Tag Archives: Fiction

The colours of the rainbow

I wrote this as an experiment. This piece does not reflect my true views on the LGBT community. As I am not a member of said community, it would be difficult for me to understand their views properly. Hence, I am neutral in the issue. If I were called to vote on the issue of gay marriage, for instance, I would not vote, no matter what the stakes.


“Should he have resigned?” he asked me.

“I don’t know, mate,” I said, working on my laptop.

“Come, on,” he urged me. “Think about it. Give me an opinion! I want to know your stand on it.”

I rolled my eyes. He could be such a drama queen at times.

“Forget the fact that I’m gay, mate,” he said. “And you know that I won’t hold anything against you.”

I sighed. “Fine,” I responded. “I don’t think Eich should have resigned from his post of Mozilla CEO. Happy?”

“Reasons, man!” he hollered, a large grin on his face. “I need your reasons!”

I groaned. The only way to oblige him here would be by acquiescing to his request. I took a deep breath.

“Look,” I began, “What is a company all about, hmm?”

“Building a product,” he replied.

“And what is Mozilla building?”

“Firefox, and Thunderbird, or they were building it anyway. Oh! And Firefox OS.”

“Exactly. And what does Brendan Eich’s stance on Gay marriage have to do with any of them?”

“A lot, I would think,” he replied, his voice turning a tad serious.

“How is that?” I asked.

“Well, imagine if my employer openly discriminated against the LGBT community,” he said. “Would I be comfortable working with him?”

“Mate, giving a donation to prop 8 is hardly discriminating against the LGBT community.”

“But it is!” he was getting serious now. It had started as fun, but I knew that this would need me to abandon my essay to focus properly. “He’s taking away my right to be with the man I want!”

I sighed. “No one’s taking your right to do that away. What you can’t do is legally marry him.”

“And isn’t that discrimination?” he pointed out. “Isn’t that the kind of discrimination sane, thinking human beings want to put an end to? I realise that you’re not particularly receptive to the feelings of the LGBT community yourself, but you’ve never said anything against their agenda either.”

“Well, think about it this way,” I said. “What is the end product of a marriage?”

“Happiness,” he replied instantly.

“Well, lots of heterosexual men would object, but no, that’s not what I meant.”

“Then what?”

“Children,” I replied as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

He stared at me. “Man,” he said at last. “That is so nineteenth century.”

“No, think about it,” I replied. “Can any other institution allow you to have children?”

“No,” he said.

“Then? The only thing a state gets out of a marriage is new citizens. If you take people’s emotions out of the equation, then what is the need to allow gay or lesbian marriage?”

“But you can’t take human emotions out of the picture,” he pointed out. “Lots of people marry for reasons other than bringing forth kinds into the world.”

“And yet a majority of those in a marriage end up having kids,” I pointed out.

“Agreed,” he admitted. “But still, children is not the reason people marry. People have children when they are comfortable enough. It’s just a side product of marriage.”

“The most important side product of a marriage,” I pounced on his statement.

“Happiness is the most important side product of a marriage,” he pointed out. “People get divorced because they’re unhappy in their marriages, you know.”

“I do,” I replied. “I know that marriages break apart because of tension between the couple. But that tension can be caused due to many factors. You need to be happy in whatever you’re doing. Children could be a major reason for that tension, so could religion. Who knows? Maybe the wife suddenly realises her husband is a dumbass. It could be anything.”

“So the point where we disagree is the biological side product of marriage,” he said. “Well, it has been proven that homosexuality is biological.”

“And you know something else?” I said. “The very nature of human reproduction means that homosexuality is doomed to die out.”

“And yet,” he countered with a smile, “it hasn’t.”

I smiled back. “It hasn’t,” I replied. “But again, we’ve drifted off topic. How does this discussion affect what Eich’s decision should have been?”

“Because Eich supports inequality,” he replied.

I sighed. “I don’t think he does, fella. You’re allowed to marry whichever female agrees to marry you, as am I. How’s that unequal? He never tried to make things unequal for you.”

“He’s taking away my right to love whoever I want and not get vilified for it.”

I stood up. “You know something? If I went back home and told my mother that I’ve fallen in love with a Black, African woman, my mother will try to be happy for me. But she won’t be as happy as if I had chosen a White girl. Quite a large faction of my ‘modern Indian family’ will be scandalized.

It would have been the same thing had I suddenly decided to go gay. My parents would have been supportive, I’m sure, but I’m certain my grandmother would have gone into depression.”

“Well, that’s not right either,” he pointed out. “That’s pretty racist and petty of them.”

“My point is,” I said, glancing at him to shut him up, “that their views don’t mean jack to me. I can go against my family’s views and not care that they’ll stop loving me. I think it’s pretty clear that Eich might have, at one point, been against gay marriage, the same way I am academically, but that hardly means that he’s going to order all the members of the LGBT community to GTFO or STFU. In fact, I doubt he would honestly care what you do in the confines of your house, or even if you bring your partner to work for some reason.”

“But imagine this,” he argued. “Your employer is working actively to make sure that you never get to marry a chick from another country. Would you still work with him?”

“But is Eich actively doing that?” I shot back. “He donated $1000 once to prop 8. If my employer had once donated to some cause I hate, short of a terror outfit, of course, I wouldn’t really care. I mean, yeah, I work for you, and we have different views on something. That’s it. End of story. We smile and move on. That’s what a professional should be like.”

“Except that you probably don’t have issues that hit so close to home,” he pointed out. “He’s not violating a fundamental right of yours.”

“He’s not violating one of yours either,” I countered. “His supported view is not enforced any more, and you’re hounding him for a donation he made to a cause which was supported by the majority at that time. It makes little sense.”

“I don’t feel comfortable working with someone who hates people like me. I don’t feel comfortable knowing that he has it in him to fund something which tries to take away from me something which makes me happy.”

“What? The right to be with your partner? No one’s doing that to you. You can’t marry him, but you’re free as ever to walk out into the sunset holding hands. No one can legally stop you.”

He threw up his hands. “You’re impossible.”

“No,” I replied smugly, “My point of view is different from yours. I’m speaking as the devil’s advocate here regarding LGBT rights. Of course you should have them. But even if your employer decides that he or she personally does not share your views, you should not let your professionalism suffer for it.”

“Also,” I continued after a short pause, “Movements like Feminism and even LGBT Rights tend to irritate me. They make a lot of noise. Yes. I agree that you need your rights. Yes, I know that you’re fighting for them. But why do you have to emphasize it all the time?”

“Because every waking second for us is a struggle,” he said softly. “We’re denied things you heterosexual men take for granted. Freedom to choose who you want.”

“Then get into the government and change things,” I pointed out. “Rallies and excessive noise, like feminism, actually creates animosity.”

“That’s how we make people understand, that’s how we force them to look at the issue.”

“And for someone like me who’s actually looked at it, it’s annoying. I sympathise with your plight. That doesn’t mean I’m going to lift a finger to help you.”

“Evil is propagated when good men decide to do nothing. Don’t be one of those men.”

I took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m not going to be an obstacle to someone who’s doing something about it. I’m not going to be someone who doesn’t support people working on this. But don’t expect me to take the initiative. It’s not my fight.

When LGBT decides to add polygamy to it, call me. I’ll be protesting right up there with the best of you.”

#2 – Doshisha Mae

This is a short piece I wrote to increase my flash fiction writing skills. I’m going to be doing this regularly in order to help build them up and to learn to get inspired from the tiniest of thoughts.


“Hey.”

She looked up at me, a slightly quizzical look on her face. Michael and Ju Eun stood around 10 feet away, pretending they didn’t know me. It wasn’t easy, seeing that the three of us had been sitting together with Nick at Starbucks for the past hour. Nick, typically, was already outside, not interested in seeing me embarrass myself with a girl.

I’d been staring at her for the past 30 minutes. There were beautiful girls all around us, but somehow, she had been the one who’d struck me. And this itch to walk up to her, and tell her that she was the most beautiful thing this side of Eden just wouldn’t subside.

“Yes?” she asked. Her legs were drawn up on the couch she was on, a half full glass of black coffee on the table in front of her strewn with books. They looked mysterious to me, with Hiragana and Katakana symbols (which I could vaguely remember) and Kanji (which I’m hopeless with) smattered across them. A notebook was open in a delicate hand and she held a pen with the other, one end of which was trapped between her pink lips in a gesture both innocent and sensual the the same time.

I swallowed.

“I was just wondering,” I began, a slight hitch in my voice (down, boy!), “what you were working on. Are they log tables or something?”

Log tables. Yeah. Way to go. Next thing she’ll be asking me if my name’s Raj Kuthrapalli.

She scrunched her nose up for a second as she processed my statement, and my legs grew weak for a second. Only a second, as I managed to regain control over them a second later. That expression, my brain decided despite being on the verge of shutdown, needed to be burned into my mind and etched into the inside of my skull.

And then she smiled. “No,” she chirruped, “I’m making my timetable. I just started at University today, and I need to pick my professors.”

My brain receded from the edge of total lockdown to saner pastures. “Ah,” I replied, my hesitant smile becoming a tad more genuine. “We did the same thing back at Uni in India. What’s your major?”

“I’m in Political Science,” she replied, her voice sweet as honey. My eyes travelled from her impossibly bright eyes to her notebook, which had nothing but doodles in it. A dainty hand darted forward and shut it. My eyes followed that hand back to its owner and her face, a slight blush on her features.

“I’m not done yet,” she said shyly.

My smile grew wider and slightly conspiratorial. “That’s okay,” I winked, “I won’t tell anyone.”

She grinned, and I grinned with her. “You’re from India?” she asked, stretching in a cat-like manner.

I nodded, my eyes trying not to leave her face. She was dressed beautifully, a white top with the sleeves rolled up slightly to facilitate writing and a short black skirt underneath. Her legs were two smooth pieces of marble stretching away to eternity.

“I’m working at Kyodai,” I said. “You?”

“Doshisha-mae,” she replied.

“Ah,” I responded. “Well,” I realised that I had taken enough of her time. Michael, Nick and Ju Eun had to take the last train back to Osaka, and if I just stood there talking to her, I wouldn’t be able to board it with them (I was taking the same train back to Katsura). “I need to leave now, but it was really nice talking to you.”

“Nice talking to you too,” she said.

I turned away, and walked back to Michael and Ju Eun, and we began to walk towards the exit. My head turned reflexively to stare at her. Only to find that she was staring right back with those impossibly bright eyes, a smile on her face as her fingers went through her bangs. An innocent gesture, but one which was enough to make my heart beat at a pace which would have made John Bonham proud.

She had just a hint of makeup on, enough to accentuate the slightly snobbish look she had and make her lips look fuller. In a kimono, she would probably have had heads turning left, right and centre. My eyes strayed below her face to catch a golden pendant winking at me. I looked back up. Maybe I imagined it, but a knowing glint had entered her eyes. Eyes which seemed to say, “You naughty boy. You’ve been looking where you oughtn’t.” They accentuated her snobbish features even more.

Maybe on another day, those features would have looked stuck-up. She might not put on makeup in such an elegant fashion again. Maybe she would not choose her clothes with the eye of a tasteful fashion designer.

But I would never know, I realised with a pang as my brain caught up with my body.

We hadn’t even exchanged names.

#1 – For want of money

This is a short piece I wrote to increase my flash fiction writing skills. I’m going to be doing this regularly in order to help build them up and to learn to get inspired from the tiniest of thoughts.


“What do you mean by that?” I asked

“Exactly what I said,” was his reply.

I looked at the scene in front of me. From the beggar and her baby, both covered with filth to the man standing beside me. I was meeting him after a few years. Back then, when we had hung out together, we used to be inseparable. We’d go out for movies together, go out and pick up chicks, act as each other’s wingmen, you name it, we’d done it. Then I’d gone to the US. I’d received an offer I couldn’t refuse while he had decided to stay on in India. I’d been gone seven years.

Things had changed since then. He’d greeted me like the old friend I was at the airport, but everything since then had been different. He’d tried to make sure that things remained jovial and normal, but somewhere, somehow I had noticed a tension. My friend had changed. And I wasn’t sure that it was for the better.

He’d been reluctant to tell me what he did for a living. I hadn’t known why then, but I knew now.

“You’ve injected the baby with heroin?” I asked again, to confirm. My brain was certain that my ears had failed it.

“I haven’t done it myself, but that’s what’s been done,” he explained quietly. “That or the baby’s been fed some alcohol.”

“Why?” I asked. Somehow, curiosity overrode revulsion.

“To keep him quiet, of course. She’s not his mother, and what do you think will happen once he wakes? He’ll be screaming and kicking. She won’t be able to beg properly if that happens.”

There was a pause.

“Do you also maim beggars in your jurisdiction?” I asked, my pitch increasing.

“Of course,” he shrugged, turning around, his leather boots clacking on the pavement. “You need an element of pathos for men to care.”

“They’re humans as well,” I said, the disgust finally welling up.

He stopped and turned me around. His eyes were calm, his gaze steady. “Tell that to the next whore begging me to buy her child.”

Family knows best

‘I’m dating Mordecai.’

Richard stared out at the horizon from his window, holding his phone in his hands, the contents of the SMS evoking strange and puzzling feelings in him. She’s dating. Once upon a time, that would have crushed his spirit, completely destroyed all that was good in him. It would have consigned him to oblivion and made him a husk of his former self.

‘Congratulations’, he typed. ‘I feel happy for you. I always knew you needed an anchor, someone to stabilise you. Now you have him. He’s a lucky bugger, Mordecai is.’

He stared at the message. Lies. All lies. When had he felt happy for her? Richard gave a mental shrug. It didn’t matter to him. All that had happened was water under the bridge. He had moved on beyond that. Ruth was history, now. A short period of history which would remain but a footnote in his life. An obscure, confined footnote.

His phone beeped. She’d texted back. ‘Hug, thank you.’

Richard grimaced. Lying always gave him a bad taste in his mouth, regardless of whether he cared about the subject of the lie or not. His father had raised him that way.

‘Now go and kick that exam of yours in the arse’, he messaged, effectively ending the conversation.

Throwing the phone down on the bed, he examined himself in the mirror. Bags under his eyes, unkempt hair, a short stubble and a suspect stain on his shirt. Wonderful, he thought dryly. Picking up a toothbrush, he went to the washbasin to remedy his state of affairs. He could only go as far as the teeth. Richard stared at the bathroom mirror, all his energy draining away at the seemingly impossible task of washing his face. Weariness flooded him, creating aches where there were none. He closed his eyes and turned his back to the basin. Deodorant it is, then, he thought as he walked back to his room, dragging his feet.

Tom would still be sleeping. Harry had gone back home. Breakfast? Well, it sounded good. Maybe some food in his belly would make his lethargy go away. With an audible sigh, Richard climbed down three flights of stairs to the mess with all the enthusiasm of a man going to the gallows.

His phone beeped again. ‘I will, thank you!’

He closed his eyes again, his breakfast cereal in front of him, the morning paper on the side. Why did she still matter? Or was it something else which was bugging him? He let his frustration bleed out as he gripped the spoon hard. The spoon was metal. It held, as though mocking him. ‘You can’t do anything to me. You’re powerless in front of my might.’ Richard looked away, facial muscles twitching in annoyance.

There was a flurry of motion in front of him as someone sat down. He looked up to see Lee. The newcomer smiled at him and asked, “No test today?”

Richard shook his head, forcing a smile. In reality, it was more of a lemon-sucking grimace. Lee’s smile lost a couple of molars.

“Didn’t sleep well, eh?” he asked, his fake concern not fooling Richard at all.

“No,” replied Richard, his voice breaking. He suddenly felt the desperate need to be elsewhere, somewhere away from Lee. He cleared his throat. “I think I need some coffee. I’ll go get it.”

Not waiting for an answer, he took off. He snagged a cup from near the counter and stood in front of the pot, staring at it, almost willing it to pour its contents into his cup. He looked back. Lee was not looking. He put the cup down, and slipped out the door, completely unnoticed.

The cold wind whispered around him and the chill bit into him. Richard gave it no thought. He’d been in places colder than this and survived. This puny morning chill was no challenge. He retrieved his phone from his pocket. His fingers moved of their own accord, searching out the familiar name. Becky.

She picked it up in four rings, her voice laced with sleepiness. “Hello?”

“Hey, sis,” said Richard, “You up?”

“No,” she groaned on the other end. “It’s seven thirty, Dick. You know I’m not a morning person.”

“Ruth’s not single any more.”

“I know,” came her muffled reply. “You woke me up to tell me that?”

“It’s Ruth, Becky, not anyone else. You know how Ruth and I were.”

It was true. Becky did know. She wasn’t his real sister. They’d met each other when Becky had wound up in his college, a year younger than him. She’d been very scared of him initially, until she’d got to know him. And the rest, as they say, was history. They’d become pretty close over the past semester, and suddenly Becky’d pronounced him her brother. Richard was fine with that, her boyfriend being a good friend of his. When Ruth had come into his life, it was Becky he’d trusted with his feelings, his desires, his fears. And Becky had warned him that the road he was going down was a slippery slope. Fortunately, Richard had managed to stop himself in time and been able to remove Ruth from every equation in his life. Or so he thought.

“Does it bother you?” she asked, her voice neutral.

“No,” he replied honestly. “It doesn’t. I’m happy she’s with someone who understands her.”

“Then what troubles you, oh brother of mine?” she asked, relief plainly evident in her voice.

Richard chuckled. Rebecca was one of the sweetest people he knew. “Nothing, really,” he lied. “How do you think Tweedledum and Tweedledee are going to cope up with it?”

He could practically see her roll her eyes. “Do you have to call John and Patrick that?” she complained. She’d known them for a long time, and John especially was very close to her. Nothing compared to Dick himself, of course.

“Yes,” he deadpanned, knowing it would rile her up.

“Nothing’s gonna to happen to them,” she replied, her tone firm. “Patrick’s gonna be totally fine and John’s just going to mope around for a while before finding himself.”

Richard’s smile turned ironic as he imagined that happening. “Right,” he drawled. “And I am going to grow wings and fly to the moon.”

“Enough, Richard,” she said, her tone sharp. “They’re not going to die. You’re perverse, you know, you take pleasure in others’ suffering. A complete sadist.”

“I know,” he replied cheekily. “And yet you love me.”

She snorted. “That I do,” she replied, her tone affectionate. “But don’t push it,” she warned. “Your luck might just run out.”

Richard laughed, and after a while she joined him. The day seemed brighter, suddenly, the sun seemed to smile at him from behind the clouds. The birds burst into song above his head and began flying around. They were playing tag, he decided.

“Take care of them,” he said, suddenly. “You know what it’s like, liking Ruth.”

“You make it sound like some kind of medieval torture,” her tone was teasing, but he knew she understood.

“Is it very far from one?” he retorted.

“Well…” She was stalling for time, and he knew it. “No. But don’t tell anyone I said that.”

He grinned. “What happens between us -”

“-Stays between us,” she finished, her tone light. “Right. Now I needs must perform my morning ablutions, and you need to do whatever you’re up to.”

“I’m up to something?” he asked her, injecting mock-hurt into his voice. “You wound me, woman!”

“Shut up,” said Becky. “You’re worse than anyone I’ve met, you know that?”

“Really?”

“Uh huh,” she replied, her tone very affectionate. “Totally incorrigible. Now go!”

“Oh kay,” finished Richard. “Bye!”

“See ya.” The phone went dead.

Sisters, thought Richard. They get away with everything. Imagine what she would have been like to grow up with. He shuddered. No. She’d have me wrapped around her little finger. Like, totally. I’d be a total pushover.

Or maybe not.