Vo

Haath pakad ke hamara,
Vo bole unke zikr me hamari barbaadi hai.
Aakhon me aakhein daalke hamari,
Vo bole unka pyaar hamari tabaahi hai.

Ab unko kaun samjhae,
Ke bachpan se dil me sailaabo ka shaukh liye ghoom rahe hain hum.

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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.

Dear ‘best friend’

Dear ‘best friend’,
I’ve had enough, this is it.
The show has come to an end,
And tonight, we must split.

Your defence is that I’ve used you,
Feel free to throw more words,
Call me ugly, unfit, shrew.
I’ll hear em all, through the birds.

Yes the birds, the ones that talk,
They told me the stories you cook.
I won’t lie, it came as a shock,
When you published my secrets in your book.

And there you stand,
Livid and mad,
Because you think I don’t know.
Well now I hope it’s clear,
the reason why,
I care for you, but I will never show.

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”

Mawlynnong- The Magical Getaway

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We lay on the bed, gazing at the ceiling of the bamboo house we were residing in. The only sound that reached our ears, was that of crickets having a loud late night conversation.

“What if a snake falls in through the gaps in the ceiling?”, questioned my brother.
“I haven’t seen a mosquito here, and you are talking about snakes”…

We were guests at Asia’s Cleanest Village- Mawlynnong, situated around hundred kilometers from Shillong, in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and it had lived up to all our expectations.
It was gorgeous, like a magical getaway that one would have to visit through a mysterious doorway. None of us had ever visited a place that had not a spec of dirt, not one piece of rubbish anywhere. The Khasi Huts were placed amidst the lush green forest, surrounded by colorful shrubs. In some areas, the trees created a canopy under which I sat and my brother captured the moment in my father’s beloved DSLR. My parents could not get enough of the scenery. I can’t blame them;  the waterfall, the gardens, the flowers, the trees, it all really was enchanting!

Every single resident of the village treated us like we were not Tourists , but  a part of their beautiful family. We were greeted with genuine smiles and treated to a delectable supper that had been prepared to suit our tastes. In a new state, amongst unfamiliar faces, we felt loved, and cared for.

…”But we’re literally in the middle of a forest, and forests have snakes” said my brother in another attempt to scare me.
“Sleep, will you? We have to bid farewell to the family tomorrow morning” I replied and turned the lights off.

Monsoon

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.

Three Years

Three times in three years.

Therefore according to the math, every year, there comes one such time when my heart bounces right out of my chest seeing your name flash on my phone screen. However, as soon as I swipe to the right and your voice reaches my ears, my storms calm down. My hurricanes die, my demons are put to rest.

You are like aroma therapy for my soul. Every word out of your mouth is soothing.
I am able to escape the clutches of stress and dip my feet into the warm waves of memories washing against the bank of my mind.
The adorable nicknames.
The song dedications.
The unconditional love.
The dreams of becoming one.
The long distance.
The intimacy.
The chemistry.
One by one, every single element of our bond, runs through my head like a movie on fast forward.

You are no longer the one I can rightfully call mine, but the idea of it brings a tingling sensation to this day, a sensation that runs through my entire body like current, sparking life into every inch of me.

As you speak of your new life in a town one hour from mine, I wonder if I will ever be able to witness you do the things you talk about. They say it’s a small world, but I still wonder if our paths would ever cross. They haven’t, so far.

As we converse, I always wonder if it would be appropriate to question if there has been a replacement; if someone else now sits on the throne situated in your heart or is the throne still vacant, waiting eagerly for me to return and fill it again.

Time flies, my mother says, and whenever you are on the other end of the line, she is proved right. All the theories of physics, of time and sun and stars are defied in one go. In a second, forty minutes pass and I am left feeling helpless!
I can’t tell you to stay.
I don’t want to tell you to leave.
All I can do, is Whisper my feelings into the phone just softly enough for them to not be able to cross the line and get to you.

Ah, love.
What a beautiful mess.

Messed up

“Am I a bad girl?”, I had asked.
“No” he had said as in the sun we basked.
I knew his answer was a white lie,
I could see otherwise in his brown eye.

I was a bad girl, and I was aware,
I was messed up, boy; you better beware.
But he still always took me in his embrace,
Causing tears in my eyes to run down my face.

I smiled later, but he could comprehend,
I was a broken vase he was unable to mend.
Because he could attempt to wipe my tear,
But what about the insecurity of losing my dear?

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.