Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Phew!

This short-story will remind you of the first few stories of Graffiti - with the trademark of being strangely unexpected. Hope you enjoy.

11 am
I was on a bus, when suddenly it screeched to a halt. The last three hours had been tiresome, since the seat took all the happiness from my bottom. All the while, my long legs tried to find some space below the seats in front, but my knees didn't get a chance to make a perfect 180 degrees. In the past hours, I found my shelter in my newly purchased SLR camera worth 400 pounds(32k rupees), which diverted my mind from cursing the Megabus - UK's Intercity Cheap Travel Coaches for being so uncomfortable. But finally, the driver did apply brakes! Phew!

The legs found a reason to celebrate. Taking my lovely gadget with me, I climbed down the mini-stairs of the Mega-bus. It was the Manchester bus station.

"The bus will stay here for just 15 minutes. Please get back as soon as possible." The driver announced.

The sky-scrapers around attracted my attention and my fingers came into action to get that perfect 'click'. My legs heaved a sigh of relaxation and my neck got quite a few chances to exercise.

'Click, click, click.' The sound buzzed my ears and flashes pierced the foggy morning. The sexy gadget taught a tyro like me into how to be good at snapping great photographs, after all, it was just a matter of sleek observation and the right technique.

The camera searched around with the help of my eyes to find the things of its desire. The beauty of nature mesmerized me. My eyes looked around when someone beautiful called me. Yes, it was nature's call. My bladder needed a trash bin to purge out its trapped emotions. I rushed to the nearest loo, whose way turned out to be more complicated than Mahabharata's labyrinth.

11:10 am
I kept the camera over the flush and did the not-quite-describable-thing, being lost in thinking about what extraordinary I can snap in the loo(no pun intended!). Lost, with eyes wandering here and there, I came out, washed my hands and tried to retrace my path back to the bus.

11:12 am
My lost eyes found themselves back - fully functioning - after seeing an old lady holding her small grand-daughter's index finger and walking with her. The scene of both of them walking at the same pace moved this amateur photographer and I looked for my cam.

"Cam! Oh shit, cam!"
I exclaimed. My feet started moonwalk and then my body turned like a top to get to the long forgotten 'flush' as soon as possible.

11:13 am
Giving tough competition to Usain Bolt's speed record, slipping and skidding all throughout, I reached the loo, but alas everything that had been kept over that 'flush' was brushed off.

A wave of dread danced over my body, my eyes tried to come out of my skull and my heartbeat echoed in my hollow body. I searched around for a while but with no achievements on my side. I looked at my watch. It was 11:14 am.

11:14 am
I rushed towards the bus, hoping to stop it for sometime and then get along with the mission-search-my-cam. The knees which were fighting with boredom for the last three hours burnt more calories in those two minutes than the past three days. But, when things go wrong, it goes on and on. Oops! I forgot my way back.

11: 15 am
Gathering help from all around, from mothers to daughters, grandfathers to grandsons, I finally managed to reach the bus stop. I could see the bus just leaving the stand. I rushed towards it, when my eyes saw something which literally paralyzed my feet. I saw the person who was sitting by my side clicking my photo with my own camera.

Enervated, with no-one around to take hold of that decoy with my SLR, I lost control of my body, toppled and fell on the ground. My heart-thumping resonated with the ground and I could see my sweat bathing the asphalt road. My eyelids dropped down to let the grand view of my own struggle fade away and suddenly, my eyes opened.

7 am
What painted my retina was nothing short of a shock - a pleasant shock to be particular! I could hear my heart beating at the same pace, the pillow being completely sweat-laden and my eyes seeing a decade old fan running at a speed of slow-ballet dancer.

"Phew!" I exclaimed loudly and heaved a brassy outcry marking an abnormal yet the most comforting sigh of relief.
"What happened?" My roommate Sunny asked out of the blues.
"Phew! I had a nightmare! A real nightmare .... phew!" I exclaimed. I was happy as a clam.
"What was it?" He asked.
"Oh! You know, yesterday my Dad got me an SLR, and today I dreamt that someone has stolen it, gosh! It made my blood run cold. Huff!" I said spookily. I was still catching up with my breaths.

"Woah! An SLR cam, that's so cool dude!" Sunny said.
"Yes, it is! Anyway, tell me when did you reach here?"
"Oh! I got here just two minutes ago. Leave everything aside, come on, show me your cam first."
"Yes sure, it's awesome. I bet you'll love it."

I opened my cupboard and looked for my camera. Here and there. Hither and thither. Left to right. Top to bottom. This time my blood didn't run cold, rather it freezed!

P.S. Thanks for reading. This story is what is the essence of Graffiti - last line twists.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What's your dream?

We were friends, the kind of friends who can be called as best friends. We studied together, sat together in classes and even ate together on occasions. She made it clear to all our classmates that we were nothing more than 'best' friends - to prevent any kind of misunderstandings - but nevertheless we did share a special chemistry.

She was sincere, smart and beautiful; God bestowed her everything a girl could desire. While me, I was just a naive and immature kiddo', as she used to address me. Sitting by her side, I could not find anything more important than adoring her. She didn't notice it, and even if she noticed it, she didn't give it much attention. Perhaps, she had become used to such stares once in a while courtesy to her being only one of the few good-looking girls that my college(IIT Delhi) possessed.

She was a dreamer, with big ambitions for her small-yet-exceptionally-sharp brain. Small in comparison to the big-box-of-mud affixed over my neck by the Almighty and sharp which was quite evident by the streak of her academic achievements ranging from medals in International Olympiads to scholarships from foreign universities.

While, I was still struggling to find a place under my feet - to find my ambition for life. I often found myself busy finding my 'purpose of life' instead of studying before the examinations, thus letting mediocrity overshadow every aspect of my personality. God only knows how we managed to become best friends - it was due to our common interest in dramatics, I guess!

Once, we were sitting in the library and as always, she was helping me in fighting with books when Samarth, a batchmate of ours, came towards our table. He had been a good friend to her, and so to me.

"Hey Deeksha, can I borrow a minute from you? I want to talk about something in private." Samarth said.
"What's so private that you want to hide from Harsh? If you wish then say it in front of him or I am not interested to hear."
"Okay, please don't get angry. This may seem odd but if I don't commit it to you, I would become a maniac for sure. Deeksha, I like you, in fact, I love you. This feeling has captivated me ever since we first talked. I am crazy about you." He said shyly.

I didn't know why but I felt choked from inside, as though someone had cut my tongue and flushed my brain with chloroform. In a fit of blankness, I realized that I too was crazy about her - madly crazy - and I just could not afford to lose her.

"What's your dream?" Deeksha asked, in a serene tone, showing no particular reaction at all.
"Oh...yeah...obviously, my dream is to be with you always." He stammered nervously. I was dumbfounded seeing what she was upto.

"Samarth, I really respect your feelings for me. But you're not the kind of guy I would want in my life. I'm sorry." She said calmly. He didn't say a word and left the place.

"What? What was that?" I asked, puzzled.
"What?"
"How could you be so cool all throughout? And, how could you judge a guy with just one question? You're strange." I said.

"For me, a goal-less lover is the category I detest the most. I want somebody who is clear about his dream - his aim in life - because I believe that one can't understand what love means if one has not experienced it for himself - for his ambitions and his dreams. The kind of love which Samarth had for me would not last long, since it was mere infatuation. His only ambition was to get me and the day he succeeds in that, I would lose importance in his life because he will become dream-less and complacent with himself." She said.

I was lost in her words. Her every word did a silent work of crushing my dream of someday conveying my feelings to her. 'I was just a mediocre for her!' My inner voice yelled inside me.

Months went by, my fondness for her grew exponentially while my self-confidence plunged down, because in the meantime, she rejected four more proposals as they could not satisfy her ideology. The thought, 'I was not good enough for her!' pervaded my mind all the while.

Three months later
"Hey, I got selected for the International Photonics Conference to be held in Germany. I would be leaving on the next Sunday for two weeks. The best part is that the institute is funding me for the trip." She announced to a group of friends, me included in the group.

"Wow, cheers!" Everyone in the group reciprocated, but not me. I was definitely happy for her but inwardly I knew that I would miss her, miss her like hell. But, I was no-one to take more importance in her life than her dreams and her ambitions. 'Best friends' is a silly term to categorize the people who are important to you but not very special to you.

Time for her to go came soon. I went to the airport to see her off and bid her a goodbye hug with a tearful smile, which said more than what my words could. She seemed happy and smiled back in the usual way saying, "I'll miss you kiddo'."

"I'll miss you too." I managed to mumble.
"Promise me that you'll study hard." She said pulling my ears.

I promised her without reflecting on her words being completely lost in her eyes. How could she not notice that I like her? It had been more than five months of our friendship and it seemed like a lifetime of my fondness for her.

The two weeks passed like months and her thoughts clouded my mind all throughout. My feelings for her didn't know how to apply brakes. I was in love with her, though I knew that I had nothing in myself to complement even a trace of her talent, intelligence or beauty. I was a goal-less lover, after all!
She came back having rocked the international conference with her brilliant presentation on Quantum Optics. I was more than proud of her. The moment she reached the institute, she called me, "Hey kiddo', am back! I so much want to meet you."

"Hey, you know what I am so proud of you! I have so many stories to relate. I am in the library, trying to battle with the books but with no success on my side. Where are you? I'm waiting for you here. Come soon, otherwise I'll kill you!" I said in my seemingly excited voice.

Ten minutes later
"Hel..looooo!" She said and tapped my shoulders from behind.
"Hey! I missed you like hell." I exclaimed and hugged her heaving a great sigh of relief.
"I missed you too. You know what? I've realized something!" She said calmly.
"What?"
"That I love you." She whispered into my ears. I was flabbergasted. My feet started trembling. My heartbeat rose up. Sweat mixed with tears suddenly adorned my cheeks.

Taking a deep breath in, I gathered myself a little and could utter just one question, "What's your dream?"

"My dream," she whispered, "is to make you dream!"

P.S. This story is pure work of fiction, it bears no resemblance to anyone I know or you know. It has been written just to emphasize one thought that I had.