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Insanity

by Tawsif


Insanity

The moment I stepped outside through the front door, I had that familiar chill surging through my veins—the chill that fulfills me every time I leave my apartment and amble on the footpath, reminding me of the freedom in ambling unaccompanied.

The footpath was sparsely crowded—a handful of passersby and some beggars in view —which added to my enthusiasm. I didn’t want to see the footpath teeming with people and have all my zeal disappear. It was nothing unexpected though, finding the street void of its usual bustle, at this hour of the day—the afternoon hour that everyone passes sleeping.

As I ambled, the lyrics of ‘Friends’ sprang to my mind.

You say you love me, I say you crazy—we're nothing more than friends.

Soon, I found myself humming, my head waving and my fingers tapping to the beat.

Haven't I made it obvious?

Haven't I made it clear?

Want me to spell it out for you?

F-R-I-E-N-D-S

Suddenly I was back in the world, realizing I’d switched from humming to singing aloud. I found a shopkeeper from a bookstore staring at me, google-eyed, as if he was eying a madman's show. Well, what I did was no less insane either!

You’re in the footpath, you stupid! I scolded myself and resumed the walk.

****

I was humming with caution now, shushing myself the moment somebody passed by. What had happened two days earlier indeed taught me some lesson.

Couple of minutes later, I reached by the ‘Free Platform’—a place where the public meetings of political parties and occasionally the low-budget cultural shows and concerts were staged. The stage was now surrounded by some young guys in flamboyant t-shirts and grey jeans—probably the sound-system-people, judging by their outfit and the big sound system that sat in front of the stage. One of the guys, a mic in hand, chanted “hello, hello” in a deep voice, checking if the mic was loud enough.

I was about to walk past the stage. But right then, ‘Friends’ was played from the sound system, probably for another checking purpose. Spasms of excitement sweeping inside, I couldn’t help making for the stage.

I stood some distance away from the stage, in a corner; I wanted my animated responses to the song—all the tilting of head and tapping of fingers—to go unnoticed and, of course, un-mocked.

And then out of nowhere, a woman, probably in her thirties, jumped up on the stage. She started doing something hard to be termed ‘dancing’—swinging her arms and legs to and fro in an awkward fashion—and screaming the song. Sometimes she circled around herself, sometimes around the entire stage, and, taking me by sheer surprise, made some flawless classical dance-steps as well, which of course didn’t match the beat of the song; but what did match the beat was her being at the highest of her verve, her lively jubilance, her limitless energy.

I walked farther towards the stage and asked one of the sound-system-guys, “Hey, man. Who’s this woman?”

He took a glance at the stage, and then replied, “She’s one mad woman, bro. She does this every time we play something here.” He had a playful, mocking smile in his face.

I saw that reply coming, so it didn’t surprise me that much. I turned back at the stage.

It’s strange that being able to suppress the inner, intense delight is what we call sensibility, and someone who brings those feelings out fearlessly without a shred of hesitation, turns out to be insane.   


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135 Reviews


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Thu May 02, 2019 8:21 am
Toboldlygo wrote a review...



Hey there! Toboldlygo here for a review!

I must say, this is really good! I was a little confused at first and then it seemed to clear itself up, so well done! I had thought maybe this was a person in some kind of institution or asylum, and then I thought maybe it was a situation where someone lives in some other kind of world in which public display of emotion is considered insanity, and then it seemed to become a critique of how we as a society judge people whenever they do something out of the "ordinary." Whatever the hekla ordinary even is.

I particularly empathized with the woman dancing on the stage- since I'm a dancer myself, I totally understand the strange expressions people get when I dance in public. Sometimes I wonder if imagination is an endangered species. But I digress. This really captures and summarizes the mentality that publicly expressing your inner thoughts makes you look crazy, even though that's the entire point of producing art! I could rave all day about how awesome it is that you are displaying this publicly and making people think about how we view public expressions of inner emotions and how we're judged for reacting to art.

The biggest question I have, though, is why it's so fulfilling for the main character to get out of the apartment. Does s/he live with other people and not get enough space to breathe? Is this someone whose parents supervise at all times, and freedom to walk around alone is a rare treat? I think bring more attention to that detail would make it easier to connect to your main point of view from the beginning.

I do want to point out that in the opening, you have a sentence that reads, "The moment I stepped outside through the front door, I had that familiar chill surging through my veins—the chill that fulfills me every time I leave my apartment and amble on the footpath, reminding me of the freedom in ambling unaccompanied." I think you probably meant that the chill fills the main character every time s/he leaves the apartment. Fulfills implies something akin to an experience that would be satisfying, while fills would be more of a physical sensation. Just an observation.

Overall, excellently done! I hope I see more like this in the future!

Happy Writing!

Toboldlygo




Tawsif says...


Sorry for the delay. Appreciate the review.



Toboldlygo says...


Anytime :)



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Thu May 02, 2019 8:16 am
Sujana wrote a review...



Hey there!

I haven't reviewed anything in a long while, so mind my rust, if you may.

I'll head into my small nitpicks later, but overall, I think the work is solid. I like how you utilize a modern song to encapsulate a sort of shame that we may automatically feel for dancing/enjoying them--I think that there's a long history of old people deeming modern songs to be "artless," and it takes a couple of years before we're able to admit that said songs do make us joyful, and that joy isn't something to hide. I'll admit, at first, I was conscious of the usage of modern pop anthems, which will doubtless become dated after a while--after all, we'll never know which songs will last the decade and which songs will be left in the dust. It was a risky move which gives the work an expiration date (I imagine a person reading this, say, five to eight years from now might be heavily perplexed) but in it's current setting, it does work. Whether or not you want to expand the story's relevant lifetime is up to you, methinks.

Something that you may want to consider is a growing consciousness of the usage of terms like 'insane'. While it is still used informally, I personally feel that 'insane' may be a little harsh, since 'crazy' is more often used as a humorous, but also judgmental label on a person's character. The connotation of 'insane' leans more towards the violent rather than the non-conformist, so that may be some food if you're planning to revise.

I think a work like this has a good place in modern day society. Social media has let loose most of our inhibitions and fear of judgment, considering we can always look up people who are just like us from our phone screens--however, there's still a significant gap between social media and real life. In fact, at the risk of sounding like an old man, I would argue that the dawn of the internet has worsened our social anxieties in real life, since the sheer divide between those two worlds has given most of us difficulty in separating our online and offline personas. This line in particular--

It’s strange that being able to suppress the inner, intense delight is what we call sensibility, and someone who brings those feelings out fearlessly without a shred of hesitation, turns out to be insane.


--it does shine to me. It's definitely the thesis of the story, but for some reason I have a hard time being grabbed by it. I think it's because the main conflict--that is to say, the dancing--feels mundane, compared to all the possibilities of all the things a person living in the modern era wants to do. There are countless of memes of people with harmless intrusive thoughts like "i want to eat leaves" or "wouldn't it be nice to touch molten lava?" and those thoughts are, in a vacuum, verifiably 'insane.' Dancing randomly is, by comparison, a small thing. This isn't to say that it's not true that a person dancing randomly would be looked at weirdly, but it isn't actually that eye-catching (at least, to me). Again, perhaps it could be something to think about if you plan on revising.

Anyway, those are my bigger gripes. Here are the small ones.

I found a shopkeeper from a bookstore staring at me, google-eyed, as if he was eying a madman's show.


Some mistakes here. You may have meant "googly-eyed" and "eyeing".

I turned back at the stage.


I believe 'to' is a better preposition than 'at,' but I could be wrong, depending on your intention.

Anyway, that's all there is for me to say. Nice work. Keep it up.

-Elliot.




Tawsif says...


People from YWC will probably never caese to surprise me with such in-depth reviews.

Thank you so much.




Irresponsibly-conceived assignments don't deserve responsibly-executed complies.
— Persistence