The following are snapshots of a plot that I had in mind for a long time. Written now lest I forget later. The title of the story would be Permission to Die (if I ever get to write it completely). I wrote the first chapter on this blog sometime ago. I never got to write the remaining chapters.
It is a crumpled piece of paper. Marks of blue ink are littered over the piece - showing words scribbled in a sense of urgency. But now, some of the words are smudged into blue swatches, owing to droplets of sweat trickling down the paper.
His mother clutches the paper tightly with her nails, and her hand goes limp. He looks into her empty and colorless face, and then looks up at the ceiling.
He looks at the nylon rope hanging down into a noose, and at the paralyzed body suspended in lifelessness. The body of his father.
At the age of twelve, Shiva begins life as an orphan. People say that his father commited suicide over financial burden. And that his mother died a few months later.
8 years later
This day, the small town clerical office is not its usual self. A tiny stereo player is plugged at the corner - playing music in full volume.
"What is this music ? ", Shiva asks.
"This should be a disc of my nephew. He came down for holidays. I do not know how it got mixed up with my stuff."
"Do you know who the artist is ?"
But the name is etched onto the disc. Bob Hansen - Crosswords.
"I am going to meet this man.", Shiva declares.
The colleague guffaws in reply. "But where would you raise the money to journey to the USA !"
3 years later
"This doesn't work any longer, Bob. These strange noises don't make sense any more. You owe this to us Bob. So buckle up your chords and do what you should do."
It has been three years since he had that conversation with the recording company. It still haunts him.
Rupert Hansen tries to steady himself. The stadium is roaring with the din of the crowd. They are in hysteria.
"We want more. Yeah, we want more."
Rupert flings the guitar around his neck and walks down the podium.
"Yes bitches. I am your whore. I am your whore forever."
7 years later
The bottle contains a colorless liquid. It emits no smell. A needle quickly sucks it up into a syringe.
Again the void appears.
Why doesn't he take that instead - which would put an end to everything. Poison.
He lost track of time now. He doesn't remember the time he had any food or any sleep. But he needs money. For this, he has to do that odd piece of work - for paying his rent. For bribing the cops. For getting what he needs.
He picks up his satchel and starts walking.
"Hey you ! You come here. You tramp ! What's your name ?"
He moves towards the cop who is beckoning towards him.
Because Rupert Hansen no longer exists.
The next day
"You are mistaken, Indian fellow. I don't play music."
"No. I know who you are. You are Bob Hansen."
"How do you know ? " Rupert jumps up in alert. "I'd rather die than play for you, shit. "
"Please. I just want you to play one single tune. "
Rupert picks up his guitar and strums on it violently.
"What do you want eh ? Bamboozled ? Midnight fever ? eh ? "
"No Bob. I want you to play one from Crosswords."
Rupert twitches. Then he picks up the guitar and starts playing. He starts playing with rank contempt. But he soon gets immersed. Then he plays with a vengeance. The air reverberates with rising crescendos. He plays for thirty minutes without break.
"Are you satisfied ? Now get the fuck out of here !"
Shiva doesn't stir. He then produces an ancient Shehnai from inside his bag.
"No. I want you to listen."
He draws air into his lungs and starts playing on the wind instrument. He reproduces the music exactly, copying note to note with matching tempo. Then he starts to improvize. He starts playing unexpected combinations. The music starts sounding totally new with very novel permutations. But magically, they all fall in place with the tune.
Bob stands there in a state of shock. He has never listened to anyone playing like this before. He has never imagined this music before, though he invented that tune years ago. Shiva completes the final crescendo.
"Now Bob you piece of shit ! You can fucking die !"
Then he leaves.
1 year later
"Mr. Bob Hansen, you are asking us to do the impossible. How can we trace a man in a country of one billion people, without a name and without a picture? But sure Sir, we will do everything that is possible."
"Thank you officer. "
Bob Hansen doesn't carry any hopes that he would rediscover the man that walked into his apartment last winter. But he knows that he can reach him.
Because wherever he is, that man would be listening - to what Bob Hansen plays.
There exists no lover, there exists no beloved. There exists no fan, there exists no favorite. All that a man needs to motivate him in life is a challenger. Without a challenge, life is worthless.