Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To have Loved and Lost

He could see the clouds gathering in. It was time. He didn’t know whether he wanted to smile or cry at the expected irony. Of course it was going to rain. As if there weren’t enough frogs croaking around him these days! And then he sighed. He wished for those rain filled clouds to fill the void that had grown inside him. He hoped they could do the job, because he wasn’t sure what would. After 8 years, he was where he had stood before. He pondered whether he was any different from then... Hmmm! Maybe lesser hair! Finally he managed a broken smile, but he knew this was just the beginning.

He felt the warmth and cool on either of his cheeks together. The drizzle couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. Sometimes it seemed like humans got their flair for dramatics from Providence itself. But that was just the beginning of the torrent. It seemed like the skies weren’t done with him yet. The downpour came suddenly, without restraint and relentless. It seemed like the clouds would empty themselves in one go but he knew better. He could just stand there at the top of his bubble and wish life had given him either a colder heart or cut him some slack. Her words of by Chance or by Choice echoed through him now. And the echoes didn’t seem to end in that void.

He sat in the room alone and yet he couldn’t stop smiling. He dared think that maybe this was something like heaven. He finally knew what it felt like building a family, if anyone could call it that. What he had realized was the fact that people who were meant to be with each other, found each other somehow. And if they were smart enough to hold on come-what-may, that’s what a family was all about. And he finally managed to get himself off the bed with his grin; she would be home any minute and he really didn’t want to stink when she barged in.

Tttttrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnnn, the doorbell rang right when he came out of the shower. He couldn’t help grinning opening the door in that state. Her smile when she looked at him slowly grew into a grin itself and she pushed him back, locking the door behind her, while she threw her bag aside.

“I like what you have done with the place”, she said.

“Wait till you see my plans for the weekend!”, his grin had grown the usual devilish twitch.

“Just see?”, seemed like she wanted to play this game for some more time, and he wasn’t in a hurry to end it himself yet.

“Completely depends on how much you want to enjoy my efforts”, he turned around walking towards the wardrobe. Before he had even reached it, he could feel her breath on his nape, and the grin faded into a sigh with his eyes closed. He knew the time for words was over. He turned around again and looked at her looking back into his eyes. It was time to take the leap.

“I am afraid this heaven won’t last forever.”, he managed to finally speak while helping her with dinner. Their small family was going to be home soon.

“It will! Don’t think otherwise. You have me, remember?”, she turned back and kissed him. He never seemed to want to let their embrace break. But she made him confident enough to believe that they will embrace again. And he smiled while she turned back to wind up dinner, knowing very well that she needed him to believe in what she was trying to instil in him.

Soon after dinner, he watched them all sleep right in front of him while snow fell outside. His love for rain was immense, but he had recently realized that the silent fall of the frozen specks of snow made one’s thoughts so much louder. But then all he was thinking was that maybe life wasn’t that unfair. He had found not just one, but three of them. Three beacons- which always beckoned him home. Trying to keep each and every one happy was sometimes taxing but it was all completely worth it, especially when they surprised him back with efforts to keep him happy. He smiled, and knew it wouldn’t be long before one of them woke up.

He went back to his room, drenched to his bones. He laughed at the concept, knowing very well he had been soaked even deeper. Life had become so busy, that everyone that mattered to him seemed so far away. And he wondered whether it was all worth it. True, that he knew why he was there. He had strived to reach here, hard or not, but he had persisted. And now that he was here, he owed to everyone that had stuck by him during his struggle, to make the maximum out of it. He lived everyday thinking the same thing; I have to be better than I was yesterday today. Many days he failed, many he succeeded.

Things were in place, but he knew why they were out of place. The distance that had never bothered him, had now become excruciating. The hope that was there was all gone. As always, he had to make a choice between what he wanted and what he thought was right. It dawned on him how foolishly he should realize to choose in the beginning what seems inevitably right. But the dawning had no effect on his desires and wishes. Some choices are by choice, some are by chance.

He changed into some comfortable clothes and lay down on his bed. It was fresh, cold, and felt empty. He knew he had to get back to work soon. But for now, he wanted to just lie there and let the feelings reach back where they had come from.

He saw her after a month, even though it seemed never ending back then. And as soon as they met, they knew they had been missing each other relentlessly.

“Hey!”, he smiled. She looked at him, smiled and pushed a loose strand of her hair behind her left ear.

“Hey”, that one single word made him want to grab her and steal her away from everything around. But he just let his hand rest on hers over the gear stick that she shifted then. The warmth seem to spread across his body and the blood rush to her cheeks. The hands automatically caressed each against each other while he stared at her and she stole glance at him while driving.

“You should focus on the road”, he jested.

“You should stop distracting me”, she retorted with a twitching smile.

“What did I do?” he couldn’t have looked more glad to be guilty.

“Yeah Right!”, she finally grinned fully. He knew then this drive might be short, but they were going to make every moment of it worthwhile.

He woke up with a start! The reminder on his cellular jolted him to the confines of his room. What was he dreaming? He couldn’t place his finger on it, but he needed to remember it. He knew he was being paranoid, but it seemed like he had to remember it. He tried to go back to sleep, but to no avail. He had lost track of it. Frustrated he sat up and looked out. Night had silently crept around him. But the downpour continued. But through all that, he looked for the moon. And when he couldn’t find it, he wished he had the words to put down his feelings. And then he remembered. There was something in his past that he had borrowed from his recluse into melodies. He rushed to find it again and find it he did. And when he listened to it, he knew why he had remembered it.

Oh wary night! Abate thy hours. Steal me a while from my own company.

Let me Sleep,
For when I Sleep, I dream that you are... here, Your mine
And all my fears are left behind. I float
On air. The nightingale sings gentle lullabies,
So let me close my eyes....
And sleep, a chance to dream, so that I can see
The face I long to touch, to kiss,
But only dreams can bring me this.

So let the moon shine

Softly on the girl I long to see,
And maybe when she dreams,
She’ll dream of me.

Hide beneath the clouds,
Whisper to the evening star,
They tell me that Love is just a dream away
A dream away.... a dream away.
So let the moon shine,
Softly on the girl I long to see,
And maybe when she dreams,
She’ll dream of me.

He stopped after a few times. He felt light in his head. He needed to get out. In the wee hours of the night, he strolled out. It was time to let go. But if he knew it, why did it hurt so much? Why did it feel like there was that void at his core, which will consume him? Why did he feel like the cruellest and yet the most helpless soul to be walking this road?

“What do you want to do now?”, she asked him.

“There isn’t any question of what we want anymore”, he replied. The coldness in his voice was evident to himself, and he wondered about the sadness they hovered over her.

“There is no hope left. And I don’t want you to wait for someone who will never be able to give you what you want and deserve.” He knew the words needed to be said out aloud. Don’t do this. This is killing you, imagine what it would do to her. But he knew this reality would not change. And he didn’t want to stake his and especially her life on what was unfathomable.

He didn’t remember all her sad words, but what both of them went through was engraved in his heart forever. He had heard her tears from afar, and felt them burn his face. Her heaving sighs hurt his chest. And he felt drained. Right now he wanted to fall into a deep endless pit, not to surface until the void was gone.

He looked up, and somewhere behind the clouds, the sun was rising. But this was not a morning he revelled in. For her words he will never forget, “You promised you will always be there, no matter what. You couldn’t keep it. But why did you lose your hope?” He knew she wouldn't understand. Neither would he.

To have hope for my hope!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lost and Found

The morning is grey and cold. The pitter patter of rain feels like soft drums on the inside of my head and I look out of my balcony into the canvas of the sky, painted randomly by the colours of clouds, or is it? I still haven’t figured out which one of my personas held the answer to it. The optimist – who thinks everything happens for a reason; or the objective – who believes there’s enough proof to suggest that it is plain chaos. As always, I smile realizing my dual perspectives, and picture two best friends arguing in the intricate setting of my mind. And then both end up laughing at the futility of arguing, and move on to doing what they had intended in the first place, play together.

We seldom realize the importance of lessons we learn as kids. And because generally the wisdom of a child is ignored or shrugged off, the ones who do manage to retain it, find themselves deprived of freedom to live through those lessons and often judged for their ‘
immaturity’. I knew there is a child in everyone at any age, but life has taught me- people, and by it I think of the social conventions, find it really hard to accept that probably the simple-minded child inside them is right than their mature and experienced logic.

I can’t help sniggering. The rain really does make me feel like my usual self, even in the freezing cold. It is good to be able to question yourself and challenge everything you know and live by. That is the kind of confusion I miss from time to time. The beauty of life is always finding the precious patterns in the chaos all around us. And I look down to the pond in the garden, hoping to find the random mixture of ripples the rain-drops created in it. And then suddenly the smile fades. It hits me like an old wave crashes upon the same old cliff, neither yielding, not because they won’t, but because they can’t. The pictures, the words come rushing back, and so does the emptiness. I turn around only to look back once more at what has unlocked the void I avoid every day of my life – a rain toad!


“Hey!”, I said over the call.

“Hey bro! How have you been?”, the fact that he recognized my voice made me regret that I hadn’t called earlier, at least without an agenda.

“Been good! Congratulations on the new job.”, I replied.

“Thanks buddy. Who told you?”, he asked, surprised. I grinned at the fact that he didn’t think I followed my friends now on then on their status on our social network.

“Not you. Still you owe me a treat.”

“Anytime your Highness finds the time to grace us with his company, you geek!”, I was amused at the fact that he had conveniently skipped the topic that he wasn’t the one who had mentioned the news to me.

“Definitely. It’s a King’s duty to cater to his subjects’ wishes. For now, the King needs your services peasant.” I didn’t have much time for playing verbal tag.

“What do you need bro?”

“I want her address.”

“Why don’t you ask her yourself? And what makes you think I have it? And why do ‘you’ need her address?”, his voice seethed of tease.

“Firstly, your wife mentioned you guys are part of the same vacation club. Secondly, I want to send in a surprise invitation to my party next month to some of the old friends. It won’t be much of a surprise if I ask her directly now would it?”, I lied about the party, and then regretted the fact instantaneously that I would have to cover up big-time later. But that would come much later. First things first.

“I hope my invitation’s coming in soon. I will text you the address. For now I have to go, got to make impressions on my new job.”, he took the bait. And I received the address in two minutes. He was efficient in his tasks. The new company had made a smart decision in choosing him.



How are you? I am guessing you have already seen to the end of the letter as to who I am, and if not it will be better if you do. Only thinking that I am able to share my thoughts with you makes me smile. First of all, I hope you are still in one piece and without any scars considering your mind-boggling dexterity and body-control. And secondly, have you lost weight? I mean you really needed to!

It’s been 10 years. Imagine that. I am already imagining the grey in your hair. I don’t think you will have to try that hard to imagine mine. It’s a long time and so much has happened and changed. I would try foolishly to put it all across in words here or even write a summary. It’s a decade of our lives. All I will say is, I am still looking forward to the time when we can sit together and share it like before.

I still remember the time clearly when we fought. And suddenly we had to part. I know you had your reasons, and they weren’t wrong. What I hate is the fact that I had to give up my closest friend, my best friend. But we did agree that we couldn’t find another way out of it. And our friendship will never be understood as it should be. It will only make the lives of our loved ones more complicated, in present and future. I don’t blame you for taking things maturely. I knew that the kid with me might have decided to grow up, but she didn’t do it without considering what it would do to me. The words uttered, the tears shed and the heartbeats missed are still etched in my memory. I still wonder if lovers have such a feeling of loss parting ways, even on tragic terms, the way my best friend and I did.

I never searched for your replacement. I didn’t want to. I did find my life partner. You will love her, maybe not as much as me though. She’s been my pillar of strength and my companion through all these years. She still gets bugged when I shift to my moods of silence, solace and introspection now and then. And you won’t be able to guess what she says when I smile and tell her I will just need time. She says if only I had someone to talk to in these moods of mine, she would get much less wrinkles. Even though we have our differences and furious fights, things are lovely.

Guess what I saw the other day in the rain. A ‘barsati maindek’ (or maindeki, I couldn’t tell)! I miss my little friend every time I see one of those. And this time it was just too much. Enough time has passed for me to live with this void. And enough, I hope, for you to have sorted things out. I told you earlier also that all it needed was time and a change in proximity. Life will never be made of easy choices. But losing things what mean the most to us by ourselves is never part of the right choice, however hard it may be. I didn’t want you to make such a choice, even though it meant moving away for a while. But the wait has become long enough. I want that best friend back, and am asking for her. I hope I have not lost her. I can’t wait for you to make the first move anymore.

I still don’t want it to cost you anything precious in your life. We will always have what we have. This is my gamble to take more from life. And I know I might lose. But you know me... Never Give Up!

If you think I won, meet me at our Tree on Sunday.

P.S. If I lost, I will wait. Don’t blame yourself. I am stronger than you think I am. And you are fairer than you think you are.


She wiped her tears and couldn’t help smiling at his stupid style of writing. She read the letter over again and once more. She finally folded it into its envelope and put it where it belonged. She looked up at the wall of pictures. She saw the centre of her life in each of them, her family. She smiled and got back to work. It was Saturday. Her husband and she had a date tonight. She had to get everything finished by then.


He strolled around the tree for the millionth time. She probably isn’t going to show up, he thought. He understood her situation. But he also hoped it turned out favourable for them. But he had long given up counting too much on hopes. Maybe this was just another hope against hope. Or maybe he needed to wait more. Well it won’t be the first time, he smiled. And then he felt that void eating away at his insides. He looked farther towards the park, and felt better at the sight of his wife. She was lying their lazily reading her book. She looked at him and smiled. Of everything in the last few years, he was grateful for her.

“Sorry”, he heard a small voice utter at the same time he felt something hit his leg.

He looked down and saw a little girl, not more than 5 years old, in a pink little frock, holding a brighter pink shade of cotton candy, which had lost its fluff and gotten mashed up together, the masher being his leg. The girl looked with despair at her now deflated cotton candy and he resolved there and then to get her a new one. But before he could utter a word, she started shrugging off the candy from his jeans. He thought she couldn’t get any more dearer and finally scooped her in his arms.

“Sorry!”, she said with a smile now face to face with him, still holding her cotton candy tightly in one of the hands. He could have forgiven her for bull-ramming him then and he giggled at the concept.

“It’s Ok little angel. Where did you get the candy from?”, he asked, eyeing the candy. She moved the candy away a little bit noticing his attention to her candy.

“You can get it from there”, she pointed to the far direction beyond the hill.

“Would you like to get some more of it? This one isn’t cotton anymore.”, he said, endeared by her effort to keep her sweets away from any takers.

“Yup! But I will have to finish this first, otherwise if momma daddy see me with two, they will scold me.”, she said, and started gulping down her cotton candy.

“Where’s momma and daddy?”, he asked realizing he better make sure the parents knew where their little princess was.

Momma issh foghting widd oldsh candy man overz da prish an daddish shtaying shu shpay.”, she mumbled in between chewing her candy. It was amazing how quickly those little jaws could finish such huge sweets. Another trick lost with age, he thought. He tried to reminisce his earlier years quickly to search for all the happy moments, and the fact that he had lost his best friend to time hit him full force. Tears welled up in his eyes.

“Hey... don’t cry! You can have some of my candy.”, she offered some strings of sugar from what was left on the stick.

He smiled between the tears. “Thank you sweetie, but it’s not candy. I just realized I lost something very valuable to me and I might not be able to find it again.”

“Then let’s find it. I find things easy.” Then she did what sent a breeze of warmth through his being. She wiped his tears with her small soft hands. He smiled.

Suddenly she got a big smile on her face and pointed in the hills direction. “Look there... it’s Momma. See I found Momma. She’ll help too.”

She walked towards them smiling her trademark big smile, with her own cotton candy in one hand. He smiled back. Suddenly 10 years seemed like they had flown by. And the wait was over.