“We’re experiencing bad weather” a voice had said from behind the television screen, almost adding to the voice in my head. I had forgotten to turn the tv off last night before I went to sleep and had left it on a news channel, the picture on the screen crooked by the time I had convened enough strength to look at it, due to interrupted signals. Today I had only woken up to find myself charged with hollowness and not enough vehemence to fling myself out of bed. I had this feeling of being tied by occult ropes that pulled at the bedposts, my limbs were lax and I had found myself unable to move. I had to be at work in the next hour but I decided against trying because I was to only end up in a room full of circumcised dick heads in which my voice was almost always, lost. I reckoned I had accomplished whatever little with affirmative action and maybe a bit of political appeasement.
A drizzle had begun to cast a glossy, translucent layer over the city, the supply of my daily amount of Vitamin D had been disrupted, as a consequence of which my room was deprived of sunlight and had no choice but to remain dark as long as I could not gather willpower strong enough to put myself out of bed to illuminate the room. The drizzle began to shape itself into torrential rain, bringing with itself the sound from a thunderbolt, followed by the euphonious conch shell. One after another they had started sounding off, from each of the flats, reverberating together. It was a practice I didn’t take to myself, on a rainy day but I thrived in this declaration of war.
Today, I hadn’t just been a little under the weather. This new day hadn’t rut into my life like every other day. It wasn’t the same as brewing everyday coffee before work that was always good to go. It had thrown the clothes off the washing line. There was a storm stirring over the sea, the skies were unleashing their wrath, knocking the wind out of my sails, tumbling tossing and turning, reducing everything that came in contact with it to shreds, there was lightning that divided the city into reds and purples. I could well and good taste salt crystals sitting on my tongue. Kolkata had been the only city where it was possible for me to be soaking wet in my own sweat while it was still raining. The city, at all times, was moisture-laden and heavy, the thought of it growing on my tongue like a thick distasteful coating.
I could sense fear and the irregular ventricular contractions in my heart that felt like it was mothering a clot, the feeling of something blocking my aorta and squeezing my veins gave my brain the impression that it had hemorrhaged. What was I to do if one half of me kept trying to attack the other half of me, it was like I was self-destructing. I was trapped and nauseous in my own vessel, was it due to the shrinking democratic space at the workplace that didn’t even allow space for me to breathe in?
I would like to believe I had nursed a tremendous work ethic and yet day after day I had found my fingers on my phone screen, typing out the same mail, pushing the same buttons, pressing the same letters, “Hey,I thought a lot about your project, it’s such a noble cause but I’d have to decline….” trying to escape from the labyrinth of this Daedalian modus operandi I had landed myself in.
I was a sum total of my nerves but slowly through work, I had learned to drown out my own voice. My voice that often seemed to get lost, locked up and trapped in a prison cell, a prison cell that was the female body. There had been days when I couldn’t find music loud enough to drown out the voice that whirled at my bellybutton, crawling up to my vocal chords, scratching at them, threatening to let out a scream but because I hated the idea of losing self-control, I had learned to abort it. I had wished to pull the strings in my life by myself, which is maybe why I hated uncertainty or the concept of the supreme and rejected faith in fideism because I could not foster the idea of another force driving my life, I wanted ownership, which is why I had insisted on tadbeer and never takdeer but I had always been wise enough, I’d like to think to understand that it was obligatory that I rest my faith in something because survival was a task next to impossible without faith. I had faith, a lot of it because it had often been reiterated to me that no matter what the harsh reality of the moment was, belief had more power than truth did. So, was I a bad case of cognitive dissonance or had I read up too much Wittgenstein?
This morning, I had been terrified of the sunrise because it didn’t usher in faith or hope, instead it was symbolic of a future that was bleak and uncertain and yet, what had become a totem of hope in my mind was the image of a pilot who flew his plane, in the backdrop of thundering clouds, That, that became the exemplification of hope and the picture that I’d call to mind every time somebody around me had said the word, Hope. That was hope and I just had to find it and hold on to it.
Everything had a matrix that was hard to break through. I knew if I didn’t move I would become stone that only gathered moss and the thought of it made my toes wriggle involuntarily.