An Idiot's Tale

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An Idiot's Tale

Cacography of a madcap story teller, JAYEETA GHORAI

If she (Nandini) wrote a book, if ever she wrote, it would be thin. A slice of life. Brevity is the soul of wit. Brevity. Summum bonum of life. The story of oneself should not get bigger than one minuscule slice. Any more would be giving oneself too much importance. 

                                                                                                                               (The Story of Oneself)

I ’ve decided to go ahead and post some fiction for a change, bored to tears of the current drivel.

That would not do – boredom.

Without variety, I can’t keep the pace. The sameness of things, as is the nature of all dichotomy, reassures and repels me. If I couldn’t break rhythm, swiftly, I’d be the first to run from this blog-ous enterprise.

Which wouldn’t do. Uh-ho!

No more. Running.  Away.

There are some about the right length and can double as blogs, not vexing readability across a static screen. Besides, they’d be published eventually, Faith reasoned, why not an early tasting for friends?

In the first PT meeting (Parent Teacher, of the strictly verbal, non-physical kind) of Class VII, dad was cornered by an enthusiastic English teacher. She was also my class teacher that year, and in months to come, the first Oracle to prophecy my gift. Most of the ladies spoke too much (except a Maths instructor by the same year closure, who startled everyone, including dad, and me, with a smile and summary one-line dismissal: I have nothing to say about her.)

I stood rooted in terror as they began, slowly laxing. I had just cause for worry. I wasn’t a ‘good’ girl by any definition, least my own. School was my Wonderland, the village fair ground where I took hoopla shots at the impossible, rode Ferris Wheels to dangerous altitudes of audacity.

I was studying alright, but with more fervour than drab text books deserved, wooing my best friend. At thirteen, romantic proclivities didn’t draw approving nods. Mine couldn’t have had, if I had had the sense to look about. Cloistered in a convent, a military Brigadier for mom, there were far too many crocodiles up my creek. At no time did their chomping jaws bother me more than PT meets, too late by then for any sobering or carpet sweeps.

What happened in that village fair, the unspeakable, needed to remain there. My teachers were exceedingly kind and unusually indulgent, most of them at most times. But one couldn’t be too careful.

Mrs (S) Banerjee finished, ‘The only problem is with the length of her answers. She needs to learn to be brief.’

Yes, I was in love with the pen – the initial discovery of my linguistic command had hit straight head. I was also under the false impression, now in high school, more sheets in the exam hall carried proportional weight.

I was chafed to be informed otherwise.

Shakespeare had got away saying the same thing in five diverse imageries, I uncovered in after years. I can only commiserate with the teacher for patiently meandering to the end of my answer script, and telling me, right before misshapen self-beliefs had time to germ, I had only a sister sharing the great quill-man’s birthday. Not one gram his genius.

Brevity is not the soul of my wit, I haughtily professed.

Confessed, ineptly.

I was that age when shortfalls are wrapped as defiance.

Now I’ve done it again, countered me.

Written stories under 2,000 words. Short shorts. Flash fiction. This new genre is pretty exciting. The sweat-and-deo drenched reader can get her daily dose of alphabet commuting to work each early morning. Heaven knows, the city is expanding, work places are a murder to reach and multitasking is so much in season. Short shorts, like instant noodles, is instant biblio-nirvana. Slim on the pocket and in the handbag.

As a yarn spinner, with multiple threads I cannot always deftly grasp, this is an excellent means to practice my game. Fast and easy to build.

Disarmingly less. Deceptively simple.

Depth always had a different unit of measure than length.

Next up will be, what had been, my first piece to get published back in 2006.




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