Killing the Red God

A serialization of my novel, "Killing the Red God". | Copyright: Hari Kumar | website: www.harismind.com | If this is your first visit, please start from the bottom (start of Chapter 1)

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Location: Singapore, Singapore

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Closing the blog

I am really sorry to inform you that I have decided to close this blog.

There will not be any more instalments.


Hari

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Part 4

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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“What happened, Kavi?” I am concerned.
“Your daughter, what’s her name? Where is she?”
“I thought you knew. Didn’t you read my mind?”
“I came out the moment I saw her face…too shocked,”
“Why? What’s so shocking about Pooja? What do you know about her?”
“Pooja…” she says softly, “So that’s her name…”
“How do you know her? Have you seen her before?” Unable to contain myself, I almost shake her violently.
“Calm down, Dil, and listen to me carefully,” her voice is calm now, her eyes dry. She smiles at me, “I am so happy today that I have found her at last… My soul mate… Child of my heart.”
“I don’t understand…”


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(To be continued...)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Part 3

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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Just to humour her I think of my office desk. My computer, a Dell Pentium III. I see her nod, eyes still closed, she says, “It’s your office cube, I see your PC, a Dell desktop.” In my mind, I imagine the unfinished design of a Rambooster chip that I’ve been working on for the past week. My mind is in the circuit, its intricacies. “Jeez, Dil, for Christ’s sake, I am not a techie, awright! All these circuits don’t make sense to me.”
I see my boss’s bespectacled face. In my mind I say his name — ‘meet my boss, Tan Kok Lee’. “Your boss, Chinese, glasses, chubby man, name — Tan Kok Lee.”
This is ridiculous. I don’t know how she does this, but I want to stop this nonsense. “Please don’t stop now. Just one more thought. One tiny thought and I’ll come out of your mind. I promise.”
My mind shifts to Pooja. I see her radiant face. I see Kavitha suddenly stiffen. She takes a quick breath, gasps. She moves her hands to her mouth and opens her eyes. Her eyes are filled with emotion. She falls in a heap on the floor. She holds her face in her hands and sobs softly. I rush to her.

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(To be continued...)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Part 2

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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“I am psychic, didn’t I tell you that?” she says that as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
“Yeah! And I am Bill Clinton,” we say together in one voice.
Startled, I withdraw my hands from the box I am pushing as if it singed my palms. I stare at her wide eyed, disbelievingly. She bursts into uncontrollable fits of laughter.
I regain my composure and say, “You’re smart. A very clever guess!”
“Clever guess??…That wasn’t a guess… I can read your mind when I want to, Dil…Honestly, I am psychic,” her tone is dead serious. “Okay. Just to prove it. Now think three thoughts. Any thing under the sun. Absolutely anything,” her hands are moving animatedly as she speaks. She closes her eyes.


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(To be continued...)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chapter 3 -- Mental Fundamental

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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“Come, now let’s unpack,” Kavitha says brightly, “and go through my history stored in those cartons,” she winks at me as she brushes past me to the living room. “But first…let’s put on some music…Pankaj Udhas it will be.”
“Why not Adnan once more?” I ask.
“Nah. I am afraid, we’ll forget our cartons and end up making love on this carpet.”
I look at her delightedly. For a moment I wonder whether she is really real. I wonder whether she is just a product of my fantasy, of a deep-rooted yearning. I approach her, as she is bending to slot in the CDs, and pinch her buttocks.
“Yeow!” she springs upright with a start, “What was that for?”
“Just checking whether you’re real,” I smile at her.
She gives me a kick to my shin.
“Oof!” I cry holding up my leg.
“Satisfied?”
The voice of Pankaj Udhas floats in.
“Come, lets stop fooling around and get down to business…The cartons marked ‘R’ — help me push them to Rohit’s room. All his stuff. He’ll unpack them when he returns.”
We push and drag the three boxes to the spare bed-room in the lower level of this duplex penthouse. They are too heavy to be lifted. Books or maybe files, I guess.
“Both,” she says.
“What?” I ask.
“Both books and files,” she says to my surprise.
“How do you know that’s what I thought?”

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(To be continued...)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 19

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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That night after we returned from dinner, she dug out a small address book from a bag that I have never seen her open. She had the phone by her side while she pored through the scribbles in the book. Just before lifting the receiver, she looked at me and said, “Can I have some time to myself, please?”
I left the room.
“Mr. Jacob, please,” I heard her say.
“This is Nisha,” and after a pause she said in an irritated tone, “your daughter, who else?”
(pause)
“Well, I want something from you.”
(pause)
“Yes. It is money…why else would I call you…? You realise you did not spend a paisa of dowry for me, don’t you. While you gave away fifty lakhs plus house plus car for Neena, you gave me nothing…You got yourself a son-in-law for nothing.”
(pause)
“So what if she married a ‘good Catholic boy of your choosing’. So what if I eloped! I eloped because I could. I was pretty, that’s why. And she could not because she was ugly. I am also your daughter. I too deserve what I should rightfully get. So what if my husband wasn’t a Catholic! (her voice is raised) He is an Engineer, from a very well to do family. He could have easily got twice that much from his community…”
(pause)
“What do you mean, you don’t have money?! I have been tracking you ever since you and Ammachi separated…Only the other day I saw your contented mug in the Dubai Lions Club web page, with that whore you’re living with…Hello…Hello…Shit!”
I heard her key the number again.
“I know he doesn’t want to talk to me…Just tell him that if he doesn’t talk to me now, his fellow Lions will be roaring with laughter seeing pictures of their President Lion rollicking in the nude with three Kodambakkam pussies…Yes I’ll wait.”
(pause)
“I don’t care what you call this…Blackmail or whatever…I want what is rightfully mine…once I get it, I won’t bother you…No, I can’t give you my word…Well, that is how it is. Take it or leave it…Hundred thousand US dollars…No, I am not crazy…look, I know it’s peanuts for you…LOOK, I AM YOUR DAUGHTER, MAN. A DAUGHTER YOU’VE FORSAKEN. OF A WIFE YOU’VE ABANDONED…” her voice was shaking.
(pause)
“I’ll send you my account number by email tonight…okay.”
On the second day in spite of Nisha informing me that she had sent my account details to her father, my heart skipped a beat seeing my account balance with so many zeroes at the end of it.
“Buy a car for thirty thousand,” she remarked studying my passbook, “keep another ten thousand in your account and transfer the rest to my account, which I opened in POSB today…I am going to do some courses…expensive ones…computer…MBA…and then let’s see what I can achieve.”

**************END OF CHAPTER 2
**************

Lookout for Chapter 3 -- Mental Fundamental

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(To be continued...)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 18

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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One evening, while waiting for our order at the neighbourhood hawker stall, she broke the silence by asking in a quiet voice, “Dilip, how much money do you have in your bank?”
“Very little. Just the month’s pay that came in today…Why?”
“Never mind,” she looked away, her eyes were glazed.
“Tell me, dear…if you need money, we can get a loan…”
“I am a failure…a complete failure…married to a failure,” she sobbed. It was the first time I saw her like this. She looked suddenly so vulnerable.
I patted her arm trying to console her, “Come on, Nisha. Don’t say that…don’t make a scene.” Luckily the place was largely deserted.
“Whatever I do is a disaster…whatever…I just want to get out of this shit-hole we’re in…But the more I try, the deeper I am falling in.”
“Come on, Nisha…It’s not so bad…try to be happy with what you have…”
“What do I have? Nothing…I am living among people who get drunk and piss in the lift, puke in the corridor. Among fish vendors and toilet cleaners. Among depressingly old folk…”
“We’ll move up slowly. But steadily. Be contented, dear. We’re still young…” I reached and squeezed her hand gently.
“No, I will not,” she said, brushing my hand aside and wiping her tears. Determination flashing in them. “I will not be contented…I will rise up…I will realise my dreams…with or without you.”
“Fine,” I said backing off.

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(To be continued...)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 17

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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As we stepped out of the room, Suppiah smiled toothily and told her with a wink, “We come see you after you go bank, okay, maami. You blanjah us, can?”
I heard the woman shout out a string of Tamil words that I could not understand.
Suppiah winced and said, “Wah! Fierce woman.”
While we were walking towards the Tekka Mall, I asked Suppiah, what this was all about.
“Well, maami’s regular customer come for facial today. When customer saw your wife, haah, she very happy. She tell your wife she wan’t to be pretty pretty like her. And your wife say something not right…” Suppiah chuckled.
“What did my wife tell her?”
“She say to customer, ‘you come wrong place…you go see plastic sergeant,’ she tell her.”
“Plastic sergeant? What is that?” I ask.
“The doctor, lah…The face cutting nose fixing doctor…You donno, ah?”
“Surgeon, you mean.”
“Ya lah, same lah… The woman go back crying. This make maami so mad, she shout at your wife, and rest, you know, lah…Any way, you very lucky that we come. If Chinese feller come, haah, he sure book your wife.”
Nisha sat brooding the entire journey back. I tried to stretch a comforting hand to her. She raised her’s and said, “Just… leave me alone…please.”

For a whole week she was very quiet. Her eyes were always distant, deep in some faraway thought. She barely uttered a word, answering my queries in monosyllables.

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(To be continued...)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 16

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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“Five thousand dollars? Isn’t that too much? For a small slap?” I ask trying to bargain. My bank account was in the month-end double digit. I’ll have to take out my credit-line chequebook.
“Small slap??” the woman exclaims, “I cannot attend my customer for next week orready! Who come to beautician with one cheek like panniaram? Who pay for my loss of business, eh?”
“Uhuh, okay okay,” I say, quickly taking out my chequebook. I was never good at bargaining, anyway.
“Wah! You big business man, eh? Stylo milo carry cheque book always!” Suppiah said with a smile.
I was about to write “Cash” against the “Pay to:” section of the cheque, when I changed my mind and asked the woman whom I should address the cheque to.
“Letchmi D/o Balagopal,” she said eagerly. Her anger had completely vanished.
She almost snatched the cheque from my hand, as I was about to extend it to her. She studied the cheque carefully; the date, the amount, the spelling of her name, my signature. She blew at the cheque a few times to make sure the ink had dried and then slipped it into her blouse.
“Aiyah, maami, don’t keep there, lah. Why you so kiasu? Your cheque be like kiam chye and bank don’t give you money.” Suppiah said.
The woman glared at Suppiah, but retrieved the cheque from her blouse and kept it carefully in her handbag.


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(To be continued...)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 15

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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“She called me the daughter of a whore! I should have slapped her other cheek too!”
“HOW DARE YOU…”
“PLEASE, LADIES, PLEASE. I throw you both in jail if you don’t calm down, NOW” Suppiah now raised both his hands and stood in between them like a traffic cop. Then turning to Shanmugavel, he said, “Shanmu, you take Madam Nisha and wait for us at the Tekka Market bus-stop.”
Suppiah closed the door behind both of them and said to Madam Letchmi in a voice that was almost pleading, “Please, maami don’t make me register this…Very bad for your business osso.”
“But she slap me…It hurts, no. Pain cannot thahaan,” Madam Letchmi was holding her fleshy cheeks in her hand, as if she had a tooth ache.
*****************************************************************************
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For every click Google pays me a few cents. Atleast that would earn me some small change for my writing efforts :-)
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*****************************************************************************
Suppiah looked at me and smiled, “We work something out, right Mr. Dilip?”
“What I can do, I will do,” I said, getting the drift.
“Well…If case register, Madam Nisha sure kenna fine. Minimum five kay. Maybe even short jail term. Plus court fee, lawyer fee etc. Altogether minimum ten kay plus jail. And what you get, maami? Nothing… bad business summore…So I suggest, haah — Mr Dilip, you give maami a small sum of five kay and everyone go makkaan be happy no worry…What say you?”


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(To be continued...)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 14

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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I gingerly opened the door to find, besides a harried Nisha standing stiff, two Indian cops in uniform and a mountainous lady who, I guessed, was in her fifties. For a moment I wondered how that woman could have squeezed through that narrow stairwell. It was a small room and had a single salon chair occupying most of the space. The big woman was sitting in the salon chair looking up at the cop who was talking to her. On the walls there were pictures of Khushboo, Jayaprada and a few other actresses whom I did not recognise. Facing the chair was also a large mirror, the sides of which were dotted with bindi stickers of different patterns. Beneath the mirror was a low cabinet crowded with different types of lotions and creams. One of the cops was telling the woman, "Enna maami idhu. We all same blood, what. Settle and be friends, lah…" when he saw me enter.

*****************************************************************************
Dear Readers,

Please click on the links given in the "Ads by Google" box shown in the left pane.
For every click Google pays me a few cents. Atleast that would earn me some small change for my writing efforts :-)
Sorry for disturbance. Read on...
*****************************************************************************

"Dilip, right? I Shanmugavel," the other cop said extending his hand. "This my colleague, constable Suppiah,"
"What's the problem?" I asked as I shook his hand hurriedly, just to get it over with.
"YOUR WIFE…" the mountain woman was on her feet, like a bull about to gore me.
"Aiyyo please, lah. Maami, we handle this, okay. Cool down, lah. Please," Suppiah said raising his hand in an attempt to calm her.
Then turning to me, Shanmugavel said, "Your wife, haah, slap Madam Letchmi. She call us in to register a police case against your wife."
"Here, look what that girl do," Madam Letchmi cried, pointing to her dark cheeks, "My eyes see stars, yuno!"
"Why don't you tell him why I did it?" Nisha retorted.



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(To be continued...)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 13

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

------------------------------------------------

Even six months after her “graduation” her attempts at finding an apprenticeship were a complete failure. She had completely neglected the “racial” aspect to these kind of jobs in her initial calculations. When finally the truth dawned on her, she tried to get a job in the few shanty Beauty Parlors in Little India. But there, her newly learnt skills of Eye-Brow Tattoo, Lips-Liner Tattoo, Eye Lashes Perming, Breast Development & Firming Treatment etc were not in demand. Instead their requirements were different. They wanted someone who knew skin bleaching, henna hair, mehndi designs, bridal makeup, black head treatment, threading, facials, special herbal treatments etc.

Finally and after swallowing her pride and agreeing to work for free (“It’s just for experience”), she landed a job as an assistant to a Madam Letchmi of “Minerva Beauty House” in Serangoon Road. I wouldn’t have known these details had I not received a call on my mobile on the third week of her “job”.
“You, husband of Madam Nisha Dilip Nair, IC no. S2654128Z?”, it was a male voice, very coarse.
“Yes,” I replied cautiously.
“Come immediately to Minerva Beauty House, No 23, Serangoon road…Have you taken that down?”
“I can remember…what is this about? Who are you?”
“I am constable Shanmugavel. Your wife is in some trouble. You have to come now.” He hung up.
My heart beat faster as all kinds of ugly thoughts passed through my mind. What could it be? What has she done now? What has she done now not what has happened to her? For a moment I was surprised how my mind had reacted. Is it really her or is it actually me? I didn’t have much time to dwell on these spiralling thoughts since the cab journey to Serangoon was quite short.
No 23, Serangoon Road was a narrow opening between two busy vegetable shops, which led to a dingy and steep staircase that was littered with half empty sacks of potatoes and onions. There was a door at the high end of the staircase on which was painted “Minerva Beauty House, call Mdm Letchmi for appointment.”

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(To be continued...)


Monday, October 03, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 12

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website http://harismind.com/emailme.html

Now for the latest instalment....

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Then came the Cosmetology craze.

A few months after the hotel fiasco, Nisha decides she wants to be a Cosmetologist. I wasn’t sure what that was when she announced her intention. I had assumed it was some high tech profession that’s got to do with outer space — comets specifically — and thought it unusual for Nisha to turn into a stargazer all of a sudden. But then the ways of women were so unpredictable, so I left it at that.
When she showed me the brochure of “The Mona Lisa School of Cosmetics and Make-up Artistry,” things became a lot clearer. The three-month MAD (“Make-up Artistry Diploma”) course made a dent of three thousand dollars to my meagre savings account, but it occupied Nisha for that period; so I was not entirely miserable. Moreover, she seemed so very gung-ho about the whole thing, that her enthusiasm was even infectious at one point leading me to think that this course was probably worth more than the money I paid for it. “This is ME!” she would say excitedly, “O how I wasted my time on that stupid hotel job! Shoulda done this much earlier. Just watch, Dilip. As soon as I get my Diploma, I will work in one of those upmarket Beauty Salons for maybe a few months. And once I learn the finer tricks of the trade, I’ll go solo.” (Now at this point, I must emphasize that this Nisha was the Nisha Dilip Nair, ambitious yet ignorant; maybe even a tad too naïve. She had this tremendous desire to achieve, but her goals were far too nebulous for any clear plan to be drawn up.) She was in for a surprise. A very unpleasant one.

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(To be continued...)


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 11

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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The invites tapered off and, thankfully, we soon became forgotten in the social circuit, when I politely turned down many of the subsequent invitations.

During the early years, when she wasn’t working, she whiled away her time reading women’s magazines, the newspaper, management books, weighing her breasts, keeping track of her waistline, loitering around Shenton Way, calling up her bridge-pals etc. These were certainly more important than the dreary, thankless chores of the home. Then after Pooja was packed off to India, she found a job as a front office assistant for a medium range hotel.

One Friday evening, after five months on the job, she came back from work in her natty maroon uniform and threw her handbag on the couch with much ferocity. “What do these pigs think I am, huh? A smiling machine? None of us at the reception protested when last week they introduced a rule saying that all front office staff should smile at our guests and — you wouldn’t believe this — must show at least eight teeth when doing so. Eight teeth! Can you believe it?! Eight fucking teeth, like a fucking Dinosaur!” her cheeks were flushed with rage, “We thought it was just a joke. How the hell are they gonna implement it? We asked ourselves. But then, on Tuesday they install a camera pointing at us. And yesterday I get this insane memo from the management saying that out of the thirty-one guests I serviced on Wednesday, on twenty eight occasions not more than four of my teeth were visible. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS? I rush to my supervisor and tell the fat bitch with all my politeness: ‘Madam, please understand, my mouth is small. I have small, sexy lips. If I show eight of my front teeth, my face will split into two.’ and she replies in a condescending tone, ‘How come everyone else can do it, but you?’ I tell you, this pisses me off. So I tell her, ‘because everyone else has a BIG BLOODY MOUTH. Like yours.’ She gets up, shakes her droopy tits, says, ‘I don’t want to talk to you,’ and storms off in a huff. Within a minute the manager calls me. A tired old white man with a face like the Hush Puppies Bassett Hound’s. He gives me a long fucking lecture. About rules and regulations and this and that. About service quality, ISO, continual improvement and all such meaningless gibberish. He says: ‘since we are planning to get our ISO certification in a year, every aspect of our service should be measurable. Frequent audits will be done and our service must continually improve, year after year,’ at this point I interrupt him, ‘Sir,’ I tell him, ‘with all due respect, in that case next year the target would be sixteen teeth and the year after that it would be thirty two, I guess. So if I am to remain in this great hotel for the next three years, you’re telling me that I must be prepared to surgically implant an extra set of dentures and open my mouth wide enough like a circus hippo for a whole minute until the guy behind the camera can count all my sixty-four teeth every time an unfortunate guest pops in.’ I said that in one breath. Mr. Hush Puppies glares at me and says in a slow measured tone, ‘I think you’re too smart to work here. I suggest you collect whatever dues the hotel owes you from the HR, and vacate your position immediately,’ and then I tell him that he can shove it up his stinky pink ass and I walk out of there. On my way back, I stop at the reception to say bye to my colleagues. I see them grinning like Lady Dracula about to pounce on the unfortunate guest who just walked in with a large backpack bending his frame. The man sees their teeth, scratches his head, says, ‘I am not sure I am at the right place,’ and takes the next cab outta there.”


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(To be continued...)

Friday, September 30, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 10

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

If you happen to be a literary agent/publisher (or someone who can help me get my book published) and feel my writing has potential, I would be forever grateful if you could contact me through my website www.harismind.com

Now for the latest instalment....

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I think he was a Professor at the NUS. Once during a housewarming, this guy comes up to me while I am standing in a corner balancing my plate of food. He was a short, balding man in his late forties. “Your wife is ammayzing!” he says between mouthfuls, “What a fantastic brain in a fantastic baady! Looks like a fillum star and talks like Einstein! Ammayzing! Ammayzing! You are a lucky man! My wife Saroja, Yemmessee Physics. But now only knows how to make Sambar and beat the children,” he laughed before moving away.

After a while I heard a stifled cry of pain coming from the kitchen. A tall powerful man, one of the other guests who had downed the largest quantity of beer, came out clutching his groin. He had a pained look, almost of boyish hurt, on his face. Following him was Nisha in regal mien as if nothing at all had happened. The man dragged his family out and left quickly mentioning some excuse about going to Changi to receive someone, the wife, though, had a bewildered expression. We stayed back for the dessert, made small talk and left when everyone was leaving. In the cab (I hadn’t yet bought my car), Nisha tells me, “That big bear, I gave him a kick in his balls he’ll never forget. Next time he gets the urge to fondle someone’s boobs he’ll remember it.”


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(To be continued...)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 9

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

Now for the latest instalment....
------------------------------------------------

She clears the table, dumps all the food packets into a large trash bag, ties it up neatly and throws it into the trash chute. She then cleans the table thoroughly, first using a wet sponge soaked in a soap solution and then with another lightly moist sponge and lastly with a dry smudge-free cloth applying long, even strokes. She inspects the table for any smudges by keeping her eye close to the table and looking at it sideways. I am impressed at her thoroughness, at her quiet efficiency, at her perfectionism for a task so mundane.

Nisha was never too concerned about housework. In fact she did nothing of that sort. The early years in Singapore were blissful, though taxing for me. I had to do every bit of housework from sweeping (every day morning — ‘good exercise’, she told me, while getting ready for her morning jog), mopping (once a week), washing the clothes (every third day — but the machine did most of the work), putting the clothes out to dry (every third day — this was a real chore, loading the bamboo poles so that the lighter ones like Nisha’s panties and bras are at the farthest end and the heavier ones like the towels are closer, balancing it and gently easing them into the pipe holes), ironing (once a week — sickening!), cooking (only on week ends — meals on weekdays were mostly at the neighbourhood hawker. Nisha, thankfully wasn’t too fussy; she could survive on fruits, vegetable sandwiches made out of wholemeal bread, fish soup, mee goreng etc), shopping, feeding baby Pooja in the middle of the night (every night; luckily there was this genial old Indian lady living three doors from us, who offered to take care of Pooja during the day time for a small monthly fee of three hundred dollars. She would take Pooja just before I left for office and bring her back clean, well fed and asleep late at night. On weekends, after much wheedling, Nisha agreed that Pooja could remain with us. But feeding her and changing nappies were entirely my responsibility).
During those days, we were occasionally invited for a stray birthday party or a housewarming by other desi acquaintances. We never took Pooja along since, as expected, Nisha flatly refused to have anything to do with her. I felt it would be odd if I were the only guy changing nappies between beers, while the wife sits there shaking an idle leg. She would come made up like a Karaoke girl, with streaks of died brown hair, blood-red lipstick, in a short skirt and showing generous quantities of skin. While she is doing her marathon make-up, I would tell her after carefully crafting and rehearsing the words in my mind, “Dear, you would feel terribly awkward if you wear such clothes and make-up for this party. All the ladies will be in churidars or saris. It is a gathering of Indians only…” and she would reply, “Look, Dilip, if you don’t want me to come, you just say so. I’ll gladly stay here. But don’t expect me to be your obedient wife and accompany you in such shitty clothes. That’s not me, okay.” At the host’s, she would sit by my side sipping beer along with the other men, while the rest of the wives are closeted in an adjoining room, (usually the master bed room), talking about their children’s schooling, the sale at John Little or the latest serial in Zee. In the living room, sitting beside me, she would be making frequent and insightful contributions on the Singapore economy, its relations with Malaysia, globalisation, the Euro against the Dollar etc. while I would mostly remain silent with my beer mug. It was clear that she wowed the men from the expressions of naked amazement in their face. As the beer bottles became empty, the gaze of the husbands sometimes wandered to lower areas of her body.


------------------------------------------------
(To be continued...)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 8

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

Now for the latest instalment....
------------------------------------------------

“You’re so cute when you lie,” Kavitha says, her eyes bright with amusement.
“Okay. That’s enough of my personal life.” I get annoyed.
“You’re even cuter when you get annoyed.”
“I am not annoyed… See,” I give her an insane smile.
“It’s too bad you’re wife doesn’t know how good a lover you are,” the chicken bone is now clean, completely stripped of any meat, yet she’s still sucking at it.
“It’s too good you’re husband doesn’t know how bad a lover you are,” I retort.
“Liar!” she throws the bone at me. I duck.
“You know what happens to liars? Heard of Pinocchio? Your nose will grow long and long and long till you need an extra support for it… There!” she exclaims pointing at my nose. “Your nose just grew an inch longer!”
I touch my nose impulsively. She laughs. I laugh with her.
She points to my half-finished chicken rice, “Can I have that?”
I push it to her. She scoops a spoonful of rice after sprinkling oyster sauce on top of it. “The way you made love told me that you’ve been — like me — starving for years. Starving for love,” she swallows the rice. “And, remember,” she shakes her spoon at me, “Sex outside marriage is a sin. That is called adultery. But not love, love is no sin, it is God. Love is God. Haven’t they taught you that? So there is no need to mope around feeling guilty for having ‘sinned’ “ she makes a “quotes” gesture with her hands.
“Interesting theory,” I say, “but we did have sex, didn’t we? Besides, I am not too worried about the sin of adultery — in fact, I don’t believe in sin at all — but of the guilt of betrayal…”
“But the sex we had was so much outweighed by the love we had. And love being God, the net result of our action was so much more positive. Can’t you see? The world is a much more beautiful place now. And where is betrayal? Whom did you betray? Your wife? Hasn’t she been betraying you by starving you of love?”
“Well, I don’t know… I feel good physically and maybe mentally. But morally, this nagging guilt…”
She looks deep into my eyes and says softly, “I will help you overcome it, Dil. Believe me, we haven’t done anything wrong. We were starved souls seeking nourishment. We have just momentarily quenched our thirst. Now go to the living room while I clear this mess. I need you to help me unpack those cartons.”

I am not convinced at her, rather silly, theories on morals to soothe my guilt. But then, guilt is just another feeling that I was sure I would overcome. In due course, with or without her help. It’s a lovely world, this world of routine, of repetition that dulls sensitivities and diminishes feelings of guilt, of betrayal and, to a much lesser extent, of sin. Is this tiny guilt because I, perhaps, do love Nisha in some unexplainable way? Do I love her, my wife of thirteen years, mother of my only child, to whom I, as Kavitha claims, have never made love? For a moment, I ponder this heavy thought. I look at it differently: would I shed a tear if I were to know that she had suddenly died? I don’t think so. I will get on with life. Collect her insurance, be secretly happy in the knowledge that I would no longer need to pay the HDB mortgage, perhaps bring Pooja over, perhaps… remarry? No, I don’t think I would do that, any way certainly not within the first few years. Not after one bad experience. Bad experience? Was it really so bad? Was she really so bad? I have had happy moments with her. The first six years of our marriage was really quite blissful, and the three of us were actually happytogether. Well, almost, but then there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, is there?
Did she love me, and hence by some unwritten law I am duty bound to love her in return? Did she love me? Would she in turn cry for me if, say, a bus were to run over me tomorrow? Cry for this loser of a husband who can’t even afford a decent car? Her cheeks would remain dry like the deserts of Arabia, I am sure. Then what is this that has kept us together in miserable matrimony in these thirteen, sorry, seven long and winding years? Why wasn’t that D word — that horrible horrible word — ever thought of as a solution to this misery? Why is this seven-letter word so unthinkable for me? Is it my old-fashioned Indianness, that genetic legacy, that accursed adaptability, which prevents me to even think of that seven letter word? Or is it this sheer current of life that has overwhelmed me like a little leaf in a monsoon drain so helplessly caught in the gush of routine to even think of myself, my feelings, my self-respect, my happiness, my separateness? Or is it…is it this snip of a woman, who has opened me up like a pomegranate and showed me my desires sleeping within me like red rubies…


------------------------------------------------(To be continued...)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 7

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

Now for the latest instalment....
------------------------------------------------

Then one Saturday morning as I was reading the Straits Times, I saw her carry her pillow and bedding out to the common corridor and lay it on the patch of sun in front of our door. I noticed her trying to avoid showing her face to me. I walked up to her with the steaming mug of coffee in my hand and asked her casually, “What’s up, Nish?”
“Blasted ants. They ate up my face last night,” she showed her face to me. It was dotted with red spots.
“You sure it’s not some allergy?” I asked with concern.
“Nah. My pillow was crawling with ants in the morning. I think, it’s your spunk… I guess it’s sweet enough for the ants… Better get yourself checked for diabetes or something.”
“Cannot be. I got a full medical only last week. I am in the pink. I don’t think it’s because it’s sweet. Ants are naturally attracted to protein.” Secretly I was happy. I was hoping she would stop this disgusting habit. But she had other ideas. That night I noticed a small bowl of water under each steel leg of her cot. “Let’s see the ants get at my face this time,” she said gleefully, marvelling at her innovativeness.
But when that pert Preethy with her pageboy cut and sophistication, wandered into her bedroom and remarked with a deft twirl of her dainty fingers, “Nish, dear, is this your idea of a waterbed, or what?” triggering peals of laughter from her other bridge-mates, Nisha felt humiliated.
That night being that special once-a-month night she says between my grunts, “I am finished with these bridge bitches. I’ll teach that Preethy chooth, a lesson. Just watch. Instead of being a dumbo bimbo like her, I will rise up in the corporate circles. Get respect from men who matter. Just you wait and see…” She was fuming under me. I could feel it in the way her muscles tightened around me.

------------------------------------------------
(To be continued...)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 6

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)
If you like my writing, please help me popularise my blog--please recommend it to your friends.

Now for the latest instalment....
------------------------------------------------

Sex with Nisha Version 2 was by the calendar. Once every month, two days after her periods. She opens her legs; I go in-out, in-out while she talks about her plans, office gossip, general bitch-talk.
I am not allowed to touch her breasts, her lips, her buttocks since she read somewhere that too much touching during sex will make them sag like over-ripe mangoes.
I come into a wide-mouthed glass bottle kept by the bedside. She could never stand condoms although that would have been more convenient for me — I had more than once grabbed the timepiece in my frantic groping-in-the-dark and come all over it’s innocent time-telling face — since she had this strange notion that rubber could be carcinogenic (“you want me to die of cervical cancer, do you, man?”).
While I go to the bathroom to clean-up, she carefully takes my deposit and adds measured quantities of aloe vera oil, a dash of turmeric powder, five drops of tea tree oil, three tablespoons of cucumber juice and a few other herbal extracts as if she were a seasoned chemist. She mixes them to a paste and that’s her one-month’s supply of beauty cream — ‘Oil of Dilay,’ as I called it — the secret of her youthful skin.
She keeps this mixture in the fridge and every night, two hours before bedtime she would take a teaspoonful of the cream and keep it outside to warm up to room temperature. Then just before going to bed she would wash her face thoroughly with a deep skin cleanser and then apply this sperm cream on her face and neck evenly in a thin layer. Seeing her sticky face is enough to make me sleep in the guest room. But I don’t tell her that — I blame it on ‘gas’ (thankfully, she is not too fond of sleeping with flatulent men; but looking back, I guess she knew that I was faking it and she couldn’t care less any way; she got what she wanted) and quietly retire to the adjoining room.

It’s been more than six years since she’s been using this semen paste, and the effects, I must admit, are nothing short of miraculous. Her constant source of worry was her skin; it’s chapped, lifeless look always haunted her. “The first thing one sees in a person is her skin, not her eyes, not her hair, not her tits” she would say looking woefully into the mirror. She had tried everything, Vicco Turmeric from Mustafa, skin tonics, Fancl creams, expensive oxygen treatments, skin tone therapies, Ginvera hydrating masks etc. Nothing seemed to work.

Then in some obscure book, she read about the cosmetic benefits of semen. The first month of using this potion itself created such a drastic and noticeable change in her appearance that the aged Chinese man, who lives with his wife in the next-door apartment and whom I usually meet in the lift during my seven o clock rush remarked, “You got new wife, ah?” When I shook my head, he looked at me suspiciously and said, “She look one kind, meh. Vely…vely…” he was struggling for the right word, and then he turned to his wife and said something in Hokkien. “Bootiful,” she said, as her eyes brightened up. “Hah! Bootiful bootiful,” he said grinning. “Not new wife, laah” I replied, “Recycled, mah.”
“Lee…cycle, Haah?” he asked.
I nodded.
Then he pointed to his wife and said, “Can lecycle, haah?”
I looked at the old woman and then at the bent old man, who I guessed, must have been in his seventies. I imagined the lady’s face plastered with the man’s cosmetic juices. She would need a triple dosage applied every couple of hours, I reckoned. For the man’s sake, I said, “Beyond recycle.” The lift reached the ground floor.
“Haanh?” the old man asked, his hand behind his ears.
“Bey-ond recycle,” I repeated as I stepped out of the lift, “Bey-ond”
“Buy one lecycle, Haah?” his eyebrows raised, his forefinger pointing to the ceiling.
I nodded, just to get rid of them; I didn’t have the time for any lengthy discussion. “Bye,” I said. I saw them nod their head to each other. “Bye,” the old man said, “I bye one lecycle…Xie xie ni,” he clenched both his fists together and shook it as a gesture of thanks. I waved at them and rushed towards the car park.
Within the week, I saw the old lady puffing away on a gleaming new exercise bike outside their apartment. I smiled at her as the man came to the door. “Lecycle,” the man said proudly pointing to the bike and giving it a thumbs-up, “Vely good”.
Nisha was overjoyed at the results. She once even broached the idea of starting a business. But seeing the flaccid look in my face (“I am not cocksure that that business would succeed, dear. Besides the raw materials are limited.” I had replied with intended pun) she decided not to pursue it with me.

------------------------------------------------
(To be continued...)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 5

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)

Now for the latest instalment....
------------------------------------------------

We start to wolf down the food as if we just broke a long fast. I look at her as she fights with a chicken leg. She is now wearing a white tee shirt and a pair of shorts. Her hair is still moist and unkempt. Something reminds me of Nisha. I am uneasy. I feel sick.
I push away the food. “I am sorry, I can’t eat,” I say.
She looks at me blankly for a long ten seconds. Her face is expressionless.
I feel naked at her stare. Uncomfortable. “Why are you looking at me like that?” I ask.
She ignores my question and shifts her interest to her chicken leg, “Tell me, Dil,” she says between munches, still looking at the piece of chicken, “Is your wife beautiful?”
I nod, guilt growing in me, “She is pretty… Very sexy.”
She nods with me, “My husband’s handsome too… In a cold practical way…Hmm, this is good,” she says referring to the chicken. “Is she cold and practical too?”
I am puzzled at this conversation, “She is a practical person…but I am not sure whether she is cold or not…maybe sometimes…” She is not cold — I think — she is frigid!
“Can I ask a personal question?” she does not wait for my answer, “How often do you make love nowadays?”
“Why do you want to know all this?”
“You don’t have to answer it, if you don’t want to. Just a casual question… After all, we just made love. And that too, twice. So I feel a certain intimacy with you… Just forget I asked.”
“No. It’s okay. Once a month, I guess,” My eyes roll upwards as I try to remember.
“I don’t think you got my question. My question is: How often do you make love not sex? I can have sex with a dildo, but I don’t make love to it, if you know what I mean.”
“Once a month,” I repeat, nodding my head for emphasis.

------------------------------------------------
(To be continued...)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 4

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)

Now for the latest instalment....
------------------------------------------------
By the time she returns, I am in my clothes. She looks relieved, "One of those pesky evangelists… Wants to make me a Witness: 'Be ready for the second coming', he says to which I reply: 'No thank you, I just came a second time today.' He looked at me blankly when I shut the door,"
I laugh out loud.
"I thought I got away from these pests when I said bye to the US"
"That's funny. I thought the security would have taken care of such trespassers," I say suspiciously.
She looks at me and quickly goes to a video display unit attached on the wall by the main door.
"Oops!" she says. "It's still disarmed. I had disarmed it after my 'heroic attempt', the other day… So that you can enter the flat and save me, when I have passed into dreamland."I walk to her with some curiosity.
"See," she tells me gesturing to the display, "Now I've armed it," she presses a button beneath the display. The button lights up and instantly a picture forms on the display. It's a view of the lift lobby. There is no one at the reception. Within a few seconds we see the receptionist coming to his seat. He is fiddling with his zipper, making sure it's not undone. "Hah! There!" she exclaims, "The guy had gone to the gents when that preacher sneaked in.
"Then she presses another button and the display changes to a view of the lift interior. Pressing it once again shifts it back to the lift lobby.
"Once this is armed, even the lift door will not open unless I press this button," she explains to me pointing to yet another button on the panel. I can also speak to the visitor by pressing this one here,"
"Impressive. So when are you giving me a set of keys?" I move closer and bury my nose in her moist hair.
"Let me see if you're worthy of it," she winks at me as she gently pushes me away, "Any way, come, let's eat…after all that work out, I am famished."



------------------------------------------------
(To be continued...)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 3

Author's Note:
For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from
here (Click here!)

Now for the latest instalment....
------------------------------------------------

She is in the Jacuzzi, smiling, her head above clouds of floating foam. “So now, you want to be hassled,” she says.
“I want to make peace…I’ve come with a peace offering,” I give her the glass.
She smiles, takes a sip and says, “If you want to make peace, make love first,” and pulls me into the water.
She undresses me with an urgency, as if the fate of the world rests in my underwear. Yet the love we make is tender, prolonged. Our movements are slow, to the rhythm of Sami’s Tera Chehra… that wafts in and fills the bubbles of foam, the niches and crevices of our bodies. The music resonates in us, we become its instruments. Our bodies lose their denseness; become beats of the tabla, the breath of the flute. At the end of Roothay Huay I reach my peak unhurriedly, while my lips are locked in hers. I feel her shudder under me. We both lie in each others arms, eyes closed, spent, for how long I do not know. Adnan sings Tera Chehra… again: Ye zameen ruk jayee (this earth stops moving), asman jhuk jaaye (the sky bows down), tera chehra jab nazar aaye (whenever your face comes in sight).

I open my eyes as she opens hers. In that moment I see answers to all my questions in her eyes, as I know instinctively she sees the answers to all hers in mine. We lock our lips again; our tongues greet each other and intertwine in a primordial ritual. I hold the ovalness of her face in my wet hands and look into her eyes once again. A whole range of emotions sail through them. I lift her from the waters as delicately as one would a baby from its bath. Her eyes are fixed in mine. I place her dripping wet body on the soft bed, a grey patch grows on the white linen, the small purple flowers darken as if drenched by rain. I fetch a dry towel from the bath rack and dry her body gently. Her long thick hair is still moist in spite of my work on it. She then takes the towel from my hand and dries me with it. I spy an eyebrow pencil on the bedside table and reach for it. I gently push her to the bed and write on her lower abdomen:
“Is the heart awake, has the spirit returned?
In this passion-fire, all distress burned?”
She reads my lines, smiles at me coyly. I place the eyebrow pencil on to her outstretched hands.
It tickles me as she writes on my stomach:
“My heart's awake, my spirit's on high,
And clouds have cleared to a brilliant sky”
I kiss her again. A delicious madness engulfs me. Through my tongue it infects her. Our skins are warm. Hot. Feverish. We make love again. Our tummies rub. Our words make love with us. They mingle and become dark smudges…
We are exhausted now; a blissful tiredness spreads in our limbs. I lay, spent, on her softness; her arms encircle my back and play with my hair. Sweat breaks out in the regions where our skins touch.
The doorbell intrudes upon the soft sounds of our bodies making small talk. She gently pushes me away and steps out of the bed.
She looks worried. “Put your clothes on,” she says quickly. She grabs a bathrobe and wraps it around her before leaving the room.
------------------------------------------------

(To be continued...)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Chapter 2 -- Part 2

For reading the first chapter, you may download it in Acrobat PDF format from here (Click here!)


I have a good look at the living room. It is tastefully furnished in Balinese style. The boxes are still there like an ugly pillar. There is a huge painting of Koi fishes in a pond. The water in the painting flowing into the room, signifying good Feng Shui. That is perhaps the only thing that is not Balinese in this room. But then Feng Shui is important. At one end of the room is a large glass door, with French windows on either side that leads to a spacious balcony. I step into the balcony. There is a rock garden with a water feature and a stone Buddha at one corner of the balcony. There are rattan chairs in the middle and a lush garden beside it. A lovely breeze is blowing, playing with the bamboo wind-chime that is suspended from the overhang, making throaty, erratic sounds. I can see bumboats plying the Singapore River. There are a few high-speed boats too. I watch the boats tearing the water, as if unzipping its fluid skin. I get bored after a while and step back into the living room.
I walk to the large display set that houses the TV and the music system, besides some nick-nacks. There is a loose pile of CDs on one of the shelves, mostly Ghazals by Pankaj Udhas, Chitra Singh and Adnan Sami. I choose three Adnan Samis and feed it to the machine. His soulful voice floats in: Pyaar bina jeena nahin jeena (Living without love is not life), Mujhse bichhadna kabhi na…(Do not ever desert me)
Perhaps it is Sami, I do not know, but I am in the mood for some whiskey. I select a Black Label and a glass from the bar and pour myself a stiff one after dropping two ice cubes from the fridge. I take a sip and then another…
I do not know if it’s Mr. Walker or Mr. Sami or both who is responsible for the strange stirrings in me. I am at peace with the world. At peace with Nisha (let her be, let me be). At peace with Kavitha…? I have to make peace with her, an urgent need. I pour a peace offering and drop another two cubes in it and walk to her bedroom. The bathroom door is ajar.

(To be continued...)

Friday, September 09, 2005

CHAPTER 2 – The Poetry of Sex

“My husband’s clothes are in his cupboard. Do help yourself and change into something homely,” she waves her arm towards one of the rooms.
“It’s okay. I am fine.”
“We have work to do, Dil,” she almost sounds like my boss reminding me of a deadline.
“What work?”
“Help me with this mess, please,” she pleads. Her hand makes a rough sweeping motion indicating the boxes and suitcases on the floor.
A dark thought sails through my mind: Was this all an elaborate ploy?
She reads my face and says pulling up the sleeves of her churidar to reveal a scar on her wrist, “This was Dallas one year back. At the peak… no… at the depths. Six days in hospital. Rohit — that’s my husband — saw me bleeding, said, “Have a nice day,” and went for his board meeting. The cleaning lady called 911.”
“Oh… I am so sorry…”
“No need to be. Not your fault any way,” she looks at her wrist and rubs it with her thumb and says, “Shit! I am filthy…! Tell you what, Dil, I’ll take a quick shower and then we’ll have our brunch. After food we’ll fix this place, okey?”
She hurries to the bedroom. “Just be a minute,” she calls from the bedroom, “An hour-long minute, that is,” I hear her chuckle. “Make yourself at home, Dil. Have a drink, put some music or something.”
I hear the faint rustle of clothes, a wardrobe being opened and shut. Again I hear her voice calling from the bedroom: “Do you want to step into the bathroom with me, Dil? I know you’ve seen me naked.”
I don’t reply.
“I am naked now… If you don’t reply till I count to 5, I am gonna come there and get you. One…Two…Th,” she says, to which my reply is instant: “Look, Kavi, please don’t hassle me, will you,” I press my temple with the three middle fingers of my left hand.
I hear her laugh and then a door swinging behind her.

(To be continued...)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 29


After a while I ask: “What makes you think I care?”
“Care about what?”
“About you… about you fucking around?”
“I didn’t say you did,” her voice muted, she turns her face to the window.
“Hmm,” I say, “Yes, you didn’t… So we’re a bunch of careless people…”
“…in a careless world,” she adds without facing me.

I wave at the receptionist as we enter the lobby. It’s the same guy. I wonder about the difficult life these guys must be having. Kavitha says a perky “Hi!” to him.
He smiles back, though not without some curiosity and concern in his eyes. “Are you okay, madam?”
“Me?” she asks incredulously “Fit as a fiddle. Dee diddle diddle.”
He looks at her strangely.
“Ta ta” she waves at him as we step into the lift.

**********END OF CHAPTER 1
**********

**Watch out for CHAPTER 2--The Poetry of Sex
**


(To be continued...)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 28

She is silent for most part of the drive, looking out through the window at the passing world. I am uneasy at her silence.
"Kavitha," I say, "I am sorry if I hurt you. Didn't mean what I said, okay? …Just that I know you so little, yet all these incidents…"
"Will you stay?" she says, still looking out through the window.
"What?"
"Will you stay the night… at my place? …Please?"
"But I…"
"I am afraid…please… just one night."
I don't answer. I feel like being drawn into a whirlpool that I cannot escape. The doctor's words echo in my brain.
"Have you eaten… breakfast?" I ask.
She shakes her head.
I pull into the parking lot of a shopping mall.
"I'll stay in the car, if you don't mind. Feeling dirty after the hospital. Need a shower… Just get me some brunch… anything will do."
I buy two packets of chicken rice from the food court in the basement. As I walk back, I am trying to think. I try to convince myself: I am not attracted to her; she is trouble. Big trouble. But some part of me refuses to listen. Some part of me has been smitten by the hurt in those eyes. Some part of me wants to know more. Some part of me wants to kill itself. Some delicious part of me…
I keep the food packets carefully in the rear seat. I place my hands on the steering wheel and smile at her. "I'll stay tonight. But one condition: I take you out in the evening."
"You mean, like a date?!" she is amused.
"Well… sort of. That is, if you can assure me that your husband won't put out a contract on me," I snigger.
"Oh, he couldn't care less. He wouldn't care if I were doing an orgy with a gang of studs in front of him … but what about your wife? Wouldn't she be expecting you?"
I start the car, "She couldn't care less either. Now she is probably somewhere in Hong Kong making a million bucks for her employer."
"So we're free," she touches my thigh.


(To be continued...)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 27

Tuesday…
In the morning I call up my office and tell them I am taking leave.

She is braiding her hair while talking to a nurse by her side, when I enter the ward. She is looking much more cheerful and energetic than the previous night. Her face lights up when she sees me.
"Valsamma says that you carried me all the way to the hospital… You're getting good at it, aren't you? …She says you looked like young Sunil Dutt and I like Nargis… Will you carry me back also, please?"
The nurse giggles covering her mouth and then lightly slaps Kavitha's hand, "I never said that."
"No. She actually said Ajay Devgan and Kajol. But I thought Sunil Dutt-Nargis combination was more tragically romantic… like us."
"Kavitha! I never said that either. I just said you make a nice pair, that's all."
"We're neither tragic, nor romantic," I pretend to be serious, "Now, Kavitha, come on get ready, I have to drop you back."
She looks at me and pulls a long face. "You have saved me from death and now I am your responsibility… I am twice born now - a baby. So you will carry me back."
The nurse looks amused. I am not. I wonder why I am doing this.
"Kavitha," I say in a measured tone, "If you don't come now, I will just walk away."
She grabs my hand, looks in both my eyes in quick succession and smiles cautiously, "I am sorry, I will be ready in a moment," she says quietly.
"Come to my home, when you're free, okay," she tells the nurse, before accompanying me.



(To be continued...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 26

Monday…
After work, I take the route to the General Hospital.

"You're a naughty girl," I say crossly, seeing her eyes focussing on me.
She smiles feebly, "And you're a good boy," her voice is a whisper.
"I guess that's why, I am used and abused by naughty girls like you," I say in jest.
"I am sorry," she says quietly and looks away.
"Hey! Just a joke, okay?" I laugh and gently squeeze her hand.
Her smile is forced.
"The doctor says you can leave the hospital tomorrow… After some formalities… Answer some questions… see the social worker etcetera etcetera… Do I need to inform anyone?"
She shakes her head, "My husband's on tour… Will return only after a fortnight."
I pull a chair and sit by her bed in silence. We both make no effort for small talk. An hour passes before the doctor comes in. He sees her awake and says some cheerful things to her. Just before leaving, he signals me to accompany him.
"She is very distressed due to some incident that happened to her recently. It may take a while to heal the wounds, but until then, those close to her must treat her with warmth and affection… And try not to let her be on her own… At least for some time. I can sense she is a fighter, she wants to come out of it and live life, and that's a good sign… That was why she wrote that note to you."
I nod my head. "What am I to do?" I wonder. I don't even know her well enough.
I stay till the visiting hours are over.


(To be continued...)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 25

“What is it, Amma?”
“Dilu monay, you have to listen to me carefully and promise me you will do as I tell you to.”
“What is it, Amma…It’s very late…I am tired. Can’t this wait till next time?”
“It’s very urgent…You have to promise me first. Upon my life…”
“O for God’s sake, Amma, I promise, okay?”
“Upon my life?”
“Upon your life.”
“Good…You must do as I say…For my sake…For your sake…For Pooja’s sake.”
“Yeah yeah, okay”
“I know you don’t believe in all this…but still…I will mail you a small packet within a week. It will have a small thakidu (a talisman) in it. Keep the packet under Nisha’s pillow without her knowledge. Within a week she will change her mind and Pooja will come back to you…”
“O stop it, Amma! You know very well I don’t believe in all this nonsense. I knew when you called me ‘Dilu monay’ so lovingly that this was coming…”
“Listen, monay, this is Cherumana Thanthri’s thakidu. His thakidus have never ever failed. I know that for a fact. You know, he is a Devi Bhaktha and a Brahmachari of the highest order. You cannot find such people today. You should listen to his manthras, the way he sings the Devi Mahaatmyam. Such power! such devotion!…Besides, tell me, what’s in it for me? What do I gain from all this? I am doing this only for your benefit, your happiness. Pooja’s happiness. You know that.”
“Yes yes. I know, Amma, I know. You have always meant well. But your methods are ridiculous…”
“But you promised… you promised me that you will do as I say… Now if you break your word, only I will suffer… I might die of cancer or something…”
“Okay, Amma, okay. Mail it to me, if you want. I will do as you ask. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to sleep.”
“Good night, monay. Call me next week, okay. I will be waiting.”
“I will. Good night, Amma.”


(To be continued...)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 24

“Monay, I couldn’t sleep…” Amma’s voice is a whisper, but tinged with remorse. “I have been trying your number ever since your Achan went to bed. Where were you? I even called your cell; why didn’t you answer? Is Nisha not there?”
“Nisha’s gone to Hong Kong, Amma. On business. I was not at home. Had to meet a friend. Switched off the mobile,” I didn’t want to say I had been to the hospital to avoid the many questions that it would surely give rise.
“Are you angry with me, monay?”
“I thought you were the one who is upset with me, Amma.”
“How could I be? How could I ever be?”
“I know, Amma. Anyway, I am sorry if I hurt you. I didn’t mean to.”
“I couldn’t sleep at all. I kept tossing and turning… Now I am so relieved…”
“It’s very late, Amma. I am tired. I have work, tomorrow…”
“All right, all right. I won’t disturb you. Call me next week, okay…I will be waiting, as usual.”
“Of course, Amma…You too go to bed. And sleep well without thinking of this and that, okay.”
“Now I will, monay. Now I will…good night…O there is one more thing…”

(To be continued...)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 23

I grab her and rush to the elevator. The man at the reception (the same guy I saw yesterday), gives me a strange look after seeing her once again unconscious in my arms. I ignore him and rush to where I had parked my car yesterday.

I return to my apartment at 2:00 am, exhausted I just want to throw myself into bed. I hear the phone ring as I open the door.


(To be continued...)

Chapter 1 -- Part 22

An SMS: “complt this: when love is done, and the end begun…”
I reply: “no cause for gloom, new loves shall bloom.”
She responds: “but the heart is dead, the spirit’s fled,”
I say: “the heart never dies, the spirit shall rise,”
In reply, I get a call. She says one line: “Come raise my spirit,” and hangs off.
Somewhere in me an alarm goes off. Something’s wrong.
The taxi takes sixteen minutes to reach her condo. On my way, I try to call her. There is no response.
Her front door is open wide. Things are much the same as I left it the previous night.
The TV is blaring “Wheel of Fortune”, with Pat Sajak cheering up a woman who has just become “bankrupt”.
Kavitha is sprawled on the sofa in front of the TV. She is wearing a blue churidar and appears to be asleep. There is a small empty bottle on the coffee table and a note is under it. The note said, “Save me, Dil”.



(To be continued...)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 21

“I don’t believe it! The Barrister does not have tear glands!”
“You may not believe it, but that is the truth,” Amma says with finality. “…You never could see the softer side of him.”
“He never would let me see it, Amma… If, as you claim, he has one.”
“Oh yes, he has. Chellappan always says — of course, not when he is around — ‘Angunnu is like a coconut, hard and rough outside, soft, white and pure inside.’ I think it was last Wednesday. He was reading the Mathrubhoomi reclining in the easy chair at the veranda, when he fell asleep. The paper slipped from his grasp and fell on the floor. When I bent down to pick up the paper, I heard him distinctly utter in his sleep: ‘Kuttoosay, nee eviday poyi? Achante kooday olichchu kalikkathay. Achan vayasaayi poyi (Kuttoos, where are you? Don’t play hide and seek with your father. Your father is old now.)”
“Kuttoos? Who is Kuttoos?” I ask.
“You will not remember. Neither did I, for a moment. But then I recalled…that was a pet name by which he used to call you until you were a toddler.”
“O Amma, don’t give me all these stories…I know you have been trying hard to bring us together. But the ball is in his court, Amma… You know that… The wounds he gave me in that April night, thirteen years ago are still there…They some times fester and clear pus comes out from my eyes…It’s up to him to heal me…Only he can…” my voice breaks.
“How dare you say these are stories! It’s the truth… Yes, I have been trying to bring you two together. But not by spinning stories, mind you. You are being selfish. You only talk about your wounds. What about mine, caught in between, thrashed between immovable rocks…?”
I hear her cry softly. I say, “Amma, I am sorry Amma. I didn’t mean to…”
“Don’t call me next week,” she says abruptly, her voice trembling, and cuts the line.
I dial her number immediately. It’s Chellappan, “Is it Dileepan kunju? Kochamma says she does not want to talk to you now. What did you tell her, kunjay? You are still as naughty as you were twenty five years ago…”
“Never mind,” I say, “I’ll call later,” and hangs up.

It’s around ten, when my mobile beeps.


(To be continued...)

Chapter 1 -- Part 20

“What kind of a father are you?” she asks before even saying “Hello, Aaraa?”
I am ready for it: “Not a very good one, Amma” I say and then adds with some sarcasm, “Not as good as the one I have, anyway,”
“Let’s not bring your father into all this, okay. Don’t forget that it was he who taught you and brought you up under his close supervision.” she stresses those words.
“Let’s not talk about that, Amma”
“Yes, let us not. Let us talk about what you are doing to that lovely angel of yours… I received a letter from Poojamol today… Do you have any idea that the poor child’s school has closed for two weeks? Any idea that she is alone out there?” Amma’s voice is shrill.
“You know about my problem…”
“What is your problem?” Amma cuts me off. “Why can’t you get her enrolled in Singapore? Why? Why?”
“You know that Nisha does not approve of it. How many times have I told you that, Amma.”
“How many times did we tell you not to marry this Christian girl?” her voice is softer now. “You could have got such a lovely proposal…We had such dreams for you…”
“You never did, Amma. In fact you said you would support me whatever my choice was. It was Achan who was against… Anyway, it is more than thirteen years now, Amma. We have gone through this so many times…”
“Hmm. It just pains me still…You have to call me this way… like a thief…” I hear her sob.
“Amma…” I pause hesitantly, “…why don’t you visit Pooja, she would be so happy.”
“I wish I could, monay…You know how stubborn your father is even now. He says, if I go, I need not return. Last time I went to Kochi, supposedly to attend a marriage, I had visited her. When he came to know about it, I received such a scolding I cannot forget.”
“You worship him too much, Amma…Once in a while, you have to stand up for what you think is right…I can understand, he may hate me for what I have done, but why show it on such an innocent child?”
“You think that way, because your wife does not respect you,” Amma’s tone is suddenly harsh. “If only she had an ounce of respect for you, none of this would have happened. Poojamol would be happy living with the both of you and everyone would be happy.”
“Let’s not bring Nisha into this, Amma…That’s something I cannot help.”
“Then don’t ever tell me to rebel against your Achan,”
“But…if only he had seen her…at least once.” the words choke in my throat.
“He doesn’t want to see her, because if he did, his heart would melt.”
“That is, if he had one…”
“You don’t know your father, monay. The other day, Chellappan was telling me that one night after everyone had slept, he saw your father quietly opening the doors of your room, where all your things are still there untouched as you left them. Your books, your bat, your photographs, your posters, your cassette player…everything undisturbed for the past thirteen years. Even Shanthamma is not allowed inside your room; that is the only room in this big house that I still have to dust and sweep, myself. Anyway, when Chellappan peeped in, he could see your father holding your photograph — the one in which you are holding aloft that cricket trophy — and looking at it longingly. Chellappan then told me one thing which I myself found hard to believe, but he swore upon his family deity, so I believe it is true… He told me your father’s eyes were wet.”




(To be continued...)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 19


I wait for an hour before dialling India once again. Nisha must be in the 'plane by now, I think as the phone rings.
I ask for Pooja and tell the Warden Sister that I will call again after ten minutes. The warden informs me that it is study time now and the kids are not to be disturbed, unless it's very urgent. After a brief hesitation, I ask her whether someone else had asked for her in the past one hour.
"For Pooja? Only you have called, Mr. Dilip." she replies.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes yes of course of course! I have been here since afternoon. So I am very very sure no one else has called."
I thank her before hanging up.

I wait until it's 8:40 pm. It is 6:10 pm in India, the Barrister would have started for his evening walk to inspect the neighbourhood and see whether everyone pays due respect to him.
As always, Amma picks up the phone at the second ring.


(To be continued...)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 18


When I make love to her, she talks. To the ceiling, to herself. Her plans will spill out with every thrust of mine as though these secret blueprints were locked up in a region deep inside her vagina. “I will do an MBA,” (grunt), “I will get a job in an MNC,” (grunt), “as a marketing executive,” (grunt), “I will rise to the top,” (grunt), “buy a car, Mercedes or BMW,” (grunt), “a condo,” (grunt), “all the five Cs,” (grunt), “have holidays abroad…”
Just before I come, she would say, “remember to take it out.”


(To be continued...)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 17


She had a full length mirror installed in our bedroom, where she would stand naked looking sideways with her hands lightly supporting her heavy breasts as if weighing them to see which was heavier, and ask me: “Dilip, do you think my breasts are full enough…? They are not sagging, are they…? I guess an implant would not be necessary — what do you think?” I would utter the same refrain: “If they were any bigger, dear, they would burst.” Then she would turn her attention to her tummy, “My tummy, do you think a nip and tuck would do me good. Perhaps an inch off here.” Then she would make her hands like a vice and clasp a fold of her tummy, “You don’t think I am fat do you? I guess all that dieting and jogging and Yoga and organic food is not helping much, right?” her eyes would be lit with horror now, to which I would reply, “If you’re fat, Naomi Campbell is a pumpkin, dear.” That always made her happy, though she knew I was lying. Not that she was fat; she wasn’t. She was just fleshy and always felt comfortable under me when I made love to her.
Then she would make a ninety degree turn and give the mirror a full frontal. “My thighs. They are a bit lumpy aren’t they?”
By this time my patience would be wearing thin and I would reply, “Not lumpy… A bit curdled, maybe. Like stale yoghurt. Sometimes they smell like it also.”
“YOU!” she would shout and reach for the pillow to throw at me.



(To be continued...)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 16


But Nisha Jacob2 was a different version. Sleeker, sexier and more purposeful, I was initially happy at the transformation. What led to this transformation? I don’t know. Perhaps it was those smart executive women in their high heels and business suits, carrying neat briefcases, walking clicketty-clack along the corridors of Shenton way offices spreading the fragrance of Poison and confidence that first attracted her. When we first came to Singapore, I remember seeing her gaping wide eyed at them as if they were living gods. She started buying fashion magazines by the dozen, a long file was bought, a scrapbook made. The scrapbook filled with pictures of stick-thin models in summer and fall collections. Our living room became littered with Elles and Vogues lying with their guts torn out like hapless roadkill.


(To be continued...)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 15


Their fists clenched, their brows arched in violent rage. My heart began to beat faster. I scanned the gallery but couldn’t find any familiar face. I stole a quick glance at Nisha. She was surprisingly composed. When they were about three meters away from us, Nisha suddenly grabbed my bat and stood in a Jacky Chan fighting posture.
“Next guy who takes one step will have his head go for a six!” she said calmly.
The guys stopped dead in their tracks, looked at each other, unsure of what to do next. Then one of them said, shaking his finger at us, “Watch out bitch! We’ll take you later.” And turned back.
“Come, take me now,” Nisha said as she took one step forward swinging the bat in the air.
The six took to their heels.
We both laughed out loud.
“You were impressive,” I couldn’t hold back my admiration.
“And you were not,” she retorted bluntly, returning my bat.
I was more amused than insulted at her bluntness.
“I am just a shy fellow… Gandhian. Violence does not appeal to me.”
“I know. I can see that in your eyes. Sensitive. Almost like those of a woman.”
“You are a woman. You don’t have sensitive eyes,” it was my turn to be blunt.
She laughs, loudly, ungainly. “Hey! We’ll make a good husband and wife. Two minutes and we are already fighting!”
“Opposites attract,” I said good humoredly.
“Opposites attract,” she nodded in agreement.


(To be continued...)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Chapter 1 -- Part 14


What struck me in Nisha Jacob1 was her boldness. After a particularly good inning (68 runs), I was walking back to the gallery, when this girl in a tight pair of Levi's and an equally tight Tee-shirt approached me and thrust a small notepad to my face. The slogan on the Tee-shirt said "You have the right to remain silent, so please SHUT UP."
"Well played," she said. To my questioning look at the notepad, she added quickly, "Now, don't get carried away… It's not my autograph - that's reserved for the likes of Gavaskar, Ravi Shastry and that new boy wonder, Sachin Tendulkar - just jot down your phone number, okay… I need to know you better… Maybe we can have some fun," she smiled. I had a tough time keeping my eyes away from her generous chest. The noise level from the galleries increased as a bunch of monkeys from the local arts college started to hoot and holler seeing us talk. I tried to spot some of my fellow team-mates, but they were seated at the high end of the gallery reserved for players and hence I could not see them clearly from where I was standing.
"Idiots!" she said looking at the gallery in contempt, "Can't a woman talk to a man in this country?!"
Without a whisper of protest, I quietly wrote down my telephone number and returned the notepad. Looking back, I wonder why I did that. Perhaps, it was just one of those things people do without a thought. One of those reckless little things that finally mould your destiny.
"Don't you have a tongue, man?" she says receiving the notepad.
"Oh, I am sorry… It's your tee-shirt."
"What about my tee-shirt?" her face hardens.
"The slogan says to shut up."
"Oh! That… I am sorry. Just ignore it," she laughs.
"What is your name?" I ask while walking back with her by my side, my bat between us.
"Nisha…Nisha Jacob. First year B.A at the Women's College."
The noise from the gallery increased to deafening levels. It now resembled the sounds emanating from the gorilla cages of the local zoo during the mating time. Above the din someone shouted, "WE'LL SHUT UP IF YOU SHOW YOUR BOOBS, DARLING!"
I saw her eyes turning red. "Bastards!" she said as she bent down, picked up a stone and hurled it at the direction of the voice. There was a cry of pain, followed by some sharp shouts. A gang of six guys materialised out of nowhere. One of them had a bleeding cut on his forehead. A handkerchief was kept pressed against the wound.
"BLOODY BITCH!" one of the guys yelled at Nisha as they approached us with angry strides.

(To be continued...)