A few months ago I started to write, It seemed to me I had a lot of ideas. Enough to write a book.
And, well, as expected I wrote a few words and just couldn’t get back to it. Maybe the problem is that I would always think about what to write next without my laptop in front of me, Or well, I just didn’t know what to do with the character I ‘created’.
Well, I’m sharing the first 1000 odd words here, maybe that will push me to write further…
Thanks a lot!
– From my Miserable Office Desk, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
15th February, 09:17am.
Here it is, I’ve named it Dasvidania. (Good Bye in Russian)
Chapter 1: Dasvidania
‘dasvidania’ she replied.
‘Dasvidania.’ Anton typed.
For a split second it annoyed him why the d wasn’t a D.
They called him Uncle OCD in school a long time ago. He doesn’t remember their names, friends.
‘You should have a lot of friends, but only one whom you truly open up to’ his grandfather had said.
She was it.
With a dimly lit lamp by his side, he sat. Throughout the nights, occasionally during the days. He had come here for a reason…it was getting blurred now…
Shaheen Bagh wasn’t a place where you could think without getting disturbed any time of the day. Trucks rolling with their musical horns, almost as a message to everyone sleeping, “Get up you sleepy suckers, we’re not going to work alone right now”
He didn’t mind, he’ll just make one of the drivers die in an accident in a small layer of his story. Anton had been like that, silent all his life. Words-written were more powerful to him than words-said. Never participated in debates, never held his hand up when someone asked a question. Never gave his opinion; not for free anyway.
They thought he wants to stay in India, carefully careless India, so that it might squeeze a drop of creativity from within him. That’s what he had wrote to them.
All he really wanted was to be away from familiarity.
Four weeks down the line, still confused, still still. Anton decided to let it go. With New Delhi seeming to be at a cross roads of sorts with ‘Paanch Saal Kejriwal’ and ‘Abki baar, Modi Sarkar’, Anton mused how everything here seemed to be more about personality than content.
Kejriwal: the underdog with nothing to show for except a 49 day stint as Chief Minister of Delhi after which he quit.
Modi: the prime minister of India, the King of the brown people, the saffron people.
He dialed Ram Kumar and 20 minutes later his loyal new friend waited in the black and yellow Ambassador downstairs.
‘Good night sir!’
‘Good night Ramu!?’
‘Sir, its night right now: 2am!’ his lips curved on the right side
‘Hah Ramu! Drive me to Connaught Place. We have time, no rush’
Apollo, Mathura road, NFC; confused names in a seemingly more confused city. They passed a dozen more such areas and buildings and slipped into Bara Khamba road. 12 towers.
‘You need anything sir? You’ll either get beer or tea at this time. Oh, and street food; paranthas maybe’
‘You’re a good man Ramu. I don’t need anything, I just want to see if this city can really stay still for a while.’
‘Good man? Thanks Sir, but good man always has stuff to do, the bad man is the one always smoking and drinking. So do you want me to take you some place?’
‘Ok, take me to Pallika and let’s sit on the grass for a while. And get me a vodka if you can’
‘I come prepared Antun sir. I didn’t work at the embassy for nothing! Cold box and 2 bottles in the trunk’, Ramu winked.
‘Anton.’ he said with a smirk.
He never liked giving up too much detail, Anton, the writer who didn’t look like one. “What good is a book, if you have to describe every single thing you want the reader to feel? Let him be the judge, let his mind chose a cover for your book.” – Wise words from a wise old man, Master Chekov. And so Anton’s first book was a plain white, hard bound, 263 page novel. Very small text written on the bottom right side, in words ‘Two hundred and sixty three’: Master Chekov had that effect on him.
“Welcome, my boy! Welcome to the most distinguished and most ridiculed career an engineer could have chosen…!” roared Chekov.
“And how many Roman engineers do you know, master Check?” Anton’s face stood inanimate except for a curve that so often comes on the face of people following their chosen path.
“Aren’t we smart? Mr. ‘author’ Antonio la fabulosa!”
“Aaah, we are what we don’t think we are!” said Anton hugging his master.
A drop of human emotion falling on both their shoulders…
“You need to stop doing that, you know? ‘Italian’ coming out of Russian lips, the only thing Russian lips are good at is Vodka, Master Check”
A sad “Ha-Ha” said the Master.
“You never reply to Sir, Saaheb.”
“Sorry, i drifted off, was thinking about someone with whom I sometimes celebrated with a drink. Ummm, did you get it?”
“Yes, i found a guy who talked to a student from Ladakh, i have it in the car”
Anton was dropped home at 5 in the morning, a small brown envelope with a slight bulge, resting in his jacket pocket.
He goes in, sits on his Bamboo sofa, and passes it from one set of fingers to the other without looking. ‘This should have the answers’
Anton was half asleep when he woke up to the sound of the day’s newspaper hitting his third floor balcony door. Every single morning the news came flying to him, sharp 5:35. It amused him, the talent of the newspaper boy, if only the Olympics had a medal for this sport. India would have a guaranteed gold every 4 years.
He sprinted to un-string the baton shaped newspaper and take a quick peek, “Shahid!!”
“Tomaarow Uncle, promise!” he answered with all the strength possible in a 13 year old boy who’s cycling without sitting on the spring seat. Slightly losing balance but he grips the U-shaped handle firmly and gets back on track.
‘Anton…’ he sighs…
‘Anton Zolnerowich!’ the Nurse had written, the only thing that proved Anton had a father was written two blanks above his…’Maksim Zolnerowich’
‘Dasvidaniya’ she had replied.
‘Dasvidaniya’ he had whispered.
Lisya Zolnerowich was a simple woman by Russian standards. Vodka was not staple for her.
Belief was something that she believed in, and she saw the irony in that.