Yusuf knew very well that cleaning a room was no easy task, rooms tend to be resistant to anything vaguely affecting their routine and he was about to embark in overturning something which has been going on for a long time. Being a person of Science, he knew inertia was a natural state of everything – from rooms to human beings to Universes, but it could be overcome by providing the right amount of force at the right instant of time and that was what was going to happen today. ‘Right amount of force at the right instant of time’ he kept murmuring as he changed to the oldest pair of dress he found in his attic. Well, this was more or less a revolutionary act and it required, like all acts of revolution, getting dirty. And he knew very well that if he fought through this revolution all chaos will be replaced with calm.
Chaos being replaced by calm – well, that is what everything you see around you is about. He thought about his own life, the turbulence of his youth and the misadventures of his middle age, the agitations it brought within and how at this age he was inclined to seek calm. He understood why Capitalism was the ultimate destination because in a way Capitalism epitomizes calmness; it asks you to settle down, have a job, a family and live peacefully ever after. And it was now his room which was destined to make this transition!
The moment Yusuf stepped into his room; he had a clear glimpse of what stood in front of him. On one corner of the room there was his vast collection of books (mostly scientific ones) overflowing the shelf, which for years remained untouched, accumulating dust, and on the other corner there was his primary worktable which presently held items ranging from meat knives to hookah pipes. Towards one side was his bed, on top of which objects currently used by him found its home. There was also a subsidiary worktable, the one which he presently used, harboring a laptop, a modem and a file shouting in red about his below par performance. The ceiling was a haven for spiders and the floor was a playground for cockroaches, and there was dust, dust everywhere. One should say this sight inevitably disoriented Yusuf; it was an overpowering image of his opponent, something which undermined his self-belief. But he had only re-assured himself this morning that what stands between a man and his dreams is that moment when he refuses to quit, and that thought gave a strange motivation. He let in a large expanse of air, held it long in his lungs and stepped into the room.
He approached the worktable first, he had this idea to fight against larger, bulkier items to begin with and then pierce deep into the lesser, more disordered items later. So naturally the meat knives (he had no clue how it ended up there in the first place) went back into the kitchen. He approached the hookah pipes with a strange loathing; it was tarred on the inside much like his own windpipes. Yet he decided to clean it so that it may survive a few further smokes. He felt a pang of misery hit him when the tar just wouldn’t go away – he washed it with soap, he washed it with kerosene, but it still stuck tiredly on the sides.
There is a certain inevitability with certain things which meant that you cannot change them however you try, Yusuf thought and it pained him deeply. Inevitability was something no man of revolution should believe in, and yet he couldn’t help think about it. For the first time he questioned his decision to change something which remained unchanged for as long as he can imagine. Is this task worthwhile? What if however you try to change certain things, it just wouldn’t yield? Would this make him any less a revolutionary than who he was in the beginning? Or are this room and its confusions larger than a man’s inherent revolutions? He threw away the pipes and approached his worktable.
‘Inevitable’ he kept murmuring as he found a bottle, unwashed and still having reminiscences of milk it once held. It smelt awful and at once it made him nauseas. He washed it up and laughed all the while doing so, because it seemed comical that with time something so elegant like milk could make him puke in disgust. It was one of the reasons he never sought immortality, the mere idea of living forever made him agitated. Life lets you create more meanings and more happiness because of an imminent death, if it was not so most humans would be awfully depressed. It was one of those areas revolution would dare not touch, he could agree with overpowering many things (democracy, corporations, wealth) but not death. One needs to die someday to live better today.
He had to shed these shifting thoughts for now because more work awaited him. On top of the table were faint scratches, rather it was someone’s teeth which made it. It was only natural that this reminded him of Freida and the night they first made love - her imperfectness spreading weightlessly on the tabletop, her teeth biting away wood, her hair getting messier and her body shivering in passion. Every meaning they created dissolved into that moment; they were two improbable creatures in the vastness of space being overpowered by their animalism. Somehow he found peace, and he found it when he accepted what he was rather than what he made himself to be. But peace was never something he intended to find with life; peace lets you settle down while life is all about motion. He slid his hands over the marks and murmured ‘With time everything makes you puke’.
The more he cleaned the worktable, the more disoriented it seemed to get. There were items he never previously thought had existed which suddenly erupted out to meet him. There came up his old diaries, sports medallions, movie CDs and there came up his sex toys, cigarette lighters, Seroquel tablets. At first he was enthralled by these random discoveries, but later it was too much for him to digest. It was as if the worktable was growing in volume and it made him restless, his thoughts broke all shackles. He knew that if he kept on with it, it would destroy all his remaining sane notions, it was his yardstick, if he lost it he would lose himself. It was then that he had had enough of his worktable.
The bookshelf, its glass broken and part of its structure ripped apart with something sharp, stood agonizingly in front. This was once his most priced collection, which featured Albert Einstein to Richard Feynman. It was now in a sorry state with books flooding the floor beneath it. Somewhere inside he had this vision that salvation was to be found in between these pages, but clearly it never happened. The first book he picked up from the mess was one on Thermodynamics. It was not really a deep insight into the theoretical part (because he abhorred the Theoretical part) but talked about everyday Thermodynamics. Yusuf opened the pages and found the word entropy repeatedly underlined by him. Entropy – the disorderliness of the Universe, a disorderliness which grants it diversity, or rather one may call hope. He kept it back into the mess and stood silently. Science held the finest answers and the finest mysteries he could think of, and yet how it was always demonized by religion! It worried him when the World rejects what is right and what is the truth for something they make up – he would muse at how people accept money, religions and boundaries while detest Science, love and thoughts.
Being forced to reject truth! Is there any state of existence worse than that? We claim to be creatures having advanced levels of intelligence and yet we cannot help but fall into this trap. Again, it maybe because we require meanings to survive. If at all there is any salvation he received out of books, it is that there is nothing to realize. Yusuf always believed that people thought about existence because plainly they did exist in the first place, and not due to any inherent meaning of life. There are no meanings to our existence, there is no enlightenment waiting to show itself in front of us. But he knew, once he falls into that process it would be hard for him to remain happy. Yusuf sat down in the middle holding a bundle of books in his hand. He was distraught. The whole idea of his cleaning the room was born when he tried to create a meaning. A meaning that a well arranged personal room would be a well ordered one too, and a well ordered room could create a well ordered Yusuf. And now he was questioning the mere existence of order.
He couldn’t cease entropy from visiting him again. He took a look at the room; the worktable, apart from the knives and pipes, remained more or less the same, the bookshelf would never reach its previous glory and one should say he was used to all the dust. He thought about the resistance his room offered all this while. Who was he to alter the disorder? And how could he do that, because all state of order was human interpretation while disorder is the only truth? If the Universe was ordered, it would never have been Universe in the first place. And again inevitability came to find him in a state of confusion. Even if he alters the present state of his room, would he alter the intrinsic nature of it? We are disorderly waves in an infinite expanse of disorder, if there ever is an inevitability it is one in which we seek order. Everything is meant to remain in disorder. Perhaps people strive for revolutions not to create order out of disorder but survive, even if it is for a fleeting moment, in complete disorder. Perhaps this is why human minds go down in mazes of depression once it begins to think – a thinking mind is restless, a thinking mind is in the greatest disorder!
The meat knives found its way into his worktable again. The bookshelf was further ripped apart by something sharp. He lay down in the middle of all surrounding commotion, smoked hookah and began to close his eyes. Tomorrow he would try to clean his room again, in fact he was already imagining what items would go into what place.