Short story: His kaleidoscope!!

You know that feeling of having it all, yet unable to savour anything, like being alone in midst of a crowd. That was what love did to her.

But to understand her, you have to know her first.

Growing up her favourite toy was a kaleidoscope. She loved it when the broken pieces transformed into beautiful patterns. Much like her.

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She never liked to share. Not that she was insensitive or a hoarder. Mostly because she felt a compulsive attachment to everything and everyone in her life.

She could not be herself when someone borrowed mundane stuff from her, say a pencil or a book. When it was returned she would pass her hands over it a hundred times, to see if it felt the same; to make sure it was treated the way she would have cared for it.

And…he walked into her life. Wait, it will be an understatement to tell he walked into her life. For the kind of person he was, crashed would be a better word.

It was as if a stone had hit still water sending ripples through out. The kind of ripples which shattered the wall she had created around her, shook her senses and opened her up.

It would be too cliché to say opposite attract. Let’s say, he was everything she was not. He was popular, had a happy personality and could make anyone talking to him feel that at that moment only they mattered to him.

It was not that she was antisocial, but making relationships was always her Achilles heel. You could judge her to be selfish, insensitivity or practical. But, no one understood that she would give an arm for people who loved her, just that it took a lot more time for her to accept someone in her life.

And, people thought it was weird that they are together. You couldn’t blame them for pointing out. Even she thought she was not the one for him and told him so as well. But he wouldn’t hear any of it.

She would tell him that this wont last long. She said, he will lose interest in her, that all romances fizzle out. And, he told her with conviction that he will feel same way for her even when they are 80 years old.

On outside she would tell him that he will get bored of her, but secretly she gloated that he was into her, truly, madly, and deeply as he often told. She believed every word of what he said, deep inside, though she won’t show it out in open.

She saw him grow, the magnanimity of his personality often baffled her, but she found pride that she was there to support him throughout. He was a lot ahead of her and she would take great pains to get to where he was. But, by the time she reached half distance, he would have moved on.

He always wanted lot of attention, to be popular, to be known as the guy to go to. Friends flocked around him. She was suddenly not enough for him. She tried to fit into the image he had made of her to his friends. She tried and tried, then got tired of it. It was a lot of pain to watch the laugh escape his lips and smile in his eyes, when he was around friends. Something that she did not see him do with her, or may be something she couldn’t give him. It hurt like a thousand nails had pierced her heart. She started hating all for taking him away from her. But it did not take her long to realise that it was not about them, it was about him and her.

She asked why did he need so many people in his life: they come and go, she was the one who was and will always be there. Why does he choose them over her?

And he said, that she is always there, and that they have rest of life ahead of them. He cannot be happy with just her. He needed a lot more.

She cried, begged, fought, cried a lot more and asked , why them? Why not her?

He said he never chose her over anybody. That, all existed in parallel worlds of his.

She did not know what to do. She had lost all hope. Life as she wanted was never going to happen. She did the only thing she does when she’s alone. She read.

She read two stories that day. One was about a violinist, who met this girl randomly, fell in love with her, and lost her to a fling that lasted only a moment, compared to the lifetime she was willing to give him.

Next, she read the story of a girl who loved zero. It was written by a guy who was taught the value of zero by her. He was the zero, when they had met and he was thankful she was there for him through the years they were together.

And, she wondered. She could be either of these girls. But, it would depend on what he chooses, would it not?

Either way, she was his kaleidoscope; broken glasses or beautiful patterns? Only time can tell!

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The diary!

She sneaked into her dad’s office and asked if he would let her have one of the quaint little notepads. For next few months, it was her prized possession. She stuck pictures and hid feathers, dried flowers and leaves in it. She scribbled and doodled until the pages could no longer hold her fantasies.

***

Her friend had a little pink book with a lock on it. How much she envied to have one of her own. Her friend had got that from Dubai, but she had to make do with one which had LIC in bold print on the cover. Her teen mind would not rest until she could have one like her friend’s. A pair of scissors, glue stick, color papers and fancy sequins worked earnestly to make her wish come true. Dreams, doubts and secrets found their place in the pages.

***

She filled the pages with colors of her youth. As her heart beat her dreams, her book overflowed with poems. For the first time, some pages left her book and was passed onto him during class break. New pages were added to it, but despite the effort to fit it all in, some pages stuck out like a sore thumb.

***

dear-diary

Two halves. One half was full of tallies-bills to pay, EMIs to cover-she felt it represented her father’s side of her personality. The other half was full of recipes-her mother’s legacy. In the tug of war between the two she struggled to find herself.

***

In an empty nest, she sat. She bared her feelings, thoughts, moods into the pages and silence echoed back from the pages.

***

Life changed, situations changed, people changed!

The only constant, her diary!

***

The Gap

They sat there for longest time together. He will make the first move, she thought. I don’t want to be pushy, he decided. Words got stuck in throat, heart let out a sigh! Cupid struck two names off the book of love.

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WhatsApp showed she is online. She had received his text, he waited for her reply. Patience: 0, desperation: 1. He pinged a feeble “hi”. And kept staring at the last seen for hours together.

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He talked a lot. She smiled a lot. It was nice to hear the ring of his laugh and gaze at the twinkling of his eyes when he spoke animatedly. Alas, it would have been perfect if he was speaking about them. Friends, family, career, this and that;  not a word about her.

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Weekdays passed on like a drudgery. But, she welcomed every weekend with a new vigor. Video chat bridged the miles between the child and the mother. Her daughter’s schedule had become her schedule for Saturdays. She kept waiting for green light to pop and the familiar beep when daughter came online. If only daughter could tell her that her partner’s schedule had to be her’s now.

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She talked and talked in hope that some day he will talk back. He stared vacantly at her. Little tears rolled down the sides of his cheeks. She hugged his fragile frame, glad that he was listening. If only he had listened to her all those times she asked him to drive carefully.

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Everybody talked. Everyone had an opinion. The uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters and even the guy who sold them milk had a say. Her opinion was covered up in a red wedding saree, she poured her dreams into the holy fire.

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Every word has its consequences, every silence too : Jean Paul Sartre.

Lost in Love!

Love and Pain are mirror images of each other. You cannot feel one without feeling the other. “Lost in love” is an ode to those who have/are lost in love, which they probably never had in first place

She got up in the middle of night and checked if he was sleeping beside her. She touched him to make sure it was not a dream; he was there alright, but what she did not know was that she had lost touch with his soul a long way back.

Like horses tethered to a cart, they pulled the burden of life together; different destinations in their head, but destined to be together as God’s hand had frantically wrote it on their head.

“Pain needs to be felt”, said Augustus to Hazel, they were not alone in their battle. She closed her book, she felt the pain- being lonely was tougher than being alone.

Courtsey-RMDrakeLooking into mirror and seeing them together was their thing once upon a time, now when their eyes lock accidentally while in front of a mirror, all they could see was two strangers staring back at them. Love looked into mirror and saw pain.

People saw an image when they were together, when what truly it should have been was a reflection of their real self.

A static image, a picture frozen in time, a broken reel.

P.S.

This post was inspired by the above quote from R M Drake. Thanks to his powerful words, thoughts and intellect.

Little Mom

Little Mom is my compilation of few snippets from my mother’s childhood. These are bed time or food time stories that she shared to me and now, when I look back I feel that was how I got to know her better. These are stories which when I listened to as a child made me wonder if she was a little child too.

Little Mom’s day out in car

It was not just one of those days for Little Mom. Today was special. How can she not be thrilled, after all, it was her first car ride ever. She was all charged up!! Alas, how can she show it out!! She was supposedly the meek calm one who opens her mouth only when she’s asked to (Some even teased her about being an oyster.  Of course, she clammed up, the pearl within was not for all to see).

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They were visiting her paternal house, and she climbed onto the back of the car, clinging to her mom. It was a delight for her eyes- the long winding roads, trees falling behind, and out of the blue she saw it- the ceramic tile factory, standing tall with long brown-tiled exhaust pipes jutting into sky. She followed it with her eyes, trying to size it up- it was definitely the tallest structure she had ever come across, definitely taller than her house and was it bigger than her school? As they were about to go past it, terror gripped her-what if it just falls on her head?  She ducked her head and waited for the moment to pass- nothing happened. Slowly, she lifted her head up and peeked at the tall chimney through the rear glass. Her eyes became wide with delight- there it was becoming smaller and smaller, as the car trotted its way up the road.

Little Mom’s Cameo Appearance

It was annual day at Lion’s school and Little Mom was all set to go to the function with Big Bro as chaperone. It had not been easy to get permission to go to annual day and after lot of promises to Mother that he will never leave her out of sight, Big Bro and Little Mom set out on a bicycle all excited. At school Big Bro left Little Mom with her friends and went on a round to meet his gang. After all, it was her school compound and Little Mom had sworn not to move from her seat.

It was hardly two minutes since Big Bro left and her class teacher spotted her and beckoned her to join backstage. Little Mom thought for a moment- Big Bro had asked her to remain seated at the same place, but her class teacher was waving at her. Big Bro or class teacher? She took a chance!!

When Big Bro returned, Little Mom was nowhere to be seen. He looked around lazily thinking she should be huddling with her friends somewhere. No sign of her! And then panic hit him and he searched frantically, asking random people if they had seen Little Mom. People had no time for him and nodded absent mindedly, eyes glued to the stage! Mother’s angry face was flashing before his eyes and sweat broke on his forehead. With all hopes gone, he took a sweeping glance across the ground and his eyes locked on someone for a moment. Was it really her or is at delusion due to fear? He took a double take, when it finally sunk in!

From the stage, Lord Subramanian was smiling at him!! Little Mom had pulled a cameo act in the drama as a last minute replacement!! Relieved he had found her; Big Bro went back stage and rushed her to go home, as it was well past the curfew time.

He took Lord Subramanian back home who for a change could not shut her mouth all the way back home on her acting experience!!

Little Mom’s Kind Heart!

Raja Mani was part of Little Mom’s childhood as long as she could remember. She was an all in all staff at her household: cook, housekeeping and caretaker of children.

It was raining cats and dogs that day!! Little Mom had forayed into kitchen to find Raja Mani’s children to play seven stones; they were her play mates. Raja Mani was hanging on to the iron grill of veranda looking at rain clouds forming dark shadows that balmy afternoon.

Little Mom looked enquiringly at Raja Mani’s anxious face and Raja Mani started a litany of her worries- it’s going to rain, then water will leak into her house and they will get drenched. It went on and on. Raja Mani asked Little Mom if she could help her with cleaning the kitchen, so that she can finish up early and leave for her home.

“”Poor Raja Mani””, felt Little Mom and she nodded. It was years later and several excuses later that Little Mom realized that she was being played.

Still when rain clouds form in the sky, she thinks of leaking roof of Raja Mani.

And there are many more stories..

One when she listened to their cook Govindan Nair and tried to befriend a puppy with a piece of jaggery;  then about the kukkoo which comes to their neighborhood trees and sings around the time exams are about to begin. And there is another one about the cow herd Appu Kuttan who though illiterate would copy notes for her and sister by carefully drawing alphabets like a piece of art.

After Note:

I can go on and on…such are the stories from her childhood!! Now for those who have listened to me and said: Shruthi and her stories!!!

Tell me!  How can I not?? I was lucky, I grew up on stories. 😀

I feel a happy child becomes a happy adult- a happy parent, a happy friend and a happy person.

Happy Mother’s Day Little Mom 🙂 🙂

An Indian Love Story: “God winks at me!!”

An MBA degree, supportive family, vibrant gang of friends, dotting boyfriend and on top of that a job offer in hand.

What else does a 23 year old girl want in life?

Bliss. Total bliss, that was what I felt when I went home for New Year this year.

Yes, this New Year was special. More than “Perfect” because I chose to celebrate it the way I had always wanted it to be -warm, peaceful and so satisfying.

Is it not curious that a happy girl so full of life with every reason to rejoice want a New Year away from blaring speakers of a party?

Who on this overcrowded planet would spend the final moments of the dying year with a heart that resonates through its “Lub-Dub” the countdown, that too with a paper and pencil in hand???

I would and that makes me all the more inimitable.

Late in the night what was I scribbling so animatedly??

I was putting down some thoughts which was ebbing my heart for a long time. It was no rocket science or eureka moment that I jotted down. It was two simple words that would make my year more than special.

“Thank You”

As the fire crackers lit the sky, glasses clinked and mobile phones beeped all over the world, I was nestled in my bed in a foetal position thinking of the peacock that I saw on the Christmas morning as I left for my interview.

Signs!!

I watched wistfully at the elderly lady ahead of me in the queue to the offerings counter of the temple. With the long list of offerings on the board next to the counter, It took me a while to settle on a “Bhagya Suktham” for me. It would bring me luck, so be it I thought. But the lady didn’t seem to have any confusion at all.

“Swayamvara Pushpanjali” she said with such a pompous air that the man at the counter had a jolt.  She is in search for a soul mate for her child.

Out of blue, the advertisement for the incense sticks that is aired every five minute in TV flashed before my eyes.

“Everyone has a reason for praying”.

Here I am visiting the God in his shrine. My long lists of wants and needs have only one request unfulfilled. I tell him- “You know what I desire, make my wish true”.

I hand over the offerings with the coupon of “Bhagya Suktham” and all devotees follow suit. I can’t help wondering as I listen to the priest translating our prayers in Sanskrit to God behind the closed doors.

The bells clink, the doors are opened, camphor is shown and people are pushing and craning their necks to get a glimpse of the deity. The priest places in my hand “Sacred Prasad” after the offering. I smear sandal paste on my forehead and take one last look at the adorned Idol before I turn around.

Just as I give out a sigh of relief that I finally got out of the crowding devotees, the mayhem breaks out.

Even from the distance I could make out that there is an argument between the lady and the priest looking at the agitated shaking of heads and gestures. The perplexed priest is scanning the crowd and he spots me. I feel eerie as he calls out to me and the whole mass looks at me.

As I inch my way to the spot, I come to know what has caused the commotion. In the push and pull, the priest had accidentally handed over me the Prasad of “Swayamvara Pushpanjali” that belonged to the lady’s son. She greedily snatches it away and I steal a glimpse of her forty year old son who still has not got a bride. He looks crest fallen and disappointed as if the offering to God was his ticket to married life.

A content smile plays at my lips as I raise my eyes to the sky.

Did God wink at me??

I wink back at him.

Signs!!

I gleefully walk back home, now that I know that my prayers have reached him alright.

Short Story : “Luck Struck! “

Doom was licking all over my face trying to wake me up.

I opened my eyes to see the jet black, furry, one eyed cat with scorched tail, brightly lit in the stream of sun rays coming through the slit of curtains. He was purring impatiently awaiting my gentle “scratch behind his ears” caressing, which has become a routine from the day he became my sole companion in life.

It was a morning like this, sunny and warm, when I took him under my roof. I was shuffling my way through the streets, rushing to the courier office, where I work. At a distance I saw a crowd and just peeked in, seldom knowing the change that it will bring to my life.

A woman with cheeks flushed out of anger, was lashing a litany of unpleasant curses and pouring hot water on a terrified kitten. One look at the kitten and I was appalled. A tiny creature wailing for help covered in the blood gushing out from his left eye which was hit by a stone. I was never very courageous or strong, but in the adrenaline rush of the moment I just took the kitten, leapt on my bicycle and kept on peddling till I was safe out of that dreadful mob with fiery eyes of resentment.

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Shaking the Monday morning blue off, I started getting ready for office. I pinned my name tag on my work uniform eying the reflection of Doom in the mirror drinking milk from his bowl heartily.

My tag says Vikram Singhania, Delivery Agent, Speed Couriers.

A short and sweet description to hide my intriguing past behind my present as a delivery agent, working hard to meet the ends and living a life of loneliness, but for my cat in a one room apartment on the shore of the Ganga River.

Born into an affluent family I could have been just another “born with a golden spoon” guy, the type of which rich socialite ladies would squeeze the cheeks and say “what a chubby chweet baby”; who would go to the top international school, college and be the heart throb of thousands of lovelorn damsels.

As destiny could have it, my life was not to be as plush and nice.

With my mother dying in the labour and my father’s untimely demise in a car accident, it didn’t take long for people to say that it’s too much of a coincidence and point their finger at me. Just like Doom was pointed at for the drought in the village, I was pointed out for every unlucky happening to whomsoever I was related to.

Vicky the unlucky, I was christened.

I took with me the red sweater mother had knitted for me and my father’s watch, the day I walked away from the house I could have called “Home”.

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As I sifted through the lists of deliveries scheduled for me, I noticed an address a long way from the office.  I kept it for the end of day as I can cycle to my home from there, after delivering it.

The work was as mundane as always, looking up streets and building numbers, peddling way through winding lanes, climbing stairs, calling bells , delivering the package and getting the form signed, all with a smile plastered on my face. But the smile came naturally, as I enjoyed my work. I enjoyed the satisfying smile that people give when they receive a parcel on time.

As I sped past the shores of the Ganges, the colors in the background of the saffron robes, the grey stony ledges, the swelling blue river and the setting sun streaking the sky in gold, fled past me.

My mouth opened wide at the majestic bungalow nestled in the sprawling green lawn which seemed to be endless. I checked and rechecked the address and convinced that this is the right place, opened the gates and stepped in feeling excited and scared at the same time.

I stood there feeling eerie as there was no response to the calling bell, though I pressed it twice. After waiting for another five minutes, I turned back, the courier bag tugging at my shoulder.

I almost jumped out of shock, hearing the feeble voice calling me from behind the window that hair sprang up behind my neck. My fear turned to relief seeing the old lady who was by the window side all crouched up.

She called out to me weakly

“Beta, come here. Are you the new home nurse?”

“No, Madam, I am from Speed Couriers, I have a parcel for you from England.”

“Oh, that would be my son.” She said sadly.

Fishing out the package and the receipt from my bag, I was looking eagerly at her stooped figure to open the door. She was gazing at me as if caught up in some thought when I cleared my throat to remind her of my presence.

“Beta, Please take the key from under that Dalia flower pot and open the door, my home nurse left me two days back locking me inside as usual and never came back. “ She said.

I did as she told and opened the door to reveal a pale aged woman with translucent skin and silver hair sitting in a wheel chair. I gave her the package and looked at her uncertainly when she asked me delicately.

“Beta, Can you get me water from the kitchen?”

As I found my way through the large house heading to the kitchen, it dawned on me that the poor woman was confined to the wheel chair for past few days without food and water. I hastily took a pail of water and rushed back to her.

She was gulping away the water with such a relish, that I decided to wheel her to the kitchen where I can get her something to eat. As I was cooking a modest meal of rice and vegetable curry, she was telling me her life story in between mouthfuls of mango that I had sliced for her.

She was born as the only daughter of a rich land lord who married her off to a rich and young business man who settled down after retirement in this bungalow. The couple had three children who were all settled abroad scattered around the globe. After her husband’s demise, she was alone in this huge house and her sons had arranged a home nurse to take care of her.

After having her dinner and tucking her in the bed, I was about to leave, when the women held my hand and said

“Beta, you cared for me like your mother. Please come here again when you have time.”

I was walking back towards my home, pushing the bicycle. Dark grey nimbus clouds were rolling up in sky and somehow it represented the commotion going on inside my mind.

I opened my apartment and Doom was all over me licking, purring and scratching seeing me after such a long time.

The question that gripped my mind had an answer then and there.

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Five Years have passed and it was on a rainy day like this, that my life had changed forever.

That fatal day when I met Dadi for the first time, I was scared that the bad luck I would bring to Dadi, would kill her. I rushed home without looking back. I wanted to escape and crawl back into the cocoon I had made for myself.

But my thoughts and convictions went for a toss as I saw the eager eyes of Doom searching for me and the relish with which he licked my face. In that moment of connection, the veil that clouded my vision lifted and I realized the true meaning of my life.

I was tagged unlucky, but my destiny was to be the luck in some unlucky lives like Doom, Dadi and now the hundreds of people who are benefitting from the charity trust under Dada’s name. I was destined to dispel the darkness from their lives.

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Doom was resting in the lap of Dadi, as I wheeled her towards the lily flowers that bloomed after yesterday’s rain. We sat in the cool shade of the neem tree, watching the kids play wholeheartedly; happy that we could give them a childhood we dreamt of.

Yes, Luck and Bad luck is just probability taken personally.

My life changed from unlucky to lucky the day I realized it

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