At the onset of his madness, Philip K Dick remarks on the protagonist of his loosely autobiographical novel VALIS (a novel that is at once brilliant and tedious, capturing the essence of Dick’s madness) that he could be happy only because he was perpetually occluded to what was to come, to his own future and to the consequences of his own actions!
That is how I see myself now. I am at the brink of losing my oldest friend. Even if he survives this, the severe strain our friendship has suffered will resolve itself to some terrible conclusion over time, and I can find happiness for the time being only in my incapacity to see ahead into the bleak future.
We can barely look at each other now in the guilty knowledge of what we have done together, and yet, that fateful evening began in the most promising manner.
I imagine people do some particular thing they get fixated on to find solace when they feel lovesick. I eat pizzas. I had just ordered my pizzas when Rainbow called me up to announce his arrival in town. So I packed up my order and went to his house. His folks were away, and we agreed that a late night movie date would not be out of order.
We caught up with our lives over the pizzas and salads, and he proposed me for marriage. Again! To be turned down. Again! He knows I am seeing someone now, and we talked a bit about that too. The pizzas duly finished, we dusted his museum-piece of a scooter and took it for a ride, yelling songs into the night and the cold breeze. Eventually we set out for a movie armed with junk foods to round the night up with.
We went to see Yuvvraaj. I did ask him if we couldn’t go see something else, but he said he wanted to see Yuvvraaj. I was also interested in the movie because from the promos it looked like Anil Kapoor had turned in an over the top performance and I wanted to watch it, and we went in together.
I don’t remember what happened in the following two hours very clearly. My doctor tells me that it’ll be a while before the trauma subsides and I can start to remember the events after I went into shock, and he clarifies that the complete memories of the night might never come back.
But I do remember a few distorted and blurred images of what had transpired before I lost my consciousness to the criminal attacks made on my senses by the movie. I remember people rushing in to lift me from the floor and I remember the long journey from there to the ambulance. I also remember the bright red bulb on the door of the operation theatre, and I have some recollection of the time in ICU afterwards. I don’t remember anything from the movie though, and my report asserts in no uncertain terms that the merest encounter with anything from that movie in the rest of my life time might drive me a raving lunatic.
But above all I remember that one glance Rainbow and I exchanged before we slumped unconscious into our respective seats. No matter how we are going to pretend to each other, we knew that we had reached the point where we couldn’t turn our back on the tragedy of having watched Yuvvraaj together and pretend as if everything was the same as ever.
I guess all good things come to an end. Rainbow has been my oldest friend through thick and thin, through rain and sun, through dangling genitalia to spotted underwears. As I write this now, he is still common-senseless in the hospital. It has often been observed that he didn’t have a lot of common sense to start with, but the movie Yuvvraaj introduces new depths to the meaning of imbecility. Rainbow’s brain damage might be irreversible.
So dear blog readers, pray for my friend’s soul, if not for his life. And as I have often said, the night is the darkest just before the electricity goes out.
Note: Unedited. Pestered with exams and no time to edit! Written over a seminar on Quantum Cryptography of which I did not understand one bit (I arrived half an hour late and spent the next one scribbling this one :)). But the one on Boolean Functions was interesting, if you really insist on being told!