Fiction, Travel

He showed his palm at me.


Looking at my reflection on the rear-view mirror, “Where else do you want to visit, thambi (younger brother)?”, driver anna (Elder Brother) inquired.

I paused for a minute and asked him, “Is there any, you think, I should visit?”.

It was quarter past five already in Vedaranyam. My plan was to stop at Chidambaram next, which takes a 3 1/2 hours of bus travel. Then look for a room there to stay, for Vedaranyam didn’t really have a convenient place to halt for a night. I was getting late.

“There is a small Agaththiyar temple, on our way to the town, if you want to visit..” he said.

“A temple for Agaththiyar? I definitely want to visit.” I couldn’t resist.

“Okay”, he laughed, “lets see if it is open still; nevertheless, will ask people nearby to open it for few minutes”.

I thanked him, he was indeed very kind to me.

Tholkappiyam – written by Tholkaappiyar,  lays the grammar for Tamil. Tholkappiyam is the oldest available scripture of and for Tamil. Tholkappiyam is believed to be derived from Agathiyam – written by Agaththiyar; which was lost and gone forever. Agaththiyar is the father of the language Tamil; Word ‘father’ here is not honorary; but an actual.

Vedaranyam

A simplest of Castles for the father of a Grandest Language. Uneven and unpolished rock floor; peeling off limestone painted walls; a deity as dark as the electric lightless room; dull light from the only oil lantern simmering on a side of the face – of the bearded statue and the priest with just a dhoti that has long lost its life and charm. I felt pressed by unreasonable reasons.

I was watching all around the place until the priest called, “Thambi..”, and nodded at me asking to reverence Agaththiyar while he showed the flame towards the father himself. It was emotional. Reverence was all pure.

I prayed, “Say all you left unsaid to this world, through me” and smiled. He showed his palm at me.

“How do you travel all alone?”, asked driver anna sipping tea, “isn’t that boring?”

“No, it is not. I’m comfortable alone”, I told him and smiled.

“Strange! did anything happen for you, recently?, like.. “, he meant unfortunate life-events and smiled.

“no..”, I laughed out loud.

He shook up left out little tea in the glass to dissolve the sedimented sugar and turned it down into his mouth; until no more drop of tea was left in it.

With empty glasses, we just sat there on the wooden bench for a while: I – looking around, him – reading a newspaper and shaking his head, perhaps, in disappointment, angst, apprehension that the happenings he read could have caused.

“It doesn’t seem like you could earn enough from your taxi..”, I asked about his earnings other than this.

“True, my brother does salt farming”, he said, “we are a join family”.

‘oh..’, I nodded.

“So, how’s life here na.. Happy?” I smiled.

“Happy?!” driver anna laughed throwing his head back, “I don’t really know, thambi”

“Why do you say that?”

“I don’t know..”, cuddling his grey beard he said, “sometime, even if I am happy, I doubt if that is what happiness is or is it like I’m faking myself about it, you know what I mean? For I can live, feel and perceive everything only from one life and body; I don’t have an approval, you see.. for many a things. And your feeling are nobody else’s. Sometimes, even the hard times, when I look back, I feel I enjoyed it; but does that mean happiness? I don’t know” he chuckled, twisting his wrist to show something is unknown, “like colors, ha ha.. you see, the green your eye balls may perceive may not be same as my eye balls do, they say. You can’t have an approval for it with just your eyes and brain. O! it is the same with the sadness, I may doubt sometime if I’m being too touchy. That is why I think, I really don’t know. Perhaps, I have allowed myself to analyze too much of a bare reality. Perhaps, we would be able to feel only ecstasy and despair as right as rain. uh?”

Leaning on the wooden bench, balancing my two arms over it, with my heads facing down, I smiled within, out of unexpected grander in his thoughts.

“what is that.. thambi”, he asked caressing my back.

“Nothing..” I tapped his thigh, “It is getting late for me, anna. I think, I must take a leave”

I settled up the money for his car rental and took a leave from him.

I don’t know if I’m right about it; but there wasn’t any want of an approval more assuring than that day has provided me for the kind of travel I wish to have.

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Fiction

Wee Fiction #2


“Why are you so kind to me?!”, I asked him. 

He lifted his face to look at me, then smiled and he said, “I should atleast be generous in being kind, isn’t it? Whatelse we have – that is to give genuinely to justify being a supreme species.”

I nodded my head.

“But.. why me?”

“Favour is not about what, but to whom; I think”.

I pulled his hand into mine and said “Thank you!”, that didn’t spell out.

Fiction

Wee Fiction #1


“I have a short life, I wanna enjoy, live it to the fullest, you see..”, I told him with zealous, “I do not have time for sympathy, empathy and external miseries”. Laughed.

“Alas, an inexplicable humane life seems misplaced on a cheap host.” he mumbled.

“What do you mean?”, I couldn’t avoid turning blue.

“Oh! I meant my dog.” he said.

Fiction

Profound


It was that one hour just after an hour of swim – where you would feel you want to eat twice your stomach’s capability. I knew, that the lunch I would get in A2B wouldn’t even half settle my hunger then. Nevertheless, I stopped my bike there of scarcity in options on a Sunday. If one wanna go for a swim in mid of a day, one has to plan a little, atleast I need very much. Swim for atleast two hours after food isn’t good for stomach. Food immediately after swim is a craving – body will make one feel that very explicitly. 

Anyway, I got a South Indian meal in A2B. Rested myself at the only available table there and started displacing all the cups – having everything from Salt to pickle, from the plate to the table; to make place for various mixes of taste, color and smell I was about to enjoy. I started, as I always say, to feed my hunger; fingers mixing, hands displacing food from plate to mouth, mouth chewing, mind thinking of what to get next after completing the meal.

“Is anybody coming here?” asked a female voice, pointing at the two chairs opposite to me in the table I was sitting. 

She was carrying. 

“No”, I said, “you can sit.” 

There was another one beside her carrying a plate. They both sat opposite to me, with a North Indian meal. 

“Even you have.. hmm… take..”  She told him.

“No. You have, I will have later..” he refused. 

They both looked to me like a couple who don’t quite come to such hotels unless for a special reason. Simple, ordinary, daily waged Indian class. I presumed, he wanted to get his pregnant wife a special food.

Somewhere in middle of their conversations he said “we should have taken that”, showing my plate, “It has more varieties..”. She tapped him a little firm, asking to pull his hand.

I saw them both, they smiled, I smiled back. He was himself – didn’t hide behind etiquette. 

When she was almost to be done, he asked her, “Whatelse do you want to have?”

“No no, nothing more, this is full”

“No, tell me, I have thirty more rupees, we can spend that..”. For thirty rupees one can’t get much there in A2B, that would make you feel as enough food.
“No, have it for your lunch”, She said. 

They seemed generous for each-other, amidst all deficiencies. I started my bike, remembering about the food I wanted to buy after the meal. 

***

Fiction

​A Slice of Time


We both – a second person and I, spoke hearts out.. finally, atleast I did for sure, on how it was for each-other in the slice of time that was saved for us to be together; as we will have to depart from each other soon.. for sure, forever. We speak out only when we know “not anymore”, unlike when we were actually through the relationship; don’t we? even though what spoken out would not help but just be mere a memory. Even if we were outspoken during the journey of the relationship; we speak out the unspeakable only towards the end or at the end; I mean, like confessions, regrets and remorse. Atleast I’m concerned, that is the case always.
I expected it to be a dialogue, rather it ended up more as my admission. Perhaps because, I was the one who had gaps to take it all and the second person had nothing new in me to learn for the self. I say ‘second person’ because I don’t know what pronoun to use.. ‘He’ or ‘she’ would not particularly suit the subject, I’m afraid ‘they’ or ‘them’ would alienated my relation with the subject and ‘It’ would be disrespectful. So, we will agree mutually to understand the other subject – other than me, in the dialogue as “Second person”.

                                —-

“It is bit weird and embarrassing”, I said sitting on a chair, not so lied down – respectful posture.

“Go on.. we are running out of time already..”, said the second person in gesture that won’t allow you to take for granted. A caring tone with slight pinch of authority, for which I got used to for a while now. 

I held out a painting.

“What?!”

Painting depicted a fishing boat among waves in a ocean, a fisherman on the boat caressing a fish – that he caught, within the water. Fish had a facial expression of a belly rubbed dog. Fish hooked in its mouth, hurt, but not much. String from fishing rod, in his hand, is left uncut to the hook in fish’s mouth. It looked something like – fisherman training a fish for something, rater than fishing; Fish was hooked for it’s good, not for his need.

“So, you are the fish? And I’m the fisherman training you?”, I saw the second person radiating a blissful smile, for the first time since I get to know the second person. 

“Yes”, I smiled back bright, “whereas, since the start from a know shore of the ocean, hooking to some or the other fishing rod is a known happening on this ocean with other shore – invisible. I was hooked to your’s eventually. At initial part of time, I thought you were sweet. But only later I got to learn, that the initial sweetness was the string you unrolled to get me to your way, by keeping the string uncut. Down the stream, I had to endured through the hardness imposed. Was displeasing in unexpected ways. I hated you like a teacher whose classes I always wanna bunk. But I had no choice, you see”, I heard a chuckle, “But.. But.. now that I strangely feel, as it is going to end for sure forever, I may see you now like a teacher whom I have hated for their authority and rigidity, but years later I would be glad that such person was once my teacher; for I may realize only then that, without whom I would not have learnt things that are subtle, without whom I would not have learnt to learn. I’m glad, I was hooked to your’s at a right point in time. Thank you for being hard on me.” 

I held out my hands to hug. We had an awkward hug. 

With reverence, I again said, “Thank you much, Two thousand sixteen.” 

I heard the second person say, “I only did my job.”, I was caressed.

“Oh.. Here you are.. “, I heard Two thousand sixteen calling someone loud. We both saw Two thousands seventeen nearing.
                             ——–

Fiction

A dinner in street.


‘Haeli(tell me)’ cashier nodded his head at me. 

‘Masal dosa’ I said and showed a finger to tell him the count. 

‘Thirty.  haeeyyyy…. ‘ he said and rushed to the street. Three teenagers were racing on a bike and dashed over a couple. 

They didn’t stop, though there were too many hands trying to grab a hold of them –  the three teenagers. They managed to escape them all and dashed themselves, missing the balance, on the vehicles that were parked at the sides of the street shop – I was waiting for Masal dosa. Few grabbed their collar, few jumped over them, many punched on their face. There was much hassle. 

I got my dosa a little while later, sat over a concrete near the shop and started feeding my hunger. 

‘What is happening here?!’ a voice directed towards me. A white. 

I told him what happened there, repeating many words again and again, I couldn’t twist my tongue proper to his mother language. 

‘But, why did they dash on those vehicles? ‘

‘They were trying to escape’ I said. 

‘Aaaahhhh…’ he said and shock his head. 

He was eating ‘Set dosa’ with a coffee by the side,  with bare hands. 

‘Good to see you eat with bare hands’ I smiled. 

He laughed out loud. “Food that are costlier than these are not tastier than these” 

‘Where are you from?! You are here for very long?! ‘ I asked. He said, he is from London and he has been in India for six months now,  traveling along Kerela and Tamil Nadu for past five months and his stay in Bangalore of one month is getting over by tomorrow. 

‘I’m leaving Bangalore tomorrow, but I don’t know where I’m going next. My travel so far has been as this, zero planning’ he grinned. 

I excused to get me a coffee,  got one and went back again to him. 

‘How do you feel about the past six months here? ‘

Staring with food, he continues praising good about culture, tradition and people. 

‘People here handle things by themselves,  which I don’t see in London, I mean, in terms of dealing things among themselves as it just happened now, in that hassle; without taking it over to an burocracy level. Ah.. where are those three guys who got caught?!’

‘Their plea has been considered after the smashing’ I said. 

He was raving about things here, I don’t know if it was because of my emotive nature, but I was more than proud. Perhaps, gloating. I couldn’t get ride of that thick grin that was sticking on my face.

‘You people get rid of your politicians somehow, I mean, somehow… You people can handle it all with yourself, you just don’t need them’ there was a firm genuineness in his expression then. 

I was just sitting there, with my grin for sometime. 

‘Alright man, good to see you, have a wonderful trip’, I wished him and started walking home. 

Only after crossing few meters, I remembered I had left the coffee glass in the place we were talking and didn’t give it back to the shop. 

I went back there only to see no coffee glass at the place I kept but the English guy I was talking to had picked my glass as well, along with his plate and his coffee glass, and was giving it to the shop. He was modest enough to pick something I used. I wouldn’t have done that in his place, just until then. 

I left the place, with a sense of making something really ugly. Only I couldn’t put that “Why?!” into words here.

Fiction

Nature Laughed – A flash fiction.


They were on ravage over buildings, bridges and roads, anything that was built out of cement, bricks and stones. They looked more like a human, only their head (perhaps because of larger brain) and hip-bone was much larger than us – the Homo-Sapiens, and their eyes could see through earth’s curvature. They are the upgraded version of homo-sapiens: “Homo-Meetpans”, I was told. They conversed in an humanly unrecognizable behavior, we shall call it the seventh sense.

No sapiens were concerned, until meetpans lived in jungles, not breaking Sapiens’ cycle of life. Meetpans were confined to a beehive – the Andaman islands, among Sapiens tribes -Jarawa, Great Andamanese, Onge and Sentinelese. Meetpans started biting Sapiens’ life only after they threw stone at former by latter’s usual born habit of cutting trees. Earth started taking new turn – An Habitat for an Habitat. Boastfulness of sapiens was eating mud – they couldn’t stand against meetpans like any other opposing earth’s species. Because, Sapiens couldn’t read meetpans, their foe, in first place.

Keep your toes off our soil, you will have your hut to live in – was the message meetpans had conveyed sapiens indirectly. But, But.. that was only until they understood sapiens have consumed much of nature from earth, than what was needed. From then on, many sapiens lost homes and livings, sometimes food. Their humongous desires, boiled down to one – survival. No wars, No borders, one race, one country.

image

Meetpans ravaged sapiens made structured, as much as they wanted trees, plants, jungles. Need not mention, birds, animals and reptiles grew larger and larger in population. Endangered become sufficiently populated. Polluted air tuned to refreshing. pH of rain water jumped down to zero.

Then on, Seas stayed at shore, rain poured well, ponds and rivers shined with colourlessness. Traditional organic farmers among Sapiens become their demigods. Nature laughed of happiness.