Friday, June 05, 2009

An unpleasant day in an ordinary life

Today she wore a light blue sweater. Moons ago, she’d refer to the color as ‘baby blue’. Today she’d call it ‘sky’. ‘Baby’ was a better description of the blue, though. It was nascent, pure, untainted. It was without ambition to become ‘royal’ or rambunctiousness to become ‘cobalt’. It was happy being what it was. It didn’t aspire to a lineage like ‘indigo’ or dilute its essence like ‘cyan’. That shade was, truly, a baby. Light, innocent, pleasant.

It was hot and stuffy in office. She’d walked in late and everyone looked up at her for a second. Today, late coming was anticipated because it was Friday. The last day of the working week saw people either coming late or leaving early. Typical.

But everything seemed palpably horrid. She seemed palpably horrid. It seemed as if her entire body was chortling out huge clouds of black smoke. She couldn’t stand looking at her colleagues today. All of them all happy with weekend plans. Talking loudly into phones making dinner reservations or logging on to video rental sites and selecting movies. Or gossiping about someone and promising to spill more beans over breakfast and coffee the next day. It was horrible. She wanted all of them to keep away from her. Only a couple of them received genuine smiles, though. They were nice. And they didn’t work with her. It’s easy to be good to people who keep their distance.

Precisely two seconds after she’d sat down, three people walked over to her cubicle. They didn’t say hello and started off asking her if she could do this, when she’d finish that, and would she be free to meet up for ten minutes?

“Give me a break!”, she wanted to scream. Loud and hard. Until it curdled everyone’s blood. Until their hair flew back when she yelled. Until they saw the pink-colored tonsils in her throat.

But she said, “Okay”. Hmm, so this is what mute feels like, she thought.

It wasn’t their fault, she realised. After all, they weren’t the ones who’d gone shopping for a silver cocktail dress at 5 p.m. the earlier evening. They weren’t the ones who, at 7 p.m., were informed that they could be suffering from breast cancer. They weren’t the ones who looked at the plunging neckline of the dress with a heavy heart.

The imminence of death is a strange thing. Of death following pain or arduous struggle is even more so. It is so surreal to think back on a life that seemed to have been razored with excitement and thrill at one time. But truthfully realize that it was a song that played out with the volume turned down.

She sat at the meeting with her teeth clenched. Couldn’t she have had a better life until now? Book-worthy? No. Article-worthy even? Nope. At the very least, segment-on-trashy-T.V.-worthy? Not even that.

It hadn’t been a remarkable life at all. She looked down at the sweater that was suddenly, neither ‘baby’ nor ‘sky’. It was pale, like her life.

But, like her life she grudgingly conceded, it was pleasant.

9 comments:

kama said...

This is so well written. But really, really well written. Everything about it, every single word and image is so well crafted. Well done!

Mumbai Diva said...

WOW. really. no other words i have.

Lonely sky over the sea..... said...

Very well written Mukta.....

Mukta said...

thank you, all!

Anonymous said...

What's the breast cancer bit? Is this fiction?

I scribble here said...

so very well written, as always.
ever considered writing a book?

Anonymous said...

R u okay?

Sujata said...

Well written Chinks!

Aries said...

Beautiful! I feel decidedly stupid at your blog...I've run out of superlatives quite some time ago..