Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Moral Victory

Why here, he thinks – Do I not have enough to worry about already? Why come back to a place, I've hated for years. Sure, it's praised and lauded. Sure, it's written about. But what do they know? If you'd have had the time to ponder over it, to drink it in – in all its moods, in all its seasons, then you'd know. Know her for real. That beast of monotony. Pounding away since eternity. Fleeting in her love, unforgiving in her wrath. Yes, he affirms – she's left him no choice. Hate the sea, he must.

Those people will never understand this though. “It's your culture, boy! ” he's heard mister Kerkar argue. Shit, he's heard everyone argue. He fights back, - “But she's of no use. All she does is infringe and influence. She dominates. She makes us all dance to her charms. And, we do.” He'd prefer not feeling this way. He'd prefer blending in. How he wished, she could charm him too. No antagonism, no upheaval. No hate. Life – they say is not that simple.

Why here, he thinks. Again.

Around him, Nature awaits the rendez-vous. It gasps with the wind, prepares with the sand, heralds with the birds. About 9 o'clock, he remembers reading - she should be on time. But till then, he must wait. That was never an issue with him. Waiting. He was always good at it. That is all that he's done all his life. Wait. Kind of fitting, he smirks, that he should do it now. A perfect way to round off.

“One must wait, when one does not get.”

Some aphorism. “Man! I should have noted all those down.” Fuck - too late now.

A glance at the watch confirms his premonition. It's time. He closes his eyes. She makes her final advance.

It seems repulsive at first – when she first touches his toe. They haven't met in over seven years. And now, all of a sudden, this intimacy. Alien, cold and yet familiar in its touch. “You succumb, at last.” - she seems to whisper, clawing away. With relish. Taking her time. She grows on him, covering him in her warmth. He's repulsed. More than ever.

He feels his body shiver, tremble. Not with fear, but excitement. It's going to be over. Soon. But even in this inescapable finality, he has time to smirk - “Even now, you come to me.”

Mister Kerkar was right, he agrees - she's got her uses after all. All you need to do, is wait.

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Lab #5

While we read each other's submissions and everyone pummels mine into oblivion, here's the next lab to get everyone thinking.

Title : Sahib, Biwi aur Golem.
[That's right, a piece in the style+vocabulary of early Indian fiction, in the social-novel milieu, but with a western supernatural creature inserted into the plot. That means traditional creatures like fairies, golems (duh), vampires, werewolves. Not creatures mentioned in only a specific book or movie, like Cthulhu, He-who-must-not-be-named, Jason Voorhees, or Replicants.]
Constraints : Note the vocabulary bit above. I mean it. Really.
Word Limit : 500 words or so.
Deadline : 10th November.


Monday, October 15, 2007


"...if you hadn't gone through that experience, you'd agree with me." Rohan finished.

Rita said nothing. Head bowed, she stared into the flames. Beyond the bonfire, the waves crashed onto the shore. In spite of herself, she shivered. Rohan sensed her withdrawal, and put an arm around her shoulder. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to remind you of... that time. Innocents do get caught in the crossfire of every law. But if you look at the larger scheme of things, it serves as a deterrent to others..." Fire flashed in Rita's eyes. She stood up, flinging away Rohan's hand.

Speaking as if lecturing to her class, she said, "So I'm a deterrent, now, am I? The scars on my back are good to show others, all those memories of the lockup..." she shuddered again, " are worth collecting into a book, eh?" She moved into the darkness at the edge of the treeline, so that he wouldn't see the blood rushing to her face.

Rohan flinched at the venom. "The alternative is worse," he said, "Unless people are afraid to break the law, it has no meaning. In fact, I'd say a week isn't enough. Look at America, they lock up suspects for months at a time. Crimes in the US are nonexistent today. Everyone's afraid of doing anything out of line with the law. Imagine India becoming so safe. Rita, where are you going?"

Rita was invisible from the beach. Rohan looked for her for awhile, then muttered, "She'll be back," and sat down to toast his hands.


The amplified voice cut through the darkness. A spotlight rested on Rohan. The boat edged towards the shore - why hadn't either of them noticed it before? "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"

Rohan stood up. "N...nothing, we were just..."

"HOLD UP YOUR I-CARD," the voice commanded.

Rohan's hands went to his pockets. "Rita, my wallet... I gave it to you when we went swimming... Rita? Rita?"

But Rita was nowhere to be seen. The spotlight searched among the bushes, but there was no one. It returned to Rohan.


"But I'm not... I'm just... RITA! Come here! I'm not a smuggler, I...we're here for a vacati... RITA!!!"

A figure had moved from the ship onto the shore, and was even now handcuffing Rohan. Rohan took a step back, tried to pull his hands away. There was a click somewhere, and pain shot through his legs. "DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE. IF YOU ARE INNOCENT, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR."

Rita suppressed the urge to come out into the open, to prevent what was happening. She could make out Rohan's expression; memories flooded through her mind. Yet the conversation had pinched, had awakened a fury.

She looked forward to the conversation when - if - he returned.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007


[Submission for Lab 4]

Pardon me if I'm making a mistake, but I do believe a man of my age deserves some luck when he needs it. Therefore, I may be excused for having fled to the seaside today. I could not face another day there - where nothing I do can find appreciation. This must be what rebellion feels like.

I know, I know. Tomorrow, I will be back at my desk, insults and payscales left by the wayside. By then, the ember of revolt would have died from surprise at being given a life. But today, it spends a day by the sea.

I'm on my toes. I look to the left and then to the right. No one in sight. Just like everyone else, the sun is also earning its pay. It is delivering a performance of a lifetime. No surprise that I'm the only grain of sand on two feet.

After an hour, I spy someone walking towards where I am sitting. He seems to carrying a tripod, a pot, and a briefcase. I look back at the vessel of shimmer in front of me. He stops near me, saying nothing. Instead, he pulls out a flier and hands it over with a smile. He starts to unpack. He pulls out a robe.

If he's an artist of any confidence, he has chosen with care. I'm open to all kinds of ideas today, so I open the pamphlet. The contents are shy and do not demand my attention. Without fuss, it says: Hello. I'm 'K the Redeemer'. To prove it, I shall perform a miracle today at 12 noon at the beach, and hide the sun for 15 minutes. Please do come and watch. Thanks.

All he's asking for is my time. I'm any performer's dream today.

It's only 11, but as you would expect of a god and a pro, he's set the stage and is prepared for everything. Though, I don't see Murphy's Law kicking in. It's not as if the power will go out and ruin the show.

Half an hour later. We've been talking and it looks like he's got no worries about the lack of turnout. His publicity has been limited to some fliers and an newspaper insertion buried amidst people trading machine parts. The sole concession to the demands of stagecraft is his robe studded with stars and crescents. He bought it for 200 rupees and admits to being drenched in sweat.

It's time. He walks over to the pot and lights a flame under it. Fragrance surrounds us. A seller of peanuts stops to see what these two idiots in the middle of the beach are upto. The sun waited above, from its vantage point.

He smiles, he waves his hand, he mutters. I look up, and yes, the sun's gone. Yet, there's light, so you wouldn't notice the ball of fire was missing unless someone pointed it out. However, you might wonder why you were not perspiring.

He turned to me, smiling. The vendor could be seen fleeing in the distance. Gone nuts, you might say. It looks like we have a god in our midst after all.

Thirty minutes later, we walk away together. He'd shed those garbs and I was carrying the pot (what an aroma). Things had changed. Oh, and it does seem that we meek will inherit the world. That is, if it isn't a lot of trouble to the rest of you. We apologise for any distress in advance.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

We're piiTh :: George

Down by the seaside

The waves smashed the edge of the shore; the spray and sand joined forces and flailed in the air only to settle down until the next splash.

Singing to an ocean, I can hear the oceans roar

He stared out at the sea and wondered what he felt. The thoughts running through his head were not unlike the waves he beheld. It was not the turmoil of the waves but the indifference of the sand that rang closer to home.

And there was a void of feeling.

No happiness.

Singing in the sunshine, laughing in the rain

No relief.
No joy.
No regret.

Yet the act demanded something. Or perhaps He was right. There seemed to have been a certain rationale motivating his action.


Perhaps that was it. What next? What now? Only time would tell.

No time left to pass the time of day

The consequences didn't seem to faze him or wriggle down his spine like a sense of unease.

I've been waiting for the hands to move until I just can't look no more

Dwelling on the past with its sunshine and shadow only made his stomach churn.

I used to sing to the mountains, then the ocean lost its way

In the far distance, two figures walked into the house. A light filled the inside. That was when he realised that dusk was here.

People turned away

Another gaggle of thoughts twisted in his head and exploded into bits as he rose from the sand.

The pain, the pain without quarter

He looked down at the body and the drops of blood beside it. Cain dusted the sand off his blade and walked towards the house.

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