Tag Archives: Life

The Antagonist

“Humanity, love for a fellow human being, is it some sort of a bargain we have to dish out every time we meet or converse with an another. Does it come out naturally to us or is it forced upon, like the innumerable veils we garb ourselves with. Couldn’t we just enforce a default and forget paying back the goodwill which others generously spend on us. Why can’t we treat it as an economic good, scare and non-renewable, using it only when we generate profit from it. Isn’t manipulation a quality? Why is it seen as a crime? Why do people see me as a misfit when they do what I do but only implicitly? It’s a strange world out there.”

The invisible thoughts flew around one after the other as I finally kept the nib up and rounded the diary back to the shelf. I had bigger things to focus upon, bigger for the moment I was in. It would be my 5th robbery today and the art seemed to flow naturally for me. Despite being only twenty, I already had a high reputation in my circle to live up to. Coming to repute, let me make one thing clear, I am no robin hood, which I think you have already figured. I have no remorse at what I do, nothing whatsoever. Though I do keep my count, the number of things I messed up during previous heists, the ones I should avoid this time. I keep looking for that perfect score, the invisible stature where I would walk in and walk out, unknown, untouched, like I was never there. But anyways that’s the dream.

Tonight, I had circled on the house at the corner, the one with the beautiful garden. Something I haven’t told you yet, I had wanted to become a florist when I was a little kid before I was pushed into our family business. It wasn’t exactly a push, it came naturally to me, may be that’s the reason I started early. Please don’t mind these thoughts; they keep flying by. Coming to the house I was talking about. It had been locked for over a couple of weeks. I inquired around, they all seem to say that it would take another week for the family to get back. That night as I lay inside on the sofa, watching my favourite serial “FRIENDS” on my iPad, I heard a chatter from outside.

“Dad, please open the door. I can’t hold it anymore.”

“Darling, be a good girl. Dad is trying to find the keys.” Tara replied.

“Ah, there it is!”
Ryan opened the door as Arya pushed her father and stormed inside.

“Careful, the lights…” Ryan stopped in between as his eyes lay upon the lighted iPad in the dark living room. There were series of laughters that were coming out from it.

Ryan went for the lights while Tara went to take a look at the puzzled activity on the sofa. The lights came on while I stood behind Tara with my knife on her throat. Ryan stood startled as Arya rushed and clutched onto her father’s leg in shock.

“Don’t come close!” I shouted.

“Leave her right now. Take whatever you want, but leave her.” Ryan shouted back.
“If I say I also want her then?”

“Joey doesn’t share food” the iPad roared.

“You fucked up shit. How dare you!” Ryan charged ahead.

“Stay where you are Mr. Ryan. Am I not in the position of strength?” As I kept the knife even more closer, drawing the first blood. Tara screamed in pain, her eyes were tensed but she didn’t mumble a single word.

“Please. Leave her! I am sorry, leave her.”

“You sound genuine! So little girl what should I do now?” Ryan kept moving his daughter behind himself. She was inconsolable, crying loudly in a shrieking voice.

“Ask her to shut up. I hate kids when they cry.”

“Please leave her. Take whatever you want, please.”

“Okay. I see you have a point.” Smiling at the irony as the song plays out from the tab, “I will be there for you…”

I took the bag from his hands, and moved towards his car still holding the knife on his wife. I asked her to sit beside quietly. She kept quiet, who wouldn’t when you have a knife on your throat. Ryan was pleading to leave her alone, but I wasn’t yet sure of their loyalty. I heard none of what they said, and whistled past the place with the bag and Tara. Ryan did run behind the vehicle but I think the vehicle was faster, indeed it should be, horse power you see.

It was only in the morning, Tara returned home. She wasn’t her normal self anymore. Though her clothes were untouched and she carried no injury, her eyes screamed in pain, as if something broke within her and wouldn’t possibly glue forever. “Only if they hadn’t returned home that night, things might have been much different, only if”, she thought.

#Tara&Ryan

Apology

“I always felt that it was me who had to apologise first. The spontaneous anger, the emotional fallout and finally the apology, they all seemed to happen at quick pace for me. I didn’t wait a lifetime to apologise, I felt what could be corrected soon needs to be addressed first. So time and again I had a fallout with someone, I was the one to approach for a patch up. It did feel annoying after a point of time, especially when the mistake pointed to the other side. But a habit so organically inculcated wasn’t easy to forego, even if it meant to be taken for granted by many.

The first time I realised this was when Priya and I parted ways. It was her decision which I had to honour, but my heart wasn’t someone who forgot easily. I tried to patch things up, over and over again but it was of no avail. I kept calling, leaving messages, sending emails and what not, but there was no sign of reconciliation. The habit became the culprit for the progressional loss of my self-respect, which I realised it only then. It didn’t stop with that as I went through a series of falls, one deeper than the other, before I finally made a tryst with myself of never loosening myself to any other, whatsoever. There is a wise saying that goes like this that you only realise the value when you finally lose it. This time I cherished and held that self-respect tight, but I didn’t know then that it was too tight for anyone to enter, until that night with Tara.

It was the third month of our marriage when we had our first big fight. It started on some petty issue which I can’t remember now but it escalated to bigger and important things in our lives, and a fight was bound to happen. That night we slept, without our usual conversation, in sheer silence and before she woke up I left for my office. That’s how I trained myself to be, to move out before I succumbed to my habit. It was around noon when I got her message. I knew that she had an off that day and would be going to meet her parents who lived an hour away. So I basically thought that some away time would cool her off and we would hopefully move on from the issue. An apology was the last thing I expected. But her message took me by surprise as she came forward apologised, that too for a mistake I committed. I had pulled out her ex-boyfriend’s name during the fight which I had promised I would never use. It was disappointing from my side, knowing very well that the position he held for Tara and the point that he was no more. But still she came forward, she came for me.

I reread her message, this time a little loudly in my mind, “I am really sorry for yesterday, if it’s possible please make it early for dinner. I would be cooking something special for you :)”. It broke something deep in me as my eyes glittered with tears for having someone with whom I could finally be myself. She was the one for me, she remains to be the one.”

#Tara&Ryan

 

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

#Series4/many

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.

 

 

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