Hairytale

bond

1

Anil Bhojwani lay naked under the white sheet. For a second he flinched at the thought of the woman who just saw him without a piece of thread.

He shuddered from the sheer humiliation – “How would she remember me? She clenched her eyes shut for a second the moment she saw me. Am I so ghastly? What would my new bride say on the wedding night?” train of thoughts ran fast.

Yes, it was humiliation, for someone as manly and self-reliant as him. The only solace being, the secret remained. It had to be done – he didn’t have a choice. He closed his eyes and the momentary darkness took him back a few years – the days in engineering college, where it all began; a chapter of love, treachery and despair.

2

First year used to be common class for all different branches. He hadn’t seen her until second year when the computer science batch started having classes together, Tulika – a girl from Bihar; she was fare like sun, calm as full moon and smiled like a dancing, young fountain.

Surely all the students in the class knew each other – but they didn’t speak to everyone on a regular basis. It wasn’t until third year microwave lab, when Anil first spoke to Tulika. It was just a casual lab discussion, setting up the antenna and recording instruments. Though purely an academic discussion, it was a boon for Anil. He tried to find excuses to speak to her more often.

Time flew – in the beginning of final year Anil’s dad gifted him with a Yamaha motorcycle. Spirited, atop of his confidence, Anil drove to the girls’ hostel to wish a good morning to Tulika, who had just frowned.  Anil wasn’t too sure why. After a couple of days more, he decided to confide his deep feelings to his best buddies – Vishal and Ramesh.

3

Vishal took a few days to find out through his contacts in girls’ hostel. Anil waited eagerly. Finally Vishal came back to himd, “Bhoju! Tulika likes you too, but gets put off by your appearance!”
Anil, who was starting to feel happy as Vishal started, was shocked – “What’s wrong with my appearance? I wear nice clothes, I have a new bike. I get decent marks.”
Vishal shrugged, “That isn’t everything Bhoju. Look at yourself in the mirror – you have hairs like Anil Kapoor, any sensible woman will be put off by it.”
Anil looked at himself for a week. He had never thought about it before – all that hair indeed made him look ugly. Nobody said that in his village. That’s why his father wanted him to go study in the city.

4

Anil managed to get an appointment with a dermatologist secretly. The doctor looked at him and smiled, “It’s a simple case – I can do it. I can remove all your unwanted hair through electrolysis.”
“All of it – what does that include?”
“Face, neck, legs, underarms and arms, back and shoulders, chest, nipples and abdomen.”
“Oh!”
“Yes, and there too!”
Anil swallowed, “You mean?”
“Yes – exactly.” The good doctor smiled.
“How much does it cost?”
“Twenty thousand rupees only – and it’s almost painless procedure. Many men and women do it these days.”

5

That night was difficult to sleep in anxiety. Final year will soon be over and once it was Tulika would be far away.

Anil sank into deep thought for next couple of days – this was one last resort. Even the idea of selling the bike crossed his mind. Dad would be upset and he never lied at home before. Whenever he closed his eyes, Tulika came and pointed fingers to his hairy chest. Before taking the finally decision, he went to speak to Vishal again.

6

“Twenty thousand bucks – are you nuts, Bhoju?”
“What else can I do to get twenty thousand?”
“Ah! Don’t you watch tv – you jackass? How do women do it?”
“Women have hair like this?”
“Seriously Bhoju, you really need to grow up. Women have hairs in all kinds of places and they shave as well because they don’t want it.”
“You mean I start shaving myself?”
“Not that idiot – there is a lotion that you get for removing unwanted hair. Get yourself two tubes of those from a local store. Have shower with them thinking it’s some kind of soap. Mark my words – you will be a new man after that, a man from whom Tulika won’t look away.”

Anil followed every words of his advice and to his surprise the hair was gone indeed. He felt fresh and young. He speeded his bike to the girls’ hostel with some flowers. He was indeed a new man.

7

“Are you ready, Mr Anil?” The nurse’s voice took him back to present.
“Yes, I am.”
“Good! the doctor will see you now.”
Anil nodded and was waiting for the surgical laser treatment. Two days after that phenomenal bath using hair removing lotions, all his body hairs grew back, more intense and thick – so much so – that he wasn’t Anil Kapoor anymore, rather a chimpanzee no less. He didn’t see Tulika after that, he couldn’t. He had nowhere to go with his sad story – not even his family. He had no one to trust.

A few years passed. He hardly took off his shirt in front of anyone else, until now, having his marriage proposals on the wave, he took an appointment for the laser surgery to get rid of his secret, once and for all. The only good thing in the wait of these years was that the technology evolved to make the process almost painless and the chances of those hairs coming back was relatively lower.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We have to write a post including ‘The only solace being, the secret remained.’ This is a work of fiction – any similarities found would be pure coincidence.


Mr. Scrupulous


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When I came to know about the meeting in Pune on Friday, my heart danced from the excitement. I had to prepare for the workshop – it was going to be a face to face, but before anything my intolerant fingers sent a text to Nandita almost immediately, ‘Are you free this weekend? I am coming over for a meeting.’
My phone beeped – ‘yes’, almost instantaneously. I smiled and got back to work with a dose of adrenalin. I knew even if she had plans, she would cancel them and spend the time with me. She was a source of happiness, inspiration and freedom to me, little of which left in my corporate job and a cold marriage – that was held together by the safe heaven called home under a roof, without which our son Aarav would be a difficult wagon to pull otherwise. Every day life was tightening the noose around my neck as I would gasp for a mouthful of fresh air.
For Nandita, it was quite the contrary. Her husband being in army, she hated the loneliness of freedom – she was vivacious and was tired of giving away her charm. We poised each other. When we met about a year back, we knew, something clicked.
We mostly talked, chatted, occasional emails – and every message, it would open the window to let in some fresh air, for both of us. No, it was not clichés like ‘Oh! I love you’ or ‘Oh! I miss you’.
I once asked her, ‘do you think we are in love?’
She said, ‘Love is not the word, I’d choose.’
‘Why?’ because it certainly caught my interest.
‘It is such a strong word. I’ve used it twice in my life and would like to leave it that way.’
I respected her from that moment. She gave me the ideas I was never prepared for and it made sense. At thirty eight, I didn’t need love.
With my mother-in-law staying with us, I didn’t have much problem at home and anyway gone was the time to fight over trifles. Sakshi packed my overnighter with a night’s clothing – I had excused of the Saturday as well in the context of an intensive strategy workshop, which was going to be a vent out in Lonavala, to which Nandita had agreed. I told her I wanted to hold her my arms; it had been on my list for long.
It was almost 7, by when I finished my meeting, loosened the knot slightly and started my car. Nandita was already waiting. I picked her up in another few minutes and then raced up.
She was soft and silent, “You know – it feels awkward.”
I swallowed and nodded. Given the emotional quotient of women, I knew I was stepping into a very sensitive area. I whispered, “It stops if you say no.”
She smiled, “I know what it means for you and who doesn’t like to be hugged?”
I raced up the car. It would be a good hour long drive. Music started flowing as I saw her recline and trying to sooth herself. A life in a fashion magazine was no less irksome. We didn’t speak much before stopping in front of a decent hotel.
In the reception, there was an old man – but very distinctive appearance. He greeted me warmly. “We have a beautiful en-suite double room, Sir.”
I nodded and took my purse out – wanted to pay for this on cash, thought of a different name for signing in as well. Nandita waited in the lobby and turned pages of a magazine.
After everything was done the receptionist handed over a nicely wrapped box to me, “This is for you, Sir.” I was surprised to see a parcel with my name on it. Of course, it was the false name that I signed up with.
I raised eyebrows and enquired, “Who is this from?”
“From your wife, Sir – of course.”
“What nonsense – she doesn’t know I’m supposed to be here.” I realized what I have said, but it was too late.
“Now, is that so Sir?” the man asked me politely.
I swallowed, embarrassed and cleared my throat, “She isn’t my wife”, glancing at Nandita.
“We have beautiful single rooms with garden view, Sir. Would you like to book two? They are special for sunrises.”
I nodded and ended up booking them; told Nandita that I changed mind and book two rooms instead. She somehow responded in a way that meant it was a right thing to do. Before walking up to my room I turned back to the reception and asked, “If no one sent that parcel where did I get it from?”
He smiled ear to ear, “It’s a game, Sir – which I love to play, if I see a couple. I keep such boxes prepared and write the name after the guest signs into the register.”
“Oh! If it is some compliment from the hotel, you could say so – right?”
“I could, but where is the fun in that. If people are really in here with family, then they don’t ask back and are rather happy that their wife has a surprise gift. In other cases, like you Sir, it is a bite of conscience that we offer – saves homes from destroying. Also rent of two single rooms is more than a double room, so hotel business goes well.”
Pretty amazed, I looked at him – “And if they still go for it after all this, I mean with the false pretense?”
“The game comes in different levels Sir – surely you don’t like to know?” He smiled suggestively.
Already enough embarrassed, I shook my head, face flustered. It had already been a long day. The first thing I was going to do next morning was to go home. Incidentally, that night, I missed Sakshi after a long time. My in-controllable fingers sent her a text, “I miss you.”
“Come home and I will make it up to you”, my phone beeped. I was sinking into the way bed thinking about a new day.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This time your entry must contain, ‘I was surprised to see a parcel with my name on it.’

WoW

WOW


Leap of faith

“Can you watch the kids today?” Baako asked.

His tone was more of a statement than request. It also meant watching the kids apart from doing her chores. It would not be easy.

Still Adanna nodded. Baako didn’t say anything in response, just walked away. Most men in the household were not very courteous. They worked hard to make both ends meet.

At eighteen, Adanna was more worldly than her older cousins who lived in the country. She was not a mother yet but she had her own way with kids. Especially with these two – Chidi and Chima.

Adanna looked outside from the window. It was not raining this morning for a change. A clear sky shined above. So the day was going be cooler than past couple of days, she murmured to herself.

She touched the glass of the window pane and wiped part of the frozen mist – she had a few moments to herself before the day got busy. The glass felt cold. She wrote her name on the glass absentmindedly with her finger and tiny droplets of frozen mist trickled down.

This year England had seen a steep hike in energy prices and more so at the advent of winter. Everyone was talking about it, criticizing the first coalition Government since Second World War. Many were in news for devising cheaper ways to stay warm. Some families even protested that they might have to cut on their food supply in order to cope up with the energy costs. Adanna’s family was one of them. No one said explicitly that but she knew. There was some milk for her in the breakfast, but she left that for the kids.

The clock struck eight. She had to go out now. Kids will have to go along. There was no other option. However, while tying a scarf over her head, she realized that she was left with twins of her brother too. Chidi and Chima were old enough to walk – but the toddlers? They could certainly not be left in the house – it would be a couple of hours before she could be back from the town.

She placed one of the twins in a baby sling – but there was only one baby sling. She gritted her teeth. This was not a moment to go weak on her knees, instead this time, she raised the bar. She tied a piece of cloth around her neck and placed the other one of the twins as well. By the time she was out on the streets, she had a trolley in her hand and four children. When she took the first step forward, she felt a spin in her head for a split second. She couldn’t realize if it was from the warmth of hunger or wrath of cold.

Suddenly she remembered, her name meant father’s daughter in Nigeria. Compared to the negligible rewards of living in a developed country as immigrants, memories gave her more strength. She smiled at the kids, gripped their hands and took the next step. It was more a leap of faith than a footstep, considering how many women around the world lived the same life.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This time your entry must contain, ‘This time, she raised the bar…’


Somewhere

When he saw those two girls walking up to women’s section in the second floor, Chandru’s eyes glistened from the deep, forbidden pleasure. He was eager to find out what they would do next. Most girls of their age would spend hours but not buy anything and that prospect didn’t excite him at all. In western clothing, these two were a feast for his eyes, but he wanted more. He just imagined it and touched himself.

After a lot giggling, laughter and teasing to one another about how they will look and awe men around them and drop their jaw, Richa and Shilpa handpicked couple of tops and gleefully approached the trial room.

Richa said, “Do you really need to try them? I know it will fit you perfectly!” she grinned as her eyes sparkled.

Shilpa shurgged, “Unless I try – I won’t know how good it looks on me.”

They said couple of other things which died in the chaos of other voices as they walked to the big queue in front of the trial room.

Somewhere in the close confinement of basement, with a room full of small to big screens and lots of cables, Chandru almost fell from his chair when he saw both of the girls walking into the same trial room. All of those trial rooms were rigged – had hidden cameras installed. No one seemed to have found that – it was unfathomable pleasure for Chandru and some of his colleagues. They usually didn’t record stuff but Chandru was feeling thirsty – it wasn’t everyday that two beauties would walk into the trap so nicely. He hit the record button.

He hadn’t seen any woman with a fairer complexion than these two. He could almost hear his own heartbeats when RIcha had taken off her shirt and was about try the first top from the selection. Chandru’s fingers dug deep into his face. Though he was so deeply engrossed, something struck him like a lightning. There was a tattoo on her upper back. He had seen that tattoo before. If only he could remember where. He started feeling uneasy. Something was not right.

Later that evening Chandru showed the recording to Ranjit – his trusted partner and miscreant. Ranjit worked in the same shopping mall as well. He laughed as he heard the comment. “I know where you have seen it before?”

Chandru asked nervously, “Where?”

“In the film – wanted!”

“What non sense – no woman was there with tattoos, not even Salmaan.”

“Not that idiot, the English film, where the heroine gets up from a tub and walks away.”

Chandru nodded. He was not sure even though he recalled the particular scene, which they all had stopped and watched for a few minutes at least. He laughed meekly before his friend, but could not believe him completely. While traveling in the last local also the tattoo of the serpent was eating him up bit by bit. He was drunk but the daze was n’t allowing his conscience settle.

At one o clock, his family was in deep slumber in his packed room when his shaky footsteps took him to the door. His wife was n’t up to fight him either. A thin ray of light from the nearby streetlamp transpired through the broken window and fell on his eleven year old daughter Chitra’s neck which revealed a partly washed away serpent tattoo, that came free with a bubblegum. Had it been any other day, Chandru would probably have missed it, but not today – for he could vividly recall the Sunday afternoon his daughter came dancing to him to show her newly acquired hall of fame and asked “Papa, don’t I look like a heroine?” and to which he approved wholeheartedly. He could n’t help but weep for a long time silently at the doorstep.

The thin ray of light from the street lamp was still sneaked in and made room for some conscience.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This time your entry must contain, ‘He/She had seen that tattoo before! If only he/she could remember where.’


The Indian way!

Pankaj could not take his courage in both hands to walk up to his boss Rishav. His heart sank in fear. He was an otherwise carefree and street-smart chap, but something happened that away took every ounce of confidence in him. He checked his watch again. It was only 10:30 in the morning. There was no reason to make a mess of what could be a beautiful Friday, or maybe there was.

 

In a software company, like the one that employed Pankaj and sent him to England on deputation, customer was God, if not something more powerful; while managers were vultures. Even without being poetic, most, like Pankaj could appreciate the subtle metaphor in it.

He checked his watch again. 10:35. ‘What could have possible gone wrong? ‘, he said to himself. There was no obvious answer. There was no mail till then, at least not in his mailbox. But 38 missed calls in 10 mins! He wondered what was going on. Something had to be very very wrong.

He had a very good working relationship with Craig. If Craig had something to say – he wouldn’t go to Rishav, but get it sorted with Pankaj. Their mutual understanding was just right. They would travel together for meetings off to London or watch matches or get a drink before weekend. They even had dinner together the night before. Craig was the last person to have called him 38 times and then not answer his phone.

 

Pankaj looked at his phone. It was too costly a possession to bear the wrath of his frustration. ‘You can’t afford to throw your iphone like a Nokia 3310 handset’, he said to himself as he punched his left palm with right hand, ‘what kind of an idiot silences his phone to put off an alarm?’ Clearly, he was the finest of them.

 

The clock struck 10:50. In another ten minutes, he has to tell Rishav – no matter what, that is if he hadn’t known already from other sources or if it was Craig himself who he was in call with. With each passing second, Pankaj started feeling what cold sweat was like. Premonition of forthcoming events started rehearsing at the back of his mind. This could be his very last day in customer engagement – so no more going out and having free drinks, losing of that importance among colleagues without having to work his ass off or even worse, sent back to India for having a massive customer escalation, quite contrary to what happened last night which should have charged up his career instead.

 

Craig had expressed his interest to try Indian cuisine or Pankaj’s version of it, to be specific. Pankaj was no good in cooking, but how could he let this opportunity pass by? If he kept Craig happy, he’d hardly have to slave around like others in the office. Then in England no one need to know cooking to make Indian food. He invited Craig to his house after buying a bottle of jalfrezi paste, chicken and some readymade frozen parathas. He shouldn’t have emptied half of that bottle of paste but it was a boon in disguise. Though the butter chicken was spicy, it seemed to have flared Craig’s taste buds. He finished five of those stuffed parathas with the notoriously red gravy of the side dish.

Pankaj checked his watch again. It was 10:55. He got up from his desk. Tiny bids of sweat now actually accumulated on his forehead. He knew his knew his knees were trembling. His mouth was getting dry in search of catch phrases to open conversation with Rishav.

Right then his phone beeped. A message from Craig read, “Now I know why you Indians prefer water than paper.”

 

funny-25


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing topics each weekend for Indian bloggers. This time your entry must contain, ’38 missed calls in 10 mins! He/She wondered what was going on.’

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Subjects

The hallway was dark; a dim light could n’t make the entire passage well lit.

‘Is this way to your apartment?’

‘Yes, don’t worry about the lights. It must have stopped working today ’, he said softly.

Nisha nodded silently. The place did n’t look tacky at any cost. Still her pace slowed down as the destination came nearer. She was deeply excited and still somewhat nervous. This was one of those moments when she could n’t decide if she was doing right or wrong, but she simply went on with her instinct. It was quite a contrast between the frequency of how her heels clicked on the floor and how her own heart beats reached her mind.

He held her hand firmly. That strong grip had a meaning – he did n’t want to let the moment go. It was an impulsive decision but it takes a lot of trust to make the moment tick. She knew how long he must have been waiting, how desperate he might have become all this while and now that she gave her consent to it – his firm hold was going to remind her at every step that there was no turning back from where they have gone. It was going to be something so physical, but it became a stronger play in her mind. She did n’t have a taboo that she was not married to him, but the first time has got to be special, there would be no turning back from that, would there be a soft bed and satin sheets or was it going to be unruly, like most of the times. Would he know what it meant to her or was it a mere win to get a girl? Aside that the adrenalin rushing in her veins made her want to jump on him, have him and feel every inch of him.

He unlocked the door and turned on the lights. It was a studio apartment like she had only seen in movies – a big bed in the middle, book case and cupboard on one side and on the other a close compact modular kitchen. Did they make such arrangements in India? She never knew, but it made sense for Vivek lived alone in the city and his family was in a different state.

‘So?’, he asked.

‘So what?’

‘What do you think about my place?’

She smiled, ‘Impressive.’

‘Do you need anything? Would you like anything to drink?’ When he spoke, his voice felt dry and trembling.

She did n’t say a word but extended her arms to him instead. There was no point in making this man suffer from the torment of hormones. He ran to her and hugged her. She felt an even stronger grip on her bare midriff. His hands were locking her. She had nowhere to go. She did n’t want to go. She felt his warm breathing on her neck. Her hands grabbed him too. Slowly she felt more cold air on her skin. Vivek’s hands were at work on her buttons. She closed her eyes. She was slowly descending into wave of pleasure but one thing she didn’t know that they were being watched. Vivek and Nisha were simply subjects of the world that the bestselling author created and thousands of eyes followed them even at the intimate moments, so vivid and alive were his descriptions the readers would see them come alive.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing topics each weekend for Indian bloggers.This time your entry must contain, ‘One thing he/she/they didn’t know that they were being watched.’



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