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May 5, 2006

Lifeless Bernard & Living August

Many lifeless objects become part and parcel of our life. Our car, the TV, a favourite dress, the good pen and many more. For us these cease to be inanimate. When they are gone, we feel hollow. June had August. But August is missing from yesterday. Another lifeless object was responsible for the dissappearence. His name Bernard.

Back from work, I had an early dinner. June was getting a change. The morning had been bad. June's curiosity got the better of her. She spilt piping hot tea on herself. She calls it "Ta" but she would now stay away from it, alteast for while. Post the incidence, the ensuing chaos to find a scapegoat had shocked her even more. It was one chaotic morning.

The night in contrast was calm and cool, the "Tars" and the "Mun" were up there again. I was relaxing on the terrace. A terrace which we share with our neighbours. They live in a single room house. 3 adults and 2 grown up kids pack themselves in. An asbestos sheet covers their top. At most of times when the sun is down, they spill out of the house.

However Mashi was troubled. The previous day June's extreme care had dirtied August from head to toe. So Mashi had given him a nice wash and hung him like a scarecrow on the terrace to dry. But August was missing and so was another teddy named Mary.

I went up to our neighbours. No one was there except a lady who was deaf and dumb. She was trying to say something that I could'nt fathom. I went for a walk, upset. Sometime later when I went up with my landlord I found a man squatting on the floor, completely drunk. It was Mashi who deciphered the lady's speechless code. This man, who claimed to be a cousin brother of my neighbour, had stolen August. He sold him off for bottle of arrack. I was speechless.

My landlord tried his best to make him understand. They were speaking in Tamil and I felt even more speechless. I was as dumb as the other lady. Each of his words were accompanied by a gust of pungent stench. An hour down the line we were nowhere. He refused to admit and tell us where he had taken August.

Unfortunately the rest of the family was'nt there. How do I retrieve the situation I asked? I was already starting to miss August and June was yet to know. So I took over. I found that he understood English. I sat there for the long haul. I used all forms of techniques - threats, sympathy, kind words even the promise of another bottle if he took me where August was. But he held on, blank and hollow.

It was past 10. Mun had just arrived from office and threatened to take things in her own hands. I still tried to reason out. I probed him about himself. At the back of mind I was itching to know his story. He had 3 kids who stayed with their mother. All three fairly grown up and they refuse to recognise him on road. He meanders and sleeps on the terrace of this cousin brother. I could see some of his belongings scattered here and there.

He said his name was Bernard and he he made a living out of cleaning computers. What living I asked myself again? And then I realised he was not living. He was dead, lifeless, inanimate. My search for August was over.

After the family came, there was only tamasha. Everybody pitched in. Threats of police station. A brother hitting a brother. The deaf and dumb lady contradicting herself. A hostile Mun and mashi. And an amused landlord's son. In between a local Christian community leader, the Godfather to the family, pitched in with his brand of threats. But his agenda was different. He came to make an impression.

It was midnight and I lost interest by now. My landlord ensured the lifeless object be thrown out. That was duly done. But as he walked down the empty road a host of emotions overpowered me. I thought of the umpteen Bernards that stroll the roads every night. Each become dead every night only to spring to life in the morn. Living beings converted into lifeless objects. Objects that their near ones refuse to own anymore.

At that point in time I missed August even more. Its a world of lifeless Bernards and living Augusts. June would be a little more lonelier from now. But somewhere someone would be more happy today.

14 comments:

rip van winkle said...

dear kaushik,thanx for such an amazing post.it was really touchy.actually, when i started reading it i didnt realise it was moving towards such deeper implications.in this world where people refuse to think even about living creatures,its nice to know someone who FEELS for the 'lifeless'entites be it August or Bernard. kaushik,i had always found you sensitive,patient,reasonable and understanding ,(in shuv's blog)in more than one way, hope we'll know each other ...someday.

i received an SMS long time back.it said.."things r to be used and people r to be loved.the problem in this world is people r being used and things r being loved." it just might find some relevence here.

kaushik said...

I quite agree with the SMS message except for the fact that the problem lies with the people that they allow themselves to be used like things.

Issue is with the Bernards of the world who have no thought for their family do all this out of choice.

Pal, I know Shuv but I doubt whether you do. Infact I dont think you know him personally. In that case it is a real bad luck. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity. Irrespective of whether we meet its imperative that you meet Shuv.

rip van winkle said...

hi bro,i am sooo eager for this'lifetime oppurtunity',ha!ha!.
only i am a bit scared.Rip van winkle is an old,weak man u know.cant face an'angry young man'any more.dear shuv has his own agenda,i hv my own.remember the old and young AB in 'akhri raasta'?

we shall all meet...someday.thats for sure.and kaushik,you'll see its going to be a lots of fun.

kaushik said...

No Rip I think you are mistaken. Your meeting up with Shuv will be of no significant value or interest to me.

For you and me Shuv is a bystander. Similarly you and Shuv I am bystander.

But thats bw person to person. I was just refering to the sensitivity, reasonableness part.

rip van winkle said...

you mean shuv is ACTUALLY a reasonable and sensitive person??wow wow..

well..he sure is sensitve to rip van winkle!

kaushik said...

U can see I sure keep track of my comments.

Well I cant say whether Shuv is a sensitive or reasonable. I have not measured him that way. But Shuv is definitely one of a kind. Interesting will be the right word.

Either ways those attributes also comes with a lot of mental baggage.

But why are we wasting bandwidth discussing Shuv? No point.

rip van winkle said...

not 'wasting'bandwidth bro.just trying to know someone better.bcoz..

only hearts can meet.minds will always collide.

kaushik said...

Well, thats exactly my point. You can only understand someone (in this case Shuv) if you meet through some meaningful communication channels.

Not through the blog, and if at all not through a plethora of other commentors mudding the field.

I have seen this tendency of posturing and when you posture you act either out of fun, or anger or just to irritate or to impress. And when someone sees that posturing they in return posture. So then its all a game of hide seek.

You can only know someone if there are no agendas.

rip van winkle said...

dear kaushik.,thats a very well thought comment i must say.
but,how do you pour water into a glass which is already full?
i think we ALL need to make some space into our glasses so that others can also share their views.

actully we all are trapped within our own kingsize ego.we understand whats wrong with our lives, may be every single moment,but still we keep on clinging to the cause as if it were an old habit.and the misery continues...

sorry bro dont know why i m telling u all this,got a bit carried away i guess.sorry for wasting your time.lets CHEERS maan!!!

kaushik said...

I dont think thats a correct analogy. And even if it is, the thing is not about filling the glass. You can just observe let things be.

As for wasting time. Well I have too much time on my hand. Otherwise how I have tenacity to check each and every comment.

Shuv said...

u put a straw in the glass and pour and suck at the same time.

rip van winkle said...

ha!ha!thats a nice one.but the procedure is : i pour, u suck.(and vice versa). thats the problem bro.cant do both on my own.

rip van winkle said...

dear kaushik,why r we so afraid to put a personal comment?r we so insecured about our relatinships that just a comment can be a cause of breaking it off?
in fact ,a personal comment is the only comment worth commenting.the rest r all information exchange.they cant be termed communication.
but as u rightly said earlier,the blog might not be the best place for that.....can't we try??

kaushik said...

Hey! When did I object to personal comments.. Thats bad.. Boy.. I dont object to anything.. Smooth.. Shoot anything.. I am a cockroach..