The Mistake – A Short Story

Image taken from Google

Image taken from Google

The viscous hold of terror had started to ease a bit. The flush was back on his face, turning it handsome again. He knew he had made the right decision in calling his father. Dad was going to come and fix everything. Like he always did.

He looked at the bed, and at her again, focusing on the ridge between her bare breasts, three inches from each nipple. He began counting, his eyes unblinking. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, night, ten.” Ten seconds and no movement! ‘Holy fuck, she’s dead!’ his brain surmised, quite alarmed. ‘But she had been breathing just a minute ago!‘ He looked up at her face. It had started to look bluish-grey on the left side. That entire side was swollen, like a party balloon waiting for a cigarette butt. The other side of the face was fine. He hadn’t hit her there. He noticed how the blood coming out of her cut upper lip was trickling towards her left ear.

Why isn’t the bitch breathing?

He dared not touch her.

He noticed the glisten near her vagina. Was that his cum? He was suddenly embarrassed. He couldn’t let Dad see that! ‘I should cover her.‘ He reached out to the side of the bed where her clothes lay. His hand caught her ripped panties first. He was disgusted by them. So old and stained! They were unlike Anamika’s lacy ones. Hers smelled so good. He tossed the stinky rag back to the ground. He picked up one of the large items of clothing. It was that pyjama-type thingy that women wore – what do they call it? Pyjama only, he guessed. He flung it over her body, covering it from tits to knees. He kicked the rest of the clothes under the bed. Out of sight.

He pulled out his iPhone again. Where the hell was Dad, he wondered. It had been ten minutes already!

The door-bell rang. ‘About time, too!’ he mumbled, and dropped the phone into his back pocket. He noticed that his fly was still undone. He pulled up the zipper and made himself respectable again.

Dad looked livid, just like he had that time when he had reversed their brand new Honda Accord into the lamp-post just outside the house. The old man had yelled at him like a crazy moron, his eyes bulging and froth coming out of his mouth. It had made him giggle. ‘It’s just a fucking car, yaar!’ he had wanted to say.

Nothing of the sort today. Today, Dad was serious-type livid. The kind that usually made him go all quiet and think-y.

Dad kept staring at the battered face. ‘He is trying to see if she is still breathing.

“Is she dead?” he asked and got a glare in return.

Dad left his room. He followed. Both entered the dining room, where Dad took a chair and started fiddling with his old BlackBerry. He was scrolling through his contact list.

“Dad?”

Dad looked up and asked ‘What is it?’ with his eyebrows.

“Can we not tell Mom?”

Like a panther, Dad leapt out of his chair and smacked him hard on his cheek. ‘THADAAAK!’ it sounded. Like the Batman comics. It was funny. But very, very painful. Within seconds, the left side of his face was starting to swell. Like a party balloon waiting for…a pin.

He figured there was no way Mom couldn’t be told. After all, she knew the girl’s mother. He guessed she would be doing whatever ‘talking’ needed to be done with that family.

He looked crestfallen. This was so embarrassing. Why hadn’t he just pestered Anamika a bit more, he wondered. She would have agreed to do it in the car eventually.

Fuck it!

He pulled out a chair and sat down. Dad had still not found the number he was looking for.

These oldies, I tell ya!’ he thought. He smiled.

Dad looked up and caught his eye. Caught the smile, too.

“What the hell is wrong with you? You are bloody fifteen, you bastard!”

THERE it is!’ he groaned internally. ‘The fucker has started with his lecture!

Dad’s eyeballs were starting to pop now. Pretty soon, there would be drool, too. He was going to try to not laugh at the poor sucker this time. He tried to shut out the old man’s voice.

“And that, too, with the maid, of all people? Let alone morals, no bloody standards either!”

He wondered if it was ok to pull out his iPhone now.

 

 

 

Comments

comments

This entry was posted in Why we love fiction and tagged on by .

About Rickie Khosla

Born in Calcutta to Punjabi and Assamese parents. Brought up in saddi Delhi. Schooled at Manav Sthali School and "colleged" at Institute of Hotel Management at Pusa. Stumbled into a lifelong career in Market Research. Currently based in Gurgaon. Aspiring to be a slightly-better-than-mediocre writer.

66 thoughts on “The Mistake – A Short Story

  1. BlogwatiG

    I came here, happy that you wrote after such a long sabbatical. I wasn’t expecting this! RK, while I want to applaud your story telling skills, this tale brought to the fore the stark reality of our times.

    The last two lines, that is where the truth becomes stranger than fiction.

    “And that, too, with the maid, of all people? Let alone morals, no bloody standards either!”

    He wondered if it was ok to pull out his iPhone now.

    Take a bow, RK.

    Reply
  2. bhavanas11bh

    Ok. Morbid. Difficult to read. Difficult to digest what you write is not just some fiction, that at some level it represents what we already know. The deep down human apathy for the Other–gendered, classed, coloured Other.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Despite all our claims of being progressive and civilized and all that, we are quite the opposite, actually, and just a millimeter deep from skin surface, that too. One doesn’t even need to dig deep to look for our primal prejudices.
      Thanks for reading, Bhavana.

      Reply
  3. janakinagaraj

    OMG! As parents we try our best to raise kids with good morals and values. And it is us who want to protect them conveying to the society and to the kids that the blood is indeed thicker and we may go all the way to protect them. And we end up as bad examples.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I wonder where to draw the line – between morality and love. In our most pressing hour, where will our loyalties lie?
      Thanks for reading, Janu. I know this made for some tough reading.

      Reply
        1. Rickie Khosla Post author

          Ah, now I realize why this affected you so…the child’s age. I think much of these heinous crimes result from bad upbringing and the company the youngster keeps. As long as we are true to our values, we can be confident that we did a good job as parents. (Says the man who has no children of his own!)

          Reply
  4. iwrotethose

    When my phone pinged with a notification that I had new email from “Who Cares What I Think?”, I was extremely happy. And surprised, but mostly happy. Though it’s a difficult read especially when the reality hits you, the story reflects a scenario that is extremely common-place in our society. Welcome back RK, we have missed your posts.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I must surprise you more often, Sid!
      I tried to make the story as filmy as possible…but I think it probably still rings quite believable. Sad are our times, in that case.
      Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  5. chsuresh63

    Hmm! Morbid, yes – but that last line was classic. With that one line you so easily communicated the callousness of the kid.

    Reply
  6. mahabore

    Extremely powerful piece Rickie, extremely powerful indeed.

    And that last line, as most of the other commenters have already stated, it just makes the character so memorable, for all the wrong reasons of course.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I wonder if this could be how things started for all those privileged young men who have been in the news for all the wrong reasons? We don’t remember who topped IIT-JEE five years ago…but we all remember Manu Sharma!
      Thanks for your kind words, J.

      Reply
  7. alkagurha

    Okay, so this was not what I was expecting. Dark unfortunate reality. It happens, but we don’t like to talk about it. The initial para took me to Oscar Pistorious trial only to realize that this was a teen brat and his maid.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I figured, since the post was coming after a hiatus, it had to be hat-ke!
      Morbid reading, I agree. I think the privileged are slowly losing all perspective of morality and values.
      Thanks for reading, Alka.

      Reply
  8. nabanita

    Powerful and morbid but this is the truth, isn’t it? This is what happens so often… Shows the reality many fail to acknowledge really…Just a few days back I was questioned when I wrote something akin to India not being safe for women…I was reminded that the rest of the world is also not safe for women so it’s ok that India is not as well… I guess it’s ok that some men are allowed to be ..well men, unless the victim isn’t our near and dear one…

    Sadly I don’t think such incidents, such callousness from parents and boys will stop..atleast not in the society that we live in today…

    Reply
  9. nabanita21

    Powerful and morbid but this is the truth, isn’t it? This is what happens so often… Shows the reality many fail to acknowledge really…Just a few days back I was questioned when I wrote something akin to India not being safe for women…I was reminded that the rest of the world is also not safe for women so it’s ok that India is not as well… I guess it’s ok that some men are allowed to be ..well men, unless the victim isn’t our near and dear one…

    Sadly I don’t think such incidents, such callousness from parents and boys will stop..atleast not in the society that we live in today…hmm

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I feel that, as of now, there is at least some discomfort among the older folks who get torn between the right and wrong values of new generation. In a few years, even that nudge will be gone. It might be a sad consequence of too much materialism and too little moral lecturing. I would like to believe that we are all inherently good souls. But, I also believe, strongly, of nurture over nature.
      Thanks for reading, Naba. I will go seek the post you are talking about – how the debate went.

      Reply
  10. Ruch

    Oh this is a dark post, very dark. It hit me right between the eyes. Shocked me and numbed me. Not because of the topic you chose to write about – we all are aware of the decadence in our society we have read enough about it, debated and fumed enough about it.
    It’s the way you tell the story ….. you show it to us … the way you get inside the brain of the boy to describe what he did and what he thought.
    From witty irreverent posts to something like this … Oh you write, you truly write and how !
    This is beyond brilliant.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      You are too kind, Ruch. Thanks for the appreciation!
      On the elements of the story, you are right – enough has been said. Sadly, I think this new moral order is here to stay.

      Reply
  11. Rachna

    This one made me sick. I read it after my dinner and it filled me with such revulsion, I wanted to throw up. I was reminded of that Bitty Mohanty story, a qualified son of a DIG father who had raped a foreigner student. And then began the story of coverups and how he disappeared and was found many years later in Kerala and is absconding again. As a parent, I hope no parent has to live to see such a day. So many nuances here of our derision towards those lower in status from us and our insane need to protect our own blood at any cost. Was just reading about the Salman trial today. Well, he was protected, got away scotfree and supports the tagline “Being Human.” I guess I am rambling now. Your story is a reflection of how things are so wrong at so many levels in our society. Your last lines showed exactly what morals and standards he was following and why :/.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I think we discussed this plenty over our chat last night. Sadly, as our society prospers, it seems to have less and less patience with emotions like morality, even humanity. Everything you have mentioned above demonstrates that.
      But I am glad you read through, despite the ugliness of the post.

      Reply
      1. Rachna

        Your writing was sterling. The post was ugly because you preferred not to sugarcoat the ugliness in any way. A jolt for all of us simply because it is just too commonplace these days.

        Reply
        1. Rickie Khosla Post author

          I pray that I don’t ever have to deal with sugarcoating of any kind – neither ugliness nor humour deserves it!
          Thanks for the continued appreciation, Rachna. I love you for it!

          Reply
  12. afshan18

    Disgusted beyond limits just thinking how many such “REAL” scenes happen around us. I also came here thinking may be it wud be some fun anecdote or a mockery but this is a mockery to all of us, the way these things happen. Like every one said “brutally honest” . Each line projects the recklessness and horrendous attitude
    Great write up

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Despite my attempts at making the story filmy, I think it has felt too real to plenty of readers. That fiction can feel so uncomfortably true demonstrates the terrible reality of our society today.
      Thanks for reading and the appreciation, Afshan.

      Reply
  13. K. Mathur

    Sadly, I know his dad wasn’t looking for the police chowki number. He’ll keep bailing him out. I get worried when fiction lets such people get away as ordinary people get used to, and then indifferent to, such incidents in real life, like they have in the US. Surely there is someone who will try to bring the boy to justice? I know – the girl’s mother will report the crime and it will be cat and mouse between the dad and the policeman. There’s no doubting your writing skills, Rickie. A story that made the blood curl.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Have we got sensitized to the morass around us? You bet. The point of this short story was merely reflective, not to take it to a conclusion.
      Thanks for the appreciation, Khoty. Glad that you stopped by.

      Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I debated about the age and then settled on 15. Old enough to know right and wrong. Or one could say, Too Young to not know right and wrong.
      Thanks for stopping by, Roshni.

      Reply
  14. Jas

    Honest and chilling to the spine. Sadly it is such a commonplace now. Morals, I think, are too high on the pedestal. Hats off to you for creating the image word by word.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Not sure when we started failing as a society. But, probably more frightening is the fact that we still seem to be going in the wrong direction.
      Thanks for reading, Jas.

      Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Our society is a sum total of its constituents. Some can be blamed for being rich and powerful. Others, for being poor and powerless. So there is plenty of blame to go around. Or none, if no one is willing to share it.
      Glad you stopped by, Red!

      Reply
  15. purbaray

    My God, Rickie, What a chilling narrative and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen till I finished reading it. Speechless with admiration.

    Reply
  16. Dagny

    The last line summed up the attitude of the son with absolute precision. As Santulan said, given half a chance, the two would do it again… and as casually sweep it all away. Like wiping your mouth with a tissue, crumpling it and throwing it in the bin.

    I always admired your writing prowess. This more than demonstrates the class you are in. I am impressed out of my shoes.

    This story was like a sock in the eye. I’m not likely to forget this one, ever.

    Brilliant work! Kudos!

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I think we have all read, heard and talked enough about the deterioration of our values. One would like to stay hopeful that things will change…but that is hard indeed.
      But, that doesn’t prevent me from relishing your lovely words about the writing. I love it that you loved it! Thank you so much.

      Reply
  17. Diwakar Narayan

    Late in here? 40+ comments already. Powerful writing, Rickie, I must say. Brutality, sadism, and power – all mixed up so well to shed light on our so deteriorating society.

    Reply
  18. Rekha

    I didn’t expect this when I clicked the link. Sad reality. It is indeed the parents of many households that need to be punished for the crimes committed by their offspring. Recently I heard one of the Radio Mirchi Murga episodes by Naved where he had called up a man possibly in his 40s or fifties and was talking about the criticism that Mulayam Singh’s comment was getting. This man spoke such rubbish and I salute Naved for the way he made him realize his mistake within minutes by talking to his daughter and asking her out for a coffee. This country can never progress unless people change their thought process. What is wrong for your daughter is wrong for every other female of the world.

    Powerful piece!

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Rekha, I think the incredible part is that many of us are not even aware that we might be doing a wrong thing – that’s how much the lines between Wrong and Right have blurred. Simple example – we download copyrighted songs and videos – for free. Why? Because we don’t even realize that we are stealing anymore! We cheat on taxes, jump red lights, scrimp on property registration fees. Some of us rape, too. A few even kill. Today those numbers engaged in ‘heinous’ crimes may be small. But, I bet, those numbers are bigger than yesterday. Tomorrow, who knows?
      Anyway, this was just a simple short story! Glad you stopped by.

      Reply
  19. Pingback: Spicy Saturday Picks - Good Indian blogs to read over the weekend!

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Neither tangy, nor spicy! I like your description, in fact. Hopefully, our society will grow up to be a bit more mature than what it is today, badaam or no badaam!
      Thanks a lot for reading!

      Reply
  20. Seeta

    It did start of sounding filmy Ricky, but I guess there was so much of truth in it, that at some point the drama gave way to reality. Your pen has expressed a very ugly face of life rather deftly. To think he was just 15! Frankly even that does not seem like fiction any more does it?
    I agree with Purba, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen either, this was brilliantly written.

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I did respond to someone’s comment that I had intended the story to sound filmy…but I think there is so much starkness in this that it turned into what it did.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your lovely words.

      Reply
  21. CRD

    Powerful narration RK. Just when we thought the end was near, you made it even more stomach-churning. Ironically, none of us are surprised at the age of the chap, all of us are aware of how kids are growing today, reckless, without supervision, complete freedom, no restrictions, and no corrections.

    Tragic reflection of the times today.

    -CRD
    http://www.scriptedinsanity.blogspot.in

    Reply
    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I agree with everything you say about the issues with young adults today. Like they say in the Spiderman series, “with great power comes great responsibility”. It’s the latter part that our society is struggling with today. Hopefully, the system will correct itself in a few years.
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and your words of appreciation!

      Reply
  22. Pingback: Blogger Focus- Rachna Srivastava Parmar- @rachnaparmar | Blog-A-Rhythm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.