Monday, September 28, 2009

The Best of Times

                                                            1
James Patterson was failing to grab Akruti’s attention for the very first time in his writing career. But she doubted Patterson’s writing skills had anything to do with it.
‘All this noise’ she sighed, attributing her lack of concentration to the sounds that drifted in from the adjacent room.
People laughing, talking in loud voices, clatter of dishes…
It sounded like a small party in progress which in actuality it was.
None of this was new to her though. This is what always happened whenever they came down for a visit. It was a re-union of sorts.
Dr Sen was her dad’s college friend and both families had been close for years now.

But strangely enough she couldn’t relate to the merriment. She had refused to join them an hour back citing a very lame excuse(that of reading her book). It was hard to believe that people could actually be so happy and contented. It was as if there was not a care in the world-no grief, no suffering, no problems or any nagging doubts.
Maybe she lived in a different world altogether.
Yawning slightly she put the book aside and looked out the window.

‘I need a walk.’ she thought.

After having changed her clothes she made her way towards the bed to retrieve her cell-phone. She was about to stuff it in her pocket and leave when something inside her half-open travel bag glinted in the fading rays of the sun.
Curious she inserted her hand inside it and brought out a silver photo-frame.
‘Of course.’ she thought. She had brought this thing with her even to this short trip which didn’t make any sense.
The last thing she needed was a reminder of the painful truth.

It was a picture of both of them. He was forcing a huge piece of cake into her mouth and even though there was an expression of shock on her face, she could also discern the slight smile that was playing about her own lips.
It was taken on her 20th birthday two years back.
These words were scribbled at the edge of the frame-

~THE BEST OF TIMES~

‘What a lie!’ she thought.
   

                                                            2

The beach was almost empty as she had assumed. This was the wrong time of the year to come down here in the first place.
So no tourists. Not many of them anyway.
She only noticed a few fishermen tugging at a huge fishing-net at a distance and  a few other people most of whom appeared to be locals.
She saw a family of three splashing in the waves, a couple of kids, a middle-aged guy and a solitary panipuri-vendor.
And this suited her just fine.
It was just her and the sea. Just like old times.
She sighed and inhaled deeply. The sea smelled the same.
Slipping off her pink flip-flops she bent down,rolled up the edges of her jeans and moved forward fearlessly.
The warm waves lapped gently at her feet. Then as she kept going forward the waves grew more frolicsome. But she didn’t care.



Nothing had changed since the last time she was here. The beach,the way the sand felt beneath her bare feet, the way she loved the wind ruffling up her hair. Nothing.
And yet something felt different. Something had changed.
And that something was probably-her.
And suddenly everything came back to her in a flash-the happenings of the past few months-the day she found out about him, their confrontation, the way he had shouted at her blurting out all those ugly truths, the way she had walked away without a word, the way she had still waited for the call which never came, the way her parents started feeling anxious and decided to bring her here to ‘take her mind off things’.

‘Excuse me…’

This brought Akruti back to reality and she turned her head to find a middle-aged man clad in a full-sleeved white shirt and a pair of black trousers looking at her curiously. In the brief moments he seemed to be scrutinizing her,she took in his disheveled appearance and surprisingly grey eyes.
He was the same guy she had spotted strolling casually along the beach a few moments ago.
Now that she looked carefully at him he didn’t look middle-aged to be precise-maybe 35 or 36.

Akruti suddenly felt a little wary.

This must have been evident from the look on her face ‘cause the stranger shrugged and said ‘It’s just that your shoes are about to be er engulfed by the waves.’
And sure enough as Akruti turned around she found both her slippers afloat on water and steadily drifting away a little distance from where she stood.
Without a second glance at the man she made a dash across the waves and picked them up. A few seconds more and they would’ve been lost to the sea forever.
She put them on and started walking away from the sea.
How had they managed to drift away? She had placed them carefully on the stretch of sand she thought was safe from the water.
She always did the right things didn’t she? There was nothing in this world that she trusted more than her own judgement.
She was always right. Everybody said so.
So why was everything failing her? Or was she failing herself?
And suddenly without knowing it she sank to the ground on her knees. Her body could support her weight no longer. She didn’t know what was the right thing to do anymore.
She hid her face in her palms.
She had never been the one to mope. She was always a ‘strong girl’, just like her mother believed.
Maybe she was wrong, wrong throughout.

And just like that the tears came-the ones she had been holding back all these months.

‘Take this.’ someone said in a deep, soothing voice.

Akruti looked up to find the same man who had informed her about the slippers holding out a kerchief.
Oh god she hadn’t even said a ‘thank you’ to him and just walked away like that.

‘I’m so..sorry… I just forgot….thank you.’ Her vocabulary was failing her for the first time in her life.
The man just looked at her for a while and then repeated what he had said earlier…
‘Go on…take it.’
And this time she obliged. She took the handkerchief and dabbed her eyes with it. But that did not stop the tears.
Instead she started crying even harder.

The man did not leave her side nor did he say anything. But he just stood there staring at the open sea with his hands in his pockets while she kept crying.

It was embarrassing to cry in front of a complete stranger. But somehow it also felt highly satisfying.

‘Thank you.’ She finally looked up and held out the handkerchief to the man who just shook his head.

‘No you keep it.’

‘I can’t. It’s yours.’

‘Never mind that. It’s just a piece of cloth.’ he insisted.
And giving her an uncertain look he started to walk away.

It was weird how a few minutes ago Akruti would’ve given anything to be alone on the beach, disturbed by no one or nothing.
But right then as she looked at the stranger’s back she wanted anything but to be on her own.

‘Wait.’ she shouted out over the sound of crashing waves not sure whether her voice would reach him across this distance.

But thankfully enough it did ‘cause he stopped in his tracks, turned around and looked at her.
                              
                                                                3.

The sand still felt warm from the afternoon heat of the sun. But it had started to cool down. The wind was a bit stronger now but she liked the way it blew her bangs out.


Sitting right there far away from home with a total stranger, watching the progress of the sun along the western sky, Akruti felt a strange sense of calm spreading through her. It felt as if it were healing her from within.

‘So…’ said the man finally breaking the silence and interrupting her chain of thoughts.

‘Boyfriend troubles?’ he asked without looking at her.

Akruti smiled.

‘Can’t there be anything else troubling a girl in her twenties except boys?’

‘Well..’ he mused… ‘there could be I guess.’
‘…If you’re either on drugs or pregnant’ He added.

Akruti glared at him.

He just shrugged.

‘I was just trying to cheer you up.’

‘Wow that’s a real nice way of doing it.’ Akruti said sarcastically.

He looked at her squarely in the face, his expression serious.

‘I’m right ain’t I?...someone ditched you and that’s why you were crying so hysterically before.’ He said.

This time Akruti couldn’t avoid the question and strangely enough she didn’t even want to.

I ditched him.’ she said stoically.

‘Why?’came the counter-question.

‘He was two-timing me.’ she said simply.

‘Ouch.’ he said.

‘I know.’

‘It’s okay if you don’t wanna talk about this.’ the man said wrenching his gaze away from Akruti and concentrating on the panipuri-vendor instead. A group of teenaged girls had gathered all around his tiny stall by this time.

A few moments of silence followed.

‘It’s not his fault. Who’d want to stay with a control freak like me?’
she said bitterly.

‘I used to call him to wake him up for college, nag him 24*7 to finish his assignments on time, be more serious about his life and career…’
She went on.

‘I didn’t even allow him to get as physical with me as he wished to…now who’d want to put up with all this crap?’

She finally looked at him.

‘Do you think this is why he cheated on you?’ he asked.

‘He shouted at me saying all those things.’

She tried to swallow her tears back but couldn’t.

‘He looked so angry…’ she sobbed pitifully.

‘I..it felt like there was nothing in this world….he hated more…’

‘All those times were a lie weren’t they?..’

‘I lived a lie for 3 years..’ she continued sobbing.

‘I’ve never quite liked the beach.’ he said suddenly.

Akruti looked at him.

‘I’ve hated the sea ever since I was a kid. I feared I might drown.’ He continued.

‘But then Meera came into my life and things changed. She loved coming here on short trips, gorging on sea food,clutching my hand and walking barefoot on the sand.’

‘And slowly I fell in love with the place too. We used to come down here every year...until..’ his voice trailed off.

‘Until?’ Akruti asked breathlessly.

….until she fell sick.’ He sighed.

‘She died of cervical cancer last year.’

Akruti felt like the wind had been knocked out of her.

‘The 7 years I had with her were the best years of my life. We shared everything-the good times, the bad times,the sadness and laughter….
And every one of those moments are dear to me. ‘Cause being with her made me happy.’
‘The thought that I’d never get to hear her laugh again does hurt. And I wonder why I’m still alive…’
                                  
‘And it is only then that Esha’s face comes into view and I get my answer.’

‘Esha….my 5 year-old.’ He smiled.

Akruti just stared at him.

‘So would you say that all the times I spent with my wife were a lie too?’ he finally asked her.

She had no answer.

‘He was the wrong guy to be with. But you did love him, didn’t you? And that can never be a lie.’

And suddenly she understood what he was trying to tell her.

Even though it was meant to end in heartache all those moments she shared with him had given her memories to be treasured for a lifetime.

Maybe right then they were causing her a lot of pain. But someday she’ll realize the significance of it all.

She could see the silver picture-frame in her mind's eye-

~THE BEST OF TIMES~

Maybe it wasn’t such a lie after all.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Awards galore!

They say nothing is greater than the joy of giving.So today I'm going to devote this post solely to those special few who have provided me with encouragement time and again and because of whom I still continue to find pleasure in blogging.
Yes you've guessed correctly.It's time for Samadrita's Special Blog Awards.
I haven't received any of these from anyone but hey who says I can't hand out some on my own?
But before I begin let me inform you about the rules.

1.)You have to display the award in your sidebar mentioning who you got it from with a link to his/her blog....well in this case my link (well wouldn't you say I deserve a li'l  gratitude? :D)


2.)You can keep this award only to yourself or pass this on to more deserving bloggers of your choice.I leave the decision to you.(I'd say pass it on to others...spread the warmth)


That's it.

Now let's get this started-

First one goes to-


Atindriyo
Nightwing
Schrei
Ranjith
wisewit
Quintessence of Illusion(Writu)
Sreya
Dylan
Arr0w
Omkar
Aditya
Aritra
Sid
 Ipsita
NesQuarX
Sayandeep
Simba Tago
Aparna
Akansha
rimz
Deeps!!

Thanks for making my blogging days a little extra special all of you! :)

I have just recently gotten acquainted with Aditya,Sid,Simba Tago,Aparna,Deeps!! and their blogs.But I just couldn't leave you people out.. :)

(Note:I'm leaving out Manju 'cause she has already been awarded this one by someone else but hey I take you to be a Blogger buddy anyway. :D )

Love all your posts and you truly are awesome bloggers.So this is for you guys-



NesQuarX
Sreya
Nightwing
Saim
Writu
Dylan

Arr0w
Aditya
Aparna
Ipsita
Sid

Up next is the Blogger dudette award.Come to think of it I made this one(yes with the help of a not-so-sophisticated photo-editing software named Picasa) with a single person in mind who truly is a wonderful girl and a fabulous blogger whose witty posts make my day.And that's Writu. :D
But these are the awardees-










Hope you girls like them. :D




This award goes to only 2 people who genuinely deserve it-












The last two awards are very special to me since I made them myself.

First one is the My Favorite Poet award.And this goes to two very special people who pen amazing pieces so effortlessly-





Atindriyo(have I ever told you how awesome you are?)

Soumya da (another brilliant poet who truly is my favorite)





And the very last one will go to two people who write the most amazing stories.
This is for you-




wisewit
Omkar










Phew that took a long time.
Anyway I sincerely hope I ain't leaving anyone out.But just in case I am pardon me.There were way too many names on my mind.
But hey there's always a next time and feel free to give me a poke to remind me.I would like that a lot :)



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Monday, September 21, 2009

5+5=0

5 things I hate about being single

1.)You feel viciously jealous when the phones of your friends keep ringing left,right and centre and you look gloomily at yours trying to think of the last time you heard your own ring-tone.

2.)When people(read lovey-dovey couples) are most likely dressing up for a date on Sunday you end up watching some shitty Bollywood flick(nothing better was on tv) with your mom because you're tired of watching movies alone on your pc.

3.)You get tagged along with your friend and her boyfriend on their shopping excursion(even though you had tried to wriggle out of it citing numerous lame excuses) and end up pretending to be invisible when they are having one of their 'us' moments.

4.)You have to come up with silly sms-es to forward to all your contacts to exhaust your sms balance that has somehow managed to remain half unused even 25 days after you got that promo.




5.)The last and obvious reason-you feel LONELY dammit! :(



5 things I love about being single

1.)Your tiny little world which had previously only housed both of you suddenly grows larger and your clouded vision becomes crystal clear.Now you can 'see' things that previously your eyes were blind to(like for example how good-looking a guy in your college is :P)

2.)You don't have to think of lame excuses for being late,forgetting to call...yada yada.You get the point right?You suddenly become free as a bird.



3.)When a random hot guy checks you out in a shopping-mall you can totally stare back without experiencing any pangs of guilt. *evil grin*

4.)You don't have to bother with remembering important dates or worrying about gifts,cards and other trifles.

5.)And the reason why I love single life the most...
You get lots and lots of 'me' time for doing things that you couldn't do while you
were with him-like finishing with 8 romance novels in a week(and actually enjoying reading them) or cutting your hair short(something he didn't approve of).


P.S: I'm working on a story that I'm gonna post soon enough but meanwhile why
don't you people read this post?(well if you're reading this line then you've already read it I guess -_-)Hopefully it will lighten your mood. :P

P.P.S:The idea has been borrowed from Aparna's (a talented writer)blog but the feelings are solely mine and based on personal experiences.

Sig 2

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Of highs and lows


I do not seem to be at my creative best these days. In fact I don't feel like doing anything at all. I am not happy. I ain't even sad. I am just stuck somewhere in the middle.
Have any of you ever felt that way? - Stagnant? Bored? Inanimate?
It's kind of like being injected with chloroform. It takes away the pain. But it also dulls all your other senses.
I don't like it. I'd rather have the agony. Atleast that won't make me feel so....dead.
I mean, these days I'm so bored you'll find me on Facebook playing stupid games like Farmville and Yoville.
I don't even know why I'm indulging in these inane activities.
It's like I want to escape from something. Or maybe everything.
*sigh* I think I need a vacation.
Anyway before I bore you any further with this whining let me fulfill the purpose of making this post which is to thank Sreya.
For this-



My first award.
No need to mention that I'm extremely happy, ecstatic, over the moon, lated...yada yada.
I seriously am. I mean, who wouldn't like to be at the receiving end when it comes to awards and accolades?
So thanks again Sreya. You are a wonderful blogger yourself! :)
But this award comes with a rule which clearly tells me to pass this on to a few bloggers of my choice. Obviously these awards are meant to be spread across the blogosphere. And that's really nice.
But the sad part is my screwed-up brain hasn't been able to come up with these names yet.
And I need more time to think.
So can you hang on guys? I just want the most deserving people to have it. :)
And the moment I'm able to figure out who to hand this award to, I'll edit this post and insert the names.

Weird, but I feel kind of better now. I guess venting out always helps.
Meanwhile I've gotten my hands on Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. I'm only on page 23...and the beginning was okay kinda. Let's see how this one turns out.

So back to the book then.

But before I leave I just want to say a big thank you to all my blogger (and I don't mean the 'blogger' site) friends and acquaintances for coming here, taking care to read whatever I type and sometimes being kind enough to leave comments and occasionally handing out an award. :P
Sometimes I can't keep up with all your posts since I'm following so many of you. But I promise to try my best.

So then keep blogging all of you! :)


Sig 2

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Surreal Promises

If flowers were to ever bloom again-
In this dead garden of mine.
Then I'd kneel down,as if in prayer.
And whisper your name.

If the clouds were to ever move aside-
And reveal the sun,
I promise to hold myself together-
And never come undone.

If the lonely winds were to ever blow my way-
And ease this ever-lasting pain-
Maybe then I'll regain my faith-
And never lose it again.

If I were to ever see you again-
Like in some pleasant,long-forgotten dream-
I would not ask you why-
Or how or when.
But only tell you stories-
That have never been told before.
And watch a glorious sunset together-
Just once more.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Another 55-word Story

Sweet Child Of Mine

The pain had almost subsided by then leaving behind only excitement and a joy so
great that she feared her heart might burst.Anxiously she waited for the nurse.

But when she finally entered her ward her arms were empty.
Silently she shook her head.
'I'm sorry Mrs Sharma.The child was stillborn.'




*sigh* why do I end up writing such sad pieces?
Anyway this is my 5th specimen of 55 word fiction.So if you're new to my blog be sure to read my earlier works(just clicking on the '55 word fiction' label will do) too and drop in a comment if you please.

After all I need to know whether I'm getting better or worse at this. :(

P.S:I'm hoping that GnR fans will like this story....if not anyone else. :P

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Feverish Ramblings

It's interesting how a fever turns me into a philosopher all of a sudden. While trying to cope with a throbbing headache, a slight cold and an aching body my inquisitive mind goes about searching for answers to all the questions that haunt me from time to time. And not only that.I suddenly switch from lazybones to workaholic mode and insist on cleaning out my bookshelf-a task that I've been postponing for months. Then my mom has to give me this incredulous look and a stern glare. And all my enthusiasm for completing pending chores goes out the window and I deflate like a balloon suddenly stuck with a needle. I walk back into the confines of my room feeling completely and utterly useless.
I like fevers really. They make you feel so different. And I don't mean the physical discomfort that bothers you during this time. I'm talking about the other feelings it brings with it...or maybe it's just me. Whenever I am sick my body goes all limp and heavy but my mind goes into overdrive. And I think about everything under the sun-things that come to mind from time to time but one has to drive these thoughts away because supposedly they are a 'waste of your time'.
Anyway since I'm running a high temperature today I'm totally into one of those phases. Let me tell you how my day went.
I woke up at 8 in the morning fully intending to attend college. But sadly enough the germs inside me had other plans so I realize that I'm feeling more groggy than I usually feel while brushing my teeth. Obviously fevers make you slow.
It is only after changing into my clothes I realize that my body is refusing to co-operate when I'm trying to speed up the whole process of dressing up and also-I've a slight cold, a temperature and a sore body.
WTH? I've a fever.
Bingo..genius! -_-
Placing her hand on my forehead and shaking her head disapprovingly mom confirms my fears and I'm pronounced unfit for college.
So no college for me. No going out. No straining myself.
Hot coffee. 4 cups of it and some chicken soup. And Calpol or Crocin.
All too familiar routine.
But the thing is my germs are quite persistent. And the fever refuses to come down. So naturally mom is apprehensive given the ongoing swine flu scare. To console her I point out the fact that I'm not throwing up. Also neither do I have a sore throat nor any nausea. So I guess I'm safe. Hopefully :(
Swine flu or not I'm sent to bed to go catch some rest. But I'm unable to sleep.
It's all so weird. When I have to wake up early and get ready for college (trust me it's a long distance away from where I live) all I wanna do is snuggle into bed. Yet when there's no way I can go out and am asked to sleep away the whole day all I long for is to do something constructive-like organizing my dressing table or catching up with studying or cleaning the bookshelf ( or changing my blog layout for the umpteenth time. :P)
But I'm not allowed to do that.
That is when I understood what the problem is-we are never ever satisfied with the present situation. We never treasure what we already have. We never realize how perfect life is after all....'cause we are too busy picking out the flaws, too busy complaining about what we don't possess yet.
But hey this is human nature so nothing can be done about it.
Human nature sucks.
I'll give you more reasons for this declaration.
I was at the Rashbehari crossing the other day, the usual spot where the 3 of us board a bus to college.And there is this huge banyan tree over there which no doubt houses a miniature mandir (temple). And I'm standing right in front of it - blocking the tiny idol inside from the view of passers-by - when a middle-aged man dressed in jogging gear asks me to step aside and after folding his hands and muttering something incoherent promptly drops a 10 rupee note in the drop-box. He goes away with this happy expression on his face completely ignoring the little boy in dusty clothes who had asked him for alms a moment ago.
A 10 rupee note for God..someone who does not even need money to buy food 'cause.....FRIGGIN HELL HE DOES NOT NEED TO EAT..not like the little boy who could have probably bought himself a simple breakfast out of that meagre 10 rupee note.
Is this how we are supposed to maintain contact with God? Do we really need a medium(usually a dhoti-wearing ugly man with a protruding paunch who goes by the name of a purohit/pujari/pandit) or a particular place of worship?


Nope we don't. Atleast I think so. And this answer did not come to me today.I just realized it all over again. And God did it feel good!(pardon the swearing God but hey I have honest intentions)

I think I know you God. I've met you quite a few times...when I have studied diligently before exams and done my other duties, when I've helped mom with doing something she was having a hard time doing or when I've wiped a dear friend's tears away with my own hands and made her smile. You were with me all those times. And you were smiling benignly weren't you?
And during my darkest nights when I was losing my faith in everything...you did not leave my side even then....urging me to hold on and promising that everything will be alright. And everything did turn out to be fine.
But I also know of the times when you left me alone....when I felt jealous or furious or committed an act of selfishness or felt bitter and vengeful.
And those were the worst moments of my life.

I think I've finally figured out a way to reach out to you.
All I have to do is reach out to the human-the good one-within me.



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