Rain

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ours

Review

The Novel

Frankenstein Or The Modern Prometheus speaks to you directly, showing you with its wintery-cold hands the myth through the lens called life.

Call it a myth, an experiment, a mistake, it retells, at the same time approaching the same unknown vision, the story of Victor Frankenstein – a man who humbly tries to be god.

The novel retells, and is still retelling like a folktale in the air, how Victor Frankenstein’s passion for alchemy, chemistry and natural philosophy acted as a catalyst for his many experiments on lifeless frames he gathered from cemeteries.

Long, maddening but exact and taciturn, expeditions, not to a far off land (not as of now), but inside the laboratory, expedition to the depths of knowing the dead and undead, to the threshold of unruly desire and undue greed, greed to dominate.

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?

Chapter 5, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The creator fled away from his creation forgetting that the two are now tied to each other by a thread – a thread stronger than creator’s own shadow, voice and thoughts. Victor created a monster, not on that ‘dreary night of November‘, but over a period of time. Absolute neglect and abhorrence left the monster no choice but to be one.

Even when he learns the ways of the world – living in a hovel, grasping in silence what a family life means, secretly helping people around, picking their language and deciphering meaning in what he could read – he faces rigid rejection to whomsoever he turns to.

Shunned, he questions his existence and finds the winter weather leaping away after answering him with a static silence.

Fear fosters fear and with such weakness and anger the monster acts, brutally he acts, making sure that his master hears all about it. The monster kills Victor’s younger brother William and thus begins the downfall of both the creator and the monster.

Darkness and gloom overpower Victor and with the deaths of his best friend, fiancé and his old father, he becomes as lonely as the monster.

The pure white snow at the North Pole, that appeared to be engulfing the earth and the sky alike, could not make the monster anything less than what he had become – he was a curse, told Victor to his new friend, Robert Walton, an explorer and closed his eyes forever, hoping that in death he may find victory over his loathsome creation.

And this once Victor was right, the monster decides to put an end to his grotesque life too.

A little bit of gleaming sunshine, valley fresh flowers and joy too may feel subdued in this novel by the inky rainy nights and foggy, grey skies, but that is because it stays true to its core – a tragedy, but a modern one where the hero nurtures his flaw, unaware yet certain at first, lamenting and regretting later, truly owning it as a dead man.

Victor Frankenstein borne the brunt of such a curse that no one may ever dare to face, even in the advanced world, maybe only by mistake, but not as a determined goal and even if one did, in the times to come, such a creation will know what happened to Frankenstein’s monster and will know it only too well.

Until then, Frankenstein will continue to live, in our memory, for the sake of the curse and so will his monster.


The Author

When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

Author’s introduction, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, London 15th October 1831

At 18, when she began writing Frankenstein, Mary Shelley had thought of it to be a tale no longer than a few pages, at 20, the novel, after initial rejections, got published anonymously – customary for most female writers of the period – with a preface by her husband, P.B Shelley.

Some thought P.B Shelley or his father-in-law, the philosopher writer William Godwin, to be the author of this phantasmagoria and Mary Shelley surely was influenced by both, but her close encounters with death that tortured her, but kept her alive, very much like the Titan god of fire, Prometheus, made her who she was.

Mary Shelley wrote in her diary – “Dream that my little baby came to life again – that it had only been cold and that we rubbed it by the fire and it lived – I awake and find no baby – I think about the little thing all day.”

Mary got her name from her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, a feminist writer, who died soon after giving birth to her. Even though deprived of this pious golden bond, Mary Shelley nurtured it solitarily, just like Frankenstein’s creation.

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s world became her world when she, at 16, fled with him, well aware that the journey ahead will be more perilous than it ever was. Percy, then 20, was already married, penniless and somewhat on the run from his creditors. After his first wife’s death, the couple got married and just for a few shy years they happily lived together.

Too strong a wave, was Mary’s beloved, for he rose to meet the light on a stormy night on the sea and drowned unabashedly. Mary Shelley kept the remains of his heart as keepsake and continued to edit and publish his poems posthumously.

Patience of deep sea grew in Mary Shelley and she decided to live – for her only son and her pen. She wrote novels, short stories, travelogues and biographies both to earn a living and stay close to the phantasmagorical world of stories.

The idea of Frankenstein came to Mary Shelley in a half-waking nightmare in the summer of 1816. She had been staying with her husband and Lord Byron on the shore of Lake Geneva when at Byron’s suggestion they were all challenged to make up a ghost story.

– Frankenstein (Penguin Popular Classics)

The summer of 1816 later came to be known as ‘the year without a summer’ because of the eruption of Mount Tamboro in Indonesia that sent clouds of volcanic ash throughout Europe, North America and Asia.

Torrential rain and grey gloominess filled the sky, it must have, when Mary Shelley sat down to write Frankenstein. And this only favoured her, even if she didn’t realise it, as she managed to breach the measurements of time in presenting a vision, hideous and terrifying, but intact and alive.

And so, it walked, with our desires and knowledge meeting, it walked – Frankenstein’s monster walked.

But what’s he up to now?


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Darkness and Pleonasm

Nonsense Poetry
“Dear giraffes, turn around and look up”, said the moon.
Pleonasm – the use of more words than necessary to convey meaning.
[Source – Pixabay]

*

Dark night, night dark

Like thundering clouds sans lightening

And we missed, skipped the enlightening

Message. “You damn fool, think hard,

You didn’t hear anything?”

Lub-dub, lub-dub, quack-dub,

“Quack dub?” Yes, the darkest darkness

Followed us that we failed to see in the darkness.


Lights off, there was no light!

Scared, we threw our candles away,

Out of fear we trembled,

And threw our matchboxes haphazardly,

A few hit my head, I caught one silently

And hid it in the fish tank for emergency.

(The fish lit a bonfire! They tried to!)


“What?” Madness ruled us, yes, madness!

Madly we wept and stood still in one corner,

Or was it the centre? Uncertain, afraid,

We slept quickly, peacefully and

Woke to see the dark knight

Who had come to return our torch light;

Said, it helped him cross the teetering bridge

Twice, for he came to return our torch light.

Listen, not a lie this, later we heard it, all of us,

The breaking of the teetering bridge

And a desperate goodbye.


“It was the dark knight!” O-but we

Couldn’t see anything for our torch light

Died along with that goodbye-cry,

Both engulfed by the darkness and its hands,

Crushed under its dark feet, that we failed to see

In the darkness. For clarity now

We have all blindfolded ourselves.


After heavy rain, hail storm, whispering winds,

We can now feel some warmth,

Feels like the sun, but who knows-ya,

Not us, for it is impossible to see-ya,

Especially in this darkness. “Ahhh!”

(The one who said ‘ahhh’, rushed away.)

Rushed away? In such darkness?

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Let’s Take The Final Curtain Call Together

Flash Fiction
A lovely dancing tree.
[Source – Pixabay]

Standing next to the giant old tree, its static presence made Saami sombre, more and more.

He cried, “Saami is now one with the rigid, rough and-and dead, yes, dead and gruesome tree bark, Saami has turned into this tree bark… O, but why?”

Resting against the tree now, now hugging the tree and mumbling, Saami stared into nothingness blankly, quietly. He opened his fist – a flint stone chip, equally dead he thought – and started ripping off the bark once again.

“Saami sees it all, Saami knows the limits, Saami’s dungeon is different from theirs, but… it’s all the same”, he announced in pain.

*

Sombre Saami’s imagination.
[Source – Pixabay]

The twittering yellow bird, the prancing butterflies, a distant lullaby, the pesky kung-fu crickets’ funny civil war and the red flowers’ bold stance, Saami turned a blind eye to it all.

Even the crickets stopped their civil war to enjoy the rain and the rainbow that day, but not Saami.

“Fools! Saami knows the pattern, Saami knows hope and destiny are always stuck in a traffic jam, and love…”, said Saami two hours ago.

“Love… love coloured Saami’s world black… black is the absence of all colours… black reflects no light… Saami lives in darkness”, he completed the sentence just when the fireflies lit the jungle.

Some rested on his head and hands, but Saami refused to greet them.

With a dry look, sullen eyes and tired limbs, Saami spoke for the last time, “dead, static tallness, this soulless tree bark hates Saami, this is the death penalty, and the most terrible because Saami is not tied, Saami can move, Saami knows, but not anymore, for Saami has become one with this giant numb stubborn treeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…”


Saami spoke for the last time because the lovely, joyous and calm tree’s branch took hold of Saami’s tired body and pulled him up-up-up… in a gushing blast of speed, suddenly music broke Saami’s heart-heart-heart… ta-rum-pup-pup-paa came the sound and immediately replaced it with a musical hub-dub sensation of a heart.

*

The lead singer-cum-dancer-cum-poser.
[Image by Roy N from Pixabay]

From the top-most branch of the tall lovely tree, Saami could see melodic colours and no darkness, nothing was static for the entire jungle and the river and the wind and the sky and the stars and the moon and the sun (together) danced to the twee peppy tune – and equally soothing, thought Saami – that the animal orchestra was playing.

Every animal – jamming freely – sitting on the top of some tree just like Saami… Saami who started clapping, swaying along and tip-tap-toeing in the air.

The tall lovely tree finally spoke, “Saami, yoi-knowi-da-cosmic-i-dance-sO-‘ell”; Saami was seen blushing brightly before the curtain was drawn.

*

Cosmic-i-dance!
[Source – Pixabay]

Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


MIRAI

Mixed Fiction

*

Mirai o Mirai, where are you? You cannot hide for long.

Mirai o Mirai, I will find you.

*

Flying in the past and future simultaneously.
©Studio Chizu    

*

Those childhood days gone by, gone by in playing, playing hide and seek, ice-water and cycling, cycling all day long like a crazy fool and laughing, those childhood days gone by eating candies and ice creams, hopscotching and skipping ropes, flying kites, strolling aimlessly, gazing at the sky, merry minds flying high, those childhood days are now a dream.

I remember, I still do, Aru and I were sitting, Pinti was roaming around as always; Aru was talking non-stop, sharing one of her charming stories, a feature film story I must mention – our protagonist, a little girl, the best detective in the town, begins her quest, she is looking for some stolen bright precious stones – we paused the story and went to play hopscotch with Pinti, she had re-drawn the rectangle-y pattern for us, sweet Pinti, we talked and played, then followed the clouds, just when we were about to get hold of the moody clouds, they turned and shouted, “peek-a-boo.”

We screamed and ran back, but could not out-do the rain bullets. And then… then we guffawed and danced in the rain, I remember.

Those childhood days gone by were full of dreams, dreams of the future, pocket full of adventure and sweets and joy and endless playtime… those dreams were of the future, a hidden gold chest…

Through those dreams we time travelled and blushed, knowing well that we have to wait a bit before we discover this treasure… we treasured the future and waited.

Those childhood days gone by, what a sweet melody… the future we still dream of, what a happy idea…

And what is left is the present, this very moment – quiet, true, rudely true, factual and boring, but euphoric if grasped and powerful enough to change everything, the past as well as the future.

Take the golden thread I say, take it and chart the course, know that it will not break for it is tied to you, you of the past and you of the future.


Mirai is a Japanese animation film written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda.

A truly beautiful and emotional film, it is a must-watch for it is a piece you need to get hold of to solve this jigsaw puzzle called life. It is beautiful!

*

Solving the life-puzzle in Mirai style is the best style. ©Studio Chizu    

Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


The Broken Nest and Other Stories by Rabindranath Tagore

Coverage

A painting by Rabindranath Tagore.
[Source- V&A Museum]

The Broken Nest  

Charu and Amal didn’t understand their heart’s secret, but how could it be that their own heart hid something from them, well it did. Maybe, Charu’s binoculars didn’t work properly.

And Mr. Bhupati, a lost editor, busy sketching the details of a busy world, had no time for keeping secrets.

Why did they give their secrets to Time for safekeeping?

Time always travels light, thus, it naturally left their secrets behind, visible for them all to see, casting a spell. The spell didn’t kill, it broke hearts.  


The Ghat’s Tale  

Vasant… Grishm… Varsha… Sharad… Hemant… Shishir…   Six seasons talked to the Ghat near the Ganga River. The seasons brought green moss at times and dry leaves at others, dipping the Ghat into sunlight and rain shower with love, the seasons spoke less, but heard sincerely.

What did the Ghat tell them? It shared stories… yours and mine.  


Notebook  

Let her be, why torment her, why read her notebook without her consent? She is little, just a girl, a child bride, she has left her world behind, she has carried some in her notebook.  


Postmaster  

Love is all-powerful and yet it blooms slowly in every soul, taking time for the realisation to sink in and sync with it completely.

A shade of love wrote a letter to the Postmaster who, tricked by mind, read it too late. Oh! That feeling…  


A happy poet.
[Source- Poetry Foundation]

The Broken Nest is a novella, while the other three are short stories; each one holds a complete universe and touches you deeply.

Rabindranath Tagore beautifully writes in the language of love, his characters always express something which stays usually hidden within a heart, sidelined by the talkative world.

Every story of his is like a time machine, it unfolds the past keeping it alive and magical at the same time.

The birds sing sweetest of songs in his stories, the earth dances the best to his tunes, the colour red blushes flamboyantly in his paintings and tears take time to dry up when he narrates.

Know his work and you will know.


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Thoughts Versus Giggles

Samira was walking briskly. Her thoughts followed her where ever she went, in shade and dust, amongst the crowd and throughout the dim alley with matted hoardings. Life in its minute detail, including the folded chit in a jeans pocket, spoke to Samira. Thoughts dappled with plaintive acceptances and mellowed retraces were highlighted.

Everything was perfectly normal when Samira turned in slow motion, her hair flying dramatically, her eyes looking for… Alas! There was nothing filmy to see, except something comic – pigeon droppings dropped on a man’s head. Samira grimaced as if she knew the pigeon or the man.

It started to drizzle. Samira smiled, almost chuckled, why, because she had an umbrella. And then came the moment – heavy, pouring rain made the pedestrians hide in shops, except a bunch of few who had an umbrella. Samira shined with a beautiful pink umbrella.

La la la laa laa, la-la la la laaaa! She was reminded of the grand music score from Chariots of fire.

But all this for a few minutes and she was back in shade and dust, amongst the crowd and on the rough road. She looked at the people around her and wondered about their life, sufferings, dreams and hopes. Gosh! In a puddle, Samira saw her gloomy face and noticed her laces. Now, just like the others, she looked for a corner and sat to tie her laces.

Umbrella on a side, down on her knees, Samira got drenched as a rusty, rickety roof pipe broke brazenly. Pedestrians saw it, ignored it and then saw it again. Sheepishly Samira got up, then acted brave till the road curved to the left. “It is over”, she said.

Samira walked, deep in conversation with herself when a little girl, a beggar, came running towards her and started to walk with her. She thought, now she will ask for some money, now she will beg, now. But the beggar smiled and said, “I just want to go till there”. Samira nodded and looked at her pink umbrella happily. The beggar giggled as her little brother joined them. Samira looked at both of them and saw the two most radiant smiles she had ever seen.

Gladly she walked with them, not thinking anything, quietly and happily. Giggles overpowered her thoughts.


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!



Friend Anything For You Except The Green Umbrella

Flash Fiction
My funky umbrella that I forgot in a bus and so I had to buy a silly raincoat.
[Source – Pixabay]

*

It’s a foggy day and I am walking to somewhere all alone, carrying a green umbrella pendulum-like. Rain shower won’t stop me. The blinding whiteness won’t scare me. I check my watch, it assures me time is good.

Hearing footsteps following me, I try to hasten, only then I realise it is no one, but me. These gumboots I tell you. It is all very funny, but still I cannot take a chance to laugh aloud.

Never knew the fog could trick. The fresh green plants and giant trees that till now looked painting-like, now seem spooky.

Suddenly I hear fresh footsteps running from a direction towards me. Numbly I tell myself don’t move, still I turn and find someone in a funny raincoat running towards me.

Then a voice, “Smarty pants, give me back my umbrella, don’t want this silly raincoat of yours’. It is my friend Marcia. I smile and say, “But you look good in it.”

We fight and then laughing aloud walk ahead together.


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Rain! Rain!

It is raining music and the birds are loving it.
[Image by Lisa McCarty from Pixabay]

Though I know it is not raining

I hope it did; I am carrying

Colours of life that I wish I could

Mix in me, and then surely I would

Live. Often do people say

‘It was raining on that evil day’

I hope they won’t, because they don’t

Understand rain. They don’t feel rain.


Rainfall is the dancing of clouds and

The song of the Nature. The land

Becomes alive and happy; ‘I’ becomes

‘We’, playing with the paper boats

And all the musicians taking notes

Rain rain, rain-rain.

*


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Hiding From The Rain

Mr. Podolski calls hiding from the rain ignoring.
[Image from Pixabay]

Mr. Podolski was sitting in the attic, smoking idly. He continuously ignored the noise that was coming from downstairs. Everyone was watching the game, football. Both the windows in the attic were open.

For a long time, he was gazing at the blue sky which had some white spots here and there.

‘That’s a goal!’, shouted his grandson, gripped in the game. Mr. Podolski gave a grim grin and lit a cigarette afresh.

He failed to ignore the clouds gathering, the blue sky soon less blue. He thought, ‘they are teaming against me, again, like…that day.’

‘That Day’ echoed inside him as the huge church bell echoed in the town. It revived his rage and furry. In spite of his daily practice, he merely feigned calmness.

He stood up from his rocking chair and reached the window limping. He sharply glanced above while the clouds replied with a thunder.

He tried, tried hard, very hard but failed. His mind’s eye presented a slideshow before him.

Green ground, heavy rain, his white dress no more white but muddy, 90 minutes almost over, scoreboard shining 2-1, the crowd going mad, fans screaming ‘P-O-D-O-L-S-K-I-P-O-D-O-L-S-K-I’, the commentator shouted, ‘it’s a penalty…all eyes on Heinz Podolski now!”

His mind de-fossilized the amber which consisted of the words spoken by his coach before the match. He had said, ‘for some people football is a matter of life and death…I can assure you it is much more serious.’

This was exactly what he thought before hitting the penalty and then….   ‘We won!’ said Mr. Podolski’s grandson, shouting at the top of his voice.

Mr. Podolski’s recollection died away. It was raining outside. He shut both the windows and settled back in his chair.

‘Should I tell grandpa?’ exclaimed the grandson, who was extremely excited to think before speaking up. In a few minutes, though, Mr. Podolski got the answer as his grandson didn’t come upstairs.

He sat in the dark attic with the steady smoke all around him. He soaked the thundering sound and the heavy rainfall that gave his face a plastic expression and his eyes some moistness. 


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts


Listen and Be Heard

Autumn leaves… waiting only and only for her.
Image from Pixabay.

Tara was walking through the dry track. Her mind was shooting different thoughts at her, she couldn’t catch even a single one. A mundane routine she loathed.

Autumn leaves came to rescue her after a long wait. Tara loved to crush leaves, it made her feel happy, a feeling rushed in her and ended in pleasure every time she saw them resting by the roadside as if waiting only and only for her.  

Life was not at all happening for Tara. The same question mark which troubles all working minds was knocking her crazy. All the ‘what’s and how’s’ were becoming unbearable for her.

A thought to end life was always present in her mind like a geek student in a class, but the courage was missing. Tara hated herself and didn’t know that she was secretly in love with whatever the way she was.  

Tara was on her way home. She was tired, her bag was heavy. Tara sighed and among the jumbled thoughts came a glad one, at least no extra weight of the umbrella.

That part of earth had said ta-ta to the rainy season and presently the autumn season was painting itself. The sun was playing hide and seek with the clouds.

Tara saw the golden rays disappearing and she stopped. The wind whispered to her and she knew.  

She stood there for five minutes or so. With a slight grin, she focused her mind to target the almighty. Great going god, she thought. It was raining by then and Tara was getting wet but she continued walking.

In her mind she started clapping, she was showering criticism on god. ‘Make it snow if you like, so I can regret my simple decision of abandoning my umbrella today’, said Tara. Sigh!  

Tara was sure that god was playing games with her. It wasn’t a new feeling. Another hopeless day was about to end for Tara, which hadn’t brought any change in her life except the point that she would return home completely wet.

But suddenly she was hit by a realization and the sinking feeling sunk…a thought did the magic…a thought that told her that god just reacted to her.

Tara couldn’t understand the game but knew it then that God listens.


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts