Posted in Fiction

Post 28 :RollBack

Ting Tong! rang the bell of one of the oldest houses in this Block. It was 10 p.m. at night. For a countryside place like this, the hour almost marks the end of the day. I knew it will take a while to answer the bell for the people living in the house will have to take the steps down to the ground floor from the first-floor bedroom. I waited patiently for them to be surprised. The lady of the house came down slowly asking repeatedly ‘Who is it?’, and I kept answering sneakily, ‘It’s me’. Not knowing who that ‘Me’ could be , she had no option but to come down and check it out herself. She unlatched the door and was startled to see me, speechless. ‘Surprise!’, I shrieked and hugged her tight. By now, the man of the house had finished his usual late dinner and followed his wife downstairs. ‘Is everything okay?’ was his first question. ‘Yes, of course, Baba’, I answered dragging my luggage inside. I was home after a year, to where my Heart belongs.

Few years back, when suddenly, my then-boyfriend decided to take a job offer abroad and surprised me one fine Saturday morning, knocking on my door and then breaking the news of his travel two days later, I thought I was strong enough to be on my own , after all, I am an independent woman. But for a reality check, I learnt the side effects of blind dependency. I tumbled , sank and finally broke. When I was done soaking in tears, I just packed my bags , booked flight tickets and quietly went home. Peace!

And that one time, when I met with an accident riding my scooter, I just wanted to run home and be under the fortification of my folks. I did manage to get home and I will never forget the pain I saw in their eyes, probably for the first time ever. Well, unlike other over possessive parents , these guys were more realistic and had a too-good-to-be-true attitude towards life.

It has been a couple of years after I moved in with my husband in a far-off foreign land. In the midst of fostering my own family , often struggling with the responsibilities and meeting expectations, random thoughts run through the mind. If only I could, I would run back into time. I would book my tickets right away and take a flight back home surprising them, just like old times, with no strings attached.

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Posted in Fiction

A Short Story of Life

I wasn’t sure if we had come to the right place and my pace of walking decelerated while entering the resort. The Resort was shining bright with the light and flower decorations along the pool side. It wasn’t loud or overexerted, it was just  perfect. With the nice and soft instrumental from the old Kishore-Lata songs played at the background somewhere, I felt like living a long lost dream which I had only imagined during my younger days. I grasped his hand and words jumbled up but I manage to fluently say it loud in my mind “We may be in the wrong place” and it looks like someone else’s party instead of our planned dinner. He smiled saying nothing, only to hold my hand tighter yet gentler, tugging me along.

The walk wasn’t really long enough allowing me time to guess what was happening and as I walked passed people, I saw all the known faces smiling at me. I should have smiled back at them instead I had a blank expression on my face. Soon we topped in the center of the crowd and there was a strange silence. This did not look pessimistic from the smiles pouring in from every face I could glance upon.

He whispered in my ears, interrupting my daze, “Happy Anniversary, Dear”. I kept staring at him, now like a fool!

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(to be continued)

Posted in Fiction

Wed – (B)Lock

rings

Like most of the times, I sat down with a pen and paper lost in thoughts and not a word penned down. Unlike other times, when I would usually give up, keep the paper and pen aside and go off to sleep, I took my phone and typed in Wikipedia ‘Marriage’. It says,

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws.  The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal.

 All the words Social, Ritual, Rights, Obligations and Culture danced in my front of my eyes in bold and highlighted fonts. I froze. It was the night before the wedding. I kept asking myself, “Am I ready”?

Like every other simple girl, I played marriage and house games with my dolls and doll house sets, and later marriage became part of my imagination. I would imagine how magical marriage would be and how exciting it would be to know and live life with the person you love. I had imagined my life partner and my next phase of life with utmost positivity and full of happiness but forgot to balance it up. As I grew up, the imaginary person took shape in reality and we spent a considerable amount of time together forgetting the charms of marriage. Our parents got together and decided to perform rituals socially to get us married. We were happy. Unfortunately, no one ever told me that nothing in life comes for free until I experienced that marriage is heavily taxed.

Ideally, for a beauty quotient, I should take a stress-free night long sleep to look good in pictures, but for the kind of person I have always been, I never cared about what people thought about me; what mattered more was my own happiness. Sounds selfish? Well, yes I am. I have learnt to love myself and I consider it an achievement.

I tip-toed across the room making sure my cousin Minty doesn’t get a hint of my escape and inaudibly picked up the car keys. I needed some fresh air and open sky to let my thought process breathe. Heading straight to my car, I drove away as fast as I could in an act of evasion. I had no clue where I was headed and for once in my life I did not want to set a safe destination. I kept driving through the quietness of the night, my and the car’s eyes being the only glowing elements shining in the pitch blackness. Almost after an hour and a half of driving straight, I turned my focus on the banks of the Ganges and the sound of the stream of water. Slowly, I pulled over and followed the dim lights across the road to the set of steps. Even through the sound of the stream of water, there was a strange harmony and tranquility that it felt like you could just sit down and achieve inner peace immediately. I sat down on the steps somewhat possessed by a blaze lit across the river.

Without losing my focus and a blink, I was deep down memory lane stalking those painful days which may be I swore to never look back at. Life gave me a second chance or should I reverse the sentence and say, I gave life a second chance and started looking at life from a new angle. That angle was called “compromises” by my devil side. The angel part told me, “Hey! Everyone has to do compromises to some extent. It’s okay.” She always advised me the same and I took it gladly, at least back then. I took a U turn from the gloomy neighborhood to the jovial gardens and automatically gained a smiled. All the struggle, tough times for shaping the relationship, times of ups and downs camouflages with the rainbow of happiness. This is what makes the whole of life, layers of happiness’s, some challenges, a touch of testing times, some failures and some successes. But there is no stopping to this life, if you choose to run away with the fear of vetoes or anxieties, then it is already half battle lost. “No! Life is short and there are lots of experiences to be faced. Tomorrow is the start of a new challenge and a new chapter of my life”, muttering these words in mind, I opened my eyes and witness the first light of dawn as if bestowing upon me all blessings and good wishes of the rising sun.

Clearing off my mind, I rise to head home fast before anyone gets aware of my absence. It is my big day and it is time for celebrations not apprehensions, I smiled timidly …

Posted in Fiction

The Awakening..

In this rat race called life, how much does love weigh? Peanuts?

Time and again I fell, crashed and tasted failure,

Yet again I collected the bits and stood up as a gesture.

No! There is still life left in me and it will not let me drain,

It will not let me lose in love yet again…

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Love, they say is the game of the young,

I wondered if I aged too much in a decade overhung.

So much that I stared at the mirror trying to recall where I have seen the person on the other side?

To my surprise, it tells that it is Me!  It surely scrawled mistakenly or lied…

I have met myself before; we’ve been friends for years,

How have I not seen this face full of sore, when we promised to be together in laughter and tears?

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It suddenly felt like waking up from a long sleep of an era,

A world full of dark smoke and petrified chimera.

I sat down; patiently listening ready to fill up the gap,

For I knew time is what I needed to unwrap.

I heard her out painfully, I heard her yap;

It mimed every chime too grave to snap.

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And then after the dark clouds, there was a clear blue sky,

It was the spark to shroud the cow and steer it wry.

Life told me, “Girl, you are not done yet, you are a rebel!”

I too reminded myself, you bet you have not outdone it dispel…

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Posted in Fiction

At the end of the Journey..called Life

The light keeps getting blurrier with every passing moment. Why am I feeling so sleepy like I haven’t slept in years? Eyes are heavy and shutting down. Feels like an unknown force is holding them ajar. The feeling of an explainable vacuum in my heart with a tinge of slight perpetual pain and all memories flash in front of eyes from childhood to aging. Why did suddenly all the people I have known come together to see me? And do I believe my eyes? How can these people who…. who left this world already is also here? I am unable to correlate what I see with reality…

Not trying to validate my thoughts and vision, I lose myself in the insanity, refreshing memories. It was like yesterday when Adi was born and his little presence would light up my world. His first day in school when he cried bad enough to lose his voice for a week and soon it was time for him to leave for his life’s journey – a foreign education followed by marriage and settled far away. I can hear him talk on his phone outside my room now. A struggling smile curved on my lips with the thought of seeing my son after years and years of parting. I hope he met his father; the old man has kind of diminished to a shell with age. That reminds me, I forgot to check if he had his course of medicine in the morning, but why can’t I remember all that I did so long?

I want to get up and check for him, go around the house and do my daily work but I find it so difficult. It feels like only my mind wishes but my body isn’t co-operating. My thoughts get diverted again – I see myself entering office in the evening, a couple of Hi’s and Hello’s here and there and quickly settling down for starting the day. Then an extended dinner with my colleague-cum-friend Jay discussing various topics ranging from office people to family to work to politics and the country and a non-ending list. The painting competition in office – ah that was hectic but fun. We would finish our shifts at 2 am in the night and rush to the library room to finish our paintings with snacks and soft drinks and chitchats until 6 in the morning. I smile again.

I move back some years back in time , I would never forget the support Maa provided  me when I struggled and rebelled against everything that came in the way of my preferred profession. Those months in Chennai when I would walk long distances to save money and would come back without cracking interviews, she would tell me to always take it as a lesson and look forward to the next one. When  I came to Pune and got my first job, I knew it wouldn’t have been possible without the pillar of support in my life. Thinking all the good times I have had as a kid with my parents , I feel a hand on my head , I look up to see Maa . Delighted at the sight, I wanted to tell her it’s been a telepathy that she came while I was thinking about her..but before I could utter any word, she bends and slowly whispers in my ears “Its gonna be fine.. don’t worry”… I felt a sudden respite to my otherwise unsettled mind. I asked her through my mind if Dad is fine too since I don’t see him along with her , but she reassures that he will be around soon. I continue my journey in time being certain that all the people I felt responsible for are good. The journey strangely gathered speed this time and it turned into a quick turning of pages in a book like in search of a specific topic or a page.

I stopped at an unknown page number where I meet the friend of my life, years before when we actually did not know we would turn partners for this lifetime. We have shared our lives before tying the knot in education, profession, personal problems and understanding to support each other. We have seen good and bad times together and have managed to overcome trysts successfully. I remember the time when we almost gave up hope of being together any further but destiny had different plans. We got married and took up responsibilities of a family. With whatever struggles we have seen that has gaped us apart, aging has separated us from the worldly affairs and brought us closer.

Its strange how only the good memories are arriving to my mind. Not that I want to remember the unfortunate times, but the tweaks in the life’s journey has taught me well to enjoy the good times and accept the bad ones as well. Lost in surfing through the book of life, I felt Adi’s Dad occupy the other side of the bed slowly and come closer to me. His wrinkled shaking fingers stroke my forehead through my greyed hair and I dive back into memories into the young days of our relationship reliving them once again. What amazing time have we spent with each other! We have seen real low times but never have we left each other’s hand. I have indeed lived a wonderful life.. what more could a person ask for in a lifetime.

Like old times when I would be worried and not get sleep at night, I would find relief in the comfort of his arms and before I could realize the gentle strokes would put me sleep. My eyes now give up. I am falling asleep, it is like a peaceful eternal sleep and I don’t feel afraid or worried anymore.

Posted in Fiction

Lonely in a crowd

Standing lonely in the crowd of a thousand souls, the feeling of being lost with no one trying to find you and no one standing by to ask haunts me in my nightmares every night. It was an unknown place, the sight of a village fair with hustling bustling crowd, yet no one watched my weary eyes or my anxious face.

I remember the giant wheel, really giant enough – sat in the center of the fair with sparking lights shimmering away the whole area. And the people sitting in the ride are screaming out aloud, not sure whether of excitement or out of fear. Watching the whole sight and engrossed in studying the people and their emotions the grip of my hand loosened, I didn’t realize and didn’t bother too. After getting over the scene for a good amount of spell I looked back to find Mother but the crowd concealed the space behind me like fog masking up roads on a cold foggy winter morning.

I froze, now realizing I have lost contact. Drops of nervousness started gathering on my forehead. Connection with protective circle that existed around me …

I step hesitantly towards the crowd trying to make an effort to find her although fearing to get more lost and the fear came true when I amalgamated in the sea of people .. I was pushed, dragged to either sides with the constant movement in different directions and shoved in a way that I tumbled upon the dust tasting some too.. Somehow managing to collect my posture and trying to pull myself up in an act of struggle for existence, I fell again with a hard knock and in a moment felt like a victim of stampede when I covered my eyes so as not to visualize the event…

I opened my eyes to wake up in reality all dreaded in perspiration and recalling the Dream…

Posted in Fiction

D 20

Taking a right turn to enter the uneven lane, I stop my scooter in front of the kirana store. The guy sitting inside smiles at me as I climb the makeshift step to enter his shop. I pick up a bread packet and 6 eggs and ask him “How Much?”. He smiles mischievously and asks “That’s it? Thumbs Up nahi lena aj Madam”. I smile back at his witticism and leave the store paying him 50 bucks. Without heading straight to my vehicle, I stop at the panipuri wala, who had already sensed my craving for the day and started preparing to serve me puris. I start gorging into them with the usual tamarind water ones and then switching to a sweet-tangy and finally without water. The best ones are always the last two special ones.

Wrapping up this activity, I start my scooter and head home at a real snail pace watching the surroundings and comparing the progress of development in my mind with the day before. Just across the end of this real bad road (I would still take this route everyday) in less a hundred meters is the half open gate of the small residential society that has been my address for 3 years now – Mithila Nagari. The chirpiness and energy always prevailed whatever time of the day you visit, yet there was an unexplained tranquility amidst all the resonances. As I slow down to enter the gate, the known faces of the security guards curve into a smile and nod at me in a way of greeting, I reciprocate and move towards my building. Watching the kids and toddlers playing all around, I make sure to slow down almost at negligible speed and enter the parking area positioning my bike next to the pillar. That was my favorite spot and somehow I always try to occupy that space. Sometimes when this spot would be occupied by some other vehicle and I would need to settle down for another place, I would make sure come down multiple times later to check if it’s vacant.

Making sure that I have put my bike perfectly in a straight line, I climb the five steps and reach out to open the lift collapsible gate. The very adjacent door was Flat #2 which would always be at least a bit open. A small head peeps out from inside the room hearing the noise which starts upon opening the elevator gate. “Oh Aunty!” saying the little cute kid smiles at me. This was a Punjabi family and a pretty weird one; while the kid’s father, a really simple man would smile and have small talk when we would meet, his mother always held a frustrated reaction on her face. I loved the conversations with the kid, he would talk to me like I am his family member. On one occasion, when I got some snacks on my way home from office in the evening, I met him while parking my vehicle and almost came seeing what I got. I smiled back at the kid, showed him a Ta-Ta and ascended in the elevator to Floor No. 4. At no time, the elevator stopped and I came out. Climbing down the few steps to reach the 3.5th floor, I do my usual investigation of figuring out whether my maid came to work by closely scanning the security door and the dustbin beside the door; Also multitasking in parallel to reach out to the front pocket of my bag pack to get the keys.

Every day like a routine, I would key in to the security door and stare blankly at the alphanumeric inscription D-20 – my little cozy world for the last few years.