All I see is rain

I have finally succeeded in writing a complete story. And also found the courage to make it public. Be gentle, reader. In your reading, your criticism, your dismissal.

————————————————


“Oh, damn!” Jack almost dropped the five-rupee note on the chai wallah’s wooden cart as he heard the train toot its departure. His love for the Indian tea had often put him in a tight spot, but nothing as life-threatening as this. The door to his coach was steadily inching away from him. “Run, run, saahib!” The chai wallah looked less than impressed with Jack’s hesitation. Run to catch the train? Or miss it.

His beloved tea spilled outside of the earthy terracotta cup in mud-coloured splashes; he ran.

A man in clean white kurta and pyjama was standing at the door of his coach. The smoke from his cigarette confusedly swirled towards his glasses, and drifted away without any warning. He held out his hand for Jack to grab, “Come on! It’s not that difficult. Just hold my hand and put a foot on this step here.” Jack, panting and holding on dearly to the chai kulhad, grabbed hold of the smoker’s hand, and climbed up. On a normal day, he’d keep his nose valves on slow around a smoker. But it wasn’t a normal day, was it? As soon as he heaved himself up, his eyes met the smoke-yellowed ones of his saviour. And though Jack was preoccupied with plenty, he found that his vision had moved down to the brownish teeth smiling their delighted smile at him. These much-abused set of sufferers were in all likelihood unaware that they emitted a clawing whiff of air riddled with smoke. “Hi, I am Joyodeep. JD.”

“Jack. Thanks for saving my life there,” managed Jack, breathless at 57 years.

“Not a problem. Going all the way to Jabalpur?”

“Yes… Yes,” Jack breathed back.

The train was almost out of the Habibganj station. It looked like it could rain.

Wanting to check on his luggage and drink his tea, Jack decided to go inside the air-conditioned compartment.

Shivani had finally settled on her seat next to the window. She always made sure she got a window seat. If she did not, she shamelessly reasoned with the person at the window to give it up for her. There was no need to do it today, and it was just as well, because she didn’t have the strength.

She hoped that the seats next to her would stay empty. But more than that, she was hoping the tomato soup vendor would come sooner than he usually did. The hot liquid might wash down the lump threatening to betray her otherwise indifferent appearance. She liked the too-sweet tomato soup and the oily croutons they served on this train. They reminded her of the ever-embracing life with too much of everything.

At least one of her wishes was not going to be answered today. A visibly tired-looking man in purple khadi kurta and faded blue jeans came and sat on the aisle seat. “He looks like a European. An American would never have that air.” Shivani looked away. The slums had begun to thin out. It was greener and wetter outside.

Jack had a habit of clearing his throat before he said anything after a long gap. “I accidentally kept my newspaper there in your magazine slot. May I..?” He pointed at the newspaper, not sure whether she’d know English.

“Sure,” said Shivani, but still took out the paper before he could reach it.

She looked at the kulhad in his hand and wondered if he would manage doing both at once —read and drink. He didn’t. He neatly re-folded the paper and inserted it into his slot. And began sipping the tea.

The soup wallah would take time to come. Shivani decided to look out of her window. Mud huts drenched in last night’s monsoon shower stood steadfast against the elements. Or were they scurrying away? Each moved out of her vision before she could decide. She was aware that Jack was looking out of the window, too. Her window.

On a normal day, she’d have initiated a conversation.

On any other day, Jack would have drowned himself in the newspaper.

“Are these neem trees?” He wanted to know.

“Hm? Yes. Oh yes,” smiled Shivani faintly.

“These are sacred here, aren’t they? Like the peepal tree?”

“All trees are sacred,” she turned to look at him, wishing he’d melt away.

It had been an hour since they’d left Habibganj, and no one had come to sell any beverage. Shivani decided to go looking for them. When she got up, Jack got up, too. He apparently didn’t want to be discomfited when she edged through the tiny space between the two rows.

She couldn’t find anyone from the train’s pantry car. By the time she got to her seat, and made him get up again, the lump in her throat had won. She was crying when Jack accidentally lifted his eyes.

The behemoth chugged on its rails through the teak and sal forest, defiant against the menacing arrows of the monsoon rain. The windows of the train were blurred with insistent rivers of raindrops. Time slipped by quickly, much like the landscape around them.

“Hey! Did you see that? I am sure it was a sambar!” Jack was determined to do something. He didn’t know what, but he couldn’t just sit there and let the woman cry. So he tried to distract her by pointing out an imaginary deer in the sal forest.

“No.” Shivani’s voice was noticeably dead.

“It wasn’t a sambar?” Jack persisted.

“I didn’t see. All I see is rain.” Shivani did not believe in pessimism, but today was different.

The soup wallah entered the compartment with his gleaming stainless steel dispenser.

“And all I can see is endless life.” Jack was not an optimist, but he was willing to change today.

Shivani turned to look at him. She had a strange depth in her eyes, Jack noticed.

“Bhaiya!” She waved at the vendor. “Ek idhar.”

“What’s that?” Jack wanted to know.

“Tomato soup.”

“They make it too sweet.”

“Yes. And the croutons oily.”

“I’ll have one, too,” Jack nodded a yes to the vendor.

He winced at his first sip.

Shivani laughed.

“It’s not for everybody. Especially when they’ve had chai just before it.”

“I like the crouton, though,” munching at the fried bread square in obvious delight.

“Really? I thought you’d stay away from all of that.”

“Why? I love pakoras. And samosas.”

“How long have you been in India?” Shivani looked pleased, and yet surprised.

“My aircraft landed at the New Delhi airport last week. I have been in India almost all of my life, though. Figuratively.”

“How so?”

“My parents were missionaries here in Jubbalpore.”

“Jabalpur.”

“Jabalpur. I was born here, but was taken to Brooklyn, New York, when they died. I grew up listening to their stories.”

“Who told them?”

“My grandmother. Mother’s mother.”

The forest was getting denser. The lights in the train seemed more meaningful now. The rain had let up. If a sambar showed up now, Shivani would be able to see it.

“So, are you going to Jabalpur to see your parents’ place?”

“Yes,” Jack looked out of the window with a strange depth in his eyes.

“Why now? Why after so many years?”

Jack turned slowly to look her in the eyes, and asked instead, “Where are you going?”

“To my parents’ cremation.”

“Oh. I am sorry.” He waited for a while, and said, “Alone?”

“My husband couldn’t come. It was so sudden. Their car hit a rock while trying to avoid a rogue truck.”

The rain must have been chasing them ardently. The forest had given way to a modern-ancient human settlement. But the rain covered it indiscriminately. Just like it had done the forest. The buildings were standing next to wilting trees; the people were travelling to chase time. They could almost hear the blaring horns; smell the stench of struggling humanity.

They had finished the soup, but she wanted more. And Jack was surprised to notice that he did, too. This time, the vendor obliged quickly.

“It is a little over an hour to Jabalpur now,” Jack didn’t struggle much with the newly learnt pronunciation.

“Yes.”

“Is someone coming to pick you up?” Both said together, and then smiled.

Shivani said, “Yes. My uncle. What about you?”

“The son of my father’s friend. I’ve been in touch with them all of these years.”

“Why now?” Shivani persisted.

“How old are you, may I ask?” Jack evaded the question again. Or seemed to.

“Thirty-seven. Does it influence your answer?”

He looked away for an instant, and seemed to have made up his mind, probably thinking she had seen enough years to understand.

“I was trying to experience life before I came to see where it began. This way, I wouldn’t have to change my process of experiencing it. Do you understand?”

“I think so. Does it mean that you have now stopped experiencing it?”

“No. It means I am now ready to live it.”

This was the train’s last stop before Jabalpur. People came here to visit the numerous temples it housed. Shridham. The Home of the Supreme Being.

“Were you close to your parents?” Jack wasn’t sure it was the right question, but he asked it, nevertheless. Shivani seemed to be open to questions, he thought.

She took a while in answering. It surprised her that her eyes didn’t well up for yet another time since yesterday.

“Yes. Very.”

“Does it bother you that your husband couldn’t come?”

“Yes. A lot.”

“Are you married?” she asked in return.

“Yes. Cathy couldn’t come either.”

“Does that bother you?”

“Yes. A lot.”

“I am surprised at these temples (we call them mandir). Why do they keep them so dirty, when they are so sacred?”

“Like why they cut trees, if they are so sacred?”

“Yes, a lot like that.” She closed her eyes and rested her head on the back rest. Jack assumed she did not want to talk anymore. Disappointed, but willing to let her have her way, he tried to read the newspaper.

Before long, though, Shivani opened her eyes.

“I don’t know your name. I am Shivani,” she held out her hand.

Jack took it and said, “I am Jack.”

“Jack, if you need anything, any help in Jabalpur, call this number. It’s my uncle’s.”

She took out a small note paper from her bag, wrote a number and a name, and was giving it to Jack, when he said, “May I come over for the cremation? Will that be all right?”

“Yes,” she said, ” Yes, I should think so. Here, I’ve written the address. They’ll leave at 12 noon today for the ghat.”

“They?”

“Women don’t go for cremations. I might stay home, though I wish to go. We’ll see.”

The Jabalpur station was approaching. Jack felt he wanted to say more. Like most times, though, he did not know what he wanted to say.

“I am glad I found you on this journey. Five hours is a long time to read a newspaper.”

“Thank you for talking with me. I needed to talk; just say anything,” Shivani said.

It was raining in Jabalpur. The train’s windows were blurred with insistent rivers of raindrops.

“Look! Did you see that monkey crossing the road?” Shivani pointed at a blur.

“No. All I see is rain.”

“Oh? All that there is, is life.”

—————————————-

New words in their order of appearance:

Chai wallah — Vendor of chai, the sweet, oh-so sweet and milky Indian tea

Saahib — It has a complex origin, but in the current Hindustani, it means ‘big man’, or ‘sir’.

Kurta and pyjama — Kurta is a loose-fitting long shirt with slits on the side, pyjama is a loose pair of trousers with drawstrings. Seen often in the Indian subcontinent, worn by both the sexes.

Chai kulhad — Kulhad is a terracotta cup, usually used to serve tea or sweet curds/yoghurt and some other sweetmeats.

Joyodeep — Masculine name meaning Light of Victory.

Jabalpur — A city in central India, among the Satpura hills.

Habibganj — A suburb of the capital of state of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal.

Shivani — Feminine name meaning Female Part of Lord Shiva.

Khadi — Fabric, and clothes, made of natural yarn in handlooms. Usually associated with cotton khadi.

Neem — A tree found in the Indian subcontinent. Use in medicines, and ayurveda.

Peepal — A tree found in the Indian subcontinent. A ficus. Considered sacred.

Sal – A tree found in north, central and south India.

Sambar — A kind of antelope found in the Indian subcontinent. It moves in herds that are different from the other deer herds; in that, usually, the mother sambar, her youngest calf, and a subordinate female make the herd, instead of the normal large numbers other deer species have.

Bhaiya — Older brother. But women normally call a male stranger this way, too.

Ek idhar — Literally, “one here.”

Pakoras — Fritters. Most common ones are made of black bengal gram flour, onions, potatoes, and vegetables such as cauliflower.

Samosas Savoury snacks. Fried in oil; flour triangles, usually stuffed with a potato stuffing. These days, they are available with all sorts of stuffing, vegetarian and otherwise.

Jubbalpore — The spelling and pronunciation used by the British when they were in the Indian subcontinent as the rulers.

Ghat  Cremation ground, also called shmashan ghat

*****

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50 thoughts on “All I see is rain”

    1. If you like it, Dave, I am happy. For you have the talent to express the minutest of details in a way that can make the reader wonder about it for long. I really am happy that this story makes you say so.

  1. Loved it loved it loved it 🙂 More please Priya!
    You kept my interest from the first sentence to the last. As far as I’m concerned this isn’t a short story – this is Chapter One of your novel. I want to know more about both Jack and Shivani, and why their spouses didn’t come and also I want to know Joyodeep’s story. Brava!

    I also agree with Dave – I’m glad you gave us a glossary.

    Now I know why you hadn’t posted for a while. I thought I’d missed a post!

  2. The first of many, Priya, and what a great start it is. The descriptions — I could see the arrows of the monsoon rain, and the mud huts ready to scurry away; I could taste the too-sweet tomato soup and oily croutons. The dialogue — the way Shivani and Jack bounce back and forth between small talk and the real conversation they both crave. The mixture of languages — your use of Hindi words and phrases in just the right places and in just the right proportions, so that the narrative is rich, but the meaning is always clear. This is both a wonderful, self-contained story and the intriguing suggestion of more to come. I know what I’m hoping for.

  3. Hi Priya
    This is Sathya here. Wanted to take a min to commend on ur actions of writing ! I generally browse thru blogs for Photos and don’t read on for more than a min (if I do it is probably on a tech article that I was searching for). But this definitely held my attention – from the love of chai to missing the monkey in the rain ! Throughly enjoyed ur writing. Wishing this is just the beginning of more chapters to come !

    1. You read technical posts? Wow.
      And also wow is your gravatar picture. Is this a self portrait? I visited your blog and saw your latest picture of Miramar in Goa. One of my most favourite beaches. I just went back there to see that your latest picture is a lotus now. Beautiful.
      Thank you for taking time to read this long short story. And also for liking it. It encourages me to not put down my pen, after all.

      1. yeah I like to keep a tab of things on tech 🙂
        On the the profile pic, all the credit goes to my wife. It was not a planned shot. I was just enjoying the majestic falls at portland northwest and she sneaked from behind, I loved it so much that it is my online avatar on any service I use 🙂
        Thanks for the compliments on the photos, do drop by for a weekly dose !!!

      2. It is indeed a beautiful picture. Give your wife my compliment.
        I certainly will drop by to your blog, Sathya. It houses some of the best pictures I have seen!

  4. Loved it, Priya, but I want the story to go on! I could see the whole thing, like a spellbinding movie, where strangers meet and soon make a connection. To me, this is what life is like, when you live on the soul level and naturally relate to others that way. We all tend to think we are our own person, separate from all others, but in a way, we are always craving REAL interactions.
    Write a “part 2”!!!

    1. “Live on the soul level”.. Where has such a life vanished, Jac? Or was it always restricted to a choicest few? Thank you for taking time to read, and appreciate. I always enjoy your comments here.

      1. I’m not sure what you are asking, but when I say “live on a soul level”, I mean relating to others in a much deeper way than the superficial. It’s the difference between really speaking with someone and just chit chatting with them. I can start out chit chatting with someone I don’t really know, but I almost always find that I want to really connect with them on a deeper level (unless they’re scary or annoying!) I like to be fully “present” with whoever I am interacting with. I like to see into the soul of another. These 2 characters are starting to do that and I hope you will keep writing about them!

      2. Your phrase “soul level” transported me to a world where human interactions are at a much deeper way than the superficial. And then, I remembered, that such a world does not exist. But then, a hope emerged when I realised that there are, in fact, people who connect at a deeper level and are willing to see someone in a more humane light. There are such people. But they are few, aren’t they? And hence emerged the questions — “Where has such a life vanished, Jac? Or was it always restricted to a choicest few?”
        I am sorry, I should have explained better to begin with!

  5. I love the story of a shared journey on this train, passing by life, while the two were on the train re-examining their relationships to life. The same journey taken by these two with different destinations. The spouses not being at either of the events says so much – perhaps we are alone in our grief and loss? So well done, Priya. You made the brief time reading this such a pleasure.

    1. I was surprised when my husband said that this story expresses my emotional state. And also when you say “we are alone in our grief and loss”. This story was more a desperate jump to write fiction than an indicator of my thoughts. But then, is the one too far from the other? Such fiction and emotional state? I do not know. But what makes me feel happy is that you, and the others, see so much in it. So much more than I wrote! I am happy today, Jean.

  6. Priya, I was able to enjoy your story on a quiet Sunday morning, a perfect setting to read a wonderful story.

    The ending came swiftly, as I found myself becoming more attached to Shivani and Jack. I anticipated following them to the cremation, further discussions, etc. When the story ended, I immediately wanted more … would we learn more about their spouses, unable to travel with them? Was there a spark between Shivani and Jack, despite the age difference?

    Then I realized this was a wonderful example of the people we meet on any given day, as we live our life. Paths are continuously crossed, and lives are often touched – Sometimes the crossing of the path leads to prolonged journeys together, sometimes the crossed path is simply a rest-stop. Being present in the moment, makes these crossings ‘enough’. Another reminder that ‘all that there is is life’, even in the rain. 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t know where they’ll go from here, Lenore! Wish I did. 😉
      I guess the beauty of this encounter is in its being, like you so very beautifully say, “Being present in the moment makes these crossings ‘enough’.”

  7. Priya, you are a story teller! I want more. I was just getting into the swing of Jack and Shivani…and then it ended. Surely not. You spoke of more….? YES, we want more! I loved your description of Joyodeep. And then how interesting to discover what the name actually means! Nice touch.

    I was surprised that Shivani initially assumed Jack was European, rather than American. And then he turns out to be American after all. That was an interesting twist and made me wonder about his “air.”

    The dialogue was great. It presented the slow unraveling of protective barriers. The slow opening to interest and familiarity.

    I am also curious about your writing process. This story has a nice arc. Did you plot it out first? Did you have an ending in mind when you began? I also enjoyed the images you used. Are these your own originals?

    Great work, Priya. I can’t wait for more.

    1. About “air”: We sometimes put people in compartments on the basis of their birth, nationality, gender. You name it, there’s a compartment. Shivani possibly had some kind of an impression, a notion about Americans. And as Jack proves later, she was wrong.

      About the writing process: I cannot really chalk out the process per se. But what I can put in words is that it began as a story about two strangers, who meet, and realise they are interested in each other, mainly because, as Jac above says, “there is a connection.” The use of a train, and the stretch from Bhopal to Jabalpur feature in because the area is close to my heart, and there is no better way to see India than to travel in her trains (arguably).

      I did have an ending in mind. I wanted them to discover shared dreams, and make at least one of them come alive. But that would have needed a novel…

      About the pictures: Yes, they’re from around my house. It is monsoon time here!

      Linda, will a Thank You be enough to express how thankful I am to you for making me smile with pride and happiness?

        1. I am waiting to write a complete book and then publish it, Linda. Keep your dollars saved for this book of mine. It’ll mean a lot to me.

  8. What a wonderful read, Priya. The story brought me into the setting immediately – I could smell the stagnant cigarette smoke on JD, feel the dissonance of Shivani and the hesitation of Jack. You built their bridge slowly and realistically – using something as familiar as tomato soup – albeit sweet tomato soup. 🙂

    I’m left sensing there is a very deep soul connection between these two people. There’s a hint that they are going to be startled by their feelings and courage. I’ll be very surprised if Shivani and Jack will stay quiet and be prevented from fulfilling their souls’ agreement with each other.

    In other words, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece, Priya, and, whether you intended to or not, two new lives have been introduced into this world.

    1. 🙂 Thank you for your appreciation, Amy. It delights me to see that this story could generate your interest, and has received the best possible compliment — that the characters and the setting came alive for you. Thank you again.

  9. This is a wonderful story and you do a great job of creating a mood. The way you weave together emotion and sensory information and mix the said and unsaid is very powerful. I really liked it.

    You asked for gentle criticism so I have to take the liberty of pointing out something that struck me: This is Jack getting on the train:

    As soon as he heaved himself up, his eyes met the yellowed-with-smoke eyes of his saviour. And though there was plenty to feel preoccupied with, the eyes inadvertently moved down to the set of brownish teeth smiling their delighted smile at him, unaware of the smoke-riddled whiff they emitted

    1. ” And though there was plenty to feel preoccupied with . . . ” not sure if this means that jack has lots of other things on his mind or that he wanted to continue to look into the yellow eyes.
    2. Is ‘inadvertently’ the right word? If Jack’s mind is preoccupied (either with other thoughts or the other guy’s eyes) would he inadvertently do anything? Should it be that the smile is what drew his attention?
    3. Lastly, forgive the grammar police, but “the eyes inadventently moved down . . ” Is it the eyes or the teeth that are unaware of the whiff they are emitting? And at the risk of sounding conventional, teeth don’t really emit an odour so shouldn’t it be something like “the smoke riddled wwhiff that came from behind them”

    Hope this is helpful and please post more of your work!

    1. Thomas, thank you. It is amazing how one thing that looks all right to one, might seem like it could use some improvement to the other. Charles pointed out the haziness in the expression there, I thought a little ambiguity might help in creating the mood of Jack’s confusion because of his dash to climb onto the train. Obviously, I was wrong. Give me some time, and I will change the part you’ve pointed out.
      As for the grammar police, please go ahead and keep correcting in future as well, but do remember the fact that grammar and I were never best friends. 🙂
      Thank you again for your interest, and your suggestions.

      1. Being a compulsive editor is something I must learn; for, as we can see, I need it, too! Thank you again for your interest, Thomas.

  10. I think you are ready to find a literary agent. You obviously have a natural talent for putting words down that flow and have meaning. That’s rare. Many writers are afraid to let others read their efforts. It’s scary to put it out there so give yourself a LOT of credit for having the courage to share this with all of us.

    1. I do not know which was more difficult, EOS — putting it out there, or overcoming the annoying fear of writing it in the first place. But it’s done. And I am glad you say I am ready to find a literary agent. I may be writing to one right now. No?

      1. For me, it’s more difficult putting it out there. I don’t have the courage to expose my inner soul like you do so beautifully. You are to be congratulated.

        I am a former editor and know some really good literary agents.

      2. 🙂 You are a star.

        Even more so, since you know literary agents and were an editor. I am going to tail you ’til the end of eternity.

  11. This is my first visit to your blog and I have to say I enjoyed reading your short story very much, and greatly appreciated the glossary! It’s always captivating to see how two strangers negotiate getting to know each other, testing the waters, going back and forth between safe subjects, like the weather, and intimate subjects, like how they feel about their spouses and themselves. I’m very fond of short stories and your writing reminds me of some of the short stories by writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro and Isak Dinesen. Well done, Priya!

    1. Oh, Barbara! Look what you’ve done! You’ve just made me want to get out of this window, climb up that distant steeple and shout, “Oh, yeah!” Thank you. 🙂

  12. “nose valves on slow” 🙂 — you don’t need to ask readers to take it easy on you, and who could be dismissive? your writing is fabulous, outstanding. good luck with finding an agent – you will do well, i suspect!

    1. Bela Johnson. I know a person by that name, and she would never say what you’ve just said. Thank you for being a better, more honest Bela! 😉

  13. I like your story very much, Priya. It strikes me that it would make a lovely play.
    Oh and by the way, I adore Samosas and could live on them!

  14. Hey Priya,

    First time when I dropped by your blog, I couldn’t read the complete story and saved it as a bookmark (thanks to technology)

    It’s a simple plot with so many stories evolving from one…..beautifully written to keep a reader interested and have a feeling of “what next”

    Awesomely awesome….

  15. Is it Shridham Express, Priya?
    Habibganj, Bhopal, Jabalpur.. these words made me feel so warm inside (needless to say, i had a close connection to that place.. still do, partly). And that too, on a train journey there. Plus, it’s raining outside! 🙂 M.P.’s hills and abundant greenery are glorious after rains.

    Then you gave me kulhad mein chai, running to catch a train, the tomato soup (i find it sour).. oh & i have always got a packet of 2 breadsticks with a cube of butter instead of the croutons. The Rajdhanis (..& some other trains) spoil us. Inspite of so much pulling me away, I thought about Shivani & Jack. I have always been reluctant to initiate a conversation; especially on a train journey, while sitting across stangers. Compartmentalised opinions, that you have mentioned come to the fore. I wonder how many opportunities I missed to make my life richer. I have an opportunity coming up in a few days and now, I am looking forward to experiencing all of this again. Maybe differently, this time 🙂

    1. I meant it to be the Shatabdi between Bhopal and Jabalpur, AIT. But I just checked Shridham Express, and it does run between the two towns. The only difference is that Shivani and Jack are travelling at daytime, and Shridham (I am assuming you take/took this train) reaches Bhopal at 01:00 am. But it matters not. What matters is that you are in some way connected to this area! So am I. Jabalpur is very dear to me — my birthplace, summer holidays, softy outings in Sadar Bazaar, walks on the Ridge…

      Rajdhanis do give soup-sticks and a cube of butter. My experience with Shatabdi is with croutons and spoonsful of sugar… 🙂 Oh AIT, it is such a pleasure to talk Indian here on the blog.

      I hope your journey in the coming days will bring you good experiences — different, fulfilling, and memorable.

      PS: The camera is good, you’re right. It is a Nikon D300, 4 years old. Many new and better models have come out since then.
      You need to increase the shutter speed to capture the action in each stage. This way, the falling drop is caught in its entirety. If the shutter speed is fast, the water will look like a long trail, like it does to the naked eye. But that technique is good for waterfalls. Think of those fabulous waterfalls we see taken by good cameramen! The water looks like its a fluff of smoke, no?

  16. I read this yesterday and didn’t have a chance to place a comment. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but wonder (like a lot of the readers above) about the back story of Jack’s and Shivani’s lives. I am hoping there is a sequel to this.

    Also, thank you for showing me your homeland albeit through your stories and prose. I hope to visit one day. I have a friend who told me about his travels there and how much he enjoyed the cultural experience.

    1. Isn’t it the best way to educate oneself? To travel to new lands and learn about new cultures? I crave this education myself and your country is one of the places I look forward to visiting. Mainly for the food, and the humility of the people I’ve so often heard about.

      Jack and Shivani. Hmmm. Now that I come back to this story after months, I feel drawn towards them again. Let’s hope the draw is enough to make me write a sequel, prequel, something! I fell in love with these two people when I was writing about them, I recollect now.

      Thanks for the interest, Nel. I cannot describe the excitement I feel when my stories receive encouragement.

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