Dr. Knight looked around the huge studio apartment he was sitting in. There were three cupboards filled with books on his left hand side. Apart from basic furniture, there wasn’t anything else of notice. This was unusual for him. Well, this was unusual for any therapist, going for a session at patient’s house at 4 in the morning. Amar was sitting opposite to him on a revolving chair with a round coffee table in between them. He was overlooking huge glass doors almost acting as mirror in night. You could also see the skyline of the city through it.
‘Let’s get started then, hmm, Amar? You have been sleeping well?’ Dr. Knight started the conversation. He was seeing him after a year. He didn’t want to waste much time.
‘I won’t say well. But it’s better since we last met. I think it’s because of all the coffee I keep drinking all the time’
‘Maybe. It could also be because of something that has been troubling you for a long time and you haven’t had the opportunity to process it. We spoke about reaching out to your friends. Did you do that?’
‘I have been unemployed for over three years doc. I don’t have friends. People can smell desperation.’ Amar swivelled in his chair a little as he spoke the last sentence.
‘So you tried to reach out?’ Dr. Knight probed further as he adjusted his chair.
‘No. Not exactly. Let me tell you how relationships or friendships work. Or Society in general. It works in Symbiotic relationships. Now you can classify symbiotic relationship in broadly three categories, Mutualism – Where both individuals benefit, meaning both of them have something that the other one wants. Commensalism – Where one benefits and the other is not significantly harmed. Like when someone lets you borrow their car. Parasitism – Where one person benefits while the other one is harmed. You know when someone fucks you over. And this world Dr. knight is filled with parasites. So for me now to reach out to my friends, what kind of relationship you think that would be? They must be doing well in their lives, why be another parasite?’ Amar asked as he got up from his chair to move towards kitchen area towards his right. ‘Coffee?’ Asked Amar. Dr. Knight nodded in affirmative as he also got up from his chair.
Amar Raghuvanshi was one of the most celebrated teachers in Kota three years back. People say that he just snapped and shut down his institute one day and left 300 students high and dry in the middle of the year. Some say it was after one of his students committed suicide. Suicides in Kota are always mentioned in hush hush tones. Parents, teachers, no one wants to acknowledge the pressure they put these kids through. Whatever might have been the reason, Amar Raghuvanshi had not left his house for three years. When you are as celebrated a teacher as he was, you have a lot of money. But all the money in the world cannot buy you sanity. His marriage fell through somewhere along the line. Dr. Knight was here to get him back into the world.
‘You have to reach out to your friends and family Amar. Talk to them if only for 2 mins. You remember how you used to give DPP sheets to your students. Daily practice problems. You have to address your problems daily. If you don’t then the sheets just pile up and like on the students, it just adds more pressure on you too.’ Dr. Knight tried to reason with him.
‘Do you believe in Karma doctor?' Amar quickly said to change the topic.
‘Maybe. To a certain extent I think. But yeah, I try to do as much good as I can.'
'Let's suppose I nudged one of my students towards killing himself. I knew he wouldn't clear JEE and that would have ultimately killed him anyway. There was just so much pressure on him. I just helped him get there faster. In doing so, I helped his extremely poor family save some precious money and also saved him from facing a lot of failures. Is that good karma or bad?'
Dr. Knight was perplexed. He collected himself quickly and remembered why he was here. He was a therapist. His patient was Amar Raghuvanshi.
‘Do you feel suicidal Amar?' Dr. Knight was not supposed to judge his patients. He was supposed to help them.
‘Yeah, all the time' said Amar as matter of factly as anyone could. ‘But you have to realize suicide gives me hope. It's something no one can take away from me. Whenever I am absolutely fucked in life, I always remind myself that I can always kill myself and it will be over in a second. And that gives me enormous strength. I control my own destiny.'
Amar was talking by himself now, so Dr. Knight sat there quietly.
‘I am not a happy person doc. I want to be but it's been so long since I have been happy that I find that feeling strange. I understand the feeling, I recognize the feeling but as soon as I start to feel happy, it scares me at the same time, because it's so unknown to me.'
‘Why were you not happy all this while then?' Dr. Knight was happy that Amar was beginning to open up.
‘I don't know. I have tried to figure it out. I think I chase heartbreaks. I want to understand them. I remember wanting to be in a perfect relationship. You know the kind where it's so perfect that you don't even need to speak. And then I wanted something to break it. Not petty issues, not insecurity, something that you can't get over with. Something which scars you. Like some divine intervention. I wanted god to intervene and give me heartbreak. I never got that. And that's another kind of heartbreak. It's not the same, but it's something.'
‘So, you think at some level you might have sabotaged your marriage?’
‘No, No.’ Amar replied immediately.
So, why did you leave your wife? What happened?' Dr. Knight asked Amar
‘I think I raped her.'
'Yeah, I mean how you tell if you have raped someone you are married to. She didn't say anything.' Amar replied casually shifting in his chair.
‘Then why did YOU leave her?' Dr. Knight asked, confused with what was happening.
‘How could I not. I mean I am pretty sure I raped her. And she didn't say anything. How could I live with someone with such low self-respect?'
Amar stood up and asked if the doctor wanted refill on the coffee. Dr. Knight didn’t say anything. Amar looked at the clock, it was 5.20. Sun was up as he asked the doctor again. No reply. Amar came back from the kitchen to see what the doctor was doing. He was not there. Amar looked on those huge glass doors overlooking the city again. He could not see his reflection anymore. The night sky has made way for a beautiful morning as Amar sat down in his chair and took a sip from his coffee mug. He thought about the progress he had made today. He smiled to himself and thought; maybe Dr. Knight will get him out of his house someday. Not today, though.