Mr Sharma was sitting beside the bathtub with a fishing rod in hand. The hook was in the tub. There was water in the tub. But wherever there is water there may not be fish. That’s a natural law. Mr Sharma was not in a mental status to recall natural laws although he could recall the whole of the Vedas from his formidable memory at the snap of a finger from his boss.
Fishing in troubled waters was the lifelong hobby of Mr Sharma. You can’t blame him for that. What’s in the race cannot be erased even with Surf Excel Stain Eraser. Mr Sharma’s grandfather is known to have planted an idol of Lord Rama in the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in the night of Dec 12, 1949. That was a smart move as far as grandfather Sharma was concerned. Grandfather Sharma saw himself as the prophet of Hindustan that would become in his imagination the Hindu subcontinent in the twenty-first century. But grandfather Sharma would not have imagined that his grandson would be toiling seventeen hours a day in a residential school in the capital of Hindustan, and that too a school which would be taken over by a Baba through a business tycoon who would become such a devotee of the Baba as to donate the entire campus to the Baba in order to attain Moksha in the life hereafter.
History is a funny enterprise. You turn the page the other way and you will get another truth. Turn again and yet another truth will emerge. Now, what’s the true truth? You will wonder. That wonder is literature. But that’s a different matter.
“Hi, Sharma ji, caught any fish?” asked Dr Tyagi, the psychiatrist of the sanatorium where Mr Sharma’s family members had got him admitted when his fishing had gone off on a tangent.
“No, Sir,” said Mr Sharma stroking his necktie which he could never live without. “This is only a bathtub.”
Dr Tyagi was an expert not only on neuroticism but also on Chanakya’s Kautilya Shastra.
“Sharma ji,” said Dr Tyagi, “do you really want to catch fish from a bath tub?”
Sharma ji pulled back his fishing line and stared into the eyes of the doc. Sparkling eyes. Longing eyes. Ambitious eyes.
“Play the game further,” said Dr Tyagi. “It is called SFBT.”
SFBT did not strike a chord with Sharma ji’. There’s no such thing in the Vedas.
“Solution-Focused Brief Therapy,” explained Dr Tyagi. “Find solutions.”
Together they discovered solutions. Sharma ji learnt how to give his duties to others in his school. He learnt to make everyone feel miserable. Muddy the waters to the fullest. Fishes swarm madly in sullied waters. Catch them. Kill them. Use them. It’s your choice. That’s SFBT.
Sharma ji became the vice principal of his school soon. “Every story can have a fairy tale ending,” said Sharma ji in the first class he took as vice principal.
1. This is a work of fiction. No character is intended to be from actual life. If any character bears any resemblance to actuality, it is mere coincidence. A writer lives in an asylum.
2. The analogy of the fish is taken from Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus.