When I open my eyes next, it is about eleven. I realize that I haven’t really been sleeping; it was some kind of a half-sleep with a mishmash of jagged images passing through my head like daily commuters in a train. Worse, I cannot remember any of those images. Only, the awareness of it has become more palpable. It seems to be demanding my utmost attention all the time, especially when I am vacant, which is anytime when I am not writing a program.
Then I remember all the ugly details. The laundry, the cooking for the week, the dutiful phone calls to India, all that I leave for Sunday. I try to go back to sleep again, and end up staying in bed for another half-hour or so, with eyes wide open, mind vacant, thoughtless, and aware only of it.
I pry open my eyes basically because I am hungry. Probably I have some leftover in the fridge from last week. Searching for some nicer thought, I try to remember whether there is anything special that I had planned with anyone for today. I recall Shalini saying something at office last week about going to the movie on one of the Sundays. She was quite ugly to start with, and is only growing fatter with all the fries-and-burger dinners, but anything is better than spending an empty Sunday. I realize that it acknowledges the thought of Shalini – even Shalini!
Its nice outside and I feel like going out, but it is too much of a bother to put on any kind of clothes on a Sunday morning. But the warmth of the slice of sunbeam on my bed puts me in a celebratory mood, and I pick up one of the magazines from the floor. Nothing in it holds my attention, and in these magazines there isn’t much to read anyway. I leaf through the pictures – all the bodies look the same. They are all good, and I feel instantly bored and frustrated at the same time, and drag myself out of the bed.
I try to search for some nice thought, some exciting event to happen today which I forgot about, but keep coming up with things like the dreaded phone conversation about when was it the last time I went home or about the girl I need to see when I am in India the next time. I rummage my memory for something good from yesterday, and then think about this woman in the chatroom. A nurse or somebody somewhere in California, she claimed to be single and looking. She wanted to talk more, but I was just too sleepy. Now I think I should have taken her phone number at least. The problem with these chatroom women is that you never know – she may be the man who sits in the next cubicle. Voice chat is better that way – you are at least sure about the gender, which is really the only thing that matters to it.
I look into the fridge – only the French fries from Wednesday. Bad lunch. Anyway.
I switch the TV on and off a few times. Nothing interesting to watch, there never is.
I need some action. So I put my laptop on my lap, tuck it under the laptop, and log on to the internet. No one interesting is on the instant messenger. There are a few software bachelors like me though. I quickly go to the invisible mode, don’t feel like talking to men now. While moving from one news site to another, I realize that it is the same news that they all carry. I feel I should have noticed this long before. Then I am a little comforted, thinking that I can chat undisturbed today.
I assume a name (this is always fun – I like names like William Hornspike rather than Masalaman or coolguy2006) and jump into a fetish room. I am happy that I can unload. I can say things here that I otherwise cannot. Keeps things in perspective. It is very happy too.
But I like nothing for too long. Different people, but they are always saying the same things. I move to another room. It is sort of vanilla, but a little more fake than the other one. Almost everything is boring. I wonder why I still keep trying to satisfy it all the time. Maybe if Shalini comes, that would provide some variety. Or, maybe some real food. Whatever.
Damn. Suddenly, I think I have clicked on what could be a virus. That’s the other danger in these chatrooms. And, despite all the controls that I had put in, my laptop screen goes blank for a moment. And, then the screen lights up with the image of a member. A human organ – dangling, swaying ever so slightly in the happy April breeze that I see blowing outside my window, smiling - half lit with the holiday sun. It looks quite comfortable, even complacent.
I check myself as a reflex, and find that it is not there in its usual place. Then I realise that it, my sole object of attention, my bedfellow, is trapped in my computer. Funny, I could not recognize my member as mine when I first looked at it on the screen. I know my face – I can tell my face when I see an image of it, but I do not know how my most intimate part looks.
I try to retrieve it, and the darn laptop asks for a password. The computer won’t let me in. I try various things. No use. I press control-alt-del. Nothing works.
I cannot switch the laptop off for fear of an irrevocable loss.
Someone knocks on my door. Surely Shalini. But what’s the point, now?