description, school

Grilled

NM©

The moment the prayer had finished, a voice shattered the speaker. The Giant – he suffers from a surplus of growth hormone among many other phenomena, and thus the name – was shouting at the mike.

“Regular Boys Batch, second bench, the second boy. No, the red t-shirt. Come down to the office.” He announced.

That was when I, or rather we, realised that the tiny cameras in our rooms actually do work – CCTV cameras. At least the ones that are not broken.

That Thursday evening, the air around me was like drinking water after eating amla. and perhaps for that same reason, my head too reciprocated that feeling. Or maybe it was also because it was a Thursday – when I had Zoology at the coaching class (CC). I wondered if I would ever write about that particular phase of my life, those two years ; and if I did, then how would it be?
I looked out the window, staring at all the dirt on the slant sheets of roof that had accumulated for the last so many years. So much that I could not decide if it was mud, or just dust. The window, at least that is what I call it, had no glass. You could not close that thing, it was made of tiny green squares, and spread across -as if it were a graph sheet- two walls of the room, in an L.
I liked when it rained heavily, there was no way anybody could stop it from racing into the class. The green cubes were irritating, it had a green house effect. All sorts of annoying creatures were let in, and they never left. On the other hand you were trapped – you could throw pencils, or even tiny stones out the net, but you could never throw yourself out of it. No matter how tiny you were, no matter how hard you wished. A decomposing rat was the perfect example of this ultimate truth.

I wish, I wish – but you simply couldn’t. You were not allowed to, to wish,  to think, to dream. They locked our brains away, and one by one would roast , fry and grill our brains. I am convinced the Giant does eat brains – after all he had told students staying at CC’s hostel that they should not be bothered by the food made available to them, or even the worm they had discovered in it. Only think of  studying, but then he had already kidnapped that ability of ours.
The weather, to me, was perfect for writing. Cold. Cloudy but not rainy. Such that you could take a walk without fearing the Sun, who had lost complete voltage. But I was not sure what I should write , nor did I imagine that I would end up writing all the time those two years later. Writing , was and maybe even is, perhaps the only way I had my revenge at everything that tortured me.  And the CC was no less than a concentration camp. A mental holocaust.
My best friend was in another class – she had Math while I had Biology. And therefore, I could not look at her across the room, exchange glances, or mean jokes on all noises the teachers made in class. There was one who always asked us to behave by narrating stories about himself – when he was our age – just to tell us how misbehaved he was. Just because he ended up in a good position, doesn’t mean we will – is what he intended to imply; but perhaps it got lost amidst the air molecules. My class only had girls, and it was supposed to be a warning for us. But for the all-boys class perhaps it was a sort of encouragement to remain directionless. But I always wondered, was he truly happy with what he was doing?
Then there was the botany sir, whom we called H2O, because he made us drink water in the middle of the class. His mechanical voice came out like the branches of a tree. He event went on to do Bharatanatyam on the platform, to explain the arrangement of leaves in plants. One day, half way into the first year of higher secondary, and the coaching class, I realised that one of our chemistry sirs whom we called Apoopan (grandfather) rarely said anything out of text; and that rare occasion would be an example equation. But in general, all of them hated our school, ignoring the fact that the species constituted 98% of the evening batch.

NM©
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family, short story

Three Stories 

​*This was written seven months ago, based on a prompt given by my professor. 

I was walking up to the main road – in uniform – with my mother. My apartment was around 200-300 metres off the main road – but it was not like the usual idavazhi. It was more like those long driveways you made for sand palaces at the beach. I crossed the road, and waited for the bus. 
I was so busy chatting with my mother that I noticed the bus only after it stopped in front of me. I jumped into it, only to realise lunch kit was with my mother. (So next time my teacher asks me, “Have you ever forgotten your lunch, I can say “Yes”.)

I was sitting in III A, worrying about my lunch. My class teacher informed me that my mother had called her up, and had asked her to let me have something from the canteen.

I was extremely excited at the thought since the canteen was only a week new. Finally the lunch bell rings, and I rush to the canteen. But to my disappointment, I discover veg meals on my table. I hate plain rice, especially the gundu gundu ones. They’re so scary, as if they will eat me up. But well, the sambar was good, so was the pickle. After lunch, I ran off to play, and almost forgot about this. Till I was back home.

My mother was eagerly waiting for me at the bus stop. On our walk back home, my mother started chatting: how I had forgotten my lunch, how she had worried so much that she called up my teacher and asked her to get me a pizza from the canteen.

“Pizza? I had meals!”, said I .

My mother’s smile flew away immediately, and she all she said was, “oh”.

I had stopped walking and was staring at her, in utter disappointment. But she snapped out of her trance, and we walked silently.

                                                                                   

                                                                                     *********

You are busy eating pizza. You pull out the big jalapeno, and deposit it in your mouth. A little bit of cheese follows from the tip of the sector. You settle down on the couch, and turn on the idiot box. Your mom is angry that you eat so much of junk, and that you have become such an excellent potato couch.
She starts murmuring and grumbling. 

“What is it ma? Let me eat in peace.” You say.

“It’s all my fault.” She says. “I should have never forced you to taste this. Now all you eat is junk. Who will eat the vegetables? My child doesn’t like healthy food.”

“What’s wrong? And why would you force me to eat junk at all?” you ask, curious.

And she begins:

When you were really young, around five I think, we had gone to Pizza Corner. It was your first time, and you manged to try the garlic bread. But you didn’t want to eat pizza at all. You didn’t even want to try it. Perhaps you were intimidated by it, I don’t know.

(You stop chewing like a cow, and drop your jaw. No way, you protest.  Don’t believe her – she is just messing with you.)

Believe it or not, that is the truth. I had to persuade you to try it. Just a bite. But no, you were so adamant. If only I had given up, and let you be. 

(Seriously? You look at the pizza slice you are eating and silently apologise to it – for you hurt its feelings back then. You feel guilty.)

And once you had taken a bite, you liked it very much. And now, all you eat is pizza.
                                                                           *************

 

Somewhere near Malalparambu, Calicut little Neha is lying on her mother’s lap, extremely bored. She had had her dinner, but that too was boring. She was very excited at the thought of dinner, but all of it had vanished when she didn’t find anything special. She preferred her mother’s cooking – so crisp, hot and fast. She never had to wait long to eat. But now she was at her aunt’s.
Little Neha was the only kid in the house. Her cousins are much older to her. Her cousin sister is preparing for the medical entrance; and so the aunt never allows anybody to watch TV in peace. One would wonder why they have a TV at all. The uncle is always watching the news or sports. Poor little Neha hates both.

The uncle is watching news again. But everybody is sitting on the floor: her parents, the uncle, the aunt, and her cousin brother. The cousin sister is upstairs – in her room – locked. No, nobody locked her up, but she had locked it from the inside. This weird behaviour always intrigued little Neha. But the news bored her more than anything. Everybody is busy listening to, or perhaps trying to listen to the news. Except her. The elections are going on, but she is least bothered about it. Why should she be? She is not allowed to vote.

Her mother notices that she is quite distracted.

“Pay attention. The elections are up, you should know what’s happening around you’, she says.

“No. News is so boring. I don’t want to watch it.”, replies little Neha.

She asks,”Ok. Whom do you think should win?”

“Well….” Muses little Neha, quite take aback by the question.

“I think congress should win” she says finally remembering one of the very few names she knew in politics.

Why? Because there is Sonia Gandhi in it.  Gandhi. She knew nothing more. Nobody is aware of this innocent conversation happening behind them, and they continue watching.
                                                                          *************

College

Slurry 

I’m covered with ultimate guilt when I just realised that my classmate has reached 200, and I’m still at my 46th post right now : we’d started at the same time. Now I’m green.

Guilt apart, I’m pretty sure that with every passing year, there are more vehicles on the road. Now more people will drive through the pavement, everybody will reach their destinations later. And I had to shift closer to my college, and share a room with stranger. Weirdly enough, I use all my “extra time” sleeping (the three-four hours per day that I travel).

Add to this, the squishy mud slurry that once was my ground, now an open parking lot. Sigh. And the sick cold winds that slap me on my face. And then comes the staircase – it turned out to be worse than the horror fiction I’d written.One set of staircases for thousand students. And now the PT sir has been promoted to traffic controller. My auditorium premises too have been over packed with vehicles. I miss those days when I could clear my mind, sit in a lonely corner and do my work.

Add to all this, the rain. But ironically, it is forcing us to walk in single file lines. (Like we are supposed to in the staircase.)

poem

Knowledge Behind Bars

image

This room is a cube, imagine.
Thinking beyond that cube is a sin,
I wonder why they do what they do
Like they say for those who
Want knowledge sincerely,
Or those who make them wealthier regularly?
What is shared here, wisdom or just shortcuts;
Deals that destroy your very guts?

The dusty corridors the ghosts abandoned,
In the midst of chaos, they leave you stranded –
Against their promises and assurances.
They’ll only widen your differences.
The deities of the orthodox world they built,
The course of the river never in the hands of the silt.
Your life defined by their rules, and terms.
Your thoughts, and food infected by their worms.
The seed of fear they will have sown,
And since then you shall never own,
That life you thought was yours,
Those choices you thought were yours.
Your true self , never again will you find.
For once in, you’ll be trapped in your own mind.

They’ll feed you sciences from beyond the stars,
But what use of such knowledge behind bars?

image

poem

Tick Tock

image

Tick tock, tick tock
The hand races round the clock.
Your senses screaming red and blue
Piercing through the dead afternoon.
Wait is all but what you can do,
For it will arrive no time soon.
How you wish you could change its gear,
Take a U-turn or go in reverse,
But it will never wait to hear,
Keeps running for the better or worse.
Loosen up and let it drive.
Should you resist its course,
You will be left behind till you revive.
For its friction is too strong a force.
And the hand will continue its race round the clock,
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

image

humour

Inflammable Substance

Ring of Fire, Blurred Motion                              

Inflammable chemically simply refers to the property of a material as to how easily is ignites, or sustains a combustion reaction.

A few days ago I was quite jobless, and lost in thought, and for some weird unknown reason the term “inflammable substance” came into my mind. Now, I should probably be frank and let you know that I’ve been called a lot of things – talkative, crazy, psycho, and mad – because you see I was too cool for people who hated me. But nevertheless, “inflammable substance” was the craziest thing I was ever called. Funnily enough, it was my chemistry tuition teacher who called me so (quite obvious).

Well, this was back in 2011, when I was in tenth standard, and you really didn’t have to write board exams anymore, and CIA along with MCQ’s were introduced. I always hated tuition, but I pretty much flunked in a Physics test, so I decided to go for one, till I’m quite stable in the subject. So I send my parents to find a decent place for Physics tuition, but what do I end up with? Tuition in Physics, Chemistry and Maths – throughout the week. Thank God, my mom was sensible enough that she didn’t enroll me for Biology, which was on a Sunday – she knew I would go into Badrakaali mode.

Triumphant Institute of Management Education (T.I.M.E) was my destination, and apparently the guy in charge of that branch (HOD I think) had very inconveniently (for me) convinced my parents that Physics was incomplete without Chemistry and Maths. Biriyani is incomplete without raita, I agree, but this was ridiculous.

My classes would get over by 3:30 p.m. and I would get down near the coaching centre by 3:45 p.m., and my session wouldn’t start for another 45 minutes. Unfortunately I did not have the time to go home and then come, because my bus had a very twisted route. So, I was pretty jobless.

This Chemistry teacher had a problem with pretty much everything I did during this free time of mine. I used to sit in the reception, which was near the ‘staff room’- a large part of the room divided into cubicles. Sometimes I would simply try to sleep – there was no use pretending to study, it was way too boring. And at times, I would eat something like chips. But one day, sir came into class and said,” You can’t sit there and eat, so many of us will not have eaten our lunch.”

Obviously, I wouldn’t know who had lunch, and who didn’t – it was not my job. All I know is that I never forbade anybody from eating their lunch. And that I WAS HUNGRY. Probably, he meant himself by ‘so many of us’. I was just happy I didn’t get a stomach ache.

Since then, I started to hunt empty classes, and the room where I used to sit would be free by 4. And I would go to the washroom to freshen up, and transfer all those chocolate wrappers from my pocket to the dustbin. This trip to the washroom was a short, pleasant walk, and I would observe other classrooms on my way. One day, on my way back from the washroom, I paused for a second to examine my shoe, near the class where this guy was teaching. Big mistake.

That day, during the last 15 minutes or something, he said that I was not supposed to wander around during class hours. Pfft. I did not have any class at all, and I pay the fees, so I can use the washroom you know. And he also called me an inflammable substance, which is why I shouldn’t ‘peep’ into classes.

Though, at that time, I didn’t quite realize the complete meaning of what he said, I would rather take it as an unintentional compliment.

description

Morning

IMG-20150122-WA0001

Not even a single ray of sunshine woke her up, as she had banished them from entering her room, especially when she was asleep. No, she did not like it when the sun would point his flashlight right on her face, first thing in the morning. Since heat was a form of energy, and would activate her surrounding molecules, spoiling her mood. She preferred a calm, cool morning where one doesn’t have to strain to open one’s eyes, because of all the light. She allowed only enough light to brighten up the room, just so it looks like it’s morning. And the blinds on her window was her semi permeable membrane, which only allowed the required to enter her kingdom. She opened her eyes and stared at her fan, which for some reason reminded her of a potter’s wheel. She could hear the utensils chattering in the kitchen. And in the hall, Arnab Goswami was shouting at somebody, as if that somebody was his teenager kid who had misbehaved. You say something, that’s disrespect and mannerless, and if you do open your mouth, then you’re not responding. Either way you will be shouted at. She just stared at blank space – configuring windows, like her laptop would say, when she turns it on. Ahh…. It’s a Sunday, she thought. Which meant she’s going to stay in bed for another hour, listening to music and being lazy. Sunday was her no-work-all-play day. It’d always been that way. She found it difficult to study on a Sunday. Somebody who does that is an alien from another galaxy for her. When she was little, she would wake up at around eight in the morning. Her mother would be still asleep – that was her mother’s only day off. She would go to the guestroom, which was also her playroom and run to her toy bag. It was her long lost friend whom she had not seen for a week. Then she would make up stories using her imagination, and play with her toys. Till her mom would call her for breakfast. But as she grew up, she was forced to study on Sundays – not that she liked it. So she preferred to finish her homework on Sundays, and enjoy rest of the day. That was her solution. But Monday mornings always horrified her – she always had the feeling that she’s forgotten something. Something that will hit her, like a tree she didn’t notice while walking. A noise from her door, brought her back to her room, disrupting her time travel. Good morning. Breakfast’s ready.

(creative writing)