Ekalavya was great company because he always brought company. He had no idea what it was to be alone. He was born with not only voices in his head, but also whole people. In the beginning, as a baby he thought everyone was that way. Soon when he realised that people always think that they are alone, it was repeatedly pointed out to him that he was weird. He considered this one afternoon when he was 5 and decided that he was certainly a minority, but not weird in any way.
Since he was fond of graphics, he drew on the sand with a twig – a mental matrix. On the left side was relaxation, on the right side was tension, on the bottom was high self-esteem and on the top was low self-esteem. It looked like this. Of course, no 5-year-old can do this, but he got by with a little help from his imaginary friends.
“And how will you know when a person is relaxed?” asked a ghoulish imaginary fiend.
“Oh easy, they’ll have a soft face filled with alertness. In my 5 years I’ve done a lot of observing; there are 2 types of relaxed people”, he explained.
“Two types?” asked ghoulish fiend.
“Indeed; evil and good. You knew that but you’re too lazy to think so I’ll tell you”, said Ekalavya, grinning.
“But, but… I’m just a figment of your imagination”, protested the ghoulish fiend.
“Yeah”, Ekalavya was grinning from ear to ear. He quite enjoyed stimulating existential torment in his non-existent friends.
“So” he continued, explaining his matrix to the crowd of genies, ghouls, fiends and hungry ghosts he couldn’t help but see, “the top left of the matrix can’t exist in reality, because tension causes low self-esteem , and the top right are the wusses and whiners whom I’m going to ignore and occasionally slap when they get in my face. The bottom right are violent cretins because they have soaring egos and the power to cause harm, so these I’m going to avoid, and if I can’t avoid running into them I will only praise them until I can avoid them again. They respond to praise no matter how corny, just the other day I ran into my father who wanted to know if I was smoking pot; I asked him if that was a light coming from his eyes. He immediately got distracted and wanted to know more about the light so I said, I’m only 5 but maybe you should ask some spiritual people. He’s been busy saying the story of how his 5-year-old saw light from his eyes and he’s forgotten all about the pot.”
The ghouls marvelled at his intelligence and clarity of thought.
“And what about the bottom left” they gasped.
“Oh these are people fit for human consumption, relaxed and self-assured, they seek no validation. They have much to give and want very little in return. It is such people that I shall cultivate around me, they will be my loved ones.”
So you can imagine, with such wisdom, how Ekalavya rose among the ranks of the tribals in the forest where he was born and became the heir to the throne from among his siblings although he was the youngest. He never wanted to be King because as one of his ghouls put it, “It’s too much work” Being prince is a good place to be. You get fed and laid and you get to practice martial arts, all three of which Ekalavya enjoyed immensely.
Being compassionate and all, he helped sort out the mental anguish of his fuck buddies and they all became super relaxed. He didn’t breathe a word about his imaginary buddies to anyone after age 5 when he drew the schizophrenic’s survival matrix on the sand. What he didn’t admit to anyone was that he used the same matrix on the ghouls too because not all of them were friendly.
One of his fuck buddies came up with the word butthurt. This word became pretty popular among the tribe as a succinct way to describe unnecessary drama and self-pity. Relaxation was improving the intelligence of the tribe as a whole, they all began to workout using maximal strength methods and deep tissue massages to maintain relaxation were very popular too. Soon, another girl came up with the word ‘Tijori’ which was a Persian word that meant treasure chest, used to describe people who imagined they had something to lose and behaved defensively.
For example she explained, consider a girl, who when someone says, “get lost bitch” retorts with “that’s no way to talk to a woman”. She’s a tijori because she feels she lost some dignity there. “Ah“, nodded the tribe in agreement, even the dogs and bitches that they had adopted to watch over them while they slept nodded in agreement.
Soon the tribe was so relaxed that they didn’t need to sleep at all because the maximal strength training was not causing hypertrophy, they looked so beautiful and fit with the women having a fat percentage of about 11 to 13 and men about 8 to 9. They stayed off the grains and stuck to fats for energy, eating the occasional fruit, river fish and vegetable for micronutrients, they drank a lot of water and kept the proteins somewhat limited to ease the kidneys and liver.
They began to live really long. Ekalavya was around 115 but he looked no older than 25. Genetic changes had occurred due to the breathing exercises some of his demons had taught him. The cell oxidation patterns were explained to him by one particular baba-type ghoul called Shiva. He also taught him Tantra, Aghora and Yoga. It seems there were 4 different cell oxidation processes as oxygen molecules interacted with the cell and the methylation of the DNA could be controlled easily by breathing techniques, giving Ekalavya control over which gene could be expressed at what time, he of course chose the best possible expression for any moment by gaining awareness first and then total control over his breath. He taught this to his tribesmen and they passed on the tradition, it is a fact that the tradition is still alive in India today and in rare pockets his descendants practice it, growing hair over bald patches, not ejaculating even after hours of sex, running long distances without fatigue, keeping their body warm in freezing temperatures, taking stabs to the body and turning the knife without any physical harm, receiving blows without impact and letting automobiles drive over them, and other such party tricks.
Foreigners especially Americans come in hordes to learn this, especially the sex without coming bit, you know, to use sex as a weapon to control each other, however, having the tendency to make a virtue out of reinventing the wheel because they fall mostly into top right or bottom right categories of the schizophrenic’s survival matrix, they can’t even understand the instructions, because these instructions build on each other and you have to listen with relaxation.
Even the teachers avoid making eye contact with these ‘seekers’ because they don’t want their mirror neurons to mirror their tension. Well, none of the real teachers are famous anyway and the spiritual seekers often are consumed by the spiritual industry complete with CEOs and other corporate monstrosities.
So yeah, Ekalavya was in bliss because he had arranged for a timeless legacy. He had also discovered many herbs that left pot far behind. So he was basically relaxing with his hombres, lying awake and undisturbed among a nation of sleeping ignorant wusses in a sweet corner of the Western Ghats. Honey from the bees, and milk from the buffaloes, fish from the river and meat from the wild pigs, beer from the rice and smokes from the tobacco leaves, sport and romance, laughter and music, beautiful tattoos and lots of sex, elegant jewellery and sharp clothes too, it was an idyllic existence.
Ekalavya was a model schizophrenic. He was conclusive proof that schizophrenics can contribute greatly to society if they control their reactions to their private visions and voices.
Then this mighty wuss came crashing into Ekalavya’s life making him famous, plus he got featured in the Time magazine of that ancient time, edited by a guy called Vyasa, it was called the Mahabharata. People still read that thing, it’s pretty awesome actually. Check it out sometime.
Vyasa wrote of this wuss: that God came down and revealed the deepest secrets of nature and he understood nothing, in his frustration God created a new yoga for dummies called Karma Yoga. The basic tenet was “Keep calm and carry on and I’ll do the rest, cos you’re a real donkey”.
The wuss was called Arjun.
Arjun had had a traumatic childhood. His mother’s husband was not his father and to make matters worse, he died before Arjun was old enough to listen to his side of the story. His mother’s explanation that the God of thunder was his actual father was specious to say the least. The young Arjun was greatly discriminated against, leaving deep scars on his psyche that never really healed. Like all scarred children, he strained to overcompensate, he lifted weights, got himself a used horse and tried hard to lose his virginity as soon as he hit puberty, drank, smoked, got tattoos of skulls, naked chicks and the grim reaper, got into scraps and chased more pussy than he got. He even tried growing a handlebar moustache and often wore leather in the awful Indian summer. In short he was a problem child. Luckily for his mother, she had bigger problems over property and stuff and was too busy to worry about him, also she had 5 other children, also from different fathers, none of them her husband, and one was a secret child she threw in a river and was found and raised by a driver of a chariot. Talk about shabby parenting.
Anyway, all this posing didn’t do much for his self-esteem. He was continually defensive and insecure, not to mention stiff as a board and tense. A perfect tijori.
That’s when Drona came into his life as a teacher. Drona’s story is full of butthurt too. Slighted by his childhood buddy and in great poverty but possessing great martial arts knowledge, he came seeking work at the palace where Arjun was prince. Oh yeah he was a prince. In a less than thorough interview he was appointed as the trainer for all the princes and one slightly overweight princess. The guy who called the shots wasn’t even the king Dritharashtra. King D was blind, but by some complex series of events that we shall examine in another story, he was king, and his Uncle Bhishma was the ruler by proxy. And he, called the shots.
He was into the virtuous Indian practice called brahmacharya. Roughly, it translates as celibacy, but there are a bucketfuls of other dimensions to it, lots of practices, like avoiding garlic and onions because it increases ‘sex feelings’ and then sucking up mercury with your penis and performing so many other kinky insertions that you don’t really miss sex. However, he was now old and bored and a little careless, maybe even indifferent. Cold would be a good way to describe him, no hugs, no pats on the back no positive reinforcement of virtues etc. Not the best guy to be calling the shots about 105 princes and 1 slightly overweight princess. Well, why single out the princess; truth be told quite a few of them were overweight. The blind guy, had by some other kinky process that can happen only in India, produced 101 children with his hot Afghani wife. 100 boys and 1 girl! In India, we still produce an average of 101 children every half second. People from other countries don’t understand how we do it. The secret is of course to help your neighbours. But it’s a secret, and nobody will talk about it.
So yeah Drona was appointed, he didn’t have much experience with children, needless to say he tried being extra nice and the children took him for a ride, as a result, they were a bit shabby in their technique, but not Arjun. He saw this as a way to improve his self-worth. He trained quite hard, especially in archery, shooting arrows in the dark and what not. Fighting with swords man-to-man was kinda scary for him. He also was bi-curious and he was afraid to admit it as it would tarnish his image. India wasn’t, nor is a place, where different sexual orientations are accepted kindly, except in one place called Khajuraho where people tried everything and expressed themselves openly. So Arjun did stare a bit longer as his cousins’ bums than necessary however he never let anyone notice.
So amongst all these lies and confusion, archery was a ladder that helped Arjun climb out of what would otherwise have been crushing emotional pain. Soon he became the best archer of the nation. He was now a lad of 15 and a confirmed celebrity, posters of his likeness adorned bedrooms of teenage girls, he was approached to endorse various products, he became a spokesperson for the sport and a popular motivational speaker. Bhishma was actually quite surprised initially, and later grew fond of the lad and developed high expectations from him. Arjun was like a pup who had received a belly rub and a sweet treat.
He, however, sucked at hunting. He was slightly scared of wild animals. Knowing this was his weakness he decided that he would go again and again into the forest to hunt but he took a dog with him just in case he ran up against a predator. His plan was to sacrifice the dog and bolt for his life. Then on this fateful day, he ran up against Ekalavya.
Ekalavya had had voices in his head that morning, “Wuss alert… wuss alert”. He was just jogging with his bow and arrow hoping to have a juicy hawk for breakfast. Quiverful of sharp arrows, muscles relaxed and eyes sharply focussed he looked really dangerous. As he aimed for a soaring bird, and hawks can soar pretty high, Arjun’s dog bit his calf muscle. Ekalavya winced a bit, changed his breathing and softened the calf; the dog felt like he was biting a ball of dough. He chewed hard and swung his neck rapidly around but could not even penetrate the skin. The hawk was shot through the throat by that arrow and came crashing down on the dog’s head. The dog shook off the bird and retreated to a distance as scared dogs do and began barking. Ekalavya was irritated by this intrusion and shot his entire quiver of arrows into the dog’s mouth within 12 seconds, but being compassionate he made sure the force was just enough to not cut the dog anywhere. This is quite an incredible feat by any standard.
The relaxed man smiled, he had dimples too, but really, anyone who is relaxed is strikingly better looking than anyone who’s tense.
Arjun turned the corner to see this handsome dude, it stirred some flirty feelings in him but it was quickly replaced by anger when he saw what the man had done. Not because he cared about the dog, but because clearly he wasn’t the best archer in the country as he had imagined.
“Who the fuck are you?” he demanded. Ekalavya quickly put him in category 2, low self-esteem and tense. He ignored him and began to walk away. Arjun shot off his headgear with a deftly aimed arrow. Ekalavya was pissed off, but he didn’t want to hurt a lad. He calmly walked up to him and slapped him senseless. He then walked away.
Arjun had held his breath as he was being slapped and stiffened all his face muscles so he had a mild concussion. When he came to senses, he couldn’t really distinguish the events of the day from his dreams. He had dreamt that he’d asked Ekalavya who his teacher was, and Ekalavya had said Drona. He was, soon, somewhat butthurt with Drona for coaching someone in a better manner. So instead of getting the concussion treated, he went to Drona’s house, it was pretty late in the evening. Drona was mildly drunk. He began to mirror Arjun’s tension because he knew nothing of mirror neurons. In 10 minutes they were both chest-thumpingly offended and on their way to the forest. In those days the ride from North India to the Western Ghats was quite arduous, yet, Drona took Vyasa along because he expected a newsworthy situation and he surely wanted a scribe along. Vyasa liked free travel so he went along without coercion.
“Wuss alert” said the voice in Ekalavya’s head. And sure enough, there in his yard were Drona and Arjun, who had come to discuss this situation. Ekalavya had not heard butthurt for about 100 years; he could not even understand what they were saying. Vyasa was taking notes. So he went to Vyasa who was a cool dude and quite relaxed himself. Having had his share of tension and having greyed his beard prematurely he fortuitously had found Salvia Divinorum, a herb that would relax him, he had even learned the hard way, to quid chew it and not swallow it. He was chewing it then and he was super relaxed. He spat it out calmly and said, “These dudes want your thumb so that you can’t shoot arrows again. The older dude’s also having domestic quarrels and stuff over how to bring up the son, the lad has had a bad childhood and he’s a closet bi. But he’s like a real talented archer and all, probably the best in the country and is sorely threatened by you. He says you said that the older dude is your teacher so now to keep his job as the lad’s coach he wants your thumb.
Ekalavya burst out laughing. “I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous”, he said.
“Ah, rich kids and their tantrums.” Sympathised Vyasa.
“So what do you think I should do buddy? I mean do I kill them or just beat them up?” asked Ekalavya.
“See, anybody with your skill level can do that, but the lad has 104 other siblings and one super tough grand uncle and one uncle with a controlling Afghani wife, plus assorted connections and stuff. If you refuse these guys it’s like a shit storm bro.”, admitted Vyasa sincerely.
Ekalavya consulted the ghouls, they were all of the opinion that he should just give his thumb and get rid of these morons. “It’s gonna hurt a bit I guess”, was Ekalavya’s response. There was no point praising these guys even though they had moved into the third section of the matrix and were quite angry. Besides hearing them argue was like listening to Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black trying to out sing each other. He even heard words like ‘Friday’ and ‘Boyfriend’ being tossed among other raucous tones. It was a no-brainer.
Drona felt a warm wet thumb drop in his palm. Ekalavya had cut off his thumb with little fuss and was now tying the stub with a string to clot the open blood vessels. Vyasa put his finger on the knot and helped him tie a neat bow.
“Hey”, Vyasa said to Ekalavya as he walked away. Can I just twist some of the facts here cos I’m writing in verse and it’s kinda hard to find rhyming words, you know how it is.
“Well I don’t, but you have it going for you that I don’t give a fuck.” smiled Ekalavya.
“Oh haha ok bro, thanks, you’re cool, we should have a beer when I’m here in these parts next ok?”
“Certainly”, replied Ekalavya waving.
“How did that go?” asked Ekalavya’s friends.
“A thumb is a small price to pay, to avoid a mountain of butthurt”, he said as he downed a rice beer holding it with just 4 fingers.
And so thanks to the sensationalist media, Ekalavya whose main achievement was conquering schizophrenia and showing people how to live a happy life was immortalized as some dude who cut his thumb.
In a week, Ekalavya had figured out how to shoot without his thumb. His descendants today are the Ezhavas, the Edigas, the Bhils and some Srilankan groups too. They make up a large percentage of the population in their regions. They have, unfortunately, through improper use of their mirror neurons, learned the ways of butthurt and a small percentage of them can often be spotted completing engineering in Bangalore colleges and then raising families and stuff. But they still eat anything and they sure can drink. They are also good entrepreneurs, mostly. While they are pale shadows of their glorious ancestor you can recognise them by how they hold a cup of coffee.
They hardly use their thumbs.
About the Author: Beast was blessed with schizophrenia early in life. His parents thought he would grow out of having imaginary friends. By the time he was 10, he had learned that people react strangely to schizophrenics and do not trust or love them easily. He learned never to speak of his voices or apparitions with non schizophrenic people. Beast went on to become India’s most successful martial arts entrepreneur and then renounced materialism to have no more than 14 kgs of possessions at any point in time. He is the founder trustee of Na Boli trust a non profit dedicated to culturing a culture of respect and pluralism in India.