He wiped the burning sweat from his forehead. The last drops of water went down his throat. His body betraying him in the scorching heat. As far as his gaze went, there was a sea of a never-ending barren land. Not even a single plant was in sight, let alone a living example. He knew he had a long way ahead of him, but the direction-he was unaware of. Wasn’t he standing at the same place he started off with few hours ago? As if going round and round in circles, but never reaching an end.
Suddenly the sound of his alarm woke him up from his slumber. He was drowned in sweat. Turning off he alarm, he closed his eyes. No matter how much he tried to go back to sleep, the haunts of the previous nightmare did not let him. He had been having this nightmare for the past few weeks and every time he woke up with the same feeling – petrified!
Haunted by the scenes of the nightmare, the taunts of his own question made his life a living hell. It wasn’t the first time he felt like this. To him it was a routine-same mundane routine. Dejection , melancholy & misery was all he had to his name. Many a time he wanted to end it all. Finish what he never asked anyone to start. But something inside stopped him. A reason, an innovative for his being. The answer to his only question he had from God – if there was any.
He stared out of the window, the sun just above the horizon. It was one of the very few things in his life he could be glad of. Seeing the sun rising every morning, with a new, fresh beginning hoping that maybe, just maybe today would be different – free of loneliness and solitude. But every rising sun was the setting of his hopes and desires; for his life remained the same.
He closed his eyes, wanting to shake his mind off all the forlorn memories. He got up from his bed and made his way towards the washroom. He let the hot water tap running while finding solace in the rushing sound of water. While taking off his clothes, he checked the temperature of the water by the tip of his fingers. It was just about right. Turning off the tap, he laid down in tub. He could see the fading reflection of himself in the unsettling water.
The face staring him back was of a stranger. A stranger he could not yet comprehend after 25 long and strenuous years. His story wasn’t different. It was akin to the people living a dejected life-like his. Belonging to a poor family was fate. Having the world blow off his desires was fate too. What he did not consider his fate was his ‘being’. Why was he chosen to live when there were already so many present. Why was his existence an important part of the cycle of the universe? What he needed was a raison d’être. A reason for his very mortal existence. A question that had been nagging him for a very long time. A question whose answer he never expected to get.
He shuddered on the thoughts of his nightmares. Wrapping himself up in a towel, he mentally made up his to-do list for that day. There were household chores to be done, grocery to be bought and a complaint to be made for the broken telephone line.
He got dressed and reached for the door key. As he locked the door, his gaze again went towards the shining sun. It was welcoming enough for him to walk through the ghettos. There were people passing by, lost in their own world, apathetic to their surroundings. Young people making their way in haste towards their destination. Children filled with eagerness and enthusiasm for the upcoming day. He felt envious of their calm and relaxed lives.
It was early in the morning and there wasn’t much traffic on the roads. Oblivious to his surroundings, he started crossing the road.
He saw it coming but he didn’t bother. He heard its deafening horn, but he wasn’t pestered. He saw the truck alright! He neither heard the people shouting nor did he see them waving at him to get aside. He felt the pain building up, but subsiding as soon as it came. And then he felt nothing – nothing at all.
Maybe fate had to interfere with him or maybe it was just destined for him. But God did one last favor upon him. He closed his eyes and smiled for the last time. It was then he found the answer to his question.
“As you pretend and lie,
With a fake smile to hide.
No one knows the thought in your mind,
Life truly is the slowest form of suicide.”
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