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Thirtieth Anniversary

“She appeared from behind, slowly measuring her steps before she took them. The crowd stood agitated in front of her house while she stood before them, head down. Between her and the crowd stood her father and Ram. The noise grew louder with every dialogue her father and the crowd spoke, ultimately it was her father who had the last say. The villagers returned back to their humble huts but a decision was still not taken. Her father had to approve of Ram which was in no case easy. He belonged to a different region, a different caste, and most importantly even his parents weren’t in agreement with him in this. This made the matters more complicated but Sita was determined. She spoke to her father animatedly, spoke for the man she loved at par with her father. It wasn’t something easily digestible for the village headman, her father, but he heard her patiently while Ram stood at one corner. He glanced at him, but both men shared no words. It was Sita who did most of the talking, only to be stopped by her father to bring Ram in front. Sita looked at Ram with tense eyes, of not knowing what was to unfold now, whether her father would approve the match. It was their decision, together, to marry only if both their families agreed. Now there were thoughts in Sita’s mind questioning that decision, especially after what just happened a little while ago.

The sight of charging villagers with lathi in their hand, standing in unison with their Thakur Saab wasn’t a pleasant sight for both of them. Ram had tried initially to convince Sita’s father but Thakur was in no mood to listen. He shouted at Sita at peak of his voice while the crowd jingoistically held their lathis high to make a strike. Thakur was able to understand the mood of the mob better as one among the mob yelled out, “Thakur Saab, give us a chance we will beat this scoundrel to death.” While yet another screamed out, time and again, “Kill him!!!”. Thakur Saab with a loud and clear voice yelled at the mob to disperse. “It’s up to me to decide. You all go back home, right now.” They tried to resist his words initially but no one dared to go against Thakur. They silently turned back and walked towards their huts.

Finally Ram spoke again, unrestrained as he usually does, it sounded intimidating to even Sita. But Thakur wasn’t the one to be cowed down by Ram’s rhetoric. The discussion turned into a debate with no man relinquishing their ground, they toed each other on every issue. After almost half hour, the men sat down on their respective chairs. This time the talk went more subtle, and humble. It was Thakur who relented first, Ram only realised it late that it was his turn to mellow. By that time Thakur had asked for two large glasses of lassi for one another. They slowly gulped it down along with their over expressive ego. It was dusk when Thakur finally agreed about Ram; Sita was sitting along with her father, throughout the conversation, facing Ram. She hadn’t moved an inch, it was her future which was at stake. Now their dream of being together was finally coming through, Sita let out a big smile as her father ended his sentence with a ‘Yes’.

Sita kept smiling as her eyes remained transfixed at Ram while Ram had his eyes always on Sita, especially when he thought he was faltering in the conversation. Her eyebrows rose in fear every time she felt Ram crossed the line, and Ram toned down the conversation as he saw that expression on her. Those little unsaid things which the other understood by a mere expression became the defining factor of their relationship over the years. They weren’t the vocal kind who held long conversations with the other in the name of romance, it wasn’t their thing. They belonged to a different category all together, the ones who were willing to just sit idly in front of each other, without even speaking a word, and still not get bored. That special was their bond, something which words could never define, something which one could feel but fail time and again to describe. Today would have been their thirtieth wedding anniversary but things never pan out the way they should.

Ram settled down on his usual seat near Sita’s favourite place, the one facing Mount Shalimar. He reminisced those moments leading to their marriage as a tear rolled down his cheek. Five years is a long time, but his Sita Mahalaxmi was not someone he could forget so easily. Ram never tried to either; he lived with those memories, some brought about a smile and some like today, brought out an odd tear. Isha, his only daughter, walked towards him, “Shall we leave, Dad?”. He didn’t reply. She asked again,”Dad?”.

“Sorry!” He brought out his handkerchief and wiped the silent tear gently. Then responded with a low voice, “You go ahead, I will join you for dinner.” Isha looked at her father for a brief moment, then asked Anwar Chacha to make sure that he doesn’t stay for long. And then she left while Ram Shankar sat back on the bench, losing himself all over again in the memories he had created with Sita. But sadly he was all alone to relive them over and over again.”

#JourneyCalledLife

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Homecoming

Fiction

The windows had been fluttering for a while and the curtains kept flying like a ghost, meanwhile I kept tucking my head inside the pillow to avoid any form of light so possible. I didn’t know how to fight it, I didn’t know who to side with, but all I managed to do was listen, even when I didn’t want to.

The fight had raged for over an hour, neither my mom nor my father had calmed down, instead they fired each other with insults and abuses, all the things they had accumulated in their 10 years of marriage. I was only 8 then, and didn’t knew that this would be our last day together. I didn’t even understand what was happening, until the judge had me asking whom I preferred to live with. The answer was simple then but may be a lot difficult now, I decided to side with my mother, knowingly or unknowingly I did let my father down for whom I was the biggest treasure in this world.

I missed him a lot, may be even my mother did but she never shared. She knew she could not be taken for weak, she knew she had to prove him wrong. All the time she tried to love me till a point where I will forget his existence, but all the time I kept feeling that it would have been better if he was along. I didn’t see my dad for over 15 years, they said he got married again but when I asked my mom the same, I was met with only silence. They said he has a daughter and a son, and a beautiful wife whom he finally loved and lived with, but I could never believe, I may never will. When I asked the same to my mother, this time I met with her tears along with a deeper silence. I could see that she still loved him but knew she would never admit it.

I tried searching for him everywhere till the point I found him on Facebook with a profile picture of his children and him. I was heartbroken, the rumour had finally come true and I wasn’t in a position to accept it. I made a pact with myself to never let him know about my curiosity, about my love for him, but all I was left were thoughts that I would confront him with, the thoughts where I would finally be able to ask whether he ever missed me. But I could never dare to message him until one day when I finally did. Those few hours were my longest till he finally replied with a place for us to meet.

Trying to fight both the emotions, happiness and fear, I made my way to the restaurant where I finally saw him in his trademark mustache which I had always tried to emulate but had failed times so many. I waived back at him with a big smile only to get a cold smile in return, making me question my decision to meet him but I tried hiding those thoughts as I made my way to the table.

After a long silence, he finally spoke.

Him: Do you drink? Shall I order a pint for you?

Me: Sure.

After having waived the waiter about the order, he tried to look straight into my eyes and tried saying something but couldn’t utter it out. There was tinge of a tear and a heaviness in his eyes when he finally said that he missed me.

I couldn’t control my tears as I replied at the very instant about how much I missed him. He came forward to console me and embraced me with a tight hug which I reciprocated. I was very much like him, very emotional, very sensitive and we always spoke from our heart. I knew it then that how much I loved him, but I just couldn’t leave him and I continued crying on my father’s shoulder.

Him: Calm down my son. I am here, don’t worry.

Me: Why didn’t you meet me or at least call me before? Did you even remember me?

Before I could let him answer, I kept asking him

Me: I needed you all these years but you weren’t there. And now you have come only when I called you, this is wrong Dad. This is very wrong. Did you actually miss me?

Him: I really did son, but I couldn’t do a thing before your mother’s will. She was adamant and for the right reason that I shouldn’t be allowed to meet you.

Me: Why would she say that? She still loves you!

Him: Even I love her and I would always do. But at that time I wasn’t at the right place, I had so many problems to sort that it took me time.

Me: What problems? Were they more important than me?

Him: They weren’t, they will never be. I will tell you about them when time comes, but as for now let’s leave them unanswered.

Me: Is it anything to do with your affair which broke us apart? Is it to do with your marriage?

Him: Yes it’s that affair which broke us apart but that was not the sole problem which I had to deal with. And who told you I was married?

Me: Some of our neighbors, I even saw your pic with two kids.

Him: They are my school children, I teach there.

Me: So you are not married?

Him: No I am not. Now will you stop accusing me and finally allow me to have my drink.

Me: Sure sure! We have a lot to catch up, mom will be really excited if she hears about you.

Him: I doubt that. Let’s put this meet as a secret.

Me: Not possible, you guys love each other then why don’t you give it another chance.

Him: It’s not that simple my boy. Now calm down, let’s see what happens.

Me: Okay, I am really hungry let’s go for the starters.

Him: Let’s go.

The conversation went on for another hour when we finally bid each other adieu, and I returned home to see my mom in tears. Dad had already called her about the meet, and she was happy as I told him but still wasn’t in a position to accept this until I finally opened up. She understood that this was inevitable, but she herself never gave him another chance. We met many more times but my hope for them to come together has remained a reverie. I am surely happy with the things as they are going but would always hope for a family finally; a happy ending some day.


Picture Courtesy: shutterstock.com

The Pillows in the sky

The clouds started to mesh around one another for creating those beautiful white pillows in the sky while the sun made his appearance felt by glorifying the boundaries of the cloud. As I lay down on the grass, I felt the cool morning breeze passing through my ears whereas my closed eyes saw those flying strings moving haphazardly on an orange background. All this while, my mind was teleporting me in to various instances, ones which have occurred in the past & also the ones which I expected to happen in the future. I kept replaying those scenes so that I could keep reminding myself of the mistakes I have committed. Those scars of the past & the fear of the future that had made my head a lot heavy which in turn kept squeaking for mercy. But I was indifferent, as I thought if I could sustain the pain then I could solve the problems. However I didn’t know then, that for solving a problem you need a clear mind & for that I needed to accept my mistakes and move on.

I was longing for those white pillows where I could rest my head & feel no worry. I wanted the breeze to be so swift that it could carry my memories with it, & save me from this recurring pain. I had given up hope just like those flying strings which ran in all directions but could never reach home. I had zeroed on this day to decide whether I have the will left to live more or should I fly high to that beautiful heaven up above those glowing clouds. I had almost given up on life, I knew the will was dead long ago but I just wasn’t ready to give up, it was very scary to even think of that. But the mental scars were one too many to handle, they kept bleeding the past in front of my closed eyes till I lost my energy to sustain. But I still wasn’t ready to give up; it was still very scary, so I got up & made my way back home.

I knew what would happen when I reach home; I would have to answer a lot of questions & I didn’t know whether they would understand even if I try to answer. All sorts of things started to go around in my head; what was I going to answer about the letter I had left behind? Will they love me as they used to? Will I be able to see them in the eye ever? As I ruffled out of these questions, I was in front of my house which had the door open. I made a silent entry into the house; I could see my mother crying as she sat inside my room, holding on to my childhood picture. I was shivering as the tears kept flowing down, while I took my closing steps towards her & called out “Amma”. Her teary eyes hadn’t seen anything beautiful as this moment; son who she thought was lost had come back. Her joy was unbound, she didn’t scold me or even ask me anything, but she just pulled me close & gave me a tight hug. As I rested my head on her lap, I finally realized that it wasn’t the pillows in the sky which would make me free, but it’s the mother’s lap which makes any child feel free & loved, and I was no different.


Amma means mother in Telugu/Tamil language.

Pic Source: http://videohive.net/item/clouds-in-the-blue-sky-and-sun/10155826

The Strange Ritual

Read the before part: Forgotten Wishes

Travelling has been part and parcel of my work life, flying me into different cities and throwing me into different climates; it’s tough especially when you have to leave behind your family and travel alone. I would be wrong to generalize that I always hated these trips as there was a time where I was looking out for them and grabbing even the half- hearted opportunities that came my way. But now it’s different, I have been married and have an eight year old daughter who I have to look out for, which makes me want to give rest to these age old wings which I had acquired through my innumerable trips to these innumerable places in this majestic world.

Long back, I had started a strange ritual whenever I am on these travel trips which has now completely gotten into me; I think this started nine years ago, when I had to leave behind my wife to travel to Mumbai, though a domestic destination which wouldn’t last for even a day or so, but I missed being with her. May be it was the occasion which I was going to miss or maybe I just wanted to be with her and celebrate our first wedding anniversary together, but work commitments got better of me and I had to leave. So there I was seated in the aircraft which was getting ready for take-off, while I was staring at this picture of my wife in my wallet, running my fingers over her glossy hair, smiling back at her as if she was for real. If the take-off wasn’t that bumpy I would have literally spoken to her, I am pretty sure I would have been serious. Every time we passed through turbulent skies and when the aircraft became all shaky, I would be seen holding the picture close to my heart. It was strange for me because I never attached so much of emotion for someone and also no one ever loved me back the way she did.

The meeting got over as per the schedule; I boarded my flight back to Delhi and trust me, every minute felt longer than usual. I just wanted to see her, so I started rushing out as soon as the flight landed and even to the point that I was cursing the airport authorities for the delay in arranging the walkway. I just couldn’t wait.

As I rushed outside the arrival facility to catch a cab, I failed to notice a humble tap on my shoulder and finally it was her voice which made me turn towards her. I simply hugged her and didn’t let her go for a couple of minutes. We missed each other, we surely did; it was the first time since our marriage that we had stayed apart for close to a day and it also came on the most important occasion of our lives. We took our car, and went to that favourite burger place of hers which I had my friend to book the entire place in advance. Yes you heard it right; it was not a candlelight dinner which everyone expects to go on their anniversaries. It was just a simple but special burger place, because it’s the same place where we first met and fell in love.

Now, 9 years later, I walk in to this restaurant for my daughter, it’s also her favourite place to eat; like mother like daughter. I do get these glimpses of my wife all around this place making me feel close to her, though she isn’t anymore. The time we spent here will always be priceless; I just wish she could have lived a little longer.

This time as I wait in the airport, the minutes start to appear longer than the usual. I just wanted to be with my little sweetheart whose birthday I almost missed. Like the previous occasion, I had my friend to book the entire place for me and my daughter to celebrate; she was going to turn eight.

So as I took my seat in the aircraft, I carried on with my ritual, and today I just missed her more than anything, may be it was the occasion and maybe I just wanted her to be with me however I wasn’t alone; our daughter missed her more than me.

Flight prepared to take-off while I was holding her picture close to my heart and wondering what gifts we should get for our daughter.

The End.


Their Little Superstar.

Rocking the cradle to lay asleep
The little superstar of her life,
Dreaming his future through her eyes
And sharing those dreams with her husband beside.

Caught up with the thoughts for the small world
They had built for themselves which had expanded
As they welcome the little one into their life,
With tears of happiness and a feeling of being complete.

The superstar is still holding onto his dad’s finger
With no mood to let go, though his sparkling eyes are tired,
Preparing to drift into sleep as the cradle is slowly rocked
While the couple sit along hand in hand and smile.

They smile for being blessed with the most beautiful gift of love,
They smile because they know this is what they had wished for,
They smile as they promise to be the best parents
By being the friend, philosopher and guide to their little superstar.