Tag Archives: fiction

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.”

 

The beginning of our fall

“I am scared Ryan! What if..” “You must relax Tara. All will be well. We are almost there at the hospital. Try holding on for a while.”

She had asked me stay back home, she knew that she wasn’t alright. It was her last trimester and I should have been there next to her but I wasn’t. I had these dreams of building a perfect future for our kid, a world which we couldn’t receive. I never realised how carried away I would become. I never did, even then.

We luckily reached on time, and all went well. Our daughter Arya was born. She had her mothers eyes, those curious little ones which followed me wherever I went.

But now when I reminiscence the day, I could clearly sense that something broke between me and Tara. She didn’t actually confront me but I could see it in her eyes. I had let her down, and it became the beginning of our fall.

#EpisodesOfLove  #Tara&Ryan

The First Night

Marriages are mostly arranged in India. Mine was no different. It was in the fall of 1999, I had been working for a civil consulting firm for the past four years and was ready to take the big step of marriage. I had a failed relationship when I was in college; the heart break had left me shattered for years. I just didn’t have the courage or the excitement to move on. The pain was pretty intense initially but it waned way with time, slowly bit by bit. Now when I was ready to get hitched, a small part of me became curious, the one which badly wanted to fall in love all over again. That’s when Tara happened to me. She and I had met only a couple of times before we got married. We didn’t get a chance of getting to know each other more, it was only after marriage that we realised how perfect we were for each other.

The first night together is always the most awkward phase in any arranged marriage. I remember Tara walking in with the trademark glass of milk in her hand. Her hands were shivering as she placed the glass on the table and sat right next to me. We both were nervous and we both didn’t know what to speak then.

“What do you know about me, Tara?” I passed a line to break the silence.

“That you work for a consulting firm and you’re a talented civil engineer.”

“About my personality, my character?” I stressed. Her eyes moved curiously towards me.

“I think…that you love speaking a lot. You didn’t give me a chance to speak back then when we met.” She had a sigh of relief as she finally muttered those words. I on the other hand was a little shocked but pleasantly happy. She was finally speaking up and it was my turn to reciprocate.

“You had those curious eyes stuck on me, just the way you have them now. Every time I finished a statement, your expression remained the same so I thought you were expecting more. And so I went on!”

“You have a nice voice Ryan. It felt like I have heard your voice somewhere. It was like a deja vu for me. That’s why that expression I believe.”

“Thank you. That’s a first. Where did you hear me before?”

“Do the math engineer. Where could our lives possibly intersect?”

“I had attended an event in your college. But I don’t know whether you were there in the audience. We were staging a play and I was the narrator. That’s the only connect I can think of. I moved to Delhi, and you to Bangalore.” Still thinking where else she could have heard me.

“Do you remember the host for the event?”

“I don’t, to be frank. But there surely was a lot of hooplah by my friends about the cute host. I on the other hand was busy on my phone, narrating every detail to my ex.”

“You are bang on. But I didn’t knew that I also got compliments! I was too scared of my saree, I had worn it for the first time.” She paused for a while, then continued as she passed me the milk and picked up an apple for herself.

“Ex? What happened, if you don’t mind?”

“Not a problem, it was a long time ago. We broke up after college. Long distance doesn’t work in my case. To be honest it took me time to get over her. It was one of the most difficult periods of my life. I had so gotten used to her company that after we fell apart, I found no one to share them with. My stories, my emotions, I just couldn’t handle them.”

“Then how did you cope?”

“I don’t know. But one thing is for sure, time does heal. I found my voice through my blogs, I tried to showing my emotions in open. I slowly tweaked my quality to become more of an extrovert. It wasn’t easy but I had already made up my mind to make things work. So I think they finally did.”

“That was deep!”

“I have a habit of going deeper in conversations. Hope you don’t mind.”

“I am similar on that note.” She added.

“Tell me your story? Boyfriend?”

“Where do I start?”

“That seems like a long list!” I tried my humour but all I got was a blank expression from her. She sat down near me, after placing back the jewels, with a dead pan expression, looking straight at the wall in front.

“No Ryan. Akash was the only one.”

“What happened then?”

There were tears that started to appear. She spoke slowly and finally uttered, “He is no more.”

“What? How?…Sorry.”

“It was three years ago. There was a car accident, a lorry had rammed into his vehicle. And I didn’t see him again.”

“I had just spoken to him an hour before then. I never knew that it would be our last. I never knew that.”

“I am sorry Tara. I really am.”

“Don’t be Ryan. I am okay now. He is the reason for me starting my NGO, “Rakshak”. It deals with implementing better rules and infrastructure for road safety. We are working with the government to get the Act together, and if brought in & passed by the house it would be revolutionary Ryan.”

“I now remember. I saw your interview in “The Hindu”, Tara. You have wonderful ideas lady, I hope your dream succeeds.”

“Thank you Ryan. Won’t you be supporting me?”

“Always will, always.”

“You still thinking about Akash?” She enquired.

“Yeah. See I will try making one thing clear Tara. I won’t try to take the place what you have for Akash; I won’t ask or compel you to forget him. He is part of you and I respect that.”

I could see her eyes get moist again; she had those curious eyes back on me. She wiped away the tears and made herself comfortable on the sofa.

“Come here Ryan. Are you tired or can you narrate a story to me?”

I smiled as I sat to her left, and narrated the story I know the best. Her expressions, I could never forget them, they were the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. She had her giggle going for her, and I saw her finally the way I always hoped her to be, smiling. The conversation went long; we moved from one story to another but managed to keep our curiosity burning high even after the exhausting talk.  That night we shared a sofa, like all friends do. She dozed off on one end while I on the other. We woke up with a smile for eternity in our eyes but never knew that we would end up divorcing each other eight years later.

I got up from my seat as I saw her coming. It felt like she hadn’t aged at all, the twinkle in her eyes remained alive for me. Though we did have our share of grey hair, but a date was a date. That too after ten long years since we separated. I decided to narrate what I knew the best, and she was all ears to the old story of mine which she had heard enumerable times before. Her curious eyes remained the same, even after eighteen years since that night of our marriage. So I began.

#Tara&Ryan
#EpisodesOfLove

The Seperation 

“I sat down, recollecting and refurbishing the details of our last encounter. The time froze as the thoughts poured in to the floating phrases that I had been left to deal with. I closed my eyes, and finally allowed them the space to regroup into a complete whole for me to understand. The play was disturbing; the first thought that sparked reminded me of the void she had left, years ago. It’s really strange that the first possible thought we get when we meet someone, who used to be close, is the one of departure, the one that actually hurts.

It was raining heavily that day; cyclone warning had been issued and the landfall was expected in the next 6 hours. I still remember the frantic calls she had made to my office and how easily I had brushed them aside. She kept telling me to come home soon but I had an important client to satisfy. The deal would have been a big boost to my company, it would have sent us to the next level and I was too ambitious to avoid that. The last call that I received from her was on 8:05 P.M. There were 12 missed calls from her in total. When I finally gave her a call an hour later, the lines were left jammed. I kept trying her phone but all I could hear was how unreachable she was. I didn’t leave hope, as I frantically called her number every other minute, but signal was nowhere to be found.

I left the office in a hurry, managed my way through the overflowing flood to finally reach home. The lights were cut off, the house door was left open. The water had seeped in and all the items were floating in the verandah. I sensed my daughter’s teddy bear near my leg, while her favourite red dress was flowing away in to the main road. I couldn’t control my anxiety any more; the endless thoughts were running amok in my head. All of them related to their safety but I couldn’t find a trace of that in the house. I enquired with the neighbours but nobody was able to answer. I leaned towards the wall and seated myself with the tears that began to flow; it even beat the rain that stopped half a day later.

Next day, I reached my friend’s place after I received a text from her about Tara and Arya.

“Is she safe? How is Arya? Where are they?”

“They are upstairs.” She replied.

As I made my way towards the stairs, my friend stopped me with words that shook my world and left me shattered in a second.

“She wants divorce Ryan. She can’t handle you anymore.”

I didn’t want to believe those words, my Tara can never do that to me. I know my selfish self was talking again, but some characters in us are really difficult to be plucked.

I went ahead with the stairs and knocked her door only to hear the same words from Tara. The only difference was that this one broke my heart to pieces which I was sure would be never fixed again. I could hear my daughter sob from a distance but I wasn’t allowed inside the room. The door remained shut despite my endless protests. I didn’t realise then that the door would be bolted for me forever.

We signed the divorce papers the next Wednesday, and the last sight I remember of my daughter was in the court where her mother took the custody from me forever.

Today after ten long years, I saw Tara again.”

#EpisodesOfLove
#Tara&Ryan

Two Tablespoons Salt

She picked up salt instead of sugar and added two tablespoons of it. I sat down to have my cup of tea, and I wasn’t amused. I rallied myself to the bathroom only to return red faced with a simple question in my mind.
“What did I do now?”

She chose not to answer. I tried hard to think what I had forgotten, what special could this day be. I very well knew Tara’s way of expressing her displeasure, it had almost become a routine, at least once every month. But today’s tea was the most salty that I have been yet served, that made me only more perplexed to find the reason.

“Tell me, what did I do wrong?” I sat down, dumbfounded, looking at her.

She slowly passed a note and made her way towards the balcony.

“Do you remember the day you proposed?” The note screamed out the memories of our past. It was a pleasant day, a decade ago, and it was our first date. We had been together for over an year before that, but the time zones were just too different for us to go out even once together. The night went on well; we were too into each other that we never realised when the time passed away, and how I got on my knee and proposed to her on our very first date. She said yes, if anyone is till wondering. And the rest as everyone says is history lies the fact that we had been married for almost a decade now and still can’t get enough of each other.

But today I had forgotten that beautiful night, so I had to do what I do the best. I went into the kitchen, and made ourselves hot steaming coffee and came out with her cup held out. I handed her the cup and sat next to her with my arm around her shoulder, whispering silently along the breeze, “I love you, my lady. I always will.” She sipped into her coffee with a gentle smile, and then slowly moved over my chest to reach a place close to my lips to finally reply, “I love your coffee, and I love you too.”

#EpisodesOfLove
#Tara&Ryan

Letters

Letters, the hand written ones, were something that kept our relationship going, despite the mess that long distance was turning out to be. In the internet era with fast paced devices at our disposal, we still relied on the postal services to communicate. She had left for America a couple of months ago, while I was stuck at the national capital with my pesky job at hand.

As every normal guy, I hated my job and dreamt of something big that I was meant to achieve only to find myself in midst of constant nagging in my friend circle about how big a writer I would become. While she had it quite figured about what she really wants from life, what she wants to become, and where she will settle. When I met her for the first time, she was dating her perfect guy and was part timing at a reputed publishing firm in Delhi, and the moment my eyes met hers, I knew it right then, that she is way out of my league. She had these thick glasses with the most pleasing smile anyone could flaunt, and a persona to encapsulate anyone near her proximity.

The meet was in a small cubicle of hers, I had gone there to inquire about her boss, the famous Tanisha Rai, the publishing mogul to know the status of my novel submission. After weeks of persuading and turning up at her office only to find a blank no at my request, I returned dejected and less confident about being a writer ever. As I was about to put up my chequered tie, a corporate office melodramatic tool (aka Comet), to turn up to the sales executive job the next day, I received a text “I read your work, it’s really beautiful Ryan. Don’t worry, you will make it big one day. Try other firms, Mrs Rai has her hands full and wouldn’t give the importance this novel deserves. Take care, Tara. (P.S. This is not a corporate gimmick to keep your heart :P)”

The texts went on a spree from there on, that’s a story for another day, but things finally led to a date at apparently a restaurant which later became our favourite for years to come. That night of our first date, we ticked our many firsts and one of them, the most modest one, being was pulling an all-nighter. We spoke for hours together; bid the other goodbye for a straight 6 times to get our sleep for the morning shift we had, but the conversations kept us abuzz, making the clock go on snooze forever.

That was three years ago, and now as we faced the dilemma of long distance in our minds, we searched for the glue that would make us stick no matter what. We had our minds rolling to find that, and weird things came up to our mind only to rest on something that got us started the first place.

Three years ago, the first date

Tara: Do you handwrite all the stuff? I saw your copy of submission; it was a Xerox of a handwritten one.

Ryan: When I really love something, I ink it with my pen. I somehow, believe if I am really interested in a topic, my ink won’t be scared of shedding and would make no mistake in foretelling the story I behold.

Tara: I like that. I do the same actually but not just for the love of writing but the paper creases and the smell of paper make me feel special. I don’t know why, maybe I sound a little stupid there!

Ryan: You don’t. You won’t believe my love for handwritten pieces started from the letters of my parents during their college days. They spoke how they used to write their feelings in a tiny sheet of paper and send it across to the other. They said that the paper was enough; it conveyed the emotions they swelled within them.

Tara: Do you still have them?

Ryan: I do, but I have been made to promise to open them when I meet someone special.

Tara: That’s sweet…really sweet Ryan. So did you meet anyone?

I smiled as we kept our eyes engaged and it’s been three years since, we had that box with us but never dared to open it; always getting scared about whether we were all ready for it or not!

We didn’t open it even on our last day together, before Tara flew away to the states. We heard our share of stories about long distance relationship, and we didn’t have the courage to challenge that long held view. The next day at the airport when I went to bid her adieu, I placed a letter I had written for days on her hand “Tara, I don’t know what I am trying with this letter, but I think this would be our glue that would make us stick. Take care, and do write back. I would be waiting for your reply.”

She had tears in her eyes, as she clutched on to the letter and disappeared among the crowd, leaving me with a shattering pain to accompany. It was a week since she left, that morning when I walked out I found her letter at my doorstep.

The End.

#HappyNewYear
Photo credit: Fountain Pen by Antonio Littorio (The Power of Words)