Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Short Story About Love

PumpkinPie, SweetyBootyCutiePoo to his mother, he was just Fatboy in school. Golu, HumpDump, Door No.88, on different days, among different friends.
School is school; and fat boys are fat boys. They get the taunts, the nicknames, the occasional being-pushed-into-mud, the not so occasional "Miss, Golu farted", nothing out of the ordinary.

When his classmates found that he had no intentions of rising to any gibes about his fourth chin, or the way a fold of his knickers seemed to be buried within his buttocks constantly, they simply left him alone, contenting themselves with the poem most schoolchildren knew, about fat Mr. and Mrs.88.

And this, suited him excellently.

It had been six months since he had moved schools. The last one showed him the boot citing 'Incompatibility with school rules' and in a post script the Transfer Certificate added, 'Adjustment problems; uncontrolled rage'. All because he jammed a classmate's head between the wall and the bench, when the poor boy asked for place to sit next to him.

"What sort of a school is this? Four children to a bench! And you call yourselves an International School! Which country, Rwanda?", his mother had fumed at the Principal.
"Madam, you don't understand, the other children are afraid of him", the Principal tried his most diplomatic tone.
"Afraid? Let them be. Let them cower under their seats, and turn out just like you. Look at you wuss, sweating all over like a pig before slaughter. Here, take this napkin. And do go shopping today. Who knows, you may even grab a pair", she had screamed, her face looking redder than her Banaras sari, leaving the Principal's face grayer than his jacket.

For all her bravado, the ashen faced Principal sought his revenge with that spleen filled Transfer Certificate. The conduct and attitude column seemed like, she cried, "an excerpt from Jack the Ripper's diary, and this is just a well-fed 9-year old for Christ's sake!". But then, giving up was never her thing.

The revenge however paid off. She found no school that was ready to take on her rather big, not to mention rambunctious bundle of joy.
School after school, no after no.
Three months, about twenty schools.
The peering, ever-scrutinizing gazes of the school heads, and their eventual refusal to take him in made her haughtier initially, disconcerted her five schools later, slightly unnerved her a few more schools later, and by the twentieth she was convinced there hid Satan under that Farex baby exterior.

Then started the third degree.
The beating. The morebeating.
The yelling. The toomuchyelling.
The giving little food. The giving toolittlefood. The giving no food AtAll.
The last worked. Like a charm.

So, four months and twenty three reluctant schools later, the arrogant mass of lard had been shaped into being a being of silence, of passivity, of MindingOne'sOwnBusiness; with a much drilled into credo of "Chuppee". The great story that would be recounted many a time by local mothers as The Chupping of the Thupper.

And this suited him excellently, making him realize the joys of non-alignment, of being the audience.
Reduced, and muted; ostracized and ignored.
Unashamed, accustomed to a solitude of a new kind, he began to enjoy his near-invisibility. From his position at the edge of the school and the school's life, he wrote postcards to himself, taking vicarious pleasure in the activities of those around him; quietly celebrating the rise or fall of this or that playground emperor, or the examination debacles of a particularly unappetizing classmate, or in one case, peering through evidently inefficient Venetian blinds to discover the sweaty tandem functioning of the ayah and the gamekeeper - ah, the myriad delights of the spectator; ah, the proximity a pair of opera-glasses could bring; ah, the webs of stories weaved in whispers.

But he remained silent through it all.
Amused, but quietly.
But then, how long can one keep that thing which is innately theirs suppressed? For instance, could this author ever refrain from using long clauses, and thus longer sentences?
Could the bully ever be content with solitude? Could the threat of being not fed Krunchy Krackers hold out for that long? If not bash up people, as he was wont to, was he not tempted to even attempt human contact?
This is against all acceptable 9 year old boy behaviour. The author didn't intend him to be thus. There needs to be some action taken. I can't possibly make my protagonist feel above regular human emotions. Reformed bullies have emotions too. Haven't we seen that in enough and more Hindi films?
So...


(The author, that is I, likes drastic changes, because they are well, so drastic, and because sometimes they are needed when met with a cul de sac.
So, here is one such drastic change.)

He is bored. Yes.
He, our hero, our fatboy erstwhile-bully-now-silent-to-the-point-of-being-silly, has gotten bored of his opera-glass ways, and longs, much like the Charulata he never knew, for the comfort of human beings, for the simple joys of playing tic-tac-toe that the other kids seemed to like so much.

He is bored, he is bored, he is very very bored, and pleads with the author to deliver him from a life so young, but so scarred, in succession by a bully history, a bullier mom, and now a fully dull solitude.

(The author considers, reconsiders, and comes up with what can be the only satisfactory remedy)

DEUS EX MACHINA.

Enter girl. Girls, the cause and solution to all men's problems.

Enter girl. Saturday. Hero still bored. No uniform day. Thrown his opera-glasses. Pink pinafore skirt. Sulks at the edge of the compound. Purple little purse. Catches sight of pink-purple blurb. Who is that? Twiddles thumbs. OH! That boy! OH! This girl! He seems sad. Why is she here? Wonder why he is the quiet sort, and always with those binoculars. God, the girl is always yakking, and always adjusting her hair. What's his name, I've forgotten. What's her name, I don't remember. Must be Fatty, ha ha. Must be Pinky, HA HA. May be he has seen where my hairband is. Oh god, here she comes.

"Hi", she said chirpily, extending a warm hand, wiping the hair out of her face, what with the hairband missing.
"Hello", he tried swallowing the tennis ball that seemed jammed in his throat, wiping the fat sweaty palm on his khaki knickers.

Solitude, shmolitude.
He had found his first crush.

(The protagonist is glad that the author endorses time-tested cliches. As for the author, he just likes happy endings.)

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I ll go anonymous on dis one.
It reads like Rushdie in parts.(dats why i went anon)
Nice story but u could ve shortend it in parts.

Sreejith said...

This was brilliant! *the commentator also likes cliches* Towards the end i was guessing that this would be a 'clockwork orange' story but then happy endings are always welcome.

I must say i agree with the Rushdie comment :)

Malaveeka said...

Aw.

Very very confused and rather Roy in bits bt whatever.

I like whatever you write.

P.S you were a fat kid?

Anonymous said...

i agree. fairly Rushdie-esque.

but some meanderings were avoidable.

like i'd said,
incubate.

Anonymous said...

Rushdie, Roy.. what the fudge??

that was a good write up.

you could know me. said...

and like he once mentioned, it would work for him if someday he writes less than half as good as Rushdie.

adrian d'souza said...

I dont have a blog, else i'd have left a link. Its surprising that people comment anonymously and think they can get away with slander or name-calling.
Rushdie, Roy whoever. First of all, i really liked the story. Its interestingly written with a different style. like someone said some meanderings were avoidable, but they are part of a writer's quirks i guess.
Keep up the good work. i read some older posts too. they were fun!

Kavitha said...

Well written....

The Darkling Thrush said...

*gives the i-told-you-so look*

all or nothing said...

Did I read 'short' somewhere in the title? ahem.

Anyway,you're posts are loooong, bitch.
But they're like long drives. Don't wanna stop :-)

Keshi said...

Good one!

I cam here from Adorable Pancreas' blog. U said there that no one visits ya? :) well Im here now.

TC n all the best!
Keshi.

Adorable Pancreas said...

I read your blog.
I read your blog.
I read your blog.
Happy?

And oh, I enjoyd it. I lkie happy endings too. *wipes away a tear*

Adorable Pancreas said...

Can I add you to my blogroll? Please? Pretty please?

And no one can resist my smile. :) there. may I?

Anki said...

Rarely do short stories on blogs manage to hold me... but wow

what a simple story
told so perfectly

I bow to thy greatness

Ziah said...

Nice!

Now break the suspense, I was wondering too... were you a fat kid?? :-)

Spunky Monkey said...

@anonymous - Thank you, and aren't you observant! The story is inspired by a line in "Shame" by Salman Rushdie which I was reading while I wrote this one. That man is, well great. A post about how he influences me someday, perhaps.

@Sreejith - I love compliments. And such nice ones, I SO cannot resist. Thank you very much. And, you have a brilliant blog yourself. Was going through the archives a few days ago. Very enjoyable.

@Malaveeka - You know, that is perhaps one of the better compliments I have received all my life. "I like whatever you write", that. I am too choked to say anything now, honest and all. Thanks ya.
But no, I was no fat kid. Scrawny, junglee, hyperactive type, more like.

@That one - You can say you didn't like it ya. Why the bush-beating and all?

@Anon. and yes, I do know you - But why did you go anonymous? My respect for you would be that much more if you had written what you have under your name. Constructive criticism, is always such a good thing. I don't lose heart, or (well) nerve.
And no, I remember I said, "I'll consider myself blessed if one day I was able to write ONE LINE one tenth as good as the worst line by Rushdie". Not half, no.

@Adrian d'Souza - Thanks. The meanderings are well, me. I ramble too much out, I am told and I know. It requires remedy, yes.

@Kavitha - Thank you, Kavitha. How is that cute kid of yours?

Spunky Monkey said...

@The Darkling Thrush - The look is for what baby?

@co-bitch - Yes ya, waattodo? But then, my posts are so few and so far between no? It's like I am compensating for the delay by resorting to verbose, long posts. (I am SO presumptuous, it scares me sometimes. Harr harr)

@Keshi - Aren't you kind. Thank you.

@Adorable Pancreas - Oh joy! You do read it! And go ahead link me. You did not have to ask at all. Very honored to be listed there ya.
There, I can't resist your smile, after all. Turns out it isn't just the pancreas that is adorable.
May be we should do this doc-blogger association or some such. We could discuss whose life is drearier. Sounds fun to me!

@Anki - Thank you; you are far too kind. Really.

@Ziah - Thanks, you. No, me no fat kid.

@Malaveeka - And Roy! I loved her novel. I wish she wasn't as political as she is. I wish she wrote another novel. What vivid descriptions that woman writes! And what an incredibly original style!

Srividya said...

Hey!
One of the better blogs i have read on blogosphere.
Damn good writing man. Keep writing.

Venusallure said...

...apparently lot of people read your blog...yeah yeah i read your comments on some other blog...nice technique ...you got visitors!!!

But i did not read the story too long...will revisit some day again...

Sorry about the oink oink croaks of the green grange frog, i think even rushdie would have admired it most of all, try a little feary dust and change it back, for science is often known to have failed stocks.

:D

Ziah said...

Hey Spunky!

Rushdie is infectious verbiage!! I remember writing up for a column when I was halfway through Midnight's children.. My column, needless to say had that unconscious touch of long winded, twisted, self proclamatory sentences! I was mighty pleased with the turnout.;)

But boy! I'd say too that :
"I'll consider myself blessed if one day I was able to write ONE LINE one tenth as good as the worst line by Rushdie". :

:-)

Kavitha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kavitha said...

Hey I never knew you visited my blog...Put in a comment when you drop in next time.

My son is doing fine. Thanks for asking.

Weltschmerz said...

He He Hee.

Spunky Monkey said...

@srividya - Thank you. There are too many good writers around here actually.

@venusallure - Rushdie would have like it, yes. The Calvin and Hobbes obsession led me to the scientific process going boink. But the next time blogger asks me, I'll use faery dust, sure. And yeah, people read my blog! I am beyond surprised.
Thanks for stopping by.
And you live in windy Chicago?

@Ziah - Rushdie rocks. What can I say!

@Kavitha - Of course, I read your blog. Will surely drop a comment.

@Weltschmerz -
Well he he hee,
cancer for the cure
cancer for the cure now baby,
buckle up and endure now, sweetthing,
cancer for the cure!

Celestine said...

great writing. i enjoyed this... :)

Tys on Ice said...

:) nice one...i used to know kids like that..

Malaveeka said...

I was a fat kid. Actually chubby with skinny legs.

I do like whatever you write. It's very blah. In a good way.

Spunky Monkey said...

@Celestine - Thank you, and do stop by again. International visitors are always a cause for celebration.
(The remnant of the Raaj, what can I say. Others' opinions I dig)

@Tys on Ice - Are you like a cool fighter or something? Tyson Ice?
You did? I didn't, actually. Never known fat kids.

@Malaveeka - You were the reason I wrote in comments so soon.
BLAH?
Oh-kay. I'll go to a corner I like, and do little bit crying.

Adorable Pancreas said...

That's a good idea. I'll bet anything that I'll win.

You just missed my new post. :(

Tys on Ice said...

was a national level boxer, represented tamilnadu in school level in the 88..the tyson is a nick name tht stunt got me in college...some idiot started a rumour that I smile when I throw a punch and next thing u know, ice becomes the surname...all too corny if u ask me...i like tys better :)

Malaveeka said...

I said 'in a good way'.

Anyway.

Aw. You don't comment 'early'? Why not?

Malaveeka said...

blah = non pretentious.

manuscrypts said...

the art is in the telling :)

priya said...

i likes happy endings too :)
why dont you write one on thin skinny scrawny kids like you and me?

Joshua said...

It's so nice for me to have found this blogg of yours, it's so interesting. I sure hope and wish that you take courage enough to pay me a visit in my PALAVROSSAVRVS REX!, and plus get some surprise. My blogg is also so cool! Don't think for a minute that my invitation is spam and I'm a spammer. I'm only searching for a public that may like or love what I POETRY write, among other types of Artistic Texts.

Feel free off course to comment as you wish and remember: don't take it wrong, don't think that this visitation I make is a matter of more audiences for my own blogg. No. It's a matter of making universal, realy universal, all this question of bloggs, all the essential causes that bring us all together by visiting and loving one another. However...

Some feel invaded and ofended that I present myself this way in their blogs and rudely insult me back or post a mockery post on me.
Some think I'm playing the smart guy who wants to profit, in my miserable and ridiculous gain with Adsense (go figure!), from and with others curiosity and benevolence.
Some simply ignore me.
Some aknowledge that It's most important we all take notion that there's milions of us bloguing arownd the world and thus vital any kind of awareness such as I believe this my self-introduction card and insert apeal brings in.

May you be one of those open and friendly spirits.

You must not feel obliged to come and visit me. An invitation is not an intimation. Also know that if you FOR A SECOND click on one of my ads I'm promised to earn a couple of cents for that: I would feel happy and rewarded (because I realy unemployedly need it!!!) if you did click it FOR A SECOND, but once again you're totaly free to do what ever you want. I, for instance, choose immediatly to click on one of your ads, in case you have them. To do so or not, that's the whole beauty of it all, however, blogocitizens must unite also by clicking-helping eachother when we know cybermegacorporations profit from our own selfishness regarding to that simple click.

About this I must say, by my own experience, that no one realy cares (maybe a few) about this apeal I make, still I believe in my Work and Dreams and thus I'll keep on apealing and searching so strong is my will.

I think it's to UNITE MANKIND that we became bloggers! Don't see language as an obstacle but as a challenge (though you can use the translater BabelFish at the bottom of my page!) and think for a minute if I and the rest of the world are not expecting something like a broad cumplicity. Remenber that pictures talk also. Open your heart and come along!!!!!

Ps said...

Omg--Usually I dont read long posts (or write them!)I got so totally carried away reading this.I cannot tell you how moved I felt. (I work with children--do workshops on thinking skills) I could so relate to this post, as there is a boy exactly like this whose mother has signed him up, for my sessions.
I got here from Tys's blog--and I'm glad I did.
Very well written.

the Monk said...

Dude-ax, that was very good, even if you were being a complete smartass.

Spunky Monkey said...

@Pancreas - No, I will top the list. Have you ever had a situation where you went prepared only on GI surgeries and there were questions ONLY from General Surgery and thus you knew the answer for NOT EVEN ONE question? I just faced it, two days ago. So, tough luck you.
I suck. I rule.
Saw your post. Commented too. Yay!

@TYSON - I like Tyson better. It's a brilliant pet name, like for actual pets, you know dogs and stuff. Hey, no offence.
But, the boxing champion stunt is WAY cool, Mr.Funnyman!

@Malaveeka - Okie, thank you. I just thought blah was, er, blah. So little over-reacting. But now, no. You are still one of my favorite bloggers.

@Manuscrypts - Thank you, I guess. Was that a reminder or a compliment? I am a little confused.

@Priya - Thin scrawny kids lead terribly uneventful lives. I should know. May be a post about that too some day. But damn, I am a VERY lazy writer. And DAMN YOU MBBS.

@Joshua - Ohho-kay.

@ps - Thank you so much for the very kind words, really means a lot. Specially because you say you work with children. Again, thank you so much.

@the monk - I know! I started writing this, and stopped for a while. And then lost what I was going to say. And then another thread happened and finally this came out. Yeah, some smartness was involved! =P

Anonymous said...

This is a really nice story. Written with an amazing eye for detail. Very very nice indeed.

Spunky Monkey said...

Thank you. I hated it when I first wrote it. But then, I hate everything I write anyway.