Sketches — Reflections of a Floating World // Agharta

Sketches For My Sweetheart The Goth

Journal entry no: 2

Reader count: 3

Most people associate spiritual awakenings with wild swerves; mine has been a gentle realignment. This body is too old to do swerves.

Enough about me. Let’s talk about Miles Davis.

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned discipline?

xoxo

When she found Sketches For My Sweetheart The Goth at Crawford Market, she was intrigued enough to shell out a bunch of rupees she probably should have saved. Turns out it was a good investment, this obscure e-vel, a relic of the ‘digital age’. She’s really enjoyed this lunatic’s ramblings. It’s help her put things in perspective — this lunatic, if alive, is probably as old as her mother is today. And is what the-opposite-of-her-mother would sound like. It puts things into perspective. For a yuppie afraid of turning into her mother, the fear of turning unhinged is a good counterweight.

Within a week of buying Sketches, she had read its hundred thousand words from start to finish. Twice. Even now, more than a year later, she returns to it every now and again. It’s the second best thing to being back in Old Mumbai. A window into another world. A rawer world.

The second best thing

Driving through the desert on a full moon night being the first. This is so much better than a floating world. There’s nowhere I would rather be than here: alone, in the Aztec, in the desert.

I don’t ever want to stop

Hope there are no marauders here, she says to herself, looking out of the window. 

Shrugs.

Screeches her Aztec to a halt.

Stumbles out of the car. Looks left, looks right, fixes her flannel top. Rounds the back of the car, keeping an eye out. Laughs.  What good is that going to do? Kill them with a stare?

It’s a full moon night. A great night for marauding.

Crouches. Wees.

Sketches — A Love Supreme // AZD

Fields of barley zip past her window at about a hundred miles an hour. The girl looks into the rear-view mirror of her Aztec to make sure there’s no-one tailing her. A train — or rather a relic of one — stands stationery on the tracks along the road. Her car radio’s playing an eighties song reimagined for listeners of the noughties. Naughty listeners, a man’s voice pierces through the wall of synthesisers that forms the song’s outro, the next song is for you. This is X22RME, by fellow British DJ, Actress. She turns the volume knob, a digital display appears, 10, 11, 12. 13. The road’s bathed in indigo. In her rear-view mirror, she sees street-lights flickering to life in the distance. Here among the fields of barley, there are no street-lights.

Once, not too long ago, all six-hundred miles of the Future Corridor — it was a thousand kilometres back then, before the Reclassification Act of 2038 — were lined with solar-powered street lights. It was a sign of a soaring India. A highway from coast to coast, a link between Old Mumbai and New Amaravathi, a bridge to tomorrow, from the concrete and mud of old India to the dizzying lights and heights of new India.

The wheels of the bus go round and round. Round and round. Around and around.

Not too long ago ago, New Amaravathi was a different place, filled with colour, not derelict and concrete like it is today. In the two years since, India has soared past New Amaravathi into the sky, leaving the city behind to be infested by bottom-dwellers. In that way, New Amaravathi is no different today from Old Mumbai.

Welcome to Old Mumbai. The last place for humans to stay being

In many other ways, it is.

New Amaravathi, and the erstwhile district of which it serves as the de facto capital, the New Amaravathi Territory (or NAT) is still civilised. It remains governed by the laws of India. Old Mumbai, on the other hand, is the wild west unfolding in reverse — a once civilised land in the middle of a deliberate and desperate descent into barbarism. A land of sex, drugs, and violence not unlike the one imagined in so many cyberpunk classics.

But it was one of the few places to drive an MV like the Aztec in peace.

Your friends don’t drive, and if they don’t drive, then they ain’t no friends of mine.

Thank you for visiting NAT, a signboard flies past. She’s visibly relieved. Thank B, she says. I’m finally free. She turns the headlights of her Aztec on.

Safe. Finally.