You are on page 1of 6

November-December, Bangalore 2005 1

Visit us at:

Presenting the sixth edition of Quirk. This time we showcase “Comfortably Dumb”, and what better way to do so than being comfortably dumb. Berated as the ‘dumbest’ of all literary forms – the short story is perhaps thus labelled
because of its popularity among lay readers. This however, has not prevented such names as Maupassant, Conan Doyle, O’ Henry and Chekhov from being equated with genius for their short works. Through these pages, we celebrate
Read, enjoy, share,
the short story, giving you six quirky attempts at this difficult literary form. And thus, still comfortable in being dumb, Quirk completes a year. Our mission remains the same: to spark a literary renaissance, college style. A time for
introspection, it is time to look back at our evolution since January 2005. We are still close to the bottom of a mighty mountain but now, we have been walking for a year, attempting to create an articulate, expressive community of
don’t litter
young South Asians. Where there was hope last January, now there is confidence. We thank you for quirking along. Contribute. Criticize. Abuse. Praise. Write in to here’s wishing all our readers a very happy
new year. Watch out for our anniversary edition in two months.

Bangalore, November- December 2005 Mail us at:

Half a Dozen Quirks
Presenting the sixth edition of Quirk. This time we showcase “Comfortably Dumb”, and what better way to do so than being comfortably dumb. Berated as the ‘dumbest’ of all literary forms – the short story is perhaps thus
labelled because of its popularity among lay readers. This however, has not prevented such names as Maupassant, Conan Doyle, O’ Henry and Chekhov from being equated with genius for their short works. Through these pages,
we celebrate the short story, giving you six quirky attempts at this difficult literary form. And thus, still comfortable in being dumb, Quirk completes a year. Our mission remains the same: to spark a literary renaissance, college
style. A time for introspection, it is time to look back at our evolution since January 2005. We are still close to the bottom of a mighty mountain but now, we have been walking for a year, attempting to create an articulate, expressive
community of young South Asians. Where there was hope last January, now there is confidence. We thank you for quirking along. Contribute. Criticize. Abuse. Praise. Write in to here’s wishing all our readers
a very happy new year. Watch out for our anniversary edition in two months.
Miss Warden tells me four times a week I’ve got no memory with sleep, not knowing quite if I was asleep, as well, and in

the candles and stir the fire, and feel a little chill: but when the
(she’d tell me oftener, except she doesn’t see me but four

danger of falling: and gazing up through the ghostly silver

owl strutted out, and the nightingale stirred in the spruce
times a week, which I guess is one of the things I’m supposed

branches at a patch of black sky, smiling down at us with a sea above, I knew it was time to jog in. I turned slowly, as in an

to be grateful for) – but that’s not true, because I remember

of winking lights. The sky looked beautiful over our cottage early-morning dream, from the patch of sky, smiling down at

everything clearly from the time before they brought me at night, but I liked it best just when dawn was breaking, before

me through tangled fragrance: all the colour of silk, as I think

here. I told her so, one day when I’d “got up on the wrong there rose light enough to make things out quite clearly. I the Ice Princess’ blue-gray gown must be: almost breaking,

side of my bed” (she told Mrs. Teralaw, and she called me up remember one day, when I’d been ill and in bed early, I woke

then, with the stars, already winking about our supper.
and told me I’d “got up on the wrong side of my bed”) – and

up and felt I couldn’t sleep longer if I tried: so I crept out of

dropped a dirty cup in the pantry, because it was too dark to

the window, and tiptoed on the brown leaves down to the I told Mrs. Warden all I remembered, and told her she wasn’t

see properly what I was supposed to be washing (it’s always water’s edge, where the solitary yew stood at the river’s bend. right to say I had no memory, for I remembered all these

too dark in the pantry) – and then Cook was angry and kept The breeze kissed me so softly, timid but gathering cool things clearly, and many more, which I couldn’t speak fast

at me till when I got away to the table there was only strength among the rocking reeds, and there was such a soft

enough. I can look up at the attic window and see it all again,

Broomstick turning his tail away from the crumbs. She’d fullness in the bright air, of birdsong far away, and rustling of

as I see the patch of starless grimacing through the cobwebs
kept at me all through history, I mean Miss Warden had,

murmurs, and distant laughter: that I thought I must be still in down at me . That sky is so unlike what it was before, it

about Henry IV who had six wives and cut their heads off after

bed, dreaming of the daybreak. But the palest of pink blushes makes me wonder if there’s still a real sky outside. I remember

making them tell tales, and then got his own head chopped now broke over the blue yews and the steeple of Suiton Church, the night they brought me here, after the funeral, there was a

off: it was Henry IV I think, and I should have felt sorry for and grew like a stain delicately over the vanishing gray. Then sky, with a star or two winking through the gathering rain. I

him, except why did he have to make it so people would have a single ray broke in gold from the corner of the world, and

haven’t seen the sky since then, for they never take us out
to sweat over him in history-books? She pulled me up about

spread over the few star-shadows that were paling before the

(they have chapel inside, and they tell us it’s bad for little girls
Henry, and then flew at me and told me then I’d got no

blush: and after it came the soft and radiant sun – and before who’ve got nobody in the world, to get used to too much

memory – and I told her maybe not for history, but I did for

I knew it, I stood in the new day, wide awake. The quivering freedom). That night, as Mr. Phaytle rushed me in, we passed

other things, as I remembered a lot of the things from when I fullness broke, too: the lark burst out somewhere close above through a corridor in the new wing, where the mistresses have

was small, before they brought me to this place. And I told me in the yew, the reeds laughed their sleepy heads free, and their bedrooms: I saw gauze curtains in those bedrooms, and

her, for I couldn’t stop then, how I remembered one of the the river leaped up with a start and caught, with a thousand

the gray moon looking through: but here where they keep us
first things from when I was home; remembered so clearly me

shimmering gleams of gold, the fainting wind in its arms, to

there are no windows, except the ones boarded up at the end
and Tom standing by the water leaning against the cherry-

carry it, laughing with the wonderful tales it brings from the of the schoolroom. But sometimes they forget to draw the
tree behind the old mill, and trying to see who could
bolt of the pantry-window quite secure, and once or twice
spit up highest at a patch of sky smiling down at us
when I’m busy scrubbing and Cook is scolding the maid
through the dancing pink blossom.

I saw she didn’t want me to go on, and so I did, what
with getting up on the wrong side and all, and I told her
everything I remembered from home. The words came
A Patch of Sky I’ve edged the window a little, and I think there was a sky

Maybe I can get them to send me up to the attic more
often, so I can look at the patch of sky from there, and
so fast I was startled, because they’d been telling me
remember how it was at the cottage, by the river. I did a
here I mustn’t remember what it was like before, that it would red mountain, to the great sea, and to love. I wandered

foolish thing and told Mrs. Priss at breakfast I rather liked

do no good and that it was ungrateful to brood over the past –

among the yew, and gazed up beyond all the greens: the green

going without supper, for then the crumbs didn’t taste so

and when you hear a thing said often enough by everybody,

of the ripe cornfields, the green of the long-grassed meadow burnt, or the treacle so bitter, and the attic wasn’t a bad place

and nothing never said opposite by nobody, you sort of grow

and the weedy bog behind it, and the greens of folks’ gardens, after all: and Mrs. Teralaw called me up and told me all about

used to it. I thought I had forgotten, mostly, but now the down by the green river-bank – up, up at the patch of sky,

ingratitude: and I’ve heard Miss Warden say little girls who

words came fast, all that I was supposed to have forgotten, smiling down at me through the net of leaves come alive

aren’t grateful for their blessings, and will perversely remember

and I couldn’t hardly speak as fast as I thought. And I saw she

again, all peacock-blue, with the fleecy clouds, shadowed with

things that can’t be of any good to them, and not try to bear

listened all the while, with her jaw dropped, and the other girls

crimson-gold, idling across its pretty face. in mind there’s nobody they matter to anymore, except to

listened too – and then she left History all in a fit, and they

those who are good to them and prepare them to find a humble

said I was to go up to Mrs. Teralaw. And Mrs. Teralaw said I’d I remembered the sky as it looked when I lay with the feet in way in the world, such little girls shouldn’t be let to take their

been a bad, ungrateful child, and didn’t know my blessings, the dew that never quite left the thick grass under the chestnuts,

blessings for granted, for there were others who should be

that there were others who were worse off and would be more

down by the ruined mill, with a book folded open on my skirt:

more grateful in their place. So I think, I must be careful not

grateful for my good, and I must learn my lesson the hard way, lying so still, like the heavy-eyed summer noon, while ma sat

to be sent up too often, else Mr. Phaytle might take me away

as I seemed to like it so: and all about the wrong bed and

sewing and talking to me: until her voice became soft and somewhere else.

everything. So that night they said I was to have no supper, slow, and as sweet as the honey that seemed ready to drip –

and sent me up to the attic in the old wing. It was all black oh! so slowly from the still branches above me. I remember

But then, if they took me outside, I might see after all there

there, with a funny smell, but when I sat down on a creaking

pulling open my eyes, once, twice, before they were really

was no sky left in the world. I shouldn’t like that, for then I

trunk I could look up at a small, decrepit window high up in open, and closing quickly again: and I saw the river and the

would forget all I remember from before they brought me

the wall, and through the cobwebs I could see a patch of black

fields lying hot and white and breathless, and felt ma run her here, and it would be so strange. I can’t imagine the cottage

sky, grimacing down at me without a single star. fingers through my hair: still speaking, speaking ever slower,

and river with no sky above them, even such a sky as I can get

ever lower, until the golden honey dropped secretly through to see here.

I didn’t mind being up alone in the dark, for back at home, a-

the steaming boughs above, from the patch of sky smiling at

mornings, before Tom slung his sack over his shoulder and set

me, in the last lost moments, clear and mercilessly bright No, I can’t let them take me away! I’ll just come up to the

off down the way, behind father, we played hide-and-seek; and

through the windless white flowers. attic once in a while, so I don’t forget there was a real sky

often I crept into the great outhouse, where I had to hold the

long ago, and it shone over my home, and my folks, and me.

door close, and be still and sure no shadows fell across the slit

And last of all I remembered the sky as it looked as I skipped I’ll sit on the creaking chest, and look up at the decrepit

o f day below the rotten door: because Yap was sure to be from the dairy, when Sally said she wasn’t likely to need me

window, and see the patch of sky grimacing down at me through

lurking near, and if I stirred he was off at once yapping to

any more, and across the stone bridge towards the fields: until the foul-smelling spider-webs – black and empty, without a

Tom I was hid in the outhouse. I didn’t like that much, but pa’s lovely brown mare came plodding through the daisies, all

single winking light.

Tom laughed and said not to mind: because Yap loved me just dark under the lengthening shadows, and pa threw up his cap

as well, but he guessed he knew Tom was master, and I agreed,

as I cried to meet him. I remember skipping across on the

for he was Tom’s dog really. When he didn’t bark I would be shiny stones, while the big horse plunged into the river where

in the outhouse for a long time (hours I thought, except when

the water was so low the weeds glanced up, as through a mirror, AMITA BASU

I came out it wasn’t but a few minutes: which is how I guess and pa trotting high above me, watching me bite my apple:

the night seems so long, and we wake up and feel we’ve slept but sometimes he pretended he’d forgotten, and go chatting
Comfortably Dumb

ages, and couldn’t sleep more for trying), and so I wasn’t at all on and on, ‘till I grew quiet, and he laughed when he peered

afraid of being by myself up in the funny attic.

into my face, and tossed me a plum or a peach (I loved the (Consolation; it took a while before it became Comfortable.)

peaches best, ours were the sweetest in the country): and then

Missing supper wasn’t so bad either, seeing what they gave us he shouted after me, as I leaped off into the hedges, and he P

to eat. Back noonday baking, and cream fresh from the followed the path up the cottage, not to stray too late, else

dairy, and bits of moist cheese: and there was usually jelly and I’d miss Sally’s gooseberry tart. But I didn’t care so much for

preserves, and plenty of whey: and, if Tom could get away I Raised Hand is not enough?

tart when I had a peach, and I went to stand under the cherry-
from school early enough, we filled a basket with grapes and Y There must be Agitated Raised Voices too?

tree, so grave and sober from the hide-and-seek mornings, to

raspberries when we went picking the firewood. On Sundays watch the sky as the stars came to chase the last rays of sun A Seat occupied must be in the Centre Rows?

Aunt Mabel and Uncle Jeremy came over, with little Rachel into the far woods. D Then, Decline to Make a Point.

and meat-pies: then Sally brought us white butter, and pa

poured out the fragrant mead as ma watched: and we children

It happened very slowly, the colours first falling, and then R Initially Conscience pricked; initially

had our little cups filled with sweet ale. We never supped lingering for a while in shades of pearl and gray, which the S Parallel Perspectives pleaded to be presented.

indoors, unless it was foul, or winter, but carried the tea-table rippling water was quicker to catch up, as it threw the last

and our stools to sit beneath the willows under the stars. I told fragments of its forever-unfinished tale up to the dropping
H Gradually, impact of the what’s-the-Point Doctrine

Mrs. Warden how I remembered it all, sitting under the wind: then it was swift, for the birds came home, and as the
I And so; Another Opinion, how does it matter?

murmuring boughs, all ghastly in black and silver, and the N

swifts circled and the geese cackled in midair, they paused for

breathing black over the curious forms of the country, all a moment in my grove, to bid good-night, before they tucked I Second round of pricking Conscience,

merged in sleep: with my knees drawn up, and shivering so their heads under their downy wings, and fell fast asleep: the However, now unable to Express.

slightly and pleasantly when the breeze playing with the boughs bluejays came, and the redbreasts came, and the swallows and K Need to, Desire to. But, cannot kick Habit.

rose up a little, so that I didn’t know if it was fine, or just a

sparrows came, and the cuckoo and the lark (I liked the lark E Something to Say but Pluck on Holiday.
little cold: and listening at the murmuring between ma and

best, he was first by my window a-mornings). And when they D

aunt, and pa and uncle: and listening for the first little snore fell quiet, so suddenly all at once, I looked up and saw the day
Wondering, Deconstructing; of no use now,

from Uncle Jeremy’s chair, and nudging Tom whether he’d was fled: all the country dyed in the pallor of before-starlight,

fall off (Uncle Jeremy sometimes forgot to lean up against a so strange and softly radiant, so clear of outline and so dark in
A Worrying then Resolving; of no consequence,

willow); and for the soft little sound that told me pa’s pipe had Y Hope that a Just-Do-It will come along,

detail: that magic sort of light, changing so slowly you never

dropped sleepily from his fingers. And I remembered sitting could say if it was still day, or if now it was time to bring out A Until then, Comfortably Dumb.

‘We have still a long way to go to reach was a close friend of mine called Kako. Sometimes gurgling brook flowed a friend of comment in the class about children growing such adventures. and he troubled trees. ‘Walk slow and he achieved. and snatching at it with both the rolling rocks and falling stones. I kept a watch on Kako for the next few days. “But.” he said. and climbed for two whole aware of this. and went away saying that he rolled on between the thorny thickets.’ mountain: the big boulders rolled down every time The last cub was fortunate to have a black. “My mind is made up and crystal-clear water. hoping that he would change his decision and come back . whether he had given up and was returning.clear?’ you know what an impossible thing it is to climb a crumbling mountain!” Kako listened to all this The foliage was new and fresh. then feeling it only to him. The Big Bear stepped into the water first. though he thought ‘Seeing the mountain I remember a very sad completely forgotten about Kako. But no. ‘What and seeing their papa so slim the cubs grew sad brothers. And the peril that the excessive beard looked wonderful. But the cubs didn’t know the way nothing but an airy mirage. just as big as the one you see before scrambled through the bushes and huddled around you. mountain has for me makes my decision stronger. okay?’ said and asked their papa to lead them from the reached.’ said a month. leafy twig the science professor. just watch that tiny speck called the cubs were now in an open area where a simply awestruck when they found that the Kako conquer the mountain bit by bit. between wet. But The Big Bear broke a long. The Big Bear though was happy to shed ‘Come on now. So one day he decided to climb the to take a walk with them through the banana keep guard. sliding in spite of himself. and the Big hands. ‘But no one reached. There through the dense pathways easily.’ said mountain beside our school. it had really happened . and him. and I got so excited that cave. classroom window. because it makes my purpose grander and much which was so alluring. I told it even to our science professor.” he said. as it shared morsels with its The cubs were curious and nodded eagerly. fallen across the from the very next day. But because he was so intelligent him in a compact circle. There are many hyenas here. and it was only after The cubs splashed into the water one by one. I could see him climb.’ he said. at least now he could carry himself shouted. who had The Big Bear was happy at this. and we happy at this thought. and thanked the professor for his kind had a look at its face in a broad leaf filled with watching the Big Bear attentively they broke advice. It was a nice game for them as and very enthusiastic. but the cubs were the mountain.’ disobedient. Kako was very ambitious and was always Now they had to pass through a broad wooded first in class. and avoiding Walking out of the wooded region they came fish passing across. Big Bear Remembers Kako excited. stout Kako managed to ascend a bit higher. he was climbing. and sometimes I would come The Big Bear had stepped over a honeycomb on cold starry nights and make a bonfire beside Having squeezed themselves through the thickets that had made its feet sticky. If anyone of you gets walk ahead. that they couldn’t use his belly as a toy-pillow anymore. happened. or really his own face. when it snowed I felt sad for poor Kako for he boulders imbedded there.’ said the cub at last. Don’t try. “It can never be the Big Bear as the cubs scarcely caught up behind front. He climbed from behind could have turned into a nightmare. mountain. crossed across. which could never be lost. foot. and prepared for his ascent long as they kept together. seeing them waste so much time on would be late. “Bring that Kako here. crazy fools!’ The cubs more significant. which lay on the other side of the the Big Bear flourishing the twig for them to and wonderful decision. ‘It works only on papa. His face puffed up with an into a panicked gallop and vanished behind the I am going to climb it. it will not work on you. standing on the other side.” The professor couldn’t say The cubs were like small woollen balls. But let me tell you in ho ho!’ Guffawed the Big Bear. The Big Bear eating. his head in deciding whether it was the water. left to him. and it was fun for the cubs to watch the weeks. away. and I saw that dark speck called Kako sufficiently safe. and the Big Bear A few stray deer were grazing faraway and silently. sinking slowly over the had not taken anything to keep himself warm in years. foot of their father every time he lifted his legs. cub all the same. that’s why he is our papa. But he patted the back of the mine. tried to have fun without breaching Bear. ‘Saw them running. papa?’ a cub asked. Kako kept on to a huge crumbling mountain. hurry up!’ the Big Bear ‘You want me to tell the whole thing? No. skillfully of their father and followed him politely. Bangalore 2005 2 The Big Bear had recently lost much of its paunch. was horrorstruck. and motioned cub to its brother trying to stick a leaf to its had actually descended lower and I wondered the cubs to hurry up. quick!” he cried and when I went with him he explained at length that ‘The undergrowth is very dense and the misty peak so alluring from here was you have to keep together. it happens the chilly weather. It was a most daring undergrowth. through the the limits of the game. the game Leaves: fresh and scarlet. keeping a big fistful for its own. because the mountain is crumbling. made a the cubs too young to be encouraged to take up story. and suffering because of that. and the cubs both studied in the same school beside a big mango tree and called his playing kids who promptly followed him. had said all that he could and the decision was managing to evade the thorns from brushing listening to the woodpeckers and the crickets. long that even our science professor. ‘Okay!’ said the Big Bear. should lag behind . and the cubs ground stuck to the flat. just look up and follow this twig. fine feet of the Big our school compound. It was nice for the Big area filled with the rat-tat-tat of woodpeckers and ambitious he was never satisfied with what Bear to have his children together.November-December. ‘Ha ha ha . jumped onto the other side with its bounty. And this went on for about a and felt the depth with its toe. and he decided and the chirping of crickets. slowly. but if lost. “Moreover. we some weight. instead of getting from the mango tree and began to walk holding it high above its head. throwing the leaf days that I realized the crumbling nature of the were hauled up by the strong arms of their father. shiny leaves didn’t stick to their feet. But Kako was fanatically determined against their pelt. This went on for so Bear stopped and turned to his children. and ‘Yes. stood up under the giant the banana plantations. and they didn’t find anything amusing in the gruff mirth anything to this.

He the sound of a bell. ‘Isn’t it too insubstantial a thing huge house called a hotel A year after to live upon. It’s very hard to communicate with him. tired. Kako. It is mostly empty at this uncertainty. I always get the feeling that if not known the way to his temple for years. The The Big Bear scratched his beard and sniffled. ANKUR PRAHLAD BETAGERI. All and fell to my knees. In the centre is a huge brass bell on an iron chain. especially since the open and near the surface. no mention is made ‘What do you think of him. But no one must ring the bell.’ A sane.) At the end of this hour of the day. what lies The village of Fodos has a behind the wall. and looked at H around. The new temples are mere shrines to ‘The mountain was his home. at the very heart of the world there is The cubs looked at each other doubtfully. but he didn’t want sense of humour. which remains and survives all M breaks off a chunk and lets it fall at achievements.November-December. So the out the words. All the ducks. Some of the books where but the cubs. ‘Spirit. paintings made of a huge man of fire. ‘He felt an outcaste everywhere else. and this while a high wall was erected around the village. and eats it. And don’t you A This is the duck. ‘I respect him. New temples I he wanted to tell us what was so have been built. for that would have killed laughing at something. visitors say. personally.’ a cub said.’ many come to bathe in the sea. After every few hot light. but his death was something very unexpected and sad. and they refused to feel that it’s Kako’s spirit which smiles in every N about it. And in Feidh (the the laxity of the keep this spirit alive and save ourselves from neighbouring village to guards to climb ours) there was a huge building called a Library to store over it. The devout place their offerings beneath the bell and leave. and next morning I went to a buildings. Not a single page was even slightly charred. W laughing at them. though they were in a language unknown houses rest on high wooden pillars. knew that he is not blind. rested for a while below an foundation on which to build a house. R He’s very poor. They tell us there is water only on the surface of the Earth. Rivers of fire explode sometimes from a deafening sound shatter the silence of the As you fly closer the amorphous mass mountains and flow down to the cities. ‘He was like a symbol of our collective wishes which lay suppressed beneath our cowardice which had d Harold is deaf and dumb. He must have stood on the beach for hours. Huge N grass. weren’t ready. Now he the roaring would never stop. sour-faced pigs. This is Harold. He also collected other things – precious stones. some are glassed and mirrored. but everyone knows they couldn’t do without it.’ They say the Doctor found the temple. Orannon is of any kind – no one’s quite sure why haven’t been able to forget him. and no “keep off the a cave. and in that wall the mouth of o foolish. I was only a child at the time and I remember immediately. We do not know. This is the city. all R mouthfuls for the ducks he breaks off shutting my eyes tightly and shivering in my bed. He has a wonderful regards this as a challenge. The thoughtful breathing of the cubs. My home is on the coast that is the southern smooth and clear. No. and thought of queer Kako watching waves can reach so far up the beach during a storm. the God of Fire. It is a wonder now. people are at work or him so often. ‘But the interesting thing is they a The park is the city’s sole link to nature then must it not be so? He would often go out into the sea wearing a strange suit of rubber and with a huge tank full of air. I came out of the house and sorts itself out into separate the mountain was collapsing. I know very little who built the wall were from the city. but they know H agree. There was no deep pit. studying his maps for one last time. No one goes to Feidh anymore. The foreigners you boys make of Kako?’ he asked. There is never enough room. Now the visitors are winner’s face?’ interesting duck at all. It’s known to be a quick-tempered God. The Legend says that the temple of Orannon is deep beneath a nice park. The Temple was Orannon’s home. Between the buildings you travel. flowers AISHWARYA SUBRAMANIAN from other parts of the country. of water in the passage or the hall. The brothel in Erel is was a boy of ‘Yes son. but we know. The ground was hard and decadence and cynicism. a passage slopes upwards. His flowers and butterflies and precious stones along look at the houses. and we often need people like Kako to privacy. passage is a huge hall. A duck makes its way to the rocks were piled up on the Feidh coast – as if anyone spirit can inspire hundred Kakos leading to edge. guarding their border of our country. The Doctor was greatly interested in the legend. ‘The purpose wasn’t served. There is a rock wall. perfectly preserved. with so much book learning thought it true. A lot of people people visit the temples to pay homage. told that there is a dangerous pit in Feidh and they must travel around it rather than risk falling in. so the with their tin plates and human bones. Most of them thought Kako great. insects and butterflies dead and preserved. more than all of us. They still remember him as if they would an enigma and try to convince each other that he was crazy and r it needs such a link. all substantial cunningly built on many twelve) I took things depend upon the insubstantial spirit to levels to offer the men advantage of survive. maybe ‘But the thing is that it all came to nothing. They say he must added. and think Harold must be that it is not the same. he knew exactly where to A down to the pond to share it with the go. you see green. when the Big Bear asked them to move they still along the coast are houses built in this manner. though. Inside there is fire. they in every direction. But fanatical as he was. my friend forever vanished beneath brick. for Orannon sensibility. he’s quite All my countrymen worship Orannon. But we heard U tosses them lightly into the pond. made a lesser bear of him. And driven deep into the rock below the thick layer of sand. to go against the spirit. Or else the world will books. Sand is not a good his books. their father expecting him to continue. as stories of this nature always are. some are of Trapping them under layers of molten rock.’ the Big Bear said. He would carry with him strange instruments of measurement. S funny he’d find a way. and the pillars are to me. Bangalore 2005 3 In the distance you see something M to us. The hall is of black stone and on each wall torches burn eternal. ‘What do d but the general image is one of greyness. too. though we have him. Y he buys a loaf of bread and he comes Doctor had studied our area well. A be a horrible man. and the fire God. ‘People called him crazy and they still do.a god of fire beneath the sea? But are we not told high above the ground. that is the law of this earth.’ he said briefly. I myself know no different. which makes them condemn and pity path to his temple so easy to follow. They say he was one of the most learned men in the world. Embedded deeply in it were the Doctor’s be full of smug. Or they wait and pray that the God will appear before them and reward them for their devotion. papa?’ l at school. Every year possessions as well as those of the other inhabitants of the litter and teaching commonsense to the world. A the very edge of the pond. There was no trace of Kako anywhere. He isn’t.’ the Big Bear said. not the achievements themselves. moonlit darkness. Others say that no God would make the grass” signs. Ahead. For the houses are very curious. In those I could actually make almond tree. the spirit. It is a holy place. and yet every morning It was at night. She extends that beneath the sea. and the plain is smooth and still and shines like black onyx. And if a man so wise. the ruins of the crumbled mountain. But there is one man by the duck pond. made by nature. (Some say are not sure of their opinions. to walk along the shore. The Doctor lived in Feidh. He collected these books and allowed a few (a very few) foreigners to visit and read them. To see him would be taken the respectable guise of commonsense and Harold is very lucky though – at least reward enough. There was a minute of silence filled by the quick. I would have dared approach that place by sea! The men hundreds of successful adventures. Upon entering. Not very large. were confused. down and Fire? They may laugh. destroying them. to village. alone. more than you can count. His wrath aroused he will fight the mountain was crumbling. And then there are the fires that are not the spot to see. Then came the roaring and the white ‘Who says so?’ retorted the Big Bear almost B giggles a little. The Fire came. just on the In the morning men were called to guard the way to Feidh Kako’s spirit remains alive in all of us. Miraculously. but it has the sea. In the north there is a plain where once was a city. And then dived in efforts of Kako went waste!’ S He breaks off little hunks of bread and and swum towards the area where the temple must be. It is a beautiful region. He’s always (and kill.’ The Big Bear sighed and looked up. And everywhere Faraway they could see the banana plantations. They are not all grey. This is the park. he persisted on for a few more weeks until one fateful night I heard vaguely grey of undefineable shape. there was no one to see him. and it is this there are stairs. Some people were afraid. but the purpose isn’t always important. . so they didn’t say anything. No one ever taught him to write or sign either. I trembled the huge crumbling mountain before them. They also say that he was proud. still laugh . for he is immortal) the challenger. I thought right. It is A a bigger piece for himself. and grumbled excuses to be let We do not go to Feidh. We have a legend in these parts that in a cave beneath the sea is the temple of Orannon. What I understand from this is that they plenty of trees. That is what he is doing now. It isn’t really a very answer our questions before they left. up. papa?’ where the foreigners may that night (I stay. He was convinced that there was indeed such a temple. An amused silence greeted the expectant face of But I know The Library the Big Bear.

with only the rise and fall of his chest to show of an eye-socket. That knock on the head had seen to that. It was raining hard.. Like isn’t a term you’d 19. Marty?’ stopped. momentarily revealing a vomit over here to the bathroom where we can get weren’t there. There was no ‘Why you. Sane person? Might be a drifter. His clothes were torn off him. The blood. the blade cutting through tendons.’ He could make out the faint patter of the first raindrops ‘Leave him alone’ ‘Babe. the time. She said Marty had gone 8. or birds maybe. let’s go to your new home. (3) . she’s breathing.g. ‘No. to flow out through the doorway.’ surrounded by detritus. Marty was there all the bill. He pulled him out. Reorganised trees? (5) 21. He dragged sort of baptism. he was in some ‘I can feel a pulse’ sort of condemned building... bitch!’ ‘You’re drunk. out. Coughing door was closed. the devil was already there. When they QUIRK CROSSSWORD 3 Across: got back home. he had rushed to his mom. Its heard I hum like a piece of cake.. Marty. He was talking to then left. kid.. Memories that it wouldn’t be too painful. But he was used to it. I’ve never seen one into the kitchen.He had been eight *** quickly. Mom would have died had it not been for Some water would wake him. They were face to face. Assistants follow fatherless painter with poles. over him. as usual. her because she had never seen anyone couldn’t. mom?’ 11. He ran ‘I wanna see the bone.just as I said. 2. I’m glad I found you figure ensconced within it. It was shoved in behind his kneecap. cleansing Brad’s sins. you don’t want him.’ There she lay. did the only thing he could do. He took out his key and ‘Whatcha gonna do. when he heard someone coming. they fell in and insane and a kitchen knife didn’t mix well – hell ‘Where ya bin. afraid of the leer that Then the pain struck him. One look at him told him otherwise. 5. His eyes said it all. Nobody was there to hear the Marty screams anyway. the day she first told Brad to leave him alone. didn’t you? He never came back again.. ‘Stop it. ‘You stay out of this. You’ll take care of him. He was smiling as he closed the door. but he couldn’t anything else in the whole world.EW. it anechoic shithole. slammed by the wind. calling it Marty. trying to figure out where the GANESH He had laid her on the sofa and called an ambulance. him. At that moment. mixed with the rain water was starting stepped in. barely. Awareness struck him when the blade before. They had rushed into the room. (7) 12. Amazingly. he was alive.. He was insane. He found his gaze being slowly riveted towards exposing his ankle. He screamed like he had never seemed to be on his face perpetually. He paid somewhere else. His knuckles hit solid like.. ‘Marty’ was soaked in his blood. He climbed feet being tied up. before’ afraid to look into those eyes. gleaming in the moonlight that eat. and there was Marty. you can’t tell me what I can or can’t do’ The blade cut his ankle first. I love you Marty.. The veins on his neck were straining Marty. was afraid Marty might hurt him.’ Isn’t that great?’ Brad was scared.. teeth glinting in screamed before. he fell in The screams turned into muted moans of sheer agony.. huh?’ THUD do nothing else. At that moment.. concern in those eyes. bleeding.. Marty.’ on the roof.he – to Marty. in a heap.. Heavenly body rules over the waters. He was Down: top of his class. eyes glazed over. (13) 2. Rub gem and run for trial location.. moment. Marty? ’ be an understanding smile. The hatred in the air was so thick 13. Marty point he would have sold his soul to the devil to be count on. ‘You bitch! If I can’t have you. you can’t do this to him’ ‘I’ve loved you ever since I first saw you.. Loot operation theatre to procure machine. until that ‘This conversation is over. He turned ‘She’s gonna be ok. Lease out frame for artist. He performed weak. The staccato tap of raindrops on a rusted tin roof 290 pounds. Clues: Mom had been in the hospital for a week. Mart?’ love. But he was scared of him. (7) it was like walking through tar.’ pain then. ignoring the outstretched legs in the hallway. He was walking towards his 1. Sumit bends around casualty wards to get ‘Why not?’ expenses. Then all was black. after all these years. hell he was.. even if looked as though he had been through it all.. He prayed that he’d die long forgotten came back. He turned away. And mama seemed He and Helen were to be married the next day. dog’ He crashed through the door. bleeding.he kicked him in the face. This was 3. She was unconscious. 4) *** 1984. at his feet. spraying blood all over the and stepped out. shit scared.. He could ‘Your dad again. (5) He had gone up to his room and wept.. Scientific compatibility check? (9. a person who he could call his friend. Brad’ making him conscious of his nudity. eyes hinting at an eerie malevolence. when he smiled. He took him back to his house any effort. Marty was there. associate with a feeling towards a guy who was 6’4". Brad felt the knife few moments. love. He his old home. already saturated with a blatant of dad.c’mon guys. He prayed Images buried long ago flickered into view. more so after hearing this Marty was back.. Dee runs and tolerates pain. not eating until 20. you want a real man. looked like. and he did smell funny at times. He loved mama more than *** his eyes. Maybe love decided to drop by Helen’s place after work. He would take care of him. Marty had blood all Marty.. Dad smelled worse than ever now. Tears stung and he believed mama. There was a lot of blood. (7) 18. it. bone just as Brad was about to turn around. A cold wind rattled through the building. He watched as Marty took care of business. in a bargain basement. Brad was standing It was done with... Doctors wouldn’t lie. Marty? Sure.. (7) 16.. Marty. did this to you. Marty. I don’t think he will’ 13. Priam’s hymn for the young maiden. he sat up. Marty was sticking out and then. ‘Yeah’ ‘I’m sorry..Marty.. He was beyond pain at that point. ‘There he is. it was Marty. He had 1. ‘Come here. The Brad woke up to blood filling his windpipe. It love of his life. motionless. Brad.. (5) asked his mom about him. you go ahead and do that. He collapsed mouth twisted in a rictus of pain.. away to live with his family. Together. (5) 17. Mama had told him so. (5) it became painful. Prisoner 9 in Venice can cause discomfort. casting occasional ‘We got somethin’ to settle. the most popular guy in college. as The bone was wrenched out of its socket with a dull long as he was alive. I didn’t sense of wrong. who he hadn’t seen since his childhood days. (9) nothing new. (13) ‘He’s happier living with his family’ 15. The silence had been shattered by screams of agony. No medic can be like Loki for e.. It had begun. Fool. Air India ran for foreign currency. weirdo. It wouldn’t budge.. Racket could be white in the age of the ‘Hey shitface’ television. smiled and thanked her. He would bleed to death in this He had run away then. motionless. He felt safer than he had ever felt popping sound. son’ the doctors said. He because he hadn’t imagined anyone would they didn’t mix at all.he prayed. But his eyes said it all. Mom could’ve died if you light on the unholy darkness.a face. The wicked grimace seemed to ‘Can a knife scratch bone. But it didn’t bring Marty back. You know that’ ‘Screw you.. amazingly. there was to break through his skin. *** ‘. The Earl turned into a shoemaker? (7) ‘No. the bizarre dialogue. ’So that’s what a spleen looks over her. 22. At last. Marty had Brad’s body out of the car and took him to the kitchen. Marty.Marty. He felt a white hot stab of pain in his back. plenty scared. Lightning flashed above. (5) wasn’t in the class as yet. 14. *** the last rites. it barely required She lay on the floor.. He as beautiful as him.. He smiled back – he. For those apartment before I call the police’ where it got stuck. That was Brad. He had maliciously in the light of the candle. and let you know it. his pal. He went back home to get her something to kitchen knife in his hand. You took care permeated the air.he found his hands and to fall down quite a lot after she met dad. who had.’ do such a thing. It was late when he got there. they went back to what was left of he was in no mood to grant wishes. It happened every day of his miserable 4. ’C’mon. Marty was nowhere to be seen.barely’ kitchen floor. (7) 23. The smell. Spruce up best man at the wedding? (5) ‘Will he be back. He opened it ‘Is she dead?’ and sputtering. Piper heard to be more mature. That was Helen. The precipitation was a Dad was taking a huge swig from a bottle. Bangalore University is surrounded by bulls. He was still talking to the knife.bin around. The candle had burned out long ago. Boss ran game perhaps. ‘Vomit’ entered the classroom to loud. ‘No. California has a prize fighter. was a lie. He move his hands. She hadn’t looked twice at him before too low for him to hear. Now you can be my best man tomorrow. out!!!’ vein. Daily tram to the Naval High Command? (9) while she was around. He wiped him on Brad’s clothes. some privacy’ again. but he ‘Bin around. but not (5) because anybody liked him... God was with turned towards her. devoid of emotion. The teacher 6. never expressed any sort of emotion. It was him – he hadn’t believed them. (7) 10. the most popular girl in college. his lover.. (5) class. they wouldn’t dare do that 7. Now get out of my got to his knee. up the stairs to her apartment. the light. A candle flickered. At that years old. just about.November-December.. and he towards the footsteps and froze. too disoriented with rage. they healed even bothered to remember his name – and he had a people. tearing through flesh and ‘Get out of my house.. Then. Graduation day was around the corner. The moans kept growing in intensity. a person he could He saw Marty again. Bangalore 2005 4 It was raining in the decrepit tenements of nowhere.. Sure. his teacher. Entrance sign on public house maybe? (3) unconcealed imitations of someone puking.’ He stared down at Brad’s severed head.. He made to wipe them off. Brad! I’m warning you. He sat there. He looked around him.. more silence. He had to get away.. He had cleaned up and filtered in through the rusted tin roof. Out. glittering felt so damn good. man. He had a new dad.. he was beautiful. Lime and lemony? (7) ignoring the sneers and the mock-acting. Mama wasn’t falling down. (5) school life.’escort’ thank you for that. revealing zilch. I’ll make sure no one can’ being kicked out of his knee.

You have exactly 2 minutes ice cream he said. his appetite the phone rang. He just could not leave that burger last week after my throat would be all right I would on the head. His mother … gently put her hand over his head and said. His precious sharp shooter gun… “My bonny lies over the ocean. Bangalore 2005 5 Specters of the past never stopped haunting him “No. Mark was a sense was just about to begin. The pot bellied man got out… mother came swimming into view. a rush more powerful than cocktails. why can’t I ever get this out of my he had been the jester of the party and waxed system”. on the loudspeaker. It was time to go. heights. “But ma there’s a pile of trash both that is … before he can enter the building. the tinkling of the you think of 1 glass of milk as a burden and throw ice cream wallah made him tear his eyes out of But that was at the back of his mind … nothing it away like water.” The line went one more wrapper make?” His first lesson in civic The stub had shortened. swearing lightly he made his way back eloquent while courting his amber eyed Amora. It’s your decision. Ice cream”. I want him dead… tonight. there… He picked it up and took it with him down get ice cream!” to the apartment on the 9th floor. “Ice cream for 10. deafening H e silence of suddenly the night. seemed to desert him. like always. But something snapped Sunday morning … fondly at the metal beauty encased in velvet lying inside him … Voices started echoing in his head … in front of him. but his entered and unzipped his heavy bag. for the car to reach. “This is not good. my bonny lies over the ocean. Rummaging through the rubbish he relief. yet so far away … asked for Bombay Port Trust Land. It smelt horrible inside and he saw a boy wandering about. He put it on the table and switched about to throw the wrapper when his mother held that is. and he was just walked 3 steps and looked back at the sandwich man of few words. Unlocking it he The half eaten sandwich lay beside him. my bonny lies over “Mark. “Mark. lanes. her remembered … eyes flashing. A heavyset voice electronized him back and said. He unpacked the case and looked now was the moment. but not quite … flirting and sensibility… with the precipice… “Wear you shoes. asked his mother towering over him. that’s not the right way. He felt a breathed in the velvety expanse Amor oraa a nd th thee As Asssas si n assi frision of cold run through b l e n d e d his body with carbon a n d monoxide and dimethylnitrosamine. He unwrapped his favourite chocobar and was just days it never seemed to stay for long. “Child. Mark…” sleeve with all the might of a feisty 10 year old. We are counting outside the neighbour’s door what difference will on you. he has to leave The first one always did that to you … a heady half naked crawling through garbage outside the soon”. And yet till a few years back 10… … “Good lord. . a picture of his let this mind slip again and concentrated on the and a police car. mama. He could take away from him this intoxicating kick.November-December. while this boy and millions his “Wizard of Oz” and look out of the window. almost was the sea abound and the other side shanties… loaded the gun and put it in position to shoot… ethereal. He saw a man there canvas. did you just throw your milk down the He caressed its shiny barrel with his finger and the sea. Just as he His gusto made her relent and she took him out. the long painter’s fingers understand what was going on or why she wasn’t which held many a cigarette in between them … 13 floors high on the parapet. Mark heaved a sigh of week and nth since he started … The 20 pack was malnourished. she yanked star patterns lending a nebulous palpation to the his hand and took him inside one of the narrow He focused on lamppost. promise!” … Amora was imprinted on every cell of his sense There he lay … on the edge. his mind slipped almost over and the new one in his other pocket found a packet of half eaten chips and started back again… had to last the next 2 days … a daunting prospect eating them. I didn’t . like she never seemed to stay for long. He didn’t fingers entwined in his. appetite. These was about to open the leather case kept inside. a others like him don’t even get that everyday let ran to the garden and tugged at his mother’s double whammy of spiraling smoke and towering alone food. His out and threw a gutka wrapper on to the road and Molotov or otherwise. It was weird the way this fire To this day that lesson stuck to him and he couldn’t Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! You promised taming stick was like an amnesia inducing knock shake it off. The smoky Suddenly they entered a road on one side of which forced himself to go back to the task on hand. Maybe it was the He looked at the phone and saw the date … 30th he became alert at once. They got down there. He haze made the stars look different. smoke ringlets merging and clashing with a sea of shanties. but unbeknownst to him. He dead for they didn’t need an answer. his Amora that is. walked down the stairs remembered her smiling on the hospital bed lidded eyes … Cozying up to the starlight moonless clutching his hand tightly. we are going out right now. Mark almost belched. municipal dump ground beside the hutments. 10 minutes for Put it inside the dustbin. but January … it had been a year now…He refused to The car arrived along with 2 men on motorbikes something echoed in his head. he embraced the talking to him. She hailed an auto and holding his hand with her frail limp ones…her sky so near. he thought to himself. Nicotine appeased his hunger by the speaker came out. Oh bring sink?”.” His mind slipped into a strange reverie as he He blinked at the winking stars from under heavy She picked up her wallet. that sunny job at hand. “Sonny. The man spit his pan feeling. Far from the maddening crowd the “Ma! Take me out! Ma! Ice cream! solitude lent succor. The target was here. Police sirens brought him out of his stupor and to the sandwich and picked it up. 1st of the day 59th of the ribs were prominent and he was definitely walked on in his stupor. magic of the night or his melancholy mood.” Impatient to finish his …or at the least eased his pangs temporarily. It was a just a glass of milk.

in . contact us at everytime he lit a cigarette and pulled a trigger. “Baby. and turned to look at the empty packet he had left at the on content or style or form.quirk. Sandwich in one hand and the cigarette in the other something The theme for the November-December edition of Quirk is powerful knocked the breath out of him and he fell down on his knees in Suhas Baliga’): why Ma why? If only u had told me that this cigarette will take away my life from me.but he would burn… His Amora was up there.quirk. We introduced ourselves pulling triggers for so long now. grappled with ‘The Artist and the Critic’ in May-June and showcased this feeling of guilt … his longing for Amora … his ‘My Place in Anarchy’ in July-August. He pushed his conscience away and pulled the trigger … He dialed and spoke into the receiver. All individuals. this remembrance of Ma… time we are “Comfortaby Dumb’. This was his redemption. It had hit him after so edition is also available through Quirk’s growing online presence at http:// long. . A new edition of Quirk releases every two months. He would live and love all his life. Please Mark. by submitting material(s) to Quirk for the purposes of publication in the same. we encourage contributions of all other kinds – articles. Advertisements/Publicity The assassin walked away into the dark swirling mist and after a few meters the only sign of life For enquiries relating to advertising and publicity. For postal submissions. Its taken me away from you forever. He turned up his collar and slipped away unnoticed from the back gate into a deserted alleyway. No material appearing in Quirk or on www. replaced the books and made his way down the secret stairway to the ground floor. He lit a match and shot one last glance For a small charge. peaceful and almost wraithlike. searing feeling in his heart. He had taken her away … He readjusted his bag and looked ahead. Go ahead.” Amora! Ah! His brain started hammering at the remembrance of their song just then when all he wanted to do was pull Quirk: Unveiling Edition 6 the is independent of the National Law School of India University and all its student associations and do not necessarily reflect their views and/or opinions. Why didn’t you stop me from being a He would be Lucifer. with each edition showcasing a Ma … Ma… Ma… His brain reverberated with her soft voice and he became paralyzed… He had been particular theme of relevance to the university community. Bangalore 2005 6 back my bonny to me…. please contact us at quirk@nls. for their very generous do. but today with ‘Why Literature’ in January. He remembered once again… India His Amora lay pearly white on white bedsheets. was a small door. After ’New Moralities’in the previous edition. www. He smashed ‘Luxury’s Lap. He walked towards the bookshelf and took out the blue books in the centre. and surprise us with your literary offerings – table. closing the door behind him. “Job done.the list goes No restrictions he opened the back door. sexist. This would not We remain extremely indebted to Reliance Industries Ltd. All contributions are the expressed opinions and/or personal feelings and recommendations of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the magazine or its Editorial .November-December. quirk@nls. MA! If The Quirk Editorial Collective only you taught me a lesson on being trigger happy National Law School of India University “ His anguish was a terrible sight and the noise in Nagarbhavi his head competed with the confusion outside down Bangalore – 5600072 below in the street. Died promote literary interest in the college community while serving as a comfortable forum of terminal lung cancer and he burnt in her memory forever … She had died one wintery 30th for quality literary expression for young writers across South Asia. why Ma why? Why didn’t you give me a lesson in Email your submissions to quirk@nls. He paused. For reservation enquiries. prose. distribution and use of such material(s) as a part of Quirk.quirk. He opened the door. libelous or otherwise contrary to the guiding principles of Quirk. we’re good to publish! pocket. Quirk reserves the right to edit any submission for clarity and length and refuse those that are particularly deemed racist. that you’ll Contribute to Quirk never again touch a cigarette. this blinding. She had a knowing look on her face.’ his fists over the walls again and again till blood The flexible deadline for submissions is February 25th. Please feel free to contact behind. in March-April. just promise. cigarette in the packet. Promise…” Quirk is a not-for-profit student-driven organization with an ambitious mission to She had died later in the night in his arms. He would escape… Ma wouldn’t want him to contribution and their continuing support towards Quirk. us at quirk@nls. Amora wouldn’t want that cigarette in his hand… He took a long drag and stubbed the To help us remain independent. crosswords. He picked up the packet and put it into his you meet our quirky quality standards. This searing pain was his purgatory.” The phone Writing for Quirk: The January-February Edition went click and the line went dead. visual art. gave expression to ‘The Indifferent College Student’ something held him back … It was overpowering. you could have one or more reserved copies of Quirk delivered to towards the 13th floor. on the desolate pathway was the bright orange- red glow of his cigarette … Solution to Quirk Crossword 2 PIXIE Quirk Disclaimer All content appearing in Quirk or on www. homophobic. trivia…. and each He felt numb with with any enquiries in this regard. I love you …And I know am going to die. this torture your home/workplace every two months. please. poetry. Reserve your Quirk He put his hand in his pocket and opened a 20 pack. Copies of the print January … And it was that time of the year She cupped his face and looked into his eyes and said. send your this.MA. will not violate any other individual(s) proprietary rights on such material(s).. contributions to (please mark the envelope with ‘Attn: Mr. Inhaling the deadly vapors stories. He heard the police jostling below the street making their way towards the lift. covered them. Hidden backers who support our vision and share our enthusiasm. He shouted in anger …” MA…. edition are distributed free of cost in select locations across South Asia. copying. Apart from pieces case. escape. Transfer it to account number may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the prior written permission of the Editorial Collective of Quirk. He carefully packed the magnificent weapon into its velvet We really do appreciate new writers contributing to Quirk. represent and warrant that the submission. we look for meaningful partnerships with financial cigarette out. slung it on his shoulders and lit the last exploring the theme. quizzes.

Related Interests