23:23

People believe I am mad, a crazy lunatic, obsessed with the time 23:23. But let me tell you something; I did not go searching for 23:23, it found me. It was relentless in its pursuit; it hounded me night and day, until I had no other choice but to acknowledge it. I tried everything, switched off my phone, tried to sleep when it was still a safe 22:22, shut my eyes and refused to look at my bedside clock. But somehow, somewhere I always managed to see 23:23.

I had such confidence in my sanity, my logic, my rationality; that I discussed about 23:23 with people, many people; my husband, friends, colleagues and believers in the paranormal. Some looked at me in awe, some even suggested I was a shaman and some strongly believed that I was ready to fall over the threshold of madness.

Before you throw away this paper, attributing it to the rant of a mad woman, let me tell you about me.

My name used to be Anu, short for Anuradha. I say used to be, because now, it is just patient no. 2323.

I was happy, once. I used to live in the bustling city of Bangalore, with its surprise showers and cool weather. I was married too, to the man of my dreams and I bore him two beautiful little girls, twins at that. In our uninhibited joy, we named them Thea and Rhea. Thea, Goddess of the moon and Rhea, the daughter of Gaia (Earth). Both my daughters orbited around each other from the time they were born. Oh how I had loved them until they were toddlers, their constant need to be with me, their constant demands, their unending cries for ‘Mumma’. That was only until they were old enough to realise that all they ever needed was each other. They had a look that was only meant for the other one, like telepathic Siamese twins.

Such strong was the connection between my daughters; that I became the ostracised mother who wasn’t privy to that bond.

Continue reading

Shall we eat Dick, instead?

“It is all about reiteration, recognizance and following up relentlessly to ensure that your work gets done. You feel me people, do you feel what I am saying here?” Dick looks around, his voice rising in decimals, his back straight and blood shot eyes wide enough to cover Rita’s generous boobs.

We all nod our unenthusiastic ‘hmms’ and scroll down the screen to the next point in the agenda.

“It is like my son, you know.” He continues. Rita, almost groans out loud but then saves her ass by pretending to cough. “Every single morning I lift my son’s sorry butt and plant it on that atrocious fluorescent green and yellow, plastic potty. I sit there with him for five, ten, even fifteen minutes, squatting just like he does and grunting loud and clear to make him poop in that potty. And when he does, only then does he get rewarded by his favorite fruit loops.”

A strong whiff of chicken steak, tiramisu and the smell of someone’s butt crack invades my nose and almost makes me throw up in my mouth. I realize that Dan, who is sitting next to me, has let out a silent, yet smelly fart.

I pick up a glass of water and cover my mouth and nose with it, while giving Dan the evil eye. He shrugs and whispers, “What?”

Ah, I think, the fucker ate before the meeting. This goddamned meeting was supposed to be only for half an hour, and already we are at the ninety-minute mark with sixty minutes of the single dad’s potty training anecdotes.

boring-meetings-made-better

Continue reading

Fury…

It is past midnight. You struggle between the need to watch another episode of Black mirror, or to sleep. You take a look at the time again, 12:30 am. You calculate that if you sleep just about this minute, you would get exactly five hours of rest before your alarm starts screaming to “it’s all about that bass” by Meghan Trainor. A heavy cloud of exhaustion lowers itself and settles on your shoulders. You feel burdened, not just by your increasingly heavy frame but also by your head that carries viscous notions. You sigh and promise yourself that tomorrow you would put Adi early to bed, so that you would have the time to watch at least two episodes of Black Mirror and yet get to sleep by midnight.

You shut your laptop screen and half walk, half tumble into Adi’s room. Partly out of habit and partly out of admiration. You remember how terrified you were of sleeping alone when you were six. In fact, you admit to yourself, but only to yourself, that even now every night you have to stop yourself from begging your six year old to sleep with you, in your room.

You switch on the night-light and watch your little son sleep, his steady breathing calming the storm inside you. You are going to switch off the light and walk back into your room, but you decide against it. You don’t want your child to burden the night terrors that you did, growing up. You are about to turn your back to Adi, when you hear a scratching noise. Your hands freeze, an inch away from the night-light. You stop breathing, your eyes are wide, bulging out of their sockets. Your feet are tethered to the ground like massive Oak trees. Your heart…Your heart beating like horse hooves in a stampede, is the only sound you can hear now. You try telling yourself that you imagined the scratching noise. Yet a sane part of you begs you to double check under Adi’s bed, inside his closet and under the study table. So then, you attempt moving your feet that are still rooted to the ground, after some amount of nudging; they move and as if on autopilot, walk you back into your room. You try to convince yourself that if you don’t acknowledge the fear the fear, doesn’t exist.

scared-child-with-mother-300x200

Continue reading

Sahib and the widow

Jaishankar shivered, not because it was too cold, which it definitely was, but because a jolt of desire ran down his body just as he set his eyes on the widow. He sat on a frayed cane chair, in her small verandah surrounded by towering pine trees and a splatter of wild geraniums. Her three children ran around the verandah in various stages of undress, their rib cages jutting out like those children in Somalia, completely oblivious to the chill; a chill that grazed the insides of Jaishankar’s bones, especially after it had rained all night in the hilly town.

“Sahib, coffee.” She said, holding a dirty tray with a cracked ceramic mug, and steaming filter coffee inside. Jaishankar stared at her, rather stared at her olive colored cleavage spilling down her blouse, the seams of which were on the verge of tearing. Her cheap cotton saree wafted of sandalwood and sweat; and some where between his legs, desire reared its head.

142679805752

“Theek hai ji, thank you.” He said. He regurgitated the phlegm stuck at the base of his throat and spat a mouthful at the bed of geraniums to his left. He watched in fascination as the dirty green, thick mold slid down a purple flower and splat on the grass bed below. He then cleared his throat and turned to talk about the matter for which he had visited the widow’s home.

“Saritha, I have heard rumours about you.” He said and allowed the base of his throat to loudly scratch his adam’s apple. He could feel another cluster of phlegm forming there.

Saritha squatted on the ground next to Jaishankar and shooed her three children away. “What rumours, Sahib?”

“That you…” He cleared his throat and spat again at his favourite bed of geraniums as a waft of freezing wind shook him with vehemence, “That you…you know…give favours, in exchange for money.”

The widow stared back at him, her eyes glistening. “What?! What are these rumours, Sahib? Who told you this?” Then just as understanding dawned on her face, her voice trembled, “Have you come to arrest me, Sahib? Where is the constable?”

“No..no I have not come to arrest, not just yet. I have come…” He cleared his throat again, and his pants suddenly became tight. A welcome surge of warmth engulfed his body and it took massive amounts of self-control to not grab the widows olive breasts and chew at her nipples. “I have come to ask, if you know, you will help me…how you help those other men.”

A heavy veil of silence fell over the verandah, even the children froze between playing kabaddi, and the only thing that broke the silence was a violent bout of wind.

The widow opened her mouth to say some thing; he could see her throat working and her collarbone jutting out in righteous defiance. He spoke quickly, to make his desperate point clearer.

“Look Saritha, you give me what I want and I will make sure you’re not arrested.” Jaishankar spoke, he was already antsy sitting out there in the verandah; wary of any passers by who might see the celebrated police inspector, Jaishankar, in the house of a whore.

“But Sahib, the rumours are not true. Look at us, me and the children, do we look like have any money to feed ourselves?” Saritha pleaded, her eyes filled to the brim. “It has been six months since my husband died, we are only surviving on the frugal savings we had when he was alive. My children haven’t had a proper meal in days. We are low caste people, Sahib. Not even memsahibs want me work in their homes.”

Jaishankar’s stomach dipped, while he knew she was telling the truth, his struggle with his sense of morality was short. Especially when his lions roared imagining Saritha’s supple breasts cradling his face and his hands squeezing her round, smooth bottoms.

“Fine, we have enough witnesses to state that you have been illegally operating as a sex worker, Saritha. Wait for me, I will come back with a constable.” Jaishankar spoke and stood up.

“No Sahib, please. My children will be on the streets, Sahib.” Saritha fell on his feet and begged him for mercy.

“Then give me what I need, Saritha.” He spoke, a rueful smile already lining his lips, his confidence along with his desire, reared knowing that the outcome would be exactly what he wanted it to be.

“Fine Sahib.” Streams of tears ran down Saritha’s cheeks. “Meet me at the abandoned boathouse by the lake tonight at 10:30 pm. I can’t do anything here with my children around.” She said, softly enough to make sure her little ones did not hear her. And instantly Jaishankar broke into a smile.

“Make sure no one knows about this.” He said and walked out, leaving his filter coffee half empty.

Lately he had been dying for a relief and none of the town whores were good enough to satisfy him. It wasn’t until he had laid his eyes on the helpless, young widow, Saritha, that he decided to concoct a small to lie to get what he wanted.

His chest swelled at the victory and his cunning mind. No other police inspector in the entire state could have boasted of intelligence as bright and vile as that of Jaishankar.

That night Jaishankar walked down the empty lake with a spring in his step and a song on his lips. Even the biting chill couldn’t dampen his spirits, perhaps it was the excitement of fucking Saritha or the four large scotch shots he had had that night. Even that darn phlegm had subsided after his drink. Some where in the mountains he heard a long howl and looked up to notice a full moon shining through an array of clouds.

By the third song he reached the abandoned boathouse, it was unlocked, a broken padlock lying among damp weeds next to the door. It was a beautiful night, he thought. The kind of night where the sky reflected its marvelous beauty on the water of the lake, the kind of night where even young, nubile, innocent widows learned to break locks and unleash the temptress within. His penis was hard, hard enough to be painful and he couldn’t wait to release it.

He opened the door, slightly ajar and saw her silhouette against the subtle rays of moonlight, falling through the slits of the wooden planks that made the boathouse. He paused a moment to admire the widow, even three children hadn’t dampened her curvy body, in fact if anything enhanced it all at the right places.

“Come Sahib.” She said, stretching her arms just as the mountains resonated with another howl.

In a dog like frenzy Jaishankar removed all his clothes before stumbling towards Saritha, he was done waiting. He had dreamed and fantasized about this woman since a month now. His right hand reach out to grab a blouse-clad breast, as he squeezed it hard and took her small mouth inside his whole. Saritha did not resist, neither did she initiate. Jaishankar had his way with her, tearing her clothes, biting her, chewing her nipples, bruising her, pulling out clumps of her hair. But now that he had her, there was nothing that was going to stop him from ravaging the widow, except for perhaps, the three little figures who stood by the door, with their father’s sickles in their hands and drool dripping down their mouths.

It did not take long before the wolf howled again and the widow commanded her children to unleash themselves on their first whole meal in the last fifteen days.

 

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.

Continue reading

How Maa beat cancer’s butt…

Every time I think of my Maa chasing her cancer away, I always imagine her running behind a pesky rodent with a “cheemta” (tongs) in her hand. And what is a rodent compared to the indomitable spirit of a woman. And like any woman who finds her home invaded by a tiny rodent, Maa went about the task of cleaning up her body off cancer with the single-minded grit and persistence of a really hungry feline.

It all started when I was in Mumbai, and she in Bangalore. I think I have always somehow been in Mumma’s girl. I love her almost as much as I love bitching about her. And one day on our daily calls, she confessed that something was wrong, that the doctors had insisted on a biopsy of her left breast.

mother-daughter

Of course, the doctors were wrong; my mom couldn’t have cancer, she does Pranayama every day! At least that is what I thought until my confidence came shattering down, when I realized that unstoppable forces of nature also pause, and Pranayama moms also fall.

We were on a call, when she said, “Bas ek mastectomy ho jayegi. Theek ho jayungi.” I smiled at the courage it would have taken her to brush it off like your everyday dental filling.

Continue reading

The family outing

Take your hands off him!

 “I am sorry. Did you say something?” ‘The woman’ turned around and looked at me. Her green eyes wide, almost seeing through my soul.

“Nothing…just that you look really pretty today.” I said, plastering a fake smile. She went back to holding Sammy’s hand and walking ahead. Tall, taller than me, she made me feel smaller than I should have.

We were on a family outing, an experiment suggested by ‘The woman’, a step in promoting harmony, for Sammy’s sake. And I had to keep reminding myself to behave, to keep my emotions in check, to maintain dignity and class. But all I could feel was my entire existence falling apart. The simple act of putting one foot in front of another became increasingly painful. Breathing became a chore and my breaths came in raspy successions.

vanessaandhersononthebeachholdinghands-1100x733

“Are you alright?” A male voice beside me asked. Perhaps genuinely concerned, I couldn’t say for sure with the loud ringing in my head that seemed to be eating me alive from inside.

Continue reading