Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Shine

The night falls… she’s getting dressed for a charity ball that her office has organised. She’s joined back work, so as not to lose her voice of reason. Tonight’s event is very close to her heart. It’s her baby, she gave birth to it, nursed it, cradled it and now is ready to give it to the world.

One day, on her visit to the clinic, her car breaks down in front of a dilapidated house. With no help in sight and scorching sun overhead, she contemplates of going in to the house. All of a sudden, she sees nearly a score of children rushing through the main gate and onto the road. As startled she is, yet she is beaming with a smile. Because, in all her might, she could’ve never imagined such a dead looking house to be beaming with life. She looks at them getting onto an equally decrepit Carrier, and her feet carry her towards them.

She pats on a girl’s shoulder, and the girl turns. She looks down into her eyes and something in them, tugs at her heart. She asks for her name and is told Mansi. She knows that there’s something - but what??? … that eludes her. Mansi smiles at her and asks that what made her come to her? She herself doesn’t know.

She tells the girl to go ahead and turns back towards the house. She steps into the portico, and notices what went amiss from the road - a lawn strewn with toys and a sandpit with a huge Castle. She continues towards the door and hits the knocker. An old man- an octogenarian answers the door. She tells him about herself and he lets her in. The house though gloomy to look at from the outside has warm and welcoming air. She looks through the hallway and sees doors on either sides opening into huge rooms. They are walking into one of these rooms. She looks up at the ceiling and sees it decorated with festive buntings and huge balloons.

She’s talking to the old gentleman, and is surprised at his intellect. She listens to his mesmerising voice “…children love it here… not that they have any choice but they don’t want to leave this old house nor this old man…” she looks around and finds an old fireplace. She walks towards it.
“… getting some good offers for some of the kids… from families of repute and enormous wealth, we leave all the decisions with the child. And they simply don’t want to go. Instead of accepting donations, we ask people to contribute in bringing them up.”

She turns around with a question looming on her mind. And he answers before she voices it. “We just ask the people to contribute in the right way, by giving away their time. It’s very easy to part with your money and feel good that you’d been part of bringing some good, but that doesn’t count. Tell me…Does it???” She looks bemoaningly bewildered. “We ask people to teach them, welcome them in their homes. Create awareness about them and donate gifts and clothes.”

“And is that enough, I mean food, books and daily sustenance.”
“It’s easy, we do our own housekeeping, learn to make handicrafts, grow our own vegetables, we even have our own candle making unit…”

“Today the children are invited to one of our patrons’ home. It’s their child’s birthday. I must say adopted. They approached us to adopt one our own, but the kids refused. You’d be surprised to learn what the kid in question said. She said that it won’t be fair to her fellow friends where she gets to live with all the luxuries and they are denied the basic sustenance. Could you ever believe this coming from a seven year old!!! nobody could believe this… not even the couple. This moved them so much that they became our patrons from then on.”

She learns a valuable lesson in life. She learns the true meaning of gratitude, shown to her by a seven year old. She has everything yet she yearns for what she doesn’t, and here a seven year old gives up everything that promises her a great future. She promises herself that she won’t begrudge and belittle her life by complaining what she doesn’t have. She turns around and walks towards the mantelpiece. She looks at the pictures. There she is with a pup in her hands and friends all about her. The gentleman walks to her and points this is the child he’d been talking about.

She slips into her dress, does her hair and lightly brushes her face with the makeup. She is thinking about her Guest of Honour, the fight that she has put up for her organisation to take up the cause, her colleagues to embrace it voluntarily. For months on end, she went after each and every person and explained to them, about what they’ll be bringing into these children’s lives. She ran from post to pillar, and eventually someone sitting high up took notice and heard her. They sat after hours, for months on end; to devise a suitable plan that also accrues up the company’s goodwill and gets it due tax benefits.

Though her colleagues cussed her for days to come…. But they experienced what’d been missing from their life- a therapeutic stress buster. What started as reluctance gave way to looking forward to Compassionate Sundays. They gradually started bringing their Families and interacting with the kids. From teaching alphabets to Shop Craft and even sewing and knitting… Life suddenly was so much fun.

Tonight, as she walks on to the stage, she knows that it’d been truly worth the efforts. Tonight what she started from her organisation will be accepted globally. As she walks near the podium, she holds onto a hand that taught her the real meaning. Her Guest of Honour – Mansi – she leads her to the microphone and sees her eyes shine which lost their light at the age of three. The shine that emanates an aura. The shine that radiates a characteristic which others can never possess, for they are blinded by all the glam and glitter. Today this blind girl will shape the lives of many with a vision that they clearly could not see.

Life acts in strange ways.
“…Ibi, you’d be what she is- a beautiful human being first, and everything else later. This girl has given me a new found meaning and I know you, just like her, will be the guiding light for many. May God bless both of you with his wisdom and prudence.”

She never forgets to let go of me, why her day has to begin with me looming in her mind and ends with the hope of my coming into her life. I’d promised myself that the day she won’t think of me, I’ll leave her to her own self, but she won’t give up on me. She doesn’t make my job easy, but I guess she doesn’t get to be easy on her own self. I just wish her life gets a new direction and I hope to be the one to steer. I want to be the one to shine light into her life.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Rage

She’s standing in the doorway to terrace, and makes up her mind to whether go out in the rain, or make some savouries for her family. The latter outweighs the former, and she drags herself to the kitchen with a poignant heart and perspicacious cheer, that hasn’t left her since the visit.

A few months before, her doctors advised her to give up her treatment and start living. As per them, she had not been living a normal life but a mechanical one, and not to forget a MEDICAL one. Life had not been so easy but it had never been an impossible either. She knew how to live, but others have an altogether different opinion. Their advice GIVE UP STRESS, But with no proposition whatsoever. Did they ever hear ‘it’s easier said than done’?

It’s Wednesday, five days before than today, she is standing in front of the calendar. She notices the date, and turns back a few months. A few mental calculations later she fixates on a number -32. Not number but, number of days in actual. She comes back to the current month and marks the date with a big red orb. These five days will be so tumultuous, that the blood could curdle in veins, but knowing her I know, it’s not blood but sheer steel that runs through her. What holds her upright is the thought of my coming to her… I wish she knew otherwise.

“..Ibi…it’s been enough of hide and seek… stop playing ‘it’… it’s time that we finally confront each other… NO…NO… I don’t mean that I’m weary of this game… I can never be weary of you and your mischief but others don’t know you as I do… they can’t wait…I guess you understand… WHY!!!... You saw father yesterday and the longing look when he looked at Fahad… It stirs up something inside and I know you felt it too. So don’t ask me why!...”

She continues on her own- as if held in trance, while she’s busy whipping and chopping. Her husband is standing in the doorway and hears her. He calls out to her but she doesn’t listen… How can she? She’s been talking to me. He calls her again, loud this time. She’s startled, turns around and drops the cleaver onto her foot. And there it was, a moment frozen in time. Before the cleaver could reach out to meet her foot, her husband ducks and pushes her away, only to have her flying into the cabinet.

She falls, but doesn't get hurt.

Instead, Gets really hurt.

“Why do you do this to yourself? Why can’t you live with normal people like us, like normal people do? Why ! Why! Why??? Hasn’t been enough already…” I hear him say with a swelling tone that loudens with every note … get normal, even your doc asks you too, or you’ll be no good.”

There it was a message loud and clear, that she hasn’t been any good and runs the chance of never going to be one either. Something she has always dreaded to hear… and from the last person she expected.

Simultaneously, she’s struggling for her breath, as much as words that escape her at the emergence of tears. She stands up and walks past him, into the bedroom, and then into the balcony. IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIbbbbbbbbbbbbbeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and She screams. She flops down onto the floor and gasps for breath. Hasn’t it been enough already.

He follows her scream only to find her trembling with rage. With piercing silence they acknowledge each other’s presence only not to speak. He comes to her, and she flinches. He sits down besides her and strokes her hand. She looks him squarely into the eye. He notices her quivering lips.

I ain’t Normal huh I didn’t mean it and I’m no good either…. I didn’t say it this way. All I meant by saying that, was to bring you back to our lives, for I’m afraid I don’t want to lose you.

Her rage hasn’t settled, and yet ‘the cup runneth over.’ It drowns in her own tears, and the din of her sobs.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just visiting an abandoned blog...
will definitely write more... a long hiatus is about to cave in to see an insurgence of emotions.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Visit

She enters the reception area, and there’s a hush…… or so it seems to her. She gets conscious of her being there…. ALONE...The air goes stifling, and she finds herself choking on her words. She is not able to mutter three simple words….. “Dr. A, Please!” She is given her visitor number and told to be seated.

She crosses the room full of some 30 odd couples, and drags her feet to the farthest of the bench. Sitting on the cold and hard chair, she wonders why doctors have the most uncomfortable pieces of furniture, in their lounge. These are so uninviting and so cold. She reflects that all these people have one thing in common- a shared dream; they have each other with them. But to her dismay, she doesn’t… She sees one or two furtive glances, hears whispers and tries to be indifferent, but she fails.

“ ‘Ibi’, you there……….I guess the doc would answer that…….. I believe today is not such a bad day after all. The sky is clear, the air is crisp and strangely sweet… but why is it sweet!...…. Is it a sign to let me know that you are finally here?........ There hasn’t been much to do in your absence… no booboos to kiss away… no friends to discuss… no swimming or piano lessons… no soccer matches to cheer…”

She warms me but her stance is a bit disturbing. She tries to be invisible, she tries to melt away in oblivion, but people can’t help but notice her. They can’t help: seeing her plight, her nervousness, her being alone and knowingly or unknowingly they make her shift in her seat. This is one perspective while the other holds true as I believe. They can’t help but notice: her confidence, her maturity, her level headedness, the way she conducts herself. This mindless subterfuge… seems to have a mind of its own.

She hears her name being called. She gets up and walks to the counter. The woman asks her to follow and she does. She’s told to get dressed in a generic mass produced blue paper gown. She gets dressed and then is told to lie down on the worktable. Lying down on the cold table she postulates on her theory of Doctors & the Uncomfortable pieces of seating fixtures.
“ ‘Ibi’, it seems your volition will outlive my own… The decision that you’ve contributed to makes no sense to me at all…” She sees the doctor enter. A few exchanges later, her body convulses, and she gears up for what has to follow. With her legs wide apart, and a probe inside her, she struggles with her breath. “… everything’s going to be ok… just don’t give up on me… let her tell me you’re here… let her”

She looks to and fro, doctor and the blip on the screen, anticipating a response. “I am prescribing some injections, you take them once daily for three days… and come and see me on the fourth day.” She nods her approval and gets dressed. She takes it as a positive sign of my arrival and heads towards the pharmacy. She buys her medicines and then walks towards the nurse’s bay.

“You’re back… she smiles …good news… she smiles again but her eyes tell a different story …Don’t worry your God will take care, How may I help you?" She hands over the doctor’s prescription and the meds to her. She’s taken to the administer room. She lies down on her side, with fists clenched and eyes tight shut…. She’s phobic of needles. How badly she wants somebody to be with her and hold her hand.

And there goes the first one, right in the small of her back. A tear rolls down her eyes…

She puts up a brave picture but her cold sweaty hands give her away. And there goes another one.

She gets up, thanks the nurse and walks out of the building. The visit wasn’t as hopeful as she wanted to be… but still she waits for another three days.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Dream

The night grows darker, every passing minute and the lights are going out one by one. The day has ended at a dreadful note and the night begins with a horrid jingle. The night creeps and the clouds fly on the moonless sky. Here she stands all amazed and excited that her love is on his way to meet her, he’ll be here any minute to take her to a safe haven where she will remain all her life, loved and cherished.

But neither does she know what lay in her future, nor is she aware what doom heads her way. She stands on this night of gloom, happy and loved. Her bosom heaves heavily with excitement, every passing moment she turns and tries to look for her lover through the dreadful recesses of the dark woods.

She stands frozen but still a candle of love rekindles her warmth inside. She waits for the moment to come but her wait outlasts her own self. Suddenly, she bends down doubled with pain, and she feels the warm blood under her hands. She looks up to see her silent slayer, but is stunned to find no one. She collapses suddenly, her legs giving in, but her hope still subsists.

Again, she looks up, to find someone looking at her writhing in pain, but all that she sees is DARKNESS embracing the woods.

She hears the distant church bells. She stands up and gathers her receding strength. She runs, she runs like never before, she runs with the laughter of the wind, she runs like the wind herself. Her bare feet bleed whilst she scourges through the thorn forest. Her dress a beautiful white, now clings tightly to her sweet perspiring body, and chokes the last breath out of soul.

She keeps running she doesn’t want to give up her last expectation; she doesn’t want to give up her faith in her lover’s promise.

She stops to regain her strength. She stops to clear her flooded eyes. Then the blow comes…and here she dies on this cold dark night.

“Huh!...... what… ohhh…… it’s ok!. I’m Ok !!! I am fine.” She wakes up drenched in her own sweat………. and blood. She stifles a scream, rushes to the washroom, and checks herself. She wants to yell, but whimpers ; she wants to scream, but breaks down instead. “Not Again, Not Again, this couldn’t be.”

She comes out, and rummages around frantically for her phone. She rings her husband, who’s out of town. The phone is not answered, and she keeps on trying his phone maniacally, till it is answered. “Heavens Girl!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IS IT!!!. What are you doing up at this hour…..”, “I’ve Lost it….”, “ THANK GOD, YOU ACKNOWLEDGED, yes, you’ve lost it. Now go to sleep and we’ll talk in the morning….” “NOOOOOOOOO…. We’ve lost it….” and she disconnects.

He calls her back. He is calling her again. She doesn’t take his calls, switches her phone off, and breaks down into cold sweat. With her head into her knees, she tries to cocoon herself from the ruthless reality of her life, of what just happened...... of what has been happening to her. She has many questions but no one to answer them...

Her dream has ended THE ONE DREAM, she had.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Wait

I see her standing in the doorway to the terrace with a warmed look. Following her gaze I see right across the road, into the terrace of another apartment. I see a toddler, playing with his mum and the dog. She looks down onto ‘Raven’ nuzzling up at her feet and realises what’s missing… ME.

To Raven’s utmost surprise and mine, she gets up with a fierce determination. She gets to her phone and a few calls later I see a smile making its way on her face. She then gets dressed, picks up her bag, tugs on Raven’s leash and out she goes. With her dog safely on the rear seat, she gets into the car and pulls out of the society.

A couple of minutes, she pulls in front of a florist, pick some flowers and drives away.

What I can only make of a reason for this sudden disruption of her routine is a RENDEZVOUS, but of what kind I still can’t figure out. For much I’ve known her these three years, this sudden disruption doesn’t seem in accord with her demeanour. But I anxiously wait to see what’s about to happen.

A good half hour drive later, she parks in front of a beautifully landscaped garden. She gets out with her bag deposited onto her left shoulder, flowers in one hand and leash in another. With a huge grin on her face and her dog beside her she walks right into the garden. She knows where to go, she doesn’t stop at location board… and she walks with a determined stride towards a bench. She sits and waits, and she waits.

She can see people walking on the pavement; can see children playing in their designated area; can feel the very heavy air pregnant with reluctance which comes with every stare, every look thrown towards her. But she waits.

Looking over to the children, she reminisces of her own childhood. She sees a mother of three pulling her boy away from a playground bully, and is reminded of her mum. I’ve met her mum only twice in these three years, only when she pulls her out of her scrapbook and kisses her with warm lips and anoints her with her tears. I know from where she gets her stance, from her mother of course. I must say she was a looker, a very beautiful and graceful woman in prime of her youth. I wonder how she would’ve looked now, had she not died.

Her phone’s buzzing in the bag, but she’s lost in her own world... moments later she realises and fishes for her phone in her bag. A battle won… a battle lost. The moment she scoops her phone out of the bag, the call’s missed. She wonders, for how long would she miss out: on things, on opportunities, on her life.

She calls the missed caller. “Where have you been sweetie ! I’ve been waiting here for you for last one hour. Dying to meet you and your li’l one…………………………….. ohhkkkay… …….. I surely understand….. Don’t worry…… some other time may be……. bye.” She disconnects.

She sits, pulls her sunglasses over her eyes and gets up. She, then decides not to let go of the moment, she walks Raven, plays Frisbee with the kids and rolls in the sandpit. I’ve not seen her like this... ever. She drives back home and waits twitchily for husband to return and tell him about her day minus the ‘stood up’, minus the 'wait'.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Sleep

“ Ibrahim! - that’s what I’ll call you if you are a boy, because that’s what you’ll be the father of multitude... not literally but yes I know you’ll be the best at anything and everything you’ll do. Moreover, it’s also your great grandfather’s name which also happens to be close to your father’s heart.” “And if a girl then I’ll name you Ibtihal – prayer because you’ll be an answer to countless of those and you’ll bring hope to many.”

I keep on hearing her monologue and wonder why does she need me? Why this urgency! Is it to prove a point? …to have peace at last? …to have a family? have someone who makes her feel alive? …to make her complete? Or am I just an agenda, another KRA to be met in a life of a confident young woman? And the last thought leaves me ashamed.

Have I never known her or have I turned blind just like everyone else around her!

How can I question her love for me! It’s as unconditional as it gets. She loves me without even knowing me, without even knowing whether what and how I’ll be. Her life revolves around me, even when I don't exist anywhere except in her, she doesn't know of my existence, yet she has been brought into this world for me. And yet, I question the very purpose of her existence.

“…don’t want to stifle you, nor your freedom… I want you to grow into a beautiful human being first and then anything else later. I can’t promise you riches but all the love and respect that’s priceless, I won’t mother you… but on the second thoughts I won’t let you have your way…”

She continues in her own reverie, and I wish her to sleep. She has a whole new day tomorrow, and she should rest, God knows she hasn’t had one for many days. I can hear that leap in her rhythmostat, in that soft thud of her heart whenever she sighs, and silently a tear rolls down her eyes. Though it is dark, I see those glistening eyes. During the days they hold a chuckle, and in nights a deluge of sorrows. I have too much to learn from her. I have too much to stand up to.

Her husband rolls over, and notices her awake. He pulls her over to him and embraces her. She relaxes, seems to melt away in that caressing moment and shuts her eyes. She finally sleeps in nine nights.