March 13, 2009

To Count Your Blessings

Last night, we were three children, driving around when we shouldn't have been. We sneaked out of her house together in the dead of night and met him near the corner store. Three medical students, from three different cities, back in the place we grew up. We were high on life, high on other things, drunk on youth, drunk on too much alcohol and time. Too much time and nowhere much to go. Ambition always comes later, usually too late. We climbed up some deserted stairs in the hospital and sat around on discarded and broken ward beds. We talked then, about our defeat, our slow but definite decline into our own little shitholes, away from the bright beams of optimism preached at us from the minute we took our first hit of life. Puff puff pass.

Feeling quite saturated, we decided to leave. It was unsafe to be seen as we are, our eyes red and breaths smelling. We reeked of more than sadness. We reeked of terrible thoughts we hoped our expiration would take away on the warm breeze. We hoped.

"Pass me a cigarette"
"I can't find the pack"
"What the fuck, I need a cigarette"
"Let's go look around for a shop that's still open. Do you think you can drive?"
"Fuck, yeah. I can drive even when I can't stand. Ha ha"

But that's what they said when they were still talking and the trucks hit them. Or before they ran into poles or poor people sleeping on the pavement. The blood cries out to me.

"Okay, then. Let's go back near the stairs. You must have dropped the pack there."

He reversed and drove fast, bringing the car to a jerky stop. It must have been minutes, but I felt alone with my morbid thoughts for five thousand long years.

"Since it was your fault, you can get out and look for the cigarettes. Hurry up."

I opened the car door and prepared my cooling brain for the search. Wait. Something shines in the grass. I reach out and pick it up. The cold, rectangular metal is familiar in my hands. It's my mobile. When did it fall out? Was it lying here since the last time or did i just drop it? Time sense was getting a little foggy. "It's a miracle", I proclaim excitedly. I have found something I didn't know I lost. It really was a miracle, considering the state we were in. I make a cursory search and announce briefly, "No cigarettes". We curse many things.

Now we are flying down the main road, a two-lane street that was dangerous enough during the daytime. So many people have died on this road.. students, doctors, patients. But we are invincible, like only children can so certainly feel. "Watch out, DAMN". We miss the little old lady by an inch. What is she doing out at this time? It's time only for the women of the night, the lonely men they comfort, the homeless... and the bored. Like us. There is no room for anybody else. Old lady, go home. Go home if you know what's good for you.

We pass shop after tiny closed shop. Then there is light. "Look, that guy is just putting down the shutters. Quick, go get some cigs." Cigs are vital to preserve the memory of this night as a tolerable one.

I watch the transaction from the comfort of my car seat. I wonder about the men who own stores like this, drunk as you or me at the end of the day, trying to numb that ever-present sense of failure. I think of their children, the ones who don't get to go to school. I think of their wives who they beat up but can't live without. I think about whose life is more important, the shop guy's or mine. If we are all the same, then why do I have more money without having to work so hard for it? He probably sacrifices more in the course of a month in pleasure than I do in a day. He's probably more honest with himself. Why do I take up more space in the world, more air, have more needs, more shoes?

We are on the way back, driving fanatically fast in eagerness to just settle down again. The shops are a blur. They are small and insignificant, selling lots of random things. Including "Injurious to Health" products to rich, spoilt, wasted young people who don't give a fuck. It's business as usual. And at the end of this cycle, we die. For all our technology, for all our haute coutour, not one bloody soul can say exactly what happens after we pass out for the last time. However, it must be something good because, you know, all the bodies are always smiling before they close the coffin lids.

We park at the beginning of her drive to allay the suspicion of the guards, hoping her parents won't wake up. We talk again. I listen more than I speak this time. We sound so bitter, so fuckin' angry. Like the world actually owes us something. Like we don't already have so much more than displaced Iraqis, the child soldiers in Sudan, the wives and girlfriends praying for their American soldier boys away from home for the first time, the families of the policemen who died when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team.. oh the list can get so horrendous.

We have too much. We are so blessed beyond measure.

I'm tired of whining, I'm tired of crying. I'm tired of  not counting the heaps and heaps of things I have. Sitting in his car, my mind so chemically screwed up, I have decided to become an adult. Yes, last night was a night to remember.

Today I'm at a club, chucking vodka shots. Three, four, five. Then I go and dance like a wild child, making sure I get that attention. As I head back to the table to order some whiskey, he shakes his head and says, "You are awful. You'll make a terrible mother". I grin. No way. I'll be awesome. Because I'm an adult now. What I'm doing is counting my blessings, enjoying the things this mysterious life has to offer. Like a dance floor in a democracy, even when they play shitty music. Like friends who'll pick up the tab and pick you up off the floor when you get too drunk. Like being able to get low and make people stare. Today I'm counting the fun things I have.

And tomorrow, with a horrible hangover, I will work my ass off and study, (get married, change diapers, have a mortgage) and do all those more annoying  things I am put on this earth for.
Because I am so very grateful. I really, really am.


Pavitra Ramkumar said...

wow....brilliant....!! loved your post....made me smile.....made me think of all the things i'm blessed!!...exams (which start tomorrow btw....what the hell am i doing online??)
but i am enjoying everything......! or atleast trying to....

Chriz said...

what happened ?

why stoned?

whats the need?

but anyways brought back my college memories...

enzaaaai karo...

Dream Weaver said...


Juhi said...

Strangely enough many of the people I know, who are in the best B-schools in the country or in well-paid jobs, who are highly intelligent, well-educated and well-informed are not happy...they are just bored, going through the motions, nothing left to prove or achieve, no joy in the simpler pleasures.

I don't know why - life has so much.

One of my friends summed it up in his messenger status, "Ennui"

vjcvjcvjc said...

Why do I take up more space in the world?? wow.. thts quite a question... who decided tht i wud be blessed with a good family, clothes, education, friends.. why was it me and not someone els.. wow... really awesome work dude.. totally thought provoking.. plus i loved tht thing bout finding th phone when u didnt kno u had lost it.. cuz tht happens sooooo often.. but by th next morning u don remember it even happened.. LOL.. ooohh. also in search for the late nite cigarette shop.. haha..sooo typical! excelent theme dude.. cuz sometimes we can be so slf centred..with so much of crap in this world..we don realize how blessed we really are!

Anonymous said...

@Pavithra: Good luck for the exams girl. You'll do great!

@Chriz: There is no need. But the flesh is weak.

@Dreamweaver: Thanks yo

@Juhi: Yes, life has so much. That's why I'm counting my blessings.

@VJC: Yup.. we really are blessed. It's so amazing when u actually sit and think about it.

Quirky Mon said...

nice thoughts. :)

[ni] said...

That was really so well written. Those smart and thought provoking one liners are all over the post! Even i got to thinking about how blessed i am! So much more than most!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed every moment of this post. Really felt like I was there with the your the club. I think we all have had this moment and sometimes it happens quite a few times, before we get the point. Gosh! I feel like a brat for complaining about all my "stuff" and some where there is a person much worse. I need to count my blessings...we all do...AND I need to pray and thank GOD more often...thanks for reminding me.
But what a great story, I love those nights-- when you chill with your friends...laughing, talking, drinking...Good Times.

Kid Dork said...

Dearest Crow,

A very good read once again. You have talent and a gift, one which I enjoy seeing here. You always make me smile.

But I worry about your liver. Because, damn, you can put it away.

~*Miss A*~ said...

Wow this post is awesome. We sometimes are so careless in life that we forget what it means to be grateful. I make that mistake quite often to be honest. Thanks for reminding me that I have a lot to be thankful for.

PLP said...

Babe! I am in awe, I love the way you write and what you wrote, it's...I'm speechless.

You make me count my blessings too. Even in the dark moment that I may be in, your post...this post...moved me, and I feel I can go back on track.

Thank you, and you have a wonderful gift for expression! Not every writer can move.

Quirky Mon said...

Hi crow, you've been tagged by me. check my blog for the tag. And I'm sorry! if you hate tags. I'm not particularly fond of them either, but....

Anurag said...

Waoh ..You know how to enjoy girl...hehe...Your last para says it all ...This is the time ..Kudos :)

sharath krishnaswami said...

really nice post. you write soo much. that needs quite a bit of patience!
i've been feeling a lil pessimistic lately.
of the futility of whats been done. of growing old.
i simply cannot picture myself going to work, eating, sleeping and slogging for the rest of my life. there has to be a fire escape door somewhere....

Anonymous said...

What is particular and conscious about this story is that, you have the character put forth many questions, but I think you know the answers to them all.

I just have a question though: the bit about being hit by trucks and running into poles and people on the street.....did the character just imagine that or did it actually happen? The events there are pretty severe, even for an inebrieted and high group, but no one acknowledges any of it and the subject is dropped as soon as it's mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all. My heart swells with happiness even on shitty days when i read all your nice comments.
@ Samurai: No no, nobody died.. the person was just thinking of events that HAVE happened in the past and have come in the news.

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