50 Word Story: Mother

50 Word Story: Mother

Ariel was six and lived with her single mum, Ursula, who used to leave for work early. Sometimes they’d miss their meals. Sleep was often inadequate.

Eventually, things started getting done around the house. On their own.

One morning she walked in on Ursula, multitasking, with tentacles.

Existential Crisis

Existential Crisis

When the lights are out

When everyone else is fast asleep

Dreaming happy dreams

With happy memories to keep

I lie awake

Contemplating things, scary things

In real life I pretend I’m okay

But on the inside, I’m deeply unhinged

I’ve got it all, I know

People say they’d be happy if they were me

They’re not missing much

There’s only disappointment and misery

Sometimes I hate myself

The way I look, the way I am

The way I let other people freeload

Like it’s normal, like it’s okay, like it’s my jam

Knowing full well that I stand alone

That there’s nobody that’s gonna rush in

To help me out when I’m in need

Sometimes breathing is a sin

Everyone else’s world has color

Mine has all shades of gloom

I try, I fail, I get up, I stumble, I crash

And I feel empty even in a crowded room

Lingerie

Lingerie

Dave hated going away on business trips. He missed Lila. Tomorrow would be their fifth wedding anniversary, and he would probably miss it. Cursing silently, he made his way to the elevator that would take him to his brand new client’s office. He looked at his watch: it was already getting kind of late, and there was no way he would be able to take a three hour flight back home now. These meetings typically ran long and were extremely boring.

Dave sighed and walked into the office, feeling miserable that he wouldn’t be able to get home to Lila before midnight. He’d been away for only three days but he missed her because she constantly said she missed him.

She was a sweetheart, Bambi to the world, Devil between sheets.

Just yesterday, she’d told him she’d bought new underwear because she wanted to FaceTime him exactly at midnight, since he couldn’t be there with her physically. It was a silly little tradition they had – every year, he’d buy her fancy lingerie from Agent Provocateur. And they’d role play and go crazy.

Dave had been so apologetic, telling her he was sorry for not being able to come home. He’d argued that FaceTime wasn’t the same thing as being together in person, and that he wanted to be with her on their anniversary, just like every other year. Lila had assured him that she wasn’t too mad. Yes, she would miss him, but he would come home soon anyway and they’d be getting it on like a pair of bunnies. They’d both laughed at that one.

And now he sat in a plush office, talking numbers with a polished gentleman, who seemed nice and seemed to really like Dave. It was a given, since everyone loved Dave. The meeting went well, and they were able to close the deal super early and Dave debated letting Lila know that he would be coming home after all, but he decided against it. Let it be a surprise, he thought. On the way, he picked up some candy, thanking his lucky stars that he actually did find the time to get some candy at least.

His sweet little Lila.

On the flight back home, Dave watched a romantic comedy and secretly ugly cried inside his head. The flight landed and he practically ran to the cab. When he got home, he made sure to not make any noise, because he truly, truly wanted to surprise Lila – and let himself into their sound-proofed apartment. There was a silence in the dark hall, padded, comforting. And a faint trace of perfume in the air that Dave didn’t recognize. Distinctly floral. Lila liked gourmand scents.

The door to the master bedroom was shut, and he could hear faint moaning noises coming from within.

Dave walked over and pushed the door open silently.

Lila lay on the bed, spread wide, with her knees bent, head thrown back, eyes closed in ecstasy. She seemed to be in a trance almost, repeating one name, Tina. Her best friend of six years, Tina. They’d always sworn they were sisters, but Dave had always noticed a little something between the two women. Something he couldn’t put his finger on. He’d forgotten all about it until now, because there they were, both of them butt-naked, doing it like a pair of hormonal bunnies. Shrugging, Dave stepped into the room, shut the door behind him, and joined the party.

In between Lila going at it like there was no tomorrow, Dave grabbed her by the hair and nodding towards Tina, whispered, “Did you like the present?”

Lila’s smile lit up the room.

Joke’s On You

Joke’s On You

Sequel to The Cruel Joke.

Myra froze as she registered what had just been said. Memories that she’d so stubbornly been keeping suppressed these four years, came flooding back.

Those weren’t happy memories at all.

Five years ago, when Myra had just started a brand new job, she had to work weird shifts. She was working late one night. At the end of her shift, she packed up and stuffing her laptop into her backpack, got into a relatively crowded elevator. She didn’t notice the man at the back, the man with the lecherous eyes. When she got out, she didn’t realize she was being followed all the way to the deserted parking lot. She didn’t realize what was happening till someone clamped a hand over her mouth, and whispered:

“Don’t even try to struggle. You’ve been resisting me for far too long.”

Myra thought she was being robbed, but then she smelled Cuban cigars. The only person she knew that smelled that way was her boss, Varun.

He was also a lot bigger than her and the slap he landed across her left cheek when she tried to get away, almost knocked the wind out of her. After Varun was done having his way with her, he discarded her shivering body like a piece of used Kleenex and swiftly got into his car and drove away. Myra lay on the ground, most of her clothes pooled around her ankles, unable to believe what had just happened to her. She couldn’t feel her legs, or her left cheek or anything else apart from shame, embarrassment and humiliation.

There was no CCTV footage: Varun had picked a blind spot to molest Myra.

She had no idea how she managed to get her clothes back on, or how she got back to her tiny rented apartment that she shared with another girl. All Myra knew at that point, was that she would never be the same. She quit her job the next day, and she’d moved back home within the week. Her ex-roommate would call, but Myra cut her off eventually, telling her and everyone else that she wanted to pursue her Masters and would very much like to be left alone.

A year passed, and the suppressed memories stopped bothering her too much.

She was in Texas the next summer, visiting her aunt, when she met Raghav at a Starbucks and discovered that he’d been a senior at her school. They’d never met before because he’d already graduated when she switched to his school. And so, a friendship formed and eventually, Raghav asked her to be his girlfriend and she said yes. She’d never told him where she worked briefly because she’d decided to forget about the whole elevator/parking lot incident. And Raghav was a good boyfriend and Myra was finally in a good place.

But now, looking at Varun once again, she didn’t know what to do. She had no proof of what he’d done and she didn’t want to let Raghav go.

And so, the two families decided on a wedding date, the engagement went smoothly and Varun didn’t really try to do anything with Raghav around. But Myra, with her heightened senses, could always feel Varun’s eyes on her, wanting to posses her all over again. The wedding date approached, and Myra was ready to go. The bridesmaids left Myra in the room alone for a minute, and then Varun walked in. She could tell he’d been waiting to catch a break.

“You’re hot. I can’t believe you’re marrying my loser of a brother. What do you see in him, anyway? I’m a lot richer and a lot better looking. He’s just starting out. You won’t be able to even live comfortably, have you seen the shabby little apartment he lives in?”

Myra glared at him, “He’s a good person. Unlike you.” She grabbed her phone and tried to call for help. He snatched it out of her hand. Myra looked around, trying to find something to hit him with, found a makeup brush and attempted to stab him in the face. Varun was way too quick for her and had her pinned to the wall in a second. He then started to feel her up. Myra’s screams were drowned out by the loud wedding music. She thought she saw someone outside, out of the corner of her eye, and screamed, some more, for help. She was fighting Varun off when a whole lot of people, led by her parents, rushed into the room.

Myra’s dad peeled Varun away from his daughter with shockingly gargantuan strength. Myra’s mum rushed to comfort her crying daughter.

“Good thing Sana saw what was happening and alerted us, or Lord knows what would have happened,” Myra’s mum said, her voice shaking.

Sana was one of Myra’s cousins and also one of the bridesmaids. She was the one who had come to fetch Myra, but had seen what was happening. It was lucky she didn’t lose her head in a crisis. It was also lucky she had the whole thing on video, even though the video was only a few seconds long, before she had run to get people. Cops were called, and Varun was arrested. Turned out, he’d molested several other women but had also blackmailed them into silence.

Varun’s Dad stepped into the room, and apologized to Myra.

“I’m sorry, beta,” he said, “I’ve never been more ashamed in my whole entire life. Varun is going to jail and I’ll make sure he stays there. He’s been getting away with a lot of things for far too long. This needs to stop right now. No wonder people hate on MLAs and their children. It’s because of people like Varun. I’m so, so sorry.”

So Varun got a life sentence, with his Dad making sure that Varun never got to leave. Myra’s wedding was marred by such gloomy turn of events but she went on to have a very happy married life with Raghav, in their little apartment.

The Texter

The Texter

Best friends Alex and Sharon were polar opposites. Sharon texted too much, Alex hated phones with a passion.

One day she’d had enough of Sharon’s texts and muted her everywhere.

Alex was found in a secluded corner of the park with her throat slit the next morning. Cops found her phone, which was on silent. There were a bunch of missed calls and muted messages, all from the same person.

Sharon was nowhere to be found.

The Cruel Joke

The Cruel Joke

While the rest of of the world seemingly had it all figured out, Myra, at the ripe old age of twenty-six, was still waiting to find her true calling.

She’d gone to college to study software engineering, which she ended up hating eventually. Nothing seemed to fascinate her. And then there were the relatives.

“Hawwww,” they’d say, in their typical Indian aunty lingo, “you’re too old already. You’ve to get married. You’re literally such a liability, sitting at home and wasting your father’s money, hawwwww.”

It was true in a way, Myra thought, she definitely was wasting her father’s hard earned money. She’d had a brief stint in the corporate world, but after her boss tried to get into her pants more than just once, she’d been unable to take it. The disgust she’d developed for the whole thing had gotten too much, and she’d been depressed and hurt. That elevator incident where she’d gotten trapped with her boss, and the fact that he’d tried to slide a hand under her skirt, for the umpteenth time, had been the last straw. She’d quit office, and come home. She’d never told anyone why, though.

Although her parents never complained – her dad was a good man, and her mum was an angel – she could see the worry in their faces. Not long after, her long-distance boyfriend Raghav, said he would be coming back home after being away for a few years while he finished his post-grad. Myra saw a ray of sunshine for the first time in years. Raghav said he would be bringing his family over to meet Myra and her parents, so they could discuss the wedding, as it happens in most Indian households. Myra was elated.

She couldn’t wait to meet Raghav’s family. She’d only ever met his mum and she was a darling.

The day Raghav and his family were due to come over, Myra got her hair and nails done. Flushed with anticipation, she didn’t even put on a full face of makeup because she knew she looked amazing.

The doorbell rang and she could hear her dad welcome Raghav and his parents, and his brother. She was putting on mascara when her mum walked in, looking super happy, and said, “Ooh, you look so pretty, they’re here! Come help me in the kitchen.”

“Yes, Mama.”

Her mum gave her a hug and said, “I can’t believe you’re going to be married soon. This is such a happy day!”

Myra sparkled.

In the kitchen, her mum handed her a tray with some glasses of water on it and asked her to take it to meet the guests. Myra obliged and walked into the living room, tray carefully balanced in both hands, eyes on the glasses so she didn’t drop any. She set the tray down on the coffee table and accidentally locked eyes with the man right in front of her.

Revulsion and fury rose within her like bilious vomit. It was her old boss, the one who’d tried to sexually assault her.

From somewhere far away, she could hear Raghav’s voice saying, “Myra, meet Varun, he’s my older brother. He’s been dying to meet you.”

The Importance Of Keeping Mum

The Importance Of Keeping Mum

“Silence seldom doth provoke.”

That’s a famous English proverb, in case you’re wondering.

Nobody remembers this, I’m pretty sure. I mean, why would anyone? It’s a free planet, right? Everyone’s got an opinion, and today, everyone else encourages you to voice it out.

How many times have YOU posted a comment online, or even a tweet, or sent someone a text, and they’d gotten triggered? Everyone gets triggered. It’s 2019, you guys, it’s a thing. I have some of the rudest people around. These people text me only when they need something, and never hesitate to treat me like I were their doormat. At some point, I would have reacted. But then, I’m a lot older now and I’m a lot more reserved. I’ve always said, that with age comes restraint. And I’ve almost gone into total listener mode, and it helps me keep my sanity.

Why is it so important to keep mum?

Well, firstly, your life stays free of hatred. Nobody would hate on you if you’d never made some statement. While it’s not wrong, per se, to make statements once in a while, it’s also not wrong to keep verbal or textual wars from happening. Know what I mean?

Sometimes I talk to people on the phone, and the talk turns political.

My brains instantly go into autopilot and I don’t say what I feel. Or I’ll sometimes zone out, while the other person rants. I’ve learned that people don’t like to listen. They only like to talk. Or to voice their own opinions, share their own thoughts. They honestly don’t really care about you or what you’re going through. Take a test and see. Call up a normal friend and try to tell them stuff you’re feeling. They’ll make some excuse and hang up. And that’s how it’s always been. Introverts, I find, are super chill. They don’t need to talk about it all. And they’re happy. The lesser you talk, the more your brain processes. The more you learn how to focus better. You can mediate easily. You’ll also be super healthy. And like I mentioned earlier, people like listeners. As you decide to stay mum, your listening skills improve, and people start to appreciate you all the more.

Go on, put yourself on mute for a whole entire day. The mute never have enemies because they never tell on anybody.

While The Amazon Stood Burning…

While The Amazon Stood Burning…

“…you posted about it on your Instagram and forgot about it. You moved on to buying into consumerism just one nanosecond later. You bought more stuff, stuff with more plastic packaging, stuff you don’t need. You hoarded things like clear backpacks and clear shoes with PVC heels because they’re trending.

And you forgot about the Earth as she lay choking.

You woke up the next day, you posted your new mani on your Instagram story. Your followers complimented you, it boosted your ego. You went on to post YouTube videos of yourself and your best friend, and your viewers complained as you wasted unnecessary amounts of paper.

And the Amazon stood burning, quickly spreading.

NASA said fires across Brazil are up sixty five percent in 2019, and that the fires could be seen from outer space. You looked at the article, and just read the headline and clicked out of it. You went on to post about your new swimsuit and how the world doesn’t accept women that look a certain way. But if being a certain way were the norm, why would you be shoving your opinion down people’s throats anyway? You went ahead and posted about lavish bathtubs and sky-diving and beautiful forests with clean air.

And carbon monoxide levels went on spiking.

What’s the point, I ask you, of all of this? Companies that pump out products in plastic cases exactly how people forcibly pump out milk from the Jersey cow – what is the point, really? Do we need you to come out with new stuff every day? Do we need a million foundation launches on the same date? While you were raking up the sales and while your numbers stood growing, you reveled and you ignored the bigger picture.

You forgot that the Amazon rainforest supplies over twenty percent of the Earth’s oxygen.

You forgot that you’re an inhabitant on this planet. You with your screwed-up priorities. All this talk about saving the Earth, when it’s really you, that needs to change your thought process. The Earth doesn’t need saving. You do. You had it all, and you ruined it. And when it’s too late, you’re demanding for a change, all this while forgetting that it’s something you’ve done. And that it’s your fault. Your opportunistic behavior, your selfishness. You as a whole.

There are no happy accidents when it comes to what you’ve done.”

Who is “you”?

All of us.

Each and every one of us, that’s brought about this whole destruction. Humans don’t deserve the Earth.

Manic Mondays: Road Rash

Manic Mondays: Road Rash

If you’ve been to Kolkata, you’d be pretty familiar with this restaurant chain called Arsalan. They’re kind of known for their biriyani and people actually still love them.

The owner’s son, Arsalan Parwez was involved in a car crash a couple days ago. The twenty two year old happened to be speeding in his Jaguar at around two in the morning, and it was raining, and he ran into a Mercedes that spun out of control and hit a couple of people, who were then pronounced dead when they were brought to the hospital. The others involved in the crash got away with several injuries.

BJP MP Roopa Ganguly’s son Akash was involved in a similar car crash only the day before. Thankfully, there were no casualties.

What was the outcome? Both Parwez and Akash were booked under Section 279 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) for rash driving. The former has also been booked under sections 304, for culpable homicide, and 427, for causing damage.

Both incidents strongly point in one direction – lack of civic sense.

I’m probably going to trigger a lot of people, but here’s why I think I have a solid point. Granted, the roads were waterlogged. Visibility is always poor when it’s raining. But on the other hand, there’s a TON that the average Indian driver is unaware of. For example, most people turn on the hazard/blinkers (four indicators) while driving in the rain. Although precautionary, you are not supposed to turn them on unless the vehicle is stationary. But people turn them on even while driving slow in the rain. If visibility is so low that you have to turn on hazard, it’s better to pull over and stop then turn on the hazard.

There’s this one other thing that’s also been bothering me. If system is so fair and if everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, why was Akash booked immediately BUT why did ten hours pass before Arsalan was arrested? Is it because of their clout? Will money continue to talk till we’re all dead and gone? This is so scary.

When youngsters drive like lunatics, despite being educated enough, it makes you wonder who’s in the wrong, really? Is this a result of bad parenting? It would have made a whole lot of sense, had these guys been minors. They are not. They’re both adults, with – and I’m assuming here – driving licenses. It’s just that sometimes people end up misusing what they’ve got. Drinking and driving. Speeding. Hit and run cases, among other things.

My point is, just drive and let drive.

#50 Word Story: Lashes.

#50 Word Story: Lashes.

She sighed as she used her credit card yet one more time.

She was seeing someone – she had to stay picture perfect.

Cursing her congenitally missing lashes, she paid a bomb at checkout. This was her life now, spending all her money on Lilly lashes.