At 4am every day, the ghosts of the past come to haunt me, it doesn’t matter if I am up or asleep. They invariably manage to find a way to sneak in. Dealing with them while awake is still easier. I distract myself, take couple of swirls of cheap liquor and drags of cheaper cigarettes and bury myself into writing. That numbs me. That helps me cope. And this, my friend, is why I don’t sleep. Not that I can’t. And now you know why I zombie walk all day, looking like a pale shadow of who you once knew me as.
The promise of future gives me hope, helps me to keep some of my sanity intact amidst these chaotic thoughts. It prevents me from giving up and sleeping that last sweet sleep of oblivion. There is hope on the horizon… but what if it’s a mirage? The mind says it is, the heart believes otherwise. The Heart comforts. That is what it always does. That is perhaps its role in the grand scheme.
Torn between the past and the future lies the present, always at a war between the rational and the emotional. They say, time is the best healer. Maybe it is. what of the pain today. They say, whatever happens , happens for the best. Blank words, designed to look wise, failing pretty short of any help whatsoever.
I look at the mirror, A stranger stares back. Lifeless eyes fix me with the gaze. That is not me, that just cannot be. I take a step back, stumble and the photo frame on the bed side table takes a fall, the glass shatters. With labored breath, I bend down to pick up the remains. Very gently, I take out the photo it once held. Yes, that is me. The boyish grin, the non nonchalant attitude, the mirth in the eyes, the charm, all that was me. How did this guy transform into the one staring me from the mirror right now !
As I ponder for a moment on the existential quest, I look down and see shards of glass strewn across the floor.
I pick one up, the biggest of the lot. This should do. It has to. I hold it in my hand, look at the razor sharp edge and feel a sense of comfort. I have played this scene so many times in the last few months, I know exactly how every scene , every act is going to unfold. But I don’t want it to end as quick. I guess, a little part of me, the masochist part wants to prolong this moment. I look around as if to survey the scene. The peg on the table stares back at me invitingly. One more peg is not going to hurt, I think and down it in one mighty gulp. The alcohol sears through my throat, burning all the way down . I feel it and am so glad I can still feel something after all. I light a cigarette and somewhere inside a sense of sadness builds up knowing this is going to be my last cigarette. The cigarette, my ever faithful friend , never cribbed, never left my side, helped me celebrate so many moments of happiness and let me cope with the infinite sadness, whenever, wherever it faced me.
As I puff away all the way to the golden drag, A little voice chides me for prolonging the drama. Very mechanically, very swiftly, without any tinge of remorse or anticipation, the right hand slashes across the left wrist and almost immediately the warmth of the gushing blood engulfs me. It should have hurt, surprisingly it doesn’t. I look down at the accumulating pool of red around me, and wonder , with a chuckle, how much of it is actually alcohol. Somewhere from a different era, comes the voice of my biology teacher teaching us about adrenaline and its effects. Considering how calm I am at this moment, I wonder if I should give him a call and ask him whatever happened to that damned adrenaline in my system. But no point waking an old man at 4 in the morning with such a pointless question.
The blood loss is making me go cold and I can already feel the shivers and chills on their way. Every feeling is a good feeling now. They say, when you are in the last moments of your life, your entire life flashes before you and you focus more on the things you didn’t do than the ones that you have accomplished. Now that I m there, I see profound wisdom in these words as I lay thinking, “damn, I should have done my laundry!!” Profound words of wisdom causing profound regret.
My vision gets clouded with brief spells of darkness interspersed by sudden moments of clarity. The thoughts no longer come in brief phrases but in disjointed words. Aah, words, my most loyal companion all along, from the marijuana induced high, on a lighthouse lit beach, in the interiors of Karnataka, to the binge drinking sessions on NH-8, the Delhi Gurgaon Highway, the one true thing I have always relied on was words, Always in my head, always playfully daring me to turn them into meaningful phrases and beautiful verses. Perhaps the only thing I m going to miss leaving behind.
I can feel the numbness spreading now, the light flickers and for the first time, in a long long time, my head is finally bereft of all the myriad thoughts. As I close my eyes, probably to never open it again, the last thought that does a quick sortie, is the sense of relief of finally going to a sleep sans all demons. I can finally sleep like a baby, without a care in the world, completely oblivious of the chaos and the trauma all around me. This is Nirvana, this is Utopia and I m finally free, I am finally here.
The last breath escapes my cold lips. I smile as I die.