I kept my lights “on” for one whole night after reading The Calcutta Chromosome of Amitav Ghosh. No doubt, the book is marvelously structured and is a researcher’s delight, but I took the text so seriously that by the end of it felt the ghosts of “Lakhan” and “Murugan” had come to claim my poor book-ridden soul. I thought I too was “in the story” because of my perpetual and dooming curiosity for “what happened next?” There was an intense feeling that I had a trace of the “lost chromosome”. Falciparum Plasmodium, Syphilis and all these diseases described in that novel seemed to be making me their guinea pig.
Anyways, I was sure that there is some bug somewhere in my campus, my immediate circle, my department and also in me that made the case a little queer. The symptoms — “a divine discontent”, an occassional irritability, frustration on the other, sudden love-hate relationship with “The” Text, friend making and friend breaking processes, pulsating-throbbing effect of an approaching seminar, periodic pro-guide-anti-guide-contra-guide feelings, the “ABD” : “All But Dissertation” syndrome (That’s my senior’s term)…I can sit and count millions of such common symptoms. The Calcutta Chromosome merely strengthened my belief on an actuality of the existence of such a “bug”. Ghosh might choose to name it “the chromosome”.
That night I looked frantically for this bug underneath my pillow, my room, my workplace…but couldn’t find it…I sensed it was somewhere very close, but eluded me every time that I attempted to reach it and destroy it. I was angry with myself for being so curious that people almost took me for being insane. My family for the next few days thought of withdrawing me from the campus and increasingly felt that I was likely to go to Mars, friends found it difficult to cope with my happiness-anger-nabad cycles, Hemant gaped with concerned eyes and tried his hands at 24 hours counseling, etc., .
Finally, there came the break through in this status quo. One day in KResIT, the epiphanic moment dawned after two strong cutting chais. I felt like a scientist who has accidentally stumbled upon the discovery of her life and is now queuing up for the Nobel. Spoke feverishly to myself –“Eureka! The bug that’s bitten me I coined as “R-Bug”, the same bug has bitten the people around me too — for some the degree of poison is slightly low and for some it’s simply self-destructive.
The R-bug has certain tragi-comic symptomatic attacks on the junta that it chooses to reveal itself. Some folks are so allured to be bitten by it that they leave jobs of lacs and choose a state of penniless survival in the campus. For, some others the “bug” serves as a substitute for food and drink, while some think that its bite open new vistas/career of life. In my case, the bug holds me in a trance/ voodoo kind of magic for certain periods of time and then suddenly loosens its grip and allows me the liberty of a desire-ridden lady. When under its intense bite, I produce (sometimes worthless) papers, write-ups, and also spontaneous outburst of the long-lost muse. I realized with a jolt sitting there that everyone around me, including Dr. Ghosh is under the sway of this bug/chromosome…whatever u name it.
After realizing this potential destructiveness/constructiveness of the R-Bug, thanks to Amitav Ghosh’s wonderful text…I also understand the potential incurability of poor mortals (including me) bitten by this bug…
Any Nobel for me ????? 🙂