A desire for rainI have no desire to meander in reality lest it might dissipate my pleasure.
I stare at the five-storeyed concrete monstrosity standing before me. Above it, hang black clouds in the sky. A mystical impulse for rain emanates in my heart. As I set foot in the building, the inclined steps grab my attention. The very thought of climbing them startles my body. The colossal pain in my heart deters me from climbing the stairs. I wish I lived in a building with an elevator.
I ascend the stairs, plodding and panting, and finally, reach my apartment on the third floor of the five-storey. I enter to witness my friends lying unceremoniously on the bed, gobbling popcorn and watching a movie on the television. I envy the smiles on their faces. The last merriment I had was in years. My breath is short and my heart is beating rapidly by the dint of my arduous journey. I take a deep breath and exhale a long sigh before sinking myself listlessly on the couch. The pain in my heart aggravates, challenging my endurance. My heart bursts and all the organs in my body unanimously yield to the pain.
The pain vanishes forthwith and the tranquillity I longed for takes over. I feel like I am in a trance. I wish to lie comfortably on a bed but I have no desire to fulfil my wish by getting out of this hypnosis. Besides, my body is numb. Although this somnolence is providing me immense pleasure, I still wish to lie on my bed.
I sense the empathy of my friends as they carry me on their shoulders, perhaps to lay me on my bed. I feel like a child being carried by his parents to bed when he falls asleep in their arms. The journey from my couch to the bed seems more strenuous and circuitous as compared to my journey of the stairs. Finally, they lay me on my bed.
As soon as my body is laid, I understand the bed I am laid on is becoming to my current state. My empty lungs and my inert heart tacitly explain the harrowing reality befallen upon me but I choose to dwell in my own imagination albeit the profound pleasure I am experiencing in my mind is the very effect of the traumatic actuality. I have no desire to meander in reality lest it might dissipate my pleasure and I am not willing to sacrifice this long longed pleasure. Nevertheless, who knows what’s real.
What if life is a dream and death the reality, because in my life, dreams have always been pleasant and the reality always harsh. It’s not possible to wake up and live the same dream dreamt. Likewise, it’s impossible to go back to life after death. And it doesn’t even matter what philosophy we adhere to unless we are delighted and content. As for me, reminiscing my life in retrospect, death might be a haven for peace, though I am not aware what death guarantees. The yearning for happiness, if life doesn’t deliver it, why not try the other side—death? Moreover, the insatiable desire for life never ends. We take life for granted until death knocks on our door.
As I lay on the pyre with my eyes closed, I could tell everything happening around me. I am besieged by a crowd of people lamenting my death. All these people amassed are investing their efforts on thinking and speaking nothing but my eulogy. How ludicrous I find these obligatory mourning to be bestowed upon a cadaver. All this chicanery just to eschew antisocial behaviour and callous appearance before a crowd and all the while give pain to the living and pity to the dead. Disguised in benevolence, these people eagerly wait for my body to start the putrefaction and as soon as the putrid smell stings their noses, they could commence the immolation to end their subterfuge.
Among the tedious procedures, I wait for the part when the pious water will be put in my mouth as my throat is parched and my tongue is stuck to my palate. I won’t even know the taste, if the holy water has any. Maybe that’s why I had a desire for rain. I guess people get the message when death is about to knock their door.
Off all the senses I have lost, my aural sense has been stalwart to me. I hear the clouds roaring thunder without a drop of rain, only to bait my craving. I hear all the people whispering and whimpering and some even wailing. I hear the sonorous dirge soothing my mind and proliferating my morbid fascination. In the distance, I hear an eerie cry, slowly approaching the pyre. The cry mingles with those of the crowd but, I instantly discern the voice I have been familiar with all my life. Out of all the cries, I sift the voice of my wife moaning in grief. As her moan intimates proximity, I perceive her baffling cry gives the impression of her beseeching mercy, not manifesting grievance. Her uncanny act leaves me perturbed and befuddled.
As soon as my loyal ears hear the reason, I immediately lose all the quietude and plunge into despondency. My heart aches even though it is dead. That’s when I understand what the bhagavad gita meant about the death of the body, not the soul. The pain the soul experiences is more intense than the physical pain. I think I am beginning to get the notion of what death guarantees.
The bliss of this deep slumber I was enjoying hitherto vanishes as I acknowledge my helplessness. I clearly see the light and comprehend my mystical desire for rain. I never felt so impotent in my life; my wife, or should I call her my sati, forcibly being thrust to the fire and all I can do is bemoan her unsolicited agony. All my life, I had a longing for death, reckoning it to be the only way to alleviate my pain, and now, my hankering for unfeasible life ignites. Maybe that’s why death is unpleasant. The moment you die, everything ends in the blink of an eye.
The sound produced by the friction of the matchstick and the striking surface of the matchbox strikes my ears. A pang of fear perforates my soul. The temperature beneath my body rises and I realise the fire has been set. My wife shrieks imploring for leniency. With a heavy heart and an immense desire for rain, I am reduced to ashes.