neelwrites/maya:littlemorethanillusion/fiction/shortstory/reena’sexplorationchallengeweek#16/14/12/2017

Hosted by the fantabulous Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/reenas-exploration-challenge-week-16/

Here is a character narrating different episodes from her life. You get an idea of the overall personality. Pick just one sentence from the story, and develop further on that.

why

MAYA: LITTLE MORE THAN ILLUSION

By Neel Anil Panicker

I see the rage in my boss’s eyes and know that is time to quit. Or, more appropriately, that is time for me to be asked to quit.

There he is, sitting opposite me, in that favourite swivel chair of his, the chair, the specific make and colour that I helped him to chose, staring down at me, those limpid blue eyes now a raging red, its pupils trebly enlarged, the nerves threatening any moment to burst out.

I bravely refuse to give in and like a fool who rushes in where angels fear to tread, I lock eyes with him.

I see his head, bald as an eagle’s, the strobe lights streaking in through the translucent windows doodling all over his six foot gym toned frame, the hands, large and hairy, like a grizzly bear’s fiercely clutching onto a palm sized paper weight, furiously rotating it over the oblong sun mica topped teak wood table.

I see a melange of emotions, predominantly distaste, written all over his usually placid face, now a bundle of bumbling emotions.

I see a lot that I haven’t seen in the past six years, the years that I have known him since, the years that I have worked  under him, the years that he has been my boss, also the years that we have been lovers.

I know it is time for me to leave, allow for him to be alone so as to be able to process all that has happened.

I get up and calmly hand over an envelope. It contains my resignation letter addressed to Shiv Kumar Sharma, Director, COACHING TIME, New Delhi from Maya Talreja, General Manager- Planning.

‘I shall see you in the evening’, I say, and walk out of the cabin. I know he’s my man and I know together we’ll battle our way out of this storm too.

***

My name is Maya. Maya Mirchandani. I am a 30-year-old Sindhi, a divorced Gujarati born Sindhi to be precise. I stress on the divorced part because that’s was defined me, at least for the first five years since my marriage with Kunal, a regular parochial wife beating male chauvinist pig fell apart. Wait, fell apart did I say?

Shred to pieces, smashed to smithereens__these would be better descriptors of the hellish times I spent with Kunal whose favourite form of abuse was to strip me naked,   chain me to the window sill, and then beat me black and blue with a steel belt for hours together.

Of course, he did take power breaks in between, replenishing himself with whisky on the rocks and snorting cocaine, just one among many of his addictions.

One night soon after when he and the entire world were in deep slumber, I climbed down the bathroom pipe, walked barefoot upto to the nearest railway station, and took the first available train to my hometown.

My parents, saddled with typical middle class mores thought I had committed a crime  and did everything possible right from weeping and begging to cajoling and threatening to somehow force me to go back to Kunal, to give my marriage yet another try.

But I had resolved that enough was enough and would under no circumstances go back to marriage which I know equated with hell for short of a milder word.

That broke their dam of patience and I was subjected to another round of torture.

This time it was mental, and especially so by own parents, who feared that a daughter, beautiful and educated as she may be, had no life outside of marriage.

Things deteriorated from bad to worse and then one day, when unable to bear their near non-stop rebukes and emotional blackmails, I packed my bags and left home.

In less than 100 days I had hit road again, the only difference being this I had burnt all my bridges and there was no going back, anywhere whatsoever.

I decided to hit a new town and landed up in Delhi. The first few months were sheer hell, as armed with nothing more than a college degree I walked in and out of countless interviews without any luck.

It went like this for a month or so and soon things reached a point when I had no money to even pay the rent for my single room Paying Guest accommodation.

It was then that the landlord offered me a life a line: He would forfeit my dues if I agreed to sleep with him.

Disgusted I slammed the phone down and was about to smash it to the wall when it began to ring.

I picked it up and was about to hurl my choicest abuses when I heard a woman’s voice, soft though business-like over the phone, “Am I speaking to Miss Maya?”

“Yes, this is Maya”, I somehow managed to mumble.

“Congratulations,” the voice continued, “You have been selected. Please kindly collect your offer letter from Coaching Time”.

A melange of emotions swirled through my mind. One moment I was down and out and the other I was on top of the world. I was over, my ordeal, my quest, my struggle for survival. I had finally bagged a job.

The next day, my heart full of joy, I walked into my new office, and fell straight into the arms of my boss.

Well, it so happened that I had just left the HR Manager’s cabin, clutching in my hand an appointment letter that said my designation was Executive Secretary, Director, Coaching Time.

“Walk straight and turn left. Extreme corner is Kumar Sir’s cabin.”

I did as she had guided me, and found myself standing outside an impressive oak panelled cabin door that sported a gold embellished capital lettered name plate ‘DIRECTOR’.

I was wondering whether to knock or to simply step in, when the door opened all of a sudden and out stumbled a man and almost fell into my arms.  In fact if he hadn’t held himself against the wall, both of us would have come tumbling down like nine pins.

“I…I am sorry. ‘Am in a hurry.” was all he managed to blurt out as we pulled ourselves together.

I looked at him, half fearful, half embarrassed.

Pushing the wrong side of forty, the man had a shock of curly grey hair the sides of which fell over a square face that reeked of a childlike naughtiness.

“Sir, I am Maya…your new secr…”

“Sorry, got to go. Shall meet you in the evening. Make yourself comfortable” was all he said before he vanished down the corridor.

I shrugged off the awkwardness and stepped inside to find the room, a mid sized hall rather, a picture of disarray. Half opened books, files, stationery, even Coke cans were littered all over the place__ on the work table, under the chairs, on the mosaic floor, a few even near the attached washroom.

My womanly instincts came to fore and I set about putting everything in order, even at one point picking up the intercom and requisitioning the House Keeping Department.

And when Mr Kumar walked in through the door in the evening all he did was stand and stare in wonderment at the metamorphosis his cabin had undergone.

He rewarded me with a hesitant half smile.

In turn I extracted a cup of hot Nescafe from the Coffee Machine and placing it on his desk, said, “ Sir, I am Maya, your new Executive Secretary”.

He motioned me to the chair opposite him and apprised me of the tasks at hand.

I was to take care of his appointments, attend all his meetings, take down their minutes, prepare notes, and help him with the general functioning of his office.

The next few months I immersed myself fully in my job, voraciously lapping up each day and new experience as part of my learning curve, ever learning, at times faltering, at times making mistakes but never repeating them.

At the end of six months, I had learnt enough to make myself an indispensable part of the office, befriending one and all, helping all and sundry, ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the organisation.

The wheels of time spun and soon a year passed by and another and  then yet another.

I was happy, at peace with myself, had a job, a great one at that, one that I loved to the hilt, and most importantly was independent in all senses of the term.

By now I was promoted as General Manager-Operations and my salary was ten times over what I had started with.

And then I fell in love. Or, we fell in love. Shiv and I.

It was not one of those Slam, Bam, Thank You Ma’m kind of puerile, lust filled entanglements that you hear of but quite on the contrary, a slow brewing, deep stirring, meaningful heart enriching, life affirming love between two mature fully responsible consenting adults.

As such we resolved that our love, romance, relationship, affection or whatever one may choose to call it, would in no way interfere with our official duties. We turned increasingly discreet, making sure that not one soul got a whiff of it.

But then as they say such things have a dirty habit of leaking out and soon someone somehow poisoned the ears of the powers that be at the Head Office.

Soon enough Shiv received a terse one line note from the head honchos asking for my scalp.

And that’s where things stand now as I sit in my cabin wondering over the dilemma that stares Shiv, my boss cum lover.

***

The intercom buzzes; I pick up the phone.

“Maya. We’re in this together. I’ve put in my papers. Now, either we swim or sink.

Are you with me?”

“Forever, my sweetheart”.

I kiss him over the phone.

I am happy, elated, over the moon.
I have finally found love.

I have a man, a man who’s man enough to take on the world.

For me, for him, for us.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #fiction #shortstory #CATolgy #BSchool #MBA

#reena’sexplorationchallengeweek#16 #1670words

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neelwrites/somedish/fiction/FFfAW/shorstory/12/12/2017

145th Challenge

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Week of 12-12 through 12-18-2017

Hosted by Priceless Joy at https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/fffaw-challenge-week-of-december-12-2017/

SOME DISH!

By Neel Anil Panicker

Ismail Makhtoum stared at the strange concoction that had arrived on his table. For a moment he was tempted to call out to the waiter, the liveried ever smiling cartoonish character clad in a seven piece costume that reminded him of the Annual Fancy Dress Competitions back in his much lived much loved childhood in rural Ambosa.

Or still better, he wanted to kick the table aside and walk out of this fancy restaurant and walk into the nearest roadside shack by the beach and indulge in some serious lip smacking business__ducking and digging his teeth into straight of the sea slow cooked deep fried silvery salmons liberally peppered with what else but pepper and a dash of lemon.

But instead he looked through the grossly mangled partially sun burnt caterpillar like formations that crisscrossed the length and breadth of the fancy bone china plate and found what he was looking for.

The five gramme gold biscuit was there as promised.

He scooped it off and safely placed it in his inner trouser pockets alongside the evening tickets to New Delhi.

Just another day had begun in a carrier’s career.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #flash #shortstory #FFAW #SOMEDISH

neelwrites/labyrinth/part30ofadangerouslove/novella/fiction/100wordwednesday/11/12/2017

100 Word Wednesday: Week 48

By BIKURGURL at https://bikurgurl.com/2017/12/06/100-word-wednesday-week-48/

LABYRINTH

100WW_W48.jpg

Photo by Trevor Cole

By Neel Anil Panicker

Inspector Sharma looked through the windshield as the approaching police van made a discreet entrance through the usually locked back gates of Tiz Hizari Courts.

The vehicle grinded to a halt near the parking area reserved for judges and higher officials.

From here it would be but a short two minute walk through the narrow garden path that led to the temporary court cell.

The accused would then be led to the respective courts located on the first and second two floors of the multi-plex style sprawling court complex.

Sharma watched the prisoners closely as they alighted.

One in particular caught his attention, Ali; the cop wondered what awaited him_ jail, bail, or was it something else?

©neelanilpanicker2017 #PART 30 of A DANGEROUS LOVE #FICTION #NOVELLA #117WORDS

 

To read previous episodes of this ongoing novella ” A DANGEREOUS LOVE’ click on the links below:

PART ONE:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/neelwritesffphoningaroundfictionromance100words27072017/

PART TWO:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/neelwrites3linetalesphoningaround-part2fiction28072017/

PART THREE:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/neelwritessundayphotofiction03ofdangerouslove30072017/

PART FOUR

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/neelwritespart/

PART FIVE

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/neelwritessixsentencestoriesepisodesixofdangerouslovefiction/

PART SIX

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/neelwriteswatcherfictionthursdayphotoprompt03082017/

PART SEVEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/neelwritesgaffarmian-alifeoutsideprisonwallsthreelinetalesfiction188words/

PART EIGHT https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/neelwritescatsoutofthebagfffpppart8ofdangerouslovefiction08082017/

PART NINE https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/neelwritesthediscoveryfffawpart9dangerouslovefiction09082017/comment-page-1/#comment-3979

PART TEN  https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/neelwritesalonelyvigilparttenofadangerouslovefiction35812082017/

PART ELEVEN https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/neelwritesthedisclosurespfpartelevenofdangerouslove15082017/

 

PART TWELVE https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/neeelwritesthedonsnestparttwelveofdangerouslovefictionnovella16082017/

PART THIRTEEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/21/neelwritesbordersixsentencestoriespartthirteenofadangerouslovefiction195words21082017/

PART FOURTEEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/neelwritesthehitpartfourteenofadangerouslove24082017/

PART FIFTEEN

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/neelwriteswearinganewshadeadangerouslifepartfifteenofdangerouslovefiction25082017/

PART SIXTEEN
PART SEVENTEEN
PART EIGHTEEN
PART NINETEEN
PART 21

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/neelwritespart21ofadangerouslovesixsentencestoriesplate19072017/

PART 22:

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/neelwritescryinthedarortrappart22ofadangerouslovefictionnovella133words30092017/

 

 

PART 27: https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/neelwritesbiggamehuntingpart27ofadangerouslovenovellafictionthreelinetales28102017/

PART 28: https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/neelwrites-dramornightmare-part28ofadangerouslove-novella-fiction-02-12-2017/

PART 29

https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/neelwrites-timesticking-part29ofadangerouslove-novella-fiction-10-12-2017/

 

neelwrites/iced/fridayfictioneers/flash/fiction/shortstory/99words/08/12/2017

Hosted BY ROCHELLEWISOFF at https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/12/06/8-december-2017/

ICED

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

By Neel Anil Panicker

Earlier it wasn’t so the case; she loved them, the winters. The luxuriously languorous all night slumber into la la land; the achingly slow waking up to the smell of hot as molten lava garden fresh coffee, the touch of warm veined fingers on frosty cheeks, the entwining of love filled hearts and lust filled bodies.

Aaah! she could go on and on and her dream would have no end.

But end it did.

And cruelly at that.

As she stares through the icicled sheets of coldness she wonders when love went of the window.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #flash #shortstory #99words

#Friday Fictioneers

neelwrites/laterealization/sixsentencestories/fiction/flash/shortstory/137words/21/11/2017

Six Sentence Stories Cue of the Week

Hosted by at

JOULIE AND SKIPS at

https://unchartedblogdotorg.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/six-sentence-stories-cue-of-the-week-10/

This week’s cue is FLEECE.

LATE REALIZATION

By Neel Anil Panicker

She put a fleece over all his indiscretions ever standing by and supporting

him, come rain or shine.

He mistook her devoted wife, ever loyal, ever reliable Rock of Gibralter

persona as her abiding weakness, a feminine frailty.

Meanwhile, as his passions soared, he went about sowing his wild oats far

and wide, rolling and making out in the hay, viewing all he encountered

as a good lay to play around with.

The day came when her dam of patience burst out in a maddening deluge

and she stuck a piece of lead into his sick head.

‘Enough did you fleece, now it is time to rest in peace’, were her parting

words.

Today, as she pieces together the shattered pieces of her life she realizes in

hindsight that a certain species of man is a woe-man.

©neelanilpanicker2017 #fiction #sixsentencestories #fleece #137words #flash

neelwrites/ruminations/FFaFW/fiction/shortstory/flash/158words/21/11/2017

FFfAW

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Hosted by Priceless Joy at https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/fffaw-reflection/

RUMINATIONS

Thank you Footy and Foodie for our photo prompt this week!

By Neel Anil Panicker

Sunrise or sunset__she never could make out which she liked more.

Guess, everything depended on her mood.

The early dawn slow heating up of the shell-splattered sea sands as she sat around the rocky edges, her hands gently getting warmer with the touch of foam washed waters filled her heart with a glow that stayed with her all through the day. Dawns dawned new meanings into her life and filled up all empty crevices of her heart with love and happiness.

Come evenings she watched with resigned anticipation at the ever darkening silhouette of the setting sun as it bid goodbye to earthly pleasures hiding behind the distant mountains edges.

The slow metamorphosis of the dawn’s mesmerizing golden orb into a darkish charcoal singed her heart, dousing all nascent desires of the day.

She loved them both, equally and evenly.

Of late, the setting sun the more, especially so after Alfred’s murder, a death she had waited for long.

©nelanipanicker2017 #fiction #FFfAW #shortstory #158words

neelwrites/thewall/shorstory/reena’sexplorationchallenge/1582words/fiction/16/112017

Hosted by the superb Reena at https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/reenas-exploration-challenge-week-12/

Here’s the prompt

If you were asked to share one experience you had with someone you knew which was experienced as a gift or transmission, what memory would that be? Close your eyes and see what arises. Which gift will you pass on?

 

Exploration Challenge 12.jpg

THE WALL

By Neel Anil Panicker

There are two types of educators: those who do what they are tasked to do out of love and those who don’t do what they are tasked to do out of hate.

Now doing something out of love is entirely different from doing something because it needs to be done.

And the needs could be any and varied. It could be commanded by the every elemental need for survival. I mean people teach for the money that it provides, necessary money that helps feed  themselves and their families.

But then that would apply to any profession, one may argue.

True but then not necessarily. There are those in this category who teach because they know nothing else or because they are no good at anything else.

Not for them the rigours of the corporate world, the daily grind of struggling to meet and outdo targets and KRAs. Not for them also the admonitions, demotions, insults, and humiliations that follow the non-performance or under performance of a task.

Ratnesh Karmakar was one such person. I first met him in the staff Faculty Room. It was on a Monday morning, a little after 11. I had just walked into the Faculty Room after finishing my first class of the day.

It was an English Vocabulary class and as what happens after most such classes I was surrounded by a couple of very eager students too intrigued by the fascinating world of words; words which hitherto were new to them. They were badgering me with questions as to the scientific originations of these new fanciful words.

I decided to give them a very patient hearing and walked them through the various etymologies and root word methodologies to help decode the words and their subtle undertexts.

All this while I barely noticed that the Faculty Room was inhabited by another person. After I was done with the students I turned around and found to my utter surprise and shock a man, barely under 35, half sprawled on the leather couch, his eyes shut and snoring away to glory.

Feeling slightly discomfited by what I saw, I stepped out of the Room and when I came back after grabbing a cup of coffee from the kitchen I saw that the man, whoever it was no longer there. Whoof! Vanished into thin air.

That day, in the evening, I met him again, but this time in passing. He was inside the classroom adjacent to mine. I spotted through the glass door; he was there, seated on the chair, his legs all laid out on the floor like some heavily pregnant woman’s minutes before delivery, ostensibly teaching a a classfull of students, his eyes half shut, sheer boredom plastered all over his swarthy, unshaven face.

Disgusted by this wanton display of insouciance I turned around and walked into my own class, my respect for this man, whoever he may be, definitely hitting rock bottom in the few hours that I had encountered him.

It was only the next day that I came to know that this person was a new recruit, a Mathematics teacher to boot.

Now, was I shocked? Well, not one bit. For in my over a decade and half years spent in and around a classroom I have encountered many such teachers who bring disgrace to the noble profession by not just diluting it of its true worth but by also revealing themselves as very poor role models for the impressionable students that they vouch to teach and thereby to the society at large.

Such laidback people with a damn care attitude and without an iota of commitment towards the world of books and the pious business of teaching are dime a dozen in all educational institutions, be they schools, colleges, coaching institutions et al.

I avoid them like the plague but feel sorry for the hapless students who are at the receiving end of such ‘learning’ for what is education and its efficacy if delivered half heartedly and sans all passion.
And speaking of passion, my thoughts travel to the other side of the  spectrum for every such deadwoods of the world there are also inhabit the tireless, sincere warriors who go about their tasks with a dedication and honesty that is almost saintly in nature.

Rahul Joshi was his name. but we called him simply ‘The Wall’. Quite like the venerated Indian cricketer he was, to all who were fortunate to have interacted with him and partaken of his goodness, Mr Dependable,  always to be trusted upon, reliable to the core.

No, he wasn’t Mr No All, one of those who profess to know every little thing on this planet and then struts about with an air of superciliousness.

No, absolutely not, Far from it, Rahul was the epitome of humility, dedication, discipline and simplicity.

Clad in a starch white or light blue shirt and matching trousers, his hair, neatly trimmed and gelled,

He would be found either in the class, teaching English, explaining the finer nuances of the English syntax to a bevy of eager beaver students who would lap up every single utterance of his with an eagerness and devotion that would any Hindu god to shame.

A fact validated by the huge crowd of students who would swarm him once the class got over and bombard with umpteen questions.

Very assiduously, Rahul would give each one of them a patient hearing, listening, and then clearing, clarifying, correcting, suggesting, counselling all of them in a manner that was nothing short of heights of dedication and sincerity.

I mean here was a faculty who had just taught for a whole two hours a class choc-a-block with students, all the while remaining standing, and then to continue like that and take individual doubt sessions with a dozen or more students without batting an eyelid or revealing a whiff of discomfort, his perpetual smile never flagging a wee bit__all this was more than admirable. My respect for this man, as I sat and watched him over the following days and weeks, grew in geometric progression until one day I resolved to know or better still understand what made him so special, so grounded, when everyone around him walked around with a jaunt and a forced swag as if they owned the world and its backyard.

I came to know few things which increased my respect for this remarkable person.

Here is his story as I gathered over the course of the next few days.

Rahul was the only child of educationists who very tragically died in a ghastly train accident some ten year ago.

After their death, and in deference to their lifelong wish, which they had made known much earlier to him on several occasions, Rahul decided to follow in their footsteps and become an educator himself.

So, immediately after acquiring an IIM degree from Kolkata, he joined Coaching Time, first in its Pune centre and then at its New Delhi branch.

Here, he found as few things that riled him no end. First, the teachers, at least a few of them, were not so dedicated and wedded to the noble task of imparting knowledge.

They would simply come, take their classes half heartedly, and then while away the rest of their time unnecessarily indulging in talks and activities that could very mildly be termed as ‘undesirable’.

He found that all this went antithetical to what his parents had taught him. From them he had learnt that mere possession of knowledge is of no use unless it serves to benefit mankind.

And here that meant the teeming multitude of students who had left behind their homes and comforts, traversing thousands of kilometres, putting up in alien jam packed rooms and subsisting on outside food, living and surviving with just one solitary hope and dream in mind__ that of  cracking CAT, one of the toughest of all competitive examinations in the country, an achievement that would open the doors of the much sought after big, wide managerial world around them.

And so Rahul had decided to dedicate his life to the cause of these students. He not only began to lend a helping hand to every student who came to him for help, but also went back home and studied a multitude of diverse books and resource material and passed on all that extra knowledge to his students to equip them with that extra edge.

Highly impressed by this exemplary display of work ethics and fearsome dedication to the noble cause of teaching, I too decided to inculcate all this in my daily life.

Here was one person who was worthy of emulation, who through his actions and deeds had shown to one and all the right path, the path that led towards knowledge and enlightenment , not the one that Lord Buddha took, but one that was more grounded and rooted in real life, that allowed one to live a normal life while at the same time dedicating oneself to a far nobler cause, that of  guiding, teaching, educating, advising, and handholding a retinue of hesitant, struggling and fearful students, equipping and arming them but not just  the nuts and bolts of their course material but in the process making into better evolved persons and fine human beings.

Thanks to this wonderful person, in due course of time, he became the apple of everyone’s eyes including the initial naysayers and the slackers, and soon his values began to be embraced by one and all.

©neelanilpanciker2017 #shortstory #1582words #reena’s exploration challenge