Halloween gone wrong…

“Tonight, some one is going to kill us. Pick us off one by one, when we least expect it, when we think we are safe in our cozy dorms, snuggled up to our furry feline friends; the killer is going to come unnoticed, sneak up on us and before our cats can even raise an alarm, bury a hatchet in our brain and watch in rapt fascination when tissues of grey matter squiggle out of the only deep opening in heads.” I said in a silent whisper, hoping that I sound menacing enough to scare the girls.

“Ahhhh” I hear two, satisfyingly, loud intake of breaths just as Fuschia, my Persian cat, snuggles up to me demanding a belly rub.

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“Jasmine, you can do better than that. Come on, this remotely sounding prophetic statement wouldn’t scare an 9 year old, forget 19 year olds.” Laura, my nemesis, spoke clearly exasperated by our incompetence to scare each other.

But then again, I knew she had it in for me. From her ordinary mousy brown hair to her spectacled black eyes; from her evident poo belly to her H&M’s clearance sale clothes; Laura was not the type who would be asked out on a date even if she were the last girl in the dorm.

And Laura knew it, but then again, bless her middle-class heart, she did try to excel in academics.

In fact she tried a lot. So imagine her surprise when Jasmine, the auburn haired, hazel eyed beauty; who wore 2017 fall fashion; sweeps in and unceremoniously drops Laura off from the pedestal of a top grader.

Well, some one had to explicitly explain it to Laura that life sucked, especially considering I had at least 207 times already, and yet she wouldn’t understand.

So here I was, scooped up in my refurbished dorm with Laura and two other pre-meds on a stormy Halloween night with our power supply cut off. Considering almost all our college mates had left for the long weekend, I had no other choice but to indulge these three samples of inferior gene pool.

“Why not, Laura?” I challenged her annoying reasoning. “Don’t you think there are people who are ailurophobes, people who have a phobia of cats which means by definition they would hate cat lovers?” I answered, holding Fuschia tightly in my laps and curling her furry tail around my index finger.

“And what better reason to be picked off one by one because of pet cats? Right?!” Laura asked.

Okay, I do reluctantly agree that this did sound quite far-fetched, not out loud though. I mean we were discussing logical reasons why and how could anyone kill us one by one that night, for fucks sake, of course.

Nina suggested that the Red Devil might, in all likelihood, kill us, especially when we go to the toilet. The Red Devil will walk in and ask us to choose between using a blue toilet paper and red toilet paper. If we choose blue he would strangle us to death, you know blue face and all, but if we choose red, he would slit our throats and we’ll be covered in red.

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An Empty Goan Tale

I had wished they would all go away….and they had.  Every last one of them.

My over-talkative colleagues, my clingy boss, my non-existent boyfriend, my ever-questioning maid, the ever ringing phone, the overflowing mailbox.

And then, with a snap of a finger, someone’s cruel idea of a joke, I was there. I was away. On this island, with not a single human in sight. And a very very hungry stomach.

If I were in a finer mood, I would have seen things differently. I would perhaps have seen the waves thrash on a bed of rocks, spraying fountains of glistening green and frothy white. I would have imagined the sand lying beside it like a well-oiled woman because, in my brighter moods, I pretend I have an imaginative mind.  But the sand did bask in its watery glow, reflecting the silver of the rising sun, the palm trees and the rocks galore. I knew this because I saw it later in the photographs.

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For now, my eyes were fixated on a dog. A big scrawny one, with a pink patch on its belly that reminded me of diseases I could catch that would have me barking as wildly as that mad dog.

To be honest, the dog wasn’t barking. It had come to me, sniffed my legs and crotch, and returned to its very serious business of chasing birds with its other dog friends. But there definitely was an angry cow.  Now, I have never seen an angry cow. I have read of mad cows, like in mad cow disease. But a really pissed one, that walked exceedingly fast, stopped before you, stared you down, and mooed at you with as much disappointment and anger as your father on your wedding day. That’s the cow I am talking about. This cow was disappointed in me and clearly showed it.   I looked at it apologetically, but the cow tottered off, waving away my apology with its tottering ass, off to I don’t know where, but definitely in speeds that I had not associated with cows hitherto.

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Women and the big “O”

It was not like I do not know what Rita Faria looks like; I have been following her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler and Facebook for almost a year now. I am painfully familiar with the uneven arch of her eye brows, that stubborn right side molar which grows above another tooth and makes her smile look crooked enough to be called charming; the growing concentration of white hair near her perfect cowlick. And yes, her eyes, those deep grey irises that stare right through your soul and extract secrets you were not aware existed.

And yet, when I stand waiting here outside Starbucks, I can’t help but feel anxious that I might have missed her somehow. Maybe, just maybe today she might have chosen to wear jeans instead of her regular skirts. Or maybe her upper body appears heavier in pictures than it is real life. Or maybe her long, fiery red hair is actually deep brown and it is the trick of light that make them look flaming.

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I must have been waiting for almost fifteen minutes, when I see her walking towards me. If anything, my anxiety is heightened when I notice that her hair is as flaming red as it is in her pictures, her breasts are just as round and full and yes she is wearing a skirt that highlights her long, toned legs in grey pumps.

I wring my hands and wonder, why this woman always has such an effect on me? It is almost a ritual that I follow, waking up thrice in the night and checking her twitter feed, much to the chagrin of my husband of three years, who happens to be a light sleeper. But I know I have to do it, because I know she is an insomniac. Because I know that of all her statuses and feeds on social media, twitter is where she is most honest. Her forward, pro LGBT opinions often confuse my kosher Tamil Brahmin upbringing, anger my lifetime of academic excellence, frustrate my straight mould into developing twists and crevices, delight my forbidden senses and in some cases excite me enough to touch myself, even though my husband lays right next to me.

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The Mistaken Barista

Massive glass doors fly open as he enters, shrouded in bright sunlight, beige chinos and blue cashmere hug his chiseled form. He looks nothing less than a modern day Apollo. A God that deems fit to walk this realm of mortals. He walks straight towards me with purpose and a wide smile on his glorious face, his perfect teeth glowing like tiny stars and his eyes are deep blue gateways into the vast universe.

My world stands still as I clutch my apron, until my fingers turn blue and prick of a sharp nail brings me back to reality. Yet, I can’t keep my eyes off that heavenly specimen of mankind. I lick my lips and bite my lower lip hard, and his lips twist into a naughty smirk. His strides are decisive and he walks with the air of someone who always gets what he wants. Somehow that knowledge creates a puddle of desire between my legs.

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“So, am I going to see you tonight?” He asks, his voice a sultry invitation into the caves of my darkest desires. Looking into my eyes, standing less than two feet away from me, his nearness makes me want to swoon and fall into his arms.
“Yes…. Oh yes.” I say, my voice a hoarse whisper. And I kick myself for sounding so ready, so desperate.
“7 o’clock dinner and later at your place? That is if you are okay with it.” He asks again.

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I’d rather be home with my dog…

Sounds…a melee of sounds wake me from my slumber. Birds chirp, sounding strained, torn and sick. Somewhere through the window I hear drilling, a car honking, a doorbell ringing and a woman shouting. I pull my dog, towards me an bury my face into his warm fur and sigh, hoping to be welcomed back into that void called sleep.

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An hour later I sit staring at the phone, while he sits curled up around my feet. I have received a meme; a bunch of girls pouting at the camera, and below that is a bunch of orangutans pouting at the camera. The text says, “Girls be like…”. And I respond “LOL” without even twitching my lips into a pretend smile.

I shift to FaceBook, JK Rowling has started a tweet storm against some self proclaimed liberal guy who called Theresa May a whore.

I like it. I mean, I long press the like icon without actually liking it.

A friend has posted an image of herself, holding a newborn baby, I like it too but I don’t think I really give a fuck about her newborn named Alia.

A woman was raped in an auto in Gurgaon, her 9-month-old baby strangled and thrown off the auto because she was crying too much. A surge of anger flares somewhere deep inside and I fervently search for the angry emoticon, religiously share the post with a status that says, “When will our country change…”

A BJP Leader thinks Momos need to be banned just like the beefban. I go to the comments section and think of something smart to write, I read the other comments, somehow the discussion has moved from Momos to Muslims, and I realize that I really can’t be bothered with this level of bigoted fuckery. It was not my fuckery to begin with anyway.

I switch to Instagram, and notice that my steaming hot plate of oats is no more steaming, nor hot, instead it has now turned into in to a hardened pudding that tastes like a sweet piece of shit.

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Blackout

I got up from a blackout on the cemented floor of a rundown grocery deli next to a gun and empty cases of nine mm bullets.

The back of my head had a blotch of an amorphous something and my hair strands were glued together in a thick syrupy red liquid, that could have been my blood or ketchup. My forehead had several linear bruises, like someone took time out of his day to scrape it precisely with a kitchen fork. And when I breathed into my palm, I smelled like I had eaten raw meat not too long ago. My gums, although still loosely holding my teeth together, tasted coopery and when I squished the edges with my tongue, a fountain of bloody juice shot up inside my mouth like the slimy pus when you press hard an acne or a blackhead.

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I looked around for someone – for anyone. But amidst the maze of pillars and layers of dust, all I found was my ownself restlessly fidgeting the unintended patterns casted by rusty ventilators and the lamp post light that entered through them. And all I heard was someone gasp in the back of my head, except I realized – much sooner than I thought I would – that my own voice sounded to me like it came from somewhere else.

The cars parked in the parking lot looked like they weren’t meant to be there; haphazard, out of line, with their suicide doors open half-way up in the air, engine perhaps still warm, an expensive jacket thrown on the passenger’s seat.

Who came to this garage like place far away from the city with a car that had suicide doors? A gangster? A rapper? James Bond?

The empty cases of bullets on the floor that rolled in circles and clinked against each other, were far too many in number and still not enough for me to draw conclusions of any sorts. Except for a blood spattered forehead and a round tiny scar right in the centre of it, and a distorted dental anatomy, I thought I was pretty okay.

Then who was shot? Where did these bullets go?

The wall took a few, yes, and few went through the windshield of the parked cars. But the rest of them? The whole deli looked like there was a massacre; blood stained clothes on the floor, bits of flesh on the ceiling or high up on the wall, gloves and other fabrics on the floor, all scattered here and there, calling for mercy or angelic intervention or redemption of some kind. But yet there were no dead bodies.

There were just tapes, orange tapes, fluorescent green tapes, stretched out from one corner of a random pillar to the other and then on to the next one, with no uniformity like that of a maze and I was in the middle of all of it, trying to make my way out.

I noticed the amateur drawings on the floor carved out with blackboard chalks. There was no sense of art in those drawings, the colors did not seem like they were colors I had known existed and the drawings on the floor looked like they were drawn by a kid – the outlines of a man’s body with no clear demarcations between his legs like a mermaids bottom flappers.

The stairway that led to the other floor of the deli was taped too and I made my way through it. Upon entering the other floor of the grocery shop, what I saw, did not just add on to the whole mystery but also left me disappointed. There were still tapes, more stretched out tapes than I had seen in my entire life. Tapes and tapes and more tapes and then some more drawings on the floor, on the four walls, on the cashier’s desk.

Needless to say, the shop was locked from outside, there were no guards, cops or civilians, no sign of life, except maybe a few rats spurting around in the light and munching on the leftover snack packets, Oreos and Pringles.

I wasn’t hungry or thirsty. Perhaps I had eaten right before the blackout or perhaps my appetite was rather secondary to my existence or perhaps I had simply lost the sense of time.

I opened the jars and fed the rats, from two rats to five rats to fifteen to fifty rats. The rats owned the place and hid themselves in the dark, like rats do.

And upon hours and hours of kicking the empty boxes across the room and shouting for help I broke a few racks and wedged them in the shutter, trying to uplift it, but none of that accomplished anything. Except it made me tired and sleepy.

Needless to say, the phone was dead and the TV on the cashier’s desk perhaps last worked when this place did.

So what was I doing here?

Did I end up here accidently after perhaps a drunken night at the nearby bar?

I had no idea and I stood clueless in the middle of this redundant colony of hopelessness.

Much much later or as it may have seemed, my eyes hugged the darkness of the place and I surrendered to what seemed like a new life of nothingness. And from what I can tell you now, I got up from a blackout on the cemented floor of a rundown grocery deli next to a gun and empty cases of nine mm bullets.

Daddy’s little girl…

http://www.creativeadawards.com/hurt-girl/

You lug yourself forward, it hurts in places you did not know existed, until now. You drag yourself ahead; your body is heavy, panting like a dog in a desert. You are all alone, but that is a relief. You don’t mind dragging yourself to the bed stand, you don’t mind using the dying strength in your arms to slowly lift your upper body, and plop it on the bed. You don’t mind being alone; in fact you are positively relieved in your solitude. Because the alternative, the alternative to being alone propels you into tears of dread, misery and frustration.

You know that for at least another three to four hours, you will be alone. That time would help you lick your wounds, huddled in the corner of your bed. But before that you need to check, check your body, check your bones, check your face. No cuts, no visible wounds, no broken bones; that is your first priority; because the last thing you want is for people to notice. Your abdomen screams in pain, so does your nine months old daughter, she screams in hunger. Your abdomen can wait maybe, but not your daughter.

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