Saturday, February 11, 2017

Why Did God Make His Life So Difficult?

(Reminiscences of my Parsi neighbour)

By Shevlin Sebastian

On a recent afternoon, as I drifted off to sleep, at my home in Kochi, I suddenly remembered Navroz, my former Parsi neighbor in Kolkata. He suffered from schizophrenia and stayed at home the whole day. He told me that he had fallen in love with a Parsi girl, but she did not reciprocate. That disappointment aggravated his illness.

And it was then that he began having hallucinations. One day, he told me that he had a telepathic link with Sona Prakash, who lived on the ground floor, while he lived on the floor above. “She keeps telling me, ‘I love you',” said Navroz. “How can I say no? I am also in love with her.”

It was so fantastic that my mouth was agape. As for Sona, when she heard what Navroz was saying, she made a grimace, although she was polite when she met him. That was because everybody in the three-storey building knew about Navroz's mental illness.

Sona had a younger brother Mukesh. Navroz felt he needed to win over Mukesh and would take him out for movies or lunch at a fancy restaurant. However, Navroz footed all the bills. But money was not an issue. As a neighbour once told me, “The Mistrys have a lot of Tata shares.”

A few years later, Sona got a job, and moved off to Singapore. Navroz felt deeply disappointed.

Soon after Sona’s departure, one afternoon, Navroz went to meet a family in a nearby street. After the visit, instead of returning home, he went to the terrace of the five-storeyed building. The place was deserted. 

Navroz climbed on to the parapet, stood undecided for a few moments, and then he jumped. Thankfully, for him, a branch of a tree broke his fall, before he landed on the pavement. Thereafter, he was rushed to the hospital, and, although he survived, his lower back was damaged. He always wore a brace after that.

One day, he described, in detail, how he had jumped. I asked him why he did it. “I was not feeling good,” he said.

I left Kolkata in the late 1990s. And I went out of touch with Navroz. One reason could be that it was so unnerving to have a talk with him. Later, I heard that his mother had died. Thereafter, his 80-year-old father and Navroz moved to Mumbai and are now staying in a Parsi colony. But this was a decade ago.

Is his father alive? If not, how is Navroz managing? Why did God give him such a difficult life? He was a nice human being, always polite and well-mannered. But he was helpless against the hallucinations that ravaged his mind. 

Hope you are keeping well, Navroz. 

(Published as a middle in The New Indian Express, South India Editions) 

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