Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Rest Is History

As he ran for his life the past unfolded like an old dusty carpet on the courtyard of his mind.

Morris Black was better than most at almost everything. That is, only when he actually tried to do something. This was one black spot in Mr. Black’s otherwise white personality – he was an incorrigible laggard.

When he realized his parents wanted him to take on farming, like his previous fourteen ancestors, he felt sick from head to toe. He simply couldn’t stand the thought of staying on the field all day long, under the sweltering sun, denying himself the chance to revel in his rambling reveries. Thus, one day he ran off in search of a job that would offer ample rest.

Within two days of his arrival in the neighboring village, he knew he had done the wrong thing. Survival, on one’s own, was surely tougher than he had anticipated. Time and again his mother’s voice haunted him.

“Don’t be that lazy son. Do something!”

“But mother I want to lie down and sleep. Is anything wrong with that?”

“Everything is wrong with that. This life, that God has given us, is an opportunity to do what one wants to, in a constructive manner. And opportunities are like shooting stars son; every one doesn’t get the chance to witness it. If you are lucky enough to see a shooting star then you better make use of it! It’s because man was clever enough to hold on to such shooting stars that the world hasn’t yet been a bog. So work my darling.”

“Isn’t there any magic wand with which I can become a better farmer than father?”

“There is, it’s called hard work son.”

“But mother…”

“Shut up and go join your father in the field.”

Hunger, they say, is the mother of direction. In Morris’s case, what began as an urgent reaction to hunger soon became his vocation. He started stealing food from different houses in the early hours of the day. This was the best survival tactic according to him as he not only could sustain his life but also keep his eighteen hours of daily sleep intact.

As time stripped the days, one by one, from its overwhelming figure, Morris mistook the calmness of his life as an omen for a happy life ahead ignorant about the fact that the butterfly of happiness sits on those who smell of sweat. But by the time reality rehearsed him about it, he found himself doggedly chased by a mad crowd.

And as he turned back the past became as insignificant as an old wrinkled face. The present took over…

His legs could take no more. Acting intelligently Morris ran up to an apple tree in the distance and before the crowd could notice, he hid himself behind it. The crowd kept running and soon they passed by the apple tree. Morris let out a sigh of relief. Suddenly something hit his head. He looked down first – it was an apple from the tree – then he looked up. The fruits seemed tempting. He carefully climbed the tree and started plucking the apples one at a time. After he had gathered enough he wished to come down when he saw a man sitting below. He wasn’t aware of his presence till then. Morris stealthily climbed down but not before accidentally dropping one of his fetched apples. It hit the man on his head. Caressing his head, the man picked up the apple from the ground. He kept staring at it. By then Morris had climbed down. And as he did the man looked at him for the first time.

“I was taking few apples for my children.” Morris lied in a casual manner. “Hope you don’t mind.”

“No I don’t mind for that’s not important. What’s important is why did the apple fall?”

“I need to go. I am getting late. May be one day you will exactly know why the apple fell.” Morris said with a hint of mockery and left the place in a hurry.

Mr. Newton wasn’t bothered though. He stared at the apple trying to figure out the reason behind the fall. He was sure to make use of this shooting star.

The rest, as we all know, is history.

By: NovoneeL ChakrabortY

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Peephole

Since her marriage to Nikhil, a year back, Sheetal’s favourite, and only, hobby involved turning herself into a self-talking gossip magazine.

The posh colony in Ballygunge, where she lived with her husband, had many dwellers but none with an overt socializing instinct. Thus trapped inside the three-bedroom flat, all day, her eyes kept making notes on the diary of her sub-conscious from whatever she could see from behind the curtains of the myriad windows in the flat or the spacious balcony or standing behind her best friend – the peephole on the main door.

And lying idly at night, beside her always-tired-after-work husband Sheetal used the notes to prepare a collage of a fantasy world.

Her current collage work, though, concerned her neighbour, Mr. Bhatt. His wife, on Sunday, had gone to her parents’ place for a week while he was supposedly bed ridden with viral fever. But on Monday Sheetal’s peephole helped her see a fit and excited Mr. Bhatt opening the door to a woman clad in a saffron sari with a matching blouse and a neatly made bun.

“Who is she?” Sheetal wondered.

Four hours later when she saw the woman leave adjusting her dress indecently Sheetal reframed her query.

“Who the hell is she?”

Her mind scripted all sorts of stories each with the tarka of a typical daily soap but it was while returning from the market on Tuesday evening she knew exactly who the lady was.

It’s Mrs. Sen! She was wearing the same saffron apparel. But she has got two kids and a husband. Her senses felt a forbidden tickle. That’s the eligibility criteria, I guess, these days!

On Wednesday, Sheetal, with a journalist’s instinct, waited for Mrs. Sen to arrive. And she did! Same time, same dress. After half an hour Sheetal decided to defy her patience. She went to the kitchen, took an empty cup, walked up to the main door and opened it slowly.

She looked around. There was nobody in the corridor. A quick glance at the elevator’s indicator told her it was on the ground floor. She took one deep breath and proceeded towards Mr. Bhatt’s flat.

At first she only placed her ears on the door. No sound. Then something. Rocking of a bed? No, falling on the bed. No, rocking of the bed for sure! No, nothing really. Sheetal pressed the calling bell once. After few silent seconds there were urgent footsteps following which Mr. Bhatt opened the door. He was perspiring copiously and breathing a tad faster than normal.

“Oh! Sheetal.”

Is his face exhibiting a caught-red-handed expression?

“How can I help you?” He asked.

“Sorry to disturb you but I ran out of sugar. If you could-”

“Yes-yes. No worries.” He hastily took the cup and closed the door.

He closed the door! On other days he requests me to come inside. All her doubts were crowned with conviction. He is having an extra marital.

On Thursday, after her husband went to office, Sheetal fast motioned through her daily chores and waited impatiently by her door. The woman came – again same dress, same time. Doesn’t she stink? Sheetal thought and immediately dialled Mrs. Sen’s number to confirm.


“Mrs. Bakshi?’

“Wrong number.”


What the hell? She is at home, Sheetal wondered, that means Mr. Bhatt and Mrs. Sen aren’t having an affair. She sulked. On an impulse she decided to go to the security. There she checked the visitor’s register. The name read: Mohita Jain. Not from this colony, she thought.

On Friday Sheetal’s indomitable curiosity pushed her to be more daring. And she once again took an empty cup and approached Mr. Bhatt’s flat. This time I won’t let him close the door quickly. But before she could press the bell her eyes fell on the door knob. It wasn’t locked properly. Wetting her dry lips she pushed it gently. The door slowly opened up. She rubbed the perspiration off her forehead with the lose end of her sari and stepped in. She was about to call out to Mr. Bhatt when she heard some vulgar groans. An instant lump formed in her throat. Should she call out his name? Or should she simply run back to her flat? Eventually the voyeur within her won.

With the gait of a cat she carefully ambled towards the bedroom unsure about her endeavour. And as she peeped into the room she saw the saffron sari scattered on the floor, the blouse, petticoat, undergarments, a white trouser, vest, a wig and finally on the bed, she saw, Mr. Bhatt riding her husband.

By: NovoneeL ChakrabortY

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Staircase

Yesterday, after a long time, I used the staircase (usually I take the elevator – I am damn protective about my couch potato status!) to reach my flat. The moment I landed my feet on the desired floor I turned back and looked at the staircase. I impulsively counted the steps in my mind: nine in total. My look became a stare and I started naming them one at a time. The names, starting from bottom upwards, are as follows:

STEP 1: Loss. [It often is sudden and when you are least expecting it.]

STEP 2: Pain.

STEP 3: Tears. [The time between STEP 2 and 3 is the quickest.]

STEP 4: Realization of purpose.

STEP 5: Preparation. [Nick names: Struggle, Hard work.]

STEP 6: Meeting with Assholes in the garb of a Saint. [These big time losers are there only to make you smarter. So cheer up!]

STEP 7: High octane Insult. [Nick names: Failures, Heartaches, Challenge and the like.]

STEP 8: Indomitable Stubbornness. [Many people stop here because of exhaustion.]

STEP 9: The Ultimate Goal.

Once you cross these nine steps then – Voila! – you are at a place which your heart called and soul recommended as Home!

By: NovoneeL ChakrabortY