The first explosion had knocked out the power lines and as the sun went down, the waters lines were down as well, and evening found Anindya sitting at his desk at home, in complete darkness, with a tea-bag popped in his mouth, pondering deeply, “What would be the best animal to be?”
Sure, a horse was probably the best animal, and a dragon more so. Who wouldn’t want to come back as a dragon, or even a horse after all? A majestic panther? But Anindya knew he had to be more realistic. So he asked himself again, what would be, realistically, the best animal to be? And as he narrowed down further on the question, he asked himself, what is the true Anindya-animal?
A boar’s ejaculations last over five minutes and he found that a very attractive feature about being a boar. But would it really be a good idea to come back as a boar? What if boar-Anindya faced the same issues faced by human-Anindya? What if he could not find a mate? A boar did not have hands. Without a mate or a hand, the five-minute ejaculations would become completely pointless. He would just be running around the forest, goring trees with his tusks. That would not do.
What was then, the true Anindya-animal?
He liked bonobos. They had hands. Even opposable thumbs. Their societies were polygamous. And they did not discriminate based on gender. That was attractive to Anindya. He would enjoy the options. He could certainly live with that.
He spit the tea-bag out of his mouth and popped in another one, took a sip of milk. He was now out of milk and tea-bags.
Were there any downsides to being a bonobo? None that he could think of. Sure, the diet was a bit of a bummer. Eating roots and fruits and insects, but how many animals really got to enjoy filet mignons and rump roasts out in the wild? Anindya had no desires to come back as a predator of the Serengeti. Foraging was way better than sprinting for food. And so, why not a bonobo?
Or maybe, he should think outside the box?
The heat inside his room was suffocating. He took his shirt off and sat naked in the dark. The pant had come off some time ago. Outside the box, eh?
How about a clownfish? He had always found clownfishes and their sequential hermaphroditism fascinating. Sometimes you are a male. Sometimes you are a female. Sometimes, maybe you are both? Why not? A clownfish would be a nice animal to spend his next life as. It would practically be two-lives-in-one sort of a deal. And if male-clownfish-Anindya could find no mates, he could just up and become a female-clownfish-Anindya and the problem would solve itself. The thought itself was enticing. Even engorging.
The heat, his sweats, the darkness, and his thoughts. His breathe was hard.
“But are any of these the true Anindya-animal? Or just wishful thinking on my part?” he worried.
What if he came back as a mite? What if, he came back as a red velvet mite? Spending a lifetime secreting his goop just about everywhere and then partaking in ritual dance around these sites of his great shame? How could he spend a lifetime like that?
He did not know, and it was irritating. What really was the true Anindya-animal?
The darkness was not conducive to cleaning up the goop. He turned away. A female-clownfish. That is what he wanted to be. But he would find out what he was going to get soon enough. Just because the windows were shut did not mean he had forgotten what was going on outside.
“As long as I am not human-Anindya again,” he thought, “it will be ok. I am tired of being human-Anindya.”
The tea-bag had lost all its taste and was a moist husk in his mouth.