This is what I've got!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ashes

You choke me with your words,
I am searching for my voice.
You thrash me with your hostility,
I am writhing in pain.
You blind me with your vision,
I am staggering in the dark.
You crush me from within,
I am reduced to dust.
And then you set me ablaze,
I am burnt to ashes.
But from those very ashes,
I rise, a phoenix, born again.

*This is me trying to take a 26-day challenge. Back after a long time, so my  style is a but rusty.*

Monday, July 21, 2014

Marks

The wooden table top was covered in ink. Words called out to her, begging to be noticed. In the final moments of the exam hour, with the idle silence egging her on, she obliged.

There had been people here, before her. People who had left something behind.

Letters strewn across. Marks.

There was something about those careless scribblings that amused her. There were song lyrics, there were names, there were science and math formulas.

She imagined people sitting around in groups, surrounded by moments transforming into memories. Some bitter, some sweet. She pictured students, fingers curling in frustration, desperate to scrape through the infinite list of examinations and tests. She saw them smile with unspoken gratitude for the inked pointers. She saw the jubilant faces, glowing with the triumph of having declared the slogan of their life to the rest of the world, slogans etched in wood. She smiled as she read the names, together in print. How many of those names still remained together, she'd never find out. How many of those bonds had slowly faded away, like these words soon would, she'd never know.

The crude drawings, the random array of letters, to someone somewhere, held meanings. And now, she felt connected to all those unknown people, in one of the most subtle manifestations of the word.

As the moments stretched before her, she felt herself becoming a part of it all, a part of the grand scheme of things.
She was not the first one here, nor will she be the last. But nonetheless, she still had a part to play. She still had a mark to leave.

On the wooden table.

On the only Earth.

She bent down and left her mark.

"I was here", she wrote.



Monday, February 10, 2014

The Reflection

Wherever he turned, he found the same reflections staring back at him.

Inside the mirror maze, there was nowhere to run.

Every turn brought him face to face with another reflection. Another dead end.

There were voices around him, fading away with every passing minute.

What if daddy never found him? What if he was left alone?

A thousand questions buzzed inside his head.

No answers came to him, no reassurances. Just a hammering heart and sweaty palms.

The lights began to flicker. His stomach coiled in terror.

Surely, they wouldn’t leave him alone here. Surely, daddy would find him.

The lights kept flickering. He searched around him, groping in semidarkness for the familiar fabric of daddy’s jacket.

He found nothing. Only reflections. Eyes and pale faces staring back at him. All around him, no matter where he looked.
Slowly, the reflections – the eyes, the pale faces- were closing in on him, suffocating him.

His knees buckled, his breathing ragged.
The lights flickered one last time.
And then..blackness.

*********

“Frightened probably..medication..post traumatic hallucination..psychological stress..counselling maybe..”
He caught bits of their conversation as he resurfaced from the void of unconsciousness.

The words made no sense to him. Besides, he was too tired to bother.
The sterile scent of hospital air was thick around him. He sat up, facing the polished glass window of the dingy hospital room.

A chill ran through his spine. His pulse quickened.
The eyes!

The same pale face. As pale as a spectre. A reflection.
He heard himself scream, as if from another dimension.
And then..blackness.


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


Doctors.  They told him hope is the best medicine.

They held endless discourses, urging him to discover his inner self and face his fears.
What are they talking about, he often thought to himself. They never seemed to understand that with every growing moment, the fear had grown with him. Into him.

The fear was him. He was the fear.


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

The rain left him drenched to the core.

But there was something about the sound of splashing rain that set him free. He kept walking on the wet pavement, rubbing his hands together to warm his numb fingers.

The street was full of rainwater pools, scattered like silver polka dots on a dark grey fabric.

His phone beeped. Must be another one of dad's anxious texts. Dad was always worried, always trying to help. Only he knew that his situation was beyond any help.

A quite sigh escaped his lips as he took out the phone from his pocket. Along with the phone, came a coin that landed near his feet with a cling. He bent down to pick it up. His gaze slipped to a nearby pool.

Too late. The eyes, they had found him once again. The face, it was as pale as ever.

Every cell in his body screamed. Silently. Agonizingly.

His legs felt like columns of lead, refusing to move as he willed them to. His teeth were clenched with the effort.

A gust of cold wind blew across the street. His blood turned to ice in his veins.
And then..blackness.

***********


Years of counselling.
Years of changing medication.

Yet, on every reflective surface, he saw the same pair of eyes. The same pale face, as pale as a spectre. In that moment of indefinite terror, he would become the same little boy once again, terrified and alone in a maze of reflections.



********

“Come closer..do you feel my heartbeat?”
Her face was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Their faces were close enough to be breathing the same air.
Her touch, it made him feel complete.
“It says..’I want you’..”, she whispered. Her breath tickled his ears.

Yes, maybe all wasn’t lost yet. Maybe he would find happiness in her arms.
His fingers brushed against her lips. His eyes found hers. Their gazes locked.

In that moment, reflected in her hazel eyes, he saw it again.

Closer than ever.

The same pale face, as pale as a spectre.
Quickening pulse. A scream.
And then..blackness.




This story is an attempt to explore the mind of a person suffering from Eisoptrophobia, the fear of one's own reflection. The reflections are of many kinds, but the reaction never changes.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Warrior



A blood curdling scream pierced the silent night.

Aafiya sat up on her bed, her heart ramming against her chest. Was it Shonaya? Or Mumtaz?  It could be anyone of the neighbours, she thought.

Parting the curtain just a few millimetres, Aafiya looked out through the only window in the house.

In the pale moon light, she saw some dark figures dragging a body from Shonaya’s house.

The masked men were back.

Like the whimpering of a lamb right before it was sacrificed for the greater good, Aafiya heard a sound from her best friend.

Shonaya..Shonaya had been taken. Tomorrow they will come for me, she realised.

This had been going on ever since the neighbouring nation had proclaimed war on Aafiya’s home land. Torturing the villagers had become a source of pleasure and entertainment for the enemy men.
The women had to walk in groups of ten or twenty to the village well to fetch water. Even then, the ones on the periphery of the group were harassed. Their dupattas were tossed into the air. They were exposed. Their men were killed in the open air. Their children were kidnapped and sold as slaves.  And at night..at night it was the woman’s turn to succumb to the will of the masked men. Once their lust was quenched, a gunshot. Only broken bangles remained to prove of the existence of countless helpless women.

Aafiya thought of her children, sleeping, unaware of a world that was falling apart.

Reminiscence, she realised, was like the mellow rays of the setting sun. They fall tenderly, yet sadly, on hearts.

Aafiya felt like her heart might explode with joy. Motherhood had transformed her. The moment she had felt a life pulse in her womb, things had changed. Suddenly, her existence had acquired a deeper meaning.
Aamir  was overjoyed when the girls were born. “Twins, Aafiya, two little princesses..”, he had exclaimed, stroking Aafiya’s hair. That day, in his strong arms, she had experienced contentment.

Alas, the sun had set. The golden glow had given way to darkness.
But Aafiya had fought the darkness with every ounce of her remaining strength. Slowly, she had learned to weave beautiful tapestries out of the rag her life had become. She had held on, for the sake of her children. She would sacrifice herself without a second thought, if it would help her little girls to have a better life.
But no, the string had been cut. Now the kite was fluttering away, out of reach.

A copper wrist band, that was all the villagers could find. It was covered in blood,  caked with dust.
A single word was etched on it – Aamir.
Maybe they saw a threat in his unfaltering gaze. Or maybe it was just their idea of fun.
Aamir was never coming back, that's all Aafiya knew.

Somewhere deep within her mind, fire broke the ice. Suddenly, the fire was everywhere. Scorching her insides, stinging her eyes.

Aafiya – she who is untouched by grief.

The irony was like a slap on her face.

She had to escape. She had to protect her children. She had to save them from a childhood of gunshots and severed limbs on the streets. She had to wash away the blood stains from their minds.

Grabbing the little money she had hidden in her pillow case, with a make-shift baby-carrier slung around her shoulders, Aafiya stepped into the night. A kitchen knife would be her weapon of survival.

Aafiya walked on, her pace quickening with every step.

With her heart beating in her throat, she reached the outskirts of the village.

She could see the highway. There, protected by high walls, she could see the monastery.

The monastery would be her sanctuary. The enemy men were worshippers, they always left the monastery alone.

She looked around. The absence of pursuers bothered her. Surely, they wouldn’t leave the borders unguarded.

Jaan, thought you could fool mighty men?”, a voice called from behind.

Aafiya felt a hand grip her shoulder. “The night is cold. Want to step in somewhere warm with me?”, the man laughed with glee.

Aafiya strained her ears for more sounds. No, there weren’t any others. Just one man. The others would catch up soon. She didnt have much time.

Her hand tightened around the knife handle.

With the element of surprise to help her and  just reminiscence to fuel her, Aafiya turned the stuck the knife into the man’s eye.  No, she would not kill to save her life. Aafiya valued intergrity, not vengeance.

The man fell to the ground, writhing in agony.

And Aafiya ran.

She ran for her life. She ran for a better future for her kids. She ran for freedom.

Like innumerable others spread across the pages of history, on a starry night in a dark alleyway, fighting for survival, Aafiya became a warrior. A warrior who will never receive garlands and words of praise, but never-the-less, a warrior.




Saturday, July 6, 2013

I am Torn

 I am torn
Between words that draw me
To what’s beyond the horizons
And logic that tells me
Horizon is just a trick of light.

I am torn
Between emotions that surge,
 gush through my blood.
And logic that tells me
Its just hormonal action.

I am torn
Between love that binds me,
Keeping me alive and sound
And logic that tells me,
Food, water ‘n air do that.

I am torn
Between tears of grief,
Of heart-break and loneliness
And logic that tells me
Its just aqueous NaCl.

I am torn
Between the fire of imagination,
Dancing before my eyes,
And logic that tells me
Fire can only heat and burn.



Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fear


Fear. It is like a serpent,
Grasping, crushing and choking me.
Its fangs burn through my will,
Poisoning the fiber of my existence.

Fear. It leaves scars,
Scars that time might never heal.
Scars that hold me back,
Thoughts that dampen and diminish.

Fear. It changes everything.
It steals what was once mine.
I am left with nothing, as
What is left shall never be mine.

Fear. I try to break out,
Out of its abyss, out of nothingness.
Only too late do I realize,
Everything inside me is broken.






Sunday, February 10, 2013

Washed Away


Sunitha’s tears were heavier than the rain outside.

Rain..it brought back memories.

Memories she was trying hard to forget.

***
“Amy! Get inside, will you?”, Sunitha shouted over the splatter of rain. “You’ll catch a cold.”
But Amy wasn’t ready to get inside. Drenched to the core, she felt excited and unstoppable.

“Amy love rain..rain..Amy happy!”, she told her mother with a giggle.

Sunitha could not help but smile. Amy’s face..red with excitement..her happiness..it all filled Sunitha’s mind with warmth.

Her daughter was 15 and mentally retarded. But for Sunitha, she was the world.

“Sunitha..where’s Amy?”, Rajeev had come out of the house looking for his daughter.

Outside, he found his daughter drenched in the rain and his wife drenched in affection.

As soon as she spotted him, Amy ran to her dad. The father and daughter were inseparable. And Sunitha liked it that way.

****

The memory brought a curl to Sunitha’s lips. But there were more..memories hit her like cold wind.

****

“Here they come with the mad girl!”, people would talk behind their backs. But nothing could dampen Rajeev’s and Sunitha’s spirits.

They were determined to give Amy a normal life, as much as possible.

Having mental retardation wasn't a sin, after-all.

Amy could do all her activities alone. Only when it came to academics and controlling emotions, she was slow.

But as far as Sunitha and Rajeev were considered, Amy was the perfect daughter.

Because Amy was capable of loving innocently, unlike the neighbour’s “perfect” kid. She loved even the people who called her mad.

Amy’s mind was pure. And as far as Sunitha and Rajeev were considered, that was enough.


****

“Why hasn’t Amy returned from school yet?”, Sunitha couldn’t suppress her worry anymore.

Afterall, it was her idea to let Amy return home alone after school. It was her desperate attempt to show the world that Amy was capable of living independently.  And it had been going fine for a week now.

But now, it was 5 pm and Amy wasn’t home yet.

With a pounding chest, Sunitha dialed Rajeev’s number.


****

They searched every nook and corner.

They searched the school area, they searched every road.

They searched the city, they searched the neighbourhood.

8 pm. 9 pm. 10 pm. 11 pm.

Amy was nowhere to be seen.

At midnight, when it started raining, Rajeev got a call from the police.

Their daughter was found. But not how they had expected.


****


They pushed through the crowd to find their daughter lying cold and motionless on the ground.

Her clothes were torn.

Her curly hair was tangled.

The midnight rain washed away the dirt from Amy’s face.

But it could not wash the hopelessness that had surrounded her parents’ life.

It could not wash away the monster called grief.

It could not wash away their tears.

Above all, it could not wash away the memories of an innocent girl called Amy, who had every right to live.




                                                                                

Monday, December 31, 2012

Darkness



*Written during the District Level Eng Versification contest*

Searching for a light,
Plunged in silence so loud,
Darkness is what I find,
No matter where I look.
The darkness is profound
In every venomous fang,
Drooling with dark lust,
Biting into feminity.
The darkness is evident
In every blood stained hand,
Always in search of something
To be looted and consumed.
The darkness is definite
In the ever-hungry eyes
That see the figures on cheques,
But not figures writhing in pain.
The darkness is growing
In every straying mind
Thinking ‘I’ before ‘we’,
Always ‘me’ before ‘they’.
The darkness is ready to pounce
On every clueless soul
To corrupt it until its crippled
To choke it until its dead.
Only if I knew how,
I would tear away the dark veil
For, now the darkness is darker
Darker than it has ever been.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Second Chance



Even though they say I’m dead, I am not able to accept it.

Mainly because I don’t feel dead. My senses are sharp as ever.

No pain. No golden light. No hell fire. No angels. No ‘getting-sucked-into-oblivion’ business. And still they say I’m dead!

The more I try not to think about it, the more it keeps popping in my mind – the look on my daughter’s face this morning. She had come to my room with the usual bed coffee, to find her father lying cold and motionless on the bed. I wanted to console her, tell her I was fine. But my body refused to obey my orders.

I can see her now – sitting across the room, her eyes red with crying. She looks so fragile. I wish I had been more kind to her. I wish I had truly expressed my love.

During the divorce, I fought hard for her custody. At that time, it was the most I could do to wound my wife. But once the goal was achieved, what did I do? Stay away from her as much as possible just because her face and habits reminded me of her mother’s. But now, I wish I had been more considerate.

From where they have laid my body, I can see up to the front gate.

I am amazed as I see a familiar woman walk up the front steps. I am more amazed when I see the tears sparkling in her eyes - the same way they did when our names were spoken together for the last time, in the court.

I realize how much I missed her. I realize I was wrong about her, all along.

I wonder how she can still cry for my loss. I wonder if I would've done the same, if she was the one draped in white.

I wonder what went wrong. And now, the answer seems obvious – it was me. I went wrong.

My priorities were not what they should have been.

I ran behind the wrong things, and lost what was right.

Money, fame, power, luxury – I have ‘em all. But I find a hollow space in my heart, where happiness should have been.

Emotions and relations – I dealt with them like a businessman.

I see my daughter hugging her mother. They have the same amber eyes, now brimming with tears.

I wish I could stand beside them, with my hand around their shoulders – being the beloved man I never was.

I wish I had seen earlier, what I can see now – happiness comes from little things in life.

People raise me from the floor and I hear my beloveds crying harder.

People set me down in the earth, in a freshly dug pit.

As  they shovel dirt over me, I have one desperate wish – a second chance in life is all that I need.



 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Down The Memory Lane

Going down the memory lane,
It all gushes back.
The books tucked behind the shelves,
Hidden, saved from the accusing eyes.
The hours spent with the dishes,
A spoon in hand. No pen.
The wolfish stares of a hundred men.
The hands of society, always holding back.
The chains I fought so hard to break,
Changing shapes with changing time-
The father, the husband and now the son.
The tears – bitter, but never ever weak.
The battles fought for a good chance in life.
The walls, the hurdles, big and small.
But down the memory lane,
Some things do not change –
The smile that does not waver,
The hands that do not shake,
The spirit that cannot be dampened,
The soul that will not be crushed.
Then, now and tomorrow, my voice remains,
I am a woman and proud to be.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hanna's Awful Day


Hanna’s jaw almost touched the floor.

Seriously, she felt like she had entered an alien world – somewhere far away from this Earth.

Firstly, there were these overwhelming scents – some sickeningly sweet, others mild and tempting. But when they rushed up her nose altogether, she felt like her insides were burning.

Actually, it’s all mother’s fault. How could she bring an 8 year old innocent girl into this awful place? What did she call it..a salon? Ugh! It’s not like Hanna cared.

Even if you try to ignore the fact that you could smell everything from roses to papayas in one breath (which she most definitely could not ignore), the place was still dumb. And Hanna had her reasons to say so.

She had turned right and frightened to death by a lady who had something like an Opera House built out of her hair.  “That's quite a nice set of rollers you’ve got there!”, another woman was telling her. Personally, Hanna disagreed. But she didn’t dare say that aloud. God forbid, what if they rolled her hair into a Taj Mahal or something? No no!

When she turned left, she saw some – women? Or were they BTs or ETs or whatever-you-call-people-with-green-mucky-skin? Then she saw something even more disgusting - bowls and bowls of  green goo were kept on stools. Some ladies, wearing something like mom’s cooking apron, were actually APPLYING this on those women’s skin. Eeeeew! God forbid, what if these appliers did it to little clueless girls too?? No no!

Forget smells. Forget the crazy hair-do. Forget even the green goo.

But the place had a torture chamber! Yes, you got it right – a torture chamber!

Hanna didn’t believe it at first. But surely, she didn’t just imagine those  “aaarggh”s n “ouch”s. There was a chamber separated from the main room by a pair of thick  curtains. From the sounds coming from within, Hanna could imagine the horrors awaiting beyond those curtains. She saw a woman carrying some hot liquid inside. But she didn’t dare stick around or talk to that woman. God forbid, what if a pair of hands caught hold of her frock and pulled her in? No no!

There were machines that puffed smoke.

There were plastic orbs that descended from the ceiling and engulfed women’s heads.

There were an assortment of scissors and other pointed steel weapons.

I ask you, is this the kind of place for a cute little innocent clueless helpless girl? Is it?



                                                  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Moving Out

She stared around her room, wondering where to start from. 2 cup-boards,  2 book shelves, a table – she had to sort out the stuff inside all these before they moved into the new apartment.

She decided to tackle the biggest challenge first - the cup-board. 

She pulled all the clothes down onto the floor and picked up one by one, folded them and started organising them into cartons. 

She dreaded any kind of arranging and cleaning. Just a waste of time! But this time she agreed on packing her stuff cuz she didn’t trust anybody else with her personal things. She liked her privacy.

Deep inside her mind, she felt miserable. And it had nothing to do with packing. She felt miserable because she was leaving this place – her room, her home – soon. 

Well, she thought, no point in getting all teary-eyed now. Better concentrate on the work at hand. That's when she noticed what she was holding – her favourite black n red tank top. She had worn the very same top during her IT Quiz finals. And during many other quiz competitions, so to speak. It was her lucky charm. She was unbeatable if she had it on. And she remembered mom’s orders – “ throw away anything that’s old and used up. Take only necessary items into the new apartment”. Yes, the thing was obviously old. But how could she throw away her lucky charm?

She decided to tuck it into some corner of the carton and continued her “sorting-out” job. She came across the red skirt she had worn when she met him for the first time. And there was the purple pull-on, a gift from grand dad just 2 weeks before he died. And the black shrug – the tantrums she had throw to get her hands on that last  year! And her denim jacket, she thought she had lost it. The more garments she pulled out, more special moments and memories flashed in her mind. Never ever in her life did she think that folding clothes could get this emotional!

Enough is enough. 

She moved on to her book shelves. The real nightmare, she knew, were the stacks of paper “adorning” a whole shelf. Carefully, she lifted a stack onto her lap and examined the papers one by one. Most were just rubbish, stuff that had accumulated just because she was too lazy to carry them into the garbage bag outdoors. Still, in many of the stacks there were things that caught her attention. 

Like the notes she and her friends had passed  back and forth during classes. She remembered with a laugh the times they had been caught in the act.

Then there were her revision notes which comprised mostly of names of singers and authors or her favourite book quotes rather than what she was actually supposed to revise. 

There were friendship cards and birthday cards given by her friends. There were dozens of maps and outlines and she remembered her horrifying map-drawing assignments with a smile. There were incomplete projects, picture charts, question papers, answer sheets, impositions sheets and song lyrics. And each of them had a story of its own.

She picked up books and started piling them in cartons. There were books she had forgotten about. She was surprised that she had actually read some of those kids stuff. She saw the GK books that had saved her throughout her quizzing.  And then, there were the classics – she always took the longest time to read those. Many of them were gifts from her friends and family, and she remembered the numerous occasions. Definitely, she was NOT going to leave even a single book behind. She could not resist the urge to flip through their pages and skim through some of them. In her mind, she saw her transition from a little girl who loved Goldilocks and The Three Bears to the young woman who enjoyed A Thousand Splendid Suns. She had come a long way..

On the table, there were her school books. And they were arranged neatly. Ofcoz, she wasn’t surprised. Only things that were used got disarranged. 

After keeping the last book into the carton, she stood back and gazed around. 


The shelves were bare, the cupboards were empty and her table and bed didn’t have the usual litter on it.

It dawned on her that she would never walk around this room again, mugging on the eve of exams.

She realised that she would never have a pillow fight with her brother on this bed again.

She realised that she wouldn’t dance around in this room again, singing her favourite songs.

She realised that she would never look
in the mirror on the wall again and curse her pimples or exclaim her long lashes.

She realised that she would never again be able to stand in the balcony and cry after a fight with her parents. 
Her safe haven did not belong to her anymore.
                  
With a single tear running down her cheek, she realised that she hadn’t only packed up her things, but she had relived those unique and special moments in her life. She had gone on an emotional roller-coaster ride of memories.

She knew that she wasn't just leaving her old home. She was leaving a big and irreplaceable part of her life.

Yes, she will miss this place badly.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Best Friends

How dare she! Seriously, what does she think of herself?

She calls herself my best friend and keeps stuff from me? And her dumb excuses – “I forgot..”, “I didn’t have time..”. Blah blah blah.

How much longer does she expect me to adjust with her odd ways?

I stand through her crying and mood swings. I stand through all her tantrums and short temper. In return, she “forgets” to tell me about her conversation with her crush.

She is such an airhead.

I think what my mom says is right. She is just JEALOUS. Yup, my best friend is jealous of me. She envies me. Yup yup yup. Otherwise why would she behave in all these crazy ways?

I think she thinks that he thinks I’m better than her. Why else would she avoid – deliberately avoid-  conversations about their last meeting? Definitely not how best friends should behave.

Wait until I get to school. I’ll show her where she belongs. I’m honestly done with this adjustment.
My school bus comes and I get in. Others stare at me because I have a VERY angry face right now. Ofcoz I do! Today I’m gonna end my friendship with that silly supposed best friend of mine. I have every right to be angry.

I sit down in my usual seat near  the window. I just hope she comes to school today. I need to get over with this today itself. I cannot bear this tension any longer.

I start constructing some come-back lines for the argument I’m gonna have with her today. She’s such a big drama queen. I cannot afford to stammer for responses.

Finally the bus reaches the school.

I see her standing across the ground, under the tree – our usual meeting place.
She smiles, showing all her 32 teeth. Oh no, not 32. Teenagers have only 28. But that's NOT the point!

Her smile is so sickening.

I scowl at her. I’m scowling hard as I cross the ground.

She is running towards me. Why on earth, I don’t know. I repeat my arguments in my head once again. I’m not gonna waste one minute.

I stop walking as she comes nearer.  I close my fists and wait for her to come closer so that I can scream her ears off. Middle of the school playground is a nice place to fight.

And then she shouts – “Federer’s world no.1 AGAIN!!!”.

Uh-oh.

And then I scream.

“Freeeeeaaakkkiiiiinngggggg.......AWESOME.”

And then...we hug.





Saturday, July 28, 2012

Those Days

 Recently, an English versification competition was conducted in my school. The topic was 'Those Days'. So, this is what I came up with during the 2 hrs.


I remember those days
When I was young, full of life.
My beauty and wealth
Mesmerized minds.

I remember those days
When I was the inspiration.
I was wanted and loved.
I was tended and preserved.

I remember those days
Before I greyed,
Before my blood was drained,
Before my wealth was plundered.

Now they suffocate me,
Now they exploit me.
Now they kill their brothers,
And trample me underfoot.

They conquer, they misuse.
They build, they destroy.
And I, Mother Earth,
Still remember those days!



Monday, July 9, 2012

Rules





Big or small, Ryan broke all kinds of rules. He laughed heartily throughout his punishments for rule-breaking.

Little Ryan and Joe were playing in the garden. That's when papa called the boys out for a ride in their old Chevy.
“yippee..Papa, you’re the best!”. Joe was grinning ear to ear.
But Ryan was shaking his head frantically. “No way papa! Don’t both of you remember mama’s rule? Joe and I aren’t supposed to ride in the truck. It’s almost in pieces..”
“Oh man, you’re such a big spoil sport..rules are meant to be broken! And it’s not like we are going for some long drive. It’s just a few blocks to the mines. We’ll walk back..” Joe glared at his brother.
“C’mon Ryan, you know how much I enjoy riding with you guys. I’m sure your mama won’t mind for this once.” Papa’s voice was hopeful. “I’ll buy you ice creams!”
But nothing could convince Ryan to back away from obeying rules. “Rules are rules. I’ll never do ANYTHING against rules. But you guys can go on if you like. I won’t tell mom.”  With that, Ryan stormed into the house.
“Don’t bother about him papa. He’s an idiot. Let’s go..”.  Joe happily climbed into the truck.
Papa’s eyes followed Ryan with anticipation .
Ryan disappeared into the house, leaving nothing but a trail of summer dust.
With a sigh, papa climbed into the driving seat.

Breaking rules filled Ryan’s mind with immense satisfaction and joy. “What's the fun in living your life according to petty rules, but not your own will? Break the rules guys!”, Ryan told everyone.

At night, the city alarms blared.
People, still in their night clothes and eyes red with sleep, poked their head out of every window.
But Ryan didn’t bother. He slept on with his head under the pillow.
After a while, the ringing stopped.

Breaking rules made him feel like he was in charge. His life, his decisions. And these decisions were always outside the line. Rules..bah..they trample your life.

Ryan woke up the next day to find the house crowded.
All kinds of people had gathered there.
Ryan didn’t understand anything. He desperately searched the room for mama and Joe.
They were nowhere to be seen.
He glanced questioningly at the crowd. Nobody seemed to notice that a boy here didn’t know what was going on.
After a while, someone thrust a newspaper into his hand.
The first thing he noticed was papa’s photo. Wow, he thought.
Then he read the news – Accident in Coal Mines. 9 dead.

At the age of 20, he had uncountable police cases for major rule breaking. He considered it to be his biggest achievement.

It had been papa’s last day of life. And Ryan had turned his back on papa for the sake of obeying rules.








Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Enemy


The light from the lone streetlight, entering through the window, cast giant shadows on my bedroom wall.

I curled up under my blanket, staring out into the night.

That’s when I saw him – The Enemy.

I did all I could to gobble the scream that was erupting from my throat.

Suddenly, I felt like all my systems have paralyzed. 

My instincts screamed at me to run out of the room, get out of the house and get help.

But no, how can I appear weak in front of him?

He stared at me with those creepy emotionless eyes.

Drops of perspiration trickled down my face.

I’ve heard that human mind is the fastest traveler. Today, I seemed to prove it as my mind went over the times I had encountered him and ran away screaming. I remember how he would follow me, always faster than me.

No, I didn’t stand a chance if it came to running.

I wanted to shut my eyes and pretend to be asleep. But that wouldn’t do much good. He already knows that I’m awake.

Moreover, I’ll be as silly as the stupid cats who think nobody sees them if their eyes are shut.

No, I WILL NOT appear weak and afraid.

And the past encounters have left me with a strong belief that he can smell my fear.

I looked him directly in the eye. I hope he got the message that I’m braver than he thought.
He made his first move.

He got in through the open window.

In a matter of seconds he’ll attack me.

I had only this matter of seconds to save my life.

I racked my brains for something, anything that would get me out of here in one piece.

Then it hit me.

Yes, the enemy is afraid of light.

I stood up, gathering all my courage.

The first thing in a battle is to NOT turn your back at your enemy. But today I have no choice.

I turned around, reaching for the switchboard.

It funny how I never get what I want when I’m in a hurry. I turned on all the switches.

The tube light and the bulb flickered to life together.

Yes, yes, yes! I did it.

I looked back to see my enemy take off through the window.

I almost cried with relief.

All those years in biology class paid off.

 I was right, cockroaches run away from bright light.



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Big Brother



He was 9 yrs old when she was born.

It was his summer holidays.

The moment he set eyes on the adorable baby, he decided that he would let nothing –absolutely nothing in the world - get in the way of his little cousin sister’s happiness.

He never left her side. He wouldn’t let even a teeny-weeny ant get near her.

Many-a-time, he threw tantrums to sleep in the baby’s room. He dreamt her innocent eyes and toothless grin.

He couldn’t express his happiness. But what really surprised him was that new weird feeling. Was it...responsibility? Well, big brothers were supposed to feel that way, weren’t they?

He couldn’t stop crying the day had to leave her and go back to his parents for the school year.


*******


He saw her again after 3 years, on her 3rd birthday.

He couldn’t suppress his amazement. She could run and talk now!

He played with her, tickled her, pulled her hair. And every time he did, she laughed, laughed and laughed.

One day, she fell down. The sight of her bleeding forehead almost made him cry. The cut was so deep. But no, big brothers console little sisters. They aren’t supposed to cry.

He held her hand while her mother cleaned her wound. He made funny faces to make her laugh, while the doctor stitched her wound.

That day, he promised her that he would protect her for the rest of her life.


********


It was her 13th birthday. She couldn’t control her excitement.

Her big brother was coming today.

She hadn’t seen him for years. Last time they met was 2 yrs ago, during their cousin’s wedding. But all their meetings were so brief and hasty.

Brother was older, so he had really complicated stuff to study in school, and now, in college. That had kept them apart for so long. But today, he was coming to see her, after completing his college education.

She couldn’t contain her happiness.

She remembered all those times when she used to be jealous when she saw girls of her age with their big brothers. But she needn’t worry anymore. From this very day, it was their turn to be jealous.

Like she did every time she thought of her big brother, she ran her hand over the scar on her forehead. She had heard stories from granny about how he had felt worse than her when he saw her wound. Of course she couldn’t remember anything properly. But the stories were enough proof of her brother’s love
.
When the doorbell rang, she ran to the door. She would be the one to receive her brother. 

She imagined his face with a big grin. He would definitely give her a bear hug, for which she would be prepared. And what gift was he going to give her? Most probably something really cool, like a book or an mp3 player.

She almost banged into the door and yanked it open.

There he was, with luggage and all.

She waited for him to cry out with joy. Oh boy, and then she would hug him.

But instead of the “you’ve grown so much!” she was expecting, a “move please” rang in her ears.

She stood aside, stunned, as he walked in with the luggage.

He glanced at her and smiled.

That one smile spoke the unspoken.

She was looking at a stranger.








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