Last night, I had a nightmare- I saw a dark vision of a future in which corporations decide at what time, where and how much rain people receive. In other words, just like they are selling us water now, brands sell nations rain in the future. And only those nations rich enough to buy rain would be able to produce enough food to sustain their economies, and more importantly those who call citizens.
I woke up, my entire body covered in sweat. But even after I came out of the nightmare(and the sleep), and even after I drank a bottleful of water, I still felt my heart beating rapidly. For i have enough faith in the powers of science to know that some variant of my nightmare will come true in the future. My only hope is that I won’t be around when that state of affairs takes root.
Later, once I calmed down enough to yawn, I began thinking-about what I would be doing in a world like that inorder to survive. I imagined that the nation will make me work even harder so I can pay extra tax money for buying rain. And I groaned. Then I thought about all the children who would be born in such a world, who would grow up thinking that a world in which rain is free is just a myth.
And then, there’s the thing about people dying of thirst. Millions-always there are millions, it seems who are born for nothing else but to live a miserable life and die a miserable death. The ones who act as targets of sympathy and who are always forsaken. The kind you see featured in NatGeo sometimes- alongside colourful birds and such.
I thought of such people in the future. Thought of them in the context of dying without rain because their nations don’t have enough money to buy it. Thought of the anarchy and all the rest of it that would come with such a scenario. I also thought of writing a novel based on the story. A novel that would sell so many copies around the world that I’ll be able to buy all the properties that currently belong to J.K Rowling.
And that’s when I began to seriously yawn- not because I thought of Rowling, I’m a huge fan of the Potter series though I think she could have done without that detective book she wrote., but because I thought of writing a book.
Thoughts about writing always makes me sleepy. Writing is one of the most boring things known to mankind. And people like me spend quite some time every day tinkering with words that our eyes have become permanently half-closed of boredom: my wife complains that it’s because I’m bored of her but she knows shit about it.
So, I scratched my balls and went back to sleep. Or rather, I attempted to sleep. what I did do was lie down on the bed again, staring into the darkness(well, actually it wasn’t all dark since I could still see the glimmer of the white ceiling peeking out from all the blackness with which the night dared to threaten me). But sleep eluded me. And I began to hear a sound-it began in a low tone until eventually reaching a crescendo that was loud enough to make me give up the concept of getting sleep at all- the sound of rain, raining like it’s the end of the world, thunderous, glorious.
I sat up and opened my window with trembling hands, afraid to see the terrible rain but my curiosity getting the better of me.
The window opened with its customary creak. I looked out, my eyes wide, my heart beating wildly once again. And yet I didn’t see any rain. All I saw was a brown skinned mangy dog pissing against the wall opposite to my home.
But I could still hear the rain- as clearly as I could hear my fingers hitting the keys as I type these words-only louder, louder by a magnitude I can’t even begin to communicate to you. And I looked up, at the small portion of the sky which I could see through the bars of my window. The moon was shining bright and the stars were out, I saw. No hint of dark clouds. In fact, things looked particularly bright for a night, and I was short of breath, because in my ears the sound of the rain only increased in intensity, rarely abating, it now had a hold on me like the grip of the devil.
“Oh, my God! what’s going on?” I said out loud in panic, even though I don’t believe in any God.
I generally don’t sleep that much. About six hours is the duration of sleep that I get per 24 hours. Not that I wouldn’t like more shut-eye , only I’m usually too high-strung to stay asleep for longer. And my body is pretty much used to that state of affairs by now.
I ascribed the sound to hallucination which I in turned ascribed to the prolonged period(we’re talking months here) whereby I came down from my 10 hours a day sleep time to a measly 6 hours- surely such a drastic lifestyle change entails some amount of hallucination? (As for the reason why my sleep time fell like marks of a student who discovered the value of true freedom, I’ll tell it to you sometime else).
Closing the window and after drinking yet another glass of water, I went back to bed-pressing my eyes shut with a a vengeance- determined to find the sleep that wouldn’t grace me.
And the rain continued to fall.
I don’t recall how long it took-it wasn’t more than a few seconds, I think before I opened my eyes with the sudden realisation of what was happening to me. I realised that in some way a portal to the future has opened up- an auditory channel through which I could hear the sound of the rain in that future where corporates control the rain. And the sound that I was listening to was the sound of the rain that will fall in the place where my home was-only in the future that we are talking about, maybe my home may not be there. It could be a shopping mall, or maybe a school- which is more or less the same thing.
I closed my eyes again. Counted till ten-that’s one strategy that has never really helped me go to sleep-not even once but I was willing to try anything to get to sleep then, for the sound of the heavy downpour was all but killing me. It felt as though a million tiny but strong men were inside my ears hitting on my eardrums with metal hammers that have spiked edges.
I couldn’t sleep. I was getting desperate. In my anguish, I had many crazy ideas- like going to the nearest hospital and asking someone for a sedative, or gouging my eyes out so that the pain would mask the irritation of the sound of the rain that was driving me insane. But what I did settle for was the idea of starting to write the novel which I recently conceived-well, not completely but to some extent.
Throwing the blanket away, I jumped out of the bed, congratulating myself for doing something other than panicking. Meanwhile the million tiny men with the metal hammers kept pounding my ear drums to a pulp- splatter, splatter, SPLATTER!
I made my way to my writing table in the dark, turned on the lamp and opened my laptop. Usually, when I turn it on, the booting time comes across as ages. This time, it felt like ages + eons + infinity. I suffered through those excruciating moments which stretched to the farther reaches of a pain-filled universe .
“Stop, just stop it!” I told the little green men in side my ears(yes, they were green-now I could see them in my mind’s eye). But of course, they wouldn’t listen.
The glow of my screen-when the home screen came on, felt like a blessing from the heavens. I made my way to the folder I wanted without losing much time and opened a word file. I started typing. For a second the sound of the rain abated-enough for me to hear the noise of the dog howling outside- at the moon, probably. But then, as fast as the sound of the rain receded, it rose again, and this time the ascent was faster, rapid like a shooting star, only this ball of flame was going up, up up to the top of my skull, or so it felt to me.
And as I moaned with pain, I noticed that the words on the page-the words that I was typing on the word file weren’t words at all. With each click on the keyboard, there appeared a blood drop-as deep a red as the heart of satan. One drop indistinguishable from the other. And as I stared in wide eyed horror, I saw the crimson drops coagulate and fall down like rain and I heard that sound loud and clear-this time it wasn’t just the rain, it was also a million people screaming, shouting for mercy.
I woke up from my sleep, panting heavily, sweat beads covering my body. I could hear the sound of rain from beyond the closed window.