Of Sounds that Stay — Part One

Sri’s house was always full of sounds. Its little dimensions and the fact that she lived alone only accentuated these sounds, giving them a theatrical touch. Everything in the house somehow managed to get in touch with some other thing and resulted in a noise. Legs of her bed screeched when they skidded over the floor, the chair creaked every time she sat on it, the utensils in the dilapidated dish container would slip off their regular positions and strike against each other, and then there were some rats, housed inside the soft cushions of the sofa that she had brought along with her from her father’s home. They nibbled persistently on the foam and the little leftovers that they managed to carry to their safe place. But this nibbling was something she had, grown used to, with the passage of time, like her husband’s snores and the weird sound that he used to produce when he orgasmed. The sofa with the rats nibbling inside it, in a sense, was a constant reminder of her marriage and of her husband.

Rattling in the kitchen woke Sri up, and soon, all the utensils that she had cleaned the other night and had placed on the cabinet were on the floor. ‘I must do something about the rats, today it is the utensils, but in the days to come it might as well be the Gods’, she mused, thinking about the photo frames of the Gods placed precariously on the top shelves in the kitchen. Yawning, she fell asleep again.

Some time passed and then her mobile phone rang. She had always, or at least for so long as she had had a mobile, been woken up by the same tone of Krishna’s flute. The tone that she had gotten saved on her mobile phone by Ashok, the mobile vendor in her locality. It was the first time she had talked to a stranger about a subject she knew almost nothing about, and she had waited for her husband to come back from work, to tell him everything about the conversation, and let him judge if that was appropriate of her to talk to an unknown man like that.

After she had come back home from the mobile shop, her thoughts had invariably strayed to the night of her marriage. The night when she had sex with her husband. She had known so little about sex then. And there she was decorated for it and was supposed to do it with a person about whom she knew even lesser. The details came back to her vividly. How he had feigned a smile at her, had waited for her to speak something, and then as if bored, had begun to undress her, removing all she had on her body, one after the other, her saree, the jewellery, the underclothes, and as if that was not enough he had then put his erect penis in her soft hands. How a pang of fear had rushed through her body, just like she had felt before entering the exam hall she was ill-prepared for. What had followed was a sensation so cold that her body had chilled, convincing her that she’d never be able to move her limbs. ‘Be shy about everything you are asked to do inside the bedroom’ her aunt had advised.
‘About what?’ she had asked.
‘That you’ll know tonight. But remember, shying away always comes to the rescue’.
And so she lost the grip of the penis and turned her face away. When she had looked at her husband’s face, he had looked so disappointed, and she had wanted to hold it, just to please him, to amend something that was not even wrong.

She had, upon her husband’s request, kept her bangles on, and when he was inside her, pushing his body against her as if the next thing he was about to do was to roll her over the bed onto the ground, the bangles had clanked against each other, all while the sex, near her ears. Those sounds, the clanking of the bangles, her husband’s gasps, the screeching of the bed, and her own enfeebled moans have stayed in her memory, together, and no matter how hard she’d try they refused to separate. He had asked her to do certain things that had then seemed quite abnormal. It had puzzled her as to why would any girl take the organ from where the boy pees into her mouth.

That night, he had come on her bare stomach twice in short gaps. She didn’t exactly remember how she felt and how long he lasted but that was because she didn’t know if the act was also to pleasure her, as if the prolonged penetration was capable of enhancing satisfaction. She was only told of the responsibilities. Be shy and be responsible. And she had won on those lines. A rat raced from across the room and started to climb using the quilt that was touching the ground. She gave the quilt a jerk and the rat took a detour disappearing into the sofa. It was time to get up, she thought.

She got up, joined her palms in front of her breasts, mumbled a prayer, used her right leg to bring the slippers out from under the bed, and made her way to the kitchen. She took her slippers off at the kitchen’s door and scanned the top shelves for the Gods. The frames were intact. She bowed before them and then bent some more to pick the utensils up.

Read the part two here.

The image used in the writeup has been taken from here.

13 thoughts on “Of Sounds that Stay — Part One

Add yours

  1. Mesmerizing, with harsh realities of human experience skillfully exemplified, as always, Akarsh… and we are left wondering why she now lives alone. xoxo love from France


  2. Happy New Year, Akarsh!
    The article is beautifully written as always. You are so talented in creating a certain subtle atmosphere with lavish details and outstanding psychological description. I enjoy the way you choose the words and make sentences to convey what you want to express.

    And I like the metaphor ” the sound of nibbling” in this article. It’s a way that life and time usually affect everything. Life and time, day after day, nibble away at people in a slient, tedious, bitter and cruel way. There is a famous Chinese writer called Zhang Ailing, who once wrote that “I can’t, even for a second, get rid of those little troubles that are constantly nibbling me. Life is a gaudy gown, full of lice.” Your article reminds me of that sentence. But the protagonist in this article suffers too much. I feel sorry for her. A marriage without love and understanding, a marriage that requires too many things from women, is miserable and bleak.
    I am very impressed by your capability of empathy.
    Again, I wish you all the best in the New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, and how much do I love the nuggets of Chinese Philosophy that inadvertently manage to reach us these days — mostly in the movies. I thank you for acquainting me to Zhang Ailing’s famous line. It is, like most of the other Chinese famous quotations, succinct and brilliant.

      As to the character, sometimes the writer looses control over their conditions, over what they are speaking and why they do what they do in any story. This story was just like that. But I am happy that you were able to connect to it.

      And thank you for the wonderful remarks.
      I am sorry for the late replies. A bit lost lately.

      And though it is slightly late, a very Happy New Year to you too Vera.
      Keep reading!

      Love from India!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel the same way. I used to write a story and as I wrote, gradually the character’s fate was different from what I conceived at the beginning. I enjoyed the lost of control , though.

        I’m sorry for the late reply. How have you been these days? The coronavirus is very severe around the world. I hope everything is good for you. Stay healthy and have a fantastic Spring!
        Love from China.🌸

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hey Vera, I had sent you an email a few days back, I’ll paste it here. I so hope that all is well there around you.


        Hello Vera,

        Hope this email finds you and people around you healthy and happy. With all that is going around in China (and now everywhere), I pray that everyone in China and elsewhere recover safely from the deadly virus.

        This email is to assure you that the world stands as one big united family in this time of distress.

        Please reply to this email whenever time permits you to as your reply would placate the uneasiness that I have been feeling reading the news these days.

        Love from India, and Prayers…

        Stay strong!

        Akarsh ( your WordPress friend ).


        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you so much Akarsh! I’m sorry I don’t check my emails frequently. I just found this email that you sent on March 9th. I’m so moved by your warm words! Don’t worry. I’m doing great, staying home and working on my paper. The village I live is very safe. There are so many kind people trying their best to fight against the virus. Staying home, wearing masks when we need to go out and keeping ourselves healthy is what we ordinary people can do to contribute to this battle. And the situation in China is much better now. We can’t go back to college until the virus is controlled, though. But around the globe, the condition is worrying. I hope you and other people healthy and safe. Please protect yourself well and keep fit!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Vera, you not being able to check the mails is totally alright, especially in days as distressed as these. I am so happy to hear that all is well around you. Also, how common people are contributing their bit to the society and the government by staying secluded is something I wish the world could learn from the Chinese and apply everywhere else.

        Thank you for replying to the mailer, and letting us — me and anyone who might end up reading this chain of comments — know about the measures you guys are taking to mitigate the situation.

        So far, people where I live are safe. Our biggest enemy is not the virus but our overt display of hospitality. The Virus has now managed to reach Bengaluru — and many other states of the country — mostly from people having travel history to the foreign lands, but I don’t think anyone is to be blamed here.

        I wish and pray for their steady recovery, and also for all the other people across the globe.

        Please keep us posted.

        Love from India!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m very grateful for your kind words! It feels so good knowing that there’re so many people caring about each other. I hope the situation of virus in India will be controlled soon. I hope our life will be back to normal. Take good care of yourself, Akarsh. All the best!


    1. Thank you Sandhya.
      I am happy that you liked the write-up.
      After reading your comment… I had to re-read it. Just to know what your comment means… and yes, as you rightly said, there is something terrifying about the story and what’s worse is there is a second part to it…

      Stay safe!
      Keep reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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