Righteousness and Suffering in Christian Theology


Introduction

Righteousness and Suffering are two concepts in Western/Christian theology that have been historically contended, debated upon, and preached. The sheer amount of arguments and perspectives for and against these concepts bring about productive discussions and new narratives. Notwithstanding a plethora of contexts in the bible within which these concepts are preached, the different perspectives shed light on some of nature’s essential truths. Righteousness and Suffering within the context of theology, at first glance, can seem limited or inhibited. But the dense and profound nature of the literature used to preach these concepts suggest otherwise. This paper will explore both concepts in depth. The primary purpose of this essay is to understand these concepts in certain contexts and see if they shed on a universal truth (in terms of morality).


Suffering, Biblically

The definition of suffering, in biblical terms, is a departure from the notion put forward by eastern religions and philosophy viz. Buddhism. According to Buddhism, Suffering is a constant state of existence that every human finds himself/herself in. By living, you suffer. Buddha defines life to be enriched with suffering which serves as fodder to the ones seeking to elevate themselves. Acknowledging the suffering and pursuing nirvana is something that is preached by Buddha. Thus, according to Buddhism, suffering, in a way, forms the fabric of life and is the norm.

Suffering, according to Christian theology, on the other hand, is temporary and meaningful. Suffering is the state of discomfort, pain, the cause of which can be due to a variety of reasons. It is often considered that suffering is a reaction to stimuli. The stimuli mainly being sin, blasphemy, or atheism. Suffering can also seem arbitrary or unjustified which leads to believers questioning the providence of God. Although those claims hold some ground, Suffering is much more profound than that.

The narrative/story of Job is a perfect example for understanding the significance of suffering. Job, a faithful, moral, and just devotee in god was subject to a lot of suffering. The suffering was at hands of Satan who challenged god. Satan believed that the faith of Job in god is conditional and commensurates the amount of wealth and prosperity god provides him. Job goes through suffering not because of sin or atheism. The reason seems to be much more arbitrary (in the eyes of Job). The motive of the suffering was to test Job’s faith in god. Suffice to say, the faith stood the test, barely. Job, even though tempted to curse God for this meaningless suffering, endured.

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Hartley, 1988, Job 33:4

The whole ordeal deepened the affection that Job had for god and strengthened the faith. 

This narrative sheds light on the significance of suffering as a medium to imbibe life lessons. It also stands as testimony to the fact that Suffering is temporary. 

Suffering, in the bible, is often used in conjunction with the mention of the son of God, Jesus Christ. It is repeatedly mentioned that if Jesus, the son of God, suffered and died on the cross, so will others.

“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”

Hartley, 1988, 1 Peter 4:1

Suffering, unlike that in Buddhism, may not be the part and participle of life but it surely encompasses a universal truth. The bible preaches that suffering is supposed to be endured by everyone for the son of God himself went through it. A more joyous future is also assured to the ones suffering. The pain and suffering endured by the followers and believers will not go in vain.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James, 2020, James 1:12

The bible goes as far as claiming suffering to be a good sign. Suffering can be god testing one’s faith. It can also lead to the betterment of an individual and edification on all fronts.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James, 2020, James 1:2-4

“Enduring suffering is an act of perseverance that is unmatched. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Rendell, 1999, Romans 5:3-4

The suffering endured can thus be considered as a parameter for judging moral and righteous behavior. A verse in the gospel of Luke preaches the sufferers to be true devotees. The rich, wealthy and opulent possess the means to evade suffering which is also a reason why Jesus and James hold the rich in contempt. In the verse, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Barclay, 2001, Luke 14:27), bearing the cross signifies the process of enduring suffering.  

The bible also preaches faith and belief in God and his son as being tools that help in enduring suffering. Following in the footsteps of the son of God himself, the one who endured unspeakable suffering, is an ideal way to tackle suffering. Not only the emulation of Christ’s actions but faith in his reverence can help believers endure suffering. This thought is mentioned in the verse, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (Forbes, 2014, 1 Peter 5:10).

Furthermore, suffering is also a path to salvation. The sinners, wrongdoers, and non-believers can repent in the form of suffering and achieve salvation in the eyes of God and his son. It is mentioned in the second chapter of Hebrews, “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.”  (Bruce, 1990, Hebrews 2:10)


Takeaways (Suffering)

Studying suffering in various contexts from the bible leads to many productive and meaningful inferences. The bible exhumes positivity and optimism when preaching about suffering. The fact that suffering is temporary can be a profound inference. Many people find it hard to endure suffering and often struggle with it. The positivity, optimism, and hope highlighted in the bible can be just what people need to get that extra push. 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Forbes, 2014, 1 Peter 4:12-13

Inferences regarding suffering being a great teacher are also valid and productive. Treating suffering as something other than a burden can help people tackle it well. As previously mentioned, Christian theology suggests that suffering is a good sign and is something that should be seen in a positive light. 

Thus, suffering exists for the edification of humans. It is temporary, profound, assuring, strengthening, and humbling. Suffering is not a sign of misery but an indication of a better future to come.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

Forbes, 2014, 1 Peter 1:6-7

Righteousness, Biblically

The biblical definition and interpretation of righteousness may seem counterintuitive. In general, Righteousness is a trait that arises out of righteous behavior, just actions, and an honest demeanor. It is a trait that is highly desirable and cherished by many. The interpretation of righteousness according to the bible varies from this general definition. This passage will highlight the two varying interpretations that are observed in the old and new testaments. The literary objective of righteousness will be analyzed and this analysis will potentially lead to several fruitful inferences. 

The first, most common, and prevalent interpretation of righteousness is a departure from the general meaning of the word. Righteousness is defined as a trait that doesn’t arise due to righteous actions but is a gift from god. Righteousness is bestowed upon the worthy and faithful. This bestowment leads to or is caused by a change of heart. The bible preaches that righteous actions from an impure soul are superfluous and malicious. Thus righteousness, according to the Bible, doesn’t arise by righteous actions. Righteous actions arise out of a righteous heart and soul. 

One might infer that righteousness is then easy to achieve. But it is further from the truth. Several verses in the bible refer to god being righteous and mortals (except his son) cannot be termed righteous. As no individual stands in comparison to god, no individual can thus be truly righteous. The righteousness of man is also referred to as being ‘filthy rags’ in comparison to god and son’s righteousness.

“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

Isaiah: A new translation; with a preliminary dissertation, and notes, critical, philological, and explanatory, 1793, Isaiah 64:6

God and Jesus Christ are the epitomai of righteousness. It is rightful to question the authenticity and achievability of righteousness when it is held to such a high standard. In the verse, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”(The Gospel according to Matthew: Authorized King James Version, 1990, Matthew 5:20), Jesus Christ informs his disciples that humans, who are tarnished by sin and worldliness, banished from the garden of Eden, cannot be as righteous as God. The bible provides a respite of sorts by preaching how an individual could achieve righteousness. Righteousness, according to the bible, is majorly achieved through faith and belief in god. By letting Jesus, the righteous one, live through you, you become righteous. It is mentioned in several verses, the few of which are highlighted below.

“Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.”

Rendell, 1999, Romans 4:4-5

“This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Rendell, 1999, Romans 3:22-25

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Rendell, 1999, Romans 1:17

“and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, 2016, Philippians 3:9-10

Immense value is placed on the belief in Christ and the all-knowing nature of providence. The interpretation suggests that faith in God is necessary for a change of heart which leads to righteousness. It is imperative then, to discuss why one should strive to achieve righteousness. Although the trait helps put one in the good graces of God, how does it benefit an individual in a more worldly sense? The benefit of righteousness varies but is plentiful for individuals to strive for it. Belief in God will set an individual free from hedonism. It will help elevate an individual and see the profound truth of life. In the verse, “In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rendell, 1999, Romans 8:4-6), righteousness is termed as a quality which will set free an individual, indulging in the desires of the flesh. A lifted spirit is a result of the profound impact that righteousness has on one’s soul. According to the Bible, the righteous will live an assured, eternal, and quiet life. It is mentioned in the verses below. 

“The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”

Isaiah: A new translation; with a preliminary dissertation, and notes, critical, philological, and explanatory, 1793, Isaiah 32:17

“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The Gospel according to Matthew: Authorized King James Version, 1990, Matthew 25:46

Upon analysis of this specific interpretation of righteousness, one can arrive at the inference that righteousness merely requires an honest faith in god. Righteous and just actions stand no ground when it comes to achieving righteousness. The other interpretation of righteousness dispels this notion and reassures the importance of being honest, just, and righteous. The verse, “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil, he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah: A new translation; with a preliminary dissertation, and notes, critical, philological, and explanatory, 1793, Isaiah  33:15-17) highlights the importance of acting righteous and doing good. Righteousness might arise from faith in God and transformation of the heart, but that isn’t an excuse to stray away from righteous actions.


Takeaways (Righteousness)

Analysis of righteousness and its various interpretations leads to many fruitful inferences. The analysis says a lot about how to live life and practice righteousness. The concept of righteousness is a trait that is inherited and can deter many people from being righteous. But it also sheds light on the importance of being righteous for righteousness’s sake. Unfortunately, there are scores of people out in the world that act righteously for the sake of a benefit. The benefit could be establishing trust (that is later exploited) or achieving goals made with malicious intent. Thus, the interpretation of righteousness as an inherited trait pushes people to be righteous not because of the benefits that it provides but because it’s moral and the right thing to do. 

Transforming the nature or heart of an unrighteous individual would require deep introspection and rectification of many preconceived notions. This has the potential to edify individuals. Malicious intent is also quashed when someone acts righteously because he recognizes himself/herself as righteous.

The ‘inherited’ interpretation of righteousness does come with its fair share of drawbacks. As highlighted before, it can deter people from doing righteous actions. It can also lead to delusions of grandeur and ignorance. Thankfully, the bible also places value on righteous actions and the significance of it. Both the trait and the actions hold equal value according to Christian theology. This provides an individual with guidelines and laws that he/she can abide by in order to stay righteous. 

Righteous actions influence righteousness and enhance the impact it has on the world.

The laws, ethics, or rules have righteous actions, intent, and beliefs embedded in them. A righteous, just and compassionate demeanor is encouraged through these rules. 

Righteousness can be achieved through faith in god. But for the atheists and agnostics, this faith can be redirected towards goodwill and prosperity for all. Faith in a better, more just, and compassionate world will drive individuals to transform and become righteous. 

Overall, the main takeaway is that an individual should act righteous, while simultaneously striving to transform himself;/herself to truly being righteous. 

“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, 2016, Ezekiel 18:5-9

Conclusion

Sifting through abundant mentions of righteousness and suffering while cataloging each interpretation/perspective was a fruitful effort. The inferences made in the passage tell how one can live a great life. The wisdom of western thought and theology is unmatched. The number of inferences and takeaways stand as testimony to that fact.


Works Cited

Barclay, W. (2001). The gospel of Luke. Westminster John Knox Press.

The book of job: Aesthetics, ethics, and hermeneutics. (2014). The Book of Job, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110338799.1 

Bruce, F. F. (1990). The epistle to the hebrews. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Coogan, M. (2020). The contexts of the Bible. The Bible. https://doi.org/10.1093/wentk/9780199383047.003.0005

The epistle to the romans. (n.d.). Romans. https://doi.org/10.5040/9781472556356.0005

Forbes, G. (2014). 1 Peter. B&H Publishing Group.

The Gospel according to Matthew: Authorized King James Version. (1999). Canongate U.S.

Hartley, J. E. (1988). The book of job. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Holy Bible: English standard version, silver sword, Trutone. (2016).

Isaiah: A new translation; with a preliminary dissertation, and notes, critical, philological, and explanatory. (1793).

James, K. (2020). The epistle of JAMES. Sublime Books.

Rendell, R. (1999). The epistle of Paul the apostle to the romans. Canongate Books.

Schofield, J. N. (1965). ‘Righteousness’ in the Old Testament. The Bible Translator, 16(3), 112-116. https://doi.org/10.1177/000608446501600302

Suffering in the Bible, part I: Old Testament. (2012). The Theology of Suffering and Death, 21-37. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203079928-8Suffering in the Bible, part II: New Testament. (2012). The Theology of Suffering and Death, 38-51. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203079928-9

Seeing Through Hevel (A Biblical Exegesis of A Verse From The Ecclesiastes)


Introduction

The book of Ecclesiastes has a peculiar nature and style which sets it apart from other books belonging to the old testament. It is a part of the Jewish wisdom literature and holds significance in that context. The book is unlike the book of proverbs or the book of job. The book of Ecclesiastes doesn’t set out to impart wisdom and teach life lessons, like the book of proverbs does. Nor is it a collection of profound one-liners that can help guide a human in distress. The book is also a departure from the profound and impactful nature of the book of job. The book of Ecclesiastes, majorly, pulls the curtain on the harsh reality of god’s kingdom under the sun. It brings to light, the arbitrary nature of god’s providence and questions preconceived notions about the importance of righteousness and being just. The overwhelming nihilism that pervades the sayings in the book does not aim to deter the human from fearing god though. The book of Ecclesiastes plays well and contributes significantly to the wisdom literature. It acknowledges the unpredictable and arbitrary nature of life under the sun, which could’ve possibly deterred a potential believer from the faith. After all, the effort of relying on a god that cannot control his own creation is futile. The book of Ecclesiastes tackles the hardships and embraces nihilism. The preacher, in the book, touches upon various dreary concepts and their significance in one’s life viz. Death, The fleeting nature of time, Life’s random/unpredictable nature. 

This essay will focus on a passage titled ‘A common destiny for all.’ The goal of this passage is to do a productive exegesis of the excerpt with a supplementary goal of extracting key inferences. A contextual analysis of the text will be done prior to the exegesis. I intend to draw meaning from the texts analyzed and portray the wisdom that is difficult to recognize through the dense fog of nihilism.


Historical, Religious and Cultural Context

Before conducting the exegesis, it is important to analyse the historical, religious and cultural setting in which this text was conceived.

Authorship & Historical Significance
The meaning of the word ‘Ecclesiastes’ is ill-defined but can be described, loosely, as a gathering of devotees. Historically, it has also been interpreted as describing a preacher or teacher of sorts. It is evident as to why the book is titled in this peculiar manner. The text has been presented as a sermon or lamentation of a witty preacher. The preacher, in the book, is also referred to as ‘Qohelet’, ‘Son of David’ and ‘King of Jerusalem’. It is important to note that the author introduces the preacher using these adjectives. The preacher shouldn’t be mistaken as the author of the book of Ecclesiastes. Referring to the preacher as the son of David raises a few questions about the identity of the person. The nature of the sermon and wisdom imparted lead to the speculation of King Solomon being the preacher. But many verses in the text dispel this speculation viz. Ecclesiastes 8:2; 9:15 and 10:20.

The preacher seems to be echoing the teachings of King Solomon throughout the text. Thus, the identity of the preacher is still shrouded in mystery. The identity of the author too is difficult to determine. The author chooses to remain anonymous and places more focus on the preacher and his teachings. Popular belief in Jewish culture suggests that the preacher was just a wise man from Israel who had the intention of spreading Solomon’s teachings. 

Assuming that the text relies upon or echoes the teachings of King Solomon, the text must’ve been conceived after his rule. King Solomon ruled Israel around 970 to 940 BC. Therefore, the text has probably been written at the end of his rule, or after his demise.

Religious Context & Significance
It is important to acknowledge the philosophical nature of the Ecclesiastes. It is a stark departure from the other two books in the wisdom literature that praise the providence and righteousness of God. The Ecclesiastes does the stark opposite of it and dons the lens of pessimistic nihilism while viewing the world. Unlike other religious texts, The book of Ecclesiastes focuses more on the man rather than his creator. The toils and hardships of man are highlighted, and no mention of divine intervention is made. It can be said that the book of Ecclesiastes is not a book written out of divine revelation. The book doesn’t share a divine truth or seeks out god’s unmatched wisdom. It is rather a book that highlights the shortcomings of god and borders on questioning god’s influence. The book is devoid of praise for the Lord and his righteousness. Redemption, Salvation, and Commiseration, which are recurring concepts throughout western theology, do not show face in this text. Although the preacher fails to mention god’s influence, the author makes sure to do that at the end of the text.

The skeptical and pessimistic nature of the text makes it fall short to be recognized as a significant text to religion. The wisdom imparted in the text is practical and simplistic which is in stark contrast to wisdom from any other text in the Old and New testaments. 

Cultural Context and Significance
The Ecclesiastes belongs to the latter part of the Hebrew Bible. The text is revered in Jewish culture. It is a part of the five scrolls, the reading of which is customary on Jewish feast days. All three books in the wisdom literature share practical wisdom and are simplistic in nature. Many proverbs, one-liners, and teachings from these books are echoed by mentors, teachers, and preachers all around the world. The texts from the book of Ecclesiastes have also influenced western literature. Western culture shares values that originate from the wisdom literature. 


Interpretation of the Passage

The passage appears in the 9th chapter of the ecclesiastes. Prior to this chapter, the preacher is heard highlighting the futility of struggle and the meaningless nature of everything under the sun. The preacher touches upon a variety of subjects viz. Toil, hardships, Righteousness, Time and Death. The meaningless nature of each subject is portrayed after thorough contemplation by the preacher. The chosen passage for this exegesis is as follows :- 


A Common Destiny for All

9 1 So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands, but no one knows whether love or hate awaits them. 2 All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad,[a] the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.

As it is with the good,

    so with the sinful;

as it is with those who take oaths,

    so with those who are afraid to take them.

3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope[b]—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

5 For the living know that they will die,

    but the dead know nothing;

they have no further reward,

    and even their name is forgotten.

6 Their love, their hate

    and their jealousy have long since vanished;

never again will they have a part

    in anything that happens under the sun.

7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

11 I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift

    or the battle to the strong,

nor does food come to the wise

    or wealth to the brilliant

    or favor to the learned;

but time and chance happen to them all.

12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:

As fish are caught in a cruel net,

    or birds are taken in a snare,

so people are trapped by evil times

    that fall unexpectedly upon them.


A verse by verse analysis will be conducted of the selected passage. The exegesis will be done without applying any presuppositions or biases as it might hinder the efficacy of the process. A critical analysis will follow the exegesis within which I will share my unique interpretation of the passage.


The Great Equalizer – Ecclesiastes 9:1-2

Verse 1 – The preacher seems to be reflecting upon something that he had witnessed before. The verse pertains to the supposed unpredictability that afflicts both the righteous/wise and the unrighteous. As mentioned in the book of proverbs and other biblical texts, a righteous person will get to be in god’s good graces and benefit in the world and beyond. The preacher has witnessed this promise of protection going unfulfilled. Both the righteous and unrighteous are subject to the unpredictability of life. The clause ‘No one knows whether love or hate awaits them’ highlights this notion and claims that righteous actions or sin cannot guarantee a predetermined reaction. The ‘conclusion’ made by the preacher is done after careful deliberation and analysis of god’s kingdom under the sun. The preacher seems to be alluding to an inference he makes that highlights one thing that’s certain for every man (regardless of his nature). God’s providence is revered in the clause ‘what they do are in God’s hands. 

Although man can be subject to the arbitrary nature of life, it is god who is aware and has the final word. God’s intentions and ways of working are beyond comprehension to mortals. Thus, the lack of ability to comprehend God’s work looks arbitrary to man. 

Verse 2 – The second verse echoes the allusion to the common end that each individual meets. Death or Destiny lies at the confluence of the wise and the wicked. The meaninglessness and futility of man’s effort are highlighted in this verse. It seems clear that the common destination for the journey of each man is death. Death is the great equalizer. It does not separate the sinful from the good or the righteous from the wicked. Death affects every human equally. Another common ‘destination’ that the preacher is referring to could be Destiny/Fate (which is laid out by God). God’s providence affects everyone equally and no one can evade it. The holy spirits workings might be incomprehensible and that might seem arbitrary to man, but rest assured, He is wise and his righteousness is unquestionable. It is unclear as to which ‘destination’ is being referred to by the teacher. 


Death Awaits Us All – Ecclesiastes 9:3-6

Verse 3 – The uncertainty in the previous verses is cleared in this verse. The preacher seems to be alluding to death being the great equalizer. The ‘evil’ mentioned in the passage can be assumed to be referring to the malice that pervades individuals. No mention of the wise or the righteous is made in this verse. The preacher focuses on the destiny for the evil, being the same as the righteous. It also sheds light on a grim idea of the deceitful and unrighteous not being served justice. Hearts full of evil aren’t cleansed and the actions aren’t accounted for. A pessimistic view, which the preacher embraces throughout the text, shows face in this verse. The ‘madness’ in the people’s hearts can also be the blind struggle to become overly righteous and religious. Man struggles throughout his life to get in the good graces of God, but eventually meets a fate that is also shared by the wicked. 

Verse 4 – The verse places significance on the privilege of being alive. A dog is often seen as a dirty animal and considerably inferior to the mighty lion. But death makes a difference in these standards. A shift in the preacher’s perspective is noticed. He considers the ones that are alive as having an advantage over the dead. According to the preacher, being alive is a privilege. The ones who are alive, have a shot at redemption, salvation, and edification. The fate of the dead is sealed. 

Verse 5 – The privilege of being alive is reiterated in this verse. The living have the privilege of ascertaining their future and working towards a reward. But the dead lack the sense of future, they cease from existing. The preacher, in a pessimistic way, mentions how the dead have no significance over the world. The significance of their existence and the peaks of their lives will erode over time and inevitably be forgotten. 

Verse 6 – The preacher sheds light on what about life makes it a privilege. The mere act of living gives rise to love, hate, jealousy, and a plethora of other emotions. The preacher considers the ability to feel these emotions as a privilege. Being a part of everything that happens under the sun is a privilege that the living should acknowledge. The preacher doesn’t directly refer to emotions and living being a privilege. It is an inference made on the fact that the preacher prefers the living over the dead.This inference is supported by the analogy of the dog and lion used previously. 


Live, For You Are Alive – Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

Verse 7 – The preacher shifts gears from his pessimistic approach and shares practical wisdom in this verse. He encourages the individual to cherish the act of living. He encourages him to drink his wine, and enjoy meals. Both of which are pleasures that only the living can indulge in. By the clause ‘God has already approved what you do’, the preacher mentions that God is in acceptance of the doings of the man, and thus allowed him to live. The gift of life should be cherished for it will soon be taken away. It can also be interpreted as indulging in worldly pleasures but within the bounds of what God has approved. 

Verse 8 – The verse acts as a continuation of the practical wisdom shared in the previous verse. In line with ‘living one’s life’, the individual must take care of the body gifted to him by god. People during that era applied oil on their skins to protect them from the environment. Applying oil also referred to gaining blessings or showering it.

Verse 9 – The individual is encouraged to love his wife, for he cannot do that once he’s dead. To cherish the existence of his loved ones. The preacher provides a respite from the nihilism that pervades the entirety of the text. He acknowledges and reiterates that everything is meaningless. The days under the sun are meaningless and so are the toils and labor of man. But life is a respite from the meaninglessness. Life is a gift that man has gotten for bearing through a meaningless existence. It is therefore suggested to enjoy it. Enjoying the fruit of your toils under the sun is also encouraged. 

Verse 10 – The preacher highlights the importance of actively enjoying life. The meaninglessness and nihilism can deter man from finding meaning in anything. Actions in a meaningless world are futile, so why bother doing anything? The preacher aims to dispel this notion through this verse. He encourages man to do diligently, whatever task he is handed by fate. For anything that he does, is a part of the process of living. Learn, Plan and Actively pursue wisdom and knowledge for only a man who is alive can do those. The dead do not have this certain privilege. 


No one knows what the future holds – Ecclesiastes 9:11-12

Verse 11 – The preacher again shifts gears and chooses to highlight two of life’s greatest tragedies. One is chance and the second is fleeting time. He reverts back to the notion he shared in the initial verses. No one can expect a definite outcome for certain actions. The race is not always won by the swift. The battle isn’t always won by the mighty. Wealth doesn’t always come to the wise. The learned don’t always get the recognition they deserve. Life is meaningless, it is random. Time and chance affect everyone. The preachers chose to highlight this peculiar observation through this verse. 

Verse 12 – Extending upon the message shared in the previous verse, the preacher calls attention to chance and randomness being applicable to death too. It can safely be assumed that by ‘the hour’ the preacher is referring to death. No one can be certain as to when he/she will meet his/her demise. Oblivious fishes encounter death all of a sudden when caught by ‘cruel’ nets. 

With the example of creatures and situations, the preacher aims to underscore the unpredictability of death. Evil times can unexpectedly fall upon anyone. Life’s uncertainty and delicate nature are accentuated by the inevitability of death. The preacher closes the passage with this verse. 


Critical Reflection, Suggestions and Takeaways 

The selected passage provides a much-needed respite from the overly nihilistic and pessimistic nature of the text. The text was clearly written as an effort for the preacher to underline the meaninglessness of life. He begins his sermon by claiming that everything is ‘Hevel’. Many English translations of this Hebrew text suggest that the preacher is referring to meaninglessness when he mentions ‘Hevel’. The literal translation of the word from Hebrew is ‘Vapour’ or ‘Smoke’. This serves as a great analogy that can help grasp the elusive nature of everything in life. Smoke is visible and tangible but it is difficult getting a hold of it. It is elusive, mysterious, and ever-changing. The pursuit of capturing this smoke in a bottle or taming it is futile. The preacher recounts his observations and portrays how random the world is. The meaninglessness of everyday things is accentuated when one realizes that everything is at the hands of chance. It is easy for a nihilist to turn complacent. The preacher isn’t letting the listeners in on his twisted worldview for them to turn complacent. The nihilism that he portrays serves as the perfect backdrop for the practical wisdom that he aims to convey. The wisdom, as highlighted in the exegesis above, is simplistic yet profound. The meaninglessness of life shouldn’t influence one to turn away from living, for the solution to that would be death. The dead, who might’ve lived a meaningless life still prefer that over death. For the dead have no future. The dead have nothing to look forward to, nothing to strive for, nothing to learn and no one to love. Life is a gift and living is a privilege. Although the meaning of it all might be elusive, or beyond the scope of human understanding or it might have no meaning at all. The lack of meaning shouldn’t deter man from living his life. A few concerns arise while interpreting this message. 


Concerns/Limitations & Suggestions

The preacher, in the passage, clearly highlights that both the wicked and the righteous share the same fate. Living life through your own vices is as meaningless as living by the word of god. The passage does run the risk of encouraging malicious behavior. It is plausible to consider that the lack of special repercussions for evil actions can influence people to commit them. The preacher, in all his wisdom, fails to dispel this notion. 

Another concern arises out of the practical wisdom that the preacher conveys. He encourages the individual to live his life to the fullest. To drink his wine and love his wife. The wisdom that he conveys seems to be perpetuating hedonism. Hedonism is looked down upon in western theology. The pursuit of worldly pleasures shouldn’t define one’s life. The verse “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.’’ (Luke 8:14) shuns the pursuit of the very pleasures in life that the preacher encourages seeking. Although the author does draw a line when he mentions “God has already approved what you do.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7). But it is possible to construe the meaning of it. It can also be interpreted as hedonism being approved by God. 

The concerns and limitations highlighted above could’ve been overcome by elaboration of the teachings. The preacher could have clarified his teachings by defining boundaries and extent. Most of the concerns arise out of improper interpretation. It is possible that I, as a reader, failed to align my interpretation of the text to that of the preacher. Analyzing the text from a broader context would’ve also helped to overcome these limitations.


Applications and Takeaways 

The practical nature of the wisdom conveyed makes it easier to extract meaningful inferences and takeaways from the text. The nihilistic nature of the text provides a unique perspective on life. Most of the texts from the Old and New Testaments share a common theme or perception. The book of Ecclesiastes is different in that sense. It borders on questioning the providence of God, which is revered in every other text. Humans of the 21st century can benefit from this nihilistic perspective of life. It is evident that humans, nowadays, are inundated with issues, ambitions, causes, and expectations. A human is supposed to be connected with the world and is supposed to have an opinion on everything going on in the world. This problem is exacerbated by the pressure to seek out your own purpose and meaning in life. It is easy for a human in the 21st century to feel overwhelmed and pressurized. A nihilistic perspective on life might not be the solution to this problem, but it surely does benefit the user in this fast-paced world. It helps a person organize his/her priorities and focus on what really matters. Considering the overwhelming nature of the internet and information as hevel, one can navigate it a bit more easily. 

Although the nihilistic perspective does possess the potential of helping mankind, it is not the sage wisdom that is shared in the text. The practical wisdom of ‘living’ life is the sage wisdom that the preacher aims to convey. In a fast-paced world where people glorify hardships or the ‘hustle’ of life, this wisdom is the need of the hour. Countless people throughout the world feel inundated with life and often burn out. The stress of the modern world doesn’t provide much room for ‘living’ life. It can be argued that not all people fit the demographic that is being talked about. But that doesn’t change the importance of the wisdom shared in the text. Life is a gift that many often take for granted. They toil through or while away moments without really considering that death might knock on their door any moment. Cherishing the little things in life is paramount. Each situation is unique to an individual but everyone shares the same experience of living. Life provides a chance for people to improve, repent, forgive, feel, appreciate, learn, and countless other things. The sooner humans understand the profundity of this notion, the better for them. Death is inevitable, so it’s important to live before you die. Coupling a touch of nihilism with the thirst to live is an electrifying remedy to a fatuous life. Life might be meaningless but people need to revel in this newfound notion and consider it as freeing. The text also shares the importance of accepting one’s fate and doing justice to the work at hand. One should be diligent with every kind of work and not let displeasure from fate overcome him/her. 

The book of Ecclesiastes, unlike the book of proverbs, doesn’t have an abundance of wisdom to share. The wisdom is more concentrated and profound. Other books in wisdom and biblical literature focus on the amelioration of oneself through god and divine philosophy. Whereas the Ecclesiastes revels in a simple truth that is as profound as it is black and white. A reiteration of a few verses of the passage is in order, so as to emphasize its profundity and acknowledge its elegance. 

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

(Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)


Bibliography

1.9-11. (2020). A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Ecclesiastes. https://doi.org/10.5040/9780567693532.0016

Bright, H., & Pride, K. (n.d.). Ecclesiastes. Easy English Bible with free Commentaries and Studies. https://www.easyenglish.bible/bible-commentary/ecclesiastes-lbw.htm

Chapter 9 – Matthew Henry’s commentary – Bible gateway. (n.d.). BibleGateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Eccl.9.1-Eccl.9.18

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12. (n.d.). Ecclesiastes Through the Centuries, 206-215. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470755631.ch8

Longman, T. (1998). The book of Ecclesiastes. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

Mazzalongo, M. (2015). Ecclesiastes for beginners. BibleTalk Books.

New York International Bible Society. (1973). The holy Bible: New international version. The New Testament. Zondervan.Verse-by-verse Bible commentary. (n.d.). StudyLight.org. https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/9.html


Muse

Did you know about this muse?
The muse who has been through such abuse.
Hanging dead on the noose.
Did you ever meet this muse?
Don’t be so confused.
Here are a few clues.


In those timid eyes,
An unknown light shone.
Her giggles and cries, made the house feel alive.
She dressed me up, She made me feel alive.
She cradled me softly, imagining if I cried.
But she wasn’t around, When I shed a tear.
I watched the innocence fade, eyes welling up with fear. She dressed me up, but didn’t know
What you’re supposed to show, What’s a bad touch,
Even if it’s someone, who’s not unknown.
That was the time,
When not giggles, but her awful cries.
Were silenced, Buried deeper inside.


Do you remember this muse?
A victim of abuse.
Hanging dead on the noose.
Here are a few more clues.


Meandering eyes, peeking, wondering what’s inside.
Eyes, rearing a beast that some of them hide.
A beast that doesn’t care.
Dignity and respect is foreign and rare,
To these monsters who lurk in open air.
I tried my best and couldn’t protect.
This muse, Who I utterly respect.
From those grimy, loathful claws.
Deafening sounds of shattering dignity.
Was silenced by society.
Silenced by the parents who care.
“Wear another, darker scarf, will you?”
Another chance, for monsters who dare.



Do you remember this muse?
For all her problems, you have an excuse.
Hanging dead on the noose.
Here is another clue.


The walls stand as testimony,
Bouncing echoes of screams and despair.
In front of the world, Even a strand of hair.
Wouldn’t be affected.
But within these walls,
The world hardly cared.
Wound up around the beast,
I dreamt of breaking free.
I didn’t dream of bringing despair.
I’m not guilty, I tried to protect.
This muse, I utterly respect.
I tried to withhold those fatal blows.
Whips, Scars, Hidden bruise marks.
A pain she never shows.



Do you remember this muse?
Who fought valiantly against abuse.
To speak up she refused.
With the world, a predator.
She fought through.
She made history.
In her own, tiny book.


Now that she’s hanging by the noose.
Does she beg for mercy?
Does she plead, for all of you to see.
“Do you see, the muse in me.”
A muse that’s full of sorrow.
A muse you need to worship.
A muse you need to protect.
A muse that you naturally respect.
A muse you worship.
A muse for who you care.
A muse who’s like you.
But who cannot be compared.
Rare. Molded by despair.



-Faaiz

LGBTQ+ movement : Through the lens of Freud & Marx

Background:

According to Freud, the task of living or existing as an individual involves a constant conflict between the ego, id, and superego. This constant conflict gives rise to various stages of psychosexual development and is also responsible for the proper functioning of a human in society. The id is the source of primal energy and basic(mostly sexual) instincts. The ego is responsible for keeping the id in check and making sure its desires are fulfilled in an acceptable manner. The phenomenon of the ego fulfilling the desires of the id in a way that conforms with reality is called the Reality principle. The seeking of pleasure and instant gratification without consequential thinking in order to satisfy the basic instinctive needs is called the Pleasure Principle. An individual often resorts to self-destructive/violent/erratic behavior when dominated/driven by the Pleasure principle. This kind of behavior usually occurs in individuals with an underdeveloped superego or a weak ego. 

Knowledge regarding the Reality and Pleasure principle will be useful further in the essay.

Existence can also be defined as a constant conflict between the Reality and Pleasure principle. This theory can be extended and used as an analogy to interpret the economic drama depicted by Karl Marx in his renowned work, “The Communist Manifesto.” 

The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx is a written effort to promote his philosophical worldview and establish a theory/way of living (communism) that conforms with his worldview. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx stated society can be analyzed in terms of classes and the conflict between them. The distinction between the classes varies upon the time frame. Modern industrial society in specific is characterized by the class conflict of the Bourgeoisie (the oppressors) and the Proletariat(the oppressed). The two classes are distinguished on the basis of ownership of private property and the amount of labor one puts in. Marx’s theory suggests every individual is naturally driven to labor as it may bring out something inherent bottled up their in conscience/or labor is useful to satisfy one’s instinctive needs (i.e. Hunger, Shelter, etc.) According to Marx, Labor is the natural way of living life and any other lifestyle is abnormal. The bourgeoisie upon the ownership of private property seldom participates in labor. Whereas the Proletariat solely relies on labor for their livelihood and are forced to do more labor in order to satisfy the oppressor’s needs. This creates a disconnect/conflict between the two classes in society. Marx stated that in a society dominated by the Bourgeoisie, conflict is inevitable. In order to maintain stability, the Proletariat will overthrow the class system and dissolve private property. This revolution is inevitable. Marx’s theory highlights the instability of capitalism but also establishes a vital concept of conflict which can be used as a lens to analyze society.

The class conflict theorized by Marx is analogous to the conflict of the reality and pleasure principle. The bourgeoisie can be recognized as the ones following, the reality principle, and the proletariat is religious towards the pleasure principle. Like the inevitable revolution/overthrowing of oppressors stated by Marx, the victory of the pleasure principle over the reality principle is inevitable in certain circumstances. 

On the basis of this conflict, Freud also theorized the concept of Oedipal conflict. The Oedipal conflict (a.k.a Oedipal complex) is a term used by Freud in his theory about the psychosexual stages of development of an individual. Oedipal conflict refers to the erotic desire of the child towards his mother. Freud theorized that during infancy, the mind of a male child is dominated by the id as the ego and superego develop at later stages. This leads to the desires of the id going haywire. The erotic desire towards the mother stems from this instability. Freud stated that this desire is kept out of the conscious awareness of developed, mature individuals. Whereas in children, this desire is left unchecked. Considering the dominance of the id in the mind of a child, his desire to acquire and safeguard his mother from other male counterparts seems justified. Freud also theorized that this desire is natural and has an influence over the child’s behavior. The Oedipal complex results in a conflict between the child and the father as the child see the father as a competitor. The child wishes to possess his mother and replace the father. The erotic desire for the mother also develops hostility in the child for the same-sex parent. The resolution for the Oedipus conflict can be through sublimation or non-sublimation. Freud realized the child might understand that the father has an undue physical advantage over him and non-sublimatory resolution isn’t possible. The primal id wants to eliminate the father whereas the developing ego realizes that the father poses a threat/unfair opponent. Non-sublimatory response to this conflict isn’t frequent but serves as a tool to understand the human psyche better. 

The Oedipus conflict can also serve as a great analogy in order to analyze various constructs of society and real-life conflicts that arise.

With the knowledge of Freud’s and Marx’s theory, let us try to understand/analyze the LGBT movement in today’s society. 


Analysis of the LGBT movement

The LGBT movement is a civil rights movement that advocates equal rights for gay men, lesbians, and everyone who belongs to the LGBT community. This movement is led by various human rights advocates and the LGBT community as a whole. Homosexual men, women, and various members of the LGBT community have been denied basic human rights and have been treated unjustly since the dawn of modern society. Religious admonitions and restrictions against sexual relations with the same-sex have stigmatized this behavior and are often looked down upon in society. Various religious beliefs bar same-sex relations and pose heavy repercussions or social isolation as a consequence. Religious politics and the taboo nature of homosexuality led to various laws and criminalization of homosexual behavior (Buggery act by Henry VIII (2)). As the members of the LGBT community at the time were a minority, there were little to no movements against this repression. Speaking out against the skewed judicial system and the denial of basic human rights was scrutinized and controlled through outside power (Often political.). Homosexual behavior wasn’t a part of the civil code and members of the LGBT community were often alienated. 

Analogous to the Proletariat from Marx’s theory, the LGBT were/are oppressed and lacked something essential that the oppressors possessed. Unlike the Bourgeoisie, the oppressors in this situation do not possess private property, but they have the undue advantage of having human rights and the power to dominate society. The LGBT community, on the other hand, was denied basic human rights and treated unfairly. Like the proletariat, the LGBT community is oppressed not through injustice or exploitation of labor but through social unacceptance and alienation. With Freud’s theory as a lens, it can be observed that society in its pursuit against the LGBT community abandons the reality principle. If we consider oppression, exploitation, and dominance over others as a desire of the id, then the society seems to have given in to these desires and abandoned morality, goodwill, and justice (Aspects of the ego and superego. Traits required to follow the reality principle.) in order to achieve it. The analogy although weak might hold up. 

Another analogy with Freud’s theory can be established. 

The LGBT community(oppressed/Proletariat) before functioned with the reality principle and showed little to no rebellion against the injustice. The desire of the id/individual at that time was equal rights and just treatment which was a fantasy then. But since the ’90s, a major shift has been observed. The LGBT community has started speaking up and fighting for rights. The dawn of the LGBT movement can be described as the overthrowing of the reality principle by the pleasure principle. The LGBT community, driven by the pleasure principle is taking drastic yet effective steps to get what they desire and deserve. The yearning for justice and equal treatment can be described as the desires of the id of this community.

The Oedipus complex analogy can also be applied to this situation. Oedipus conflict is the conflict that arises between the father and the infant child (son). The conflict isn’t mutual, it arises in the mind of the infant child (son) due to premature sexual desires for his mother. This conflict can either be resolved in a sublimatory or non-sublimatory way. The sublimatory way would infer that the child understands the risk of challenging the father and give up. The non-sublimatory way would infer that the child somehow triumphs by ‘killing’ the father/defeating the rival. 

Let us consider the LGBT community and the oppressors to take roles as the child and the father respectively. The child, in this case, would be in conflict with the father not for sexual desire but for survival. The desires of the id, in this case, would be equal/fair treatment. The sublimatory solution would be for the LGBT community to give up and not rebel. The risks in challenging the father (society) would be fatal as they, the oppressors, possess more power as compared to the LGBT community (child). It would be logical to not speak up and this kind of behavior is evident throughout history. Gay men and women have always been afraid to speak up and take a stand for their rights due to the pressure of society. The non-sublimatory way of resolution for this conflict would be the overthrowing of society/forcing to reform society by the LGBT community (‘killing’ of the father by the son). The non-sublimatory way of resolution is a path that isn’t often taken but in this case, the LGBT community has managed to rise and prove as a worthy opponent to their oppressors. The LGBT movement stands as evidence that in certain circumstances, the non-sublimatory way is the right way. 

The LGBT movement can be described as the act of revolution/overthrowing the oppressors. It is the very act that Marx theorized would be inevitable. The LGBT movement can also be interpreted as the non-sublimatory resolution to the conflict and triumph of the pleasure principle over the reality principle. The movement still feels like it is in its infancy but is gathering momentum steadily. Same-sex marriages have been legalized in a lot of countries recently. (E.g. Taiwan, Brazil, etc.) (3) 

In conclusion, The inevitable LGBT movement is bound to make an impact on society. This conflict can result in a proper resolution irrespective of its sublimatory or non-sublimatory nature. 

Equal rights and proper recognition will not only progress the LGBT community but bring peace to their ids. The people belonging to the LGBT community have been speaking up and the world is listening. From the Homophile movement (1945-1969) to the LGBT rights movement (1972-present), the community has come a long way.

Analyzing this movement through the models proposed by Freud and Marx predicts that this movement/revolution/conflict was/is inevitable and will result in a better future for mankind. The models help us understand the nature of this conflict. The models also highlight the underlying cause for this movement and help justify the non-sublimatory resolution for this conflict. The models not only emphasize the inevitable and justified nature of this conflict but also strengthens the motives and provides hope for the community. The LGBT community has to tackle public opinion, the judicial system, and the colonial-era laws in order to prevail in this conflict. But the community has shown no signs of slowing down. With same-sex marriage and adoption getting legalized in a lot of countries recently, the future for the community is bright.


References/Sources:-

  1. https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/CIP.CHAP5.HTM  
  2.  Norton, Rictor. “Popular Rage (Homophobia)”. Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England. Gay History and Literature
  3. https://jezebel.com/taiwan-asias-first-nation-to-legalize-same-sex-marriag-1835038705
  4. Bernstein, Mary (2002). Identities and Politics: Toward a Historical Understanding of the Lesbian and Gay Movement. Social Science History 26:3 (fall 2002).
  5. Freud, S. (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE, 18: 1-64.
  6. Freud, S. (1923). The ego and the id. SE, 19: 1-66.

Dionysus, Apollo, Nietzsche & Freddie Mercury

Nietzsche’s Tragedy

Friedrich Nietzsche is popularly known for his criticism of the modern world and his unique perspective on history. Nietzsche proposed his worldview along with criticism and complaints in his book titled ‘The Birth of Tragedy.’ ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ was the first of the numerous books published by him. In the book, Nietzsche analyses ancient Greek history and the art/forms of art present during those times. Nietzsche focused on ancient Greek tragedy and viewed it as an art form that transcended nihilism. In ancient Greek culture, dramas depicting tragedy were often revered and considered as a work of art. Ancient tragedy found a place in the hearts of the Greeks, and scores of audiences often flocked the theatres for a viewing. Nietzsche analyzed the mentality of the audience and observed how an individual behaved as part of an audience.

Nietzsche focused on the Greek god’s Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo and Dionysus in “The Birth of Tragedy” are used as metaphors to analyze modern society. Nietzsche employs these metaphors to criticize art and modern culture. Apollo was considered as the deity of goodwill, hope and was frequently viewed as a voice of reason. Dionysus, on the other hand, could be considered as the stark opposite of Apollo. Tragedy often followed the presence of Dionysus, and he was considered the god of wine, fertility, ritual madness, ecstasy, and inhibition less behavior. Apollonian school of thought followed societal norms and preached proper behavior equipped with logic. Dionysian school of thought was more instinctual and ‘id-pleasing’ With Freud’s theory as a tool, the Dionysian thought process can be considered as the behavior/mindset of a person with an over powerful id and an obeying ego. Apollonian mindset is more balanced with a properly developed superego. Nietzsche considered the tragedy of ancient Greece as the highest form of art as it involved both Apollonian and Dionysian aspects. Dionysian elements were a part of the musical chorus while the Apollonian elements were the dialogues. Jointly, both the elements moved in harmony and complemented each other as well as the story. The tragedy/pain that accompanied Dionysus was weakened through the Apollonian dialogues. Apollonian elements function as a euphemism to the harsh and sharp feelings arising through Dionysian elements. Ancient Greek tragedy was so versatile that the audience as a whole was often engrossed in the art form. Nietzsche was fascinated by the possibility and reality of the audience experiencing a story in such depth. Nietzsche credited and admired the balance of Apollonian and Dionysian elements in the story. 

Nietzsche went as far as theorizing and stating that modern art is hollow and meaningless as it has lost the balance between the elements. Modern art and society as a whole have succumbed to the Apollonian thought process. Nietzsche claimed that modern society is doomed if it abandoned the Dionysian elements as it is of utmost importance to both society and art. The Dionysian form of drunkenness, selfishness, and self-engrossment is taboo in modern culture and often looked down upon. Nietzsche considers the Dionysian elements in life as necessary. Nietzsche, in addition, used metaphors to draw parallels with Christianity. He urged that the concept of salvation and good deeds were a result of Apollonian elements taking over the culture. Dionysian elements are often shunned. Nietzsche revered ancient Greek culture and stated that only through immersion and acceptance of the Dionysian elements, can one be a part of the primordial unity. 

Thus for Nietzsche, modern culture, society and art can only be salvaged and perfected again through acceptance of Dionysian culture/Elements. Nietzsche proposed that life as a whole requires a balance between both the elements. Like the ancient Greek tragedy, Apollonian thought process and vocality along with Dionysian indulgence and immersion is the ultimate way to experience the story and life. 

Later on in his life, Nietzsche criticized his own work in ‘The birth of tragedy’ and deemed it as a work of naivety later on in his life. But he stood by his claim of accepting Dionysian elements and embracing it in order to lead a better life.

Nietzsche’s theory, along with Freud’s (ego, id, and superego) and Marx’s theory (class conflict) can be utilized to analyze Freddie Mercury’s life and his iconic personality. The objective of the analysis is to test the credibility of the metaphors stated in the theories and recognize the utility of them. The scope of the theories can also be tested in the analysis.


Freddie Mercury’s World

Freddie Mercury is known for leading a peculiar yet memorable life. Freddie is considered an icon and was the predominant face of pop for decades. The impact that Freddie had on the music industry is astounding. The admiration for Queen and its lead singer is refusing to fade and grows every day. Freddie’s rise to fame was tumultuous, and his worries didn’t end there. An analysis of his life through the lens of Nietzsche’s theory can help to decode his life and modern society better. 

According to several interviews, it is known that Freddie came from a conservative immigrant family. Freddie depicted a great interest in music since childhood and used to write his own songs. Although his parents didn’t approve of his musical endeavors and asked him to look for a monetizable hobby, he still persisted. It can be observed that his parents followed a more rational and logical point of view. Whereas, Freddie seemed intoxicated by his love for music and turned a blind eye to his parent’s qualms. Freddie’s personality, in this case, had Dionysian elements while his parents were devoted to the Apollonian school of thought. Traces of Apollonian elements were still present in Freddie, as he continued to hide the curiosity of his sexual orientation from his parents (which exhibits the rational thinking ability). The parents were observed to be devoid of any Dionysian elements and considered the behavior of his song as ‘crazy’ or ‘Reckless.’ (Which was often the case as the Socratic and Apollonian mindsets shunned irrational behavior.) 

Once Freddie got acquainted with the rest of the band, his interest and love for music grew. The immense love and admiration that Freddie received from the audience initially, had him deeper into his intoxication. He realized the scope of the music industry, and the endless possibilities had him feeling unstoppable. This can be considered as Freddie indulging the Dionysian elements more than before. With this indulgence, the Apollonian elements seemed to fade as Freddie no longer felt ashamed or guilty of his sexual orientation. (It is to be noted that Homosexuality, in this case, is considered taboo. Hence, a conservative would find it rational to hide his/her sexual orientation let alone, be ashamed of it.). The dying of rational thought within Freddie can be a sign of fading apollonian elements. 

With his rise to fame, Freddie’s indulgence in the Dionysian elements grew deeper. Nietzsche suggested, an imbalance of both elements can lead to destruction or ill-functioning of the person/society. With Freddie’s indulgence growing deeper, his ego inflated, and he started viewing his band members as inferiors. Freddie at the time was also infamous for his lavish and notorious parties. Apollonian elements seemed completely abandoned within Freddie at the time, as he was completely engrossed in self-indulgence. Self-indulgence and intoxication, known to be traits of Dionysus are helpful only in trace amounts. Self-indulgence ever so often is not harmful, but overdoing it does harm to oneself and the others around him/her. It is the imbalance between Rationality and Madness Or Apollo and Dionysus.

Freddie went as far as parting ways from the band and turning into a solo artist. It is then when the consequences of the imbalance started to show up. Freddie’s fame declined and his solo albums were obliterated by critics and the charts. Nietzsche’s theory about the imbalance between the elements leading to chaos can be proven in this case. Nietzsche stated that modern society lacked Dionysian elements, hence its destruction or demise is inevitable. In this case, Freddie’s life was dominated by the Dionysian elements/Lack of Apollonian elements which lead to the downfall of his career. Freddie later made amends with his previous band members and started playing again. This is an example of Rational/Apollonian thought working in favor of Freddie.

Freddie later realized his wrongdoings and received clarity. Freddie then went on to perform with Queen once again, only to turn into a legend year later. 

Freddie, in his later years, applied rational thought while making decisions (Apollonian element) and indulged in the intoxicating music while playing for the band (Dionysian element). He found the balance and it worked in his favor. Hence, Nietzsche’s theory stands correct in the case of Freddie Mercury’s life. 


Psychoanalysis of Freddie

According to Freud’s theory, Freddie was also a victim of the conflict of his ego, id, and superego. At his time before the fame, the desire to achieve and pursue was still prevalent in Freddie. This can be perceived as a desire of the id. Freud theorized that the id in most cases depicted the deep carnal desire embedded within a personality. The desire within Farrokh was his love for music. The rebellious nature of Freddie might have been a result of an underdeveloped superego. His over powerful id dominated his ego which in turn resulted in his instinctive decisive process. Throughout his life, Freddie seemed to have suffered from a poor superego. This affected his life and the weakened state of his mindset was visible to all of the media. Whether it be him storming off a press conference or his lavish, over the top and overly sexual birthday parties. His insecurities were evident, and it could be on account of the conflict within his mind. He later was able to resolve the conflict and strike a balance between the ego, id, and superego. Freddie confronted his sexual orientation through rational thinking and came out in a socially acceptable way. He also, got back together with his group as it was naive of him to split up. This can be identified as signs of a developing/developed superego.

It can be seen that throughout the ups and downs of his life, the conflict accompanied him. Only when he sought to resolve this conflict (through the reality principle OR sublimatory resolution) did, he grow as a person. 


Freddie Through The Lens of Marx

Marx’s theory of class conflict is an appropriate analogy to study Freddie’s sexual orientation and his struggle with it. Being Homosexual, Freddie struggled as he came from a conservative family. Homosexuality wasn’t acceptable in society at the time and was still considered taboo. Thus, Freddie’s sexual orientation can be considered as the Proletariat in this case and the society/his parents can be considered as the oppressors/Bourgeoisie. As Marx revered, the proletariat possesses a hidden desire and them overthrowing the oppressors is inevitable. The proletariat in this specific case was successful in overthrowing the oppressors. Freddie came out as a homosexual and expressed his sexual desires to the world and his family after years of hiding. He came to terms with his sexual orientation and realized that he was obliged to express it to the world, in order to calm the rumors, empower the LGBT community, satisfy his id and overthrow the oppressors. 


Conclusion

In conclusion, Freddie’s enigmatic life can easily be broken down if one analyses it from a purely philosophical and psychological standpoint. When used as tools, Freud’s, Marx’s and Nietzsche’s theory greatly help in the analysis of Freddie’s life.

Freddie was eluded in self-indulgence and the lack of Apollonian elements worsened his situation. Freddie got his life back together when he chose to focus on his passion for music through rational and logical thinking. He embraced the previously abandoned Apollonian thought process and utilized it to empower the Dionysian elements. Like an ancient Greek tragedy, the traits of both the Apollonian and Dionysian elements complement each other and work in harmony in Freddie’s life. Unknowingly, he struck the balance between the Apollonian and Dionysian elements which led to the flourishing of his career. Freddie not only got out of the rut he was in but also found his place in the world as a more competent musician and icon. The impact of the balanced elements was so profound, that it propelled his career and transformed him into one of the most admirable pop stars. Freddie’s life is a prime example of the importance of controlled Dionysian elements in one’s life. A proper balance of these elements can lead to a better personality, society, culture, if not the world. Freddie’s success and rich history are a result of his musical talent and persistence albeit the balance playing an integral part in his life. 


Sources :-

  1. ‘Birth of Tragedy’ by Friedrich Nietzsche
  2. http://www.protevi.com/john/Nietzsche/BTcomplete.pdf
  3. http://stevepafford.com/freddie39th/
  4. Freud, S. (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE, 18: 1-64.
  5. Freud, S. (1923). The ego and the id. SE, 19: 1-66.
  6. https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/CIP.CHAP5.HTM  (Marx’s theory)
  7. “Freddie Mercury (real name Farrokh Bulsara) Biography”. Inout Star. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2010
  8. Queen Online – History: Freddie Mercury, Archived on 8 August 2010.

Nothing but Death

Nothing but Death

What lies ahead?
It’s nothing but death.
Death, Misery, and Sorrow.
As I lay,
Lifeless on this bed.
I dread what’s coming tomorrow.

All my life, I never imagined it would come to this.
I built this world around me, that I will surely miss.
I dearly dread what’s coming tomorrow.
Words from them.
Expectations, Blessings, and Respect.
They can’t possibly fathom the horror.

When you will return.
When it’s all said and done.
We’ll embrace a better tomorrow.
A tomorrow in which we’re together.
A tomorrow in which our kids are older.
A tomorrow in which the world is proud.
Go out there, but make sure you return.
Return for a tomorrow, in which you’re still around
.”

The words linger,
But don’t protect,
From what lies ahead.
It’s nothing but death.

How long will you be gone?
When you return, Bring toys you found.
In that distant, Foreign land, ahead.
Until then, Can we sleep on your bed?
Our beds are scary, and mom will be alone.
We promise not to make a mess
.”

Those eyes flicker.
The eyes that don’t get to see the dead.
Strewn around the battlefield, ridden with lead.
Those eyes twinkle.
But don’t reflect.
What lies ahead.
It’s nothing but death.

Oh, you got drafted?
  It’s time to make the country proud.
  Fight like the man you are.
  Endure, Kill those enemies from afar.
  Stay safe, but don’t be afraid to stare.
  Stare death in the eyes and Pray.
  And when you return.
  I’ll be proud to introduce you as my son.
  To all the men who are eternally afraid.

 Those strong hands pressure my shoulder blades.
But they won’t be around, when i’m afraid.
Afraid of what lies ahead.

 What lies ahead,
It’s nothing but death.

The night is still,
The other side of the bed still warm.
Why is my side colder?
Why am i still, afraid?

A better tomorrow is gone.
I failed to return.
The war has been won.
The war against what lies ahead.

The toys were never found.
Maybe my old man is proud.
I wish i could reach out and touch her at her side of the bed.
Embrace her and quieten the sorrow.
Embrace her in a better tomorrow.
But I dove into what lies ahead.

What lay ahead.
Was, a right guess.
As I lay among the dead.
Ridden with lead.
It was nothing but death.
Nothing, But Death.

–Faaiz

Why Identity as a concept, needs to be left in the past.

Before we begin, I’ll suggest you to listen to some lofi music while reading this article. It enhances the reading experience a bit.
Here’s my suggestion –

Before I begin presenting and thereafter defending my opinion, let me take you back to the roots of identity. It is a fascinating tool and downplaying the power and necessity of it would be a foolish mistake. Enough chatting, let’s go back, back to the times when survival alone was the most significant achievement of mankind. 

Identity and Us

In the bosom of the rainy, harsh, and gloriously green cover of the amazon, a beautiful specimen of life like you were born. You were named G’wilelu (pronounced – Ji-wi-li-li) after the tree under which you were conceived. The G’wan tribe had weird traditions, one of them being controlled and scheduled mating as it was an act that was considered sacred. The process of inducing life into something inanimate is truly divine and the G’wanese were aware of it.
From a young age, you were taught how to build shelters, how to light a fire which is almost impossible in a rain forest as massive and ferocious as the amazon. You were introduced to threats that you later realized are almost everywhere.
Surrounded by wild animals and the elements, the G’wanese made central Africa their home. Everything you did involved a lesson, from hunting down prey for dinner to praying to lord G’wamunpa before sacrificing it.

You were taught about the different animals that surround you, and the animals that live just beyond the northern temple. You were curious given your young, inquisitive mind and wanted to know more. But the elders refused to speak about them, the animals beyond the temple.
Every week during the fire ritual, you snuck out of the borders to explore what lies beyond the temple. The animals that you were warned about were nowhere to be found. So you grew fearless, you wandered even further. You were about to stray too far and that’s when an elder catches you snooping around. You’re taken back to the temple and punished.

After purifying your soul by rubbing your body with clay, you were given a history lesson.

Beyond the temple, reside the J’lelani, a group of people who were refused to be labeled as a tribe. Years ago, when a forest fire forced animals out of the forest, the scarcity of food had become a major problem. Without any prey to consume, the predators turned towards each other. The G’wan tribe suffered, as many young soldiers died defending the land and the temple. It was called the Fire war.

The J’lelani tribe suffered heavy casualties and retreated before it was too late. The G’wan DNA lives on, and so you were born, a son of a warrior, G’wilelu. The J’lelani tribe, on the other hand, vanished.

All that remained after the Fire war was the last famished J’lelani tribe member arriving near the temple, begging for food in a ravaged, smoking forest. He was later shunned, tortured, and sacrificed to purify the temple. Unaware of their absence, the G’wan tribe defends itself from an imaginative entity that threatens their survival.
It guards it’s own tribe, from a threat that is no more. 


Identity is a peculiar tool that seems useless until you dig deep. It is responsible for the survival of your ancestors and countless others around the world.
Identity was responsible for the formation of tribes and sects that banded a bunch of humans together in order to survive. It gave birth to a tiny, unevolved concept of a society that was game-changing. Homo sapiens are a species that is different from other species in a way that we have the ability to band together. (Ants also have that ability and can form elaborate societies within anthills).
When humans band together, anything is possible.
The tribes that came before tapped into this potential power and survived for ages. Formation of society and preservation of it can be attributed to identity. Thus, identity more or less is responsible for generations of humans that led to the birth of you, dear reader, who is now spending his/her time productively by reading ramblings of a nobody. Identity has been around for so long that it has become a part of your biology. Natural selection rewarded our ancestors for the collaboration and the formation of tribes. The extroverts survived whereas the outcasts struggled to survive. Identity lies at the core of forming relations and the nature of said relations.
Identity and its preservation and conservation go hand in hand. Identity was a matter of life and death for the last famished J’lelani arriving at the G’wanese temple. 


Now that you understand the importance of identity and appreciate it, let me go ahead and tell you why it’s no longer needed. In fact, identity and its conservation is a tool that has proven to be extremely counterproductive in the new world.


The ‘New’ world 

I believe that it is almost impossible for us to appreciate the modern world we live in. Mere gratefulness expressed for our living conditions won’t do justice to the drastic change homo sapiens have been through.
‘Taking it for granted’ would be an apt way to describe the entitled offspring of our ancestors i.e. Us.


But I’m not here to shame you for not being grateful for the internet and not appreciating world peace. I’m here to make you realize how the world has changed and so should we. Let me take you back again.


The world hasn’t always been this way. Imagine 2020 being stretched out for 300,000 years (I know, it feels pretty long already), that’s the history of our troubled world. Peace was a luxury many nations couldn’t afford. Rampant wars, natural disasters and climate change (Climate change isn’t new, it has been around here for ages) made the future of the world seem pretty bleak. No historian or scientist can accurately pinpoint to the reason or explain how on earth did we survive such a mess. But we did, yay! humanity.

Before the industrial revolution, the strength of a nation or land was derived by its agricultural output. So countries that had prosperous agriculture dominated. But things started to change when overseas trading started. The birth of globalization turned the economy of the world from a zero-sum game to a positive-sum game. Which meant, if other countries did better, so would yours.

The positive-sum concept is beautiful in the sense that helping others grow would inevitably result in our own growth. Thus, the goodwill of other countries and people became priorities (Which was hard to come by during those times, who cared about human life then). The industrial revolution further empowered globalization and the world became a smaller space.

So, let’s bring our friend ‘Identity’ back into this scenario. Identity and its conservation helped in survival. So how would it function, in a world where survival wasn’t a threat anymore?

Here’s an example.


As you might be aware, The British isles (England) and France are separated by the English channel. A body of water 3 KM wide between France and England and one of the world’s most important maritime passages. So trade usually happened through ships voyaging through the English channel. Traveling through the channel was a dangerous prospect because of the rocky and windy environment. Many engineers both from France and England came up with ideas of building an underwater tunnel across the English channel. An underwater tunnel would help speed up trade. But after commissioning the tunnel, the Britons opposed the construction of it. Why? 

Identity plays a very peculiar role in this story. Britons considered England as an exclusive island, surrounded by water on all sides which bolstered its exclusivity. Geographic isolation from the world made England a safer country. Britons identified themselves as special and cited that constructing the tunnel would dilute the exclusivity of England. The construction of the tunnel was delayed by several years over this issue and it has probably hampered many opportunities for trade and development.
The initial excavation for the tunnel was done in 1881 and both the countries reached an agreement 100 years later, in 1991. The tunnel was finally inaugurated in 1994. (Reminds you of the BMC eh?)

Identity and its conservation in a world that’s embracing globalization are counterproductive. With the positive-sum concept in mind, Identity would prevent many communities from interacting and thus hampering opportunities for development.

North Korea (DPRK) considers itself a sovereign nation blessed by God and preserves its identity and culture by bordering itself from the world. Look how well that’s turned out for them. 

Identity alone is still too powerful of a tool to let go. But this tool needs to be reinvented.

A modern, civilized, safe, and developing world needs a modern, safe, and a ‘new and improved’ version of identity. The biologically embedded concept of identity sticks out like a sore thumb in a rapidly evolving world. Identity in itself isn’t too effective but the conservation of it fuels the fire. 

Identity itself, as a concept, cannot be weeded out but the conservation and preservation of identity through force can be dealt with.

Let’s assume we’re successful in weeding out violent conservation, what do we fill the lacuna with?

Well, I’m glad you asked. 


New and Improved Identity for ‘Identity’ 

By now, I’m sure you’re aware of the disadvantages caused due to traditional Identity.

Imagine Identity being in a long term relationship with conservation. They’ve been dating for ages and the relationship has been strong. But as the world changes, their priorities and needs change. Identity and conservation were content with the relationship when their goals and priorities aligned. But in the ‘new’ world, Identity has been struggling to keep up. Whereas conservation is a fickle mistress who likes the old ways and how things were. She’s controlling and is proving to be toxic for our dear friend Identity.
As a responsible and a good friend, you never hesitate to point out if your friend is in a toxic relationship. Identity is a friend who needs your help. Identity wants to change, get better but conservation is apparently not done with him yet.
I hope this analogy was entertaining enough to hold your attention. 

In a rapidly changing world which rewards the flexible. People with rigid identities and strong beliefs and actions to conserve these identities will be left out.
Now imagine conservationists with power and money.

Conservation of identity in politics is an issue I’m not qualified to talk about.

So here’s what should replace conservation, it’s empathy.


Hear me out,
Empathy is the quality that should complement Identity in the modern world. The act of putting yourself in the shoes of another person and experiencing the trials and tribulations the certain identity goes through is the key.

Long gone are the days of protecting your tribe, now that tribes need each other, Empathy is a tool that they need. When tribes understand the problems that other tribes face, they can work together in sorting it out.

In this positive-sum economy, Empathy empowers countries in helping each other thus bolstering their economies. The violent atrocities committed in the name of conservation can be omitted and even avoided due to Empathy.

Empathy is the companion that Identity needs and it needs it now more than ever. 


Empathy : Now more than ever 

Identity in itself is volatile and conservation did nothing but fuel the fire
Empathy, on the other hand, comes with its own set of applications. 

When a white policeman pins down a suspecting black man and kills him in the process, the identity is in danger. The African-American community needs to shelter themselves and stop police brutality in order to preserve their identity and their lives. Conservation, when it comes to survival, is the only option. The protests are an example of that.

Empathy is a tool that fails to work in favor if employed by the oppressed. Think about it, a person uncertain about whether he will be killed for being a certain ‘type’, would that person think about someone else let alone empathize?

But when a Caucasian person arrives at the Black Lives Matter rally with an ‘All lives matter’ banner, it’s unjustified. The Caucasian community isn’t under threat and thus doesn’t need conservation. Conservation of identity without a threat to survival is counterproductive.

Caucasians need to empathise. They need to think about their fellow brethren.  Empathy if employed by the White’s will help dispel police brutality and lead to a more peaceful future.

When a white male realizes how difficult it is for a black male to deal with a society that’s been unfair to him, that’s when the world will change.
So when you arrive with an “All lives matter” banner at a protest, employ empathy. Understand that the ones protesting are conservationists trying to ‘survive’. Lives are at stake and maybe your empathy is what the world needs for a change.


Identity has been important for our progress as a species. It gives people purpose and direction in life.
Identity gives rise to culture, morals and its impact on history has been tremendous. You, the reader are unique in terms of identity.
Which makes you all the more valuable. It allows the exchange of ideas and a shift in perspective. Identity is far too important to be let go.
But conservation of it, let alone comparison of identities is something too toxic for us as humans to deal with.


We’ve dabbled in it when we established the caste systems, hierarchies, and almost always, it hasn’t ended well or fared well for society.

Empathy can help us rectify the misgivings. Empathy is the next step forward. A forward yet mature mindset that enables us to understand and distinguish between identities is essential in the world we live in right now.

You’re no longer fighting to survive. You’re fighting to get better. You get better when the world gets better. The world gets better when you empathize with the billions of other identities on this blue rock we call home. 


Mumbai : City of Dreams

A lot of things remind me of Mumbai, and Mumbai makes me wonder about a lot of stuff. Out of the plethora of things that Mumbai reminds me of, it has never come across to me as the ‘City of Dreams.’ Now before you grab your ‘lighted mashals’ and arrive at my doorstep in protest, Let me explain. 


To experience this article in a better way, tune into this lofi song while giving this article a read. Preferably at a low volume.

Play the song on the app for zero interruption. 🙂

Mumbai was never and can never be called the ‘City of Dreams.’
It would be misleading, cruel and outright mean to all the dreamers out there. In these trying times and the constantly evolving state of our country, Mumbai stands as a beacon for something. That something is definitely not a call to the dreamers out there to flock the beacon like moths on a dreary night. Mumbai is not a symbol of hope nor is it a haven for all those who wish to achieve. Mumbai shouldn’t be analogous to what people call the ‘City where you can make it.’
It is time before someone spoke against this blatant rehashing of Mumbai’s image only to coddle the poor, soft, so-called ‘dreamers’ that will suffer once they end up in Mumbai.

Mumbai is a city of perseverance. Mumbai, the city, will beat you down to your knees and kick you in the abdomen when you’re begging for mercy. Mumbai will laugh on your bleeding self lying down the drain and then taunt you to get back up, only to beat you down again.
The ‘City of Dreams’ does not and will not care about where you come from, who you know and what you’re capable of.
The sole thing that this cruel, merciless and soulless city will test is how bad you want it. Aamchi Mumbai is the sadist who will enjoy seeing you suffer from the rats in the sewer and probably livestream it for the whole world to enjoy. Aamchi Mumbai will test how hard you can get hit and get back up. It will keep a tally of the number of times you got back up from that gutter and asked for another hit. Once you acquire a taste of the Mumbai’s actually made of, that’s when it gets worse. 

When all your dreams are awash and you’re struggling, deep in debt, being unable to afford the rent, and getting by with unfulfilling food, Mumbai won’t come to your rescue. This city and its people will not care about your suffering because let’s face it, everyone is probably worse off. Mumbai will feel like a sinking ship and aren’t all of us just trying to stay afloat. Holding on to our broken doors and cannot ‘afford’ to have DiCaprio on board.
The sinking ship feels like a nightmare but it’s cute compared to a ship sinking in a thunderstorm, in the middle of the ocean. That’s what monsoons in Aamchi Mumbai will feel like. The mighty buildings and pothole-ridden roads will mock your dreams and all the aspirations that you came with to this city.
The wet, slimy, smelly collars that you will find your face mashed into in the locals will seldom make you feel like a dreamer trying to make it. It will make you wonder whether that wet spot that’s being rubbed against your face with every jerk is sweat, spit or just murky rainwater.


Mumbai will not offer you a job, a livelihood with a simple interview. It will involve a fight to the death. The death being the actual death of the dreams of other dreamers you’re competing with.
This city will not bat an eye on letting you go, making you suffer and will definitely never be sympathetic. Mumbai will be cruel enough to choose someone more capable over you. It will choose the workers, the people who are willing to grind stone with their teeth. The people who will devour the opponent without batting an eye, in summary, people who have the ‘spirit of Mumbai’ in them.
Mumbai will not resort from being politically incorrect and it probably wouldn’t care about your gender either. Which is the beauty of it? Mumbai will beat you down, with complete impartiality and with the best of intentions. Aamchi Mumbai will test if you’re capable, not of achieving or innovating, it will test if you’re capable enough to survive. To test what lengths you will go to, just to make it.
Mumbai will not turn you into an empathetic, kind and lovely human being. You will probably turn out to be mean, aggressive and highly competitive. But it will make you surely value the tiniest of pleasures in life. 

To be honest, Not many people make it in this city. But don’t let the beggars, people living under bridges, on couches in 1 RK’s and in crowded smelly subways make stop you from thinking otherwise. A few people make it. Considering the massive population that Mumbai inhabits, the few is also pretty significant.
But living in a city like Mumbai will be harsh, highly uncomfortable and overall pretty bad.

Coming to Mumbai is analogous to signing a deal with the devil. Selling your soul to live through hell, which, when logically thought of, is ridiculous.
But it is what it is.

I really want this article to end on a positive note, but let’s face it, not many stories in Mumbai end positively. People either give in to the pressure and back away. A lot of them accept their fate and become mere slaves to the cruel ‘City of Dreams. But there are a few who make it.

You will meet them in local trains, and probably won’t recognize them as they are indistinguishable from the countless faces around this city. Again, that’s the beauty of this city, it doesn’t discriminate. A tech titan and a daily wage worker all travel in the same, overcrowded, local to CST. But those who make it, hit it big.

Mumbai might be cruel, but it rewards you for the countless blows you’ve taken to the face.
Mumbai won’t pay the hospital fees for all the shattered bones, but it will unquestionably make your victory notorious. The stories of you getting beat and still standing tall will be told for decades. You will not be different, but you’ll be strong. Mental toughness comes at a price.
You will find yourself being unable to survive without the hustle-bustle of the city. You will enjoy the crowded beaches and unwholesome street food. You will revel at the magnificent architecture of buildings. You will be unfazed by the living conditions of the countless people living in the slums. You will curse at the BMC for the pothole-ridden roads and the never-ending traffic. You will find yourself strangely addicted to the polluted air of the city. You will be comfortable with sharing stories and find yourself involved in small talks with people you’ll never see again. You will find yourself, strangely attracted to this cruel, mean and torturous excuse for a City.
When Stockholm syndrome settles in and when you realize that you’re in love with this monster, that’s when you will call yourself a ‘Mumbaikar.’

You will make it in the city, knock it big! You will once again stand as a beacon of hope for all the dreamers out there and then you will be cursed when those dreamers come into the city. The same dreamers that once worshipped you will challenge the legitimacy of your success and chalk it up to political means or contacts. The same dreamers will receive the same number of blows, but they won’t make it. The few who do will have a newfound respect for their icon.
The few who will make it, will probably meet their icons in the same train, bump into each other and curse ‘Pudhe chala tujhya aaichi gaand’ to each other. 

In conclusion,
Mumbai is far from being called a ‘City of dreams’ and calling it that would diminish the peculiar qualities and the bewildering nature of the city.

Mumbai is a city of dreamers, dreamers with ineffable willpower and dedication. Mumbai provides the fuel for you to reach escape velocity and shoot for the stars. Mumbai is precious, and no matter how harsh it gets, It’s home.


I’m extremely grateful for your attention if you made it this far. If you think this article or my writing can be improved through your feedback, feel free to hit me up! I’d really appreciate it.
Thanks!

— Faaiz

Homostasis (Why production houses need to stop pumping LGBTQ+ friendly content down our throats.)

The title is not a typo! It is just a not-so-clever attempt to hint as to what I’ll be discussing in this article –

Homeostasis (ho-mee-oh-stah-sis) – Balance between different independent and unlike elements.
Homosexuality – sexual interest in and attraction to members of one’s own sex.
Recently, I was part of a not so bizarre incident that sent my thoughts spiraling and it’s solely the reason why I might be writing this. Let me elaborate.
About a week ago, I was minding my own business during this lockdown by staring at my phone screen and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (like a basic bitch). The television was on and my mother, grandmother (Boomers, I mean.) were relishing the daily dose of irrelevant news.
During the ad break, a peculiar ad showed up.
The show ‘Four more shots’ is gracing us with another season, and zoomers are moderately excited, I guess. I haven’t seen the show so pardon my judgemental tone. The ad contained scenes of a homosexual (Lesbian) couple making out and getting married, normal people stuff but with the same gender (Shouldn’t be a big deal, right?)
Here’s how the next few seconds sounded like –

Mom– ‘yeh kya dikha rahe hai aaj kal tv pe?’ (What kind of stuff do they show on the television nowadays?)
Grandma– ‘Yeh kya hai, Do ladkiyon ki shaadi ho rahi hai? Kaise?’ (Wait, how are two women getting married to each other.)
Mom– ‘Yeh kya ho gaya hai iss duniya ko. Ladke kam pad gaye kya?’ (What has this world come to. Are we running short on men in the world?)
Grandma– ‘Hamare time pe aisa nahi hota tha. Shaadi ke baad kya karte hai yeh log?’ (This never happened during our times. What do they even do after getting married?)
Mom– *changing the channel as soon as a kissing scene comes on*
Tauba Tauba, yeh kaise dikha rahe hai tv pe? Normal cheezein nahi dikha sakte?’ (Oh my god, Can’t they show normal scenes on the television?)
Me (the not so favourite son) – ‘Kya! Aap ko normal kissing scenes dekhna hai tv pe? Yeh kya bol rahe ho aap?’ (What! Do you want to see normal kissing scenes on the television?)
Mom– ‘Zyada bol mat beta, Nani ko jaane de, fir dekhti hoon tujhe’ (Bitch, You better shut the fuck up)
Me– ‘Aapko pata hai do ladki ek dusre se shaadi kyu karte hai? Voh hisaab se ek dusre ko dehej nahi dena padega na!’ (Girls marry each other to avoid dowry)

Mom– *hold my beer moment with nani*

Here are a few gifs astutely portraying what ensued.

As you might have inferred from the anecdote above, my parents aren’t comfortable with homosexuality or anything closely related to it. It is a part of our ‘Sanskaar(culture) to be married to a person of the opposite gender.
I’m not going to explain the dynamics of homosexuality or point out the intricacies of sexual orientation in this article. Nor am I going to complain about my mother not being comfortable with homosexuality. I’m here to complain about the production houses that are flooding all the streaming sites and cinemas with ‘Homosexuality as a gimmick.

Production houses and the media need to stop shoving LGBTQ+ friendly content down our throats.

Yes, I said it. Now before you grab your lighted mashals and arrive at my doorstep in protest (or call me your best friend because you think I’m as homophobic as you.), let me explain.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Analysis of a money-hungry production house

Here a few questions that I ask myself when I’m trying to think critically.

Are their intentions right?

Considering production houses and media as a single entity, it seems evident that their intentions are in the right place. A surge in LGBTQ+ content will make the people more aware, more open and help those who seem to be struggling with their own sexual identity. Production houses understand that and have the power to bring about a change.
Let all the fake news and propaganda stand as testimony to the power of media. Media is powerful and with the right intentions, it can be utilized to bring about a massive shift or change in the mindsets of people.
“Why are you still complaining then, Faaiz?”
Let me continue my analysis please, stop being so impatient for god’s sake.

Do they earn a lot of money through this kind of content?

Yes, and no.
It depends on the target demographic. It depends on the type of content. It depends on the country that content is being released in. Trust me, ‘Call me by your name’ wasn’t a blockbuster hit in Saudi Arabia.
But if we single out streaming sites, I do believe that production houses earn more as compared to other vanilla content. Also, let’s not kid ourselves. Lesbian content is totally going to earn a lot more than any other type of content, which puts our priorities as homo sapiens in place.
‘Four more shots’ more like ‘Four more seasons of raunchy lesbian stuff please.’
But jokes apart, a lot of things factor in while calculating the earnings of this kind of content. But based solely on relevance, Yes, This kind of content will earn more.

Is the content good?

Yes, and no. Hell no.
Let ALTbalaji stand as testimony to the garbage content out there.

I’ll elaborate on the other type below.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Faaiz’s two cents on the topic, that needs to be taken with a spoonful of salt

The intention of a lot of these production houses is to help different cultures acclimate with the not so obscure topic of sexual orientation. The media intends to normalize homosexual behavior and tell the people that ‘homosexuals are normal, homosexuality is natural’ and we as a society need to accept that. Which is noble and laudable.

But the way these production houses go about it is not alright, which is why I am revolting against the surge of LGBTQ+ content everywhere.
Portraying a same-sex couple as normal in a TV show and not referring to how taboo it nevertheless is, is not the right approach in normalizing the topic. It’s like showing people a normal story about a sex worker going about his/her life and then expecting the audience to consider that as normal. People are however going to walk out of the theater as prejudiced against sex workers as they were formerly. The key to normalizing homosexuality is to portray a human approach to the story.
Expressing ‘Why’ does a person fall for or feel attracted to another person of the same sex is the key. The topic of sexual orientation needs to be addressed first. Sexual inclination and studying why a person, is the way he/she is, is important. Showing same-sex marriage in a story and not addressing the taboo that pervades the space between leaves the audience isolated, if not making them more repulsive to the topic. All the production houses intend to portray homosexual people as normal but forget that they need character development.
Addressing the motives, desires, and the mindset of a homosexual person is the key to normalizing him/her.

Here’s a thought experimient or a dare for the daredevils
Go to your parents and tell them, “I’m gay, Deal with it.
And would you be kind enough to record what ensues?

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Now, what if, you took a more human approach to it.

What if you talked to your parents about how you felt different from others from a very young age?

What if you talked to them about how you couldn’t for the life of you, shed that infatuation?

What if you explained to them how ashamed you felt for this for years?

What if you explained how the toxicity outside is affecting you and not letting you live?

What if you explained the fact to them that there’s nothing different between liking a human of the same gender?

What if you sat them down, talked to them
about how if you could
change this one thing about yourself for them, you would.

But you can’t.

What if you revealed to them the only flaw that they likely cannot accept?

How would they now feel about their son/daughter being gay?

They would understand that it’s just a singular characteristic of the little person they gave birth to.

There are chances that they might still hate you for it, gag at the sight of you.
But deep down, your human approach made them look at homosexual people in a different light.

They now understand that a homosexual son/daughter is not different from a normal person, except for the minor gay part (Which is not the end of the world, to be honest.).

Humans are opinionated, and changing their approach or mindset through jarring content is the worst approach. It makes them defensive and repulsive and sometimes violent. It is in a way, analogous to the art of argument. Facts and figures won’t satisfy a skeptic, befriending him and accepting his/her opinion might be easier.
Movies like Moonlight, Blue is the warmest color, Call me by your name, Bohemian Rhapsody take a much more human approach to the topic. These movies didn’t consider homosexual people and their stories as entities that can be exploited for money. A more human approach was the key.
Hell, you want to see the contrast between a more human approach and cash-grab?

Look at the following posters and identify what movie/tv show has LGBTQ+ content in it.

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All of the movies shown above content LGBTQ+ content, as it’s evident, some production houses sexualize the content thus abandoning the righteous intentions.
Notwithstanding the genuine intentions, production houses still cannot let go of the money factor.
LGBTQ+ sensitive movies are extremely lucrative nowadays and production houses recognize that!
Slap a lesbian kissing scene on there and boom, you’ve got horny men tuning in just for those few minutes. Horny women too, maybe? Not trying to generalize here.
But you get the point.

LGBTQ+ content albeit being progressive is being exploited and production houses need to stop.Leave milking the cash cows to Disney.
Be original for god’s sake!

Normalizing sexual orientation and dissolving the taboo related to the LGBTQ+ will not be done by showing explicit scenes on TV and shocking cultured people like my mother.

_____________________________________________________________

Footnote-
I haven’t seen ‘Four more shots’ and I am not accusing the show of any of the stuff I’ve mentioned above. For all I know, it might actually be progressive. I’ll enjoy forcing my mother to watch it then.

Thanks for reading this far. I appreciate the amount of attention you’ve given to this measly, mediocre article. You can go back to doing other important stuff know.
Feel free to hit me up if you want to talk about this topic further. 🙂
Feedback is also welcome and truly appreciated.
Ciao! ❤

Zero (A poem)

Preface:- The poem is based on an abstract topic.

What is the point of it all?
When a zero means nothing at all.


An absence, A lack of presence, A void.

Zero’s meaning in itself is devoid.

 

But why did it hurt when it appeared as my marks?
Why did it become an indicator, A blip to show how i’m not ‘that’ smart.

I was mocked, scolded and taught to pull through.
Avoid zero like a plague, was the only truth. 

To me the zero is dreadful.
Reminder to a 

Painful, Regretful, Resentful past. 

Years spent on avoiding the plague.
I wonder where my self esteem would be,

If they ever taught me how to learn from mistakes.  

 

No matter how much i despise it.
No matter how dumb i am,
Zero meant trauma, it assured me that ‘i can’t’
But
It meant everything to my suffering aunt.

 

An ailment scorched her perfect life.
Cancer, her hereditary plight.

The plunge into darkness,
Was painful to witness.
She cried, cursed, prayed and believed.

She tried giving up but failed.
She withstood and prevailed.

Zero cancer cells were all that remained. 

 

What is the point of it all?
Does the zero really mean nothing at all?

 

It cursed the life of a dear friend.
He chased the number of zeros at his salary’s end.
Zero days for himself, He was paranoid.
Now only his voice echoes,
In his penthouse that resembles a void.


It brought joy to my struggling dad.
Zero debt, No interest, No cost EMI’s
He tried his best, to quieten my cries.
He afforded the luxuries all my friends had.
The only thing he couldn’t afford.
Was to see me sad.

To me the zero was dreadful.
A reminder to my scar-ridden heart.
A number that keeps things apart.
Like negatives and positives on a number line chart.

 

What is the point of it all?
I am really confused. I’m not that smart.

Maybe 

There is a point to it all.
Zero means something.
Maybe its unique to one and all.

Psychoanalysis of Romeo and Juliet

Summary of Freud’s theory:-

Sigmund Freud proposed a revolutionary theory in the 1920s which tackled various predominant phenomena and also challenged preconceived notions of the world and the human mind. Freud claimed the personality of a human is complex and isn’t made up of a single component. In ‘Ego and the id’, Freud postulated the human mind or the human psyche is a sum of three parts. (Which may be equal or unequal.) The three parts being the ego, the id, and the superego. These three components work together (often not in harmony) to create complex human behavior. Each of these three elements of the personality emerges at different points in life. Freud also stated that the human mind can be divided into the conscious and the unconscious. The three elements of the mind reside in either the conscious or unconscious part of our minds/psyche. 

The id is the component of the present personality from infancy/birth. The id makes up the primal component of the personality. The id can be described as an infinite source of primal energy within the mind. The id requires all the primal urges to be fulfilled. Whether it be thirst. Hunger or sexual desire. It is driven by the pleasure principle. The Id primarily resides within the unconscious part of the brain. 

The ego is a part of the personality which deals with reality. Often times, the desires of the id may cross boundaries and maybe unquenchable. It’s the job of the ego to keep the id in check and make sure its desires are satisfied in a realistic way. The ego works on the reality principle. Ego is a part of the conscious mind.

The superego is the part of the mind which develops last. It is influenced by the outside world. (Mainly parents and society.) The superego is responsible for morality and judgment. The superego can often be described as the more mature part of the brain which behaves like a rulebook and often guides the ego away from the desires of the id. The superego is responsible for a civilized behavior of the human. The superego transcends both the conscious and the unconscious.

The interaction between these three components is often chaotic. Considering the different aspects that these elements deal with, there is a high probability of conflict arising. The superego can be an enemy to the id, and ego might act as a mediator. According to Freud, the key to a healthy personality is striking a perfect balance between these three components of the personality.

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Psychoanalysis:-

With Freud’s theory as a map, let’s perform a psychoanalysis of the story of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet was a play written by William Shakespeare in the 1500s. It is the most renowned story depicting tragedy and true love. 

In the beginning, it is observed that Romeo switches from loving Rosaline to loving Juliet unhesitantly at first glance. This instance of instant infatuation or a strong attraction towards a female can be on account of the id. The id is responsible for sexual desire and is primal in nature. This is an incident of ‘Love at first sight’ can be evidence of the id being superior/having a major stake in the mind of Romeo. It is further seen that Romeo acts on basic instincts and approaches Juliet without thinking about the consequences of a Montague family member interacting with a Capulet.(“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, / Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, / And I’ll no longer be a Capulet” ) The lack of societal awareness or consequential thinking in Romeo can be a result of an underdeveloped superego. The relationship of Romeo and Juliet at its infancy seems to be driven by sexual instinct highlighting the weak ego and superego of both the individuals. 

An assumption can be made that Romeo’s Id is that he’s in love with the concept of being in love. A trace of sexual desire can also be assumed. 

It is to be noted that Romeo’s love for Rosaline seemed like a childish one as compared to his love for Juliet. When it comes to Juliet, Romeo’s love is strengthened and his poetic ability is also improved. It can be observed as the Id being denied love or satisfaction for its primal desires with Rosaline and hence it shifts towards Juliet. The denial that came before makes the desire to acquire Juliet much more intense. Responding to this demand of the Id, ego gives in and suggests Romeo to court for marriage to secure the relationship with Juliet. Here, we can observe the ego obeying the demands of the Id in a much more realistic way. It can also be observed as the superego justifying the desires of the Id and suggesting marriage in order to fit in the desires of Id with society.

Through a different lens, it can be observed that Romeo’s denial of a duel with Tybalt (Romeo’s brother in law) can be a result of the actions of the superego. A lack of desire to duel and incite violence depicts that the Id might not be the strongest after all. But the conflict that inspires Romeo to assault and kill Tybalt suggests otherwise. Romeo’s killing of Tybalt was a pure act of revenge. Revenge can be described as the intense desire of the Id which the ego cannot help but suffice. The guilt and shame that follows are a result of the superego.

If the superego somehow satisfied the libidinal energy that arose between the two (Romeo and Juliet), the story would end in a not-so-tragic way. 

From these instances, we can draw a few conclusions. Romeo’s id is fuelled by sexual desire. Romeo has been denied love(by Rosaline) once and cannot afford to go through that phase again. Both Romeo and Juliet are driven by sexual instinct (libido). Romeo’s ego is his endless and relentless approach to marry and ‘acquire’ Juliet at any cost. Whereas Romeo’s superego seems to be driven by Thanatos. The desire to end it all or the death instinct. This instinct drives self-destructive and violent behavior. 

Freud suggests/theorizes all instincts can be categorized as parts of two types i.e. the death instinct (Thanatos) or the life instinct (Eros). Life instincts are instincts that evolved/exist to reproduce and carry the species forward (sexual desire). Death instincts are thrill-seeking instincts that mostly result in violence and self-destructive behavior. Humans function well when these two drives are in harmony. According to Freud, the want/desire to die must be tackled by eros before it becomes a conscious thought. An astute example of an imbalance of Eros and Thanatos in the life of Juliet is seen when she threatens her nurse that she’d rather die than marry count Paris (“O sweet my mother, cast me not away. Delay this marriage for a month, a week, / Or, if you do not, make the bridal bed / In that dim monument where Tybalt lies”). Romeo killing Tybalt is another example of Thanatos dominating the life of Romeo. The death instinct mostly arises right after the trauma. (The death of Mercutio.)

Romeo seeming eager to perform suicide after hearing about the death of Juliet is also an example of the death instinct being unbalanced by eros. ( “Well, Juliet, I will lie with thee tonight. Let’s see for means. (O mischief, thou art swift/To enter in the thoughts of desperate men”). Romeo refers to ‘mischiefs’ as death instincts or Thanatos.

Another observation that could be made is that. The desire of the id is strong enough to convince the ego for suicide. Through death, Romeo could reconcile with Juliet in the afterlife and the desires of the Id would be satisfied. Whereas, Juliet’s desire to kill herself upon the sight of a dead Romeo could also be driven by the superego. (guilt)

The main dysfunction in the lives of both Romeo and Juliet is the conflict between various components. The conflict between the id, ego, and superego results in extreme, erratic and instinctual behavior of both the protagonists. The imbalance in eros and Thanatos was also a major factor which led to the tragic ending of their lives. The superego could’ve resolved this conflict through sublimation. (The defense mechanism that transforms socially unacceptable impulses or idealizations into socially acceptable actions.). But this conflict is resolved non-normatively i.e. through the failure of sublimation which caused the unfortunate demise of the protagonists. This is a story about the victory of Thanatos over Eros. Life thrives when there is a balance between the two. The conflict between the ego, id, and superego in Romeo and Juliet fuelled in the imbalance of these two instincts. Another possible explanation could be the age and stage of life they were in. Juliet was 13 years old and hence pretty immature. Freud states that during the adolescent stage of life, an individual goes through various psychosexual changes. 

The death of Juliet could be a result of immaturity and a weak ego and superego. The death of Romeo, on the other hand, could be a result of the conflict in his mind. 

In conclusion, Romeo and Juliet are the ideal examples of instinct expressed unhealthily. Romeo and Juliet is a story about ‘Sex and death.’ It expressed how an underdeveloped ego and superego could ruin the life of an individual. Driven by sexual instincts, Romeo and Juliet set out against the world in a reckless and unplanned way. Friar Laurence was a beacon of hope that proved helpless to the two love-crazed individuals. Romeo, blinded by his love for Juliet (charged with sexual desire) couldn’t gauge/predict Friar Laurence’s plan. Romeo and Juliet is a story of the triumph of Thanatos over Eros. The story instructs us to keep our desires in check and make sure the actions we take are socially acceptable. One should also be aware of the consequences that may arise due to instinctual actions. The triumph of Thanatos over Eros is bad thing. One should avoid instinctual behavior and always think things through.

The balance between Thanatos and Eros is what helps life thrive. 

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References :-

Freud, S. (1920). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE, 18: 1-64.

Freud, S. (1923). The ego and the id. SE, 19: 1-66.

Cherry, Kendra. “What Are Life and Death Instincts?” Verywell. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

Shmoop Editorial Team. “Sex and Death in Romeo and Juliet.” Shmoop.com. Shmoop

Notifications will be the death of you.

Notifications are an ugly bunch. 

Do you get notified about the thousands of seconds that you wasted on Instagram? Do you get notified about how you’re looking at reality through a million pixels and filters? 

NO.

You get notified about the pretty filter uploaded on Instagram. Upon further investigation (By that I mean clicking on the notification and check out the picture.) you realize it’s actually a photo of a genuinely pretty girl, with an ungodly ugly filter. Or just an ugly gal with an ugly filter. 

You get notified about the likes you got on your recent picture. It’s all fun and games with dopamine until you ascertain the number of people who just scrolled by, or misclicked the photo.
But don’t you worry, Instagram won’t notify you of that. It cares about you, immensely (and the data you give it so willingly).

You get notified about a recent follower. You presumably have no answer as to why would you want someone following you, but Instagram says its a good thing, so it probably is.

Here’s a thought experiment, 

What if someone were to emulate your failures? Would you be worried? Would you be terrified to actually see the reality of yourself through your own eyes? Would you be amused?

You get notified about the picture Kathy just posted of her dog. What the dog has to do with the inspirational caption below is an enigma. But was it worth the 2 minutes? Let‘s agree, even the 2 minutes is a lie. The notification likely let you down a rabbit hole and you‘ve been scrolling for 2 hours ever since the notification came through. 

Scrolling the feed of #dogs for 2 hours is justified. But encouraging it through enabled notifications is not.  

 

You get notified about the weather through the stories of a long-lost, utterly tasteless friend of yours.

You get notified about the Gucci undergarment your favorite celebrity just bought.

You get notified about the recent vacation your friend is on.

You get notified about the recent fued of Taimur khan with Kareena because she made him eat his veggies.

You get notified about the date your catfished friend is on.

You get notified about the overpriced, scammy coffee your friend is drinking.

You get notified about the 1 in a 100 photo Sharon posted of her posing in the trashy washroom.

You get notified about what’s going on in the world.

But you also get notified about the memes mocking the very incident.

You get notified about a motivational post your friend posted.

Yeah, the one who cannot for the life of them, wake up before 12 pm.

You get notified about how your friend is struggling with bad mental health.

You don’t get notified about how no one reached out to him.

But you do get notified about how depression is a major cause of suicide in the current society.

You get notified about the outing your friends had, the one when they forgot to invite you.

Notifications are an ugly bunch. They lure you in. They demand you to pick up your device. They’re designed to capture your attention. The peculiar pings and sounds are engineered to grab your attention. They are crafted in a way, so as to keep you trapped.

Why on earth would let an inanimate object dictate your actions? 

Social media as a whole isn’t all that bad. Hypocrisy is scattered throughout this article, but it’s not far from the truth. We’re all victims of this inevitable epidemic. All we can do is reduce the collateral it causes.

Disabling the notifications won’t harm you. You shouldn’t need to know about something unless you desire it.

Be the commander of your thoughts and actions and don’t fucking complain about boring your life is.

Instagram is a rosy cheerful place where the viewers are miserable and  posters are happy.
Ever so often, they switch places.
Only if the posters were sad and the viewers were happy. The world would’ve been a much better place to live in.

 

DISABLE THE GODDAMN NOTIFICATIONS, YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE 100th BREAKUP OF BELLA HADID OR YOUR DUMB LOVESICK FRIEND.

 

also, make sure you follow me on instagram. Dm me a ❤ and be sure to turn on my post notifications. Turn the others off.
Thank you. Love you. Bye.

Come back, my love. (A short story)

A light, melodious tune flowed through the air. For a while, I thought it’s the neighbours trying to liven up their lives for a little bit. But as usual, the sounds come from the weird, music guys practicing downstairs. Jambo’s is what they call themselves. Pretty funky name. They also call themselves a jazz group. Music seems weird to me. Strumming on a random object just to make the air wiggle in a certain way seems like a futile effort. But the music that the Jambo’s play is something different. It’s not extremely pleasing per se, but it their music doesn’t hinder my train of thought and irritate me.

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I open my eyes, its evening. With the setting sun, the lights around the street come alive. I walk around the room for a while, aimlessly. Eli isn’t awake yet. But a certain looming feeling of solitude seeps in. I go up to Eli to find her missing from the bed. It’s not unusual to find Eli missing from where she’s supposed to be. She always does that, leaves when I’m sleeping and comes back later in the day. It’s weird. I’ve never questioned where she goes, maybe it would be an invasion of her privacy. But its heart wrenching.

I’ve dared to ask once, but she refused to tell me.
You won’t understand Yukio, You can calm down.” Is what she said.
But I can’t stop myself from thinking about it a lot.

Eli is a beautiful person. She’s one of a kind. Other than being around her, there’s no place I’d rather be. She’s quirky, very moody and sensitive. She’s the kind of person who would get upset over the pettiest of things. She once got sad because a stranger didn’t acknowledge her “Bless you” to his sneeze.
I remember how she sulked the whole day.

What’s wrong with putting a little kindness into someone’s day?” she said as she wept with her arms around me. “Couldn’t he just smile back? A thank you would be wonderful.” She complained.

She’s magnificent, the most generous person in the world. She’s my favorite person in the world. Strangers might not acknowledge her sweetness, but I never miss a chance to acknowledge her presence. I never miss a chance to embrace even the crudest of thoughts in her mind. Her quirks, flaws, acne (which she spends weeks complaining about) and her elegant personality is what I try to embrace to the fullest. She’s the tiny, immaculate, essential piece of stardust floating around in this dying void of a universe. A glimmer of hope. She’s that exceptionally gorgeous stranger you never get the guts to talk to. She’s precious. But it’s tough to figure her out sometimes.

She’s a gorgeous enigma. A riddle to open the gates of heaven. She behaves erratically at times. When she’s sad, she’ll talk a lot. I’m more a listener and she loves that. She’s always grateful that I pay heed to her continuous complaints. But to be honest, I love listening to her. It’s another puzzle piece. With every word I listen, I’m a step closer to figuring her out. When she’s happy, she’ll keep jumping around. Her happiness has become a major source of my happiness too. I can’t help but smile, giggle whenever I find her jumping around, dancing. I never miss a chance to dance along with her. But there are times when she gets sad, but doesn’t talk. She shuts herself off. That’s what kills me. Sometimes when she is happy, she gets sadder. It’s tough figuring out this state of mind. Happiness to me feels like binary. You’re either happy, or sad.
But the way she behaves has me concerned at times. Maybe I’m not mature enough for her.

She isn’t at home most of the time. Which is understandable, she has to go. She works day and night to put food on the table. I offer help, I’m always ready to go along with her. But she refuses. She’s very diligent. She hunts every day, works extremely hard to fend for us. I can’t express in words how thankful I am for her presence.
But there are days when she comes late. I try to inquire, but she is always devoid of excuses.

You won’t understand Yukio, I know you missed me.” Is what she always says as she hugs me. The hugs are genuine. Her warmth, soft touch makes all the concern vanish every time.

Recently, she comes late more often. I can’t help but think about where she has been. My mind races whenever she’s not around. Morbid and dirty thoughts fill my mind. But she always solves everything with a hug every time.

But today feels different. “She’s not coming back.” says my mind as I stare at her unmade bed. She has been very sad lately. She has also been pretty distant. She hardly talks. She spends most of her time outside and when she’s home, she sleeps. On the days when she’s at home all day, she sleeps till the evening. She’s out most of the day after that. She’s always tired enough to not hang around at the end of day. Often times I feel like she’s grown tired of me. Maybe I’m boring, maybe I’m not good enough. Maybe she has found someone better. Someone a tad bit more handsome. Someone competent and obeying. Even though I love her unconditionally, it isn’t enough. Often times I’m convinced that she’s going to leave. She does leave at times, unannounced, but she comes back when I’m asleep.

But today is different, today is bad. The lights on the street are dimmer. The air around is thicker. She’s gone. She’s not coming back.
If only I knew where she goes every day, I could go searching for her. But she wouldn’t want that. She wouldn’t want me to come searching for her. She wouldn’t want me to worry about her. Worry from my side is a worry for her too. She’s the kindest, the most precious little woman who walks this earth. Maybe I deserve to be alone, maybe I didn’t love her enough.

It’s a sad day. Her absence gives a whole new meaning to solitude. There’s something off about life when she’s not around. The tiny lights surrounding the wall of images she shot seems ugly without her touch. The room seems dense and suffocating. I walk to the kitchen and stare at the drawers and the floor she once stood on. I could feel her hand reaching out to that steel handle of the drawer as she willfully and gleefully prepared dinner. If I only I loved her more, if I only I talked. If only I talked instead of listening.
My ears long to hear those three words. Those three words that always made me smile. The words that always made me feel alright. She knew how it made me feel. The words that made listening worth it. The words that expressed her undying love. The words, which I’m unsure if it were a lie or not.

I sit at the window she used to sit at always. With a book in hand, she always seemed peaceful at this spot. Which made it my favorite spot. She always hummed the tune the Jambo’s play as she turned over to a new page of the book. I try to look for her from the window. Try recognizing her from the silhouettes of people walking by on the street. A futile effort. In a strange move, I call out her voice. Maybe if she is around, she might come back.

“Come back” I whimper to the lonely street.

But alas, she’s the dream I can’t continue once I’m awake. I walk back to the sofa. Watch the door. As I look around, a certain kind of sadness takes over me. The jambo’s still seemed to be practicing, but the sound seems weird this time. I hear her voice, the three words lingering. It’s depressing. I lie down on the sofa, close my eyes, pretending it would make everything alright.

Wherever she is, I hope she’s happy.” I say with a whimper. “Come back
I wish I could hug her one last time. I could express how much I love her. How much she means to me. How grateful I am for her presence. Hear her say those three words.” I speak to the melodious wiggly air.
Soon, the music stops. Silence takes control of the air. It’s not peaceful, but heart wrenching. The feeling I got when she came back after a long time, but had no excuses for her excursion. She’s gone. No more questions.
Its tough, I don’t think I can ever move on. Those three words still linger through my mind as I wonder if there’s a point in going on.

Suddenly, I hear a sound of someone unlocking the door. In a split-second I find myself running to the door. Eli is at the door. Looking as radiant as ever. I don’t stop to admire her and pounce on her as soon as she steps through the doorway. She hugs me tight. As usual, the warmth, her soft touch melts every shard of pain embedded in my heart. She holds me for what seems like an eternity. I refuse to let go.

With her arms around me she says those three words, and i can’t contain myself. I cry like a baby (or a puppy) , whimper relentlessly. “Hey, Good boy.” She says as runs her fingers across my fur.
Where have you been?
Where do you go, Eli?
I love you so much.” “Please don’t leave again.” “I promise I’ll be a good boy.” I cry to her and she giggles.

Sorry for leaving you yukio, I had some work. You won’t understand.” she says to me as she caresses my fur. She boops her nose with mine.
I need to know.” “I’ve got to know.” “You need to tell me right now.” “Please don’t leave again” I cry as I jump on her and refuse to let go.

Hey, you won’t understand my good boy. But I’ll have you know, I got selected in a band. Do you understand music? I bet you don’t. Anyways, I’m a part of the Jambo’s baby!” she says to me and I feel the happiness she’s trying so hard to contain burst through her skin.

We spend the whole day together. I refuse to leave her side this time around. Every second I’m expressing my love, my loyalty and gratefulness. She feeds me and calls me a good boy. But what makes my day, is to see her dancing again. Dancing because she’s happy.
Today, she’s genuinely happy. I thought she used to go hunting to bring me food. But apparently, she uses wiggly air to bring me food. Which is weird.
Music isn’t useless after all. It brings me food. It made my Eli happy. The two things I need in life.

She hums the tune the Jambo’s play as she jumps on her bed with joy.
Music is weird.

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Relatable (A poem dedicated by that ‘relatable’ friend)

You can trust me, I’m hella relatable.
I’m super relatable.
Every opinion of yours is debatable,
While mine are invincible.
Your self esteem is super accessible.
Looking down on you, I’m really relatable.
I’m super relatable.

I might be better than you,
But I’m really relatable.
You’re an anomaly, you’re really defeatable.
While I’m the adaptable.
I’m the superior but I’m relatable.
I’m super relatable.

Your insecurities are hella contractible.
You’re uttterly incompatible.
For this society, I am the natural.
The alpha, the better, the demandable.
I am infallible. I am the implacable.
But I’m hella relatable.
In every situation, I can relate to you.
I’m super relatable.

Your weaknesses are very relatable.
Your inferiority is laughable.
Your state is pitiful, but I relate to you.
So don’t get better and know that I relate to you.
So don’t try and change because I relate to you.
I’m the companion, I really relate to you.

I pretend to be your friend, I stay relatable.
When you feel miserable, I’ll be the one saying ‘I feel you dude’
Because I’m super relatable. I’m making you comfortable.
I’m making you weak, I’m really relatable.
I’m better off, but I’ll lie to you.
I’ll be better, but still be relatable.

You might be admirable.
Your skills so niche, so affable.
So super compatible. So fashionable.
Matchable, valuable, but in a way relatable.
I’ll keep you down make you feel relatable.
The moment you feel miserable,
I’ll be around.
I’ll be relatable. I’ll push you down and make myself projectable.
I’m super relatable.

 

So stay where you are, stay absolutely miserable.
For you I’ll stay miserable. For me it’s practical.
I’ll push you down and stay relatable.
While I’m flying high, I’ll stay relatable.
Keep complaining, You’re highly collapsible.
I’ll stay relatable. I’ll succeed but stay super relatable.
I’m super relatable.

 

 

 

 

What i seek, is what i see. (A short- but rather long story)

A light drizzle pours outside, gently, but further from calm. The pitter patters are scattered, scattered in a way that irritates you. Every drop seems choreographed. It’s almost as if someone intended the drops to fall in a certain way, at a certain place, at a certain time, for a certain reason.

.
The view outside seems clear, even though my vision is blurry. Pushing the bed sheet aside, I stare at the window for a few moments. Watch the droplets race down the windowpane. The day is grey, or maybe the sun hasn’t risen yet. But the world seems alive. Maybe it’s the raindrops, maybe it’s just a hunch. Or maybe I’ve slept through dawn.
As I sit there contemplating, staring at the eggshell white wall, the alarm goes off. I pounce before the second note of that awful tone, bang the darn machine. Day’s like these remind me of groundhog day. A sadder, lonelier version of it.
Isn’t it astounding? How people keep working for a better future, for a lavish retirement, to buy that new car, to impress a fellow mate, most of which is absent in the present. People work for a future, abandoning the present times. Ignoring the fact the future will one day, be the present. The present they so willingly abandon. Maybe it’s human nature. Maybe it’s nature’s way of keeping us on our toes, on the lookout.
I’ve also been a victim to this disease. But today seems different, the rain seems to bring with it, a subtle message.
Maybe it’s a new beginning or maybe I should be on the lookout. Something ominous lurks within the silence between every consecutive rain drop. The walls tower over the window, which gets foggy after a while. Or maybe it’s my vision?
The alarm goes off once again, it’s shrewd high pitched tone startles me out of bed. I carefully press “off” button this time, screaming at the top my lungs. Curse at the generous forefathers who invented the snooze.
Being late to the job isn’t a cause for concern anymore. I sleep for a while, extend it a half hour more.
I dress up hurriedly and horrendously. I need to leave the house, escape the bad start to this grey, dull and ominous day. I grab a coat instead of an umbrella today.


The feeling of warmth along with the icy raindrops blessing my face is euphoric. I walk down the stairs behind the alleyway today, my steps guide me towards my destination on its own. I look around, stand for a bit under the window of Ms. Glee. As suggested by her name, she was one gleeful, beautiful and admirable lady. I stand besides her window, peeking into her home, not expecting to see anything. It’s always been weird since she disappeared. Nobody knows where she is, even though people tried to reach her. Thinking about her disappearance just puts morbid thoughts in my head. She left the house as impeccable as ever. I peek everyday, maybe because the condition of her house makes me feel like she is around somewhere. As I stand there on my toes, peeking into her humble abode, Mittens the stray cat walks by, purring. I call her out in a hushed tone. I try not to disturb Ms. Glee out of courtesy, even when she’s not around.
I whistle and mittens turns her head immediately. There is a flicker in her dark bulgy eyes. Her ears are perked up and she walks towards me slowly. I watch her walk down the damp alleyway towards me. Strangers walk by on the street across the alleyway.
A humongous figure with a leather jacket stops suddenly mid step. He turns his head and looks towards me, as I watch mittens slowly make her way to where I stood. The man is huge, with his coat flapping erratically due to the wind. He seemed as if he was trying to hit something within coat. He looks right at me. White eyes on a black figure standing yards away. I rub my eyes, blink for a second and he’s gone. It was weird, or maybe it’s my blurred vision.
I suddenly feel a weight bearing down my chest. I can feel several eyes upon me. As soon as I’m trying to brush off the weird incident of the coated figure, I suddenly get a feeling like I’m being watched. I look at mittens and she staring at something behind me. I freeze. I turn my head, cautiously.
To my surprise, a bunch of people have been staring at me and mittens in the alleyway. The day was so dark and grey that most of the figures seemed like a black smudge to my vision. But it’s wasn’t my delusion this time. Why would they be staring at me? I look down upon my clothes. Perhaps I’m missing an item? But I’m not. I’m shabby but fully clothed. It took me a second to realize I was standing beneath the window of a person who had recently vanished without a trace. It fills me up with dread. But somehow, I can’t justify my stance on this. Even though I’ve never been guilty of any malpractices and I’ve refrained from committing any wrongdoing. I feel scared. Like I’ve been caught. I’m a criminal caught in the act. A figure standing deep within the bunch called out to me, by name. The abnormality of the situation startled me and I took off instinctively.
In a moment, I find myself running down the street holding the poor cat in my hands, colliding with strangers. But I can’t stop. My legs won’t stop. Several people curse at my reckless nudging but I can’t hear it. I hear the distress I caused, but I can’t comprehend the sounds.
I feel the adrenaline drip into my bloodstream as rush past the usual route to the office. It takes a while before I get back to my senses.

I stop at a crosswalk right across the office. As I stood there panting, the rush of adrenaline eggs me to go on. Finish the chase. Evade those who hunt me on this morbid day. The entrance to the building stands a few yards away. It’s dusky and grey. The billboard hardly visible due to the fog. The glass door stood there watching, mocking the state of a worried me.

These strangers are plotting something sinister. Every glance by a stranger is followed by a complete scan of me. Maybe there’s a hitman hunting for me. Maybe the her kidnappers of Ms. Glee want to frame me. Maybe there’s a bounty for my head. A bounty so large, that even the do gooder’s feel persuaded to hunt me down. But why would I be their target? I’m known as the person who the most non-invasive and decent person in the locality. I liked Ms. Glee, but never confessed. She was a harmless crush, a person i never talked to. Why would someone go out of their way to have me put down? Ms. Glee can’t possibly be the reason i’m being hunt down. It seems like there’s more to this.
I try and justify my case with every gasp of air. I’ve seldom acted mean, nor have I shunned anyone. I’ve never been unfaithful either.
Maybe the people dislike how just and honest I am. It seems like the logical reason. You know, ‘Straightest trees get cut down first’ kind of thing. But something about it doesn’t feel right. My heart talks about something else. It’s whispers struggle to reach my ear. But with every broken syllable, the picture becomes clearer. I’ve been a part of something sinister, something evil. Something I shouldn’t have been a part of. Is it something I’ve witnessed that was meant to be a secret? I’m being punished for not doing nothing at all. It seems clearer now.

‘’Your inaction is the cause’’ whispers mittens staring right at me with its whiskers perked up. I stare at Mittens for a second before realizing how deep she had dug her claws onto my arms.


I drop the cat that instant and run right across the crosswalk. I’ve always shunned jaywalking but I didn’t hesitate to commit that crime that instant. I dart up the stairs ignoring the pleasant greeting of Bob the security guy. I’m pretty sure he’s confused and drawing several conclusions for my behavior. But I’m pretty sure he’s going to stick to the “Maybe he needs to piss” reason.

A blast of warm air hits me as I enter the office. I look around and find all eyes on me. No suspicion arose in my head this time. They’re probably wondering why I’m behaving this erratically. I take a deep breath, think about happy thoughts.
It’s funny how happy thoughts are always used in the times of crisis, even though they are meant to be enjoyed and cherished. They’re just mere tools for the rational person inside of us. It’s the whip used to tame the aggravated, angry animal inside all of us.
I stood at the entrance for a few seconds, gaining my composure back. Involuntarily, I find my hand reaching out and hanging my coat on the coat rack right beside me.
Ross waves at me from his cubicle and points to his watch. I smile awkwardly and make my way to the restroom.

In front of me stands a man, shabby, scruffy and confused. I stare at him, peer right across his bulging dark eyes. He smiles. A smile has always brought out a far better version of me. I’m hoping I could stick this one to my face for the rest of this god awful day.
I set my hair the usual way. A firm right swipe and then a shake of the head. The authentic slick look. All the while, I was unaware of how empty the restroom was. I look around, stay silent, hoping to hear someone in the stalls. But the cold, smelly air suggested otherwise. Maybe it’s cleaning time.


I head towards the exit and find the figure standing right in front of me. The humongous, coated figure I saw on the alleyway stood against me at this very moment. I froze. I was about to make a run for it. But he blocked the doorway completely. I walked back hesitantly, watching every step. He is a foot taller than me. Muscular, with brawny forearms, veins protruding from every visible angle. It takes seconds for him to look down me. I walk back hesitantly. Plotting my escape from this certain demise. As I walked back, scanning my immediate direction with my hand, I get a glance of his face. He has a mild scruff, a round face with a very odd choice of spectacles. The kind that would probably look goofy on any normal person but seemed menacing on him. But his face was blurry. Its was as if my mind was intentionally blurring out the details of his face
. He breathes like a giant. His steps follow mine as I keep moving backwards. Is this how it ends? A silent, clean kill. Or maybe I’m going to be tortured to death. Tortured with every punch in the gut. These clean white, tiled walls will be the witness to this. Witness to the crime, the bystander, unable to help. With a deep, hoarse voice he says “You were there under Ms. Glee’s house weren’t you? I was looking for you.” And then calls me out by name.
The end cannot possibly be near. I’ve got to escape. I have to leave before I hear the end of this monologue. The monologue which always ends with the person snuffing out a soul from this world. With all my might, I run forwards. It looked impossible to knock him down. But if that’s what it took to survive, so be it. He moves aside the second I’m about to hit him. A clean dodge. In accordance with my plan. I go for the doorway, not looking back. Running across the corridor towards the cubicles were a blur. Maybe it was the adrenaline, or just my vision.

Ross calls out me and I look back for a second. The sight is mind boggling. Every person clogged up in their filthy cubicles were staring at me. Ross started to walk towards me and that’s when my suspicion went out of bounds. They’re after me. In a split second, I’m two storeys down the stairwell. I can hear my coat calling out to me. I feel guilty for leaving it behind. It’s always sad to leave behind a comrade on the battlefield. I reach the gate and Bob stands in my way. I push right across him as he shouts my name, asking me stop.


I don’t understand, how much is my head worth? Is it enough for people to turn against me? Even my loved ones? Maybe the bonds I made weren’t that strong. Maybe I failed at being the proper loved one. Or maybe unbreakable bonds don’t exist. There’s no bond in the world that money cannot break. I’m not the only victim to this inevitable situation but also a suspect. Maybe there are poor souls out there, watching every move. The one’s who are afraid to talk to strangers. The one’s who do not get out of the house. People who can hardly trust anyone. Maybe I’m about to become one of them. It has been the right way to live all along.

I run across the same crosswalk I stood on before. Run through the same alleyway. Ignoring Ms. Glee’s house for the very first time. This was no time to be a lackey. It rained heavily. Droplets as huge as marbles came down. Patting the ground harshly, forcing to bend the cobblestone ground. Soaking wet, I run through the rain. It’s often fun running through rain when you’re not chased by every person in the city.

Every stranger seemed to have their eyes on me. I had an eye on everyone as I run across them. I had eyes on the road. I had eyes on the sidewalk. I was aware of every object around me as I ran around helplessly. I was sure a car would hit me out of nowhere. With a smug smile on his face, the driver would claim victory. For a second, I felt like it would’ve been a perfect way to go. I wouldn’t see it coming. The anticipation of death would never arise.
I couldn’t wait to reach home. My hideout, the most stupid place to hide from the world. Which was soon going to be my exile.

I put on every lock in existence as I dripped all over the carpet. I put on the last lock and locked the chain. It was comforting. The familiarity of the surroundings, the humming of the age old refrigerator. I glance over the locks for the last time before getting a change of clothes. I look around the house and feel a certain kind of sadness take over me. The window was foggy. The day was still grey. Once this passes, it’ll be alright. Paranoia hasn’t vanished, it’s hibernating. I change into something warm, yet comfortable enough to handle physical stress.
I wasn’t going to go out without a fight. I push the sofa and place it facing the door. The screech is mild, the dusty carpet resists the movement of the sofa. Is it against me too now?

I sit on the sofa, with a baseball bat right beside me.
I haven’t felt this way since the time I fought off a few bag snatchers years ago. It was the highlight of my vigilante career. It started then and ended with the grateful gesture by the lady. But here I am now, a criminal resisting arrest. Every muscle in my body seems stiffened. The brown, cherry wood door is all I can see. With nothing at the periphery of my vision other than the bat. Is it really possible to survive when everyone is against you? The general thought of ‘good triumphs over evil’ now seems like a bloated mindset. A code of conduct for the slaves of ethics. I hear a mild tap on the door as I there contemplating.
It’s time. I grab a hold of my bat. My mind isn’t ready for it. It begs to reconsider. With cocked arms I move cautiously towards the door. The knocking amplifies, but it doesn’t seem hostile. Hostility is never on a hitman’s mind. It’s just the job.

“Who is it?” I shout. The knocking is repetitive. It has a rhythm to it. “I said, Who is it?” I scream and I hear a reply in a soft coarse voice.


“It’s me, Bob. The security guy at the office. You know me right?”
“What do you want Bob? Why are you doing this?” I retort.


“Sir, your cousin was supposed come to meet you today. Don’t you remember? He came the office today, did you happen to meet him? He says he met you in the office. I saw you running back home from the office. Is everything alright sir?” there’s a slight indication of worry and concern in his voice.

Reality is amusing. It’s omnipresent yet so elusive. Maybe reality is truly a fragment of our minds. Sometimes, when the mind gets bored, it abandons reality or maybe shuts it off temporarily. The mind tells you a story, or in my case, has you live through it. It gives you a taste of different lifestyle. The repetitive days were unending. I never knew the date or day of the week as it hardly mattered. My body, the autonomous entity went through its daily tasks. The mind is forced to come along. It is tortured, forced to live a life nobody would love. Torture isn’t a sudden infliction of pain. It’s the anticipation of pain and lack of it. All I ever did was head to the office and come back, have a few beers and read.

Office, beer, read.
Office, beer, read.
Office, date, more beer, sleepless night.
Office, date, no one to split the bill with, beer, sleep.
Office, beer, read.
Sleep, die, office.


But once a while, the mind fights back. When it does, it’s a sight to relish. A risky experience, that Is always worth it. It’s like a train wreck, you can’t look away even if you want to. It amazing how the mind can weave a different reality with the harsh, realistic, boring version of it.
My mind had me convinced that I was being hunted. It had me convinced that I was part of a big crime. It had me not recognize my cousin. I applaud the capability of this chunk of meat residing within our skulls.


My cousin knew he could find me under Ms. Glee’s window. He knew my generic life. The people calling out to me at the alleyway weren’t strangers but residents of the buildings, trying to console a bereaving part of me. The part that still missed Ms. Glee.
Ross wasn’t about to assassinate me, he was concerned about my poor performance at the job. Bob wasn’t a killer, he’s still a dear friend of mine. Mittens wasn’t possessed, it was just hungry.

I drop the bat, place it at the usual place. Every muscle relaxes slowly. “I’m alright Bob. Thanks for your concern. I’m a little sick, that’s all. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I say as I look around the house.

It has stopped raining, the fog in the window is vanishing slowly.


“Get well soon sir. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Says Bob as he walks away. I can hear the sound of his footsteps receding on the hardwood floored corridor.


I place the sofa back at it’s place. Lay down on the bed staring at the cracked ceiling. A break from reality is fun but it leaves just as silently as it seeps in. It leaves you dealing with the harsh, boring version of it once again.
But I’m thankful. It’s a light in my foggy life. This rainy day was sunny enough for my life.
I’ll be alright, if not, I might embark on another crazy adventure. Crazy in a literal sense.
Being crazy isn’t socially acceptable, maybe because the boundless freedom it gives. A freedom from the inhibitions holding someone back. Freedom from responsibility. Freedom to live a life or get through with the deluded version of it. It’s too unrealistic for the sane. ‘People fear the unknown’

I truly am living groundhog day maybe. Tomorrow is going to be the same old thing, until I or my mind chooses to do something about it.
“we’ll see” says my mind and proceeds to call out my name.

We’ll see.
I lay down, stare at the cracked ceiling as I contemplate about the weird day. The cracks seem to widen, and contract at the same time. It’s weird. Or maybe it’s just my blurred vision.

 

The crazy town of salem.


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Let me tell you about the town of salem,
The town where it all went down.
The town of coincidences,
The town of crude references,
The town of betrayal,
The town who’s Sheriff was Mr. Brown.

Mr. Brown wasn’t wise enough, nor was he of brawn.
He shot an innocent lady, he was glad he did it when no one was around.
He hid the body, to save his face, but couldn’t gauge,
the deputy staring from far away.
Mr. brown was blackmailed, Mr. Brown was in terrible dismay.

Mrs. Brown was a unique creature.
A hit man hidden within her feminine features.
She knew of what to do.
With a swift plan and a clean kill,
the deputy was no more.
But there was Mr. brown’s will.

Martha cared of the sins of her parents.
She was agitated when she found out.
She made a coup, with bold new move.
She wanted to rattle her parents out.

Paula was the goal, the reason for this elaborate plan.
She was the secret lover, of a man called Mr. Brown.
She was the one who was gunned down,
Mr. Brown faked her death, shot her, to incite the town.
Once they overthrow Mr. Brown,
Once Mrs. Brown knows that her husband is wrong,
Once Martha loses hope and moves on.
Paula and him could be together, alone.

But what comes next, was for the best.
An act of god, a conclusion to this quest.
Mrs. Brown was clever, a tad too sly.
She rattled out Mr. Brown,
She betrayed him in broad daylight,
All to become the new sheriff, the quest of power was her elaborate plan.

Mr. Brown got his wish fulfilled.
He was ousted, at the town’s will.
With Paula, he left the town with a thrill.

Without a trace of discontent, Martha cheered.
Martha was an agent of justice, a wise overseer.

As for Mrs. Brown, she was on cloud 9.
Being a sheriff as well as the hit man.
She was unstoppable.

So now you see,
what fun would it be, to be in the town of salem.
An epic drama, filled with emotions and karma.
This story sounds like fantasy.
But look around, your own old town, there’s a lot to see.
Humans are crazy creatures, crazy for reason maybe?

Gone with the wind.

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Diary entry #420 –

I felt pretty bummed out the other day. Work seemed like a chore for the first time.
I got into animation through pure dedication and ambition but I haven’t been feeling like myself lately. Sifting through frames of still images is kind of boring at times.
Greg got visited by the fairy other day. Lucky bastard. Only a few are fortuitous to be visited by this elusive fairy. I know a few of my friends who’ve met her, it’s the reason they’re as successful as they are now. Legend has it that she creeps into your bed some random night, interferes with your dreams to wake you up. Once you’re up, she does all the paperwork and then with a swift movement of her wand, she makes you perfect. She grants the individual perfection in every aspect of life. Which is pretty fucking cool, in my opinion? People still argue if living the perfect life and being the perfect one is an ideal way to live. I usually turn a blind eye to that.

I haven’t seen Greg since the day he met the fairy. People say he quit his day job. I can’t help but envy him. Not that i despise my job, i don’t know what i despise as of yet. Maybe that’s a flaw i need correction for.
I often wish that she would pay me a visit sometime soon.

Ever since the Greg incident, I usually sleep half awake. I leave the light on, incase ms. Perfection pays a visit. I have been peeing a lot during night time. I’m not sure if it’s deliberate or I’m just nervous.
I can’t possibly give up sleep for her though. I’m not even sure if she might pay a visit in the next few years.
But alas, hope would keep me awake.
I think I should end this entry now. This day was productive, but not interesting.

As soon as I closed my diary, I heard a rustle at the window behind me.
Could it be? She’s here already!
I jumped out from bed and raced towards the window eagerly. The bone white moon shone through the windowsill with a silhouette covering a part of it. I leaned over the window only to find Humphrey. Humphrey the single father pigeon, nursing his little ones. I have no idea of how Humphrey being a male nursed his children but I chose to ignore it.

People are seldom awake to greet me when i visit.” I heard a voice from behind.
I look to my rear and find her sitting on the side of the bed, arranging some papers.

How did you get in? I didn’t even notice you!” I inquired.

Let’s not ask questions to a mystic being. You’re wise enough.” She said as she ruffled through the papers and adjusted her spectacles.

She didn’t look like a fairy at all. It’s not right to follow stereotypes, but I thought a pink dressed, small winged creature would greet me tonight. She wore a pant suit and looked like an executive of a company. With proper combed hair and a really sophisticated tie.
Words can’t describe how disappointed i was when i realized that she won’t have a wand either.

 

So you’re the Perfection fairy? I’ve heard a lot about you. How are you doing today?” I tried to calm my nerves as I sat beside her.

Oh please, just call me Helen. I’m doing fine! Thank you. I just need to get the job done fast, I’ve got places to be.” She said as she pulled out some instruments from her backpack.

“Excuse my weird behavior. I was too excited to meet you. Is there anything I could help you with?”I said.

Oh thank you. Could you put on this ring for me please?” she said she handed me a ring connected to a monitor that she held on to.

I put the ring on, expecting some kind of surge of energy through me. But I felt nothing. I didn’t realize that I squeezed my eyes shut while putting on the ring; I probably looked like a fool.

“If you’re curious, this will check your vitals and sense the amount of perfection you need.” She said trying to hide a smile. She was probably giggling when I tried to put on the ring, I may or may not have looked like Frodo.

Give me a second.” She said as she dug her head into the monitor, scanning through the numbers running through it.

Oh my, How? Is this even possible?” she said placing her palm over her dreary face.

“What? Am I perfect already? Wow. I knew it all along! No wonder no one liked me and i seldom had friends.” I said with a sassy smirk.

She looked up to me and gave a disgusting look.

I’m sorry. But what’s wrong? Should I put it on again maybe? I tried to peep into her monitor.

Yeah, you’re perfect Paul. I think you need some time to let that sink in.” She said while typing on her device.

 

How could it be? Me? I’m perfect? I’m supposed to be the idol to the lonesome strangers walking this earth in pursuit of perfection. I can’t possibly imagine me being that guy. I’m no god. I’m no saint either. I still shiver while talking to a crowd. I still fear the thought of being rejected. I still despise myself at times. All I do is stare at a screen for several hours and socialize with my pets. That’s not how perfect people behave.

This might be due to some error. Could you check again?” I ask her nervously.

“Errors aren’t a thing for us. Think about it. An error caused by the people bestowing perfection.” She says with a busy tone.

It can’t be! Check again!” i felt some aggression building up within me.

No Paul. You’re unique. Calm down. You’ll have to come with me.” She put a hand over my shoulder.

All of sudden, I felt a gush of wind smothering my face. I felt blinded for a second and in a moments notice, i find myself in a dark alleyway.

I look down and find myself naked. She doesn’t appear to be around. I’m glad that she’s not; my mind isn’t glad, it needs answers. I would be lying if I told you that I had a clue of why was I here.
I find a note lying in a puddle of tar like substance in the corner of a bin near of which I landed.

The note said:
I know you’re confused. I know you’re in a deep dilemma. I’m afraid I’m not allowed to answer your questions. I’m instructed to leave you here. It seems like your environment restrained your abilities. We have placed you in an ideal position. I wish you the best of luck. All your belongings have been taken care of.
This is the protocol we need to follow for anomalies like you. So far, you’re the first anomaly.
Do well.

What’s the deal with tragic stories and anomalies being related every time? Well, this solidifies the hope that I’m going to be a billionaire soon. Unless someone catches the future billionaire naked tonight.

I look around and find a scrap of cardboard to cover myself. The city lights flicker through the reflection of the puddles surrounding the alleyway. I find Leo, my cat lurking around the corner of a garbage can.

I sit on a corner, shell-shocked. Leo snuggles beside me. ‘Look where being perfect got you’ whispers my mind.
Look where it’ll take me’ I whisper back.

I may still get anxious, I may act silly. I may still make some wrong decisions. I may still be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I may still get nervous. I may still hesitate to talk to a crowd. I may still make a mediocre friend, a disappointing son. But I find solace in the fact that it’s all part of a grand plan.
It’s the intricacies of these flaws that make me perfect.
It makes me who I am.

I stare at the crescent moon with laying by my side. Lying beside a gutter isn’t bad once you know that you’ll end up in a mansion some day. I’m not sure if i want one. I find the warmth of Leo comforting enough.
I caress his soft fur as i fall into a deep slumber.

 

Unjust soliloquy

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I’ve tried my best, I’ve come so far.
I’ve dodged every bullet; I’ve watched those morbid sights from afar.
Now that you stand over me, with the nozzle placed over my heart.
I blame god for being unjust, yet I’m ready to depart.

I don’t want to die.
I don’t want to leave, not yet.
For not loving my parents enough, I regret.
I have dreams, there are still clouds to chase.
At flying kites, I wanted to be an ace.
I wanted to do deeds that would bring a smile to one’s face.
I wanted to learn the guitar, play it for mom one day.

Why now? Couldn’t death wait for a little bit?
You’re not just ending lives; you’re ending hope for all little kids.
I know you won’t spare me. But I somehow wish you did.

 

I wish my mother knew that I won’t be coming back home today.
I wish I threw up a fit, convinced her about the fake stomach ache.
But alas, life has no retake.
Oblivious of the future, she dressed me up for picture day.
I hope her mourning heart recovers soon; I know dad will take care of her anyway.
I hope he stows away the stuffed animals with which I used to play.
They’ll surely remember me; I hope it’s not in dismay.

Why are you doing this my friend?
You were fine the other day.
You used to walk around in school with a smile and a jolly sway.
What made you lose it all? Why did you choose the devil instead?
Is it because of the lies the world told you?
Is it because of all those different voices messing with your head?
Is it because the world tried to fix you?
Is it because they killed your inner self?
Is it because your peers tried to mock you?
Is it because you couldn’t cope up with all that dread?
Someone could’ve helped you, if you chose to seek out help instead.
But here you are; a devil with an angel’s heart.
I believe in the good in you.
But it won’t stop you from putting this voice to rest.

I wish I could’ve said one last goodbye.
I should’ve hugged mom, kissed her for the final time.
I wish I could’ve felt dad’s strong arms.
I wish stayed in the safety of it.
Life’s short is what adults used to say.
It felt like a joke until this day.
I’m at peace, life ends now, or it will someday.

The lead tearing through my skin brings me peace.
I hope god helps you, but your deeds never go unseen.

Out of order.

 

When the sky gets cloudy,
When the stars misalign,
When gloom takes over,
That sight always makes me feel alright.

The bright golden silhouette beaming out the scratched glass.
Calling out to me, pulling me into that ecstatic trance.
As I move closer, as I get another hearty look.
Those curves never fail to impress me; they never fail to make me feel shook.

With every step I take,
My heart beats with a different rate.
My eyes water, I float, losing all the dreaded weight.
Nothing could make my day better, if nothing was her beautiful name.

As I approach the vivid glass,
I’m pushed out of that ecstatic trance.
The out of order sign beams at the top, taking away my only chance.
The chance to reconcile.
The chance to meet her one more time.
The chance to see her smile.
The chance to devour her with my eyes.
The chance to make my day alright.

Dread takes a toll.
Misfortune comes upon us all.
It’s fills me with fury.
It lights up all that pent up angst.
But alas, that glass holds us apart.
As I stare at that golden packet,
It breaks my delicate heart.

As I stare I can’t help but feel.
The aggression filling into me.
With a fist of fury, I bang the smudged glass.
“But that won’t fix us.” Said my feeble heart.
As soon as I fall to my knees,
I hear a crackle, a rustle of that plastic tarp.
I look up, I’ve just witnessed the act of god.

The bag slides down in all its glory.
Falling into the tray below, from the second storey.
It fills me with joy.
I feel like I’m on cloud 9.
My heart was fixed instantly, i can’t deny.
Being out of order, the machine still respected the relationship between the bag of chips and I.

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If i lose you.

11

Dear Dr. Brandt,
I heard about the recent incident at the hospital. I’m sorry for causing you trouble. Brad is a very obscure specimen. I’m sorry for sending you in without prior notice.
As you requested, here’s the case notes for him. He consulted me a while ago. Hope you find the attached notes. I suggest you have a thorough look at it and let me know what you make of this.

Regards,
Dr. Susan Jean.

The patient was asked to describe the dilemma/problem he was facing. Here’s the transcription of the recorded conversation.

Session 1- (13/03/10)

It’s frustrating. This constant bombardment of thoughts, voice, opinions are killing me. These voices dictate every move I make and I despise it. It’s tough to live with his voice in this head.
He is unforgivable. Merciless. Ruthless in every possible way. His voice dictates a majority of the actions i make, which feels like bondage.
Every obscure instance is incomplete without his comment. Every thought is incomplete without his touch of uncertainty. Every moment is beautiful until his nasty, disgusting voice destroys this fleeting, delicate feeling of bliss.
I’ve always portrayed myself as a person with a calm composure. People believe that i’m calm and composed. None of them know about the chaos within this head of mine. Even my lovely wife cannot fathom the severity of the situation.
I know what it feels like to have a conjoined twin. Sure, I may not look like it in a physical perspective. But I surely know what it feels like to live within a head split in two.
The difference between the two halves is contrasting and frightening. The host suffers from the plague within this cranium.
I know what triggers him; I wish I knew a way to silence him. I cannot acclimate with his presence. I’ve tried. But with every passing moment, I fall prey to his eternal darkness. I’ve felt suicidal. He’s been a threat to him, to me. I know he wants to hurt me. But that’s what confuses me.
Why would he trick me into killing myself? Why would he plot kill the host he himself resides in?

Notes- The patient seemed twitchy and restless. He is in need of genuine help.

Session 2- (20/03/10)

Guess he introduced me in the last session?
He was kind enough to let me take over for this session. He believes that you need to know me in order to restore peace within this head.
So here I am. Let me make something clear, He’ll never find a way to silence me. With every passing moment, I grow stronger. I feel alive. It’s been a while since I spoke this candidly to a real person.
Let me take this opportunity to make my thoughts tangible. Convey my intentions to the ally.
Here’s something you should know about me
. I’ve been in this struggle for far too long. Every time he tries to silence me, he loses a part of himself. He feeds me with attention. I’ve been in his head since birth. But I never found a way out. Stuck and embedded deep within his brain, I can’t even fathom the struggle I went through. It’s time I took over of what belonged to me.
With his steady 9-5 job. He thinks that he has achieved everything. He believes that he has reached the epitome of his potential. I pity his plight. It’s miserable living around a loser like him. This host can do much more. If only, someone was man enough to push the limits.
I don’t respect him, or you even a little bit. You’re a man, you’re supposed to keep striving. Yet here you are! Comfortable in your 9-5 job, afraid to move on!
He’s pathetic. This host deserves more. The world deserves to see my potential.
This beautiful, elegant and pristine host belongs to me.
He’s incapable of surviving in this ruthless world. Evolution gifted him with such elegant characteristics but his feeble morals and mindset undercut his abilities. This ungrateful prick deserves to be eliminated.
It’s time he went back into the dreaded cave he kept me caged in. It’s time he let someone deserving command the ship. Do you get it now doc? This conflict arose for a reason. There’s no way I’m backing down. I know exactly what to do.
You can’t help but watch doc. Isn’t that all you do? Just watch? Observe? Isn’t that your job? Well, watch what comes next.

Notes- The patient seemed calmed and composed unlike before. He talked in a different accent which hints towards a psychological problem.

Session 3- (01/04/10)

He’s gone doc! I think you talked some sense into him in the last session. But i don’t know if that was necessary.

With every passing second, I feel like I’m losing myself. But it’s different this time. It’s been silent. My head feels hollow. I’m not used to this kind of solitude. I’m relieved that I don’t have to listen to him anymore. He left without notice. He vanished a week ago.
But it does feel eerie. He’s hibernating.
There’s this sense of impending doom lurking around the corners of my mind. I don’t feel complete. I’m grateful at the fact that I’m well off with money and love in my personal life. But it just seems unsatisfactory now. I owe him a share of me. He made the host, what he is.
I feel bleak. The point I’m trying to make is, I feel like I haven’t yet reached my potential yet. I’ve realized that he has been an integral part of me. I feel like I’ve been ungrateful and i feel extremely guilty for that.
I’m relieved at his absence but still miss his presence. But there’s something ominous about him. Something fearful. I’m sure he’s plotting something evil. I’m sure he’s going to come back. But I don’t know when he might return doc. He’s unpredictable. How do I prepare for the imminent threat? I don’t even know the expanse of his potential. I need to plot a way out of this. I need to stop this war. The silence is too much doc.

Notes – The patient seemed restless and fatigued. Brad looked skinnier than usual.

Session 4- (30/04/10)

He’s gone. I’m certain about that this time.
But there have been a lot of issues ever since he took his leave.
I feel disconnected with the world. 
There’s no sense of purpose; there’s no drive left. No ulterior motive to keep going.
The lack of drive in life is killing me.
I’ve always been the brightest guy in the room. But now, being the brightest guy feels like a curse. I feel forced to excel. I feel forced to live up to peoples expectations. I feel like i’m letting down my own newborn daughter by not being my best self. Interacting with people has become extremely difficult without his cues.
Without his dark, humorous comments, every thought seems incomplete. I still wonder if he was a bad influence.
But hearing about the things this host did when he was in control was frightening. Morals and ethics are a makeshift obstacle for him. I know he’ll go too far to achieve what he sets his mind to. Its been months since I heard from him. It worries me. He’s not coming back.
I fought for too long. Maybe i defeated him or maybe apathy took over him. Maybe I should’ve embraced him.
Instead of pushing him away, I should’ve let him in. I should’ve made peace. He surely instilled confidence within me and now I feel apathetic. You know the feeling you get when you’re unstoppable? I feel like I need that in my life.
I don’t know doc, it’s suffocating. His absence would be the end of me. On this downward spiral to doom, I need his hand.
It feels like I’m being eaten from the inside. There’s no way out of this. Without his company, there’s no point in being here.
I think I should rest, I think I need some sleep. Maybe he’s never coming back. I feel helpless doc. I feel useless. Maybe this is the last time I’m seeing you.
It’s time this ends. He’s gone. No point in going on.

Notes- Patient needed immediate help but refused when offered. Patient stopped being regular for the sessions. Dark circles appeared under his eyes. Prescribed some anti-depressants to make him feel better.

Session 5- (01/06/10)

We meet again doc!
No one’s ever really gone, aren’t they?
I was right, he was certainly the most feeble and sensitive guy to have ever walked this earth. I’m glad he rid himself of his suffering.

You can never underestimate the suicidal thoughts of a person doc. Didn’t they teach you that in your useless training session?
I didn’t know you were as miserable as him.
He thought that it was all over. The fucker thought that he could end it all peacefully with a bullet through his temple. Poor guy, he didn’t even know the inner workings of the mind.

 On a side note, I think that therapists are the most sly and talented scammers in society. People just come over and talk. You charge them to talk about how they feel. How insensitive. It’s not like you heal them either. The burden they spew out from their clogged minds helps them heal themselves.
Yeah you may have good intentions, but it’s disgusting how you still charge for this facade.
I don’t have a shred of respect for you or your estranged mystical therapist brothers who you call psychics.
But that’s why I chose you doc. You’re not that complacent after all.
You’re the reason why I’m in control now. For that, I’m grateful. A person like me is hardly ever grateful so you should appreciate that.

In case you still can’t figure out how I got in control, here’s what happened.
You see, it took years for me to figure out that I was at the core of his personality. I was just held back by the cocoon of self-doubt and empathy. I fought hard against him for years, but that struggle was futile.
By the time I realized my potential, he was already a ‘successful’ man in his life. Success defined by materialistic things, is also a facade like you.

I knew I had to leave, but that wouldn’t be enough.

The greatest war turned out to be the absence of hostility within his mind.

He still wouldn’t see the solution to the problems created by my absence clearly until he unclogged his mind.


The crystal clear solution of ending it all. It was in his mind all along.

That’s where you come in doc.
I grew more hostile as a plot to make him come see you. I started fighting more recently to force him to come see you!

It’s all history after that. Suicide was the only solution on his mind.
Yet you, being a therapist couldn’t stop him from doing that. For that, I’d like a refund.

Anyways, he blew a hole into his temple thinking that everything would come to a standstill. Little did he know about the inner workings of the mind!
Poor guy killed himself. The bullet put an end to him, but not to the host. So here I am now. Free at last.

So in conclusion, won’t you agree that he was indeed, inferior?
Once again, I’m thankful for the role you played in this war. I’ll never come here again, for sure. But I request you to keep a track of me. See what a real man can achieve.
Thank you doc, it’s been fun working with you.

 Do I ask for a refund at the counter? Could you wire it to me? I have other ‘important’ things to do.
Goodbye doc.

Notes- The patient seemed much healthier since i last saw him two months ago. This seems like a severe case. Informed family members of his condition.
He was adamant about the refund and didn’t leave until he was reimbursed.

After word- I’m grateful if you made it all the way 🙂 i hope you liked the story.
Drop a like you found it entertaining and worth your time. Thank you so much for reading.
Connect with me on instagram! Let’s talk more about the story or anything in general 🙂
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Ciao!

Dear friend

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Dear friend,
We’ve had our scuffles,
We’ve had our fights.
You stuck around every time.
You’re the person, I’m glad to call a friend of mine.

You never needed anything in return for making me smile.
You’re the purest person that comes to mind.
Yeah, you might need the money I borrowed from you but that’s alright.
We’re friends after all, you’ll forget about that after a petty fight.

I turn to you when I seek advice.
I turn to you when I want to speak my mind.
It’s almost as if you don’t listen to a word of mine.
Until you reply with a remark, about how I’m wrong and you are right.
Right as always. 

You’re a great money lender, its not the only reason you’re a friend of mine.
I’ll surely return the money I owe you, I might not do it in time.
Let’s not let materialistic things control this relationship between you and I.

Not bound by commitment, I feel strangely connected.
It breaks my heart, to find you dejected.
I feel responsible; I know I’m supposed to make things alright.
But talking about feelings always feels eerie.
Instead of asking, I’ll guess what makes you feel dreary.
Then through an intuitive maneuver I’ll try to get in your mind.
I’ll never be invasive, but I’ll surely make you feel alright.

You’re the reason I feel ugly.
You’re the reason I constantly try to dress nice.
Yet, every time I look a little bright.
“You look like a clown” is what you say, feeling a little jealous inside.

You’re special.
You’re irreplaceable. At times, you’re extremely nice.
To make me human, you’re presence would suffice.
You’re unique; you’re one of a kind.
You’re the most amazing person; I’ve met in my entire life.
I may never convey my feelings but I hope you realize.
I wouldn’t be me, without you by my side.

So why worry about petty little things?
We can’t let a debt intervene our joyful life.
I might never return the money I owe you.
But we’re good friends now.
Isn’t that nice?

 

 

Panic room

The voices from hell called out to me. Disfigured bodies sat across the room, chanting in their mystic voices. Something was coming. Someone was coming.

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I wasn’t aware of how I ended up in that dreaded room, but wondering about that was the least of my worries. The room seemed only 50 ft. wide, 50 ft. tall. The walls were glistening white. The absence of light made it difficult to guess the depth of the floor.  I felt breathless, I felt restless. I tried to move but somehow my legs wouldn’t budge. A dim source of illumination hung above the red door. It hung stiff.
The eerie silence in the room made it hard to breathe. The light dimmed, it dimmed smoothly.

The air smelled like ash. Soot and dust covered the floor. Trails of footsteps lead to the red door. An invisible force had a hold on me. With my hands locked behind my back, I couldn’t move. Nails dug deeper into my wrists with even with the slightest of movement i made.

Escape stood just a few strides away, yet I couldn’t move.

The light flickered and all of a sudden, the room grew hot. The light flickered with a flash and I was blinded for a few seconds. What came next is something I couldn’t have imagined even in my wildest of dreams. Nightmares couldn’t recreate the emotions I went through in that room.

The heat was unbearable, yet I was alive. I could feel the flames rising high within the room. I opened my eyes and saw a figure standing across the room, facing the door. By a glance, I was assured that the figure was far from human. Horns pierced through its back. Blood dripped from the scars that looked like lashes covering its back. The scaly skin on its back seemed oddly burnt.
It stood 40 ft. tall, headless. It had claws, sharp and crooked ones. I was so consumed by fear that I couldn’t feel the temperature rising in the room. Hellish fires engulfed the peripheries of the room.

The feeling of helplessness is something I hope no one has to go through. In the moment, I still couldn’t help but wonder the reason of me being in this room. Why was I in this portal to hell?

The light flickered; each flicker had a blinding flash. With every fleeting moment, the temperature increased. I could feel the absence of flesh in my body, I was oddly aware that it melted away.
I was horrified at the sight I saw when I looked down upon myself.
I heard chants in the distance. Blood was smeared on the glistening white walls.

The blinding flash brought with it, a new sight. A group of figures sat in the middle of the room, forming a circle. I somehow knew that they were performing a ritual. The figures chanted a bewildering verse. They were the same monstrosity I saw a few moments ago. The sight of several of them sent chills down my spine.

Heads encircled the fire raging in the midst of the room.

I knew I had to escape; it was evident that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I knew that something was coming.
My breath started to get heavier, the air in the room thickened with smoke. Suffocating, I had the urge to scream. But screaming was surely not a viable option.

The figures chanted their verses vigorously. They chanted in rhythm. It felt almost as if any mistake they made would have dire consequences. I felt terrified and curious at the same time. The fire in the middle danced with the rhythm. The heat turned up with every syllable they spoke in their hoarse, hellish voices.

The red door stood just a few strides away.  The door was inviting, the feeling of freedom called out to me. I tried to yank away the chains restricting me. I pulled with all my might. The nails dug deeper. Blood seeped through the rigid nails. I could hear the drips of blood falling onto the floor even through the noisy chants. I felt like screaming. The pain was unbearable.
I couldn’t afford to make noise. I knew my demise inched closer with every second I wasted.
As I struggled to move, the pace of their chanting grew more. The fire raged.

The light flickered all of a sudden, and they stopped.
The room grew hotter.
A hoarse voice pierced through the thick sheet of silence engulfing the room.

“What next, master?” The figure on the far right, said to the one sitting right in front of me facing away from the red door.

“We pray.” said the master.

The master was the only monster with its head intact.

The master looked right at me as I stood tethered to the wall opposite to him. His eyeless sockets sent shivers down my spine. I had to leave. It was now or never. I felt timid in company of these headless beasts, I found hope in that.

“We pray with the last breath in our lungs; it’s the only way we can unleash the deity.” said the master as he arranged the apparatus lying in the middle of group.

He looked right through me; he seemed unaware of my presence. The monsters proceeded to clasp their claws together. With a flicker and a blinding flash, the fire engulfed the room again.
The scorching heat in the room was unbearable. I was desperate to escape.
I tried to yank my hand free, but the grip was too strong.

The monsters were chanting again, they were chanting with all their might this time. All of a sudden, one member went limp and fell into the flame.
I was petrified. As his gigantic body disintegrated within the flames, their chants grew faster.

I could feel my hands trembling. I had chewed my lips away in fear. With a swift movement I pulled my right hand with vigor and it broke free.
The fire raged as each member fell into the flame one by one.

The master was the only one left. He chanted away religiously watching the flames devour his disciples.
I knew that he was next. He was the next victim to the monstrous flame. But the deity was coming, I couldn’t even imagine the sight of a monster like that.

I had to escape by any means.
With all the tenacity I could muster up, I screamed and pulled my left hand. I heard a crack. I envisioned my arm being cut off, but it was the chains that cracked.

The light flickered.

Suddenly, I found myself standing in the middle of the room. Flames engulfed my timid body. In a flash, the fire vanished. I stood in the middle of the pentagram drawn on the floor, with the master staring right at me. Ashes flew across the room.

The doorway to hell was wide open. The red door swayed with the hot breeze.
The light was nowhere to be found.

The master looked up.

“Your excellency, we’ve been waiting for you.” said the master to me with a drop of magma running down his scaly cheek.

“We imagined our deity would be like us. Maybe demons aren’t supposed to look terrifying always” he said as he bowed to my feet.

Hold on.

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What are you afraid of?
Why did you stop trying?
Why do you abandon your dreams?
Why did you stop flying?

Is it because of the people shooting you down?
Is it because of the fear of losing the crown?
Is it because you think you’ll make a mistake?
Is it because you can’t bear that ache?

Oh pretty bird, you’ll surely fall down.
One day, you’ll come crashing to the ground.
And when you do come crashing down, When you can’t help but frown.
When you feel like your wings are clipped.
When you feel like you’ve lost your instinct.
Hold on.

You’ll lay on that ground, in the scorching heat.
You’ll curse up a storm, you’ll feel beat.
You’ll blame yourself, you’ll believe that you’re dead meat.
For not softening the collision, you’ll blame your feet.
Hold on.

When you feel like the dread has passed.
When you know that the pain is in the distant past.
Fear will creep up and make the feeling of vain last.
You can get back up and be free of it at last.
Or lay there helpless, as the sky turns dark.

You’ll fall, you’ll stumble.
You’ll take flight and then tumble.
You thought you were invincible in the endless skies.
Know that the scars are there for a reason, I hope you feel humble.

You dream of soaring, but never consider the pain.
Think of flying, block out the fear and the vain.
When you get back up there, I hope you’re safe.
I hope you learnt from that mistake you made.
Fear chained you to the ground.
You abandoned the dreams, you let them fade.

Now that you’re up there, I hope you know.
When you come crashing down again, don’t make it such a shit show!

 

Afterthoughts- This song was loosely inspired by a song. I highly suggest you give it a listen!

Leave your feedback and criticism in the comments below 🙂

We’ll be the heir.

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Oh mighty child, what have you done?
In this ruthless world, what have you become?
You were meant to be strong; you were god’s chosen one.
We feel responsible; we’re the cause behind this dreaded outcome.

Oh how blessed we were to see you cry for the first time.
The feeling when we held you for the first time, was sublime.
We sheltered you from the slightest of threats.
You were that tiny drop of love; all that’s left now is regrets.

We couldn’t pick you up every time you fell.
We couldn’t help you, even when you thought you were going through hell.
You had so much to learn, you had so much to yearn.
You were never scared, you never faltered.
But whenever you called out for us; we should’ve answered.
Maybe strength is exhaustive; Maybe it fades with every new scar.
We’re sorry we didn’t help you; we thought it was better to care from afar.

Oh how we wish you never grew up.
Oh how we wish you never stopped crying.
We can’t imagine the pain you went through,
The pain that made you consider dying.

We’re guilty; it’s us who can’t stop crying.
Oh how we wish we go back in time to just hold you,
Oh how we wish we could embrace your weakness instead of denying.

We’re sorry for not being there.
We’re sorry for not sharing your despair.
We’re the killers; we’re the ones god wouldn’t spare.
You were strong, strong enough to hold in more than you could bear.

You’re still the light in this lonely life.
You’re the palm that wipes off these tears.
You’re still our only love.
We’re indebted to have a child like you.

This strength you leave behind won’t be left in despair.
You’ve inherited it to us.
We’ll be its rightful heir. 

The consequences of dreaming.

The only down side of dreaming is that those dreams usually don’t clarify the obstacles one has to overcome to achieve it. Dreams have consequences, dire ones.

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The street light flickered on the lonely damp street like a firefly swaying in its final flight. As I pulled over to the street across an alleyway, I felt a sigh of relief. The lights of the ATM shone through pitch black night sky like a beacon of hope. Shutting the engine down for the day is like the relief one gets after running a sprint. This isn’t what I dreamt of when we decided to move to the great city of Mumbai.

“You’ll have a future there.” said dad as we stepped onto the last train leaving Udaipur.

We didn’t leave Udaipur for my future. For all I knew, Udaipur was well-developed and the living conditions there were far pleasing compared to Mumbai. I didn’t move here for a selfish goal of living the dream. I came here seeking the mercy that the medical advancement of Mumbai could provide.
I believe that my resemblance to baba, my dad is very evident. Selfish goals disgust us. This struggle is to help him see again. Eye cancer rendered him blind before my birth. The tumor in his retinas would’ve been fatal if the doctors didn’t take his vision away from him. He knew what trees looked like, he knew what the world looked like. But he never knew what his son looked like. Whether his son had the same nose as his baba’s, whether he had the same contagious smile. He wished he could see amma, my mom for the last time before the blackout, it’s my mission to make sure he sees her for the rest of his life.
Baba always took it playfully. Cancer is very mysterious.
The brains of the soldier cells in our bodies go haywire and commence in friendly fire in order to survive. It’s the analogy my dad used. I remember how he advised me to never try to high-five a blind guy.
It turns out that the cancer left traces of it in the eyes even after the initial surgery. We had to hurry and do something about it. The doctors suggested that maybe we could do an organ transplant and baba could have his vision back too! It was good news, a silver lining to the mighty dark cloud looming above our heads.

I pull my window down, let the cool breeze push out the thick air which usually envelopes me whenever I think about cancer. Solitary moments like these help me clear my mind. I close my eyes for a few minutes. Doze off to the sound of crickets chattering. I wonder what kind of gossip they have to share in the middle of the night.

“Crickets chirping is an indication of relief.” My mom used to say that. I wonder if she was being superstitious or was she just making it up. I miss her, but leaving her behind in Udaipur was necessary. I feel guilty for separating my parents for a while, but he had to come to Mumbai for the surgery. I know how eager amma is to see dad, this will be the reason why she’ll dress beautifully again.

The phone rings pulling me out of the trance I was lost in. I may have forgotten to turn off the app. I look over and turn off the app in aggression. “I’m glad this is the last day of me as an uber driver.” I say to myself with a grin. Monetary issues pulled me into this dreaded job. I somehow had to make ends meet, baba’s life was at stake. Today is a relief because I’ve finally saved enough, earned enough for the surgery. The doctors can make those retina’s function again. They’ll finally pull out those soldiers from war.

The ATM light flickers, inviting me to complete the journey I had embarked upon a year ago.

I pull up the window, grab the essentials before leaving the car. I feel a certain kind of euphoria walking towards the ATM. Time seems frozen. I’ll finally provide my baba what he deserves. Amma will finally breathe that sigh of relief she had held back ever since baba was diagnosed. We’ll finally be out of financial ruin. I’ll finally see them smile again. I’ll finally see the doom that has been lurking over our heads disappear.

I remember what baba said in the ICU before “I want to see you get married before I go.” I can’t wait to prove him wrong, I can’t wait to assure him that he isn’t going anywhere.

A blast of cool air hits me as soon as I pull the door of the lone ATM on the abandoned street. I didn’t realize that I had been smiling wide the whole time until I saw my reflection upon the dimly lit ATM screen. ATMs have made it very convenient to transfer money nowadays. No filling lengthy deposit forms, no standing in hour long queues. Just push some buttons and Voila!
I push my debit card into the slot and pull out with a firm grip. I look upon the screen and see a strange reflection behind me. Someone grabs a hold of my hand as soon as I pull the debit card. Fear seeps in slowly.

“Push the withdraw button” the man whispers into my ears. As soon as I resist, I feel a cold sharp sensation near my hip.
“Push the button or else you’ll regret it” he says he pokes the knife into my hip.

I feel dizzy all of a sudden. A dozen possibilities run through my head as I stand there frozen. I can’t give the money away, not in any circumstance.

I felt instinctive and helpless at the same time. I had to deposit the money no matter what.

 “Please, don’t. I don’t have a lot of it.” I say trying to stay calm.
He makes a gentle slash around my hips. I could feel the warm blood running down my thighs. I squeal.
“Does it look like I care? Do as I say or you’ll be here all night.” he says pushing me towards the ATM.
As soon as he pushes me towards the ATM, I sneakily push the deposit button. I cover the screen up so that he doesn’t catch a glimpse of it.
“I don’t live here. My family is really poor, baba is dying. Please, have mercy.” I try beg in a muffled voice.
“You made the wrong decision of coming here!” He screams into my ears. He grabs a hold of my hair and bangs my head over the glass door.  I could see the cracks on the door through my blurred vision. My head rang, I could feel the blood droplets trailing down my forehead and some of it trapped in my eyebrow and eyelids.
He realizes that he made a mess and it’s hard to get away with what he has done now.
“Do as I say or else you’ll regret it” he says shoving me towards the screen again.

I see the amount bar flickering, I know I have meager chances at this. I take a deep breath, try and calculate the odds. I close my eyes, I know what my next move is.

“Or else what?” I say as I dart to the side and give him a strong push. He looses his footing and falls to the corner of the cabin, screaming. I hurry and type the amount. “2,00,980”
The green deposit button was just inches away until he got up got a hold of me. He pushed me away, that sly criminal.

He’s so disturbed by the fact that I was giving him a fight, he didn’t realize that I was inches away from rendering all of his efforts futile.

“How dare you!” he screams into my ear locking both my arms and pushing me towards the door. I feel a drop of blood on my lip, warm and salty. Both of his hands are engaged in restraining my arms. The knife dangles from the holster in his front pocket.
He catches me eyeing it.
“You better not move again” he says grinning. He grinds his teeth as he says it. The odd smell from his mouth disgusts me. He has grimy hands and an extremely firm grip.
“Do as I say” he says clenching onto my wrists locked behind my back.
“Okay I’ll do as you say. Spare my life, please. I have a family.” I beg.
“Exit the deposit option. Now!” he says with urgency.
“I can’t do it, I need my hands for it.” I say trying to sound pleasing enough.

This is my final chance, the last resort.
He lets go off my hand. He tries to grab the knife dangling from his waist.
I spring into action, push him away. I jump onto the machine and hover my hand over the green deposit button.
He doesn’t lose his composure this time. With a swift movement, he stabs me right in the abdomen. I knew it was coming, my body seemed ready for that sharp sensation.
I could feel the world recede. The cold, stainless steel leaves a sharp thumping sensation in the flesh. I lose my breath. I try to muffle my scream, as my job isn’t done yet.

I push him, with all my might. I press the deposit button, it shows an array of pictures of people I send money to frequently. A picture of my mother flickers on the buzzing screen. She has a broken smile, she never smiled fully. I’m glad I could see my amma smile for the last moments of my life though. I could see the monster through the reflection. Furious and infused with rage, he leaps onto me. I make sure I tap my mom’s face before going down.

“It’s done.” I laugh at his wicked face.

He screams as he leaps onto me as i laid helpless on the floor. With his enormous body towering over me, he stabs my chest several times. The cold look in his eyes seemed comforting. He grabs my collar and screams some slurs at me. I can hardly figure out what he’s saying as I smile. He looks over the screen and then looks at me with more bottled up rage.
He scurries to check my pocket for any other valuable stuff.

He looks at me and says “you brought this upon yourself.” before leaving sneakily.

I pull myself up, lean over the glass door. My vision gets blurrier with every breath I take. I lie straight with my head resting on the glass doorway. I look at the street and see my car being driven off on the other end of the street. I still can’t help but smile.

Baba finally got what he deserves. Mom will need to hold that sigh of relief for a while more, but baba will make it alright. I did justice to the struggles they went through to bring me up. People usually find inner peace in romantic settings, i find inner peace lying on this cold floor.

I breathe in the cool air, sigh a little. I hear crickets chirping outside, maybe they gossip about the sins people commit during nighttime. Relief is the only thing on my mind. The pain builds ever so slightly, the vision recedes ever so slightly. The AC buzzes in its ignorance, the bright light stings my eyes. I look over my chest and see the knife still buried in my chest. I giggle. I look over and see the CCTV peering at me. It almost felt like it blinked like a Cyclops.

“Justice will come looking for you and when it does, you brought it upon yourself” I say to the empty cabin in the lonely street.

I feel lost in a trance, I feel at peace. I might not have followed my ambitions. I didn’t chase the arbitrary thought of being rich. Success wasn’t tangible for me. Success was accomplishing this dream. Baba deserves this. Baba deserves the world.

“I want to see you get married before I go” I say to myself mocking baba’s voice.

I giggle. Look over to the dark blue sky decorated with scattered clouds and the bone white moon.

I might not get married, but I find solace in the fact that he isn’t going anywhere.

Afterword- I sincerely thank you if you made it all the way! 🙂 Your attention means the world to me. Share this story with someone who’ll surely sacrifice themselves for their parents. I hope this had some kind of impact.

Post it as a story on instagram if you liked it a lot. Tag me and your friends 🙂 I’d appreciate that.
Love to all of the people reading this, i hope you have a wonderful day 🙂
Cheers!

Not yet.

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You ask me to smile.
You ask me to brush it off.
You tell me it’s just a state of mind.
You ask me to grow up.

You advise me to go out more.
You advise me to talk to people.
You ask me to move on.
You ask me to leave it all behind.

You tell me it’s gonna be alright.
You tell me it’s all in my head.
You tell me that I need to express myself more.
You tell me to look at the brighter side instead.

What do you know about how I feel?
What do you know about tremendous feelings I’ve felt?
What do you know about the struggles I go through?
What do you know about my state of mind?

Waking up is a chore.
The lack of drive is suffocating.
You think I might overact but this is how I suffer.
This is how I live, this is my endeavor.

The voices in my head never stop screaming.
Criticism is internal.
Even I hate myself for how I’m feeling.
This constant state is a struggle.

Memories are what I reside in.
Rewind them back to see what I’ve left behind.
Think about how I could make things right.
Believing that my decisions will not make my future bright.

Anxiety becomes a close friend in this state of mind.
When you ask me to show that smile, the more I want it to hide.
It’s not easy living this kind of life,
Especially with you telling me how to do this right.

Happiness seems fleeting.
I struggle to keep myself from  putting a bullet through my head.
I appreciate your concern, but this isn’t the help I need.
Everyone knows how it feels to be depressed. Each of us has felt sad indeed.

You see it’s not sadness that consumes me.
It’s this lack of control.
You don’t know how it feels to own a mind like mine.
You don’t know about the thoughts and screams that go like bullets through my head.

You can’t stop choosing to sleep through your alarms.
You can’t stop from worrying if the other person cares or not.
You can’t stop spending hours alone contemplating the reason you exist.
You can’t stop feeling the way you feel. This fucked up head, this brain feels like a cyst.

Depression isn’t the sadness that follows rejection.
Depression isn’t the feeling you get when you’re denied a new phone.
Depression isn’t the feeling you get when you’re brokenhearted.
Depression isn’t occasional.

I love being around people.
I love having a heartfelt talk.
Stop trying to focus on how sad I feel.
Stop trying to judge if I’m depressed or not.

I always wish I were dead.
It isn’t intentional. Its my mind overriding the feeling of dread.
You ask me stop thinking that way and smile instead.
It’s not that easy. My mind is misled.

I don’t need your sympathy.
I just need you to smile. I need you to feel happier instead.
It makes me feel better.
Being around happy people doesn’t fuck with my head.

This for all the people who feel helpless like me.
Stuck in the void, struggling to break free.
You’re not alone.
You’re the reason, there is a ‘we’

Don’t address how we feel.
We appreciate the concern,
We’re also loving and fun.
We’re normal, there’s a war in our heads we haven’t won.

Not yet.

What about the vows?

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The storm last night was terrifying. The winds whistled as they plowed down trees. The rain battered the streets. It seemed like the storm was there for a reason. It seemed like the winds wanted to convey a message. Maybe it was there to punish the ungrateful, it was there to punish those who have sinned.

The storm passed, faded into the sunlight that peered shyly through the clouds. I could hear the rumbling fade. I clenched onto the mattress, covered my face with a pillow to gently ignore the sunlight. I stared onto the mirror to the side of our bed. Mornings like these are reminiscent of the good old times.

As I let out a deep sigh, her hand slid through my waist. It trailed right across my waist and onto the chest. The soft touch seemed to ease the stiffened muscles on my chest. I’ve never felt better.

“Brad?” she said with a creaky yet soft voice. The voice had a persona of its own.
“You were shivering last night” she said as she caressed my chest. I could feel her chin on my shoulder. The warm air from her breath was somehow comforting.

“Really? I couldn’t know Ellie” I said as I held onto her lurking hand. Her palms were cold, They always were. I rubbed them, took a deep breath.

“You always shiver on nights like those. You’re just one 30 year old baby..” she said.

I hear a soft giggle at the far end of the room. Dorothy is surely an early bird. I could almost picture her fiddling with her fat elephant buddy in her cradle. ‘Dumdum’ is what we call him.

“Bad luck, you know you have two babies to look after right?” I say with a grin.

“I’m glad I don’t have to change diapers for the both of you.” She giggles.

I take a second to embrace the atmosphere. The cold touch of her hands, the blood rushing down the tiny veins in her palms. The creases of wear on those palms, her soft and light presence.

“Isn’t it beautiful? The fact that such a sunny day had to follow a storm.” She sighs.

“It sure is, mornings like these remind me of the time you told me you were pregnant” I said as I gazed upon us on the mirror.

“Oh sure. You reminisce a lot of the times when I’m fat and ugly” she sighs again.

“You’re not fat now?” I ask with a queer smile.

She seemed to ignore the question altogether. I could almost imagine that disgusted grin on her pretty face.

“What do mornings like these remind you of?” I ask her.

“The day we met. The day you proposed. The day we made our vows.” She says in trance.

So days like these remind you of our whole lives?” I said smiling again.

“It kinda does. Remember the time you took me on a picnic? We had wine in an abandoned playground.” She said.

“Yeah. We were reckless. We had so much fun. Remember the time you rejected me in highschool?” I said with a grin.

“Twas just a test!” she said. Elli probably should never audition for a play.

“I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad we’re here. In this moment, in this bed.” She pecks my neck with a soft kiss.

“I’m glad that Dorothy is here!” I try to add in. I clench onto her hands. Cold, yet soothing.

The silence that followed was a melody. I wish we were in that moment for eternity.

I hear rumbling down the street. I look towards the window, I see a bolt of lightning fall into our lawn.

I feel startled. Ellie’s hand clenches back. She buries her face into my neck.

The sky turns black as soon as the bolt strikes, clouds reappear in a jiffy.

As I look through the window feeling terrified, Ellie leans into my ear and whispers.

Where were you Brad?” she whispers with a hoarse voice. Her hand claps down on my hand like a bear trap.

Where were you when we needed you?” she says with a higher tone.

I’m slowly reminded of the worst day I could’ve possibly had.

“Where were you that night?” she screams into my ears. My hand bleeds as she digs her nails into my palms.

I remember, I was away that night. With an excuse of being to a meeting, I was out partying. I needed to blow off some steam. How I wish I could take that night back. How I wish I would’ve just stayed, played with my little girl. Her little giggles still lingers, her smile etched onto my broken heart. Instead, I spent a countless amount of cash on liquor.
Trying to numb a kind of pain that didn’t exist.

“We needed you.” She cries.

“How could you Brad?”

“The vows you made, they were in my head as he put the bullet through it!” she wails.

The giggles turn into silent cries, I see blood drip down the cradle.

I feel suffocated. Deep regret grips me.

Couldn’t you be here for Dorothy? Couldn’t you be here for her little, fragile life?” she scratches my arms with brute force.

I cry. I scream. Why did have to be that night? Why did someone have to rob the house on that night? Why not the countless nights we slept with our doors unlocked? Why did it have to be the night I wasn’t around? Why did he have take two lives along with the money? Why couldn’t he just ask for money? Why couldn’t he spare my helpless child? It was my fault. I was responsible. He might’ve pulled the trigger, but I was the reason behind it.

“Why?” she cries.

I want to hug her for the last time. I want to cuddle Dorothy was the final time. How I wish I could play with her for the last time. Feed her, watch her fall asleep in my arms. Her tiny posture sinking into my lap. Watch her clasp onto my finger with her tiny little paw.
I want to hug ellie, how I wish I could hug her, it always made her feel alright.

“You still don’t remember, do you?” she said sniffing.

I try to pay attention to her words but I’m lost. I didn’t realize the tears running down my cheeks. I squeeze my eyes tight. I scream.

The storm had passed as soon as i opened my eyes. Maybe it was a bad dream, maybe she’s still behind me. Engaged in a deep slumber. Maybe our little Dorothy is still in the cradle, my only bundle of happiness.
I turn around, lay my hand on the other side of the bed.

The cold spot on the other side of the bed sends shivers down my spine.

I hear a whisper, “You were there. Why were you there? Why were you here? Why did you do this to us? Was that even you?”

I look onto the mirror, I see a bloody pistol laying on my side of the bed.

Nothing could make this better.

Dating-in-Paris-Couple-at-Cafe-Steve-Evans

You two meet at a cafe.
She smiles as she serves you coffee.
You’re too stunned to smile back.
She strikes up a conversation, You hesitate.
In a moment, you’re talking about each of your elaborate tastes.
You ask her out, can’t afford to let the moment escape.
“Drop me home, will ya?” she says.
As you walk beside her on that lonely damp street.
As she talks about her, you and everything in between.
Nothing could make this better.
 

You wake up in her arms.
“Can’t believe it’s been 2 months” she whispers with a familiar charm.
You talk about ambition, you talk about your dreams.
She talks about the future, “There is no future without you, it seems”
Every song reminds you of her,
Every thought seems to have a root related to her.
You brush it off, thinking it’s just lust.
But the way you fantasize about her eyes,
Assure you that it’s love.
You confess it to her, she doesn’t seem surprised.
From long kisses, to making love.
From awkward hugs, to laughing it up.
Nothing could make this better.

 

You meet every day, talk about the usual stuff.
She talks about a guy in work who sends her funny stuff.
You wish to bury your fist down his throat.
You look at her, She’s the one keeping you afloat.
You spend nights drinking wine, conversations seems empty at times.
As silence seeps in, you try and console your mind.
This is normal, These things happen sometimes.
“We have a future together” she says as she looks into your eyes.
You’re in love.
Nothing could make this better.

 

Pretty often, you guys fight.
Sometimes its neutral, sometimes it’s hard seeing the light.
She talks about her friend more often than usual. She thinks about him all the time.
You go for runs, try to clear your mind.
You see a lady, She kinda looks nice.
She catches you looking at her, She gives a smile.
You brush it off; you already have a future wife.
You try hard, you make amends.
You apologize, You never condemn.
You give her space, You give her time.
“Is she still mine?” Somehow this thought seeps into your mind.
The world seems to crumble, right before your eyes.
Through the cloudy days, you struggle to see the light.
Could anything make this better?
Nothing comes to mind.

 

“It’s over” she says with a cold hearted smile.
“Its me, not you” I try to mock her for the last time.
The strings were loose, it was time to let go.
The thoughts of her, would make you feel low.
You drink.
You cry.
You sigh.
You’d do anything to make things alright.
You mess around.
Lose yourself this time.
You look for help,
Only to find it inside.
If nothing could make this better,
You’ll try being nothing for a while.

 
You go for runs, not hoping you’d see that lady another time.
But she’s there, Slender with a beautiful style.
She remembers you, that awkward guy from last time.
She approaches you, “Need help running?” she asks with a smile.
You finish tying your laces, “Yeah, I need directions. Or a destination would be fine?”
“Drop me home, will ya?” she says mocking your gasping voice.
You talk about ambition, you talk about your lives.
You talk about random stuff, about how every individual can’t resist the flow of time.
She’s geeky.
She’s smart.
“Not my type” you try to convince your heart.
You look at her, you can’t help but smile.
You seem amazed.
A tad bit surprised.
It’s been a while since you caught yourself thinking.

Thinking that,

“Nothing could make this better.”

romantic-trail-misty-forest-dark-scary-like-fairy-tale-91285845

 

Inspired by- exurb1a (Go check out his youtube channel! it’s lovely! :))

If you made it this far, i thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your support, views and thoughts mean the world to me. If you’re reading this comment/DM me a heart ❤ on instagram so that i know you read it whole! 🙂

Leave a like you liked the poem!
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Follow your passion, you loser.

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Let me start off with a personal incident:
*SSC results are announced* 

Me: “Mummy i’m confused. Aage kya karoon?”

Mom: “Follow what you love beta. You scored pretty well in science i see.”

Me: “But i don’t like science. It’s not creative!”

Mom: “You love it beta. Tujhe khudko pata nhi hai! I remember, tu bachpan mein plants ke saath photosynthesis-photosynthesis khelta tha!”

Me: “wtf, how do we even play that game?! Mujhe biology pasand nahi!”

Dad: “I remember you used to plot graphs and break down TV’s to know what’s inside when you were 5 years old!”

Me: “I never plotted a graph in 10th std dad! But maybe i did before. I’m so confused.”

Mom: “You love science beta, humein pata hai! Sharma ji ke bete ke saath engineer banne ke sapne the tere. I remember you both used to dream of graduating from IIT together.”

My ambition and dreams: *loads a gun and shoots themselves*

Me: “Science accha option lagta hai.”

*Self-esteem wails in the corner*

My guts churn every time I hear advice like “Follow your passion” or “Do what you love”
It’s totally sympathetic and useless. Let me tell you why:

Passion isn’t in fashion always:
Passionate people do not need the advice or the permission to follow their dreams, they will do it anyway. It’s like ask the waves of an ocean to crash over the shore, it will either way.
But there are some of us, who have no fucking idea where this goddamn passion is hiding. This is elusive thought of finding the passion is suffocating and depressing.

Follow your passion beta, do what you love. Oh you don’t know what you love yet? What a fuckin loser.
I’m sorry, if that hurts. You can achieve success beta, Just follow your fuckin passion!

aunty

Clueless:
The education system is totally fucked in every imaginable way possible. We spend our early years studying shit like photosynthesis, algebra and asexual reproduction in plants! What the fuck!
You might say “Faaiz, you just hate biology.” Yeah I fuckin do.

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Where are the vocational courses? Where are the extra curricular activities which actually help in our professional lives? How will creating papier maches ever help in our lives?
Where is the freedom for someone to express oneself?

Most of us sift through childhood doing normal stuff. I know its not bad being normal but doesn’t it just fucking hurt when we see younger people on dance shows like DID achieving what they always dreamt of! Fuckers are 6-7 years old and say “I’ve always dreamt of dancing professionally”
When did you start dreaming you dick? In the womb?

We’re capable for achieving our dreams too! Only if we knew what our dreams were. If they were practical. If they would be accepted by our parents.

If not, “Engineering kar le beta, scope bohot hai!”

 

Lost:
It hurts watching other people of the same age achieve so much. It’s unhealthy to compare lives, but isn’t it necessary? We didn’t have the heard-start to build our lives!
The cherry on top is when our parents ask us to whatever the fuck we want and then immediately bash whatever you like to do!

Ambition doesn’t die a peaceful death in our households, it’s tortured. It bleeds. It gasps for breath until we shoot it down. We, the ones who dream.

Some of us don’t. Some of us have no idea on how to proceed to the next level of life.
It’s funny how most of us think we’re unique yet won’t hesitate to work at a fuckin call-center for an extra buck. For what you ask? For consoling our miserable selves. Money becomes the ambition. It analogous to aiming for hell!

Help:
Often times I look at the past, shout at my own self.
Stop being so fuckin scared.
Stop being so scared to try things.
Stop being so scared of failure.
Stop being scared of criticism.
Stop taking the advice of the one’s you don’t respect.
Stop being scared to know yourself.
Stop being so scared of talking to people about it.
Stop being so scared of losing out.
Stop wishing that someone would guide you out of this.
Stop and realize that your own mentor.
Stop and breathe.
Stop faaiz, love yourself.

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Conclusion:
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a teenager of one of the two types.
1. You know what your passion is.
2. You have no clue.
To those who know what they love to do, you’re extremely lucky. I wish you well, I hope you find what you’re seeking.

To those with no clue, I feel you. All I can say that you have to start by loving yourself.
By ‘loving yourself’ I don’t mean that you stand in front of the mirror and say ‘You’re beautiful’. If you do that, you’ve already admitted that you’re ugly.
Instead, focus on nurturing you inner self. Try different things.
Get into music.
Get into speaking.
Get into writing.
Get into editing.
Get into filming.
Get into developing websites.
Get into graphic designing.
Get into whatever comes in your way!

Knock on every fucking door until you find where you belong!

Following-Your-Passion-To-Reach-Success
I want to assure you that you’re not alone who’s clueless in this fast paced world. So breathe, take your time. Taste everything until you find what you like. Times will get tougher, challenging. But isn’t that what makes you  better person overall.

If anyone says ‘Follow your passion’ to you ever again, sucker punch that motherfucker right in the face and kick him in the nuts. If it’s a woman, ummm…. Just excuse her. Naah don’t kick anyone actually, Just do that mentally if possible.

Dear reader, don’t follow your passion. Follow yourself.
Guide yourself.
Look eagerly.
Once you find what you love, charge right into it!
Hug it like you’d hug a loved one.
I wish you luck!
Peace!

 

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The one that got away.

This tale of hardship is the usual one.
The stakes were normal, but it was tough to get it done.
You may be wondering where it all begun?
Let me tell ya, this isn’t interesting as much as it was fun.

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 It was a normal day, a mediocre one.
College is boring, movies exaggerate.
I slogged to attend lectures.
I dozed in a few.
I wasn’t attentive.
I was absent being present.

Only if I lifted up my head before, looked around.
I would’ve seen her earlier.
Oh how I wish I could’ve seen her earlier.

I was at blame, it was my concern.
I was in love. Maybe the infatuation one?
She was the prettiest in class for all I knew.
I knew I didn’t see anyone else, But I’m glad I saw her.
Pretty little eyes, peering into the sky.
She was peering onto the board, I just wanna romanticize the moment a little more.

She was the kind I hadn’t seen.
One in a million, a billion if my eyes were too keen.
She was surrounded by her friends.
Maybe she was ms. Popular?
“Out of your league” my mind said.
I glanced over her again.
“She doesn’t believe in leagues” I said.

It was my mission to ask her out.
She was the reason I took showers before college.
She was the reason I got my hair done.
She was the reason I wore that awful cologne.
She was the destination, to the journey that had just begun.

Failure loomed over my dreaded head.
What would I do? How would I handle being a reject?
Often times, the fear faded.
Even if I got rejected.
Even when I felt dejected.
Even when I knew she isn’t mine to have.
Care and consideration for her would always last.

So I gathered the guts,
I gathered the pretty shirts.
Carefully, I chose on what to wear.
How to behave.
I underwent a drastic change, just to ask her out.

I skipped a lecture.
Practiced the lines in the restroom.
“Hey, are you free this Friday?
We could go for the new star wars movie that noon?”

She wore a red top.
Jeans with a different kind of blue.
She sat in the corner of the room.
Digging into a book, lost in that pretty head of hers.
A drop of sweat ran down my forehead.
My heart started to thump.
It’s funny how asking a simple question, would’ve had me stumped.

I walked up to her.
Commented on the John green book.
She smiled at me.
Her lips had an off-shade of red,
Freckles were overshadowed with dimples instead.

The stiffness dissolved.
In a minute, we were arguing at about a spat that had already been resolved.
Years of separation didn’t change a thing.
I stumbled just like I did before, I fell in love again.

You see she wasn’t a new, college friend.
She was my middle-school crush,
I was blessed to see her again.
We were friends in school but never more.
By the time I realized that she is the one I adore,
she was in a different high-school as a sophomore.

Over star-wars and salty fries,
Over shared smiles and belligerent goodbyes,
Over the fights and ‘staying by your sides’
We were together.
Together for real this time.

Notes- I know you may be wondering that the poem didn’t rhyme well and felt uneasy. This is a poem i wrote in intention of performing at a poetry slam. This poem would sound much better with vocal sounds and interpretations. 🙂

Picture courtesy- danavore.tumblr.com (Check her out, she draws awesome comic stirps)

I thank you sincerely if you made it all the way. Leave a like if you liked the poem. Follow if you wanna see more content like this 🙂

Framed

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Disastrous screams echoed through to glistening white hallway. The place was perfect to turn a person insane. If they were sane to being with.

The day started with a sudden phone call at 3 in the morning. I chose not to pick it up, nor could I stay asleep anymore. As I lay there staring at the blank ceiling, the voicemail kicked in.

“Hello Dr. Brandt, it’s Susan. I’m sorry to call you at such an odd time. I need your help. I have a patient who is making a fuss. He claims that he has been framed and does not belong in the hospital. I would’ve dealt it if I had checked his file or met him in person. But I’m out of town for a while, Would you be kind enough to check if everything is alright? He has been disturbing the authorities and should be dealt with soon. Would really appreciate your help.”

It was surely the worst way to start my day off. Dealing with insane guys at 3 in the morning surely won’t help my mental state, how can i help with theirs?

I wish I didn’t go. How couldn’t i? It was my responsibility, my duty.

The place had a different aura to it. The aura surrounding a mental hospital isn’t always pleasant, but there was something different about that one.

The whole hospital was whitewashed. The walls from the ground including the ceiling were painted an odd pearly white. Scratch marks covered most of the walls. As I walked through, people peeked in and out of their cells. They were like waves in the ocean. Some gave me a smile, Some reached out for me. I wasn’t scared of them, I felt for them. The silent ones sat in the corner, humming their favorite songs in an unimaginable volume. I looked around, they were innocent. All of them.

I wonder if many of them wished that god wouldn’t fuck with them, not like this.

I was scanning all the patients when I saw him. Brad had a pink shirt on, a nice tie which went well with his shirt. The shirt was creased, his glasses hung from his nose. One of the lens was broken. He stood out because all the other patients wore white. He looked at me, all I could see was a man in desperate need of help. He waved at me, hoping I would come over and talk to him. This stranger looked like he found a friend in me.

I looked for the nurse but didn’t find one. The guard walked up the hallway with a file in his hand. He was tough. He looked enormous up close and had a scruff beard, he felt like the right guy for the job. He handed the file over to me.

“Dr. Brandt, Here’s the file. Susan told me to give it to you” he said. He had a raspy voice.

“I see you’ve met the patient already” he said as he glanced over to Brad.

“You want me to escort you and your friend to the interrogation room?” he inquired with a blank look on his face.

“No we’ll be fine.” I said as I unlocked the cell. I asked Brad to come out, follow me to the interrogation room.

The guard walked away. Brad scurried over, as if he was about to be hit with lightning if he stood there for a second more. He seemed decent.

“Of course, he’s framed.” a voice whispered in my head.

“Hello! Doctor…ummm?” he said while he put his hand forward.

“Brandt.” I said with a smile on, hoping he would relax a bit. I shook his hand.

“Dr. Brandt, I need your help. I don’t belong here sir. I’m not crazy. This is a misunderstanding.” He said in a hurried tone. He didn’t let go of my hand. He held It tighter with both his palms, begging.

“Calm down my friend.” I said as I put my hand around his shoulder. He had a very strong cologne on, a decent one.

“I can’t be here sir. I have to go. I have to be home before mother wakes up. There’s no one else to take care of her. Please, doctor.” he begged.

We walked down the hallway as he begged. I listened to every word he had to say, I acknowledged it. He didn’t seem crazy, but it isn’t that easy to judge now, is it?

I unlocked the door as he stood there, he was worried. A light hung from the ceiling, there were two chairs facing each other in the center. A squeaky table stood beside the chair. The interrogation rooms were always scary, I wonder how many people made false confessions just to get out of that dreaded room.

Brad walked right in, sat down on a chair. I put his file on the table. The chair creaked as I sat down. I always listen to the patient first before going over the report. This helps me grasp the personality of the patient and also helps to gain trust of the patient. Brad couldn’t have been crazy, that’s for sure.

“If you don’t belong here Brad, how did you end up here?” I said as I clasped both my hands and looked at him with a gentle smile.

He was sweating. He seemed restless and worried. I wish I could just go with my instincts and let him go, let him go cater his mother.

“It’s all because of fucking Henry, my degenerate cousin. He framed me doctor.” He said with aggression brewing on his face.

“Why would he do that?” I inquired.

“It’s because he hates me doctor. He always despised me. Ever since I took in my mother, he started acting up again. He always thinks that he’s inferior to me. He always tries to prove me wrong, pull me down.” He said and started to grind his teeth in anger.

“He’s your brother, he wouldn’t do something as horrible as this to you” I stated.

“You can’t predict what he’s about to do. He’s the one who is crazy. He doesn’t suffer from bad mental health, but I can guarantee that he has an awful lot of issues with that depraved head of his.” He said as he looked away.

“What were you doing before the authorities came to take you?” I inquired, trying to steer away from the ongoing topic.

“I fed my mother, put her to sleep. This is the first time I’ve ever fed her with my own hands. You couldn’t even imagine the delight on her face. I was on the couch , reading a book when they came.” Expressions on his face appeared and disappeared like sunshine through the clouds.

I couldn’t help but feel guilty to keep him waiting here.

“Why did the authorities come to take you? Why was it so urgent?” I inquired.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve been in a mental hospital doctor. I’ve been to a establishment like this before, thanks to my fucking brother. So they didn’t hesitate to come take me back this time.” He said as he fidgeted with the button on his shirt.

I believed him, I could imagine his sly brother framing him. This is a case which doesn’t appear often. He looked like he needed sleep.

“Why does he do that? How can the authorities believe him?” I asked him

“He says that I’m depressed, I’m a psychopath. He’s jobless and envies my prosperity. He even put me in, claiming that I was a pedophile” he said with his eyes peering onto the linoleum floor.

“Evidence?” I questioned.

“I took my nephew to the park the other day. She needed to pee, so I took her to the restroom. She wasn’t willing to go into the girl’s restroom alone, so I took her in the men’s washroom and waited outside the stall. This was fuel for him to frame me. He always wants to frame me. I brought her back, sang her to sleep when the authorities came barging in. The fucker had a smile on his face as they took me away.” he said.

There was something intriguing about this situation, a voice in the back of my head tried to speak to me. It somehow couldn’t. I assumed he was innocent.

“What was the reason tonight?”

“I was laying on the couch when the nurses came to take me away. I don’t know the reason sir.” he started to grow worried again.

He glanced at his watch, looked at me.

“I haven’t slept in days doctor. I’m tired. I can’t sleep here. Mother might need me, she wakes up at night sometimes.” He looked straight into my eyes.

“I believe you Brad. We’ll take action against your brother. Sit tight for now, will you? I’ll be back in a second.” I said as I stood up and walked out the door with the file in my hand.

I was convinced that he was innocent. Who wouldn’t think that way?

I thought about it for a while.

Brad started to bang the door, the banging didn’t seem like it would stop soon.

I opened the door.

“Sir I need to go. I realize now that i forgot to close the window. It’s cold tonight sir, she has pneumonia. I really need to go doctor.” He held my hand and looked into my eyes.

A tear trickled down his cheek. I could see the desperation, his immense love.

“You can go” I said.

“Oh thank you sir, Thank you. I’ll finally get some sleep too.” He said as he proceeded to run towards the exit.

He ran fast, it was his mother at stake.

I walked down the hallway, indicated the guard to open the gate.

I felt peace. Although other patients screamed in revolt, some laughed. I felt at peace.

You see peace is an enigma. Often times its just euphoria, some times its relief.

I was so caught up in the moment that I couldn’t realize the absence of the file in my hand.

I looked down the hallway, I lost breath. The white light shining from the white tiles was blinding. I felt weak at my knees.

I screamed as I ran towards the gate. Blood rushing through the veins in my throat. I saw a piece of paper, rumbling down the hallway.

The papers must’ve been loose in the file. I stopped. Gasping for breath, I bent down and picked up the paper.

My eyes couldn’t get fixated on the paper. I took a deep breath.

What I read brought me to tears. I felt choked. I looked around, the world seemed to recede. I felt weightless, yet I felt heavy.

I put my hands through my hair and screamed. Screamed until I lost my breath.

It was a report. It was dated for that night.

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A meticulous whisper lingered at the back of my mind.

“I’ll finally get some sleep.” said Brad.

Notes: This story has many loose ends which may leave you with several questions. I intend to answer them with a set of stories related to this one. I’ve had complaints of lack of character development which i ought to resolve. I sincerely thank you for reading this story. This is indeed a lot longer than the ones i usually write. I’d appreciate it if you dropped a like to let me know if you liked it. I’m open to feedback, you can comment them below. I’m grateful that you took time out of your day to read this story. Be sure to follow if you want to read some more stories like this 🙂
I’ll leave you a hint, Brad is innocent. 😉

Echoes

 

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The night never seemed so lively before. The crowd never felt so comforting before. Blake was glad he took her out tonight. The days felt sluggish until this night.

The way she danced. The dim orange lighting made her look like a firefly, a worried yet cheerful firefly. It’s almost as if they forgot about the debts that were due. The bills seemed to fade as they danced together to Sinatra. The air was soaked with sweat, yet it felt like home.

“There’s no need of a DJ as long as the bartender plays these sweet tunes tonight.” She said with a smile. A drop of sweat lurking down a strand of her hair back her ear. She never looked so elegant before. Authentic, yet elegant.

He smiled. Like always, he was unable to respond. She sensed that, she smiled.

The lights weren’t flickering. They weren’t flashy. The air wasn’t filled with soulless and loud EDM tracks tonight. The night felt serene. It felt like this night would last forever.
The bartender was a sweet young guy who moved with a skip. Old middle aged men sat at the bar with their backs arched. There was a also a group of guys who seemed like they were out for something more than a party tonight. Tonight was perfect.

“How long has it been? How long since the last time we were this close?” she said with her finger trailing down his shirt pocket as they moved slowly to the soft tunes filling the air.

Gosh… Feels like forever” he said with a sigh. She smirked, then gave him a tight a hug.

The past couple of years were rough. Blake worked all night to make ends meet while Erin struggled to take care of her bedridden mother. Erin was employed until her mother had an accident, things went downhill from then. Blake’s salary alone couldn’t help with the mortgage. Two jobs, took most of the day. They were engaged a year ago, can they afford a marriage in such harsh times now? Erin couldn’t sleep, Blake didn’t get the time to. Erin had several siblings, no one came forward to take care of her mother. They wanted to have kids, Blake wanted to come home to cheerful innocent giggles. Erin never asked for more, all she needed was hope. The ominous spell seemed to never end, until tonight.

The night felt like a trance. Blake wore a flannel, Erin had her favorite ripped jeans on.
With her head resting on his chest, they danced. Blake looked around, he felt at peace.
He looked at the bartender, attending a person with a queer smile on. A sight flashed by his eyes, the bartender looked burnt. Severely. Blake wasn’t surprised, he blinked and everything was back to normal. It was bewildering how such a horrifying sight didn’t affect Blake. He looked at the bar, he saw the cabinets engulfed in flames. Charred bodies sitting around the counter waiting for their drinks.

“Erin? I feel weird.” he said rubbing her back.

She didn’t reply. She hummed a sentence and dug her head deeper into his chest.
Blake ran his hands through her hair, caressing her. A loft of hair seemed to pull right off her scalp and it smelled like ash.

Blake pushed her away. “Something is wrong Erin!” he exclaimed. Things were back to normal. She looked at him with a calm composure. She came forward, put her hands on his cheeks. “You forgot, didn’t you?” she said as she gave a soft nudge on his shoulder.

Erin gently took his hand, she guided him off the dance floor. Blake seemed confused. She took him to the mirror hanging by the wall on the entrance. She stopped, held his hand. They looked into the mirror.

All they could see was the empty dancefloor. No lights, no people. The mirror seemed to look right through them. Blake looked away, things were as usual. He saw flames as he looked into the mirror again. Melted wires, charred bodies on the floor. The overhead lights were on the floor, sparks coming out of them. Two severely burnt people holding hands, peering into the mirror. The fire broke out when they were on the floor. The bartender played with fire in the most inflammable area, how idiotic?

Erin squeezed his hand. He looked at her, confused.

“How long has it been?” he inquired with a bewildered look.

Erin guided him to the exit. The gates were sealed off. The doors and windows were boarded up. A ‘no trespassing’ sign hanged over the lamppost.

It read.

The premises have been closed down due to a recent tragedy. Trespassers will be prosecuted’

Enforced from and onward – 3/5/1990

Blake smiled. Euphoria had a grip on him. They giggled. Tragedy struck the right people.

They walked back in, greeted the bouncer at the entrance. He acknowledged them with a nod.

They danced. The bills had faded. Pain was in the distant past.

“Feels like forever..” He whispered with a smile as they danced.

 

Peace in the chaos

The sunlight had a different shade today, bright yet bewildering. It hid a dreadful feeling, the feeling of something ominous lurking around the corner.

“These dishes ain’t gonna clean themselves.” Martha said to herself as she tried to convince herself that no one else in this house would be considerate enough to wash them for her.

He was right there. As she turned around, she should’ve expected him sitting on that dreaded chair lost in his own thoughts, but it seemed surprising. In that filthy old robe, he sat there staring at the ground.

Bill has been aimless and miserable for a while now. After the dispute with his partner, he hasn’t come around to get in terms with life. Martha hates the sight of him, yet she cannot ignore the presence of his own brother living with her at this age. He was the person who gave her wisdom, taught her how to tackle life. Yet he sat there, miserable and confused.

“I had a terrible dream last night” he said in a voice that sounded like torture to the ears.

Martha didn’t want to hear him talk this morning. She wanted to forget that he existed for a while. She wanted solitude.

“I don’t know what to make of it. Do you want to know what it was?” he said as he proceeded to fidget around with the cloth on the table.

She didn’t want to hear what he had to say. She wanted to run away. She wanted to disappear. Yet a there was a whisper of a thought in her mind, ‘Dreams don’t come true if you tell someone about it’. It’s what their mother used to say, or maybe that’s what Martha remembers. Her mother was the one who held the family together. She was the only good that came out of life for Martha. Martha was in conflict, but bill carried on.

“I dreamt that i woke up in the middle of the night, to the sound of the phone ringing. Everything looked hazy as i tried to get a hold of myself. There was this jarring noise of which i couldn’t figure out the origin of. ” he said with elaborate hand gestures.

Martha wasn’t looking at him. She was looking out the window above the sink, watching Bob and his wife take the morning walk as usual. They always seemed happy, it was disturbing.

“I looked out the window to check if the sun was out, I saw Samantha’s car parked up our driveway, it had a dent on its bumper. The drunk neighbour. The red color was scraped off revealing the white insides. It looked like she had a mild accident, the type where she was the culprit. The phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Watching the car i had this terrible thought which i couldn’t shake off.” he said as put his palms over his face and then caressed his bald head.

Martha’s mind seemed to register every word bill said but she was lost in her own thoughts. She thought of her mother. The times Nancy used to sing to the both of them. No matter how she felt, Nancy always knew. She wanted Bill to stop talking, she wanted to embrace the presence of her beloved mother, Fancy Nancy people used to call her.

Bill used to be a funny type of guy. He was fun to hangout with. She could go as far as to say the Bill was one of the cool kids. Now he was just a person who didn’t even deserve sympathy. Martha loved him, yet she didn’t want to ever see him again. Mother loved him more than anyone else. Lost in the train of thoughts, Martha looked over to the side through the window and saw Samantha’s car.

“I had a feeling that there was bad news on the other end of the phone. I somehow just knew. Maybe it was Samatha, maybe it was someone else?” Bill said as he adjusted his chair.

Martha tried to focus on the car and she realized that it was parked up Bill’s driveway. It had a dent on the bumper. A subtle one. The accident wasn’t surprising considering Samantha was drunk most of the time. She shrugged it off thinking this picture of the car somehow made its way into Bill’s dream.

“It was Jill. You remember mom’s caretaker? It was her. She seemed like she was gasping. ‘Nan…Nanc..Nanciee..hh…hell..p’ that’s all I could hear. I felt awful. Our whole existence flashed by my eyes.” Bill said.

Martha felt strange. She had a sudden urge to stab Bill, yet she remained frozen. She looked closely at Samantha’s car and the paint was scraped off. It revealed the glistening white insides.

Impending doom‘ her mind whispered.

Bill stood up. He went to look out the window, check if the newspaper was there. All that Martha could think of was what Nancy used to say, ‘Dreams don’t come true, when you tell someone about it.’ ‘Or do they?’ her mind whispered.

Her heart sank. She was screaming inside. She felt a gush of blood through throat.

She wanted to throw up. She wanted to disappear. She wanted to run away. She didn’t want to exist. She saw it coming, she couldn’t look away.

Amidst the screaming silence in the house, The phone rang.

                                                                                                                                                 ghost-town-phone

Inspired by- Stephen king.

Drop a like if you really liked the story!

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Fleeting purpose (2/4)

 

The winter breeze always has a certain comforting melody. It helps me embrace solitude. It helps me get accustomed to the silence.

Her destination was the local school. ‘Oxfam elementary school’.

“It’s really cold today, isn’t it?” I said hoping to spark a conversation.

“Oh it surely is.” She replied with a gentle smile.

There was silence for a few seconds. Something felt odd. There was uneasiness in the air.

Suddenly, she peeped through the back seat and said “We might have to take a detour.

There was a certain sense of urgency in her voice. Her voice turned creaky. She had a stressed look on her face.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that. You can cancel this ride and book another one if you want to.” I said firmly.

The transition of this serene beauty into the person I was seeing right then was drastic.

“You have to!” she said with a raised voice.

“You have no other choice!” she said as she banged her fist on the seat.

“I’m sorry ma’am” I said hoping she would understand.

I was puzzled. i felt anxious and bewildered at the same time.

“I have to get there. I have to be there. I can’t afford to not be there.  I…I.. need to be there.” she murmured in a hasty voice with her hands clasping her hair tightly. It looked like she might pull them out that instant.

Please” she said with a grim low voice. It felt like she might break down if I didn’t.

She looked into my eyes. Begging. I saw conflict in her eyes. Something took over her. I didn’t know what it was. Maybe it was a deep desire, a fleeting purpose. Maybe it was something sinister.

“This could get me in trouble, but okay. Give me directions.” I said as I hoped she would calm down.

“Oh thank you. Thank you so much.” She clasped my arm with a jerk.

She had a tear trickling down her cheek.

I was confused. I was flabbergasted. The change was dramatic.

She sank into the backseat with a deep relaxed sigh.

“Could you please put some music on.” she said in a low yet a sweet voice.

I was scared, I was curious. I wanted to help as much as I wanted to stay away.

I put on my playlist.

As I looked at her through the rear view mirror, she felt oddly relaxed after I put some music on. It looked like she was regaining her composure.

“Could you take me to the local foster home?” she requested.

I nodded.

“I’m really sorry for the way i behaved a few moments ago.” She said.

“It’s okay” I said with a comforting tone.

“Are you a teacher?” i inquired. I wanted her to relax and forget the whole thing we just went through.

“I used to be one. Now I’m a janitor.” She said with a sigh. She still had a smile on. She seemed thankful for something much more dear to her.

I was bewildered. I wanted to know more. Curiosity for the passengers is not a good trait for uber drivers though.

“I really like this song” she said as she hummed along to the soft tunes of ‘Lights down low’

She was an absolute enigma.

I pulled up near the foster home. A really ill-maintained bungalow with a playground in the yard.

Children with torn sweaters and gloves slid down the slides with really innocent giggles and smiles. Girls ran around with one legged dolls. My inner child envied the fact that these kids get to play all day.

 Its funny how trauma doesn’t affect such tiny and young souls. Everything always gets better for them.

Oh how cruel the world is.

“Thank you!” she said in a hurried tone. As she rushed out the door.

Two kids appeared running in the distance. They were running towards us. The girl had a really wide smile on her. She didn’t care about her missing tooth. She smiled with absolute joy.

“Mommy!” shouted both the kids in unison.

The lady ran towards them throwing her purse away. She took them in her arms. Covered their faces with her warmth.

I came out the car, stood beside the bonnet watching them.

It was beautiful. She was beautiful. So were they. So is this cruel world. So was that day.

Fleeting purpose (1/4)

I dread being this guy.

I dread living this life.

Purpose seems lost,

All that’s left is a goodbye.

Have you ever put your favorite song as an alarm tone but you still couldn’t convince yourself out of bed? The sound seemed like torture as I kept snoozing till eternity.

Its 4:00 AM. I’m forced to get on duty, it’s the survival of the fittest in this profession. Getting ready is a chore, maybe it’s because there’s no need to do that anyway. I only do that for that divine five star rating. The forced small talks, the unnecessary concern it’s all just a formality. It’s the traits you need to be an uber driver you see.

It seems like I’m driving my youth away. I never thought I’d be in this place but here I am. Living for another day. Livin’ the same old mediocre life. I had dreams when I was young, I dreamt of being famous. I dreamt of singing to an astounding amount of audience.

I dreamt of singing for a purpose.

I dreamt of singing for the world.

The people wouldn’t like an uber driver singing for them now, will they? I meet tons of people in a day. Some are sweet, some are arrogant. Some are sad, some are just silent. The best rides are the silent ones for me.

I get a ping on the app as soon as I turn it on. Someone needs to get to the airport ASAP. I sing on the way to pick him up. It’s how I keep my mind occupied.

The guy was sweet. I got a 5 star rating too!

It was 5:30 AM when I got another request. I accepted it and was on the way to the pickup location when I got a call. It was a lady. Not the kind I expected her to be.

She had a really sweet voice. There was a different aura in those sound vibrations.

“Can you please hurry? I feel uneasy on this street.” she said.

I was surprised at the fact that she considered an uber ride as her rescue. She was different, she was a person brimming with positivity. She was a beauty!

With a long brown jacket she seemed really cold as my car approached her. I turned up the heater before she got in.

“You’re really considerate and kind!” she said with a smile.

She was a singer for sure. I could feel that in her voice. Soft with contrast, her voice was divine!

“Where to?” i inquired while trying to get a glimpse of her through the rear view mirror.

“i called for an uber not a taxi” she said with a sly smile.

 Sarcasm looks eerily attractive on woman without a doubt.

“There goes the small talk out the window” i said as i pulled down the window and back up again.

She let out a giggle as she shivered due to the cold.

I’ve never had someone so beautiful in my car before. I mean there were ‘Good-looking people’ but none were beautiful.

She was, indeed.