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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Here comes the bride

“And when will we see you get married?” The old bitch doddered at me, veiny hands grasping at mine.
I resisted the urge to fling her, ass over head, and walk away cackling.
“Who knows?” I grit my teeth and smile.

There is no right answer at these times. There is no retort you can make that will satisfy or quieten them. You wade out of their whirlpool of malice, treading water till you can drift out of their orbit.

I force my lips into a dead man’s smile and start to walk away. Only to be accosted by two more, one of whom is my grandmother.
“And when are you getting married?” asks the one I’m not related to.
“I really don’t know, it’s not as if it’s in my hands,” I reply.
My grandmother snorts. “Of course it is! All you have to do is say yes. All these new fangled notions that you have should be shot. I don’t know how long you will stand in the way of your sisters. How long will they have to pay the price for your stupidity?”

Without saying a word, I turn on my heel and head for the entrance to the hall. Big, fat tears rush to my defense  making me hurry even more. I swear then and there – I am marrying the next idiot that shows up.

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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Headache

She endured the screaming for what seemed like hours and hours.
The only comfort was that she couldn’t hear clearly over the noise in her own head.

Carefully, she opened her eyes a crack.
At age seven, she’d already realised. If her mother thought she was being ignored, everything would just get worse.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Credit

She closed her eyes, swallowing the knot in her throat.
He’d done it again.
She didn’t know what to do any more. Every chance he got, he was off and running.
And there was a limit to how much you could control a grown man.

It had started during a bad patch at work a few years ago. He tried changing jobs but that didn’t work.
She’d come home every day to find him, hands wrung guiltily.
And they’d argue and fight and scream.

He’d stop for a while. And then start up again after a few bad days.
She’d tried to make him see a psychiatrist. But he’d refused. She saw one. Who said there was nothing anyone could do till he came in. Or admitted that he had a problem.

She stared at the printer on the table – the 15th one in the house.
She indulged in serious retail therapy too. But she tried to buy smaller things. And not multiples of the same things, over and over again.

She picked up the printer and walked over to the spare bedroom. Putting it next to the 18th scanner, the 7th laptop and the 6th desktop, she wondered when this would end.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Mum

I’m so tired. These fights with Mum take it out of me.
Once again, we’d argued about what I would eat at dinner. It might make you laugh. But at our home, dinner is a big deal.

It’s the only meal my father and uncles eat at home. My younger brothers come home from school at six. They eat bread and milky coffee and get to doing their homework. Often, they’re so full that they skip dinner at seven-thirty. I used to question the wisdom of giving them bread and coffee when they could eat dinner, but after enough cuffing from mum, I’ve stopped. Once we started arguing about what I would eat, I understood why she encouraged them to eat as much bread as they want.

Dad likes meat at night. And so do my uncles. But it’s just Dad that gives mum money every month. When  three grown men eat meat every night, the only thing that drowns out their chewing and burping is the sound of mum’s furious silence in the kitchen. After dinner, every single day, she rages on about having to provide free dinners. And after their dinner, she and I split the remaining meat, bread and milk. A few months ago, mum started telling me to eat dinner with the boys. I realised that the previous night’s meat appeared on dad’s plate in the morning, and mum would have new two pennies at the end of the week. And I realised what my eating bread meant.

I didn’t mind at first. But after being constantly hungry two or three days in a row, I started to rebel. Now, I tell her I’m not hungry when the boys eat and I wait till after dad does. Not everyday. But at least three times a week. The boys’ teacher at school tells them meat is important for us.

Oh. Here comes mum again. She’s changed into the white dress she seems to wear these days. And she wears a silly little hat, indoors. I grind my teeth and grip my chair. I’m not having bread tonight.

“Please dear, please eat something. Even a piece of bread. You need to take your medicines,” pleads Mum.

“Leave her be, nurse,” says a doddery voice behind me. “She thinks you’re her mum. She won’t eat anything from your hands tonight.”

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Cuckoo

She pulled the blanket over her head.
Tried to breathe. The noise continued.

She couldn’t bear it. She really couldn’t. Why didn’t they just take that thing out and let her be?
It just went on. And on. And on.

All through the night. Destroying her peace of mind with it.
Why did she have to go through it?
Why couldn’t she just forget?

Pulling the blanket off, she sat up. The ticking of the clock took no notice of her antics.
The door opened.
She cringed. It was here.

“Happy birthday to youuu, happy birthday to you….”

As her family sang in five different keys, her eyes slid to the clock ticking away.
She knew what she was going to wish for when she blew out the candles.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Bhaya

It was all the papers could talk about.
Nirbhaya. The victim of one of the most brutal gang-rapes seen in recent Indian history.
But it was all the papers could talk about.

Since then, every time she’d gotten stuck in a jam, she’d looked around. And suddenly noticed that there were always more men.

Every time she’d seen a man walking holding something, her mind would wonder how he could turn it into a weapon. A tube light could kill. A carpet could stun. Even a book could cause hurt. And render you helpless.

She knew it didn’t help to think about it. To dwell on it. To obsess over the details and wonder if it was just a matter of numbers or fate before she’d fall victim too.

She stepped away from a major project at work. It would involve late nights. And she just couldn’t right now.

On Saturday, she went to her neighbourhood police station.
Gathering her courage, she strode up the to the constable in charge. And said, “I want to register for a gun license.”

He snorted. “Get in line. Going to kill us all is it?”

She just stared at him. If that was what it took.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Belief

 

I turned to my husband. “She’ll be sorry, you know. When I’m published, she will be so fucking jealous. I’m going to take a picture of her face when I tell her and frame it.”

He yawned. “Ok.”

I was incensed. “You don’t think I can do it? You think I won’t do it? I’m definitely going to take that photo. She’ll never show her face to me again!”

He sniffed and turned around, presenting me with his back.

I poked him viciously. “What?? You don’t think I’ll do it? You think I won’t take her picture when I get published?”

“Oh, I think you’ll definitely do that. You will take her picture.”

“Then what??”

Silence.

“Waitaminit. You think I won’t get published?? Is that what you think?”

Abruptly, he sat up. Got to his feet and turned around. “You have to write before you can publish. You have to put pen to paper. That’s what I think.”

He left. Leaving me with the shadows in our bedroom.

 

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Fiction

 

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