Friday, 2 August 2013
The Answer (Short Story)
I saw him sitting near a rail way track.A young man,no more than 20 years old,wearing a ragged jeans and a worn out T shirt.Being a psychiatrist I inferred from his body patterns that he was impatient and nervous,waiting for some thing.A farther observation of his eyes was enough to tell me the whole story.His eyes were red and tired but determined."Let's do this,once and for all,and finish the pain."they seemed to say.I always cursed myself for reading too much about a person just by looking at him and being very sensitive,I always felt moved and tried to help.So I sat down near him.He looked at me and opened his mouth to speak something but decided not to.And this further confirmed my hypothesis.It was a lazy October afternoon,a cool breeze blowing and we were all alone.
"So,"I said,"this is how it ends,eh?"
He looked at me with dazzled eyes.I sensed he was thinking about lying but quickly abandoned the thought.
"Yeah,it does"He replied with a some what shaky voice.
I sighed."Why am I always right about people?"I secretly complained."But you know,the train is not due for another five hours,there is some demonstration going on by the railway employees regarding their salaries and they have blocked the railway track""
"WHAT THE F**k."He yelled"can they get any thing right in this country?"
I laughed silently.A person who was planning to leave the world was still so consumed about how bad his country was governed.
"I'll make you an offer.You come with me and we will make your last hours as pleasant as possible"
"No thank you Mister,I think I'll just sit here and wait"
"Really?You mean you want to spend the last five hours of your life,thinking about the things that are forcing you to finish it?"
And a smile crept on his face.
"Some psycho dude you are man,but you have got a point.But there is no way you can convince me not to finish my life"
"Challenge Accepted"I tried to sound like Barney.
This time,he actually laughed,
"Another "How I Met Your Mother" Fan,eh?"
And this made me laugh too.
And we headed towards my car and set off to the city.
For the next few minutes,there was complete silence.
"So,why are you doing this?"He asked in a somewhat stable voice.
"Doing what?"I answered absentmindedly.
"Trying to save my life?"
"I don't know"I honestly answered.
Silence fell again."And why are you doing this,finishing your life so early?"I asked after a few minutes.
He didn't immediately answer that.I saw his eyes gazing in to the horizon,where there were a few random clouds.I knew that a whole film of events,circumstances and people rolled before his eyes and the pain was resurfacing.
"You won't understand". He said with a forced heavy voice.
"Come on,"I retorted back,"I am a psychiatrist."
"I not telling any thing no matter what"He fired back.
"Suit your self" I calmly replied.He was taken aback by my words but then choose to change the topic.
"So,"He picked up my visiting card from the dash-board,"You did medicine and are a gold medalist,studied psychiatry at Harvard on scholarship?Wow.Pretty amazing,bro.Is there some damn thing missing from from your life?."He sighed.
And I could not help smiling.
"Whats so funny?"He asked.
"Nothing,I remembered an old joke."
"Wanna share it?"
I looked at him."Nah,unless you want to share why you are planning to end your life."
And then the silence fell again,until we reached a hotel and had a late lunch.
"You know"I started,"It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the Dawn.Its only after you have lost every thing that you are free to do any thing"
"The Alchemist and Fight Club"
"What?"I was caught off the hook.
"You quoted from those two books.Seriously,I expected better from you,Mr Harvard "He smirked.
"BTW can I quote some thing from your Paulo Coelho?"
"He felt the urge to tell him that those beautiful words meant nothing when one faces suffering',I guess the book was The Fifth Mountain"
I was truly amazed.I tried again.
"Well,only you decide in your life if this is the end or the beginning.If you can laugh when you are completely broke,there can be nothing that can break you next time.Now I don't know what really happened,but you have got the choice,of making that failure a stepping stone,rather than a tombstone"
He looked at me impassively.Boy,those cold,dark eyes,they gave me a shiver.
"I prefer the tombstone."He replied coldly.
" What's so fascinating about death?"I asked.
"Numbness and freedom,there is no tomorrow,there is no yesterday,there is nothing to be afraid of,no fears,no pain,no nothing"
"But then you have nothing to look forward to?"I retorted.
"And I really look forward to that,"he retorted back
I banged my head for another two hours but of no result.He didn't tell me any thing and he refused to abandon his ambition of going to the other world so soon.He constantly rambled on and on about how perfect my life was and how I had every thing.How people like me didn't knew what it means to fail and get your heart broken.How all the chicks are dying to get me and how I had everything so easy in my life.People like me,he said,can't ever get what we the wrecks feel..
"You see,it's easy for you to give motivational lectures,when you have every damn thing life has to offer.But when you have nothing,absolutely nothing to cling to,when your academic records suck,when the people around tell you how a worthless piece of shit you are,then those beautiful "When a person wishes to do some thing,the whole universe conspires to make it true" don't make any shitty sense."
"Is that your problem,dysfunctional family and difficulty at academics"I tried to find some thing tangible.
"This?its only a FRACTION of the problem,and I am not telling you the problem"
"Ok then,let's go."I resigned.
We left the hotel and all the way back there was silence.
We reached the barren place around the railway track.It was starting to get dark,and then all of a sudden it started raining.
"Looks like they have been tipped off that I am dying,and having no one to mourn over my death,they have decided to at least do the formality."He joked.
"Who are the 'they'?"I curiously asked.
"I don't know.Those waiting up on the sky may be?"
We stood there in silence.And then I heard the distant whistle of the train.
"You want to be the witness?"He asked
I murmured a yeah.
"Ok,so umm,no hard feelings right? you tried your best,and I thank you for that.But I think I had better free the Earth of a useless piece of shit"
You think so?
We saw the train approaching.It was barely a hundred yards away.
"Bye then,Have a great life,and you lost your challenge and I won"He said rather triumphantly.
He dived on to the railway track.
I pulled him back and laid down on the track instead.
Before dying,I had a chance to look at him in the eyes.There was horror and shock.Yes,I too went there to end my life;a fake,empty life I was fed up with,but then,my life would have ended on a failure,the theme song of my life.But I defied that,and my life ended on a high.I saved a life by showing him that money,fame,degree,career is not the answer and can never be.And even before I died,I knew,I just knew,that he will find the answer and will live on.
The Answer That I Failed To Find...