28 August, 2008

Happily ever after is a state of mind

"I had been meaning to ask you to do something. Please, next time you decide to post something on the blog, write some fiction. Something ideal, like stuff is meant to be. Like the way it should be but never is. It is okay if there is a sting in the tail. For your readers would want that. I want to read something like that. I f you oblige me this one time, I shall be greatly honored."

You tell me to write about something ideal, the perfect way things are meant to be. I wracked my brains and all I drew was a blank. It sounded something like this:

He was nothing if not arrogant. She couldn’t walk without a frown. And with a black cloud of anger hovering above her, he would have been wise to stay out of her way. But when you’re 21 and you don’t have anything particular to do, wisdom is certainly not what’s on your mind.

He suppressed a smirk as she walked in front of him in short angry steps, her bag clutched tightly under one arm. Her hair was tied in a fierce little pony tail and way too many clips tamed the curls that could have (should have?) crowned her face. He followed at a leisurely pace behind her, imagining the amount of energy she was needlessly expending by the way she hurried along. He, on the other hand, took one long half-hearted stride for three of hers.

He reached the bus stop. The bus screeched to a halt - a few paces away. Before he could blink, it was moving again. Three hops and a little running and he found himself aboard, just about hanging onto the door, a foot still dangling outside. The bus was so packed that breathing was a chore. The conductor was incessantly hitting the window with a coin, the ugly noise rising above the general humdrum of the people. As he fished out some change for the ticket, he sensed a commotion somewhere ahead.

A voice was talking, quite calmly, though if you listened closely, the undertones of disgust were ill-disguised. He listened and the sheer absurdity of what was being said made him bend forward to see who it was. He couldn’t help smiling when he saw it was the same Martian who had been furiously pacing before him, minutes ago. He saw her move towards him, shoving at people as she tried to reach the conductor. She had to stand on her toes to reach a handle to hold onto as the bus swerved in its characteristic reckless manner. She stretched out to hand over the money for a ticket, breathing in short exasperated puffs. As the bus stopped for the umpteenth time, another sea of people surged through its airless confines.

He was involuntarily pushed towards her, pressed against her contours, even as he tried to hold onto whatever space he had. In her hair there were five clips. Three black, two green. Her bag was falling off her shoulder while her dupatta draped itself over his hand. Suddenly he felt protective of her. A weird urge to shield this little warrior against the humanity that was swirling around them came over him. To cocoon her from whatever she needed cocooning from. As he tried to deconstruct this extremely unsettling line of thought, she turned around fuming. Icily, she looked straight at him and then said to the conductor, “This boy is trying to be funny with me. Could you please tell him to move away?” Under her breathe she added, “God knows where such people come from. Frustrated ass”.

He couldn’t believe he had felt any kind of anything for this witch of a girl. What a self-obsessed false accusation! What a nasty little pompous thing. Couldn’t she see the people in the bus? What a snotty little twerp. Telling tales to the conductor for godsake? He knew if he said anything he’d be pushed off the bus. Women empowerment was way off the line when it came to buses. He knew not saying anything would not go down too well with his ego. So he gave her his famous glare, looked at her like she was an insignificant ant, which he really thought she was and with a lot of effort, plugged on his earphones in an attempt to ignore her.

After getting her ticket she moved towards the front of the bus, mowing down a lot of people in the process. When she finally got off, he breathed in and out, scowling at her back as she resumed her ridiculous walk to a place he hoped was prepared for the idiocy she carried like an aura.

That was their first meeting. I’d call it ideal. By Bollywood standards at least.


  1. Obliged Person12:48 am

    It could have been much better. At least the expectations were higher. But I am happy I pushed you in this direction. Maybe you will get the hint without my having to do so.

  2. "Suddenly he felt protective of her. A weird urge to shield this little warrior against the humanity that was swirling around them came over him. To cocoon her from whatever she needed cocooning from."

    :D Nice post. Genuinely funny.

    And ya, by the way, the last word of the request in the beginning kind of divulges the identity of Obliged Person.

  3. Nice story.. but wud agree wid the obliged person that it cud hav been better...

    @ piper: for that to happen all readers would have to be familiar with his quirks...

  4. a bollywoodish mills n boons in the making? for watever reason u have stumbled on to this path i hope u come to a detour soon...n i hope u'll take it so u can go back to being urself in ur writing...

  5. Obliged person: Yes it was poor. The plot, the characters, everything. But it was one of those suddenly came-to-you-want-to-vomit-out kind of things. And @ expectations, they are SUCH A spoiler. And of course I didn't get the hint. Subtleties are usually lost on me (linguistic ones too). Baah don't you know me?

    Piper: Genuinely funny? Ha ha glad you found it so. The honoUrable giveaway I'd say. The moron is way too anGREz na?

    Alien: The story is a story is a story. Another one could have been better but this one is as it is. Sub standard ya faltu this one couldn't have been better. Another one, yes.

    Nive: Oyee "going back to being myself in my writing?" This wasn't me? Now that's disturbing.

  6. the A-fan7:57 pm

    I guess I too know Mr. Obliged. :-)

    And I do sympathise with that poor soul. Wonder what he would have done for the rest of the ride (ride to where?)?

  7. Hahaha! Quite funny... by "Bollywood standards" at least :)



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