Monday, 20 August 2012

The Journey of Life

In this journey called life, there often comes a time when the going gets tough and the terrain is no longer smooth; we have to climb the mountain, swim through the ocean and fight with the winds.
At such times we ask ourselves that why we have been singled out for such loss, pain or suffering.
But in such times what we need to realise is that every puzzle which life throws at us  is a mystery ;but not always to be solved.
Sometimes we might not understand the reason behind the pain. It is not even necessary to understand it - rather we should endure it. Because it is only after we walk ahead successfully that we will be able to look back and connect the dots.
Because you can not ignore the tedious mountains, the deep sea or the powerful winds. But only after we go through them do we understand that it was important to climb to the other side of the mountain to see the sun rise over a new sky; cross th sea to see the trees on the other side.
So dont ask why you are going through it -just be patient and endure it.
Vaise bhi, who would want a plain straight road when you can look back and marvel the road you travelled to deserve that goal!!

P.S. Paulo Coelho- here I come!!Hehe.He's my biggest inspiration. You should read his blog-such motivating awesome stuff, I tell you!
Yeah, so I was saying that keep smiling, and its better if you do it on a problem's face. Just say to the problem- "that I am much stronger than you are, all you can do is to teach me a lesson, and that's good for  me", and see it say tata!!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Aww Story

Somewhere last year I had picked up a copy of "Why Men Don't Listen, and Why Women can't read maps" at the railway station while going back to Delhi. I thought it would be an interesting read, but only after flipping a couple of pages realized that I won't enjoy it. At that time I wrongly thought that this difference between men and women is just deliberate reinforcement of the differences between the two genders.
But the events of past two weeks have seriously convinced me to pick that book again.

When I told my friends about my breakup, they all reacted differently.
Some supported me, and some didn't. 
All my female friends first went into multiple rounds of "awwww....awww.....", which reminded me that their reaction is similar when I used to tell them all the cute stuff. Okay I am not trying to prove that "awwww" is the natural reaction to all things good, sad, bad, cute, pretty, mushy, painful, but you get the idea, yeah.
So, after the awww-s had subsided I told them the whole story with the reasons, interrupted by 16 awwws, which was followed by more awwws..and more "awww..geet...poor baby" and all those aww filled hugs.
They completely supported my, adding fuel to the fire, enumerating all the cons of the relationship if I forgot to add one, and then again with awwws.

But boy oh boy, the male reaction was completely different, not just in terms of no-awwwsss, but they completely ridiculed my decision. One of them even went ahead and said in a grave manner "Break up is never a solution, its a sign of failure". Even after explaining all the reasons in an exaggerated manner, I got no awwws, no hugs,, no everything-will-be-all-rights.

This made me wonder whether the book had a point or not. Guys never understand that sometimes break up is the solution when you have tried everything, and its your last resort option. For them you must keep trying, but to what extent? And what about all the recurring problems? Whereas girls agree and understand that enduring some more days simply is totally worthless when its not working. They understand that you can't just keep giving chances like that.

I'll not go ahead and explore all the psychoanalysis of this difference as lot has been said and written about it, but its enough for me. But am sure if I analyze more, I'll notice more differences, but till then, let me just try to get the sympathy of the male category...

P.S. For all those who think Ive been sitting at home and eating a big bucket of ice-cream and watching sloppy yash raj movies, you are wrong. I am happy and getting a lot of awwwww-s.
By the way, blueberry flavor is yum.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Million dollar question!

Beware: The following post is a submission to a blogging contest. Its about a new soap on T.V.
Those looking for other stuff, scroll down:)

It was an evening. Me and my mom were sitting in front of the television watching comedy circus on Sony channel.  It was rather quiet. A little too quiet. It was the silence after the thunderstorm.
Rather a series of thunderstorms, after the F-5 cyclone.
Well, a few days ago I had just told my mom about my boyfriend. Now, if you belong to a middle class Punjabi Family then you would instantly realize the connection between cyclones and boyfriend.
She had found out, actually. I had been on the phone 24*7 for a few weeks and after speculations and warnings she had finally asked me, "Do you have a boyfriend. Don't lie because you have been on the phone continuously and there can be only one answer to it".
I could have said "No mom, nothing like that", laughed a fake laugh and casually walked away,
Or, I could have said "No mom, I had just been talking to Priya/ Akansha/ Shruti", or any other girl's name(mind it, girl's name), again laughed a fake laugh and casually walked away.
Or, I could have cross questioned her "no mom. How could I?", with serious hurt in my eyes and stomped away furiously.
But, what did I do?? Without considering any of the above viable options, I said something inappropriate and equally stupid. I flinch every time I remember what I said.
I said, "Yes, I have one. His name is Arjun. Do whatever you can do". And that is why my life is miserable.
She could have slapped me.
Or she could have cried and emotionally blackmailed me.
Or she could have tried to reason me.
But she said "I am going to tell your dad".
My dad is the ultimate Punjabi dad. And I am scared to hell .
Oh Shit!
Now I could have said, "Mom, its not that serious", and laughed away.
Or, I could have said, "Mom, there's no use telling Dad".
Or, I could have said " ULLU BANAYA BADA MAZZA AAYA", and walked away.
But what did I do? I cried, shouted, and finally begged her not to tell Dad.
But only one condition  would she not tell Dad - Only if I break up.
I didn't. And whenever me and mom are alone, we have these thunderstorms about love marriage and arrange marriage.
That day, we were watching comedy circus, when this ad of the new serial came.
There were two girls, probably sisters, one a supporter of love marriages and the other arrange marriages.
I looked at my mom suspiciously. She was doing the same.
Awkward moment.
I cleared my throat and was about to change the channel when I the girl who was supporting love marriage scored a point over the other girl. She said sarcastically, " Pati chahe jaisa ho, sasural acha hona chahiye?", to which the other girl had no reply.
I could only just control myself not to stand up and start jumping and saying " Maine kaha tha..Dekha?".
I looked at my mom triumphantly, that one look saying everything I wanted to.

The next day, we were sitting together again when this ad came.I quickly snatched  the remote, and my mom rolled her eyes away as I looked on smiling.But I was in for a shock. This time the arranged marriage girl scored a point when she closed the argument by saying, "pyaar to andha hota hai"(love is blind).Now my mom could have smiled and looked away.Or, she could have completely ignored it,Or, I could have changed the channel.
But she said, "Dekha...maine kaha tha na? Hum to hai hi pagal"(See, I had said this earlier, but we are stupid people).

After this and a series of similar matches, me and mom are perhaps, most eagerly waiting for "Love Marriage ya Arranged Marriage" to finally see who wins. Or rather, to understand each other better. Maybe I can see her point, and make her see mine. I hope it helps to bridge the generation gap between millions of moms and daughters.:)

This post has been written as an entry to the contest "Love Marriage Ya Arranged Marriage" , new soap to be aired on the Sony Channel; organised by
For more details visit:
P.S. For the sake of it, this is a fictional story. Only with names changed.
:P(got the joke?...)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Wilted Rose

"The bus is here, we need to leave Zamina", my elder sister's panicked voice echoed downstairs.

"Coming in a minute", I replied hurriedly.

It was 4 am in the morning, and we were packing to leave India.
The informant from ministry had banged his way through the huge oak doors just 30mins ago and in hushed tones explained Abba the situation. We needed to leave. The recent massacre by Muslims had enraged the Hindus, who had in turn killed hundreds of muslins in India.
At first, Abba was assured that ancestry and lineage would protect us, but the public anger of Hindus living in the opposite side of the city wall, had increased fourfold after the recent events.
Slowly, our neighboring houses started vacating. But Abba was optimistic that people would realize the stupidity and soon revert back to the brotherhood that existed before the partition of India and Pakistan.
"Zamina, what are you doing? The bus will leave you behind! Why be a source of pain to your Abba!!” Ammi said shaking with anger.
She took my hand and started pulling me away. Just near the door, I remembered something. Something which I had seen when I had accidentally opened the book.
A rose. Pressed in the middle of the book.
I was struck by panic. I couldn’t leave it behind. It was the only memory I had of him, without which it would be difficult to believe that he existed.
I pulled back my hand from Ammi's restricting hold on my arm.
"I'll be back, please just 1 minute", and without listening her stopping me, I ran way.
Ran away to my room where I had hidden the rose, his one and only gesture...which made me believe that he loved me. That even in the darkest of times, love could illuminate your life.

Panting for breath, I reached to the wooden almirah and frantically started opening the books.
There, the leather bound book rested. Rested because I seldom opened it. Only when the pain became unbearable, when all I could think and feel was his absence. Often I thought, and prayed to Allah, 5 times a day, why was he so cruel?
What bad had we done? What bad had he done to receive his wrath? Love couldn’t be the answer, could it,  when Allah himself preached about it in Koran?

I could hear the muted cry of the crowd that had gathered in front of the oak doors of our home. I tugged the rose, delicately, in the pocket of my shirt I wore under the woolen coat.
I ran back towards the garden block, the rear exit if the house.

"Where were you, we were just leaving" Abba's concerned voice moved something in me. Fear. Without thinking any further, I hopped in the small bus where my family was seated: Abba, Ammi, Shoib, my brother and Hasina, my sister.
It was a 24 hour ride from Punjab to Pakistan. As the bus picked up speed, I realized what I was leaving behind.
My mother land, the place where my father was born, where I had spent my childhood, where I had met the love of my life, and lost him.
Lost him to war, the brutality which had made home in the hearts of people.

I still remembered the first time we saw each other. It was in the public library and I was searching for the English book that our teacher had asked us to read. Aisle after aisle I searched, but in vain. And then I found the aisle, dedicated to English literature.
I pulled the book out and saw myself looking at a young man. He was tall, and handsome. Very handsome. His hair was neatly slicked to one side, and was dressed in a simple woolen sweater and pleated pants. I knew he realized I was looking for him, and for once my cheeks bushed a deep red, but realized he was doing the same.
"Sorry, I was just looking for this book, you now hold in your hand" he said and smiled.
Shifting under his gaze and addressing the floor I said "You can have it if u want".
"No, u read it first, and then give it to me later, okay?"
Too embarrassed to look into his eyes, I mumbled an okay and started to turn away, when I heard him talking to me.
"Could you tell me your name and directions for your house? So I can collect the book", he added hastily.
The silence in the library was broken by hush voices, and turned to find the library assistant looking at us, talking to a lady. It was still considered inappropriate for a young boy and girl to talk.
"I will meet you after 1 week, here and this time".
Without waiting for his reply, I left, feeling the blush on my cheeks again.
The entire week I was apprehensive. Thinking again and again what I had said, what he had said. I hoped that he would come to meet me. But what if he did not? I would end up feeling  stupid.
After 7 excruciating days, I met him. He was there all right, smiling.
“So is the book good?”, he asked.
And so, we met every week, same day, and same time in the library. At first we used to discuss literature and politics, but gradually ascended to other topics.
Then one fine day, he professed his love to me, with a rose. The same rose that was now tugged in my pocket.
Everybody who’s in love would agree that love makes you overly optimistic. And that was the case with us. He was a Hindu, and I was Muslim. Before partition it was still possible, but before we could talk to our parents, the summer of 1947 came. The partition. Two countries, two people but one heart. What happens when after centuries of brotherhood, people start killing each other?
History does not know who started the killings, but somebody did. For some time we were immune to these killings, thought it would pass by time. But then we received a horrible news, his family in Pakistan was among the Hindus killed by Muslims.
His Hindu friends provoked him to join in the killings of Muslims. But how could he when he himself loved a Muslim girl?

He was killed. By his own men. They came to know about us and considered it to be treason.
I can never forget that day when I got a letter from one of his friends. We were not meeting anymore in the library, due to the curfew.
I could not believe what he had written. It was as if I was sitting in a charcoal box, so filled with hatred for his killers. And the next moment I could feel the chill, of his absence. I wasn’t able to see him even for one last time. That night I cried holding that rose.
That was 3 months ago.
I still do that sometimes. I miss him terribly. I feel as if a part of me was killed that day along with him. Sometimes I imagine him close, close to me. As if he is just around, making me feel his presence. I still remember the black of his eyes, the little scar on his left eyebrow, and his saffron tikka on Tuesdays and Saturdays, his hands which had held mine numerous times. Now all that was left were memories, memories of the rose. The wilted rose.

The rose had slowly wilted, its petals leaving its centre one by one, falling…falling…separated from each other, losing their red color, till all that was left was the brown, withered centre.

Liked it? Loved it? It'll motivate me to write more and better. Not as if I need it. Motivation - I mean.
Even if you didn't like it, please let me know.

Note: Honestly, I got bored from Wordpress, where I earlier had my blog. So, I changed addresses, and because of lack of any good things coming to my mind these days, I have no other option but to post them back. Don't make a face. So what? This blog is new! And besides, blogger has better themes:P:P  


Till Death Do us Apart

Dr Shah picked up the stack of papers lying on his desk. They were a series of photo stated e-mails, sent by his new patient Palak Bakshi. The case was complicated, as he knew. But not unusual. In his 30 years of psychiatry he had come across such cases, but not as emotional as this was. He started reading the first e-mail.
#1 Dated: 31 July 2010
Where are you? It’s been so long...I miss you. You don’t know what is happening with me. I need you Mohit.
He doesn’t love me anymore. He doesn’t talk to me. I think he is having an affair. I don’t know when things began spiralling out my control. And it’s just been two years after our marriage. Is it humanly possible that a person can treat his wife as badly as he does?
To think that ours was a love marriage. We had actually fought with half the world before we got the acceptance from our parents. Please help me. I feel alone.
#2 Dated: 7 august 2010
Is he the same man who held my hand when we were taking our marriage vows? Is he the same man who had night after night watched me go to sleep and risen early only to see me wake up?
Doesn’t look like that.
We live like two strangers. Even at mealtimes, he is his usual silent.
Yesterday I made a chocolate cake for him. It was our 2 year anniversary. He had forgotten. But I still baked the cake. You know what? He looked at the cake and without even apologising or hugging me, just wished me “happy anniversary” and went to his room.
I feel broken. Smashed. Shattered. Help me Mohit. Please...
Dr.Shah quickly went through some of the mails that followed. Each described Palak’s increasing sorrow. He then came to the email marked important by his assistant.
#28 Dated: 16 October 2010

He hit me. On my left cheek. Because I confronted him regarding his behaviour. First he ignored me. Then, he kept looking at me. Then he started arguing with me. Violently. As if he had so much of pent-up feelings. Watching him shouting at me, I started wondering what I had done to make him so angry. At first I was scared, but then when he started abusing me, I fought back. I fought back for my dignity. For our love. For the life we had imagined together.
And then he slapped me. The force pushed me off my balance and I landed on the floor. I looked up, hoping to see remorse in his eyes. But all I saw was cold...hatred. I can’t make myself think about the word. It was very painful. And then, right in front of him, all the memories started playing in front of me eyes.
It was right my mind. Our trip to Goa, his proposing me on the beach, our first date, our first kiss, how he had proposed me for marriage...and then our fight against our parents. And then finally the day we got married. I couldn’t believe he was the same man, who had stood by me in all the ups and downs...
what should I do Mohit? There’s no one I can talk to...Help

#29 Dated 31 October 2010
I’ve made my decision. I cannot do this any longer. The mirror won’t let me live. Every day I see the mark of his fingers on my cheek. He does too. But he doesn’t say anything, and neither do I expect him to. I’ve realised that we’ve grown so much apart that it’s impossible to bridge the gap now.
This will be my last mail to you. Even before you open this mail, I’ll be dead.
Yes, Mohit. I don’t want to live any longer. There is no reason for me to live.
I called you for help, but you didn’t reply. I expected you to listen and love me back. You denied. I feel as if I don’t have a heart’s all broken pieces.
Bye Mohit. I have loved you, and always will.
Yours and yours forever

Mr. Shah kept looking at the last mail for hours or maybe minutes. He had had a suspicion of how this may end, but he was shocked to realise that he was feeling sad for the girl. His profession didn’t allow him to bring his emotions into his work. But he knew what he had to do. He called his assistant and ordered him to call Palak’s husband to his office.
After half an hour, he heard the screech of the tyres. He looked through his window and saw him approaching, with a troubled look on his face. After a second, he heard a knock on his door and the man who he had just seen, stepped inside. He smiled at the doctor and introduced himself.
“Hi Dr., I am Mohit, Palak’s husband”, he said.
“I know”, Dr Shah said.
He looked quizzingly at the doctor who smiled at him and passed him the mails he had just read. After half an hour, he looked up. There was a troubled look on his face...”How is this...?” he started questioning.

“Allow me to explain”, Dr Shah said and continued... “Schizophrenia. It’s a common emotional disorder. The patient detaches himself from reality when it becomes too painful to deal with it. This may be due to pain, longing, suffering, loss of a loved one, or anything which can generate passionate feelings.
It was pain that set the chain of events which led to Palak’s death. She loved you very much, and when she married you, she felt that her fairy tale had ended, or rather started. But somewhere down the line, you two drew apart. Incapable of dealing with this, she detached herself from reality and refused to believe that you were the man she loved. So, for her, her husband and the man she loved some years back were different, but of course you are the same man. Her mind knew that it was a figment of its imagination because she created the mail id
The look on Mohit’s face went from worried to troubled.
“Yes, we have matched the IP address. She was just talking to the man she loved, about her problems and how her husband didn’t love her anymore.”

Saying this, Mr. Shah sat down, facing Mohit. He sat there for a long time, as if he wanted to ask so many questions but somehow couldn’t phrase them in his mind, and Dr. Shah just kept staring at him.
Then he stood up, and without saying anything, just left. In his right hand were the emails that Palak had written to him.    

The Vow

The room was dark. The blinds were down. There was no source of light except a small lamp. At first glance, anybody would miss him sitting in the chair. But anybody who wished to find him would know where to look.  He looked at the newspaper in his hand, trying to read his interview in the paper. A few years back he would have felt proud, and thrown a party to celebrate it, but things had changed.  He had done a phenomenal job of curing cancer, a boon for millions of people. All major weekly newspapers had covered him on the front page, and there had been a call from the prime minister’s office as well. He folded the newspaper and kept it on the desk. And then he glanced at the picture at the corner of the table, and did something which he had not done for the past 2 years. He looked at her, really looked at her. Her eyes, so warm, so beautiful, her nose, her loosely tied hair, and her smile. It was rare to capture her in a smile. He brought the photograph near his face, and remembered her sweet voice, and let the tears flow....let the memories pierce his heart....and remembered her, the little happy time he had with her...two years seemed a long way back...
Two years Ago
It was a Sunday and his off day. But due to some moron in the radiology department he had to fill in. As he went by, doing the routines, he came to her room. He entered, and was surprised to find the bed empty. He looked around and spotted her standing near a window. She looked frail, and he was about to call her, when she turned.
Knocked Over.
That was how he would define his state. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever looked at. Her brown eyes were warm and appeared friendly. He knew that at that precise moment his heart was beating faster, supplying more blood to his body, and quickening his pulse. What a sad thing to be a doctor, he thought to himself. Here I am standing before “the” girl and am thinking about blood pressure, and science.
He steadied himself, and announced his name loudly. She merely looked at him and said nothing.
“Well, am here for your checkup”, he added a little too subtly, and led her to the bed. He checked her pulse, the mere thought of touching her quickening his pulse. He forced himself to focus, and noted down the required information. He kept looking at her, and when after a few minutes later he left, he was sure she had an idea about his inner thoughts. He kept thinking about her, her eyes, and though she hadn’t said anything he felt as if he had been listening to her voice since ages, as if he had been loving her way before he saw her today, as if he had known all along that he would meet her that day.
Next day he called the nurse to his office and enquired about the girl. What the nurse told him felt like millions of knives cutting his heart. She had cancer, and he marvelled at his own stupidity. Of course, she was under the radiology department. But his hopes soared again when he thought about various types of cancers, and their cures. After completing his rounds, he decided to see her. All through the day he had thought of various cancers and compared the symptoms to her vitals. He just hoped to god that hers would be in the list of curable cancers.
“Why are you here, the doctor has been here just moments before”, she said glaring at him.
He was taken aback, but said “Why, cant I come to meet you?”. He knew such haste would be stupidity, but it was impossible to stop himself now.
“You shouldn’t be here”, she said her tone a tad bit warmer.
“Why, may I ask?”, he asked amusingly.
He sensed her momentary hesitation.
“Because...because you are not my assigned doctor”, and the moment she said that she knew it was a bad excuse.
He smiled at her knowingly, and thus began their daily visits.
As days passed, her condition deteriorated. He often thought to himself, that when a person you love is about to die, you will stick through because you love that person. But is it possible that you know the person is about to die and you still continue to fall in love with him every day, every second, and every breath. Every second brought death closer to her, and every second he found himself ready to die for her.

“You know, the whole hospital knows about us”, she said when he went to see her one day.
“And what do they know?”, he said sitting beside her on the bed taking her hand.
“That you keep on visiting me”, she said breathlessly as he was tracing little circles on her hand.
“Why are you doing this?”, she said snatching away her hand. He could see pain in her eyes.
“What happened?”, he asked and knew the answer he had been listening to since the past few days.
“You know am about to die! Why are you attaching yourself to me, why are you attaching yourself to pain? You’ll get only tears and pain! Go away! Just go away!”, she shouted looking away, hiding herself.
I took her hand, and brought it closer to my lips.
“I don’t want you to cry...I want you to be happy. I know it’s going to end soon, and till that time I want to see you happy. I thought this is what we both wanted. If you don’t want this I’ll leave, and you’ll never see me again.” He stood up but she held his hand, and through her tears he knew all those unsaid words between them. He hugged her, and she hugged him back.
“I love..” but before he could complete, she stopped him with her hand, and said “ Don’t say that please. As much as I want to be with you, I want to see you happy. The more you’ll be with me, the more you’ll love me, and the more it will be painful for you. To see you happy after I go, am willing to be unhappy right now, even though these are my last days”, she cried harder while hugging him.
He was overthrown with love at her selflessness.
He took her face in his hands, and whispered to her, “You want to see me happy, but my happiness is with you. When am with you, it makes me happy. The whole day the only thing which drives me is just seeing you once in a day. And it’s worth it. I am going to stay with you, even if you want or not. And I know this is what you want. And am not thinking about my pain anymore, it’s you who matters to me. Whatever small is the time, am going to be with you”.

He got a call from the nurse station informing him about her condition.
He rushed towards the ICU where she was being shifted. He hadn’t imagined that the day which had been lurking nearby would spring at them so soon. In the last few days he had got what he always wanted, and loved her despite knowing she was about to die. But the power of love can be immense. It can give you strength unknown even to yourself.
Her eyes were waiting for him. He rushed to her, while her doctor told him about the cardiac arrest and commonality of such symptoms. He looked at him meaning to ask the fundamental question, and the doctor shook his head. He patted his shoulder, and went way.
Even with death lurking nearby, he had never planned this moment. What he would say, what he would do..he had always pushed it back. But now confronted with the moment, he was at loss of words.
She looked up at him, and he murmured that everything would be all right. Tears rolled from her eyes, thinking of leaving him. There was nothing she could do about it. Even after knowing about her, he had loved her, and loved her truly. She wished she could stay longer with him, but the truth and death were both lurking nearby.
She raised her head trying to sit up, and removed the oxygen mask. He tried to stop her but her looks silenced him.
“Make me yours. I want to go from this world being yours. Life hasn’t considered me lucky enough to do this happily, but would you...”, she said raising her eyes expectantly.
He hugged her again, thinking about the little time they had spent together. They both new that the future they had dreamt of was impossible, but they had fallen in love so madly, that everything seemed possible. Funny how love and hope are correlated.
That night was the last night they had spent together. He kept rubbing her hair and kissing her head to comfort her, whereas he himself wanted to be comforted. The whole night the silence between them was filled with the unspoken love and promises.
The next day brought with it a sad world. A sad life with absence of love it in. It was empty as was his heart.
“Don’t go please, I would always keep you happy”, was all he kept murmuring. Because he had lost his love and life both. With it went hope.
For two years he didn’t let emotions surpass him and he worked hard to discover the cure of cancer thinking that someday somebody would not be helplessly crying and murmuring to his dying loved one.
And now when his vow to himself was complete, he cried, cried for the first time in two years, clutching her close to her heart, where she would always be.

Shadows of the Past

He was walking down the familiar path he had treaded every day for seven years of his life. It was twilight and he could already see the faint outline of his house. His house. He smiled at the choice of his words. Even after seven years, it was still a house for him, not home.
“A house only becomes home when it is cherished with love, between the family members”. He remembered his grandmother saying that to his mother when he was a child.
He wondered what his grandmother would say about his house now.
She would probably be disappointed.
It was just himself, his wife and six year son in his family. He loved them very much and could do anything to make them happy. His thoughts lingered on his wife and the word happy for a long time. He wondered when he had last seen his wife happy.
It was the wedding day perhaps...he pondered...or maybe the day his son was born. Yes. Whenever she was with him, she was happy. But Shiva could see that her smile didn’t reach her eyes. They looked dull. He had asked her million times if something was bothering her, but had always got a no for an answer. At first, he suspected that she was not happy with him, but hoped she would be after their son was born. But she was still gloomy.
He sighed and knocked at the door.
“Daddy...” Ravi flung himself into his father’s waiting arms as he opened the door.
The rest of the evening went by casually. They ate dinner, father and son discussed their day, but as usual his wife was silent.  The time after meals was always left for Ravi playing with his friends and Gayatri doing her work. But this evening, she had gone to their neighbour’s house and Shiva found himself alone in the house.
It was September and the evenings were beginning to get cold. He started towards the cupboard to find something warm, when he realised that Gayatri had still not unpacked their winter clothes from the trunk. So he fished out the key from the cupboard and opened the trunk in order to unpack the clothes. Maybe it would make her happy, thought Shiva.
But as he sat there, looking at layer after layer, he was thinking about Gayatri. He couldn’t bring himself to understand the reason behind her sorrow. She had never asked for anything, never talked much, never shared her innermost thoughts with him.
It was then , that he realised that they’d been living like two strangers all these years...they did not behave like a normal husband and wife. They wouldn’t even had a son, if it had not been for their wedding night, because after that she denied having any physical contact with him.
And, being a good husband, he never forced her. Because he loved her.  And could do anything to make her happy.
He was about to withdraw his hand from the trunk as he hadn’t found anything, when his hand touched something soft. He looked into the trunk and found a piece of paper lying at the bottom.
Finding it at last, he took out the paper and started to read:

How could you marry someone else?  You had promised me that you would marry no one else. Why did you break my heart? All those walks that we took in the forest, all those sweet memories in our little hut ...have you forgotten it all?
What would you have done if i had married someone else?
And what do you think, your husband would never be able to find about us?
Maybe, but till when can you hide the fact that you carry my child in your womb, and not his?
Sooner or later, he would find about it and then it would be too late. What would you do then?
Please come back to me, it’s just been a few days that you got away with me?
I’ll be waiting for you, fifteen days after you receive this letter at the banyan tree near the railway station. Come soon.

Shiva couldn’t believe what he had read. His wife had had an affair? And got pregnant?
It was then that the truth stuck him. Ravi was not his son. And she had hidden this truth from him. For seven long years, she had kept him in the dark. How could she? And did she still meet this “M”? What if she was? What if she was not? But even if you speak a lie for 1000 times, it remains a lie.
And it was then, that Gayatri entered. She looked at Shiva and stopped dead in her tracks. She looked from Shiva, the letter in his hand and the open trunk. It took her a second to realise what had happened. She gaped at Shiva, waiting for his reaction. She knew she deserved his wrath, for lying to him.
But Shiva just stood there, numb.
“Why did you lie about Ravi? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because i was scared. I didn’t want to marry you. I loved somebody else. But then my parents found out and forced me into marrying you. It was a day before our wedding that I realised that I was pregnant. I decided that i would tell you the truth. But when i started to know you, i found out that you were a very nice man, and i could see that you loved me. Gradually i fell in love with you, but couldn’t muster enough strength to tell you. Whenever i wanted, i was reminded of my betrayal- and felt guily. It was guilt due to which i couldn’t see you in the eyes...and when i saw the way you loved ravi i thought that its better to keep the secret to myself..because i love you...and couldn’t see you unhappy...i wanted to tell you...” she broke down.
She kept crying  and shiva stood there...for a long time..
She had realised that he loved her no more . No man would after knowing that his wife had betrayed him. The whole night she kept thinking bout Shiva and the 7 yrs of their marriage, and made a decision. She decided to leave them: for Shiva and Ravi. Because she had failed as a wife and a mother. As she stood to leave she glanced at her home for the last time. Sleeping Ravi and Shiva, who was sitting near the trunk, deep in thought.  As she turned towards the door, she heard him calling.
“Where do you think you are going?”, Shiva asked.
She turned to look at him look, surprised...”I was just leaving-”
She couldn’t speak any longer as Shiva hugged her. She was surprised and couldn’t understand what was happening. Had Shiva forgiven her? Does he still love her? Will the shadows of her past stop haunting her?
Before she could ask for answers, Shiva looked at her lovingly, and said “ Let us begin a new, me and Ravi. I have loved you, and will always do. Whatever happened, is past... all that matters to me is you and your happiness.”
He wiped Gayatri’s tears and was happy to see her smile after a long long time.


The car screeched to a halt in front of the hotel. I hadn’t even realised when we had covered the forty minute drive. I got out of the car and an immediate pang of guilt hit hard because of what I was about to do. My mom smiled at me for encouragement but I ignored her and taking each step grudgingly, walked on.
I was not nervous, as any girl in my position would be. I was just feeling empty. The kind of feeling you have when you say that something isn’t bothering you and show it to others, but deep down you are constantly trying to convince yourself about that. As soon as we enter we see Mr. Tiwari sitting on the nearest table.
He greeted my Dad and immediately after greeting other relatives his eyes scanned through the small gathering until they found me half hidden behind my mom. He looked at me from top to bottom and grunted as if to say- passed with grace marks. In a normal situation the handy pepper spray bottle I usually keep in my bag would have the opportunity to prove its worth. But alas, this is no normal situation. Mr Tiwari is a match maker, who ran his agency by the name of “lighter” and whose punch line is “god makes matches, and I light them”.
Irrespective of the stupid name and tagline, he had proven to be very effective. In 2 days he had found a suitable match for me.
My bhabhi looked at me and straightened my hair- which she was doing for the umpteenth time. I found it very irritating and before I could say anything everybody stood up and my bhabhi excitedly squealed “look they have come”.
If I felt that I was nervous before then I was scared that everybody would hear my heart beating this loud. I made it a point to look at the floor as pleasantries were being exchanged. Even looking down I could feel 12 pairs of eyes screening my plain pink kurti and black jeans.
 A woman’s voice who I assumed to be the boy’s mother asks: “so how far have you studied beta?” As my mom and bhabhi answer, I could actually draw an image of the woman - who would be fat, laden with jewellery and wearing matching bindi, hairclip and heels. I easily lose track of the conversion and enter my happy place, where I was happy, where I was with him. The future I had imagined and not some stupid matchmaker…..
As if somebody had physically grabbed me from behind, my sister nudges me to stand up and I see a pair of black shoes get up right in front of me. Astonished that everything had finished so quickly and the boy’s side had already rejected me and decided to leave, I also notice that no black shoes or golden heels get up. And then my sister moves me to the next table and makes me sit on it and the black shoes follow. I start to panic when the blue and silver heels of my sister walk away and all I could see was a pair of black shoes and I realise that it is the worst part- where boy and girl talk alone to know each other better.
I sense that he is observing me and the next thing he does shocks me to the extent that I could bet my life that I was dreaming. Even realising Edward Cullen was sitting in front of me would have been less shocking than this. He says “atleast look at me, baby”.
Just five words and whole my world crashes down. This is the voice that I could recognise and respond to any situation, even if I was dead. I look up with shock and disbelief. The first thing I look at it as I raise my head is his brown chocolate melting eyes. They look at me with the same expression as they had whenever he held my hand. The eyes which I had looked at for more than 7 years before my family rejected “us”. The eyes that tell me that hope never dies,that love never dies. The eyes which seemed to tell me that dreams do come true. The eyes that told me that true love never fails, the eyes that tell me that it is not the happy ending but a happy beginning….a happy beginning with him.

How far would you go?

“Why did you add them back?” I asked with a stern face.
“Who are you talking about?”he asked innocently without looking at me.
Now this is what infuriates me. He perfectly knew who I was talking about. You might call me jealous or any other synonyms as you please. But in my position, every girl would be.
It’s been three and half years that we’ve been dating and now I come across this. It all started when I randomly visited Viren’s profile on facebook and saw his recent updates.
Viren Kapoor is now friends with Rashi Sahay and 3 other people.
I had a feeling what those 3 names would be. And when I checked, my suspicions were correct. He was again friends with those 4 girls whom I had just “unfriended” from his list of friends last night. I know it’s stupid and you might think that I am interfering but all those 4girls are of the type who are beautiful and won’t lose a fraction of chance to show off. They upload their pics every second! Literally! They upload pics when they get up in the morning with the caption “ natural beauty- no makeup of course” but you can still notice a tinge of blush on their cheeks, and then when they get ready to go to some party – which is everyday. And they click pics of themselves standing in front of the mirror and pouting and then naming that folder “self obsessed”.
WTF?!! Who has this much time. Well, I don’t.
Now, the point is that once I caught Viren openly flirting with one of them, telling her that he had once had a crash on her twin sister(of course one of the 4 girls). I saw this conversation in his inbox and yes I had his password, as he had mine.
After a big fight, which concluded after his promising that he realised his mistake and won’t ever again betray my trust, we patched up(how could you think I won’t drag the “lets-just-break-up thingy in between?).
And then after 3 months I saw that he had commented on her pic. So I unfriended and just after a night, saw them back.
“You bloody well know who I am talking about”, I said growing furious.
“I don’t talk to them anymore”, he explained still looking at his hands. So he knew who I was talking about.
“You said the same line last time I caught you”,Isaid.
“You caught me? You caught me? You are saying as if you’ve caught me red-handed having sex with one of them! Bloody hell, Suhani! What is your problem?” he said looking directly at me.
“My problem is that you are not faithful! I told you that I don’t like those girls and I’ve said that numerous times. What is so difficult to UNDERSTAND? I DON’T LIKE YOU COMMENTING OR LIKING THEIR PICS”, I said raising my voice.
“Why? Because they’ve got a better figure than you?”, he said in a matter-of fact voice. As if he was telling me the truth.
Now that hurt. And pinched. Okay fine! I admit that I may not have a figure as sexy as theirs, but my friends tell me that I am good looking.  And my boyfriend insulting me like that, was too much. I don’t know which part hurt more: his saying that I don’t have a good figure or his complimenting them.
I think the first part because the next thing I knew, I stood up and went away.

I knew he was following me and calling me back. But I continued walking and after locating my car, drove back to my home. And then straight to my room. Of course my mom was curious but I waved off her concern by saying that I was tired. I closed my eyes and the next thing I know it was morning.
It was the dull vibration that I woke me up. I searched for my cellphone and found it in my bag. By that time, the vibration had ended. The screen showed 49 misscalls and 15 messages. Before I could read them, Viren’s name flashed on the screen.
The moment I pressed the accept button, he started talking. Rather, apologising.
“Please baby, am sorry am sorry am sorry…..i know I hurt you…”, he said.
After 2 hours and lots of sorrys and you won’t do it again and whole loads of promises I agreed to meet him.
And that was that. 2 months back.
But now again I sat staring at the screen. This time it was the archive messages.
There were 2 conversations in particular.
One was with his ex-girlfriend asking how she was and if she had a boyfriend. Now this was heart breaking.
The next was a random girl who he had added when he saw her in one of our mutual friend’s pictures. He had called her sweet.
Now THIS was heart smashing.
This all set me thinking: is he faithful at all? Can he remain faithful? Even after repeated incidents and reminders he had broken my heart. Again.And again.I felt miserable. Miserable because I still loved him, even after everything he had put me through. Miserable because I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold back if I broke up. Miserable that my love is not enough for him that he can stick with me and not wander here and there.
I know my angst against those girls is unnecessary. They are just telling the world how wonderful and amazing their life is. Perhaps am just blowing this issue out of proportion. Maybe if I stopped looking for reasons to blame him, he wouldn’t wander.
But then there are a set of principals, a set of rules that you wouldn’t want your boyfriend to break. That may be fidelity or faithfulness for same or not abusing for some.
For me it was all about commitment.  So picking up the phone, I dialled his number. He picked after 5 rings and the moment I heard him crooning my name, something snapped inside me. And then very calmly, (yes, I was surprised too) explained him the reason I wanted a break-up. And he agreed with me.
For a few months I was unhappy. My friends tried to reason with me, make me happy and even talking bad things about him. I wanted to believe them but the truth cant change. I love him, even after all this time. The pain and sadness will not go, but some part of my heart will always love him and that very same part would hate him for deceiving me.


I opened my laptop, hoping to finish off the chemistry project.  It was the first project since the beginning of the college, and I wanted to make a good impression on the teachers.
Not that it mattered now. Everything was different in college. The atmosphere, the students, the teachers, the whole culture. Against the advice of my parents, I had chosen a college in Mumbai.

Hundreds of miles away from my home town, Jaisalmer.
Jaisalmer. The deserts, the camels, the clear skies at night, I missed the things I used to hate back then. We lived on the outskirts, but due to my school, at least I was a part of the city. Dad always cautioned me against the evils of a big town. But everything was simple there. People were always willing to stop by and talk, share their daily routines.
But here it was different. Nobody wanted to talk to anybody. It was as if they carried their own glass coffins with them and always had that steely expression on their faces. It made me feel lonely.
And some students of my class would come to college, but instead of attending any classes, they would sit outside and talk. And smoke. Urgh! What was this fascination with smoking? Everybody seemed to think it was so cool.
Nonetheless, I had to stay here for the next three years, happy or sad. Better be happy!
Moving on, as i was just starting to research for the project, I saw a facebook notification.
A new friend request. Hmm...Who could that be?
Prateek Oberoi.

Prateek Oberoi!! He was the sexiest guy on campus! Over six feet in height, well built and brown chocolate melting eyes. He had girls swooning over him. And he had sent me a friend request. Wow!

And that was when Hitesh came in. He was a senior, in second year. But we were from the same town, so we instantly hit off. We had known each other back then, but never talked. He lived close by in Jaisalmer, and my mom knew his mom. And we had become good friends.
“Oh, you have a FB account”, he said with fake horror.
I looked at him with one eyebrow raised, but he just laughed.
“So, whose pics are you checking out, eh?” he said coming towards me.
I didn’t want him to know that I was looking at Prateek’s pics, but before I could do anything, he had grabbed the laptop. In an instant he was laughing, and said “ you have a crush on Prateek!!!!!”
“No. Please. Nothing like that. He was the one who had sent me friend request.
“Really?” he asked, grinning.
Not bothering to answer him, I shot him a murderous look, and went back to the research.
Next day, as I was sitting in the canteen, waiting for Hitesh, I was reading the recent chemistry journals. Somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to find Prateek’s face inches away from me. Oh, he looked soo cute, and this close, I could see the brown of his eyes so clearly. He was saying something, but I was busy noticing his perfect teeth, his lips...
“May I?” he was saying, with an amused expression on his face.
“Uh, sorry, what?” I heard myself speaking. Oh...what was I doing? I must have looked crazy, staring at him.
“I was asking could I sit here with you” he said, smiling.
As if ‘he knew everything’ smile.
Or, ‘I know am too sexy and I know you have been looking at me’ smile.
My heart fluttered, and taking my silence as a yes, he sat across me.
“So, you are waiting for Hitesh, right”, he said, a little too calmly.
I could sense something amiss here, but couldn’t place it.
“Yeah. Do you know him?” i asked.
“No. Not as such. See you later”, he mumbled and walked away. I was surprised at this little conversation. It was so-abrupt.
A moment later Hitesh cam, and I knew the first thing he was about to say would be Prateek sitting here.
“Oh, did I disturb something private?” he said jokingly. I smiled, suspicions confirmed.
Instead of replying, I went back to reading the journal, dwelling on how close Hitesh and I had come. And that too in a few days.
In the evening, as I was preparing to study, I decided to open fb. I had just signed in, when the chat window opened.
Prateek Oberoi (PO) says Hi.
PO: I’ve been waiting for you.
Holy crap. What the hell. Why was he acting like this? He barely knew me.
PO: there?>
SM (me): yeah. Watsup? You were waiting for me? Anything imp?
PO: yeah, just wanted to talk to you. Couldn’t talk to you earlier in the canteen.
Okay. This was getting strange. Why this sudden interest in me? Did not possible. We had just met, and all the girls were crazy for him. Why would he show this sudden interest in me?
We chatted for a while, which ended in making me more suspicious.
Next day, Prateek joined me and Hitesh in the canteen, behaving as if we were best friends. I felt Hitesh feeling weird, as I was. But we both played on.
The next few weeks were a blur. Soon Prateek, Hitesh and I became good friends. Actually more than good friends. We used to hang together, all the time-in college, out of college. We would sit and talk about our hometowns, late into the night, drinking coffee. Prateek made the world’s best coffee!
This was only one of the things that made me fall in love with Prateek. He was so nice and caring, and I felt that he felt the same way about me.
It was a fine evening, a Saturday, and I decided to talk to Hitesh about it. I felt it was time, Hitesh knew about it all. Maybe he could help me decipher Prateek’s feeling for me. He could save me from committing a huge mistake. Yes, I should tell him.
I reached his room, and was about to knock, when I saw the open door. I opened the door, hoping I wasn’t disturbing anything. But what I saw when I entered the room is beyond words.
Prateek and Hitesh. Shirtless. In the same bed. Kissing.
Oh shit. They hadn’t seen me enter, and when they realized, it was too late. I had seen what they were doing. And understood well.
I ran out of the room, and heard Hitesh calling after me. But I couldn’t bear to see his face. He had kept me in the dark. And Prateek? Oh shit! Holy crap! This couldn’t be happening.
Why had I been so blind? Why had I missed all the signs? Prateek acting strange in front of Hitesh, and acting nervous. Oh. So Prateek had used me to get to know Hitesh.
Nearing my room, I stopped running, the scene flashing before my eyes.
And all I could so was laugh...and laugh...and laugh. And that is how Hitesh found me in my room: laughing and repeating two words ‘holy cow’! Of course I understood. That is the way they are. And will be. But nonetheless, HOLY COW!!

Do you believe in Miracles?

I woke up well before the sun shined down on us. It was Sunday, my favorite day of the week. I got ready and went outside to wait for Kevin. As usual, he was late. I smiled and went to wake him up. But I had just reached the door and was about to knock when he opened it.
"For once I can be on time", he smiled and kissed my cheek.
It was a daily routine for both of us to go and attend Sunday mass together. We had been doing it since childhood.
It was only after he came back from London, that we realized that we loved each other.
Instead of dating each other, and hiding this from our parents, we decided to tell them. And to our surprise, they already knew.
"We are your parents, my dear child. We all knew it was bound to happen one day", Kevin's mom hugged me.
So the date of our wedding was set a year after that is just 4 months from now.
Holding hands we reached the church and attended the mass.

"What did you ask for?” Kevin asked me.
I turned around to face him and winking him I said "as if you don’t know".
"Hmm...let me asked for a perfect wedding, that you look the best bride in the world, and I don’t run away before the wedding", he added laughingly.
"You know this wedding means a lot to me", I said getting serious.
And then he did something unexpected.
He bent on his knees, and taking my hand in his he said "Baby, I have been waiting to marry you since the first time I saw you. I know that was when I was just two, but somehow I’ve known all these years that I love you. And I promise the wedding will be perfect! And for me you are the most beautiful girl, regardless of what how you look. I love you, and always will ", he said kissing me hand.
My eyes were filled with tears, and seeing me close to crying he stood up and hugged me tight.

After 2 months

It was again a Sunday. As usual I was waiting for him to grace the occasion of Sunday mass with me. I smiled and went to wake him up.
I was at the door, when his mom came out.
The moment I saw her face I knew something was wrong. Was Kevin's dad all right? Oh, he was already a heart patient. What if-
"Kevin's had an accident".
I froze in my tracks. No. It can’t be. Life couldn’t be so unfair. Why? Why Kevin?
And the next thing she was about to say would shatter my world. I knew what she would say. How could this be? In a moment, my world fell apart. Kevin no longer with me....
Sensing my train of thought, she said, "He is in the hospital. Fighting for his life".
The relief washing over me made me stumble and I lunged forward to hug his mom.
"He's alive mom. He's alive!!!I knew god couldn’t do this to us."   

But she was not hugging me back. Wasn’t she grateful? But sensing something amiss I looked at her face confused.
“He hit his head. He is in comma”, she said. Her eyes filling with fresh tears.

Comma. This means he might never wake up.

I felt the scene before me blur. I tried to squint to look through. But all I could see was haze.
They took me to the hospital. Took me to him. Took me because I was hardly aware what was happening around me. I remember my dad coming to pick me up from the floor where I had fallen from shock. I heard them saying something, but I couldn’t pay attention.
How could this happen? He was always so careful while driving? What if something happened to him? I have known him since I was two. Twenty years of my life have been spent with him. And now, 2 months before our wedding, this. Can something this ironical and horrible happen to someone?

We met the doctor before going to see him.
“ There were no external injuries. Only a single major head injury. Apparently he hit his head on the steering wheel. We have done the tests, and frankly the results are not so positive”, the doctor said looking sorry.
“Will my son ever-“, his dad started but choked on tears.
“We can only pray”, the doctor said, looking into his eyes.
The meaning was clear. The sorry note of his voice only cleared our doubts. Kevin might never wake up. And with him my dreams, my life, my soul might never wake up.

I saw him. There were no tubes attached to his body, no blood, no IV tubes, no big machines, nothing.
Just him and a small cardiograph which was attached to his wrist. It showed his heartbeat. He was alive.
At that moment all I could do was thank god. At least he was alive. I sat on the edge of his bed. I touched his hand with mine, hoping to see his eyes flutter, his hands move- just like the climax of Hindi movies.
But life isn’t always a happy ending.
I talked. I tried to wake him up. I cried. I shook him. I tried to make him feel my presence.
I tried reminding him what all we used to do together. All the movies we watched repeatedly, all songs we danced to, his special tie which I had once cut, just to irritate him, my favorite Barbie doll- which he disfigured to tease me, all our coffee talks when it rained.
But he didn’t wake up.
My mom came and put her hands around me.
“It’s useless, Kathy.”
I turned to hug her, losing my patience. I don’t know for how long I cried. Maybe seconds, minutes or hours, all I knew was that my love was no longer with me. The feeling of being separated – the feeling of never able to see him smile, wink at me, never to hear his voice, never to hold his hands, never to have me hug back…
“It’s going to take a miracle to wake him. I am so sorry baby!” my mom whispered in my ears.
Just before I was about to give up, I remembered him once asking me if I believed in miracles.
“It depends”, I had answered.
“You know, there are just two colors-black or white. No grey. Likewise, either you believe in miracles, or you don’t believe in them”
And it was then that I decided that for the sake of my love, for the sake of our love, I will believe in miracles. That one day he would wake up- wake up and call for me. Tease me, scold me, and hug me.
Not once will I think about the other result. Not once will I doubt in the power of good. The power of love. The power of miracles.
Because miracles do happen.

Broken Strings

The web browser displayed the sign which required some software knowledge to decipher it. Regardless of my inability to decipher the exact meaning I knew what it meant- I had to find another way to divert my mind.
Closing the browser and shutting down the computer with a sigh I looked out of my window and surveyed the outside scene. The sun was still hidden behind some fluffy cloud. Continuous showers had forced everybody to retreat to their homes. Even Mr. Gupta’s naughty son and his friends, who earlier had jumped to grab the wet opportunity and played “pirates of tilak nagar”, had gone home. Feeling sad I grabbed Sidney Sheldon’s Naked Face and settled on the big couch to read it. But only after reading a couple of pages I found that even the book could not hold my attention. So I just settled to look out of the window melancholically.
It was all so fresh in my mind. The aroma of coffee and my favourite chicken grilled sandwich hung in the air. My favourite coffee shop was located around the huge but depressed looking public library. It was a place which Abhimanyu and I had frequented often. It was the same coffee shop in which he had proposed me and from then it became our favourite meeting place.
We were the perfect couple, and so much in love. We would just sit at the coffee shop for hours whiling away time, sometimes just talking or settling with the same book borrowed from the library. I vividly remember that time as my best. Holding hands and sharing the coffee seemed to have become our favourite habit. Even after going home, which we both hated, we would constantly be in touch via smses or calls.
So naturally he was taken aback when 18 months into the relationship I suddenly told him that my dad had planned a short trip to goa for me and family.
“So…ill be going on the 1st of October and will be back by 21st”, I said.
“3 weeks…why so long baby? You know I can’t live without you”, he said with a cute face which always brought a smile on my face.
“Aww…ill miss you too”, I said with a lump in my throat. He just kissed me on the cheek and muttered something about his dad calling him home for some urgent thing.
I watched him leave and remembered his expression when he said he couldn’t live without me. Warmness spread through me and I realised it was minutes ago that he had left the park.
The night before the flight to goa found both of us talking till wee hours. He told me how much he loved me and how much he was going to miss me. I disconnected the line after promising him a nice big bear hug when I came back.
“Do you want to have banana shake, Aru?” my mom’s voice interrupted my train of thought and brought me back to the present.
“No”, I muttered and went back to 20th October. Due to some railway default I was back a day earlier than scheduled. I had missed Abhimanyu oh-so-badly. We had hardly talked in the 3 weeks and I was dying to see him and have his arms around me. I decided to surprise  him by going to his place and thought of picking up the chicken grilled sandwiches and cold coffee from the same coffee shop which we both loved.
I went in the coffee shop happily and gave my order.  It was then that I turned around and saw a couple sitting on our favourite table in the corner. . Someone who was cosily sitting with a girl in a mini skirt. Someone who had the same physique as Abhimanyu. Someone who had the same white and red striped t-shirt as Abhimanyu
All the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly in my mind. I still could not bring myself to believe what I saw. Some part of my heart wanted my brain and my eyes to not believe that it was Abhimanyu with some other girl, holding her hand. I couldn’t make myself move an inch from the place. All those I-miss-yous and i-love-yous reverberated in my mind. So this was what he was upto when I had been missing him badly in goa. It was as if somebody had crushed my heart. Believe it or not I actually heard the sound of crashing glass. The sound of crashing hopes and dying dreams.
And then suddenly he turned around. His eyes grew big with shock. He whispered something in the girl’s ear who looked at him with some god-like respect and nodded.
He came to me and said “Hi Arundhati. This was long due between us. I just couldn’t….” He seemed to be lost for words.
“Sorry….but hope we remain friends. Bye.” with that he and his girl left the coffee shop without even glancing back.
Most people confronted with such a situation would react angrily. But me? I felt disappointed. I felt confused. I wanted answers. How long has this be going on for? Did the girl know about me? Was my love not at all valuable to him? Did he really love me or were all the I –love-yous a mere pretence?
After this incident I saw no more of Abhimanyu Singh and neither heard from him. Almost a year has passed by and I still cannot understand why he cheated on me. What had I done wrong? Three weeks prior he had been telling me how much he would miss me.
Almost 2 years have gone by, but even now any white and red striped t-shirt guy would make me look back. Whenever I enter the coffee shop, my eyes search for him. Even now sadness and pain has not been replaced by anger. I just can’t bring myself to accept the fact that he had cheated on me. Thinking about him makes my eyes water. I just hope that someday I would get to know the reason behind all this or maybe he would come back to me realising my true love for him. It feels as if a little part of my heart went with him and it pains to think that my heart will never be complete.

Battle of Balloons

"The angle between the chord and tangent at point of contact is equal to the angle subtended by the chord in the alternate segment", the teacher said underlining the last two words.
Since it was the beginning of the two hour torture these CAT institutes named as quant class, I was paying attention. For two minutes in the silence that prevailed after the teacher bored his eyes into each one of us, I actually checked my email to verify that I was sitting in the right class. After getting confirmation that it was the right class, I looked here and there. Half of the class was paying attention, looking at the board with utmost attention. Those, undoubtedly, would be the science kids. Those who take every problem that the teacher throws in the two hour torture, personally. Until they sort the problem, they won’ just give up.
And then there were others. Others like me. I mean those from the commerce background, who had hated Mathematics. I looked at the other half, which was the half in which i belonged. Guys sitting row in front of me were actually checking the mails to confirm the class.
The teacher resumed the theory, and I resumed doodling in my notebook, my usual habit. It was half an hour later that I stepped out of my doodle world and noticed my work. I was surprised to see color blobs. I sighed. Of course color blobs- holi was near. Holi always brought colorful memories with it. Not color-wise memories, but both happy and sad memories.
Happy because of those I spent with Ankit, and sad because of those I didn’t spend with him.
I still remember our pre-holi holidays….

Another memory…

“Look”, I told Ankit pulling him back by snatching his t-shirt collar, hiding behind the car nearest to us. I crouched down, pulling him with me.
He squinted his eyes, and looked at me irritatingly.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Look at the road. Carefully”, I told him pointing towards the road.
“Oh”, he said looking at me.
Oh. This oh meant a lot at that time. It meant declaration of battle. It meant that the enemy had openly challenged us. It meant that now the road was not safe.
We could see the signs of the battle clearly. The road was littered with colorful balloons, or whatever was left of them. Holi usually meant neighborhood battles. Battles where water balloons and pichkaris were our arms and ammunitions. Gulal came later.
“What should we do now? Should we take the longer road?” he asked hesitatingly. We looked at each other’s faces. The enemy knew that we are in the territory. Taking a detour would be equivalent to accepting defeat. There was a moment of uncertainty.
“No”. The determination in my voice made Ankit look at the road, estimating the distance to be covered and the possible battle points.
We nodded at each other, mentally mapping out our escape route.
“8”, he said.
“Hmm…” That was the number of cars on the road, which meant our possible refugee points,
“I think it’s better to go red-black-yellow-black-white-golden-silver-white”, he suggested. The colors implied the cars.
“Hmm…and the strike point would be yellow-black and black white”, I added approvingly.
We looked at each other, knowing that once we came out, it would be the point of no return.
We nodded and came out of the car. We were just near the yellow car when the attack began.
The rules were simple. Even if one partner got hit, the other side won.
Once it started we ran towards my home, forgetting all about the strategy we had made. The destination was just half way away. But the escape would be very narrow.
Swoosh! A big balloon swooshed past me head. Narrow escape.
Phew! But just then I saw the green balloon behind my back. I ducked, pulling Ankit along. Saved again.
Just after 2 seconds, we were safe in the balcony of my house. We leaned beside the wall, panting. We looked at each other and high fived-indicating our narrow escape…and then rushed inside to begin our counter attack….

“Nupur, what’s angle DAB?” the teacher asked me, jolting me out of the colorful memories.
“60 degree?” I attempted making a wild guess.
“No”, he said and asked the same question to the girl behind me, signaling me to return back to my childhood.
But holis were not the same once Ankit’s father sent him to UK.
He was supposed to return next month. I wish he would return sooner.

The morning of holi found me helping my younger brother and his friends get ready for the ultimate battle. Another neighborhood battle. I was apprehensive while filling the balloons with water, anxious what I would do if they all started pelting me with the balloons, I myself was filling for them. Kids are kids, and u never know.
And then it hit me. Square in the back. And that too when I was helping these little monsters win the battle.
I turned, adamant to take revenge on whoever did this with me. And to my surprise, it was Ankit, standing with another big balloon in his hand.
“Ready, Lieutenant”, he asked with a playful grin.
I couldn’t believe it was Ankit! What a day to return! All the balloon battles memories became fresh in my mind. How we used to thoroughly enjoy our favorite festival together.
He smiled at me again, knowing and remembering all those times. He winked at me, raising his arm to thrown the balloon at me.

And that was all I needed to start the ultimate battle, this time both of us fighting with each other. But both of us winners this time.