Johny boy is asleep,
Johny boy is in a coma.
All those dreams now rest in his head
And for good.
That swollen exaggerated head of his.
Full of anecdotes,
Those of money, women, love, betrayal
Johny boy is now a stranger among the known
He senses stuff, they say
He sees you with eyes closed
Who knows, and who can tell?
The unbeknownst sciences of this dreamless sleep
And the art of being perennially undying
Johny boy is in excruciating pain!
Only he can't tell, they say.
His blood and soul is sedated..
Thank good God for morphine
Johny boy Johny boy!


A vision. Not fleeting. A constant vision. Like a motion picture. Of sheets of rain lashing on me. And I feel closer to the open skies than I am. Arms stretched out, fearless, laughing in endless mirth. The cold numbs our fingertips. Ten of mine and the ten of his. Sometimes held, sometimes free. There's no urge to go back in and be shielded. From this, one brave night of latitude. Is this June? Or July? I forget. What did I want from life, I forget. All I have is this. There's a line of emptied glasses on the ledge. Ella Fitzgerald sings in the background. Just an iron railing keeps us from death like depths. Yet we don't jump, not yet. Now we swing from the skies. I see his eyes twinkle in the light of the splitting lightening and shut our ears as the deafening thunder might come anytime now.


I remember, not so long ago, we had been to this wedding reception and they had scotch eggs. The buffet counter had a long line, kids, women, shoving their emptied plates in the face of the serving guy. Scotch eggs make me go weak. I mean it. Being the person I am, I relate to food at a very emotional level. I don't like cooking, per se. I like whipping up quick stuff I can settle down with to engage in something else while. Eating. It's a comfort thing. You know. I have certain categories of comfort food. Things that make me feel safe, relieved. Comforted. Right now, all I want is scotch eggs. 

A certain cousin of mine, considered wayward, ran away from everything. He was depressed or something. Heartbroken, or close. Some girl must have been involved. I don't have any dearth of deranged cousins. Alcoholics, borderline sociopaths, girls who eloped to marry, and those who almost eloped to marry, cousins who died early, some who have a mind of their own, some who don't at all and are borderline maniacs. My genepool isn't decent as I am. Or I pretend to be. I force myself to pretend to be, And yet I feel like an outsider because I didn't break free like they did. And forced myself to conform. It's asphyxiating, as it is. Being two people. One on the outside and another for real. 

This gibberish, goes on in my mind all the time. I have this involuntary compulsion to end everything. Abandon everything. Start afresh. Or rather not at all. I find soothing in comforting words of those like me that have lived, written and died before me. Long ago. I find soothing in any distraction, if it lasts a decent amount of time. Mostly it doesn't. I just while away days and months. Losing year after year, In cold inaction. In desperate brooding. 

In this country, there are no disorders. We are all like this, and this is normal. So I seek no refuge. Is this cowardice? I wonder. Feels like it at times. The shame and the lethargy of an underachieving existence catches on and grounds whatever leap I could take. Ultimatley, I feel it is me that doesn't want to get out. That I live in this cave out of choice. I don't want out. So I don't get to get out. 

Yeah, that's it. 

Whole Again

While smudging kohl in my eye, I noticed a hole. A tiny hole to the corner on the lower flap, on the inside, towards the nose. I thought to myself, this must be the tear gland. Not the gland, but the orifice for the gland beneath. It's amazing, how I hadn't known where tears came from. After crying my eyes out. And today, it shows itself. It's like finding a blackspot under your chin. You had it ever since, without knowing. Without caring to know.

My mood lately is a cosine curve. I sink into troughs, for a set of predefined reasons. Loss, failure, disappointment, a deep, really deep sense of feeling misplaced. Mostly, I sink because I think I am stupid. Just foolish. And that's not a good thing, feeling foolish. Because it is accompanied with inexplicable anger. I choke myself screaming, howling, literally. I tear down wall hangings, punch pillows. It's like a mad woman has gotten into me. And I actually do relate to her in the span of my fit. And cry, cry a lot. I sink into the trough of the cosine. 

A while after, I consolidate. Very mechanically. Like an auto restoring system. I cool down. I feel up again. I try hard, really hard to convince myself that being a good person compensates for being stupid. I know, it doesn't. But I try. What can we do? I try to tell myself stories. That things will turn around. Even if they don't, I am strong enough to just take the shit. I fail, I shatter. I cry. Again.

And such, it goes on and on. I don't know if there's an escape, but an escape. I so want to feel whole again. 


I tend to be extremely myopic in terms of life. That I can't see beyond a certain point, I acknowledge. So I be within constraints. I don't see myself anywhere in the next 5 years, like they ask in job interviews. I don't see myself anywhere. I used to keep a vague imagery of myself at 40. But that's slowly fading. Pictures, we can't afford. Sometimes, just merely being, maintaining a decent status quo, is such a struggle. Breath sucking, blood curdling struggle. I had foreseen myself at this age that I am now, but when it's for real, it's nothing like that, actually. It keeps getting more and more disappointing. Because of the cages I built inside my head. And prefer to stay, incarcerated. 

There is an old man. He must be in his seventies. He wears a washed out dhoti and carries a huge sack of mudhi (puffed rice, for the uninitiated) on his head and climbs up four flight of stairs. He calls out in that shrill voice, he addresses the women in the houses as mothers, they may be less than half his age. And asks who wants mudhi. He also sells those balls of mudhi rolled in sweet jaggery. Golden looking delicious balls. He would arrive sharp at 9:30 almost on all week days. And that is the most chaotic time of the day for me, I would be swallowing an unchewed breakfast, in the self immolating shame of being late for work. The old man would ring the bell, I would open and shut the door within the span of a few seconds, refusing, caring not if we had enough mudhi or not. 

In afterthought. I would wonder. If I should have given him some money, just for taking all those stairs. I never did that though. 

Last Monday, I was taking a break, for several reasons. Life can get too much you know. I realized I was getting nowhere despite all the running and all the 9 o'clock chaos undertook daily. So I felt like showering in the evening for a few days, instead in the morning. I felt like being myopic all over again and took those days off. 

So, last Monday, I was there when the old man rang the bell. I was. I bought those delicious balls of mudhi rolled in jaggery.   

Red Light

Today she spread on her pink bedsheet. And stared back at the room once before heading out. The TV was adjacent to the bed, you needed no remote. The window was shut. The light was about dim. And blue. The bejewelled actress in the poster she had hung up, blushed, like everyday.

Out on the street a dozen other girls like her waited. They chuckled. Made expressions with their hands. Some lifted their skirts as they teased the men that walked by, rejecting them for fleshier and prettier looking girls down the street. If that didn't work, they lifted the veils off their breasts, before ultimately slashing their prices by a hundred or two, as a last resort.

But tonite she had decided, she wouldn't let anyone bargain with her. She needed the money. She would coil her hands around any man's neck, with all the love and all the desertion. And have what she is worth. No negotiation. She prayed that there be no raid that night. And went in one final time to check whether the mosquito coil had worked or what.


You lose hope, not overnight. Not over the night. That's too sudden. In the period of a night, you cry out. And wake up swollen. Eyes burning like fire. Skin glistening sorrow. But you don't lose hope. Hope sheds itself over days. Months. At times, years. You slowly let go. Consciously, breathing, let go, like noone's watching. But you are. You believe, that way it will affect you less. Pity you and forgive. Well, does it?

Similar to the process of unloving. Unloving, keep note, is not the same as falling out of love. It's an active verb. Falling out of love is more passive an event. more real, commonplace, easier. Unloving too, doesn't happen overnight. Slow squeezing of the heart, is supposed to take time. There is no anesthesia for this one. Quite the anti-process of amnesia happens here. Instead of forgetting, one remembers. Tiny details. So much that entire events feel little before the little nothings. Unloving takes its own sour time, and mostly with no certainty of results. 

What tempts me the most is that, is there freedom beyond these? Untethered freedom, as you would put it. I don't know. And ironically, I wouldn't want to. Either. 

Losing all hope was freedom.
- Narrator. Fight Club