The Lull – Prologue

The Lull – Prologue

I’ve been working on this – shall we say – “piece” for a while now and found this hidden away in my drafts. Any thoughts would be appreciated. In case you can’t tell, this is going to be a medical thriller, someday. Here’s hoping.

I’ve been waking up at the exact same time everyday, 3:30 AM. Sometimes I think I can hear noises, but that’s probably just my imagination. Truth is, I haven’t been sleeping well and it’s been eight months now and I know it’s not the new mattress. The clumps of hair I find in my hands every time I run a few fingers through my hair feel like warning signs. Multiple warning signs. Back in my day as a doctor at the hospital, I would see cancer patients on therapy losing hair this alarmingly. I don’t know what’s wrong with my body, but I sometimes feel like a part of me is kind of dying. And that isn’t comforting.

Who is going to take my place when I am no more?

The pain in my tailbone is bad today. I would rate it a solid eight point five. I can’t remember when it started but I can feel it intensifying. My normal ignore-it-till-it-goes-away tactic isn’t working anymore. Which is funny because it works really well when I have my dysmenorrhea. I try chamomile tea. It’s now almost four in the morning, and it’s cold, and dark and wet outside. It hasn’t stopped raining in forever. The wifi goes for a toss when thunderstorms happen and I temporarily have no access to Instagram. I like to stalk – no, keep up with – a few people when I am alone. I like to see what Rita is up to with her brand new side hustle, or what Nikkie is up to with that judgemental mind of hers, and what Tina is doing with life. These guys were my best friends in college, and then we went our separate ways and then the whole pandemic happened and all hell broke loose.

You’d think they’d check up on me, but I am someone they secretly like to call “The Dismissed”,  and they’re not wrong. I’m a has-been, a pariah, the one who threw her life away. I have no job, no prospects, and I don’t know if I would ever see my patients again. There’s a health crisis raging outside and they need me more than I need them but they don’t see that.

After all, what would anyone see in a emaciated former doctor in her late twenties who lives in a shoebox of a house, savings dwindling, with no one to turn to? I close my eyes and touch my back, that’s where they surgically implanted something so Nikkie could get away with something else.

Their life, happening.

Mine? Nothing but a lull.

The Other Man

The Other Man

It was day five. She didn’t want to tell her man what was going on with her.

Darkness fell, and her face changed. She felt the presence of something within her, consuming her, she felt her body start to contort. Her eyes fell on the mirror on the wall. In the low lights of her Hollywood vanity she saw her scleras blacken. Something else stared back as she looked at herself in the mirror.

It was less than a week to the wedding – all she could think of was how to get rid of the other man, this demon that had been taking over her body every night. Every night, at the same time.

Dugga Dugga

Dugga Dugga

The festive season felt ominous for some reason. He hadn’t called. And he hadn’t let her know when he’d be home.

She’d been dolled up for hours: she’d had her hair, nails and makeup done, and she’d put on the new saree he’d got her for Pujo. But he was supposed to be home a few hours back and he wasn’t. And she couldn’t get through to him on the phone either. It kept saying that his number was unavailable.

An expert at overthinking, she’d paced ten times around the room and scolded herself for not having said the customary Dugga Dugga when he left. Bengalis do that a lot and it had been their thing too, and she was scared something must have happened to him because she’d forgotten to say it. But she hadn’t called either set of parents yet because she knew they’d worry. And they were all super old. At the same time she’d contemplated asking her father-in-law how much time it took to buy a few haadis of roshogolla and some boxes of sondesh in Kolkata on a Saptami evening, but that would have given the whole thing away and they’d have asked questions about their son anyway.

She was about to give up, when the doorbell rang, revealing a very haggard man in a now-wrinkled set of panjabi-pajama, who was panting and out of breath.

He looked annoyed and exhausted and sweaty as heck but she smiled and smothered him with kisses and hugs.

“Ah, Anu, never send me to buy mishti for baba-ma on any day of the pujo. My phone died, and the shop was crowded and I had to wait in line. Now let me go shower.”

“Tattoo”

“Tattoo”

Madison had just moved into a new apartment with her boyfriend Jonah, a tattoo-artist.

Maddie dressed up as as a vampire on Halloween. Jonah said he loved it, at least a million times, while they were going down to their friend Pete’s, for one of those epic Halloween parties. It was tradition practically. They’d all get drunk and eat too much and just have a good time, and catch up with old friends.

“I wish you’d do your makeup like that everyday,” Jonah kept saying.

Maddie just smiled and looked happy. He’d never complimented her so much before.

The party got wild. Maddie couldn’t remember when or how she went to bed: she was completely wasted.

While brushing her teeth after having overslept, she felt a sharp pain in the face and noticed she’d forgotten to take off her makeup. It was only after she’d gone through two bottles of makeup remover that she realized that Jonah had tattooed on the dark cranberry lipstick on her lips.

That’s a Wrap On August

That’s a Wrap On August

What a slow month, you guys.

I’m not dead, no. Not even been as busy. I’ve been dry as a bone, meaning my creative juices have literally stopped flowing. It happens, when you’re stressed out and you’re hating on all things remotely connected to the Internet.

A quick rundown on everything that hit me like a speeding train this month:

“TEA SPILLAGE”.

Oh my Lordy. If you’re into makeup and stuff like that, and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you KNOW where I’m going with this. Brands and people my friend calls “Influenza” (influencers) are spilling way too much tea. I don’t know where this phrase came from.

Everyone’s been spilling it, sipping it, burning their tongues in the process. My English friends are super mad, you know, because their precious tea is being used to stir up drama. I feel like tea spillages are going to go extinct very quickly and go down the exact same route as fleek and slay have, and that’s only because the market is so over-saturated, people are getting tired already.

I, for one, want my coffee. I’m done with this stupid tea. I want to find this person who started the phrase and smack them crapless. Why must you squeeze every damn lemon till it turns freaking bitter as eff? Thank you, but stop. Like, now.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS/ THROUPLING/ OPEN RELATIONSHIPS.

Jesus. I thought FWB was the end of it. And now we have “throupling”, and I didn’t even know such a word existed. So I did some research and realized a movie (surprise, surprise) had popularized the trend. That’s like three people in a relationship. Isn’t that twisted beyond measure? My brains from the twenties can’t comprehend this weird millennial logic. It can’t. Can yours? Then do explain how and why any of this is normal? The movie was released in 2014, but since stuff reaches popularity (notoriety) here late, we now have this dumb act on the rise in India. Kill me.

(The only good thing that’s been happening is the fact that celebrities are actually getting married. Or engaged. Maybe, people will take some inspiration. High time.)

KERALA FLOODS.

The amount of political dirty laundry aired, post the Kerala flood situation, was crazy. I had no idea politicians lied more than Amy Dunne in Gone Girl ever did. Jesus H. Macy.

The upside, though, was the fact that people – regular people – actually made lots of donations and helped in any way they could. Faith in humanity restored.

“SLOWLY.”

Someone recommended I use Slowly to make pen pals.

I know what you’re thinking. Who the heck has the time? Why this dumb app now? How many apps do we need?

You don’t need a million apps and you don’t need to invest a lot of time. Slowly lets you type letters, with stamps and everything, and here’s the thing – it takes hours for letters to deliver, depending on your location. You get matched with strangers and you have complete anonymity.

I’ve been enjoying writing to people on Slowly. Really happy with the old-school feeling it gives.

Do you have any hits and misses for the month?