The Predicament


By Joybrato Dutta

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My eyes blinked. My eyelids fluttered. My hands trembled, as I tried to reach the button, which was just two metres away from me. A thousand voices had formed allegiance in my brain and were asking me to not press it. However, I was seeking that one voice that would make me aware of the repercussion. What if I am not supposed to press the button? What if it’s meant to be this way? The voices in my head told me, it would be better to leave it. My life could be much better. Something better might be waiting for me once the moment passed.

The excruciatingly painful moment just didn’t pass. I looked around. I was in a gas chamber, or a jail, or maybe the vault of a bank. I just couldn’t tell. My vision was blurred. All I could see was the button. I was like Arjun, the great archer from Mahabharata. Well, probably Arjun on acid. Because for some inexplicable reason my hands refused to follow my orders.

The sound in the room was deafening. It was like someone scratching a black board with nails. God knows what caused that noise. What had I done to deserve this? What happened last night? I tried looking through my blurry eyes. I couldn’t spot anyone. Where were my friends? Where was the girl who danced with me last night? I remember drinking with her.

Oh damn! She got me a drink. Did she mix anything in my drink? Why couldn’t I remember? I just remember leaving my friends and sitting in her car. My friends had warned me about such poison ivies. “Poison Ivy? She looked more of a damsel in distress” I retorted. “There’s a bitch in every bitchaari”, my friends cautioned me. Why didn’t I listen to them? Why do I have to always surrender to my stubbornness? Look what it has landed me into. Visuals from the movie Hostel started flashing in my head. Young men being castrated and lynched to satisfy the fetish of some rich Arab.

I couldn’t let that happen. I tried to gather the might and approached the button that would decide my destiny. The voices in my head tried to stop me. But I had already turned my back on common sense. As my hand neared the button the cacophony in my head increased. I hope I am making the right decision. I hope a beautiful day waits on the other side of this button. I hope I am ready to face it.

And then with all my strength, with all the power in my body I got up and pressed the button. The sound stopped. My alarm clock simply stopped. And just like that another day of struggling to get out of my bed was over. I can simply hope the day is worth the effort.

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