Gracing With Uninvited Presence

I glided peacefully through a traffic jam keeping my footwork balanced between the clutch and the brake. While the traffic in its movement held the spirit of a lazy teenager trying to wake up for school on time on the first Monday morning after the Christmas break, its slumber broken by huge and hasty leaps, the music happened to be just the perfect thing present on my phone for that moment bringing in the much required calm in a mental state where usually there are waves of idea-slush gyrating inside one’s skull. It tamed and shaped what was otherwise a clunky and monotonous washing machine into a wine glass inside my head – a containment which is clear, fragile, smooth and reflective.

Post yesterday’s degeneracy and brain splitting discussions followed by a ten hour blackout, I had to drop Ishan back to the metro station but the traffic made us opt for a quick trip to McDonald’s which with each passing moment became more important than ever. Doing a very careful and an oh-so-smooth parallel park, I stepped out and cinematically pulled in the entire evening for my lungs to see. Even with my eyes closed and through the minor hints of the smells of petrol and rotting garbage could I tell that each breath held the bright navy blue sky accompanied by the warmer hues of the street lights below – the moment had been objectified, packed and successfully consumed. I was seeing with lungs.  

Right now, I am in a video shot at a boy’s ninth or tenth birthday party. I am blissfully lost in the background while oily crispiness of capitalism waltzes on my tongue. All of that but my mind is completely present at the other table as if it had been invited in person. I noticed how the mothers here are acting lamer than the kids. I can feel the jealousy and the competitiveness of the modern world behind their silly jokes and pleasant smiles. The conversation hurts intelligence on multiple levels but that is nothing in front of the most important issue at hand – the birthday boy really needs to cut down on his television intake, it would ruin him! Three and a half gulps of ice tea and a passing thought which is extremely funny pull me away for a while. The second time I return to the partying table less critical of things and people, I realize that a part of me in a moment of stupefied joy has been captured in a complete stranger’s memory. Someday the birthday-boy might watch that video with the same cringe I have right now and perhaps he would be able to spot it on the face of the weird guy sitting at the back who keeps turning around to look at the ruckus his friends are making.

After this absolutely silent yet a very engaging dinner, I further navigated through the traffic like it was a video game. By the time I dropped Ishan off at the station, the skies had darkened but the orange streetlights stayed steady dancing in and out of my car dashboard as I finally drove back home singing ‘Happy Birthday To You’ loudly with my windows rolled up.


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