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On MODIfying, Developing and Changing INDIA

There was a country, a country of spirited and adept men, finding itself in the path of recovery from the heavy blows of imperialistic pas...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Before the title of the post plant wrong ideas about what this post might be let me state that this is the title of short story which I wrote some time back. Remember, I referred to a short story and a contest  in my previous post? This is it.

I chose the title to be cheesy, romantic to have those elements at least in the title:P. When I heard about the contest I thought about working on this post which I thought had come out well pertaining to the genre. On second thoughts I was tempted to work on something new to test whether I could trump my previous one which was written long time ago when my approach to writing was to think of what I would do or what I would say in a given situation and leaving traces or my psyche in the story. But fiction is more than that and it demands ability to create and write on people who are nothing like you or anyone you know. In short I set out to write a truly fictional piece in all aspects.



When I finished it off and gave it a read I saw two things: there is always a certain innocence in stories I write which is completely absent here and secondly this  hardly sounded romantic. I mean it was not a light read etched with bright sides of romance but so intense, serious and a bit dark. Once during one of our intelligent conversations(:P) with one of my friends I heard him say something about loosing one's innocence as we age. I felt what he meant.

The beauty of writing is the story evolves and grows as you and me grow(trust me the one you are reading is grown up version of what I sent as naive version of the story to the contest :P and it did not do well). To be frank an interesting point, a new idea struck me as I was polishing this story yesterday to post here which I think I will use if I get a chance to rewrite this story someday for another contest or something. May be the story will grow into something more than I imagined. Let us see. Majorly, I experimented with form, structure and over all quality of text. Hope the final result is at least a fine read if not brilliant.

Finally I am posting this here since I wanted to give glimpse of what am I up to :P ( with me not blogging as much as I did in the past). This will be published here for a short while until I start to rework on this someday. The story is bit long(of about 5k words) so I am breaking it up to three separate posts. First of it is here, jump in and let me know what you think after reading.



Will you marry me?




“You are a devil…”

 “Keep your damn voice down” she whispered with a rough voiced sternness.

“… You are a killer... A fucking cold-blooded killer…You…”

Everyone heard me. All the passersby in the corridor looked at us, what was supposed to be a quarrel had turned into a spectacle.

Her eyes stared at me hard as if they wanted to burn me down to the last speck of ash with its piercing, chastising sharpness.

It had turned a lot messier between us way back, entirely because of my own faults. Now we were at each other as if it was not messy enough. 

We knew it was about to get very ugly.We also knew: neither of us will back down.

“How can you be such ... such…a heartless bitch…?” I shouted on top of my voice.

Anger: an emotion that has no sense, reasons or rationale is like an organism that is blind, deaf and stupid whose only idea, only meaning is to slaughter- slaughter the emotions, the dignity and the person on whom it is directed at.

She started throwing whatever her hands could grab: books, lunch box, the bag she had, and even the flower pot by the side, screaming abuses equally.

I was aware what this episode would do to her: it would cast light upon the things that the world sees as weakness; a vulnerability which is used to reserve and belt out judgments as it saw fit. In simple terms, it would earn her "the slut" title from the foul mouthed world. I knew but my remorseless rage that was directed at her failed to think.

How I implored her not to do that. She could have killed me than to do what she did.

How swiftly things turn right before our eyes, turn into what they should never be:  gods into demons, beliefs into despair, gifts into curses… Affectionate mothers into cold blooded killers.

Was I right in shouting at her?
I did not know…

Was she really at fault?
I did not know…

That moment I knew only one thing.
I loathed her. I loathed her more than I ever loved or would love her.

Pages were flicked, sailing past oceans of words before settling on to another random paragraph of a random chapter.

Time heals wounds, soften the scars.

My irredeemable sins should have been crucified and redeemed by some miracle. Her impulsive mistakes should have been buried and purified… 

I wished it were but it was not.

My loathing stayed the same: the loathing on me which burnt myself in the hellish fires of guilt, the loathing on her that filled me with a pure hatred. It stayed for years, not waning a speck, not growing a bit. 

Though, some days hatred runs out, fires douse themselves.The ghosts of my demised love emerge from their coffins buried in the depths of my heart.

Apparitions of past…  Agony… Rusted memories…
Silent tears…Fresh grief…A green nostalgia…

How can you love and hate at the same time? I never understood.

May be that is called love: a spilled silent drop on the walls when the crucible is dry, an ounce at the depth when the container is supposed to be empty, a tiny speck of light when the sky is dark and a remainder of the presence when the structures have been demolished.

Love: a miniscule seed of fondness amidst the heap of hate.

“You have a way with your words, don’t you? Beautiful…”

“So will you publish?” I asked.

The smile on his lips died.

“I love it personally you see… But… these sorta stories…”

“ What? Have no market?”

“Yes” he looked down.

There you go again…

Rejection: the norm of my life, the jinx of my breath crawled behind me everywhere. Perhaps real life is real life and stories are stories.

They are not to be muddled together. Ever!

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

The ever alive Chennai traffic screamed manically. My legs pained as I waited to cross the road. I felt too tired, too old being only 26. The beautiful manuscript which had no market sat silently in my bag like a kid reprimanded for playing its favorite game.

I wanted home, home sweet home, where walls of seclusion would guard me from the savage world. I looked around. Or rather spied the place, the people and everything to preserve a piece of whatever I saw; a writer at work.

 A writer…  Am I?

 “It was beautiful… But...” kept reverberating in my ears.

The “but” which was an abstract, an unknown, a black hole that surrounded the sentences of my manuscript, that haunting “but” which was my doom, which was never a concrete reason. It-is-nice, it-is-lovely, it-is-classy was all they said along with these buts, the BUTs that enlarged into but-it-is-missing-something.

Damn!

 I shoved the manuscript back in.  The stitch mark ridden bag had torn open and the manuscript had come out. The bag looked like it needed another stitching. The last thing I want is to lose the manuscript, the beautiful yet rejected manuscript.

Was it the X-factor, the USP, that “something” which never fit into words denied me my glory? 

Was it the ending? Or Should I just throw this off and start a new story, as in a proper story with proper plot?

A manuscript cannot be rejected 17 times.

Suddenly I was pulled back from the world of BUTs and SOMETHINGs as my bespectacled eyes stopped at something, something that was only an apparition of sleepless nights and clouded memories.

A pink sleeveless kurti...A familiar figure... Shades perched on the forehead.

Is that her?

Plot, the maneuvering of events building up to a specific key moment, I remembered how it is interpreted in fiction.

A kid stood holding her hand.

A war raged within me: he or maybe she would have been of this age by now had he or may be she had been allowed a life?

All the grim guilt inside me turned into red blood rage.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I went down on my knees…

My rusted imagination came up only with this:  courtesy movies and novels of our time. I tried to look romantic, not without a vain attempt to hide the soaring nerves.  I could have brought a rose or a ring, or may be an extra kerchief to wipe the sweat beads.

Stop being a sucker my mind said.

” Will you marry me?” I asked in my week long rehearsed tone as a last resort.

 The same words which she said once that had set my life in a different direction.She stood with her cold-stare unwavering, rocky temperament unperturbed. 


The single rebellious strand of hair on her forehead that always flutter in a gay spirit stood paralyzed, scared to move as if it is one of her limbs under her whim.

“I am pregnant”, She said blankly.

What she said were not words but ball of cotton puffs floating, riding on soft wind. It took its time to float through, to infiltrate the earlobes and to sink in. But once it did, they were not soft, not slow, not anymore. They became poison in the blood shooting up hurriedly through the veins to all corners.

It was no more a wish, neither a choice but a definite certainty. Marrying her simply meant undoing an old mistake, redeeming from a fresh sin.

“Then marry me...Please...” I said.

Though it was ridiculous of me, I expected a “Do you love me?” followed by a contemplative look; may be with a customary drop or two of tear.

I clearly was over ambitious. I though how else tantrums in relationships could be resolved? 

But I was wrong.


A thundering slap echoed all through the place, waking up the silence that was in deep slumber.
She had answered. The answer ricocheted long after, both in the room and on my sorry cheek.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

My mind was a muddled red of rage and guilt, just like that of the traffic light with a raging red mien. People like predators waited in restrained curio.

In an unexpected second the unrelenting red on the signal pole, its red mien, splintered into million pieces and then in seconds all the broken pieces came together, mending miraculously back into green.

The stability of life was on display: it could be something one minute and entirely another next.

The crowd moved with their eyes fixed on the green but mine stayed on her. My heart throbbed to the rhythm of her walk and reached to a crescendo as she moved towards me from the opposite side of the road. Rage, guilt and fear were fighting with each other inside me.

My green nostalgia all set to return, only this time stronger.

She came near me, my heart almost stopped.

Demonic monsoon thunders, the beats of my flimsy heart. Will it explode splintering into million pieces and shower the confetti of love and loathing on her?

An eerie silence.

And then another second she walked past. My bespectacled, long haired, bushy bearded face had done the trick. She had not recognized. But the boy… Her little son….

 He saw me and he even smiled at me. Is it fate’s way of smiling an ironic smile? He or may be she would have smiled the same kind of smile had he or may be she been alive.

The boy also said something: did he?
 Or so I felt.

I crossed the road. He did say something. 
What was it?

A…Notebook..?

Oh my god…

I turned and started to run, like a lunatic. Green had splintered back again into red on the signal pole, vehicles whizzed past on the road but I did not care, I ran looking around, searching.  The traffic sergeant screamed abuses.

There it was, thank god. I bent and took it.

A dash…  A thud… A scream… 
Time slowed down… I grew wings…
I flew in air…So did the notebook in my hand…
Faces… Lights… Colors …
He or maybe she smiled at me with her unformed or destructed face…
Distortion… Pandemonium… Utter chaos…
A mechanical hum buzzed in my head…
Lights flickered, faces bellowed, colors magnified…
Wings got clipped… I came down…
Tormenting pain…World went mute…

My cheek rested on the bare tar road, my spectacles lay broken. I felt my head to be heavy, body frozen and sanity shaken. What’s that wet under the cheek…? Sweat?

Sweat won’t be red.

A note, my manuscript, lay inches away with red splashes. Between me and my manuscript, ran a fresh tyre mark, all sinister and scary. I began to realize.

I was dying.

May be this is better; a life lived in the past, lived without future isn’t worth living. Perhaps this is a perfect ending, both to my life and to my story.

He or may be she surrounded by a halo, with face and form obscured by the bright light stood stretching both the hands as if welcoming me.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

I love you.

Language fell short, proved insufficient to let her know what I really meant. Those three words, “I love you” picked out of mundane, pronounced through monotony and heard with skepticism as mere words than orchestration of heart’s choice had left me stranded - left me stranded in the war of love without weapons, without shields, without strategies.

I love you, the longest sentence in three words.

 It takes only seconds to say but an entire lifetime to prove; the movie song was after all right. 

Though, I did not have a lifetime. I have already messed up most of it.

She loved me all those time when I did not. But when I loved her she hated me. Can’t complain, it’s my fault to start loving her the day she said she hated me.

I am a changed man, like she wanted: when I see myself in the mirror I don’t see on my face a fake flirtatious mask embroidered with all the chocolaty sweetness to trap girls. My life too is not what once it used to be: there are no more smooches in the discotheque darkness, no more unlimited boozes in the bars and no private affairs with random girls behind the obscured curtains and closed doors.

Everything stopped with her.

It‘s odd how it all started, how my fate, my destiny entangled with hers’.  It started with a bet.

To be continued.....


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