Retribution

by Padmaja Menon
(Bangalore)

The dogs bayed for his blood. The pack was getting nearer and nearer. They loped, or rather, ran steadily , they were not in a tearing hurry… they knew their prey was there, available ….. From each lane the pack was joined by another one, teeth bared, jowls hanging low, saliva drooling , drooling. The canines were deadly and sharp. One snap , one tear…. and flesh and blood would be drawn. They would sink in and the rabies virus would enter his peripheral nervous system and then travel along the nerves towards the central nervous system. When the virus reaches the brain, it would rapidly cause encephalitis. This is called the prodromal phase, and is the beginning of the symptoms of Rabies.


The term Rabies is derived from the Latin rabies, "madness". This, in turn, may be related to the Sanskrit rabhas, "to do violence". The Greeks derived the word "lyssa", from "lud" or "violent"; this root is used in the name of the genus of rabies lyssavirus. . It is a significant killer. And as soon as the dog pack leapt on him he would be affected. But he was helpless, couldn’t do anything about it. He just lay there waiting for the teeth to sink in. And when they did he drew a sigh of relief. Retribution….. nirvana…. the dogs had their revenge…..

Lokesh Garodia woke up in a cold sweat. He had wet his trunks. His eyes darted, looked around for the dog pack. He rubbed his arms frantically searching for teeth marks. Then he collapsed on the bed and shot up as it was wet. He dashed to the toilet and turned the hot water on. And sank down on the floor. This recurring dream or rather nightmare had been haunting him for weeks. He sobbed loudly and did not know what to do. The scion of the Garodia family, steel tycoon was at a loss for action.

Next day he went to a psychiatrist. So far he had avoided because he had thought and believed that only mad people visited a shrink. But he needed one. A Freud to interpret his dreams.

Dr Krishna’s clinic was symbolically called The Ascelepieions.
The ancient Greeks constructed temples they called Asclepieions, where sick people were sent to be cured. It was believed that cures would be effected through divine grace.
Lokesh read what was written in bold letters on the wall as he waited.

Dreams were considered prophetic or omens of particular significance. One of the earliest examples of dream interpretation comes from the Babylonian [Epic of Gilgamesh] Gilgamesh dreamt that an axe fell from the sky. The people gathered around it in admiration and worship. Gilgamesh threw the axe in front of his mother and then he embraced it like a wife. His mother, Ninsun, interpreted the dream. She said that someone powerful would soon appear. Gilgamesh would struggle with him and try to overpower him, but he would not succeed. Eventually they would become close friends and accomplish great things.

She added, "That you embraced him like a wife means he will never forsake you. Thus your dream is solved."

While this example also shows the tendency to see dreams as mantic (as predicting the future), Ninsun's interpretation also anticipates a contemporary approach. The axe, phallic and aggressive, symbolizes for a male who will start as aggressive but turn into a friend. To embrace an axe is to transform aggression into affection and camaraderie.

Dreams have been held in considerable importance through history by most cultures.

Lokesh sighed. He did not have dreams…. he had nightmares and how… He shuddered.

Dr Krishna called for him and Lokesh walked into the chamber and the couch. The famous couch..

Dr Krishna was a tall, thin and bespectacled man with a ready smile. He seemed to be enjoying his work thought Lokesh irrationally. It must be fun listening to people laying themselves bare before him. What power. He could even blackmail….

“Relax Lokesh I won’t blackmail you” said Dr. Krishna suddenly. Lokesh stiffened.
“Now tell me your problem. What brings you here?”

Step by step the story unfolded and he was at peace at last.

Sittings after sittings followed but Dr Krishna could not really do anything much because Lokesh refused to be hypnotised. Finally Dr Krishna gave up.

“What are you afraid of so much? To get to the crux of the problem something has to give. Otherwise no point in coming to me anymore.”

Lokesh stopped going to the clinic. How could he tell the doctor that he knew why he had nightmares? How could he tell the world that the hi-fi living life king-size playboy had been a petty thief before?

His father had completely spoilt him. Oodles of money and no quality time to spend with him .So he had been the typical richie rich boy who soon degenerated into drugs and pornography.

One of his pet time pass had been stealing. But the areas where he stole had dogs to guard the houses. Huge dogs all. Dobermans, Labradors, Hounds, Great Danes, Boxers……And he killed them all. Poisoned them before they barked and warned the guards. First he would befriend the guards… After that it was like taking candy from a baby…..How much he and his friends had enjoyed the killing. How much they had laughed….

Dr Krishna was shocked at the headlines the next morning.

Millionaire tycoon poisoned to death.

Lokesh Goradia was found……

Dr Krishna was puzzled to see a whole lot of dogs milling outside the Goradia penthouse when he got there and to his surprise all of them seemed to be smiling…….

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Short Story.