Friday, 16 September 2016

You certainly can replace the people but not their memories.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A Love Story

She checked her mobile. It was 6 am. She was wide awake the whole night. She couldn’t sleep. Her alarm was set for 7 am. However, she got up and went to the kitchen. After preparing herself a cup of tea, she sat at her favorite spot near the balcony. When they shifted to the new house, it was her idea to use the flower bed and some space from the hall and convert it into a balcony. He had readily agreed. He never said “NO” to her. He always trusted her decisions and never questioned her. In fact, he was the one who always encouraged her to live her life on her own terms. He did not let anybody speak anything against her. Due to this there was sometimes friction between Amma and him. However, he always managed somehow.
” I hope he likes him”, blurted Aarti.
Today was the day, when two of the most important men of her life were going to meet for the first time. It was his idea to meet Rohit, for breakfast outside. That way, Amma will not be inquisitive. He always handled the situation well. Aarti wondered, how will she manage without him.
Aarti had met Rohit, when she was pursuing her CFA. She had joined a weekend class and he was there too. They started talking and dint realize when was the seed of love planted. She never felt this way before about anyone. It was magical, the way they show love in movies. They dated almost 3 years and she knew he was the one. Rohit had proposed her in the most romantic style. It was raining and he took her for a drive after class. In the middle of the highway, he stopped his car. He got out and Aarti followed. He showed her a signboard,” Will you marry me”??She turned and he was down on his knees. Aarti was overjoyed, she said “Yes”. They kissed passionately in the middle of the road.
On the way back, Aarti asked him,” What if I would have said NO?”.
Rohit replied,” My plan was if you said NO, I will tell you that unless you said “YES”, I won’t drive back”.
He then winked. Aarti started laughing. She realized, it was Rohit’s sense of humor that she adored. He did not take life very seriously. Always chirpy, always laughing. With him she too turned crazy.
The Alarm went off. Amma shouted,” Stop the alarm, Aarti!!”. She hurriedly went into her room and dismissed the alarm. Amma suspected something was fishy about Aarti’s behaviour. She was coming home late after classes, was always chatting on phone and was daydreaming most of the time. Ajay was away from home on office trips, most of the time. Whenever he was home, he was always busy in his work. He did not have time to notice the changes in Aarti. She asked Aarti directly once, but she as always never replied her. She warned Ajay too. But as usual, Ajay did not pay any heed to her. She had seen the world and she could see the change in Aarti. Why was Ajay, turning a blind-eye, she never understood. She emotionally blackmailed him and took a promise from him that he will find out about Aarti.
Ajay’s daily routine was to get up at 5 am in the morning. He would do yoga, go for morning walk, read the newspaper and then reply to some office emails. By 8 am sharp he would have his breakfast and then leave for office. On Sundays, he would himself cook the breakfast. However today, he was going out with Aarti to meet Rohit. Knowing Amma’s nature, he told her that he is taking Aarti out to talk about her changed behavior.
Once when Amma was away, Aarti herself had confessed about Rohit to him. He was shocked, he did not see this coming. When she was hesitating to talk, he thought maybe she has got a better opportunity at work and has to travel. However, she wanted to marry Rohit. He did not speak to her for few days. He was shattered. How could her Aarti do something like this. However, he resigned and thought,” If this makes her happy, so be it”. He apologized Aarti for her earlier stance and agreed to meet Rohit.
They both left at 8.15 from their house. They were supposed to meet Rohit at some café 45 mins drive away. Ajay wanted it to be like this, since Amma knew everyone around. If anybody sees them Amma will come to know. Aarti had warned Rohit to be on time, she knew how punctual he was. The meeting went well. She was sure he liked Rohit. Aarti had never seen him like this. He had let down his guards, chatting, laughing with Rohit. He hugged Rohit too when they were leaving. She herself was never successful in relaxing him. She was now one hundred percent sure about Rohit.
On way back, there was deafening silence. Aarti wanted to know his opinions. Ajay whispered,” He is very nice. You can marry him”.
Her heart skipped a beat. She was smiling and tears were rolling down her eyes. Deep down she knew, he will not be unfair to her. However, there was a constant fear, after all he was a man. And no man how much ever progressive will willingly accept his wife boyfriend.
On Amma’s constant pressure, Ajay had agreed to meet Aarti for marriage. Aarti did not want to marry, she wanted to study. However, her parents were adamant. Ajay was the fifth guy, Aarti was going to see this month. Like always, she will tell the guy that she likes someone else and she is planning to run away. But before Aarti could say anything Ajay said,” I don’t want to marry. Tell your parents, you did not like me”.
Aarti laughed and said,” I was going to say the same, Even I don’t want to marry. I want to study further, carve out a career for myself”.
Ajay listened in rapt attention as Aarti discussed her career plans. He was smiling, because a brilliant idea sprung up in his mind. He told her to marry him. He will make sure that her studies continue even after marriage. And marriage will be namesake, they won’t live as a married couple. In fact, if later either of them wanted to walk away, they will be free to do so. Aarti agreed too, but she had her doubts. She thought, if Ajay acts smart after marriage she will simply walk out. So they married.
Ajay kept his word. Aarti found a mentor and friend in Ajay. He helped her with studies and job. He even sponsored her courses at time. They had sex also at times, but it was mutual and need based. After all they were humans with needs. Everything was perfect, until she met Rohit. She always made her marital status known to everyone. This way she can avoid the unnecessary attention. Somehow, she never mentioned to Rohit initially. She told him only once she was sure of her feelings. With Rohit, she felt like the Aarti she was before marriage.
Ajay was a dream husband for a career oriented girl. But he lacked feelings. She revered him, respected him, adored him but did not love him. The marriage which she initially saw as a boon, now seemed like a curse. She had finally found love in Rohit. She told Rohit everything and to her amazement he still loved her. He was the one who insisted on meeting Ajay.
Ajay was happy to see Aarti happy. He wanted to hug her and tell her how much he loved her. But the time had gone. Life had given him 7 years with Aarti, yet he could never understand his feelings for her. When he did realize it was too late. He knew, the world will blame Aarti if they know or do not know the truth. If he hides the truth, they will call her a cheat. If he says the truth, they will call her a manipulator. They will blame her, that she used him. Either ways, the world will be once again unfair to a girl. But he knew better. He knew Aarti like no one did, not even her parents. He was happy that his views about Rohit mattered to Aarti. Rohit was a fine, funny guy. Someone Aarti always wanted. They will be happy together.
As for him, right now he had to handle Amma. He was not sure if he will ever love again. He had just realized that he loved someone and the feeling of being in love was great. It had taken him 32 years, one marriage and divorce to experience the feeling. He did not want to bother about the future like always and spoil today. They reached their home. Aarti came out of the car and hugged him and thanked him. He froze. He then felt a current through his body. He kissed her on the forehand, held her hand and opened the door. He was now ready to fight the world for her love.


–END–

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Lost World ?

It was only the third day of tuition. I had only seen her then, I didn’t know anything about her, not even her name!
That day the class ended about 10 minutes earlier. Her car hadn’t yet arrived to pick her up, and I used to go by bus. So I just took the opportunity to go up to her straight and I asked it: “Do you have any boyfriend?”
Obviously, she gave me a kind of why-suddenly-such-a-question look.
“No”, she replied.
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
“I don’t even know you”, was her reply.
“It doesn’t take much time to know each other”, I said, eagerly waiting for an assertive reply.
“Okay let a few days pass, then we’ll see”, was her smiling reply.
Like a fool, I just gave a thumbs up and walked off, that too in the opposite direction, only to run away from her, why I don’t know, but I wanted to get as far as possible from that awkward situation. Cursing myself for doing such an idiotic thing, I ran and ran and ran far away…
In the days that followed I came to know her name, she knew my name some days later, and we became good friends, or only friends rather. She never gave me her number, she was not on Facebook, so the tuition class was our only rendezvous for chatting. She was the study-first-then-others kind of girl, so we could not talk when sir talked, and when sir did not talk I tried to talk to her.
This was just the starting, where the boy dreams and the girl acts indifferently.
Then came the tough days of our lives, of my life rather, the Higher Secondary and Joint Entrance Examinations. I did rather badly in the Higher Secondary, but anyhow managed to get selected in one of the many engineering colleges of India. She had the opposite experience. She got 94% in her Higher Secondary (although she said she was not happy with the marks), but her entrance exams didn’t go that well.
Still she got herself admitted in a decent girls’ college in Kolkata. I had to stay away from home, and obviously from her, in Bengaluru. My life there took off grandly, I made few real and beautiful friends there, I, all of a sudden, grew brilliant in studies, and not to mention about my writing, yes, writing, I had a passion for writing from the very childhood. I started writing short stories, and they got published online as well, and the part that enthused me the most was the fact that I was being paid a quite good sum for publishing my stories, and moreover, whenever something special was needed to be written, be it online or offline, inside-college stuff or outside-college stuff, I was one of the many contacted, or to be precise, I was one of the few contacted.
But the scenario was quite different in her case, the scenario was quite the opposite rather. She grew bad – well, not really bad, but deteriorated – in her studies, she grew more suspicious in nature, i.e. she couldn’t trust anybody so easily, she grew more rude, she wasn’t the same soft-spoken and cute girl that I had known. Because of the combined effect of her trust problem and her rude behavior, she lost many friends, but couldn’t make new friends. She used to write very beautiful poems – no, I haven’t read any of them, but I’m pretty sure they are beautiful – but then, she was so disturbed that she stopped writing poems.
But I never lost contact of her. As soon as she came on Facebook, I became her friend, and we chatted, everyday. I gave her some time, the time to know me – well the process was tiring for me, but she was, and still is, in my opinion, beauty and virtue together, something rarely found nowadays. It took her three years to be able to trust me, that too partially, even this was a great achievement on my part, since I became one of her true friends, and the day she confessed that I was her close friend, I was over the moon!
Gradually I got her number, and then chatting was never ending. But I don’t know why, she could never like me more than a friend, and every time she said this, my heart would feel empty. My parents stopped talking normally with me after I flunked the IIT entrance examination. So, I was also kind of alone. But I never lost heart. I stayed with her and tried my best to cheer her up. She was of the opinion that she can’t love anybody because she was weird. Yes, I agree, she was really weird in some ways which I won’t be mentioning here, since she would feel awkward then!
I wrote stories, especially for her, to make her realize how beautiful and intelligent a person she is. My stories soon became a source of inspiration for her, and, I don’t know about others, but she waited eagerly for my next story to come. The way she praised me after each story, was really worth something, and also from a worthy person in my life.
Then came the campus interviews. I was one of the top students in the college, with my CGPA never less than 9.2. The interview went okay, the salary package was awesome, 75 thousand rupees a month for the first six months training in Kolkata, then if I succeed to get things right, my salary will increase manifold to 5 lakhs a month, with posting in the UK. All this will be granted in return for a ten hour job everyday, except Sundays, and total concentration on my work only. 5 lakhs a year – the engineer laughed in happiness, the writer bled to death.
And she, well the last I could know about her was that she was doing her MBA from some college in Kolkata. I don’t know how much me and my stories helped her, but she was a happy person again, writing poems, living happily with her parents and friends…and a boyfriend.
I started job and within five months only, I was called, and sent to London. My relationship with my parents remained unchanged, they didn’t even come to bid me farewell at the airport. Alone, I bid farewell to my hometown, where joy was rare for me.
In London, the engineer in me got the life he wanted, totally engrossed in his work, he earned the respect and trust of his colleagues, funny isn’t it? The writer in me couldn’t win the trust of the lady he loved in five years, but now, look how easily the engineer is being able to win everybody’s trust. I might have chosen the wrong avatar at that time, the engineer is the mighty one, the writer is just a depressed and sole soul. I was quite sure, that everything that mattered in this world was money and power. Love, trust, belief – all these are just mere emotional lagging, that one has to carry at one point in his life and dump at some other point in life.
I soon became the CEO of my company in a blink of seven years. I was both rich and powerful. All was okay, until yesterday.
It was in my routine, that everyday, after work, I would sit in the nearby park for some time, watching the young boys playing soccer there, I kind of tried to relive my childhood in the way I wanted it to be, but obviously couldn’t. That day, I was sitting in my usual place, with a glass hot chocolate in my hand, when a fairly known voice called from beside me, “Big man, eh?”
I looked up. A slightly bearded man, with two eyes shining brightly behind a pair of rimless spectacles. He was tall and slender, and his hair curly. Judging by his shoes, watch and the bag he carried, he wasn’t really rich, as me! His face was utterly similar to one of my old friends, long lost old friends. I stood up and shook his hand, “Hi”, I replied, still going through my list of friends whose faces I remember at the back of my head, “Sorry, but I cannot recognize you”, I gave up.
“Been here quite a long time, it seems, your accent totally British bro”, the smiling stranger said.
“Yeah”, I shrugged my shoulders, “Seven years at a stretch. Came here as just a project manager, I’m the CEO right now”, I advertised.
“Whatever, it’s a shame that you can’t still remember me”, he said in a taunting tone.
“Well, I’m very bad in these guessing games, you know”, I was then getting frustrated slowly.
“Okay, wait, do you remember…”, he told me her name, yes, she, whom I proposed twelve years back, after some damn tuition in an even more damned city, whom I cyber stalked for nearly five years, for whom I wrote stories, whom I…
“Looking startled brother?” the stranger continued, “Now I guess, you remember me.”
“Her boyfriend?” I made a guess.
“Was”, he replied, “Her fiance now.”
Now he shrugged his shoulders, and I, yes I, the CEO of my company, the rich me, the powerful me, the proud me, went blank for a moment, my mind went totally zero, everything around me got paused, got muted. I felt a sharp pinch in my heart. Still, seven years in the corporate world did teach me how to recover myself from unwanted situations. I forced a smile, and an even more forceful “Congratulations” was thrust up my throat.
He blushed.
“So what are you doing here?” I asked.
“Oh, my book has been in the top three of the best seller list here for the last three months, so they called me here to felicitate me, and she and I have decided to settle down here only after getting married.”
We sat down after that. We conversed for a long time, but surprisingly I can’t recollect what he said, or what I answered, all that I could remember, was a face, the cute face of a 18 year old girl, fair, oval, deep dark eyes, a wide forehead, her hair playing all over her face in the wind. I could even smell her perfume!
All I could remember, after straining my mind was of him telling me “Listen, tomorrow is her birthday, and I want to give her a surprise, you know a surprise that will really surprise her, and what could be a greater surprise than putting you up in front of her. I am sure she’s going to faint on seeing you, after all, you were her truest friend when you needed her the most.”
I came back home and wondered. Yes, I was there when she needed me the most, but was she there when I needed her the most? I felt sad, after a long long time, or to be even more precise, I felt how it felt to be sad. But I lifted myself up, I should be proud of myself, how I became successful, totally on my own accord, with no body by my side. Yet, after all these tries to lift my spirits up, I felt kind of defeated, of what, or by what, I had no idea, but surely I felt defeated.
That night I called my mom after a long gap, our relationship was just limited to my sending a handsome amount to my parents at the start of every month, but at that time, I wanted something more, I wanted to talk, informally.
The phone just rang away.
I didn’t go to office today. I woke up late, or rather I woke up early, as always, but I stayed late on bed. I never do that. But today I lied on bed till noon. I felt happy. After all, I would be meeting her today after so many days. I kept on thinking about what I would say to her, what to wear, what to do, how to establish myself in front of her, what to gift her, what to say and what not to, but honestly, the excitement of meeting her again was so strong that I could not even put my mind together to think.
I got my best suit, worth 700 pounds, bought an expensive gift, a showpiece, bought the best champagne available in London, I took my Porsche along, I decided to keep the keys in the front table of her house, so that she could realize my position now, so that she would feel guilty of choosing the wrong person as her life partner.
I reached their place at around 6 in the evening, driving a Porsche. Well, I must say, the place where they live, one can hardly call it an upper class area, it was all so shabby and cold, the roads were narrow, and the way the people dressed there, it was surely a very middle class region.
I kept my car in such a position so that she can see and admire it. I knocked on the door. She opened it. She couldn’t recognize me first, but I did.
“………………”
This was my reaction on seeing her. I should mention here I fought really hard to hold back my tears. She went on a shock as well, she stood spellbound at the door with her hands capped on her mouth. She jumped on me and hugged me. I remembered how it feels to be hugged. I held her in my arms, for those few seconds I wasn’t a dweller of this planet, I was somewhere else, somewhere far away from all these din and tension and pollution, I went to somewhere pure. Humorously I recollect, I always wanted to hug her in childhood.
It was a small apartment, enough for two young lovers though.
“I told you, I have a surprise for you”, her fiance chuckled.
“Oh, I love you so much”, she said and collapsed in his arms. A rusted knife pierced my heart.
“We are getting married”, she said, smiling from his arms.
“Yeah, I know”, I said, fighting my tears back, “He told me.”
I sat on the only sofa in the room, they took chairs, but they sat side by side.
“Honestly, do you wear formals everywhere?” she asked me.
“Oh no” I tried to laugh, “I had office.”
“Office, office everyday. How do you manage it?” he asked me.
There were a lot of reasons, the most important being that I get paid there. But I don’t know why I couldn’t say anything in front of them. I just smiled back.
I remembered about my car keys, how I have practiced to keep them in front of them. I put my hand in my coat, felt the cold touch of the keys, but couldn’t take them out.
“You should take off your coat. It’s really warm here.”
I opened the coat and loosened my tie.
“Is that for me?” she asked looking at the wrapped box in my hand.
“Oh yeah”, I said, “I almost forgot about it.”
I gave it to her, she opened it. “Oh it’s so nice of you!” I smiled. “But where is my chocolate?” she asked, as she got up and placed it on the shelf, along with some other showpieces.
“Chocolate?” I asked, confused, noticing how odd my six thousand pound miniature statue of the Haghia Sofia looked beside the other cheap objects around.
“Yeah, how can you forget? Remember, you used to give me chocolates on my birthday, in childhood.”
“Oh I am sorry, I was too busy actually”, I lied, “Wait I’ll order some for you right away.”
“No need for that, he has already got loads of them for me”, she said smiling towards her fiancee. “Have you given him a book yet?”
“Ah, sorry, wait”, he went inside and came back within seconds with a rectangular packet in his hand. I opened it:
The Black and Red World
It had the picture of an eye, just an eye, on the front page.
“It’s really nice”, I said, “At least the front is quite appealing.”
“You’ll love reading it”, she said, as he blushed beside her, “This story of his made me realize how lucky I am, he literally helped me to come out of all my depressions and worries.”
“SO MY STORIES DIDN’T, RIGHT?” I screamed inside my broken self, but outside I disguised my emotions with a cool composure adorning a smiling face.
“What’s it about”, I asked him.
“It’s about a boy, Shehzad, who lost his eyes and his parents in an accident, but still goes on to live his dream, of traveling around the world, and meeting different people, and experiencing the different adventures of life. It basically revolves around his childlike innocence and indomitable spirit.
“And guess who suggested the title, my dear fiancee” he said as they kissed each other. The knife was twisting itself in my heart then.
“Well, not actually”, she said, “I just modified it a bit. He thought of the titling it The Unseen World. But then I thought of adding some colors to it, and black and red, those are the only two colors which you can actually see if you are blind.”
“You are still the same”, I said out of nowhere, “Remember how you used to help me title my stories in our college days.”
“I am much more intelligent and mature than both of you taken together”, she chuckled. “By the way, how are you doing?” she asked me.
My eyes went all wet in a flash, it had been ages since anyone asked me how I was doing.
“All very fine and good”, I tried to be normal, “Quite good actually, I am the CEO right now of my company, got a new apartment, very spacious, 4.1 million euros, got a new car”, I pointed to my Porsche outside, “Life’s been smiling at me”, I laughed.
“Oh ho!” she sounded dissatisfied, “Not these, you idiot, I am asking about your dreams, remember? Writer, globe-trotter and having a loving and beautiful girlfriend or wife?”
“Yes”, I didn’t know what to say, “I’ve been working on those, never left them aside.” Now, this was the biggest lie of my life, I had totally forgotten about them.
She gave me a you-can’t-lie-to-me look, and said “See, you’ve been here for the last five years…”
“Seven”, I interrupted her.
“Yeah, seven, whatever, and you’re rich so obviously you have been around Europe at least by now, why don’t you write about Europe then? I can even suggest you a title, Europe through an Indian eye. How’s it?”
“Oh please stop including this eye thing everywhere”, her fiance said.
“Shut up!” she stopped him, “In fact I have a better idea”, she turned to me, “You can have a total volume of books, books about the places you visited, and name it The World through an Indian Eye.”
“No, I think he should name it Saare Jahaan Hi Achha, you know, diverting from Saare Jahaan Se Achha.” her fiance suggested.
“No, it sounds very cliche”, she argued.
They went on suggesting names for my book, and updating them! I just sat there quietly, it made no damn sense at all, they were just wasting their time. All these days that I’ve stayed here, I’ve been to New York twice, and once to each of Washington DC and Singapore, but all for job purpose. It was all a very serious thing for them, and a comedy for me!
“And what about your short stories? You used to write short stories, right? Or you used to say, I write diaries”, she said imitating me.
“Diaries?” her fiance asked.
“Yes”, she said, smiling at me, I forced a smile back, “You see, he has this unique talent, of getting into someone else’ life, like, kind of, transforming himself into that person, and write about the feelings of that person, a few pages, or sometimes just a single page of that person’s diary. And believe me, he expresses feelings so well, I can’t tell you, you won’t know until you read it yourself. He is a very good writer.”
“I CAN’T WRITE ANYMORE”, my heart shouted out, and all I showed was just a shy smile.
“Won’t you show him your favorite birthday gift?” he told her.
“Oh, yes, I almost forgot”, she said, picking up a file from the table, “See this. He gave to me yesterday midnight.”
What? I thought, a file for a birthday gift? I suppressed my laughter, what can be inside it? A story? This man is obsessed, surely, I thought and laughed, while outside I wore a serious look.
I opened it. Yes, it was a story with the title The Girl Who Doubted.
“Another story”, I laughed.
“Yes, guess on whom?” she said, she was laughing too.
“On a particular girl, who doubts very much”, I laughed again.
“And do you know any such a girl?” she asked.
“Well, let me think”, most of my childhood friends were erased from my memory, the few that remained weren’t that doubting, and my colleagues, no, not at all, they are all quite cool, then who, I searched, straining my brain hard, my frowning eyes fell on her, sitting right in front of me, the girl who doubted, or rather, the girl who couldn’t trust, the girl who took three years to trust me, to accept me as one of her good friends. Slowly, my frowning face took a turn towards being an astonished face. She started smiling, this smile was much much more as compared to that smile, which she showed when she saw my gift, this smile was a lot more dear, a lot more cherished, this was from the inner self, this was a smile of satisfaction, a smile of love.
For a moment, I felt extremely happy for her. I smiled too, and returned her the file. She kept it back on the shelf, beside my miniature Haghia Sofia. Now, it looked really odd beside the loved and cherished things around it.
“Won’t you read it? You’ll find some of your childhood memories in here” her fiance said.
“Sure, I will”, I replied as I got up, “But I don’t want to interfere in something which is entirely yours, and yours”, I said looking at her.
“Are you leaving?” she asked me.
“Yes”, I said as I walked towards the dining table, where my champagne was kept. I took it and went to the door.
“What happened? Is anything wrong? Did I say anything?” her fiance looked worried, so did she.
“No, actually, I also never liked this champagne very much. I brought it, only to…”, I didn’t know, but I had started to cry, I wasn’t used to this, crying, all my efforts to act normal went in vain.
“Only to what?” she asked, there was that same old care and affection in her voice. I wasn’t used to this too, care and affection, no one has spoken to me with those two special feelings for ages. It got out of my control, I started literally started crying, she came and held me in her arms, I longed for this moment, from that very tuition day, it all went like a flash in front of me…
“Do you have any boyfriend?”
“No.”
“Will you be my girlfriend?”
“I don’t even know you.”
“It doesn’t take much time to know each other.”
“Okay let a few days pass, then we’ll see.”
“Those few days have passed”, I told her in a choking voice, “But perhaps I don’t know myself as yet”, saying this, I ran, ran away from her, like I did that day, nothing changed, I wanted to run from her, from that awkward situation, run as far as possible, I ran, don’t know which way, my coat stayed along with my car keys at their place, my car stayed parked in front of them, I just ran…
I returned home late at night, I was all white due to the cold outside, I drank that disgusting champagne full. My wide spacious apartment looked so small and meager. I sat on my soft and cozy sofa, yet it didn’t do any good to comfort me.
I still felt defeated, no, not by her fiance, but by my own damn self, I have defeated myself, in the hunt for happiness, I had killed the things that could really give me the true happiness of life. Today as I saw her fiance as an established writer, with the love of his life, who also loved him back with full loyalty, and their chances of traveling around the world, I didn’t feel jealous, but I felt broken, blue, as at one point in life, I wished to be at that very position. Those days, which I considered to be the bad days of my life, were in true sense, the good days, and the way I am living nowadays, in the midst of only money and power, with no one to talk to, entirely alone, these are the bad. All these money and power and big empty houses and cars are just opium in my life.
I went to my balcony, the entire city glistening in the blackness of the night pounced on me. I realized I have become just another burden on this already populated and jammed world. But I know, I am not this. I am someone else, but obviously not the person I am right now. I have done a great mistake with myself, in order to attain praise and respect, I have put myself in a difficult knot. But in order to attain these fake praises and respects I have somewhere, in life, dumped my own talent, my own very self is lost in this crowd. I had become another Shehzad, like in her fiance’s book, only without that indomitable spirit. Mine is a black and white life only, devoid of any color.
All I wish is now to step forward and open myself up, speak out whatever is there in my heart.
I will live the life I want to. I will choose my own way of living, like I once wanted, full of adventure, my boulevard of life is not straight, it is curved, but it is mine, it is how I choose to make it. I will walk these roads till the end, there are no knots here, there is only freedom. Yes, I am someone else, I am not what I am right now, I have no limit, my imaginations are free, I am my own fun, I am my own sunshine. I am the one I choose to be.
I have lost many things so far in my life, I have lost my writing skills, I have lost my love, but now, I don’t have anything left to lose, I am a person with no care in the world, I can be fearless actually, I am fearless, in fact, and being fearless is the best way to be free.
My vice-president’s text broke my trance. It was a reminder about the presentation that I had to put up in office today, and he also added that, if this presentation went right the company would be gaining a huge sum, so will I, and he has full faith in me that I am going to pull it off superbly.
I opened my laptop, and sat to prepare the presentation. No sleep, excessive pressure, a whole bottle of a most disgusting champagne and all that went over me yesterday, made my head heavy. I stared at the screen for some time, then, almost automatically, a blank Word page opened in front of me. I sat, staring at the blank white screen, thinking of something to write. As usual I couldn’t think of any nice title. So, after thinking a lot, for nearly the past two hours, a mind blowing title popped up in my head. I typed it down in bold:
RESIGNATION LETTER


END

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Inseparable Love

The golden rays of light cast through the window awakening me from my slumber. I arise from my covers and walk down the stairs. The cold hardwood floor sends shivers through my body as I walk down the hall. I approach the pillar in the corner of the living room and peek at my grandmother. Her long gray hair with subtle auburn streaks covers her face. She hears me and raises her head.

"Audrey is that you?" Grandmother questioned.
"Yeah."
"What are you doing awake at this time. Its breaking dawn."
"I don't know, I just decided to get up. What are you doing?"
"Ohh nothing, just looking at pictures."
I spot a picture of Grandfather, he looks pretty young maybe early twenties.
"Ohh he was so handsome and charming."
"Grandma I don't know If i ever asked, but how did you and grandpa meet?"

A smile appears on grandmothers faces and she lights up with joy. She walks over and sits in her antique mahogany rocking chair. I sit on the rug beneath her, adhere to every word that comes from her.
"Well It was a very long time ago the summer of '42 to be exact, I was a bit older than you, about fifteen. But things were a lot different then. I was crazy for Frank Sinatra my mother bought me a record I played that record all day and night."
I begin to laugh along with grandmother.
"I remember I'd just gotten a pair of new saddle shoes, I loved my blue ones. We even used to autograph each others shoes! We wore dresses and skirts and ankle socks just typical teenagers at the time. Oh dear I'm getting off topic aren't I?"
"Well yes, but your information was amusing." I inform.
"Well anyway I met your grandfather In the summer of that year. I'd never seen him around so I was intrigued by him.I thought he was quite handsome and I knew I would make a fool of myself If I was anywhere near him!"
"So he spoke to you?" I ask.

"Oh no, our friends actually did. They all wanted to do triple dates but he was with another girl and that really upset me that I had to go with another boy.We went to the diner nearby and then to the movies. The dates were fun but I wasn't really into it. Charlie, my date, asked to walk me home but I declined so I just walked by myself. Then I heard footsteps long after he left. It was a boy, no other than your grandfather trying to spook me but it didn't work."

"Oh I should've known!" I say with a smile.
"He just walked with me down the street, it was a little awkward just walking in silence. But then he said to me, how are you doing. I thought that was a little weird we had been walking for about five minutes now and he just asked me how am I!" grandmother says with a humorous tone.

"I was to shy to reply back though, I was acting a little stubborn. Cat got your tongue, he joked. I said no and that I just didn't want to talk to him. He said okay and that he would leave, but I didn't want him to. He walked a few steps and I told him wait. He paused and turned back to me. So you don't want me to leave is it? I told him I wouldn't say that. Oh I was so naive!" She says smiling the whole time through.
"He walked me all the way to my door and just simply left."

"Just like that, he just-----left?" i question.
"Oh I felt the same way, like why did he just leave like that he could've said goodbye!"
We both share a laugh in relation.
"After that we just seemed to connect with each other strangely. We were always with each other, we could rely on each other for anything, but I didn't tell him how I felt about him after two whole years. I thought we were inseparable until the day I found out he was leaving for the war."
"What war grandma?"
"World War Two. It was a very big deal the U.S, needed all the help we could get so they drafted as young as sixteen."
"Ohh yeah World War two was the worst."
"Yes, that's why I did everything In my power to stop him. But he was so headstrong on him going to fight for our country, no matter what I said could stop him. On the day of his deployment he wrote me the most wonderful poem about love. I didn't think I was so in love with him until that poem."
"That's so sweet."

"When he was gone I was really kept to myself. I didn't even talk to a boy, I only had eyes for your grandfather.I worried about him morning noon and night. But I couldn't even bare to think of him dying. I remember In the fall in '44 the radio announce that the war was over the nazis surrendered. Everyone was happy for the re-deployment, brothers husbands boyfriends everyone was coming back---- except for your grandfather. My worries began to build with each day, then week then month. I remember just breaking down and crying that night because I believed he had truly died. There was knock on my window which alarmed me.

To my complete surprise It was your grandfather! I was so happy to see him I engulfed him In a warm hug. He was soaking wet because it was raining cats and dogs outside. I ask him what he was doing there. He told me that those were the longest two years of his life, and that he thought about me every night. He said that he wasn't sure about his future and! that he didn't know too much about anything, but he knew he had a future and I had to be in it. Then he dropped down on one knee and proposed.
I cover my hands and gasp. "Oh Grandma how romantic!"

"It was very, I knew I loved him more than anythings in the world so I had to say yes. We shared a blissful kiss and hugged with joy. Our parents though we were too young so we eloped and that's how our life all began."
"Oh Grandma you're going to make me cry."
"I want to every time I think about him It's only been a year. I miss him dearly but I know that he wouldn't want me to cry. I still think that we are inseparable because even though he's not on Earth anymore he's always in my heart." grandmothers says sincerely.

I give my grandmother a hug unlike any other, the kind of long warm hug that you don't want to let go of.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Love spares no one

Today , My parents showed me another photograph of a girl. They had been in search of a Bride for me. After seeing the pic , I went into my room. I sat quietly holding pillow in my hands. I began to think  again about the marriage. I always wanted to fall in love , share magical moments with my lover and then one fine day tie the knot of marriage with her. But there was something inside me which always stopped me to do that. That was the story of my 2 classmates  Sanjana and Mohit.

My class mates Sanjana and Mohit had been knowing each other since childhood. They lived in same colony, Jagruti Vihar, New Delhi . They were good friends and studied in same school.
Mohit was very naughty and chubby guy. He mingled with everyone at ease, but on other side Sanjana was shy  and simple girl. But still they both were very close to each other and shared almost everything together.
I could still recollect the days when I saw them sitting on stairs and sharing each others lunch box.
I always liked the bond between them, they always found time for each other. There was something very interesting in them; whenever I looked at them, I always wished that they would remain same way forever, connected with each other.
They never allowed anyone else to come in between their friendships although many people tried to create difference to break the bond between them, that indeed was really strong. They sometime made silent conversation in sign language when they wanted to talk in crowd. They had superb understanding.
School teachers also  admired the fact that one side they competed against each other to get first rank and on other side they  remained friends apart from their educational competitiveness. Generally,  Mohit won the chase of getting first rank. They were great inspiration to other; they were considered another name of ‘friendship’.
Slowly time passed and we all finished our Intermediate .
And now it was time to get ready to make a clear choice for our future. They both took admission in same College for their engineering also. They still remained special to one another. In college,  Mohit opted for Civil engineering and Sanjana for Electrical. I believed, it was first time that they thought or did  something different . I also joined in same  college and opted for mechanical. This was when we three came together and formed our group. But I always knew that I was an ‘Extra’ in their lives.
In college also they continued their friendship in same manner as it was earlier. We 3 used to meet together during lunch time in canteen, and to share our day to day problems, issues, concerns, family problem, future goals etc…
Mohit once told he wanted to get a job in reputed Construction company, as he always wanted to build beautiful building and construct lovely house. This was his dream. Sanjana  showed her interest to pursue MBA after engineering from any reputed college. They both respected, admired and liked each other dreams.
But, The only definite thing about time is, it changes.
3 years passed as no time and It was our final year……
One day Mohit received a phone call from sanjana
Mohit :-  ‘Hello..’
Sanjana:- ‘Hi Mohit, This is Sanjana’
Mohit:- ‘ O hi sanju, ya tell me …’
Sanjana:-  ‘ I wanna meet you yaar ‘
Mohit :- ‘ hmm fine, where  ?’
Sanjana:-  ‘ Same place …’
Mohit:-  ‘ At what time ?
Sanjana:- ‘If possible , now’
Mohit:- ‘Ok sure give me half an hour , I will come there ‘
Sanjana, :- ‘Fine , I will wait for you …..’

Sanjana was waiting behind the staircase of that Old school . She was tensed.
Mohit came running there as he thought he was late .
Mohit :- ‘Hey hi, what happened you looked tensed, tell me’
Sanjana :-  ‘ Let’s  sit first ‘
They sat on  staircase .
Sanjana started-‘ Mohit, My parents are looking for a groom, they are planning for my marriage’
‘So what’s wrong in that , every parent have this concern for their daughter, It’s Good right ?’ Mohit said.
Sanjana:- ‘No, yaar I love someone else. And till date I haven’t expressed my feeling to him’
Mohit :-   ‘ Hey who’s  that, you didn’t tell me anything  about him. I understand, you don’t consider me your friend . Otherwise You would have told me earlier.’ Mohit said dolefully.
Sanjana:-  ‘Not that yaar, actually this marriage talk and all has made me realize that I want to marry that Guy.  I have been also unaware of my feeling for him.’
Mohit :-  ‘ Ok baba , tell me I will talk to him , I am with you. Don’t worry and Tell me his name. Do I know him ? Is he from our college ?
Sanjana :- Yes , You know him.
‘Vikas ?’   Mohit prompted in between.
Sanjana :- No….
Before Mohit could  make any other guess ,  Sanjana gathered some courage and said , ‘ It’s You ‘
Mohit didn’t believe what he heard just now.
‘What !!!  Me…..??’  he screamed loudly.
Mohit:- ‘No baba , No. Sanju, You are my best friend, in fact the only friend But I haven’t imagined you as my Lover or my wife. No yaar. I don’t love you in that way .”
Sanjana:- (Surprisingly as she was expecting a definite ‘Yes’ from his side)  But why?  I know you since childhood , we are no less than each other in any sphere of life. I think we can continue and make a good couple. I love you yaar. Please don’t reject me like this .
Mohit :- I am not rejecting you, but what you are expecting , can’t happen. I have other view on marriage, love, wife, etc ….
Sanjana:- ‘Do you love someone ? If not then why can’t me?’
Mohit:-  ‘No I don’t love any one right now . But I will tell you a fact , I always imagined a girls who would come into my life suddenly and set everything right for me. I always wanted to marry someone I haven’t seen till date and just surrender myself to her so that she can add colors to my life with her charm. I never imagined you in that way. So please don’t take me wrong. You are a nice girl , You will surely find someone good for you.”
Sanjana had tears in her eyes while listening all this . She came close to Mohit, kissed on his forehead and said in low voice-
‘All the best , May you get girl of your  life’  But you will definitely remember me. Bye.’
Sanjana left from there in silence.
Mohit stood there and realized that he broke her heart. But didn’t feel any guilt or regret as he was very much sure on the choice of his life.
Time passed and there was almost no contact between them for few days.
After 15 days Mohit received a call .
Mohit:- ‘ Hello ….who is this ?’
“Hello Mohit . I am Nita, Sanjana Mother’s. Can you come to NBH Hospital?”
Mohit :- ‘what happened Aunty?’
Nita:- ‘ Sanjana jumped off from building, she attempted suicide. She is in hospital ‘
There was a long silence. Mohit was shocked for a while , he didn’t understand what to do ..? He immediately left for the Hospital with no delay.
Sanjana was immediately admitted  in ICU, her condition seemed to be critical. Mohit reached  and sat beside her mother and tried to Console her. Doctor came out after examining Sanjana.
‘How is she doctor saab’?  Ms Nita asked.
She is out of danger now.But …She lost her legs, I am sorry for that But  she won’t be able to walk now.’
Nita and Mohit were stunned . This was like moment of grief for them. Nita cried a lot. Really Life became miserable for them.
Days passed by,  Sanjana came home on wheelchair. She went into depression. She spent her days constantly staring  walls and  speaking to none. She became like Living death body.
Doctor said   ‘She is in depression, and due to this she doesn’t react to things, Please try to keep her happy. This will only help her to come out from depression’
I used to visit her house regularly and try my best to keep her happy. Here on one side I was supporting her to gain her confidence and make a fresh start to her life.
And On other side, After a year from this Incident, Mohit got job in a reputed company. After that he  married to a Punjabi girl Nalini who also worked in same company. She was almost  same kind of girl which Mohit always dreamt of.
I didn’t tell this to Sanjana. Mohit almost forgot about his best friend Sanjana , who now was on the wheel chair. Sanjana couldn’t take the rejection by Mohit and attempted suicide. He never went to see her anytime. He always thought it wasn’t his fault at all. He never asked Sanjana to love him, he never asked her to attempt suicide.
Mohit was happy in his life. He achieved almost all thing which he expected from life. He believed in his happiness and was happy to be married to Nalini. One Night around 2:00 am Mohit heard Nalini’s voice, she was talking to someone on her mobile. He  observed that Nalini was talking to someone in very soft voice. Mohit didn’t utter a single word and ignored.
But same continued for few weeks.  He wanted to know to who Nalini talked late night once, she believed, Mohit went  sleeping.
Next Morning, when Nalini went to wash room, he  grabbed her cell phone and checked the call listing. He finds a Name ‘ Anshu’ to who she used to call in night. Mohit stored this number and kept the Nalini’ cell at same place before she came. He  sensed something  suspicious, so he decided to follow up on this .
In his investigation, he came know that ‘Anshu ‘ is none other than his boss ‘Anshuman Sahay’. And Nalini-Anshuman had been in affair with each other for last 2 months. Mohit couldn’t take this and decided to settle the matter. He was very angry with Nalini.
He immediately  went to her  …..
Mohit:-  ‘Who is this Anshu ‘ ? He shouted on Nalini.
She was shocked to hear that.
Nalini :-‘ No I don’t know any Anshu .what are you saying ?’   She replied in fear
Mohit:- ‘ I know he is that bas**rd Anshuman and you have an affair with him for last 2 months.’
Their argument continued for more than 2 hours , Nalini tried to defend herself but Mohit was not willing to listen to her.
Next day, Nalini went a bit early to office. She left a small  note for Mohit.
‘ I am going  to office early for some urgent work . We will talk in evening.Today everything will be settled’.
In office, Nalini directly went to Anshuman’s cabin and recited him the whole story.
Anshuman said-
‘ Nalini , I love you, if you also  love me then leave Mohit and come with me, I will give you all the thing which you always wanted . I am crazy about you and want you at any cost.’
Choosing Anshuman was  wise choice for Nalini . She will get everything from him, Money, luxury, everything which she had been dreaming of . Taking the advantage of the situation, Nalini went close to him, held his hand and said-
‘ Even I love you Anshuman ,  I don’t know why I married Mohit, That was  probably the biggest mistake of my life. I want to leave him . I always loved you but didn’t expressed’
‘Ok fine, so today’s Evening I will come to your  house and talk to Mohit to file divorce with You. If he agrees it’s fine or else I will see him then. Now nothing can come between you and me. ‘ Anshuman added.
Here Mohit was waiting for Nalini  to settle down the matter. He decided to talk to her and explains the importance of their love. Nalini reached home, Mohit went near to her and said-
‘ I am sorry, I behaved very badly yesterday I love you and let’s start all over again, I mean You and me are both made for each other so why don’t  you  love me  I will keep you happy always Believe me…..’
Before Nalini could say any word. There was knock on a door. Mohit  opened the door. He was surprised to see Anshuman on Door. He called him inside. After sitting on chair Anshuman told about his love and affair with Nalini.
He said :-
‘ I want you to give divorce to Nalini and set her free. she doesn’t like you. I want to marry her after you give her divorce, I don’t want anything wrong happen to anyone of us. so Please listen to me and do as I say .’
Mohit rushed toward Anshuman and grabbed his collar.
‘ How dare you come to my home and talking about my wife? Leave, otherwise I will forget that you are my colleague.’  Mohit added angrily.
‘You can ask to Nalini , to who she wants.  If she says it’s you I will leave now. Or else you have to go away from our lives. Because at any cost I will get her”  Anshuman replied with same anger in  his tone.
Mohit looked at Nalini , who was silent witness of all that was going through.
‘Why are you standing like a statue ?  Tell Him that you love me and want me ‘
Nalini  in low voice said-‘ Mohit I don’t love you. It’s decision time, I don’t want to cheat you , but I love Anshuman.’
Mohit didn’t believe this. He went crazy after hearing that. He went into kitchen and grabbed the knife. He wanted to finish Anshuman now. In this act of anger, a little quarrel broke out between the two and Mohit  killed Anshuman with that knife. Anshuman fell down  on the floor, blood was  pouring out of his stomach. He was dead. Mohit murdered Anshuman .
Nalini  rushed towards  Anshuman body and started screaming and crying.
Mohit  now realized   that ‘Nalini never loved him’ .He  didn’t know what to do now. He left everything as it was and ran away from the place of incident. Later , when Police arrived on the location, they found Nalini lying on floor in sub conscious state.
Lady constable sprinkled some water on her face and made her to come back to normality. When police asked about the detail , she narrated then the whole story. She told police, that Mohit did all this things and ran way from the spot.
After 3 days,  Mohit was arrested and  was under police custody , behind the bars. In Jail, sitting alone at the corner Mohit now recollected and realized that how he rejected the most appropriate proposal for  his life,  Sanjana.
He now began to realize his mistake for not accepting Sanjana  as his life partner. His desire to have Beautiful and mod wife brought him to this stage. He cried now and regretted for what he has done to his all time school friend and best mate ever ‘sanjana’
“I am sorry sanjana” he said in grief.
He’s  now remembering her and crying . But really it was too late. The twosome who always stayed together, who shared everything, who was source of inspiration to other now were at such a position, One was on wheel chair  and other behind the bars.

I have seen all these happening and my heart cries for both of them.
Still Today also I ask to myself some questions
* What was Sanjana’s fault ?
‘ She just loved her childhood mate thinking that they would be perfect couple together  and what she received in return  ‘ Wheelchair and depression for whole life’
* Why Mohit didn’t accept Sanjana
‘ Just to have someone coming from no where to change his life and add colors to it.’
* Why Nalini cheated Mohit ?
‘To have a secure and promising life with luxury and money involved ‘
*  ‘Why we think, chat we have are less important.
* Why our heart and mind cheat us and make us believe on thing which we are not aware of.?’
This is purely the case of expectation in love. We handle love very carelessly. We want more on everything, but forget the simple rule of love-
‘Never expect, just believe in love’ .