We kept on floating, me and my dad. The sea was huge and the waves were extremely strong. I was naked and worried that my dad was right next to me but somehow, he didn’t seem to notice. And I kept wondering how. But we were floating with such high speed that I had no time to think too deeply about it. All I was trying was to protect my naked body from touching his. My dad kept telling me that we might just sink and die, but I told him that was the best part -- knowing the risk of dying and still screaming and enjoying the beauty of the waters in the most strange way. The joy of floating without a purpose felt priceless.
When I woke up, I felt goose bumps on my body. The AC’s temperature was too low and I had only a thin blanket covering my body. I got up and stared at my phone for a while, without a thought. A message from my ex boyfriend: “Let’s meet up soon, baby.” I did not know what was going on between me and my ex. It had been two months of separation, and I was down in the dumps because of it. The only good part was that we were still sleeping together once in a while -- not out of lust but because we both knew we shared a physical connection that was too good to be spoiled by something like a “break-up”. So we were doing what felt fine to us. To me, at least, it seemed ok. I wanted to stay like that with him, without a relationship but knowing that he cared and wanted me. I guess he wanted the same.
I freshened up and made my regular cold coffee. Dad called. I did not pick up since my hands were occupied. When I was done making my coffee, I went up to my window and opened the curtains. It was extremely hot in Mumbai, but that day, somehow the weather seemed just fine. With soft breeze coming in, I sat down there with my coffee and lit my cigarette. Dad, again. I had this strange rule about smoking -- I never smoked while speaking to my parents or family over the phone. The rule made no sense at all, but then it wasn’t like too many things in the world made sense anyway. Although I hated wasting my cigarettes, I put that one aside and picked up his call. It suddenly reminded me of the dream from last night. I told my dad about it, except for the naked part. He asked me to Google the meaning of the dream and let him know, but I never did.
After talking to mom and dad for about twenty minutes, I hung up and lit another cigarette. And I kept on thinking. There were so many things on my mind. I was not doing well in my career, my ugly boss was hitting on me, my relationship was fucked up, and all this stress was making me eat a lot and I was turning fat, which was making me even more sad. I smoked two full cigarettes just thinking about all of this. And then somebody rang the bell.
In my loose, bright red pyjamas and black spaghetti, I walked up to the door and looked through the peephole. It was my annoying neighborhood aunt. I decided to stay back in and did not open the door. She rang the bell twice after that and then left. I took out another cigarette and then put it back. I was smoking a lot and it wasn’t doing any good to the way I was feeling that day. I had taken an off from work because I was too frustrated with my monotonous office schedule. The fact that nothing, absolutely nothing seemed to go the way I wanted in my life was depressing me.
A bee came in through the window and sat on the thumb of my foot. I did not move. It sat there for few seconds and I waited for it to bite me, but it did not. It suddenly started to rain and I had to rush and take in the clothes I had kept for drying in the balcony. First monsoon. Oh, how we all had been waiting for it! It didn’t matter whether you hated it or liked it -- it had become an important part of our lives, so without it, Mumbai couldn’t be what it was. I raised my hand and felt the rain drops on my palm while standing in my balcony. With just those few drops falling on my hand, I somehow felt good. Do you know the feeling that you get sometimes, the one that tries to tell you something positive? You don’t know what exactly it is trying to communicate to you, but you know it is for your good -- like good things are going to happen soon. Those few seconds felt like that.
I spent the rest of my day reading a book of short stories that was written by my dad’s guru. The parcel sent by dad had arrived just a day before, containing four books written by Mr. Amil. The man was no more, but I had seen him as a kid. He used to come to our house every month and share his poems with my dad. My dad would arrange for Mr. Amil’s favourite paan and make him sit on a chair and would himself sit on the mattress below. They would discuss philosophy and talk about meditation for hours. Whenever my dad would want to ask him a question, he would write it down in his dairy and then pass it on to Mr. Amil. Mr. Amil would read the question and then reply by writing below that question in the same notebook. I never thought too highly of Mr. Amil at the time, but when I read those stories, I developed a deep admiration for him. I regretted not interacting with him when I was young. There was so much I could have learned from him.
It was evening and I still hadn’t taken a bath. I kept the book aside and took a one hour hot water bath. I decided to call in my ex for a night stay, since my roommate had left just last night and I had the whole flat to myself. He said he would be late since he had an important business meeting to attend. I cooked a decent meal for both of us and put on a white lacy nighty I had bought just a week back.
Next morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. It was slightly cold and I could hear the birds chirping. Suyash was fast asleep, and I was wide awake and fresh. I felt like writing. It was after ages that I had felt that way. I took out my laptop and carefully, without making much noise, opened the window that led to my balcony and sat there.