Thursday, October 31, 2013

M and S.

Source: Internet

M gave an irritated grunt as the half smoked cigarette fell off from his lips. He did not have the money to buy another cigarette. He had been standing outside a grand temple on Ballygung before the priest asked him to move away. “The cigarette disturbed the Gods,” the priest said. He gave an angry look towards the temple now.

The cheque from the publisher had not cleared yet. “Pujo holidays,” they said, when he had called to check on the cheque status. “Damn, Pujos!” he cursed under his breath as he staggered towards the nearest Pujo for a free bhog. The bhog was his only source of nourishment till the cheque cleared.

He suddenly doubted his career as a writer today. Everyone had warned him against quitting his day job as an accountant to pursue a career in writing. But M was determined. He knew he would do well. He was good. He already had a few freelance assignments in hand. He had got a publisher for his book. He was working hard.

The money was difficult to get. It took time. It wasn’t much. It wouldn’t be much till he was established, he knew. He had the patience, the perseverance. But he was getting tired of the poverty and the sniggers he received from the family. He had moved away from his family for some time now.

As M was crossing the street lost in the thoughts of his woes and survival, a big black Mercedes, E Class, Coupe - It could have been a grey Honda City too but that wouldn’t have the same effect as the big black Mercedes - screeched to a stop beside him.

M turned towards the Mercedes and the expression on his face changed magically from rage, to annoyance, to surprise and then to calm. (Had this been a movie I would have included one of the K-serial background music, too, but this isn’t a movie and hence you will have to visualise the expression change.)

What was brilliant was the exact same expression change that S’s (I love saying S’s more than I love writing it. S’s. S’s. S’s. S’s) face underwent. Exactly the same.

S was sitting comfortably reading a business newspaper in his chauffeur driven, above mentioned car. He was an important man. Obviously. All men who travel in a big black Mercedes, E Class, Coupe and read business newspaper are important. And it really had not been too difficult for S to reach the level of importance that he was at. Rather it had not been difficult at all. Because it is not difficult to become a CEO when you father owns the company.

Life was pretty comfortable for S. He had always got everything he had ever wanted. Lavish parties, international vacations, best of cars and gadgets; he had never known scarcity of any kind.

S liked his work too. It was fun to be bossing around and he sure was great at it. He was also efficient and not the stereotype rich lads that you see in movies. He had done immensely well and earned huge profits for the organisation.

Now, going back to the main scene where they both display a vast range of facial expression when their eyes meet – M and S maintained a lasting eye contact before M finally snapped back to reality and crossed the road to let S’s (S’s. S’s) big black Mercedes, E Class, Coupe pass.

I know what you, my dear reader, are thinking... This is again one of those stories of the rich guy and poor guy who were long lost friends and meet up to change each other's lives, or rich guy and poor guy who decide to swap their lives, or oh, yet another rich guy poor guy story… You are right. This was meant to be one of those stories. This is what I had thought when I started writing. But then, fate thought otherwise and before we could decide whether M and S were old friends or had just met, fate killed them.

We may, for our benefit, assume that they both simultaneously met with an accident immediately after the dramatic encounter.

This story should have ended here with both the heroes dead. But I came to an agreement with fate and decided to keep S alive.

So, M died in a car accident and S survived, only if you would call it survival…

Days passed into months and months in to years. (For effect you can image the scene from a Bollywood film where the pages of a wall calendar are torn one by one by an invisible hand, or where the sky changes colours from yellow, to blue, to red, to black in a couple of seconds to depict passage of time.)

But this period, was the worse thing that could have ever happened to S. I sometimes think it would have been better had I not asked fate to let him live.

S could not get the image of M out of his mind. Something had connected him with M that fateful day. He did not know the man, had no idea about his whereabouts, had never seen him before but the face and the look of M haunted him day in and out; every single moment, awake and asleep.

His work suffered tremendously. He no longer enjoyed the partying and the exotic holidays. He started hating his family, his friends. Searching and seeking the mysterious guy – M, became the only objective of S’s life. (S’s)

Poor S, unaware of the fact that M had died just moments after their encounter, did not stop his search for M.

And then one day, as S was walking on Park Street without a purpose or reason he approached a book shop. Absent-mindedly he got in and picked up one of the books from the best-sellers pile.

No sooner had he turned the cover page than he stopped, stunned and stared at the picture of the author. The same face that had haunted him for years, the same face of M, the face as it stared back at him. S lost his balance and sat on the floor, his eyes aghast and his hands trembling. He snapped back to senses as the book fell of his hands.

S rushed to the payment counter and said he wanted the contact details of the author. It was important. It was a matter of life and death. But they couldnt help. They directed S to the publishers.

S rammed the accelerator of his big black Mercedes, E Class, Coupe to arrive at the publishers. (notice the absence of the chauffeur here) But as fate would have it again it's way, the publishers informed him that the author had just vanished from the face of the earth. They had tried all means to trace him but he had just vanished, poof! “It is sad that the author of such a brilliant book had disappeared”, they said.

S sadly stared at the book in his hand walked unsteadily back to his big black Mercedes, E Class, Coupe .

Back home he locked himself in his room and got reading the book right away. A couple of pages through and suddenly, the realisation dawned upon him... this was his book, his story. His hands went cold, beads of perspiration appeared over his brow. This was unreal. This was impossible.

As he read further he could identify every moment of his life that had gone by; every single moment his childhood, his youth, his good days, and even the momentous day when he had collided with M at the Ballygung crossing, yes even that day – described to perfection, the way he had pictured it every day, all these days.

And then he read about the doom - the period when he lost everything, where he lost his peace; his sanity. Every instant was revealed in this book. It scared him like never before. This was worse that what he had been through in the last few years. All this while it had been just the anxiety of finding M. But now, now... he shuddered just thinking what he would read next.

Reading, he reached a point where his meeting with the publisher was mentioned. He was reading about today, about this moment. As he came to the end of the page he took a deep breath and he hesitantly turned to the next page .

Yes, it was about tomorrow, about his future. He read the page and he snapped the book shut. S, tempted as he was, knew that reading further and knowing his future would only cause him acute trauma. But he couldn’t give it up either. He decided that he would take it one day, one page at a time.

Life had change for S now. He would read up a page at the end of the day and live the page the next day. He tried changing what was unfavourable but was unable to do so. The book ruled his life, the way he lived. There were days when he would give in to his temptation and read a page extra but that would only muddle up his day and his thinking.

The only thing that did not change were the thoughts and dreams of M. M’s face wherever he went.

And then one night when he was back in his room, in his bed and as he turned to read what was in store for him the next day. He froze. The page was blank. All the pages in succession were blank. he turned every page frantically. A defective copy; an error; what had happened?

It was quite late else he would have rushed right away to buy a new copy of the book. S decided to go first thing in the morning and buy it.  He went off to bed extremely restless. Something seemed amiss that night. He tossed and turned for a long while before he finally drifted into sleep.

Next morning S woke up -  blank. He knew nothing, understood nothing and recognised nothing. He looked around him and with a daze. He couldn't think. There were no thoughts, no feelings. Everything looked, seemed unfamiliar. Someone in the house spoke to him but all he could see was the lip moving. He understood no word.

He walked out of the house in his pajamas. He roamed around aimlessly.

 Everything seemed uncharacteristic; it was like he had opened his eyes to the world for the first time. The stared blankly at things around as he walked, his ears hurt with the sound around, he did not know what they were. He was confused and he did not know what confused was. He recognised neither hunger nor thirst. As he walked he brushed against his big black Mercedes, E Class, Coupe. But S just felt nothing.

S reached a place which looked like a huge field - the maidan. All green all around. Just that he did not know what field was/ what green was. As he stood there he sensed a presence – the first sensation he had that morning. Someone was talking to him be he could not make out anything of the words that were spoken. He turned and looked.

He looked without any expression at the face of the person – the face of M.


  1. Bhishon bhishon bhalo...uncannily bhalo.


  3. Couple of typos though:
    M lost his balance and sat on the floor, his eyes aghast and his hands trembling.
    M rushed to the payment counter and said he wanted the contact details of the author.

  4. Diptee, this was fantastic. I mean it.

    And - this is something I have been telling you for a few days now - you have finally arrived. Your humour has reached the next level.

    I am blown away. You're incredible. You're absolutely incredible.

    1. Wow, now that really means a lot. :D Thanks.

  5. Hey Diptee, this is awesome!
    I enjoyed it thoroughly!

    1. Thank you so much, Ashwin. And welcome to my blog again :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarasij. And thanks for visiting my blog. :)

  7. Khoob bhaalo. Did I get it right? Or is the usage restricted to appreciating food only?

    1. The usage is for anything nice. SO thank you very much :)

  8. Awesome! The story takes a wonderful lift in the second half. And the slog overs was mind blowing

  9. It was absolutely brilliantly written....or should I say: It is a brilliant story indeed!

  10. It took some time for the build-up but the second half was definitely something

  11. That was truly a thoughtful one! Loved the content and the genre. It reminded me of Jeffrey Archer's Kane and Abel. Though both are of different kind, but this is no less an engaging story! :)

  12. Diptee, this is brilliant, for want of a better word. The suspense build up was nerve wracking. You are very, very talented.

    1. Thanks a ton, Madhu. Awesome of you to read my posts. :)


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