Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Dark Shadow

I felt a nudge and heard a whisper “Do not ask for a receipt, you need not pay the tax amount and will save money”, I turned to see Angra standing over the sales counter looking at me and smiling snidely.
I stared at Angra with shock, unable to speak. I then watched him turn and leave fast. My hands shivered as I paid the bill and left the shop.

I reached home and splashed my face with water. Were my mind and eyes playing tricks on me? Could it really be Angra?
I heard the door open. Chitra was back. As soon as she saw me, she exclaimed immediately “What happened? What is wrong?”
I debated on what to tell her. With a sigh, I realized there was little point in hiding anything from her. As I spoke, I realized that my voice was a little more than a whisper.
“Angra is back” I said.
Chitra’s hands flew to her mouth. She stared at me and spoke “But how…..”
“I know”, I replied confused “I killed him myself”.
“Are you sure it was….?” she asked.
“Yes, I am pretty sure it was him” I replied sadly. “I cannot explain it myself. It is shocking especially since I killed him myself last year”.
“I remember, it was Dussehra”, I continued, “I thought that was the last of Angra, but now he is back”.
“What will you do now?” asked Chitra holding my hand worriedly.
“I really don’t know. I am still not able to think straight yet” I said still in shock.

My mind raced to the events of last year.

Aug 2011
“Hmmm….You have a lot of luggage, Sir” said the clerk at the customs counter at the airport.
“Well it isn’t much...” I said surprised.
Angra caught my hand, and whispered to me “All he wants is some money. Just close the matter”.
 “No”, I whispered back fiercely.
“Here let me handle this”, said Angra pushing me aside.
Angra spoke up “It isn’t easy these days. Prices are going up all around. Everybody is finding it difficult to manage – especially salaried employees”
“Yes, yes” the customs clerk nodded fast.
“We have to find ways to move ahead and manage in life”, continued Angra shaking hands with the clerk and I saw him slip over some cash.
“You will have no problem, Sir. Nobody will stop you now. Just go over from there” the clerk gestured pointing his hand toward the walkway.
On the way back, I did not try to interact with Angra. Anger continued to boil inside me. He tried to make conversation with me and said “It was the best way under the circumstance. You don’t understand”
“I don’t think so.” I snapped angrily. We did not speak after that and reached home.
“I am getting to hate Angra”, I confessed to Chitra that night.
“Keep control of yourself” she said, concern showing on her face.
“I hope I can do that” I said, “but he is getting on my nerves”

Oct 2011
It was the day before Dussehra. I remember the day clearly because it was the day before I killed Angra.
I was taking a stroll outside the building with Angra. I had tried to dissuade Angra from joining me as I wanted some peace, but he would not listen. Just outside we saw a car come over at high speed and hit the divider. It then spun out of control and hit a lady on the sidewalk.
As I moved over towards the lady to see if she was hurt, Angra caught me and said “Are you sure you want to get involved? This will be a police case. It is best you stay out”.
“You can stay out if you want but I need to help her”, I snapped moving towards her.
Another bystander stood beside me. The lady was groaning, and we could see that she was bleeding from her forehead. We wrapped a handkerchief on her forehead. A car passing by stopped to help and we rushed her to a hospital. At the hospital, the injuries were declared to be minor. After some of her relatives came, we left from the hospital.
At night, I related the episode to Chitra. I said “If I had listened to him, I would not have been able to sleep”.
Chitra said “You are overreacting. Take a deep breath and compose yourself. Get hold of yourself. I am getting increasingly worried about you”.

I kept silent but my mind was in a turmoil. A plan formed in my mind – a way to end this conflict with Angra once and for all. What better day to execute this than on Dussehra. I lay awake for a long time, my mind being restless. I got up early and after a cup of coffee informed Chitra that I would be going out for a walk. It was still only 5:30 am. 

I walked down the street to the park where I often walked in the morning. As I entered the park, I heard a voice “What are you doing so early?”
I found myself face to face with Angra. I could feel my heart hammering away. I confronted Angra and spoke “There is something very important I need to do today. There is no better day to end this than on Dussehra”.
Angra glared back and said “You have always been a fool. It is I who have always stood by you in a world where might is right. You have never realized that, have you?”
It was almost as if he knew what I had in mind. I spoke coldly to him “You are wrong. I do not need you. And I have never wanted you by my side. By constantly following me and try to misguide me, you have brought this on yourself”
I looked around to see if anyone else was around, no one was. The last words I uttered before I killed Angra were “I choose virtue over might”.
I walked up and entered the house. I felt my whole body trembling and collapsed into the sofa in the living room. “What happened?” asked Chitra alarmed.
I looked her and said softly “I killed Angra”.
Chitra’s hands flew to her mouth and she gasped “But……”
“There was no other way”, I responded tiredly. “I will tell my parents as well, but don’t tell anyone else”, I said.

Chitra’s voice jolted me back to the present. I tried to concentrate and looked up at her. She said “I was saying let us go to the temple. It will help you compose yourself and find peace”.
We walked in silence to the temple. As I folded my hands in prayer, I did find peace returning to me.
We then went to beach. As we walked on the sands, in the distance I could see the sun setting. I found that the visit to the temple had helped in clearing up my thought process. As I looked into the distance, my mind raced -

The visual imagery I had indulged in last Dussehra to defeat my dark side had obviously not worked the way I had wanted it to. I thought a single savage blow was possible to end the inner conflict once and for all, but that was not to be. Angra is not a separate person. Angra is a part of me and represents the dark side of me. Even if the fight was internal, I had felt it vital to imagine the conflict and killing visually as I thought it would help to expel the dark side of me once and for all. 

Angra is my dark shadow – and you cannot kill your own shadow. The shadow can be dimmed by the confidence of virtue, but it would try to rear it’s ugly side time and again. The fight against your own dark self is a continuous one, and you need to take it one victory at a time. The fight within is bigger and probably more difficult than any other. 

It was almost as if Chitra read my thoughts as she spoke softly “All of us fight our dark shadow, but with self-belief it will never win over us”
“Yes, I know”, I said looking at her and smiling.

No comments:

Post a Comment