Tuesday, March 03, 2015

THE BEING AND THE BECOMING-IV

There was no grilled door. I saw no policemen. I was on a bed and there was a bedside table. There were four other beds, too. Standing by my bed was a young fellow asking me questions.
"What is your name?"
I looked at him.

He kept on asking and repeating questions, and I kept on looking at him. He also kept on writing things on a paper clipped to a hard board.

Suddenly I burst out laughing: Thimmy was sitting astride the young man's neck and sticking his tongue out at me. He was also patting the young fellow's cheeks with his tail. I shook in uncontrolled merriment as the chap went on writing, occasionally scratching his neck and cheeks, swearing, "damn something or the other."

There was a woman dressed in starched white by his side. "What has he got, doctor; what shall we give him?"

"Difficult case" he said. " peculiar, very!" He shrugged his shoulders.

Meantime, another white coated man, elderly and wearing spectacles walked in. "What have you got here, doctor,"he asked as he walked in.

"Difficult to say, sir," replied the young man, "Could be hysteria. Only he lies down stiff as a corpse and looks blank staring into nothing. Don't think he touched food the whole day. Also, he does not talk, just stares at you. This morning, just before you came in, he was having fits of laughter. Ward staff say he is quite harmless, sir. The difficulty is that he has no name or address. The police dumped him here and walked off."

Thimmy was still there though sitting very still and keenly listening.

The older man looked at me-I looked at him. He asked me to shut my eyes, open my mouth, show my tongue, lift my hands and so on, all of which I did. Then he wanted to know if I was unhappy, married, occupied and I kept looking at him.

At last he shook his head from side to side and said, 
"Very interesting, very-passive obedience; only not much stiffness. Hmm. Hysteria? Not likely-what does he gain? You see, doctor, no motive we can see. Call it schizophrenia, provisionally."

At this word Thimmy, who was sitting attentively on the young man's shoulders, jumped on to the near bald head of the big doctor, and stood balanced on one leg, with the other limbs and tail sticking out stiffly in different directions. He stuck his tongue out and rolled his eyes up. I was ready to laugh but restrained myself. However, a sly wink from Thimmy sent me rollicking into laughter.

They stood watching me. The older man was vigorously rubbing and patting his head. "Too many flies, nurse," he remarked.

"What shall we do,sir." asked the woman.

"Kill them, of course." replied the big man.

"I was asking about the patient, sir; what do we give him- any instructions, sir, she inquired.

"Ah, observe, nurse, observe. If he refuses food, tablet him with Feliton; if it fails, tube him; if that doesn't work, we may shock him out of it. This causeless laughter certainly weighs somewhat; he is suffering from catatonic schizophrenia," said the big doctor.

This word galvanised Thimmy into life: he began a vigorous jig alternatively on the heads of all the three of them. Thimmy was also proudly thumping his chest: Something seems to have personally pleased him.

I went into further fits of causeless laughter.

Thimmy went out with them. Sometime later I saw him seated on my bedside table, wiggling his toes, and looking very smug. "Well," he said, "just think of it; no, don't think; just listen: Aren't they very clever, catching on to me-cat-ching. All the same unfair, I should say. I am here to save you, and these fellows say I am the cause. Ha, ha, what do you think; oh no, don't think."

I lay helpless listening to Thimmy: I wanted to ask him what drivel he was talking- but, no think, no talk.

Thimmy at once replied,"Drivel, what drivel!-didn't you hear them say you are suffering because of me-cat-something. Good, however, for they also said I was your tonic! Well, byebye, I will be around again. Meanwhile leave it to Thimmy, the tonic cat!"

Thimmy vanished.



 





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