The write club Mar 2018 edition has a total of seven stories from seven different authors.
Because it was the month of February when I was working on my story, it is called, “That Valentine’s Day Story”, because I am oh-so-predictable! But then, it came out in the month of March, so I am not that unpredictable after all.
You could read a sample of the featured story (and my story) in this post and decide to buy the full edition of the magazine by clicking on the link below, or you could give it a pass.🙂
Either way, I am glad you’re reading this right now!
The kindle version can be bought (free for kindle unlimited users) from here
The Fire within me
~ Kartik Patiar
I was literally shaken awake from my deep, comfortable slumber. At first, the push was just a slight nudge, but then he tried again. This time the push was harder, but I wasn’t fully ready to get up yet. Just as he was about to give up on me, he must have thought to himself – why not try again? – And this time he put the Sulphur laden red-coated end of the match against the box and struck it hard, just like he had seen his mom do it. That, my friends, is how I came to life to the fateful day of the 7th of February.
He was probably shocked to have achieved something, that was meant to be done only by the grownups in the house. So he was certainly proud, but he was also confused. He knew he needed to control me, but how? – That he did not know. After all, his mom had always been telling him to stay away from the matchbox in the kitchen. It was of course for the right reasons – but he didn’t know those reasons.
You know, personally I have issues with parents these days. They just tell their kids – don’t do this and don’t do that. Why don’t they ever tell them the goddamn reason for not doing it also? – Maybe…well….just maybe their children will end up listening to them.
Anyway…. there I was…. Finally! In my full glory – all awake and burning down rapidly and eating into the wooden stick that the young boy held in his tiny hand. He watched me carefully now, the red-yellow flame glowing in his deep brown eyes. But as I neared the dead end of the stick, he felt me for the very first time.
You know, it is not my heat, it is your panic that gets you. But let us be honest he was merely a child, not more than say……. six or seven years old. Even a divine saint would have thrown away the match like the little child did, as I consumed the entire wooden stick and sought to spread myself on human skin.
Panic – now that’s another interesting human condition – You know we element kinds, we never feel anything called panic. We just be! Anyway, panic caused him to flung me far and wide, with the “still burning” match and out I went from his hand and across the room and straight through the open French windows on the balcony that faced the beautiful Belandur lake. Haha…yeah Ok I got that, scratch that – just THE Belandur lake should suffice. Well honestly, actually beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but let’s not call it beautiful, the last thing I want is you humans judging elements.
Now, before I proceed, lets clarify somethings. Of the five elements – I am probably the most mis understood one. There is absolutely no doubt about that. How do I know? – Well even Hollywood seems to testify that. I don’t know if Manoj Night Shyamalan qualifies as Hollywood or not – but even he ends up portraying fire benders as bunch of thugs. There you go – Fire is already judged! Maybe because people fear me over the other elements. But you see if I consistently keep getting low EQ scores on dealing with the human race, I will end up believing that we were never meant to be live in harmony.
You know the real fear? The real fear is that humans cannot control or pollute me. Like hell they have successfully managed to pollute earth, pollute water and even pollute the air they breathe themselves. For the record, “ether” as an element does not show up in most of our official Element management review catch up meeting sessions – So I won’t count her as a legit element – she has been short on attendance anyway. Must be on a sabbatical – who knows?
About the author: An E-commerce Marketing professional, Kartik also happens to be an avid reader, traveler, adventure enthusiast and an arm chair thought experimenter. He is extremely passionate about reading and writing about subjects that stimulate his mind. He can be reached at his email ID.
That Valentine’s Day Story
You are in the open air parking lot of your high-school, when you see her for the first time. You are drawn towards her—she’s the magnet, you are the metal. She has a name that you are scared to ask.
You see her again in the class the next day —packed with a few hundred desperately inane students, but none of them matter to you. The sinusoidal wave equations, if at all you pay attention, dance funny. And in the next class, the one about alcohols, phenols and ethers, you get up and sit three rows closer to her. The class after that—although you like limits and derivatives—is exhausting. The teacher doesn’t speak loudly, perhaps has a lisp, and the students—most of them—are either obnoxious geeks or teenage hooligans and you stay away from all of them. In fact, you stay alone, driven by an overpowering awe. Your admiration for her, from this point onwards in life, is laughable. Like your frayed and baggy, patchy jeans. Like your middle partitioned long hair. Like your cross shoulder unwieldy backpack. Like you!
You are awed by her for months, almost a year. A year and a half, maybe. You know her name now, you know she laughs a lot. You know, you aren’t the only one who is obsessed with her. You have overheard confrontations from some fuckboys in the alley. You have seen her name scribbled on the desks of the classrooms. You have seen her close friends being over-protective of her. You know she laughs loudly, maybe her friends are funny, maybe she’s always happy, or maybe she laughs only when you are around. These are just assumptions after all. You have never spoken to her. She seems unapproachable and you know you are still scared deep down. You have seen other guys being rejected, if not by her then by some other girls, so you are saving yourself from all the embarrassment. You know, you will never gather the courage to talk to her. And the day you do, pigs will fly in the air, in a flying saucer, full of Italian sausages.
It’s middle of the summer and you are in fourth semester of your college. You have found yourself some really good friends. You have learned a thing or two about life. Your hair is still long, your pants are still baggy and saggy, and your backpack, although less bulky, is still off-putting. You have not changed much, except you talk more now. You’re quirky, funny and somewhat likeable. You talk quite often about her, to your really close friends and they laugh. They mostly make fun of you, but you laugh along. They have no idea about what you really feel.
You haven’t seen her in almost two years, except for a few pictures from her school farewell days. Has she changed a lot? Does she have a boyfriend now? Which city is she in? Will she recall your face, if you ever bump into her? Should you approach her friends? You keep wondering. Her face flashes in your head when you go to sleep every night and you wake up every morning, with a hope deep down, to see her, to meet her, to be with her someday. You play her smile in your mind over and over again—even when you don’t want to. You have no control over yourself. Your ego doesn’t let you hang out with girls who like you for who you are.
Years go by, you are smarter, sharper and more confident. You have acquired a few vices, but girls and casual sex aren’t any of them. Almost all your friends are in a relationship, even the ones who couldn’t talk to girls without stuttering. Even the ones who reeked like pigs. Get someone, they keep counseling you, like that would solve all your problems. Like that would make you forget about her. Like that’s what you are supposed to do. Get someone.
You know the city and the college she studied in. You know where she lives now. You have seen her pictures on social media, in tagged posts, in event photos. All that yearning for years, and all that undivided attention—multiplies, every time you think of her.
You don’t know what the future holds for you, but you for sure, do know, what it must hold for you.
Your friends have moved their cities and have left you alone. They, in this superficial world, “have a life”. Get someone, they still advise you. They must care for me, you think. So you finally listen to them. You do get someone. Someone older than you, someone who is not your type, someone you can’t talk much to for hours without fighting at least once, someone who is perhaps not meant for you. So it doesn’t really last very long. Of course it doesn’t, because it was someone, and not her. You shouldn’t have listened to your friends in the first place. You sulk for months, because although it wasn’t her, it was still your first relationship and it did mean a lot to you.
A few months have gone by since your last break-up and you are half as sedated as you used to be. You care less. Your vices are pretty strong. You listen to a lot of aggressive hate songs and you relate to each of them. You think you have learned all the valuable lessons in life, and that you will never make the same mistakes twice. Now, that you have nothing to lose, you make fun of Valentine’s Day and mushy talks. You make fun of love, you make fun of people in love, you make fun of the “idea” of love, and you make fun of people and their beliefs, in general. But you guard your own emotions quite well and get upset when your mockery backfires. You aren’t really that strong you realize.
You do still think about her once in a while even now. You wonder if she even knows that you exist and if she does, will she ever acknowledge it, let alone falling for it.
Almost a year goes by and somehow, by the magic of the heavens, you two are talking—for the first time ever. You two are talking all day and all night. She knows everything about you, including your obsession for her and seems to be okay with it, maybe because you’re harmless, or maybe because she likes you back. You don’t know all that yet. All you know is that you two are more than just good friends. She tells you everything about herself and you of course tell her, everything that she needs to know—and more.
Valentine’s Day this year, does mean something to both of you, but neither of you want to accept that. Instead, she, is a bit tipsy this night and laughs (loudly) at your previous year’s misery. You make fun of her certain choices. You both are sort of—dating. It’s in the eyes, you can tell.
Few days from that day, you both are officially dating. Not a lot of people know about it, but that doesn’t change anything. You are happy, for the first time in your life. She seems happy too, in fact, she’s equally obsessed with you, as you have been with her for seven, eight, nine years or more.
About the Author: Well, that would be me 🙂. And you’re reading this on my blog. So …
About Write Club Bangalore: It’s a weekly meetup group of writers, that’s been consistently running for past 7 years.
Every week we assemble at 2 in the afternoon and write on a prompt given to us by the host. Then we read (out loud) whatever we have managed to write, one by one, and the host, or the other members of the club, tell us how good or bad the pieces are.
Post the writing session, we have coffee at a close by restaurant and we often debate (and/or joke) about everything under the sun. The waiters at the restaurant probably hate us, because we are usually very loud. But then it’s a lot of fun. I mean, I could go on and on about the group, but I can’t put it in words. Why don’t you check out the official website instead?