I return home with a black plastic sack full of carrots and French beans, find everyone has administered some more sleep to their morning. The house mimics a dying solar system.
Nearer to the centre of that solar system comes the cat to lick and lap leftover milk first, and then peace, a decorative Buddha’s headpiece bought in Myanmar by my brother’s ex, and following Zen, we let the dust rest on it. I watch it fall.
This early, the last night’s teal-colour pill still in the house’s system of dream toiling and dredging the V depth of our collective consciousness, and I fall back beside my wife, join in the fugue where we cannot decipher whether those twinkles we see are some stars or wounds caused by our own solar-storm.
This early, all is singular and vague. I try to call back the feline, urge it to complete its cleaning, because we have so many leftovers from the life corroding away from our memory, but the cat incident may be a trick, or a verity sucked away into our days’ black hole.
By eleven everyone is doing their daily routine that set in during this pandemic. The new routine is what you call a pause – an extending pause, extending as time rolls out, authorities stumble upon the objectives and procedures, and the virus shifts its existence, and in this new routine everyone wakes up, answers his/her nature’s call, eats, talks, tells, forgets and sleeps as if he/she is in a camping trip – his/her father is there making a monster out of him with a four battery torch or better even forging quivering hand-shadow puppets against the fabric of their tent or time itself. I mean to say, time is caught in a loop. I cannot complete one single thought or act; Poet keeps his tale, how cliché it might be, unfinished; from the cat’s expressions we retrieve the story of three murders, probably in this neighbourhood, worse even – in this household, we came only last year, after all; Elora reads a lot, but not the texts prescribed by her school – now an online school; Prisha fails to say what she dreads in the name of the future. I forgot (this thing I do), I refrain from drafting the request for a job or some money and send the same to all my friends. The first and the second drafts sound formal and informal at once, the way sometimes we feel something intangible and almost touch it, but not quite so. Perchance Poet could have written it in a better way.
I and Prisha stand on our flat roof. The boundary wall of the roof shines with verdant moss. Even wind can skid and slink on it. I thank my OCD ever since the virus outbreak, but today I cannot thwart my hands from touching the green velvet. The moss embraces me, and for a jiffy I imagine it eating me away, or worse shaping me into its formlessness – I am Swamp Thing, the Alan Moore version.
Prisha asks me if I have any notion of finding a living, and I stare at the tiny dot of a falcon. I left my last job, that of a legal representative at a trading concern when I suffered a panic attack. The job involved certain cooked documents, siphoning funds, and even washing black money, and I studied law against my will, nudged and prodded by my father, I had no stomach or courage to evade the ordeal without a wound.
My wife supported my decision. Now we need another way. The last few droplets of dough keep us running, but we are mere passengers and are nervous, and the driver has left the locomotive.
We need to feed the cat, although it has its lunch on placenta. Below no one seems to need us. We can ponder us until the thoughts kill the thoughts, and we have nothing, but the full moon rising softly, and we tiptoeing down to prepare something for the dinner.
The Scotch broth we prepared has no meat in it. The cheaper version tastes fine. The house yonder screams at the silent full moon night of quarantine. Three people live inside. Husband shouts at the wife; sometimes son crashes some heavy object against the wall or father’s head, and yet they stick together, in love and hostile to all neighbours.
Elora offers to lead us to the pond a few yards afar. We accept.
The reflection of the moon at its peak looks like a before & after photo, not a pair of fake shots used for selling something, but one real you stumble upon in a spring cleaning. The water seems more smoke and less mirror one moment, and more mirror and less smoke the next. Anyway, you would have thought the scene fake, and yet loved to show the same to your best friend. You cannot do so in this virus outbreak, but that doesn’t explain why you do not call him, why sometimes coming out and staring at the lake is the only thing you do other than washing hands.
Picture by Kushal Poddar