Skip to main content

A quick tale 110

A Russian author is read

This woman, who has small feet, lies on her bed reading Dostoevsky. She pauses to place the book face down on her stomach. Then she lifts her head and plumps her pillow with both hands. She drops her head and sinks instantly into the recent plumpness of the cushion. She picks up the book and as her eyes graze listlessly over the text of the 'The Idiot', her mind wanders.

Tomorrow she will tell her colleagues at the accounting firm where she works as an executive assistant, that she spent the night reading Dostoevsky. She will make sure that she says 'Dos-te-ove-ski'. The Russian way to pronounce the name. Then she will go on to tell them about the apocalyptic framework of the book, the characters and their conflicts penned across a moving landscape of pre-Soviet Russia. She will talk about it during the second half of the lunch break so that her colleagues give her more attention than the sandwich in front of them.

And later at coffee break, Brian, the handsome one, will mention how well-read she was. She reads some Russian author and all, he will say. And everyone around him will nod in assent. Some years later, when they will have moved on to different jobs, someone will say something about their favourite author and someone else will say, ah, I used to know this girl from my last job, she has even read Dostoevsky (pronouncing it 'some Russian author').

For the moment, the woman whose feet are small, shuts her eyes and sleeps a dreamless sleep.


so the woman whose feet are small assumes no-one else, atleast not Brian, reads the 'some Russian author' :O)
IdeaSmith said…
Funny things we do to make people remember us, don't we? Very nicely written.
monu said…
needed to read ideasmith's comments to get point..

good one...
Mythili said…
nicely pointed out the doings of humans craving for recognition all times.
As always,u have excelled in presenting it.
ahiri said…
nice Ammani .why did you want to know abt Children's garden school ?
Anonymous said…
?! said…

Sigh, a dreamless sleep, a world of dreams.

Sometimes I am secretly ashamed of how much I need someone's acceptance. Or as the woman thought, to be remembered.
John D said…
Skeptic Admirer?! said…

Funny...funnier still that you chose "The Idiot" for your story....interesting on so many levels...

you would be surprised at how many people have read "Crime and Punishment" (Ah! well...atleast heard of it)...I know of a friend who absolutely MUST have this book for bowel movement...and I will be danged if that person has read any other book from cover to cover. So reading Dostoevsky aint so high-brow
Mahadevan said…
Many peole, who atleast have a pretence of familiarity with world classics, are more at ease with Crime and Punishment than Idiot. Dropping the name of Raskolnikov comes to the high brow crowd as naturally as adjusting the pallu or fallen hair.
LightRain said…
Er... Did you change the word 'pasta' to 'sandwich'? It's just that I remember reading the word pasta earlier... I could be wrong, though. But if not, any particular reason?
Rubic_Cube said…
Sometimes we want that feeling of being wanted so much that we create a fabric of pleasant visions and get entangled in them. And then as we drift through the virtual silk... we feel so much more better and light and "wanted", that the reality does seem to hurt more than it could actually. mmm... fodder for thought. as always, brilliant. i cannot even rank your quick tales now! mmmm....
Anonymous said…
Classical case of dependent self-esteem as opposed to independent self esteem

You May Also Like

Guest blog by Chinna Ammani

Here’s an interesting write-up by Chinna Ammani on stereotypical portrayals in Indian adverts. The opinion expressed is strong and the language uncompromising. Read at your own peril!-a

The Aiyaiyo Syndrome

These days I do what is called as a shooting supervision. When ads are filmed (with lip sync) in Tamizh, my job is to teach models their lines and rehearse with them. Most of them are from Mumbai and are non-Tamilians. So when they have to do a line in Tamil, for example "Adanaaladan Dettol ubayogikaren" (And that's why I use Dettol) , they invariably say "Aadanaladaanu naanu Detttaalu ubayogikkareanu" (Something hideous). Their exaggerated delivery of our supposed accent is all thanks to Hindi actor Mehmood. My blood pressure rises and I yell "DO NOT DO A MEHMOOD HERE. WE DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT".

Though their voice is dubbed later with a Tamil voice-over, I ensure that they pronounce it the non-Mehmood way. Mehmood has done this major damage to us So…


Married for 31 years, 2 months and 17 days
Six cups coffee a day, brewed everyday of marriage
Three meals a day,
At least two dishes cooked, each meal-time
One snack for every Sunday
Big basket of clothes ironed every Tuesday
Average 18 items of clothing washed per day
Three children
1 miscarriage
One mother-in-law suffered
900 sq metre of floor space mopped, once a day
One caesarean endured
3 chicken poxes, 2 measles, 2 fractures, 8 diarrhoeas, depression, conjunctivitis every summer, 1 tonsilitis and countless common colds and flues
1 job held for 29 years
6 hours slept every night
Sex tolerated every 2nd week
Religious rituals everyone of them, carried out
Not one of them, believed in
Lived 52 years and some
Died exhausted

Overheard, “At least she had the satisfaction of having lived for her family”

The Saturday Poem

Found this in yesterday's paper. Again, I wish I'd written it.


Now and Then

"Now that I'm fifty-seven",
My mother used to say,
"Why should I waste a minute?
Why should I waste a day

Doing the things I ought to
Simply because I should?
Now that I'm fifty-seven
I'm done with that for good."

But now and then I'd catch her
Trapped in some thankless chore
Just as she might have been at
Fifty-three or fifty-four

And I would say to her
(And I have to bite my tongue)
That if you mean to learn a skill
It's well worth starting young

And so, to make sure I'm in time
For fifty, I've begun
To do exactly as I please
Now that I'm thirty-one.

-Sophie Hannah

Lost in Post

To a little boy

It cannot be easy being you. A follow-up act to your more devilishly charming, flamboyant older brother. Before you were born, I was convinced that no child could ever take the special place your brother had come to occupy in my life. I used to argue with your father you would always be a second-born. A runner-up. A bridesmaid (or a best-man, as you turned out to be). That you could never be the prized, cherished, celebrated apple of my eye that my firstborn child was. But how easily you tore down my flimsy little conviction. The minute I saw you, I knew I was gone. What was worse, I succumbed willingly.

My fears that you would be overshadowed by your brother have proven unfounded. Over the past year, you have come into your own as a person. Your brother demands and challenges our love and attention. You, on the other hand, are much more accepting of our distractions with him. It is almost as if you understand that he is used to being the star of the show for much of his…

I ask, you write

Okay, here's the idea. I ask you a question and you write a short story explaining it. Let me give you an example.

What happened when young Padmavathi was drawing water from the well to wash her clothes, early one Margazhi morning?

Annon's story

One morning when Padmavathi was drawing water from the well, she found Pettai Rowdy # 1 Govindarajulu inside the bucket! She dropped it at once and Govindarajulu went down and down and hit the bottom of the well with a Nung sound. His upper and lower teeth fused together and since then he has been fed intravenously. Pettai Rowdy # 2, Ragothaman Iyengar, who suggested this to Govindarajulu, now rules the roost.

After marrying Padmavathi, he is inviting all of you to a water drawing ceremony at the new well they dug in their house.

Jai Ragothaman Iyengar! Jai Padmavathi! Come one, Come all!


Here's a question for you.

What happened that made young Meenakshi change her mind about the parrot green saree she had originally chosen and go for a …