Its always easier to write about sad things and its damn difficult to write about the good things in life. This has been my experience. The only explanation for this is maybe because the good event that has happened is lying in front of everyone to see. And somehow visual pleasure is much better than words. Words have an incapability of doing justice to happy events. This is about what I think as a writer and I in no way intend other writers to agree with me.
This is the reason why you will find the preamble interesting as it has some sad events of my own life and I am that kind of a person who can laugh on my own weaknesses.
However for me the second most difficult thing to write is a short story.
This story took me about one and a half month to write and I am still not sure about the product that has evolved.
My excuse for the same is that the character was very strong and the ideas I wanted to convey through it equally strong. Also as an interesting thing was that I was completely lost many a times during writing this story.
But again my excuse will fail completely as some may realize that the character is inspired by a true life character. A little fiction, in fact a lot of fiction was involved but that was more in the story telling part rather than the character sketch. I am too poor to offer royalty to the character I have used but if it does sue me, I will have no option but to pay up !
I had been on a short trip to a holy place called Nathdwara in Rajasthan with my parents. That is where I decided to write the last 3 lines of my story. The title of the story is because of two reasons
1)The ONE main character pushes the story from the start to the end.
2) I type this story with just ONE hand, as I met with an accident this morning which almost crushed my left elbow, thankfully it got only slightly cracked.
I hope you read the story to the end. In fact if you get this far, my kind request to comment on the same because this is the first time I am writing a story. The comments could be highly critical. I promise to improve upon my errors and deliver better the next time round. Also no comments will be edited on this blog.
I hope this introduction does not become longer than the story. So I stop here.
Ruskin Bond is a master at writing short stories and he has got a style every short story writer would love to imitate. My salutes to him before ending or should I say before starting.
“Help”, she screamed. ”Help, somebody”, she shouted a little loudly. She leaped from near about the window where she was standing to the sofa, her favorite spot in the house. She picked up her mobile phone, her most precious possession these days and her small little soft fingers dialed the numbers they were most accustomed to these days. ”Trust”, she shouted on the phone. “Help, there is a lizard in the house” she continued still shrieking. Trust, his newest friend wanted to laugh but he did not dare, because he realized the gravity of the situation. Lizards were just one of the few things she was frightened of. Trust with a giggle on his face but not in his voice replied in the calmest tone possible “ Relax and call up the maid Jelly”. “Do not be a fool Trust, there is no maid around and you know it, did I not tell you Bai is on leave and its 11.30 P.M” ? “Sorry ,in that case, just pick up a stick and tap the floor near the lizard at a place opposite to where you want it to go. And I am sure that place is out of the window.” he said. Trust was sure she would not do it. So he added on a lighter note “By the way do you know Jelly how terrified the lizard would be when she saw you ? We are afraid of the lizards because they look weird and have a weird tail and crawl on four legs, but don’t you think the lizard would be terrorized to death after seeing a wicked ugly looking monster walking on two legs with weed like black stuff growing on her head that also shrieked with a frightening voice ?”
This was not at all true because Jelly looked extremely beautiful and Trust knew this too. In fact the one thing Trust liked most about her was her hair and her voice even if she was screaming but he did prefer it when she just whispered or when she talked.
Jelly chuckled this time round but not liking the idea of she being called a monster said “Well said Trust but I pity the lizard that would come to visit your house and specially to visit you, hehe” and she continued giggling. Trust chuckled too and responded, “Now you know my secret of killing lizards, you don’t even need to kill them, they just die”. Both of them burst out laughing. This calmed out Jelly but the true fear subsided only after she saw the lizard moving out of the window.
She was in her final year of her graduation during this episode and she was studying late at night for her final exams. Jelly had decided to take an unconventional career, something most people don’t take up as it is not so respected by the society.
It was already midnight and after speaking to Trust on the phone, she kept the phone down immediately. She would do so because she had this weird habit of saying things when she was about to fall asleep, things that she believed made no sense. As soon as she realized she was about to blabber she kept the phone down and slept on the sofa itself. And she started dreaming.
Jelly like most other girls on this planet loved to dream. She dreamt of chocolate and she dreamt of monsters and fire. She dreamt of things she loved and she dreamt of things she feared. She dreamt of her favorite color pink and she dreamt of a complete pink world around her. A pink wall, a pink phone, a pink chair etc…
Little did she know that dreams are always prelude to a destiny and that a dream would soon change her life.
She loved to narrate her dreams to others, she described her dreams to Cielo. Cielo was her closest friend, her sister, her other half, the inseparable half to be precise. Occasionally she would also narrate her dreams to Trust who would listen to them most carefully.
Jelly would get excited with a beautiful dream and extremely terrorized by a bad one. Everybody does but very few actually express them. And she did.
This time round she dreamt herself to be outside a huge gate locked from inside. She saw a couple of people sitting and listening to someone sitting on a nearby bench.
She could hear a voice talking but failed to see who was talking as it was a distorted figure. She tried rubbing her eyes but that would not help. It still looked pretty much distorted as if she was seeing the figure through an opaque glass. But she could hear his voice clearly. The voice had uttermost clarity of words, it had patience embedded and confidence was oozing out of the words. It was as if you wanted to believe what it said and more than anything, the voice inspired trust. In short the voice sounded divine and nobody wanted to doubt what it said. Such was the power of the voice. Only good music could second the aural feeling that the voice spread.
The voice said “Jelly was about the most expressive girls you could ever meet in a lifetime.”
Jelly was shocked to hear her name but nevertheless she continued listening.
“She is a born paradox, the epitome of opposites. She is small in stature and still rises much higher above others. Jelly is her name, but she is an extremely tough nut to crack, she wont give up. And she is damn expressive when it comes to real life situations but she many a times fails to express her true inner strengths.
Everything about her has an aura.
The one thing she wanted to do in her life was to earn lots of money. And the most striking part about her personality was and is that she is prepared to call herself selfish, something many just cant accept.
Being selfish without bringing others down is the biggest favor to humanity. It is an act of altruism. A superior human race will not be formed of countless selfless people but of innumerable selfish people who are not afraid to dream and to realize those dreams.
There are 2 ways of reaching the top and realizing your dreams. One is to push yourself up and the other is to push others down. Both will keep you at the top. The earlier way will let you be at the absolute top but the latter will just get you relatively higher. We must believe in being better than the best and not just better than the rest. And that is what Jelly believed.”
The disciples kept on nodding their heads and Jelly was keenly listening, still trying to figure out who was speaking with such wisdom. She would have loved to meet such a person in her life. He could have guided her. And she would have never failed at all.
The voice continued “ But she had one weakness, and that was she had too many strengths. The biggest misconception among humans is an ordinary person cannot have infinite strengths or a person of infinite strengths would no longer be called ordinary .“ The number of strengths and weaknesses do not separate the extra ordinary from the ordinary. What separates them from the ordinary is how many of these strengths are realized in their life times. And to realize these strengths, one has to walk the path less treaded, the path ordinary people neglect or fear. Jelly decided to walk such a path too. Once these people reach the end of such a path , a strength is realized and then they move on to their dream.
One dream that we always wanted to come true but thought it never would is actually nothing but a culmination of all of our strengths.
Humans are often taught that ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ .” The voice stressed theses words. And it had the desired effect on Jelly and the disciples. They eagerly wanted to hear what came next. It said
“There is nothing called perfect, it is in search of perfection that most ordinary people get lost.”
He continued “ Being happy does not mean everything is perfect, it just means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections”.
A silence came next. Everyone was trying to digest what the voice said. All of them including Jelly stared feeling so much perfect and happier than they ever did.
At this point Jelly felt a tear in her eye. She did not wipe it off. She could not understand why it originated. She could hardly believe what she heard. She wondered
if the divine voice actually spoke about her, Jelly the dreamer. She wanted to believe that The Jelly she was hearing about was some one else but she was convinced she was the one in the spotlight.
The tear flowed down her cheek when she thought about how she was ridiculed by most, even by some of her closest ones for taking up a career that was less chosen, a career she thought would get her what she wanted. She though of how the society relates winners to their field of study and not their capabilities. She realized how naïve the people had been and how stupid she herself had been to even considered to believing those naïve ideas. This dream was turning out to be the most energetic dreams she had ever witnessed. There was no pink in it but it was still so beautiful, there was no prince to love but it was so romantic, she had found a new love, herself.
And she was no longer afraid to say she had an ego. She loved herself and she knew that there is nothing wrong about it. She closed her eyes, she thought of all the money that she wanted to earn, she thought of the management college she wanted to study in, she thought about the six figure salary she wanted to earn in a top level investment banking firm, she thought about the man she wanted to love. The dreams which appeared at the horizon now shot in front of her eyes. All she needed to do was to extend her hand.
She was about to climb the gates and thank the divine voice when a phone call woke up her dream.
“Hello dear”, said trust, “you were supposed to call me at 7. Remember we have to attend the meeting”
Jelly struggled to wake up. She stretched her arms, yawned, cleared her throat and then started thinking what is going on. This was her routine. She is in a ‘woken up’ state only after this routine.
Then she says “Hello trust, what meeting ?”
Trust giggled and sounded slightly urgent. ”Jelly, if we do not leave in an hour and do not manage to sell the IBM bonds to HSBC Global, we will have no jobs and no one to pay for our marathon talks on the phone like last night.” Then he figured out he had a chance to embarrass her. So he said “ Jelly, do you have any idea what you were talking about last night”. She had a slight idea, but she replied “No”.
“Jelly, remember yesterday we were talking about how you were frightened by a lizard and called me up 4 years back. Your parents were out and you were studying Economics for your final exams?” You were telling me how petrified you were then. You were damn sleepy yesterday. So I had to take advantage of it. So I popped up the question, I always wanted to ask. I asked you that in spite of being ridiculed by most people around you for your career choice and still how did you land up in a top job at DSP Meryl Lynch ? And trust me the answer was mind boggling. You told me what you believe“. Trust had a habit of speaking too much. He continued “Anyways, I will pick you up in about one hour. I will let you know what all you talked about. I am sure you will love to hear it.”
Jelly was shocked and could not speak. She pretty much knew what she talked and she realized what that divine voice was. The only voice that is so divine is our inner voice. She knew when the brains do not connect, the true inner voice speaks. She knew why she was so successful. She heard her inner voice more than others did. She thought about a thousand excuses how to avoid this topic when Trust would bring up this topic for discussion. Then she looked at the phone she was talking on. It was the pink Moto Razr she had always wanted. She continued being in that excited happy state until it dawned upon her how the IBM bonds could break or make her career that she shouted ‘Breakfast Mom’.
My After thoughts……
The only thing I would like to mention here is the basis of my selection of names of the 3 characters.
Cielo means heaven in Spanish….Cielo was truly her heaven. She was her best friend.
Trust because of the relationship between Trust and Jelly. They seemed best friends, pals, sometimes both of them also thought about each other as their life partners. But their relationship was fundamentally built on a single entity called Trust.
And Jelly to highlight her paradoxical existence as mentioned in the story above.
So the names. That’s about it.
My single hand has done a lot of typing for the day. Good bye.