KV KATHMANDU responds: THIRD LEVEL The third level is an interesting story about man named Charley. He feels confident that there exists a third level in the Grand Central Station. But his friend Sam who was a psychiatrist feels that Charley is upset in his life and through seeing this third level he feels a way of escaping his mind from tension, fear , worry etc. Actually Sam tried to explain to him that it was a way from escaping from the reality. For me, the letter is not real. First of all Charley’s grandfather was no more. This might have happened that to bring Charley back to his normal state of mind his friend Sam might tried some therapy to bring him back normal. Sam might have written the letter so that Charley realises that his friend might have experienced THE THIRD LEVEL. By hearing all this it might bring Charley back to normal state of mind. OR It could be that Charley might be dreaming all this and his dream he might have seen the third level. Also his friend experiencing all this. SMITA .S. MOHAPATRA Charley, the main character of the story finds a portal which leads to 1894. He tries to go to his hometown, Galesburg. But, as because he didn’t have any currency of 1894, he had to postpond his plans for the future. He exchanged his 3 hundred dollar bills for less than 2 hundred dollars of that of 1894’s currency. However, he never finds the third level again. When he tells this to his wife and his psychiatrist friend about this, both think that alike philately, this is also another way to take refuge from the realities of the world. However, the proof of the third level’s existence comes from the most unexpected source, his psychiatrist friend – Sam. Sam sends Charlie a letter telling him about the third level. When Sam heads over to 1894 through the third level, he sends a first day cover to his Grandfather’s address. His Grandfather thinking that the first day cover was sent to him by himself, adds it to his collection of stamps and never opens it thinking that there is nothing in that envelope but blank paper. In the story, you will find a line ‘…he started my collection’. It means that Charlie’s Grandfather had a collection of stamps along with first day covers which was passed over to Charlie. When Charlie was looking at his collection, he found the letter which Sam had written to him and that letter gave solid proof of the third level’s existence. You might be confused by the last part of the story, but it’s really simple you see… the concept is something like something you do in the past which has direct effect on the present. Charlie received the letter because Sam wrote it to him in 1894. Charlie didn’t exist in 1894 because in 1894, he wasn’t born. So, Sam had to think and write a letter to Charlie’s Grandfather who’s hobby was to collect stamps alike Charlie and Sam knew that if somehow he could make his Grandfather into adding the letter to his collection, then it would straightly go off to Charlie as Charlie’s collection was started by Charlie’s grandfather. So, I think it’s clear that Charlie got that letter only when Sam sent it to him. He didn’t receive it until Sam actually went to 1894 and wrote a letter to Charlie’s grandfather. It’s like this…something someone does in the past which has a direct ( in this case immediate) effect on the present you are living in. ABHIROOP ROY CHAUDHURY Inspired by the charley ‘s story at grand station , Sam was eager to investigate if the third level exist or not , or it was a fantasy woven by charley ‘s mind to escape reality. Sam turned out all prepared with some eight hundred old currency , to search out the third level .He might have found it and disappeared .Now he wanted to inform about it to charley ,but he cannot leave the third level in the fear that he might not find it again.So he decided to mail him . Since Sam was transferred to 1894 ,Charley might not even exist,so he posted a stamp to his grandfather as he knew grandfather collects the stamps ,and this stamp collection would be acquired by charley in the real world . So the stamp went to Grandfather’s collection,and in turn went to Charley .So the letter was real. if the letter had been a fake or a part of the treatment of Sam , then why he wanted Charley to believe that the third level exist?while earlier he said him that he was disturbed, and his mind illusioned him just to rescue him from worries, fear and all these elements of life.it was waking dream wish fiulfillment. TARUN AGARWAL As Charlie was late for home he decided to go by train and thus entered the Grand Central Station. Now as it has been said that there are only two levels in the station, Charlie reached the third level through a tunnel according to him. The third level was very different frm that of the world he was presently living. There was an information booth that was woody, man in the booth having a green eyeshade and wearing long sleeve protectors, lights were dim and there were open flame gaslights. Everone was dressed up like people of late eighteenth century. Charlie encountered a newsboy and saw that the newspaper was dated June 11, 1894. Charlie was shocked! He was in the world of 1894. He decided to to trravel to Galesburg with his wife. He decided to book two tickets but then while he was paying for the tickets the currency he was using was not accepted. The payment was to be done via the old currency. So, Charlie thought of going to the bank and withdraw cash, convert it into the currency required and then come back again. He left the third level .After completing the job of withdrawing cash Charlie went back to Grand Central Station and after continous searching for third level he couldn’t find it. He was shocked again! He tells this to his psychiatrist friend Sam and Sam replied saying ‘it was a waking dream fulfillment’. What I think is that there was nothing called a thrid level. According to me, Charlie did not encounter thrid level. His psychiatrist Sam was correct when he explained him. Sam said the there were only two levels. Charlie must have been in some problems, he could have been unhappy due to personal reasons or he must have been under some frustration. Sam told Charlie encountering thrid level was a waking dream perhaps wish fulfillment He said that modern world is full of trails and tribulations, worries and insecurities. Due to siuch frustrations and problems Charlie too wanted to escape the modern world. People indulge in some sort of hobby to escape harsh realities.So, there was nothing called thirld level. His frustrations led him to thirld level and this third level was the medium for Charlie to escape frim problems of modern life, Even collecting stamp was a kind of temporary escape. Charlie also refuted his contention. He said people do not wander about due to stress. Besides his grandfather he had also collected stamps in the good old peaceful days of eighteen-nineties and did not need to escape as life was quite stress free in those days. So, what I feel is Charlie did not encounter any third level. His problems of modern life led him to ‘waking dream fulfillment. He wanted to escape the modern world. Shrant Kafle Charley was not a city boy, he had always been mesmerised by the old days, the days before urbanisation and world wars and in particular the old Galesberg. Though living in a city, he had always sought refuge from reality in the form of stamp collection. Also he thought of Grand Central as an exit, a way of escape but did not tell his psychiatrist friend Sam about him, maybe because something inside him felt as if the whole incident was a illusion but he was not ready to accept this. Even though Sam told him that his experience was a simple delusion, an escape from the modern world, Charley still bought old-style currency which worried Sam as Charley’s delusion was slowly turning into an obsession. He would hunt day and night for the third level which worried his wife too. Maybe considering Charley’s mental and psychological state Sam and Louisa decided to help him They realised that Charley was in a fragile state and soon his obsession for the third level will drive him insane. Hence instead of removing the thought, they made this imagination a reality for him by putting the letter in his stamp collection. Hence Charley’s experience was simply a hallucination. BIRAT BHANDARI According to my understanding i think that the letter in this story is real. The letter was written in 1894 i.e in 19th century at that time people used to address the letter to themselves also i think that charley’s grandfather wrote that letter to himself so that charley would get that letter at his time. DIVYA SINGH I think the sam was an imaginary character. As imagination is the process of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses . Charley imagined sam as his friend. Riya mukherjee I think that the letter in the story ‘The last Lesson is real’. It was written by his psychiatrist friend Sam as a part of his treatment as he was unhappy, and wanted to escape from the insecure world. The news of Sam disappearing could be that he had gone to some other place so that Charlie would really believe what he had heard. Sam might had decided to come after some time. He might have gone to know more about Charlie’s problem. He might had gone to discuss it with other psychiatrist. The fact that Sam had written Charlie to the Third Level could be that Charlie could be mentally strong and be happy because he found a man who believed him. Sam might have thought that by saying this he see any kind of develpment in Charlie….. Sudheesh Bhattarai I think the whole story “The Third Level” is enigmatic. There is no substantiation to anything. The letter seems to be real one. Sam is Charley’s grandfather .The said letter was written in 1894 only . The “Third Level” stands for the escapist’s world -away from the world of worries, anxieties and tension. But why charlie couldn’t find it again though the psychiatrist found out it who initially disagreed with Charlie’s sayings.??? I think this is the point that needs to be wrangled?? It may be narrator could overcome his escapist’s tendency where as the psychiatrist fell in it. The letter might have been written by his grandfather only in order to convince him that whatever he is doing is right and to affirm with what he feels as sam was a psychiatrist..!! Vriti Mathur The modern world is full of insecurity, fear, worry and stress. There is utter chaos and confusion. We have lost grip of our mind and are trapped in a web of dilemma and there is no escape from it. Human mind keeps on travelling in time in linear fashion, from present to immediate past and to future inexorably. So in order to cope up with the modern world which is full of worries and fear we are driven by our mind either to past or to future where we experience the kind of world we always wish to see. We start day-dreaming and adopt an escapist theory like what charley did. Charley, a 31 yrs guy, keeps on comparing the lives of earlier days and that of now. He wishes to live in the world free from all kind of insecurity and tension i.e. the world that existed in his grand dad times. So he imagines a third level through which he wants to go to Galesberg where he thinks people are miles away from vtensions and worries. He experiences a kind of world which he always wished to see in third level. He tells Sam [his psycatrist friend] and his wife about the third level . Sam calls his experience a “waking dream wish fulfilment” .But Charley refuses it. “IT IS REALLY HARD TO IGNORE THE EYE WITNESSED EXPERIENCE”. Charley is unable to leave aside what he saw. So, in order to console himself , he takes stamp of year 1894, from his collection since his grand dad’s time, vwrites letter as Sam addressed to himself , puts it in a envelope, writes his grand dad’s name in that and keeps it in between the stamp collection. Some days later, he stops searching the third level. One day he thinks to go through his stamp collection, finds an envelope inside which was a letter by Sam for him …… he actually forgets that he only had put that letter inside the stamp collection and thinking the letter to be real [ written by Sam from third level] , his desire of third level again arises..THE LETTER becomes the proof of his figment experience. Actually charley MIGHT be suffering a mental disease may be a SCHIZORPHRENIA”, A disease in which people may hear internal voices not heard by others or see things that are not actually there . This was ALL a kind of thing happening with charley throughout the story. THUS, THE SHADOWY, EERIE WORLD THAT LIES SOME WHERE BETWEEN DREAM, DESIRE AND REALITY IS THE THIRD LEVEL….. IT WAS ALL ITS IMAGINATION AND NOTHING ELSE Chandni Sharma After reading the story, I ended up with quite a number of explication. First, Yes, Charley did go to the 18th century. He did experience the appalling world .And following him, even Sam did find the third level and consequently he too ended up discovering the unbelievable and preposterous past era . Once he arrived there, he wanted charley to know that he wasn’t wrong and there is a second world and surprising enough, there was a way to enter it as well.Now undoubtedly,He wouldn’t have been able to mail him though internet or post blogs or call him up and if I go further – ‘Text him’ . Absolutely impossible. So what was the way out? Though he didn’t really desire to come back to the present world (as the text says), but genuinely wanted charley to know about the bewildering reality which was totally latent from the rest of the world. In order to do so,he kept a first day cover in charley’s grandfather’s collection and as he had a peculiar trait of collecting stamps and stuff, he would pass on his enigmatic collection to his grandson ( charley) some day. And then charley would one day read it and get to know the astounding reality. So maybe this is how things happened in the story. Again ,’Maybe’ . Another interpretation is, Maybe Sam was his grandfather. And was the one who wrote the letter to charley .Possibly . Otherwise it is practically impossible for the letter written in the 18th century to reach charley in the 20th century. Pretty impossible. Umm, another one could be , Charley ,as described by the writer, is living in a world brimming with trauma, pain, insecurity and agony. Charley is so depressed about the happenings in the surroundings, he is absolutely besotted and keeps on talking about the primitive era, the time when people used to be satisfied and happy with whatever they had. He always aspired to go back to peaceful and serene environment. But practically it was impossible .This created a strong urge in him to search for that second world. He started to get illusions and his imagination started to face out into reality. This can be termed as a mental disorder, more particularly, Obsessive compulsive disorder. (As per the symptoms shown by charley ).One day, due the emotional outburst, his imagination turns into a reality (Only for him) .And the consequent activities were merely imagined by charley & if real, were aftereffects of Charley’s abnormal behavior and the letter, probably he wrote it to himself when he wasn’t in his senses. Last but not the least, the most simple and one of my favorite interpretation is: The story was merely a dream seen by charley (including the letter-incident). And the story ends with charley still sleeping. Now since this is an open-ended story, I would conclude, Charley wakes up at 10 in the morning, gets fresh, still tries to pretend its a dream and then with DRAMATIC outburst of words & expressions exposes it to the reader that the whole thing was merely a DREAM! SHALVI RATHI The modern world is full of fear, war, worry, insecurity, terror, jealousy, and so Charlie wanted to escape from all this. So he might just have imagined the third level. The letter was also written by him to show the world that what he saw was true. Once he knew that Sam had disappeared, he used it to support his idea of the third level. He really was disgusted of his life and wanted to find a solution to it. So he, to take Louisa’s support, he showed this letter. He might hav been suffering from some sort of disease which made him do this. Risha Das According to me the letter is real but it was not sent to Charley by Sam from 19th C. instead it was secretly dropped in Charley’s old stamp collection by Sam who was living in 20th century who was Charley’s friend and psychiatrist. He told Charley that he was not happy so he wanted to escape. Therefore, he thought he had been to third level which was 19th century. But no one believed him. Sam dropped secret letter in Charley’s stamp collection which contained stamp from his grandfather’s time and told him that he is in third level so that Charley can be relieved that someone found it and he was not wrong and may be Charley has gone to Galesburg Illinois and he told the money exchanger to tell Charley that he has taken huge amount of old currency . This would make Charley sure that his friend is in third level . Priyank Mani Jha In my opinion the letter is real. The letter was sent to Charley by Sam telling him about the existence of the third level. May be Sam went to the station to find out if whatever Charley said was true or not and luckily he did find the third level. The fact that he was able to go to Galesburg in 1894 from the third level was because he had gone prepared {he had bought 800 dollars worth of old-style currency}with the hope to find the third level and visit Galesburg. On reaching Galesburg he wanted to inform his friend Charley that he was right and that the third level did actually exist but he couldn’t do that because it was 1894 and Charley wasn’t born then. He really wanted to convey his message to Charley and he started to think of some means to pass his message. Finally he got the idea of sending a letter to Charley’s grandfather who also had the hobby of collecting stamps just like Charley. Sam knew that if he could somehow add his letter to Charley’s grandfather’s collection then it would go straight to Charley’s collection of stamps as it contained his Grandfather’s collection too. So. I think that it was a real letter sent to Charley by Sam. The letter wouldn’t have been there if Sam hadn’t gone back to 1894 and sent a letter to his Grandfather. I believe that both the worlds- of 1894 and the present world, both exist together and whatever happens in the world of past has an effect on the present world. If anything new happens in the world of 1894 which hadn’t happened earlier then it alters the present world as well. Same was the case with Charley and the letter. The letter wasn’t there earlier but after Sam went to 1894 and sent it to Charley’s Grandfather, the letter reached Charley in the present world. The concept is something like something you do in the past has a direct effect on the present. PRIYANKA SHARMA Yes, i think the letter and was written by Sam. After talking to charley Sam went in search for third level. He found it and land in past back to 1894.So, he want to tell his friend that he was right about the third level. So he writes a letter to charley at the address of his grandfather bcoz Charley was not there in 1894. ASHUTOSH JHA When charley informed his wife Louisa about the third level, she did not want him to look for the third level anymore and she was worried about her husband charley seriously. She might have talk t o Sam who is charley’s friend and a psychiatrist who treats the mental diseases. As a friend he wants to cure his friend charley from daydreaming. So, Sam writes a letter to a grandfather but addressed to a charley dated July 18, 1894. Why he writes letter to grandfather to make readers to believe in story which is in past discovery through imagination because grandfather is much much elder than a charley and he has in 1894. So, he writes a letter to grandfather to bring continuation in the story with the past to present by addressing charley. In letter he writes he had also founded the third level to make charley believed that the third exists and no more any search has to be done for it meaning that he insisted charley not to go for any search for the third level. Reason: Sometimes, when a man has seen or discovers anything through his imagination which is hard to believe by others. Until and unless the others people does not believe that the thing exist, the man who has discover the thing goes to se arch for it many times through his imagination to prove that the thing which he (a man) has discovered is true. That the same what had happened in the story. Sam, a psychiatrist writes in letter that he had also founded the third level. By then charley might have gone for one or two search for it and then, he (charley) himself had convinced his mind and heart that the third level exists because his friend (Sam) has also found it. If, Sam has not tell that he ha s found the third level. Charley who is a daydreamer, he might gone for many searches to prove that the third level exists. In that case, the disorder will increase and out of control which might have cause his death. So, to save the life of charley‘s his friend Sam a psychiatrist does all this with the help of charley’s wife Louisa who has kept the letter in the stamps collection. Therefore, the letter is a real. Nabin Giri In the chapter, Charley goes to third level in his waking dream ,it was just his imagination but his psychiatrist friend,Sam tried to console his friend so that he comes out of depression.He planned to send him a letter addressing his grandfather in the date July 18 1894 so that he would believe that the letter was written by him after he reached the third level and make him believe that it is present in the Grand Central Station.He wrote the letter addressing his grandfather even if the letter was for him because he used to pass time looking the collection of his grandfather’s stamp so knowingly he kept the letter in that collection so that he read it.He did so because it was a part of Charley’s treatment so to convince him that it is present he wrote in letter that he has reached there and the place was really nice and seem to disappear from the present time. In this way his friend helped him to come out from the depression and made him believe that the third level exist. MRIDUSHA SHRESHTHA In my opinion, Sam sends Charlie a letter telling him about the third level. When Sam heads over to 1894 through the third level, he sends a first day cover to Charley’s Grandfather’s address. His Grandfather thinking that the first day cover was sent to him by himself, adds it to his collection of stamps and never opens it thinking that there is nothing in that envelope but blank paper. Now, Charlie’s Grandfather had a collection of stamps along with first day covers which was passed over to Charlie- and this fact was known to Sam. When Charlie was looking at his collection, he found the letter which Sam had written to him and that letter gave solid proof of the third level’s existence. Charlie received the letter because Sam wrote it to him in 1894. Charlie never existed in 1894 because in 1894, he wasn’t born! So, Sam had to think and write a letter to Charlie’s Grandfather because Sam knew that if somehow he could make his Grandfather into adding the letter to his collection, then it would straightly go off to Charlie since Charlie’s collection was started by Charlie’s grandfather. So, I think it’s clear that Charlie got that letter only when Sam sent it to him. He didn’t receive it until Sam actually went to 1894 and wrote a letter to Charlie’s grandfather. Perhaps Sam altered history a little, once he went back in time? As for the letter, I think it is real. And all the suggestions of Charley making up the entire story, or of Sam being a part of his imagination; or even of Sam sending that letter as a part of the therapy seem slightly far- fetched. In my opinion, Sam must have indeed sent the letter from Galesburg- the postmark proves it. Also, no matter how good a friend Charley might have been, $800 and a complete disappearance- all for a treatment’s sake? Uh..I really don’t think so. So maybe its MY reasoning which sounds far-fetched, but then again, aren’t we still discussing a science fantasy? If people can really go back in time, believing that the letter is not a hoax, is somehow not too difficult for me. Kavya Rawat The third level Of course, the letter was real. It really did exist. The modern world is full of insecurity, fear, war, worries and stress. Charley was also an ordinary man, who was fed up with all kinds of tensions and worries that plagued his heart. So, he wanted to escape from reality. The intensity of his wish to break free was so high, that he got to believe that it was a reality. In real sense, it was mere a creation of his mind. Thus, the third level was nothing but a product of Charlie’s mind that existed only in his psyche. Human mind is a strange thing. Charley’s mind was divided into two parts. One, that Charley controlled, and other, which controlled Charley. Hence, from one part of his brain, he was normal. While the other part of mind made him visualize the third level. And he wanted to tell others about his experience. He told everyone something, which they found hard to digest. The dominating part of mind, which was the mother of that unreal world, wanted to make others believe it. Hence Sam his psychiatriest who knew about his escapist tendencies wanted to try somehting new on him that would help him come out of his world of imagination.He wantedt to try cognitive behavioural therapy on him. May be when some or the other day when charlie was showing him his collection of stamps and first day journals he would have pickjed up that envelope and then wrote that letter and placed it again there. This would have forced charlie to make others believe about what he saw and would have also relieved his mind that the third level world did exist and one day or the other he would find it out and would be able to escape out of this harsh world. But beacause there was nothing like the third level world. After trying and trying he would himself feel ascertained that there was nothing like what he imagined and it was just a waking drem wish fulfilment and he would again return back to his normal world. NISHIL MEHTA