Monday, February 28, 2011
He woke up long ago. The bright orange aura of light has already infiltrated into the closely guarded darkness of his room, but he just could not get up. He felt no need to get up. The curtains conveniently kept the glare of the sun hidden. Only streaks of sunlight escaped through the cigarette burns in the curtain and illuminated bright spots in on his naked body lying on the bed. One on his left thigh. One below his belly button. One on the right shoulder just below his neck.
He instinctively reached out for the curtain with his cigarette bud and as if in response another bunch of virgin sunrays hurried to make a new spot on the hollow of his chest. He felt like a cheetah preying silently in the folds of his bed, ambushed and strangely erotic by the whole idea.
He instinctively reached out to his growing morning erection and masturbated thinking of nothing in particular but everything. It was more of mornings exercise now, a mere attempt to look alive. The orgasm was nothing more than a chasm of relief.
He was a very ordinary man. He has a name but neither of us has bothered about finding it out, it was not important. But like most ordinary man, he did not know he was ordinary. Though he had no delusions about his insignificance, but he still did not know the definition of ordinary. Neither do I know the meaning of ordinary, but I guess if there is really any criterion, he would not be far off.
A small cubicle that he called his home was a partitioned corner of an abandoned English barrack in the outskirt of Kolkata. He laid back and tried to follow the broken conversations that floated through the thin walls of the neighbouring cubicles. All occupied by ordinary people, who refused to believe they were ordinary. But unlike him, they do so because they do not have the time to decide if they were ordinary. Still I am sure given aplenty of time, they would not. People are scared of being insignificant. Little they knew.
Calcutta has no bus stops. Or maybe they are there hidden somewhere, like a great treasure hunt that no one played cause no one knew the rules. No one has the treasure maps. Mostly no one cared. The buses were always lost in their way and it was a snake ladder game to find them. So when you did find them you could not let it go.
He saw her through the shutter windows of his D-47 bus. The rain was splattering on the tin roof of the bus, like the angry knock of the landlord, and through the dirty khirki of his shutter window, he saw her. But she was soon left behind before he could open the jammed shutter. But he knew she will wait for him the next time.
Next day he waited, patiently by the window, scanning every shop, every display. He knew she will be there and he will recognize her. She kept the promise. She stood by the window in the maroon sari with black border. Same as yesterday. Exactly same.
She was not like every other mannequin on every other shop window. She wasn’t just another plastic mould of cheap white plastic of the thrown away refuse. Maybe the mould of her face was broken.
She smiled, rather tried to smile to imitate her other neighbours those graciously flaunted the best of the displays of the shop. But she had a smirk on her face, more of a scorn. A broken smile, a smile that was once proud but now realised that she is just another hollow plastic mannequin.
And he kept staring. That marble sheen of her face, and those hollow eyes with white eyeballs. She refused anyone the permission to see inside her soul. She refused anyone to draw attention towards her face. Maybe she was revolting, angry at being normal.
A small part of her lip was chipped away. As if even the artist was scared to make her perfect. Maybe even he knew perfection is a myth of consumerism.
She stood straight, unashamed of the stark baldness of her head. Unashamed of the conventionalities of being a woman. And he knew how much he loved her for that. He needed her. He understood her and she said silently, even she did.
"Sir?" The broad fake smile disappeared from the face of the salesman as expected.
"I need that maroon sari mannequin, I want to buy it", he stressed unable to understand what was the fuss all about.
"Sir you mean you want that maroon sari. I shall get it for u"
"No No...Ok I want the sari and the mannequin, both."
"But sir we don’t sell mannequin, I can give you the number of the dealer from whom we buy our mannequins."
He laughed silently at the salesman. Another mannequin. Surely this person has never fallen in love. What will he do with another ordinary mannequin? It will not be her. He wanted her, he wanted to earn her.
"Arrey, get me your manager, just give me that mannequin with the sari, I will pay for it. You buy another one, I don’t want another one."
They finally gave off the mannequin for free. Maybe out of pity for his desperation, or maybe out of mockery. He could hear the hidden giggles when they put her and her brand new sari on the dusty floor the motor van.
They had tried hard to persuade him to pack the sari separately. But how could he let them strip her in broad daylight to stark nakedness. Animals, they all were animals.
People did stole glances at him as he dragged her through the narrow stairs of the barracks. But no one was bothered enough to ask, strange things happened and they have seen stranger things to be amused.
He marvelled at her lightness, as light as an angel that will shatter under the tight squeeze of his grip.
As he carefully laid her on his bed, he could have swore that broken smile had got a new shine in it. He knew she was happy, she was home. Away from the glare and afternoon sun of the display case, she was no more a whore to the eyes of the world, but in the soft darkness of the room, she was a woman who is proud to be a woman.
He sat on the chair scared to go near her, scared to get her scared. He did not want to impose, he never imposed.
The streams of sunlight through the burned curtains now formed the same patterns on the flimsy chiffon and filtered through it on the whiteness of the belly.
For hours he stared at her chest, for the slightest of movement. But her white eyes never blinked. It never betrayed the presence of life that she hid somewhere, not sure if it could disclose herself to him so soon.
Maybe it was late in night, almost midnight when he realised the street guard has started his hourly tapping of his stick to the steel lamppost, playing that lonely game he did every night.
He walked up to her and in a moment of acquired courage, planted a soft kiss on her cold lips. His eyes closed so that she cannot judge him.
Then with a sudden overflowing weariness slept beside her, with his shoulder touching her. Nothing less nothing more.
The first time he touched her, it was magical. The late afternoon sun was on the other side of the apartment, no part of the outside world infiltrated their life apart from the radiating warmth. It has been weeks and they have orchestrated and new rhythm of their own. The new curtains did not allow a bit of sunlight to touch her marble skin.
They did not talk much. He talked a little bit, but she never replied. I think it is but natural. But nevertheless she always has an expression on her face to let him know her point of view. A soft nudge maybe, which could almost go unnoticed.
First time he placed his hand on her chest, he could almost feel her pulse and she smiled, almost smiled as if adjusting her pulse with his so that they never go out of rhythm again.
Beyond the drapes of sari, was her perfectness, an expanse of whiteness that traced every curve of her body. Her breasts smooth but firm refused to budge under his fingers, defying him but still coy under his grip.
The seamless edges were crafted not with eloquence, but with love of creation. Maybe god sometimes should reconsider taking a lesson or two about creation.
The sari slipped off and the rest was just a formality. And there they lay stark naked beside each other, as if comparing themselves and their own master of creations.
The humid afternoon sweat came out of his pores and shined on her plastic skin. They slipped on each other, laughed on each other but held on to each other. She was stiff and he was clumsy, somehow in between they found a way to melt into each other. And then with a sudden burst of multitude of emotions, came heaven.
It was still dark outside, he knew with his eyes closed. The brightness of the rising sun has still not created an aura over his eyelids. But something was just out of place. It was like unknown warmth, which scares you of the impending chill to follow.
By the time he got his senses in place he could sense the burning smell, the distinct nausea of it has already hit him. But he was still not ready for reality. With closed eyes he could savour darkness for another minute or two.
She lay beside him with not a single complain or frown on her face, as if nothing have happened. She was brave and daring. Even the burning smell of plastic failed to nauseate her, she was plain indifferent, maybe blind in love.
The cigarette lay in the hollow of her stomach, the smouldering glow magnified in the darkness. The plastic slowly curling within itself, as if suddenly dancing with a life of its own. The white flesh of her, shrivelled under the heat of addiction. What was left behind was a gaping hole of imperfection. A mark that took away everything that was special about her.
He was neither sad nor angry, maybe just plain indifferent. They sat looking each other and they knew something has broken. It was not love but it was the comfort of love. Someone decided to pull the shades off, and the daylight of reality was no more stopped by the curtains that love has knit.
As the sun climbed through the windows and alleys of suburban Kolkata, and through that small hole in her stomach, her life seeped away. Today the sunrays felt no resistance by the curtain those were torn in the darkness of the night. And as they streamed through like a gush of water, with the darkness her life was dissolved in the soft morning sunshine.
What left behind was a plastic mannequin with its imperfection. Suddenly she was tainted and ugly. Did not someone say beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder? Maybe beauty also dies in the eyes of the beholder.
He got a small blunt knife and stabbed her in that hole of stomach and slashed her into half.
Then he slowly cut her into pieces, first her stiff fingers, then her hand, then the limbs and then her neck, in small and large irregular pieces of plastic. But she offered no resistance. She did not cry nor did she flinch. She did not even care. There was just a broken smile on her face, a hidden sarcasm maybe.
P.S: I felt weird and comfortable while writing this one. It was skewed for me and if u felt it was skewed and somewhat sick, i know exactly what are u feeling.
But again sickness is a very personal opinion. And personally let me tell u i am a very sick person. Not exactly proud of it but then again, there is no point of lying, is there.
I always had less people to talk with in my life, partly by choice partly because I am tab bit uncool and uncomfortable. Glare of existence irritates me. I like sunset more than sunrise. The diminishing lights are always a comfort.
The whole idea was to write something that conjoins two of my most treasured feelings, loneliness and love. If u could not relate to it, tell me where exactly u lost me, and if u could relate to it, tell me how exactly u found me....but talk to me...i am bored of talking to myself anyways!!
I wont say i will be more regular, coz i am a sucker at promises!! Ahh 2011...ur not dat great anyways, stop pretending!!
Sorry for the length btw...i hate long stories, too much extravagance...so if u have read through the whole of my story....i already like u! :)