Monday, August 17, 2009

Puzzles of Sleepwalking

It happens all of a sudden- Mr. Roy wakes up on a hard surface, two incandescent eyes blinding him in pitch-yellow brightness. These eyes are approaching and it seems to him that he is the convergence of their sight. He hears, what may be called, in light of those eyes (pun not intended) , the purring of a cat in ultra-slow motion. He realises. The two eyes are headlights of, and the purring, the pandemonium from an approaching car. It wasn't visible in the dark, but I'm sure his face would have been dripping with sweat and pallour. For he realised that he was about to be hit by the car. His body went numb, and he felt his feet become heavy and rooted on the place.
The driver, he sensed, was in no mood of, if not stopping the car, even blowing the horn. He lay there, head tucked between legs (as if it would make any difference) , awaiting his inevitable fate, like the greatest fatalist ever to be born.
And with a gush of wind on both of his sides, the vehicle passed through him, he felt. He emerged from the lump he had tucked himself into, like the foetus who shuns foetus-hood, to enter infancy, and to enter a whole new world where the frontiers are widened to Himalayan extents, and all previously concieved notions seem faulty. He looked at the place from where the vehicle had come and seemingly, passed through him, as if through thin (or thick) airt. This revolution clenched him in a state of mind that can only be called 'morbid'. Does death feel like nothing? Is that moment of no gravity, no weight at all?He gets up, struts around at random, as if to find something that had fallen down. He pulls at his salt-pepper moustache, since he was bald, to make sure it wasn't an illusion that minds create when indulged in nothing but stark-nothingness of sleep.It hurts, all right. What am I? Dead or dreaming. He feels it all too burdensome. He decides to decide it the next morning, for he stumbles upon a soft bush, and decides to lay asleep, whether in death or in a dream.
An old man, hefty in body and taking huge steps, walks into Rahul's cabin. The young, clean-shaven doctor looks from above the rim of his glasses, diverting his attention from some paperwork to this burly bear-like figure in a yellow shirt and black trousers.
"Mr. Roy! Have a seat. Long time no see?" Rahul welcomes the old man.
"Son, this is important. Last night, out of clear blue, I found myself in the middle of a road. What is even more outrageous is that a car passed through me. So, I lay down to sleep besides that road, to make sure that I was physically there. This morning, I woke up to find that I was. I was alive too, since people noticed me and were laughing at me. I could'nt have been dreaming, since I was there. I went home, and got fresh. I've come to you with this puzzle." As he started speaking, he was in a calm hurry, with consistent speech. Gradually, he became more animated, and let out hisses of laughter, like one of those pedestrians who had made of him a laughing stock that morning.
Rahul's eyes now stared at the papers in front of him. They could'nt meet Mr. Roy's.They were trying to unearth something of the past, and the face had a perplexing look about it. Perplexing, not perplexed. He said in a grave tone, "Such cases were unheard of, you know, all this car thing and all. But, have you been sleepwalking since long?"
"I don't know. But my daughter has complained of creaking stairs and opening and shutting of doors at night. Can that be me?" Mr.Roy pleaded.
"Possible. For the time being take these nerve-stabilisers which I am prescribing.Try to get more about your sleepwalking. You can come at my hose on Sunday. Morning?"
"That will be fine." Mr. Roy took the prescription and, in his ursine trot, left the cabin.
Rahul, that day, left his clinic early.

Ting-tong,Ting-tong. The bell rang a desperate call at Mani's house. He came to the door in a loin cloth and a vest, gold chain in his neck, white shaving foamon a sun-tanned face, a razor in his hands. He opened the door and Rahul barged in, a diablic smile on his face.
"Remember the old chap we met yesterday night?" he enquired.
"Yeah, what about him?" asked Mani, reciprocating the devilish grin on Rahul's face.
" An old patient of mine. He first came to me two years back. His wife had died. He was undergoing depression. Later he became an absolute atheist, a realist to the core. And now, he comes to me and says,'A car passed through me.' Looks like our trick has won me a rich client, and loads of fun."
"SO, should we tell him?" asked Mani growing more childishly devil throughout.
"No, friend.There is a time for everything.A time for life, and a time for death."
They talked on, amusing themselves all the while.


Mr. Roy niether died, nor was he dreaming that bright yellow night. What could have happened? We'll have to try and gauge. Surely, cars don't run through people, atleast the ones I know of.
One- most probably, somnambulation would have brought Mr.Roy right in the middle of the road. What about the car? I think that there couldn't have been any car. Rather, there were two tricksters on two motorbikes. Perhaps they saw that human mass on the ground, and as human nature would many-a-times have, they decided to stun him.They drove their bikes from his sides, peut-etre. And what co-incidence! Seeing from front, the spectator couldn't make out what was behind the two blinding lights. So, perhaps Mr. Roy assumed that the two lights had just one body behind them. Moreover, one doesn't wake up in such dreadful circumstances as one would wake up to an exquisite view after a good night's sleep. The mind always contracts the dread of the sinister conditions it goes through.


Mr. Roy, since then, started living in contemplation and fear of 'the unnatural', while Rahul and Mani believed and joyously hoped, that on Mr. Roy's deathbed, they shall spill the beans of laughter and unforgetting, and let Mr. Roy know what truely happened that night.

-Pratik Ali

1 comment:

  1. Blogger Anurag said...

    really good stuff man.... keep writing till the vacations are over :D

    and you need to delete the spam above/below me.

    November 7, 2007 12:31 AM