Never Stop Writing
She uploaded the chapter and waited.
Drumming her fingers on the keyboard, she stared at the wall across her. It was white and speckled with pink. Not exactly her choice, but then again, what choice had she ever had in her eighteen year old life? She paused for a moment and looked at the photo on her desk. A man and a woman stood side by side, cradling a small girl. They were happy. She was happy, she thought, as she took the frame in her hands and peered at the faces. Her infant face looked back at her – filled with innocence. An emotion that was now alien to her. She replaced it with a weary sigh.
The first review came. And another.
A small smile adorned her face as she waited. And as always, the PM came.
Hey again Goldline,
Interesting chapter. I see that you have planned a long way for our man Ganesh. There is something I wanted to say though. Let go of the prejudice – believe me, it was strongly reflected in this chapter. As I always say, the plot is nice, but the way you present it is important.
She read it over once, twice. A small frown on her face, she read her chapter once again. Not as the author, but as a person who had stumbled across her story. A gasp escaped her lips as she noted Shane was right. There were some points in the chapter where her prejudice against a specific stratum of the society had turned indiscreetly nasty.
Godhra riots had been a blot on the country's history, inspiring many books and movies. But to her, the book was her life, her destiny. Something she had to live with.
She logged on to YM hurriedly.
Goldline: Right again.
Rockfeller85 : Yeah, I know. :P
Goldline: :D Major editing.
Rockfeller85 : Shite. Sry.
Goldline: Good. You remembered.
Rockfeller85: You are seriously weird. What is wrong with that Q?
Goldline: The ceiling is up. You know better than to tick me.
Rockfeller85: Tick-tock. Boom. Don't be angry
Goldline: Its k Shane. Thanks again.
Rockfeller85: I love your story Suvarnarekha. Your writing is way good.
Goldline: Blush. Thanks.
Rockfeller85: No, seriously. Never stop writing.
Rockfeller85: NEVER. You get it?
Goldline: Aye Aye Cap'n.
Rockfeller85: Or else I will hunt you down to the end of the world.
Goldline: No need to go to the end of the world. Ahemdabad, India will suffice.
Rockfeller85: From US of A that is far. Oh, and if you leave that maha – gripping story unfinished I will surely come down there.
Goldline: You remembered the word I taught you. And used it correctly.
Rockfeller85: Anything for you, girl.
Goldline: Gee. Impressed.
Rockfeller85: You ought to be.
Goldline: Gotta go. Aunt's calling. Have not bathed yet. :P
Rockfeller85: Say hello to her from me. Bye
Rockfeller85: Who's he?
Goldline: Tell ya later. Ta-ta for now.
Goldline has logged off.
Suvarnarekha calmly took her towel from the dryer and walked into the bathroom. As the water fell on her body, she closed her eyes for inspiration.
There was a shriek…a flash of light…warm red liquid seeped into the floor…she looked up…a drop fell on her face..and another…
She dashed up the stairs to the open door… the room was empty, save two people lying on the rafters of the attic…Maa and Bauji..She watched as a drop trickled down Bauji's throat and fell down through the cracks…
She sat on her knees and tugged at the sari of the woman..It was green and flowery…She had been laughing the last time Suvarnarekha had seen her..her eyes danced with mirth and the wind played with her hair..Now her eyes were glassy and stared at Rekha unseeingly...There was no warmth..This was not Maa…This was not Bauji…
These were…these were just two bodies who looked like her parents…Maa used to laugh, Bauji used to smile…These do lying on the floor don't…
Riots had changed her life. Their house used to laugh, along with Ma and Bauji, Dada Dadi, Shyam and Sanjay. But now like every surviving member of their family, it rarely smiled. It was large, and the ghosts of the past settled themselves in the dark nooks and crannies, fluttering by the unsuspecting Rekha, gripping her heart with those unforgettable images – the blood, the grime, the tears, and the grief.
They laughed quietly in her ear, taunting. Life was not normal. It was never meant to be.
'You will always remain different. They will always look at you suspiciously. You are now an orphan,' they hissed in her ear.
She swatted them away, trying to fight the dark memories that rose unbidden, orchestrated by these ghosts.
They came back, more forcefully, more menacingly.
'You are now a child…of destiny. Mottled with grief of loss, marked with grime of destruction and squeezed by sadness of loneliness.'
She wanted to disagree, but the tears flowing on her cheeks gave her away.
The ghosts cackled again.
Only the quill and the parchment could keep them away. Their eager voices would drown under the incessant tapping of the keyboard and scratch of pen on paper.
Thud! Thud thud!
"Rekha? Rekha! You all right?"
She opened her eyes and turned the shower off.
"Yes Kaki. I am here."
"Oh." That simple syllable contained more meanings than a hundred, thousand words could convey. She imagined Kaku wiping her forehead with her pallav, hair sticking out from the bun and worry lining her forehead with the sweat.
"Come down. I have made theplas for you."
"Coming. Just give me ten minutes."
The footsteps receded. She paused for a moment, and then wrapped a towel around her shoulders.
Six Months later
She looked at the PM. It was the twelfth one in the week. The numerous offline messages did not help either. She knew he wanted to help her, but now she was beyond it.
Help was reserved for cases that had shown hope – he life was supposed to be lightless from the very start.
Her parents had named her Suvarnarekha – Gold line. How was she supposed to light up these darkened paths that she tread, when her inner luminescence had been sucked dry by one misfortune after another. Hope was foreign. Happiness was non existent.
Her profile proclaimed that she had left the site.
She read through the PM hurriedly. It contained the same things – Where are you? Why aren't you writing?
She sighed, an unbidden tear trailing down her cheek.
He did not deserve this. One of the only friends she had ever had.
I have had an accident.
I don't think I will be writing anymore.
God had to add an ugly scar and a hobble to her destiny. She was supposed to battle them, he must have considered. But he misjudged, Suvarnarekha thought, as she looked at the bottle placed in front of the photo.
Life may be a wonderful thing.
But for her, it had only brought numbing pain and insomnia. Maybe it was time to sleep.
Fifteen days later
"Rekha can you get the door?"
Rekha smiled at her Kaku's retreating back. There was one thing that Kaku never gave her – pity. She expected her to tackle every obstacle, and win. If it were not for Kaku, the bottle in front of the photo would have been emptied in a swift motion. She would have been free.
But nowadays even Kaku was not enough to hold her down. The bottle beckoned every night.
She hobbled over to the door, and leaned on the door knob. Finally, she swung the door open.
"Yes?" she asked, confused.
There was something vaguely familiar about the man in front of her. Even though she had never seen him before, somehow, she knew him. Those short golden hair..those deep blue eyes…
He looked at her for a moment, and at the scar that trailed down her neck.
"Suvarnarekha?" he asked hesitantly, the words tripping over the accent.
By now she was even more confused, "Yes?"
His face relaxed into a smile.
"I had told you I would hunt you down. Never stop writing."
The next thing she knew, she was lying on the couch. A frazzled and worried Kaku was standing above her. The boy looked at Kaku and back at Suvarnarekha.
"You okay, beta?" she asked gently.
Rekha did not reply.
She finished uploading the last chapter. With a click, she added it to the story and changed the status to 'complete'.
And as always, the PM came.
Hey again Goldline,
Very very very beautiful. I am not exaggerating.
Congratulations on completing the story.
I am not finished yet.
Then came the last chapter.
Thus ends the story of Suvarnarekha, the gold line.
Things that are not fiction are bizarre than that are, and life does wonders for one who refuses to give up.
Thank you all for accompanying me on this journey.
A special heartfelt thanks to a certain friend, who did more for me than anyone else could. Shane, thanks for saving my life that day.
I can never repay you.
Misfortune favours the brave, and becomes death for the faint hearted. And for the rest of us, there is always a friend by the side.
Written for the August WCC
Godhra riots happened in 2002 in Gujrat. It destroyed a lot of families, Hindu and Muslims this piece, Suvarnarekha's family has been killed ihn the riots.
Note: I have not written much about the subject of the book, because it is rather a sensitive issue.
Suvarnarekha literally means Gold line.
Tata - used as 'bye' in many Indian languages. Also the surname of an influential business family.
The subsequent names are the names of businessmen. It's a game me and my friends play. After saying 'Tata' the second responds with the surname of another business person and down the line till one of the friends says a name that the other cannot recognise.
Bauji - Father
Maa - Mother
Kaku - aunt
pallav - the end of a sari that hangs from the shoulder
theplas - a gujrati snack