Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Stay near

The Finkler Question (Man Booker Prize)Charlie Rose (January 24, 2001)The Pulitzer Prize Collection (13 Books)Wolf Hall: A Novel (Man Booker Prize)The Untouchable

Life out side, originally uploaded by Deepa.Praveen.
"Let me get one more day out side?
Another bright day?
I don't know. They said, "I am fit ,fit for living alone".
They found some one else more terminally ill,than me.
So i ,Mrs Margret,75 is fit for living alone.

So i am back, back to my studio flat. I am alone.
Chair in the corner of my room is empty.
Mrs Beth died few weeks back,other wise she will be here by this time. Gossiping about the new found neighbours or the street boys new affair , followed by the silent hours.
Before going back to the her studio flat (it is next to me) she used to compare the wrinkles in my hand and hers.
YEah i had more,inside her heart it may gave her a reassurance that i will go first. But the first turn was not mine. She got the token.

Other corner of my room there is my old T.V set. It is not of any use now. There was a digital switch over and i need to make some phone calls to some agencies. Usually they will charge a fee, but for old people they do it free. But the phone call. How i can make a call , i cant walk upto that corner alone, i cant see the digits in that phone, yes i can hardly lift the receiver,that is all what i can do.
So now my t.v set is in a way resting in peace );-.

Which is the last movie i saw" yes zorba the greek", oh now i dont want to think about that film again.I cant imagine the death seen of Madame Hortense, how terrifying the face of those two ladies sitting in the corner waiting for Hortense death. Waiting for death with the hope to get first hands on all her belongings. Is there any one waiting here for my death ,what is left in this room for them.

Near Hortense there is a cross, but i am an atheist. I am an atheist. Now i regret being an atheist, if i go to Church at least i priest may come and see me. It is not for getting any eternal bliss,but i need the presence of a human being here. But what to do i am an atheist.

Atheist.When i heard the word for the first time. It was him the man in oxford bags. Anie lewis my co-worker in the factory at that time told me, it was oxford fashion.His high waisted trousers with wide legs often made me laugh covering my face with my hands. He used to wore a tweed flat cap. He was different from the other factory supervisors. He was a war veteran returned form world war II.During the lunch break he walk around the small lake near our factory . One day he found me.

Myself, the shy 18 year old, stood there shivering. He came towards me. First i felt that fragrance,smell of a perfume, later i discovered it was " Monsieur Marquay".
The first gift he gave me was also a perfume bottle, it was my Christmas gift from him, "Diorissimo",that during Christmas. It was a white Christmas, after 6 long years of acquaintance ,it was our farewell time, he was going back to Swansea,the place of coal mines. He got a permanent job there , his family lives there and that Irish girl too.

What was her name, yes Clinda,did he actually loved her i don't know. But he kept her letters with the perfume smell, in his wooden box. She lives with his family there in swansea, when his family migrated from ireland to swansea,they took the little girl clinda with them, for she lost her family in war. I understood, through the girl, they got a fortune aswell. That may be one reason his father took her as daughter in law,they were waiting for the war to finish for the wedding bells,but after war Dermot came to lake district,for re construing our factory. Once i asked him why? he smiled.Said nothing. I can count i spend 2002 afternoons with him. But he said very little about his family.

He was concerned about lot of other things, what were they, even now i don't . What they were actually meant,class struggle, united Europe economic and political integration. There were many things he was worried about but the only one concept or ideology,that is what he call it, attracted me was "atheism". He told me it is not against theism, his version is different, when we born we have no idea of god or holy cross,it is something given to us by others. He asked me why should you carry it, if you are not convinced." So i turned as an atheist. After that i have never been to a Church.

He was against rituals and traditions, so he was against Christmas celebrations but before the departure,that Christmas night in 1956 we meet near the lake. He gave me that crystal bottle,he said it was designed by some one called Baccarat, it is in the form of an amphora, and the stopper has a magnificent flower bouquet in gilded bronze. He said, it is a belief if a women wants to get kissed she should apply the scent all over that place and he removed my jam per, it was a white chirstmas, i felt the stopper above my heart i closed my eyes, then i felt the warmth of my jamber again. I opened my eyes he was there facing towards the lake not towards me. We stood there like that for few more seconds, he turned towards me, lift my arm, it was a kiss, i can still feel the fragrance. What was the last two words he uttered. He said something. He left.

Pain of departure, i learned how to with stand that.
So i felt nothing when Rossy my elder sister ran away with that Egyptian dancer. Later some one told me she is a belly dancer some where in Egypt now. What happened to mark, my youngest brother ,on one fine day he disappeared from home,and turned as a mule(young drug racket member),and later he became an addict of heroine, at that time when some one involved in drug business turned as drug addict, they out caste him from the group. He feared the same, so one day he reappeared before me with Steve, his 56 year old OG( short form for the administrator of the gang) afterwards Steve started living in the same house.

Initially i was against it, but i said nothing because as a 30 year old living alone, needs some sort of security there. At that time i was living in council house , govt used to dump Pedophiles and drug addicts there in that locality. So presence of steve was a blessing in a way,so decided to go on with it.

Steve was different,we seldom talked to each other, but i used to cook food for mark and steve, they came by mid -night. So mornings i found few pieces of chicken or steak missing from the plate. Not often. Street gave a new name for me "bellamy". By that time i learned to ignore things.

It was another Christmas night steve came home alone,with out mark, he was wounded all over .

HE asked a favour for the first time, a place to hide for couple of days.
I Locked the door of that council house for the last time , the only place i know was my earlier colleague Aniew lewies home, after her marriage she moved to some where in the suburbs of London called St .Albans. One thing i remember is the name of a pasta food factory. With that it mind i started anthoer journey. We took almost a night to reach St.Albans. It is a long way from lake district.

We were introduced to St.Albans as husband and wife. Till steves death i hide the reality even from anie. Steve lived his other 12 years in bed as a disabled husband. Myself, started working as a shop assistant in a small book and music store. Started reading again, listening to the gramaphones.

Never been to Church or any other social organisations. We were alone. Alone for a life time.

After steves death i moved to this flat ,this is near to my shop. My shop,how can i say that? I spent my 25 years there,that is the only right i have. When i began my career it was the pop music era, so the middle aged shop assistant in a colourful music shop was a mi'sfit. But Bran, my shop manager allowed me to continue, he was a middle aged partially deaf man. So the kids named our store as oldies store, later every body forgot the name " Bran books and music store." Brans kid jovet started answering the phone like "good morning oldies store".

When i came here jovet was just three, Bran was struggling as a single parent. Jovet had sleeping problems,frequent nocturnal awaking. He used to bang his head and bit his hands ,watch the one and only micky mouse cartoon again , never allowed any body to change it or put another video tape,he had unusual eating habits. One day a doctor came to the book store and saw the pattern Steve made with toys. Then he had some words with Bran. Bran called me and introduced to Dr.Thomson. He said ,steve got some sort of a disease . So he deserves more care and attention. That day onwards i got a child it was very hard to move my life with jovet "my violent rat", he went to special schools some times the therapist came home and he started attacking them ,but he was nice towards me. After a while he started responding positively towards his treatment. But as a present i got several wounds and marks in my body. But it was alright, it was alright.
Later he took charge of the store. One day he said he is going out with a girl and i meet Mariam. They got engaged. It was Mariam who asked me "are u going out with the old chap".yeah asking about "Bran".
No never, only once he tried to hug me that was only once,when jovet dropped that iron box into my arms, every one there in our store insist to move jovet to the rehabilitation home,it was the sixth similar incident in that particular month. But i placed jovet under by coat . Did i said something. I think no. After everybody left the room. Bran came towards me and hugged. That was the first and last time. Did i tell that to mariam no, i didn"t, certain questions doesnt deserve an answer and an answer cannot satisfy the person who asked the question. They are asking not for an answer but for the question.

When Mariam told me there are planing to open a supermarket by the name oldies it is evident that they don't need the presence of this oldie any more, but they were so nice to me they gave me an old grama phone. Cant u see the one,near that t.v stand. It is the same one.
Hey what is that moving near the corner. Is it a shadow.
"who are you?"
"I cant raise my voice any more ,who are you?"

Shadow moved,it is man,no a boy, no a man ,yes i cant see his face,he is coming towards me, yes i can feel his hands near my nose, you don't know how happy i am ,there is the presence of a human being in this room, i am no longer alone.
That is the thriving force i took his hands and kissed.
He tried to pull his hands back, but i kissed violently again, am i crying.
yes i am.
Thanks for coming in dear, i was so scared to die alone. I want some one to stay near me, please stay.

He replied in a confused voice, I am,just, just passing through the street.

I am Mikael george.

"Mikael george" i heard ed that name some where, oh yes he is son of a gangster,his father once came to store. Jovet had a fight with one of his gang members. Bran tried had to solve the issue. Now his son too?
"Are you a gangster?"
What a stupid question it is.
Never mind, i am going to die. So i can ask anything.
There is a silence, "Yeah" the sound is too low.
"This is my first task. I know you are a gangsters wife."
"Gangsters wife?"
"My dad meet your husband in lake district and I think you got something like a diamond,once you were out for work i have been here with my dad,it was long years back and they started drinking and my father repeatedly asking about some diamond, but your husband always evading that topic but at the end he revealed the truth,at that time he was unconscious he put that diamond in a perfume bottle which you always carry. And he insisted my fahter should not steal it until
Maggie's death and take only the diamond , keep the bottle near your body.But my father was sleeping and after few hours he woke up and he was angry,so he ,he killed your husband."

Silence again.

"well well i am here, i got married recently ,she is an Irish girl, now we want to move from this place and settle somewhere else,not as a gangster, i heard south west wales is calm and quite, so we are planing to move to Swansea, i don't have any money. Then i thought about you. I heared you are terminally ill but back from hospital, if you die, no body will think it is a murder, I got some dealers for the diamond and your gramophone,so i ,i am sorry, i am really sorry. But ,but why you kissed me,it is...?"

"shh...Don't talk to much kid it is annoying,just stay near me, i will die soon,before this sky turned black. After that you can take the things, that perfume bottle is below my pillow,take that with you when you go out, take the bottle as well give it to your girl as my present. Ask her to keep it in your living room. But please stay with me for few more hours,if i didn't die before the dawn put your hands once again near my nose ,this time i wont kiss you,i wont."

It is hard to face death alone my child, hard to die alone...stay with me


Retromus-ik said...

You're a great writer! The way this story jumps from one anecdote to the next is quite similar, in my opinion, to how an elderly person would recount a story;)

Itzme said...

Thanks my dear friend ,retromus-ink,it is my first story writing experiment in English.
And u are my first reader thanks a lot.

radhika said...

suuuuper story! i was hooked right from the start! the natural flow in the story compensates the occasional errors too! keep it up deepa, you are doing great :-x

radhika said...

suuuuper story! i was hooked right from the start! the natural flow in the story compensates the occasional errors too! keep it up deepa, you are doing great :-x

Bitter Truth said...

WOW!! What a brilliant story :)

deepz said...

wow!!!!!! great work...

itzs correct..its tough to face death alone...stay near always....

pinkapplecore said...

"He said, it is a belief if a women wants to get kissed she should apply the scent all over that place and he removed my jam per, it was a white chirstmas, i felt the stopper above my heart i closed my eyes,...he turned towards me, lift my arm, it was a kiss, i can still feel the fragrance."

"certain questions doesnt deserve an answer and an answer cannot satisfy the person who asked the question. They are asking not for an answer but for the question."

that kissing part gave me chills!! You really should write more, you are exceptional at it! I loved the story!


one little simitopian said...

hello! Thanks so much for following my blog :)
Keep up the great writing!

Marina said...

I loved it - was absolutely caught up from the beginning! You should write more fiction! Great work!

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