Tales of a Clumsy Girl

#12 Wedding Wobbles

“I don’t want to get married.”

Mansi’s friends had heard these words a hundred times. Whenever she would watch a movie with a wedding scene, she would utter these words; whenever any of her friend would get married, she would utter these words; whenever the word ‘marriage’ would be uttered, she would utter these words. Her friends had heard these words so often that many had stopped registering them in the conversations anymore.

Yet, everyone was dumbstruck when they heard these words today. Her friends looked at each with a somber face which quickly turned to a shy and controlled grin. They looked at Mansi whose face was puffed, her makeup further radiated by the glow of her anger. Her bangles were shimmering and clunking as she flayed her hands wildly while the eyes turned more and more menacing.

“I don’t want to get married,” she said once more, her voice echoing in the hallway.

Her family looked at her worried. One of her friends dry-swallowed, came closer to Mansi and then with a soft and almost trembling voice whispered.

“But Mansi, you are already married. You just got married,” he said pointing at her bridal dress and makeup.

“So what?” Mansi huffed and sat down on a chair.

“I still don’t want to get married.”

Random Tales

Birth

It was a good life.

After almost 80 years of toiling and sacrifices, I had reached the end of the road. My son and daughter were sitting across the bed while my wife was holding my hand, while her other hand held a tissue which she was using to wipe the tears in her eyes. My grandchildren were sitting far away, in my eyesight but not close enough to see the gory truth of the death. They didn’t understand it yet that this is the last time they will see their grand fluff again. But it doesn’t matter. They will remember me and they will love me. I hoped that my parents were happy with the life I had lived, perhaps even proud of the person their son had become. My father had never seen the face of the school but he worked hard to ensure that his son goes to the best schools in the country. My mom had loved me and cared for me for every day of her life. Even on her deathbed, she was fussing over my clothes.

Yes, indeed. It has been a good life.

‘But was it good enough?’ The thought rang in my heart as my breathing laggard. My mind was too sluggish to make much of it but there was a spike of surprise that ran through the nerves. Did one of my family asked this question? Or was it a cosmic question put in my head by an entity bigger than I? Or was it a senile old man’s final thought? I did not know and now, I didn’t care. I closed my eyes and breathed my last.

I opened my eyes to a large auditorium. In front of me, in a semi-circle were sitting eleven people looking at me with varied looks that ranged from surprised to disgust to smile. I couldn’t guess the gender of the individuals and they looked as if the humans had evolved into a hairless specie that could breath anywhere, even in water or space.

Two similar people were standing in front of the panel, one standing beside me while the other at the far end looking at me with disappointment.

The person at the far end repeated – “But was it good enough?”

“Yes, it was,” the person next to me said. It (for I don’t know how else to describe the being) showed the reel which went through in less than a second.

It was my life! Each and every moment that I had experienced.

“How?” I said but it gestured me to shut my mouth.

I obeyed. The proceedings continued for an hour more. Each and every action of my life, each moment was scrutinised in grave detail while I sat there, trying to remember which religion had such detailed judgement.

Finally, the eleven judges (I had decided that they were indeed judging my life) stood up and the centre one looked at me.

We have conferred amongst us (When? I didn’t see them even look at each other once) and we have decided that her punishment is over. She can get her truth back.

As soon as the words were uttered by the central judge, I felt like someone had pushed eons worth of memory in my mind. My body started shedding, the hair first, followed by the skin. Below it was the same all-weather skin that each of the other members had and my body had also morphed into a single gender.

I was Athria, not a male or a female but a vale of the specie Omana.

As the memories flooded my mind, tears started to come to my eyes – first of joy at having returned and then of pain, immense pain of what I had done.

“Why?” I asked but Corana held me gingerly.

“It’s over now. It has been a long 80 years but they are over now. You can go back to your family,” Corana said.

“You became a lawyer,” I said. She smiled.

“What I did…”

“… has been stricken along with the punishment. You are free!”

“Thanks!”

“You should now go back to your home. 80 years is a long time. Things have changed. My assistant would help you with the details while I finish the formalities. Then, I will take you home.”

I nodded and went with her assistant.

My mind was whirling at the memory of the last time I was here.

“You have killed a human foetus. Why?”

The judge looked at me with fury. I stood firm. In my mind, I had made no mistake. Humans were an inferior species, barely capable of speech and other higher forms of intellectual achievements that makes us consider a specie intelligent.

“You have broken our most ancient laws. We don’t interfere with life forms in other planets. Let alone kill their younglings or foetuses.”

I looked with defiance at the judge.

“The stem cells would have given us new techno…”

“Silence! You have been found guilty on all charges. You will serve a life sentence. You will experience what it is to be a human. And we will repay the woman whose foetus you so arrogantly plucked and killed.”

My vision faded, the world going entirely dark. Without warning I am blinded by light. I hear a woman screaming and a doctor yell, “The baby is crowning!”

My sentence has begun.

Inspired by reddit/r/writingprompts:

[WP] “You have been found guilty on all charges. You will serve a life sentence.” The judge slammed his gavel on the table. My vision faded, the world going entirely dark. Without warning I am blinded by light. I hear a woman screaming and a doctor yell “The baby is crowning!”My sentence has begun.

Random Tales

Forever, together

Rama was alone in the house, thinking about Javed, shivering with anger. ‘How could he leave her like that?’ her mind looped back to this single question.

Rama and Javed had started dating two years ago when Javed had asked Rama out , knowing full well the differences between them, not just in their religion but their financial status, family values, and health. Rama came from a rich, albeit dysfunctional family – parents divorced, brother an addict – not to discount the troubles of being a woman in her society which still saw her a secondary character as compared to her useless brother. Javed was from a more modest background. He had reached the college through hard work, scholarship, and education loan. His whole lifestyle was focused on saving money to send it home to his parents whom he loved more than anything else and who loved and protected him with the same intensity. Javed would often laugh that his parents would even fight Allah if he ever found himself facing his wrath.

Amidst all these differences, Rama barely understood why Javed asked her out. They had known each other for just a few months and wary of her past relationships, where the guys were only interested in a casual relationship, she refused. Javed persisted.

“I like you. I don’t want to be your friend and I’m not going anywhere. Deal with it,” he had said one of the times when she had tried to gently turn him down. It took almost a year for Rama to finally agree. It didn’t take long for them to move in after, all differences forgotten.
Three months ago, more than two and a half years after they had met and more than one and a half years after they started dating, she asked him about the future.

“Where are we going?”

He hugged her and said – “We are going into the forever, together.”

She smiled and hugged him back. Soon enough, she talked to her parents about him. His parents already knew about her, everything about her. His mom would often call her to take her advice on the newest fashion or to know what Javed was doing. In comparison, there was furor, drama, and tension at her house when they found out about Javed but Rama and Javed prevailed. They convinced her parents that the differences of religion and status will be immaterial against their love.

“I’m so happy,” Rama said poking her stomach with a needle before her meal. “When will you come?” She asked Javed. Javed was going home to officially talk about the wedding.

“Three or four days, max. I can’t be without you more than that,” he said and hugged her.

That was a week ago. Yesterday, Javed came back, his face ashen, his grin forever faded, with a few new grey hair.

“What happened?” Rama asked, his stress infusing into her. Javed gave a small non-committal ‘it’s nothing’ and went to sleep.

Today, Rama came back from work and found a letter and an almost empty apartment. All of Javed’s belongings were missing. She opened the letter. Her expressions changed from shocked to enraged, tears flowing from her eyes, her fingers curling into fists.

‘I love you Rama, more than anything in the world. And my parents love you as well. They adore you and think that you are the best thing that has happened to me. And you know how open-minded they are about religion, caste, and financial backgrounds. That is why I was shocked when they told me that they don’t want us to get married. I fought them, asked them for the reason and we had extended discussions. The truth is that they don’t want a daughter-in-law who has a chronic disease. I’m sorry that I can’t go against them. I’m sorry.’

Rama crumpled the note. Wasn’t she honest with her illness? Couldn’t they say this two years ago when he first told them about her? Didn’t she convince her parents? She looked around the empty apartment through tear-filled eyes, his words echoing in her head –

‘Forever, together.’

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Goodbye Vinya

Vinya looked at the mirror and pulled her cheeks. She looked below and squeezed her breasts. She didn’t know what to make of it. Doctors had told that the symptoms for her disease would start with her having a shattered body. It had not begun yet but she had started to feel it internally. She had some discomfort moving around and she was getting tired sooner. Her body however, was still in impeccable shape.

“Maybe the doctor was wrong.” She said to herself and smiled at her own denial.

Vinya turned to her clothes and wore a burgandy dress that was gifted by Vivan to her. She had to tell Vivan that she was dying. It won’t be a pleasant experience but he deserved the truth. She was also happy that he was with her. She didn’t think she would survive this alone.

“Hey!” Vivan said sheepishly getting up from his seat. Vivan was always ahead of time. This meant that Vinya was always late. Vinya’s face lit up looking at Vivan. He was such a calming presence in her life. However, Vinya knew that the news she was about to deliver would change that for the both of them.

“You wanted to discuss something important?” Vivan asked while passing Vinya the menu.

“Yeah. I had been thinking this for a few days. I thought it is time I blurted this out.” Vinya said unable to meet Vivan’s eyes. It dawned to her at that precise moment that she was pulling him into a miserable situation and she wasn’t sure if she wanted that. She looked at Vivan and he was looking expectantly. He had a faint smile on his face as if awaiting a good news. Vinya didn’t wanted to shatter that. Yet, she was halfway through.

“I just wanted to talk…” Vinya said when she was interrupted by Vivan’s phone.

“Just a sec.” Vivan said and picked up the phone. He turned away a bit farther from Vinya and she could see him talking furiously. Vivan was agitated as only work could make him. He came back and sat down in a different mood.

“Something wrong with work?” Vinya asked putting her hand on his. Vivan looked at her dazed before coming back to reality.

“No. Not work. Vinya, we need to talk.” Vivan said and Vinya’s heart sank.

“Yes, Vivan.” Vinya said barely able to contain her emotions.

“I have found someone else. Her name is Neha and we met a few days ago. We have been talking since then and I have felt a connection I have never felt before.”

Vinya felt that she would burst. Maybe she had burst because her innards felt hollow. She just looked at Vivan expressionless. The two sat there for minutes like that.

“I am sorry.” Vivan said finally.

“Huh! No… no… it’s alright. Even I was thinking on similar lines. Perhaps we don’t have a long-term future.”

“Really!” Vivan said, his smile broadening. “I thought you would say something like that when you said you had been thinking.”

“Oh really!” Vinya said realising the source of Vivan’s faint smile.

“Yeah. I don’t want to break your heart Vinya but Neha… She and I are perfect.”

“Good for you Vivan.” Vinya said as a sharp pain shot in her chest. Doctor didn’t tell her that heartbreak could enhance her symptoms. She thought and laughed.

“Wow! You seemed really relieved.” Vivan said seeing her laughing. “I mean, we weren’t that bad, were we?” Vivan said grinning now.

“No. We weren’t. It’s just that things had proceeded so well for the both of us. I didn’t imagine it happening.” Vinya said and tried to give her most genuine smile.

“Awesome! Thanks Vin.” Vivan said and gave her a hug. Vinya hugged him hard, once last time and then turned away.

It had been six months since Vivan’s wedding. He had indeed found the one for him. Vinya looked at the mirror and smiled. Her body had started deteriorating the day Vivan and she broke up. Her face survived Vivan’s wedding, in which she was invited. She never talked to Vivan after that.

Today, however, she was unrecognizable. Today. The day she shifts from her home to the hospital. It was also the day when one year ago, she and Vivan broke up so it seemed apt to her to have another big change in her life on this day.

She had a couple of months left which she knew she would be spending in pain and possibly alone. She could never muster up the courage to tell Vivan her reality. Maybe he will never find out. Vinya thought smiling. The wrinkles on her face cracked and her chaffed lips started to bleed.

“Goodbye Vinya.” She said to the mirror and turned her back forever to it.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Apologies

“Umm.. I am sorry. I am SORRY.. I AM SORRY!!! THAT’S ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY.” She didn’t realise she was screaming by the end of the sentence. Sudhanshu’s ears were realising it too much.

“I just slept with a girl. It’s not like I fell in love with her. It was just physical.” Sudhanshu said casually. As much as he wanted to, he couldn’t care about Pallavi’s overreaction.

“We are in a relationship. How could you do this? How can you be nonchalant about it?” Pallavi said and threw her phone towards him. He grabbed it and kept it on the bed.

“Our relationship is still as it was. I still love you and care about you. This is just plain sex with a skank because I was missing sex with you. I did this because I was missing you.”

Pallavi burst into tears. She felt a strong pain in her heart that started to flow through her body. She was unable to breathe properly and was gasping between sobs.

“Sit down Pallavi.” Sudhanshu said and Pallavi obeyed. She didn’t think she could handle the stress standing.

“What is happening?” Pallavi said looking from Sudhanshu to the girl lying naked in the bed.

The girl was looking at the whole scene with a smirk on her face.

“It’s nothing Pallavi. You are taking it all very seriously.” Sudhanshu said and got out of the bed. He wasn’t wearing anything but didn’t care about it in the least.

“Who are you?” Pallavi asked the girl.

“Hi. My name is Pallavi as well. I work in his office in a different department. He talks about you a lot. It’s so good to finally meet you.” The girl said extending her arm towards Pallavi. Her blanket slipped a bit showing that she wasn’t wearing anything. Pallavi felt like she was punched.

“You two were really doing it.” Pallavi said. She realised that until she had seen both of them naked, she was still harbouring some hope that this was a prank.

“Of course. Sudhanshu is extremely good. And nice to me too. You are a lucky woman Pallavi.” The girl said.

“How long have you two been having sex?” Pallavi asked.

“A few months ago. Only when you are not in the city and I miss you.” Sudhanshu said drinking a gulp of water from the glass. He poured some water and gave it to Pallavi as well.

Pallavi took a deep breath finally. It was alright, she said to herself. Only a few months. In their 5 years of marriage, these few months are just a blip. This was just a phase that they would survive. Pallavi looked at Sudhanshu who was smiling at her. She turned to the girl, the other Pallavi who was beaming at her as if meeting a star.

“Oh don’t mind me. I have just heard so much about it. I have wanted to meet you for some time now.” The girl said and hugged Pallavi. She couldn’t understand what was happening. When she had entered her home, she didn’t imagine being hugged by a naked girl who was sleeping with her husband.

“You should leave now. Me and Pallavi will sort this out. Let’s meet after that.” Sudhanshu said to the girl. She got dressed, kissed Sudhanshu on the cheek, gave Pallavi another hug and left.

“This is not acceptable Sudhanshu. You can’t cheat on you. You can’t be this casual about it.”

“I wasn’t cheating on you. I was missing you.”

“How would you feel if I did the same on my trips?” Pallavi asked him looking at him directly.

“Like when you slept with my friend just before the wedding five years ago.” Sudhanshu said knocking the wind out of Pallavi.

“You knew about that.”

“Not then. I found out about it only a year later. He told me once drunk. Apologised and what not. Said to me that he didn’t know we were engaged.” Sudhanshu said with an old bitterness entering his tone.

Pallavi looked at him, heart broken.

“Why didn’t you confront me?”

“I love you Pallavi. I kept hoping that you would tell me some day. That someday, we would again be in a monogamous relationship.”

“I have never cheated on you since we have been married. It was a stupid mistake. I got scared by the prospect of marriage. Trust me.”

Sudhanshu smiled. “It’s alright. Maybe we can start over now. Honestly, I have only ever wanted to sleep with you anyways.”

“Really.” Pallavi looked at him smiling hopefully.

“Yeah. That’s why I was so happy that her name was Pallavi. It was so weird calling other girls Pallavi. They don’t like it one bit.” Sudhanshu said grinning.

“Other girls. How many?” Pallavi asked crestfallen. Sudhanshu started to laugh.