This might sound absurd, senseless, stupid, insane, irrational or whatever! But I have nothing against anyone who says I might be quite off my mind.
It’s true. I have felt it now, many times before and now more frequently than ever that there is a presence in this 100 sq ft room of mine. Its instances and occurrences that make one go beyond and over a few feelings and sensations and start trusting on a few indications.
I am open. I have a laptop that runs on windows which is not genuine or rather I have not activated it even after repeated reminders. These days, a new method adopted by windows is to display a screen as we start up to remind that you are a cheater, you don’t have a license, go get one looser and activate windows and yourself. But after interpreting so much from the otherwise simple message it displays, all you have to do is click on the button which says I will do it when I feel like you dumb good for nothing piece of technological jargon, let me for now and almost forever just log in. It’s pretty boring to see the message flash on at every startup. You can never just push the power button and go with your chores expecting the machine to have fully started and running by the time you return. You have to wait, click on the “Activate Later” button on the flashing screen and then wait for the login screen. One day I had almost decided to sleep on an empty stomach when a friend called up and said it would not be a good idea. Giving his words some respect, I drooled down to my cupboard, peered at the possible options and picked a ready to eat pack from the many that I had lined up last week. I had by now closed my laptop for the day and was possibly thinking on better options to guide me to sleep. As I was warming the pack, I felt like logging in again. The dish was by now warm and ready to gulp. I picked a plate, a spoon and moved to my table to settle down and watch a movie as I have my dinner. I pushed my power button. At this instance, my hand touched a hot area in the plate and I just pulled my hand in reflex. The other hand with the spoon was not balancing the plate and the plate was to fall down. I drew my thighs closer to catch the plate if it falls and somehow gained control over the act smartly with my palms. My one hand was throughout under the plate and the other hand had the spoon. I lifted my head, glared at the screen and it was asking me to enter my login details. Where the hell did the activate screen go? Who the hell clicked “Activate later”?
You are free to feel it’s silly. But this was only the start which I never took seriously.
I sleep with music playing on my mobile. I am addicted to a playlist I play so often than it has become sort of a drug these days. There is a Sufi number originally composed and sung by his highness late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. At all his glory and grace, he wore the song like a pendant and exposed it sparkle during all his live concerts. I have the audio recording from a concert and I just love its originality. But at one point, at the peak of his thrill, seeking prominence to the tiny nuance is the song’s route, aggressively expediting into the most intricate swara changes, and washing himself down in the epitome of self satisfaction, somewhere, a slight somewhere I used to wake up and feel a bit disturbed at night. Somewhere some notes bother me. Brings an eyebrow raise and often I skip the song to a more softer and less noisy track and tune back to my sleep. One day I was tired. I didn’t have to listen to music to sleep. But still I put my mobile on charge and initiated the same playlist as it has become customary. I slept peacefully and nothing should ever have woken me up that night. Next morning I woke up relaxed, soft and peaceful. I unplugged my mobile from the charger and was above to close the music player as I do every morning. I was about to close it while I paused. A moment. The playlist had not played out completely last night as it used to regularly day on day. It’s paused. On track “Alla hoo” by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at 6 min 32 seconds. I resumed play from that point and the portion which sometimes wakes me up at night pierced my ears. Who the hell paused the song at sharp 6.32?
I returned from home one Monday morning to my 100 sq ft room in Bangalore. Sick and lost. The day passed bed ridden. At night a local chemist suggested a few extra dose medicines. To prevent further complications of having medicine in empty stomach, I had a bun pinched into pieces and ate them one by one, counting the remaining pieces after each bite and moving pieces up and down the plate with a very prominent dissatisfaction on tastelessness. My table faces the sliding window in my room. The window faces another road on the other side of the building. This window is the only source of air circulation in my room and I never keep them closed. But that day, I felt the cool breeze which blew across into my room was too much for my illness to handle. I closed the window tight and continued to have my bunny dinner. As I completed my dinner, I took the pills and went to bed. Would have been around midnight, I started to sweat. I was feeling uneasy, rather difficult to breathe. I wanted to increase the speed of my fan or was it a need for fresh air. I pushed the blanket off my legs, turned around and lay on my back trying to breathe through my mouth and nose. Memories are vague, I continued my sleep somehow. Next day morning, the sun shone brightly on my face. I rubbed my eyes and kept staring out through my window. The curtains have been half moved and the window is slide to let some air flow. Who the hell?
It was a day of insult. The first ever public insult in one’s life would leave a solid mark on your heart. At a rather premature age to be involved in the field of music, writing, computers and a bold move into business from there, have never given a chance whatsoever for anyone to show disrespect or contempt at me. Gods have probably been kind on me and I repaid his kindness by being kind. I have never harassed anyone ever in my life, neither the housekeeping boys at my once famous restaurant back home, nor spoken a work aloud at the people who initiated the downfall of a probable business growth. Having tasted success at every point of career till then and then the contradicting drastic downfall in business was literally the most heart loosing instance to be experienced. What remained was me, or rather just my shadow. Life has come a long way from there. The dreams have found their coffins and living have become on mercy. This day I stood, like a boy, in public, with words fulminating all over me, daggering me at every fraction of the second with vocal arms, as loud as it can get. Doomed, not knowing to react, shocked and bewildered I cut myself a goofy foolish jackass. Devastating every repute and respect I tried to protect for myself, I came home and crashed on to my chair head bang on my table trying to make myself stronger. I could not take it. I wrapped my hands over my head and broke off trying to strip out every ego in me, trying to make me realize where I belong to; trying to convince myself to get over my past. Tears rolled out of me as I cried, as loud as possible, to break me free, to set me free. I felt the tears would wash away the bruise. At least for some of us, bruises are not physical, but emotional. To be quoted stupid, foolish, and useless among other words in public made me feel so small. Suddenly I felt something moving on my feet. There was no breeze. Fan was still switched off. I looked down to find a napkin which had found its way from somewhere in the room to my feet. As if someone wants to hand me a napkin and say don’t worry, wipe your tears.