Monday, April 19, 2010

Still

Time was still. The man looked at his watch. Hours and minutes stuck in perpetuity. Defeated and motionless.

“How ironic” he thought. His lifeless watch reflected the barren landscape – dull, desolate, and still. Thirsty shrubs reached out to the dry, parched soil. The slight breeze that blew through the landscape during these acrid months appeared to have been imprisoned by the lazy dust that rested listlessly in the summer sun-baked earth.

The man looked at his car as it stood open-mouthed. Its defeated engine looking out at an angry victorious sun.

He had been there for a few hours now since his car broke down. His kerchief tied around his head and a bottle of water in his hands. A bottle that now contained the last few sips of lukewarm water after the liquid had made friends with sunshine. The poor man however had no choice but to wait.

Sweat trickled down his forehead and entered his eyes. He tried to flutter his eyelids to avoid the sweat trickling down into his eyes. Salt and sweat burnt his eyes and clouded his vision. He fluttered his eyes and looked out at the barren highway through a hazy tear screen.

He hadn’t seen a vehicle pass by since his car overheated and his driver had gone off to get water. Since then, it had felt as if his defunct watch had somehow managed to stop time and keep him imprisoned in a vulnerable, timeless and harsh present.

His patience had started getting the better of him. He looked at his bottle of lukewarm water, the acrid landscape, the isolated highway, and his useless car. He cursed under his breath. He cursed his luck, the weather and his driver.

“Benchut, why the fuck did the car have to get overheated today and where the fuck is Ramprasad”

His mind moved on. It moved on to unpleasant thoughts about a bag that was on the back-seat of the car. The bag worried him. The inconspicuous bag held gold, that generally, is a fortune for any middleclass father of an unwed girl child. The bag contained gold jewellery for his only daughters wedding, prepared by a family jeweller from their ancestral village, a few hundred miles away from the city.

The gold had cost him a fortune. It had cost him enough to make him worry about it.

He had set out last evening to go back to his ancestral village to collect the gold. He had to go alone, as the others in his small extended family were busy with other tasks that a grand wedding demanded of younger and fitter men. He had set out with his driver of eight years, a man he could trust with his soul, to collect his daughters wedding ornaments and issue the final payment.

He had forgotten about the gold since his car broke down. But now it worried him.

He pulled himself close to the car door and looked in through the car window.

And then all hell broke loose. His heart started pounding through his chest and worked its way up violently to his temple. It pounded in his head and engaged in a violent scuffle with his brain. He felt his heart and brain scrambling through his veins. His head exploded and his heart tore through his chest.

A lone man screaming on an isolated highway. His voice cutting through the caustic landscape, unsettling the lazy dust and ripping through the earth. Far away mountains, lying still, waiting in eagerness, unsure but eager - Can they absorb the angst.

A car standing still. Its open mouth seems wider. Terrorstricken. This is not the master that it has known

“BHENCHOT… BHADWA… MADHARCHUT”

A man he trusted for eight years had taken off with his daughters future. A man who he trusted with all his secrets, frustrations and happiness. A man who had, for eight years, been just another accessory in his car. A man he trusted.

He had to go after the bastard.

There was no point waiting here. His daughters wedding was less than fourteen hours away. He had to get back with the gold.

His daughter's father-in-law had said that he did not believe in dowry.But the man had also said that the only thing he expects is that his daughter-in--law enters the house like a princess.

Everyone knew what that meant. He, as the father of the bride, was expected to give. This was the social norm and this was how his society worked.

Of Course, the wedding was doomed without the gold.

Since the birth of his only child, a daughter, he had realized that the girl was to be his most precious asset and yet, ironically, his biggest liability.

He loved his daughter. He would not let her down. His family name was at stake. He could not let his ancestors down

He had to get home. And he had to get home with the gold. He had to act.

Waiting around was not going to help. He had to act.

Act now.

"Act now you you bastard. Come on. You have seen a thousand movies where the impossible has become real. There must be some truth to it. Miracles happen. They happen to those who are desperate and who believe."

"Pray now you bastard. Call out to the one who has blessed you all her life."

“JAI MAATA DI”

He tried to pull himself up and stand up on his feet.

His wheelchair moved away from him

He fell to the ground.

He looked up at the scorching sun, his car and then his wheelchair.

Then he cursed god and his fate.

Why the fuck did this have to happen to him.

Why was he cursed.

Cursed with a daughter. Then cursed with a paralytic stroke that had rendered his legs useless for the last one year.

And now cursed with this misfortune...

38 comments:

mentalie said...

indeed, AMM, why oh why does shit happen? that was almost as dire as some of the tales by Munshi Premchand! But it's wonderful to read you after so long nevertheless :)

Vinz said...

great write up...

the initial paragraphs didnt even hint the tragedy's depth...

well written..!!

Shanu said...

Whoa!! ATMM is back..and back with a bang!!

While I was expecting Mr Ramprasad to run away with the gold...the wheelchair wala scene was not expected at all...

Needless to say..me loved it!

As the Mind Meanders said...

Sorry Guys... don't know how comment moderation was switched on...

Its off now...

As the Mind Meanders said...

Mentalie...

What are you doing up at 7:30 girl...

Munshi Premchand... hmmm... I wish I could read Hindi... I dread translations...

And thank you... I hope to continue writing...

Choco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
As the Mind Meanders said...

Thanks Vinz...

Still strumming, aren't you bro...

Good to see you...

And thank you...

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Shanu

Thank you sweetheart... its so good to see you on the blog :)

As the Mind Meanders said...

Oh Chocs...

You keep commenting like this... and I will keep writing...

What happened next... I dunno... I leave it to the reader...

And if you want to continue it... a guest post is always welcome...

mentalie said...

woah, choco, that's some comment :) AMM, am up with the birds ever since i moved to hauz khas village. i read munshi premchand in hindi, or so my teacher said, most of it was greek to me!

Choco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rashmi said...

Hey AMM,
Wow this is again awesome, besides this was worth the wait. Now don't go away again, please stay.
Cheers!

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Mentalie

Hauz Khas... you a Delhi girl now???
Cool...

Yes... I remember reading Premchand in school... might have even been fun if I had a good teacher :(

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Choco

Now girl.. I am greedy... I would love to have you hog all my comment space and then continue to blog as well :)

And naah.. if you write guest posts on my blog.. I think I will be motivated to write more stuff with open endings and get you to write your version of a conclusive end... think about it...

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Rashmi..

Thank you.. I wont go away again... not for some time at least...

Choco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thousif Raza said...

and the dude is back... i guess you have heard this many a times before... but the story was AWESOME... showing abt the cruelity in the world in the most plausible form..... great... wish to read more of ya mate... wlecome back *hugzz*

take care and keep writing......

As the Mind Meanders said...

All frivolous and silly with lots of eff's... sounds good to me... so when do you wanna start... come on now...

As the Mind Meanders said...

Thousif...

How are you doing mate... good to see you on the blog... you, choco and shanu make this feel like home...

Glad you liked it... and I will keep writing...

blunt edges said...

ahhhh...wonderfully narrated!

the wheel chair bit was a mastersroke...great 2 see u back Mr.Mind! :)

As the Mind Meanders said...

Oy blunty...

Good to see you too mate... and thank you...

Shanu said...

Aww...I make this place feel like Home??

***Blushes***

moonlite:D said...

back with a bang, ATMM!!
and yeah, as others say, wheelchair is the twist in the climax, liked it a lott!!!
would love to see more of the mind meandering now :)

Choco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grayquill said...

You have made my day - I love your writing! Every line was awesome.
You only showed and didn't tell once. And the story rivited me.
Thanks - I hope to read more!
Welcome back!

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Shanu

Yes you do honey :)

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Moonlight

The mind will surely meander mate... in fact it meanders more in moonlight... so keep coming back... and I promise to keep writing...

I am glad you like the post...

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Choco

hmmm... phals and tang and choconuts... now I am hungry...

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Grayquill

You just made my day mate... Feels really good to have you back on the blog...

You will read more... for sure...

Riddhiculuos said...

Finally. Worth the wait. Cursed with a daughter.. what an expression.

So, true for parents like these.. They do feel cursed ... Blame it on system, society, soul or status...

u got them all here. Very smartly.

Moved.
wlecome back

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Ridhi

What is this. Everyone gets funny comments. I get one that is dead serious :-(

Everyone else gets loooong comments. I get a three liner :-( :-(

Jokes apart... Welcome to the blog. And yes ridhi. True some still feel that way. But things are changing thankfully... I just hope they change faster...

Riddhiculuos said...

:) hahah ATMM- u come back after eternity and want me to act funny and all.. hehe.. arrey arrey the point is i am an intense person as well.. u knw 'the post card girl' :)

About the post and short comment.. i have been struggling with exams and all.. was avoiding a guilt trip.. no longer.. :)

so i shud re read.. but the subject is touchy,,..n my blood boils wen i see hear or even read these stories.. fiction non fiction this is reality. and reality is not funny.. uhh ohh.. i gt carried away...

:D
And what is this 'welcome to the blog' thing... I always felt m part of the 'family'.. u just hurt me by making me feel like atithi tum kab jaogey. Choco shanu are family.. m not.. sob.. yehi jeewan ka sach hai.. ladkiyan paraya dhan hoti hai..
u dowry freak.. now i knw where is this story coming frm.. oopsi.. heheh there goes my bakwasiyat.... aah i just cant stop it after a point.. choco shanu.. beheno tum toh mere adhikar ke liye ladai kerna..please. sob.. ATMM aapse aise ummid naa thi.. u dnt even visit my blog anymore.. sob..sob..sobb..sobbing..

Nikita Banerjee said...

Why do you write after such long gaps ha? Wonderful as usual. :)

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Ridhi

Oh intensely funny one.. you are my family too.. forgive me... you are my bachcha...

And that looong comment made me feel good...

As the Mind Meanders said...

Thanks Nikki

Atrisa said...

Oh man you just didn't give the guy any breaks :(

I loved it, especially how it started. But the real beauty was when the tension started building in the middle.

Also, apologies for such a late comment! Great to see you back. This is the best I've read of you so far :)

As the Mind Meanders said...

@ Attooo

Sooo good to see you here... Now me happy... really happy... Yippieee :D

I am glad you liked it...

And I didnt give the guy a break... but the story is open ended, isn't it... where does your imagination take you... lemme know... or maybe write about it...

Atrisa said...

True! And Choco pretty much says it all!