(A Short Fiction)
You ask me the reason of my restlessness, you ask me why I always seem so annoyed, so disappointed at things.
I don’t think I can explain my problem to you. The thing is, you see, I have this very strong feeling that … how to put it? …. let us say that I really want to say something, it is as if there is some sort of thought or idea is stuck in my throat, not exactly at tip of my tongue, do you understand ?an expression which presumes consciousness of previous knowledge, all I’m conscious of is a need to say something – something very important, at least very important to me … though, yes, sometimes I wonder if I’ m just exaggerating its importance and that perhaps it is something rather trivial or of no value at all. Still, in the end, it doesn’t matter, the fact is it won’t let me rest until I say it. And I have had this feeling, you may call it an itching inside the throat, a painful desperation for years – this desperation has been the biggest motivation behind most of the decisions I have taken in my life, and I think I will always have this feeling until I go out and say it.
Say it to whom? it doesn’t matter. Anyone can do. Yes, I will be honoring the listener with something rather important for me, so it should make sense if I choose the person who has earned the honor, however, I’m so desperate that anyone can do. In fact, anyone, who hears me say it will, de facto, deserve the honor because he or she would have relieved me of this pain.
So, you ask, where is the problem? Why won’t I just say it? Well, the problem is I don’t know what it is I’m so anxious to say. This ‘something’, which won’t let me rest until I say it, is something I don’t know or remember, I have tried real hard to remember any clues or hints that I might have known about it in the past, of what it could be, but to no success, if I ever knew what it was, then it is now too deep in the depths of my unconscious for me to extract it. And may be past do not hold the answers – maybe it is fallacious of me to think that I will find all out answers in past, perhaps it is something which is held in future (assuming it exists at all) and since, like everyone else, I lack foresight, I must be patient and wait for it to come to me. Waiting … oh! That has become second name of life.
And patience … that isn’t my strength. Every moment I feel like I can’t live with it another moment. With everybeat, my heart yells ‘no more, no more, no more’ and yet, somehow here I am, still living with this desperation after all these years.
If I am ever to find a moment of calm, I must say it. It is there in my throat, pressing me to say it, but not, as far as I can see, in my mind. And so I’m left clueless as to its nature, another possibility that has occurred to me is that, maybe the subject is something I have looked at many times … and yet, it seems to me, that merely looking at the subject won’t be enough for me to know its association with the idea that is struck in my throat.
No, the only way for me to know what it is is to say it. It is only in retrospect, after having said it, after realizing that itching in my throat is finally gone, or so I believe, that I will be able to say there … It was the thing that was stuck in my throat.
A catch-22, isn’t it? How am I supposed to say something which I don’t know? The answer is, I think, by accident. I might say it some day while I’m talking about something else; maybe I will end up saying just the right words while talking about something else, something perhaps minor, some other everyday business or may be on some out of ordinary day, not even conscious of what I’m doing until, lo, I have said the thing that is stuck in my throat.
Are you understanding me? There I see you nodding your head off, but I am inclined to think, that you are nodding in symoathy rather than understanding. Of course you disagree, you want me to go on but what is there to go on about?
Now perhaps you can see why I won’t talk about it. I don’t directly try to say the thing as much as my desperation would suggest, I have tried it to do that far too many times in past, but I always end up repeating more or less the very same, mostly sad, things – while failing to articulate the thought struck in my throat, it only serves to increase my frustration. Moreover, if I try to talk about it, people think I am talking in riddles, as you might be thinking too at the moment. You who are reading me, tell me, do you too think I’m being clever? I’m not, rather I’m too confused and am trying to understand it myself
It is at if the idea is playing with me. At times, I feel as if it has come up to the tip of the tongue, getting me all excited. It would give me bursts of energy and I will resolve to have it said that very day. If it happens when I’m talking to someone, I will talk faster and more and more, almost hysterically, clutching on their arm to hold them fast, so that they won’t walk away, not letting the other person interrupt me, even getting angry when they try too hard to and not caring if they don’t show any interest in the subject.
And if this happens when I happen to be alone, I will go out looking for someone, if not an acquaintance, anyone, even a total stranger, say on street, on a bus, singled out for no particular reason, and start talking to him or her about some random subjects at a very fast pace, not caring, the scared, frustrated or furious looks people give me on such occasions, or if people think me crazy.
As you can see, I’m have got no good results to show for those bursts. And this behaviour of mine cause me embarresment when I look back on those moments. Sometimes I have tried to talk to a pet and tried talking to myself – but it doesn’t get much far, tried keeping a journal or writing about it, but as it turns out I’m not much of a writer.
There is thus no other way but to talk to people and face the embarrassment.
I get this feeling some particular people can help me say it more than others – of course, I spend more time with them, talking on more or less random subjects in hope of hearing some sort of magic word which shall prompt me to say it instinctively, without knowing what I’m doing. Sometimes when I’m desperate I meet these people, though having nothing to say, and just hang quietly around them hoping that they will manage to find something for us to talk about. I do love their company even if it hasn’t produced any results either.
Sometimes I think my whole life is the search of the person who will make me say it.
However, there is so much in this world to talk about. What chance I have of choosing random subjects and still hitting the bull’s eye? And so, as I grow old, I’m more and more frequently silenced into hopelessness. Thus it has increased both my frustration at not being able to say it already and hopelessness about ever managing to.
And there is now an additional fear too, that if and when I finally said it, it will come out to be something trivial, not at all deserving all the importance it has held in my life all these years, all the desperation and pain it has caused me – what a fool … oh! what a fool I will look if it isn’t something grand! It would be so humiliating that I sometimes wish that the ‘something’ never comes to my lips, this cowardice is increasingly overshadowing my curiosity.
I’m also afraid that it’s already too late for the liberation, which saying of this thought stuck in my throat will give me, to be of any use. I am at least used to this desperation, and often wonder how much I associate this desperation with my ‘life’, A part of me thinks the liberation would be like death to me – the way old birds who have lived all their lives in cages will only be worse off when suddenly freed. Maybe it is cowardice but, I think, soon, I will find myself choosing the desperation over the liberation – as they say, a known devil is better than an unknown one.
- By Sidharth Vardhan
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