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Sunday, 10 November 2013

A Short Break!

Dear readers,

I am taking a short break for now.

It has been an exciting journey. I am grateful to all those who encouraged and helped me in this journey. I look forward to similar encouragement when I return.

Hope to see you soon.

Pothoppuram Kesavan Jayanthan

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Meditating Shadow – IV: The Magician Returns

Earlier posts:             The MeditatingShadow
                                    The Meditating Shadow – II: The Shadow Gets a Body
                                    The Meditating Shadow – III: I Return Home

Three months had passed since my return from the ‘hell’ and hospital. I continued the physical and speech exercises as advised by the doctor. Now I am able to walk around within my home. My ability to speak, too, has been restored to some extent.

I told the villagers my story of the past eight years – how the magician had made me a shadow and how I was forced to rob and even kill people and such other stories. I told them how the magician used the money he collected from them to purchase a property for himself. I told them everything I knew. It was like a fairy tale for them. I also told them that he would certainly return to take over the village. They, however, vowed that they would never allow that to happen. Having known the magician thoroughly, I was skeptical. I knew he would. I knew how clever and crooked he was. He would do anything to attain what he wanted.

One day I was reading the morning newspaper while sipping my cup of tea. I suddenly felt a pull. It was, kind of, an attraction towards something unknown. The next instant I realized what was happening.

I was devastated.

I realized the magician had returned and was trying to find out the shadow he had left behind. I had thought that after more than three years I had automatically been freed from his clutches. But, no, I wasn’t. I got panicked. Terribly panicked, indeed. I didn’t know what to do. I had got back my body, but he could still control my mind!

I immediately called my wife at the top of my voice. I ran towards the main door. I not only bolted but also locked it. Then I rushed towards the bed room. My wife was terrified seeing what I was doing. I lay down on the coat and asked her to tie my hands and legs to the coat. She was confused, puzzled, and worried.

She asked, “What happened? What are you asking me to do?”

I told her, “All explanations later. Do what I asked you to do. Now. NOW!”

She was panicked, too, but at my behaviour. She did what I told her. I asked her to use strong rope and tie me very tightly so that I would not be able to free myself.

By then the pulling on my mind had become stronger. I was panting and perspiring profusely. She sat near me and looked at me extremely concerned.

I told her, “He has returned.”

She jumped up the next instant. She looked more worried than me. She knew who the ‘he’ was.

She asked, “How do you know? You didn’t go out of the home today.”

I told her, “I don’t have to go out to see him. I can feel his presence. I can feel the pressure. He is calling me back.”

I asked her to inform the panchayat president immediately. Somehow they have to disturb him from the magic he was doing then. Or else … The president asked her not to worry and said he would take care of everything. She returned and sat near me. She started to perspire, too. She had never been so worried. Even when I went missing.  

Several villagers had already met the collector and had apprised him of the truth upon my revelations. He, in turn, had informed the village police station and had instructed to take necessary action if and when the magician returned. I had also given my statement to the police and met the collector.

The president collected a few members and went to the magician’s home after informing the police of the return of the magician. He didn’t even have to verify the fact. He knew my feeling could not be wrong.

Soon the police arrived and took the magician into custody. He tried to resist his arrest in every way possible. He denied each and every charge made against him. But when he was told that I had given a statement to the police, he fell silent. He realized that the game was over. He had hoped that I would remain a shadow till he returned. He was terribly upset when told that I had got my body back.

He was tried for several cases including murder, cheating, illegal confinement, conspiracy, misuse of power, and so on under various sections of the IPC. Several villagers went to the court and deposed against him. My statements with all the graphic details were, however, the most damning proof against him.

The magician, after several months of trial, was given the life sentence and was sent to jail. The villagers finally heaved a sigh of relief. But my family and I was the most happy for getting rid of him for good (I hope so!).

The flat purchased by the magician was taken over by the collector and handed over to the village panchayat. It is now being used as the panchayat office and as a common facility for the villagers.


Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Meditating Shadow – III: I Return Home

Earlier posts:    The Meditating Shadow
                           TheMeditating Shadow – II: The Shadow Gets a Body

After three days the doctor advised that my hair be cut and I may be given a shave. There was only one barber in the village. He was requested to undertake the task. The barber was an old man who had taken over their tiny barber shop when his father passed away.

After completing the work, he looked at me and said that I now looked great. I looked at him in his eyes. He knew everyone in the village. I hoped against hope that at least now somebody should recognize me. I had no idea if my physical features had changed after having been a shadow for eight years.

I signaled him that I wanted to look in the mirror. He placed the mirror in front of me. I looked carefully. Fortunately there were still traces of the old features. The barber in the meantime was watching me carefully. Suddenly he thought he had seen me somewhere. He, however, couldn’t place me anywhere. He was confused. He called Mr Shrivastava in. Shrivastava came in, looked at me and said, “Well, you have done a good job. Now he looks like a human being.”

The barber asked him, “Do you think you have seen him earlier?”

Mr Shrivastava was puzzled at this query and looked at him. Then he looked back at me. The barber’s query was a watershed for me. I prayed to God, “Oh! God! Please help him recognize me. Please, Please.”

Shrivastava came nearer and looked at me very intently. I looked back in his eyes. I tried to tell him that I am his old friend Vinay Sharma.

Suddenly there was a glitter in his eyes and surprise in his expressions. He probably couldn’t trust his eyes or senses. He came still nearer, took my hand in his hands, continued to look straight into my eyes and asked, “Uh .. Well .. Vinay .. Are you Vinay Sharma?”

I thought a lightening has struck me. At last here is some light at the end of the long tunnel. I didn’t know how to react. I pressed his hand in my hands and nodded my head violently so that he did not miss my affirmative answer even for a moment. Suddenly my eyes overflowed and two little streams told him he was right. Now he was more confident.

He asked me, “Aren’t you Vinay Sharma who vanished several years ago?”

I nodded my head again and again and looked straight into his eyes. I drew him as close to me as possible and embraced him as strongly as I could. He didn’t feel the strength, but he felt the emotion. He embraced me, too, and patted on my back. I suddenly realized he too was crying.

The emotional outburst I felt was too much for me to bear. I lost consciousness and fell back on the bed.

The doctor was immediately called. While the doctor attended to me, Shrivastava rushed out. He nearly ran to my home. He disclosed the invaluable news to whoever came in front of him.

“Vinay Sharma has returned.”

And the news spread like wild fire and also reached my wife. She couldn’t trust her ears or senses. Who wants to play such a cruel prank on her? It was then that Shrivastava came in. He was panting, having nearly run for more than two kilometres.

He told my wife, “Have you heard? Vinay has returned. He is in the hospital.”

She was still confused.

She said, “Yes, I heard that too. I don’t know who wants to play this joke on us.”

“No, it is not a joke. It is the truth. I saw him. I recognized him. In fact it was I who had taken him to the hospital from under the banyan tree where we found him three days ago.”

She looked at him stunned. This was indeed the shock of her life. The most pleasant one at that. She was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when Shrivastava broke the news to her. She rushed out in her nightie and uncombed hair. Only on reaching the road did she realize that she had a laden in her hand. She threw it away and ran to the hospital.

She was about to barge into the room when the doctor stopped her.

He said, “Wait. Wait, Mrs Sharma. Listen. Mr Sharma is very weak. He has difficulty in even moving his hands and legs. He cannot speak. Just be as normal as possible when you meet him. Don’t tax him too much emotionally.”

She heard and agreed to everything the doctor said. But nothing had registered in her mind. Each word bounced on her intense wish to see her long lost husband.

He also said, “In this condition I would not normally allow any visitors. But I understand this special situation. So you may go in, but remember what I told you.”

She came in with fear, apprehension, hope and towering above all, a heart full of love. She looked at me. I was, sort of sleeping. I had lost and regained consciousness several times during the past three days.

She slowly, silently sat on the bed and caressed my face. It was the tears that fell on my face that woke me up. I opened my eyes and looked at her. It didn’t take any time for my eyes to replicate hers. She passionately kissed me on the forehead. It felt like an electric shock. Eight years had passed since I met her, touched her, or talked to her. I tried to draw her closer as tightly as I could. But my hands were so weak that I could only hope that she would never leave me. Never, ever. She could not hold herself. She kissed me on my forehead, cheeks, and lips and embraced me like never before. No word came out from either of us. But we talked a lot. Through mere touch, the kisses, the tears, the embraces. It may have been ten or fifteen minutes when the doctor came in. He requested her to leave me alone for some time which she hesitantly did.

By then the whole village had gathered outside the hospital. They were all surprised and happy at the same time. They were very eager to have a look at me and hear my story. They had, however, to be satisfied by Shrivastava’s story of how he found me under the banyan tree in the village square naked and ill and took me to hospital. He also told them how he recognised me after I had a shave. He told them that I was so weak that I couldn’t even move my hands and legs, nor could I speak. I stayed in the hospital for three more days. By then I was able slowly to sit up, and move my hands. My wife stayed with me constantly. She didn’t sleep even during nights. If she happened to take a nap due to complete exhaustion and sleeplessness, she would wake up at the slightest sound. Any amount of persuasion from friends and relatives couldn’t make her go home.

I was discharged after seven days. I went home with my wife and daughter. Doctor had prescribed several exercises for restoration of the body functions and speech.  Everybody was grateful to God that I had all my mental powers intact despite the pathetic physical condition I was in. In about a month I could talk a few words. After another two months I was able to talk normally, move around within the house, laugh, and attend to my daily chores.

It was a new life for me for which I thanked each and every God whose name I knew.