Monday, June 8, 2009

Un-numbing tongues


Humid night. Heat was like a physical presence, like a heavy hot blanket wrapped around us.
I'm gripping the edges of the toilet seat tightly; bitter sweet sticky taste hit the back of my mouth. Awful choking sounds come from my throat; some lurid thing inside me was laughing, a disgustingly hiccupy laughter.
I empty another load of things into the shallow, watery depth of the loo. Liquid things, viscous, indiscernible, dark, things from the other side of the grave that has long been sleeping inside me. I stagger out as the flush swirl out the remnants.
The room was dimly lit, lots of laughter, jokes, stories exchanged in slurred, giggly voices amidst a lot of interruptions. Melting ice cubes made little icy pools on the floor, someone was walking on them emitting little delightful squeals, everyone was barefoot.
‘Some one keep a bucket here, he might puke any moment’
‘Bloody song’
‘What’s wrong with that’
‘Nothing’
It cuts off, like all the innumerable unfinished conversations, hanging in the mid air like half dead moths.
‘I have eaten bats’
‘bah’
‘T-A-L-C-U-M P-O-W-D-E-R’
‘That’s static electricity, everything I touched sparked today’
‘I think I’m dying’
Lots of wispy, white smoke floated above our heads, salt, slices of lemon, another round of funny stories, laughter, choking, chips, fries, long hair sprawled across cushions, over the floor, slender legs sticking out of a pretty layered skirt in rainbow colours, soulless eyes, dazed eyes, dried phlegm, smoky eyes, scars of old wounds, sleepy eyes, eyes that have seen unspeakable horrors, gadgets, pickles, pink curtains, faded cushions, ribbons, UV lights, bean bags, disillusioned eyes, crushed lip-stick, a rusty razor, cynical eyes, dead eyes .
‘Here, more ice?’
‘No I like eating ice separately’
‘Hehehehhehehehee... she, she.... hehhehe’
‘I saw a chicken getting beheaded today’
‘There’s a new song about a two-headed bird’
‘No, no, I want the toffee’
The contents trickled down my laughing throat, burning sensation. Music played from somewhere, someone said its Cat stevens, but I couldn’t distinguish it anyway, music rarely made an impact on me. Hairy hands beat rhythm on the table, the tune was like an extension of the talking and laughter. The cold detachment, the deep attachments we shared, our resemblances, our cruelty, our selflessness, our masochism, our fear and fascination for pain, and all its dreadful forms we have seen.
I bit my tongue while eating a piece of chicken. There was an initial sharp pain and then the tip of my tongue went numb.
‘God, she’s bleeding! Look at her mouth’
‘Here eat ice’
‘Hehehhe... heeehehheheeh..’
I pressed my tongue between my lips, more blood squeezed out, ran down my chin. The taste of blood, the feel of it trickling over my chin, it was sensuous, almost erotic.
‘Yumm.. ‘
‘Ewww, gross!
Here put more cubes in your glass and drink it up, it’ll freeze your tongue’
It was so effervescent, a group of people connected by invisible threads of familiarity and similarities, unattractive, weird, jumbled. Mere perishable, bodies, bodies that will age too soon, that can be broken, humiliated, judged. Bodies, so alike, so futile, like old tin soldiers, lying about in an abandoned toy room.
Under the delicate perfumes, colognes, shirts, skirts, jeans, plasters, the dark spreading khol, the blushers, the gels, we were just tin soldiers, all similar, slowly wearing out as each second goes by.
Everything was in extremes, too much of sarcasm, too much of taking-nothing- seriously, too much of fun, irresponsibility, cynicism, bitterness, laughter, loosely connected lives, floating people, floating in little bubbles of airy, shining, madness. We who have been labeled, branded and categorized under so many categories, labeled over and over by the confused, category-obsessed folks, we have heard it too many times.
We the bunch of adults, still treated like ‘unadults’, so sadly alike though each one of us furiously, desperately hold on to that illusion of uniqueness that we claim to possess.
We the sexless assemblage of arms, legs and torso, we who have ceased to be surprised at anything, yet perpetually living in a state of joyful amazement. The contradictions, the dreams, the music we fought over, the loveless bonding of familiarity and bliss, the thousand lies, the uncomfortable truths, the feverish affections and loyalty we feel for each other, the pain, and the laughter, always the laughter, arising like a mighty wave, mocking, joyful, child-like, loud, rising , rising and coming down in an enormous crash, that infectious laughter that wipes away the tears, the frustrations, the failures, the loneliness, hypocrisies, restrictions and all the fucking labels that they tried to stick on us.
I heard more laughter, office jokes, more nicotine surging through my veins, eyes bloodshot, sparkling liquid amber, my numb tongue floats upon it, another mouthful, another, it burns, oh! it burns, its artificial, unhealthy, self destructive, but who cares!
‘God! I think I just swallowed a cockroach!”
At three in the morning we go racing through the sleeping city. Everything is in monochrome; the night has sucked out all the hues leaving the landscape to display the beauty of lines and curves untainted by any colours.
Odd bits of paper fly across the deserted roads; we go to the beach to watch the stray dogs fucking. The air is warm, moon is bloated, dogs prance around us, playfully biting each other and then copulating, some of them hang around waiting for their turn. It was like an ancient ritual.

More sex jokes, stories, not about dogs, but humans, more laughter, and we race back to the little apartment.
Complete bliss, more ice, strawberry ice cream, more things puked into the toilet, bitter sweet aftertaste of vomit, here a little rum, a little fizz, some conversations, chipped blue nail polish, dried crusty blood on the lips, lipstick-stained teeth, cricket highlights, music again, some bitching, a sudden swooning kiss, more laughter.
The ordinariness of all this was painful, we all knew that deep within, so was its brevity and repetitively. It would continue, as it had been going on since ages, the same liquor, the same smoke, the same questions, the same answers, the same swaying movements we call ‘dancing’, the same conversations, the same intense happiness, the same sadness, the same painful awareness that all this is so brief, yet eternal, to be repeated again and again but with a different set of actors like us.
We knew it, but we pretended we didn’t, we pretended that we were entirely different from the rest of the world.
‘Hey, you finished it’
‘Lets race across ECR and watch the sun rise’
‘Naw we’ll go to the haunted house’
‘I want to sleeeeeep’
‘More garlic sauce’
‘My tongue is numb’
‘My foot is stuck ‘
‘God, I’m sick, get me some paracetamol’
‘I want syrup’
‘No we are going to see the dawn’
The dawn. Of course the dawn, it brought us a sense of delight and inevitability.
So we raced, like our predecessors, mad, drunk, irresponsible, blissful, unconnected, ordinary sexless people, like the many millions out there. Forever classified as just ‘people’, ‘humans’, ‘mass’, mere homo sapiens, population, a noun, a flow chart, a sad example of the non-existence of God. Always disillusioned, but ever hopeful, little clumps of contradictions, we go racing, the wind on our faces, making our eyes water. The velvety night melt around us as we go searching, searching for haunted houses, garlic sauce, for dawn, for getting feet unstuck, for paracetamol, for un-numbing tongues, for sleep, for syrup, for sunrise.
Forever laughing, laughing, laughing.


For everyone is pained by the thought of disappearing, unheard and unseen, into an indifferent universe, and because of that everyone wants, while there is still time, to turn himself into a universe of words.
- Milan Kundera (Book of Laughter and Forgetting)