Once upon a time there was a man. Except he was not much there.

As a child, he would ask questions but be generally shooed down. He soon accepted his early teachings. He realized that it was irreverent to doubt. It was a sacrilege to think for himself. He did as he was told.

He had a job in a small office. He kept his head down. He did what was expected of him.

He praised movies which everyone praised. He ridiculed movies which everyone ridiculed. He did what everyone did.

He had intercourse once in a while with his wife. It was routine. He fantasised of film heroines. He never had the thought of his wife’s needs. She never told him. Maybe, she never told herself. It was his wife that she was.

Like others around him, he was in the side business of collecting points to get a visa to heaven. He collected points the same way others did. He stood frightened, head bowed and eyes closed.

As the people where he lived did, he was scared of the system. He cowered before traffic cops, nagar sevaks, government servants. And the handful of goons who ruled the place where he lived.
He followed everyone.

Occasionally, he had strange dreams which he could not recall, had unexplained bouts of sadness and sometimes, fleeting anger. He never dwelt on them.

Once upon a time there was a man. Except he was not much there.