VAULT BESIDE THE TOWER Short Fiction

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SHE thought she would better apply for the post of a paranymph as she had already known the princess in her trip in gondola.The princess had a warm smile, witch hazel eyes and a hair that was beginning to thin. She has just arrived from La Coruna that day. While laughing, she stretched her facial muscles at random but Zucchi did not feel it ugly uncomely but quite appropriate to her style. The lady took a seat next to her throughout the ride and many lively exchanges followed. Had she met her earlier? May be not.The princess was on a learning tour into those Romenesque, the sturdy pillars and groin vaults  and she was serious about not only that but everything in general. The two ladies  later met at a luncheon hosted for academicians and by accident further in the vaporetto . It is to be told to the advantage of the princess that she was no mean person. On the other hand, she had a generous nature, the type of character that is the upshoot of careful upbringing. While parting they shared each other’s address and also exchanged some photographs and the princess invited Zucchi to her territory that was only a night’s journey from there.

It was her second year in the continent. Zucchi selected Venice for her stay as it suited the project she was into. This mundus alter of Petrarch fascinated her in ebbs and elations.. She had many concerns. She wanted to be an avant-garde writer but did not know how. Still one of her experiments was to write without semi- colons imitating an American writer. Her thesis on Marco Polo was progressing in a tardy way and her guide had already warned that she was writing fiction rather than a well formed academic paper. Why these ‘caverns measureless to man’ and all those strange stuff? Her guide did not hide irritation. She was mixing Marco Polo, Kublai Khan and the English poet in an unwholesome way. She is not licensed to fashion academic paper as Arabian tale. Moreover her grammar and punctuation is horrible. Above all her father writes that his arthritis is getting worse and he felt lonely as her brother was away and the managers of the estates are dallying.  Adding to  these, here she is in one of the coldest months in Venice.Finally it came to a realization that all baroque and beauty is not sure road for peace.

Her roommate was a Croatian, a divorcee and a Dostoevsky scholar in her early forties on a lecture tour in Europe.This fine lady adjusted her trips in such a fashion that she got ample access to universities and the humble lodging places that she preferred in her Raskalnikov style.She thought like the author of Raskalnikov that suffering is essential for the maturity of human psyche.Unlike Zucchi,she planned everything from top to bottom and the only thing that fell through seemed to be her marriage.This,she attributed to her lack of familiarity with male pneuma as she was brought up in a household of girls and nannies.She never had an intimate male company before marriage.
But what troubled Zucchi was not these .It was the glance her roommate made after large meals on her mid portion that bloated unusually. Her friend on the other hand had a handsome physique[whose bag contained Oregon grape and turmeric] and she maintained it by regular walks and flexibility exercises in the Eastern style. This probably lessened her bouts of depression and swinging of moods.

During last year they toured the continent extensively, mostly by train in order to get glimpse into life at grass roots. This thrilled her roommate who also had similar humours. They went to Milan and to La Scala and then to Turin and Verona but mostly stayed at Dijon enjoying Burgandy and staying under fashionable roofs. She sent all the photographs to her father except the one her friend took at coastal Cantabrian in an unusual apparel .Perhaps he may not bother much, but Zucchi did not want to take the risk of making him further uneasy in his old age.

With these thoughts she went to sleep. There she saw her father sauntering on the sands of Tigris with his grand father and great grandfathers. They walked to a dome of Taurus marble that was lit by a special light day and night.They entered the center room and checked their collections of urns of wine,loaves of bread and garments they got as funerary honors. There was a battle cry somewhere in near distance and the soldiers announced the arrival of Ur nina coming victoriously from Lagash..

2

She woke up next morning after the phone call from her guide. He said that he is leaving the continent for a week. He opted that she make the changes in her paper. Zucchi was partially relieved..
The thought of man made her think of mortality in general and the presumption of something beyond.On similar occasions, a vagueness filled her. Men are like cultures, cultures as different as Amazon and Paris. Some are nice, some are enigmatic and some are tedious. She had postponed many states of intimacy till she was in Madrid. And finally.. What if life but a mountain of hope crumbling in a single day. Then we would be aliens to ourselves, unless there is redemption at close quarters. That was the day she enjoyed the deep thrill and further appalled by the  scene in the railway compartment.Those were pearls that were his eyes. . Only that he preferred death at scaffold rather than death by drowning.. The corps took the clue and met her in the hotel room from where they got further photographs.Hers was the last entry in his diary.They let her scot free on the condition she could be summoned for further development of the case..

He was great to look at. He was visually challenged. With him she had gone to the vault beside the tower where he and his other visually challenged friends met . The Tower was a Middle Ages marvel and was a rendezvous for pilgrims and a flea market rose nearby.It was thronged by crowds and businesses and brokers of all sorts.When she went to to vault in the carriage he usually traveled, a middle aged man who looked like a war -exe at the entrance saluted him and addressed him as ‘Sire’. He eventually introduced her to other companions who were in many ways similar to him. At the corner of the vault was a book shelf of special script and also drawers of files, porcelain vessels and candles.There was a janitor who had external eyes and  an expression of somebody at the victory stand waiting for trophy. In the main hall there was a mahogany table where the guests kept the flowers they brought with them . Roses,dahlia,daffodils ,carnations,marigold, campion…..Zucchi felt finally safe with not many exploring eyes to harrow her as if she walked in a self guarded forest with no thoughts to grieve..

The police traced the hint and came to her room for further evidence of the culprit. Hers was the last en.try in his diary. There was also a photograph they took together in a studio.what if life, a mountain of hope melting in a single day.That strange feeling to accommodate the rocambolesco ,an unwavering reality that has solidified inside.She opened the box and took the looking glass and saw her face. suddenly she noticed a portion above her left ear where a thin line of grey hair spreading farther. Outside the window, a small forest of maple trees dim in the evening sky.

3

That was a usual sort of day and other than the slow murmur of wind there was nothing noticeable. Some people assembled in the other balconies were viewing the scene.A new crowd was coming from the west side and it melted into far off.

That day she got three letters. One from her father in his cuneiform like script and many portions were unintelligible due to tremor of hand. He, a Draco in his youth had mellowed. She kissed the letter.He writes that his arthritis is getting worse, still he finds occasion to to go to his office in the old porsche with his aide.As a recent development he had met his schoolmate and the latter and his wife ,both retired from service, meet him often and they have stories to share. The second was from his brother.He has written in his activist tone that Zucchi is wasting her life on dead projects that have no relevance today. Her ivory tower existence will not answer the big questions of the time. He warns that she would regret later and exhorts her to join him .She paused and thought that she had not made any major decisions in life, not even her marriage .The third  letter was from the princess.   The paper and even the glue were fragrant. Her husband is busy with administration. She on many occasions had to accompany him. Her only son wants a very honest and educated lady to guide him and to good tastes of reading and behavior. Of the many applicants, she had selected Zucchi even though she had known her only for a short time. She wants to bring her son to an ideal prince who will have the qualities of equanimity and balance. She beseeches Zucchi to accept the post and promises that her office will be as informal as possible and she can pursue her research at the dukedom’s ancient library that houses rare manuscripts.

Zucchi was rather exhausted after reading the letters. She wanted a hiatus, and kept them in the drawer.  She stood up ,her chin up and looked into the vast sky that appeared in many layers of lapis lazuli. A cat, not easily chastised by threats looked into the room from the opposite window that had grills of geometric shapes .They reminded of another millennium when a wind rushed from the open panes.
It was a crowd of white, green, and falcon red, two men were visibly moving, gladly discussing something and eating and proceeding. They were tremendously happy and were immersed in their story. Ridere de barzelletta. The follower was in his sailor uniforms and had a gruff that could be heard from a distance.

Zucchi slid her hands into the wallet and felt the quincunx of stars her friend had presented her.She touched there surface as she always did in occasions like this. Outside the window lay a garden where nuthatches have sought entry  nibbling scrubs . She counted..five….seen   nine…. they were more . A squirrel hesitated and went into the fold and after gaining confidence, remained .Her glance drifted to the burly men who were identical and were followed by two girls who were struggling to reach them.

When her gaze fell on the leader, a cold ripple passed through her spine, seeing something like the great Tuscan with a book as in Michelino’s fresco. He had a nose as the prow of a gondola and he touched his friend’s protruded belly as if to remind him the aftermath of excessive love or gluttony.The follower, his eyes covered in a pair of persol,  seemingly not disturbed, was looking down.  A big rush was setting the pace of the crowd to another direction.There she saw rivers of faces-      Sepik,Zambezi,Ganges,Colorado,Orinoco,Volga, Nile,Ob, Sao Francisca,Niger,Thames,Mississippi,Huang he, Yukon, Irravvaddy,Euphrates,Salween…..

The rivers were gushing faster amidst an ensemble of liveries…

Danube,Madeira,Brahmaputra,Irtish,Sungari,Purus,Parana,Zaire,Lena,Yenisei.Viking,Japura,Saskatchewan…..    Among the crowd,she saw the sorrowful faces some mothers who have missed the mark by overemphasized  responsibility.
The two girls walking as hind portion of the gang and holding Alpine zithers, sang in solemn ‘in exitu’ in a chorus that could lull a baby to sleep .The whole retinue vanished in the final crescent of the path when a wind blew suddenly and closed the window. Everything merged in the knell of Santa Marco..

She opened the box and took the looking glass she bought at the Carnival.On the rim had a few sand, the last remains of the Adriatic in a happy day.She wiped the grains off and looked into the mirror as if she was seeing another object. There she went after  a line of grey above her left ear, drifting humbly into the posterior with a sort of amazement. Was she too engrossed in studies to notice that? Magari. She thought about the Madrid man who was free from such reproofs . He had passed that stage where grey hairs are not phantoms. But who will not barter all the attributes for a little kindness at the final roll call?  She realized that it will answer all the guide’s questions. And perhaps more. With such thoughts by her side, she knew tomorrow will be a new day for her in Venice.

THE END

University Revisited

img_20170304_132050Visiting the university after the interlude of a quarter century. Trying to do everything from the scratch as in my youth and feel the difference if any.  Took the  bus from the city square and reached the main campus that was miles away. The wind carried traces of brine from the beaches nearby..

The entrance . Where  our election posters stood once.  The notice, that was an affected conglomeration of Soren Kierkegaard and our paltry contentions.The sudden thought. Did I become somebody? No.  Probably not. As every attempt to become was fortunately arrested by a counter flow that made the embrace of the ordinary facile. The playground where we played football. The Guest House. C.’s culinary abilities that made the evenings memorable. J.C.’s quarter. The church. The hostel.And my own room at the end row..

Coming back .In the bus. Talks of an upcoming port. Time passes..

The museum. Under a banyan tree a young man meditates. People in various activities of physical training. Outside, the vendors offer vegetable juice or some other juice ..

The centre from where the markets ruptured.. The library that was the rendezvous of a youth away from home.One book still comes to memory- A biography of Coleridge titled ‘The Damaged Archangel’  ……     Did not know then that archangels are prone to fall. That was a latter day discovery. The lawn . Where we talked  seriously on silly issues. The Institute where I studied. The upper rooms.   The professor was a known poet, humorous and wise. The bus stop. Where we saw off a senior girl student, in a group, as if we were one big family. The public library. The statue of the poet  . The banyan tree. Under it, one can sit and remember…     Panicker, Patrik, Sebastian , Gopi, Dena, Gita, Hebsy…      Oh-  another Easter, though far from  Irish, strange and beautiful.

Čudna Soba Alexandro Barita [kratki igrani]

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Ništa se u mojim sjećanja iz djetinjstva je jaka kao sjećanje na Alexandro Barita.We oboje išli u istu Junior osnovna škola, a kasnije na Arnold knjižnici zajedno čitati knjige. Barita čitati klasike. Dok sam uglavnom čitao bajke i znanstvenu fantastiku. Često sam se pitao kako Barita dobio ovu neobičnu vještinu pridržavaju veliki i profinjenog tijekom svog života. Njegov otac je bio lukav poslovni čovjek našeg grada je i notorna lihvar dobivanje visoke kamate od ljudi, posebno žene. Zašto je izabrao žene kao što je njegov najveći komad od kupaca bila vrlo očita. On ih je mogao zamoliti lako, prijeteći im vratiti velike interese na isplate zakašnjelih. Imao je par odvjetnika s kojima je konzultirati se često naći rupe. Ali Barita začudo nije imao tih sklonosti. To je bio kako sam njega sprijateljio.

U svojoj mladosti, Barita je bio šarmantan, zgodan dječak, a on je posjetio moju kuću često. Moja kuća je bila u zemlji i tu je rijeka na oko milju udaljenosti i Barita i ja znao sjediti uz rijeku i razgovarati za dugo. Uglavnom naši razgovori centriran aroundbooks a ponekad i naših kolega i nastavnika. Jedna nevjerojatna kvaliteta Barita je da on nikada nije rekao laž i nije ismijavati slabosti ljudi, iako je imao sve razloge da ponos sebe zbog velikog niza svojih dobrih osobina.

Barita živio u kući na raskrižju grada iza knjižnice. Za dvije godine je bio moj kolega na faksu prije nego što je otišao u većem gradu, na udaljenosti od četiri sata, kako bi se nastaviti veći studija u literaturi. Sve ove dvije godine, upoznao sam ga u njegovoj kući kad god sam išla u knjižnicu. Evo, barista, ostati u većini elegantan sjaj, u svojoj oružanoj stolici. Njegova soba je sadržavala sve vrste radova i alata i stvari i chessboards. Sluškinja uvijek napustio sobu djelomično očišćen kao što je ona da požuri za dan vrijeme job.Though, nije bilo nestašica službenika u našem gradu, ova dama je zadržao uglavnom zbog majčine posebnu naklonost prema njoj. Barita korišten krevetić izrađen od kokosove žice i kad je skočio u nju, dječji krevetić ga podiže na maloj visini, kao da želi naučiti Newtonovi zakoni gibanja.

Najveći problem, barista mi je jednom rekao, bio je njegov brat. Iako je ovaj brat bio mlađi da Barista, nije ga poštuju. Česte svađe koje su se dogodile između njih, bila je oko pitanja kao što su koji bi trebali zauzeti kupaonicu prvi ili ponekad preko haljine su dijelili i koji je bio izvorni vlasnik. U nekim kućama, ja sam posjetio, braća nisu svađati dok su postali vrlo velika. Tada su pitanja imovine će puzanja i svi od njih će imati djece čiji su pristojbe oni moraju platiti na vrijeme da ne bi bio izbačen iz škole, ili neki krediti vratiti te u nekim slučajevima njihove žene će ih potaknuti da izgrade obitelj od svoje vlastite. No, ta ista braća u još kasnijoj fazi će doći zajedno i sjećati se svojih sretnih eksploatira i zajedništvo i filozofirati da cijeli svijet je pozornica, a citirati Emerson da je priroda drugdje. Ne možemo pronaći grešku s njima, ali samo mislim da je to neki od životnih hirovima ….

(Preuzeto iz djela koja je u tijeku).


EL BARCO – Cuento Esperó a que las olas se asienten por un tiempo, no prestar atención a que el viento que ha estado soplando desde que comenzó este viaje. Nunca en su más salvaje de los sueños podría él braza que esto podría ser la razón de su regreso a este lugar una vez favorito. Amigo, yo estoy aquí, murmuró para el viento y ahora volviéndose y mirando a las profundidades del mar en el otro órbita, que estaba en la consternación de desentrañar su misterio. Los hijos de los pescadores apenas lo notaron, ya que estaban recogiendo las cosas de juego y empezar de nuevo para continuar un juego que podría haber dejado bruscamente en medio, la última noche. Tal vez la tormenta que sopló ayer detenido su juego, pero no de cualquier manera de tocar el ardor. Unos cuervos vinieron de repente, como si pasado de un sueño de Heráclito y espiado a él, girando la cabeza hacia los lados, pero casualmente más tarde se establecieron a una distancia para buscar restos de comida Este es el pueblo, que recordaba, que le dio paz y vigor hace muchos años cuando vino aquí por primera vez. Ahora a excepción de algunos equipos de operación de rescate y algunos curiosos de lo que está pasando, agrupados aquí y allá, parece que hay poco que es consolador. En las últimas semanas, las tormentas habían perturbado su marco sano y los barcos de pesca que llevan a muchos hombres fueron rechazados y algunos están desaparecidos. La lluvia caía fuertemente ayer también. Mientras caminaba por la orilla, la arena mojada escapó de la capa delgada de la mitad de sus zapatos y tocó sus pies dando una sensación relajante fraternal. Miró a la tierra ya la gran distancia a la que desapareció. Fascinante como era, llegó más lejos en un bosque de cocoteros y luego en una piscina de aguas pobladas de distancia del mar. Han pasado veinte años, pensó. Estaba en su segundo año en la Sorbona, cuando una dolencia en el pecho desarrollado, lo que le inquieta y, finalmente, no aptos para asistir a las clases. Su médico le atribuye esta condición a una especie rara de la enfermedad pulmonar causada por roedores, aunque no podía recordar ningún incidente que le incitase. Por supuesto, tuvo una breve estancia con su padre en su país de origen por la proximidad de las cuales había algunas granjas. Su estado, dijeron es una especie rara de la enfermedad y necesitaba reposo absoluto. Por lo que dejó los estudios en el medio y volvió a casa. Más tarde, sus amigos le sugirieron que es mejor ir a alojarse en un pueblo conocido bien por vía marítima. Una vez alojado reyes y sus consortes. Ahora, un estudiante enfermo. Y él vino aquí. Él era joven y tenía menos equipaje … Le dieron una habitación en la única casa de descanso decente que estaba disponible entonces, los otros son la mitad estado ruinoso. Como su padre era conocido del anciano del pueblo, se le dio buen trato, un asistente y una habitación con vistas. Su habitación estaba en el lado oriental y las ventanas dio una visión adorable en el mar y que tenía la costumbre de pasar largas noches de vigilia mirando las olas y los barcos que están lejos, desde la tenue luz de un faro que estaba destinado principalmente para una gran puerto próximo a este puerto. Aquí conoció a su amigo que entonces estaba esperando los resultados de fin de carrera del año. En su tiempo libre trabajaba como adjunto del cuidador. Pronto, formaron una alianza de espesor, del tipo de los que que nunca había ocurrido más tarde en la vida. Mientras se recuperaba, su amigo de leer los dos únicos libros que llevaba consigo. Una colección de Oscar Wilde y una biografía de los santos. Todas estas reflexiones le hicieron dar un suspiro y un instante después se dio cuenta de que era bastante inusual de estas expresiones a sí sólidas de la desesperación. En este asunto, emuló a su padre, que mostró suficiente fuerza interior en situaciones críticas. En las conversaciones familiares, este fue un tema que excita su madre, que creía que un hombre sin miedo es una entidad imposible. Todas las personas, argumentó, tienen miedos y aflicciones que ascienden a diferentes grados. Sólo eso, algunos viven con ellos y otros actúan sagazmente en los momentos cruciales a pesar de ellos. En resumen, la valentía de acuerdo con ella no es una virtud de los cielos, sino una cuestión de elección de urgencia o una habilidad que aumenta después repitieron la práctica. la fuerza completa es una fachada, su madre le dijo, y oyó su risa desde un lugar mucho más allá … Ahora, no va a elegir a cavilar sobre ella por mucho tiempo, ya que está más preocupado por el barco que falta que se fue para la pesca hace tres días, lo que lleva a su amigo y todavía no es detectable. Y una tristeza inusual lo abrumó. Se movió su mente a su propia versión de la felicidad, que era la intención de estar en el siempre presente, a pesar de todos los pronósticos. Pensó por un momento en la familia de su amigo y mezclada con la idea y vio a sus pies reunir una fuerza galope desconocido para él. Sí, él está seguro acerca de la casa. Había estado allí muchas veces. 2 Había muchos hombres reunidos en el jardín que rodeaba la casa. Todo el lugar estaba rodeado por una valla metálica en tres lados y en la parte delantera por una pared de ladrillo. La puerta se abrió con un zumbido y los hombres reunidos en la parte frontal y en otros lugares bajo los árboles, alzó la vista. Probablemente estaban buscando en sus recuerdos de la identidad de los invitados en una situación tan calamitosa. El perro ladró. Pero después de una corteza, se detuvo como si hubiera visto una declaración oculta en el espacio. Mientras se acercaba, dos ancianos se levantaron del grupo, un hombre haciendo alusión a su amigo algo de grasa media de edad y el otro asintiendo con la cabeza en sentido afirmativo. El compañero de mediana edad levantó la mano y él era un buen extienden en problemas por un reloj de color de oro macizo que se negó a descansar en su muñeca derecha. Reconoció el anciano como el tío de su amigo, que lo conocía bien y con la que tuvo muchas noches y cenas. Su tío, cuya barba se vuelve gris completa, llevaba pantalones de color caqui y una camisa de cuadros que colgaban debajo de los niveles de ajuste habituales. Él sonrió con calidez en reconocimiento amable, pero la triste traje de ser escapó del marco fino. “Es avistado el barco? ‘, Preguntó solemnemente y esperó por su respuesta. “No”, dijo. No hubo más conversaciones. Entró en la casa y junto con los pocos huéspedes, ocupó una silla en el lugar de esquina. Se dio cuenta de que la habitación había cambiado mucho. El mobiliario es más elegante y las paredes están llenas de las fotografías de un militar en uniforme. Esa era su amigo que tiene la comisión de servicios a corto en el ejército y más tarde tuvo que volver a la industria de pesca de la familia después de la muerte de su padre. A los pocos minutos transcurridos y una señora en el vestido blanco apareció. Reconoció la mujer de su amigo a quien había conocido en el Carnaval de los pavos reales, junto con su amigo. Su cara tenía una palidez patético, un equivalente a la que vio sólo en algunas caras en el funeral de su madre…… [Taken from the story, ‘The Boat’]