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Mainstream Fiction

Dub Step Trance

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“You won’t ever hide them behind these aviators, will you?” Olivia whispers into my right ear. A mild gush of warm air follows through — cocktail of Davidoff Coolwater and Marlboro Gold. It hurts when someone bites your earlobes, doesn’t it? For me, it triggers a referred pain, somewhere in the top left corner of the head.

“But I am not hiding,” I reply and feel the explanation wasn’t required. I am, anyway, out of my closet. Seems like, I don’t have a choice. I am in a trance.

“But you do when you enter office. Your sunglasses…they come between the black and blue. My black and your blue,” I feel the gin-soaked crimson gloss of her lips on my eyelids. Feels like being pampered. Feels like, I’m in my closet.

Four hours ago she was squatting on my lap, pressing my face between her cold palms and her long slithery fingers. We were having gin shots — her ninth and my fourth. We had got bored of humming Papon’s Marijuana. I anyways get bored of dry stuff too soon. But the dry stuff was going well with the bass, beats, moans and between gin shots then. Dub-step-trance! Everything was getting soaked up inits loudness.

Two hours ago, I had to remind her we were left with no more puffs; the gin-shots weren’t enough either to last for the entire afternoon — we might have to go out to get more. I had to remind her that she wasn’t Imogen (Imogen Poots’ eyes aren’t black); that I wasn’t Daniel Craig (all blue-eyed, cupid-lipped men aren’t her favourite star); and that she needed to remove her black stilettos before entering the bath-tub. Bath-tubs are for the bare. Bath-tubs are not closets. When I joined her I’d felt she was yearning for the man behind ‘the piercing blue’. Felt like she was craving to be in my closet. Felt like happiness.

We had to get sufficiently wet. For, ice-cold wetness has a soothing effect on trances. That’s why house parties are fun. The shower’s always a few steps away. Neha Kakkar’s Manali Trance was playing on repeat mode, just as Marijuana played before. She was moaning along with Neha:

Uh, puff, uh, stuff
Uh, puff, uh, stuff
Uh, puff, uh, stuff

Come on now, come on now…


Olivia had moved to Guwahati four weeks ago. We exchanged long gazes — between her black and my blue — but never spoke. Conversation shrouds true yearnings. Moments matter. Moments are trances. When we woke up at three in the morning at a Chandrapur resort, we hurried back to our respective homes because I craved for my closet. The one behind the piercing blue. And she, perhaps hers, beyond her black.That was exactly two weekends before the house party.

Shaheen wanted the party because she had to celebrate my promotion. The Senior Management had decided to go with me rather than her for the role. She came in the morning…well, in a jiffy,and picked up her Zara Wonder Rose from my bedside table. And her duffle bag too. The two tops, the pair of faded blue jeans and her under-wears in the bag always bore the smell of her perfume. She said she wouldn’t stay back for the party, for, she was feeling out-of-moment.I didn’t stop her.

The fragrance of Davidoff Coolwater was a welcome change. It felt better than Wonder Rose. It was in the moment. It synced well with the breeze in the balcony and the smell of Marlboro Gold.There was nothing else to sniff.

“Riddhima told me about you. Congratulations. And welcome on board. You are really good,” Olivia had forwarded her hand. Soft, delicate, slender, cold. I felt we could strip off the formality. Formalities reeked of boredom. We had just come out of the bath-tub together, rubbed each other dry and put our dresses back on. But then, Senior Vice Presidents have their own mood-swings. When she pressed her lips against mine in the balcony, I couldn’t tell her I wasn’t fond of bad-breath from smoking. We carried on, with Riddhima flashing past my mind.  We used to meet in Mumbai during quarterly business meets. She used to give me a lot of stuff to do — PPTs mostly. The final touch-up on the last two slides always used to be after-work spill-overs.

“At the lobby for a while…to wrap this up?” she would ask. But we would always walk past the lobby and go straight into my room, place the laptop on the table and ourselves on bed. She had gifted me the aviator. She said it would keep my eyes safe. She believed in black-magic. She said, she had heard about Mayong. Sometimes she smelt of sweat and Boroline. That was boredom.

Riddhima got soaked in thin air as Olivia stroked my hair with her fingers. That was the night before my promotion was announced; before Shaheen had asked for the house party; and after Olivia and I had sneaked out of the pub without paying the bill.

Although it strips off the formality, it hurts when someone bites your earlobes, doesn’t it? It has triggered a referred pain, in the top left corner of my head. And I hate referred pain. Pain is divine numbness, only when you are accustomed to it, when you are in your closet.But then, Senior Vice Presidents have their own mood-swings. Why would Olivia care whether I am in or out of my closet.  So, when she pressed her lips against mine in the balcony, I couldn’t tell her I wasn’t fond of bad-breath from smoking. We carried on, for a while, with Riddhima flashing past my mind.

Now I need a medium dry martini, lemon peel; shaken, not stirred. With my piercing blue, I can be Daniel Craig for a while. I can enter my closet again. Moments are trances. The tiny pool of blood gathering beneath the inert body twenty-two floors down there looks a bit blurred. The cocktailed fragrance of Davidoff Coolwater and Marlboro Gold will take a while to reach there. And so will formalities.

I am in a trance.                                                                                                                              

Niladri Chakraborty

Niladri Chakraborty, born and brought up in Guwahati, Assam, India writes short stories, poems and personal essays. His writings have been published in The Assam Tribune. He lives in Kolkata with his wife and two children. He is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories.

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