An hour with the devil

Mr. Anand Devdhar is a psychiatrist. He’s been practicing for about three to four years now. He has a very particular daily routine, go to the office, chat with his secretary and then get down to work. Pretty monotonous of a routine. What makes all of it interesting is the type of patients he comes across.One fine day as he enters late into the office he can hear Mrs. Patil yell at him yet another time for being late. He apologies and proceeds to grab his lunch which she so kindly picked up. As he’s having his favorite burger she walks him through the day’s schedule. He quickly munches down the lunch and gets ready to work. “Let me know if there’s something interesting”, he begins to walk towards his office.

When he hears her shout ,” There’s already a patient waiting for you in there”. Irked by the behavior he rushes up to her desk. “Why exactly wasn’t I informed about this as you saw me chewing down an entire burger? Jesus that guy is going to think I’m all unprofessional. It’s like you want me to fire you”. ” Say what you want but somebody has to make sure that you have something at least throughout the day if not the night”. He smiles as he leans on her desk “And how exactly would you know whether I had anything last night? “. “Some women know everything dear”, she laughs as she gets back to her work. “And I thought you were supposed to be the doctor around here.” she mumbles in a sarcastic tone. “Indeed. Remind me to give you a raise.” Mr Devdhar smiles as he walks towards his office. As soon as he enters he shuts the door close and has only one thought running through his head. “It’s time to get down to business”. In front of him is a pale man. Fair skin and probably in his mid 30s. Mr. Devdhar likes to go through this routine where he’d observe his patient first before talking to them. There was something about this patient that ticked him off. He couldn’t put a finger on it but there was something. As he glared into the light blue eyes he found himself speaking,”Apologies I seemed to have lost track of time, I’m Mr. Anand Devdhar. So why don’t you begin by telling me about yourself?” . ” Steven… Steven Fredson and I guess that’s pretty much about what you need to know” said the man in a cold voice. This ticked the doctor even more. In all his previous years of experience he never came across such a person. Normally a patient would jump the gun when given an opportunity to talk about themselves. You could see them stuttering out of anxiety or the pain. See them trying to find a cure for their problem but not this one, this one was surprisingly calm. He had his mindset all cleared. As if there was practically nothing bothering him. “Alright, why don’t you tell me about what it is that you do?” asked the doctor even more curiously. “I’m a priest”, said the man. There it was, another well framed answer nothing more nothing less. “Forgive me but I’m not much of a believer in God.” the doctor continued trying in an attempt to get Steven to open up more. “That’s completely fine doctor neither am I.” This seemed to shock the doctor. “

A priest who does not believe in God, how exactly is that possible?” He asked even more curiously.”Well, I don’t believe in God but I do believe in the idea of God. You see I love the power or rather the hold that the idea of God has on people. Often I see people coming to ask for my help. Begging me to free them from their miseries ,
their sins if you may.” He continued leaning back on his chair. ” You see, when it comes to something like this, you just have a simple understanding. Whether God exists or not is up for a debate. For me there’s this power in the universe which is responsible for the world as we see it. Now whether people refer to it as God or not is entirely up to them. There’s no question that this power exists “. Hearing his words the doctor was more intrigued for now this man seemed to be quite different. Moreover he still hadn’t mentioned why exactly was he in the clinic in the first place.”Wow,that’s really straight forward thinking you have got here. Tell me why exactly have you come to see me.” That’s when the doctor saw a smirk spread across the priest’s face . “You see doctor, I meet a lot of people. They come to me to confess their sins. I sit them down and I talk to them about what it is that they exactly feel. Once they have talked it out, once the pain has found an outlet that is when the healing can begin”. Okay it still doesn’t explain you being here?!” the doctor tried to dig a bit deeper . He still wanted to know what it was about this man that was so off putting. “Tell me doctor….this conversation stays between us doesn’t it?” asked the man calmly as if he was holding something back”. “Obviously, everything that you say stays within the confines of these four walls. Nothing that you say will be disclosed to anyone else” said the doctor trying to help him to open up.

“That’s very reassuring. I’ve come here because lately I’ve been depressed”. “Depressed? depressed about what?” questioned the doctor . Finally some lead he thought to himself. “As I said. I tend to help a lot of people. One of the ways I do it is I take them out to my bungalow outside the city. I feel it’s a good way for them to be away from their monotonous lifestyle. They get a chance to be one with nature and the healing can begin easily. I sit them down and I talk about their sins. I make them realize the mistakes that they have made and that’s when it kicks in. I like to warm them up to first break them emotionally and then feed upon them. Nothing gives me more pleasure than feasting on them as I see their soul leaving the body. I enjoy the blood spreading throughout the place. It gives me immense pleasure. It suffices for both the emotions for the mind and the body for my hunger. I can see them trembling, begging to relieve them off their misery which is something I clearly do. But then again I do feed upon them to satisfy my own physical needs”. The doctor was taken aback. It took some time for him to register this information in his head. After sometime the doctor spoke again. “Seems like you got quite a straight plan. I don’t see why you should have any problem with it. Why exactly do you feel depressed then? Is it some sort of guilt? Some sense of remorse?”. “No doctor there is no guilt. It’s because of the fact that this has become too easy for me now. Previously there was this thrill. The very idea of coming up with an elaborate plan to lure them outside to my bungalow but now it has become too easy. I’d tell their families that they have left on a trip to search for their true self and do not want to be disturbed but nowadays I feel as if I might get caught if I continue down the same lines. That is why I need a new way to find more people. I don’t know, I can’t sleep some nights because of this”. Hearing his thoughts the doctor proceeded. “So you are saying that you are depressed because you can’t find a way to kill more people?”. “Yes, that’s precisely what’s bothering me. Finally someone who understands me. Also I must
remind you, you can’t disclose any of this to anyone because like you said all of this stays within the confines of these four walls. So tell me doctor what’s it going to be?” he asked with a cold voice as he glared into the doctor’s eyes. “You know, there are a lot of similarities between the both of us.” said the doctor. “Is that so? Do tell me how
that’s possible? ” asked the patient curiously. “Because I too like to isolate my patients in a way to help them heal better. Talk to them , find out what bothers them like you said break them emotionally. As for looking for a new professional way, a psychiatrist should do just fine.” said the doctor with a grin spread across his face.

-Sumedh Deshpande