Another confession of a flawed perfectionist
No, this is not fiction! A secret, the World must know, Now!
IT was 7.15 pm on Saturday April 25, 2015 – I had been sitting in the rickety white wooden bench for half hour now, dreading the outcome. My friend Sudhir was with me, he assured me nothing will be wrong, but he too knew all was not right.
As the moment arrived, I walked into the chamber nervously and then the man in the robe, just looked at me and the pronouncement was made, the verdict was NOT in my favour.
He handed over the papers to Sudhir with clear instructions. I felt my knees would give away, I was shattered. What was my crime? Well, I will deal with this issue later.
I was condemned to spend a week in solitary confinement.
8.00pm: I was remanded into the 8 feet x 12 feet room. A well painted one, it had a tube light and a fan, a stool with a jug of water and a steel glass, and just one calendar on the wall. A window, but closed, nothing was visible of the outside, a high ventilator. A side door which opened into a bathroom with a western toilet, neat with blue and white tiles. There was a wooden cot in the room without a bed, but I was asked to sleep on the floor mat with a thin cloth on it. I was also provided with pillows and bed sheet to cover. An electric mosquito repellant was there too.
I would rather call my ‘cell’^ a special room, for that gave me a feeling of having a special status and also sounded better.
I was asked to change into a long white shorts and a light round neck loose T shirt, I was given insipid curd rice in a small bowl and after partaking that I fell asleep on the mat, tired from the previous day’s incident. No, I am not going into the details, but one thing was sure I am going to endure this physical pain and torture for only a week… but the mental agony… for now - best forgotten.
I woke up late in the night and drank water from the jug, and couldn’t sleep at all, my back was aching, both the legs and hands were paining badly, I couldn’t get up and wash myself. I lied down again writhing in more pain.
The next day was Sunday, the ‘warden’* woke me with a broad smile, gave me my list of instructions: No bathing, No toothbrush, only toothpaste to be used with finger, No outside food, only porridge like dal rice and butter milk rice will be served, morning newspaper provided (thankfully – can check last night’s IPL match result) and some fruits allowed. Strictly NO contact with anybody whatsoever and NO VISITORS apart from immediate family, yes – I was allowed my medicines.
I dozed the whole Sunday, thinking of all the luxuries I was missing. That evening I was given my mobile phone, but no out-going calls* were allowed, I could check internet on the weak wifi. I logged in and out off Twitter and Facebook, no posts done... what will I post?
I kept thinking, what got me into this, how did it happen, I continued to have nightmares of the worst experience.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday too passed like a routine, with almost no activity, partook the insipid food, looked at the four walls and the roof all the time (the old brown fan needed to be wiped), read the newspaper, played a few games on the mobile, browsed the internet, made random posts on social media and dozed most of the time.
Thursday – April 30, 2015: My cousin Srinivasan was getting married in the same city, they got the news about me, I was feeling extremely sad that I couldn’t attend the wedding, my wife didn’t go, none from my family went either!
Friday was no different from earlier days, no change in the taste of the food, I yearned for samosas and mirchi bajjis, for ice-cream and chocolates.
Sunday, after a week I am released from the imprisonment. My face looks like a hardened criminal, unshaven for 10 days, deepened eyes, unkempt hair, dark spots all over the face
I have my first wash in more than a week and thank all those who were with me in this one week of utter torture, thanks to my family for bearing with me and my tantrums, special thanks to Sudhir Kutty for taking me to the Doctor, ‘the man in the robe’, who put me through this course of solitary confinement to cure the highly infectious chicken pox.
Ps: * marked items are added fiction - for the effect J
^the guest room in my house