The only problem with Bhaskar is his inferiority complex. A highly qualified and well employed guy, he had everything a young man would wish for. He had an exceedingly charming wife, a nice apartment in relatively posh area and a couple of good cars. Tall and with good physique, he would have passed off as a handsome guy but for his big beak like curved nose that stood out prominent in the otherwise good features like a well aligned teeth, twinkling eyes, broad forehead and curly hair .The nose acted as a blot attracting unwelcome attention. Since his young age, he had the habit of covering his nose on some pretext with his palm or averting others gaze by turning his face sideward.
Bhanu his wife who worked in a foreign bank was bubbly and extrovert by nature. She had many friends and fond of social gatherings and parties. She would insist that Bhaskar accompany her but he mostly found some excuse to stay away. On a few occasions he had gone, she would be swarmed by both men and womenfolk attracted by her intelligent conversation, genial nature and witty banter. She would invariably introduce Bhaskar to one and all. There would be an uncomfortable silence for a short while before the noisy conversations resumed. Bhaskar hardly missed the amused look on their faces and Bhanu’s feeble attempt to suppress her embarrassment. Some of them would continue talking to him in an affable manner but most would slowly move away.
One night when they were watching TV lying in the bed, Bhanu said”Bhaskar, if you promise not to mistake me, I wish to tell you about the conversation I had with Kausalya this afternoon.”
“Why this prelude? Spill it out” he replied
“I don’t care what others think but I love you from the bottom of my heart. You are a blessing and gift to me” she said.
“You were talking about Kausalya. What is this then?”
“Okay, she was telling me about her cousin’s husband who had got his nose rearranged like the Tamil actress. It seems the deformity has gone and he looks totally different and looking very much better”
“Oh, you consider this as deformity. I never knew that you harboured such a feeling. For your information I had already checked with some top cosmetologists and ENT specialists. I was advised to leave it as it is as the outcome of surgery may not always be satisfactory especially in my case. I thought you never minded it as you had seen me before agreeing to marry me. This seems to bother you now, is it?”
“Oh my god!! That is why I asked you beforehand to promise me. I should not have spoken on the subject. Your nose does not bother me. I like you for what you are but thought if there is a way to make it straight why miss it. I will not talk on this subject anymore again.”
“You have said what all you wanted to teil.I know I am an embarrassment to you in your circle.. That is precisely why I avoided coming with you. If you so wish, you can find a better looking man for you. I will not stand in your way” he spoke in anger and stomped out of the room. He did not return but slept on the couch in the living room with the TV on. She came down after sometime, pleaded with him for forgiving her and finally took him with her.
Ever since his complex made him see unintended messages in her every action, he became quieter and kept farther than usual. She attended less parties and was closeted before TV. The usual gaiety was missing in the house. It was a stultifying and humdrum life.
One Sunday after lunch, she sauntered across the hall to the French window and was seen watching outside intently with her eyes wide open.Bhaskar curious went behind her and saw a green parrot sitting on the branch of a tree and pecking at something. She turned to him and asked innocently “Isn’t it beautiful?”
His face became red thinking she was taunting him and left the house without replying. He was seething in anger thinking that she disliked him and possibly her heart had turned towards someone else. He could see these days she had become cold towards him and rarely talked unaware that he was the one who had distanced himself from her He started suspecting and began to eavesdrop her phone conversations. When she was not around, he saw the calls she had received and made. He even stalked her couple of times.
It was then he saw an advertisement in a magazine. It read ‘Learn Hypnotism in 15 days. You can unravel the inner thoughts of the person you love. You can hear firsthand what is in her/his mind. You can use it to influence too the way you want.’
Bhaskar knew this is harmless but sure way of finding out the truth without involving outsiders. The man who was to teach cautioned him that hypnotism worked best where the subject has trust and confidence and not in hostile situations. Bhaskar joined the class. He changed himself to appear loving. He cajoled her to return to her happy mood, took her out to films, had dinners at restaurants, and showed his affection in many other ways. Things became normal and happiness seemed to return.
After a month one Sunday afternoon, Bhaskar said in a jocular tone “I am going to hypnotize you for fun. Are you ready to subject yourself?”
“Why not? I never knew you are a hypnotizer. Where did you learn? What should I do? Why don’t you ask questions directly?” she asked
“No, I will induce to sleep and ask questions that you would respond from your subconscious mind. Are you willing? I learnt it long back”
“Yes, I have nothing to hide from you”
“Okay, lie down and relax all your limbs and body.Look at my eyes as I count one to ten. By then you will fall into slumber, deep slumber, sleep and deep sleep. I will ask questions thereafter”
“Bhanu, Bhanu do you hear me? You are asleep but subconscious is awake. Answer me, Bhanu”
There were some unintelligible guttural sounds.
“Bhanu, do you hear me?”
“Yes” she said in feeble voice
“Good, can you hear clearly what I say?”
“Tell me, do you love anyone?”
“Yes, I love a handsome man”
Shocked Bhaskar asked “How long have you been loving him?”
“For last three years”
“Does his company make you happy?”
“Very much, he keeps me very happy”
“Can you describe him?”
“Tall, strong, muscular and handsome”
“Any distinguishing mark about him?”
“What is his name?”
“You can call him,Surya, Aditya, Ravi,”
Shocked again “Tell me what his particular name is?”
“Bhaskar, my husband”, she said and suddenly sat up on the couch and asked in a bewildered tone “Hey, why am I lying here on the couch. What are you doing? Did I sleep off or what?”
He smiled happily and hugged her showering kisses.”You were under hypnosis for a short while” he said
“Did I blabber anything?”
“Nothing except professing your deep love for me”
She jumped and embraced him without telling him that she was feigning all the while and that she never was lulled into sleep and that whoever taught him hypnotism was a fake.