Mr. Big Box is astood in the middle of an empty room. The room is square, large and box like. There is nothing that he can do there except to stand while waiting for the owner of the box to appear. He stands there – tapping his shoes furiously on the wooden floor or scratching his body where and when it itches. He looks at his watch every now and then, and makes us feel as if not looking at the time will bring life to a standstill. He is possibly wondering if time has to do anything with a person’s arrival. Though time may make the owner of the box appear eventually – he wonders if he should give time so much leeway to reason for him, that too inside a box.

So he leaves. 

Lately, Box has been avoiding boxes of all sorts such as houses and trains when he can. But soon realises how much people like him have been depending on boxes or box-shaped artefacts. Buses and trains look like boxes and so do chocolates and biscuit boxes. He wonders if the box came first or the human mind that shaped these boxes.

So he decides to solve the riddle in a bookshop but hesitates at first – as the bookshop is in the shape of a box. He has no other choice but to enter the shop. 

So it was here in this bookshop where began Box’s discovery of boxes, and he learnt how humans evolved alongside boxes. Like us, he wonders if his current occupation has anything to do with his name being Box, or if his name influenced his current obsession with boxes. When he learns he would never get around that, he considers the thought irrelevant and continues his investigation on the origin of boxes.

But amidst the entire search, what Big Box failed to understand and overlooked the entire time is that life inside a box is dark, and incredibly so like a black hole.   

Box was living alone at that time when I first met him. I felt that I should present myself to Box because the awful dread and weariness that comes with living inside a box for too long was starting to creep inside his skin and bones. Sometimes weariness feels like an alien infection whose origins are untraceable, and spreads fast like a tropical disease.

Besides, the dynamic and relative properties of a dark hole can only be felt when there is someone other inside the box with him – to speak, to see, to feel and to touch.

Of course, I did not enter Box’s life in a haphazard manner or out of the blue – as that would have been pretty prejudicial. Everything was carefully planned out – the details of the box, where we were to meet, and what I should be wearing. This was done to carefully neutralise the situation, and so that the air inside the box will bounce off light, colours and textures when we meet.

Nothing was left to chance.

I chose to become a woman. Maybe that was the mistake but the choice was made and there was no turning back. And before I realised my mistake I had already met Mr. Box, and he wanted to meet me again.

I walked into his life as a young bohemian. I lived a little recklessly, obviously with a little pretence.

It is true that there are no boxes around me. It is true that I never see the square shape of boxes. So I never noticed that Mr. Box wore square spectacles and a square watch.

They say it is a rare diseases of the eye, but I never had them checked for some reason. Perhaps I didn’t find it necessary.

Radhika