The city as an entity was a living landscape which heaved and breathed a rich variety of hues and textures that bore the lusty appeal of exhaust pipes and the insatiable greed of crony capitalism.
It was in this city that life took on a mundane type of reality. Initially, this was not a bother. In fact, I flaunted making do with a mind-numbingly dull existence. A voice told me that there was something to be learnt from the basics of making do with monotony.
Call it optimism, call it basic common sense, call it stupidity, but I wanted to be committed to something, even if it was something I was unsure about.
Every day was simple. It would begin with waking up at 7am, followed by a 30-minute jog around the neighborhood and a lukewarm shower after. My color scheme did not stray from greys, blacks and neutrals. I had two pairs of black pants and a skirt. On particularly good days, a slip of color would make an entrance, mostly in the form of the color red. Breakfast was the choice of either raisin bran cereal or a peanut butter sandwich, washed down by a scalding hot mug of tea.
Then, it would be off to work in my beaten up car. Most of the time, Neutral Milk Hotel would be playing during the journey to the office. I particularly loved the ‘King of Carrot Flowers’. Work was a simple, impersonal affair consisting of the type of processes that did not require a lot of thinking, mostly just concentration. Anybody to possess the sufficient intellect required to complete a basic sudoku puzzle would have been 99% capable in completing my job.
The cubicle, the walls, the carpeted floor, and even the desk in the office were all the same shade of murky grey. Even my colleagues had a sensation of such greyness to them. It was as if whoever designed the place could only see the world in that one solitary shade of grey with nothing more or nothing less. The company was not in the running to win any awards anytime soon for its innovative design but it paid me enough, and always on time, which left me with few complaints.
The time to leave work would often be a little after the sun had set. I found out about the Wallflower Social Club from a poster pasted on the noticeboard of my office building, right next to the elevator. It was a cold night and I was mentally fatigued from the day, mostly just in need of something that was not grey. The poster did not have a particularly interesting design and the Times New Roman font simply summed up in two paragraphs that it was a special community meant for introverts ‘to get together, network, and recalibrate’.
Funny, I thought.
Who would go for these type of things?
I would go for those sort of things.
And in a way, it did change the year. It switched things up plenty.
Now I can’t admit that the year changed for the better to turn into the year for buns and abs of steel, depositing 30% of my monthly income into a savings account to make way for a brighter future, giving people more of a chance in spite of how unlikeable they may be, no longer succumbing to road rage and allowing more cars to merge into traffic, paying compliments instead of cynical statements, no longer indulging in bad fiction, or allowing myself to be bullied into attending social obligations in favor of improved ratings in terms of public opinion.
But I found that there is a man whose virtue lies in finding out truths even if truths are slippery, elusive, cruel and sometimes non-existent.
So the year did change,
in meaning, muscle, movement and music, it changed.
*For Part One of the story with no beginning, middle, or end.