GRAINS OF SEPIA

GRAINS OF SEPIA GRAINS OF SEPIA
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Summary

Three strangers...three different past...yet connected somehow

Summary

Three strangers...three different past...yet connected somehow

Chapter1 (v.1) - GRAINS OF SEPIA

Author Chapter Note

Three strangers...three different past...yet connected somehow

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 25, 2012

Reads: 493

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 25, 2012

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GRAINS OF SEPIA

---- A date with your past…..

"There is a principle in nature I don't think anyone has pointed out before. Each hour, a myriad of trillions of little live things — bacteria, microbes, "animalcules" — are born and die, not counting for much except in the bulk of their existence and the accumulation of their tiny effects. They do not perceive deeply. They do not suffer much. A hundred billion, dying, would not begin to have the same importance as a single human death"

----Greg Bear "Blood Music."

Wikipedia defines Human being as “ A Wise or knowing man” “having highly developed brains, capable of abstract reasoning, language , problem solving and introspection.” It also says “Humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression.”!!! Interesting, isn’t?

And what are Emotions? Our dear friend Wikipedia says “ Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical (internal) and environmental (external) influences. “

Complicated words? This is what the story deals with. Complications. Wait. Dont give up yet. Read further.

The above quoted words seemed complicated to us, since its right in front of our eyes., apparent as we say it. We read the first line and instinctively avoid reading the rest. But…What about other things that we can’t see or……… don’t see?

How many times have we heard “ Human beings are the most gifted species.”?? The point is not how gifted we are, the point is “ Do we know it? “

No, it isn’t a self-development preachy book with “Quotes of Life “et all. All I tried to explore is: Incidences, Interpretations and Reactions. Our “past”, forms a very good material for research. Most of the time, we go through an incident (it might be as simple incident as meeting a person or as complicated as an extra marital affair) and form some ideas about it, as our cerebral cortex reacts. But, what I strive to know is, how firm are those conclusions? After all, our brain is also an instrument that runs in loops of complex algorithm. What is true today, may not be the same tomorrow.

“Our eyes see what mind already knows.” Don’t agree? Fine, lets see. Can You tell me What is “Taboo”?

Ok, I will tell you. A taboo is a strong social prohibition (or ban) relating to any area of human activity or social custom.

What is Social customs / society?

“A group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.”

You already know what I am hinting at, don’t you?

Well, When we talk about “expectations” it inevitably means “something we already know about or think about”. We do not expect the unknown…person or event…whatever it be.

Is life another name for learning? How is learning defined? “Acquiring new or modifying existing skills, knowledge, value and preference” We live with “learned behaviors” to fit ourselves in the society. But is it necessary to live with “learned thinking “ as well? In fact, if we have to go by the definition of Wikipedia, We stop learning after a certain period and start evaluating things as they are being told or perceived by “others”. In short, we start seeing the world through others eyes.

“Past” unlike they say , is not stationery. It is dynamic. If we give a careful thought, we would notice, our personality is “fluid” or “changing”. And “personality” is nothing but “ a combination of past events and experiences”

Do I sound like a Parrot repeating already known stuffs or a like a book loaded with technically complex definitions?

I don’t intend to. Life is complicated because we see it through the angles we already know. If we look inside us, we will find a lot of space for innovations, in the way we take life.

As you read the story , You will find each of the three stories revolving around a common point, past, which the characters revisits….and what do they find? Lets see…

CON-SOUL

(C.S 1)

“Yeah Bud…I will give You a call as soon as I land…Arey ha…yes..I will get them for you…Ya ya matching lenge…they will go with all the colors…”

“Hmm…Never sure of your choice” Mandy said, her usual way of pulling my leg

“Ahha?Beggers can’t be choosers huh!” I quipped back

“Oh ya?”Mandy almost hissed back.

“Ok Ok….Ab phone rakho…I will catch you once am back home”

“Ok babes…Hope to see you soon” “Bye….Take care”

“Ya ….Bbye…N hey…” I bit my lips…

“Yup?Whats it?” Mandy snapped back,from the other end.

“Take care”I cut the conversation short and hung up.

That was not exactly what I was trying to tell her….But…”Bug off” I said myself and drowned in “Desert Rose” ,closing my eyes… Humming to myself,I tried to divert my thoughts from where it was headed to….

“I dream of rain…aleey aleeey
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain…aleey aleey
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of fire..aleey aleey
Those dreams are tied to a horse that will never tire
And in the flames
Her shadows play in the shape of a man's desire”

“Damn”! I got up, pausing the song, heading towards the washroom.

Why the hell his face was coming back and forth every time I closed my eyes? His smile was almost out of apathy,….His eyes screaming at me, hint of a brutal accusation….Why did it affect me so much?

The feeling was almost nausea tic…they were intermeshed with each other.… bewildering…Why was I feeling so gloomy all of a sudden? Pangs of pain…..was it out of regret? Must have been…But..”Oh man.....Chuck it! “ I said myself

I pushed the door away and walked towards the mirror. Opening the tap, I splashed some water on my face. Hmm…..Cool.

But there was no respite.

My mind was crowded with random thoughts…..from the present…then his face….then our school….taking a deep breath, I said to myself “Relax”, Its nothing like that….”

I faced away from the mirror for a while. And then….When My eyes meet me, on the mirror, I knew “what and why “ it was all about,..It was all because of Mandy…My best friend…

Énigme

( E-1 )

“What ??Flight is delayed by 3 hours? I pray to know why do we board planes? To reach on time! On time? !It has become such a joke with Indian Airways nowadays” I found myself howling at the attendant while the young lady tried her best to explain the technical difficulties to me.”But what about my meeting? A 100 million $ deal Lady!” I shouted, anger getting better of my mannerisms and logic. She uttered few words of apology and went away, sensing that she was talking to a grumpy old fellow and that it was pointless trying to pacify me.

Frustrated, I walked towards the waiting lodge and sank onto the couch.

“Well….Well….” I started my laptop, ”Lets make some good use of the time” . “The presentation must be flawless” I said to myself and busied myself with the Excel worksheets.

I was interrupted by the ringtone of my cell phone. It was my secretary Elina.

“Hmm…Yeah…I know I know…What can I do?Am stuck in the airport…Yeah…hmm…Yeah….perfect! That’s great! You arrange for it and keep them busy. In no way they must have any negative impression…Yeah…Fine..Hmm…Thanks.Bye”

Elina was really efficient and I loved her for that. She knew exactly what to do and when.

But…what was that? Where did this feeling creep in suddenly? Disconcerted….A sense of Déjà vu settling in suddenly….I have always been intrigued by this thing called “human mind”…Formless yet so dominant….So powerful that it almost manifests itself physically…by changing one’s mood, controlling ones thoughts….Right now, that’s what it was doing…directing my thoughts to an evening from the past…..

How do we really define time? So many events ,people, incidents….right within your reach now….gone in the next instant….forever….The only thing left for us are memories to flip through…..images frozen in the frame of time….Like ashes…disappearing with each passing nano second..Why is my mind constantly slipping towards that evening….I do not want to recall that day…..the darkest day…

“Hello Indra?”….a quivering voice spoke up

“Anirudha Sir?” I recognized him readily.”What …what happened? Why do you sound….?” He cut my words short.

“Sampurna is no more …..No more…With us…” I heard him sobbing. A bolt from the blue..”Ki?” “Ki….ki bhabe..K..kokhon?” I heard myself asking.

“few hours back.”

I was feeling dizzy. Felt like someone grabbed my throat and tried to asphyxiate me…my mind slowly receding into a state of consciousness and unconsciousness …..

“will You come Indra? I …..I feel…” I could sense him breaking down…..he was sobbing hard now.

“I will be there in an hour …” I said and rushed out of my office.

When I reached there ,it was already dark. They don’t have much relatives around….I thought..As I stepped inside the house I was much familiar with in past, I saw Anirudha Sir….broken….Despondent….

He got up and walked towards the room where she was laid….I deliberately avoided looking at her…A fear unwinding on me….fighting the tears that wanted to come out so badly….but stuck in the dilemma of whether to surface or not….much like the illicit affair that we had…..Illicit…Yeah….so they call it.

I looked at the lifeless pale body that was laid on the bed..Just a Dead body today, that had nested all the qualities that I had loved so dearly.

Some random thoughts were aimlessly wandering inside my mind; the first time we met: I was rather shocked! She was so much younger then Aniruddha Sir! I used to take tuition from Sir in my first year of English Honours. Anirrudha Sir was a workaholic. His days would began with students inside the classroom and end with the publishers queued up on phone. It intrigued me , whenever I saw Sampurna Ma’am. I would always feel an irresistible urge to sneak into her private life: Her hobbies, her way of passing this lonely life, her relationship with her husband, and numerous other thoughts that poked me whenever I visited Sir’s house..and even after that..

Whatever is forbidden always seems alluring..

Sujan and Me used to be Sir’s favorite student. Sir would often give us the original copy of his Novels , articles , poems; whichever he wrote, for proof reading. So Visiting Sir’s House was a regular affair. Sampurna Ma’am was hardly 33-35 years old then. She was Graceful, reticent and thoroughly refined. The first thing that had stuck me when I met her was her eyes.If there could be any words to describe all the emotions in the human heart, it was inside those eyes. It reminded me of some lines from a poem.

“ They glow with the depth of universal love, casting off stardust as a diamond casts fire and they smolder like embers of a fire in a desert night: glancing upwards they reflect the heavens above”

Aniruddha Sir was around 60-62.They were childless. Sujan and me were an extended family of Anirruddha Sir. Sometimes after tuition, He would ask us to stay back and he would discuss various issues with us., Sometimes social issues,sometimes more concentrated ones like his next topic for writing. He would often narrate his write ups to us and ask for feedbacks. We joyfully obliged him because being a Critic to a “Shaitya Academi winner” was no child’s play!

One thing that stuck me during such sessions was there was uncanny similarity between Sampurna Ma’am’s thoughts and mine, She used to be an active participant in the discussions on Sir’s novels and her feedback would inevitably be connected with what I had to say about the novel…The conclusions would somehow run parallel. The frequency of my visit to Sir’s house increased as We started bonding over the discussions and the coffee chats that would last till late night. Sujan used to excuse himself and leave early as he stayed far away.

Every time I visited Sir’s house, I could feel something inside, rising like the fog, and settling on my heart, numbing my logics and reasoning; a feeling that just dint justify itself. I could not fight that feeling, slowly growing inside me, like a parasite.

-----------------------------

Original Sin!

(O.s 1)

“Oops…..Sorry….Sorry…” I said, as I tried regaining my balance after stumbling on a man. Before I could utter some more words of apology, I saw his specs flying down….and seconds later it landed on the floor and shattering into pieces..Oh God…This habit will never leave me….stumbling on others….such an embarrassment..

He was a middle aged man…around 55…bald, paunchy and grumpy looking.. “Ehh,..err….So clumsy of me….” I timidly said, as I bent down to collect the pieces of glass..
“Let it be. They are of no use to me.” He scowled at me…

“Ahh….Yeah…I mean….I am so sorry”

He gave me a stern look and marched away briskly.

Casting a last glance on the pieces glasses I said “Departed soul…Hmm…RIP”

“Flight to delayed hai….chalo..unhe call karke de dete hai Khush khabri.” I thought, dialing Junaid’s no.

“Ha…Hello….3hours ka chhutkara mili apko mujhse… late hai flight….ha…kya? Lo..Ab WTF bolne se kya hoga? ha…wait karna hai aur kya…You have taken lunch na? I will call you before boarding the plane…Ok?Chalo bbye….”

I was returning to my home…husband’s place after a brief stay at my mom-dad’s place. “ 3hours!’ “Koi baat nahi…kaat jayenge” I looked around the waiting room. A 5-6 years old kid was busy Gaming.. “I grew up so quickly na…premature growth….” I thought…Premature growth was not suggestive to any tragedy and all…I simply meant I gained mass more rapidly then my brain gained grey cells...and ended up looking much older than my age was.”

I walked towards the row of chairs, and got seated. Sign of irritation hung in most of the faces.”Busy log sabke sab..” I was in no hurry. I reclined back lazily and gazed on the screen that was playing some Typecast video…My mind was darting through the terrains of time…

“Good….Accha timepass ho jayega...! Reminiscence of past…good way to kill time…college days ko yaadon k bheedon me sabse age paya. They were one of the best time of my life….Though class bunking was rarely possible…It was like achieving a feat if someone managed to because our HOD was the human reincarnation of Yamraj! Anger was at the tip of his nose and his tongue was like a pair of scissors,….”Phadne and phoodne me laga rehete the. But Khana bohut accha milta tha waha….Poochkas, Raj kachouri, Baby corns, Kacchi aam ka chat , Gola…!The list is endless…

That in no way entitles one to think I am a glutton or gourmet. Connoisseur is the right word to use for me! Tuitions, college, friends….that was all about Life…Though I was bit on the introvert side, I had no dearth of friends nonetheless. We had a huge group…nine of us and would enjoy cracking mindless jokes and laughing till our stomach pained..! “Lovely days”..I thought…

Most of them was busy befriending dangerous animals called “CAT,XAT,UPSC,CA “, but not me. “Itna kya sochna….I take life as it comes by…No preplanning…Jo hota hai acche k liye…Living the best and leaving the rest was my philosophy. ! Thanks to facebook account I still have touch with my group of friends…Junaid k pass time kaha spend karne ko….

Cooking had always been my hobby….most of them say I cook well..Ab wo to pata nahi But I love cooking because I love tasting delicious foods! Umm…I liked singing too..Another hobby that I din’t really inculcate but it grew simultaneously with my growing up was day dreaming. I could recede to that world anytime I wanted.. And the best topic for day dreaming? “Shadi”

Right from my childhood, I had a fascination for Shadi..Whether I read a novel or watched some Soap…Husband-wife relation was something I could connect to always..

Suddenly, a face flashed back into my mind…And I immediately recoiled.”Phir se!” My heart suddenly grew heavy…”Kya yar…accha mood tha….kyu wapas aata reheta hai!”

I glanced through some random faces in the room….A woman, around 28-30 years, was plugged to I-pod.., a teenaged girl was talking on phone,I looked at my watch..Just 30mins had passed. “Kya karu….Time kaat hi nahi raha hai”

I glanced through some pictures on my mobile, then some messages….then finally it dawned on me….Arrey Facebook! Been quite long since I logged In last…

“21 notifications! Baapre! “ I exclaimed. Swagata has sent a request for Gaming, Sneha and many others had commented on my last status.”Trip to shimla” : awesome. That was my last status. 1.5 months back.I had shared some photos as well. “Oh..Sana has commented….Lets see”

Sana was Tahir, my cousin brother’s wife. “Masha Allah…Looking great!’ She wrote. I hit the “Like” button and replied back with a smiley… “How are You all?” I wrote on her wall.

Tahir’s profile showed he had shared some photos as well. I thought of logging off….Then like an after thought, I went to his profile and started seeing the album.It was him and Sana on the pictures. My mind simultaneously browsed through its own set of album and images therein…

(Con-soul 2)

I was posted at Bhagwatgar, a small village in Sawai Madhopur District,in Rajasthan…I was working for an NGO. It has been over a year and the only way to keep in touch with my family and friend was the unreliable cellular network. Internet would be down most of the times and was a far cry in such a remote village. I liked this kind of isolation…..far from the mad rush of the city….in touch with my inner self….It was almost kind of atonement for the exorbitantly undisciplined life that I had lead in past.

Family was a collective noun, While my only family was my Dad….and yeah….Mandy….Mom passed away when I was two….so it was sort of role reversal for dad….all pampering….And freedom… ….

Coming back to Mandy…she is like my sister…She was dimensionally different from me….we became pals in school days…..she used to be my savior when my notebooks would remain blank in primary school….gradually as we grew up, the relation trickled down…and somehow became deep rooted…..

She was the kind of a girl everyone could share their problems with…someone who was friend to almost everyone at school, but what made me feel extremely special was whenever she noticed that I was somber, she would come to me no matter how many mates had flocked around her. She was way ahead of age…wise, composed and a very good judge of human character and situations.

I got better in studies with each passing year albeit my rowdy lifestyle,, not because I enjoyed studying, but because “books” were my only true companion, apart from dad and Mandy. Mandy, on the other hand, found her passion in Designing. I remember when we were in High School, the benches in our school would have scribbling like “Rajeev Khandelwal I love You. “ or “Rishi ? Sonam.”, our bench would serve as a drawing copy for Mandy. Designs everywhere.

After we passed our High school, she went to Delhi IIFT, pursuing Fashion Designing, while I moved to Pune, for studying Bachelors in Law. I remained in touch with dad, but lost contact with Mandy because of our different daily routines..and a philosophy that had started residing In me.”Get over all possible attachments”. Occasional forwarded messages or a short call once or twice. That’s all .But however staunch my philosophy was, I knew the bond between us was ingrained. It dint matter whether we remained in contact or not.

Dad was far from knowing about my gradual shift to an unruly lifestyle…late night party, drinking, smoking…I had formed a coterie…all of us had one thing in common…loneliness and to us, it was “freedom” and we celebrated it. We defined ourselves as” Forces of Nature”, not bound by any set up rules, laws or dogma. When we skid downwards, everything seems to be moving along with us. So we were perfectly clear to our conscience……Or so it seemed till…

It was a typical Rajasthan Summer Afternoon, the blazing sun sauntering through the barren lands... sand everywhere. I was busy working on the budget allocation for our next project, when my cell rang.

“Kaisi hai Idiot?”

“Mandy”! I knew it at once, it was her way of starting a conversation on phone.

“Itni din baad yaad aya?” I said,in a tone of complaint.

She kept silent for a while, “How are You ?” she repeated again

“Am good yar” “Tu bol pehele…Bhul gayi mujhe?”

“Tera cell ka tower rehega tab na contact kar payenge?” she said.

“Hmm…Tower ka problem hai yaha pe..net bhi nahi and Dur dur tak cyber café bhi nahi”….”anyways, You tell me yar, how are you?”

“Am great. But I am really angry on you.” She said, in a tone of rebuking

“Arrey…Ohhk…I know why you are angry..and You have all rights to be..But..”

“But kya?” “Mein Delhi padhne gayi thi, settle hone k lie nahi. And busy schedule ka excuse meine kabhi use kia?Tune kia..Tujhe to waha k friends mil gaye the na..”

I could clearly sense how she felt. I felt a pang of guilt,the moment she mentioned “Tujhe to waha jake friends mil gaye the na.”….That night came back to me in a flash…

“Kya hua ?Chup ho gayi?” She almost screamed.

“Ok..” I said, regaining my composure., “So You want to fight?”

She kept quiet for a moment. “I missed you.”…”When I returned to hometown, I came to know You have taken a job in Rajasthan. Number bhi change ho gayi thi tera. Uncle se number mila. Kitni bar call karne ki koshish ki, fir finally aaj laga number You moron.”

She howled at me for few more minutes and I kept mum, allowing her vent out all her anger. It was Ok. We both knew everything was still the same between us.

We spoke about our school days, the time we spent together, the fun we had. We rued about the time lost in these four years. I passed out Law and took up this job in Swamvedhna, an NGO working for the socially backward people at remotest areas.

“ Tu NGO kaisi join ki?Tujhe to criminal law me interest tha”

I dint speak for a moment. The reason, was linked to something that I dint want to remember. “Yaha ka kaam aachha lagta hai. I like working for these people.”

“accha? Bhagwatgar! Kya ajeeb village hai. Kisine naam hi nahi shuna. Come back here yar! Uncle ka business bhi to tujhe hi dekhna hai na?” she said, trying to cajole me

“Dad abhi bhi chaanga hai yar. Wo handle kar lenge. Jab jarurat hoga …tab jaungi.”

“Jaruraat…hmm…Jarurat to hai..” she said, suggestively

“Matlab?” I wondered clueless

“Tujhe ek news deni thi..” she sounded coy

“Did I read Your voice correctly?” I said, bit surprised

“Yes. I am seeing a guy” she said, softly

“wooowhh! Omg!! Woooooww!!Am I wide awake? Someone pinch me!” I shouted out, rupturing.

“Yes. Arihant.”

“Mandy ? But tujhe to shadi karna hi nahi tha? Kyu?” I said, teasing

When we were at school, Mandy was the only one who would bat an eyelid when Gaurav Sir passed through the corridors. We all would swoon over him.It was “ teenage” and romaance had alredy started brewing among many of my classmates. More often than not, in our recess, We would form a circle and discuss about Mills and Boons, and get transported to such world, weaving florid fantasies. Mandy would stay miles away from such discussion. To her, “Marriage was only a social obligation. It was not compulsion.” Everybody knew that she meant what she said, unlike most of us. Fortuitously if she slipped into that conversation, all we could squeeze out of her was “ I haven’t seen any man who could have me fall for him. “

“What kind of a man would make you go gaga for him?” I had asked once

“ I don’t think I will go gaga over anyone really………but if you talk about liking, well he must be a gentleman at heart, suave, artistically inclined, level-headed,intellectual..umm…I don’t know…perhaps I will know about it if I ever meet him.”

“So madam, Tall fair and handsome types or the gentleman, debonair , intellectual typo?” I said,pulling her leg.

“You remember? Haa haa. I had expected you to.” “ Yes.He falls in the second bracket.”

“You mean just the Mr. Right for you?”

“Yes. Touchwood.”

I could not contain my excitement. “Kab mili?Kaise? How does he look like? What does he do?”

I shot an array of questions at her.

She answered them patiently, one by one.

“ He is a software engineer. I met him 6months back. At a Fashion design event. His friends collections was at display. So was mine.”

“Lemme guess.!” I butted in, “He must have liked your work, right?”

“Right.! So …You still know me.” She said, mocking

“Ohk..You are still angry…What do you mean by “You Still me” ??Come on!!Ok … next time I visit our hometown, Hyderabadi biryani and kewaab treat…from my side. Will that redeem my sins Ma’am?”

I heard her laughing. “Only half redemption. The other half will be redeemed only after ………..” she stopped.

“Only after what?” I asked

“ Wo baad me bolenge.Pehele tu Humare yaha aa.” She shouted

“Arrey but….I wont get holiday so easily yar..theres a new pro..”
She cut me short, “ I don’t want to hear anything. TUjhe anaa hai bash. Tujhe Arihant ko dekhna hai na?”

“Ha but mms ya email..”

“shut up. You are coming that’s it.” Her voice was decisive.

“Accha..umm…I will see if I can..”

“You have to come.”

“Accha theek hai…Ek hi to shaali hai Jiju ka! Face to face hi dekhenge. Tub hi mera pic mat dekhana..ok.. And ya…Milne par mein sab kuch shunungi…samjhi…Sab kuch..” I said, teasing her again

“Ok..fine fine…No problem…I will wait for your call.Inform karna kab aoogi.”

“I will. Chalo we had a long chat after such a long time!And thanks to my network today, it dint betray me”

“Haa Haa….Remember We would always hang up saying “Chaal yar…humari baat kabhi khatam nahi hogi..”

“Ya..and goodnight bolke fir chalu ho jate the” I said spontaneously

“Yes....Idiot! Itne diin…”

“I know…I was wrong. I am sorry buddy. I am really sorry” I said. There was no denying fact that compunction within me has run all these years. I wanted to get in touch with her. Especially , on that night. But somehow, dint. What I dint see was not only did I deprive myself, but her as well. And I felt really bad about it as it dawned on me.

“Hmm...Dekhte hai how sorry You are. 1week k andar.bata dena kab return karogi ..Chal ab phone rakti hu”

“Ya..Take care…and hey…Love you Buddy!” I said, it sounded a bit corny, yeah…Like a KJo film, but it came out voluntary

“Me too…Gadhi “ her tone was tender… “Take care"

(Enigma-2)

The university exam of 1st year had just got over that day. I was passing through Sir’s home when I decided to drop in, just for a casual visit. Sampurna Ma’am greeted me at the door.

“ How was your exams Indra?” Sampurna Ma’am asked softly, as she asked me to make myself comfortable.

“It was good Ma’am. Aniruddha Sir’s suggestion was bang on!” I said cheerful

She smiled and said “ You are good at literature. Suggestions are hardly required.”

“Thank You Ma’am” I said, as I felt myself blushing at her compliment.

“Please excuse me for a moment. I will come back in a while. “ Ma’am said as she got up I was about to say “ I will take your leave today “ as Sir was not there at home, but something kept me glued to the sit and I merely smiled and nodded as she left the room.

She came back after 5minutes or so, with a diary.” Umm…” She seemed hesitant, “ It’s a verse..That I wrote.” Ma’am said.

“Ohh You too write?” I said , enthusiastically

“Yes, at times. Will you read?” She asked,in a gentle voice.

“Well of course!” I said, As the put the coffee cup down and started flipping through the pages. There was not one but many short verses, and poems. I still particularly remember this Verse:

“ If you ever look inside the ridges of time,

You will see emotions bargained for a dime,

When The days gives into Nights,

Who will face the wrongs and rights?

There will be thousands of reasons known,

To shut forever; and be gone

Beyond the gravity, where darkness enthrone!

Do You see them Snuggled up and tight?

They are longing for a light!

For years, inside the pigeon hole

Rioting inside thy hollow soul.

Beneath this silver line ,costume,

Their shadows will, forever loom.”

Literature, is often compared to liquid. It has no form or model.It takes the form of the thoughts of “whoever” writes. There are some verses which forces You to muse over the issue. There are others which provides you an insight into an issue. This particular piece was like a teaser….Deliberately incoherent vague and incomplete , as if teasing the pallet… even after having consumed it fully…It left a lingering affect

It left me brooding. I could sense the source of such a verse. The source from where my thoughts originates. Other than what was apparent from the verse, pain and loneliness that is , there was a clear picture of a mind in dilemma, some long kept secrets waiting to tumble out.

I shot an unexpected question at her. “Why are you so lonely?”

No sooner did I say it, than I realized that I had crossed the territory. To my surprise, Sampurna Ma’am started laughing. I stared at her, blankly, trying to gauze what prompted her to react in that way.

When she stopped laughing, she looked at me questioningly and then asked “ How long has your dad and Mom been separated?”

It was now my turn to get shocked.! Was she a psychiatrist as well? How else would she know something that I have never mentioned, consciously or unconsciously?

“ How…How did you came to know that?” I found myself fumbling

“ Just the way you understood it…” She smiled, and then continued

“ Whenevr You narrated some write up to your Sir, I found a common feature in all your write ups. The male character was either absent, or its role was reduced to an insignificant character. At times the male character would have various grey shades which shows You have a particular grudge against men as a whole, isn’t it?” She stopped, expecting a reply, but I kept mum

“ Your poems often addresses a problem…but as it progress, it looses it track , and shifts its focus from the issue as a whole and centers around Individuals,….each of them Going through recurring emotional disturbances. Even your verses oozes out feminine emotions rather than that of masculine ones.”

I could not help but marvel at her prowess! Every word she spoke was true! She seemed to be penetrating the profound depth of the verses that I myself had not deliberated upon when I wrote them. Still, I tried to maneuver her judgment with an intentional lie

“ My mom isn’t separated. My dad passed away in my childhood.”

She burst out laughing, before I could even say something else.

“Oh Lord! Indra! You are trying to test me hmm?” she exclaimed, pretty amused.

My eyes was fixed on the floor, out of embarrassment, refusing to met her eyes.

She tried comforting me “ I dint mean to embarrass or hurt you. “ She paused for a while , before she started to speak again.”Prying into someone’s private life is inappropriate in every sense. But…I don’t consider you an outsider.”

I gave a furtive glance. It dint escape her eyes. Her voice sounded silky smooth.

“We can make great friends.”

Somehow…I knew it was never meant to remain confined to friendship.

(Original Sin 2)

“Why did You have to lie to me?” I asked him…astounded. The silence between us had seemed louder than 100 drums beating together. I had felt miserable then.

”ok…Stop…No more thinking on that line!” I reprimanded my brain.

But as Seconds dissolved into minutes,I don’t know when but I slipped back to the replay mood again…

It was Nusrat’s marriage…Humlogo me shadi lagi hi reheti hai. Wedding always served as a platform for get together of our family…the extended family.Nusrat was my maternal aunty’s elder daughter, so almost everyone from Mom’s side was present…Rubina aunty, Khalid uncle, Fardeen chachu, my other cousins,the lil ones …and Tahir..Some discussion was going on among us and I said something…something funny. Everyone broke in laughter….Tahir was sitting beside me. Without warning , he peaked my cheek abruptly, leaving me red faced.

A stream of light seeped through the curtains, waking me up. “oh God..! Again the same sort of dream!” I was still under the spell of the dream…It was something I had been seeing since last 8 years….the dreams would always feature Tahir and me…In some strangely intimate situations…insinuating my liking towards him. But I never thought them consciously, had never encouraged such thoughts…then how come they invaded my dreams?

Whenever I dreamt of him, there arose some conflicting emotions. I badly wanted to share it with somebody. But I dint like to share every single thing with everyone…not even my mom-dad. There was something that would stop me from confiding upon on someone. Once ,after much effort, I had mentioned it to Adrika, one of my friends in the group with whom the level of comfort was better than the others….She had ponderously said “ Seems to be love. Otherwise how else does it come back again and again. Besides, look at yourself. How much affected You get?”

“Affected?” I had chuckled, dismissing the idea. “Not at all”

She had smiled mysteriously and said “Had it not affected you strongly, You would not have been sharing this with me dear!”

It stuck a chord with me.. I always felt that Life had been good to me so far and the need to open up or share with some one dint really arose…till now that is. I was not averse to making friends….I had hoards of them. I just dint like coming out of my comfort zone. I personally felt there was Nothing much to bond over with others. Simply put, I was happy with my present life, apart from some minor glitches here and there. Wo sabki life me hoti hai

Therefore, I could not defy her logic. It was true that it affected me. Most of the times, those dreams would spoil my mood for the entire day and the mind would remain blank. I hardly got irritated or belligerent but I noticed that on those few occasions I would lose my cool and ended up in a sore mood.

The focus now shifted to Raigunj….It seemed to be like time-travelling….Flipping through some of the images from a period in past. I wanted to switch my thoughts from there to some other period or event but my mind seemed adamant.

It was Dasherra and we were at our Grandmom’s place, in Palanpur. Holidays served as a get away from the hackneyed routine : Late night chats, Picnics on terrace, fishing at the nearby ponds, a complete dose of entertainment !

Atif , the younger son of my elder aunt would make It big if he choose to be a stand up comedian…his antics were hilarious…He could imitate almost everyone! It was absolutely refreshing and we were enjoying every bit of it oblivious of the time at clock. The old clock stuck 4 when we realized it was almost dawn. “Raat to aise hi beet gayi…..” Farhaat aunty said. “Fazr ka waqt ho gaya…..Chalo….sab apne apne room…Namaz padhke thoda sho lete hai”.

The sky had started turning white…The chirping of birds filled the air slowly.

I completed reading Surah Fatiah and was about to go to bed when I heard a knock at the door. “Kaun hoga avi?”

My eye lids could not wait to meet each other….My bed was calling me...I reluctantly tiptoed and opened the door.

“Hey.!” A smiling face popped in.

“Tahir….Shona nahi hai kya?” I said, almost drowsily

“Not feeling sleepy. Sab sho gaye. So I thought tumse chit chat karu”

“Chit Chat”…..!! I rolled my eyes back..”Wow” ..I almost mocked him. “Come in.”

Everyone was fast asleep, Mom and my 2 aunts were at the corner most room. My brothers and other cousins in the room beside it. Uncles were in the room beside the drawing room. I was assigned a separate room because Mom was to stay here for a week and I had second semester right after the holidays so I used to study late night.

He sat comfortably on bed. I sat few inches away, near the pillow.

“So…How’s your studies going on?”

“Good”…”

Koi problems ho to batana ok?”

“Ya sure.”

“And baki sab?” I could understand that he was inevitably heading towards the “boy friend “ and “love” topic

“Baki sab thik thak” I said, Trying to cut him short

“Boyfriend shoyfriend hua?” He inserted the words quickly before I could change the topic

“what Boyfriend ha?” “I am not into it. Pure arrange marriage” I retorted

“You tell me..whats your girlfriends name?”

“My girlfriend?” he asked, as If bit surprised that I had shoot the question so randomly. I was not really sure if he even had a girlfriend … only meant to unnerve him a bit.

He stared at me for a second..and then said “ Zohra”

Now it was my turn to get surprised. “ so he had a girlfriend”. “ Zor ka jhatka dheere se lagna isiko kehete hai kya?” I smiled superficially. “Beautiful name” I said. I was not yet sure if I should really let it affect me because I was still confused regarding my feelings for him. Adrika would often say “ Remaining confused is your birth right Beta. Confusion runs parallel to your existence “ and would burst out laughing. “silly girl! Confused rehene me bhi maza hai!” I thought to myself. “At least devdas ki tarah heart break to nahi hota hai”

To..Where did You two meet?And how does she look like?” I asked him, out of curiosity.

“She is my MBA class mate”. “She is beautiful.” He said, tersely.

“Picture nahi hai?” I egged on him, feeling a sudden urge to see her.

“Net connection hai?” He asked

“Yes.” I was carrying the laptop as I would require it frequently.

I connected the net and he logged into Facebook. Browsing through his profile, he clicked on “Zohra The angel” .
“she is really beautiful” the words slipped out involuntarily out of my mouth.

I don’t know whether it was “ a lump near my throat “ or a “sting of envy” but I felt something inside my heart which did not fit in the bracket of “good feeling”. Sometimes its so difficult to articulate your emotions and reactions; even if you rack your brain and try putting it through the choicest words in your vocabulary.

As it is I am not expressive or good at words, I gave up trying to analyze or dissect the cacophony of feeling going inside me.

He spoke about what she liked and what her favorite subjects were and how well she understood him…I listened to him not because I wanted to know about her, but because he wanted to share. There was a constant discord going on inside my mind simultaneously. Did I like him?Or was it love? Two dimensionally opposite arguments were at cross roads which further clouded my senses.

We talked for another half and hour before I drifted off to sleep

(C.S 3)

“Hey!!” Mandy got up from the chair. “Bear Hug” as they say, That’s what she gave me. “It feels great to see you after So long” She said.

I found myself so overwhelmed, that I could not speak for a moment. Why did I stay away from her?

“I don’t know ….how to express this…but it feels like am in seventh heaven!” I said. Then, sensing that Arihant was missing, I asked her, “where is he?”

“He will come. In half an hour.”

I gave her a mock stern look. “Wah. Is he always late like this?”

“Na re…Actually it was my fault.I asked him to come by 8 . Tujhse itni din baad mil rahi hu na…bohut baatein karni hai.!” Her voice was filled with excitement.

“Hmm…So…What do I call him? Jij, Arihant, ya Bhaiya?” Ya simply wohi jo school me decide kiye the?”

“50-50?!” “. He doesn’t look like one. “ She said laughing out loud

I had this strange logic( which I find stupid now) that if a guy has soft nature, then his feminine hormones are dominant and hence he is a 50-50. Since Mandy’s definition of Mr. Perfect needed such sort of a guy, I had decided to call him so.

“Hey you haven’t shown him my picture na?” I asked her, to confirm

“No..Tune mana kia tha na?”

“Yes…! Live dekhege!hee hee”

Our conversation meandered from school, to college to work…and Arihant.

“You know this is our favorite place to dine” Mandy said

“Ye? “ “but it doesn’t have a Privy chamber…darling “ I said, insinuating at something wicked

“When we are together, time hops away my dear.” I could see her eyes glimmering.

“Ahaa..” I pulled her legs.”Kaise kaise?”

“We are like Tom and jerry…constantly getting on each other. He has a great sense of humor. But sometimes, his practical jokes really gets on my nerves.And you know what I like the best In him? His nature…He is an altruist. He just can’t tolerate someone getting hurt, be it his family or friends or be it a stranger. There is this hardcore professional Arihant who doesn’t take “No” for an answer and a soft hearted, vulnerable Arihant, who cares about every minute details in a relation”

I felt really happy for her. There was contentment, bliss…I could see it in her eyes.

I nodded appreciatively, listening intently to her.

“He is gentle, so to say, apart from one thing …He is so possessive about me, You know…and I actually like it…To have someone to whom I mean so much..To have someone in this big world who belongs only to me.”

“You are making me impatient to meet with him. “ I said, dying to see this man who had won over Mandy totally.

“ataa hi hoga.” She said, checking her watch.

“Ane do..sab secrets bataungi tera.”

“Ha bolna..Mein bhi bolungi..terewale ko..”

“Avi aya kaha hai!”..”Wo..”

“Hi”, Our chit chat was interrupted by a polite voice.

“Here he is” Mandy said, getting up.
I turned back to see a tall lanky man standing, hands extended for a handshake.

As I saw his face, for a second, I wondered “Was it him?” As my eyes met his eyes, I saw a flash of recognition in his eyes too…and pain.

“You?” I said, in abhorrence.

He stood there like a wax statue, his eyelids still.

Perplexed, Mandy asked me “ You all know each other?”

( E-3)

The cell had been vibrating for a while. It was my wife calling

“Ha bolo..Na na Kothaye.! I am stuck In the airport.Flight is delayed by 3 hours. Ha kore debo phone..ok..Raklam”

Cholo Indrada, Onek deri hoye gelo . Its evening , we should start for the burning ghat now” Subrata’s voice interrupted my thoughts.

I got up wearily. “Where is Aniruddha Sir?” I asked, before my eyes rested on him, seated on the floor, gazing at the body, as if in trance state.

I touched him gently, “Sir..Uthun ebar…Its time “ He looked at me ,like a baby , and got up, mechanically.

“Are You happy with Aniruddha Sir?” I had asked her one day. She was tapping on the screen of her cell phone. “ Unwanted telemarketing calls can be so irritating na?” She suddenly asked

“How is that relevant to my question?” I snapped back, then instantly realized it was relevant. It was her typically subtle way of saying “ Stay away from my personal life”

Personal? Hadn’t it crossed that boundary long ago? Still I restrained to make any further comments.

It would still keep poking me. What was “it?” Wasn’t Sir indifferent? There was something missing..Or was it my imagination? Sometimes mind takes vicarious pleasure in misdirecting one’s thought and creating a surreal image of something, which doesn’t really exist. “perceptions. Maybe that’s how it is” I said to myself. But that nagging feeling never left me.

“ What was missing? Everything was fine…Both of them ideally fitted for each other..Perfect foil to each other.....It was a good relation…But somehow…one particular element was missing..”

I was in 1st year of masters. I would still visit Sir’s house sometimes. He was busy writing another novel. I had guarded myself all this years..emotions when unbound, are hard to tame. And I just dint want that. I tried keeping away from her, whenever I visited Sir’s house. But that dint let it subside. I knew It was there.

Sir would often ask me to come and visit him or Sampurna. “Oh to eka thake…Bore hoye..Tumi majhe majhe eso”

It irritated me. But I obliged him. Sometimes I used to drop in while returning from college. We whiled away time by discussing on various topics, politics , economy, literature. One day, I had casually asked her how did she chanced upon Aniruddha Sir.

“His writing drew me towards him. He Is a phenomena!” She said, her eyes glimmering, like that of an excited fan speaking about her ideal. A tinge of envy, briefly.

I had noticed It before, no, it could not be a mistake. There was a hidden turbulence, inside the veneer of that sophistication, there was restlessness beyond that calm eyes, there was a rising upheaval, underneath the murmurs of delicacy.

It was 2nd year of my Masters and I had already started preparing for exams for job. I was hard pressed for time. Its been ages since I had last visited Anirudda Sir’s House.

One day suddenly I got a call from Sampurna. “Hello..Can you come to my house now?” I could not sense anything from her voice.

“Ok.” I said casually. I had no idea what that night was beholding for me.

As she opened the door, I saw her face. “Was I seeing her ghost? !” for a moment, I stood at the door, wandering. “Where was the usual Sampurna? Poised, elegant , demure. She seemed to be a rush. She pulled me inside the slammed the door.

I was still recovering from shock. That unrest , that upheaval that had silently been gaining momentum all this years, seemed close to eruption. Now. At this moment.

“What,….What is wrong Sampurna?” I stammered, As she pulled me close to her, “Tumi amake Bhalobaso, tai na?”

I was flabbergasted. I stared at her, askance.’

Bolo…Chup kore accho keno?Bolo” she beseeched

“Ha…Tumi to…Jano..” I struggled to speak.
“Have you ever fantasized about me?” She spoke, shamelessly. As if it wasn’t Sampurna, as if someone had cast a spell on her.

“Ma…mane?” I flushed red.

“Listen Indra.! I want to know it. Forget whats right whats wrong.Tell me ! Have You fantasized about me? Has the prospect of being alone with me ever enticed you? ” She demanded, screaming

“Ha..Korechi..Ekbar noye bar bar”. I said, my voice trembling.

“What….How? Bolo..? Have I ever excited You?” She was pleading with me.

“Ha. Everythig about you…excites me…the way you talk, the way you walk...”

“R..?” she was pushing me

“ I….I want You Sampurna!” I exclaimed, cutting across all the inhibitions, culture.

She recoiled …. Silence

I felt I was at the end of the world.”How could I say this!” I thought I had..…I ..dint know it was so fiercely intense.

I turned back to say I was leaving..But…What was that?
She had undressed.

I stood there, frozen. She came near me, clasped my hands and said “ Forget who You are…forget who I am…Imagine it was the time of creation..There Is no one but You and me..Adam..and Eve. Just feel what You Wanted to feel, through all these years.”

I found myself admiring her body. It had surreptitiously came and taken hold of my reasons. I was stranded in the twilight zone..Reasons , logics , thinking exists when there is mental equilibrium. At that moment, I had lost it. I surrendered myself to the moment.

Her thirst was unquenchable. She was like a caged beast , tasting her newfound freedom. Repeatedly . It was not about me. It was about her. I drowned myself to the feeling, letting her take the charge and do whatever she wanted. It was unimaginable, uninhibited, endless.

When dawn was breaking in, She kissed me softly and said “Thank You “ before we both drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up, Sampurna was not in bed. I was still basking in the vortex of sensations that ran through me last night.

When Sampurna came inside the room I beamed a smile at her. There was no coyness, instead her temerity stunned me. “Its morning Indra. Get up. You have to leave na..?” I casted a puzzled look at her. I could not match the two fa

..?” I casted a puzzled look at her. I could not match the two faces, so diametrically opposite to each other. It was only last night!

“Forget it like a dream.” She said, harshly. The feeling was just not sinking in. It was dissonance.. confusing feelings. Smooth, soft , intense..and now …So harsh, rugged, rude

I was about to say something when she slammed the door on my face. I felt a hot wave rising around my ears, just like the last night. As I started walking towards my house, I discovered it wasn’t like last night. The heat rising around my ear…It was due to an emotion called “Humiliation”


I looked at the digital clock, In the lounge. “Na…ekhono onek ta time baki. Let me get a coffee”

I was sipping a cup of coffee, while Sir was drinking ,seated nearby me.

It was 11.30 at night. Sir’s neighbor, few relative and students had left an hour ago. I decided to stay with Sir that night.

He was an epitome of a broken man..Leaning on the couch, he tossed one glass after another, lost in thought.

I finally said “ Sir..r na..Onek hoyeche.

(O.S 3)

It was the last day of the second semester and I felt like unwinding a bit. So I went out with my friends. There was no predetermined plan. We landed up in the Zoo.

Most people would find it Crazy because it was hardly a place to relax. Par humlog aise hi the.

While my friends were busy feeding the animals or clicking away pictures, I stretched out on the nearby bench and tuned on some trance music. Two birds sitting inside the cage were feeding on grains that Sreemanti was throwing inside the cage. Adrika tried doing the same, at first offering them grains, then piece of fruits. But they paid no heed to her. She tried gaining their attention for quite some time before finally giving up. She came and sat beside me

“What happened?” “Birds ko tumhare hath se khana pasand nahi?” I said, pulling her leg.

“Naa…Seems so.” She curtly said.” Why are you sitting here lazy legs?”

“Nothing…just like that.”

She shoot a quick glance at me, inquisitively and then turned away, looking pensive.

“You know what Neha…What are the root cause of mental disturbances or conflicts? Lies..Whether somebody tells that to us, or we tell that to ourselves. Everything else revolves around it”

“What exactly are you trying to mean?” I I said, getting impatient , because I knew she was trying to drop subtle hints which just dint work with me.

“I mean to say we spend a major part of our life remaining confused, which leads to disturbance, illusions, frustrations. But why do we really remain confused? “ She stopped, and looked into my eyes

“Because we don’t know the truth aur kya” I said, hardly convinced by her arguments.

“No babes…Its because we don’t want to know the truth. We tend to move away from truth although it resides deep inside us., isn’t it? “ she gave me a knowing smile.

Her words seemed like trickles of rain water, slowly percolating deep inside the ground, although I was struggling to understand her words to the entirety.

Some wise man was right to say Truth exists, only lies are invented “ Adrika said, before getting up.

“And how to know the truth?”I asked her, trying to remove the veil of confusion that obscured my vision

“ How to Know the truth?” she paused again. After some minutes, she asked me abruptly

“ Will You ever let him go if you knew You loved him?”.

“Yes”. I said, without a second thought. She was looking into my eyes attentively when I answered.

“A mirror. That’s how you will know the truth.” She smiled again, which miffed me a bit. “I was asking for help. ..She seems to be joking.” That’s Why I don’t like to share.

“Anyways lets go. Evening is approaching.” I said, little disappointed at the fact that it remained unsolved.

“Wait..Neha” Adrika said. That mysterious smile still playing on her lips. “Why would you let him go if You loved him?”

What a silly question! “Obviously because his happiness is more important then mine”

She kept looking at me. “what……Why are you giving me that look?” I asked her, perplexed. “arrey if he loved someone else then why would I…?”
“When did I say “IF “ he loved somebody? I only asked Would you let him go if you loved him”, there was a triumphant smile on her face and I knew I had let it slip.

“Whats her name?” she asked

I was looking down, on the ground. An ant hill was nearby the bench. The ants were headed there as the day end was nearing.

“Zohra”

“I see” She seemed least interested on her as she shifted the question. As if “Zohra the entity dint exist at all. “so..As I was asking..Why is his happiness important for you?”

“ Arrey….Sabka happiness matter karta hai yar….Its not just about me.”

“I am asking about him. Why is his happiness important to you?”She was pushing me.

“ Why?” “Ajjeeb sawal hai. Arrey wo khush rehega to mein bhi…….”

“Would you ever repent if you had to let him go?”

“No’. “His happiness is all that matters. So if it makes him happy, No I wont repent, Sabke bade me sochna padta hai yar.”

Stepping closer , she almost whispered to me “Why does his happiness is all that matters to you Neha,

“ I don’t know” I shrugged.

“ Would you have been happy if it was just a liking …or if it was love?” I dint notice her expression , but her voice seemed to come from some distant place.

He belonged to someone else….So…perhaps..It would be better if I only liked him and not love him….I thought..Adrika was looking at me with an expression which was incomprehensible to me.

I kept quiet for some moments that seemed eternity trying to understand her question. And then……His smiling face appeared in front of me and the vagueness started to wane finally.

…………………


© Copyright 2018 sushme89. All rights reserved.

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