This is a little story that I wrote long time back, when I was in Pune. This is a comic narrative of the very real woes that some of my friends suffered. I have simply twisted and turned the plot a little, to bring in a little laugh. I hope my readers enjoy this short tale!
Life was beautiful before he came. The moment our eyes lingered on that pathetic soul, we knew that we had committed some heinous crime in our last birth, to be repaid in this way.
Like a cautious criminal, not leaving any traces of his crime, I too am cautious and am deliberately tampering with the details of the victim. Hence, am naming him as Mr.XYZ or to justify my frustration let it be, the Parasite.
I still cannot forgive the friend, who unknowingly made the mistake of showing him our place, but even he can’t be blamed. As a human being, he had to defend himself from every possible source that causes pain. And this parasite causes indescribable pain and acute paralysis of brain. It feeds on your food, your resources, your life and practically your blood. To top it off, it does that in an oversized shape of a human, looking nothing less than a wild pig.
It was a fine day in August, when three of us were chilling out, only to realize a little late that it had been the last day of our happy lives. He came like a hurricane and whizzed past our lives and wrecked havoc, just like he did to our house. I won’t say that our house looked like a picture out of some interior decoration magazine, but it looked like us, a little unkempt, a little disfigured. Despite all that, it reflected our image in every nook and craning. It boasted of either our clothes, piled up on the sofa in the living room, empty beer bottles in the dustbin or a dinner cum junk table, which always had more amounts of tools and toiletries than food. All this changed with his arrival. Our house looked quite alien with his unwanted things and presence.
Within a few days of his uninvited arrival, we frantically thought of many ways to get rid of him. Many signs were used to clear the fact that we, the three musketeers were not able to tolerate or rather will be tolerating him. But, nothing seemed to work on that thick skinned wild boar, which had become immune to insulting remarks. On the contrary, the more we said, the stronger he emerged in his ill will.
We had no other choice, but to live with the curse. Affording an apartment single handedly in an upcoming metro was not a good idea unless desperate. But, let’s face it that is exactly how boys, who have not got into the legal form of slavery or marriage, live. However, in our situation, that option also looked bright, cheerful and optimistic. We detested another dear friend who was no longer living with us, was enjoying his marital status and using it well to mock at our futile attempts. Nonetheless, apart from office, his house had often served as a refuge to give shelter to our blood and energy drained bodies.
Come September and one good news cheered us for a fraction of second. One of our friends left for his onsite project, away from the chaos to finally live again. That left only two of us, who had nothing, but to suffer the paralytic attacks silently and helplessly. I was jealous and cried on my luck, which was as hopeless as that parasite.
To ignore and avoid his participation, we started making out plans involving just the two of us, but he managed to bear the fruits of our plans directly or indirectly. If we cooked something, he made sure he ate a major portion of that, if we went for shopping, he had his own list ready and if we planned for an outing, he got stuck like a chewing gum. Whatever we did, wherever we went, he was omnipresent. We felt physically and mentally restricted in doing our own thing.
Our bodies had started showing signs of his torture. My friend’s blood pressure soared as he had started boiling his blood so often over thoughts of killing him. I always felt tired and too lazy to even get on with my studies because of the routine household work after office. What troubled us was while we worked like jack asses, he enjoyed and derived pleasures by riding on our backs and hitting us with that invisible whip, whose pain affected our brains adversely.
We almost had given up when the brilliant plan struck. Though distant, it shone like a silver lining in a dark sky.
“Why didn’t we think of it earlier?” my friend asked admiringly. The thought of becoming free again brought tears into his eyes.
Before he allowed his imagination to run, he jerked and sat upright.
“But, we need to do this very carefully” he added.
“I know and that’s what we have to plan. We will start looking for a suitable execution method from tomorrow”, I said with some conviction.
The endless suffering had taken a toll on our bodies and brain, leaving us with no other choice, but executing the plan, which seemed inevitable and deserving to him. Instead of controlling and curbing the pain, it was better to eradicate the disease, which meant killing the parasite. And that is exactly what our plan was.
But murder has its own problems. How does one kill without being discovered? Since we did not have a murderer’s mind, we decided to fall back on the crime and detective stories we had read, for inspiration.
For the next few months, we devoured every book on detective and crime. From ranging to books by Alfred Hitchcock, James Hadley Chase, Feluda and Sherlock Holmes to the sub standard crime and investigative television serials, we covered everything to get novel ideas. We tried to collect the many ingenious methods of murder our favorite authors had written about. Until we realized with a jolt that, in the end, the murderer was always caught! This meant that no matter how good the methods were, they were never foolproof!
Reluctantly, we decided to browse our own mental faculties for inspiration. Having browsed for days about the crimes we had read about, we concluded that we did not have that violent streak in us. We shuddered at the possibility of stabbing or strangling him or do any of those bad things. They were not our forte. Besides, it would be too difficult a crime to pass off as an accident or natural death and of course, we didn’t want him to suffer. It was our duty to be kind, we told ourselves.
We finally decided on something that would be instant and not cause too much pain, like an electric shock.
My friend’s eyes twinkled as he suggested the brilliant method. “Yes, that would be perfect. Many people die out of electric shocks and this one will also be like any other accident!”
Both of us jumped together on the ingenuity of the plan.
I also convinced myself that it was a quick and painless method. No wonder it was a favorable choice by even big nations like US, who took it as their way of executing criminals and ours was a criminal by every respect. But the question which disturbed me the most was the device that can be used to impart electrocution.
“We need to figure out the exact device and the method, so that it looks like an accident and not some murder attempt, which means we need to study a few things about electric wiring and the proper electronic gadgets for the task.” I said.
Like a good student who had done his homework my friend smiled and said, “Oh don’t worry. I’ve googled some important stuff regarding wiring and all. Wait till you see it”.
He brought over his laptop and I was amazed at the dedication and hard work of my friend, who I wish could have shown the same a little earlier. Maybe his recent method of “agile methodology” for his projects in office, had taught him to be agile on time and come up with a spectacular plan.
We went through the plan again and again before jumping onto conclusions. The plan seemed effective and brilliant, of course. We admired our genius brains for the perfect scheming. We assigned tasks amongst ourselves and pledged to end injustice.
Never in my life had I been this attentive to Physics, but again that was because I never thought of using it in my favor. As I read more, I smiled at the prospect of making our honorable teachers proud, who would have felt so had they seen us studying so hard.
Many a times I had read about it, but never had the information sounded so interesting. I found that the voltage necessary for electrocution depends on the current through the body and the duration of the current. Ohm’s law states that the current drawn depends on the resistance of the body and the resistance of human skin varies from person to person and fluctuates between different times of day. In general, dry skin is a poor conductor that may have a resistance of around 100,000 Ω, while broken or wet skin may have a resistance of around 1,000 Ω. This information clearly required our victim to be wet, which cut out many options in electronic gadgets category, leaving a few.
Another natural and obvious choice for the gadget had to be something, which the victim used on a regular basis, so that the odd ones could be wiped out. After close observation, that left with only two possible choices-washing machine and geyser. However, the use of former was again rare for the parasitic creature as he hardly did any washing and cleaning except himself. That left us with only one suitable yet an effective option-the hot water geyser.
With my part of homework done on selecting the device, it was the turn to use my friend’s researched information regarding the wiring. Like some research scholars, we lapped up as much information as possible. We studied about every part of the geyser and its functioning in detail. Finally we learnt the method and decided to execute the plan.
Just a night before the D-day, when the victim had gone off to sleep, I added a few finishing touches to the water geyser, so that it worked well. I made it sure that no one used it except our target.
The night had seemed invariably long and restless. Both of us couldn’t sleep as the thoughts of one of us using the device accidentally, intimidated us. Throughout the night, we alternately kept visiting the bathroom, ensuring that none of us used the crafted masterpiece. Though nervous, the idea of getting freed from the clutches of slavery and torture excited us, making us insomniacs for the night.
As the day cracked twilight, both of us woke up and checked the geyser, to find the work intact. Had it been some other day, we wouldn’t have bothered, but it’s decent to ask a man of his last wish.
“Geyser on karde yaar!” a sleepy groggy eyed buffoon had answered.
Like a good hangman, I did what was told. Eager to pull the noose around the neck, I obediently switched on the geyser and waited for that long last scream, signaling our road to freedom.
My friend was already doing puja and praying for getting everything right, when the huge pile of moving flesh made its way into the washroom. A click brought a smile on both of our faces and we waited with bated breath.
Ten, Fifteen, Twenty minutes gone and still no sound, forget about a scream. After about half an hour, the sound of flush was heard. Our heart was pounding to the extent of being audible and the sound of flush had almost stopped it. Calming down, we heard attentively for the next sound. Next we heard the sound of tap and gushing water into the sink, but still no sound of scream.
“Did you install it properly?” my friend asked with arched eyebrows, questioning the authenticity of my work.
“Of course I did!”
“Then why isn’t he screaming?”
“Maybe he isn’t touching it as yet.”
“But usually he does it first and that doesn’t take this long!”
“How am I supposed to know why he is taking time?” I said sounding annoyed at my friend’s accusatory tone.
Another click and we jumped.
The victim casually walked into the room and locked it from inside. In that fraction of second, I dashed into the washroom to check on the set up and found it intact. Without looking suspicious, I went and whispered about it to my friend and sat on the sofa. In a state of half panic and half restlessness, we sat doing nothing, but simply twisting and turning our fingers.
Another fifteen minutes and the victim emerged fully clothed. We looked as if someone had stripped us off our clothes.
“You didn’t take a bath?” my friend asked. He had more anxiety than surprise in his tone. Controlling his tone immediately, he further added, “Kya hua? Are you all right?”
“No, today I’ve to leave early. I’ve to catch a flight and I’m already late”.
We watched him in disbelief as he slung his laptop bag and wheeled his big suitcase out of the bed room.
He cleared his throat and said, “I’m leaving to Nagpur for about a week or maybe more. I’ll let you guys know when I come”.
As he rummaged to find something edible in the kitchen shelves, we slumped back on the sofa. My friend looked disappointed to the limit of being sick.
As the sound of the lift became distant, my friend turned around at me and asked, “Now what, Mr. Smart pants?”
I opened my mouth to say something, but no sound came. Words refused to come out of my mouth. We stared at each other and suddenly I found my friend shivering. A focused look and it all dawned that he had gone mad. He was laughing uncontrollably. I stared waiting for him to normalize to his senses, but soon I too gave in. As we laughed, mocking at our efforts and bad luck, we forgot all about our failure.
The week that followed was the best. My friend had made it into one of the prestigious colleges of management and was soon moving out. Since I had no desire to die in a ruthless way, I too decided to shift. However, things turned in my favor. The moment my desire was voiced, the parasite too decided to shift. He came after the trip, took his things and announced proudly how he had found a perfect place to live, but unfortunately would not be able to take me in. As if I cared!
On the contrary, I was the happiest person on earth as I could stay back in my old, unkempt lovely house again. The only problem was in paying the entire rent, but that seemed an insignificant problem in front of that overgrown roach.
These days I’m too busy in toasting my success that has been brought about by fate. Never did freedom seem so wonderful and relieving as it does now. I am also glad that our freedom was achieved without the stains of blood and in a true gandhian, ahimsa style. Well, as I raise this toast, I know that this will remain a perfect toast in many years to come. So let’s say cheers to our independence!