22 April 2014

The Endless Buffet

1. (of an appetite or desire) impossible to satisfy.

That is what comes up when you look for the word insatiable. It is a voracious hunger that haunts the being. Asking to be fed again and again. Granting short respites and clawing you again for more. Insatiability, I think, is a state of being. It is an intrinsic part of one's self that surfaces from time to time despite the conditioning that you subject yourself to.

Tonight I was counting the projects I had on my plate.

  • A couple of private programming projects
  • Learning clojure
  • Last two travels have not been documented
  • A few topics pending to write on
  • Then there is that big stack of unread books
  • I need to get back in shape
  • Need to ride more

And those are just the ones that I desperately need to do. These do not include the ones that do not strike me with a sense of urgency. I have not sketched in close to three years. I still have my gear around in hope that I would want to get back to it. The stories that I started and plotted need to be substantiated. But I am not even remotely inclined towards it right now. And I have learnt absolutely nothing new of late. The guitar is rarely picked up, the harmonicas are forgotten.

One might choose to say that it is a problem with my focus. If only I would focus, I would be done with many a things. But clearly, there is nothing to be done away with. Very few of the things on the list can be struck off. Most of then persist despite having appeased them. Ride today and a week later you see it back on the list. Writing is another such phantom. And you can never be done with reading. It is an endless abyss that you have fallen into. Not much you can do about it now. Gaming is an addiction. No, the problem is not with focus.

The problem lies with the number of hours one has to oneself. If I work to earn my bread (or more than that) I will have obligations towards my employer. There are stipulated hours of work one needs to put in so as to remain on schedule. So the number of hours left for doing things on the list is countable. And those hours are never enough. I usually find myself in a maddening frenzy when I do get these hours to myself; doing one thing after the other. At times unable to break myself off one project in order to devote time to the next, for these are all things that I love; things that I do of my own volition.One simply has to find the time for them all. Prioritize them according to how long you have ignored them. Beg their forgiveness, kiss their hand and please them. Then put them back on to the plate and choose another offering : an endless buffet for an insatiable glutton.

03 April 2014

#Fiction : Eternity - Horror

I sensed him closing in again. I looked to the west in dejection. That is where he would appear. A black dot on the horison. His arrival no longer scared me. Somewhere in the past I remember there being a time when even his thought was terrifying. A vague recollection. But now my nerves held their stead till he appeared in sight. However, strangely, I do not remember the first time it all happened. I looked at the sky above me. The sun was high and the desert offered no respite from the heat. I never liked the deserts. I hated them the most perhaps. Almost as much as the the rain forests. Or maybe more. It was the monotone that bothered me most; not the heat or the dryness. The redundant days, one running into the other without a change in the scenery. They spelled futility and helplessness. Everything one did seemed no more than an absurd sciamachy.

I stretched out my legs and dug them under the burning sand feeling the heat slowly seep through my skin and burn the insides. Then I quickly pulled them back out and wiggled my toes till the sand stuck between them tumbled off. I wondered how far he was. After all this time I had come to the doubtful estimation that he must have gotten on my radar when he came some hundred or so leagues close. Give or take a few depending upon the weather and terrain. This sense always came with a morbid countdown. Again, depending on the terrain and weather, it was some time before he reached me. Might be a few days; at times it was a few weeks; at times months. I guess he must have had his whims as well. I had no such luxury. It had been a week since I had first sensed him. His presence grew stronger by the minute. He was close by; we would meet today in all probability. If he chose to keep coming that is. Else we would meet whenever he chose to. I never went to him. Even the idea was appalling. A faint smile crossed my face as I realised the irony of things. I did not want to go to him but I desperately wanted him to come to me! I broke out into a soft chuckle. My parched lips ripped themselves with the exercise and I tasted the warm blood ooze out of the vents. I sucked it in. Warm sweet blood. Was this what drove him?

I laid back and closed my eyes. The sun shined through my eyelids. It was slowly making its way down but its rays were still unrelenting. I wondered when the horror had mellowed into an expectancy. I was awaiting his arrival now. It had become a ritual by now and I could play it in my head to utter perfection. I imagined his shadow preceding him. The shadow would shade my face and I would open my eyes to see him as a halo; a deliverer. He would look at me with his tired eyes. I imagined him letting out a long sigh like one does at the end of a long journey, when he has reached his destination and can grab precious moments of rest. He would come kneel next to me, his sweat dripping from his face, a few drops splashing my face. I would smile this time and face him with courage... But I always ran out of courage. I knew this time would be no exception. I opened my eyes and sat up and watched the sun bow in servitude to earth and a mild breeze blow across the sandy dunes stirring up some dirt into action. I closed my eyes and pushed all thoughts of him out of my head. I willed myself to sleep.

I woke to metallic sounds. I opened my eyes and horror filled me up. He was here. I did not turn to look at him but the knowledge was certain. His presence overwhelmed me. I was incapable of feeling anything else in his presence. It was fear and terror. Enough to choke one to death. I tried gulping it down. To my left I could hear him strike a match and the smell of burning tobacco soon reached my nostrils. I looked ahead. The sun was an orange sphere now, no longer forbidding to look at. It's yellow heat had given way to an orangey warmth. I just stared blankly at it, my head occupied with the presence of the one beside me.

We sat there for a long time. At least it seemed like a long time to me. The sun was swallowed by the horison. The night grew cooler. The stars came out and lit the desert sands a little. There was no moon tonight. Perhaps it took pity on my plight and spared me the extraneous terror of sight. But I had terror enough in my heart not withstanding the attendance of the moon. And this terror peaked in expectation every time he emptied his pipe. And this time I did not hear him refill it. This was it. My head was abuzz with noise, my eyes misty with what felt like tears.
"Shall we?"
I did not reply. I was not even sure whether I had imagined it or if he had spoken those words. But he had. I heard him sigh again, like a man with a task ahead of him that he needs to complete unwillingly. I heard him close in towards me. Through teary eyes I saw him shift and take a seat in front of me. I was not sobbing. My eyes were just teary. Involuntarily. I hope I did not make a spectacle of myself before him. I would not like him to think that I was just as big a mess as when we did this the first time. Whenever that was. I remember myself being a sloppy mess once. Crying all over him and begging his mercy. I would have laughed at the memory had the present situation been otherwise. He was leaning in now and I heard the fateful whisper .
"May this be the last time for us."
Since as long as I can remember, he almost always said that to me as he sunk the steel into my heart. There were a few times when he was too tired or too irritated to be polite. But mostly, he hoped that this would be the last time he had to kill me. Even I did. But it would be naive to suppose that this would end; whatever this was. I knew that as the blood drained out of me, I would be taking a form somewhere else. The memory was transient and hollow, but the experience was indescribably real. I would be formed again, in the full. My existence would persist. Maybe a forest this time, or a mountain. I pray that there be a lake or river nearby. The desert had really left me dry. And he would come again in search of me. He would travel for years at end to come to me. He would find me and then we would sit together a bit. At times he talked. Mostly he kept silent. I liked the former. I never managed to say much. Just a few words here and there. Then as my horror would become unbearable, he would help me out of it. He would push his knife into my heart and hope that we never meet again. But we would. Thus are we destined.