Tag Archives: fiction

Saving Grace. Part 1.

“What are we doing?” she asked, her voice slurred, barely audible in the wooden corridors of the pub’s exit. Her stilettos sounded as she took each step, holding on to his arms, his jacket warm and fuzzy. Her skirt kept riding up with every step she took but she no longer cared. She was too drunk. They both were.

“No clue have I,” he replied, holding himself together by the bare minimum of strength left in him. As he put his right foot in front of his left for the next step, he tripped, almost. She caught him before he got entangled in his own legs.

“You could have lost another one of your teeth, you know,” she said, counting his teeth for him as he stood still for a second, every alternate second. “Some tendisd, you are!”

“My patients need not know that. Shh. Don’t tell them,” he said, as they stepped out into the cold air of the early morning.

The guard saw them sternly as they stood holding on to each other on the cobbled streets. The heels of her stilettos were shaking as she tried to place them rightly between the stones. He held her by the waist, bringing her closer, and whispered into her ear, “I think I need to pee.”

She threw her head back and laughed, almost losing her balance in process. He pulled her closer, both his hands roving across her back, her tank top flimsy even against his soft hands, his face buried in her auburn tresses as they caressed her shoulders. “Come with me,” she said softly, into his ears, slowly pulling him towards the nearby alley.

She entered the alley but she no longer seemed to be holding on to his hand. “Rick?” she said, turning around. Rick stood there, hands crossed across his chest, feet steady, a sinister smile across his face. “Rick?” she kept saying, not being able to fathom why she felt a danger, an adrenaline rush, her mind crying out flight. She stood there, swaying after a while and as she fell onto the street, he rushed to break her fall, placing her hand beneath her head. He blurred out of his sight.

Her eyes closed but she heard him whisper, “You have no idea who I am, do you, Jane?”

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Graciously Yours!

Diamonds.

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” they said. I don’t know who the they here are. I don’t mean I don’t know, I just can’t seem to recall who exactly they are. I grew up listening to mothers say it, the advertisers claim it, movies celebrate it. I was brought up in an Indian middle class family. The view our flat had was of other flats, crammed up in a tower like reluctant matchboxes given a balancing act dare. I was told to dream, but within limits. I had wings which could only flap within the cages they had set up. Again, I don’t recall who the they were exactly. One midnight, that of my 23rd birthday, it was decided that I was of marriagable age. The stroke of the grandfather clock above the living room mantlepiece had magically reformed me from a girl who should keep out of talks of adults to a woman who now had to sit demurely among adults and know exactly what and how much to speak.

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Like the films had predicted, I found my knight in shining armour. He came riding a white horse, literally, on the day of our wedding. He looked wonderful. The night was even more wonderful. I was tired but he was magical in bed! Or at least, what he did seemed like magic to a virgin like me. And in the morning, he presented me with a diamond. My first, though not my last. The one I keep tucked away in my closet between the uncomfortable silk sarees I rarely wear. Now the view from my window has changed. I still overlook concrete towers but posh ones. The view came at a price, not the diamonds, no. The price was having to share my husband. That night, two years ago, he was magical in bed, indeed. The other woman claimed so too. Two years and he had never faltered. Until three days ago.

My husband is away for the week. He says he’ll end the relationship with the other woman. I may be young, but I am no fool. I may be good, but I also have my evil in place. I may think white, but I have my black too. I changed the locks of the house. I installed a hidden GPS tracker app on his phone. I hired a PI to track the woman. And I sold the diamonds. At least, half of them.

My hair tied in a side bun, earrings dangling by my round face, cheeks rosy as buns, the shimmering copper of my dress accentuating my wheatish complexion, I smiled at my reflection and thought, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, they said.’

The phone rang. The cab had arrived. This was the night I’d let my hair down.

Graciously Yours!

 

Jilebis.

— Looking for feedback. All are welcome. —

As I stood by the small sweet shop in one of the eat streets of the city, waves of hot air hit me from the stove lit ahead, as the heavy late night air settled around me. It was a hot night. The rains had been distant for two days now. It was not humid but it wasn’t cold either. Not the weather which would have been appropriate for steaming, sizzling jalebis but then you can’t say no to the piping hot, deliciously sweetened, freshly fried orange spiral pretzels. Seems more like a sweat shop, than a sweet shop, I thought, seeing beads of sweat run down the forehead of the man, as he poured out the batter from the cone over the boiling oil in concentric motions. The smell of sugar syrup rumbled my stomach. This is more than just the smell of sugar, I figured, a little puzzled.

Smell of butter melting onto hot pans wafted from across the street. I looked around to see my friend standing at one of the shops there. I tried calling out to him to catch his attention. He was fidgeting with his phone. My voice drowned in the clamour of the street vendors displaying their balloons, scarves, fidget spinners, the vehicles trying to honk their way through a mass of people. No one seemed to make way, all lost in the aroma of food, savouring the spices which hit the tongue in spots you’d forgotten existed. You know food porn exists when you see people eating while clicking pictures here, I thought, smiling to myself. I whipped out my phone and texted my friend, One of whatever you’re ordering for me too. He looked up at me almost instantaneously and gave a thumbs up before turning to the man manning the counter there to place a re-order. I made use of my phone and clicked a couple of pictures meanwhile, of the sizzling and now hissing jalebis as they turned crispy enough to savour, of the people lined up by parked cars, bikes, among the moving vehicles, paper plates and disposable glasses of various juices, shakes and tea in their hands, The ten feet wide alley was wide awake as well as sleepy – the upstairs of the residential buildings lined up on both sides seemed to have slept for the night, lights out in most of them.

“Madam, your jilebis,” he said, handing over my guilty pleasure to me. I took the plate and handed him the money. Foodgasm, here I come, I thought, rushing over to my friend across the street, the oncoming cyclist ignored.

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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : I am trying to work on my descriptive writing and if you think this is at least decent enough to garner a comment, let me know. I would love feedback, good or bad.

Scarred.

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I scared you. The knowledge I had of you, scared you. I became the personal diary you never wrote. You could see the ghosts of your past reflected in my eyes, each time you looked into them. I became a reminder of what you were trying to forget. My comfort with you, scared you. You dreamt of coming out of your shell, greeting the world like you used to but the fear of being trampled upon pushed you inside again. You had lost the real you within yourself. You did not want to be reminded of it. Not by me. You thought it was easier to push me away. At least, you could still stay safe in your shell then. You wouldn’t disappoint anyone again. You wouldn’t worry about hurting anyone again. It would be just you and your memories. You wouldn’t have to owe anyone anything again. That was easier, wrong but easier. You chose to hide behind your scars. You chose to leave me behind. I was you. You were me. You chose to leave yourself behind.

Graciously Yours!

Rescued.

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From the distant lands,

Galloping on his horse,

Came the knight of her dreams,

Dusty and tired,

A freshness in the soul,

Heart bewitched, smile dazzling.

Months ago, when they had first met,

A city damsel, she was no match for him,

A guard of the royals,

Splendor befitted him, royalty trusted him,

She a prison woman, rugged hands,

With twinkling eyes and a happy heart.

Today, free of shackles, they stood beside,

Just two people, watching,

The Sun go down, one more time,

As he knelt on his knee and asked,

“Will you rescue me?”

Graciously Yours!

 

Six Word Story #11

And the six word story series is back!

Closure is overrated. Reopened wounds bleed.
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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : What should be the next six word story? Give me words! I’ll pick up themes!

The Rose.

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“Ouch,” she uttered, pulling back her finger from the rose stem. A thorn had pricked her and a drop of blood lay on her finger, perfectly placed like it always belonged there. She smiled.

“Got yourself another prick, did you now?” her husband asked, as he sat in the hall, immersed in the morning’s papers on his iPad.

“Why can’t he just buy those traditional newspapers?” she wondered. She wasn’t an e-paper girl.

“Why don’t you hire a gardener for your plants?” he asked, the umpteenth time. “You keep pricking yourself.”

She didn’t answer. The umpteenth time. He wouldn’t be able to come to terms with it.

The first time she’d pricked herself was when her first lover had brought her some from his own garden, ten years ago.They’d never gotten married. But her love for him had not died.

He loved her rose garden. He was coming for dinner tonight.

The first prick had made her squirm. Now it made her smile.

Graciously Yours!

Of People and Things.

Naksh was singing at the top of his voice! “Papparah Papparah Papparah… Badtameez Dil Badtameez Dil… Ahh… Haan

“Oh shut that radio thing off and stop jumping on the bed,” Shailjaa scolded her eight year old son, Naksh!

No longer jumping, he smiled at her and stood there, the hand held radio his father bought as a gift, still blaring what people called music these days!

She was still angry at him but this child of hers could not be least bothered! He’d misplaced her earrings and she couldn’t find it anywhere. She was sure she’d given to him to go and keep it by the bedside table. She’d even boxed his ears two hours ago but he came back and sat beside her in no time! Now he was jumping on the bed unashamed.

“Get out,” she said, dropping the freshly ironed bed covers and pillow cases on the bed. “I have to change the bed sheet.”

“Mummy, I am sorry,” he said, and walked out of the room, forlorn and dejected, head hung.

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Shailjaa didn’t reply.

She pulled off the old covers angrily. Unfurling the new covers, she went to the headboard side and struggled to pick up the mattress alone to push the new covers beneath. Something fell from behind the mattress onto the floor beneath. She bent down and looked under the four poster bed. Two pieces of gold shone out to her. One within her reach, the other rolled off to the other end. She crawled under the bed and got her hands on both the pieces. She craned her neck upwards to look at the bed from under. A coffee flavored toffee was sticking out from behind the mattress, fighting gravity, pinched in place. She pulled it out too and crawled back out from under the bed. She sat on the floor, head resting on the bed, turning the earrings back and forth. They were the ones for which she’d boxed her son’s ears. She felt terrible, devastated almost. She now recalled picking it from the bedside table and having kept it on the bed. They must have gotten wedged between the mattress and the headboard during the course of the night. She lay her head on her knees and held herself close. She sat that way for more than a few minutes and swore to herself she’d put people over things here onwards.

Getting up from her place on the floor, she went out of the bedroom to look for her son. He was standing in the balcony, listening to the radio. She snuck up behind him and dangled the toffee in front of his eyes. He whirled around and smiled broadly. But then he saw her face and his smile dimmed a little. Her heart pricked.

“You want this?” she asked him.

He shook his head.

She felt sad.

But then he said, “I want the mango flavor.”

Her heart jumped with joy! “I’ll get you those later. Right now, will you please help me with covering the bed?” she asked.

He nodded her head vigorously. Then he raised a finger and asked, “Can I jump on the bed after that?”

“Yes, we both will,” she said, laughing.

Beaming with joy, he ran towards the room, and she noticed as she followed him, that his radio was lying in the balcony. She picked it up and placed it on the table – a lesson learnt.

Graciously Yours!

Sea.

Guide to reading : Below are, not one but, three completely unrelated short stories all bound by the one word ~ “Sea”.

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He walked towards the seas. Stretched far across till where his eyes could see, only blues greeted him, shimmering in different shades from azure to teal to royal blue with hints of cyan and turquoise pitching in! This was the quieter part of the beach. Not many residents came here. And tourists? Barely. He dropped the bag and slowly moved to the edge of the rocks. As he looked down at the lapping waves twenty feet below, a rush of excitement passed through him. Goosebumps lined up his arms. He took in a lot of air, breathing deep. It would be a while before he did that again. “Whenever you’re ready,” he heard someone shout. He looked across to the adjacent cliff. Nodding, ever so slightly, he gave the clique of photographers a thumbs up and then spreading his arms like those of an eagle’s, he swooped down on the water, cold air rushing past him and all of reality a mere joke in that moment of truth!


“Mom, be careful. The baby might get hurt,” my daughter warned me, as soon as I set the toddler on the sand. I smiled at her, nostalgia hitting me in my guts! Twenty years ago, my little girl was perched in my lap eating her way through sand more than playing with it. She ran across the sands, collecting shells, screaming with delight at wriggling snails. Crabs scared her. Starfish made her curious. Corals were her collectibles. I still had some kept in one of my boxes. I scooped up the kid in my arms. “Are you stronger than your mother?” I asked him. But he was fiddling with a coral in his hand. He curiously stared at it and gurgled “Ma”, the best way he could, showing the coral to me and his mother turn by turn. “Oh well, let him out on the sand. He’ll be fine!” said my daughter, possibly reminiscing her own coral days! “But we’ll bathe him once after,” she said, as soon as I put the kid on the beach where I had raised my family and my husband’s mother had raised hers and so on. We were the sea and sand people. You couldn’t take the salts of the seas out of our blood.


He needed to talk to someone. His brain was a flurry of thoughts. Everything was going wrong. He was screwing up whatever was left in his life after having lost all that he once had. He got out of his car. He closed the door lightly. His girlfriend’s banging of the car door still reverberated in his ears. Walking along the beach, he saw a girl sitting alone. Hoping it would not be a mistake, he went up to her and asked politely, “Do you mind if I sit here?” She looked up at him. Her tear streaked cheeks glistened in the soft lights. “It’s a free country,” she said, resignedly. He sat down beside her. He cupped up the sand and watched it flow out of his hands, tears rolling down his cheeks. “I don’t want us to be running out of time,” he said out loud to his girlfriend. “And if you go away, this is all I’ll ever be,” showing her his now empty hands. “You cannot love me so much. You should not,” she said, putting her hand in his. “The sands of time will take care of us. Just let them,” he pleaded. She sighed, didn’t say anything, but let her hand stay right where it belonged.


Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Devesh Lunia.