Monday, 6 August 2012

THAT NIGHT (part four)

This is the 4th part of Professor Lakshmi Raj Sharma's acclaimed ghost story based in an Indian rural environment during a bygone era. Enjoy it and share!.
Professor Sharma's latest book "Marriages are Made in India" is available from Amazon on:


                                                                   That Night (Part IV)

I think it was 1963. I was about 28 then. I had been a student of philosophy and I was seized by a desire to write something new, propound a new theory of existence. I was doing research on Existentialism and had started taking the “Individual” very seriously. I did not want to accept society’s moral codes without questioning them. I was drifting towards an idealism of sorts. In the university my friends started calling me Sartre. Most people who did not have a close relationship with me forgot that my actual name was Sanjeev Raghuvanshi. I liked to be called Sartre and when the odd person called me Sanjeev, I wasn’t quite happy; it was like a coming down to become myself again. In that year a girl called Sonali Singh was admitted to the Philosophy Department for a master’s degree. She had obviously not been a student of the university in BA because someone as striking as her would have been noticed most definitely. She had come to study from somewhere and disturbed the general atmosphere of the university. Students (boys) would come even from the Science Faculty to see who this newcomer was. Girls came to make a note of what she had decided to wear on every other day. The colours she wore came into fashion; her hairstyle became the hairstyle of the season and her mannerisms became the models of imitation amongst the butterflies of the Arts Faculty. The Science girls were too hard pressed for time to butterfly themselves into a Sonali existence. But there were some male butterflies too. Pran was one of them.

I do not say that Sonali was a butterfly. She was too accomplished to be described by that expression. But she was one closely pursued by the butterflies, girls who were only interested in dressing well and looking attractive instead of working hard for their education. Sonali was a brilliant student, a good debater, a fine stage presence and even smart enough on the sports field. I must have been three or four years her senior, and one for whom socializing with girls was too much of a luxury because of my pursuits in philosophy, but even I could not escape her striking presence. I suppose anyone would be drawn to her, given her extraordinary charms.

But Pran fell head over heals for her. He became passionately involved with her. He was a year senior to her and could have been quite right for her, age wise, and otherwise too. He began to imagine that there was no one more suitable than himself to befriend and possess her. He began to think about her day and night and think ill of anyone else that thought of her. Pran forgot that he had joined the Philosophy Department for a Master’s degree in Philosophy rather than in Sonali. Sonali was quite cool about him. She always knew exactly how close she was going to allow him to get. She never let him feel that she was too interested in him or, for that matter, that she even felt that he was too interested in her. This began to hurt Pran. I too was interested in Sonali but I never fell heels over head for her. She therefore never worried too much about me. She would now and again discuss something about philosophy which gave my ego immense satisfaction. I distinctly remember, even after so many years have passed, that she came to discuss David Hume’s Theory of Custom with me once and, then on another day, G. E. Moore’s Axiological Intuitionism. Those were both wonderful days for me. She cast her magic on me. Pran asked me why she was meeting me privately and his tone suggested that he felt hurt that I was willing to help her out. He seemed to me no more than a stud, as he spoke. I was reminded of a bull that would fight with another bull daring to come in contact with cows in his territory.

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