One of the toughest realisations in life is that you're going to be average. And nothing more. Mediocrity is no crime. Except it seems like one. All the time. Forget average, you might as well be below average. Bottom of the pyramid. And your only achievement would be that you survived. Lived to tell your tale. Or better, keep mum about it. Losers are my type. But more definitely when they are the quieter kind. There are always going to be the virtuous others. Who are richer, prettier and more glamorous. Fuck them. You be god damn average. Or poor, ugly and pale. With nothing to say. But just be, already. Just be. Even if it means starting your days thinking that you can't do this anymore. Even if it means laughing at other people's pointless humor. Even if it means ageing and getting fat and getting spotty skin and tired bones. Even if it means counting to the last penny. Even if it means failing at every plausible objective you set for yourself. Even if it means being ambivalent and un-opinionated. Even if it means looking down at yourself. Even if you realize, every passing day, that you are the bottom of the fuckin pyramid. And that, no matter how hard you try, you can't get any better. Still be. Right there. At the bottom. Where you are. What you are. Whatever you are.
How did we get past all the shit. Those must have been small steps. For every step we took, we went back half a step. Distances traversed felt negligible. We felt static. Coagulated. We felt we should probably give up. Fuck it, we thought. But on most days, we hung on. Got resilient, if that's the word. For the better and for the worse, we are here now. We shattered egos. Melted hubris. Quietened banter. Made peace. Now it feels unbelievable. From where did we derive such power. Such deafening arrogance. How strong was that will. We should take sometime off and appreciate the effort in humbled glory. Because of not this, then what. If not now, then when.
Why was I walking on the road? And not on the sidewalk. Because years ago, when I was younger and possibly, fairer, I had tripped and strained a muscle on my right toe, all while walking on the sidewalk. And not on the road. Was it the left toe? I can't remember. But the pain had stayed for years. Vanishing at times for weeks and then reappearing for months. Some doctor suggested I take an injection in the cartilage. I imagined the pain was psychosomatic.
But I lost my confidence on the sidewalk forever. I prefer the road. Even if it feels like buses would run you over. Or autorickshaws would graze past your shoulder. It doesn't matter. You can always duck.
Also walking is my meditation. I am always lost in thought. And more so while walking. And the sidewalk has those bumps and semi circular iron rods, or arcs sticking out from them, probably to pick up the covers off the manholes. The sidewalk mostly runs over drains. And I tripped over on one of those thingies. I still do.
I never grow up, do I ? So I prefer the road. Like very much.
Your ovaries probably have a cyst. Or a couple of them. The shooting midnight jabs of pain you feel below the abdomen. Yeah, that. Cyst they say. Very common. Oh you would feel rather left out if you don't have one of those.
Or it could be the bloody appendix. All that oil and ajinomoto and refined flour is going to show up someday. Because sometimes that jab of pain is toward the right. Sometimes, the left. You can never be sure what is wrong with you. You can sit and brood. And get a few scans done. But nothing ever shows up.
No concrete sign of illness. But you know not all is well. There is something wrong with some organ. Something is unhinging somewhere. Somewhere the blood is choking. But you can't ever know what. You live in pain. Dreading a malaise, but too shy to confess.
Then there's the head. The brain. The channels and tubes that connect the eyes, the nose, the ears and throat. Something is definitely up with that. There is a casual pain in there somewhere always. There is migraine, the unforgiving friend of everywoman. Or spondylitis.
Enough of pills have been swallowed over months. Strips and boxes of them, yellow, red, white and off white, oval, circular, tubular, have been downed with tiny sips of water. Before and after meals. With neatly memorised instructions. Also blood drawn in syringes tested numerous times for lipids et al. And x-rays of heads, searches for the sinus. And so and forth.
But the pain always does come resurface. After a few days, as and when it feels like. Without warning. Without fear of retribution.
This malaise demands to be endured. And to top it all, one dreamed on a recent night that one was dead. Dreaming about one's own death. I wonder what that's called. And more than that, the realisation on waking up, That. Indeed. One. Is. Alive. What is that called?
A man was wearing straight cut jeans. A man was coming out of the bank. A man got into his car and slammed the door shut. Upon seeing a girl, he retraced his steps and tried to contain the shock on his face with a stretched out smile. A girl stood in the parking lot, equally stunned if not more. What had it been, ten years? A man had been so much in love with a girl. Dire obsessive meticulous love it was. Now a man looked at the girl as if in a girl he had spotted a long extinct bird. A girl said hi and a man took out his hand from the pocket to shake hers. It was all extremely awkward. It was a sunny hot afternoon in June. A girl was out for a drink of coconut water. And a man was at the bank. The years had made a man's face plump and a girl's face bony wrinkled and dusky. A girl felt a man's sweaty palms and said, 'So hot, I wonder how much longer, the rains are going to keep us waiting.'
'Oh I met them on the way while driving down here. They definitely must get here tonite.' A girl giggled. The months and years submerged between the infinite lines on her face.