Fiction and Stranger Fact: Shri Chandra Bhaal Singh

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Fiction can be strange, just like facts. I have decided that in this story from Kasi, the hero will speak for himself, i.e. the first person singular narrator. I’ll exit after mentioning his name and age only. He is eighty-four and is called Bhaal Mausa in his locality. Now he speaks:

I have the Medical Student Syndrome when it comes to reading books of abnormal psychology. I discovered it on first reading about the syndrome in (where else?) a psychology book. I have been variously self-diagnosed with mild bipolar disorder, megalomania, and an occasional dash of depression. Well, I’m not sure that the diagnosis was all wrong. Neither am I sure of its being all right. So, I am a little melancholic. I’ve not always been that, as I remember myself in the pursuit of happiness, long back, when I was in school. Oh yes, I am an M. A. in Sociology from Banaras Hindu University. So, you think you’ve caught me slip. I read psychology books and was a sociology student, how? Well, our Central Library did not restrict access based on the course enrolled. I was interested in human behavious and functioning of mind, so I studied its science too. Don’t let my traditional Raam Naami, worn to  make my clients believe in my powerful palmist’s vision, fool you too. You are not a client. Are you? If you are, meet me at my shop at Bhadiani at around eight.

“Ramu, bring my bhang- goli , it’s five already, why are you taking so much time today? Will the shop remain closed today? What will our clients say?”

Oh! Ramu, you don’t know him. Not yet. He is my youngest son. Totally good-for-nothing. He is so full of his plans that I could never fill any sense in his mind. Not yet. I never will, I think. Now take my Kamlesh (my eldest son). At Ramu’s age, he was taking care of my shop, along with always securing first division marks in his B. Sc. (from BHU as usual, in our family we go either to no college, or to BHU). If only he had not left us like that!

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