Friday, November 13, 2009

Cubicle Discourses

This post is dedicated to my old classmate and one of the best writers I've ever known who once wrote the story of the lonely ceiling fan that sliced everything during its monotonous spin. I miss those creative writing classes.

My tiny cubicle comprises of ply wood, books and other odds and ends. The computer, hordes of dusty books are piled up on the floor on the sides of my tiny table and the small shelf is crammed with obscure files, catalogues, a broken umbrella and a nameless fading silver trophy.
It is a typical publishing office. There is barely any conversation - the clicking of the mouse, the rustle of papers, the occasional, ambiguously phrased remarks and the startling whir of the printer are the only sounds. Some times a guffaw, a lonely sigh somewhere, a shifting of a cramped butt on a revolving chair.

There is the dull, monotonous drone of the ceiling fan as it tries to slice away each sigh, each frustrated thought, and each of those tiny skeptical musings that rises from me like invisible fumes. The table is full of round coffee stains, they almost make a pretty pattern.

A large jar of Amruthanjan (My left nose is perpetually blocked and I believe exotic hypomyces are growing inside that warm, airless muggy space), a replica of X-files poster, empty tic-tac boxes, ball point pens and an enormous coffee mug that is always half full with stale coffee gives that personal touch to my desk.

I squiggle random things in my battered note book during my free time before the ennui kills me slowly each day usually by mid afternoon.

When I am dead, which is usually post lunch, I pick up one of those plastic bubble wrap papers horded by my predecessors for no particular purpose and break them one by one. 




As my thumb presses against the tender surface of the bubble - boredom swelled, breaks its heavy husk and plops its glutinous tentacles over me.
With great reluctance that I put away the wrap when the boss is around the corner.

This cubicle has become my sanctuary, my bell jar, my little bubble of escapism. It is in here that I spent the major portion of my day.
Its musty smell lulls me into a passive numbness, I stare fixedly into the luminous screen while my fingers tap on the keyboard like programmed puppets.

Another story edited; someone’s desperate attempt at creativity, a raw, passionate spewing is moulded and shaped into a presentable, publishable, marketable commodity. A title, a synopsis, a blurb – there! it goes alone into the world of readers, critics, admirers and skeptics to be praised, over hyped or mercilessly ripped apart and killed.Its all written for kids.

In here I forget my innumerable grievances against life, my indifference to everything which has now started to frighten me, that slow sinking into routine, passivity and anonymity and the worst  - my realization that I am too tired even to escape.

In here I ponder on those millions of pointless existential problems knowing very well that I can never find a solution. I grieve over my dead cat, my fucked up, depressed college life, my inability to 'socialize'.... and all those self-absorbed, painful thoughts that gives me a queer pleasure which borders onto strange levels of emotional masochism. This could be a figment of my imagination, I wish I just woke up. 

 In here I secretly read soft porn novellas, it is in here that I dream up innumerable parallel lives. It is in here that the dust particles seep in through my every pore, act on my brain, my soul as I fester and decompose languidly all the while making up more and more imaginative lies to make my drab life look eventful in front of the world.

I have burst all the bubbles on the bubble wrapper, a fly buzzes by, briefly explores the rim of my coffee mug but decides it isn't worth the trouble, zoom up to the fan and gets knocked down. I watch it twitching on the floor; I am torn between saving it and killing it.
It was already in throes of dying and wouldn't probably survive. I crushed it under my foot. A yellowish black stain on the floor. My colleague wandered in just then, on seeing the crushed body of the fly he chuckled, fished out his cell phone, clicked a picture of that splattered mess, chuckled again and went off.

It was 3.00 p.m

The fan stopped spinning.

I burst into tears.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I have a serious case of adjustment disorder. I had moved into a new town two months back and I am already fluctuating between paranoia and amazement. There is the excitement of discovering new mysterious roads, patches of wilderness that flourish occasionally, the perpetual rush of the sea breeze that leaves its salty stain on everything, the remains of the colonial past, the glorious growth and corrosion, the sepia colors broken by startling bursts of reds, blues and pinks and the creaking, rainy nights.
There is also that dreadful sameness, a flamboyant monotony here, beneath the flood of developments. Crowds rushed, always in a desperate hurry to reach somewhere as though the whole town has come under a mass attack of diarrhea, and the totally jobless ones mooching around sidewalks. There are a large number of sadly similar billboards and several blindly rushing buses.
But the worst are those eyes - those wretched eyes that follow me, when I say me, I mean us - the pathetic, deluded, frigid, half-dead cluster of female human beings living in this part of the country.
Those wretched eyes track each one of us, yes it does.
Until we are old and rotting those eyes won’t leave us alone - staring, angry, hungry, penetrating, curious, indifferent, amused, abusive, they dig us out and strip us ruthlessly each moment.
Eyes - an entity in itself, attached yet detached from the frustrated, desperate bodies on which they cling. They float upon their own invisible fluid made up of a million assumptions, dissatisfactions and presumptions painstakingly build up through generations of pointless moral rigidity.
Eyes like spheres, like clawing, crushing hands, like unpitying slaps – they are made not out of human tissue but something unspeakable and repulsive.
They have the power to tear you apart, hurt, make you flinch with shame for things that aren’t your fault, they can delve into your most commonplace thoughts, glances, and movements and give it new and horrifying meanings, they can molest you, rape you silently and kill you a million times. You cannot even scream or plead for mercy.
They trap you, them - eyes, in a helpless devastating eddy. And you slowly grow numb, the nauseating disgust you feel about them and yourself will be replaced by a hardened immobile face, a thick, heavy dupatta, a different longer route, the anonymity provided by the shadowy trees, a bland umbrella and eventually suspended animation. Then they find another happy spirit to maul, rape and kill with their eyes until she is reduced into a nervous, frantic bundle of unhappiness hiding under layers and layers of cloths that buries all mounds, curves, joy and smiles.
The situation might be different elsewhere, but under all the show of open-mindedness, freedom and modernity lies that twitching, angry, insecure monster waiting to pounce when the right chance comes.
It may not always come in the form of violent aggression, sometimes it happens in the form of continuous whining, complaining, mockery, subtle references, persuasions, verbal abuse, constant criticism, blaming oh…anything, even disguised as chivalry or love. Watch out, it would be so cleverly done that it would be years later when you even realize what was happening. Believe me.