His friend, Anwar

Fiction

Anwar Chacha, one of the most respected persons of Kullu; known for his charming wit and flamboyant poetry. He ran his family business of textiles while reciting poetry as a pass time; a hobby that stayed with him for over three decades now. Despite being a fifty five year old, he never looked anywhere closer to his age. His daily walks and exercises have kept him hail and hearty, thus keeping the youth alive in his eyes. He was Ram’s best friend since childhood. It was he who helped Ram and Sita get married, that to against parental wishes. It was a scene of havoc then but Anwar had managed the situation quite well, allowing everyone to adjust and return to normalcy. He stood by Ram’s side, rock steady, during the past five years, never allowing him to drift away from his sight. It was a difficult phase for everyone, especially for Anwar who was seeing his friend fade into oblivion. And the worst thing was the sheer helplessness he felt to do anything about it. Anwar would visit Ram every alternate day; most of the time during their meet would be spent in silence with a few exceptions that catered to formal courtesies.

It was the month of September, Chacha had walked in his friend’s office with a glittery card in his hand. His eldest son was getting married this fall, and Chacha was in no mood to hide his excitement. The first card, as both had promised years ago, had the name of Ram Shankar Bisht on it. Bisht took a long look at the card, closely examining every detail and finally breaking into broad smile.

“Faizal has grownup so fast. I still remember his first day at school like it was yesterday. Even Sita was there…” He stopped in middle, to finally smile again as he looked upon his friend, Anwar Sheikh.
“Ram Bhai, it’s okay. We can’t change what has happened in the past but why curse the present and spoil the future for things we can’t do a damn about. You need to move ahead, my friend. You need to.”
Ram got up from his seat and walked towards Anwar, and sat on his knees, looking Anwar right in the eye.

“I know Anwar, I know. But some people get so etched in our lives that he don’t find our existence to be true without them. After they leave, it all feels like a blur, a constant painful blur. But let’s leave that for today. It’s a time for celebration. Our boy is getting married. What more can we wish for!” He tightly hugged his long time friend, while placing his hand over his shoulder as they made their way outside for their beloved walk. It was the first time in five years that Ram had looked so cheerful, he spoke at length about the past, about memories of their children and of course Sita.

A week before the wedding, Faizal was returning back to Kullu from Aligarh, his workplace. He was the youngest professor of the university and he taught Sociology to his students. He was one of the most beloved teachers of the university; there were hardly anyone who despised him, not even by mistake. The last day at work, his students had gifted him a Sherwani for his wedding. It was richly decorated with small red stones while the design was carefully hand stitched which broke into life in patches near the chest till the waist, in short a flamboyant cream coloured sherwani. He loved it so much that he made up his mind to wear that for his wedding.

His train was stationed for arrival at 11:00 P.M at Aligarh. He waited patiently at the station, holding the sherwani carefully in his right hand while carrying his lone suitcase with the other. He looked at his watch, there were another fifteen minutes for the train to arrive. The restlessness, the feeling of excitement was catching up on him. After all he was getting married to his college sweetheart, Noor. It was the time when he wished there was a teleporting machine that existed which could teleport him home in no time. But it wasn’t the case, so he stood his ground waiting. What happened in the next ten minutes looked like a haze for everyone at the station. A few people with religious head bands and swords in hand appeared at the station and what followed next was carnage. No one was spared. The cream coloured sherwani, the flamboyant one, laid at an extreme corner with red speckles all over it. Next to it, was Faizal.

#JourneyCalledLife
#Series 3/many

P.S. Sherwani means a type of clothing worn during marriage; Chacha means Uncle. Both words are from Hindi Language.

 

 

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Shades Of Winter

“Sita!” He yelled at top of his voice. The voice resonated with doubled intensity from the mountain top upon which he stood. He screamed out her name again but the answer remained the same as before. He walked back dejected, like always. It felt more like a routine that he couldn’t escape. Every morning he would walk towards the narrow point and seat himself on the only bench present at the place. Most days, we would find him staring into the clouds, as if he is looking for answers from above. But the last month seemed a little rough on him than before. He wasn’t his normal calm self. There were many instances like today where he ran towards the point, only to stop himself by a moment while letting out her name in sheer despair. Helplessness seems to define him, and the pain instead of reducing with time, only grew.

The fifty five year old Ram Shankar Bisht had lost his Sita Mahalakshmi in an avalanche at that very spot, five years ago. Their love affair was nothing short of a folk tale. Both belonged to different regions, and shared no common language in between. Sita had met Ram when she had come over as a tourist to Kullu. It was Ram who had taught her the basics of Skiing. He was helping his father at his skiing business as he filled in the role of an instructor due to absence of the other. It was his first day at work, and Sita was the first person he attended to. And like it always happens, he fumbled while fixing the gear on her leg. He tried again but it didn’t work. He held out a nervous smile towards Sita, who smiled back with assurance that he could try again. This time it worked and she was all set for her first lesson. It was at this instance that Ram noticed Sita for the very first time. She had those big round eyes with neatly lined mascara around them. Her curly long hair was tied behind with perfection while the smile, the most beautiful one Ram ever saw apart from his daughters, flashed nervously at him. He held her hand and looked straight into her eyes and whispered, “Sita, it’s going to be all okay.” And she believed in him, straight away. It was strange though but his eyes seemed trustable to Sita unlike any stranger she had met before. It all began at that very moment, and they never looked back after that. The relationship, the opposition and finally their marriage; they saw through all by standing their ground, hand in hand with the other, without a word, without a thought of ever to let go. But fate, as we know it, is unpredictable. Not all things are in our hands; some we control, some control us.

Ram Shankar died a little, every day since that accident, but his twin daughters were the ones who kept him alive to see the light of another day. It was Isha, the elder one, who introduced me to Ramji. I was looking for a job as a guide, and Isha was my brother’s college mate, so I had asked her for help. It has been an year since I worked for him, and not a day had passed without him narrating a story or the other of his deceased wife, his Sita. And that day was my last at Kullu; I had a flight, early in the morning but the purpose of my stay, the answers to my questions, they all still remained in a blur. I settled down near the fireplace of Ramji’s house with a peg of whisky in hand while beginning a conversation with Ram Shankar Bisht that eventually changed the course of my life.

#JourneyCalledLife
#Series 2/many
#Ramayana

The Movie Effect

“There always is a girl, there will always be one. School was where I found her, but the only problem which remained was that I kept finding her over and over again. If you didn’t follow what I said then try to hear the story that follows a little more closely, because even I didn’t get it the very first time.

Crushes, I know we do have quite a number of them. They come, they make you feel good, then they disappear as we find another. It all began with the movies for me, and it never ended like one though. I was a perpetual newcomer in school due to my father’s frequent postings, and unlike others I liked it that way. Short and sweet was something that I had always come to terms with but the moment she arrived, a new longing broke into life for me. It was different than before, yet similar like the others. Every school I had gone, I found someone connected to, someone who I believed may be right for me. I know that’s a big word for a school going kid but I would blame the movies like I had mentioned before. Anyways, she wasn’t like the others, she was special, obviously she has to be, right.

I saw her waiting under the shade, I believe her van was late to pick them up. She kept peeping into the street corner to find a trace of her van but all she found was me passing a smile at her. It was strange to be honest when I think about it now but that’s what I did then. It went on like that for days before I finally spoke but she turned the other way and walked away. I tried again but the same response. I tried yet again but the response remained unwavered, even on the last day of school. I didn’t know what to make out of this, and that’s when the movie industry went into a transformation.

That’s the time I came to know what stalking really was, that’s when I realised what might have turned her off. I finally understood that sometimes it was okay to let it go than to pester around just to prove a point. I evolved but never moved. Three years later at a school get together I found her again. Like always I smiled but this time I walked away after that. It took us another three years, and a few reunions to finally get speaking. But when we did, unlike always, was special. It wasn’t the cliches I had grown up with but it was just a casual yet fascinating talk about movies between two. We joked around about the movies of the past, we played those lines and deliberated on them equally before we finally bid each other goodbye. She was standing their waiting but I didn’t have the courage to ask her number, I didn’t wanted to become a creep again, I really didn’t want to. She finally left with a smile on her face, and I stood there completely lost. I tried to satiate myself that I would meet her soon and may be get her number then. But that never happened, at least for the next four years.

Coincidences like our movies aren’t that common in our lives, it isn’t the small world they portray it to be. We were already seeing other people at that time when we met at a common friends wedding. We laughed about how we should have been in touch and made it a point to remain so in the near future. The texts kept coming in and going out, we developed a mutual trust, a sense of camaraderie between each other. In short span of time we gave away our deepest and darkest secrets. But we weren’t in the right state then, we had commitments to be kept and one fine day, she called up and we decided to lay off for a while to figure out what we really want. That’s the most hardest part to be honest; it’s the time when you know she is the one for you but you can’t do a damn about it. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my girlfriend that much but this was kind of different. We decided to honour our relationships to keep our conscience intact but they eventually got battered down in midst of artificiality that I think we tried to impose. It took time to get over the guilt of letting down the ones who loved us for our own selfish sense but when we did, we met again and we never turned back after that.”