Archive for the ‘Short Story’ Category

Flash Fiction: The Breakup

It was a hot summer afternoon in a crowded parking lot. Sitting in a car, sweating profusely, we broke-up. Rather, apt to say, she broke up with me, saying it was in my best interests, a fact I could neither convince nor reconcile with myself.

She was one of the best singers in college. In fact, she had represented the college in many inter-collegiate and national competitions. At first, I was in love with her voice. As I came to be introduced to her, know her and got close to her, I fell in love with her. Fortunately or unfortunately, she too fell in love with me in due course of time. Two wonderful years had passed, until recently, when cracks began to appear and the spark that once was, was doused to ash. The beginning of the end is such a cliché!

We sat in the car, holding hands, cold sweat trickling down the forehead to the chin like a little stream, only for the sounds of our breath, the little whispers of life, to break the silence. As I looked into her starry eyes, tears dancing within them reluctant to join the sweat, I saw for the first time a clueless and frightened set of eyes in what used to be a calm and confident set. What do elders always say – ah, yes – you always see your reflection in others – how apt!

As the initial blur of the break-up passed within the car, I noticed that the color of the walls housing the parking lot was not beige, but yellow. There were other cars in the parking lot, from Benz to Maruti, children playing in the parking lot with the multi-colored hoops that were the latest fad in the market, and people going past our car with their own thoughts and reflections of the life gone by. Details I would never have observed nor reflected on if I was lost in her eyes and hear her sing and listen to her constant chitter-chatter as was the case for the last two years. With her hand held tightly in my grip, tears finally rolling down, I moved to my right to kiss her goodbye. To quote someone I knew, I said ‘love you to the extent that the measurable becomes the unmeasurable’. She…she kept looking at my direction…not knowing when her vision would allow her to see the love of her life.

I want you to sing that tune

The one you are letting go of

Because, for every memory you are disowning now,

There is a forgotten song.

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An ‘Indian Return’ to the Nest!

It was a beautiful evening. The sun was setting behind dark clouds, streaks of orange light glistening across a glorious bluish-orange sky and the wind blowing from the sea into Rakesh’s and Priya’s face. Birds were getting back to their nests in their typical V-formations and people were getting back from work in a hurry.

Rakesh and Priya were sitting at 1 ft distance from each other on the sea shore, distantly gazing into the beautiful sky, the sound of waves making up for the silence between them.

Rakesh had returned from the US after 3 years. He had completed his Engineering successfully at one of the premier colleges in Mumbai, and proceeded to do what most of the Indians did – study M.S at one of the universities in the US. After working for a year after his M.S, he decided to return to India for a holiday.

Priya had waited 3 years for this day.

Rakesh landed at Indira Gandhi Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai on August 16th, 2008. Priya was eagerly awaiting his arrival at the airport with bated breath. They both went a long way back in the past. They had played to-gether in the same lawn, shared most of the toys and as they grew older, spent a lot of time at the beach discussing life. When Rakesh left to the US, Priya felt that she had lost an important limb in her body. Rakesh never left Priya alone – he called almost once in three days, if not daily.

She was expectedly very excited by his arrival.

They both drove back in Priya’s car to their favorite spot – the worli beach. Both of them liked this beach since childhood – the rugged rocks, the sharp terrain against which strong waves hit with panache – it gave them a sense of power and calm at the same time.

As they sat in silence for a long time, Priya realised it was getting darker by the minute and decided to do what she had planned all along. She looked at Rakesh, with tears in her eyes, with an overwhelming sense of having her life-support back. She opened her purse, and said

Happy Rakshabandhan Rakesh bhaiyya‘ and tied the rakhi to his hand.

They both hugged each other and proceed to their home in Worli.

Converstaion with ‘They’…Err…’She’…no…’They’!

Of the many stupid moments and conversations I have been involved in over the past 25 years, some stupid moments stand out – for the sheer ingenuity and willingness to be ‘bakraofied’, some decisions I have taken to be involved in these stupid moments can be classified as stupefyingly stupid, if not downright insane. (Four ‘stupids’ in one paragraph – my English ma’am would never forgive me 😉 )

Now that some of my guy friends have got married, I get a chance to meet them only with their wives (don’t ask me whether that’s fortunate or unfortunate), say for lunch/dinner at some restaurants. I tend to avoid meeting them if some other friend is not joining me; that is, I try as hard as I can to make the number of people at the table to be 4, rather than 3. Being human, I am incapacitated sometimes, and inspite of my best efforts, such hard work proves futile. I have to end up being the sole 3rd member – which unfortunately at a lunch party sometime back I ended up being one, with a friend of mine (R) whom I have known for 7 years. They were married for a month now, and deciding to meet them as the 3rd member was well…..Anyways, proceeding to the conversation:

The couple is referred to as ‘They’ (although… it was ‘she’ most of the time – typical family I guess – I have a saying, Two bodies, one voice – hers -> and this couple was a personification of that!)

Me: Heyyy, how are you guys doing?!

They: Very well, how are you?

Me: Am doing very good

Me: So, how was the honeymoon n all? And what is this small party ya?!

They: Honeymoon was fantastic…and dude, you didn’t come to the reception – it isn’t our problem exactly you know.

(and that’s probably the last time I heard the guy, my friend…really speak, except for a few nods and some ya’s here and there!)

Me: Haha…true! Caught up with some office work and blah and blah dude – typical stuff you know. Anyways, how was the wedding?

They (yeah…to be fair, it is just ‘she’ from now on): Ohh…wedding was fantastic…with all the jewelery and food and lots of relatives! You should have come – it was just awesome…it’s a incredible experience you know!

Me: (silently, nope…I don’t know) Jewelry, food and RELATIVES…dude, was it that good? (with a wink here!)

They: (she again…my friend has resigned himself to fate) – ohhh yeahh, 3 day function with Sangeet, dance n all…we have captured everything on the video, you gotta see it once!

Me: (whoaa! Save me O Lord! if you had know this, you surely wouldn’t have said that!) Sure thing…absolutely, I will make it to your house to watch the video as soon as I am vexed with my work (or rather life I should have said! 😉 )

They: Yeah, sure! That would be a good break…You know what, your friend S accompanied us to this trip to Essel World – he was great fun!

Me: Yeah…sounds great! What did you guys do?

They: Ohh..we boarded many rides…and we as a couple have photographs of almost every ride!

Me: Ohh, I see…so basically, S was your photographer! (added) heheh (so that they don’t feel bad!…and I was thinking I was the bigger fool…S…I tell ya!! 🙂 )

They: Hahah! (and their smiles turned weird…and my friend got the hint…but too late, he was totally powerless in this slugfest)

Me: (Ah! She understood the sarcasm. Now, we can talk about American politics, Global warming and exhaust the remaining 30 min and then rush out of here!)

They (don’t you forget, its only ‘she’ – ‘They’ is just a misnomer): You know, your friend likes North Indian and Chinese a lot.

Me: Oh really! News to me…dude, I hope you haven’t changed suddenly 😉 (He was my friend for 7 years, it’s just been a month with you dear! Ah! I forget, wives are supposed to know more about their husbands than their husband’s long time friends! Apologies!)

They: Yeah! We have been to almost every Chinese and North Indian restaurant in the area – We are just learning cooking, you know!

Me: Hahah…yeah, I agree (and I stare at my friend – he is just giggling out of helplessness rather than anything else!)

They: And your friend is an avid orkutter, and he really likes the sitcom ‘Friends’

Me: Ohhh, really! R, you never told me that (and me winks again – and he is like, dekhlungaa betaa, tujhe dekhlungaa!)

They: And he really seems to know things about dresses – I mean, his selection of my sarees, and other dresses exactly matched my preferences!

Me: (Holy crap! Where is my dessert?!) Ohh, that’s fantastic! You guys are just made for each other from birth I guess.

They: (both giggle off to glory, their eyes locking with each other, seemingly lost in trance of the ethereal world)

Me: Er…umm! Sorry to disturb your privacy…but the bill has arrived (ufff!!)

They: You naughty!! (and R proceeds to pay the bill)

Me: Naughty?!! Wtf!!?

And then, I exit gracefully thanking the host and the hostess for a wonderful and fruitful time spent to-gether, knowing many things about my friend that I already knew and knowing some more things about him (like his silence, for one) that I never knew!

Aarrgghh!!

P.S: How easy it is to think ‘that poor R, he has got such a dominating wife?!’ – Nope, she was just too talkative, and compared to R…wayyy too talkative. And mind you, most of the couples I encounter nowadays are like this only (that is, ‘they’ and ‘she’ are interchangeable) (except for the fact that I ensure there is a 4th guy/girl around) – So, nope, all you couples out there – don’t you take a higher moral plane 😀

Welcome to Haystack Apts!

She was dialing the number for the nth time – and for the nth time, she received the same response. ‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa

Wait! Where are you taking me? Leave me alone. I want to be left alone – No, I don’t want to go anywhere; I am fine here; Leave me alone…leave me…

She: Why the hell doesn’t he purchase a cellphone? It would be easier to reach him. I am sick and tired of this music and this standard message. Let me try once again!
‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa

Why have you put me in this dark room? I cannot see a thing here. Why am I here? This place looks so eerie and scary. Take me out of here! Somebody out there??? Savee meee!!

She: Let me get hold of this guy this time, am going to tear his brains out – I am tired of listening to this music all the time – are the operators in their bloody evening siesta? Why the hell doesn’t someone pick up the phone?
Let me try one last time –
‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa
She: Aaarrgghhh!!

No food, no water – how am I supposed to live! Oh God! What kind of predicament is this? Why have I ended up in this situation? This is close to hell – no, someone, someone please get me out of this situation…someone out there?!!

She: I am getting more frustrated. What is wrong with the apartment folks and…and…why is he put up in this apartment?? Couldn’t he find a better apartment or even better, why doesn’t he buy a cellphone for himself? Beats me.
It’s been quite some time since I spoke to him. Let me try one last last time!
‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa

Wait! Where are you taking me again? Why am I made to sit in front of a tank of water? Nooo…blurp blurp blurp…I can’t breathe!! blurp blurp blurp…what are you guys doing to me? blurp blurp blurp…what do you want? Why are your torturing me like this? Noo….blurp blurp blurp…I am going to die this time…ahh…blurp blurp blurp…

She: This one last time – and I am gonna commit a murder – Operator or him – First come, first serve basis!

‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa
Operator: Thanks for holding. Your request ma’am?
She: Room No. 404, K please!

Phone rings! K jumps out of his bed and sleep!!

K: Uh darling! I just went through a nightmare without hearing you all these days! Thank god you called.
She: But K! it’s been only a week since we spoke!
K: Well, a week is long time – a very long time for me sweetheart!
She: You know what K, you are such a damn fool!
K: :-*
She: :-*

Love you forever!

She was distraught.

Everything was wonderful two years ago. They had met through a common friend and the chemistry was instantaneous. Both of them loved similar books, movies and cuisines. They had long phone chats, often late into the night. The occasional touch turned into a hug and then a kiss. He loved and adored her.

She loved him with all his heart. She cared for him and not an hour passed where she wouldn’t think of him. She felt very secure in his arms. The days in office passed off in a jiffy and both were eager to await the night – day after day, talking to each other throughout, unmindful of food or sleep.

One year hence, things slowly began to fall apart. He had changed jobs and his new job took him to different countries each month. They were no longer spending as much time together. She could not reconcile to the fact that some nights would pass without speaking to him. However, he called, and called often. He told her about the new experiences in different countries, the ugly and the beautiful and how he wished she was with him. He would bring gifts for her from each country he visited. Happiness knew no bounds when they saw each other at the airport each time. They were very much in love.

Love, however, has a tendency to fade – or that is what they say. One year since he changed jobs, she observed, much to her chagrin that he had also changed. She wondered why the look for her in his eyes was so different, the warmth in his voice missing and the tenderness of his touch vanishing. She couldn’t take the drastic changes that had happened in this relationship – she was totally distraught.

She couldn’t believe what she was going through. He made lame excuses whenever she wanted to meet him. Phone calls turned from often to periodic to seldom. He had hardly spared time for her over the past 6 months. She felt like a nobody. Sometime back, she had asked him ‘Are you going around with someone else?’. The question had freaked him. He shot back ‘Are you insane? What makes you think so?’. She couldn’t bring herself to doubt him. Yet, he seemed so distant. She loved him – like no other, very deeply and passionately. She came back from office everyday and read the long and lovely letters he had written to her, emails and SMSes he had sent her – crying late into the night over them. Every word, every feeling resonated in her mind before she went off to sleep, only to be troubled by nightmares of him leaving her. She hadn’t slept properly for months now.

Deep depression, mental collapse – she had heard these terms in various books. Now, she was experiencing it. She missed him, when alone as well in the crowd. She also feared whether she was going paranoid about him. Maybe he was too busy with his work. Maybe good times will be back again. Or…she shuddered to think – have I lost him forever??

Today, she had called him. She desperately wanted to meet him at her house. He readily agreed – not only to meet her, but have a candle-lit dinner too. She was on cloud nine. Again, everything seemed rosy and the air was brimming with life. She cleaned her house, her room, scented the whole house with the freshener he had got for her from Australia. She dressed in her best clothes and awaited him to knock the door.

As expected, he knocked the door at 6′ o clock. There he stood, with the same innocent smile and a twinkle in his eye that she had seen two years back. She was overjoyed. She hugged him and invited him into the house. She closed the door and hugged him again, whispering softly in his ears ‘You are mine, my love, forever mine’.

She was ecstatic. He was on her lap. She was rocking him like a cradle – to and fro, singing the songs he loved. He was staring intently at her large, round eyes – seemingly lost forever. She loved that look – his stare with his deep eyes into her. The smile on his face looked so calm and peaceful, but the only question he seemed to ask non-verbally was ‘Why?’ She smiled back at him and said ‘Now, I will love you forever’ – and smugly smiled at the blood-stained knife with which she had stabbed him to death.

Importance of ‘The’ Moment!

It was a beautiful Saturday evening at the Marina beach in Chennai. It was the month of December, winter across India but only slightly warm in Chennai – a very pleasant weather for the Madrasis. Moonlight just about dancing away on the waves and the sweet smell of hot jalebis helped along by a gentle breeze made for a great evening on the beach.

Vijay had already reached the beach. He was in what was supposedly his best dress – a cream color T-shirt and blue jeans. He was pacing up and down the beach waiting for the arrival of his two friends. Today was going to be special.

Sandhya was frantically trying out different dresses at her home – a black top with a plunging neckline and faded blue jeans, a white top with a red skirt, light blue salwar kameez with slight embroidery along with different combinations of sandals. She had very little time left to get out of the house and go to the beach. She finally decided on the light blue salwaar kameez with brown sandals – wore them, winked at herself in the mirror for looking so pretty and rushed out of the house.

Anil was memorizing his lines since morning. He had waited for this day for long – a day where he was going to propose to the girl he loved for two years – albeit secretly. He repeated his lines over and over – in the bathroom, at breakfast, lunch and just about any freetime he could make up for. He did not want this special moment to go astray. He had bought a new shirt and jeans for this very special day – and in her favorite colors. He rushed out of home that evening, not wanting to be late. When his mother asked him as to where he was going, he replied ‘Meeting sandhya and vijay. And ma, expect a surprise visit today’! It was a surprise for his best friend too. He kickstarted his bike and rushed towards the beach.

It was a bad week for Selliah. His business of selling roses at the beach was drastically dwindling. He barely had money to spare a square meal a day for his family. Today, he couldn’t make any sale since morning – which meant that his family had to go hungry. That very thought sent shivers down his spine. He had beaten his wife after drinking alcohol the last night and was feeling terrible about it since morning. He never had to face such a financial crisis and his wife’s one look in the morning said it all. He was determined to make a sale – but as the evening wore on, the probability of making a sale was diminishing considerably and with it, his hopes too started sinking.

Harish had walked over 5km from his home thoroughly frustrated with his life. He had a very good job, excellent money and yet he was not happy. He had the money and iPhone but no close friends to call, he had the looks and eligibility – yet he was single. He had dated many girls, many of whom were interested in him but he was not. He was interested in a girl but didn’t know how to ask her out. Disturbed, he set out for a stroll but it turned out to be a long walk. He had reached the beach and decided he would spend some time peacefully counting the number of waves that hit the beach.

Sandhya hurriedly went to the spot they usually met up. Vijay was already there, pacing up and down the place with a chewing gum in his mouth. He seemed to be in deep thought, very unlike Vijay, Sandhya thought. Sandhya called out to Vijay ‘Hey dude! How are you doing?’ Vijay was pleasantly surprised to see Sandhya on time rather than being late as usual. He had thoughts of discussing something with Anil before Sandhya came up. That was not to be. He replied back ‘Hey hi! Did the Sun rise from the West today? You are bang on time’. Sandhya replied ‘Yup, I like surprises!’

Anil was racing through the traffic, turning his bike in geometrically impossible angles, riding his bike on the footpath if needed and checking out the shortest path possible to the beach. He wanted to desperately meet and discuss with Vijay before Sandhya showed up. He cursed all the way through the traffic as to how the IT sector had destroyed the sanctity and peacefulness of the good ol’ Madras. He finally reached the beach and parked his bike.

As the moon rose in its height, Selliah’s hopes sunk abysmally lower. How could he face his family if he couldn’t support them with atleast a square meal? What if tomorrow also goes like this? Should he change his profession? If yes, then to what? Why has Chennai gone so heartless? Has the city forsaken his family? With these thoughts in mind, he was passing by where Vijay and Sandhya were talking.

Harish was thoroughly displeased with himself. Having been to the beach, he expected the waves to calm him down. Somewhere deep down, he felt unappreciated, uncared for – and he also thought the world had gone to dogs. Noone cared for anyone anymore, Noone loved anyone – nothing was pure and everything was a farce. With these debilitating thoughts, he turned to his right where a guy and girl were talking and laughing.

Anil entered the beach and could see Vijay and Sandhya in the distance. He too was pleasantly surprised to see Sandhya arrive much before him. Chances of discussing the all-important thing with his best friend Vijay was now close to zero. He thought ‘Ah! What the heck? I’ll surprise him too’!

Waves were hurtling down to the shore. The gentle breeze and moonlit night were perfect for the occasion. Vijay grabbed the entire bunch of roses from Selliah’s hand, went down on one knee, looked directly into Sandhya’s eyes and said ‘It’s been two years since I wanted to tell you this. It’s been two long years of friendship – over hundreds of cups of coffee and ice-cream, two years of feelings stubbornly suppressed but today had to be it. I loved you for so long and today is the day I ask you, Will you marry me?’ Vijay was trembling terribly. His hands were all-wobbly holding the roses and now he understood why men went down on a knee (their legs would have been trembling too!) before proposing. He stared into Sandhya’s eyes and waited for an answer.

This moment froze.

Selliah thought – ‘Ah! God finally had mercy on me. Someone has indeed taken the roses and he will pay up too. What luck! This city has not forsaken me. The goddess has not abandoned me and my family. My family will have a hearty meal today. I will not have any further worry for a week now. The whole bunch of roses got sold in just one shot and without any effort – what luck and blessing! God, bless this guy who bought my roses for he saved a family from near disaster’.

Harish looked at the proposal. He smiled. He was just thinking of the devious world and how the world had lost ‘love’ and here – he saw the innocence of love. The rapidity and surprise with which the guy pulled off the proposal indeed deserved applause. Harish finally had an answer to all his questions, his fears and doubts. He also knew how he was going to ask the girl he liked out. This was the incident that had made him walk for 5km – and it was well worth it. Now, he was waiting with bated breath for the moment to unfold.

Anil spotted the proposal incident from afar – a distance from where neither Sandhya nor Vijay could make out his position in the moonlit darkness. He froze with shock for that moment. He just couldn’t believe what he was seeing right in front of his eyes. He was pleading with himself to wake up from the dream – but that was not to be. His legs went weak, his mind numb and the gift he carried for Sandhya just rolled over into the water. He crashed onto the sand and sobbed.

Sandhya was shocked. She had not expected this proposal even in her wildest of dreams. Vijay was one of her best friends and that was how she thought he felt too. The evening was planned so well – Anil, Vijay and herself would meet at the beach, have icecreams standing in the water among the waves and then head to the nearest Saravana bhavan to hog some delicious idli-sambar. Post that, a movie and it would have been a weekend well spent. When she realized what Vijay had done – she didn’t know how to react. The sincerity in Vijay’s eyes told her that it was not a prank. How should she react? She couldn’t even spot Anil for help. ‘Where is this Anil when I desperately needed help? He must have been fooling around in some traffic with his bike stunts. What do I tell Vijay now? Immediate acceptance is out of question, while rejection would break Vijay’s heart. What do I do?’

She said – ‘Give me some time to think about this’ and left for Anil’s place, trying to reach Anil on his mobile phone immediately.

One moment – five different emotions. Who said Life was simple?

P.S –

1) Came across this blog – Letter to an Ex – http://shallowthoughts00.blogspot.com/2008/01/dear-ex.html

If I ever write a letter to my Ex(es), it would just be a copy, paste from this 😛 . Just brilliant writing!

 

 

 

 

The Tryst with the Movie!

 

It was a boring Sunday afternoon. The weather was sticky, the entire neighborhood was in a festive mood and there was not a single TV channel worth watching. Guy1 was increasingly frustrated. Restless as he was, he just wanted to get out of the house and do something. He just browsed through the newspaper’s movie section and saw that Mughal-e-Azam was re-released with 100% color. He didn’t have a second thought. He had to watch the movie that day.

It was November 2004…and this fact has no consequence and relation with the events unfolding later in the evening1.

Guy1 trooped down to Guy2’s house. Guy2 was essentially the ‘Eminem, Hip-hop, Rock’ kind of guy – not exactly interested in historical epic movies. Lack of choice combined with the fiercest desire to watch the enhanced Mughal-e-Azam that particular day forced Guy1 to ask Guy2 whether he would accompany him to a movie. The conversation went something like this –

Guy1: Hey dude! Wassup for the evening!

Guy2: Nothing much…as usual…gappe maaro! You tell me.

Guy1: How about watching the enhanced Mughal-e-Azam that has hit the screens couple of days back?

Guy2 raises an eyebrow.

Guy2: Wasn’t that some old movie? In color now?

Guy1: Yes, it is! Actually….wanted to pull you in because of one reason…anyways..

Guy2: (suspicious) What reason? Anythin special?

Guy1: Naah, nothing much…some interesting and a rare scene I heard from the movie involving the heroine…

Guy2: What interesting and a rare scene? (now he seems interested )

Guy1: Nahiii…jaane de! Anyways…you don’t seem to be interested…let me enjoy the movie all by myself

Guy2: You can…but tell me what INTERESTING and RARE scene?

Guy1: Actually, one of my friends was telling me that the heroine goes topless in one of the scenes…and it is supposed to be one of the rarest scenes in bollywood..so thought you might be interested in it!!

Guy2: Really??? You must be bluffing.

Guy1: Ah well! I told you upfront…you don’t seem to be interested. Anyways, here name is Madhubala…you would have heard her name…one of the most beautiful actresses ever to act in Bollywood…ok then…let me leave…

Guy2: Wait, I am coming!

Guy1: Whattt?!!! Dude, changing your mind ever so often doesn’t help.

Guy2: What is bothering you? My mind, I will change. Chalo, let’s go. I am already excited.

Guy1: (with a morose face and a laughter belly) ok…chalo…and remember I didn’t force you…don’t accuse me in the middle of the movie to say it was boring etc.

Guy2: Nope, I won’t disturb you! I will intently wait for that scene you mentioned.

Guy1: Ahh!! You naughty boy! (winks) Ok then..let’s go.

And then they troop into the theater. Guy2 is surprised to see a long queue for such an old movie, but smugly smiles back to Guy1 – silently saying ‘Hehe! We know, They too seem to know’! Guy1 smiles back nodding his head (he hardly could stop laughing, albeit internally).

The movie is on – Guy1 and Guy2 are both engrossed – both for different reasons. Guy1 is appreciating the colorization, music and the dialogues. Guy2 is intently watching the screen, waiting for the scene to come. It doesn’t. It’s Interval Time.

Guy2: Where is the scene?

Guy1: How do I know? It’s a rare scene. Probably the director has parked it post-interval. Else he might find no audience in the theater after the Interval…(winks)

Guy2: Heheh! Yup, I agree. Who in their right minds would want to watch this movie for movie sake. What you said makes perfect sense.

The Second half begins. The story repeats. As the movie draws to a close, Guy2 increasingly becomes impatient. Impatience turns to frustration and probably anger too. He spent 100 bucks on a worthless movie – for one scene – ‘hopefully it’s in the climax’, he reassures himself.

As the credits roll up, Guy2 is furious with Guy1.

Guy2: Where is the damnn scene?

Guy1: How do I know dude? Maybe the director bowed to Censor board!

Guy2: Whatt!! What the hell!!

Guy1: Dude, wait for this news to spread. You will find noone in the theaters from tomorrow.

Guy2: I agree – I myself am gonna SMS all my friends about this cheater fact and the cheater director.

Guy1: Yes, do that!

Consoling themselves that they have been royally cheated, they proceed to the Coffee Day adjacent to the theater. Guy3 accidentally spots Guy1 and Guy2. Joins them at the table.

Guy3: Heyy guys! What’s up! How come here?

Guy2: Don’t ask man! Life sucks!

Guy3: What, What happened!

Guy1 slowly tries to move away from the table.

Guy2: We went to this crap movie called Mughal-e-Azam dude, the director…damnn him…he cheated us!

Guy3: Cheated? How?

Guy2: Don’t ask dude! There was supposed to be a topless scene of one of the most beautiful actresses in bollywood

Guy3: Topless?? What are you talking about? Where did you get this information? Are you crazy?

Guy2: Yeah dude! and – and this director just bowed to the Censor board!

Guy3: Who told you this stupid fact? There is no such thing like that – filmed in 1960…topless? Hollywood would be put to shame in those days for filming topless scenes.

Guy1 has moved to a comfortable distance away from the view of Guy2 and Guy3. He is clutching his stomach and laughing uproariously.

Guy2: Why…Guy1 told me today afternoon..in fact, he was the one who dragged me to this movie…Is it not Guy1?

Guy2 turns around to find Guy1 in fitting laughter. Guy3 understands the situation and starts laughing too – in fact, Guy1 and Guy3 give hi-fis before laughing even more raucously. Guy2 is red with anger, frustration and insult. He hurls the plastic pen stand on the table towards Guy1. Guy1 ducks. All three make up later over three lattes and two brownies.

Guy2 is currently working in a Bank, Guy3 in an Investment firm. Guy1 is Yours Truly 🙂 I only had good intentions to watch the movie. Sigh! Nowadays, good intentions cost you 200 bucks in Coffee day 🙂

 

A Sensual Romance!

Amit landed in Delhi after a 3 month trip to Singapore.

Avantika was eagerly awaiting him.

Their affair (or as they say in history books, story dated back) was on for 3 years. They both had passed out of college barely knowing each other. However, in a chance meeting (happened to be a common friend’s birthday party) they happened to hit on each other extremely well and from thereon, their relationship was going only one way – up.

Amit was an architect and Avantika was a fashion designer. The diversity in their professions made their relationship even more spicier and interesting. They both had decided that unless both of them had settled professionally, they would not get married to each other. They stuck to their promise – and their parents now had mutually agreed on their marriage one year hence.

Amit had left for Singapore on an office trip. Since the time of their engagement, they could not keep hands off each other – and 3 months was a long time. When Avantika spotted Amit coming out of the airport – tears of emotion overflowing, she rushed and hugged him – unmindful of the surroundings. Words could not convey their relief – they looked in each other’s eyes and smiled. They quickly went back home in a taxi.

When Avantika closed the door of her empty house, Amit immediately hugged her from behind. She could feel his tremble – tremble, due to separation for what seemed a long time for both of them. She let him rest in that posture for a few minutes. Amit murmured ‘Missed you big time’. Avantika turned around and gave him a wide flashing smile. He captured that moment and immediately hugged her tightly, landing kisses all over her face and body. His kisses were like winter fire, slowly but surely wearing Avantika down. He started feeling the contours of her entire body gradually, sensing the laces, linen and her sweat little-by-little but intently. She too responded to his intense emotion – hugging him tightly and responding to his kisses. Time had no meaning at that moment, neither did the surroundings nor that they were still in the foyer of her place.

They made love.

They were lying on the bed, one on top of each other in their post-lovemaking stupor –which traversed the foyer, drawing room and subsequently the bedroom. Earlier, she had asked him what fruit she represented? He had replied ‘Watermelon of course’. ‘Why?’ ‘Ripe, juicy, edible and a fulfilling treat, that’s why!!’ She had liked the description. She had always liked his descriptions, barring a few of his crazy ones. They had made passionate love for the past hour or so and now were mumbling sweet nothings in each other’s ears.

She looked into his eyes and asked “Tell me, how much you love me?”

Amit gave her a surprised look.

She: I want to know.

He smiled – one of those wicked grins. She knew something crazy was coming up.

He: I love you as much as I love free lunch coupons.

She smirked.

He: Er…ok! I love you as much as Wooster loves Jeeves.

She: C’mon Amit, be serious!! Tellll me!!

He looked into her eyes, her hair all over him and said ‘Beautiful’. He wanted to express his love in terms that she loved the most – literature and music.

He: “As passionately as Howard Roark atop the University hill”

“As detailed as Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings”

“As flowingly as Somerset Maugham”

“As silently as a Shakspearean sonnet”

“As longing as a Wagner’s Opera”

“As much as the center of my life”

“And my dear, as madly and crazily as myself”

She looked into his eyes, smiled and said “You are a damn fool” and proceeded to kiss him. The pressure was perfect and the teasing just about there. A long, soft kiss and mercifully unlike the last one. She was drawn in closer to him – a moment she wanted to last forever.

An Internet Tale! – Heheh!

She was in Mumbai. He was in the US.

She sat in her bedroom in front of her age-old computer, twitching the end of her chunni endlessly.

He had just got up from sleep, visibly excited, switching on his laptop – revising one-liners, statements-that-a-girl-will-fall-for and opened the chat application.

They both were online now.

It all had happened by chance. Engineer-MBA guys were the flavor of the season and he was an Engineer-MBA. He wanted to marry an Engineer-girl. Their parents were looking out for matches – traditionally as well as online. During the course of searching through one of these online matrimonial websites, they found each other. Each one liked the other’s profile (and necessarily, their parents’ also liked each other’s family background etc etc) and decided that they should communicate. Because of the distance involved (she in India and he in the US) – after exchange of few mails, decided that Internet chat would be the best option.

Today was the D-day.

They saw each other online.

(Lines in Italics are his/her internal thoughts. Others are the ones which they type on the chat application).

He: Should I ping her first? Or will she ping me first? Will I appear too eager if I ping her immediately? No, let me hold on till she pings me.

She: He is online right now, so why doesn’t he ping me? Is he not interested in me? I guess being a guy he should take initiative. What will I do with such a non-initiative taking guy? Did I make a mistake?

After a 5 minute standoff, where each party is thinking why the other is not pinging, the guy loses his patience.

He: Hey! Hi.

She: Ufff, finally you dumbo! Hi.

He: I was just checking my mails till now. Didn’t see you online?

She: Oh yeah, really! Kid someone else. Same here. Not an issue at all. Glad you pinged.

He: Isn’t this chat a wee bit uncomfortable? It would have been better if we had met face to face.

She: Didn’t know what to say and didn’t want to look stupid. One trick she learnt over the years if she didn’t know what to say, say – Heheh!

He: Ooohh!! She’s funny too! Sense of humor. Good, Good. So…finished your dinner?

She: Ah! How boring? Anyways, let me continue. Yes. Finished it just now. How about you?

He: I just got up. So….

She: So…

He: Strange behavior lady. Take initiative somewhere. So, what do you like?

She: Like, like what?? Her mother had always taught her to keep the guy in suspense.

He: No, in general, hobbies like that, like that.

She: Ohhh..that!! My hobby is photography. I like reading books too. She always found it fashionable to say that her hobby was photography. Never mind she never had any expertise in it. Her hobby was photography simply because she had a cute digicam. Reading books – ahhh..she wanted to appear intellectual.

He: Ohh!! That is greattt. My hobby too is photography. In fact, I love photography. Reading books – ahh..not that much. But I love listening to music. Again, back in Engineering college and his MBA, he was awed by others because he mentioned photography as one of his hobbies (Later, when they came to know about his photographic skills – well, the matter took a different turn J). He had also heard that mentioning the word ‘photography’ turns on many a lady.

She: Wow!! He too likes photography. I think I found the right guy in my life. What wavelength and frequency match. That is lovely!! So…what if I want to do higher studies? Is your family ok with it?

He: He was always told by his friends to appear progressive. All girls want to study after marriage – that was a rule rather than a exception. He didn’t want to whine. She will study right…what the heck? No, no…not at all. In fact, my family would love a girl who is ambitious. They would be proud of having such a girl in the family.

She: Patting herself again that she found the right guy…so, what else??

He: So, what about cooking? Do you know cooking?? His friends had always taught him to add disclaimers when he asked such questions…No, not being a male chauvinist but asking in general!

She: Smiles…adding disclaimers too, he must be intelligent…I know cooking…not an expert though…will you help me? And she didn’t want to upset him with the next line..so…And how about you? Will you help me with the cooking part….Heheh!

He: Oh..sense of humor again…good, good! Yes, yes. Sure. Will help you with cleaning dishes and washing clothes too. She wants me share everything already…yuhoo…I think this is a done deal.

She: And…how about wearing western clothes?

He: Progressive behavior was the order of the day…No, not an issue at all. Unless you decide to wear spaghettis and minis…hehe!

She: Good sense of humor…I like the guy! Heheh! No, no…I was just talking about jeans and t-shirt.

He: So…what kind of music do you like?

She: When in doubt, say A R Rahman! She was taught this cardinal rule repeatedly. Classical Indian was out-of-date. And Spice girls would sound outlandish. Conservative but good-taste – that was the mantra. Nothing really special, but I like A R Rahman.

She: Oops!! Music of A R Rahman….Heheh!

He: Nice timing of humor again…I really like the girl! A R Rahman…Conservative and good taste. Good, good. I like Backstreet boys and A R Rahman too….wanted to sound macho as well as force himself to like her taste…agreeing with the lady was a big plus – he was told.

She: Wavelength and Frequency match again! She was beginning to like it. So…how about food habits? Non-veg, Smoking, Drinking etc etc. You know typical habits..Heheh!

He: Enquring ability…nice trait of a lady! Good, Good!! No, No, No…I am a vegetarian with no smoking and drinking habits. How about you? Not that I am questioning you…but still would like to know more about you – He was told the line ‘to know more about you’ was very satisfying on a lady’s mind. It helped soothe all her fears and anxiety…in fact, it was a big plus for any guy who asked that question.

She: What a gracious way of asking the question!! Now, I really like the guy. He wants to know more about me – good good sign J Nope, am a vegetarian too…with no smoking and drinking habits.

He: Good, Good. So…what else?

She: You tell.

He: So…do you like me?

She: Hmmm…let me think 😉

He: Was that a YES?

She: Ahhh…I never said that…Did I? She was taught never to say YES directly in such matters – it looked too arrogant. In fact, not saying a YES was more ladylike and guys liked it – she was told by her marriageable friends.

He: Should I ask my parents to proceed?

She: Aren’t we supposed to proceed? Heheh!

He: Good sense of humor again. She is the girl I want to marry!! Yes, we will proceed. I will talk to my parents to talk to your parents.

She: Ok! Hope to talk to you at length after you come to India.

He: Of course, of course! Can I call you now?

She: Nope, not so soon! Heheh! Shall we meet same time tomorrow online?

He: Sure, I am already waiting for tomorrow to come.

She: Heheh!

With that, he closed the chat window. She had good sense of humor, could cook okish – what else did he need in life?

She too closed the chat window – He was gracious, although he was slightly boring – which I can change after our marriage, his hobby too was photography. What else does she need in life?

She smiled off to sleep. He went to office excited. And the proceedings began.

P.S – Before you jump to conclusions, Pure Fiction 😀

Anti-thesis!

Note: Couple of short stories with no relation between them!

They were sitting facing each other.

It was a month before this moment that they spoke to each other for the first time. He in Mumbai, and She in Chennai. He was an industrialist, a multi-millionaire and single. He was on Yahoo chat that day, a rather unusual one so to say and he met this girl. They started talking on the first day, flirting from the second and third day they decided that they were perfectly suited for each other. From that moment onwards, they were on phone almost all day and night, and longing to meet each other. They decided to get married but before that found it suitable that their parents’ should meet each other.

Their parents decided to meet each other along with their respective kids. The boy and girl were sitting facing each other. They exchanged furtive glances, smiles and winks. They looked so much in love; both eager to embrace the other in their arms. The entire atmosphere, it seemed to them was filled with happiness and only both of them existed in the world. The parents had talked all day and then decided that the boy and the girl should be left alone to talk on a personal basis.

Boy: I was waiting for this moment all month long. Finally it happened. How are you feeling sweetheart?

Girl (drawing out a gun): Agent Malini Ramani, Mr. Ratan Shukhla you are under arrest in connection with the 2006 Mumbai blasts case!!

It was a romantic day.

I was alone at home, parents off to some relative’s daughter’s marriage. It was cloudy, about to rain any moment. Slightly windy and chilly. Romance was in the air. Ah! I thought…I wish someone was with me at that very moment…but then I let it pass. I had some household chores to do – finished the same and proceeded to have my bath. Just then, there was a knock on the door. I wondered who? Parents’ would not be back home so soon and noone was expected today. Who could it be? With all my curiosity, I slowly opened the door.

There she was. Wind blowing across her long, smooth hair. She adjusts the hair all over her face onto a plait at the back. It would seem to anyone who looked at her, that she looked as fresh as jasmine – freshly bathed with little makeup that you would hardly notice but would not go unnoticed. Her beautiful blue saree fit wonderfully on her slim frame. She smiled – and how else would you describe a perfect smile? She stared at me. I stared at her. She smiled. I smiled.

She asked “Ammmmaaaa hai ghar pe????”.

My kaamwaali bai had come.

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