“Sir, coffee or tea?”, the air hostess asks me one more time. My half-asleep eyes open up slightly to say no. It’s a kind of ‘no’ which indicates that neither do I want any tea/coffee nor do I want to be entertained with any more questions and also if she ever comes back with anything, this emphatic ‘NO’ should be sufficient. I am done talking for the rest of the day. Do you ever feel like that? That you have had enough of chirping for the day and if you could walk with your eyes and mouth shut, you would? I feel like that quite a lot nowadays. I boarded this flight one hour ago. Two more hours of this suffering and then I will be back on the road. I web checked in and chose a window seat but some lady came and sat there and refused to just get up. She said she had some sort of issue with her leg or something, I don’t remember clearly, and sitting at the window seat will be better for her. She thought she had convinced me by making this stupid excuse. But I didn’t care so I smiled and gave her my seat. I just wished her to shut up. I’d rather sit on the wings than have any more of this conversation with her. Thankfully, she did shut up and passed out even before the flight took off. An ideal passenger. I hope she’s alive though.
I am in a client’s office to discuss how this ad would change their brand forever. Both of us know that it won’t, but we are so far ahead in the conversation that there is no point in arguing about this. I walk out of their office and stop at a tea stall. The tea seller’s hands are shaking. And by shaking, I mean they are like vibrating crazily. I look at his hands and then look at him and then order for a tea without addressing any of this. I drink my tea, pay a ten-rupee tip to the tea seller in the hope that this crazy amount of money would stop his hands from vibrating, and then head for the airport. Two years back I had shifted to a small village in the mountains. What I thought would have been the best decision of my life, is turning out to be quite tiresome. I like the peace though but sadly the village offers nothing else. I wish I had chosen a village with some electricity supply at least. But no point thinking about the past. As an impulsive person, I have many regrets. I don’t want this to be one of them. I think, in the end, it’s all up to you: things are good or bad just by the way how you choose to look at them. I want this to be a good thing.
After a 4 hour journey from the airport, I reach my house. It’s a small studio kind of a thing with all the basic necessities. At first, I wanted to live like those hipsters with no technology and gadgets and all. But thankfully, some sense prevailed and I decided otherwise. I put on some Vivaldi and continue reading the book I had started reading on the flight. I can never finish books on the flight. I wish there was a name for this condition. The book is about a lonely person stuck in life. It’s always about a lonely person stuck in life. I am attracted to such books where the protagonist is living because the only other option is just too sad. I sometimes feel that living every day like your last day is a bit of quite good advice. I am not saying that if it’s your last day, be happy. I am saying that if tomorrow is your last day, you shouldn’t give a shit about things or people which/who are not worth giving a shit about. Forget being happy and all, embrace the sadness and the loneliness. I’d rather go comfortably sad than pretentiously happy.
Just before entering the airport, I turned back and looked at the city once more. Somehow it felt like this might be the last time I would be seeing this city. Of course, that can’t be true. I have a shoot next week. But I still looked at those enormous skyscrapers and soaked it all in. If I ever write about my life there, this moment is where I would start. Or stop. The moment really did feel like that. Of course, none of it is true. It can’t be. Right?
The Vivaldi stops and the Bach begins. I have just finished reading the book. I go out to my balcony and look at all the houses. It’s night. The sky is glittering with stars. An unreal number of stars. The urban kids will get scared- that many stars. The houses are at most two-storied. All of them are separated by a backyard of some sort. Some have made gardens out of their backyards, some have swings, some backyards are serving as animal shelters. Nothing like the city. I soak it all in. If one day I ever write about my life here, this is the moment I would start. Or stop.
The house I live in is situated on a small hill. Looking down from the balcony requires a great bit of courage. There’s khaai. Today is different but. I stare at the ditch for a bit. It’s almost as if I want to make it uncomfortable. It reminds me of different rock bottoms I have hit over the years. And how every time I thought it can’t get worse, someone came with an ax and dug deeper. Some time back though, it stopped affecting me. The rock bottoms. The work. The failure. The success. It’s all just there. And you are there. And that’s it. You can choose to let them affect you, or you can ignore them. The Bach stops suddenly. The speakers have run out of battery. My hands are shaking a bit like that tea seller. A complete silence. I don’t think I am going back.