Monday, 30 August 2010

5. Counting...

Note: This story has absolutely no connection to real life and is completely a work of fiction from one of the many worlds inside my head. So just play along with me and enjoy the realms of imagination which I hope everyone can do without any feelings getting hurt! :) Oh and do read the previous parts to understand the story a little more!

5. Counting... 

10... 9... 8..

Eyes. I was so scared of them before; odd now.

7... 6...

He hasn't changed a bit.

5... 4...

I cannot believe Mum stooped this low.

4... 3...

This man, this gloating, rude, egoistic ape stands here and just...

'Done counting yet?'

I finally opened my mouth. 'No, but I probably should have counted from a 1000, instead of a 100.'

He chuckled. 'You need to come up with better excuses for staring at my face, the old angry hag counting might be a tad overdone.'

I had visions of pulling his entire digestive system out before I replied, but he interrupted my pleasant dream.

'Oh come on, just hop on that plane, will you? The weather out there is so much better.'

I walked back to the sofa, plopped down on it and sat cross-legged. I looked up trying to spot any look of defeat.

He just took it as an invitation to come in. Maybe, silence then, is the answer.

'She even promised you don't have to do any interviews or social events with her. Hell, she doesn't mind you buying retail – that is the extent of her desperation.'

He sat next to Nohad – why doesn't this man feel an ounce awkward sitting in a stranger’s house, right beside them?

'Do it for me otherwise! I'll be your chauffeur, how about that?'

'Why am I getting married?' Silence would give no answers. Curiosity gets the better of the best of people anyway.

He looked a little taken aback at my abrupt interruption. He recovered quickly though - 'I don't know... maternal concern?'

I didn't blink. Stare him down!

'Look... ! 물라! 진자! I really don't know. All I know is I need you back there or she will butcher me personally or worse she will rip the gallery apart.'

'You should pay me for the amount of times I have supposedly saved your pretentious spoof of a gallery. Even Mum would end up jealous of how rich I am.'

'Don't start about the gallery – you know how long I worked...'

'Sure I will – I can't believe you have the nerve to call that a gallery – it is more like a child's nursery: splashes of color every which way you turn to. 

'It is called appreciation of art, and obviously potty-brained-you wouldn't know or understand.'

'Ha! I can't believe you just used potty brained against me. Totally helps with the nursery analogy since a kid runs the 'arty gallery'.'


We looked at each other in bewilderment. The outburst was actually the third person amongst us. Looks like she finally emerged from the chronicles of this mystical body. 

Nohad took a deep breath.

'You!' she said pointing at me, 'stop ranting about the troubles of the world and get to cooking will you?'

'And YOU!' she turned to Alex. He looked a bit taken aback, as if realising someone else was actually there all this time.

'You... she said, like art? Really? What kind?'

I couldn't believe this. This was a complete betrayal of the sacred codes of friendship! Whatever happened to its sanctity, the sisterhood? I could only gape.

No, I am not overly dramatic, understand? My world just has more problems than yours. 

Sunday, 4 April 2010

4. I Need Backup!

Note: This story has absolutely no connection to real life and is completely a work of fiction from one of the many worlds inside my head. So just play along with me and enjoy the realms of imagination which I hope everyone can do without any feelings getting hurt! :) Oh and do read the previous parts to understand the story a little more!

4. I Need Backup!
( Alex ) ( :o  ) ( !! )

It is a little odd... seeing her again.

She bit her lip. I really wanted to send distress signals out, 'Help, she is staring!' for that has never been a good sign. Getting her back home safe – it is only my safety I am referring to – would be a challenge. At least, there are witnesses around, though I sincerely hope her geeky friend, head implanted into a book, will notice my slow death at the hands of a woman who by the looks of it had already counted down every number she knew.

I wish I could stop smiling and take a little step behind this crazy woman. If only those dark eyes could stop staring...

SOS. At the very least save mine. Over.

Friday, 2 April 2010

3. The Tenant of the Rat Family.

Note: This story has absolutely no connection to real life and is completely a work of fiction from one of the many worlds inside my head. So just play along with me and enjoy the realms of imagination which I hope everyone can do without any feelings getting hurt! :) Oh and do read the previous parts to understand the story a little more!

3. The Tenant of the Rat Family.

'How can you still hide your keys under the flower pot outside? Do you really think people are stupid?' I shouted as I slammed the door shut behind me.

'Oy, are you out or something?' I yelled, though this time I got a reply.

'Shut up and make me some coffee and breakfast or something – I'll be out in a sec anyway.' Hearing Nohad's voice, even when she is annoyingly demanding, brought a welcome smile. Her house was a mess as always – clothes had forgotten what living in the wardrobe felt like and the carpet hadn't been stepped on in a long time thanks to the many layers of books, medical journals and food packets – mostly empty. I tried walking through the piles without disturbing the peace on the floor while picking up the empty wrappers. Leukodystrophies, cardiac myopathy, hallux – did she really need to learn about her head, heart and her big toe at the same time?

'Why can't I hear kitchen noises? Clank some metal together, will you?'

'Make your own food, I have better things in life to achieve than work on my culinary skills.' I worked quietly in the kitchen till I heard the bathroom door click.

'Coming from you, it might just be too hard to believe', she said as she pulled a face while tying her wet hair up into a bun. 'Did you throw your phone out of that window again? I tried calling you but had a pleasant talk with someone else instead who I suspect to be a very jolly tramp about his nocturnal habits and his troubles sleeping in the cold. Charming fellow.'

'I can imagine. What does he have to complain about though? He has a free life with an anonymous existence – what more does he want?'

Nohad stretched and yawned before she sank onto the sofa - 'I don't know, maybe I should call him up from time to time. He seemed kind of lonely.'

These were the times that I really wished she would never graduate from medical school. I am selfish – sharing this wildly friendly person with vulnerable patients might reduce the time I can enjoy her quirks. As a person, she was highly entertaining – I would question boredom's effect on people around her. As a friend though, I would rather keep her for myself and sharing privileges with a wandering tramp was a little disconcerting. I needed a change of subject.

'Where do you keep your passports, by the way?'

'In the cabinet, below the sink. I am secretly hoping the rats eat it so I don't need to go back home for the holidays.'

'You have rats?'

'You don't?'

'You mind if I burn them?' I asked as I walked over to the cabinet.

Nohad strained herself to look up a little from the sofa.

'The rats? Very much so – I have come to become very fond of them. I could name them but I just can't figure out whether they are boys or girls.'

'How hard is it? Grab them and take a peak. But I meant your passport.' I said as I opened the cabinet and quickly took her passport out.

'Nohad Omaar. 23 years old. Born in Stockholm, Sweden. Nice picture by the way. Big forehead caution.'

'Its a sign of cleverness, thanks. It increases my chances of being related to Einstein even.'

'A Somalian-Swedish woman of colour related to a Caucasian scientist... well if you can talk to your rats, I guess anything is possible.'

'I don't talk to them. Other than the occasional exchange of pleasantries and season's greetings.'

I smiled while I kept looking for the box of matches between the mess in the kitchen.

'Oh come on! Don't burn it – it will stink this house up. If you really don't want me to go home for the holidays, just throw it out of the window. I bet another tramp will hit it lucky.'

I didn't mind really. As long as both are passports were away, there was no way I could return to Seoul. No bridesmaid and no bride – my wedding sounded perfect.

'Odd! Throwing stuff out of windows is oddly liberating' I said as I dropped the stuff down from the first floor flat. Brushing the imaginary fairy dust from my shoulders, I sauntered to the kitchen.

'Eggs, bacon or baked beans from a tin? I'll let you choose today – special treat.'

'Make them all and we'll call in a breakfast gourmet.'

'Seriously, all you do is read those boring journals or eat and occasionally bathe. I think you may soon need to ring life up.'

'Weird you say it while all you do on a Monday afternoon is work out and cook gourmet meals for your friend' she murmured as she slowly retreated into the book.

'I will have you know that...' What would have been a somewhat witty comeback was interrupted by the doorbell.

'Visitors? Really?'

My joking exclamation though was pretty genuine for my friend. 'Weird, I haven't heard that bell since Christmas when Zech surprised us... who do you think it is?'

'Maybe, its the rat family, complaining about this mess' I said as I dodged a pile of papers to get to the door unharmed.

Two passports stared at me at the open door. One I had recently acquainted myself with, the other was mine.

I looked up to see a familiar face.

'You haven't changed a bit – but you won't believe the luck I've had with raining passports today. I can narrate in the plane maybe?' He gleamed a smile, a smile I've seen many times and smiled along with.

But today, he was an unwelcome face.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

2. Before Yesterday

Note: This story has absolutely no connection to real life and is completely a work of fiction from the worlds inside my head. So just play along with me and enjoy the realms of imagination which I hope everyone can do without any feelings getting hurt! :)

2. Before Yesterday

I slammed the stop button on the treadmill. Buckling over a little to ease the weird tantrum my queasy abdomen seemed to be having, I sneaked a look up at the clock on the dreary gym wall. I almost tripped... partly because I was shocked but I guess the fatigue of running for over an hour and a half straight without realising, was probably a another major reason. Stepping down from the machine, my body was drenched in all the fluid I had consumed in my entire life. I sat down on the floor and slowly removed my blaring headphones and let myself think again.

As much as I tried, I couldn't help but close my eyes. In my own darkness, it is harder to control where my mind goes. If I really had my way I would simply erase my identity. Not by killing myself, like ignoramuses who fail to realise that destroying your body, doesn't destroy you in person. People will still remember you, care for you, not care for you, talk about you – know you as someone who existed once. But I, I wanted to go beyond that, without dying, and that is exactly what I tried when I moved without telling anyone from Seoul five years ago.

Maybe I thought that persuading everyone that I didn't exist, would help me alienate a part of me from myself. For someone who really was placed in a most bizarre situation, since my mother's womb decided it had enough of me and pushed me out, I had grown up to be remarkably normal in a dysfunctional family.

I am not exactly sure why 30 years ago, my Grandfather decided that he wished to suddenly pack everything he owned (which to be honest and as humble as my proud being will allow, was a huge amount) and move to Korea. In my younger, curious years, I remember asking him this – and all he said was that the prospects in Korea were better than they were in India. Sometimes, I really do wonder whether he just randomly opened at Atlas and chose to move to a place where his finger pointed to, with his eyes closed. He entered Korea as a rich man and later left the world leaving a very rich son behind – my father.

Now, Pa is a special person, really. Every morning, he walks for exactly 25 minutes in our garden while he waits for the perfect wife to arrive with breakfast in the lawn. Pursing his lips at every thing that would be served, he would usually eat exactly half of what was on the plate before he gruffly announced that mother was a useless cook and that he better be going. But while he is supposed to have single-handedly raised the already rich company he had, into an international extravaganza of a giant conglomerate, I'd still rather believe there was magic behind all this than have him take that credit. Karma just doesn't add up, I think that is why I don't believe in it.

Leading my dad on from the sidelines was the other power head of the company – Mum. While at home she feigns to be the perfect housewife, leaning on the culinary skills of the servants and presenting them as her own expertise, at work she doesn't have to rely on anything except her adamant core – and that she has enough of to last all her 9 lives. Her strength is admirable but her lack of empathy is frightening. She ruthlessly undertook all the gritty work behind the success of the company and her sharp gaze never wavered while she 'took care' of unnecessary hurdles.

You never question about where they went and what phone call was important enough not to give a miss at 2 am in the morning. You never know how much money they are making. You never know why they need bodyguards everywhere they stroll. I never want to know why they both have their own guns.

Together, they made a strange couple at home, but in the office they played a deadly game together, crushing, destroying everything they could, if it could aid even the slightest in what they want, ultimately creating a world for themselves on their own surreal ideals of success. And now, they wanted me to get married.

I tried to scrutinise every possible reason for them to want such an absurd thing, but every idea seemed a bit too normal for the parents. I had disowned my shares in the company years ago, and of course, the idea of them wanting to get me married simply to see me well off is quite absurd. So I decided to recruit help. Shaking myself out of the stupor of the past, I walked to the changing room quickly before someone complained about a sleeping girl on the second floor..

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

1. The Eighth Time

Note: This story has absolutely no connection to real life and is completely a work of fiction from the worlds inside my head. So just play along with me and enjoy the realms of imagination which I hope everyone can do without any feelings getting hurt! :)

1. The Eighth Time

The old man looked at me and smiled. His beard fluttered in the wind while he whispered, “You know this boat rocks exactly seven times, right?”

I felt myself nod, when suddenly the boat lurched dangerously and I grabbed a giant bread stick to steady myself. Tiny dolls were running around wiping the liquorice sheets dry. I wondered if I should offer some help but refrained myself from asking; rainbow shoes don't make up the best attire for cleaning.

I took a bite from a passing cloud. It cried out in pain and scowled at me before it fled to a nearby cave under the giant mast for some respite from the rain. The sun however, seemed to enjoy it and shined brightly under the shower. It looked really delicious, the pouring water slipped off its creamy body slowly, very slowly, as if deliberately elongating the time spent brushing against such a delicacy. There, could you smell it? Damp earth warmed up to the idea of growth and green shoots slowly emerged from barren lands. And the ship lurched once again – was it the one before the last and final one?

I wish they could stop singing, I wish I could start instead. The black cat yelled out as it flew by, “Stop that now, will you?” It was as if it could read my mind, stopped me before I started. The chocolate bird walked by, with the annoying arrogance it was born with and muttered, quite audibly, “High time, isn't it?”

And I knew it was time to go, right before the last and final lurch.

I reached out for the cell phone and fumbled with the keys, fingers strained to remember which button to press while they shook along with the vibrating phone. Finally, the right button pressed itself and my eyes opened, one at a time, adjusting to this odd reality we live in.

6:30 am. It takes me seven alarms in the morning to get up. Once, I decided to be lazy and added the eighth; I woke up after my high school graduation ceremony. Just as well, my neon robes would not have pleased my parents who travelled around the globe to see my graduate. That night, their displeased faces declared that they had decided to halve the monthly allowances that they put in the bank seemingly for me – I think they still put money in there every month.

I don't think I want to shorten the alarm count to 6 yet. I think I will do that they day I find myself with a reason to get out of bed earlier in the morning. For now, I had to suffice with the craving for hot tea to drag myself out. As I walked to the kitchen wearily after a long night's sleep, I looked around to check if there would be any self righteous interferences to my aimless wandering this morning. Fortunately, it looked like a good day and the entire flat was empty.

As the tea brewed itself, I drummed my fingers on the kitchen platform. I was waking up slowly. Watching the water bubble up, I yawned and stretched and wondered what to do today. Pouring the hot tea into a mug till it was full to the brim, I walked back into my room carefully balancing the mug so as to not spill any of my tea – I would have some sips less to drink and the room mates won't appreciate another stain on the already embellished carpet.

“Two more steps before I can set the cup down” I thought as took another strategic step when the earth shook itself like a wet dog.

I yelped painfully as the hot tea drenched through my clothes and burned my skin. I grabbed my vibrating phone from my pocket and my half confused brain apprehended that it was not an eighth alarm or an earthquake but a phone call at the ungodly hour of 10 am. I punched the 'receive call' button and barked, “What?”

After hearing some incomprehensible sounds, I realised that my mother was actually speaking a completely different language. I took a deep breath and hoped to remember words I had used years ago without having to think about it and proceeded to say, “Mum, calm down. And whatever it was that made you call me, start explaining it again please.”

“... and I've booked two plane tickets for you so you can get to know him instantly before the wedding and of course you need to brush up on your language, you have been away too long honey. And we definitely have to do something about those outlandish garbs you have become so accustomed to wearing, they simply will not do...”

“You are getting married again? When did you leave Pa?”

“Me, oh goodness me, girl! Whatever made you think I am getting married? I was talking about you of course.”

I laughed out loud – just a little before the panic struck. Now awake, full and proper, I was definitely unhappy that this wasn't one of my myriad dreams.

“What on earth makes you think I am getting married?” I whispered down the phone, a little confused but mostly annoyed now. I am 21, live in a developed country and lead a completely normal life – what would make this woman believe I would agree to getting married in a way that even the people from stone age referred to as 'the ways of the people back in the day'.

“I've sent you your plane tickets. Get to Seoul as soon as possible. I know you'll try not to but you must know some...”

I never heard how that conversation went. In quick, long steps, I paced to the window, opened it with a lot more force than it really needed and threw the phone as far as I possibly could.

For problems I haven't heard, I'll never need to find an answer.