Blood-Stained Sword | Part 3 of 3

Read part 2 of the post here.

Meera’s day was rather productive. Although she wasn’t able to make a great first impression by her talking, her work proved her otherwise. As a plus, she witnessed the gist of how her day-to-day would look like, and was asked to come in starting next morning. Meera couldn’t have been more pleased at herself. However, by the time she was done, it was late, and she wanted to get back home as soon as possible.

It had rained heavily that day and the weather had turned cold. Meera hailed a rickshaw and wrapped her face with a shawl, she always kept in her bag, to shield from the oncoming wind. As she asked the driver to take a turn that led to her colony’s street, a tree blocked their way. Apparently, few of the green weaklings had buckled under the force of the rain. Meera had but no choice than to walk, for the road was now wide enough to let a two-wheeler pass with difficulty, let alone a three-wheeler. The roads were soaking, and the lesser of the sturdy ones had turned into puddles. The water glowed under the pale streetlights. Meera walked briskly with the aim of covering the last two-kilometre stretch to her building as soon as possible, for there wasn’t a single soul in sight. Little did she know otherwise, for she wasn’t alone after all. There was a man who hid behind the tree about 200 meters away watching her.

**********

The do-or-die moment had arrived. He had never done something as ‘wild’ as this, and yet the burning sensation in his loins was undeterred. He waited behind the tree as the lady approached his hiding spot. As she passed the tree, Shyam circled the trunk and pounced on her from the back. Meera shrieked, by which time he had pounded on her, forcing her to the ground. He lifted the lady’s sari and forced her panties down. He hadn’t bothered removing her hood; after all, when it came to the cranking the superheroines’ memories, they never remembered to forget their one favourite ‘customer’ whose only explicit request was to have their face covered before he entered them. Maybe that was his fetish, was the inside joke amongst the ladies. He turned Meera around as it was proving difficult to enter her from the back. Meera’s eyes widened in horror on seeing the man. She flailed about her arms to let him know it was her – his spouse – that he was raping. Shyam got panicky about her resistance, fearing the ruckus that may ensue, and used all his strength to pin her down and force his hand on her mouth.

The shawl started choking Meera’s breathing, and her energy levels lowered. Shyam grabbed this opportunity to enter her. Meera’s eyes were red and wet from all the screaming and crying. By the time Shyam was done, the shawl had bounded tightly around her, choking her windpipe causing her to gasp. Shyam pulled himself up and zipped up his pants. His face gleamed with a look that couldn’t have been clearer, indicating this was the experience he had been seeking all this while. Well, the Cat Woman was equally good, he thought to himself.

He looked at the hooded lady once more; her hands were reaching out to him, her eyes closing longer than they would stay open. It seemed as though she was trying to communicate something. The sight of the bleeding distracted him; blood gushed from in between her legs. Before he could register, he was yet again distracted by something gleaming on her feet that shone under the pale streetlight towering about 20 meters away – a toe ring that now lay smashed against her middle toe. Shyam bent down for a closer look. The toe ring was peculiarly large, a hexagonal-shaped spherical band encrusted with minuscule diamonds all over. It seemed very similar to the one he had purchased for somebody that very morning. As it dawned on Shyam on what he may have done, he went on confirm his worst fears by removing the hood off her face.

Meera’s eyes had closed by then. Her clothes smudging gradually, the red trickled onto her toe ring.

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Blood-Stained Sword | Part 2 of 3

Read part 1 of the post here

He wandered aimlessly on the streets, given he had applied leave at work. His initial plans were to stay home and spend time with Meera whom, he realised as he introspected momentarily, he barely knew despite being married to her for exactly a year now. Far from registering what her wardrobe looked like, the way her cooking tasted, and her likes and dislikes, he could have barely recognised her at a distance. Well, she wasn’t to blame for that. Twice on previous occasions, when Shyam had entered home in the evening smelling foul, Meera had smelt alcohol on his breath and had distanced herself from him. Repeated fights and arguments led them nowhere, and yet Shyam had never once abused her physically. When he was sober, he could possibly have the finest of the characteristics one could’ve looked for in a spouse. However, the alcoholic spirits got the better of him. On those days, not only did Meera ensure a certain distance from him, but also kept to herself, as though she didn’t exist. When one such day took a toll on Meera, she secretly quit her job in a pursuit to find some inner peace. Not that she did not wish to work, however, her list of to-dos reprioritised to finding – a. A job that suited her passion, and b. A counsellor for Shyam.

As the noon’s heat receded to give way to a dusky breeze, Shyam’s loitering sensed a motive. His cravings gave way to passions that typically was beheld by a night, and try as he might, he began trotting towards the same old dilapidated building around City Corner.

**********

As Shyam quickened his pace starting to live out in fantasies already, he spotted a woman in the distance. It was late and the building he was originally heading to suddenly seemed a lot farther. Could Shyam afford to take this risk? The woman seemed to be walking towards him, and from what he could make from the equidistant streetlights, she was wearing a sari. Shyam quickly hid behind the tree he was passing by and started tracing her movements closely. His mind raced.

As he saw her inching closer, he recounted his blissful experiences in the recent past inside the building – the same rundown structure he had chanced upon, located opposite the jewellery store around City Corner. He may have encountered the last of these experiences just yesterday, the details stayed as fresh nonetheless.

Once inside the building, a 3600 glance is all it took Shyam to digest the atmosphere. The four-walled room was large and very spacious, with grilled windows on the sides for cross-ventilation. The entrance door was on the third side of the room, and the rest of that side was covered with a wall separating this and the adjoining room. The fourth side was quite peculiar though. This corner seemed to have five cubicles with glazed doors. On a closer look, Shyam figured it was impossible to tell if there was somebody inside. He also noticed another peculiarity – there were images of superheroines stuck right outside the door. The first door displayed the image of Wonder Woman, the second had Super Girl, the third had Spider Woman, the fourth had Cat Woman and the fifth had Elektra.

He particularly remembered his night with Cat Woman. God, just the thought of her made him wet. She had screwed him over and over the entire night, each time better than the last, and they had even gotten around to some talking. He vaguely recollected her mentioning about some School of Arts that she was a part of as a day job. The school was a part of a few theatre groups that ran shows themed on ‘lesser-known mortals’. (As though it mattered to him what that meant!) And, School of Arts? Yeah, right! He smirked at the thought. ‘Arty’ she was, no doubts. He chuckled at his own joke.

His experiences with Wonder Woman and Elektra too had been amazing, and he had been planning on sleeping with Spider Woman tonight. Instead, could he settle for the ‘hooded’ woman he saw in the distance today? Shyam’s mind continued to race as she inched closer.

Read the third and concluding part of the post here.

Blood-Stained Sword | Part 1 of 3

It was their wedding anniversary. For a change, he decided to stay away from alcohol, just this day. He wanted to take her out; she had been secretly craving for that toe ring – the ring he had seen her eye so wistfully, at the display window of the renowned jewellery store around City Corner. He had been hastily adjusting his pants, tottering on the road, when he had spotted her looking disdainfully at that display window. He had quickly hid behind the corner shop for the fear of being spotted and had continued to observe her, while his insides still squirmed with the pleasure of having witnessed something so covertly sweet. Although the outcome of that hadn’t matched the peaks he had originally anticipated, the experience had been exciting nevertheless, to get him through the next couple of days before his cravings gushed back, forcing him to return to the same old dilapidated building behind him.

**********

She remained lost in the world of her thoughts, for her face still registered a bewildered expression. She wasn’t able to register that it was all happening; for one, he had said something that sounded like we are going out. For two (and for reasons she was still unsure), he seemed to have taken her to the very jewellery store she had passed by some days back. And for three, not only did he ask her to look around, but also encouraged her to make a purchase of her choice. Was it possible that he had seen her staring at the display window that day? How could it be though, when she clearly remembered him telling her he was going to be out for the night? She quickly pushed these thoughts aside lest he changed his already fickle mind.

She clearly knew what she wanted. Unartistic enough for pretentious tactics, she promptly chose the toe rings that still hung about on display. As the salesman retrieved the box from the shelf for a closer look, the silver pair looked all the more beautiful. The metal gleamed under the pale spotlight that shone from the shop’s ceiling, and the encrusted stones glimmered, exhibiting a tiny rainbow as they reflected off the spotlight. Without second thoughts, he requested the salesman to pack the box. He failed to notice the happiness erupting inside her; as indifferent as his attitude may have been, he needn’t have looked beyond her eyes.

**********

Meera quickly traced her steps. She didn’t want to be late for her appointment. In the rapid strides she took, the fleet of her golden-bordered sari flung at an angle revealing the ring on her middle toe she had acquired just that morning. She was proud to flaunt those; after all, it was a present from her spouse. For a somebody who was barely home, she felt she had to credit him for remembering their wedding day, staying home (though it was for just a couple of hours) and pampering her. The steps to the office jolted Meera back to the present.

As she climbed the steps, her mind went flash backing once more. She had submitted a script in response to an ad she had seen in the newspaper for the post of a Junior Editor. Much to her delight, she had received a call from the agency. The Editor wanted to meet the creator of the script, given the work was not only elaborated eloquently, but also there shone a natural flair of creativity, something that wasn’t readily available on the streets today. Meera traipsed through the steps, and entered the office. She was asked to await her turn by the receptionist.

Read part 2 of the post here.

Really … What Made Him that Man, The Man That He Was?

It was just another ordinary evening, and the work week had only begun. I was back from work, attending to the chores in the kitchen. The news was on, on the television, and I heard Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is no more. My jawline dropped and I stood rooted to the spot. I was in no state to go back to the kitchen, for my mindset had completely altered in that span of five seconds; I was still letting it soak, the fact. I could not carry on like nothing had just happened. I could not treat that as just another piece of news like I would have normally done, had it been an announcement of any other eminent public figure passing away. Not with Him. My response to this man’s death was unreservedly different, a behaviour that even I did not anticipate to have reacted in. I felt sad and hollow. I wanted to know what had happened. Genuinely. It was as though a part of mine had been snatched without prior notice.

I wondered, why were the emotions this high? Why was there a sense of void inside? What had He done that led to affecting us the way it did? I had never seen or met Him in person, nor were we related in anyway. Never ever have I been so touched with a loss this personal and, as ironical as it may seem, little did I know about the man. Actually and factually. It was not until a couple of days ago, I searched Him up. His listed achievements has not only touched, but swayed the lives of countless humans. The energy, as much as He had had in about a little more than the eight decades He lived on for, spent on causes with pragmatic outcomes – including the number of people, particularly students, that He had met, the lives that He had touched, and the number of minds He had managed to influence – is ridiculous. Is it humanly even possible? I guess, one needs to be an Abdul Kalam for that. Many of us must have followed the coverage of His cremation live; I was no exception. And I cried, and cried, and cried. There was no stopping the tears.

He worried; whether it was about the personnel standing in the front vehicle of His convoy for security purposes whose legs, He felt, may have tired out from standing for over two hours, or the guards of the Indo-Tibetan border who were standing at the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan who, according to Him, were braving the biting cold for no reason. He cared; whether it was for His butler whom He urged must wear a coat before carrying His luggage (it was cold outside), as they deplaned in Bulgaria, or His dated two-in-one tape recorder which He insisted on repairing every time the tape of His cassette got stuck. He encouraged; whether it was the passing schoolgirl whom He urged must ask more questions (and not just stop at one) for they (the youth) are the future of India, or the students who, He insisted, must sit in the front while the officials were to be seated on the sides, at a university in Odisha while He attended their convocation. He enjoyed having time to Himself; whether in the form of the chirping birds who, according to Him, were His source of inspiration to continue, or the time He retired to His room at night while at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and listened to Carnatic music. He relished simple food; whether a curd and brinjal preparation that apparently was His favourite, or the cost of making two vegetable dishes that prompted Him to ask His staff if it was a festival of some sorts. He embraced simplicity with futuristic ideas, and connected these very dots to national greatness. His messages could not have been more straightforward. It is perhaps this that struck a chord. Living the way any ordinary human lives. An earnest attempt to connect with the populace in an attempt to glorify India – nothing out of the way; just do your bit. That’s not asking for too much now, eh?

When was the last time we felt this way about a leader? When was the last time we had revered a public figure to this extent? When was the last time we must have dug up about the life and likes of someone who had at once served a stint at politics and had remained as untainted after their five years’ tenure? The only irony here was, it took me some time to realise the amount of admiration I had for that somebody, so much so, that they left the face of the earth.

A man with titles suited to each occasion, but preferred being remembered just by one – a teacher. A man who took the President’s Office to new legacies that now includes a digitised library, a tactile garden for the visually challenged, a health centre, streetlights and pavements, and most importantly, the Rashtrapati Bhavan made open to public. A man who not only attracted enthusiasts, supporters and adherents all alike in lakhs to pay Him homage earlier this week, but also unconventionally instilled the one characteristic that lacks usually in public gatherings, especially in India – discipline. A man who wasn’t easily available unless devoid of His calendar, and yet when He was, conversation couldn’t have been made simpler.

It is easy to list a Jack Welsh or a Warren Buffet in one’s list of inspirational leaders, a listing I’m not even sure is realistically representational. When asked earlier, I’d never had an answer to such a question. But now, I do.

You may have been taken away from the community mortally Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. Yet there are minds that continue to inspire from your teachings. May your tribe increase.

PS: All listed incidents are retrieved from The Hindu, dated between July 28-31, 2015.