End. This is the end.HE decided sitting in that cheap hotel room and staring at the lazy ceiling fan. The closed door, the green curtains opaque with ages of dust and the closed windows that let neither light nor air inside, made that room dark and spooky. The air was damp and reeked of alcohol and cigarette smoke.
Deep clefts of debt scarred HIS face. The scars cut deep into his soul as well. A lone mouse ran across the dirty floor, finding its way through the confusing maze of cigarette stubs. It swiftly climbed over the shaky, almost dilapidated wooden bed. There, lying on the bedspread which carried dirty stains of sin and filth of months, was a packet of bread. Half empty for HIM. Half still remained for the mouse. With a little apprehension the mouse went close to the packet of bread. HE did not notice. So the mouse started nibbling the bread merrily and started feeding its hungry bile juices.
“There is no escape. I’m trapped. There is no escape. I’m trapped.” HIS heart kept repeating these words. HE thought about his beautiful wife who blamed him for their plight. HIS heart overwhelmed with love and shrunk with possessiveness for HIS little daughters. Well, they will never call HIM ‘father’ any more. Some other man will be taking HIS place…soon. Stress. Tremendous stress of being a son, a brother, a husband, a father and an entrepreneur who had invested everything HE earned in this life. “There is no escape. I’m trapped. There is no escape. I’m trapped.” Now the ceiling fan seemed to swing to the rhythm of these words.
HE had a masters degree in Chemistry. Chemicals were HIS life. HE believed in those imperishable, impregnable bonds of nature. But the bubble had burst and Uncle Sam was broke. HE came back with HIS savings to the land where he really belonged. To make true sense of life and to enterprise. But things went wrong. Terribly wrong. Little did HE realize that the theory of science and theory of life changed with time. HE raced hard to catch up but eventually lost. And now there was no going back. HE closed his eyes in dismay.
When HE opened his eyes and looked at the table in front of HIM. The small glass bottle with those colourless crystals in it seemed to smile at HIM. Their transparent smile had a strange seduction of freedom from everything that gave only pain. That bottle was the only thing HE was able to save and scrape back from his enterprise that crumbled like a palace made of playing cards.
HIS life was meaningless, but HE was determined to make some sense out of his death. HE decided to reveal the taste of death. The taste of KCN (Pottassium Cyanide). A dark secret that mystified humanity for ages would end with HIM. Not only that, HE wanted to reveal what HE saw when life transcended to death. HE wanted to tell the world what HIS eyes saw when HE stepped on that thin line that separated life and death. HE had made elaborate plans for this.
Right next to the bottle of KCN were two white sheets of paper. On the first sheet HE had written the flavours that could be defined in terms of human taste buds. It started with ‘Sweet’ and ended with ‘Undefined’. Somewhere in the middle was ‘Bitter’. The other white sheet had various visual sensations scribbled all over it. It started with ‘Darkness’ and ended in ‘Undefined’ and somewhere in between was ‘God’. HE knew that there won’t be enough time or strength to write down the exact taste or vision in words. Luck did not favour HIM to make a living, but in case it favoured HIM during death, there would be time to tick one of these options. HE won’t take a small dose and agonize HIS way to death. No. That was not HIM. HE wanted this to be lethal and quick. Even HIS death should carry HIS master touch, HE insisted.
There was exactly 500 mg KCN in that bottle. HE had taken enough bread to keep his stomach-acidity -level low. A high acidity level may save HIM. A abnormally high acidity level is what saved Gregory Rasputin; foiling an attempted assassination using cyanide. HE knew that Rasputin was the only human to have ever survived a lethal dose of KCN.
HE opened the bottle. HIS hands did not shiver. They did not even flinch at the thought of death. Holding the bottle in HIS left hand and his pen in the right, HE inhaled the life giving oxygen one last time. HE heard the cacophony of the city traffic banging the doors and windows of his room. HE heard those wry sounds made by the screws protesting each rotation of the ceiling fan. And then HE drowned the contents of the bottle into HIS mouth. HIS body convulsed violently. The tip of his black pen ticked “Burning” , then tick marked “Bitter” and finally it touched “Pungent”. HIS eyes dilated and then HE was shocked at the vision HE had. HE had guessed HE would see this. And that’s why had made a note of it as well. HIS hands quivered towards the second sheet. But as HE made that dire attempt to put a tick mark against what HE saw, HE fell down. HIS body sprawled, face down on that floor. HE did not move. A mysterious dark shadow hoovered over HIM. HE never made that final touch. The traffic blared outside. The ceiling fan winced. And the rat kept nibbling the bread as if nothing had happened.
– by Srinath Krishnamoorthy
Author’s click by Dr. Vivek Vaidyanathan
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