Saturday, July 07, 2007

Interregnum in the Continuum of a Novel

Well, to those few who still track and ping this site... the site got me stuck for a while in a "Kalabrahas" state of mind. Meaning, the dark ages of the site. Due to various reasons, there haven't been new chapters posted. Reason is... reasons are: 1) terrible lack of time to key new chapters from note book to print form to data processing. 2) some rethinking has been happening to change the chronology of some events in the story to lead it further. 3) some research have been happening on some factual matters, as a result, I did not want to load anything that I am not convinced of. Soon, soon... I am afraid this is going to go a lot picaresque in times to come. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Corpse in Question!

“Dai… daaaaa…iiii, hey…,” before the policeman could complete his “watch out,” the spatter of blood started making dribbly drip formations on the front wiper pane of the tanker that slid on to the road-side into a gulch, squealing its way to the chronic grind of its rear-wheels, heaving loads of slush and grass and grime on nowhere in particular. Had anyone stood to the rear of the tanker, one would have been bathed in it.
The cleaner leaned out of the left door and suddenly found that his ground contact with the earth was fast losing as the lorry was slowly careened to its right side. Interlaced with attempts to heave himself on to the left side – the higher side up – of the tanker, the man occupying the driver seat was desperately flailing his one hand while trying to dislodge his other from the steering wheel. He was jabbering inchoately at the cleaner for help as the latter forgot all sense of humanity, the sole need occupying his consciousness being that of saving himself before the tanker slid into the steep the other side and he fell back over the driver and god couldn’t knew on what else. He didn’t want to wake up with a broken spine.
Into this chaos ran the policeman and a couple of passers-by, dislodging themselves out of their falling cycles on the fly! The moped under the front wheels of the tanker was still party to a fast revolving backwheel as its engine sputtered to death. What was left of the petrol in the little tank was seeping out into vapours. An economy model LG in its fading steel grey glory weakly smiled through its faded plastic dust-proof cover couture and a voice was desperately trying to reach out a few "Hellos". A single blotch of mushy red mole adorned it where the hash key had been… the mobile phone was a proper sight of true blood-relation to the hand that held it a few seconds back. The hand belonged to the young man, whose death would eternally change several lives across continents and islands. One of the passers-by on the bicycle would ultimately bring about a permanent static posture in the dark corner of the pooja room of the woman to whom the dead youth was the younger son. The corpse in context would further convince a certain Bhattar of life’s inexorability and vindicate his dedication to God.
“Who listens? Tell me… who listens? What havoc these cheap BSNLs and Reliance’s are causing to this country. Every son of a bitch and mongrel has these instruments perpetually glued to their fucking ear, one hand on the steering wheel, mind not on the road! And I have to bail out these bloody bodies out from under spinning wheels, lose sleep, run behind hospitals and smelly mortuaries and get cursed for bringing news to the families!”
The policeman was prattling to himself, no one to empathise and envy the situation he has been suddenly stuffed into by the turn of events on that wobbly tarmac Kodaivasal outer road. “Hanh… go go… ennappa crowd! Fucking curious buggers… all here to witness Houdini act. But request to come to station for witness… you’ll all fade into thin air. Go go… Hey, who’s it who dislodged the phone off the body’s hand? Do you want to get involved into this muck because they found your fingerprints on the stupid agent of Yama?,” he screamed at one of the gathered crowd who was helping get the phone out more than the body, referring to the phone as Yama’s agent. Probably the person was trying to find information about the deceased to inform his family. But this surely was nobody’s day. The policeman turned with a start as the radio on his motorbike, parked 50 meters away from the chaos crackled. He hurried to attend to it. Harried would more be the word as he was confused and torn between cleaning the mess and attending the call, having to usher this news and its sleepless consequences on him when his higher-ups filed the FIR.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hundred Thousand Names of the Lord

It was a small, stolid, stodgy little dusty town like several others. And the old man with a weather-beaten but shiny as well-worn leather face that normally would have been weighed down by the worry lines had it been anyone else trundled up the few flights of steps to his house. He carried a large U of White Chalk with a thin bright ochre streak of clearly defined line sandwiched in the centre and blitz-fading itself into his widow’s peak that had peaked quite high as one of those high Colorado mesas on his forehead. Even at this time of the night he was energetic. Not that it showed in his walk. It was more of internal energy that came from well-wrought beliefs on what he wanted in life and how life can be contented if one knew to draw lines where one’s wants and abilities coalesce. He was wearing a faded white shirt, whose left breast was weighed down by the pocket diary, several apparently important papers and a twig of thulasi, contained in the right pocket, the top crease of which was starting to seam apart, and whose top button on the right side of the shirt had parted itself from holding itself to the buttonhole that consequently lead to exposing a bit of the beginning of his sunken dugs that told the story of his life weighted down by the burden perhaps of having to shoulder the entire family responsibility.

Ranga Bhattar was no different from several hundreds of his ilk on the Vaishnavite map of the central southern part of Tamilnadu. He carried a small cloth bag that perhaps carried some broken shards and hemispheres of coconuts and bananas that came as part obeisance paid to the priest in the temples when they chant divine names of gods for the sake of several devotees who pay homage to Lord Vishnu in his several respective manifest forms dependent on the legend around the concerned temple towns.

“Srinivasaa…!” exclaimed his wife, to the Lord, before continuing, “Yaen-na, where had you got stuck? So late today? The temple must have got closed a while back! Kannan had called… all the way from Germany. We were all there vying with each other to catch up with him… and he was asking for you. Whatever one says… the boys always take up to their fathers! After so much struggle it took to get a phone connection, the boy calls home from such a distant place and his father was not there to talk to him. He was so disappointed!” his wife – a vegetative woman of age and wisdom acquired from tradition and kitchen – chided him in a not so harsh tone. He took no offence. It was a relationship that had matured through sheer plodding along through thick and thin, where wants and needs bottled and behaved themselves at the sight and caress of souls reaching out to each other with no vaulting ambition or overweening objective in life except that of giving their children a basic education and good chances to survive in the material world till they too followed suit into the karmic cycle of Bramacharya-Grihasta-(Bharanyasa)-Vanaprastha.

Bhattar just reached out to relieve his bag into her hand, removed his rubber slippers that was more thinned out than a Sub-Saharan child that UN and UNESCO and WHO show on those CNN and BBC prop-ads, moved to the area where a large cylindrical brass vessel stood in a dull corner ill-lit by half-moonlight, reflecting itself on the water. A small aluminium cylindrical vessel floated lethargically. He filled it with water, rinsed and gargled his mouth with inchoate sounds, spit the water into the corner drain, took some more water and carefully washed his legs, rubbing the sides of feet with each other to clean any mud stuck to the soles. Looking up and sighing, he removed his shirt. His vest inside sported an airy latitudinally ovalish hole just below the left armpit as he raised his hands to relieve the shirt.
Hanging it on to the hook on the wall, sighing he muttered: “Just as I was closing and leaving, some people from Madras came. They had come all the way from Nanganallur, Madras. They went straight to Krupasamudhra Perumal Kovil, managed to land up here on their way back just on time. I started talking to them and one thing led to another. They wanted to book for one year of pooja. By the time I completed that and closed the temple, it got late. Why, couldn’t you have sent your younger son to let me know? I would have asked Ambi from Car Street to do the honours and come. He was just sitting down the yard and talking with some others who hang about!”

“All this talk won’t fill your son’s heart tonight. Always temple affairs. Never time to think of us at home! Hmmm… it hasn’t changed in 30 years, it is not going to change. Come… finish your bath and late evening pooja soon… food is already getting cold,” that tone of concern that accompanies a marriage of minds soothed Bhattar as he tied the towel around his waist and started pouring water on his head. “Aarthi, serve food for Appa”, she called her younger daughter, the last of the family, thirteen years old, growing fast enough into nubile-ness to attract the boys in the small neighborhood. The young girl with big eyes full of kohl and neatly centre-parted hair with two well-plaited tails closed her history book to serve her father. “Appa, Anna said the place is so calm and beautiful with nice colourful parks as huge as our temple tank. And the buildings are so clean and quiet, the roads soooo wide. He said he would take me there in two years time if he gets settled there!”

"God willing, you will do your higher studies, child. You are intelligent. You will go high!" he mouthed, caressing her head as his subconscious was chanting God's hundred thousand names before he settled down to eat. As she started serving him, his mind wandered.... and the girl looked up concerned, lovingly, with the slightly frightented but affectionate eyes of a little she-goat that tries to hang on to its mother for fear of being marooned when a motorised vehicle hoots and blares its monstrous horn to weave its way through a flock of sheep crossing the road. The rasam from the ladle in her hand slightly tilted and a few drops fell on Bhattar's hand...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Life's Ponderables

Oops… he saw from the distance the outer door to the Wohnheim starting to close. One of those blondes had just opened the door and was stepping out at this time of night on a Wednesday night when nothing conclusive really happened among the hostelled youth section of students in the Uni campus. Quickly weighing the options between completing the cigarette over the next 50 meters and not having to dig into the trouser pocket for the key to open the locked front door, he decided in favour of the latter and consequently flicked the three-quarters of his Luckies. Caught between the urge to leave it die a natural death in a couple of minutes and his natural sense of logic to reach for it and stub it down, he unconsciously stretched his right leg an extra foot, landed clumsily and squashed the cigarette, deftly adjusted his body reach to cover the last 50 metres before the door fully closed. He lunged in the dim-light night and covered two steps at a time – 8 of them in all, just about caught hold of the door-jamb, held it towards himself. After having ensured the door was open 2 centimeters, he slowly ever slowly let it go to the extent that it was closed but not locked. Most students who came out to dump their garbage bags into the variety of huge containers outside did this. The mechanics of laziness of the youth these days is a fascinating subject in itself for a full research paper. Canon was no pioneer in this department. After all, when in Rome be a Roman. And he did… now. Also, his confidence in himself to handle all these foreign lock systems and flash systems and swipe systems was pretty germane at the moment, having been around in this part of the world just for a month and half now. It still drizzled at times as it did tonight. Mostly the sky was grey and occasional snow did show up. Chill factor sure was getting to the bones, necessitating layers of clothes for a creature of tropics. And strangely enough for this part of the country the sun paid visits in little bouts of peek through the grey skies to vanish before you could concentrate enough on the pools of rays through a tad open windows. But the Sun still did make guest appearances, to indicate this was his season of cameos before he permanently went to hibernate at Kringledom until post-Easter wake-up call. However, what was comforting at this hour of ungodly darkness in this part of the world are the rattle of streetcars once every 15 minutes; comforting… to say the least, in an environment where silence was the son of the soil and raised decibels belonged only to the squeals that emerged from the throats of kidding couples of boys and girls who were eternally chasing each other’s hormonic surge.

Canon caught up his laboured breath to normal rate, fished a fresh cigarette, lit it… smoked it deep and nice. Meanwhile the girl who just left - dressed unnecessarily too much, given the eventuality that beckoned when someone left the comfort of their room to go elsewhere during midweek, when no one haunted pubs so late in the evening or visited the on-campus discotheque where anyway nothing happened except on weekends - had almost turned the bend and he heard only the click of her heels on the cobbled stone roads cleft by three pairs of streetcar tracks criss-crossing each other at various coordinates of the road within 30 meters of each criss-crossing. Two figures were crossing the road from one side, carefully stepping across the lines. As they passed him by, negotiating the turnstile that existed God knows why (when there were huge metal gates that were as wide open as the goal post without a goalie), they looked up. One of them turned a few steps after passing him, raised his left and waved, flashing brilliant pearl white row between black as this murky night’s dark lips. The Ethiopian he had met on his way up to the Movie Club. “Night!”

Canon stared at his cigarette, looked back, waved a reciprocal “Night” and turned in time to hear footsteps coming down from inside. Someone walking down the carpeted floor towards the inside door of the hostel. There usually were two doors. Both requiring turn of keys normally. About 5 foot distance between both, probably craftily created to accommodate a little space to the left or right where normally slot machines for canned Coke, Sprite, Fanta or Sparkling Wasser was installed. It usually contained also a slot for beer… at the hostels. And the beer usually would be some not so popular Dutch stuff. But in the middle of the night when you’re stuck to the hostel and don’t feel like going out, it just came handy, although a better alternative would be to drink vinegar or anything your food cupboard had to offer, like Tom Hanks did in an episode of Family Ties way before he became a star. Yes, vinegar tasted better sometimes than these nondescript Dutch beer. Or sometimes instead of a machine, piles of local free mailers and papers were dumped.

Finally throwing his cigarette away, Canon turned, opened the out door, and stepped in to the comforting confines between the two doors. On the right were mailboxes. Sometimes full, sometimes not. All the same, there were always a few envelopes that had fallen down, being hurriedly thrown by students who had rummaged through the mass to see if they had any for them. They usually did not bother to put them back in the respective post-box holes.

He had no need to browse through those piles of unattended envelopes. He had just spoken home using one of those Phone cards. It was indeed a technological marvel how a little plastic, slightly a size bigger than a visiting card, could connect some University pay phone booth to Thiruvezhundur, a town stuck between mountains of haystacks on the roadsides and made popular only by its propensity for Tourist cars that plied pilgrims who travelled to cover a multitude of Vaishnavite temples in and around for about 30 kilometers. Amused at this thought, he just anyway spent a cursory 10 seconds to skim through the names on those envelopes practically anonymous inspite of the plethora of names each one carried. “Entschuldigung,” he moved aside to let the person belonging to the voice without so much as looking up. Had he looked up, he would have noticed the two eyes trying to fathom his presence hereabouts. They belonged to the spacious blonde of the Gauloises fame he had encountered a while back, back at the Uni lecture complex. There was an expression that mixed something of a bit of apprehension, a bit of curiosity towards the unknown, a bit of fascination towards the unacquainted, a bit of superiority of the skin and a sense of nativity. Without paying attention so much as to who replaced him at the mail pile, he pushed the inside door, nonchalantly turned left, crossed the floor, laboured the flight of stairs, mind occupied by the recent call back home. He did not pause to think until he slid his rucksack to the floor and dumped himself on to his bunk bed. Sitting with both hands sinking into the soft bed, he slid further to lay down with legs lolling out. Looked up at the bunk above his bed below and stared at it thoughtlessly for a few minutes. Where was life headed? Why am I here? Alone… wouldn’t say lonely… instead of chasing easier dreams in the land across the Atlantic where back home was Edison, onsite was San Jose and offshore was Bangalore or Hyderabad. He thought of his cousin at Nottingham and another at Alberta, Canada. Although physically much farther away from their respective hometowns, they were psychologically much nearer and connected and communicated comparatively inexpensively. Is this diaspora or mental diahrrea? Bleeding thoughts that choked his resolve with sentimentality that took a great resolve to shoe away. And the constant to-ing and fro-ing to the Ausländerbehörde to convince them that he was not here to emigrate like those tons of Arabs and Africans who sneaked in to the country and sought refuge or asylum and lived in cantonments of ghettos that were no different from a Jo’burg Shanty Town but for the multi-storeyed buildings with barbed wires, broken window panes, communal baths whose ceilings oozed stalactites courtesy the baths from the floors above; that he was here on purpose of education and for God’s fricking sake intended to get the hell out of here even if he were to be presented with the prospect of marrying the richest Teutonic separated female with schlange Beine, blaue Augen and who was zartlich und sanft inside and outside. He was not in accordance with the lay of the land from day one. Or perhaps the land was not appropriate for his liking.

In this frame of mind, he heaved himself towards the refrigerator that was purring in a corner. He had left it switched on without even realising, as he left that evening to watch The Holy Grail out of sheer boredom. Opening it, he pulled a .5 litre tall can of beer, indexed the little metal knob, felt than noticed the little spurt of froth that tinged his thumb, put it to his lips and felt the gentle bitter ecstasy that spread through his tongue towards the food passage as the liquid eased itself inside. Now he felt a bit better.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Fortnightly Movie Club

“Aw… the fortnightly movie club!”
“And what’s showing?”
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
“Seen it… but don’t mind again. Lemme try. Depends on how soon I get on to a terminal. Have a few official mails to be processed.”

“All right. Cross my thumbs then,” she said, with a smile that was very infectious and alluring you knew that hasn’t changed from childhood. There are certain types of smile that smacked of attitude, though you need to be a good reader of the types of creases that formed around the mouth area; then there are those that beckon you only to make you realise that you mis-read it; and then there are those that you think are meaningful only to realise the face that contained the head that issued it actually meant nothing. This was not a naïve one, neither meaningful one, nor neutral. It was… friendly. No agendas, no hidden messages. And Canon felt a stab of jealousy at her heart, not at the man who had the woman. That he was yet to feel in or against anyone.

“Awright, later then…” he said looking at his watch as Dirk muttered a “Ciao”, walking away with the tray containing the plate and tissue and other degradables to depositing rack.


“Some rain,” said the blonde boy – good-looking by any standards, just around 6 feet, thin firm pink smiling lips, blue eyes, wide shoulders that was genetic than gymmed - though no doubt some shaping had gone into it; but who doesn’t lift a little weight or swam a bit or played soccer here! He was slanting his face to his left shoulder to ease the attempts of his shoulder-high, slim, flowing red-head girl with handful of assets hidden inside a thick overcoat snug enough to keep warm from the chill of 8.15 p.m greying sky that had been drizzling the past hour non-stop. She was trying to nibble his left ear out of sheer boredom. They have been holding hands – her right and his right holding high the umbrella and clasped in each other’s grip – while his left girdled her waist and came up to vanish inside the unbuttoned coat around the hip. The movement inside the right waist-level showed he was keeping her warm with amorous caresses that signified nothing specific. At least it would not specify anything for a while, as long as the rain continued to frustrate their walk-away!

“If you call this rain, what would you call what we have back home!” remarked Canon as he stepped out of the glass doors to just outside, under the one foot awning that helped them seek temporary refuge from the drizzle. Actually it was constant and boring than pouring, hence it was irritating. And it made the muddy macadam that was so dry and firm that afternoon soggy now. It’s not a happy feeling to feel your shoes gum to the mud once every ten steps, and if you are not careful, you probably are going to soil the edges of your trousers. And there is always the likelihood of a trashed beer-can tripping you! So, the couple were waiting. Next to them, about four feet away from them, to the right of the boy, was a lonely, plump blonde who after desperate attempts to club her hands in a cup to blow some hot air from her mouth into the cache made by the cupping, to keep herself warm, gave it up, turned to where the wall met the hinges of the glass door, shielding away from the gentle gust that accompanied the drizzle, took a half-crushed pack of Gauloises, pulled one and lit it, shielding the lighter. Replacing the cigarette pack and lighter into her left trouser pocket, removed the stick from her mouth with her gauche hand, moved the hair falling on the right eye with a deft flick of right hand, blew a plume of rich French smoke into the German rain. And gave a side-long furtive glance at Canon standing at the far end of the slim girl.
Uninvited comments in these parts from strangers new to these parts! Those are the sentiments hereabouts where people considered you not so firm or impolite if you didn’t look into people’s eyes or did not hold gaze when conversing… where people considered it impolite and rude if you continued to gaze into the eyes of strangers who are on-coming passers-by, for more than the moment of instant unintended contact on the streets. But the couple didn’t mind. These are changing times. Young ones and teens and adolescents are bearing out a different outlook. Smiled easily and with warmth, offered you cigarette if you lent them lighter as they casually accosted you on the street for “feuer”. Didn’t mind crossing tables over at a pub for a small, quick, curious stab at gleaning new info from new people who are total strangers right from their skins to their languages! The plump girl however was probably of a different breed, not totally comfortable at this sudden openness happening. So she gazed strangely, as she licked her upper lip to feel the sting of the nicotine.

“Where you from?,” asked the boy, with a slightly different accent that Canon was to distinguish four months later as something specific to the region of Saarland, across the country. Students came to universities and colleges to study, right across the land. No holds barred. And that was really exciting. Fellowmen and women within the country were confronted with an explosion of cultural exchanges among themselves. And they had believed – since they hadn’t encountered until now – that it was merely dialectical as well as proportional variations (in culinary and other related practises) lingually and soci0-culturally. Now it seemed that there is a whole world of difference between two people who lived in two different towns that are merely three or four hours drive apart! One thing never varied: the way a German opening up to English would pronounce the ‘a’, with a little twang of ‘e’ to it. So nasal and funny but with a sweet feel to it.
“Ah!, it pours when it rains there, right? Have heard of it,” said the boy.
“Yes, raincoats are no use. Tschüss…” Canon started braving the drizzle that had now almost thinned out to droplets you thought you imagined were there. As he trundled away, swerving a little slush of shiny grey, he could hear the plump blonde unlocking the chain that had tethered her cycle to the cycle rest vertically impaled to the ground. Rows of them where you locked your cycles routinely. Now he climbed a little mound to reach the tarmac, pausing to check the time. Time to catch the pay-phones to call back home.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The long lunch queue was abuzz

The long lunch queue was abuzz with faces that thanks to ears at the extremes held laughters from reaching 360 degrees. And talk... endless chatter of gossips vying with rattles of ladles on porcelains; and hands reaching for forks and spoons at the end of the food chain. Lunch Time at Mensa. Students and professors and poseurs and associates - all gathering as a matter of routine - at the same time. The very epitome of university life.

"Deeeeee..." a hail from somewhere behind the queue of plates hit his ear at mid-pitch. Knowing the voice, without turning to see, he just raised his right hand in a gesture of recognition. Not much interested in stepping out of line or feeling like returning the favour in decibels, the man addressed as Dee murmured something inchoate to himself, getting irritated with the agonizing snailing towards the goulash counter. Goulash and mashed potatoes and a serving of frikadelle at extra cost. And the mustard paste packaged by some dumb, across the Atlantic Pond company that you had to pay for. Everything these days cost money. Earlier it was different. You just had to flash your student identity and the coupons could be picked once a week or fortnight or monthly as you wished to retain them. The menu has not changed, only the pattern of service. And the gas cost so much that one stayed back to catch lunch at the canteen rather than drive back to the apartment. He was one of the several students who were finding the "openness" a little alarming. Education still is free. One just had to pay a basic student union assurance. But the course materials cost a fortune for those who are not used to paying. Still, life is not without its positives. One at least can work up finances if one had the will and desperation and attitude towards it.

The queue had reached him to the counter. "Mahlzeit!" The voice from the other side of the counter wished. "Uh... hunh? Bit more sauce please..." An amused and condescending cackle from the other side of the counter, as the ladle showered the mash with its blessings of brackish brown sauce emblazoned in dull kidney beans., he moved away from the railing and towards an empty table.

"Mind if I joined, Dirk?", a very nasal voice, sounding un-English, un-American but standard, eased itself on the opposite chair without waiting for an answer. By now being used to this pattern of politeness that did not expect an answer Dee, whose expansion has now been authenticated, spread a warm smile and extended the open palm to accept a friendly embedding of the other hand that pressed gently palm down, "Heeeey... managed to make it yourself?". The visitor smiled a row of unorderly lower row, eased the mandatory mashed potato and some agglomeration of vegetables and salads and vinegar soaked beans accrued on the plate, with the right hand while carefully placing the paper tissue and the fork to the left of him. "Yes, Need for Food! Can't keep the taste buds under suppression for long." He said it matter of fact. "If you could call a plate full of leaves a treat for your taste buds, you're entitled to your feelings," chuckled Dirk in a wry sort of way, the visitor couldn't quite comprehend whether to consider it a joke and return the compliment with another flash of lower row or to say something to keep the conversation going. "But yoooou know, it's good. For you to discover the campus. Even if it means you need to hop across two intersections for this measly meal. I mean, rather than going to that basement cafeteria and brushing shoulders with the older lot of professors with borrowed Queen's English. You feel life here. How would you compare?"

"Ummm... naat musch difffferance", mouth full of potato slush and one little strand of sprout beans hanging, making desperate efforts to snake into the esophagal avenue towards the digestive innards of his mid-torso. Gulp... three-second pause of voice, accentuated with gestures and movement of left fingers to explain that it was difficult to think with food in mouth... clearance, "...actually, the food is same. But yes, it's a lot more warm here", and wondered if they both meant the same warmth. "Heeeey... Deee. Hi Canon, is the food treating you good?" the voice that had hailed Dirk from the back of the food chain a while back now settled down on the seat next to Dirk in the form of a gorgeous, even if slightly more round on the hips, E-cat, as Dirk affectionately called his girlfriend. Canon is how they had pronounced his name on the Round One of introductions as he had descended on the Teutonic soil, on the sunny but cold day in late September. Having a certain proclivity towards photography, he had mutely accepted his name-revision with a certain resigned candor that he prided himself as internal grandeur. E-cat is short for Ekaterina. As he mulled over nomenclatural predicaments in a university campus, D & E had quickly brushed their lips to acquaintance. That is something he was still coming to terms with. "Do you have your presentation this evening?" - Dirk.

"Naw! going to do window shopping at the mall. Going to leer and ogle at all those Aiwa Walkmans and try to beat the ascending steps of the escal..."

" 'k, join us at the 2nd Floor then? 6.30" E-cat suggested, afterwards looking at D for a late approval.

"Yeah!... yeah...!!" strained Dirk, perhaps taken unexpectedly by this invitation that must have ensued from him.

"What's up tonight?"

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I have a right to exist

I have a right to exist, he thought. Lately he has been having nightmares. In real time. Like now. The vultures swirled high above the ground, hawk-eyed, circling, waiting for the pray to spread-eagle in death and the burning sands below. Clumps of mesquites scattered between craters of sands extending miles all round the empty vastness. Wrong terrain for mesquites. No, not the terrain, the mindscape of the nightmare was not any Arizona desert, but what was once a city in the southern part of India. The stars and the standardized constellations over-head in the clear skies told his cerebral functions that fact. That was what disturbed him. A clear starry night in south of India and vultures overhead? Vultures in the night! It has to be a nightmare. He woke up, not with a start, for he had been through this surreal landscape that melts underneath his hurtling legs as the latter tried to outrun themselves and outpace the throbbing, pulsing heart that left a spicy feeling in his throat! Familiar feelings. Familiar landscapes reeling out fast and furious like those dissolving-into-each-other music video cuts. That was why he got up not with a start, but to analyse. It was four in the morning, his digital fm radio ricocheted. Groaning, wiping a single bead of cold sweat under his chin, he tried to turn around. The early morning affliction of youth, symbolized by the dent in the mid-section of the counterpane, was strangely there, in spite of a disturbing nightmare sequence. He tried to get back to sleep, secure in the thought of his masculinity, not totally fazed to not remember his fate where he cannot even lose the throb in the groin because of a bad dream! Where is life headed, anyway?

Sleep was not happening. After tossing and turning around for two yawning hours, he swung out of the counterpane, felt the momentary chill of the floor as his feet made contact with it. Reality hit him fuzzily at first, then the fists voluntarily bunched themselves to press the knuckles on to the half-closed eyebrows shielding ochred eyes from frayed nerves, frazzled mood and perturbed excuse for sleep. Slowly he stared the day like Kermit the Frog, not sure whether to lose himself into the slanted rays that have fallen on the floor, spotlighting the zillions of dancing worms of dust, through the excuse for trellises on his single window, or to delve deeply into the philosophy behind the agony of having to make his own morning coffee over an unbrushed foul tasting mouth of his own!

Clap... Lap... Dissolve...

Section one



a first novel expressing its fledgling dreams