I am seated on a mahogany chair, the room walled by varied books on three sides, a table lamp to my right and a clock ticking away in the far end of the hall. The floor is carpeted and that gives me the creeps. There is a man, dressed in corporation uniform, trying to fix a leaking tap in the kitchen sink as I can vaguely listen to him asking for extra spanners. I look up to see lights shaped in the form of diamonds, sort of twinkling away and as I strain my eyes to make out the edges of the lights clearly, Dr. Crab interjects my visual interaction with the objects in the room. ‘Good Evening Eric. Are you ready for your therapy today?’
Half-heartedly, I almost whisper, my lips hardly mouthing the words ‘Yes I am.’ I see a maid, at least 10 feet behind Dr. Crab, vacuuming those carpets. Carpets - carpets are creepy. ‘Life is a weird game, for you live everyday only to see what happens to you the next day. Some win and some lose. I do not want to play this stupid game, where the winners lose and the losers win. I hate life’. Carpets, I hate them too.
‘Eric, I was only asking if you were ready for the therapy. Well, let us begin our evening on a happy note. Have you ever experienced happiness?’ I see the maid switching off the machine and walking towards us, almost piercingly looking at me as she says ‘of course, why not. So many things make me happy. Have you ever smelt a lily? Or have you ever touched a peacock’s feather, so smooth, yet so beautiful. I get so overwhelmed when I touch the soft, pink feet of a little baby to my cheek. To run your hands across a baby’s belly, play with its scanty little hair, tickle the insides of its feet and kiss gently on its cheek, is happiness by itself.’
‘I see, so you have experienced happiness as well. What more do you want in life. Are you scared of anything? Does death have that effect on you?’
I see a man dressed in white walking towards the room, adjusting his cap on his head, turning it sideways from the right to left. He is the chauffer. He looks at me pointedly as he enters the room and says ‘Ha? Death? I am not scared of death. According to me, death is the only constant. It is eternal. Death is the most normal and yet the best way for a person to be. There’s so much to do once we are dead. There’s so much darkness in death.’
‘Darkness. Speaking about that, what according to you is darkness?’ just then, the man in the corporation uniform with spanners in his hand, butts in.
‘Darkness. It is not something that I can explain to you. Have you ever tasted the fur of a black cat? Or have you heard of a father taking hostage of his daughter so that he can cut her wrist each day, save up every drop of her blood in a bottle and see her die nerve by nerve from the time she was a healthy young lady to seeing her skeleton rot in his own cellar? Could you have imagined that in a father-daughter relationship?’
‘Relationships. Yes, family, friends, how was your relationship with your mom?’ A boy of almost eight, clad in shorts and a ragged white shirt, comes running into the room with a bat in his hand and starts talking.
‘My mother, she was the one with who I shared everything in my life. Holding her hands, I learnt to enjoy hard rain splattering over my face; I learnt how to make a paper boat, smelt the unusual scent of wax crayons which she first bought me and remember the fragrance of her saree as I held her legs tight whenever I was afraid. But as time went by. I lost her too. ’
‘So, you have lost people. Haven’t you? Why?’
Just then, the cook enters, carrying with her in her hand a ladle. She quips in, ‘Lose people? No, they lost me. Do you know how a mother’s carelessness can ruin a person’s life? Let me tell you a story. A small girl develops a rash on her face. Alarmed, she calls her mother for help. Her mother examines the rash and tells her that it is a small spider bite which will be fine in a couple of days. In a couple of days, the rash starts looking like a pimple. It looks a little dry and on the third day, the girl wakes up in the morning to see her pimple broken and innumerable baby spiders crawling out from them’.
‘Ah, Eric, that’s stupid. Do you really believe in whatever you hear and see?’
I get a little uncomfortable this time when I see a very scary and ugly looking man in his 60s, with the left side of his face damaged, probably by fire, his hair wiped by gel and set backward. He is dressed in a black waistcoat, cowboy pants and brown boots, struts confidently with his heels clicking inside the room.
‘Dr. Crab, have you ever touched a tree frog? Such beautiful smooth skin and bright green colour, leaves you wanting to take the frog home. It is a weird yet a different feeling that can never be missed. And so is the smell of mud before it can rain or the fragrance of groundnuts being fried by street vendors when you are starving...and... .’
THUD!!! Dr. Crab BANGS the table.
Shaken by this sudden and unexpected noise, I look straight into Dr. Crab’s face as he yells at the top of his voice ‘SHUT UP ALL OF YOU!! I’m questioning a patient, lest he think I am mentally affected too.’ Carpets – carpets are creepy.
I blink for a fraction of a second and look around to see myself seated on the mahogany chair, the room walled by varied books on three sides, a table lamp to my right and a clock ticking away in the far end of the hall. I see Dr.Crab and hear him say, ‘Good Evening Eric. Are you ready for your therapy today?’