Mr. Floyd and A Year of Love

Mr. Floyd met her for the first time at Café Devkota.  They had an immediate affinity for each other. They didn’t converse with each other for another four months before she attempted her charm but he had merely produced a nod and a subtle faint smile as he walked away clumsily. Only their fleeting glances met and sometimes he stole a look here and she feigned her gaze there. It was typical of Floyd to take a liking to women during those days of solitude. It produced a gratifying effect on him even at their mere presence. He could notice everything about women from their light, brownish, beauty moles to the lustful tip of their fingers. Women meant beauty and beautiful women were always avoided by him. He liked the idea of being in a state of desire than the illusion of fulfilled desire. Hence, a bachelor. For him, beauty was better left uncharted. Any seduced beauty was aesthetically  marred and ethereally tarnished. It was psychologically purging for him to think like that. If it was up to him he would had without a second thought, have all the damsels locked on a museum only for the world to behold and admire, never to be corrupted nor be judged. She was such a beauty.

She had a square face, dark hair, bristle yet fashionable and a Greek nose, pointed, almost chiselled and symmetrical. She had a fair countenance, somewhat dim Floyd thought it was very poignant. From the outset she had given him a warm feeling, like the sons feel when they are touched by the love of their mothers. There was nothing motherly about her but every man, in his deepest of heart, desires such an affection from their women. Men are lonely species because they are unable to love the world like the women can do. He always felt that if there was to be a god then god would certainly be a woman. The love of god is exactly like that of a woman and so is their scorn. They love in order to merely love. But men, they are brute. They love to be loved more. Mr. Floyd could love like a woman.

Having resisted such a temptation for a long time, Mr. Floyd finally succumbed to the charm of damsel in distress. His hero Wilde had asserted, over a century ago that the necessary things in life are the most unnecessary ones. Such an unnecessary friendship began to unfold in a short period of time. And it takes a friendship to develop into a courtship in a lesser time between a man and a woman. He thought that the world was full of vanity and he started to be gratify in such vanities as he began to squander away his time and money at her and commenced to be stirred by trivial observations about her and needless ruminations. Dr. Faust appeared merely egotistical and Batman was ludicrous. The world was dichotomized between fathers and mothers, music was electronized and John Travolta moves were antiquated. Sadness meant tear drops on her radiant cheeks and happiness was a blush. Love meant being together, harsh was an accidentally discordant word and hate was forgotten.

So, after a couple of weeks of flawless romance, delightful promenades and seemingly interminable devotion they tied the knot. He always thought boredom was a sin. He had found the right person to commit this sin with for a lifetime.

Now, after a couple of months, their life became dull with and without each other and their conversations were full of what Floyd used to term, when he scorned at couples struck by cupid, masturbation without erection.

‘So, how was your day?’

‘Oh! It was okay. You?’

‘Me too! I almost died of boredom today’.

It was a farce. The whole thing. By the end of the year, the damsel’s love for him had dried out of boredom and Mr. Floyd committed suicide by pulling a trigger and the cold bullet went though his heart. He couldn’t believe that his love for the world could end at the end of a mere woman’s love. He was stupefied that he couldn’t love the world again like women do. He had turned into a brute.

On Freedom, Suicide and Other Things

3.

The clock stroke four and not long after, there commenced a minor hustle-bustle at the café. Gradually, other members of the society began to appear and then the café was engulfed with assertions, witticisms, complains, admirations and ridiculous reasoning’s. Though it was a daily routine, it appeared sprightlier than ever. The next day would always transcend the previous day when it came to the general clamour and mood of the members. It was always a majestic sight to those who knew who they were and what they were conversing about, the ludicrous jeering and sally tongues would amuse the bystanders and observers while the owner of the café would rather discreetly shy away from the company. He always thought that they were too intelligent and sharp tongued for him. Anyways, he was well entertained through the busy evening when the rush hour would cease as emaciated officials, nonchalant pedestrians, young folks, rebellious teenage girls and retired old bureaucrats would give the café a visit.

Though all this, Rita, who had conspired rather thoughtfully about her being acquainted with the society was more than amused. She was gleaming. She didn’t speak but listened to the raconteurs, rather attentively and admired their oddities with her shimmering teeth and juicy pink lips as it stretched beyond her rosy cheeks, evincing her adorable pointed nose and narrow nostrils. Throughout the evening, her countenance assumed a wide and taut smile. All she did was, ordered more coffee, smoothed her folds, spiffed her round shoulders and have a hearty laugh which would always turn out to be more voluble than she had planned. Time to time, she observed Mr. Floyd who turned out to be rather soft spoken today, almost a chivalrous knight of the former centuries, galvanised yet inhibited.

He had managed to acquire a seat at the nook, just adjacent to the back door. He didn’t speak much. She thought, maybe he was not in the mood or was also enjoying the conversations. It was true, the latter assumption that had passed her thought. He had suddenly decided to listen to his fellow brothers and clever ladies of the society.  For him, the society was a woman and to sway her away, he needed to keep his quiet sometimes yet at the same time make her feel that no love was lost. But suddenly, a paroxysm of silence had clutched him that he didn’t even hesitate a moment let it go. He wanted to be esteemed at the expense of Rita just some moments ago, but that was how he was, never dogged and patient. They sometimes chanced a fleeting glance at each other but it wasn’t awkward for him who it seemed was a veteran of this situation. He always seemed a way to loll with women though it wasn’t his basic intention. Women crave attention and they always seemed to procure his fleeting considerations which always made them uncomfortable and undecided.  For now, Rita was undergoing such undulations and she couldn’t decide if he wanted to have a tete-a-tete with her or he was just nonchalantly observing everything that met his eyes.

There was a sharp commotion among the members. They were talking about a rich man who had managed to squander all his property on a drunken revelry, his wife having committed suicide and his two children were working in a quarry, carving stones and dredging up the new found sorrows of life.  It was all over the newspaper and they seemed to get hung on the story.  There were two groups discussing on the topic at hand. One was talking about the matter pertaining to suicide of the wife, which consisted of the young members and women mostly while another group which had swerved from the topic were discussing about madness in general.

“……….she showed her character in the end. If she was a good wife then she would have had the courage to face the ensuing sorrows”, Sharma spoke ardently.

“But, goodness and courage are two different things, you are mistaken, my friend”, replied Thapa, promptly. It got the crowd going. “Yes! Yes! He is right”, they chimed in together. Thapa continued, “I don’t dare to talk about the character of that poor woman, but I tell you my friend, she was courageous and it was up to her to decide which bold path of courage to tread”. He looked at Sharma for any sign of rejoinder but seeing that there was not any yet, he said, “Don’t you think you have to yield an enormous amount of courage to commit suicide? Don’t you feel that the poor wife deserved to at least die in peace rather than live in shame for what she wasn’t guilty of ?”

“But at what cost? Her children are rotting in some suburban quarry, she should have thought about it. I understand the anger and grief that might have fallen at her but to give one’s precious life at the blunders of other is ….is….not just crime, it is much more severe than a crime. Mr. Sharma began to stammer. “It was a….a…… ….” But before he could complete his sentence Mr. Thapa got reinforcement in the form of Mrs. Chaudhary, “So, you think it’s a sin, to commit suicide”. She smirked and gave a long sigh. “I think it’s more than stupid for us people to judge such a woman without knowing her background. One should understand her personality before we jump into any derisive conclusion”. She threw a glance at Rita, the psychology student. But, Rita didn’t evince any expression. She continued, “But, that’s her. What I don’t understand is that why shouldn’t we be allowed to give up our life? I don’t understand it. Nowadays, we talk about freedom and equality and love and hate too easily, as if we are unaware of the weight of these words. And to be true, most of us are not. Why can’t we be free to just give up our life when we want? We are thought to be free on how we want to live our lives but then when it comes to death why aren’t we so liberated. Isn’t that the whole gist of freedom? To be free of societal volitions and prejudices”.

“Yes, you are truly right Mrs. Chaudhary, when it comes to these words; we have been using it indiscriminately. Nowadays, I am quintessentially confused on love and hate. Are these even different? We are all murderers in the end”, Thapa asserted, rather with some loftiness.

“Why do you say so?” replied Sharma, with his mouth full. He was voraciously gorging a pineapple pie as he scooped some sugar to his tea.

“The matter of fact is that…..well, lets say, when a lady aborts a child then she stands against humanity, everyone sees to it that she has indeed done a great sin, the greatest of them all, to derive a child the right to live but and it is us men who make her stand in the pulpit of shame and demand her life be fraught with guilt. Ha-ha but then, we are but men. Sometimes i am plainly ashamed. It isn’t the same case when we masturbate; we fancy it’s all too trivial to concede any sin. But if science is to be taken into consideration then at such mere fancy we end up murdering millions”.

Everyone was mortified. There was a stern silence. Nobody knew how to react to such a claim. Was he ridiculing or was he being truly deliberate. In any case it seemed like a valid argument. Yes, one could equate such claims with freedom and it could be considered ludicrous yet, they were all here for glory. “Yes, Mr. Floyd, care to share your insight?” said, Mrs. Chaudhary. Mr. Floyd who was sitting cross legged, leaning on his elbows and listening indolently to them gave a broad smile which depicted that he was content with leaving them up to themselves. He sat in this position for the next one hour or so till he left the place and he barely spoke.

 

(This chapter has been continued from The Masochist Men and Sycophantic Women)

To be continued….

The Mona Lisa Smile

While the dawn commenced, Hari was still staring at the portrait of Mona Lisa which his grandmother had installed in her bedroom. His grandmother had passed away a month ago. Hari had come to take back the articles his grandmother had left behind in this rented apartment. Only a year ago, Hari had visited her which was the last time unfortunately for him to have seen her in all her glory. She was wise but she was humble. “Only because I am slow makes me appear wise”, she used to joke. She was sprightly and had her way with the words, rhetoric yet lucid, her precious smile stretched wide enough to cause Hari into a spiritual delirium. She had made Hari mount a portrait of Mona Lisa adjacent to the window of the room and she sat in her bed which lay exactly opposite to that wall where the famous lady was installed. ‘She said, “Do you know why I have Madame Lisa’s portrait done?” No grandmother, Hari inquired, ‘Because, your grandfather married me since I looked just like her, in earnest, those were the days, child’, then they looked into each other’s eyes and had a nice heartily laugh.’   Now, after a sleepless diminutive night, Hari was in deep slumber of thoughts, he gaped.

He had been staring into the portrait since yesterday, and it was not only Madame Lisa he was observing but he saw a splendid motion picture in his imagination which served vividly and the manifestation was a revelation! Only providence could induce such bizarre yet truthful rationale. Hari was in spiritual delirium yet he appeared as calm as a rock. He felt like he saw his grandmother’s apparition assume a wide and wise smile. Hari was frenzied profoundly in his soul.

Now, the sun was rising, its rays gradually began to consume the portrait and just like that Hari was also consumed in impulsive hysterical monologue. With jerking legs, he stood up and began to walk around the room at random.  ‘How could it be? Such atrocity, how dreadful of him, I cannot live now. My whole existence questioned, it cannot be’, began to roar Hari and simultaneously he began to pull his hair and covered his face like he was in shame, Hari’s ecstatic movements were more expressive of his rational state. He was shouting around the room like a drunken man who was robbed of his desire to live.  Suddenly, Hari threw a vase into the mirror which was hung in the tainted wall adjacent to the door.  The mirror shattered in undesirable pieces.

With treading steps, Hari who sweltered out of the delirious engagement, stooped to pick up the shattered pieces of the glass but was suddenly taken aback when he saw his grandmother with a faint smile in that particular piece which he had picked up. He dropped the mirror in sheer horror and crawled back towards the wall. He shuddered from his very spine. He was holding on the ledge of the window and thought about jumping out….then suddenly she spoke. ‘Why, my child, what seems to be the problem’, said she in her gracious manner as always. Hari muttered, ‘but ….but….you are…..no…..grandmother, please let this be a dream.

‘Pick me up child, I was sent to make you believe’, the grandmother said.

At this, Hari started to quiver and his lips twisted and fearfully answered, “Of what? Believe in what?”

‘In humanity of course, what did you think’?

Sent by whom, I don’t understand…..why I think I am dreaming and I quite know it’s my mind playing games with me….you are the sleepless phantom’, Hari said.

“It doesn’t matter what I am…..but what purpose I am to deliver”, answered back the grandmother from inside the broken piece of mirror.  There was a noise of silence for a while such that the flapping sound that the eyelashes made when he winked at random and obviously of fear, Hari thought he could hear such a ridiculous sound.  It was only providence which could conjure such a bizarre event.

And now timidly yet resolutely Hari picked up the piece of glass from which his grandmother was reverently talking to him. His hands shook and the sweat began to exude heavily but regaining some faith in his love for the dead old woman he sat down in the bed while his legs didn’t cease to jolt. Hari stuttered, ‘the pur-pose’ and stared at the glass piece for some while as silence grew. The grandmother slowly drew a smile and spoke, ‘your heart is in dark, why do you think the portrait is a depiction of the  human  predicament, such thinking serves no purpose….I think the portrait is merely a masterpiece of art and nothing more…..the art is what it is and nothing more’.  At this Hari raised his eyebrows and bit his lips. He then drew a deep breath and started, ‘ the old master knew well I think, such divine work shouldn’t be allowed for eye sighting  and such dread that manifestation of  our state-the human state should be merely taken for an art- confound you!’.

‘Since I knew the existence of the world famous Mona Lisa I never cared to look into the portrait’ paced Hari and nearly out of breath ‘I now have observed the reality and you of all people want to rob me of this revelation’ he was panting now.  ‘The reality is what you desire child’, replied the grandmother and slowly speaking said, ‘you see it’s like us’, Hari indifferently blurted, ‘Us?’.  ‘Yes, just like us’.  The apparition disappeared.

Hari sat there is the bed all confused. He wanted to believe that ‘such a divine portrait depicted the absolute truth- that we were disillusioned at our whole existence and we live our life like we are immortals and forget that when we were born our death was born with us too and then just like that we desire….all the oddities life can offer and upon deliverance we want more, the Sisyphean struggle. Such desires and lust leave us nowhere but in the hands of suffering, the consequence which we created and which we refute. For what do we refute such heartbreak? For, we are disillusioned. All of us’.  And he thought again, ‘what do I desire? The reality, the illusion or the revelation’.

 

Mr. Floyd’s Kafkaesque Dream

It was a cold and weary December. The half-moon had embodied for Mr. Floyd’s state of mind, delirious and hazy.  One could see the silhouette of the grinning moon through the transparent white curtain reflected by thick glass of a window of the garret he had been renting for six months.  The room was mediocre in size, two tainted windows with conventional ventilators, its ledges covered with black dust which made an impression of the charcoal which had just been poured water upon. The door was ajar.  The crude unpolished old leather sofa lay adjacent to a wooden study table which had been scribbled all over from inks of blue and red while Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” looked like paradoxically and intentionally placed beneath an empty teapot which completed the chaos.  Just opposite to this bedlam was placed a bed which looked rather comfortable while it was definitely small for Mr. Floyd who slept there quietly with his arms crossed beneath his giant pulpy head and against a bolster. It had been a day.

There in his warm and firm paradise he dreamt. At the outset he dreamt of his childhood home in the district of K___ where he was walking with his father who was clumsily dressed and wore an elevated “dhaka topi” which was slightly inclined to the right and with his left hand he had a firm grip of his son while the right one had been amputated and only the sleeve swerved with the gust of a wind.  Floyd dreamt with a pre conceived notion that he had been quarreling with his father and they were not in talking terms and Floyd Sr. had been thrusting and dragging his son who was completely exasperated and was turning red with anger and without success had been trying to escape from the clutch of his father. He didn’t remember what the argument was about but it was lucid in his dream that his father performed like a conceited and malevolent ancient high caste.

Upon reaching home Floyd Sr. with all his might threw his son into the porch where for some time he laid, cursing and unable to see as he now had a burst of tears and it now appeared misty to him. How dare you vilify me, roared the father while picking up a brick and threatening to hit him.  Floyd spooned tight and dropped his head to the ground and closed his soggy eyes. He was trembling and felt a chill through his spines. His father let the brick drop off his hand and strode inside the house with faltering odd steps. Floyd Sr. lived with his son and a pregnant wife who was about to bear him with a baby daughter.  Now Floyd dreamt that he was alone in a boulevard and he was riding past a tavern in his little mare, the dreadful looking tavern produced a foul stench but he wanted to get inside and observe the place and listen to its profoundly Kafkaesque philosophers. A strong desire to attend this loathsome and grimly heaven grasped his heart. In a paroxysm of “id” Floyd rushed inside the tavern. A bright light from the bar side flashed upon his eyes and he began rubbing the blaze from his twinkled vision with his hands. A while later when his clear eyes ascended upon the place it was truly and horribly conceited.

He saw women, naked pregnant women drinking and toasting. He saw them dancing and arguing. The tavern looked plagued with women. One cannot find a difference between the plague and a woman.  Naked women of all sorts. Fat and skinny, young and old, beautiful and spiteful, graceful and vengeful but all pregnant. He looked upon them with spite and vexation. “What place is this?” bellowed the indignant Floyd, but his voice was hardly audible to anybody in this the clamorous festivity.  He hastily scrutinized the place with heavy breathing and now he saw a man with his hands crossed against the bar table while his head leaned upon it.  He walked to the man and called upon him. The man didn’t respond to his call and it seemed that he was leaden in drunkenness.  “Hey mister, hello, hey there errr……. Excuse me…..” wavered Floyd as he now felt incongruously thirsty. In his last attempt to revive the strange man he grabbed his soiled and food stained shirt and pulled him and looked into his face. It was his father! His closed eyes suddenly stared back and his countenance began to glow yellow. “Father…… Father!”  Shouted Floyd but he didn’t speak back. Slowly and gently the father slid his hands from Floyd’s chest and ascended smoothly at his neck and with much vigor and swiftness he thrust his hand into his throat. Floyd tried to shove back the big and greasy hands but he wasn’t powerful enough. He began to get out of breaths…..

Mr. Floyd awoke abruptly. He was covered in sweat and respired heavily. He hands were cold and dizzy while his mouth felt very dry. To wake up from such dreadful dream, he felt bilious. He stayed there in his bed while his anxiety sufficed. He looked absentmindedly across the room. Suddenly he realized something and rummaged through his bed and after a while from underneath the bolster he produced a neatly folded paper and again, like before he had slept, hastily read the last sentence silently. He had been diagnosed for a throat cancer.

“It wasn’t a Kafkaesque dream after all”, he thought while he absentmindedly asserted, “now I know what a pregnant woman suffers through, only that my baby is growing in my neck”.

Random Musings From Mr. Floyd: A Hallowed Soul

Mr. Floyd was indignant of the judgments that people impulsively and abruptly made about human adventures. And it was such an adventure that had befallen upon an intimate friend of his when they were at school. This misadventure accounts Mr. Floyd’s paranoia and his incessantly incredulous musings.

About fourteen winters ago, on a cold evening, a junior student of the K____ house complained to the duty teacher, Mrs. Paudel that his Phone Card was stolen and that he was confident about the place he had earlier kept. It was under the quilt and over the pillow which he was adjacent to his locker, he had confided with her.

The duty teacher, realizing the situation had assumed a grim and stern countenance and told the student that she would find the culprit and would make an example out of the thief. Mrs. Paudel was one of those people with superegos who wouldn’t accept the degeneration of morality. She had always kept an amicable relationship with students but would act tough and was indignant to those who she thought to be causing a disturbance to others in this perpetual life of eternal salvation. She considered human life to be a way of salvation from the sins committed in our past lives. It was her way of reasoning with the bizarre nature of human existence. One can assume that she had a leap of faith and had continued to live her life with moral obligations.

Now that the card thief was to be found, she formed a prefect quartet and commenced her investigation like the mediaeval church ready to pounce upon any inquisitive scientific brain. After supper, when the students were doing their assignments and tasks required of them, in the preparatory room, the prefects began to call upon the students in group of four. Then they were required to show them their lockers at the dormitory and even of the bathroom’s. The four prefects checked the lockers of their juniors like they were the policemen themselves, making a menace of their lockers hurling their clothes, disheveled and in the floor.

There certainly was a commotion in the preparatory room and all eyes were vexed at the complainer who for all the students was the creator of this unnecessary and juvenile complaint.  Someone even shouted, “Why, you are such a crybaby, losing a petty phone card”. The room erupted in laughter and support to the lucidly annoyed voice.

While this all was going on in the room, another student, S_____ was unaware of all the noise and upheaval, for he was deeply distressed by the news of his ill father. He literally wasn’t there all this time and was wondering how his beloved daddy was feeling. This mind in grievance didn’t have the faintest idea of what others were doing and even saying. It was in an agitated state of indifference and sorrow to the outer word.

S____ was incessantly thinking about his father and even more, home. He remembered the colorful flowers that blossomed in the garden, roses, red and white, orchids of all kinds, the small pond where he used to bait for trout with his rusty reddish of the fishing rod and spent hours with his father, fishing. It was vivid. It all was coming to him. Then he reminisced about the old well that had been installed before even he was born, how he used to, with all his might draw the bucket and his father would run to fetch empty containers. Oh! The taste of the water from the well, rusty and bitter. Bitter is sweet for fatalist people. How he loved that taste, like drinking a glass of sacred water. There is nothing sacred than food and wine at home.

Suddenly disturbed by a loud laughter, S_____ comes to his senses and apprehends where he is. The first thing he remembers is his water bottle, which had rolled over to the other side of the room in the morning. He stands up, observes his friends who looked senselessly jolly, doesn’t suspect anything and walks towards the dormitory.

He approached the big cold room which was partitioned by a row of bed and into two different dormitories.  He approached the opposite end of the dorm while Mrs. Paudel and her soldiers were livid. S___ doesn’t care what’s happening and walks straight towards the end of the partitioned room, stoops and picks up his now dusty and greasy green bottle which was only about two paces behind the complainers’ bed, walks out of the room and down the stairs to the filter.

Mrs. Paudel, having seen S___ doing something conspicuous at the other side of this cold yet brightly lit room is dubious. However, she decides to stay as quite as a cat for she may have found the culprit. She wants no stones unturned and continues with her investigation.  This hurling and barging of private innocent property ensues for a while but is put to a stop when the phone card owner paces into the room and exclaims, “By the love of god, I have found it”.  Mrs. Paudel is startled for she truly desired a thief to have existed. But, where did you find it? Well, it was at my bookshelf on the top of my locker. I may have misplaced it there. Mrs. Paudel stops the checkup and sends the four juniors and the prefects away. She places her hand in his shoulder and asks caressingly, are you sure you had kept it in the shelf? Oh no, ma’am I don’t remember if I should have placed the card on the shelf. Then you doubt this whole affair? The junior assumed a grim appearance and raised his hand to his head then added, I am certain I had put it under the quilt but I don’t know what to say anymore.

Mrs. Paudel unable to accept that the item had been misplaced called upon S___ to enquire about his little adventure in the room.  On the onset he was quite startled but he swiftly grew in composure and flatly denied the idea that he had installed the card later. Mrs. Paudel was adamant that he had something to do with the stolen card, “you want me to believe that you had no idea that the card was stolen despite all this clamorous excitement amongst the boys”, Mrs. Paudel spread her wings like a vulture ready to pounce upon a dead meat.  But , but he muttered while his countenance grew red and the eyes became doleful assuming a state when one has been robbed of something treasured and he now felt his heart pounding feebly and his hairs were already erect. He had been robbed. Mugged of his honor, the Brahmin honor which lies not only in showing devotion to god but the idea of moral indignation and such capacity to which their superegos fall into the lowest ebb of morality. How could he who was born under such Brahmin guardianship be reduced to such a crime?  How could I be accused of such misdemeanor? He looked at Mrs. Paudel who posed as some detective in the verge of solving a crime, proud and pompous.

A week later S___ walked out of the school gate. Mr. Floyd had helped him pack his bag and had embraced him with eyes full with tears prior to being escorted out of the school by the headmaster and Mrs. Paudel, the new assistant house master. He was suspended for two weeks from school. His father was also dead.

A dead soul needs its first born son to transcend into the high heavens.  And hallowed was the soul.