A confessionI used to be a Byronic hero plagued with melancholic and pensive temperance.
I used to be a Byronic hero plagued with melancholic and pensive temperance. I assumed such a character not long into my teens where I started ruminating about humanity and our inexplicable creation and the existence into which we are thrust. It was during that time, I turned into an atheist and till today I denounce every plausibility of providence and its good intent. This has always been the part which, I guess, epitomises me, that I am such a cheerless protagonist. For the fun of creating an aura of poignancy, I caper cut with ideas like, god does exist and that s/he is not goodness but a manifestation of what humanity has turned into, a wretched pile of old, heavy books in a sodden cellar of a cold spinster.
For years, by chance and willingness, I have lived a hermetic life. I rarely gave in to the world and when I came home there would be no thought in my thick head even to visit and cajole around other rooms as I locked myself into solitude of my own being. It had been my sense of being a Byronic hero, the term which I merely knew when it all started. Almost a decade passed and I am not willing to let the feel go while on the contrary, it burgeons day by day. For years, I read books, all kinds of, from Dostoevsky to Hunter Thompson, and I played my video games and I slept acrimoniously and sometimes when my mood would dandle like a pendulum and I would feel obnoxious about myself, then I would write ardently and almost thoughtlessly. That’s all I did for almost a whole decade and it was fun. But now, the developmental task, as my Human Behaviour lecturer would put, needs to reach the next stage. The repetition of reading voraciously, playing virtual games, sleeping like Kumbhakarna, deliberately letting myself go blank and using writing for a mere therapeutic purpose another decade seemed like a cheerless prospect.
One evening, I was taking a casual stroll in a nearby fun park which had opened for a couple of years for the children to enjoy and with my acquaintance with the owner, I managed to be entered into the park whenever I liked and such was my wont. Each evening I would promenade through the silence or the revelry, whatever the situation be. I would slip inconspicuously through a band of naughty children who were usually trying to outdo each others, innocent little girls in love with their new friends and old dolls and lone children eager to be accepted into this motley crew, while some children, just like me, wanted to be left alone. Such chance encounters with these characters made me realise the undulations and hardships of having someone to call a friend and act accordingly throughout one’s lifetime. Why would I halve my happiness by sharing it with someone when I can be fully joyous in inhibiting the world within myself and what use has a darling or a good friend, I never understood. So, one evening when I was promenading through the park, I stumbled across a little girl who was in fits of laughter and was tearfully drawing out a fistful of blonde hair from her Barbie, almost eerily. She was a little girl of about six or seven maybe and she was plump. Her dark hair was braided ceremoniously; she was dressed up in a most fashionable manner and the placid colour of her countenance lucidly evinced that she was upbraiding someone at the expense of her toy-friend. It was a strange scene as the little girl racked her plastic hands and legs and in a fit of paroxysm, threw its pretty head towards me, unsuspectingly, upon which I tossed my arms and caught it, clumsily. The little girl looked at me, startled and ashamed as her rosy cheeks grew scarlet and her eyes gradually became moist as it protruded, mortified. Without a thought, the little girl ran out of the crime scene leaving behind her, a debris of innocence and guilt as I stood there listlessly, ruminating on what might had lead her to commit such a nuisance. It had been my habit to gratify myself with matters of least concern to anyone and reason almost insatiably with myself as I engulfed myself in the hues and dark of thoughts that came up and I, like a regal host, accepted all notions and implications. This time I casually inferred that the girl was a middle-class brat, whose wishes were always half fulfilled as her pseudo-cosmopolitan family had rejected her mundane requests. At such an age she thought she was a princess only to find out that she needed a Cinderella story to change her fortune.
When I arrived at the garret which I had been calling home for almost five years, I smelt the repulsive mixture of stale yellow rice and mildewed milk in a small china cup. It had been there for almost a week. I stooped low to collect an envelope that had arrived upon my leave. It was sent by my brother from America where he had been calling home for almost five years. After he had decided to seek a future in a foreign land, I had decided to live a solitary life. I found this filthy, little apartment when I was looking for a hooker. I had no money to pay so, I had promised to pay her rent and I paid her rent quite a few times before moving in with her. We shared the apartment for almost a month. It was quite a heart-rending experience for me. I had never looked at a prostitute from a different perspective other than for sex. After almost a month, I thought they were the most liberated of people. All the propriety and shame is gone, they know a thing about a thing here and there, they know all sorts of people, rich, poor, heirs, husbands, padres and middle-aged mommies. They may just be doing their work but the work of sacrificing one’s soul to yield to fleshy pleasures of men, is no less great than any so-called decent employment. The thing about pleasure is that it is universal. Everyone works under the ‘pleasure principle’. A priest does what he does out of pleasure. I mean, look at what a priest does. He doles out some deceitfully sanctified water, raps out of some medieval mantras, prays to the heavens that the world be at peace. If the world is at peace one day, priests are the first people who are going to run out of business. The way I see it, hookers have a greater cause to be esteemed more than our melodramatic priests. They are our modern day saints.
I ripped up the flap of the envelope and swiftly skimmed through the letter. There were unnecessary details about his career and girlfriend and how by chance he had met Dave Grohl and had a beer with him. It was a useless account of his recent adventure to Argentina. I crumpled the letter and nonchalantly scored it in the dustbin. The only hoot I used to give about Argentina was Gabriel Batistuta. He should be dead by now.
‘I used to be a Byronic hero. Now, I am just a washout young adult,’ I thought. I laid on my bed, freefalling, my head under the hardened pillow and my hands holding the malodorous and a wee bit damp, pillow like a lover who I wouldn’t let go. I thought about my brother, how his sprightly and unyielding habits inspired me to be cheerful about life. I thought about my first love and my first hate, how she was faring in the world she once described as ‘too little to cherish’. I thought about my next-door neighbor who was a chronic drunk and his little son who had lovely, neon eyes. I thought about a myriad of people and how they became what they have become. Swiftly the thoughts fleeted and swiftly new ones would conjure up. I was engulfed in memories from my travels and undergraduate days. How I loved them all. Through joys and maladies of life, how those trolls had affected my anxietic, fragile soul. I thought about all those random people. People who summoned up the munificent me and those who dared to beckon the Lucifer that always lingered inside my spiteful psyche. Also, I recalled the assorted countenance of individuals who I had chanced to share traffic jams with. I have a thing for such snarl ups. How revelatory it is, the patient car owners, indifferent bicycle riders, impish young girls on scooters, assertive bus drivers and the calm traffic police in light blue. All sorts of vehicles and all sorts of riders. All human nature commingling and evincing due to a mere red light. What a sight it always is.
Suddenly, I came to my senses as a big knock landed at my door. I woke up clumsily and opened the door. There was a beautiful apparition clad in crimson joy. She gave me a faint, graceful smile. I then knew I had to amend my life and leave behind the Byronic ways which I was so fond of.
And there was light.