The City Of Dreams

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Purple haze, all in my brain
Lately things they don’t seem the same

Jesse slowly opened his eyes. After trying and failing to fall asleep again, he shrugged off the covers and got off the bed. He made his way to his verandah. Jesse began rummaging around his pockets for a cigarette and a lighter, so that he could have his customary morning smoke. He took a puff and began to look down at the zigzag streets below. He looked on as all the little roads crisscrossed, right towards the grandest city of them all, the “city of dreams”.

The city of dreams was exactly what it sounded like. It was the most majestic city of them all. However a certain rule, a certain order applied to it. The city belonged only to those who had achieved great success and stardom — to the elite. It belonged to the people who had captured their dreams completely and risen up to the pillar of success.

That was one of the two ways to get access into the city. The other way was through tickets, which were sold at ridiculously high prices. Jesse had always wanted to get into the city. Not by the tickets though, Jesse wanted the grand entry, by becoming a star.

Jesse wanted to be a rockstar, just like his idol — Jimi Hendrix. Like Hendrix, he too played the guitar. That was probably their only similarity. Jesse didn’t get much success with his playing though. He played some local gigs from time to time, but that was about it. He had sent some demo tapes to the recording studio, but to no avail. They were all sent back. The opinions on them went from being mediocre to just plain awful by the recording studios. Still Jesse did not give up, he kept on trying.

This morning, he was supposed to start working on a newer, better tape. It was supposed to have new stuff, he was gonna incorporate Jimi Hendrix’s famous ‘wa wa’ paddle technique into his songs. However, as he stood on the verandah his mind drifted elsewhere. He began to think about the fabled city, the city of dreams.

He had heard stories about the city, lots and lots of them. The city had the best artists and musicians. He had heard about the magnificent paintings and the amazing music in the city. During the day it was a carnival of talent and celebration. At night the fireworks lit up the sky. The spectacular sights could be seen from many miles away.

Despite desperately wanting to go there, Jesse also despised the city. It was specialized, limited. The city had a narrow meaning of success and triumph. Just accomplishing your dream, was that enough for success? What of the people like Jesse, those who kept trying and trying despite failing time after time? Did that not simply matter? Did the effort and determination not matter? Jesse could see signs of this struggle all around him.

As he looked around, he could see more signs of such turbulence. He saw Jane, a single mother of two. She had always wanted to be a writer. Life’s cruelty did not give her many opportunities, but she still went around running with her manuscripts even after being rejected many times. He saw Robin, the artist whose works were never sold. Still he went on painting. He even wondered if that was what art was supposed to be measured by — how many people liked it and not how it made people feel. He could see Rose. She wanted to be a TV reporter, but she got no luck. Like the others though, she plowed on.  

That was the sad part. History, mankind call it what you will, would forget these people. They would be neglected, compared to the radiance radiated by the so called “stars”. Behind every success, there were a hundred or so failures. Behind every Jimi Hendrix were a few hundred people just trying to play guitar. However nobody knew or cared about them.

Jesse could understand their pain, himself being one of them. He thought it was wrong for this to happen. However that didn’t change his ambition of getting into the city. He wanted to taste success, lick it thoroughly. Nobody liked being forgotten, nobody liked to be termed as a failure. As Jesse continued smoking, he thought to himself, “I will get into the city, I will, someday”.  

You got me blowing, blowing my mind
Is it tomorrow or just the end of time?

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Anannya loves to read books and will not stop reading till he finishes the entire story. Is a passionate lover of music and absolutely adores the Beatles. Has a sweet tooth and will do anything for chocolate, especially if it’s chocolate cake. When not doing any of these or wasting time by procrastinating, likes to spend his time sleeping and playing football.

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