Friday, September 16, 2005

The Swing (A Short Story)

The following story is based on purely fictional events and half fictional characters.

After smoking 2 joints, a super sundae became a must, but in this abysmally poor town of rangpur, Dinesh was devoid of that too. So straddling his doping partner with him on his bike, he left for the nearest eating place, A small, garden adorned restaurant called madhuban. ”What a sacrilege to the blessed forest of lord Krishna” Dinesh thought to himself as he parked outside the restaurant entrance. The gardens which formed the principle attraction of the restaurant were actually infested mating grounds for cats, dogs and what not. After spending 3 years here, Dinesh was familiar with most of the waiters at the place and after exchanging a few greetings and hand shakes with some of them, whose names he couldn’t remember till now, he sat down at his favorite spot; the swing. It was an adolescent swing, too big for a kid, too small for a full grown man.

The restaurant was specially crowded today, must be some mother fucking festival of the locals, that’s why each of them ladies looked dressed for a Ram Lila. Dinesh took out a cigarette and lit it with a swift motion of his hand. He loved it when he thought himself from others eyes, must look very sexy, bent over a match stick, cigarette in mouth; Classic Dev Anand, mysterious and cool. After about 5 minutes of rocking and puffing, Dinesh felt suitably satisfied, and turned his attention towards his friend, who had been blabbering something for past sometime. It turned out to be his friends latest long distance girl friend with whom he felt supposedly ‘one’, “spiritual oneness” as he called it, which sounded more like extensive foreplay before a sex which was never going to happen.
“I tell you Dinesh, what difference does it make if she’s a few years elder to me? When you have the right motive, the whole universe acts towards fulfilling it, and I feel one with her yaar, it never happened before. I feel elevated!”
Dinesh wished for him to shut up, maybe elevate himself from this life. That would solve problems.
“I don’t know man, it’s your girlfriend, you know better.”
He would definitely have to search for new doping partners; this one was getting to be a bit too much blabber-mouth.

“Uncle, I want to sit on the jhoola.” Dinesh turned his face right, and there a young boy of about 7 was standing with his toothless mouth open, and grinning stupidly at him. He was wearing clothes of the general theme for the crowd, brightly striped T-shirt, and a belted pair of jeans, tied way above the waist. “Maybe I should get myself a pair, will be such a fashion statement in Mumbai”, Dinesh thought to himself.
“What jhoola?”
“This one”
“Oh! You mean this swing? And why do you want to sit on it?
“Come on, you have to tell me why, or else why should I get up?”
The boy stared at Dinesh, his grin melting away slowly.
“look, this swing is very special, and you need to be qualified to sit here, or else ill kill you, so tell me now, why do you want to sit here?”
The boy stared at Dinesh, trying to measure him up, and didn’t say anything.
“You like this jhoola?”
This time in answer, the boy upturned his lips, and clenching eyes hard, turned on the bawl-mode, and started bawling, real loud. Dinesh reveled in the moment, and smiled, with no intention of getting up from the swing. His friend was also smiling and looking here and there, not to be identified in this mischief.
The suddenly, out of one of the garden bushes a dark man appeared. Tall and fat, the man towered Dinesh and demanded his son,
“What’s going on?”
Between his sobs the little boy told his story, that how this uncle doesn’t let him sit on the swing, increasing the volume of his bawls slightly.
“E mister, what is your problem? Why are you troubling the child? This swing is for children, get up now”.
“I don’t see a sign anywhere which says that this is for children only. And he can sit when I get up from the swing, not before that, so please don’t disturb me”.
The man certainly didn’t expect to be cut off in this manner, so he grabbed Dinesh’s collar and looked him into the eye.
“When I tell you to get up, you should get up, or else it won’t be good for your health, understand?”
“I think you don’t know that I study in the local college…”
Suddenly everything went black for 2 seconds in front of his eyes, and then Dinesh realized he had been slapped on his right cheek. The sensation was tingling, and he could feel warmth coming out of it. His instinct was to cry like a baby, but he managed to control himself and hung his head down.
“I don’t give a fuckin damn where you study. Don’t give me that shit, take your friend and run away, right now or ill bash up every bone in your body, understood?”
Dinesh nodded meekly in return, searched for the bike keys and nearly ran out of the restaurant, with his friend behind him. He could hear bits n pieces of abuse and laughter flung their way.

“Should we call the college and call our people? These locals need to learn a lesson. What do you think?”
His friend asked Dinesh taking out his cell phone,
“Keep it inside, anyways they wont be interested, and I have been humiliated enough for one day. Let’s go back, smoke a joint and forget this ever happened.
“And anyways I think it was my mistake.”
And both of them went back to the hostel.