At the office. A usual, busy day. A flurry of activity. Peons running between desks, carrying trays of tea and coffee. Papers flying from the whirring of stand fans. Traditional punch phones incessantly ringing. Random, loud conversations surround me. I feel my cubicle around me. The enclosed space of privacy it offers. More of a psychological privacy. For my thoughts. Thank god, for small comforts.
I can see myself sitting in my cubicle. Like a fly on a wall. Dispassionately observing the cacophony of sounds and blur of activity surrounding me. The trance-like quiet, in which I contemplate. I see it in my mind’s eye.
The day passes, with recurrent lapses of contemplation alternating with mechanical, routine activity. A listless day of mundane activity. I chew on the most interesting thing that can occupy my mind now, as I walk through the crowded sidewalks of Mumbai, back home. The time I’ve been losing quite recurrently these days. The answer to the mysterious blood on my favourite office shirt lies in those lost chunks of my day.
I open the door to my walk-in. The drawing room is dull, in the dimming light of twilight. I place my office bag near the sofa, on my way inside, when the casual sweep of my eyes do a double-take and rest on the red headphones lying on the cluttered phone stand.
Ah! This is something that I haven’t seen in a while…. It has been such a long time since college.
I plug it to the music system, place it on my ears and settle down to some relaxation, on my sofa. I close my eyes as I let the music course through my veins. I can feel the play of the tune, the beats, the rhythm on my emotions. I can feel my body moving involuntarily to the rhythm of the music. Coherent actions being performed. There are fringes of darkness closing in on me, from the edges of my consciousness, as I feel myself losing myself more and more to the feel of the music.
The music was becoming more real by the minute, my “reality” dissolving into the background. I can feel the beats of the song take control of my mind. I can feel it make decisions in my brain as I move to the kitchen, take the watering pot. The rhythm and my actions give me such a euphoric high that I keep going on. The soothing music leads me to the balcony, in my semi-conscious state. I watch myself from a distance, in some clear part of my mind’s eye, as I water the plants.
The blissful darkness closes in on me slowly, but that strikingly clear part of my mind tells me to take my headphones off. I waver in my actions, in my partially conscious state. The blissful darkness of the music pulls at me hypnotically. It makes me want to just close my eyes and sleep. Give up my rational, thinking consciousness to the darkness of my mind and the actions, the control for which I have yielded to some remote part of my head, which feels like a foreign presence.
Thinking such dangerous thoughts, in a sudden rush of light and clarity I pull my headphones off. The shock of reality has me doubling over, as I pant, trying to make sense of what just happened. Shaking, I look at the headphones, gleaning new meaning with every passing second. With a sudden jerk, like I’ve been electrocuted, I throw away the red headphones, as a new wave of paranoia reveals a new situational possibility that I might be living in.
Not wanting to confront such a horrific thought, I leave the room. Leaving the red headphones in the slowly elongating shadows, as it becomes an innocuous dark mass on the peach carpeted floor. Finally blending into the darkness.
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