Readers Write In #366: After Sunset

Posted on May 22, 2021


(by Vikram M N)

Me:Excuse me.

She: Yes.

Me: Can I sit here?

She:Ya one sec let me remove my bag.

Me:Hmm. Thank ya.

She: It’s ok.

Me: What’s that you’re watching?

She: Movie.

Me: Yea I know that. What movie?

She: Before Sunrise.

Me: Oh wow!My favorite.

She: Is it? Was it good?

Me: Not just good. It’s the best love story I’ve ever watched.

She: Ok now don’t spoil the suspense. I’ve hardly started watching it.

Me: There is no surprise in it. They talk, talk and talk.

She: Oh ok.

Me: But you don’t seem to be among the talkative lot. You always come by this train plug your earphones and start watching something in your tab.

She: Oh now that’s a shock. Are you my stalker?

Me: I can’t go so far as to say that I’m your stalker but I do notice you all the time.

She: Well that doesn’t make much difference. By the way I’m…

Me: No stop. I don’t want to know your name.In fact, I don’t want to know anything about you.

She: What?

Me: Yea I love the anonymity between people. The way we discover each other blabla…

She: You what a psychiatrist or something?

Me: No I’m a writer. I guess I can call myself so.

She: Interesting… tell me more.

Me:I like this anonymity you see. Just ‘me’ and ‘she’.

She: You mean you and I?

Me: No ‘me’ and ‘she’ will look good before colon. I like these error filled sentences.

She: Man you’re crazy.

Me: I like this compliment, especially coming from girls.

She: I don’t like these crazy looking guys.

Me: It still is a compliment for me.

She: Okay. Tell me what else?

Me:You asking me that? Hmm… what else… we both work in the same company.

She: Is it? But I’ve hardly seen you.

Me:Yea I’ve always been this anonymous guy. The guy, you know when the camera zooms in to a person, people go out of focus right. I’m one of them. I mean the one who goes out of focus and when you go for a walk you see millions of people out of which some faces you remember. I’m one of those you’d have seen just before seeing those faces.

She: Ha ha. You’re funny. But come on, in a company with strength of 15,000 people how I could have seen you. The probability is very less right?

Me: That’s an optimistic way of looking at things.

She: Hmm so.    

Me: You can close your iPad or tab or whatever it is.

She: What I’ll do closing it.

Me: I’m here na. You won’t get bored talking with me. I promise. I’m a great conversationalist.

She: Yes in fact you are. Here I close this.

Me: Oh you’ve changed your bag. What happened to your multi colored bag of yours.

She: Man how long you’ve been following me.

Me: Just two months.

She: Two months have you been coming by same train and I haven’t seen you. How come?

Me: That’s me, the typical loser guy. I’m not a cynosure of all eyes like you. Only pretty girls like you get noticed here. That too being a North Indian you stand out from the crowd.

She: Ahem ahem.

Me:Really one of my friends is so pissed off of not knowing Hindi because he couldn’t talk to you girls. You girls talk only to your set of boys.

She:Ha ha who’s that?

Me:Just one of my friends. Ok let’s drop the topic I don’t wanna hear you say that I’ve never seen you, I‘ve never noticed you etc.

She: But seriously…

Me: It’s ok yaar drop it. Guys don’t like to hear these things. Things like this and when we message you, girls reply asking ‘who is this?’ We just don’t like it.

She: She might have lost the number. Then how do you suppose someone to ask who you are?

Me:No I’m just saying.

She: Ok fine.

Me: Am I boring you.

She: Not really but you’re not letting me sleep.

Me: It’s ok don’t sleep this one day.

She: Hah you’ve just met me and you’re asking me not to sleep, that too directly to my face. Great!

Me:Why are you reacting as if I’ve asked you for a date? I don’t want to miss out this chance. I don’t know whether I’ll have courage to come and talk to you again.

She: How come you came today?

Me: I don’t know may be the Friday effect I guess. I get all happy on Fridays you see. These window panes, light from the hoardings forming a certain pattern and getting into the train, the time when twilight fades out and the darkness creeps in. Though it happens daily, it’s only on Friday I like it.

She: Is that only you?                                                                                                       

Me: Ha ha you too? Join the club. Because I’ve seen people who are so interested in work. I don’t know what’s so interesting in coding.

She: Even I’m trying to figure that out.

Me: Good! You seem to be just like me. I didn’t know that you talk so well. Thanks.

She:So, you judge a person without even knowing them, is it?

Me: It’s not judging it’s just…

She:Mathlab before talking to a person you think about them beforehand itself.

Me: Hmm in a way yes. You instantly get an opinion about a person right? You see someone, you like them. You see someone, you hate them? Just an instantaneous reaction.

She: I don’t do that so I don’t know.

Me: But my instincts have failed with you. I didn’t know that you’re fun to be with. You’re all smiles and all. You know that smile, the way one feels when you’re really smiling. That…

She: Smiling from within huh?

Me: Yea that’s what, smiling from within. That’s the word. That big broad smile that puts others at ease and sometimes makes you dizzy too.

She:Haha. Ok.

Me:You tell me how it feels to be beautiful.


Me:Ya because you see I’ve been this ugly duckling all along I don’t know how one feels when you know that you’re really beautiful. You know you’re beautiful right?

She:Man what kind of question is this. I’ve never thought of it.

Me: See I’m sure you’d have got a lot of fans, lot of guys behind you, proposals etc. I’m asking how do you feel when all these things happen? Like, being famous.

She:Oh please. I’m sick of these guys who follow me. I just hate them.

Me:Then if given an option between money and fame what’d you choose?

She:Of course money. With lots of money and with no one to know you, you can do whatever you want.

Me:For me its fame. Period. I’m this sucker who wants to be famous. Just think of these stars SRK, Rajnikanth and all. Wherever they go they’ll be followed. People will just throng to get a look of them. If they die people will cry as if their own friends or relatives have died. What a great feel it is.

She:Huh! You’ll lose your privacy.

Me:I don’t give a damn about privacy. I just want to be famous.

She:Ok ok become a star then. Ha ha.

Me:You don’t believe I can right, ok.

She:Ha ha.

Me: And you do have this perfect alignment of teeth. A compliment that you won’t get from anyone.

She: Stop it okay. People have said this to me.

Me: Oh oh I thought only I’ve noticed. The world is full of morons you see.

She: My uncle has said this to me.

Me: Oops sorry.

She: Hey look there.

Me: Where?

She: Through the window man. That big hoarding.

Me: Yea the Colgate one.

She: Is my teeth like that?

Me: Ha ha. You crave for attention don’t you?

She:Chup. Stop it.

Me: Round face, great smile and perfect alignment of teeth. Deadly combination huh?

She: Oh please.

Me: Okay okay!

She: You said you’re a writer.

Me: Yea that was just to impress you. Nothing much, I write some silly stuff. I don’t want to be introduced as a software engineer. Even if the whole train bursts our company will still have enough people to support for their weekend activities.

She: Ha ha. What do you write?

Me: I said na. Just some silly stuff. For one I want to be famous I’ll do anything for that. But writing, it kinda gives me a liberating feel you know. Not the kind of liberation one feels after getting drunk. It’s a different, different feel where I can put my inferiority complex to best use. It liberates the soul. I feel free. It makes me happy. That’s the most important thing.

She: So you drink? Huh.

Me: At least I’m honest enough to accept that.

She: That’s nothing great ok.

Me: Still… There are people who pretend to be nice. I’m honest. I don’t like to hide anything. I can’t lie moreover.

She: You like write what? Love story? Thriller? Horror?     

Me: Hmm I don’t know in what category I can exactly define myself. My life is my inspiration so I write mostly on what happened in my life. Because only if I had been in the situation, I can be true right? I want to be true to my writing.

She:Yaya. When do you feel like writing?

Me:Mostly at dusk. After 9pm, after my dinner, after finishing off with my diary.

She:No no. I mean does writing depend on your mood. I don’t know how to ask. I’ve never really written something.

Me:Yaya I get it. Hmm I mostly write when I’m in an extreme condition that is when I’m either too happy or too sad or frustrated or irritated or so on. That ‘too happy’ thing doesn’t happen often. I mostly write when I’m frustrated and I’m always frustrated. I have one reason or the other to worry.

She:Then all your stories are frustu stories huh. Ha ha.

Me:No no, frustration just inspires me. Once I get into the story the flow comes automatically. You become the character you see. The whole world around you dances as per your tunes. You write a sentence and you see that happening around you. You get to get into the others shoes. It’ll make you think more. Make you less angry because you know how the others are feeling at that moment. It’s like creating an universe with all your alter egos.

She:Frustration inspires you eh? Super.

Me:One of my friend said that she likes it when I’m super frustrated. All my blabber she finds it so good when I’m at the epitome of frustration.

She:Ha ha. What if it frustrates others too? How do you accept criticism?

Me:That’s another problem I take criticism too personally. It’s tough for me when someone says your work is not good.

She:Why? Each one has their own opinion isn’t it.

Me:Ya I’m not saying that I don’t accept criticism. Yes, it helps you grow as a writer but at the moment its tough but…

She:You feel bad is it?

Me:Ya I feel bad but its ok I like people being honest with me. Also criticism helps you improve so much. After some time I feel happy that someone has taken so much effort to read my work, analyze and then criticize. Another thing is this, creation gives you such good feel.

She:You’re not confident of yourself that’s why you feel bad.

Me:That’s right too. You girls have this privilege of giving birth. That’s why I guess you don’t feel inferior. You girls know that you have some power with you. That’s why you are always super confident.

She:What’s this now?

Me:Ya really. Girls are always a confident lot. Between guys and girls if you see, you can clearly see that girls have higher confidence level. Even some girl with bad vocabulary, grammar etc. is much more confident than a guy of decent vocabulary, diction and all.

She:Is it?

Me:Ya being a girl you wouldn’t have realized but that’s how it is. I have never seen girls being depressed, frustrated and all. Even if it does happen it happens because of guys. Otherwise they’re just a happy lot.

She:You have a point here. It’s only you guys who make us frustrated. No one else.

Me:I said that just for an example. There’s no mistake of guys in it. This is their way of impressing you. It’s not easy to get on the knees and say ‘I love you’. It takes a lot of courage to do that, that too in front of a whole lot of crowd. But you don’t like it. You girls get annoyed by that. You don’t think what all he’d have undergone to do that, losing his self-respect, his image and all. What do you girls really like? Is there any fool proof method of impressing a girl?

She:Nope. Each girl is different. The way you guys try to impress us. Pathetic. It only annoys us more.

Me:Then how really should I woo a girl. Give me tips na. I know for sure. No girl is going to be impressed with literature. You cannot woo a girl with literature. Period.

She:That’s right but there is no hard and fast rule. Depends on the girl.

Me:Duh! No girl gives me an answer for this.

She:Let’s stop it here. This whole girl vs boy thing. There never really is an end to it.


She:Hmm… So…               

Me: So what? Do you believe in love?      

She: Another boring topic.

Me: No I’ll make it interesting. It won’t go in the way you’re thinking. Tell me.

She: Ya depends.

Me: Depends on what?

She: Depends on the guy.

Me: Ok ok.

She: What about you?

Me: What about me?

She: Do you believe in all these? Being a writer, you would be believing, I guess.

Me: Wow that’s a compliment. Calling me a writer. Thanks.

She: Not a professional though.

Me: You could have avoided this statement though.

She: Ha ha.

Me: Huh! No to be honest I don’t believe in love. In fact lust is true love is not.

She: What? How come lust is true?

Me: See when you love you have so many strings attached to it. You want your partner to be there when you feel sad, you want to share things, you want to make love. And I hate the word ‘making love’.

She: And in lust?

Me: Lust is pure. If you say you want her body you want her body. There is no cheating like making love. It’s having sex. Candid enough.

She: You and your theories.

Me: I know this is too much for you on a single night.

She: So what you’re planning to write next? Some lusty stuff?

Me: No actually I’m planning to write something with only dialogues no details at all.

She: But it won’t be nice na. You need details.

Me:Yait’s said that the more the details, the better the writer you’re. But again it’s the same logic. It’ll be like starting with a dot and drawing concentric circles around it. We can weave and weave till we want to. It’ll be fun you know when you just hear the conversation without imagining what type of persons they are. Then with the set of clues they can come to their conclusion. Remember I didn’t say ‘the conclusion’ it’s ‘their conclusion’. But seriously, who cares. It’s me who is writing. As long as it makes me happy I don’t care.

She: Ok but it’s not possible isn’t it. You need to describe and all. How’ll you do that?

Me: That’s a challenge. I can do that in dialogues itself.

She: You can’t do everything in dialogues.

Me: You’re discouraging me before even my start.

She: No man I’m telling you. Just telling you. Bhak!

Me: Ok.

She: Ok tell me, suppose you’re writing this scene in your story you’ve to describe right that I have an iPad and people are nonchalantly talking, this stop has come, we’ve crossed these number of hoardings etc. etc.

Me: Yes that’s a challenge but is that all necessary. For a change why not we just read what people talk and don’t think too much. Like in a state of limbo, in a void state with nothing but white spaces around. The metastable state, zero gravity, weightlessness…

She: Now again you’re talking weird. Talk English please.

Me: Comes with the flow. Can’t help it.

She:Yaya I’m getting used to it by now.

Me: Hmm if at all you’re so obsessed with details I can take it out from the characters mouth itself. Can’t I?

She: Can you?

Me: Suppose we’re the characters. Instead of using prose like she was wearing yellow salwar with matching bhindi I can directly tell you right. I hate this passive voice. See in active voice it sounds even better.

She: As in?

Me: You have a nice round face, the yellow salwar matches your complexion just about perfectly, your alignment of teeth is perfect, your sleeve in salwar is so high I like the curve it produces around your hand…

She: stop it…

Me: and your b…

She: Stop it. To what extent you’re going. Describing the shape of my arms and all. I don’t know what all is going through your mind. I’m afraid of talking to you now.

Me: This is what happens when one is absolutely frank. You get to sound rude if you’re absolutely frank.

She: You are rude.

Me: No not by any means. Every person has lots of thoughts going through his or her mind but you just get to choose one thought which pushes others and comes out like one of the million sperms that made you and me.

She: Man from where to where you’re joining a link. Enough stop it. All these philosophical talk of yours.

Me: I know everything I talk now may sound like crap but at some point in my life I’ll become famous and talk like this. Then you all will call me genius.

She: Ok I’ll call you genius now itself. Enough!

Me: Ok madam.

She: You still sure that you don’t want to know my name.

Me: I said na I like to maintain anonymity.

She: Ok tell me your name at least it just feels weird to talk to someone without knowing their name. Like talking to some person without their head.

Me: Nope.

She: Huh.

Me: Are you sure that you know the names of every person you meet?

She: Not every person I meet but I at least know the names of people who’re important. The ones I talk to.

Me: Thanks for considering me important.

She: I didn’t say that.

Me: But that’s what you implied.

She: No implication, just words. Don’t dig into any hidden meaning.

Me: Ok I take it back.

She: Better.

Me: Ok coming back to the point. There is this guy who sells groundnuts here. You buy groundnuts from him daily right? That too by giving exact change. He smiles at you whenever he sees you at some station. Do you know his name? At least have you ever considered asking his name?

She: What the hell? How do you know all these?

Me: I know. You answer my question.

She: I don’t know I mean why should I?

Me: That’s exactly what I’m trying to say why should you?  

She: See you’re confusing me.

Me: There is nothing confusing here. It’s not java. Everything is clear cut. We perceive a lot of things in a lot of way that’s it.

She: Seriously man you’re a whacko.

Me: I take that as a compliment.

She: Huh!

Me: Sitting next to a pretty girl makes you think all these weird thoughts.

She: Oh please.

Me: What is it with you? Every now and then you say ‘oh please, oh please.’ You don’t like compliments at all huh? Don’t say no. No can be like that.

She: Actually yes, No.

Me: Is it a Yes or no.

She: No I don’t like all these weird compliments.

Me: Girls not liking compliments. This is the first time I’m hearing such thing.

She: Well not all girls have to be same.

Me: But you do like compliments isn’t it.

She:Yaar please.              

Me: Ok fine fine.

She: Ok my stop is about to come I should get down now.

Me: Yea ok.

She: Where will you get down?

Me: Two stops from here

She: Ok then cya.

Me: Tell me bye.

She: I told na.

Me: You didn’t tell me loud enough.

She: I don’t like to turn back once I get up. Ok BYE. Enough?

Me:Ya bye.

She: Hey now tell me at least you have to type ‘the end’ at last even if you don’t use anything other than dialogues in your story na. What’ll you do now?        

Me: What big deal. We can say it right?

She: like?

Me: The End