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Sanity not Guaranteed

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One Time Affair

This post is in response to “Weekly Writing Challenge: the Difference Point of View Makes”.

“How long has it been since I heard my heart pounding?” Arun asked himself. The events that led to this evening had passed quickly. This was immoral, unethical and certainly capable of costing him a lot of money if caught. In the battle between right and wrong in his mind, the excitement of venturing into something dangerous trumped the thoughts of repercussions in the future.

It was a beautiful room. He knew people at the hotel. His business associates were put up here and that made him a privileged guest at the club class floor. Not all guests were welcomed with a bottle of champagne waiting at in the room when you checked in. He ran the back of his palm over the bottle.

She arrived some time later. He had thought this through. There would not be much talking. Talking screws things up. He knew this with past experiences. Of course, those happened almost 20 years back. When he did not have this hint of a belly. When he did not have a wedding ring on his finger.

After the initial hesitation, they got to business. Not that he did not enjoy the resistance. In fact, it turned him on even more. But the feeling of being inside another woman, feeling the most intimate parts of her body, touching her, groping her like she belonged to him made him ecstatic.

Today he redeemed himself. His manhood. No one would need to know about this. It was a one time affair. Something he needed to get out of himself, for a long time.

 ***

Priya stared at door of room 512. She needed that promotion. And the pay hike was the only thing between her and that flat at Carter Road. Life had been good to her. A brilliant academic record and her stellar performance in the past four years at work would surely pave her way to the boardroom.

Then why was she acting as if giving in to Arun’s idea of sleeping together was the only way to get up the ladder? Was she actually falling in love with him? The lack of logic in this hypothesis drove her crazy. He was way older than her, married with two children, or was it three? He would never leave his family for her. Her parents would never accept this union. They would be devastated. And did she want to marry him in the first place?

She suddenly felt a gush of air in the windowless corridor. She shook herself off her thoughts. It must have been a good five minutes she was standing in front of the door debating her actions. “Arun promised it is a one time thing only.” She told herself in an assuring tone.

Knock…  knock

It was not easy. She had done it only once before, in business school. That experience was dreamlike. She was in love. This was different. She was trying to figure out what the sensation inside her was. Love, lust, infatuation or some other word she was not aware of, hidden in the dictionary.

He was swift in taking off her clothes. And his. She did not like the feeling of the bright lights magnifying the fallacies of their bodies. But it never works completely in your favour, does it? She enjoyed him caressing her. Playing like a toddler who has just been bought a shiny new toy. The champagne helped too.

Sex numbs your mind. Two naked bodies pressing against each other, moving in a co-ordinated motion. Hormones jumping around like fireworks in Diwali. There would be repercussions. She knew it. She could have not gotten into this. But she chose to. All she could do now is close her eyes and enjoy the feeling grow over her body.

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W-O-R-K

WORK YOUR BODY.

RUN.

Start slow. Pick up speed to run faster than you think you can.

Feel the sweat oozing out of pores you never knew existed on your body.

Sense yourself becoming lighter, faster, in tune with the environment.

STRETCH.

Break the shackles of sitting while staring at a screen, sitting while traveling, sitting while relieving yourself.

Your hamstrings, your back, your abs- they can move in magnificent ways. Stretch them. It may hurt, but you will get used to it.

And then feel free.

LIFT.

Lift weights. Build muscle mass.

Stare at yourself naked in front of the mirror after the workout.

Look powerful. Feel powerful.

DANCE.

Learn to dance.

Learn to follow simple rules of movement.

Learn to be graceful.

WORK YOUR MIND.

READ.

Pick up a book. Any book. Now read it. Till the end.

Pick up another book. Of a completely different genre. Read it till the end.

Read newspapers, magazines, articles on the internet.

Never stop reading.

SOLVE.

Learn math and logic. Try making daily calculations like the change at a grocery store without using a calculator.

Find out the analytical side to the field that interests you. The most intriguing questions are always answered not in words, but in numbers and logic.

DREAM.

Be anti-meditative. When you are not doing anything, throw yourself into the recesses of your mind.

You will be surprised what you will find there.

The Time Warped Artist

It was a brilliant day for driving. About 7 pm on a Sunday, the typical slow moving traffic in suburban Bombay had given way to almost empty streets. Not desolated though. I have never seen the roads completely deserted here. Probably just once, somewhere around this time last year when an important political figure had died, of old age.

After the obligatory checking of our car’s boot for explosives, we swerved in front of the entrance of ITC Grand Maratha Hotel. Once in, the familiar aroma and décor made me feel completely at home. It was only during early childhood days, when my senses were learning to see, feel and comprehend my surroundings, that the contrasting nature of this city would hit me. Potholed roads, urchins feeding on unpalatable looking gooey stuff cooked right on the pavements, and then suddenly entering barricaded edifices to be entertained by the most hospitable bunch of people. This stark difference does not register in my 20 something brain anymore.

Once in the restaurant and seated on our designated table for the evening, the usual drill commenced- sifting through the menu, ordering drinks and appetizers and making small talk. I was now well into my comfort zone and oblivious to the world I had left behind those armored gates, when I noticed him. He was wearing a black suit, a dark striped tie and a Canon film camera strap around his neck. His palms were facing upwards, holding the photographic contraption as a baby.

His appearance hadn’t changed much through the years. His curled hair still black on his dark, mustached face and stout frame. I had noticed him on most of my visits to the hotel, always looking the same, carrying his camera and watching with those deep eyes. The eyes were not questioning, they simply analyzed if the subject in front of him is a suitable candidate to be offered a printed memorabilia of the evening. After all, the pricey dinner is an event in itself for many, worth capturing in the stillness of a frame, albeit for even more money being shelled out from one’s pocket.

But then we know what happened. Cameras inside our phones. No more film. No more shelling out money to see every picture we take. #dinnerWithPals #Party #YOLO. This is what happened.

Those eyes, those prodding eyes which I suppose are good at what they’ve been trained to do through the years- identify prospective posers on dinner tables, do those eyes know what conspired through the years? That selfies and Instagram changed the dynamics of the photography industry? Maybe they do. But it does not seem to have an effect on this man’s life.

Why is he still here, doing what he started off doing somewhere in the 80’s? Why doesn’t he train his eyes now to look for other business opportunities? Could it be possible that within these beautifully designed walls, lit by auburn chandeliers, this man never became a slave to time like the rest of us? That he would never grow old, that he would do exactly what he decided to do decades back for as long as he pleases, simply because change with time does not affect him?

But is such a thing even possible? It is the city of dreams, so technically yes, it could be. But then…

I wonder what his house would be like. Would it be a small room with a gramophone, negatives of the innumerable pictures he must have taken – pretty starlets, soggy old businessmen, unknown faces who somehow found his fancy and were clicked without their knowledge?

No. I do not want to imagine him stepping out of this hotel, through those potholed streets, past the appalling sights of the urchins. Artists do not react too well to poverty. His home is this hotel, where time has no effect on him.