Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Good ol’ days

Yesterday, my dad’s friend’s granddaughter had come home for dinner. She had taken admission in the nearby Amity University. Her father had come to admit her into the college, and settle her in the PG accommodation. 

There was an unmistakable twinkle in her eye. This was a golden opportunity no less. An time to spend away from family, make new friends, explore different cultures and places...  it is a thrill to live in a hostel, be in college and be whoever you want to be. 

And as her father was busy listing all the things he yet had to equip his daughter to be able to function fully on her own, and how he was happy that she wasn’t in the hostel, I could not help but remember how my parents, terror-struck parents, had flown with me to Pune, to drop me off at my college. Symbiosis. And settle me in the hostel. They had waited at the office of the hostel in-charge right through lunch, just to ensure that their daughter gets a place in the nearly full hostel. Ground floor or third? Third, obviously. An accommodation in the ground floor brings about many problems. Mosquitoes, for one. And that’s how I got room no 330. I love that room to bits. And my hallowed corner. Near the huge window. Where I hardly got any view, but atleast it let in loads of natural light. 

My parents shopped around in Viman Nagar for my buckets (I needed atleast two different sizes), mugs, soap (powder and bar), hangers, blanket, pillow (so she says, but I don’t remember at all!), biscuits, boxes of varying sizes, and much more. And as they bade goodbye, my mum did have tears in her eyes, but I had none. I was felt at home for once. For once, I was in my element. I still remember that evening I had made my first friend in college, AJ. And met up with others too. And slowly but surely, I grew on to love those three years of my life. Three years of hostel life. From sliding down stairs lying face down on mattresses, to knocking on other’s doors in the dead of night to spook them out, from living out of friend’s rooms and pantries, to celebrating birthdays and bringing down the house at two in the night. I wish I could go back. Back to being 18 and stupid, trying to wash clothes to the best of my abilities and making and unmaking the bef with religious dedication. I want to go back to those days. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Are friendships equivalent to investments?

As a child, I often had many so-called friends walking in and out of my life. They came and went as they pleased. There was no stopping them.

But now, when I am in my twenties, it is getting harder to let go. It's turning tougher for myself. And as relationships turn sour, as they most often will, one looks back at the moments spent together and wonders, is that how it was meant to end?

I have never been good at keeping in touch, and I don't think this aspect of me is going to change any time soon. But recent events have brought this question to mind, or rather is staring at me in the face... Are friendships equivalent to investments?

Even though we may have spent a gala time together, or emotionally bonded on some other level, if today we part, we must not only because we have invested time, energy and effort in each other? We are friends only so that on a rainy day we can chat up and dispel the gloomy shadow of loneliness? We must remain friends only so that tomorrow my secrets are safe, rest assured? We must remain friends because tomorrow if I want to cry my heart out, you will understand (since you know all my secrets and background). But if I need to party rock crazy, there is another group out there? Or we must be friends only to assure each other of our support till retirement and after, but hey, we can't catch that often, cause you're crowding me!

No one sticks around. That is for certain. Yet I must stick around to be your glorified doormat. My needs are never important, its always yours to begin with. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Feeling Raw - Part 4

I lay stunned for ten minutes, not knowing what to do. Slowly I pushed myself off the couch, shut the door and turned to the bedroom. After a hot shower, I went about straightening the apartment, putting things away. Hanging my coat in its rightful place. I dragged my briefcase over to the bed, and in the light of the night lamp I emptied its contents. A leather-bound book fell out. ‘The Midnight Rendezvous’. I had completely forgotten all about it! I scanned the front and back cover and the first few pages inside, but the name of the author was not mentioned anywhere at all. Funny. I bought a book without checking the author? There was not even an ‘anon’ typed somewhere. I did not even remember putting the book inside the briefcase. Or did I put it in the glove compartment. My head refused to think, so I decided to read. After a dozen pages, I flung the book to the bed. I was feeling funny. I raced to the loo and emptied the contents of my stomach. Regurgitating is an exhaustive process, and it left me drained. I quickly brushed my teeth. Feeling better and hungrier than before, I made myself a snack. I glanced at the clock. 1:53 am. I turned the television on, kept the volume low and returned to the book. But this time, something was sticking out of the book. 

Something stiff and white.

With a mouthful of peanut butter sandwich, I pulled out the trespassing item. It was a picture. And not just any picture, but the same one that left me shaken and stirred in the bookshop. The Little Black Shop of Books.

How did it even get here? I had left that book safely up on the self! My head started to spin around the endless questions and eluding answers. I was not even looking at the picture, but after the first few minutes of hyperventilation, I calmed down. I reprimanded myself for behaving like a sissy and pulled myself together. Its just a picture you idiot. It can’t hurt you.
My eyes roamed up and down the girl, who was still sitting coy on her bed. I gave the ambient surrounding a complete miss, and focussed on the bedsheet, wrapped suggestively around her bosom. Her head hung low to the right, her hair tousled around her neck. The thin bedsheet clung to her dearly, marking her shape like a statue. And before I realised, her eyes caught mine. Those large pearl drops pleading to me.

Quiet, shy she turned her head, apparent disquiet raging somewhere. I watched her right hand travel all across her thigh, stroking gently at the sheet that covered her tender limbs. She slipped her hand between the legs, still attacking through the sheets. And slowly her left hand let go of it, the sheet that hid her almonds sweet.

It was almost like looking at a movie. So mesmerising and gorgeous. And soon I could feel it, the throbbing sensation in my boxers.

The girl squirmed seductively on the bed, her body rubbing against the sheets. Her right hand still rubbed her clitoris, as her left brusquely fondled her breast. As she rubbed and squeezed them tight, she rocked gently on her hand. Her body arched backwards, and she looked hungrily at me. I could feel her heavy breathing near me, her sweet smell wafted in the air. I think I felt her breast, brushing against my nipples. My arms flew around grasping at thin air. But the soft caress calmed me and excited me at the same time. The soft, gentle caress between my legs. I felt kisses on my leg, travelling up. A pressure on my side, digging in deep with sharp nails. Dragging, searing my body with the exultant concoction of both pleasure and pain. I closed my eyes. Sweat beads started to the trickle down. I could feel her warm breath on my neck, but my mind had failed to work. All the thoughts of this wonderous moment took place down there. And before I could pull myself together, they clamped shut. The feathery lips clamped shut around my spear, and started to work up and down. This time it was too much. With ‘no one’ to hold on, I gripped the sides of the mattress. Muscles on my thighs tensed. Something started to suck on my nipples. My head was in the clouds already since the spear was getting ‘serviced’ like never before. Luscious lips covered mine, tongue in search for another. This was crazy! Not that it was not weird enough to begin with. I could not see anyone. Well that was before. Now my eyes were shut. I dared to open them.

My heart skipped a beat. In fact, it got stuck in my throat. In the midst of all the oral love I had received, this image blew my mind. I found myself staring at a woman, vaguely hazy, but her two opaque eyes seemed like the door to the underworld. I could still feel my massively throbbing spear in her mouth, but then what was her face doing facing mine? This thought probably left a trail of options in my head, but I could not get that far. My mind exploded with a  world of pain and my hands shot to cover the aching part as I let out a blood curling scream. I felt hot viscous liquid and a big gaping hole. I brought my hands up and the blood stained fingers sent me into a frenzy. My penis was not where it was supposed to be! It lay on the blood-stained bed like a sagging rubber dildo. Oh my gawd! I don’t have a penis. How..what…how was it possible? Why?

My body started to shiver with the intense adrenaline and excruciating pain reverberating through my veins. I tried to get off the bed, but I couldn’t. I was pinned down. A fast-paced breath surrounded me. In the midst of all the agony, the woman with the opaque eyes disappeared, but there was a strange haziness that hung in the apartment. Slowly the haze turned darker and engulfed me, its sinewy smoke trails peering into the depths of my being till I drifted off. Drifted off into the night. My heart felt light and my little soldier did not hurt anymore. Maybe it was sleep. Maybe it was death. Maybe it was a doctor who came to my help, and anesthesia was such a nice thing. The perfect drug you need to numb all senses. Just like women and wine. The perfect combination.

Feeling Raw - Part 3

Thankfully, I was not the first to reach, and more importantly, I showed up minutes before my boss did. I mingled in the crowd, shook hands with the trade partners and exchanged a flurry of greetings with the high-pitched women, but my mind was not at rest. It kept going back to the girl on the bed. Sadly, today’s function was a solemn one. Just a business party.

After the usual round of cocktails, entres and main course, I skipped the dessert for a quick light on the terrace. It was quiet, peaceful, far from the maddening crowd inside. I quickly lit my cigarette, looking through the large frosty doors. Phew! These parties were becoming exhausting. To have thought that at one time I actually envisioned myself with a future like this. But now, life was just too dull. My mind did try to drag me back to the bookshop, but I consciously put my head to other things. I stared out into the city skyline. Despite being fifteen past ten, the city was ‘well awake’. Streaks of yellow and red could be seen, highlighting the roads. The familial turrets of the grand Charminar stood in splendour in the midst of all the frenzied activity of people making way home.

Suddenly, a blast of the mayhem inside seeped through. The frosty doors were ajar for a seconds. A familiar ‘tick-tock’ whipped my head back when I saw a tall woman making her way towards me. Her long dark luscious hair kissed the inner side of her elbows, as the tassels of her dress danced around her toned thighs.
“Care to share one?” she said. With her slender fingers, she eased out the stick from the box, as I offered to light it. The white stump emitting wispy smoke looked at home, nestled between the plump pink cushions.
“Hi,” I said, in a raspy voice. “I don’t think I remember seeing you back in there?”

With the lightning rod perched between her fingers, her hands resting lightly on the terrace wall, she smiled and said, “I’m just another of the sales team from the Delhi branch, doll. But I so obviously don’t belong here.” She took a deep breath, her bosom fighting against the hosiery dress.

“So you’re a part of Mehta’s team.” Lucky bastard. “His company is well-known to be a bit boring, you see. How long will you be here in the city?”

“I’ll be gone Sunday evening. Can’t wait actually. Just two days more. It’s been a week, and I’m already sick of this place. No life.” She stood limp, staring at the monument ahead, her eyes glassy. “I’m sorry, but I just think I’m experiencing a bit of blues.”

“Hey. No pressure. I’m Javed from Calcutta. I’m also an outsider here. But it’s not all that bad you see. The nightlife here is amazing, it’s just that you haven’t been to the right places with the right people. This city can be fun too.”

“Really. Then would either you or me get into trouble if you could show me some of the places around and  ditched this shitty party?” She looked at me with expectation, hoping to rescue her from this bore of a place. I normally did pick up a lot of girls from these parties, but getting them to come with you took time and a whole lot of cajoling. This night could end well.

We slipped out of the Harmandz Hotel, zipping away in my midnight blue Chevrolet. With the windows rolled down, the wind played gleefully with her hair. I headed towards the Ozzie Pub, known for its authentic beer from down under and more. It also had the best DJ in town playing tonight.

Three mugs of beer, two Pink Ladys and an innumerable tequila shots after I found myself at my apartment door. Coat slung on one hand, briefcase dangling from the other, it took me some time to unlock the door. Sofia, which is what she told me after the second round of beer, leaned against the wall, one leg propped up against it. If at all I could think of anything, it was that I had fun tonight. I wanted to be with this girl. She was fun! In every sense of the word. I guess I was tired coming home to an empty apartment. I wanted a steady girlfriend.

We had barely stumbled into the apartment, that my briefcase was flung to one side, my pants nearly stripped down and my shirt ripped off. This girl was better than cat woman! Heady with alcohol, Sofia dragged me to the sofa. No sooner had she straddled me and begun to kiss me feverishly all over, her cell phone rang. Like the pouring rain on picnic day, the ‘heavy metal rock blaring cell phone beckoned her. I lay panting on the sofa, too excited to think. A nod of her head, a quick change of expression and then the inevitable happened. Sofia picked up her purse, straightened her dress and said, “Sorry Javed. My boyfriend is in the city. Gotta go.”

And before I could even say but, she left.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Feeling Raw - Part 2

For a moment or two, I stood in bewilderment near the door. The beam of light struck my eyes till I got accustomed to it. A bell chimed in the distant, maybe it was connected to the main door. The music that drew me in, had stopped, suddenly... why?

I gazed at the interiors of the shop. It left me a little flabbergasted. The small shop was lined with corridors of books, and many lay piled on the floor, forming crazy gravity-defying towers at scattered corners. There were abstract paintings on the walls, covered with cheap wallpaper like the cracked corners of pancake, grinning to bare a few dark holes. The floor had a rich red carpet that covered it like the fur of an animal. One step ahead, and the floor creaked. The sound reverberated throughout the shop. I froze.

“Would you not come in?” said a voice from the depths to the left. Amidst all the books, I noticed a door. A lady stood in the darkness, peeping out from the stairs that lead to the basement. With the grace of a feline, she climbed up the last few steps and was instantly clothed in the light. She had a small pixie face with a not too large a built. Her hair was whipped tightly into a bun, and her shell framed glasses steered dangerously close to the tip of her nose. Slim arms wrapped in front of her, she quickly fixed her glasses, and said, “How may I help you?”

“Uhm.” Well, words came thickly out, phlegm interrupted the flow, strangely. There was something in that moment that was both magical and strange.

“Uh, I just wanted to browse through some books,” I said, after having mustered an iota of courage. I’m not normally like this, girls, but I do not know what happened at this point. The devil must have taken charge of me.

“I see. And what do you prefer to read?” She continued from her corner, as I stayed put to the square inch on my side of the floor. “Edgar Allan Poe, maybe.” The words spilled out of my mouth, but the truth was that I was a little perturbed. There was an something about the little Missy in her prissy skirt and blouse that gave me a feeling of unease. Maybe she can read minds. I better shut up now.

“Sir, that would be two lanes to your right and the second shelf from the top.” Her voice drifted through the leather bound books, and I made my way to the right. Suddenly the room felt a little larger, stretching a bit, but I blamed my avid imagination for that bit of description and crept on.

I fumbled through the many books on Poe. ‘The Gold-Bug’, ‘Morella’ and even the elusive ‘The Masque of the Red Death’. At last, I said to myself. After years of evasion, I finally found it. I quickly brought down the leather bound copy from its lofty pedestal, and thumbed through the pages. Yellowed paper, musty smell, fine leather, it was a perfect collector’s copy. As I flipped through, a postcard came to view, lying soft in the midst of the typed letters. It was a black and white picture. A picture of a young girl, sitting coy on her bed, with the bed sheet draped suggestively around her bosom. Her jet black hair (you can still make this out even if the picture is not coloured) were sitting loose on her slender shoulders. There was a closed window to her left, and the room seemed dismal and grey. She was an object of art in the centre of the setting, posing in a sensual off-handish manner, like she did not realise her own beauty or worth. Her eyes stared straight at the camera, boy, the photographer must have had a hell of a time getting this done. Those eyes, those wonderous large, passionate eyes were like the ocean of life and death at the same time. I stood transfixed at them, gulping at the decadence of the picture, till in a split second moment, her eyes blinked and the bedsheet slipped to reveal her taut nipples for a moment. I was taken aback. What the heck did just happen?

“Is there something wrong Sir?” I nearly jumped out of my skin.


“I said Sir, is there something wrong?” She stood just ten feet away from me. How in the blinking world did she manage to get so close without me realising. The floor boards creaked for Pete’s sake!
“I thought you asked for help Sir,” the little Missy said, as she sashayed towards me. She looked beautiful, now that I could see her up-close. In the midst of a mind-baffling turn of events, I quickly shove the book back in its place and picked a random book from the shelf below.

I did not recognise the title. The leather cover screamed of the words - The Midnight Rendezvous. “I’ll take this one please.” What the heck. I just wanted to slip out of there.
“Very well Sir, please follow me,” she said. As we walked towards the billing machine, I noticed how thin her shirt was. Sheer, I think is what they call it. She had no bra on. That was certain. Oh how I would have enjoyed trailing my tongue between those arched blades, and with this thought drifting in my frazzled brain, I left.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Feeling Raw - Part 1

In this post, I attempt to make public one of my short stories served in four portions. It is really raw, and I did not want to try to perfect it too much. It could kill a lot of elements. I am an amateur in many ways, but I figured that if I just scribbled away in my notebooks and hushed up the ideas in my head, there is not much worth in them. I needed to get my work 'out here'. 

Enjoy. And do share your thoughts. :)

Feeling Raw - Part 1

The day moved to an end, and the sky blushed with all its colours. It was too early to land up at the party, so I swerved near a bookshop that I just passed. Bachelor, 27, senior software engineer, Hyderabad, bored. That just about sums it all up. My life savings. In a city far from my love, my Kolkata, I started my career in Pune. From the small BPOs, I wound my way to thecity of Hyderabad, working for a prominent software company. Tech2Go. Arghh….even thinking of the name starts a pounding headache and I quickly kill the engine, slide the key from the ignition and walk off towards the quaint bookshop.

I’m sure I look dapper. Atleast, my chunky salary earns me some pleasure (other than the ones we both agree and smile wickedly about). With the tuxedo in place, swishing along my thighs, my suede shoes looking dapper in the fading light of the sky, like the dusky beauty glammed up in a bikini, water streaming down, across and over the contours of her body. Geez! I really must wait till I reach the party. Another perk being in a high-flying post. Lots of soft wares to inspect! Anyway, still bored and utterly hating the idea of being the first to show up. It’s a turn off. Trust me.

I head towards the store. The Little Black Shop of Books, the name reads. Weird. The cobbles etch a serpentine pathway across the lush green lawn. The thick canopy of trees covers the shop, so much so like it were a dark hazy lace that hid the luscious women of yore. One could easily miss The Little Black Shop of Books. Its rundown attire, unkempt style and raven leafy surroundings, you could just zip right past it. I too would have, if I had not been deliberately looking for a place to stop by for some time. A dusty lantern hung from the tree near the entrance. The shop in itself was quite small, with a pale rickety door, where strips of paint had come off. The window resembled a Victorian-age house, with the wooden crossbars, but the thick curtains that covered it let only a sliver of light pass through.

I stood in front of the main door. There did not seem to be a kindred soul in sight. I would have walked off in a couple more seconds till a distant music caught my attention. A beautiful melody, that slipped through the seams of your skin. Slowly it embraced you, knowing you, searching through you, for you. Like a slippery eel it took hold of me, and I walked straight in.