The big metropolises I lived in have played a big role in my life. They shaped my destiny. I was a different person with each of them. The urban restlessness of Hong Kong sparked off the stories, the full-on eight dimensional sensory experience of Bombay & the effervescent every changing nature of New York pin-pricked my sub-conscience forming the uncomfortable words, and finally the stillness of London let the writing flow. Short pieces, which turned out to be intertwined after all, small parts of a larger puzzle, and when they all fit the tapestry of Half Lives had come together. I particularly like this bit which was inspired by the view from my tiny 400square feet apartment on the 18th floor of this tall thin skyscraper on Hollywood Road, right next to the never ending sweep of the midlevel escalators. Read on….

The lightning strikes swift and easy

Strikes her down, charring her black, with the smoke ebbing out and he awoke to the gut wrenching pain.

Thump Kreeee. Thump eeeeeee….

Fresh and throbbing, the sound jolts him into instant consciousness.

Yudi throws off his covers and pads onto the small, closet sized terrace right outside his bedroom. It is a still night on Pluto, so that the sound carries across the painfully urban landscape, amplifying as it rounds the corner to his flat, and hits him louder yet this time.

“Not again” he swears.

Not far below, he sees once more, the aged female plutonian going about her early morning ritual dragging of the large steel electric pole, bumping down the sleeping escalator steps.

One of life’s great mysteries.

Predictable, elliptical, comfortable in its continuity.

Yet it forces him to face the trap of his own making.

The urban chemistry swirling around him, mocks him. He can see his face in the smog of the early dawn. Cigarette smoke hitting the sticky side of the 140 storey high apartment buildings on either side of the Street, blowing between the gaps of the steps of the silent escalators, in and out through the other open window of the apartment diagonally opposite, where the young plutonian male often parades species from across the galaxy, into Yudi’s nostril hairs.

Carrying away the now fading Thump Kreeee thump Kreeee.

The DJ swings the record, slow now, then fast, then stretching out the notes. He is trapped in a celestial circle.


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