He looked down at his faded tee. It seemed more stretched around the chest and stomach, certainly more since the day he wore it first for his college farewell celebrations, under a jacket he bought especially to go with it. The M and A of the rubber print were shedding off, like old plaster, leaving behind a -CHO.
He used to be that, or certainly imagine himself that. Seemed like a long time ago though, those days that were and time that was gone forever. The shirt, however, was yet to meet its threadbare fate. It was still worn under sweats and sweaters, not because it was worn out but because it was like second skin to him. Just like the idea of being macho was to his mind.
He was proud of his masculinity.
He was proud of his masculinity.
But marriage had changed him, and more than just his waistline. Days of gay abandon were over. The days when he would keep a comb in his back pocket, a few buttons undone, metal tacks on his belt and in his front pockets his two thumbs. The rest of the fingers dangled free. He enjoyed a swagger, and especially accented it when pretty girls he passed. Run fingers through the gel in the hair, and send over a side-ward glance. A half-a-smile too, maybe, but nothing too cheesy really. He had a busy social life. Very busy. Even on the farewell day, actually.
They had eaten the free food on offer, danced with their batch mates all evening, and retired in the girl’s green room behind the auditorium stage to mist up the glass windows. The thick curtains kept the squeals away from the ears surrounding them. Her sari he had to help drape back on, after he had dusted his shirt clean of confetti strewn around. The logical-next-steps of life had followed that youthful night. A night which they both whispered was ‘good’.
After 4 years of wedlock and a baby girl, he was with the woman he fell in love with on that last day of college.
Not much had changed between them. Why, they had a lovely angel at home to seal their love with a living evidence. But like the tee, he seemed to be fading in his own eyes. He was giving the roles of father and husband everything that he could. Even more, sometimes. But, for the last few times now, he felt he was failing her, disappointing her and not living up to his image rubber-printed in the message on the tee. Especially the last time, when he could not even hold on for three seconds. He had seen the watch. Exactly 3 seconds. He panted, perspired and that was it. And another letter seemed to powder off his tee. Leaving a half-beaten CHO behind.
So he broke a law. A home-made rule to be precise. His promise to share his worries and his vow to not hide, anything. Not do anything strange, or hidden from her eyes.
Home alone, with the wife away and his daughter at the grandparents’, he opened a bottle. Too ashamed to ask the chemist for instructions, he had quickly picked two of them and hurried home. He was 35. Thirty-five! Trying to walk briskly, almost running home with the brown packet tucked in his pocket. Held tightly with one hand, as if it was the last straw to get the M and A back to the CHO. The sweat and breathlessness reached home in time. But there was no spare time to lose. She will return soon. And she had her expectations of him, why not. So here he was now, staring at 2 pills lying side by side on his hand. They looked pretty, the pills. But like a couple sleeping facing away from each other. Without saying their ‘good’ nights. He wondered why the image popped in his head.
He stood still for a while, half expecting an explosion of sorts. Will his stomach churn and sends waves of electricity up his spine and down his legs? He looked down, and then at his feet, refusing eye contact with the CHO. Almost mumbling, 'macho macho'. His heart was certainly pumping with an excitement he did not understand. Like a little child’s, or a young lad’s, who could run the football field five times and lose not his breath. He moved his toes and then his fingers. Not much there. Perhaps, one is to wait a bit. No pill is an instant dose of magic is it? And this is a 35 year old body we speak about! Father to just a four year old but alas!
In she came with excited footsteps, filling up his married home with her angelic presence. He knew what she would want, soon as the hug was gone. She would demand it, almost like a schoolmarm. His mind raced with an anxiety about his performance. Three seconds, the last time. No more. At 35, that is all he could manage? The watch seemed to frown already. Come what may he will not disappoint her this time. The 2 pretty pills silently dissolving in his insides seemed to nod vigorously.
Up he heaved her and held her there as she squealed in delight, asking him to let go but wanting to remain. Higher, she screamed and let me fly, please. He, with the faded tee screaming against the out-stretched seams, could feel the end coming. Already. In his legs and in his arms. In the lower back too. Had it been more than 3 seconds? Oh, he had to let go now! He just had to! His body was wriggling to breathe and the tee looked glum with a big wet patch around the neck. And then he did let go.
Down she dropped. Giggling but happy. A little girl. A wow escaped his lips, and hers too he hoped. He tried to read her face for any signs of disappointment but could see none. He stood up straight and stretched his back with a moan and his arms in the air. His belly peeped out from under the tee and roused her curiosity. She suddenly exclaimed with glee, the ribbons on her plaits dancing with excitement – "Papa, you are a superman. I went zoom like an aeroplane. Oh now look at that, your belly button is so deep!"
He looked down again, not at the tee this time but the belly protesting to come out of it. Revital is not what he needed to be a fit-and-fitting father at 35. He needed to start jogging again. Exercise too, maybe. Tuck in that belly. Feel good, feel young and even feel his dearly-held version of macho.
His favourite tee smiled, as if in agreement. The M and A should be back soon.
[Written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was Breaking the Law - Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?]
Loved this foray of yours into 'naughty fiction' (at least that's what I call this genre. which leads people down one path and sneakily ends up taking us to a completely different destination). And here you were wondering if you would be able to do justice to fictional posts. This one was 'hit out of the park' (in baseball terms) or a 'DLF Maximum' (in IPL terms) or simply put 'a stupendous sixer where the ball was hit so high that an air hostess actually kissed it' (in Sidhuisms).ReplyDelete
Truly loved this post, yet again, you weaved poetry with your 'naughty words' and led us all (or at least me) to believe that the story was headed in one direction when it was headed down a tangential path :D
You just coined a new genre, all thanks to Revital ... err .. me. :D Love all your metaphors. Thank you!Delete
What a debut! Loved this Sakshi...I knew this was leading somewhere...and it did to the Revital pills :PReplyDelete
Thanks, Janaki. So happy you liked it. :)Delete
Ha ha, great writing!!! Really enjoyed it :)ReplyDelete
First of all, congratulations for making your mark on yet another "genre" of writing, one that you hadn't attempted before. It's impressively written and indeed a poetry of words. A good debut. I especially liked the fact that you've nicely weaved the story to almost lead the reader down a "tangential" path (as Jairam put it). I think many-a-writer who until now believe fiction to be their safe-haven, where they'd not have to "compete" (ok, I was looking for another word, but you know me, I have trouble with words :P) with you, will now be trembling in their pyjamas. Wake up and look people, the master (or rather mistress, but mistress has so many connotations that I'd rather use master) of the blogging world, Sakshi Nanda, has truly arrived !ReplyDelete
Thank you, Mr. Writer, for those encouraging words. I don't know about any other pairs of knees knocking, and I sure hope yours aren't either. This is your territory, as you told me once. :DDelete
Thanks for liking it! :)
Nice one Sakshi..really enjoyed it :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you for reading, Maniparna. :)Delete
Wow....my mind was racing on two directions. ...but you smartly outsmarted this reader. Totally unpredictable and so cool. Or should I say macho? :-)ReplyDelete
Racing in* two directions ....typo :-(Delete
Glad you could not predict the end. Mission successful, Ghata.Delete
Thanks a lot. :)
Sakshi a brilliant scintillating debut!! Loved it... :DReplyDelete
Thanks, Aditi. You are always generous with praise. :)Delete
Haha this was good :) Reading your blog for quite sometime now, I expected some kind of twist in the end :) But it was damn good!ReplyDelete
So you know I am a 'twisted' kind of writer, Prasanna? ;) Good! :DDelete
Thanks for liking it.
Such a cute little story! Great build up and a thoroughly enjoyable denouement!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Rickie. :)Delete
Intelligent writing. This reminds me of another fiction you had penned which had a surprising twist towards the end. ( where parents go out for dinner with their son)ReplyDelete
So happy you call that fiction. Hardly anyone believed me when I said that wasn't me. :DDelete
Thanks for reading, Alka. This is a pure fiction piece. The rest, well, have had some autobiographical moments thrown in. :D
This is your first story?! In that case I can only say that you have a natural flair for it. I wish my first had been half as good as this. 'Off to a flying start' just about covers it neatly. It'll be interesting to watch your future flights. I've always had a weakness for astronomy.ReplyDelete
I may take you very seriously and start penning fictitious gibberish, Dagny darling.Delete
I would love to read your first. I am sure I know already what it must have been. I am flying, but you know how well-equipped I am for pins now. :D
Hahahahaha, what a twist! I had my mouth open in anticipation as my eyes raced down the lines. I did not expect the Revital twist ROFLReplyDelete
I look forward to your comments. They are my best eggers-on, if that's a word.Delete
That mouth-opnn-ness sounds like I did fine! :D
Yes, of course, the Revital part lifted the story from descending into predictable naughtiness :-P. Nice attempt, Sakshi! Like Alka said, somewhere reading this story reminded me of your previous dinner date writeup and an article I read in the TOI yesterday about slim-fit shirts :). When is the next part of that partition story coming, the girl one btw?ReplyDelete
An article on slim-fit shirts? I must see. I always knew 'The Hindu' is not the paper for me. :P Yet to write that one, Rachna. Will soon.Delete
Dinner Date was not entirely fiction, and you were the only one to have guessed that. Although, I never drink to get drunk, never. :D
Me too, never drink to get drunk but love to observe those who get drunk and make an ass of themselves :D!Delete
Like the new look of the blog! Font is way better and love the neat, refreshing feel to it now. Next, go get custom domain :).ReplyDelete
Thank you. Still changing a wee bit every time I visit my blog. But should be finalised soon. I do have a custom domain in my name. Have to sync it, or whatever they do with it, to get it in place. :)Delete
Let me sum it up in 3 words " A macho Debut" .ReplyDelete
Haha, witty Namrota! :DDelete
Really wonderful! Liked the crisp and humorous narration.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Beloo. Good to see you around regularly now. :)Delete
I doubt anybody would believe it if you were to tell them that this was your first attempt at Fiction.As always very well written :)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Seeta. Well, it was. And truth be told, it took courage to press 'publish'. However, happy with the feedback such as yours. :)Delete
deja voux :) you nailed itReplyDelete
ha ha :D lovely and cute story. Loved the climax.ReplyDelete
Thank you for reading! :)Delete
Amazing! Cheating! But noteworthy nonetheless!ReplyDelete
Smart one, Brendan. Yes, I cheated you out of your dreams. :DDelete
'Noteworthy' is a good word though. :)
Loved you "naughty fiction" as Jairam has mentioned.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Kalpana. Glad you enjoyed it. :)Delete
Naughty naughty girl, Sakshi..I can imagine a paler version of Salman Khan..lolzReplyDelete
:) Thanks for reading, Vishal. :DDelete
hehehe the ending is extremely cute!!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Red handed. :DDelete
Haha.. :D. you are one naughty woman ;)ReplyDelete
I wonder why you say that? :ODelete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Omg .. where it lead to...a fabulous story .... At first it reminded me of an article about only slim fit shirt published in toi.. loved reading it Sakshi ...ReplyDelete
Oh and I love the clean and fresh look of the blog..ReplyDelete
Thanks a lot for that. Still experimenting.Delete
very good read!ReplyDelete
aaha !!! Jairam has said it for all of us :D naughty fiction :D That was actually tantalisingly revitalising, if I should be permitted to say that.... smashing , Sakshi !ReplyDelete
You are permitted to say anything, especially if it sounds like those lovely adjectives in your comment. :)Delete
Thanks, Sreeja. :)
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