Tuesday, August 19, 2008

THE OTHER END OF A CIGARETTE

This would be my 50th post! Thank you for making LIGHTER SIDE possible! I wrote this story on 7/3/2008, to be precise. Yet, I wanted this story to be a special one, for it is my most favorite post after RAJANIGANDHA. Though the story didn't win me any prize for the creative writing contest for which it was actually written, I don't know why- this story remained to be my favorite!


Saket. A dream, a hope- a friend. He was life. I met him on the first day of our college. I was new and friendless- a castaway. He was then, a hand over my shoulder. A cigarette that we shared then, had bonded us for life.

A life lived, shown itself on those lines across face. A face that had once been handsome- charming. Spread on the couch- in an easy, lazy way, with one leg on the couch and other hanging outside it- his shoulders looked as though they could bear not, any more weight.

Saket knew a person by their eyes. He knew almost everything about everyone. May be that was why people adored him, for he never said anything to anyone what they did not want to hear. Everyone needed him and he was there for everyone.

“Can you get some water for me, Shabd”? It was weak- not the one that I was used to- his voice. It was tired.. No, not tired. It sounded fresh. As though it had not come out for years- not that it wanted to, either.

The cafeteria could never be complete without Saket inside. He always had his place reserved or rather the place had itself reserved for him. He would either be treating or be a part of it, himself. Some other time, when crowd is less, you can even find him with some girl or two. Now, he wouldn’t like me to tell you that!

He always drank his water, chilled. But today, he poured some on his face, his body- his mind! And when he let go of the bottle, he looked as though he had never relaxed that way- not for many, many years.

He hardly attended any of his classes. So it wasn’t a surprise when he didn’t attend any of his classes that day. But then, it was odd. He never attended his classes thereafter. We tried contacting him- that day, the next and the next. We tried calling his home. But it was as though his life had had a wash out- a trail on sand, washed away by water!

Saket opened his eyes. Eyes that could once make anyone yearn to see them all their lives- it had lost its soul. Lifeless, he looked at me and smiled. It was a smile that had been locked away in a cocoon, yet bursting to get out after a long exile. And I smiled back; a smile, too true to be expressed in words. How I had longed to see him do it, and it had been worth it!

“Can you light up a cigarette for me”? I did as he asked me to do. He smoked. Saket was born again from its ashes. He passed it to me. And when the other end of the cigarette touched my lips, I knew- Saket would never leave, again. For he, was alive- again!

129 comments:

descrying the shadows said...

brilliant description ... simply brilliant ... though it leaves a lot of question in the readers mind .. dont u think so ..?

Rajesh said...

Firstly congrats for having posted 50 posts...speaks volumes of ur blog readership and above it, your creativity.. Kudos!!!!

As the former said, it puts forth a lot of questions to the reader...in fact i read it twice.. now the narration was as always typical of u meaning SIMPLY AMAZING!!!but it doesn't really go deep into the character..

P.S: What made u want my comment?? anything special???

Matangi Mawley said...

@ descrying the shadows..

:) thnk u! yes- the ques. precisely wd be- where did he go and wht did he do..? bt neway- i thought the story from the narrator's point of view.. he doesn't know abt wht his friend did or where he went.. so- i d rather call it an "episode" of shabd's life..

Matangi Mawley said...

@ rajesh..

thnk u! thnk u! :)

on wanting u'r comment- well- u'r last few posts have reflected my own thoughts.. to a huge extent.. i was only curious wht a person who almost thinks like me would comment on "my fav post"..

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Well written!

Congrats on the fiftieth post :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@ sameera..

thnk u!

Rajesh said...

@Matangi
Oh fine...we share similar thoughts is it???Thats great...pleased to meet u...n thanks to blogger...well.. i loved reading...jus like how we share similar thoughts, i'm hope i match up to ur creativity level one day

Matangi Mawley said...

tnx rajesh..

a new philosopher is born said...

congratulations!!!! for the 50 the post!!! thats great!!!
i guess the reason u like this story more than anybody else is because, u have hidden something behind the story - a something ( notice 'a') that we reader see as a teaser and u have the priviledge of seeing all....it was nice reading it

a new philosopher is born said...

hey can u explain ur comment on my blog!!! i am puzzled

Amber Light said...

Very beautifully written. This post is like viewing half a painting. You try to imagine what the rest would be like... when you dont get to see the other half there is discontent. cause you want to know if that half matches up to your imagination. but then it is not as disappointing as seeing the other half and knowing that it does not.
You have a wonderful way of bringing the reader into your writing.
Congratulations on your 50th post. :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@ the philosopher..

thnk u! :) guess u r right abt me liking the story..

n yes- my comment- i thought u d ask me.. i see- these days, it s rather a trend- a fad- to "create" relationships! frm tht episode tht u d narratd abt a girl wanting nt wanting to tie u rakhi- i jst felt tht wht she did made sense- n u 2, frm wht u d written, i guess, sensed the sense..! (?) i dont think tht requires ne BIG explanation to explain tht i ve completely understood wht u ve tried to explain..!

Matangi Mawley said...

@amber light...

:) tht was a beautiful comment! thnk u so much!

Priya said...

Congrats on your 50th post and keep writing.

You are pretty good in writing stories Matangi.

Matangi Mawley said...

@priya..

thnk u! :)

priyaa iyer said...

Nice Post ma'am
Congratulations on ur 50th post!

Keep posting!

Priyaa

nikkita said...

well...
hey..it was a brilliantly well written story..
it took me 50 min after i read..to think and write this comment...
i wass left with so many questions..popping up in my mind..
*a bow*
gr8 work...
keep posting..
cheerz!
lv:nickku

Matangi Mawley said...

@padma priya..

:) tnx! :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@nikita..

wow! thnk u so much!

nikkita said...

n BTW..
congratz for ur 50th post...
thats an achievement in itself..

blogrolling u..:)
cheerz..!!
lv:nickku

siddhu said...

congrats yaar,on your fiftieth post!!!!

& a superb write-up once again!!!

Matangi Mawley said...

@nikita..

:) thnk u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@siddhu..

thnk u!

Alok said...

Mmmm, that was intriguing... and hence very involving! :)

My personal interpretation, after rereading it about 3 times (:D) would be: even the strongest of pillars might fall. That even strong people like Saket might make mistakes.

That their mistakes are heavier and much more powerful than what common people make. But they can rise back again, back to their strong selves.

I'm not sure if it was intended, but I felt a hint of drug addiction.

Matangi Mawley said...

@alok..

no drugs yaar! :)

bt u'r interpretation was really good.. similar to wht i had in mind.. :)

thnk u!

Misty Rhythm said...

there's such a wonderful calmness in the story...

very very very well written!

Matangi Mawley said...

@misty rhythm..

:) thnk u!

Shruti Sharma said...

a very goood post.....very attractive one. nice work keep it up!

Matangi Mawley said...

@shruti..

thnk u! :)

Crystal.. said...

Touchy!

And simply flawles..

Matangi Mawley said...

@crystal..

thnk u!

Vinay said...

you tell a story like no one else...
the names of the characters are picked so uniquely and the words eloquent...

its a surprise to me matangi that it didnt win u a prize...

it poses some questions indeed...
congratulations on no.50 matangi... may u reach a 100 soon...!!

Ps: whens the next 5 part series? :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@ vinay..

:) thnk u!

i don t think i m cut for writing series.. so.. not anythin soon i guess.. i never planned to write anonymous as a 5 part series as u know.. it came as a surprise.. bt it has left me- bored.. ! wondering mhy? coz i d to think of same plot over n over again.. same characters.. nothing new.. i like working with short stories better.. they finish in 1 read n readers r completely unaware of wht s in store.. :) i might write a series again- not sayin i wont- altogether.. bt after sme time- when i d really plan it tht way- nt by accident!

Vinay said...

umm...yeah... but me back with cat again... :) return by reader request actaully... didnt think anyone might like the first series but it turned out better than i expected....lolz...

Kartz said...

Felicitations on your 50th post! And what a post... Profound, to say the least. You are quite the raconteur, I'd say!

May your refulgent writing carry on for days to come...

Matangi Mawley said...

@vinay..

:) tht s gr8.. i m on queue!

Matangi Mawley said...

@kartz..

thnk u! :)

Hakuna Matata said...

We bonded over a cig ... I can almost imagine that...!

Matangi Mawley said...

@hakuna matata..

:)

Arjun said...

As someone said, ur writings are like a painting or like a poem.....
The usage of words, so unique and refreshing....
y dont u try a hand with poetry??

And about ur stories, i feel they r not presented exactly as it is in ur mind... I always feel there is more to the story that is actually presented... I some how feel incomplete... but again, it might be only me who's feeling so....
Hey but no offence meant uh... U r a class above other blogs truly for ur amazing writing creativity...
Posting the 50th one, by itself proves the fact..... Congrats...!!

Cheers..!!
Arjun

Matangi Mawley said...

@arjun..

thnk u! i do write poetries.. nt often though..

n nt jst u many ppl the way u do abt wht i write..

tnx again! :)

RiverSoul said...

First, congrats on your 50th post. May you have many more to come:)

Now, abt saketh, he is an interesting character.
Also, i feel that he has made an error. Something unavoidable. And he has accepted his mistake. He is willing to try to move on once more, now, and leave his past behind. Your referrence to the phoenix confirms this fact.(rising from the ashes of the cigarette.)
A wonderfull post, in all.
And i feel there is much more to come.
If so, boy! I cant wait:)
:)

Matangi Mawley said...

@riversoul..

nice observation! :)

thnks :)

Comfortably Numb said...

For me the picture was more intriguing than the text. Not to mean that the text was any less but then....Congrats on your 50 Quality posts :)

Cheers!

Matangi Mawley said...

@comfortably numb..

thnk u!

Dj Sandy said...

Wonderful.. It was so awesome experience.. but tell me one thing does a cigarette is the only thing that can bond us? I found it pretty hard to digest that you worked your story entirely on something which is ruining the youth.. SMOKE... that goes with air and leaves us blurr.

Congrats on your 50th post.. Kudos

Matangi Mawley said...

@dj sandy..

i m not sme social worker.. it was based on 2 friends who smoke.. n ppl smoke, ok? may be i shld hav postd "smokin is injurious to health" before postin my story..

thnk u neway! :)

Vikram K. said...

congrats for crossing 50 posts mark...
your blog is awesome. I visited first time here.
now I'll come again 'n again

flyingstars said...

I have just short of words...every time I read your stories it just makes me wonder with your way with the words & amazing creativity...lovely!

Scribblers Inc said...

good stuff...It always feels nice that there are a good many of your ilk out there...new story up..teme what you think!!:)

Scribblers Inc.

P.S.-a lot of people have questions as to the story not being definitive...dont pay heed...always good to leave a little zing at the end, dont you think??:)

sourav said...

your post succeeds in reaching the heart of a person.....wonderful expression of words and specially the line where water washes away his life.

you are a writer in a true sense..i get engrossed in you writing skills.....the simplicity and emotions which every word holds is just amazing....keep writing mam!!

Matangi Mawley said...

@vikram..

thnk u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@flyingstar..

thnk u so much!

Matangi Mawley said...

@scribbler..

thnk u! i d surely drop in.. n yes.. i usually like to leave things unsaid.. sme dont like it.. bt afterall i write for my pleasure.. :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@sourav..

thnk u so much! tht was truly pleasing- u r comment!

Vinay said...

umm... do vist my poems blog sometimes too if u can... i donno if u like poems much, i post more often on that one...

Matangi Mawley said...

@vinay..

i sure like poetries.. ll do soon.. m actually tryin to handle too many things at once these days.. so ll do whn i d find time..

Kishore G said...

Wow...creative writing...
It leaves a lot of unanswered q's to the reader and thats the interesting part.

Probably I would be glad if u post the continuation of the story through Saket's eyes.

RINZU SUSAN RAJAN said...

ahhh... 50 th post... indeed an acheievemnet...!!!

but dont u think u somehow tried to support a smoker...coz i hate smokers and smoking...
i cundtconnect to the fact that smoking can connect u some way...

Shrey Gandhi said...

well written...amazing work..
:)

Matangi Mawley said...

@kishore..

thnk u! i ve no intention of writing it thru saket s eyes hw evr..

Matangi Mawley said...

@rizu..

thnk u! nice tht u dont like smokin..

Matangi Mawley said...

@shrey..

thnk u!

dreammer said...

well written!!
congrats for your fiftieth post.:)

Matangi Mawley said...

@dreamer..

thnk u!

Alisha said...

somethings beautiful.. cant put it to words!

Matangi Mawley said...

@alisha..

thnk u!

kamal kannan said...

read it thrice...i have a short attention span in the sense that i dont hang around in posts that are too big...but u'rs was damn good...
1)u didnt reveal anything in the post untill the very end..so i had to read the full post..
2) The title was interesting to start with..
3) poor me...didnt get it the first time so had to read it again and again...
so wats my rating...4/5 and a thumbs up to u...
and u win a place in my blogroll...i'll keep visiting..do keep posting..

kamal kannan said...

and how on earth do u get so many comments :(

Lena said...

some really good work here... but i guess too much unsaid, could have left some hints for the readers :)

But after all you are the author, and it was your decision what to let us know and what not :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@kamal..

thnk u!:) guess u get the readership by readin other blogs.. :) earned it hard way considerin the fact tht i d been arnd here since 2006!

Matangi Mawley said...

@lena..

thnk u!

Indrajit said...

Nice one.Seemed very matured.
Go on with ur works dear.
M proud to have u as my reader.
Tk Cre.

olimpia said...

hello again....I dont know where am I !but for sure into a ART GALLERY where I can see a vaste items Art's colection .... congrats for the 50th post!

Matangi Mawley said...

@indr..

thnk u! :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@olympia..

:) tnx..

Srividya said...

beautiful. You have a unique skill of writing well and gripping the reader's attention. I encourage you to use this skill in promoting our Hindu cause. Narrate stories from History, Scriptures, Religion etc. And spread the word around. People will read and be inspired by you. Good job

Matangi Mawley said...

@srividhya..

hey.. tht s a nice suggestion.. i ve indeed written a story based on krishna n yashodha.. wd be posting soon.. :) wd notify u whn i do do it.. thnk u!

rampantheart said...

50th post?Whoa!It's gala time, Matangi!:)

Well, the post impressed me, yes, but there was a lot of confusion. I guess topic topic is pretty unusual. You sure must be lauded for trying something entirely different.Kudos!

Matangi Mawley said...

@rampantheart..

thnk u!

the basu said...

an ideal short story...it leaves us searching for the ideal explanations to many a loose string...the anti-climax was fascinating..
my first visit to your blog...am greatly impressed...blogrolling you.

WORDSmith said...

Congratulations for reaching the first 50 of the many 50s to come... Well done...; on reflection, what a journey it would have been...; excitements, expectations and what not...

Many a stories became the legendary story that they are today after it has been incubated for a quite a long while, Matangi, at times to the utter disappointment of the author. It may be a 'delay', but not a 'denial' of your talent...

...and if it is a 'denial' too.. who cares? Do you believe in yourself and your talent within? That's what matters most... (duh! that turned out to be a lecture!!!)

Keep going...keep thinking...keep writing...

You can't hold back a river...; it has to flow... and flow it will.

Manikandan said...

Nice story! A real cliffhanger... This is your first post i read and u made me read more... And congrats on your 50th post.. I know how hard it s to do that... I suggest you try www.storywrite.com for constructive critisicm.. I'm a member there and it is a nice place to get useful comments... I hope you don't mind me adding your blog to my blogroll..

Raghav said...

Congrats on ur 50th Post. Thats really a great thing. I cant imagine. How many more years I would ahve live to achieve the 50th post in my space. lol,

And story.. good. When I read the title, I was preparing myself to read about the evil effects of smoking.
But it was pretty good.

feardbond said...

It makes me wonder!!!If,this din get a price, which would!!!!one word-AWESOME

Matangi Mawley said...

@the basu..

thnk u so much!

Matangi Mawley said...

@wordsmith..

:) it sure was one bog adventure.. full of uncertainties.. i don't believe till this date tht i could ever be so committed to sme thing! :)

thnk u.. tht was really a gr8 comment n u ve made me feel so confident!

Matangi Mawley said...

@manikandan..

no i dont mind.. n i ll sure chk it out.. thnk u! :)

Matangi Mawley said...

@fearbond..

:) thnk u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@raghav..

thnk u!

MAN IN PAINTING said...

congratulations on the 50 th post..
nice post
keep posting..
cheers!
MIP

Matangi Mawley said...

@man in painting..

thnk u!

arvind1187 said...

congratz on ur 50th post !!!
as always very creative .. beautiful too
could have been a bit lengthier just when the story grips us it comes to an end
where do u get such unique pics...even in ur orkut profile i find pics like these..
where ???

Raphael said...

as always, beautiful.
and tagged u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@arvind..

thnk u! :) google.. need nethin? jst google them out..

Matangi Mawley said...

@raphael..

thnk u! ll chk it out..

Rajesh said...

Since u say that we think on similar lines, i wud lik 2 c how u comment on my recent write-up, a topic i strongly i beleive in :)

Madurai citizen said...

congrats for having posted 50 posts
Well written!
great!!!

Matangi Mawley said...

@rajesh..

ll do..

Matangi Mawley said...

@madurai citizen..

thnk u!

d SINNER!!! said...

nice one ya...

keep writing, congrats...

Vinay said...

blog updated...do visit...

Crimson Feet said...

hey... here after a long time! in fact have been quite inactive last month...
and this was a really wonderful read to come back to! thanks!.. this story IS like a painting, except that it possibly has a little more visual appeal! ;)

gotta read ur anonymous series as well!

c u arnd

Matangi Mawley said...

@d sinner..

thnk u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@vinay...

sure.. ll do it soon..

Matangi Mawley said...

@crimson feet..

hey.. nice to have u bck.. n thnk u so much..

c u arnd too..

Mann said...

Mawley, I am sorry for delay-----

Well I liked the story teller's character, its unparalleled strength and his confidence in his friend's existence! (Do I need to explain more?)

You have portrayed this character perfectly!! Enjoyed reading it!!

Mann

Matangi Mawley said...

@mann..

thnk u!

Tiger said...

hmmm.. huh...

Matangi Mawley said...

@tiger..

? !

suramya said...

hiii, I loved the description and the way you brought out the picture, but call me dumb, I didn't understand the end :(

Abinaya said...

hey there!!
it was awesomee!! :) lovveed it..
n n..i got the first prize for the same event, n i wrote it on the same topic as well! right nw, am so totally bowled over..A beautiful piece indeed!

ananya said...

tht was a gr8 story! i wonder why u didnt win.. m sure the judges didnt get u'r story.. might ve misplaced u'r story sme where.. else this is sme piece tht s bound to win! so profound.. u'r characterization of saket is so perfect.. it reminded me so much abt jugs..! i called over my dad to read it.. he agrees tht its gr8!
u ve got the gift, yaar!
keep writing!

SANGUINE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SANGUINE said...

hey an amazing story....u cant keep ur eyes off it seriously..i loved it...and between congrats for ur half century.. ;)
keep writing

RiverSoul said...

Blog updated, matangi.
:)
Your visit is necessary.
:)

Priya Joyce said...

superb very well written don't really hav words to xpress it really.
It was so very brilliant u must be sum prson of gr8 depth i am brolling u.

Matangi Mawley said...

@suramya..

thnk u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@abhinaya..

:) wow! never thought i d even get a cmment like this! thnk u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@ananya..

hey.. i know.. reminded me a lot abt jugs.. ! :) thnk u so much..

Matangi Mawley said...

@sanguine..

thnk u!

Matangi Mawley said...

@river soul..

ll do tht soon..

Matangi Mawley said...

@priya joyce..

thnk u!

Rohan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rohan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rohan said...

Ruddy brilliant mate..!!Keep it going..!!although lot of questions..!!but then life is a mystery anyway :P

Matangi Mawley said...

@rohan..

thnk u!

shwetha said...

Hey nice one truly! It was now i got time 2 visit my co-blggers. Gonna add u on y blogroll sooner. Kudos fr havn posted 50 posts. I heard frm Vinay that ya da most experiencd blogger around(vinay-my classmate). Thanx fr visitn my blog. Keep up da gud work.

manisha said...

i rmemeber u commenting to me about this post! i read this now:) which i should have read earlier!!

echoing decrying's comments, yes it leaves you wuth a lot many questions in ur mind, but the excitement is in not revealing them!:)

and it's like you both are the extreme ends of the cigarette....one burns and the other doesnt, the other is alawys there ..jus like saket was for u:)

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