|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|SETTING||Railway platform OR Inside Train|
Social Short Story – TIMELINE
Saurav ghosh looked through the window of the moving train. There were two images conflicting to gather his attention. That of the changing scenery courtesy the advancing train and the mental pictures courtesy the retreated times. These contrasting images often created an imbalance as to the time it occupied in his conscience. Sometimes the scenery will take precedence and the memories fade out and at other times it’s the other way around. A defining characteristic of him was his nervousness.
When confronted with the need to speak in public or for that matter do anything that would attract the attention of the masses he would succumb. He would begin sweating like hell, his throat would dry up and he can hear his ear closing. Then suddenly he would see a wall in front of him and he would lose all his strength . Some say it is stage fear or he is too shy. He remembered the infinite times he was subjected to this conundrum. As situation changes, the wall also seemed to change. Sometimes he hit a brick wall. Sometimes concrete. Sometimes wall with ceramic tiles just like the ones in his bathroom. Nevertheless walls kept on appearing.
He looked despairingly at the report. Then suddenly he heard the nurse calling ‘ sir there is an emergency. The patient in 302 collapsed”.
He came back into his cabin at the front of which was written Dr Giridhar neuro surgeon. He never liked flaunting all his degrees at the tail end of his name. He continued glaring at the report. It was his friend’s son’s scan report. And if his initial assessment is anything to go by then the report would not be a happy reading for his friend’s family.
As the train went on with occasional crossings and the inevitable stops at stations, saurav snoozed for a bit. He could not believe the possibility of him getting married soon. Last day he created a profile on one of those many matrimonial sites, finally succumbing to the constant persistence of his parents. No matter how much technology takes over our life there are certain things in our life where we hold on strong to our beliefs. Marriage is one of them.
His marriage should happen before he is 27. That’s what is written in his horoscope. These words have been repeated a thousand times by his mother. He could not understand how the planets so far from earth can have a say in when he is gona get married. But he had to give in to the pressure. And there is created one more profile of his in the virtual world. Another activity of interest for him was photography. Not the clinically precise photography some are crazy about. But simple plain photos. He didn’t care about the lighting or auto focus or any other nuances of photography. All he wanted was to freeze a moment that captured his imagination. He had a collection of photos mostly from his journeys. And when he has nothing to do he would go through these photos and try to recollect what the occasion was.
After an hectic day at the hospital giridhar was exhausted mentally more than physically. On his way out he told the nurse to keep the medical report of saurav ghosh in his drawer .
Saurav took his cell phone and decided to take a few snaps as a memoir of this journey. He is on his way back after a check up and was in high spirits somehow. He took some random shots. A girl was sitting opposite him. Hearing the sound of the click she thought he took her photo. She was infuriated and asked him to give his phone to her. He felt nervous and tried to convince her it is a misunderstanding. The fellow passengers, mostly rough looking men in their forties stepped in. she told them he took her photo and that was all the impetus they needed. The self proclaimed moral police swung into action and started bullying him. One guy slapped him and the cell phone fell off his hands. She took the cell phone and started searching for her photo. While the situation grew wild with them starting to beat him, he felt the wall in front of him. Only this time the wall looked like a train bogey’s. All she could find in the cell phone was images of the scenery outside the train and some hospital’s inside. There were images of scanning machines, patients waiting for their turn to be diagnosed , coffewalas, the other trains and an image of a group of dogs eating a bat. She suddenly understood her mistake and before she could do anything he was lying still on the floor. The cell phone fell off her hand. She went near him and checked his pulse. There was none. Suddenly his cell phone came to life and on the flickering screen was displayed “ Mamma Calling “.
She came home feeling paralysed and heavy at heart. The enormity of the situation has made her heart work extra hard which manifested in her as nervousness. She was greeted by her happy parents.
Just as she entered, her mom said “ we were looking for our future son in law and I think we found a good match. Why don’t u take a look at his profile?”
Unwillingly she walked towards the computer screen. The screen was blank because of lack of activity for the past few minutes. She scrolled the mouse and the screen came to life. She took one glance at the profile which was left open. A sudden jolt came to her and she froze. A tiny drop of tear left her eye and flowed through the cheek down to the neck.
Some more tears joined forming a continuous line and she stood there stunned not caring one bit to wipe off the tears. She felt great remorse for what she had paved way for. She hoped in despair that she handled the situation with a bit more maturity. Had she done that, a human life could have been spared. But the moment had passed. She took one last glance at the screen and the remorse grew out of bounds as she struggled to stand.
Two days later the obituary of saurav ghosh was printed with the same profile pic.