Episode 7 of The Story of Ganbaatar: the only deep sea navigator in Mongolia, Series 1 of our ‘The Truth Lies in Bedtimes Stories from See Through News’ podcast
In this episode, while Ganbaatar mourns his hopeless situation, Professor Dalai has another vision and decides to think it through.
Music Notes: The music from this episode was recorded by ethnomusicologist Jean Jenkins in the spring of 1974, and is taken from the CD of Mongolian music produced for Topic World Series.
Written, Produced and Narrated by SternWriter
Audio production by Sam Wain
The Truth Lies in Bedtime Stories is a podcast from See Through News.
See Through News is a non-profit social media network with the Goal of Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active.
Episode 7: Professor Dalai Goes For A Walk
Not far from Ganbaatar, Professor Dalai also had his eyes closed, but there the similarities ended.
For one thing, instead of Ganbaatar’s desolate, dusty, dim cubby-hole, Professor Dalai’s office was huge, airy, and crammed with books, newspapers and periodicals.
For another, the professor’s eyes were closed not in despair, but in delight.
Professor Dalai was having another vision of Mongolia’s future.
In a small clearing on his desk, amid the teetering towers of papers and books, was a newspaper in a strange script from a foreign land.The article that had prompted his reverie was already circled in red pen, and he was holding the scissors with which he was about to cut it out, to send to the President’s office.
There was no need to copy it, as he’d already gone over it a dozen times, and had virtually committed every word to memory.
It was another lifeline for Mongolia, to rescue it from what, in one of his more famous poems, he’d called ‘our ‘landlocked isolation’.
Professor Dalai was used to being ignored, even ridiculed, but he in turn ignored his critics, and was undeterred by his failures. He’d already filed away the fish-farming fiasco under ‘To Be Continued’.
He’d been searching for a solution that wasn’t’ hostage to fickle weather patterns, though he was now starting to read disturbing articles that suggested these may become fickler in future.
And now, here it was, under his nose. Not only was Professor Dalai’s the only nose in Mongolia that could have sniffed its potential, the brain behind the nose, was the only brain in Mongolia that could now plot how to exploit it.
He opened his eyes. This would require a walk. He strode over to the bust by the door, removed his white beret from Karl Marx’s head, selected his Thinking Walking Stick, and set out to process it all.
Everyone at the university knew about Professor Dalais campus wanderings, and they kept their distance. Not that he would have minded any approach – he was always happy to talk to anyone – but when he bore his Thinking Walking Stick, and distracted look, everyone knew whatever his latest crazy idea was, he was in the process of forming it.
And this morning, though he was the only person in the world who knew it, the professor was reaching around in the dark for a hidden key to a secret door that could open Mongolia to the rest of the world.
After a while meandering at random around the university’s perimeter, he felt ready for a breather.
He dusted off some lingering snow from a bench by a birch tree, sat down, placed both palms on the top of his Thinking Walking Stick, his chin on top of his hands, and closed his eyes.
After a while, he opened them with a start, as if waking from a dream. He cocked his head, scanned his surroundings, and then saw a small open window, opaque with grime.
This was no dream, thought the professor. It’s not uncommon to hear singing in Mongolia – its people need little excuse – but this sounded different. Its rhythm and cadences didn’t evoke galloping horses, soaring eagles, or waving grassland, but…something undefinably different.
Professor Dalai went up to the open window, and saw a sad-looking man, eyes closed, fingering a wolf’s paw in one hand and grasping a photograph in the other, singing this strange song to himself under his breath.
‘What song are you singing?’ he asked.
The shanty stopped abruptly, as Ganbaatar opened his eyes and saw who was addressing him.
‘My apologies, Professor. I didn’t realise I was singing out loud. It’s a song I learned from some friends on my travels’.
‘What friends? What travels?’, asked Professor Dalai. ‘Come and sit with me on this bench, and tell me everything’.
Three hours later, the Professor and Mongolia’s only deep-sea navigator were still in intense discussion.
Both men looked amazed and excited.
In Episode 8: Back in the Government Palace, Professor Dalai reveals his vision of Mongolian’s future, and Ganbaatar’s critical role in it.