RSS

Category Archives: Short Fiction

​SOME BIG SMALLTHINGS : THINGS I DO FOR LOVE

 There was this girl I really liked, back in college. We had made plans to meet for lunch. Her roommate dropped her off at the restaurantwe were supposed to meet. We had lunch and had a delightful conversation about worldly things. When it was time to leave, I told her that I could drop her back to her hostel on my motorbike. She was… is, a very joyful and charming lady, but had one flaw – she was very

practical about things. You see, the restaurant was at the center with her hostel and mine being on opposite sides. So in her words, “It

doesn’t make any sense for you to go that way and double back to your hostel” Like all men my age, who fought tooth and nail with their fathers to get the bike that they wanted, I didn’t mind driving a few extra miles even in the absence of a gorgeous pillion as

she. With her – I could go 500 miles, and I could go 500 more…

For once though (may be just for kicks) luck was on my side. A strike was declared that day

for all public transportation, which we knew nothing about. She tried hailing a couple ofautos (for the uninitiated, autos are just like

cabs, but on three wheels, with built in vibrators under each seat, and have a licence to thrill on Indian roads). None of the auto drivers were willing to drive,

owing to the strike. A single one who did agree to drive, was charging 4x the usual fare. I told

her, “It doesn’t make sense to spend so much money… You’ll just be encouraging them to exploit others”.

She pointed at one auto that stood a little ahead on the road, and said “Tell you what? If That guy agrees to drive for 2x the fare or below, I’ll take it. Otherwise, you can drive me to the hostel.”

We walked up to the auto and she asked him, “How much would you charge for driving up to XYZ hostel?”

He said, “Rs. 80”.

The actual fare was around Rs 35 to Rs 40. He was cutting it close on the 2x criteria. While she was debating whether to take the

auto or not, I panicked. I took out a 100 rupee note, and told the auto driver, “I’ll give you 100 bucks not to drive her.”

The auto driver was quite sharp. He didn’t waste time in asking stupid questions, like “Why?”. He just snatched the note out of my

hand, and drove away. She turned to me and said, “Why the hell did

you do that for?”

I gave a sheepish grin, “I just felt like driving you back.”

By this time she had started punching me, “You’re insane! And stupid! And insane! You could have just said so! What about all that

talk of not encouraging them to exploit others?

You could have donated that money to a good cause!”

I took the fact that she was walking towards my bike and not walking away from me as a good sign, and replied “I did donate it for a good cause.” She caught my grin, and returned a goofy laugh, “You’re insane!”

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Short Fiction

 

Part 4 – Little talks

 

It has stopped raining and the sky is starting to clear up. We’ve been walking and talking for about half an hour trying to find a place to stay for the night. The tension between us has subsided due to the running and laughing. Finally it feels like we’re back to the old old times of us hanging out. Granted ‘the old times” was just a few months ago but it feels much more than that. The feeling of being with her comes naturally. I’m at ease but at the same time excited. Like something wonderful is about to happen. “Hey do you wanna check that place out?” she asks pointing to a motel down the street. “Sure by the way, do you have any money?” I ask. “Only for the train tomorrow. Umm and I think all the ATM’s are closed by now.” she looks down worryingly. “I don’t have that much but I think I can pay for a small room.” I don’t know how we came here. Not here as in the place but here as in together along about to go into a motel together. I love any chance to be alone with her, to get to know her better but if this turns into just a one night fling I don’t want it.

We walk into the motel with a sign that says ‘OPEN FOR 24H’. There’s a short middle aged man standing behind the counter. The prices are on a paper on the counter and the only one I can afford is the single bedroom. “I can only afford the single bed one. Is it okay?” “Yeah as long as we don’t have to spend the night on the streets I’m fine. I’ll pay you back in the morning.” she looks up and smiles at me but it doesn’t quiet reach her eyes. I pay the man and he hands us a key that says 342. We walk up to the third floor and enter our room. It’s a single bed room alright. A single bed. That’s it. “Well this is fancy.” she says putting her bag on the floor. “Yup a bed, so fancy wow.” I say trying to be funny but coming off as snarky. She’s already sitting on the floor and I sit down next to her. It.s 11:24pm.

“So do we finally talk now?” I ask her. Yeah I get we’ve been talking all day but it just felt like a stream of little talks. It somehow feels like pretending. It’s like we’ve both been careful to not get too deep to the point of no return. She looks down at the floor like she’s thinking of an answer. “Okay I’ll start I guess.” I say breaking the silence. “Why did you get on the bus today?” I ask her even though I want to ask her something completely different. She takes a deep breath and starts talking in a quiet voice. “Just the thought of being in that classroom all alone for an hour and a half…I know I’m not literally alone in that room but it feels that way. Like I’m in this big, white, empty room all by myself and I can hear people talking but can’t fully comprehend it. Almost as if I’m underwater and people are trying to talk at me but I can’t understand. Almost as if everyone in that room, including the teacher are all in on this thing that I’m not a part of. I want to get above water and join them and I keep trying and trying but don’t seem to succeed.” she says like she’s been holding onto that for a long time. All I want to do is hug her and tell her it’s gonna be okay but I’m not sure if that’s true. Instead I ask her how long she’s been feeling that way. “Long enough that I don’t remember how long.”. “Anyways why’d you get in the bus?” she asks me. I’ve been asking myself too. “Honestly, I thought it was to skip classes today but it’s for this. To actually talk to you. I’ve been trying for weeks. If you really felt that way why didn’t you tell me? Why did you avoid me all this time?” as soon as I say that guilt comes over me. She’s going through something rough and all I can think of is myself? “Because I thought I could get over it by myself. Still kinda do. I didn’t want my knight in shining armor to come rescue me from myself.” I try to remain as calm as possible and try to put myself in her shoes. How could she think that being alone is better? “Yes I know you’re strong enough to go through this alone. But that doesn’t mean you have to.” I say. “You don’t understand.” her voice starts to break and it feels like she could burst into tears at any moment. “Then make me understand! I’ve been trying and trying for weeks! Do you realize how shitty it feels to be cut off by someone that you care about without even a slight explanation? If it’s because you weren’t doing so well then I would’ve been there for you. I would’ve been herefor you. Like I’m here for you now.” She looks at me for a moment and says “It always felt like a relief whenever I was with you that I was afraid I was becoming overly dependent I didn’t want my happiness and excitement to solely depend on one person who could walk away and take it all with him…So I walked away myself.” “Look I think I get it. Not fully but I mostly do.” She finally lets out a small giggle. “I’m not your knight in shining armor trying to save you. You’re our own savior I’ll be like your companion. Your sidekick! Like you’re Doctor Who and I’m your companion. Or you’re Conan and I’m Andy!” she’s laughing now which feels like music to my ears. “All I’m saying is you don’t have to do this alone, alright? If you’re afraid of getting overly dependent we can take it slow.  You can go through this alone but just take me with you.” she looks at me with those sweet brown eyes and says “Okay.” and kisses me on the cheek.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2017 in Short Fiction

 

Part 3-Running in the rain

“Hey wake up, we’re at the last stop” I hear him say. I open my eyes immediately and look out the window. It’s already dark outside. Oh god. What have I done? Getting into a bus that I didn’t even know where it was going. What was I thinking? Well I wasn’t thinking otherwise I wouldn’t be in this situation with him. On second thought he came here following me. He’s getting up and walking toward the door and I follow. It’s still raining outside so I open my umbrella and we both get under it and start walking.

“Do you know where we are? I’ve never heard of the station name before.” I ask. I’m not really sure to where we’re walking but it looks like we’re going to a street with more people. The city lights are visible and it looks far away. “Yeah it’s just a small city that’s not that popular. I haven’t been here before but I’ve heard it’s nothing special” he answers calmly as if this is just another normal night for him. And I’m starting to get nervous. I hope he doesn’t notice so I take a deep breath and start talking like everything is fine. “What should we do now? I mean we have class on the first period and the last bus and train of the day has already left” I say looking at him. It may look like skipping school wouldn’t be that much of a big deal do me considering I did that today and have been doing that almost every other week. But if I keep this going there’s a high chance that I might fail. Forgetting why I got into university in the first place when classes and life get too hard is a typical occurrence for me. I skipped the same class 3 times and if I do it one more time my attendance wouldn’t be enough to pass so I have to get there tomorrow. “Should we just take the first train? I think we can make it if we run to school from the station.” he says looking at me. Does this mean we’re gonna spend the night together? The first thought I have isn’t uneasiness that I’m gonna spend the night with a guy in some small town that neither of us really know. The nervousness that I felt a few minutes ago starts to fade because I’m just starting to realize that he’s not just anyoneWe were friends at one time even though that feels like an eternity ago. But I still feel at ease with him. “Yeah let’s do that. Should we find a motel or something?” I say. “Yes but don’t you get too excited” he says grinning to himself. “I’ll try to keep my hands to myself haha” I say.

The first thought I have is that I’m not gonna be alone tonight. Nights are the toughest part of the day because when it’s dark and I have no distractions, the only thing left is just me and my thoughts. I’m stuck with myself and at times it starts go get hard whenever I’m alone. Which is pretty crazy since I’m alone basically all the time. I wasn’t always like this and honestly I don’t remember when things started to get like this. It’s been that long. But when I’m with him things start to feel a little lighter, a lot more bearable.

“What happened to your umbrella by the way?” I ask. “Oh umbrellas are for losers who are afraid of getting wet” and for a split second I think that he’s being serious. I don’t know what got in me in this moment, maybe because it’s dark and it’s raining, or maybe the fact that I’m out of town with someone who makes me feel at ease but excited at the same time. Probably both. “Oh really?” I say giving him a serious face and close my umbrella in one swift motion and start running as fast as I can. I look back and he’s running after me laughing and I’m laughing too. If he wanted to catch up with me he totally could, I’m not that fast of a runner. I slow down and turn back to face him. He stops running but we’re both still laughing. There aren’t anyone around us since it’s really late and we’re practically in the middle of nowhere. The only sound we hear is the sound of the rain. I know that we have to go to school tomorrow. I know that this night is not permanent just like the other ones. I know that the thoughts that creep into my head during the night won’t go away easily. But in this moment, when we’re wet from the rain, with tears in our eyes from laughing too hard, and the way he is looking at me is so warm that it feels like coming home, I don’t care about anything else and it’s just us.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 11, 2017 in Short Fiction

 

Part 2-Ride

 

I barely make it to the bus. I forgot my umbrella in the classroom because I was in a hurry to get out before the teacher came. I only went after her cause I overheard some girls talking about how she doesn’t have lunch with them anymore and never really hangs out with them. Lately she always looks a little sad. She’s not very good at hiding it. So I went out of the class since I didn’t really want to sit through an hour and a half of an old man lecturing us about how the future of the country is in our hands.

When I walk through the bus door soaked in rain and breathing heavily from running, I feel like this is a tad over dramatic. As if I did this grand romantic gesture of running in the rain just to see her. It’s not really like that. I just wanted to see if she’s alright and to have an excuse to skip class.

I go back to the back of the bus and sit next to her. “Hi” I say with half a smile and she looks back at me with a puzzled expression.

“Yeah hi. Aren’t you supposed to be in class right now?” she asks. “Aren’t you supposed to be in class right now? Or at home sick and not on a bus that’s going out of town?” I ask back. “Good point” she says and looks out the window staring at people passing by as the bus moves. I want to ask her a million different questions. Where are you going? Why? Did something happen? Are you okay?

We met on the first day of school and hit it off immediately. Even though we didn’t have that many similar interests we would always have something to talk about. Whether it’s running into each other on the way to school and walking together while laughing about what happened in class the previous day. Or “studying” together in the library until it closed, well not really studying but talking about our future. What we wanted to do after we graduate and our hopes and dreams. Talking to her never felt like work. It happened so naturally that we would lose track of time.

But that all changed soon enough. Our conversations became shorter and shorter as time went on and she felt more distant than before. More and more time passed and she continued to avoid me. My friends told me that she was giving me “hints” that she wasn’t interested anymore. But we were different than that. It was way more than flirtation, we were actually friends. But sometimes it felt more than that too.

“Okay tell me why you’re on this bus” she asks. There’s not that many people on the bus. There’s 3 people, a school girl towards the back and a couple sitting in the front. “I’ll tell you my reason if you tell me yours” I answer. “Okay change of topic” she says like she finally gave up. “How have you been lately?” I say for the first time in months. “Yeah can’t answer that question either.” she says with a hint of a smile. “So tell me, what can we talk about?” I say sounding a little angry without meaning to. I just really wanted to have a conversation with her like we used to. “Let’s talk about the financial crisis in Greece” she says. “Okay, Greece is broke as fuck and can’t pay back it’s depts. Next topic” I say and she finally laughs. Not an in hysterics laugh but a small one. But it’s still something. It feels good to hear her laugh again.

“I got it. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would you choose?” she asks. She used to do this all the time. Ask completely random question that you wouldn’t otherwise talk about on a normal day. “Bonanno Pisano” I answer after a pause. “Bonanno? That sounds familiar” she says. “We learned about him last week in class. Remember?” I ask. “Oooh it’s blurry but it’s coming back to me. But just to make sure can you please explain to me who he is?” she says smiling unable to hide her embarrassment. “He was considered to be the architect of The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Still kinda is, but they’re not sure”. I remember this because it was taught during a class with my favorite teacher. He has so much charisma and genuinely cares about teaching and what he’s teaching. “What would you ask him?” she asks. “If he built it or not. If he did then how did he come up with the concept? How does he feel about it leaning? If he didn’t then how does he feel about being wrongfully assumed of building it?” I say. “If he was accused of building something that iconic must feel very conflicting. I mean, if he didn’t build it so he can’t feel good about it. But getting credit for that must not be a negative type of feeling. So conflicting.” She becomes quiet as if she’s considering his feelings for real. “What about you?” I ask. “Richard Linklater” she says. “The director? What would you talk about?” I ask. “Yup. I’d ask him about his movies and how he comes up with the concepts for it. What it’s like to work on such long projects” she says. “Or if he doesn’t want to talk about them we’d talk about life and what it’s all about.” she adds. “Okay I change my answer.” I say not knowing how she’d react. “If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be you” I say looking at her my heart beating fast. Being avoided by her for weeks and now we finally have some time together. Did I just ruin everything? “I’m free tonight?” she says in the form of a question. Is she actually giving me something? Is she starting to let me in again? Are we going back to us? “Well I’m free too.” I say trying to say nonchalantly but it comes out with the biggest smile on my face.

We continue talking about people we want to have dinner with, her with famous authors, photographers and artists and me with scientists and inventors. The conversation feels like it has gone on for hours. Eventually we fall into a comfortable silence. She’s looking out the window again, looking up at the sky, the clouds and the rain drops. The constant bump and hum of the bus makes me sleepy and I’m about to fall asleep when I feel her head on my shoulder. I feel her breathing and her falling asleep.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2017 in Short Fiction

 

Part 1-The Beginning

 

Wednesday again. I open my eyes and see the time. 7:30 am. I can’t wait for this day to be over. Thinking that first thing in the morning isn’t a good thing, I know. You’re supposed to think today is going to be a good day or I’m lucky to be alive or whatever happy and positive people think. I wouldn’t know.

I get ready as fast as I could and go out the door. Oh great. It’s a rainy day. Again. As if I needed another thing to bring me down. I remember when rain used to bring us joy. When it rained for the first time in the year, every kid in the class would run to the windows and put out their hands and laugh in pure joy. Run out during breaks and play in the rain. But now when I go out the door and see that it’s raining I think to myself not this shit again.

I grab my umbrella and start walking to class. I pass by people going to their workplaces or schools. Does anybody else feel like this? Feel like they’re stuck in this vicious cycle that is life, where everything is repetitive, and you know how the day is going to go the moment you wake up and it’s not a good feeling? Am I the only one traveling through life alone?

My train of thoughts ends when I realize I’m already in front of the classroom. I hear fake laughter in high-pitched voices coming from a group of girls in the classroom. I shudder at the thought of going into the classroom and them looking at me with their soulless eyes and saying in unison with their fake positivity “Good Morning!”. A minute has passed and I’m still staring at the door hesitant to go in the room. What I would give to not be here right now. To be back home with my family hearing my parents’ laughter, hugging my little brother, talking to my big brother about why staying alive matters and getting scolded by me big sister about how my hair looks messy and to “dress like a girl”. To be with my real friends who are miles away, complain about everything together and laugh at stupid things that only makes sense to us. I miss them. Not “friends” in my school who pretend that everything in the world is fine, or even they don’t even know what is going on outside of their perfect worlds. My thoughts are interrupted as I feel a light tap on my shoulder. I turn around and see a guy from my class that I talk to occasionally.

“Aren’t you going in?” he asks with a confused expression. “I’m not feeling well. I think I’ll go back home and rest.” I answer without even thinking about it. Why did I just lie? “Okay, feel better.” he says as he walks into the room filled with fake laughter.

I don’t know why I just lied to him. I feel totally fine physically. It’s just my mind and heart that hurt. I decide that’s a good enough reason to skip class and go out the building into the pouring rain.

Now that I’ve gotten up the courage to skip class, the last place I want to go is my empty room. When I went out the building I felt invincible and had the courage to go anywhere but as I walk further away from campus the feeling of uneasiness overpowers me. Fear nervousness and uneasiness. I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately. Especially when something even remotely bad happens, no matter how small. When I accidentally forget my phone in the library and having to sit through a whole class not knowing whether or not it’ll still be there when I go back to check. Or when I have a minor financial problem. Or when the cute guy in my class doesn’t answer my text immediately, I feel like the world is going to end and I’m about to die. I don’t know why, really. I don’t know that much these days.

But now the feeling of freedom starts to overpower those feelings. As I walk with my headphones on listening to some sad song about heartbreak and think about all the things that’s bad in the world and why my life is the way it is now, I notice I’m suddenly standing in a street I’ve never been to before. There are walls covered in graffiti, sloppy handwriting and random stickers. On the wall right in front of me it says “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Is this wall talking to directly to me? Telling me to stop worrying about every little thing? But I don’t know the credibility of this wall when next to that writing there’s a sticker that says “Mad Anal Sex”. So I don’t think that much of the writing and move on.

 I thought I was just going where the wind takes me but it doesn’t take me long to realize that I’m going to the bus terminal that goes out of town. Why am I going there? Did I get so tired of this place that I’m going to the bus terminal without even meaning to?

did want to get away from this place. So now that I’m here I’m tempted to get on a random bus and go somewhere. Anywhere. I start to have a sinking feeling in my heart. I’m scared. But this is the only chance I have to get away from this depressing place so I buy a ticket to the bus that’ll leave the soonest. I get on the bus and sit on the back by the window.

The bus still hasn’t moved yet. Ten more minutes and I’ll be out of here. I wonder how my mom would feel if she found out how I was. Her daughter who always does the right thing, skipping class to go out of town alone cause she can’t bear to be amongst her classmates and cry in her bed alone not wanting to live anymore when she got back to her room. She wouldn’t be happy if she found out. I want her to keep thinking I’m all right and still be proud of me. Even if that means I’m unhappy in the process.

I want to be happy. I guess everybody does so I’m not that special. If anyone asked me what’s the one thing I want right now I’d answer someone. Someone to talk to about my problems, dreams and fears. Someone who’ll listen and try to understand. Someone who’ll hug me and make me feel like I’m not alone. But no one asks. Yeah I’m selfish. I know. Me me me. Ever since I was a kid I was thought to be independent and strong but that’s the last thing I want to be right now. Alone.

My pity party ends as a guy runs through the bus door soaked in rain and breathing heavily as if he’s been running. It’s the guy from my class that I ran into this morning. He pays the bus fee and looks back at me with the smile he has. Not a fake smile that I’m so used to seeing from everyone around me everyday. But a genuine one. A genuine smile that reached his eyes. The smile that makes me feel like it stopped raining and it’s finally sunny again. The smile that makes me feel like I’m not alone. The smile that makes me want to live.

He walks towards the back of the bus and sits down next to me. The bus starts moving.

Wednesday again.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2017 in Short Fiction

 

First Crush

We were neighbours. We could see each other from our balcony. It was raining when i saw her for the first time. I was standing near this window as i watched her get drenched in rain. She was smiling. And i couldn’t believe that something other than the rain could be so beautiful. I wanted to get wet in the rain. With her. I wanted to share that smile. She caught me staring at her and our eyes met for the first time. She smiled, blushing. Oh her cheeks! She waved, looking at me. I had never felt so awkward. I smiled, looking at her. Her eyes were just like a baby’s. Less cried and happy. Mischievous and  Colourful! She heard her Mom calling her name. She looked at me, tensed. I did not wanted her to go. She did not wanted to leave. Before she could make a move, her Mom came and saw us. “bhaiya lives next door.” Her Mom said, lifting her in her arms.

“Your daughter is very cute.” I said.
Both of us  smiled and she went inside….. Dil ke arman wahi khatam hogaye 🙂

 
11 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2017 in random thoughts, Short Fiction

 

She Wasn’t My True Love, But She Was A Blessing Nonetheless

We have all heard this before, “No one you meet is by accident, they are either a blessing or a lesson.”

I, for one, am a true believer of that. I met her 2 and half  years ago, on a Monday morning in  the college campus on my first day. It wasn’t love at first sight. It was more of a friendly morning “waiting for the class to start ” chat, if you will, and that was it.

I saw her a couple more times from afar at the cafeteria but we never talked again. Fast forward a few months, we bumped into each other again and she asked me out.

Never did I imagine that saying yes to her could set off a chain of events that would change me as a person, or shaped my perspective of life, people, and love forever.

Ours wasn’t a whirlwind romance and I liked that she didn’t sweep me off my feet. Our relationship was romantic though grounded and mature. She was my best friend, my pillar of strength and my lover.

She was everything I ever wanted in a girl and more.

I loved that we could do mundane things and still enjoy each other’s company. I still remember how that one time when a trip to the supermarket ended up in us frantically looking for each other in between aisles when we heard our song playing over the PA system and singing our lungs out right there in the crowded store when we finally found each other.

It was the first time that I had someone who believed in me that much and wanted me to be the best version of myself in every possible way. I fell in love with him because of her humility
and her ability to care for and help others.

She taught me how to feel again, how love feels, and I’m grateful for that because I now know what I deserve when it comes to matters of the heart. He also taught me how to She persevere and believe in myself.

I have become a whole new person because of her, both good and bad. I’ve learned to take pleasures in life’s simplicity. I’ve learned that it’s about what you’re made of in life that matters NOT titles or the size of your paycheck.

I’ve learned that people walk in and out of your life all the time and we should treasure the moments with them while they are still here. I’ve learnt to make the most of my life in whatever way I can.

On the other hand, this whole experience has also made me somewhat cynical when it comes to love, though deep down inside I hope that I’m wrong and people don’t always disappoint you and maybe, just maybe, one day someone will stay because he chooses to stay.

Just maybe, one day, soon, I will be made a choice NOT an option.

My one true love was God sent, to teach me these lessons to embark on a journey to discover myself and to learn to love myself again. And who knows, maybe one day, someone will make me believe in love all over again.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Short Fiction

 
 
%d bloggers like this: