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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 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

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)

Best Teacher

“Maa! Your photo”, shouted the 8 year old Boy as his mom turned back with a smile.

 Mom: Rohan, 40 teachers including me have been awarded “Best Teacher” in the state, the poster is in that regard.
Rohan: Even I want to become a teacher when I grow up and win an award like you.
Mom: That’s nice, what will you be teaching?
Rohan: I love stories, I will teach them about it. Everyday a new story! ~ There was a twinkle in his eyes as he said that.
Mom: They don’t teach that at schools beta!
His innocent eyes dropped down to the ground as he mumbled “I don’t want to teach at any school, I want to teach them.” ~  Slowly pointing towards the street kids playing with a broken ball near the Metro station.
Mom: What made you say that? ~ intrigued by her son’s innocent yet powerful words, she became curious to know more.
Rohan: Maa, whenever I go to school, I find them there and also when I come back they are still there. I figured they are scared of school as I was, so I thought why not I teach them myself when I grow up and make their fear disappear.
Mom ~with tears in her eyes, she hugged him close: I am proud of you my son, I wish I was more like you.
That day changed something in her, she started to see a dream, the one which she saw in her son’s eyes, and she knew somewhere down that she would leave no stone unturned to realise it. 

That gut feeling got stronger with leaps and bounds in the next few days as she journeyed herself for the very first time to the places she only heard of, to hear their plight which was unheard. 
Next day                                                                             (Hindi version at the end)
Sakshi: Sarla, How is Roshini? Which grade is she in?
Sarla: Madam ji, she isn’t going to school anymore. The only school in our neighborhood had got closed as its roof had fallen down.
Sakshi: Haven’t you got the complaint registered?
Sarla: We had got it done a number of times but there was never a response. Even if the school reopens, there are no teachers to teach.
Sakshi: So what about Roshini? Will she not study further?
Sarla: Madam ji, Roshini would turn 16 in another two years. We will find her a nice groom and get her married to, then she would be all happy.
Sakshi: Will she? Won’t you let her study and grow up to become someone with a decent job?
Sarla: If it was their in her destiny she would have studied further but it isn’t so. So we could only do what is left with us.
Sakshi: Destiny isn’t written by someone, it’s written by us. Take me to the school tomorrow and get Roshini along. Let’s see what we can do.
Sarla: Okay Madam ji.

Rohan
: Mom, are you going to teach there?
Sakshi: Let’s see, I have no idea as of now.
After a moment, Rohan went close to her mom, teary eyed and hugged her tightly. 
Rohan: I love you mom, I love you.
Sakshi: I love you too champ.

That day when she visited the school and the area around, she understood what poverty could do to a person or a family and realised education would be the first victim. Her priorities to change this were set right the very same day, the day she met Roshini, the girl who wrote beautiful poems which were way above her age. In a way, she saw herself in Roshini and she wanted to provide her with the necessities for her to become someone special, someone who could realise her own potential.

The situation, in the meantime, was grim; the school had been converted into a den of gamblers and alcoholics. The stink of the place was so disgusting that people had abandoned the area completely and moved to safer places. The only option left was to start the school in the housing society she lived. So with a lot of effort and with active support from her husband she managed to open her school, her life which it became for years to come. She had to convince a lot, for her first lot as the parents were hard to change but eventually they budged and so the journey began. With 10 students in a class then, the number grew to 100 in a couple of years.

Shantaram School” as it came to be known became popular with time, attracting many socially responsible individuals with good number of youth among them. The curriculum of the school was allowed to be twisted to make every student understand and learn the way they could benefit the most. New courses began, arts was introduced where children were taught about dance, music and literature. The dream was growing and it reached its sweet moment when an individual walked in for an interview to teach in the school.

Sakshi: Tell me about yourself.
Him: Ma’am I am Ryan, I have a degree in engineering and would like to teach your students about the art of story telling.
There was an indefinite pause after the last word was uttered, and before Sakshi could say anything he continued. 
Ryan: I know it sounds strange and a little comical but I think it would be a great help to the students. It would allow the imagination to grow, it would allow them to create and believe they could possibly live them one day. And when they do that, I am pretty sure they will rewrite their own story into something better. That’s what this school which I have heard a lot about is trying to do, and I just want to add to the same effort.
Sakshi ~ with a smile on her face: Can I see your writings?
Ryan: Sure ma’am. I even write poetry as you can see.
Sakshi: “Inch by inch we shall strive, till success we are alive.” That’s a nice quote.
Ryan: I wrote it ma’am.
Sakshi: The writings are impressive, let’s see how you deal with the students.
She took him to the nearest classroom and made herself comfortable in the last bench as she heard him narrate the story. He began with his part as he drove the attention of the students and the lone teacher in the class, and ended with a thanks to his inspiration and the title of his story, “Best Teacher“. Her eyes were on the brim of tears as all the children in the class looked up to her and the claps never stopped.
The  End

Hindi translation of the conversation between Sakshi and Sarla
“Sakshi: Sarla, Roshini kaise he? Aur woh school ja rahi he na?
Sarla: Kahan Memsaab, school to kai dinno se bandh pada he. School ki chhath bhi, do din pehle gir gayi.
Sakshi: kissine complaint nahi ki Kya?
Sarla: Kiya toh tha, Lekin koi fayada nahi he Memsaab. School khul bhi Jaye, koi teacher padhane ke liye razi nahi he.
Sakshi: Phir Roshini ko padhaogi nahi?
Sarla: Aur do saal ke baad, 16 ki ho jayegi. Shaadi karwa denge uski, tabhi khush reh paayegi.
Sakshi: Tum nahi chahti ki woh padh likh ke naukri Kare?
Sarla: Agar uske naseeb mein hota tho padh leti, Lekin lagta he uski kismat mein itna hi likha he.
Sakshi: Naseeb haton ke lakir se nahi, khud banaya jata he. Kal Mujhe uss school tak Le chalo, aur Roshini ko Bhi lete Aana.
Sarla: Teek he Memsaab.

Key 
1. Beta – Son
2. Class- grade/standard
3. Ji- It is used out of respect for someone.

Rolling down the ‘past’

“Tonight’s hope was yesterday’s agony,

I cared less for the things I lost

In hope for the things I might gain in turn.”

It was that time of the day when the streets were still asleep while the odd traffic light flickered on and off. There were raging cars swaying past the necklace road, while the street urchins looked from their sheets in awe. The one in flashy red made an excellent run only to mistime the turn which saw it crash over the lake. The damage was brutal, leaving the lone driver’s life hanging at balance. He was clutching on to a photograph as he was being pulled out, that photo did mean something to him, it really did.

News Headlines flashed with all its clamor as it brought the world to notice that Ryan Narayan, a noted playwright, has been seriously injured in an high speed car accident near necklace road. A woman stared blankly at her television as the news was read out; she couldn’t believe her ears, he had promised to marry her and be with her forever but there he was broken and fighting for his own life. She tried calling him, wishing he picked up and dispelled all the rumors about him but no one picked. She pulled out her coat and made way to the hospital, all teary and lost.

The sun had completely risen while the streets swarmed with people who were unknown to the tragedy which had stuck just a few hours ago. At the hospital corridor, two people waited patiently as the tears kept rolling down their cheeks. They were baffled upon the happenings, they had met Ryan only a few hours ago before the accident. It was going to be a big night for Ryan, he was going to propose to his childhood sweetheart. It was all planned, Jess booked the table at Jade’s favorite restaurant while Nikhil brought the flowers and the suit for Ryan. They bid him adieu with a smile and never hoped that they found find him in this state. They weren’t able to come to terms with it, they wanted to know what happened that night, what did Jade say to make Ryan do something like this.

Jade: Jess, how is Ryan?

Jess: He was supposed to be with you, what did you tell him? What did you do to make him go nuts?

Jade: I want to see him, I want to see him now.

Nikhil: He is there fighting for his life. Doc says that its difficult for him to make it out. I don’t know…what will happen, I really don’t know. ~ bursts into tears.

Jade: He was there with me till late night. He made me dinner, after he proposed. We were on cloud nine, we wanted to get married right away but Ryan was like everyone in this world needs to know that he was getting married to me. We shouldn’t have waited, we shouldn’t have.

Jess: Then why did he have to leave?

Jade: He got a call around 11 in the night. He said it was urgent, someone wanted to meet him. Saying this he left hastily.

Nikhil: We never gave out appointments that night, we had left it free.

 

On that fateful night,

Ryan: Hello, Ryan here.

Her: Don’t you remember me, I am your master act.

Ryan: I am not able to get you, hold on.

Her: Yesterday’s agony, today’s hope. ~The playful laughter continued.

Ryan: Why did you call? I thought we were done!

Her: You started it, I am the one who ends it. Not you Ryan, not you.

Ryan: What do you want me to do?

Her: Meet me at the pool side at Taj.

Ryan: Now?

Her: Obviously, our things happen only at night. Call ends.

Ryan looked up perplexed, trying to avoid the eye contact with the only girl he ever loved and he ever cheated. He made an excuse and was on his way to meet Lisa as the old memories came afresh. He was teary eyed, the only thought which ran across his mind was Jade running away from him in her white cladded wedding suit. He was trying to catch a glimpse of her before she disappeared while he kept peddling the accelerator to catch Jade in his day dream. He had lost it he knew, he should have come clear about Lisa long back but now it was too late. He kept pushing the accelerator beyond control and before he could flip to rest his madness, his car was flying high into the waters. All the while he held her photo close to his heart, may be he hoped he would be forgiven for his sins, may be he was wrong.

Doctors came out of ICU with a good news, they asked Jade to go alone, Ryan wanted to meet her in person. After a while, Jade walked out heart broken. She left her ring inside, and left his heart broken into pieces. The pain was screeching loud as Ryan couldn’t control his emotion, he kept shouting Jade’s name, wishing she looked back but it never happened. He felt a part of him was walking away, he wanted her back, he didn’t want to feel incomplete but like his stories there was never a proper end to even his own.

“There ain’t a carpet big enough

to cover the truth, there ain’t a lie small enough

to escape the punishment; they do appear, they do hurt,

and they do leave you bruised forever.”

The Lady in Black

Fiction

The scorching sun kept dwelling on the open backyard with traces of it being felt on her face as she tried to turn the other way to get her perfect sleep. But the disturbance was already made and the creaking fan had now become a notice point for her. She woke up nonchalantly, trying to make peace with herself but the screeching thoughts of last night shot up in her head. She hoped it was only a dream, though knowing it did actually happen she rushed out but later realized that she had no other option left. She took a cold bath, dressed herself in her favorite black suit with her hair neatly arranged and her lips done all red, and began her long walk to the destiny she had finally chosen.

She had everything one could desire, but her instincts had driven her this way with an incident which triggered the insanity in her. Ten kills and fifteen injured that’s what her count was; she was known among the news circles as ‘The Lady in Black’ Murders. It was never the money which she was after but the sense of insanity which she drove in her victims just before they breathed their last, that’s what caught on her like an addiction which was hard to move on from. She had a careful process which she went through religiously as she laid out the scheme of things around her victims. And the victims, they weren’t normal people; they were hardened criminals who were so thickly polluted that the public at large saw them as messiahs’ in white. This irony, this very irony, unleashed the devil in her.

It started with the molester who took away her friend’s life and robbed her from a faithful companion who she thoroughly revered. She was there, right next to her, lying helpless as the molester, her friend’s ex-husband, dragged her friend out into a moving car before disappearing in the dark. She lay their hurt and bruised, crying for help but no person in that crowded street had held their hand down. That night when she woke up with strips attached to her veins, she made a decision while coming to terms with her friend’s loss which changed her life forever.

It started with revenge, which became a necessity for her. It began all emotional but it only turned into an addiction. She kept convincing her mind of the moral ground she was achieving by putting the bad men to rest who have escaped the clutches of law. But she could never convince herself thoroughly about what she was doing was right. All she knew was that it was time, and she had to put these men to rest but she never knew when that fine line was crossed which made it impossible for her to return.

As the days passed, she began to feel the desire to kill growing enormously in her and later even tried finding the means to justify her act. Horrendous crimes she kept committing, one after the other. She was so close last time from being caught that the policeman had secured a bullet into her shoulder which she had to painfully extract herself. However the desire kept building in her, finally it reached such an extent that she forgot her ends and only means remained.

Out in the dark, she heard an old woman asking her to help cross the shady road; the blood lust began to thrive in and within moments she held the knife so close to the old woman’s throat that it was only matter of seconds. She managed to stumble upon her eyes, helpless, screaming with pain but no one to hear her to help. She felt a déjà vu; she felt she was in a similar position before and when the scene got recollected, she dropped down on her knees. She cried and cried as she couldn’t come to terms about what she had become. That night she couldn’t sleep, she felt trapped in her desire and the only way out was to surrender herself in.

In a shabby discreet police station of a remote village in Maria’h, there were a throng of newspaper reporters holding their microphones high, to collect the podcast about the surrender of the infamous serial killer ‘The Lady in Black’ who had been the cause for the murders in various places of the state for over an year. Masked in black, she walked out in shackles as she was moved into the police van to get deported to the capital where her trial was about to begin. 

“Monsters aren’t created from outside but they are made from within. Sometimes, in a desire to beat the monster down we ourselves become our worst enemy. There are ways to solve a problem, there are problems aplenty, but the fine line stays and it shouldn’t be crossed, no matter what.”– Testimony of the convict, ‘The Lady in Black’ murders.


Photo Courtesy: Raven’s Song by Zennic on Flickr

Campfire 

“Amicable, ambitious, charming as well as caring”, She said.

I had to intervene before she continued to jot down her ever long qualities she was looking in her Prince Charming.

“Continue dreaming sweetheart” I cheekily added.

“You shut up, can’t you see I am thinking something important here”, she turned to the other side of the bonfire and continued speaking to herself.

“Shouldn’t he be rich?”, Sakshi intervened as she moved out from her camp after a pretty long slumber.

“Ambitious is one of the quality in my list, won’t that suffice?” Ayesha looking through her cat eye glasses.

“Not everyone makes it to the top! those who end up staying behind are swept away among the strides of their very own ambition.” I tried to knock a little sense; philosophy was my major and I couldn’t be left behind here I thought.

Sakshi turned to my side, “So Ryan, you are pretty sure that Harish won’t be successful?”

“When did I say that! Ayesha she is manipulating you; you know how much I respect Harish” I countered.

“Just now! Didn’t you know Ayesha was trying to figure out whether Harish fits in her list or not!” Sakshi gave it back to me with a full platter to dodge from.

“Is that true?” Ayesha asked.

“Even you! I give up now. I was trying to help here.” I said.

“By confusing her even more?” Sakshi trying to hide her smile from distant.

I gave her a silent stare and left towards the river bank nearby.

After a while, Sakshi came from behind and sat next to me. I didn’t want to speak to her, she knew my condition but still was too casual to play with it. She knew how much I loved Ayesha, and how hard it has been for me to see her with someone else. Her parents were looking for probable matches while I couldn’t dare profess my love for her. I was scared, I thought I would lose her friendship. But now when I want to, I cannot convey the three beautiful words to her. Maybe that’s how it would end.

“I am sorry, I shouldn’t have pulled your leg.” She said.

“It’s okay. You’re right, Harish is perfect for Ayesha. You should convey it to her.” I said.

“I did, but not what you’re telling now, but something you had shared before.” Sakshi said.

“Don’t tell me you told her.”I said, trying to cover my emotions.

“She did. Why did it take you so long, why?” Ayesha from behind.

“I thought I would lose you.” Trying to counter my tears.

“You were about to.” Sakshi said.

“But I never thought about you in that way, you should have told me earlier. We could have at least dated.” Ayesha tried to explain.

“I know, I should have. Anyways, I will be alright. Don’t worry.” I tried telling her in vain.

She came close and hugged me, then she left with a silent tear in her eye. 

“Thanks. At least she knows now. I would have ended up feeling lost if I wouldn’t have told her. Thanks again Sakshi.” Still trying to control my tears.

“It’s okay buddy. Take it easy.” Sakshi said.

“I will, don’t worry.” I said as I tried to see the glistening pink sky where many stars added the sparkle to it’s existing beauty.

Before I could get more lost among the nature, “Do you want me to set you up with Disha?” She added cheekily

“I just had my heartbreak. Give me time.” Trying to mock her down.

“Is there a time limit or something for moving on?” She countered.

I looked the other way, trying to control my laughter.

“I can hit on you right, now that Ayesha is gone.” Sakshi coming back to her comic sense.

“Oh please, give me a break.” With a small smile on my face, I headed back to the campfire.

“What’s wrong? I can even cook, we could save date money! What say?” She followed.

“Don’t worry, I can afford the date in your favourite restaurant.” I said.

“Look who is hitting now! Ayesha see I told you he will be alright.” She said as she went and sat next to Ayesha.

I passed a gentle smile towards Ayesha and headed back to my camp to have a peaceful sleep. I was finally at peace with myself, at least in the relationship part. I knew I needed this conversation; though I felt hurt but it was okay as I knew it would heal because of the wonderful friends I have. I smiled staring at the tent above as I fell into a deep slumber after an eventful day.

Picture courtesy: drivethenation.com (On Lake Superior)