Bhimsen Sabat was an elderly man of 56. He had black hair. Of course, he dyed it in time and never forgot to have a shave every alternate day. His family members thought he was the odd man out amongst them. Who would consider a man sane if he talked to birds, animals, trees and the sky as if they were humans. . ?
Bhimsen had a small dairy farm and there were some seventeen cows. He told his wife Subhadra from time to time to fondle and stroke the cows and express her love for them. Bhimsen spent hours patting, stroking and caressing the cows. He would talk to them constantly. He also expressed his deep love for and adored some ten or eleven stray dogs whose cherished food was costly cream biscuits.
Subhadra was full of fears and apprehensions that her husband was going mad. She was an embodiment of feminine grace and beauty. Although a matchless glamour girl in her locality,she had to marry Bhim because of her mother and Bhim's mother being close friends at school.
The boys and women in the locality now found it very curious to watch Bhimsen's activities like talking to the mango tree behind their house or to some stars with nightfall.
"Subhi, Bhim is a victim of black magic. . . . . ! Consult a witch doctor. . . Otherwise you will repent later. . " This was Subhadra's elder sister Nivedita from Mumbai. Nivedita's husband was a lecturer in chemistry and had been teaching in the same college for fifteen years. Bhimsen was also a gold medallist in physics and after the completion of his masters, he had joined a prestigious academy and taught there for four years and then decided to set up a dairy farm and engage in organic farming. Subhi was profoundly hurt at heart and had expressed her disappointment and displeasure in various ways. Bhim's old mother had also expressed her concern for her son's future. But she boasted of her agricultural lands.
She often said to her daughter-in-law, "There was a time mothers and fathers didn't like their sons to be servants of the government. Those were the golden days when the rich did farming and employed the poor to work for them. My own husband didn't join the job of a police inspector. . . !
I was happy with his decision. Nobody wanted to be a police officer or a lawyer those days. Now every girl wants to have a permanent job. Women are polluting the world. All the gods and goddesses are crying. . . . "
"You saw them crying?" asked her grandson Satyajit mockingly.
The old lady hissed like a snake and gave the boy such a talking to that he preferred to be out of her sight. The boy's sister Ruchi had angry feelings for the old lady who was bashing girls for their craving for jobs. Ruchi and Taramani often quarreled over the rights and role of women in society. She knew that the old lady had more love for her grandson. She didn't like her cursing girls appearing in short revealing apparels.
According to her, all the calamities and disasters that befell mankind were on account of women all of whom were morally degraded. She was religiously erudite and quoted how Lord Krishna had many wives and yet he was the king of brahmacharis. She never spoke against men except when a boy or man beat a street dog or a stray cow. . Or when a man killed his wife. She knew every beggar by name--every beggar who came to her door. She gave them her own money and expressed deep interest in their family members and matters and held lengthy conversations with them. Subhi couldn't accept such cordial relationships of her mother-in-law's with beggars and mendicants.
The old lady boasted from time to time that she had not sent her three daughters to school. She was also proud of her sons-in-law who were government servants. She still believed in untouchability but she never forgot her untouchable old son Bajia who she said was her God given son. She sent rice, money and vegetables to her "son. " Now when Subhi, Ruchi and Satyajit complained against Bhimsen's strange behaviour, she said Lord Hanuman had appeared to her in a dream and had gifted her a male child when she had got pregnant. That was the reason why Bhimsen had been a brilliant student from the very beginning. He was also a well-known body builder.
Now everybody was curious to know what was happening in Bhimsen's mind. His wife's elder brother who was a physician prevailed upon Subhi and her children to take Bhim to a psychiatrist, Mr. Dandapat. The psychiatrist was a jovial character and often loved cracking a joke.
When Bhimsen was told to get ready to visit the psychiatrist, he didn't protest. They pressurised him not to give any lecture on philosophy and spirituality. Bhim agreed to drive his family and himself to the psychiatrist's clinic.
It was 11:30 when Bhimsen's family reached the clinic. There was a long queue at the entrance to the psychiatrist's chamber. They told him to stand in the queue and he was the last to do so. The queue became long and he was in the middle of it.
A young man came out of the psychiatrist's chamber and handed tickets to the people in the queue serially. He also requested the people there to occupy their seats. Now the patients and their people were sitting on the heavy spongey chairs installed there.
A strange wild man was brought into the waiting hall. "Jay Mahakali. . . !Jay Mahakal. . . . !" This was from the madman visitor to the clinic. A very serious looking old man with a bald head and handlebar moustache was busy reading a magazine. A young lady was doing something with her smartphone. The wild uncontrollable man wriggled free from his two people and snatched at the young lady's smartphone. Holding the smartphone he ran at an amazing speed and others flew after him. They saw the madman hurl the phone away into the enclosure of a nearby transport company. The girl was in tears. She was helpless. Mr. Sabat went to the girl and said, "You will get back your phone after three days. It is not broken. . " Nobody paid any attention to the speaker.
Then they brought the madman back into the waiting hall of the psychiatrist. Two young men had come forward to help the beautiful young lady. There was nobody in the transport company enclosure and the iron gate to the enclosure was closed. It was Sunday. The young men were busy searching for ways to enter the enclosure. The wild madman was struggling to free himself and spitting angrily into the faces of his two own custodians. He even bit one of them hard into the shoulder. . . ! The victim screamed fiercely. The other man gave the madman a series of cruel hard blows.
The madman was shouting: "Jay Bholenath. . !
Jay Shiva Sambhu. . !" The serious old man reading his stuff said irately: "Take that fellow away. . . !Or he will surely kill someone here for sure. . "Again freed from the clutches of the two men, he gave the old man a hard and powerful kick on the belly. The old man fell backwards but fortunately his head struck a big sack which contained used cotton and some waste paper. The old man got up and roared thunderously at the culprits and the doctor.
Dr. Dandapat came out of his chamber to inspect what was happening outside. The people fell silent because Dr. Dandapat commanded enormous respect as a top psychiatrist. The doctor said to the audience there: "Only sixteen more patients. . . Please have patience and maintain your calm.
The madman's custodians requested the doctor to be kind enough to examine their patient that very moment. Their contention was if the patient was administered an infection instantly, he could fall asleep. Three patients were absent. Mr. Sabat's serial number was ten. Now it was Sabat's turn.
Quite unexpectedly, Mr Sabat said, "Sir, my serial number is ten and I can wait till you finish examining that gentleman(the madman). . . . "
They took the madman into the doctor's chamber instantly. Satyajit, Ruchi and their mother were indignant. Burning with rage Subhadra said to her husband in a whisper, "We have waited so long! And you gave your turn and time to another man!"
Bhimsen said sweetly, "We must understand the situation and be considerate in a case like this. . "
Subhi knew that the possible answer would be something like this. "Papa, you are going much too far. . " said Ruchi. Satyajit made a facial expression indicating his agreement with his sister. Subhi was radically upset. The madman came outdoors trembling and making a noise like that of a baby goat. Nobody could make out why he was trembling so much. He was made to sit on a bench flanked by his two custodians. Now he was chanting. . . "Hari. . Hari. . . Hari. . . " Then he came to Mr. Sabat and looked into his eyes for some moments. Then he closed his eyes and fell into a very deep slumber on the bench. One custodian went out purportedly to buy some food. The other was by his side.
"Papa, why did the man come to you and look into your eyes? " both the children cried together. Mr. Sabat kept quiet and said nothing. But Ruchi insisted on getting an answer. Sabat said, "He wanted to see his dead father in my eyes. . " As it was their turn then, the Sabats entered the doctor's chamber.
Dr. Dandapat was a very sweet and gentle person. "What's your problem Sir. . . "
Sabat said, "I have no problem at all. I am a most happy person on Earth."
"No Sir. . He is my husband. . . I have been closely observing him since last year. His memory is extremely poor. He can't remember anything. He forgets things like a three year old. . . . "
"Is she telling the truth?" asked the doctor.
"Yes I am losing my memory and I am very happy about it. " Sabat kept silent. His family too were silent.
"Why must one be happy to lose one's memory ?"
"There are other patients waiting for their turn. If you give me your number, we can talk about it at night. . . " said Sabat.
"That is none of your business Sir. . . I want the answer right now. . . Please explain why losing memory is good. . " the doctor said.
Sabat talked, "It is our memory which is primarily responsible for taking us from birth to birth. When a man dies with an excellent memory, he is bound to come back into this world. The body is sure to be destroyed but the memory is of the air and the spirit. It will live on even though the body is out of existence. I was thinking about it and was quite sure about it. Then I listened to my great Master saying the same thing. He confirmed my belief that it was good to lose one's memory because in that case you have no chance of rebirth. Our memories keep us attached to the earth. . . "
"But how will you manage to locate things like what you have kept where? You might completely forget your past too. The names of friends,teachers and relatives as well?" Dr. Dandapat said.
Mr. Sabat said, "When you are able to see where everything and all things are, what is the use of the memory. . . . ?Unless we lose the memory, we can't be able to see the past, the present and the future. Only the luckiest ones amongst us have the rare good fortune to lose the memory and become capable to see everything. . . everything even your microscope can't catch. . . . "
Dr. Dandapat smiled and said, "Your Master has no memory?"
"How can He be so foolish as to use his memory and push himself into the sea of misery. . . . ?He is the Almighty Sri Hari. Do you think the Almighty possesses the memory like you and me?" Dr. Dandapat and the Sabats seemed to be lost in profound thinking. . . "
"Dr. Dandapat, can we go home now. . . ?" asked Mr. Sabat. "Remember my Master told me it is good to lose memory if you are a seeker. For that is, I mean, losing memory leads you into the state of the seer. . . . someone you can't keep anything hidden from. . . ! When a man tries to call to mind where he kept his wallet, the seer closes his eyes for a moment and sees it clearly and its location."
Dr. Dandapat asked for Mr. Sabat's phone number.
Then he said to Sabat's wife, "Madam, your husband doesn't have the slightest hint of madness. Rather, we are living in a materialistic society and have lost our sanity. I can certify that he enjoys much better mental health than most people."
The Sabats came back home and since then there were no complaints about Bhimsen's behaviour. Subhi and her children in the course of some months treated Mr. Sabat like a deity. Dr. Dandapat and some of his friends and relatives began to frequent Mr. Sabat's house.