I’m woken up at nine by the pigeon gurgling like an idiot on the window sill. Another useless, brainless bird, that. I throw my spare pillow at it and immediately feel my half-awake cells collectively sigh at the thought of another long, sunny day.
‘Getting ready’ has never made much sense to me. I go through the whole process quickly, as I always do. I see no point in prolonging the dull activities. I would rather skip them altogether if I could. Actually, I often do.
At the bus stop, I wait and wonder which bus I should take. I know I’ll take the same one but it amuses me to imagine myself going to Raja Garden instead. Or Super Bazaar. I’ve never been to Super Bazaar, I realize. Is it a real bazaar or just an idea, like Ashram or Dhaula Kuan?
A bus ride and a mile later, I walk into MAE-III. Mechanical and Automation Engineering – 3rd year. I’m expecting the stern look, the sharp reprimand, maybe even the silent refusal to enter. One glance and he turns back to the green board. The handful of people in the room continue to scratch their desks or fiddle with their phones. I sink into a chair at the back, slightly saddened by the non-effect of my sudden appearance. And because it’s Robotics. Which sounded fucking cool when I picked it as an elective but turned out to be a fraud. Why the hell am I being taught math again? Where is my R2-D2, my T-2000?
An hour is all I can take. I walk out to The Shop to sit and wait for a call or a text from one of my three friends. And I smoke. Some people visit now and then and I smile agreeably at their predictable jokes. One more year, and I’ll never talk to any of them again for the rest of my life.
CP. Because there’s nowhere else to go. Nowhere I can sit under a tree and sneer at couples and tourists. I can’t afford a cold coffee at Barista, nor tolerate the inevitable raucous bunch from Tilak Nagar referring to each other (and themselves) as Bhai. So I go to a bookshop to continue creating my wishlist. I fantasize about the day when it wouldn’t even occur to me to look at the price tag, convert the dollars and calculate the number of days I’d have to save up in order to buy that book. I’m convinced I will be much happier then.
I walk the full circle from Block E to A, and back. I take my place under the tree, where I can hear the music floating in faintly from TGIF. Roadhouse Blues. Sweet Home Alabama is next, so I keep the cigarette in my fingers and wait.
The rain comes like a delightful shock. I don’t know why they call it gloomy. It gives this harsh, miserable city a soft, glowing smile. It drowns the ugliness in its beautiful rhythm. It makes you feel free, feel alive.
Fucking keechad everywhere. Muddy water seeps into my shoes on the walk back home and soaks my good pair of socks. I climb the stairs slowly, one squishy step at a time. I stop for a minute outside the door and feel every muscle in my body slump. I open the door because, again, I have nowhere else to go.
I lie in bed with my eyes closed, half-listening to some 2-member Canadian band play an ironic love song, and try not to think of what time to set the alarm for. I let myself dream once more, of the day when I’ll look forward to wake up at 7, walk out with a definite purpose in each step, and say Good Morning to strangers with a smile. A real smile.
Funny how things change.