Saturday, November 15, 2014

Quest


I sat under a dim light, far end of the room, alone, sipping wine.

It was the most obscure area I could find. The rest of the room was bright with long satin curtains flowing freely from high ceiling to the floor. Large crystal chandeliers glittered brightly, reflecting light whenever a photographer clicked a candid shot.  Waiters moved around the room with trays containing exotic finger food, kebabs on bamboo sticks, cheese flavored spring rolls, mushrooms coated in pepper sauce.

Drumming my fingers, knees quivering, I waited for people to notice me, anxious for somebody to come and greet me, although I knew nobody would look at dark corners of the room. I gulped. It takes real skill to choke on air and still remain calm. At regular intervals, I scanned through my Watsapp messages to swallow few moments of entertainment. Inspiration quotes at regular intervals boosted my ego. I was grateful that not many friends in my watsapp group knew that I was a loser. To my friends, I was a jovial, multi-talented, a superman.

But I knew the truth. A social outcast in my writer’s group, that’s what I am. Imagine not being able to churn out hundred words story in seconds! That is a disgrace. How did my writer friends excel? I pondered.

Far corner, on the left I could see Vijay, a successful writer, whose name has appeared in the nomination list.  With his salt and pepper beard, shiny scalp and a thin poly-tail, he looked pathetic. The long kurta with mismatched cotton bag slung crosswise across his chest confirms the fact that he had no sense of dressing at all, yet the characters in his book are well-dress people with designer labels. Rich, successful people who know all the right words to impress the crowd. Men wear rayon suits with striped classy ties, pointed shoes and have their hair in place with shiny gel. The women in his books are stylish too, manicured nails, chiffon saris, most of the ladies in his books have red bindi on their forehead during the social events. Who puts bindi on their forehead nowadays? Not even the ladies in the villages, they don’t even wear saris at home, just long printed gowns with abstract designs. His stories are so very unrealistic! I am surprised how his book is nominated. Oh God! He is wearing Kolapuri chappal to the ceremony, one strap is coming loose, and what if he wins the award?

I wish somebody would notice me. A facebook friend or a twitter follower, anybody will do. Seems like I am not so famous, although I regularly post my pictures on Instagram. I have thousands of virtual friends, three thousand and twenty-two on Facebook to be exact and ten thousand more on twitter. I do read books, one book per day. Two hundred pages in one go, I am fast that way, maybe they should have chosen me as jury member, I could have helped them select the right books for booker’s prize.

But no, no luck that way

Mona, Sunita, John, Anil, Chandrashekhar, Madhuri, these are the members of jury. Now they sit on that reserved VIP table in the center of the room. I bet they must be discussing their experiences in selecting the book for the award and how difficult it was for them to decide the winner. Each of them look upon themselves as wisest of all, and that misconception completely tarnishes their knowledge. How do they decide? Do they really read all the books that arrive at their home, free of charge? Or do they go hopping blogs to read reviews thus narrowing down the creditability of a book on public demand? Whatever it is, they have one advantage, their personal library increases three-fold mainly stocked with free bees.

Frankly speaking, I believe that you cannot judge a book by its cover; it is difficult. One has to have a deep knowledge of the idea that is discussed in the book, he should be able to relate to it, identify with it. What does Mona know about love? Single, detached workaholic, I have never seen her with a man. She is on the jury for judging books on romantic love. Can she differentiate between lust, romantic love and deep attachment with the partners? Does she know that the person you fall in love with is somebody who fits within your ‘love map’, an unconscious list of traits that you build in childhood as you grow up? There are many love stories interconnected in my books, a lust turning to romantic love, the love bound tightly with strings of attachment, of commitments, of compromises, the emotions like the jealousy, the greed, the attachments leading to the lust, would she understand that?  Reading volumes and volumes of book can only increase your general knowledge. Most of my stories must have escaped her range of imagination.

And then, there is Sunita on that same table, an aesthetic traditionalist. I understand she means well but she advocates for artistic realism as if she understands art as well as my Rex poodle (no offense to my canine friend, whose taste is actually pretty good for a dog). Every writer cannot write a memoir or stories from their personal experiences, some books are written on fantasy and wild imaginations. That is an art. Realism does not always mean reality. Real art is to see through oppression and find a real picture.

I am not surprised that jury failed to nominate me for the booker’s prize. The readers of my book get frustrated with my dialectical style. I seem to contradict myself, they say. Actually, now that that I m thinking, I do that on purpose. I love to confuse people. They must understand that life is bundle of contradictions. I am seeking the truth looking from all viewpoints and assessing them against each other to find the real meaning. I can be cruel, I could be kind, I could be unrealistic too, sometimes I will bend towards ‘identical thinking’ and other times I contradict and criticize. It all depends on situation and the path my story takes.

Lonely is the world writers live in. I could ramble on and on about the injustice meted out to me. I know I deserve worldwide fame. But if my writing does not appeal to this small bunch of jury members, I may continue to be unattractive, invisible, just a moth on the wall.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back to Routine

Two weeks ago 
House was cramped
brown boxes scattered
across my new home
A caravan of emotions 
crawled empty walls,
I looked around
for room to sit in silence
but where was the peace?
Difficult to peel off the old
heart bled
I tore off
tattered pages of memories
could hang on
no more
on silken thread of rust,
only fresh and new
can remain.
scrap by scrap,
rag by rag,
each item tossed
out of my door.
The things
that survived
the thorny times,
remained.
boxes have melted
furniture smiles
each useful article
stacked over new pile
Now at ease
I mold back to squeeze in
Have begun to wrap
once again
my new home
I feel it breathing
with warmth and love
Have begun
to find my soul
Its time to burn

a new lamp
to rediscover
my new comfort zone.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Mumbai City Never Sleeps

In my new home
It seems like 
I live amidst a busy town
Twelve midnight  
The traffic won't shut its spout
Beeps of motor, vehicles, bikes, 
Cars zoom by with no goodbyes
Was that a siren of police van? 
Trouble brewing somewhere down there..
I toss in bed searching peace..
Mumbai city never ever sleeps

Sunday, October 05, 2014

In My New Rented Home

In the center of the town
noisy cars beeping
impatience
distract my easy mind
people walking here and there
killing time
life goes on at fast pace
on a vibrant linking road
but two floors up
in my new home
i sit busy arranging furniture
shifting hundred times to find the right position
to hang my thoughts
boxes lay unpacked
too exhausted.to.stretch
it will take sometime
to untie knots of confusion
to rearrange peace and harmony
i think i need some silence
of a right tone
to.find in my new house
a fresh comfort zone

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Game Of Blogs: Chapter 13





This is the post written to #CelebrateBlogging organized and moderated by Blogadda.

You have entered ‘A Game Of Blogs’ ..

Team name: Story6d

Chapter 13 - Betrayal

Read the previous part of the story Here



City Hospital Kochi

She read the message by Kaizad and put away her phone.

Thank you! Blah!

‘What was that thankfulness for?’ Jennifer wondered as she searched the pillbox to select the medicines for her mother. Jenifer had seen the picture of Kaizad at Cyrus’s blog but she had never really interacted with him. She was in constant touch with Cyrus on Face Book and she had known his brother over some conversations with Cyrus.

“My brother is the creative head of Ad agency too” Cyrus had said when she had mentioned that she worked as photographer in ad agency called ‘Happy Advertising’

The hospital bed screeched as her mother turned to move on her left side. She quickly reached her mother’s bedside to offer her help. With the drips attached to her hands and nose like some long curly serpentines, breathing is difficult.

She will investigate later, as soon as her mother is better, she mused as she turned her attention back to her. The message lay forgotten in her mobile, as least for now.

Party Celebration for the success of ‘Play Deo’

Kaizad moved with authority in the crowd, his smile plastered perpetually on his face, and a drink goblet held loosely in his hand. He had lots to celebrate, as ‘Play Deo’ was the new talk of the town. It took over the turntables and was enjoying the success. Immaculately dressed, he made an impressive presence.

The celebrations kicked off in full swing when the Bollywood star Akhay Khan made his appearance on the stage dancing on the hottest electronic dance music tracks.  While Akhay Khan was spinning, the Olive bar stunning cocktail beauties showed up next to Kaizad and presented him with two glorious gold plaques for his achievements.

With all smiles, Kaizad held his plaque up high for his guest to see while everybody raised a toast and gold confetti shot up in the air.

Kaizad kept the party going all night spinning all the way until the early morning.  Throughout the evening, heels clacked against hardtop dance floor as dancers gradually overcame their shyness.

At Cyrus Home

Cyrus checked his files on his desktop deeply engrossed in his work. The marble clock on the mantelpiece softly chimed the half-hour, the dog rose uneasily from the rug and walked to sit in the corner of the room, curled in a comma shape, burying his mouth between his fore limbs. Cyrus gave a cursory glance at the dog, then turned his attention back to his files. His stomach was growling and his mouth parched dry, the heat in the room was making him thirsty.

He rose to walk to kitchen to make some coffee and maybe eat a snack. The work was never ending, coffee always kept him alert and active.

He passed Kaizad’s room and was surprised to see him in front of computer.
What was he doing so early in the morning in front of computer? He had heard kaizad turn in the key and walk in late night after the party. He had been extremely pleased at his brother’s success but couldn’t go for the party because he had assignment to complete. But shouldn’t he be sleeping and getting some rest?

He peeped in. Maybe make one cup of coffee for him too?

Suddenly his eyes fell on the screen. Kaizad was on Skype.

He narrowed his eyes to get a closer look.

“What-The_Hell” Oh My God, I can’t believe this!!

He retraced his steps and sneaked out  quietly, hoping that his brother had not seen him


“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Read the next part of the story Here

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Night To Remember


Chapter Seven: Roohi’s Day Out.


This is the post written to #CelebrateBlogging organized and moderated by Blogadda.

You have entered ‘A Game Of Blogs’ ..

Team name: Story6d

Read the previous part of the story here: Part six: Crossword by Natasha Jain



“Munchausen syndrome by proxy”

Hmmn!… ;'Munchausen syndrome by proxy'. The words played in loops in her mind. A hundred times. Revolving round and round till her head began to spin. No, it cannot be true, she was a CEO of a successful company, she could handle the most difficult situations, and she cannot bring harm to anybody, especially not to her own child.

“Maybe I should pick up Roohi from school today” she said under her breath as she removed the mobile from her purse and started to dial.

“Hello Shekhar” she whispered into the phone, her fingers pressing hard against her left temple, “I will pick up Roohi from school today.”

“Are you okay?” faltered Shekhar “Come home directly, she will come by school bus, like she always does.” There was a ring of concern over his voice.

“No, I am fine.” She said. A flash of pleasure swept over her.

Spending time with Roohi always changed her moods. In worst of situations, a happy chatter and her bright smile lifted her spirit, she needed that at this moment the most. She could come later to work and maybe work late nights, but right now she needed to go someplace with her daughter.

She flung her handbag over her shoulders, plucked the keys from the key stand and emerged from her cabin.

“I will be back soon.” She said to no one in particular as she strode at an easy pace towards the parking lot.

She revved up the engine; it rumbled, gave a soft jerk and then began to move.

She had had the presence of mind to call the admin person and get her car  repaired. It was just a spark plug issue and it was resolved in no time. 

Roohi had just emerged from her school gates, when she recognized her mother’s car parked behind her school bus, hazard lights blinking, and position a bit skewed. She looked closely. A wave of happiness enveloped her when she saw her mother standing next to the car. She blinked, turned swiftly, her gaze not leaving her mother, her shoes grinding against the sandy ground, with her both arms swinging in air, her school bag thumping against her back, as she walked swiftly, reached Tara and circled her arms around her mother’s waist.

“Mamma! Is that you? Ooh! I cannot believe it. What are you doing here? What a pleasant surprise!”

“Yes, my pretty Rooh. Today, I decided to spend some time with my baby” Tara bend down to kiss her daughters forehead.

“Really? Are we going someplace?” Roohi walked towards the other side of the car, threw her school bag at the back seat of the car, opened the front door and plopped herself in the front seat.

“We are going home, baby!” said Tara, as she put the car in gear and pulled out  of the parking space. 

“No, no, Mamma please, I don’t want to go home, can we stop for an ice-cream, please?” said Roohi, her voice lingering on the word ‘please’ and her eyes rolling in excitement.

“Hmmn, only ice cream then, okay?” said Tara, her eyes focused on the busy road ahead.

Tara parked her car outside an ice-cream parlor, hand-in-hand, Roohi and Tara walked inside.

With an interior design that looks more like a clothes shop than an exclusive ice cream parlor, this place had more than fifty flavors of ice cream, some of them truly amazing. In winter they also served chocolate delicacies and patisserie.

Roohi chose the combination of vanilla and strawberry ice cream, topped with small chunks of chopped strawberries, two tiny kiwi rings, black grapes and broken pieces of walnuts and pine nuts.

While wolfing down her ice cream Roohi looked up and asked:

“You and daddy don’t go out nowadays, do you feel sad?

“Yes, sometimes, but he will soon be fine.”

“Will he ever walk again?”

“Yes, baby, he will.”

“You know, mamma, daddy is always on skype.”

“He is working no?”

“But he spend so much time talking to uncle Cyrus on Skype.”

“Oh, they talk business.”

“But I don’t like him.”

“You don’t have to talk to him.”

“I don’t want to talk but daddy asked me to.”

“Just say ‘hello’ and go back to your room.”

“He said he may come to Mumbai and stay in our house.”

“Don’t worry, he must have just said so, daddy friends always stay in hotel. No?”

“Mamma, he said he might come home.”

“Okay finish your ice-cream, I will drop you home then go back to work.”

“You will go back to work?”

“Yes, baby, Mamma has work to do.”

“Please, stay at home today, please, please.”

“Okay, lets go home first then we will decide.”

They drove home with Roohi chatting all the way, telling her stories about her school, friends, teachers, food, games…

Tara was already in good spirit when they entered their building compound. She inserted her house key into her main door and walked in.

She could hear soft murmurs coming from her room.

“Go to your room and change your uniform Rooh, I will just be back” she said, nudging Roohi's shoulders to steer her towards the other room.

She decided to surprise Shekhar

She walked into her room. Shekhar was in the front of the screen, his back towards the door, deep in conversation. A shock wave travelled from her foot to her heart, as she focused her eyes to look at the face inside the screen. She shivered, her nerves pulsating against her temples.

“Cyrus? Is that you? What-the-hell!” she screamed as she clutched the mouse to  switch off the Skype call. Shekhar turned and looked at Tara in surprise. .

·   “Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

The round number one of seven parts now comes to the end

The story will (hopefully) continue in round number two……..

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