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Chapter 13: Ecstasy Is Knowing That Nobody Is Holding Your Hand

My father would look at me and say, “What to do? He does not listen.” And he felt offended.

I said, “You need not feel offended. I don’t see any problem. If somebody calls me a girl or a boy, that is his business; what difference does it make to me?”

But he was offended that his boy was being called a girl. Just the idea of a boy and girl. In India when a boy is born, there are gongs and bands and songs, and sweets are distributed in the whole neighborhood. And when a girl is born, nothing happens, nothing! You know immediately that a girl has been born because there are no gongs, no bells, no band, no singing, nothing is happening, no distribution of sweets - that means a girl has been born. Nobody will come to ask because it will offend you: you will have to answer that a girl has been born. The father is sitting with his face down. A girl is born.

So he said, “This is strange. I have a boy, and I am suffering from having a girl.” So one day he really became angry because the man who had asked was a very important man; he was the collector of the district. He was sitting in the shop, and he asked, “Whose girl is this? It is strange, the clothes seem to be a boy’s - and with so many pockets and all full of stones?”

My father said, “What to do? He is a boy; he is not a girl. But today I am going to cut his hair - it is enough!” So he came with his scissors and cut my hair. I didn’t say anything to him. I went to the barber’s shop, which was just in front of my house and I told him. He was an opium addict, a very beautiful man, but sometimes he would cut half your mustache and would forget the other half. You would be sitting in his chair, with his cloth around your neck and he was gone, so you would search. Where had he gone? It was difficult; nobody knew where he had gone. And with a half mustache, where would you go to search for him? But he was the only one I liked, because it took hours.

He would tell you a thousand and one things, unrelated to anything in the world. I enjoyed it. It was from this man, Nathur - Nathur, that was his name - that I learned how the human mind is. My first acquaintance with the human mind came from him, because he was not a hypocrite. He would say anything that came into his mind; in fact, between his mind and his mouth there was no difference! He simply spoke whatsoever was in his mind. If he was fighting with somebody in his mind, he would start fighting loudly - and nobody was there. I was the only one who would not ask, “With whom are you fighting?” So he was very happy with me, so happy that he would never charge me for cutting my nails or anything.

That day I went there and I told him - we used to call him Kaka, Kaka means uncle - “Kaka, if you are in your senses, just shave my whole head.”

He said, “Great.” He was not in his senses. If he had been, he would have refused because in India you shave your head only when your father dies; otherwise it is not shaved. So he had taken a good dose of opium and he shaved my head completely.

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