“Enlightenment”

“ENLIGHTENMENT”
Fiction Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
(An Apartment in a Residential Complex in Pune)
The young man – an “IT Nerd” – a “Techie” – he hears his smartphone ringing.
It is his father.
“Did you see the news…? Domestic Flights are starting from Monday…” his father says.
“Yes – I know – domestic flights are starting from the 25th of May…” the young man says.
“So – when are you coming…?” his father says.
“I am not coming…” the young man says.
“What do you mean “you are not coming”…?”
“I am not coming…”
“Is it because of the quarantine…? I checked up. It is “home quarantine” – for 7 days – you just have to stay home – and once the quarantine ends – we can finalize the wedding date – I feel that they will further relax the lockdown by the end of the month…”
“I told you – I am not coming…”
“Don’t worry – the situation here is much better than in Pune – much less cases here – and you don’t worry about the quarantine – we will call Nisha home so you two can be together…”
“I am not worried about the quarantine…”
“Are you scared about flying…? I believe they are taking all precautions…”
“I am not scared about flying…”
“Then what is it…?”
“I have decided not to get married…” the young man says to his father.
“What are you saying…?” the father says anxiously, “You are formally engaged – your marriage to Nisha was fixed on the 30th of March and had to be postponed because of the lockdown. Now – Nisha’s parents are putting pressure to have the wedding in June – they have even suggested a tentative date – the 12th of June – an auspicious day. Didn’t Nisha tell you all this…? Don’t you speak to her every day…?”
“I speak to her – but – I haven’t yet told her that I am not coming…”
“It’s good you haven’t told her – now you listen – you catch the earliest possible flight and come immediately – we can’t postpone your marriage any more…”
“Who is talking about postponing my marriage – I told you – I don’t want to get married…”
“You don’t want to get married…? Are you going to remain single for all your life…?”
“Yes…”
“What…? You want to remain single all your life…? Have you gone mad…? These two months of lockdown seem to have affected you…”
“Yes – this two months lockdown has “enlightened” me…”
“Enlightened you…?”
“I have realized that it is best for me to live alone…”
“Live alone…?”
“For the last two months – I am working from home. No one comes home – the maids – the cook – they have stopped coming – so I do all the work at home – I do the housework – I have learnt cooking – I do everything – and – I am enjoying it – I don’t need a wife…”
“You don’t need a wife…? Are you equating a wife with house-helps…? Are you marrying because you want someone to do the housework – to cook for you…?”
“Then – what for…?”
“Marriage is for companionship…” the father says.
“Companionship…? I don’t need companionship…” his son says.
“Is there someone else…? Have you got involved with some girl…? Is that why you don’t want to get married to Nisha…?”
“How can I get involved with some girl…? There is a strict lockdown here. You won’t believe it – but – I haven’t even stepped out my flat for the last two months. I haven’t even talked to my neighbours – or met any of my friends. I get everything home delivered. I am really enjoying living alone. Work – Food – Workout – Entertainment – I do everything alone at home. I don’t need any “companionship…” the young man says.
“What about love…? Don’t you need someone to love you…?” the father asks his son.
“In these days of total solitude – I have realized how much I am in love with myself. I don’t need anyone to love me…”
“I didn’t mean that type of love – I meant the type of love a wife can give you. Do you want me to spell it out…?”
“I fully understand what you mean. I don’t need a wife for that kind of love – I can “satisfy” myself – I am “atmanirbhar” – as they say…”
“Have you gone mad…? How can you live alone all your life…?”
“I have not gone mad. I have become “enlightened”. This lockdown has made me realize that I don’t even have to leave my flat to be happy – all the happiness and enjoyment is inside…”
“What nonsense…!”
“I told my boss that I am going to work from home – and he agreed – so – I have decided not to step out of my flat…”
“Are you afraid of “Corona Virus”…? Have you got “COVID Phobia”…? That you may get COVID if you go out…? Is that why you don’t want to step out of your flat…?”
“Not at all…! COVID – or no COVID – I don’t want to share my life with anyone else – that’s the crux – I don’t want to get married because I don’t want to share my life with anyone else…” the young man says.
“Please don’t behave like this – you are putting us in a very embarrassing situation…” the father says, “What will I say to Nisha and her parents…?”
“You don’t worry – I will call Nisha and tell her…” the young man says.
“No. No. No. You please don’t call her and tell her anything. You just catch a flight and come here as fast as possible. We will see what to do when you come over here…” the father says.
“I told you – I am not going to step out of my flat. So – how can I come…? Why don’t you understand…? This two months lockdown has been a blessing for me – a self-realization on the art of living. I have become “enlightened”. I have experienced the bliss of aloneness – the ultimate joy of solitude. I have realized that I want to live alone – all by myself – I want to enjoy my own company. I don’t want to share my life with anyone. I don’t want to get married. There is no place for a wife in my life…” the young man says – and he disconnects the phone.
The father keeps his mobile phone in his pocket – he feels nonplussed – perplexed as to what he should do.
He decides not to hurry up things.
This prolonged “stay at home” lockdown seems to have badly affected his son.

Now that lockdown is being relaxed – with time – things should improve – and – his son would become normal again.
_______________________
Dear Reader – the father is mistaken – it is highly unlikely that his son would become “normal” again.
Do you remember that his son had said that lockdown had “enlightened” him…?

The “enlightenment” he was talking about is called “hikikomori” – and – “hikikomori” is very difficult to cure.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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