The Mumbai Chronicles - 4: 'Stuck'
Life is strange sometimes. Nothing seems to happen. I've been waiting for something to happen for so long that I can't remember the last time something actually happened. And I don’t know how long this stillness will last. Sometimes it breaks and there suddenly seems a way ahead. I can't see where it’s going to take me, but at least it gets me away from where I am now. Even on the rare occasions I know where the way is headed, I can't decide if I really want to go there. I go ahead anyway. But then it turns out to be a false start, and I realize that though my situation has changed just a little, I'm still pretty much where I was earlier. The progress was just an illusion, the movement was only relative. And this really isn't where I want to be. I'm stuck.
Being stuck is something I'm paranoid about. The accompanying sense of being stripped of my freedom, prevented from being where I want to be, and stopped from doing what I want to do, induces a kind of panic in me. If you ever want to torture me (I hope I don’t regret this), just tie me up. It’s the worst that can be done to me.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one that’s stuck. But no, everyone around me seems just as stuck. They don't seem to mind it as much though; some don't even seem to care. Lucky buggers. On some rare occasion, a few near me break free. They’re moving ahead, slowly but surely; I can see them now, but if I stay stuck, I know I won't be able to for much longer. At first, I feel happy to see them move. If they can, maybe, so can I. I too could break free and inch my way forward. Maybe there is still hope. But that doesn’t happen, and I realize they broke free just because they weren’t in the same position as me in the first place, and that they just seemed to be stuck when in fact they were there by choice. My proximity with them was just an illusion; one that was shattered when I realized they were on another track and that they knew where they wanted to go and they knew the way to get there. I don’t, and maybe that is why I’m condemned to be stuck. At least for now.
Being stuck, the least I hope is for some silence. But even that is not granted. The angry, screaming, despairing shrieks of those around me mingle in my head and seem to give a voice to my emotions.
I’ve been in such situations before. But never for this long. In the past, I’ve always kept believing and finally broken free. I need to do the same now.
I believe the light will turn green, I will break free, I will move ahead, I will reach where I want to. I will escape the great Mumbai traffic jam.
If only I were so certain about life.