Friday, September 30, 2016

The Stuffed Toy's Story

“Hitomi was sixteen when she got me. She acted like she was six. Hugged me, cuddled me and called me all kinds of names. I never found out my real name. She took me everywhere. She used to take a photo of me wherever she went. There was me on the Eiffel Tower, on a church wall in Corsica, on a beach in Sarawak, on a boat in Sydney, on skis in the Alps. She never got to take a snap that last time. We were in a roadside eatery when four men grabbed her. They took us to a field. She fought. I tried too. We rolled on the ground. I felt her blood on me. I was crushed beneath her. A big policeman put me in an evidence bag. A day later he burned the bag and took me to his house. His daughter did not like me. His dogs liked me even less. One of them dragged me to some godforsaken place. A mean-looking man with gun picked me up. He was like Hitomi, not so nice. He used to talk to me. He killed people, put me on them, took photos and laughed. They want proof of what I can do, he used to shout. He walked on a mine. I was flung high. A girl found me. A dirty thin girl with no smiles no tears. She never talked. She dragged me by my ear. She limped. I kept going up and down because of that limp. We crawled into holes at night. She was scared of everyone. I tried to tell her it’s not all that bad. She was staring at me when we were blown to bits. I am dust. I am ash. I am little pieces. I am everywhere. I am in the air, on the ground, in every photo, everywhere.”

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vada with Chutney on Top

“This post could be about us,” Amar told his friends. When the other two did not respond, he read it aloud, “We used to be Amar, Akbar and Antony. Now, we are Hindu, Muslim and Christian.” He looked at his disinterested friends and said, “So true. These are sad times.”
“What’s his name?” Antony asked Amar, pointing at Akbar.
“Akbar,” Amar replied.
“No, his full name…”
“Akbar M.”
“It’s Akbar Menon, you fool,” Antony said. “And, his sister’s name is Anastasia N. previously M., Anastasia married to some Nair.”
“Bloody hell…!” Amar exclaimed. He looked at Akbar, “Your dad crazy or what!”
“Aren’t they all?” Akbar said.
“But you are a proper Antony, aren’t you?” Amar turned to Antony.
“Oh yes, Antony Gonzales, son of a Big B fan. His last words to me were: I have mother, you have nothing.”
“Was that true?” Amar asked.
“Of course not, his mother was dead twenty years, mine has still got that many left,” Antony said.
“She may not be your mother,” Akbar said.
Antony threw a vada with chutney on top at Akbar.
“So, what are you actually?” Amar asked.
“That’s top secret,” Antony said.
“Come on, out with it,” Amar pleaded.
“Antony Namboothiri, son of the one and only Brahmadattan Namboothiri,” Akbar announced.
“Bloody hell…! You two are fakes!” Amar cried.
“Amar, my friend, you are the true original,” Antony said.
“Always Amar the low caste,” Akbar said.
“I am not,” Amar protested.
“Yes, you are, yes, you are…” Antony chanted.
The three threw vada with chutney on top at each other.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Last Story

The murder was not a surprise.
On the sixth straight holiday, the supermarket did not even have banana or bread. That night, they had cracker and cheese for dinner, and Bounty chocolate, the old relic in the fridge untouched till then. The kids did not even notice. The man and the woman tried the television later, without luck.
It had started fine, the holidays. The picnic in the hills was good. A terribly disappointing movie after signalled the change of season. The man or the woman got irritated with the kids and their smartphones when they went out for an expensive dinner.
None of their friends called. They did not call anyone either. They kept their cool at his folks’ place, at hers too. On the way back home, one of them had muttered, “Bloody religion, have you noticed how eager people are to wish each other Happy This, Happy That, but can you talk about it, really talk, I can’t even talk about my own bloody religion!” The other thought, “Go on, talk about it, talk about my lot, isn’t that what you want to talk about? Before that, let’s talk about me, or you, bloody me, bloody you!”
The body was found…


My jokes made the old ones laugh, bodies shaking, tears flowing. “He’s so funny.” They cooked my favourite dishes, hugged me and made me feel loved.
When kids are unreasonable, it’s “Don’t be a fool”; sensible, “Hmm”; noisy, I glare or snarl; and, when they try jokes like mine, a snort, “Try again.”
“Cheat.” A kid’s shout echoes year after year.