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FROM THE PEN OF AN AMATEUR WRITER.

The thrill…

“What do you want from life?” Asked Samir.

“I don’t know.” Shrugged Riya. “I truly don’t know. May be some happiness??”

“So, you are not happy??”

“I don’t know Samir. I’m happy. But not the right amount of happy.”

“Right amount??” Smirked Samir.

“Hmm..it’s difficult to explain. It’s like, something is missing. And I don’t know what exactly is missing.”

“You have a beautiful life. Isn’t it?? A beautiful home, a career to die for, and the best person in the whole wide world as your husband.” He said with a boastful grin.

“Whole wide world?? Isn’t that too much?? Don’t think so highly of yourself.”

“So, you mean, I’m not the best??”

“You are. But..”

“What but?? What else do you need in life to make you happy?? People who know you, are actually jealous of you.”

“Nah!! No one is..or may be few are.. but, still Samir…there’s something missing. I don’t know. I want some thrill. Life’s gotten to busy and boring. A thrill would be nice..My life is no more challenging. People have to deal with so many challenges, struggles, and I get everything so easy. It’s like, things have been readymade for me. Let’s forget it.”

“You are nuts Riya. Simply nuts.”

************

A week later. Samir’s phone beeped.

An incoming message fm an unknown number, “Meet me at 5.” Read Riya.

She didn’t pay a heed. Got ready. And both left for work. Samir dropped Riya to her office.

Next morning. Incoming msg fm Jas.

“When shall me meet today?”

Next few mornings, Jas continued with the messages. “Loved it yesterday.”

“Let’s meet over tea.” Sometimes coffee.

Riya, trusted Samir. But somewhere down, she felt anxious. She wanted to know who this Jas was.

She had no intentions of following Samir. But that morning, the message, read;

“The best date ever. Thanks.”

This was it. The last straw.

She left her office early. Her heart was beating faster than usual.

What if, Samir is having an affair?? What if, she sees Samir with another girl?? What will she do?? She wanted to turn back.

But, how could Samir do this to her?? There was no change in his behaviour towards her. They were as lovey-dovey, as before. But, these messages, had a different story to tell.

She was standing outside “The Cafe 3/4th”

She peeked in. Yes, Samir was there. But with a man. They were talking over something. She hurried back, before Samir could see her.

She was happy that it wasn’t a girl. She had expected one. A sigh of relief. But it didn’t last for long.

“What if, Samir is gay??”

They have known each other for long. But history suggests that many men hide their true identities to avoid defamation. But, their conjugal life was great.

Then why would Samir keep meeting this guy over coffee??

She wanted to ask Samir, but resisted herself.

Next morning. The phone beeped yet again.

And before Riya could take a peek, Samir rushed towards it. He had a smile on his face. The smile reminded her of something.

Their initial courting phase. Samir had the same smile, the same, as before.

Riya’s heart couldn’t take it anymore. She felt suffocated.

“Who is it??” She asked.

“Someone from work.” Samir replied with his charming smile.

Riya didn’t like it at all..

She couldn’t concentrate in office. She started imagining all sorts of things. Samir with that guy. Samir leaving her. Getting married to Jas. And what not.

That night, she thought of confronting Samir.

“Samir, I wanted to talk to you about something. I mean Jas.”

“So, you know?? I knew I couldn’t hide it for long. I’m sorry, I should have told you.”

“Tell me now. I’m totally shocked Samir. I mean, what’s going on between the two of you. I’m sorry, but I hv seen few of your texts.”

“I wanted to tell you long time ago..but didn’t have the courage to do so. In fact, I was sure, I couldn’t hide this from you any more. I’m sorry, that it had to come out this way. I’m…I’m…”

Before he could complete, Riya spoke..”GAY?”

“Gay?? What gay??”

“You are gay Samir. It’s okay. You wanted to come out. But then, why did you love me or marry me?? Do you really love me?? Or is this all fake??” Riya burst into tears.

“Riya..Stop crying. Why the hell did you think I’m gay?? Or in love with a guy?? I’m perfectly straight and I love you like crazy.”

“But…but…the coffee dates??The messages?? What about those??”

“Remember my best friend, Vihaan?? A few weeks ago, he came out. He is gay. He has been struggling a lot from few years. No one noticed. He was on the verge of committing suicide. Thankfully, he opened up to me. JAS is a co-worker, Jaswinder?? Remember him??”

“Oh ! God, Jas is Jasminder?? But, I couldn’t recognise him at the cafe that day.”

“Have you been spying on me??”

“No..I mean yes..but, Sorry. Plz tell me the whole thing.”

“Riya?? How could you?? Anyways, will deal with this later. Jas has always been very open about his preferences. I knew he was looking for a partner. So, I took the opportunity and introduced him to Vihaan. And viola!! They connected. So, Jas threw a party in my honour, that day. If you would have waited a bit longer, you would have seen Vihaan too. But you had to have everything your way. How could you Riya?? How could you??”

“I’m sorry. You smiled that day..and that smile was so, like the smile, when we used to date. I got confused. And the messengers…oh!! I’m so sorry Samir. Please forgive me.”

“On one condition..Next time, if you are in doubt, ask me immediately. Don’t wait for the problem to brew in your head.”

“There won’t be a next time Samir.”

A few weeks later.

“So, are you still missing something in your life?? The thrill??”

“I had the thrill of my life. Believe me, I’m feeling blessed to have you. My life is all good. Don’t want any more thrills.”

Samir’s phone beeped. He had the same smile, the charming smile….

AND THE THRILL CONTINUES….

The storm…

It was raining like cats and dogs. The sound of the thundering shuddered every nerve of her body, wreaking havoc, to her thoughts.

It was one such storm, some seven years back, which swallowed everything, she ever had. Every time a lightening streaked through the sky, she would hold her womb, tight. But this time, she wouldn’t give in, without a nasty fight.

She could sense the storm long before it made its appearance. And she was ready this time. She held to her womb, as the wind screeched through her neighborhood. She thought of it as a hungry monster, scavenging through the place, in search of an easy prey.

Suddenly, there was pin drop silence. Just like, it was seven years ago. The storm was gathering strength to ruin her life, like before.

A tin sheet blew and fell an inch from her door. The lantern wick was about to die. She shielded it, like her last hope. The wick gained strength, but so did the storm.

Her roof wouldn’t hold for long, neither was her walls, that strong. Fear was overpowering her strength, as she cuddled her womb once again.

Pangs of hunger kicked her, as she pushed the heavy trunk to guard the feeble door.

The storm ravaged through her village, devouring many on its way. The roof above her head, was on the verge of blowing away. She prayed, she chanted, all the hymns that she had ever known.

Suddenly, there was a knock on her door, at this ungodly hour. Her heart skipped a beat. She looked at the sickle, with a heavy sigh.

“Open the door..Or I will break in…” said a familiar voice with a creepy, devilish smile.

No, this time, she won’t help the storm devour her. With the sickle in her hand, she was waiting for the storm to break her door.

Seven years ago, the storm has swallowed her, and her unborn child, but this time, she was no longer naive.

The knock became prominent, so did her struggle, to keep the door shut.

Finally, a lightning struck, so strong and so bright. It shook her bones, shattered her nerves.The sickle fell on the floor. Her hands trembled, but the knocking was heard no more..

Beads of sweats kept rolling, befriending the tears on its way. The storm has passed, for the day.

She caressed her womb, expecting it to kick back. But her unborn child was murdered by the storm, some, seven years back.

The morning brought calm, as the sun penetrated through the holes crafted by the storm, on the roof.

The whispers near her door, soon transformed into yell and shrieks. Seeing the lightening struck Sarpanch and his bottle, lying dead, was a huge relief.

While many mourned in grief, few secretly rejoiced the death of the bloody creep.

The devourer was finally devoured!!

And then she eloped…

That was no ordinary night. That was her wedding night and she had made a masterplan to elope. 

“Are you crazy? How can you elope on your wedding night?” Her bosom friend almost collapsed asking her.

But, with a grin on her face, she got up from the bed, caressing the vermillion lehenga. 

“What will your parents do, once they find out? They will have the face the wrath of the whole society. And whom are you planning to elope with?? You…you, don’t even have a boyfriend. Or do you have a secret one??” 

“Yup…I’m planning to elope with my life…Hey!! Wouldn’t this legenga look damn good on me?? The color, suits…..”

“Simran, you are crazy?” 

“I am. I truly am. Believe me, I’m not a marriage material. I don’t want to marry. But, I do love this ‘dressing up as a bride’ thing. Oh! The lehenga, the jewelleries, the make-up, these are all so enticing. I want all this, but not the wedding.”

“And what about Raghav?? He will be devastated, if you leave him at the wedding.”

“Hmm…I do like him. I would have ended up marrying him, someday. But not today. He is a perfect husband material.” 

“Then, why do you want to run away?? And if this has been your eternal plan, then, why not just talk about this, with your parents?”

“Talk with them?? Pagal kutte ne nahi kaata!! They will kill me, if I decide not to marry. So, it’s better for me to just elope/run away, whatever!!”

“Whatever?? How can you be casual?? What about your parents, maan, samaan, izzat, pride, prestige…..”

“Aaaaa….hold on girl..I don’t need so many synonyms to understand what you are trying to suggest. They won’t listen Saniya. They won’t. Do you think, I’m so cunning not to understand their situation?? I understand. But they don’t. They never would.”

“Then why?”

“Hmmm…call me crazy. I like Raghav. But I really don’t don’t him or understand him that well. AND I don’t like his mum. She is as cunning as one can be. She wants a doting bahu, which I cannot be even if I take re-birth. She can never let her son go. I want a husband, not a mamma’s boy. I want to live my life, and marriage is not the only way to live ones life.”

“And how are you so sure that he’s a mama’s boy?? He might be different.”

“Huh!! I know. I simply know. I want to live my life on my terms. And that won’t be possible if I get married to him. If I get married today, I would end up unhappy. And that’s not the way I see myself.”

“Most women are. But still people get married. Most parents know, and yet they get their daughters married. That’s been going on for centuries. No one can change that.”

“I’m not that ‘no one’. I’m someone. Someone very special. I cannot adjust to the life that my parents want me to live.” She replied, as she locked her suitcase.

“I’m going away. I don’t want to take the blame. They are gonna charge me, once they find, that you have eloped.”

“And they will keep searching for the boy, I ran off with.” She bursts into laughter.

Saniya leaves.

Simran wore them vermillion lehenga. She looked ravishing..Admired herself, in front of the mirror.

Her mom entered. 

“Mom, how am I looking??”

“Looking like, you are ready to run away.”

With shock in her eyes, “Maa…??”

“It’s in your blood, my dear. I had planned for the same, on the day of my wedding. But, I couldn’t. I was not that strong. But, I really wish, you could.”

“Maa!!!” Her eyes welled up, as she hugged her.

“Just don’t look back. If you look back once, you won’t be able to run away.”

“Maa, how will you manage?? Everyone will blame you.”

“No, no one will..just wait a minute.”

Mrs. Sharma, left the room. And she came back with a suitcase in her hand.

“Because, I will elope with you. I’m tired of the thankless unappreciated sacrifices, I have made. And I don’t want the same for you. Every time, I look at my wasted degrees, I feel sorry. I don’t want you to feel the same. I was weak. I’m still weak. I still don’t have the courage the face them. But, you are my strength. I can’t let the world treat you, the way, they have treated me. I want your presence to be felt.” 

They walked down the stairs, with a suitcase in one hand. Her father, looked at her, from a distance. She waved him goodbye. 

“Going to the parlour to get ready??” Enquired an acquaintance.

“Yes, she is going to get ready for her new life.” Replied her mom.

**********************

On Simran’s bed, there was a note.

“Sorry papa, for once, mumma and me, are going to live our lives, on our terms. I wish you could understand, how it felt, being in a cage. We want freedom. If possible, forgive us!!”

Lockdown; Then and now….

Pandemic!! Believe me..this word looked better in the dictionary than in the newspapers. Never thought, that I could ever be a part of a Pandemic.

But here I am, and so is the whole world, struggling to deal with this unwanted, merciless, uninvited guest.

22nd March, was the day when West Bengal announced lockdown, and soon the entire nation was at a standstill. There was so much confusion, so much misinformation, so much fear and panic, that it took me a while to understand what actually was happening.

Just a week before the lockdown, I had attended a wedding, stayed at a five star, which hosted many foreigners. Thinking about all this, fear gripped me hard, and wouldn’t let me go. Prior to this, I had heard about Covid 19, but never thought it would be knocking at my door. A fear gripped me. I was dead scared. May be I’m infected or my family is. And it was followed by few sleepless nights, lots of panic and lots of Google.

Every time I went to buy essentials, I felt that strange fear gripping me. To be very honest, it still does , but it’s intensity has reduced over the last few months.

May be, we have just gotten used to this pandemic. Fear for the safety of the near and dear ones, has always been there and it will be there, till our last breath. Only thing is that, right now, it’s at its peak due to so much uncertainty.

But, life goes on. It has to go on. We have to go out, we have to work, earn our living, eat, sleep, stay calm, stay happy, stay safe…and most importantly survive and help others. Panic will just worsen the situation.

What started in Wuhan, spread to the rest of the world. Entered India, then our own state, finally our City, then our neighborhood, and then few distant family members.

It’s spreading…spreading like wild fire…devouring everyone that’s coming it’s way. But, definitely there’s a way out. We can stay safe. Follow the necessary protocols very strictly, maintain hygiene, stay healthy and most importantly, become a responsible citizen.

Covid 19, has given me lots of sleepless nights, had made me worry like hell, had even made me cry, thinking about my son, my better half, my parents, friends and the world as a whole..

But with time, I have learnt to deal with it. I have learnt to control my fear, my anxiety, the stress. Uncertainties still remain..But, that’s life. Isn’t it??

Surviving a pandemic is not a joke. But history suggests that we have survived through many and we will do so, once again.

Be responsible!! Act responsibly!! Be there for someone in need. Don’t panic, try easing the stress of people around you. Be positive and spread positivity.

This too shall pass!!!

Standstill…

Everyday, I wait for the night to bloom,

Exhausted, withered, I drag myself out of the room,

Hitched to the pages, till my eyes can no longer zoom,

Delaying…….the whole process of going to the bedroom..

I don’t want to fall asleep, cause I will wake up to the same day, once again…

Oh!! God!!! Just for once, please break the chain…

Dull as a cloud…that’s the way, life is, as off now…

Dooms not far away if we fail to choose the right and take a vow…

But, amidst all this, there’s a beacon so bright,

he wakes up every morning and hugs me tight..

Mumma!! Mumma!! Mumma!! Is all that I can hear…

A voice so sweet, so naughty, so happy, yet to so difficult to bear!!!

And within an hour of his waking, I yearn for the night to bloom,

When I can drown myself, into the pages, till my eyes can no longer zoom…

Reminisce….

The corridors must be still echoing with the laughter that made the souls, dance….

The canteen, must be still bustling with chronicles of friendship, romance and about a second chance….

Those whispers, must be still rejuvenating the arduous lectures…

The endless notes, must be still followed by the riveting, tic-tac-toes….

The puerile disagreements, must still be jittery….

The coffee cups and fries, must be still warm and comforting…

College life…bygone….but friendship will never fail to exclaim, “I’ll be there, for you.”

Did the lockdown give you rough, dry hands?? Try this.

Lockdown has transformed me into a totally new person. And has somehow brought out many of my hidden talents. (Sshhh- Not being a perfectionist, sometimes helps).

So the new transformed me, has become a champion chef(My husband has already aspired to open a restaurant), a barber( Jawed Habib, look out for me), a maid (maid of honour), and what not.

But, no matter how high our aspirations are, at the end of day, there’s sink full of dirty dishes. And then after a while of fulfilling all the unwanted dreams, we are left with rough, dry, itchy, scaling hands.

If your hands are yelping for help, then try out the following tips.

1. Put your husband on dish washing duty(if you can). That’s probably gonna save you from all the trouble. This trick did wonders for me.

And if you cannot, then follow the following tips religiously.

I know it’s tough, as we don’t have time, but you have to make time, to keeping your hands safe.

1. Moisturise your hands whenever you get time. Especially in the night. Apply a generous amount of moisturiser and massage for 5-10 minutes, before going to sleep.

2. Apply a thick layer of moisturiser(one with Shea butter really works well) prior doing the dishes. The impact of the dish washing bar will definitely be less.

3. After you are done doing the dishes, moisturise again.

4. Avoid using any kind of petroleum jelly. It will only worsen your problem. It may give you an instant relief but definitely not good in the long run (Covid 19 is there to stay).

5. If you are comfortable then use a good quality gloves while doing the dishes.

6. Share the load. Let a family member help you with the dishes on alternate days.

7. And most importantly, don’t just read the tips and forget them, try to apply them daily, to save your hands. It’s just a matter of few minutes.

8. In case, the situation worsens, contact a doctor.

The tips I have given is not out of this world. I guess, we all know it. But what actually matters, is it’s application. How many of us are actually making time to heal those rough, dry hands?? Point to ponder, isn’t it??

The Durga..The Kali…The Laxmi…The Saraswati…

You judged me, for the length of my skirt,

You shamed me, when my belly bulged out.

You challenged me, for the paycheck, I deserved.

You rejected me, as my color couldn’t sparkle your world.

You ridiculed me, for my freedom of expression.

You traumatised me, for not bearing a son,

You murdered me, before I was born.

Yet…

You worshiped the dark Kali,

You glorified the warrior Durga,

You prayed for more Lakshmi,

And strived for Saraswati,

Still, you obstinately believed, that I wasn’t enough.

All the prejudiced and bigoted remarks,

strengthened the women and she declared, “I am enough.”

Que sera sera….

While staring at a sink full of dirty dishes, I closed my eyes and thought about why the hell do I have to do the dishes?

Can’t they get cleaned, all by themselves?

Exasperated and exhausted, I left them in the sink and jumped on the counter, to take a seat.

Needed a moment to chill, before starting with this tediously hopeless ordeal.

With my eyes closed, I soon dozed off into a world full of surreal dreams…

When, suddenly, all of a sudden…

The scrubber came to life, and so did the dishes.

The frying pan jumped around, passing flying kisses.

The cups stole away my heart, doing the tango,

As spoons played the bowls, like a bongo.

The skillets got lost in a Scottish reel,

The knives and the forks took to their heels.

The ladle and the masher joined in for a sweet ballet,

The cooker took to the floor without further delay.

They danced and pranced, all around the sink,

While the glasses poured everyone, some refreshing drinks.

In all this jig, the crockeries shrieked,

Scared of their lives, they totally freaked.

One fell down, to wake me up, from my dream,

I jumped off the counter, with a loud scream.

Cursing myself, for falling asleep.

The water had overflown, I had drowned my kitchen,

I cried, I cried, for everybody to listen.

My vehement cries had alarmed the rest,

They came to rescue me, from my tiresome quest.

Finally, as the cleaned dishes, quietly nestled,

My better half, came with a cuppa, to make me feel special.

Later, that night, I caught a dish, winking at me,

I said to myself, Que sera sera, what will be, will be…

P.S. I know the times are tough, but we can surpass all this with a little bit of help from the others. Stay home!! Stay safe!!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Momspresso.com. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and Momspresso does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

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