Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Who are you?" [Poem]

Don’t talk about what the world made of you!
Show me your insanity.
Shut your eyes. Be blind.
Be innocent. Have faith.
I am not the world -I am me!
Let’s start again, “who are you?”


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Deewana Dewaar Karigar[Short Fiction]

 The air was still. The floor polishers, hammers, saws and drills that groaned throughout the day rested silently like tired young children who have played longer than what they could endure.  The wooden support structure that served the purpose of enabling movement up and down the partially constructed building creaked as he bent forward. About three storeys high, he inclined at an impossible angle. Achieving it by resting his hands alternatively on the wall each time he scraped out the extra cement on the wall. His eye squinted in the flickering light to observe the protruding portions of the wall. His hand followed his vision and he gave a confirmative nod as his fingers felt the asymmetry of the surface. With a tiny metal piece that was strapped with sand paper on either side he started his chore. He blew away the chipped off excess cement in a practiced manner after every screeching stoke he made on the wall. His black hair was grey with dust. 

Here was a man, a perfectionist, an artist of his own kind- a Dewaar Kariger. Slight buzz of desi daaru, gentle breeze that made his skin feel soft like that of a child, the day mellowed down by the night and only a dash of yellow street lamp to add to the moonlight- that was when he worked his magic.  He would be summoned only for the luxurious buildings that demanded stark perfection. With the credit of smoothing the walls of great museums to MLA houses to perfection he was the man who needed no introduction. He was often referred as Deewana Dewaar Karigar, Museum Wala. With the exception of long lost family and childhood friends nobody knew his real name. He too preferred to be called- Deewana. His name Amit flooded him with memories of his mother calling out to him on the crowded street.  He preferred not to be reminded of the past.  Deewana was what he had become. And, the identity of Deewana Dewaar Karigar was his source of livelihood. 

It was only in the moments of solitude like this, when his hand monotonously preformed the act while his mind eased under the influence of little alcohol that he strayed into the streets of the past. Of a beautiful childhood, a social discord, a journey of discovering an art and, the evolving of an orphaned Amit into Deewana.   

“Arreh, spread it nicely. It should be smooth!” Kattu Kaka and his clicking of the tongue, “ Tch tch tch… Smooth Smooth..” he used to lift Amit’s hand and rub it against the wall. “Feel the flatness of the surface! Smooth… Smooth. Get it?”  He never liked Kattu Kaka as a kid but now he smiled whenever he thought about him. He had met him on one of the construction sites. He was struggling to pick up the bricks with his barely ten year old tender hands when Kattu Kaka had called out to him, “Oye Bacche! Come here.. leave those bricks and help me with this.”   He had instructed him squat on the floor next to cement mix poured into a pail and handed him a flat piece of metal with a handle. It was that 2 feet patch from the floor that Kattu Kaka found difficult to work on. Amit’s small frame could mange it with ease.  Kaka squatted next to him and showed him the basic movements to flatten the surface of a newly built wall. It was on one such occasion that Amit had discovered the beauty of the chore. 

The repeated reprimands and an occasional slap at the back of his head made Kattu Kaka a monster in his premature mind. When he was about twelve he fled to Kolkatta with a group of construction men he had befriended. Over the years he met many Dewaar Karigars in different places with different styles and approaches to the task but the artistry behind that job was Kattu Kaka’s gift to him.  However he appreciated the man he never thought of going back to him. He was by himself now. 

On the majestic smooth wall of a glorious building that gleamed under the golden rays of the sun nobody noticed the faint print of a kiss - an artist’s token of admiration of his own art.  When the morning dew settled on the wooden structure and traces of day appeared on the still dark sky, Deewan Dewaar Karigar slipped his tools into the back of his trouser and silently disappeared  with a couple of hundred that would nourish him with the required food and  make him dizzy with some alcohol. His price wasn’t the money it was that momentary escape into the life that was numbed by reality and that pride of having delivered a perfect art.

The End

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A momentary distraction [Short Fiction]

Life seemed to be stuck in a monotonous rut. Not that I had any complains about it but I wasn’t particularly happy either. I had a steady income, a wife who had adjusted to my life so well that I had the luxury to overlook my own children, not because I didn’t care for them but because I knew she could manage. I was walking towards my car after a regular day at work when I saw an ugly dent on the right edge of the bonnet. I had the insurance. I was calm but the thought that somebody wrecked my car and walked away free left me with an unsettled feeling. When I came a bit closer I saw a piece of paper flutter with it one edge clipped under the wiper. It read, “Sorry, a careless mistake. Was in a hurry so couldn’t wait. Call 98734-87632” an incomprehensible name was scribbled on the same paper, R… Re.. Rev… Argh some name. I tucked in the pocket and went straight to the garage to get it fixed. When the bill came up to 8k I decided to give the person a call.

What did I expect - A rough coarse voice of man, reckless, careless, picking the call only at the nth minute when the ring was about to die out. “Hello” A chirpy voice of who seemed like a charming lady spoke at the end other. A smile instantly crept on my lips. Not that I didn’t love my wife but it was the excitement of the unexpected tryst with an unfamiliar woman not initiated by myself but by chance. I glanced at the bill in my hand partly absent minded and partly unsure of my words. “I got your number on my dented car. Some hurry you were in!” She let out a big “Oh!” almost like that bit was erased from her memory and this sudden reminder had saddened her. “I am soooooo sorry!” How typical! Isn’t that what every woman says? As amusing as it was I wasn’t ready to let go of the 8k bill her sorry had caused, “Could you please let me know how I am going to be reimbursed for the damage caused?” I put it out right there like a jackass. I didn’t want to be gentleman; I didn’t want to be the good guy. I had no need to. I didn’t have to impress anybody. “Yes.. yes… That is exactly why I left my number. Oh I am Raksha by the way. And you are?”

I was waiting at the entrance of a fifteen storied structure some, Royal Arcade. When she came it was very easy to spot her. She was in hurry, almost like her feet moved at a fast pace mindlessly. Her neck was bent towards the right and her mobile locked safe between the grip of her shoulder and the tilted head. I was ready to let go of the initial impression of a dumb woman oh was she charming or what! She gave a sheepish smile when I waved my hand at her and pulled out the cash in an elegantly wrapped paper. Her transparent features played regret when she said, “I am sorry! I am soo sooo sorry!” Before I could think any better I heard myself speak, “Don’t bother. I have insurance. I just wanted to see who caused the damage. I am not disappointed I must say. A cup of coffee?”

It never occurred to me the thought of wife, the mother of my children. I flirted like a college boy, amused by every silly thing she did. Just, when, we were about part and say our goodbyes I suggested the next meet, “You are an interesting woman. You should definitely meet my wife. You both should get along very well. Do come by sometime.” Her eyebrows furrowed almost instantly and I walked away with smile. A momentary distraction and nothing more is what a man needs.

The End

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Midnight Ballet [Short Fiction]

The room was elegant. It displayed a profound association with artistic taste. The antique furniture, huge photographs of a ballet dancer framed in creative wooden bends, the shade of mystic orange adorning the walls and the royal cutlery charmingly peeking from cupboards of various sizes were the proof. The fragile old woman who catches wisps of sleep on a metallic chair looks out of place -a misfit in her own house, a jarring present of a glorious past. 

It is only when the tuned television blares into a merry ballet song that she opens her eyes, puckering her lips into a smile. Though her old self is a stark contrast to the woman in the photographs there is no doubt about the dancer she had been when her face beams as she rubs her eyes to catch the ballet on the television. She lifts her delicate arms and swings them to the music with perfection like they were given to her just to be able to do that. A melodious hum matches her little dance and she swivels her wheel chair in sync with the rhythm.  A joy fills her heart, elates her feet gives them the life they do not have.  The sorrows of an unfortunate event that cut short her majestic career suddenly and a lonely life that followed her into the old age are too insignificant, too unworthy of this one hour of her day. Her eyes remain closed but she sees a stage. 

This is that one hour that she dances her way into the past, not with her body but her soul. It is divine to feel no limitation, no boundary to the joy. To feel detached from the existence of an earthly being and rising to be a dancer who paints emotions with the twists and twirls, rhythm and beats. The remaining hours of the day were like that waiting before an on stage performance. Her heart looking forward for the clock to strike eleven, her ears anticipating the music they would play today and the audience were her belongings in the house which gathered dust only to be shaken to the vibrations of a song.  It was all she lived for- that performance in her own midnight ballet.

It was not a match to the performances she had given in the past but the world it transported her into- that was the best appreciation she had ever received. Someday she would silently close her eyes never to open them again. To get transported into that world of ballet forever and make a grand entrance to - another stage?

P.S: The story is inspired by this image.

The Story

“What the hell happened?”
“What is wrong with you?”
“Are you serious?”
“Stop kidding now!”

Well, these are the exact words in which people expressed their reaction to the news-“I am getting married”
Some of them were close friends, a few not so great friends but by and large people I wanted to share the news with. While I wasn’t very surprised how they found it too hard to believe I was amazed by how each and every person who got to know about the news reacted in the same manner. I give myself a pat on my back. Wow, I startled everyone including me.  I had very strong opinion about arranged marriages or love marriages rather marriages all together! I was often vocal about these opinions too and here I am declaring that I am getting engaged to a guy I have known for barely a month and that I had made the decision to get married to him over just two days. Shocking! I know. 

Now that I have experienced something amazing I want to put it out there- this decision of mine which seems too sudden and out of the blue for many.  I don’t want to sound too cliché and tell you all what is not true- I will not tell you it was love at first sight and all the crap. Here is the how it happened-

It took incredible amount of coaxing and cajoling from my mom who turned the world around to make me understand there was nothing wrong in meeting a guy – it is not like you will get married the next moment. Take your time, decide for or against it. But give it a try. I pushed myself reluctantly and literally ate the head of every friend around me trying to gather as much as understanding of the situation I was suddenly in. An open mind was needed. I decided to be bluntly frank, no different than who I am and seriously give it a chance and consider the guy.

As judgmental, fussy and choosy as I seem- I was always looking for those minor appreciable qualities- A mind that looks at life like I do and is able to converse and hold my attention, startle me with every word that’s spoken. I found it and I was amazed. In a matter of first few hours I found myself trying to calm down, think rationally and not get too excited about what I can possibly discover about this man. Intuition was another thing. You must be familiar with the over used and abused statement, “You will know when the right one comes along.” I can vouch for it now- That stupid cliché fancy line is true!! I would have laughed had I heard from someone else but that is bloody well true! However, I should tell you that since life is no fairytale, I brushed the intuition aside and used every iota of my brain in understanding the implications of getting involved with him, making him a part of my already awesome life.  

 I am amazed at how someone I never knew existed shared the same thoughts and similar understanding of life, had the exact opinions and expectations from a marriage. I kept wondering as he spoke- is this really happening? Everything I discovered about him made me like him a little more. The surprise was written all over my face- I was left speechless and breathless.  We both were very aware of the vibe, of the rapport we had discovered. Very aware that we had little time, we shared the most unpleasant things about ourselves rather than the good aspects and saw how the other person took it. When all the skeletons were out of the cupboard it didn’t seem too scary and we figured we can live with each other and perhaps live very well. 

Few people who got to know the news couldn’t help conceal their fears and concerns which I understand because I answered all of these by myself before I said yes-

1.       Are you ready for this?- There is never a defined time when you can say I am ready for a marriage. Many people also ask- do you have the maturity to handle it. How the heck do I know.. It is not like a trial and error thing. Honestly, because I have found a guy who I believe is the best companion I could have found I will be present and live every minute of the relationship and willingly part my life with him. That is all I know and rest is that beautiful word called – FAITH

2.       Why so early?- I want to question back in answer- Do you ever postpone joy?

3.   What about your career? Of course no compromises on that. I wouldn’t have liked him if he didn’t understand that. 

4.     You barely know him. How can you know?- You can’t complete the understanding cycle in a matter of months or years- it takes a lifetime. Whatever little I know about him gives me that faith and belief that I want to take that risk of become his companion. And, I want that lifetime to discover little things about him and be amazed each day. 

5.     Can you deal with the change?- I’ve found a guy who likes who I am and who wouldn’t want to change the way I live my life. There are many new things that come with a marriage, I agree.  But it will continue to be just me in a different situation of life.

6.       Why arranged?- Because it found me the guy I felt like marrying. 

P.S: Engagement 29th Feb 2012 and Wedding 28th July 2012


And, there goes my story. :')
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