Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Collected Short Fiction of Chintu Parekh

This is a book that has never been written. Its author, a short, inconsequential man with a toothpick mustache and impeccable teeth, was never alive. He has no mother or father, no wife or children. He doesn't wake up in the morning to the shrill eruption of an alarm clock. His feet don't slide into plush slippers, his morning shower isn't hot, his breakfast table isn't sprinkled with cornflakes or toastcrumbs. The train station near his house isn't crowded with strangers who aren't waiting for him to occupy his usual seat opposite them. They shuffle on to the train without him and open up their newspapers as if he never existed. They are wise.

Chintu Parekh does not work. He knows nothing of paychecks or deadlines or income tax. He doesn't ride an elevator to the sixth floor and follow a frayed carpet to a cubicle decorated with family photographs. There are no telephones that insist for his attention, no emails that flash across his screen waiting for an urgent response. He doesn't carry a lunchbox smelling of sandwiches. At lunchtime, when all the others are busy inhaling the exotic aromas of takeout or frilly home-cooked leftovers, Chintu Parekh doesn't sniff the air and feel his heart break at the hint of parathas. He doesn't nurture any colleagues or water-cooler alliances. No woman waits patiently for his attention or fastens any hopes of a secure future on to him. He does not carry a cellphone. He certainly never sends text messages. When work ends, Chintu Parekh does not go to bars or nightclubs. Not wishing to be comforted by strangers, he subscribes to no carnal virtue.

In the evening, when night closes around him and the dinner plates are never cleared away, he doesn't sit at his desk and write about his life. He has no ambitions or regrets, no disappointment or failures that haunt him to eloquence. ("Chintu Parekh, Kahan jaa rahe ho?" is never a question he asks himself.) He does not feel his soul shrivel with loneliness at the thought of a life spent alone among shadows and strangers. There have no been no past loves, no failed affairs. He does not excavate through memory to locate slivers of contentment, measures of a live well-lived. Chintu Parekh cannot do that. He was never alive.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha..what is this! its annoying..saddening..inviting. I want to be Chintu but then I want to be everything he is not.


Adore the last paragraph :) Chintu never asks himself kahan ja rahaye ho but he's said everything we ARE in all that he never does..sigh


Lovely piece.

10:52 AM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

Anonymous: thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

11:52 PM  
Blogger mystic-soul said...

Very well !!

What a lovely written piece..my all hats off for you..

Can I reproduce at my blof with full credit to you ?

11:52 AM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

mystic soul: thank you. i'm glad you enjoyed reading it. you're welcome to post it but it's just a bit of whimsical writing, i'm not sure why you would want it.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous mystic said...

its very different....

It has a feeling of such emptiness that we all have inside somewhere it leaves a scar.

On other spectrum, it tells the story of unsoul people living around us.

Very smartly written.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its beautiful.
Nothingness felt to its core.
Its like "not to be" is the question...
I actually want to comment but I feel like Chintu myself and right my thoughts are surrounded by "nothing" but Econometrics, which is econometrics. Too bad, I have an exam but I will read it again and hopefully feel it.
Question for you; do you think Chintu is free? This wierd thought just occured to me.
Its amazing and you should write :)
Its a blessing.
Imagination, that is!
Laters,
A.

4:57 PM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

mystic-soul, anonymous: thank you for your comments. i'm glad you enjoyed reading it. though i have to admit i hadn't intended it to be half as profound as your lavish comments seem to indicate!

2:05 PM  

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