Autumn – An Introduction to the New Category

The new category ‘Autumn’ in Black Rose is not actually new. Three and a half years ago I had begun writing the first few chapters of this book. It existed as a page for some time, until I realised that it is too large to fit in a page. The feelings that have been composed in Autumn are not new. They are the same old ones, dating three years back, and how it has changed over time. Autumn has often been associated with melancholy. The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn grey, and many people turn inward, both physically and mentally.

Though this work of fifteen new write-ups in prose is fictional, one can possibly relate to it in many ways, probably through one’s experiences or what one has read and written before. They do not stand as an extraordinary set of prose, rather try to integrate the entire thing into one whole story. The inspiration for this has springed up from mainly two sources. One is obviously the books that I am currently reading. The second one, is not very obvious if you read the superficial lines written, but probably you would understand it once you read a bit more into the pieces, probably down the line during this month. I have taken a lot of time in composing this, and I hope you like reading it as much as I have loved writing it.

Thank you, and have a great July ahead!

Shaena – Chapter 4

[4]

There were reasons why my friends said that I liked Shaena, though I never gave much attention to them. For example, when they asked why her name in my contacts had double quotes enclosing her name, I had no answer for them. And surprisingly, I had no answer for myself. “Go and tell her, how long will you continue this way?” they used to say. “Tell her what?” used to be my regular reply. They stared at me and went away.

We had our board examinations, after which we were promoted to the eleventh standard. Whilst most of my friends had left the school for other schools, I decided to carry on in the same. Coincidentally, Shaena had decided the same, though we had never talked about it. I went on a leave from school for a week, to attend a marriage. Her regular calls convinced my cousins that there was something fishy. How much ever I tried to explain, they wouldn’t understand. Whilst we were returning, something happened. It was nothing great, nothing momentous. I was moving from one platform to another. Since the path was a long way to go, I decided to get down on the track, and cross the width. Whilst I was on the track, (no, no train came and hit me), she called up. I could have crossed the tracks, moved to the platform and received her call. Instead I received it then and there. When I reached the platform, my cousins stared at me. “So you say you don’t have anything to do with her?” they said. I realised almost instantaneously that I had been lying to them, and to myself, for a long long time.

The twenty-third of April of 2008 will remain in my mind for almost the whole of my life. It was the day that changed everything. Shaena and I went to the same coaching class. Topics for the IIT syllabus were covered there, of whose I didn’t understand a word. While returning, Shaena and I chatted all the way. Suddenly she asked me, “Who’s your girlfriend?” I was startled by the question, not because I never got such questions, but because I hadn’t expected it at the moment. I said, “No one”. “There must be someone who you love, right?” I was in a fix. I couldn’t tell her that it was she, for I feared losing her friendship. I couldn’t afford to lie, because it would be very apparent. Plus, I didn’t have much time to decide. “Tell me,” she insisted.

After two minutes of silence, I spoke up. “I’ll tell you on one condition. When that girl gets to know this, she shouldn’t stop talking to me. Nothing should get bad between us.” She promptly said yes, though I knew this promise was not meant to be kept. I said softly, “I love you,” so that no one else would hear. Okay, I had done it. I had said those three words for the first time, and I had no idea what was to come next. She took it rather calmly, or pretended to be calm until we departed. She asked “Are you serious?” for about ten times within a minute. And when she realised I was serious, she said nothing. Her house came, she bid goodbye and left. And I waited for the night to end, not knowing what the morning had in store for me.

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Shaena – Chapter 3

[3]

“There lies the garden, full of flowers and grass. You can see it and please your heart. But at the same time, you might as well pluck the flower and keep it with you, because today or tomorrow it has to die, be it with you, or be it on the plant. And similarly, you need to cut the grass and keep it at your feet, for otherwise you won’t realize what is underneath.” A pause. I tried to grasp in the words she said; I had already told her umpteen times that I was poor at English, and had asked her several times to speak straight, but no, she reveled in her speech, in her flowery language, and had succeeded in confusing me for the thousandth time. I said plainly, “No, I don’t understand,” and she replied in return, “Only if you would!”

Shaena. There were things about her I would never have known, if not for our sole common friend, Khurram. That she had a boyfriend, that she was not at all the girl she tried to show in front of others, and that she intended to use friends for her advantage, were few of the various accusations that I had decided to dispose of the minute I heard of them. In fact, I hardly cared about who she was. I wasn’t intending to spend my life with her, nor was she, and the seven hours of school that we spent together would have had no effect on me, whosoever she was. So I decided to let everything go the way it was going.

By the end of the year, we were good friends. We did not care about what people said when they saw us walking together after school, it hardly mattered to us when they was a rumor of something going on between us, and we decided to forgive the boy who said she was my slut. Everything was going well. Only if were destined to be so!

“There’s a light which will shine on you every time you do something good. There’s another light which will shine on you every time you do something bad. It’s up to you to decide which is the light that shines, whenever you do something.” Another nonsensical blow from Shaena. When would she ever learn to speak straight! We were at the canteen waiting for our lunch to arrive. Whilst she sipped coke out of a glass bottle, I stared at her eyes which never stopped moving, they spoke so much. It was a tinge of brown in black, which suited her to the utmost. She was pretty, very pretty. And the next moment, I decided to go buy myself a drink lest I do anything extremely foolish sitting there.

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