The Accomplice

It is 4 in the morning. The winter is settling in between the tiny cracks the earthquake left behind and I am sitting barefoot on the marble floor, cleaning out his gun.

I pause after each swipe, look up at his sleeping face, smile to myself and go back to the sliding feel of the washcloth against the metal.

I think of all the death there will be today. I think of what my part is going to be in it. The blood will be on my hands and will make its home there even before I touch the casualties. Murderer. Murderer. Murderer. I look up at him again. Is he really? No. It can’t be that easy.

I put in the chokes and screw them tight. Long range, he won’t have to get so close to the victim. He will only see the gaping bewilderment frozen on their faces once all that made them alive has been drained out.

I hope he doesn’t bring them home. Cooking hunted birds is not something I want on my conscience.

Peekaboo

Hello

Anyone here?

Who am I kidding? No one hangs around when there is no activity for more than two years. But would you all come back? I’ve missed this place and all that went on here.

So I’m hoping to give this another shot. I might not be as regular as I was before, but I really do need to get back into the writing zone. Fingers crossed to this (umm fourth?) try being a successful one.

 

 

Coffee, Tea and Company (Him and I #10)

Like I mentioned earlier, we’re individuals with starkly different tastes. And even though we usually try and sample each others’ preferences, the line is drawn when it comes to hot beverages. Winters for me mean steaming mugs of coffee throughout the day. He still remembers the time when a single cup of coffee in the morning had him feeling nauseous for longer than is normal.

He sticks to his tea. Sweetened. Heavy handed on the milk.

Two mugs on the wicker table in the gallery. Two people who always have something to talk about.

It’s the conversation that matters, who cares about the contents of the mugs.

Tango (Him and I #9)

“It takes two to tango.”

“Yes, but not a pair and a half of left feet.”

So we went through the motions with the lady leading, the gentleman stumbling. ‘La Cumparsita’ flowed from the speakers for the umpteenth time.

There is stepping on toes, collision of knees, stiffening spines and angry sighs. We have a no shoes policy during practice; broken toes are not fun to walk around with.

This happens every Saturday. It’s my life’s mission now, to teach him how to tango. But for someone who has all the poise when doing all that routine work during the day, he is incredibly bad at remembering how to stand with shoulders back. I refuse to be deterred, Tango is what we’ll do on our 25th Anniversary party.

And even with all the gruelling footwork to learn, he smiles when we’re done. Every time.

“I’ll learn. Someday. Soon. Coffee?”

Gun (Him and I #7)

I remember the first time I held a gun for the purpose of killing. It was three days after our wedding day. He had taken a week off from office and we had gone to visit our ancestral village.

Our village is a village only in name. There is internet and cable, boutiques and supermarkets. But the lanes are narrow and made of bricks, there are never-ending fields on the outskirts. We headed towards them.

I knew, that sooner and later, he would make me do it. We had promised each other we’d try out each others’ interests. He had bought a Harry Potter box set for himself, he had taken the first step. It was time for me to take the double-barreled shotgun in my hennaed hands.

He was patient, despite of my squeamishness at hunting innocent birds, and my trembling hands.

I had crap aim. But he told everyone that one out of the four casualties done that day had my name on it.

Speech Bubbles (Him and I #6)

We fight with imaginary speech bubbles. It saves breath and energy and an awful lot of misunderstanding. It saves us from saying the wrong things. It saves us from taking things out of context. It saves us from saying sorry.

It’s our way of letting out steam, imagining clouds on top of our heads. I fill his, he fills mine.

We give each other made up words, and then forget all about them. It’s therapeutic. It’s us.

Blood (Him and I #5)

He doesn’t understand my love-hate relationship with blood.

“How can you be obsessed with it and be scared of it at the same time?”

It’s quite simple, I write about blood because it means something deeper. Because no matter what the Slytherins believe, blood is always pure. Because red is passion, and anger and me. Because blood is iron and metal and life. And because according to Sylvia, “The blood jet is poetry/There’s no stopping it.”

Why then did I become woozy when I saw the pool of blood the hunted birds had left on the floor? Why did I become conscious of the cut on my arm only when I saw the blood? Why, for me, was pain related only and only to the spilling of blood?

How do I explain to him that this apparent confusion that my mind faces when it comes to blood is the very reason I am obsessed with it?

Our Song (Him and I #4)

We still haven’t found our song.

We have songs that we listen to together, lyrics we love, tunes we dance to when the lights are out. But we don’t have a song.

Listening to the song we used to sing

In the car, do you remember

Butterfly, Early Summer

It’s playing on repeat, Just like when we would meet

Like when we would meet

Cause I was born to tell you I love you

And I am torn to do what I have to, to make you mine

Stay with me tonight

I’ve wanted one since the time we got engaged. No less than 5 summers have passed since then. Music comes and goes. It’s sweet for a moment, forgotten the next.

I go around asking people if they’ve found theirs. I’m afraid they’ll take up all the beautiful songs that I love, and we’ll be left with a choice between cheesy and repeated. With a love like ours, it’s not fair.

Will it stay

The love you feel for me

Will you say

That you will be by my side

To see me through

Until my life is through

Well in my mind

We can conquer the world

He says our song will just happen one day. That I don’t have to go around looking for it. It’s not a freed parrot, our song will be the cat that can always find her home no matter what. And we’ll never forget it it. It will be stuck on repeat like the bad cassette in our tape recorder.

I can’t take my mind off of you

I can’t take my mind off you

I can’t take my mind off of you

I can’t take my mind off you

I can’t take my mind off you

I can’t take my mind…

My mind…my mind…

Uniform (Him and I #3)

The very reason I didn’t marry a uniformed man of the forces was because I hate the idea of being alone. What is the point of getting married if you’re going to be in different cities, just because the country needs him. Call me selfish, but I’m not one who can share her husband with the country.

There’s something about a uniform that is terribly enticing. The starched white of Navy. The imposing khaki of the Army. There is discipline. There is strength. There is power. There is the promise of parting.

Engineers pose no such threat. Or intrigue. There’s no mystery in a button-down shirt and tie. They can be in jeans and tees and not feel the need to stand up straight and stiff. They can slouch in front of the TV and forget about their jobs between 5 PM to 8 AM. They can be at home when there are leaky taps that need to be fixed.

Update: I’m now on tumblr! http://mrymbm.tumblr.com/

 

Dishes (Him and I #2)

We never leave dishes unwashed in the kitchen. It’s something that we have incorporated into our routines. Dirty dishes scream if left unattended. We eat, we wash.

We do it together most of the time. He washes, I dry. I wash, he dries. Sometimes when we’ve had something greasy, he let’s me off. I detest thick grease on plates, it makes me squeamish. The smell of water cascading over those yellowish puddles is worse than feeling guilty for letting him do all the work. I return the favor when Australia is playing against England.

And if neither of us feels like washing right after eating, we play dish rag tag. It’s a lot like Pass the Pillow, the punishment is just something we don’t want to do at that moment. Punishments are mean that way.

I sometimes think of spending my zippy purse money on a dish-washer. Or a human dish-washer.

Some days when we don’t feel like doing kitchen duty, we eat out. We pretend to be a couple very much in love, out for a night of good food and music. On the table in our go-to Thai restaurant, we look into each others’ eyes and let out an occasional sigh. Sweet relief, there’ll be no dishes to do tonight.

Crawlies (Him and I #1)

“There’s a lady-bug on your shoulder.”

There was a bug on his shoulder, quickly replaced by yellow-green guts. I hate it when he does that, kill bugs. Unless they are cockroaches. My morality doesn’t extend to cockroaches. It’s the translucent brown shell and the noise of their wings that makes me hate them, and their apparent affinity with my body temperature.

He never kills cockroaches; just the insects that seem harmless to me. The springy worms in the garden after rain, caterpillars that contorted which what way as the made their ways over branches, tiny ants making their way to their tiny ant-hill. Harmless. Dead in vain. Released from their pathetic food-foraging routines.

I always wonder where insects go when they die. Is there an insect heaven? A crawlers’ paradise? They shouldn’t be allowed in our heaven. I mean, what kind of a paradise would it be if we couldn’t be free of cockroaches even there. How would it be any different from my bathroom after midnight?

I uttered a short prayer for the lady-bug who was no more. May its soul rest in peace and may it zip and fly in bug-heaven. Amen.

We make an odd pair; him with his arsenal of insect killing weapons and me with my prayers and awkward burials. Except when it comes to cockroaches. There are no weapons and prayers then.

He does it on purpose. It’s one of his ways of showing me that he has the upper hand. He can kill cockroaches, but he won’t. It is the bone of contention between us. I live in fear of him flinging cockroaches at me; it is a recurring nightmare.

Punch-drunk on Plath. All Over Again.

I occasionally berated my go-to book-store for not stocking Sylvia Plath books. My usual comment would be,

“Readings can have Sylvia Day but not Sylvia Plath.” 

(shows that I am a bit of a book snob). Maybe the people at Readings heard me, because during my bi-weekly online book browsing, I came upon an entire list of Plath books on their website.

Imagine my extreme joy at having found this jack-pot. I set about making plans in my mind on how to convince Mama to let me get two of those books (since I already own the others.)

The thing is, I seldom buy brand new books. They are too expensive and I’m usually broke. And since I read too much, I’d rather buy ten books for Rs. 1000 than just one.  But if that book is by Sylvia Plath, I’m ready to spend even more than Rs. 1000.

All the other Plath books I have were ordered from Kitabain.com and were so easy on the pocket. I got Letters Home, Collected Poems, The Bell Jar, and Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters (because it is about Plath).

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But I couldn’t find her Unabridged Journals anywhere or her collection of short stories titled ‘Johnny Panic and The Bible of Dreams.’

Yesterday, the search came to an end. And so did my already non-existent funds.

I received my order from Readings around an hour back! So excited to add these two beauties to my Plath collection!

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The Novel Writing Experience. Part 4.

Word count: 9035

Daily Average: 1286

As this noveling adventure enters it’s 7th day, I’m getting optimistic about hitting my target fairly early. So why not increase it? Once I near 20k, I’m going to push up my target to 30k. Yay me.

As far as research goes, I hit a jackpot today. I found an entire book that is going to help me cover all the plot holes in my story and add substantial meat to it.

Here’s a question: How much can one borrow from fact when writing fiction?

Also, I’m doing major restructuring of my novel. So now  I think my part one is going to be part two. And my part two is going to be part three. And part three is going to be part one.

Does that make sense? It will when my first draft is ready.

The Families – An Excerpt

Like I said in the previous post, I’m stuck in a rut. So I asked someone to give me a series of words and I’d use them to construct a paragraph that will go into my novel. Here’s what I came up with:

(The words were trick, flick, click; suggested by Khadeeja)

History plays tricks on you, it gives you a road map to follow, another to avoid, but forgets to tells you which leads where. It likes coming back when you least expect it to, enjoys haunting you. History is the woman who has had her days but still hasn’t lost the habit of courting unsuspecting men. She flicks her hair and laughs when they fall for her once more and make the same mistake they did when she was last with them. She smiles when some repeatedly take the road they were warned not to take countless times.

It’s that moment when you need to reign yourself in. When you see that woman laying down the path of circumstances, run the other way. Those cards that make the pathway have already been played, and if the same ones are being used again, they most definitely didn’t work the first time. Why risk falling down the same whirlpool that spit you out unceremoniously?

Has it ever occurred to you that history evolves? It is not just one period of time. It’s not a groove in a tree or crack in a rock that stays the same even centuries later. History is what happened a million years ago, it is the conversation that took place 7 months ago, the event you lived through three days ago. History is the Slurpee you had after lunch today. That piece of gum that you are chewing, a part of it is history already.

It’s like a click of the mouse, every second that passes is filed away into this folder that just never fills up and never needs replacing. It contains your deepest secrets and their deepest secrets and the accumulated sins and goodwill of a million different people from a million different eras. It is a scary place and a beautiful one. But there is always a feeling of dread when you see it. Either because you’re afraid that time will revisit you or because you think it never will.