Short Stories

#121 : Love, Truly! 

Read Part 1 at my partner Vishnu’s blog

I stepped out of my room to find dad and mom watching the telly. It was high time to have that conversation to them about Teddy. Though I was a bundle of nerves, I had to buckle up and bite the bullet, for true love cannot stay boxed up! 

“Dad,Mom, can I talk to you for a minute” I asked, in smallest possible voice. 

“Louder lady! I am not thirty anymore!” chortled my dad! My mum simply noded. She was sharp and so was her hearing! Oh dear, I grimmaced! 

“Dad, please. I need to talk you about something” I said. He muted the TV and turned to me. 

“Okay! Is this the part where I am supposed to  cross question you about your choice of men?! Nope. Not doing this. You know best. Bring the man home. Let’s get this done with! ” he said and threw one of his killer smiles. He was cool that way! I simply shook my head. Unbelievable that man was at times! 

“Ashok. She has just started working! Don’t encourage the silly girl. She needs to find her footing before thinking about marriage and stuff. I am not letting her commit the same mistake as I did. Bugger off lady!” My mum said calmly before grabbing the remote from dad and unmuting it. That signaled the end of conversation and mom always had the last say. Marriage.  That didn’t really make sense to me! 

“Mom please. Hear me out. I know I just started work. But please. I love him so much that I can’t really live without him!” I cried out in a single go, hoping to clear out any misunderstanding! 

“Hmph! Seriously? I thought food was the only thing you couldn’t live without”, replied my dad, with a mocking smile! 

I glared at him with all might I could to only end up giggling. ” Dad please. Yes food and this guy too!” I said!  

“Okay. Speak up and stop proclaiming your love! This is no Bollywood movie. I just hope you know what you are doing Vidya” said my mum very calmly. She was so calm that it scared me to no end.

“Mom. Dad. I am in love with Teddy and I’d like to bring him home. He is a lab and has probably been abandoned. He doesn’t seem older than a year” I said with a bright smile. 

“A dog. You want to bring home a dog?” Asked my mom in a utterly confused state. 

“Well! If only you had let me talk a few minutes back!” I replied with a cheeky grin! 

Note-This post is written for the ‘love theme’ contest by The chennai bloggers club( insert url – chennaibloggers.in) in association with woodooz (insert url – http://www.woodooz.com/) and Indian Superheroes (insert url – http://indiansuperheroes.com/ )

PS. I love dogs and my parents never agreed to let me have one. When the pairing was done, My partner VishnuPriya  pinged enthusiastically. Given that we both blogged about random stuff, we found it fit to write a short story! 

Short Stories

#120 : The Note (Conclusion)

Story So far,

Part 1 – The Note 

Part 2 – The Note

A woman dressed in a short black shirt and tight fitting blue shirt barged into the room. She didn’t bother to knock nor did she look apologetic for barging in. Her attire did very little to conceal her buxom figure. He hair was tied up to a bun with wisps of stray hair falling all over her face making her round face look larger. With a sharp features, she looked every bit like a negative character from Indian daily soaps.

“Gita, cut the bull. I don’t understand why you wanted the full board to be present for a silly harassment case. These things happen and this is exactly why I handle such silly issues. Quit being a pain and let us do our job. You are a woman and men have a tendency to be attracted to opposite gender!” said the Disha, the woman who had just entered.

Gita gave a throaty laugh. The god of irony seemed to be blessing her in abundance today.

“First of all, Althaf and me, we weren’t a couple. Don’t you think it’s thick coming from you? Silly issues you say harassment is?” seethed Gita in anger.

“Disha please. Shut it. You weren’t invited her in first place. You ruined my life 20 years ago and I let history repeat itself again. This needs to end, you bitch!” bellowed Ramesh.

Gita was shocked by her mentor’s venomous tone.

“This woman here, is a sexual predator. She abused me on a daily basis 20 years ago when we first joined as interns. She threatened us, making sure her sexual needs were satisfied. It took me a good 10 years to recover from that trauma and put a full stop to her bullying. Raghu, look where this has landed. Althaf, the best we had, committed suicide! Heck! this is on you! You should have fired her when I brought this to you years ago!” shouted Ramesh.

Recovering from the shock, Gita let out a small laugh once again. Ramesh was perplexed by her urge to laugh in such a serious moment.

“Suicide?! Really? Ramesh, are you blind? Althaf was too strong for that. It’s cold blooded murder. Look at the damn footage with your eyes wide open. His eyes, there is something wrong with them don’t you see? And look at the reflection on the glass pane on his right side. See that shadow?” said Gita, zooming in to a point in the video. There stood a person with one arm out stretched. From the silhouette, the person looked like a woman.

Gita opened another file which played the same video of Althaf’s suicide from another angle which covered the person standing opposite to him. This video had an audio track as well. The woman opposite to Althaf was threatening him. She was hypnotizing him to kill himself. Althaf had placed a small recorder behind him concealed neatly by the painting hung on the wall.

Gita stopped the video midway. It was becoming too painful for her to watch more of this. She wanted to run away and scream her head off. The room was pregnant with silence. As if on cue, the door opened and in came barging a bunch of men in uniform followed by a trim man in sharp police clothes and a woman in similar attire.

“Ms.Disha, you under arrest for sexual harassment and murder. Here is a warrant for the same. Walk with us please to the station. You are allowed to contact your lawyer once we reach the station. You know the drill mam!” said the woman before going on to stand next to Disha.

“You bitch! wait and watch! You think you can get away so easily. Don’t worry! You will join your lover soon! I’ll make sure of that!” shouted Disha like a mad woman before going on to pounce on her. The female cop caught Disha by her arm just before she could slap Gita and dragged her away. The male cop nodded at Raghu before leaving the room silently.

“Yes Ramesh. I should have acted back then. I know I am eternally late, but I hope Althaf forgives me some day. I had stumbled upon this video and your elaborate work when you dozed off in your cubicle the other day. I read through your notes and copied it all before waking you up. What I saw shocked me to my core. I had to put a full stop to this. I failed to save Ramesh 20 years ago when Disha troubled him. I let him suffer silently without firing her.Today, it costed me a lot more than I bargained for. Gita, please know that Althaf loved you. He loved in a way no one can possibly love you. His sexual preferences might have been different, but you were his one true soul mate. Please stay strong my girl!” replied Raghu, before patting Gita and walking away.

Note : Not the best ending, but I wanted it to be this way. Male abuse is a serious issue which seldom is acknowledged. Is it common at workplace? Not as common as female abuse is. However, abuse is a bad thing immaterial of gender or sexual preferences. A closure of sorts finally. 

100 Days of Blogging

#119 : Day Hundred – The Year 2017

100 days of writing daily! Phew I really can’t believe I’ve done it. Obviously, this isn’t my effort alone. Taking time out to write something daily requires support from your family. Especially when you also have a full time work to take care of. I’m indebted to my parents for encouraging me and understanding that I need time out for myself daily. I’d be failing in being grateful if I don’t thank my husband. He ensured to give me time and space for myself to write right from the day we got married. I’d also like to thank one person who followed all my posts diligently and commented on most of them – Dinesh Babu KN. This guy is almost a stranger, yet he had all the niceness in the world to read what ever I rambled on and comment on it. You have no idea how much your comments boosted my self confidence! Thank you 😀

There is one person I truly have to thank. This person stung me and hurt me badly. She made me feel worthless. She made me doubt my skill to string few words together. That hit to my self confidence was a much needed lesson. It was an eye opener. If you are reading this my dear friend, remember not to provoke people like me this way. She told me it was not in the spirit of the challenge to schedule posts or have a guest blogger take over, I kept up with the spirit, no matter in which part of the world I was. Lesson learnt – When you are determined to accomplish something, no matter what the situation is, you can really accomplish it. Pointer to self – Keep up this darn determination with everything you do.

My goals for 2017,

  1. Finish off the book.
  2. Finish the short story.
  3. Read, Read and Read.
  4. Write, Write and Write.

 

100 Days of Blogging

#118 : Day Ninety Nine -The Note (Part 2)

Althaf wiped the sweat from his brow. His chocolate brown eyes looked glazed and hypnotized. He took out a sheet of paper from his briefcase and began to write something on it. In spite of his hurried demeanor, his writing seemed patient. He finished writing one side of the sheet and folded it with care before placing it inside a CD case from his suitcase. He then took out another sheet of paper and began writing. This time he seemed to be in a hurry, but that hadn’t impacted the quality of writing one bit. He finished writing and folded the paper with an audible sigh before placing it inside his pant pocket. He took out a small vial from his shirt pocked and popped in pills from it, polishing it off with a swing of water from the bottle on the table. His hurried and huffed demeanor was gone. He looked at peace with himself. With a sad smile he rested his head over the table.

Gita paused the video which showed Althaf finally resting his head over the table. This was the CCTV footage from inside the conference room. It took all her might not to howl out loud and cry. Ramesh, their mentor smelled something morbidly wrong and had hid the briefcase from the police the night he discovered Althaf’s body. He very well knew tampering with evidence in a criminal proceeding would have it’s consequence, but he knew too well that the cops would simply close the case if the right palms were greased. After all, he had done the same to ensure that this CCTV footage wasn’t pulled by the cops for investigation. He wanted to have an iron clad case ready before he went to the cops. He had shared the knowledge about the suitcase with Gita, who was vehemently against opening it and looking at the CD. She wanted to turn it over to the police. However, the CD case was what perplexed both of them the most. It was the era of pen drives and cloud storage. A person as tech savvy as Althaf wasn’t surely going to use a CD drive.

After much deliberation, Gita decided to comb down Althaf’s laptop, the one at work and his personal one as well. Suspiciously, both his laptops were clean and devoid of any personal files in the form of photos or documents. Evidently, he had planned his suicide well. With the help of her tech friend from school, Gita retrieved all data that he had wiped out. What she found was beyond shocking. He had GBs and GBs of CCTV footage all pulled from office cameras. Watching them made her boil with rage.

A woman stood near the table unbuttoning her shirt. She had cropped hair and a buxom figure. A man who was almost the same height of her stood rigidly before her, hiding her face from the view of the CCTV camera. She pulled the man’s tie and brought him closer to her. He resisted and stepped back. She again pulled him closer while slapping his butt. He resisted again and stumbled back. She pulled him closer and slapped him hard on his face. She then grabbed a paper from the desk and began waving it to his face. It seemed that she was shouting. The man look dejected and slumped on to the chair. He covered his face with his hand and sat that way for a while. The woman buttoned up her shirt and sat on the chair opposite to him.

Gita paused the video. It was hard watching a man being so balantly abused. She played another video which showed another man being slapped and abused by the same woman. There were 58 such videos all showing the same woman trying to sexually coerce men.

By now the men in the room had begun to shift in their seats. What they saw was opposite of what they had expected Gita to bring to the table. Raghu cleared his throat. With a lush mop of silver grey hair, he was the picture perfect aged senior part of the firm. When Althaf died his conscience had pricked. He thought his overbearing nature and sky high expectation had driven Althaf to commit suicide. He had half anticipated Gita to raise the issue of Althaf’s work load pointing him to be the reason for his untimely death. He was beyond shocked when Gita brought altogether a different issue to the table.

“Gita, if I may ask, did you know of this earlier? You and Althaf, you guys were a couple right? Didn’t he talk to you about this earlier” he asked.

Note : Part 3 will be up soon Till then, Happy New Year Folks!

100 Days of Blogging

#117 : Day Ninety Eight – What do I write about?

I’ve blogged about everything under the moon, posted photos and bored people to death for ninety seven days straight. Today, I’ve been officially hit by writer’s block. I started writing a story to be posted today. I hadn’t finished what I started the other day (The Note). Sadly, I stopped after writing first three words. I badly wanted to finish the story today. I hate living things incomplete and this story has been left hanging for a long time now. So I decided to tackle things the only way I know to, break it up into parts and make a list. A list is what always gets me out of a rut. I have thrown away enough papers with little lists. My work laptop has lists plastered over the desktop digitally. I can’t live without them. Here is the list I made to complete the story,

  1. Althaf’s death – Proven suicide – Look for angles to convert into a murder
  2. Chronicle Althaf’s life before suicide – Clues leading to murder
  3. Bring in two negative characters
  4. Prove one to be real negative
  5. Darn it!

Evidently, a story cannot be made into a list. Dear block, it’s high time you went away and let me complete what I started.

 

100 Days of Blogging

#116 : Day Ninety Seven – Books of 2016!

Another year has gone by and my TBR is still sky high. Just like every other year, I managed to read my head off to a certain extent. However, due to a lot of personal commitments in the form of masters degree exams and my wedding, I really couldn’t read as much as I would like to have. Goodreads tells me I’ve managed to read about 89 books this year. So here are some highlights of the year,

  1.  Thanks to my friend Bragadeesh Prasanna from the CBC, I’ve discovered the bliss in reading Neil Gaiman‘s works, though I am yet to complete reading the one book of his I started – Trigger warning. Since he introduced me to Gaiman, I’ve been on a hunt, searching and reading his essays, which I find more enticing than his book that I’m reading midway.
  2. The other gem of a writer I seemed to have missed out till date was Satyajit Ray. Thanks to Mahesh from CBC for loaning out “The Mystery of Monroe Island and other stories“.
  3. Humor/Satire was one genre I avoided unconsciously. I’ve never possessed the temperament to complete reading a Wodehouse novel. This year that kind of changed. I managed to finish one Wodehouse book and also pick up another Satire. C.Suresh’s A Dog Eat Dog food world – One book I could relate and totally enjoyed reading!
  4. Sharath Komarraju – I managed to read 6 books of his including his latest – Loyalty Net, Murder in Amaravati, A pinch of Lust, A smidgen of Greed, The Narrow Road to Palem, Donoor’s Curse. That’s the most book I’ve read by a single writer this year. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of it. He quickly progressed to becoming one of my favorite Indian writers after RK Narayan.
  5. Geographical Variety – This year I managed to read plenty of books set in Italy and France, two in Afghanistan, one in Africa and Spain. That happiness in being able to feel the cultural and architectural feel of a city by reading a book is unmatched. Most memorable books include, Masquerade by Hannah Fielding, Paris Runaway by Paulita Kincer, Dreaming Sophia by Melissa Muldoon, The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy, The Sentimental Terrorist by Rajesh Talwar.
  6. Few Indian writers deserve a special mention. They managed to deliver quality books and prove that they are not Chetan Bagat “types”. Sundari Venkatraman for An Autograph for Anjali and Marriages Made in India Series, Sumana Khan for Encounters, Sujit Banerjee for Rukhsat The Departure, Adite Banerjee for No Safe Zone, Paulami Duttagupta for A Thousand Unspoken Words and Aarti V Raman for With you I dance. 
  7. There were some books which I really didn’t enjoy. The most surprising of all being that of Ravi Subramanian’s The Bestseller She wrote. For all the hype he gets, this particular book of his that I read isn’t one bit worth it.
  8. One big heartbreak of 2016 – A script book which had JK Rowling’s blessings – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. RUINED would be the best term. This book ruined the feel of Harry Potter totally.

Next year, I already have a long TBR ahead – Ruskin Bond, Lionel Shriver, Satyajith Ray, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Timer N Murari just to begin with!

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100 Days of Blogging

#115 : Day Ninety Six – Goal Setting!

With the New Year around the corner and appraisals at work also at bay, the term goal setting is probably going to be used and abused for a while. Nevertheless, that’s not going to stop me from setting a goal or working to achieving it.

It seems a sane idea to call such whims of mine as goals instead of resolutions, which obviously sounds too cliche. Moreover, for some odd reason, my brain seems to place the word goal with a higher sense of priority.

When 2016 began, I had just one goal – to cut off toxic people from my life. 2015 delivered a personal blow to me by  revealing the true color of some one I considered a best friend. Eventually, I wanted to forget and move on. Moving on wasn’t easy, but I had to. Then later, I felt it was right to even forgive and patch up, which I did. In 2016, I wanted to keep her and the likes of her at arm’s length. It was difficult as hell, but thanks to my parents and another best friend, I managed that this year. One goal down!

As the year progressed I set smaller goals and targets. With one of them being the 100 days of blogging initiative. I needed to keep in touch with writing and creativity. Else I was on a path of becoming an automaton who was just doing spreadsheets and drawings. I hesitated a lot before taking up this mammoth of a challenge as I knew I would be tied down with a lot of work (as I knew back then that I was getting married). To add fuel to my self doubt, a so called friend of mine vehemently discouraged me, stating that it wouldn’t be possible at all for me. My parents and my (now) husband encouraged me otherwise. For them, it simply meant giving me space to do what I wanted and Voila, I’m right on track and haven’t missed a single day till now and I intend to keep that streak up. That friend of mine also told me that it is the spirit of the challenge to write daily and not to schedule posts ahead. She believed that I would cheat my way out. To my utter surprise, I never scheduled a single post ahead of time. I might have not kept up an exact 24 hour gap, but then, one post per day it was and it will be for the next 3 days. So target almost done.

2017! New goals and new targets! As I write this post, I’ve set 3 goals. I’m not going ahead and mentioning it here. They say keep good things to yourself and I intended to follow that saying to dot in order to ensure no dolt sends negative energy my way!

What’s your goal? Ping me! Trust me, I don’t do discouragement. I’m all for target completion!