Get a room guys!

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Cheeky cheeky couples and their lovey dovey talks,

Me and a horny couple. “Why do I always get a seat right next to you guys?”

Cinema hall or a bus stand, you know we somehow end up together,

Be it a train or the last empty bench in the jogger’s park.

Spare me and get a room guys…!

Last Sunday that I had to travel, travel not that far.

A train journey to Mumbai, taking not more than four hours.

A window seat to myself, oh what a sweet time I was going to have!

Until he told she would love sitting next to the window,

And like a gentleman I offered it guys.

For a lovely newly married couple that they looked like.

Not a window seat, they needed to get a room guys…!

A narrow seat that three of us shared,

Me, him and her in a straight line we closely sat.

Train moved slowly and their hands moved fast.

The hands that held each other,

The hands that ran through her hair, his lap and what not.

Naughtier they got, with every second passing by.

Give me back by window seat and get yourself a room guys…!

They smiled together,

Seeing a valley, a river and a mountain pass.

Through the window they enjoyed it all.

A window, that was supposed to be mine.

But the scariest part of the journey were tunnels,

Not one, two or three…but in total five.

And every tunnel came with a surprise,

From him to her, from her to him and from her to me at times.

They kept giggling in the darkness,

And took advantage of it every single time.

Every tunnel that we crossed in four hours,

Sang a routine song.

A song that sang the rush of their clothes and their weird kissing sounds.

They really needed to get a room guys…!

There was a light at the end of the dark path,

With tunnel coming to an end,

He made his hair, while she adjusted her top.

I on the other hand,

Drowned myself more inside the newspaper in my hand.

I became a squint,

As I tried not to notice, where their hands moved now.

With one eye reading the headlines and the other one became a peeping Tom.

So much wanted to tell them, to get a room guys…!

Maybe I needed to mind my own business,

Maybe this journey was the only time-together they might have had.

This horny boy and the girl with long hands,

‘Long’ not because I stared,

But because they crossed his thighs, to reach mine.

The journey got over and the train started coming to a halt,

The lovely horny couple offered me a big smile.

I smiled back and thanked them too,

Not for the show or for anything but awesome threesome that we had had.

Thanked them since they had just helped me to get over my writer’s-block.

And yes, told them to get a room guys…!

  

A K Traders

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I grew up in the old parts of the city. Back in nineties, there were not more than a couple of stationary shops in a locality where I stayed. ‘A K Traders’ is one I distinctly remember, one because I bought most my school-paraphernalia from there and second for its owner.

Its owner, ‘a man with grey hair resting on his forehead, usually wearing a half sleeves chequered shirt and thick glasses’ would rise from that dusty wooden stool as soon as he spotted a customer. My best friend Vedang and I were amongst his most regular ones. We’d been visiting the shop right since the time we were in 2nd grade.

“Hold that rupee coin carefully in your hand” an instruction my mother gave every time I tucked my shirt in my shorts and left for A K Traders to buy Apsara pencils. I never failed to notice how he always asked for money first even before making an attempt to move a muscle to remove pencils out of the box. Why did he maintain that fix order of ‘money first and then pencil’ an 8 year old kid always used to wonder.
Then there came 4th grade. I must have been 10 years old or so. Now Vedang, I and rest of my classmates were allowed to use Ink pens. And first time when I bought one from A K Traders, I was accompanied by my father. “Oh he’s a big boy now” he had said handing over the shiny black Camlin ink pen to him. I was surprised as to how he did so when my father had not even touched his wallet yet. He then offered a big smile to both of us as I left the shop with a newly bought Ink pen.

In fact he smiled at Vedang and me only when we were accompanied by our Parents. I had figured out quiet early that the reason was I did not have enough money at that moment to buy his smile. I decided that when I grow up and become a writer like my father, I will make him hand over the pen to me first and only then pay him for the same. I often felt sad at times when he asked me to go back home and return with money which I had forgotten to carry. Why couldn’t he just give me the pen and take the money later? Such a big shop he had. I was sure he could afford that.

By the time I went to 8th grade, few more stationary shops had opened up near my house. I noticed those shopkeepers offering me a smile although I had not even bought a pen or two from their shop. They must have thought I have money. Anyway I decided to buy stationary from those shops instead of A K Traders from the next time. I did. And soon I could see other kids in my locality following the suit. In a couple of years, I could see that A K Traders had started wearing a deserted look on its face. God had punished him for sending me back home so many times and not smiling at us. I knew it.

Few more years later, I could see him sitting outside the shop waiting for someone to buy things from him. He had grown old and moved slowly. He even smiled at me whenever I passed from there. Yes I had money in my pocket now. I wondered as to why our class teacher said, ‘Money cannot buy everything’. It had just bought me a smile. That day, in fact I learnt something from him that probably our teacher skipped teaching us – A smile can buy a lot of things.

Even today I see him sitting outside his shop, with a fading hope to see a customer for his shop. Now I wonder if he is even doing well financially and whether his kids look after him. After all we’re all good human beings at the end of the day. Now a day, whenever I visit that part of town; I make sure I buy a chocolate or something from his shop. He feels genuinely happy to see me after a long time and says “Oh you’re a big man now”.

And I simply ‘smile’. I think the 10 year old kid has forgiven him a long time back.

Awkward we

We’ve all had best friends. Closed friends and loved ones. We’ve been through a part where they have left us for a new town, to join a different school or get a new job. We’ve said goodbyes to so many, right since the time our age was just a single digit number. But have we really mastered the art of saying a goodbye to someone we don’t really want to in the first place?

I think not. I feel we have just grown more and more awkward as we’ve grown up. We are living in an age where we regularly post the quotes about friendship and togetherness on our social networking accounts. Sadly it has replaced the open hugs we shared and tears we let come out when our best friend was moving to a different city because his/her father was transferred there. Those days, we did not really wait for the person to fade away into the mesh of traffic and later on text them our true feelings. We let them know that they were our best buddies and yes it hurts like a bitch to see each other moving apart, far from each other.

We know who our best friends are. But we don’t really know how much they mean to us until we drop them off at the airport or the station to watch them go away. Maybe we are respecting our goals too much to even ask them to simply stay back. Stay back with us. Even if they can’t.
A goodbye hug is simply not enough. I’m sorry but it does not do justice to how much you love someone and the amazing memories you’ve carved together. We’ve grown so awkward that it takes us a couple of years and a bottle of whisky to confess that the best times were what we had spent together. And then we cry because, those tears had been waiting for long to express how much we missed each other. We then share the part of the picture that we remember and they tell us the part they haven’t forgotten as we join the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle we used to as kids. Only to grow up and realize that it was lot simpler.

How many times have we backspaced the text we planned to send across and how many times our nervous fingers stopped our hearts from making the phone call that had become so difficult to make thanks to the ‘awkwardness’ now standing as a barrier between two.  One stupid fight and an ego that replaced the word ‘sorry’ which would have probably let us still talking to that person.

Back in school, I remember being jealous of people elder to me, who were working and did not need to dress up in a uniform to attend a school every day. I envied them because they had no homework and exams to write. True, exams were not fun. But I somehow miss the awkwardness-free part of that phase of life. 

An Egress window

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Day 379th, Early Sunday morning.

North Brostral Prison, Scotland.

Once again I woke up to the dreadful dream of me sitting next to the corpse of my secretary and wiping blood off her neckline. A minute or two were enough for my racing heart beats to get back to their normal pace. Walking across the dusty floor smelling of stale food from last night, I reached ‘the once used to be – white colored wash basin’ at the corner. I stared at my dark grey eyes in the broken mirror like every other day. Unlike past mornings, today they held hope and survival other than the usual guilt lurking inside. I turned around to glance at my jail inmate once, for tomorrow I would not be with him. Either I was going to be transferred to the south camp if caught trying to escape or I shall be free to do what I had been planning to since past year, provided everything works out well.

Jail guard Mr. Basbug picked up his bag full of keys after unlocking my prison door and let me outside followed by banging of the door behind. Should I smile at him for it might be our last meeting? I let that thought go as soon as I remember him spitting in my food plate the other night. “They tell me you are writing a novel, huh?” he asked with a fake air of knowledge about literature. “You shall have my story soon” I replied without looking straight at him. “Hmm” came out the words along with some heavy air rushing out of his big nostrils, as he walked towards the South end. It meant it was 6 O’ clock sharp for he was known for nothing but his punctuality.

I joined the queue of seven other odd inmates being hurled towards the direction of Kitchen. ‘Kitchen’ because first thing – we held a record of good behavior in past one year and second thing – for obvious reason that we could cook. Clanging sound of huge pendulum striking the archaic wall clock welcomed us into the kitchen. Hands were scratched and backs were stretched as soon as handcuffs were removed and orders were thrown at us by the newly appointed kitchen head. He replaced the old one who got suspended few months back over charges of smuggling drugs in and outside North Brostral, although most believed it was someone else. And inside prison, you can always differentiate new guards from the old ones from the false belief they hold that they are supposed to shout at prisoners from time to time. Oddly today he was joined by Mr. Telson, a senior guard at North Brostral as he screamed “Today you are doing the meat Mr. Writer, you got that?” and put a knife and red meat pieces in the surprisingly clean stainless steel plate in front of me. I moved my head suggesting my obedience and fear for him.

Half an hour later, a familiar sound of pendulum striking the bell of that old clock caught my ears and I looked towards the back door of the kitchen. Mr. basbug came in as if he was waiting outside for the bell to be struck and once again I admired his punctuality. “Ahh you bastards, now throw the aprons down and get in the line”. His hoarse voice overtook the clamor of striking knives and steel plates as they were slowed down to come to a halt. It took seven seconds for me to shove 4 meat pieces into my mouth and seven more to rush across the back door about to be closed by one of the prison inmates. Several expressions of surprise and abuses hurled at me from behind rang my ears. I simply kept running till I came to the end near the water tank.

Now. Now three ways waited in front of me. Two on the right leading towards ground and training camp which means I’ll be caught in not more than a minute and a slope towards left which they secretly called an escape to outside or an egress window. I thanked my decision to take up writing which had allowed me to visit convicts from all the floors and know most routes in return. Without wasting a second I ran across the slope. From behind I could hear the screams of “Catch him!” and “towards the water tank he ran” crawling fast like a venomous snake on my trail. North Camp prison was not particularly known for flaws in the security procedures, but I suddenly gathered enough confidence that my perfectly laid out plan would put blame on the security framework of the prison for a man with conviction of a brutal murder could escape from it in daylight.

I slowed down my speed in order to keep them wondering which way I took. The slope held a misleading sign of ‘way toward officers’ cabin’ not removed for past two years. I was pretty sure; it would send them in the wrong direction thinking I’ll certainly go for one of the paths on right. It would give me approximately five minutes essential for me to walk through the damp dungeon walls of this slope. So I marched ahead.
With every single step taken, air breathed more of humidity and the clothes stuck more to my skin with the sweat dripping off it. If that wasn’t enough, meat pieces in mouth released a bitter pungent taste of it down my throat as I held it tight between the jaws. Turns after turns, I walked through the darkness attempting not to stamp the lizards and rats occasionally crawling across the wet floor.

It must have been some time before some fresh air filled my lungs and my half opened eyes looked out for hope. A ray of light slowly started creeping in and so did the sound of footsteps from behind. They had realized I had taken this route and it meant I was closer to my capture or my escape whatever waited for me ahead. Sticking to the plan I kept my pace same and moved ahead. My tongue was bathing in saliva and oil oozing from the meat and I wondered for how many days that taste would linger in my mouth. My thought was thumped by a bright flash of sunlight displaying an exit out of that Prison. 379 days was what it had taken me to see it. And see what?
An escape into the Village? A jungle? A Valley? No, an escape route leading straight into the sea, a deep blue ocean that tossed mammoth waves laughing at me and my helplessness.

Five minutes were over already and prison guards were closer than before as indicated by their storming footsteps. Looking across the ocean, I took a deep breath and dived straight into water.

It took them not more than half a minute to be standing at the edge of the slope and screaming out in frustration, “Where the hell did he go? Jumped into water?”.
“Shortens our work Basbug, let the bastard be eaten alive by crocodiles” answered the familiar voice of Mr Telson. “Basbug, you go back and inform them to look out for him at the other two gates again.” I’ll wait here and see if I can spot him swimming out” he ordered. Basbug followed the same and marched back in the direction of water tank.

A minute later it was followed by Telson throwing three stones into water down the edge where he was standing. Bubbles came in rushing as the stones plunged inside water and I let go off the wall I had been holding for so long. Staying underwater, I had not feared for anything more than letting go off the meat pieces in my mouth, not even crocodiles. Because meat pieces were my only escape pass.

Taking my head out, my hands searched desperately for the edge and were held by Telson’s waiting desperately at the edge. I threw the meat pieces out and took as much air in as I could. I was breathing of freedom for the first time since morning. Telson checked the stuff hidden inside meat twice and spoke, “Look behind for the boat, fisherman will take you to the land. Make sure you hide in well. He will take you to Edwell to whom you shall hand over the meat” I turned around to spot a small boat approaching and thanked him.

“And Mr Writer,” said Telson before leaving me out there, “Do complete your story. Just make sure you change my name”.

I smiled for the first time in months and said, “I will Telson. I will.”