Sunday, July 19, 2009

Short Story : In the Balcony

She stroked her baby. It was late. The clock struck 1.30. The baby had woken her up. She took it into her lap and slowly moved it to and fro. The baby fell back asleep. She looked at her husband. He was sleeping peacefully, snoring lightly. She knew he loved her. She could feel it. He took her restaurants and to shopping malls because he knew she loved to go out. He took her with him to places he went for business trips because he knew that she loved traveling. She loved him too. They were happy. Sometimes when she wrote a poem, she wished him to read it. He always did. And smiled back at her and said, “Well written.” She knew, he read it to make her happy.

She put the baby back into its bed, and lay down herself. She couldn’t sleep. This has been happening since she had the baby. Once she woke up, it was hard getting back to sleep again. And the baby often woke up at night. It was born during the day and people had told her babies who are born in the day, don’t usually sleep well at night.

She got up and went to the balcony. She leaned on the railing and looked far into the darkness. She could see the black cement silhouettes and a tree now and then. She looked up in the sky. The moon wasn’t there. Maybe it was sometime around a new moon night.

It was long time ago. She was afraid then. Afraid of society, afraid of her loved ones, afraid of being disowned. Afraid of loving a man, holding him and walk by him every evening to the lonely beach she loved.

She remembered one restless night, waiting to meet him for the first time. And then followed an excited morning and then a college canteen meeting and a lovely afternoon together.

She knew him from an orkut community. He was the owner of a moderated Taslima Nasrin community. He had accepted the join request silently. Then one day, she put her picture in her profile. She could be classified under the beautiful ones. No, she wasn’t ugly. A few days after the picture was uploaded, he scrapped her. A very common thing! She was used to it. So, she replied back, never giving it much thought. And then followed long hours of chatting. They both were in college hostels then. She had hundreds of friends and so did he. But they were happy together. She did know why that boy liked her. But she liked him because he was so sensitive and emotional. He knew the world was cruel and he had that beautiful soft corner for people for whom he wanted to do something. He spoke against the cruelty to Muslim women. They spoke of society, politics, terrorism and poverty. And he had another side too, that was wonderfully soothing, calm and caring. He loved poetry, created them. He knew to sing though she never had the chance to listen to him singing. He loved books, they talked of books. He was three yearsyounger to her. This had always been a funny issue. She never let him forget that he was younger. And he hated her for reminding him everyday. She always laughed about it and he scorned at her that left her with a naughty smile.

She often remembered that day they met. The day was very hot. They had a cold drink each. He paid. She teased him about it. She was older. She was supposed to pay. They walked up to the beach. That was her favorite beach. She took him to the tree. She did not know which tree it was. But she loved sitting on the rock under it. She told him so. They sat together under it. They laughed, smiled. They had so much to talk of. And then that evening he left. That was the last time she saw him. She had been happy.

And then a few days later he proposed. She declined. He reacted. He called her hard hearted. She cried that day. Slowly, emotions fizzed off. The anger, the passion, the desperation and then the pain fizzed off. They talked sometimes, now and then, sometimes on the phone, sometimes over the internet. Then there had been one night, when they were awake all through. They heard the birds chirp, together. Together they watched the dawn creep into their rooms through the window. That night she told her, how afraid she was of everybody around her. She was a Hindu. Her parents trusted her. Trusted her hat she would marry a person of her own community. And there was a Muslim boy three years younger to her, expecting love in return for everything that he gave her. A Muslim boy who dreams of a society where nobody would tell a story of a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy but would just smile listening to a story of a boy and a girl madly in love. And there were her parents, who gave her whatever she had now, who loved her more than herself. Parents, who had that unsaid assurance from their daughter that she would never let them down. She had stood at a confusing cross road. And she wished she could walk both the roads. She chose one and sometimes thought about the other road – the road she left behind. The other road… where a boy had waited by the road, stretched out his hands, wanted to hold her and walk together by her side.

But sometimes, she wanted to escape to that beach, to sit on that rock under that tree. Read out a poem aloud and watch him listen to her.

The baby cried out. She went in. Took it into her arms and came back to the balcony. She sang lightly and lulled the baby to sleep, and thought of writing a story about it. Then she thought, this was such a common issue. Falling in love and then marrying a boy of family’s choice and then on some nights stand in a lonely balcony and think of him. But how wonderfully this story of thousands was so special to her! How unique she felt about the feelings and it was hard to imagine that maybe thousands of people felt the same way as she did on this lonely balcony while singing their baby to sleep.

The baby was quiet. She looked at it. Sleeping peacefully, it smiled. She smiled too.

P.S. : I dont usually write such stories. Am bad wen it comes to love stories. A very very common plot, but I wanted to write about it. A first attempt! Hoping its bearable.


Paritosh said...

"and thought of writing a story about it"

Is it a story inside a story or is it what they nonchalantly call 'semi-autobiographical"?

Mou said...

nope yaar! this one is not even a bit autobiographical... not even a percent of it !!!

Story insise a story... well i dont think so... finally the lady did not write a story just thot of writing one !

Avishek said...

let me spoil the well written story a bit. i'm always good at such stuff.

next time u write a story, run the spell checker. and plz don't goof up genders. people with my Love Quotient (low) level, get confused.

u surely don't mind :D

Mou said...

I rechecked and did not find a spelling mistake.
I agree about the gender goofed up at one place... but only one (now corrected). U said as if there have been hundred places.

And btw try writing such stuff in 15 minutes while chatting with someone at the same time :D B)

ARJUN MS said...

I liked the story very much.
You have expressed it in a realistic way.
Keep up the good work.

et said...

Just dropped by seeing the "Pathless woods.. " bit in ya profile:)

Havn't seen those words somewhere else after i saw it in 'Into the Wild'.
Well, i'm in a hurry now(exams!).. so will read on ya blog later on!

tc~ ^_^


I actually enjoyed your writing, Mou. Keep at it!

Mou said...

@Arjun and PPVF
Thank you. At least somebody said that they liked the story. :)
I was thinking of cancelling my next ventures for love stories !

Welcome to my blog !
Well the "pathless woods" was taken from the movie "Into the wild"... One of my favorites :)

Dhiman said...

Love stories are most common yet they are most popular ones .... This one was a very good one... You wrote it without being mushy which is strangely becoming a norm among Indian writers...Well done Ma'am :D

Oh yes you have been tagged :) just check out the link

Mou said...

Thank you Dhiman. :)

Arslan said...

I really liked it.. The understated emotions are very realistic.

Gonna read the diary of a passenger as well.. Keep writing.. :)

Mou said...

Thank you Arslan :)
Will look forward to your suggestions on the dairy of the daily passenger too.

Maurya said...

Good One!!! Keep writing.. :)

Mou said...

Thank you maurya ! :)
And i never knew you had a blog !

Maurya said...

Oh the Blog... That was the time when I had no work @ Work. Some sleepy afternoon I thought of writing something (cazy idea for me!!!)
Lets c when I write again.. :)

Mou said...

do it sometime soon. I read it and liked it :)

Maurya said...

Thanks a lot!!! Your encouragement will surely be an encouragement for me :)