Archive for the kahania Category

The problem of empty ink bottle…

Posted in kahania with tags , , , , , , on September 12, 2009 by Naveen Bagalkot

This is short story – about 500 words, mostly inspired from the stories of Manto, that I wrote as an entry for a competition (500 word limit) last year. I just have changed the title…

It was a chilly December morning, when I spotted the young man hurrying across the dew infested pathway. As soon as I saw him, my tired sleepless eyes lit up; could this man help me?! He was hunched up, both with the fear of the physical surroundings and the December chill, and was literarily running to get away to his home as fast as possible. Ignoring this I mustered some strength and glided along the grass, rustling some leaves as I reached him. I held his shoulders and turned him around.  The first thing I noticed was sweat, maybe from his running or maybe from the fear one feels coming across the foggy blurred images that a cemetery creates in an early December morning. The sweat was pouring down his forehead along his brow and almost dropping into his eyes. Yet he made no effort to wipe this off – he stood frozen with his glassy eyes poring deep burrows through mine.

“Relax young man,” I said, “I am here seeking your help. I got to tell you something and it’s very rare that someone comes along this area at this point of time. You see, I never used to sneak unto people and bother them like this before; I had my journal to talk to. Well, its still there with me and also the pen with a golden nib, which my daughter had gifted. I loved to write, you see. I still do, but I can’t anymore! I have run out of ink and the stationary guy doesn’t understand that I need some ink! This is my first problem. The second problem is what has made the first one even more traumatic!  I wanted to write in that journal of mine to get some relief from my predicament and my inability to do so is weighing down upon me heavier than the tombstone! Hence I had to tell this to someone and you are here…”

Even though I noticed him getting more frigid and trying to wrestle out from my grip, I continued, not wanting to lose this chance of lifting that burden. “I am a Parsi and used to live in the Rehman Street. And after the riots last year,” As soon as he heard the word ‘riots’, I could sense a stroke of brilliance shine through his frozen eyes.  Poor chap, must have lost someone in those times, or  rather, as my sinister mind told me, must have killed some. I held him tighter with my bony hands and whispered, “After the riots last year, those stupid fools at the municipality buried me in this Muslim cemetery…”

The Imp of the Pizzarse (sorry Edgar Allan Poe)

Posted in kahania with tags , , , , , , on June 3, 2009 by Naveen Bagalkot

It was a two week burst of sunshine, beautiful sunshine, the radiance of the ultimate energy source bursting the monotonous pastel of the gray clouds, gray buildings, and gray sweaters, with abundant speckles of white, blue, cyan, yellow,  green and crimson, that prompted the rise of the ‘Imp of the Perverse’ (my first experience of reading Edgar Allan Poe) in me. It was the onset of the spring and my advisor Tomas, being the natural Scandinavian that he is, was all bright eyes and floral to go out and explore the otherwise dark alleys around the university for satisfying our culinary desires. For two weeks, we both set on every noon, looking with the eyes of a seeker and a heart of an adventurer and found rich Lebanese, Italian, Pakistani, Iraqi palates. We ogled at the Kebabs, the durums, the shawarmas, the pizzas, the fried chickens and gave a serious exercise for the linings of our large intestines.

The reflection on what I had done to myself, my bank account and the large intestine, became clear when I had to request Tomas to push the early morning meetings to 10 due to “eccentric behavior of the large intestine and the recto-anal muscles”. Also the fact that I have an impending Big Fat Indian marriage steeled up my mind to stop seeking these gastronomical prostitutes and made up my mind to tell Tomas that “You are alone on this buddy. Sorry to hang you dry like this.” But as the Danish weather tried to go back to its usual bleakness, Tomas himself dropped out and saved me from betrayal and backstabbing.

It was then I started to realize the growing Imp of Perverse in me. What was just a zygote of want, it soon,  as the ivy of the poison, started to envelop me; its sinews growing strong around my legs, my hands and my head. And they all seem to grow out of the nerve tissue connecting my tongue and my brain. Especially that part of my tongue which had tasted the Arabic Pizza and that part of the brain which recognized the juiciness of the shwarma meat melting in the cheese with jalapenos on a freshly baked base. As Edgar, with the noose around his neck, realized how the Imp of Perverse has pushed him to passionately and proudly confess of a long forgotten murder that he so perfectly executed, I realized yesterday night that the Imp of Pizzarse had pushed me in this dark alley.

It was 11 in the night and I could read the sign “Pizza Palace – Durum, Pizza and Indisk” in the light of the dusk. But unlike Edgars Imp, my imp had to lose this time – the Pizzeria was closed. A wave of relief hit me and later as I tasted the first spoonful of the Dal khicdi that I cooked up in haste, I had found, albiet momentarily the antidote to the Imp of Pizzarse.