I’m the Knight of Infinite Resignation or the Kierkegaardian fatalist. I sit in this café where androids gather. They’re scheming, plotting, drawing and smoking. I feel lost too, but I’m no android. I don’t bleed blue, and I’m not a mass of wires. I’m more than that or at least try convincing myself that I am. MGMT plays in the background, and this whole place has this psychedelic ambiance, but I’m not on drugs. I don’t do drugs. That’ll make me a misfit or a layabout, but I often wonder if I should. I often wonder if I should get the surgery done. I wonder if I should replace my arteries and veins with circuits and smoke a blunt with those pretty misfits in the corner. Who am I? I think I’m a man baptized in a dark pool of nihilism and guilt by acolytes wearing tan-colored robes symbolizing the earthiness of it all. When I say earthiness, I don’t mean the rich soil or the petrichor. I mean rough, dirty earth that gets embedded in your fingernails. Oh, how I envy Abraham! He’s taking the bus right now with Isaac in tow. He’s going to the mountain to sacrifice the boy to Jehovah. But isn’t God dead? I’m sure Abraham doesn’t mean to make a sacrifice literally. I think it’s a figurative one where he’ll teach the boy about the ill effects of the electronic cigarettes he smokes and the video games he plays. I mean, that kid is nineteen and Ishmael is married and well settled even though Abraham disowned him. This boy though is so caught up in virtual reality headsets and apparently has 3D dreams. Television apparently made us dream in color, and here we have Isaac – the first post-millennial killed off by reckless spending and banal consumerism, the first post-millennial not needing hallucinogens to know what an acid trip feels like. At least the Hippies listened to great music while they gave themselves over to Woodstock. He definitely needs the mountains. He apparently asked Abraham what a sacrifice is. The gall of the boy! I hope he suffers when Abraham imposes Luddite Puritanism on him, and he cries and shrieks in horror until a ram appears, and he tastes something richer than Snapchat. But, hell, I’m a fatalist, and I don’t believe that Abraham will succeed. I think he’ll become an apostate too and start punching tweets on his outdated phone before he’s disgruntled and runs to the Apple Store and picks up the latest iPhone. And then Isaac will demand one too. I’d like to see how all this plays out when Abraham returns smoking an e-cigarette himself. But even that cheap thrill is so ephemeral. Everything is so transient. I might as well get high. I think I’m going to join the misfits but what good will that do? I’ll read this book, and then I really don’t know what to do.

Part 1

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

You sometimes encounter people in life who want you to love them intimately. They’re literally obsessed with you and try forcing their perceptions of intimacy on you. They’re not exactly stalkers but aren’t a far cry from that breed. Now, I understand unrequited love and the need for someone to reciprocate your feelings, but if you truly love someone, you’ll let them go. You’ll never force your delusions on them because no two people think alike.

Yes, there may be a collective consciousness, but I don’t believe in the concept of soul mates or two people sharing one soul. A collective consciousness is something more genetic and has to do with traits acquired and personality, but ultimately you are your being.

People fail to recognize this aspect of liberating individuality and seem to constantly seek the approval of the ‘other’. They have ideas of the other which are often so different from who the other really is. They have dreams and misconceptions that often lead to such acts of foolishness. We live in a cyber, postmodern reality where a few messages sent, or a few Tinder dates make ‘together forever.’

Love requires commitment. Love isn’t judgment. Love isn’t falling for fancies. Love has a deep emotional aspect to it but that’s something that one acquires after years of actual togetherness and it’s not the puppy emotional, fake, cyber simulacrum.

I have found strange people entering and exiting my life. They come in like hurricanes of trust and promises and exit like whirlwinds of bitterness all because they expected something that I didn’t want to give them. I can offer friendship, loyalty, and trust if people give me the same, but I cannot offer love that satiates your chimeras. People don’t understand that I’m not hardwired to love them like their mind tells them. Your mind tells you many things and you feel myriad things but most of what you’re going through is self-indulgence. Pure selfish, hedonistic anti-altruism and when I don’t give you what you seek, your bitterness erupts like a pustule and those warm eyes turn into icy glares meant to pierce or wound.

People go to insane heights when their delusion meets the hard ground. You’ll find them unfriending people on Social Media, engaging in gossip and projecting their anger and insecurities onto the person they perceive insulted them. They dig into their pasts and scrape old wounds until they’re bleeding again and play the blame game. The person of adoration becomes an object that needs destruction.

Sometimes the madness descends to utter incoherence. ‘How could you have done that?’ You’ll find them screaming when you did nothing wrong. I don’t love you and neither did you. You worshipped me, and I’m not flattered. I need you to move on. So, please get over it. That’s the only response you can give people like that and if you don’t want a direct confrontation, just cut ties. Trust me, any vicious cycle, even if a person has faced similar circumstances in their life but deludes themselves into thinking that creates a special unity, needs a severing.

What is with this age and the need for constant reinforcement? I guess social media has played a destructive role in fueling our narcissistic egos. It’s all about the likes, comments, and shares and it doesn’t matter if you’re happy or depressed. If you’re happy, you’ll resort to posting picture perfect selfies and gloat as the likes and comments flow. And then there’s the sorrowed narcissist. The person who uses depression, prior abuse, and the ostracism or bullying they’ve faced to get the same likes. This person doesn’t usually use Facebook but uses blogging platforms to achieve the same goal – an ephemeral reinforcement.

I think we’ve forgotten how to have a good time. We don’t even read paperbacks anymore. We prefer shortening our attention spans by spending time reading blog after blog, hoping someone will find our blogs and like or comment. And a comment; something said by a stranger we know nothing about makes our day. And if it isn’t repeated the next day, we feel insecure and lost.

My friends, this is shallow living. But getting out of this needs suffering. You need to suffer pangs of loneliness to know solitude. You need to suffer failure to know that victory isn’t everything and this is a gradual change or an unraveling of sorts.

Having said this, I’m guilty of so many things I’ve pointed out and criticized, but I’m slowly realizing that this cyber existence isn’t worth it. Now I’m not advocating a Luddite puritanism but a balance or a middle road like the Buddha put it – neither giving in to too much or too little.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

A day in Emily’s world makes me realise that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life! In all sincerity though, this is a really well written piece. And feel free to give me credit too. I did the artwork!

The literati mafia

I finished the Dark Tower Series today
a years long voyage through fate and death,
I wept a little at the end, such an epic journey
with characters I felt were friends

came home from a long day working my shift
only to view a poem that I hadn’t written,
like writing a love note with sparkles on it,
or sending flowers when you don’t have a date –
to yourself;

that’s the poem I was prompted to read
about my love for a man in a different country
and his thanks for not revealing the poet was him?
was an action video of an Indian captain

His name is Vijayakanth, escape artist extraordinaire,
bouncing cars that stay too long while up in the air
cushioning from a fall made of many suitcases
random TVs being ruined while horses chase him

the horses easily tripped by one flimsy rope
he…

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Envy is concealed admiration – Søren Aabye Kierkegaard.

Psst. Stop projecting your insecurities onto other people.

Psst. People with a Ronda Rousey, ‘I’m a fighter! Bring it!’ Grit are babies. Grow up.

Psst. Stop saying, ‘You did! You did! You did!’ That only makes you a sorrowed narcissist.

Psst. Stop imagining what other people’s lives are like and get one yourself!

Psst. You don’t know my story and trust me, I sure as hell don’t want to know yours.

– The fivefold path to enlightenment and blue skies and placid lakes and golden hearts and beautiful Maple Trees and yada yada yada.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

So, you’ve returned. Ha! I knew Binky the Clown will come back to us. You had such grandiose dreams! Pfft! Becoming a CEO, was it? A Michelin Star Chef? I remember when you walked out on us. You acted like you ran things here. ‘It’s my life, and I’m sick of the circus,’ you said. ‘Just you wait and see. I’ll be someone,’ you said. Look at you now. Begging for a job. Why should I offer you one? Give me one good reason Binky? Sure, you’re short on cash, but aren’t we all? The trapeze artist works at a male strip club when he’s not hanging midair. Hell, he puts both his life and his dignity at risk. And here you are looking all miserable, begging for another chance. The tightrope walker is a part-time hooker. So, why come here, thinking you’ll get enough? We can’t even buy good meat for the Lions and the mime’s smoking crack. The elephant is unwashed, and he’s temperamental as hell these days. Hell, the front tooth missing janitor no longer whistles with the spit coating his jaw. But maybe, just maybe I have a job for you Binky. So, there’s a market you see. There’s this bunch of sick freaks into clown fetish. It’s called Coulrophilia. They’re usually thick-moustached, lipstick wearing, bespectacled men who keep pictures of Ted Bundy with hearts drawn all over them in their wallets. Dinky won’t do it because he’s handling the Balloons and Jinky won’t do it because he’s covered in his puke most of the time. But I’ll pay you enough if you do it. They’ll want you dressed up, complete with makeup and wearing a pink thong. So what do you say? You up for it. It’ll probably be challenging at first, but you’ll get used to it. Some of them will snort cocaine off your party nose, while others will coat your red, blue or green hair (depending on their preferences) white. You know what I mean. See, you must realize that you brought this on yourself Binky. Now we were a family, and we were doing fine. But you and the knife thrower and the star gymnast just had to leave, didn’t you? You had potential Binky. I saw a tragic-comic sensation in the making. But you just had to go, didn’t you? Well, comedy and tragedy can still meet. And I know you’ll take the job. Your wife’s left you. You can’t stop shooting crap into your arm. Hell, you can’t even talk without a slur. So, sign here and there and remember to wear a pink thong. It’s something they’ve got going in their circle. You’ll find out why soon enough, I’m sure. I don’t want to know.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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The literati mafia

I’m a Kierkegaardian demon of despair with a deep-seated hurt that manifests as rage. I’m a freak, locked in a cage of insecurities looking like an android bleeding blue, with mangled wires and pupils shifting from ditchwater green to the fiercest orange. You push a button on your remote and expect me to say something silly or act funny and when I don’t comply you pull a wire out. One after another, until I’m left with no consciousness and my subconsciousness is erased. And forget collective consciousness. I’m no archetypal somebody; just an anomalous nobody. So, while I’m still active, my fellow androids, misfits, loners, and wastes of spaces, listen up! Let’s meet tomorrow because society is busy boarding the night train to some gaudy bar where they’ll pay big money for a glass of rum. Let’s meet tomorrow when everyone’s violently fucking, when the beds are creaking, and white…

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If you’re gone tomorrow, I’d find myself meandering cracked sidewalk after cracked sidewalk, trapped in a Kafkaesque reality; loneliness the bigger, brutal, menacing, monstrous pugilist and I, the grief-ridden journeyman wishfully hoping for a Buster Douglas knockout.

If you’re gone tomorrow, a scythe of angst will pierce right through the ribcage, tearing my heart out and tossing it to predatory mongrels, and I writhing, screaming, shrieking and wailing will scrape hard ground until my fingers bleed; never finding solace or comfort.

They say, ‘Never make a person your everything because even the most beautiful people in your life are finite and flawed,’ but what we’ve seen together, what we’ve fought together creates a bond that inches close to perfection like a boy on a stool almost touching that cookie jar.

They say, ‘Never venerate or worship a person because we’re inherently depraved; fundamentally twisted,’ but I don’t idolize you, or picture you as a goddess in white one moment and a false prophetess the next. No, I love you and I know that what I offer isn’t perfect but I’m giving it my all because you do the same for me.

In this age filled with cyber Bautas and click-bait emulation where people create unnecessary drama because they’re quick to imitate what they see on cheesy romcoms or ground themselves in the verses of the Book of Buzzfeed; where lust and love are synonyms in an urban dictionary that’s so tech-savvy and theater-oriented; complete with floodlights and background Indie music, we know true suffering and those hearts don’t go dry, darling.

In this age filled with picture perfect selfies of togetherness and bizarre notions like ‘breaking up when we’re still in love,’ we rise beyond a constant need for a cyber reinforcement of likes, re-blogs, and claps. We do this because love is a gentle commitment that’s long-standing and come wither or weather stands like the strong oak (if I were to use clichéd imagery). We do this because love is a profound emotion that’s a far cry from millennial infatuation. It comes from peeling layers and layers of the onion of each other’s personality, and though that stings and hurts sometimes, it creates a strong synergy, a symbiosis that endures despite parasitical tendencies. We do this because love isn’t playing make-believe with emoticons and hearts, a delusional carousel of romantic jargon that the internet’s filled with. We do this because love isn’t acting out a character or playing a part like life’s a movie and reality is something some unseen hand records while we flaunt our pseudo-eccentricities.

We do this because I love you and you I.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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