New Delhi, mid-2011

This is a dreamy narrative of a life
that has been going adrift in the waves of time. It is secretly floating on weekends. I feel it should die its natural death. But die less gruesome than being killed by the army or the extremists, the kind of common death in the supposedly safe corner of our world far away which I once used to call home. Die. It can only change if the world is turn upside down. The scorching sun of the stinking surroundings sears the soul. A hope in some minimalistic approach – as in trying only our best or a little effort to understand the issues together without the usual destructive dissonance – has fueled a part of my existence. Optimism is bursting when it comes to our profession and our future, at least I hope so. Otherwise, the darkness, the confusion, the despair are so clear if it is anything related to the turmoil that tears us apart day in and day out.

Life goes on.
And I am not unsatisfied saying the whole thing is just hopeless, or in extreme cases, wondering if there is anything I can do. Everything is there for me to see: a stark negative outlook. It is only in the literature and other art that I can resort to. Being a realist might also help in accepting the reality but it should be assisted with an insuperable amount of hope. Sometimes I worry I will turn to an insect after reading Kafka, especially when it is time to pay the rent and the bills and that is when the memories of home are consoling. In my hometown we have a ‘yumjao’, a big house: the tin roof souses when monsoon spatters; the pillars unbent, brought directly from Burma; the mud and the straw and the dung-coated walls and the lime colour; and the outhouse saved for future generation. Now it’s getting semi-oblivious how the courtyard smells of in spring and how the music of the rain used to be a lullaby. Memories. Now I cherish things which are more foreign and more elegant and more beautiful; yes, life is too beautiful to be left unattended to the grimes of blood and bombs and bullets that are found galore back home.

Life is wearing the freshest second-hand garments that arrive on Monday mornings at Sarojini Market and Jama Masjid, and eating the biggest pork that comes swaying at INA and Kotla and Kilokri. The memories in monotony as much as my thought process. Off and on I would meet my friends and we would talk about whiskey and Kangla and about the prostitutes at the Priya and about rock n' roll but beyond the bats and the balls and Bollywood. When the night is over, it is a shame when my landlord locks the gate, as if as a direct insult to us and our talks on the Nike, and the Adidas and the Lacoste; for I elaborate about these international things in high spirits and all I get on return is a locked door. I would walk and run, searching for a sleeping place. Surely, Delhi is too hot with its cold reception for us.

Some signs I have marked . . .

It is an accomplishment when compared to the nightless lives in our hometown so most of us show it with certain haughtiness, maybe because I have nothing else to show off. In the end, it always follows what it is supposed to be, what I ought to be. There is a tincture of the universe in us and of us in the universe; a part of humanity I belong to, and the part of living in a mess that I contribute in making the world. Unfortunately, I have failed miserably in imbibing the true spirits as evident in the so common war with the neighbours. Our world is too small that it becomes our universe. At the Capitol and the Kuki and the Elevate, life is celebration at the level of 85 decibel. Rocking and shaking in psychedelic colours and at foot-stomping rhythm, it is swaying with the energy of those beasts that roam around the chartless jungles. I'm drunk with the luxury I have found in this refuge where I have made my hiding place. Far from the demand letters and motherland-worshiping people. And far from the aching cloud that shrouds the home and the mountains too. And gone are those days when I used to see other different clouds, nonpolitical yet natural and chilling those are at Mao, where I used to see gumptious hill men strolling, shouting and selling the delicious plums. But when it's time to fly back to my dingy one-room flat – after the ear-splitting cosmic connection in our imagined association with the global milieu of éclat – the auto rickshaws are the magic carpet and the deceptive drivers, the lousiest bastards to help us. Never would I mind, though, the lessening of the position from a Capitol-going prig to an auto-traveling lamebrain. I would repeat – it is too lame, when I have to hop in with more people, with friends, than the auto can ferry and bargaining and having the fights with the bloody Housains. This is us.

When the weekdays would begin and when the world becomes an oiled machine I would stop speaking, my mumbles lost in the screaks and screams and I would pass another day to the nameless time.

[Call it a fiction-writing attempt.]



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