Posted in Short Stories, Stories

Guitar strings attached

With the rustling leaves whooshing down the woods and the snowman being bubbly as ever, the spirit of Christmas stroked my cheek, but my skin didn’t react to it. The whole world seemed like a moving graphic, playing on repeat numerous times and foxing my mind even further. It all didn’t matter anymore. My world had already collided with the sun, only to become a lesser known source of light.
I perched on my verandah in spite of the biting cold and hugged my knees with my arms to gain a little comfort. My tea had turned cold amidst all that contemplation. Of course I could have made another one, or just warmed it, but I went inside and chucked it down the basin.
“Why did you do that?” I heard a voice, similar to his whisper. I turned around to see a man about his size standing with folded arms and grinning as if he’d been caught for a prank.
I avoided his question and went to my room. He was probably one of the many guests I had at my place. I never interacted with any of them. They always found a way to annoy me. Guests are called guests for a reason; they are supposed to comprise of only a few minutes of your life and not take up residence in it, however abstract life may be.
A lifeless thing such as my room comprehended me, or at least happened to be a shoulder to me. So, I went to sit by the window sill and tried to complete my drafts. It was the only thing that kept me going. My journal consisted of souvenirs of our meetings, and every time I looked at that them, my eyes would well up. That didn’t stop me from reliving those moments. I traced the four-leafed clover he had gifted me, with three-fourth of my skin and the remaining one-fourth with my sweater’s extended sleeve. I went into a trance as his memories flooded my thoughts.
Just then, a purposeful cough startled me. It was him. Again. I looked away instantly, trying my best to go back to my daydream. He just smirked at my actions and came and sat next to me. He looked here and there and then tried to make eye contact with me. He would incline his head towards the side I would turn. When I finally looked towards him, he let out a laugh. I didn’t join his laughter. It didn’t seem right to laugh. Just the thought of it made me feel guilty. It was like enjoying his absence.
“Stretching your sleeves is much more effective than wearing gloves, right?” He made another attempt to make me laugh to which my sole reflex was pulling the sleeves of my sweater back, and subsequently reaching for my cuffs.
Now this young man in front of me started fiddling with my things. I was supposed to have flared my nostrils or at least snap at him. But, I didn’t. Something was seriously wrong with me. I normally wouldn’t stand an outsider touching my things without my permission. Maybe he wasn’t an “outsider.” I dusted that thought away and questioned my own sanity.
“Is that your guitar?” He asked, raising one of his eyebrows; the left one to be exact. I nodded a yes, expressionlessly.
“Then do you play?” He interrogated.
“No. Not anymore.” I somehow managed to utter a couple of words.
He went ahead and picked it up. “Well, this is quite dusty,” he spoke, not expecting a reply. He wiped off the dust with his undershirt, and then came towards me with the guitar.
“Hey listen, I am aware of your loss. I can see it in your eyes.” My eyes popped out at that statement.
“No, not really. Your mother told me,” he said, without batting an eyelid to his own witty remark. But his former sentence gave me some encouragement to take things off my chest.
“Well, it all happened last Christmas.” Something or rather someone was making me feel at ease while talking about it.
Instead of asking me more about it, he simply strummed the guitar strings in a melodramatic tone, but then gestured me to continue my story.
“This guitar was actually a gift from him. And he used to teach me. Whatever little I know, it’s through him. But I have lost the courage to play it again. He would often tell me about his dream girl, and I slowly fell in love with him. That gave me an idea to surprise him. I dressed like her on the day we were supposed to perform at the church. But just as I was about to run towards him, a truck…” I trailed off, and completely zoned out.
He kept his hand on my shoulder and said, “See, I know it’s not going to be okay, and I am not going to comfort you by saying that either. Just know that your life also has a purpose on this planet.” Then looking at the bizarre decorations around us; the grey wreath, the wilted holly leaves, and the worn out stockings, he sighed and after a brief pause spoke, “Just because one Christmas of yours turned around to be black, doesn’t mean you’ll paint every other Christmas of yours grey. At least make do with some white.”
My face turned into a scrabble board towards the end of his dialogue.
“Silly,” he continued,”I know it’s hard, but keep all those moments in your heart. Trust me, he’s there. No one is asking you to let go. Rather hold on tighter.”
I blinked at his wise words.
“And you are performing today. I will teach you a few easy tunes and you’ll do just fine.”
I neither agreed nor disagreed to that. I had put enough faith in his words to do whatever I was being told. The tunes he played were so captivating and soothing to the ear, and instead of complimenting his skills, I just blurted out a “You are so cool!”
He chuckled and said, “Well of course I am. Didn’t I tell you I belong to a hill station?” At this point, it seemed impossible to tame the slight curve of my lips.
“Oh and do wear that same outfit tonight. I am certain that you would have had to change last time.” He took a vow from me and got up to leave.
“Sure, as long as you dress like an elf.”
“Fine. I will do that.” He accepted my condition with a straight face and promised to be there while I performed. I took out that same white sweater, which was embroidered with several snowflakes and a pair of sky blue jeans to go with it and packed myself in it. Then, I stepped into my boots and put on a grey woollen cap. There. I was all prepared. I gathered all the strength I had and picked up the guitar to perform.
He had kept his word. He stood right next to Santa Claus and the other elves. The audience swayed to my music and my melodies just zoomed into the atmosphere awaiting feedback from the birds. I felt so energetic and revived. I felt like I was never really sad.
And as I finished, I searched for him in the crowd. He was nowhere to be found. He had taken my words literally.
Just. Like. He. Used. To.

aesthetics, snow, and winter image
White Christmas
(Picture credits: Unknown; Source: We heart it)
Posted in Prose, Stories

The nurse

I was lying down, right in the middle of a bed, with both my hands rested on my chest, as if I were on my deathbed and surrendering my spirit to God. The fan was watching over me. It rotated slowly and expressionlessly, mocking my motion. But never mind. At least it cared for me indirectly. My overalls matched my state – blue and dull, while my drooping eyelids now fell even further, devouring my vision and turning it hazy. And before I knew it, those few seconds of relief turned into a series of uncomfortable flashbacks.
Every day was another day. Another moment. But always a stale start. It would either revolve around prolonged work hours or covering up for colleagues. At other times it dealt with giving up my meals to family members of ailing souls and being left with just the dip to suck on.
Being sick does give people some level of advantage; not an unfair one though. I twitched my lip as I came up with that conclusion in my mind.
That was when I had landed here, and changed into these “sick” clothes, in hope of finding someone who would pamper me. A passive spectator would surely cite me as a lunatic at this doing of mine. But then, the room I had chosen was at the end of the corridor; aloof from the rest of the world, yet visible to the naked eye. This room in spite of being all dingy, robbed my attention, and I simply tagged along with the idea of getting myself admitted there.
If only someone would figure out that I was in a state of despair. 
If only someone could fulfil my request of being taken care of.
Maybe. Maybe I was mad after all. I wanted to return to my flashbacks even though they swelled my heart up. Before I could go back to the saga in my head, my pager vibrated.
Buzz: You are required to attend to a patient at once.
I got up with great reluctance and a deteriorating sense of balance and headed towards the locker room. I changed into a fresh set of clothes and washed my hands thoroughly. But surely, no amount of sanitization would wash away my wish of being rescued.
Afterwards, I ushered myself to the store room and collected everything I needed. I headed towards the general ward to escort my patient for his scheduled sponge bath. And in less than a minute, his mate came in and glared at me. That one stare said everything. She didn’t want me touch her property. Without uttering a word, I passed on the toiletries to her, and proceeded to leave. As I left, I could hear the guy sharing his fantasy of hooking up with a nurse with her.
The doctor was there too, making them do some mandatory paperwork. They thanked him wholeheartedly. After all, he was an incarnation of the one above. That however didn’t make me an angel. It just resulted in my being a miserable and misfortunate “sister.”
Perhaps, that’s how it’s supposed to work – the carpenter has no wood to build a house of his own, the pharmacist doesn’t get to use his stock of medicines and the workers at the parlour never get to groom themselves either. Even I didn’t have a choice. It’s just how I earned my bread and most importantly, a notion of responsibility.
I glanced at my reflection on the glass door and let out a sigh at the sight of my cap. My whites that were once pure were now stained with a desire and no matter what, that red cross would always stay there like an old bottle of wine, pretending to be a design.

Posted in Prose, Stories

Average Joe

Unlike fables or fairy tales, quotes have a great impact on a reader’s mind. They are quite apt too. The ones we choose to read are most definitely relatable, and the ones we ignore, make us the only exception to it.
“Dreams come true,” is an example of such a quote. There are things waiting for you down the line, and believe me, it’s worth the wait. Just like the canvas that rested before me, which needed more details, in its most minute details. I placed my arms parallel to the ground and stared at my palms. They were completely varnished with prismatic little molecules; not from their natural pigmentation, but from the jars of fabric paint that surrounded my cross-legged posture.
I chuckled and blinked with a perfect coordination at the result of my doodling brush. Only he could bring out the girly side in a Plain Jane girl like me! ‘Dreams do come true,’ I recited that same quote in my mind, but this time with emphasis. Most daydreamed of and drooled over dashing personalities. Here’s where I stood out or rather in. They wanted different, they wanted unique. However, I wanted the same; the same as an Average Joe. Anyone; just anyone, would’ve felt at ease, with him around.
We all have secrets hiding in our souls, only the hiding spot differs. Yet another exception! I’m sure he didn’t know how to hide his. His eyes shone everything. They twinkled and glistened. They whispered and yelled. They were brave and had fears. They were differently unique.
Even the palette beside me failed in producing the perfect colour for his little irises. Every second arc of them bore a new shade of brown. Hazelnut, then coffee, again hazelnut and then honey. And how can I forget those little pupils of his? They were something more than mesmerising. At one end they were grey, and the other end of the circle, they glimmered. In fact, they could be divided into two halves. I knew it right from the moment I dared to look into them. No, he wasn’t intimidating, like a mysterious book character, but he was at ease, despite all his misery. This clear-cut distinction wasn’t really visible though. Sometimes, they would overlap and that caused all the confusion in my mind. I couldn’t tell whether he was jaded or in a notorious mood.
When he twitched his mouth, at something boring, only his right cheek would lift, and his various experiments with his beard still didn’t cover his dimple. Oh, and his left cheek had a cleft! I wouldn’t call it a deformity. I would rather call it Lord’s creativity.
Those sideburns of his fell so perfectly and evenly over his ears. Each strand knew its way down to his ear flap. The ones that covered his scalp looked as if they longed to be ruffled and patted.
I tilted my head and blinked again at the masterpiece in front of me, and as I got lost in it again, my beret fell off. He came in and put it back on my head and took my newly refurbished hands in his. He gazed at them, and I could tell that he wished for skin like that. We all have future lines running across our palms. But it wasn’t the same in his case. He had a health problem, which whitened his hands completely. They were on their way to recovery, and he wished to have those same future rays. I wish he realised that bearing those lines meant allowing others to interfere in your fate.
I  kissed his nose and put some blue paint on his cheek, trying my best to tease him. “Dolphin!” Yes, that’s what he resembled.
Wouldn’t it have been great if I could paint? Well, that wasn’t my cup of tea. So, I just took my ball point pen and scribbled some more words, in order to describe him.

Posted in Short Stories, Stories

Samhain: A finite rainbow

“There he is Master,” I pointed towards a little boy. He simply nodded sideways to what I proclaimed. “He’s playing around the rainbow coloured swing in the courtyard.” Master’s brows twitched in unison. Even the slightest mention of colours agitated him. Rumours said that he was probably blind, but in fact it helped him conceal his soft side. Everyone thought of him as a cruel man, a sadist to be more precise.

Master held his front and tapped his cheek with his forefinger at a constant pace, as if in deep thought. Then, breaking the silence filled in his castle of a room, he spoke, “That creature doesn’t deserve to live amongst us. He’s a descendant of the enemy clan.”
“But Master, he’s very excited about this year’s celebration—” 
“Enough Dame Audrey. I’ve asked you to get rid of him earlier too. Yet, you always load him with love. Dress him up like a clown if you must! This is my final order.”
“Yes Master,” I responded, staring at the granite flooring and left at once to catch Lep.
“Come here my boy, don’t you want to get dressed for Samhain?” Being his notorious self, he stuck his tongue out and teased me. “I have a surprise for you young one.” He leaped into my arms before I could add on to my lie. His eyes were full of hope and that hope came in the form of a sparkle in his little pupils. I was having second thoughts on telling him the truth about him being taken away by the demons tonight. 
“Aunt, what are you thinking? You know today I reached the silver colour of the rainbow!” 
“The silver colour?” I asked almost amused at his statement. 
“Yes Aunt! You know I started from violet, then indigo, and so on. Each colour reminded me of different things and even my former family.”
“Is that so? Then please do tell me what each colour reminded you of.” I loved Lep. He was the most playful creature I’d ever come across. His presence in our Kingdom brought colour into our dark lives and somehow shadowed our misdeed of slaying the Lebanese. Lep was their lone survivor and I felt connected to him the moment I saw him. I didn’t have the heart to leave him lying on the ground, calling out helplessly for his mother. 
“Of course I’ll tell you. Violet and indigo showed me the bruises I bear. Master would bash me up so brutally sometimes. However, I think it was for my own good only. Blue was a little tricky. First it soothed me and later it reminded me of the times I wasn’t allowed to use a blanket when it was freezing cold. Aunt Audrey, did you know that green is my favourite? I want to dress like an elf today! Please Aunt. Please? I want lots and lots of money but I’m not allowed to keep any. I don’t know why. After green I jumped towards the yellow line. It was nothing like the sunlight. Instead I felt weak and ill. I recalled how pale I’d become due to not getting proper medication whenever I fell sick. Then the orange line made me recollect the days when I wasn’t allowed to go outside and play. I would sulk by the window pane, watching the other kids hop, skip and jump.”
I didn’t want to interrupt him, but out of curiosity, I asked, “What about red? Oh wait. Let me guess! It reminded you of love and only love.”
“No Aunt. It wasn’t love,” he replied with a wry smile. “There was blood everywhere. The war; the war between the Celts and the Lebanese caused my parents to drift away from me. I could see everything from shields to swords; spades to leashes and even worse. Towards the end of the red line, there was a huge pot of silver coins. I could see Master’s reflection on it. He was saying that I would soon be with my parents as I’m not a Celt. I think he hates me. Don’t you think so too? I don’t want to celebrate this year. I’d rather go to my parents. Can I? And what about my surprise?”
“Well. I suppose you can. Oh and as for your surprise you can have it next time,” I answered, fumbling at the last part of my sentence. Although I didn’t want to let go of him, I decided to grant him his wish. I took out some dark green overalls from his cupboard and wrapped him in them. His ears were already drooping and he also had his black belt and black boots on. We now had a little elf amongst wizards and witches. This was it. I had to leave him for good. Convincing Master was next to impossible. He despised them like anything. Just the sight of Lep made his blood boil. Also, if the other members came to know about Lep’s identity, they probably would’ve killed him without listening to any explanation. I understood that it was best to leave everything to fate.
Suddenly, the air around us got clouded with darkness. It was absolutely black; a kind of black that no oil pastel could match. To my surprise it was Lep’s parents who’d come in the form of spirits to collect him. Lep disappeared right before my eyes and all I could do was wave at him. He was going for good. While I was waving at him, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see that it was Master standing with his hands folded behind his back. His lips formed a grim line and the tension around us became neutral.
“You see young Audrey, it’s sometimes good to love an enemy.”
Then slowly, everything fell into place and I perceived that even a dark man could have his shades.
The silver lining in a rainbow
(Picture credits: Peter Tarka)
Posted in Short Stories, Stories

The third heart

The staccato accent of my pencil heels made quite a few heads turn towards my direction while I was hunting for something exotic. I was attired in a deep purple silken shift and accessorised with various trinkets, that manifested the apex of my career.
Haughty, snobbish and obnoxious were a few of my tailor-made nicknames, but it hardly mattered to me. The piece I longed for, wasn’t meant for any particular occasion but to be added to my wardrobe. Yes, a wardrobe is what I possessed, not a meagre cupboard.
I marched around the aisles of the most luxurious mall, in search of my desired outfit, but remained unsuccessful for a while till I got captivated by a dazzling piece of clothing. Before anyone could even think of suggesting something better, I jolted up to the person, who well looked like a salesman.
“Good evening ma’am. How can I help you?” His careful wording reflected his excellent training in the field of marketing strategy. I simply responded by pointing out to a figure made out of wax, which wore the dressing material I craved for. The tag on it read,”Priceless.”
“I’m sorry ma’am, you can’t have this,” proclaimed the courteous man. However, I didn’t pay any heed to whatever he stated and just went on scrutinising each and every pocket of my purse. I fished out a bunch of crisp notes and shoved it in his face.
The man gaped at my gesture and then swiftly put on a stern face. “Ma’am my sincere apologies. Actually, this piece has already been booked by someone else,” he said still trying to invoke a sense of chivalry in his voice. I was so habitual to a world that revolved around my whims and fancies, that this refusal nearly shrunk me to bits of my own self!
This short event agitated and aggravated me at the same time. I clenched my fists, dug my nails in my palms and stormed out of the store. As I stomped out, a quarter part of my body constantly held its gaze at the magnificent piece.
My limbs made a hasty about-turn and my fingers gripped the glass wall that showcased my yearned apparel. I slid my fingers up and down, in the hope of seizing it. The distal phalanges of my fingers smeared the glass wall, and while doing so I slowly sank to the floor. From a distance, it appeared as if I were performing a mime!
As I plonked myself, I could see the reflections of passers-by on the glossy ceramic tiles sneering and making a mockery out of me. I certainly wasn’t in a state to care enough for their attitude towards me. I kept gawking at my wish. No matter how hard I tried, the figure in front of me couldn’t belong to me. It was booked by someone else; someone who stood right next to it, holding its hand with immense love. They were two mannequins, namely Heart One and Heart Two.
I spread out both of my hands and used my thumbs and index fingers to form the shape of a triangle; a Devil’s Triangle. To my puzzlement, my left and right forefingers connected with ease, but my right thumb simply refused to adhere with the left one. The reason for the same was simple. Heart One and Heart Two had an ‘equal to’ sign between them, whereas what I had formed was just a broken instrument, called triangle.
I was head over heels in love with Heart One, but the gap that bridged us signified that all I could be was Heart Three. Heart One was clad in blue, and Heart Two in red.
And then there’s me, in purple, with nothing but bruises of being the third heart.

Three Dimensional Love
(Picture credits: Unknown; Source: Piccsy)
Posted in Prose, Stories

Dusk’s Kiss

Dusk had fallen in all of our lives as a sign for each one of us to leave every ray of hope for the next morning. The azure skies dived into the sun-kissed sea, adding a tinge of grey-rose to itself, while mellow doves glided back to their harbours. In the midst of all the mayhem, that eventually sought cosmos, we somehow stumbled across each other, and since then our courtship has been of great admiration. 
His love for me was certainly undeniable and the witness to the same was the way he overlooked my flaws. He would delay his departure for me while the other celestial bodies stuck to their own routine of prancing around the orb of the mightiest star. 
However, his paused flight lasted for barely a second extra. ‘Just a second more,’ spoke my naïve eyes, in hope of being heard, but he only shrugged at my silent plea. I tried to convince myself to accept it as God’s command and overcome this plight by treasuring whatever I received.
Albeit he was bound by His mystic spells, he vowed to prove his love for me, when he knew very well it wasn’t required. Like always he got his way, and I, like a lamb, surrendered. I geared up for the event wanting to look my best. I liberated all the contents of my drawer, which were alien to me until now. 
“What a sight it is to see her fidget with her mascara and be so generous with her gloss,” my luminous companions jabbered amongst themselves and gleamed from corner to corner with ecstasy. ‘Anyone would think it was their big day and not mine,’ I cracked a joke to myself, while I spent yet another hour taming and defining my curls.
They wished me luck as I turned around to meet my beloved, Dusk. He smiled at my sincere efforts put in just to appear presentable and again pretended not to notice how I still managed to be clumsy. He brought a gusty breeze with himself that proved my various clips and conditioners as unjust. It made my locks go all haywire, which he then settled like a gentleman.
With the expertise of his fingers, he pulled the strands behind my ear and sneaked up to nuzzle its lobe. I bit my lip, ending up all crimson, at the touch of his stubble and the way it tickled my skin.
His smirk let me understand his little mischief, so I planned to avenge his misdeed in my mind. I signalled his ear, calling him down, acting as if I wanted to whisper a secret and planted a kiss instead. He laughed his very own cowboy laugh at my childish absurdness and I reduced to the bashful dwarf!
“O dear Crescent, what will I ever do without you?” His mellifluous yet rich baritone left me mesmerised for the umpteenth time. Even when I would arrive in my gibbous form, he’d call me that, much to my liking. He brushed his honeydew lips with mine, filling me with all of his love and fled towards the heavens in the blink of an eye.
A bitter-sweet tear drizzled over my deepest crater, while the brief contact was made. It slipped right through the rim and hit the core, dampening it slightly. I was glad that it happened but crestfallen as the moment ceased.
Suddenly, dawn breaks and so does her dream.

The brief contact
(Picture credits:Unknown; Source: We heart it)
Posted in Prose

The Girl in the Corridor

Yes, that’s exactly who I’m pointing at, maybe unfortunate for you, but it IS HER only whom I’m talking about. Displeased? So is it the first time you turned around to look at her? Yes? Well make it your last because just as you think she’s not worthy enough to be friends with you because of your high status, even you don’t deserve her attention. Maybe you won’t care enough to look again and before I pointed out at her, you wouldn’t have even bothered to acknowledge her mere existence.
Or maybe you knew and you along with your friends must have viewed her as a laughing stock. No, I’m not accusing you of bullying or anything. A random thought, have you ever wondered why she agreed to help you with your homework and assignments? Well, it wasn’t because of some silly, stupid reason. Perhaps she genuinely wanted to be your friend. But everyone including you wanted to call her a name, maybe an attention-seeker or what’s that new slang word in Hindi which refers to someone with extra adhesive? You got the point, right? Of course not, I don’t want you to go and make friends with her just to spite me. But could you just show a little humanity by not making a joke out of everything she does?
Maybe she has a dark side, a story which you might not be aware of. I agree, she maybe a little weird, always glued to her seat in the corner with a book, unable to make sense of the fact that the school uniform is meant to be worn with style. Low waist, tight fittings, ankle socks, low slung bags, you name it, she DOESN’T have it. So we come to the conclusion that she doesn’t belong to the cheerleader group (not sure whether they exist in our various campuses, but since the IPL has made a huge impact, let’s dream on), nor the studious group and not even the sports club. How about average? I hope she fills in the category you felt apt for her.
But you know what? That’s exactly where she doesn’t want to fit in. Oh, I see…She doesn’t have a say in this, right? Okay no worries. Just to let you know she wanted to sit at the writer’s desk. Hahaha-no that’s not me laughing, it’s you who is and was and will forever go on until you get a dosage of the same treatment. I know you think she’s not capable of even dreaming about that, but my friend (I hope it’s safe to call you that), you might be reading her post that’s actually about you and you are still staring at the screen, scratching your head (dandruff, I suppose), unable to figure out who she’s referring to!
Hahaha – now there, that’s her laughing!