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“Oh, I am sorry, but my weekends are crazy, I spend my whole Saturdays at the Write Club you see.” I say, pretending to be prissier than I actually am.
Sounds…a melee of sounds wake me from my slumber. Birds chirp, sounding strained, torn and sick. Somewhere through the window I hear drilling, a car honking, a doorbell ringing and a woman shouting. I pull my dog, towards me and bury my face into his warm fur and sigh, hoping to be welcomed back into that void called sleep.
An hour later I sit staring at the phone, while he sits curled up around my feet. I have received a meme; a bunch of girls pouting at the camera, and below that is a bunch of orangutans pouting at the camera. The text says, “Girls be like…”. And I respond “LOL” without even twitching my lips into a pretend smile.
I shift to FaceBook. JK Rowling has started a tweet storm against some self proclaimed liberal guy who called Theresa May a whore.
I like it. I mean, I long press the like icon without actually liking it.
A friend has posted an image of herself, holding a newborn baby, I like it too but I don’t think I really give a fuck about her newborn named Alia.
A woman was raped in an auto in Gurgaon, her 9-month-old baby strangled and thrown off the auto because she was crying too much. A surge of anger flares somewhere deep inside and I fervently search for the angry emoticon, religiously share the post with a status that says, “When will our country change…”
A BJP Leader thinks Momos need to be banned just like the beefban. I go to the comments section and think of something smart to write, I read the other comments, somehow the discussion has moved from Momos to Muslims, and I realize that I really can’t be bothered with this level of bigoted fuckery.
I switch to Instagram, and notice that my steaming hot plate of oats is no more steaming, nor hot, instead it has now turned into in to a hardened pudding that tastes like a sweet piece of shit.
I throw the contents of my breakfast and drink my luke warm coffee. I check the time, it is 1:45 pm. Time to leave for the Write Club, a fancy name for meetup where a group of pseudo intellectuals get together every Saturday and write. I go there religiously, just so I could tell people who bother to ask me, that I have a life.
The conversation normally goes something like this.
“What is write club?” they ask, their curiosity peaked.
“Oh, it is a creative writing workshop for anyone who is an aspiring writer every Saturday. It is absolutely free.” I say the last sentence, indicating that I may not be helping a fucking orphanage or doing anything for the Clean India ‘abhiyan’ but I am a part of the greater good.
An effort to turn people into tolerable writers from shitty ones.
And then they look at me impressed, their vision of me changed, transformed.
Because Write Club, sounds intellectual, a place where a bunch of smart people come and discuss really smart stuff.
Of course I do make it a point to drop in intellectual sounding words like libertarians, existentialism, leftists and caviar.
I get dressed and call for a cab, all the while listening to my disarray of music collection. I feed my dog and walk him before the cab comes. He looks at me when I wear my shoes, his eyes big and glistening, reminding me of the promise I made him, that I’ll be home through the weekend, reminding me of my treachery.
“But…but you can’t talk. I need people who can talk, you know.” I say and ruffle his small head as a heart wrenching mewl escapes his lips and he walks away from me.
I am sitting here at the Write Club, the host for today is a close friend, who confuses me, because she oscillates from eating curd rice and talking about her dog-named Sundu to discussing literary criticism from the Marxist standpoint by Trotsky, in a span of exactly sixty seconds.
She wants me to write on existentialism, on absurdism, and that is absurd because what, what do you write on existing?
I try to recall the last book I read on existentialism, Camus, The Stranger. I realize that I did not even like the book; I only rushed through to finish it because it was a short read. Of course, there is only so much you can write on existentialism now, can you?
People are talking around me, of everything from beefban to women empowerment, from covfefe to climate change. I have nothing to say. I check whatsapp, I have received messages only from one group, a group of women entrepreneurs that I enthusiastically agreed to join almost a year ago, and regretted exactly 20 minutes later. And it is 50 messages.
With the conversation around me now passionately moving to the topic of how outwardly liberal men still harbor traces of misogyny in their hearts, I decide to check the fifty messages.
It starts with one woman sharing how by pure luck she happened to come across a reporter who happened to feature her boutique in their newspaper. Another woman has written about how through her network she got a bulk order of handmade gifts and the admin has written about how beautiful it is to share the small wins every day and some other women have shared multitudes of heart emojis and how thankful they are to be a part of this group, how encouraging and great the initiative is. The admin has now graciously accepted the compliment by typing thanks ladies and a heart.
I think the disgust is obvious in my expression, and that is why the person opposite me, someone I don’t know, neither do I want to know, asks me, “Are you okay?”
And I smile my brilliantly plastic smile and say, “I am fabulous.” While simultaneously sending exactly five hearts to the group. Because anything less than five is pure sloppy and anything more is just a burst of unwanted, gushing enthusiasm.
I check my watch, the discussion around me has moved to homophobia and how most people may pretend to be okay with the LGBTQ community, yet deep down they harbor homophobic tendencies.
I sigh and wonder at the futility of discussion such as these, at the vanity of us intellectuals who believe that we can change a world by passionately arguing over a cup of coffee.
I switch to Instagram and aggressively double tap all the dog pictures that appear on my phone screen. After what feels like a lifetime, I sigh, and check my watch again. Another hour and then I can safely excuse myself, I think.
I also think that I would rather be home with my dog.
Published here earlier.
Image source: flickr, for representational purposes only.
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