Wine in a Teacup

He knew her from afar. She was a fair maiden. Delicate, fragile. To be handled with care. She was dainty, elegant. A sweet smile lingered on her face always. People’s faces brightened when they looked at her. She was always adorned with flowers. She would make a pretty decorative wife, he thought.

He knew her like one knows their own soul. She was dainty from outside but strong from within. She was heady, intoxicating. She was stimulating. To the eyes as well to the mind. When you wrapped your hands around her, she would give you warmth like a bearskin on a cold, wintry night. She would be a comfort to have in youth and she would grow better with age. Just like wine.

She was a teacup, one thought. She was wine, thought the other.

Mourning

She checked today’s date & sighed. Her periods were now delayed by a week.

What if she was pregnant? She thought. And it made her smile.

She closed her eyes and reveled in what she thought was her near future.

A tiny baby was growing in her womb. Her face was glowing with happiness.

She couldn’t wait to see the sonogram of tiny hands and tiny feet, a content face with closed eyes.

She couldn’t wait to talk to her baby. Hope it would be a girl. She wouldn’t mind a baby boy either.

Maybe it was a boy who would look like his father.

She would have to inform him about the baby and that thought disturbed her. What if he disowned the baby?

And then she thought about her parents. How would they face society’s endless questions?

However modern Indians were, an unwed mother would always be a stigma on society.

She started making plans on how she would handle this situation & drifted off to sleep.

Next morning, she woke up with cramps hurting her belly. The Red Devil had visited her.

She mourned the loss of the baby she would never be able to hold in her arms.

Love is all we need

All we need is love right? If we love each other, we can overcome all difficulties, all problems, all crisis, right didi? she asked with wonder in her beautiful eyes.

Didi would know. After all she had married for love, inspite of jiju not being so rich, not fulfilling their parents criteria of a perfect husband.

Her didi looked at her, started saying something and stopped herself. She is young right now. She looks at the world with rosy eyes. In some years, life will teach her that love is not that pink she imagines it to be. Love is not the answer to everything. Just like it taught her.

She was crazy about him and had the same views about love as her baby sister. He was still struggling and getting by. Marrying him would mean sacrificing all the luxuries of life she was used to. Yet, it did not stop her. Love will take care of everything, she thought. And it did initially. As years passed by, life started becoming mundane. There was space for everything but love. The face he used to praise to the moon had started becoming boring for him. There were subtle and not so subtle hints of another woman. There was no romance left in their life. Her thirst for intimacy had drawn her to another man’s arms.

Yes sweetie, she replied. All is required is love, she smiled and hugged her baby sister.

Will you read my book?

He was tired of seeing the same crap dished out by the movie industry. There were so many new stories to be told in so many new ways! Only once in a while there would rise a director from the mediocrity and give hope to genuine movie lovers. Movie lovers who were sick of the love stories or the vendetta stories. There would be stories of a little boy lost in the jungle or the story of a girl enchanted by an umbrella. There would be classics enacted on the big screen, reviving the era of glamour and opulence! There would be stories of horror, of a gory mudereress. The stories of ordinary people, ordinary things, told in an extraordinary way! Making heroes out of commoners!

He was the one who could make his stories reach to everyone, in a way that they delighted everyone, at the same time scaring the daylights out of them! With this hope, he sent his book of horror stories to this famous director. It was 5 years since then. Not a word from the director. The director would be bombarded with manuscripts, he thought. No chance for an ordinary writer like me! He gave up on the dream of watching his stories unfold on the big screen.

He used to go from office to office to showcase his work, getting rejected mostly & getting false hopes a few times. One day, a legend spotted his talent and gave him an opportunity to work with him. Rest as they say, was history. He was a successful writer and director now and his movies were reason of envy for many. He continued getting scripts from hundreds of people, begging him to look at their work and somehow make them famous too. Usually his assistant dumped most of the scripts in the bin & saved the best amongst the lot. Today, he was looking at the saved scripts and books. He was looking for something fresh, something different. His movies were getting predictable & he wanted to change that. While browsing, he came across this book. It was a compilation of spooky horror stories. He kept reading the book. The writer was not famous. Infact, this was his only published work. The tales of macabre were interesting to say the least. As he finished, he exclaimed, Yes! This is going to be my new movie! He didn’t wait for his assistant & sent an email to the writer immediately. He was a nobody too once. He owed it to himself to make another nobody a somebody!

 

Perfect Marriage

She looked out the window as she stirred the curry. The sound of the basketball hitting the ground was like music to her ears. Her son had inherited her love for the game and it was a bliss to watch father and son bond like this. Her efforts had paid off finally!

They were watching the NBA finals few months back and cheering on their favourite team. Her glance fell on the husband’s crestfallen face. She knew he was bothered about the growing distance between him and their son. She resolved she would do something about it. The ongoing game gave her an idea. When her husband was at work, she got the hoop installed in the verandah. A little nudge and a push was all it took and father and son started playing basketball regularly. They had started talking more and she could feel the happy vibes between them.

A loud thumping sound brought her back to the present. She watched the game and wish she could also play. She was a pretty good player in college, participating in national level tournaments. Marriage and a kid had changed everything for her though. With a wistful sigh, she continued with her cooking. The boys would be famished by now, she rightly thought.

He went to collect the ball which had fallen near the kitchen window. The aroma of the curry filled his nose. He looked at his wife and stared admiringly. She was lost in thoughts, unaware of someone staring at her.

Next Sunday after breakfast, husband announced: Today, I am going to cook lunch and you both will play basketball.

A huge smile spread on her face. This is what a perfect marriage was after all!

 

Grumpy and Bubbly

She was the quintessential bubbly girl. Wherever she went, happiness followed. The grumpiest of people smiled when she was around. She was dreamy and a hopeless romantic. Destiny had yet to let her meet her Prince Charming. Yes, that’s what she dreamed of mostly. Prince Charming, Knight in Shining Armour, the un-kissable frog, the unfriendly beast or even the ugly ogre!

He was the King of Grumps. If someone looked at him, they would think, he is carrying all the burdens of the people residing in the world. No one had ever seen him smile.

And one day they met. It was a corporate meeting set up. She was bored and was looking around at the bunch of strange people, from different departments, trying to make sense of the crisis the company was facing. Her eyes landed on his face and smiled. Her fertile imagination started plotting a story. He being the Grumpy hero and she being the Bubbly princess.

They kept meeting, sometimes near the water cooler, sometimes in the cafeteria and more often in the elevator. These meetings would hardly be co incidences. They were carefully planned as he could not forget the charming face who had made his heart restless. She had stirred something deep within his soul. One day he could resist no longer and asked her out, for coffee. She was waiting for this moment! They grew closer day by day and realised how beautiful a contrast they were and yet how they seemed meant for each other. On her birthday, he had taken her out on a beautiful yacht. It was a beautiful day. The sun was setting, they were in the middle of nowhere, sitting on the beautiful deck, just enjoying each other’s company. Suddenly, he rose and said, Lily, Miss Lily..

She woke up with a start. She had dozed off dreaming about Mr Grumps. She looked towards him and blushed slightly. He continued, Miss Lily if you don’t have anything to add to this discussion, can you move out of the meeting room?

She dragged her feet out of the room, towards her desk shamefully. The story of Grumpy and Bubbly had not ended well. She herself was feeling slightly grumpy.

She plonked on her chair and looked at the Disney Princesses poster on her workstation. Her grumpiness melted and she happily carried on with the remaining work at hand. There would be another story, on another day!

Eye Witness

Murder of a teenage girl had created too much sensation in the city! The police had no clue regards to who could be the murderer. The needle pointed at the parents but no one could imagine someone killing their own child so brutally. Theories of who could be the murderer were the talk of the town.

People were divided in their opinions. Half of them were on the parents’ side, defending them. The other half said parents killing children wasn’t something new. Look at the cases of honour killing in the country, they said. But these were educated, professionally qualified parents. They could never kill their only child like this! The other half retorted.

The case was in court for trial. The evidences were only circumstantial. Just then someone entered the court and said he was an eye witness to the murder and knew who had killed the little girl. This was unprecedented! No one would have guessed that someone like him could be an eye witness. Everyone present in the court were spell bound. The camera men of various news channels had their camera pointed on him.

When the judge gave him the go ahead, he began his story. His name was Bunny. He met Raina, the murdered girl, when she was 4 years old. Their friendship grew over the years and it made them inseparable. He had seen her growing from a bubbly baby to a charming teenage girl. In the past one year she had changed a lot though. He was not her only companion anymore. Raina’s parents had hired a man, Basant, to take care of the house and Raina. They had started to spend more time together. He didn’t like that. But he had no other option than to watch silently.

On the night of the murder, Basant and Raina were in her room as usual. Raina’s parents had gone out to watch a play. When they returned, they saw a beam of light peeping out of Raina’s room. The door was ajar and they both entered wanting to chide her for being awake. They were stunned at what they saw. In the fit of rage, the father strangled Basant with the pillow. Raina’s mom had shut Raina’s mouth with her hand. The parents strangled Raina’s neck too.

Bunny was scared and watching everything from behind the cupboard. It was his favourite hiding place nowadays. Once the parents cooled down, they probably realised what they had done. The father went to his room and brought some instruments with him. They both slit the throats of Basant & Raina carefully and cracked the skull with the golf club. They dragged the body of Basant outside but he couldn’t see where they had taken him. They arranged Raina on the bed as if she was sleeping and no monstrosity had touched the child.

Bunny had heard people flocking over to Raina’s room talk about her murder. No one knew who had killed her as they had no witness. Bunny realised it was time to speak up. Time to tell the truth. He was not only a stuffed toy for Raina. He was her best friend.

Amidst huge uproar by the people gathered in the court, the judge sentenced Raina’s parents to life imprisonment.

 

Disclaimer: Only the murder part is inspired by a true story. Rest all is my imagination.

Faces

They said it is not news when a dog bites a man but it is news when man bites the dog!

They weren’t wrong but not right either. Dog biting a wealthy businessman’s wife had become news of the day! Everyone was wondering how a pet dog could bite his mistress? The dog was termed to be mad and put to sleep. The media went gaga over the story! There was a touch of romance! The companion of 10 years was sacrificed for love!

They were also keeping a tab on the wife’s health. Her face was so badly mutilated that she had to undergo plastic surgery! Money was not a problem anyway. But if everything went hunky dory, what would be life, eh? There was a terrible glitch in the operation & in the process the doctors gave an entire new face to the wife!

After the wounds of the wife were completely healed, the couple returned home. The husband had not left her side even for a day! They were tired of giving bytes to the media. Once home, they heaved a sigh of relief! The husband smiled at his wife and hugged her, whispering “Glad no one checked for your fingerprints”

 

Disclaimer: This story is based on a real life incident of a dog biting Raj Thakrey’s wife. Everything else is my imagination.

Automatic Teller Machine

The queue was getting restless. They were getting bored and tired of waiting for their daily quota. The man inside the machine room was taking hell lot of time today. After a while he came out and everyone started asking him questions about the machine. Wasn’t it working properly? They were worried they would have to return home empty handed.

The man replied, No, instead of one word, I entered 50 words. I needed a longer story as I am going away for few days. The crowd heaved a sigh of relief and formed a queue again to collect their 140 words story. That’s what they got in lieu of entering a word in the Automatic Story Teller Machine.

Dreams of Sunshine and Rains

It was the 100th time she was trying Rohit’s phone & it was still unavailable. His assistant had no idea where he had gone to after work. She couldn’t believe Rohit would do this on their anniversary. Anniversary of the first time they had met. The date was etched on her heart forever. 10th June. They both loved rains & it always amazed them that destiny had chosen that particular evening for them to meet.

The city was caught by surprise with the sudden rains. It was pouring cats & dogs & there was no auto-rickshaw in sight. On top of that she wasn’t even carrying an umbrella. The love for rains had temporarily been replaced by the worry of how she would reach home. As she stood there thinking, a car halted in front of her. A guy popped his head out of the window & asked if she needed a lift. She was horrified at the thought. Lift from a stranger? She straight away said no. He nodded his head and drove away.

She started walking towards her home hoping she might get some transport on the way.

It had started raining as soon as he left office. Thank God he never forgot to carry an umbrella as soon as June approached. A habit, which had helped him, to meet Madhavi 10 years back. He still remembered the day vividly. As if it happened yesterday. He was standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus, when it started pouring heavily. He saw people scampering around in search for transport or shelter. The sudden rains had caught everyone unawares. After a while, as the crowd dispersed, he saw a girl still standing in the middle of the road. She was completely drenched & looked lost. Her innocent face pulled a tug in his heart & he felt like helping her out. It seemed he was not the only one though. A car approached her & the driver started talking to her. She knew the driver perhaps. He knew he should avert his eyes, but he wanted to keep looking at her. He breathed a sigh of relief when the car drove off without taking her. But then she started walking away. His heart said no no no no.. you can’t go so soon! I don’t even know how to find you again! And he rushed towards her.

Excuse me, she heard someone speaking to her. She looked up and saw a handsome looking guy with the nicest eyes she had ever seen. He was asking if she needed the umbrella. Somehow she felt like trusting him. She refused saying she was already drenched. The guy looked disappointed. And she didn’t like it! This was so unlike her! He then asked her which way she was going & if she liked he could walk with her as it wasn’t safe to go alone. She nodded her head and started walking again. It was a long walk & talking was the only option to make the journey less tiresome. They didn’t know then but they had fallen in love with each other by the end of the journey.

That was then & this is now. She sighed. Rohit had changed after all. Since some days he had started working late, grabbing his phone if she went anywhere near it & today was the limit. There was no sign of him anywhere! She started thinking all sorts of things that could have happened & started feeling uneasy.

As if on cue, the door bell started ringing. She hoped it was Rohit & was ready to blast him with curses. As soon as she opened the door, she saw an open umbrella, with the collage of all pictures they had taken over the year on 10th June. She couldn’t help smiling. She took the umbrella from his hand & kept it aside & embraced Rohit with the tightest hug possible.

The sun awoke her from sleep & she looked outside the window. It had rained last night. The entire night actually. And right now the sun was shining brightest. Just like their love.

Future Perfect!

She was returning to her city after 15 years and was amazed at the changes in the landscape. Tall buildings had replaced tall trees, gardens had been replaced by malls. Everything was shiny & bright but the simplicity and innocence seemed to be replaced by a strange uneasiness.

Sudden halt of the car brought her back from her reverie. After inspection, the driver told her that the car had broken down and would require some time to fix it. The journey from the airport to her parents house was already tedious & the thought of spending more time on the road made her scowl. She looked out of the window to know where they had reached. She moved out of the car & called up her mother to inform about the delay. As she was walking around, her eyes noticed a familiar sign. It looked like the same tea stall they used to frequent back in the golden days when she was still working in this city. She looked around and realised it was the same place. It had transformed so much that she had failed to recognise it. In those days, there was only one factory and couple of commercial buildings around. There was more green cover than now. The green cover was lost, replaced by buildings. The area had more options for food. Earlier there was only this one tea stall which catered to all types of people. She was amazed to be here in the same place on the same date she had been 15 years back.

She went to the tea stall and asked for a cutting tea. The tea stall owner was staring at her. Her clothes and demeanor didn’t gel with the rest of the crowd. She noticed the tea stall owner, or Anna, as they used to call him and gave him a smile. She enquired about him in the same style she used to. Looking at his puzzled face, she introduced herself & told him that she used to work in this area some years back. Anna recollected soon & they started chatting like old friends. She enquired about her old work place and her colleagues specially Mohan. He pointed to the new office & shared stories of people who had left and were still working here. Mohan was now at a big post but still came over for a cuppa!

Talking about Mohan made her remind of the time spent together. The fun at work, sharing of food & outings on Sundays all came back to her. She remembered how she had fallen in love with him and how nervous he used to make her. She had never hoped to have a chance with him as he always seemed to be surrounded by pretty women. On her last day she wanted to share her feelings with him but somehow words never reached her lips. She wondered what his personal life might be now. He would have married one of the beauties and would be father of adorable kids. She forgot all about her husband and kids and was consumed by the desire to meet him.

She informed the driver to wait for her as she was going to meet old friends and moved towards Mohan’s office. She hoped he also would be excited to meet her after all these years. When Mohan’s secretary informed him about who wanted to meet her, he rushed out of his cabin. He looked ecstatic and that made her happier!

They went to the office cafetaria and started chatting. Both seemed to have lots of questions for each other. She told her about her marriage, her shifting abroad and her kids. He talked about work and promotions and plans for future. She hesitatingly asked him about his family life, whether he was married. He was speechless for a moment and replied in negative. She was surprised and wanted to know the reason. He took a deep breath and looked into her eyes and said “I was in love with you but never found courage to tell you about my feelings” 

She was shocked to say the least and almost fainted. She could hear him call her name. His voice seemed to be coming from far. Suddenly she felt water being splashed on her face. She opened her eyes and blinked. Everything looked different. Gone was the cafetaria. She and Mohan were seated on a bench near the tea stall. She was again a carefree 27 year old. She realised she had been dreaming while Mohan had gone to fetch tea for both of them. Mohan asked her what had gone into her. She looked at him and decided this time she wouldn’t wait for 15 years to know what future she could have had. She told him that she loved him deeply and the thought of being away from him had made her emotional. She lowered her eyes afraid to know his reaction. He held her hand and lifted her chin and asked “what made you think I would let you go away from me?”

She smiled her brightest smile! She had done the right thing. She had made her future perfect!

Guardian Angels

He sighed for the fifth time. It was very distracting. She looked up from the book she was reading & observed him closely. His back was slouched and eyes looking out of the window. He seemed too much in pain.

Water? she asked him. He refused. She poured a cup & handed to him anyway. Drink up, she said. He couldn’t refuse. Did you eat anything? she asked. He shook his head dejectedly. Not hungry, he said. She fished out a chocolate bar from her purse & handed it to him. There was a firmness in her eyes. He couldn’t refuse. He chomped off the bar. He was feeling better already.

He looked at her. She was observing him with keen interest. He could read curiosity in her eyes. He thanked her for the water & chocolate. It made him feel better, he said. There is one more thing that can make you feel better, she replied. He was amused. A smile formed on his lips. He wondered what possibly she meant by this statement.

You can talk to me about what is bothering you, she said. He looked appalled. How could he share his life story with a stranger? She read the expression in his eyes. How does it matter? It is not as if I am gonna meet you again. He shrugged and started pouring out everything. His entire life story compressed in two hours. She kept listening without uttering a word. Without changing her expression. Her listening intently had a calming effect on him. Unloading of his story had lightened his heart. He felt relaxed. First time in years probably.

It was five years since that incident. He was a changed man now. He was writing stories for children & content with his life. One thing that didn’t change in these years was memory of those beautiful mesmerizing eyes. They were the guarding angels of his life. Whenever he was in a dark spot, they watched over him, silently guiding him to move on and start over.

Colours of Change

7 AM Wake up

7.30 AM Make Tea

8 AM Leave Home

9 AM Have Breakfast

9.30 AM Reach office

1.00 PM Have Lunch

4.00 PM Have Tea

5.30 PM Leave Office

7.00 PM Reach Home

8.00 PM Have Dinner

10.00 PM Sleep

This was his daily routine. The only change was on Sunday when he didn’t have to go to work. Work would be replaced by reading newspapers & more sleep.

He was tired of this drab existence. It felt like his life was a big grey cloud. There was no hope for any colours.

She was kicked off the traffic signal by the policeman. She had recently started working on the signal on his way home. When she approached him, he was hesitant. But finally relented to the temptation. He got down near the shop near his home to complement his purchase.

His existence wasn’t drab anymore. His house was filled with colourful flowers.

vase

A rose for me, A rose for you!

She ordered for a Cappuccino just so that she could wait for some more time. It wasn’t unlike him to be late & she really needed to see him. She could see him rushing in through the door glancing around looking for her. He would give her one of his numerous excuses to be late, along with a bunch of roses. He knew that would always make her smile. He would hug her & say sorry in such a way that she couldn’t be angry at him anymore.

She glanced at her watch & called him up. His phone was switched off. It was getting late & she couldn’t wait any longer. She left the cafe feeling both sad & angry. Angry because he was not that interested in meeting her, sad for the same reason.

Only if she knew that was the last time she could hope to meet him, she would have never left the cafe. It was getting late & she couldn’t sit there any longer. She gave a deep sigh, caressed the bunch of roses she had left on his grave & walked towards the gate.

Once upon a time!

Once upon a time, a fairy tale was in the offing.

She was the girl next door. She was average, nothing special about her. She was told not to expect any fairy tales as fairy tales happen with princesses & not with ugly ducklings. She couldn’t blame them. No one had proved that wrong yet. She wouldn’t even know if there was anyone to prove them wrong. Citing her flaws, she would keep away from any probability of finding love.

He was a stud, a charmer, a heart breaking Casanova. He had no time for love & relationships. He thought they were waste of time. He didn’t believe in fairy tales. They were for kids. Some would say he was commitment phobic.

Until the day he met her.

She forgot her flaws. Nothing felt more right than being with him.

Being with her was the best thing that happened to him. He had never felt more at peace.

She realized we don’t look for perfect people, we look for people perfect for us.

He realized with the right person, labels don’t matter.

And when they are that special for someone, fairy tales do happen, even with ugly ducklings, even with non believers. ❤ ❤ ❤

An apple a day…

After having his dinner, Dr. Atul felt like having some dessert. Being health conscious, he would fulfill his dessert cravings with fruits. Just when he was ruing the fact that he forgot to get some this week, he remembered the pani puri seller getting apples for him. He was not very hygienic & Dr. Atul asked all his patients from refraining to get pani puri from this particular vendor.

The downfall of his business had probably made him mend his ways. The pani puri seller had come to his clinic & promised him that he would serve his customers the best pani puri. He could himself come visit his stall to verify. He had accepted the apples reluctantly & assured him of his visit.

Next day the neighbourhood was abuzz with news. The young doctor was killed because of eating a poisonous apple.

Shankar listened to the people talking about it while they devoured the pani puri. This was the best thing he had learnt in school. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

A different type of vacation!

She cribbed about boss making her go out of town, that too during weekend. After she packed her bag with all the essentials, she handed over the list of instructions to her husband. Don’t let the kids watch too much TV, she said. She felt a twinge of guilt as she bade good bye to her family.

After travelling for an hour, she reached her destination. A luxurious room with a sea view was waiting for her. She unpacked her bag & reclined on the couch. This was the beginning of her two day vacation. 😉

The guy with the pink umbrella!

In the sea of black umbrellas, the pink one cried for attention. The passers by stared at the person holding the umbrella.

Oh my God He is so gay!, said someone. A group of girls giggled at him. It didn’t help he was wearing skinny jeans rolled up to his knees.

This must be what they call is metro sexual. Why don’t men dress up like men any more? Sighed a woman waiting at the bus stop.

The phone rang & interrupted the music. He swiped the green button to the right. His girl friend on the other line asked if he had reached home. He said, Yes sweets & thanks for lending me your umbrella! You saved me from getting drenched 😉

umbrella

Like a Movie Scene!

Ja Simran jee le apni zindagi.. said her father. The heroine ran towards her hero, who was in the moving train holding his hand out for her. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the heroine managed to board the train. The train set off to the horizon of happily ever after.

While walking towards home Maera started dreaming about running to catch a train, which happened almost daily, & a strong muscular hand holding out to help her board the train, which never happened & probably never would. With a sigh she unlocked her apartment. Late night at movies meant she would get only half of the sleep she needed. She closed her eyes & was instantly transported to the world of Monday blues, missed trains, a horse approaching her without carrying her knight.

The alarm shrieked violently & Maera woke up with a start. She had snoozed the alarm couple 10 times and was late as usual. She hurried with her shower & got dressed in a jiffy. It was already 6 when she reached her station. The 5.59 local had started moving. She tried to board the moving train & there it was. The hand which she dreamed of pulling her in the train. She was stunned & stopped herself. The guy tried to hold her hand & pull her in but it was like her legs had grown roots & were refusing to budge. And that’s how she missed her train!

Waiting for Love..

It was easy for him to leave. After all he never made any promises. Why did his heart feel heavy? Why was he not able to sleep then?

He wanted to be carefree. Not to be entrusted with anyone’s hearts. Why couldn’t he break this one now?

He realised he was in love. He returned to the spot where he had left her. She loved him. She would be waiting. He knew that.

There was no sign of her. The rose bush had died. The trees were barren. There was snow all around. He kicked the snow in anger.

His foot hit something soft & the thing rolled gently. Curious & wanting to have something to do to forget about her, he started shoveling the snow with his bare hands. He was right. She was waiting. But her breath had left.

Candies Candies Everywhere!

It had been a hot summer afternoon & Hazel thought a walk in the park would help her be comfortable. Her mother was sleeping when she had snuck out of her home. While roaming around the park she came across a cave like structure. It looked unexplored, covered with vines. Fallen leaves surrounded the entrance.

The entire atmosphere looked like they describe it in fantasy novels. She entered the cave carefully. She kept walking, looking around the cave, removing the huge cobwebs that swept across her face. The passage seemed never ending. She could see a hint of light coming from the west side of the cave. She moved towards the light. It was coming from what looked like the exit of the cave. The exit opened up to a forest. It was an amazing sight. There were huge trees lined up on both sides while a lake gleamed in the center.

Hazel suddenly started feeling thirsty. She moved towards the lake, enchanted with the water. As she moved, the lake seemed to move further. It was getting dark. She looked back & could see nothing but darkness. She sensed danger & wanted to go back home. Her mother would have woken up & would be looking for her. She couldn’t locate the direction of the cave. Trusting her instincts she walked back. She was tired, hungry, thirsty & mostly scared. In the confusion she took a wrong turn. Ahead of her was a hole covered with leaves. She fell in the hole & went spiralling down.

As soon as she fell on the ground, she was expecting her bones to be broken into thousand pieces. Instead she bounced back on her feet. She rubbed her eyes & looked around. What she saw amazed her. Her mouth opened & eyes popped out! She pinched herself to check if she was dreaming. The land was covered with soft velvetty grass & strewn with trees full of goodies! Different types of candies hanged out of the trees. There were red candy canes, Heart shaped candies, Ball shaped candies. Just looking at the candies gave her a sugar rush. There were also tiny plants from which pastilles, chocolate bombs & gummy bears were hanging . She started picking up the candies from the bush & trees & ate greedily. As she walked ahead she saw a milky white stream. She ran towards it & had her first sip. It was milk. But not an ordinary one! It was the most delicious milk she ever had!

Hazel forgot her worries completely & kept eating candies & drinking milk alternately to her heart’s content. After some time her eyes started to droop. Tired from all the walking & eating, she was feeling sleepy. She started looking for a place to sleep. On the bank of the milk river, a mile away was a huge tree. It was not filled with candies like other trees, Hazel thought that would be a good spot to rest. She walked along the distance & found her feet were getting heavy! She looked at her feet & screamed. They had turned into giant candy canes. Her hands started feeling sticky. She looked at them & screamed again! Her arms had turned into jellies. Her entire body was transforming into multi flavoured candy. She screamed for help but there was no one around!

She fainted on the ground. As she fainted, she could hear someone calling her name.

“Hazel, Hazel! Wake up!! her mother said. She sprinkled water on her face & tried to wake Hazel gently. Hazel opened her eyes & looked around. She was on her bed, in her home. She looked around her room. There were no candy trees, no milk river. She looked at her hand & feet. They were perfectly normal. She checked her phone. She had one notification.

“You have full lives now. You can continue playing Candy Crush”

Candies Wallpaper__yvt2

 

Of Promises & Love

She read all the chats with him once again..right from the time they had started knowing each other to the confessions of love to the promises of being together forever. She wished she could have recorded their phone conversations as well. Going through their conversations was visiting their time together. A time when both were happy in each other’s company. A time where nonsense & silly talks brought smiles to their faces.

Finally there was someone in her life who valued her for what she was. Someone who enjoyed her company. Someone who was there to listen to her day’s mundane happenings. Someone who she could rush to when something was bothering her. Someone she could demand to take her from this wretched place to a place where there was only love. In return she found someone to shower with love & attention. Someone to care for & cherish.

But as fate would have it the good times didn’t last. She never knew when the storm of separation hit them. When she wiped the dust off her eyes she saw her heart was empty again. He was gone. And so were the promises. Unfulfilled promises.

Her friends hated him. And hated her for not hating him. How can you not hate someone who broke your heart? Who broke the promises? They asked. They thought she was a fool for trusting someone so blindly.

She listened quietly to all their accusations. She wanted to say, yes my heart got broken, yes, the promises are unfulfilled. But it doesn’t mean he didn’t love me. It is just that his love was not strong enough to weather the storm.

Life has taught me, if someone doesn’t love you the way you want it, doesn’t mean they don’t love you at all.

 

Always & Forever!

He woke up with a startle, looked at the watch & heaved a sigh of relief. He still had some minutes left. He looked at their photo on the nightstand & then at the pretty face lying on his left & smiled. He traced his fingers on her cheeks careful not to wake her up. He kissed her lightly on the lips & whispered goodbye. She smiled & he was scared for a moment. She turned her back at him & he realised it must have been a dream. Wishing he knew what she was smiling about, he dressed up & moved out of the house. This was one ritual which he abhorred. His only consolence was he could return when the day was cold & the sun had retired for the day. He had to return to fulfill his promise, a promise to wake up by her side always & forever!

The alarm buzzed, waking her up from the sweet sleep. She opened her eyes & looked out of the window. The sun was up & smiling at her. She caressed the sheet on her right as if caressing Paul’s back. She hugged his pillow tight & took the photo frame on the nightstand to give him a kiss. Even if Paul was dead, the ritual had to be kept alive. Just like he kept it alive. Ever since they had buried his body, she had dreamt of him waking up in the morning, looking at her lovingly, caressing her cheeks. He never knew she used to pretend to be asleep when his lips grazed hers showering her with love as soft as morning dew on a rose. The thought made her smile sometimes. Just like today. She would always treasure that love in her heart. Always & Forever!

The House On The Hill

She looked outside her window with longing eyes. The moon was playing hide & seek with her since few days.  The house was situated on a hill, isolated from the world. Moon was her only companion during sleepless night. Being tied to her bed for months was tiring & watching the various shapes & shades of moon was her favourite pastime.

Whenever the moon was bright & shiny, it reminded her of the one she truly loved & the moon’s beauty reflected on her face. Whenever the sky was bereft of the moon, it reminded her of the love she had lost. The night’s darkness reflected on her face & seeped down to her soul. This time the moon had vanished for days & her soul was sinking fast. Her paralysis affected body ensured she couldn’t even ask anyone about it. She wished then there would be someone who could make the moon appear by magic & then she could die peacefully.

Next morning, the nurse woke her up from the troubled sleep. After washing up the nurse placed the day’s newspaper on her table. She startled after reading the front page news. It said “Heavy torrential rain causes flood & wipes out the entire village. The only house that remains safe is the one situated on the hill. However, the house has slid down at an angle of 25%”

 

A Gift of Love!

A familiar fragrance lingered in the elevator. The fragrance of fresh Jasmine flowers. Her face instantly popped in his head. He couldn’t believe it was 3 months since he had seen her. He shouldn’t have taken that decision in a hurry. The decision of getting transferred in another department just to avoid meeting her in the elevator. He had lost the few moments he had got to be around her, revel in her presence. Sighing, he got down in the lobby moving across the parking lot.

She was waiting for her boss to get his car. A compensation for working late hours was a free ride to home. Her eyes were gazing at the elevator longing for those happy moments where she could be with him even for a few moments. She had heard he had got transferred and never got to see him since. She never got the courage to cook up excuses & visit his department which was just couple of floors away.

Both were thinking of each other without knowing the other is thinking of them too. Their eyes met & were locked for few seconds. Their hearts did a happy jig & faces lit up with the brightest smile.

This time they will not lose their precious gift. A gift of love they will cherish. Let’s bless them & wait for their wedding cards 🙂

This is the sequel to http://www.mirchiladdoo.com/2014/01/25/lost-in-silence/

Lost in Silence

She looked at herself in the mirror for the last time before leaving home. She hoped that taking efforts in dressing up would yield result at least today. It had been a week since she last saw him. She missed standing next to him in the elevator. She missed the smell of his cologne. She missed his voice. She remembered how he had stopped the elevator once just so she could get in. She smiled. Maybe it was love.

He tightened the knot of his tie & smiled at the mirror. It was a week since he saw her pretty face. He missed her. Maybe it was love. He wondered if she missed him too. He would get to know today. He would see if her face lits up on seeing him.

She was waiting for the elevator to reach the lobby. The elevator door reflected the image of the one standing behind. A huge grin spread across her face, her heart beats grew a little faster. Confused at her own reaction, she hung her neck & tried to wipe the grin off her face.

They boarded the elevator. He was disappointed. She didn’t even notice him. Heart broken, he alighted on his floor, resolving to never think about her again.

The Sunshine Girl

The sun was shining on her face. Smiling at the sun through her window she opened her eyes slowly. There was music in her voice as she hummed, a spring in her step as she waltzed through the routine tasks for the day.

After finishing her chores she washed her mom & dressed her up. She transferred her carefully from the bed to the wheel chair & out she went for a stroll in the garden. Her cheerful morning greetings echoed & the grump on people’s faces turned into smiles.

The old florist observed her as she drove her mom away. She was not traditionally beautiful nor had the accomplishments like other girls but she did have something which not many people did. She was a giver & a cheerful giver at that. He prayed to the Lord to send more cheerful girls than pianists & harpists in the world.

Shall we say Amen?

 

PS: I had written this specially for @islejazz Thank you for inspiring me always.

Freedom From Fear!

Accusing Eyes. Questioning Eyes. She saw none of them. She kept staring at the ceiling above.
Accusing Voices. Questioning voices. She heard none of them. She was lost in her thoughts. Thoughts of the one she had liberated. Liberated from the fear of being molested. Liberated from the fear of being a burden on her parents. Liberated from the fear of being tortured for dowry. Liberated from the fear of being burnt to death.
In turn, she had also liberated herself. Liberated from the fear of being tortured for giving birth to another baby girl.
Years later she was still staring at the ceiling. The delayed shock of strangling her baby had driven her crazy. Nothing had changed for her though except the setting – from the Maternity Ward to the Mental Asylum.

Hope Rekindled!

It had been two years since he was working in this roadside eatery. His dream of becoming an international chef was dimming day by day but seeing smiling faces of his humble customers did give him a sense of satisfaction.. As he stood there mulling, he saw a man all drenched running towards the dhaba…he started rolling rotis for him.

It was raining cats & dogs. On top of it his car broke down in the middle of the highway.

Famished & tired, he looked around & saw a light some distance away. He ran towards it hoping for food & shelter. He sat on one of the benches & was promptly served hot rotis & subzi. As he put the first morsel in his mouth, he was astonished! Was the food really tasty or was it the hunger? After eating to his heart’s satisfaction, he went inside for a light & enquired about the cook.

The cook, he came to know, had run away from home because of his passion for food. He had got shelter & a job here.

He went up to the cook & asked him if he would like to work alongside him in his restaurant in Delhi.

The cook’s eyes lighted up… a reflection of rekindled hope in his heart!

That Red Lipstick Girl..

Six months had gone by since their break up. This day would have been so different had he been with her. He had moved away from her life & so did celebrations. There would be no playing with the cake, no special treats & no gifts. This day would also be spent in melancholy & thinking about their time together.

Sometimes, it seemed like a dream. What else could be the explanation? They were so much in love & so happy together! Why would anyone want to leave then? Sighing, she opened her mail box to read all his letters.. These were the only proof that their love was real & not just a dream. She was deeply engrossed in one of his mails when her phone rang. It was her best friend calling to wish her a Happy Birthday.

Her bestie sensed her state of mind. That’s the good things about friends. You don’t have to speak to tell how you are feeling.  Her bestie convinced her to go out with her. It would be a good change she thought. While dressing up, she came across her red lipstick.. Her favourite colour, the colour of happiness for her. It was her quirk. Whenever she was happy she used to put on this red lipstick. Instinctively she picked up the lipstick & applied to her lips. She was not ready to be happy yet. But she wanted to show the world she was. Would save her from pity & questions which she was not ready to answer yet.

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He was going through her profile on a Social Networking Site. It had been six months since he saw her. This time apart from her had made him realise how much he loved her. This was a test he had inflicted upon them. He wanted to be sure about their love. He couldn’t afford another heart break. He would now know if Absence had made the Heart grow fonder or was it a case of Out of Sight Out of Mind. His eyes stopped on one of the pics she was tagged in. The pic was taken yesterday on her birthday. His heart filled with love on seeing her smile but his eyes froze when he saw her red lipstick. Everyone knew she wore it when she was happy. He understood what that meant. She had moved on. With a heavy heart he blocked her. Never wanting to see her again.

 

Birthday Everyday..

 

Shaina gave one last glance to everything – the house was decorated, the snacks & drinks were ready to be served, the cake was on the table with the cute teddy candles on it. The little guests were all excited & so was the birthday boy. She looked at him wistfully remembering the day he was born. How quick the kids grow, she thought! Only thing missing was the boy’s father, as usual stuck at work.

As the minutes ticked away, the kids got restless. There was no point in waiting any longer. She had to get the kids back to their home before 8. She asked Robbie to cut the cake. Robbie wanted to wait for his daddy but understood the appeal in his mom’s eyes. The birthday celebrations began with the cake cutting, playing games & ended up with the snacks & drinks being gorged on 🙂

Ray arrived just as she was cleaning up. She was ready to give him a showdown for his callous behaviour but she stopped herself. After all she had promised her son there would be no fights between mommy & daddy today, that’s the only birthday gift he wanted. She smiled at Ray and instead shared the happenings of the party. Ray was surprised but went with the flow. After many months, there was absolute peace in their household today.

Shaina went to Robbie’s room to check on him. She heard some sounds from inside the room. Curious, she quietly stood outside.

Robbie was saying, “God can I please have birthday everyday? Then Mom & Dad will never fight!!”

 

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A New Beginning!

 

She was seething with anger. Anger towards her life & her helplessness. Anger fuelled her pace. She was unaware of leering glances of strangers. She had only her destination in mind – the sea. The one which had calmed her all her life, was going to give her the ultimate peace. She was taken aback by the Beach Patrol driving around the beach. Hesitatingly she decided to wait for them to go away.

Suddenly a constable came & started scolding her for being at such a dangerous place at midnight. A woman staying under the bridge had sensed her purpose & called the constable from the nearby police chowky. “What would be the result if some goons kidnapped you & sold you to a brothel?” he asked? Petrified, she started crying & poured her life story.

This mellowed the constable. He tried to calm her by offering water & the best piece of advice anyone had given her. He said, “God has given purpose to every life. Think of the unfortunate who are thirsting for love. Look at the orphanages, the old age home, the street urchins. Find your purpose in them”

Now, 25 years later, she looked back at that incident with happy tears. She was now the principal of the school run by the orphanage & always surrounded by lovely children. The End had turned into a Beautiful Beginning!!!

Love in the time of Facebook ♥

She was a die-hard romantic, looking for signs which would lead her to her soul mate. He was a lonely man, looking for love. One day, she got a friend request from him. She checked his profile. There were no mutual friends but there were some mutual page likes. In one of the mutually liked page, the recent activity was, liking a post “Single & Ready to Mingle”.

He liked the post “Single & Ready to Mingle” on one of the Facebook page. Out of curiosity, he checked who else had liked the post. His eyes stopped at one pic. He just couldn’t wait to know more about her. He sent her Friend Request.

She accepted it. This was the beginning of a new fairy tale.

 

A Dish Best Served Cold..

 

His Facebook status update showed he was in her city. That city which had seen their friendship blossoming into love. That city which had also seen betrayal killing their love. That city which had been the graveyard of memories, broken promises & tears. Time had passed but healed nothing. She was still carrying the shards of her broken dreams. But this news made her eyes glint & put a spring in her step. She would see him. Surely he wouldn’t deny. After all he was the one who wanted to remain “friends”.

She called him up. After some small talk, with apprehension, she invited him for dinner. He wanted to take her out but she insisted on cooking for him. It did not take much insistence as he always was fan of her cooking skills. And the day arrived. The table was laid with all his favourite dishes. The dinner was peppered with conversations & reminiscences. It was an evening to remember! Finally she got his favourite dish out, Butterscotch Icecream, topped with loads of chocolate sauce. It was a joy to see him relish the ice cream. This is how she wanted him to remember. This is how she wanted them to stay forever.

Next day, the local newspaper lay at her doorstep. The headlines screamed. A couple found dead in a flat. Half eaten ice cream dishes found on the dining table. Police are investigating whether it is a case of Suicide or Murder.