(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Dr K. V. Raghupathi (born 1957 in a Telugu speaking family, Andhra Pradesh) teaches English at Central University of Tamil Nadu, Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, India. He is a poet, short story writer and critic of English language. He began writing seriously in 1985. Since then he has published 22 books, which include ten books in English verse, two novels, one short story collection, seven critical studies and two books on yoga. He is the recipient of Michael Madhusudhan Dutt Award, Kolkata in 2000, H. D. Thoreau Fellowship, Dhvanyaloka, Mysore in 2000, Life Time Achievement Award, Chennai Poetry Circle, Chennai in 2010, Rock Pebbles National Award for creativity, Bhubaneswar, 2014 among others. He can be contacted at drkvraghupathi.gmail.com.
“Hello, Ramesh, this is Lathasree from EFLU, Hyderabad. I just heard from my colleague Venkat today that you had a serious accident recently and have been convalescing. I am really sorry to hear this. I hope you are better now. My best wishes for your good health. Happy Diwali!!!”
The little mobile showed the message on its screen. It left me in smithereens, and I was lost in a thought whether I should laugh at it or cry. How such a cruel joke could be played on an auspicious day, Diwali when I am alive, I wondered.
It was ten at night, and my eye lids slowly dropped like the cat’s slipping into a reverie. The last thought of the day, the last experience of the day, it churned into a nightmarish.
Soon I was found in the ICU with ventilator, catheters inserted into my two nostrils, sewed to the soft skin of my two elbows and eyes closed. My cot bumper gave me a comfort to lie like a little babe and I lay in that position surrounded by two nurses and two physicians like Yama Dhutas, steadied to take the life out of this battered body with a noose. The heart monitor showing the fluctuating graphs of my heart beat was the only recording agency. My head reeled with half-opened eyelids. Everything appeared hazy. Soon I realized the room was filled with vapour generated from the bowl of water on an electric stove, dancing in various morphed images. This was nothing but a shattered dream, I realized.
Soon the two nurses and the two physicians slithered out on a call from the next operation theatre where another severely battered body was waiting for clinical operation. The room was empty, the vapour drifted and crawled out through the slit of the blinds. I felt something had gone wrong in the other world. It was painful to experience chaining my body with tubes. Suddenly an ant, a black like tarantula started crawling on the bed, it crawled and moved its body steadily with its hind part lifted in vertical position, in 90 degree angle ready to shoot. It moved and climbed on to my right heel; it lay there a while, looking for directions with its antennae and soon as if received signals from the alien world, it moved in the direction of knee-cap. I jerked slightly to throw it off from crawling. Every time I wriggled my leg, it moved the other side to escape from falling. Nothing of this sort disturbed it; it was enjoying the crawling. It slowly moved up, crossed the mountain-like knee-cap, and fell on the sensitive zone of my body. Its crawling legs found the zone easy to explore. It moved, crawled up and down, sending titillating sensation in my body. It crossed the thigh zone and touched the groin, and from it, it slid down into the valley of bushy hair around my genitals. That was the end, I wanted to drive this brute as it created more quakes in my body. I realized it might bite my sensitive part, the potential cause for creation. I wriggled my thighs, but I failed to topple the brute from its explorations. There was no other way than to hit, and in that struggle the tubes got snapped like cracked balloons and the blood and fuss started oozing from the broken skin. It slithered splitting into channels; and the tubes in my nostrils too got away barely accommodating any air. I began gasping, panting with my mouth wide opened, chest heaving like billows.
The door cracked and the two physicians and two nurses popped in to take the wriggling body digging on its own. The body was morphed like tarantula with all its tentacles loosened, blood shot eyes and the fuss forming like sticky substance on the road of my skin. I sat on the bed in this state looking like a devil-possessed child and the two physicians and two nurses like exorcists to drive the evil out. I grunted and snored like a countryside donkey. I yelped, I shrugged my shoulders and spat blood on the white bed that turned into morning red sky. “Hold the body” shouted the physicians, directing the nurses who dared not to oblige. “Hold the body”, the physicians screamed. “Pin him down to the cot”, another physician, short in stature and stocky, cried out.
The two nurses, one was short and dark-complexioned and the other medium sized and wheatish complexioned, moved around to catch my body. As the medium sized one neared me to take my right hand, I spat blood on her face. Another tried, I spat blood dribbling from my long-drawn tongue, and it went up and down like the forked tongue of a snake. I roared, I grunted, I brayed, I yelped, I cried, blood instead tears oozed out from the corner of my eyes and my nostrils. “Lock the door to prevent him from escaping” shouted one physician, tall and lanky with hanging stethoscope around his neck. “Lock the door”, he shouted repeatedly. “A diabolical creature emerged from his body”.
With wings that grew and shot from my armpits I flew up and down like a bat. “What did you do?” the short and stocky physician turned to the tall and lanky physician. “Why this metamorphosis?” I flew like a bat in the room, hitting one corner of the wall and falling, hitting and falling, chasing the four. “What did you do with our technology? Why this metamorphosis!!” The lanky physician wondered, lying low under the cot to escape from my beatings. The short physician hid under the table, the two nurses on the other skittered in the room like rats.
At last I stuck to the wall like a bat, blood oozing out from my eyes, nostrils and rectum. I lay in that position long till the blood in my body completely ran out, and I became thin and emaciated and fell like a thud on the floor, breaking my bones into pieces.
That was the end, I opened my eyes at the lizard’s cluck on the wall below the tube light and found myself sitting in the armed chair, stretching my two legs apart, holding the little idiot mobile in my right palm. The message showed: “Hello, Ramesh. This is Lathasree from EFLU, Hyderabad. I just heard from my colleague Venkat that you have recovered from the accident. I hope you are better now. My best wishes for your good health. Happy Diwalli!!!”