“The salt please, Vinith.”
My mother is next to me.
Family dinner time.
To cheer me up.
But I’m very, very sad, angry, and confused. I look at the salt dispenser.
“Why does it have a lion’s head?”
The three of them look at me strangely. Can’t they hear the beast’s roar? I looked away.
Again only I can see it? Why are they coming so often these days?
Yesterday it was a huge python. It had caught me in a vice-like grip. I would’ve suffocated to death if Vinay hadn’t been there.
“Are you okay?”
It’s my dad now. Sometimes I hear him. But often, I only see his lips moving silently.
His face turns into a horse’s face. It’s so funny that I end up on the floor laughing.
But he doesn’t mind. He laughs with me but with tears in his eyes.
Vinay is always there. My dear brother.
Mother says he’s a good doctor. I agree.
He’s the one who has been looking after me since my return from the hospital. He saves me from those horrible animals.
“Are you okay, son?”
My father’s voice again!
Why would I not be? So what if Anjali has broken up with me? Stupid people! Those who called me crazy!
They said no girl would love me. Bollocks!
Anjali loved me!
No! She loves me.
She’s just angry now. She’ll forgive me soon. If only these animals were not out to get me, I’d go and explain to her.
There was a huge bear behind her that day. I had to take a swing with the butcher knife.
How could she be angry at me for saving her? And she called me crazy too! Like everyone else. I was livid! I could kill her!
Vinay had calmed me down. He gave me that white powder that makes the animals go away. A lot more than usual. Made me very happy, sleepy.
“You’re not eating enough!”
My mother again.
“You’ve got the juiciest piece of meat. Eat, son!”
I look at my plate and scream.
“I don’t want it. It’s a goat with fangs. It’ll kill me.”
That python would have swallowed me whole if it was not for Vinay who gave me the white power to make me strong, calm, happy.
I wonder why he gives it to me only when we are alone. Else, he gives me those useless white pills.
He says my parents will worry if they see me snort that powder. He understands me.
Now I need it! Vinay is giving me the stupid, white pills instead.
The goat’s fangs are coming for me.
No weapon too! I nimbly catch its throat and begin to squeeze it. I can hear it croaking, begging for mercy. I laugh.
That’s my father!
The goat’s gone. I’m holding my mother’s throat.
Vinay’s eyes gleamed in glee as his brother was taken away, back to the asylum. Now Anjali will love him instead.
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