Story of a lost journalist

October 17, 2013

Short Story: Love Me

Filed under: Fiction — Cris @ 10:42

It is raining again this night. My driver has started whistling ‘Pyar hua’. I wonder if it is ‘cause of the rain. Or if he just wants to keep awake. But I like it anyway. He whistles better than he sings. Sometimes in our night trips, he would sing aloud the old songs of Jayachandran or Kishore Kumar. I think about asking him how he learnt so many songs, who taught him? Did he have a mother who used to sing to him or a radio he switched on every morning? But I am afraid to break the silence that we have formed over years of travelling together in the nights. There’s not even a customary hello-sir, or ready-to-go-sir. Never an ok-then, from my side. I wait every time at the parking lot outside Venu’s flat. My brother Venu..

Six years ago he takes us to live with him – me and her. The same night, he introduces me to the gray-haired man who drives an old ambassador. No hand shake, no nods. He does not speak as he sees the dry tears in my eyes. Venu tells me to go to work and goes in with her. I watch, as she looks at me with the eyes of another. He honks, it’s time to go. The same way he does today. Everyday. He comes exactly at eight minutes to 11 and honks once just to alert me. For often he has found me lost in thoughts and immobile. The honk wakes me up and I jump. Every time, still. And walk briskly to the front door, keep my boring black suitcase there and climb behind. I hate the driver-rider screening it brings but I have always liked a single room to return to, at the end of everything, everyday.

She doesn’t understand that. She tries everything, from pleading pouts to throwing tantrums. I sometimes relent. Just to see her winning smile. Just to tell her there’s something about never giving up. And just out of sheer love. I smile now, thinking. It is the only time I can use that word, when I use it for her. Love. I call her so, ever since I first saw her. She doesn’t understand at first, she just stares with her big brown eyes and looks away uninterested. But one day she answers my call. She comes running to wherever I am. Jumps on my lap and asks me if I called her. I put my name at the end of hers. Just so it reads love me.

‘Beep’. It’s her. That’s the third message this night. She misses me. And wants me to come back. How much I would love to, she doesn’t know. I do not reply. She would know then I am awake and call me. Keep calling me till I agree to drop it all and come back. I turn to my driver to divert my attention. He is singing Meri Sapnom Ki Rani. What timing, this man has got. It’s like all that silence we built together has told us everything about each other. If I want him to stop I just need to raise my head a little, he would somehow catch it in his rearview mirror. Several nights, I sleep like a log and he would honk to wake me up when we reach. Tonight, he doesn’t honk. He touches me, shakes me awake. I look surprised, I look betrayed. Our code is broken. He offers me his phone. “It is for you,” the first four words after six years together. I take the call. It is her. She has found his number. “Love, you know I can’t come back,” I say.

She wails, cries until Venu’s voice blackmails her. He would disconnect, he says. I can see her little face crumbling in fear, she’s got her mother’s eyes. “My dear, go to sleep now. Daddy will be back when you wake up,” I tell her. A new request comes to me. Sing to her. I look at my driver. He sings Omanathingal kidavo. After a few seconds I hear silence at the other end. Venu tells me she has slept in his arms. I tell my brother goodnight and look at my driver. He has turned to the steering. I raise my head a little. He stops the car, looks at me and turns it around. It is raining still, it must be raining at home.

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6 Comments »

  1. for someone who adores short stories this one is a treat…the emotional tug of war of a father for his daughter is well expressed.i used to think u’ve got to experience all the situations to write about it but i guess it’s the keen observations which let’s u express it so well…good read

    Comment by bluebee24 — October 17, 2013 @ 23:11 | Reply

    • Thanks a lot bluebee, I was afraid if it ended up a little vague. Glad you liked it 🙂

      Comment by Cris — October 18, 2013 @ 01:43 | Reply

  2. Loved it .:) Subtle and powerful ..

    Comment by Aneesh — October 18, 2013 @ 21:40 | Reply

    • Thank ye Pukku :-).

      Comment by Cris — October 18, 2013 @ 23:43 | Reply

  3. Beautiful story..Very touching and dripping with emotions.. Thank you for sharing it..:)

    Comment by mangaladilip — May 11, 2014 @ 18:47 | Reply

    • Thank you so much mangaladilip :-).

      Comment by Cris — May 13, 2014 @ 13:49 | Reply


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