I wake up on a cold rainy morning. The remains of the rain drops are still kissing the frosty windows. They dance together. His fingers slowly move down to fill the gap between her thighs. I turn around to find myself in the company of my pillow. Apart from the companionship of the early morning darkness and my depressing solitude of course. I have grown to a point where I have begun to take both of them for granted. As the tips of my fingers touch the icy floor gently, the questions of existence swarm back to haunt me like the pack of obstreperous fireflies that pounce at the first hint of light. I swim through the questions in silence. A silence that is probably owing to acclimatization to the frequency of being bludgeoned by the questions forever. Like the woman who is a regular feature on a crowded bus. Numb to the ogles and the touches. A few accidental. A lot, lecherous and intentional. Sigh. My lips quiver under the warmth of the morning shower in my bathroom. My blood vessels rejoice the temporary retreat from the handcuffs of the cold. Five minutes later though, they seem to feel heavier. Maybe the idea of having to go back to the cold has hit them hard. Just like the way anxiety hit me midway through my yearly vacation last month. A psychotic state of wanting to make the day count and yet deciding to while away the moments one at a time. A common fear that the day would end soon if I made it count and would leave me at the mouth of the den of another Monday that I cannot run away from. The weight of my breath is evident from every heave of my chest. No, it is not physical exertion that is causing my loss of breath. It is far from it. My body works rarely. My job doesn’t demand it. After a point, it hasn’t even demanded an exertion from my mind. Masturbation doesn’t count of course. I get into my clothes pretty quick. Trousers first. Ironed shirts follow. Shoes that are bound to dampen during the commute. A bag that protects my laptop from the rains. Finally, a brain left behind safely in the bosom of my bedroom. The blows the questions deliver are currently intolerable. The strikes are made from fists of iron. Heavy. Hard hitting. The cab driver pulls over in front of my door. 8 25 a.m. Sharp. I move into the front seat. From the corner of my eye, I glance at Maya seated behind. For the past six months, we have only shared a weak smile. The crevices of my throat create hollow noises like an ill-kept vacuum cleaner every time I clear it to talk to her. I text her. Sometimes. It needs no eye contact. Thank God. Thank Satan. Thank no one. They don’t exist.

The texts end with an abrupt goodbye. I can’t keep it going. I don’t know to. I wonder how people find love on parks, beaches, cafeterias, social media and even in public restrooms. I rarely go beyond the timid hello. Let alone love. I smile at the cab driver. He has been with our office for 4 years now. We both share a connect. Not mentally. No, not physically. We both have similar job nature. The descriptions and the pay differ. Start. First gear on. Accelerate. Break when needed. Rev up the gears and throttle faster when needed. Stop. Same here. Not a car though. Microsoft excel. The questions are now choking me. Sniggering at me. Taunting me to give up. I walk into my office. Six minutes late. Smile at the receptionist. Take the elevator. Press second floor. Get out of the elevator. 10 steps forward. 3 steps to the right. Red seat. 4 feet by 3 cubicle. Lay laptop on the desk. Turn right. Stare at Maya. She turns your side. Look away. Avoid eye contact. Sit. The clock strikes 5 pm. Half an hour to go. 7 and half hours done on the immobile seat. Two deviations. One for coffee -11 15 am. The time of the day Maya has her coffee. Repeat procedure as above. Stare at her. If she turns your side, look away. Another again for coffee- 3 30 pm. Procedure. Repeat. Lunch demands no movement from my seat. Same rice cooked with dal everyday. Pop two lithium pills post food. Occasional lunch treats lead to deviation number three. Half an hour. Cafeteria or the restaurant opposite my office. Not exactly opposite. Clock strikes 5 30 pm. Stand up. Regulation goodbye. Look at Maya. Muster up courage to bid goodbye. Decide against it. Walk away. Down the elevator. Into the cab. Go home. Change clothing. Coffee. Hot. Three spoons of sugar. Too much. It doesn’t matter. Nothing does. TV. Two hours. Twitter. Facebook. Stalk Maya. Dinner. Roti. Today. Everyday. Two more pills.

The questions have now battered my bones. They have marinated me in my own blood. So, what are these questions that have been haunting me? Did I tell you? Did you ask? The blows. Left hand hook unto my jawbone. Who are you? A human. An organism. A face in the crowd. A whole world to my dog. A nobody to Maya. Maybe somebody? Maybe not? Not until I decipher what her smile three days ago meant. A face lost in a crowd of a billion organisms that are evolving everyday to different versions as an effect to the changes in the survival needs around. An unknown in a planet that is one among 8 ( or 9 ) others in a solar system which is within a galaxy housing million other solar systems which in turn is imprisoned within a universe which is constantly expanding. Wait. Who decided the boundaries of the solar systems though? Who said a galaxy ends here? They said Pluto revolves around our sun. Now they say it doesn’t. Will earth meet with the same fate? Will it be disowned by our solar system? Wait again. Who decides that our solar system owns our earth? Who called it earth? Our earth? Seriously? Right legged side kick to my thighs. What is your identity? Should there be one? Why is everyone miffed with having one? Some call it a passion. Some call it a purpose. Some find it in wives. Some find it in peace. Some in children. Some in work. Are identities subjective? Is it mandatory to have one? What else would push you forward? Why should I be pushed forward? Can’t I stagnate? Or does it exist? Maybe I am lazy to look for it? Maybe I am wise enough to know it doesn’t exist? But wait. Does wisdom exist? If yes how to categorically group things into wise and unwise. Right hand uppercut to my chin. Why should you live? Good question. I don’t have an answer. Not for this one. Nor for any other question? Why shouldn’t I live? What is the point when everyday is the same routine? Should I succumb to the warmth of hope that it would change one day? Does hope exist? Does future exist? Why not die? Suicide? Is it cowardice? Hell No! Why not then? Should suicide have a reason too? Again, why is the world bent to find a reason for everything? But what if things change? Become better? What if they don’t? What it it becomes miserable? What is better? What is miserable? Are they subjective as well? Right hand jab. Knock out. What is the right decision now? Knocked out. Too tired to answer. To confused to answer even if I was doing good. Let me try. Is there a right decision? What is right? Don’t say what isn’t wrong? Then, what is wrong? Is this a vicious cycle? What is right for me isn’t right for you? Maybe even wrong? Who said our morals should coincide? Should we have morals? Who gave the court the power to call something wrong? Is it wrong? Is wrong objective? Isn’t murder a murder always? If yes, why is a soldier glorified and a rapist condemned? Again, not justifying rape. Not speaking against as well. Is something objective? Something with an independent existence? Should something be objective? Three messages to Maya as against two so far in six months. Good signs. Maybe not. Final question. What next? Time is 12 midnight. Office tomorrow. Good night. Bye. Wake up. Repeat.

-Harihara Subramanian

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *