Saturday, January 17, 2015

PART 2 - THE DREAM OF A DISTURBED MAN – with due apologies to the makers of the film 'PK' and to Dostoevsky and his ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’

PART 2 - THE DREAM OF A DISTURBED MAN – with due apologies to Dostoevsky and his ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’
I stared at DY for some time, “You mean you do not have the means of returning back to your planet?” I asked in exasperation, now convinced that I was stuck up with him and wondering how I could shake him off and get away as quickly as possible from the place.
It was as if he had read my mind, he said “Oh don’t worry, I am not that dumb. You see when PK brought the idea of clothing ourselves he had not anticipated that we could, apart from covering our nakedness, hide many other things as well.” So saying he dug into the pockets of his trousers and took out what resembled a mobile phone and said “I hid this when I was put on that vehicle to transport me here.”
“So how is it going to help you” I asked.
He handed it to me so that I could have a closer look. It was black in color and as smooth as a pebble and of a size that would fit smugly in the palm of your hand. Except for a small round display screen which could accommodate just a finger, the rest of the object was opaque.
He said “It is called a Communicator in our planet. One has to just place his finger and think of the person you want to communicate with and you are connected.”
“But how do you talk to him? I cannot see anything that resembles a microphone or a speaker. Something like this” I said pulling out my mobile phone and showed it to him. He took it in his hands, examined it and returned it to me with a condescending smile.
“You guys are way behind by a thousand years. I told you that in our planet we do not have a language. It was only PK who brought it back with him from your planet and in the process set us back by a thousand years. You see I do not need to speak to communicate, I just need to place my finger on this small display screen and think of the person I want to communicate with and I will be connected. He would be able to read my thoughts and vice versa. You must be aware that thought travels faster than the speed of light, very many times in fact.”
“So how is this going to help you get back? You said you have been banished” I asked him, over emphasizing on ‘how’ in my eagerness to be assured that I would not be stuck up with him permanently.
He however caught on and replied “Oh don’t worry I will be going back as soon as I achieve my objective. You see, in a sense I allowed myself to be banished so that I may come over here and study how you earthlings shift allegiances – from one God to another. I am part of a rebel group, in fact their leader, who are dissatisfied with the rise of PK and the resultant confusion he has brought into the lives of the people our planet. You know this communicator is highly personalized and can respond only to the finger prints of the owner. It’s useless in another’s hand. I shall be transmitting whatever I gather to my group members over there.”
As I sat there wondering what his next move would be, he asked “Where can I get some carrots, please? I am feeling hungry.”
“Why carrots, you can have something else if you are hungry.
“You don’t understand, ever since PK brought back those sacks of carrots with him, it has become the staple food on our planet. You can find carrot farms all over the place and people munching carrots everywhere. It has become an addiction. Now the only things that have been growing are carrots and people’s ears. As it is, we as a race have long pointed ears, but now there is the danger of us becoming rabbits.”
“Look here, if you are really that hungry I can get you something to eat from a roadside food stall on the way for that is the only one which will be open at this hour” I said, making it obvious that I did not intend taking him home and feeding him.
But then what I feared happened, he asked me “Can I stay with you for the night, I am new here and you cannot expect me to sleep on the beach, please?”
Now I knew I was truly done for. Being of a tender disposition I could not bring myself to refuse. Luckily my wife was away visiting our daughter and so I with great reluctance said “Ok, but just for this night only.”
“Don’t worry, I will be able to find my bearings tomorrow and will leave.”
It was nearly eleven at night when we reached my place. On the way I had bought him a plate of bread and omlette for that was the only thing available, which he ate with relish. He walked alongside till we reached my house; all the while silent and trudging along in that stiff gait like PK, which I presumed to be a particular trait of all the inhabitants of their planet. Luckily there were not many people around and the few we came across did look back, at I presume what they thought was an odd couple.
As soon as we reached and I had opened the door, I could hear the ringing of the landline phone. It was my wife and from her voice I could guess that she was pretty upset. She literally shouted on the phone “Where the hell have you been and why have you switched of your mobile? I have been trying to get through to you for the last one hour. You got us all worried over here, in fact we were planning to ring up our neighbor and check out what’s happened.”
I realized that when I had handed over my mobile to DY, he had inadvertently switched it off. It took me some time for me to calm my wife and then related to her the happenings of the night.
“What, you brought a nude man back home?” she roared.
“No, no, he came fully dressed, not like PK. You see PK had already taught them to dress up properly. Don’t worry it’s just a matter of one night. He will be gone tomorrow.” I said trying to calm her.
“Well he better be gone. I am returning home tomorrow and I don’t want him over there when I come back. My God! An alien in my house, that’s the last straw.” She banged the phone down.
I turned back and saw DY looking at me with an impish smile “Women” he said “they are the same everywhere”


Monday, January 12, 2015

THE DREAM OF A DISTURBED MAN – with due apologies to Dostoevsky and his ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’

THE DREAM OF A DISTURBED MAN – with due apologies to Dostoevsky and his ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’
With due apologies to the makers of the movie ‘PK’ and to one of the great short stories of Dostoevsky – ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’
Last night I went for a walk along the seashore. It was late and there were very few people around, in fact you could say it was desolate. Why I chose such an hour for a walk is beyond my comprehension, it was just an impulsive action. But anyway I do concede that it was perhaps my disturbed state of mind which was responsible. Why disturbed, you may ask. Well ever since I saw that movie ‘PK’ three days ago I have had recurring dreams of flying away to a distant planet and not knowing how to return back home and to top it all I was all naked (in the dream of course, in case you start to let your imagination run wild). I would suddenly wake up and find that I was safe and sound in my own bed, with my clothes on. I did switch on the light and examined myself in front of the mirror to ensure that my ears were of the normal shape and my eyes were my very own dark brown eyes.
I sat on a bench under one of those neon lights, looking across at the vast sheet of water rising and falling and the silver streaks of reflection of the moon above dancing to their rhythm, when I saw a bright object travelling at great speed across the sky in the distance. For a moment I thought that it was a plane, but it was too big and too fast to be one. I decided that it could be a meteorite, but then it seemed to halt in its path and slowly started its descent. It landed a hundred meters away from me on the sand. The object was a huge ball about fifty meters in diameter. As I watched partly in fright and partly in wonder, a door opened near the underbelly of the object and a figure slowly descended from a ladder. As soon as the figure touched the sand the ladder was pulled up and the door closed. the object then rose up slowly, the same way it had landed and the next instant there was only this flash of light and the only sound that emanated was ‘whoosh’ and it had vanished.
As I stared at the figure, it moved towards where I was sitting. Initially when it was in the shadows, I could make out only the dark outline of something which resembled a human being but with a predominantly large and pointed ears very much ‘Spocklike’ (in case you wonder – Spock of Star Wars fame). It was only when it came and stood in front of me under the light did I immediately recognize it. “My Gosh!” I said to myself, “that’s PK”. I continued to stare at him, dumbfounded. I was confused for this guy was fully clothed, in fact as colorfully dressed as PK was when he decided to return. “Thank God, for that” I said to myself “Can’t imagine finding oneself on the seashore late at night with a naked man. Ugh!”
“Hello” he said “is this China?”
“No, this is Chennai” I replied “May I ask, who you are?”
“S—t, these guys back in control room again got their spellings and co-ordinates mixed up. Well you asked my name? You can call me Dostfromsky. You know very well, that is if you had met PK, back in our planet we do not have names.”
“What sort of name is that and how did you suddenly decide on it?” I asked.
“Well when PK came back he brought a few things he had picked up from you guys here – language, dress and how to lie. So you see I know your languages as well. Dost means friend, isn’t it, in Hindi? The rest is English I guess. So you get it –‘Friend from the Sky’. Well what’s your name?”
“Can I just call you DY that would be easier? You may call me GS that would be better.”
“What’s your full name, I guess it would have a meaning.”
“I don’t know, but it would be a long story so forget it” I replied.
“Don’t worry, just let me hold your hand that would be enough.” So saying, he grabbed my hand as in a handshake and for a minute I felt a current passing through my whole body.
“I got it” he said “but you also speak a strange language.”
For a moment I was uneasy wondering what dark secrets he had unearthed.
“It’s not a strange language. It is Tamil one of the many national languages of this vast country and perhaps the oldest. This is the language of Chennai, so you better not call it strange. Your PK never bothered to come down south here (except perhaps through the movie screens). If you ask me your PK returned to your planet with insufficient knowledge. The whole time he spent here searching for his remote control to return back home he went around exposing Babas prancing around with babes, while he ultimately left covering himself. If you don’t call that hypocrisy, then what is? There is more to this planet than all the ‘B’s.”
DY was silent for some time and then he started speaking “In a sense I empathize with you. Why do you think I have come down here? The return of PK has unleashed chaos on our planet. He came back fully clothed hiding his nakedness, he said. You know till he came back we never felt that we have to be ashamed of our bodies. He taught us to hide behind clothes and our emotions behind lies. He taught us that it is necessary to have a language to communicate. This has only led to misinterpretations and misunderstandings among the populace who now have started fighting among themselves for petty things. When he first returned he said how on this planet of yours people created Gods whom they worshipped not understanding that it was the other way around. He talked about the gullibility, stupidity and the exploitation that is rampant on your planet and that you worshipped idols as Gods and called it religion.”
“So what happened afterwards in your planet?”
“Well in course of time the people looked up to PK as a messiah. You can find his pictures and idols at various places and in short PK is now God.”
“Then how come you landed up here?” I asked.
“See, I was one of the doubters and so I have been banished and sent away from there and the worst place PK thought would be here. I have been sent here without a remote control so that I cannot return.”