The write club Feb 2018 edition has a total of seven stories from seven different authors.
You could read a sample of the featured story (and my story) in this post and decide to buy the full edition of the magazine by clicking on the link below, or you could give it a pass.🙂
Either way, I am glad you’re reading this right now!
I had been waiting for around an hour when I saw him walking into the café with his ebullient self, charm oozing out from every pore of his body. He searched dreamily and smiled at me when he found me sitting in the corner.
“I am so sorry honey I am late, but honestly I got stuck in bad traffic. You know how Bangalore is.”
Yeah, I knew Bangalore and knew Bunny better than Bangalore. He was probably sleeping when I called to tell him I had reached. His place was five minutes from the café.
“Why is your face so puffy?” I said looking at him with interest.
The horror in his eyes amused me. “What? Is it? Oh my god! Oh my god…”
I giggled not wanting to continue my cruel joke. He always fell for traps like these. “I am just kidding.”
“Bitch!” He smiled at me brushing my nose with his finger.
“So, my Yoga instructor and I have made a pact.” I sipped my latte for a dramatic break.
“So, If I manage to attend at least three sessions a week, she will let me off the hook from HIIT for a month. Of course, terms and conditions applied.”
I was preparing myself to explain HIIT to him again, because I remember the last time I mentioned the word he ended up sneezing more than five times and the conversation had digressed from Yoga to “OMG! OMG! I am sick. I think I have a major allergy. Come. I need to see a doctor.” Bloody Hypochondriac!
“And would you care telling me what HIIT is?”
I bit my lips to suppress a smile. “It is a kind of High-intensity workout. Kind of like power yoga.”
He sighed as if all his interest was flushed down the toilet. He asked the waiter for the bill and turned towards me, his eyes looking into mine sharply. “My dear, firstly I don’t understand why a young girl like you would do such a thing like Yoga. It is for oldies– “
“Yeah, but do you know a better way of losing these stupid love handles? I guess not …and don’t give me your dancing crap.”
“Alright, ok. I will be more specific. Join salsa. What a beautiful dance form! Or better yet go find a guy and get some action. Sex is any way the best exercise.”
“What? And give my flower to anyone but you!” I put my hands on my heart to add more effect to the drama, “No! never!”
He rolled his eyes ignoring my act, “Ma’am…stop this nonsense and go lose your effing virginity. Any twenty-five year old– “
“Oh please…I am twenty-three and don’t make me repeat that.” I cut him off hoping to intimidate him.
“Well, twenty-three isn’t exactly an age to proud of if you haven’t already done it. Anyway, I have got to make a move now honey…or I might be really late for my date.” Bunny smiled at me. His excitement conspicuous like the afternoon sun.
“hmmph…Even you have a date!” I sounded more pathetic than I felt.
He nodded. “Yes. I do and I am so very late so now c’mon, give me a hug.”
He left in haste and I sat at the Frazer Town Café Coffee Day actually contemplating the absurd idea of losing my virginity. Of all the guys, I went out with who would not mind ‘giving me some action!’
I went through the contact list of my phone and stopped at R. Rahul. He was the one, the friend, the man-whore, the sex toy, the safest bet.
And as if by magic, the next thing I see is his name flashing on my phone screen. It was a signal from the universe and a message not so difficult to decipher.
It was around noon when Bunny walked in on Sunday. I was half asleep, terribly hungover and depressed.
The events of the past week had left me shattered. It had taken only five days for me to pick an asshole, convince him to have sex with me, make it happen, and then regret it with all my heart only because my mind was so fucked and Bunny was out of town.
I was in a pickle and there was no turning back from it, or at least that is what I thought until Bunny the obnoxious angel came to take a shot at rescuing me from my misery.
Obviously, he could not give me back my virginity, he cannot un-break my hymen. And, what about the guilt looming around me for taking the most sought-after business of my life so non-seriously? I had a few blurry images floating in some corners of my hungover brain. There was a lot of wine and too many cigarettes, and the lights were blue or red and there was loud music over which I had mustered the courage to ask Rahul if he wanted to have sex. I clearly remember a hand moving down my waist all the way to my ass, also that I was grossed out, but that I wanted to do it anyway.
For a day or two, I had not believed what I had done. It looked like something that could have happened, but there was no proof of it. And the next afternoon when I called Rahul, he babe-ed me.
“Hey Babe …wassup?”
“Hi…” I whispered dreading the truth.
“So? You wanna hang out tonight? I mean I am going out with Jeanette but I can make time after dinner.” To fuck you! Always!
“Ok.” I had found myself blurting out the one word I should not have.
A square of sunlight fell on the floor as Bunny drew the curtains. He wore blue jeans and white shirt paired with a satin black waistcoat.
“Why the hell are you dressed like that? Just draw the curtain, will you?” I barked at him burying my head under the pillow.
“Go away Bunny! I cannot let you screw with my head right now.”
He snatched my pillow and threw it on the floor. With his right hand on his hip and a manicured finger pointing at me he started, “Well, I am going to make some coffee now and before it is ready I want you to run to the bathroom, wash your stinking mouth, bath off that alcoholic odor and walk out with your head held high. Mind you, time is very important because you don’t want ME to drag you and help you take a bath or break in to find you naked when you are halfway through.”
“Urrrgh… Fuck off!”
“Quick honey… I dare you to question my capabilities. You might end up regretting it.”
This mother fucker friend of mine was the last thing I wanted to deal with in such a sour mood. But the fact is I knew what Bunny was capable of and the idea of another man seeing me naked within a week sent a chill down my spine. Not that it would make any difference to him except that he might find my embarrassment quite amusing.
Finally, I dragged myself to the washroom. I had no control over my life anyway.
About the Author: Isha Shukla is a Project Management Professional working for Accenture currently. She is from Kanpur and even though in the nooks of her school library that she found her love for reading, yet it was Bangalore that helped her realize her passion for writing. She is greatly inspired by the works of P. G. Wodehouse – the 19th century English Writer and she hopes one day she would create as fascinating a character as Jeeves. She likes to take long walks, have innumerous cups of tea and share laughter with her favorite people.
I am on the edge of a slippery rock, bent at the waist, clambering up on a mountain and trying not to fumble. That is when I see her coming along the far invisible lines of the shore. She is alone and she is walking towards me. I am alone too, and I gaze at her distinctive but alluring braids as she approaches nearer. I will wait for her, I tell myself. I don’t wait for anyone, for I am a solo traveler. I meet and greet people, exchange my experiences with the locals, and part ways with a goodbye, sometimes with just a smile. But I will wait for her, I tell myself – again.
I sit down for a minute. My elbows are resting on my thighs, fingers intertwined, and eyes tracing her moves. Once or twice, she tries to look at me, blocking the sun with her hands that shadows her face. Our eyes meet, and we greet each other with a nod and what feels like less than a smile, when she tries to mountain a tricky descent.
“Need a hand?”
“Yes,” she says, in a raspy voice and extends her left hand towards me.
I hold her clammy but soft hands and pull her up. I notice, she is not petite or featherweight, she has just the right amount of curves, tucked inside the right body type.
This rock where we are standing has made us precariously positioned to a nasty fall.
“Do you want to climb up a few more rocks and see what the view up there is like?” I ask her.
“Actually,” she says, “That’s exactly what I was thinking.”
So I take the lead, one clumsy but calculated step at a time. She is almost on my back; her warm puffs of breath bouncing off of my neck. If she was any closer, she’d be glued tenderly to me like a baby bear – hugging me and trusting my ability to choose the right steps.
I am not a trekker or an explorer of the secluded realms, but sometimes, I dare, and sometimes I wear sports shoes for the same reason. She on the other hand, is barefoot; no slippers, no shoes, just plain ashy feet that have a cut, wrapped under a Band-Aid on her big right toe. Her clothes are tattered, but she doesn’t look deprived. Her pants are green and chipped in a pattern, almost like an expensive fish net. Her tank top is off-white and skin tight, revealing more than just the stripes of her azure bra. She has dark purple streaks running down her shoulders on one side and burgundy, wine-red wavy streaks on the other.
We are at a bigger rock now. This view is pristine, the sun is angry-red above the horizon, and the locals, who seemed to have reached here before us, are playing drums. This rock unlike any of its sister rocks is crowded, there are a lot of tourists, smoking marijuana, playing guitar, some glued to their phones. We look at each other;
“Further up?” She asks.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” I say.
She lets out a half unsure giggle and we climb to the corners of another big rock, crossing a cave like passage, stepping over a slush of dead leaves, and mounting a dozen tiny tricky rock crusts.
From here, we can’t see anyone. It’s just us and the sounds of drums echoing through the rocks somewhere from down below. And around us, we see people’s names and heart figures engraved everywhere; on bedrocks, on far off cobblestones and mountain rubbles.
“It’s pathetic,” she complains, “Why do people do this?”
“I know,” I concur her thoughts, “Who are these people carrying weapons on dates?”
She is unsure, whether to laugh at what I just said, or utter something clever, but instead she chooses to say, “Periza.”
“What?” I am puzzled, and unsure of what it means.
With a “Z” and not an “S”, she says, “That’s my name,” and looks away.
“Good to meet you – Periza. Where are you from?” I ask her, without introducing myself.
“No, I meant where were you born?”
“Mumbai.” She repeats herself.
She doesn’t look Indian, nor does she have an Indian name, but her accent makes me believe her words.
“My dad is from Iran,” She feeds by intrigue “And mom is Indian.”
“I see,” I say, holding an urge to crack an inappropriate joke.
She doesn’t ask my name or where I am from. She perhaps doesn’t care and that leaves me a bit disheartened.
“What do you do, Periza?” I ask her.
She folds her pants up until her knees, and above her left thigh, through the cropped diamond shaped cuts in her pants, I see on her shiny leg, a fresh wound with a hint of an internal injury; blue and red, still somewhat bloody.
“I design accessories,” She replies, “I have a small shop … on fashion street? You know?”
“How did that happen?” I ask her, without paying much attention to her words.
“This?” She laughs, like I said something funny, “Well … I fell off, on the streets, last night. I was riding a moped. It was dark, and the headlight wasn’t that bright, and also, because I may’ve been on acid.” She talks about the incident with an amateurish pride.
“Does it hurt?” I ask.
“No, I have had worse ones,” she continues, “– and Rumi, you know him? The Sufi poet? He said, “A wound is the place, where the light enters you,” and I know…he did not mean all that quite literally, but you get the drift. Don’t you?”
About the Author: Well, that would be me 🙂. And you’re reading this on my blog. So …
About Write Club Bangalore: It’s a weekly meetup group of writers, that’s been consistently running for past 7 years.
Every week we assemble at 2 in the afternoon and write on a prompt given to us by the host. Then we read (out loud) whatever we have managed to write, one by one, and the host, or the other members of the club, tell us how good or bad the pieces are.
Post the writing session, we have coffee at a close by restaurant and we often debate (and/or joke) about everything under the sun. The waiters at the restaurant probably hate us, because we are usually very loud. But then it’s a lot of fun. I mean, I could go on and on about the group, but I can’t put it in words. Why don’t you check out the official website instead?