The Psychopath8 mins 337 8 mins 337
Salim stared at his hand for a long time. He then made a tight fist and brought it down on the worn-out table, with a resounding blow. He got up abruptly and started pacing the floor with his eyes fixed on his feet. No one could guess what was going on in his mind. He then started to talk to himself, but what he said was hardly audible. Then all of a sudden he shouted out, “I will exterminate the whole cursed lot”!
His mind was irrevocably made up.
. Salim had grown up in the mountains, in a small hut, made of bamboos and sticks, a ramshackle shed. He used to run about in the apple orchards, and play hide and seek with his friends. He must have been about four years old then. Then one day some soldiers, it would be more correct to call them ruffians, came marching towards their unpretentious abode. Though he was small, he still had a graphic image of that day. These men in uniform were uncouth and boisterous. They ordered the family to open the door without delay. Next without giving them any time, impatiently they kicked open the rickety door, which broke from the hinges. They imperiously instructed his Father to come out. His Father, with folded hands, pleaded his innocence and entreated them to have mercy on him, as he had two small children to feed. If they took him away, they would starve to death. The men seemed to be deaf, or they deliberately ignored his request. In response, they beat him up with their bayonets and rods, whilst he screamed and shouted in pain. Salim could remember the trail of fresh blood, as they dragged him along mercilessly. All the minute details had got etched on to his young mind. They had not spared his teen-aged sister too. They had pulled her by her hair, tearing her already bedraggled dress. She resisted in vain. Her helpless cries had rung out in the stillness of the night and melted in the darkness. Salim had clung onto his mother’s skirt, trembling in fear. Now as the memories came back, he tightened his jaws and clenched his teeth; that day was the last when he had seen both his emaciated father and his adolescent sister, for they never came back.
His childhood had been difficult. His friends in school used to taunt him saying, that he was the son of a jail-bird. When he came home crying and told his mother what the other students would say, his mother tried hard to take away his pain. She told him not to expect justice in this world. The government had falsely brought a case against him, and as they were poor, they had no means to fight back. But her one hope and consolation was, that there was a God, and he would surely come to their aid. She told him, his father was a very upright, and law-abiding person, but he was made the scapegoat because he was so simple.
Even in college, he was always picked upon, as the son of a prisoner, and his resentment of the society around him became very intense. He bottled up his feelings, but he knew that he would not be able to contain this hatred within him for long. Like a volcano, it would erupt, and the lava of past pain and humiliation, would once and for all destroy everything, and everybody. For him, there was no God. He did not believe there would be any miraculous turn of events, after all the protracted years of mental torture and tribulations. He knew he had to do it himself. He had to take his revenge on all humanity! His mind had become like a burning furnace, in which he could melt the entire mankind to a bubbling, frothing liquid. All of a sudden, after having made up his mind on mass annihilation, and decimation, he got up abruptly, looked around, with his eyes rolling in their sockets, and with both his hands uplifted towards the sky, Salim shouted out, “You Vipers, where were you when they snatched my innocent father away from me, leaving me a small baby to starve?” “You Vultures, did you bring back my helpless sister from the clutches of the demons, the so-called soldiers? No, no, no! So I shall pay you back in the same coins, and you will writhe in pain, and gasp like a fish for want of air!” He struck the wall with his clenched fists three times, and then started to sob, and howl loudly for a long time, till he became tired, and worn out, and sprawled out on the floor listlessly.
As for his plan, Salim had everything chalked out. Now was his time. He had no one in the world to care for. His ailing mother, broken with grief and malnutrition, had expired six years back. He had seen her wilt, and fall, like a forlorn leaf on an autumn evening; and that was because of sheer injustice, and cruelty of mankind. Now was the time for revenge, he had to square up accounts!
Salim was extremely happy that there was a pandemic of the Corona Virus in the world. People were dying in thousands throughout the world. Human beings had treated him very shabbily for no fault of his. He had lost his Father, his Mother his Sister, and now his sanity, to the insensitivity of his fellow men, and to the machination of those who pretended to be on the right side of the law. It gave him joy and satisfaction to know that human beings were dying like flies. No one had bothered when he had lost his precious mother, so why this fuss and panic now? Human life was not that valuable after all!
Salim’s plan was totally original. He would deliberately infect himself with the Virus, and then infect the whole population, as he had been told, that the casualties increased by geometrical progression. At this juncture, he had to wrack his brains. Now he had to find out a way, how deliberately to contract the infection. It was a difficult job. People were wearing masks. Besides, how would he know who had the Virus, and how could he access such a person, who could be a source. Then all of a sudden he got a brain wave, like a sunbeam, in a darkened dungeon. Salim’s whole face lighted up. He was no more the morose, reticent, disgruntled, person. His whole personality changed, and he set out with light steps, as if in a trance.
Salim boarded a bus to the International Airport. He posted himself at the Exit Gate. All through the day, he stood at the gate and welcomed those entering Kolkata, through the Subhash Chandra Bose Airport. He would extend his hand, and shake hands with them. Then he would touch his mouth, and nose, with the same hand. This he did for three consecutive days, as he was not going to take any chances. It was comical to see the foreign travelers get startled, when an Indian gentleman shot out from the crowd, just to shake hands with them. They took it in their stride, considering it as one of the odd behavioral trends of the new generation!
It did not take long for Salim to develop all the symptoms soon after. His body temperature recorded 104 Degrees Fahrenheit, whereas his throat became sore, with a hacking cough. He coughed, and coughed, till he was red in the face, and almost stopped breathing. Salim was elated! Immediately he boarded the Metro, and then the Suburban Trains. He went from compartment to compartment and changed trains frequently. All the time his satisfaction mounted, with it, his self- esteem, thinking of how many thousands he was infecting. At night, when he returned home, he felt he could not take the mental and physical strain anymore; he had out-done himself, and he was collapsing; he had reached the point of no return. His wild frenzy, his insane unabated desire to destroy, led him on, and on. Not knowing what was happening; he became oblivious to the world and was enveloped in darkness.
The next morning he was amazed to find, that he was still alive. He got up with difficulty, but he knew despite his weak condition, he had to carry on. He would be dying sooner, or later, so he must wreak his revenge, as extensively and intensively as possible, before that happened. Still coughing, and with fever, he stepped out, trembling with weakness, His condition deteriorated, but his hatred of mankind was squeezing his brain, and driving him on. He continued on his mission for five continuous days, taking the much-needed rest on some bench, or under a tree, grasping all the time. Each day he would scan the papers, and listen intently to the T.V. to find out how many casualties there had been. On the fifth day, he was totally spent and collapsed on the wayside.
His innermost hatred of mankind had at last found an outlet. He had stifled his grief, his resentment for too long, which had made him a psychological case. In having an opportunity to hit back, he found a balm to soothe his frayed mental equilibrium. He was now at peace with himself, and with all those who had wronged him. He must have been lying on the streets for hours, or days. He had no idea about the time. But when he got up, he was feeling very much better. His fever had gone, and he was not getting the spasms of continuous coughing. He was amazed. How did he get well? Was he not supposed to need the Ventilator, and die thereafter?
Salim found that he could reason out rationally. Actually he had not been able to contract the disease, despite his frantic efforts. His abnormal mental condition had made him imagine that he had been infected, and psychologically he had started getting the symptoms. But having an outlet to his stifled emotions, believing that he had been able to hit back, he had got his mental peace and was able to regain his normalcy. It had acted like medicine.
He rose up slowly and said aloud, “I am happy that no one was infected with Corona Virus through me. It is our mutual dreaded Enemy, and we must defeat it with our combined efforts!”