Category: Short Stories

When You Accidentally Offend Someone

Other than sometimes letting it eat you for the rest of the day, what do you do when you accidentally offend someone? If it’s a friend or someone you know well, then you can talk it out freely, but what if it’s a stranger?

Last day I was asked by a friend to be an extra in a photoshoot for her upcoming wedding. The scenes were to take place in the campus of our alma mater, Agnel Polytechnic. Two charming and nostalgic locations were selected by the ace photographer who came in all the way from Malad to shoot the lovely couple and her “friends.” The first scene was completed in minutes, but it was the scene which followed when and where our incident in question took place.

The photographer had brought his assistant along with him to help with the tripod adjustment and replacement of lens between shots. A humble guy, was the assistant who looked way out of place to be a photographer’s helper. Honestly, the guy didn’t look like he was cut out for it; going by his appearance, I would guess heavy industrial engineering or construction. But here we are at the shoot. The second scene primarily involved the groom-to-be texting his fiancée, insinuating that that is how it all started for the couple – he saw her, fell in love, and messaged her to show his love – and since he had forgotten his smartphone in his car outside the campus, a sudden need for an appropriate phone that would look sleek on film sprung up. Obviously, all of us extras extended out our mobile phones so that when the final film would play during the wedding day, we could comment about the phone’s original ownership to our neighbour and take pride. Unfortunately, my phone was not selected. And by that time, even the assistant had extended out his phone.

It was an odd one out in a group of phones that all boasted of being oversmart. A Nokia piece, I am guessing, because even before I could ascertain what the brand of the phone was, I blurted out, “If he uses THAT phone, the bride is definitely gonna say NO.” A few of us chuckled, and then it dawned on me. The guy must have felt bad for one, being the only person with a phone that is not a smartphone, and two, for having ridiculed in front of everyone including his boss for owning such a phone. I realized it then, and so began my thoughts on how I could fix it.

Naturally, I couldn’t think of anything. I thought of immediately saying sorry in front of everyone, but then that would have confused some as to why I was apologizing, and then they would overthink it and finally get why, further causing embarrassment to the guy. So saying sorry was out of the question. Next I thought of going to him and personally apologizing for being blatant, but then that would confuse him, too, had he had not got the quip earlier and would now begin to feel offended. And what would others think, if they saw, what was I talking so closely about to this guy whom I was meeting for the first time? And by the time I reasoned all this, the photoshoot was over. Some other guy’s phone was used for the scene.

Conclusively, that guy must have considered me the most bumptious person he had met that day. I couldn’t salvage the situation being an ordinary man who affronts people inadvertently and then feels acutely bad about it. So that is the question: What do you do when you accidentally offend someone?

The Surrogate Story, Part 2 Of 2: A Woman Dies

The Surrogate Story is a short fiction consisting of two parts. The first part can be found here! You won’t understand a thing if you read this second part first. So, I insist you click that link above or leave this narrative altogether.

She was dreaming of a candle light dinner, followed by a magical episode of coital bliss. It was the same bed she was sleeping as she dreamed but she didn’t notice that; she was only interested in the organ stroking her out of her mind. She didn’t remember the face of the man she was riding because Dr. Hari’s looks was why she had agreed for the marriage.

Dr. Hari had fainted in his classroom two days ago and this morning he had left an envelope by their bed. Two or three words in the letter the envelope contained would wreck havoc in her life should she read. And he had no reason to think she wouldn’t. He loved her, but not more than himself.

The sex was fantastic and it was only half done. She was counting her second orgasm, against her usual dream of orgasmic meditation, the trendy fad among her socialite friends. The figure was wearing unbuttoned white crisp shirt and the shoes she had gifted her husband lay somewhere in the room. That’s all she could think of before looking in the mirror fit to the bed. The pace increased two or three notches as the figure had somehow found the G-spot and was about to ejaculate. Her third orgasm had made her stoop over the figure and engage in a violent French kiss. The figure did not hesitate a bit, given that she had performed fellatio seven minutes ago. The warmness had been deposited and she lazed abreast, still in a squatting position. The emotions were in contrast to the image in the mirror.

The face in the mirror was calm with closed eyes and blood oozing out of the mouth. Gasping for breath, she woke up more dead than she was in her dream. It didn’t take her much time to slit her wrist. Blood spewed from her left wrist and a plop managed to reach the envelope, for the pace she had cut was more than that of the stroke she was hallucinating. As Dr. Hari started a new topic for his class, his most important patient lay in their bedroom covered in scarlet.

The envelope enclosed the letter he had drafted after his assistants had reported the condition of one Mrs. Sunaina Hari. Last night, he had confirmed the report and replaced the original report in the envelope with words which would now never be read by the person who it was solely intended for. She was a case of initial-stage, paranoid-type Schizophrenia and the letter was the first element of persuasive treatment.

“I love you, my wife. And I would like to continue being your life partner for the rest of our lives. H.”

The Surrogate Story, Part 1 Of 2: Man Walks Into His Own Lecture

He was alone when he entered the drawing room. Then he left his apartment and was no longer lone. At least that’s what he thought that day when he had just experienced the luxury of not hearing his wife’s otherwise daily earbash. She was asleep in the bedroom dreaming of something with an eventual horrid climax. But neither did she or he know what it would be.

He was a mentor to all his 72 students, but he was just a feckless, good-for-nothing professor to his wife. “My students, my theses, my papers, my my my, everything my. MY MY MY; do you even know that you have a wife?” she would start everyday. “I blame my parents for this marriage; not good in social circles, not good in bed, such a boring person,” she would nag him day & night. He would listen silently, without uttering a single word.

Dr. Hari entered the university campus and took the stairs. Through the staff room he walked towards his assigned classroom. He could hear a husky voice coming through the only class in the long corridor. He puckered his brow and paced faster and finally reached a point from where he could glance through the transparent windows. His pace reduced to zero as the figure on the dais grinned at him from the classroom. The class was an example of pure attention.

He started walking, with growing dread. The figure continued his lecture. He didn’t know why but the scene reminded him of his wife’s nagging. Somewhere, he thought, something had to do with his wife’s wants. Because the style in which the figure was lecturing was totally opposite to what Dr. Hari employed. In his 17 years as a pedagogical maverick, he had never stepped on the dais. He would sit with the students, never using the writing board either. The problem was, the figure looked like him, portrayed in his wife’s words. Unable to fathom the scene, he turned left, to his students. What he saw would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Blood oozing out of their mouths, the students sat in impeccable reverence, dead.

Two hours later, he woke up inside his assigned classroom. He lay at the floor, his students and two assistants surrounding him. His second expression after waking up was a smile. He was the head professor of Psychology.

Part 2 can be found here!

The Dream

The girl was the first to jump. We don’t have all night, Rajeev! Come on now, jump! He was not afraid of jumping, but of what he was about to do. This way!

She was the head of Students’ Council and knew the campus inside out. He followed her to the third floor. It’s got to be inside that room; stay here and guard! I’ll be back before you blink. She had replicated the key to the room having procured it from her department head. Click! She entered and walked to the glass-top table, before toggling a switch on the wall and two on a machine. God, help me! It should be in here! She had seen the professor stacking it in nine hours agoHer left hand yanked open the drawer. Rajeev stared at her silhouette through the glass door against the flashlight she was using.

No one would have come their way and if someone did, he was prepared to run. Unaware of the lies he had told before they made out that evening for the first time, she eased the paper out of the lot. She photocopied and carefully slipped the paper back in. He smirked as she flapped the question paper of the preliminary exam he had the next day at ten o’clock. She was his senior.

He kissed her on the mouth after he grabbed the Math question paper. They ran back the way they came in, leaving behind the locked door.

He woke up from his dreamy sleep with a cluster headache. It was about the girl whose pants he wanted so badly to get in. The question paper lay on the table below a tie pin which read ‘Rajeev Nair, President – Students’ Council‘. He simpered at the table for few seconds, staring at the black outline traces on the paper due to photocopying. It took only a second for the smile to turn into a deep scowl.

The real head of Students’ Council had forgot to reset the photocopier. It was half past seven.

Story Of The Life They Call Balanced!

She’s wearing tight pink trousers which made her look slender. The black tank top over a translucent camisole was part of the best decision she made that day. Standing in a queue at the heavily crowded D-mart hypermarket, she had both her eyes strain on the display of the smartphone held on her hands. About 20 men around her relished the sight. And she knew it.

A queue adjacent to the one in which she was standing had a a guy in beige shorts and an orange tee. He was tired of standing in that inactive line, for the counter was experiencing a credit card problem. The guy had taken a gander at the girl and was instantly in love with her blue eyes, which the other men had not even reached looking at; they were somewhere between the neck and the waist. I don’t know if she had noticed the guy, in between the distractions in the queue she catered to, because I’ve never myself understood women. Who am I, you ask? Well, that is none of your business. I’m just a sign the author of this article intends to use to convey that he is currently reading Indian-origin author George Orwell’s novel on a draconian, totalitarian system, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

So, coming back to the story, the guy is finally one customer short from the counter while the girl’s father managed to tweak a position in another queue few counters away. The girl was managing her smartphone, two trolleys and a satchel contributing almost to a faux pas, and now her father steered one trolley to his new queue. Meanwhile, her mother analyzed the other trolley in case she missed anything. The guy had stopped watching her; he was more interested in the various pamphlets hung by the counter poles.

A man, obviously a septuagenarian, carrying two huge packets of wheat-flour looked like he had lost his way among the confusing queue setups and had found his way beside our guy. If you looked closer, you might even mistake the hairs on his hand as being smothered with the flour he was carrying, but trust me, it was the old age speaking. Now I don’t know if the guy was being obtrusive, accounting the fact that our girl had a direct view of our guy’s wont, he gestured the oldster to go before him, guessing the two packets were the only things he wanted to purchase. Our guy heaved a sigh of relief when the grocer commanded the printer for a receipt of the two packets of Annapurna Chakki-fresh atta, 10 kg each. Our guy side-glanced and saw the girl displaying a wee amount of interest in him, definitely impressed by his act.

Now the question is: would he have gestured the man had there be no pretty girl in sight? He would or would not have, but what followed gives me a bad feeling about the answer to that question.

Her queue was on and she helped her mother help the grocer read the bar-codes of the viands in quick succession. While our guy was busy unloading his trolley. The counter flashed INR 1495 as our guy handed three notes of INR 500 denomination. The grocer would make a fantastic marketing guy as he coaxed the guy into buying a bar of chocolate to round the figure to INR 1500. The guy agreed and assented for 2 carry bags for extra 6 rupees, which he paid in coins. Two bags ready to be driven outside the store, the guy moved his trolley away from the counter. The girl was waiting for her father along the exit hallway. He knew she was watching him; her pretty eyes killing him inside. His vanity preceded his footsteps as he singlehandedly maneuvered the trolley through the way, not being cautious.

He came closer to her; she stopped blinking, the guy had still not made eye contact. He swished the trolley as he reached her when finally the rear wheel of his trolley hit her left toe so bad. “Ouch!” she screamed as he was now at least 4 feet away. He heard her painful voice, visualizing her stooping in a jerk to alleviate the throb. Something forbade him from turning back and apologizing and having a good look at her eyes. Maybe he thought he would have made a spectacle of himself because the 20 (10 old, 10 new) men around her were still ogling and now they were concentrating more in the area below her neck because of a clearer view, all thanks to her 4-second hunching position. He turned to the exit as it still itched him to go back and be apologetic. But he didn’t. The girl was now accompanied by her parents as she realized the hit on her toe was not that sore after all.

But, the damage was done. She loathed the guy. She could’ve thought about how oblivious the guy might have been about the incident, but there is where we introduce ourselves to the thing we so fondly quote in our conversations daily: the balance in life. The guy was fond of her eyes, the girl was fond of his nature. This is positive balance. The guy turned out to be a relentless bonehead, so the girl lost interest. This is negative balance. Although this example happened way too conspicuously, if you concentrate, things always weigh themselves as they happen.