Alien(s) On Valium
Over a series of short encounters, this narcissistic tale of self-realization is based in the near, mildly dystopian future, and portrays the quarter-life crisis of an Indian that is forced to move back to India in lieu of President Trump’s malicious agendas.
Alien(s) on valium focuses on the similarities, and the differences in human nature, the uniqueness, the perspectives and the variations.
Through the life of a few, it traces the paths of a billion, and maybe more.
If you haven’t, read Chapter 2, or just go for it!
—- Bro to bro —-
—- (Dhuaan) —-
Location: Planet Earth, a place where people find it hard to prioritize between bros and hoes.
‘We were this close to making our ancestors proud, but we messed up. We messed up bad, as a generation. This increasingly toxic layer of pollution encircling our planet, that we pass on from generation to generation like prime real estate. Every breath we take, every move we make, we are adding toxicity around us, sadly, no one’s watching us. Pollutants and toxins of a physical nature, the acidic monoxides and salty dioxides pouring down as acid rain, tarnishing the victorious man-made sculptures. Meanwhile, also growing like a virus are the contaminants of the intellect. Like the acidic toxins that are released from the exhaust pipes of monster trucks and industrial chimneys, these contaminants of the intellect also surround our natural innocence in a layer of smoke. Everything we see, everything we perceive, every action, every notion of ours, is influenced. Day in and day out, we are breathing, err, surviving, on toxic particles, and so is our thought process. The fake dreams in cinemas, the rage in the machine, the dying of the trees, the burning of mother nature’s gastric oils, all violations in the name of making the world a better place. What a world I’m living in!’ he sighed. But this was not one of those sighs that ended in disappointment, this was a sigh of relief. Exhale all that is bad and rotting inside you, and inhale the fresh and the pure. The problem is that there are too many of us, and we have erected an abundance of materials leaving little fresh and pure to inhale. Reflecting Donald Trump’s confidence in building the wall, he continued, ‘it is time for a mass purge, we need a giant purifier that just sucks in all that is bad, and releases a new wave of purity. And, we begin with sucking in the most infectious viruses of all, this shit has been in our system for long enough, we don’t even know what living without it feels like. We have all turned into kids that were born fat and stayed fat, we don’t know what being healthy feels like because we’ve never stopped chugging McDonald’s down our throats. We need to kill the virus at its source, and then use the dark energy released on its demise to push us towards the lights. The hashtags on Instagram, the character-limited arguments on Twitter, the anonymous I-know-better information exchanges on Reddit, don’t even get me started on Facebook, what in the actual fuck is Facebook doing?
Why is Mark Zuckerberg paying consultants from ivy league colleges to fuck around with the positioning and styling of the notification icons on the app?
How materialistic are we that we need to update our fucking icons every few months? Can we focus on how a platform with limitless capabilities can do good for the world? Or are we happy waking up to cat videos?’
He continued, ‘the fakeness of all media around barely informs us of what is happening around us. We crossed the line long back.
In the famous words of Joseph Francis Tribbiani Jr., we are so far ahead of the line, the line is a now merely a dot to us.
When reality hits us, we fucking debate if this is really happening. Unfortunately, everything is rigged, think of Big Brother, think of The Truman Show, whatever your dystopian fix may be, the probability of all your knowledge being wrong, or misled, is extremely high. And the irony of it all, is that you know it. But it’s too late, you are deep into the woods, it’s late at night, your sense of direction is nowhere to be found. We live in a world where if you find yourself needing a compass to direct you, you are probably in deep shit. The good thing is, there’s a way out, there always is. A crossroads. What path would you pick, if you had to choose one? The line between the road less traveled and the road frequently traveled has been smudged by acid rain.
Something called the mother of all bombs has been dropped. Why would we, as a race, even invent something called ‘the mother of all bombs’ in the first place.
Your head is spinning. The crickety noises are echoing through eternity, humanity has been deeply misled by media, and there’s only one instinct that is fighting the machine, consciousness, we are still aware after the fact.’ He finally gasped a breath, tapped the ash from his cigarette and took a drag. And then he blinked his eye, and let MD take a breath.
He continued, ‘Bro, this is what the About Us section of the website needs to resonate with. We need some provoking artwork for the office space. And I’ve given way too much thought on print versus online, and print won’t work, not anymore. The only way to eliminate the deception of social media, is through social media itself. The trick formula is to apply a By Invitation Only policy, make people yearn for news, make them horny for true information, as cheesy as that may sound, you know me!’
MD smiled a little on the outside, but all this while she was, partly pissed by his purple-prosing. He loved to paint a picture. She always got annoyed when he built things up by beating around the bush, she knew he was a storyteller, a good one. And, she knew he had a habit of talking in metaphors, pop culture references and such, things she didn’t really care for. She knew him well, inside out, she knew he judged people when they didn’t get such references. She often let her premonitions about him cloud her real judgement of him, she knew there was more to him but he messed up so frequently, sometimes she didn’t get him at all. Like right now, she could feel him get on her nerves because he wasn’t getting to the point. She was noting how he had been talking for a while, without making proper eye contact, So, she saw a pause, and redeemed on the opportunity, caught his eye contact and began stating her thoughts on the logistics, partly because she didn’t want to come off as shallow, ‘the artwork is not necessary, I’m not a fan of it, but it is not a problem, and I’d rather not argue, anyways, we have a lot of friends and friends-of-friends that we can reach out to, we should start soon if we want to do it right.’ She paused, mainly because she was not a fan of long sentences, she was crisp, ‘as far as Members Only is concerned, I agree, the more distractions we let into the system, the more it will defeat our purpose.’ And then she threw in her ten cents of subject matter expertise, ’We do have to think of targeted advertising though, that’s what we really need to prepare for.’ Her subject matter expertise was one of the many reasons he respected her.
She paused to allow him time to absorb, he nodded in complete agreement, but avoiding eye contact, she was good at making eye contact, she caught his gaze on the way to his drink and continued, ‘And the most important question, what are we going to call it? Do you have something in mind? And I’m serious bro, not something cheesy!’ MD stopped and looked at him with a straight eye. He butted his cigarette as the server arrived with their scotch glasses, straight up in the rising November Delhi smog. As the server settled their glasses, he caught MD’s stare and said, ‘What are your thoughts on, Khabar-daar?’ The first thought that popped into her head was along the lines of I-knew-it, and then she got slightly annoyed at the name not being globally oriented, especially from someone like him, someone who likes to brag about being global and holistic in his approach.
A few drinks later, MD’s pesto shrimp penne finally arrived, a little after his meatball sub. He waited for her to start, she insisted for him to start. He let her start,
‘do you wanna taste my meatballs?’
She was getting hangry, food was definitely the way to her heart. All matters of business had been set aside, especially because the food had arrived, and now MD had that awkward look on her face, her eyes were restrained between the food and gentle glances to the side. As always, he noticed that, so he did what he was best at, breaking silences, ‘So bro, what else is up? How does living at home again feel like?’ MD replied with gentle nods of her head, ‘it’s okay, I don’t have to pay rent, I don’t have to cook, I don’t have to clean up after myself, it’s all of that versus listening to Mom rant every now and then, it’s a tough call.’ She paused and then caught a quick glance, that one split second of eye contact said everything to him as she continued, ‘how are things with you, apart from work?’ He wanted to have this talk, that was the whole reason they were meeting for dinner, finally, not to talk about work but to sort their personal issues. He lit another cigarette, and said, ‘things are going good, okay I guess, Pepsi has been a great support, and we’re in that early phase of the relationship, which people say doesn’t last long but when I compare it to my previous relationships I don’t think I ever had such a phase, it is nothing like the past, as thrilling as it is, we are both trying to be normal about it, like we say what comes to mind, she knows I’m having dinner with you, and she hopes that you can get past whatever you are feeling, she really likes you, and she wanted to come along tonight, but I didn’t want to catch you off-guard, as formal as that sounds.’ He paused, and looked at MD, who was nodding along, avoiding eye contact. He blew smoke and straightened his back, ‘Bro, at least look at me, you are the one that keeps complaining about me not keeping eye contact, now you are doing the same, if you don’t tell me what’s wrong, I won’t be able to fix it, right?’ MD looked up instantly with a strong vibe in her eye contact,
‘I shouldn’t have to tell you what’s wrong!’
Dinner was long done, they were doing the obvious, they had made up, that never took long, and they were back in to their flow, they were standing at the ‘theka’ (Liquor store), buying a bottle of Black Dog, and heading to the cliff. She was standing there in her white jacket, and white beanie, paying for it, while he was massaging her shoulders and playing with her neck fat, he was asking the liquor store employee if he thought MD’s cheeks were cute, and she was getting embarrassed, but still laughing at herself. Then her phone rang. She walked to the side to take the call while he collected the change. He turned and saw the look on her face as she spoke on the phone, he realized that it was not just a random call, he quickly figured that he would be drinking that bottle of Black Dog at home most likely, by himself, or he would have to call upon some other friends because the bro had just gotten a booty call.
The thing about booty is that it’s just like duty, when it calls, there’s not much you can do.
Later that night, he was half way through the Black Dog bottle, of course he was listening to Led Zeppelin, a half-read Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel resting on the side of his MacBook. He was almost done, he poured himself another drink, and decided to do a final through his in presentation mode. His phone buzzed. It was MD, she had tagged him in a meme about booty calls. Of course, he laughed, but then a serious expression took over his face, ‘oh, the irony!’
Feedback welcome and viewed as constructive criticism.
Stay tuned for what happen’s next. Updates scheduled on a monthly basis.