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.
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.
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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 sentmy thoughts spiraling and it’s solely the reason why I might be writing this.Let me elaborate. About a week ago, I was mindingmy 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 mymother, grandmother(Boomers, Imean.) were relishing the daily dose of irrelevant news.
During the ad break, a peculiar adshowed up. The show ‘Four more shots’ isgracing us with another season, and zoomers are moderately excited, I guess. I haven’t seen the show so pardon my judgemental tone. The adcontainedscenes 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 Igoing to complain about my mothernot 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.
Here a few questions that Iask myself when I’m trying to think critically.
Are their intentions right?
Considering production houses and media as a singleentity, it seems evident that their intentionsare in the right place. A surge in LGBTQ+ content will make the peoplemore aware, moreopen 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 earna lot ofmoney through this kind ofcontent?
Yes, and no. Itdepends on the target demographic.Itdepends on the type of content.Itdepends on the country that content is being released in.Trustme, ‘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 lotmore 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 ofcontent. But based solely on relevance, Yes, This kind ofcontent will earn more.
Is the contentgood?
Yes, and no. Hell no. Let ALTbalaji stand as testimony to the garbage content out there.
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 helpdifferent cultures acclimate with the not so obscure topic of sexual orientation. The mediaintends to normalize homosexual behavior and tell the people that ‘homosexuals are normal, homosexuality is natural’ and we as a societyneedto 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, isnot the right approach in normalizing the topic. It’s like showingpeople 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 intendto 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 whatensues?
Now, whatif, youtook a more human approach to it.
Whatifyoutalked to your parentsabout howyou felt different from others from a veryyoung age?
Whatifyoutalked to them about how you couldn’t for the life of you, shed that infatuation?
Whatifyouexplained to them how ashamed youfelt for this for years?
Whatifyouexplained how the toxicity outside is affecting you and not lettingyoulive?
What if you explained the fact to them that there’s nothing different between liking a human of the same gender?
Whatifyousatthem down, talked to them about how ifyoucould change this one thingabout yourself for them, you would. But youcan’t.
What if you revealed to them the only flaw that they likely cannot accept?
How would theynow 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 arechances 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.
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 needto 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.
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.
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.
There is a point to it all.
Zero means something.
Maybe its unique to one and all.
Preface- I run an essay writing service. I write, complete and take care of all your essay writing needs in school or college. School and college students can leave a comment below if they need more information about the service.
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.
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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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
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?
Yougetnotifiedabout 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 uglygal with an uglyfilter.
Yougetnotified about the likesyougot 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 notifyyou 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 youwant someone followingyou, 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 doghas to do with the inspirational caption below is an enigma. But was it worth the 2 minutes?Let‘s agree, even the 2 minutesis a lie. The notification likely letyou 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.
Yougetnotifiedabout the Gucci undergarment your favorite celebrity just bought.
Yougetnotifiedabout 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.
Yougetnotifiedabout 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.
Yougetnotifiedabout 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.
Yougetnotifiedabout the outing your friendshad,the one when they forgot to inviteyou.
Notificationsare an ugly bunch.Theylureyou 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 doisreduce the collateral it causes.
Disabling the notifications won’t harmyou. 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 lifeis.
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.
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Thank you. Love you. Bye.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.