It’s uncanny, almost ridiculous.
The sight of a city creeping up on you like a cocked gun in the dark. Always when you’ve forgotten that familiar reek of something not quite right.
Of the grime, the filth, the death, the silence, the darkness, the “resilence”, the jai maharashtra, the smell of garbage. And Mcdonald’s.
But you’ve known it’s there. The crust that’s burnt just a bit too much. You let it lie there a tad bit longer than before. It hides in your consciousness in glass museum windows. Corridors of guilt that can let only remembrance rip open their whiteness.
It’s like watching Bicycle Thief, fighting your tears and saying ‘awwww so sad’ and then letting the voyeuristic world get on with its business. Let the fucking peeping tom screw himself while he watches you stew. It’s give and take isn’t it.
But now both of you are fucked. You and the world. Is there any difference?
Maybe it’s not a question of memory. Maybe living it is like a bad day letting you know it happened. Like sweat.
a conspiracy of guilty silences and not noticing. And the charity of critique. Of intelligentsia. And middle-class wisdom.
I know better. I’ve seen worse.
Two months of home. and college not more than 12 minutes away when I cycle.
I’ve been living in research papers and lectures, letting steam out through documentaries and better culture. Surfing the plane of ideas like porn. Biting the air in frustration. Smiling in cubicles of laptop screens and crushed lemon tea cups. Of addas and ideology rants in AC classrooms.
I’m a thinking human being, critical even if I can’t articulate my dissatisfaction with how things are. I can use Microsoft word and google. What’s more I’m commie. The organic intellectual, maybe, and all that jazz. I’m a son of this soil. Tomorrow’s gold mine. Ha. So there!
There’s a blind spot. A dead pixel in my soul. Somewhere the ghost of a cockroach gnawing away in dustbins.
I want to clean out that garbage. Incinerate reality.
I wake up, liberated in the dark recesses of a shriek. The shriek that is this city- a city caught with its trousers down.
Where night is a nosebleed and the electricity of thought gone rancid crackles unknowingly in dusty midnight haunts.
Sometimes I want to trace the ontology of fear. I want to understand the slow unfurling of wax wings and then the momentary frenzy before they melt. Like a man tucked in newspaper shawls waiting feverishly for the TC or the night’s wrath.
How can I let that drunk slur his sorry existence and let slow wayward steps lose their way in the dark?
There’s a crippled beggar clutching my feet and asking me for some money. But I can see through the bugger. I’ve seen slumdog haven’t I. Ha ha. Nice try.
I don’t know what’s worse, the poverty or the fact that it’s a business now. his ruptured hours or my indifference.
And then there’s the “entrepreneur” who hates the “system” and sweats through his striped office shirt as he waxes eloquent; the first class compartment his hyde park.
And somewhere in a second class compartment there are the bhajanwallas- staring out of the window and plunging their eyes in the sewers as they try to scare god out of hiding.
Scream. Scream louder Wake him up He’s been sleeping too long now. Wake him up keep him awake for 48 hours like a torture victim then slap the truth out of him. But don’t call him here. Don’t let him come too close.
I’m scared. I’m scared of the cracked mirror that’s splintering my face. Scared of the dogshit, the letches and the single packet of milk on the doorstep. Scared of the plastic on a rundown ramshackle, scared of the doodles on the skull wall, scared of her voice like soft silk crackling as I hold out my hand and slipping through my fingers, Scared of seeing Ghalib laugh manically at a castrated apocalyptic real. Scared that he’ll see through my hijaab of music and bad poetry.
But most of all I’m scared of the pleasure I derive from writing this piece.
P.S. this is also a piece I wrote a while back. but the sentiments keep ringing in my mind when I venture out into this city’s putrid playground. is there no end?