[Fiction] The Indian Taraaqi Man

Mr. KT* has recently turned in his mid-forties and he has been a taraaqi man through and through. Born in a small town, he had achieved a lot – academically, professionally, economically and socially.  A biographer (a contemporary media man of India) of him will describe him as below:

He was an adolescent when Indian economy was opening up. He joined the elite Indian technical school then worked in a multi-national corporation, eventually getting his MBA from an Ivy League University in the United States. He had worked in the US for couple of years and then returned to become the Country Head of an Indian Multinational. Based in a happening megalopolis in India’s West with regular visits in major cities in the world – he works very hard – almost 15 hours a week. He suffers from many diseases – mostly minor but that does not deter him from taking up new challenges.  

Such mini-bios have appeared in many places and he has found them to be quite interesting. He remembers a young girl who came to take the interview – barely 22 or so and he fondly remembered that in that age he was focused on grades, scores, academic excellence and he did excel. He sighed, half satisfied and in half emptiness.

As a matter of fact, when he was a student, he was already a highly trained, motivated and single focused man. His parents obliquely made him understand that any interest in beer, girls, and beer with girls were distractions and once he becomes  ( what ? none knew exactly, including himself), he will have more opportunity and time to enjoy these charms of life. However, once charmed early, he runs the risk of having the taraaqi obstructed.

In this 10th and 12th classes, he focused on physics, chemistry and mathematics with an additional  steroid-driven training for cracking some of the toughest entrance tests since the Nalanda and the Lyceum, he did not care much about his own biology in the form of a body.

When he started working, he was so dedicated and focused and self-forgetting that his seniors immediately dropped hints of the great promise he had. Since he never questioned any argument on taraaqi and considered everyone his true well-wisher who was such fervent worshipers of growth  starting with his parents, he had no problem with his bosses. The bossed obliged and he was a promising, hard-working, slowly-settling and decent man in his early thirties.

The matrimonial ad ran out in the newspaper – both English and vernacular and since parents were the Programme Manager of the match making as a strategy  and marriage as an event, he was married seamlessly, so as to speak, of the efficiency aspect of the happenings. Two weeks leave for marriage and honeymoon, he started his family. At that time, he found out that his wife could not and did not take much interest in his work or what he did in the office where he remained for 12 hours a day. But he found his wife to be pretty and adorable. His wife proved to be his first physical and intimate interaction with a woman. Not because he was having any different orientation or some physical disability but he did not simply have time and by implication, not much passion or if it was, it was subdued by a passion of much intense variety and having much larger jurisdiction – the future itself.

In his 38th year – six years after the marriage and having one child some 4 years old, the  taraaqi had a crisis. A strange morning sickness seized him. He felt paralyzed in the morning just after waking up. He could not even lift a finger while he thought that he had to go to the office. Since he was trained since boyhood to take command in serious matters- either from text-book, note-book, tips-book, parents, bosses ; he called a doctor. The doctors and a battery of tests after, nothing could be pin-pointed. His wife was deeply disturbed. He was suffering from a battery of psychoses and neuroses and he really felt that he would die on the bed through sheer exhaustion although he was not doing anything.

After 2 weeks, when neither medicine nor diagnosis made a breakthrough, alternative therapies were tried. One of them was “The Pomegranate Clinic”. It was recommended by a colleague. The Pomegranate Clinic appeared in his apartment in the form of a middle aged man around 11 am and brought a small packet of tea and asked his wife to prepare three cups. He introduced himself by his adopted name of  Dr. Philo and as soon as the wife went to the kitchen, he moved his lips near Mr. KT’s ear and told : “This is a very rare disease. Almost incurable. Good news is that I also suffered from it and ruined my career. However cure is there. No worries. You will be cured and soon. Around 1/10000000th of the population contract it . You are a rarity and can be a celebrity, if you wish.”

The tea came with some crackers. Dr. Philo politely declined the crackers observing that mixing anything other than white sugar with such fine and pure tea is outrage of modesty and a sin as serious as fornication.

Dr. Philo appreciated his wife’s taste in decorating the house and the delicate way she prepared the tea. As soon as his wife was going to describe her worries, Dr. Philo dismissed everything with a friendly wave and said that her husband would be alright soon. The disease was already detected. She looked at him in disbelief. He then said, softly – “I am the proof.” Before leaving, Dr. Philo had assured them that he would come again tomorrow. He had asked Mr. KT to move himself near the window, lie and watch the birds and clouds. He had asked him to eat and drink whatever he liked.

Dr. Philo returned the next day, this time with a big box and a portly lady followed him. She was the chef and the box contained many medicinal delicacies, he winked. The plan was to have a conversation and meanwhile the herbal cook was preparing the “medicines” in the kitchen. A conversation followed :

Dr. Philo : Mr. KT, tell me somethings in last five years only for yourself ? Tell me something you did consciously for yourself only – not for the company, not for the family, not for health, not for fitness but for yourself and yourself alone ?

A silence followed. Then Dr. Philo turned to Mrs. KT and asked her the same question.

The silence was deeper.

Dr. Philo, as if  sucked the silenced, and delivered the following as aromas from the kitchen filled the room. He closed his eyes and in a trance like state he started speaking as if he was watching a film in his mind’s eye.

Just hear the music by your nose and the ear. Do you hear the ting-tong sounds coming from the kitchen. Do you feel the blending of the aromas ? Now watch the sky – this is at least billion years old. Does it look tired ? Watch the bird – it shares almost 97% genetic code with you. Does it look frozen while foraging for food just like you feel while going to office ? 


Dr. Philo started coming regularly and after a week Mr. KT desired to take a walk outside. Dr. Philo drove without word for 45 mins till they came at the outskirts of the city. He parked the car and pulled out two by-cycles and asked him to ride. Both rode the bi-cycle and then took tea in a small shack – at the shadows of the tall towers – the office and residences of fellow citizens of Mr. KT.

“You are suffering from many maladies and almost the same one I did.”

“What are these ?”

“Analytic overload syndrome, adolescent emerging economy disorder, hormonal sublimation for narrow purpose and the last one which I have to borrow from another dead language  – anexatasti zoi – ancient Greeks called this Un-examined Life.”

“Please explain”

Dr. Philo smiled. A sunset was approaching and the distant horizon, filled with paddy -fields looked honey coloured at the edges. A soft breeze was blowing and Mr. KT watched white cranes flying back home. A serene atmosphere and he heard the shack is emitting ting-tong music – the virginal tea – cutting one is being prepared for the evening.

“Since you were a boy, you have worked with the intellectual firearms since the dawn of civilization in sciences and mathematics with a very narrow objective. Calculus, periodic table, atomic structure, probability, entropy, electromagnetic equations, statistical mechanics – all these and many more profound insights you have studied with a singular aim of buying a better ticket in life – to have a good life. No one told you, none knew, neither you reasoned it what is the good life and what is the ticket’s worth. You have used your wings for walking faster. What could have freed you from the ground made you only collide faster. This analytic overload had made you an excellent tool but a tool nevertheless. You have never used the tool for your own self. You have been an efficient digger to get gas out of the deep interior but never thought of using a gaslight from the gas that your exotic tools made to come up. ”

Dr. Philo asked : “Another cup of tea ?”

The virginal and warm liquid was served again and Mr. KT listened – the bicycle reminded him of his 12th tuition days – his only mode of transport then.

“You were also victim of history. You were born in a time when the environment had a certain tune – just like fancy of music at a certain time. Being narrowly focused on the analytic and that too for a very narrow purpose, you suppressed the basic biological and emotional urges. You commanded your body and the body listened to because your mind was narrow-beamed and it was delivering energy in a laser like manner.”

“I think so – I have left many things in life untasted.”, KT ejaculated the words.

“Most of the men have not lived long. They have simply existed long. Living and existing are completely different affair. As the natural capital in the form of bio-energy dissipates, like all energy does through entropy, around forty, men have a profound choice – Either / Or. He can either draw heavily on the natural energy in  the same way or choose another way.”

Dr. Philo now looked straight at him and said : ” Do not be listening wrongly. Haven’t you felt sometimes a kind of guilt of not spending time with the family ? Don’t you sometimes find little important when people forgave you for not showing common decency and social obligations for being “busy”, “important”, “responsible” and “hi-flyer” ?”

“Yes, all the time. I have forgotten when was the time when I had attended a marriage for few days.” – said KT

Dr. Philo nodded and went on : “… Examine your life. Many a times when you were coughing blood in your office, metaphorically speaking, stressed and anxious – your family, although bankrolled by you – did complain of not spending quality time with them. Didn’t they ? ”

“My wife constantly complains that my office is her no.1 enemy. I see my daughter only in the morning in the weekdays. Because in all other days she is asleep when I return.”

“Aren’t you being lectured or taunted being more creative ? ”

“All the time.”

“Don’t you feel that you have no life to call your own ? Don’t you feel that your time, your living energy being completely sold out in advance in the form of debt, upgrades, upgraded  (reference to yours) career of children, devices and services that you know not you need for at least half a decade in advance, if not more”

Mr. KT wanted to speak something but kept silent.

“You have been very dutiful, very diligent to everything so far – except to yourself. You have not even thought about it.”

This is my first and last therapy : Think more. You are very fortunate. Many contract this disease at the threshold of their death. You have a chance to fight. I too share the same fortune like yours. We are beneficiaries of the Immanent Mercy of the Cosmic Manifestation.”


Six months later, The Pomegranate Clinic** found two new team members. Mr. KT’s wife. whose name was Annapurna went to Japan, taught herself Japanese, took a rigorous course in Japanese tea ceremony and Mr. KT shifted himself at the edge of the city, started riding more of his adolescent transport – the bi-cycle.

Dr. Philo and Mr. KT were riding a car – on a call – to meet another victim of anexatasti zoi syndrome in an affluent quarter. Dr. Philo asked him : “What do you think we should prescribe ?”

Mr. KT smiled :”I think  Gnothi seauton will be my first and last therapy.”

“And a cup of tea- green one will do just fine as the medicine for the body” – Dr. Philo replied and the car boot danced in joy with three bi-cycles waiting to be unleashed.

——————————————————————

* The initials KT can be read, among billion combinations in India as Kam Tamam 

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** The Pomegranate Clinic is currently operating in beta-testing mode. Dr. Philo and Mr. KT can be contacted for a no-obligation and cost free consultation at wordsmith.bengal@gmail.com 

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