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Chapter 26: Session 26

I have never done anything myself, so naturally I never bother about whether she will be able to do it or not. I simply say to her “Listen,” and of course, when I say something she has to listen. Now, how she manages to do it is not my problem, nor is it her problem: she manages because I have said so. I have said it because I don’t know anything about management. Do you see how perfectly I have chosen her? She fits. I am a misfit.

My grandmother was always worried. Again and again she would say “Raja, you will be a misfit. I tell you, you will always be a misfit.”

I used to laugh and tell her, “The very word misfit is so beautiful that I have fallen in love with it. Now if I fit, remember, I will hit your head - and when I say that, you know I mean it. I will really hit your head, if you are alive. If you are not alive then I will come to your grave, but I will certainly do something nasty. You can trust me.”

She laughed even more, and said, “I take the challenge. I again say you will remain a misfit forever, whether I am alive or dead. And you will never be able to hit my head because you will never be able to fit.”

And she was certainly right. I was the misfit, everywhere. At the university where I was teaching I never joined in the annual staff photograph. The vice-chancellor once asked me, “I have noticed that you are the only staff member who never comes for our annual photograph. Everybody else comes because the photo is published, and who doesn’t want his photo to be published?”

I said, “I certainly don’t want to have my photograph published - not along with so many donkeys. And that photograph would remain forever a blemish on my name, knowing that once I was associated with this company.”

He was shocked, and said, “You call all these people donkeys? Including me?”

I said, “Of course including you. That’s what I think,” I told him, “and if you want to hear something nice, you have called the wrong man. Call one of the donkeys.”

Not a single photograph exists in which I even participated while I was in service. I was such a misfit, I thought it was better not to be associated with those people with whom I had nothing in common. At university, I associated only with a tree, a gulmarg tree.

I don’t know whether this kind of tree exists in the West or not, but it is one of the most beautiful trees in the East. Its shade is really cool. It does not grow high; it spreads its branches all around. Sometimes the branches of a single old gulmarg tree can cover enough land that five hundred people can easily sit beneath it. And when it flowers in the summer, thousands of flowers blossom simultaneously. It is not a miserly tree, producing one flower then another. No, suddenly, one night, all the buds open, and in the morning you cannot believe your eyes - thousands of blossoms! And they are the color of sannyasins. I had only that tree as my friend.

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