September 7, 2012
By aGongal BRONZE, New Delhi, Other
aGongal BRONZE, New Delhi, Other
3 articles 17 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Don't tell me that the sky is the limit, when there are footprints on the moon!

The long twilight was brought to a sudden dramatic halt as the emerging moonlight slithered past the mysterious fleecy clouds to illumine the desolate Long Street that lay below. Long Street was an arcade whose antique lampposts now shone with much hesitation and was filled with shops that were home to cheap auctioneers, stolen goods and nothing much of interest to the rich class who lived only a mile away yet it seemed as if both the localities were in parallel universes. The usual monotony of huddling steps of either drunkards or rare customers and purring of wild cats slowly began to fill from the street’s vicinity and disturbed the silence that had often haunted the alleys and minds equally. Boring as the street’s name may suggest, the arcade had not emerged as a major attraction for even the low class downtown city inhabitants despite its antiquity or miserly renovation except for those unfortunate division of society who were forced to live in frugality but on this day even its few daylight dwellers had deserted it.
The onset of December brought with it that threat of a fast approaching winter and it wasn’t difficult to see why people of Long Street wanted to cling on to their diminishing warmth for the evening. Little Tyke was one of the few children who with their unfortunate families lived in the neighborhood and peered out of 22/B, Long Street. The infant had no means of enjoyment due to the economical shortcomings of his family and thus he peered out of the corner of his eye onto the street carefully tucked into his covers. Holding a mug of his much preferred chocolate drink, and greedily sipping it with careful measures, the boy was lost in study of the uninteresting walkway. Although the street’s insalubrious paths had long been long registered into his memory, he looked on in hope of some interesting affaire other than the old drunkard whose late night fights and peculiarity had become a regular feature. The slow hand of Time moved on with a mind-numbing pace and his youthful impatience caught on with him making him start turning his head otherwise, but then out of the blue a sight caught his eye. It was a dark silhouette against the backdrop of another hovering lamppost and the child, and the child through customary introspection of the street knew that it was no one among the regulars. Tyke fearing it to be some treacherous intruder drew the covers over his head considering it would save him. Ah, children make such assumptions but then men do things more idiotic!
But little did the child know that it was the great John Gatz, who stood at the corner of the almost deserted path that lay ahead. Dressed in black completely, the hooded figure was entering his early thirties but age clearly reflected on his thin gaunt face with slowly appearing wrinkles, flimsy eyes and a shadow of gloom. It was the same John Gatz who once had been destined by critics to be the next big thing in the literary world after a critically acclaimed debut novella. But then his literary career was short-lived due to false hopes, awful company and a string of poorly written novels! As he saw the infant on the window, he reflected his decision to fight with his family on his intent to be a writer and it was not long before he realized that indeed, “Literature is the profession of the men who desire to be useless to the society, a burden to his relatives and die of hunger.” Gatz was left without a job, decreasing support from publishers and family alike and was left a burden of a wife, and a dark future ahead.
The man with thinning grey hair and flimsy eyes came back from reflection and now stood on the threshold of the footpath and walked on dejectedly through the alley without worrying about bumping into vindictive poles or dogs fast asleep that bite back. Even though the bruise from the vindictive poles smarted him, his baleful eyes did not reflect even an ounce of pain for ‘a drowning man is not affected by the rain.’
Gatz had enough failed escapades in his to know the true pinnacle of human endurance. Even when he writhed in pain and strokes of anguish swept through his body, he knew someday this was going to end. The extremity of pain would be reached and the door would open to a new meaning of his whole life. “But,” he comforted himself,” it is all going to end tonight. After this night, there will be no more remorse or chaos.” This very belief was enough for him to carry for he knew perfectly well what he was capable of what exactly was required tonight as he headed into the darkness of familiarity and knew it without looking up that he was going home.
He felt as though he had been cheated and unwillingly dragged himself through but suddenly resentment swept through his maddening skull as the ‘memories’ came back. Diana. He had loved her more than he could have ever imagined but then often love doesn’t last long under frugal existence thus when life became unbearable, his wife left for another man so as to leave a scar that could not be healed which brought back rancor and regret but sometimes in thought he was content that she would be happier than she could have ever been with him! He had then said often, “There are always people you care about but you don’t realize it until they’re gone!”
The lamppost almost blinded him due to the intense radiance that came from it and when he looked ahead he saw a man in a most wretched appearance asking for alms. It was the habitual drunkard of Long Street who approached him with anticipation. Jeering, Gatz put his hand into the pocket of his grubby trench and gave whatever riches he had without any hint of parsimony. He had lost enough in life to know that he could certainly not lose by giving.
Gatz clutched the handle of the familiar door of his home at 13, Long Street and its coldness transported into his body, but it did not matter for the warmth of his body was long gone. To walk under the familiar fleet of steps covered with strata of filth and below walls festooned with cobwebs did not frighten Gatz anymore. Nor did the inclination to switch on the lights enter his mind as he walked in steps adorned with darkness .Any ray of light would have been unnecessary for there was no beam in the world that could rescue him from the shadows of gauntness he now entered.
He kicked open the stiff wooden door of his apartment wide open, perfunctorily. The shabby little economical apartment had been his home since a month and you could easily see that there had been no effort from his side to convert this concrete edifice into a household. The absence of any furniture made it easier for him to move along in solitude and a few cheap quality chairs were there which he often used as but for some ornamentation.
However these days had been much gloomier than before and the thought of work for a new novel seemed strange to him. He kept ransacking through the old wardrobes he had bought from the previous occupant and filthy drawers, not caring about the disarray it created in the apartment until he finally found what he was actually looking for – the revolver.
He held it the little revolver firmly although its heaviness discomforted him and looked unto it as though the little metallic monster was a part of him. It did matter if it was old, for he knew that this would work. “It will do perfectly fine”, murmured John alone in the filth into his own ears/
“What is the point of continuing the unfortunate endeavors of our existence when living does not interest any longer. Is it not of nobler service to vacant this life of ours so that another worthy and happier soul may fill in, maybe for someone who may feel the warmth of someone else’s love and not the spurns of this nonexistent existence? ”, thought Gatz. He had already written his will for he had often contemplated suicide before this evening when he had often felt that he had not felt an ounce of care from anyone, but rarely do people recognize other people’s adoration for them for their whole lives and instead go on to look for a ‘better’ lover.
Seldom is it that people have the erudition of the fact that love is divine; wise are those know that love should lie in their hearts and not in their eyes. But then, men are often victims of societal pressure, egoistic approaches and continuously fail to recognize what lies rightfully in store for them. Diana, Gatz’s wife had been tired of living second-hand life and had left him for a ‘better’ man. Lovers of today and forevermore, love others not to yourself be happy but worthy enough to deserve happiness.
Gatz had often been a sign of optimism but now the clutches of depression and anxiety had gone deep into his flesh that this cynicism seemed to him the pinnacle of human understanding. Continuing his lonely existence meddled with intense despair did not interest him any longer like before when he suffered willingly in penance but now, the hope of a peaceful ‘life’ after death urged him to clutch the savior pistol and pull the trigger. All it would take was a single bullet that would end this suffering. It did not occur to him that maybe there was a possibility of greater suffering after death like most suicidal fanatics but thought,” Is not death better when you are destined to be suffering throughout our lives even though you happen to seek materialistic pleasures and escape the truth? Death offers me a respite from a life full of pain and then offers me moreover, company. Then I will not fear Death for it is my only comrade!”
The ring of the revolver stuck into his reptile-like skin and closing his shameless eyes for the final time, he pulled the trigger and blasting the fiery bullet into his anguished skull. The bullet went off with a deafening sound, enough to wake up a dead body but far less to stimulate any interest from the society towards this heretic and flattened itself against the think resolute skull although having certainly done the preferred damage. Gatz writhed in pain on the floor and went on in stoical endurance trying to rip part his skin with his bare hands as every part of his body was pierced with pain and joy alike. Then in his deathlike trance, he saw himself as a savage beast, naked and crushed by his own philosophy. Then he recognized his irrational mistake but finally found what he had been searching for; the unhappiness that he has unconsciously longed for and the respite from death even though he stood on the threshold of mortality. He remembered what he had often wrote in his works that it was misery and unhappiness that people often succumb to but, he now encountered an epiphany. Humanity was the journey from inescapable melancholia to a realm of tranquility! He had now opened the concluding doors of mortality and all the vicious pain was gone in an instant and then all he wanted was to go back and leave this immortal terrain of painlessness but now there could be no turning back!
The corpse lay in that empty apartment for weeks until the end of the month when the materialistic landlord who had no private connection with the writer whatsoever came humming, hoping to collect the rental fee from his dismal tenant and then received the surprise of his life when he could not recognize the familiar man he had come in search of yet knew it was him for certain.
The dead body lay face-forward with a deep gash in the head, expressionless eyes and whose blood was splattered in a most ugly fashion on the adjacent wall. Although the horrifying scene was the bloodiest saga in the history of the neighborhood, the carcass sunk in a big pool of blood was fastened with a smile, one that could haunt the memories for an eternity. Afterwards when the journalists came to 13, Long Street the in search for an interesting affair, it attracted a mob with the onlookers having come out their dull schedule to look as to what caused this fuss and looked over the dead body. They looked at the corpse without pitying the least about Gatz’s startling demise but instead murmured a bit about his mental instability and how they had disliked him for his own eccentricities, and when the police cleared up the mess they went back to their own monotonous lives.
No one came to collect the deceased. Thus the body lay in the morgue for a surprising no. of days until it was dumped off to make way for newer deceases proving that Gatz included in the forlorn group of men who lived in self imposed isolation and dejection. Hence here is another story of the unfortunate person in whose life had disintegrated into chaos and found its solution in his sophist assumptions that would alter his life evermore. Out of these sudden chaotic interventions in our existence, there grows an ever increasing need to find something meaningful to carry on. Life is what you make of it.
“Today we mourn the loss of John Gatz, whose works have been much of a support to us in hard times as the ones we live in know. Thus I commemorate his legacy and echo his philosophy. If at all, there is a the Supreme One and we his children are, then does he not want us to succeed in own endeavors just like any father wants his young ones to. When everything is in God’s own hands, then why do we give up when success is destined to be ours and everything in the world conspiring us to reach for it. This life has been bestowed to us to succeed then why do we lose hope? We are doomed to succeed!”
Thus wrote a young journalist who had been an avid follower of Gatz’s literary works, mourning the loss of the late John Gatz. But then like John Gatz and most significant things, this article went unnoticed at the hour of utmost need.

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