Last week while returning from office my blank, tired eye caught the sight of some unusual activity going on amidst the usual, everyday picture. One unfinished pandal, few scattered flex boards, workers eating lunch on the roadside. And three empty chariots sitting in the middle, side by side, waiting eagerly for the respective occupants to board. Ratha Yatra is almost here. I turned my face inward and started telling my colleague animatedly how my pseudo-secular (Screw them. Let’s call them hypocrite bastards) friends had expressed their best wishes of some festival of some other religion that had happened to fall on the same day and how I had wished them a very happy Ratha Yatra in return.

However, eventually I couldn’t help but express my true intention behind bringing up the whole story. “My god, it’s been a year already! How time flies.” What I tried to say though, look a year has passed and I’m still stuck at the same place. There is hardly any change in my life. Even Lord Jagannatha and his siblings got new, polished bodies for themselves after years. Me? The same old shit story of one fucked up mess called life.

How time flies. There is a special feature on facebook timeline where people can retrospect what stupid-ass (and fake) thing they had posted on the same day in the past years. I don't need a pre-programmed algorithm to remind me of my past though. The algorithm in my very own 'mind palace' is more than sufficient to do that task. I can remember vividly what I was doing on Ratha Yatra last year. I was watching the live telecast on TV all day, eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the new idols of the ‘three musketeers’. My wait was finally over in the afternoon. I was also busy finishing my post about the myths and legends surrounding the Puri temple. And contemplating how I was going to survive another 30-40 years (given I’m not going to get killed in ISIS attack or get hit by a bus or get a sudden heart-attack) in this messed up earth and whether I deserved Moksha (or Nirvana) at all. Pretty bleak thoughts, I know. I started reading the Upanishads after my breakup. So your arguments to save me are invalid here.

This year on the auspicious day of our Holy Lord’s chariot journey I am sitting home (what’s bloody new in that), drinking dead cold tea with stale, dampened biscuits (my fault), and writing another stupid post while watching the live telecast on DD Odia. The surge of emotion I get every time I see those big, round, innocent looking (actually all seeing) eyes on that huge black painted face is quite inexplicable. I look out of the window, trying to fight the irresistible urge to wail. My tired, puffy eyes mirror the dull, grey shade of the monsoon sky.

Time does fly. But how does it feel to be standing in the same place for eternity while life is slipping away, from right under your nose?
Nirvana is still a few rebirths away for me.

Wish you all a very happy Ratha Yatra.