The Writing Table

She got her first writing table when she was 11. The fact that it was her own, made much of a difference. It was her first first-hand possession. Before this, she had the cycle but of course, it was her cousin Didi’s (sister’s), something that she did not have much problem with, as she loved Didi a lot. And this was also different from her beloved turned monstrous bed-table, which wasn’t able to match the size of her growing body. It was becoming difficult to fit into that bed-table. Just the other day, it had eaten her frock. This writing table was special. It smelled like it was brand-new, which made her so overwhelmed that she decided to finish her homework early that day.

 

Unlike Nirali (her classmate at school), perhaps writing was not in her blood. Her parents were not writers- dad was a businessman and Mom was a housewife. She couldn’t write those little rhyming poems, nor she could read as fluent as Nirali. All she knew that she loved spending that half hour of her day writing in her diary. Finishing her homework, she sat on the revolving chair and opened the diary. Trying to adjust the chair, she realised that as the revolving chair was old, its wheels had a lot of dust, it had troubles moving properly. She took it forward, then backwards, then forward. Then tried to take it off her mind. She wrote a sentence and then the thought came to her mind again. Unable to cope with the thought, she decided to clean the wheels. Finding a spare tumbler in the bathroom, Ananya filled a little water within and carried a piece of cloth with her. She turned the chair upside down and began the task of cleaning, one wheel at a time.

 

“God knows, what these wheels have gone through. Such ugly and smelly stuff.” she thought to herself. Once she got done, she sat on the chair and checked. “Perfect!” she thought. And finally opened her book.

 

“Ananya!” Mom called out from the kitchen.
 “What is it, Mom?!” Ananya asked being a little irritable for being interrupted.
“Will you get me some curry leaves from Rekha aunty’s house downstairs?”
“No!!!”
“What did you say?”
“Yes. Going in a minute.”

 

Even though Rekha Aunty had long ago authorised this act of picking curry leaves from her backyard, Ananya would always tip-toe like a thief. She’d climb on the wall, pick a few leaves and then quietly move back. But whenever she’d turn back, find Rekha Aunty right behind her, scaring her to the core yet with a smiling face.

 

“Plucked all that you needed?”
“Yes, aunty.”
“What is Mom making today?”
“O that I did not ask. I guess some chutney.”
“Very well”

 

She started towards her stairs. Two stairs at a time, whenever she was very excited. She was finally going to get back to her diary! She opens the door and rushes to her room, to realise that Mom had disturbed her newly acquired possession.

 

“Mom! What are you doing on my writing table!”
“Can’t you see? I am ironing clothes.”
“But Mom, this is my writing table and you just…”
“This is also for the purpose of iron clothes.”
“What? Says who! Papa got this so that I can write in here!! And anyway, I was writing over there. How could you just move everything off!”
“Not like you were doing anything useful. I see you have already finished your homework. In that case, you should begin preparing for the semester exams coming next week. Take up your book, sit and recite on the bed.”

 

There it was! Her plan of writing in her diary shattered, right on the first day. And 25 years later, when she’d publish her first book after facing 4 years of rejection, from uncountable publishers, she would sit to write this story. The bittersweet story of her first writing table.

 


I’m beginning baby steps towards fiction. Do you like this short story? Let me know.

Mini Stories: The Best of He and She

Mini Stories: The Best of He and She

Keeping aside all the serious shit that I write, I’ve written a lot of couplets called ‘he and she’ over the years. These are just fictional but relatable conversations between two people. These are all different characters, different people going through different situations. They don’t have a context and don’t mean to generalise. Think of them as characters. I thought to compile my favourites today.

Conversations

She’d ask him: “Do you think I am crazy?”
“Noooooo way!” he’d confirm.
And she’d believe him.
In fact, if there was a test, you’d know that he too was crazy.

(After a terrible fight)
He: I’m sorry! But it’s just that you’re the only person I am so close too, and hence I find it easier to let my anger out on you. Aren’t you also my best friend?!!
She: Not really, no. I don’t want to be your best friend then. Please treat me like an acquaintance!

He said, “I love you”.
It sounded like “Please don’t leave me.”
So she asked, “Why? Why do you love me”
He said, “Why? We’ve been together since school!”
It sounded like, “If you leave me now, what will people say?”
The End.

Romance and Love

She was his calm. He was her story.

She wasn’t a big fan of “the lights”. She liked it a little dim. All the time. She knew people who liked it bright all the time and they’d say darkness is very ‘negative’ and ‘depressing’. But she could not understand that philosophical concept of ‘light’ and ‘positivity’ either. Darkness could be comforting too. It was, for her at least.

He was clearly more important. His thought would come before her breath.

She couldn’t sleep while thinking of him. He kept his eyes closed and dreamt of her.

Continue reading “Mini Stories: The Best of He and She”

What is that one thing you’d do if there were no constraints in life?

 

Author Susan Sontag's Illustration by BrainPickings
Author Susan Sontag’s Illustration by BrainPickings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is that one thing you’d do if there were no constraints in life?

Nothing.

Really, nothing?

There is no “one thing”.

Then?

There are many things and I am going to do it all.

How?

At one point of time in life. Step by step, maze by maze, one by one. If not today, then some other day.

But what if you can’t? Continue reading “What is that one thing you’d do if there were no constraints in life?”

The Ladies Seat

She woke up in the morning and felt there was a leak. She slowly got up and slid towards the bathroom in a way that no one would notice. She closed the door. Sitting on the pot, she struggled to hold herself together. Yesterday night was painful and this morning she felt tired anyway and this leak left her feeling miserable in the mess. She looked at the time, there was no time to think. She quickly took a shower, began cooking her lunch and breakfast for the family parallelly while constantly keeping the eye on time. She desperately wanted to sit and give her legs a bit rest. There was no time for breakfast so she gulped a banana. Getting ready for office, she wore a human-like face while inside she just wanted to scream out like an animal. She almost sprinted towards the BRTS stand. It was a 30-minute ride.
“If only I get a seat today”, she wondered nervously. A jam-packed bus came and she got in. She looked at the ladies seats. All of those were occupied by a group of 20 something guys. They were talking about some actress’s feminist rant. She went closer and nervously hinted to one of the guys that she wanted to sit.

Continue reading “The Ladies Seat”

Short & Sweet: Fragrant filth of the Night

She tried to wipe off the stains from her clothes and they left them a little faded but what would she do about the part of her soul that was ripped off in the process? And what would she do about the stench and filth that she felt deep within her skin even after using the ever fragrant and expensive bodywash. His enchanting smell had swiftly left her body after the first shower but it didn’t for a second leave her mind and she knew it wouldn’t, until they meet again. She didn’t know that it would be really long time until that happens, and lo and behold, she would relive each and every moment, yet regret that night for a very long time.

Those Ten Steps

Summers generally kill your hunger. You feel like leaving the tiffin aside and having something that sends chills to your petrified stomach. That is when I thought of the Amul pro-biotic lassi(buttermilk).

In the scorching/killing/human-barbecue-making heat; I started driving to buy my drink. I miss those winter days when one can easily walk to places close-by but those days are gone for the time being.

The huge board of Amul served as the sign of relief and I could already taste the lassi on the tip of my tongue. Quickly trying to park nearby, I saw this guy sitting in the scorching heat and texting. I wondered, how important the text could be, that one would burn in such heat for that. And then in a typically feminine side-glance which is generally given when you check if someone is stalking, full of indifference, made me feel that he was probably staring at me, but like always, there to no point in look into the eyes. Also by then my stomach mourned louder and shut these unnecessarily indulgent thoughts aside.

I assume, I walked about 10 steps for the counter, I didn’t count of course; and waited there for a minute or two before it was my turn. I gave the money and got my lassi— all chilled and I turned back towards my vehicle, pretty much rushing to quickly reach back and have it.

While walking back, I again looked at him, almost like “seeing if he’s still stalking” types. I could still feel the stare and it felt like an impatient emotion from his side. I still did not look in the eye.

And again while I started to leave, I saw from the rear-view. What I saw was heartening. Continue reading “Those Ten Steps”