Monday, July 29, 2013

Gloria - A Short Story - Rejo John

We all have a story. A story that makes us wonder “what if?”

I have such a story.

It happened right after I had finished my high school. On a Saturday, I found myself running into ice cream parlors in Jayanagar. Once inside, I would wipe the sweat off my forehead, look at the people sat there, then run out.

Outside, I would ask someone if there was an ice cream parlor nearby. When they point me to one, I would say, "I just went in there. Is there another one nearby?"

It all began half way through the last year of my high school. That’s when Gloria joined our school.

Gloria is the most beautiful girl I have ever known.

I soon realized I wasn't alone in the club.  All my friends would do nothing but talk about her.

My best friend tried to “get to know her better”, but she always kept a distance from us boys.

At the end of our year, on the annual day, I finally made up my mind to ask her out.

At first, I stood a safe distance from her and her friends.  I waited for a moment when she would be alone.  I didn’t want to look like a dork in front of all the girls if she turned me down.

Finally, I got my moment.  I walked up to her awkwardly and told her that I would like to meet her sometime again. I  didn’t tell her that I was asking her out on a “date.”  I just told her I liked her a lot and would miss her a lot.

I was expecting her to just smile at me and say the same thing, but instead she told me it would be nice to "meet" me again. May be she was being nice. I didn't know, so I smile at her and start to walk away. Then she said, "Hey, where shall we meet up?"

Oh God! She seriously wanted to meet me. The girl I have been dreaming about all these months.  Who I thought would not even be bothered to know my name was now asking me where we can meet up.

I told her we can meet up wherever she wants. She told me that there was this ice cream parlor near her house in Jayanagar.

I pull out my bulky cellphone from my trousers. I did it proudly, because back then, cellphones were a luxury. In fact, Gloria was the only girl who owned one. Rumors said her dad is this damn rich guy. The only reason shes stuck in this school with us poor souls was because she couldn’t get admitted into another school in the middle of the year.

That wasn't exactly "my" phone.  I borrowed it from my cousin who runs this phone shop.

She looked impressed.  I took her number and told her I would call her on Saturday to confirm the timings.

I remember shivering with disbelief. I remember wanted to just get away from her. I didn't want her to see the shivery me.  i wanted her to see the cool me. So I tried to end the conversation. But before I could turn away, she says that she had deliberately stayed away from getting close to the boys here because all the boys she knew at her old school were jerks. They never kept their word. They never took things seriously.

For some reason, this only made me more "shiveryier". So I smiled at her, told her I would see her on Saturday, and walked away.

I don’t remember what happened the rest of the day. But I remember that a few days later, on Saturday, I had dressed myself well and was in a bus to Jayanagar.

We had sms chatted the previous night. I tried to keep my messages to a minimum because I didn’t want to disturb her too much. I imagine that must be what those jerks at her old school would have done. Message her all the time. It must have gotten on her nerves.

Her last message was a “good night” with a smiley face following that.  I didn’t know what that exactly meant. May be she was just smiling when she sent me that message. I like to imagine that she was blushing.

I remember thinking the government ought to put out more buses on the roads. The one I was in was packed with people. I couldn’t find a seat and I had to stand hanging onto the railing which I could barely reach.

When the conductor shouted Jayanagar, I squeezed myself out of the bus.

From here, she had told me the ice cream parlor, the name of which I couldn’t remember, was just 15 minutes away. She had texted me the address in case I forget it. But I had a very good memory. I mean, I could remember every word she had spoken to me on annual day, every word she had used when we chatted. Even the misplaced commas, which I thought were very cute.

But I couldn’t remember the address.

And that’s why I came here half an hour earlier than our meet up time. I knew it would give me enough time to find the place, and then I would be there, waiting for her. I wanted to make her realize that I am not one of those jerks. I am the good guy. The cool guy.

So my hand went in to fish out my bulky cellphone. But all I found was a limp pocket. I checked my other pocket and realized that it wasn’t there.

May be I left it at home I thought. But then I remembered rereading her messages in the bus.

I realized then that I had been pickpocketed.  And the worst thing is, I didn’t know where I was supposed to meet her.

That’s when I started running into random ice cream parlors hoping to see her sitting alone at a table, I imagined, looking sad and dejected.

Its safe to say that I didn’t find her that day. And I couldn't manage to contact her as none of my friends knew her number or knew where she lived except that it was somewhere in Jayanagar.

For years, every Saturday, I would dress myself up, travel all the way to Jayanagar, and go to a random ice cream parlor in Jayanagar. And I would wait.

I imagined that someday she would walk in and find me sitting there, and…..

I am sorry, but I have to end this story here. My son just dropped some ice cream on the table. Nothing to worry, Gloria is cleaning him up right now. She is a good wife, but a better mother.


- Rejo John

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Facebook Friend - A short story

I had to lie to my teacher.  Or she wouldn’t have let me go.  I told her I am going to visit my uncle.

Only Suraj knew where I was really going.

To this girl’s house.  This girl I met on Facebook.  This girl I had gotten so close to, but have never met.

I was so happy when my class decided to go to Goa for the trip.  I promised her that I would come visit her.

At first, she wasn’t excited about the idea.  Her messages almost seemed like she didn’t want me to come meet her.

She’s one of those really shy girls.  Shy to even put up her photo on her Facebook profile.

After I got out of the camp without anyone noticing, I quickly hired a rickshaw to told the driver her address.go to her place.

It took about 20 minutes.  I walked about to a house. “Ebenezer House” it said beside the old gate.  I pushed it open and walked in.  I was finally going to meet her.

After a lot of insistence, she had finally sent me a photo.  It was a photo OF a framed photo.  I remember what I felt the first time I looked at it.  A pale girl looking longingly into the camera.  She looked nothing like the happy-go-lucky girl image I had of her in my mind.

Standing in front of the door, I pushed away few strand hair on top of my forehead with my hand.  Made myself presentable.  And knocked on the door.

An old lady opened the door a bit and peered out at me.  I instantly recognized her as her grandma.  She had told me a lot about this sweet woman.

“I am here to meet Sarah.” I said.

She looked at me strangely for a few seconds, then said,“She’s not here.” and proceeded to close the door.

“When will she be back??” I said quickly before she closed the door.

She paused for a few seconds, then opened the door wider.  She motioned me to come in.  She then walked straight up a flight of stairs.  I stood there.  Watching her.  Confused.

“Follow me!” she ordered turning to me from the top of the stairs.  I obeyed.

On the first floor, she took me into a room.

Once inside, I started to cough.  My eyes watered.  I was allergic to dust.

I looked around.  There were dolls in showcases.  Pretty dresses around.  And on a table was the framed photo.  The framed photo she had sent me a picture of.

I picked it up and took a close look at it.

Then I suddenly realized.  This was her room!  Sarah's room!  I felt like an intruder.  This was her private place.  I shouldn’t be here.

“She’s not coming back.” the old lady said.  I looked at her, and she was staring out of a window at something in the backyard.

“Huh?” I said putting down the photo and walking towards the window.  Looking out of the window, I saw 2 tombstones.  Side by side.  But one was shorter in length than the other.

“We buried her alongside her mother.”  The old lady continued.

I stood there.  Stunned.

“She was always so lonely.  So depressed.  She never got over her hearing disability.  Never learned to communicate well with anybody.”

The old lady turned to me.  I am standing there, starting to turn white.

I swallowed hard and said,“When did she die?”

“About two years ago.  Were you very close to her?” she said.

I mouthed a very shallow “sorry” and rushed out of the room, down the stairs, and out of the house.

I ran out of the house, and sat down on the ground beside the gate.  Confused, scared.

I finally took out my phone and started writing a text to her, or whoever that was behind this sick joke.

“Who are you???”

I should have realized this sooner.  She, or whoever it was, never picked up my calls.  It was always SMSes or Facebook messages.  Should have realized something was not right.

No reply yet.  I started walking down the road by her house.  As I walked, I could see the tombstones on the other side of the low height wall.  A shiver traveled down my spine as I got a glance of them.  Just then, my phone vibrated:
 “1 new message.”

“I was afraid I would lose you if you came to know about me.  Can we still be friends?”

I stopped in my tracks, and for some reason my eyes were drawn to that window I was looking out of a few minutes ago.  And I saw a pale looking girl with hollow eyes staring back at me.


- Manu and Rejo

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Not-So-Amazing Superguy! - A Superhero Short Story.

Counsellor:  How are you feeling today?

Superguy:  Just look at me!! I am bald, out of shape, and of all the people in the world, this so-called Destiny chose me to be a superhero!

C: We have already gone over this last week, Superguy. Anything else you wanna get off your chest?

Sg:  Did I tell you how all the bad guys are always good-looking?  I mean, not even one of them is bald! And they all look fucking fit.  Its almost as if they were models getting their photoshoots done and then out of the blue decided to take over the world!

C:  So you aren't happy with the way you look.

Sg:  Just look at me, man! Just fucking look at me! I try combing my hair over my bald spot, but the moment I take off into the air, it slips out of its place.

C: May be you shouldn’t be so worried about your looks.

Sg:  Shouldn't be worried??? I am a superhero for crying out loud.  I am expected to be good-looking. The other day, I caught this little girl falling off a bridge.  So I catch her and fly up to the bridge.  The mother turns around, sees me holding her daughter, and starts swinging her bag at me and chase me down the road.

C:  Why?

Sg:  Well for starters, she didn't realize that her daughter had fallen off the bridge and that I had just saved her. And secondly, I am guessing she thought I am some kind of a bald pervert or something!  Man, she wouldn't even let me explain!

C:  I heard you have this new villian, The MindReader. Do you want to talk about him?

Sg:  The MindReader! That freak and his fucking sidekick is making my life miserable!  I mean, that asshole can literally read my fucking mind. He knows my thoughts. My secrets.  My fucking everything!

C:  Read your mind?

Sg:  Ya man! A few weeks back, the fucker called me by my real name. I mean, no one fucking knows my real name. And then he kidnaps my parents. And last week, he left this girl I used to date on the train tracks with her hands and legs all tied up!

C:  Lets talk about your personal life. Did you meet anybody special?

Sg:  Well, ya! I met this girl a few weeks back.  We went on a few dates. But with this fucking MindReader around, I couldn't risk thinking much about her. So I told her to give me some time till I take care of some shit.

C:  Oh, new development! We never talked about this before. How did you meet her. Any shared interests?

Sg:  Well, I met her at this bookshop near her house on Hudson Road. But like I said, I am trying to keep it all a bit hush-hush, you know, with this MindReader fucker around.  I like her a lot.  I think she might be the one.

C:  I am very happy to hear this Superguy! May I know the name of this young lady?

W: Her name is Anne. She’s got a beautiful smile.

C:  Once again, I am glad to hear this, Superguy, but I am afraid this is all the time we have for today.

Superguy stands up and stretches.
“Thanks for listening to me vent it all out, Thomas. I guess I will be on my way now.”
“See you next week, Superguy.”

With that, Superguy flew out an open window of Dr. Thomas’ clinic.  Dr. Thomas stood by the window and watched Superguy's form gradually shrink and vanish into the blue sky.  He then quickly walked over to the next room and opened a door which revealed stairs going down to the basement.
A kid in a weird suit sat in front of a huge computer screen.  He removed his earphones when he saw Dr. Thomas climb down the stairs.
“Did you find Anne?” said Dr. Thomas.

“Yup! Got the address right here!” the kid said pointing at the screen.

“Good! Lets see if Superguy can save her life!!”

Dr. Thomas then proceeded to don his suit which read "MindReader" across its chest.


- Rejo John