Friday, January 27, 2006

No one smiled

They did not have children because they could not afford to have children. The little that they made wasn’t even enough for one of them to live off.

The job he had as a labourer did not fetch much. Working for less than minimum-wage. She did her bit by doing the housework for people when she could. Sometimes making garlands of wild flowers and selling them in for practically nothing.

All this. The lack of everything. The absence of a decent home and a square meal.

And yet…..they were happy. Not content. But happy. There was a difference. Slight. But it was there.

He opened the “door” of his “house”. Walked in quietly. She was sitting in the corner of the tin house. Quietly, she watched as he sat down by the oil lamp and had a drink of water. The day was coming to a close. Another day would come. Another day of the same life. Another day in poverty. Not content. But happy.

As he looked up he saw her tear-streaked face. There was nothing he could do. He just turned to her and said in what he thought would be an optimistic note, “Don’t worry….someone up there will smile down on us……”

“Up there”, no one smiled.

The seemingly endless cycle was to go on. On and on. Until one day things changed.

The sun had set. Almost. The pinkish glow on the horizon still gave enough light to see. Just about.

The “door” burst open. He walked into his “house”. Something was different. Very different.

“I got a job…” he said it with a genuine note of triumph and optimism. She didn’t notice.

“You already have one….” she said quietly.

“No…” he replied quickly “This one’s better.”

She looked up. Her eyes, for the first time in what seemed like forever, registered a hint of hope. Just a little.

“It’s in a government office……A lowly office job. But that’s about as good as it will get eh?” he gave a slight smile.

Not content. Happy.

She ran into his open arms. As he held her tightly to him, he said “See?......someone up there in smiling…”

“Up there” no one smiled.


Years later. He was dead. She lived off the pension from his “lowly office job”.

They had been content and happy. Both. He had got a promotion after only a few years. He made enough. Just about. They were able to move out of their tin shack. Into a reasonable house. A house. Not a “house”

And so they had been content and happy. Both.

They believed. In something. It had kept them afloat in the sea of poverty and despair. Someone, to them, was “up there”, smiling. They floated.

And yet….. All the while. “Up there”….no one was there, to smile.
So… one smiled….


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Return to nothingness


The call of the alarm clock. A sign for him to go back to his world of fulfilment…. of his own or other peoples' dreams…

He wakes up.

Today is just another day. Like the one before it or the one that is to come after it. No different. No surprises. Just the same thing. Over and over.

His unending quest to fulfil his dreams. Or at least what are supposed to be his dreams. He can't be sure. The only thing he knows is that he is to follow the path he followed yesterday. The path that he will follow tomorrow. The path of which he cannot see more than what he is shown by the world or those around him. He walks blindly on. To fulfil.

He wakes up.

The myriad of life around him is no more than a blur. A passing wind that he has no time to stop and think about. His sights are fixed, on his goal. Or is it really his….?
He never asks himself this question. It is his. It has to be his.

The years of his life he spent in ignorance of his 'dream' are few. From the time he could read and write, he has been told what to do. How to do it. When to do it. All his questions have been answered before he asked them. He never needed to. They were always there to tell him. To 'guide' him. To make his 'dream'. To shape it according to their past failures and successes. To make him walk in their footsteps or to attain what they did not or could not. They make his dream.

So he has never needed to ask "Why?" or "How?". Because the answers have always been there. He never asked. Never knew the joy of finding out. Never. All he knows is that he must Fulfil…

In his seemingly mindless quest, he attains some parts of his 'dream' some are left out, by his faults or by his infirmity. Not the fault of anyone else. It is his. Only his. The load that is placed on him by others is now only his to bear. He bears them as his own. Because to him they are his own. The 'dream' is his not anyone else's. His, only his. How could it be anyone else's?

Then…when he enters the world he realizes, that the rest of the world has stolen his 'dream'. They all want what he had and has wanted all along. He does not understand. How is this possible?

He does not understand that he has to leave the 'path'…. to make his own. But he knows no other. To him, the whole world is centred on his past. What he has learnt. Nothing more.
He cannot leave it. He doesn't know how to. He continues to live his life along the 'path' they showed him all those years ago. Or was it yesterday? Confused. Afraid to stay …afraid to leave…How is it possible?

And so he is sucked in, like the rest of them, into the reality of reality. He becomes one of the many that make up the masses. Those faceless many that are there because they are there. No rhyme. No reason. Just there to be there. Just……there.

Now he lives like he did. Yesterday. Yester-year. He live today for tomorrow. Tomorrow for the next day. And so on. He lives for the sake of living. Because he is there. Just…there.


And finally when there are no more tomorrows. When he is done waiting for then next day. For the same thing. When his time is up. Race is run. When he has achieved as much of his dream…..of everyone's dream… he has…

He disappears. Not remembered. Not forgotten. He blends back into the nothingness from which he had once come. From which we all come. To which we will all go.

He. Not an exception…does his duty…was once 'there' and is now gone…. returns to nothingness…