I wake up. I expunge waste in the toilet. I brush my teeth. I shave. I take a shower. Bathing needs to be quick, for I can’t afford to waste time on that. I don’t wash my hair every day. Yes, you guessed it right. Shampoo is not what I intend to save. It’s time. I dry myself off quickly and wear the first pieces of clothes I can lay my hands on. I get dressed up and rush out of my flat as soon as I am done. I then take a shared cab to the nearest local train station. I usually wait and wish for a one with twelve coaches. Nevertheless, I board the first train that arrives. Train takes forty-five minutes to reach my destination. So I plug the earphones and listen to songs. There are sweaty people everywhere. Jostling and elbowing me. But I have got used to the smell. I have got used to the violation of my personal space. In fact, I violate the personal space of others too.
I usually try to stay aloof and distanced. But sometimes I do respond to a smile or two. It’s out of mutual recognition that we all are living a complicated life. At other times, however, I do not respond. Especially when I see and come across suspicious people on the train. I pick up my wallet from the back pocket and dump it into the front one.
At nine AM I take another shared cab to my office. It takes the cab 15 minutes to rush through the streets. And by 9: 25 I am inside my office. I switch on my laptop and order the breakfast. Food in my office is at discounted rates. Hence it saves both time and money. My immediate boss is usually the first one to arrive at my desk. He gives me instructions for the day and asks for updates at the end of the office timings. I somehow nod at everything he says and then resume my work as soon as he leaves.
Time passes. But every day it is the same drama, the same struggle. Is this what I am supposed to do? I ask myself all the time. Nevertheless, I do nothing about it. I slog hard till the working hours are over. Sometimes I finish my work by then. Sometimes I don’t. But never ever has my boss applauded me. He admonishes me though, whenever he gets the chance. I don’t know whether he hates me or feigns it in order to get the job done.
Anyway, I return home and have dinner. I long to do something interesting and make the most out of my spare time. I wish to unleash my creativity. But I am too tired for that. So l lie down on my bed, browse random web-pages on my phone, and scoff at my Facebook friends for posting interesting and happening pictures depicting their awesome lives. In the end, I log in to my favorite video streaming website and watch movies and TV series, till the moment my eyes are too tired and too heavy to continue watching the same. I put my phone on the charger, switch off the lights and then let Morpheus embrace me in the night.
I wake up. I expunge waste in the toilet. I brush my teeth. I shave. I take a shower. I get dressed up as soon as I dry myself off and at times treat myself with a cup of coffee. I then lock the door of my flat and take the first shared cab I can find. I arrive at the local station and rush through the steps of the bridge to get to the other side. Sometimes I stumble and almost fall. At other times I curse the people who are moving too slow. Their lack of seriousness is exasperating. Don’t they know the importance of time? I often end up asking myself.
Anyway, I walk on the platform until I reach the perfect spot, which I have discovered after a long trial and error and, of course, observations. It is where the least crowded coaches come to a halt. As soon as the train arrives, I step in. Finding a seat is a tricky part, for the station I board the train from lies in the midway of the train journey. Anyhow, I try my best to grab the best seat. You have to be quick. Moreover, you have to be attentive. One has to accurately guess, who is going to get off on the next station. Most of the times I fail to find a seat. But on rare occasions, I manage to find one. And whenever I do, I feel elated and accomplished. As if I have won a war of some sort. As if finding a seat in the crowded train is the only goal in my life.
Anyway, whether I find a seat or not, I always busy myself listening to songs. Music has this healing effect. It makes you forget things. It makes you forget your miserable life for a while.
The journey usually lasts for a quarter of an hour. After which I once again throw myself into the crowd. If one would look from far above, the station would definitely look like a crowded anthill. And we humans like ants rushing out of an opening.
The struggle to quickly find a shared cab is real. One has to be in a line that forms every day next to the bus stop. Still, at times, it doesn’t work. Often there are people who are in too much hurry. They don’t believe in waiting for their turn and rush towards the cabs before they could reach the beginning of the line. Nevertheless, everyone finds a taxi sooner or later.
I arrive at my office, eat my breakfast, and proceed with my work. It’s the same every day. The monotony, the feeling, and the struggle. So I try not to think about it. However, at times, I do end up looking at my colleagues. Everyone bears the same expression on their faces. No. It’s not that of sadness or hate or regret even. The expression I am talking about is that of cluelessness and weariness. Nobody knows what they are doing. What’s even worse is that they are all tired of doing what they do. Anyway, I somehow shrug off my negative thoughts and try focusing my mind on work. It was I and I only who made this choice, I tell myself. So I work till the office hours are over and return home as soon as I can.
I wake up. I expunge waste in the toilet. I brush my teeth. I shave. I take a shower. Sometimes I cry for no reason. At other times I laugh. I know that it’s not going to be any different. Still, I somehow manage to pull myself together every morning and reach my office as quickly as possible. Work is tiresome. Not to my body or my mind, but to my soul. Office is bad for spirituality. All I see is ruined people. All I see is cynics all around. We think we are working in order to live. What we don’t realize is we are living for our work instead. We are not free. We are a cog in the system. Always replaceable. Always expendable.
At times I feel the urge to throw off my laptop. At times I feel the urge to show my boss the middle finger. But thankfully I do nothing and take a deep breath instead. And as soon I succeed in calming my nerves down, I realize the futility of my rage. I shudder at my self-destructive thoughts and hate myself for having them in the first place. Often my boss comes to my desk when I am angry. As if he can read my mind. As if he knows I am raging from inside. As if he wants do nothing except to tease me. I feel the urge to punch him in the face. But somehow I tolerate his smug smile. I forgive him, for I realize that he was once the same person as I am now. With time he lost his compassion. With time he became a cynic and a rude man. Is he to blame? I ask myself. Anyhow, I overcome my urges and my feelings and try working to my full potential. And as soon as the clock strikes six, I bustle out of my office.
I wake up …
(This story is inspired by the opening scene of the movie - ‘The Lookout’)