Unclaimed

Our second submission is the first part of a short story, not a full manuscript, so judge it accordingly! Constructive criticism is welcomed by all. However, any comments that are overly derogatory in nature will be removed. Please keep in mind that the author, while anonymous, will be reading your feedback. Submissions posted here are not edited and/or proof-read by Indireads.

If you are an author hoping for some feedback on the first 800 words of your unpublished manuscript, you can submit your work here.

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Genre: Romance

‘Ha ha ha ha…her guffaws rang out in waves across the quiet green expanse and the laughing river flowing beside them.

He smacked her leg playfully, the look in his eyes more eloquent than a dozen words.

She was piggy-backing, her legs wrapped around his waist, arms around him. He staggered, stabilised and then walked on the narrow raised strip between the rice fields

They weighed almost the same. Their height almost the same, pointy nosed and voluptuous mouthed, they both had dusky-bronze skin. They could well have been siblings. They were not.

Nitin and Barkha

There’s so much to do. Barkha pulled herself out of her easy chair, tucking a silvery grey wisp of hair behind her ear. The morning Sun, no longer soft, had begun to scorch her skin.

She had begun to lie down in the old easy chair very often.

Nitin’s grandfather had a few of the chairs carved from the best rosewood and they lay in the veranda that overlooked the back yard. Old and black, the wooden chair still gleamed. There were scratch marks all over made by the scores of children that had sat on it. Namely Barkha and her siblings; her brood: two daughters and a son.

On weekends Barkha and Nitin had sat there, just like they did now, though not ‘just’ like now, she thought. Back then, their children ran amuck in the green yard playing and screaming, stopping to snack from any one of the many fruit trees that they fancied. Things were different then.

She had kept back one chair for herself and one for Nitin. The rest had been given away to admiring relatives.

She glanced at Nitin.

He smiled at her. Vacant faced.

Like someone trying to recognise her.

Nowadays every time he looked at her, he was like that.

Like a child looking for something.

Or even a dithering idiot trying to figure out something remotely intelligent.

She smiled back.

He was a shell of his former self.

“I am going indoors now. Will you stay here”?

“Yes,” he smiled again, his eyes crinkling against the glare of the Sun, numerous fine lines on his once smooth face. He didn’t mind the Sun.

“Getting my dose of vitamin D,” he said.

She shook out her salt and pepper hair from the knot which had come lose, tied them up into a tight knot that made a certain statement and marched in through the back door.

She found that the maid, had sneaked in and was now at the kitchen sink, washing spinach in quick, sharp swishes, trying to get the cumbersome task out of the way before Barkha descended on her.

On hearing her footsteps, the maid changed her modus-operandi with lightening speed. She took the colander which she was meant to use and started to go slow, washing a few leaves at a time, under running water.

Barkha smiled at the little deception and filled the electric kettle. Another cuppa wouldn’t hurt.

The sounds of the boiling water sucked her mind into a whirlpool of thoughts which usually boiled below the surface of her cool exterior.

One cold morning in Coonoor, five years ago, the tea kettle screamed for attention, gave up and had burnt itself beyond repair.

Nitin wouldn’t recognise her.

Her Nitin. The one she knew right from college.

“Nitin, wake up.  Let’s go for a walk,” she had curled up next to him in an effort at drawing him out of his warm quilt.

A month ago he had given up his position as Manager of the tea plantations he worked for, since the last ten years. They had saved up a tidy sum so she wasn’t worried on that front.

8 Responses to “Unclaimed”

  1. Adiana Ray April 8, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    Liked the narrative after the ‘Nitin and Barkha’ sub-title. Would really like to know what happens next.
    The narrative does get a bit disjointed at times and that makes it confusing.
    Do carry on and all the best for a great story.

  2. Adite April 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    Loved it. Well written. Creates the right mood with the perfect selection of words. Hints at turbulence under the calm exterior. Particularly the dithering idiot reference (hinting at alzheimer’s perhaps?) Would love to read Nitin and Barkha’s story. Well done and good luck!

  3. Percy Kerry (@percykerry) April 5, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    The story build up is good, the premise is interesting and the author knows her grammar, style and language. Only the past and present tenses need to be written better- it’s a little confusing. Apart from that, great read.

  4. Naheed Hassan April 5, 2014 at 3:53 am #

    Interesting premise and the slow narrative matches the pace of the story. Liked the attention to detail. The past and present switches can be a bit confusing – the chairs had been carved, then had been sat upon, then had been given away, she had been lying down on the them a lot. A little thought needs to go into the tenses and language.
    In terms of romance, the line that threw me off was ‘Or even a dithering idiot trying to figure out something remotely intelligent.’ It seems a bit harsh for a beloved lover and husband.
    But interesting start and definitely has potential. Keep writing.

  5. Sabahat Muhammad April 4, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    Very well written. I’m curious, now, about the rest of the story. Has something happened to Nitin? Why wouldn’t he recognize her? The suspense builds up very effectively, though one line threw me off, and I think the story could do without it: “One cold morning in Coonoor, five years ago, the tea kettle screamed for attention, gave up and had burnt itself beyond repair.”

    Especially since it immediately precedes the part that makes me sit up and take notice: “Nitin wouldn’t recognise her.”

  6. jazz singh April 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    good job – keep at it!

  7. SARITA VARMA April 4, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    The quiet of retirement, retrospection and reflection comes across strongly with regret and romance hovering tantalizingly in the background.

  8. vidya April 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

    A very different story…making the reader eager to know their life. a retirement,a welcome break to relive their memories.
    a different take, an unique blend of romance…liked it

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