Wednesday, April 25, 2012


He’s in bed.


Staring at the partially cracked ceiling.

It’s time to wake up and get out. As usual. A normal day, like any given Monday. He does that thing
that guys do when they wake up. Pretends to slip into imaginary blue slippers and walks towards the
bathroom. The room’s a mess.

A typical guy he is.

Unopened cans of sardines lying expired besides half opened cans of cat food. A broom that once was
unused, still stares at him in the foot. Spoons laden with jam-like moss. Cheese crackers being feasted
on by jerrys all around. Tom is nowhere to be seen. Don’t think missing posters were even made for him.

Jake sleepwalks by. The sink leaks, much to no one’s surprise. Jake isn’t going to let it bother his morning

He pretends to pick up a bush.
He pretends to pick up the paste.
He pretends to use them on each other.
And then he looks blankly into the mirror and moves his empty hands around his face.

To the world, it seems absurd. To him, it’s pretty much a daily routine. He stands at the overtly messy
kitchen table. Pretends to make himself some cornflakes.With milk, honey, imaginary red strawberries
and gestures with his hand, like he’s made the perfect morning meal.

The bath, the attached lavatory, the front door. All are accustomed to this behavior. It’s the people
outside his world who are still coming to terms with it.

The elevator: Uncomfortable.

Jake stands by the elevator, waiting for someone or something. Irrespective of his urgency to get out of
the building, he waits. Concealing his angst for the time that he is about to lose.

Someone presses the button. He sighs in relief. The elevator door opens. He gets in. Everyone’s like
everyone. Except the dog, who somehow takes a liking to Jake. Barking his arse off.

Jake jumps aside. He really didn’t need to, but he did. Guess it’s just a very human reflex that one can
never get rid of, even if one wanted to. The dog however is relentless. Disobeying his higher authority.
Till the elevator doors part, and then meet again. Jake steps out.

The road: Unimaginable

Bankers calculating the number of steps from point A to X, Y and Z pass by musicians pretending to
make a living out of art. Hotdog vendors devouring their own spoils as mercilessly as the butchers who

once helped in preparing the very same meal that’s now partly wrapped in butter-paper. Petite hookers
in their daytime clothes hailing cabs to daytime jobs. One’s a mother, one’s a lover, one’s furious while
another’s just being nonchalant about life and the troubles that come with it. Workers on the street dig
holes into the ground, not knowing what to find. Bicycles zip by human poles that walk by zombies in
the other direction. Traffic signals disco. Subways graze. Busses trail other mechanical apparatus, both
front and back. Jake is all but a part of the commotion.

He walks past an unshaved beggar with a sign that reads ‘Will kill Justin Bieber. Need money for gun.’
Jake stops in his tracks and retraces his steps, looks at his hand as if he’s counting change and picks
up the nothingness that seems to amuse the beggar in his hand, and places it in the bowl. It makes no
sound. But the beggar does. He screams ‘May you rot in hell’ and throws unheard of curses towards
Jake. Jake is attacked by an empty evian bottle which almost nicks him in the ear… almost.

A phone booth approaches. Jakes eyes light up in excitement. It’s been a while since he’d called home,
or anyone for that matter. He reaches the receiver and then pretends to place his hands over it and
put the imaginary receiver on his longing ears. First timers on the street see a deranged young man,
others just smile and turn away as Jake pretends to punch in numbers and have an intensely animated
conversation with someone who could either be his mother or the laundry maid who’s not shown up
to work in a long time. Either way, the call was short not sweet. He slams the imaginary phone to the
ground. Stomps his foot over the receiver with the intensity of a jilted lover on valentine’s day. And
looks around, hoping to go unnoticed, in vain.

Anger makes people do wondrous things. Eat chocolate bagels topped with ice-cream and chocolate
sauce, just after dessert. Pick up a cigarette after the first one’s extinguished, and then another. Break
a vase. Break a heart. Break a religion. Life’s like that for most of the times. And at times, it’s nothing
at all. Make a big deal out of a small one. Dance in the middle of meeting. Or as jake, in the middle of a
crowded street.

Call dropped and imaginary pieces of the phone booth behind him, jake stands beside the road.
Patiently waiting for the magical words to appear on the electronic pole that reads ‘walk’. A minute
passes by and then another. Everyone seems too anxious to wait. Jake looks around to find a familiar
face. He spots a couple of them, who look away quite instantly. It seems to be jake, but it’s actually the
mob in the distance that everyone’s looking at. The huddle seems nothing less than an assembly of well
trained rugby players before a crucial game.

The signal turns green. Walk.

But jake moves towards the mob. Anxious to know the what’s where’s how’s and million other trivial
questions that will only be asked and never acted upon. It’s an accident. And a fatal one at that.

The accident: Repercussive

Kate. Her fake id says twenty five, much like her face. Cheap beige pants, that have now turned partly
crimson. A black logo-less spaghetti top with a small cigarette ash shaped hole in it. And sunglasses that

lie in the sun on the hot pavement. Kate didn’t envision herself to be lying face first on it, when she
left home. But fate had plans for her that she clearly wasn’t ready for. Jake walks closer, careful not to
disturb the people around him and looks at kate’s motionless body.

He smiles.

He looks around. Searching eyes grate every visible surface of nearby buildings as the paramedics
declare the inevitable.

And then he sees her. Standing besides the dumpster. Also motionless. Stunned as she sees them take
her body to the ambulance that cries away in the distance. She’s wipes a tear that shimmers as it ceases
to exist. Jake is now besides her, waving his hand.

Jake: ‘Hi’

Kate is speechless. She’s not too sure if she should respond. She points towards the road which
transported her body, right before her eyes.

Kate silently questioned.

Did I just see what I think I saw? Or was I hallucinating like I was the day before yesterday? Was I not
crossing the road just a second ago? Did I not just leave the bagel shop across the street? And why are
you smiling you incompetent asshole?

She hails a cab.

Jake: ‘No! Wait! Don’t do that it’s….’

But before you know it, the cab’s right besides Kate. The cabbie’s an Indian. Cliché’s aren’t new even in
this day and age. He looks at her intently. It’s a little too lecherous than she’d needed at the moment.
He stoops a little to now look at her face. She’s disgusted but proceeds to open the door.

Her hand goes right in. Through the door. She’s frightened. He’s frightened. He steps on the accelerator,
and in a cartoony cloud of smoke, he disappears, leaving her with even more questions that are waiting
to be answered.

Jake: “Fool! You’re out to ruin everything. For yourself. For others like you. And more importantly, for
me. You think I chose to be this way? To walk by with the fear of someone accidently passing through
me. To stand by the road and not be able to save someone from an accident. To not be able to even
open the lid off a Pringles box. To know that there’s nothing in this world that I can ever touch, feel,
cherish. It may seem absurd to the world, but I know just one way of somehow being immortal in this
world. And if you’re wise enough, you’d do the same.”

Jake walks away. Kate follows. She figures he’s her best bet at learning the ways of life. Answering the
what’s why’s how’s of life. The immortal life.

The End: Contempt.