Hunger

That’s the name of the book I’m trying to read. Hunger. Or at least, it’s the name of the book that is on my mind most of the time these days, although I’m really reading another book which is a pretty decent one. It’s on the top of my mind especially when I’m hungrily shopping for more books even before I’m done with the pretty decent one and a pile of others fighting to be read next.

That’s the name of the predominant sensation I experience every day, may be because I eat very little – may be not more than a little bite a day when I’m in the mood – and that may be because I can barely sense the taste of food when in public spaces – like a restaurant, a mess, a family dinner, a lunch break at office and that sort of a thing.

That’s the name of love that is not reciprocated at all, or worse  yet: that which is returned in meager doses. It is also another name for lust. Love. Lust. Hunger. What sin, what pain, what pleasure.

That’s the name of everything that drives every man to do what he does. That’s the inner voice, the spirit, the sinner and the saint, the will and the winter within.

That’s the name of self-penance, the pleasure of punishing the self. Being the master and the slave. Being the torture and the victim.  The offence and the defense. The test and the outcome. The victory and the failure. The victory is to survive hunger that long and the failure is to not survive it for much longer. Hunger prevails over hunger.

Hunger is what I’d like to call you, my love, if not for your beautiful name, because I want you so bad all the time but I know I’d die if I have you for any longer than this. You are good for my soul in little doses. I think I can kill you any day with just one good meal but you aren’t really dead, are you? You are just temporarily buried under all the barbecue chicken and mushroom sauce and chocolate mousse; you come back to me the next day or the day after, and I receive you with open arms just the same and lie down over there with you, under the sheets, curled up and delirious, happy and hoping to die of you some day, some distant day when I’m happier than ever.

Oh Hunger, I love you.

Show me a good time!

That’s what I hear my inner voice screaming out to my inorganic exterior every time I go back into the ladies washroom (because it is seemingly private unlike any other space in the office) to check upon how my ‘rich, inner self’ is doing in the course of a workday. That, very often, and some times it repeatedly warns me with a nervous twitch, “Abhi meeting hain, aur leakage ki tension” where leakage is not as in a Whisper ad, but as in ’emotional leakage’. Yes, I need to be warned because I find it excruciatingly painful to have to conceal signs of revulsion – like nausea, shortness of breath, palpitations, shakiness, pins and needles, flushing – when I’m expected to watch a series of videos like this AND applaud AND be moved to tears like every other co-employee, as part of the ‘Office Day’ celebrations presided over by the CEO, once a month. Menstruation is not the worst part of the month anymore.

The CEO of the place I work at eats clichés for breakfast, packs clichés in a lunch-box and force-feeds everyone in office with clichés dipped in condescension. I hate him, much like I hate every one else I come into the slightest contact with at office and my hatred runs to the molecular level…that if you rub off some cells from the inside of my cheek onto a cotton swab while I’m at office and isolate the DNA and then check that DNA under a high-powered electron microscope, English translation of my DNA sequence would read different combinations of the letters H, A, T, E and not A, T, C, G running along the length of every strand. In a manner of speaking. That is extreme epigenetics at play.

As sour and plagued as I may sound by the idea of working a white-collar job, the fact is that I have only had to work for a mere three months minus seven days so far. I am a new yuppie on the bandwagon. I’d managed to squeeze in more weekend parties and reunions and girls’ night-outs than what I estimated I could under two months, given the work conditions. So, I am supposed to be having a good time right now in this new and exciting place but I am not. My soul is still screaming out to the universe to show it a good time. In the middle of a workday, in the middle of a meeting with the snob-stink CEO, in the middle of a regular weekend outing, in the middle of shopping for a good book, in the middle of running into an old friend, in the middle of a good short nap. Nothing I do on the weekend to placate my enraged inner self seems to make up for the A-class shit I have to put it through for the rest of the week.

While I’m spending my precious weekend time every week (of which I just get half because Saturday is a working day) cribbing and mentally reliving the cock-flavored working days of the week like this, every other person I know (in more or less the same situation as me) is enjoying the weekend hours with no thought or flying fuck spared to give to their respective offices/bosses. Why am I not able to do that? I have no logical answer to that but I pose that question to myself every now and then in order to keep up the good habit of introspection or psychological self-preservation.

Some of the statements that emanate out of the sparsely distributed, fleeting moments of my vague introspection: I lost my sparkle and my sense of humor and I know not where to look for those. I struggle to put my thoughts to paper. I am afraid of censure now more than ever. I am afraid of love and I ooze ghosts of my past lovers. I hate to get back in touch with my friends who are married (whether they married total strangers or long-time lovers.) More so if they married their lovers. I believe it is hypocritical and unnatural to marry someone you already love. It’s all over for me now. I enjoy drinking coffee only as much as I enjoy looking at it in pictures. With chocolate, the situation is much worse.

On a side note, some of the things that were waiting all these years to fall into my list of most-hated things ever AND finally did: touch-sensitive phones, friends who talk too much about themselves and not even bother asking what’s up with you, high-school friends who you had no respect for when in high school. There were reasons why you hated someone when in school and those reasons remain whether or not you remember them.

“2+2=5”

It is almost too hard to think any further when you are confounded by sights such as the ones I see everyday, which are microcosms of the world which you are a part of, which you hate to be a part of. It is not nearly as simple as it sounds. It is so painful, so drastically cruel to come upon such scenes in everything that meets your eye and ear in the time that you are awake and moving around in search of some meaningful moment. When it hits you right in the face, knocking off one or two of those rotten teeth out of you, you just have to take a step back and lie down and take a look at what unfolds, wait for the end. Your nerves throb with a palpable optimism, tearing out of you so hard that it is tough not to visualize with all the functional faculties of the mind, that forever-elusive triumph of good, triumph of the inevitable truth. And, as you wait for it – the end – amid all the white noise, crunching flakes of corn, sounds of dripping mayonnaise, you are clutching the ends of your sleeves, exuding heavy drops of sweat from the surface of  your overworked body, crossing your fingers two folds over,  tongue-frisking the empty slots in your pasty gums, you feel lucky. Lucky that here you are, as a child watching ‘La vita è bella’ projected on the spotty white-wall of the community hall on Christmas eve, churning out all the possible happy ways to end the saga of love, here you are waiting for that happy ending to blow you away, the ending that is the entire truth, the entire wisdom that you swear you’ll live your life by, the secret resolution that will emerge from the wisdom, the  resolution that will rule over your life for the rest of your life beginning from the moment that the film projector is turned off.

So, seen the ending, right? Is the music out of you yet? No? The projector is off and the people are moving out. You are not a child anymore – discuss the movie, comment on the man behind the camera, criticize, praise, predict the number of awards it’s going to fetch. Try! The children have already put down the numbers on Face-book.

Those sights I was talking of earlier are not actually discussed by anyone unlike the movies. Nobody sees them,  there are no tickets. Only you and I watch them, they are our lives’ major decision-makers, and we, the wasteful consumers of  time. Scenes of ants near a jar of jam, fallen flowers on the road, swaying clouds in the sky. Mother ant, father ant, and baby ants, you think? Flowers decorating the path, you think? Clouds coming together to  pour down, you think? They all end the wrong way. Big ants kill small ants. Flowers linger, pressed under car-wheels and swept into the gutters. Swaying clouds break, break, break and move apart to make way for the planes. The days have changed.  We are an anachronism, you think? It’s been a while since I laughed about it. Laugh about it, it’s weekend.

Twisted is the new truth. Twisted is the only truth, was the only truth. Twisted is you, your truth. Truth is no joke. It is not for simple-minded fools like you and me to try to understand.  Forget what the writers were talking about, now, right now. Drunken fools and old maids. Let us go mend the broken bones and leave the rest to them-the others. The broken bones in your crossed fingers is what you are a symbol of, and not the other way round. Everything is twisted, mauled, broken, unhinged and torn apart and abused, from your  point of view, and not anywhere close to what you had been imagining a few moments ago. There are no surprises because what you see in the end is what you imagine AGAINST. Even you know what’s coming in the end, the worst. There is nothing beyond it, no curtains to move aside for the real thing, the wall is right in front of you, pressing against your forehead, marked with your sweat.  The marks of your drying sweat on the wall seem to be saying, “You are all done for the day, you can go ahead and press-dry that shirt of yours, puff on a dash of perfume on it, forget dinner and catch some sleep.”

My First Exercise in Acrostics. Thanks to Salman Rushdie! :)

For your convenience
and mine, I am
kind and sensitive at times, just
enough to make you believe that

friends like me are
rare. That’s why you can’t make out when
I begin to
exploit you and it is when you begin to
notice, that I defend myself, say you exploited me,
dump you like I planned and
soon become a fake friend of someone
hapless and rare like you were, while
in the meantime you become like me;
perhaps that’s why fake friends are not uncommon.

Love comes and goes unrecognised. Love songs just fill the vacuum.

Love is like a little bird
on a rainy day;
it finds shelter in a tiny nook
carved in the grand design of a
building or formed in a
tree by the arrangement of leaves
and cloistered branches;
it remains well out of our sight
for we care little about
dusty nooks in brick walls
or tiny gaps under eaves
when the sky comes
pouring down
and forces us into our own
big shelters built of
cement and stone,
or the foliage in the garden
that we had carefully pruned and grown.
The birdie shows up,
and sings a sweet love song
at our windowsill
once the rain is gone
and the sun is out…
but it is not the little bird
on a rainy day anymore.