Wilted || Chapter One: Hot Pink Rubber Ties

Chapter One: Hot Pink Rubber Ties

 

‘I have life, I have love, I have faith and it’s enough.’ – Nepal Photo Project

To-do                                                                                                                            1st November, 2014

  1. Give away last week quiz grades in IV-B; Reminders about fountain pens;
  2. Start talking to III-A about doctors and nurses; Introduce Florence Nightingale;
  3. Pick-up Post-its and refills for red and black pens; Chocolates too!
  4. Talk to the administration;
  5. Work on essays and read up.

Making to-do lists and striking through them was a habit she had acquired in college. Now, as Roshni Sharma stared dejectedly at that day’s, she wondered if she could get through this one. Keeping her little black diary back inside her black faux leather satchel, she got up from the window seat and walked to the front of the city-bus. As she waited for the bus to stop, she pulled out her Moto G to check for texts or calls. There were none unless you counted group texts on the ‘Staff at Grahams’ group.  With a humourless chuckle, she carefully got off the bus.

The sky had already turned a dark hue of pink at five. With the slight chill in the air, it was obvious that winter was not far behind. Roshni adjusted her silk scarf over her mauve kurta and walked towards the noisy and loud market on the other side of the road.

As a primary school teacher, she learnt a lot everyday – mostly re-learnt lessons which needed to be taught whether about characters in history book or just tiny basic life lessons. Like every other day, there had been kids with birthdays that day as well. Tiny little girls with brand new hair ribbons and pretty dolls or boys with a new car, they had left behind at home. For them, it was about chocolates, new stationery and more hugs and kisses from everybody. When she shook hands with them and took the chocolates from the trays, she wanted to be them. A nice birthday lunch and loads of cuddling! As she walked into the general store, she spotted the candy aisle and with a gleam in her eyes walked towards it. Chocolates and Stationery! She smiled at that. After all, wasn’t the day the same for her as well? And who cared about birthdays, really?

Every age and every birthday is supposed to be a new beginning of sorts. A beginning where one refuses to allow themselves to be sucked into the spasm of the past, make merry in the present and look forward to the responsibilities, joys and senility of older age. Having said that, dear readers – what if the present is bleaker than the past? How do you live then? Well, growing up isn’t easy. It is difficult to make choices and take responsibilities for them. But then, life isn’t always pretty but it is always beautiful!

There was something about Cheesecakes that pulled her to the bakery. Ironically, it did not serve any cheesecake. The owner, Mrs. Wadhwa said that names were always overrated. It was a small establishment with rich wood floorboards and warm yellow lighting. It was probably one of those places in the town, which reminded Roshni of its old charm, one that only small towns on hill tops have. The place did not have a huge seating arrangement – just enough for one to feel cosy and cuddled in the cushioned chairs. That is exactly how she felt, once she was settled on her corner table waiting for her piece of cake, while sipping her warm peach tea. On any other day, she would spend a few hours there, reading a book, simply correcting papers or just preparing her next lesson. Today, however, her mind went off to the conversation she’d had with her parents before school.

When her phone had rung at seven, she had picked it up hesitantly almost whispering the customary Hello.

So, what is the plan today?’ Her mom had asked.

I have school.’ The answer had been obvious to her on a weekday.

Catch the afternoon bus and come home,’ Her father had interrupted her as if she had never spoken. ‘We can have a birthday dinner with everybody.’

‘Maa, I cannot miss school. We have the cultural programme coming up,’ She had chosen to address her mom and decline the invitation.

You did not even come home for Diwali, Roshu,’ Her mother had whined. ‘Do you also have a guy tucked in there like Rhea? In the name of this awful job, I don’t understand why you would waste such good education like this.’

‘Sunita!’ Her father’s reprimanding tone had followed.

Roshni had tuned out the rest of the conversation as it went downhill like so many others. Maa would talk about hope and useless jobs at the same time. And then, Roshni could no longer endure a longer conversation. It was not just her mother – it was everybody. That reflected in the number of wishes, she had received that day.

It was bizarre, how they had sworn not to lose touch and be there for each other. Nobody had stayed. Everybody had moved on and so, had she – away from the light of her dreams. Maybe, Mrs Wadhwa was correct. Names are overrated.

Then her piece of Death By Chocolate pastry arrived with a rainbow magic candle she had not ordered, a plastic knife and a roll of hot pink rubber-ties. She looked up from the tray into the warm brown eyes of the beholder.

‘Happy Birthday Roshni!

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Unsettled

Unsettled

 

In a dimly lit room, with messed hair and books abound on the bed, she stares nowhere, sitting stiffly on the hard chair. The clock shows three in the morning, yet the bed looks uninviting. She has too much to ponder upon, issues to sort out, too many vices to correct. She finds peace in the crackle of lightening outside and the splash of raindrops falling on the concrete of roads. She waits a while before she pulls back the curtain and throws open her glass panes. Gazing into the dark sky above, the smell of rust and wet grass greet her and the breeze glides in uninvited but not unwelcome. For moments, her thinking ability is incapacitated, taking a deep breath in, she waits for the beauty to sink in. The thunder brings her back. She falls on her completely occupied bed with a soft thud. For months, she has been away in a land she now has to call her own. She wonders how she has survived in midst of swarming voices. The verity of the situation dawns. She has had to adapt. In those crowds and shadows, she has become an addition. In a new land, she has lost and gained and yet the losses have left her unsettled. She thinks aloud whether there were chances, when she could have saved herself from losing. She has learnt well in a battle lost, she decides. The thunders hasten their measures and the rain has become louder in making its presence known. She, however, does not mind. She has accepted that wherever, she goes and whatever, she will grow up to be – this will always be home. A sleepless night and rain in a cluttered room. Always.

Unspoken

Unspoken

 

I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach, like I am sick.

It is not in my blood or my bosom. It is just there, everywhere.

Every time I think, plan and decide.

Then, open I, my mouth and sigh.

I am hung-over on paralysis. I am high.

Choked, no words appear and rusted, my muscles have disappeared.

I cannot bring myself to look her in the eye.

I cannot talk and I do not cry.

I do not crane my neck to see what is it, that is so wrong.

But, when I am alone, I fear.

For only a dreadful dirge I can hear.

I have no excuses to give to myself but words that speak loud of somebody who was once so dear.

I know that I am wrong, yet I am not good enough with spoken words to speak the same.

I berate myself, console my broken heart, pick up the broken threads of a relationship, I had cut hard.

With scissors sharp in my hands, I had snapped a chord which can no longer be heard.

A jarring relationship, I survive every moment I breathe.

To me, an existence it seems in a life to lead.

Time as such, I know, will heal no wounds.

Unless, the hands of the clock I can wind to a time past for a treasure lost so soon.

It is dead and I hope, it will be gone as well.

This guilt in the vines of which I am bound.

It festers, festers like the wound it is.

A blow to my pride and all I want to do is apologise.

I know, courage is not something I have ever had.

Not when forgiveness is slack.

I hope, winds will carry these to you.

Words, they are unspoken,

But felt in a moment of despair,

all which wish is to convey,

how sorry I am

for having lost you,

in the clutter of the year.

*In memory of a shadow of something which is no more.*

Selfish

Selfish

 

It is strange how everything has fallen apart within me.

I have become so helpless that tears stream down my cheeks at their own accord and stop without my wish.

How I desire I would overlook what others think of me and of my actions and then, I feel like crying again because tears fail in my quest of being selfish.

I don’t know where to stop and when to start.

I don’t understand what to do.

I crave for everything and do nothing to have something.

I sit here and there, trying to sort myself and end up messing it all over again.

Life seems so easy, yet it has become difficult to breathe.

I am here one moment and I am there, the next.

I am she and I was her.

Hope creeps in and glides out.

It fails to show me its house.

I forget what I had set out to do.

Idling over stones and scraps of paper, I refuse to admit that I know what happened to you.

Sometimes I sit and wonder – look at them and ponder.

Once I had it all and never cared to care.

I lost it after second chances – not realizing I was losing it all.

Now I look at them and cry.
I see them laugh and remember what we were and wonder we could be.

I wonder if you look my way – once in a while..

 

A/N – I think this came out as a mixture of prose and poetry. Don’t ask Dee what this is. She doesn’t know it too. Well, when does she? 😛

Growing Up

The glass falls from her hand and shatters into shards – shards she cannot pick up. Nevertheless she bends down from the bed, only to let out a shriek. It aches. It aches everywhere – her back, her feet, her hand and her body. ‘No Maa,’ she hears her daughter, Maya say. A small rant follows, telling her how she could have pricked herself, hurt herself. ‘I am not a doll,’ she almost yells. She isn’t and she won’t be treated as one. ‘But Maa,’ before Maya can complete, her mother asks her to go to her room and complete her homework. Looking like she’s going to say something, Maya sighs and goes out of the room. ‘She looked like a mother of a petulant child with no end to her woes,’ the mother muses, ‘but then; she has had to become one, hasn’t she?’

 

Using the support of the headboard of her teak bed, she gets up – moaning as she feels the bone in her feet scream. Covering her head and taking small steps she walks – stopping in between to catch breath. Her heart feels like it is burning in its cage, her head doesn’t feel too good as well and the hormones seem to be messing with her. Today was one of the bad days but she feels thankful that she wasn’t required to use the toilet too much. Those days are worse – everyone frets over her, especially Maya. She opens the door to her balcony and almost throws herself on the cane chair. The small walk has exhausted her. She sweeps away her blue stripped scarf from her head. She finds covering her head very irritating – but the gaze of people at her bare head is more disturbing. Maya argues that she should not care about other people but then who does not. The stares remind her of old days – good days when pity wasn’t a routine, when the tubes weren’t a regular feature of her body and when she didn’t have to look for something certain.

 

She looks upward at the night sky which is a shade of untold beauty. There are some clouds veiling the moon, which shines in its fiery glory, anyways. A breeze is blowing, which brings with it a feeling coolness. She will have to go in soon, she realizes or she will catch cold. She can reminisce a similar balmy evening with her pretty daughter – when she was the mother.

 

‘Maa, I want butterscotch. You? Same old vanilla,’ Maya asked. ‘No, I want a chocolate. Older people are entitled to their mood swings, aren’t they?’ She’d said. ‘Elderly, you mean?’ Maya had gotten in a spot then. ‘You were saying about Rohit? Who’s the girl?’ In an attempt to change topics, she asked. ‘Don’t digress, Momzie. Anyways, Poonam. And you should see him, Maa. We don’t even need to say anything more than her name for him to go all pink.’

 

They had then continued their midnight stroll, munching and licking each others ice cream and talking trivial-mundane things. Now days, they talked of fluids, medicines, kaadhas and aches. She heard the sweep of the curtain and looked that way. ‘Maa,’ Maya entered with a pink shawl. She took her time, wrapping it around her mother. ‘Maya, did you…’ before she could complete her sentence, her mother interrupted her and almost grumbled, ‘I have taken all my medicines. I don’t want to talk about them.’ ‘At least, let me complete, Momzie. I was saying whether you knew India won the match today. Do you want to celebrate with hot chocolate?’ Maya said slyly, producing two mugs of hot-chocolate. She took one in her hand, welcoming the warmth in the midst of the chilly weather. They spent a better part of the next hour talking and keeping quiet. Their conversation wasn’t like before. They had grown up in the last few months. The silence didn’t disturb them; it was comfortable like the pattering of rain against a window shield. She realized that growing up didn’t just happen at once, growth seeps into you and makes its presence known in that one moment.

 A/N – I am back. I am going to update this blog, hopefully every week!

From An Impatient Girl.

Dear Life,

I have been writing letters all the journey along. I have shredded most of them and then, put them into dustbins and some I have kept as a reference for the final draft. I do hope this is it. Otherwise my already non-existent mane of hair will be in shreds.

I am sixteen and eleven months old. As a typical teenager, I have a box of complaints for you. It outweighs the box of chocolates which is supposed to be a reward. I cannot gather which one to present you first. I have a list of wishes like a small child. I am ready to break my growing wisdom-tooth and keep it under my pillow, if only there was a tooth fairy! I am still a child, aren’t I?

I haven’t even covered half of the journey yet. There is no shortcut to growing up – even if there is I don’t wanna know it. Though sometimes I do wish, I’d go to sleep and wake up just to find that some massive thingy which is equivalent to a tempest is over. Truly, however, I do not want to take short cuts. Period! I want to see it all. I want to laugh – you know, that booming laughter, a fancy, a pleasure and nobody questions its ring of truth, not even me. For a short moment – a minuscule while, I wouldn’t mind crying. Tears are only human and I am a mere mortal.

Don’t ask me to compromise. Not that I will not. I will give up anything to please you. However, I shall not be pleased. I am not a selfless person. I am selfish and I admit that it will remain that all along. Merely mortal! I like to have an upper hand and a say in all matters. Don’t treat me like a pretty doll with no mind and just a twenty-four inch waist line to flaunt. If you tell me I am an important person for you. I want it proven, marked, checked and verified on your ‘priorities list.’

I am a human and more importantly, a girl. Do not expect no jealousy or insecurity on my part. I would like to be flattered a little – appeased a lot. One day, I’d like to fall in love and want that love to be returned. Yes, I am shallow and I am naïve. But aren’t little girls supposed to be just that?

I want to travel and see the world – not just the Eiffel tower but also the little bistros. I want to watch the sun going down in Kanyakumari and the canals of Venice. I want the trinklets of Himachal and the chocolates in Switzerland. I would like to visit a private island someday and spend unimaginable amount of money on shoes, bags and dresses.

 

I want it now and not when I am old enough to be a granny. I’d like to see it myself and flaunt it, brag it! Do you care enough to tell me if the dreams I weave are going to shatter – the beads falling one by one and rolling away.

I want to know all about you. I expect so much from you, L! What do you think of me? I’d love to know you – more than a pen friend and much more than a stranger. You’re me but I’m not you. Tell me, how?

 

Sincerely,

An Impatient Girl, forever!

 

 

A/N – Sometimes, your journal gives you stuff which you never thought you could right. This is one of it. It’s a rambling – and an effort to return to writing.

 

Love,

Deeksha

Incoherency

Incoherency 

 
She can hear her own words resounding in her mind. ‘There is much more in life and I have much more to see… much more to learn. The day school ends, we shall all cross a threshold. And that day a door shall forever be closed upon us.’ She cannot believe how clairvoyant she had been. Words she had once spoken in an attempt to sound grown-up and mature had indeed come true.
 
She is jerked back to the present as the car drives over yet another speed breaker on the state highway. She is enveloped in the night’s darkness and in the absence of any artificial light to guide her, she cannot see anyone. No one can see her. She realises that her i-pod which she had been listening to, is still playing on shuffle. She switches it off – another light being put out that evening. She hunts for the earphones, she had plugged into her ear at the beginning of the journey. She had lost them in her bouts of dozes and preoccupation. In her search, she loses grip on her i-pod. 
 
The car lurches forward again – this time over an unexpected pot hole in the road. She jots forward and falls on the luggage. She hadn’t realised how cramped she had been, sitting for six hours in the back of the car, stuffed with luggages – suitcases and loose bags. She had been stuffed in because she was small and she would fit – as if she were yet another burden, yet another luggage. She hears others in the front telling the driver to take it slow. She doesn’t make a sound – just assembles herself back in the small seat. She gathers her legs on the seat – there isn’t enough space on the floor to keep them there. She tries sitting cross-legged but she can’t. Finally she pulls her legs to her chest, puts her head in the cradle of her thighs. 
 
She goes back to her search of i-pod and ear plugs. She realises, it isn’t there on the seat. It has probably fallen down. She tries to search for it with her hands but she can’t find it. The rhythm of the silent drive is broken yet again. This time she abandons her search, knowing that i-pod has moved somewhere in the realm of inaccessibility at the moment. She resumes her seat. Suddenly all her bouts of preoccupation and all her epiphanies attack her together.  She feels something choking her. She hasn’t eaten anything since lunch. She feels an incoherent sob in her windpipe. She tries to muffle it. She knows she is going to fail in her attempts yet again. She gives up. She does what she has been doing for a while now. She buries her head in her arms and buries herself in herself. She cries – silent but loud sobs. She cries so that no one can hear her but her world echoes with them and her spirit suffers yet another fissure just by the intensity of the quake.