Friday, September 6, 2013

Madness- Part III

Part I:
Part II:

I've seen all sorts of hopelessness. I've seen the hopelessness in the eyes of a mother in the police station, whose child has been missing for a week. I've seen the hopelessness of a junkie looking for his next fix, unable to get it because he's in jail for stealing a loaf of bread. Of a boxer sent into the ring, with specific instructions, accompanied by a threat to his family whispered into his years, to drop dead in the middle of the fifth round.

But the people in the room C takes me to- they are beyond hopelessness. They look like they've never known hope. They lie on steel beds, occasionally twitching, their eyes open, their ears hearing unheard of sounds. In the dark dinginess of the basement, what emanates from them, as a sort of luminescent bio force, is almost dementorish in nature. I'm afraid to go closer to those vestigial human souls.

C looks at me and says, "Well, there you go. This is Madness. Don't judge me. I'm just the messenger."

I look at her, this creature in a leather jacket, dripping apathy like an ice cream cone in the sun. I pull her close, her alcohol laden breath warm on my face and tell her, "I want the people responsible for this."

She surveys me like a kindergarten teacher would one of her students, her face a mixture of he's-so-adorably innocent-i-want-to-help-him and the-little-pest-is-beginning-to-get-to-me, hisses, "Don't say I didn't warn you", takes my hand and scribbles something on it.

"Now, go", she says, "Go be a hero." There's sadness in her eyes and her smile as she says this.

The night is done by the time I walk out of the bar. In the cold light of the fresh day, a nebulous plan takes form in my head. The address she has scribbled in blue ink on my hand is that of an asylum at the outskirts of the city.

I know the place. It's where I first met A.

Looking like Brad Pitt in Fight Club

The other day, when I was umm.. eating a sandwich with a friend of mine, the talk turned, as it is generally wont to these days, when one is twenty seven and facing a quarter life crisis, to finding purpose to and disciplining our lives.

“We should start going to the gym, man”, he said, flexing his not inconsiderable biceps, “We should exercise one body part each day, 3 sets of it, each set more difficult than the last. Push our bodies to the limit, you know. Proper weight training.”

I, in turn, flexed my inconsiderable biceps and said, “No man. I don’t want to look like a potato with muscles. I want a more toned body, like… like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.”

Now, my friend, he’s done his fair bit of gymming. And I mean, actually gone through with it. Me, on the other hand, if there was an award for making plans to go to the gym and not following through with it, I think I’d be a strong contender for one of the top spots. If there was an award for looking in the mirror and trying to convince oneself that one’s A shaped body is, if viewed in the right angle, a V shaped body, I’d again be a favorite.

But, sadly, there are no such awards. And I remain globally (and locally) unknown.

Upon my making the above what I thought was a completely innocuous statement, he looked at me. The disdain with which he did so was so palpable it could have been a third person in the room.

“Boss, you won’t be able to look like a potato with muscles even if you wanted to. Inexperienced retards like you think that if you gym for 3 months, you’ll sprout muscles. You don’t. It takes a long while for your muscles to develop to that level.”

I wouldn’t say that this was the smallest I’d ever felt in life. There was this one other time, when I was about 11, when my class had divided itself into two halves for the purpose of a cricket match and I was the last one left to be picked. Both halves then sympathetically conferred on me the honorable title of ‘common fielder’. But this one, being told that I wouldn’t be able to develop muscles even if I wanted to, came pretty close. 

However, after the initial shock of being put down like that, the thought occurred to me that my friend was possibly right. The shock must have taken a while to wear off, since this thought occurred to me while I was taking a leak during the interval of a movie which I went to watch the next week. Or maybe, I just didn’t have anything else to think of then.

I realized that considerable hard work does go into ending up with even a body that looks like one’s cut open one's skin and put tennis balls in and that, one shouldn't, while lazing around in one's room, indulge in being judgmental of that body. Well, one can question the sense of aesthetics of the body's owner but his dedication, I suppose, is beyond reproach.

I could tell you that my friend’s comment galvanized me into action and that I have been ever since gymming regularly and have developed a body to be proud of. That would be, however, contrary to my policy of writing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

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