(A normal room, spic and span with the near perfect combination of just the necessary furniture and books, plural both in number and varieties. A dim light combats the darkness alone, leaving little scope for facial visibility. )
“Fuck you!” he said, to her face.
“How could you blame me for all of this? Of all the people in the world?” she retorted…
(She eventually squeezed a tear or two, but she did not cry and break into tears so as to say. Sometimes emotions overwhelm you in the most unwelcomed situations, when you cannot control yourself.)
Yes, okay, go on…
I look at him, awaiting his further approval; I wanted to hear more than just a simple ‘go on’…
(They say when you embrace your downfall, you will achieve peace. Inner peace could only be attained if you let go. She was her downfall; it was because of her he could not write. But it’s just an abstract theory is it not? Far more abstruse than anybody could think, how could she be the cause of his doom?)
“Look at me! I end up writing rubbish every time my pen touches the fucking paper…”
“I am doomed, for eternity, I should never have loved you… you filled the gap…”
“The gap?” she was taken aback, flabbergasted.
“Wait, wait, wait!” what gap? What is this? I asked for a sound script not some bullshit about holes and gaps. Charaan questioningly looked at me, expecting me to give an excuse lest an answer.
“I could not come up with anything better”, I shot back plainly, trying to maintain my calm.
“GET OUT!” he said in a queer voice. I froze there on spot, on the seat itself waiting for what I don’t know. “COME BACK WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING BETTER WRITTEN FOR ME ON THOSE FILTHY PAGES!!!”
“I am not required here” I thought and then left, avoiding eye contact with anybody in the way. Charaan was the director of a theater group called “Lovelorn” or in colloquial terms bereft of love, sans-love. He could never ask Charaan why he chose such a name for his group; it may be quintessential enough for him. Lovelorn had a pyrrhic win at the start but then a string of hits occurred thanks to Rishika. She co-wrote “The Tables of Turbulence” and “A Salty Affair” together with Charaan and they were massive hits.
“Where are you off to? We just began!” Rishika looked at me and winked her obnoxious eyelids at me. The whole world looked distasteful to me right now and I needed a break.
(He was sitting in his study while a pile of crumbled A4 papers lay on the ground just a few feet away; the metallic waste bin is overflowing with them today. He stared at them, long enough to imagine:
Paper: Look at you! Poor, wretched, dilapidated soul! You have lost your ability to write…
Me: No, I haven’t, I need time…
Paper: Time won’t do any good; it will delay you to the point of lassitude.
Me: I am out of imagination! I need motivation; I need to write something…
Suddenly he overhears her talking to a friend, he gets infinitely angry and rushes out of the room-
He: You are having the time of your life while I am getting irked and taunted by blank pages.
She (to her friend over the phone): Hey, can I call you after some time?
He: Is this your new admirer?
She: It was Mithila, my childhood friend…
He gives a look of disbelief and hatred; she hands over the phone into his hands and leaves… He looks at phone’s screen for a long time apprehensive and unsure of what to do, finally he checks.
From her room, she could feel him doubting her, doubt is the wrecker of many a good relations she knew and now it was their turn, tick tock, tick tock, she could feel time exhausting upon them; suddenly she heard his better half scream and what followed was the smashing of her beloved mobile into pieces by her not so beloved lover.
The audience will obviously see both actions simultaneously as her room is just a cardboard compartment.)
Seeing these lines on paper I could not help but laugh at myself, how true these lines were! They were the epitome of my life right now, so there is a connection right? I cannot write, not well enough to impress to Charaan, maybe Rishika as well. But was she seeing/ dating Charaan? Come on, they wrote a play together, but it does not mean they will write their love life together as well? Am I being jealous? Well I’ll be damned…
“Are you done with the play yet?” my phone came back to life with this message from Rishika.
“Almost” I replied back, should I ask something else? I quiver.
“So basically your character loses his writing prowess after falling in love?” an absurd idea at its best, Charaan sighed and squeezed his head with his hands; a familiar expression when runs out of tranquility.
“Yes” I replied. Sometimes I wonder why I speak in monosyllables even though more is required of me.
Charaan looked at me, maybe he was expecting more… “But here at Lovelorn, our idea and mission is to put up quirky acts in front of people, to deprive them of inhibitions, to create something out of nothing…”
I looked at him, confused and conflicted whether he just appraised my idea or “Lovelorn” itself. I stood there, waiting for something positive…
*Precisely 14 days later*
(‘He’ is just any normal guy you would meet, an aspiring author with a bright future, writing and reading voraciously oblivious of the world around him. His bio-data already has two novels with the first one being labeled a best-seller. But his second novel did not do well, not well enough to impress his critics and he was already being referred to another failed writer. Despite this pressure building up on him he did not palpitate or get stressed out, because he knew it would only worsen everything out. Instead he chose not to pay any attention to people sitting on a chair and bossing around.
‘She’ was the embodiment of a perfect girl; beauty with brains. She boasted of a degree in psychology specializing in human behavior with record marks. She was just the perfect blend of amiable and timid, serious and serene. She was fierce and independent, currently working in a reputed school as a child psychologist. She always found children exciting and their mind even more enticing.
It was here that the two souls met, ‘he’ had come to ‘her’ school to deliver a speech which will supposedly inspire the children. He knew this was bullshit, children should concentrate on other activities than sitting in a auditorium for hours ogling at an unknown person who fills heads with words like ‘motivation’, ‘hard work’, ‘success’, ‘defeat’. Words which they need to learn a lot later; this is not the time for heavy words, they needed to play, grow and shine.)
As she uttered the last words, her lips curved into the prettiest smile I would ever see. My heart pounded with anticipation and finally unable to bear any longer I ask, almost desperately,
“Rishika how was it?”
“It is fine” she murmured not wanting to sound like she meant it.
“It is bad, isn’t it?” I asked crestfallen.
“No, no, I was taunting you, it is beautiful” saying this she hugged me.
Love is a great motivator, I thought, I was finally good at one thing. I could now stand face to face in front of Charaan and say to him things do not necessarily unfold the way he wanted them to be. And I am feeling pretty confident with my characterization part so…
“How do you think will Charaan react?” I ask her this suddenly, out of the blue.
She seemed to have been caught off guard, because she batted her eyelids quite a few times and she does this only when poised with difficult questions, questions which need her attention, questions to which answers are not only difficult, they prove to be conundrums within themselves.
“He will be pleased I’m sure” was her courteous reply. I sighed knowing she was still apprehensive about ‘us’, about my play.
“Qué será, será (Whatever will be, will be)” I said to myself.
#At the studio
“You call this characterization?” Charaan said keeping his tone high, just the right amount of high which would keep you in dilemma whether to revolt or keep listening.
“This is the best I could come up with” I said sorely, unaffected.
“I am not satisfied, satisfy me” he said almost meaning it. I raise my right brow in surprise and amusement.
“You are not Rishika, demanding every time for more…” I said waiting for his reaction; he is bound to get jealous.
‘Wait, have patience…’ my mind said waiting for the words to hit Charaan like an undeclared storm.
“Rishika treats you that way?” Charaan said plainly. I was awed and frustrated at the same time.
Life could not have been worse than this, Rishika left me for Charaan; I seriously doubt her ever being in love with me. It was as if she was on a vacation with me and suddenly left for her normal routine. Off course who would deny a relationship with a successful director? I was dejected, hopeless and gloomy. I denied my very existence and starved for days, I needed inspiration. At the theatre, the monotonous routine followed and how I wished it would end! I felt fallen and I knew at this point only two things could serve as a messiah for me, a girl or my passion. And since I was bad with girls and relationships, the only thing which remained was my passion for writing and I hoped to cling onto that.
“I could not write, it was like the paper thirsted for ink but I could not feed it…I never felt so helpless and uncontrollable at the same time…”
(The room, devoid of sunlight had dampened and it is extremely crucial the audience grasps the mental condition of the failed writer seeing the room.)
“Let’s get out”, she said. “You’ll feel better for sure, trust me”, she iterated.
“I clutched onto my typewriter like it was my soul and cursed her repeatedly.” Crestfallen, she sighed and went outside the room teary eyed. I did not feel bad about anything; instead I despised her and wondered how someone so lovable to me a few months ago become so grossly despicable in such a short period of time.
It was then I began contemplating about her murder, if she was the root of my problems, I would definitely erase her.
“This ought to do the trick” I said to myself.
Surprisingly I wrote two pages and was quite satisfied with my writing, I did not anticipate any good from Charaan but at least I was confident this time about showing the dialogues to him. A spectacle eyed Charaan went through the two pages voraciously at once, then slid the glass down his nose and measured me before poising a question-
“What did you have for breakfast today?”
“Why sir?” I inquired acting to be innocent; actually I did not have the slightest hint of what he was telling.
“I like the way the story is turning, do you think you can maintain this track?” he smiled.
Charaan was hardly seen smiling except when he was with ‘my’ Rishika and if this script made him smile, I could conquer the world.
Back home in the same room, not dampened and dark and gloomy anymore I found my inspiration, my calling. I was so happy to finally type a page without any break; it was as if my mind and hands were in perfect synch and I laughed as the dialogues seamlessly and coherently piled up on the pages. I almost forgot the last time I was so pleased and happy with my work.
#the end narration
“With bloodshot eyes I planned her murder; she was such a harmless being which made me want to squish her like an ant. Though not bodily harmful, her presence was like venom to be; it hindered my creative flow and I hated her for that. She deserved to die…”
The night was young and dark; I walked to our bed with trepidation and panic. In my hand was a Swiss knife ready to pierce flesh and spill blood. I smiled, almost tasting the sweet taste of success. On our fancy bed lay her body covered in satin sheets ignorant of what was coming to her. I struck the knife deep into a place where I pictured her guts would be, expecting blood. But nothing!
At that moment she stabs him from behind! Her face twisted with compulsion and fear, she had known he was planning to kill her all along and acted in self defense.
With a dramatic music playing, the curtain rolls over the writer’s dead body.
Back at the studio, after reading the entire improvised script, Charaan gave me a standing ovation and hugged me.
“So is the gap filled finally?” he asked. I looked at Rishika and answered “Far from it actually sir!” Finally I had embraced and accepted my downfall and found inner peace, Rishika was not required anymore, ever.