Living on earth sure is expensive but it includes a free round trip around the sun.


flames ‘Physical fitness…a term more and more people are getting acquainted with and are incorporating in their lives. That’s precisely the reason this place will be swarming with people in a few moments from now. More and more people trying to extend their lives, stretching out the window in hope of enjoying more out of life…at least that’s what the tabloids and the crispy buttered editions of the newspapers, health magazines are trying to sell. For me it has held a different meaning altogether…it’s more of an appendage that comes with the job profile.’

‘Shit…I’m late again. I have still 1 km left and people are already trickling in.’ I mumbled to myself. I realized that I have to come up a lot early to avoid people. People make me nervous. Minimum human contact just suited me well. And then I saw her. She used to come to the park daily, take a walk, settle down on the bench and then watch other people’s activities. I had noticed her observing me astutely one or two times before. She made me fidgety. I decided to sprint the last two rounds of the park and get the fuck outta there. After completing my rounds in a jiffy as I was getting off, I decided to look her way one last time. I stood in my tracks. Strangely enough, I decided to have a talk with her.

‘Hiii…ni..nice…mor…morning. Isn’t it?’ I could feel my vocal chords making a myriad frequencies at the same time. Years of lost human contact had made me pathetic at casual human conversation. She pretended not to notice me.

‘May I sit here?’ I asked not sure what else to say. ‘This is a public place. Sit where ever the fuck you want to. Why are you asking me?’ She didn’t seem in any mood to converse.

‘True…Very true’ I mumbled to myself. ‘Would you like to hear a story?’ I asked with apprehension. ‘What am I…eight?’ She was riled at my intrusion and clearly wanted to be left alone. ‘I was talking to the dog.’ I pointed at the dog sitting at her feet. ‘The dog??’ She asked puzzled by my conduct.

‘Yeah…I do that often. Talk to cats and dogs. Hello, Mr…Dog. Hope you don’t mind telling you a story about my dog.’ I sounded like a totally goofy man. The dog began to wag his tail happy that finally some one was paying attention to him. She buried her ears inside her arms, trying hard to ignore me. ‘Well, my dog’s name was Skimpy. Actually he was a bitch. You know bitch as in the feminine gender of dog not in the sense humans’ use it of course.’ I cackled at myself for making that funny statement. At least it sounded funny to me. I continued with my story. ‘Well she was well liked by all of us. She had long golden hairy coat over her body that looked very beautiful. And then one day out of the blue, my brother started to burn her hairs, one matchstick at the time. She just stood there trying to comprehend what was happening to her. She didn’t even cry. Didn’t even move.’ And then I stopped.

A long pause followed. ‘What happened next?’ She asked. I smiled back. ‘I thought you weren’t listening.’ I replied teasingly. ‘Oh…Ohk…don’t tell me…I don’t care.’ She sounded offended at my remark. ‘I intervened…told my brother to back off.’ ‘What did your mother had to say?’ She appeared more than interested in the story now. ‘Nothing…nothing at all.’

‘Mothers…oh mothers!!’ She broke into an incoherent laugh.

‘So why do people do shit?’ She let out a sigh. ‘Is the world a big shit-hole. She enquired.

‘Well, not all of it. But, yeah shitty things happen all the time. The irony is you can’t explain all those shit. Shit just happens. The problem arises when you try to explain or justify the shit…but since no answer actually exists you just keep on going about in circles. The important thing in life is to avoid getting shit or sort out the shit once get into one. Do you understand the shit I’m trying to explain to you here?’ I was exhausted by the end of my lecture on shit and didn’t myself know the kind of shit I was talking about.

‘Do you believe in god?’ She was taking me as if I was like some spiritual guru who had unlocked all the mysteries of life.

‘Going by the state of things either he/she doesn’t exist or he/she doesn’t give a shit.’ A long pause followed when no one talked. She kept on looking at the group of old couples doing yoga on the park.

‘I think I should be going now.’ I said standing up. She didn’t say anything as I left the place.

Next day as I reached the station, ready to leave that place, I saw her waving at me. I moved past her ignoring her completely. ‘How did she know I was going today?’ The thought puzzled me. As I sat on the bench waiting for the train to arrive, she came around to sit by my side.

‘He died yesterday. Slipped on a pool of oil on the floor and banged his head on the floor. Bled to death with no one to help. The police are assuming it to be an accident. But, then you must be knowing this.’ I kept silent.

‘Yesterday…Was it your first time?’ She asked. ‘What??’ I sounded a trifle bit alarmed. ‘Stalking 16 year olds like me.’ She added with a spark in her eyes. ‘Yeah…How did I do?’ I smiled meekly. ‘It was pretty good for a first time.’

The train had already entered the platform. ‘How did you know?’ She asked as I got up from my seat. ‘The dog.’ I said. ‘The dog?’ She was perplexed now. ‘On other days, when the dog used to come to you who would cuddle him. But, yesterday when it approached you, you curled up like a ball as if trying to conserve something you had lost. And then as you talked to me I could see the effort to hold back your tears.

‘When can I meet you again?’ She asked as I prepared to board the train. ‘Never. I never visit the same place twice.’ I replied.

‘You are supposed to mourn your father’s death. Don’t look too happy. Have a Happy New Year and learn to pull your shit together.’ I added with a pause as the train whistled for leave.

‘Thank you.’ She whispered with tear glistened moist eyes.

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Suresh Kumar said...

Nice Story. Is it from any personal experience or just like that.

And BTW I hope you don't stalk sixteen year olds. :)

hitch writer said...

strange story !!


Happy New year to you and your family. May 2009 be a safe and a prosperous year !!!