who you are..
The wind is blowing. Don’t bend if you want to please him.
– Ljupka Cvetanova
The last few weeks have been quite hectic. First, the chess tournament towards the end of February, where I played 6 matches, won 3, lost 2 and drew 1, and then the National Seminar on Banaras, for which I had the decoration department to lead. So to prove that I was a busy bee would not require more excuses. But the fact is that the beginning months of this year have been the downward fall of a wave. I am not enjoying my stuffs very much. The frequency of sketching has dipped, the quality and the quantity of writing have also slipped and I’m not liking studies like I used to in the last semester. I don’t watch movies and nor do I binge watch Nakamura’s knockouts on youtube. I don’t even play 20 games a day like I used to.
Sometimes I feel like a snake trapped inside his own skin, desperately trying to creep out of its cage. I wear personalities that I’m not. I walk towards my classmates with a smile plastered across my cheeks. It’s a fake smile but they can’t tell because I have practised it a million times. I’ve forgotten what my real smile felt like. The artificial is what I don when I am around people who expect me to behave like the character they think I am. I am just trying to meet their expectations, all the while suffocating under the skin that isn’t alive anymore. I have to act like Ravish – and it’s a terrible thing. It’s so much more perplexing than acting like anybody else. To make yourself into the man the world sees you as is the most disheartening act to pull off.
This morning, I was alone, walking under the mellow sun, with an empty bag on my shoulders. It felt so light – to have no weight pressing down upon you, to have nobody to answer to, nobody to care about. I closed my eyes and let myself sink in this beautiful isolation. The silence around me was enlightening. The warmth of the sun seeped right into my soul and in that moment, my little self lit up with joy. The joy of freedom, of liberty and light.
It’s so relieving to shed your skin and walk naked. That’s how nature made you. And that’s how you should be.
with 8000 counterclockwise revolutions per minute and all that shit….
It was a cold day. The train was parked amidst some godforsaken jungle. The LTE sign on my notification toggle flickered like a dying candle. A mild morning light came seeping through the web of trees. And in front of me lay amorphous pieces of human turd which the last fellow passenger had probably forgotten to flush. That’s a regular scene in North Indian train toilets, so I did not make a fuss about it. I just peed, saving any possible collision of my stream with the last man’s debris, and then I tried to flush but there was no water, so I slipped out like a mouse.
The sleeping beauty on the side-upper berth had finally woken up. She fished in her fancy handbag and pulled out a fancy brush. It was one of those toothbrushes people with Swiss bank account buy – with counterclockwise 8000 revolutions per minute and all that hyper level shit; the ones so expensive that they don’t even advertise during daily soaps, so my mother has no idea about their existence.
I imagined telling my mother about such toothbrushes and about people owning them.
“We used powders and your Nanny rubbed ashes and sand on her teeth. Now I’m beginning to think we are cave people. “She’d say, and then add that toothbrush to her wish list.
The girl did not have a toothpaste though. Maybe it came with an in-built mint flavour, I thought.
Is there any cap to how rich you can get? I could have all the money in the world and still be poor as fuck. If I get rich enough to buy that kind of toothbrush, I’d rather buy one of Saturn’s moons and drill oil out of it to get even richer.
The girl went towards the wash basin. I was not sure if she could bear all that revolting shit. See, with richness there comes a whiff of intolerance. But she handled it pretty well.
A just-woken-up girl brushing her teeth in a train is not exactly how they show you in movies. I mean they look pretty wrecked up, but it’s kind of cute, nevertheless. Yeah, you won’t like to snog her but you could still make art out of her.
I thought I would, but then I gave up that thought. She was too rich and too far. And I had my own worries. So I turned around like a good boy and walked back to my berth, plugged in the earphones and played Kailash Kher on a loop.
What’s a relationship all about!? 😒
The train was late by two hours. Then, they announced that it’d arrive at platform number 4, which was on the other side of the world, somewhere around Peru. I was exhausted by the wait – rolling the trolley bag felt like hauling a dinosaur egg. I dragged it through the stairway – my palms tired and sweaty – overtaking slow, fat, redfaced aunties who had travelbags so large that you could suspect them of felony. When I landed my bag at the dilapidated floor of platform number 4 and heaved a sigh of relief, they announced that the train would – due to some technical issues – now arrive at platform number 3. So I hauled my luggage and tagged my soul along to platform number 3 where the train showed up after thirty minutes. Before that, I tried to update my phone using railway wifi, but it seemed Indian railways was still using pigeon services, and I did not want another pretext for my brain to go crazy, so I unplugged and decided to write a scathing article about the appalling fall in the standards of government bodies. But then I was too tired so I just watched a flock of birds fly away in the stratosphere above the high roof of platform number one and wondered why don’t they ever get tired. I also wondered if Icarus’ flight was worth it, if what he experienced in those tiny fractions of time would ever be felt by Daedalus, and if history has been unfair to him. Then, the train arrived and I crawled in.
Okay. Let’s establish the facts first. I had a hot copassenger. But her husband was a bit of an appendix. A wheatish poker face. And he wore a black sweater on a dark pink shirt which gave me sort of a headache. And what’s unfortunate is that they had a child. Picturing them having sex was kind of weird – like watching a cult porn or something. In small towns, you can have hot chics plus dowry if you earn well. I can, too. But what attracts me more is intelligence, which is a rare thing in both the genders. This intellectual friend of mine has even higher standards about which we shall talk later.
So, what kind of women do I like?
Well it’s tough. I can’t draw an eligibility chart. I’m in the last year of my teenage and I don’t exactly find Gwen Tennyson hot anymore. I like girls who play chess. But that’s not all.
I guess I liked Doctor. No, not someone like her or someone of the same name or appearance or intelligence or DNA coding or whatever. Just Doctor. It’s not easy to explain, didn’t I tell you.
In a relationship you look for compatibility, because love cannot haul you all along. So yeah, maybe compatibility is the word I’m looking for. But I’m not sure. It could be all about blowjobs for all I know.
Anyways, they looked kind of happy. I mean almost perfect. Compatibility. Blowjob. Or maybe both. I guess you establish that much when you’ve made a baby together. It’s a huge risk, and if it turns out ugly or dumb, you would most probably not relish wiping poop off its ass for years. But then, what do I know. I don’t exactly adore them.
The train trundled on the eternal tracks, and through the tinted glass I stared out; trees, throngs and time past me in a flurry of blurred paintings. I realised I am passing a moment and this was enough to make me sad.
to be continued…
Now that the sea retreats, the sand has a doubt…maybe you’re just a thought that I thought…
I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.
-John Green, Turtles All the Way Down.
Chicken Biryani @ Rs. 80 – I read from the giant menu board with a picturesque background printed right out of Laura Vitale’s YouTube thumbnails, and me being in a state of starvation, the doormat at the entrance seemed no less than God’s own flying carpet. My brain felt like a centrifuge – and I don’t even know that word properly – it just felt moving round and round and round – as if my mind was Jupiter and my thoughts were cyclones. If I fell unconscious at the door, I’d lose my phone, my wallet and my key, and so I did not have that luxury, I reminded myself.
I trudged in and walked up to the counter. The receptionist was a lanky man. There was nothing attractive about him. I know as a writer I’m supposed to give you descriptions but when my great immortal love story is written, I am pretty sure we won’t need this guy. So stick with the adjective lanky for a while because that’s all I remember.
” Chicken Biryani. “I said. He looked at me, registered my voice, had them transferred to his basilar membrane where tiny hairs did a little piano show before transferring the message through electric pulses which hit his auditory cortex where the brain decoded it and then his primary motor cortex told him to get his hand out of his pocket through a really long chain of nerves sparkling with electricity and so he moved it out, took out his pen, took out another hand to pull out the cap, kept the cap on the table, then flipped the register on his desk, after which he put his pen on a blank space and made really slow loops.
Yeah that’s how long it went.
“That’d be 80 rupees. “He said. He didn’t like his job. I keep meeting all those people who don’t like their jobs. And then I wonder why there’s so much negative energy all around me. I took a seat and let my mind do a little free fall into the cyclone.
The world may seem quiet and everything, but if you flip every human being inside out, you’ll know what Dante Alighieri meant by hell when he wrote Inferno 700 years ago.
This is a sick place and a sick millennium. And that’s how it’s always been in every millennium and in every place. The utopias exist only in our imaginations. So here’s a little thought –
our utopia is almost perfect. The contrasts of it are limited to diverse shades of a butterfly, or diverse shapes of a snowflake, which do not, for example, produce energy equivalent to 50 megatons of TNT up somebody’s ass. So the ideal world that we create are free of our own concepts of sin, and are attempts towards a little more organised and beautiful landscape.
Now suppose you are the creation of an other worldly being. All your physical realities are the result of somebody’s overdose of philosophy. Just like your Utopian puppets don’t realise the fakeness of their existence, you don’t have the tools to realise the fakeness of yours. Just like you are making up a world of your own, sitting in a random chair at Bhagalpur Junction, maybe you too are a made up thought. Maybe somebody’s in a 4 dimensional sofa, munching 4 dimensional pop corns and thinking of a character at a railway station which is you. Maybe you are a part of his Utopia.
Having established that, I delve further into the world of higher beings. Previous versions characterise them as omnipotent, omnipresent noble beings – people with long sparkling white beards who’d make it rain bullion with a click of their fingers, for example.
But here’s a contrast – if we are a part of their utopia, we are, by their definition, at an ideal state. The horrible sins of our world is just a contrast of shades to them, a diversity of shapes, a difference that’s not really harmful. I wonder at what levels do the criminals operate there. Like, what sort of badassry is a bailable offence in a higher dimension district court. And like how do you divorce somebody?
It gives me deep chills. I dart my eyes around in nervousness and tell myself that I’m not a made up thought. My heart beats frantically. This demon of inside is hard to kill.
I am not a made up thought.
That’s what she thinks, too.
Shut up. She is real.
Yes. I’ve seen her. We’ve chatted. We fuckin went to the same school. I’ve known her for half my life. She is real. Doctor is real. I’ve got her pictures.
Is she, though?
In Memento, Lenny creates the memories that drive his life. Without them, he’s just a working human body. At some far horizons, the difference between real and unreal vanishes. The solid land beneath your feet floods every full moon, but when the beautiful night is over, all you’re left with is a tide retreating back to the sea – a reality touched by an unreality. The imprints left on the wet sand is what you refer to as life.
“Here it is. “Said the waiter as he plonked the food at my table. My stomach started live drum ceremonies, so I ate like it was my last meal, the image of a retreating tide ebbing away in the back of my mind.
to be continued….
books and strategy 😂
Bhagalpur junction is just slightly bigger than Godzilla’s ass, but it has got two bookstores. There’s a restaurant as well, and not to mention free wifi, and random switch bords with enough holes to allow half a million people charge their phones simultaneously. The icing on the cake, though, are the girls – hot and plenty.
I roll my trolleybag to a bookstore, browse around for a while and then check my pockets. Everything – phone, wallet, key – is at its place. I feel a sense of relief that otherwise only comes with peeing after a long time.
Probably I should stop masturbating, a random thought brushes my mind.
I start thinking about my dick after that, and it takes a while. Brain is a shitty dirty place. I mean you think about your loved ones and then you think about penises, all through just one organ. That’s really absurd if you see it that way.
Since the train is still a few stations away, I take the liberty of scanning through the stacks of books. There are Paulo Coelhos perched over Chetan Bhagats, there are Tolkiens mixed with Preeti Shenoys, there are Dan Browns lying around with Amish Tripathis – this pacific disarray makes me wonder that the world could be at peace if humans were just the books they wrote.
My eyes catch a book titled Omnibus. The author – one of my favourites – Jerome k Jerome.
“What does that cost? Omnibus? “I ask the shopkeeper as I point at the book. He isn’t much for books, if you ask me. Fat guy with eyebags, and he is using a Salman Rushdie as his tea coaster. It takes him about a minute to locate Omnibus. He checks the MRP and plonks the book at the countertop as if he were tossing a dustbag.
“200 bucks. ”
I flipped the book. 200 it is.
“Don’t you offer some discount? “I ask. I mean I love Jerome K Jerome but Amazon was offering the same at 175. And they give bookmarks for free.
“No. “He says. I turn around and start moving. An old trick I learnt on wikihow.
“10 rupees. “He calls.
Alright, it’s working. So maybe if I keep walking he’ll bring the price even lower. Good, you’re learning. Okay, if I have to draw a price-distance graph, at what point will the Omnibus reach the upper limit of my book expenditure fund?
Ummm, now would be a good time to check your phone. And wallet. And key.
I have reached the edge of the platform but the shopkeeper hasn’t called yet. Something is wrong. I could have carried on, but I don’t want to be found dead on tracks, so I move back, mortified, and start walking towards a fast food joint that promises delicious biryani.
to be continued…