Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Stranger

Part 2

"I am Mythili Raghavan" she said again, keeping her last name intact. If someone pointed a gun to her head and asked why she faked her name, she would have no answer. Except perhaps wanting a change, a chance for change. She wasn't ready to go home, be transformed and marry one the several clean cut young men her parents had picked out for her. But she didn't want to carry the burden of the her life on the flight. It was easier to pretend, to fit in.

She smiled at Akash and spoke first.

"So do you work in the US?"

"No no, I am a musician, though technically I am lawyer."


Akash chuckled at his own wit. "Well I have studied law and technically working in my Appa's law firm as a Junior lawyer. Appa is a very famous lawyer in Chennai. You must have heard of him too - the famous Rangaswamy Thiruvengadam. But my interest is mainly in music. So I have told Appa strictly that I will work in office only from 9 to 5. After 5 I want to devote myself to music."

Shruthi was amused at his act of rebellion. She hadn't even finished smiling, when the next question was shot at her.
"So what do you do?"

In her panic, Shruthi said the most safest thing she could think of.

"Umm I am a software engineer. I was sent onsite by my company for 6 months and now I am going back home. So what kind of music are you interested in?"

The minute the conversation turned to music, Akash's whole frame seemed to exude some sort of exuberance. He talked about Carnatic music, Hindustani, fusion and even rock and heavy metal. He went on to discus music theory and casually mentioned the many many books he had read on that topic.

Shruthi gaped as her amusement was replaced with amazement. She listened intently, as Akash put various things in perspective and tried to teach her to understand Carnatic music.

The conversation flowed like water and she found herself talking, discussing, arguing. Whenever the topic became personal, she developed her fake personna further, garnished with many fine details. She talked about her 2 brothers and how they doted on her. She talked about Hinduism and her faith in Ranganatha Perumal. She ranted about working with computers all the time and how sometimes she felt the need to connect with other people. Her obsession with orkut and now facebook. And when he vehemently slammed smoking, she nodded in assent and added a bit about how she particularly she hated women smoking.

Shruthi was surprised at how easily she had fit into being Mythili. She wondered if she would have been Mythili if she had made a few different choices in the past. And judging by Akash's smiles and adoring glances, it was obvious that Mythili was a big hit. Akash and Mythili had the same upbringing and they lives were wound around the same things - Madras, filter coffee, Kapaleeshwar Temple, T Nagar. They had lofty aspirations, but they were mostly vertical.

Soon the flight landed in Chennai and they were at the baggage carousal. She got her suitcases first and turned to him to say her goodbye. He looked at her with an awkward grin. He wanted to get her phone number, email address or something, but he wasn't the kind of guy who did that often and he wasn't sure that Mythili would appreciate that sort of forwardness.

Shruthi sensed the gamut of emotions that was running through his head, as if his forehead had some sort of ticker display. What could have been is always magical, seemingly perfect; and reality can never come even close to taht. That was the gift that Shruthi planned to give Akash. He would always remember Mythili and the journey and he would think that if it had worked out to be more, it would have been perfect.

Shruthi smiled at Akash and walked away without a backward glance.

Edited to Add:

1 - I don't understand

Readers, I am in a quandry here. Initially I had wanted a Part 3 to conclude this story. But this ending really seems to finish the thought. So do you guys want this to be continued or do you want me to stop here? If enough people want another part, I will put up Part 3 next Tuesday

P.S I have another story lined up after this. So keep checking my blog :-)


Sandeep said...

Hey part 2 is good! Flying la thinking panni pazhachikidrala surudi!

Hey C'mon..I don't care how many people vote on this but I am gonna really mad if you're gonna leave it a this. There should be a part 3. I do not believe in stories being left hanging in mid air.

kaushik said...

I think this is a great place to stop the story :)

Kamini Santhanagopalan said...

Ohh my God! Janani, I'm now a big fan of your blog! :) Great thodar kadhai, pls do continue, don't stop it here :)

Hope you remember me from DAV Matric :)

Take care and keep blogging,
P.S: Btw, congrats on your wedding!

Sudarsan said...

Nice one!. If you had a Part 3 in mind, I would better vote to have that as a conclusion.

Jinguchakka said...

Stop here. Ending is perfect.
Sometime it is better leaving things to readers' imagination.

Looking forward to your next one.

P.S: Seems like I am going against the grain here.

RaviB said...

This is a good ending ! Like a maniratnam movie ends with a litle bit of a message and a guessing. So, go on to the next one and tell a personal third part to Sandeep.

I loved this one.

janani said...

@kamini - Thanks for visiting! Of course I remember you :-)

@Everyone - Thanks for your input and kind words. I have decided to stop the story right here, cause it feels complete. The next story will be up tomorrow.

Nimmy said...

very nice story! Waiting for your other stories! :)

Deepthi said...

U are a pro! Awesome :)

Ashwin Nakman said...

hey pls continue this story and end it at the rite point .this story has a great potential to b made into a movie .hey pls complete this story and show it to one of the movie directors .this is definitely a movie material