Category Archives: Story

Fictional stories

A Lot Of Thinking…

“I’m getting married next week!” she said.

And his world came crashing down. Life would never be the same again!

But he would obviously put up a brave face. After all, it had entirely been his fault. He had started off the relationship with the premise that it was to be only a fling, and nothing more. It would have no seriousness, and while it may have all the emotions of a conventional relationship, it would never progress to a level where it becomes difficult to live life normally.

Clearly, he had not stuck to his end of the deal – he had fallen in love. Or so it would seem to an external observer, in such a scenario. Because, while he was indeed hurt by the declaration, it was not so much because he was in love with her; he was in fact in love with no one but himself. It was more becuase she represented a lot more to him than what she should have represented.

She was an epitome of life passing by, of things changing, and of people taking stock of their lives and moving on. And while he understood, nay, he made himself believe that everything is alright and that he’d also get to that stage of life soon, his mind would not let him accept that.

They were friends, that changed into a mild relationship that fizzled out soon primarily because he was not ready, and she felt left high and dry. They came together again, only to decide that this time, it would not be emotional. Fair enough; they went from friends to friends with benefits. But it would be unfair to say that their relationship was purely physical, because they spend a fair bit of time just talking to each other, about life, principles and perspectives.

So when she declared that she had finally found the person of her dreams, of her choice, someone with whom she was willling to spend her life with, he went through a range of emotions, including disbelief, reluctant acceptance, self deprecation, and finally fact finding.

What was it exactly that bothered him more? The fact that she was getting married, or the fact that he wasn’t? He’d agree to the later – simply because he didn’t particularly care about her, or for that matter any other person. Then what aspect of him not being married bothered him? Ah, now this would be a tough one to answer, because he wasn’t too sure; in some senses, he was too afraid of what would the answer turn out to be!

But he knew it all too well – the physical is but just a perk. It was the emotional, and the ego. Someone to call his own, someone to start a family with, someone to show off, someone to talk to when the going gets tough, and someone to share the good things in life with!

The natural and logical progression of thought would be – if he cared so deeply about these things, and if he was capable of thought, why was he denying himself a proper relationship, something he could have had any time he wanted, with some exceptional partners, if not anyone of his liking. And this he wanted answers to, but didn’t have. At least not yet.

He had a lot of thinking to do.

Advertisements

Dus Bahane

“So, where are we going to go for the movie?”

“I haven’t decided, yet.”

“Well, I need to pick out a dress.”

“Eh? How does that matter.”

“Oh, it does. I need to figure out how smartly I can dress.” Smart was her euphemistic way of saying how many layers she could drop off. “And also if we are going to have dinner.”

“Look, it’s not a date. It’s just a movie. Simple.” Rohit did not want her to get ideas. Once he had invited her to his college party, and she had absolutely eaten up his head with the pre-party prep! It was simply fortunate (for him, of course) that her mom fell ill, and she had to cancel at the last minute. Thankfully too, the party had turned really wild, and he did not want Zarine to be there; after all, not everyone is as saintly as him.

“Still…”

“Fine, I’ll let you know.”

“It’s not that way. I just don’t get out that often, you see.”

“And just why not?”

“There’s no company.”

“…”

“No, seriously. I’m just so lonely. You go out partying and enjoying yourself. I feel so jealous. It is unfair!”

Not knowing how to react to this, but saying ‘Look, I have a girlfriend. I handle her problems, and those are enough!’ did not seem right in his head. So he said nothing.

“Just let me know when you decide, alright?”

“Yep! I’ll.” He did not want to get into the discussion about how she should mix up with other people et al all over again this time.

Later that night, Zarine does her head-poking-in-from-the-door thing again: “Hey, you wanna come downstairs with me?”

“Hmmm. Why, what’s up?”

“Oh, nothing. Dad forgot to lock the car, so I’m going down to lock it. I could do with some company.”

“Okay.” Rohit didn’t have to even think for an excuse; Zarine was well prepared, hitting where it hurt. She wore a translucent night gown that did more than justice to her curves. Of course, it could be coincidental, but one couldn’t help a wandering mind.

“It’s getting a bit cold, isn’t it?”

‘Well, if you wear that, what do you expect?’ “Yes, gets quite chilly in the mornings.”

“Yes. And I have to go get fresh flowers for the morning puja. I hate to do that in this weather.”

“Why don’t you ask the vendor to bring them home?”

“Oh, he comes in too late. I prefer to be done with it before I do anything else.”

“Well…”

“Do you want to sit inside the car for a bit? Maybe listen to the radio? Come on, just get in…” Zarine had cut him and his argument, suddenly tugging at his arm.

“Um… sure!” Only the strong can resist a puppy face. Coupled with an outfit like that. And all the pulling.

“Yaay! Let’s see what’s playing… Maybe something romantic?”

‘Pop should be fine, really. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves!’ Instead, Rohit offers expectant silence. Dus bahane karke le gayi dil plays on the radio.

“Hold my hand. And sing along! Dus bahane karke…”

Thanks Adi for the song reco.

A Cold Night

It was a cold January night. Colder than usual. Much colder than usual. He shivered – the standard issue jacket didn’t seem to work; it was largely unsuccessful keeping the cold out and the heat in. Some weather, he reckoned. Rather be in the tropics, drinking iced tea, than be here, struggling even to hold the glass cup containing rum and coffee. The room was only marginally warmer, and everything inside was freezing cold to touch. He snuggled inside the blanket and tried to sleep, rolling himself into a ball with the blanket covering him head-to-toe.

But sleep eluded him. Not because it was cold; cold is secondary when one is tired enough and Sleep just comes. But because his mind wouldn’t let him. He kept playing the incident over and over again in his mind. He felt colder every time he did that. His extremities were numb, even though he had curled them for minimum exposure. He was trying to breathe out hot air, hoping the blanket would trap some in; didn’t quite seem like it was working, it felt progressively colder.

And then he felt warmer. It was something that started from his chest and slowly spread all across his body. He couldn’t figure out at first, he was too busy relishing the warm feeling, as if he has nestled between the welcoming arms of a giant panda. Or maybe that of  sizzling chocolate fudge. It felt like heaven. Slowly, feeling returned to his hands, and he felt wet. His brain pondered: this doesn’t make sense; why am I feeling wet? His mind though couldn’t care less; it wanted to continue with the amazing feeling.

And that is how he bled to death.

They found him later, drowned in his own blood, now dry and clotted, with a smile of satisfaction on his face.

Jab We Met

Ding dong!

“Ma, open the door!”

Ding—dong!

“Ma?”

“MA!?”

Diiiiiiing dong!

Groggy and not wanting to get up, Rohit opens the door. Zarine pokes her head in. You’ve got to admit, there’s a certain something to girls in the early morning – all the freshness and innocence accumulates in them over the night. It was a picture perfect pose. She was wearing a sleeveless yellow suit with a hint of black embroidery, over blue jeans. Something better break Rohit out of his reverie.

“Hey! Still sleeping, eh? I thought so. I’ve got something for you.”

“Huh? Yeah! Come on in.”

“I’ve made pasta today. You love Pasta, don’t you?”

“Hmm…” Rohit took the covered bowl from her, and put it on the dining table, wondering where everyone at home had disappeared.

“Did you get my message yesterday night?”

“Yeah, but my cell was not in front of me. I saw it too late; I thought you’d have slept by then.”

“Oh! No worries. So tell me, what did you do all these days?”

“Usual stuff. Nothing extraordinary. What about you?”

“I thought you’d never ask. I’m working on this project with dad’s clients. If they like my work, they may ask me to join part-time.”

“That’s great.”

“Yeah, but I don’t know if I’ll join.”

“Why?” Rohit asked, and instantly regretted it.

“It’s complicated. There’s so much work at home, I hardly have any time.”

“Hmm…”

“That’s beside the point. So go on, have my pasta. Tell me how it is!”

Happy at being let off without a fight, Rohit: “Yeah, let me at least brush!”

“Sure, go ahead. I’ll go back for now. Let me know how it is.”

Later, on Gtalk: “So, how was it?”

‘How was what? Oh yeah, the pasta.’ “It was good! I really loved the olives.”

“:-)”

“You know what?”’

Almost as if it were a dare: “What?”

“I made the pasta just for you. I’m so happy that you liked it!”

“:-)”, he had a heart too, you know.

“So…”

No response.

“Did you see Jab We Met?”

“No.”

“Me neither. But it sure will be my favouritest movie. The songs are so lovely.”

“Hmm…”

“Acha, let’s go and see it.”

Panic: “When?”

“Whenever you want. I’m always free. It is your time that is more important.”

Trying to fight his way out: “I don’t do many Hindi movies.”

“Then let’s go and watch something else. I’m so bored, yaar.”

Realizing there’s little he can do now, except commit for now and ditch later: “No, it’s ok, we’ll go on Tuesday.”

“:-D”

“:-)”

“Thank you soooo much!”

Pity, really. “I’ll brb.”

“brb?”

303

“Hey, when did you get back?” Zarine asked, with big round eyes barely able to hide a strange mixture of excitement, pleasure and relief.

“Two days back. I flew in on Thursday morning.” Rohit said, rather casually.

“And you didn’t call me back. I left a message with your mom.”

“Well you know how it is, unpacking and all that… I just didn’t get the time!”

Zarine knew that this would be his oft used excuse. She never really understood what was it that made Rohit behave that way with her. Sure, he’s accomplished a lot more in life than her, but that is only because environment was conducive for him, as much as it wasn’t for her.

“That’s ok. So what did you get for me?”

“Um… Hold on a bit, let me see… Here it is, beautiful isn’t it?”

The face mask was indeed quite beautiful, with intricate designs in red, black and peacock blue. “Yes, it’s amazing! Thanks so much!”

“I’m glad you love it.”

“Hey listen, I got to rush. It’s already seven, and I’ve not started work; people at home will get mad!”

“Sure, we’ll catch up later.”

“Yes, of course. I want to see all the photos!”

Rohit received an SMS soon after: “Thank you so much for getting the mask for me. It meant a lot!” His only thought: ‘Oh well’; and that was the end of it. Later on he gets the call:

“Hey Rohit, it’s Zarine.”

“Hey!”

“Are you outside?”

“Yes, with friends.”

“Oh! I thought you’d be at home.”

“No. Anything up?”

“Not really. Just. It’s ok, I’ll call you back later.”

“Um, alright.”

Zarine didn’t want to blurt it out, but she was dying for a release. Being the younger of the two sisters in a somewhat conservative family, there were only so many people she could talk to; and with her sister getting married two years ago, this set reduced further.

Another SMS later in the night: “Are you awake?”

Rohit ignored it. It is not like he doesn’t know what is going on. He wasn’t the one to get involved with her. He had been in a relationship for some time now. Sure, Zarine was beautiful, and there were times he had thought about it. But there was just too much baggage. He didn’t want anything to do with it, if at all possible. It wasn’t that easy, considering she lived almost next door. And their families were friends.

The Organized Guy

“Hello?”

“Hi Shweta! This is Rohan…”

“Oh hiya! Long time, no contact. How’ve you been?”

“Good… Can’t complain. How are your CA finals coming up?”

“Aarggh… Don’t ask!”

“But I already did…”

“Yeah, well… Classes in the morning, office during the day, cram-cram-cram in the night!”

“Heh! Don’t worry… A small price for you to pay to score top-of-the-class!”

“Oh look who’s saying…”

“Actually, the reason I called is to check if your bro still has his GMAT material. I needed the Princeton CDs for practice. He took his GMAT some time back, right?”

“Yeah, I think he’d have a copy. I’ll ask.”

“Cool. That’d be great!”

“And what else is new? When’s your GMAT?”

“Work, this and that… GMAT is in two weeks, and frankly, I’ve a lot of catching up to do.”

“No worries, you’ll definitely crack it. What are your plans after that?”

“I’m not entirely sure; I am planning to apply to ISB, NUS, INSEAD… Don’t think the ivy leagues would be interested in me, but let’s see… If I actually score something like 780 or higher, I’ll consider applying to them as well. If I get something like 750 then I’ll stick to my list… Somewhere in between, and I’ll still apply to some American schools…”

“Ah, here goes Rohan, ever so organized. I wish my life were all planned out, like yours…”

“You have no idea what it actually is like… But never mind…”

“Do you want to catch up, say coffee, sometime later this week?”

“Um, I’d love to, but I don’t really know if I have the time just about now… How about after my GMAT?”

“You’re the boss!”

“Heh! Thanks… Do ask your bro about his GMAT stuff, and let me know. Will arrange to get it picked up from your place.”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Cya, then… And best of luck for your prep!”

“Yeah, need all that I can get! Bye for now!”

The Blue Angel

Rohan silently unlocked the main door with his keys, and tip-toed into the living room. He probably wasn’t silent enough, because his mom called after him.

“Rohan, are you home?”

“Yes, ma! I just came in.”

“What time is it? Go, freshen up. I’ll serve you dinner.”

“Um, okay. Is dad alseep?”

“Yes, he has a meeting early in the morning tomorrow. He’d probably be gone before you even wake up!”

“Hmmm… I wanted to discuss some stuff with him…”

“What stuff?”

“Na, nothing urgent.”

“Here, I’ve made your favourite stuffed brinjal. Would you like an apple along with food?”

“Oh, thanks ma!”

“So, how’s work?”

“Meh… Nothing extraordinary. This and that, really.”

“Did you have your mid-term appraisal, yet?”

“Um, no.”

“Why? When is it scheduled? And what about your GMAT studies? On target, eh?”

“I’m really not in the mood, right now, ma!”

“Oh well! When are you in the mood, these days, anyway?”

“Ma…”

“Is there anything wrong? Something at work? You need to talk to me, Rohan.”

“Yes, ma… Maybe some other time…”

Rohan hurriedly stuffed himself with the stuffed brinjals, if you’d pardon my pun. It was indeed a delicious dish, and his mom’s brief departure to choose, wash and cut an apple for him afforded him some solace in which he could enjoy his food. But the fun times didn’t last too long.

“Tell me, Rohan, are you seeing someone?”

Chomb… Chomb… Bite…

“Rohan, eat properly. What’s with all the stuffing? It’s not going to run away!”

“Yes, ma, I know. It’s just that I need to hurry up and rush back to my studies.”

“You know, if you ask me, I think you are just spreading yourself too thin. Take a break! I was just telling your dad today, we need a vacation, just like the old times, when you were just a kid…”

“I don’t know… I’m not too particularly keen on a vacation just now. Why don’t you guys go?”

“We could obviously go, but we’d like you to come with us…”

“Hmm…”

“Anyway, what time does your highness wish to get up tomorrow?”

“I’ll set up the alarm, ma. I’ll get up.”

“Yes, I know how you’ll get up. If we didn’t wake you up everyday, you’d never make it to office before lunch!”

“Alright! I think 9am should be fine…”

“Why don’t you go to sleep early, wake up early, and study then? That way you’d be able to meet dad in the morning…”

“Ma! Let’s not get into this all over again! The brinjal was really good… Now, I’ll go do my studying!”

Rohan got up, washed his hands, walked into his room, and closed the door behind him. His mom sighed, wondering what was it that was bothering her dearest. In his room, Rohan gazed at the blue angel figurene, a gift, thinking about that one particular question among the entire conversation: Where did that come from, suddenly? Did she find something about Rashi and me?

The Haze

“Ting-Ding”, rang the conductor’s bell, and the bus moved on. Rohan had his mobile held close to his ear; he was almost in tears, talking to his girlfriend.

“But I… I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. It’s the same old rut. I don’t quite like my job. I’m stonewalled there. This life isn’t worth living. And I feel so sorry for you, this is just unfair.”

“Awww baby, don’t say that. Things will change, as you’ve always wanted them to be… You are already working hard on improving your life… I understand if we have to compromise, I can deal with it.”

“Now you’re just making me feel guilty. You deserve so much better. I’m trying. Really hard. But… But, I’m like… All lost, nowhere to run… In a dense haze, with no clarity whatever… I need to… I need to… I…”

The slight drizzle outside accentuated the pause, silent tears running down Rohan’s cheeks. He choked for the barrage of emotions, and saw himself reflected in the now shut window. Conscious, he wiped the tears off his face.

“Look, I love you. Whatever happens. It is unconditional. I know you have the potential, Rohan, and I know you’ll redeem yourself. Just have patience Just be patient.”

Rohan felt another pang of guilt, as if white cotton were stuffed down his throat.

“Rohan, are you there?”

“Hmm… Yeah… I’m here. Sorry. I understand. I love you too.”

“Are you crying, Rohan?”

“Um…”

“Hey, don’t get worked up over this. Things will work out in the end. I know. I believe. I should’ve been there with you, right now, but it’s so late…”

“Heh! The bus is almost at my stop, I need to get off. Can I call you back later?”

“Sure… Are you going to be up late, tonight?”

“Probably, only two weeks to my GMAT.”

“I’ll call you then, before I go off to sleep. Else we can talk tomorrow. No worries. You take care.”

“I gotta go now. Bye…”

“Bye…”

Rohan gets got off and it started pouring. He checked his watch for the time, and walked down the lane to his building, wondering how things would turn out in the end.

———–

EDIT NOTE: I’m trying to use a style where the dialogues are in the present, and the narration is in the past. Let me know what you think about it.

Some grammatical errors corrected. (11/05)