The Boy Whom I Loved

“Why don’t you get married” asked she suddenly. I was not prepared for this question from a total stranger yet I fumbled through an answer to put down the lid on the old lady who was grilling me on the subject which I thought people have forgotten. She seemed a jolly old lady who dared ask me about my single status and seemed satisfied with whatever answer I offered and so I asked her the story of her love and marriage. She gave me a tricky answer which I could not comprehend. She said “though I never married the person I loved but I lived with him all my life.” She laughed mischievously as I gazed at her in my stupor. Old lady is entertaining me with stories I thought. Before she rolled out another bouncer “and you know his wife too approved of our love and never complained my living with him.” “Have you seen titanic” I asked. She winked in affirmation and said “do I remind you of Rose in her old age”?.
I smiled as that was what I was thinking,
“My story is similar only the setting is different” she said getting up to leave as she saw my friend coming.
“Your granny is simply great” I said to my friend when she showed up. “She is not my granny she is my grandfather’s girlfriend whom he did not marry” came another bombshell. The old lady was indeed in love with my friend’s grandfather when the country was going through the cruel period of the partition. They were drifted apart by cruel tide of time which spared no one in those difficult times. They ultimately met again when the dirty dust of bloodshed and violence had settled. But by that time her grandfather was married and settled with two kids. Her grandmother also a victim of the pitiless rioting preferred to have her home than live with the guilt of thrusting a hapless lover of her husband in the ruthless world. Such was the time and so deep was the love that though my friends grandparents have passed away she lived with the family loved and revered as any granny in a family.
“And you know why she is here?” my friend asked. I shaked my head to indicate ignorance. “You know my brother and his wife were heading for a divorce. “But theirs is a love marriage isn’t it “I intervened “as if love marriage is some guarantee for happy marriage” she protested. “ But now this old lady has settled the issue by citing example of her love for my grandfather and importantly my grandmother’s tolerance”. she continued “for years I did not know her exact relation to our family but never was she despised by my grandmother they lived like best friends always.”
“It is sad that we the present generation which has every comfort and security keep forgetting the good things and harp on bad things to draw daggers on the boy or the girl whom we love while this old lady in her late eighties still relates stories of her love and charms us with her love life.” my friend said moodily as the old lady came with cups of hot tea to relate another story.

Crossroads… !

Jiya felt out of the world; finally, everything was moving in the way she always wanted. She forever liked Krish – loved him to be precise, but perhaps the power that is known as almighty had some other plans. They became voyagers of two different streams, diverging from each other. Her destined path kept her at bay, until one day when he was back in her life.

7 years elapsed before he was back – however, things were different as he was married by then. One fine day Jiya surprisingly received a friend request from Krish on a social network site, which she accepted gleefully. He remained like any other friend in Jiya’s friend-list mostly benign, until one day he made his first move when both of them were online at the same time, and from then it all started to roll back. Both lived in two different cities, so they decided to meet when Krish was supposed to visit Delhi for the next time, which was the hometown for both of them and where Jiya was settled.

The time came soon and they met. After the meeting however, Jiya realised that he was a changed man. He was not the same crazy guy whom she loved even though they spent ample intimate moments. She found him to be more matured yet somewhere deep in her heart Jiya still felt that the crazy guy she loved was still alive, buried somewhere beneath the debris of his mellowness.

Two years elapsed like that, by then chatting was notably replaced by calls that they made to each other. They again came closer to each other by each passing day. Jiya however still missed the passion that made her fall for Krish, 7 years back. Soon however everything changed.

One day when Jiya was online and he suddenly pinged her, they resumed their chatting and it almost became a routine to be online at a particular time. Jiya felt happy this time, everything was falling into place, everything was happening in the way she always wanted. Krish started showing his feelings; all his craziness and passion was back. They got very much involved when one day he asked her to send him some of the videos that she recorded on self, where she spoke intimately about him. The file size was huge and she was not being able to send through mail despite persistent effort. That was when all of a sudden Krish called her. She took the call and said, “Sweetie tell me how to minimize these clips?” Krish however to her surprise replied, “What videos?” Jiya replied, “I am asking you about the video you asked me to send. The size of the clip is big and I am not being able to compress it”. Krish replied, “I have no clue about what you are talking! I am calling you almost after a month!” Jiya was surprised on hearing that. She said, “Hey, stop joking na! We have been chatting regularly over a month now for hours everyday and you asked some of my video that I had recorded for you!” Krish however almost gave an impression that he knew nothing about what she was talking. He then asked about the chat id of the person whom Jiya was talking to. Jiya replied, “It is kriish4u and spelt it K – R – double I, S, H”. To her astonishment Krish promptly said, “No, that’s not my id. My id is krish4u. I don’t have that extra I in my id; you must have been chatting to someone else”. Jiya became numb; she disconnected the call and was dumbstruck unable to move or react.

After couple of days when she cooled down, she started to think over the whole episode. Something bothered her from within; she kept on asking herself that how come some other guy with a similar id knew so much about their relation. Suddenly in a flash, she recalled that the guy on chat said her a few things which happened when she met Krish in Delhi and those were such incidents which were impossible for a third person even to guess! Her head started to spin and within seconds the world around her became dark as she fainted.

She regained her consciousness almost after 10 min.  She then knew what was wrong; she stood up on her trembling legs, walked slowly to her bedroom, booted her laptop, and started mailing Krish.

Krish, I am shattered after all that has happened. I guess now it is tougher for me to start from scratch yet again, as you will always remind me of my mistakes. I am sure that I know who that other guy is. Who could know about all those secrets and intimate hours we shared last time when we met in Delhi? It cannot be such a big coincident that you both share such similar ids. I frankly do not know why you came back into my life and why you did all this to me! I am just ruined. This relationship is over now; perhaps that will not even bother you but it is for sure that never in my life I can trust anyone as deeply as I had trusted you. Because you have taught me the biggest lesson of my life – trust is meant to be broken!

The boy whom I loved

“Why don’t you get married” asked she suddenly. I was not prepared for this question from a total stranger yet I fumbled through an answer to put down the lid on the old lady who was grilling me on the subject which I thought people have forgotten. She seemed a jolly old lady who dared ask me about my single status and seemed satisfied with whatever answer I offered and so I asked her the story of her love and marriage. She gave me a tricky answer which I could not comprehend. She said “Though I never married the person I loved but I lived with him all my life.” She laughed mischievously as I gazed at her in my stupor. Old lady is entertaining me with stories I thought. Before she rolled out another bouncer “and you know his wife too approved of our love and never complained my living with him.” “Have you seen Titanic” I asked. She winked in affirmation and said “Do I remind you of Rose in her old age”?
I smiled as that was what I was thinking!
“My story is similar only the setting is different,” she said getting up to leave as she saw my friend coming.
“Your granny is simply great,” I said to my friend when she showed up. “She is not my granny she is my grandfather’s girlfriend whom he did not marry,” came another bombshell. The old lady was indeed in love with my friend’s grandfather when the country was going through the cruel period of the partition. They were drifted apart by cruel tide of time which spared no one in those difficult times. They ultimately met again when the dirty dust of bloodshed and violence had settled. But by that time her grandfather was married and settled with two kids. Her grandmother also a victim of the pitiless rioting preferred to have her home than live with the guilt of thrusting a hapless lover of her husband in the ruthless world. Such was the time and so deep was the love that though my friend’s grandparents have passed away she lived with the family loved and revered as any granny in a family.
“And you know why she is here?” my friend asked. I shook my head to indicate ignorance. “You know my brother and his wife were heading for a divorce.” “But theirs is a love marriage, isn’t it?” I intervened “As if love marriage is some guarantee for happy marriage,” she protested. “ But now this old lady has settled the issue by citing example of her love for my grandfather and importantly my grandmother’s tolerance”. She continued “For years I did not know her exact relation to our family but never was she despised by my grandmother and they lived like best friends always.”
“It is sad that we the present generation which has every comfort and security keep forgetting the good things and harp on bad things to draw daggers on the boy or the girl whom we love while this old lady in her late eighties still relates stories of her love and charms us with her love life.” my friend said moodily as the old lady came with cups of hot tea to relate another story.

From Moscow with Love

[I attended a two-day Creative Writing Workshop organized by the British Council and conducted by Richa Wahi and Chetan Joshi. In the last session of the workshop the participants were to write a story and this is what I produced.]

Yuri thought of first visiting the tailor and inquire about his daughter Elena’s dress. He pulled on his old coat over his back even though it was warm outside. As he stepped out of his old flat, he remembered to take the pain killer pills in his purse in case his bad knee gives a problem. He shuffled past people keeping his eyes fixed on the footpath that led to Rozy Tailors – Ladies Specialist – Home Delivery. The man at the counter hailed him, as he has been doing for the past twenty years, and said in Bengali, “Dress ready, Hari babu.” He replied, “Okay. Keep it with you. I’ll come to collect it as soon as I get my tickets ready.” The man at the counter smiled cordially at him and then turning aside gave a conspiratorial snigger to the tailor-master sitting on the sewing machine.

 

Yuri traced his steps back from the podium of the tailor’s shop and continued his journey towards the bus stop. On his way once he stood in front of a lamp post as if not being able to see clearly through his broken spectacles what lay ahead of him. It seemed as if he is going to take out his contact lens from his purse and wear it there itself. But it was too costly and he dare not wear it for fear of spoiling it. He had grown used to a life where he could live with paltry wants since he could not afford more. When he resumed his hesitating gait, the bus had arrived to take him to Sanskriti Art Gallery in Alipore – the haunt of his youth where he used to meet many people secretly.

 

The bus journey was noisy but he was able to dissolve all the noise into a dull drone of a police siren. There was a chase in a car. The car had swerved and climbed the divider in the middle of the road. All of a sudden the door of the car jerked open and he was thrown out. A policeman’s revolver’s nozzle was pointing at his head. He somersaulted and tried to get behind a taxi. But it was too late. The policeman had pulled the trigger. Luckily his brains did not blast because the hammer of the revolver had got stuck. That was his escape. He had jumped on to a running bus on A. J. C. Bose Road leaving the policeman dumbfounded, staring at the jammed contraption of his service revolver.

 

So when the bus stopped with a jolt he came back from his reverie though he had not reached his destination still then. He stared out of the window and felt a sense of nausea. He started searching in his purse and found a packet of Hajmola. He ate one and when the ticket conductor came towards him he even offered him one. He got down near Alipore Zoo and went straight to towards his friend’s art gallery. Yashin was there but was not exactly pleased to see him.  Yet he took him to his private chamber since he was an old friend. The two friends looked contrasting side-by-side in their appearance due to the difference in their social status today. That was not so twenty years ago.

 

Once they were behind closed doors, Yuri spoke, “Vasily, how you’ve been?”

Yashin replied, “Don’t call me Vasily. I’ve warned you a number of times. I am Yashin Merchant now. Got it.”

“Oh! Sure comrade. But it’s just behind closed doors.”

“Okay. I’m well. How you’ve been?”

“Fine… fine. I’ve ordered a dress for my daughter’s eighteenth birthday. Is there any news from Kremlin?”

Yashin gave a look of frustration and spoke gently, “You are again going back in time. Come to the present. Do you want a pint of Vodka?”

Yuri responded delightedly, “Always yes for Vodka.”

Yashin poured the drink and handed him a crystal glass. Yuri sipped the drink and mused, “I wonder since Chernobyl  the Soviets may one day dismantle the KGB.”

Yashin retorted angrily, “It’s all over twenty years back. This is 2011. Remember. I am not going to tolerate this nonsense any more. I have tolerated enough for the past years. You have to get over your grief. Get it right. There is no USSR now. The spy ring is busted. We have been disowned by Russia. Get to the present.”

 

Yuri squirmed and started muttering beneath his breath, “You have your family here. But they sent my motherless daughter to Moscow promising to follow her soon. But now I can’t go back. She’ll be waiting for me. I must go back.”

“No one is waiting for you in Russia. Not for twenty years now. Yuri doesn’t exist. You are Hari now and no one else. The alias is the real. The real is dead. All ex-spies have expired in the KGB files. And why did you visit Kanpur recently? Mrs. Malhotra called me up and told me to warn you against visiting her. She has a husband, a family, a hyper-tension and now because of you a nervous disorder.”

“But she is our Maria. She belongs to the spy ring,” he insisted.

“There is no such thing existing. If you don’t talk sense then I will have to ask you to leave. Take this hundred rupee and I am telling you for the last time now to go and visit a doctor. You probably have Alzheimer’s or something.”

 

Yuri took the hundred rupee note and exited. He kept the money in his purse and took out the Book of Chairs from it – a reminder of his last assignment, the unfinished one for which he stayed back in Calcutta, with the secret code written in it, which no one in the world now acknowledges, a lock locked with the key lost forever.

 

He trudged out slowly. Out under the sun he could hear an aeroplane in the sky. He looked up only to find the migrating Siberian cranes flying overhead. One of the cranes flapped its wings and a small feather dislodged from there. As the feather descended down slowly, swimming against the currents of the wind, he stood frozen in the middle of the road, staring at it. When it was within his reach he raised his hand to grasp it. The feather nestled in the palm of his hand and he caressed it.

 

Answer me, God!

One incident took away almost everything from my world. Aayush, my younger son was only 4 months old then; I could have never heard the word “mamma” from him  neither would I knew how well my elder son, Aryan could sing or how handsome he looks in his all white cricketing attire. It all happened little more than a year back but it is still so vivid in my mind as if it happened just a week before. I am writing this on the eve of my birthday, thanks to the saviour for he gave me an opportunity to celebrate my birthday this year with my family.

We met with a  road accident when we were coming back from Pondicherry to Chennai after spending a superb holiday. Our red car, as Aryan recalls, “Papa’s red car fell and broke into pieces so papa bought a big black car.” Our car was rammed by a xylo from behind and the world became darkness to me.

When I was back to my senses, a month had passed and I was still in the hospital with a severe head injury. The worst thing that happened during this accident was that I suffered from retrograde amnesia and lost my last one-year memory. Due to that, I even forgot my younger son, since he was only 4 months then. Still, I keep on urging everyone individually, not to disclose this to him when he grows up. He will be very hurt when he will know his mother did not remember him. Many more things happened in that one-month period when I was in the hospital, but I was simply clueless.

Finally, one day I was released from the hospital, still on a prescription to continue my high dose medicines for an indefinite time. One day I was just lying in my bed, and found my aunt’s digital camera. She came down from Kolkata during those wretched days to help us. I took the camera and started browsing the pics in it. I saw the first pic, and then the second and then as I pressed the next button, the third pic came up. I stared at the picture blankly. It was Aayush’s pic, with one of his leg wrapped with a white plaster. I immediately ran to my hubby to enquire further. He didn’t hide a bit and told me Aayush fractured his leg during the accident. If that was not all, the fracture got detected after a couple of days when the leg started to swell. Poor Aayush underwent a massive pain for those two days.  In addition, my elder son, Aryan who was only 3 and half years then, broke his left collarbone and was in trauma since he was the only one who saw the whole thing. I became numb and only my tears, which do not follow any rules, continued to roll down my cheek. He also said that every night both the kids kept on crying. The younger one tried to pronounce “mamma” and kept on crying and the elder one, kept on asking everyone when his mother will come back to him.

For better care, my hubby sent me to my mothers place to Kolkata after a few days post my return from the hospital. During that stay, I would ask my mother about all that happened when I was not in my senses. She would always start her narration with Anirban, my hubby, how he took care of me. He was badly injured too in the accident, 21 stitches in his head and with a broken shoulder, still he spent all the nights in the hospital sitting next to me. His routine was somewhat like this; he joined his office few days after the accident – he would go to his office in the morning, return by 5 pm, then feed and make Aryan sleep (He was not allowing anyone to feed him and making him sleep).  After Aryan slept, hubby would have his dinner and go to the hospital with my dinner. He would feed me and then used to sit the whole night awake next to my bed and the next day morning again the routine continued…. I always love my hubby a lot but after hearing all this from my mother, that love increased manifolds and the respect I had for him increased too. He too was badly injured and required proper rest after the accident, but due to his commitments then he did not get any rest and now he is suffering from the side effects. 6 months after the accident, he started getting tremendous back pain, for which he still have sleepless nights. After a check up from the doctor, we came to know during the accident, he badly hurt his back, if he would have taken proper rest then after the accident, now he would not suffer from the side affects. I am very lucky to have him as my best half; he showed me what life is and where happiness lies.

I had no clue what my parents went through as i am their only daughter. Few months back when I was visiting  my aunt, the topic reappeared. She disclosed that my mother kept fasting because I could not eat properly when I was in the hospital. She used to tell, “I will leave my fasting only when my daughter starts eating normal diet.” ‘Hat’s off to you maa, you have shown me what mothers are for and thanks baba for your support.I know you too went through a lot of pain !”

A year flew by but the stigma of the incidence is still crystal-clear in my mind. Very frequently, I get the memories flushing my mind and I always ask with moist eyes – ‘why it was me and my family, who had to experience such a horrible fate.’ This is the only question that I have for Him, the power known as God!

Black

Black, the color of dark; darkness, a heralding of the unknown. As the dusk fades into darkness, the world is slowly enclosed in the envelope of night. An eagle flies across the setting sun. A single bat flits off into the horizon; a few crows still cawing away in the distance; the last of the sparrows flying off to their abodes in ones and twos; the sound of all machinery reduces to a steady hum. All sounds fade away into the gloomy silence, all colors replaced by a never-ending black.

An old man threads his way slowly through the foggy, dimly lit streets of the city. White haired, stooping under the weight of his own body, he walks lost in his own thoughts, unaware of all that is happening around him. The stick in his hand and the whistle at his breast is the only indication that he is a chowkidar. A passer-by may wonder how someone as ancient as him could be given such a task. But this thought does not worry him. He knows there is no threat to him or anybody else for that matter. He knows he does not have to worry about thieves or prowlers. No, all those are no longer his jobs, as they were at one time…

Those were good, old times, when he could demand an extra something from the residents for having caught a dangerous robber and then boast about it over a drink in the local dhaba; when he valued and took pride in his responsibility of looking after the whole village. He would sit in the center with a complementary cup of the best tea that the dhaba owner’s wife could stir up and a crowd of people around him, waiting for him to pour forth his tales of bravery. Mere eighteen years old, he was already the favorite of every idler, the center of attention at every late noon gathering under the village peepul tree and the idol of every boy in the village, who wanted to grow up as strong and fearless as him.

But times had changed now. The small village had slowly grown into a town, the town into a city. The crowds had grown from a thousand to ten thousand to lakhs within a span of sixty years. With the growing populace, the number of people in his profession had also grown. Soon, even they were pushed into the background as technology came in. The bizarre contraptions, so tiny that you could never find them, but which somehow saw everything going on and miraculously allowed people sitting in a far away corner to watch it too; the strange devices that beeped whenever someone unknown walked past it. No longer was he required to safeguard the lives of people. He knew he was nothing compared to these apparitions. They were far more efficient than him in all respects. He merely existed now, as he had done for the past couple of decades, as he probably would for a couple more years; the only static in the changing scenery around him. Till one day he would slowly fade away silently into the shadows. Like the night setting upon the day, death would slowly set upon him; the colors of his life would slowly be washed away with the black of death. Till then, all he could do was wait silently for the inevitable and final darkness.

 

Diaries of a dreamer – Part II

And then came the farewell party. We were in class 10 and were soon to part ways. I had always thought of myself as a very emotional person. However, as the farewell party (our last day at school) approached, I kept waiting for the feeling of sorrow – of separation. But for some reason, I didn’t feel a thing.. May be I will feel it after the party, I thought.

The day of the party, I wore a sari, for the first time. Black was my favorite color then so I chose a plain black sari with a thin purple border. That day I took extra effort to dress myself up with neat, light make up and no jewellery. I hate jewellery (even today). I feel women look so much sexier without jewellery. Black color went well with my fair complexion and curly brown hair. Of my features, only my smile is worth a mention, so I had make up take care of my other features. And I won’t deny that the result was quite good. I was looking beautiful.

I entered the school party hall along with my friends. As always, my eyes searching for him (secretly of course). He was no where to be seen, may be he’s just late I thought. As I was enjoying the music, Karthik, one of our classmates (sorry correction: one of our most good looking classmates) came to me and started chatting. He asked me for a dance and I agreed. I anyway love dancing, I can do it anywhere, anytime with anybody. At first I felt conscious of the sari, but as I realized all eyes glued to us, I felt a sense of pride and then for the next twenty minutes, I thoroughly enjoyed with Karthik. He was a charming young guy, really very charming. And as I was taking a full circle, hand in hand with him, I suddenly saw my entire group of friends staring at me, as if they had caught me stealing money from the Principal’s office.  I wondered what was wrong and then I suddenly saw him – oops, I just realized I haven’t yet told you his name. Its Sagar. Sagar was sitting at the end of the group and staring widely at the ground. His eyes were red, I could make out in spite of the distance. I couldn’t complete that circle that I was taking with Karthik. I left his hand and just slowly moved towards the group. Some of my other friends started hooting, in an attempt to tease me with Karthik and that only made things worse.

He was looking at me with angry eyes. As I walked towards him, he suddenly turned his face away – with hurt and anger. That gesture did not go down well with me. I thought why the hell should I be apologetic! Firstly I haven’t done anything wrong, there was nothing between me and Karthik (There couldn’t have been even if I ever wanted to – I was like booked for Sagar, according to him and our full group). And secondly, there was even nothing between me and Sagar, actually! At least officially. My guilt suddenly turned into disappointment and then anger. I stood in front of him, looking straight at him. He refused to even return my stare. I looked at our friends, they made a helpless face – Sagar was known for his short temper. But I didn’t care, anger took over me and I left from there abruptly.

I was actually considering leaving the party altogether, and go home but didn’t know what I would tell my parents about why I came home so early. So I was just thinking of an alternate plan when another guy – Tanveer (the richest guy in class) approached me. He had a card in his hand, I noticed. I could barely manage a ‘hi’ – when he handed over the card to me. Since I had nothing better to do and desperately wanted to while away time looking busy and not bothered, I decided to read the card right away . It read “I never had the courage to say it, but since its farewell today, I couldn’t help but tell you that I love you, have loved you all along. But I always thought something might happen between you and Sagar. But since nothing has happened so far, you having maintained your stance of rejection for him, I thought I must let you know how I felt about you…”.

As I read, I could see Tanveer getting tensed from the corner of my eyes. I thought may be he is afraid of rejection. But in a moment I realized what was making him so tensed. I saw Sagar walking upto us. And before I could even read the rest of the note, he took the card from my hand, read the first sentence and suddenly caught Tanveer by the neck. Tanveer struggled and tried to hit back. But Sagar’s height and built was unmatchable so Tanveer gave in. One more blow, and Tanveer was on the ground. Girls started screaming as four other guys pulled Sagar away from Tanveer.

I was just too stunned. They took Sagar away and started to talk to him – all at once. He just looked down, still angry. I was still standing where I was. Not knowing what to do. Surprisingly no one thought I needed any help, so I quietly moved away and walked to the backyard. I was unable to decide how I was actually feeling at that time. I felt sorry for Tanveer and anger for Sagar. What was wrong with him? How dare he, he didn’t own me.

It was dark there and I was engrossed in my thoughts when I suddenly felt someone standing behind me – close, very close. I turned back, startled. It was Sagar. The anger in his eyes had vanished. It had all come in my eyes I think. I opened my mouth to blast him, but I had barely started with “What is your problem Sagar – “, he suddenly put his finger on my lip. That was the first time he had touched me – I mean in that way… I just froze… I kept staring at him, his eyes in mine… He then held me around my waist and pulled me even closer… his other hand was gently putting the curly strands of my hair away from my face.. I didn’t know what was happening, my hands and feet went cold and my knees felt like jelly. That was our first touch…. And I had to admit, it was better than anything I had ever felt earlier in my life. My anger had vanished and my face showed helplessness.. I didn’t move, I wanted to hug him, but my limbs had lost all connection to the brain. He then smiled.. a small, soft smile… A smile that said “See I got you!”…  He then whispered.. “I had come here to ask you something… to ask you for the last time if you had any feelings for me.. but I won’t ask it now”. I looked down and could only manage a meek “Why”… Putting his other arm also around me he said “Coz I think I have found out the answer”. He smiled again. I could feel some weird current flowing right through my heart. I was feeling so shy I couldn’t even look up. I knew he was right… He had got the answer and so had I J He then pulled my face up with his finger under my chin, and said “But still, I want to hear it from you” and then gave a wider grin.. This time it was naughty.. I could only manage a shy smile ..

I didn’t know what to say and before I could figure out, we heard footsteps. Someone was coming that way. I pulled myself away from him and ran away straight into the party, not having the courage to look at who had come, or even to look back at Sagar.. It was the happiest day of my life…

(more in my next post)…

Hiding tears in the rain !!

Jiya looked towards the lessening raindrops through the glass portico of the taxi. Rain was always her obsession; she could vividly associate her with it. Free flowing, charming and comforting; just like she was. She was completely lost witnessing the beauty of the shower when she suddenly saw the silver lining of distant thunder flashing at the horizon and the cracking sound followed soon, which evaporated her stupor. She looked towards the other corner of the backseat and found Amit too was looking towards the heavens through the portico. Jiya however was unable to deduce whether he too was absorbed in the beauty of the downpour or he was lost into someplace else within the dark distant sky.  Amit was the special one in her life; more prized than even whom everyone else thought to be the precious one. She shared a unique relationship, a special bond with him and the attraction of that bond was fatal. She always wanted to be alone with Amit for hours on such a rainy day. She had always canvassed a very sweet and colorful picture of such an occurrence and became happy every time she thought of it. May be God too nodded in approval as on that very day there was rain and she was all alone with Amit in a taxi zapping through the deserted highway towards the airport.

But was she happy? She looked towards the dribble on the wind screen and realized there was a nonstop deluge from her own drooling eyes. ‘The end is near,’ she thought – she was breaking up with Amit and she was into the last hour of their relationship and after that everything would be over. Jiya again looked towards Amit, expecting him to turn towards her and witness her dripping eyes. But not even for a second he took his eyes off the window. Jiya sighed and turned back towards the rain and recalled the rainy day when she first met Amit, exactly a year back.

That day Jiya came to airport to see off Akash, her fiancée, who was returning to the US for a year’s assignment. Their engagement happened a few days back, when Akash came down from Los Angeles, to attend the same. It was an arranged alliance; Akash’s family was a distant relative of Jiya’s father’s friend Mr. Gupta and in fact Gupta uncle was over joyous when the alliance matured claiming to be the chief patron and asking for a mega treat from both the parties. Jiya’s friends were not convinced though; not that Akash was a bad choice. He was an established management professional in one of the leading IT organizations of the world drawing such a hefty paycheck every month, which no one in India could ever imagine. He was good looking, sharp, trim and charming. But he only talked business; there was not even a hint of romanticism in his words as he already started planning for their honeymoon trip to make sure the cost was optimized! This is what bothered Jiya’s friends; they knew even if Jiya was apparently a timid girl but in her heart she was born romantic. Her bohemian mind was often wanderlust, travelling through the streets of the world of utopia. So it was an apparent risk of conflict when such a dreamer lands in the rough surfaces of reality, which is what Akash believed in. No wonder within that brief spell itself, Jiya understood that the chosen ‘prince charming’ was far from what she had expected; he did not believe in horse but horse power or never pondered if the streets of heaven were made of gold, rather he was more interested to get wrapped by gold. The color of his world was not passionate but strictly monitory. So when Akash was heading back to the US, Jiya wasn’t much bothered, she was worried that what will happen after he returns. She went to the airport alone to see off Akash, the way he wanted as he wanted to discuss important decisions to take post marriage, which no wonder were as stale as Akash’s priorities were.

Jiya did not even wait for a second after Akash passed through the security area. It was a late evening flight and the roads were deserted thanks to steady downpour. Jiya was stranded as there were no cabs and the handful ones that passed by had passengers already. She was desperate for a lift and tried to stop each and every cab that was passing by. It was all in vain and when the frustrated Jiya almost lost all hopes (cursing Akash in her mind), a taxi braked just in front of her. The backdoor opened and she saw a guy there waving towards her to step in. Jiya was skeptic and was not able to take a quick call on whether it would be safe to travel with a stranger alone in such a drenched state and that too that late in the evening. She stood there numb, when she heard, ‘Come in ma’am. Although I envy you for being so lucky to embrace these beautiful falling raindrops; but too much of it might be injurious to you considering the time and the space! And anyways I am not a carnivorous who can harm you, so don’t ponder, come in and be my guest.’ The words were enough for Jiya to finalize her mind. She chortled sweetly and got into the backseat. Within five more minutes she came to know that the person who impressed him on first sight was Amit Sharma.

Jiya was more than impressed with Amit during the first day itself; she discovered that Amit has an in and out romantic mind, he was creative, he was original and he valued relationship over wealth. By the time she got down at her place, they had already exchanged their phone numbers, email addresses and chat ids. Then started the saga, when Jiya’s day started by reading a sweet mail from Amit, followed by day long text messages which were beyond the cliché forward stuff but rather creative, innovative and romantic. Then there used to be quite a few phone calls that both of them made to each other, which slowly but steadily turned the wheel of fortune. They used to do late night chats, which started off normally but intensified multifold within the next couple of months. They used to share very personal stuff with each other and without knowing they crossed the classified boundaries. Jiya realized that Amit was the person he always dreamt about and not someone like Akash. She was astonished to spot the differences between the two even if they had near similar profession. She was lost in love with Amit and was searching desperately for a remote control which might rewind her life to the engagement date where she could refuse Akash and embrace Amit. However somehow she never mentioned about Akash or about her engagement to Amit; perhaps she was insecure!

Amit on the other hand was drenched deeply in love to Jiya. He too found a perfect companion in her; who would understand his passion and craze and also compliment him in each and everything he did. He proposed Jiya after ten months of courtship, in his own innovative way by gifting twenty three love jingles written for her on equal number of red rose petals on her twenty-third birthday. Jiya was overwhelmed; head over heels when she saw the gifts and was in no state to say anything. It was raining outside and sometimes there was the silver lining of distant thunder flashing at the horizon and the cracking sound followed. Amit took her silence as acceptance and sealed his proposal with a passionate smooch.The raindrops,the cracking sound and their closeness turned them on and what followed although was unexpectedly premature but neither of them had any powers to stop it happening. As the intensity of the rain got transformed into a storm, their passion also broke all barriers like a twister demolishing that comes in its way.

After that evening Jiya decided that Akash has to go from her life as she was completely lost into Amit. She decided to call off the engagement and although she knew by doing that her parents might face embarrassment (especially from the over enthusiastic Gupta uncle), yet she decided to execute the ultimate. Akash was nonexistent in her mind; who spoke  to her lesser than five times in ten months and every time they spoke it became a monologue as Akash tried to explain monitory benefits towards a few decisions he has taken and Jiya continued to dream about Amit. Jiya however decided to speak to Amit first before rejecting Akash as she felt it was then time to let Amit know about her alliance and engagement.

She revealed everything to Amit, holding his palm into her seated at their favorite lake front spot. Jiya noticed a complete desolated expression in Amit’s eyes; she was afraid perhaps witnessing to see the ruins of their dreams in Amit’s eyes. He left without saying a word and then did not contact her for almost a month. Meanwhile Jiya learnt that Akash was returning soon, so she asked Amit to meet her to arrive at a final decision. During the meeting Amit accused her for being completely dishonest to him and complained that she was playing with two lives. To him it was a sin from her end to have even encouraged Amit when she was already fiancée of Akash. He was shameful about the close moments they spent and guilty to have ruined Akash’s life by committing the eternal sin during her birthday. Jiya tried her best to make her case convincing but Amit was not in a mood to listen to anything. He broke the relation and left. After a few days he informed that he was relocating to a different city as Jiya’s memories all over the city was haunting him. Jiya requested him to take her as his companion for this one last trip on his way to airport. Amit was silent and finally granted the prayer.

Jiya came back to her senses as the cab driver honked at a careless guy running towards the airport gate with a luggage trolley. ‘So here we are; it’s all going to end now,’ she thought and watched Amit paying the driver his dues. They went out in the drizzle, walked towards the airport gate, side by side but without speaking even a word. ‘Amit, can’t we think it over again?’ Jiya whispered but there was no reaction from the man. He was about to pass the security cordon when suddenly Jiya clasped his palm and pleaded, ‘won’t you hug your sweety, for one last time?’ Amit released his hand and said, ‘It’s all over Jiya. Like a dead man a dead relationship never becomes alive again. Go home, my sweety is no more!’ He picked up his bag and took long strides towards the entrance. Jiya waited patiently anticipating Amit to turn back atleast once towards her. He passed the security gate but never looked back. He paused briefly before entering the security cordon. Jiya’s heart skipped a beat still hopeful that Amit to turn back finally. But it was not to happen; Amit took out the boarding pass from his pocket, displayed that to the guard and went in. Jiya looked on dejected; her heart was about to burst in pain as the last glimpse of Amit was gone. She stood there heads down, controlling her tears with a vicious effort. Suddenly she felt a tap on her shoulder. ‘I knew Amit will return,’ Jiya interpreted and turned back with a beam on her face. She was flabbergasted to see Akash, not Amit standing right in front of her. ‘What a pleasant surprise, honey. I never thought you will astonish me like this,’ Akash chortled. Jiya instantly remembered that indeed that was the day when Akash was supposed to return. She improvised promptly and said, ‘I was here for my life and I have found out where my real life is!’

Diaries of a dreamer – Part I

Hi All…

There is no particular objective of what I am writing today. I just thought I would share my story with you. At least the important parts. May be someone out there can help me clear the cobwebs that still haunt me, or just tell me that they too have been in the same boat…

So here I go.. I spent most of my childhood studying, participating in various contests and winning most of them. I was the best student in my school but that did not give me any particular thrill. The highlight of my teenage years was a boy who was head over heels in love with me. Everything was fine until I didnt know this. The day I came to know, it just changed my life. And am not too sure, till date, whether it was for good or bad.

I started enjoying all the attention – he was a very popular guy in school and my dear friend too. I still couldn’t think of any good reason why this handsome, most popular type person was in love with someone as ordinary as me. Slowly slowly the attention-liking thing grew to an extent where it started feeling like falling in love. I have still not figured the best way to describe that feeling. But whatever it was it was the best thing that I had ever experienced in my short life.. may be the first feeling of attraction, love or infatuation…

The whole school would only talk about what he said to me , or what he gave me, or even the fights that we kept having, which were quite frequent. Obviously they had no meaning, they were initiated only to attract the other person’s attention. And the attention seeker that i was, it usually used to be me who would start the fight – stop talking – start ignoring – get followed by him – and then just enjoy.. Actually there was no anger at all, just an act of being angry so that he would come to me saying sorry 🙂 And this silsila went on for I dont know how many years.. It must have started when I just entered secondary school and went on till class ten…

Half my friends thought I had no special feelings for him and half of them thought I didn’t give a damn. None of it was true. I was too confused to know what it was. The only thing I knew was that I always got goose bumps when he was around. And yes, there was another thing that I knew – that come what may, I can’t afford to let my parents (especially my dad) come to know of this second life of mine.

At home I was a silent kid, always studying, almost like I only had eyes and no tongue. My father was strict, in the superlative. He was Simran’s dad multiplied by 1000. Just the thought of him sent chills down my spine. I used to love school (thanks to my secret love affair). I never thought of it as an affair though, because I had yet not said yes (he used to ask me at least 10 times in a month), my answer was always “no”. Not because I didn’t like him, I loved the attention, but mostly because I didn’t want to let go of this feeling of “going to falling in love”…

My life had become a terrible roller coaster.. fun in school and then switch to my other personality at home. Then, he used to come cycling every evening, ring my bell.. send my bowels screaming with fear of my dad suspecting a ‘kaali daal’… and then ask for water… from the time the bell rang to the time he drank his glass and cycled back, my body temperature used to drop by 20 degrees.. Ever experienced extreme thrill and extreme fear at the same time? I went through it every day, every single day…

So it went on and on and there came our farewell party.. we were in class 10 and would soon part ways…

(more in my next post..)

True – Lies!

At last she was able to select a gift after an hour of startling window shopping. However she was not sure whether he will like it or not.  With fluttering butterflies in her stomach, she went to the park, where finally they were destined to meet after 3 long years.

She got married to Abhi couple of years back. Not that she was head over heels about that, yet her life maintained status quo until one day Karan came back. Karan was her boyfriend for a decent period during her pink age but due to family constraints they were compelled to become travelers of two paths diverged. It was extremely difficult for her, Jiya, to forget Karan, thanks to those wonderfully passionate and intimate moments they shared during the purple patch of their relationship. Within a year’s time Jiya had to prepare herself to tie the knot with the “most eligible one” chosen and approved by her parents, who wanted her to settle down.

Jiya with time compromised with the situation and slowly became involved in her life post marriage. Abhi, her husband proved to be a really caring and loving man. However Jiya could never love him as she did love Karan. Yet the life was smooth; her home, a caring husband in Abhi and her office became her life. One day, a friend from Jiya’s office wanted her to take a peek at  her would be husband as she took out a photo from her purse and handed it over to Jiya. She cared for a glimpse and instantly froze dumbstruck recognizing the person in the photo. Needless to mention, it was Karan. Her life took a U turn when she and Karan came across each other in the birthday party of their common connection. From then Karan and Jiya stayed connected through mails, late night chats and calls. Jiya noticed that her suppressed emotions, feelings were oozing with passion. She again started to build castles in the air and the same feeling of floating on to cloud nine resumed. One day Karan asked her out, “Let’s meet sweets!”  She was excited to hear the word sweets, her pet name given by Karan when they first time acknowledged their affair. Jiya was very excited and gleefully accepted the proposal; since then she started to paint the city in the color of her passion.

Karan came to the park after almost an hour past the scheduled meeting time. Jiya had a long day at office, and then she went shopping to pick the best gift for him. Even though she was exhausted, she waited for him to come, deeply lost into her past;  images came flashing into her mind one after the other; each one equally romantic and passionate. It was getting late but she hardly minded as she was in no hurry to return home. She desperately wanted to be with Karan as long as possible, even for the entire night as Abhi was not in town. She was still engulfed into her adventurous thoughts, virtually feeling Karan’s presence; his touch and kisses all over like he used to do. “Indeed he was the king of good times,” Jiya thought and chuckled in her mind. Suddenly she felt a tap on her shoulder, she turned back and it was Karan.

Karan said, “Hey sweets; I got stuck in an urgent official work!” Jiya shrugged and gave an expression to suggest that it was fine. They exchanged a quick hug and then they both walked  inside the park in quest of an isolated place and sat side by side when they found one. It was getting dark to darker and Jiya was in anticipation that something might happen soon. Suddenly Karan wrapped his left arm around her shoulder and lifted her chin with his right hand and lowered his face. They were almost within kissing distance when Jiya closed her eyes, her cerise lips trembling in fervor urging to get locked by his lips. Moments passed nothing happened; Jiya opened her eyes and saw Karan staring at her. “Still mesmerized by my beauty,” Jiya thought looking at Karan and broke into a sweet mirth. “Hey, what are you looking at, so intensely?”asked Jiya. Karan did not answer but to her surprise came up with the most unexpected query, “Hey what you like about Abhi?”

Jiya was hit by a bulldozer. She did not know how to react to this. However she recovered her composure and promptly came up with the truthful answer. “Abhi is a very handsome and very good by heart,” she commented. “I am not claiming that he is a poster boy of any sorts but he indeed has a pleasing personality; everyone around him is very fond of him thanks to his versatile talents and extraordinary IQ. He has done a lot for me and genuinely loves me.” Karan did not show any reaction and swayed away from her. Jiya was wondering what will happen next when Karan suddenly commented, “Sweets you have lost your charm. You looked far more ravishing before marriage, when I was charming you.” Jiya was utterly confused upon hearing that and thought how someone’s look can change so drastically with time! She still had the same eyes, same nose, same face and the same crimson lips. One can either lose or gain weight and that can only make the difference, if at all. In Jiya’s case even that was not true as she was still equally appealing, which she knew by seeing the love in Abhi’s eyes and lust in the eyes of quite a few others.

Jiya said to Karan that she had bought a gift for him to celebrate their reunion after 3 long years. Karan however surprised her by saying that he cannot take it. He further clarified that he was in no mood to complicate things by doing this. Jiya was visibly upset but it seemed nothing bothered Karan. After a few minutes however Karan suddenly asked Jiya to show the gift to him. Jiya sighed in relief and thought finally things might turn her way and handed over the packet to him. Karan opened the gift wrap and found a branded watch in there. He took time to examine it very minutely and then handed it back to Jiya and said, “I told you sweets I simply cannot take it. Maybe you should give it to any of your cousins!” Jiya was completely shattered and felt a valiant slap of insult on her face. She stood up to leave and said, “I guess this relation will not work out,so lets stop being in touch!” Jiya was astonished to spot Karan’s indifference and his passive agreement to the proposal even without protest. Jiya walked out of the park and she threw  Karan out from her life as she headed home, confused, rattled and with a bleeding heart.

That night her eyes poured and she did not even attempt to cease the flow of tears down her cheek. She felt remorse for wasting couple of months for Karan, who never seemed to have any feeling left for her. She felt terrible for being unfaithful to Abhi, the person for whom Jiya was the world. She became depressed acknowledging that she was running behind a glittering image of lie at the expense of the eternal truth.

Next day when Abhi was back home, Jiya went up to him and hugged him tight and whispered in his ears, “I am sorry honey, I am all yours; I love you Abhi, you are the best part of me”. Abhi still in her embrace felt that she was sobbing. He kissed on her forehead and asked, “Hey what happened all of a sudden?” Jiya did not reply but provided an enigmatic smile almost saying, “How does it matter?” She came closer to him and stood on his toes. Instantly their lips locked and it remained locked for quite a while … may be till eternity!

Come on, Everything is not possible!

Raindrops were caressing her face and were giving her the ultimate happiness and pleasure, as Jiya drove past one more hairpin bend. It was drizzling and she enjoyed every single drop touching her body. Jiya was driving her scooty and Vicky was sitting behind her and was enjoying the strands of Jiya’s silky hair, playing with his face.

Jiya and Vicky had a brief courtship and about 2 weeks back they finally tied the knot. They were residing in Mumbai and were off to Khandala for their honeymoon. They had just entered the ghat road when all of a sudden to their pleasure it started to drizzle. Jiya loved driving her scooty and she continued to drive through the ghat roads as the drizzle turned into a heavy downpour. They were all wet and looked out for a shelter, but it was hard to find one on the expressway. Jiya slowed down and both of them looked here and there in quest for a shelter and at the following hairpin bend, Jiya missed to spot of a speeding Xylo heading from the opposite direction; within seconds, the Xylo rammed the scooty head on.

Jiya came back to her senses after 10 days and found herself in the hospital bed with tubes connected all over her body. Jiya’s mom was standing beside her with teary eyes. Jiya asked her mom, “Mom? Why am I here? What has happened to me?”Her mom said, “Hail the almighty! You have recognized me Jiya!”

“Am I not supposed to remember you?” Jia asked in a tired tone.

“You had a severe head injury as you met with an accident on the way to Khandala, dear,” cried her mom. “The doctor was not sure if you will remember anyone of us at all! It is only God’s grace that you survived even after such a severe accident and that too on your honeymoon trip!”

“Honeymoon? Mine? What rubbish! When the hell did I get married?” Jiya asked in a confused tone. Her mother gave a flabbergasted look, within moments her eyes were moist, and she broke down into tears.

It was almost 2 weeks; Jiya was still on the hospital bed but to Jiya’s mom astonishment Jiya never asked her about Vicky. After a week, Jiya was transferred to a cabin. Jiya’s mom was on a call and was standing by the window in Jiya’s cabin, when a tall, fair, and handsome guy entered the cabin with an arm sling around his neck. He came up to Jiya and asked, “How are you feeling now?”

Jiya looked at him blankly and in the meantime, Jiya’s mom was back. She slowly said, “Who is this Jiya? Can’t you recognise him? He is Vicky, your husband!”

Vicky took his mother-in-law in the corner and said, “Mom, I just had a talk with the doctors, they said Jiya was badly hurt in her head and as a result she has gone into a state of anterograde amnesia; but doctor said within a year or so hopefully she will be fine,” he concluded with moist eyes.

“What does than mean, beta?” asked the anxious mom.

“Well whatever I understood from their conversation, it means that she is suffering from short term memory loss and all happenings that occurred during the last year or so in her life have completely got erased.”

Jiya’s mom felt almost hysteric; with immense effort she tried to control herself and spoke, “How are you now beta?”

Vicky replied, “Mom I am fine now. I just broke my hand in the accident. I flew off during the impact and fell on a big block of stone. The doctors have plastered it and asked me to take rest as much as possible and since you are here with Jiya, I usually come in the evenings to see her and take updates from doctors,” he paused. “Jiya was the prime victim. She was very badly injured. After the accident when I was back to my senses and found my face was covered with blood but Jiya was not responding to anything. People there had already called for an ambulance and we both came here immediately after it arrived.”

Everyday evening Vicky came to Jiya with a hope that she will recognise him but that never happened. Everyday whenever he entered Jiya’s cabin, she blankly looked at him. A couple of week later doctor said to Vicky, “look we tried our level best; everything is not possible to get back in your life, once lost. Surely, you people are blessed ones, so you are still alive after such a fatal accident. You can take Jiya home, but without fail continue the medicines. If you notice any degradation or progress, please do inform me, and bring her for a check-up.”

Vicky assumed that once Jiya comes home, seeing all know things, she might get back the memory. However, there was no change after Jiya came back to her house. She used to stay quiet and most of the time she would stand by the window and looked out. Vicky used to show her their pictures together, even the marriage DVD but there was no change. Vicky took her to the restaurant she liked, bought her the things she liked but all in vain. They occupied separate rooms even as she refused to believe that she was married to him.

One night it was raining heavily, in the midnight, Jiya woke up after hearing a blistering noise of thunder. She got down from her bed, walked to the window, and looked outside. Meanwhile, Vicky came to Jiya’s room to check if everything was fine or not; his eyes soon caught Jiya by the window; he stared at her and he was nostalgic.

Memories started to flow – how they enjoyed each other’s company when they were in during their courtship. They both loved to have golgappa at the chowpatty and then a hot cup of tea from Ramu mama’s shack on the beach. He recalled how much Jiya loved walking in the rain and always forced him to walk with her.

Jiya by then turned and walked up to the bed, Vicky was back to his senses, and he closed the door and went back to his room. The next day Vicky left for an important official trip to Chennai for a month so he asked his mother-in-law to be with Jiya.

The month just flew by; it was time for Vicky’s return. He was optimistic that this time Jiya would recognise him for sure and welcome him back with a warm hug. When he rang the bell of his house it was his mother-in-law who opened the door. Vicky entered and saw Jiya was sitting on the sofa with a newspaper in her hand but staring at him. Vicky anticipated a miracle but she didn’t show any reaction, took her eyes off him.Vicky understood, and slowly went to his room. Soon his mother-in-law came to his room and said, “Vicky can you take Jiya to the doctor this evening? A month has passed but she is showing no improvement”. He took her to the doctor that evening and after a MRI scan, the doctor said, “Vicky, the blood clots are still there and hence not of much improvement. Hopefully it will slowly get dissolved but may take another couple of years!”

Since then five more years had passed by; everything still remains the same. Every morning Vicky wakes up with the hope that the sunshine of the new dawn will drive away the gloomy darkness of their life. He still prays looking at her blank eyes that they shall overcome the toughest test of their lives some day, when he dreams of the eon of their togetherness and the opportunity for a fresh start to a life personified for both of them; rediscover their togetherness all over again.

I wish I was your lover…!!

“Go up to that handsome hunk and talk to him; you always claim that you can charm even a complete stranger, but I know you can’t do it,” Sonam challenged Jiya, “I am damn sure that the guy won’t give any weight to you; best of luck girl, go try your luck!”. The place was Mumbai and they were inside a Ganapati puja pandal amidst lots of people and crowd. Jiya immediately was on her feet, she smartly walked up to a group of boys sitting diagonally opposite to the place where they were sitting. Jiya went to the group and said, “Hey guys I lost my purse and I need your help to find it!” A handsome guy stood up and came to Jiya and said, “Where were you  sitting? I guess we first need to search it there.” He added looking at his friends, “you guys enjoy; I will take care of this!” Jiya immediately thought that she won the challenge and she was so happy that she could not stop smiling. The guy asked her, “Hey gorgeous, I am Amit and what’s your name?”

“I am Jiya,” she replied. They both walked up to the place where Jiya was sitting with her friends, her friends were spellbound to see the guy with Jiya coming towards them. Amit immediately after reaching the spot started searching for the purse. But he could not find it and said,” I and my friends will try to find it from the other corners of the pandal; give me your contact number, if I find it I will inform you.” Jiya gave him her mobile number and they left. That night Jiya was thinking about the incident that happened and she started feeling guilty. Just for the challenge, she went up to Amit and said she lost her purse and now Amit and his friends were searching for the purse desperately. But Jiya didn’t take Amit’s number so she was unable to contact him; she had to wait hoping Amit to contact her.

A week went by and Jiya lost all hope for a call from Amit, but she couldn’t stop feeling bad and guilty, it was hurting her from inside. On the 10th day, morning there was a call on Jiya’s cell from an unknown number. Jiya received it and it was Amit. “Hey Jiya i am very sorry, my friends and me searched a lot but didn’t get your purse,” Amit updated. Jiya immediately said, “Amit lets meet for lunch today, its a treat from me.” Jiya also said him the time and place and immediately hanged up the phone so that Amit can’t make any excuse. Amit was waiting in the restaurant where Jiya asked him to come, but Jiya was late by 10 mins.”Is there any good news? Why you are treating me?” Amit enquired. Jiya smiled and said, “Definitely their is a good news, I got such a good and trustworthy friend like you, I am very happy for that and thought we must go out for lunch and celebrate.”

Amit said, “That’s fine, Jiya but I could not succeed in my mission.” Jiya added, “Amit I will say you the truth today…” and she told him the entire story and assumed that Amit would surely get angry and leave the place at once. But to Jiya’s surprise he was just smiling and finally said,” Thanks to your friend who have given you this challenge, because only for this I met you.” They had a wonderful evening and they became great friends. Very often Amit use to call Jiya and either they went out for dinner or lunch or just hung out in some coffee shop. Jiya was perusing her master’s degree in biochemistry and Amit took the privilege at times to drop Jiya at her tuition classes, Jiya was very happy to get a friend like Amit but from his side it was a different story. He was in love with her at first sight but Jiya had no clue about it!

One day when Amit went to drop Jiya to her tuition class he saw all her friends were gossiping outside the classroom since the teacher didn’t arrive by then. Jiya took the opportunity to introduce Amit to the gang and everyone was very happy to meet her new friends except one; a guy named Inder, who had a massive crush on her. Jiya once mentioned about Inder to Amit; about the madness he demonstrates at times despite knowing Jiya is far from having any such feelings for him. This was the first time Jiya saw a different expression on Amit’s face when he was being introduced to Inder. Both of them stared at each other as if they were about to annihilate each other. Jiya became a little worried seeing such an expression; she knew about Inder but she was wondering why Amit too showed such a reaction.

It was Jiya’s birthday and she thought all this confusion must come to an end. She invited all her friends for a party and informed them that she had an important announcement to make.

All her friends were their in the party by 8 pm. Both Amit and Inder were also present and tried desperately to ignore each other as far as possible. Rest of Jiya’s friends were contemplating about what she was going to announce. They were almost assured that Jiya would be accepting one between Amit and Inder as her boyfriend.

As the clock struck 9, Jiya was ready to cut the yummy chocolate truffle cake, when suddenly a sharp, good looking, smart guy entered the party. He went up to Jiya and kissed on her forehead. He took out a ring from his pocket and slipped it in her ring finger. Jiya looked delighted and excited. After the cake cutting Jiya announced, “Friends this is the surprise. This is Abhishek, love of my life and i am sorry if I hurt any of you unknowingly. Abhi was out of Mumbai, he was perusing his engineering, but now he has completed it and is back here to me permanently and as you people witnessed my engagement with him, I am glad to announce that we will soon tie the knot once he gets a job.” All her friends clapped in delight.

It was only Inder and Amit who walked out of the party still snagging at each other and at the same time, they walked out of Jiya’s life too.

No Strings Attached!

“I really repent our breakup. I don’t know why did I leave you there and came to the US? I could have married you and brought you here with me,” Avik paused after saying this. Ria promptly replied, “Now what’s the use saying all this? It a past story,” Ria sighed and asked Avik, “How is your daughter and wife?” Avik changed the topic and said it was so great when we both were together. Ria replied, “Avik I need to get ready and go to my MBA class. I am logging off. Catch you later!”

It was almost after 7 years since Avik and Ria met again through Facebook. 7 years back they met, when Ria went for a vacation with her parents to Vizag and there she met Avik. It was on the sea beach where they bumped into each other and after a mutual apology and a small introduction, they both knew they were from the same city, Bangalore and was there on a vacation. Avik was pursuing his masters in economics and Ria was much younger to him, was in the twelfth grade. After that everyday Ria with her parents and Avik with his friends went to the beach almost at the same time, so they met, chatted and the day before Ria was leaving Vizag, Avik asked for her contact number and promised to be in touch.

Ria was back home and was busy with her studies and tuition. After almost a month since her vacation, one day there was a call for her. Ria received the call as both of her parents were working, she would always be alone at home during the day. A guy spoke from the other end, “Can I speak to Ria?” Ria said that she was speaking then the guy asked, “Do you remember me?” Ria was little confused but somewhere she always thought Avik will call someday. She had a  doubt but still she made a wild guess and said, “Is it Avik?” Avik was very surprised seeing that Ria recognised him. They chatted for an hour Ria hanged up but soon it became a routine and everyday they chatted for hours during the noon as it was convenient for Ria, she would be alone in the house. Meanwhile Avik completed his masters and was planning to pursue his PHD in the US. He started applying online in different universities in the US. Meanwhile Ria and Avik became very close and started dating each other.  Ria said about Avik to her friends and sometimes she would even call Avik from their cell phones. But after sometime Ria soon noticed Avik started avoiding her, she thought since it was her class 12, he was giving her time to study. Ria finished her exam but Avik was still behaving in the same way and his calls also decreased. Avik was Ria’s first love so she dint want to lose him. She tried every possible way to know why his behaviour had changed within few days time but all attempt was in vain.

One day during noon when Ria was having her lunch there was a call; she ran to receive the call thinking it must be Avik. She took up the receiver and said, “Hey Avik, I knew you would call me today..,” there was a long pause on the other end of the receiver. Finally a guy spoke, but it was not Avik’s voice. He said, “This is Avik’s friend. He had asked me to inform you that he has left for US and left a letter with me for you. When can I come and give you the letter?” Ria was dumbstruck after hearing that Avik left for the US but dint even bother to inform her. She said, “Come anytime but be quick. Let me see what he wants me to know”

The letter was in Ria’s hand after 2 more days. She read the same letter for more than 6 times and sat depressed with the letter in her hand and started to think how did all this happen? In the letter it was written,

“Ria I liked you from the very first day we bumped into each other in the sea beach. Soon with time we came close and our friendship turned into an affair. I trusted you and had a great respect for you. But one evening their was a call from your friend, basically she was my well wisher and told me about your multiple affairs which ran in parallel with our affair. She also mentioned that you are basically a flirt and play with every boys emotion. I guess I am lucky that she informed me before hand. I was very hurt Ria. But now my focus is on my PHD, so I’m better now. I thought that I must inform you why I am behaving like this and leaving for US all of a sudden.”

Ria suddenly remembered she used to call Avik from Sonam’s cell, so she is the only person who had Avik’s number. So she was the one who called Avik. She always was behind Ria, envied her good background, her looks and also her academic result. Ria couldn’t stop her tears. She cried and cried. Avik was her first love and losing him just for a misunderstanding was a very big blow for her. She was very angry with Sonam and thought soon she will meet her and teach her good lesson. Ria started to stay depressed and everyday she cried and cried. Days passed, month passed she took admission in an engineering college. Later she thought what’s the use teaching Sonam a lesson, Avik didn’t even verify all this with her, he just believed Sonam and ditched her.

Now they met again in Facebook, Avik is married with a kid and Ria is studying MBA, and soon she will join the IT hub. Avik would very frequently say her that it was his mistake, he would have at least asked her once. Then life would have been different now. But it’s a different story at Ria’s end. Its already been 7 years, and Ria is much matured now. Its true, time is the best healer, Ria is totally out of it; no strings are attached.

One day again Avik was online, she said Avik directly, “Avik now I chat with you only as a friend. There is nothing else in my mind. I have moved on – no more strings are attached to you. Since you still have a feeling for me, I guess we must stop chatting and be happy in our own world.” Ria didn’t even wait for an answer, she went to the friend list in her Facebook account and removed Avik from her friend list.

Emotion, Obsession and the Unreal world

Jiya was happily married to Avik and it was Avik’s occupation in Bangalore, which kept them far away from their hometown. It was almost three years they were in the IT hub of India and Jiya soon adjusted with the pace of the city and it’s inhabitants. Avik had rented a flat off the old airport road, near his office. Everything was running smoothly until Shiv came into Jiya’s life.

Shiv, a Punjabi guy; burly, tall and handsome. He was in the same apartment where Jiya used to stay and so they often bumped into each other either in the staircase or in the car park. Jiya only knew Shiv by his face and nothing else was happening until one day, when Jiya went for shopping and bought lots of dresses and accessories. She drove back home but she faced the hardship in carrying those loads of bags from the car to her flat. At one point two of her bags slipped her grip and with great difficulty, she managed to pick them up. Later when she was near the staircase, she tumbled down on the ground with all her bags skipping her step. Meanwhile Shiv was galloping down the staircase, when he saw Jiya on the ground; he went running to help her. He helped her to get back on her feet, carried all her bags, and helped her until she was comfortable inside her flat. After that, whenever they meet they started to spend some time in each others company, chatting on various topics. When Shiv learnt that Jiya was a Bengali girl, he requested her to send him some fish curry when she would cook it.

Jiya had a cook still she took the pain to prepare fish curry for Shiv and went upstairs to hand over the dish to him. He was a bachelor and lived with two other flatmates. It was Shiv only who opened the door after Jiya rang the bell for the third time. Shiv was surprised to see Jiya there. Jiya heard voices of girls from his room and asked Shiv, “Who are the girls chatting inside your room? Are they your girlfriends?” she winked.

“No Jiya, they are not my girlfriends, they are the friends of my flatmates,” Shiv replied. “I don’t have any girlfriend, Jiya, I am just waiting for the best match,” he smiled. Jiya handed him the fish curry and said “You asked me to prepare fish curry for you; here it is. Taste it and let me know how it is”

They didn’t meet again for next 5 days. Jiya was very anxious to know whether he liked her recipe or not. It was almost 6 months, since they started talking and chatting and slowly Jiya developed a soft corner for him. Every time they met, Shiv would always say, “Jiya why are you already married? Or else I would have definitely married you. I am  searching for a trendy, good looking and someone with a big heart, just like you.” “Do you have a sister who looks like you? Then surely I will marry her,” he added.

She waited eagerly everyday at the car park hoping to meet Shiv and to know how the fish curry tasted. Finally, on the sixth day when Jiya was going to the market she saw him on his bike and a girl was behind him. He didn’t even look at her. She thought he must have failed to notice her. Later in the day, when they met on the staircase Jiya asked Shiv who she was and promptly Shiv replied she was his cousin!

Jiya believed him and started living in the unreal world where she and Shiv was always together. She was missing him and she called Shiv in the morning and asked him to meet her but he said he was busy and cannot meet her that day. Later that evening when she was coming back from gym she spotted Shiv’s bike in the parking. She was delighted seeing that and she thought Shiv must be in his room. She went upstairs and rang the doorbell no less than five times before he opened the door. He looked exhausted and he was surprised to see her there. He promptly said that he was busy completing a presentation for his office, but at that very moment a girl came out of his bedroom; she too looked equally exhausted. Jiya noticed her carefully and found that she is not even properly dressed. Jiya understood how busy Shiv was and she made a retreat immediately without saying a word. She came back to her repose and cried a lot. She asked herself why did she get into such things afterall.  Avik had no fault and they were happily married then why she got lost in an unreal enjoyment in a world of utopia. She never found an answer but by then she realized that her real world was much enjoyable than the unreal world!

Love walking in the rain!

It was just flowing down her eyes; she had no control over her tears! She was standing by the window, looking outside towards the orange sky turning redder on every passing moment. Probably it will rain and drops started to descend within the next couple of minutes. She always loved walking in the rain, because it would hide her tears. It was her anniversary and her best ‘date’ with the raindrops.

Priya’s life was in a complete mess. She had a great fight with her hubby a year back and they were far from reconciliation. There was a big misunderstanding between them, which was killing her from within. It all started when she used to chat with a few friends to kill her time when her hubby was not around. Her hubby kind off knew about this pastime of hers and did not mind much. However, one day accidentally he came across one of her chat transcripts, which shattered their world.

It was the excerpts of her chat with Raj, a guy who liked her a lot. Rarely they would catch each other online and used to chat. Raj often could not hide his feelings even after knowing that she was married and often used desperate phrases, which looked little sinful to the naked eye. Priya did not knew what to answer she would avoid replying to Raj’s provoking comments and would move on to some other topic. At times however, she resisted Raj; “hey don’t say all this! Don’t you know that I am married and I am madly in love with my hubby?”

However, she was not so lucky on that day. The worst part was that her hubby went through the transcript, which contained only what Raj said to her. “I miss you every minute,” he read. However, surprisingly the transcript missed what Priya replied, “Don’t say all this to me; I don’t like it. I love my hubby a lot; don’t disturb our smoothly moving married life!” There was further infuriating comments made by Raj, which made her hubby’s blood boil and naturally her hubby thought she is having an extra marital affair. When he demanded for an explanation, Priya tired to explain him the whole story but he was far from buying even a word.

Few months later things just started to be normal again though still he couldn’t erase the whole thing from his mind. One day Priya was out with her cousins and went to a popular boating hub, which was known to be a couple’s paradise. She had a great time boating and then a treat from one of her cousin. That day when her hubby came home, the first thing he asked, “Did you go to that boating hub today?” Priya was waiting for him to be back home from office and she would have shared how much she enjoyed with her cousins, but to her astonishment her hubby already knew about her visit. Priya replied, “Oh yes, it was great fun there!” Her hubby replied in a sarcastic tone, “Indeed a lot of fun as you was with some guy there!” The last two words were like a shock to Priya, she thought she had got it all wrong and asked him one more time. The reply was same. Priya asked him why he was blaming her baselessly. “ I came to know about it from one of my friend from office. He saw you there and felt that you were accompanied by a guy,” He blasted. Priya tried to explain but in vain as he had already lost all confidence in her during that chat fiasco. He was not ready to listen to anything that Priya said.

A year went by; he was still the same, captivated in those misleading thoughts in his mind. It was there anniversary on that day and Priya knew he would not even bother to wish her. She started to walk in the rain and was wondering how she could get back his trust. They gave their relationship a year to revive, but she knew that they were going nowhere after she saw a comment made by him on the Facebook, “For the second time I have been amazed by the enigma and mystery of the dark side of the moon! You just cannot predict people!”

She walked and walked  till she realised she was fully drenched; she thought she thought going back to home as she turned around she was left spellbound. Her heart skipped a beat, when she saw her hubby standing right in front, beaming at her with a bunch of roses. He handed over the bouquet to her; hugged and whispered in her ears, “I am sorry for all that I have done. I love you a lot and I am  afraid to lose you,so I am possessive about you. You are my angel!” They both walked back home hand in hand. After reaching home, she was delighted to see packed food that he got for her from her favourite restaurant. “Thanks honey for all this but how you reached there behind me in the rain?” she said.  “When I came home and saw you were not there and I immediately knew you went for a walk in the rain, as you love walking in the rain,” he smiled and replied.

After dinner, her hubby filled up two glasses with champagne. They raised their toast and said aloud, “cheers to our togetherness!”

The Empty Nest

Shimmering moonlight peeps through the living room window. Beside, a glass bowl is dearly kept, which contains some rose petals and water, and the bowl holds the reflecting moonbeam so lovingly…as if a mother would hold a child in her arms. The peach colored satin curtains are draped affectionately emitting a sense of warmth.

On the edge of the side table sits a smiling picture frame of the entire family— hand in hand, having fun and frolic on their holiday to Darjeeling which was toured some nine years back. How young everybody appeared then, especially the two of them, sans wrinkles and the lines on their foreheads. The children too appear equally tidy; the younger one just out of college, and the elder one having bagged his first job in an ad agency. In fact the Darjeeling trip itself was accomplished to celebrate his first stint.

The day the picture was taken, it had rained in the hills. The air was crystal clear, and the clarity of this air was visible on the smiling, contented, & refreshing faces of each one in the picture. The younger one had caught hold of a “gorkha” watchman of their bricked cottage in Darjeeling, who had obliged to click for the family what now adorns to be their drawing room family photograph in years to follow.

The silent picture tells the story of the middle class upbringing of the children, and of her and his glittering eyes as they have in them some far reaching dreams they’ve dreamed for their children. The smile of the children too is very genuine. Yet the smile shows that there are some unconquerable frontiers which they still want to attain. Thus both the children had their own set of higher aspirations. The elder one had accepted his advertising assignment as a stop gap arrangement, while the younger one had ambitions to study clinical research. And so they moved up their respective career ladders.  Few years down the line, the elder one earned a scholarship abroad in Media Research; while the younger one got through an acclaimed clinical research college in an international university.

It’s been six years now, since both the children have flown away, leaving both of them with memories. They all meet quite often; they visit the children and the children too visit them. Back home, this spring he decided to build a birdhouse outside in their garden. And once birds flew in, she and he began tending them adoringly. The birds too responded well, and built their nest on the tree where the bird house was placed.

So although their own nests were empty, he and she went ahead and tended another nest.

Every other day, when they remember the children, they closely admire and examine the Darjeeling picture, and some more such pictures which are scattered over the walls leading to their bedroom. Some years back, when they read about the uprising which grappled the valley of Darjeeling, they remembered their children, and missed them more than on any other occasion. Today their nest is empty, but they have no complaints. After all, they themselves had taught the children to dream big, and now that the children were doing so, what was there to complain???

Outside, the moon is still gleaming bright. The water in the glass bowl is ripple free, and still. The radiance of the mystical moon is far reaching. In the course of the day, it will cross the seven seas and enter the slit window of the respective rooms, in the respective houses of both the children, where they’ll be fast asleep. Perhaps it will whisper to them that back home in an empty nest everything is absolutely fine; life is as usual……..

Again it’s Valentine’s day – love never fades!

Valentine’s day was coming and Jiya was excited as last year it was a great surprise from Vicky. Vicky started sending her little gifts from 7th Feb… Which ended with a mega surprise on 14th Feb. Jiya went to the almirah and took out the album where she kept last year’s valentine day pictures carefully.

She sat on a couch and got comfortable and then slowly she turned the cover and opened the album. It was the picture of the gift that Vicky send on 7th Feb.. It was a bunch of red roses on the rose day. Jiya smiled remembering that moment when she received it and couldn’t stop smiling. She carefully managed to turn the page to the next picture…8th Feb, the day he proposed. This time the gift was a diamond ring, which she still had in her finger. She could not stop her tears thinking how it felt when Vicky slipped the diamond ring into her finger…and how Vicky on his knees asked “Will you marry me angel?” She hugged him promptly and nodded to say yes. Soon after, they got married. Jiya smiled to herself thinking it was the best thing that happened in her life that she got Vicky as her hubby as the best part of her.

9th Feb was the chocolate day; as she turned the next page and found pics of those lovely liquor chocolates those, she loved. Then the next picture was of two cute teddies hugging each other, seeing that she remembered 10th Feb was the teddy day. As she turned the next page, a card fell in her lap. 10th Feb was the ‘promise day’ and Vicky gave her a card which said he will be always with her; love her and he will always guard her from all the problems. When she saw the next pic, she could not stop smiling – it was hug day on 11th Feb. The picture showed they both of them were hugging each other and seeing Jiya’s face in the picture anyone one can say how much secured she was feeling in Vicky’s arms. Then the next pic was on the beach where they both were kissing each other passionately. The picture was taken on 13th feb and it was the KISS day! Jiya smiled and turned the next page, it was the picture of both of them enjoying dinner in the beach, which was organised by the Taj for valentine couples and they are having a great time together. She closed the album and thought she had a great time last valentine’s day and since the following day was 7th Feb, she thought Vicky would start giving her surprises again!

Next morning Vicky left for office. Jiya ran to open the door whenever the door bell rang. But she was disappointed every time as she opened the door. She was expecting the delivery boy with bunch of red roses but came out to be either the dhobi or the milkman or the maid. Later in the evening she thought may be Vicky will give her a bunch of red roses by himself. She waited for him to return from office…but to her surprise when he came, he was not carrying anything . That day during dinner, Vicky didn’t say anything related to the day. Jiya thought he must have forgotten but was optimistic that he will surely remember it from the following day.

Next day was ‘promise day’ and Jiya waited for Vicky to return from office expecting there will be some surprise but it was same like the previous day. Vicky didn’t even utter anything about valentines day. Jiya thought last year they were not married and so Vicky showered gifts and surprises but since this year, they are married, she thought Vicky must have lost all the interest in her and did not love her like before. 4-5 days passed by and there were nothing from Vicky and Jiya couldn’t stop her tears and was convinced that Vicky didn’t love her anymore.

The doorbell rang in the morning just few minutes after Vicky had left for office. Jiya opened the door casually expecting the maid at the door but this time it was the delivery boy with a big bunch of red roses. Jiya smiled and received it. She was happy thinking at least Vicky remembered that it was 14th Feb. In the evening Jiya thought of making a chocolate cake for Vicky and as she was going to the kitchen, the doorbell rang again. She went to open the door, and found another delivery boy with a parcel. She received that one too and opened to find a chocolate cake inside it and a small note accompanying. It read – “Angel, you thought I forgot Valentine’s Day! How could I? I proposed you last year during this valentine day week and we were married soon. You know what? I am the luckiest person on the earth to have you with me. Love u baby!”

Jiya was very happy reading it repeatedly. She made scrumptious dinner and as that was ready the doorbell again rang. She thought it was too early for Vicky to be back, so may be it is another delivery boy. She opened the door and stood there spellbound. It was Vicky carrying a gift hamper. Vicky came inside and started showing his angel all that he had for her; there was a big bottle of Champagne, and a small red box. Jiya opened it and found a lovely pair of diamond earrings. Finally, he handed over two tickets to Jiya. She came to know that they were flying to New Zealand that night itself. She hugged him passionately and by then Vicky was ready with two glasses of Champagne. They raised the toast and said aloud “cheers to our togetherness!

Jiya went inside and decorated the dinning table with few candles before Vicky came. She served the finger licking dinner as their music system played soft romantic numbers one after the other.Vicky was spellbound to see the candles,it felt like stars twinkling in that dark room. The ambiance was so romantic, so perfect. After dinner, Jiya and Vicky packed their bags in a hurry and left for their 2nd honeymoon!

Confession of a solitary lover

Rimi missed his touch, the warmth of his hug; but she was not in a position to disclose it to anyone as she was married to Aakash. She knew her confession would ruin her married life!

Everyday she waited for his call, his mail, or maybe just a one-liner text. All those made her feel close to him. She was gradually getting dependent on him, for everything, he was like a sunrise in her gloomy life. Aakash, her hubby, a corporate manager in a leading MNC, was too busy with his official trips and hardly could give her any time. She was married for two years and quite naturally, she always craved for time from him. However, always in vain!

Rimi got married early and like most of the Indian marriages it was an arranged one. Aakash despite being the most eligible bachelor, decided to marry Rimi as he was impressed with her simplicity and innocence. Post marriage they moved to Pune, where Aakash was working.

Soon she found an alternative to devote her time to. She used to spend her time going through mails from Ronny, her childhood dude, someone she felt knowing like the back of her palm and knowingly or unknowingly liked. She used to cherish those moments when she read their chat transcripts saved on Yahoo! Messenger.  It made her feel connected to him.

It was a Sunday evening, when Rimi went to Barista alone to chill out. Aakash needless to say was out of town, busy in one of his usual business trips. She ordered for a hot mocha and when she was receiving the drink from the counter, she felt that she just saw Ronny. ‘Illusion for sure,’ she though and soon took her eyes off the person in question. She took a seat near the glass casement from where she will get a lovely view of the overlooking hills. She took a sip of the hot coffee and looked blankly towards those serene cliffs, when she felt someone was tapping on her shoulder. She turned around in a flash and the person standing in front was Ronny indeed. He took a chair next to her after Rimi’s bafflement was over. They talked and talked and Rimi came to know that, Ronny too had shifted to Pune and was employed as a relationship manager in one of the four star hotels in the city.

After an hour and a half of tete-a-tete, Rimi realised it was quite late and she have to go home. They planned to meet again. Days passed by and they continued to meet regularly. Meanwhile Ronny started to mail her often and at times called her too. She used to wait for all the communication from him and when that was not there, she knew that he must be quite busy. After all she knew her from childhood, and knew his habits well, which always made her confident about him. Even when she used to show fake anger, Ronny would chime some extol or would send some funny sms, which would compel her to burst into laughter. Happy days continued… until one day they got involved into an affair.

Rimi always felt closer to Ronny due to his proximity and not like Aakash roaming around the world on business trips and the love she got from him which was unmatched compared to the aloofness she got from Aakash. Rimi always felt time flying when she was with Ronny; she started drifting away from Aakash more and more. Even when Aakash was in Pune they hardly spent any time together. Rimi avoided eye contact with Aakash as somewhere she knew she was wrong. Aakash reminded busy with work and hardly noticing that his wife was into an extra marital affair for about a year.

Time flew and Aakash was off to Australia to attend a global meet. Rimi planned to meet Ronny in that same Barista, where they first met to celebrate the first anniversary of their affair. Ronny was waiting there in the cafe and through the glass window he saw Rimi heading towards the joint with quite a few shopping bags in her hand. She had just crossed the main road, when a big Innova came and banged her from behind. She fell flat, clad with blood; all her bags scattered here and there. She felt dizzy but just had enough strength to take out her cell phone and called Ronny. But Ronny didn’t take the call. He saw everything but simply vanished to save himself from an impending problem. Rimi managed to go to the phonebook and searched her hubby’s number. It took a while to find the same, since she rarely spoke to him over phone, Finally when she found it, she called him and the only thing she managed to say before she lost her sense “I am sorry, I betrayed you, and God punished me for that,” her voice faded. She returned to her sense after 2 days, to find herself admitted in a hospital and next to her bed stood Aakash. She expected Ronny to be there next to her, but its was Aakash who was there.

Later that evening when Aakash went home to change, the nurse came to Rimi to give her medicine. Rimi asked her “When did my husband come here? Was there any other guy who came to see me?”

The sister replied, “It was only your husband who was here with you for 24hrs.2day you got back your senses, so now he went home to change. He very frequently took updates from doctors, enquiring about you. He was very concerned about you. You are a lucky girl; you have got such a loving and caring husband.”

Rimi looked blankly at her. She asked the sister for her cell phone and checked for missed calls and incoming SMS during past 2 days. She was surprised to see nothing was from Ronny. She called Ronny, but he didn’t take the call and she thought he must be busy. But she was also wondering that she was supposed to meet him 2 days back and she could not do so for this accident; still why Ronny didn’t call her or send her a SMS?

Rimi got discharged after 2 more days. Aakash was with her for 24hrs in this last 2 days and he fed her, he helped her to go to the toilet as she got a fracture in her leg in the accident. Rimi was having the best time since marriage. They came home. and everything suddenly seemed to be very perfect. Rimi found Aakash was giving him time and was loving her the way she wanted. She realized, Aakash was an introvert person so he could not show what he felt. Now even he understood what Rimi wanted and he started trying to change his way of showing love. Aakash never asked Rimi why she said him about the betrayal. it was 10 on 10 life now for both of them…but Rimi really wanted to know how busy Ronny was.

One day she took out sometime and went to Ronny’s hotel and to her astonishment she found he was cajoling with a girl, who seemed to be his colleague. She saw them both sitting in the garden closely, hand in hand, coaxing … Rimi then knew how busy he actually was!

The capture plan (A short story)

It was a conventional South Indian  wedding  except that the bride was a  Londoner. Did she have any  Englishness in her? No. Absolutely Indian,  draped in an attractive Conjeevaram heavy silk saree.

The London born  Chitra didn’t quite appreciate the women wishers touching her face and crackling their finger joints against their head as a blessing and to ward off any evil eye.  “What stupid custom !  Why can’t they shake hands  with me?” she griped

Then Chitra   recalled  that she was in India and had become an Indian wife,  a few hours back when Prabhu, Srinivasan  tied a wedlock chain  round her neck.

Every activity in the  Marriage hall looked  strange to her. Earlier, her mother, Janaki, had given full details  of  a wedding proceedings and   Chitra herself had watched a couple of  videos in her London home.  Yet, when she underwent  the  routines herself, she found them all funny.

The Reception hall had over a thousand guests. Of them, the bride could recognise only five faces – her parents, her in laws and  Mona Sudarshan, her college  friend  who had flown to Chennai to witness her wedding.

Although she belonged to Tamilian parents and have been using Tamil at her London home, here she was unable to decode the Tamil language.  People spoke  Tamil in Chennai  so fast that she needed at least ten seconds to decode the sentences. She was  at a loss understanding what her well wishers were saying at the dais. Everyone spoke  only in Tamil.  So she said, “yes”, “no”  for all the queries.  Whenever she had to answer in full sentences, she would consult Prabhu and ask if she had used the right Tamil  words.

Then she sighted the face of her mother-in-law, the last guest to come on to the dais. When Mrs. Anjali Srinivasan, collected her face and kissed it all over, Chitra nearly revolted.  She detested Anjali’s physical touch over her body.

Even before her marriage,  Chitra had turned into a mother-in-law hater. She was at war with all these old haggards.  This aversion had been transferred to her by her own mother, Janaki, who had to live  in her mother-in-law’s house  during  the first five years after her marriage with Dr. Ranjan.  It was an unhappy joint living with no freedom for the young couple. She didn’t want such a fate to dog her own daughter.  So, she was determined  to let Chitra  and Prabhu live on their own  from day one. “Joint family living, be damned.”

The  reception cum dinner gave over around 1030 p.m.and before they left the dining hall, Dr Ranjan  announced a special wedding gift to his son-in-law  –   Villa de London, located at the western end of Adyar. “This house is yours.  From tomorrow you may occupy it, Dr. Prabhu,” he had said.  Janaki felt absolutely pleased.

Dr. Ranjan had built this two story building in Adyar a few years  back   in   the  hope  that one day he would have to return to his mother land to  live here   for   ever. It had been rented out to a tenant who happily vacated the premises well before Chitra’s marriage.

Chitra knew very little about her husband, Dr. Prabhu Srinivasan.  She had  met him in  her London home only briefly with a ‘Hi’, “Hi’ kind of    greeting. Later that evening after dinner, her father Dr. T. Ranjan, FRCS and mother  Janaki  told her frankly that they had chosen Dr. Prabhu Srinivasan, MBBS, MS as her future  husband. Did she like him who was on a 3-month practical training on Kidney transplant under her father?

Chitra rounded her mouth and made a whistling sound. “Y-e-sss”  said  the Arts graduate from Bedford  new college, London.

The parents had been drilling into her that her future lay in India and not in  England and only a South Indian Brahmin wouldmake a good husband for her. And  Chitra, in her heart, had come to accept that India would be  her permanent

home  along with an Indian husband.  She had personal knowledge of many Indian girls marrying Englishmen. Their  married life had remained most unhappy or had ended in divorce.  Therefore,  Chitra decided  to  make a success ofher life with Prabhu..

That Wednesday morning, the day after  their wedding,  Prabhu   and  Chitra moved into villa de London.

It was a quiet entry into a new house.  There were no other onlookers. Normally, the  groom’s parents should have been present but Prabhu told his mother obliquely not to come to the house warming occasion.

“Well, our own house. You have to convert it into a home.  You know how to do it, I suppose?” Prabhu appried her.

“Of course, I will and I shall.  I know how to keep a house spick and span.  Haven’t I done that back in London?”

Unfortunately Prabhu had to join duty that very day at the Appollo hospital.  He was their ‘kidney transplant’ specialist and wouldn’t give him  more than three days leave.  He left for work  sharp at 0800 after a quick breakfast,  ordered from a nearby restaurant.  He had told the restaurant to supply the midday meal  for Chitra.  As regards dinner that day he would decide after he returned from work.

Chitra got down to sweeping and swabbing all  rooms. The ground floor had three  bedrooms, a spacious living room and so on,  measuring about 1000 square feet. “ Too large for two,”  she told herself.   At 1230 hours, the calling bell rang.  “Who could  it be?”  Chitra was a careful woman; she wouldn’t allow any stranger inside her home.  She opened the front door a  crack yet keeping the chain hooked. She saw a small boy with a tiffin carrier. “What’s this?” she asked.

“Oh, Dr. Prabhu had ordered this?  How nice of him? Do bring the thing inside, young man.”

By the time Prabhu returned home the time was nearly 6.30 p.m. He noticed that the house had had a terrific get up and it was looking well done too. After a wash and evening coffee he announced that they were going to his house at Anna nagar for dinner with his parents.

Chitra didn’t look happy at all.  She didn’t even acknowledge the statement. But go, she had to.

“Welcome, welcome,” Srinivasan greeted the young couple.

“Settling down process going   on well?” “Oh, she had done it all, Pappa. Everything in place.  I couldn’t believe it myself.” Srinivasan   leaned over and complimented his daughter- in- law.

“Thank you.”

When Anjali Srinivasan asked if the restaurant food was nice for lunch, Chitra said, “Yes, Missus Srinivasan.  Nice.”   Anjali got a shock.  “Missus Srinivasan?  Couldn’t she have addressed me aunty if not athai (mother-in- law in Tamil) she whined silently.

But she wasn’t put off.  Prabhu had already warned her about Chitra’s animosity for MILs in general. “All right, all right, my girl.  I shall make you my daughter one day.”

Two days later Prabhu asked his wife, “Won’t you like to keep a  servant maid?    You can’t be maintaining such a huge house all by yourself?”

“Oohh.  Are maids available here?”

“Of course, for around Rs.2500 a month.”.

“ 2500? How much is that  in British pounds?”

“About  35 to 36  pounds.”

“So  cheap?  Yes, let’s have one.”

On the following  morning, Alamelu, 35, reported for work.  Anjali had  briefed Alamelu  how to go about the job.

Chitra welcomed her. “Oh  Hi,  Alamelu. You can do all work, you said?   Sweeping, swabbing, dusting.. and .. and ….”

Alamelu completed the sentence with “Cooking.”

“And how long will you be in the house?”

“Whole day, madam.  You have to give me lunch, that’s all. I shall be here sharp at 7 a.m.”

“Oh, that’s fine Alamelu.”

Days and weeks passed by. Prabhu and Chitra had well settled down in  their home and got used to their own routine except that  Chitra didn’t make any friends.  Nor did she feel like having any. She was a housebound little bird with her TV and computer and telephone.

“That’s not the way to live in the world.  It may be so in England but in India……,” Prabhu was going to say but restrained  himself. He would leave the reforming process to his mother.

Exactly six months after marriage, Chitra found herself pregnant.  Six weeks into it, she had gone in for morning sickness.  Vomiting, vomiting and vomiting. Chitra wished her mother were in Chennai to hold her head tight whenever she brought out the digested  stuff.  But no.  She couldn’t ask Alamelu to do that. So, she had to go through the ordeal with great will power.  “Should the damned vomiting occur only after Prabhu leaves for work….?”

That Monday evening, Alamelu threw a bomb shell.  She wanted a week’s leave.  Some wedding in the family, which she couldn’t miss.

Chitra was wild.  Couldn’t Alamelu  see that she was unwell?.  Was this the time to abandon her?  Chitra felt helpless. Alamelu was adamant.  She wouldn’t be coming for work from the following morning.. “All right. Go.  Don’t forget to come back next Tuesday, understand?”

Little did Chitra know that all these have been engineered by Anjali Srinivasan.  Though Alamelu protested, she was compelled to take a week’s leave with full pay.

While Chitra  got up and wondered how she would  prepare the breakfast for Prabhu and do all the house work with a palpitating stomach,  the call bell whirred. “Has Alamelu changed her mind..?”  Chitra  opened the front door and faced a smiling mother-in-law.  “Oh, Missus. Srinivasan? Do come in.  Do come in.”.

Even before Chitra explained her predicament, Anjali said, “Prabhu told me about Alamedlu’s leave.  Stupid woman. Anyway , doesn’t matter, Chitra.  I will stand in for her.  OK?”

“What an angel?” Chitra  felt.

The breakfast was delicious But then… then …. It threatened to come out and it did. Immediately,  Anjali cupped her palms and collected the spew and towed Chitra to the water basin and held her head tight as she vomited more

Chitra felt very relieved.  “Thank you, Missus. Srinivasan.  I am feeling hungry again now…”

“Wait, wait, I shall bring some iddli and chutney.”

“Should I eat it only to bring it out a little later?”  “Yes, yet you must eat, my child.  Can’t leave your stomach  empty ever…”

Anjali laid Chitra in bed and  started feeding her with her own fingers like Chitra was a small baby.  Chitra somehow loved being fed.  The food tasted better too.  “Liking it?”  Chitra nodded.

“Now, relax, Chitra.  I shall take care of everything.  By lunch time, Chitra was free from the vomiting  nausea. Anjali insisted  on feeding her herself Chitra didn’t protest.

Anjali prepared the dinner also and was ready to leave after her son  came  home. As  Anjali  was  on her way out,   Chitra asked, “Missus Srinivasan, thank you.  Er.. er…will you be.. er …will you be…. coming tomorrow?”

“Do you want me to ?”

“If you don’t mind …”

“Sure, my child. See you at seven. OK?”

”Thank you, thank you indeed.”

The mother- in- law took charge of Villa de London for the whole week.

Chitra enjoyed  this break   and the fuss of Missus  Srinivasan feeding her.  She never used  a spoon but her own fingers.  Chitra relished every morsel.

Came Monday . Alamaelu was expected to come for work from next day.

Anjali  left the  lunch plate  at the side table and went over  to complete the rest of the work for the day. When she came back,   she found the lunch plate lying  untouched. “Haven’t you eaten your lunch, my child ?”

“Aren’t you going to feed me  amma?” Chitra said most legibly.

Amma, did you  say magale ? (daughter).”  Anjali felt two little mountains  choking her throat. She couldn’t speak.  Totally moved, Anjali  enveloped Chitra with her arms, hugged her fondly  and sobbed like a child.

Two streams of warm tears rolled down Chitra’s cheeks. She too cried chanting, “Amma, my Amma.  Don’t leave me.  Stay here ……”

As Anjali felt stunned at the invitation,  she heard Chitra say, “Why don’t you move here, Amma?   You  and  Appa? (father).  Let’s  all live together.  This is too  big a  house just for the two of us?”.

————

value friends

It was early morning and I was lazing when she called up.“Is it really her number” I looked closely to reassure that she was the one who was calling then ignored it. “I won’t spoil my mood early in the morning”, I said to my self pulling the bed sheet over my head to slip in to the comforting world of morning slumber. A beep of the sms disturbed me again irritated I jumped out of the bed, it was her sms it read “ I know you are awake but not picking up my phone because you are distressed because of me, want to tell you that I am suffering from cancer. Wanted to say sorry to you before I die.” I deleted the sms thinking that it was her regular trick. She always resorted to such histrionics to set the train of our derailed friendship on track. She had that habit of offending people in public and pleading innocence in private. In our last encounter she offended me more than I could tolerate so we were out of touch for three to four years. Many days passed nothing in this matter happened and the message and its sender were forgotten forever. It was a lovely morning and I was scanning through the newspaper when my eyes detected a familiar name in the obituary column. It was her name. She was gone. My eyes welled up. Everything seemed so meaningless, my ego, my insult. But I realized it very late. I cursed my self for every thing but alas. We were great friends and took each other for granted. But on that fateful day the devil in my mind said she is guilty and must be punished. I have that habit of withdrawing myself without giving reason because what anyone else does is their problem but what I should not tolerate is my discretion. That was what I thought till that day. Today I have changed and say what ever others do is their problem but I will see only the good side of everything. Because of my stupid ego I did not answer the call of my dying friend. I have got a fitting punishment of living in permanent guilt. As children we speak out our minds openly but as adults it becomes difficult to speak out for so many reasons. The fruit of innocence once touched by the finger of reason loses its bloom permanently. Thereafter there is only reason for every thing. The beauty of art of living fades with childhood and the ugliness of adulthood survives like unwanted weed difficult to get rid off. Through the tainted glass of adulthood everything is tainted. Even the most pure things appear otherwise. The purity of thought fades away. But some events give you a jolt and you want to dust away the dirt forever and retain only the innocent purity, what ever the price.