“I knew I needed you,
but I never showed.
But I want to stay with you,
Until we’re grey and old”
James Arthur’s voice seeped into my soul and started to etch on it once again, the name of the man who sat on my right.
I looked as I sat on the passenger seat, at the man who was everything I had wanted, since I was in my teenage years, still wishing on falling stars.
He was everything my parents wanted for their little darling, and he was so much more.
My eyes felt glued to his face, while he concentrated on his mission to drop me to the New Delhi Railway Station before my train to Mumbai departed. The Hyundai glided on the National Highway, and he, straight into my heart.
He was calm like a summer night.An ambition to succeed ran through his veins.He had the ability to drown me in his oceans of affection.
He was beautiful, in every sense and I was floating like a helpless leaf in smooth course of his love.
“Yeah?” he said as his eyes shifted from the road to me.
“Say you won’t let go” I quoted James.
As soon as the first few drops of rain fell on the blazing hot city of Patna, it calmed down like a tranquilized animal.
The hustle-bustle of vegetable and fruit mandis and the overcrowded bazaars faded away. The paint that clothed the adjacent building was soon drenched, exposing red bricks and cement. Roofs, balconies were seperated of their company of newly washed clothes. The clothing lines were vacant, so were the streets.
The beautiful wheatish-skinned girl who had been yelling into the phone while flinging her hands in the air every time she spoke, was gone, so was the toddler who had been driving his steady tricycle with more concentration than my mother.
The smell of Mongra and Jasmine incense sticks had been replaced with that smell of wet soil.
The continuous roaring of car engines, the giggle of school children, the chatter of housewives, the clanking of cow bells. Everything. Every sound was muffled by the relaxing pitter patter of raindrops falling on the Earth, quenching its thirst.
And through the fenced window, came the raindrops, and sprinkled themselves on the piece of paper I was penning down my experience on. They touched my face, they danced in front of me.
I smiled, brushed the little fellas away and carried on.
Today, I fell in love with a stranger, a stranger who snuck into my life in the dead of night, and stealthily stole myself from me.
Today, I fell in love with a stranger, and he is unlike them all. He is one who plants on my round face not kisses of adulation but of sarcastic humor.
He whispers into my ears not words of love but of wisdom. He challenges every thought of mine. He proves me wrong and it is peculiarly pleasurable.
He is a myriad of mysteries, arousing my curiosity as he speaks.He drives me insane.
Every time his lips part to say my name, I feel his hands on my dull face, gently caressing it. My lifeless body revives the minute we begin conversing and as soon as he bids me farewell, my body disintegrates to ashes.
Come back, oh stranger!
“Tere hi liye, tujhse hu juda”
“Jannatein kahan binn hue fanna”
The imaginary choir in her head hummed the song again and again like a broken record; humming that got louder with every step that she took further away from him.He was livid, at her, and suddenly, it was a good thing.
‘Another success!’, she said to herself and with each word that left her mouth, a tear fell silently, becoming a martyr in this war of love and life; of pain and gain.
She had to walk away.
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!
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?”
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Silver Screen.”
Every day he spent hours and hours,listening to me talk endlessly.We discussed our activities throughout the day,made fun of each other and came up with strange and cute nicknames.Every day he reminded me of how cute I sounded when I was sleepy.We talked about his classmates and mine.We talked about his favourite shows and then about mine.Every day he told me I meant a lot to him.And just when we were about to depart to our beds to catch up on the sleep,he said those three words.
He repeated those three beautiful words till they had embedded themselves in my head.He said those words till I had started to believe him.He said them until I wanted to say them back to him.
So I did!
“I know I said that I loved you,and I do,but I’m not ready for a relationship”
“It’s okay.You can informally be mine” I said.
“Yeah,that’ll be good” came the reply.
Call me naive to have believed that I was the girl who had won the exclusive ticket to his heart, because despite expressing his feelings towards me,he was unable to let go the opportunity to make other women’s heart flutter in the same way mine fluttered for him.He made them feel exactly how he made me feel.And why wouldn’t he? He wasn’t formally mine.He was riding solo.Right?
Now here I stand,under the moonlight falling on my dull dark hair,with my brain cursing me for confusing it; my heart shouting at me for allowing him to cut it open.I stand here wondering if I should drown myself in my tears or pretend to be the strong nineteen year old who has many more to die for her.
Under the moonlight,I stand wondering one thing.
“How do you look at someone you love and tell yourself it’s time to walk away?”
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Teacher’s Pet”
“There…there must be some mistake,I mean…this is…it’s not possible!”
My desperate eyes searched for answers on the dull faces of all my subject teachers.Their mouths were shut tight; their gazes fixed on the principal,as if conveying to her that they had not played a role in this.
“Oh god,it cannot be”
Saying this,I collapsed on the black leather couch-otherwise meant only for teachers-and hid my face in my palms.
Unbearable pain arose inside me which bought along a lump in my throat.My heartbeats were similar to the melancholic beats of drums on an African funeral.I felt an undying urge to scream.Yes,I was aware that I was not the ‘scholar kind’ but it was impossible to swallow the fact that I had just failed a major subject.
But how could I have failed? I had always been the best at it! That’s what she had always told me.My subject teacher-Ms.N had told me I was the best.She had on numerous occasions asked me to narrate my answers to the class because of them being perfectly worthy of bagging full marks.She had told me several times that I would be the one to make her proud.She had told me I was her favourite.So how could this pathetic incident have occurred?
“I did not expect this from you” said my principal with atrocity oozing from her voice.
“Overconfidence is the only reason why you are here” said Ms.N.
I was definite that the rage brewing inside me was visible in my eyes.Therefore,with my head down and without a reply,I lifted myself off the leather couch and stormed out of the air-conditioned cabin.
And suddenly,I was a clown in a circus.Everyone stared at me and giggled as I walked past them.Some ran towards me to confirm their doubt about my failure.Not a single ‘friend’ paused to sympathise.Neither did the teacher whose favourite student I had been not too long ago.