White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Wet Novel

6:00 AM is not a very comfortable time to wake up, even if it is in the relatively warmer winters of San Francisco. Yet, as one of the middle frequencies of the radio that not too many people use as their alarm starts crooning a Middle Eastern beat, he curses, turns the offending alarm off and opens his eyes lazily. It is relatively innocent swearing - words that most censor boards around the world would let pass. His wife's ears, after years of this treatment have developed a comfortable immunity to the sound.

Madhyam K. Singh, 'Maddy' to his few colleagues who could also be called friends, had acted out this same routine every weekday for the past few years of his middle-aged existence. The nickname, gifted to him by the funniest of his friends, was meant to inject a little extremity in his otherwise routine life. He curses in his sleep, wakes up, shaves, trims his not too bushy mustache, performs his ablutions, showers for seven minutes, combs his thinning hair at an angle, and then catches the 6:56 train to the Valley. He does all these things in that order every weekday.

Breakfast is always a sugar free donut picked up on the drive through of the nearest Dunkin Robins on his short drive to the station. The donut is eaten on the train while reading a Sidney Sheldon best seller, invariably followed by five seconds of brushing off the crumbs. The scenery outside his nearest window seat, waking up to a new day had never really succeeded in seducing Maddy, always losing out to writers of pulp fiction. He had tried reading Kafka once, way back in college, on the recommendation of classmates who claimed to be completely moved by the author's work. He hadn't gotten past the first few pages and had dismissed the classmates as being pseudo-intellects trying to be blend in with those smelly hippies forever stoned and languishing on campus.

Maddy doesn't think about concepts like job satisfaction, but to say that he loves his work would be exaggeration. He is one of those people who consider the office to be a place that pays you to spend nine hours of the day there. His lack of any great ambition has only afforded him the position of a mid level manager in a semi-technical company after working there almost half of his life, at an age when more ambitious acquaintances have already joined the millionaire club by running their own startups.

Lunch is always a ham sandwich eaten at a table full of his inclusive loud colleagues comparing lunch menus with adolescent glee. He couldn't have been more out of sorts there. His sorry 7 cm by 7 cm sandwich is as bland in comparison to their meals as the portrayal of a widow's life compared to that of a vamp's in 70's Hindi films. It is for this reason that he thanks God for the solitude of his office room as he sips his daily latte at 3:00 pm. He is not a religious man, but when asked the inimitable question, he answers truthfully in his neither deep, nor high pitched voice that he is agnostic.

Almost as if by habit, he leaves the office at 4 o'clock to catch the 4:11 train back home. The evening air has a certain chill to it today that he hasn't experienced before, or maybe he hasn't noticed. He settles down on a nondescript bench, salvaged by some colorful graffiti, at the empty station with his Sidney Sheldon bestseller. After breezing through a rather steamy few pages, a look at his simple leather strapped wrist watch tells him that the train is uncharacteristically late. Just then a woman walks up to his bench.

She has a husky voice accompanied by a thick Eastern European accent. The chill in the air is gradually joined by the cocktailed fragrance of a not so uncommon woman's perfume and the skirmish, yet rich stench of the Marlboro Light she is smoking. As Maddy looks up from his book to tell her the time, he notices that she has on an almost fluorescent purple evening gown with a slit, which does great justice to her long Greek legs. What surprises Maddy is that he doesn't find her gaudy dress repulsive. He remembers a rare episode when he put his foot down. His wife had wanted a royal magenta shawl when they had visited Kulu, but he had thought it to be too "shiny". They had negotiated for fifteen minutes before deciding on a Wimbledon green one.

Inherent conservatism forces him to slide over a little as she sits next to him on the bench. After a couple of awkward silent minutes, Maddy realizes that his reading speed has lessened sufficiently and ultimately, the pages have stopped turning. Furtive sideways glances tell him that she is more interested in savoring what remains of her cigarette than in his reading speed. Overcome by guilt, he quickly turns a page.

Why is he behaving in this novel manner? Not a single administrative assistant at work with their starched business suits and rimless glasses had had this effect on him but make most of his friends go weak in the knees. And his company imports these nubile creatures from England! He doesn't have an unhappy marriage. He watches a rented Hindi movie with his wife every Sunday and they eat out once a week. It can not be a physical attraction. Things are pretty good in the bedroom at home.

The Gods decide to intervene his thoughts with the sound of distant thunder. Another furtive glance tells him that she has a matching purple umbrella while all he has to cover his head is some great literary material he doesn't want to get wet. Meanwhile, there is still no sight of the train as the rain comes petering down wetting his horn-rimmed glasses. He has no choice but to put them in his inside jacket pocket. She is smiling at him now, holding the opened umbrella and standing in the doorway of doubt. He smiles back, shyly at first, and then embarrassedly before consciously sliding towards her, just about as much as not to get most of himself and his book wet, but taking care not to touch her purple gown. "Thank You". "You are most welcome". The warmth generated from the proximity of another human body and that exchange of words brings back some life into his bones.

Just as he is planning his next move in this chess game he is making this out to be, too many things happen at the same time. He watches as a tall, gaunt, completely bald wet man approaches them, apparently out of nowhere, even as he can hear the train whistle its apologies at its tardiness. Her cheeks invoke a dash of rouge as she sees the wet man, half runs to him and hugs him, leaving our protagonist wet, yet sundry. After many expressions of love, the couple board the nearest compartment. Maddy is sitting in the rain, taking in the sights and sounds. He gets up slowly and boards another compartment. The novel is completely wet.


Mala said...

Wow! So what are you doing in hi-tech again???

ArSENik said...

Lol...thanks. I really don't know you know. It was like that default option you have in Windows menus. However, as I said before, the winds of change are blowing a little too strongly these days.

Aroon said...

I am reading your blog. It is slowly turning into a head turner. Keep on writing and this may be the stepping stone for your script writing career. Seriously, start writing fiction with characters surrounding you, a path which every writer starts on. Calcutta, Bombay, Muscat, Dubai, Atlanta, Idaho, San Fransisco and other imaginary places. Also, China, Spain, London, Japan - places you haven't visited yet. Start and you might find the flow of the incidents will flood your mind.

ArSENik said...


BFR said...

full of intended/unintended puns and cryptic references.....makes for great reading!

Basil Fried Rice

ArSENik said...

Thanks. If I ever end up writing a book, you HAVE to do a review of it in Rediff or something. Only then will the readers be able to grasp all these unintended puns that only you can decipher, which even the author himself has no clue of :)

WHAT'S IN A NAME ? said...

You should have named it, 'Sheldon gets wet'. Would have fitted from both the ways. :) Well written, nevertheless.

ad libber said...

Sometimes, I think I have no head for puns. Did I miss the puns this time around too?
Maddy the everyman..liked the story. Still looking for the cryptic references though.

ArSENik said...

@WIAN: Lol. Thanks.

@AL: Glad that you liked it. I was initially going to write a blog post about the common man (as demanded), but then decided to use him to attempt fiction for the first time. As I have mentioned before, only the alias changing commentator on my blog gets cryptic references and unintended puns that even I have no clue about :)

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