“Jeevon is a fortunate man. He has got everything he needed at the right age without much fuss. A handsome job, a lovely wife, a cute son, a cozy well decorated house near to the market; what else is needed to be happy in life! There can’t be another happy man like him in our group.”- This is what Jeevon’s friends can be spotted talking in formal get-togethers. But hardly Jeevon’s friends know about the difficult mental condition that Jeevon has been undergoing.
How can Jeevon be happy when a strange fear has engulfed his mind completely! That is death, which he thinks can happen any day. It was not that he visited his doctor for a minor ailment and got the prescription for treatment of a dreaded incurable disease unexpectedly and is granted with a life span of only a few months; it also was not that in utter curiosity to know about his future he asked for reading of his horoscope to a local foreteller and got to know from him about a serious planetary dislocation which may cost his life very soon. Neither he has been threatened by a gang of goons nor has he some way rivalry with anyone that is potentially dangerous to his life. There was no such news of any fierce natural calamity that might smash or wash away Jeevon. Yet for several weeks Jeevon has been seriously contemplative concerning about his death.
He has become over conscious about Beena and Sid’s future. He has a couple of death and accident covering policies. Recently he has purchased a land in Sid’s name. After all life is so unpredictable! People die just being struck with something while walking; people fall in the bathroom and die, again in Jeevon’s case there is a long family history of untimely deaths. His paternal grandparents, including his paternal and maternal uncles and aunts, one paternal aunt had died untimely for several odd reasons. His father died in his early forties with a sudden heart stroke. If he dies untimely how Beena and Sid would live; who will look after them- these questions always bothers Jeevon!
He is so apprehensive of his untimely death that he thinks a day that passes is drawing him more and more near his death. His regular activities he thinks are mere preparations for attending to the ultimate destination named death. By nature he is an introvert person. He doesn’t like others know his state of mind. Usually he seems quite normal and confident a person to others. Now a days even his wife Beena is unable to read his glum absentmindedness. That is 22nd of December, Saturday, after arriving from his office Jeevon was too pensive in a mood to utter a word to Veena. Without delay he went straight to their bed room and locked himself inside.
Since early noon an alarm of death knell has been ringing continuously in his ears despite of his strenuous refusal and attempts of controlling his intruding thoughts. “It’s tonight at two!” this sentence, has already occupied a position of prominence among his crowding thoughts. The world began reeling in front of his eyes. The earth is slipping away under his feet. Being placed near the bed he started recollecting precisely the entire 35 years of his past. Some of his childhood memories appeared before him as a matter of yesterday only. Yesterday he got married with Beena and Sid was born yesterday. A long innings of tragedies and comedies had happened only yesterday. Jeevon’s eyes got dampened. How short his life was! He yet has not lived properly. He yet has not got sufficient time to love Beena and cuddle Sid. He has not laughed boisterously with them. His ambitions and dreams shall be left orphaned after his death. His son will be orphaned as once he was; Jeevon stands shocked. He feels extremely restless.
In persistent bewilderment and fear he refreshes himself and then after takes tea with Veena. He was not able to get back his glance from little Sid. His eyes were constantly moist and reddish. But he successfully hides his fear, grief and the feeling of helplessness from Veena. He could not leave Veena and Sid even for fraction of a second. He laughed and played with Sid as long as Sid gets tired and sleeps in his arms. He kissed and embraced Veena such passionately as the rest of his life is entwined in few hours of that night. How lovely this life was; I have lost and wasted much of it and now I have few hours left with- sighs Jeevon. Slowly and mildly the awfully glum footsteps of the maligning night are approaching. Jeevon can’t sleep. How can he? He decides to spend the night stark awake. Slight movement of his wide and warm palm on Beena’s scattered curls has made her sleep peacefully. Her lovely face looks like that of a little girl. Ah! Were it possible for Jeevon to wrap himself as a gift to present before his sweetheart Veena for rest of her life! It’s a mere substance of irony of course, when there was time in plenty, I didn’t have much time for love and now when there is no time I mean it much....
Tears rolls off past his eyes. How the next one hour will be passed, he wonders to himself. Suddenly his heart has begun pouncing hard. His breath has become rapid. He feels his legs and hands have begun freezing slowly. In a great fear he hugs Veena and closes his eyes determined not to open whatever happens. There is dead silence everywhere. The room is darkest at its worst. Jeevon looks at the wall clock. It’s sharp two; surprisingly his vision has improved remarkably to make him able reading letters in a dark house though without a pair of specs he can’t see properly in day time. Jeevon sat comfortably resting the wooden wall of the cot. He felt himself in a very cozy mood. He murmurs his favorite song and wished to switch on the table lamp to find and have a glance at the title of the book that recently one of his friends had lent him to read. But where is the switch of the lamp! The lamp is there to his right. But where is its switch? He makes many attempts to find the switch but when fails finally looks at Beena to ask for her help in finding the switch of the lamp. Suddenly Jeevon baffles out, who is that man in Beena’s arms?
A gust of hot air swarmed around. Jeevon looks sharp and hard at his own self. He felt softness in his glance, ceaseless warmth in his heart. He is not afraid now. How can one be afraid of one’s own body? He thinks. He looks at his wife’s and his own body interlocked to one. How marvelous! I never have seen such a glorious act of embracing beforehand. How lovely both of us are looking! Beena looks like a sleeping angel and I myself! O good heavens! I never have seen my body as closely as I am having now. How well built I am, how wonderful I look? He feels proud of himself. He wants to have Beena as close as possible. The warmth in him gains momentum.
When Beena wakes him up in the morning, Jeevan pulls her towards him and whispers in her ear. Darling, I can recall the title of the book last night I was searching for-Shhh… “A night of death”…