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One at a time

He stood at the edge of the cliff looking at the horizon melting far away in the scathing heat of this summer. There was no expression on his face, no remorse, no resentment, no sign of sadness. Where the face could successfully freeze emotions, the eyes were no different than the melting horizon in baring the fluid remains of what once was hope.

Not a lot had happened. It was never a lot. Like always, it was always the few, little things that mattered that had him see this day. There was a lake at a stone’s throw from where he stood, steeper down along the curve. “Deep” they had said; it was quite a few feet deep to gobble up at least a man or two of his size with ease. Hands in pockets, he drifted all alone steeper down along the curve. An eery calm had seemingly descended upon him. He felt nothing but void reverberating with every step in his breath. Standing at the lake’s edge, he stared hard in the water in sun’s glaring ire of a reflection. He took the keys out from his pocket. There also was a chewing gum wrapper he had neatly folded earlier that day – he always did that – he hated littering the earth with plastic filth like the others; although he never bothered much with the same filth accrued in his pockets over days & weeks. Refolding the wrapper, he flicked his fingers & sent the wrapper flying today. He rested his wallet & keys on earth and slowly, he stepped in the lake.

Unlike the surface which was burning hot, it was relatively cold below it. Neither seemed to have had any impact on him. Hot or cold, it was unimportant. Unimportant just like everything else that could ever exist. He had been searching for words to know what this meant – this unrelenting meaninglessness of living for nothing. There were words, he knew. There were always words to gracefully capture every feeling that he had ever known. And words he had found. Existential nihilism, they said so on the Internet. He smirked on having thought of these new words he had befriended over the web just a few days ago. Lost in his head, he could no longer feel the earth under his legs. He might have been just a few inches away from “deep”.

He held on to his nerves & breath for as long as he could. He had gotten pretty good at it of late. Closing his eyes, he tried to float. Swim he couldn’t – he had learnt just enough to keep kicking and stay alive. He felt the water reach for his lungs as he let out a gasp in a desperate attempt to breathe. It could be easy he thought. No more breathing and peace would be eternal. But hope is a stupid thing. “One day at a time” they had said in therapy. Take one day at a time. And why wouldn’t he not follow it today? Trying to make a dash at the shore, he struggled to find his piece of earth he could stand on. With all things forgotten, he now had his eyes nervously fixated to the shore and with more struggle, he found himself kneeling on the shore coughing water out his lungs.

He lay on his back with arms and legs stretched facing the sky. This, he thought was the moment he had truly felt alive in a long long time. This moment, he thought was it, which was his & he would never share with a soul ever. With only his own breath to hear, he smiled in peace & let his eyes shut.

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  1. Abhya
    November 25, 2013 at 14:55

    Mast n Nivanat…….As usual :-)…..Nice work…..keep it up buddy

  2. Abhya
    November 25, 2013 at 14:56

    Abhya :
    Mast n Nivant…….As usual …..Nice work…..keep it up buddy

  3. Mangesh
    November 25, 2013 at 15:32

    Zakkas … That moment when u feel u r going to die … The whole equation of life changes …
    Keep it up Kausy

  4. Arjun
    November 25, 2013 at 19:26

    If a B-grade film were to be made of the first scene of “FountainHead”

  5. Arjun
    November 25, 2013 at 19:26


  6. August 23, 2014 at 10:48

    I logged in after what seems like ages and stumbled upon this article of yours. Well written Kaustubh, and I am so glad he coughed his back way to the shore!

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