Friday, September 27, 2013


"Mads, come and join us?"
There was a party going on, to celebrate the end of term exams. In honour, one cake was sitting on the table.
"I will! In a bit. Let me just finish reading this book." she called out.
She was sitting on the couch, engrossed in her book. She could always block out noise whenever she wanted to, especially if it was the case of an interesting book.
The book was exciting, and thrilling. She had developed a real love for gory stories lately, much to the distaste of her friends.
"Honestly, another crime novel?"
"This one's better than the other!" she exclaimed.
"It's a defense mechanism." her friend said quietly, but loud enough for her to hear it.
She ignored it, and continued reading. Sameer and his analyzing.
"Well, come before the cake runs out."
"Oh, you know me. I always make it in time for cake." she said brightly.
He looked at her in a strange way. Almost pityingly. As if he could see through the thinly veiled shadow of cheerfulness.
Music blared on, but she was in her own world.
Till one song played.
A song she hadn't heard in a while. She had heard it just once.
It was a song...he had once suggested. She had heard it once obligingly, and then he hummed it occasionally. She hadn't heard it after that one time.
Yet the moment the music started, she recognized it.
As if she listened to it all the time.
The song made her close the book. She felt a sudden weakness, and a need for fresh air. Nina looked at her concerned and said,
"You okay there, Mads?"
"Yeah, am okay."
She felt a little stunned at herself. There was practically nothing in the song, it wasn't meaningful, it had absurd lyrics and strange rapping. It wasn't even a beautiful love song which should upset her so much.
Yet it did.
Her hands shook.
Her eyes seared, and she put the book aside. She could suddenly hear the humming in her head. Memories suddenly surged. Not bad ones, no...good ones, beautiful memories.
Yet it's the best memories of a non-existent time which can ruin a day.
"I don't like this song, thats all." she muttered to Sameer.
He switched off the song immediately. He put on her favourite Lady Gaga song, a song which she refused to admit was her favourite, but everyone knew anyway. She burst out laughing.
The uneasiness went away.
She could breathe easily again.
The moment had passed.
"I think it's because I haven't eaten cake." she said with a little sigh and laughed again.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

All this time.

Ed lay flat on his back on the grass, reliving the coffee disaster again in his head. He knew he was wrong, and now it was too late.
It could have been so different. The conversation would have ended on a better note, and she wouldn’t have left, so hurt and angry.
Ray came and sat next to him and said quietly,
“I’m guessing the coffee idea didn’t work?”
“I…I…was being…” Ed couldn’t complete the sentence.
“You were being you.” Ray said coolly.
“Yes.” Ed said subdued.
“You do realize, this fight has gone on for too long? When are you going to let go of your ego and apologize to her?”
The bitter remembrance flashed back.
“Me! Why should I apologize?” Ed said, trying to convince himself.
“Because she’s spent the last year and a half apologizing and trying to mend things?”
Ed closed his eyes.
The conversation with Liya could have been so different.
He would not have been late, for one. He would have been there before her, waiting with a smile. She would have come in, all soaked from the rain, and he would have laughed and teased her. She would have grimaced at him, and then he would have given her his jacket.
“You’re ruining my good jacket.” He would have said with a smirk.
“Oh god, Ed you’re unbelievable.” She would have said, and given him a punch on the shoulder. He then would have teased her about her short hair.
“I liked your long hair.”
“I never thought you even noticed.” She would say, with her eyes lighting up.
They would order coffee. Oh, no wait. They would have gone to the place which had Liya’s favourite hot chocolate. And she would have slyly put one spoon of sugar in his coffee, without him noticing. And maybe a slice of the blueberry pie.
“I’m just eating a piece now, because I know I won’t get a piece later.”
He suppressed a smile. Seeing her again, had overwhelmed him. He realized how much he had missed her eccentricities, and more importantly her laugh.
“I’m sorry Liya.” He said, with a little break in his voice.
“I’m sorry, too…Ed.”
“Can we just start over?” He said nervously.
She nodded, and smiled.
“Have some coffee. It has ice cream on it.” He said and pushed the glass towards her.
She took it, and he tipped the glass so that her nose was covered with ice cream.
“I’ll kill you, Ed. I swear!” She spluttered.
“The best way to start over.” He laughed, and he took a tissue and wiped her nose.
And then they burst out laughing.
“I’ve missed you so much. You were the best friend, I’ve ever had, Liya.”
“Same, Ed.” She said, with a small smile and patted his hand.
They talked about tiny irrelevant things. But they didn’t care what they talked about. They spoke about colleges, and some strange books, which Liya had been reading. He told Liya about the new music he had been listening to. Then he gave her a keychain, which had her favourite football team’s insignia on it.
And then she would grab the blueberry muffin and finish it before he could get the last piece.
They walked out of the shop, and said bye.
“Everything’s fine now.” She said, before she walked off. She turned around and waved.
He was so trapped in that reverie of her wave, that he had forgotten everything else.
Ray’s voice snapped the illusion.
He was sitting on the grass. And that’s not how the conversation had happened.
“Call her.” Ray said.
Ed nodded. He grabbed the phone, and dialed her number.
“Ed?” Her voice sounded shaky with surprise.
He wanted to say so many things. What should he say? How much he missed her? How sorry he was for everything?
It finally tumbled out in a rush.
“You look very pretty with short hair.”
There was a little laugh on the other end. She understood.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Let them try.

"Lila, come on! It's fun!"
Lila sat resolutely on the sand
"I don't want to." she said trying to smile.
The waves reached the shore, and lapped at her feet.
Katie sighed. Lila could be really impossible.
"Come on. You deserve to be having fun with us, instead of brooding by yourself over here."
"I don't feel like it, Katie. You go ahead." Lila answered quietly. Katie guessed what was on her mind. She saw the effort Lila was putting into the smile.
The other girls screamed in joy as the waves went over them. They hollered again for Katie and Lila to join them.
"I'll be there, in a minute!" called out Katie. She turned to Lila, who was lost in her reveries again.
She sat down next to Lila, and for a while there was a silence except for the crashing of the waves, and the faraway sounds of laughter.
"How long do you want to be like this?" Katie said, finally breaking the silence.
"You go have fun, please Katie. I don't want to ruin to your day. I'm just a little tired today, I suppose." said Lila manufacturing a smile.
"You were tired yesterday as well, which was you didn't come for May's were tired day before and didn't come with us for the film. How long do you want to remain tired?" Katie said gently.
"I don't know...I just don't feel like doing anything anymore." Lila said swallowing hard.
The waves crashed against the shore and tickled the feet.
Katie stayed silent.
"I know that. Makes sense to lose sense of yourself after a bad phase."
"Katie please."
"I am not used to seeing you like this. Where is that optimism and strong faith you always held on to?"
Lila didn't say anything.
A breeze blew gently.
Just then a big wave came and drenched them both. Lila got up and sputtered, as there was salt water in her eyes. Katie couldn't help in doubling up in laughter.
Lila couldn't help it, she laughed too.
It felt so wonderful to laugh again. Had she forgotten to laugh? How could she, with such a wonderful friend beside her, who was spending every day trying to cheer her up in different ways? The best part was that there was no compulsion to laugh this time. There was so much joy in the little things. She wanted to tell Katie what her friendship meant to her. She looked around at Katie, and tried to speak. Then she realized she didn't have to. She knew her expression said it all.
There was that safe feeling of love and security again which had vanished in the gloom of the recent events. The world which had looked so dark and morbid before, suddenly seemed radiant and beautiful, like a rose slipping out of a sheath.
Lila walked towards the water, enjoying the cool water beneath her feet. She picked up a brightly coloured seashell and threw it to Katie, to catch. "That will complete the anklet you were making!" she said cheerily.
 The wind blew her hair on her face, and she didn't bother arranging it. She suddenly picked up speed and rushed in, almost tripping and falling.
"Katie! Join me!" She shouted back to Katie who was watching amused.
"You're a real baffling child, you know that right?" Katie said laughing. She ran in as well. She almost fell, and Lila held her hand so she wouldn't fall.
"I think the waves will knock us both down together." Lila said as she saw a big wave coming.
Katie smiled.
"Let the waves try. We'll be standing again, anyway."

Friday, March 29, 2013


Liya sipped the coffee.
She had never liked coffee, she didn't understand why she had ordered it now. She had already added three spoons of sugar and stirred it furiously.
Not that it made much of a difference.
Not that it ever made a difference.
Ed was late by half an hour now.
She sighed. She remembered the short phone call, and it ran through her mind again.
"Ed. Hi." She had said a little quietly.
"Oh hey." he had said, as usual indifferently.
"How are you?"
"Am okay."
He didn't ask how she was.
"It's been a long time. Let's please meet?" She said nervously, her voice breaking.
There was a silence.
"Yeah, sure. I don't mind."He didn't even ask when she had returned.
The last sentence put her off. Mind? He really had no sensitivity, sometimes.
"Let's have coffee tomorrow? I miss you." She said softly.
"You and coffee? Since when?" He laughed a little.
That small laugh made her feel a little better.
"Well you have coffee, I have hot chocolate. I suppose that's how it works."
"Alright. Where do you want to meet?" She wished he had said something more.
She suggested the time and place. That was too inconvenient for him. He suggested a place which was far away from her, and she agreed heartily. He then said,
"They don't serve hot chocolate there. So you'll have to stick with coffee."
"Okay." she said.
"Is there something specific you want to talk about?" He said suddenly.
"No. I just want us to forget what happened. That fight. I'm so sorry for what I said that time. I shouldn't have said it." She was apologizing for the millionth time. It wasn't entirely her fault, he had said some cutting things too.
He was silent for a while.
"I have to go right now, but I'll see you tomorrow."
And before she could even say bye, he had cut the phone.

He was an hour late now. She wrapped the tissue around her fingers. She wondered if she was fighting for a lost cause.
She observed the raindrops falling down the window. It was beginning to rain heavily. Maybe that's why he was late. She hoped that was the reason.
"Would you like the bill?" The waitress asked.
"No, no. My friend is coming. I'm waiting for him." she answered.
She took another sip of coffee. It tasted even more bitter, all of a sudden. What was keeping Ed?
He burst in suddenly.
"Sorry, am late."
He offered no reason why he was late.
"It's alright." She tried to smile.
There was a deafening silence. He raised his eyebrows.
"So when did you get back in town?"
"Just two days ago."
Another silence.
He ordered a coffee.
"Ed, listen." she said slowly.
"What?" he said suddenly interested in the pattern of the napkins.
"Let's start over? I've written so many letters to you, but I'm guessing you're still angry. Let's forget everything and start over please? You were the best friend I ever had, and I miss you."
He nodded.
"Please say something."
"I have nothing to say. It's okay, I'm not angry with you anymore. It's fine."
This was getting frustrating.
"Then what is the problem?" she asked impatiently.
"There is no problem, Liya. Can you stop?"
She got up.
"Where are you going?" He asked casually and took another sip of his coffee.
"Home. To get myself a hot chocolate."
She swung her bag over her shoulder and left him with the bill.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


At last, it was his birthday.
Even though he pretended to the world that he could not care less for his birthday, he secretly didn't mind all the attention lavished on him for that one day.
There a million phone calls to attend to.
While attending to the phone calls, a letter was slipped through the door.
While talking on the phone, Ed walked towards the door.
"Thank you so much!" He said. He said thanks again, as he didn't know what to say after his over-enthusiastic friend wished him and told him to have a good day. Of course he would have a good day, why wouldn't he?
The phone rang again, and he opened the letter.
"Thanks, Kate!" He said cheerfully and disconnected the phone abruptly.
The letter was written in old yellow paper. It gave him a delightful feeling of "parchment".
He recognized the handwriting so well.
He lightly touched the paper and smiled to himself at the way she had dotted her i's and curled her r's. It was a birthday wish, as usual.
She had never forgotten to wish him for his birthday, even though he purposely forgot to wish her for hers.
It was the tenth letter she had written to him since they had stopped being friends. Her letters were becoming rare now. He didn't suppose why. He hadn't replied to a single one, and yet he read the letter each night.
For the most part, her letters were cheery and he could sometimes hear her voice which rang through it. Sometimes they were accusing and hurt at the complete lack of response from him. But after a while she had stopped that as well.
He read the letter again. This time she had simply said happy birthday, and wished him all the best for the future.
She had never said that before.
Was it the last letter? He wondered, rather nervously.
He had tried holding on to the last bit of anger which had prevented him from writing back. He found that the anger he had cherished against her, had long gone. He had never been able to stay angry with her for long, and he missed their friendship as much as she did.
But he couldn't admit it to himself, and least of all to her.
He read the letter again.
Dearest Ed,
Happy birthday!
I hope you have a wonderful day. You deserve it. There are a million more wonderful days to come and you deserve each and every one of them.
All the very very best for the future. 
Lots of love,
It was short, unlike her usual long epistles.
He should reply.
He should.
But then he forcefully remembered their feud.
He remembered the bitter words that she had spoken.
He tried to relive the bitterness again. But it was pointless.
Instead he put her letter with the other ten letters.
"I hope you're happy too Liya. Happy birthday." he whispered.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cooking trials!

I've always shied away from the kitchen-in the cooking field that is, not in the snacking field. Cracking an egg itself would end up in a disaster, and god knows how many eggs I have wasted, in attempting to fry and scramble them!
Last six months have not been easy, with respect to food. I have eaten shawarmas, grapes, obscure sandwiches and very dubious beef curries. So did I decided in was time. (this is where I need a possible drumroll)
I started off with noodles. While other people take five minutes to make them, I took half an hour. In my defence, I was boiling them on a very slow stove. So while the noodles gradually turned colour, I would pace up and down, occasionally stirring it, much to the bafflement of my flatmates. I tried being experimental, and cutting up sausages and putting them in....well that didn't turn out too well either. After all the effort, the noodles didn't seem too bad...though some at the bottom were slightly uncooked and were rather crunchy. I thought I'll attempt it again. This time my friend suggested a better idea would be to put it in the microwave. I did. It was ready and cooked. The slight snag was that water had spilt all over the microwave, as I had lovingly filled the bowl till the top. So I had to spend half an hour washing it. I anxiously took a picture of the noodles and sent it to my exasperated friends, who all tiredly chorused, "yes, that's what it's supposed to look like."
So I lazily lived on noodles for the first few days. And then I came across the next idea-macaroni and cheese. I hastily bought all that was required, and arranged it in a line on the shelf. I had never used a measuring cup before, and till today I'm not even sure I measured anything correctly. 200 gms...300 gms...ah well doesn't matter, in it all goes. Once again I paced around the kitchen like a sleepwalking Lady Macbeth, trying to soothe myself with peaceful music. I found that there was too much water in the saucepan, and I called my mother to beg for a solution. She didn't answer the phone, and so in the end I took matters into my own hands and emptied half the water into the dustbin. God knows what I've put into that dustbin.
There is a time in everyone's life, that they wish that some magical chant can come to their rescue. This was mine. I can swear, that every Harry Potter spell was running through my head.
Finally the macaroni and cheese turned out just fine and I ate it in one gulp. This is the misery of cooking your own food. You don't know how to ration it, and how to save it for the next day. The macaroni and cheese moved on to a better place in an instant.
Then....the herculean task of chicken.
I threw pepper on the hapless chicken and smeared it with honey mustard after finding some crazy recipe on google. The saucepan crackled so much that I took the chicken out thinking it had cooked. Of course it hadn't, it was raw as ever. So I dumped the unhappy chicken back on the pan, and it crackled some more. I suddenly had a fear of the fire alarm going off.
Well it wasn't too bad.
Then I put the next few pieces in the oven. I had to wait half an hour, but I have the patience of a squirrel. The pacing routine continued, and I opened the oven. The heat hit my face, and I very smartly touched the baking tray which had been in an oven of 200 degrees. I snatched my hand back, and now I am very proud that I have tiny white scar on one finger. I don't know why I'm proud of such things. I went and grabbed the nearest towel and took out the chicken. To my utmost relief, it was pretty and golden, and had a vague resemblance to what my mother made at home.
And of course that chicken went to a better place too.
Eh...well. Cooking and what i call "ovening" is some fun. One day when I have courage I'll probably attempt a chocolate cake.
WHEN and IF I have courage.

Friday, March 1, 2013


"Goodnight Kate." she could hear her mother say.
"Goodnight." she responded half-heartedly.
She climbed into bed and tucked herself under the blankets. Before she closed her eyes, she looked around. The walls seemed bare, despite the many photographs she had once plastered on them. The room looked colourless even though there were clothes strewn all on side. The little light peeping through the windows seemed bleak.
She sighed.
She clamped her eyes shut.
Everything looked starry and beautiful now. She could see a happier world, pleasant people, and sounds of laughter were ringing in her ears. She let her mind fly on, from green pastures to clear blue oceans and seas, to finally a little green sunny patch.
It was near some rocks which were situated behind a clear blue stream. She walked on the grass, enjoying the feeling of wet grass below her feet. She walked towards the water, and touched it, to make sure it felt real.
"Kate." someone called out.
She turned around instantly, recognizing the voice. It was Jay. He looked so much more friendlier, and happier than she had seen him last. He smiled at her, looking rather perplexed.
"You promised you wouldn't come here again." He said, sitting next to her.
"This is the only place to find you." she said, swallowing hard.
He sighed.
"It isn't. Go back."
"If I do, you won't be there."
"That doesn't mean you stay here permanently."
"I don't want to open my eyes." she said determinedly.
He patted her gently on the cheek. In silence, they both watched the trees swaying gently to a cool breeze. A beautiful song was playing in the background. It was his favourite song. In reality, she had never understood why he had liked it. But here, it seemed to fit perfectly.
After what seemed like hours, he got up. He put out his hand and helped her up. She held on to his hand.
"Kate." He said firmly.
"It's time to go back. You are being called."
She could faintly hear her mother calling out to her, and telling her to get ready for college.
Her eyes smarted.
"Open your eyes Kate." he asked softly.
"I'll see you tomorrow." She whispered.
He smiled. She kept the memory of the smile.
She opened her eyes and after the initial rush of warmth and happiness, she felt cold again when she saw the colourless room with grey photographs plastered all over.
But she smiled quietly to herself.