food for thought, Short Stories

Somewhere in the Universe

“You have nothing to say to me?” you asked, sounding a bit surprised.

I looked at you and my head jolted me with a series of flashbacks of numerous diary entries, self-conversations and monologues.

It’s not like I have nothing to say to you. Perhaps I have a million things to say to you. But I can’t say anything. You can’t say anything, despite being a writer?  Writers are the ones who struggle the most for the right words! Of course I don’t have words to say it! But are there really any confessions or accusations I would like to make? No. I am a blank chit, devoid of emotions. I am not generally like this. You know how I am! I am brimming with all kinds of emotions most of the time. Sometimes, it’s so overwhelming that it gets quite out of control. I have pictured this conversation so many times in my head and every time in every single scenario, I had no words to say to you. Why? You might ask. It’s not like I have not been hurt by you. Maybe I am still in denial and I am not willing to truly accept it. Maybe I am not that hurt and I want myself to be hurt just to know what heart-break tastes like. I have no definite answer for that. But you give me nothing but indifference and all these fictitious conversations in my head. Each day I am colder and more aloof. However, I still remember – You. I don’t know how I do that. I am sure you never intended this. Well, of course, you never intended this! But to be honest, your intentions don’t matter anyway. I know what I meant to you – Nothing! And there is nothing wrong with that. When I think about you, I never consider my own judgment or perception or my own state of mind/heart; I become you or whoever I think you are. And from your point of view, my meaninglessness in your life makes perfect sense. That’s why maybe I don’t have anything held against you. If am zero for you, well, I am a zero. I don’t mind being like that. It’s refreshing in a way. Obviously if I had any choice, I would definitely like to change that. But I can’t do that. It’s your life. You are the protagonist. Protagonists have their own characteristics; they don’t follow a writer’s rule! They make their own rules! I have nothing to say to you because you still mean so much to me and I can’t really confess that without you being offended. Offending you would be a delight but I have no energy for that neither the will. Maybe what you’d feel is not offence but guilt and then you’d ask for my forgiveness. How can I forgive you if I don’t even have an answer for whether at all I had ever been hurt? I have nothing to say to you because in my head I have said it all. There are things that I remember. There are things that I have forgotten. There are things that I am grateful for. There are things that I am sorry for. In my life you would always have a value despite my failure in gaining the same in yours. It’s not a shame. It’s a tragic beauty. But I can’t say it, at least not in a way that makes sense to you or even to me.

“No” I nodded as I nervously glanced down at my wrist watch and eagerly waited for time to pass by. You glanced at your watch too. “Is there anything you would like to say?” I asked trying to ease the awkwardness. I received a familiar nod from you. We both looked at each other with artificial smiles pasted on our faces and secretly acknowledged that this was indeed the last time we were (not) enjoying each other’s company. And yet, I saw the fireworks in the background at our last good bye as if conveying that even our last miscommunication and small insignificant mis-story had the capability to create a minuscule impact somewhere in the universe.

***

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food for thought, Short Stories

The Study Table – III

I

II

III

Life moves on. So, I moved on too –

My new destination? A scrap yard. How did I come to be there? Didn’t I tell you that my ex-owner found me too old and too obese for his “renovated” home? He was so sure of my ugliness and my uselessness that he didn’t even put me up on sale – He threw me straight to the Scrap yard. Before I could even analyze my surroundings, I was taken by a roadside barber. So, now I had a new job role. I watched people come and go, some getting shaved, some getting massaged and some getting their hair cut. I remember how happy the mirror placed on me used to be. I despised her. Her happiness made me grow immensely jealous of her. With each passing day, I became more and more morose. Throwing me away like garbage after all those years of my diligent service wasn’t a fair treatment. Couldn’t he just chop me off and use me in a bonfire? I would have been happy with that. Sitting there, by the road, was humiliating! I am the one who needs to be kept sedated with smell of books. I am the one who survives in the presence of poetry or the equations of chemical reactions or trigonometry problems. The lumps of hair accumulating on me were infuriating. The barber scratching the razors on me didn’t make me feel better either. Initially, I had thought that the girl was worst. Then I thought that the scrap yard was the worst. But somehow, I kept descending to worse of worsts! I was tempted to call the barber worst too. But I couldn’t, fearing the ironic implication of that statement. Nevertheless, fate took the unintentional and the unsaid challenge anyway.

The barber abruptly left one day. Initially, it seemed like a dream come true. But in reality, it has been a nightmare. I spend my days and nights alone on the road side. So, I get roasted in the afternoons, wet in the rains and remain immensely dusty all the time. The horns of the cars haunt me, my loneliness haunts me, my uselessness haunts me, my existence haunts me and I stand waiting, waiting for my end to finally make an entrance. The way things are progressing or regressing, I am sure my end isn’t far. But if it is, if it is somehow still far, then the worst haunts me. And here you are – miraculously standing with that unwavering look of admiration in your eyes. I am not flattered. I am amazed. For a moment, I am tempted to forget what I have been through. For a moment, I am tempted to be hopeful. For the first time in a really long time, I am happy. It doesn’t have to last long. I know it won’t. But I am grateful to you for this. I am grateful to you indeed.

“It’s a pity how this table is thrown here. It should be used, it’s so pretty!” I hear the woman’s voice.

“Pretty old, you mean. Pretty broken, you mean. Pretty ugly, you mean.”  Her friend replies and I find myself agreeing with him.

“Pretty apt for our café, I meant.” The woman replies.

“This? For our café? No way!”

“What’s wrong! It matches with the theme. Plus, I will work on it. I will make it pretty presentable and pretty awesome, you will see!”

“I am not so sure…”

The woman comes near me. I shiver at her proximity. I shiver at her touch. It really had been a long time since any human had stood so close to me.

“The table is old, yes, I know. But the wood is still good, see? They don’t make such furniture anymore! Let’s take it to our garage. I will repair it.”

“You do that in a month’s time. Or else I will throw it.”

“You can count on me!” she replies excitedly.

I refuse to believe my ears. Does she really mean it? After this long series of abandonment, did this just happen for real?

Epilogue

I was sure I was going to return to the road again. I didn’t think I was repairable. I was sure that the woman would give up on me soon. Miraculously, she didn’t. I ended up being in her café instead. I couldn’t believe my own transformation. Though I am no longer a study table I admit, but I am always sedated with a stack of books at my corner. Quite often, I am also greeted by the heat of laptops and the mild heat of the hot coffee filtered through the coasters. Sometimes I am greeted by interesting conversations, interesting people scribbling interesting things in their notebooks and I love it.  I love it all. But then amidst all these beautiful chaos and entropy, I keep myself reminding that I am, at the end of the day, just a table.

***

food for thought, Short Stories

The Portrait of a Writer

The artist looks at the writer again, this time a few minutes more than his usual duration. He then dips his paint brush in the palette for blending the colors together into just the right kind of shade. A slight stroke over the eyebrow and he looks back at the writer searching for his own permission. After the slight approving nod from his intuition, he makes a few more bold strokes over the other eyebrow. The result is magnificent. The imperfections that had been bothering him suddenly melt away. He looks at the face of the writer again and compares it with the portrait. He had been working on it for the past three months and finally he has arrived at the point where he can proudly say that it’s been completed. He puts down his brush and allows himself a brief moment of pride. Then, he asks the writer to see his portrait for the first time.

The writer’s reaction was not quite what the painter expected. He imagined a proud smile, a string of compliments and a pair of grateful eyes but all he received was a single inexpressive word (just a single word, mind you from a writer!) – “Good”. The laconic reply suddenly turned his masterpiece into garbage. The writer’s suppressed smirk still haunts him.

The portrait of the writer stares back at him, teasing at his shocking incompetency. He picks up his brush once again to give a last finishing touch to the painting but he is too distracted by the writer’s lack of appreciation.What could possibly be missing in this painting? Nothing! It’s perfect! How dare that insolent bastard insult his work? How dare he? What does he know about painting anyway? No, there’s nothing else that needs to be added here. The portrait is complete. Even a single stroke would prove to be redundant in this painting. And redundancy is not permitted in the work of reputed artist like him. So, he puts down his brush and pours himself a glass of the most expensive wine he owns in order to celebrate his moment; His moment of arrogant denial. He moans at the exotic taste of the wine only to feel annoyance instead of satisfaction.

The portrait stares back at him with his screaming dishonesty.

No, this can’t be like this. As if under a spell, suddenly he realizes what has been missing in the painting. Almost immediately, he engages himself in series of ferocious strokes, completely taken over by his instincts and subconscious memories. Caught up in a symphony that only he is capable of hearing, he engages in beautiful dance with his artistic instincts. When he at lasts stops, he is dumbfounded by the transformation. The man in the canvas looks back at him like he knows all his secrets, like he has looked into every corner of his heart, even in the most reticent spaces in his mind that is known to him better than the artist himself. This baffles him. He immediately looks away in embarrassment. However, when the amazing beauty of his creation begins to sink in, he sheds his cowardice and faces the portrait again. This time the gaze of the writer intensifies. The man in the portrait is no longer whispering but speaking in resounding words that while the artist was busy capturing every detail of his face in the canvas, he had been writing a story of his own – where the roles are reversed, where he is penning down his entire existence in a bunch of syllables, recording every insecurity, every emotion, every story that his physical presence unconsciously conveys. While he painted the veins emerging and disappearing at the back of his hand, while he painted the cuff link peeking out of his coat, while he struggled getting the correct shape of his specs resting on his nose, the man in the portrait had already written a tome on him. The painter feels completely naked, a feeling he had not been willing to accept since the very beginning of this painting.

The next day when the writer walks into the studio, he is shocked after seeing his portrait. The intensity of his own gaze doesn’t spare him. Through the corner of his eyes he sees the artist smiling at him. The writer smiles back in appreciation. Their eyes meet but no word is spoken. The emotion is conveyed perfectly.

Touché, comrade.Touché.

***

Bitch Trilogy, Short Stories

Taming of the shrew

Ravi enters into his apartment where the stench of unclean dishes flooding the kitchen basin, sweat from used clothes scattered over the sofa, unsuccessful combination of deodorant sprays, queasy smell of rotting food, humidity and a decomposing relationship, form a thick layer of tainted air. However, being used to this atmosphere, he continues making his way towards his study, the only part left of paradise in his newly discovered hell called home. He sighs at the thought of seeing his wife again. As a desperate attempt to distract himself, he starts humming his favorite song. Unconsciously, he walks into his bedroom out of his dying habit but to his surprise instead of regret, he finds his wife elegantly dressed in a sari he gifted her on their first anniversary. Taking it as a sign that things might change today he compliments her, “Wow! You look beautiful! When was the last time I saw you in this sari?”
Ranjana doesn’t respond. Undeterred and brimming with hope, Ravi continues anyway, “Look, I am sorry. Okay. I know I made a mistake…I know I shouldn’t have done what I did. But you need to forgive me. You need to see how much I love you. You need to know that I miss you. Please, Ranjana, you are killing me. Please come back!” He sits beside her and takes her hand. “We can get out of this together. We can still walk through the distance between us. It’s not that far. We are not that far! Please Ranjana…” He clasps his hands with hers and keeps his head on her shoulder, “I love you so much. I spend all my day daydreaming about how we used to be. How you used to be…” A few tears escape his eyes and he whispers, “I refuse to believe that you don’t love me anymore. I know you do…”
“You should have thought of how much you loved me before you spent all those nights
with her.” she says angrily. Before Ravi could respond, she abruptly gets up and leaves the room. In her mind she is imagining Ravi saying, “I never loved her! I never wanted her! I never thought of leaving you over her!” In her heart, she knows he will never say it and even if he does he won’t mean it.
Tired of hearing the same argument, Ravi goes to his study, hoping to escape into the books and somehow managing to deceive himself from his own miserable life. Groggily, he walks over to the bookshelf and takes out his favorite novel – The Taming of the shrew. The coincidence makes him chuckle.
Meanwhile, Ranjana goes to the kitchen and takes out the broadest butcher knife from the drawer. She wipes it lovingly with her sari and holds it at a distance, gazing at it as if it is the most beautiful and delicate thing in the world. The thought of what she is about to do with it lightens up her face with a sinister smile. She tiptoes to the study. Ravi is sitting on the chair with his back towards her. By the time he realizes that someone is standing behind him, it’s too late. Within a flash, blood spurts out of his slit throat. Ranjana stabs at his heart hissing, “You know you are right. I do love you. I love you too much. But you don’t. You never have! I warned you never to break my heart Ravi. I warned you.” One more at the abdomen! Another one at the chest! Ravi tries to speak but he can’t. He tries to get up and defend himself but he is too weak. He looks at his wife – The sari that he so lovingly (or guiltily?) gifted her is drenched in his own blood. He looks at her beautiful face refusing to believe what just happened. After all the years of marriage, he didn’t have the slightest clue that he was living with a murderer this whole time. Is he her first victim? Of course not, what about Anjali? Was her suicide really a suicide? He wants to shout for help but he can’t he is already dead.
Ranjana goggles at her husband. The hatred in her eyes slowly fades away. “I gave you my heart and you broke it into million pieces. Sorry, I did try to forgive you but I couldn’t.” she says softly, slowly closing his eyelids. She falls asleep in the arms of her dead husband.

***

 Author’s little note: You can find the other two stories of Bitch Trilogy here.
humour, Penumbramagazine, Short Stories

What to do when you find that someone you know is a lesbian.

Well, here are some clear instructions for that;

Check list includes:

10.Spread it like a wild fire.

  1. Make fun of her in every possible way.

  2. Don’t talk to her. She might fall for you.

  3. Make her realize that she is not acceptable in society over and over again.

6.And when you have done all of the above, go to a police station.

  1. Look for a nice and dumb police officer.

4.Ask for his gun very cleverly.

  1. Say ” I am a bad and sick person and I do not deserve to live.”

  2. Hold the gun to your temple. Carefully.

  3. Shoot.

^THIS WAS THE checklist of  DON”Ts

The checklist of DO’s include:

1. Do nothing.

2.  I repeat, do nothing because there is nothing to be done here.

Anyway, moving on to the secondary part of the post..

Well, I was declared lesbian after my friends happened read to this( the not so short story that I am going to share). But I went ahead anyway and submitted the story to the online magazine I write for.

The answer to the question of whether I am really a lesbian is something that I would just like to leave as a mystery because I don’t think it matters either way. Of course, being a lesbian might  result in me ending up in jail ( India being such a party pooper) and facing a lot of homophobic attacks but I think being in jail might get theturquoiseink some of its greatest posts. Being a heterosexual, on the other hand, will pretty much be all everybody-does-this stuff; me drooling over Ian Somerhalder and Brad Pitt and Edward Norton’s pics and then having stupid one day crush on all my seniors one by one and checking out every hot guy I spot across the street and yet have no boyfriend. And when the most unlikely of all my friends will get committed with the hottest guy I know, I might fall  into the deepest pool of depression. No jail, no crime, no nothing. And no greatest posts for theturquoiseink. Ugh!

Conclusion: I can fall in love with anyone I want. You should not have any fucks to give. If you do, then that’s the ultimate wastage of fucks! Nobody grows much fucks anymore but if you do then you should know that they are precious and one should not waste them on judging someone based on who he/she loves. They are meant for greater purpose.

Here’s the link. Happy reading!

http://penumbramag.com/about-her/

Signing off,

Theturquoiseink