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Category: Fiction

All the same!

It’s raining. Downpour –  all around her and within her, she felt lost. She was floating in the waters, aimless and fearless. Fear. Wasn’t she always struck by that thought? Not a fear of life or death. But a gripping thought that made every second of life difficult. The necessity to distinguish between right and wrong. And the humane inability to accomplish that. Oh wait! That inability isn’t just limited to the human race. The protagonist of our story – the ‘she’ – is not a woman. She’s a flower. Beauty. Charm. Attractive. Indeed, flowers must be feminine only. But then, Biology class might teach you something else. Forget Biology. Forget Science. Forget reason. It is just a flower we are concerned about. That beautiful flower that leaves me sleepless. There’s only passion. Beauty. Miracles. And marvels. Not reason. Not explanation.

It’s still drizzling. Yeah, the impact has died down. But lingering yet. The spirit of the waters has quenched the thirst of the soil, outflowing every borders. And the land in return, has let the sharp pricks of the silver needles seep down into the girth. Is sorrow the mood? Quite unlikely, as her bright shining face waved gently, in the following breeze. Blissfully, the sky rendered peace, the waters cleared and the soil was warm again. She looked around and smiled. The distant look was returned almost immediately, from the one just beneath her. The white little face that stared emptily at her. What did they – the humans – call that white face? She knew no names. It was just a plain bleak white face that she opened her eyes into day after day. She knew no words. She knew no meaning. But hollow eyes were talking a lot to her. She endured pain and fear and loss and shame. Every single time she looked through the pair of emptiness. She felt like her spirit was stolen from her by the ominous white presence. She feared. Not of withering away. But of losing herself. Her soul. Her secret. Her beauty. Her charm. Her uniqueness.

And then it happened, “I want the red one up there! The white one is too tiny.” “It’s all the same dear! And the red is too high for me too reach. Here you go, take the white one.” The two voices walked away from her, with the white little face clutched in one of their hands. Was she imagining the white face grimacing at her? The voice inside her head was too loud to ignore. All the same? That empty white face and me – we are all just the same? A world crashed. The downpour began. The silver needles pierced the earth. The soil quenched it’s thirst but writhing pain. The breeze waved again. And she glowed again. Bliss again. Was it acceptance? Or the relief of easy escapism?

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Superannuation!

“Dad, how do you spell rimpersement?” “Dear, I thought you knew. Make daddy proud about his little girl! Don’t be silly and stupid like this. Anyway, r-e-i-m-b-u-r-s-e-m-e-n-t.” “What’s VRS and CRS daddy?” “Where did you hear them now! Voluntary and compulsory retirement from service.” ” Why don’t you take them dad! That means you’ll no more have to work and can stay with me at home. You could drive me to school, we could come back in the evening and pick up mom. And you know the best part? I could skip the after-school nursery! That lady is so…” “Dear, that’s not gonna happen now. If I quit, who’s gonna get you all the stuff you want? How will we pay your school fees? The books..” “Oh daddy! I am so stupid. I’ll study and get a job, and then you take the VRS thing then?” “My sweet little thing! It’d be time for my superannuation then!” “er..your what?” “Honey, let’s keep that for a while later. Now walk fast, so that we don’t get caught in the rain.”

….

How much time passed by, after that one little conversation! Nobody ever knows. Nobody ever knew what happened to that sweet little girl and her daddy. Over the years, things changed. Drastic, dramatic, diplomatic. All kinda changes had come over people, places, things, but memories. Next to change, I think memories are the one other thing that doesn’t change. It either stays or doesn’t. So her memories, or his memories, were now lost in the deluge of the new striking events, that has brought their lives to this moment.

So now is when he retires. Filling out the PF forms, he had obvious difficulties. He didn’t care enough to ask for help, she didn’t bother to offer help either. As he was filling them out, the moment of silence loosely hung on a thread. And the thread was so broken, and words so came flowing in, when the mother and the rest of the family joined the father and the daughter. He was almost done with a nominee field left out. And he asked, “Sudha, what’s Bhavya’s DOB?”. Her world just crashed right in front of her. Why was he asking mom about her sister’s date of birth? Is she going to be the nominee? Why not me, she thought. It wasn’t about the money. Now that everybody earned shitloads of money, nobody cares. It wasn’t about the authority either. But didn’t she and he have a pact? A superannuation-slash-VRS pact? When he finally promised to be with her, spending more time with her. And when she could finally reach out for her dad, at all points enroute being daddy’s pride! And now, all of that’s gone? Misunderstanding? Miscommunication? Mis-what? She just missed that one pact she had hoped to exist. The one that she was sure would be kept. Why do people change like there was never a past? Like, there was no history that they shared with the others in their present! She died a little inside, but casually sat there, right opposite to him, with no emotions.

….

Could Sudha be right? Did I unnecessarily make a fuss about the whole retirement thing by calling the return-back party at home? She seems too burdened with the chores. But then, did I have a choice. I so wanted my little girl to be here with me, while I retire and step out of my office. I have finally made enough space and time for her in life. Perhaps, Sudha was right. I shouldn’t have wanted her to come. She seems so uninterested. She’s right about moving on, from daddy’s little one to the woman she has become now. You make me proud, dear. But I would have been a lot more happier, if only things were slightly different. And if we could still get back to our old VRS pact! Or did that already slip into our cold mask of oblivion!

The yellow glow!

She turned to his side of the bed. The spread was wrinkled and still had his warmth. She rolled over, awake the rest of the night. When did he leave? Did he say anything? She couldn’t think straight, still caught in the unfulfilling sleep. Wasn’t it obvious he’d leave anyway! But somehow, she wished otherwise. It has been a tough time thru this. And she couldn’t handle it anymore. The yellow light shimmered.

She loved the light. The yellow light. The dim flickering filament bulb. And the yellow glow. The best part, as she saw it, was that, when you shut your eyes close, the light just stays off. It doesn’t penetrate thru eyelids and poke your retina to acknowledge its presence. Unlike what the fluoroscent tubelights do to your eyes. And when you open your eyes, it still stays there, causing no difficulty to your eyes, adjusting to the brightness. The yellow light shimmered.

When was the last time she had the yellow light? Was it way back at home? The only apartment her parents rented was so dimly lit. She could recollect faint glimpses from there. Everything had a yellowish hue. The glow of the yellow light. And the yellow flame of the candles during the ‘power-cut’ hours! Again. The yellow light shimmered.
She never liked the yellow frock her parents got her. The only one they bought together. She despised the pineapple jam coz it was yellow in colour. She adjusted with the mixed fruit. She didn’t like yellow coz her aunt died of jaundice, all yellow and pale. She didn’t like the sun, coz it was yellow and hurt her eyes. She loved the moon. Is that how she turned into this night person? But at all times, she loved the yellow glow and the filament bulbs. The yellow light shimmered.

What did he wear last night? Was it a yellow shirt? And the same yellow pants? She doesn’t remember. It needn’t matter anymore coz the night is over now. The yellow sun had risen up. But it still bothers her. Did he actually wear those yellow things for her? The yellow sun disturbed. She pulled the blanket over her head and went back to the slumber. The yellow light shimmered.

The yellow sun gave up and the moon came back, welcoming the yellow glow. The bulb was turned on, once again. The yellow glow spread all over. The room had the yellow charm back. And she silently sneaked out of the blanket. He was at the door. Wasn’t he better looking than the guy from yesterday? Rather, wasn’t he the most good-looking, of all the men who stood at that door? She was mesmerised by his glow. And she let her hands open in a huge embrace to welcome him into the bed. Before he could move, she let her hands go asked him to leave. His head hung in apprehension, he turned away and walked in silence. He didn’t wear yellow. His glow wasn’t yellow. She wanted yellow. She embraced only yellow. She kissed only yellow. She could please only yellow. She loved yellow, perhaps. The yellow light shimmered.

She closed her eyes, taking on last glimpse of the yellow glow, before she drifted back to her sleep. The yellow light glowed even brighter, noticing her looking at it. What colour would be the blush of the yellow light, you may ask her. And she’d say, what you see as flickering, that one moment of fading away, is my yellow glow blushing at my gaze! The yellow glow beamed. And she slid under her cover. The yellow light shimmered. And flickered. And faded. And was putoff.

She wakes up into the new red glow. She fits back into the routine. But this time, she doesn’t filter out the non-yellow-outfit men. All are welcome. All are accepted. The room no longer glowed in yellow. The charm was lost and the glow was stolen. The yellow absence filled the room. And her soul. She hates light. She is in love with black. Her face no longer seen in the dark. The glow disapperead into the abyss. And, the red light flickered at the door. Not blushing, but annihilating. The red light doesn’t shimmer.

The yellow frock!

I’m a kid. Twelve or thirteen. I’m always confused about my age. I just celebrated my twelfth birthday last month. So what do I say now? I’m twelve and running? Or just thirteen? The celebration was bright. With two cakes, a chocolate flavoured ‘Tom’ and a strawberry ‘princess’. One from mom and the other from dad. They are too loving, ain’t they? I love them too.

I’m twenty now. Not a kid anymore, you know. Don’t already assume that I got over my confusion with age. I ‘m sure today coz it’s today that I turned twenty. So it doesn’t mattet whether or not I plan to run to twenty one. Birthday wasn’t bright now. There weren’t cakes. My parents are still loving. They just didn’t want to distract me in the middle of my Board exams. Of course, little did they know of the fun and drama with friends! They wouldn’t understand anyway. Call it whatever crap, it’s a gap that generations can’t bridge! Its not about birthdays that I want to talk about the best part of birthdays! Gifts, as you guess it. I’m not so fond of surprise goodies packed in loads for my special day! But at the end of the day, gifts are what curves my lips. Tiny wrappings with chweet words. I’d love them anyday! Then again, now that I’m not twelve or twenty, my most pride pivots on the idea that gifts need not be taken always. I could quite well give them too.

Gifts as I said. They are precious beyond the price. Valued beyond the worth. And so I was waiting for this marvellous day. Years after my twelfth and twentieth birthday. It finally took me so many years to buy the yellow frock that I saw at twenty, that which I wanted to gift the twelve year old me. It was eternally long. So is the happiness that fills my heart. Eternal and supreme. Okay, what’s the big deal with buying a five hundred bucks yellow frock when you are earning almost hundred times ofit every month. No big deal at all. Except for the simplest idea that, it was a twenty year old’s dream of reliving her childhood. A cherished and sought after butterfly days!

Gifting it to her, I don’t know what I was expecting of her. It was emotional for me. A bit symbolic too. With that one yellow frock that I gave my sister’s little angel, I perhaps wanted her to step through my life and give me back my violet days. Of violet frocks and violet butterflies! Or may be, I just wanted to be happy that, finally now, I get to see my yellow frock often, rather seldom. 🙂

The moment of death!

“Ammu, ingu varu. Vellathina entha thanuppu!”. “Varam. Thirakal enne vilikkan varum ippo.” (Ammu, come over. The water is so cold! – Yeah, coming. Let the waves come welcome me.)
She waited. With her overpowering adamance, she willed the waves to come kiss her feet and grace her path by their transient silvering. The sea shimmered out of defiance that she failed to notice. The yellow glow was mesmerising and the sun turned a bright red of anger. She was obsessed by the sea and the sight that adorned her evenings. Little did she know to care about the uneasiness that her adamance created in the sea and the waves and the sun and her evening bounty! “Ingane anangathe avida thanne nikkano nee beach ennum paranju njangale koode kootiyathu?”. “Aswadikkan ellavarkum oro karanangal. Ennalle?” (Did you bring us over to the beach to simply stand by the shore? – Everybody have their means of joy, don’t they?) She said, laughing out to her companions. The turbulence always took out a calm facade over her, thoughts buried at abysmal depths. The sea has now turned a charming red. She inched forward to the sea and stared at the waves killing eachother to reach the shore. Jumping over one another, slowing others down, rising high in the air, they are rushing to hit ashore and lick the feet of umpteen adamant bitches and bastards, washing away their sins and ignorance. She was composed for one moment, and the next moment saw
her dashing into the waves to thaw in them. Death was charming; as much as the red evening sky and the expanse of the water and waves. She was so drawn into death that she’d let him ride on her. As if shaken from a trance, she crawled backed to the shore. Waving at her awestruck companions, she was whispering to herself. An inaudible utterance from the brain to the conscious self. “This is the moment of death. And he’s arousing me!”

“Amma, aa phone ingedukkuvo?” “Enthinappo ammu! Athinoode pani pidippikkano?” (Amma, could you get me the phone? – Why now? You want to make it sick too eh?) Bathing in public is too far fetched a desire for a girl of her age. But getting wet in the rain doesn’t seem too wrong. Relishing every drop of rain that hit her face, she went on a dancing spree, forgetting the warning stares from her dad. Splashing water with her legs, it was a coming back of her childhood, heralded by the cheer of the downpour. Craning her neck upwards, she was looking at the beginning of the silver threads that came down from the white expanse above. The fine drops at the end of every silver line, caressed her cheeks and kissed her lips, melting into her. The wind was blowing hard shaking every tree she could see. “Current povuo entho!”, (Would there be a power cut?) “Thamassalle sughapradam achamme” (Wasn’t darkness always the better company grandma?). She wanted to say but her mom was quicker. “Illamme. Inverter undallo.” Yeah. There’s an alternate source. More questions popped in her mind. How long would the inverter last? What if the power never returns? What if the sun fails or the earth stops to rotate? Darkness would prevail all over; omnipresence! Eyes were shut close as something was thrusted against them. She felt them to be heavy rain drops and willed to open her eyes. Water was still showering upon her, forcing her eyes to be shut. Fear engulfed her as death lingered in the corners of her shut eyes. She feared to move. She feared to touch anything. She feared death. The moment of
death. His powerful embrace that could rape and banish her existence. The moments count down. Till the moment of death!