Sampath was a Chennai based software engineer, living alone in a rented one BHK apartment. His mom stayed in Tanjore, looking after the farmland and cattle. One fine morning, he woke up with a shudder from his sleep. It’s been ages since he had nightmares. He hated dreams so much that he had none in years. As a boy once, he dreamt of getting involved in an accident that came true the next day. He broke his leg and was bedridden for over a month. His mom listened to him with a coy nod as he narrated the whole accident and wondered how strikingly similar it was to the dream. She resisted the urge to reveal the family secret as her son was too young to handle it at that time.

Several years later when Sampath’s father passed away due to a massive cardiac arrest, his mom confessed, “It’s in your genes, Sampath. Your father used to have dreams that came true the following day. He found me through his dreams. I thought this would stop with him but alas, even you have that boon, or so it may seem. I didn’t tell you this before because I wasn’t sure how you would take it.”

Sampath never believed it. He thought it was just a coincidence and his mom was overly superstitious. He seldom had memorable vivid dreams to put to test. But that night, he had one. A nightmare in which he became invisible for a day. Sitting at the edge of the bed, he kept staring at his palms and legs.

Surely, I am not invisible, I can see myself. What was I thinking? Mom must be crazy!

He pulled off the sheets and got up from the bed. 

What time is it? Oh Shit! I am late for work again! 

He walked unsteadily to the bathroom. His bladder was full and was crying for relief.

 Ah! One advantage of sleeping naked is that you don’t have to wait for the shorts to go down! 

Sampath hurried through his morning chores. Putting on his favourite Louis Philippe black shirt and Khaki trousers, he sprayed Park Avenue all over. Running fingers through his wet hair frantically, he walked to the mirror and looked at it. What he saw next threw him back and he landed on his buttocks! Horror filled his face! He could see his trembling hands directly but not in the mirror. Shutting eyes tightly, he mustered all his courage, got up slowly and stood in front of the mirror.

3…

2.. 

1..!

 He opened his eyes. What the…….! 

He saw the Louis Philippe black shirt and Khaki trousers standing in the mirror, like a decapitated body! He waved his hand and saw the handless sleeve waving along in the mirror.

Could this be? Woah ho ho!! This dream shit is true! 

Fear turned into euphoria. Smirking, he shrieked, “I AM the Master of the Univer…,“ that was cut short by the sudden banging of the door.

“Hey, keep it low!” the neighbour scowled at him.

You are only invisible, dude, not inaudible. That means you must be odorous and taste-able too. Is it happening only to my eyes or am I universally invisible?  

He decided to find out. He stripped right away and checked himself in the mirror again.

Nothing… Perfect!

Unlatching the door, he peeped at the neighbours who banged. The husband wore his shoes and was ready to leave for work as his wife handed over the office bag. Sampath stepped out of his entrance, stood there naked, silently, invisible to his unsuspecting neighbours.

“Psst. Psst..”, he hissed.

Both of them turned at Sampath’s doorway instinctively and found no one but just an open door.

So this is working! I am truly invisible!

“We need to get rid of this guy first. I will talk to the association President, first thing after work”, he vowed to his wife. “Okay, I am leaving. Bye.”

No sooner than he turned away, Sampath tiptoed into his neighbour’s house as the door was open while she went inside to sort out the trash. Dumping the trash bag outside, she locked the door while Sampath was standing silently near the dining table, watching her every move.  

He was thrilled, grinning silently like a maniac. The power he had over her overwhelmed him. He truly felt like the master of the Universe. Sampath had a mild crush for the lady and yet he held a childish grudge against the couple as they were too nosy in his affairs. They didn’t like a bachelor around them and so they irritated him in the best possible ways to make him vacate the flat. Now, it was time to hit two mangoes in one stone.  

Keep it low, it seems eh? Well, I am planning to keep it low indeed, mister. 

He ogled at her voluptuous rear end and followed her to the kitchen, imitating her hip sways exaggeratedly. She started washing the plates when Sampath went closer to her from behind. Her instincts rang an alarm bell. Is there someone in the house? Her eyebrows narrowed with suspicion as she felt someone stalking. His perfume flooded her nostrils as he came closer. She recognised the fragrance instantly, after all, she had caught him rushing to the office several times bathed only in that perfume, another reason to hate him. 

Is he here? Oh my God. Scared, she stopped doing what she was doing.

“Sampath?”, turning around, she called out to the empty room.  

“Yes?”, he blurted out.    

At that instant, his invisibility vanished and he was startled as she caught him naked.

“Aaarrrrgg!!”, she shrieked.

“Aaaarrrghh!!”, he shrieked back fumbling on the kitchen desk for the frying pan to hide his jewels, desperately.

He almost forgot his mom’s warning that now echoed inside his skull walls, “Son, be careful. If people catch you living your dream, your dream run for that day will be over then and there.”

***

Photo By: Sharon Christina Rørvik

When was the last time you read some modern sea stories—stories of ships and the seafarers who man them? Tales of adventure, love, romance, piracy, intrigue... and human nature? Well, look no further.

These are twelve stories of the sea, but not necessarily for seafarers alone. They are for anybody and everybody who likes to read fiction. And a ripping good yarn, as sailors used to say once upon a time.

Written by a sea captain who has spent his entire adult life at sea, more than forty years on the waves and still counting, these are stories set in the 70s, 80s up till the present day.

Will you come aboard now? The voyage is about to begin.

Link to buy this book: https://www.amazon.in/Driftwood-Beetashok-Chatterjee/dp/9385854771 and also at selected bookstores all over India.


Author:Beetashok Chatterjee, ex-Claws Club member at ArtoonsInn.

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The story you've read is an entry for UniK-5, #Invisible, a room8 Writing event by ArtoonsInn.
Check the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/unik-5-writing-event-artoonsinn/

 

Thanks for reading.

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