Thursday, August 20, 2015

An Unnecessary Distraction

It was the last thing she wanted to hear. After so many years of friendship that blossomed into love. After so many moments of togetherness and joy. After so many promises, she definitely didn't expect him to say, "You are just an unnecessary distraction in my life. I think you should leave me alone now."

She first thought she'd heard it wrong, till he repeated the words, just like how sometimes, a logger has to strike twice to cut through a strong, old tree. She still wasn't willing to give up. "But what makes you think that, after all this while? Is there something else?"
"No," was his unusually monosyllabic response.
"Sweetheart, I know things are rough now. They'll all be fine soon. Don't worry. I'll let you be now. I'll call you later. You take care, okay?" she said as she got up to hug him. He gently put her arms away and motioned for her to sit down. He ran his fingers through his hair.
"I think you should know the truth. I don't want to lead you on and then disappoint you. I don't think this is going to work out. I have too many things on my head right now. My career hasn't taken off the way I'd planned. I need to research more, learn more. There are a zillion ideas buzzing in my head but not enough opportunity or time. I don't wish to waste a moment more. Then there are my parents. They are of prime importance to me. They aren't getting any younger. I need to be around to take care of them and not disappoint them. They have a lot of hopes pinned on me."
"But then, how..."
"Let me please complete. So, I'm sorry but I don't think I'd have any time to spare for you. I'd only end up feeling guilty. "
"Hey! When did I expect anything out of you? Have I ever pushed you into doing anything?" she tried hard to sound chirpy.
"Leave alone meeting you or talking to you over phone, even thinking of you takes my thoughts away from work. I hate it when that happens. I need to concentrate."
His frown nipped her giggles sharp.
"Whoa! You sound serious. You told me I was your inspiration. How did I suddenly become a distraction? Is there someone else?"
"Then what is it?" she didn't want to sound pleading.
"What I said is the truth. I have no time for love."
"Fine. I'll wait then."
"That's up to you. I can't promise anything," he shrugged.
Now this was getting annoyingly frightening. She held his hand and looked at him, searching his face for a clue. He just got up to leave.

As they stood at the exit door, "I am sorry," he said. After a long, lingering look at each other, they walked away in opposite directions.

"I hope she believed me," he thought as he turned around the corner, tears brimming his eyes.
"I wish he told me the truth," she thought as she quickly wiped her eyes and hailed a cab.


In response to a daily writing prompt from Writers Write.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Road Rage - 2 - 'Break-neck' speed breakers
While roads are being laid, half-laid, re-laid and being prepared for laying, I have a word or two to say about the speed breakers too. After all speed breakers contribute to a great extent in providing the exciting experience of cross-country races well within the city.

You see, there are basically three kinds of speed-breakers.
1. The Prim and Propah: These are of the right height, the right breadth, marked with black and white stripes. So we know what exactly they are, from even a distance 10-15 meters. Therefore, boring.    Of course, there are uncles in their shiny cars (with the plastic covers on the seats still intact). They sometimes block the entire traffic while they carefully deal with the brief uphill moment.

2. Half-baked: Now these are grudgingly erected at random places by the Corporation under pressure from the public. They are therefore half-done and haphazard (but surely more than half a hazard). They are perfectly camouflaged under the tar. The irritated worker forgot to paint lines over them. These challengers rise up at the most unexpected places. Now if there is a bike moving in front of you and you happen to pay attention, you brace yourself for the approaching hurdle. The other day, I happened to be the lone motorist on the road. It was a cool afternoon, I was in a state of bliss, with a song on my lips. I thought it was my state of mind that lifted me up some 10 inches in the air. It was only after the bike came down with a thud and I bit my tongue did I realise that the speed breaker was the actual cause of my levitation. With this rough incident, the last bits of spiritual bliss left my body with precisely two cuss words.

3. Custom-made: This is the most unique variety. Now these speed breakers mark the high-handedness of the local kingpin/daada/temple owner/rich man/ex-municipal councilor living on that street. These are just roughly laid mounds of concrete and blue-metal stones in varying altitudes. My guess is that they are laid by chefs or gardeners of these VIPs in their free time. The height and breadth of these killers vary depending on the VIP-ness of the aforementioned person. I tell you, these speed-breakers are the real deal. You won't know of their existence till you actually get close to them. But by then you are so close that you can't do anything really. If you are on a two-wheeler, use it to master your control over the machine. If you are in a car and you are a believer, you can just say a silent prayer while the monster speed breaker scratches the innards of your car with its devilish fingernails. And well, if you are non-believer, didn't they say you are already doomed?