Of An Ant And A Man

The inept Ant began the ascent.
On a day when a man’s hopes shatter the way a leaf plummets down the ground and cracks up, Pran gawped at the ant trying to crawl up the room’s shabby wall. The ant tried to climb up the wall but it slipped. It tried again and the result was not any different.

“You can’t get a single thing done on time. What is to become of a man who has no sense of time, and no respect for it?” his father used to castigate him, for anything he entrusted Pran with, and no matter how hard Pran tried, there were always these two sentences, in the same order, in the same tone, and then when he was asked to stop looking here and there and look straight at his father, his father’s eyes flashed all the disappointment he brought to his old man.
The ant slipped once more and Pran looked at it, now returning back to the moment, to the room, and inside it the ant, trying so hard to reach up against the wall, failing each time, and the ant’s failure took his mind to his own workplace, where he sits amongst a bunch of people with their noses always buried into their systems, their eyes blinking at unusual intervals. A few of these gentlemen gawk at the girls so intently that if they were to tailor a suit for these girls they wouldn’t even need an inch-tape. And amidst all of this, he sits there, observing them, seeing some of them with their noses buried into the systems, a few pair of eyes fixed on some girls’ breasts, and while everyone is busy either coding or gawping, he looked at their eyes that continued to blink sporadically.

The Ant gains some height.
His thoughts move on to another recent event. The ant’s clumsiness takes him to the room he had visited two weeks back. It was adorned with the lurid curtains, and inside it, in one corner laid the shabby bed that had a glittering silky bedsheet atop it. He had entered the room from the hallway, where he was shown a bunch of topless women from whom he had to choose one. It was not supposed to be this difficult, he had assumed. And he finally chose one. ‘The first-timers’, the girl he had chosen later told him, ‘always end up taking more time making a selection and last much lesser in the bed’.
And while she had said that, she hadn’t smiled.
And after that, she had undressed, and he was amazed by what he saw in front of him.

The Ant slipped down.
“But let me try once more. I didn’t know it would be over so soon, I have paid fucking 3000 for you. And you let me do it for just two minutes.” Pran told the girl he had chosen. He was told about the brothel by a friend from his workplace. “They have the best girls and they insist on the usage of the condoms. You don’t have to look for any other place than that. It is the safest in the town. The girls are also young.” the friend had said. Pran had wanted experience. And so, after all these many years of dryness, he expressed his desire of entering someplace wet to his friend who was known to have guided several other thirsty men to wells and was sent to the brothel where he met this girl, whose breasts were perfectly round, eyes solemn, and her acts deft, so much so that he ejaculated in 2 minutes. It felt like he had been cheated. He tried reaching for the girl’s lips and then for her breasts, but she turned her face away and asked him politely not to force him on her lest she’ll have to call someone and have him thrown out. And then gave him one of those looks, that women give to men they know are good-hearted but hapless, and asked him to come again some other day. And then try once more.
He asked her what her name was.
She replied ‘Fuck off now kid”.

The Ant tried again.
Pran decided to go to the brothel again. Inside the brothel, a lady caught him by his collar, pouted her lips, and tried to pull him into the room. He managed to loosen her grip and freed himself off. He kept walking towards the stairs where he had last met the girl. How helpful a name under the given circumstances would have been. He threw perfunctory glances inside the rooms the gates of which were open, inside there were girls getting ready for the next customers. But she was nowhere to be seen. Two girls walked past him, their faces were garish.
By the makeup.
Or by the tears?
How could they be still so hungry for sex, he thought.
But it was not the sex they were hungry for, he knew.
It was money.

The Ant changes its course.
Pran thinks of life. Of work. Of the girl from the brothel. Of his poor performance with her. And the meaning of it all. Does work bring meaning to life? What was he beyond the hours he maintained accounts? What was the girl beyond the hours she fucked the strangers like him? Did she ever think about her clients in the night before she sleeps? Did she ever sleep well? What would have she made of him, his performance? Did she really mean it when she asked him to visit her again? What would he tell that friend about the last night? Would he not be subjected to the chagrin? But then he comes back to his senses and sees the ant who no longer tries hard to rise up the wall rather it takes an alternate route and manages to reach where it was supposed to reach…
And so he gets up.
Stops thinking for a while.
Takes a day off work.
A day off from finding meaning in anything he does.


The End

The image has been downloaded from google.com

12 thoughts on “Of An Ant And A Man

Add yours

  1. How do you make us want to cry and laugh at the same time? Brutal, truthful, the tragicomedy of life.

    Parts that made me laugh:

    “A few of these gentlemen gawk at the girls so intently that if they were to tailor a suit for these girls they wouldn’t even need an inch-tape.”

    “He asked her what her name was.
    She replied ‘Fuck off now kid”.

    Parts that gave me “connection tingles”:
    The Ant Changes its Course – this paragraph beautifully connects the elements of the story together, brings meaning to the separate, “meaningless” parts of the whole.

    Another great story, Akarsh, you have the natural knack.
    xoxo love from France

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Nadine.

      I read your post this morning and wanted to comment on that but the reader didn’t let me. Or maybe the option that lets the readers leave their comments has been disabled there? I’ll try on the computer tonight.

      It was such a beautiful piece, especially where you talked about your father.
      I was smiling throughout.

      Thank you for sharing that.

      And in the same old style – “Love from India”…

      Liked by 1 person

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