I Quit

He completed his last peg for that night. It gave him an unknown source of unending nerve. He opened his laptop. He signed into his Gmail account. He started typing.

 

Dear mother,

I don’t have the courage to write this to dad, so I am writing this mail to you. Please pass this to dad. But I suppose that won’t be a required, but I am still writing this. Not sure why, but this was needed. I could never gather the courage to say all these face to face. Even now I am scared about what will happen when dad sees this. I wish I could be near you people when you actually read this but I know I will be miles away.

I am sorry. I quit.

Our family has been a family of engineers and that also quality and studious ones, not the ones who bribe their way to the college. From grandpa to dad, from uncle’s sons to aunt’s daughters and from your side too, it’s like a factory producing engineers. It was like there is no other career options other than being an engineer. I remembered the frustration and shame that was etched on boro jyethu’s (elder uncle in Bengali) face when his son, my favourite Chintu da (elder cousin-brother) could not crack IIT (a prestigious and extremely tough exam in India to get selected for the best engineering colleges in India) in his first attempt. The amount of pressure he went through to crack it the next year was frightening enough although it had no effect on boro jyethu. I still remember how proud and happy he became when he saw that Chintu da scored great the next year. So, even before I could understand what engineering is, my fate regarding my career was sealed.

I was never great in studies, a bit better than average. But with slogging it hard and my God gifted talent of by-heart I somehow had good grades to show-off. Even in my Class X board exam, I secured enough marks to choose Science from a reputed school. I was smiling and bubbling with joy but deep inside I was scared, more so thinking about Chintu da’s condition. I was over-confident and self-doubting at the same time. But with my sealed fate, I had to choose Science.

I never learnt swimming properly in the pond and I was straightaway thrown to the ocean, not just to swim and survive but to swim and win. Science in higher secondary was terrifying enough even for the meritorious students, I was just a high-class average guy. It was really difficult for me to understand all those calculus, differentiations, thermodynamics, gravitation, alcohols and phenols, periodic table, cell theory, evolution and so many other chapters. I felt helpless, lonely, delusional, irritated. I cried, I sulked, I suffered, I endured pain but could never gain enough courage to share this with you or dad. I had to make you two proud and maintain the family legacy. After school was over, there were long gruelling coaching classes as if the school sessions were not punishing enough. So, my life was basically a tussle between my dislike and my unwilling yet forced to continue attitude towards studies.

Remember that I got a prize in a local drawing competition when I was just a kid; I always liked to draw and paint. I always wanted to be a painter but I never could speak my mind out to you people. I loved to make my imagination run wild and create something soothing and beautiful. I even thought that somehow, I could become an engineer and then pursue painting as my career. It might not have given me the fat pay package that dad earns, but at least I would be happy. But I never realized that pursuing your dream of becoming an engineer could be so harming that I will have to lock my dreams inside machines and practical lab books.

My IIT result was so shocking and poor that my ever so proud and hopeful dad never even thought of making me seat in that exam for a second time. I know dad did that out of disgust and frustration but it was really helpful on my part. I could never have digested another huge failure in my life. I somehow cracked an engineering entrance exam and got shipped to South India where I got admitted in an engineering college in Tamil Nadu. So, if studying was not enough burden, I had to stay miles away from my home.

Engineering is like this huge tornado which just blows you away. Classes, assignments, lab works, lab reports, practicals, presentations, more assignments; I just had no idea about how can I survive the first semester, forget four years. I was hardly sleeping at night in the fear of how would I survive the next day, my health was deteriorating, I started getting addicted to alcohol, all thanks my tension and depression and over enthusiastic friends. I stealthily had packed my old drawing copies and colouring items in the luggage with which I came here and it’s needless to say that I fear to even touch them as I am afraid I may even flop myself in paintings also.

I always felt sad that you two never encouraged or inspired me to paint more although you both knew I was good at that.

Finally came the internal exams, two sets of them. And did I fail them miserably enough!

I have no idea how can I even complete one semester.

So, here I am sitting on my bed with my laptop, all alone in my room. My roommates, all of them, have someway secured passing marks in the internal exams, have gone to catch the new Tom Cruise movie, MI5.

And I slither here, all alone, in disappointment, agony, frustration, despair. How can I ever stand in front of dad being a let-down of a highly successful man? How can you ever take me to family get-togethers and functions knowing that I have not become an engineer? I will become the blotch in our family legacy. How ashamed you all will be about me. I will have nowhere to go, nobody to meet or share my problems with. I have just completed an almost full bottle of local hooch. But still I have gotten no comfort from my squirming, writhing pain except that I can finally write this. The only way to end this insolent, pathetic life is to end my present condition. I am sorry mom, I am truly sorry. I could never become the efficacious son that you and father always wanted.

One more time, I am sorry. I quit. Hope you two can forgive me.

 

He closed his laptop. He looked at all his belongings, one last time, all thrown here and there. He started to look for something but could not find it, the leather belt. He found it in his old, unwashed, stinky jeans. He took it out, it was inevitable.

He also took out the print out of the train ticket from Chennai Central station to Howrah station and started to get ready.

 

P.S.: I myself am an engineer, happy with my life and my parents never forced me to take up engineering as my career.

 

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4 Liners-4

(1)

We all are driven by likes and rating,

Doesn’t matter if our morale gets a beating.

Fake defines us though the hearts have cried,

The sapling of innocence has since dried.

 

(2)

People run behind money and fame,

Intentional blinkers avert noticing quicksand.

Monetary comfort will make their life grand,

Finally, they have only themselves to blame.

 

(3)

We have forgotten how to feel and convey,

We can hardly speak when meet someone.

Science has guided humans the right way,

Robots have taken over the world for fun.

 

(4)

He raised his voice against political oppression,

So many praised him in debate and social media.

None came to the forefront to spread his idea,

The democracy bestows his family with depression.

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Memories of Hotel Room-1

Hotel Love Nest, room no. 201; so many nights, so many memories.

I was never that one man kind of woman and always wanted to reach the pinnacle of success, by any means. From a very early age I had realized one thing, that I was bestowed with great looks and figure. The way my step father used to look at me, those lecherously lewd eyes, many girls would have felt ashamed and sunken. But I always enjoyed that. But I also had the essential grey matter in my head; it was the perfect combination.

I divorced my husband a year after I had joined his company. Well, one look at him and anybody could understand that he was a womanizer. And if the advances came from the other end, he was always eager to jump onto it. The perfect prey for me. The fact that helped his cause was his wife, such a dumb woman. I could never believe that a woman could be that naïve, silly until I saw her; always having faith in his lies. I was never happy with my husband and I had to grab the post of CFO in his company. So, I knew just what I had to do.

The hotel was quite close to our office, about half an hour drive. How could I ever forget the first day we went there! We went for dinner, separately; drank a lot. I called my husband that I would not be returning home to meet office deadline and that was enough for him to understand that what was going on in my mind. He dialled his wife but it was just a mere formality as he had become restless. My backless, which I changed in the hotel washroom made him go crazy. After we were both done with our phone calls, booking the room was just a matter of time. The rest, well, it was just exploring each other the whole night.

Thereafter office pressure become more strenuous and at least once a week, both of us had to spend night at office to meet the deadlines. Slowly but steadily the deadlines became more stringent. That his office was making great profits, his wife could never realize how hard he was working at those nights, to appease me and my needs. I had been in bed with many men before that but for once I was really happy and exhausted.

The room, well, it was our love nest.

As our work pressure increased, the receptionist knew which room we would take and later we just used to call her upfront to keep that room vacant.

I liked the moments spent with him, he was the perfect flirt, just my type. He knew what to say to keep me happy, what to gift me on occasions. I was never attached to my husband but still I was somewhat sad when I signed the papers; I really did not understand why I was unhappy but I was. That night he presented me with a precious stone and how could a woman ever remain gloomy after that. It was again in that room, precisely the bath tub where I was resting on him wrapped in soap bubbles. Those drunken nights, those exploring each other nights, those naked bodies and bare feelings covered under the blanket nights, those wrapped up in each other nights, those late-night discussions about actual office works, the freshening up in the bath tub with honey, warm water, liquid soap, all had become a part of my life. The chill of the AC, the fragrance of the room freshener, the warmth of the curtains, the feel of the bed sheets, I was in love with this room.

And then something unexpected happened, I fall for him.

I knew that we were friends with benefits and I was pretty cool and happy with that. But I never realized when I started growing feelings for him, I was never that emotional. Might be they were the intimate moments that we spent in that room, the cosy and warm showers we took in that tub; they were to be blamed. But then again, it had to be related with this room. I never really understood when I had become so possessive for him.

It was in this very room that he laughed a lot at my foolishness. It was another of those steamy nights when we both were tired and panting for breath. Something ticked inside me and I did the most irrational thing ever in my life, I proposed him. I knew the answer would be no and I was okay with that. It was not really his company, his father-in-law’s. Leaving his wife means leaving his business and that means my mode of comfort would also be gone. How could we both sacrifice that golden egg laying hen! We both were too smart and practical to realize that. But he needed not laugh at my proposal. I felt dejected but another sweltering session, this time instigated by me; followed by a sultry and exhausted bath cured my wretchedness.

But as luck always did with me, it betrayed me again. He left me, forever.

He broke all ties with me, did not receive my calls, did not reply my messages, found means to hide from me. Even when he came to office and when he left, I could never found out again. I was really surprized at times with the fact that how could he skip me with such finesse and precision! He just blocked me out of his life. I had to leave that office and find a job somewhere else. I know this was quite uncharacteristic of me but it did prove that I was human, that there were some feelings and emotions left within me. I was happy to have felt humane again but his absence in my life made me miserable. The hotel room was my only friend.

I used to visit the hotel whenever I missed him in my life. As I visited that hotel room, it brought me all those memories back. I rejoiced in them, soaked in them, breathed in them, basked in them, lived in them. I knew that he was enjoying with his wife, completely oblivious about my depraving mental condition, my bleak future, my intolerable loneliness, my painful hell called life. The bed, the AC, the room-freshener, the curtains, the food, the drink, the furniture all made me feel like that I was still with him. When did I become so dependent on him? How could I ever get near any men, well at least to fulfil my needs? He kind of changed me, a lot. I always kept staring at the bathtub and tried to reconcile that lovely moment when he gifted me the ring. How happy he made me that day and then he acted the same as the other men in my life. He did not betray me but that laugh had ever haunted me, hurt me. He could have at least bid me a proper goodbye. He broke me from inside but I felt that I was to blame for this situation. As our relation had no future and I allowed my rarely seen sensitive self get the better of my ruthless practical self. I bathed in that tub and the soap bubbles made me feel that he had wrapped me in his arms. The tub always reminded the most about him.

Well that was where I drowned him the night I proposed him.

 

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The Final Victory

Finally, it was a reality. All my hard work, patience, perseverance, devotion had hit the bull’s eye, all of them had given me something that I always dreamt of. Finally, I was victorious.

I started learning boxing from a very early age. My father and grandpa were both boxers but none could make it big enough to give their respective sons proper education and food. But the sons slogged enough to get educated, with every passing generation getting more than its previous one. I was the new undisputed featherweight champion defeating the defending champion. Thus, with that victory I could stamp the name of my boxing family and successfully carry on the legacy. It was indeed a proud moment for me.

The victory meant a lot for me. The prize money was huge. I could finally pay off the debt that my dad had from the loan sharks, I could also pay off the mortgage on our house to the bank. Well, the frustration of not making it big in the boxing circuit got the better of him and he found solace in alcohol. So, the debt amount went on increasing. My mother who had been the most sufferer in the family, but a strong and supportive woman, could finally get some rest and feel what wealth, prosperity was. I could also finally admit her to a better hospital where she would get better treatment for her breathing problem. She needed that, else I might soon lose her.

My wife was 5 months pregnant when I got the chance to participate for that match. Thereafter, I got two months to practice. She had been my constant support and inspiration; I owe the win to her. We had plans to move to a bigger house leaving the small 2 room house that I had to share with my parents. That I had the money, it was just a matter of time. I had to give a proper future to my kid; I did not want my kid to suffer like me. He or she should get proper food, shelter and education to grow up so that he/she could become a wise and learned man. All that I had not gotten in my childhood, my kid should get them all. He/She should have grand birthday parties every year like other kids and not cry on that day for a piece of cake like his/her father used to do.

All these happiness, all the money, all the fame, everything that I ever dreamt of were so close to me, in the grasp of my hand. All my dreams were about to come true. People were dying to get in touch with me, they were crying slogans about me, spreading the tales of my wonderful victory like folklore. I had become a living legend. What more could I had ever asked from the Almighty! But one thing that life had taught me was to stay humble, to stay grounded. I knew that that was not the end of my struggle and to hold on to my ranking, I needed to train harder than before. But I could fly a bit now, I guess I had earned it. Hadn’t I? I could feel my feet had left the ground and slowly but steadily I was rising and up. I was feeling light like a feather, as cheerful and free like a bird; sky was my limit and I suddenly felt I could even cross that. That is the power of success, it can easily change your sorry state into a positive one.

And then I fell with a loud thud.

I could see a pile of bodies scattered around me, all enjoying their own dreams. Some were laughing and some were blankly looking at the dark ceiling of that excessively small room. The room was shady, dusty, crowded and smelled like rotten dead masses. I could still feel that I was in a dream but it was a bad one. I did not realize how or when my earlier dream ended ad how I came into this dreamland. I tried to stand on my feet but I could not. I got hold of something small, cylindrical, pointy, made of glass and somehow dragged my body to the almost dying flames of the candle at the corner of the room to see what that thing was. An incessant pain inside my stomach and brain accompanied me all this while.

After I realised what it was, there was a wide and content smile on my face. It was like that I had gotten the key to all my problems and failures and sufferings. I felt an earnest urge from inside to use it again and again.

It was a syringe, used repeatedly.

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Dream Comes True

He woke up, scared, screaming his lungs out, sweating in the cold of Darjeeling in December. It was the same dream again.

It had become a regular incident of his life. Every night that odd, meaningless dream accompanies his disturbed sleep. He shared the same with his girlfriend only to get ridiculed. She thought that it was the work of imagination of her writer boyfriend who excels in producing thriller and uncanny stories and had already made quite a name for him. This made him lose all his courage to share the scheme of events he saw in his dream with his friends or family members for some advice to deal with it. He, kind of, accepted the same as a part of his life.

Well God is not always so cruel to you, is He? Luckily her girlfriend was herself a promising psychologist. One night, when even after a steamy sex session with her did no good to his dream, she finally realized that it was a serious issue. She started her counselling and things were slightly getting better. It was not that it stopped completely but at least it was no more a systematic occurrence. He found the best way to tackle this problem of his is to somehow tap it into his profit. What better way could be for him than to write a story based on the incidents he saw in his dream!

Finally, as the torment went on slowly but steadily, he produced his ever best-seller ‘Dream Comes True’. It made his fans dumbstruck with the vivid descriptions of the events and his magical story-telling, his publisher happy as the cash came rolling and him content, pleased.

As he made some name and fame, he moved to a bigger bungalow, leaving his father’s smaller house and his locality. But the roots were always firmly grounded though he started to fly. Thus, when his local club backed by the local politician asked him to grace their annual sports day where he would also be felicitated, he readily agreed.

He checked the brakes of his car repeatedly before starting his car. It was just an hour-long drive from his new place and he knew the road like the back of his hand. Also, to him the road was through the most breath-taking milieus he had ever been through and he loved to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the road in the peace of his mind, away from others. Although, the road was slightly winding with steep edges, he had more belief on his own driving skills than some random driver as the club offered him a car to be picked up.

As he started driving, he was lost in the exquisiteness of the road. The weather was perfect that day; the bright sunshine reflecting from the white of the snow-clad mountains made the place brighter and more stunning. He always felt that the snowy mountains were the incarnation of God on the earth, being impressively beautiful at one hand and perilously dangerous on the other. The lively and colourful flowers just heightened the splendour of the place. It was his heaven on this ruthless earth. As a kid, he always wondered if that was the place where people ended up after breathing their last.

He was brought back to reality by the constant and unrhythmic honking from the transports behind his car. He found that in his dreamy state, he had lagged behind the transports in front of him by a long distance. He picked up speed to catch up and just as he turned a corner he found a lorry carrying iron rods. The club where he was to be felicitated are renovating and thought his destination matches with that of the lorry. He got worried and distracted for a moment and thought about letting other cars go in front of him or overtake the lorry. But something prevented him from taking either of the two decisions. He kept following the lorry like a hypnotised puppet.

He was about half an hour away from the venue and then it happened.

His car just crossed a sharp turn and then he got scared and puzzled. He did not know what to do.

What he found was that the lorry in front of him had stopped. The visibly drunk driver and his partner got into a war of words and they stopped the lorry in the middle of the road, got down to continue their argument which slowly moved from a war of words to a war of hands, causing nuisance for all. The other transport drivers got down to dissolve the situation, made them shake hands and things got back to normalcy. The lorry moved forward so did the cars, buses and trucks behind.

By the way, what did you think, what had happened? He met with any accident? His car fall down the cliff? No nothing like that happened. In fact, the path left had wider road than before.

He had travelled another 5-6 KMs enjoying the lovely locales. The argument of the driver and his helper in the lorry in front of him had still been continuing and their loud screams and squeals were heard by many. The driver was driving real rash and as it was about to take a turn, it hit a huge rock in front of it, lost balance almost took a turn but somehow managed. What it could not prevent though was the opening of the back of it and the rods came down like the excess water released when a dam opens the floodgates. The sight was horrifying to say the least. He tried to hit the brakes but suddenly found that it was not working. He got scared and tried to avoid hitting the rods and the lorry. He did manage to escape both. PHEW!!!!!!!!

This is because his car fall off the cliff.

He enjoyed a free fall down the cliff. He got battered and bruised, blood soaked his dress, the car got destroyed. He could for once see that there were people who looked down the cliff to see if there was any chance to save him or for him to escape death; there was neither. He had fallen about 50-60 feet, in a densely-forested region where even the sunlight could not break through the canopy. He was too injured to get out of the car but a dying man always tries to clutch to the straw. Both the doors of the front of the car were broken and thus getting out of the car was not that difficult, even considering his wounded condition. That the bonnet of the car caught fire should have given him more incentive to run; yes, it would have been difficult to find any help at all in that thick and unknown forest and even if he somehow managed to live, he would have to live being physically challenged. But he sat in the car making no attempt to escape this untimely and unnatural death, waiting for the fire to engulf him. It was like he was under some magic spell, oblivious of what was going around him. There was disbelief etched all over face; sheer disbelief and an uncanny scare.

Well that’s what happens when your dream comes true.

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How Unlucky!

The road was deserted, lonely and slightly dark. There were not much streetlights and the canopy of the dense forests made the place dark even in broad daylight; the nights were somewhat creepy in that region. There were horror stories and not rumours, many of them, prevalent in the village but they were not supernatural or ghostly anecdotes. That the place was not prosperous and the literacy rate being incredibly low, it helped to the cause of those stories. It was about real people and disturbing people like creepy places.

The place was a heaven of mishaps. Inhabited by the drug peddlers and users, local goons, pimps, along with some peace-loving, simple and content villagers, this region was the blotch of that village. But everything running smoothly under the protection and leadership of the local politician, people found it better to avoid that place after sun down rather than taking some bold and meaningful steps. The problem was that road lead to the highway which lead to the local market and the nearby city. The local market and at the city was the prime source of income for the hardworking and honest villagers and so all the men flocked to the market and city very early in the morning only to return late in the evening. The younger lot, who went to study in schools and colleges in the city made sure that they returned before dusk. Thus, using that road was more of a necessity than anything else.

She knew about that place too. She was not new there. She had been the victim of several ‘small’ incidents and her parents and neighbours always overlooked them just to maintain peace. In fact, they acted sanely and normally and asked the girl to make peace with those mishaps as it was basically her mistake. She should not have been there so late. The men strongly urged the females of their house to avoid that road or enter home early. It was like the freedom of these simple people was in the hands of some criminals. Life of the women was a living hell there.

She was the first one of that area to study engineering. She was an extremely meritorious student, a scholarship holder, a well-trained dancer; in short, a source of inspiration of that village. The incident took place when she was in the 3rd year of her college, during the annual fest of her college. She was to perform early and return before sun down but the timing went haywire to accommodate the performance of a local band. She informed her mother that she would be late. Like other weak mothers, she started praying to God for her safety.

And then it happened. It can be as brutal, as gruesome, as merciless as it gets. How unlucky she was!

The incident shook her, the entire village. Things were never the same after that.

The bus left her at the bus stand leading to that scary road well past 7PM. Winter evening made the place look eerier than normal. It was dim and the smell of country liquor engulfed the entire road. She could watch the lecherous gazes harming her modesty, hear the lewd comments killing her dignity, feel the lustful tongues eager to destroy her vanity. She increased the pace of her walking as she could feel that she was being chased. The footsteps came closer with every passing moment. She started to run to evade any unpleasant incident but probably luck was not on her side. Something sharp came from behind, probably thrown at her, struck her right leg and she fall. She started bleeding profusely. She was scared and tried to scream but her near fatal fate made her numb and hardly any sound came out of her. She knew that her fate was sealed and there was no point in screaming as none would come to her help. Someone touched her; her whole body froze. The number of hands, which increased with every fleeting instant, tried to enjoy her. She felt like an object, to be used and thrown away. Their discussions and cruel laughs made her sick, weak and nauseous. She realized that she was surrounded by many. Many more than she ever thought and there were some known faces also. A cold shiver ran down her spines.

The headline of the next morning’s newspaper was as chilling as it can be. It was something like this:

“7 criminals were lynched at desolate village road”

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