Bad timing

He finished reading it. Seventh time today. Her first love letter.

“Could so much love ever vanish! She’ll understand, if I talk.”

“Anjali, please understand! We’d fought before also. But we always made up! Why not today? I love you, Anjali!”

She didn’t reply. Those suspended in air, hanging by rope about their neck, don’t.



(To be read only after meditating ‘deeply’ upon the profundity of above piece, and thinking of all the plot-related possibilities)

The protagonist reads his lover’s first love letter umpteen times. He realizes the depth of love they’d shared, and how talking things out could help.

He tries to convince his lover to not be miffed and try to resolve the dispute amicably. But actually, all he’s talking to is her dead body as she’d committed suicide by hanging and, he’s still in denial about it–not ready to believe ‘all was over’.

47 thoughts on “Bad timing

  1. Ketan,

    Shows how a small issue can lead to big sad event. His not believing it is result of shock. Short but with clear message.

    Take care

  2. The explanation is an insult. It means you don’t think that the readers of your blog are intelligent enough… I protest by… err.. sending my soiled… err whatever.

    This was dark btw, could’ve been written only by a serial killer or a student of medicine 😛

  3. @Jack:

    Thanks you sir!



    No, explanation is modest admission of my inability to articulate effectively. 🙂 Actually, all 55ers have some potential for misunderstanding. For instance, it could be interpreted in this one that he killed Anjali or he was conversing with her on the phone.

    And your soiled whatever reached me, and well, it was really err whatever. 😛

    Yep, yep at at both serial killer and medico. 😉


  4. Ketan,

    Very dark,painful,spine chilling and shocking! Yeah kindly re-edit/remove/erase the explanation! The explanation part sort of ruins the state of shock or whatever you call the story creates! Other than that, pretty dark. As dark as my Guinness! 😛


  5. Thanks, Vishwas!

    That was too many compliments rolled into one! So certainly feels nice. 🙂

    I believe, since the explanation is at the end of the story after the suspense is revealed and the potential shock delivered(!), the explanation shouldn’t make much difference.

    As I’ve explained in my response to Rakesh, multiple interpretations are possible, and nothing could be more painful for the writer to know that the reader had misinterpreted despite the writer putting lot of effort (which a 55er actually requires 🙂 ).

    If you liked this one, you might like my other 55ers (click), too.


  6. Actually multiple interpretations is what makes 55ers interesting. Yeah, I thought about that as well for a moment – that he killed Anjali, and that makes the story all the more intriguing.

  7. Rakesh,

    I understand and agree. Do let me know if the newly added note helps.

    But in my response to you, I’ll get into something personal; hope you don’t mind.

    Think, you’ve yourself made a bouquet out of wild roses in your garden. And you send it to someone (not necessarily someone very important to you). Your purpose was the joy of process of creation, and sharing that creation with others. But what happens in transit is, one by one your roses are replaced by more exotic (and) beautiful flowers–say, orchids (see, I don’t know much about bouquets and exotics flowers, and that could be one of the reasons my love life sucks 😉 ). The bouquet now no doubt looks more beautiful, and recipient is overjoyed. But you’ll feel dissatisfied to know it was not what you’d sent and that it got adulterated midway. That’s because the purpose was to create (and send it across), not make the recipient happy. Though, you’d be happy to know that what you created made the recipient happy. I know this is selfish, but then, what is not? 🙂

    The personal thing in above paragraph was not that my love life sucks. 😛

    In this story, I wanted to highlight the pure and deep love he experiences for Anjali, that she had also loved him as deeply, and place them against his regret (of fighting and not taking action at the right time–hence the title), denial, helplessness and irreversibility of Anjali’s suicidal death. These are an entirely different set of emotions as compared to violence, cruelty and gore (murder).

    I’ve attempted the latter also here (click).

    Thanks for your feedback! And, I’ll also think more about what you’ve tried to convey, and also try to incorporate it into my thought processes once I feel more detached from writing. 🙂


  8. Ketan,

    I read the other 55-ers, but I like this one the best!

    Also I noticed except for this one and the previous 55-er, you have not given any sort of explanation! 😛 So my suggestion is kindly avoid giving out an explanation if your heart,body,mind,soul,ego,habit etc permits you to!! 😛


  9. Okay Vishwas, here on, I’ll include the explanation as the first comment after the post, so that it won’t interfere with the overall reading experience of the reader.

    In fact, if you’ll see the comments’ section of all the 55ers, curiously, there’s not a single one where I’ve not had to give and explanation through my comments, and sometimes even had to repeat them.

    Thanks for reading all my 55ers! Had you commented on them individually, I’d have thanked you for them individually. 😉 And no, I’m in no position to transfer any money! 😛


  10. Hello Anju ma’am!

    Since shocking the reader was one of the motives, thanks for your compliment!

    Personally, I don’t think of suicide as blanket-cowardliness. It’s very easy for others to pass moral judgement on those in pain, but what they go through can only be understood by them. But discussing that here would be somewhat bedsides the point!

    You might like my previous post (click). If you do venture out to read, please do not read the older version of the story, the link to which you’ll find in the first paragraph itself.


  11. Hello Anju ma’am!

    Since shocking the reader was one of the motives, thanks for your compliment!

    Personally, I don’t think of suicide as blanket-cowardliness. It’s very easy for others to pass moral judgement on those in pain, but what they go through can only be understood by them. But discussing that here would be somewhat bedsides the point!

    You might like my previous post (click). If you do venture out to read, please do not read the older version of the story, the link to which you’ll find in the first paragraph itself.


  12. @IWW:

    Thanks, ma’am! That’s one sweeping generalization of my 55ers! But am flattered anyway.

    I hope you found the link to the comment I was trying to point to?


  13. Shocking. There is one Tamil movie, where the hero, unable to accept that his lover has died, lives with the corpse thinking that it is alive! That was even more shocking!!

    Destination Infinity

    Is there any chance of having a different gravatar for these posts ?? 🙂

  14. hmm…i knw dis one guy who actually hung himself for the love of his life…she took sleeping pills on the same day (but she survived!) life is bitter…hey thats like a 55er…

  15. @Destination Infinity:

    Thanks! Yes, it seems, I’ve even heard of similar real-life incidents as that in the Tamil movie! And I also had a constraint of 55 words. 🙂

    You mean you want a logo for yourself? I’d suggest getting yourself a Blogger ID. Even I’ve got myself a gravatar ID though I don’t blog on WordPress.

    Also see if ‘OpenID’ works for you. Hope this helps.

    @Alpez: Even that could’ve been a 55er, but that would be with an unfair advantage of plot already being interesting, rather than the author having to make it interesting! 😉


  16. Ketan

    I hope I am in the right blog!
    I responded only to that post!
    I had not read any of your posts before that one.
    We atheists are a much maligned lot- so I felt I needed to defend my kind from getting a bad name due to the shenanigans of the religious.
    I think people whose creed is “do as I say, not as I do” like most religious leaders- specially charlatans, are just immoral. They may genuinely believe their gods, but they definitely act against all that is good.

  17. Alankrita,

    Yes, you indeed are on the right blog, but wrong post!

    I understand what you’re saying.

    The comments’ page of the post where you’d commented is here (click).

    Though, discussing it would be out of context vis-a-vis this post, I’ve tried to give good psychological reasons as to why those charlatans possibly don’t believe in the existence of God.


  18. Well, the post makes sense only if we assume that ‘he’ has mental problems, eg. like you said, denial.

    Besides, thats the common explanation everybody would have thought.

    But one could provide alternate explanations.

    He was this particular person who felt deep love and compassion for fellow human beings. But in his quest to console and support the tormented, he became insane. If he saw a female suicide his mind at once correlated it to extreme mental suffering (the generic cause) and the extreme physical suffering (helpless death by strangulation). But owing to his snapped brain circuits, beyond this suffering he couldn’t see that the person is already dead. So his heart, ever the ocean of love and compassion starts believing that he is her lover, who wants to comfort her console her and ask for forgiveness. (Somehow his insanity also results in a guilt complex. He kinda feels strangely responsible for any suffering he sees. Perhaps feeling really overwhelming guilt about some actual suffering he caused someone was the cause of his turning mad in the first place, and his desire to heal suffering)

    And guess what? The ‘love letter’ was basically what the suicide note looked like, to his delusional mind!

    Gosh did I just invent a terrible freak here? Or is such a sample known in the recorded history of psychology?

    Ok another interpretation:

    ‘Her first love letter’ which he found was addressed to someone other than him. Thats why he hung her. And now is in ultimate denial.

    Some other commenter already said he may have killed her. I just filled in the details 😉

  19. Stupidosaur,

    Your interpretation 1: Actually in psychiatry/psychology, denial per se is not considered a disorder. It’s taken to be a normal ego defense mechanism (click) in a bereavement/grief response. See this article (click) from Wikipedia.

    But yes, if extreme, or gets too prolonged, it takes forms like ‘dissociative fugue’, wherein, the patient’s subconscious makes him forget everything about himself in order to repress the traumatic news, and the patient travels to faraway places. Here (click).

    Also, are you suggesting that he developed the disorder (of sympathizing excessively for strangers) acutely or since long back? If it’s the former, then there should be a good trigger for it to occur. If it’s the latter, such a disordered person is unlikely to be (not impossible, of course) let loose at large by the society.

    Yes, reading the suicide note as love letter is possible.

    But on the whole, problem with this first interpretation is that if you apply the concept of Ockham’s razor, your above conclusion will be reached in much more circuitous fashion, whereas, the explanation I’ve given (what I had in mind while writing) can be reached more straightforwardly. And if I’d have make your interpretation justifiable, 55 words’d be impossibly constricting.

    Interpretation 2: Yes, this is quite tenable. But again, the protagonist would’ve to be excessively delusional. Also, hint that he misreads the addressee of the letter would be difficult to insert, and I’d have to remove one of the lines from part where he tries to convince Anjali, and that’d take away a bit of edge. Though I admit, I’d not thought of this possibility while developing the plot, and the idea is good!

    But Stupidosaur, my foremost intention was to highlight the regret and extreme form of denial in context of renewed and immense love he feels for her.

    Maybe you’ll find this 55er (click) interesting. 😉

    Thanks for your inputs and widening my horizon of possibilities! But actually, you’ve narrowed down my possibilities ‘cuz even if I were to get same ideas you suggested on my own, now I can’t use them ‘cuz they’re yours. 😦


  20. Ketan,

    That’s like a good boy! 😛 And including the explanation as the first comment is a better idea! Thanks for considering my request!

    Ah and yes I have read all of them 55-ers! Your asking me to comment individually on each post sounds like reverse psychology! Lol 😛 Or forward psychology or side-ways psychology! Aaaaaaaargh! I don’t care which one! But yeah sure I shall comment on them individually so that you will be convinced that I actually read them all! 😛

    Oh and I don’t work for any Nigerian fraud company! So kindly do not panic 🙂 hehe

    And one more thing, how do you manage to put up posts,comment and reply to comments despite looking geeky and a medical student! 😛 I’m beginning to doubt your credentials! 😀 Are you sure you are a medical student? I certainly can’t doubt your literary skills and that’s for sure! But I mean where do you find time to do all this? I just don’t find time to blog, go to University and work on my project, read a novel, indulge in photography, go to the gym, learn Italian etc! I do all of them regular intervals but then apart from going to University I can barely do anything else unless I take a day off, something I can’t really afford to on a regular basis! Lol 😛

    I was working on my assignment all this while and took a break to check my blog and ended up replying to your comment! I’m feeling guilty now and I have a very early day tomorrow so I need to rush! 😛

    Anyway I’m expecting a CBI report on your credentials soon! 😀


  21. Nice one Ketan. Though I have to repeat what other people have already said: the explanation was not required. Not when you have this line: “Those suspended in air, hanging by rope about their neck, don’t.”


    Quirky Indian

  22. Ok Ketan, here’s the thing right.
    I’m concerned about you and your twisted dark endings to your stories.

    Although, I guess that at times one’s characters need to die in order to highlight the lives of the remaining ones, or to emphasise the depth of their suffering, or to force the reader to reflect on the character’s tragedy.

    How about we get a love story that doesn’t end in tears?

    Now I know that two people falling in love without any drama, and naturally progressing to deep commitment and life-long partnership doesn’t necessarily make for great reading, but perhaps it should?

    Somtimes I feel ( myself included before I got married) that people get addicted to the “excitement” of the dramatic relationship, mistaking the highs and lows for deep passion. But this almost always leads to nought.

    What do you think? Am I talking crap?

    P.s. Loving the new blog decor!

  23. @Vishwas:

    See, all professions have black sheeps. And I’m the darkest of them all! 😉 I’m so dark, I’m an ass err black hole! I hope you get what I mean.

    To answer your query, I’d completed my internship in February, 2008, and since then am preparing for PG entrance exams.

    And, apart from the time I devote to blogging (not more than 20 hours in a month), and commenting (somewhat substantial), I don’t spend my time anywhere else!

    I don’t watch TV, read newspaper, watch movies, or gossip, or go on picnics, or any such thing. Rest all time goes in studying!

    Yes, there’s a margin for me to work harder, but then, I don’t have that kind of insect-esque hard work in me.;) Keeping on studying mindlessly all the time.

    So, CBI, or no CBI, I am a sheep 😉

    Hope that answers your query.

    @Quirky Indian: Thanks for the compliment! Yes, after overwhelming(??) opposition, I’ve decided to not publish explanations along with my posts. 🙂

    @Dr. S: You’ve coincidentally, not read my other posts the kind you like. 🙂

    Here (click)


    Here (click)


  24. Ketan,

    You mean sheep 🙂

    Ah so you are busy preparing for your PG! That’s awesome. I wish you the very best for all your future endeavours!

    Lucky you! Yeah I know the drill. Not that I’m a medical student but my ex is a doctor and I remember her schedule! Of course she is among like the top 3 students in her University! Oh but funnily, she watched movies, and watched some more movies, gossiped and gossiped some more, watched a lot of Television, went on holidays abroad regularly and yet remained in the top spot! Lol! 😛

    Well if you have the inclination to study all the time then you should do it! You will excel in it!

    Oh yeah it does clarify my doubts!


  25. You changed the template?? Wow! I like this one. Blue’s my favourite colour! 🙂

    It was a beautiful story.

    I wish I cud learn to say so much in so few words.

    There are times when words become superfluous right?

    I must learn this.

  26. i read ur explanation to rakesh but when i read the post, didn’t require the explanation..if its enigmatic , i thought it would be more beautiful..
    stupidosaur taxed my brain too much with his first suggestion..(but even i considered the possibility he had killed his wife..or the love letter is just suicide letter.)

  27. WDM,

    Yes, I’ve decided not to include explanations here on in the main post; would include them in my comments.

    As to Stupidosaur – you shouldn’t take his attempts at writing seriously. He knows he’s not good at creating slots! 😛

    Thanks for reading and commenting!


  28. ?

    1) What ‘attempts’ at ‘writing’?
    2) What is a slot? Why would I try creating one?
    3) What self awareness of lack of good-at-ness are we talking of here?

    Of course I absolutley agree with not taking anything seriously part 😉

  29. Stupidosaur,

    Slots was a typo for ‘plots’. T9, you see!

    And as you shall also see, WDM is unlikely to come and follow up her comments. So, the comment was meant for you only to read.

    The ‘:P’ at the end of sentence in the above comment was to provoke you into … well, I don’t know provoke you into what, maybe, just to see if get attracted to such words as ‘Stupidosaur’ in comments on MY blog! 😉

    Hope, you didn’t take ‘it’ seriously! 😛


  30. Stupidosaur,

    Slots was a typo for ‘plots’. T9, you see!

    And as you shall also see, WDM is unlikely to come and follow up her comments. So, the comment was meant for you only to read.

    The ‘:P’ at the end of sentence in the above comment was to provoke you into … well, I don’t know provoke you into what, maybe, just to see if get attracted to such words as ‘Stupidosaur’ in comments on MY blog! 😉

    Hope, you didn’t take ‘it’ seriously! 😛


  31. Nope. I was just intrigued about what is it that I am supposed to know and don’t know but you know that I know.

    Its just lucky that this comment was still hanging in the sidebar when I visited. Else it would have been missed too! Maybe if it was posted without typos, the meaning would have been clear, and I would not have commented back 😉

    BTW how did P get replaced with S? Definitely unlikely with QWERTY. Something to do with mobile typing methodology?

  32. Stupidosaur,

    I’d read somewhere that since long you’ve lost your cell phone, and that you were never desirous of a cell phone like of Nokia N series (even I’m not but that’s ‘cuz I don’t like Nokia; otherwise I would be very much looking forward to some phone like Sony Ericsson xperia X10). So is it that you’ve hardly used cell phones for typing smses?

    There’s a T9-dictionary mode in all numerical keypads. Each button apart from having a digit has 3 to 4 english alphabet characters.

    2 has a, b and c. 8 has t, u and v.

    Now if you punch in 288, the in built dictionary ‘knows’ that you wanted to type ‘but’, but(!) you might have also wanted to type ‘cut’! This predictive mode of entering messages is known as T9 dictionary mode. I think it is a patented system by some corporation. So it is faster, but there can errors and one needs to be careful. 🙂 That’s why when I punched in 75687, first word was ‘slots’ and since last 4 characters were the same, I missed the fact that it was NOT ‘plots’. I was about to correct the typo, but thought you’d anyway understand it.

    Anyway, even if you had you not commented here, I’d have known you’d read the comment. 😉 Hope, this doesn’t frighten you! After all, I got my ‘divya drishti’ from your blog only! 😛


  33. Yeah I know where you got the ‘divya drishti’ from. But I don’t like it very much. Since you do a lot of blog widget related investigations on the net, better find for us something better, which keeps all the data permanently. ‘divya drishti’ does not have ‘mayavi memory’ ,only 500 records. Now I don’t expect them to keep our data on their servers forever, but then they could email us the data every 500 records and reset it right? Find something like that and let me know when you do.

    Actually I have lost 4 mobiles in 4 years in 4 different ways. Total cost of mobile phones has far exceeded the airtime bills, postpaid and prepaid, even though I used the least costly basic models. That basically indicates that I don’t care for mobiles and/because I don’t need them much.

    But I do know about T9 thing. I found it very inconvenient to use. Its just I didn’t notice ts mention before commenting. Noticed it later, but before you commented, but didn’t bother to correct. I am very disinterested in everything these days(?). Don’t focus. Also left ‘one debate’ hanging, probably never to return, even though I have lots of things to say. Its pointless anyways. Even though many things are there to post, left the blog hanging with a very boring, almost repulsive last post. Previous post was automatically keeping the blog active ;).

    Now no new comments or followers. Still not posting naything new.

    Besides, I am Stupid. I don’t know VM of KF. You can tell. Or not.

  34. Hi Stupidosaur!

    Well, I don’t think I would be able to find a better counter than that one. 🙂

    But what intrigues me is your actually being interested in keeping that record for ever despite the fact that you seem to be very uninterested in your blog, nowadays.

    Actually I’ve not searched the net for this purpose, but believe it is unlikely we can find what you’re asking for.

    The current service itself would expand their registry, but they would charge for that.

    As to your generalized disinterest, it is very much apparent in many things. And you might find it funny, but I’d like to do something about it, but guess, am incapable. 😦

    I don’t know if you’ve read about scalable vector graphics (.svg) format of imaging. I was thinking of doing a post on it. It is a (in my knowledge) new method of representing visual data in place of pixels (bitmap images). You can find a sample of what can be done using them on my Orkut album (computer-generated graphics).

    You can download one of the svg editors here: (click)

    I guess, by hanging debate you were refering to Ambi’s post. Yes, on the whole, there’s no point debating there simply ‘cuz the terms of what constitutes ‘good’ in life and how to ‘assess’ them itself are so different. Plus, there’s a certain kind of double standards involved in continuing to use naturalism day-in-and-day-out, and using conclusions drawn using naturalism itself to criticize and show naturalism as limited, which is a huge logical paradox.

    I’d be replying to your queries relating to oxalic acid, etc. one of these days. It’s been at the back of my mind, but somehow not found the inclination to reply there.

    Couldn’t understand if you said the following thing in context of your blog OWN or Ambi’s:

    “Even though many things are there to post, left the blog hanging with a very boring, almost repulsive last post. Previous post was automatically keeping the blog active ;)”

    Actually, I know your problem. You’re too intelligent and too good for this World. 🙂 Really.

    I really wish I had some suggestions for you. But I have none, and I feel very helpless and inadequate for that. You might not like the idea, but you could email me. 😉 If not yours, that will bring at least some excitement to my life. 🙂

    I don’t like to keep anyone curious. It’s just that I didn’t want to take those names publicly. I’d meant Kingfisher group.


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