Recreational Room

Kamala stood by a window with her hand resting on the rounded ridge of an oddly shaped green chair. Behind a bulbous pillar, she heard sighs, giggles, thumps, and the perennial tic-toc of TT. Ashok walked over to the chair in front of her and examined the curtains like a crow. He pointed at a curtain that wasn’t lowered halfway as instructed and offered her his signature look of disappointment. She had been instructed to lower the curtains halfway down lest the setting sun fill the room with unbearable brightness and warmth. The curtains were an immaculate white, paper-like and opaque. They had to be operated by a slender beaded rope. All it took was a gentle downward nudge and then a few steps over to the next curtain. Continue reading

Cold War

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I’m licking the last bit of cappuccino-almond tiramisu when she says, ‘When was the last time you had a good time?’ and I’m thrown off-kilter. What could she possibly mean by that? But I don’t bite at it immediately because that’d piss her off. I want her to try a little harder.

I say, ‘Umm… this is delicious’

I glance at her briefly, casually, with only a slight emergent doubt. Her eyes are lost in her long slender fingernails dyed a deep shade of red.

She says, ‘How’s that friend of yours?’

‘Who?’

She snorts. ‘The one who sleep-talked’

‘Not been in touch with her…’ Continue reading

Chemistry

I attended one of those schools where much care was taken to separate vaginas from penises. The girls sat in a row of their own. The guys played on a ground of their own. Our roll numbers were neatly segregated too. The last vagina was roll number 22 and it was schlongs all the way up to roll number 45.

At roll number 23, I straddled the precarious divide between the two genders. Having no interest in numerology, I ascribed no particular importance to this odious prime number until I was assigned the table to perform Chemistry experiments with Aditi—roll number 22.

She was by far an unlikely girl to fall in love with but hormones work by way of optimizing the chances of mating and she had won bonus points for proximity. Every Tuesday, at 2pm, we would wait in line outside the lab for the old ladies to open the creaky doors to our dark dungeon of a lab. After a barrage of instructions, which included inappropriately graphic accounts of how acids could potentially eat your skin and flesh, we would walk over to our assigned tables in pairs of two. Continue reading