The Big Picture

There’s a light breeze this morning, and I can feel the monsoon preparing to let loose on us in a month or so. Monsoons are the loveliest times to be in Bombay. I feel calm and peaceful, and many things that bothered me earlier have been resolved. A couple, the major concerns, still remain, but I’m more patient now, because I’m not stretched on my resources. Looking at the bigger picture has helped me to maintain a relative calm when waiting for the consequences of these events, or else I’d be in tatters.

Inspired by that thought, I’ve written the short story below –

He was upset. He had no sleep last night, and felt bloated, constipated, stupid and ugly. After everything else that had happened, this was just the cherry on the cake. He could not drink the barbituates that he had mixed with alcohol. Drinking it all would take the continued courage he didn’t have. He lit a cigarette. The last of his pack. Why should he buy more in such expensive economy, when he didn’t plan to live?

He went to the terrace of his building. He wondered what a site he must make. A 3 day stubble, a faded grey t-shirt and short. He stood on the ledge. He hesitated. He could see the cars. Tiny as mice. He closed his eyes. This was the only way. He walked on with eyes closed, and simply slipped off. He didn’t open his eye no matter how scared.

He started losing consciousness, and last he remembered, he fell on something soft. A field in heaven? Perhaps, he thought.

He could hear electronic beeping of some kind. He opened his eyes. He was in a .. hospital. And a pair of beautiful, deep, intelligent eyes were staring at him.

What the?

“I’m the resident clinical psychologist. A new recruit actually. Just joined. I wanted to look in at you as they said that yours was an attempted suicide. Oh btw, you got saved because you fell on an open garbage truck

He made a face. He could not even die successfully!

“I know what you’re thinking. Stupid garbage truck. But wait a moment. Both your ex-girlfriend and you ex-boss have been here.”

“What did they say?”

“That they’re sorry, they had no idea what they did would hurt you so much etc etc. One dumped you, the other fired you, if I’m right?”

He felt stupid and grumpy again. He grunted in consent.

“You liked my eyes, didn’t you? I saw your expression. I was blind until a couple of years ago, when after a matching donor and years of collecting money, the operation could be managed. You have no idea how difficult it is to manage exams and practicals with such a handicap. But if i’d ended my life before, I’d not have lived to see the day when I could..see, so as to say.”

That broke the ice. He looked at her in a queer way. And he wanted to tell her all that had occurred. But it all seemed so trivial when compared to her ordeal. And then he realized, your own problems will always look big because you are looking to closely at them. It’s like looking at pixels of the picture. You need to take a step back and look it at all to make sense of it, the big picture.

Still, he blurted all of it to her. Even this latest insight.

Then when she was leaving, she said, “I would’t mind a 3-day stubble actually. It’s sexy in a rugged sort of way”.


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