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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

narratives of daily life

loud voices outside the door. intelligible language.unintelligible meaning.telgu.angry protests from my room mate. i snuggle deeper into my blanket.the unmistakable vibration of my cell.a message from him. a reminder of the night. sleep beckons.10 am is still early morning.a string of blue beads. a swift good bye from my rom mate. reminders to drink milk. sleep refuses to leave my eyes.

a filled any alarm clock. tooth paste,brush and the tiny wash basin. the faulty flush in the loo. back in room. drinking chocolate,milk and spoon.the battle begins. it ends up in a starving stomach. a tiger buiscuit. all that is left. an unread paper. read though seemingly unread.

the flicker ofthe system. articles to edit.messages pending. nonchalance. a super slow network.waning patience. a chance for the paper again.attempt at a song. forgotten lyrics. editing again. a glance at the clock. one hour gone. rest of the day looms. readings stare point blank. a missing drive. the stapled readings lie.untouched.

a smile. thoughts of the night again. a widening smile. half an hour for lunch. a lost appetite.

coffee machine. another of those puffy samosas. hot sun. fluttering curtains. thoughts of a bath. pink bucket and an ash mug. long nails. cracked heels. lots of moisturiser. kajal.

room again. whining of dogs. misplaced anger. pending work. a miss call. hint of a smile.

dinner. an empty full stomach.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

stolen moments

“You like teasing me don’t you?” He muttered sleepily.
“Huh? What did I do now?” she chuckled wickedly.
“Nothing. Forget it. Am going to sleep. You coming back in or not?” he asked lifting the blanket to allow her to slide in.
“Nah. Am not sleepy anymore. I am going for a walk”
“mmmph nnng” came a muffled grunt from somewhere under the sheets.

Swish swash. The blanket went for a toss.

“You can’t sleep when am up and awake. Come on...up you get….” She started prodding the side of his tummy with her cold toes.


“You bitch! Wait till I get you”

He leapt out of the bed in mock anger and leapt at her. With an almighty squeal, she caught hold of the 1st thing that came into her hands—a big fat Harrison and threw it straight at him.
He dodged and threw a pillow at her. She caught it precariously and almost lost her balance trying to hold on to it.


Too late. She hadn’t seen him come behind her. She was too busy laughing that silently uproarious laugher of hers.


“Now how did that feel?” he asked her grinning.
She tried hard to feign anger and gingerly checked her lips.
“It hurts” she whined
“Am sure it does” he laughed, and leaned over and kissed her again. Tenderly this time.

“Not so fast” she said giggling.

It was his turn now to rub his lip. She had bit him.

He pulled her closer to him and wrapped his arms around her. He felt her body fit into his, felt her fingers on his chest, felt her damp lips press onto his neck. She sighed.

“When’s the train?” she asked, carefully avoiding his eyes.
He stroked her hair gently. “ In exactly 3 hours my love.”
“Do I have to go? Can’t I stay? Just one more day?”
“You know you cant dear. Nor can I. We need to go back.”

She hugged him closer still. “ I don’t want to go.”
“ Nor do I love. It’s been a wonderful weekend. But you know we can’t afford to stay longer. You have to attend classes. And I need to work overtime to make up for this leave.”

He kissed her head, the part that was visible under his arms. She had snuggled in so much that he could only feel her, and not see.

“I’d better get ready then. The station is quite far away….”

He watched her as she lifted herself from the bed and went into the bathroom. He leaned over to smell that side of the bed that she had slept in. It still smelt of her perfume. The one she wore whenever they met.

She turned on the shower.

He sighed. He knew she was crying now.

“Can I come in” he knocked on the bathroom door.
“ No. Am almost done. Am coming out.”


She was wearing the sari that he had gotten her from his first salary. He held her hand till the distant chugging of the train could be heard.

The train slid slowly out of the station. And he walked back to the auto that awaited him.

Monday, April 7, 2008

over a smoke

She never asked him anything. He never told her when he would come. But she always knew. It was not as if he came frequently. he sometimes never came. And when he did, it was always sudden—without notice. And yet, she knew. There would be no one visiting her then. She always made sure no one else came.

He knew nothing about her. He never asked.

It was not like she took care to welcome him. She never did anything special. She was the same. Always… to everyone. But he was different still. In ways she couldn’t explain. And so the only real effort she put in was to stack four packets of cigarettes. She knew he liked smoking. But she also knew he never smoked unless it was with her. It was something she had gathered from the way he always choked and coughed on the first cigarette he smoked with her.

There was a dim orange light in the room. She sat on the windowsill. Smoking. The red eye of the cigarette blended with the orange in the room. The smoke curled up over her head. Her hair soaked it up. The smokey curls hidden in her black curls. She played with a loose strand of hair which came up to her chin. He would be here any moment. She sensed it.

The freshly lit cigarette joined a pile of butts in the ashtray.

He came in. she acknowledged him by shifting her position from the window sill to the cane chair near the bed. He kept his small suitcase behind the door and joined her. He never looked at her. She always studied him.

She knew he had a family somewhere. She knew it by stitches that had mended a tear in his vest. She knew it in the way his eyes always watered after everything. She sensed it in the way he kept running his fingers over his fingers searching for an invisible ring. She knew he was in love with his wife. And this made her proud, if a woman like her could ever be, that he still came.

She lit another cigarette. She blew the smoke on to his face. He merely shrugged. She never waited for him to make the first move. It was always her—never him. She smiled inside. It was always this way. It was never different. She stood up and slipped off her cotton dress and wore her nakedness with arrogance. He looked up and took in her nudity. He was always careful not to look into her eyes. He always stared beyond her. Never inside. He never searched her. He just looked. She arranged herself on the bed. He joined her.

It was well into the night when he slipped out of the bed and sat on the chair. He coughed over the first cigarette. She joined him. She rested her bare legs on his thighs. He never pushed them away. Did not make any sign of like or dislike. He sat smoking. The packets emptied steadily. One after the other. She waited for the last cigarette he always left for her.

He lighted it and kept it on the table. She picked it up and balanced it between her fingers.

He dressed up. And pushed a wad of notes under the pillow. Picked up his suitcase and went to the door.

His hands rested on the knob a little more than usual. He turned back. She started.

“She died last week.”

The door closed. She stood staring at the door.

The cigarette had fallen down and was steadily scorching the old wooden floor.