Sunday, 23 March 2014

Strings

As a young boy, Danny did not have many wishes. Yes, he would occasionally cause up a riot for a bar of chocolate or throw around a tantrum or two for dinner, but he did not want a lot many things.

His father was in the Army and was never around much. Hence, little Danny did not know a lot from the eyes of a man. Without the father’s hand guiding him then, he only knew what a young boy should know and nothing much out of the ordinary.

The war was coming close to an end, or so it said in all the papers and all the frequencies. Mary-Beth was anxious of her husband’s arrival from the front- Col. Henry James Lockhart- a caring husband and absent father. Danny was now a splendid gentleman of nine, swishing about his plastic gun and calling out the troops. He accompanied his mother to the station– decorated with banners and teary wives. “Welcome Home!” said all the faces.

Life was fitting into normality– quiet days and quiet nights. Danny had come across a new fascination of flying a kite. He had never known what it was like; his father was never there to teach him.

The Colonel was relaxing on the porch with the Sunday newspaper.
“Daddy, daddy?” said Danny.
“Yes, son, what is it?” he said, reading.
“Will you teach me how to fly a kite?”
“Sure, son.”

Though at the moment, a promise was made, it was empty. The Colonel did not take any of the seriousness in the young boy’s words and eventually forgot about it, till his wife reminded him and another promise was made.

“We’ll fly a kite, Danny. Next Sunday, I promise,” said the Colonel.

Little boys know nothing and so the restlessness could not find a way to contain itself. He was getting excited as the days counted down from Monday to Thursday and Friday morning was quiet. But the chaos started that afternoon.

Radios and papers were ablaze with news about the enemy at the gates. Panic began to spread faster than the news of the arrival and men were being called up.

Danny just stood there, watching as his father ran amok in the house, trying to find where he left his cap. He just watched his father leave the house in a hurry as the day started to darken into dusk and then to a silent night.

A story about a father and his son, and how empty promises fill themselves with hurt and shards of broken relations.
Read it here: Strings

Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Lunchbox

“Twenty seven years is a long time,” she said to herself as she marked her forehead with a red bindi. The water was still dripping from her wet hair when she heard a grumble come from the bed. She could see the reflection of her husband turning in bed, and sighed.

Savita was only twenty-two when she got married. Her marriage was a dark cloud– childless and the death of her dreams. She wanted to know the ways of the world,travel,and know unknown souls. Though when she met Aravind, she bequeathed her devotion to him. His ways were harsh, and at times he would appear to be on his own. The recent years surfaced the cracks in the foundation of their marriage. Age was catching up to them, and she could sometimes take no more.

She stared at Aravind while he pushed away the breakfast and lost himself in the newspaper. The steam rising from the untouched plates and him sipping the tea were the only movements in the room.
“I will be late today,” he said as he got up to leave.

“When are you not?” she replied. He looked at her, amazed; she was not the kind to talk back.
The door slammed shut and she was alone to reflect on what had escaped her lips. If it had been years ago, she would repent. But at that moment she felt different- as if a sense of freedom had taken over her. She walked to the kitchen sink and looked out the window.

He was still standing there.

She did not know who he was, or if she had ever known him. He just stood there- at the crossroad next to the light and gazed into her window. It had been a few weeks but she had never inquired about him. A heartlost stranger for all she knew.

She would usually look away from him, paying no heed. But today she looked at him for a while, possibly a minute, before she pulled away and shut the window.

How long is long enough?

Savita is at the crossroads of her life. To choose between a loveless constraining marriage and lifelong dream to be free.

Read it here: The Lunchbox

Monday, 18 November 2013

Endings

Remember the last time we were here?

I was overlooking the river, the gray clouds reflecting on its surface. The cold wintry chill made it seem exactly how it was on that day. I woke up today with a strange sense of energy compelling me to walk past those places where he and I once were. Not in concrete times, but flawed moments that I would go on to remember forever, even if they were just moments in time.

You wore your ill-fitting white shirt, and it was the only day I did not ask you to fix your tie. I let it hang loose on you, watching you walk past with my thoughts in your mind. 

Remember the noise in the corridors? The crowd in the room? And the clock exactly at nine-twenty? And how it all seemed to revolve around you and me, without ever actually affecting our own broken conversations?

I then drove to our old school football field. The lush greens were now a dead brown decay, the bleachers a crumbling mess and our tiny little spot still in existence. I walked across the field, the dust kicking up with every step, and to our place where I sat down.

Remember when we were here? The day was almost ending. I sat next to you, while you said you’d miss me for the next six days. Later I’d tell you that I battled the urge to kiss you, and you’d try to turn away and hide your inevitable smile. It was a beautiful day. And watching myself walk away from you was a memory I knew would always remain.

The high-school had now been shut for years. So I was basically trespassing, but I hardly cared. Because it seemed at the time, just a thing I had to do. Being there was, in essence, the same. Same feelings, same place. Just parallel existences.

The hurt. And the memories. Exemplified.

Read it here: Endings

Friday, 15 November 2013

Remember This

“One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.”

The noise in my head was deafening. It was like a static white noise that would just not quit. I could swear that I’d live with it, only that I could remember myself promising myself to break this.

I was walking to work when my eyes caught a bunch of white chrysanthemums. I really wished I didn’t have, but my mind was soon filled with the memories of my mother’s funeral.

It was 12th August, 1995. It was a rainy Saturday and the band was playing incorrectly a rendition of Beethoven’s ninth. The third violinist from the left was a note too low all the while. I could still recall the scent of the embalming emanating from the casket. My mother still wore her pearls, and the forty-six guests noticed that too. The priest started the note with an extract from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2:  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. 

The bitter aftertaste of peppermint still persisted in my mouth, cumbered by my uneasy tongue. Uncle Wainwright sat six chairs to my left, and wept unabashedly. I remember him whisper goodbye into my ear, the whiskey clearly noticeable in his breath, before he drove back home, where he died exactly nine weeks and six days later, on 20th of October.

I had now reached the qualms of reality, trying ever so hard to decide whether at that moment, as I stared into my office building, was the past or the present. If man had problems in life, mine was a perpetual one. I had the ability to recall everything since I was eight. Doctors call it names; people God’s gift. And I could only call it noise.

Tom remembers everything and every day of his life since he was eight. He suffers from hyperthymesia, a disease that creates unforgettable memories of one's life. And then he saw Beth. So began his fight with himself and his own disease: the only that holds him back from creating stories of hurt that he'll never forget.
So will he or won't he?

Read it here: Remember This

Monday, 4 November 2013

Sunset

I was staring into nothing.

The breeze kissed my face and I felt at peace. I was far away from home and I felt at peace, finally. The chaos at home was driving me insane, and I could not recall any day I did not feel frustrated and angry. Her behaviour was erratic and at times, it was as if I did not even know who she was anymore. She would get angry, throw things at me, cry and then hide in a corner. Some days she would speak things I did not know she had the knowledge of. But I finally know that I don’t know who she is. I thought she was the woman I loved, but maybe I was just dreaming things.

It all started a few months ago, when I was piled underneath work that I began to feel the distances between us widen themselves. We stopped talking about our feelings, and our marriage began to fall through the cracks within our own lives. And the fights and arguments, and the feelings of loneliness blended themselves into our everyday. All communication between us dissolved and there were days when I only saw myself leaving.

Sometimes I sat in my car as I drove in, just so I could prepare myself for what was to come. I was afraid I might say something to hurt her and cause her more pain, because I would never know what she felt within. I could sometimes hear the thump of my anxious heart as I sat in the silent garage, mustering courage to step inside our house.

I entered the house, tired.

The house looked tragic, with everything lying here and there. The floor was a mess, just like the kitchen and the rest of the house. Even as I walked across the hall, my feet hit things on the ground. I started to pick up one by one. I resisted the urge to go into the bedroom, knowing very well that I might be greeted with a chair to my face.

I was clearing up the last of the living room mess when I came across a piece of paper. It read:
‘Oh Lord, I think I am falling in love with him! Carl is such a great guy!'

I was confused what it might have meant. But then again, I knew nothing nowadays.

What do you do when you wake up and realize that things changed before your eyes and you don't even know how? Sunset is a story that brings the protagonist to life to a world where the woman he loves is not her anymore. A different story than one you might've read somewhere.
Read the whole thing here: Sunset