Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chp 173. Memory: A short story.

Another attempt at creative writing... Hope you enjoy.
Update May 20: A few grammatical errors edited by J [Calliopia's Canticles]

Living in a city of skyscrapers and steep rental rates really has its ups and downs. Downs most of the time. Especially when you live on the 10th floor of a newly constructed building in one of the under-developed suburbs of Mumbai with no servants or maids at your disposal. So, travelling up and down 10 stories of flats for simple requirements like eggs and soaps is extremely painful and exhausting, especially with the elevator still out of service!

And today was worse. We had guests. Lots of guests.

First of all, there was my brother-in-law and his new girlfriend, who of course didn't get along immediately with my wife. "What a slut," she whispered to me. "Ummm... yeah I know, it is so slutty to read the entertainment section of the newspaper first before reading the main news section," I whispered back in disgust.

I felt the sharp piercing pinch on my elbow. I ignored it. Two years of marriage and I still can't fathom how she always manage to pinch me at the exact same spot over and over again with laser-guided precision. Two more years of marriage and I'm sure this spot on my arm will be permanently numb.

Then there were my wife's two colleagues at the Call centre - Priyanka and Sagarika. The former is kinda rotund and large, while the latter looks more like Nicole Richie's twin. Asking if one of them has been eating up the other's food is now a clich├ęd joke. And calling them "Laurella and Hardyna" only invites another pinch from my wife.

The gang was also there. Subs, Nick, Sonam, Jaiswal and my cousin Mapuia. Subs, real name Subramanium, works at Indian Airlines. Nick, real name Nikhil, is a lesser known DJ here in Mumbai, struggling for recognition. Sonam is currently an intern at P&G while Jaiswal works as an event manager for "Exploxion". My cousin Mapuia is a final year student at Don Bosco Arts College and he stays with me and my wife. We all met at our local Gym a year ago and became good friends from then on.

It being a weekend, everybody came over to our new apartment. As soon as Jaiswal entered our apartment, he huffed, "Bastard... Lift." I grinned. After that Priyanka arrived. "My God, you've lost 10 pounds on your way up!" I exclaimed. Then she pinched me exactly on my wife's favorite spot! Is my wife revealing family secrets now, I wondered.

The guys were here to catch the Arsenal-Liverpool match on TV later in the evening. Priyanka and Sagarika were here because they wanted to watch a movie I'd just downloaded. Who knew "Love Story" would be a chick flick? And last but not the least, my wife's brother and his girlfriend were here to drink up all my beer from the fridge, I think.

Having guests today really sucks. First of all, the elevator is still out of service and my young cousin sprained his ankle while playing basketball last week, so that means I have to do all the running up-and-down errands for my guests. And asking my brother-in-law to do all that is hopeless, especially now that he's already locked himself up with his girlfriend inside my cousin's room.

I hate running up and down 10 flats. Not only is it tiring, today is a terribly hot and humid day. And I am also extremely forgetful.

I work for Symancos, dealing with medical transcripts. The beauty of this job is that I can work right from home through the internet, except that right now, there is no internet connection yet in our new apartment. So I have to rely on the internet cafe on the ground floor to complete my work. And whenever I go there with my detachable hard-drive and office documents, dear wife always gives me a list of things to get from the shops below - groceries, toiletries, medicines, cosmetics, etc etc. And the problem is, I always end up forgetting a couple of things!

"Here are the potatoes, onions and cabbages", I'd say. "Where's the ginger?" she'd retort. And down I go again. "Here's the ginger!" I'd exclaim. "And the washing powder?" she'd tilt her head disappointedly, like a proud father watching his son finish last at a 100 metre race on his school's Sports-day.

Once, the three of us (Me, my wife and cousin) didn't brush our teeth for two days because I forgot to buy toothpaste two consecutive times. But hey, don't tell others about that!

The worst incident though, was when I had just finished completing my daily quota of medical transcriptions from the internet cafe and was on my way up, when I suddenly remembered I had to buy a few oranges and two watermelons. I bought those and felt pretty proud about myself for remembering them.

Nobody was home that day, so I walked up slowly, like a soldier returning home from war victoriously, picturing in my mind how I'd display those fruits on the kitchen table for everybody to see. It was only when I reached my apartment that I remembered I had left my keys at the counter of the fruit stall!

And since I could not leave the fruits lying outside my door, I ran down the flight of steps again, four steps at a time, fearing that somebody might take my keys, one hand carrying the oranges with a watermelon tucked between my elbows while the other hand clutched the other watermelon with my detachable hard-drive wrapped around my other arm. It was indeed a funny sight, the neighbourhood kids later said.

Today I told myself I was not going to screw up things any more. There was a 3pm video conference appointment on the net with my immediate superior from New York. Picking up the important documents and my detachable hard-drive, I went up to our guests sitting cozily in our entertainment room.

"If you guys want anything from downstairs, tell me right now and I will go get them. I have a meeting with my boss on the net which won't take long."

"Vim. We are out of dish cleaner. Get a half litre Vim," my wife ordered.

"Mutton sandwich for me," shouted Priyanka, not daring to make any eye contact with me. "And make that with extra cheese," she meekly added.

"Beer for me, boss," Jaiswal said. "Me too," joined Sonam.

"Rum, Old Monk," Subs cried. "Sorry dude," I replied while making sure my brother-in-law was still inside Mapuia's room, "No hard drinks when Paul is in the house, you know the ground rules here."

"Bugger... ok get me beer. But make sure it is strong. Either KF Strong or Haywards 5000."

"Can you please get me a new crepe bandage from the pharmacy? This one is starting to get pretty dirty..."

"Sure thing, Mapui. Anything else, anyone?" I asked.

"Yeah, get some chips and pepsi." Nick said.

"No!" screamed my wife from the Kitchen immediately. "Dinner will be served soon. I am cooking my favorite Mizo dish for you guys and I really want all of you to enjoy it. So, no junk food for anyone now."

Everyone then looked at Priyanka, who had just ordered a sandwich. She returned our jocular stare with the One-finger salute.

"What about those two love birds inside Mapuia's room?" I asked my wife.

"A pack of condoms," Nick whispered.

"I heard that!" screamed my wife again from the Kitchen. "Maybe I'll send those condoms to Anjana’s dad, Jaiswal."

"HEY! Nick said that, not ME!" complained Jaiswal immediately.

I could hear all their laughter as I closed the door behind me. Wish I could stay behind... stupid meeting with stupid boss.

It was truly a humid day. I was already sticky and slimey by the time I reached the fifth floor. Things became much better once I reached the Cyber cafe, with the cold AC air swallowing me up like a man happily drowning in an Oasis right in the middle of a desert.

I plugged in my hard-drive and immediately opened a text document where I typed in all the things I was supposed to get. After that I logged into my Company’s website and waited for my superordinate to come online. He was on time as usual, and 20 minutes later, my work was done.

I took a look at my list again. This time, I was not going to forget anything.

Mutton sandwich with extra cheese. Check.
Ten bottles of light premium beer. Check.
Four pints of strong beer. Check.
Crepe bandages. Check.
Chips and pepsi despite my wife's prohibition. Check.
And oh, I nearly forgot the dish cleaner for the wife. Check.

Boy it felt great! This was probably the first time I ever got everything at one go. Before ascending the 10-storey flight of steps, I checked my pocket again and shook it. It jingled. Ah, my keys were there too. Good good.

So I walked up slowly. The load that I was carrying was heavy, but if it meant seeing an impressed smile upon my wife's face, it was definitely worth it.

"Yo, I'm backkk!"

I gave everybody what they ordered. Even though my wife frowned at the chips and pepsi, when she realized that I had actually remembered everything, she gave me a quick kiss on the cheeks. Yup, it was worth it.

The football match started soon, so we had to eat dinner in front of the TV. I couldn't help making a dig at Subs, who was the only person in the room with children. "See, this is the beauty of not having any children. No need to set any kind of example to the kids, like not eating in front of the TV. See the freedom we have dude..."

"Hah. We'll see." Subs scorned back.

Arsenal won the match, and we all rejoiced as usual. Subs went an extra mile by breakdacing, and Nick suggested we vote him out of our Arsenal Fan Club so as to maintain our honour and dignity.

We watched another football match again after that, but spent most of our time pulling each others' legs. By 10pm, the gang decided it was time to go home. They thanked my wife for the lovely dinner, especially the cultural delicacies, and then left our apartment.

Just as they left, Mapuia who had gone to the loo earlier, stepped into the TV room and asked, "When did Paul and his girlfriend leave???"

"They're gone?" exclaimed my wife. Nobody knew. I could already picture my wife on the phone the next day, complaining to her parents about her brother's incorrigible lifestyle. I guess we all have little black sheeps to deal with in our respective families.

With everybody gone, Priyanka asked in a dramatic tone, "NOW can we watch Love story?"

"Are you sure you really wanna watch it?" I protested. "Comon, let's watch something else, like Die Hard or ... The Ring."

"Love Story!" Priyanka and Sagarika retorted in great unison. I wondered if they had practiced that line before coming over to our place.

The missus then spoke, "Just put on the movie. You guys made us all sit through a boring..."

I stared at my wife, putting on my best theatrical performance... "Gasp!"

"Fine fine. You made us sit through an exciting football match. It was so exciting that we nearly slept. Now it's our turn, Mister-I-remembered-everything-for-once."

"Alright alright. There's no need for sarcasm." I smiled back. "But you'll all have to watch it in our bedroom on the computer."

"That's fine by us," Sagarika said. Priyanka added, "Just tell me which side of the bed do you sleep so that I can sit there and..."

"Bleh bleh bleh," I stuck out my tongue at Pri.

"Move on to the computer then," I told them. "I'll have to copy the movie to the computer because it is still in my detachable hard-dri..."

Oh oh.

My hard-drive!

...

Oh crap...


34 comments:

mesjay said...

hey, your live feed is scary, feels like a surveillance camera.

The story's a very good read and in your natural style. Will try give you more detailed feedback when i can find time.

mnowluck said...

Heh! You nearly made me call U up and congratulate you for you have a new wife.. until I realised that this was just a put up of what you will be in the near future.. hahahahaha

You got the skills needed dude.. write a book .. and I'll be one of those guys whom you will need to ship it free .. and the First guy whom you will need to ship to :P


you have disabled the comments in previous post and yeah i'm kinda late to comment on why I've "hmmmm.." you.. I've "hmmm" not because the poetry and your rhyming are not good.. Its all because I found it a bit scary on the end part of your poetry ... In short It was Dark.. not exactly pessimistic type

Puia said...

sawi belh tur avang hle mai. Nang nge nge thil i thlir zau thin narawh e hotupa.:) good post..

Anonymous said...

Beautiful update mate! I already loved it and here comes another Anonymous exclusive comment :)

It could be because of my marital status is "single" this old saying is scaring hell out of me, however I hope and pray it should not be applicable to you or your lovely wife or to anyone, as they say "First the engagement ring, then the wedding ring, then the suffering". In my case, I already know myself would pass the first and the second stages with a big smile on my face but would definitely fail the last phase so called "Suffer-ring". Now I sound like as useful as a grave robber in a crematorium :) sorry about that...but this is just me! a weak fella!

Oh yes, talking about apartment experienced :) I lived in a huge apartment. This apartment has a capacity for 500 families can accomodate and its located in International Technological Park Whitefield Bangalore. With swimming pools, Party Hall, Snooker, Beauty Salon, blah blah ..etc I should say its pretty good with all that facilities within. Everything was running smoothly in the apartment until this incident happened 3 months back, we had a little confusion about a missing dog in our apartment...whom to blamed! security denied! he had never seen a dog going out of the apartment gate. Secretly I had offered the security guard a hundred note to let the truth out but it didnt work out. Thank God! at last I remembered our naga brothers living next door...LOL..pssst! they had invited me even for dinner and I blindly assumed it was pork chops..hmm! never had a wild idea of such.

"he slaps his thighs, flaps his arms, sits down, doubles over and falls back laughing"

M said...

ur ending is a classic sandman. clap clap clap :o) i still remember ur other stories abt valentine day at davids kitchen which also made a very deep impact at the end. ur humour is really funny n ur a very got writer pu sandman.

- M

m said...

a very good writer ka tihna. hihi.

illusionaire said...

@ mesjay: Will look forward to your feedback. And yes, big brother is always watching you :-)

@ mnowluck: If that is the future I am going to have, I really don't mind :-) Love to write a book but don't have the talent and ability yet. But I really am looking into the possibility of attempting...

@ Puia: Hotupa, nang nge nge in good post i rawn tih tawh hi chuan zan mut te pawh a awl phah sawt thin a lawm. Thank you for your visit.

@ anonymous: uh... I hope you do know this is just a story I wrote, and in real life I am far from being married :-) Will be long before I settle down... but thanx for the warning. lolz

And lolz at the apartment confusion too. Hahaha. Yeah, that is not something I've heard for the first time. I really hope you had a good dinner. *BIG GRIN*

@ Lady M: Hey hey! Long time no see. Glad you love my short story. There is this other story I once wrote too, called "Little Hut on the Brae", you can search for it here on my blog. I think you'll like it too. Thanx for the visit M and hoping to see you again.

illusionaire said...

For those of you who might be a tad interested, here are the links of my previous two stories.

Chp 88. Little Hut on the Brae

Chp 108. Valentine's day at David's Kitchen

Would appreciate it a lot if any of you have the time to give me your feedback on them and land me your harshest criticism. Thanx.

Cheers.

Philo said...

Like I said earlier, publish. Will buy or even photocopy it! I intuit that mesjay would probably cover much of what I could converse with you so having said that, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

ps: I knew Arsenal would win.

illusionaire said...

Thank you Philo. I will definitely try :-) Writing a book isn't that easy at all, unlike writing a blog. I need to write something that will appeal to the mass. Many Indian readers don't consider Chetan Bhagat to be a great writer but his two books are a success because he wrote about Call centres and IIT, which many people want to know about. Likewise, I'll have to find a unique niche in the literary world where I can sell myself. My strong point is my deep inter-racial and inter-cultural exposure, and I am looking for ways to exploit that USP.

ps. We'll see, next season. Grrr.

Mariuca said...

Hiya Sandman!! Just dropping by to wish u a great weekend. Hope all is okay with u and ur girl and ur dog! When are u gonna bring him over to my site for a play date with Phoebe? ;)

Anonymous said...

Society magazine tawp lama an dah thin (reg feature), pa pakhat hen-pecked deuh anga in sawi thin kha...reminds me of that.

Nice one!

illusionaire said...

@ Mariuca: Oh trust me, he will murder sweet ol Phoebe :-) Been busy with a little research I'm doing these days, hence don't find much time to come online. But I promise tomorrow I will set up the date! :-) Me doing fine, thank you for asking.

@ anonymous: Hehe... ka future tur chu a nih loh phawt ka beisei a, tiang anga hen-pecked em em chu ka duh bik lo :-) Mahse Mizo mipa hi chu an ni zel an ti a tawp a tawp ah hi chuan. Chuvangin vai nula ka nei daih dawn nupui ah :-)

Pixie said...

LOLZ!! Good one... but, its pretty sadistic - 10 stories and no lift?!! Do u actually hate the guy?!! :D

Jerusha said...

whew! Get married dahling :P Only intense and prolonged dreaming about the subject (married life) could've prompted such a vivid work of fiction.

Calliopia said...

When you asked me to take a look at this, you said you weren’t in a hurry so I took you at your word. Btw I hate reading lengthy texts on the computer screen especially white fonts on a black background so I went to all the trouble of copying and pasting all this out, then taking a print-out of it. And guess what, I think this is pretty good. You’ve always had a real flair for short fiction with a breezy style of writing that comes naturally to you. And you do dialogue pretty well too…some can’t handle that at all. This is your forte alright so hone in on it. If you like I’ll mail you an edit of this later. The teacher in me thing, you know..

Sekibuhchhuak said...

Duh hunah hian koment thei thin lo va :(

Hetiang ziak tur chuan motivate tu awm a ngai ngei ang.Good post! Chhungkhat pa tha tak i nih dawn hi:-)

Morning jogging pawh ngai nang tiang te chuan..chhanwgsang leh chhang hniam tlan tawn zak zak te chuan..muscles chu i gain vak lo mai thei a,mahse,slim duh ngawt ang :-PP

illusionaire said...

@ Pixie: I thought 10 stories and no lift would give a deeper depth to the character that the protagonist is playing :-)

@ Jerusha: Yeah, I thought about you and that is how I came up with this piece of imagination... the way you are likely to nag your future husband to death :-P

@ calliopia: I would appreciate it sooooo much if you can mail me your edited corrections. I am extremely open to all kinds of suggestions and criticisms at this point. Thanks for taking so much trouble pi J.

@ seki: Hehe its not about being motivated by somebody, but rather imagining real hard so that my imaginations motivate me :-) This is necessary for an aspiring writer: the ability to create a mental frame of work so intense that we actual believe we are there.

Anonymous said...

Ok dokie, "Dear Sandman, please write a book!! write a book!” people out there requesting to make it happen as we all expect a "well written book" by this young wise man. Very interesting! Hmmm...I am ready to swipe my platinum card to place an order online, count on me mate :)

Now the question, is it really an easy task writing a book? Answer is "NO" he quoted in one of his comment "...Writing a book isn't that easy at all, unlike writing a blog...." I agree with him. I am from a hardcore technical background and am familiar with only technical stuff, anyway consider me a "Dork"...LOL

They say that inside every person is a book waiting to be written. While I'm not exactly certain who "they" are, I believe they have it right on this one. Everyone you know has a body of knowledge that, if properly organized and structured, could comprise a very informative and valuable. But writing a book sounds like a daunting task. Heck, let's just be honest here, writing a book IS a daunting task. No matter how you look at it.

It would certainly be a plus point if you have an impeccable knowledge on grammar and punctuation, because these aspects serve as a key for your readers to understand the thoughts that you have expressed in writing. Blogging is one way of practicing your craft.

Are you a confident writer sandman? The answer is "YES" he is a confident writer and a beautiful man and a brother to all. A confident writer knows his words have value, and enjoys writing. He also knows that since there are unlimited markets for his words, any rejections are just feedback, and blithely submits his words elsewhere. People would constantly check on your work, and you should take their criticisms positively and apply them in editing your work.

Writers write because they love to do it. They look forward to sitting down at their desk to write each and every day, and they don't feel "normal" unless they do. All the passion in the world can't make up for a lack of skill. So if you are really serious about your work and you want other people to take you seriously, then you should invest in your skills and your work. So what does that mean? Well, it could mean taking a writing workshop course, attending a writing conference, hiring an editor, buying a book on craft, or working with a writing coach…etc All these are important ways to better yourself and your writing, and they are all worth the investment.

Don't Be Afraid to Sell Yourself mate!! :)) Many writers hate selling themselves-they're afraid to put themselves out there and they've never sold anything in their life. But if you're serious, you have to put yourself out there. Market yourself, your ideas, and your writing skills to everyone you meet. You never know who is going to need a writer, so reach out in as many ways possible.

Wishing you and your lovely wife happiness, good fortune and prosperity :)

I am ending with these lines here for today “His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration". LOL….later folks!

mesjay said...

Just read 'The Little Hut' & 'Valentine Day'(on stolen work time). Bautiful stories. You do have the stuff and such variety too.

But there's a need to grow up in the craft. 'Memory' can be classed as a humour piece, not quite a story. And your characters in the three stories haven't come alive. We get to know about them, but not not know them, so to speak.
And you need to economize on words.

Can't find your e-mail id so i had to put it out here, hope you don't mind.

All your pieces show rich talent.

Luce said...

A dik alawm..Nupui te hi hlauh tur :)Chapter 172 hi a bo daih?

I called you last week but you didn't answer your phone. Just wanted to ask how your sisters doing.

illusionaire said...

@ anonymous:

WHO ARE YOU???? You look like someone who had gone through the process of writing a book (or knew somebody who did). If so, then please shower me with more advices and tips. Thank you so much for your extremely useful comment and insight. I can't express enough to show you my gratitude for such a comment.

I started blogging way back in 2004 just as a past-time passion. Little did I know that I would get completely hooked to it. I never wrote about anything even after Engineering College, and never saw myself to be a blogger. I used to fail at English. I have no Literature background. But as you have said, I guess all that does not matter as long as there is true passion from within. The rest can be learnt on the way.

I have not attended such workshops as such yet, but ever since I started writing seriously, the way I read books have completely changed. No longer do I just read a book out of entertainment. Even when reading a fiction, for example the latest Robert Ludlum novel "The Bourne Betrayal" that I've just read, I read it not just as leisure alone, but attentively studied the various styles and flow of sentences at the same time.

I do hope you drop by again, dear stranger, and spare some time from your busy schedule to review my writings.

Cheers.

@ Mesjay:

Economizing on my words is definitely something I will work on. Thanx. Sometimes I get carried away when I write a short story, and end up writing unnecessary facts about each character, instead of pointing out the important elements. I had to cut short this particular story too just before publishing because there were many useless and unwanted details.

I welcome every criticism and it's completely alright for not telling me about this in private. Feel free to point out anything you'd like here.

@ Luce:

Sister is doing well, thanx for asking. When did you call me up? I never got any miss call from your number. Chp 172 is just a random poem I wrote, where I have closed the comment section. But if you really want to read it, I will update the "recent post" section above for you. Please don't jump into any conclusion if you read the poem :-)

Mos said...

you first met your cousin at a gym? :)

aduhi said...

hman deuh hlek huna chhiar tur anih hi a sei emai

uncas said...

Hmmmm, not bad at all. Keep it up Sandman.

Luce said...

I 'have' read the poem. That's why I noticed it missimg from the list. Keep it up there with the others. It may be dark but its a good one.

I called from my home number (landline) Glad your sisters doing well.

Tell me how to check for updates. I don't want to have to google to check for updates on your blog anymore(can't remember your url..you know what gettin' ripe does to your memory *sigh*)

illusionaire said...

@ Mos: common sense, braaa, common sense. :-)

@ Aduhi: Hman deuh hlek hunah lo chhiar ngei ngei rawh :-)

@ Uncas: You're back!!!!!!!!! Nice to see you again finally Pu Rem! Where have you been all these time???

@ Luce: Try bloglines. Thats how I keep in touch with all my friends's blogs, as I have no time to visit each one just to see if there is an update or not. Register at bloglines.com

Nopes, never saw any miss call from any LAN line. Will give you a call tonight.

jinghani said...

Not bad. Again.
Keep writing.

Luce said...

Thanks. I'll register at Blogline.

aduhi said...

Not bad, not bad at all. more comments to follow gotta runnnnnn

aduhi said...

You can build this story into something bigger, give more info about the characters, build a plot, add more chapters etc. I see potential here. You could develop this into a real book, and this chapter could serve as a preview-sneak peek kind of thing... Or start a new blog on this story, adding one chapter at a time, kind of like a TV show.

Anonymous said...

Is that all?...or will the story continue?????

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