(Genre: A mix of fantasy, darkness, and wannabe literary)
Summary: Lonely woman tired of waiting for her busy man. So cliched, one would say. Well, Shwetha in all her loneliness manages to find a strange deserted shop, overrun by squirrels among other things. The board promises to alter Ladies & Gents, and strange as that seems, Shwetha gives it a shot. Read to watch her fairy tale vacation turn into a nightmare.
Set in pristine south Goa during this empty off season, I have tried to capture the atmosphere of the place, as I experienced it.
There are some other lovely stories in it. I especially love Ashwin’s story, a funny yet heartbreaking breakup scene, and Pavan’s hilarious story about the Devil trying desperately to meet some quarterly results by tempting some major do-gooders.
Shwetha had manipulated her boyfriend. But as far as manipulations go, this was her by far her worst work.
She stood now in her bikini blue and white, the water almost up to her knees, her bronze body toned to turn the only two other heads on that beach. She turned to look for Fahd, who held the cell phone in his hand, gesticulating angrily at a palm tree and a perplexed red rooster.
The green waves gave her bare back a roaring push, sending her tumbling nose down, but it was like a joke gone stale, getting no further happy laughs from her. She picked herself up, and felt the sand nestle again into her bra wirings and panties. Perhaps the only action she could hope for, she decided, as she walked towards Fahd.
“Are you coming in?” she shouted, but Fahd barely heard or pretended to ignore her. She walked closer, positioning herself near him, and when that failed, in front of him.
“The consignment was supposed to arrive on the thirteenth.” Fahd’s voice raised over the waves, “No not 30th you idiot, 13, one three” Fahd shout send the rooster clucking and fluttering away. Shwetha knew a work crisis when she saw one. Her life with Fahd seemed like one long work crisis after the other. Someone had messed up. And it wasn’t the rooster.
“How long are you going to be on the phone?” she asked finally, receiving a flurry of shushes and glares from him. She sighed, sat on a rock beside him, watching the frothy green and white waves send strong sprays water as it hit the bed of reddish, black, and green rocks. They’d been at the exact spot on the beach from the morning, the only point with cell coverage, and now the sun had begun to set, turning the beach into a inverted landscape of watery gold.
“Its beautiful” she said to the rooster that had now taken to pecking around her.
“No. No. NO!” said Fahd, each No more vehement than the last, “I am positive about the dates. Thirteenth. No. One Three, Not 30th. Can you hear me, Can you?” He seemed to be repeating the same thing almost ten to fifteen times, to different people, and Shwetha felt her head filling with enough information to run the cement company. It was like being stuck with a very angry tape recorder that had caught on repeat. She watched the sun, hesitating over the horizon, reluctant to go into sleep with this strange noise around.
Shwetha didn’t remember exactly what made her do it. Perhaps she just wanted him to look at the sun. But she stood up, calmly walked up to Fahd, stood close, and leaned in as if to kiss him. He looked at her startled, his eyes suddenly hazy, and in that moment of confusion, her hands deftly flicked the loosely held phone and ran, hurling it into the sea with all her force.
“HEY!” he screamed, as he followed her almost immediately, falling onto his knees, his hands steeped in the sandy water. But a giant wave pushed him, and he tumbled backwards, water filling every gaping hole in his body. When his eyes opened again, the phone was gone, gobbled by greedy waves, disappearing in a hopeless instant.