Today when Vijay arrived for the studies he had brought one circular-shaped card and two-three long iron nails with him.
After seeing that Priya curiously asked, ‘What is this have you brought with yourself?’.
‘Even I have been asking him the same question for quite some time’, Rajesh replied, and he is only saying that he is going to show us some experiment.
‘That’s really nice! Go ahead and show it quickly!’, Priya curiously said.
‘First of all, you at least occupy your seats friends!’, Vijay insisted.
Both of them occupied their seats but still they were unable to trace what experiment Vijay was intending to show. Rajesh was aware that Vijay was purposely delaying so that everybody’s curiosity may reach to its peak but he too was cunning enough not to ask even a single question to defeat the very purpose of Vijay’s delay.
But how was Priya to restrain herself from asking and that is what she did by saying, ‘Yes! We have taken our seats and now show us what experiment you have decided!’.
‘Yes! Yes! Certainly!’, Vijay replied, ‘will you please wait and watch. You are always so impatient about everything!’.
Priya got annoyed with remark, and just like yesterday, felt angry too. Immediately, she opened the book and began her studies because she had realized that since yesterday, Vijay was intentionally maintaining some distance between she and himself. Now she had made-up her mind not to talk with him on her own unless and until he would not open some dialogue.
Vijay was going to say something to Priya but sensing the changed mood of Priya he said to Rajesh, while clandestinely giving an intentional gesture at Priya, ‘Yes! Rajesh, you were saying yesterday that anybody who has fallen love starts feeling as though he or she is seeing his or her fiancé or fiancée everywhere’.
Hearing this sentence, Priya too was tempted to glance at Vijay but she focused her attention back to the book after Vijay saw at her at the same instance.
‘Yes! Quite right!, what new have you said?’, Rajesh replied.
‘No, what I mean is that, you assume that you get to see that fatty, sorry, that queen of yours, everywhere!’, Vijay asked.
‘Why to assume! Of course, yes, I experience seeing her everywhere!’, Rajesh committed himself with pride having been able to join Priya’s camp.
‘Fine! I accept it that you see her everywhere! But do you know what is this called as in the scientific terminology?’, Vijay asked by first looking at Rajesh and then after glancing at Priya.
Once again Priya glanced at Vijay clandestinely because it appeared that her curiosity was now aroused after what Vijay was telling.
‘What do they call it?’, both, Rajesh and Priya instantly asked as though all her anger had vanished instantly within a fraction of a second.
‘That is called hallucination!’, Vijay now looked straight into Priya’s eyes.
‘It is also called as Illusion!’, Rajesh contributed.
‘Quite right!’, Vijay endorsed.
‘It is about that concept itself I am going to demonstrate one experiment today!’, Vijay said, while lifting the cardboard and the nail, the instruments of the same.
Rajesh and Priya glanced at each other and they started carefully observing the cardboard Vijay had held in his hand. The surface of that board was white and there were many circles drawn on it with a same centre, one circle, drawn outside the other thus giving it a look of a coil. Then Vijay pierced a hole at the centre of the board and inserted the nail there. Now holding that nail Vijay started revolving the board around that nail.
‘What is this new idiotism?’, Rajesh exclaimed.
‘Now both of you start staring at this board for two minutes without even blinking your eyelids and immediately thereafter you look at your fingers’, Vijay asked, and started revolving the board at a much faster speed
Accordingly both, Rajesh and Priya, stared at the board, consistently for two minutes without even blinking their eyelids. After the completion of two minutes, Vijay signaled them to look at their own fingers.
Instantly Priya shouted, ‘Fantastic! My fingers are appearing to be bending!’. ‘Even mine!’, Rajesh endorsed with equal surprise.
Vijay was only smiling mysteriously.
‘Now they are straightening up!’, Priya said soon.
‘Yes! Mine too!’, Rajesh endorsed again.
‘Do you know this is called?’, Vijay asked with a smile.
Both of them looked at him with the same question on their face.
‘This is called hallucination’, Vijay replied with the same smile, ‘or even an optical illusion!’.
Their curiosity fully aroused, both Priya and Rajesh, lifted that cardboard and started revolving it themselves to look at other objects in the room and soon discovered that even those objects were appearing to be bending at first and then straightening up. Both of them were enjoying the fun and Vijay was watching them silently with a smile on his face.
After giving them some to enjoy with their new discovery, Vijay gave a thought for a while, and he said to Priya, ‘Anyway, now let us turn to the prologue of this experiment. Let me ask you the answer of a riddle!’.
Priya curiously smiled at Vijay as if all her anger had vanished within no time.
‘It seems you guys are not interested in studies today’, Rajesh questioned.
‘Just wait! After solving this riddle we will get back to the studies!’, Vijay requested.
‘Of course, while studying some short break of relaxation is a must!’, Priya commented.
‘That is quite right but ever since we have come only relaxation is going on and nobody is even making a mention of studies!’, Rajesh protested.
‘No! No!’, Vijay argued, ‘after this riddle we shall definitely get back to studies.
Rajesh offered his silent consent and he started listening to Vijay carefully.
Vijay purposely took a big pause before disclosing the riddle.
‘Are you telling the riddle or just whiling away the time?’, Rajesh angrily asked.
‘Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Some mood needs to be created before disclosing the riddle!’, Vijay replied.
‘Oh Yes! The mood is already created!’, Priya insisted, ‘Now tell us the riddle!’.
‘There was a pond with a small island exactly at its centre’, Vijay started explaining the riddle, ‘the distance from the banks of that pond to that island was 23 feet. Also, there was a wooden plank kept nearby whose length is 20 feet. Now a man wants reach up to the island from the banks of the pond. So, how will he manage to reach?’.
Priya and Rajesh delved into their thoughts for a while and Rajesh exclaimed, ‘It is very easy!’. Priya too endorsed saying, ‘Indeed! This is very easy to answer!’.
Priya started telling the answer, ‘That man use that wooden plank to walk the distance of 20 feet and thereafter he will jump on the island which would then be only three feet away!’.
Vijay laughed loudly to hear that.
‘Yes! Quite right’, Rajesh replied, ‘That is the answer even I was to tell. Why are you laughing! Priya’s answer is correct!’.
Vijay again laughed loudly and said, ‘Friends! There was no water in the pond!’.
‘But you had not told this earlier!’, Priya argued as though she wanted to assert that Vijay cannot fool them so easily.
‘Yes! Absolutely! You should have told this to us before!’, Rajesh endorsed.
‘That is the whole fun of this riddle!’, Vijay continued laughing before offering his explanation, ‘when I said ‘Pond’ you guys assumed that there was water in it!’.
‘The fun is that’, Vijay continued explaining, ‘there is one specialty of human brain to assume concepts or call it a habit of filling the gaps with pre-set notions or assumptions. If the human brain tends to use this facility excessively then the concerned individual suffers from hallucinations or, as Rajesh rightly called it, illusions. Not only that if a human being loses his or her control over this specialty then several variety of hallucinations start taking place which can even culminate into being insane’. After completing this explanation, Vijay laughed loudly as though he was making a mockery of Priya.
But right at the next moment a grave sadness spread over his face probably because he realized that his own sister herself was an insane woman.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)