There was this time in my life when I felt like a loser every second of the day. This was in 2012 when I sat at home after quitting my job to apply for masters which was about a year ahead. So, for close to a year I was supposed to sit at home and do nothing.
And I had this issue with sleep. I would sit late into the night, sometimes working on my applications, sometimes waiting for some kind of inspiration, sometimes watching dreary repetitions of failed Hollywood movies that they kept showing in the TV and sometimes due to the mosquitos.
I had a terrible aversion to mosquitos. Some people, I have seen, aren’t even aware when they are bit by them, but I, on the other hand, can’t bear even the buzzing sound they make. And there was this time that year when Delhi had a sudden surge in mosquito population. Everything I tried on them proved to be futile. And believe me, I tried everything. Taking cues from internet, using traditional wisdom and what not. The coils, the mats, the liquids, the insect repellent software, ultrasonic sound, smoking the whole house with incense, every single trick in the book. None of them worked. They kept buzzing around me, landing on me, biting, crawling... Summarising, they just made my life a living hell.
The only time they retired was during the day. Once the sun came out, they just settled down on the walls and they maintained a curiously indifferent attitude to my presence.
I spent most of the nights sitting and waiting for them with a China made mosquito bat, something which resembled a tennis racket containing three wire meshes with one of them having high voltage electric current running through it. It was designed to give an electric shock when you swing it at the flying insects and was quite a rage in India in those days. It gave a loud crackle and a spark when the insect is caught and I guess that gave some kind of sadistic pleasure to the people.
And sleep I would during the day. It was not a proper sleep. The trouble with sleeping in the day is that the world, which is up and running has different ideas for you. I would receive marketing calls, calls from friends, calls from my previous office, reminders of bill payments, neighbours visiting for borrowing something and all that stuff.
And on top of all these would be complaints from people. That I did not pick up their calls, did not answer the doorbell, did not do this, was supposed to be there, waited for me for this long and so on… It was as if I was committing some kind to unpardonable sin by sleeping during the daytime.
It was in those times that I started feeling like a loser. I would wake up in the evening and stare down from the balcony at the world that seemed awkwardly busy.
It wasn’t a good idea to remain jobless in a city, especially a metropolitan one. Had I been in my village, it would have been a completely different thing. Maybe no one would notice even if I hibernate like a polar bear for a whole season. I guess nature never bothered if you slept at night or during the day. Back in the age of hunting, I could have been assured of the company of a few nocturnal animals in the night.
Looking at the desolate roads of Mayur Vihar Mayur in the night bathed in the depressing yellow incandescence of the sodium vapour lamps that struggled to pierce the slowly thickening fog, I realised how forlorn even my unfounded loneliness was.