It was around the same time seven years ago. October end 2008. I was already on anti-depressants and one evening when my parents were out I decided to swallow several pills at once and kill myself. But to my bad-luck on returning home my father figured out what I had done and immediately I was rushed to the hospital and immediate actions were taken to clear my system.
Since it was a long weekend because of Deepaavali holidays my the then psychiatrist was out of town. The PG students were to take my responsibility till she returned from her home town on the other coast. I was given sedatives and made to sleep on that night.
Next evening I was called for counselling and it was a PG student who was to conduct the personal counselling session. I was in no mood to speak partially because I was still angry about what had prompted me to take the step, partially angry at my bad-luck since I couldn’t succeed in my attempt to kill myself and majorly because I was witnessing how my suicide attempt had impacted my parents and was feeling quite guilty about it. But the PG student had to do her job. She began the conversation and I, being the stubborn me, refused to speak for a long time. But finally at one point gave in. After having spoken for three-four minutes at a stretch I said something like, “You will not understand. It is all so Kafkaesque.”
Having uttered this I was feeling suffocated and was searching, desperately, from my limited vocabulary, for words to express what I was feeling deeply inside me. And the PG student asked, “What did you say? What is that word you just used?” I, who was desperately looking for language, least expected this clarification being asked.
“Yeah Kafkaesque. Meaning like the world of Kafka’s writings.”
“Franz Kafka, is it?”
“Can you please say more about this Kafka?”
I was baffled. “What?”
“You must have read him so I am asking you to explain to me. Our HoD keeps mentioning his name quite often in class. We are too scared to ask him why he keeps mentioning Kafka again and again. We are too busy reading our medical books to go read Kafka. So when you mentioned Kafka I just thought of asking you to help me.”
I had my jaws dropped.
For the next ten-fifteen minutes I tried explaining Kafka to this PG student within my limits. As I was explaining I was laughing in my head seeing myself take a crash course on Kafka when I was there to be counselled.
It has been seven years since this happened. Late October 2008. Now I read that the first work of Franz Kafka which I read i.e. ‘The Metamorphosis,’ completes 100 years this October.
Thanks Kafka for the book which changed life for many, which gave tongue to the unspeakable suffering of many.
Happy birthday Gregor Samsa, happy birthday ‘The Metamorphosis’ 🙂