My talks begin with aplomb, but they never seem to end. Sadly, it is now taken as eloquence.
It is this ‘eloquence’, which has now provided me with a living. So much so, that my ramblings are taught to students as oratory examples. My moments of going blank are seen as the norm on how to take a pause mid-speech, and my frail voice is portrayed as the elusive skill of voice modulation.
A good man makes money out of his pleasures, a great man makes fortunes from his pain. And greatness is nothing but the absence of hooks on your bowties, the lack of dirt inside your lapels, and the mask of a smile in front of the cameras. Greatness is all and everything of the tautness of your shirt, the narrowness of your trousers and the shine in your boots. Greatness is as perceived as it is experienced, and is as expected as it is probable for me.
I knew roads take you to places, and I knew paths take you to virtue. I had to look down the road and the path, and I had to decide which one to take. I looked down and long along them and saw an end, and so I took out my sharp edge, my sturdy support and began chopping and whatever I saw, trudging along mirthlessly and sadistically, which eventually was documented as stunning and brave. The route I forge ends where I end, and it ends at a tombstone of blood and cries, which might read,
“Apocalypse at his lips.“
It is really funny – and it is the only thing I genuinely laugh at now – how my pretentiousness hasn’t been unmasked yet. Pretentiousness sells, and it sells at a premium. The world looks at me with a shine in their eyes, and for years I have waited for it to turn into a fire of the heathen. But it has never happened.
I am tired now. I am tired of my own glitter. I pray, each night, for someone to challenge me, bust my myth, and ruin me; so I can finally be the recluse I was and was meant to be, and be in solitude like I dreamt to be. But it doesn’t seem possible. The more I try to break free, you know, break back into the hated and disregarded human I was, the more people come in and tell me my ‘worth’. The thing that grinds my gears the most, is that my attempts to show myself for who I am is interpreted as humility.
Humility. Bah, humbug!
There is no humility in trying to break free of the prison of people telling you that you’re loved and but you don’t know what they’re talking about, because you know why they’re saying that. There is no humility in knowing and failing to convey that you exactly what people mean and want. There is no humility in being trapped by the monster of knowledge. There is no humility in being Sahadeva. It’s a curse.
Until one fine day, at a certain restaurant, a woman looks at me. And she looks right through me.
She recognises that all my actions as an act, all my faces as a mask, and all my words as art. She knows what I mean when I say ‘I know’. She knows what I mean when I say ‘you won’t understand’. She knows she can do it. She knows she can break me. And she is calling me closer, to end me, finally.
After years, ages, millennia; it seems, that I feel unsettled. Unnerved. After ages it seems like someone can find faults in me, and can not only see them but somehow knows them in vivid detail. And how I yearned for the challenge.
How I yearned to spew my bile at someone who disagreed with me. Someone so dull, who had lived their lives with no hills of self-choice and loud narcissism to die on, living by the known trails on plains of sacrifice, suffering and silence. Someone who just doesn’t understand that life is indeed terribly short, but within its mundane boringness, it is insufferably long. Someone who never walked a mile with sorrow in fear of pain, and hence missed out on education of a lifetime. Someone who’s never been around people so close to you that they’re convinced that they know you, but in actual hard reality, they don’t. Someone who has never been brushed with the basic sorrows of life, and here they are, trying to judge you for battling the most obscure of sorrows life has to offer.
I walk over to her, finally. She looks at me, with a quietly unquiet patience in her eyes. Her hands are folded in anticipation as if she knew I was coming. Her smirk was of one knowing heathen, but the heathen was me, not her. She was the anti-me. And yet..
That’s when I realised, that this woman is different. She is someone who knows a pang. She is someone who has seen the hills I have and conquered them. Someone whose long life has been filled with reminders that it is incredibly short. She has the education of all the sorrows the life has to offer. Someone..who is she, just like me, as I am me, and thus is she.
She is the woman who made me the man I am. She is the woman who made the world love me. She’s the woman, who I met, once again, who made me hate myself.
She is the woman whose lips once showed me the apocalypse.