Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Could you imagine being stuck in a monotonous routine to the degree that your existence or contributions won’t make any difference? Could you imagine a living where life and the afterlife seem the same?
“Mr P” by Prakhyat Chatla tells the story of a boy living a monotonous life. However, one day, something changed in the boy’s existence, but neither he nor the others realised the change revealing the actual value of the boy’s presence in this world.
Mr P woke up surprised listening to the nine o’clock bell from the college clock. As always, his roommate had already left. It didn’t matter which day it was, his roommate would leave without bothering to wake him up. Once, Mr P even missed a quiz depending on him. Neither could Mr P blame him nor could he find another roommate considering how everyone hated his hygiene. Getting down from his untidy bed, Mr P went to the common washroom, only to find all three sinks being used. He waited for a while but everyone seemed to be taking their own time. Not intending to be too late, Mr P smelt himself before starting to walk to the canteen. He felt that neither did he need a shower for that day nor a notebook for his class. The last time he wrote notes was two semesters ago. It was the last time he even tried to pay attention in order to achieve something in his life. Upon reaching the canteen, Mr P stood at the end of a long queue of hungry and frustrated young men. On the menu board, it was written Poha. This was his favourite breakfast; made of flattened rice flakes and spices. While he moved forward in the queue, Mr P realized he was the last member of the queue. When he finally reached the counter, the server walked away with the small amount of Poha left. Though Mr P shouted, the server didn’t even bother to stop. Frustrated, Mr P walked to his classroom cursing the server. Settling down on the last bench where he was all alone, Mr P looked around at his classmates. He thought, “This day wouldn’t have been possible had I chosen the right drug.” A little while later, after the professor arrived, she entered along with two of her friends. They settled down in the row before Mr P. While wondering if she would ever sit beside him, Mr P couldn’t help but think, “I bet she doesn’t even know you exist.” Looking at the empty seat next to her, Mr P wondered, “How about sitting beside her now?” As he stood up when the professor was writing something on the board, Mr P almost reached his destination before another guy took the seat. Looking at the guy, Mr P thought, “There he is. I was wondering how come she was all by herself until now.” For a year now, Mr P wished to muster some courage and ask her for a date but she never even noticed him. It felt like, for her, he was a part of the shadows. After the class was completed, Mr P felt too tired to eat lunch. So he decided to just have some tea before returning to his room to sleep. Even this time, the canteen was so crowded that Mr P simply gave up and started travelling back to his room. He couldn’t help but think, “I’m a failure amongst achievers and I cannot tell my parents the truth.” As he climbed the stairs, Mr P thought, “I even failed at giving up. I’m worse than I thought.” When he walked to his room, he realized he left the door open when he left. As Mr P walked into his room, he could see his body lying on the bed. In just a moment, Mr P realized the drugs he took to kill himself did work and it was his thoughts that were still stuck in his monotonous lifestyle even after he lost his mortal form.
This flash fiction is available in paperback & ebook.