Year – 2000
Night 1 :
“Can I call you Doctor Apple instead?” I heard myself ask him.
“Yes, dear! You can! But why doctor apple?” The humble voice asked.
“Your name is too long to memorize. Dr. APJ Abdul ahhhh..! Plus, your face looks like an apple. So, AP for Apple. Doctor Apple!”
“Haha! AP for APpropriate,” he replied and then shook me hard. I woke up from my dream only to be on the receiving end of yet another shaking – this time, from Amma.
“Wake up, you fool! Have your breakfast! You`re late for school!,” she yelled.
I pushed myself out of bed, still recovering from the double shaking, towards the dining table. As I sat before that dreaded fruit, its devil red color kept staring at me. I got a good hold of it and started shaking it with all my strength.
“What are you doing, you idiot! Have your apple! Don`t you remember what I told you! An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
The last sentence was convincing enough for me to eat the apple. Then, I headed to school with the broken remains of the fruit that fought so valiantly.
Night 2 :
“But apple is the genesis of all destruction. Adam and Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. What did they get in return, as soon as they attained knowledge? They were cursed. Knowledge might have created the world as we know it today. But it is self-destructive. So are you, Dr. Apple! You created those missiles! And then you tried to kill me by shaking the life out of me last night! You symbolize destruction.”
“Haha! How can you claim that with so much of conviction?”, Dr. Apple asked me, with his signature warm smile.
“Because I have had my history lessons. Snow White had learnt it the hard way. I won`t. Those who don`t know the history are condemned to repeat it.”
“Exactly, my son. That`s why you should study the Darvanian concept of Evolution rather than the English Literature in order to decode the mysteries behind the creation of Earth. That is scientifically proven. In fact, I believe that Adam and Eve, or X and Y as I`d prefer to call them, were punished because they interfered with the laws of the nature. They violated the law of gravitational force when they plucked the apple from the tree. It was supposed to fall down, on its own, as it did on Newton, after which he came up with the theory of gravity. And I think that particular scientific discovery has only broadened the horizons of human existence, instead of causing any form of destruction. Destruction is inevitable. The knowledge of the same can spell trouble for you but it also keeps you going.”
“If you are thinking that by showering all these tough stuff that is beyond my comprehension, you are gonna convince me to have that apple again, you`re wrong! Science might have ignored Adam and Eve by terming them as X and Y chromosomes, I will still refer to them as Adam and Eve! ADAM AND EVEEE!,” I screamed at the top of my voice.
“Oh you certainly would. It`s just a connotation. It`s not going to change facts. So, use that Adam’s Apple of yours as much as you can.” Then, like a sore loser, he would push me into the nearby pond. As water would splash across my face, I would wake up to see Amma, waiting for me to gain consciousness, with a bucket in her hand.
“You sleep like a baby. Grow up! Otherwise get used to more splashes! Come on now, have your apple and go to school.”
“NO!” I retaliated. “No apple! No School! It`s all a trap! You and that Doctor Apple are co-conspirators!” I would run out of the house without paying any heed to the baffled yet concerned expression on Amma`s face.
Night 3 :
“So what are you planning to do to me today? Blow me up with one of your missiles, maybe?”
“I am planning to lend you my vision.” Dr. Apple smiled. “Why do you think of your Amma and me as co-conspirators? Just because we have silverlocks?”
Though that could be a valid reason, I gave it another thought. “I don`t know.”
“I know that. But try thinking beyond what you already know.”
“How is that possible! Didn`t you ask me to stick to my facts? Why are you asking me to be `creative’ now?”
“Well, I did tell you to embrace the universally accepted beliefs but I don`t want you to limit yourself to that. I am just asking you to optimize. Think of alternatives. That is what creativity is at the end of the day.”
“Why can`t you just call a spade a spade and be at peace with that?”
“Because I see spade as the hard work of farmers or merely as an object of stainless steel!”
“So no matter how it goes, social sciences and sciences are always going to conflict with each other!”, I sighed while playing with Teepu, my telescope. Dr. Apple would then ask me to observe a sheep nearby, with the help of Teepu. “So, what do you see here?”
“Well, since you are looking for creative answers, I see a lot of fur.” He would then extend that compact telescope to the next lens and ask me to observe the sheep again. “Now, I see a cloud,” I blurted out instantly in another attempt to impress him. Then, he would extend the telescope to the ‘optimum’ level and ask for my observation again. “Well, I just see white color now,” I surrendered.
“Maybe you need to change your lens son! What I see in the sheep is a mind of its own. I see a black sheep in there. Dare to be that black sheep. Create alternatives if you don`t have them. Applying them is creativity or social science as you call it, but creating them is science!”
Those words stayed with me. I did not need an external force to wake me up that morning. Twenty years later, when I hear of his sudden demise, I still try- and hope- to find Dr. Apple inside me – in my dreams or in that alternate reality. In the sleepless nights that stare at me everyday, I keep counting the sheep, with the hope to discover my very own Dolly! But until then, I shall not sleep, for I hope to find in the morning, that smiling face on the apple which encapsulates a vision – that will always challenge the myopia of all the ‘ignited minds.’