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[2] The Past…

The answers he received now unlocked new questions.

Where will he find her?

How will he save her?

What does she even look now?

Does she still smile like that?

Does she still have that dimple on her left cheek?

The very thought made him smile! He remembered them running wild through the streets, conspiring and plotting their next blunder and then later at night, sharing the loot; lying next to each other and counting stars at night. He remembered how she used to name stars. He remembered the sound of her laugh as she played with her friends.

It wasn’t long before the nightmare started. It started after Mother passed away. That’s when the Monster started hurting her…he made her slog all day long and somehow hurt her all night. He used to hear her scream and cry but he could not do a thing.

He started losing his sleep. Their days of bliss were over and now they lived in a continuous state of a nightmares. Her smile was replaced by a gloomy silence and endless silent tears. He couldn’t understand what was happening but all he could understand was he had lost her…she had lost herself!

The very thought brought tears to his eyes.

He remembered the Monster hitting her with something hard on her foot…it was days before she could walk again without limping. He remembered the scar.

He was there all throughout…Helpless and suffering…just a silent witness to everything! He knew he had to save her. He knew he had to rescue her. He just didn’t know how.

It’s not that he didn’t try…but whenever he did he was beaten black and blue and locked up and refused food for days. Even in those days, she was the one who used to smuggle him some food from her share.

It killed him every day to see her suffer.

Unable to take it anymore, he asked her one day, how she was living? Why isn’t she doing anything? Why doesn’t she run away?

She answered, “I have nowhere to go. And although I am suffering, I know you are there by my side. You are…aren’t you? That’s what gives me hope.”

He offered to help. He planned to escape…together for the better. Finally he could see her face light up with hope.

He worked harder now, stole more, saved more while she saved food and packed their bags! He bought train tickets to a faraway place. Now, all that’s left is the escape.

That night, after the Monster was done torturing her…and fell asleep, he entered the room and helped her out of the house. They walked ,they ran, they stumbled…but finally managed to reach the station. The train was due in a couple of hours. They sat there, talking. She wanted to buy a bead necklace and a new dress once they reach the new place. He smiled, seeing her hope. He felt happier thinking that finally he was able to make her dream again. He was the reason. It meant the world to him.

The train arrived. They boarded the train. She placed her head on his lap and fell asleep. He fell asleep while caressing her hair.

Suddenly he could hear her scream his name. He opened his eyes only to see the Monster carrying her away. He ran after him. He turned around only to give him a severe blow. He fell inside the train and hit his head against the door. He could feel his head bleeding, and the last thing he remembered was the scared, tear stained, face of hers screaming for his help…after that everything turned black…and the trained carried him away…

[To be continued…]

The Story behind the story…

We push our past behind and move on…like it never happened. But aren’t those stories that actually make us what we are?

“My whole life…I seemed to be looking. But strangely never knew what! I felt I had a purpose, a reason, a goal-which was not to make money…but…to find, to save. But…whom? Or what? I need to know!”

He wrote closing his diary, frustrated. The helpless feeling which he had always felt, was making it impossible for him to be at peace with himself. Although a very successful singer as he was today, that feeling never left him.

He went to his balcony and stared down at the thirty storeys below.

“Should I jump? Will that give me peace?”, he contemplated.

But he already knew the answer.

He went inside and took out his guitar, went back to the balcony and started fidgeting with it. His impatience was evident. What was it that made him so uneasy! He stopped for a moment, closed his eyes and let the wind blow through his hair. It calmed him!

He leaned against the railing of his balcony and started playing a tune.

It was the very first time he was ever playing it, but it somehow seemed known…like…he didn’t know the words, but he knew the song.

Just like that…he knew! He needed to find it.

All this time…he had forgotten his terrible past. The days, he dreaded. The days, he was helpless. The days, he wished he was dead…or the days, he wished he had something to strike back and above everything else, the day, he couldn’t keep his promise to her.

[To be continued…]

Ribbon

I tried opening my eyes. It was difficult I must say. All I could feel was some gentle loving touches all over my body. Back then, I didn’t know what it was but I loved it anyway. I could feel some gentle kicking and pushing and scratching beside me.

I didn’t understand what it was! Who was that! Ouch! God! Don’t you push me!

I was angry. I pushed back in protest.

Soon I got hungry and cried. I felt the warm thing come close to me and along came the wet kisses. I was punching angrily as if to say “Feed me, Mommy! Feed me!”

Although all that came out were mere sounds, Mommy seemed to understand it all. She came closer and fed me. She also fed Nasty, Horrible and Little-Miss-cry-a-lot…that’s what I called them at least. Back then I didn’t know what their real names were. Come on! Don’t you judge me! I was a pup too. Mommy loved me most. She called me…

“Dumb!” Nasty finished my sentence.

“Oh shut up! She calls me her princess!”

“In your dreams, Dumbo…in your dreams!” Horrible replied.

I got furious. I ran towards him and bit him. Stupid Nasty, watched us fight while my weird sister cried. They have no respect for their elder sister. How dare they! But don’t you worry! I will teach you all…before Mommy came back from work.

As I was busy teaching them their lesson, Miss-cry-a-lot or…let’s just call her Missy, got busy cleaning herself.

After kicking and biting (whatever I had to do, to make them behave) I sat down waiting for Mommy…my thoughts again going down the memory lane.

I remember the first thing I saw after opening my eyes. It was a shiny pink thing wrapped around Mommy neck. Mommy was sleeping next to us. I opened my eyes properly and looked at her. My Mommy! Mine!

Oh the stupid shinny thing, the light reflected against it and made it impossible for me to look at My Mommy! Then I felt a kick beside me.

Oh God! I turned to see three smiling blithering idiots beside me. Oh hell! Siblings! And I thought Mommy was only mine! We are four of us…that makes a quarter for each! (Oh yeah! I knew how to count! I am smart you see!) This thought has always bothered me! Anyway…

These thoughts crossed my mind as we sat by our Human and waited at a strange place with strange things which went up and vanished. I wondered what they were. I wanted to go inside one and see. I was curious. Was Mommy in one of those? Does she work there? Does she work in those flying things? I got excited. I have to ask Mommy when she returns. I began to wag my tail excitedly.

We waited for God knows how long, for I fell asleep midway.

Suddenly I woke up. I realized Nasty was trying to wake me up. I woke up. I saw a human dressed in green standing beside our human and telling her something. Mommy goes to work with this human. He is here. Mommy must be too. I wagged my tail. But where was she? I don’t see her!

I looked at their faces trying to understand. The man had a piece of Mommy’s pink shiny ribbon. He gave it to her and left. Our human started leaking from her face. Wait! What was happening? Why is her face leaking? Tell me what happened! Where is Mommy?!

I shouted. I asked human. She didn’t reply. I got angry. I ran after the man but couldn’t go too far for they bought Mommy wrapped in a piece of cloth and placed her on the ground. I froze for a second. Then I ran towards her.

I pushed her. I bit her. I licked her. I called her.

“Mommy!”

Silence.

[10]

I woke up the next morning feeling different…good different. I couldn’t help but smile thinking about everything. I don’t remember feeling like this in a long time. I might have been wrong about myself maybe.

I could actually fall again. I could actually have a chance at being happy. I could actually maybe, live again and not pretend to do so. I could actually not wait for Death to come, in order to take away the burden of a life of mine! I could actually be happy!

I dressed up and went to the dinning hall. His Granny made a grand breakfast for us. At the table, she made us sit beside each other. We didn’t look at each other but we were smiling. And we knew it. We just did. And it didn’t go unnoticed by Granny. She didn’t say anything, just smiled.

We got into the car and drove away. He turned on the music. It was one of my favorites, once again. I heard him singing. I joined him. None of us were the best at it, but we didn’t care. We made a complete fool of ourselves and had a good laugh afterwards.

We reached my office and it was my turn to leave. I kept sitting. I didn’t want to leave. Opening the door and getting out would just burst my bubble, and reality would flood in…the reality where things were not perfect or anything close to happy.

“Hey!” he said, touching my hand.

I turned to look at him.

“Your office is here.” he said.

“I know.” I said.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” I said, opening the door.

“Wait!” he said, pulling my hand. I turned to look at him.

“Wait!” he said again, and gave me a quick kiss.

“Now you can go.” he said, with a naughty grin. I got out and barely went a few steps. I could feel his eyes following me.

I turned back and ran back to his car. Surprised, he quickly pulled down the window.

“What? You forgot something?” he asked.

“Umm…yes!”

“What?” he said, looking around.

“So…dinner tonight?” I asked, naughtily.

He stopped looking around and smiled, and said,

“Sure.”

[The End.]

[9]

I couldn’t sleep that night. The whole series of incidents kept coming back to me again and again. There were so many ‘whys’ whose answer I didn’t know…so many doubts, so many unexplained feelings…I didn’t exactly know what I was feeling anymore.

Why did I open up to him the way I did? Why did I not just bluntly break up with him(technically he never was my boyfriend to break up with…but…you know what I mean), he was just somebody my mother wanted me to marry. Why…how…what the hell! I hate feeling helpless.

Why on Earth was his hug so calming? Why did I hug him back? Why didn’t I just break up with him when I had the chance! Moreover, the kiss. Why did I? Why suddenly? Why me? I am not the kind of person who simply gets attracted to anybody and goes about kissing them!

Why didn’t he say something? Why did he simply hug me?

The questions were making me feel uneasy. I got up from my bed and started walking around the room, talking to myself.

After stomping around ,for about an hour at a stretch, I finally sat down. I still didn’t have any answers.

Just then, I heard a sound near the door. I turned to see that an envelope was pushed into my room from below the door.

What?! Who? And why push it under my door…why not knock? Seriously!

I went and picked it up. I tiptoed to the door and placed my ear on the door. I heard a voice.

“Shit! Why did I push it under like that! Shit! I could have just handed it to her tomorrow! What is wrong with me?!”

I couldn’t help but blush. Then I heard footsteps receding away. Oops! No!

I opened the door in reflex. He was shocked to see me awake at that time of the night.

“Umm…I thought you were asleep…umm…so didn’t…didn’t…knock”, he said, nervously.

“Umm…No. Couldn’t sleep.” I stared at him. So did he.

“I see…neither have you!” I smiled a little. “Do you want to…umm…come in?”

I saw him blinking twice, as if giving it some thought.

“Alright!”

He went and sat on the foot of my bed. I closed the door behind him. He was looking down at the floor. I went and sat beside him. I tried to start a conversation but failed. I realized I was still holding the envelope in my hand.

“What’s in this?” I asked.

He turned towards me and replied, “Just a small gift. Open it.”

“Okay. I will. ”

I opened it and saw my photo with the backdrop of the hill and the Sunset.

“Wow! I didn’t know you are that good!” I looked up and said. “I mean…” and before I could complete my sentence, I felt his lips on mine. I could feel my heart racing.

We took turns to kiss each other. It was not the same as the last one. It was a long and lingering one…the kind you remember your entire life! The kind which makes you go weak in your knees long after it’s actually over!

He stopped in between and looked me straight in the eye and said, “I had been wanting to do this, since you kissed me. You know, like repay you.” I laughed. He laughed too. Then he got up and left.

Was it even real? Was I dreaming it? No, it can’t be a dream.

I still had the photograph in my hand…no wait…it was on the floor…must have fallen when…you know!

I laughed…I felt good…after…I don’t remember how long!

Surprisingly, my heart was at peace and all my questions were gone!

[To be continued…]

[8]

We sat there in the dark with only the sound of the crickets connecting our silence. It seemed like Time had stopped in that exact embarrassing moment. Neither of us spoke a word. What have I done! Why did I do it?! What’s wrong with me!

Moreover, what is he thinking?! I needed to know…but too embarrassed to ask. I couldn’t even bring myself to stand up and run for my dear life. I remained sitting instead.

And so did he.

All he did was look straight into the night. What! Why! Who does that after a kiss! What’s wrong with him? He could have kissed me back. He could have pushed me away. He could have walked away angry or embarrassed or whatever. But…he did nothing.

Now that’s something I never predicted. I didn’t predict the kiss either…but ya…you get the point, right?

Connecting the dots, today I was supposed to tell him to leave me alone and look for someone else as his life partner…and…starting from the incidents at the restaurant, the drive, the hills…and the kiss! That damned, passionate, spontaneous kiss! Damn!

It started raining and we didn’t have a choice but to get up and run for shelter. Well, by the time we reached a shade, it was of no use . We were drenched already. I saw him worried about his precious camera like it was his child. But…no word came out of him.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

“I am sorry.” I said.
“What?” he said, looking up. “Oh! It’s…fine!”
Dude! Seriously?!
“Alright!” I said, furiously frustrated.

There was a pause.

“Your friend out there…” I started. He stopped his work but didn’t look up.

“I considered him ‘The Love of my Life'” I said, quoting the last words with my fingers.

“I loved him. It was years back but…a part of me…is still stuck there. I hate him. A part of me does. ”

“But I could never really move on. I wanted to. I still do. But when he came into my life, I had lost my faith in life. With him, I felt complete. I felt one with him-one belief, one faith, one dream, one love, one peace…like two halves completing each other. But…”

“But when he left…he took the whole damn circle with him and I have none left in me. I lost my peace. I lost myself. And I have no love to give.”

“I wanted to tell you this today back at the restaurant. But…I didn’t know he would turn out to be your friend. I didn’t want to give you any false hopes.”

“But…today…with you…the road trip…the hills…Sunset…deep conversations with you… I felt…better. Happy, also. I am sorry I kissed you. I am very sorry.”

I looked at him, expecting him to be furious. I was literally shaking due to my emotional outburst and also because of the chilly night air blowing over my drenched self.

Instead he came closer to me and hugged me. Seriously?!

I was too shocked to hug him back. Why was he hugging me? Didn’t I just tell him I can’t love him back? Still he hugged me? I mean…Wow!

I didn’t realize when I was hugging him back too…but…I have to accept. I was calm.

[To be continued…]

[7]

I stood by the balcony and stared at the Sun as it slowly went down the horizon and finally hid itself completely behind the hills, biding farewell. I had almost forgotten how much I loved the hills and the Sunset! I smiled. Good thing he brought me here. I made a mental note to thank him for that.

I heard a click beside me. I turned to see him with his face hidden behind a camera.

“Did you just…”

“You are very photogenic, I must say!” He replied before I could finish my sentence.

“Thank you…I guess!” I said, hesitatingly. He continued clicking pictures.

“I didn’t know you are into photography!”

“It’s more of a hobby. Capturing the perfect moment, seizing it, preserving it…making memory, carpe diem…you know?” he said, with a wink.

I smiled. He was deeper than I thought.

“I am going to take a walk and click a few photos. You in?” he offered.

Well I didn’t exactly have any other plans. But I was not busy either. And going around the place seemed like a good idea. So I decided to go with him. He didn’t take the easy way downhill. He went…what should I say…wild? Childish? Crazy? Well maybe a combination of all of them. He showed me the nests of birds, unusual plants, untraveled paths which apparently he discovered as a child. I was listening to him keenly.

It was already dark when we got back on the main roads. The roads were empty. We went and sat on a bench by the road. The town below was lit with lights. We had the Moon above us to guide us.

“I love this spot personally.” he said without looking at me.

“I can see why.” I smiled.

“Thank you and thank you.”

“Why and why?”

“For bringing me here and…umm…” I shouldn’t have said the second one. He was now looking at me, expecting me to answer.

“Not asking anything about…you know!”

“What?”

“You know…from before…”

“Oh that’s alright. I understand trust me. Everybody has their secrets. You have yours. I have mine. They need to be respected. Not judged.”

I nodded. He looked at me. I don’t know… I don’t know why he looked at me like that. I don’t know why…I went close to him and I kissed him.

[To be continued…]