My father, mother and I live in a multifaceted three-bedroom apartment. It doesn’t just have many literal aspects but figurative ingredients too which spice things up or sour things down. I didn’t grow up in this prison maze, but like a rat, I scuttle here and there now, hoping on a morsel of hope. Sometimes after the rains, when the open windows caress me with petrichor, and I’m invigorated, I lie down and listen to Hammock or some other post-rock band with a surreal tang to it, and I’m just present. The shadow of a once abusive father doesn’t trail with a scythe like a reaper, and I close my eyes and envision crotchets and minims floating by and carrying me along; carrying me to nuanced places and distant snow flaked horizons where the sound of a political engine doesn’t churn out the grating discordance of Fascism and I can lie looking at Creation’s wonders. But sometimes there’s an anti-aura of malice that separates the family, giving us each anti-halos or devil’s horns and even our shadows become nightmarish apparitions fighting each other. I guess each of us is a snail ensconced, struggling to break out of a shell. There’s a spirit of anarchism that possesses all of us, and we don’t want to gyrate to the tune of another’s voice as sweet or bittersweet as it sounds. We want to rush freely on our own paths, divided, and embracing a nightmarish Sartrean freedom, but something unlike and like a Lutheran bondage of the will ties us together. And when it does, mother hurts son, father threatens son and son lashes out at father using kicks and punches. ‘You deserve this! You old bastard for all those years of fucking with my life!’ I say, shrieking and projecting my insecurities over whether I’ll finally be free. Freedom. The word itself implies a concept with infinite plausibilities, but then the cycle of life and death, of youth and age reminds you of its antithesis – finitude. You’re only as free as you’re allowed to be is a daunting truth that makes you question if you’re ever free at all. The arguments in this household often transcend the dynamics of an individual in a multifaceted household and drift towards our condition in a multifaceted country. Will we escape the bondage that awaits us when the jarring buzz of Fascism is a roar? Will we be ultimately free in a fashion we’d like however idealistic that sounds?
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)