|A slice of Nirvana in September|
One Friday evening in early November, I return from office as usual. Reaching home, after taking a warm bath, I open the fridge. There is no milk. I sip a glass of water and switch on the TV. Nothing of interest shows up even when I swipe channels one through seventy. I open the door and go on the veranda. Resting my elbows on the cold concrete structures, I gaze at the express-way below my apartment. Vehicles ply up and down. Everything seems to be going on normally usual. Nothing is extraordinary. The evening air is cold. A pair of blue Jockey inner wear hangs on the clothesline. The cold air is helping it dry. As time passes by, I feel it is a drag to be at home alone. I walk inside my room and call up my friend and ask if he is coming for a drink in the town. He agrees without hesitation.
I put on a pair of faded blue jeans, vertical-stripped-white Tommy Hilfiger shirt from college days and a black jacket. I cover my neck with a light green muffler and put on the spectacles. I open my drawer of the knock-down and pick the wallet and check if I need to take out any cash from the Automatic Teller Machine. I lock the door and put on my old but neat grey converse. I wait for five minutes by the road side, baking in cold air to catch a cab. After five more minutes I get out in front of Ama’s Restaurant in the main street. My friend is already there, waiting for me.
We walk inside. The restaurant is busy. There is an empty dining table with four chairs. We sit there and ask for the menu from the waitress. He studies the menu with zeal. Ten minutes exactly. He orders a boring dish. Mushroom datsi and fried rice. I land up ordering an even more boring dish. Corn soup and mixed vegetable fried rice and fish curry. We eat in silence. We empty the dishes without leaving a single morsel on the plate. I pay the bill at the counter. I see some poor fish struggling in the aquarium as we head to the Karoake in next room.
We enter the Karoake room. I smell a mix of vodka, beer, cheap red wine and Rajnighandha and doma. We take our place at a corner where the speakers are buzzing. Men and girls and boys and women are seated at random tables. The room is lit in blue and red. Two flat LCD screen displays the lyrics of current song. A tall and frail guy with a curly hair wearing a Gandhi-style glasses is giving his best to sound like Atif Aslam. I am not impressed. I order a can of not-chilled beer. Any brand will do I say. My friend orders a cheap red wine. We drink and crack silly jokes. I call for the song catalogue and select a Tibetan pop song. Song number 13. I drink my beer and wait for my turn to come.
I go on stage and check the sound system. The track plays and I sing my song. A drunken guy sitting in the front row whistles. But then I don’t give him a shit. Sober girls don’t me a damn. I come back to my sit and drink another can of beer. This time a chilled can of Fosters.
At 11 pm, we walk back home in the cold night. We pass by dogs and men and cars. Everyone is in their own world. We reach my apartment. I open the door and switch on the TV. My friend watches a soccer game. I jump on my bed with a book: Norwegian Woods by Murakami.
I wake up the next day. And think I need to become a monk in the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism. This is crazy and weird, a part of me says. And another part of me says: Everyone is weird. So chill and live your life your own way. The real me is confused and falls back to a sweet morning slumber. And song number 13 plays in my dream over and over again. And I give my visitor's card to the Dalai Lama. In my dream of course.