Of all the lovely coincidences in the world, how could it be that a horse appeared at my front gate a few days after my son, Revant, was born?
Revant's namesake happens to be an illustrious figure among the mythological heroes of ancient India. Like Apollo, Revant was a sun-god, born of the marriage between Surya (the Sun) and a beautiful princess, Sanjhna. Our ancient literature imbues Revant with endless youth, beauty, and chivalry. But above all, Revant is known for his horsemanship. In old times, Revant was revered by cavalrymen.
A few years ago, as I sauntered through a museum on a lonely afternoon, my attention was captured by a sculpted frieze depicting a handsome youth astride a stallion. "Mounted Revant," read the unobtrusive label.
A shaft of sunlight coming through a high window had illumined the beige sandstone, investing the millennium-old artwork with a golden hue. The light made the rider seem ethereal.
Little did I know that horse and horseman would ride into my life one day.
When my wife and I arrived home with our newborn son, we commenced upon the serious business of providing a name for Earth's newest inhabitant.
That's when the memory of the golden horseman came to me like a pleasant dream remembered. I called out to Charu, my wife, before the flash of inspiration was lost in the welter of names we were contemplating.
"Hey, would you like to name the little pooch after a jockey?"
"I mean a divine jockey. The name is 'Revant.' "
"Mmm ... let's think about it," Charu replied distractedly. She was intently scrutinizing a long list of baby names her friend Rashmi had mailed from Bombay (Mumbai).
My wife's painstaking search would prove to be in vain, however, for something decisive happened the very next morning.
I was still in bed, happily drowsy, listening to the chirping of spring birds, when I heard someone urging me to wake up. I opened my eyes to see Charu holding our baby in her arms. She beckoned me to follow her out onto the terrace.
Barefoot, we crossed the open space - wet with morning dew - to the edge of the balcony. The vestiges of my sleep vanished at the sight that greeted me.
It was a horse, all right - a mare, actually - standing upon a patch of green between the black asphalt of the road and the closed iron grill of our gate. Charu pointed to a conspicuous but as-yet-unidentified shape beside the horse. The shape soon stirred, tossing its mane and sniffing the breeze. It was a very young foal.
I looked at Charu, aglow with her new motherhood, smiling down at our baby. The little one had silently awakened and was staring at the infinite expanse of blue above. His limpid eyes reflected puffs of clouds.
Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part, but in that instant I was convinced it had all happened on purpose - that the baby horse and the baby human had sought each other out.
In any case, the analogy to the myth was too close to ignore, and it inspired us to name our son after the great horseman, Revant.