Posted in Prose, Stories

Water Bodies (Part 1)

It was that time of the day again- night. The security guard’s whistling sessions were creeping me out more than I already was; the dogs were howling in chorus, allowing my heartbeat to synchronise with it; and finally, there was the ticking of the clock that was growing more and more prominent with each passing second.
I had come off to a place where no one could question me, no one could judge me and no one could dictate me. If my being alone is what everyone else wants, so be it! And as I said this, I pulled out all the elements from my body, one by one.
My shadow was the first one to leave, and honestly, this action didn’t even surprise me. I then lay my mind and heart on the ground, and they began quarrelling while walking hand in hand. Then, it was my soul’s turn. It acted a bit reluctant at first, but it gave up as I applied more force. It stretched out of my body and wandered around the stars, not knowing what to do next. My conscience tried to talk some sense into me, but I shushed it and let it dissolve in the atmosphere.
The street lights conked off, foreshadowing a series of events. A few bubbles appeared and danced around me as if I were the supreme light, but in reality, I was just a target of their crystal ball like properties. I knew they were teasers for my upcoming plight or rather additions to the current one.
I tried to prick the first bubble- the texture of which felt gooey- with my index finger, but it pulled me into a different world; one with an ideal starry night at a seaside, bearing just the right amount of darkness and the right amount of sparkle. But then again I knew, this scenery wasn’t as pristine as it looked. 

A quarter part of my body watched over the gentle sea that balanced both its soothing self and its rage admirably, while my soles attempted to prove their obstinacy by halting their movement. They started longing for an outrageous wish, of transforming the ever beautiful sand dunes into quicksand. And this desire, to my astonishment, crawled into my veins like an epidemic. I witnessed it come alive as the perfect blend of oatmeal and gold vanished and a swamp came into existence.
The adamant marshland tried to swallow me up, but a sudden downpour lent me assistance in standing back up. It transported me to a distant place and it occurred to me that the conniving droplets were saving me for themselves. Luckily, I was able to locate a safe spot, just enough to protect me from the merciless raindrops. I waited for the shower to subside and so it does. I extended my hand out in the form of a cup to be sure of its departure and subsequently pulled my limbs out of the shade and started walking towards nowhere. However, the coast remained clear only for a while as I met the torrent of water halfway with no place to run or to hide. I decided that I am not up for a battle and fled from the scene, letting the raindrops smack me as they pleased. Maybe giving in was showing cowardice on my part, but I did not feel like I was in a position to justify my actions, even to myself. And I did not need to either, with my conscience being gone.
I ran and ran only to be drenched by another water body again- my sweat. The muggy atmosphere caused it to stick to my skin. I paused for a moment to regain my breath, but all the sweat seemed to drain me. My mouth felt dry. I did not feel thirsty in particular, yet…

To be continued…

Washing emotions away
(Picture credits: Sara Herranz)
Posted in Prose, Stories

The bee, the butterfly and the blossom

Dawn had just begun sprinkling her fairy dust on our homeland, and it clearly meant another day of struggle for me. To others what I experienced was just another natural phenomena, but to me, it was something greater; something worth pondering over.
Being a flower meant I had certain responsibilities to fulfil, and catering to other’s needs was one of them or maybe all of them. Either way, I had to please everyone just by being present; be it for early morning strollers or for a canine’s claim for territory.
My usual contemplation was often interrupted by the butterfly’s noiseless arrival. The fluttering of her wings was as subtle as one’s blinking of eyes while the patterns on it were so detailed and symmetrical, that her body seemed like a fine piece of tapestry. Like a pair of scissors, she would fold her wings, with the exception of slicing the winds into a scented breeze. Using the word ‘scissors’ or any other pointed object for that matter and her name in the same sentence could have been morally incorrect and visually disturbing, but that’s what helped in creating a juxtaposition with her dainty self.
Young girls saw her as another ‘pretty thing’ nature had to offer and they frequently set out to chase her. They, however, remained oblivious to the fact that she was swift in her movements. Perhaps the human species used her as a metaphor not because she was a universal emblem of love but because this was the closest they could get to her. And honestly, who could have even guessed that she was once tightly wrapped in a silken covering and even before that was locked to the ground?
Just when I would attempt to give her a description better than that of ‘The Mill on the Floss,’ she would come and perch herself gently on one of my petals. As a reflex, my petals would stretch out further and form a curve in a manner that would allow her to fit snugly. Not to sound vain, but when she landed on me, it felt like she was adding to my beauty. The motifs on her front fell perfectly in sync with my artistic structure. Together we made a lovely pair of one charming being atop the other.
She was certainly one pleasant soul, and the nectar she collected appeared bland in front of her as it was I who would end up relishing on her sweet aftertaste once she made her departure.
It was only a matter of minutes before my busy afternoons were put to a halt by one busy creature herself. Her stinger was always upright like some high-headed noble and probably too sharp for others to notice her mellow and grounded side. One could say that she was the epitome of ‘Pride‘ but at the same time subject to ‘Prejudice.’ She was, of course, impulsive and blatant in her conduct and in many cases, these traits overpowered her. For instance, if a passer-by would trace my ends out of affection, she would be quick to charge at him or her. In her defence, she was just being on the lookout for me. In fact, she was that one spirit who in spite of being reckless could induce the right notions in my mind.
Furthermore, her sipping on my nectar left me with a tingling sensation- something moderate yet extreme; something more balanced. Nothing could have been more proper and well in place than this.
Could I have been any luckier?
One let me experience unfamiliar senses, the other made me more sensible.
One followed the laws of nature, the other justified it as well.
One was magical, the other mystical.

But as soon as I would summarise a comparison between the two, dusk would make it dawn on me- that they were possibly an ideal match, and I was unknowingly providing them with a potion that would let their saga blossom.

One true pairing
(Picture credits: Unknown; Source: We heart it)
Posted in Prose, Stories

Vegetable

But you didn’t wave like an idiot to the wayfarer on the opposite lane or even the curious and notorious kid in the adjacent vehicle.
Neither did you act a bit paranoid, when you failed to locate your mate as you peeked behind the pole of a moving coach.
You barely look forward to being stuffed by your grandma.
Your fruity chapstick rolls off the table. You pick it up, inhale the scent, apply it, yet you don’t taste it, in spite of the temptation.
The first few pages of your slam book haven’t been filled by you.
Your bucket list doesn’t include an item from the vintage era.
Even the cat wonders why you didn’t challenge it to a stare down.
Random stationery products don’t fascinate you.
A broken crayon that belonged to a brand new set, didn’t leave you disheartened.
What are you, if you couldn’t relate to the above?
And since you seem too busy taking a selfie…
It’s time I classified you as A (as pronounced while reciting the alphabet)-
Vegetable!

You are a vegetable
(Picture credits: Vanessa Mckeown)
Posted in Prose, Stories

A Cancerian Perspective

The following piece is a collaboration with the lovely artist Lara A.

Day 1: It’s a Friday night, and the Almighty is in his usual creative mode. After shaping his beard several times, he gets up and with the magical touch of his fingers makes one shiny object in the atmosphere, better known as a star. Not being satisfied with the outcome, he cuts me into smaller fragments and creates four other things just like me, making us five in total.
Then, out of boredom he aligns them in a certain way, but takes care not to make it too oblivious to the human eye. He looks like an orchestra conductor while doing so; so poise and mesmerising.

Day 2: Two astronomers are busy setting up their base under the moonlight. After several adjustments with their telescope, they finally focus on me and my brethren. I glimmer with all my might for them to notice me. They jot down a few things on their notepads, putting their stargazing session to a halt. They name me “Cancer.”

Day 3: I like my new name. It is pretty catchy, right? Hey! what’s happening? Seems like we are witnessing a space quake. I hug my bottom two corners tightly, to avoid drifting away from my siblings, but…I break off from the sky and land on Earth. Lord promptly replaces me with another five-cornered article. It’s alright. Someone had to complete our lovely cluster!

Day 4: Amidst my journey to the laps of the human species, I crumple up into tiny particle and land on the beach. And guess what! They have associated me (and my counterparts) to a crab. Is that why I arrived here, of all places?
I stroll on the beach, totally unaware of what’s going on. But soon a human flattens me under his foot. He checks the foot he crushed me with by hopping on the other, and then he flicks me away into the sea, instead of welcoming me as stardust.

Day 5: Turning into a minuscule object did give me some amount of advantage. I had made it to the shore, but I was completely drained. The little body that I had got buried in the sand dunes. My soul was free of that ridiculously small body. In spite of being free, I still needed a host.

Day 6: I wandered here, there and everywhere. Not being able to find one gave me an idea. I dived into a soft drink in hope of acquiring a suitable body. I sipped on some of the liquid and helped me grow a bit. And soon enough I turn into a microbe. However, I still wanted some more space and that led to me creeping into another bottle of liquid, which was to be consumed by a human.

Day 7: The human drinks it. He makes his tongue travel along the outline of his lips, relishing the substance. His body now demands more of it, and me as well. Entering his body gave me a bit of relief.

Day 8: My desires have increased now. So, I multiply myself with the help of the buffet I get every day! This is definitely paradise. Wait. Human is feeling dizzy. He collapses on the ground. I am sure it had nothing to do with me. All I wanted was a bit more room in his body. He gains his senses back with the help of a doctor. The doctor injects him and gives him some medicines.

Day 9: No! No! It’s not my fault. Please hear me out. I try and reason with the molecules that just entered. They don’t listen and instead corner me.
“You! You are the one one who is destroying this human!” Their words sank in my head brutally and I understood what my selfish act had done. My growing demands had spread to him as well. They tear me apart and burn my pieces. But a bit of me remains unnoticed. And in spite of that round of torture, I still strive to survive.

Day 10: What he and other humans can’t understand is that I simply can’t resist the urge of existing. I want to leave. I want to run away. I cannot stand myself anymore. I am disgusted with my greed. All I ask from the one above is to take me back to heaven; take me back to being just a sun sign.

Lara made the illustration for this project while I wrote the above piece, in hope of taking Cancer back to where it belongs. Maybe we can make a difference by spreading awareness and not being so careless! You might not be interested in making an effort, which is why we chose a creative method in changing your mind. Hope it works!

Artwork by Lara A.  You can follow her for more sketches
and paintings.
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, these few seconds of relief turned into a series of uncomfortable flashbacks.
Everyday 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 sanitisation 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.


Nursing everyone but yourself
(PIcture credits: Unknown; Source: Google)

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.

Writing within a write
(Picture credits: Ghidaq al-Nizar)

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)