Someone asked him “What’re you drinking?” for the 5th time that evening. Every party was a reminder of how parties suck. In this one, like the last one, he had already agreed with three opinions he didn’t fully agree with, and stayed quiet at one he disagreed with. “What’s the point”, he thought.
He hadn’t been in a very good place lately. He had been worried, but about nothing in particular. His work had become this thing he just did, food was this thing he had to eat to live, his marriage was always this thing he just had to do. A waiter served him Chili Chicken, which reminded him he was gaining weight. He picked up a piece anyway.
Someone then slapped his back and he turned to see the usually buoyant-spirited Akshay buoyant-spirited as always. Nothing irritates unhappy people more than happy people. Akshay was the kinda guy who saw silver linings in dark clouds, and looked like he had exclamation marks around his face. He was an ex-colleague who had “BELIEVE.” plastered on his work-desk. When he asked Arijit why his glass was empty, Arijit almost thought he was talking about his spirit, not his drink.
“How’s work, Arijit? Good?”
“Usual. Getting by.”
“Sounds GREAT, man!”
“As long as you’re sleeping well at night, right?!”
No, I’m not sleeping well. I have dark circles. I keep scrolling up and down my facebook timeline wondering why other people look happier than me, and have you SEEN facebook’s design? It’s the most cluttered, jarring thing in the world. It’s the last thing I wanna to see minutes before I sleep, but I do, and keep at it till hours after I was supposed to sleep. I go to sleep ashamed of being a time-waster, and wake up a defeated man. All I want is to sleep well, dammit, one good night’s sleep. You know? I hit the bed, close my eyes, sleep within minutes and wake up with music in my head. Is that too much to ask for.
“Yeah. That’s true. All I want is to sleep well.”
“LOVE your attitude to life man! Have you had the Chili Chicken? It’s awesome”
He picked up another piece. It really was awesome, and he really was gaining weight. Those were the facts, the only ones at this party full of opinions derived by articles carefully served by Facebook’s algorithm.
“This government is the worst government ever”. He turned in the direction of the voice. Huge mistake. Because now they wanted his opinions. Before he could speak, a defender of the government arose.
“HOW much can one person do yaar? He can’t do everything!”
“That’s what I’m saying: he should stop doing only!”
Timely scattered laughter distracted them from him, which distracted him from thinking what he truly believed. Parties aren’t the place for introspection. They’re places to meet and make friends. He tried to see who his real friends in this party were. Which one of these wise men would be with him if his car had an accident, and which ones would just quip “Yaar why did you have to drive so late at night!”.
He decided he had only one friend at this party. And he was wearing a striped suit with a name-tag saying “Prakash”, walking towards him with a plate of Chili-Chicken.