Monday, 11 July 2016

Knock on the Door

  I recently attended my maiden meeting of  "Write Club" based in Bangalore whose members meet once in a week. They write a story in allotted time of around two hours followed by reading of the stories and feedback given by the other members. Prompts are given in the beginning to serve  as a spark for the story. The prompt chosen by me read รคs  follows:
"There is a knock on your door one afternoon. There is a woman in a suit and two large men with white coats on. The woman hands you a form stating that you have been committed by your family and will be escorted to Belton asylum for evaluation."
                                              Short Story
  I was half asleep  when I heard the knock on the front door at around 2 PM in the afternoon. Having retired from service six months ago, I was alone at home. The knock was getting louder and ruder. As I opened the door, a lady and two men in white coats entered brusquely. They coolly announced that I am to accompany them to the mental asylum for some tests.

"But why?" I was in a state of confusion and shock.
"Just change your clothes Mr John. We will tell you the details in the car on the way,"
As I hesitated, one of the men, perhaps a doctor said
"you have been reported by your wife and other relatives as behaving strangely since the last three months and in the last twenty days you are exhibiting anger and violence even in public places."
"Hey, hey, hey, all this is not true. I just had normal anger situations a couple of times at the grocery stores, while we were waiting to be billed , a guy cut the line and I objected, Is that wrong? I am perfectly normal. Just some irritation and anger at times which is normal in the times that we live in..."
"That's what you say Mr John! Don't keep us waiting any longer."

I went to the bedroom to change. My mind was in a whirl. "How could my wife report me like this- that I am mentally unsound! In fact I was one guy who never got angry. I was a  happy go lucky person right from my school and college days. I never bothered myself with unnecessary things; never  plotting or planning for getting  brownie points either in the office or at home.

In fact I understood  the meaning of  worry only after Ann came into my life. She wanted always to tie me around her little finger and ensure that I was not "too happy" at any time. I remember, while lying  in bed, we had a tiff in the initial days of our marriage over some issue I don't remember now. After the lights were switched off at around 10 PM , I immediately went off to sleep . At 12.30 AM,  Ann shook me awake  and said "Hey, get up! You can't sleep so coolly like this.I am not able to sleep since the last two hours." I was both annoyed and bewildered. she couldn't stand peace for me if she herself was not peaceful.

If that was the beginning, it continued for so many years, even after the children came .she was unhappy most of the time, always in a blaming and victim mode- blaming that I am not half as good as the husband she had imagined or the father she had wished for the children.Yet, she was not able to tell me clearly what exactly it is she wanted.She chose to be unhappy in spurts of three to four days and was furious that I also was not equally or more unhappy.

Perhaps in this connection, she could not be blamed.Her mother had spent a life time complaining and criticising her father.she did this not only at home but frequently visited relative's houses for discrediting him, telling how he was a lousy husband and how she had been living a life of a victim for so many years.

Ann must have picked up this trait from her mother. Slowly and steadily she was accusing me of being incompetent- not earning enough to give her and the children a 'better' life. So long as I  was working, I was diverting my thoughts to work and reducing the time I spent at home.This saved me from the continuous barbs atleast on the week days.Now after retirement, it's like the lamb has been  left at the mercy of the tiger to feast.Of late I seem to have lost my sense of equanimity and balance.She has become more vocal and harsh in her criticism and rude in her behaviour.

She doesn't answer me when I ask her something.Conversation between us have become less and less and life is becoming a nightmare.It is true I am getting irritated with people over trivial issues.The other day I picked up a fight with a guy who cut the line at the  groceries counter. In earlier times I would not have dreamt of a  long argument on such an issue.

Perhaps, all the psychological pressure applied on me was part of a strategy to break me.She knows that I  am even less useful to her now with  income drying up on my retirement.Our children who have started  working are now important.If I counted less earlier, I don't count at all now.Getting rid of me would give her more freedom to live life the way she wants to.But, why make me a patient? a mental patient at that! Am I finished for life?

 Are my children aware of all this or only  she and her close relatives are in on this? I see only darkness.... I don't want to go! I am okay.I am normal.But whom do I tell this? These people seem to be so impatient and not interested in what I have to say. I... I had not kept in touch with my own relatives these so many years.My connections had become limited to her family and their  extended families. Now I have nobody! I am finished.... finished for good..."

"Mr John, we have spent too much time here already.We have a lot of other work to do.Let's go!"

 I put an abrupt end to my thoughts, followed the team of white coats and entered the car...


  1. Some people were born only to drive other people mad ☺๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜€

    Good story.

  2. Well, it reminds me of Tanu Weds Manu 2. Well written, Rajeev.

  3. Now that is a truly scary story!

  4. Thanks for penning your thoughts Mridula!

  5. Liked the story. I was expecting the end to be something where he wakes up from his dream :P

  6. Thank you Jyotsna! Your expectation is also a good way to end the story but would have been more prdictable? :)