DISCLAIMER: may be the guys at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and their indulgences with “Rasputin & the Empress” has taught me my lesson for good. So before I start, here I go….”The events depicted in this piece are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.”
Mr X has been scratching his head for the last few years, not that he didn’t scratch it before or wouldn’t afterwards!!!! Situations & turn of events have often found him dumb-founded….
Being the guy he is….soaked, marinated & fried in a middle class upbringing; a mishmash of Doordarshan & INOX influenced aspirations; a mindset composted by a ‘morbid-bordering-on-pathological’ abhorrence to metrosexualism & equally / horribly contradicted by a vivid vision of a life & family in a metropolis….Mr X is but an Indian ‘millenial’ with a hallmark confusion that reigns supreme. Yet, all said & done, like every other corporate KRA he saw & survived, another KPI had to be ticked….get married & ensure a series of Facebook posts about the happy life. In his personal sphere, while rebuking & making fun of the Lalita Pawar/Ashok Kumar/Om Prakash/Nirupa Roy philosophies deligently made him think ‘millennial’, what he was about to encounter was infact ‘millennial’ at its very best….divorce, the new normal!!!!
Act 01, Scene 01:-
– A not-so-big but fat Indian wedding & few months later, he is devastated, he is yet to decide whom to blame although the need to blame someone & seek solace in the ‘victim’ card is playing wide & thick in his mind.
– He is prone to not eating for long, remain unhygienic, behaving weird enough to drive out the ‘Kaamwali bai’ (Devdas would be proud in heaven, proud enough to gulp a few more pegs out of sheer delight….), guess the ordeal just began….all this while the primary struggle remains hidden….
coming to terms with a loss, a stinking void….
Act 01, Scene 02:-
– Some passionate advice from relations, a few tears shed….
– Vindication of predictions by “well wishers” who can’t control their happiness in the veil of empathy/sympathy (a bit confused, which one would apply really, if at all??!!)….
– The prime mover amongst all the motley bunch, the ‘Kaamwali bai’ & her very plain & simple concern ‘Should I look for another job or my salary remains same?’….May be the ‘Kaaj-er Didi’ was the last string holding the pieces of Mr Xs life together….
– Ample no of “I can’t believe it, how could this happen to you?!” later, all he could see in the evening is an empty almirah….nothing prepared him for this, not even his boot camp
coming to terms with heartbreak, with a legal twist….
Act 01, Scene 03:-
– He can’t think, all the world seems to have crumbled….
– There’s no ignoring the job at the same time, its better to be ‘sad with money’ rather than ‘sad & bankrupt’ is the philosophy in vogue….
– The only solace seems to be a shrink & guess what!! diagnosis of depression, series of ‘inferences-which-question-your-sanity’ & a hefty bill later, medicines just put him to sleep….
– Life went on, job continued, everyone lived, questions kept coming (answers didn’t feel simple yet, just the routine got old….)
coming to terms with something he never expected, would happen to him….
Act 02, Scene 01:-
– The questions have reduced now, only the odd sly comment here & there….
– Have the medication did him in or not, he isn’t sure, but an illusion of self control which everyone lives by has gripped him back, welcome to the ‘normal’ world he would say to himself….
– The proverbial choice between correct opinions & honest lawyers has always been a nasty one with more than unexpected results….unusual discussions later, maybe light is in sight….still Mr X is grappling with the dilemma….is it about fleecing money or rendering quality service, scratching the head has never been this good….
– Other realities keep shuttling within the life’s conundrum….financial setbacks & what to do about them, a continuous chain of myth shattering eye-openers, health of the elderly & its pain….the barrage seems relentless….
coming to terms with normal life when everything is anything but normal….
Act 02, Scene 02:-
– The proverbial dilemma….the need to progress, the need to be needed, the need to want someone, the need to get ‘more’ out of life then what the mundane offers. It’s a long wait & the mind needs avenues….
– Mr X is the perennially confused man, but, within all this mayhem, it seemed as if he now knew something about himself that he didn’t know before. However, it wasn’t about the things he wanted in his life. Like a true Woody Allen movie impersonation, he was still certain of only the things he didn’t want in his life….
– Casual dating (only to find even weirder people….), binge eating (something that makes him go around but also shoots his cholesterol….), travel & clicks (the only bright spot….) & social networking (the millennial addiction….) later; the intellectual within Mr X decrees that this is not what he is all about, life has to change & for a definitive direction separate from what the journey’s been so far….
coming to terms with ego, self-gratification, a compulsive need to pretend ‘altruistically accepting’ of the events gone by & all the ills that Mr X would not like to acknowledge but he knows he needs to deal with….
Act 2, Scene 03:-
– Having bashed himself & almost accepted himself as the reason for all his failures, Mr X had almost started believing in the failure of his successes & the success of his failures.
– However, every now and then there would be this life changing sunset, a pleasant cloud formation, a humbling death & the following cremation, a villager in the remotest corners narrating his/her take on life, an 80+ old women still selling her fare at nine in the night, a long walk down a secluded beach, the fervent bargaining at the morning market….Mr X was a witness to all of this, but then, he realized one day….he was also a party to it, life never left him!!!
– The off-roader he so relished had gone silent for sometime, he hated it in the metro mileau where crossing each signal & junction was a struggle; but, one day the vehicle revved, he did a thousand kilometers….he knew he could still do it, His muscle memory had lasted longer then his own, his ‘beast’ was purring just right, life never left him!!!
coming to terms with the need to get back on the feet….one step at a time, one punch at a time, one duck at a time, one swing at a time….
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean & nasty place & I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees & keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But, it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit & keep moving forward, how much you can take & keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!!! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out & get what you’re worth. But, you gotta be willing to take the hits & not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody!!! Cowards do that & that ain’t you!!!” – ROCKY BALBOA
Act 03, Scene 01:-
– Mr X knew he dreaded it, the day in court, the proverbial question by the judge “What do you want?”….
– Mr X knew he dreaded it, seeing the face which, was until recently the subject of all his affections & seeing which now, he didn’t know, whether he is happy, seeing it after so long, happy seeing it for the last time, sad seeing it go away or sad that it was a source of agony & heartbreak….
– Mr X knew he dreaded it, receiving those final pieces of paper that broke a bond he wished to relish all his life, the final lines of ink which severed all ties, the final stamps of legality which so called would render him ‘free’….
– Mr X knew he dreaded it, he didn’t want to answer the judge, hold the papers or avoid contact with the eyes which brought him happiness & yet….
– He goes through the motions, clinches on to the shreds of papers, walks away to the dark of the evening….as the distance grew wider, Mr X all but wanted to turn back & rush, to turn back time & tide, but, nothing as such would happen, he walked on….
coming to terms with the inevitable, a pain to carry, a sigh of relief to accompany, a bewildered sense of relief, a scar forever in memory….accepting that what was not to be isn’t there anymore, two years are over, life, time & tide have all moved on & so have the other people….
Act 03, Scene 02:-
– A few pebbles thrown in the stillness of the river & a few memories refreshed every now & then….the chain broken only by the occasional rasp rhythm of the shutter, another snap for posterity….
– Mr X finally accepted that scenarios were not where they had been a couple of years ago; belief & perception wouldn’t be the same as a couple of years ago; in the inevitability of life’s dynamism the people won’t be the same (except a few….) as they featured a couple of years ago….Mr X cannot be what he was a couple of years ago….
– The shutter snapped again, the setting sun had still some redness to spread & as the traffic buzzed on the distant bridge….he kept looking on into the river & the twilight, life wasn’t bad after all, just different than what he had anticipated. Life differed from expectations because, probably the expectations differed from actual life. Destiny meandered away from the aspirations because, probably aspirations are meandering towards the ultimate in destiny
– Mr X picked up his kit, walked down the lane to the street ‘chaiwala’, the solace of the evening tea, buzz of the vibrant traffic, peace in the thought of being just another in the crowd….
WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE, MR X ASKED HIMSELF….’HOME FOR NOW….’, PAT!!! CAME THE ANSWER, ten bucks for a ride home….
coming to terms with the chaotic traffic, whether on the road or in life….