It is the last day of the semester, the whole class environment is filled with joy and energy. While everyone waits for the class to end, I continue paying attention to Professor Aravind Krishnan. Perhaps the best professor in our film school, he teaches the screenwriting course. As the clock ticks 3, the class is officially finished. Everyone rushes out of the class, excited for the summer break. But I am excited about the evening, as Aravind sir has invited me for an evening drink. Professor Aravind reminds me of Horace Slughorn from Harry Potter, inviting his best students for an evening drink every year. This time it is just me.
He’d asked me to come to his place at 8 PM. I reached well in time and went inside “He has gone out” the guard groans, “He will be back in 15 minutes”.
Looking at the gallery in his drawing room, I am instantly distracted by his wardrobe of achievements. It is filled with his awards, paintings and film cameras. A book cover catches my attention, so I go close. I could see the picture of Krishna and Arjuna on the face of the Bhagavad Gita. I smiled as I started thinking about her.
Before I could indulge in my thoughts I heard my professor’s voice. “Sorry for keeping you waiting.”
“No problem Sir,” I replied.
We both talked for a while and eased into an early dinner. We went into the balcony then he poured a glass of Aberlour. It is a cool, breezy evening.
“This is my favourite scotch. Whenever I am extremely happy I treat myself with a glass or two.” He looks at me kindly and said “I am very delighted to have you as my student.” He passed me the glass of scotch and continued “I invite some students every year but I have never had this drink with any other student. Cheers!”
“I’m also very happy to be here professor. But, what is so different about me?” I asked curiously.
“The students I have taught in the past try writing on new and strange ideas which are quite ingenious and interesting. But you, my friend, tell a normal story with a new dimension of thought. Many people are unable to explore such a unique facet of storytelling. Your writings are inspired by real life, not movies or books”
“I am really surprised that you could see something in me which I have never thought about myself.” My face reddened with happiness. He laughed. I could see that my professor was finally losing grip of his senses. While I am a little tensed about what he is going to do, he said, “Let’s play a game today.”
I nodded in relief.
“The game is simple. Until now you have impressed me with your written work. Today you must narrate a riveting tale which jolts me out of my inebriated state.”
I knew it was a challenging game. He gave me 5 minutes to think. I immediately went blank.
Before I could come up with anything, he said, “Last 30 seconds”. In those few seconds, Lord Krishna’s idol caught my attention. It reminded me of the night 5 years ago. I smiled and said, “Professor, I am ready.”
“Go on. I am listening”
“It was on a silent Friday night. I was sitting in my study room with a pen in my hand. It was filled with just enough ink to write a suicide note. For every human, their death is a big question mark. I chose to answer that question before sunrise.
Generally, people fumble while writing love letters or suicide notes. Unlike others, my hand didn’t shiver. As I completed the last sentence I broke the nib of the pen. I sat for a while in that room looking at the surroundings for one last time. An old portrait caught my attention. It was filled with dust. All I could see was a picture of Arjuna sitting alone and hopeless in the battlefield. I could relate myself to that portrait. As I heard the microwave beep, I went to the kitchen and brought the freshly made cake“
“That’s weird! It’s not a birthday to celebrate,” said Professor Aravind.
I laughed “We celebrate our birthday on the occasion of going closer to death by one year. If that is a celebration, this is also a celebration. Nothing weird about it.”
His silence indicated me to continue with the story. “I celebrated my death in advance. My alarm rang. I went to the other room to get the ‘suicide’ pills. Beside the ‘suicide’ pill bottle I could see my father’s BP tablets. I stopped for a second. But I made my decision and took the bottle. As I was walking back to my room I could see a room with lights on. It was my sister, she was preparing for her last exam. She felt hungry so she asked me to get some bread from the nearby pharmacy. I hid the bottle in my room and deleted the suicide post which I posted on the internet a few days ago. As I left home my sister fell asleep. I was walking towards the end of the lane, perhaps my last walk. I and my 100 varied thoughts about my suicide walked together on that lane. Unable to bear them I stopped and sat down. I knew deep down that I was doing that for my own good. I took a deep breath and regained confidence about my final decision. I started walking back. I could see a car on the way, as I was passing the car the driver asked me directions for the nearest gas station. I was searching for the location on my phone. Due to slow internet speed, it was taking a long while to load anything on my phone screen. I was baffled when I heard a girl scream from inside the car. Before I could connect the dots, the driver bundled me into the car and tied my hands with a rope. I realized that this was kidnapping only after he accelerated the car. My mind was again flooded with thoughts. My hands started shivering.”
Professor Aravind interjected “But why did you feel tense? You already took a big decision of committing suicide. So nothing worse could happen.”
“Professor, for me that day was special. I wanted to spend it calmly and leave the universe. My internet speed had completely destroyed my plan. I was feeling bad and tensed about my plan not happening the way I wanted it to happen.”
Aravind laughed and I continued. “I was upset. The girl who screamed didn’t seem that much worried. She was behaving as if everything in that moment was so normal. I somehow had a feeling that she was hiding her true emotions of fear, but that lasted only until she talked to me.”
“What did she say?” asked Mr Aravind anxiously.
“She asked “What is your hotspot password?””
(To be continued in Krishnarjuna Adhyay-2….)