Here’s to Celebrating Manhood.

Wandering down the narrow winding path of the Marine Drive on a moonlight night, holding a beer bottle in one hand and the other supporting his body to stay upright, the twenty-one-year-old man was celebrating his manhood in the City of Dreams, Mumbai which was his new home for over a year and a half now. While his celebration was marked with partying at a posh nightclub with his friends, lots of booze and mouth watering food, he was in many ways, not exactly enjoying his day. For an introverted extrovert who thrived to seek happiness by trying to discover the hidden meaning of his life, enjoyed investing his time and energy with animals of all sorts, reading books and watching movies, it was quite unusual to celebrate in this loud and rather ‘brash’ way. He would have enjoyed himself more had he been in a nature park catching butterflies or on some trekking trip with his friends in some far off hill-station. Going by the fact that, he had no time to take off from his busy schedule and hectic college timetables nor would he have anyone to sign up for the explorative journey he wanted to take, he had decided to throw yet another of those parties where people had just dropped in to discuss about money, fame and sex. His friends were ideal to spend the night drinking and partying, but not the ones who would engage in meaningful conversations over a cup of coffee or grasp what he felt by simply taking a gander at him. He would really not have had ‘them’ as his friends, had he tried not to make things around him more comfortable by pretending to hold the same interests as them, which of course was a defence mechanism to his brooding loneliness. He was cursed by his own spell that he had cast on himself to make him more appealing and people-pleasing. Even though his birthday was technically over, he was still celebrating, in fact, in pretty unsaid ways, contemplating.

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As he sat down in his favourite spot, overlooking the dreamy sea which was its own master, he tried to cherish all those beautiful memories he had made there. But to his disappointment, all the memories that came to his mind were the ones in which he was sitting there yet again all by himself. Gulping his beer, eyes tightly closed and his eyebrows almost twitching, he looked desperately into his own mind to find a memory of him being there with his friends, sitting there, talking about anything and everything, giggling and smiling and carelessly enjoying life and making merry!  After a few minutes of introspection, when he could take it no more with the sea air smelling of chlorine almost choking his lungs and the song that was being played in the nightclub began to replay in his mind, he started to chew on his lower lip and his eyes welled up with tears as he had no memory of what he was looking for. He gazed at the night sky, the stars in the sky appeared like beacons of hope for all the lost souls of the world. He kept staring at them for a very long time, evaluating his life and regretting his decision for coming to this city which was not his own. For he was here only to sell his dreams, dreams which now were gradually fading away with every lashing of sea waves on the shore. Yes, he had been on the very spot numerous times with his friends in the past. But each single time, they weren’t exactly discussing him, his life, his relationships, his emotions, his dreams and desires, his success and failures or his feelings. He swallowed some more beer as tears rolled down his cheeks, now falling on his own torso. His eyes bleed with pain and resentment.

The sea was kindling its own symphony as if singing a lullaby for him, trying to calm him down. As the night wore on a much deeper, chilling, isolation enwrapped itself around him and he began to feel as though he was being submerged in the very dark sea slowly sinking into the cold, unplumbed blackness. Staring sightlessly at cylinders of light that moved across the sea, he could hear someone laughing, a rather devilish laugh. He turned back to see, but there was no one. He looked here and there, in every direction he could twist and turn his head, but no one was there apart from a few people who sat a considerable distance from him. He tried to stand up but he was feeling so dizzy, because of the devilish laugh or not, we know not of, he collapsed on the concrete ground. The laugh echoed in his head for a very long time.  Lying there quietly, his legs curled up like that of an innocent infant, with the gushing waves comforting his insides, he tried to admire the beauty of the city that boasted of all the glitz, glamour and paparazzi. To his bewilderment, the city that was so magnificently lit up an hour ago and one could see the lights twinkling from the windows of the sky scrappers, offices, hotels and pubs appeared pitch black to him.  No matter in which direction he looked, everything was dim and murky, even the shimmering alloy-silver moon, whose platinum radiance had filled the night sky was gone and so were the stars. Suspecting this to be his end and he won’t make it any longer, with no friends, no family, no emotional support system, he ignored the unforgiving reality, arguing before life to hint at him some meaningfulness and happiness in his last dream, he dozed off to sleep.

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By the time he woke up, a bright white light had filled the surrounding. He lay comfortably on the most fluffy and soft bed he had ever rested his head on. He was undressed and lay naked on the silver linen bed, the very realisation that made him shiver.  The sound of sea waves was replaced with that of the humming of birds and a mystical music played in the background. The air smelled as sweet and compelling like a sip of fine champagne. He looked around, trying to remember what happened to him and how he landed up here. However, no matter how hard he tried, he could remember nothing. For a minute or so, he thought he was dreaming. But what dream would he have, if he could dream any dream he wanted? Maybe he would dream where he is famous, loved, cherished and cared for. A dream where he not only experienced failures but also tasted the bliss of success. Maybe after a while that gets boring and he could have dreams of him fighting dragons and minotaurs, getting hurt while rescuing the princess in her high tower or even die fighting for his kingdom. However how much can he dream himself winning everything? He may keep on adding more and more of challenges and obstacles but he’ll know that he is going to wake up. Eventually, he would dream where he is now, thinking it as real as it could be. For his problems cannot be altered and sufferings healed until he decided to change his very own thought process, the way he looked at his own life, no more miserable but beautiful and lovely. He had to unveil his real inner self, confront him for himself, unleash it before others as it is and let it unfurl on its own accords of his new sense of manhood.

–Have a nice day!

Chaitanya Srivastava

Picture Credits: media-cdn.tripadv isor.com, www.shutterstock.com

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