Skip to main content

Sepia: Part III

Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.


In his latest e-mail, after reading the last two 'chapters' , David says I need to do two things in writing this : one is to talk about the 'MacGuffin'.

He seems to have an astonishing memory for all sorts of things, whether it is an obscure pop song, an old film reference, a book or an author – literally anything. That was one of the things that made me like him. His confident exterior and flirty demeanour would’ve easily made me dislike him as a macho narcissist. But he was full of surprises.

He says, underneath it all, there is a bookish nerd waiting to get out and talk to someone who will ‘get’ him. He says he is a 'White Knight' waiting to be rescued. It's hard to say if he is joking or for real, but there is no doubting his 'Nerd' know-how.

I asked him what a MacGuffin was. He says it is a plot device or an artefact that everyone is seeking, or something around which a plot revolves. Apparently Alfred Hitchcock coined the phrase to describe the plot devices in thrillers whether it is a bunch of ‘secret papers’ everyone is after, ‘a nuclear device’ waiting to be disarmed or something like ‘Rosebud’ in Citizen Kane. David says I shouldn’t forget to introduce the MacGuffin early as otherwise this whole attempt to write it all down will make no sense.

I ask him if perhaps, he was the MacGuffin. He didn't answer but sent a smiley on the e-mail back.

I am not so sure. He seems to think this is some form of literary catharsis, some attempt to exorcise my demons on paper. Maybe he is right, maybe I am trying to make sense of me and my life. Maybe I should just stop, delete this file and hear the little crunching noise it makes when it goes into the Recycle Bin and get on with my life.



Anyway, about the photograph.

My father suffered from the photographer’s fate. He rarely ever appeared in pictures as he was always behind the camera. My mother refused to take one as she felt that she may ‘muck it up’ and ‘will never be good’ at it. She didn’t even try.

While there were hundreds of pictures of me and my mother together or separately, there was only one picture of my dad and me that was left over from my mother’s accumulated clutter. I wondered if there were others and whether she destroyed them in one her fits of hysteria. I couldn’t find any wedding pictures either.

I can never get rid of it. His head is half cut off, presumably he must have persuaded my mother to take it and she managed to 'muck it up' in a self fulfilling prophecy. But I can just see from the angle of his head, the way his arms were holding me and the smile on his lips that he did, really love me.

Like all old photographs it was fading. Like my memory of him. Like my hope. Like my faith in fatherhood.

White Knight, Black Knight

The second thing David asked me to do is introduce him in the story. “Everyone will be wondering who I was and what I was to you. You keep mentioning me all through. Which is cool, but can I get a neat intro- scene? We've known each other for three years... that's a lot of interaction. Which one would you pick?"

Scroll to Continue

Yes, which one?

Will I pick the first time I ever saw him, striding down the corridor in his slim cut Paul Smith suit and tie, confident yet endearing, his eyes dark and deep like pools of chocolate?

Will I pick the time he burst into the Neurosurgical theatre as I was struggling with a particularly bad Glioma and saved the day in his surgical scrubs, all calmness and logic, steady hands and seriously good surgical skills?

Or will I pick the time he found me crying in the darkness of the on-call room, quietly sobbing in the corner for no reason at all. He never asked any questions, just shushing me and pulling my head onto his chest, fixing my hair and waiting for me to calm down and only tell him what it was if I wanted to.

It wasn’t hard to get a crush on him - you only have to hear the dozen or so assorted nurses and junior doctors sigh as he walks past. He was handsome, accomplished and confident.


White Knight

pretended to remain steely and didn't quite engage with his flirts, knowing that I shouldn't be one of his entourage, his bevy of besotted blondes and brunettes. I knew when time came, we may connect. And if it happens it happens. I have never trusted men, anyway. I was right not to make a fool of myself.

Or will I pick the time he brought a box of the most scrumptious cakes to the office and announced his engagement?

No I think I'll stick to the linearity and bring him in as he found me again, in my corner of the on- call room, staring into the darkness. He seemed to have a zoning instinct for my moods. Thankfully I wasn't sobbing like a baby. Just reeling from the shock of what just happened.

"Hey. What happened?" He sat across, leaning forward his eyes fixed on my face, his hands clasped in front, a little lock of his dark black hair across his forehead. I could smell him. A hint of musk, a waft of Terre D'hermes his favorite aftershave amidst all the hospital odors of antiseptics and industrial detergent.

"I think I may have found my father."

To be continued ....

© 2012 Mohan Kumar


Jo_Goldsmith11 on January 23, 2014:


Okay I think I am getting lost somehow. The doctor is male or female?

And David is the editor, right? I get the lost connection between the main character and the father. Overall, I am ready to read part 4!

By the way..your choices for songs in all three of these chapters were perfect! Great selections :-)

Up, shared...:-)

AE Williams from Atlanta, GA on December 30, 2012:

I've been away for some time now. Sorry Docmo :( I'm slowly catching back up with everyone. When I read this it took a moment for me to remember what I read last, but I remembered. Your prose is so crisp and clean when I read it. I never stumble over any words or syntax. You are a gifted writer and I feel fortunate to read your work. Hope you're doing well. :)


Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on October 19, 2012:

So anxious to read Part IV. Very interesting story.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2012:

This story is very interesting and of course I am off to IV.

Dana Strang from Ohio on October 02, 2012:

Wow. this just gets better and better. I am so attached to the characters that I feel like they are real people! I like the way you are taking your time buidling the story. I am desperate to know where it goes, but I enjoy how you are making me wait for it. Brilliant.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 01, 2012:

Glad to know who David is. This is getting better and better. On to part IV.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 30, 2012:

How did i miss this? I'm here now and still loving your story. Cheers

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on September 28, 2012:

Viji thank you for dropping by . I remember those days waiting for the next instalment of the serial....

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on September 28, 2012:

Mary, drbj and Martie thank you so much for your warm comments. Much appreciated.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on September 28, 2012:

Gypsy Rose thank you so much.

Amy I knew you would recognise cologne and the rather self indulgent characterisation. I'm pleased this, thus far, has been a page turner.

Nithya your support is as always wonderful.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on September 28, 2012:

Sha, Janine, Mar you are all a source of wonderful inspiration. Thank you very much.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on September 28, 2012:

La thing, xstatic, Mama Kim you all really make me proud with your lovely comments and support.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on September 28, 2012:

Terrye, to business, Daisy thank you so much for your continuing support and readership. I'm really glad you like this tale.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on September 16, 2012:

Absolutely engrossing! Brilliant writing! All buttons except funny up to the stars!

Vijayarani on September 13, 2012:


it is like the good old days ,waiting for kumudum or Anandha Vikatan to be dropped on saturdays!waiting for the next episode of Sepia.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 12, 2012:

Dear Docmo - You do know how to keep your reader on edge and totally engrossed.

Signed, 'Unknown Admirer'

Mary Craig from New York on September 11, 2012:

I'm with can he be taken? Or, did the engagement not make it? I'm not sure what I want to learn more about, their romance or her father! Great series and I have no doubt it will continue to be great. Can't wait to see what you spin next!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 11, 2012:

Waiting for the next part, keep going. Great work.

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on September 10, 2012:

I recognize that suit, that cologne, those chocolate eyes and lock of dark hair that besots the women he encounters. But, most telling is that intuitive, caring nature. The story gives me the feeling that this, although told by the lead character is somehow, as much, if not more, David's story. Complicated and intriguing storyline, as life always is, written with the gentle, but skilled strength of a surgeon's hands. This is a page turner kind of story that is impossible to put down.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on September 10, 2012:

Voted up and interesting. Oh, the story is fascinating and I do love Air Supply. Looking forward to the next. Passing this on.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on September 09, 2012:

I, like Janine, was so bummed about the conclusion (or is it??) of Pooh, so this was right on time!

Drats, he's taken (or is he...??)

What I do know is that I am hooked on this story. Voted UP & ABI.

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on September 09, 2012:

Wow, Docmo just when I was going through withdrawals from the conclusion of your Winnie the Pooh story you continue this awesome series and leave me again wanting more. Yes, please do continue this series, because I am truly enjoying it and can't wait to see how it turns out. Have of course voted and shared too!!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 09, 2012:

Wow! In all her turmoil over the unspoken love, then learning of her heart's desire becoming engaged, I completely forgot Sepia had found her father!

Nice twist and awesome 360! I'm waiting with bated breath.....

Aloe Kim on September 09, 2012:

Oh no... I read this out of order! It's truly wonderful, I will go and read the first two right now! ^_^ Can't wait for more ^_^ voted a bunch

Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on September 09, 2012:

Great storyline and plot as well. You are accumulating readers for this excellent series.

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on September 09, 2012:

Wow, a doctor with all sorts of talents! Great story! I have to go back and read the other two!

Voting up and awesome!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on September 09, 2012:

Mohan (Docmo),

Wow! I was on the edge of my seat as I read this, reading faster and faster, wanting to know what happened next.

What a storyteller you are!!!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on September 09, 2012:

Nice, I like the way this is opening up... mystery and romance, can't wait for the next installment.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 09, 2012:

This story just keeps getting better and more interesting. Keep going, Doc. :)

Related Articles