Saturday, 15 August 2020

Dhananjaya KannaliNarayana, ShortStory 2020 Longlist

 

The Assimilated Truth

It was the evening of a summer somewhere in the mid march, when people often tend to say sizzling summer, scarcity of water, but I would reply them “No Sir, I have rain water” to convey them the significance of Rain Water Harvesting; being a practicing environmental engineer myself. Although it is very hard to convince the people with economics owing to the subsidized water supply which often makes rain water harvesting a costly affair; still the green minded 1people used to listen me and got their part of rain water harvested for their own buildings.

It was in my childhood days, we were taught to make hay while sun shines, but for now it’s relevant to harvest water when it rains, if at all to bring the crop till that stage of growth to keep the possibility of harvesting alive. It was a long time since I had met by my childhood school friend who is now a registered medical practitioner. The decision to meet him was quite an old one though still the firmness in the mind to start the journey was always at stake for my business, to some extent laziness too; it’s often hard to overcome the inertia of laziness, being immersed in that old cliché of routine where most of us feel ourselves busy in our own lives either in one of the two inevitable and confined spaces of occupation or the family. But, this time I was firm in attempting reunion with my friend, although late in the evening better late than never I said to myself. I often think why we face the lag in every aspect of life although everyone is so busy, but then, the job never gets done to perfection. I thought it is prudent to visit him as a patient to put an end to the accelerating baldness I was facing in the recent times, further it was a good idea to get in to his clinic as a patient than a friend as this man was more busy with patients than with himself or his own family, leave alone his friends and colleagues.

1 Green Minded:-concerned and sympathetic on environment

I opened the key of my rickety bicycle with little trouble as usual; I had maintained the bicycle so as to prevent its theft for it was kept usable but not fair enough to be lost by thefts. The problem of bicycle theft was persistent for me when I used to clean my brand new bicycles with hot water and preserve it during my college days. More often I have been criticized by my family and friends for using it, but I never minded those critics and used to explain them the arrival of electric vehicle technology which would probably replace the pollution intensive automobiles. Further, in my opinion traveling within Mysore City is pretty much manageable with a bicycle. I was very happy riding a bicycle as the cyclist neither worries for increase in price of petrol nor for increase in intravenous 2cholesterol, this would certainly give you an idea of how slim and fit I am. I think the social media needs to be thanked for keeping us in constant touch although we could not meet; but the imperialism of this media needs to be blamed for it makes our meeting and physical presence to be an event of very little significance. As the world of ours is getting more and more robotized3, the difference between man and machine was emotion once upon a time, but for now it is almost a zero, with all these thoughts tinkering in my mind I finally reached the clinic, but I had some barriers before meeting my friend.

With an old jute bag and bicycle as I entered the gate, I was stopped by the gate keeper and I had to answer his questions to satisfaction before I was allowed inside the campus, just I was about to park my bicycle next to the “Royal Enfield4” in the parking area, an objection came from the

2 Intravenous: Within the veins, the tubes of human blood circulation system 

3 Robotized:-to act more like a robot, a non living object 

4 Royal Enfield-A brand of motorized two wheeler, popular in India

 parking staff to park my bicycle away under the tree with the perception that my vehicle did not look royal enough to be parked next to the bike considered Royal. Although in reality which is in no way loyal to nature as my bicycle is. I was in fact very happy to safeguard my bicycle under the tree as the sunshine was quite high even though it was an evening. I entered the verandah of the clinic thinking it is all but over but it was just anything but over as I had to negotiate with the receptionist, who after seeing me actually shouted “this is not the time for medical representatives, come in the morning” I gently said madam Kashyapa

idana5 and the she was little stunned for disrespecting her boss; I suddenly realized that and

said sorry madam, Professor, Dr. Kashyapa idara6. It is a matter of single letter which

differentiates between the casual speech and honour in Kannada. Madam now asks who I am

and I said I am a client to this clinic and suddenly changed my reply as sorry, patient!. As a

practicing engineer, having worked with several clients that word came in reflex but I

wouldn’t have apologised if the doctor of this clinic wasn’t my friend, as I knew he considers

the treatment seekers as patients although there are a few practitioners I have seen, to whom

there hardly exists any difference between a patient and a client. I requested and took the last

possible token to spend more time him as the meeting was after a very long time. This again

looked strange to the respected lady and now I finally relaxed on the seat provided, the queue

of patients was not high, the outpatients getting in reduced drastically as for my fortune it

rained a little and I was happy for getting closer to meet Kashyapa, but the clinic crew were

pretty displeased for the rain as it only ensured a little dip in their routine income.

Perhaps I could have directly called my friend over phone to receive me and indeed easily

have overcome the resistance offered by the staff that I had to face before getting placed till

now; but I did not want to put that influence in place and interrupt patients and the Doctor.

5 Idana is a singular/casual way of calling a friend, extensively used in Kannada, an Indian language 6 Idara is a plural/respectful way of calling someone who is well placed in society

Page 5 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com The hard work has yielded the desired result now, the last token number, that of mine is

called with tiredness by the doctor and it was visible that he was exhausted though, got

energized after seeing

his good old friend and

the patient too forgot of

the intended treatment

he came to seek.

I started with “Dr” how are you? And he said stop man, stop that raging; slowly lengthy

conversations began between us, as the time was approaching nearly thirty minutes past Eight

‘O’ Clock, his clinical staff were little curious about the severity of my disease as it was more

than 20 minutes I was in the Doctors Room; further, they were little worried of the delay

being caused because of me and the receptionist made the doctor aware of the office timings

now and got his consent to leave the work place now;

We came out of his consultation room and sat in the verandah to continue our business and I

asked about his family and in particular his daughter who was following her father’s

profession; then I took some pieces of paper stapled together titled “Kabuliwallah7” and

handed over to him. Although this gift was not so expensive, it had to face little hardship in

searching it from the old streets of Kolkata near the Great Tagore’s Press. This story of

course was an epic one between father and daughter published in 1903, in Sadhana8

I was little shocked when I heard from him that his daughter’s marriage took place recently

and I just screamed “how far I became to you, you did not invite me to your own marriage

and at least not to your daughter’s either”. Now he replies calmly stating that the marriage

7 Kabuliwallah: A Short story by Rabindranath Tagore 8 Sadhana: An Indian magazine for which Rabindranath Tagore was the editor and author

Page 6 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com took place in the simplest way possible with invitees being none apart from the family

members themselves.

He further started his defense on this move of not inviting many and says that his daughter’s

marriage happened a little in hurry as in the case of his own marriage and I got little curious

and asked the reason behind the latter’s marriage.

He started his own marriage story which happened while he was studying his Masters.

According to him, the marriage had taken place against the wish of his own mother; although,

the motive of his marriage was a very selfless one and how selfless it was, is revealed here.

The Doctor is from a middle class family turned to a further poorer one at the death of his

father, but luckily had a friend Sandeep in his childhood days who was marginally rich and

had helped Kashyapa for bread and butter during school days.

Added to the tragedy was the death of Kashyapa’s own little sister; it was the time when we

were in Class V, when his sister had developed Cholera, the treatment wasn’t an affordable

one for his mother although she tried her best to get lending’s from neighbors but the

infection had dominated by then to take up that little lad at such a small age to render the

family in dismal sorrow. This was the time he said he decided to become a medical

practitioner hell for leather. Good, remarkable I replied.

Further, he continued and he was glad that he was able to get scholarship for his MBBS and

even the Post Grad, but there came the time to return all the lending’s as his friend Sandeep

had completely gone out of the track although was married but with very little responsibility,

immersed in all sorts of gambling, narcotics and what not. Sandeep’s mother Manasa was

worried of her son’s future.

Page 7 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com Chintana, the wife of Sandeep had become the pregnant and the new being born raised the

hopes of bring the father back to track but it was far too much the father had left as the report

of blood(y) elisa 9 test had shown positive result for one of the dreadful infections ever to

both of the parents, the infection for which neither a vaccine nor a medicine exists. The

infection which the famous Wimbledon champion “Arthur Ashe10” had to suffer from,

because of infected blood transfusion

This infection rather a veteran, unlike Novel Corona or Covid-19 is not so contagious and is

transmitted only by bodily fluid transfusions. I got little curious about the ongoing corona and

asked him about the same for which he said the viruses do mutate to negotiate the drugs and

this time the virus is cleverer than ever before not even sparing the doctor and the treatment

crew either. Further I had heard of the fact that doctor who discovered this virus surrendered

to death in quarantine

Coming back to the story, Mr. and Mrs. Sandeep had somehow contracted a severe infection

which eats up their own immune systems in different stages and thereby would welcome all

opportunistic infections. The story of infection was revealed to Kashyapa by Manasa. The ill

fated women in Chintana gave a birth to female offspring thereby offering some blessing in

disguise

Kashyapa said more than a doctor now it was his own moral responsibility to take guard of

the situation of his friend and to give his best before it could get all over.

He also explained that the fortunate thing was that the infection which typically passes on to

the child from mother, had failed this time to catch their daughter Kavana (as named later).

The confirmation had come thrice after random clinical tests at various ages of that infant.

9 Elisa is a standard protocol for testing HIV strains in Blood 10 Arthur Ashe was a leading tennis player from US in 1970s

Page 8 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com The days passed by, the disease advanced as well to both the parents, Kashyapa said this was

indeed the most difficult phase of his prospective life in medicine as he had to really study

hard himself to retain the scholarship and to carry on the duties as a friend to Sandeep’s

family. The syndrome had reached the threshold to Chintana and as she had already felt her

own departure from this world in her sixth sense.

A day came when Manasa and Chintana approached Kashyapa; Chintana Cried “Brother, I

pass on this infant to you than to an orphanage and this is my inevitable choice as your friend

rather my husband has neither attained any responsibility of the family now nor has the health

himself to bring up this infant. Kashyapa said he realized the willingness of this mother who

was much worried of her daughter’s future; even this man had no option other than to accept

the infant as if it had been the daughter of his own sister whom he lost in his child hood days.

Kashyapa remembers and says although he accepted to fulfill the future of Kavana that time,

his own education was half way through by then and to adapt Kavana he had to get married in

quick time, although against the wishes of his own mother who was not aware of all these

proceedings and in fact he had kept these facts unrevealed to any other. The resistance had

come from the mother to Son’s marriage as the prospective daughter-in-law was not a doctor,

usually it is well said that marriages are made in heaven but now they are often made in

profession this fact being more applicable to medical practitioners here in India as explains

the doctor

Suddenly, as the story was being narrated by my friend, the power was off and the batteries

of UPS11 as well were discharged to saturation and we were left in darkness, the story looked

rather interesting and I opened a solar lantern from my jute bag in quick time to avoid any

interruption.

11 UPS-Uninterrupted Power Supply

Page 9 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com The mobile of mine started to perturb now and I was not hesitant to put it in to flight mode

although I was not entering any aircraft but to be in a different space to listen this interesting

tale.

He continued and said that a day came in his life when he lost yet another sister, a sister

although not by birth but was induced by God’s own Grace. Chintana had finally yielded to

the infection and breathe her last.

The doctor stated that this demise rendered his friend Sandeep an orphan in further

depression. Now, it is turn of Sandeep and within few days from the death of Chintana the

infection invaded Sandeep and took him away from every one

Kashyapa said he was extremely depressed for these developments in his life and he, himself

had to seek a treatment from Psychologist to come out of the worst ever zone he was in.

After all this hardship, he had managed a Master’s in Dermatology and was occupied in the

Government Hospital, spent few decades and retired voluntarily to serve the people through

his own clinic.

He says the patients with this syndrome, more than the infection, are devastated for the

poverty and non affordability of the antiretroviral treatment which is highly expensive. He

now has a trust ® dedicated for treatment of patients below poverty line at a reasonable cost.

Soon another interruption came to this interesting story as the solar light of mine had

sacrificed all the charge it had stored and now the doctor lit up candle inevitable, well I saw

many of them in stock which made me feel happy being ensured of a great story till it gets

done and dusted

Page 10 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com So far is the story of his marriage and his life as he explained and now he moves on to the

story of Kavana. He explained he had conducted elisa test several times to her and of course

no one being aware of this. The reason for his extensive tests is the element of doubt he had

of the residual infection which could have existed. Further he says he had broken the

glasswares many a times while conducting these tests and medical examinations for he was

nervous of the outcome every time although the results turned up negative.

He was very much worried about the marriage of Kavana since her childhood as she could

easily pass on the infection to another person if at all the residual infection had persisted and

more so his guilty consciousness warned him as he himself being aware of his dreadful

infection might create another patient with this dreadful disease instead of treating one as

against his own professional ethics. With all the guilt he had managed to find a match for her

and the marriage had taken place in a hurry, thereby with very little number of invitees.

An year after marriage, Kavana was heavy with the child he said and again at various stages

of pregnancy he had done all the tests and for negative results on presence of infection, his

confidence had grown significantly by then and when Kavana finally gave birth to a baby girl

turning her father grand; this doctor was to an extent had suspected a little of the probable

residual infection in his granddaughter and for his anxiety conducted the tests of similar kind

he had done so far with his daughter, again for all his good works had resulted in absence of

infection in the infant and he was completely fulfilled and satisfied with this.

Now he said he went to god and prayed “Oh my mother this was the day I was living for, I

had lived for, after all I had given my best to all my patients to treat this disease and remained

patient every time I tested Kavana and with your blessings I have fulfilled the future of the

daughter whom I had adapted from her own father; further let this be my last day and this

breathe be my last”

Page 11 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com He was almost in tears as he explained further stating that the god although took away his

own father and daughter in his childhood days, gave him a sister in Chintana, made himself a

father by Kavana although he had no daughter of his own

I said yes man; god is with you for all the good selfless works now and what else in this

universe exists for you which could be more prime or supreme than preaching the holy

goddess; well said he said

The time had turned Twelve (midnight) now and we decided to stay overnight in his clinic

and in the morning when I woke up he apologized me for not being able to offer even a cup

coffee and I said “I did not mind the starvation of stomach as I had been offered a fulfilling

story”; further he asked me to keep these facts confidential; I agreed to this and replied that

“Definitely I will not reveal this truth to anybody but would publish this glorious story in a

magazine” and he smiled. Now at around seven in the morning I had to leave the clinic for

my own business, carried a lot of pride on this man, in my mind.

As the days passed by, in the cool autumn, six months past our reunion, I guess, a call came

to me from my friends circle with the sad news stating Dr. Kashyapa is no more and I had to

rush to his home along with my other friends, just as I arrived at this great doctor’s home saw

everyone in sorrow, took little courage to console Kavana as she said her father was

everything to her family and as she explained the over concern of her father who was very

fond of her health checkups for the slightest of the diseases she had thought, although she did

not knew the disease that her father was suspecting in her and I remained rather in control

and did not disclose anything to her, just to keep up the promise that I had offered my friend

who is no more now

Page 12 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com Further, Kavana never knew that Dr. Kashyapa and his wife are not her actual parents as

neither of her apparent parents had made her aware of this. Although for me, they were of

course the true parents. However, no one else except me and my gone friend knew the

epidemic that took off Kavana’s actual parents

As the time passed by, his relatives, some more friends and colleagues arrived to see him last

time; the arrangements were made for ‘Daphan’12.

As the body was laid in the middle of wooden planks stacked a foot high, the ignition started

and the truth he had unrevealed to everybody remained in him and got assimilated itself but

with pride of this good old friend and sorrow of this event, my calmness got little out of

control and my eyes started to shed tears.

The formalities were on, the flame was lit on the wood along with lot of camphor, as the

funeral fumes like plume began

dispersing and diffusing in the air, sky

high; behind, in the west was sunset, but

for me in front, the limelight of fire

resulted out of camphor sublimation

meant more like a sun rise resulted out of

sublimed soul resting in peace and

satisfaction; although I was little too

emotional still managed to console myself

by getting more philosophical and remembering the fact that I was a senior citizen too and

even I was following his queue but little late though, so for sure.

12 Daphan-Funeral

Page 13 of 14

The Assimilated Truth A short story by Dhananjaya K N Email: narayanadhananjaya@gmail.com Luckily I felt that it was the right time when I met him last in his clinic and that rather meant

a blessed and a memorable reunion for me where I tried to gift him a good story of father and

Daughter in Kabuliwallah but in return got another splendid tale of an orphan brought in real

time up by generous parents

More often we find selfless people of this kind and have lot of things to learn from them, my

friend had nothing of his own yet he made everything his own and in the process had a

satisfying life.

Moreover, what actually is our own when our own existence in this world is always at stake

and all of us are bound to be transformed to either ash or earth at least one fine day? I thought

myself

This way, I have found that and I think that the sublimation of life exists in selflessness,

would you agree with this or not?

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