“C-C-Can finite causes lead to infinite results?” The child was ready with his first salvo, as soon as Dhanvantri walked in; Dhanvantri, a little woozy with his sudden dash to the clinic, could see that the child was brimming with questions, counter-questions, imputations and disputations- since he had nothing else to do but to rehearse this very dialogue in last six months. Yes, the kid was over-prepared for this interview. He knew well that many mortals who really had nothing to say would often use triple C in such situations – Convince, Confound, Confuse!
“Of course not. What are you driving at? But wait a minute, let me order a milk shake for you, first..”
“No, Thank you Sir. I will survive yet another day without milkshake-“ The child continued with a brave face- “But your command does exactly that: for my mistake of just one day- you condemn my problem to people’s indifference forever and ever! Isn’t that an illogical case of finite actions leading to infinite results? And just by saying that there is no problem, does it go away? Does the pain too go away by your little magic? Does..”
Dhanvantri cleared his throat impatiently. He had had enough of mortals who loved to argue with gods, having read paperback editions of Nyaya, Darhsan and Logic.
“You are a child but pose like a wise man!” He interrupted firmly- “You are assuming that there IS a problem in the first place. You have to prove that assumption FIRST. I cannot hand out remedies for imagined problems. And if you are so fond of imagining problems, imagine a solution as well!”
“But I have a p-p-problem. Cant you see it? Feel it?” Child took courage, grabbed Dhanvantri’s hand and put it on his heart..on his head.. finally on his mouth.
“Okay, okay. Let us say, it is a problem. But then- how was it that you arrived so late on the Kalpataru day? The way Vishnu had spoken to me, I had an idea that you will be brought in on a stretcher, with Oxygen and IV running- right at the head of the queue in the morning..” Dhanvantri had a little irritating smile on his face.
“Okay- “ The child changed the tack “Sir, tell me one thing: whose devotion is greater- of the King who gives up his empire or of the beggar who gives up his begging bowl?”
“Size and shape do not matter. Certainly it is the inner intent, which matters. “
“Then, why do you doubt my inner intent and suffering?” Child sang out victoriously.
Dhanvantri was a in a dilemma. There was no precedent of ever reversing a Kalpataru day pronouncements. But something had to be done. When someone says something- it has to be taken as a truth, until of course, later events prove it otherwise. That has been the gold standard since the beginning of the creation. And why should he not believe the child? Dhanvantri searched his heart and really found no reason, to disbelieve the child. Deeper he thought, more he wanted to believe him and help him out but.. Oh, why these mortals create these situations!
As the two angels from Child welfare wing escorted him off, the child heard, Dhanvantri, talking in a low voice. As if he talked to himself:
“Laws have to be obeyed. The cycle has begun. What has been said is said. The magic is out there in the air. But when time is ripe, repeat this mantra- and it will break the magical spell and you will be healed from inside..”
The child slipped from the angels grasp and raced back to Dhanvantri: “What mantra? Can you please repeat a little louder?”
Angels grabbed him tighter this time and gently brushed a Mayurpankhi feather across his face. Everything melted in a white swirling mass of thoughts, sounds and forms. Shapes changed, names changed, time flew by- till it was another day, another place.
The child on earth was like other children- but different. He was aware of the difference but never could put his finger on it. This sense of being different came and went, all the time. But it left a mark on his thoughts, feelings, moods and personality. Have you ever heard a symphony- like Pastoral symphony? Played by a 100 instrument orchestra? On a true hi-fi surround system? Wow! Now, take a thoroughly wet blanket and throw it on top of those speakers. What do you hear now? Yes, only noises. You will have to be a Chopin or a Beethoven himself, to pick up the notes and guess the genius behind it.
That is what this child was like: subdued, lost and a little bit confused. He lived in imagination. Almost exclusively. For example, he always wanted to talk to the girl with the blue tiffin box in the class- but never actually did. He wanted to be the class monitor too, but declined it with an imperial disdain, when offered by the class teacher! Yes, his life was a mystery- to himself and to others. And a magic too. Things happened or failed to happen- all as if by magic! No reason, no logic.
And that ‘magic’ thing reminded him of a long lost dream: an old man mumbling something about his life being like a magic.. He tried hard to recall but thoughts would fail him. As he would drift off to sleep, he would often worry: is he normal? Will he ever be normal? What does it mean to be normal? What should he do to feel like normal?
Sometime he felt that he had figured out the whole thing in his head. The last piece of the puzzle was found: he should just act and behave like normal people. That would certainly make him a normal person. Again after some days, he felt that in doing so, he was living like someone else. When was he going to live his own life? His own dreams? Oh, what a nuisance! What a pain! He had solved Rubic cube under 3 hours- but this puzzle was taking a lot lot more time.
He grew up to be a man- but of the same kind. A man with the wet blanket on. But since man has bigger shoulders, he carried a few extra wet blankets on top of original one! But inside, he heard the muffled notes of a primeval symphony. An ancient composition. One day as he showered, he heard it again- the music was like a background score to his imaginary flight over a vast landscape, a forest, a green canopy, a meandering river, a noisy waterfall.. The gentle beginning of the symphony merged into an allegro (fast) movement- a build up, like a thunderstorm during the monsoons, bursting into a crescendo- and then he heard the rumblings of the mantra, as the allegro changed into allegretto movement towards the end of the symphony of his life. He recalled the whole scene from before the beginning of his days: When you think you had had enough of the magic, repeat these words: “I stammer” – and you will be set free..
PS: Friends, this is just a story- kind of allegory. Many thanks for your encouragement and feedback. Can I ask you also to write something and share with TISA? Remember: it is the intent which matters..
Great work Sachin !!
What a beautiful way to convey a deep message!
Indeed beautiful! So important to illustrate stuttering/stammering in ways that people can embrace.
Dear Vinay, JP and Pam
Thanks for your appreciation and time..
You wont believe it- but the stimulus for the story came when I read an article about "Health benefits of Creativity"!
Truly, while writing this story, I was a very happy man..
It also reminds me of a famous Chinese writer, who said to an audience: Had I waited for perfection in my works, you would have read not a single book of mine..
So, here I am, waiting for other IPWS to get the health benefits :-))
Really great story Sachin.That's stammering. We have to find an easy way to communicate this to younger pws. we will try, try and going on try till our life time.
though i struggled to get the story..
but really a great piece of work..words and imagination was awesome
Thanks Mani and Neeraj!
Neeraj, yes, I know, it was a little subtle..
Anyway, I will keep writing till I get the hang of writing simply and directly..
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