III. 'MAVERICK' A SHORT STORY BY AMER NAVEED
Life has always been strange as well as colorful. Sorrow, when it is strange and joy, when it is colorful. Life is just life; it is the mental state of the individual that determines the aspect of joy or sorrow. Life is all about people. All other things in it are relative to man, the interpreter. There are various kinds of people in it. Behram was also a special kind. When he used to speak he talked incessantly and when he was mute it also lasted for long. He
was a maven of human psyche. He was always different; perhaps, he wanted to be. This trait makes people hold different opinions about him. Some consider him a scoundrel and for a few others he was a genius. Well, people and their opinions, this also is a matter for different opinions.
Anyhow, we are discussing the personality of Behram. Ah! Gossiping, it goes to anywhere. They are as long as Satan's entrails. We will narrate some stories of his life. You are the judge to square up what he was. Again, you are the people and it's all about interpretation.
You have all studied mathematics in your educational career. Generally, when we solve any problem we say that Left Hand Side is equal to Right Hand Side. In mathematical terminology it is stated as: L.H.S = R.H.S. While Behram always insisted on stating it as: R.H.S = L.H.S. And to our amazement he always proved it. He has his own reasoning for this assertion; as he says, the majority of us are right handed, and according to the democratic principle the majority is always right. He further accused academia and government for promoting the false view. Another argument of his was that, 'We are rightist against the leftist,
communist and socialist. Therefore, it is our moral duty to promote right-ism in all spheres of life.' Then, he said that, 'Linguistically right means true and left means abandoned, so logically it is more valid and correct to say, R.H.S = L.H.S.'
But what to do of School Master Nazar sahib, who was always annoyed about this claim? Some people tried to patch up the difference. 'Whether one can touch one's ear from here or from there, what difference does it make? The answer remains the same, so both are correct.' Nonetheless, both Nazar sahib and Behram stuck to their point. Nazar sahib got so fed up that he stated to the Principal sahib that, 'Either you expel him or me.' The Principal resolved the issue by transferring Behram to the other section. In this way, Behram came to
section B from section A.
Here, Nizami sahib like an affectionate teacher accepted Behram's R.H.S = L.H.S view. However, now Behram took the issue of the circumference of a circle and asserted that in this case R.H.S = L.H.S can't hold true. The circle just keeps on going around and around and around. It follows, then, that what happened has to happen. Nizami sahib also came to share the views of Nazar sahib.
Behram then got interested in physics and was so much impressed by the law of inertia that he passed four years in ninth class. At that time he was eulogizing the virtues of inertia. He was highly critical of the Newtonian laws of motion. It was because of Newton's incapacity to cope with the ultimate phenomenon of metaphysics that he promoted these laws; Behram reckoned so. He called inertia, Nirvana, a state of bliss, a complete peace and a way of life. He was not seen happier than in those days. Perhaps, those were the Golden days of his life with a Golden truth of inertia. He might have adhered to this principle for life but one of his uncles got appointed Chairman of the school
committee and on the basis of his influence he was promoted to the next class. This was a shock of a lifetime to him. Whenever one's beliefs are broken that gives a feeling of bewilderment. The pathos and suffering that results are heart rending. This was an inexpressible state of mind. One is lost. One's cherished beliefs are at stake.
Biology came to Behram's rescue. He got interested in Darwin's ideas and was inspired by the principles of survival of the fittest and adaptability. However, he learned that despite all his claims Darwin is also dead. He meditated on death and then realized the falsity of the Darwinian principle that no one can survive death. He abandoned these views but this time he was more experienced. The shock was not so shocking to him. It's always the first shock that is shockingly unbearable. Time passes by. He finished his schooling and joined college.
Poverty, inflation, unemployment and money have always been hot topics. This induced Behram's interest in Economics. Again he formulated his own theories. He was of the opinion that basically it is thought that is the basic reason for these problems. Therefore, these problems would be solved permanently if people stop thinking. And his views about poverty are very notable: 'The reason for poverty is that the number of poor are much greater than the number of rich, therefore in order to maintain balance and for greater welfare of the people the government should exterminate the poor.'
One way or other, Behram kept on passing examinations while exhibiting his tenuity in school and college. Nowadays, higher education is extremely sought after. It is considered must for progress. This was the impetus for his doing a PhD. As you know for PhD, it is a prerequisite to do research and submit thesis. He chose the topic: 'Which things induce intoxication.'
To this purpose, Behram diligently articulated a comprehensive research
methodology, consisting of primary and secondary research. He then chose a special population, i.e. a group of people who are characterrized as boozers. As part of his secondary research he studied extensively on alcohol and related matters. Anyhow, regardless of the good or evil nature of the job, one has to work hard. Then he chose the population and divided them into five groups of twenty persons each:
Vodka Drinkers (V)
Gin Drinkers (G)
Whiskey Drinkers (Wh)
Rum Drinkers (R)
John Barleycorn Drinkers (J)
He adopted the observation, questionnaire and experimentation method (he tried all these things himself). The gist of his research was:
(a) V + W = Iv
(b) G + W = Ig
(c) Wh+ W = Iwh
(d) R + W = Ir
(e) J + W = Ij
By combining the above equations:
(f) Iv * Ig * Iwh * Ir * Ij = In
Putting the values of (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) in equation (f), we get,
(g) (V + W) (G + W) (Wh+ W) (R + W) (J+W) = In
Taking the common factor:
(h) W (V + G + Wh + R + J) = In
W, is a symbol of water, which is a common factor.
After all the hard work and efforts the last stage was to submit the research paper. Behram's findings were as follows:
It is obvious from the equation (h), that W is the factor which is common in all the equations (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e). Hence, W is that factor which causes intoxication.
Behram submitted his research report; there was lot of commotion and exchange of hot arguments. We don't know what was the reason. When he was leaving the academic block he gave this historical remark similar to that of Einstein: 'If my theory will be proved Indians would say that I am citizen of the world and Pakistanis would say that I am Pakistani; and if my theory will be disproved then Indians would say that I am Muslim and Pakistanis would say that I am an Indian agent.'
I never saw him again. What was the outcome? And what happened to him? These are the questions that are a mystery till today. Some, who were positive that he was a brainiac, still believe that it was a monumental work deserving high academic credence and nomination for a Nobel Prize. Some people are of the opinion that they have seen him in pubs, where he was still fully convinced that 'W' is the factor, which causes intoxication. Therefore in order to avoid inebriety, he only uses the other elements. While some others believe that a scoundrel he was. Life is indeed enigmatic. Do you know if this mystery can ever be solved? Anyway, as all others have their opinions, it is up to you to judge what he was.
(c) Amer Naveed 2007 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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