The Quote -

"Nope, I don't really have anything new to say. but then, I always have something amazing to tell about things that you already know!!"

-Muthu

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The silent melody- A short story

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 31; the thirty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'Strangers in the Night'





The fiction-



A slow Jazz music filled the dead silence of the hospital, its melodious notes dragging their feet across the almost empty hospital corridors resonating with the dry lonely lights spaced uniformly across the length of the walkway. A few nurses who were going about their jobs stopped and listened not believing their own ears. A few patients who were still awake blinked stupidly wondering what the loud music was doing near the ward for terminal patients. It was then that Frank Sinatra’s lucid baritone started to croon the lyrics of his once famous song-

Strangers in the night
Exchanging glances
Wondering in the night
What were the chances?
We'd be sharing love
Before the night was through

The duty doctor who was finishing up his last rounds stopped in mid-step hearing the song. His own heart suddenly picked up speed and literally started to pound against his ribs, as he reversed his direction and started running towards the source of the sound. A few nurses and orderlies of the night shift were also rushing along breathless in the same direction.  The motley bunch of curious patients who had already gathered outside the room from which the music was coming moved away jerkily making may for the rushing mob all in their medical whites. Their panic stricken faces heaving up oxygen trying keep up with their plodding legs. A locked door shut from the inside of the room greeted them.

The doctor took control of the situation seamlessly, ordering an orderly to break open the door using the fire extinguisher hanging on the wall nearby. He then rushed to the window and peeked inside its crevices trying to grasp what’s happening on the inside. Someone from the crowd behind whispered “but the door opens to the outside….. How did he manage to lock it?  And from where did he get his stereo” Nobody had any answers. Just more questions that echoed in the hollows of their mind, the more important questions that they did not dare to ask aloud. What is he doing inside? More importantly what is he doing to her? Is he suffering a mental breakdown? It’s not something new to happen in the terminal patient ward but happening to him was quite a surprise. 

Dealing with cancer always gets to you, breaks you, makes you do crazy things. Seeing life ebb out of the one you love a single bit at a time with each and every passing day, with no way to stop it, counter it but to simply slow it, as they wallow in their own suffering, the empty words of faith falling meaningless in their darkening world. With too much hurt drenching them down, nibbling away at their edges, as they try to plod though life smiling, pain takes new meanings literally.  

“I see them” shouted the orderly breaking the door. “I see them. The door just gave a crack. I….” He paused with a pained voice and turned his head from the door looking up at the doctor “I think he is crushing her, suffocating her”. The doctor leaped to the door plunging his eye into the broken rift in the door. A few seconds stood sweating without the heart to pass on; together with the bunch of people standing around waiting for the young doctor to give his speak.

“Bloody bastard……. He is making her dance with him.” He turned around enraged and snatched the fire extinguisher from the orderly and started going at the door, all the while cursing mad.  “Bastard…. I told him. Fucking bastard….. I told him. She is too weak. She cannot take the strain.” Sinatra sang along ignoring him.






Something in your eyes
Was so inviting
Something in your smile
Was so exciting
Something in my heart
Told me I must have you
Strangers in the night
Two lonely people
We were
Strangers in the night




Pieces of wood, dust and broken strips of plaster flew in the air with each ram the door took. Plaster….. The fucker had used plaster, fucking plaster on the entire door to shut them out. And thatsealed the door leaving no weak or easy fracturing points. Soon the other orderlies joined in going at the door with everything they had. The door slowly started to cave in giving into the inhuman beating that it was receiving. Cracks slowly broke into rifts that started to fissure though the entire structure of the door. Someone shouted “we are almost there”. And then suddenly the door tore open.

And they rushed in, the doctor, the orderlies and the nurses spilling into the room each one spinning out of control rushing with the flow of the crowd, they saw one of the weirdest sights ever. An elderly couple slowly moving around locked in their embraces; her lanky figure with the flowing white hospital gown, himself suited up in his best threads; her bony hands clinging to his bosom; his arms around her, holding her with care as he dipped and moved her around to the warm and wafting melody. Her shriveled face looked satisfied, her eyes closed rejoicing the swing of the movement, the ease with which he held her, the love with which he moved her around, ever so gently and his burning eyes that betrayed his own pain, seeing her wince in distress with each and every turn, her frail figure going rigid in his hands, the few wisps of hair on her bald head, the occasional gasp when the stress and the pain are too much for her. Sinatra’s regal voice dived into the simple lyrics once again.




Up to the moment
When we said
Our first hello
Little did we know,
Love was just a glance away,
A warm embracing dance away.


“Ma….” Cried the doctor as he separated his mother from his father and set her on the bed. She looked exhausted, her lungs trying to breathe in gulps and failing, her pulse stammering erratically, her tiny body wrestling with the few drops of life left in her, she looked forlorn, expect for her eyes, her eyes that twinkled with a mischievous grin. She beckoned him to her and started to slowly mouth something. “Ma, don’t strain… please.” He whispered, his voice begging as he bent down to catch her words. Her flailing voice fluttered. “Don’t be hard ………. on your father. He could ……..” She paused thoughtfully and whispered with a mellow fondness “Never refuse me”


“Nurse, some help here…” He shouted as he started to treat his exhausted and ailing mother. He never noticed the single tear that raced across his quivering cheek.


The music still played, left unattended to in all the happening commotion and was painting bold strokes of intense love in the vibrating embers of air. Seconds slipped around, danced swirling into a few minutes.




Ever since that night

We’ve been together

Lovers at first sight,

In love forever

It turned out so right

For strangers in the night




He slowly walked to the door after treating his mother. His father was sitting on the bench outside the room staring into the dead of the night, alone with his own thoughts.

“How’s she?” he asked as soon as he saw him.

“Exhausted... completely” he paused sitting near him. “But okay..... She's okay”

His father let a deep breath out and closed his eyes. They sat there silent, lost in each other’s thoughts. Neither of them spoke. Neither felt the need to. They simply sat there sharing not just the space and the silence. The biting cold did not seem to bother them in the least. The song had finally ended.



Author's note - 

Thanks a lot to Sadiya Merchant, for introducing me to to Frank Sinatra's - Strangers in the night. I don't really know whether she was inspired by the song itself but I myself was. The song is going into my favorites. As for the story, I wanted to create one that would start and end with a single song, the song itself being an integral character of the story. hope you guys enjoy it.

I would severely recommend listening to the song and reading the story. The song itself is a statement of love, poignant, lucid and heart felt. Just close your eyes and listen to Sinatra creating the atmosphere of pure love and it's joy.  For more information about the song, kindly visit here



The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: BLOGGER NAME, Participation Count: 03

65 comments:

umashankar said...

You caught me off guard with that story! That is a nice one, for sure.

muthu said...

@ umashankar --

Thanks.... Am glad that my story caught you off guard. :)

Someone is Special said...

Of course, I liked the story Muthu. A nice read! Keep writing! Good luck for BAT!

Request: Can you please disable word verification and enable moderation? Because it is tough to prove I'm not a robot every time :(

Someone is Special

muthu said...

@ Someone is Special --

Thank you.....

And sorry about the word verification. Its just that one of my posts gets heavily spammed comments if not for word verification.

You can check out the comments section of the link - http://www.average-everyday.blogspot.in/2009/05/thread-poem.html

Once again.. I am sorry. If you have any solution to this, I am all ears.

Cheers.

muthu said...

@ Someone is Special --

I have turned off- word verification as an experiment. If I don't get spammed, I will leave it as it is. (I am considering turning off comments for the one post- I always get heavily spammed as an alternative)

Also, sorry- I am against comment moderation. Anyone can post any comment on my blog- and see it get immediately published. I love honest comments, criticisms and yes, I have received quite a few of them. (Do check out my posts with tag sex.)

Cheers...

dreamer said...

Ohh man...i dont wanna say anything...nothing i say can do justice to this...nothing

muthu said...

@ dreamer --

Welcome to my blog. And thanks a lot for your comments. honestly I also, don't know what to say ... Other than thanks once again.

I hope you enjoyed reading the romance.... And also, do try Frank Sinatra's song- Strangers in the Night. It's an amazing song.

Panchali said...

Very well penned, muthu once again. Nice story :) All the best..

Maun Vision said...

Concept of song entwined in story really beauty. A real gem take. Really moving.

jaish_vats said...

Very very well written. Enjoyed the read Muthu!

Prasanna Rao said...

Beautiful story. All the best for BAT

muthu said...

@ Panchali --

Thank you for your wishes and your comments. :)

muthu said...

@ Maun Vision --

Welcome to my blog and Thank you for your comments. I am simply glad that the story moved you. :)

And Also, You liked this, then do hang around- I am thinking of doing stories based on the same idea ----
(that is with a song entwined and the story itself happening within the times the song plays-)

With some of my favorite songs- Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Beatles and more.

Cheers... :)

muthu said...

@ jaish_vats --

I am glad you enjoyed the read. :)

muthu said...

@ Prasanna Rao --
Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comments.

Cheers.

Sandy said...

It is a well-written post for sure. I had my heart in my mouth for the longest time wondering if one of the old couple would drop dead! This was a nightmarish love story, what with the hospital setting and the haunting music! All the best!

muthu said...

@ Sandy --

Thanks you.. I am glad that the story had that effect on you. I really wanted it to be so- An experience just as the song that it carries. :)

Cheers.

Deepa said...

I started appreciating the post from the first line itself. The first line - where you've described the emptiness, the lights - man, its simply novel material. You have a way with words and this specific post touched my heart. You have etched the emotions so so so well. Kudos for the brilliance! Of the ones I have read so far (I still got about half of them to go), the best!

gayatri soni said...

It's really a good one worth of reading esp. a long post :)

And, here you skipped the last alphabet 'r' in the second poem above the pic....'Something in your smile'.

Hope you didn't mind it.

Nicely written :)

muthu said...

@ Deepa --

Thanks a lot Deepa. Nothing can make me more happier than my stories moving people.

Thanks once again. :)

muthu said...

@ gayatri soni --

Thank you for pointing out the missing letter. I will add the -r- immediately.

And yes, it's a long post and I am glad that you stayed with it till the end. :)

Thanks again for your comments. Cheers.

indu chhibber said...

muthu your story is awesome,& so is your command over the language-hats off to you,think i will follow you.

muthu said...

@ indu chhibber --

Thanks for compliments... I do hope, my posts will always whet and relish your taste buds.

Cheers. :)

Engram said...

Wow is all i can say Muthu...great story coupled with Frank Sinatra's song> Very best for BAT31

muthu said...

@ Engram --

Welcome to my blog and thanks for your comments. :)

chitra said...

i wonder fiction could be written this best.
impressed though i came here first.

muthu said...

@ chitra --

Welcome to my blog. am glad to have impressed you. And thank you for your compliments.. :)

Someone is Special said...

I shall do that bro...

Someone is Special

prasanna raghavan said...

Hi muthu, a great post. Keep on writing you have a great future with it:)

muthu said...

@ prasanna raghavan --

Thanks a lot for your comments. I spin tales because I enjoy it...

Cheers. :)

Diwakar Narayan said...

muthu - loved the story. and yes, the mother asking her son not to be hard on his father, because he could not deny his wife anything was the striking moment!

muthu said...

@ Diwakar Narayan --

Welcome to my blog.

hmhm.... Thank you, I myself loved the way that the father and son can sit together sharing a lot- without actually talking anything.

I am glad you enjoyed the story. :)

Cheers.

Bikramjit said...

It started with a bang and finished with a BANG too .. beautiful

Both are okay .. goood good

enjoyed reading the little story and the song is beautiful tooo .. and os much love for each other .. beautiful


Bikram's

muthu said...

@ Bikramjit --

Thanks a lot for your comments. yeah, Love is beautiful and painful at the same time. :)

Cheers.

justme said...

It's tough finding someone who loves you more than their own pain. :)
nice write...

muthu said...

@ justme --

Well... that's love. Isn't it??

Welcome to my blog. And thank you for commenting..

Cheers. :)

C. Suresh said...

Nice story! But do you not think that it is unrealistic for an old man to be plastering up the door first? Builds the suspense and all that but it would hv been easier to have the door latched inside and built up the same story instead of trying to make the reader believe that an old man spent all that time plastering the door while also knowing that if there was any emergency, help could not arrive in time for his beloved wife. I am afraid that I am driven by logic and if an old man is faced with the request by his wife and reluctantly accedes he would not be blocking all help while indulging in what must have seemed a risky venture to him.

Karan Shah said...

i loved this take...poem an integral and central part of a short story
ATB for BAT :)
i could not participate...but u can see my post here
Karan - Strangers in the Night

muthu said...

@ C. Suresh --

Really, a nice question. thanks for asking it.

Well, I built the story on certain aspects.

1. The old man is broken, assumes that he is fulfilling his wife's last wishes. His plastering the door in a way indicates his own hurt and secluded pain. He is breaking down and logical thinking and reasoning aren't really priorities for people with in such traumas.

2. Yeah, Plastering the door takes time but he is not doing it to shut people out forever- he is doing it to just stall them. And It's just an experience I had- working with plaster. It cures really fast and extremely easy to use.

3. I wanted to show that hurting people are unreasonable. I wanted to show that love is not just beautiful but also can make people do unreasonable things.

4. He knows that his son will be around and will stop this venture as soon as he hears the music and a Locked door doesn't really hold out for more than 15 seconds of people going at it with fire extinguishers.- Also, I have seen a lot of hospitals having no latches on the inside to prevent such a situation.

5. I did think of leaving out the plaster but then, the idea that love is insane will be lost. (well, honestly that's what I thought.)

6. Also, I guessed that- If the old guy is in a hospital, where plaster is used to treat orthopedic settings and with his son working in the hospital- He can get his hands on the plaster.

7. A guy when he risks such a thing, for his love against his own wish- he would want to give her something memorable for a few minutes- something to hold on to when she faces her own death.

8. And death (that is in case of an emergency like you have said) to a couple who are already facing it- I think it doesn't really make a difference.

9. Also, when he asks his son- about her at the end of the story, he was fearing for the worst.

10. I believe no one will do such a thing until they are honestly convinced that they person they love is going to die any day now.


If, given a choice - whether I liked my story with the plaster or without the same, I would probably vote for with the plaster.


Thank you for not only reading my story but critiquing me. I hope that the above answers you.

After all, whats love without some insanity. :)

Thanks for the comments. I loved your take on the logic part of the story.

muthu said...

@ Karan Shah --

Thank you for your comments and your wishes.

Welcome to my blog.

Cheers.

C. Suresh said...

@Muthu : Honestly, it does not satisfy me as far as the story goes. I should not need to get the explanations of the behavior post-facto from you - it should be apparent from the story.

I'd say, death is not the only emergency, distress is also an emergency. Like my mother was semi-paralyzed. To which you would probably say that he was losing touch with reality to consider that possibility too.

I too agree that love can be insane - but a love that is insane enough to risk even a day more of togetherness with the beloved is too insane for me to swallow.

muthu said...

@ C. Suresh --

I agree with you. The idea of insanity must have been apparent from the story. Putting it up as a comment does not really do justice. Yes, I could have introduced the idea subtly in the end. It just did not cross my mind. I was concentrating too much on the poignancy of the ending.

Yes, I can understand that distress is an emergency - hmhm... I saw my grand father die of cancer from close up. I think that extreme pain and the idea that any second is going to be your last- screws things up. People with serious cancer in advanced stages- decay from within. Its not just death. it's seeing yourself wither way.

May be I should have made the doctor say something- about the seriousness of her situation.

hmhm... I tried bringing the insanity concerned with the same by writing it in general terms. i think that it was not enough!! Also, since the story follows the doctor rather than the couple- I was tied down with my options. I was not able to bring about the thought process of the old man.


And Thanks again for your pointed and honest comments. You have just made me think a lot.

And thanks a lot for that. :)

C. Suresh said...

You write very well, Muthu! That is why I'd like you to see how your story may hang together well.

You have the father saying "How is She?" at the end. Too sane and concerned about his wife's life - does not jibe with him blocking the avenues of help arriving if there is a problem - even of life.

Had you ended with his saying, "She wanted to dance...I did not want us to be interrupted..she just wanted to dance...like we used to" brokenly, the end would have been poignant and you would have slightly indicated his loss of touch with reality in my opinion.

Karan Shah said...

hey the above link is broken
u can see my post here
Karan - Strangers in the Night

muthu said...

@ C. Suresh --

hmhm... yeah, you are right. Thanks for your suggestion. that definitely puts the piece in a new perspective and lends credibility from a logical point of view.

Wow- i love getting your feed-backs.

Cheers.. :)

muthu said...

@ Karan Shah --

ok. :)

Kshitij said...

I voted for you last time. And had high hopes this time. And I am not disappointed with what I see.

You have a different way of expressing things. I liked the post.

And more so - the conversation between you and Suresh.

muthu said...

@ Kshitij --

I am glad, my story engaged you. :)

Thanks for your comments.

And I myself enjoyed- the comments from Suresh. He is such a discerning critique.

The Fool said...

That was a real smooth narrative. Great job. And interesting concept - setting a story to a song. I had also attempted that a few days back.

muthu said...

@ The Fool --

Thank you. Yes, Its indeed an interesting Idea. The drama has to go along with the song, the song adding to the fiction- itself as a character. And I enjoyed the song itself- strangers in the night. very much.

Will sure read your attempt soon.

CRD said...

Beautiful story...with a classic song to go with it.

All the best for BAT 31

Here's my entry


CRD - BLAME IT ON THE DARK

muthu said...

@ CRD ---

Welcome to my blog and thank you for your comments. :)

Manasa said...

The way you integrated the song within story is good Muthu!

Richi Baidwan said...

Sinatra can play mind games on most people including me! Using his classic as a backdrop and writing the way you did; all I can say is kudos!

Definitely enjoyed reading it :)

muthu said...

@ Manasa --

:)

muthu said...

@ Richi Baidwan --

And I am glad that you enjoyed reading it.

And yes- Sinatra's voice can always stir things up. I love this song esp. :)

Rajkiran Rajkumar said...

Good read :) Reminds me of the Titanic movie when an old couple hug each other and sleep when the ship was going to sink :)

muthu said...

@ Rajkiran Rajkumar --

Welcome to my blog. Wow... I am so happy that - My Story reminded you of something that's so timeless....

Thank you for your comments and do visit again.

Cheers. :)

venus66 said...

Hi, your write is really good. Keep writing. All the best to you.

muthu said...

@ venus66 --

Thanks a lot for your warm words. I just want to make my readers feel- (love, pain, warmth) in my words.

And if that happens I am glad to have been of service.

:)

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