"When elder brother's friend Shashisekhar passed out of the medical college, he became our family doctor. I had seen
him before on many occasions by peeping out of the curtains. My elder brother was a strange person - he could not view
the world properly. He always tried to take shelter in the corners."
"Shashisekhar was one of his friends. So I often saw Shashisekhar, and in the evening when I sat in the garden I
imagined that all the male persons had taken the form of Shashisekhar and surrendered at my feet. Are you listening? How
do you find the story?"
I answered, "I feel it would have been better had I been born as Shashisekhar."
"Listen to the whole story."
"One cloudy day, I developed fever. The doctor was called - that was the first time that we came face-to-face. I was
gazing out of the window so that the reddish hue of the setting sun would camouflage the ugly tell-tale signs of illness
from my face. The Doctor looked at my face upon entering the room; I imagined that I was the doctor and looked at my own
face - a flower resting on a soft pillow and the eyebrows over the large eyes casting a shadow on the forehead in
"Doctor told brother in a gentle voice, 'I will have to feel the pulse'."
"I extended a weary hand. I looked at the hand; if only I had been wearing blue glass bangles, it would have looked
good. I had never before seen a doctor hesitating so much while feeling a patient's pulse. He felt my pulse with uneasy
fingers and gauged the extent of my fever; I, too, gauged the internal turmoil that he was going through. Don't you
I told the apparition that there was no reason to disbelieve. "A human being's pulse does not beat at the same rate
under all circumstances."
"As days progressed, I again fell sick once or twice and saw that the countless admirers who crowded for my attention
in my imagination had reduced, and only one admirer remained. My own world had become desolate and only two persons
remained - a doctor and his patient."
"Every evening I secretly removed myself to the garden wearing an orange-coloured sari and with my hair well combed
and adorned with a garland of flowers. I carried a mirror and sat in the garden looking at my reflection."
"Why! Don't you feel tired of looking at your own reflection! You really don't. As a matter of fact, while looking
at the mirror I would no longer be myself. Sitting alone in the garden I would be transformed into two persons - I would
become the doctor who gazed at me in the mirror. But from deep inside me, a deep sigh would rise like the evening
"I was never alone since then. While walking I would observe how my feet touched the ground and pondered whether my gait
would be appealing to the doctor. In the afternoons the sun would beat down harshly outside the window, and there would be
no sound excepting for the scream of an occasional eagle that flew high up in the sky, and the call of a hawker who went
around peddling his wares. I would spread a clean and white bed-cover and lie down while imagining that someone had lifted
my two hands, kissed them and was quietly departing. Well, if I end my story here, how would it be?"
"It will not be bad," I replied. "Of course, the story will remain unfinished; but I could try to spend the rest of
the night trying to think up a befitting conclusion."