An Excerpt From A Writing

by samantakbhadra

(1)

The momentary swallowing of pride made him toss and turn in his bed for hours on end. It was nearing dawn. The light peered through the gaps in the curtain lending a strange red glow on the walls of the room. It was an unnatural feeling. The incident had robbed him of his sleep. Maybe the kid was right. He was a lie. The world was real. The people were real. The kid was real. He was not. The blood in his veins seemed to turn into mud, refusing to move forward. His heart beat slowly. Maybe it realized the futility of it all. There was not a drop of sweat on his weary limbs. He felt a strange feeling of peace course through his body. He could not stop it. He wanted to feel shocked. Instead, he felt happy. He could feel the weight of his body sink comfortably into the softness of the bed.  In spite of it all, he lay wide awake pondering about it like a broken record playing on an infinite loop.

Shy streaks gave way to proud harsh beams of sunlight, rudely awakening him from the shallow slumber he was immersed in. He felt lighter and buoyant, probably for the first time in his life, even though it was the dreaded Monday. His disheveled hair gave perfect company to the smell of empty booze bottles lurking at the corner of the room. He had forgotten to turn off the laptop last night, not that it really mattered. There were three new messages.  Two of them were related to the office chores of the day and the third was the usual stern mail from his boss. He browsed through them nonchalantly.  He was running late already. Reluctantly, he dragged himself around the room with a bid to getting ready for office.

He was three hours late. The maniacal movement of the hands and the utterance of piercing insults by his boss failed to stimulate the desired reaction in him. He could not hear or comprehend much of it. Not that he cared to. It was as if an invisible protective veil had sprouted its roots all around him, thrusting him into an impenetrable cocoon of positivity. The stifling cubicle did not feel stifling anymore. He could see the kid sitting on the desk in front of him, swinging his legs playfully. “It’s good to meet you again”, he said. The kid looked up at him, smiled and said “Tell me about it!”

There was a sudden banging of fists on the desk. He looked up startled and saw that repulsive scowl on the face of the boss.

“You’re shameless, man! How dare you keep on smiling while I’m shouting at you?”

“I’m sorry, Sir. I didn’t mean to smile. “

“Do you realize the gravity of the situation, you twit? Your job is probably at stake here. You’re more unproductive than your sorry ass! …and all you can do is stand there and smile like an imbecile!”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly agree to the comparison with my buttocks but yes judging from the hard facts placed in front of me, I wouldn’t dispute the latter part of your comment.”

“Eh? Trying to be a smart aleck now, are you eh?”

“Not exactly, Sir. I believe I’m a dumb duck.”

“You echo my sentiments, boy!”

“I’m gratified to know that, Sir.”

That was the last time he entered his boss’ chamber.  Walking out of that door, he felt like he was shedding a foul-smelling mutated skin. As the distance from the door increased, he could feel the new smell envelop his body.  It grew more and more prominent with every passing moment.  The expressionless cubicles gaped at him and murmured in hushed undertones. His steps grew lighter as he approached his cubicle. Gathering up his things, he could not help but grin a little. He felt pity for everybody else in the office while everybody else felt pity for him. The world was indeed based on cosmic balances.  He felt guilty of not being able to betray a stray feeling of remorse as he walked out of that place for the last time in his life. Yes, tears were being shed inside and a void had been created. Strangely enough, he did not feel as morose as he should have felt nor did he feel like basking in the sympathy showered on him by his co-workers. He felt a surge of freedom run havoc in the vast meadows of his mind. As he walked out on to the pavement, his eyes fell on the kid, leaning casually on a wall belonging to that majestic building from which he had only just emerged, patiently waiting for him all this while. They smiled at each other.

(2)

It was already afternoon and a red dim melancholy had captured the imagination of the sky.  The sleepy atmosphere was rudely awakened by the thunderous gurgles emanating from the heavens. The sporadic orchestral performances gave way to crystalline drops of water which clung lazily to the rusted window grill for a short period of time, after which they hesitantly dragged themselves down to the bottom edge of the boundary of the window. The unlucky passer-by, with the lower part of his pants adorned with patches of muddy water, darted across the street all the while engrossed in deep thought  while the auto-rickshaw driver moved about lazily, unrolling the patchwork curtains meant to act as a barricade against the rain pervading the inner sanctum of the vehicle. Slowly, the intensity of the downpour increased and the streets grew empty. The rapturous silence that had descended upon the street was broken only by the sound of the incessant rain.

Mr. Banerjee was restless today. He looked at his watch. The minute-hand moved ever so slightly as if to taunt and tease him, reminding him of all those empty years. He had weathered many a storm and today, standing underneath a makeshift battered canopy, he waited for his son to come back into his life again. The steaming cup of tea coursed through his body, filling it up with a passing surge of warmth.  Opposites come together in an unheralded random manner. The warmth of the liquid coupled with the cold damp day transformed reality, for a moment, into a blurry ethereal vision. It was like an orgasmic pleasure that blended in and forced its way into the dark cobwebs of the mind, purifying it and cajoling it and thus catapulting it into a momentary heightened state of eternal happiness.

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