Sometimes I can see my sorrows etched on the invisible walls of this universe. Sometimes. These are fleeting moments of intense melancholy. Is Dr. X an invention of my melancholy or does he exist in reality? You might ask how does Dr. X look like. Well, he is a strange looking fellow with a crooked nose, curly hair, thin, broad shouldered frame, dark complexion with a firm squarish jaw line and hawkish eyes. In short, he looks like a keen Jew. Is he a Jew? I don’t know. For the last seven days, I have been walking down to his house to return his dues. Every time, I reached his home; it was dark and nobody was there inside. He never gave me his phone number. So, it was quite impossible for me to contact him otherwise.
But, I have been thinking about him. For the simple reason that how did he know my truth. Many a times, these days, I felt asphyxiated during the day and unable to take up any physical activities. It took great will-power and internal energy to overcome this stress and make some physical exercise. Increasingly, I felt desperately lonely and deeply friendless. During my college years, I had many friends of varied interests. Slowly, I lost connection with each one of them, as I got more and more devoted to my wife’s illnesses. More than her ailments, she wanted me to be servile, to be at her beck and call. I took this in good faith to be a part of her sickness, but as I look back nowadays, I feel it was her conspiracy to remove me from any alternate life so that I had no option but to be devoted to her and I could only take pleasure in my nursing activities and find meaning in it while I otherwise led a meaningless and a boring life of working as an insurance seller.
The question that plays in my mind nowadays is: Why did I marry her after all? Well, she was not sick when we married, but there was an indication of her congenital disease of which I knew the consequences very well. It was not love at that time that gravitated me towards her. It was the possibility of undertaking a benevolent job that worked as a central motif in bringing me closer to her. To myself I thought I was a screen hero, a capable human-being with the glorifying traits of a great leader who equated sacrifice with love. But that is not erotic love surely. Surprisingly, my twenty years something mind, my entire youth was focusing more on sacrifice rather than on erotic love. When I look back, it looks like a pure jock to me – a trick of age!
I have planned of traversing down the half-lit backstreet by the canal side in search of Dr. X sometime, somewhere on one of its stretches.
My hand-phone is ringing. It is an unknown number. As I connect the phone, I can sense Dr. X’s sonorous voice wafting through the speaker of my phone.
It was a long telephone conversation once again.
Dr. X : Good Evening Mr. Y. How are you doing?
I : I am doing fine. But, how is it that you have my phone number? I never gave it to you.
Dr. X : You must have the will to get something, you will get it thus.
I : That’s alright, but where did you get my phone number?
Dr. X : I got it from a common source, but that’s not the point. My apologies for not being at home, when you must have visited my place to pay back my money. I was busy with some other assignments.
I : Yes, I have been regularly visiting your house for the last seven days, but to no avail! I also worried whether you had shown me the correct house. So, when should I come back to return your money? Please understand that’s important to me. I do not want to carry on with a debt unnecessarily.
Dr. X : Mr. Y, you are a man of fine character. I will let you know the time in due course when I will be at home to receive you. I have a few queries to make about you. Do you mind?
I : Well, it depends on your nature of questioning.
Dr. X : Should I go ahead with my questions?
I : Please do.
Dr. X : Why did you stop writing poetry at such an early age?
I : I had to take care of my wife.
Dr. X : Even, Eliot took care of his wife yet he wrote such brilliant poetry.
I : I am a brilliant and highly innovative insurance agent. Eliot was a mere bank clerk. How good he was at his job, I am not so sure!
Dr. X : Is it good enough to tell me that you ran-out of poetry just because you were taking care of your wife?
I : The reality shows something else.
Dr. X : Please carry on.
I : As I got gradually involved with my wife, I got disconnected from my life, completely disconnected from my life. Apart from the sordid world of nursing an ill body, I knew nothing. I sweated day and night. I worried day and night about an ill body.
Dr. X : You attempted to kill her once.
I : No, not at all!
Dr. X : Of course, you attempted to kill her once by strangulating her under a bunch of pillows on her bed. You suffocated her so badly that she was in hospital for the next three days.
I : You have distorted the truth. The truth is: She attempted to kill herself by strangulation, but she failed in physical strength.
Dr. X : But, you wanted to see her dead.
I : Are you interrogating me? What right do you have to interrogate me?
Dr. X : Mr. Y, be prudent enough. You feel good when you talk to me. Don’t disconnect the line out of feigned disgust.
I : I am not disconnecting the line. You must understand Dr. X; taking care of an ill woman in her youth is a dirty business. It takes away your innocence. It makes you an implicit criminal. It makes you what you are not.
Dr. X : That’s not true.
I : What’s not true?
Dr. X : Even under normal circumstances people wish others death just to remove their perceived obfuscations.
I : Give me an example.
Dr. X : Should I give an example from your life?
I : Like?
Dr. X : Like you wished your mother’s death when she fell in love with one of your uncles. Is it not true? You had screamed at her one night.
I : Dr. X, you are crossing your limit. I owe you some money. But that doesn’t mean you can tell me whatever you want.
Dr. X : Mr. Y, I want to be a friend of yours. Do accept my invitation for dinner tomorrow night at my place. Please reach by 7 pm. Wear your most comfortable attire. There is no dress code at my place and please bring the money with you that I owe you. Believe me, I will offer you the most delicious multi-cuisine buffet you have eaten in a long time.
I : I will not disappoint you, Dr. X. I will come certainly. I accept your invitation.
I love the silence and darkness of cinema halls. But, when I see youth floating in the galleries, I know, I will never be like them any more. I have lost my time. I will never get back my time. Sometimes these thoughts sadden me; sometimes these thoughts make me violent. They make me feel helpless all the more.
I have never been able to gather specific knowledge about things and issues. Practically, I have no knowledge about anything at all except some professional knowledge. My understanding of matters is very general. I feel hollow and swallow. This is something which I have realized off-late. When I open a newspaper or view a news channel, the general feeling that I get is: The world is coming to an end. Yet, I cannot later on remember the complexities of economic destruction, political destruction and social destruction that are taking place all around us.
How is it that a nation goes to war against a powerless nation for no reason at all and yet nobody opposes it worldwide on a substantial scale to make any changes or amends? How is it that this all too powerful nation which is in the habit of going to war every third year goes bust financially all of a sudden? What I do not understand is: Where does money come from and where does it go?
In India, what I read is: The forests are ruled by a separate group of people. There, the tribals are pushing their agenda much firmly and strongly; whereas the corporations have pervaded all the institutions in the country and corrupted them with money for vested interests. It seems the country is run by a small coterie of people for their self benefit and the corporations they own and represent. A few days back, I had read a polemical article, titled: “Greed is God, Greed is Fundamental to Human Consciousness”. I did not understand major portions of the article but I got a general feeling: Why and how human-beings behaved in our societies? I also read an interesting article recently on the Internet, titled: “Money floating in the air, hunger circumventing all around”. I understood this article relatively better as it detailed contemporary issues relating to hyper aspirations surrounding rapid urbanization.
Where do I belong in all these? I have been an insurance agent all my life long. I have dealt with insurance against earthquakes, theft, burglary, deaths of all kinds, diseases of all kinds, terrorism, third party damages, etc. and yet my life has mostly remained un-dramatic and static.
What would have happened to me had I pursued poetry and someone that I truly love? Was I ever truly capable of love? Did I love anybody truly?
…….to be continued.