I thought that a species like him did not have any aim in life since he did not take anything seriously. Or if he had an aim it must be too ridiculous for a mere mortal like me to understand. However, in the past week, I saw two instances that hinted at the possibility that maybe Shuntoo did have an aim after all, to try his best to reveal the absurdities (or what Shuntoo believes to be absurdities) in our everyday thinking. I should not take too much credit for figuring this out though, since it was Shuntoo himself who told me this in his inimitable style. When I ventured to ask why he could not reply to normal everyday remarks in the usual, non-rude fashion, he smiled and said,
“I pride myself in being able to ignore and tolerate anything that life throws at me, including your normal everyday remarks. But, bacchay! Sometimes when a complete absurdity is addressed to me, I consider it my obligation to reveal to whoever is addressing me the complete ridiculousness of his utterance.”
Less than a week ago, a mutual friend of ours was complaining about how immensely problematic his life had become and how his wife, his job, his kids, his parents, his income and what not were all way below the required standards. Shuntoo, in his customary manner, was simply nodding his head and smiling a little from time to show him that he was interested whereas if I know Shuntoo at all, he wasn’t even listening since he is least interested in such stories. However, our friend, probably not being satisfied with this response, finally said
“Please tell me Shuntoo! Why does this always happen to only me?”
That is where Shuntoo looked him in the eyes, gave one of his most cynical smiles and asked.
“Hmm! Who else would you want this to happen to?”
“I didn’t mean that. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. But…..” Before he could continue Shuntoo said
“So you should remove the ‘only’ from your question. Now, how many times has this happened to you? How many wives have you had? How many sets of parents? How many jobs?”
“Well, just one of each, but ….” our friend was a little perplexed at these questions and more than a little annoyed when Shuntoo cut him off once again.
“So better take the ‘does’ and the ‘always’ out of this statement as well. Now, what do you exactly think is happening to you? If you are absolutely clear about it, tell me in one sentence.”
“Well!” now our friend was completely confused. “What’s happening to me is not that specific, but ….”
Cutting him off once again, Shuntoo continued, “There goes the ‘this’ too. Now, all that is left in your statement is ‘Why happen to me?’ So what you actually want to ask is why something is happening to you. Well, pyaarey, that’s because you exist. And when you exist things will happen.”
“But Shuntoo!” to my surprise, our friend was still ready to continue the conversation. “You don’t understand my problems. The situation is …….”
As our friend continued explaining his woes, Shuntoo reverted to the nod-smile-nod response.