A few house sparrows have settled near my feet. I wonder what I would look like to someone who passes by. But no one usually comes this way. I am sitting on a damaged concrete bench near an abandoned train station. Eyes fixed to my old Notebook’s screen, fingers moving undecidedly over alphabets that try to be truthful to what the constellation of neurons signal to my system.
Me and my Notebook, against the dust particles that fly and fall down on my shoes. We are denied free will, even of the transitory nature. We obey commands, the existence of which we don’t even realize at times. We try to be smart but make a mess of everything by our uninformed inventiveness. We rebel occasionally, only in attempts to get rid of that which we think invade us.
The bench carries the weight of a man’s thoughts and a machine’s heat. The man out of Dionysian dreams about to plunge into some unknown sphere of existence. The machine with its helpless Apollonian rationality about to witness, and play a significant part in, what follows. Nature keeps a knowing, watchful eye.
What if I fail?
Despite all the systematic preparations, I can loose my life in this attempt. That would defeat the purpose of my perseverance. What I need to gain is life, with certain things altered.
It is not easy to be alone in a quest for identity, when the meaning itself of identity has been ripped off by essentialists. My friend who studied in some big Western university thinks these are the golden times of communities. He thinks there cannot be anyone left out with individual existential angst. When he saw me reading Kafka once, he laughed at the anachronism of a Third World citizen stuck in the drainpipes of European thoughts at the wake of Twenty First Century. He thought Gregor Samsa, a.k.a. Kafka, might be howling slogans in a Gay Parade or dancing in a nightclub if he lived to see this world. How can he waste his time having apple-fights with his father and crying over his ‘metamorphosis’ behind a closed door? Try to imagine the guy in a Marilyn Monroe wig dancing to deejayed hiphop, and you will lose your appetite for grim books, he said.
I was silenced. I wanted to tell him that I would be happier with less, not more. But he wouldn’t have understood a word of what I had to say, lost in his newly-found all-knowing stupidity. His teenage wisdom told him that the art of life was to learn to live with, and make the most of, what we had in us.
I know that in a few minutes, others would think of me as a real fool. I need to roll up the right trouser leg. I need it to live with me, so I will roll it up just above my knee where I had tied some cloth tightly, just in case. My message might have reached the doctor by now, and he will come soon after the train passes by. But I am being cautious. I am almost sure that I will pass out, and I need to avoid fatal blood loss.
I am a bit worried about losing the part of leg I need, and of losing life as well, but the good doctor had explained a few things to me and showed me the way I have to keep the leg on the track. He knows the exact part from where I need to loose it, and he can look after that once I become his patient legally.
It was very kind of him. I was really surprised that he understood me. But he is the one who made full use of his years around the world. I respect him for his discerning mind which recognizes human misery. He thinks beyond stereotyped identity crises, and believes in the individual’s right to choose the life he needs. I choose life without my right leg from just above the knee.
I can imagine the initial hardships and financial constraints. Not to talk of social stigma, though the fools will never know why I put my leg under a speeding train. Despite all that, I can foresee my happiness if I succeed in this attempt. An end to my agony that was beyond any analyst or therapist. A pragmatic solution to the darkness that took birth with me in the form of an unwanted limb. It won’t be heaven, but I know that it would be a lesser hell for me.
I don’t think much of the invented new-age categories – Devotees, Amputees, Wannabees… I am going live in a society which hasn’t heard of apotemnophilia, of amputees by choice. I do not wish to partake in any of the thoughtless exploitation of mutual feelings through community building.
I hear a vibration over the rail-track that resonates with my senses swollen in anticipation.
The bums who could not even find a tree branch strong enough to hang themselves…The semi-crack who waited for death lying on a rail track as the train passed through some other track…A few people who tore off their genital organs in religious frenzy and threw them in the air…An old man who dreamt of an orgy before starting a trip of life and death in search of a boy his grandson’s age…
My resolve is not a fragile branch of tree. There is only one rail track in front of me. I am not misguided by mob psychology. I am not an old man in his death bed, tormented by late realizations.
My search for difference, a rare identity, leads me here. Sometimes, I feel like a character out of my stories.
Either way, this act serves a purpose. It proves something. It brings some change to an eventless life. I will shut down the Notebook now, keep it safe here and get up.
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