I met him at TASMAC. He was wearing formals and an ID card dangling around his chest. He had almost finished his beer when I sat next to him with my bottle of whiskey for the lack of stools. He gave a friendly smile as any drunk man would. That is the beauty of TASMAC. You wouldn’t normally smile at people but this place brings out the friend in you.
Let’s say his name was Jai. Jai was a balding middle level executive in some godforsaken BPO. We in fact started talking about the foggy weather as I lit my cigarette. He politely refused when I offered him one. He was in no mood to go even though he was finished as if he had decided to give me company. I don’t like company.
Then he started telling me about his miserable life according to him. It all started when I started talking about Christmas. He said most of his memories were wiped off, thanks to a recent accident. I like people who don’t talk about how they did something few years back recounting every bloody detail. The only memory he had of Christmas was pressing his father to buy him a Santa mask mistaking that he was going to act as santaclause when he was in kindergarten. He had to watch his best friend dance in the stage while he sat in the last row wearing the mask.
He was always the second fiddle. People loved him like the way they loved the person who always tries but comes second. He got used to it. He said he felt like Karna of Mahabharatha. No matter which side he chose or how talented he was. He would always be the second best. The same happened to him in friendships as well as relationships. I couldn’t remember the details as I had finished half of my bottle. I kept nodding as I drew in the smoke which filled my lungs. I had to talk or people might think I was high.
“You should have got used to it right? People always leaving you for some better person?” He smiled and said “Each pain was unique. Like Anirudh’s songs. Different. But thanks to my memory loss” I couldn’t understand whether he was happy or sad about the fact he forgot things. I am not the one to dwell deep in other people’s life. I just nodded and left it at that.
“But I know this” he said. “You could never make peace with your past even if you don’t remember it. You just don’t know what you try to remember. Other wise it’s all the same.” Somehow I felt bad for the guy. I actually wanted to be nice to him. Otherwise there is no point in getting drunk in a foggy December evening.
“Listen!” I said. “Why don’t you give me your number? There are some nice parties lined up. I can use some unintrusive talks in those places.” He smiled but refused to give his number.
“What is the point in making new memories only to get it erased again.” He stood up collecting his laptop bag from under the table. “Not a very good time of the year” he said and left.
Sure Jai was a funny guy!!!
TASMAC – Government run liquor shop in Tamilnadu.