28 May 2013

I Write, Therefore I Am

I can't remember how it all began. It's like trying to trace the beginning of a dream. The first real recollection I have of the reading part of it all, is rummaging through a drawer in my sister's room till I stumbled upon a copy of one of Enid Blyton's books. I don't remember the name of the book, though the funny British phrases in it are still familiar. After that, it sort of just began cascading. I borrowed my first book from my school library in 5th Grade (an abridged version of Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde). Soon, I was reading books on a regular basis. Abridged versions of The Count of Monte Cristo, novels of Sherlock Holmes, even a few Agatha Christie and R. K. Narayan's Malgudi Days.

But I discovered my skill of writing quite unexpectedly. It was during an after school special class on Public Speaking in which a teacher of mine asked a student to speak about elephants. That just set off a chain of images in my head. Images of an elephant named Jumbo, living with fellow elephants in a jungle in Africa. They had a wonderful system, and encountered travelling elephants who mentioned the terror caused by a man named Veerappan. That was, in essence, my first short story.

21 May 2013

Mr. & Mrs. Sampath

Ram Sampath folded the day’s copy of the Times of India, sighing deeply as he did so. The stream of sun light flooding into the living room through the open window illuminated his creased face, revealing the pensiveness he felt. He sighed once again.

Nirbhaya had just died.

It made him feel angry, reading the reports over and over again. The media had done all they could to milk the story, that was for sure. But the fact remained – the girl had died a miserable death at the hands of scoundrels.

Mr. Sampath finally shook the thought from his mind when his wife entered the hall and placed two plates on the dining table. “Breakfast is ready,” she said softly. He watched as she walked back into the kitchen. Dressed in a light, red saree with its end casually tied around her waist, she looked beautiful, even seven years after marriage. With his eyes lingering on her pale, soft cheeks, Ram Sampath secretly thanked God for blessing him with such a beautiful wife.

He had no idea then, but a week later, Mrs. Sampath would be at a police station, weeping as the sympathetic inspector registered a case of attempted rape…

09 May 2013

The General's Exercise

Retired General Joginder Singh opened his eyes on March 12th, 2013. He’d closed them almost six years ago. As expected, it set of a chain of events, starting with the nurse in his room dashing to alert the on duty doctor, and culminated in a primly dressed lawyer sitting in front of him, brimming with excitement.

“Good morning General,” Ranvir Kapoor said reverently. It’d been far too long since he’d uttered those words.

The general, wearing a mask that silently pumped oxygen into his body, nodded his head, too tired to utter the reply. He was still weak.

Ranvir Kapoor adjusted the set of papers resting on his lap, and thought about the best way to breach the topic. “General,” he started carefully, “the doctors couldn’t give me a definite answer about whether you’ve regained…full memory?”

Beneath the plastic mask a slight smile formed. The 62 year old General could remember everything vividly.