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Archive for June, 2009

Choices

Me: We cannot continue like this. The feelings will get stronger and then it will be difficult to forget each other. This must stop.

I speak in a controlled voice despite my tears. He stares into space as he brushes them away.

He: Yes.

We sit in silence. The clock strikes 11. We exchange a look. He gets up, puts on his clothes and with a final hug, leaves.

***

At work, we are professional as usual. No one is aware of the changes that have taken place. Women still ogle at him, men still hit on me. I spend the day trying hard not to hate myself for doing the right thing. I start questioning the definition of “right”. I try to conquer the pain, the sense of loss. I dread the advent of twilight. It is inevitable. I gather up my things, steeling myself for a lonely evening, for a lonely life. I reach my room; straighten a few things on my table. On an impulse, I sweep the floor and clean up the cupboard. Numb. Robotic. I peel off my clothes, toss them into the laundry basket. I take a long shower, pampering myself, washing off the memories of his touch, his stubble, his naughty tongue, his reassuring whispers, the sweet tang of his body. Later, I make a cup of strong coffee and open the door of my book rack. I choose the metaphysical Franz Kafka. I quash all hope and longing that he will come back. I will not all myself to be hurt any further. Few minutes pass by. There is a knock on the door. I open it, expecting the washer man. I am wrong. He walks in. the nerves in my head are threatening to burst.

***

As I lie ensconced in his warm embrace, looking at the now cold coffee and the abandoned Kafka, I realise that we make our own concepts of right and wrong. It is all about choices. I chose an ancient concept of morality and a broken heart. Then, I decided to opt for love instead. I may have offended some God in some distant corner of the universe, but, if I die tonight, I will die a happy person.

Categories: Mirages

Alpha

Memories

Memories floated back to him as he listened to the radio. The song. The one they would sing by the river, holding hands, weaving dreams. He returned abruptly to the present. There was work to be done. He walked outside, and, touched a button on his shirt, blowing up everyone in the market, including himself.
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First Love

I gazed at my lover, breathed in his scent and resolved never to go back to him. I looked at the woman who now held him. She stared back contemptuously. Ayesha touched my arm in concern. I pursed my lips and said, “Coffee shall not pass my lips again. Have to control this caffeine addiction.”
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Enlightenment

I approached the ascetic’s abode, feeling my tiredness draining away. “What can I do for you?” he asked kindly.
“I am lonely. I want a loyal friend to take me through life. ”
He nodded, reached into his satchel and handed me a wooden tablet. I turned it over. The mirror returned my startled expression.

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The wedding night

I shuddered slightly as I remembered his touch setting my body aflame. I turned as my groom entered the nuptial chamber. “Are you nervous,” he whispered as he gently lifted my veil. “Yes,” I stammered. “Its my first time,” silently adding, with you.
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Categories: Micro-stories

The Sounds of Silence

June 3, 2009 3 comments

A strange aura- foreign, unknown- permeates through the corridors of Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow. It hesitates at first, for this is a virgin territory. Then, it firmly establishes itself in the labyrinths of an organisation which never sleeps and the air becomes heavy with the realisation, that, time has stood still.

Last week, I entered the lab only to learn that there was going to be a strike because of some political hotch-potch regarding the governance of the institute. The next day, I found that all the staff members had congregated in front of the Administrative building and were giving speeches etc. Work was slow. Later on, the patients were shifted to other hospitals. When we returned from lunch, the mass exodus was complete. I felt like I was in some military research facility and not a medical institute.

PGI has not witnessed a strike of this proportion in its entire life. The place that was always alive- punctuated with death and despair, hope and happiness- is now deserted. Devoid of bustling human forms rushing with multivariate urgency, barren except for us research people who are unaffected by almost everything that disrupts a normal human life. Desolation and silence prowl the corridors. Footsteps and heartbeats resound in haunting synchrony.

Day Two of the strike, even the roads are empty. Normally one has to snake one’s way around bewildered patients, their worried relatives and lots of monkeys waiting to snatch fruits from the visitors. I almost miss the intruders as I saunter on this strange, uninhabited planet. Thoughts of the inconvenience caused to patients are enveloped by a need to reflect upon this new mantle that my surroundings have donned. Things have become slow, lackadaisical.

As I return to my room, I hope for the sake of everyone involved that the strike is called off soon. Somewhere down the line, there is the crazy idea that I may get used to the quietness that currently lingers. Let me savour this novel experience and stash it away in the annals of memory. We shall talk about it often, when life retreats behind the façade of normality. It might even be missed.

And now, a compromise has been reached, the protestors stand triumphant, patients are flocking to the hospital, doctors and nurses have returned to their work stations and of course, the PhD students still remain blissfully ensconced in their special life which is immune to those happenings which mar the peaceful existence of others. The flurry is back. The quietude surreptitiously goes back into hibernation- an invisible leviathan waiting for its next wake-up call. So long, Silence!

Categories: Reality bites