i can feel the beads of sweat trickling down my back. it is a typical summer evening in these parts. the ceiling fan is a necessary evil. it blows hot air from the roof, but ones needs something to keep dry and keep the mosquitoes at bay. the thoughts meander towards the man sleeping on the pavement, after a hard day. i wonder how he sleeps so sound. in a way, i’m grateful for not being able to afford an air conditioner. it has made me hardy, & more importantly, it keeps me connected with the outside.
the voices of a group of friends in the adjacent room sounds more like faint noises trickling in from the neighboring house. i am comfortably numb, seemingly so, drifting away in the breeze, in a world of my own, yet vaguely aware of the voices.
my thoughts veer off toward the astrology column i had read about a week back. to sum it up, peter vidal had said that i would be, in a while, staring at reality.
i wonder how it would feel to stare down the barrel of a gun, i haven’t had the privilege myself. i remember seeing this picture, supposedly from nam, of this man waiting with his eyes cocked, the finger right on the trigger. the gun was pointed by another, right at this man’s temple. i don’t know what it is like, those last moments. the ones that we in this life know of, at least.
i do recollect, however, riding in the ghats of uttaranchal, with the tributaries of the mother ganges flowing alongside. there is something fascinating about the state. a bum i had had the privilege of meeting somewhere along, had called it dev bhumi (land of the gods). “the wild animals here wouldn’t trouble you”, he had said, when asked if it was safe to ride in the nights.
i had spent almost a month there, a good part of it riding. there is this one moment stored away in the recess of my head, somewhere. it was a curve, i was on the side of the cliff, if thats the way it is referred to. i was speeding of course, even though i knew it was wrong, just for kicks perhaps. i’d rather meet an adventurous end. i haven’t yet, quite paradoxically, and i’m grateful for it too. the adventure never ends.
and so i was negotiating this curve, and i had suddenly realized i was only a couple of inches away. i was staring down the valley, i remember not how deep. i had only momentarily looked down, taken my eyes away from the road. but i felt it creep up to me momentarily. death. or the fear of it.
today, as i sit here, in the sultry evening heat, i feel it again. reality, as they call it. i have been disconnected long now, and it suddenly strikes me. i look within, and find somebody not with the remote semblance with the one i had known all this while. he is far from what i consider ‘good’.
“is it time to do something yet?”, i ask myself.