Snowfall

 

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It’s very hard to drive on the curvy mountainous roads during winter nights. Visibility is very low and due to snow deposited on the black tar increases the difficulty of drivers. But when you observe closely, you’ll rarely witness a lone vehicle on the road; they always travel in packs with one leading the way and others following the lead. The important thing is that they automatically develop a bond with the driver of wheels before them, a bond of unsaid trust, which is maintained throughout the journey.

Luv would have followed me anywhere, even in my darkest moment he was there for me. He trusted me with heart, with his soul and with his life and what did I do? I broke his trust, his heart and destroyed everything between us. I wish I could walk back in time and stop myself from doing all those things I did, but could I? This is the tricky thing about life, once an event is occurred neither you can change anything about it nor you can stop the set of events following it. No matter how hard you try to stop them, they are destined to happen.

Tired of crying on my birthday; I was staring at the duskiness spread outside from my hostel window. The night was absolutely calm and anything, except the dense fog covering the entire valley, wasn’t visible. It is the first time in I don’t know how many years that I haven’t seen Luv on my birthday. He never missed my birthday but this year only one hour is standing between this day to be finished and another ordinary day to start. After everything that happened, everything I did there wasn’t even a one in a million chance that he will even agree to see my face.

I remember my first birthday with him; it was similar cold December night, he called me midnight and asked me to come upstairs. When reached there; I saw him standing there, under the dim staircase light, grinning back at me. It was freezing up there and he was trying to hide the chill he was feeling in his bones. His trembling hands were holding my favourite pineapple cake with a single candle burning on it. I couldn’t stop tears from wetting my cheeks; I had never felt so special.

He was very good at pulling surprises for me like he had learned how-to-woo-your-girlfriend-course from Nicolas Sparks himself. We sat there on the roof for hours; eating cake, holding each other under my shawl and taking about every constellation that would have been visible in the absence of fog. That was a perfect night and I cherish all of it.

For me being with him was everything, he was the world to me and I erased the existence of my world from my life. When I see these clouds, I feel like they are also constantly moving around the world in search of their soul mates and when they fail in achieving their only goal, they sacrifice their lives crying rain on people dwelling below on earth.

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Even clouds are more faithful than I was.

From what I see, Love brings out weirdness in people but love itself is beautiful. Love makes lives happier but love itself is sad because not everyone can have a happy ending. There can be a mere sense of satisfaction in a lover when he or she spends all of their lifetime happily with person they love but, that’s not the end. One day everything will be sad again because the person with whom they were in love with lives no more and that is what we call a ‘tragic-end’, and then they will start to dream about meeting in, yet to be scientifically proven and I personally don’t approve this theory, afterlife or another world. Even some hopeless romantics believe in reincarnations and several other crazy stuffs.

Basically, there is no romance in real life but only tragic stories.

I feel sadness in my bones but I couldn’t cry. Every time I try to sleep I somehow end up staring the emptiness and darkness around me. I looked back at my empty bed and somehow felt it staring back at me, terrified from the thought of walking bed I closed my eyes and pressed myself on the wall behind. I was losing sense of time when I heard Whitney Huston on my cell phone singing and-I-eaa-will-always-love-you indicating an incoming call on it. I grabbed my phone and looked at the screen; it was the security guard from the front gate of hostel. What have I done to receive a phone call from a security guard in the middle of the night, I wasn’t in the mood of talking to anyone so I pressed silent button.

But it rang again; for sure it was something important else he wouldn’t have called twice so, I answered the phone.

“Hello”

“Rohini ji!!”

“What happened brother, why are you calling me at this time.” I surely recognised his voice and it sounded okay but then I heard some disturbance over the phone. I ran towards the balcony to see whether I could see anything happening on the main gate.

“Hello! Brother can you hear me?”

“No, but I can. Rohini I’m sorry I didn’t called you this whole day but then you know I busy in catching trains and planes to reach here. But now I am here and I’ve your favourite pineapple cake with me. Your brother caught me climbing the boundary wall and he wouldn’t allow me to come inside, would you care to come out?”

At first, I couldn’t believe Luv was here but he was really here.

“No” I replied. I don’t know what came in my mind but I’m sure I said no to the only person I wanted in life. Maybe it was my guilt or my fear to face him that overcame my only wish to see him once again but I still have time to correct myself, “No, I would not only care but I would love to”. I said and I ran towards him through the hall ways and then the stairs. I ran as fast I could and within a matter of seconds I was standing in front of him, he haven’t changed a bit except those facial hairs which weren’t there before when we met last time. I stood there staring at him, I love him and I’ve always loved him.

“You’re looking beautiful, even with those red swollen eyes” he smiled.

“Why don’t you shave?”

Just tell me I’m an idiot. Who asks this type of question? He was constantly looking at me and I couldn’t resist it so I lowered my eyes. I heard his footsteps and every step he took bring him closer to me. I felt his hands on my cheeks, they were familiar. I’ve waited for almost a year to feel this. I looked up, he was still holding my cheeks and I could feel his warm breath brushing my hairs. I closed my eyes and felt the touch of his lips on mine, a soothing sensation ran through my veins and I smiled gently as our lips departed.

Everything was new, everything was happy and I wanted to capture every moment with my eyes when I saw something white settling on his hairs. It was snow falling from sky. It was first snowfall of this season, maybe clouds weren’t sad this time and maybe it was their way of telling me that now I have to wait no more, search no more because the person I love have crossed the oceans himself just for me.

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read previous chapters of this story by clicking here –

1.Always . Always ?

2.Judgement

 

Bring me Back

“This is our payback to you for everything you did.”

Soon after that, I heard a BANG followed by a sensation of two hot bullets burning my skin and making their way around my intestines and all those other biological things. I could feel my warm blood trickling down from the holes those tiny bullets have created. Feeling of death taking away my life made me feel alive. Do I have any guilt? Yes, I have. I didn’t live enough with my little daughter. I won’t be there when she will recite ‘Humpty Dumpty’ on her annual day at school. I wouldn’t be there to teach her how to drive a bicycle, nor I will ever be there to wake her up and comb her hairs while she adjusts her school tie. I will never see her growing up; I will never see her again.

What I did to meet this fate? Well, I’ve all of my time to think about it.

As I was falling in arms of death, the wings of my mind were flying on their own; unguided by my conscience, they were flipping every single second of my day at work and diagnosing it for every possible fault I could have committed, knowingly or unknowingly like a pro medical examiner doing an autopsy. Every scene was replaying in my mind. I was riding back for my home when something hit me. Before I realized anything I was flat on ground facing those shinning yellow sodium street lamps.

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I was in pain; unable to even move my fingers, it was then when I saw her. She was walking in slow pace around me making herself appear as an angel of death, ready to eat my soul and I was not ready for any of it. Her dramatic walk made her look more ferocious but nothing that came out of her mouth made sense to me and here I was standing at another end of approximately fully loaded pistol which is in the hand of a probably a psychotic woman with high level of ethanol in her system.

“Good bye Mr.Police” she laughed hysterically, “This is our payback to you for everything you did.” I closed my eyes and accepted the darkness around me. Maybe I did a good job as a policeman but I failed being a father.

“D-A-D-D-Y”

I heard her calling me, my daughter is calling for me. I need to open my eyes, I need to see her, I need to grab her in my arms and tell her that now her daddy is back and he will make everything alright. Why aren’t my limbs helping me? Why aren’t my eyelids following commands of my brain as they are supposed to do? I could feel her little fingers touching my rough skin but why I am unable to move my hands?

“What is coma Daddy? They are saying you’re in coma and soon you are going to god’s home to live with Mumma. Grannu is sad too and why are you covering your mouth with this thing? Are you angry with me Daddy?”

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No, you make me feel happy Mayuri not angry. Daddy will never be angry at you darling. Can you hear me? I love you more than anything in this world and I won’t leave you alone sweetheart, I won’t. My heart is crying but my eyes shows no sign of pain. I could hear her but my lips won’t move to even call her name.

She just kept her head on my hand. I could feel her soft cheeks and silky hairs brushing my skin. What is this? Is this a random drop of water? or Is she crying? I can feel her head shaking, can someone stop her from crying please, I beg you. Stop crying darling, shh.. stop please, you will make daddy cry too. Don’t cry sweetie, it breaks me in thousand pieces seeing a single drop of tear in your eyes, don’t do this to your dad darling.

“D-A-D-D-Y, don’t go. I love you, talk to me.”

I still remember the day when she called me daddy for first time, it was one of the happiest moment of my. Every day when I return from work she used to run with me to where ever I walk unless I pick her up in my arms. How helpless I am right now! I can’t do a thing for my girl. Can’t I just open my eyes and look at her, call her name and bring back that crazy smile of her.

I can hear her cry, I can feel her tears struggling on my dry hands and before this heart stops beating, before angels of death comes to commandeer my soul, I need to try one more time, harder than ever before. Just for my daughter, just for her.

Judgement

Do you ever feel that everything around you is falling apart and your world is on fire? Have you ever felt that everything you thought is true was just an insensitive lie coming out of a body with dead soul? Guess what! I’m feeling exactly same now, it’s like that there is pounds of weight forcefully kept on my chest and someone is hitting with hammer on it. I can hear my ribs cracking and I feel them finding their way inside my heart choking every little pieces of humanity in me. “Life is best teacher”, I don’t know who said this but what I know for sure is that life is highest paid tutor; not in cash though.

“Mr. Dreamer!!”

I ignored that deafening voice because right now I am feeling very philosophical; I can hear the cries of baby Aristotle cells in my brain. All I want right now is to go back in time and relive those three years, when everything was perfect and life was easy, but I can’t for obvious. Have you ever thought while you are waiting for the judgement day that this life might be your punishment and everything happening to you here is just another way of Lord to penalize you. Well, everything happened in these past eight month made me believe so.

“Get out!!”

Mr. Anand screamed at me or I should say Professor Doctor Anand shouted at me. I just can’t believe this guy means what is his problem? Why don’t people understand that continuously shouting at someone might not give them Laryngeal cancer but it can definitely affect someone’s hearing skills. Since I was already standing I asked him by pointing a figure towards myself that do you really want –me- to go out. He nodded in affirmation and I was kicked out from another class.

Sometime I couldn’t understand what’s wrong with me; I shouldn’t be feeling what I am feeling right now. I take no pride in it but why don’t I feel slightest bit shame when I am insulted in front of whole class and thrown out? Why songs make no sense to me and why I have formed a new alliance with poetry? Why laughing face looks so fake now and happiness feels so deceiving? I don’t want to feel this way, I don’t want to feel helpless whenever I see her pictures popping on my timeline, I don’t want to feel this sudden rush of tears in my eyes when someone ask about her. I don’t want to feel anything; I just want my previous self back in command of my body.

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I was walking in the empty corridor and I was in love with its emptiness. I kept asking myself since that day-where it all went wrong? When I first saw her or when I realized that I was in love or when we celebrated our love anniversaries or when I came to this college leaving her behind? Doesn’t matter where it went wrong because it’s not going to be right again, I didn’t believe when I heard something about her by someone else but that silence across the other side of phone, when asked her about it, confessed a lot.

“I didn’t want to hurt you” those words are still ringing in my ears and all they did was hurt me. How can someone be so heartless? How can someone be so cruel to bring happiness in someone’s life only to drain it out in forms of tears? Months have passed but still I couldn’t get over that night, the night when her lies eclipsed my innocence and choked it to death. I am sinking in my academics, I am doing been terrible in my social life and the fault is mine because I bought this for myself the day I started to listen what my heart want.

She used to say that I will always love you, I guess “always” has an expiration date too or maybe her “always” met with an accident and was replaced with another always. I looked at my phone; her picture was still at wallpaper smiling back at me. Does she also think about me the way I do or it’s just me? It’s still hard for me to believe that she lied to me all that time and made me trust her opportunistic promises and fake love. I searched her in my contact list and pressed the call button, I wanted to know why she did this to me? What did I do to deserve this?

As soon as I pressed the call button the truce between my heart and mind dissolved as my mind exploded the question which has destruction power equal to an atom bomb, “what if?” and following that came after explosion shock waves screaming-What if she rejects your phone? What if she hung up on you as soon as you ask these questions? What if you are still in love with her? This last question destroyed my defence line completely and I surrendered by disconnecting the call.

I miss her, I miss her badly, I miss waking up to those little good morning texts, I miss those virtual good night kisses, I miss her laughter, her anger, her craziness, I miss her but I couldn’t tell her how much I miss her.

“Say something I’m giving up on you”

This is phone telling me to pick it up. It was an unknown number flashing on-screen. I clicked on the green button and said hello.

“Luv?”

“Rohini!” as these words left me lips I froze, I ran out of words. I already had plan layout for this conversation and I have rehearsed it thousands of time in mind but all I couldn’t say anything. We both were silently waiting for the other person to initiate.

“Why?” I broke the silence, “You have already killed my soul so, what do you want now?”

“LUV I AM SORRY” I heard her voice cracking, “What I did was wrong, I still love you and I have always loved you, please give me one more chance”

I love this girl, I have always loved her and all my life I have never loved someone else. My heart and my mind are still fighting over what is the best response in this condition. My heart says that you have always loved her but my mind questions me that can you trust her anymore.

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if you to read the previous chapter click here Always . Always ? .

catch the next chapter of the story here Snowfall .

Butterfly

“She was in her twenty-first summer and yet when you see her you can’t guess her real age. She looks older than her age.” He whispered in his microphone. “Well”. He paused for a while adjusting his round framed spectacles over is nose, “I’ve seen her pictures from when she was bit younger, her eyes haven’t changed. Same charming dark black eyes watching right through you, the only thing that has changed is that now I can see crimson red shades in them with dark circles surrounding them. Her beautiful long black hairs are now somehow tied on her head and have become a liability to her. Today I am going to meet her again; this will be our fourth meeting in this month. I wish my help is helpful enough for her”, he spoke each and every word with definite pause with deep and mature voice.

He stopped the recording and kept the microphone in the top left drawer of his desk. He looked on the table for his keys, he couldn’t find it. He looked at his watch; he was already running late for the meeting. “ROSY!!” he shouted for his assistant “Where are my keys?”

“You stopped taking cases right? I don’t know why you are so driven for this case.”

“keys!”

“It should be in the right pocket of your trouser doctor.” Rosy replied from the distant while arranging the files on her desk.

“Got them, and I’m leaving.”

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His hands on the wheels, he was speedily moving on the ring road; it was cloudy day so he wants to reach his destination before its starts raining. Constantly looking at his watch and playing with those breaks, gears and accelerator it almost took an hour to reach their. It was small house standing alone in that stretch, there was a small garden which clearly depicts that owner of the house wasn’t interested in gardening anymore. Dried flowers, fallen leaves and brown grasses were creating a depressing atmosphere; he parked his black Toyota in front of the main entrance.

He walked out of his car dressed in perfectly white shirt matched with a deep black trouser; he looked at his watch and pressed the door bell.

“Doctor Paras you again” she mocked him while opening the door. He noticed her eyes were heavy and her face looked so dull yet she was putting an effort to give him her million dollar welcoming smile. She was trying hard to look cheerful.  “Why an old man like you never stops and just keeps appearing on my porch?”

“Well, that makes me persistent.”

“And these nurses you have left behind, when are they going to leave me alone?”

“Can’t say right now Maya, they are doing their job nothing else.”

Their meeting started as usual, Maya trying to convince him that she should be left alone and Paras trying her that it will be done but not today. Her house was not so big and fascinating but enough for few people to cover their heads during night. Front room was oddly empty with few chairs and a table fan in it, which just keeps adding unnecessary metallic sound in their conversation.

“How are you feeling Maya?”

“You tell me doc, how are you? I heard your wife passed away last week” replied Maya. She has never really opened up to anyone, for every question she always has a ready-to-shoot-at-your-face answer.

“I guess I am doing just fine and by the way it looks I think you are also doing fine.” Paras responded in very coldly, he has been practising this for almost thirty years and never ever someone got chance to mess with his head. He was in his fifties and his hairs had changed their colour from brown to grey, he was getting old and he knew that but living rest of his life alone was never in his plan.

“Sorry” she said, “didn’t mean to hurt you”.

“That’s okay, I should get used to it now.” Paras smiled.

“What was her name? Did you loved her?” Suddenly her sad face started to glow with excitement.

“Vaani, her name was Vaani and yes I loved her. And I love her even today.” He looked at his engagement ring and kissed it. “I have heard some stories about you too.” Paras shifted a bit towards her; came to edge of the chair he was sitting and with no emotion in his eyes he said “Stories about you and a boy that you loved” he made it sound soft as much as he could.

Maya closed her eyes and crashed herself into the depth of her chair. Her hands were firmly holding the hands of chair. Paras stood up and placed his hands on hers, “It’s alright Maya, you can talk to me.”

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“He loved writing poem” she said without even opening her eyes “I have all of them with me here, his letters, his poems and some of his pictures. You’ve never met him but I’m sure that you would have liked him. He was perfect, perfect for me. In one of his poems he wrote that I walk like butterflies swim in the air. You know what an irony in that doctor?” she suddenly opened her eyes; tears were crawling down her cheek, she looked towards Paras and said “Let me tell you, they evolve but I don’t.”

Paras took her hand in his, trying to calm her down, he saw cut marks all over her wrist “ How did you both met?” He was coming back in his professional touch back again; he knew this was the point where if he stops maybe he could never get another chance of listening Maya. So he continued, “How you both did meet?”

“I can’t remember. I was too small to remember when we met but from what I recall he was always there in my life. I remember when he sung that happy birthday song to me on my seventh birthday, he was terrible” she smiled, tears were still flowing from her deep eyes “I loved his voice, I loved to play with his curly hairs, I loved to sleep in his arms while he read for me, I loved the way he looked at me.” She stopped; her body was still facing upwards and her eyes were moving very fast as if she was trying to read something written of the walls.

“So you both were childhood friend, where did you live at that time?” Paras again asked softly, he didn’t want this conversation to end without any positive outcome.

“Last year he proposed me for marrying and obviously I said yes. I was waiting for that moment since I don’t know when. This home in which you are sitting now was bought by his money. He brought me here and asked” her voice was cracking, kohl from her eyes was now spread all over her cheek, she somehow gathered herself together and whispered “He handed the keys of the house to me and asked will you marry me. You know that Teresa orphanage, all our life we have lived there.” She looked at his portrait hanging on wall and took a deep breath, “He used to say that we will meet our parents again in afterlife. Do you believe in afterlife doctor?”

Paras was so involved in her story that at first he didn’t realised that she had asked him something, “Yes, I do believe” he replied as soon as he was back in senses. “Why did you ask such question Maya?”

“So that you can see reasons in my actions, I am not a mad person doctor. I just prefer being with him in afterlife than living here, alone.”

“Maya listen, what happened with him was tragic but believe me he would have never wanted this kind of life for you” before Paras could say any other word Maya stood up from her chair.

“He loved butterflies, when we were small we used to run behind them in our orphanage. He once said that my laughter gives colours to their wings and my laugh bring them back home. Later only I realised that even my tears were not able to bring him back. We had our whole life planned in front of us, but” she wiped her tears from the curtain.

“Look it’s raining out there doctor.”

“Indeed.”

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“A bullet from some person decided our fate, this not fair.” She looked outside; street was calm but peace of heart was already disturbed. There were some deep emotions hidden inside heart which started to cloud her mind. Constantly watching rain drops hitting her window pane she said, “I couldn’t sleep at night. It was hard on me, him not being here. Of course he was doing his job, while everyone was sleeping peacefully in their houses he was patrolling our national border, just one bullet on his head and everything change. He was no high ranked commander or some famous rich guy with flashy watches and expensive cars; he was just a soldier, a soldier protecting his loved ones from unknown enemies and unseen dangers. The saddest thing about this is that no one will ever notice his death, because he was just another soldier to them who was living on taxes they paid but”, she was sad? No more, but angry? Yes, she was. She was in pain and every word coming out from her was dipped in it with a topping of anger on it, she looked back at Paras and said “but for me he was everything.”

She opened the door, it was still raining outside and she walked right into the rain. Paras immediately got up from his chair and reached out for the door, “Common Maya come in, you may get cold.” He ordered. Maya ignored every word came from his mouth and opened her arms wider allowing rain to fall on her face. Paras started to search for the umbrella, he couldn’t find one, he just stepped out of the house and caught Maya by her hand and screamed, “Don’t act like a child Maya.”

“You don’t get to order me.”

“I’m trying to save your life.”

“I don’t want to be saved.”

“At least think about the child you are carrying in your womb, his last gift for you.”

“What does anything means when he himself is not here.”

“Don’t talk stupid.”

“What do you know about losing someone? You don’t know anything. It was me waiting for his letters every month from those borders. It was me who prayed for his safety while you were having dinners. It never asked for any of these wars, this political usability and permanent state of tension between nations. I never asked for any of these territories, I just wanted him and you all took him away from me. You hear soldiers dying and you keep silence for two minutes and get over with but no one never even thought of what must be going on the families and loved ones of those soldiers. We don’t even know where they are and what they are doing, we just keep praying for them; sometimes we don’t even get to see their bodies. I never saw his body. What do you know about me? What did you knew about him? What did you know about such an unnatural and permanent loss?”

She was still standing in the rain, full of rage, anger and remorse. She grabbed his hands and started to walk back inside the house, “Come on, let us go inside. Let’s save lives as legendary Doctor Paras does, right doctor.” She was angry, angry almost with everyone. Her mind was clouded with hatred and anger, sentences were spoken out of her mouth even before she could realise. Paras was lifelessly walking with her. All of sudden his feet stopped to move and Maya looked back at him “What happened? Now you don’t want to save lives?”

“It is true that I don’t knowing anything about you or about Maanav” H readjusted his wet tie and looked at his watch and continued, “but if it brings any good in your life then let me tell you one more thing, I had a son and five months ago he died in the same war in which Maanav died.”

He started to walk again, “Come in now, it’s raining heavily. It might be dangerous for your son.”

White Lilies

 

“Sarah weds Paul”

It was written on a heart-shaped spectacular display placed just in front of the main entrance. I looked around readjusting the flower bouquet I bought for Sarah caressing her favourite white lilies which I placed myself in between the bunch of lavender roses. I am not so used to these kind of parties and right now I feel like I don’t belong here, but the fact is I could’ve been anywhere in this world but I am here. I see happy faces wandering around food stalls and tasting everything they could, filling the stomach which they wisely covered under their well sophisticated suits. I see blabbering mouth talking everything nonsense from how they decided to pick this particular dress to wear for this occasion to how they are going to spend their summers this year.

Every time I breathe my mind says ‘man, collect you shit and get out of this place as soon as possible because if anyone recognize you here, you will never be able to walk on your legs again’ but my heart keeps on repeating same line again and again anything for Sarah.

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Socializing isn’t one of the skills I am good at, so I picked one of safest spot away from bar, not far away from the entrance, which is also the way out. I tried to keep myself busy in browsing internet. I am trying to read those black letters on my phone but all I hear is Nandini screaming at me in her shrieking voice with tears in her eyes “She is happy without you, don’t ever try to come back in her life, she doesn’t  need you. No one here needs you. Stay away”.

I could do nothing at that time; I saw her taking my Sarah away from me. I could see her beautiful innocent eyes, which knows nothing about what is going on, crying. That was the last time I saw here. Each time I try to find her in my memories I see her crying. It is terrible, this feeling is terrible. Since then I’ve spent every day of my life killing every cell in my body which desires to be anywhere near her, I can’t hurt her again. I can’t be the reason for her tears again.

“Sir, are you okay?”

I looked above. A waiter was standing right in front of me. I am fine, I said to him.

“I saw you crying so I came here, do you need anything sir? Bourbon, vodka maybe bears?”

No just plain water if you have. In few seconds I was having glass of sparkling water in my hand, I said thank you to him and I gave him a tip.

Everything in this party is either in white or in lavender, obviously these were Sarah’s favourite colours. She was very fond of white lilies, I remember once she wrote Sarah on a petal of it and gave me saying that the day you will lose it I will know that you love me no more. Today colour of that lily has turned to brown but I still keep it laminated in a plastic cover, I love her and I will always love her. Believe me or not, I knew her before I really knew her. I was in love with her before I even saw her.

Everything was perfect before that night. I had all I needed, a small house on the beach, a small perfect family, me and my wife Nandini, and my sweetheart my beautiful daughter Sarah. . I worked as a football coach in the same school where I met Nandini, when I was the captain of the school football team. We loved each other and against our families we eloped and married. It was not that well paid job for it was enough for three of us. I had all but then I started drinking.

People like me are not known to adjust well in happiness, when things are fine we screw them. It is almost sixteen years to that incident and I can still remember that night frame by frame. I still remember her sad blue eyes. Sarah my twelve-year-old darling couldn’t withstand the sight of me being thrashed by the cops. She watched all this while Nandini begged officers to stop. I was sentenced ten years of imprisonment. I ruined both of their lives. I ruined my perfect world.

When I returned, Nandini had already married someone else and my Sarah was now a college going girl. Nandini hate me and she is right in doing so, but keeping Sarah away from me, this was not right. I begged her, I tried to convince her that now I am changed but for her a person like me can never change. She wanted to keep our daughter safe and happy and away from my shadows. She even threatened me by the legal papers. I understand her, but she is mine too. Is this that hard to understand that I love my daughter and I can do anything for her. Not a single drop of alcohol has passed through my neck since that night, is this not enough to prove that I have changed?

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I have changed but no one can stop me from attending my daughter’s wedding. I haven’t seen her in past sixteen years and today no one can stop me, I will go directly to her and give her these white lilies and tell her that darling I am your father, hug her tightly and she will hug me back. I remember how every night she used to fall asleep in my arms while I sing lullabies for her. She used to keep her ears on my chest and hear my heartbeats and sing along with it. Every morning when I return from my practise, she runs towards me in her cute little doremon shoes with her long black hairs swimming in the air and I pick her from the ground, she giggle and she laugh. Seeing her happy made my days. I remember how her little hands played with my nose and ears and how she rides on my back as if I was a horse. I was happy and my life was beautiful when I was around her. Then happiness turned away from me and so did the life.

Rush was increasing near the entrance. I overheard people saying that the bride is coming. I gulped the water I was holding and stood up and there she was. She is transformed into complete beauty like her mother, dressed in traditional white gown she walked on the flowers. She is no more my carefree little Sarah, she seems bold, strong and her blue eyes radiate her confidence. She no more requires a dad who is only good enough to teach her hoe to drive a bicycle. She no more requires a dad who can only clean her shoes and comb her hairs. She no more requires a dad who sits all day by her side and paints all those stupid paintings of apple and roses hanging from the clouds. Maybe she needs a dad but I can never be the dad she need.

I shouldn’t have come here. What if seeing me again brings back all those terrifying memories. What if she didn’t recognise me, after all I have never worn suit and tie in front of her. What if she recognises me and gives me that I-hate-you-for-what-you-did-to-me look like her mother. What if Nandini identifies me standing in the crowd and throws me out of here, obviously she will make sure I never come near Sarah. What if Sarah also hates me? I can’t see hate for me in her eyes. I can’t see tears in those eyes again. I can’t hurt her again.

What should I do now? Its better I return to my old shitty life and disgust myself with my job as a security guard, I don’t belong here. What of these white lilies, should I give it to her or just take them back. I looked around everyone was busy; I can easily walk out of the crowd without being identified.

“Sir is you leaving?”

He was the same waiter who told me that I was crying. I told him that I have some important work to finish. I need to leave.

“Wedding is not yet started and you are leaving?”

He was being very sweet and was sounding very concerned but again it was none of his business, yet told him politely yes I am leaving.

“Sir, if you want me to deliver this bouquet to anyone, I can.”

I didn’t show much excitement but internally my heart was jumping like a ten-year old kid. I want my daughter to hold this but how can I give it to her? I can’t go near to her. He came to me like an angel to fulfil my only wish without me even asking. I gave him the bouquet said to deliver it only to the bride.

“Any note you want to keep?”

I said no.

“Are you sure, tell me your name at least I will inform to her that you were here.”

I was not in mood of arousing any suspicion about my identity so I just took out that laminated white lily petal with Sarah written on it and kept it among the flowers. I know it’s my time to walk out; I don’t want to create a scene in my daughter’s wedding. I walked the same way I came in and started to search for my bicycle in the sea of bikes and cars.

I was crying.

I was crying but I was happy. I saw her today, I wish I could have told her how much I missed her, how much I wanted to be on her side while she was growing up and tell her how much her father will love her even if she decides to hate him. But I think I got more than I deserved after all people like me can’t handle happiness.

“Dad!”

I heard someone calling dad.

I turned around; she was standing there and beside her Nandini was also standing. Sarah was holding that laminated petal of white lily in her hand and tears were flowing from her eyes. Sarah don’t cry child, please stop crying. I begged.

I tried to move but I couldn’t as if something was holding me.

“Dad don’t you love me anymore?”

I do my love, I do. I said.

She ran towards me in her beautiful white shoe of some brand I can’t even spell the name of, with her long beautiful hairs swimming in the wind. I tried to pick her in my arms like I used to when she was a child but I failed. I tried again and failed. She burst into laughter.

“Accept it dad, you are an old man now.”

She took my by the arms and lift me up and I told to her that she has grown young and heavy and that’s not my fault.

“What are you doing here, come inside”

I looked at Nandini, she wanted me gone. I told Sarah that today is her day and she should enjoyed it irrespective of what her old man is doing, I said her that it was the time of my night shift and I was on my way to my work and I am just searching for my bicycle.

“You brought a bicycle with you?”

I nodded.

“Wow dad, I always wanted to enter my marriage on a bicycle. Come on, take me inside in bicycle. Won’t you do this for me? For my happiness.”

I nodded in affirmation. I’ve no words to speak. Maybe I am the luckiest father in this world. I have never even imagined anything of this sort to happen. This is all real, this is all happening. I am again with my daughter and she is not angry with me, in fact she called me dad.

We hopped on the bicycle, me on the driver’s seat and she on the frame between hands and the seat. She was laughing. She was happy. I am happy. Maybe if I complete this ride without failing and falling and do not screw my daughter’s dream of perfect wedding there might be hope for me and a happy life.

 

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Always . Always ?

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 I kissed him. It was not forced or happened just by chance. I did it because I wanted it. I wanted him to kiss me. I looked in his eyes; they are glowing with sordid lust. He looked at me the way I wanted him to, neither as a lover nor with respect but like a slave, with flaming eyes of a hound loathing for every piece of flesh on my body. I don’t know exactly what I am doing or why I am doing whatever I am doing all I know is that I want this.

I am not like this, I was never like this.

I love to be loved and admired.

Although born in an upper middle class not so typical family, being only daughter and favourite of my father was something that never allowed anything to come between fulfilment of my desires, whether it was a demand of a Barbie doll with silver hairs from little me or demand for a designer dress of my fresher’s party. They all were fulfilled. I always get what I need and right now I want him. I want him all over me.

“Your phone is buzzing” he said.

Let it be. I don’t want to answer anyone.

“Just check it for once. It can be from someone in your family or might be from our college.”

What is this guy? Why he is insisting on picking a phone call, why he is thinking too much? Nothing can be that much important in my life that it can’t be kept on hold for five more minutes. Isn’t it rude that you stop kissing a girl just to say that you need to pick up your phone or he is indirectly implementing that I am a bad kisser. Whatever, this guy has just now ruined his image in my eyes. If you are cute then stay cute and don’t say anything that depicts your low understanding level and brand you as an idiot in my mind.

My phone started to vibrate again. I looked at him and found him looking at me with an expression of receive your damn phone. I grabbed it and walked out in balcony slamming the door behind me, ensuring that he understands the reason I did this.

I looked at the screen.

It was flashing Luv calling.

I wasn’t surprised but my heart beats rose. I was numb, standing still. What happens when you are at gunpoint? You know your end is right in front of you and there is least probability of you getting out of this mess unscratched but still you try. You try to save yourself and sometimes while in order to save yourself you run straight towards the hunter trying to hunt you down and sometimes you manage to surpass the destined end leaving behind list collateral damages to maintain.

I looked around. It was late in the evening and sun was trying to hide himself behind the trees increasing darkness in the other side of the valley. I was still staring at my vibrating phone and all I have to do is to slide and I will emerge victorious in this death-defying act of receiving a phone call.

I couldn’t.

Why am I doing this?

It has been more than three years since we are in relationship. We (means me and Luv and not that cute but not smart, idiot guy waiting for me inside) celebrated our epic love during our school and left everyone else jealous of us. Every single friend of mine was having a crush on him and rest, although never admitted but I know they too secretly desired him.

And he was mine.

One text message received.

“I was just checking on you. Was having strange feeling about you. Call me back when you’re free.

Missing you.

Love you, always.”

The text almost broke me into tears. I can feel warm fluid coming out from my eyes distorting the kohl.

He loves me.

He is mine. But am I? I love him, but if I love him what am I doing here. Any of my thousands of logics couldn’t satisfy me.

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Sun is finally swallowed by the large stretch of evergreen coniferous deodar trees. Valley is now turned into sea of stars. It is cold out here yet absence of wind is making this cold bearable. Should I go back inside or call back or text back to my epic love who is sitting thousands of miles away from me in some seaside college studying some stupid concept of Engineering? I can call him back and say that I am working on some assignment or just studying and he will believe it.

He always believes in whatever I say.

He is perfect.

How can he be so perfect and be in love with me. Is love that blind? I always feared that after going to college he will change. Some random girl will overthrow me from his heart and this geographical distance between us will create a psychological distance between our hearts.

But it never happened.

He still loves me, more than he used to. He cares for me, respect me and my decisions. He waits for my calls, my texts and makes plans for our vacations together. He has hectic academic schedule like every other engineering student but I am always top on his priority list. He loves me.

But is love enough?

Are only phonic conversations enough?

I miss him. I miss those initial hesitations of our fingers before he hold my hand. I miss him playing with my hairs, teasing me, mimicking my laugh. I miss hiding in his chest, leaning on his shoulder. I miss him when I stand in front of mirror, at that moment I need him here telling me how am I looking, but he is somewhere far-far away from me, pondering in concept of aerodynamics. I miss him almost every second of my life.

I am still holding my phone with his last text opened on-screen. What was I thinking when I agreed to this guy, who does not even bother to check on me sitting just behind a closed-door.

What am I doing?

I am cheating on Luv? Or I am cheating with myself?

There are people in my life who constantly inform me as if it’s their legal duty, that you are changing. Some even confirmed the fact that I have changed a lot. Hell yes, I have changed. I remember everything was fine last year, I was happy and so was everyone around me. We both were in same schools enjoying our romantic life to its extent. We had everything planned although we were not from the same streams but we can stay in same city while studying in different colleges. From the name of our colleges to society we were going to live was perfectly planned but never ever everything goes as we plan. He got selected for the college he decided but I couldn’t. This was my fault which left him with two choices; either he lives with me here and studies something he is not interested in or join this college and stay away from me.

He selected option one for me.

But I forced him to take option second.

I forced him to go thousands of miles away from me. Yes I’ve changed. I haven’t seen him in past eleven month and its killing me. His virtual existence around me through social media and phone is not enough for me. I need him with me, always.

When he is not around me, I am afraid of what of what I will become. Hell!! What I was thinking when I kissed this guy. What I was thinking, that once Luv will know that I am screwing around when he is not with me, will make him leave everything and come to me and stay by my side? How stupid I am, what if instead of leaving everything else, he leave me?

Why on earth this thought never occurred to me when I was planning this. Nidhi, my best friend, warned me about this but I was so determined to have him back here that I was willing to go to any extent, to cross every limit for him. What if my stupid plan of bringing him near to me by making him jealous and insecure drives him away from me? I can’t survive without him. My existence depends upon his presence in my life.

I can feel my heart trying to break my ribcage.

I started typing. – don’t worry. I am okay. Just busy with same college stuff. Will call you in morning. good night. I love you, always – and pressed the send button.

One text message received.

It was from Nidhi – “work done. Delivered your message.”

Before I could respond to the situation my phone vibrated again indicating another message has been received. It is from Luv.

“Received text from Nidhi. I don’t understand what’s going on. Just tell me that everything she told me is lie and make me believe your words, because I want to believe them. Rohini do you still love me, like you said, always?”

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read the second chapter of story here Judgement and third here Snowfall .

 

The girl from the foreign language class

“Akash, 46 marks.”

Mr. Nazi, my German professor, which is not his real name, screamed at full of his potential. Usually he is barely audible but this time, call it my fortune or my misfortune he was loud enough to draw everyone’s eyes on me. Bishwa who was proudly seated on one of the last benches threw me an air punch and gave me I-am-going-to-kill-you look as if I’ve betrayed him or have done something equally hazardous. Well actually I did nothing wrong but I’ve wronged him because it is one of the most sacred and unsaid rule of brotherhood that either we clear an exam together or we must fail together and this time I passed and he didn’t. In fact I got 46 out of 50 which was nowhere near flunking line, I was second from the top and the moment I will walk out of this class I am a dead man.

I don’t know whether to be happy or to be sad about it. There she is, on her favourite front row seat and I am continuously staring at her and this girl she hasn’t looked back at me for once. I have never seen her doing anything but maintaining balance between words written on board and her notebook, adjusting her non stylish geeky glasses on her perfectly shaped nose hiding her amazing eyes behind them. For refreshments she will look down for her carry bag to bring out a beautiful metallic water-bottle and will drink from it, all this time as she is having a blue Reynolds’s pen in her right hand, she dry her lips with her left palm and you can witness this process on loop in every German class, unfortunately two per week.

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It has been almost two month since I have seen her for the first time. I am not usually a class going type boy but when I go I try to win a last bench province and make my establishment there and settle myself in the best possible hiding area available which henceforth lowers the risk of me getting caught by professor and be thrown out of the lecture hall. This very day for the first time I couldn’t secure the last bench and was forced to sit in the third row from the front. It was disastrous; everything was so strange for me and was creating negativity in my personal atmosphere. I can smell typical classmate notebooks scribbled with ink and graphite around me. Everyone there was sitting like a hunter preying on every single word uttered from my not so Jew not so Hitler short sweet insanely patience professor and on other hand I had no clue what was going on at all.

I looked here and there only to realise that I know none of these smart studious undergraduate human beings craving for good score. I looked back at my friends, the real masterminds behind this evil master plan, who were waiting for me to turn just to make fun of me. Within span of next few microsecond I realised that instead of looking anywhere it will be better if I study the configuration of my shoe laces, so I looked down and while I was busy wondering types of different isomers which can be formed I heard a voice. This voice was enchanting enough to draw attention of every single cell in my body and without referring to my any of the previous physics and biology related knowledge I was able to identify that the person speaking is a girl probably seated somewhere in the front row and she have a doubt.

I looked above and it was not hard to locate her, I couldn’t understand anything she said, obviously she was speaking in German, and everything she said was beautiful and when she stopped I was like come on girl you need to ask few more doubts somebody here is trying to focus on you. I found a reason to stay awake in the class. I looked at her again; the angle from here was perfect. I could see her even without moving my stuffs. Although her dark dense short black curly hairs weren’t allowing me to get a clear look but it was enough I was already in love with her.

When it comes to approach a girl, I lack an enormous amount of courage which is the reason I couldn’t get to talk her in these past two months. All I have done is to sit somewhere near her from where I can see her and I wait for her to nod or shake her head in disagreement which make her face somewhat more clearly visible. As far as my imaginative powers can imagine it is reasonable that she might have caught me stalking her. For me it was easier to learn German to understand what she speaks than to ask her out or just to have a conversation in any common tongue and I did selected first option.

If you ask me I don’t even know her name and I didn’t asked my friends to gather every possible information about her but what I am confirm about is that I can recognise her voice even while I am sleeping, I can find her walking among millions of faces. Well today’s lecture is finished and now she will walk out of that door in sixteen steps, yes I counted them too and I will have to wait for next three days to see her again and its better if I turn my sleeping mode on before my friends get hold of me.

“Akash??”

Did she just called me or it’s just in my head? What if she is really standing right here at this moment and I am keeping my head down thinking it’s all in my mind. Should I look above for once just to confirm her presence? What if after seeing her in real, just few inches away from me, facing me or in other words looking at me changes my normal heartbeats to something else and eventually I will end up doing something more stupid than what I usually do. I need courage and I need support of my every alive cell, no matter of which categories they are, to provide me strength enough to say her hello.

I got up.

I look her straight in the eyes and wave my hand in gesture of saying hello. She smiled and I am in love with her smile.

“Hi, I am Maanvi.”

“I am Akash.”

And I am in love with you.

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