Chapter 4

Written by: Tulika Saha

I do not recall the events of the later evening or even the next day. I just remember the ache and the blur. I had reached home in a daze. My jaw ached as if I had just been punched. Needless to say, the prospect of the next meeting was not something I was looking forward to. But God, did I need this job?

I stared vacuously at the walls of the room. They were still adorned with my photographs which showed me receiving awards, winning trophies and strumming my guitar, surrounded by girls. Here I was, a lonely man. Suddenly, I longed for feminine company. "Neal," my mother's voice called. "Are you coming down for dinner?" I gathered myself together, sighed and went down to sit at the dinner table. The loyal Sanathan was the only one left from the retinue of servants my parents had employed. My father had been a renowned doctor with a thriving practice in three districts. I lowered my eyes avoiding the paint patches on the walls only to notice the cracked tiles on the floor. They seemed to be mocking my state, just as the world was. After all, such a large home needed money, which I was wont to spend, for its upkeep.

"Why are you so angry, Neal?" my mother spoke in her gentle voice.

"Ma, don't start again! Everyone provokes me and then blames me for losing my temper!" My mother flinched at the aggression that had crept into my voice. She restrained herself and questioned me no further. Sanathan carried a tray of alien food in. "From the lady who had visited Ma. They are for you babu," he said addressing me as he did when I was still a child. I recognised the cup cakes at once. I stood up having lost my appetite, pushed aside the plate and left the room. 

I decided to go for a walk. The moon had risen, painting the Eucalyptus tree silver. A pleasant cool breeze relieved the sultriness of the summer evening.  The cloudless sky mocked my befuddled mind. Why indeed was I angry? My life had been really 'cool' as the tech generation would put it. I recalled the songs I had sung on the college stage and how my friends had applauded. ' You are an artiste, Indraneal,' my art teacher had said. The 9.5 on 10 I'd received on my stories and compositions flashed before my inner eye. I reached my favourite nook and sat on the bench. A branch brushed my cheek gently. I tugged it closer to me. It was my solace … had always been since I could remember. 

Suddenly,  I felt my cheeks grow moist. Why? Why, hadn't I agreed? Nothing came to mind except the ghosts from the past who still had the power to move me. 'Babu, Babu!' Sanathan's voice called. I wished to wring his neck then. I swallowed, breathed, released the branch and headed towards the house.

Comments

Tulika, this is a very nice chapter and you write with much feeling. However, you need to look at the paragraphing, especially as in the third paragraph where you have two people in dialogue. There are also a lot of sentences starting with the same 'I' Your creative side is brilliant so now we need to polish and smooth. I really like this chapter. Look forward to seeing more.