Escape to Victory


The ringing sound of the alarm clock woke him up. He glanced at the time. It was 6. He resisted the urge to curl back into bed. He did not have a moment to lose. He had exactly thirty minutes to get ready. He jumped up from his bed and fumbled on the window sill for his toothpaste and toothbrush. He opened the door and was greeted by the harsh rays of the sun. The black little dog ran up to him barking excitedly. He ignored her and took steady steps towards the bathroom. As he brushed his teeth, a face with four day stubble peered at him from the mirror. He remembered how his boss used to comment whenever he came to office unshaven. 

But he no longer had to bother about bosses’ preferences anymore for he was now a student again.  As he walked back to his room, she again came running up to him, wagging her tail as if she wanted to set some record for maximum number of wags per second. But he again ignored her and walked up to his room. He reached out to the bottle of water at the corner of the table. It was empty. It was too early to order a new bottle. He would pick up a bottle on the way. He opened the large steel bureau and looked for a pair of clothes. He grabbed the first shirt and pants that were within reach. He had never understood the concept of matching clothes. Who made these rules of what color went with what, he mused as he picked up a set of undergarments and a towel to walk again towards the bathroom.

By now she had given up on him and settled down in her little cardboard box under the printer. She looked at him from a corner of her eyes as he locked the door of his room. As he opened the tap and waited for the bucket to fill, he caught the strong stench of urea. He found the cold water soothing and the sandalwood fragrance of the soap made his mind calm and serene. He felt like he was floating on the clouds as he walked back to the room. His reverie was disturbed by the screech of the chair leg against the floor from the next room. He quickly entered his room, left the bucket under the table and the soap box on the window sill, once again locked the room and was on his way.

He covered his nose with a handkerchief as the sweepers were raising a lot of dust. By the time he reached the gate, the smell of sweat threatened to overcome the sandalwood smell. He walked up to the line of autos and spoke up to the driver of the first one in his hesitant Hindi, “Will you come to Gandhi Ashram?
The driver, a large man with a bald head a bushy mustache surveyed him for few moments and said, “200 Rs, Sir

His face clouded for a moment and he looked around. Not too many vehicles were plying on the road . He took out his wallet from his back pocket and examined the contents. He then kept his wallet back and turned his eyes towards the next auto driver in the line. The first guy spoke up again, “Ok, Sir. 180 Rs.  Last and final rate for you! Hop on.

He paused for a moment and got into the auto. He sighed a breath of relief as the auto got onto the street. He had made his escape. He look at his watch. It was exactly 7.00. He had made it just on time. “Happy Holi,” he told himself. His friends had come knocking at his door this very hour the previous year. He had grown wiser this year. 

32 comments:

medha kapoor said...

Hah! That was a good buildup!

The Fool said...

Thanks Medha - I was actually attempting the 'show not tell'. It does not come too well for me yet in fiction. So thought I would practice on my blog - Someone had mentioned about taking a small even from your life and describing it in detail, which is what I tried.

subhorup dasgupta said...

Very, very beautiful. Love the threads.

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Subho. As I mentioned in my reply to earlier comment, this is something new I am attempting.

indu chhibber said...

You described it in a very interesting manner.I was wondering all the time,what this was leading to.
And the last line,the escape-we too had been doing it for many years.

The Fool said...

Thanks, Indu. For me it has never been a problem at home - only when I am in college hostel.

Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Hmm! Well essayed, buddy! In Delhi for me it was the other way round. Stayed locked in my home :)

The Fool said...

Thanks, Suresh. That was not an option for me. Colored water would come in from under the door and through the ventilator at the top. The door would take continuous battering for 30 minutes or so and might even give way if not too strong.

Apala Sengupta said...

I loved the imagery.. So vivid! The build up really worked well... Loved it thoroughly.

jaish_vats said...

I agree, nice build up there :)

The Fool said...

Thanks a lot, Apala. I am glad it worked. Generally I tend to be a nigger picture guy who quickly glosses over details. I am trying to now deliberately focus on details.

The Fool said...

Thanks Jayashree.

Maliny, said...

Loved the narration. It takes a lot of imagination to come up with good detailing and i admire such works. I would rather prefer reading a fiction with less number of conversations to one stuffed with dialogues. Such books make history too. I hope these attempts come to your aid in the long run :)

Deepa said...

LOL, you're so funny! Nice buildup - saw a lot of the TF style in there! Happy Holi - a different take on Holi than the usual colour related stuff, never thought about Holi this way! :)

Rickie said...

Hehheh...ok, so now I believe you when you said that you really didn't like this festival! Nicely done!

The Fool said...

Thanks Maliny. I am generally not very good at detailing. SO trying to get some practice here. Guess one needs balance between dialogue and narrative.

The Fool said...

Thanks Deepa. Glad this worked. Was fearing I am not getting this narrative style.

The Fool said...

Thanks Rickie. Its a real pain to wash the color off the face later and I have a tendency to catch cold also.

asteria's canvass said...

happy holi to u 2..havent played holi since 10th standard n loving it..

The Fool said...

Same to you, Ratika. I have played Holi only 2 times in life - first year in engineering and fist year in MBA. After that i grew too wise.

umashankar said...

That was one determined, vividly detailed narration ending in the escape. It is complete in itself and can fit in a larger scheme as well.

The Fool said...

Thanks umashankar.

Rachna said...

Sometimes, locking up or not opening the door works well too :). But in the North, it might not. Good escape and nicely narrated.

The Fool said...

Thanks Rachna. Locking doors - maybe in homes. Not in college campuses.

Diwakar Narayan said...

Liked the advancement here TF. For me, I would be in the group knocking at your door in Holi :)

The Fool said...

Thanks Diwakar. You indeed do appear that kind of a person.

Pratik Mohapatra said...

Nice build-up. Cud hv made it more high-pitched. The ending kind of subdued the build-up. :) but hope you had a good Holi festival this time.

The Fool said...

Thanks Pratik. Holi was fun which in other words means like any other day. Not too foind of getting wet and colors and all that.

Gayathri said...

This reminded me of the opening of dexter (series) and I was expecting some killing in the end! :( Good one :D nice twist there.

T F Carthick said...

Thanks Gayathri. Haven't seen Dexter. Ha Ha! Killing? This is my real life story. I am sure you wouldn't bee too excited to have me in your friends list.

Ramesh Grandhi said...

Building up to something worth waiting to read for.

nileshginamdar said...

Ha ha ha. Even I hate colour being thrown upon me. When I was in India, Holi was a horror. Thankfully I now live in Abu Dhabi where there's no holi.

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