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It all started
with mom. Frankly speaking, nothing started with
mom. Nothing started with grand-mom, even
great-grand-mom. It might
have started long back. It might not have started
yet. But I always say it all started with mom. I know I am lying. I
am a born liar.
Normally in three days I speak more lies than
another would speak in three years. And when it
comes to talking to
foreigners in Cannaught Place, fellows, I become a
dirty bundle of all sweet lies. And I am mighty
proud of that –
a chap has got to be proud of what he is, can't be
proud of what he is not.
I again say it all started with mom! Mom had her
educated. Mom sent her to school. Mom sent her to
And then mom asked her to look for a job so that
she does not have to depend on my whims and
Actually it all started there; though I still
insist it all started with mom because I am a liar. And to my utter dismay
she got a job.
Of course I am referring to Geeta. Anybody can
guess that. Of course she is my sister. Anybody can
too. But she is not my sister. But I still say she
is my sister – because I am a liar. Some say she is
but I don't believe them because they are also
What started with mom? My mental sickness, of
course. Anybody can guess that. See, it could not
have started with mom because I was not yet born.
But I still insist my mental-sickness started with
mom. But, fellows, try to understand the dilemma of
a mentally sick liar. If he does not tell lies how
will it be known that he is mentally-sick?
Geeta got a job in a school as a typist. I at once
let it be known within my circles that a night-club
repute had hired her as a bar-maid. Geeta did
nothing to counter these rumours. She is very
gentle and docile. If
you slap her on her right cheek, she would turn her
left towards you. I love making use of such an
Can't help it! Fellows, try to understand a mentally-sick guy. Our age is after all an Age Of
Geeta is the only living creature I have been able
to slap without retaliation. I tried to stone a cat
but she jumped
on my back. I tried to whip a donkey but it kicked
me so hard in the stomach that I had to be admitted
hospital. The day I came out of the hospital I was
a bitter and angry man. So I went up to Geeta and
as she began
to embrace me, I slapped her. Nothing happened. I slapped her again. Still nothing happened. I got so
encouraged that from that day on I slap her every
day. To make sure nothing would ever go wrong in my
newly-found paradise I told her what Christ had
said. Then I told her if she would suffer quietly
all the blows I
showered on her she would reach heaven and enjoy
frequent dances with the urchins there. She could
them as I slapped her and she won't be punished
because there was no such thing as punishment in
don't know if she understood such deeply philosophical things but she cried. I loved it. I
love it when anybody
cries in pain.
After a few days I spread the next rumour. I began
to tell my friends that instead of being a simple
bar-maid she is
now doing striptease and having affairs with
everybody coming to her night-club. One
day I went so far as to say that she is having five
hundred affairs every day. I even encouraged my friends to go
Fellows, spreading false rumours is to me what
water is to a fish. Not that I don't believe in
them. The real fun of
spreading rumours lies in believing in them. At
least in my case the real kick from that kicking
when I began to believe in those rumours. Because
then things became very serious. Now the honour of
family was at stake and so I could not remain
silent or passive. I could not see the name of our
dragged into dirt.
There is a legend in my village that one day,
thirty years after a very successful married life,
great-grandmother had the courage to confess to my
great-grandfather that all her married life it had
greatest dream to go out on a walk with her
husband. Surprisingly, instead of beating her up for her immorality,
my great-grandfather agreed to take his wife for a
walk with him. Probably he was too drunk to know
said or did. Fellows, how can I be sure? I was not
there to see.
So my great-grandparents started a very romantic
journey into the unknown, great-grandmother clad
to toe in a purde, trudging fifty yards behind her
husband. Well, it was not her fault that she fell
these circumstances, and her nose was uncovered for
a fraction of a second. My great-grandfather
rushed to her
and cut her exposed nose because he was scandalized
that his wife had exposed her private parts in
though neither the part was so private nor was
there anybody around to see. And even if the road
had not been
so deserted as it actually was that night, it was
too dark to see a nose anyway. So the legend goes.
Actually nothing of the sort ever happened. This
time I am dead sure even though I was not there to
see. I am
always sure of things when I want to be sure. My theory
is that my great-grandparents were walking happily
hand-in-hand in Cannaught Place, she clad in
hot-pants and he completely in a state of nature. I
am positive that
my theory is correct, so I don't think I would ever bother to find any evidence in support of it.
Grand-old-pa looked into the wide happy eyes of
grand-old-ma and said, "If you ever look into
eyes, I will pull you by your nose and elope with
you somewhere that rascal can never find you." And
imparted a deep kiss on her nose.
But fools distort history beyond recognition. They
forbid kisses because they cannot see anybody
history says a nose was cut when actually a nose
was kissed. Fellows, I say history is a bunch of
lies so that liars
like me can exploit it to the maximum. Legends are
a bunch of lies, I say. But this particular legend,
bunch of lies, suited my purpose very well. I am a
genius at exploiting lies for my own ends. I began
some spice to the story. I went so far as to say
that poor grand-old-ma was actually stabbed to
death for that
breach of tradition instead of escaping with just a loss of nose.
See fellows, history still remains a bunch of lies.
I still am very suspicious of it. But the big
difference is that now I
am in command of history – now I am distorting it.
But I am doing it for Geeta's sake.
"Look at the traditions of our family. Our
great-grandmother was killed just because her nose
was exposed. And
here you are, dancing naked and running around with
every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Have you no shame?" I
"Where am I dancing and with whom am I running
around?" she whispered meekly.
I slapped her two three times. It was a sufficient
Why do I treat Geeta like this? Why can't I leave
this poor creature alone? Of course I am
mentally-sick, but so
are they all, those honourable men. What else can
be behind it? I don't know. Of course, I know it.
But I won't
tell. Of course, I will tell.
Fellows, the thing is that besides being
mentally-sick, I am also sexually frustrated.
Perhaps I am mentally sick
because I am sexually frustrated. Perhaps I am
sexually frustrated because I am mentally sick.
Perhaps both! But
the psychologists whom I visited for help say it is
neither. They say I am a normal human being – a
personality, Santa Claus to children, helpful to
neighbours, and very gentle. They say if I doubt it
I just have to
go to other people and observe what they are. We
all are the same, give psychologists a chance, they
told me in
the end. So fellows, I am not mentally sick at all.
But I still insist that I am mentally sick because
I am a liar.
Once I went to a girl and said, "I am sexually
She slapped me. "Just imagine everybody trying to
dump his sexual frustrations on me," she said.
"Can't carry the burden of five hundred million
sexual frustrations upon my back!"
"Sorry, I got carried away. At 30 I am still a
virgin," I said.
"Better luck next time with the next girl," she
That awaited luck with the next girl has not come
till today even though years have passed since my
to impress a girl.
It was sometime after this misadventure that the
business of stoning a rat, beating a cat, and
every day started. Or was it stoning a cat and
beating an ass? I have forgotten. I am so
preoccupied with my
obsessions that I am not capable of seeing one step
back or one step ahead. But this is not at all my
Guys, anthropologists say that when man, the hunter,
became man, the farmer, the wisest man could see
seven years ahead. What a score! In my beloved
country the wisest leader cannot see seven days
Geeta can see seven hundred years ahead. But who
cares? She is only an ordinary man, not a leader.
Let me come back to myself which is what I love the
most. As soon as the business of slapping Geeta was
swing, my mental sickness reached new heights. I
began to experience nightmares. One day I dreamt
slapped me back. You can't imagine what a scare it
Next morning I bought a copy of the bible for Geeta
and told her what Christ had said – if somebody
slaps you on
the right cheek, turn your left to him. I also
bought her the complete works of Mahatma Gandhi
and began to
explain to her the theory of non-violence.
My theory of non-violence is very orthodox. I make
it a point of honour to proceed along very
classical lines so
that I do not displease our great politicians and
I define non-violence as follows: If I slap Geeta it
is non-violence. If Geeta slaps me it is violence.
As simple as
that. Even Miss Dimple would agree. I am a genius
at making simplifications. Some day I intend to
definition even simpler by identifying non-violence
with the law of the jungle, namely, the victor is
non-violent and the vanquished is always the
personification of violence. But these days I am
with my mental sickness, sexual frustrations,
nightmares, phobias, sadistic impulses etc etc to
waste much time
on such theoretical issues. Maybe some great
leader of our century would make this
simplification before I do. I
don't care. Maybe some great leader has done it
already. I don't care.
One day Geeta came home rather late and very tired.
I slapped her and said, "What were you doing with
guys the whole night?"
"With what guys?" she asked through her tears.
I slapped her again. "You know what I am talking about," I said.
"Have you the slightest proof that I was with any
guy either tonight or any other night?" she asked.
Proof! It had never occurred to me that a guy of my
eminence and stature was ever required to give proof of
anything he said or did. I felt the first tremors
of non-violence in our peaceful home. I slapped her
four or five
times and kicked her another four or five times
'til she was fully silenced and non-violence was
fully restored in
the house. But Geeta's question began to pinch my
Fellows, you will be surprised to know that even
mentally-sick, sexually-frustrated, and
people like me have a conscience. This is the
greatest paradox of history. Even more surprising
is the way we
quench our feelings of guilt. This is history's
I did not know in which night-club Geeta was
working. In fact, I knew she was not working in any
I did not know in which school she was working.
Even if I knew I could not have gone there. So to
guilty conscience and find solid proof of my
accusations, I went to a nearby park in search of
about Geeta's countless affairs.
I had already made the following assumptions – I
told you I am a genius at making unwarranted
assumptions. If I
saw any woman in the park it would be solid proof
that she is Geeta waiting for her lovers. If I saw
there it would be solid proof that he is one of Geeta's
lover waiting for her. And what if I saw a couple?
Well, fellows, what do you say to this?
When I entered the park it was completely deserted
but still I clearly saw a pair of sea-gulls flying
over me. I got
I wished they were me and the girl who slapped me.
What love, what beauty, what romance in the sky –
something that you never find upon this wretched
earth. But then I remembered my mission – the
reason I was in
the park. So I at once concluded that those birds
were Geeta and her lover in a previous incarnation.
I got even
more jealous. I ran after them with a stone in my
hand. I tried to stone them but they were too far
away. They were
flying over the pond in the park, so unable to
reach them I stoned their image in the water.
In the evening when Geeta came home I kicked her a
dozen times because I was armed with the moral
possessing irrefutable proof of her affairs.
"I caught you red-handed today. At last I caught
you red-handed!" I kept on yelling like a man
possessed by the
But then something undreamt and unheard of
happened. Geeta slapped me. Yes, fellows, Geeta
slapped me back .
As simple as that. Again Miss Dimple would fully
agree. Sometimes I feel it was so simple and easy
that she could
have done it long back.
"I can't take it any more! I can't tolerate your
lies any more. Forgive me but I just can't," she
yelled back in fury.
Then she started crying. I too started crying. I
was in a state of disbelief and shock.
"Geeta, don't slap me. Please don't slap me. It
hurts. What happened to all the lessons in
non-violence that I
gave you?" I said.
I fell at her feet.
"Please don't slap me again. I am a heart patient.
I can die," I said again.
Fellows, like that cat who told the lion all her
secrets of survival except one – how to climb a
tree – I have not
told you the greatest of my secrets. I am a born
coward. Cowardice is the secret of my survival.
imagine a sick, frustrated, disoriented guy like me
trying to stand up to anybody. Wouldn't have been
alive to tell
my wretched story. So cowardice is my main weapon
of survival. Try to understand me fellows. I am a
To ensure my survival, I promised Geeta, in the name of
God and non-violence, never to touch her again. And
at this very moment I resolved to kill her –
liquidate her once and for all so that she could
never become a
challenge to me.
One day, as Geeta was walking hand in hand with one
of her numerous lovers, I stole from behind and
her with a knife. She died instantly. Her lover
Well, I never said I actually stabbed her but she
died instantly. That is for sure. How sure? I won't
oath but at least I thought she died instantly. Maybe she died long after this attack. Maybe she isn't dead yet.
Maybe she is still lying in a hospital or even at
home. But all this is not important at all. What is
important is that
I began to spread rumours that I stabbed Geeta to
preserve the honour of the family and she is dead.
As usual Geeta did nothing to counter these
rumours. She told me she enjoyed being a ghost.
I had killed Geeta for a very noble cause – to
preserve our cultural heritage. I thought I would
feel very happy and
proud for it. I thought all my ancestors would
descend from heaven to congratulate me. And for
some time I
really did feel happy and proud for it was the
first time in life I had accomplished something.
But then suddenly
something happened to me which I had never expected
even in my wildest dreams. Guilt took possession of
soul like a devil. I became a living bundle of
guilt. I could not sleep. If I slept nightmares
woke me up immediately.
the time I kept on saying to myself that I deserved
to die because I had taken an innocent life. I do
not know how
why or from where such ideas came to me but they
did nonstop. I became suicidal. I ran away from home
making sure if Geeta was really dead or even if I
had stabbed her at all.
I ran to the forest hoping that some wild animal
would eat me so that I didn't have to take another
life. But there
were no wild animals in the forest. Civilized man
had killed them all. So after a few days I returned to civilization. I
had not eaten for many days because there were no fruit trees in the forest. Civilized man had cut
them all. I was
starving. I was in delirium. I was about to kill
myself. I needed immediate help. But the question
was where to get
Guys, you would say that I should have run to a
psychologist or psychoanalyst. This was my first
idea too. But
then I remembered my last brush with the
psychoanalysts. They were the guys who were actually responsible for
my present state. Instead of curing me, they had
made me more sick. To the shrinks over my dead
screamed and bit my finger and tore my hair in
utter dismay. Anybody could see I really needed
before it was too late.
Then the idea came like a flash of lightening.
Going to jail would solve all my problems. I would
get food, fellow
prisoners would prevent me from committing suicide
and some cold-blooded serial-killer
would maybe brain-wash me into believing that
killing just one girl isn't that bad after all.
Then of course all my
problems would be solved in one stroke.
So I went to a policeman and told him I killed my
own sister. I expected him to arrest me
He laughed. "Congratulations," he said. "One less
mouth to feed. Don't tell me, go and tell the
will be mighty pleased. The nation has saved tons
of wheat and rice. Better than sterilization or
Perhaps worse. Who cares!"
Disgusted by the policeman's reactions I went to a
judge and confessed. I begged him to arrest me
"Why are you coming to me? Why don't you report to
the police? Are you mentally sound?" he said.
"Not worse than you," I said.
"Then it is a legal murder. The law cannot do
anything about it. Only illegal murders are tried
here. Go home and
ask God for forgiveness. Confess to a priest. Don't
waste my time," he said.
"But I want punishment. I deserve punishment!" I
"Why are you so anti-life?" he asked calmly.
"Because I have seen enough of this gutter called
life!" I shouted and got more agitated.
"That is why you have not seen life at all."
"I have seen enough of it. It is you who haven't
seen anything." I banged on his table. I had lost my
He said nothing.
"Where is punishment? Where is death?" I shouted
"Where was life?" he said, and then ordered the peon
to throw me out of his office.
Fellows , it was after this that I got so fed up
with everybody and everything that instead of
seeking help I went
for self-help and self-analysis. I returned home and
started analyzing myself.
Now I am feeling better. Geeta is feeling better
too. But it does not mean that I have stopped
beating her or that I
have lost my love for spreading lies and rumours.
These noble activities are part of my very existence. So if you
ever hear a pretty girl screaming in pain or if you hear the most
unbelievable lies and rumours,
assume that I am
behind it all. My name is Rat the Cat Eater.
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