- 12 Jan - 18 Jan, 2019
THE MAN WITH FOUR FACES
- 14 Apr - 20 Apr, 2018
Shehla expected to see me in the picture but felt quite shaken and terrified after what she actually saw.
“That’s… that’s not true,” she stuttered while pointing at the picture.
“I’m sorry but it is,” the professor replied.
In the picture, Shehla had aimed the gun at no one. In other words, I wasn’t there in the picture.
Before leaving, Professor Zeeshan stood up and said, “Shehla, the guy you were in love with did not really exist. He was just in your mind.”
Meanwhile in the canteen, the student who had completed the report now explained the entire case of four women to her two colleagues, who were seated next to her.
“This guy, Sarim Waqar,” she began, “died a long time ago and he existed only as a hallucination in the minds of these four women.”
She took a pause for a whole minute and continued, “Sarim Waqar was a celebrity, a movie star and his death was a tragedy, for all his fans. The moment he was killed by his own servant Zubair Karwani, the news spread like fire. It was media frenzy all over. However, there were a lot of women who were his fans and loved him immensely.”
She paused again.
Yes, it’s true. I did not exist in reality. I died a long time ago but these four innocent women truly loved me. They were hit so badly with this news that they turned into schizophrenics.
The student continued again, “I know that you both know about it, but I’m repeating the definition of this disease. This disease schizophrenia, usually occurs due to a tragedy or accident that one’s mind is not able to accept. Now, what happens in this disease is that the sufferer sees people and hears voices that do not actually exist.”
“Alright, we get it,” one of the other students answered.
“Anyway, Sarim’s murder was a tragedy to a lot of women, leaving them completely heartbroken. But these four lonely women, I repeat four lonely women, were the ones who became schizophrenics. They had no one to talk to, they were so alone and miserable with their lives, even before Sarim’s death.”
“Just because they were lonely, their minds gave birth to these personalities?”
“Yes, these four personalities Abdullah, Rashid, Ahsan and Saad were products of their minds and shared a common feature – Sarim Waqar’s appearance. In short, they were experiencing the same hallucination.”
There was a moment of silence.
I visited Omama’s house two months ago, it was raining heavily and she offered me a towel and a cup of coffee. And what did I say?
“No, thank you dear!”
It said so because I did not exist, so I couldn’t hold anything tangible. As far as the towel is concerned, I never actually held it; in fact, it was Omama who kept it on the sofa. When I left, she found the towel totally dry and clean, without a hint of any wetness or dirt.
He didn’t even use the towel, she wondered.
This proves that I did not exist in reality but only in their minds.
Anyway, the student who was explaining the entire situation asked her fellows, “Do you guys have any questions?”
“Well…” one of them asked, “these women… do they still see him and is he still hallucinating in their minds?”
“Sadly, yes,” Professor Zeeshan told us. “These women cannot be treated so easily.”
Several days back, as Farheen felt disturbed seeing a few DVD covers at her home, she uttered, “No, it’s not true. This didn’t happen.”
The answer to why she was behaving this way is because those were my movies. She had collected all the DVDs of my movies. And when I died, she hid them away. This was the reason why she was so stressed when she saw them. Because she remembered and realised that I had passed away.
The other two students were now clear with the case and were reading the report once again.
“So, where’s Professor Zeeshan?” one of them asked.
“I don’t know,” replied the other one, “He’s probably inside, talking to her.”
“A doctor who assumed that one of the patients had recovered.”
Several days ago, Farheen and Omama heard me saying that I was attacked.
It was a line from two of my famous movies. And the stories they heard from me about being a slave of money and how it was easier to hate than love, were all themes of my films.
Meanwhile inside the ward, Professor Zeeshan held the picture in front of Shehla and heard someone saying, “Please don’t do that.”
Professor Zeeshan looked at him and asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m Dr Waraich. My job here is to consider every possibility to cure these women’s minds.”
“Therefore, in case of Shehla, what I’ve gauged is that as long as she believes that she actually killed her boyfriend, she does not see the hallucination.”
“Wait, do you mean there’s a possibility that she won’t see the hallucination after she believes he’s dead?” Professor Zeeshan asked.
“Well, those are the reports,” the doctor replied. “Of all these four women, Shehla is the only one who hasn’t seen her boyfriend’s hallucination. The other three are still calling out the names of their lovers and are still talking to them.”
“Oh, really? Well I guess this proves it then.”
“The only way to cure these women is to make them believe that their lover is no more alive. We can plan a fake drama and have their lovers dead.”
“It isn’t necessary that this treatment would cure them forever. It could be a temporary solution though.”
Professor Zeeshan stood silent assuming he was right.
Shehla was sitting in the room but wasn’t listening to them as her mind was in a bit of shock, after she had seen the photo.
Doctor Waraich walked towards her bed and asked her, “How do you feel Shehla?”
She didn’t respond, as she felt afraid and kept staring at Professor Zeeshan.
“Don’t look over there,” the doctor politely told her. “Tell me, how are you feeling right now?”
“What did this man do?” she asked pointing her finger towards the professor. “In the photo, he removed Rashid.”
“Forget the picture,” he told Shehla, “Just tell me how you feel. Or tell me about your boyfriend. Do you see him here at the hospital?”
“No, I don’t.” She answered, finally turning her face towards Dr Waraich.
“Why is it that you don’t see him anymore?”
“Because I killed him.”
“Do you remember the moment?”
Professor Zeeshan was listening to her answers very carefully.
“Yes, I do,” Shehla answered like a normal person, “But I won’t tell you about it.”
“Because I know you’re a cop and you’ll have me arrested. Don’t think I’m a fool.”
The doctor held his forehead, chuckled and said, “My dear I’m not a cop. I am your doctor. I’m here to help you.”
“I don’t think so,” she spoke after a pause.
“Alright fine, don’t tell me about the incident. Just tell me, have you ever seen your boyfriend since then?”
“How would I?” she asked feeling ridiculed. “Do you mean in pictures or videos or do you mean in reality?”
“I mean both.”
“No, I haven’t seen him,” she clearly stated.
It seemed she had recovered. But was the recovery temporary or permanent?
Omama was in her room. Her hands were tied and so was her entire body. The room’s lights were off but rays of sunlight slightly lit up the room.
She was peacefully sleeping, when a noise woke her up. She looked around and remembered that she wasn’t in her home but at a terrible place instead.
A moment later, she saw me standing right in front of her. I was wearing black clothes and my arms were folded. She was shaken as she saw me and cried, “Saad! Saad! Please take me away. Please Saad! I want to come along with you.”
I didn’t respond and kept looking at her. She struggled with untying herself and cried, “Saad! Why aren’t you talking to me?”
One of the nurses opened her room’s door, while two other nurses entered inside. They saw Omama yelling and talking looking in a certain direction, as if looking at someone. But nobody was present there.
“Get the injection,” a nurse instructed one of her colleagues.
After few seconds, the two nurses rushed towards Omama and one of them held her arm. The other one prepared the injection. She resisted and kept crying loudly. Omama could still see me but I wasn’t there in reality. I was only in her mind.
“Don’t do this, please!” she pleaded to the nurses.
Quite unexpectedly, the two psychologists Professor Zeeshan and Dr Waraich came at the spot and stopped the nurses from injecting Omama. Dr Waraich paid close attention to the direction Omama was continuously seeking help from.
“Listen to me, Omama,” he spoke to her in a loud tone, “this man betrayed you. He does not deserve your love.”
“Can you please let me out of this place?” she pleaded.
“I will but only on condition. You let me explain something first.”
“This guy Saad does not love you truly. He was just playing with your heart. He deserves to die.”
Omama saw that I wasn’t helping her a moment ago, so she agreed with the doctor and asked him, “Then, how should I stop loving him?”
“The only way to end this is to have him killed,” Professor Zeeshan answered her. “And we’re here to do that.”
She gave it a thought and didn’t like the idea of killing me.
“Think about it, Omama,” Dr Waraich continued. “He played with your feelings and didn’t value you. And after we’re done with this, you can return back to your home.”
She didn’t answer and looked at me with a sad face. Dr Waraich nodded his head as a signal. The nurse injected her arm through the prepared injection.
Professor Zeeshan threw a knife at the exact location where I stood according to Omama. She saw that happening, while her eyes started to blur and she fainted. Dr Waraich then instructed, “Ok, good. Now all we need to do is design a picture in which her boyfriend is lying dead. This might break her heart but she’ll at least accept the fact that he’s dead and wouldn’t see the hallucinations.”
“But doctor…” Professor Zeeshan said, “How do we determine if the recovery is temporary and not permanent?”
“Well, we’ll find that within a month or two. But if their recovery exceeds more than that then we can assume that they are perfectly sane.”
“Oh, so now we’ll do the same with the other two? Kill their imaginary lovers in front of them?”
An hour later, the two students who had just understood the entire case, were sitting on the stairs. One of them asked the other, “So tell me what lesson does this case give us?”
“Lesson? You mean a life lesson?”
Before she could answer, they heard Professor Zeeshan’s voice from behind, “I’ll tell you.”
They both turned to see Professor Zeeshan waking towards them and stood up.
“This case of four insane women tells us…” he continued, “that one should never fall in love or get obsessed with someone they can’t be with in reality. Like a movie star or any celebrity. These women were so mad about Sarim Waqar that their misery about Sarim’s murder turned them insane.”
“So, what else should they have done?”
“They should have never fallen in love in the first place.”
“But love is beyond a person’s control.”
“No. The first stage of love is controllable. These women should have realised that they were falling for him and should have controlled their feelings of obsession right then and there. And none of this would have happened.”
Both the students agreed and nodded in affirmation.
Three Months Later
Eruj and her son were at the same grocery store where they went. Eruj looked normal and happy with her son. She went to the spot where she used to meet her imaginary friend and everything was normal there too. No hallucinations of any sort appeared before her and she smiled while she did her groceries.
At home, Farheen was with her brother who handed over some cash to her and asked, “Sister, do you feel alone here?”
“I do,” she replied in a sane tone.
“Don’t worry, I’ll do something about it.”
“I will find someone for you. You should to get married.”
She smiled and seemed happy at the prospect.
“You need a family of your own,” her brother suggested.
“Yes, I do.”
Shehla was reading stories to her children at home. The kids were enjoying and laughing with their mother and she also looked really happy to be with her family. Ever since she was discharged from the hospital, she never saw me around.
And lastly, Omama was at a restaurant with her fiancé. They were meeting for the first
time and her parents also accompanied them.
After a while, Omama’s father came by and asked her, “Omama, are you happy with this?”
“I’d be happy with any marriage, as long as I am truly loved,” she gave an honest answer.
Her father was happy to hear this.
The four innocent women had finally recovered and moved on with their lives. None of them saw me again, as they all believed that their lover had passed away and would never show up again. Thanks to the two expert psychologists, Dr Zeeshan Akbar and Dr Waraich. •