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From The Afterglow

Verses, Tales, Thoughts

By Varsha Panikar

The ache of nothingness

And you know, here I am, stuck to this bed like an uninvited guest at a party who refuses to leave. The walls, the ceiling fan, the little window, they've become my audience, my captive witnesses to this grand performance of absolutely nothing.


"And you know, it doesn't really matter," I mutter to myself, perhaps hoping that by saying it, I might convince the universe to let me off the hook. But the universe, it seems, has a wicked sense of humor, and it's playing a prolonged joke at my expense.

The ceiling fan, an uninspiring carousel of boredom, spins above me, oblivious to the joke that is my life. I gaze at the walls, each one a witness to my silent protest against the mundane. The small window in my room offers a teasing glimpse of the outside world—a grill, a tree, a building, and some sky—my own personal diorama of the human experience. But what does it matter? The world outside is just as perplexing and absurd as the one within.


Her voice, with all its captivating profundity, echoes in my head. A relentless loop, a vinyl record stuck on the same melancholic note, seeping into the very matter of my brain. And you know, if it doesn't matter, then who am I, sprawled on this bed like a question mark in search of an answer? A human, they say, a walking collection of memories and attachments. It's as if life is a grand jigsaw puzzle, and we spend our days desperately trying to fit the pieces together, only to realize that the final picture is just a blurry mess.


Zooming into this picture of life, it's a bit like staring at a bizarre tableau. The little people, their faces, their hands clutching metaphorical bags of popcorn — my personal circus of inconsequentiality. But zoom out, and suddenly, they're just specks in the vastness of existence, like crumbs on the kitchen floor.


What have I wasted my life on, I wonder? The answer seems to float in the air, teasingly elusive. The broken GI Joe, a relic from the times when the world made sense, sits in the corner, a silent companion in this absurdity. If it vanished tomorrow, would the world even notice? Would reality unravel itself, or would it be just another blip in the universe's erratic heartbeat?


Those memories, oh, they're in my head, safely stashed away like secrets in a locked drawer. The broken GI Joe, a mere vessel for sentimentality, a tangible reminder of the intangible. If it disappeared, would the Earth wobble on its axis, or would the cosmos just shrug and carry on with its celestial business?

What have I done, indeed? As I lie here, tangled in the sheets of existential bewilderment, staring at the walls, the ceiling fan, the small disruptive view from the little window in my room—window grill, then a tree, then a building, and some sky—I can't help but wonder what on earth we're all living for. Because, you know, if it doesn't really matter, then nothing matters at all. The comedy of life, a dark, absurd spectacle, plays on, and I'm just a spectator in my own tragicomedy. Just a speck of dust in the vastness of the cosmos, contemplating the absurdity of it all. And you know, it doesn't really matter.


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