A maiden voyage

One day, I saw a visual I could not comprehend at first. They were shooting out mouthfuls of spit, from over the deck, making a game out of it.

It was the chance of a lifetime. The newspapers had been singing incessant praises about the remarkable journey for weeks now. The thought of it was too gigantic in nature to even make a foray into my mind. Would I find a place on it?

But when the manager called me into his office, puffed out a whiff of cigar smoke and echoed, “You’re going on THE SHIP”, I was elated.

Having grown up in the docks of Southampton, I was destined the ply the hard trade of the harbor, like my father and his father before him.

While they both did a good job of patting each others’ backs, proud of their heritage at the anchorage, I could see from a very young age, that that was not the life for me. The black soot, the vile breath of rum ever present at their foaming mouths, the way they treated the women of the house. No, I was not going to the docks.

So, I took up the violin. And boy, did it redeem me. I found solace in the strings, beauty in the notes and livelihood at the Southampton Great Orchestra.

And now, I was going to be a part of the biggest event, the confluence of the old and the new, the British and the American. A combined performance of the best of both the worlds. At the new capital of the world, New York. And to top things off, the voyage would be on the Great White Liner. The Titanic, her maiden voyage.

The glitz, the glamour and the grandeur of the ship are beyond my vocabulary. Having been stationed in the third class quarters, I really did not get to see the opulence of the first class halls and chambers. But the crowd in the third class made up for it. People of every known and unknown tongue milled about the deck, the ship a microcosm of the world itself, chugging along smoothly over the mighty Atlantic.

I encountered another artist. A painter. Young, brash and full of life and himself, we exchanged conversation and drinks for a couple of nights.

Later on, though, I saw that his palette had a new color on it. He had befriended a noble girl, a wide-eyed damsel very clearly in distress.

They galloped around the ship, clearly lusting after each other. I hoped the girl knew better. The artist had the eyes and manner of a womanizer, the swagger of a cheat. I could tell he would leave her at the drop of a hat. But the girl seemed innocuous to her impending doom. She was clearly taken in by him.

One day, I saw a visual I could not comprehend at first. They were shooting out mouthfuls of spit, from over the deck, making a game out of it. Ah, the drama of foolish temporary love! I could tell then itself that by the end of the journey, they would not be together.

I could tell then itself that by the end of the journey, they would not be together.

Write Club Hyderabad – The Others Within – 2 – 30th September 2017.

 

 

First Day First Show

A few minutes later, amidst howls, screeches and all manner of animal activity that a thousand Pawan Kalyan fans can conjure up, we sat down, waiting for the drama to unfold.

It was the year of ‘Ye Maya Chesave’. Also ‘Robot’. ‘Rockstar’ was due the very next year.

Our watchman was surprised to see us up and about at six in the morning. An unearthly hour. One of us still yawning, the other, his eyes alight and with a song on his lips. A song from ‘Komaram Puli’.

“Pawan Kalyan and A.R. Rahman. Did you ever think us Telugu folk would be so blessed? The greatest combination ever”.

I knew better than to argue. Putting PK as the first subject in a sentence and to have ARR tag along like supporting cast, an after-thought? My heart didn’t sit well with it.

Nothing good about the day did. I had only just started finding my way about a dream in my REM sleep, yet here I was jolted awake to watch the infamous First Day First Show of a Kalyan Babu movie.

As I drove listlessly, waving my way through the sweepers and last night’s debris on the road, he urged me on, “Do you want to miss the hero entrance? The introduction? Bomma padipothadi, pada”!

A reluctant foot stepped on the gear and we were away. What had started as a hum on his lips was now a full-blown song hurting my ears. Cacophony riding along with me on the bike.

“Amma thalle, noormuyyave,

Noti mutyaal, jaarniyake”

It was a song from the movie we were about to go watch. “Noormuyya ra, please. Let’s get something to eat first”, I said.

“How much more can you eat, how can you even get more food into you? At this rate, you will have diabetes, a heart attack etc. etc. and very soon too”! I was unfazed.

His tirade came to an abrupt end as I braked in front of a Dosa Bandi. I ordered a dosa, taking care to explain what I wanted in it, to the dosawallah.

I turned back to my fiend in waiting. “Rahman, seriously? What was he even thinking, signing up for a movie like this?”

He opened his eyes wide, “Hawww! What are you saying, man? A dream combination. Rahman, PK. The legend, the Power Star. You are no fan of cinema, in fact, you are no friend of mine if you can’t see the beauty of this”.

“Neither is the best of their lot”, I stated, even as I heard him egg the dosawallah on.

“How much time will you take for one dosa, huh? I would have made a dozen and eaten them by now. The Bandi across the road does it much faster. What is taking you so long, hurry, hurry, hurry!”

He switched his attention back to me. His eyebrows were crouched and his eyes were mere slits. He took a menacing step towards me, “What did you just say? Not the best? I dare, I double dare you, say that again!”

I reached out for the half-cooked dosa the petrified dosawallah gave me, freed a sinking insect from the bowl of chutney, dunked a piece of the dosa in it and said, “Rahman is no Ilaiyaraja. And PK? No one’s bad enough to even compare him with!”

His jaw dropped open but I was in no mood to back down.

“How an old balding man can rekindle feelings you thought were long lost, plunge you into a deluge of want and sweet suffering. This was a post I put up on Facebook long back. The magic of Ilaiyaraja.

“Ela..gelaga…, malli cheppu”?

I repeated myself, with more feeling this time.

To this he said, “Raja is gone, man. He’s making one movie every two years. Rehashing his own tunes. You stick with him and you miss out on the magic of ARR. Take Bombay, Roja, take Guru. How many examples will you need? I have as much and even more. It’s time to move on. Embrace the new, don’t be left out man!”

We were back on the bike. He kept up the bugging.

“You know, this is as good as a premiere show? Do you know the number of people I begged for two tickets? The number of favors I owe them now? Can’t afford to miss it man, move, move, move!”

On an entirely different note, I said to him, “There is a lot of buzz on the internet, on Gulte.com and GreatAndhra no less, that Rahman didn’t even score for this movie. His assistants did it. The movie wasn’t good enough for him to waste his time on, apparently. I mean, it’s no Robot, it’s no Ye Maya Chesave, is it?”

But my cine-gossip fell on deaf ears. He didn’t care, we were at the cinema. A few minutes later, amidst howls, screeches and all manner of animal activity that a thousand Pawan Kalyan fans can conjure up, we sat down, waiting for the drama to unfold. On the screen for a change.

Mukesh came on to a rousing barrage of howls. Dravid next, relating parents mistakes to dropped catches in the slips.

The credits were next. The screen was shrouded from us by the colored paper being thrown up in exultation. I thought to myself that in a setting like this, it would be very difficult to not be awed by a movie, any movie. It had to be especially bad to hate it while watching it with such an agreeable and encouraging audience.

The din died down in anticipation of the hero’s entrance. A stray shout or two of “Power Star” broke the silence, but we all were waiting for the moment.

It came like it never did before.  He dropped himself down onto us, the audience, straight from a helicopter, face first.

“Kappa la dookutunnadu ra..”, someone shouted out. The shock and disappointment ushered into the cinema hall were tangible. The shock permeated through the throng of the Pawanism followers.

The shock and disappointment ushered into the cinema hall from that one visual were tangible. The shock permeated through the throng of the Pawanism followers.

I burst out laughing even as my friend crouched deeper into his seat.

Write Club Hyderabad – Devices of Persuasion – 16th September 2017.

 

 

 

Journey to the End

Elsewhere, possibly in South India, the piercing scream of  “Last Order” catapulted a bunch of drunks into a passionate calculation. One would think it was the end of the world, the way they sprung into action.

The cards lingered for an airborne second, unsure of their purpose, before they dropped, turning over, revealing that everyone had in fact bluffed. The chips – green, blue and yellow were left standing, miniscule skyscrapers minus their architects. The hands that had shielded the cards were gone.

A heap of clothes was all that was left of each of the players. A fiercely fought poker game had been left stranded. To an onlooker, it would have looked extraordinary. But there was no onlooker. Having raised the stakes, the players themselves had all been raised to hell above.

Meanwhile, the excited man ripped off the cover with uncontrolled glee. He was determined to do it right tonight. It was a matter of tearing off the cover, giving it a pinch, and unrolling it. He had even timed himself, a tad less than five seconds.

Too many times he had tasted failure. The glazed over look of the woman, while in fervent anticipation of penetration, would in seconds cloud over with irritation, desperation, and finally something resembling pity. All the while the excited man would be fumbling about, in a race against himself.

Not tonight. He waited until the time was right.

Tear, pinch, unroll, descend.

The girl was gone. How long had he taken? Where was she?

This time, there was an onlooker, the excited man. No heap of clothes left behind though. The previously excited and now gone girl had been naked.

Elsewhere, possibly in South India, the piercing scream of  “Last Order” catapulted a bunch of drunks into a passionate calculation. One would think it was the end of the world, the way they sprung into action. Those who were drinking alone argued amongst themselves. Surely, another two pegs!

The groups of two, three or more dove into a serious discussion as to how many each of them could take. The small fry, “mere kids” to the experienced lot drinking down their sorrows at the single tables and at the bar.

Billy Joel would have been proud.

The bartender moved from table to table. Rubbishing the tall claims the drunks made. Chiding and telling them off for thinking they can have two more. He noted everything down – wherever three, he noted two, wherever two, he wrote one and wherever one he wrote – get the bill. He took off into the bar to get the drinks.

The tray full, he strides back to the tables. He sweeps his gaze across the bar, he sees no expectant drunk looking back at him. The tables are all empty. His gaze meets the cashier who seems to be in a trance of his own.

The beer bubbled softly, popping itself out. The whiskey sat forlornly in the glasses. It ages tastefully in a casket, but once out of the bottle, it loses its grace and needs to find solace in a drunk’s throat.

Elsewhere, at a lonely desk by a window, a nib skidded off the page and tumbled onto the paper. It trailed a tangent from the word it was inscribing. The pen itself rolled over a couple of times, swaying one way and another and it then lay still. The ink in time finally dried. A few more words and the debut author’s dream would have been complete.

Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. – From the Bible.

Write Club Hyderabad – Journey to the End – September 9th, 2017.

Behind Bars

My blood has turned languid, it claws its way through my body, reluctant, devoid of vigor and action. Sustain me it does, enrage me it does not.

Letter One:

My dear wife,

I hope this letter finds you well and in good health. It sounds cliched but I started with it, and I didn’t have the heart to strike it out. I desperately hope you are well and in good health.

I know you must be mired in distress, great unspeakable distress. Honestly, that would be a relief. It would mean you are alive and breathing. I pray, yes pray, fervently to a God I abandoned decades ago, that you are alive, and more importantly free. I hope they haven’t gotten to you.

I do not know if this letter will find its way to you. But the thought of you reading my words, reading them aloud like you love to, spurred me on to risk this. It fills me with joy, the thought of you reading out what I’ve written. The way you inflect emotion into everything, even the blandest of passages bringing them to life. How I loved to hear you read aloud.

I miss you terribly. No eloquent words can do justice to how much I miss you.

The silence around me is empowering. I crave for everyday sounds. I miss your throaty laugh, the tinkle your bangles making your presence felt even before you enter a room. I find a part of me broken down and cast away with your absence. The sounds of life, they all elude me, from the depths of my memory I strain to hear your voice every day and night in this hole.

I have nothing to do here but think for hours. I long for something to read. I long for the printed, the written word. I want to read like a child, trace my finger across the words, enunciate correctly, breathe in every page before I attempt to turn it.

Books aren’t allowed here. I befriended a guard, someone who says he is sympathetic to our cause. He gave me this pen and paper. He promised to see this reach you.

I have a thousand questions to ask, but I cannot bring them to paper not knowing if you would actually get this. But I pray and hope you are doing well.

Letter Two: 

I’m trembling with joy even as I write this. The chances of you receiving my letter were next to none as you very well know. I cannot tell you how happy I’m to hear from you. Oh, what I would do to see your face again. To see you smile.

Thank you for the pages from the Master’s book that you have enclosed with the letter. I remembered all the words even as I read them today. They feel so familiar.

Do you remember how we were swept up by the Master’s writings? How it riled us up, boiled our blood, made it flow itself into a frenzy, all the way to our minds? Do you think this man, this man that we elaborately planned to kill, and finally killed, do you think he was ever taken to a cause? No, he wouldn’t have believed in anything in all his life, would he have?

My blood has turned cold. In this dark, damp hole that I’m trapped in, it labors to even flow in my veins. The surge that it once had, this blood, that made it rush up with vengeance from my veins, rushing to my head to act, it is gone. My blood has turned languid, it claws its way through my body, reluctant, devoid of vigor and action. Sustain me it does, enrage me it does not.

All those books that we read, the books that were supposed to prepare us for sacrifice, all those dark chapters and essays meant to prepare us for an eventuality like this, I don’t understand what they say anymore. They are lost to me, I’m lost. I’m trapped within a four-walled hole, but I could have been lost, desolate in the mighty Tundra.

I don’t mean to distress you with all this. But you are a person of strength. I know I can tell you how it feels like in here.

The other thing. You have made no mention of it. I cannot bring myself to ask the question. I trust you would tell me more when you write to me again.

Letter Three: 

Why do you not talk about it? Why? Do you not understand how much I would be craving to know?

 

You understand, don’t you? You understand why I did what I had to? What we did?

Do you hold me against it now? All this? We decided on it, didn’t we? The cause, it comes first, doesn’t it? We talked about it.

Do you remember the day we met? That procession, the swell of that gathering that kept you close to me throughout? We were one, in thought, in our collective anguish. The knowing glances we shared as our cries rang out raw and unbidden. We were one, we all were, but you and me especially. And when it finally ended, when the crowd dispersed, you and I were left alone.

Our throats were hoarse from all the crying out, of our anguish, the slogans, but I couldn’t wait to hear your voice in its solitude. Couldn’t wait to know who and what you were. How you came to be a part of that uprising, where you were from, why you would have hated your parents, the society, your past, and mostly, how our common cause could have led you to where you were that day. Led you to me.

You know why I had to kill him, don’t you? We were right, weren’t we? He was the living example of everything that was against us, the epitome of everything that stood against our cause? Do you regret what happened?

How many hours we spent, simply resenting him. His actions, his words, his affluence, his lifestyle. Those hours we spent planning, to attack, to kill, in public. The world needed to know our cause was serious. That it was not just some passage in a book inherited from one activist to another. Not an obsolete way of thinking that we clung on to.

No, it had to be done, wasn’t it? We talked about this, we discussed this. Elaborately, elaborate plans. You agree, don’t you? We achieved our goal, didn’t we? Why, why then does my pen urge me to ask you this again and again?

Why, why then does my pen urge me to ask you this again and again?

 

This man, he lived a full life. He died a grand old man, sons to counsel, daughters to see off, and grandchildren to coddle. Friends to go for a walk with, free as a bird. He was free, always free. Even in death, he was free, wasn’t he?

He died at my hands though. Yes! But they celebrated his demise. They chained me down.

I wish our Master had written to us, explaining why this is a better life, for me, for you the one I had to leave behind, for us the revolutionists, we who fought for a better world. We won, didn’t we?

Has it inherited your dimples? Does it look anything like me, its ill-fated father? I wish I didn’t have to say ‘it’. But I have no way of knowing if our child is a boy or a girl. I wish I didn’t have to kill that man until our child was born. But the cause comes first, doesn’t it? We decided, didn’t we?

That man, he would have disciplined his sons and cajoled his daughters, even pampered his grandchildren. They would all remember him, wouldn’t they?

Our cause is right, it always has been. I know that. I do not know if we fought for it the right way. Is this dissent? Planning to trap and kill an enemy, and ensnaring ourselves in the process?

Our child, bring it up in the teachings of our Master, but let it go astray, even for just a while. The answers may not have been with our Master. Let it find them on its own. But whichever path it chooses to go, teach it to question, with reason, and to then act.

 

Love,

Your husband.

 

Write Club Hyderabad – The Design of Dissent – August 19th, 2017 & Epistolary Fiction – September 2nd, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Wet

The droplet, the lucky bastard, was momentarily airborne, but as she turned a full semi-circle, it descended happily onto the other shoulder.

I clutched the Cosmopolitan and made my way upstairs. Mother and Father were away, Sister was fondling the phone receiver lost in her own world, and I looked forward to a quiet afternoon on the terrace. This was my haven, the huge sprawling terrace. Though we lived in a neighborhood where the walls were as cozy as they could get, running abreast of each other, I was at an advantage of altitude. I could spy on every building within leering distance, and from vantage points that promised discretion and forbidden fruit. Today, however, I wasn’t planning on surveying the neighborhood for glimpses of flesh.

The new edition of the magazine promised a particularly raunchy article, with life-size pictures of course, that I was looking forward to perusing. To be taken on an exhilarating ride, courtesy the Cosmo models. I thanked my stars again for the day I had chanced upon the hidden stack. A fitting inheritance from father to son.

From those glossy pages, the models came alive and stood posing for me all along the walls of my terrace. I took hours weighing them, their pros and cons I mean, before eventually conferring them with my squirt of appreciation and gratitude.

I pushed open the door when the tangy smell of approaching rain hit me. I immediately tucked the priceless magazine inside my shirt and stepped onto the terrace. The afternoon sky had turned beautifully dark, with clouds billowing and converging over the top of my head. I stood under a canopy of black and dark blue clouds. Rain looked inevitable.

It was then that I saw the line of clothes adorning my usually bare terrace. I stopped short. This was new. I didn’t know if there had been any new tenants in our building. As I drew closer to the line, my heart started to race a little quicker.

Never had a clothesline made my heart flutter such. The pretty blouses and the dainty skirts were radiant in their myriad hues and design. Even as I marveled at the colorful taste of who must assuredly be a new tenant, the clouds having finally arranged themselves in an agreeable arrangement let loose and the rain washed down in a sudden swirl.

It brought with it a gust of wind that slapped a yellow blouse I was admiring, right in my face admonishing me out of my reverie. I crossed the line letting the fabric brush against my face as I went past the clothes.

At the door, I stopped at the sound of naked feet hustling up the stairs. I turned on my heel, crouching behind the door, every bit the voyeur I was.

With a montage of sounds that can only herald the approach of a girl in a hurry, I saw her rush past the door, turning gracefully at it, on her way to the clothesline. The clouds overhead took in the new entrant with vigor, breaking open and spewing forth a renewed shower of rain.

With my head firmly in the swirling clouds, I watched transfixed, between the bursts of rain and gusts of wind, as the girl swooped down on her line, discarding each of the clothes and crumpling them into a colorful bunch.

As I ogled at her, I traced a droplet of rain that had trickled down from her hair onto her shoulder. It was nestled in what must have been a cozy cleft on her shoulder when the girl abruptly jerked around. The droplet, the lucky bastard, was momentarily airborne, but as she turned a full semi-circle, it descended happily onto the other shoulder. Under the blue torrential sky, I turned green with envy. It had a tingling journey ahead of it, down the grooves of the girl’s body, as long as it stayed alive.

I didn’t let her catch a sight of me as she turned back for the door. She traipsed her way down, the heap of clothes notwithstanding, while I stayed rooted to my spot, enjoying the now steady patter of rain on my exhilarated face. Gathering my wits about me, I took a step towards the door, only to plunge into a drenched pair of breasts pointing up to me. The Cosmo was drenched and beyond repair.

It must have slipped down to its watery end courtesy one of the many sharp intakes of air I took while drinking in the sight of the girl. I was aghast, all thoughts of the girl evaporated into the afternoon air. This meant that the entire force of my father’s wrath would descend upon me in a torrent.

The Cosmo. Wet. The model on the cover was already expanding, growing out in size, blotted by the rainwater. The assets on display now spanned the girth of the entire page. The magazine had done to itself what I had planned for me. This was not my idea of getting wet.

 

Write Club Hyderabad – The calm and the storm – August 12th, 2017.

Black and White

As the child sang beautifully, scaling a pitch deemed higher than what was possible, the cleric had felt an unfamiliar rising of his own.

The clergyman got up from the white stone floor with difficulty. The years were no longer kind on his knees.

Adjusting his white robes, he settled himself on the solitary chair. His fingers went immediately to the beads around his neck. He started mumbling slowly to himself.

The cleric was a dignified white-haired man of God. Respected, even awed, by his community, he had the reputation of having Christ’s touch on his hands. Many a prayer he had mumbled had led to miraculous results. His congregation worshipped him as the priest that could turn sorrow to joy, sin to righteousness, all things dark to pure. Black to white.

It was not just him. Everything about the Church was white. The architecture, the clothing, and for many centuries the reputation too. Heavens, even the rosary beads were pearly white.

Of the many prayers that the rosary stood for, tonight the Prayer of Agony tugged at the old man’s heart. For he was struggling with unspeakable agony. The guilt wearing down on him. He felt like he was wearing the Cross itself. Agony cloaked itself around his neck.

The new addition to the choir had been only a month into it before the conductor made him render a solo at Sunday Mass. The priest deep in prayer had been jolted out of it with the tender and lilting voice of the choirboy. The notes were being hit with precision, but it was the mellifluous voice that had not only the priest but everyone in the congregation in raptures. A little angel in white.

That had been merely a month ago. Since then, the choirboy had been given extra duties around the Church. His presence brought about an enthusiasm to the priest, one that he did not know even existed. Every night before he retired to bed, he made the boy sing one of his favorites from the hymnal while he closed his eyes in pure, white joy, reveling in the child’s voice and the old lyrics.

Tonight, though.

The recollection made the priest grip his beads fiercely, turning his knuckles white. What had come over him tonight?

As the child sang beautifully, scaling a pitch deemed higher than what was possible, the cleric had felt an unfamiliar rising of his own.

The next few minutes went black. As the child whimpered away and the priest adjusted his stained robes back into place, he had felt a black cloud descend upon him. He of the magic white touch.

He couldn’t take it any longer. The rosary was not working. His fervent prayer was not being answered tonight. His admission of guilt though directed upwards had not even left the room. It kept prodding at him. A black whisper in his head.

He picked himself up and went to the wardrobe. Ignoring the usual white robes, he picked out the old black trunk. He let the white robes slip easily from his body. They no longer felt right, after all these years. He donned the garment that had not seen light for decades.

Turning around he removed the string of beads that had been his companion for years. Leaving the white rosary on the table, he slowly stepped out into the shadows. Him and the black garment that he had just donned.

It struck him as he slipped into the darkness that the night had never looked as black as it did then.

Write Club Hyderabad – Colors and Writing – July 15th, 2017.

Nonsense

We all squatted. The game was simple enough. Each one takes a card and rests his back on a rock. The rocks have absolutely no significance in the game. Once the cards have been picked, each of the players must talk with his card.

We were a gigantic group of fifteen. The city bored us to death. A couple of ours had already killed themselves. For a different reason.

They were twins and they used twine to hang themselves. I remember thinking twice, twins use twine to die.

With those two deaths, our group of fifteen was greatly depleted. Only thirteen of us were left. A few were right handed though. I thought the deaths augured well for us. Thirteen was after all such a lucky number.

To fight the boredom, we decided the city was no place for us. We decided to leave it for good, only for a day.

We went on a trip to a nearby hill station. Words can describe how beautiful the place was. But what demands description was the journey. I rode pillion on one of the guys’ backs. There was also his bike that came below us.

My journey on his back was uneventful but while I was riding pillion, I pitied a million rotations the bike took for its journey. It had an MR.F tire for its front and a wooden wheel for its back. While the MR.F made a million haughty revolutions, the spokes of the wheel tailed and toiled. I know this because the spokes spoke to me.

A million revolutions on pillion later, we joined the rest of the group.

We were greeted by one Mr. Bernard Shaw. He was the proud owner of an auto rickshaw. At first, he wouldn’t show us around. He was greatly peeved to have been brought out of his lordly slumber by a bunch of thirteen bored men. He had been dead in his slumber for years and finally relented to show us the place after we told him the truth.

That he had been posthumously ordained and that a breed of handsome dogs was now named after his saintly personage.

So happy was he that he brought out a set of plastic playing cards and proclaimed that we should play. Since there were only thirteen of us, it was obvious that we would play thirteen cards.

We all squatted. The game was simple enough. Each one takes a card and rests his back on a rock. The rocks have absolutely no significance in the game. Once the cards have been picked, each of the players must talk with his card. The one who has the longest conversation loses, for who really has the time to talk to cards anymore?

What is this life so full of care?

We have not to time to squat and stare.

I picked up my card. It was the Queen herself. She was looking sideways averting my gaze. There were two views of her on the card. Top left and bottom right. I fell in love with the bottom right pose.

As is the case with people in love with people on cards, I was hopelessly tongue-tied and couldn’t muster enough courage to have a conversation. I won the first round thus, quite comfortably, by having the shortest conversation.

In the next round, I got the Queen again. But this time she wasn’t the same. Knowing fully well this could mean losing this round of our hard-fought game, I asked her, “I love you, but you have changed. Why are you different?”

“I have many forms, she said. I’m in the sixth form, Grammar School, the one you fell in love with is still in the fourth form.”

I was dejected. I had lost in love, but more importantly in that round of cards. The hopeless romantic that I was, I never thought of the Queen ever again, the one that I loved dearly.

At Write Club Hyderabad – The NonSense Story – July 8th, 2017.