Hamletian propensities

Published - January 27, 2019 12:10 pm IST

Gypsum sculpture of the two venecian masks isolated on white background

Gypsum sculpture of the two venecian masks isolated on white background

Certain kinds of human behaviour can be as weird as they are inexplicable. While such behaviour assumes a whiff of romantic acceptability in the realm of literature, when it manifests itself in real life, observers tend to form a different opinion.

When we talk of Hamlet’s soliloquies we conjure up the image of a lonely, desolate, wronged character inveighing against the injustices of a world out of joint. Talking to himself and blowing off steam becomes his cathartic moment as we pity his existential angst.

But this writer who displays similar attributes of Hamlet is happily married with a college-going daughter. My tendency to talk to myself in a room or in the balcony, also involving facial expressions and contortions and involuntary flailing movement of arms, leave both my wife and daughter gasp in amazement and incredulity. But make no mistake; I am neither going through any existential despair nor harbouring any thoughts of revenge on anybody. I am also not a genius or an intellectual, ones who are generally believed to indulge in such behaviour. Blame it all on my erratic mood swings that oscillate between ecstasy and irascibility. Such behaviour at times is also triggered by moments of epiphany or teenage memories when I start recalling goof-ups or incidents of school and college life by talking to myself, breaking into laughter in between. I have this habit since college days.

Obviously, when my wife suddenly catches me in the act, she gets furious and nonplussed; embarrassed to even remind me that what I am doing doesn’t behove a mature man entrusted with the job of running a family and earning a living. Everytime I am reminded of my infantile digressions from the normal rhythm of life, I decide, like an obedient child, not to repeat this act again — only to promptly forget it after a couple of days.

One day while returning home after a gruelling day in office, I broke into another soliloquy about the growing load of office work and my repeated inability to leave home in time. I thought I would have it out with my boss. All this was happening while I was deboarding the Metro, unmindful of some curious gazes that had already fastened on me. By the time I got conscious of my silliness, the cat was out of the bag. My Hamletian streak had again made me a laughing stock.

My wife suggested I consult a psychiatrist, which suggestion I politely declined. I told her talking to myself makes me feel lighter and happy.

My daughter, who has been enjoying my funny and logic-defying activities for the past few years, still can’t fathom why she doesn’t see other people do what her father often is found doing. But I continue to remain a comic relief for her.


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