Friday, May 31, 2013

A naval tale

Finally I've started living up to my competitive and combative nature. Here is another entry to a contest where I need to conjure up something on the following topic:

After World War III, the female survivors decide that, as men caused the war and did most of the fighting, it is simply too dangerous to allow them to be in control of the governments any longer. Men are banned from government and military service and, after a few years, banned from voting, having an education or having a job outside the home. A young boy, depressed by his limited prospects at home, decides to pose as a girl so he can join the navy.

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Disclaimer: This story may end up hurting sentiments of sexists. However, I would please, please request you to note the fact that the topic is sexist in itself, and hence writing a a non-sexist story on a sexist topic is, well, beyond my scope. If you are a sexist and do not like sexist stories based on sexist plots, you should skip reading the rest of the post.

I was a bit circumspect, given that I have to write a story involving women, navy, wars, and future - four topics that I am blissfully unaware of.

Now that I have mentioned 'sex' seven times in the paragraph above, my tension has eased off a bit. Sex eases stress, I've been told. Let me set the ball rolling now.

***

Srinivasan was a fraud.

When you come across the word 'fraud', you probably get an image of someone who looks like an insurance agent, carries a battered leather folio, wears buttoned-up full-sleeved cheap shirts that are not tucked inside the ancient grayish trousers, and adorns a permanent four-day salt-and-pepper stubble.

No, Srinivasan was not a fraud in that mould. He was a fraud with class. He looked suave, snazzy, sexy, stylish, smooth, sleek, sensuous, and several other similar adjectives that begin with an S. These, however, weren't qualities that Srinivasan was proud of. He knew that the S's were unnecessary attributes, and though they brought him women on a frequent basis, he knew they were useless qualities unless he stuck to the real s-adjective.

Smart.

Smartness was Srinivasan's forte. He could outsmart any person he knew, and we are not talking rocket science or advanced topology here. He also specialised in impersonating people, which, when combined with smartness, became a tool potent enough to hoodwink any person.

Only that it was different this time. Very different.

He had got the better of a cohort of people. Women, actually.

***

It was, well, a long tale. To cut things short, after the two-year long World War III had ended, the women took their time off from pedicures and eyebrow-plucking, and took to mundane events - including administration. They took a decision - despite vehement protests from men - to strip men of all their rights.

It did not help that the male population had gone down drastically after the war, thereby resulting in a protest that turned out to be as feeble as a muted limbless chihuahua on sedatives. They were captured and shown their place.

They had to be confined to home and household duties; they were deprived of education of all sorts; they were banned from entering Government and military services; and they could be used by the fairer sex in the most unfair of fashions - which was when the heterosexual women contemplated reproduction or watched pre-World War porn.

Things became the toughest for those who were used to the pre-World War comforts, or at least the equality. Srinivasan was one of them. He simply knew he had to find a way around this. He thought hard, rehearsed with a passion, and eventually found a perfect solution.

He was so excited that he had almost shouted out 'Eureka!', but abstained when he was reminded of the horrible music that accompanies the filling of a bottle from an Aquaguard machine.

***

He had taken out time to buy some apparel to turn up for the interview. Now, given the fact that he could not leave the house being dressed as a man (online shopping was, of course, banned for men), there was only one option left.

He had to leave the house as a woman to shop for a woman.

Economists and others have classified concepts like these as vicious circles. Vicious circles weren't good enough to hold back Srinivasan, though: not only circles, he was good at going around vicious squares, triangles, rectangles, in fact, vicious geometry boxes. He could have picked the pocket of a vicious Euclid and a vicious Pythagoras and would have made them blame each other. He was that kind of a person.

Anyway, he had stolen his mistress' lipstick and a few strange-looking tubes that rested innocently next to her bathroom mirror. He had read the instructions carefully, applied each and every one, and had put them back.

The woman at the supermarket had not suspected him. He bought clothes, undergarments, and a basic collection of cosmetics. He had a checklist with him, and had ticked the items one by one until he was satisfied. He loved checklists. Had this been an earlier era, he might have worked as an HR and used phrases like 'paradigm shift'.

Sigh.

He still required a false identity, though. That was easily obtained. He had felt a sudden warm gushing of blood down his veins as he slit that 21-year's throat down the dark alleyway down to the barn. He had murdered before, but this had been different. This had been revenge against injustice. He had found perverse pleasure as he had watched the girl's voiceless body go down in silent spasms, only to be still afterwards.

Stripping the girl, slicing her into bits, and throwing them to the pigs' pen had been rather easy afterwards. The good things about pigs is the fact that they eat anything and are perpetually hungry, somewhat like politicians.

He had obtained her AADHAAR card, and putting all his experiences of his days of faking passports into use, he had managed to replace her name with his. It had been a cakewalk after that.

***

Getting through had been easy. Sharing room with ladies, showering with them, watching them in their thongs, and getting them to brush their flesh against his during one of those booze-parties had been worth the experience. Controlling his lust had not been, though.

He had to remind himself on a consistent basis that he had been at the navy with a mission. It had been about getting back at them. It had been about getting out of that hellhole. It had been having a life, for a change.

No, he had to get over his lust.

The women, on the other hand, had been quite adventurous at the islands. They had come back tipsy, smelling of stale tobacco, cheap alcohol, and stories of male escorts who they had paid to fulfill various fantasies. "A sailor has a husband in every port", they joked.

Other than the lust bit, though, everything had been manageable. He had waited anxiously for the war to happen - but the world had seemed to be at peace, making the entire concept of armies and navies redundant. Bored, he had often spent his evening on the deck - sparkling like mirrors since the women had taken over - and staring at the sky wondering why people at the navy did not wear navy-blue uniforms and other similar important philosophical aspects of life.

Life wasn't bad for a sailor, after all.

***

Then after what it seemed like ages, it happened.

The sirens blared at dawn, waking everyone up at the first sight of daylight. Women with their brassieres peeking from the loosely tied dressing-gowns ran barefoot up to the deck. The woman on patrol had spotted something.

It was another ship. The gunshots in the distance filled the sky, now turning into a peaceful light blue from the dazzling red of the daybreak. The Sun was momentarily eclipsed by the incessant smoke of the ammunition, and when it all cleared up, they could see the flag at a distance.

It was the Jolly Roger. Only in pink. The ship was full of mean-looking girls who had made a sincere effort to dress up like meanies, but had ended up resembling cute pop singers instead. The white-and-pink designer tops and carefully ripped jeans did not work, despite the immaculate bandanas.

They just did not look like pirates. They simply did not.

They roared in unison, though - with guns in hand. It was evident that the roar was a well-rehearsed one. They roared again, and the pirate ship raced towards their naval counterpart in a straight, somewhat cautious motion.

The women (and the man we all know by now) had got dressed by now. The guns were out. They licked their lips in anticipation. What chance did the pirates have against a fully stacked naval vessel?

They leaned on the deck, and shot approximately when the pirate ship got close enough for the strong wind to carry a mild whiff of pirate perfume.

The pirate girls shot back, but it was an uneven battle. The navy had the strongest of weapons and months of training behind them, and simply blew the pirates away. Not a single girl survived on the other ship. The naval ship got closer, and the girls in uniform made their way to the other ship walking on the plank that the navy people typically use.

The ammunition was seized, and so were the documents of the ship, along with a few pink diaries. The pirates had apparently been brought up with the idea that pirates always wrote diaries, and had gone for a bulk discount offer, but didn't really get past the "Dear Diary, Now that I'm a pirate, I don't think he loves me anymore" bit.

The navy, obviously, consisted of serious women who meant business. They ransacked the little pirate ship, confiscated all they could, and stole perfumes and lingerie with the gruff seriousness of walruses on diets. Then they walked along the plank back to their ship.

Srinivasan was happy. He had just fought his first war, had crushed the opponents, had managed to acquire a shampoo and a conditioner, along with a diary with little red hearts and the name Ravi written on almost all the pages. Some of the hearts also had rather menacing red arrows piercing through them.

He looked down at his loot fascinatingly. Then he felt something hard poking at his neck. Before he could react his hands were tied behind his back and were cuffed. Unseen hands used something to cover his face, and held tightly, gagging him, choking him...

And then he remembered no more.

***

He woke up on the deck. He insides churned with hunger. His shirt was ripped from his body, and so were his trousers. He was tied to a pole with his hands behind his back, and strong ropes virtually made him immobile. He looked ridiculous in his female underwear.

The Captain walked up to him and slapped him across his face.

"I know why you did this. You also knew what was at stake, didn't you?"

Srinivasan nodded.

Think, he told himself. His hands were tied, and he could not move. Could he talk himself out of this? Smooth talk, after all, had worked for him in the past.

"Look, I really admire the power of the Female. I just wanted to..."

The captain smirked. The crew roared in unison in an infectious laughter.

It's not working. It won't work. They're not the gullible ones he had picked up by the dozens in his heydays. They have been trained.

The Captain held a pistol at his temple. He shivered as the cold metal pressed against his bare skin.

So this was it.

"Anything you want to know before I'm over with this?"

Srinivasan gulped. He did. He did want to know what had given it away.

"How did you figure out?"

A broad grin spread across The Captain's face.

"Oh, that. It was simple. When those sluts attacked today morning, all of us went up to the deck to find out what was going on. Then we got ready and returned with our guns, remember?"

Srinivasan stared at her quizzically.

"All of us - yes, myself included - had glanced at the shiny surface of the deck to see whether we looked all right in our nightgowns, or whether our hairdo was fine when we had dressed up hurriedly. You were the only one who didn't. That, well, was simply not being female."

Those were the last words Srinivasan heard.

28 comments:

  1. Loved it. Simply loved it.

    "....He had got the better of a cohort of people. Women, actually.

    ***

    It was actually a long tale."
    Ekhane 'actually' word ta ektu repetitive laglo.

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  2. How could you manage to stitch together so much awesomeness in a single post? The ending was immaculate! :D

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  3. absolutely 'viciously' brilliant abhishekda...only the diaries and jolly roger - why not orange or blue? Some of us do hate pink:)

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    1. Thank you. I just went for the modal class. :D

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  4. Haha, khub mojar ! pirate ship jodi jitto, tahole maal ta Kiera Knightly-r analog hishebe 'paat' korte parto, provided they let him live after finding him out, aar amra 3-series novel petam.

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    Replies
    1. Kiera Knightly jante parle toke keliye 'paat' kore debe. :D

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  5. Interesting!! Eto writing competition tumi pachcho kothae??

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    1. তোর লাগলে অনায়াসে পাঠাতে পারি।

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  6. The first time I've seen a story involving pirates, pink diaries, and aadhaar cards - very interesting indeed!

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    1. World Wars as well. Don't forget that bit. And pigs to boot.

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  7. Handsome piece.
    But whata poor man,undone by women and then done for :(

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    Replies
    1. Er, isn't that the story everywhere? :)

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    2. ...and did the man's mourning mother received a carton of pink chaadies through post?

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  8. Reminded me of the stories of Somerset Maugham.

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    Replies
    1. Sambuddha, that is a terrifyingly huge compliment.

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  9. liked it.

    Dhari

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  10. Wholesome imagination.Enjoyed reading:)

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  11. Srinivasan, Ravi.....interesting choice of names!

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    Replies
    1. Any resemblance you may find is strictly coincidental.

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