notebook, before he forgets it. Bach thinks that while he was sleeping, his mind probably solved the problem. He nearly forgets all about it. But a few weeks later, he has a different problem in his plane. This time, when the solution appears in front of his eyes, he sees an image behind it. It is the image of a woman, like a reflection that we might see on a glass window. When Bach looks at her face, she looks back, and she is surprised and startled. And before he realizes it, the image disappears as if nothing was ever there. Bach ponders on this for a while. He wonders whether he was hallucinating. But he feels that he wasn’t. The problems he had in his plane were real. The solutions to the problems were real – they were carefully thought out and ingenious. The woman looked real too – because she looked back at him and was startled. He feels that she came from another world to help him. He wants to meet her again and talk to her. He concocts new problems on his plane and tries to get her back. But this woman doesn’t respond to fake problems. Bach contemplates on what to do. What happens after that – is he able to get this mysterious woman to come back, why does she help him, is she really from another world – the answer to these questions form the rest of the story.

Out of My Mind‘ is vintage Richard Bach. In it, the author shares his love for planes and flying, there is a mysterious, spiritual dimension to the story and there are beautiful passages scattered across the book, like sparkling diamonds, written in Bach’s soft prose. The book also discusses alternate universes and multiverses, time travel and quantum mechanics, which are beautifully embedded in the story.

Richard Bach was probably the Paulo Coelho of his era. Or maybe the Antoine de St.Exupery of his era. Readers loved his books because it made them think of planes and the glorious beauty of flight. Readers imagined that they were the ones doing the flying in small planes, rising to impossible heights, exhilarated by the wind rushing at them, blowing their hair. But the years passed by, and readers moved on. I don’t know whether people read him still. I thought that even I had grown out of Richard Bach. It looks like I haven’t. I loved ‘Out of My Mind‘.

I will leave you with two of my favourite passages from the book.

“Our recognition of random objects fails, I’m told, at exposures of less than half a second. Of geometrical objects, at less than a fiftieth of a second. But our perception of a smile will remain from a flash as short as a thousandth of a second, so sensitive are our minds to images of the human face.”

“A long time ago I learned that everything is exactly as it is for a reason. The crumb is on our table not only as a remainder of this morning’s cookie, it is there because we have chosen not to remove it. No exceptions. Everything has a reason, and the tiniest detail is a clue.”

Have you read Richard Bach’sOut of My Mind‘? What do you think about it? Which is your favourite Richard Bach book?

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