It was another dull morning. There was nothing new about this day. Kafka woke up hearing his mom and dad shouting at each other. That was not a nice way to wake up.By now he should have been used to all this. But he was not. Kafka washed his face. He had his breakfast shouting at his parents asking if they could shut it up at least until he was gone. Kafka felt tired of all this. He was thinking about the two hour long journey to the college. The final examinations for this semester was nearing. All of it seemed very “staged” or “phoney” to him. Every year there were two semesters – students did not care. At least most of them did not. They still passed the exams in the most unimaginable ways. College education could have been about knowledge but it was not. It was about getting a job. Everyone knew it and Kafka did not have a problem with that but he did have a problem with the whole system pretending like it really was about knowledge. For all of this he needed to travel to the college to the other end of the city, bearing the scorching heat, dust, noise and people.
Kafka was standing in front of a occupied seat. The day sure started bad. Kafka was the only one standing in the bus, rest of the people were sitting. Kafka felt unwanted. He chose to stand in front of one sit. It could very well be that the two people who were sitting in that seat are the only ones except Kafka who would travel to the last bus stop and the guy with glasses, who just boarded the bus and was standing beside Kafka in front of another seat, would get to sit before the bus reached the next bus stop. Irony was that this guy could get off the bus way before the bus made even half of its journey. The system is unfair. Just like life. Those who actually need, often don’t get enough. Those who already have – get plenty more.
Kafka reflected , he never did hurt anyone in his life. If there would be a God , why could not he get a better life? He could not remember when he saw his parents smile for the last time. Kafka did not have things his friends had. He knew that what his friends had already earned by being born, he had to earn working. The guy occupying the seat in front of which the guy with glasses was standing, stood up and went to the doors to get off the bus. The guy with the glasses was looking at something through the window. Kafka turned and took the seat.
“What just happened?” – asked the guy.
“I took the seat.” – answered Kafka.
“I need to travel two hours and am not feeling very good today” – said Kafka’s eyes.
“Who is supposed to take the seat? one who is standing in front of it or one who is standing on the far right?” – asked the guy.
Kafka did not make any eye contact. He was pulling the phone out of his bag so he could put the ear plugs in his ears and pretend to listen to the FM.
Kafka looked up in his eyes plugging the headphone in his ears –
“The one standing far right” – answered Kafka and looked away calmly.
Kafka was feeling depressed. The guy with glasses got a sit in next five minutes and got off the bus after ten more minutes. Kafka was not feeling depressed about that. He was feeling depressed about his life, his existence. As the bus was making slow progress through the unbearable traffic and noise, Kafka sat still on the hard seat. He felt like he did not have any energy left in him already. He had a day to survive yet. Kafka looked left as he felt something was wrong inside the bus. A dwarfish man had just boarded the bus. He was less then 4 feet in height, had a thick mustache and had short hands and short bent legs. Kafka felt sick looking at him. The man walked to the end of the bus to take a sit. He had to climb up to the seat using his hands. Kafka felt sorry for the man. It was not his fault that he was born like that. Kafka felt sorry thinking how much harder life could be for this man.
The bus was passing by Kafka’s school. Kafka looked at the temple beside the school. He used to touch his forehead and chest with his hands to show respect to the God before entering the school hoping he would not get beaten by the teachers or bullied by his classmates. It was a Hindu custom. Kafka did not choose to be a Hindu but the habit stayed with him as he grew up and the classmates became friends. The teachers remained the same but Kafka stopped caring about them. Today he did not feel like continuing this habit anymore. “If God existed things would have been better. ” – thought Kafka, feeling defiant- “I would have a happy life and there would be no dwarfs”.
Kafka noticed some movement behind him. He turned around and saw the dwarf touching his forehead and his chest devotedly. Kafka felt a pain inside him. Strangely this pain was pulling him out of his depression.