Ramakant Yadav's Thoughts on Mornings
I woke up that morning to the muggy humidity of a pre-monsoon morning. Someone was arguing with someone over something in the distance. It was just another morning in a series of muggy mornings. Stray Dogs were howling mournfully somewhere in the distance, no doubt howling over their pathetic lives. Another power failure had rendered the electric fan useless and now it hung from the roof like a dead branch of a dead tree in a dreary desert. In the midst of all this, I lay awake, wondering about the futility of human existence.
Overcome by the heat and the beastly morning, I finally got up and showered. Switching on the laptop, I started looking at my email. The battery indicator told me that I had 30 minutes of battery life left. Cursing the poor Chinese factory that built it, I resigned myself to looking at email within 30 minutes.
Three days and three nights ago, I had ordered a book from an online retailer. I had also made the mistake of choosing to pay using a credit card. Just like thousands of other clueless Indians, my credit card transaction hung up half way. I found out later that the money moved out of the credit card account, but never reached the merchant’s account. Upon calling the merchant and the bank, I was told that it was a routine occurrence and it would be sorted out in a few weeks’ time. I had sent an email, the night before, enquiring about the status of the payment. There was no response yet in the mail, and I closed the browser and shut down the laptop. Mosquitoes hung about near my head, their tiny wings sounding like a malarial orchestra heralding the end of humankind.
Finding no satisfaction that morning, I contemplated my dwindled set of options. Resolving never to use my credit card online ever again, I dug around in my purse until I found a 10 rupees note. The government in its infinite wisdom had resolved to pay the bearer the sum of 10 rupees. Not biscuits worth 10 rupees, not chips worth 10 rupees, but just the sum of 10 rupees. Sitting on that chair, surrounded by mosquitoes, staring at the dead screen of a laptop with a dead battery, I realized that the rupees 10 note was just a promise to pay 10 rupees, nothing more, nothing less. I have always wondered why the prices of various commodities keep going up, now I knew the answer. Now I knew whom to blame. Now I knew what to blame… whom was I kidding anyways. Blaming other people never solved anything. I reflected on that thought as I swiped away the malarial mosquitoes as they tried to pass on their deadly disease to me.
Resolving not to blame other people for my problems, I walked out of the house. Even as I neared the neighborhood market, I could smell the stench of recession hanging in the air. Crowds were thin, the customers were few, their ranks doubtless depleted by the various diseases that stalk the country during the summer. Most people were probably in clinics and hospitals trying hard to recover from diseases like malaria, dengue, and other contagion.
Aimlessly wandering about, I bought some oily snacks for 10 rupees. It looked tasty but I would regret eating it. Lights in the indoor market flickered on for a minute and then went dark again. The shopkeepers looked bored and most of them had a glazed look in their eyes, probably from staring into nothing for too long. Maybe the abyss did stare back into you after some time.