The Stranger

(Reposted from a write-up dated April, 2007)

Author’s Note:

Writing fiction after a break of more than a year would never be easy. Choosing it from three topics along with the names of the two judges revealed, one hanging right in front of you with its two intimidating hands ticking off every second would be the most difficult challenge. Moreover setting up a verbal boundary of 250 thereby curbing the realms of imagination would be Mission Impossible. With so many obstacles it needs a genuine writer to pull off a winner. But humans are cunning and I qualify for that. A direct rip of an original with a few taps from his drum would make the music his creation. When posed with the task of writing fiction in an hour I chose the original and gave a few round-offs to the facts. So friends of my unknown world, I present you my work of fiction. And friends who know me, I plead your forgiveness.

This short story was written for a competition that was held at MCity, Infosys in April 2007.

The Stranger

Little did he know about the stranger who would be calling him within the next 15 minutes. He sat unblinking on the couch staring at his home phone with an heart pounding more than 72 times a minute and thoughts racing from ‘Steven Spielberg’ to a ‘Porsche’.Twenty-two years of his life he had scampered from cinema halls to DVD complexes plunging to watch the movies he had yearned for. He remembered every instance of his participation in Ad-Zaps, Skits, Cultural events which shot his creative nerves to exciting levels. A science student by education, an engineer by profession, he had forever wondered how his passion was going to define the future. “Love for Cinema” was what he had sustained and realized only within himself. Long Shot – he saw his retiring father smiling with tears at his engineering degree.

The Phone Rang.

He got up from the couch – with two steps of confidence, a clear throat and a hand of nonchalance as he picked up the phone.“Hello”, he said.

“Am I speaking to Mr.Sridhar?” asked the stranger.

“Yes, Sridhar here”, he replied.

“Hi Sridhar, This is Robert, from the Techno Software Park. Our company has been very much impressed by your resume. Your interview with our Human Relations Team showed good skills of your communication. Moreover your acceptance to relocate and work 24 X 7 in this highly demanding software world has instilled greater confidence in you. You have been appointed and are requested to join our company the coming Monday. So see you on Monday and Wish you the very best for the future.”“Thanks a lot, Sir”, he said and placed the receiver down.

No emotions crossed his body as he slowly sat down on the couch. ‘Steven Spielberg’ waving his hands in farewell flashed across his eyes and tears trickled down them. He thought about his parents. The Job would make them happy. He would be able to make merry and party more with his friends. The whole world would start seeming to get so close but he knew – he was always going to be a stranger to himself.

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Published by

Tipu V. Swaran

I think too much and thats my problem. Trying to think too much of what to write about myself, I tend to think too much and yet again of too many things of what I think I am... Oops, Sorry! I told you!! So let me put it this way - I am little bit of too many things... You call me, Emotional...yes I am! You call me, Rational...yes I am! You call me, Sociable....yes I am! You call me, Reticent.... yes I am! You call me, a Romantic... yes I am! You call me, a Cynic... yes I am! You call me, Brilliant...YES I am! You call me an Idiot...hmm, just dont say that out loud! After all, "Life's a box of Chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get" ***************************** ** "Gentlemen, tell you what. Don't just tear out that page. I want all gone - history. Leave nothing. Rip it out ! Rip ! Be gone, Mr. J. Evans Pritchard, Ph.D. !! Rip ! Shred ! Tear ! Rip it out ! I want to hear nothing but ripping of Mr. Pritchard !- We'll perforate it, put it on a roll ! It's not the Bible. You're not gonna go to hell for this. Go on. Make a clean tear. I want nothing left of it. Rip ! Rip ! Rip ! Rip it out ! Rip ! Rip it ! Yeah ! Rip it out ! This is a battle, a war. And the casualties could be your hearts and souls. Armies of academics going forward measuring poetry. No ! We will not have that here. No more of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. Now, my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and language. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. I see that look in Mr. Pitts' eye... that 19th century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school. Right. Maybe. Mr. Hopkins, you may agree with him, thinking, 'Yes, we should simply study our Mr. Pritchard and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions.' " "I have a little secret for you. Huddle up. Huddle up ! We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering; these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love; these are what we stay alive for." To quote from Whitman: "O me, O life of the questions of these recurring. Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life ? Answer: That you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be ? " ** - JOHN KEATING

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