Off I went, through the streets, braving wind & rain. It was my everyday. It is my everyday.
The window stared at me, in its other worldly demeanor, as if to say ‘You’re another man and another life, with you here and with you not, I will forever look on and on.’ Across the hall it stood; tall and noble. It had a big commanding frame. Its wood, darkened with season but grand nevertheless.
The world that it opened up to paled the grandeur of the window. It glistened a golden gray and a most certain doom awaited. The sun slowly receded in its rank and made way for an increasingly powerful cloud that loomed above with an attitude that could frighten even a Viking lord. The window let a small moan, it was in the storm’s path. The people who were sheltered by this valiant window gasped at the deafening roars of nature. All hell had broken loose.
Amidst the chaos, the streets of this busy town got noisier with activity, rickshaws and buses cried out loud, hurrying their way home, for none dared face the fury that was about to be unleashed on them. Taxi drivers looted passengers with exorbitant fares and nary a single soul raised their voice. Everyone needed to get home. Except me. I didn’t have a home.
The fact that I didn’t have a home yet was the last thing that I was worrying about. It was the magnificence of the situation that had me lost. Moments passed and the rain raged on, and I was just a dumb dot in the doings of God. After what seemed like an eternity but was really just a minute or two, I convinced myself to stop ogling at the window and beyond, and get my shit together, because a long night and a longer day was waiting for me, like wives of worker men whose lives go by waiting for their loved ones to return home, my work waits for me everyday. I will divorce my work someday. Break her heart and shatter her soul. She can go wait for another man and another life, and trap him with her lure. Let her give him 10 lakhs a year, 15 lakhs a year or more, I will not lust for her anymore.
The rain raged on; it’s something about gray clouds that make even the most mundane man the most profound philosopher, and thus I started to walk back to a temporary place where I slept, a decent hotel room. Yes, I could afford to stay for weeks in a hotel. It is the fruit of my work. I had thusly been smitten by her, and her rewards I have used. I am neither a proponent nor an antagonist of the honorable-worker-to-support-family school of thought. The proponents of this school argue that it’s extremely honorable for men to constantly work for an employer and get paid a decent monthly wage to support their families and school their children and the antagonists believe that you should inherently rebel against institution and dream big, live off the edge and what not.
In my walk back to the hotel, I saw a group of sickle people. The people whose sole work was to harden the cement for constructing buildings. There is no question of rebellion among them at all, because they just can’t afford to. They are through and through the honorable people who work for a fixed wage to support their families.
“Indeed, fate plays a role from the very beginning of all our lives because we don’t choose our parents; we don’t even choose to be born. If we exaggerate the role of free will in our lives we become either arrogant, attributing all our achievements to our own efforts and abilities, or depressed, attributing all our apparent failures to our weakness.”
— Sir Mark Tully, in India’s Unending Journey
Chaos got more chaotic. A kilometer into my walk, a motorcyclist had bumped into a rickshaw driver. If there was ever a TOEFL exam with a category for abuse vocabulary, these people would’ve blasted off the charts. A forty something balding man, the rickshaw guy’s adrenaline rush was comparable to an Olympic athlete. His foul mouth showered a semi solid mixture of paan, spit and bad odor at the now retreating biker. The biker was gradually losing his ground. The ominousness of the situation heightened. On a normal day, this would’ve become an onlookers paradise, but not today. The rain brushed away all, it laughed at the puny men and their puny pains.
I was like a towel that had been dipped a hundred times in an ocean. The rain had made my skin soft and my brain softer. I was lost in spiraling thoughts of love and hatred, peace and war, string theory and time travel (as I usually am most of the time when I’m not thinking of space travel). Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir would’ve partly summarized the thrill that went through my bones as the wind enslaved me with its force. Off went the street lights, and the power cut made things only more epic.
Families probably sat around and sang songs in the candlelight. Those who were alone would’ve cried for a companion to cuddle and get cozy for the cold night. It all happened that evening; there was laughter in the narrow gully where kids disobeyed their parents and had broken free into the streets. They wanted in on the action too, for this festival of water and wind would make them wiser in the years to come. They were the children of the quintessential India that many a Bollywood flick has immortalized. I looked at them and smiled, because they reminded me of the English lesson I had in my school. There really is another world and I was living in the other. Here I was in another world, with all sophisticated thoughts and all, and here these innocent children, chasing each other and laughing. The rain had finally found its equal. The rain which had laughed at mortal men who were so busy in escaping to their homes had no answer to the immortality of innocence of these children. For some reason, I don’t remember when I lost that innocence and became a member of the Zombie clan. Age and responsibility has corrupted mankind. How I wished these children never grew up, and never succumb to the overpowering force of greed and lust.
I reached the hotel and sat under the hot shower thinking about the days to come, for I’m not divorced to my work yet, and her lure hasn’t waned. I have to get some sleep and leave at 9 am the following day, because it is still my everyday
Reposted from my medium page.