Monday, May 4, 2015

Her Wedding Night- A Short Story

Imgae source: Internet

“Come away with me!”
His hands hurt and his mouth was tightened into a grim line of remorse and anger, “Please…!” he begged as he pulled her closer to him.
“No”, he heard her lifeless voice and there was no emotion in her voice.
There she sat, so young and beautiful on the bed, wearing the bright red glitters of bride and golden of the sunshine.   Her eyes glittered, her tears already dry and spent.
“No”, she repeated but there was no firmness in her voice. Raising her gray eyes she bit her lip. A habit that was endearing to Arnav for a very long time-almost three years  
He moved closer to his, cupping her face in his hands and forced her to look at him, “But why! You don’t want to marry this guy, do you?” his mouth slowly moved closer to her when she suddenly pushed hi \m away from her. Her gray eyes no longer dim “Damn you Arnav! Damn you! What do you want me to do? Leave all this”, she spread her hands and looked around, “You want me to go with you and disgrace my family…my husband!”
“You don’t even know him”, he snared, his no longer pleading, “That guy could have seen you hundreds of times in a wedding…is it my fault that I don’t belong to your community?”
“No”, she said morosely, “It was never your fault. And that guy you are referring to is now my husband”.
“I don’t care a damn about that! He hasn’t touched you. have!” he pulled her closer again and plundered his mouth into hers, punishing her for the torture he was going through sitting here waiting for her relinquish her principles for once and do something that they both wanted. He moved her lips closer to her ears, “Can you tell me that after being with me you want to be with him? I can hear your heart beating Shriya. Its telling me that I’m the only one whom you will ever love!”
“Y-yes”, she answered, her voice no longer steady. It shook with the force of love she felt for him.
“Then come away with me…you know you want to…”
“No”, she repeated again.
His whole body stiffened and he suddenly let go of her. She fell on her back and stared at him with helpless eyes. Pulling his T-shirt down to his jeans he ran his fingers roughly on his thick long hair. It almost reached his shoulder.
“You are too young!” he protested, “Why in the hell they got you married?”
“We, Arnav”, she repeated, “We are too young. You forget that we are of the same age”
“So what!” he barked then closed his eyes swallowing the pain because he knew that no matter how much he protested now Shriya had made up her mind. He looked at her drinking in the beauty, the innocence of youth…only eighteen waiting for her husband to come and ravish her. Just the thought burned his blood. He felt like killing…he felt like dying!
“You have to leave now”, she said, her voice marvelously calm again, “I hear footsteps”.
He narrowed his eyes, “You want me to go”, repeating her words as if he was hearing that he was about to be given a death sentence, “And what then? Where do I go from here?”
“I know where I go from here Arnav. Where you go, you have to decide”.
“I want you. Only you!”  He shouted again.
She closed her eyes and looked away, breathing unsteadying while silent tears ran on his cheeks.
“So I should go?”
She nodded and pursed her lips, an unwanted sob passing through her lips.
“God! Don’t cry! Why are you crying”, he almost sneered, “It should be me who should be crying. Should I?”
“No!” she yelled this time and then glared at him showing the old sprit that had attracted Arnav to her at the first place, “I want you to leave. My husband is going to be here any minute now. Do you want him to find out that I was having an affair before our marriage?”
“I don’t want to shame you”, Arnav drew a sharp breath, “Or do you think that is why I came here. Climbing that window?”
“I just want you to leave”.
“I’m asking you again”, he slowly walked towards her, “I’ll earn Shriya…I can make money. We don’t have to live on love only…”
“So that’s it, is it?” he paused on his steps and looked at the because he knew that this would be the one last time he would.
Their eyes met and a strong current seemed to pass, Arnav turned away before it destroyed him. He slowly walked towards the open French window. Though he didn’t look back he could hear her soft sobs and she didn’t even call his name. The door of the room suddenly clicked and he quickly climbed back. The last thing he heard was a man talking and Shriya’s soft answer to him.
His Shriya was married.
His beautiful young Shriya was married and he couldn’t do a damn about anything. He walked slowly on the road his eyes blind to the fast paced traffic coming along on the road.  Miraculously he walked straight without getting hit, his thoughts only about the wedding night of Shriya ahead. She was not his any longer…
His eyes hardened at the thought. She could have come with him. If she loved him, she would have come with him…
Maybe she didn’t love him enough. Maybe…just maybe their love not strong enough to protect them.
A tortured cry left right from his heart to his mouth and the only thing he didn’t do was to cry.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Diary of a Married Woman- A Horror/Thriller Story

Date: 6th May 1975

He waited for me to come home every night, to our son and our life that seemed to be going on and on for years now. It will never end. Marriage after all has no end, no contract. And I envied my single friend, Asmara. She had no worries, except maybe paying the bills and keeping her flat going with her 9 to 5 job. I had no job. Maybe that's why I had to do it secretly. I wore a saree at home but outside I was a different woman. A woman who wanted it all. Who could tell that a simple married woman was in fact a prostitute? My job gave me pleasure. I know I am supposed to crib but I don't. I like being manhandled and wanted. It makes me feel like a woman.

Date: 17th May 1975

Today there were riots and Indira Gandhi has declared emergency in the state. Everything was weird. But my clients were more than ever. Maybe it was the stress of what was happening. The man was handsome. He had a wife and an infant of two days at home. But he came to me. He says he is attracted to me but I find an instant dislike to such an insensitive man. After he pushed me against his car, I didnt't feel like being a part of the act. So I just pretended it was my husband. 

Date: 20th May 1975

Asmara was unhappy. She cried that her boyfriend had to undergo vasectomy. The rules were strict. And she wanted children. They were about to get married too. I felt nothing except perhaps, my husband should go to the camp. He should be sterilized. Already her son was showing signs of autism. I shouldn't tell him though. I killed our second baby when it was born. I took his tiny neck in my hands and cracked it into two. And I felt happy. My body was mine again. 

Date: 25th May 1975

They were going to kill me. I just knew that. Yet when he just felt my breasts, I realized like every other man, he wanted to do it. A woman found in the streets so late in the night despite the State emergency, was a serious offence. The police officer gave me a lewd stare and asked me to get with it. When I reached home, tired and scared, I never wanted to go out of the home now. But he hit me again. Did I tell you that he didn't know I was a woman of streets? He thinks I got and sell those horrible puppets he makes at home. And all that money I earn is his. But how can i let him know the truth? Hurt and male ego didn't go well together.

Date 30th May 1975

Killing a man for money was easier now. It wasn't necessary to do anything else. That handsome man met me again. It was easier to work late in the nights now in exchange of physical favors. I stood with blood in my hands and my mouth, his guts were out and he looked like a scary picture of 1950's. Black and white and no color in his cheeks. Dead people made an interesting subject to describe. No wonder the police spent hours on them. But they were not going to find the culprit. 


The tank bund on the roads of Necklace road was deep. Osman Lake was filled with uneven shores. There wasn't a soul walking around. She raised her hands high up in the air, closing her eyes, enjoying the fresh air and a faint order of fish mingled with blood. Then there was a splash. The old beggar on the road twitched his nose and collected the money she threw on his clothes. He removed his blind glasses and walked his way home. Finally he could afford the drugs and a bottle of rum for dinner. 

(C) Sonia Kundra Singh
Do Not Copy
(c) Copyright 1957

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Hand- A Thriller/Horror Story

Living in the city was never so much fun. I walked the lanes in a quite solitude waiting for the rain to calm down. It was getting darker and the rains didn't loose its ferocity. It only got dimmer and not so pleasant sunlight remained for us to go home.  But my home was what I called home. It was a one bed studio, previously owned by an artist. He still had his paintings in the flat when I started to move in. The landlord didn't touch them, asking me to do what I wish with them. Most of them were portraits of people, young and old and some very repetitive ones, as if he was trying to perfect his art. And some incomplete.  This particular woman did seem very difficult to put on canvas. And I was taking arts at school. It only made sense that I get to keep them.

The dreary stairs stood in front of me as I reached. Two flights to take and I skipped in my way. I was thin and fit so not having an elevator didn't suck as much as it did for others. And the rent was dead cheap. It was so affordable that I didn't need to share it with anyone. I finally had my own place at 18.

I flipped through the several keys I had when the door opposite to mine. The old woman was creepy, white hair, uncombed and those sleeping robe that must not been washed since ages. She she stunk! Like some rat feeding on dead worms and maybe of rat poop too. I backed a step. The smell was unbearable.

"Why are you living here?"
What a weird way of welcoming someone.
"He doesn't like anyone watching him work. Or touching his work. Never sold them even to me. I could have given him so much for those paintings".
"Uh, He?"
"The man who used to live here. Amish guy. beard and a hat with black suit. He used to hide them from his Rabbi family".
"What do you mean?"
"They killed him. He was being rebellious. A jew wasn't supposed to paint. He could only be a farmer or a teacher..."
"I see".
The woman laughed. Her rotting teeth telling a story of an unloved life, "And you will know soon too".
I just pushed myself into the flat, angry that I got an insane woman for a neighbor. No wonder I didn't have to give the down payment.

The light didn't work and it was too quite. The woman's word still ringing at the back of my mind. I was a catholic, church going woman with no one to tell me what to do with my life. The poor guy must have really suffered. Religion suppressing his creativity.
The lights flickered and a hollowness of someone talking began.
"Cut his hands off!"
"Both his hands!"
It was like an repetitive echo. The paintings began to lift and fly, smashing against the walls. I stood frozen, sweat trickled down my forehead and body just feeling cold, as if it was peak winters and I was standing naked in the middle of the night.
"I love that woman. Don't do this please".
"We are going to do what we please. Our religion does not allow two marriages. You are a cheat".
A shadow of a woman, so beautiful began crying. And another one, a little older but coldness exuded from her. She took the painter's knife and slashed the woman's head.

The lights came and there was no one in the room. The paintings were exactly where they were. And none were torn. I blinked and felt a fervor. The woman's painting had to be completed. I got to work, my hands picking up the color palate, fresh and the paint brushes looked new. It was like someone was waiting for her to do the job. I didn't feel tired, a strange fever catching up with me. Someone tapping my shoulders, putting his solid hands on them, wanting to tell me what to do. But I ignored it.

Morning came and I had a backache. It was the first in my life. The painting was finished. I went for my classes like everyday but the backache persisted despite those medicines. Weeks turned into months. The ghosts didn't come back. My neighbor was invisible but I was admitted in the hospital for an uneven spine. The backache had now become a serious problem. I was wrapped in some weird bandages, my hands were being bound and my mouth gagged as I tried to explain but no one heard me. My teacher had come to see me and he looked peeved and concerned.

"You said you had one painting that you wanted to show me".
"'s of a woman".
"Your flat is filled with blank canvas and there is only one painting with red paint on it. Of finger prints and hands..."
I was speechless.
"It looks like real blood".
"Maybe my flat was robbed. My neighbor might have seen something?"
"What neighbor? The old woman who owned it never gave it up. And she has been dead for years now. So I really don't know what you are talking about".
"I...Where am I?"
"It's a psychiatric ward. You have been making hand prints on your canvas for months now".
The old professor left shaking his head in dismay. I turned in my bed, curling into a ball, the backache gripping me in pain. The mirror in front of me had another man, hugging me from behind. I closed my eyes, tears and a mix of fear swirling me in the world of make believe world.

(c)Sonia Kundra Singh
Do Not Copy
(c)Copyright 1957

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Christian Manipuri Wedding- A Photo Essay

This was the first time I ever attended a wedding in Manipur. And this Christian wedding was simple and elegant with lots of good wishes from their friends and relatives. I took some pictures while witnessing this event. It was so unlike any Christian wedding you would ever see in other parts of India. And yes, the bride wore white with sarwoski crystals.

Pledging to each other

After the wedding vows

The wedding guests

The Army Band playing for the couple