HE A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy Episode 5 Timeline A Madhavan and Priya were on an European tour. On the second day of their tour they reached their hotel in Amsterdam late in the night. The travel agent had messed up with the booking. They were both booked in the same room. Madhavan protested. He insisted on an alternate accommodation. But it was tourist season and the hotel was full. They were both exhausted. “We can manage, Boss.” Priya said more out of exhaustion than anything else. Madhavan signed his name and they checked in. Ten minutes later they stepped into their room. It was a spacious room with a small alcove attached to it. The alcove had a teapoy and two comfortable chairs. The bed was made and had clean linen on it. Human mind is the most amazing thing in the world. Even after almost a century of psychological research, we are still not able to unfold a hundredth of its mysteries. Perhaps the problem is there in the way we perceive mind and body as separate entities. The next giant leap in psychology, and in physiology too, will be to see body-mind as one organic unit without any dividing line in between. Till that happens we will have to put up with bull**** like, “My body has its cravings; but my mind is strong.” The best proof of these statements lay in how Madhavan’s and Priya’s minds behaved as soon as they entered the room. Half an hour earlier they were travelling from the Amsterdam Central station to their hotel by Tram. They were so exhausted that each had planned to skip dinner and hit the sack the moment they got into the hotel room. But now closeted in the same room, there was an excitement, a palpitation of heart which drove out all fatigue. If a doctor had monitored their heartbeat and their blood pressure, thirty minutes back and now, he would have been really concerned. Priya took her night dress and disappeared into the bathroom. Meanwhile Madhavan also changed. The beige colour pajamas emphasised his height and made his jet black hair shine in contrast. The loose-fitting pajamas and his uncombed hair made him even more handsome. A few minutes later Priya came out of the bathroom. She had changed into an embroidered sky-blue night gown which added an extra stress to her trim figure. The nightie was made of silky material. Priya had picked that up specially for her Eurpoean trip. She used to wear only cotton nighties back home in India. Their eyes met and stayed in that state for a while. It took a full minute for Madhavan to compose himself. “Priya I’m famished. I am going to order French fries from the Coffeeshop. How about you?” Priya spoke as if somebody had woken her up in the middle of a sweet dream. “Oh, for me, well.,.. I don’t want…. Make it a double order of French Fries and some hot coffee too.” Madhavan went to the phone. “Boss, I don’t feel like sleeping now. Why don’t we chat for a while, if it’s okay with you?” They sat facing each other in the tiny alcove. It was more of seeing than talking to start with. They were first talking of inconsequential things. Their order arrived. When the bearer went out, Priya switched the conversation to something serious. “Boss, you have sort of arrived in life. You have everything. You have money, looks, fame and success. Do you miss anything or anybody in your life?” Madhavan was about to bite a piece of the crispy fries. He stopped midway and looked at Priya. Her facial expression was one of deep concern rather than just being nosy. “I do, Priya. I do miss the Swamiji who brought me up. He was my mother, father and God, all rolled into one. I left the orphanage when I was 18. I told him that as soon as I come up in life he should come and live with me. “I told him that I wanted to serve him in his old age, the same way a son would serve his father. I told him that I wanted to repay at least a hundredth of what he did to me.” Madhavan was lost in emotions for a while. Then resumed in a choked voice. “Do you know what that great man told me? He quoted his most favourite saint. “You fool, love is like the Ganges river. It flows from the heights of Himalayas, comes down to enrich our land and then flows into the sea. It does not flow back to the Himalayas. “If you want to repay my love, love your children, love your wife. Take care of other orphans like you. Don’t waste your love on a dying old man. “And he died before I finished my college.” Priya reached for Madhavan’s hand. They spent the next ten minutes silently devouring the delicious French fries dipped in ketchup.