I remember…

I remember when you stopped being there for me. Just like all those times when you were. I am not biased. I am not unfair. I am just. I remember your presence and absence alike. But you were there for me when I could have done without you. And you decided to stop, when I needed you the most. May be, you thought you’ve been for me enough. May be, you thought it was time for me to grow on my own, to have my thoughts reverberate in my chaotic mind instead of sharing them with you, to have my broken heart crushed further and mold it into something else, to take control of my life. All. On. My. Own.

Or may be, I am being too optimistic about you. May be, you were simply not there for me.

I remember crying into the night, as the pillow absorbed my loud screams. I remember going numb and staring into nothingness. On some days, that, would be the most peaceful moment.

I remember creating walls, strong enough to shut people out. I remember creating walls, weak enough for you to walk right back in.

I remember wanting to forget things, to forget you. I remember failing miserably. Over and over again. I remember learning to live with it. I remember hoping not to die with it. I remember so many things and nothing at all, all at once.

If only, you too remembered a little something.

If only, you remembered me.

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The Unborn

 

He drove at an abnormal speed today, 20Km/hour. He got off work earlier than usual after his last night’s shift. The Sun shone really bright. As if, God had some trouble looking into everyone’s mind and so increased the brightness. The rear-view mirror reflected his anxiousness as he saw people driving past him. Like they were all ready to move on, but for some reason, he was being held back. He turned on the radio. ‘Music helps’, he thought. Madonna instantly shot down his thought and charged him with being Frozen. ‘Or not’, he thought again and turned off the radio. He pulled over at the red light, five blocks away from his home. ‘It’s almost time’, he thought.

The Liquor store by the road was flooded with people today.  ‘Morons fear the dry day?’ He chuckled in response. And then suddenly, his face severed. He remembered his father’s funeral pyre. He has often lived his past in those sixty seconds at the same red light for the past twenty three years. He was eight years old then, the only son. They wanted him to light the pyre. He had always been afraid of fire; afraid, that it might consume him and the people he loved. But it was not the fire that destroyed his father. It was alcohol. He watched the fire bringing solace to his father’s inebriated body. Fire didn’t terrify him anymore. The thin air above the pyre contained images of what his life could have been if his father had stopped at the first peg. Every now and then, ashes flew into those images and parched his heart. Tears rolled down his young eyes to pacify his heart and vaporized before they even reached it.

Horns blared and broke into his reverie and the startled mortal took a spontaneous U-turn and started heading away from his home. His anxiousness had reached the tip of his right foot and he drove as fast as they let him. He was still not free; even though he wanted to be. He drove for the next two and a half minutes and pulled over at a barren lane. He took out a pack of cigarettes, and then another until each cig reached the very core of his lungs. He leaned back for a moment. He was a different person now, ready to face the world. He opened his eyes and started heading back to his house. For the first time since he and his wife decided to take the test, he was completely thoughtless. Monotony took over his life as he reached his house, parked his car and reached the doorstep. Ephemerally.

He opened the door to his house and found his wife sitting on the sofa. He wasn’t exactly expecting a company in dealing with what might change the course of their lives.

“Why aren’t you at work?” he asked.

She stared at him blankly. He noticed the redness in her eyes.

“Did you cry?”

She kept staring.

“Did you sleep properly?”

 She stared still. Her eyes had been pleading to him since they tied the knot; the same old request, over and over again. It has gone unnoticed for thirty nine months. And she didn’t expect him to hear her silence even now. “The reports came in”, she finally found words.

He knew something was amiss. He knew exactly what was amiss. He just wanted to un-know it all. If only.

“Hmmm… What does it say?”

“It’s you.”

“What?”

“It’s you, Akash. It’s you! Your sperm count is low and we cannot have a baby because of YOU!”

She burst into tears and buried her head in her palms that contained her destiny; destiny that she chose to twine with Akash’s.

“But…”He began to speak and she suddenly stood up, giving vent to all her anger.

“But? You still have something to say, Akash? You go on and on about how your father’s drinking problem ruined your childhood. And you smoke all the freaking time, Akash! How the hell are you even remotely different from your father? Don’t you see what you’re doing to yourself? Don’t you see what you’re doing to us?”

“Stop blaming me for everything, okay! You have no idea what it was like to live without a father”

“Thanks to you and your cigarettes, our child will never have to live without a father, because guess what? We cannot fuckin’ have a child, Akash!”

She collapsed on the sofa again and Akash ran to console her. He was hurt and finding her so miserable grieved him more. He had never thought he could love Neha when his parents arranged his marriage with her. But before he knew it, he fell for her. Neha accepted him the way he was, unlike his girlfriend in college who refused to marry him. He held Neha while she sobbed in his arms. She will never be able to console her child when he cries. She will never even have a child. The very thought made her sick.

She fought back her tears, looked him in the eyes, and said “Alcohol ruined your father’s life. Smoking has ruined yours. It took away your career, your girlfriend, your health and now it is taking a toll on our family. When has it ever given you anything? These are all warning signs, Akash. Stop ignoring them. Please.”

He couldn’t find words. He hugged her again. There was nothing in those words he already didn’t know. He just didn’t want to remind himself that he did. He needed a drag again. Instead he thought to go and check on his niece who was visiting during her vacations.

‘Where’s Annie?’

‘In the bedroom. Sleeping.”

He got up and went towards the room. Annie lay asleep on her bed. Akash loved Annie and Annie was crazy about him. She visited the couple twice every year since she was four years old. Every time he saw Annie, he secretly wanted a daughter who he could spoil. He felt guilty for letting yet another dream slip away.

He walked towards her bed, “Good morning, Sunshine! Get up and give me a kiss.”

Akash had mastered feigning happiness by now. He went up to her and took her in his arms. The six-year-old seemed different today. “What? Where’s my kiss?”, he asked.

She looked at him, as if begging for his forgiveness for wanting to refrain from the ritual that bound their summer mornings. “What’s wrong, honey?”, he asked again.

“You don’t smell nice”, she said.

And Akash’s world collapsed. He never smoked again.

 

Moral of the story : Life is too short to learn a lesson the hard way.

 

This blog post has been written for the COLGATE Total Pro-Gum Health Contest.

Visit My Healthy Speak Blog for more.

 

To B.A. Or Not To B.A.?

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About three years back, I was glued to my computer screen, staring at www.mirandahouse.ac.in, clutching two train tickets to two different destinations in my hand, coping with the anxiety in my mind and instilling hope in my throbbing heart. I took up Science in +2 and soon realized, that was it for me and Science. I loved spending time with it but I was not ‘in love with it’. And so, I decided to break up with it after 12th. I appeared for IIT-JEE and AIEEE in 2010. Obviously, I didn’t make it. My family wanted me to drop a year and study in Kota. That was Destination #1. And then, there was University of Delhi. I applied for few courses and was waiting for the list of selected candidates to be out. That would decide everything.

‘If you get through Miranda House, you can go’ said my father.

And I did.

That, was Destination #2.

 

And thus, I chose, Delhi over Kota,  Miranda House over Resonance, Arts over Science. I chose to be a B.A. Pass over an Engineer. Reason? More than believing in doing what I want to do, I believe in not doing what I don’t want to do. B.A. was never something I wanted to do. But Engineering was something I definitely didn’t want to do. There were disagreements in the family, of course, just like one would expect in a typical Indian family. With time, disagreements made way for support. But acceptance never dawned upon the minds of my family members. They still call me a ‘B.A. Pass’ when they’re angry on me. Like wisdom has finally dawned upon mankind and all the women-centered abuses are finally condemned. Or worse, B.A. Pass has joined the league of the aforementioned slangs. But I can’t change the way they feel about it or make myself feel ashamed for something I am not. They disappoint me but not as much as I disappoint myself. No hard feelings.

 

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If an M.B.B.S. student graduates, he is called a Doctor. If a B.Tech student graduates, he becomes an Engineer. If a person clears the Chartered Accountancy examination, he becomes a C.A. But what do you call a student, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Arts, when he graduates? I don’t know. Do you? The educational scenario of the country is so clichéd and lopsided that many ‘right’ things/professions are considered ‘wrong’ simply because they aren’t quite common yet. An academician is often looked down upon as a failure; one that ended up teaching because he/she didn’t succeed at doing anything else. And then, the ordinary-teacher-ordinary-teaching-ordinary-student-ordinary-result cycle continues. In fact, there’s something wrong with every degree except, of course, B.Tech.

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Mass Communication : Jhola taang ke bade logo ke aagey-peeche daudna hai kya?

Commerce : Science nahi padh paye tum?

Arts : Commerce bhi bass ke bahar hai kya?

Law : Do takke ke bhav milte hain Lawyer India mein!

Hotel Management : Hotelo me dusro ki jhoothi plate uthayega?

Air-hostess : Zameen kya kam pad gayi jo ab aasmaan me bhi logo ki jhoothi plate uthayegi?

 

Even within Engineering, there’re Core branches and other branches; core ones being the better ones.

And Daactar Sahab ko bhala kaun izzat nahi deta? 🙂

 

I have never underestimated any subject or any stream in my life. But I firmly believe in doing well in what one is doing. And by ‘well’ I mean the best, not just good and certainly not average.It’s funny how we limit the sphere of our existence by letting abbreviations define us. In India, ‘to be or not to be’ is not as great a question as ‘to B.A. or not to B.A.’ is. The answer, however, is within you. Go for it! 🙂

 

 

Remember Me

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The rustling of my mates mollified

When the howling gale deafened me,

When it vowed to shake my existence,

They bent a little and supported me.

Like children running towards their mother,

We fought to embrace the first rays of the Sun.

Drops of rain tickled us all, together.

Together we fought against the vagaries of nature.

Together in sorrows, together in delight

We stood by each other, day and night.

But today,

I stand alone, amidst a million memories

Yearning for the unreal, waiting to be wrecked

Departing the world with a hushed whisper,

Remember Me.

P.S  This post is written for BlogAdda’s WOW.

Theme : Write from a point of view of the last tree standing in the forest.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Bit by bit

With the break of twilight,

Dawns the gloom.

Deep penetrating sorrow

Lurking in the air

Seeping in, bit by bit

Through the invisible pores

Infecting every cell,

Taking over the mind,

Amputating the soul

To ruinous remains

Plunging the mechanical heart

Into an ocean of nothingness

All at a time, bit by bit

Bit. By. Bit.

Surpassing Vanity

One moment, I look ahead

A million stories run behind me

And a thousand others beside me.

I turn, but nothing changes.

Nothing but the direction,

Where I now gaze.

Some explicit tales,

Plethora of tacit ones –

Incessantly narrated.

Nothing changes.

So why should I?

Care to turn back

Care to confront

In a world where,

Assumptions guide notions

And story breeds stories.

 

 

55 Word Story : KILL

 

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She dreamt of success at night. But unconscious enthrallment under the spell of cocaine drove her days to an umimagined land. The twelve months slipped away in stupor. Eventually, the results brought her back  to congnizance. She had killed her time, her dreams, her morale and then, the grisliest of all happened. She terminated herself.