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!

The thunder is the sinner… It sins to defy the clouds. It roars for the agony, yells curses at the gloom.
And oh! How the world gasps at the sight of that war!

Those tiny drops of water… the ones to abandon the magnificence of the heavens… the ones to fall on the loathed and barren fields. They will be cursed for their compassion!

Those clouds… those cruel and audacious clouds, they just deprived the world of its light. They dared to contempt the sun. They will be doomed with the wrath of coward hearts… The ones who are scared of the dark.

These winds… they must be held for causing bereavement. They left another house in drought. They left the thirsty throats suffering… dry and choking… to bring rains to another land of arid torture.

All of these… they are sinners.

Guilty…

They must be sued…

For caressing the wounds of the broken hearts…
For bringing love to the despised…
For bringing peace to the devastated…
For bringing hope to the forlorn…

That is how the world works…
We need to follow the law of the land…

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!

When I walked through….

I stood there…in the middle of a ring…the ring of fire! Which fire? The fire of my Ego!

It was encircling me, dancing with utmost elegance, celebrating my loneliness. Its flames were the bars of this prison, blinding me to the beauty of the world around, but ….teasing me with a glimpse every now and then.

In this cage, I was not alone…with me, was the beast….the huntress, the royal predator, the most skillful of its kind. Its moves were brisk yet silent, its stature was of the  undefeatable mountain and its eyes…..its eyes were cold, a door which opened into a freezing and cruel realm, just a look sent jitters down my spine. I was there with the despised beast, the beast of my pride!

I lived there for ages, but that day was different. That day, I saw the beast moving, walking towards me with an ambition to hunt me down, to kill me!

I was terrified, it was suffocating…I….I wanted to run away…I screamed for help.

And then…Someone called out my name…I looked around…It was a friend from the world outside. She was asking me to join her there, experience the bliss of freedom.

I stepped out…Yes… I did….only to find out that…  The world in the eyes of the beast was just a reflection of the world across the wall of fire.

I still wonder…what is more frightening; the beast within, or the cold and cruel world around?