Sunday, November 11, 2007

Entry #23

A Tale Of Two Cities
by Abhinav Maurya

It is dusk in this city Imtiyaz calls his own. He looks unblinkingly at the rouge horizon as if searching for something, a lost jewel perhaps.

‘Brother, brother… Say something.’

‘Nafasat, Bombay is as much my city as Venice is abbu’s. Why does abbu not come here once in a while? Or maybe for the rest of his days? This is after all the city of his childhood.’

‘You know he won’t leave Venice. Besides do you not have any affection for the place that you grew up in?’

‘Listen Nafa, I have stayed here too long to think of moving anyplace else.’

‘I understand. But think about abbu. He is dying, Imtiyaz.’

Startled, Imtiyaz turns around to face his sister. ‘What do you mean?’

‘He is ailing. He did not want me to tell you this, but I have to. Come away Imtiyaz. Don’t hold such a long grudge against your own father. He has not been able to live in peace. Let him die in peace by forgiving him.’

‘If this is what you want, I will come.’

‘I’ll call abbu and tell him this. He will be very happy.’ Nafasat walks inside, leaving Imtiyaz alone.

Imtiyaz fails to comprehend the measure of his despondency. He just watches the bleak autumn sunset for a long time. That is all he can do right now.

Perched above him, the piqued brainfever bird looks down upon him with haughty smugness and flies to another bough, another abode, and another story.


Sarah Hina said...

Oh, to fly away from all our troubles!

I really like how you alluded to a darker history between Imtiyaz and his father. You've captured a lot of turmoil for such a short vignette. Very telling that it's a sunset for your characters, and not the more promising dawn. Nicely done, Abhinav! Really enjoyed it.

Abhinav said...

To speak in the character's language Urdu, a most beautiful language, thanks a lot Sarah for the hausla-afzai, and for noting the that I've used sunset as the leitmotif - it is sunset for the day, at the same time there is reconciliation that is usually associated with the end of one's days. It is very kind of you to think so highly of my story, especially since this is only my first short story and I'm only beginning to hone my wits ;-)

SzélsőFa said...

I also noticed it's sunset instead of sunrise. I liked your explanation.
Also, the story is interesting, with well captured characters and emotions. Well done.

Abhinav said...

Thanks szelsofa for your encouragement and for bothering to read the longer version of this story on my blog... ;-)
Somehow, I feel that many more nuances could be added, were the word limit not 250. But we must play by the rules...

Abhinav said...

I would like to say that I'm not trying to pass off my story under the name of an eponymous novel. The story really deserves it...

Becca said...

You've conveyed so much in just these few short lines. And using sunset rather than dawn does fit the rather dark feelings going on with your characters.

Very masterfully written.

desiderata said...


As non-US-resident writers, you and I share a common bond -- I too featured "sunset" and two "lands" as my canvas. But your story is better crafted. I'll raise a goblet of TT to thee -- Do you drink tehtarik back home?

Beth said...

What I find so amazing is how so many contestants/writers who don't speak English as a first language, write it so beautifully.

Dottie said...

Abhinav, the narrator's despondency feels very real. He isn't just going back to see his dying father he risks being pulled back into a place (and perhaps an identity) from which he has already escaped.

raine said...

Abhinav, the language of your story is really beautiful.
And this is your first short story?
Don't stop. You have a gift.

Abhinav said...

@Dottie: Thanks a lot for that!!! When I shortened out the original version of this story on my blog, I was afraid I might make the wrong cuts. But what you've felt is exactly what I wanted to convey.

@Raine: Thanks a ton for the encouragement! You do not know what a gift this is for the novice in me!!!

Abhinav said...

@Desiderata: It is only your goodness that you say my story is better crafted than yours. I absolutely loved yours and I'm sure a lot of other people did too.

@Beth: English is my first language; I speak in English all the time. Just like America a long time ago, India too was an English colony. And the English have been generous with their gifts ;-)

Anonymous said...

Making peace when there is no peace in reality. That's a situation I find terrifying. I liked the depth of human drama here.