Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Storm

It was a night of insanity...a night of anticipation. The storm that was approaching the land was softly unburdening its heavy dark clouds with a monotonous cry of agony. The water pouring down from the clouds fell straight down on the earth, as if their path was marked by a ruler. The air was heavy and absolutely still with not even a whisper of wind to tempt the rain to deviate from their narrow straight path or stir the leaves of the wet trees

The street was completely deserted. The road –a shiny black slick stretch of tar –stretched sinuously. The raindrops that fell on this deceptively smooth surface were given no opportunity to burst into tiny spray. They were just falling down and flowing into the drains, like water from an open tap. The occasional vehicles which glide through the street even in the wee hours were now absent. The looming trees were soaked black monstrosities, with water dripping down their branches. The entire scene, which was bathed in the gloomy golden light of the sodium vapour street lamps, was like a picture taken sometime somewhere in monsoon, with only the steady motion of the rain noisily proclaiming that the scene is being witnessed by a living, breathing human life.

The damp chill sensuously caressed the body of the silent witness of the impending storm. Her eyes were seeing this sight unseen through a window frame –the frame perfectly limiting the breadth of the vision. The view, that was framed by the solid brown wooden frame and marred by rigid black iron grills, comprised of a 2 storied flat right in front, a small box shop flanking its right and a house enclosed by a high walled compound in the left. The road was a still, black, shiny stream between the window and the other side.

She lifted a hand and gripped the grill –the chillness imbibed by the iron sending a jolt down her system. Craving for more, she pressed her cheek against it and savoured the anticipated coolness. Beyond her was the room –the bed rumpled in a fight with sleep. Her body was warm from the cocoon of blanket she had climbed out from. The restlessness, as against the content cozy feeling that the mind and body craves for in weather such as this, was the reason that sleep eluded her at this unholy hour of 2 am.

Her mind was blank...hovering on the grey area before sleep engulfs you. Like a flash of impulsive desire that a child gets on seeing a candy, the idea to don a coat and walk into the wet stillness that was just beyond her grasp struck her out of the blue. She smiled dreamily and whispered “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” The desire soon snowballed into a yearning so powerful she felt as if she was choking with the need to go out. The idea made her feel reckless, brave, adventurous and wild –all that she was not in her life. “It is just a simple matter of opening the door and stepping out” she felt. But was it really that simple? Her mind warred with the unacknowledged fear of the unknown waiting for her beyond the door.

She gave herself a small shake –an attempt to get rid of the urge. She ground her teeth and reminded herself that stepping out of the house in the middle of the night without any valid purpose... that too in a storm, was not something sane people do. “But then, what is the definition of sanity?” she felt her mind asking. “Is it simply confined to doing things that people and the society expect you to do and not doing things that people generally avoid doing? If it is so, then is being sane all about confining yourself to narrow thoughts and beliefs? Is being sane means denying and quenching your urges just because the whole society does the same? As long as my actions and thoughts hurt no one, then will I still be labeled insane for doing what I want to do?”

As if reflecting her state of mind, the storm that was in the bay slowly started moving in. The wind came first, by slowly teasing the leaves into a flutter. But as the might of the storm grew, the wind transformed into a mighty force and howled out its strength...wrecking havoc in the stillness. The trees swayed and bent and the rain, which was previously a straight line, was now almost parallel to the ground.
The world beyond her window, to which she was till now a merely a witness, invaded into her world and started drenching her face with ice cold drops that slapped her with stinging force. The slaps were as if all her repressed desires and wasted opportunities transcended from the immaterial, metaphysical plane to the physical realm...taunting her with a condescending smirk.

“Wimp! Never did you dare to reach out. Always living in a world of what ifs. Just look at you! Peering out like a prisoner while all that is holding you back is just yourself.” laughed the wind.

She could bear it no longer. Her 45 years of existence flashed past her. The could haves and would haves and if onlys –the fight that she should have put up for her education, the stand that she must have taken for her lover, the words and abuses that she swallowed from the spineless excuse of a husband she married, the children she must not have had, the jobs she could have taken, the things she could have done to prevent her life from becoming a pathetic excuse of living...society, parents, relatives, the show that she had put up to prove the world that everything was normal...the irony of not believing that her fate was in her hand but all the while, she was grasping the wheel that steered it.

A lightning flashed, briefly illuminating the eerie scene of the storm. The storm would soon pass and familiarity will soon return. She could take comfort in the breakfast, lunch, dinner routine...a routine she was resigned to. The sleeping form in the bed stirred. A stream of expletives flowed from him, accusing her of being a fool to have opened the window in the middle of the storm and disturbing his sleep.
She moved away from the window, paying no heed to him. She turned the key in the lock. Through the open door, the storm beckoned her –a dark seductive temptation. She basked in the primitive power lashing wildly in the atmosphere.

She stepped out.

9 comments:

Praveen said...

u've come a long way.. started off as a lesson in gre english.. ended beautifully.. envious post.. says nothing at all yet says so many things.. novel stuff.. keep writing.. :)

Subramaniam said...

A post after so long, but a wonderful one worth the wait :). The post begun in a way that made me believe i was gonna read something descriptive but ended as a post that more aptly suits your style of writing. But the descriptions seemed to end a little suddenly when the storm moved in. Yet the thoughts left at the end of it all were countless and interesting..

Vigneshwaran said...

Good one..... Initially I tot its gonna be a thriller but then it turned out to be something even better.The flow was brilliant... niceee :) Keep writing.

P3 said...

As testified by the comments above, and 'am sure by the ones to come, this post definitely scores high on the intrinsic quotients of a good fictional piece... the flow.... the language.... the affluence of descriptive richness.... the coherence.... the narrative capability...!! good work aruna....!! :-) The ease with which the reader is able to conjure up the vivid images of the scene in his mind and the penetrative capability of your words to help sink in this moment fraught with soberness, heavyness and self-introspection speaks high of the quality of this post. Kudos!.. keep it going...!! :-)

////// "is being sane all about confining yourself to narrow thoughts and beliefs? Is being sane means denying and quenching your urges just because the whole society does the same? As long as my actions and thoughts hurt no one, then will I still be labeled insane for doing what I want to do?” //////

i seek to differ on the above reflections of the author.... isn't sanity all about taking responsibility for one's behaviour?.... you don't live in an utopian world to think that as long as your actions and thots dont affect anyone, all you do is sane... even if ur thots and actions have a negative repurcussion on you alone and still you go ahead with it (when u had an option not to do so), well you are insane... you are born into a family, a society, acquire friends, get married, have kids, take up a profession, establish various relationships, take up responsibilities etc... at no point in life can you sustain a serious claim that ur actions had an impact on you standalone... what each of us end up doing has an encompassive and futuristic effect in most cases....

Sanity i believe is more about reflecting positively about what was, what is and what will be, and trying for the betterment of things, with the takeaways from the past, and in the course taking responsibility for ur actions that makes you stand where you are. Its not about finding excuses, and just doing what you want to do. Its all about striking a balance in general. You make compromises here and there and try to get the best possible out of your life. Because, let's face it, we are imperfect and we always will be and we will make mistakes, and make compromises. These are lessons to be carried forward, whatever be your disposition in life at any point in time. And your sanity depends a lot on this....

great post....wonderful read...
nice to see you writing again after long....

Overall: " machi seriousa therrrikidhuuu!!!!...." :-)
Luv

роородி said...

good one.. language, flow and thoughts are typical of you and good.. i liked the dialogue between the character and her self. very engaging and very insightful...

Subash said...

Oh Aruna, A little Gem u ve produced here..How Vividly u ve conjured up a scene,i cud almost feel d rain on d road ..N comin to d central theme, the Post brings out d social shackles that (stil) engulf a lady.The metaphor of d lady urging to come out into d rain is used intelligently with desired results..Hats off there.I also agree whole heartedly wit ur notion of Sanity being relative ..I think thts d clincher in this post..May be controversial but thats d hallmark of a fearless young Author..Keep going Girl..

S said...

Good one!.. I thoroughly enjoyed it and keep up your good work...

slowhand said...

Buddi,

I am going to be very honest with you. According to me...a very good post, deep and tough. At the same time a lot of minute details (I dont know whether it was meant to be like that) made the whole plot more of a thriller.

P.S: I am seeing a serious activist in you. P3..."beware...chance kedekka modhe escape aaiko"..:P

aswin jayaraman said...

A neat presentation..I know the idea of "when was the last time you did something for the first time" was on you for quite some time now.Good that it transformed into a enjoyable narrative.High fives as usual.