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I’m no expert on the color palette, but I knew at first glance that this wasn’t your usual red. 

It wasn’t the lifeless red that gazed into the mirror when I stuck my tongue out, neither was it the crimson red that glazed the silver of the needle I pricked my wrist with nor was it the agonizing red that revealed itself in the I-don’t-know-which degree burns on my toes when I sprayed them with boiling water. 

Desperation reigned supreme. My throbbing toes, wounded wrists, and thirsty tongue had brought me to the untimely realization that the indigenous production of this colour is anything but possible. With the demand for this shocking shade of red so inexplicably inexhaustible and the supply so suffocatingly scant, the scarcity stared me dead in the eyes.

And yet, this was never an economic problem – no, no, this was way too complex even for a crossbred love-child of Keynes and Friedman. And yet, it was glaringly simple for your benevolent Kindergartener; he recognized it from his favourite action figure. 

The way I saw it, though, this red rendered all tomatoes and roses and Spidermen meaningless.

In the long and hard winter nights, under the golden glow from my study-lamp — the sole source of light in the room (dark and depressed aren’t usually interchangeable, but here, I’ll let you make an exception) — I sat. Reduced to a lifeless, soulless effigy that inhaled grief and exhaled gloom. Long had the hour of sanity passed. By now, it had all ceased to make sense; everything screamed in a deafening roar, which rang all-too-familiar bells. 

Marx was irrelevant, except for the shade that stared at me from behind the hammer and the sickle. My energy stimulant was a waste – the only thing which mattered was the colour of the two bulls that had promised me wings. It was as if, the G and the B in the colour filter of my eyes had suddenly vanished; everything looked the same. 

As I peered out of my window into the darkness of the moonless night, I could feel myself standing on a narrow ledge, on the brink, on the pendulum which oscillated between tranquility and anarchy. 

Nothing was out of the ordinary. This was my typical Saturday night.

A quiver down the spine. A tremor down the heart. A seizure down the soul. 

The light drew nearer. The wheels braked to a halt. The door opened. 

Red, in all its forms and manifestations. Red, the sturdy child of terror. Red, the twin brother of annihilation. Red, with its ignominious and starving captivity. Red, stamping out the malignancy in my midst. Red, in God’s good time, stepping forth with all its power and might to the rescue and the liberation of my soul.

A novelty? Not quite. 
This is as ordinary as it gets. 

Dull, Arduous, Predictable, Conventional 
does appear pretty constant.





Knowing thyself is a virtue.

Written by: Muhammad Ammar

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