Anxiety

Driving home along the Sardar Patel Marg, Kunal decided to give his usual road rage a break. It was Saturday evening and there was the delicious prospect of an entire day ahead for him to do as he pleased. He turned up the car radio volume so as not to miss Bahua’s punchlines. ‘What a talent for spontaneity,” he chuckled to himself, scanning the traffic to see if other drivers were smiling as well.

“I am going to start my day with a bicycle ride. It would be a good day to go shopping for that barbecue grill. On the way home, I could pick up the non-veg from ‘Ham Aadmi Party’ at the Khanna market. It has been a while since I caught a play at the National School of Drama. Must check if a festival is currently on,” Kunal’s smile broadened at the multiple prospects.

The snarl showed no signs of fraying. From his vantage point on the flyover, the view was of an expanse of metallic roaches, sullen in their impatience to get home. You couldn’t even call it a crawl. The vehicle merely oscillated in their spots. Kunal swiped his Samsung smartphone, curling his right toes simultaneously to relieve the stiffness that came from manipulating car controls over extended drives. The newly installed “Hootsuite” on his Galaxy Tab gave him a stab of satisfaction, “Let me quickly manage my social network,” he sailed through his twitter, facebook and linkdIn feeds.

The red light ahead had come back on for the third cycle. “What a pretty young thing,”Kunal’s gaze halted briefly over the driver of a neighbouring Metallic Woodland Brown Renault Duster. “Tan! Nice colour. Well maintained,” he checked the car out first. “I wonder how she would be in bed,” Kunal caught himself visualizing the woman. He turned his face away to the black Scorpio on his left. “These defence guys really burn fuel on my money. China right there, wants to gulp down Tawang but our defence ministry will not end their pity party.”

At the end of an hour and a half of numbing negotiation running through the basement garage parking, a ride in the lift, when he let himself into his apartment he caught sight of the dinner invite on the corridor table. He had forgotten! The earlier enthusiasm at the week end dimmed somewhat at the thought of hauling his tired body in a nifty ceremonial to a fake social space where the jolly mask had to be kept firmly in place.

Kunal began his deliciously anticipated Sunday with a hangover. “I might as well complete my visa application online while I lounge in the bed,” he gathered all his paraphernalia before settling back with a double mug of hot tea. Two subheads down the format, his eye began to hover over the bright yellow Sticky Note taunting him from the upper corner of the laptop screen. “Dad and Mum’s anniversary, better order the cake and flowers while I am online,” he switched screens. While he was taking a call on the flower colours and the cake flavour, there was a pop-up with the Indo-Pak cricket score from Melbourne. He dived for the remote control, “How could I have forgotten? The whole country is out there, Rajdeep Sardesai calling cricket our religion and all…I can’t miss this match!”

The doorbell chimed. Kunal rose to answer in a state of mild irritation. “Sir, we are holding a welfare meet in the society park to discuss a cleanliness drive, please come down and join us.”

Kunal suddenly felt defeated. His free day had begun to make him really anxious!