I had little reason to be lugubrious, but I felt as much nonetheless so soon as I arose on the beclouded morning of the fifteenth of June; six days ago. I was scheduled to be vaccinated, and here I am six days subsequently, my immune system having reacted furiously to the inoculation, and having recovered from the quasi-debilitation.

I had concluded watching the Lord of the Rings last Monday — a movie everyday beginning with Saturday (12 June) so as to complete the trilogy. To my mind, the trilogy was beautifully done; the music, the aesthetics and the acting was all worth commendation. It resuscitated, if only partially, that heavy-handedly suppressed child within me who yearned for nothing but a sense of ethereality in life; who desired a sense of adventure and magic with an ensemble of friends, riddled with profoundly maturating experiences. It was emotionally moving in a way that is ineffable.

The child had unceremoniously been replaced by a pessimistic creature quite early on in life, perennially subsumed by a sea of cynicism against the world; deprived of a sense of magic and wonder with the world. To date, he cannot recollect how, and precisely when, the rude metamorphosis effected. But his essence, as if humbling tenacity itself, refused to dissipate. The child’s passion was therefore all the more strong, and stabbed the rhadamanthine creature’s hide, to enkindle within him a disillusory anger against the creature’s assumed voyage of scholarly concern with current affairs, which in itself had served only to inflame his pessimism with the world further.

And that disillusory anger prevailed in the morning, in exception to the calmative proclivity of most mornings; the very thought of world affairs and concomitant rancour deemed execrable. I wanted to be adamantly away from and apathetic to everything. But I had to proceed with Dad to the vaccination centre — his office, the Pune branch of Deutsche Bank, for the CoWin website had long proven unfruitful in securing an appointment at hospitals in and in the vicinity of Aundh, Pune. The procession, it turned out, was not to be effortless.

No love had ever been lost between me and the phenomenon of car travel, and it had been several months since I had travelled by car. Having almost forgotten thus the bile-inducing propensities of car travel, I got onto the seat next to the driver’s seat, the latter for a few years to come to perhaps be graced by Dad alone. The nauseous smell of the car, typical of new cars albethat it had been five years already, brought back the bad memories, which I kept suppressed by thinking about an assortment of topics throughout the ride.

Not too long after we had left home, I suddenly witnessed a transition in the surroundings. There were many more trees, their presence redolent of a well-planned park. I realized we were going through some of the Defence areas of Pune; officers’ mess and suchlike, the roads and the grass yet evincing the drizzle of dawn. The sun appeared out of and disappeared back into the clouds, as if partially arising to realize that it needed a longer repose. On the way, I beheld to my left a most celestial vista; the clouds in the distance were grey, the zephyr animating the grass and the trees, and the now bright sun illumining the greensward across the expanse. The child saw it, the cynical creature for a spell subdued. I felt like Frodo Baggins leaving Shire on an adventure, but somehow simultaneously beholding Rivendell, illumined by the sun of dawn. Those moments, transient though they were, seem in retrospect to ineffably have lasted many lifetimes, for it is with such vividness that I recall that elysian spectacle.

Out of the profusion of trees and tranquil defence zones, onto the busy roads, descrying the large sign “The Bombay Sappers” on the gates ahead; the centre of a regiment of the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army. Indeed, that was not our point of disembarkation, and we proceeded with a right turn. The myriad thoughts notwithstanding — the uninteresting Hindi song playing in the car, the unintelligence in cinema, the English language in the contemporary era deprived of its lyrical chroma, the occasional hostility to expansive lexicons — I nonetheless felt nauseous. I remarked to Dad, “No longer is this nausea but a result of preconceptions; I feel as much despite not thinking about it repeatedly.” As if in pulverization of my discomfort, an impressive corporate building emerged into view, and I realized that we were but a few metres away. When we parked, I disembarked to greet the cool air in the parking. Woe betide the virus for my inability to feel it in my olfactory nerves; the mask interfered understandably and irksomely.

The centre was quite organized in its management, punctilious in maintaining a reasonable distance between people, and the interiors were naturally appealing and clean given that it was an office of such renown. At a desk, someone noted my CoWin registration number and my cellphone number, and directed me to the vaccination room, its stock of Covishield vaccines abound. The lady exhibited a sense of professional promptitude; one that did not nonetheless indicate hurry. Having inoculated me, she recommended to me take a pill of the illustriously febrifugal medicine, Crocin, before retiring for the night. The fever is supposed to indicate that the immune system is now highly active, as the inflammatory mediators are immanentized in the body.

In all strangeness, as if the vaccine had not been a vaccine but a temperament-changing nostrum, the saturninity that disgraced the morning was gone. Assuredly, that dolour was not a result of a fear of injections; I had taken injections aplenty and I was commended as a patient, unflinching recipient by a doctor of local repute nearby whom we knew well. It was disenchantment with the world as it is. To a degree, the disenchantment persists. Nothing better would I prefer than being lost for a few days in the pages of the larger-than-life, prepossessing Middle Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels. Fiction, especially powerfully written fiction, is a curative of greater potency than we may care to admit, often purveying wisdom of inspiriting potential.

I look forward to reading the novels soon.

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