He swerved desperately not to hit the boys and in the process completely lost his control, while getting thrown over the motorbike. That accident would injure him severely, eventually leading to his death. And that’s how the movie “Lawrence of Arabia”, a biopic on British war hero Col. T. E. Lawrence (acted by Peter O’Toole), began to tell the life-story of Mr. Lawrence, ironically depicting his death in the beginning. It was early 1960-s and Prof. Sen was in his sixth grade in the middle school.
Now, in his own sixties, Prof. Sen was traveling in southern Israel when he would decide to cross the border to enter into neighboring nation Jordan to travel to Petra, a re-discovered forgotten city. Petra ranks as one of eight wonders from modern-era. An architectural gem, the city had been associated with the lost tribe of the Nabataeans, though archeologists traced its existence from time periods, long before Christ-era. Prof. Sen navigated through the narrow entrance (known as Siq) of the ancient city to arrive at a magnificent, pink-stone built palace-like structure, known as Al Khazneh (purported to be The Treasury of the Nabataeans). Suddenly, he remembered that opening sequence from the movie “Lawrence of Arabia”. And at that very moment, his local guide Mr. Syed Sultan also refreshed his memory how in early twentieth century, a revolt of the local Arabs from Petra against the Ottoman Empire was led by none other than Col. T. E. Lawrence! “Don’t you remember the movie Lawrence of Arabia?” Asked Mr. Sultan.
Near the other end of the Siq, Prof. Sen climbed a mountain to visit some ancient tombs, unearthed and already looted by the early robbers. From the top, he looked at the distant. A group of local youths on camelbacks led by an elder was approaching towards the ancient ruins. However, all Prof. Sen visualized as if “Lawrence of Arabia” was flying down on his motorbike leading a group of Arab rebels on speeding horsebacks!