Existentialism/Vikrant Thapa Gautam
On one chilly January night in a two-story house at about eleven o’clock, Mrs. Tucker gave birth to a baby boy. Mr. Tucker was overjoyed, and so were the relatives who were there for support. They all voted for names and in the end the child was named Darius.
Darius had an unpleasant childhood. His father gambled and drank, and his mother had an affair with the neighbor. He was beaten by his father and ignored by his mother. He grew up with the kids who lived on the streets.
Among these street kids was one he particularly liked. She called herself Kitty. Darius’s heart exploded with joy at the mere sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste of her. Kitty’s heart remained the same as if she were throwing rocks on the ocean when she saw, heard, smelled, touched, or tasted Darius.
-Vikrant Thapa Gautam
When he was seventeen, Darius realized that Kitty was simply using him, and after denying and then finally accepting that he was just an object for her, he ended all relations with her, romantic or otherwise. By this time his father had died and his mother had married the neighbor, so he just lived on the streets like the other street kids. After the realization of Kitty, he decided he wanted something more out of life. He left the city he was born in and where he grew up. He went to Venice.
Now, his journey to Venice was rather long, and when he finally reached Venice after a year of travelling (he took detours and stayed at places for months at a time), he had died. He did not die in the regular sense, no – in fact, he had never felt more alive – but the Darius that left the city he was born into was gone and had transformed into a new Darius.
And so the new Darius arrived in Venice: a young 18 year old lad with no money and plenty of wit. Nobody knew of his arrival, and nobody cared when he took up room and board at a local inn after sleeping with the innkeeper’s daughter. Darius was happy in his anonymity.
But alas, his anonymity did not last long! For on an overcast day one May, he killed a man. This man, who turned out to be a nobleman, was harassing a young lady on the road. Darius did not like that. He fought and struggled with the man and after struggling for some time killed him. When the guards arrived, the witnesses – who did nothing to even try to save the young lady – were quick to tell the guards and each other how this savage young lad had killed a nobleman who was simply trying to woo a beautiful lady. Darius heard this and went berserk, screaming obscenities at the crowd. Had it not been for the guards restraining him, he probably would have killed a lot more people that day.
He was given a trial where he pleaded not guilty. He was offered a deal that said if he pleaded guilty instead, he would be given 10 years in a cell, but if he pleaded not guilty, the prosecution would not rest until he was hanged.
Darius did not change his answer. He would rather be hanged for the truth than live as a coward. He was sentenced to death by hanging.
Two months later, on the day of his hanging, the sky was cloudless. The sun had risen over the horizon and the radiant atmosphere was like a breath of fresh air upon any who were awake. At exactly five forty three in the morning, the platform gave way under Darius’s feet and his smiling face turned blue as his body hanged by his neck. He died while a crowd clapped and basked in the triumph of their own sense of societal rules.
For a reader, this might seem like a sad story. A witty young man who died at eighteen seems like a sad thing. But for Darius, he would have said that had he acted like all the other people when the nobleman was harassing the young lady and done nothing, that would be a sad thing. He would have been sad had he changed his plea to guilty, because he had his own morals and values and bowing down to ignorant rats did not fall under any of his ethics. Darius died happy, while all around him people cheered his death because it meant the values they were taught prevailed over the rebel.
Published on Thursday, October 12, 2017 //बिहीबार, असोज २६, २०७४ मा प्रकाशित