Short Stories

Why this Kolaveri?

It is one of those days where the rain plays spoilsport and you are forced to sit inside watching the splattering drops. The Missus is not very happy that the things did not go according to plan. She simply stares outside. The rain picks up pace and the heavy drumming is making a weird noise that is coaxing me to the bed.

I fight my sleep and take up the mission to lighten her up. I try the one which works best for me – Music. I plug in my X Mini to to my faithful iPod and DJ away.

I silently hoped the shuffle list would understand the situation and churn out numbers accordingly

1. Life in technicolor – Coldplay

The song complements the outside rain, the music in place to the steady fall. she takes a look, picks up the idea pad and tries her hand at browsing. Halfway though the song she tosses the reader aside and moves her chair closer to the patio door starts watching the rain again

2. Capri – Colbie Calilat

As Colbie’s soulful sound fills up the room, I see a small change in her reaction. She looks back curiously, before I say anything, she says “Can we eat? I am Hungry”

3. Riders on the Storm– Doors

As JM sings about the killer on the road; I watched her line up the dining table with food. My attempt to help was waved away. By the time she was done setting up and I sit down at the table out comes

4.Highway to Hell.

I did not have to look at her face to understand that the songs were not giving her the effects that I desired.  I put the player on hold and continued with lunch. It was liking watching an Adoor Gopalakrishnan movie. The only thing i could hear was the splattering rain and that occasional clatter of my spoon against the plate.

After lunch, I picked up my laptop and decided to check my Facebook page. I saw that many of my friends had shared a video. The youtube link had generated more than five hundred thousand hits and was a big hit in the social networking sites.

I hit play and watched Dhanush sing “Why this Kolaveri di?”. A couple of minutes later the missus was near me watching the video with great interest. A couple of loops later she was humming the song and also did manage to find another video of a Punjabi girl singing the same song.

She displaced me from the computer table and was logged into her FB account and shared the links there. I have never been a big fan of songs such as these. I was pleasantly surprised that the missus was enjoying this song a lot. By the time she was done with her FB; the rain had stopped. Our plans for the day were back on track though delayed by a couple of hours.

The idea of going shopping was the shot in the arm that she needed. It was as if she had found a new lease of life.

We come back six hours later from the Thanksgiving sale, My hands are tired after carrying the bags from the shopping stores she raided. I threw myself on the futon and my mind went over the finances for the month.

I moved to our patio. The chair was still there. I sat there and stared at the darkness humming “why this Kolaveri di?”.

A Tale of Three Nights

One:

As soon as I heard the Lift Lady Sing “Please Close the Doors” for the Umpteenth time, l let out a volley of curses and groans that would have silenced anybody but her. I walked up the stairs slowly thinking about the pathetic day I had at work. The shoes flew first, the laptop bag next and then as I slumped on the crouch my faithful Sony Ericson W 705 began crooning “The Way you make me feel”. I always thought that was the best song to describe our relationship; she could make my moods swing from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
A flurry of questions hit me as soon as I picked up the phone “Why was the Phone Switched Off? Why I had not called? Why am I Late?” Each of my half answers was met with another question and about fifteen minutes later, she slammed the phone down. “Wife on the phone” I explained to my roommate. He shrugged with a casual “Do you want to join us for a game?” I threw the phone to a corner picked up a racquet and went out. Two hours later I came back to my room totally spent and threw myself on the bed. I picked up the phone SMS’d her A Love you Message and tried to sleep.

Two:

As soon as I got off the bike I hit the dial button on my cell phone; the caller tune seemed to go on endlessly before I heard “Hello”. Me “Sorry, the meeting was longer than I Expected” Her “No problems, I was speaking with my sister on the other phone”. After ten minutes near the Parking lot, I had to concede to the mosquitoes and decided to go inside. I heard the lift lady sing “Please Close Doors”. I was more than happy to take the stairs as I did not want the lift to interrupt the connection. Balancing against the walls I threw the shoes, the laptop bags and slumped on the bed with the phone still glued to my ears. 20 more minutes later my roommate popped his head and asked “Do you want to join us for a game?” I shrugged and said “Wife on the phone”. 3 hours later when I realized that I had run out of balance on my cell phone, I disconnected and lay on my bed thinking about her and tried to sleep.

Three:

I am working on the computer, the phone rings. I don’t even bother to take a look. I finish typing my story as she asks if I have any idea of going to bed. In just a little while I say. I close my laptop, turn off the lights and slip into the bed right next to her.

The One about a Girl

A couple of months back, if someone told me that I would be getting married in the next three months I would have stared, and then walked away calling the person a madman. But a lot has changed in the last two months and here I am facing a brand new life in the next three months. Things have happened so fast and the seemingly endless list of options has left me bewildered. In spite of all this there is a tiny bit of me that is excited (happy) to welcome her into my world. I am not sure as when she will get to read this post, but when she does I sure do hope that she has enjoyed the journey so far.
P.s I remembered that this was not Twitter later on!

The one about The Date

A very average day at work was made the most exciting when my friend yelled “S1365”. I immediately knew what he meant. “Seriously” I asked. Yeah man I had to go get a new laptop from the Store and I found out her cubicle. Before he could say another word I ran out of the guest suites to the main building. I never realized I could run so fast and made it to the building in a minute, S 1365 I kept repeating to myself, and reached the South section. I found the cabin almost immediately. As the computer guy of the firm I had access to most systems and with a lot of help from the network guys, I was introduced to her as the “guy to call in case of problems”. I managed to run into her accidently a lot of times, though this involved walking close to 3 miles every day across the two buildings, missing many important calls and at last after 3 weeks I asked her out for dinner. When she asked How about Today? I was jumping like a madman on the inside.
I was too excited to do anything else that day and as soon as I reached home I pulled out my favorite jeans, T-Shirt and set off. I knew she just lived around the corner. I sprinted off to her building. I knocked twice and waited impatiently for her outside. my first official date. She came out in a beautiful black dress, complete with high heels. I was greeted with a dazzling Smile. I kept staring at her and so did she when she saw my jeans and Metallica Rockzz T Shirt. “Where is your car?” She asked. “Oh, I thought we could have a nice walk, before the dinner you know….” I blabbered. Truth was I did not own a driving license, forget a car. That was my first mistake of the evening.
I had planned to take her to a Mexican Restaurant, roughly half an hour by walk from our place. We had to cross a park, and I had to walk slowly with her because of the heels. Trust me Never walk with a girl on heels over a lawn, she will be slower than your 90 year old grandma. She kept laughing at the small jokes that I made. I was simply amazed that a girl as Hot as her would go out with me.
The best part about Covington summer is “Sudden Evening Showers, they are God’s way of cooling things down here.” As my luck will have it we spent the last two minutes in the rain. The High Heels ensured that. I was expecting the “Look, what you have got me into! stare”. Another smile, if she was angry she was hiding it well. But still I had made mistake number 2.
We waited for the rain to cool off and in the meantime talked about a lot of things. The Mexican restaurant had a band playing, the mood was upbeat and she really liked the food. “So far so Good” As I was convincing myself the waitress brought in the bill. I went for it first, but needed a little more persuasion from my part to convince her. A couple of minutes later she came back, “Sir is there another card that I can use, This one does not work?” Drat I had forgotten to transfer the money from the Savings to the Credit section again, which meant another 50$ fine. She read the look on my face and she pulled out a Platinum card from her purse. I should say she was reading my thoughts pretty well.
We walked back the same way, and this time it was even worse. A wet park, her shoes were covered with all sorts of thing in a minute and she had to walk bare foot for the remaining distance. I was kicking myself to nowhere inside, and we walked back to home in silence. As I dropped her at the doorway I turned and apologized for the many mistakes that I had made. I did not know if I would ever get another chance to redeem myself. Just before leaving she gave me a grin and said “You know, I did a mistake too”. That was what I did not want to hear. I was crushed that I did not hear her say “I could have taken my car”.

The One about Ron,Joanne & Me

After moving to the new apartment complex a luxury that I have been using regularly is the gym and the swimming pool. The best way to beat the boredom was to hit the gym and relax later at the swimming pool. Every day I push myself to run the extra minute not to be fit or anything, I do it because it gives me a chance to be with some people and restore sanity in this strange lonely Haven.

As I started to go about life with the precision of a Swiss watch, I noticed two people who shared my routine. Everyday Big Ron and Joanne would be at the Gym, and then walk back to the swimming pool. Big Ron was 78 years old, had Parkinson’s disease and came to the gym to use the treadmill and for his physiotherapy sessions. He reminded me of Clint Eastwood from the movie Gran Torino. They used to sit and talk about anything and everything. Soon I joined them and the three of us shared stories, jokes and strangely enough we enjoyed each other company very much. After our Gym Session we would walk back to the pool where Joanne works as the instructor.

One day I did not see both of them on the Gym, I knew that Joanne would drive to meet her son every month. But Big Ron was supposed to be there. I went to check on him and found him in his balcony with a half empty Malibu bottle at the side. “You have been drinking” I said. “It has been 50 years since my wife left me”. He had never spoken about his family and Joanne and I had never asked him about it. I did not know what to tell him and I tried to help him inside his house. He asked me to sit down and he showed me a picture of him and his wife. “You know why she left me?” He asked. I looked back and his eyes showed his despair. The best I could do was sit and hear him out. He told me about his wife she had been his college sweet heart and had married her. Life had been picture prefect as she was expecting their first child. When Ron learnt that his kid had a speech disability, he reacted badly. He told me that he had become scared of thinking about the kids life and started to spend more time at work and away from his family. He told his wife his apprehension and she had walked out with the kid without saying a word. It was hard for me to see him feel so bad and mumbling something about an important phone call I had to make I walked out of his house.

I become very uncomfortable when people are sad, I just do not know the right words to tell them. Probably Joanne could have comforted him had she been there. I avoided him the next couple of days. When Joanne saw me alone at the Gym, she asked me where Ron was and I told her about the earlier incident. She was furious when she found out that I had not checked on him for the past two days. She headed straight to his house and was back after some time. I was sitting at the swimming pool alone. She tossed a photograph at my lap; the same one that I had seen at Ron’s house. I understood slowly. She continued “The only happiness je gets now is by knowing that there are friends who care for him I cannot and will not remind him of his family and cause further despair and neither will you.

Two days later we are at the gym together. To others it is a funny sight to see Big Ron walking, Joanne jogging, and me sprinting side by side. For Ron we are two very good people who are helping him in his old age. To me they are the only friends that I have in America. But to Joanne it is Father, Daughter and me.

The one about Two Birds

Life has been hectic. So hectic that I keep thinking about work at the GYM or even while watching a movie, I was so engrossed about the tasks that I had to for the day that I never noticed my roommate stop at the nearby motel. He asked me to wait downstairs while he went to meet a friend.
I tried to take my mind of work and started to gaze around. I saw two birds, one inside the hotels reception and the other outside in the parking lot. I was intrigued by the chirping and started to visualize what the conversation could have been about. I thought the bird in the hotel was a bit arrogant and trying to show off some tricks of a ladder and kept chirping loudly. The second bird looked on silently and hopped to the window, it had been trying to nibble at a few crumbs that was thrown to it by passer by’s. The first bird did something that resembled a maniacal laugh and started to show off its prize possessions: the toys, the pipe that fed water when it wanted, the plate full of bread crumbs, a beautifully decorated mirror. It had all the luxuries in the world. It performed a couple more astounding tricks with the toy ladder as well. It seemed very happy and my guess is it would have told the second one “Look at me, what have you got”. Yeah pretty much like the Hindi film dialogue” Vijay, mera paas yeah sab hai, tumhara paas kya hai?”
The second bird kept watching the first one intently, and let out a single shrill chirp and flew away. I don’t know what it said but after that the first bird shut the hell up. No amount of cajoling could make it do any of the tricks. It retreated to a corner and looked as if it had been slapped.
I was wondering for some time as what the second bird would have said to make the first bird shut up. I played back the scene over again the beautiful mirror, the toys, food, water and then it struck me “the cage.”
The only thing the second bird could have told the first one is “Dude I can Fly!”

The one about Kabaali

Yesterday, we decided to sell off our old fridge. To begin with, it was weird to sell off something which we took for rent. But we called up an agent and he agreed to send someone to take the fridge away.

My roommates were busy and had to go out, so i was the one who had to wait for the guy who was supposed to pick up the fridge. i was given the Contacts number and name ("Kabaali"). I told the agent that our apartment was at the second floor, and it would take some effort to get the thing down. His response was "Elaam Kabaali pathukuvaar" (Kabaali will take care of everything). Two hours later, i got a call from Kabaali, he couldn’t find my apartment. He wanted me to come to the street corner, where he was waiting with his vehicle.

I went out to meet him, and when i reached the corner i found a couple of very tough looking guys next to a mini truck. I was about to ask them to follow me, when my phone rang again. It was Kabaali and he had found my apartment and was now waiting at the door. i was now really started to wonder what this guy was up to.

I doubled back to the house and found a tri cycle parked near the gate. I went up the stairs, and i found a small guy who looked out of breath at my door. Kabaali, was nothing like the person that i had imagined. A small wiry guy stood there, and was looking as if he had climbed the himalayas. He asked me where the lift was? i told him there was none for our apartment.

He wanted my help to get the fridge to the ground floor. I half heartedly agreed, cursing my other roommates for making me do this alone. We took the fridge down the first step, when i heard him yell, we kept the fridge down, and was holding his hand and telling me it hurt. So after 20 minutes with little help from kabaali i got the fridge two floors down. it took me 10 minutes to climb the stairs, i reached my bed. 12 hours later i am Feeling pretty heavy in the arms, and boy cant move my back.

The one about the Morning Drink

Mornings, i love them, the sunrise, the fervor which we do things, for me at least it sets the tone of the day. And nothing beats it when you start the day off with a steaming mug of tea.My room mates and I, have been bitten by the laziness bug of late.

Each one if us would loveto have tea in the morning, but who makes it is the million dollar question. Making tea, sounds an easy thing right? No, not in Plot 162. We do not have a stove, do not buy milk. Here, Making tea involves the tedious processes of boiling water in a electric heater, using tea bags, and mixing the right amount of milk powder. More often than not i found myself making tea for all, because i was the first one to get up in the house. Though not an expert i can make something that i can gulp down with minimal difficulty.

For the past two months, work at office has been so hectic that i dont wake up early in the morning, Now the tea making responsibility is being shared by my roommates as well. Last month one of them got tea dust instead of the tea bags we used to buy. Apparently, he thought both were the same. If making tea with bags was tough, this was a disaster, we had to wait for the dust to settle even before we could even take a sip. Also we had to use two more glasses and do more dishwashing. Either the tea turned out to be too strong, or too watery, but we were too lazy to notice and put with the brown soggy liquid.

A week later, i decided to get home early and got a filter for the tea dust. that meant our wait time for tea had come down, but still it left the problem of cleaning up the mess we made. “Three” comes up with a brilliant alternative, “add the dust directly in the filter and pour water in the filter slowly” Doing so meant, we got rid of the problem of the extra dishwashing.

Second Week, we ran out of milk powder, and we started to take our tea black. Third week, we ran out of sugar, Then it became black tea without sugar. Sure “Men’s Health” was looking for us as Models. The taste still lingers in my mouth yuckkkkkk….
Yesterday, we had an emergency meeting as we could see the tea box almost empty. So two of us hopped of to the store and came back loaded with Milk powder, flavored tea bags and some snacks to go off with the morning tea as well. I slept soundly hoping that now that everything was in place i could at least get some decent tea.
Today morning: “The one who doesn’t care” is up early. We get up and go to the kitchen hoping to get some nice tea. There is no tea, we look at him expecting some answer at least. I mean we had taken pains to get all the stuff and i was like what the heck..he shrugged his shoulders and said “No Water”. So much for our Morning Drink.

🙁

The Advisor

I parked my car in the garage, and sat inside the car for a couple of minutes. i longed for a minute of silence before I drowned in a world of chaos. Being a single parent was tough, and trying to manage twins along with a high paying job was crushing me. I knew that it was only time before i cracked completely. My baby sitter was waiting for me at the door with a scorn. I mumbled an apology for being late. According to her “The Imps (as she called them) would show her Hell everyday on Earth”. My daughters were’nt naughty, they would go that extra level to make Dennis the Menace look nice.
I wondered what the little imps were up to. As soon as I stepped inside the house i was mobbed by Ria and Aria. I was almost knocked over. A flurry of words hit me, complaints about teachers, about the baby sitter and news from school was thrown at me in less than a minute. The human mind is designed to consider a million facta at a time but right then nothing made sense to me. I tried to calm them down, put them back in their study rooms and went to make some dinner.
I found their lunch bags strewn about. I noticed that Aria’s lunch box was left untouched. “Aria, you have not touched your food!” I yelled. “I didn’t like it” was the reply. “What do you mean “you don’t like it? You eat this at home, and so does your sister”. “I don’t want to eat that at School, and Ria she didn’t eat it she dumped it in the trash”. The next moment they were on each other. I had to take three blows from their small hands before i could pull them apart. “Didn’t you eat anything today?” “No, we didn’t”. I stood there defeated, deflated by their defiant reply. The harder I tried to bring my life under control, the more it seemed to spin out of control.
The door bell sounded. The two set off, I had hardly moved when I heard them squeal and soon they were all over her. It was such a relief to see her at home. She waved her magic on the kids and everything would seem perfect. She became busy with the kids while I tried to make dinner. Dinner was a quiet affair, and the twins were quiet too. She didnt like it when soemone spoke at the dinner table. The twins followed every word of what she said. They were angels when she was around.

I took a bottle of wine and was lost in thought. She walked over ruffled my hair and asked “Looking worried?” I told her about the earlier incident. She gave me a smile and said “You are learning a lot about being a father aren’t you?”
Her life seemed perfectly under control, and that was bothering me. “Do you think, this is funny, seriously I do not know what to do with them, I am facing a dead end here. But with you around they are the perfect kids.” I finished my tirade with a hopeful “Why don’t you stay with us?” She looked up calmly, partly amused at my outburst and then asked me “If you wanted my help why didn’t you ask me earlier?”
“I just couldn’t …I thought you wanted to be free and didn’t want to bother you with my problems. Now, things have become so worse, that I feel that I am not a good father.” She held my gaze and calmly said “How wrong can you be? You have always been someone who can be a motivation for others. I let you be free because you deserved to be.
I tried to stop her. Yeah, she continued firmly, your kids adore you, they love you. The only help that I can give you is this piece of advice “Never try to be the Perfect father, just be a good One”. I know you will come out of this. Now go get some rest, you look so tired.
It took about an hour for the meaning of what she said to sink in. I was trying to give them my life. I understood that they deserved the freedom that I got when I was a child, and knowing that set me free. The three women in my life. She had fallen asleep with the lights on. The twins had snuggled up to her. I switched off the lights, kissed them each on the forehead, and whispered “You are the best Mom”.

The Break Up

I was looking at a photograph in my wallet, when a snob walked in, saw the picture and threw a nasty remark. For a moment I forgot everything, the office, corporate world, and gave a full blooded punch on his face. He reeled from the effect, held his hands against a bloody nose and ran away without a word. The whole office floor looked stunned. Nobody knew that the punch carried the weight of disappointment. For five years, I had kept the disappointment away, but today the small comment brought the emotion out. I walked out straight to the tea shop behind my office, lit a cigarette, my first in years and sat there lost in thought.

I took, out the photograph, and stared at the picture of the girl in it. I had never stopped loving her. My thoughts went to the day when we last met, she stood there looking upon me with complete disappointment, in spite of my best intentions I would always find myself on the other side of her. That day, the gulf between us stretched too far, and she left me behind, with only dreams to cling on to. I never spoke a word, and watched her go. I thought i could let go, but never did. I bottled up my emotions and played the carefree guy role to perfection. I hid myself under a new set of friends and chose to ignore my past.

I never threw away that one photograph, it was something that defined her. Five years later after the Break up, i got a call from her. She wanted to meet me. It was chaos; i couldn’t act as if i did not care anymore. I wondered what she wanted with me. I couldn’t focus on anything and was looking at her photograph when the incident happened. I wondered if I would find the courage to tell her that I didn’t want anything to do with her, after she left me with a broken heart. The cigarette butt burnt my hand, and brought me back to reality. I chose to meet her.

I was shocked when i saw her. She looked at me cheerily and said, you never called, I never knew thought you would be able to do that!!! She was not the same girl that I had fallen madly in love with. Here I was staring at a ghost of her former self. I was at a loss of words. She hugged me, and started to cry. She looked up and said “I want to spend some time with you”. As always, when she was around my only response would be yes. I nodded, and decided to stay for a week.

Those seven days I saw her in a totally new light, sometimes she would hold on to my hands for support, and I knew that i had made a big mistake in my life, but couldn’t bring myself to tell her that I loved her. It is the fear of losing someone that holds you back from loving them very much. She had set up an organization that helped kids with cancer, the same disease that was eating her. This time i decided to stay longer, I quit my job and started to help her with the organization, but in about a month she was fighting a losing battle.

I held her in my arms, as she was drifting away. She had become very weak, as she lay in my arms i kissed her on the forehead, and said. “I love you”. She gave a dazzling smile and closed her eyes. She seemed relaxed. I knew then that she was not going to come back, and the Break up was real this time.
As I walked away from her, I realized that one would never let go of someone they loved truly. She had changed my life again.