Making Things Official


Mule (Parthib Chandra of Class XI, 2019) has shown the talent of writing great short stories every now and then. This is another exceptional piece of writing by him. 

Flashes. Shutter-clicks.

They don’t care about this. They don’t give a shit if I jump. They stare at me because I am a matter of entertainment. A welcome deviation from those frozen routines.

Car honks. Look up, oh my god…

“This is the Evening Republic News, and I’m your reporter, Rohit Dutta. We have a man standing on a window ledge, ten floors above ground, about to jump and take his own life. There is a huge crowd here on Park Street, as you can see, waiting for the man’s decision. We have rescue parties coming, but wil…”

A gust of wind. Fear.

What am I afraid of? I should be afraid of what my life was becoming — or rather, being made into. I should be afraid of these vile, greedy dogs who would love to tear me to pieces at every opportunity. I shouldn’t be afraid of nothingness.

Old men: “What has even become of this world, people taking their own lives left and right…”

They disapprove. This is “sin”. I have no right to take away a life, even if it is my own, because it is a sacred gift. But of course, it’s quite alright to confine it in a twenty-by-twenty cubicle for half the day, have it slave everyday in a white shirt in front of some glowing silicon magic contraption in said cubicle, make it bear the stench of a million people compressed like garbage in a metal cuboid travelling across half a city, home to work, work to home, and, god, what a home.

What a home.

I had bought that china tea set because it caught her eye, and she was the noor of my eyes, and I had just gotten my first salary. Little did I know that that china set was destined to become, one day, an airplane, flying across my dining room, crashing on the wall, as I watched my life go tumbling down like the twin towers. There was nothing left. There used to be happiness, but now there was nothing left.

Happiness?

There was happiness in friends, in family, in thought, in myself. There was happiness in the world, in the birds, the trees, the walk in the park we took every Saturday licking ice-cream or sipping Star-bucks. Then everything changed. Reality became an illusion, what was true now had to be imagined. Friends became Facebook, family went far away, thought had no time, myself became machine. The world started passing in side vision. Life started passing in side vision.

Dead. Just dead. All dead.

The world used to be an amazing place. Fun used to be an amazing thing. Not a day went by without my kid brother coming home from school and asking me, why this, why that, how can this be, not a day went by when he didn’t want to learn, make sense of the world. Not a day went by without at least one of my friends calling up to discuss some literature, some movie, some insight they collected from somewhere. Not a day went by without enrichment, joy — the good kind — and wonderment. And now everyone’s gone, dead, just pleasure-seeking-bots. My son isn’t like my brother. My colleagues are not like my classmates. My boss is not like my teacher. I’m not like I was. The whole world is dead, because nobody loves it anymore, nobody cares anymore. Me too; no denying that. I’m gone too, I’m dead too.

So, just, no point keeping the charade on, I guess. What? I’m only making things official here.