• i_faha 8w

    Hey, why do we have a whiteboard marker in the bathroom? he asked.

    To practise Urdu calligraphy, so I can tattoo sabr(patience) in unmentionable places, I thought to myself and giggled, tickled by my own humour, but muffling it down to a smirk, considering how close I could be cutting to the bone.

    Good question though, dear husband. I'm relieved he was only mildly curious, not rolling over on the floor, laughing, in wicked amusement. Then again, he couldn't do that, not even in his wildest imagination, because bathrooms in Mumbai are one tight squeeze. How romantic!

    Hold on, while we entertain the shower sequence thought bubble, and I earnestly begin to answer the original question, I must demand to know, what was he even doing, fiddling behind the geyser.

    My beloved, he has access to the choicest of writers and poets in our study, even more importantly he has easy ingress to his wife's mind, my rough drafts. But they all lie there, undisturbed, waiting for a pair of eager eyes.

    He tried to read for my sake. Infact, I'll give it to him, he has struggled and failed, like three times in the last one year itself, to sincerely read one book, but somehow falls asleep at the same page, each time — except, except when he is on the throne in the small Indian washroom.

    That's when he is alert and ravenous, hungry for every loitering alphabet around, that dives through his orbits and falls into the great intestines with a splash, stirring things up. The morning edition of the Financial Times is the routine laxative that works just fine. I scrunch my nose in disgust, each time I glance at this eyesore of the water crisped, warped version of the freshly minted news; but that's marriage for you. Eventually, you learn to tolerate each other's kinks.

    There are days however, when the morning paper would lie abandoned. And in all honesty, I had never stopped to wonder, that if the news wasn't being flushed, what else was being processed. Today I finally asked.

    That's when he confessed, that on days he forgets the papers, he would religiously read the labels of shampoo bars, shaving gel tubes and mouthwash bottles, or anything else he could lay his eyes on. Thus, while hunting for his next reading material, he stumbled upon my secret stash. The whiteboard marker in question, was found cornered in the crevice behind the geyser.

    Coming to why I had the marker for private company, if you haven't already guessed, then it's for that flashing moment of epiphany, when that grand idea for my next piece bolts in, or when the perfect line in iambic pentameter flashes its toothless smile at me, or when a rhyme slides in smooth, with its arms wide open, like Shahrukh on his knees.

    All of which usually happens right when I'm incapacitated to write it down anywhere, no phone, no paper, soaking wet in suds, splashing under the showerhead, singing high octaves of la la la laaaaaa, like the Liril girl from the 90's. I just can't rely on my memory that's already stretched too thin to remember anything for posterity.

    My mind is a motley of disorganised thoughts stacked into each other like the women in 6:05 pm Andheri fast, ladies first class train coach, a hundred open tabs crowding and yanking at the central core of my attention. Ideas fly in and out of my head at blitz speeds. That's where it helps, a dry erase marker and the pristine white bathroom tiles, and I'm ready to capture the flashing genius.

    And now with both of our weird confessions, what makes complete sense is to somehow juxtapose and encourage these individual quirks. And I think I may have figured the perfect white board, to inspire an otherwise philistine, business mind to cultivate the art of appreciating some fine poetry, sitting on the throne of a middle class mumbaikars tight washroom.


    — faha

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    Whiteboard marker
    (Day 1/Short Story)