55 Fiction: Neer...


The clouds were dark, but not really willing to part with the droplets that made it what it was.

The parched earth yearned for the water floating up in the sky.

Too long the earth waited; too little the water fell to the earth.

The gods smiled and said, "53 droplets are enough."

What is 55 Fiction? It is a fiction story, with all the basic elements of a narrative (plot, characters, setting, conflict), in 55 words or less (A non-negotiable rule). I saw this on Preetilata's blog White Window. It seemed a good idea, so I'm giving it a shot myself…

“A Crush on Delhi”


The title for this post comes not from my head. Coined by Kshitij Sharma (classmate, friend, fellow passionate-photographer), I do however share the feelings that simple line brings out. The city I grew up in, it's been my home for the last twenty years. I've seen this city breathe, live, and grow. One of the earliest memories I have about the city is the existence of the Double Decker buses of DTC. They were quickly replaced by the boring buses, and the longing to ride one of them remained but a longing. The city kept on growing though, and so did I.

It had been a long time since I had captured a moment of time within a little box… more than a year to be precise. Thus, when the opportunity presented itself, I did not hesitate (not even to bunk the Marketing Strategy class!) to get out of Greater Noida to come back to Delhi, the home housing my home. The one lesson I learnt that day was that City is full of surprises, some brand new while others ancient…

As always, when coming anywhere near Delhi, it was Connaught Place that beckoned us. Almost naturally, we drove down the roads that led us to the beating Heart of the city. However, the first surprise came in the form of a little detour near CP, that led us to a place called Bawli (correct that if I'm wrong there please) a water tank that was used during the Mughal era. Another interesting claim that I heard that day about that place was that it was a tunnel that led all the way to Agra. I don't know whether to believe that claim or not, but still it was quite an intriguing claim.

The most fascinating aspect of this monument was the sheer depth of the tank. Since there was no water there, we could see how far down the steps went, and from where we stood it was quite clear that the tank had been filled up. Another claim I heard there was that it was an 11 storey deep tank. This could be true, but the first question that jumped up in my head was the obvious… how did they build that tank? It goes without saying that a tank of that size would certainly not have been built first and filled up later, but the intricacies of the architecture certainly posed a difficult-to-answer question: how did they build the tank? Even the guard from the ASI did not have an answer to the question, but then again, that's quite okay. A few unsolved mysteries in life certainly spice up life itself.

I could have spent at least another few hours out there, but the main purpose of our visit to the beloved city was to go to Chandni Chowk. It was one place that has drawn me towards itself, like a moth to a flame, ever since the beginning of last year. I really cannot count the number of hours I've spent roaming around in the narrow pathways of Chandni Chowk, always finding myself at a new place, always presented by a new surprise in a different ancient looking shop. Interestingly, there was a door in Chandni Chowk that I had been looking for last year, but somehow I never managed to find it. Of course, last year I visited that place on my own, so almost every time I ended up getting mysteriously lost in the narrow winding lanes of the ever crowded market. This time however, by some sheer luck, I found that door. Nothing too elaborate, it was a plain old door… it was the memories attached to that door that I was chasing, and being presented suddenly and quite unprepared-ly by the one thing I was hunting for so long last year, it was a bit of a bittersweet moment for me. Just thought I'd mention that here, no real purpose of saying it as such…

The view down the lane towards Red Fort was as mesmerizing as always. The main road of Chandni Chowk, the hubbub of traffic all around us, the shopkeepers screaming their "dishcount rates", the constant flow of people, a crowd that has a life of its own, the food stalls on the footpath meant for people walking, the wafting smell of the delicious tikkis being fried on one of the largest frying pans, the old paanwaala who made the paans while I took a zillion photos of him… even that old man with the most magnificent white beard, who wouldn't let us photograph him… it all reminded me of a time that I miss a lot right now, a time when I wouldn't care about where my feet were taking me, as long as there was a camera in my hand, and the Life of Delhi to capture in its frame…


For a long time now, I've written things that are - for the search of a better word - made up. To make it sound better, I termed it all as fiction, but then again fiction is based on reality. The base for my stories however, were never the life that has been mine. Where they come from, that's another story though, belonging to a different time and place.

The purpose for writing this "collection of words" - again looking for a better term there - is something that I'm not really sure of. It's just that I was reading the old entries on the blog. The thirst to read those old entries was something someone said to me today, that jogged the memories back a few years. And, just like Music makes you relive the past vividly, the trip back to my past - in my head of course, there's no such thing as a Time Machine... yet - was the most vivid of all memories I've had in a while. It's true that out here, with college and a million things going on at the hostel, it's almost impossible to have those times. So all in all, I was really happy for that overdose of retrospect.

Yesterday was something of an eye opener for me, something of a weird eye opener actually. While I was lying down on the bed waiting for the IV medicines to kick in (that's intravenous meds... yes, I had to get a shot to stop the vomiting yesterday! Again, another very thrilling story, but won't really fit in here), it suddenly dawned on me how much of an overtime my guardian angel has to do all the time. I mean, of all the parties that I've been to, of all the times that I've been sloshed, I've never once thrown up as violently and continually, as the night before... and it was the one time that I had the good fortune to have 2 qualified doctors present in the party, and neither of them as badly drunk as I was!

But I'm not here to write about my drunken escapades. That would come later sometime... we'll see when. The memories make for a much interesting topic to write about, so I'll be sticking to that for the time being. Weird and unconnected memories, for example, of coming back home from the Maths Tuitions at 1 in the night, a cold December night in Delhi, on my bicycle. Stopping in front of the little hut of the colony guards, warming up in front of that fire they had before rushing back home, and to a warm and strong cup of Black Coffee... one of the most essential ingredients in staying up at night to study.

Fast forwarding to the time when I started writing the things that are there on this blog, brings me to the second year of college. The summer vacation during that time, also brought about the first real "job" that I did. I remember being psyched about going to "office" the first few days. Didn't take me all that long tp figure out that I was doing almost nothing compared to the actual work scene, but still it was one helluva experience.

Coming back home in the evening, going out in the evening with friends. A couple of espresso shots at the nearby Barista, a few hours of "literary" conversations; these are the ones that inspired me into writing those early, and stupid, poems that are present in the blog as well. I wonder what it was that made me write those weird and dark poems, and what the heck it was that made me publish the same poems... that too, oh so proudly!

Life somehow always ends up as one helluva ride, and whenever you look back at the times that were most trying, you always sit back and wonder... did I really go through all of that, or was it just my imagination? I guess that's what makes these overdoses of retrospect so much fun... in a sick, not at all fun way!!