Where I stand

They called me a freak, a madman, an insipid David Bowie imitator, a theatrical showman of melancholia wailing, ‘Cry! Cry! Cry!’ And it tainted the very breath of life in me for years with the ash of rejection. I spent years in that debris-strewn, segregated section of this cruise ship we call society – which is heading straight to an iceberg anyway – third wheeling with Ostracism and Loneliness. Yeah, we were thick as thieves, but they held the daggers and stabbed me when they felt fit; the juice of life spilling on that sediment filled coffee stained floor while I clutched my wounds and cried, ‘Mercy!’ I would go to the ship’s deck now and then – after I’d healed – where people took selfies in their Titanic poses and I’d meet callous indifference or a stare emanating from spikes masquerading as pupils. I wanted in. I wanted that ‘something substantial’ that they had, only to realize that they had nothing but a simulacrum of truth, a frivolous façade like bad graffiti on a wall painted with gaudy shades so that it looks good from a distance. Then I crept back to my room with dog-eared books and shattered bottles of alcohol, the liquor flowing everywhere, embodying the stench of futile attempts to escape addiction, which was both nauseating and strangely welcoming. ‘Fuck this shit!’ I’d cry without tears. Apathy spitting black phlegm on an already darkened heart. Grunge playing. The Drop D tuning and brooding vocals haunting me but giving me a feeling that there were other rooms like the one I was in. Rooms with messy bedspreads, stinking of sweat and semen of yesterday’s flings. Rooms with tobacco on dirty, cluttered desks with Radiohead CDs, and chargers and laptops riddled with porn. Rooms with half-smoked cigarettes in makeshift ashtrays; cigarettes I’d pick up and smoke again because I didn’t have it in me to fight against the grain and walk up to the cigarette vendor for third class misfits. I watched the first class socially aristocratic listening to ‘Indie Rock’ because it was fashionable and jogging with aesthetically pleasing figures and great hairstyles. I watched the second class socially stable trying hard to rise above their station and join the elite. Riddled with doubt and sick of banality I puked and puked in my room, only adding to the grime and the filth and the odor. I listened for whispers of hope, but they weren’t forthcoming and seemed lost in esoteric circles that talked of new moons and gnosis. I ached for songs of joy but heard a metallic ringing like a newly diagnosed Schizophrenic patient does: an iambic drill, a soft grind followed by a loud thud. Ten excruciating syllables. Finally, nihilistic, and quite frankly absurd, I accepted my eccentricities and my idiosyncrasies. I embraced the room and sought enlightenment right there. Now, I gave up on love, life, and even breath but never gave up on myself. And that’s the path taken that still hacks its way towards the horizon.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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16 responses

  1. Fantastically, wonderfully on point again. Just amazing. I need more English adjectives.
    Perhaps the real cure is not the filthy room, but an unclaimed island. Taking a selfie stick, you puncture a hole in the thick cruise ship window and jump free . You and others make your way to the true paradise, where men and women build their own existence. And the Boat of the World slowly sinks.

    • Haha I enjoyed that. I’ll get myself a selfie stick now. An island…It’s funny you should use that term. Aldous Huxley wrote the Brave New World which was a dystopian novel and the Island for people who don’t fit it in which is a utopia of sorts. I’m beginning to wonder if you subconsciously channelled your collective consciousness although I’m not sure if I believe in that concept or not. And thank you so much Chelsea.

      • Hahaha. Start with the Brave New World if you haven’t already read it and then go to the sister novel. It’s a sequel of sorts.

      • Brilliant writing as always, Nitin. Such a torrential flow of words, so well put together… you are great at describing horror, oppression and putting yourself in the place of the disenfranchised. Love Brave New World even though it is so sad. Your writing here has also this touch of dystopia. Superb piece!

      • Thank you so much for such a kind comment Moments. I loved Brave New World too. I found 1984 even sadder. I should re-read those books and The Catcher in the Rye. I try my best to express myself and when someone connects with my writing, it truly means a lot to me.

      • Agreed, 1984 is even sadder and still so up-to-date in our present time. I have just read some excerpts from The Catcher in the Rye and got immediately interested. The book is on my shelf waiting to be read soon. So glad I have connected with your writing. 😊

      • Yeah 1984 is definitely still up to date. It’s a timeless classic. The Catcher in the Rye is not a hard book to read but it’s very poignant, raw and powerful. I’m so glad I connected with your writing. Thank you for the kind comment.

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