Archive for the 'Short Story' Category

07
Mar
09

Mother do you think…???

He ran into the loo clutching a book in one hand and a pack of cigarettes in the other. ‘Aaah!’ he said, ‘Finally’. His stomach had been giving him trouble lately – ‘Improper eating habits’ – his mother had told his driver, the only channel of communication to his parents, who stayed just round the corner. ‘I don’t remember when was the last time I saw them’ he’d told his friends. He hadn’t seen ’em for years, neither them nor him had made any effort to disturb the tranquility and illusions they lived in. ‘He’s too far, beyond our reach’ his father had once told his friends, soon after his only beloved son had decided to set on his solitary journey to find his life, ‘he blames us for everything, for all the ill that has befallen upon him’, his father often said with tears in his eyes.

Nevertheless, enough of this David Copperfield stuff. For Joseph crapping was a important part of his life, not because like us he sought to excrete out his bodily wastes but because to him nature’s calling was a passport to a different world, and his loo, his dear loo was a sort of teleportation machine that took his mind off all the absurdities of daily life and took him to a world of finely crafted world of words, a magical land of stories and philosophy. His loo, unlike ours was a place of meditation a place of learning – a reading room to be precise.

As he positioned himself on the pot and lit a cigarette electricity went off, and instead of cursing his reached for the candle on the ledge and lit it, electricity in India is as erratic as trains, and lately like his disturbed stomach, you never knew when it’d come or when it’d go.

As he sat smoking and concentrating on his book a drunk moth flying in a rather erratic manner hit him on the back of his neck. He swung his arm, startled, in an attempt to kill the moth but in vain.

The moth flew towards the candle and suddenly the lines from an old forgotten poem rose from the depths of his heart.

why doth a moth fly to the hot candle flame,
aware of the fact that this obsession with light will kill him
this my friend is passion

And just as he finished reciting those dreaded lines of passion, the candle flame consumed the moth and its passion. He looked at the ventilation and said to himself,’need to put up a net there’ and returned to his book, oblivious to the fire that that consumed the moth. Afterall it was a just a moth.

He washed himself and rose with the book in his hand and walked to his room scattered with clothes. ‘Stephen should be here any minute’, he said looking at the wall clock that greeted him with palms joined together, announcing the beginning of another day. But the clock greeting him had a special significance today – the 9th of March 2009. He had turned 40.

I won’t live a day beyond 40, he’d claimed, it’ll either be cancer or drug overdose. Neither cancer nor drugs came for his life.
40 and still alive. What a waste!
As the clock struck twelve, electricity made a surprise comeback.

He changed into a pair of clean clothes and packed everything that was required for the trip.
He paced downstairs to make himself some tea, as he waited for his faithful driver to arrive he reached for the television remote on the table.
Life had been reduced to switching between television, internet and books. Inferring and writing.

As is flipped through channels trying to locate something interesting he heard the much awaited knock on the door. Stephen, he said to himself and looked at his watch. Quarter past one.
He ought to be taught a lesson.

He rose from his chair and walked to wards the door thinking of ways to reprimand this illiterate beast;a beast he had trusted his life with for five years now. He opened the door. And before words of anger and frustration could fly out of his tea stained mouth. The driver started pleading. He was drenched.
-forgive me sir, but… but… but the rain…

The rain? All the brooding had drowned he sound of rain.
He did not speak instead directed Stephen to the luggage kept near the door. The driver knew that for the moment he’d been forgiven. He took the luggage and walked towards the car on the porch and as he hulled the luggage into the trunk he head Joseph shout at him.
-Stephen. Get here. Fast.

He ran to the doorsteps, trying his best not to anger his master. Joseph was gathering some papers into a folder, and without looking at Stephen told him
-There are some old clothes in the store room. Get changed. And while you’re at it have this tea here.

Stephen gave him a puzzled look as he walked with the cup to the store.
What kind of a strange man is he? Forever ill tempered and immersed in books and papers, never interested in the pain of others. A selfish bastard straight from a movie. And yet he calls himself a writer. What can he possibly write if he cannot see the miseries in the world?
Stephen hated and at the same time loved Joseph. For five years he had been with him and never had he seen him smile.

He changed and walked back to the porch with the empty cup inorder to wash it clean, something Joseph was very particular about. As he reached the porch. Joseph waited for him there.
-No time for cleaning. Leave the cup on the table. Lock the door and come fast, Joseph roared.

Stephen did as he was instructed. Got into the car. Handed the keys to Joseph and turned the car on.
-Keep the keys. Give them to amma in the morning.
-And what should I tell her?
-Nothing. Just give them to her.
Stephen did not say or ask anything instead as he drove stared wondering about the strange relationship Joseph shared with the people he called his parents. Joseph did not look anything like them. And neither Joseph nor them never met each other or spoke to them although they lived in the same city.
If you teach them too much they’ll no longer like you. They’ll leave you alone in your old age and live off merrily with their educated wives.
May be that was the case with  Joseph and his parents too. They taught him so that he’d earn good and be with them in their old age and here he was, living away from them immersed in a world of his own. Kaka was right, should not teach kids too much, lest they forget where they come from.

-Would you mind driving a bit faster? We’re already running late.
-But sir the road… It is slippery. It is raining.
-Oh! Come on! Its quarter to two in the night. Delhi is sleeping for Christ’s sake! what kind of traffic do you expect on the road?
Stephen did not argue.

Joseph’s patience was running out.
First he comes late. Then argues for no reason. Nevertheless, good that I told him my flight’s at three, otherwise he’d have made sure I miss my flight.
If only I could get some sleep before I reach the chaos that is known as Delhi airport.
Does that even resemble an airport with all the construction on 24×7, 365 days of a year?, he often lamented.

Stephen switced on the radio in a bid to shake off the disturbing silence that had crept in. AIR, Joseph’s favorite channel.

AIR. Nothing beats AIR. Soulful music and sensible news for the connoisseur’s.
Joseph had been hooked to AIR and it’s late night classical music programs since his school days. And now a day into his fortieth year of existence and he still loved it.

Hmmm… Aida… ActII… Fu la sorte dell’ armi a’ tuoi funesta

The part where Aida tells Radames that her heart belongs to him eternally…Beautiful…
Long forgotten memories of her crop up in his heart and with them a bittersweet feeling, feelings and memories that often threatened to drown him in a sea of sorrow.
No. Thats not the case. Look. I do not believe in the Indian system of arranged marriages. And I haven’t had the time to seek the one that’ll complete me. Thats it. Nothing more.

The truth is, once long back, in the days of his youth, the spring of love flowed in his heart too. He too walked into the magical world of love and with him his dearest. But destiny was not on his side, for the journey ended far too soon. They parted ways unaware of what had hit them and while they walked their ways he resolved to make a shrine for her, a shrine for the most joyful days of his life. In a bid to preserve the memories and the life giving spring of love that once flowed through his heart.
Years later the spring dried up and the shrine was turned to nothing but a ruin, a rubble he shunned away from.
And she’ll promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden
Then she’ll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you’re bleedin’
But she’ll bring out the best
And the worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself

I should have gone back for her.

-Stop it, he shouted.
Stephen caught unaware, obliged.
-When would you be returning sir, what should I tell ammaji?
-Nothing. I’ll give you a call a day before I arrive. Get the keys from her. And make sure you reach at the airport on time.
-Yes sir.
-And please put on that Pink Floyd CD.

Stephen hated everything Joseph liked, music in particular, for English was a language which was beyond him and the music with all the loud guitars and drums made no sense and above all the screams and cries, nothing made sense. And they called this music.
Anyway, this torture will last just till he reaches the airport and then holiday till the beast gets back.

Hmmm… Mother. By Pink Floyd
Joseph’s favorite. He hated his parents. But never knew why. And this song gave him reasons. But wasn’t that what all parents did? Feed you with their ideas?
What have I become? All these years. Haven’t spoke to them. What have I turned into? A machine that  feeds on words, combines them in a particular fashion and spit out stories. A real Grammatizor imagined by Roald Dahl. They hurt me, I hurt them. Tit for tat. I am nothing but a beast that feeds on pain. Damn I should get in touch with them when I get back.

He saw a strong beam of light heading his way followed by a loud crashing sound and a sudden sense of paralysis as his eyes shut in pain. Blood oozed only to be washed away by the rain.

Hush, my baby. baby, dont you cry.
Mommas gonna make all of your nightmares come true.
Mommas gonna put all of her fears into you.
Mommas gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mommas gonna keep baby cozy and warm…




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