I write so I can breathe. I am constantly evolving, mindless at times, frustrating even perhaps but heck, I wouldn't change the smell of freedom that comes with writing.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Kohl That Smudged

Brown eyes smudged in kohl
the remains of ungodly hours
betray the pain
bespeak the torturous journey
of one more night
of lying pliant
while he pumped away
through her trepidations
animatedly.

I resist and push him away most of the night. I wonder if he's even aware of doing it. There is no escape in the morning, I realise, as he finds my lips and kisses me. There I go again in another sojourn of pretence that will last for God knows how long. I feel no desire and yet, there I am covering up all that I feel by making an effort at responding. His hands roam all over my body, demanding and satisfied, not stopping even once to ask if I am interested or if it's okay with me. I loathe the touch. I stare at the ceiling trying as much as I can to not think of what is happening. Yet, it is my body I am talking about.

My mind has travelled miles away. I stand afar and watch, determined to go through it as my husband makes love to me. Love? My brain is screaming and telling him to go away some place far and I lie silent. I try hard to keep the tears from coming to my eyes. The futility of it all is too much to bear and as the minutes go by, tears well up in my eyes. I avoid his eyes and moan to keep him from looking at me. How well do I know him and how well I know the tears won't bother him as long as he can hear me moan.

I win.

He sees them, perhaps, feels the whole act has overwhelmed me. He is satisfied. That finishes the matter, does it?

It all seems unreal and yet I can feel the pain of it all in me. I do not find myself in me. There I am, lying on the bed, my husband on me, staring at the ceiling, at the fan, almost indifferent, at the speed with which it is spinning against the pale black ceiling. He slumps on me, exhausted and here's another day ahead of me, filled with ache of pretending and living this way. The tears refuse to go. Agony gives way to anger and I cannot think of any way to explain the way I feel deep inside.

A sadness unsurpassed.

The phone rings, the doorbell rings. Its Nirmala Bai at the door. I drag myself out of bed, walk towards the door.

I can hear him humming as he shaves.

- Copyright@Sandy2000

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Even Crows Grieve

I was taking Nike out for a walk early this morning. Nike, for those who do not know, is my year and a half pooch. He is the tiniest one on the road and the noisiest one as well. Except, this morning a bunch of crows were the noisiest. It made me wonder what the commotion was all about. You know, like in the movies (Hindi ones at least) there is a burst of bird cries whenever something sinister is about to happen. So, going by that, I knew something was up. 

While Nike dragged and pulled at the leash in his usual fashion, half choking himself in the process, I walked closer to the turn where I bear right to take him for a walk. There is a fenced area of greenery right outside the police quarters. There, on the ground, was a dead crow. Another crow, possibly the mate, was trying to wake up this dead bird, pecking, cawing, dragging...it made me stop short.

I looked up. Surrounding the scene were crows strategically surrounding the dead crow, sitting in almost a circle on the branches of trees, working up a cacophany that jarred the cool morning air. Outside of that periphery, were other crows gathering up which were merely onlookers. They did not caw, nor did they get near the dead one and its mate. They simply stood at a respectable distance and watched. 

Life.

I stood there a while taking in this scene and then being dragged by an over-excited pooch who had sighted a dead rat in the distance, I had to drag him away and continue with the walk. Of course, it is his walk so I walked on. This lane that I walk on is currently under construction and repair. There are piles of rock that has been broken into small sharp pieces. These piles form small hillocks on the road...miniature ones.

As I walked on, up ahead in the distance, I saw another bunch of noisy crows (yes, it was a bird morning) gathered behind one of these hillocks...of course Nike got excited...he had birds to chase. I wanted to see what was up. I almost thought there was another dead crow there, or worse, in the time I was walking Nike, the mate had carried the dead one there. I refer to the other crow as the 'mate' for want of a better reference. 

So...no, it was not that dead crow. It was not another dead crow but a juciy mango that had been pecked at. These crows were taking turns at tasting it...somehow, I thought they would be fighting over it. Instead, there was a visible banter going on and they were all sharing the mango. Umm...!

Life.

I walked back after going further down the lane with Nike. The sun was coming up and soon it would be burning the streets. I meandered my way back. (There is a lot of dog poop one has to avoid stepping on). Back I reach the same place. The dead bird lies alone on the ground. All the crows have flown away. Mate is not around either. It is over. 

One dead bird.

Several live ones.

Life goes on. 

- Sandy

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Once Upon a Star

Beyond the end of the road a single track wound up the slope to the tea garden and crossed over in a mesh on smaller dirt trails. Sonia hugged herself and brought her coat closer to ward off the icy wind that bit across in the silent moonlit night. Night sounds magnified two-fold as she walked rapidly towards the house set at the far side of the purple carpet spread across in front of her. At a distance, dogs began a sonorous howl and Sonia shivered, digging her hands into the warmth of her overcoat. The warmth did nothing to reassure her. She moved on with courage she found wavering every now and then, dogged determination leading her on.

The gate opened quietly, the house welcoming her with old familiarity. She stopped to gaze at the fine looking bungalow. A British official had built it, before Independence came and packed him off to his beloved England; a warm cozy retreat of a place with wooden floors, waxed with loving care and a fireplace in the centre of the wall opposite the main doorway.

She walked around to the kitchen garden and was relieved to find the door was unlocked. It was as she had anticipated. She would have had to knock at the front door otherwise. The familiar smell of the place hit her at once, a spicy tingle of rosewood with old whiffs of well-used fabric, old memories. It was quiet. Faint dying embers gave a reddish hue to the surroundings. She sighed…

She turned to the right and entered his room. Dhruv was asleep. Even in the chilly night he slept with the quilt pulled up to his waist. The moon filled the room with silver. His face was relaxed, devoid of all the mean streaks of his persona that had a habit of reflecting on his features when he was bothered or irate. The rush of memories filled her, threatening to choke, the blow of hurt almost physical. She had given him all of herself. It seemed just yesterday when she had been lying there in his arms, satiated after the abandoned madness of their lovemaking.

Dhruv was all she saw, breathed, lived and loved all of those eight months until she blacked out one Sunday morning and the doctor told her she was pregnant. She was ecstatic, excited at the prospect of becoming a mother. Sonia hurried to tell Dhruv. She found him making love to a young striking girl she had seen working at the tea garden. He had not even appeared to be embarrassed at being caught. The telltale love bites on his chest screamed at her a story of its own. Sonia’s cheek burned as she realized that she always made love with a gentleness and thoughtfulness that he had probably never appreciated. The girl had hurriedly picked her clothes and disappeared into the bathroom. He had laughed then when she told him about the baby. She could still hear the sneer as he asked her, “What is the proof that it is my baby?”

Sonia had been stunned into silence as he lashed out at her calling her a whore and telling her to rid of the baby and get on with her life. Just like that. The tears flowed in a rush as she hit out at him, at the betrayal of it all, at the indignity of being stripped to her very soul. He had hit her across the face with his fist and she was too stunned to say anything further. Her soul and body on fire, she gathered the shards of her broken heart and left. She walked out, tears of self-pity streaming down her cheeks, a part of her dead and gone forever. 

Now, as she stared at him sleeping, she felt just a simple fury that threatened to erupt. She closed her eyes, willing herself to calm down and do what had to be done.

“Dhruv…” she called out. Her voice rang clear, no sign of nerves. Her heart raced as she called out to him again. This time he stirred and awoke slowly recognizing Sonia in the haze of sleepiness.

“You!” he sat up. “What are you doing here?” Sonia drew her hands from her pockets.

“I’ve come to say goodbye.”

“Goodbye?” he snorted, “Are you going away somewhere?” He reached out for the bedside lamp and the room filled with a soft amber glow as he lit a cigarette, with exactness, drawing a protracted breath and blowing up wisps of smoke in an unhurried practiced manner.

“When did you return from Calcutta?” he asked.

“An hour ago, and I leave tonight.”

“You came all the way to say goodbye?” the sarcasm in his tone was unmistakable.

She saw it was over. There was no point.

“Say your prayers Dhruv” she said, calmer and now firmer. “I came to kill you.”

He laughed. Sonia winced at the memory of that cruel laughter and cocked the pistol she held in her hand. Mira had managed to find her one when she was in Calcutta. Sonia had called the managing director and told him that she would not return to work for him. He had understood why. Dhruv had a reputation in town and he had been relieved to see Sonia had seen reason finally. Dhruv worked in the tea estate as his deputy and very little had missed the man.

Sonia drew up the revolver and aimed. She stood just a couple of feet away; there was not much to aim at. His laughter died mid-way and he drew himself up seeing the hardened eyes focused on him. He was incredulous. She even had a silencer fitted to it.

It all happened in a matter of a few seconds. She pulled the trigger and straight it went in the vicinity of his heart. He fell back, a look of disbelief on his face, the cigarette toppling and charring the depleted carpet. He died gasping for breath, watching her light the carpet with the Zippo, her gift to him on his last birthday.

“Goodbye Dhruv.” He heard her as the flames licked at the rug. He died.

She was out, breaking into a run until she was well across to the road where she had parked the van. Nobody had seen her.

Two days later an inset in the Times of India stated how the Darjeeling Police had found the charred remains of Dhruv Chopra after an accidental fire razed the bungalow he lived in.

II

It was August; a blistering sultry wet day in Calcutta. The baby was born amid the scuttle and noise of the Calcutta milieu.

“What will you name him?” the nurse asked as she bade farewell three days later.

“Mira?” Sonia turned to the woman beside her and asked.

“Dhruv?” grinned Mira. Sonia broke into a smile, turning to the nurse and nodded.

“Oh, the star?” mused the nurse.

“Yes. The star.” Both answered in unison.

III

It was one of those rare clear evenings when they both sat out at the balcony of Mira’s Salt Lake Apartment.

“Tell me,” asked Sonia, “just a matter of tiny detail I want cleared. How did you get the pistol for me at such a short notice?”

Mira gave a quiet smile and propped the baby onto her lap, pointing to the sky.

“Look,” she told him, “ That is your star Dhruv.”

“Mother!” cried Sonia exasperated.

After a long moment of staring at the star, she turned to face her daughter.

“What do you think happened to your father?” she asked.


Copyright@Sandy1985
(One of my earliest attempts at fiction.)