The Slippery Slope

Image credit: Vladstudio

A marble drops on the slate of mind and clatters to silence.  It is the lone rattle in the void of ages. I freeze to attention and hold my breath to stop it rolling off the precipice.

But it is late in the evening and I have to hurry home. Carefully, with the pearl hanging tenuously to the cliff of the memory. Feet rush with a purpose, possessed.  I am aware of its value, I am aware I may lose it to the gaping abyss where a zillion have vanished before.

The local trains of the metropolis are the grist mill to human vermicelli.  Nudged, kicked, stunned, compressed and stretched into impossible poses, the idea takes leave with the urgency of steam from a pressure cooker. You know your myopia is in golden form when looking up your fellow traveller’s nostrils you can count the hair in situ. Doused, delirious and drowsy, it is the evening procession. A metallic chime announces the incoming stations.

A giant emerges from hibernation close by to redistribute his mass. I think of the expensive shoes whose installments are yet to be paid. Maybe I should carry them in my bag.  A poodle lets out a bizarre whine from the flank of my trousers. Pilgrims glare at me in bemusement. It’s the ringtone of my beloved bugbear at workplace. I work my palm through the forest of bellies and insert it into what is hopefully my own pocket and recover the phone. By now the dregs are a gas settled in my bowels.

It’s been dark since long, both within and without. I ingest the tenth cup of mocha in vicious slurps.  My eyes are swollen.  They refuse to stay at glowing rectangles of all kinds. The thoughts move in butterfly strokes but the muse is broke. Inspiration stays grounded like an airline gone bust.

I power off the tablet and slip into the bed. Sleep is a bird with broken wings. I flip-flop and creep and weep. I pick up a volume of Stephen King. It doesn’t shine, doesn’t start a fire, it is a dead zone.

A mosquito wails and bothers. A memory wanes and smothers. Night fizzles into light. It is the slippery slope of ideas.


  1. Splendid expression as usual Uma. It is a kind of writing that I too try at times but can’t claim a success as stupendous as this. I am struck by the commotion and the never easing tension of all that is urbane and so to say necessary in this age. “To be respectably tired” at the end of all evenings is what constitutes a successful career today. What ones makes of it, however, is a very very different story!
    Secondly, the realm of ideas, fortunately, thrives independent of everyday chores and tribulations. Rather than ‘work hard and party harder’ the motto should have been ‘work hard, party harder and think the hardest’. The post modern condition allows the coexistence and flourishing of values and skills of the most contradictory kinds. Congratulations on keeping a streak so fiercely alive in the forest of distractions!

    1. Hey, it’s just an outpouring of a tired soul! Thanks for that analysis though. Wish I weren’t so “respectably tired” by my career. Thanks again for the encouragement.

  2. Brilliant! Your work is so refreshingly different! Its almost like very word has been carefully screened to decorate this article. And yes, the irritating phenomenon of an Idea slipping down the abyss is far too agonizing to digest! Especially when the thought comes to you at an absolutely outrageous moment (er… like on the pot!)

    1. Many thanks for the lovely compliment, Sajan! It is a solace to learn we are joined by the affliction. And it is rather the evanescence of the sparks rather than the atrociousness of the moments that bug us.

    1. Ha ha ha! The trouble with vacations and whisky is that they fizzle out soon and often reward you with hangovers! I love the suggestion though. 🙂

  3. hahaha, enjoyed reading those funny anecdotes even though i haven’t understood the theme of the post :D. it takes 5 – 6 reading for me to understand your posts anyway :D.

    anyway, i wanted to read something nice (for a change), so, thank you so much for writing this post!! as far as your writing is concerned, well, you are beyond all praises.

    all my e-mail ids are linked to gravatar and i have to log into my abandoned wordpress blog to comment on your posts 😀

    1. Thank you for the compliment and the swipe, Deb! Of course you understand it is a lament for the fleetingness of ‘ideas’, say as in Harper Collins! 😀 Glad you like it.

      As for Gravatar, it is a mechanism to ensure no one fakes a comment in your name. God knows, there are enough detractors out there! 😛

  4. You are a master wordsmith…..beautiful poetic prose with incredible depth. Surprising how the chaotic boring stuff becomes vivid and lively when it comes from your pen.

  5. A finesse in imagination and a superb way of reproducing a beautiful picture in form of words ! A simple yet important thought process is projected as the most magnificent one! splendid work!

  6. That was indeed a humorous post expressing the ordeal of sustaining an idea through the grinds of daily life for a working professional in your usual eclectic prose. Wish we had the luxury of a patron who just lets us sit at a cafe all day and cogitate over ideas to create art.

    1. Glad you liked it, TF. Thanks a ton! The daily grind is taxing the mind big-time, not to speak of the body. Patrons, cafe, writing all day…. How we wish!!

  7. Very Interesting, I felt like I was on a slippery slope of comprehension.. trying to understand the blog. All through I felt i was struggling to hold on, trying to understand, then when I just managed to claw back up the slope, i’d hit another bump and then it was back down the slipper slope again 🙂 ..

    Dont worry.. I think I’ll eventually claw back up again 🙂

    1. Also if you do want to look me (mockingitbird) up


      My apologies.. I am still trying to claw up the technical slipper slope of the blogging world

  8. As a matter of principle I always like what I don’t understand. Someday it will give me strength to reach this level.

  9. Each line seems inevitable in this post ! So evocative and poetic . Words might dampen my praises if i say it aloud . keep writing ! 🙂

  10. Yes, ideas. It has happened so many times that just before I fell off the edge of conciousness while travelling, a brilliant idea hits my head. And then it is lost when I wake up. I am sure my brain has stored it somewhere, but like the ring of the dark lord, the brain will take its own sweet time to reveal it.
    Beautifully written.

  11. Every word you use is pearl, and the way you string it together makes a poem out of a prose. I really have to read you posts many times to absorb its full beauty! brain’s hide and seek games are bothersome at times. why it is not under our command…

  12. It is poetry disguised in prose. In few words you have expressed existentialism with superb ease, comfort and command.
    Your words, images, humor and narration are par-excellence.
    This piece is amazing.

  13. Hi USP,

    What a wonderful way to express even simple activities of one’s life, including going to bed.
    So, is it true, that Banking turns one into a poet or are there hues to this shade?

    Lovely post.



    1. Thanks, Jay! Experiences may vary but banking is not conducive to poetic dispositions. It is a dreary job that is barely keeping me alive. 😡

  14. Existential outpourings of the reality of life in a metropolis, expressed with original figures of speech.WOW!

  15. So poetic. Beautiful imagery. It is this way paint these pictures that is your USP, USP. Just how many people can express disappointment so elegantly!

  16. I’m struggling to find ‘smart’ words to comment and say something that hasn’t already been said. But I’m not going to try to hard – I’ll settle for ‘fantastic’! 🙂

    1. Smartest words are the easiest to come! I have rarely written well by struggling. Believe me, that is a ‘fantastic’ comment! 🙂 Many thanks to you!

  17. Uma, this post seemed almost like a piece of automatic writing, surrealist-style. The frenetic outpouring of wild and feverish words compatible with your frantic state of mind.

  18. Haha,
    What is the sound of one marble clattering?
    You’re good @ this US. You talk about imagery. You have it! You prompt the imagination; cajoling the reader over that edge. I like that style.
    Some of my favourites?
    `I freeze to attention and hold my breath to stop it rolling off the precipice.’
    `A poodle lets out a bizarre whine from the flank of my trousers. Pilgrims glare at me in bemusement.’
    `A mosquito wails and bothers. A memory wanes and smothers. Night fizzles into light. It is the slippery slope of ideas.’

    It’s a situation I’ve often been in many times – A great idea lost to eternity.
    But you put it so much better.
    Cheers, ic

    1. Ian, I love your writing! If someone like you can relate to this post, I am in enviable company.

      I am on cloud nine for impressing you with so many lines! But I am sure you can stun at the drop of a hat.

      A million thanks to you! 😀

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