THE DREAM OF A DISTURBED MAN – with due apologies to Dostoevsky and his ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’
With due apologies to the makers of the movie ‘PK’ and to one of the great short stories of Dostoevsky – ‘The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’
Last night I went for a walk along the seashore. It was late and there were very few people around, in fact you could say it was desolate. Why I chose such an hour for a walk is beyond my comprehension, it was just an impulsive action. But anyway I do concede that it was perhaps my disturbed state of mind which was responsible. Why disturbed, you may ask. Well ever since I saw that movie ‘PK’ three days ago I have had recurring dreams of flying away to a distant planet and not knowing how to return back home and to top it all I was all naked (in the dream of course, in case you start to let your imagination run wild). I would suddenly wake up and find that I was safe and sound in my own bed, with my clothes on. I did switch on the light and examined myself in front of the mirror to ensure that my ears were of the normal shape and my eyes were my very own dark brown eyes.
I sat on a bench under one of those neon lights, looking across at the vast sheet of water rising and falling and the silver streaks of reflection of the moon above dancing to their rhythm, when I saw a bright object travelling at great speed across the sky in the distance. For a moment I thought that it was a plane, but it was too big and too fast to be one. I decided that it could be a meteorite, but then it seemed to halt in its path and slowly started its descent. It landed a hundred meters away from me on the sand. The object was a huge ball about fifty meters in diameter. As I watched partly in fright and partly in wonder, a door opened near the underbelly of the object and a figure slowly descended from a ladder. As soon as the figure touched the sand the ladder was pulled up and the door closed. the object then rose up slowly, the same way it had landed and the next instant there was only this flash of light and the only sound that emanated was ‘whoosh’ and it had vanished.
As I stared at the figure, it moved towards where I was sitting. Initially when it was in the shadows, I could make out only the dark outline of something which resembled a human being but with a predominantly large and pointed ears very much ‘Spocklike’ (in case you wonder – Spock of Star Wars fame). It was only when it came and stood in front of me under the light did I immediately recognize it. “My Gosh!” I said to myself, “that’s PK”. I continued to stare at him, dumbfounded. I was confused for this guy was fully clothed, in fact as colorfully dressed as PK was when he decided to return. “Thank God, for that” I said to myself “Can’t imagine finding oneself on the seashore late at night with a naked man. Ugh!”
“Hello” he said “is this China?”
“No, this is Chennai” I replied “May I ask, who you are?”
“S—t, these guys back in control room again got their spellings and co-ordinates mixed up. Well you asked my name? You can call me Dostfromsky. You know very well, that is if you had met PK, back in our planet we do not have names.”
“What sort of name is that and how did you suddenly decide on it?” I asked.
“Well when PK came back he brought a few things he had picked up from you guys here – language, dress and how to lie. So you see I know your languages as well. Dost means friend, isn’t it, in Hindi? The rest is English I guess. So you get it –‘Friend from the Sky’. Well what’s your name?”
“Can I just call you DY that would be easier? You may call me GS that would be better.”
“What’s your full name, I guess it would have a meaning.”
“I don’t know, but it would be a long story so forget it” I replied.
“Don’t worry, just let me hold your hand that would be enough.” So saying, he grabbed my hand as in a handshake and for a minute I felt a current passing through my whole body.
“I got it” he said “but you also speak a strange language.”
For a moment I was uneasy wondering what dark secrets he had unearthed.
“It’s not a strange language. It is Tamil one of the many national languages of this vast country and perhaps the oldest. This is the language of Chennai, so you better not call it strange. Your PK never bothered to come down south here (except perhaps through the movie screens). If you ask me your PK returned to your planet with insufficient knowledge. The whole time he spent here searching for his remote control to return back home he went around exposing Babas prancing around with babes, while he ultimately left covering himself. If you don’t call that hypocrisy, then what is? There is more to this planet than all the ‘B’s.”
DY was silent for some time and then he started speaking “In a sense I empathize with you. Why do you think I have come down here? The return of PK has unleashed chaos on our planet. He came back fully clothed hiding his nakedness, he said. You know till he came back we never felt that we have to be ashamed of our bodies. He taught us to hide behind clothes and our emotions behind lies. He taught us that it is necessary to have a language to communicate. This has only led to misinterpretations and misunderstandings among the populace who now have started fighting among themselves for petty things. When he first returned he said how on this planet of yours people created Gods whom they worshipped not understanding that it was the other way around. He talked about the gullibility, stupidity and the exploitation that is rampant on your planet and that you worshipped idols as Gods and called it religion.”
“So what happened afterwards in your planet?”
“Well in course of time the people looked up to PK as a messiah. You can find his pictures and idols at various places and in short PK is now God.”
“Then how come you landed up here?” I asked.
“See, I was one of the doubters and so I have been banished and sent away from there and the worst place PK thought would be here. I have been sent here without a remote control so that I cannot return.”
(TO BE CONTINUED)