A house of my own and a Study of my own….in Shimla of 2009
While living in Lower Bazaar Simla….I always thought that the children of the lesser mortals live towards the down side of the slopes running from the prestigious Mall…. And life in houses on the Mall or around the Mall would be so different.
When we shifted to the Chhotta Shimla house on the eastern end of the Mall…or to the Chaura Maidan on the western side of the Mall I realised nothing at all had changed… Life was same though a little bland it was!
But no joy in the world could be compared with the bliss I felt when on joining the Indian Institute of Advanced Study….I was allotted a house on the premises of the Institute and in my own name!!! I felt like a flower that had got a small holding to grow and bloom!!
I was allotted a Study in the famous building which I had, before this day, seen only from the outside, and that, too, by purchasing an entrance ticket! Not only this, the vast and cavernous library with a collection of rarest of rare books was open for me…..
I was like a glutton, famished for a long period, deprived of food, who would devour everything!! Books, books and more books….lively academic discussions and more of it…would make me realise how I had been living in a fool’s paradise…all in the name of sham inllectualism.
More than anything else the Institute gave me the much needed succour, support and strength that my hard-hit bruized soul and body so much needed. It was like Amma’s gentle touch.
Though the black bag with all those nefarious papers would remind me of a different times, of different people…but I started feeling as it was another person to whom all this maltreatment was meted out. I looked at myself from a distance. It could not have happened to me. They could not do it to me. It was not me….it could not be me!!!
The person about whom such I was a different entity…I had my own life. I felt I was amongst my own people…my very own who empathised with my struggle and the fight. Who understood my stand and my un-waivering spirit.
On top of that since I had a “home of my own” furnished with antique Victorian furniture as well as modern cooking range….what more could I ask for. I would gaze and gaze at the enigmatic furniture surrounding me…the ambience of the silent Studies of the Fellows, and the energized academic discussions in Thursday’s Seminars! I was, at last, HOME.
But the black bag and the “Office Order therein” would un-settle and un-nerve me at times making me get awake of the “Stopgap” placidity that I was getting used to.
Once I was settled down I would go in the evening to consult lawyers in their offices but surprisingly their offices didn’t seem cold and shady to me any more.
I thought hard as to why I was finding it all so very routine and I found the answer….when a doctor might pronounce you to be affected with some malignant growth…you deny, blame and curse everything but gradually you accept it and try to fight it out in any way that you can.
I had accepted and was ready to fight but the only time I would be pained was when some fellow Fellows, especially from Delhi, would ask me, ,”How could your colleagues let this happen?” And incredulously would ask me, “What was your Teachers’ Association doing, don’t you have one?” How could I tell them that the Teachers’ Association at my workplace was looking after its own selfish interest…. the representatives elected to safeguard interests of the teachers, had signed a false document against me….for their own petty selfish interests!!!
Hadn’t Dr. Faustus entered into a deal with Lucifer….in lieu of knowledge or magic….selling his soul?
But our very own Dr. Faustus got into a deal, not for an iota of knowledge, but, perhaps, for an easy promotion!!!!
What a small price you got to sell your soul at….Dr. Faustus!!!
And what a price you are paying for it today? My heartfelt pity! Not fair….but life is never fair…..Karma at play!!