Jan 7, 2013

"My constant reminder": My entry to the Get Published contest

The idea:

The premise of the story runs on the lives of two friends, living in denial of what they share. The two are both 'normal' in the conventional sense of the word - family always comes first, The Beatles were the best thing to have happened to the world, the travel bug biting either of them means a non-negotiable adventure that must be made. Physical attraction was always the missing factor, but they were bound to each other in every other way. When you get to see the best and worst of yourself and him in relation to each other and the world, that's all there is to a relationship, isn't it? Conversations, incidents and other forms of interactions between the two will create the love story yet unwritten.

What makes the story real:

This could be anyone in today's world. Two friends imply two strangers who chose to have a conversation and get to know each other. It isn't a conventional love story and the characters may be fictional or non-fictional. But it'll be easy for a reader to draw parallels.

Extract (potential):

'I want to be alone with your smile', read the piece of paper, which had turned a pale yellow in its wait to be re-read. She flipped through the rest of the book and the words on the pages took her back to the woman she had once been, a past that now seemed too unfamiliar.

In tired scribbles, she had written, 'I wish I had not met you. It took me so long to break out of the company of worthless men. I took pride in walking the roads alone, earphones on to block out the sounds of society that I had genuinely stopped caring about. It was a wonderful time of my life, where memories may not have included conversations and the sharing of feelings; instead, music, poetry, lyrics and a fascination for the world took over my life in the best way possible. 

I wish I had not kissed you. The butterflies in my stomach are like uninvited visitors, and you sometimes make me wish I hadn't leaned in. I have not known the touch of a man less savage than me, and to have you occasionally hold my hand scares me. You were once a stranger to me, if you remember. I’d rather go back to that than to have you let you in close and leave without a warning ever so often.'

She knew she had to call him. With a sense of nervous excitement, she dialed the number, knowing perfectly well what to expect on the other line. Much to her disappointment, nothing had changed.

_______________________________________________________________________________


The idea:

The premise of the story runs on the lives of two friends, living in denial of what they share. The two are both 'normal' in the conventional sense of the word - family always comes first, The Beatles were the best thing to have happened to the world, the travel bug biting either of them means a non-negotiable adventure that must be made. Physical attraction was always the missing factor, but they were bound to each other in every other way. When you get to see the best and worst of yourself and him in relation to each other and the world, that's all there is to a relationship, isn't it? Conversations, incidents and other forms of interactions between the two will create the love story yet unwritten.



'I want to be alone with your smile', read the piece of paper, which had turned a pale yellow in its wait to be re-read. She flipped through the rest of the book and the words on the pages took her back to the woman she had once been, a past that now seemed too unfamiliar.

In tired scribbles, she had written, 'I wish I had not met you. It took me so long to break out of the company of worthless men. I took pride in walking the roads alone, earphones on to block out the sounds of society that I had genuinely stopped caring about. It was a wonderful time of my life, where memories may not have included conversations and the sharing of feelings; instead, music, poetry, lyrics and a fascination for the world took over my life in the best way possible. 

I wish I had not kissed you. The butterflies in my stomach are like uninvited visitors, and you sometimes make me wish I hadn't leaned in. I have not known the touch of a man less savage than me, and to have you occasionally hold my hand scares me. You were once a stranger to me, if you remember. I’d rather go back to that than to have you let you in close and leave without a warning ever so often.'

She knew she had to call him. With a sense of nervous excitement, she dialed the number, knowing perfectly well what to expect on the other line. Much to her disappointment, nothing had changed. 

_______________________________________________________________________________

They went by the name, 'She' and 'Him', much inspired by an American folk duo that went by the same name (minus the quotes in between). Self-proclaimed hippies in the 21st century were what they were - lovers of music and all influences that aided the process of absorbing it.

She was a writer once, free of any sort of will to do any work that involved her having to step out of her cozy room and made to put her paper and pencil down for even a moment. Eventually, as she discovered, not too many people paid you to do that. Since her great plans of a full-length novel had never worked out, it was any travel-related writing that she took up, any chance that she got. She was distressed now because of the lack of words that seemed to have occupied her brain since he had shown up.

That silly young man with his curly hair and knowing smile had worked his charm. And all he had had to do was catch her staring at him across the table. And respond with a grin.

As all good stories would have it, She was drunk with Him. Not ‘with’ him, per se. Just in a room full of drunk acquaintances, friends and of course, strangers. It was a common friend’s party, and like all good parents should, his parents too had left him home alone and gone for a holiday. He made some calls and voila! there were close to 25 of us in a duplex.

Let us assume that it was a moonlit night, one that demanded the sharing of kisses and consumption of wine. She was absorbing it all – writing down vigorously in her little note pad words what the space was making her feel, the effects the wine was beginning to have.

That’s when she saw Him. He was heading straight for her on the terrace with a lit cigarette, the smell of which made her nose stand up instantly.

“May I have a drag, please?” she asked.

“Here,” said the man in a low voice, offering her a pack of Marlboro and lighting the cigarette for her.

Pretending like he didn’t exist, she turned back to her note book, puffing way as she thought of the next line to write. Much to her surprise, the words wouldn't come.





Her story had found its end.














Endnote: This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India.

1 comment:

Susan Deborah said...

All the best Rohini. I just wish you get shortlisted.

Joy always,
Susan