Jamshed the Climber
My name is Mark Cane, and these are the chronicles of Jamshed the Climber. Some may find them disturbing after what happened in 3030, but that does not change the facts. He was one of the most loving men I ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Jamshed the Climber’s Childhood
We were standing together under the roof of a diner in the city of advertisements and stock broking. The man was half Bangladeshi and half Indian. Nothing could answer the question, “What are you doing here?” so I asked him.
To my awe, Jamshed Akbari answered me in plain British English, which is odd in the heart of America. He not only introduced himself but also told his story.
Jamshed was from India; his parents from Bangladesh; and he was forced to work as a child. He came here when he was 22 for the International English Olympiad and ended up staying.
“And what do you do now?” I queried. “I clean windows,” the slender man replied. “Huh…” I managed to produce.
I had to give this man something back. Of course, I did not feel like sharing my own childhood, filled with dull and disgusting stories. So I told Akbari I worked at Wolf & Co., the brokerage firm.
The Home of Jamshed the Climber
Though stunned for a while; intrigued, I asked him where he lived. He said he lives in a shed—how I condemn my humour for laughing out loud then. My next question was about his English fluency, and I asked as I wondered about the shed.
He explained beautifully, “Memory Disorder forces you to watch the subtitles instead of the show or movie. We had a 18-inch television set at the camp where they spoilt kids’ eyes to make them beg better.”
My, oh my! Most of the students when I was one just read their supplements as they munched doritos. No wonder Jamshed the Climber was excellent.
I asked, “Could you show me your shed some time?” The man tilted his head a bit before nodding in quiet approval.
They Are Out to Get Him
The brilliant ones always have something not wrong but different about them. Jamshed was an example of this. His memory disorder had a tight grip on him.
Jamshed was always zoning out. Even from this short slice of our lives, I could tell. Perhaps had he not told me, I would not have known.
Jamshed does down fighting against this disease. Like the protagonist from “Memento”, he fills his pockets with notes to himself. Curious, I asked him what kind of notes he takes.
“’They are out to get you,’ I remind myself. I am vulnerable because of my disease, and I end up having to trust strangers. That reminds me I have to go,” Jamshed says before going away, the rain having stopped.
The Scars That Haunt Jamshed the Climber
Now, I could not forget the mental image of the unwilling beggar Jamshed was. I found the man and his graffiti-strewn shed. In my mind, I had a documentary.
“Jamshed the Climber,” the story of an Indian begging boy that made it big. When the film premiered in 3010, critics all over the world loved it.
The film was in the genre of documentary, which was an easy one to conquer. We dressed Jamshed up, and his memory problems made it easy to convince him. Sometimes, I felt the conversation under the shed of that diner in Times Square was the luckiest moment of my life.
Slowly, the movie hit the big screens in almost every country. With this, I began to see the flaws in my sinister plan.
Jamshed the Climber Ten Years Later
As much as I may have hesitated to admit it in court, I forgot about Jamshed after the successful documentary. He was the national hero, but I, having left my position as a stock broker, could barely care. The paparazzi were at his house every day.
The man slowly went mad as I flew across the world. When he opened the door every day, the clicks and flashes dazed him anew. Now they were out to get him—for the news and papers.
I only returned ten years later to make a sequel to the documentary. I was horrified to see what had become of the man. Sleepless, he had the eyes of an owl, and was out of his mind.
Even though he was in this condition, I did not worry to start my second film. It would make me even richer. Taking a glimpse back on it stings like arrows.
Why Jamshed the Climber Is Doing Better Than I
Today, I have argued for 43 days in court. In fact, my lawyers have, and I have listened. After this time, I am convinced of my own guilt in causing the suicide of Jamshed Akbari.
Despite his memory problem, Jamshed had a bright future. The man dressed specklessly and knew how to stand, stride, and talk. And I have ruined that, and for that, I am eternally sorry.
I remember Jamshed the Climber clear as day. I met the man in Times Square. Amid the rush of the mechanical city, this unaverage man caught my eye as it rained.