Thirteen makes a Dozen

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                  The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp – Oil on canvas, Rembrant (1632)                             Source – Wikimedia Commons

The dark cool corridor stretched out in front of us as we filed along. Nervous hands stuck deep in pockets warm, excited hands reaching out felt unfamiliar walls, forced hands listlessly hung. One hundred and fifty of us, strangers scuffled on, into the depths of the Anatomy Department, the year was 2007. We smelt them first, scrunching our noses hurriedly, tears stinging the corners of our eyes, as the dead, the preserved dead announced themselves. Sniffing we entered the Dissection Hall, eleven bodies lay bare, stripped on cold metal tables beckoning. Formalin hung in the air, stifling us as we explored our morbid settings.

“Good Morning…”

“Good Morning…”, the voice exclaimed with finality silencing our sniggers and whispers.

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I Know…

Recently there was a session at Write Club Bangalore about identifying and understanding different gender identity. The goal of the session was to write a piece from the perspective of any one of the genders and fill it with raw emotion, to push oneself out of their comfort zone and write about characters we may have met but never really understood or tried to understand. Kudos to Bright for hosting such a different and challenging session. This is what I came up with.

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I Know…

The diagram of the neatly divided penis stared at Arjun. Ramrod straight arrows spelling out its innards; corpora cavernosa, corpora spongiosa, glans, he licked his lips. The weight on his chest returned, that all too familiar empty weight. Blocking out thoughts of Ashok, he began to draw, strokes of the pencil creasing into the empty page. He drew with a calm, not copying, imagining, not replicating, reproducing; caressing the page drawing emotions, drawing…

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Thithi – A Review

 

Every so often, a rarer find now in these potboiler times, a film comes along that instead of transporting you to an imaginary world transfixes you in the forgotten magic of your own. Thithi is one such film.

When Century Gowda, the bawdy centenarian of a small village passes away, his son Gadappa, a senile gypsy of sorts with no interest in land or wealth, grandson Thamanna, a man caught in the throes of family life, and his great-grandson, Abhi, a hormonal teen on the cusp of manhood react to his death in their own ways.

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Clamour

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PC – 2014, Canon 1100D 18-55mm, Rock Garden, Chandigarh

 

The sun a fiery orb of blood red sank, its last rays glinting on the reaching waves crashing onto the beach strewn with still forms. Rivulets of blue swirls merged with conflicting red streams of blood as the waters washed incessant over the ravaged bodies.

“In a World…”, a voiceover resounded over the post-apocalyptic scape, “torn asunder by man’s greed, Gaia rose in wrath to undo all man had wrought…” Angry streaks burnt into the sky lit the beach as on its shores a body stirred. His lungs gulped air, coughing he choked, the stench of flesh hung like a curtain within him. He staggered to his feet, his gaze vacant staring at the violence before him. “Humanity’s last stand for survival…” a voice boomed through the clouds jolting him to the reality of it. He looked around for the source, the devious deranged villain wreaking such havoc. Desolation, devastation faced him.

“…will be fought by one man…”, it continued, deep rumbling, like Morgan Freeman. “Who is it??”, he said, now sure the voice existed. “One man must in the face of loss…”, unperturbed it went on, as though formed by the air itself.

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Today

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0130pm – I’d woken up late, as usual, stumbling down to the kitchen, my head splitting at the seams. Yesterday’s Monk, pizza, vodka and biscuit pudding sloshing around inside me. At first I thought they’d just gone out, my day went on. I shaved showered dancing to Sia, she sounded louder than usual. No one interrupted, no one shouted to turn it down, the minutes passed, tens, twenties of them.

0245pm – I realized this was the longest my music had ever gone on. ‘Calling Mom’, the screen flashed at me; “This phone is currently not reachable.”, she said. ‘Calling Dad’ the phone now said; “This phone is currently not reachable.”, she intoned. “Fuck it”, I say walking out into the afternoon sun locking the door behind me.

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Diary of a Scene

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Dear diary,                                                                                                     

Daddy came home today. I’d been waiting the entire week. He was so happy when I showed him my drawing. He brought me chocolates, a whole box, and a doll. We played hide and seek after that. I won, like always. After that he took me out for ice cream, chocolate cone and I dropped it over my shirt we laughed so much when I tried to eat it from my shirt. I want him to finish his work and come back home.

Amma never wants to play anymore and akka comes back late all the time. I want daddy to come again.

 

Hey Di,

Chocolates, really chocolates, who did he think I was, how old did he think I was or did he just not remember. He didn’t care. Didn’t care to ask if I’d been picked for soccer, if I’d settled down in this godforsaken new school. Ass.

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The Escape

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He stared up at the ceiling, the room closing in around him. The fan whirled painfully humming through the heavy air counting the muffled seconds with him.

“Thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty…”

His fists clenched, his joints tense waited restless in bed, aching to move. Two weeks, fourteen days, he had waited; crawled through the minutes of exercise, therapy and the slop they called food. Waiting for the fortnightly shift change, the day with fewer of them. The creak of the wheels brought word of the cart, the check of the night. The wheel rattled on the hard floor worn down by years of watchful surveillance. Three checks, three checks; they felt he warranted. The wheels clattered closer, footsteps behind it audible now, faint. He was expecting them so he heard them earlier than usual. His hand closed over the cloth bundle at his side feeling his tools, his plan; the broken spoon, the razor blade, the pen torch he’d stolen from his son the last time they’d met.

The wheels paused outside his door, a shadow passed, it was Muriel, he’d know her anywhere, that bulky large head with that frizzled shock of hair that hung over her shoulders, her frame was unmistakable. The wheels scraped on, his eyes flicked to the rafters splitting the ceiling; he’d once considered it, letting it all go; only if I fail he thought rising slowly as the sounds faded around the corner.

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Fractured

Glass dust flew,

around as the machine whirred,

Sweat dropping, scented on the opaque plate

Muscles rippling, ran down the face

of glass cutting a straight divide

Pressure rose, a sudden crack

Lines like borders random split,

Their edges struggling to meet,

Cut; smeared blood, painted tainted glass.

Learn to be Still

 

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Inspired by – “Learn to be Still”

Artist: The Eagles

At SunOn my world flooded with light as the shutters were drawn up. I stretched, invisibly rising to a new day. Around me my brothers and sisters rose with me. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bennett, Bennett 443 if you will. The number behind my name is my age and identification mark. It’s the only way to tell us apart and identify our parts. This is very important in our world. You don’t want your leg on someone else’s body now do you? The worst is when they interchange the heads. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often now thanks to our id numbers.

We live and work on the second floor of Bangalore Central. There are four of us in all. Bennett 647 is the oldest of us, his body creased with the dirt of ages, slightly more bent than the rest of us but you probably won’t be able to tell. He stands farthest to the left.  Bennett 522 is next; she has a bad hip and leans slightly on Bennett 422. Bennett 422 and I are the youngest of the lot.

Our routine never varies; we are monotonous to a fault. At SunOn we wake, are dressed and fussed over by our faithful servants and after that work begins. Work as it almost always is, is never easy. We pose all day for photographers without cameras who drink us in with their eyes. People are always around us, looking, glancing, and gawking at us.

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फ़र्क/The Difference

My First Bilingual piece, Scroll down for the English version –

“सालों ने क्या किया, इस बार तो हध ही हो गयी. कौन था, पता चला? पक्कड़ के ला छूतियों को. हाँ ममाजी की दुकान के पास.”

चार लड़के खड़े थे भीड़ के पक्कड़ में, निराश, खोए हुए, सहारे को ढूँढते हुए. मैं वो मेसाइया तो था नही.

“साहेब, ग़लती हो गयी, हमने नही मारा….”

“खाना नही था साहेब, क्या कर….”

मेरा एक चमात ज़ुबान खींच के रख दिया

“ऐसे नहीं समझेंगे, बाँधों सालों को, भोंसड़ी के, मा पे हाथ लगाता है.”

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