Friday, December 30, 2011

The Short Story

The Short Story
Life appears to have an inherent tendency towards becoming one dull affair for commonplace people like me.
This is a calculated effort to produce fiction and make it a bit interesting.
And I swear this has taken so long!
Please read on to discover the nuances of an egocentric writer and the unpolished style of discussing his inexpert dealing with the female protagonist.
There are only two characters in this story- Ana and Rov. For ease of narration, I would be Rov myself. Nothing else will be told about them, like where they live or their habits! Any other characters also do not find literary space here because not only are they inconsequential but also that would be an inept attempt to make a rather ‘out of format’ short story long. I agree that the structure is wrong for a short story, but I also trust that this was never a short story but for the title. Physical descriptions of the two characters are left to be moulded as per the reader’s caprice!
Ana- the girl whom I simply can’t get off my head even after so many years in which I have not seen her. It is a strange dilemma I face. I cannot decide whether it is a delusion or true…”
Chapter I: The Obscure Beginning for the Uninitiated
It was my first year in college when I saw her. She was just another bespectacled female classmate.
My childhood rearing built a mental constitution inclined to be, by all appearances and opinions, shy of girls. Thus, it was only natural that I would need one damn good reason to know her! Laziness and disinterest were dishonest excuses.
On a particular day, she approached me in the break between two lectures. There were three rows in the gallery; two were occupied by boys and the third one, by girls. She came from that latter bastion, wherefrom inane giggles were emanating. Before I realized what was happening, she was there face to face to me, smiling.
That was the first time that I really saw her! And the reality of the situation was subdued by the projection of ethereality of her face and I reckoned the situation was such that I was supposed to be drifted into the realms of something fantastic, like in reel life.
I heard her say, “Rov, you are my guru. I am your disciple”.
The whole thing was set up to make a fool of me and though the idea was not lost on me, I had the least inclination to assume that it did matter! There remained only one thing in my field of vision. Everything else got blurred and gradually melted and evaporated.
She was exhilarated by the triumph over her mates in the ‘dare’ and was smirking at me all the lot more. I don’t presume myself to be smarter to read one big world in between those lines.
An incongruous smile escaped my lips and remained frozen as I tried to photograph every second of the drama in my mind. I liked to think that she could not understand the look on my face because her simper began to exude some amount of wariness and she could not perchance immediately figure out what to do next or how to make a retreat.
I moved little, my expressions changed little, although I can now picture a good deal of abashment creeping in; only my mind was let loose to be working at several times more speed than normal. I wanted to miss none of the myriad miniscule changes that were occurring in her countenance.
I was absorbed in appreciating the movement of every fascicle of her facial muscles trying to display the hilarity of the situation, the dance of her eyebrows in synchrony with the fluid expressions in her eyes filtered through the pieces of glasses that presumed the importance of adorning them.
I watched the alternating tightening and relaxing of the sinews of her neck to know that the performance was being propelled by quite a load of nervous energy, which was however disguised by the ebullient visage, though the latter, at the same time conveyed some evidences of being effortfully made up. The more than usual uneasy and semi-purposeful movements of her body helped me know that the observation was not untrue. But I did not know whether she was aware or blissfully unaware of all that, though I can always surmise and it would never matter whether I did it correctly or incorrectly.
I think that I have still not reached the point of exaggeration. I was judging the inflection of every word she spoke and the pauses in between them and the sharp intake of breaths during each of those pauses. My imagination was egging me on to do that.  But my self-proclaimed expertise in analysis of the situation was very much flawed and quasi-purposeful, to the point of reducing my own self to something unbecomingly comical. I had to laugh at myself as my sense of perception was blunted so much so that I was hearing her speak without understanding what she spoke. The words that she uttered entered my ears as disjointed syllables and were lost in the background din without enriching my memory. I would have liked to imagine that she was singing nice things to me.
At that moment, my brain directed me not to remain thus fascinated and inert but make some mechanical adjustments. So, I rested my chin on my palms with elbows supported on the desk and made an effort to throw her a vacant look and then a feeble attempt to do something of the semblance of grinning as if to help matters for her by conveying that the time she gave me to let the idea sink in had its desired effect and that such success could let her move on. Or, on the other hand, with the more plausible explanation, to help matters for myself, to let the idea sink in or else sink in the idea itself, if she moved on! She possibly took the cue, or otherwise turned to go, while her unrestrained giggles returned to reach my ears and as she moved back to her bastion, they melded with those of her mates. And in an effort to make my performance more agreeable to the drama, I concentrated to make myself aware of every step of her retreat while not looking in that side and rather assuming a look that meant to convey that I dismissed everything as if nothing happened. There was no great idea that struck me at that time. I would much later recognize it as fiction stuff. Meanwhile, the stage play rolled on.
The run of events in any script would direct me to put on the act. My performance was thus predictable. It followed along an axiomatic direction.
I wondered at the silly affection that lately assumed stronghold on me. In the days that followed, I was wont to looking at her to capture every move she made, every smile she let go, every bye she bade and every shrug that she did show and the rest of it! That was almost in the same vein as the one popular song by Sting. I however took care that she remained unaware of that covert operation.
Later on, I used to ruminate on possible variations of the role thus enacted. It required prolific mentation to invent an imagined parallel world, the motions of which I could control and let it be such malleable that both logical reasoning and paralogism found an equal footing!
In one opportune moment, I happened to be nearby her when a fellow was returning her a certain notebook. She immediately thrust it into my hands and I learnt that it was kind of an autograph book and I was expected to scribble answers to some commonplace queries. However, the answers were not nondescript. The footnote read thus, “Preserve yourself. By Jove, you are dainty!” Also published at about the same time was a piece of verse that was not so ambiguous in its description, context and design, besides being a proclamation of enamored stupidity. When I knew that the same had been read, I put on the garb of no-nonsense ideologue to escape any explanation and to render the whole thing inconsistent! Notwithstanding, the stage play rolled on. I remember her last words to me were, ‘Congratulations!’ when the results of the Final examination were out and immediately she disappeared into thin air. Thus, I missed to say the ‘Thank you’ at that time. That moment was yet to come.
Higher studies divulged us temporally and spatially. I found a peculiar relief. I organized the memories in one corner of my mind for future use and let the curtains fall.
Chapter II: Origin of Therapeutic Interference
Every malady does not have a cure. And I had a singular one.
Great ideas occur not only to great men! I know this is neither so good a one-liner nor a pseudo-masterful statement hackneyed from any little-read book of a best-selling writer. I however feel that the statement is appropriate at this moment.
The storyline had remained dormant for close to five years. The great idea was to let the stage play roll on again.
I located Ana in a far place via the Internet and gleaned relevant information. I sent her a mail and was happy to receive an elaborate reply. In the months that followed, an occasional interchange of words inclined me towards marveling at my idea! The interludes were also subconsciously well designed to tame inordinate wondrous feelings and frivolous talk.
On one occasion, Ana created a particularly long interlude spanning a few months. I almost came to believe that she might never know. The short story would remain my dream and that was disappointing.
Eventually, the disclosure of the consonance of her ability to my own to spring up a surprise with nonchalance was heartening. In one particularly hot and frustrating afternoon, I received an SMS from her that told me that she was in the same city as I was and that she was doing a job here. The news worked like a catalyst. A reply SMS declared to her, ‘The gift is ready for you.’
Chapter III: The Counterplot
At this point, for reasons I am not entirely conversant with, I am trying to empathize with an experimenter who failed because the results of his long and tiresome experiment deceived him and were tantalizingly deviant from the ones that he expected. But that thing is another matter, presumably unrelated to the present matter.

I will now proceed on to elaborate on what has been curiously entitled, “The Counterplot”. To make matters clear, my malady was the irresistible lure of the plot I had for a story and the cure to that was the opportunity that I had to write it down. Now, I am about to do something like treading on thin ice!
The difficult part, which was to find a novel theme, was never a problem. The easier part, which was to put words to paper, became one heck of a problem supposedly because I did not have a person to really take the trouble to read it seriously comprehending everything that was written.
I was clinging on to the expectation that my foray into writing must be met with some success that should satisfy my ego and for that, I needed the guarantee of a readership that would find the content intelligible and interesting. The same engendered inertia of rest and nourished it.  I wanted at least one person to make a favourable decision that my performance was well-nigh superlative and if not anything else, have a hearty laugh about it. To sum it up, I was uncertain whether any other person than Ana would qualify for being the desired medium.
The opportunity was always there. It was so evidently there, in front of my face, just under my nose. The idea was to romanticize the whole thing and thus to get a decent storyline, believing all the time that I would extricate myself well at the end of it.
I keep saying to myself from time to time:
Ana, the girl whom I simply can’t get off my head, even after so many years in which I have not seen her. It is a strange dilemma I face. I cannot decide whether it is a delusion or true love for the art of writing but it has been there in my blood all the time and I had to get the opportunity for some satisfying performance. Ana is special to me. Without her, this would have never materialized. It was because of this that she came back to my mind time and again all these years until I had to give in”.
Before I wrote this desultory heck of a story, I went through a long introspection. I was undecided whether I should put pen to paper or I should not! This seemed so much of an overbold exercise. I was weighing contrasting points of view. Why should I risk being labeled as ludicrous? Just for my nebulous perception of the theatrical quality of an innocuous incident. Of course, there may be other opportunities. Or unfortunately there may be none! On the other hand, Ana being gifted this short story may after all decide against having a laugh and find the discourse enjoyable in ways other than regrettably comical.
Ana, without so much of an effort, you have been magnificent! It is time to say “Thank you!


drmohsinrohman said...

Hmmmmmm! To put up a coment,"so cald coment" wich is, at par / say suitabl / quotabl / may b worthful / blah blah blah / ......,at the least,i may hav 2 wait 4 at least 5 damn years,as u did!!!
But,1 thing 4 sure,i havta put the word "WOW"!!!wheather 2 put it infront / at the end that u can decide!!!
Now,if u want me 2 luk 4m da perspectiv of a critic,den,lets face it,that u hav put a few damn,intangible words,wich wil b found by comon peopl(AAM AADMI / MANGO MAN,JUS KIDDIN,DUDE!) lik me,lik a medicin peopl doin xploratory laparotomy???
I m sorry 2 say that,i myself havta read it 1 n 1/2 times 2 hav n idea / say 2 go 2 da depth of ur "ROMA-FICT" story!!!
Needless 2 say,our "MANGO PEOPL" lik 2 hav a gud happy ending!Lik said in ICE-AGE-2,"A BIG HAPPY FAMILY EVER-AFTER"
So,in a nutshel,this is a story by a very gud writer wid super"IQ" , 4 a few readers with super"IQ" ,so much so that,de can digest it readily,with a burp containing the word "SIMPLY WOW"!!!

Rov said... make me smile in wonderment! :p

drmohsinrohman said...

Den perhaps u can mak a story of me toooo????????????
Dnt b serious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!