This is Me Today ( 9th September 2018)

I’m losing sight of who I am. Or rather, ‘I still haven’t figured out who I am’- this is what I’ve been waking up with, the past few days. The city, my dreams, doubts- all cloud my mind, leaving me with the feeling that I’m pretending to be something. What am I really like?

9–30 am: Mom calls, I wake up. She’s telling me something. I’m not listening the way I should be listening — I’m staring at that little forested hill in front of the house. Ma’s voice filters through gradually. Her voice is so alive.

10 am: Folded the mattress. Had warm water. Tossed away my shirt in anger and relief. Who invented clothes? — what the hell?! I’d be happy to live my life in towels if they weren’t so unreliable.

10–15 am: Here. Here. Here. Keep repeating it. Here. Stay here. Breathe here. Not in the past. Not in the future. Of late, this is my meditation. I’m trying to meet myself. I decide to try this diary today. Lets see what it shapes into. What I shape into.

10–16 am: ‘Definitely Maybe’ by Oasis is on the playlist. Suddenly, I’m happy again. This is the moment that keeps me alive everyday. A very subtle realisation of being alive. Being hopeful. Sometimes it’s always there. On some days, it takes a while to arrive, all the way into the evening. The worst is when it doesn’t return. On those days, I walk as much as I can.

11–02 am: Work out. Stretch, push up, wince in pain — Pain gathered in islands all over me. Back, left shoulder, right toe top the list for today. In a while I’ll breathe better again. It’s the closest thing to prayer, for me.

12–30 pm: In an auto, cushioned by cheap plastic covers, and Jack Savoretti’s ‘Home’ on the playlist. Sundays in Bombay are easier to look at- it’s like all actors have taken the day off. All the world is a backstage. I’ve learnt not to look too closely at anyone here. How many faces will you read into, how many lives will you empathise with?…you learn to develop a defocused stare. My auto driver is driving cross-handed, one hand on the steer, another holding a phone to his head. This i’m looking at, very carefully.

12–50 pm: ‘Baked slow. Devoured Quick’ — byline at the mall. Also, forlorn attendants at snack joints, topped off with hairnets. Fashionable and hygenic — someone really thought this through.

1 pm — 12 am: There are people who talk to me still. There’s much hand waving, voicing of half-born thoughts, stares, lost in space. But mostly, and mostly always, I’m looking at the eyes. Some are lined, pupils lost in the shade. Some catch the light, sparkle, and then fade. It’s like the rest of our bodies are suspended by the eyes. A city full of eyes. And then I’m speeding away, to other familiar eyes. There are small shops of little and big Ganesha’s tucked away on pavements, hidden behind beat-up trucks. The owner is going through a list of homes that the God must be delivered to, this coming week. And the drummer boys, gathered under subways, bridges, and any square-feet-space, bent over, heads askew — they play. The cheap metal of the drums on their bellies and backs glinting like a golden armour. The beats rising from lightning hands roar back at the concrete city — you can’t have me today.

12–15 am: Yellow and black of the autos buzzing on roads, the red taillights, sirens beckoning you close. So close. You brake, you sway, the wind the bumps the stink hits your face. All thoughts and the thought of thoughts gone away. It’s life at 2 rupees per hundred metres. You’ll watch in slow mo — a bike that hits a divider, suspended in slow-mo, belching smoke, limbs, into the air. Here. Here. Here — was never easier than this. When you’re not watching, this city will drag you by your toes onto the tarred roads and run you over.

10 am, the next day: That was the rum talking. Woke up today, again, with nothing to say.