Every morning, as I sit on my chair, turn the pages of the newspaper and sip from my coffee mug, I wonder if I will ever need anything more than this bitter-sweet indulgence.
The garnet of my stagnant routine has been gradually eroding the surface of my inner peace, making me cynical and less social as the days go by. The mornings and evening have lost their face and one blends into the other before I can even gather my pieces and acknowledge either. My body is adding friction to my spirit and the lack of action is spinning a vicious circle, spiraling and dragging me down. It feels like I am being sucked into a swamp, the strength diminishes, logical reasoning goes turtle and as you panic and throw your limbs around, the mush beneath your feet pulls you deeper inside.
Staring at the face of a losing battle, the morning coffee pumps some adrenaline back and makes me sit up and do what is necessary to keep my head above water. I survive my mornings and the dreary hours ahead with my half a dozen cups of coffee.
Caffeine – the savior, switches my day on.
I step out of the shower and pick up a random shirt from my wardrobe, make myself bearable, if not presentable and push myself into the parking lot and coax my bike to sputter and start and haul it out on the driveway.
Once the narrow lanes merge into the highway, I start breathing again. I pull up the visor on my helmet and let the wind touch my face just below my eyes that are protected by a pair of cheap shades. I wade my way through the morning traffic and zig-zag between the trucks and cars and buses and people and cows and every possible thing on Indian roads. The tempo builds up, kicking my senses, keeping me alert and slowly but surely, I feel the blood flowing back in my veins and a faint realization of me still being alive, sets in.
Traffic slows me down, red lights break my chain of thought, the unforgiving cushion of the bike seat makes me twitch multiple times during the 140 minutes ride to my workplace, yet all of it keeps me together, helps me regain my sanity and surges me forward in an uncanny way.
I take a break at the gas station, feed my bike its gasoline and get myself a pack of gum at the convenience store. The sweet smell of petrol, as it is pumped into the tank fills my lungs and I wipe the odd drop or two falling off the nozzle on to the tank with my gloved hands and gear up. I get my parts moving and rev up the engine of my soul on my two wheels.
Gasoline – the provider, propels my day forward.
I spend the next 8 to 10 hours tied to a chair in a small cubicle, looking into a screen. The machine cleanly sucks a fraction of my life away, without spilling even a single drop of blood. A bead of sweat trickles down. I end my shift, step out, ride back, climb up the stairs back to my apartment and pull my feet out of my shoes. A day is struck out on the calendar – an obituary for the setting Sun as it hides its face behind the concrete wilderness of this city bursting at seams. My fellow inmates, serving their time in this prison of life, follow in one by one, some sooner than the others.
I wring my body and dry up my sweaty soul under the shade of my tin roof and throw myself on the couch for a few minutes. The sunlight fades away, enveloping my being and the room in a blanket of darkness. I feel compelled to get up and fumble for the switch to turn on a lamp. As the incandescent light from an ailing bulb blinds me momentarily, I find my slippers and drag myself to the kitchen.
I throw my dinner in a plate and find myself a glass. In the cabinet above the stove, the sparkling muse beacons. I sigh and smile at the same time and pick the bottle to pour a stiff one. The ice cloaks the invisible elixir and I pour the first drink down my throat as a sharp shot and let the Vodka sizzle its way to my gut. The second one follows with the food as a gentle, mellowed trickle past my lips.
Vodka – the rescuer, bails me out every night.