This was a wonderful space to hang out in and share our thoughts! But now we've all moved on and simply left our memories behind :-) ...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Nano Love... [My Favorite Post] (AakASH!!!)

This story, that I wrote one silent evening of a late spring 2 years back, has always been one of my favorite stories. Today I'll share it with you. Though there is nothing great or unique about the storyline, but the way I see it - it stands out. It has been one of my most popular stories as well, one that got me many friends. Read on and let me know:

Nano Love...

It is a small station somewhere between New Delhi and Moradabad. The station name has been eroded by gnawing fingers of time, the once black letters are now just specks on a faded yellow, like random spots on a panther's skin. The paucity of railway tracks when compared to the needs of a burgeoning population, translates into many trains apportioned onto single lines. And thus often one gets to be a victim of the so called shunting operation, when a superior train is given a priority over another which has to wait in the sidelines. This train is the victim of one such operation, it has been shunted.

The discomfort of the dying spring days when the summers are just a tinge in the offing is apparent. The slight humidity and the unexpected warmth in the sunshine sends travelers scuttling out in the open to catch the colder wafts of fresh air. While he sits behind at his window seat, cursorily scanning the dusty platform outside, at another world made up of a potpourri of people in the motley of India. Beggars along with the First-Class waalas all jostling for space at the coveted patch of shade beneath a spring painted verdant green tree. One whose name he had once asked from his father, but now no longer remembered. The novel that he was reading lies open, inverted in his lap to hold the pages where they were. Giving a pause to a story that is already static.

A twelve year old thrusts a water bottle through the window, ‘Thanda Pani’; and but he shakes his head. The scene from Swades swims slowly across his eyes, yet there are no tears, what was a revelation for the hero is everyday for him; and he knows that the water bottle that now poses as mineral water, is actually tap water wearing a false mask. Like humans do. A man in a torn yellowed cotton vest deftly makes samosas, out of the flour and mashed potato; his hands follow an automated routine practiced over years, a habit forced by hunger and time.

It will be two more hours before he reaches New Delhi. Hours protracting with every stagnated minute.

An engine whistles in the distance, its sound signals its steady advance. He looks outside at the sudden energy pumped into the platform. Like a stone hitting the bottom of settled dust in water. And then as he looks, another train pulls itself on to the other side of the platform. The hawkers and vendors, who had given up their hopes from his train, now move to the other side.
In his fight with ennui, he looks at the window opposite his own. There she sits, with her back to the window. Her hair, like dark waves caressed by the rushing wind. She seems to be talking with someone. As she talks, her head gently shakes, making wavelets in the cascade of her tresses. She lifts her hand and pulls her hair, to tie them in a loose bun. The warm day gives him an excuse to gaze at the slender curve of her neck, and its gentle nods. The fair skin contrasted by the navy blue with red paisley patterns of her dress. While her crushed dupatta lies dragging from her shoulders. From here, he cannot imagine the texture of the fabric; neither can he look at the smoothness of her skin. From a distance, imagination is the only substitute for reality, and interpretation is just a faithful surmise. When she shifts a little, he can see the curve of her cheek morphing to her chin. A silhouette of a profile that is part obscure and part evident. There is something about her that seems familiar. Something that asks to be seen in totality, even if for a moment.

The water boy is two windows away from her. He hopes that she will turn when the water boy approaches her. The ennui is reborn as delicious anxiety. A subtle sense of mystery that emerges as a nagging desire to see her face; like the want of a little wish, a glass of cold water in the hot summer days, or a child asking for a slab of chocolate when he sees one. Wants unfounded in logic, yet confounded in being. There he is now; and the next window should be hers. She suddenly gets up to fetch something from the upper berth, where she might have put her luggage. He breathes in relief when she settles down, and maybe for a half second he had a glance of her face. But glances like these are not satiating, they are like catalysts to a chain reaction. Like trifle accelerators to the alchemy of desire.

The engine whistles again, while the water-boy looks in his pocket for change to complete the sale he just made. There is a slight jerk as the loco slowly starts to gain momentum. He knows his train is moving, yet now he wants it to stop even if just for a moment. The water-boy is at her window now, he sees her turn her back to face the window. As her hair move out of the frame and her face starts to reveal itself, the TTE comes and asks for his ticket.

Life after all, is not lived in days, or hours, or minutes, but in ironic moments. Yet some of them possess the magic to repaint the entire canvass. It just takes a moment to love, and another to die. The stories like cell-phones get smaller with time, and evanescent dreams live their entire lives in nano. Born and dead in the blink of an eye, but some carry on. They thrive in the reflections within the glass house of thoughts fueled by the fires of burning imagination. There lies the essence of beauty, in being a joy forever, in a treasured strain of memory of a stranger, whose face one could never see. Of a nano love, that even if for some moments, did give a reason to live.
Though nano.


  1. such a beautiful story..... nano love indeed.....
    btw, kind of reminded me of a story by ruskin bond... "time stops at Shamli", read that??

  2. wow aakash..
    wat an awesome post.. its written so beautifully, i felt i was in the train watching the entire scene.. remarkable indeed..

  3. love the way uve described everything...really lets u get a feel of it all...i have to ask, any particular book that u were influenced by to come up with this wonderful piece?

  4. very touching! quite descriptive...lve those minute details

  5. like today everything that is nano sized is interesting so is this really short "nano love" story. :)

  6. honestly i enjoyed reading this...i like it when i can visualize what i read...and this one did that..

    thanks for making it to IHC tdy vyom:)...i had a lovely time and i hope u did too with us :)..

    wl upload d pics and put in a post soon:)

  7. nice story...really keeps one on the brink of curiosity.....i found your style akin to dan brown's ( especially reminds me of his novel da vinci code).....

  8. Aakash ty for this great post! I think ur a great writer...u hv a fantastic view of life.

    **Life after all, is not lived in days, or hours, or minutes, but in ironic moments

    Spot on! So darn true.


  9. @Sam: Thanks for appreciation sam, and no i havent read that story but now since you mention it, i will. :-)

    @Diya: That was the intent of writing it. Thanks for validating my efforts. =)

    @Michelle: That is a trick question 'My Michelle'. =) Let me say all the books i have ever read. Thankyou for liking it and letting me know. Anything for a beautiful one!

    @White Forest: Nano details, arent they? Thank you so much! :-)

  10. @nclgirl: Indeed. :-) Thanks for taking time out to read it.

    @Ishi: Meeting you all, was a total pleasure Ishi, so you need not thank me for that. And thanks for your words of appreciation, a writer needs only these. =)

    @Shooting Star: You did? :-). Though that was never the intention, but i am glad you enjoyed it. It was GOOD to see you.

  11. @Keshi: Have kept this one comment totally for you, after all its your Birthday today!

    Happy Birthday Keshi!

    Thank you for reading and appreciating this piece. Our life is full of such moments. May you never find irony in them though.

    Wishing you the best of everything. :-)

  12. Wow..Thats pretty impressive! Did not know u can write stories. A step up in finding out.:)


  13. Wah Kya baat hai ... Hum ko tho pata hi nahi ke aap itne acche story writer ho ...Indeed very beautifully written :))

    Loved the way you have described it ...very nice Aakash :)))