Marital Martyr

Vacation was cut short by a phone call. He was asked to return. National duty came with its own set of rules. A disciplinarian regime sometimes broke some rules to keep the others. She always found this unfair. Sometimes she wondered if this was a love marriage at all! With so many arrangements, so many restrictions, her life was somewhat an irony. She often found herself living in confinement, living at the borders. It was like she too was following the Captain’s orders.

For a woman as committed as her, she often felt cheated. She called the country his mistress. One who had taken away her love. She had her doubts. “Whom does he love more?” She never had the courage to answer that. It was a demon in her head. And she was nurturing it every day. He had packed his bags.

“Colonel Abhimnayu Rawat, promise me you’ll return soon”.

“Mrs. Rawat, I’ll see you as soon as I reach. We’ll Skype.”

“But what is so urgent. At least give me a hint. Tell me there’s nothing to worry”.

“You know I can’t tell you details. This pretty face will keep me alive. Ha ha ha. Don’t worry”

“Never make such jokes. Don’t talk about death. How many times have I told you?”

He kissed her more passionately than he ever had before. This troubled her. But she couldn’t muster the strength to ask. Eyes welled up. This was not how she wanted to see him leave. But it was too late. He had left.

The next few hours were turmoil.

She had an eerie feeling about this. The way they parted. That long kiss. She tried connecting the dots. Cringed every time she came close. Was this it? Had the mistress taken away her love forever? She looked at their pictures. Before marriage. Honeymoon. All the good times they had. The mistress was always there. Either playing backdrop or camouflaging itself in the uniform. “That bitch”, she muttered. More pictures she saw, more she felt betrayed. The shadow was always there. How could she not see it? Blind love, that’s what she blamed it on. Falling prey to the oldest trick, the oldest cliché in the book. She felt unintelligent at this point. The mistress enticed him with accolades.

“Decorated officer, my foot”, she yelled.

She looked at all the things she had got him. The perfumes, the clothes, the artifacts, the gadgets, the moments. She could see all of them sitting in the house. All left alone. To dwell in the past. Sleeping on the side table. Yawning inside the almirah. And most of all, laughing at her. Mocking at her defeat to the mistress. Food turned stale. The water ran cold. Drops of sweat were getting outraced by the tears. Sleep had gone out for a stroll. And the clock was simply ticking along. She read all the letters he had written to her. All hope was not lost. She could still save her soul. She could still bring him back.

“Darling, I’ve reached. Safe and sound. Let’s Skype in 30 minutes. And no tears this time”, the husband texted.

She walked towards the bathroom. Unfastened her hair. Stripped down. And turned on the shower. The water was warm again. It tasted like hope. Wearing damp hair, a smile on her face and a spark in her eyes, Mrs. Rawat logged on to Skype. All she could see was a blank screen. And her image was frozen. Time stood still for the next couple of minutes. Nothing was moving. Not wind. Neither the clock. Not even her. Colonel Abhimanyu Rawat was offline now. That was the last he saw of his wife.

That day a lot was lost.

Smiles.

Happiness.

Moments.

Past.

Future.

The bitch had won. India had won.

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Two – way Street

A somber feeling – that’s what he called the streets around her apartment. He was never the articulate kind. But he often described inanimate objects through emotions. This was how he saw her world. It always reminded him of the Indian habitat at Britain. He called it Britain. The history books never left him alone.

They had spoken for months on end. She often painted a picture for him. Of her walls. Her ceilings. Her doors. Others windows. Of her world. A lot was said and much more was heard. This was the first picture she had shared with him. All his associations, presumptions, images that she painted, had come true. It all looked pretty. The maple trees, the benches by the promenade, the winters. But deep down, one could sense the hollow nature of the place. How it sucked out the daylight from the sky. How the open spaces encroached the freedom. It was all there. There was no soul. How could she find her own?

She was not liking the pattern in his writing off-late. The same old ironies, the same old broken sentences. She was not liking patterns anywhere. Routine had trapped her in its assembly line. And she was simply ticking along. The urge to break free was long suppressed. Finding a way around it was keeping her busy. A more western approach seemed gratifying now. With grounded coffees, exotic food and evenings often found in books, she was turning the tide. She had taken to literature and architecture. Photography and music. And within this concoction, she also found a way to fit in Psychology. Life had turned on its head, and she was juggling it rather well.

They had spoken for months on end. She tried to make him a part of her world. Her bookshelf against the wall, the yellow lights adoring the ceiling, her doors leading to new rooms, the stories at the neighbouring windows, everything that was making her world. She never spoke of the past or the old world, but always of tomorrows and a life more richer. She clicked for him, trying to give him a peek into her world. The beautiful promenade, the autumn of maple trees, the serenity of the benches and a pleasant life.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He wanted her to hold on to her past. She wanted him to take a walk in her future.

 

Small Joys

A loose kurta or so it seemed like. Dawn – that was the time. Drawn – that was the feeling. As the window pane was playing hide and seek with the sun, a sepia tone took over the room and poetry filled it up. A whisky voiced princess was about to wake up. The clock struck 7 and her podcast came alive.

Far away somewhere a man was listening to the same podcast and tripping on her voice. The pitch, the diction, the smooth voice killed him. Bruised and sucked into the idea of her, he began writing. He had told her his fascination for hair. Knowing that, she not only welcomed his desires but also added to it by sharing pictures that delighted him.

Within a virtual world, two strangers became acquaintances. Formal hellos and appreciation for pictures found a form of personal communication. From random subjects to likeminded topics, they had moved along.

Back in her apartment, she opened her eyes and looked at her mobile phone, it was beeping. She looked at her mentions and swept her hair on one side. By doing so, she smiled to herself. She clicked herself and shared her picture with the world, waiting for him to see it. “Small joys”, she said.

As he stumbled upon her picture, his player started playing, baavra mann dekhne chala ek sapna. He smiled to himself and kept looking at the picture. “Small joys”, he said.

Eid Mubarak

She had been waiting. For long days. Sleepless nights. She did not look up at the sky. She wanted it to be special. Her wait meant much more to her than anybody else. She could not explain. She did not want to. For all her prayers there was one answer- him. For all her desires, there was only one – him. For all the dark nights, there was just one gleam oh hope – him. 30 days she had waited. For him to come and shower light. Take her in. Make her his. He, too, had waited. And this was his once in a blue moon moment. He prayed to the Gods. While everyone would break into a smile when he came in sight, he was looking for a reason of his own. He had never seen a mirror, and this time around, he longed to see one. He wanted to snuggle up in the blanket of clouds and just look at the beauty that God had sent for him. As he showed his face, she emerged from under her cloak. Basking in the yellow demure of the lamp, her white drape reflected her aura. Her hair swept back. Her smile nestling within the new found joy. He, the moon broke into a smile, a smile he had waited for centuries. He looked deep in her eyes and pronounced, “Mashallah”.

1: 56 am

Droopy eyes. Half asleep. Half awake. Surrounded by blissful music, I write this post. Indie music, this is. Brain dead and lost, the music induces emotions even at this incapable hour. It’s more like an impotent state of the mind, yet there is an orgasm that’s so fucking soothing.

 

After chumming for days on end, I, at this hour have gone silent. Morning, I term this. Weird, maybe a little. While others around me are losing it by the minute, I slowly am finding my own. This is hibernation at work. I am surprised at my energy levels, the fact that I am putting this post together, makes me feel uncomfortable.

Oh, the music is taking me to Hong Kong. Yes, I said that. It’s very ‘Lost in Translation’ for me. I am Bill Murray. There is no whisky though, neither a Scarlett around. Yet, the quietude amidst the settled chaos is pleasing. In that Sofia Coppola way.

 

Time is breezy tonight, and I am just being a gull to the wind, so to speak. The eyelids are heavy. The kind that alcohol induces after a binge. But the mind is at its suspended best. Still. Settled. Placid. Not exactly placid. Am I fatigued? Yes. Is this an outlet? Maybe. Maybe not. But celebrating moments, acknowledging a heart pleasing substance is important. It reminds you later of an experience you would have rather forgotten. It’s like being a chronicler of memories. And I’m making one, as I write.

 

16th March. 2:08 am

The Boat. The Oars. And Us.

She was apprehensive to share numbers.

I shared the feeling.
She loved the idea of a message waiting for her online.
I shared the feeling.
“We should have kept it that way”.
I shared the feeling.
The texts came every other hour, it made us smile.
Conversations travelled into private spaces.
Passions came to the fore.
The heart was ready to travel that extra mile.
Wants started nudging needs.
But a beautiful picture could be broken.

These could be dangerous seeds.
The characters from a book could come alive.
We might enter a special place too soon.

We would tear each other up, would we survive?
Questions haunted. Acceptance haunted. Denial haunted.

“I don’t know if I want to talk”
I shared the feeling.
“If given a chance, I wouldn’t meet.”
I shared the feeling
But the heart yearned for something more.
It was challenging the mind and its demons.

Was it ready to deal with the joy and sore?
She still leaves notes for me online, jus so you know
If I don’t answer, the dilemma will continue

Do I live the dream or let it go.

Yellow Lights

Books. Pen. Keyboard. And might you add one of the finest scotches and single malts in the world love the company of yellow lights. Under their glow, a new world comes into being. One that is brimming with imagination, conversations, relationships and a million associations.

One can safely say its charm may have been replicated in many visual synergies that one is exposed to in this media age, but this old world charm keeps reinventing itself with every new experience. It shares a personal relation with its inhabitants; it’s where storytellers are usually born. No wonder, many likeminded souls would prefer a yellow light in their study as well.

In this day and age, where encroachment and uncontrollable unprotected sex have made living in large apartments a dying dream, there are a fortunate few who have such space, and more importantly do understand the romance and solitude of a study. With the advent of technology, one is compelled to the modern atrocities of gaming.

I have no grudges against it, sometimes I myself don’t being game for a match or two, but it does not and can not replace the charm of books. With many ‘Game Rooms’ replacing the existing study, it’s heartening to sit in one writing this post. For a change I’ve made Enya my music companion today, and she can be a mood driver – talking purely about the sound here.

I always pictured an old wooden chair in the study or a rocking chair, but to my surprise, beyond a normal computer chair, the room sits one reclining couch – it’s more like 2 reclining chairs kept together. And cuddling in its warm embrace and indulging in writing or reading can be quite sinful.

I unfortunately cannot have the luxury to make my room come to life in such a way, unless I move out and share an apartment with friend/s.

Anyways, coming back to the mood driven yellow lights, there is a fine line between class and crass. Therefore a study is different from a shady bar. Something like a cheap blended whisky and a single malt whisky.

The following is something that the just had coffee, the lights and Enya are bringing out of me:

It’s 4 am. He sits by the study, sketching her nude image. It’s an image he had of her many months before. She is sitting on the edge of the patio, with her hair tied in a braid and resting beautifully on one side of her shoulder, softly caressing her bosom. He sips his scotch and stares at the sketch he made. His eyes are looking for mistakes; it’s a resolute look that’s looking for an imperfection, because perfection will leave him sad and disappointed. He wanted to ensure that there is some flaw, one that wasn’t intentional. He spots a mark near the navel he did not intend; he raises a toast to it and breaks into a smile. He puts his head back and listens to the sound of waves; he takes his guitar and jams with the waves. Music he terms this. After two more glasses, the music comes to an abrupt halt. He keeps his guitar down. He can feel her hands grazing through his hair. She looks at the sketch and betters it by wearing the same look. He looks at her with amazement. She walks towards the sketch, and then towards the patio. He follows her there with two glasses. She takes one. He raises his glass to toast, she stops him. She looks deeply into his eyes. “Bring the canvas. Bring the pencils. And complete me. The glass was missing”.

He takes a swig and smiles.  “I don’t feel like. Anymore”