Friday, August 27, 2010

Trapped

He was the first one to wake up as usual. He rubbed the sleep off his eyes and padded into the kitchen. Sherman, the calico cat they had picked off the street, dutifully rubbed herself along his pajama clad leg. Smiling he bent down to stroke her soft fur. No matter what time he woke up, she was always pleased to see him. He opened the fridge to fetch the carton of milk. She clung on to his pajama and climbed up to his shoulder. She stay poised there as he fetched her old orange bowl and poured out a decent helping for her. She then promptly forgot about him, shut her eyes and greedily gulped the milk.

Morning routine phase I over. He sighed tiredly the smile crumbling from his face. He scooped coffee into the filter and turned on the coffee machine. He looked around their tiny kitchen. From the window, just above the granite platform on his left, he could see the garden and the clear skies beyond. It was a perfect autumn day. Pink laces decorated orange tinged clouds. The sun was beginning to look lazy and the warmth was being gradually replaced by a gentle chill. The gurgling water called his attention back to the coffee machine. Right behind the pot was the note to fetch croissants from the local bakery.

“How could I forget?” He mumbled as grabbed his jacket and draped it over his white T-shirt. “Croissants on anniversary day!” He walked the brief five hundred meters to the bakery at a brisk pace. He hated croissants. Not that it had ever mattered. She loved warm croissants with the butter still melting on their glazed surfaces. So croissants it had been for every anniversary breakfast.

They had married for love. Or so they believed. He would do anything she wanted, just to see her happy. She knew what she wanted in order to be happy. The equation was complete. Yet ever since they had gotten married, he had been restless. With every passing year the restlessness just increased. It was like something was wrong, something was out of place. And the last week he had figured out what it was.

He reached the bakery. The warm aroma of freshly baked bread engulfed him and lifted his mood by a thousand notches. The smell of warm bread would always remind him of her. Not his wife. But her. The girl with a crescent dimple who lived one door away, on their right. He had bumped into her a couple of months ago. She had hurried into the bakery clad in pink pajamas, with a white fluffy shawl pulled tightly around her shoulders. She stood in the line behind him and darted shivering smiles at him. For a week they did not speak to each other, just smiled their acknowledgments.

Finally on the eighth day he had asked, “Are you new around here?”

“About a month old,” she grinned back.

And just like that they had gotten talking. She lived with her brother and his wife. Both were doctors, while she was an artist. She painted. She had graduated with a degree in commercial arts and was working out of her own studio for the past five years. She was spending some time at her brother’s home, helping him do his house up by lending them her creative inputs. They invited her entire family for dinner. Soon get-togethers became a part of all their lives.

He looked forward to having her over. She was vibrant. Everything she did, she did it with a passion. She even listened to what you had to say with a passion. He found himself discussing things with her. Things he would have never dared discussed with his wife. His wife did not have the temperament to listen. He also discovered that with her, he could be himself. Say things he wanted to say, do stuff he wanted to do and be assured that she wouldn’t be quick to judge and quicker to condemn.

And just like that on a bright Wednesday afternoon, as he watched her walk down the road in front of his house, his heart had squeezed with an aching to reach out to her. The feeling was so strong that it numbed everything within him. He could not move. His wife had walked into the kitchen and scolded him for leaving the eggs unattended. Her voice registered in his head, but his senses were attuned to the lazy walk of that figure crossing the road. Sensing his gaze, she turned and looked towards his house. Seeing him standing on his doorway, she cracked a smile. That crescent shaped dimple dented her left cheek and he was lost again. She lifted a hand and waved at him. Reflexively he waved back. She turned around, her hair flapping in the wind and walked into her house. He just stood there.

After five years of marriage he had fallen in love.

He sensed her before he saw her. She had slipped in behind him at the line at the bakery.

“Hello stranger,” she smiled at him.

He smiled back at her. In that moment the world was a nice place to be in. The line moved and it was his turn to order the croissants. She ordered for bread. They paid for their purchases and started walking back together.

“Croissants!” She said with delight. “What’s special?”

“Anniversary,” he shrugged with half a smile.

“That’s wonderful!” she beamed. “Happy Anniversary! Are we celebrating?”

“Do you want to?”

“Do YOU want to?”

“If it means you are coming. Yes.”

“And if I am not coming?” she asked.

“Then I’ll let her decide what she wants to do,” he replied honestly.

“Well then let her decide!” She announced still smiling. “It is her anniversary too after all!”

“I think she would love to have you guys over. She loves throwing a party!”

“Are you sure?”

“I have been married for five years!”

“Of course!”

“Will you come?”

“Maybe,” she stuck her tongue out at him and left him standing at his door. Inside he could hear the coffee still boiling. He looked at her back for a long moment, but then remembered his wife did not like her coffee too strong. He headed inside to fetch the coffee and melt the butter on top of the croissants.

“Happy Anniversary!” He mumbled.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Understanding Love

“Was it worth it?” she asked as she tucked her feet beneath herself and settled more comfortably on the rocking chair. Everything around her was a complete contrast to her deceptively serene stance. Angry raindrops slapped against the window panes, threatening to crack their fragile existence. Lightening slashed he already bruised skies like a murderer’s blade. Winds howled and waged a war against the sheets of water. Any attempt to blow them away was met with a brutal resistance. The heavens had gotten in touch with their dark sides.

Inside the twelve by twelve bedroom, a different kind of chaos reigned. Her room mate buzzed around like a bee with a short term memory loss. She picked up things – clothes, shoes , books, pen stands, photo frames walked to the big bad spread open on the tiny bed, dumped them in only to pull them out again and scatter them all over the room. She walked briskly to the dresser and grabbed the perfumes, lipsticks and her favored artificial jewelry and dropped them into the bag instead. She stood there for a moment thinking and then upturned her entire bag on to the floor kicking viciously at the jewelry and scattering it everywhere along the marble floor. It was a good thing she had decided to sit with her feet off the floor.

She watched her room mate’s tear stained face. Fresh tears mingled with the mascara coated old ones, leaving ugly black streaks along her fair and slightly reddened cheeks. Unlike the cheeks, her nose had no compunctions sporting a bright red right on its buttoned end. A small amount of water ran down her nose. She valiantly tried to sniff it in, before her body rocked with another bout of heart wrenching stops. She stopped mid-stride in her pacing, to let the sobs flow out of her body. Then rubbing her nose on the sleeve of her three thousand rupees top, she started hurling things into the bag once again. She seemed to be undecided on whether she wanted to leave or stay.

“Was what worth it?” She sniffed and tried to gather the scattered clothes in her shivering arms.

“Being in love,” she said simply.

She paused her gathering and turned her beautiful wet eyes to the window. “Depends on what IT is,” she whispered finally.

“IT being all this pain,” she explained panning her hands to accommodate all the scattered items on the floor. “Was being in love worth all this pain?”

“How can anything be worth this pain,” she howled. She threw her armful of clothes back on the floor and the hurled herself on the bed and gave in to a fresh bout of scalding tears.

“Then I don’t think you are or were ever in love, “ she leaned back in her chair and smiled even as her friend continued to sob.

“What do you mean? “ she asked biting back a sob and sitting up on the bed. “I should forgive his every lie? Pretend that I am not hurt? Give US a second chance?” disbelief laced itself through her high pitched agitation.

“I never suggested that,” she closed her eyes and sighed. It was a happy kind of sigh. “All I was trying to say was, if being without him hurts more than being with him, then the pain of being with him is worth it. That would be love.”

For a moment everything stilled. The heavens gasped. With that gasp the rain shattered into a million dews and scattered along every shiny surface. The winds stilled and whistled with gentle awe. The lightening suspended somewhere between the sky and the unknowns beyond. Like a lazy victor the sun stretched its warm fingers and caressed the smile he so loved.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Toilet Seat That Changed It All

Well, this is not fiction. And surprising though it may sound, this blog has two authors. That too, two founding authors. Of course, by now the intelligent reader, by comparing the flowing and entertaining (and mushy) writing style of Beauty and the Beast (hereafter referred to as beauty, and deservingly so) that makes the world seem full of sunshine and happiness with the dry and bare method of yours truly, would have come to know that it is not the keyboard of beauty that is churning out these words.

Now, the aforementioned intelligent reader might also wonder as to how the intelligent person that beauty is, fell into the evil company that she evidently has in the form of this co author. This post shall attempt to elucidate upon the same.

Way back in times of yore, beauty used to write in some other corner of blogsville. Yours truly chanced upon her blog. I may be anything but no one can dispute the fact that I appreciate good literary skills, and even more so if the author (rather I guess it should be authress, if indeed such a word exists) is a pretty young woman who has wits to boot. Now, by some funny quirk of fate and a practical application of the Principle of Six Degrees of Separation, yours truly had the honour of being a slight acquaintance of the almighty beauty.

In all this, the intelligent reader might be wondering how the toilet seat (the same one which is referred to in the title of this post) comes into play. It would be slightly difficult for me to explain the precise physics, mechanics and dynamics of the same (the seat, not the post) for the simple reason that I have not yet had the pleasure of interacting with it (again the seat, not the physics et al). But the first post written by beauty on which I commented, and hence placed the first brick of the edifice of our friendship, concerned that toilet seat. And the rest, as they say, is a mixture of history, Gutenberg, Alexander Graham Bell (telephone) and George Bush (petrol for bike).

And it was one learning experience in life. Till date, yours truly has been treating toilet seats of various types, shapes, sizes and states of cleanliness with a new reverence.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Raindrops of Love

She closed her eyes and let the cool drops of water lick her face. Love can be such a cruel thing, she thought. At one point it consumes your very existence and at the next it ceases to exist completely, leaving behind an emptiness that cannot be defines. An emptiness echoed hollowly by the pattering drops of rain. She stuck her tongue out to taste the cold which wrapped her. She tasted nothing. Raindrops, she decided, were a lot like love.

Somewhere in the distance she could hear the loud sirens of an approaching ambulance, or perhaps it was a police car, who could tell the difference? They both wailed in the same unappealing manner. The loud patter of drops as they splashed against the puddle at her feet buffered that annoying plea. Her pink toenails looked like they were sprinkled with the tiniest of diamonds. She wriggled her toes in the water washing away those diamonds. They adamantly reappeared.

He had loved her feet. He said they were sexy and just looking at them turned him on. Liar, she smiled. But he lied well. She had believed him, hadn’t she? She had also believed him when he had said he loved her. And she had foolishly loved him back. She had made him the center of her existence and had planned every moment of her life around him. But she would no longer do that. She no longer loved him. How could she love him when he was no longer there?

All she felt right now was empty.

She stepped out of her red and white slip ons. The water from the puddle wrapped around her feet and lapped at her soles like a loyal dog. He had been anything but loyal. He had thought he could wake up one day and tell her he did not love her. Didn’t he know love was eternal? Love was not supposed to end! You cannot ‘stop’ loving someone. You either love someone or you don’t. Which would then mean he had lied to her about loving her at all.

She hated liars.

She took in a deep breath and opened her closed fist. The heavy knife slipped from her fingers and splashed into the puddle. It clattered with a muffled groan and landed a few inches away from her. The raindrops dutifully dropped on its glittering blade and started making splashed in the deep red edged along the bald. She watched unfeelingly as the red mixed with the water to turn a faint pink and finally dissolve into nothingness. Just like his love had. Just like her love had. Leaving behind nothing, but this feeling of emptiness. Emptiness felt hollow. It was like a space which was waiting to be filled. She did not like waiting. She did not like feeling empty. Another small smile tugged at her lips. She could hear very faint traces of people talking behind her. They must have arrived, either the paramedics or the police. She had called both, hadn’t she? It would have to be one of them.

She spread her hands like an eagle about to take flight and took in a deep breath. She could still smell him. His spicey after shave. It filled the emptiness within her like a hungry fire. Every part of her was suddenly alive with him. It was like he wasn’t gone, but he was right there with her. Inside her. This was true love! She thought. She lifted her feet off the ground and let her body react to gravity. She did not open her eyes on her flight twenty three stories down. It took a little more than a couple of seconds. A couple of seconds which would immortalize a love which was larger than life.

Or so she thought.