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.
Last morning, having little to do at work I walked down to my favorite coffee shop in town. I picked a seat in a cosy corner of the café and settled down to a drink of delicious hot coffee. Sitting right there, I could watch human beings bustling about outside the glass doors of that blissfully quiet café. They were like tiny amorphous specks in the sea of life flowing endlessly on wheels on the city roads. The next thing I knew, I began to ponder over life- my life. A little here and a little there I digressed but every time I bounced back to it, for the rest of the day, even after I left the café, till I reached home, and after…
As I delved deeper into the realms of introspection, I became aware that besides all the day-to-day trivialities which make up the froth that one has to swim through mindlessly to go forward in time, I have a passion for something in my life, just one thing: writing. The thoughts followed thus…
I’m not a great writer, not even close to it. I enjoy writing nevertheless. It is true that certain passionate thoughts and emotions easily translate into weighty words but it happens to me exclusively when I’m caught in situations with no access to writing pads or any sort of recording instruments. And, when I make efforts to retain them in my mind they somehow seem to lose their fire as soon as I prepare to set them down at the end of a busy day. At such times, I
put the pen away, save the ink for another day, and pick a book to read. Maybe it is frustration caused by the emotionally unbalanced city lifestyle. Maybe it’s just my mood. Anyhow, the next time that it happens, I decided to do away with pens and papers, typewriters and electronic machines, and just sit and muse with eyes closed, instead of begrudging some author her magnificent book…
So there I sit with my eyes closed, to mould amorphous thoughts into feelings, to inject life into dormant and dead ideas, to tune up emotions, to direct emotions through the Writer’s Magic Loop and to see them come out of it as delectably flavored English words. Then, with my eyes closed, I string the words together, shuffle the strings around till they hit the right notes and reflect the right shades. When the words all fit into a perfect composition and I’m
certain that they are impressed upon my memory, that I can soon grab a pen and commit to paper, a sense of accomplishment emerges. As soon as my eyelids part to reveal the spark of eternal triumph in my eyes, the words in my mind inevitably dissolve in the deluge of light they are exposed to…the sense of triumph is crushed with the disappearance of the Magic Loop…and alas! I find myself left abandoned in my car, eyes wide open, caught in a traffic jam, raucous horns honking all around; and I look out of the side-window to see what appears as an amorphous vision of a boy sitting in the corner seat of a café, sipping his coffee, staring directly at a speck that is me and probably wondering about his own life…his own frustrations.