Just Another Day

The ephemeral high he felt last night with his fantasy football score is still lingering. There is moisture in the air and the sudden jolt of the bus is not bothering him today. Then he looks around and sees an old lady standing, struggling to keep up with the bus’ manoeuvrability. The humanity inside him which has been on snooze since late wakes up and he parts with the comforts of his window seat. His usual feelings about the jolts are back. But there is a slight pride on the edges of his cheek bones of a good deed done. The old lady gets off two stops later and from nowhere a hunk swoops in to his window seat. He feels angry, betrayed and naturally so since he was the rightful heir for that seat. He even blames the old lady for not giving him a signal before she got up. The anger travels through his head, through the shoulders on to his nails. He presses hard against the overhead iron pipes and scratch the paints making a serendipitous art in the process.

He reaches work and sees the woman of his dreams in the elevator. She is so happy to see him. Well technically not him, the hunk walking beside him. As they get extra cosy in the elevator, his nails are busy making more art, giving some respite to his jealousy. Getting out of the lift, he decides she no longer deserves to be his password.

He passes by the usual congress of peers at the coffee machine who deliberate on everything under the sun. Their animated faces suggest the world order depends on their discussions. He passes them with a smirk suggesting that he is rooting for them while in reality all he is trying is to hide his utter disdain. Before he gets on with his drudgery he checks his email and he feels god is finally trying to make amends. He had a good feeling about that interview few weeks back. Now they have hired him. The job is the same lacklustre one but with a higher pay. Also the location will be in a different building although in the same campus. That means he won’t be running into his password in lifts anymore.

So he gives his notice and though he thought about giving a piece of his mind to his boss he decides against it. Imagining his meltdown in the boss’ cabin gives him a smile and he comes back to reality with a shake of the head. Before leaving in the evening he checks his inbox and sees his new company’s email. His nails feel the urge to scratch something. Anything. There has been an error and they sent the job offer to him by mistake. There was little left of his mouse pad after he finished reading.

He looks over from his window seat and sees an old lady standing, struggling. He offers her his seat and gets back to his unfinished artwork on the railings from this morning.

***

Advertisements

IMAGINE THAT

What? You think it’s criminal to have a creative mind? My problem is that I have an imagination on steroids. I am a freak of nature or in layman’s term a writer. Girls don’t fashion guys like us. We stand alone. So alone. Plus the charades of courting and dating and wooing have become such a cliché. It’s all very hard work and you have to be on your toes all the time. Big romantic gestures at equal intervals of time or else you will know from her next status update that you have been relieved from your post as boyfriend. And you are left with that twitchy ankle from being on your toes all the while.

Thank god for Sophie. She is different from the pack. She is beautiful and intelligent. I can’t decide if she is more intelligent or more beautiful. She doesn’t like romantic gestures. All she wants is intelligent conversations. In fact my ripostes are what drew her to me. So we have never been out for a romantic dinner or played the ‘you hang up’ game over telephone. I told her once that she is very ‘Sophie’sticated and she kept laughing for an hour. All you should look for in a girl is intelligence. Everything else is just elaborate lies.

One day I put hair dye all over my head and face. I went up to her and asked “will you honour a ‘dye’ing man’s wish?”. We are engaged now even though she gave me hell for ruining the rug. In her opinion, the rug was an important element in lending some class to the room which was dull otherwise.

She sits by me while I write. I get into a zone while writing. The characters come out and play out the plot in front of me. They pause for my instruction before each dialogue. I sit and watch like a referee, intervening only when required. Sometimes the characters blend so seamlessly and I feel like Sophie is also one of them.

I have hit a block now and my publisher is giving me hell. I guess my elixir of talent has run out. I don’t know what to do with Mike, my protagonist. May be Sophie can help me. My brain was on overdrive when I entered the house. And there she was. Sophie, hand-in-hand with Mike. She was playing with her hair, giggling and whispering. I barely recognised her. By the looks of it, I don’t have to worry about Mike anymore.But how could she do this to me. And now I wonder, was she ever in love with me? The room has changed its appearance akin to the lover’s bliss. The dim light melancholy of my dungeon has given way for sunlight and jasmines on the window sill. I hardly recognise my own room. My presence doesn’t seem to bother them. They are in their own world. I look for the dye stains on the rug. They are not there.

***

SAFETY FIRST

I usually don’t wear helmet while pillion riding. But today as I saw a program on road safety, I decided to be extra cautious. So I and my friend went out for a ride on his bike with both of us wearing helmets. Midway  we were stopped by a crowd, a very angry crowd. A lady’s chain has just been snatched by two people riding on a bike, both wearing helmets.

Nonsense

I opened the door and there was Nothing. He was angry. Somebody told him that I said ‘Something is better than Nothing’. I asked him to calm down. People often say that Something will turn up. Well, Something was already here when Nothing came. He knew I was trying to hide Something. To settle the dispute, I told them to call Nobody. Nobody was the best in mending hurt feelings. So I called Nobody. The phone rang for sometime and Nobody answered. He said he was with Somebody but will come over immediately. We were waiting outside eagerly. Everybody passing through asked who we were waiting for?. And we said “Nobody in particular”. Nobody came with Somebody. Somebody looked sad. I asked what happened. ‘Things are not working for me anymore’, he said. ‘He got a new job’,he added. I told him not to worry and that Something will work for you and introduced him to Something. Nothing and Something were eagerly waiting for Nobody’s verdict. Nobody said ‘ It is nothing that Something is better and really something that Nothing is something’.  Everybody was happy to see all of us together. He said he would take a photo of us to commemorate the occasion. There was Something to the left of me,Nothing to the left of Something,Nobody to the left of Nothing and Somebody to my right.

MIND IT

 

 You are walking down the road, amidst a busy crowd. You are one among them, moving synchronously with their step. If you were the hero in a movie, the camera would be zooming in on you. But you are not. So there is no way to distinguish you from the rest of the crowd unless you do something drastic. Like punch a complete stranger coming from the other side right in his face. That’s one way to stand out.

There are some people, full of energy and a kind of stoic charm that even if you don’t like them, you can’t stop admiring them. The limelight will be on them the whole time they are in the group. And when they go, the limelight naturally shifts to the next impressive person. And that’s when you realise their charisma and you can’t wait to see them again only to be blinded by the limelight flashing on their face the next time. I was never one such a person. But she was. I had a friend who had a friend who thought he was a friend of her’s. That’s how I first got to meet her.

I have never had the opportunity to use an adjective to anything good I ever did. On the contrary, if I screwed something up, it would be a spectacular screw up. But when I met this girl, I knew my ordinary effort wouldn’t fetch anything. Either I am gonna fail spectacularly or get this girl. Against all odds, she fell in love with me. At that moment I was too blinded to see if it was a success or failure from my part. But whatever it was, it was spectacular for sure.

The upside of dating a co-worker is that you get to spend an awful lot of time together. The downside is that you get to spend an awful lot of time together. After spending a reasonable amount of time in lover’s paradise, we got married on a rainy afternoon in a small church by the countryside. And exactly a week later, I choked her to death.

What makes an act a crime? That it is against some predefined notions of our obsession of an ideal society or it infringes on the finely laid down lines of morality. And what makes one a criminal? That he committed an act not in conformance with the aforementioned fantasy that we call morality or that he was found out. I didn’t feel like a murderer when I killed her. But I did feel like one, when they arrested me.

I always wanted to marry a virgin. Some want their wife to be beautiful, others like intelligent and bold. I wanted mine to be, well a virgin. I didn’t care how beautiful she was. But my god she was beautiful. And intelligent and bold and kind and everything. But not a virgin. She slept with me on the eve of our marriage. How can I trust such a girl?

Even though I have spent a lot of time in here, I still can’t figure out the exact number of bars. Each time I count, it is different. I had asked many guards to count them for me. But nobody cares. They just want to lock me up and go. It is really bugging me.

                                                            ———

 

“Doctor, the patient in 208 is missing”

“Who? The  one who killed his imaginary wife?”

                                              ———

I feel subdued walking with this crowd. I feel like I am one among them. But I know I am not. I am different. There is only one way to shed this monotonousness. Do something drastic.                  

                                                      The end