Relax

img_2065January 26th 2016.
The day on which I celebrated my twentieth birthday in the beautiful town of Kasauli, two hours from Chandigarh, India. It was the first birthday I celebrated away from my parents, however my best friend’s parents almost filled the void.

And what really made my day, was the company of my friends and a steaming plate of my favorite Masala Maggi Noodles in the constantly dipping temperature in an extremely cold January.

Now, whenever I look at this expression of mine, I’m reminded of how seven very special people had made that day probably the most amazing day of 2016 and in my hectic life, this picture gives me a reason to Relax.

Facade

The dark haired woman walked along the footpath on an isolated road at zero hours. Her eyes looked glassy, her wrinkled face, expressionless and she, unfocused, as if a spell had been cast on her and she was completely unaware of her surroundings.

Her life flashed in front of her eyes and none of the highlights brought back memories she could cherish. Instead, she was reminded of the time when she had discovered her best friend’s slender arms wrapped around her first love, their lips locked, and fingers intertwined.
A tear separated itself from the rest that had started to well up in her eyes, when she remembered the day her fiance stood her up at the alter. Whenever a guest questioned the absence of her fiance, “He must be stuck in traffic!”, she had said.

She fell to her knees and wailed with pain. The words that her eighteen year old son had said not more than an hour ago, echoed in the quietness.
“Don’t tell me what to do.
You’re not even my real mother!”
“Where did you pick me up from? Someone else’s lap?”

The woman sat with her face in her palms under the night and cried till those words were letters and the letters formed new sentences in her head.
Her life had always been nothing more than a lie, a facade, in which every moment wore a mask of happiness, laughter and of all things bright. And once she picked that moment, it showed its true colors to her. It revealed its miserable, horrible self.

Her heart ached, as she made her final pick and let herself fly off the infamous bridge, putting an end to the Facade.

Cake

Tarun rushed towards the black Fortuner that he had just unlocked in the parking lot of the Mumbai Police Headquaters. He held in his hand an enormous list of things  that needed to be done, and there simply was no time to waste.
The speedometer reflected zero to hundred in no time as the vehicle zoomed past pedestrians.
“10:00”, the clock said.

The first stop was going to be the infamous local bakery that went by the name of ‘Baker’s Street’. Necessary supplies had to be picked from there tonight. He wondered if she would like the candles that looked like flowers or the Sparkler candles. He chose the Sparklers. She had always loved the firework show on New Years eve right before the final countdown.

Next halt was going to be at Petals, the florist he relied on when the days were dark and he needed to remind someone of his undying, unconditional love for her.
“I’d like to buy all of these, please. All of these orchids. Orchids are her favourite!” he blushed as he pointed to every bouquet that stood in the store eagerly waiting to be taken home.

He glanced at the Tissot T-Race on his wrist. He had less than an hour!

With the scent of flowers taking over his senses, he raced the Fortuner towards a residence.
Plot no. 302. Was it?
Nevertheless, he rang the doorbell.

A woman wrapped in a purple satin robe opened the door and welcomed him into her home with a smile. She looked gorgeous. Her lustrous, dark hair fell over her shoulders. Her eyes gleamed.

“Take a seat” she said.
He nodded before she left his company and walked into her dim- lit bedroom.

Within minutes, she reappeared.
There it was. In her hand. A small rectangular box wrapped in a red gift wrap.
Tarun’s face shone.

“Thank you so much Naina. I knew I could count on you!” he exclaimed.
“You’re my cousin. There’s no need for all that formality” she replied.

The traveller finally left for his destination.

When he finally arrived, he looked at the watch one more time. Eleven forty. He smiled and tip-toed into his two storied bungalow. She would be in the study, taking a cat-nap on the leather recliner. He didn’t need to worry.

One by one, he placed the items he had bought on the dining table. He decorated the bedroom with all the orchids.
He placed the candles, and the lighter, and a pink paper box on the table. Next to it, he placed with a letter, the gift he had bought for his beloved. It was a pair of diamond earrings she had shown interest towards last month. She would love it.

Lastly, he pulled out from his pocket a small fridge magnet he had bought at Petals. She adored his gooey romantic gestures.
You’re my one and only, forever and ever” it said.

His hands froze before he could place the magnet on the fridge. A note written in black ink was stuck to it.

“Looks like it’s not just your wife’s birthday today, Tarun. I’m turning a year older today as well and I’m taking your wife as my birthday present.You can have her back, but only when you send my brother back. Yes, the one you helped send to prison last week.
Oh and, don’t forget to send me some of the Cake you bought!
-You know who I am”

Over the edge

“Drink another one.Drink!”
He gave her a slight push, and she crumbled on the marbled floor like a China doll. Overpowering her with all his might, he forced yet another drink down her throat.
Her tears united with the alcohol, and her painful screams were covered by his satanic laughter.

It was their daily routine, monotonous, yet something she could never get used to.
Their neighbours however, had.

Every day, he would burn her throat with cheap alcohol. Then, he would violently undress her soul, leave marks of his teeth on it. He would rip it apart piece by piece like a hyena and every day it would hurt more than the previous day.

She was supposed to be getting used to this. Her mother had said she needed to, it would make her a good wife, but she couldn’t. How could anyone?

All she wished for was to abscond, away from this monster, but she also knew this was a far fetched dream. He was always around…always.
She could feel his breath on her face, even when she slept. She slept rarely.
He haunted her in the other world too.

“Aaahh!”, she cried as he pulled her up by her dull dark hair.
“Shhh shhh. No noise, okay?” he whispered while dragging her to the mahogany dining table.
They rarely ate there.

They rarely sat and talked.
They rarely laughed.
They never made love.

“Stop, pleaaassee, stop!”, she begged.

“I won’t. Can you do anything about it? No! No, you cannot. Because you are my wife. You are supposed to do what I want you to do, all your bloody life!”

Did she want to do what he wanted to do all her life? She didn’t. Did she want to spend her entire life crying and begging for mercy? She didn’t. She needed to go over the Edge and take a step.
So she did.

And the house roared with satanic laughter again, as she stood with a broken bottle that no longer reeked of cheap alcohol, but of the monster’s blood.

2015? Oh it’s just fantastic!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “State of Your Year.”

2015 so far,was like an over fast train which I continuously had to sprint and catch.But these couple of months were also flooded with special occurrences that I wanted to tell you about but I couldn’t,because we don’t converse.But my heart doesn’t allow me to keep them from you any longer.

Okay so here we go!

So,despite being hectic,2015 so far has brought happiness which I had become unaccustomed to.I now sleep for hours and hours like a baby with a cute smile on my face.I feel like a bird free to soar and explore the vast blue sky.Oh it is such a wonderful feeling!

And this happiness is here because for the first time in my life,my hard work did not go in vain.All the days and nights I spent learning off formulas and scavenging through old newspapers for news worthy enough to show up in the GK section of the college entrance tests; it did not go in vain and one by one,throughout the previous month I got Acceptance Letters from almost all the colleges I had applied for.

Now my parents carry a proud smile on their faces almost all the time,my father’s blood pressure remains on healthy levels.Once again,he laughs and cracks Santa-Banta jokes.My grandmother is not able to keep herself from telling all her friends about how her proud she is of her grand daughter.My mother won’t stop splurging money on me.They are so happy! What more could I ask for?

*plays ‘If You Could See Me Now’*

 

Just like I hoped!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All It’s Cracked Up to Be.”

So far, my A Level exams were the second most torturous thing I had to go through.With the constant fear of failing the exams followed by terrifying nightmares illustrating a crying version of myself begging my parents to forgive me and let me reside in their house, I was on the verge of losing my sanity.I clearly remember not being able to recall how to fall asleep.It felt like my eyelids had never known how to close.My brown eyes and brain too were suddenly clueless about a job that they had been carrying out for the past nineteen years.

Nervous breakdowns had become a part of everyday life. At times, my mood swings compelled me into shouting at my father for petty things, which I regretted after the harm was done.Together with the tension, the seemingly significant heartbreak I once had, suddenly came back to haunt me.I didn’t know what to feel, how to concentrate, what to study.I didn’t know how to prepare, how to satisfy the requirements of the highly demanding Cambridge Board. I was clueless and my life was an utter mess that I could not fix.

However, as a very popular song in Hindi goes – “Jiska koi nahi uska Khuda hai” (The one who has no one has God’s company)- the blessings of the almighty started to show its effects.Gradually, my parents started to comprehend that it was stress that was swallowing me like a hungry python. My father offered the much needed helping hand.Together we sat glued to the table and chair for hours and hours, solving one past paper after the other. Together,we discussed the current status of the economy, we drafted monotonous balance sheets and discussed partnership deeds.

My mother too played an important role in making sure I stay concentrated. She ensured emotions and feelings stayed locked in the store of my heart and did not interrupt with the memory card of my body which was being overloaded with knowledge. She spent hours patting my head, singing soothing lullabies to put me to sleep.

And after a month of hard work by not just me, but every single member of my immediate family, I got my results which informed me that I had passed all the twelve papers I had attempted! It told me  everything actually turned out exactly as I’d hoped! Yayyy!

Bad Dream

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Just a Dream.”

My trait of being indecisive was suddenly my greatest weakness.As I stood confronting three colossal wooden doors, I struggled to select the one door I would enter.Every single time I put my hand on the round cold doorknob of a door, my brain would convince me into retracting it.There was no time for ‘Eenie Meenie Minie Mo’.Those noxious creatures were coming for me.I had to escape.

So I took one heavy breath and hurled myself at the door on the further right.

A blinding light caused me to shut my eyes and look away.My heartbeat rose to abnormal levels.I could hear the thumping in my ears.I made a vain attempt to wipe off a drop of sweat rolling down my nose with my sweaty palms before forcing my eyelids open.

I found myself in an enormous and desolate room.Every where I looked, all I could see were the lonely walls standing silently, walls that looked like they had just been dipped in a bucket of red paint.There was not a single picture on the walls.Not one sign of inhabitance.No one spoke, not even those loquacious crickets.The pin drop silence however was broken by what sounded like the giggle of a toddler.I looked around to find a baby girl holding a beautiful flower, a flower not nearly as beautiful as her.Her eyes gleamed like fine diamonds.There was a familiar spell bounding glow on her face.I could not get my eyes off of her.

“Mumma”

She uttered the word, looked into my eyes and gave off a smile that could light up the entire universe.My heart skipped a couple of beats.I wanted to cry.I wanted to hold my baby in my arms.But as soon as I leaned to take her into my arms, her little feet took her away.She chuckled as she mischievously ran away from me.I ran after her.

“Come here darling,mumma’s here baby” I repeated over and over again.

But she turned a deaf ear to my requests.The room echoed with her laughter.I loved it.Nothing had made me happier in all the twenty six years of my life.And then I ceased.I ceased because I saw a glimpse of my love in her.She was just as divine and flawless as he had been.

“Mumma!”

Her voice pulled me back into the room,before it forever put itself to sleep as she tumbled out of the window.

“Nooo”

“Noo”

“No”

“Come back!” I yelled.

“Darling,are you okay?” said my husband.

I buried my head in his chest,wrapped my arms around him.

“I’m okay baby.I just had a bad dream.Go check on our little angel, will you?”

So uncomfortable

nervous-face

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fight or Flight.”

I am aware that I’m using a clichéd simile,but this memory of mine certainly is as clear as crystal.I was thirteen years old when his family moved in the four-storied apartment beside my best friend’s.His father worked for the same firm as mine so when we first met,it was at the firm’s celebratory dinner party at a posh Indian restaurant.

I remember him waddle into the restaurant with a faint smile and instantly,there was a peculiar feeling in my stomach.It was as if the butterflies that were supposed to prance around in pink tutus,had misread their job description and were creating utter chaos in there instead. With every step he took towards me,I felt I had forgotten how to breathe.By the time he settled on the chair across the table which confronted mine,my heart thumped like hail on a car’s wind shield.I could not keep me from nervously tapping my feet onto the marbled flooring at the rate of perhaps fifty times a second.I was so much in love.And it was so uncomfortable.

He sat on the other side and uttered not one word.I guess he was hesitant to begin a conversation with a girl.Usually I would have not cared about the other person conversing,but with my gaze fixed on him,my mouth was dying to open to let some words out.However,every time I tried to speak,my stomach churned and I bailed out.

“Enough of this nonsense.Just say Hi.Since when are you such a wuss?” I heard my conscience tell me.

“I am not a wuss! Watch me now!” I replied to it before looking up at him again.

Naam? I meant your…umm…name? What,what it..is it?”