Saturday, 29 January 2011


Let's call him Prometheus. It's not his name, but what do names matter?

Prometheus' face is smooth. His eyes are calm. His lips are relaxed and show no sign of expressing any emotion. He holds his chin in his hands and looks thoughtful. Noone would guess that he is raging inside.

He rages at the rainbow he chased his whole life. He rages at the pot that only holds fool's gold. He rages at the hopes he once held, and the dreams that are now hollow. He rages at the despair of knowing that he is the only one who knows how futile it's all been.

He can feel himself shrinking. For months he has been casting off layers of his personality. And in a strange sympathy his body has been becoming smaller. It's an angry anorexia that has taken him.

What brought this all on? It was a cup of coffee on a late summer night last year.
He sits by himself, looking at a couple looking out of the window. Two men, one in his twenties and one with grey hair. The younger one reaches out and touches his companion's shoulder.

Prometheus watches the couple and tries to hear their conversation. They are having an argument. Their voices are quick and urgent but their words are indistinct. Then, without warning, the older man stands up and wrenches his gaze away to break eye contact with his companion. As he does so, he locks eyes with Prometheus.

For a slow, dizzy second Prometheus looks at a man who could be his identical twin. Then the spell breaks, and the older man (who looks nothing like Prometheus) leaves the cafe without another word. Prometheus lets out the breath that he did not realize he had been holding.

He will never forget that older man's eyes. They were filled with a grey longing. They screamed aloud an old man's despair. They set off a sympathetic detonation in Prometheus' head and the reverberations still deafen his mind and deaden his heart. From that day on he began to tear up every tie with every person in his life.

He can no longer bear the hypocrisy that's the foundation of every relationship. He refuses to lie and pretend to care when he doesn't. He refuses to trust anyone anymore. People lie all the time. It is better to believe everything is a lie than that anything is true.

He has been tearing up every tie and feeding the flames of his anger. When the last one is done, he will have cleansed himself in fire.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, poetic characterization. If you are Gireesh Joshi from IIT Delhi, I do hope this is not autobiographical. I'm Sumit from the ChE class of 1994, and would love to catch up. You can reach me at (no spaces) s u m i t.c h o w at "gee male" dot com