Wednesday, May 06, 2015

THE BEING AND THE BECOMING-VI

"He is in stupor, nurse, not dead," a voice said. "See, the pupils react briskly."

"He has not touched food for three days now -drinks a little water, if forced," said the nurse. "Not uttered one word either."

"Better tube him, nurse. Otherwise, he will be dead before the conference, and the old goat will be sore if there is no case for discussion. We may give him a shock or two if necessary." said the doctor.

Thimmy was sitting in my bed. After a while, the nurse came in with a tray with things on it. She brought out a long tube and began putting it through Thimmy's nose. He gave a horrible wink at me and began swallowing the tube. She attached a funnel to the end of the tube, and a big jug of some liquid was sent down Thimmy's throat. Then the nurse pulled out the tube from Thimmy's stomach, and stared.

Poor Thimmy! I do not see why they have to do this to Thimmy, when he could drink buckets of stuff left to himself. It must have hurt him quite a bit. I felt as if my throat hurt just looking at what they were doing to Thimmy, and he was doing all this for me. I patted Thimmy. He grinned from ear to ear and said that it didn't hurt a bit and that he had long practice having tubes thrust into him. "But all the same, it is good for you to feel other's pain," he said.

I felt strangely light and happy. I was feeling friendly.

In this way, Thimmy was tubed and fed for another few days, and Thimmy took it all very bravely. I still could not see the reason for all this. Perhaps, something to do with magic. 

Thimmy kept me laughing with his antics -and the more friendly I felt and the more loving, the more I found my laughter less like that of a hyena. Actually, for the first time I found that I was not laughing with somebodyelse's mouth.
Then, one day, they took me to the conference. I remember they said I was an interesting case.

It was a small hall. The big doctor was in the chair. He pointed me to the audience and said, "Now, here we have a typical case of what we have been hearing about. This young man has not talked, nor eaten by himself, had to be tube-fed, and obeys like an automaton, or lies down stiff and still as a corpse. 
Now and then he has fits of laughter without any cause. Now, any of you care to examine him or ask him questions, you may come forward."

Suddenly I was feeling tickly all over. I was sitting with my hands in my lap and I felt a furry face too and whiskers. I ran my hand over my head and felt the ears sticking out.What I saw was the same people in the hall- but they were shadowy outlines, and clearly in and around the shadows I could discern all sorts of creatures, and I could hear their growls and whimpers, and heard snatches of thoughts.

Now, a young man was standing in front of me -of course, he was only an outline, but I could clearly see that he had a little piggy snout, and a puppy dog was playing inside his belly. He asked me in gentle tones -and his doggy face assumed a foxy look, "Mister, we won't hurt you. We just want to ask a few questions. If you can't speak, you may make sure that you understand me. First, what is your name?"

"My name is Thimmy, sir," I said, quite surprised at the loudness of my voice.
There was pandemonium in the hall -loud guffaws of laughter, twitters, and chatters. Many were monkeys frantically waving their tails.

"Silence, silence, everybody!" ordered the big doctor in the chair, "nothing to laugh at. You see he has recovered his voice bu the shock of seeing so many of us at one time. Now go on with your questions, doctor". The big man was a benign owl but with a rapacious eye and beak, and inside him screeched an insulted peacock. 

After order was restored, the piggy fox was at me again. "Thank you, Mister Thimmy, thank you. it is nice of you to talk to us. Now, what is your age, address, and occupation? Just give it a try if you can remember".

"I must first thank you, oh, junior magician, for having restored my speech and even permitted me to speak. This is the first time a magician ever asked me for my name. Ah, my age! I can remember people and not time. You magicians can work it out from the time Dick was Lord Mayor of London. My knowledge of English has long history behind it", I said.

Further laughter, winks, back-slappings, and more shapes began crowding the room.

"And who is Dick?" asked the piggy fox which was now becoming more of a foxy- pig.

"Ah," I said, "I see that you young magicians have no liberal education, but you can start it. Never too late! Now, what was your last question? And don't put out your claws and snarl!" This last as I saw that the foxy-pig was become a hideous wolf with teeth bared and pawing the ground with its hind legs.

"What is your address," he snapped, "I think you are playing the fool or malingering. Come off it. Let us have your address".     

"Address? Why, Thimmy, of course. I always reside in Thimmy, and Thimmy may reside anywhere. All communications addressed to me will reach me in Thimmy. But if you communicate with Thimmy, why, of course, it may still reach me, but seeing how many Thimmys there are-you see the difficulty!" I said.

"We are wasting time, sir," said the piggy-fox-wolf to the owl. "How do we know that he is not just fooling us, or running away from a crime pretending to be mad."

"Patience, doctor, and there is still half-hour at our disposal. Fooling or malingering, we must know the motive, the cause, the psycho-pathology, the psycho-dynamics and so on.Talk to him a little more anyway," said the owl, looking a little less than an owl, somehow. The peacock was digging up something, and a little boy inside was pulling a doll to pieces looking for something. The child was laughing-and as it laughed the owl became more human. The old devil wants to have a good laugh-good for him!

"Now, what do you mean communications can reach you and not necessarily Thimmy. No sense in that, if address is correct," said the wolf-foxy-pig, with tongue dripping and licking its chops. "No sense in saying that you are in Thimmy and Thimmy being something else."

"If you were not thinking of the big, hot chicken lunch that will become small, cold pickings by the time this show is over, and you reach the mess, you would understand". Actually I saw inside him, a sizzling plate of chicken biryani, and a number of small wolves were tearing into it, "May I explain myself, oh, magician; if you communicate with me, and you really desire and need to communicate with me, and I need to have your communication, it will reach me. I being in Thimmy, it will reach me, wherever I am, especially wherever this Thimmy is, for that is my usual place. That is my correct address: Me in Thimmy. But if I give you Thimmy's address, and you write to Thimmy, it is just hopeless. Today here, tomorrow somewhere else, that's Thimmy; you wouldn't  want him nailed to one place, do you, just so might write a letter to him? By the way, what is your address, magician?"

"Don't be silly; you are being impertinent; and don't call me magician. You jolly well know that I'm a doctor," growled the total wolf
.
"Just a minute, doctor," said the big doctor-the owl was gone, the peacock stopped digging, and the child was now pulling the nose of the doll and chuckling merrily. "Give him some address, doctor; after all you have asked him his".

"I won't, sir, " retorted the young wolf, suddenly changing into a mule, with tigers and panthers growling within, and walked off muttering. "I won't be insulted, I won't stand for this." The mule stamped out, with its tail tucked in, as it remembered the senior magician's examination ahead of him, and the owl being the chief examiner.

The big man looked at the retreating mule. The owl was back again, its beak snapping; inside him was the child tearing away at some papers, spitting on some, pouring ink on others, and making zeros and crosses all over them. The peacock was screaming with rage. Soon, the owl gave a sly, smiling, foxy twist to his eye and beak, and asked if someone else would talk to Thimmy since the busy, young doctor was in such a hurry-probably he had to go to the toilet. Hilarious laughter greeted the remarks.

Then a young lady waddled forwards; she was a kangaroo with a little one in its pouch.

"Mister Thimmy," she brayed behind a cooing voice, "Mister Thimmy, my address is Mala, Room 4, Brick House, Borstal Road, Nagpur. You see, that is the sort of thing we mean by an address. You understand?"

"Yes, and you will have a boy-baby." General uproar and shouts of 'Silence!' from the chair. "That is the correct address- but what use? If I write to you to this address, how will it definitely reach you. There is a postal strike, or the postman wants to keep your letters. I remember, I was once kept by a postman who used to store letters. Or, may be you are out of station, so many things like that; unless you tell me you chain yourself to the door-post with your address nailed to it. So anything communicated to you may not reach you or may reach someone else; or you may even tear up a letter without reading it. But if I communicate with you, mind, it is not 'write to you', and I communicate with you and not your address, there is no trouble at all; and the communication will come to you if you really need it. Of course, in your case I may find it difficult since I would not know if I should communicate with the Kangaroo or the Cobra," I explained, as I saw a huge cobra leaping out of the Kangaroo and swaying its hood menacingly over my face.

Amidst laughter she ran back to her seat, coiled herself, swayed the hood and spat venom all around.

The big man cleared his throat and spoke. The owl was there, preening its feathers. Large spectacles gleamed on its beak.  The peacock was dancing with its tail fanned out. The child was gone. The owl looked at the clock. " Well, it is quite past twelve. So, let me ask a few questions myself and sum up. Now, Mister Thimmy, what do you mean by saying that you are inside Thimmy. You mean you can be outside of Thimmy?"

"Oh, Chief of magicians, may I explain. Yes, luckily for me I can be outside of Thimmy. You and thousands of magicians for over a century or more, and all over the place, have been tearing up Thimmy to pieces and peering inside, for what I still do not know. Silly, you should ask me the question. Lucky for me that I can be outside of Thimmy. When you tear up one Thimmy, another Thimmy materialises around me-Me, I, the Arch-Thimmy! There you are-I am inside Thimmy. And sometimes without Thimmy, or within and without many Thimmys. Thimmy is my house and address for magicians-but I am I, the Arch-Thimmy. So, great magician, take it or leave it-if you know me you can communicate with me. Me!" I waved my tail. "Sorry, no more time. You have to hurry and tuck your tail in. Shall I tell you why?" I added.

"No, no, thank you. That is all for the present," he closed the files and sat back. I saw teeth in the owl's beak. The forehead rose up like a feathered egg, the ears stuck out. Inside him was the peacock waltzing, a child was pulling butterfly wings and suddenly stopped as he looked tremblingly at a large witch brandishing a broom pointing to a bowl of porridge that was getting cold.

"Well," said the owl, " this is or was a case of catatonic schizophrenia. All this silly and giggly pseudo-philosophic jargon he uses may make us think of hebephrenia with a touch of hysteria. The legal point is still there. We don't know what he does and who he is. By the way, Mister Thimmy, what do you do for a living? And who are you, really?" This as he got up ready to go.

"Cat!" I said. "Historic and tonic- from the rescue and repair department!"

Amidst a cacophony of laughter, jeers and growls and hisses and grunts and grins, a number of owls, wolves, toads, jackals, dogs, snakes, mules and horses and combinations thereof streamed out of the hall.

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