She handed over her postings order to the Professor of Medicine “Dr.Dodda malla’ the essential physician who was born with a smile stuck on his face. He was somewhat absent minded ‘Welcome Dr.Madhu Bala, you can make your self at home’ Madhu wanted to correct, ‘Sir my name has no tail’ she just smiled, like his photocopy. Suddenly she felt like Hailey’s comet with a bright sinister tail. Her batch mates were present, aghast to see her.She had complicated a simple life, she felt like a fraud here. She almost expected to hear camera rolling, clap shot number, action. She fixed the frame, with the beds, patients, and Dr. Doddamalla walking out, camera zooming in on him. She just went to the beds alotted to her, started to take the history of the patient’s complaints. Tuberculosis of the lungs with collection of fluid in the pleural sacs covering the lungs, Madhu slowly went about the examination; she still remembered most of this. No one watched her, no third eye, nothing was on display. The relief was palpable, as she searched for the right spot to put the needle to drain the excess fluid in the sac. She thought of Asha listening to a story which she did not have to report or retell, there was no electricity, the semi darkness of the wards was comforting, after those harsh imperative lights of the shoot, like sitting in a familiar bed room with a soft night lamp.
After all the pretended ‘realism’, this reality seemed less real. The groans of pain, almost felt like a pretense, even her sympathy seemed hollow. She was shocked, to realize that the third eye was inside her, not out side. It was as though she was taken out of her self, to watch her self, just how she looked, talked, behaved, it was eerie. There was an absence of emotional reactions, to any event whose appearance was not important, would not be permanent, and would not be enlarged on a screen. Her mind even her soul was merely pretending, this was crazy.
But , it was like that with art, as the expressions became perfect , the feeling of the artist became less important than the responsive feeling of the audience.Artist offered him self at the altar of art, he was sacrificed first to the feeling , which he later inspired in the audience. And all along she thought art was selfish, no it was not.. It was the burning of the self, with all its covers, in a spectacular incandescence. Cremation happened before salvation.
She thought of a noted Sarod player who broke the strings on the stage, the instrument could not play untill the player’s ego boundaries did not break. She thought of some of her dances, the perfect moments haunted her with their elusive beauty, those were moments, and she could die for that one moment, like the one moment of a glimpse of a true lover in a dark street.