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Sisyphean Strivings

written by: Supriya Rakesh

 

I  Striving to reach somewhere

I know I need to get somewhere
get somewhere in time
the alarm clock screeches I’m late
also this house doesn’t look like mine
I drink my coffee in a hurry
sips and gulps and a scalding mouth
I try to wear my pressed white shirt
do/undo buttons a countless times
I finally make it to the door
puddle of coffee spilt on the floor
jumping across, I wake up with a start.
I’m speeding off in a train now
across stations never heard of before
all of a sudden it hits me
I may have taken the wrong one
desperately wait for a station in sight
finally! relieved, I alight
a deserted platform, sky going dark
a slow aching realization
I don’t know the way back home.

 

II  Striving to reach someone

I know I have to get to you-
it is important we meet today
else, who knows?
I see your name on the contact list
of my primitive model of a phone
greasy fingers click and click
call. Call! CALL!!!
I text you frantically- I’m coming
words in my head, jibber-jabber on the screen
my heart thumps into restless sleep.
I reach what looks like a mall
or a mansion, all sophistication and glass
this must be where we’re meeting
‘coz I’m running about, looking for you
I land next to a glass elevator
only to see you ride out of sight
out of breath I jog downstairs
but you aren’t here, when darkness falls
seems we’ve missed our connection,
again. you were like home to me.

 

III  When I finally make it

I wake up with a flinching sweat
in that rush to get some place
don’t know why, need to be there
how many times have I lived this before?
maze of hurdles I gallantly cross-
an upside down uber app
a criss-cross, muddled train map
evening falls as I finally reach
a large mansion, outskirts of town
she opens the door
hair greying, face serene
offers me slices of fruit, and tea
who are you, I wonder aloud
how did this mansion come to be?
she tells me of a rare illness
a virus I heard of on news@9
spreads through bats and half-eaten fruit
this house is her quarantine
squeamish, I make excuses to leave
don’t you see? she says, a menacing smile
you can never go home now.

Supriya Rakesh

Supriya Rakesh

Supriya is a social researcher and writer from Mumbai. Her work engages with the notion of 'storied selves' in multiple ways- narrative research, community theatre, and writing fiction. Her stories are often set in urban India, exploring the lives and choices of young adults in a society-in-transition. She has published her work in Dastaan World magazine, Culture Cult magazine, and anthologies titled ‘Dreamscapes’, 'The Other' and ‘Rapture'. She is also the Editor of ang(st), a feminist body zine. She loves the Mumbai rains, strong cups of cappuccino and stories of unrequited love.
Supriya Rakesh

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