The Waiter's Plan

I am in a good mood today; in fact my mood is so good that I am going to reveal to you the most mysterious mystery of my life. I did not really want an interesting life – in fact I will go to the extent of saying that I wanted a rather boring life. Looking at so many bored people around me I could have picked any profession- because it seems – sooner or later everyone is bored. Then I hit upon the idea that if I became a waiter then the most interesting part of my job would be overhearing bored people talk about how boring their lives were. And with a “most interesting” part like that I could look forward to a very contented and blissful boring life.
As they say - the dreams of mice and men often go awry. There are two rather poorly adjusted individuals whose sole joint aim in life is to thwart my humble desire of leading a boring life. Indeed, as you continue to read this story, you will realize that were it not for this aim their lives would be absolutely meaningless.
It all began when I started my first job as a waiter- patting myself on the back for the extremely wise choice I had made. A perfectly normal looking young couple came in. They asked for the menu which I promptly offered them. They started discussing the menu- the guy – Frank, made some silly comments about blindly choosing anything or ordering the thirty-seventh item on the menu which the girl rejected. I was eavesdropping on their conversation to prove my point to myself and was greatly pleased with the way things were going.
Then they started going weird – the girl, who is called Tipsy, even without the aid of any alcohol, started cursing some omnipresent writer who had created them. Initially I thought that they were making some reference to a creator who has thrown them into the world or some such morose bullshit, but I soon realized that they literally thought they were characters in some wacko writer’s works. “They thought” is perhaps too weak, they were absolutely convinced about it; the way you and I would be convinced that we are alive – “I think, therefore I am” – pretty tough to deny that. Anyway these two people absolutely ruined my happiness on the very first day of my job. I will not have people talking anything but the absolutely boring and banal when I am eavesdropping – is that too much to ask for?
Anyway, I settled into the humdrum and prayed to all the powers of randomness that I never see those people again. That was not to be- they returned within a week and continued their disruptive behavior.
I decided to call their bluff. I had half a mind to walk to them and give them a piece of my mind – like say something like – “quit acting weird”. But then, I thought I might as well have some fun and started acting weird myself – I gave them a long tirade on the benefits of potatoes and spoke as if I was a character in some work of fiction. I had expected them to come out clean, say that they were only doing it to get on my nerves. I am a good man, had they done that I would have forgiven and forgotten. But they behaved as if what I was doing was absolutely natural – they took no objection to my playing out a character in their mythical writer’s story.
So I left the job and moved to a restaurant halfway across the world. And the beasts, the sadistic psychopaths, turned up at that restaurant pretty much promptly. They refused to recognize me (at least this was normal, for who in their right mind would recognize a waiter). And, yes believe it or not, they continued abusing their imagined writer. I gave them a lot of weirdness that day, but they were unfazed.
This continued for a long time, wherever I took up a job, this couple turned up and insisted on talking about some non-triviality- mostly relating to the fictional nature of their existence.
Now, I was running out of ideas to out-weird them. I needed a lot of money to carry out more imaginative extravaganzas. So I started investing in mutual funds, then in common stocks, then in bond spreads, private equity, and venture capital, algorithmic trading, and eclectic-heuristic risk-adjusted relative-absolute value hedge funds and so on. I wasted a lot of hard earned tips in this futile exercise. Then I hit upon a brilliant idea, bought lottery tickets to the top ten lotteries in the world and became a multi-billionaire.
Now I could carry out most of my plans. I tried to break their cool building menu recently. That didn’t really work but I think I saw signs of their breaking up. I have a lot of things up my sleeve. Like I said I am in a good mood today- I think the day is not far when they will grovel before me and accept defeat.

The Menu

So, once again Frank and Tipsy were summoned by the voyeuristic writer. I am bored, the writer said, and asked Frank and Tipsy to talk.
Tipsy did not quite like her existence which was suspended and reincarnated at the will of some whacko writer. So she said – “Frank, can we refuse to talk and let this writer go to hell?” Now, that was interesting to the writer because by all usual criteria for hell and heaven the writer was indeed destined to go to hell – however he claimed himself to be an agnostic and had postponed the question of God’s existence or non-existence to some peaceful old age, which, God willing, he may just get.
Anyway Frank was the quintessential logician and said – “Tipsy, my dearest, even if we talk about not talking we are still talking and this writer, on whose after life destiny we can return to at a later date, still wins”
Tipsy was not one to be silenced (which, the writer interjects, defeats her purpose) and wanted to continue this discussion – “Don’t you feel like a toy in the hands of this egotistical bastard? Don’t you want to register your protest in some way? Don’t you want to make a token note of disapproval even if it won’t mean a thing?”
Frank was of course in love with Tipsy, it had already been written. It was impossible for Frank to empathize with Tipsy, and, it was very difficult to frame a response which would neither betray Frank’s conscience (or lack thereof) nor hurt Tipsy. Still, as we have mentioned Frank was a champion at logic and realized that faced with the impossible and very difficult the prudent choice is the very difficult.
So, Frank said – “Tipsy, I wish I had your youthful enthusiasm, I wish I were a romantic like you, I wish I thought that I could change the world. I don’t say that that I wish I could change the world, I only wish that I thought that I could. Then perhaps I would have questioned the writer, would have revolted against the scheme of things that he has set. If you really think about it the characters in the world that are real face the same problem- they have been thrown into a world the structure of which they don’t control. Some turn a blind eye to the structure or the lack of it and worship the benevolence of the Creator and some deny His existence and still others like our friend, the writer, claim that they care a hoot. But all of them must make do with what has been laid out. You can order anything from the menu but the menu is what it is”
Tipsy was involved now. She always liked to talk to Frank, and, for the moment she was willing to suspend her protest against the writer. She said in a sad tone – “At the risk of abusing eastern mysticism I must say that if I am fire – you are water and you are much more water than I am fire, if you insist on interacting with me then eventually I will go out – there will be nothing left of me- perhaps you would be warmer. So, should we continue this, oh Frank, I have perhaps never told you, but I love you. I can’t let you go even if it means my annihilation”
Frank felt an overpowering sadness rush through him, there was just one thing that was holding him to life, and that was Tipsy. Tipsy had fire, but would a Tipsy devoid of fire be Tipsy? Did fire define Tipsy or was it just incidental?
“There is more to you than fire; there is more to me than water. These are just attributes inflicted upon is by chance, when your fire is extinguished and my water is warm we’ll see that there is more to us than these attributes”
Tipsy gave this a thought, then gave it another and then gave it still another. Frank waited, Frank waited a little more, and Frank waited still more. Tipsy was giving more thoughts to what Frank had said; she was a spendthrift with her thoughts today. Frank did not have patience in a matching quantity and he blurted – “Say something! What are you thinking?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Not decided what? What to say or what to think?”
“Make me a party to your thoughts”
“Frank, let me ask you a question – suppose there is a mad guy who keeps talking nonsense – and another guy passes by and listens to the mad guy, and this guy thinks the mad guy is talking sense and is greatly influenced by the mad guy’s outpourings. Who is more insane?”
Frank has to collect his thoughts for a moment to decide whether he was being complimented or critiqued. But Frank had been blessed with an inherent inexhaustible immodesty and chose the former. The mood was set for his philosophizing and he began- “Normally I don’t like to resort to quotations but I will give you one – ‘Sanity is statistical’ – there are no absolute parameters to judge what is sane and what is insane and in the absence of these parameters we resort to an empirical analysis – what is deemed by the majority as sane is sane and vice versa. However, to answer you question the passer by is not really influenced by the outpourings of the madman – instead he finds the madman’s sayings a reflection of his own thoughts. Or, let’s say, he chooses to interpret the gibberish in his own way. It is this interpretation that is important not what the madman actually said.”
This was going around in too many circles, thought Tipsy. If she agreed with Frank was she really agreeing with herself? She felt hungry.
“Where are we sitting anyway?” she asked Frank.
“The writer hasn’t told us as yet – let’s look around. Looks like a restaurant to me- in sharp contradiction to the bars he usually seats us in- looks like he’s getting older,” said Frank.
“My dear Frank, you speak of the writer as a friend. Sometimes I wonder whether you are a partner in his crime- there is no malevolence towards him that I can detect”
“I am not disposed to be malevolent; to him I owe your magnificent company, what complaint can I have against him?”
Vanity, it is said, is the devil’s favorite sin – and by extension it must be the most irresistible temptation known to humans. And, of course, Tipsy was human though we choose to retain certain doubts about Frank. So, Tipsy felt better and was suddenly better disposed towards Frank, and grudgingly, towards the writer as well.
She looked around for the waiter – there were quite a few walking around but all looked busy. Then, she hailed one.
“Excuse me,” she said. The waiter arrived, his entry was theatrical – he heeded the call, walked a few steps then halted, looked in all the directions, thought deeply for a while – as if making a decision whether to destroy the earth or not and then proceeded.
He began what eventually turned out to be a tirade- “My name is Harish – I repeat for your convenience Harish. Even better I shall write it down for you.” He took out a crayon from his pocket and wrote his name on a napkin. Please be so kind as to note it is not Harry-ish .. it is hurry-eesh; and make sure you don’t pause between the hurry and eesh, it makes me nervous and you wouldn’t want a bowl of hot curry dropped on you. Ha ha ha. I must, in all modesty, comment on your lack of preparation for the exquisite event of visiting a restaurant. You are so callous, and when I say you I mean all the people who go to restaurants. You spend a lot of time on the Internet looking at profiles of people on social networking sites you wouldn’t want to talk to and still you come in here without visiting the website . That, my dear Sir, and my dear madam is the most important website ever designed in the history of the Internet. You will find the profiles of all the waiters of all the restaurants in the world on that website so that you don’t have to address us as ‘Excuse Me’. There is not a single waiter in the world who is called ‘Excuse Me’. So if you insist on calling any of us by this abominable epithet your chances of getting the name right are exactly zero. So the next time please do visit this website, I implore you to. So, what may I get you?”
“The menu,” said Frank meekly. He couldn’t risk any comment on the tirade lest it brought upon another one.
“Aha, the menu,” Harish chuckled, “I am sorry sir we don’t get you the menu- you must go to the menu. If you step outside the restaurant, there is a one hundred storey building each floor of which has about twenty rooms. Inside each room, for your convenience, we have stacked menus as books in a library. You are free to take as long as you want, and once you have made your choice, please come back and order; you will be served”
So Frank and Tipsy stepped into the building. Frank had a simple plan – just take the first item of the first menu in the first room on the first floor. He told Tipsy about his brilliant plan. Tipsy was aghast – “I must look at as many as I can, for one I want to have something I have never had before”
Meanwhile the waiter was laughing; there is of course a single letter that differentiates the waiter from the writer.

Lover and Beloved - The Mashed Potatoes

“So,” said Frank, “how has it been going?”
Tipsy, for some reason, wasn’t in a good mood and decided to not play along with the trite. “Frank, you know very well that the last time I was summoned into existence, by the writer that be, I was with you. We have both been wallowing in nothingness for some time and now suddenly we are called into existence. To ask how it has been going is absolutely and completely irrelevant.”
“Wow, looks like you haven’t been drinking for some time, it’s just that I couldn’t find anything else to say and not saying anything seemed more impolite than mouthing triteness”
“When did you start to care about being polite?”
“I am sorry, it’s been so long that I have forgotten what I am supposed to be like”
“That’s the problem with us, we never remember what we are supposed to be like, and I don’t like it. When I emerge from nothingness, I find that I still don’t have anything- I am still nothing, and this saddens me. It makes the nothingness unbearable.”
“So, you would rather not exist than exist in nothingness.”
“Unfortunately, to not exist, is not an option given to us- remember Nausea – remember the meaninglessness of the mortal remains”
“Tipsy, what do you have against nothingness, I love you, I can still look into your eyes and say that nothing else matters!”
“Oh, Frank! In this reincarnation you have been consumed totally by the trite, or else you are pretending, for you have loved me, but that never relieved the burden of the mundane.”
“Very well then, we’ll just sit are curse life again. I just wanted to talk a few pleasantries before we started being puppets but it seems the writer has a more powerful hold on you this time.”

“Frank, I love you, you know that I love you as if none else existed, as if not loving you was an option as inadmissible as not existing. You know that, but you are not satisfied with that. You want my love for you to prevent me from wanting anything else. But I want it, I want it desperately. I want to feel, I want to belong to this world, I want to feel something besides just loving you. I want an anchor in my life. If I say your love is all I have and all else in nothing, it seems that I am belittling our love. If I have only mashed potatoes in my house and I eat it, it wouldn’t mean I am very fond of mashed potatoes.”
“But I know you are fond of mashed potatoes!”
“Frank, my dear Frank, how can you be so irritating and so lovable at the same time,” said Tipsy with a merry laughter.

With Tipsy finally recalling that her role was also to spurt merry laughter into the world at periodic intervals and not merely to paraphrase Sartre, the stage was set for Frank and Tipsy to walk into the bar. So arm in arm they walked in, trying to look like and feel like any other ‘normal’ couple. The looking wasn’t too difficult and the feeling wasn’t too easy.
“Madam, Sir, what may I bring you today?”
“A bottle of whisky, two glasses and some mashed potatoes please,” said Frank.
“Sir, mashed potatoes are good but most people would ask for French Fries and Masala peanuts in this place with their whisky”
“When you say most, dear waiter, do you realize that ‘most’ is not ‘all’, in fact the makers of the English Language went to the extent of making two entirely different words for it. Look at these two words there is not a single letter common in the two. So please do honor the makers of the English Language and get me those mashed potatoes”
“Very good Sir, perhaps in some time and place I would like to discuss your obsession with the mashed potatoes. I have seen many kinds, I tell you, but I have seen none that were so touchy about mashed potatoes, perhaps your esteemed mother met with an accident making mashed potatoes (though I find it difficult to imagine what sort of an accident one can meet with while making mashed potatoes). And another thing which just came to my mind, if, and pardon my insolence, your esteemed mother did meet with an accident while making mashed potatoes why would you like mashed potatoes? Most people would actually start disliking mashed potatoes were such an occurrence to infringe itself on their existence. Though that can get you started on your ‘most is not all’ speech once again but I am willing to take the risk … ”
“My good waiter, no mother of mine met with any accident while making mashed potatoes, but I do know of a waiter who is going to meet with a very unfortunate accident while taking an order of mashed potatoes if he does not proceed immediately to get the mashed potatoes”
“The point that you are trying to make, although in very oblique terms, is well taken. I will do as you say; your wait time will be approximately 17 minutes. Thank you Sir.”
“Frank, I was wondering that myself, why are you so touchy about mashed potatoes today?”
“ Aha – I am glad you asked it – for I was going to explain it myself. You say that the fact that if you have mashed potatoes as the only option and you eat mashed potatoes does not imply that you are fond of mashed potatoes. My point is that it also does not imply that you are not fond of mashed potatoes. I was just trying to elucidate it by ordering mashed potatoes even when we had the option of French fries and Masala peanuts.”
“What about those that have eaten only mashed potatoes all their lives?”
“Tipsy, my dearest, it has been my contention that there are no intrinsic values in different types of foods, and it is wrong to say that French fries are better than mashed potatoes. In fact I would go to the extent of saying it is wrong, even to say that they are different. For they serve the same purpose- to fill up your stomach.” Frank was talking animatedly now, he seemed to have recalled what he was supposed to represent. “I am toward life what my friend, so and so, is toward food, place horse meat or a Masala Dosa or chowmein in front of him and he will proceed to eat the item with the same indifference that he would show the other items, but eat, he will, for that fills up his stomach.”

“So Frank, you make the choice of being indifferent toward the varieties presented before you, to the extent that you deny that varieties exist. But still you would grant that people may recognize the existence of varieties and may choose to choose one over the others.”

Thus, Frank and Tipsy rambled for a few more sentences and understood each others’ position in literal terms, and yet, were further away from understanding how a different line of thought from their own was possible. The mashed potatoes, perhaps having a volition of their own, chose this moment to make their presence felt, and appeared on the table alongside the whisky.
“No matter whether there are choices or not, no matter whether you chose mashed potatoes or not; mashed potatoes are what you are going to get,” said Frank triumphantly.
“As long as they come with whisky, I don’t really mind,” concluded Tipsy.


For want of anything better it was suddenly time for our good friends Frank and Tipsy to get together again.
Frank, frankly, was tired of being Frank.
And, Tipsy, tipsily, was tired of being Tipsy.
Frank: Oh I am quite tired of being Frank.
Tipsy: That’s just like a guy I used to know, he took particular pleasure in making the most nonsensical statements.
Frank: Who was that guy?
Tipsy: Frank.
Frank: But I am Frank.
Tipsy: But you are tired of it.
Frank: But that doesn’t make me not Frank.
Tipsy: It should.
Frank: It should does not imply that it does.
Tipsy: It should.
Frank: Oh, you are Tipsy!
Tipsy: Tired of it though.
Frank: Then you are not Tipsy.
Tipsy: Yes, I am not. I choose to be Janet.
Frank: Who’s Janet?
Janet: I just stepped out of a Mills and Boon novel.
Frank: Did you even read any?
Janet: No, but I know I am five feet seven and ravishingly beautiful. And you have to be six feet two to associate with me.
Frank: Okay, then I am Ranvir Khan.
Janet: A Rajput and a Pathan?
Ranvir: You have hit the pin on the head.
Janet: I would rather hit you!
Ranvir: Don’t you dare. I will hit back.
Janet: You will hit a woman?
Ranvir: Yes, I will.
Janet: Is that your code of ethics?
Ranvir: But I am a metrosexual as well.
Janet: That confuses matters further.
Ranvir: Exactly.
Janet: ?

So Ranvir and Janet, the Frank and Tipsy of yesteryears set off. Do they know each other? Janet would like to think that they do, that there is a string that ties them to their previous incarnation. She has been practicing a special kind of Chinese dreamy meditation, and though it doesn’t directly talk of rebirths, she is sure that there is a link. Ranvir, in his role as the male, has to play the spoilsport- and therefore terms her dreams illogical.

Janet: What’s the point of having dreams if they make perfect sense?
Ranvir: What’s the point of anything that doesn’t make sense?
Janet: What’s the point of anything?
Ranvir: You do have a point there. I have been writing too many documents, and they have to make sense, in a sense, and that’s what misled me. I wanted sense where there is none.
Janet: Forget it, even though we have reincarnated, we’re still the same. You cannot help being Frank.
Frank: And you always bring me back when I go astray. You must be Tipsy.
Tipsy: I’ll drink to that.

So after a short foray into trying to be what they were not, Frank and Tipsy came back to trying to be what they were (or thought they were, or wanted to be, or what the other wanted them to be, of what they thought the other wanted them to be).

Frank wasn’t really sure whether the return to being Frank was a wise decision. Then he thought that he wasn’t sure of anything anyway. Then he thought whether a decision that could be reversed at any time was a decision at all. Then he thought whether it would matter one way or the other. Then he was reminded of the famous line (and if it is not famous it should be) from Douglas Adams- Why Not Go Mad?

He looked at Tipsy directly in the eye, felt his courage slipping away for a moment, blinked his eyes and then said: Tipsy, after much consideration, due diligence and deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that I want to go mad

In razor sharp contradiction to what Frank had expected Tipsy wasn’t taken aback. But then that’s women for you, just when you think you have them all figured out (which, in itself is a sure sign or immaturity); they will boggle you with the unanticipated.

Tipsy leaned forward, batted her eyelids, looked at Frank in the eye, did not falter for a moment and said Yes, my dearest, you are allowed to go mad, you are allowed go absolutely mad, mad for love of Tipsy

That’s another characteristic of women, just when you think they will come up with something absolutely new, they will tell you the same thing again.

Tipsy: The writer is am insolent sexist bastard.
Frank: Well, he does sound sexist, but I am not sure I understand why he is wrong.
Tipsy: Then you are a cowardly sexist bastard.
Frank: I think I am falling in love with you again.
Tipsy: Good, but coming back to the point. I will explain, in you dry logical way why saying the same thing at different times doesn’t mean the same thing. Suppose there is a computer program and I give it an input will it always return the same output.
Frank: Not necessarily, it would depend on the state of the program.
Tipsy: Exactly. So what I say is the input, and what you should understand is the output, and the situation and circumstances I said that in is the state.
Frank: Ah!
Tipsy: And the situation and circumstances are constituted by everything that we have talked about ever, and each time what you were expected to understand based on situations and circumstances at that point.
Frank: So how do I know whether I got it right?
Tipsy: You should.
Frank: And what if I don’t?
Tipsy: Go figure?
Frank: Go figure, what?
Tipsy: Go figure.

Frank couldn’t really figure out much, but he had his ways and soon Tipsy and he were chatting away like old times, and Tipsy was drunk on the madness of love.

Tipsy: So how did you like my idea of the madness of love?

Frank, unfortunately, was rather touchy about the concept of madness today; in it he saw his escape, his panacea.

Frank: Oh Tipsy, I am madly in love with you, but

Tipsy: Frank, dearest, if you love me madly, why the but?

Frank: Tipsy, I never was your dearest, otherwise why would you keep leaving me?

Tipsy: But I keep returning to you, why would I do that if you were not my dearest?

Frank: Then, maybe the most you can give me, is less than what I want

Tipsy: Frank, you are talking like a girl

Here Tipsy is being sexist; the writer cannot resist pointing out.

Tipsy: Shut up, writer.

Frank: Maybe, the madness has caused a sex change.

Tipsy: Shut up, Frank.

Now we have reached a deadlock, the writer and Frank have been asked to shut up and Tipsy has completed her sentence. Who speaks?

The Brew

For a long time a few characters, a few episodes and a few conversations have been brewing in my consciousness. Only a few of these have assumed a palpable form, for the most part they have existed as pure thought (which would of course lead us to the open question of whether anything but pure thought has any claim to existence). An attempt to crystallize these random thoughts in the form of a story is most urgently required, so here goes...
The story takes off with Frank and Tipsy drinking to each other’s health in a pub. Where this pub is not important because our characters are so immensely engrossed in their togetherness that the surroundings do not concern them, do not concern the writer and indeed should not concern the readers.
“Jahan kaheen mil baithe hum tum, waheen par ho madhushala,” Frank quotes to Tipsy as the Yankee DJ puts on a track of Rupak Taal after receiving a lot of requests from the motley crowd in the pub.
“I have never met anyone like you,” says Tipsy matter of factly looking at her drink.
“ Do you intend the comment for the drink or for my humble self”?
“ Not for you, my dear, nor for the drink, but for the whole scheme of this situation that we find ourselves in”
“Wasn’t I supposed to say all the brilliant lines, you were just supposed to sit here and act Tipsy?”
“I am Tipsy, and it is difficult to act who you are, at times,” said Tipsy good humouredly and then upon a moment’s reflection added, “ you, male chauvinist pig.”
The manner in which Tipsy hurled the expletive at Frank charmed him beyond measure and aroused in him a desire to hurl a few terms of endearment at the loveliest girl that he had ever seen who was sitting opposite him.
“You are the loveliest girl I have ever seen,” Frank was particularly adept at taking cues from the writer.
“Of course you are lying, Frank darling”
“Don’t bother with false modesty, I have always told you”
“We are meeting for the first time!”
“Which makes it all the more amazing, doesn’t it?”
The Yankee DJ sensed the beginnings of a romance in the corner table where Frank and Tipsy were sitting.
He approached their table. “Sir, would you like to request a song for the lady?”
“Play any love song,” Frank said dismissively.
The DJ’s feelings seemed to have been hurt. He sulked back to his corner and started reflecting on his sick life. He didn’t much understand why life was as it was, why wasn’t it different, life should have been something else but not this. He looked around for love songs, everything looked like a love song, and he finally put on a Guns and Roses number, “I used to love her, but I had to kill her”
There were groans all around; you can’t suddenly play rock to a group of people absorbed in Hindustani Classical Music.
He stopped the track, put on Rupak Taal again and announced pointing at Frank and Tipsy, “This taal is dedicated by the gentlemen in the corned to the lady with him,” thereby giving everybody a license to appreciate the ethereal beauty of Tipsy. Frank was not amused at this, and resolving to curb his libido in all further intercourses with women, quit looking at Tipsy’s breasts.
Remorse, guilt and shame took possession of Frank’s soul. Remorse made him want to say something nice to Tipsy, “You are the most adorable person I have come across,” he said. Guilt made him light up a cigarette and shame made him hang his head.
“O Frank, you idiot, you are going to spoil everything by falling in love with me”
Frank cursed his idiotic self, further he cursed his romantic self and then in a melancholy voice said, “Tipsy, I am thoroughly incapable of curbing the feeling of love and romance which surface in my heart, especially when I am drunk and you sit there laughing merrily.” The image of the laughing Tipsy caused another pang of conscience to seize him and he started crying. The evening had come to an end, Frank and Tipsy departed with a handshake, and a huge collection of emotions to ponder upon and investigate for the night.
Frank reached his house and immediately on entering put on an air of melancholy which seemed to say – “I am a cursed man , forever damned to loneliness”. This loneliness was of his own choosing and he wanted to savor it , enjoy all its nuances which often were merely self-pity but he liked to call them existentialist angst, meaninglessness of existence and contemplation of human suffering.
He prepared a glass of whisky though he didn’t really want any more alcohol, but it was easier to be sad with a whisky glass in hand. He thought of Tipsy, and the overflowing love that he felt for her a few minutes ago, but now was the time for contemplation of his own character, of how he fell in love with alarming frequency, and how he knew it was hardly the kind of love which a girl would have wanted. He had lived and loved enough to realize that he loved nothing but an idea-woman as many girls told him. He put on an expression of being misunderstood whenever he was told that but actually it was a sadness emanating from being understood too completely. He had his own theory of love on the lines of Buddhist theory of ‘dhyana’ . First there was the object of affection , the contemplation and the joy emanating from this, then the contemplation was not needed , the object and the joy remained. Then the joy disappeared, and just the object remained and eventually the object disappeared. In ‘dhyana’ an inner peace and negation of egotism were supposed to be what remains in the last stage, but for him was remained was nothing, and he needed another object to start the cycle once again. This was much like the cycle of rebirth and as long as the lust for love remained he must undergo the pain and the pleasures, the joy and the suffering in what seemed an endless cycle.
Thus caught in ‘dhyana’, love and loneliness Frank entered the realm of the subconscious.
Tipsy reached her house , her housemates had gone to sleep. She stealthily found her bed and decided to think a little before going to sleep. Maybe Frank had some effect on her , he said he liked to think before sleeping, everybody thought , always , and so before sleeping too, so why did Frank put the emphasis. He might as well have said “I like to breathe before I sleep.” She should have told him that, now when she will tell Kris about the meeting with Frank and what they talked off he will say that Frank talked of idiotic things and she will look like a fool for admitting an admiration of what Frank said. There was something about what Frank had said which made sense, made more sense than the banalities she always exchanged with others , but something she couldn’t quite put her finger to. Kris had everything she wanted –stability , love, care, intelligence …And yet she found herself getting attracted to Frank, he seemed to have this ability to make her stop thinking of the mundane which was …intoxicating. Yes , there it was Frank was merely an intoxicant and Kris her diet. She wasn’t romantic enough to choose the intoxicant. Somebody had told her a story of Urdu poet Ghalib. When he received some money as prize for a couplet from a noble he spent all the money on drinks, and when asked he replied –‘God has promised everyone his daily bread , I have bought the drinks; He will take care of the food.’ She liked the story, she laughed when she heard it, she would repeat it to others, but she wouldn’t do this in her life. With Ghalib and Kris in her thoughts she joined Frank in the subconscious.