Monday, May 30, 2011

Change of heart

It was raining cats and dogs. I was stranded in a bus stop. There was no sign of rain abating. It was getting dark. I was waiting for any bus as I did not know where I was bound for. A storm was raging in me too. I had told my hubby before I left the house in a huff that I will have nothing to do with him anymore and that he can forget me. I did not take the car as it was a gift from my hubby and not my own. There was no sight of bus for more than 30 minutes. The road was getting flooded. There was none else in the bus stand. . I hated to go back to the house that I had left just an hour ago.
It was then I saw in the distance a figure slowly wading through the knee deep waters with an umbrella and another in its hand. For a moment I thought it could be Rajan my hubby coming to persuade me to return. As it was dark I could not see clearly but it was not the tall Rajan. I was nervous who this could be. The wretched bus was not coming, I cursed. The figure was making slow progress towards the bus stop. I could see now that it was a man but could not make out distinctly.
When he neared, he called “Vinita, come home. Why are you out in this bad weather? What happened? I asked Rajan whether you had returned from office as it is raining heavily. He said rather indifferently that you had and left home by walk without telling where you were bound for. He would not tell me more but refused to go in search of you. Any quarrel between you two? Please come home. This is not the weather to venture out. I got worried about you and could not stay in the house. Please have this umbrella and accompany me home.”
He was nearing 75 and not very strong. Yet he chose to come out when my hubby showed no concern. I was touched by this old man’s concern for me little knowing that he was the reason for my quarrel with my hubby.
I had told Rajan that he had broken his promise by bringing his old man to live with us. I had told him even during our courting days that I hated cooking especially after a tiresome day in office. He had promised that he would put him in some senior citizen’s home. Nevertheless he brought him home immediately after the honeymoon. All my oblique hints and direct requests that he be sent away did not yield any result. Instead he was telling that he being the only offspring was duty bound to take care of his dad in his twilight years. The old man never ate any ready mix food, Pizza, noodles and things that were easy to prepare or buy. I had neither the time nor the inclination to make traditional food that this man relished. To be blunt, the real reason was that I didn’t want anyone besides me and my hubby at my home. Hence the frequent quarrels that reached a crescendo today culminating in my walk out. Otherwise the old man was non-interfering and minded his own business. He never asked for anything and was unobtrusive. He was self effacing.
When the old man virtually begged me to return home in the torrential rain, I could feel a parental concern and genuine affection that was lacking from the hubby. There was a stab of pain when I looked at the emaciated and bent figure half drenched pleading with me to come home. I did not have the heart to disappoint the man.”Papa, why did you have to come in this downpour? Do not worry, I will come with you. Hold my hand as otherwise you may fall down .There could be open manholes” I said as I led my father-in-law towards the house.
Slowly as we treaded a few steps, I saw another figure coming towards us in the downpour with no umbrella. It was Rajan.He did not utter one word but held my hand as all the three of us trudged. But his clasp spoke more words than what he would have uttered.
When we reached home, my father-in-law said ”I do not know what for you both quarreled. But I could not bear your going out alone in the heavy rain and was upset that Rajan was doing nothing about it. I do not wish to get involved in the quarrel between a couple. But I must thank you for heeding my words. Let me rest. I am tired”
When I was sitting in the living room, Rajan came silently to me and said”I have since decided to send my dad to a senior citizen home. I will break the news to him in the morning. You do not have to go away.”
“There is no need for that. I will keep him with us till my end. I will employ a lady cook to assist me. He is my father too” I said with a smile
Surprised at the pleasant turn thanks to the rain, he hugged me tightly and took me to the bedroom in the first floor.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The surprise visit

Arjun was returning by an earlier flight from the official tour. He was supposed to come only in the evening flight to be in time for the first wedding anniversary the next day. He wished to surprise his wife Preeti and did not inform her. He bought for her a deep blue kameez that had intricate sequin and bugle bead work for the yoke and hemline with matching black salwar and dupatta, CHANEL perfume and a pearl ear rings and necklace set. He did not forget to collect a bouquet of flowers and a box of assorted chocolates at the airport. If time permitted he wished to take her to a good restaurant for dinner. Though an arranged marriage he found her to be very sweet, intelligent and capable. Both loved each other very much and had similar tastes. She worked in a foreign bank.
He entered the house with the duplicate key and silently tiptoed inside. He wished to hug her from behind by closing her eyes. She was not seen in the living room or in the kitchen. Thinking she must be in the bedroom, he treaded softly without making noise towards it.He heard her talking to some male. Wondering who he could be at 5PM, he stood near the door and listened to the conversation.
“I specifically told you to come early by 11am and not late as my husband is expected in the evening flight. I do not want my husband to know what I am doing. I wanted this to be kept a secret.” Preeti was heard telling
“True, you had asked me to come early. But I was held up. Please excuse me” the male voice said
“. I am actually in a quandary whether I should send you away and ask you come tomorrow afternoon as he may come any time now”Preeti was telling.
“Do not send me away. I am not free tomorrow. It will be done in 30 minutes’ he pleaded
“Okay. Be careful and mind you no rough job” she said
Arjun could not believe his ears." Am I being betrayed? Why does she want him to come when I am not there? How gullible I was in thinking that she was a very good and loving wife? he thought.” With his heart pounding fast and face red with anger and suspicion, he decided to sit outside till he came out. He did not want to go in and see the despicable sight. He took a cricket bat in his hand and sat on the chair outside.
It was silent for a while except for the thuds and furniture moving.Arjun’s blood boiled at this treachery and decided that once he found out the man, he would just walk out of her life. He threw the bouquet towards another chair and was trying hard to control his rage.
Soon thereafter a man came out of the room with a ladder in hand and a bag of tools. When he saw Arjun, he bowed deferentially and said he can see whether the job has been done satisfactorily. Immediately Preeti rushed out and seeing Arjun she grabbed his hand and puledl him inside the room.
“.I wished to spring a surprise on you. You have been wanting a 56” LCD TV. This man spoilt it. I had asked him to come early to install before you reach. Any way I am happy you have come early. Do you like this TV? We can see hereafter reclining in our bed. Whatever for you are holding a cricket bat?”She asked
Sheepishly smiling he mumbled saying that he found the bat as he came up and with IPL in full swing he wished to swing the bat a little.
Sending the man away, he hugged her tight and said “Thank you so much for the thoughtful gift. I will see the finals in this screen. I have also a few surprises for you. Get ready fast. We are eating out. Just one second” he said and ran out.
He came back with the bouquet and the packets to submerge her in happiness.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

55 W fiction

Sleep over
Anil was surprised when his friend mentioned “Julie is coming to my room to spend the night”
“Wow, what are you planning to do” asked Anil
“Just have fun. She has been wanting for long” the friend replied
“Did she really want?”
“Yes,it was her idea to learn baking from me” said Anjaly

Being first
“Have you ever come first in your school?”shouted Sanjay’s dad
“Yes, I breasted the tape first in the school sports today” he replied proudly
“Sorry, Sanju, for shouting. What was the event? Any medal?”asked his dad
“Slow cycling race” replied Sanju inaudibly

It was a bad day. When he searched the pocket to pay the bus fare, he found the purse missing. Someone had picked his pocket. He didn’t telephone his wife. She always taunted him for his carelessness.
“How negligent you are? You left the wallet on the dining table” berated his wife in the evening.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

55 W fiction

Head-on collision

The train was speeding at 60mph along the curve with screeching noise..From the window I saw a goods train coming from opposite side. I started telling my prayers.There was a deafening roar and soon there were groans and screams crying for help. I opened the door to see a head-on collision on the adjacent track.

Instant love

I saw her in the mall. I could not take my eyes off her. Dressed in chic outfit she had blond hair in curls, blue eyes and long legs. I saw her eye lashes fluttering. I wished to possess her forever."Mummy, see her. I want her."
“Nothing doing. You have three Barbie dolls already.”

Highway scare

The highway was lonely and dark. I stopped the car at the closed level crossing. Two men came near from the sides. I was scared stiff.
One man tapped the door and asked "Show me the license.Okay, wait for a few cars and go as convoy. It is a bad stretch ahead with wicked men.”

Bablu’s luck

Bablu, an orphan, lived with his rich relative. He grew to be a loafer with all vices despite warnings of serious consequences if unchanged. Fed up one morning he mixed poison to relative’s cup of coffee and drank his cup wondering at the smirk in old fox’s face as he poured his cup in sink.

The companion

He was walking at midnight by the side of cemetery. No one around, it was scary till he found another walking ahead. He hastened his steps to be with him. He talked but the other was silent. Reaching the end of road he asked “where do you live?”
The other replied ”Cemetery” and disappeared.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

55 W fiction

Evil thought
I decided to mug the first car on the lonely stretch with my buddy for our dinner. But we were surprised to find 10000 rupees in victim’s wallet. An evil thought to grab all crept into my mind. I stealthily pulled my gun to finish my buddy. I heard a sudden roar and all went silent.

Spoilt one
“You loved me and slept with me in your bed for months. Why don’t you want me anymore?”
“Because you are now spoilt”
“It is your mistake to send me last night with your friend”
“Still I don’t want you anymore”
“If he dropped me in dirty puddle was it my mistake?” asked teddy bear

Chase in dark
It was dark and lonely.
He walked fast as he heard the steps behind.
He started running as the steps became closer and faster.
“Don’t run. You will get hurt” he heard
He ran faster
“Stop. This is the final warning”
He stood still till his mom took him in her arms.

They finally decided to kill me, a captive. I had done no harm nor am I wealthy.
I don’t know why they spared my sister. The man’s face was grim and the timid woman was in tears.
I pleaded for mercy but it fell on deaf ears. Cruel act accomplished they left the abortion clinic.

DNA test
When third child was born, to her shock her doubting hubby asked doctor for a DNA test
“Go ahead, let this skunk know he is the god.damn father to this baby” she screamed
“Test all the three kids” he shouted back
“Oh, no”she wailed and fainted

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The mysterious laughter

Krishnan nambiar dabbled in a small way in stock market. He did not have the resources to invest big. He used to sit daily in a broking firm and make a couple of hundreds buying and selling the same day.. Some days he would lose also. One day when he made a cheque for investing a tidy sum on what he thought a blue chip stock that he expected to zoom, he felt he heard a wisp of laughter behind his back. He turned round to see none. A fortnight later the stock crashed when fudging of accounts of the company came to surface and cases filed against management.
There was a long standing court case on a paternal property and he had spent considerable money towards lawyer and court fee.Nambiyar was told his case was very strong. He left in the early morning for the district court in another town. It was when he bought the bus ticket he heard again the same mild laughter behind his back .The source could not be located in the noisy bus stand. There was a lump in his throat with a ting of fear. He ignored and continued his journey. The next morning he got the shock of his life when the court decided against him with costs to be paid to the other party. The memory of the laughter haunted his mind but being a rationalist he chided himself for being superstitious.
He was already 28 and his aged mom pressurized him to marry. He had a permanent job in the government and there was no reason to put it off. When he expressed his willingness, his mother went into raptures. Soon she found a good match for him from the adjacent village.. The bride was good looking, more qualified, had a better job and from a wealthy family. Both liked each other and agreed to marry.
It was the wedding day and there was a huge crowd of relatives and friends. The auspicious time for tying the knot had arrived and the purohit started chanting the mantra in loud voice.Nambiar with the mangal sutra in his hands neared the bride who was seated on her father’s lap to tie the knots. The nadaswara vidwan (piper) started playing the music briskly and was loudly accompanied by melam(drum).As Nambiar bent to tie the knot amidst the smiling faces that surrounded him, the poor chap felt again that he heard the very same laughter. He was sure he heard it distinctly. His face became pale, he started perspiring heavily and his limbs seemed to go limp with fear. Urged by the purohit, he tied the thread hastily with three knots. The smile had faded from his face and he looked ashen as if struck by a ghost. The bride looked at him with concern. Someone brought a Pepsi.
That night when they were together in the bedroom, the young wife asked him “Can I ask you one question?”
When he nodded his head, she said “Why did your face turn pale and you started perspiring heavily when you tied the knot. Your face was grim with no happy smile. Are you not happy with me?”
He smiled at her with effort and said “It is nothing”
When she prodded him further, he said “I thought I heard a vicious laughter behind my back just as I bent to tie the knots. That put me off.”
“What a strange coincidence! At least you were lucky with a mild laughter. I heard peals of laughter behind my back when you bent towards me” she said
Soon the relatives saw the girl rush out in panic screaming that her hubby had fainted.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A man of worth

My son virtually drove me out this morning. I have no ill feeling against him. Were I in his position, I would have perhaps done the same thing. He had lost his job he was working for 22 years because of downsizing. He had no special skill. He had a quarrelsome wife and four kids. It was a miserable living and the few months’ salary he got was spent. A worthless old dad with no income was easily dispensable. He asked me to forgive him as he was doing in my best interest. He advised that I join some old age home for poor as I can be sure of some gruel at least instead of starving at his home. He assured he would take me back when things improved. There was a point in what he said though it was unpalatable. I loved my only son a lot. He has always been a good chap and nice to me. But the financial strain compelled him to take this drastic step. But the only thing that hurt me was the caustic remark of my daughter-in-law “what is the earthly use of feeding this worthless old man who cannot bring even 100 rupees a month”
I was sitting in the local temple not knowing where to go and where the old age home was situated. When the sun came down, I started walking on the busy road in search of a place for the night. A few whom I had asked about the old age home denied any knowledge. I had not taken any food since morning except one banana fruit someone gave me at the temple. Someone had dropped a two rupee coin near me at the temple thinking I was a beggar. I was feeling very hungry and giddy. When I saw a tea shop on the opposite side of the road, I crossed the road. I don’t know what happened till I opened my eyes in what I presume was a hospital. I saw several tubes connected to my body and bottles hanging over me. There were doctors and nurses with grim faces talking in whispers. I could see a policeman also at the corner.
Someone said “the patient is showing signs of consciousness and has opened the eyes”
One young doctor asked me “Where do you live? Any son or daughter to send for?”
“No, please do not disturb my son. He is very poor and cannot pay even one rupee. Leave me alone. I have no desire to live” I said
“Thatha, you are not really well. Your condition is very serious. We have an obligation to inform the nearest relative” said the young man
“If you think I will not live, please tell me so without fear. I would like to donate all my organs that are good against whatever payment you can get for them from the needy patients and hand over the money to my only son. I am telling you this in sound mind. I don’t know whether I can sign but you can call the policeman as a witness. If you agree I will give you the address of my son” I said
“Thatha, we are doing our best to make you okay. But we have heard your wishes and will do accordingly if the need arose. Give me the address quickly’ said the young doctor. All the others including the policeman nodded their heads in agreement.
I gave the address and suddenly the whole thing went black and felt weightless. I don’t know what happened till after some long time I saw my weeping son hitting his head with his own hands and his sobbing wife near my cot. I heard the doctor telling him of my last wish and that they have willing patients ready to pay and waiting for the organs like eyes, kidneys, liver etc .I think from what I could hear he will get at least a couple of lakhs besides what the policeman was telling as compensation for what appeared to be the mistake of the truck driver in beating the signal.
I could heave a sigh of relief that I was after all no worthless old man.