Every evening when he returns from work, he sits in his room with the window open. Today is another day. He sinks into his chair, rather a very large leather couch . He elegantly loosens his tie, “this shirt really is of good quality, still no wrinkles. They cost, but they are worth it.” he ruminates. The small table in front has a glossy texture, it is maroon in color and has a very fine quality glass on top. He leans forward and holds his temples in his hands and rests his elbows on the table. Scattered books lay around him like dead moths around a consumed candle. A small bird of Passerine family lands on the ledge of the window near a small wooden glass that he has put for thirsty birds. The bird hops and sits on the rim of it but does not drink. He slides his chair and leans towards the window to have a look and realizes the glass is empty. He wants to fill it with water but he knows the bird would fly away if he approached it. So he thinks he would fill it later and sinks back into his chair. His phone beeps with some notification. He slides again sitting on his wheeled chair to the far end of the room to extract his phone from his blazer and slides back to the table and lethargically goes through the phone checking ritual: Unlock, chat messenger, social media app, sms, call logs, all application drawer, email, social media app, email, back to to chat messenger, lock screen. He plugs the phone on charging while ignoring a few more notification beeps from it. He gets up, walks over to the kettle on another small table in the corner of the room while looking for the bird outside. It isn’t there. He empties the water from the kettle in the glass for the birds and fills the kettle again. Takes out yesterday’s half eaten sandwich from the refrigerator and throws it in the microwave and at the same time plugs the kettle. The light outside is dimming and he stands starring at the millions of specs of dust in the long slanting ray of sunlight bathing half the room in thick soft orange hues. Minutes pass, he comes out of his reverie as the kettle clicks and the oven beeps.
He needs to finish a book he had started a month ago but his head is throbbing.
He is lying in his couch with half a quilt over his legs, drinking tea, eating his sandwich and switching channels on the TV.
“Three students have been killed outside a grocery store over a small….”
” *Crowd Roars* Brilliant catch, that is a stunner by..”
Milte hain dono waqt jahan, jo raat na din jo aaj na kal
… “Reactivate your sim today…”
“…So therefore it is proved that faith alone cannot be trusted in order to…”
“You talking to me? You talk….”
“To me, you talking to me?” he imitates De niro, he knows the lines. He smiles.
He dozes off with the cup of tea in his hand and a documentary about African elephants on the TV.
He is awakened as his hot beverage is spilled over his fine shirt. “Ah shit”. He stays in the couch for a while and then eventually changes his shirt. It is dark outside. His phone is charged. It is time. He takes out the deck of cards from the drawer inside the maroon table.
He has to start again. There is no way he could ever continue. The work he had put in yesterday can never be re-used. It is only the experience that could help. But what use could this experience be of?
“I’ll do something new today, I’ll first separate the cards into groups.”
“Spades go here”
He spends a few minutes arranging the cards into smaller decks.
“All looking good now, beautiful”
“So how should I begin, it doesn’t matter if I lay the foundation with the strongest cards or the weakest?” He asks himself.
“Even if some generic rules are taken into consideration, some cards are stronger than others in certain games, but not all. Ah, it shouldn’t bother me in my case”. He starts laying the foundation.
“Aces at the bottom, Clubs to make the walls, Hearts then spades, Kings for the walls of the second story, nice”
“I have made three stories today” He leans back and closes his eyes and stretches.
“Okay, I must go on tonight, tomorrow is off, I must build further tonight.”
It’s 3:00 am and he has started over thrice already and is yet to make it to the fourth story. He leaves the house of cards and un-mutes the TV, lays back.
“In other news a cat has been found stuck in the…”
♪ I’m a gangster a ….”
“Now we will put some sugar into the mix aaaaannnddd sssssooommmeee mmmiiiiiillkk….”
It is 3:21 am, he wakes up suddenly and as he turns to go to his bedroom the quilt creates a little vortex of wind and collapses the house of cards. He doesn’t notice it. He goes and sleeps.
The dark matter threatening to infect my insides needs to be spat out morphed into beautiful words and exalted ideas. A life long sojourner in search of the philosopher’s stone eventually finds it but in order to hide it from the pirates, he swallows it and dies. A young youthful lad spends all his youth locating the Elixir of Life or “Aab-e-hayat” finds it in his final days and joyous and jubilant he jumps into the small pond and dies. Drowns in Aab-e-hayat. A writer condemned of treason and causing agitation against the state is sentenced to be hanged in public. Just before he is taken to the gallows, he is given a paper and a pen to write his will. Paper and a pen to “write”. Such is life.