Ok, in response to flagamuffin in this thread, I've posted an excerpt of what I'm working on currently. This is from the third chapter and needs some work, but I thought it was most relevant to what we were discussing there. Hope you guys like it. As always, feedback would be much appreciated.
Ashwin woke up in his studio apartment with a case of Saturday morning dry-mouth. The sharp rays of the eleven-o-clock sun smelt of cheap whiskey. He struggled to his feet and walked to the bathroom; and as he reached for the toothbrush, he vowed never to drink again. He looked into the mirror over his basin and saw puffy eyelids, a visible paunch, and saggy jowls; and as he rinsed his mouth, Ashwin could feel sweat collect on his forehead. He spat out a viscous mixture of phlegm and water into the basin, and soon felt his mouth fill up with more. Ashwin spat into the basin again and walked back into his room – a large white room with a stack of clothes in one corner, a pile of books, a guitar, an amplifier, and an effects pedal in another, a Blondie poster against the wall opposite the windows, no bed, no table, just a folded chair next to a mattress on the floor, an open packet of potato chips next to the mattress, a few chips on the ground by its gaping mouth, an ashtray with three cigarette butts in it, and ash both in and around it. I can’t believe I’ve spent more than a year here.
Ashwin moved into this apartment a week before he started work. On the eve of his first day at work, he found it hard to sleep, lying down on his temporary bed watching an old American sitcom about the adventures of a group of friends. I had never understood what the word ‘alone’ really meant until at that moment, as I rested my head on the hard white pillow, I wondered if there was someone in the house, someone other than me, taking a sip from the bottle of water in the fridge as I lay defenseless in front of a screen flashing blue frames on bare walls. I turned my face in the direction of the kitchen, pitch black, and hesitated for a second before getting up for water. I walked to the kitchen terrified and embarrassed, attempting to make my movements seem effortless, imagining I was being observed through the window. When first encountered with aloneness, not loneliness, not solitude, but real aloneness, the moments that stand out are those spent hoping that one is alone.
In the first few months of work, Ashwin routinely fell asleep to the sound of jokes being drowned out by a laugh-track, as 90’s sitcoms served as lullabies, a habit of convenience. Within a few months, spending Friday nights either at Singh’s or Arun’s, both of whom lived in the same complex about half an hour away from his place, had become part of the routine Ashwin would crib about. Starting with stories from work and the 'freshest goss', and ending on hyperbolic discussions about happiness, the meaning of, and life, the purpose of, these nights often extended into the early hours of Saturday. After hours of pontificating about the eternal mediocrity of the middle-class, the hidden beauty of life and the acute pangs of depression, Ashwin would struggle to a cab and stagger back home barely in time to fall asleep before sunrise.
I think I had the same exact bedroom as Ashwin when I was in college; guitar, amp, potato chips and all.