I don’t know if I’m a saint or a sinner. I don’t know if motes of good and evil flit past the room I’m enclosed in, or if I’ve somehow transcended those notions through a nihilism that followed a mystical dark night of the soul.
I’ve looked in the mirror a thousand times and I never find the same reflection. I’m like a song who can’t be played the same way twice, and once the musician discards me, I’ll fade into obscurity and oblivion, like a train entering an endless dark tunnel. Who am I? Where will I find myself after the apocalypse – on a barren land with a bloody moon, or some small redemptive corner where the Church bell still chimes and visions, gifts and prophecy endures?
The last time I looked in the mirror, I saw a disgruntled bearded man, having come to terms with the loss of youth’s vanity. No longer was he by any means attractive, no longer did he possess allure or personality, no longer did he find solace in women like he once did. I never envisioned this man when I lived separated from reality in a city of romanticism, but bit by bit, the jade and sapphire turned into brick and rust, the smell of the earth gave way to a miasma of decay that singed my eyes and left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.
I spat and vomited, knowing things will never be the same. I ran on ash, tar and blood swirling under a beautiful azure sky and on some crag spotted Tennyson’s eagle waiting to swoop down like a majestic golden brown monarch. I reached up hoping he’d land on my arm and guide me, but I was denied providential grace. The buildings looked like putrefied flesh and I ran on to find my house lying in ruins and I was left with two choices: To cling to shattered idealism and stay deluded or to forge the new out of what remained and I still don’t know what I’ve done.
I feel strongly and don’t feel at all. I love strongly and hate bitterly. I call myself out for my duplicity but I can’t repair myself. I don’t possess the tools and the wheel of my existence is losing a new spoke each day, which I stick haphazardly with duct tape and glue, never knowing if tomorrow it’ll still run and there’ll be freedom symbolising the now clichéd, ‘This too has passed.’
And hence, I’m an agglomeration of the moon, stars, rain and sun, and all I offer you is a conglomeration of red, blue, fluorescent and black emotion. I sit now in a coffee shop, smoking my last cigarette, and see faces pass me, some mute, some saying something like, ‘hello,’ and I know they’ve got it sorted out, and as time meets time, they’ll progress while I stay just as ambiguous as the melancholic post-rock playing, and the ash in the tray, never knowing what’ll happen next, until the music player switches off and they clean the tray.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)