Theandric Thursday : Hysteria

This post is part of a meme 'Theandric Thursday' by Ashna Banga (Pages from a Young Diary). Below is how she describes the meme,

Once every week, on Thursday, I'll be posting something that's a cross between Fiction and reality, something that's not really on an average person's mind on any average day (including the supernatural!) That's where 'Theandric' comes into the picture. The dictionary definition of the word says, 'Relating 
to the joint agency of the divine and human nature'.

© Ashna Banga

4th Sep, Tuesday, 11:19 pm - 13 days ago

I am crouching down in the basement parking lot of the city mall. My knees are buried on the hard concrete floor and they are probably hurt and bleeding, since I am rocking back and forth in this position for about 70 minutes. I am sniffing heavily from one of the Kniff perfume bottles lying around me. The scents have penetrated my mind deep, but somehow I don't feel satisfied.

I hear foot steps and see three pair of feet coming towards me, worried pair of feet.
"Look", the first one says on reaching, "there he is."
"O God! Call the ambulance, and police" the second one speaks, turning towards the third one. He hurries back mouthing something about drug addicts.

The second chap snatches the perfume bottle from me, makes me stand up and both of them half carry half drag me to a room. I'm already subconscious.

5th Sep, Wednesday, 2:32 pm - 12 days ago

I wake up on a hospital bed. There's nobody in the room but I can make out two outlines outside the half closed frosted glass door. A man, I presume the doctor, is saying,
"He seems to be in some kind of dilemma or mental breakdown, but we can't say anything for sure until we talk with him in a day or two". The second person remains silent.
"Let's see how it turns out" says the doctor and walks away.

I break my gaze to look around the room. There is a sunflower in a small vase on the bedside table, though it doesn't look very fresh. Sunlight is seeping in through the window but appears too dull. In fact, the whole thing looks a shade of grey. Why..I can't tell. Maybe its the medicine they must be giving me.

I decide its better to get some more sleep and close my eyes.

16th Sep, Sunday, 8:57 am - Yesterday

This morning, when the doctor came to visit, he gave me the good news.
"You are better son, considerably better given the condition you came in", at which he gives a chuckle and looks around for support. People smile, as a good gesture and he continues,
"I've written some medicines for you, just the normal stuff and you can go home now".

I'm not very excited about the whole thing, but its a break from that God forsaken paste of a food, at least. And I'm supposed to rest for a few more days at home. To get things in place.

I don't know what getting things in place means. Perhaps its about what they told had happened to me. They said that I've been through a strange kind of illness. A state of acute depression where a person desperately but unknowingly stays in a constant search for a way out of his state. And then he clings on to strange things as a means to make him feel better, to shut off a part of his brain, to just forget whatever bad there is  going on with him.

I don't think this observation by the doctor helps me, what certainly helps, is the pack of heavy sedatives they've put me on. I feel sane.

3rd Sep, Monday, 4:00 pm - 14 days ago

The clock points 4 o' clock as I fill in the register entering the library. I have exactly 1 hour before the library closes. Maybe I  should just wander about.

My day has not been exactly cheerful so far, rather more like most of these past days I've been dragging. I wake up in silence, enter and leave my workplace in silence, I watch TV in silence, I eat in silence, heck I poop in silence. Okay, maybe I'm supposed to poop in silence but anyway, the point is that my life is drab, extremely drab.

I roam around shelves, picking up books reading their blurb and then putting them back on the shelf. After half an hour I decide to settle down on a table with some magazine or a journal. I find a technology magazine, fresh on the shelf from the looks of it. I quickly grab it and settle on a corner table. I keep flipping pages and reading something intermittently. In the middle of the magazine, I come around an advertisement. Its on a special cardboard kind of paper and on its front face is printed a bottle of perfume. On its back face is nothing but a name written in small font, Kniff. There is a flap on the outer side of page with letters 'Turn the flap to experience Kniff' written on it. I look around to check if anyone's looking at me and then I bring the magazine close to my nose.

I open up the flap and inhale. The scent is queer, extremely refreshing but still totally different from what I have ever smelled in my life. Weird, I blurt out, and then inhale again, this time a little more lungfully. A flash of excitement rushes through my veins, an unexpected flood of happiness that overcomes all of my sadness, all of the bad memories and throws itself on me like a big cloak, covering me from head to toe and all of a sudden I am smiling, beaming uncontrollably. I look around, the library has suddenly turned so colourful, so bright. The people inside look so cheerful, discussing books, analysing or just reading. This is so great. A girl waves at me from the reception pointing at her watch. Oh yeah, its almost five. I pick up the magazine, go to its stand and smell the page one more time before putting it back and going out of the library. 

Outside, I see a weather which I only dream of. The clear sky, the cool sun and the fresh breeze, just like after a good rain. Every tree, every car, every object looks so new, so fresh, so alive I cannot help but feel like flying. The pedestrians, happy and gay, go about their unusually merry chatter and jumpy walk. I feel I've been transported magically to some other world, a perfect world with perfect weather, perfect streets, perfect people, everything just perfect. I think I have landed in my own utopia.

I go to the nearest pizza joint, feeling like eating pizza and order the biggest pizza they have with all of the possible toppings on it. I take the pizza home, no one's present, but I don't try to figure out why and just sit on the sofa to gorge on my pizza. After eating to my stomach's extended capabilities, I fall asleep. I don't see any dreams.   
I wake up with a start. Its 11pm and the house is still empty. It looks all dark and I feel extremely thirsty. I go to fridge, there's water but nothing to eat. I drink a full litre of water, but there's still something amiss. I turn on the lights, they are dull. I'm tensed and sweating. Why has this weather turned so humid all of a sudden. And why is nobody's home. Why do I feel so thirsty. Where is my perfect world gone.

"Has it been because of that perfume. Yes! yes, that is the reason. Maybe I need to smell it one more time so that it can work its magic". I decide that I need to go to the library. By the time I reach the library, I am shaking wet in sweat. The library is closed. "Oh no, why didn't I remember that earlier". I clench both my hands tight, trying to keep my anger in control. I sit by the library door, shaking, waiting for morning to come.

I spend a whole lifetime before the morning comes. Despite the library being opened at 8am, I am not allowed to enter till 9. These rules suck. At 9am I dash in, frantically working my way to the magazine stand and searching it ruthlessly. But the magazine isn't there. "How could that happen". When I ask at the reception, I am informed that the head librarian took it home last night and that he won't be coming today. At this point, I burst out at the receptionist, telling her how irresponsible and pathetic they are and they should better close this place. I am properly escorted out.

I try to calm down, to think what to do next, but the reality of it all makes me extremely irrational. I walk back and forth, nerve-racking noise of the traffic filling my brain, thinking furiously. Then something hits me and I move back to the library gate towards the security guard.

"I need to talk to the receptionist", I say. He lets out a chuckle. My blood boils up. 

I take a deep breath before I speak again, looking directly in his eyes, "See, I just need to ask her something. If I can't go in ... please ask her yourself  about the place from where the library buys its magazines".

He stares at me for some time, serious, then goes in. I wait for at least 20 minutes before he comes out with a chit and hands it to me.

I run towards the road, stop an auto-rickshaw, hop inside and read out the chit to the driver. The place is at the exact opposite end of the city. After much searching and asking for directions, I reach the place in 2 hours. The shop is not more than a shabby old shack. I go in and demand the magazine in a rather authoritative manner. The shopkeeper first eyes me but then eventually goes in and ruffles it out. Looking like a true drug addict, I beastly turn the pages, find the ad, rip the flip off and squeeze it to my nose. I inhale with all my breath, a somewhat sweet but mostly bleak scent goes in. I smell again and same thing happens. I  just go in the corner, squat and keep smelling the ad in hopes of getting something out of it.

The sun goes down, but I have lost track of time now. I look up for the stars, instead I see a bright lit banner of the biggest mall in town. They say its the shoppers paradise. Huh!

"Hey, stop! If it's the shoppers paradise then..", with a jerk I stand up and pain shoots through my knees. I stand there bending in exasperation at my ever worsening condition. After working my legs with considerable effort I start to move towards the city center on foot. I walk 5 kilometer before a taxi comes along and agrees to take me to the city mall. 

I look at my reflection in the rear-view mirror. A bloodless pale man with sunken eyeballs looks back at me. I'm shivering as bad as anybody can on a september. I can feel my low blood pressure and I'm filled with fear and anxiety. Its 9.30 when I reach the mall, the crowd looks less intimidating. I move in and ask if there is a Kniff store, at the reception. He directs me to the beauty & health section. I rush there, search each counter and finally find one with a Kniff sign. 

"Hey, how many different perfumes do you have", I pant

The attendant inspects me from top to bottom for a long time then says, "You mean flavours? Err..four"

"I'll buy all four of them"

Looks unsure, "Umm.. Are you sure, I mean they are expensive".

"Here, take these cards, and hurry up", I say handing him three cards.

She goes to another counter and returns with the bill and perfumes. I snatch both and run out, to find an isolated place. I take a lift to the basement parking, thinking about the relief I will at last get now. I find a dark corner and crouch down opening a bottle, sniffing on to it. The scent feels good in this foul basement, but its not the same scent. I open another bottle but even this scent doesn't give me any happiness. I open two more bottles, to no use.

"Perhaps I need to smell more", I talk to myself.

I keep sniffing, rocking in a trance for a long time. My mind is fuzzy and my nostrils can't make out the difference between the four bottles, but I keep on spraying, sniffing, clenching fists, often giving out shrieks of exasperation. My knees hurt, but I don't pay much attention to them. I am almost out of conciousness when I see three pair of legs approaching me. On reaching, one of them says,

"Look, there he is"!    

17th Sep, Monday, 4:30 pm - Today

I am sitting in the balcony sipping tea. There is a business journal lying on the table. I pick it up carelessly. On its first page, a message is written, 'Surprise for you on page 48'.

I turn to page 48. There is small paper stuck in the middle of it, folded like an envelope. I open the upper flap and read the words inside, 'The thing you've been searching for all along'.

I unfold the rest of the flaps. The bottom flap has a small logo which reads Kniff. In the middle of the envelope is a strip, a perfume strip.

P.S: If you managed to reach this line, or if you just skipped to this line. I am really sorry for making this so long. I'll try and make an abridged version of it sometime later.  


  1. Oh boy. I'm still trying to catch my breath. It seems like I've been running around with the guy in this post, that's how your words affect the reader. I seriously admire the way you write! It's amazing! :)

    I'm still trying to figure out how you described so perfectly, everything, and managed to create a picture that says so much! I love it! And do not worry about the length, I'm sure no one will even bother.. they wouldn't be able to stop reading! :D

    Thank you so much for participating!!!

    1. Thanks a ton Ashna for reading (and helping me with) the post. Your comments always bring a huge smile on my face. :D

      And thank YOU so very much for starting this awesome meme. It is just awesome. :)

  2. Oh! Perhaps the best one of all! It seemed like a movie to me, or rather I should say it'll make a really good movie script! Very aptly rolled on and described Usama. I loved the creative you in this post. I never cared about the length, since the story ensnared me all the way! :)

    1. Your comment could very well be termed as THE comment Rachit. You comment with the most apt words on any post and although, I know you didn't intended anything else other than what you wrote, I'll try and read between the lines to make my future posts a little more better. :D

      Thanks for commenting. :)

  3. OMG....that was some pace. I loved the pace in your narration as went helter and shelter with that boy. It was exciting as he seemed to be on a journey to nowhere. The way you dashed it with a tinge of suspense is superb. And yes, as Leo said I too did not notice the length till I read your note.

    Enjoyed reading it.

    1. Thanks a lot Me. That was some comment. I am happy to see engaged with it. :)
      Enjoyed your comment. God bless you. :)


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