Cryptic Enlightenment6 mins 223 6 mins 223
"Can you recognise me, professor? We just met at the tea stall. Shall I come inside? I won't annoy you for long".
It was difficult for me to say no to such an athletic, tasteful aged man. He wore an expensive pair of sunglasses which complemented his facial features. Still, I couldn't recall whether I had seen him or not.
"My name is Ahibhusan Samanta, retired from the postal services just two weeks ago."
I observed he was eying my books shelf time and again as he was talking to me. I was thinking he must have come to borrow some of my books. To overcome his boring retired life. Eventually, he will come every day to pass his time, to be frank, no one likes to talk to old people. I had lost some of my favourite collection. I usually never get back my books when someone borrows them.
"Do you believe in ghosts? Sir."
I replied, no.
" Do you believe in coincidence professor? I have seen physics professors wearing five astrological rings, what an irony. Well, if you believe in coincidence I have an experience to share, I hope you will find it interesting".
As he was leaving he pointed to his house and invited me.
" I am your new neighbour. Hope I didn't waste much of your time?".
I felt ashamed of my thoughts.
One Friday evening I visited Mr. Samanta's house, I sat in his simple drawing-room. I was astonished to see walls converted into bookshelves. All kinds of books neatly arranged. There must be more than fifteen thousand books.
" I have some more in my bedroom, a total of seventeen thousand books. This is all I have earned throughout my life. If you read some of them, I will be happy. Books are meant for reading."
Mr.Samanta bragged, I felt ashamed again.
"Let me tell you my story".
l could not deny this request from a savant person like Mr.Samata, who owns such an enriched library.
"Truth needs no introduction, I will narrate my real-life incident. By the way, Are you an animal lover?"
No, I don't hate them too.
" I just hate cats and dogs like hell, because I had to face an evoking incident when I was in the second year of college.
That evening I was returning late after a sight visit, I was a history student. End of December, I was feeling cold.
At the turn of the road, I saw Billu, the most notorious lad in our neighborhood, along with some other boys. I asked Billu what are you doing here? He didn't reply. Kali responded,' see how Billu wrapped a kitten in a blanket'. As I approached the boys, I could smell kerosene. Lalon explained, 'Do you want to see how it runs? Billu also tied a bell'. In a fraction of second Billu set the kitten on fire. As it ran the fire caught up more furiously. I tried my best to save it, in this process I received third-degree burns on my legs and arms. When I got back my consciousness I was admitted to a hospital, l recovered fully in four months' time. The sight of an ablaze kitten haunted me even after coming home.
One night when I looked outside the window due to lack of sleep I saw hundreds of cats of all sizes outside my house, a chill ran down my spine. This incident kept repeating once or twice every month. Local newspapers took an interest in this type of phenomenon and started writing about it. People preached me as a celebrity. My brother made fun of me saying you are a superhero who risked life to save a kitten. Now I am sixty years old, this gathering happens rarely but leaves me weak, exhausted and mentally disturbed."
" I haven't shared my story to many people but when I saw you, I felt I must tell you."
" I get a peculiar signal when I see people like you."
Like me! I muttered.
"Why don't you read some books from my library? I will be more than happy if a professor like you read my collection."
Have you read all the books Mr.Samanta? "Actually I have some kind of problem in my eyes, so I can't read at a stretch nowadays, some books are brand new."
I happily borrowed a few books and returned home. One on vampires grabbed my attention. I settled down to read that book. It has some interesting facts about vampires. Which I think, were misinterpreted by common people. Like vampires were thought to be only night creatures. They disappear at the break of daylight etc.
I have noted down five interesting facts.
This book says vampires are people infected with a peculiar type of virus for which they develop very sensitive eyes and cannot tolerate sunlight. However, if they use high-quality sunglasses they cannot be differentiated from a normal human being in the broad daylight.
They have an intermitable life span of more than 500 years but they can change their physical appearance whenever they get bored. This is their adaptation in the modern century as their population was declining sharply. Whereas in olden times new vampires were born due to viral infection from the teeth coated with the saliva of a vampire while sucking blood. Or from a rare type of wild black cat.
In the last century, the vampires had to hunt for prey and suck blood by piercing a particular vain in the neck region with their sharp teeth. But now there are blood banks all over the globe they can pick and choose from a wide range of blood and its components. Because of virus infection, they need to get some kind of protein particularly present in human blood, just like we take multivitamin supplements.
Some vampires do not realise their existence. They remain weak, powerless and die off easily. So it is the duty of every vampire to recognise and educate their community members.
Though vampires are made of solid matter ie. flesh, bone and blood unlike ghosts, they do not cast any shadow.
After I finished reading the book, I felt suspicious about Mr. Samanta's expensive sunglasses... I was startled by the telephone ring, when I picked the phone it was Mr. Samanta, literally trembling in fear, he gasped,
" They have come …. They're here."
I looked outside and was taken aback to see all types of cats big and small, young or old, gathered around Ahibhusan Samanta's house in silence. But what is that? I could not believe my eyes. A half-burnt black cat with a bell tied to its neck, it purred as the bell made a constant ringing sound.
I could not get a wink of sleep that horrific night, I had to spend the night reading books. In the morning I thought to go for a walk and get some bright sunlight. But even the morning sunshine appeared to be too bright for me, I thought this must be due to a sleepless night, I must have strained my eyes reading books for the whole night. Then, out of curiosity, I wanted to check my shadow which l had never done before in my life…
I moved out from the shade of the banyan tree and stood against the sun. Holy crap! the houses, the plants, the Banyan tree everything except me had a shadow.