One day we discussed…and every day we were discussing a thousand and one things. Our relationship as student and professor had got lost long before; it had become a very deep friendship. And he loved sharp arguments; he himself was a great logician. And I said the same thing to him, “Your idea of yourself is only a collection of opinions of others; you don’t know yourself.”
He said, “You will have to prove it.”
The next day I went to his wife – and she was very loving towards me because I was always going to their home. She knew that her husband had never been interested in any student in this way. I had become almost part of the family; I had spent many days there, whenever he wanted. He invited me many times to his home to discuss his doctoral thesis, which had been accepted by Cambridge University – he was working on the philosophy of Bradley in comparison to Shankara. Late into the nights we would go on discussing.
I told his wife, “Tomorrow I am doing an experiment and you have to help me.” She was all willing. It was a small experiment. I told her, “When Professor Roy gets up in the morning, you have to say to him: What is the matter? Could you not sleep? Just hold his hand: Do you have a fever? You look so pale. And write down exactly what he says.”
He said, “Who is looking pale? I am perfectly healthy. I have slept well and I don’t have any fever. What kind of idea have you got?”
She said, “I was thinking to call the doctor.”
He said, “Have you gone mad? When I am saying that I am perfectly okay…if there were fever I would know first. And I have seen my face in the mirror; there is no paleness or anything. Are you kidding or something?” She noted every single word the way he said it.
I had talked with his gardener: “When he comes out to go to the university, just run and hold him, and tell him: You are wobbling, what is the matter? Are you feeling dizzy? And touching his hand, say: My God, you have fever!”
And to the gardener, he said, “I could not sleep as deeply as I always sleep, and perhaps you are right. I am feeling a little dizzy. But I will go to the doctor.” The medical department was very close to the philosophy department. So he said, “I will go.”
He used to walk; the distance was almost one mile. Next was the post office, and I had told the postmaster…and they were very close friends, because both were Bengalis. I had told the postmaster, “You be out when he comes by, and just say: Roy, I don’t think you should go to the university today; you need rest. You look almost a faded shadow of yourself. You don’t look to me…what has happened?”
And to the postmaster he said, “I myself was thinking – should I go? I have never been absent. I have never taken any holiday, but perhaps I should go and inform the department that it is difficult, and go to the doctor and come back.”