Friday, October 31, 2014


She wondered who her sister was talking to.
She could only see the back of his head. Her sister seemed rather engrossed in the conversation.
She leaned against the wall, tired. If only this evening could get over quickly. She really hadn't wanted to come out, but her sister had insisted.
She took a sip of her water, trying to catch her sister's eye. Her sister rolled her eyes, and went back to talking.
The person she was talking to, turned slightly.
Slowly, she could only see the side of his face.
Looked vaguely familiar.
Yet, it gave her a rather unpleasant old feeling which she hadn't felt for years.
Since childhood.
She gave herself a shake. Since childhood? She was as usual over thinking things.
The prickly feeling remained.
Her sister looked exasperated at her expressions. She said something to the person, and walked towards her.
The person followed.
She saw him properly.
She knew that face, well. But wasn't able to remember the name.
That face was strangely associated with some strange  feelings....which suddenly surged now again.
Feelings of embarrassment and nervousness which she hadn't felt since she was nine.
"Aisha." Her sister called out to her.
She shook her head again. The stranger came up to her again, and put out his hand. He introduced himself.
"We were in the same class, weren't we, Aisha?" He said with a laugh.
And then she remembered.
It had been an insignificant memory at that time. Or, to anyone she had related it to. They had laughed it off, saying that these were small things.
They were not important in "the long run".
Yet, at that moment, she remembered him clearly. She heard the words again, which she hadn't heard in  twelve years.
She had tried helping him, with some work. She knew that.
He had been curt, and brutal. And responded in a manner which had shaken her for days to come. Everyone else had laughed with him. It was funny, of course.
To them.
She had rushed out. She hadn't cried. She just had a heavy feeling, which wouldn't let her breathe.
She wished she had cried it out, so that the feeling wouldn't engulf her later.
She had vainly tried to reply. But as usual, the moment had passed, before she could think of a good reply.
The moment of mortification.
People had laughed it off.  Nine year olds, fighting. What a silly thing to remember later. She couldn't explain to them.
It's funny what affects a child.
Years had gone by. That remark was mostly forgotten. But its feeling would occasionally appear  when she would try talking to people
She had forgotten so many other things.
But this feeling, she could never forget for some reason.
This sting remained. It had been the first time she had been spoken to, like that.
Of course now he barely remembered her. Why would he? It was insignificant.
"Tongue-tied as usual." He laughed.
It sounded mocking again. The nervousness was returning.
And finally, she took a deep breath.
"No, I barely remember you." She said coolly.
She took a sip of water, enjoying the look on his face.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


So there they lie, watching the stars.
It's a pleasant day today. There's no cruel cold breeze, no gusts of hot wind.
She likes it.
This evening is peaceful.
She looks over at him. He's a bit lost in a reverie. She touches his shoulder. He smiles.
It's not a happy smile.
He continues watching the stars, yet not watching them.
Where is he, she wonders.
She knows he's somewhere far away, in the glorious land of forgotten dreams and shadows.
She puts her head on his shoulder.
He pats her hair in an absent minded manner.
He seems sad.
But he won't admit it.
She doesn't like it.
She wishes to bring a smile to his face.
His eyes are full of a strange anguish which she cannot fathom. But he won't ever talk about it. He lets it remain in his eyes. She wishes that she could take his years of pain away.
The stars are shining for him, she tells him playfully.
He laughs. But the smile doesn't reach his eyes.
Come back, she tells him.
He replies he isn't far away.
But she knows he is.
She wants to bring him back.
Music plays from somewhere in the background. He looks startled. It's low. But loud enough for him.
He doesn't like this song.
She understands why.
But she can't stop the song from playing. Only he can choose to ignore it.
She doesn't know where it's playing from.
He says nothing but he seems to be getting tortured by the second.
He closes his eyes. She wishes he would shed tears and be free.
But he doesn't.
This song, he says. He turns.
The music is filling his head like poison, he says.
She tells him to ignore it. The more he pays attention to this music, the more it will haunt.
He whispers he can't.
She begins to sing. She touches his hair and smoothes back years of roughness.
Her voice isn't loud, but it drowns the music.
His head has a different song now.
She continues singing. It's soft and gentle. The music ebbs away.
He is relaxed. He doesn't hear the music anymore.
She's here now.
The moment has passed.
He smiles at her. He brushes her cheek with his hand briefly.
She asks whether he feels better.
He pulls her close to him.
He doesn't want her to stop singing.
This music, he likes.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Voices and revelries

"I don't feel good today." She said with a sigh.
They sat opposite each other. He sat on the armchair, she sat on the couch, her hands folded.
He didn't ask why. He knew she wouldn't want to answer.
He didn't like it when she looked upset.
So he started talking about his day. He knew what would cheer her up.
The black clouds left the room.
His voice soothed her. He spoke reassuringly, and in a low tone. The words were not hurried at all.
He had the most pleasant voice she had ever heard. When he spoke, words seemed to flow musically. It was not loud. It was not quiet.
She unfolded her hands, and kept them relaxed by her side. She didn't respond except with a smile, because she didn't want him to stop talking.
It was astounding how one person could make anything sound beautiful. It was something she could sleep on.
He had a caress in his voice. There was no better caress.
It was steady.
He said her name like no one else ever had.
Like it was made for him to say.
She sipped her tea slowly.
She wondered, how could a voice just make her feel so many things, all at once?
His voice resonated in her head, even when there was silence. There were times when she she felt shy, and didn't dare to look up. She fiddled with her fingers.
She played with the elaborate cushion coverings.
 He couldn't help smiling at her childish antics. He noticed her plucking nervously at the cushions.
He talked. He talked about his life, his plans, his views on the world. Even the way he spoke about the over-sweet tea made her nerves peaceful.
She settled back in the chair, and curled her foot under her leg. She held the cushion close to her.
A breeze blew wildly outside, and some strands of hair flew to her face. The room felt cool. The trees swayed outside. The skies were streaked with orange. It was a wild evening, with a strange calm.
She had a blissful smile on her face now. Her brow was no longer furrowed with worry.
He looked at her. He stopped talking. She was a little disconcerted.
She asked him "What happened?"
"I thought you were going to sleep."
"Doesn't matter." she said her hand under her cheek.
He was about to play music, but she refused. It was not music she needed.
So he continued. He gently put the blanket over her. His fingers gently brushed hers.
He was sure she was asleep now.
"Sleep well." he whispered gently.
She heard it.
Her dreams would be better today.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


They were standing at the far end of a crowded room.
People danced, and people laughed. It was a full riot going on.
They caught each others gaze.
He noticed her first. He noticed how she stood against the wall, taking in her soft drink slowly.
He smiled.
She noticed how he politely warded off people he didn't want to talk to.
His eyes caught hers.
The glances they exchanged, could have gone for days.
They smiled, every few seconds.
They were far apart, but couldn't get closer.
She thought his eyes were intoxicating.
He was enchanted. From her plain bangles to her rusting anklets.
Songs continued playing. For some reason, they stopped paying attention to it.
Somehow only glances mattered.
She walked slowly around the room, not taking her eyes off him.
In his head, they were already dancing.
Her anklet almost slipped off. She bent down, and fiddled with it.
His eyes mocked at her, gently.
Blushing, she didn't meet his gaze for a while.
Unable to avoid any longer, she looked up again.
He raised his glass towards her.
Cheers, his eyes said.
She raised her glass for him too.
Without the drink, she already felt intoxicated.
And then he walked up and stood next to her.
Everyone was still dancing and shouting, but for her the world stood still.
The music was loud, but in her head it turned gentle.

Let's dance, his eyes said. She looked nervous. I don't know how to, she shrugged apologetically.

In those few seconds, he held her finger.

And then slowly her hand. 
They walked into the crowd.
He turned to her and whispered,
"Let's learn, then."
And then they realized they knew it all along. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The earring

She sat at the table, playing with the earring.
The peacock earring.
She didn't have the other one. He had it. And she didn't have the courage to ask him for it.
She traced the blueness of the earring.
It astonished her, how one single ornament could make her relive an entire past.
She touched her bangles lightly. She remembered how perplexed he would be at her matching patterns.
Two on one wrist, three on the other.
She missed how he would play with the earrings. And the smile he had, when he did so.
She had only worn the earrings twice. The first time she met him, and the last time she saw him. In the chaos and shock of that day, she had run and dropped it.
She was sure he wouldn't have kept it. One earring-why would he? They meant nothing to him, now.
Her eyes burned, as she remembered how fascinated he had been when he had seen them the first time. That was what had drawn him to her, he said later.
She sighed.
She almost flung the earring away, along with her bangles. Her bangles seemed to have lost colour, since he was no longer there to comment on them.
But she couldn't throw this earring away. In a strange way, it was what kept her connected to him.
She touched the earring again. She smiled with burning eyes, as she thought of how he used to laugh at her mismatching earrings. She had been so embarrassed.
Yet he had whispered into her ear,
"Laugh and say it's a trend."
This was all she had now.
He probably had forgotten all about it.
With searing eyes, she puts the earring away with the rest of her past.

Somewhere, not too far away, he looks at the earring he has, too. He prays that someone's replaced this pair.
With stinging eyes, he smiles as well.
He'll keep this one.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


It was unbearable and hot.
The sun shone down mercilessly. She walked on, in what seemed like a desert.
There seemed to be no end.
It became even more uncomfortable and suffocating. The weather finally beat her to her knees.
She sat on what seemed like hot sand. She begged for some cold relief.
There was clearly no sign of rain.
It was getting harder to keep focus, and she was tired now.
She didn't think she could walk much more.
She lay down, unable to take it. Maybe this was how it should be, she thought. She didn't have the strength to get up anymore. The sun had won.
She felt a gentle drop on her head. She shook her head wearily.
It was just her imagination.
She felt another drop.
She lifted her head and looked at the sun.
Except there was no sun now.
There was rain finally. It was coming in small drops.
She hardly dared to believe it.
After this long spell, it was unbelievable. She put out her hand to make sure. She smiled nervously, as another drop pricked her gently.
It was real.
The rain drops touched her hand, slowly giving her energy again. She was still not sure whether it was a figment of imagination.
And the rain came gushing down. She was soaked, but she was happy. She felt alive, once again.
For a few seconds, she stood still. Taking it all in. She felt refreshed, and she felt overjoyed. This wasn't a trick, this was real.
The rains turned into thunder storms.  Lightening streaked the skies. She held her ears. It terrified her, and she almost screamed. Her scream was lost in the rains. She clenched her eyes shut, and wondered why this was happening to her. She decided to fight back and was determined not to be pushed down again.
 And then her eyes sprang open. To her surprise, there was no cruel sun. There was no rain. It was pleasant, and windy. There was no hot sand. Just calm and cool grass under her feet. Just as she always liked it. All was well.
She laughed. Nature hadn't played tricks on her. Her mind had.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


"I'm scared of heights." She whispered.
He looked at her, head tilted to one side. It concerned him, that she was afraid of so many things. He looked into her  eyes. They were full of fear. Fear, which only he could see.
"Will you come with me, if I asked you to?" He asked.
"Where?" she asked nervously.
"Trust me." he said quietly. He extended his hand. She hesitated. He smiled, and withdrew his hand. He walked a few steps. Without warning, she caught hold of his hand.  A gentle, yet firm hold.
He walked up the stairs.
She followed.
There was a silence, except for quiet and steady footsteps.
They reached the balcony. The sun shone....not too brightly, but just pleasantly. A breeze blew. There was a beautiful little garden on the terrace. There were her favourite flowers blooming. She let go of her reserve. She rushed towards them, and then felt embarassed at herself. She touched them gently.  She enjoyed the fragrance, and breathed a sigh of relief. She was beginning to love this little place, even though it had only been seconds.  She felt peaceful again.  She walked towards the ledge and looked down. It was a long way down.
An overwhelming panic took hold of her, and she turned away, her legs feeling unsteady. He was at her side at once. He held her hand.
"Look straight." he said softly.
She turned around again. She did as he said to. And she saw a clear horizon. The panic lessened.
"Better?" he asked.
She turned and a genuinely happy smile appeared on her face. The happiest smile, after a long time.
"Much better." she said, with a return of her roguish wink.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Never sunset.

"Let's go out today?" I said rather nervously. I twisted the tissue around my finger, almost strangling it.
"I'm busy today." He said rather flatly.
"I can help you." I said, my over-eagerness showing itself again.
"I've already got help."
I understood what that meant. He walked away.
I sat down on the chair. I put my head on the table and closed my searing eyes.

We were lying down on the grass, near the stream. It was always sunrise, never sunset. I could breathe easily here. 
It was my place to sit and dream. Everything was serene...peaceful...I, was peaceful, for one. This was where I could live forever.
If only.
The wind blew gently, and my hair flew into my face. He gently pushed it back, something he hadn't done for a while. 
There was a silence, except for the gushing of the stream. I enjoyed this silence. Over here, it was never sunset. 
"How long do you want to stay here?" He said quietly.
"For...a while at least." I said, picking up some wild roses.
"You should go." he said, his eyes full of concern.
"I'm happiest here. It go back." I said. 
I had held the roses too tightly. The stems had thorns. My fingers showed angry red marks. But it didn't bleed. 
He smiled and said,
"That should be a hint, for you."
He held my hand tightly. The red marks vanished. 
"That's why I don't want to go back. Wounds don't vanish like that...over there." I said softly.
"Time will heal that. I wish I could. But I've inflicted too many." he said, staring into the distance.
"Why can't you?" I asked angrily.
"Because that's reality. This isn't." 
I had no answer to that. 
"Go back, please."
"Come back with me." 
"I'll be there."
"You won't be there. Not this you."
"Well that's what you have to face, dear."
"I can't. Not this time. Not again." I said, my voice breaking.
"This will hurt you more." 
"Why can't you be like this over there?"
"Because this isn't me." He said quietly. 
I didn't want to admit it. For the first time, it was getting hard to breathe well. The red marks were beginning to appear again. 
He said again with a change of tone,
"You need to face it."
"But I'm happy here."
"You're not. Look, it's sunset." 
And it was.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Oh there he was. Standing against the door, arms loosely by his side.
He was in the middle of a conversation, with some people she didn't know.
She smiled to herself. By the look of it, neither did he. She knew that expression of his so well. That expression of nodding and desperately trying to keep the conversation going.
She was nervous. She wanted to go up to him and say hello.
But it had been too long.
She put one foot forward. Her anklet made a clinking sound.
Should she?
She shouldn't. His friends had come.
Friends she had never known, she had never been introduced to, but friends she knew intimately through his stories.
She took a few steps, her anklets jingling.
What should she say?
A tap on the shoulder? How should she greet him? Be casual, with their normal hugs? No, his friends were there. He might not like it, if she did that.
And it had been too long.
He looked happy. She was happy about that.
She wasn't going to admit that she was slightly resentful. Did he even think about her?
She shook her head and smiled. Over thinking, over thinking. He had always said that was one of her problems. 
She was close now. 
And then she...came. She, beautiful, and graceful, with a fair complexion, which she heartily envied.  Stood next to him, and said some things which made him laugh. Someone who could be introduced to his friends. 
His eyes suddenly seemed full of joy when she was near. 
She smiled a little. 
She remembered him laughing.
But not at what she had said.
Those few seconds seemed like eternity. 
They hadn't seen her yet.
Oh, if only her anklets didn't make such a noise. She hoped that he would turn in her direction.
But he didn't. He was too busy and involved now. 
And she was keeping him engaged in a conversation. She heard bits of it. They were nostalgic about old times and memories. Memories which she had no place in. Something about beaches...a holiday to inside joke about a restaurant which was making everyone laugh. 
She didn't want to hear much more. 
She ran, the tinkling of her anklets couldn't be heard now, in the crowds. 
He heard the anklets.
He turned immediately. 
But she was gone. 
His eyes burned. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The donut.

He saw her sitting at the table, writing furiously.
Her coffee was sitting beside her, untouched. Sometimes she would pause and look out of the window and watch the rain beating down against the windows. And then as if to remind herself, she would get back to writing.
Her phone rang, and she answered it on the second ring itself. The conversation didn't continue for long, and she put the phone away.
She put her head in her hands. He felt sure she was about to start crying, but to his surprise, she didn't. She just had an exasperated expression and looked tired. She took out her earphones suddenly, and checked her ipod. That seemed to have died too. She flung it inside her bag.
He wondered if he should walk over to her. He took his coffee towards her table, nervously. She didn't notice him. She kept writing. And then the pen ink ran out.
She threw it down in frustration. She looked up and saw him, and turned red in embarassment.
"Oh...hello." she said, with a wan smile.
"Having trouble there?"
"I've been trying to write this article for a while. No idea coming to mind, and the deadline is tomorrow."
Her phone beeped. She checked it instantly. She typed even more vigorously, rolled her eyes, and put the phone away.
It beeped again, but this time she refused to answer it.
"Bad day?"
"A really bad one." she said, trying to smile. She went back to staring at the paper, her hand on her head. Yet he couldn't fail to notice that her eyes were starting to water.
Not knowing how to handle someone crying, he decided to walk away. But before that, he told the waiter, "One chocolate donut for her, please."
She looked up, and smiled. It was a bit of a confused smile.
But it was a smile, nevertheless.