I'm jolted to the awakened state by the alarm. I go thru the little chores half asleep. I wish nights would be a little longer. I find my clothes mostly crumpled and carelessly stuffed into the wardrobe. I dress for office. I open the door to the balcony and the light from outside explodes in. Noise is an annoying guest invading my room. I look at the street below. People hurry for office or college. A mother drags her twins to school. A cool breeze blows. The sun lends its golden rays to everything exposed. Today's paper lies rolled on the floor. I get back into my room. Santosh sleeps like a baby. I lug my office bag and leave.
It's a virgin day but the streets are already maligned with overbearing people. I try to avoid the noise by treading along a narrow street. A housewife is busy brooming the front of her home and shoots a trail of dust into the air. Shutters are lifted, dry leaves are swept by the breeze. The street coaxes me to the main road. It's noisy and awfully polluted. Heavy trucks traverse it like a train in no mood to stop. Smoke fills the air. I cross the road to the other side. A cleaner furiously sweeps the road, bathing the passers-by in a spray of dust
an inescapable hazard at this early hour. I walk past the signal that commands respect over the traffic and veer to a new road. I reach my spot and stall myself. A stray dog is taking a sunbath as it lazes on the tiled entrance to a shop. More people reach the spot and stand like imperfect strangers. The bus arrives with the prospect of gobbling us. We hurry to be its fodder. Squeezing thru its narrow entrance, we finally take our seats. As usual, I get the window. The bus wobbles its way thru the roads while the sun rays slant in and selflessly offer their warmth. I smile.
The FM tuner is on and everyone is treated to its croonings. Ali Haider sings a song about college days. I can't help surrendering to it. My mind is adrift and wanders to the halcyon days in Fergusson. I had some across this sultry girl in a miniskirt. She had an hourglass-figure and shapy legs. How I wished I could be acquainted to her! I got my chance during the practical exam in our physics lab. She wanted some help with the adjustment of the prism and I was too glad to oblige. But this was no time for romance and I had to instruct a friend to stand guard at the door and warn me if a professor was heading our way. I helped her and went back to continue with the task at hand...something that was neglected in favoring my personal yearnings. How I wished this would be the start of a whole new relationship for us! It never happened.
I return to the present. Really, I must get a tight leash for my wandering mind. Some ads and silly messages offer me a breather before Lata Mangeshkar sings a beautiful song that I'm sure makes us all equally sedate and happy. I had heard it for the first time as a 5th grader. Kusum was a terribly dark and ugly but equally sweet and friendly classmate. She sang the song when my classmates begged her to.
We reach office and the talkative radio is finally muted. I disembark, tread my way thru the sidewalk and after negotiating a labyrinth of aisles and doors, finally reach my bay. I sit and drudgery ensues. I pamper my vacant mind with caffeine and tomato soup. I wish I could leapfrog those endlessly dull and boring hours which consume what could have been an eventful day. No chance.
After office we make a beeline for our respective shuttles. I take my window and resign to the bus. People gradually fill in. The machine hums into life and moves ahead. It's dusk and the roads are already clogged with heavy traffic. Not wanting to lend a thought to how congested things are, I numb my mind with random thoughts. I think of buying myself a pretty babe some day. Vidya Balan should suffice.
I reach my destination and the shuttle spits me out. I walk my way back home. En route, I suddenly remember I'm famished and satiate my rumbling tummy with roadside junk food. I reach home, take stock of what happened there, go thru some routine motions and begin reading some fiction. Dinner arrives and I'm hungry as ever. The food is hardly edible but I've learnt to keep my complaints to myself. I reach for the other folks in the adjacent room. They're busy surfing, cracking jokes, coding in Java and preparing to cook. They begin cooking and I'm hungry yet again. I don't give in to my hunger pangs this time.
I come out to the balcony. There's a rumpus on the street. Two cars from opposite directions tried to negotiate the narrow turn at the same time. Each wrongly read the other and a mini-accident is somehow averted. Tempers frayed, the drivers hurl abuses at each other. Some two-wheelers join in the fun and take sides arbitrarily, lending their voices in support of their camps. The vehicles behind get restless and begin honking. The squabbling drivers relent and go their separate ways. I retire to my den, continue with the book. My eyelids feel as heavy as lead and I finally decide to call it a day.
I cut thru life with a meaningless existence.