Thursday, 27 June 2013

Lifeboat

“How has she been?”
“I honestly don’t know. I never know nowadays.”
I smiled to my sister-in-law. We have had a lot of visits in the past few weeks, mostly ineffectual. They would come and say sweet-nothings; I really hated those visits.


“Life is funny, you know. It’s all fun and games till you find yourself standing in the corner of the room, alone in the dark with a weight on your chest. It’s like crying profusely, and not knowing why.”

Words of wisdom, you might say, or just cheap philosophy. But to me, those were the words which made me realize that I wasn’t really living my life. And two months later, I was chasing down boutiques, trying to find a stone the size of her fist. She was the most amazing person I’d ever met. Full of life and loves, amazingly illusionary and such optimism on the surface.

Bright intelligent eyes, perfect arch of a smile but a soul of melancholy blue.

Loss is one of the most common themes in my stories. Somone always dies, or somebody always leaves. Something like that. But what if you are breathing, yet still dead inside? Being physically present doesn't always mean being there.

This story is about a man, supporting his wife and his baby. Too simple? I won't say anymore.

Read it here: Lifeboat

The Accident

X

The shop wasn’t half as full as the previous, yet I knew I could not stand another second at its doorway. My heart was palpitating but I really needed that cigarette. I took a step inside the shop when I heard the sound of the crash.

Everyone was running out towards the road. Two mangled cars were setting off smoke and shrieked onlookers were too stunned to do anything.

“Move aside, I know CPR,” said someone in the distance.

While everyone rushed towards the accident, I was standing still. I was petrified, actually. My anthrophobia prevented me from taking another step. I wanted to, I wanted to help. But my feet would not move.

Y

“You can take this too. It is just the same as the previous one, honey,” I said to my wife. She and I were out on a shopping spree after my I ‘wronged’ my wife in an argument. She and I were always on the edge these days. Just making each day pass itself, without doing much. We were falling out of love, maybe. And I was too tired to try.

“It is not as nice as the one before. Or the one before that was better? Dear, what about this?” she asked me; I was too distracted.

Suddenly, I heard a screech of brakes and a crash.

I was dashing across the street, towards the victim. I pulled him out- his face was charred.

“Move aside, I know CPR,” said someone and pushed me aside.

“But what about the other car?” I yelled to the guy; he wasn’t listening. I ran towards the other end, looking at the mangled mess of metal. The smoke was thick but I saw through a hand. I pulled at it and I felt it squeeze my hand.

“I need some help here!” I yelled.

Z

I guess this was it. My life, just over. For all I know, I can say that I saw this coming. It wasn’t just waking up one night realizing that my life right now wasn’t just a dress rehearsal for something bigger. I knew it all along. Whatever I’d done did not matter, whatever I was going to won’t ever. I wasn’t going anywhere and I guess my depression could swallow me whole.

I felt the breeze as I sat on the bridge. This was it.

I had attempted suicide before and as you know it, I failed. A blade, pills, bathtub. But now I was really sad. Because I was a failure even at dying. So this was it; to end it all.

I took a deep breath. And then I heard a violent crash.

I turned around and I saw an accident take place. Without knowing what came over me, I started to run towards it.

There were bystanders and I was one of them. Two men were working on both sides, and I was standing with nothing to do. And then I noticed something strange. I, somehow beyond the wreckage, could recognize the pearl gray paint of the car. It was familiar. Horrified for what was to come, I slowly crept across the crowd towards the car, searching. Searching for a snowglobe on the dashboard, with hope that I don’t find it.

Closer, closer.

I saw a face. I screamed.

This story follows multiple narratives.It revolves around three characters- X, Y, and Z, and what they feel as they are brought together by an accident.

Three people, three emotions– triumph, experience, and loss.

Read it here:The Accident

Falling Short

Could you at least pretend to feel my pain?

Her thoughts pranced upon my hazy inebriated mind. The last glass of scotch went down difficultly but it did, warming up the rest of my cold body. It was raining outside, going on like some endless September nonsense. Nonsense! I hated the rains. I did ,I guess. I hailed the bartender to pour me another, and he just smirked his face and poured down some more in my glass.

“You should definitely slow down,” said a woman from across the bar.
I turned to look at her in the dim light; she was a beautiful woman or so my drunken eyes said. She was dressed in a sultry orange: who even wears orange? I thought. She walked from the distance between the two of us in the most obsessive way– obsessive meaning that I had too much attention on her.


“What is that you’ve been drinking? Seems to be some good stuff,” she said, taking the seat next to me.
“Hmm,” I grunted; I had nothing to say.
“How long have you been here? You are sulking onto the chair,” she said.
“A woman of questions aren’t you?” I asked, “My wife sent you?”
She was not the least bit stirred by the word ‘wife’, the intense emotion of her eyes maintained their helm on me.
“I hope not,” she said and smiled.


I was driven towards her by some vague desire to lurch onto something. I know my wife was somewhere now, in some hospital, giving birth to my child, but I just could not bring myself to care. I guess I was afraid or just devoid of any emotion.

This story was inspired by a John Mayer song, which just me laugh myself stupid.

A drunken man, married, in a bar with a beautiful woman. His wife is somewhere, having his child. There is this beautiful woman, buying him a drink. Will he realize what marriage means to him before too late?

Read it here: Falling Short

The Art Of Dying

“Please take unto you, your child. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

The casket lowered into the ground, the crowd dissipated and the crying faces turned away.

“Father John, thank you for a wonderful service,” the crying wife said to me. I blessed her and prayed for her strength.

I had been working as a priest for more than two and a half decades. In all those times I had faced many a situation of sadness and grief. I never thought of acting as a minister in weddings– a fact I was yet to find an answer to myself.

It was the third funeral service I was performing that week and I was not surprised. Death was everywhere, and it was inevitable. God was always calling upon people– at the end of their time. Not an end, but the beginning of another adventure. The dark, mysterious, sneak-upon, the dreadful– I was witness to it. It was my duty to pass them on, safely to the other side.

This story is about penance and the ways things turn out later in life. You may never know what you say now will affect someone else in the future. You may never know that what you do to somone now will make you feel later. You never know.

A priest is called for a funeral. He thinks it is just another day, another blessing. But he never knew who he might be encountering.

Read it here: The Art Of Dying

Some Magic

The water was inviting. The noise still echoed in his ears; no, they were still arguing.

He shut his ears and focused on the patter of the rain and tried to ignore all that was happening. He wondered what made it pour so heavily.

Maybe the sky was laughing too hard.

He remembered the time his mother tickled him to the extent that tears started to pour and soon the fun turned to pain, which the mother didn’t realize.

The thought of paper boats and splashy puddles bubbled up more excitement in him. His little body began to shake like the fizz in a soft drink bottle. A smile lit his face. His breath fogged the glass; he was yearning too much. Too much, too hard.

The door was right there, staring at him, tempting him to break free of the bonds that held him in his solitary room.

Mother will be mad.

But the desire was a little too strong. He took his steps and advanced to the hall. The door was only a step or two away. Exhilaration palpitated his senses and the uncertainty of the adventure awaited him. The moment had come.

A door opened.

This is the first short story I'd ever written. I was amazed at the fact that I could. And this was the very beginning.

It is about a boy and his will to feel the rain pouring outside. He is constantly challenged by the obstacles in his way. But in the end, it is not just the rain he encounters but truths and life itself.

Read it here: Some Magic

The Patient

I have worked all my life in this business, and I won’t go ahead and tell you that none of it mattered to me– that would just make me seem like some emotionless cutter. But yes, none of it ever mattered to me. I never let any of it get to me– the pain, the horror, the stories and their aftermath.

It’s as though it was the years of silence that has made me callous. The usual nodding, pretentious eyes and handing over the box of tissues were good enough to those who came to me. I could pretend to be someone who gave a damn about their sob stories, but frankly, they came to me. They came to me to undo what they did, or set them free from the guilt train. I charged a fee and they asked me to clean up their mess.

Housekeeping for the guilty.

Twenty three years in this business, of cutting up the unborn and making unsure mothers happy, I can tell you, that this is not just an easy way out. I was finally retiring from the cumbersome routine of taking and giving lives. It was my last day at work and I could hardly get excited about the gap that was about to come.

This story is about an abortion doctor who is about to retire and the story he is bound to share forever. He never cares about his patients or the stories behind their choices. But this time, he listens. He listens to his last patient and feels in ways he never thought he could.

Read it here: The Patient

The Fix

I could not possibly describe the feeling of freedom. The air felt fresher and the colours seemed more vivid. There was nothing left to do– no orderlies, no lists, no chanting, no more useless therapy. No more of saying ‘positivity’ so many times it stops making sense. I was out and free. And I knew where to go.

“Meet me at my place in twenty, and bring your best stuff,” I said and cut the line. I had called up my buddies to tell them of the news that I was out and was in dire need to celebrate. Celebrate, if you know what I mean.

All the time that I had been ‘myself’ I knew one thing. It didn’t matter what your drug of choice is– cocaine, ex, glue, codeine, bitter alcohol– all that mattered was how hard you could try to get that one little fix in time. One hit to make sure you were still who you were, and how much you could push to get to the point.

This is a story about an addict and the choice she has to make in the end. An end, a beginning. The beginning of her end, the end of the past?

Read it here: The Fix

Clarity

The clock strikes five and people being to leave. She looks at him from her desk, hoping he turns around to see her. Or she could say, notice her. They barely talked to each other in the past two weeks. She was very busy and he was away and both of them were somewhere, in the back of their minds, hoping that either of them could begin talking. In other words, let down the pride.

She saw him look at her, with some woeful glance for a second longer than he usually would, and left.

It was becoming harder by the minute to breathe. They were feeding off each other like parasites. Because somewhere, after a year and a half, it become a chore. At least for him, it becomes a chore. Or so she felt. And she could never have known, because in some weird twisted way, they thought communication could do more harm than good to them. She could feel the distances growing by the days and instead of trying to swim to the shore, they were only trying to find more sea to fill between them.

Just a story about heartbreak and how much being right on time really matters.

Read it here: Clarity

The Park Bench

I thought for a while and realised that I was going to get nowhere. I went away, assuring the man I would be back. I decided to take a walk. I would not be meeting with my wife for another hour or so. Today was special. It was our three-year anniversary, and I was knee-deep in useless ideas to please her. I always tried to hard, or a tad too less. But she always smiled. She laughed at my craziness and obsession with being perfect.

I smiled to myself. The walk took me to the park where I frequently found myself fascinating about life. That I would be happy someday, with a few children of my own, running around playing fetch with the family dog. And then I noticed an old couple. Cute as they were, I was jealous of them. They sat there, holding hands and laughing. I formed an image in my mind– they were here like everyday. Their children were now married and there were grandchildren on the way. They would go home and she would make him a cup of tea; he’d spill it and she would yell. And then he would tell her he was sorry and they would make up. That was their life– simple and cherished. They’ve lived their lives, together.

It's funny how things in life turn out. Even funnier than that is the fact that you find yourself still standing at the door long after she has asked you to 'get lost'. The point is, you don't know how long you were in for. How long you are going to wait. How long 'a bit' really means. How much you are willing to stay a second more and see what really lies behind the smoke.

And how much 'nothing' really means to you.

This story is about a man and his wife, as the latter is in another place. A story about eternal love, and stuff.

Read it here: The Park Bench

Drown

It was a pleasant day in June when people gathered around. It was a day meant to be enjoyed, thoroughly taken in, but despite, everyone gathered around.

There were hushed cries and muffled whispers. Some were pitying, some were emotionless. I silthered into the crowd, past the people to see for myself. They gathered around the corpse of a man unknown to anyone. In the crowd of twenty-six, none knew who this man was.

I looked at the person carefully– my eyes scanning his face, trying to match it with someone I might have known but I came up with nothing. I just stood there, a sundry body amongst many, thinking where he’d come from. I heard someone say he was pushed off the bridge. Others say he jumped off himself. The latter being for real. I just stood there, waiting for someone official to come. I wondered why no one was checking for breath or life. Maybe someone already did, I thought.

This story is about an unnamed man who took his own life. Whenever you might come across an event like this-- just a man, or just a woman, or just a stranger-- you won't ever know what you will hear. You might as well just walk away before anything happens. Because you don't know him, you don't know her either. Just some poor loser, right? But wait a second and see, he and you won't be as different as you think.

Read it here: Drown

Six Years Woven

His heart is beating fast.

Very fast.

There is chaos just about everywhere and nothing makes sense at all. He feels a hum and he stops. He puts his pen down and looks from his cubicle.

Nothing.

Business as usual.

He picks up his pen and starts to write again.

One of my first works that I wrote in present tense. It is about the things that are left behind even as some ties crumble, break and tear away. Like a pen, or a button. Or the scent of her hair and the touch of his skin. It's those that matter, it's those that linger.

Read it here: Six Years Woven

Red Sky

She shook her head and wanted me to mind my own business but in some sort of way, she wanted me to help her. She could not have been more than six years old and I was afraid she had lost her way.

“Are you lost? What is your name?” I asked and she didn’t answer.

She turned away and looked at the sky as if she had found what she was looking for. She started to follow it and I began to follow her. She was focused on a balloon that was floating in the wind. It wasn’t floating on its own but was being blown away by the force of the wind.

This is a story about a man and a young girl he tries to rescue one sundry day. How could he have known its the simple things that mar us for life?

Read it here: Red Sky

A Woman

Open, closed
Chained rather than step a foot outside the threshold
No, you shall not
You shall not speak, nor drink
The same water as the rest
You shall not take a step into the real
World, for it is ours and you are to blame
For all the deeds and all the scars you must bear


Mother, mother
You were once called as that
Limping and giggling, holding your the scarves of your strength
We learnt to walk, only to trample
On the grass you want to walk on


English poetry about life of a woman. Read it here: A Woman