Thursday, January 24, 2013

Partitioning of the Senses

Tariq was working on a very important project - so important that for over a week he could not have food with his friends. Staying alone in a new city, the 24-year-old electrical engineer got used to the company of his new friends. He couldn't call up his mother on time, which irked her a bit as she kept on sulking she didn't matter to him anymore. The project deadline was nearing and Tariq got a bit edgy thinking he might miss the submission.

To make matters worse, his relationship with Sahana hit a real low over the last few months. They did not talk as much as they used to do before. For many days she didn't text him all those sweet nothings late at night and say 'hi' to him in the morning in her flamboyantly cute way. Their conversation became centred mostly on corruption, music, hike in petrol price, movies and theatres, and availability of different cuisines in the top restaurants in the city.

One Sunday morning, Tariq got a call from home. His father told him in a peculiar tone that they had decided to forfeit the only property they had and were thinking about shifting to Niparan - Tariq's address for the previous two and half years. During the conversation, the other cellphone Tariq had started ringing. Sahana calling...

Tariq quickly put his dad's call on hold and picked up Sahana's call. In an agitated voice she told him she wanted to meet him right then. Tariq got a bit surprised because she normally didn't sound vexed, especially while talking over phone. Like Tariq, Sahana also believed that a person's body language speaks more than his/her words. She behaved almost like a kid whenever she was with Tariq or with any of her close pals. She was a chatterbox upfront - laughing for no reason and feeling down for no reason; playing pranks on her buddies all the time; never shy of mouthing a word of advice to them and nodding in a didn't-I-tell-you-before manner at being acknowledged. But there was a typical way with Sahana when she was physically absent - very soft, almost as if her voice rose from a melancholic depth of persuasion, resonating with a relentless conviction that she could cut open the mind of the person on the other end of the line. No wonder Tariq was bemused.

"Now? I still have a few chapters to run through and tomorrow I have to go to the university to submit the preliminary draft", he said calmly, gently reminding her that in the peak season the university authorities entertain student correspondences only on Tuesdays. "Hell with your draft! Can't you spend just half an hour to talk to me at the Fib's? So busy you are?", her pitch now began trembling in excitement, almost scaring Tariq. He was quick to say he would try but didn’t give a word of promise. “I want to know now boy, will you please give a proper answer?”, Sahana pleaded impatiently. “Okay coming in an hour”, Tariq hung up.

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Tariq arrived at the Fib's 10 minutes late and saw Sahana waiting there. Her body language was jittery, which gave Tariq the hint that the matter she wanted to discuss was serious. "Let's go inside and talk over a cup of coffee", he said as he lit up a cigarette.

"How many matchsticks are you burning these days, Tariq?" "Well, wasting about two boxes each day because I'm trying to make two-way matchguns using aluminium foil", Tariq chuckled. "And what is that?", Sahana asked for the sake of asking. There was something in her tone that made it obvious that she wasn't really looking for an answer.

"Now listen, sweetheart", the daddy's girl asserted while taking a quick sip of the cappuccino. "Dad has found a rich and handsome guy for me", she continued. "Found as your personal assistant?", Tariq waved at the waiter, indicating that he wanted a cheese burger. People at the Fib's knew them quite well and had a pretty good idea about what they savoured most. "Don't you make your silly jokes now", Sahana pouted.

"Go for that guy then. Who or what is stopping you from saying 'yes' to your dad's bargain?", Tariq morphed into a pragmatic bureaucrat, giving Sahana no scope for an explanation. He was looking straight at her eyes as long as their conversation lasted that evening.

Tariq wrote that night:


Sorry about my rude behaviour today. I didn't know how to react to your sudden announcement. I thought you just wanted to meet. Then what you said was unexpected and shocking. But I don't mind now. In a way it's good for you that you're going to settle at last. We couldn't talk much at the Fib's. I somehow felt uncomfortable there. What does your would-be do? Is he a literati, working with some publishing house headquartered in Paris? That kind of a guy would be perfect for you, mark my words! He can be as illogical as you want him to be and he can suffer your mood swings just as often as you can pump his fragile ego. It'd be a match made in heaven.

Don't think much about me. I'm happy with my friends here. Niparan itself has become a great friend of mine. Once I'm done with my current project, I'll keep myself busy with another circuitry; maybe I'll invent a device someday - something that would benefit all.

Write to me when you can. Don't hesitate to tell me if you need any help.


Just when he was about to connect to the internet to send the letter, Error 678 was the message he received. He couldn't text anything either because he deleted her number and all other related entries on his way home from the coffee shop.

And... he didn't expect to hear her voice ever again.


  1. very well written...waiting for the next part..curious to knw what sahana has to say:)

  2. Alka, thanks. The next part will appear soon. :)

  3. unfair to keep your readers waiting...

  4. Raindrop, chapters are in the making, will be posted soon :)

  5. I'm going to cuss right now. Apologies.

    Oh my fucking god.

    I'm writing something too, and how the fuck strange is it that Sahana is one of the characters in it. Wayyy too coincidental.

    Holy shit.

  6. Zeebs, I'll read your story and hopefully gonna finish mine too, someday.

    Coincidences are plenty, all around us. Listen to this Bob Dylan song.