If This Isn't Nice, What Is?

5:30 pm


This man's simplicity always amuses me! (Pic Credits: izquotes.com)
 ***

The alarm clock stuck six and a gentle hand shook me lightly.

"Wake up son, morning is here!", she smiled and said.
I looked at her, with sleep flowing out through the wet drool from my mouth. I turned off the alarm and smiled back. It was yet another morning. Yet another daylight. I got up and mechanically did my basic chores like brushing my teeth, taking a cold water bath, exercising a bit and then having my breakfast. I was still a bit sleepy and tired but that didn't change the fact that I had to show up for the day, no matter what. I left the house at around 8 am and bid goodbye to mother. Commuting to work is one of the biggest hurdles. You've to drag yourself through the horde of people who're all out there to fulfill their duties and their tasks.

The queue for the rickshaw was unbearably long. So, I took out my earphones and plugged them into my phone. As the tunes of Here Comes The Sun and John Lennon's sweet voice flooded my ears, I was magically transported in a different world. Oblivious to everything around me. This is good. Much better. Music always works as a remedy for everything. I step inside the rickshaw with two other folks. The guy seems in a hurry. The lady beside is already talking on her phone, telling her friend to wait for her, that she'll most probably reach any minute now. The breeze fucks up with my hair but never mind, I love my hair disheveled.

Upon reaching the station, all I get to see is people. More people. People running from one place to other. The announcer lady's gentle voice on the loudspeaker says, "9 hours, 10 minutes, slow local for Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus has been delayed by 20 minutes and will arrive on platform number 6 instead of platform number 4. Apologies for the inconvenience caused." And then, suddenly everyone starts hurrying towards the foot-over bridge. Everyone wants to be in that train. Everyone wants a place to sit. Everyone wants to reach on time. Everyone wants to be ahead of others. Everyone just wants to win. Be it just grabbing the window seat or a spot on the foot board of the train. People shoving themselves in trains. People struggling to get out of trains. People crowding the foot over bridge. People fighting to sit in the train. People fighting to stand in the train. People fighting with each other to vent out their frustration. People hurling abuses at each other to vent out their anger and feel a little better about themselves. They say that the journey is more beautiful than the destination. I say fuck it. The journey is a struggle. The destination is your freedom from struggle. Freedom to escape away and venture in another new struggle.

I jam myself inside the train and stand there, holding on loosely to my dreams and my hopes. As the train swooshes forward, the grimly green nameless shrubs, Ashoka trees and my life, pass me by. I somehow manage to get a seat after sometime. This young man vacates his place to get down at Ghatkopar. Ah, that feeling. Getting a window seat in a jam packed local train. It's these small things that make your day. That bring a smile on your face. I pause my playlist, unplug my earphones and take out my book. It's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Okay, this is bliss!

The next hour flies by in few minutes, as if I am flicking the pages of time. Word after word, sentence after sentence, I entered into Garcia's wonderful world of magical realism. In Garcia's world, I could be plethora of characters. I remember this one time, I was the mighty Colonel Aureliano Buendia, waging a liberal revolutionary war against the conservative fascists to win back the town for myself. And this other time, I was making wild love to this handsome tarot-card reading lady, Pilar Ternera, in summer-time afternoon, on a hammock, in the happy town of Macondo! I feel so alive! Once again, it's these small pleasures of everyday routine that bring a ray of happiness in my life! As Kurt Vonnegut's uncle used to say, "If this isn't nice, what is?"

I reach my office. The same usual and bright faces, greeting me with a smile. I'm not much of a smiling guy. In fact, when I smile it looks forced and weird. But I put in my best effort to smile back without coming off as a creep. I need to learn this art of greeting and courtesy. The skill of socializing without awkwardness. I turn on my desktop and check if there are any important mails. After making note of all the tasks that I need to do for the day, I create a sort of mental schedule or time-table. It helps me to finish my work on time. After all, time is life, that's what I've learnt in these past few months.

I head towards the coffee machine, pressing the fourth button, to get my daily cup of latte. I meet my fellow friends there. We head over towards the empty table, setting down our breakfast plates and coffee cups. We discuss random things. It's mostly just small talk. About which train were you in, today? About how horrible and inhuman the crowd at Kurla and Dadar is. It's rather the same discussions. Almost every day.

I just sit there listening. Apart from not being a smiling guy, I'm also not much of a talker. Taciturn is the word. It's just that I don't know how people can indulge in small talk. Maybe it is my social insecurity and inhibitions. Indeed, yes, I'm painfully shy. Unless you're interesting or we're talking about literature, music or philosophy, over a glass of beer. I never quite understood or grasped that skill of small talk. I'm a lot better now though. I've started to learn how to talk to people. I observe them everyday and try to rather improvise. As I love learning new things! Maybe in coming months, I'll learn how to talk to random strangers without coming off as an autistic lad who has a speech deficiency. Anyway, after sipping off the last drops of caffeine addled milk, I head back to my work desk. The day goes by. Sometimes productive, sometimes not.

Luncheon breaks are interesting though! The discussions are more vibrant this time and everyone has something intriguing to say. Be it about work or just everyday life. I have a game or two of UNO and it's refreshing. The post lunch time goes by in a jiffy. As there's work to do. Reports to send.

In the afternoon, around 4:30, I take a mini break to grab another cup of that latte and maybe fiddle with the guitar kept near the recreational room. Although, I need to practice a lot, since I've stopped playing my guitar since past few months. It's only on weekends or so, that find myself jamming onto some tunes and practicing that elusive blues scale, that I want to master so badly.

I leave from office in late evening. It's already dark outside with the gradual onset of dusk. The sky has gone lavender with tiny stars arising, fighting against the the vast cloud of smog. Cities and pollution do ruin beautiful skies.
I walk my way back to the station, hoping to catch the usual train. This time, the rush is more intense. Peak after-office hours. This time, I don't get a seat. So, the journey goes on, as I stand there waiting, with nothing but some heavy metal and classic rock music blasting in my earphones to save me from my boredom. Boredom. Yes, that's going to be the death of this impatient generation.

I reach home. It's late night and I'm exhausted. I take a soul-rejuvenating cold shower and have my dinner. It's already 10 o' clock. I still have an hour. An hour to delve into my books. An hour for myself. I set up my bed and lay on it, with my books. After reading for half an hour or so, I shut the book and take out my journal. Yes. I've started journaling a few weeks back. I just write random words and sentences in it. Sometimes, phrases and poetry too! Just so that I don't forget how to write. I use color pencils for the added charm and fancy.

It's eleven now. Time for bed. I turn off the lights and lay awake. Being a self-proclaimed atheist, I never had a bedtime prayer or so. But these days, I've started to thank god. Or whoever that is. I talk to Hermann Hesse and thank him for all that he's done for me until now. I talk to Oscar Wilde and Tagore and ask them to keep inspiring me, as always. I speak with Dostoevsky, Camus and Kafka too and ask them to keep guiding me and helping me, to be a better human being than I was yesterday. Yes, you may think I'm going crazy now. That these are the first signs of madness. But call me whatever you like, I do talk to these gods of literature at night. In my opinion, there are no gods. There are just writers who create gods for people to follow. For people to seek solace in their time of need and solitude. Be it The Bible, The Bhagvad-Gita or The Quran. It's the writers that created gods through mere words and words itself. Thus, that does makes all writers divine!

Sleep visits and devours me, like the gently drizzling and melancholy rain on a hot and arid day. I dream those sweet dreams. That I'm lying somewhere on a vast expanse of infinite grasslands. With nothing but my pen and my notebook beside me. Strewn pages of scribbled lines scattered all over. The twinkling stars above showering their dim lights of merriment upon me. The crimson moon, watching over me like a mother watching over her peacefully sleeping baby in the cradle. Again, Vonnegut whispers in my ears, "If this isn't nice, what is?"

But there's something else that's creeping within me. A feeling of restlessness and youth thudding on the walls of my heart. A feeling of adrenaline rush, that makes me want to run away into the wilderness, with nothing but my notebook and a pen. A feeling that everything is changing too fast and that I just don't want to adapt. A feeling that I'm perfectly calm yet anxious. An unknown desire, a ravenous hunger, is gripping my soul. Strangling it. Choking it. It wants freedom and adventure but it's too afraid and timid. It wants love and affection but it's too cynical and egoistical. It wants satisfaction and contentment but it's too ambitious. It wants happiness but it's too conscious and insecure. Oh, masters of literature, is there a name for this feeling or emotion? Or were you folks too scared to name it!

I ask myself, why am I doing this, day after day? I can escape. Any time. I can be a bit greedy and selfish. I can do whatever my heart wants to do. After all, selfishness and hypocrisy is the pillar on which humanity has evolved. That's how we've survived. But then, there's this shrill sound of the morning alarm, once again. A gentle hand wakes me up once again. I look in my mother's eyes. They're heavy with sleep, yet radiant like a newly bloomed morning glory! There's dark circles around them but the gaze is penetrating and brooding, from all the decades of love and sacrifices she has made. She has been awake since past hour or so, she rarely sleeps. I know that. She prepared aloo-parathas for me, as she knows I like them in my tiffin. I look in her eyes and I smile.
I get up all revitalized. For, it's another beautiful day. Perhaps, a new experience that awaits me!

Maybe someday, our young, naive and restless hearts will understand that real happiness isn't in dreaming or blindly following our whims and delusions. Real happiness is in striving. Striving to make your own utopia in this reality. To build your own dreamland, without having to do it at the cost of your loved ones and the people who care about you. Without disappointing the people whose happiness and meaning of existence depends entirely on you.

For when you realize that you ain't the universe anymore, the best course of action is to stick together with your loved ones. When you realize that you're just infinitesimally minute atoms in this gargantuan galaxy, your best course of action is to tag along with other atoms. After all we're all just specks of dust on a giant boulder of rock that's just revolving around the sun, since aeons. Going in the same circle. Repeating the same path. Again and again. Everyday. Since the dawn of time. 

And yes, whenever you're having a good time with your friends, those wonderful conversations on weekends over good food and drinks, with people whom you love. That dinner outing with your family and the joy of catching up with your friends after a long time. That feeling of enjoying a good movie or finishing a great book. That word of appreciation from your manager or team colleague. That game of football on turf. Finishing that poem, sketch, drawing or article that you've been working on since weeks! We're so fascinated about everything grandiose and luxury that we often overlook these small joys and pleasures of life. It's these beautiful emotional bursts of joy that make me embrace the beauty of this mortal life as a human being!

And yes, finally it's times like these that you should never forget to ask yourself, "If this isn't nice, what is?"
***


Dostoevsky is indeed the master of understanding complex human emotions.(Pic Credits: allquotes.info)



( Well, how are you fellow readers and dear friends? This is my first article since I officially graduated from college and yes, it's been a long time. I didn't get the time to publish anything substantial. I apologize for the epic delay. Also, I've started my job, it'll be four months now. So yeah, I'm a part of the world I had detested so cruelly during my college days, the corporate world. And surprisingly, it's not as bad as I thought. In fact, it's going awesome so far! New experiences and new people! Life after college is indeed different. I've learnt a lot of things in these past few months. The importance of time-management being the most important among them. I'd love to think I sort of grew up as a person. 

Please bear with this tedious article, I've been wanting to publish this since past month or so and finally managed to do so today after editing the draft umpteen times! I hope you'll like it. If not, you can let me know your thoughts on the same, in the comments section below. Also, the work on my book I've been writing has taken a backseat since my job. I'm hoping to resume it by this week and hopefully I'll finish the book by next year. Till then, I'll keep publishing new articles, as and when I find the time. So, until next time Adios! )

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2 comments

  1. I could feel living your life in such a short article. These months of new experiences have helped culminate your writing style to a whole new level. High expectations from the book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading! Will hopefully keep writing more frequently and will try my best to finish off the book by next year.

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