Every day after cooking the meal Ankan would sit on floor near the bed of his mistress, Nire, and they used to get chatty with each other as old friends.
“When you realized that you are permanently paralyzed did you wished ending up your life?” Ankan asked Nire one day. Nire smiled looking at him and spoke, “It was our second marriage anniversary. In the evening, while going to a restaurant, a damn truck lost its control and crashed over our car. I collapsed. It was then one day later, at midnight I came back to my senses when I saw my father standing by my side. He explained me why and where I was. I inquired about Sheer, my husband. Father told me, that Sheer died at the spot and that accident made my body permanently paralyzed. I started to scream, I shouted his name, and cursed God and wished for my death. I bit my tongue and tried to stop breathing to kill myself. Father, along with the nurse, failed to calm me and hence medical staff injected me to sleep.” Ankan listened to his mistress with a great deal of interest. Nire continued, “After sometime, I regained my senses and slowly opened my eyes. I could hear the beeps of the digital equipments and along with them there was a tinkling sound of a spoon clattering with steel bowl. I rolled my head to left where I saw a man eating curry from a bowl. That scared me enough to yell, “Who are you? Where is the doctor?” “Oh! You finally opened your eyes,” he stated politely keeping the bowl on the table, “Now it’s the time to be awakened.” “Who are you?” I sounded completely terrified. He was short, stout and aged Indian man with long, wavy wet hairs. His face carried several scars; most scary was the one he had in the left eyebrow. He was wearing a blue half coat over brown full sleeve shirt that matched his formal brown pants. He parched towards me and sat on a stool near my bed. “I am Monster,” he claimed pressurizing the word- Monster. He continued, “I am here to talk.” “Talk?” asked the puzzled me, “About what? And why should I be listening to you?” “Every monster has a story which only another monster deserves to listen,” he said wiping his lips with the bed sheet. “I am not a liar,” he resumed, bringing his face close to mine, “and so here I state that you deserve to listen my story.” I was able to feel his warm breathe over my face. He was looking into my eyes, pouring fear. My heart grasped an unknown fear. I didn’t reply, I was already trying hard to stare back at him. My lips shivered. He noticed them. He scratched his forehead by his black painted nails and asked, “Are you afraid of me?” “No, I am not!” I lied confidently. “Bwhahaha!” he yelled rising up from the chair, “It’s adorable when I see you people masking your fear with confidence.” And at once he dropped his thumb on my forehead and whispered, “Please don’t behave like people. I might kill you.” He then removed his finger from my forehead and walked towards the aquarium, kept at the corner of room, and looked at it closely. I was going through the most difficult phase of my life. A day ago I lost my husband and my body. And now this man, who appears for the first time, comes into my room of this hospital and threatens me.
I gathered my voice and enquired, “What do you…” “I want you to work for me?” he replied spontaneously, as if he knew when and what I was about to speak. He turned and advanced towards me. “This accident, which you’ve assumed as a curse, has made you employable for…” suddenly he stopped and rolled his head towards the door. The door knob rolled unlocking the lock and nurse entered the room. “Meeting time is four to six,” she stated politely, “You are disturbing the patient.” He stood up, parched towards the nurse and said, “Well there are two things. First, it’s not me who is disturbing her.” Nurse stepped back but it was too late, as he gripped her head from back and placed handkerchief on her nose, he scolded, “Second, always, knock the door before you enter.” The lady collapsed and fell on the floor. I at once shouted, “Someone, please…” “Ah! No, no!” he paused me, “Don’t!” He pointed the syringe over her neck. “It’s just little bit of Chloroform, she is not dying, but your screaming may cost her life. So, be a good girl and behave accordingly.” Looking at the nurse, lying numb and senseless, my sobbing started and my moist voice yelled, “How can you hurt someone with such ease. You are pathetic.” “Pathetic,” he murmured. I continued complaining, “What if something happens to her?” “If something happens to her then another nurse would take care of your medicines and shit,” he growled. I sniffed and said, “There is a value of life. There is value of people. How could you be so emotionless?” “No, there is no value of people, what values is, their work,” he claimed sitting leg folded on the chair, “Well, let me explain, when I was a kid and whenever I used to tell people that my mother passed away, the very next thing they’d ask me was- ‘who cooks the food?’ As if she wasn’t my mother, she was just a cook. I learnt and understood that people are required and needed. They name ‘requirement’ as ‘love.’ They mask ‘need’ as ‘security.’ They all are liars but I am not.” He got frustrated. I guess I’d touched a nerve of him. I saw emotions in his eyes.
He had an unusual appearance, monstrous and awful. But there was something in him or about him that made me listen to his entire talks. He, though looked threatening, was now no longer feared by me. I felt stable and steady. “Why are you here? What you want me to do?” I kept this straight at him. He grinned and said, “Work and live!” He chose the words cleverly and arranged them wisely. “What work are you talking about? I am paralyzed! I can’t …” I paused as he answered, “I want your brain to aid my plans of making things interesting.”
“Interesting?” I enquired.
“Yes. This world, which you believe to be sensible, is beautiful. I aim to make it interesting.”
“What do you consider as interesting?”
“I desire a paralyzed to make this world dance! I desire the poor to make the rich beg! I want the mountains to flow like rivers! I want madness!”
“Why do you hire me?”
“As I have said. I want you to make this world dance I may sound funny but do remember there is always a truth hidden behind funny things. You are now blessed to lay straight on a bed to think, wonder, imagine and plan. What wonders you can’t create?”
He was the same person, whom I am meeting for the first time ever in my life, whom I feared few moments ago. Who is so monstrous at look! Who attacked the nurse! And then he was actually making me feel happy for no reason. His words, though scary, were somehow motivating me. I wanted to listen to him more so I kept my rest of my negativity one by one in front of his intellect. “Why do you believe in such things? What benefits it yields?”I questioned. “Sometimes it not about the loss and benefit, it all about doing something you are good at. That’s the righteous way to survive.” Deep was his voice deeper were his words. “Do you follow the righteous path?” I taunted. “Righteous path?” he smirked, “Right or wrong is relative in nature. What is right for some is wrong for another some.” The way he played with words tickled me, I was enjoying the conversation and so I carried it further, “Maybe you work and think according to perceptions rather than an outlook. There are always better options.” “Or maybe, everyone lives in false hope believing that there exists a brighter side,” he answered leaving his chair and coming close to me. “Listen,” he started, sitting by my side, “Yesterday you were a wife. You were a music teacher. Today, you’ve lost those identities. And I say, if you have lost the previous identity then don’t cry, just create a new one.” He then lifted my head and asked, “Will you work? Will you live? Cause now you are blessed!” This time it was easier for me to look into his eyes. I started trusting him because few hours ago I wanted to die, but this man came to my room and made me love my fate. “Will you work?” he repeated. “Yes!” I answered. I didn’t answer him but I answered to myself. “That’s interesting,” he said, “I shall leave now, there are more things to be made interesting.” He parched towards the door and left the room. I was staring at the door, memorizing his face. His voice echoed in my ears- ‘Will you work? Will you live?’ “I still don’t know who he was but he gave me reason to live. He forced and feared me enough to define my existence with new meaning,” Nire ended her today’s tale about the monster she’d met long ago. Ankan, who was deeply, touched by the story of his mistress, murmured, “Monster.”