Sidharth Vardhan

A Nightmare

(A Short Fiction) Part I 1. Twelve years later, V___ wakes up tormented by the nightmare. An unsatisfied, undesired feeling that will not go away – all these years and, for no reason that he can think; he has tried hard to remember if he had talked about, thought or alluded to her yesterday; anything which might have caused the dream but, no, nothing whatever comes to mind, then why should she be intruding into his dream again and giving him restless mornings? 2. He still remembers how he had been rude to her initially; perhaps what he felt was the result of guilt from same. Yes, that will make sense. The left-over of the feelings are the waste that is most harmful to the environment of the psyche. But what could he have done? Just last year he had changed school as he had come to stay at his grandparents’ home after his mother’s death following a long  period of illness (his father had died a few years back). He was a highly reserved skinny new admission to the school with a tragic background and so he got attention for all the wrong reasons. There must be a look of sorrow

The Red Room Scares of Jane Eyre

(Review of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë) “Do you never laugh, Miss Eyre?” Something that is commonly ignored in most feminist and romantic readings is that ‘Jane Eyre’ has earned Bronte a status as a predecessor of James Joyce and Proust in consciousness studies. Some childhood experiences, as any cyber-psychologist will tell you, will shape our consciousness and temperaments for life. With Jane, the memory is that of Red-room. After the incidence, Jane is constantly fleeing the three things that made it so scary – loneliness, submissiveness and closed places. Notice how frequently she is outdoor through out novel. She left her house, then Lowood and Thornfield fleeing one or other of the three but other characters in novel seems to have suffered them too. There is also that sadness about her – although she is not meloncholy but she is not really cheerful either. She believed she was locked in Red-room because of her plain looks and with those looks, no one will ever love her. Red-room and Bertha “If there is such a thing as good marriage than it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.” – Gabriel Marcuez Red room I had this friend in school. Whenever

The Bell

(A short story first written on June 26, 2016) For generations, we have lived in this jail, in this hole – so long that we might as well have imagined that this is the only world, had it not been for the stars, visible in the oval blanket over our head, which show us the glimpse of the unknown worlds. And stars are the hope, every child in this hole is taught to look up towards them and somehow they fill us with this hopeless hope that keeps the life going. But why are they there? Forever there, filling us with temptations to make fruitless efforts to grab them. Are they just another addition to the suffering of this hole? Why were we given hope? Are there better worlds which hope teaches us to look forward to? Or is hope just another part of the punishment? Perhaps it is neither, rather it is the jailer who makes sure we don’t try run away from this hole. And it is successful, isn’t it? After all, how many of us ever try to escape? This hope keeps us from trying to escape.

Vani

(A short story by Sidharth VardhanFirst written on June 24, 2016) “Papa, Pa-Pa, Pa, Pa” he has rolled the variations of the word;‘Daddy’ or ‘Dad’ too, but he wishes that Vani will call him papa. It has just the right kind of sound to it. It has always felt like a big responsibility – inwardly he still has a lot of mischievousnesses, immaturity in him. ‘Will he make a good father?’This fear has been in him though he hasn’t shown his nervousness to Taruna – not purposefully; it is just that with her around, he just forgets his worries; there has always a reassuring wisdom in her eyes; as if she held a sort of secret, a secret that will ensure their happiness, which she has kept so gracefully from him. Even now, if only she was around, he would rather be focusing on –‘Today I’m going to be the father’ version. But she is not around. She is in operation ward with doctors and he is waiting at the door of the room pacing up and down like a character in his position in a typical Bollywood movie would. He still can’t see her in pain. And especially not in

A Loss

(A short storyFirst written onJune 8, 2016) Four-year-old Arun is playing with his toys – making the bull and the horse in hands wrestle, the horse is winning, Arun wants the horse to win, he likes the horse, he knows it will win ….. When he hears the voices of his parents arguing. He turns around to see them entering the room but they are not themselves. Though he has seen them angry before but never this much, he has always been sensitive to their anger but this is something else, something…. their anger, the cruelty in their faces, their bitter voices, the swift movements of hands (that they are making in their argument) .. all that has something ugly in it. So ugly it shouldn’t have existed. A child can’t understand the mixing of the opposites – good and evil, angels and monsters, beautiful and ugly; they all must remain separate …the ugliness of that bitter anger on the faces of his beautiful parents was an unbearable mix, they, the ones to whom he turned to in times he felt scared of monsters sitting under his bed, now themselves looked like monstrous … and besides this fear, he felt

Helen Keler

(A review of ‘The story of my life’ by Helen keler.) “Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding-line, and had no way of knowing how near the harbour was. “Light! give me light!” was the wordless cry of my soul I had long intended to read biography of Helen Keller. (Have you ever wondered how when we use first names when talking about characters but last name when talking authors?). Helen wrote this biography at age of 22 (two years before getting her graduation) – so most of it is about her childhood memories. Her communication with outside world was limited to touch and smell which wouldn’t have been enough, if it wasn’t for her teacher. “I felt approaching footsteps, I stretched out my hand as I supposed to my mother. Some one took it, and I was caught up and held

The Lonely Hunters

(The review of ‘The Heart is a lonely hunter’ by Carson McCullers) “The way I need you is a loneliness I can not bear.” Male whales attract their partners by making voices called ‘songs’. The pitch of the sound is normally below 40 Hz, inaudible to human ears. Female whales of each kind will recognise songs of their own kin. Now, there is believed to be an individual whale (only one of its kind) whose voice has been heard in Pacific Ocean at 52 hertz. Ever since 80s, his lonely songs have been heard – seeking, asking uselessly, year after year, for a companion in an ocean full of whales. This image of this lonely animal is as close as I can get to creating an impression of the book. Four characters in this novel – a teenager girl, a diner, a doctor, a labour worker aren’t much better than 52hertz whale. They too have their songs sentiments and they too have gone a long time of their life in lonely hunt for someone who can understand them. For different reasons, they are all very alone. The diner is struggling with loneliness of a childless, unhappy marriage, the labour worker

Hadrian

(Review of ‘Memoirs of Hadrian’ – a novel by Marguerite Yourcenar 5*/5* ) “But books lie, even those that are most sincere.” It is supposed to be historically most accurate novel – I can’t judge about that but I’m willing to take the word of knowledgeable people on that. What is so far more incredible is the way the author managed to make herself invisible in her work – you know how novels have their authors’ personality in them. You can’t normally come out of a novel without having some idea of author’s personality. Narrators of Proust and Celine look like so much like their mirror images; in other cases it is true to a lesser extent – but not in this case. The only thing you will have guessed about Yourcenar by reading MoH, is that she is genius. To create this believable a first person narrator is genius enough, but to recreate a fictional account of a real historical figure who lived in another age, was of other sex, much older  – well, we need a new word here. If I believed in spirits, I could have asserted that Hadrian’s had possessed Yourcenear. An innocent reader can easily led

Aleph (Short story by Borges) – A review

(A review of the short story’Aleph’ by Jorge Luis BorgesFirst written on January 17, 2016) “All language is a set of symbols whose use among its speakers assumes a shared past.” Jorge Luis Borges (Aleph) …. and so there must be things beyond describing powers of language. What if some day you were to come across a thing or an experience who is nothing like shared past? The human impulse to communicate must find a let out, and where mere words are not enough we need poetry: Daneri’s real work lay not in the poetry but in his invention of reasons why the poetry should be admired. Jorge Luis Borges (Aleph) Daneri, like most good poets, didn’t invent reasons, he found them – found them in the inexplicable Aleph. Borges is not only talking about nature of language or importance of poetry, he also seems to be speculating why the descriptions of supernatural are so vague or strange: “How, then, can I translate into words the limitless Aleph, which my floundering mind can scarcely encompass? Mystics, faced with the same problem, fall back on symbols: to signify the godhead, one Persian speaks of a bird that somehow is all birds;

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