“being optimistic isn’t always the worst choice.”
His cold face stared down at the open book that lay on the table. The white headphones stood out against his black t-shirt. They were connected to his iPod that also lay on the table –that too was black. His hair was short but looked as if it has grown out from the almost clean-shaven haircut he had gotten a month or so ago. Like his hair, his beard had grown out too. Both were a blonde brown color. The brown being the more prominent of the two. He looked for a single moment towards the clock on the side wall. He was sitting in a small cafe. That was quite unlike a Starbucks you see on every street corner. Quiet, just what he wanted. Other than his coffee of course. Which was black, no milk or sugar. Just the way he liked it. He rarely felt the need to get up or speak to anyone. This was his time and he wasn’t going to waste it spending time with people who he didn’t care about and ones he would never see again. He just wanted to read. Something he hadn’t found time to do in the past. Something that he didn’t like. So he decided that his mid-day break would be his and his alone. No one else’s. He’d only move to refill his water bottle or speak on to ask for more coffee. Other than that, all he would do is read. He wouldn’t let anything get in his way. No unnecessary phone calls, no iPhone apps to distract him. It would be him, his book and his music. The music helping to drown the world out. Helping him to throw himself into the book; into the character’s head. Escape from his life. Not that his was bad. But everyone needs a break sometimes. A bit of peace within the chaos that is life. So he would use this place, this cafe whose name he did not know, to give him that bit of peace. To keep him sane in this cutthroat world of ours. If we don’t there’s always that risk of crossing the line from sanity to insanity.
A beautiful girl
Dark curls caress her soft nape
When will I see her?
Chocolate eyes –
Deep and full, draw me closer
taking me away
Her pink lips
glistening in the moonlight
taste of strawberry
A woman’s body –
bare, smooth and supple
In our world today, we are all truly alone. No matter what we do or how hard we try to pretend that we are not alone– by surrounding ourselves amongst people, friends and loved ones. There are those moments, fractions of seconds that remind us of this sad, depressing fact. The fact that no matter what we do, how we live and with whom we live, we truly are alone.
Alone, to deal with our problems, because friends and family understand only so much. Alone to enjoy the fleeting happiness of the many relationships, of success, of love. Alone to endure the bitter trials of loss, betrayal, and death.
Why? Because no one can truly understand what anyone else is going through, but themselves. That is how we live our lives, together, yet alone. Constant hypocrisy. We live our lives as individuals who work only for ourselves but talk about unity, living as one community, one city, one country, one nation, one world. But really no one cares about you, your problems and frankly not even your life.
Not because they are heartless, cold beings, but because they are too busy helping themselves.
Waiting. We wait all the time and yet we hate to wait. Impatience is ubiquitous. It’s all around us. And within me. If you could have one wish, what would it be? Okay, whatever you just wished for, I can guarantee that you want it immediately. Not in a week, not tomorrow, hell if it were up to you, five minutes would be too long. But we wait, we wait for things that matter. You’ll wait for your friend or that dinner date, and you’ll sure as hell wait for that college degree (well most of us unwillingly). What is the point in waiting, does it really make a difference to you? Because it does to me. When you wait for something it matters more, it holds more meaning and shows maturity in the one waiting. But what do I know, I still think waiting is a bore. When I’m done waiting and it’s been worth the wait, I am reminded of all the reasons for why we wait. And so I continue to wait. Hell I’m waiting right now.
In the Dark of the night,
We feel the rain
We cower and hide
Unable to find
Courage to cross
The light turns red. My car comes to a halt. I look out of the window and my eyes drift upon four gaunt men squatting on the sidewalk outside the Mahim Restaurant. I have seen them before on my way to school. A dark blue Mercedes approaches. The window rolls down. A hand thrusts a 100-rupee note out. The restaurant owner grabs it. The four men spring up and are led into the restaurant. The unknown man in the Mercedes just paid for their meal. Today was a good day; on others they would wait all day, hungry. These restaurants feed the poor, homeless and unemployed, but only when the wealthier inhabitants decide to assuage their guilt. This is Bombay. On the surface, life blurs between the wealthy and the poor but the disparity is brutally displayed everywhere else.
At school, the thought of these men stays with me. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to be a part of their world, where even the most fundamental right, food, is not available. Where basic human dignity is long compromised. How do I make a difference? Not one of giving handouts, but one that lasts. Using what I learn in class, I try to think of ways to make an impact in their lives –like setting up a program that promotes change through awareness; similar to the theatre workshop I conducted last summer with underprivileged children.
I have looked out at Bombay, the city that is my home, through many windows. Bombay has tempered me. It has taught me to look past my needs and wants, to look past myself and see the world around me.