June 27, 2009 § 5 Comments
[written long ago…am not reponsible for any puke arising out of reading all the cliches in this story 😀 ]
He looked at her. She was smiling, talking to all the friends who had gathered to watch the movie. He stood away from that crowd, immersed in his own thoughts with a can of soda in his hand. He looked at her again. How he missed her. And yet wanted to be away from her. He couldn’t understand. There’s a lot you don’t understand, he told himself and sipped from the can. He looked at her, as she smiled when the guy held her hand standing beside her, talking to her friends. He looked away. He called him ‘the guy’, even though she had introduced the both of them and he knew his name. She wanted him to like the guy. Like that has a chance in hell. He smirked.
He looked at the people in the plaza, people eating at the food mall, people talking, people thinking, some deep in thought. Somebody must be watching me too, wondering what that guy with the soda is thinking.
“She talks about you a lot, you know”, the guy had come and stood next to him and was blabbering.
“(Oh god. Now i’ve got to talk to this guy. And listen to a speech. Help me God)”, he looked to the sky.
“She sees you as one her best friends”, the guy blabbered on.
“Hmm (Oh god, please don’t let him say what I think he will say, please)”
“She still has feelings for you”, the guy said, with a sombre expression.
“(Damn it). Look dude, you come here looking all sombre and noble and tell me that your girlfriend has feelings for me. What are you asking me to do? Take her away from you? Or do you want me to give you a speech telling you some crap about how it isnt meant to be and that you should keep her happy, and that if you dont keep her happy or you hurt her, I’ll come and kick your butt till kingdom comes? Sorry man, I dont operate like that. I’m not the hero here, you are.”
She looked at them. They were talking. Although it didn’t look like it was too cordial. Why was he waving his hands like that? Why did he crush the can in his hand? I’d better go and calm him down she thought. She didn’t have to.
Someone had come up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. He spun around, looked at her and smiled. Not the usual one which he reserves for friends and me nowadays, she thought. This was his special smile, for that someone special. Special, my foot, she thought. What was this? Was she jealous? No, no, that can’t be it. She can’t be jealous of some girl who had waltzed into his life just some days ago. It wasn’t as if he was in love with her or anything. Just boyfriend-girlfriend business. The usual. He was like that. He was THE commitment phobe, if there ever was one. But something about this girl bothered her. The way he looked at her, he might actually fall in love with this one. Nasty thought that. But why should she care? She was in a relationship of her own, she was happy with her guy. Even if he didn’t like her guy. The feeling was mutual. She didn’t like his girl either.
As she walked towards them, he looked at her and smiled. She smiled back. As their eyes met, both of them knew, in their hearts, that they would never be happy without each other. But then, both of them thought, not everybody is meant to be happy.
June 18, 2009 § 8 Comments
He woke up in his chambers. He sat up on his bed. Bones creaked. He felt old. He looked at himself in the mirror as he got up from the bed. He smiled. Perhaps the only time he would smile in he entire day. He knew he had along day ahead of him. There would be the court, the war briefings, the planning sessions, the training. There was a war coming. And he had to be a part of it.
He’d rather not. Who wants to fight against one’s own kin anyways? Kids he’d practically raised were going to fight a war against each other. He’d tried to stop them, to see reason. But they wouldn’t listen. He was going to see most of his family wiped out by the end of the battle, if he lived till the end of it. Such was his destiny, he was sure he’d live through the war, if only to bear the agony of a thousand deaths inflicted on him.
He’d endured worse in his life though. Born to a human father and a mother who was a Goddess, he’d been destined to live a life of suffering. He’d heard this all his life, spoken by the storytellers and sung by the balladeers. But even they knew only a fraction of the many terrible decisions he had had to make through the course of his life.
One of which was the awfully terrible oath he’d had to take, just so that his father could marry some princess fisherman’s daughter* he’d fancied. He had decided to take the oath to be celibate all his life, just so that his father could have a go at creating babies with that girl. He chuckled at the thought.
Terrible oath to take that. Really. Imagine being hit on by women all through your life, but knowing that you cannot respond in kind. Ever. Not that he’d never thought of it, but he had a promise to keep. And real men never break a promise. He wished he could be a fake man, just for five minutes, so that he could break the promise. He chuckled at his own(rather bad) joke.
Speaking of women, and being hit on, he wondered if Amba’s reincarnation would be present in this war. If it was, then his time was up. Lord Shiva had himself granted her the boon that her reincarnation would be the cause of his death. And all this because he’d refuse to marry her. She was very good looking, come to think of it. And he had actually fought for her hand in marriage at the swayamvar. So that his brother could marry her. Why the hell did he end up doing things so that others could get laid? Damn that stupid oath.
A messenger has come to see you, your highness. Lord Bhishma will be with you shortly, he could hear the servant tell the visitor. Bhishma, the name sounded weird on his tongue. Like something alien. He’d never been able to get used to it. His name was Devavrath, but hardly anybody remembered his real name anymore. Everybody called him Bhishma. He of the terrible oath.
*subsequent to mrinal’s correction
April 1, 2009 § 4 Comments
“Bye”, she said. He replied using some random noise that his throat came up with in such times. And he tried to smile. She smiled back at him and disappeared through the train door onto the platform.
He sat in the compartment for some time before heading out onto the platform himself. He had known her for only 12 hours – the duration of the journey. But corny as it may sound, he felt he’d known her his entire life. They had talked the entire night, hadn’t they? And they had so much in common…
He shook his head. There you go again, he said to himself. The sequence of meeting a girl on a train, falling in love with her and living happily ever after only happens in the movies. And this is no movie, this is real life.
At the other end of the platform, she climbed the stairs to the over-bridge. He was different, this one. Something very different about him. Something knowingly different. Almost like déjà-vu. She felt silly, thinking in such terms. Meeting the guy of your dreams on a train journey, falling for him and living happily ever has happened only once in the history of human civilization. That event was Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. And her life was no DDLJ.
Soche Dil Ke aisa kaash ho,
Tujh ko ek nazar meri talash ho,
Jaise Khwaab hai aankhon mein base meri,
Waise neendon pe silwate pade teri…
February 10, 2009 § 3 Comments
The Mediator sat on one of the benches at one the promenades that dotted Hussainsagar. It was Valentine’s Day. Couples strolled on the walkways, holding hands, whispering sweet nothings to their partners(what are these sweet nothings?, he thought, what is it that makes these girls blush and the guys, well…er…happy? ; he decided he was better off without knowing). Policemen strolled in twos along the promenade, they had been put on duty here to make sure that the couples are not bothered by the moral police(specifically the Shri Raju Sene, a group of single, spurned Satyam Engineers who wanted to do nothing better than to bash up software guys who weren’t single). He often wondered what made young men in groups beat up defenseless couples. Was it ideology? Religion? A zeal to hold up their idea of moral values? To feel good about themselves? Or was it just to have a good time? He decided that the answers didn’t lie there. The answer was plain and simple: they were just jealous of things they couldn’t have, of what they couldn’t be and they had lashed out at the slightest bit provocation that was offered. It is one of the basest human instincts, jealousy and it makes people do the stupidest of things, he reasoned.
It was a bad day to be single, this. Worse than normal days, that is. Much worse. He sat with music playing on his iPod,
Our Candle burns away, the ashes full of lies,
I gave my soul to you, you cut me from behind,
Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide,
You’re scared of the truth and I’m tired of the lies…
He had noticed that the colour red and its variations had suddenly become omnipresent in the run up to Valentine’s Day. Discs and Pubs, Hotels and Restaurants, Shops and Malls, all turned to these colours to attract love st(r)uck couples. He had nothing against the colour, except that he hated it. And it also brought about rare vestiges of rage back in him, something to do with the colour or the day. He didn’t remember. Maybe he didn’t want to. The iPod went on,
Why’d you have to up and run away?
A million miles away
I want to close my eyes and make believe
That I never found you…
Life is particularly difficult for people in long distance relationships on this day. They want to personally go and whisper sweet nothings(what the hell are sweet nothings?) to their beloved on this most special of all days; instead of relying on a cell phone network to get their point across. But they did manage, and very enthusiastically at that.
One such sample was now striding across the promenade to come and sit next to him. “Valentines Day! Such a wonderful day, when everyone can express their love to each other. Like me to my girlfriend and she to me, even though we live so far apart. Life is beautiful today, isn’t it?" The Mediator felt a weird sensation of déjà vu at this stranger coming upto him and talking as if they were long lost friends. He looked behind him, wondering whether the stranger was talking to someone else. Nope. "Beautiful weather, isn’t it?", the stranger said. The Mediator just nodded and continued staring out. "Wonderful weather to be out with someone special", said the guy. The Mediator shifted a little, away from the guy, unsure of what he was getting at.
"Valentine’s day is wonderful!", the stranger continued, "its like the entire universe changes, life itself changes, the colours in the sky. But best of all, there is something in the air, something indefinable. Something that strikes all of us, something nobody can escape. There’s that kind of tingly feeling, like electricity that courses through the air this day. There’s something in the air. Something intangible. But its there, right?. Don’t you feel it, dude? What do you say, isn’t there something in the air?" He looked at the mediator.
The feeling of déjà vu was now complete. This guy was asking for it. The Mediator sighed. He inhaled and sneezed the type of sneeze that has the potential to spread a cold virus to all people within a 5 foot diameter. This guy was only 3 feet away. He had no chance. “Sorry about that. Yes, there is something in the air. Its known as the flu virus. I guess you know what that is.” The guy looked stunned and a little afraid. The Mediator got up and walked away. A thin smile forming on his lips. Idiot. There’s one born every Valentine’s Day. The iPod blared away,
So lie to me once again
And tell me everything will be alright…
Lie to me once again
And ask yourself before we say good bye.
Well good bye…
Was it worth it in the end?
[The song is Lie to me by 12 stones]
May 8, 2008 § 5 Comments
It was a hot, dusty day in the town of Naakhodda (Naak-o-da) in the Kathiawad region of rural Gujarat. Himace was 14, talented at music and a regular fixture at the dandia orchestra. Himace was also in love. With Sayyoni, his neighbour. But more about that later.
Himace was, as I said, talented. But not at studies. It didn’t help that he only had one expression in class. He looked like he was angry at the teacher and teachers generally don’t like that. He also spoke of himself in the third person. For eg, when told to write a essay on “My Best Friend” Himace wrote:
Himace is very popular. Himace has lots of friends. But the best friend that Himace has is Himace. Jai Mata Di. Lets Rock!!
Oh, did I mention that Himace had another problem, a small problem. He would shout out, “Jai Mata Di. Lets Rock!!” every half an hour. This created a lot of problems in class, especially with classroom discipline and many attribute his schooling troubles to this.
And he had other problems. Sayyoni was one. She was a very good friend of his. His heart ached to be with her. But because he had only one expression(yes the angry/constipated look), she could never get it. Yet Himace nursed his love for Sayyoni, composing songs for her, writing music for her. Unbeknown to Himace, Sayyoni had a boyfriend. And the boyfriend was Huzoor (hey, it was a small town, people in small towns name their kids funny, I tell you! :D). Anyways, this Huzoor was quite a jealous fellow. Whenever Sayyoni talked of her good friend Himace, Huzoor would secretly be very very angry. He wanted Sayyoni for himself, she was his and she should talk only about him, he reasoned. He longed to bash up that Himace.
It was dandia season and Himace was performing at the community garba. He decided to propose to sayyoni that night. On Stage. He sang the following song:
Apne zulfon pe meri ungliyaan rehne do,
Apne hothon pe meri galtiyan rahne do,
Apne seene mein meri daastaan rehne do…
Yaara sach kehna
Jis tarah pyaar hai mere dil mein,
Hai tere dil mein bhi,
Yaara jhoot na bolna, sach kehnaa…
I love you, O sayyoni,
Jai Mata Di,
Lets Rock!! (pumps fist in air and exits stage)
Naturally, Sayyoni was shocked. She ran out of the dandia hall, to her house. Himace saw her leave. He tried following her. But Himace was waylaid by Huzoor and his goons. Himace was surrounded. He was scared, but he did not show it (rather he could not show it, he just seemed angry to the goons, who naturally, got more merciless). Himace fought the goons valiantly. The air of Naakhodda was rent with “Jai Mata Di, Lets Rock!!” as Himace pounded the goons, striking fear into their hearts with his cries. But the numbers were too many. Before long, Himace was subdued. Huzoor punched him on his nose and tore his hair off. And left him there. Bleeding from the nose and with a bald patch on his head, Himace lay there, thinking. He blamed Sayyoni, he blamed Huzoor, he blamed himself. He should never have loved her that much. He wasn’t sure if he ever could love somebody again. He looked angrier now, but the truth was that he was sad, very sad. Himace got up. He wanted to go home. As he wobbled home, he found a cap in one of the alleys. He dusted the dirt off the cap and wore it.
The next day, at the dandia hall, as the curtain rose off the stage, a boy with a cap and angry expression appeared on stage and started singing,
“OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Huzoooorrrr…..Tera Teraa Tera….. Kusoooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..”