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.


Kaka said...

the way u have described ur cubicle and daily actions inside it actually made me picturise this as i kept reading....not at any point of this post i felt bored or inclined to read it later....a lot can be said about this post...i would like to keep it simple..:)

Shamanth Huddar said...

Lovely imagery with the fan and your fumes!!!

*laughing my guts out @
"I never really finish my coffee because if I finish I’ll have to get up and wash the mug."

Can't resist imagining the sludgy coffee mug, with a cringed face of course :)

Arslan said...

I'm confused. Do you like your job or not?! :|

mikimbizi said...

@Arslan: ;) dont be, some of it is just poetic license. :D :D

@shamnath hhehehe... stale black coffee is quite good btw ;)

@kaka thanks ;)

Quicksilver said...

"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. " ---

Shamanth Huddar said...

I was drawn to reading this marvellous piece again and I enjoyed it even better on the second read and I am compelled to say -

"Lady!! You are a genius!!!"

the fan bit, as I said, is my favourite,
and on my first read, the last two lines -

"The fan stopped spinning.

I burst into tears."

seemed to me totally out of place and unrelated and did in fact bother me as to why they were there at all?

but it was only after reading this again today, did I realise the sheer brilliance of those lines!

I had one of those
getting-goosebumps-and-wanting-to-smash-everything-around-me-in-sheer-joy kind of a realisation as they brought an image of those invisible fumes settling over you as the fan stops!


mikimbizi said...

@Shamnath #BLUSH# That will keep me going this weekend ;)

@Quicksilver Muah !