In the real world, losing touch with people happens naturally and effortlessly, but on Facebook, unfriending is reserved only for breakups and acts of malice. So, the ghosts floating through my News Feed vastly outnumber the friends I’ve kept. My Friends list went from a roster of my current friends to a collection of everyone I’ve met in the last 10 years — a social group too massive to feel urgent, and too broad to share with on a daily basis. Facebook is broken for its earliest users, and perhaps soon, for many of its new ones as well.
Been working on this piece for ages. Really happy to finally put it out there
Jigar Moradabadi reciting his ghazal.
Mondays with Kafka
To: All Staff
Subject: My printer
Something fairly odd has happened. My printer’s toner (which usually lasts at least a month under normal printing frequency) was mysteriously depleted over the weekend. I’d rather not to get into it, but this was a very strange weekend for me. Let’s just say I’m a little “bugged” out, and not particularly in a chirpy mood.
Last Friday, I put in a new toner cartridge, and this morning it seems that it’s completely empty. At first, given the absurdity of such a notion, I erroneously concluded that something was wrong with the toner sensor, and that the printer was simply confused. I’ve been told that I have a way of anthropomorphizing machinery, but I could hear the gurgling soul within.
Anyway, I brought in a technician from Opt Inc. who specializes in HP printers. Having thoroughly inspected the printer, he concluded that nothing was wrong with the toner sensor, and that the toner cartridge was indeed empty. When confronted with vows of disbelief, he said, “Shit happens.” He then noted that, in this world, irrational does not mean impossible. I smell an aphorism.
To call this a moral issue and make implications of one’s conscience is absolutely absurd. We are all kind people. This is about getting at the truth—to find out what happened. If this is another one of your office gags, it’s not funny. The castle you guys made in the break room, while structurally impressive, was just mean. Also, a huge waste of paper.
I understand that this missive may be read as yet another example of the so-called “grim” disposition you attribute to me. I understand that my chronic pallor continues to create tension between myself and the rest of this company. However, I see my quiet repose as a welcome alternative to challenging each one of you to a wrestling match. I have eight arms (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Listen, my printer is exactly that—my printer. See the label. It says “Franz Kafka’s personal printer.” If you absolutely must print a poem for your lady friend, go ahead. People like to get laid—I get it. I don’t want anybody walking on eggshells here. Just try to observe that every piece of paper costs money, and black toner powder does not grow on trees. It’s mined from deep within the earth, in dark places you cannot imagine.
P.S. I want my mug back, too.
“Who’s there?” Alois asked again, more insistently.
And so it went for years. It wasn’t until his deathbed Alois realized he was on the outside of the door.
Kafka’s Joke Book
- At a river side at Peren district, Nagaland
I have left my soul with the flowing river.
Soulless, i return to play my roles;
Role of the obedient student, Role of a responsible son
Role of a reluctant professional, a fake one perhaps
Once i’m done with the roles and am off stage,
I shall return to seek my soul
In the rivers, the sea shores, the mountains,
the valleys, the fields, the lakes
and among the people who had all nourished it.
And once i find it, i would look for the people who helped me find it
I shall sit down with them and listen to them
I shall laugh with them and cry to them
And i shall become one with them and live with them
And perhaps, fight with them.