A Love Story? – Chapter Seven

Read Previous Chapters Here

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Scraggly growing brown hairs, a beard that needed a visit to the barber and clothes that were torn and cheap. I’m not trying to be racist but I had seen my fair share of rag-pickers who looked better than Raju did. And yet I chose his rickshaw to reach the home of one of my contacts. I can justify it saying he was the closest one to the metro or his rickshaw was first in line. But I’ll be lying in both the cases.

I chose to travel by Raju’s rickshaw because he was the only rickshaw puller whose rickshaw wasn’t modified into a battery operated one. I’m not going to sit on top of a battery, no matter how much you advocate its safety standards. It was the only conventional rickshaw, you know the one they drive, ride or whatever the term is there for rickshaw that are used by means of foot pedalling. I mean, there were atleast fifty rickshaw pullers there and he was the only one who hadn’t tried the Jugaad on his rickshaw. Jugaad. Common man’s version of mechanical engineering. Apparently we Indians are way too good at it. So I had to ask. It seemed inevitable not to ask.

Continue reading “A Love Story? – Chapter Seven”

A Love Story? – Chapter Six

Alright, so my dear readers, as many of you, hopefully, know by now, I’m writing this particular story quite spontaneously based on daily prompts. What it means for this story is that I do not have the luxury of adding or editing anything in the chapters I’ve already posted. So as a side little note, “A Love Story? Part One” occurred on a Sunday. And yes, it is relevant.

Read previous chapter here.

**

I was broken out of my silent war with myself when Radhika finally came in the living room. Radhika. For some reason, I always find her most beautiful when she wakes up. Her usual long, sleek, brown hairs always end up tangled in a mess. And she looks so innocent when she tries to sort it out. That morning wasn’t any different, nothing marred that exquisite display of perfection, not even a blemish. All those idiosyncrasies were just beautiful.

Continue reading “A Love Story? – Chapter Six”

A Love Story? – Chapter Five

Read Chapter One, Two, Three and Four Here.

**

It had only been a day. And it hurt like hell in that particular moment.

When does affection becomes love is a riddle which maybe we are not meant to understand. Maybe the beauty lies within the transition. Where I belonged in the transition is something I wasn’t sure of. Maybe I wasn’t in love with her after all and maybe all I needed was some distance. It had been only one day and I felt suffocated. But maybe, all I needed was time.

And would you believe it? Even the toothpaste ran out on me that day. No matter how much cold water I splashed on my face, no matter how strongly I brushed my teeth, that particular need to just lie in my bed had no intention of leaving me. All I wanted to do was to just crawl into myself.

When something bothers me, there is only one thing I feel. There isn’t much to it, all I feel is a knot in my throat. Whether that’s guilt, sadness or just anger is entirely dependent on context. I guess, that day, it had to be guilt.

Guilt. That’s such a complicated emotion. And I guess, I’ve said it hundred times, emotions are entirely subjective. If any of you ask me whether I love my wife, I’ll simply tell you to go fuck yourself. I love her as much as a human being can love another. I’m madly in love with her. Deliriously so.

Maybe you’re looking at me right now and wondering if I’m a bad man. You know what, maybe I’m a pathetic excuse of a human being. Or maybe I’m just a victim of circumstances. But whatever it is, it was, it just got out of control. Everything is a reminder of my misgivings, I guess, even Sandhya’s smile still haunts me. A continuous reminder which is continuously scratching against the wall of my impenetrable conscious.

Why is it so difficult to move on? Are we too worried about our impressions, our marks, our influence or whatever you want to call it, that we end up losing ourselves in diatribes of others? Our need to influence and our need to matter. If you’ll ask me, I’ll simply say that it is responsible for half the sufferings that we endure. I guess, it’s OK to not be OK sometimes.

You can blame me if you want. After all, I blame myself too.

I didn’t knew whose lies I was living anymore. I ended up torn and conflicted. I was married to one and I was, what I was to her? Seems so complicated, I do not know what it is, sorry, it was. I didn’t wanted to say any of this to Sandhya, I believed I would’ve hurt her even more, even though I didn’t wanted to. How was I supposed to tell Radhika, there was another person who ended up being equally important in my life? Like I said, I didn’t knew whose lies I was living anymore. No matter what I would have done, I would have ended hurting one and maybe the other by association. Our need to influence.

Now it isn’t your usual tale of adultery, or is it? I don’t know, maybe I’m too confused.

Once I was done with my usual morning rituals, I went to the kitchen and made my morning coffee. Once the overbearing smell of coffee filled my nostrils entirely, I poured it into a cup and started wandering slowly through the house, and as I moved around the stairs, I stared at the framed photos hanging on the wall. Me and Radhika, at different points of our four years of marriage. Our happiness clearly evident in the photos. Everything shone in dim light. As I reached the living room, and settled on the couch, I took my smartphone out of the pockets of my trousers. And as I was scrolling through the gallery of my smartphone, surrounded by the aroma of coffee, I was struggling, debating with myself whether I should’ve deleted every reminder I had of Sandhya or should I’ve cherished it one more time. There was one particular picture, the day we first met in the cafeteria for coffee. A coffee. Lot of shit happens over a cup of coffee. Maybe after all caffeine does destroy lives the way cocaine does. I still remember the first time we worked together, every little detail is etched in my memory so vividly.

Secrets, maybe secrets are good, after all, secrets are the framework on which our identity is based. And before you judge me, just look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, how many secrets you have hide. Kabir, my editor, um, sorry, old habit, our editor made us work on one story. That was only few months ago, and if you ask Sandhya right now, maybe she wouldn’t even remember it.

We had just started sipping our coffee when I’d asked her a simple question.

“We write between the lines, there is nothing that we hide from others,” she said in a voice which seemed to reach your mind without actually passing through your ears.

I honestly wasn’t expecting that to be the answer for a question like why did you chose investigative journalism. I honestly wasn’t. I guess, we end up being surprised when perceptions are wrong.

“So, I’ve heard you’ve got a foul mouth, I said, pausing for dramatic effect, “Is that true?” I finished my question chuckling

“Fuck off,” she said and continued, “Have you never wondered why the words we write for ourselves are always so much better than those we write for others?”

See, I told you there was a story there, you do not tell your boss to fuck off.

“I didn’t knew that I was writing my autobiography, I thought I was doing investigative journalism,” I said, taking another sip of my coffee.

“No, you know, what I mean, it’s just that, the way I write is different, when I write an articles, I feel immersed in that, I have to breathe it and feel it to write it, I know it sounds fucked up,” she said, clearly excited. There was this thing to Sandhya, she always ended up giddy when you talked to her about her philosophies.

“No it doesn’t,” I commented, maybe with a hint of sarcasm in my words.

“Well nonetheless, it’s just it makes more sense, when I feel how wrong everything is, it just makes more sense, you know, to write what you know.”

“And that’s why you chose investigative journalism?” I asked, my curiosity honestly piqued.

“I don’t know, I honestly don’t. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t. It’s just the subjects I chose to study ended up putting me on my path to journalism I guess. There wasn’t too much of a planning to it.”

“But you do it so well.”

“Well, that because, um, like I said, when I write, I put myself in the shoes of the victim. I know, fucked up, but it just makes more sense to me that way,” Sandhya stayed silent after that and allowed me to take the reins.

“Don’t you think that’s a rather peculiar way of writing, don’t you think, maybe that’s the reason you feel so angry all the time, maybe you’re living so many tragedies in your head.”

“Don’t worry, I don’t only live them in my head,” she said, her face grave, and continued, “Everything I ever wrote I didn’t just lived it in my head, I lived it in my real life.”

**

via Daily Prompt: Toothbrush

A Love Story? – Chapter Four

Read Part One, Two and Three Here

**

As I’ve already said, life isn’t fiction. No particular moment is ever planned. Yet we end up with tales that sound as absurd as, hmm, what would be absurd. Nothing I guess. If astrologers can have outpatient department at a hospital then I guess there is nothing that is absurd anymore.

Believe it or not, one thing that influenced my life the most was violence against women. When the people who are supposed to protect you end up being the reason you lose faith in humanity, what do you do?

Continue reading “A Love Story? – Chapter Four”

A Love Story? – Chapter Three

Read Chapter One and Two Here.

**

“Life doesn’t follow the pattern of any creative writing, life is unpredictable. You cannot write your life as the chapters of a novel. If you start looking for it, then you’ll find only one truth, there is no point to life. It holds on its own, it is a strong story. It’s a tale as old as time. I can count the number of people I care about on one hand, what does that tell about me?” That’s me, in a nutshell, for you. How did I ever ended up marrying someone so gentle

Me and Radhika, we juggled for a while, until one day when the dynamics of it all changed, just like that. It was raining that day too. I’ve always struggled with this one observation, whenever something significant happens in my life, it’s always raining. The water drops dancing in the sky, the earthy smell of wet dirt, the shrill sound of rain shaking the tin roof, the faint mist that you can almost taste in your mouth, rain drops creeping down your skin sending chills alongside it, they all tell one tale, I love rain.

Continue reading “A Love Story? – Chapter Three”

A Second Chance

It was as hot as I’d ever remembered. Just blistering. Only peace came from a stiff, brisk breeze. Leaves mingled with trash as they blew through the passages and side streets. I’d just stopped at the office when the news reached me. On my way to the stairs that led to my cabin, I bought a cup of coffee and used the seven flights of stairs that led to client management floor. I passed a gentle smile to anyone I met in-between my journey to my cabin of solitude. So often people believe that a laugh means happiness. A smile is my only lie.

I brought my cup of coffee to my lips, and I drank it now like it was whiskey, a sip and then a long one. I walked over to the window and reflected on my dull surroundings. My reflection in mirror looked cross and my emotions raw. The person who stared back at me, the one I always saw was the person whose existence I’ve always denied. Strangely I felt like the world around me had moved on and I was nothing more than a relic, an antique, out of its time. We all get one chance to do the right thing, and no matter what we make us believe there is always just one way.

I just couldn’t help but remember the storm that destroyed everything I knew. I hate getting flashbacks from things I do not want to remember.

Continue reading “A Second Chance”

A Love Story? – Chapter Two

Read Chapter One Here

**

My inside voice, I fucking hate it when I lose track of that. Today there is nothing but silence.

Rain has settled the cloak of dust that usually surrounds the skies of cities these days. These days you can almost taste the sulfur in the air. But today a clean and pristine night was awaiting everyone. It was late, and the minutes passed slowly. Evening had been long gone, and yet the time stayed in that timeless hollow of a growing night.

I left Sandhya there, alone, sitting on the stairs. I didn’t had the strength to stand anymore. I needed to leave. I needed to escape the fog that had shrouded the evening.

I still wish, I never knew her, atleast that way she wouldn’t have suffered that way, I wouldn’t have hurt her the way I did. Knowingly, unknowingly, it doesn’t matters anymore, I killed the innocence of someone I so dearly wanted to call a friend and I’ll live with that every single fucking day of my life.

Maybe I’m a plight, a pest maybe. Maybe all I do is destroy innocence.

I just wanted to be nice, for a change maybe, I wanted to leave all the frustration aside and be a good friend to someone.

It had been, um what, uh four years. Four long years before I talked to another stranger. Four years before I decided I needed another friend. Only if I hadn’t.

My wife lives by one motto, “Being creative isn’t a hobby, it’s a way of life.” Well she is an artist, does beautiful paintings, remember that big abstract canvas? Sorry, how can you. I haven’t talked about it. So she could say that, me, no my silent friend, I can’t even draw a straight line.

I still wonder why she chose me. A misfit, a pessimist, a decent human being, even on his best days. I wasn’t anyone special. Come to think of it, I wasn’t anything. Yet she chose me. She loved me, she still does. And this is how I am going to repay her.

But what was my mistake, I never touched Sandhya once, I only tried to be a good friend. I was there when she needed someone to listen. I’m a good listener. I guess, that’s the only thing I’m good at.

Throughout my adulthood, I was often mocked for being different. I seemed preoccupied or distracted by my own little internal drama in those days. It all seems so contrasting now, insecurities, self-doubt, anger, confusion. Each of us moulded by the cast of beliefs we hold dear to us. It took me a while to figure it out, but I did it nonetheless. People will really like you if you act like the person they want you to be, have your own voice and you’ll always be a lone walker.

Yet Sandhya understood that, I guess, it was because she was, um, she is, a lone walker too.

Two misfit souls who seemed to connect. But I knew there wasn’t anything more to that relationship. If that’s what you want to call it. So I never tried to be anything more than a friend. It’s strange how affection ends up becoming something as convoluted as love. Maybe the beauty of it lies in the transition. Maybe we are not supposed to understand love after all.

Was that love?

I tried to soothe the storm that raged in her head, a conflict that had enslaved her mind for months. I tried to calm her tears when she cried. All because I saw greatness in her, I saw beauty which needed a guiding hand. A lost soul which for all intent and purposes needed to hold someone’s hand. She needed a miracle. Or maybe just a friend.

There is nothing more horrifying than a miracle. Unless you let go of your basal human tendency to influence. We all just want to be relevant somehow. My need for relevance ended up instigating a storm. A storm from which there was no moral escape.

**

via Daily Prompt: Pest

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Read Chapter Three Here

A Love Story?

“I have known that for quite some time now,” I murmured, as I shook my head. A tiny little thought that had me struggling for weeks now. That particular evening had seen a chain of events spiraling out of control. Speaking was as hard as I thought it would be.

“Then why didn’t you said something,” she said, her eyes wet, her lips trembling.

How could I have said something? I knew that to be the end result. I knew it wouldn’t work in the end. So I tried to spare her the pain. Maybe I shouldn’t have.

Continue reading “A Love Story?”

IBMC #06: The Mass Media Challenge

“I am truly a ‘lone traveller’ and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude.” — The World As I See It by Albert Einstein.

The sun had fallen. Pure Crimson sky, streaked by few splashes of blue and violet here and there, and no hint of anything else. My flesh bubbled with goosebumps from the chills that ran down my spine. It was cold. The cold air, gently bouncing over the waves added their own twist to the mercury’s struggle.

The evening was bitter cold.

“I just want us to agree this is part of who we are,” The woman sitting in the chair spoke.

I let the silence stretch, fighting the lurch in my guts and the anger that wanted expression. My mind utterly in distress, the silent war, the emotional conflict raging in my head. The shrill sound of the telephone ringing broke me out of my insecurities.

“For better or worse?” I intoned.

Continue reading “IBMC #06: The Mass Media Challenge”

You’re not God

“We all pay for our sins, but not by going to some biblical hell when we die, not by getting whipped till our skin gets ripped, we suffer all there is to suffer in hell right here. Guilt, that’s suffering enough. Wishing to kill yourself, abhorring your own existence that stinks more than any hell hole.”

“What have I done to deserve all this guilt I feel running my veins, edging past every inhibition, searing my identity like a sharp blade?”

“You loved someone more than you ever loved yourself, your heartbeat was in harmony with your wife’s. Love makes you do crazy things, things no sane person will do in their right practical mind.”

Continue reading “You’re not God”