These days, I find myself swooning over lazy afternoon naps. I may have found a strange solace in the cruel lucidity of my dreams. Well, it’s strange how sleep is my refuge in ‘our’ memories, away from the worn relics.

So, this afternoon, after I was done meandering in my beautiful dreams, I woke up…

I woke up to the taste of honey, dancing at the tip of my tongue.

An hour later, I stood there, with hot pancakes piled over my plate and the memoirs of my peaceful sleep hanging down my lashes. Warm soul hugging-fragrance of pancakes bathed in the gleaming yellows of honey… and that is how I paint winter on a white plate of bone china.

The glass jar sat in a lonely corner of the mahogany table, basking under hushed shadows of the evening twilight. Sliding into a chair, I grabbed a spoon and unscrewed the lid.

First spoon…

Second spoon…

And the third one to waltz on its way, from the tip of my tongue to the cusp at its end.

And… Ahhh! It stung! I gagged at the bitterness, stomped the plate against the table and then leaned back in my chair, frowning at the sugary scam that just stabbed me in my throat.

Right in front of my house, there is an old Sheesham tree. It has been there for years now and I wonder if it has ever heard me cry in the silence of lonely midnights… for, when I wake up to the dawns of such nights, I find some wilted leaves mourning at the ground underneath and the tree feels a little naked without them.

Four years ago, I walked up to it and drew a heart against your name, with the tip of my finger. Oh! Don’t worry, no one came to know… but, now when I walk past that well-kept secret…

The wind blows;

Leaves rustle;

And I look at the tree and sigh back… We have a language of our own.

I mean… of course, it has seen it all! From that dreamy smile, when you walked past that door for the first time… to that sly spark in my eyes, when our lips touched; from those quiet questions that yearned to leave my lips, when you left the door frowning… to that lonely sigh when you didn’t choose to return.

I am afraid… it knows way too much for comfort! I might have failed to hide the piercing hatred my eyes spat in the last four years.

I am afraid that the tree breathed in the poison of my rage, flowers wilted in the ruthless fire of my pain and some lost bees took that nectar away…

I am afraid… that those broken pieces of my heart burnt in my throat today… I am afraid that you left our story behind… and it lives here with me… I am afraid!

We live in a lost world.
We are wanderers, miserable vagabonds!
We feed on anger and breathe out fires, then cry at the sight of burnt cities and homeless hearts.
We gulp tears and our eyes bleed, then we frown at the sight of spilled gore.
We smoke ashes, bathe in swamps, wear mere shreds of envy and then flaunt our prides.
Such is our foolery.
And, in a world as lost as ours, we dream of love and preach its beauty.
Sing it to glory.
I believe; hiding behind our quest for bliss, we are at strife for a ‘home’.
Enraged by our solitude and grieving our nostalgia…we are demons!
We are demons, hiding behind a charming bouquet of scented paper roses.
We hawk those flowers and break inside the deserted hearts of our patrons, vowing to fill their void with nectar and honey.
But….
We are hungry bandits!
We rob them off their peace and leave them to suffer in the torment of heartbreak.
Dear ‘home’,
I know; I know that you are lost in this pack of howling misers and you fear the day when you will have to wake up… to the nightmare of a shattered heart and an empty soul.
I know; I know that you want to find your ‘home’, as much as I want to find you.
But… what assures you, that our greed won’t take over and we won’t abandon each other, as soon as we catch our breathes and the sores on our feet stop oozing blood?
What assures you, that our ‘forever’ won’t be just another voice in the piercing cacophony of lies and that our ‘happy ending’ will not abide to the taunting title of ‘crippled rainbows and fantasies’?
Dear ‘home’,
Don’t you fret the horror… It may be lying at the end of our quests?
Isn’t ‘homelessness’ a bliss, when the walls of your abode chase the daylight out of your life?
With love,
From the ‘home’ that you may never find.

Have you ever stared down the demonic depths of a dingy abyss?

Or

Have you ever felt that sudden urge to resign…when those dark eyes of lucid heights call you?

If not… then allow my words,
To take you,
Through the tranquilizing horror,
And the anxiety-ridden silence,
Of that moment.

That moment when life knocks you down,
You hit your head on the cold and rough floor;
The world goes dead;
Your feet go numb;
Your eyes meet the dark;
And your ears…
Your ears embody those maniacs,
Who talk to the hushed nights
And claim to have learnt the secrets of life.
Those maniacs might be poets!!

Anyhow…

That moment, my friend…
Can be the death of your soul.
That moment, my friend…
Can bequeath you with scars…so deep;

So deep…
That an artist won’t shy away before carving them onto a stone and shouting out loud,

“Has the world ever seen a carve so abstract?”

You… my friend,
Will be standing in that crowd of mute spectators,
About to raise your hand to claim that,

“This is the relic to my crippling agony!”

But…
Those words will never leave your lips;
Your teeth will bite your tongue before it sins to let them out!

Why?

Because…
When you take your pain and pour it onto those words;
When those words escape your mouth and reach some ears;
Then… your pain comes to life;

It becomes your “Forever”!

The night smothered you,
With the smoke that rose above,
The burnt remains
Of your tender heart.

Now…
Now, your lungs ache,
Your guts lie,
Tied in knots,
Churning,
Wringing your life out of you.

Coiled like a foetus,
Drenched in tears,
Is that you?
Who carved these scars
Deep… in the tenders of your skin.
Is that a memoir
To your unworthy sin?

Pulling your hair,
Clenching your jaw,
Is that you?
Who strangled that beauty,
Over the rotting remains,
Of the fantasy of a paradise?

I know…
I know my friend,
You’ve waited for the dawn…
Like the staunch nightingale,
Waits for the last of the amber,
To fade away.

Don’t you fall prey,
To your bouts of fear!
Don’t you dare concede,
To the taunts,
Blurted by the deadly demons,
Of your crippling anxiety…!

For…
The dawn mustn’t shine
On your grave….

Fallacy…

When I walked through….

I pushed the door aside and rested my foot on the ground, in hopes of finding fresh and young grass, waiting for me, excited to tingle the sole of my feet!

I pushed the door aside and took a deep breath, in hopes of finding a sweet and flowery scent, waiting for me, excited to warm my heart!

I pushed the door aside and slowly opened my eyes, in hopes of adoring the beauty of nature, waiting for me, excited to calm my senses!

But…I found myself standing in the middle of spiny scrubs, thorns piercing through the sole of my feet; the rotten smell filled my heart with agony; the carcass that made me feel eerie!

They said… this was, once, a paradise!
They said… they are sorry for not showering it with love!

My heart cried for the forgotten paradise!
My soul wailed for the bereaved hearts!

Click here to read chapter-10.

Alex slowly opened his eyes as he woke up from a long night’s sleep. His head was slightly hurting and he felt a little dizzy because of the influence of all the medicines. It took a while before he completely gained his consciousness. He looked around in hopes of finding Stella in his room, but she wasn’t there.

“Must have gone back to take rest!”

He said to himself as he smiled. Someone knocked on his door.

“Come in!”

A tall man, probably in his late twenties, entered the room.

“Yes?” A sudden fear struck Alex as he saw him.

“Hi! Alex! I am John, Stella’s boyfriend!”

Alex’s frown eased as he heard that and a small, welcoming smile took its place.

“Oh! Hi! Nice to meet you! I am sorry….”

“No! Don’t be sorry! I can totally understand! After that fight, you must have been very scared of every other stranger!”

“Yeah!” Alex smiled and nodded in agreement…then an awkward silence took abode in the room. Alex started playing with his fingers, giving away his restlessness. John sensed that.

To lighten the air and start a conversation, he asked, “Would you mind if I take that chair and sit beside your bed?”

“No! Please make yourself comfortable!”

“Thanks!”

He helped himself with the chair and sat beside Alex. There was an unforeseen change in Alex’s expression. A thought dawned over him, “If John is in the town then Stella might have gone to complete the formalities to sell the house.” Alex panicked for a second but then he took a long deep breath and came back to his senses.

“Hey, John! I am feeling a little uneasy; will you please call the nurse for me?”

“Yeah! Sure!”

John left the room to find the nurse. Meanwhile, Alex got up from his bed and reached for the phone in his room taking support from tables and chairs as they came in his way. Tripping over a few times, Alex finally managed to reach the phone, he picked up the receiver and dialed Stella’s number.

“The number you have dialed is either switched off or not reachable at the moment….”

Alex slammed the receiver on the table. “NO! NO! NO! Alex you can’t let this happen! I need to do something.”

Alex walked towards the door to inspect any signs of John coming back. He was nowhere around. Alex made his way out of the room into the corridor and started to walk towards the exit of the hospital.

“Alex!”

John called from behind. Alex stopped dead at his spot. John ran towards him and put his arm around the shoulder to support him.  “What happened? You should go and take rest!”

With a snap, Alex pulled back his arm. The force knocked Alex off his feet and he fell down.

“Alex!”

John quickly kneeled down to pick him up. “Alex, stop behaving like a kid! Tell me, where do you want to go? I will take you there!”

“John! Take me to Stella! Quick! We don’t have much time!”

“She has gone back to take rest! What’s so urgent?”

“Have you both sold the house already?”

“NO! Some formalities are yet to be completed! Why?”

Alex eased down; he gave out a deep sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. The fact that the house wasn’t sold yet was a big relief! But…But Alex needed to stop Stella before it was too late. “John! Don’t ask questions! Just take me to Stella!”

The urgency in Alex’s voice prompted John to be quick on his feet. He quickly took Alex to the car, helped him in and drove off to the house. Within no time, they were at their destination.

John helped Alex get off the car and took him towards the front door, but before they could have gone any further, Alex held John back.

“Do you hear those voices?”
Alex peeked into the front yard and pulled himself back immediately, his hand covering his mouth to imprison the cry of long-wished joy. He couldn’t believe what he just saw. He couldn’t believe that Stella and her parents were together, sitting in the front yard of their house, looking like a family.

“Is that all related to the….”

“Art gallery!” Stella’s mom intervened and then continued, “When you went away, our life felt empty. Drought doomed over our happiness. Every day, every single moment that we spent breathing felt like a pilgrimage to seek you back….” Emma pushed back her tears, the tears begged for freedom, “The only thing that brightened your father’s day was his art… he spent night and day, working on his paintings. He missed the court proceedings, his client lost their cases, his reputation as a lawyer started fading away and eventually new cases stopped coming in.”

Stella took her mother’s hands in her own as she fought with her own tears, “…eventually, our financial condition started declining, we came under debt, and everything…everything became so difficult. Your father started his own art gallery in hopes of being able to do something about the situation. He used the basement of the house to set up the gallery. By god’s grace, he was even able to secure good deals for his paintings but as soon as the lenders got to know about the hefty price that we were being paid for the paintings, they planned to smuggle them away and started trading on them. All those people who you came across with in the past few days were the landlords and the money lenders. God bless Alex, he has been protecting us against them since years. We decided to not tell you about any of this so that you can be at peace in your world.”

“Then why did you transfer the house in my name? You could have sold it and paid back the debt!”

“A life drowned under debt is much more comfortable than a life spent yearning for the memories of our beloved daughter. We were in debt but selling this house would have rendered us poor.”

Alex and John didn’t even realize when they entered the yard while listening to the conversation.

Stella opened her mouth to say something but she ditched her words when she saw them.

“Alex! John!”

After getting to know about her parents’ feelings for the house, will Stella still be able to sell it? How will her calling affect her relationships? What new turn will her life take now?Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through…..”Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.

 

 

Fallacy…

The day showered last of its sheen upon the world as flakes of snow descended from the heavens above. The landscape around was a vast stretch of snow, a white blanket as far as the eye could see. The road that I was following was like a sharp knife cutting through the blanket.

Tall trees stood on either side of my path. They were covered in snow…concealed under a cold white mask.

There was silence but not peace. The air was tense, taut enough to wring out bravery out of the bravest. It was the calm before the storm. I needed shelter!

As I continued on my path, exploring my surroundings for a safe refuge, my eyes fell upon a cottage. My happiness knew no bounds. I rushed through the woods, as fast as I could, but…but as I approached further, I noticed!

I noticed that a woman stood behind the window, as if she had been waiting for me since an eternity, as if she knew that I would come.

Her eyes were glowing; a strange fire was burning in them, a fire so hypnotic that you could even get lost watching it.

A light snow flake landed on my nose. I looked around, realizing that the storm had already begun. Winds were howling like hungry wolves. I braced myself to run as fast as I could. I had to reach the shelter!

But….as I turned towards it, I saw that the cottage was ablaze, fire eating it up, an epitome of the flames in the woman’s eyes.

She was still standing there. I looked in her eyes to question her intent. Light from the flames revealed her face.

She was ME! Me?

She gave me a crooked smile and left me to suffer in the storm.

My mind burned the last bit of love in my heart and left my heart to suffer in the storm of hatred!

Across the Fire….

When I walked through….

My eyes were squinting as I stood under the blazing afternoon Sun. My brow was frowned, lined with sweat. My legs were limping from all the fatigue; and my mind was full of chaos…chaos of the fight between the heart and the brain, between passion and sanity! The path ahead of me was forked!

I stood there, betrayed by the journey that I had embarked upon. It asked me questions that I never promised to answer, gave me scars that I never wished to embrace…made me choose my soul against the world or…the world against my soul!

In front of me, was the horizon…the unsung liar! The one who had sung to me the lies of this world, the fallacy of life…the one who tricked me, deceived me to believe the love story of the serene sky and the jovial Earth and how they come together in the end…the one who made me fantasize a life where I wouldn’t have to choose between parts of my own being!

But Alas! I stood there, waiting for life to tear me apart!

Click here to read chapter-8

Stella was standing in front of the door of her house. She clutched her bag in her arms. Her heart was scared, scared of the storm ahead! She looked at the door knob, the sole hindrance between her and her parents, the last wall between her and her dreams; or the last thread holding her family together.

She took a deep breath and twisted the knob. The door opened into the living room. Its decor inspired by the early nineties. The brown color of the walls pushed the room even farther away in time. Her father was sitting in the armchair, reading newspaper and holding his coffee in his left hand. While her Mom, she was in the kitchen. There was a faint aroma of freshly baked bread in the house.

The commotion in the doorway attracted her father’s attention. He was now looking towards her from behind his newspaper, his lips graced with a wide and sunny smile. The smile dawned over his wrinkles, making them look like the engravings of some old and celebrated monument.

That precious smile made Stella feel weak in the knees. Somewhere deep in her heart she knew that today was the farewell of the serenity in this paradise.

The conquest of chasing dreams was despised in her family since the day Stella lost her elder brother to his blazing ambitions.

She knew that her parents would never be convinced on letting her travel the same path.

Her father gave her a welcoming smile.

“Hi dear! How was your day?”

“My day was great dad! What about yours?”

“Well, my day was nothing less than exhausting!” he giggled and motioned her to sit on the near-by sofa.

She forced a smile on her face and sat there.

“So are you planning any trip after your graduation? Come on! You have hardly ever gone on a trip with your friends. Learn to have some fun Stella!”

“Actually, that is a great idea!”, exclaimed her mom as she entered the living room with some freshly baked loaves of bread. She placed the bread on the table and continued, “You should plan a nice relaxing trip with your friends. You have been studying the whole year, you need a vacation! Just look at you, you look exhausted!”

She hugged Stella from behind as she said this. Stella placed her hand gently on her mom’s arm and pressed it in reassurance with a plastered smile on her face.

She wanted to smile genuinely, but a fog of doubt and fear surrounded her happiness. It had been an entire week since she received her call letter from New York. Her application was accepted in an elite course in journalism.

She coiled back her fingers giving in to the questions in her brain, closed her eyes and then loudly announced in a single breath.

“I want to go to New York to pursue journalism! I know that you might not welcome my choice…but….I truly want to chase my dreams and ambitions! I know, whatever my brother had to go through was very unfortunate. It was unfortunate that he decided to end his life because he could not be successful in his endeavors…but …all that does not mean that even I will meet the same fate! Please, just give me one chance!”

For a moment, there was complete silence. No one spoke further. Stella mustered up her courage and opened her eyes in hopes of witnessing the light of agreement in her parents’ eyes, but rather she saw sternness.

Her parents looked at each other and then looked back at her. In a monotonous tone, her father said, “NO!” Then he got up from his chair and gave Stella a final look of disapproval before he exited the room!

Stella turned to face her mother. “Mom?” She gave her a sad nod and went back to the kitchen.

Stella saw her worst fears see the light of the day in that moment. She clutched her bag even tighter, rushed to her room and closed the door. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she leaned her forehead against the door and cried for the rest of the night.

“Stella!”John gently stroked her hair, abruptly pulling her out of her thoughts.

Stella was still hugging John. That hug reminded her of the first day, when they met. The wounds of her heart were still red then; she was broken, lonely, distressed; she dreaded her fate. The fort of her life was standing on a single fragile and decaying pillar, and just when the onlookers predicted its demise, John came there like a savior! Not only did he hold the roof when it was about to fall, but he also mended the cracks that time left on the withering pillar.

Reminiscence of the memories of their togetherness lit up Stella’s face. She lifted up her head from his shoulder and looked into his eyes, smiling from behind her tears. John smiled back.

“Excuse me, Sir!”

John and Stella looked towards the door to find their lawyer standing there. They immediately broke apart from the hug, their faces still flushed with pink.

Their lawyer, a man in his late forties, gave away a mocking grin to applaud the scene. He coughed and regained his composure.

“Hello, Ms. Stella! How are you?”

“I am fine…How are you?”

“I am fine too…. and I promise that you are going to feel even better when I break the good news to you!”

He said as he beamed with pride!

“What good news?”

“I have completed all the paperwork required for the deal. You just have to sign on the dotted line and you will be done with that property!”

Those words stung Stella in her heart like a thousand needles.

“So soon….You said that you needed more time! John?”

“It has been three days Stella!”

Because of all the events that took place in the last three days, Stella completed lost the track of time.

“Three days?” she looked at her phone. It had indeed been three days.

“Stella, I think you should go back, freshen up and relax a bit. I am here, I will take care of Alex and all the paperwork! You can come back later to complete rest of the formalities!”

“Yeah! I think you are right!”

She excused herself out of the room. The way back home was crowded with thoughts. It was Stella, who wished to sell the house, she wanted to move on in life, wanted to leave all the agony behind…. but her stay in the town, her father’s letter, meeting Alex…all of that changed her…. now she wanted her family back!

She reached home and stood in front of the door for a while. It was the last time that she would be entering her house. This thought shook her soul.

After a while, she pushed the door open and entered the living room. It felt like her childhood was coming back to life once again. A bittersweet smile dawned on her face.

She went around the room, picking up every single article, trying to relive every single memory….just then….the door bell rang!

It confused her. No one was expected to visit her. She rushed to the window to identify the visitor.

“Mom! Dad!”

Will Stella be able to face her parents? Which way will her story turn now?Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through”. Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.

 

 

 

Click here to read chapter-7

Stella stood there, in the middle of her room, holding a picture, a pleasant picture of her parents and her…….picture of a time when there was peace , no fight over dreams, no fight over rights, no tears, no sorrow!

There were too many noises in her brain, too much to be able to listen to any one of them. It seemed as though she was standing in the middle of a desert……her mouth was dry; her brow was frowned, sweat trickled down her neck. She felt as if all the blood in her body has rushed to her brain, it seemed as though her body foresaw the war and its qualms before Stella could have even thought about it!

There was a tension in the air, taut enough to be able to break every axe that came to cut it! For the first time in her life, Stella heard silence cry and wail…..it pierced through her ears. She tried to swallow the saliva in her mouth, it was thick, very thick…. she almost choked on it.

The picture that she held in her hands was the first attack of the war, straight on her heart, salt for her wounds! Her heart beat went very high; she was scared for her life. Her pulse was rising, higher….and higher…..higher enough for her to hear it, it ringed in her ears. Her heart was begging for help, warning her for the storm, telling her not to step outside!

She was boiling, as though she had the worst fever ever known and then…..she felt cold, as cold as ice, frighteningly cold. For a second she wondered if she was still alive. Scared, she immediately kept the picture back.

It was hard for her to face her parents, even in a picture! Those smiles added fuel to the fire of her guilt!

She shook her hands, rubbed them against each other and then rubbed them on her face and her eyes. Closing eyes was not scary for her now, the world outside was as dark as the world within!

She picked up the picture for the last time, hugged it and then kept it back without looking at it. Those smiles could have tied her down but she strived to be free! She picked her bag and started towards the window but stopped dead at her spot….turned back and then looked at every single thing in her room. It was not just a glance, she wanted to record every single detail, capture it with her eyes. Her room was special, it had seen a lot…..it had seen her cry, laugh, break down, then pick up her own pieces to fix herself and then move forward. Here, she was looking at it for the last time; she knew that she will never be back! She looked at everything, closed her eyes to picture it in her mind, gave a deep sigh, and then opened her eyes again to bid it a smiley goodbye. Her eyes were already teary; the smile appeared like a rainbow formed on a very gloomy sky!

She then rushed back to her window and escaped, without ever looking back!

“Emergency! Emergency!”

The noise immediately caught Stella’s attention. She was lost so deep in her memories that it took her a few minutes to realize that she was in a hospital for the treatment of her friend and that seven years have already passed since the night she eloped! Her eyes fell upon the letter in her hands….just a piece of paper but felt as heavy as a huge metal boulder. She swallowed her saliva; it was just as thick as that night, tainted with her guilt, enough to choke her!

With a very scared heart, she started to read,

“Dear Stella,

It has been a while, I know! I know that I should have tried to reach you sooner! I know that I should have never allowed our relationship to stoop to this level in the first place! I know that you deserved the right to explore the world with your own perspective …. but …..alas! I don’t know why I tried to stop you then!

When I was young, my mom always used to teach me about the importance of nurturing relationships with love.  She used to tell me that a relationship is like a piece of glass, you heat it with the warmth of your love, give it some time and then mould it into a vial. This vial contains your guilt, sorrow, happiness, failures, achievements, flaws and beauty. The more love that you provide it; the larger it grows, holding more and more parts of your life. But, if you lose your patience, become greedy and try to stretch it forcefully without giving it the love and time that it deserves, it breaks, spilling all that it once held, and you….you end up losing a huge part of yourself. Since the night you left, her words have been a hymn for me!

But, I am not writing this letter to dwell on the past, I am writing it to inform you about something very important, something that I am guilty of…..”

The paper was torn after that. She was trying very hard to hold back her tears, her lips were twitching. She felt helpless, ran her fingers against the torn end of the paper, hoping to read whatever was left unsaid, turned the paper and found something more….

“I am sorry, Stella! I know that I should have told this to you earlier, but…I just could not find the courage in myself!

I know that I have disappointed you, sorry again. Maybe I do not deserve an apology but please try to grant me one if you can.

Miss you!

Your loving father,

David.”

Stella could not hold her tears back! A stream trickled down her cheeks. She missed her father too! She wanted to meet him, hug him, tell him that she has already forgiven him and say sorry for giving him so much pain. She wanted to say so much, hear even more, wanted to be that loving daughter again. I wish she knew where he was!

A hand came on Stella’s shoulder. She turned back to find John. He felt like an oasis in the middle of a desert, like a drop of water on barren land. She immediately hugged him and cried…..cried…and cried on, like a baby!

What was Stella’s father trying to tell her? How are the events going on in the house related to him?Find out in the upcoming chapters of “When I walked through”. Follow the blog to receive an e-mail every time we release a new chapter.