Monday, 30 March 2009

Ten Minutes in the life of Mr. Andrew Shaun Sidebottom

Mr. Sidebottom, newly promoted Manager of the State House International Tea board, was not happy. Although he had specifically told them not to, they had placed on his door a shiny new metal plate, with the words 'Manager of the S.H.I.T' inscribed on it. It was bad enough that the board had a new modern and effective system of maintaining the databases according to the initials of its members, making the first name on the list, the manager's, A.S.S, but now, he was officially A.S.S, manager of the S.H.I.T. True though that was, whichever way one looked at it, he did not need it to be officially recorded in databases, however modern and effective they were. He decided he would do something about the whole affair later, and went off to the direction of his house, before making a sudden change of plan, heading towards the local pub instead.

There was something in the air that day, something Mr. Sidebottom realized as soon as he had suddenly turned towards the pub. He felt strangely important, as if he was a part of something bigger than himself, bigger than anyone else. The people he passed seemed to notice as well, and they drew away from him when they saw him, as if they were clearing the path for him. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, allowing him to observe everything with a new found clarity, and finally he found himself in front of the pub. He took a deep breath, heaved his chest, settled his hat, and entered, ready to change the world.

He entered the pub, sitting next to the lonely old man, and ordered a beer. They both drank silently for several seconds, and Mr. Sidebottom looked back at the scene around him. The pub was filled with people he did not know, people who were having fun. He suddenly felt as though he was not part of the scene, but watching it objectively. He felt disjointed from his immediate surroundings, the only thing real being himself and the beer, everything else part of some sort of unknown world, something he could never be part of. He decided to talk to the lonely old man.

"What are we doing here?"

The lonely old man did not respond, but he stared at Mr. Sidebottom, as if he was noticing him for the first time, even though he had been sitting next to him everyday for the past year, which he was. He went back to his drink.

"We're sitting and drinking."
"No, I meant what are we doing here in an existential sense."

The lonely old man went back to his drink, sipping several times, before he finally provided him with the benefit of his experience.

"You're quite the disturbed soul, you know."
"Does my being a disturbed soul make my question any more difficult to answer?"
"Your question is difficult to answer as it is."
"What are we doing here?"
"Look to the heavens, and you will feel an answer."
"The heavens provide no answer, just a distraction. The stars look pretty."
"Yes, indeed. One would be tempted to say they look very pretty."
"One must not yield to tempation."
"A good concept, in theory. In real life, however, absolutely useless."
"You learn your theory during real life."
"It isn't possible to study during the examination. Nobody is prepared. That is why everybody fails."
"Then what am I doing? All my youth, I felt like I was studying for something, preparing for something."
"You were preparing for life."
"I was alive at the time."
"You were preparing for the rest of your life."
"But I don't feel like I learnt anything."
"You didn't."
"Then what was I doing?"
"Preparing for life."

Mr. Sidebottom realized they were not getting anywhere, and he understood that there was no forward, no backward, everything went round and round in circles, no starting point, and definitely no ending point. He looked at the lonely old man again.

"You're quite the disturbed soul, you know."

For the first time in his life, the lonely old man made eye contact with Mr. Sidebottom.

"I know."


Indrajit Dutta said...

Very witty.It had me hooked throughout.

blinknmiss said...

Better than before.

TheAceGunner said...

I found it familiar. And I was angry that I was not given any recognition.
Happy now ?

Shyama said...

Lol - Old ASS of SHIT wh was lost - good

Shivalik said...

interesting.... so u aren't losing ur head, after all.... by the way, why has sourish stopped writing on his blog?

Noel said...

Interesting. The part about the pretty stars was nice. Nice observation. Nice distraction too.