Laugh under a veil, my dear!

“I’m very scared,” she whispered softly.

“Don’t be,” he reassured calmly.

They had just recovered from a hearty laughter.

“But, I’m not used to so much joy.”

“Every time they catch me laughing out loud, they send one of theirs to restore balance… I hate to cry.”

“Oh! Then laugh under a veil, my dear!”

A night to forget

He loved her in the abstract. In real, her curves nauseated him. The mere mention of her name sent shivers all over him and he wished he had never met her at all. Had he heeded to his friend’s advice, Sam would not have seen this day. Or lost a precious friend like Tejas.

Many had tried to warn him before. But, Sam was mesmerized, a possessed man really. That doe-eyed girl with the most divine charm around her; only a lucky soul like him could get her, he reminisced.

Sam maxed out his credit cards buying her diamonds and designer clothes. He even calmed his distraught mother who was almost sure that her vulnerable son has been duped in love. He would often tell her, “You will be the happiest mother-in-law in the world, Maa!” Sonia had him all tethered so much so that if she was even pricked by a pin, Sam would bleed himself. In fact, he was even planning on an exotic vacation with Sonia, one that was worthy of the divinity she exuded.

Now, as he squatted on the cold floor this winter evening, he stared hard at the patterns on the tiles. “Weren’t all these fuzzy shapes there before? Why couldn’t I make it out? The writing was so large on the wall, oh! How can I ever wash all this away? His brains clogged up with questions, burning and repenting at its stupidity.

night-couple

He wished he had never visited her that disastrous night. The night he wished to erase from the calendar of his memories. The night she managed to turn him in while he bolted away losing himself. The night he saw her in her real ‘avatar’.

“We may not meet again,” these were her parting words, while she explained why she had to go. She had no tears, only a pair of trembling lips. He didn’t see that for he could see nothing at all. His eyes turned red with hot tears rolling off his cheeks, soaking in the pain of separation.

“We could still exchange letters,” he pleaded. “You know that is of no use, dear. Let us make a night to remember instead, what say?” she tried comforting with a deal.

The love he felt for her couldn’t fathom anything. What ‘use’ is love other than love itself? “Why can’t she be mine, only her and me – isn’t that how it is supposed to be?” he wondered.

So, visit her that fateful night he did and does it every once in a while although in his mind. He wished she didn’t turn out that way – Lust had engulfed her whole being; panting and groaning loudly, she had managed to overpower him. Not one bit the divine image in his mind did she mirror. She was what Tejas had described like. “Sonia is the worst man-eater I’ve ever encountered,” he recalled Tejas warning him one day. She maintained a list of her victims and prided herself in her alluring beauty.

So, while searching for some meaning in those patterns. he weaves another story for that night, after all she was his sunshine girl and he craved for her in the image he had created –

That night, he pulls her up close to his heart and promises to protect her through thick and thin. Sonia cuddles up with him in the sofa, believing every word he says. Together they talk about the moon and the stars and the long ensuing painful separation. They make plans to write to each other and never let go, come what may. Sonia weeps softly as they promise many other things until they fall asleep in each other’s arms.

Alas, Sonia was but a figment of love within him. A reflection of his own whining and all things lost besides the feeling of love. And to be loved.

Now he hazards around strange women. It’s a pity that none have aroused such deep emotions as his sunshine girl had. And it is sad that none ever will. He had lost his innocence and couldn’t turn back the clock. He had forgotten how it feels to love but he could never ever forget that fateful night.

Image courtesy: HD Wallpapers

The real beauty called Annie

Courtesy: Desicomments.com

Annie lay still, as still as a corpse. But she was alive, more alive than any of us. For she had to fight; she had to win over little battles that made up her life.

Her room was not a room at the working womens’ hostel I stayed in. Rather it was the space that joined two rooms with the main passageway. She occupied one of the two aluminium beds that lined the sides of the space, and had a medium-sized suitcase underneath the bed, to call of her own. She used the common bathrooms, and hung her wet towel and worn clothes on the metal railing that roofed the bed. She did not own a locker as in all probability, she did not need one!

Very few of the girls were aware of her existence. She worked nights while we slept inside our comfort zones. On Sundays, while we lazed around the common mess and consumed the ‘news-sance’ blaring from the mounted television, one part of the mind hovered around Annie. What would she be doing right now? The girl who occupies the side bed and owns only a suitcase that lay in gay abandon, what kind of a girl was she?

Was she simple living and high thinking or careless and wanton? The latter was an easy assumption while the former got us nosy, and in good spirit too!

A girls’ hostel is crazily busy on a Sunday. Girls are running around beautifying themselves – exfoliation, deep pore cleansing, herbal hair oil massage, pedicures, manicures and facials made from all kinds of ingredients from the kitchen. Basically, just about everything that society has burdened them with eons ago.

But, a chosen set like me, stayed at the rooms and indulged in small talk. While we flipped through our news dailies or women’s magazines, and spoilt ourselves with extra Sunday coffee, we got talking and somehow the conversation drifted towards that girl who occupies the side bed. This is how I came to know so much about her.

But, one day I stumbled upon much more of her story. Being an immigrant, I wasn’t much welcome by my then room mates.  It so happened that they locked me out of my room, as part of their torture tactics to drive me away. Banished from my room, I set up a temporary base on the unoccupied bed, adjacent to Annie’s. I took a day off from the job and stared at the motionless body in the next bed.

There she lay – the girl with a suitcase and no room of her own. Having no willpower to reclaim my room, I continued to wonder about Annie. She had no room to reclaim!

Annie, eventually awakened from her light dream world, and I smiled at her at once. She was frail with dark circles under her alert eyes. She might have travelled a hundred life years but her body belied that – she looked like a partially malnourished adolescent girl with no dreams shining in her eyes. I wanted to know her story.

Annie took a liking to me as I was exiled just as her, even though for a frivolous reason. And she lightened her heart to me – Annie was a single mother of a six-year old girl and worked at an outsourcing venture, mostly in the graveyard shifts. Very harmful for the human body cycle but a great boon for people who study or work in the day, just like Annie.

Annie’s mother had passed away after a long illness during her school days and later she got a step mother. Her step mother didn’t bother much with little Annie and the family grew to include two more step brothers.  Her dad gave her all the love in the world; he even took her on foreign trips. But, as destiny played out, Annie’s dad passed away from illness too, eventually leaving Annie to fend for herself. All the property and belongings were taken by her step family.

Annie then worked as a teacher and found moral support from her paternal aunts. But, this too did not last long as love invaded in the form of a man who said he cannot live without her. She married him and soon found out he had no stable income nor the will to give her a good life. He was a loser looking out for someone to fend for him.

Then there was trouble with the in-laws so much so that a small gathering of all his relatives accused Annie of being a loose woman. She left to never return but to her horror found out she was carrying a baby in her womb. Since then she has been working hard to make ends meet, however, the poor soul missed out on the joys of life with her daughter. She had to be at work the whole day so the little girl stayed with Annie’s aunt.

Her story was getting brighter. Annie had by then managed to save enough to bring her daughter – who was turning six – to stay along with her. But, destiny had more in store. Her daughter’s headaches were diagnosed to be caused from a tumour developing in her brain. Annie took help from the church and the community, who all roped in enough money for an operation to remove the tumour. This chain of events had taken a toll on Annie for the last seven years, without her ever realising it since the time she had left her own home.

Annie said she cannot cry. She knows no pain for she had surrendered to God above. But, I had tears in my eyes and they just wouldn’t stop!

Annie left the hostel soon thereafter as she was able to rent a decent flat near a school for her daughter. And I know she will be very happy in there always.

The long and the short of it…

Jack and Jill
Image source: The Writing life too

It was a quarter past five in the wee hours of morning and the sun had just risen over the Hilimanjharo. Jaikishen was up as usual – she had stolen his sleep. No not Jillian, she was too shy and would rather shrivel up and die in embarrassment than flutter her curly lashes for him. And this was a time when the world knew no barriers, no borders; only places with beautiful names and enchanting hills.

It was poor little grandma who was down with the flu and only the water from Hilimanjharo could heal her. The water was believed to be an elixir although hundreds had died of the dreaded dengue despite having more Hilimanjharo water than blood in their bloated bodies.  Granny had coughed away the entire night that left the rooster a bit confused. He paced around looking worried, hoping to reclaim his lost position.

Jaikishen had his set of worries too. He had to climb a 1000 feet of hard rock, locate the little spring that erupts out a narrow crevice, gather every dripping part of it into his pail and then descend the same 1000 feet, all the while fighting the burning sun. Life is a worry-list; as soon as you tick one, the next one starts prompting!

Jillian did have a soft corner for Jaikishen though, so granny’s cough was not her only woe. The picture of Jaikishen struggling to get to the top coupled with her wild imagery of the rumoured ape-man pouncing on her Jaikishen and tearing him to bits was equally unnerving. She decided to follow him.

He started early to avoid the burning sun and also to get Grandma well soon. He did reach the crevice and was filling his pail when it happened. Rays as hot as fire leapt at him while sweat rolled off him generously. In fact, it could even fill his pail up! Drained out of every ounce of fluid, he conked off with a few day stars fluttering around.

Meanwhile, Jillian wasn’t far behind as she had taken another path; a secret one that meandered around a cool cave but the more dangerous one – the abode of the rumored ape-man.  Love can stake anything! In typical cinematic fashion, no sooner had she emerged out of the cave, set her eyes on him, bringing about a coy smile, than she was stunned to see him fall like a pack of cards. Springing to him, she sprinkled a little of the Hilimanjharo water on his thirsty face and almost as if by magic, he opened his eyes!

God knows what happened next but then they came down singing happily with the birds and the bees. A legend was in the making so Jaikishen tripped over an imaginary boulder that broke his crown and Jillian came tumbling right after him.

Voices of fantasy

Image source: trialx
Image source: trialx

She had heard them before. They were all there with each a story to tell; stories of wishing wells, stories of magic carpets, stories of talking mirrors, stories of flying elephants, stories of how the sea had turned yellow, stories of a world under the sea and stories about girls who heard voices from the unknown. She believed and so they came. She loved to listen to them. And when she sat up cuddled in her bed or her rocking chair all alone in her room, they would come. An invitation was just not the criteria but they weren’t quite pleased when logic surpassed fantasy. They and she were often amused at the voices of reason outside her room. Skeptical scoundrels!

And then they would begin, taking turns and sometimes pausing a little bit for her. She would jump and clap at the enchanting new world discoveries, she would howl or weep silent tears at losses or separation but best of all, sometimes she would laugh involuntarily. At times like these, they understood. They could feel the joke on her bones; the sick jokes of rational behavior, the stale jokes of believing a mirage and the eternal joke of her hallucinations. But at times like these, the ‘others’ failed miserably.

The others had misapprehensions and weird notions of reality. It is this ‘others’ that sought to destroy her from herself. And they classified the ‘others’ as foes, as the stereotypical villains in their stories. But they couldn’t save her for the only protection they could offer was to come to heal her loneliness, to tell her stories from other worlds, to paint her dreams, but most of all believe in themselves so that she could believe in herself.

And when in midst of a story, she had any questions, they would respond at once without her having to ask. They could read her thoughts just as it generated with an uncanny precision known only to her. They knew her inside out; they could feel the rhythm in her veins, the impulses that soared through her back and forth, the voices of reason losing over the voices of fantasy and the myriads of colorful vibrations that enveloped her form. They would sing or dance or just rejoice at the triumphant voices of fantasy.

But then her doctor would visit and spoil it all.

He had to come every fortnight or else the voices of reason would be forever lost. He injected her with a syringe and some liquid matter coursed through her veins, right to her brain like a shot to them. They at once ducked these liquid bullets of rational illusions. They, the voices of fantasy had to survive, for in their destruction lay her end and that was something they were not prepared for. They wouldn’t let the ‘others’ win. They fought with the chemical bonds in the liquid which would invariably break off. So this war would last for a week and then suitably diminish around the next week.

That’s the time her doctor would visit again as per schedule. The ‘others’ could never win nor could they get rid of her ‘schizophrenic voices’.

Surprise!

‘Raj, I can’t depend on you. I can’t even relate to you anymore.’

‘It depends, Smita….everything is relative.’

Smita, quite disgusted, switches on the TV. Her nuclear physicist and forgetful husband could never quite get the love fusion right.

BREAKING NEWS….‘India’s pride: a team of nuclear physicists led by Dr. Rajendra Bhonsle has successfully implemented nuclear energy generation for mass consumption. He states, ‘This project will empower our villages and is the most peaceful way to show off our nuclear prowess. Peace to all’.

Smita, brushing off her tears, smiles to herself. There couldn’t have been a better birthday present.

P.S: This started as 55 fiction but somehow grew to become a Drabble, just didnt have the heart to reduce it any further. all thanks to Kartz for introducing me to this concept 🙂

Hope against hope?

He always wanted to make it big. He always wanted to leave a legacy. And this bright morning, as he stood outside the hot Mumbai studio, he knew his time had come. The auditions were going on in full swing. Mr. Doyle, the new age Robinhood, was making a realistic movie about his folks. They all knew he should be the lead actor. Who else can dance in shit without raising a stink? The movie was rumored to cater to the world’s elite, the world’s most civilised people. And then the ‘other’ side would know. O how the West was won!

At last his dreams would come true. So, with a pure intention and a noble cause he marched right ahead into the auditioning rooms. He cleared the dialogue rendition and a dance round with some number like…ding ding dinga with much ease. The final round was a personal interview with Mr. Doyle.

‘So tell me, Shera, why do you think you should play the lead role?’

‘Sir, you are making a movie about scum and squalor rising towards change, a movie of hope against hope and Sir, I am the ‘real’ thing. I actually live in those slums. My folks and I have tough lives but tougher dreams, Sir. We want to bring in a change. Who better than me, Sir? You and I shall win the West. Together, we can and we will. The twain shall meet, Sir.’

Mr. Doyle smiled. Shera knew that he had him there. Wagging his tail with sheer excitement, he headed towards his home with his chest held high in the air. Every dog has his day!

The results were out a few days later. Some outsider by the name of Damal would play the slumdog! And rumor has it that Shera has been chained ever since the first day of the shoot, due to a sudden ‘biting’ spree.

Love!

Honey, isn’t my nose big?
No sweetheart, your face is small.

…..after 10 years
Honey, am I looking fat?
No sweetheart, these pants are the wrong size.

….after 20 years
Honey, am I drooping?
No sweetheart, even gravity loves you so.

….after 30 years in holy matrimony
Honey, do you believe that ‘Love is Blind’?

The Irony!

woh jannat ki khoj mein nikla hain…
uske liye Mecca bhi door nahi,
apni begum ki izzath se beparvaah
nikla hain tere khoj mein eh Allah !…”

Thus concluded the fakir amidst much applause.

Wah wah wah!”, praised the old Sheikh in delight and quickly got up, shoving his new virgin bride all of 12.

P.S: Please forgive the hindi-urdu mix-up if any. Also, here’s the translation for Karthik, Kanagu n Lance:
“He has left in search of heaven…
Even Mecca is not far for him,
He doesn’t care to respect his wife
He has left in search of u, O Allah!..”

Hope

“What is this life if not about agony, despair and sorrow?” cried the young medical intern at the government hospital.

Blood, tears and mutilated bodies dwarfed his vision as the uninvited tremors had uprooted thousands. His young blood, infuriated.

“No, it isn’t…”, stated the nurse, ‘…the lady in bed 8 has just delivered a baby!”