Monday, March 02, 2015

THE BEING AND THE BECOMING-III

Though 'I' left me, I was quite worried or I was just curious, or I don't now remember why-but I must have followed on 'I's tracks.

The stars twinkled on the dark velvety sky. At the foot of a large banyan tree was a figure sprawled out-limbs here and there, mouth half-open and awry, eyes closed, snoring. Three labels in phosphorescent writing lay pinned to his sweat-sodden shirt: Krishna, Mohan, Manohar.

The usual kink of practicing more signatures, I supposed. I also laughed at 'I' casting away one name and then finding the need for three, that too, written and firmly secured to the chest.

I wanted to know what the phosphorescent material was, and looked. I found myself staring into the eyes of a cat staring back at me and grinning.

I also found myself between two large policemen, each shouting something or the other into my ears. I could hear snatches of their talk: This fool is walking in the middle of the road-he is a lunatic, that's what-what is your name-what do you do-come on, look where you are going-no use, lock him up, he's mad-take to asylum-no, don't hit him-let us dump him in the hospital-no, first lock him up at the police station-must have our lunch first. The cat was in front, all the time, walking or floating backwards and making faces at us.

A grilled door banged shut.

The cat gave a big grin, and winked wickedly as it floated into the room through the bars of the grill. We shook hands like seasoned conspirators. Then he sat balanced on his tail, much like a bored cricket umpire on his shooting-stick, took out a pipe, stuck it into his mouth, and for a while amused himself blowing smoke rings of various colours and shapes.

Someone brought in a piece of bread and milk. The cat put away his pipe and wolfed the lot, and he wiped his whiskers with a smirk. At the door, the policeman was shouting to someone, "He doesn't know his name, but he knows how to eat and drink alright! Must have been starving for days!"

The cat gave a knowing wink. I was getting tired of it all, and here was this dratted cat that would not let me think. It seemed to be enjoying itself, for not only it began blowing smoke rings, but it also began chasing them, across, along and up and down the room.

I screamed, "Stop it, you idiot! You will get thrown out or get locked up."

Then, it promptly stood on its head and waved its tail.

I roared with laughter.

"Quite mad," shouted the policeman.

The cat got up, and planting himself in front of me with his hands clasped behind his back, and feet apart, began to speak.

"I will speak in whispers," he shouted loud enough for a public meeting, "for walls have ears. Listen, you, poor sap, you are in plenty of trouble, and I am stuck with you, for I have been sent to look after you. You, nit-wit, you talk; very well, be it so, but one thing you don't, and that is you don't know! From now on, for you, it is no talk, no think, and almost no do: Only see, hear, wait; may be a little remember and a little feel. If you stare into my eyes, may be, you will see what you will see. From now on it is me that will do the talking and many other things besides.

"One thing more you may do still without bothering me; you may write whenever or wherever you get a chance, for I had not enough time or taste for English spellings.

"You have gone all to pieces, you blundering and floundering fool. Just shut up and learn to let things happen, and you may yet be allowed to remain on the register."

With this, he tweaked my ear, pulled my nose, thumped me on my back, and continued. "One thing more you may do, and that is laugh aloud. Remember, that sometimes I will be inside you and sometimes outside; just watch the fun when I am inside. Come on, smile, and leave it to me, leave it to Thimmy."

He grinned, winked, blew smoke rings through his pipe as he floated out through the grill shouting, "Don't worry, Thimmy will be around."

Blast the cat, I wanted to shout, and found I could not talk: Darn it wanted to think about him, and I found that I could not think.

I laughed aloud. This I could do.


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