Published in The Nepali Man on 28 February 2015
The Yellow Monster
The sky’s blue was unusually soft and delicate the morning I decided to write about the yellow monster. There was an unseasonable chill in the air, which briefly surprised me, for it had been so hot lately. But then it was barely six am. Thinking these thoughts, gazing up once more at the soft blue and the scattered fluffs of cotton, I decided to go for a walk - a weekly visit to an ancient site - before settling in front of my laptop.
Drops of water sprang from the metal gate downstairs as I swung it open. Fresh moss outlined the driveway’s gray hexagons in bright green. The neighbor’s garden was lush; broad green leaves still dripping wet from the previous night’s rain. The street was starting to stir; the alleys clean and quiet. Dust had not yet risen; cars and bikes still asleep at home.
But the men and women were already hustling, filling the air with a very human energy. Multicolored buckets surrounded communal taps; diyas fluttered in front of small, stone shrines. Bells were beginning to clang. The reservoir that remains dry and dirty most of the year was full with green monsoon water, completely submerging its dhunge dhara.
After returning, I made coffee, toasted bread and fried eggs before gathering my thoughts about the yellow monster. I have been ignoring his call all morning, a call I hear as soon as I open my eyes every day. He has been seeking my attention for days but I play games with him, a sort of a hide and seek.
I have been playing games with him for days, weeks, months, for what seems like a lifetime. I have been trying to reason with him. Sometimes there’s a quiet argument though; sometimes I give him the silent treatment. But ultimately I surrender to the yellow monster. To his devious sparkle. To his beckoning. I let him lead me to his underground parties. I succumb to the yellow monster’s charm. I go on long journeys with him. To places that are out of this world.
Innocent souls dance to his tunes. Hundreds of them visit him at his dark palace. Many step in and out. But some remain longtime residents, each one stung by the monster’s sweet venom. Each one’s restless mind briefly subdued by the promise of something else. I have met friends and lovers at these gatherings. A few have stayed in my life; most get sucked back into the monster’s dungeon, never to reappear.
A 20-yr-old chess player from Jawalakhel, an Instagram fashion blogger from Australia, an ugly man wearing somebody else’s mask. An event planner desperate to befriend those fluent in English, a lonesome college student obsessed with selfies, an out-of-valley worker who wants to have coffee. Then those more elusive - a Slovak vacationing in Pokhara, an older Frenchman traveling with his sister, a hairy American who claims to be sensual and sexual.
Promises, problems, pretty little lies. Small talk, schedules, a lot of superficial queries. Age, role, caste, location. Face, body, muscles and those prized, private shots. Where from, what do you do, have you had dinner? Friends and fun, sex and no sex. Hookups, hangouts, discretion and dissatisfaction. Looking, always looking - dazed, completely devastated by desire.
There are no rules, says the yellow monster. No rituals, no traditions to follow. Manners, courtesy - these things don’t matter. Break them, shatter everything, take off those chains. Step out, get there, do it, because you, my friend, you are the king. There is no queen here, no soldiers, no one really to fight your battles. Small, hidden kingdom this. Tucked inside subterranean hills.
Be careful of the yellow monster! If you mix your monstrous sessions with alcohol and smokes, you will fall deeper into his trap. You will lose hours and days inside the monster’s magnificent maze. You will get tied and tethered, you will barely get coffee or any meals. On bad days, the monster will make you pass invites and miss deadlines. He will grab you by the balls, suck the life out of you.
We all have him. We all have a monster inside us. Mine is yellow, but they come in all kinds of colors and shades. They live inside our cracks and crevices, slowly eating us away. They conquer our heads, capture our hearts. They make us do things we never intended to. Be careful of the yellow monster, for they will direct, confuse, disillusion and disorient.
The monster’s circus show is relentless. His magic wand will make you zone in and zone out. You will spend hours staring at devices and websites, smart phones and their apps. You will delete, update, install and remove. You will date and meet, online and offline. You will regret, resolve, reconsider the whole thing. But the yellow monster is invincible and indestructible. It can’t be defeated, it can’t be destroyed. In a few seconds, it clones itself a thousand times. Intangible, yet very much there. Shapeless, sometimes invisible; yes it’s there, very much there.
How do you deal? What do you do? How do you befriend your yellow monster? How do you converse, what do you say? What sweet tales do you tell him when he nudges you? When he asks for your attention and your time? How do you calm him down, where do you take him? What distractions do you throw at him? What do you allow, what do you deny? How much of your life does he want?
When the rain falls, when the sun shines, those days when the clouds confuse. Where are you then, dear friend, when the dark heaviness momentarily lifts? Where do you hide - cold, silent, dead - where do you hide when you bleed? Where do you go, clutching your throbbing heart in your dirty hands, where do you go when it gets plucked out and trashed, day after day?