Thursday, 11 August 2016

Fiction: I Give Up!

What would you do if the world comes crashing down around you?

Would you look at it and gasp with horror lacing your voice or will you take a stand against the evil you have brought upon yourself?

Facing this dilemma, with wide eyes, peachy skin and trembling hands, I write my last words on this peace of paper.

This will very well be my last act before I try to escape the eternal misery which is placed like a shroud over our shoulders.

Hyperbole much? Well, take it as a suport system, a last minute effort by my body to take a stand, which I won't allow to take place.

I know what you, the reader who has reached this place in my so called 'suicide note' would be thinking on when am I going to apologize to my parents for taking this rash action with some flimsy excuse which would not be able to shatter the facade I might have built beacause, you know, I would be.... dead.

Ouch, that hurts me in the core to just write that on this.

I will just end with this:

It was my folly wholeheartedly on not recognizing that our world is not an ideal place. It grieves me to realize on how that one small err on my being has placed me in my current position right now.

To tall those who might read this? Take a lesson from me. Take it as the 'girl who gained wisdom a tad bit late' thought.

Kids? Grow up quick, else you might just be left for good.

Goodbye world, thanks for making me sound preachy even in my last words.

Well, Bye?

....

With that, I brought the knife to my wrist and slit it, while my eyes were scrunched up in the effort to stay calm. I felt the warm, ichor like liquid flowing down my hand.

With a small smile, I breathed my last as two drops smeared the end of my suicide not, making a smiley?

Goodbye, I breathed with a sigh.

 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

City-Lights (Part-III) : Truth or Dare?

For the previous part: Part 2.

Kritika.

With another booming resounding thunder, the thunderstorm dragged on while the echoes of the sound resounded across our house which had some horrendous schematics.

With a bit of perturbed feeling and a solemn expression I sat in the verandah of our house and stared at the droplets of rain hitting the pavement.

Unknowingly, my thoughts went out towards him, Arjun. It had been over a week since the day we spent in the fair, which also happened to be the day when we first met.

Seriously, life was a freak-fest.

With a sigh, I recalled his profile from my memory. During the week I had done my best on preventing myself from thinking about him. I did so because whenever I thought about him, I became terrified.

I had completely trusted a stranger and spilled some of my deepest life secrets to him. And if that wasn't enough, I had feelings for him. Heck, I knew only a bit about him, true it might be his most treasured secret and fear, but I didn't even know where he lived.

When I came to terms with that, with a suppressed shock I had also remembered on how forward I had been and with the pen I got from the fair when Arjun was getting the tickets for the giant wheel, I had written my number on one of the pictures of his set.

Yes, at that moment it felt right but it also went against my character. I was supposed to be a strong yet timid girl after what had happened with Anamika- or that's what my parents told me.

With another sigh, I stared at the sky, gazing at the dark and heavy clouds. I had no fear of being disturbed as it was midnight and my parents were sleeping.

I curled my Barbie pyjamas clad legs and with my hair flowing over the sofa, I stared up at the sky. I could feel some droplets hitting my face and for that I was grateful because it helped hide the tears which were flowing down via my cheeks albeit silently.

With a disgruntled snort, I imagined how he looked. How he behaved. All in all only a single memory kept resounding my mind, how he removed the candy floss from my lip with the pad of his thumb. Just that one memory had me blushing to the roots of my hair.

I kept imagining him, wondering how he was doing in life and going through the horror thoughts which were piped by my inner demon, which always said the same thing, 'He is a Rockwell kid. He keeps his honour. What makes you think that he will break it for your pathetic little ass?'

Dismissing that thought from my head, I let out the words with a sigh, "Arjun, come back to me."

And with that, I drifted off to sleep.

Arjun.

With a thud I woke up. Of course, I had fallen from my bed yet again. This was how my day began every single day, a resounding crash in the vain hope of silencing the alarm so that I could drag in the last vestiges of sleep close to me and enjoy.

Alas, this was not what life had in store for me.

Untangling myself from the pullover, I got up from floor and dusted off the dirt from my white tee and checked boxers. Running my hand through my tussled up hair and unwinding the cowlicks which always formed on my head. My head was a real bird nest when it wanted to be.

With a swallowed sigh, I squinted at the clock and noted the time. Another day begins.

With a fake happy persona, I left the room, or what my dad considered as a sufficient room for me. He had given me the store room, a few metal boxes and a rolled up mattress for God's sake. He had taken my previous room to create his 'study' which he used to gamble with his friends.

Fucked up household.

With a 'sunshine' smile, I left the room, greeted my dad and slipped off into the washroom.

It had become a daily routine for me over the years. I had learnt quick after my mom left that I should be a cheerful chap in front of my dad else I would be given a bite from his belt.

Quickly shutting the door, I glanced at the mirror and smiled grimly, the thought 'Saved once again' ringing out in my head.

Quickly doing all the necessary jobs, I stripped off my clothes and stepped into the shower. When the water hit my skin, I began thinking about her. About Kritika.

It had been over a week and I just couldn't remove her thoughts from my head.

I felt guilty. She had given me her number. She had placed her trust in the guy she had just met that day.

With a released sigh, I wallowed in my guilt for a while, tears streaked down my face.

With this going on, I began fighting with my inner moral self.

'I need to meet her, I will call her today.'

'For that you'll break your vow?'

'If it comes to that, I will.'

'Sigh. I have been doing this for a week now. You know that I am you, right? Go on. Do it. Even I like that girl.'

'Shut up, I know that I am talking with myself, but hush.'

With that I switched off the water. A new goal in sight.

I switched off the water and with a towel wrapped around my waist, I stepped out, knowing for sure my dad had left the house, like he usually did.

I ran into my room and picked up my phone, water droplets dropping from my hair on the sheet.

With a deep breath, I gathered my thoughts and then the twenty seconds of courage which I required for this, I dialled her number from my memory.

Kritika.

A slight buzzing voice woke me up from my dreamless stupor, rubbing my eyes to see clearly on who the hell was calling me at this early hour of the morning. It was fucking six for God's sake.

Bleary eyed I noticed that it was an unknown number, so without any hesitation I picked it up, ready to give the chap on the other side a hell that he must have never imagined.

"What do you want?" I snapped at the person on the other end of the line, because I knew that none of my friends had the audacity to call me in the wee hours of the morning.

"Um, am I speaking with Kritika? I am Arjun." his voice quickly gushed out of the tinny speaker of the mobile.

Oh fuck. It had to come down to this right?

With a deep breath, I calmed myself and with a heavy sleepy drawl I continued, "Hey Arjun, good morning, you caught me napping literally. How are you, remembered me, eh?"

All the while I was saying this, my heart started beating faster while the warm tingly feeling rushed over my body and the inner me was cheering out loud.

I heard him take a breath and I could feel that he was gathering his courage for what was to come next. With his sexy deep baritone he said slowly, "Um, yeah. You got me mind numbingly terrified right there. So... I..uh.. Don't know how to say this. So, I will say this directly, can we meet today? I know that I have been a miserable slob for the past one week and should have contacted you soon. Damn. I was being silly. So, .. Uh what do you say?"

I could literally hear the waves of nervousness rolling across the invisible line we were sharing at the moment.

Suppressing a giggle, I replied with a cold tone which would have frozen ice all over again, "So, Mr. Malhotra, you think that you can leave off for trash for a week and then come meet you God knows where just because you asked me to? I don't even know you. I am wary, if you ask me."

Silence.
It stretched on.
Fear lapped up like fear around my legs and started  dragging me down within it. I had just played a prank with a lad I didn't even know completely.

With a heavy foreboding feeling overcoming my body, I quickly drew in a breath and spoke out loud, "I am so sorry Arjun."

And to my surprise I found that he had spoken the same words only with my name in it instead of his.

I giggled and said, "Why are you apologizing? I made the grave error by playing a prank on you, just to get back to you for messing up my prized sleep. So, I apologize for my illogical behaviour."

He grunted in surprise at what had left my mouth and with a jovial enough tone, he said, "So you are still up for meeting me today? God. You had me spooked there for a moment. I really thought that I was going to get skewered. So, will you meet me today? The Westside Mall at four?"

I looked down at my state of dress and then thought that it was only six in the morning. With a snore, I said yes and while I was cutting the call, I could hear the peals of laughter from his end of the line as my head dropped on the pillow.

Arjun.

My heart was still beating fast on what had just conspired between us.
I was still considering that fact whether it was a dream or not.

I bit the inner part of my cheek and realized that I was awake.
With a sheepish look, I glanced at myself and noticed that I was still standing in a towel.

With full blown laughter echoing off the walls, I got dressed into some pyjamas and a tee.

I could feel the sleep catching up to me, as the adrenalin rush of the call was quickly fading.

So, taking a leaf out of Kritika's book, I dropped onto the mattress and within no time, I was asleep.

-x-

I woke up bleary eyed at the door banging shut and with a surprised shout I rushed off to lock the room, so that my dad didn't catch me napping. It had some serous consequences in our household.

I glanced at the clock and realized it was two in the afternoon. Damn, I had slept for 8 hours straight.

Was that the Kritika Bansal effect?

Chuckling at the thought, I began to get dressed. Knowing that I was only in my school uniform last time and I had to hide my best that my dad treated me unfairly in the first case, I dressed up in the finest set of linens available to me.

It wasn't much, just a pair of blue denim jeans which wrapped around my legs and a navy blue collared tee, something which my brother used to wear.

I then quickly wore some beat-down converse sneakers which had definitely seen some better days among it's tenure within our family.

Then I ran my hand through my hair, knowing that it would end up being messed by my own hand, I just ran my hand through them until it settled into a decent position.

After that I donned a worn down sports watch which had belonged to my brother.  I glanced up to look at myself in the mirror. I found myself to be presentable, so with a smile at my reflection- I glared into my eyes and smirked at the golden flecks which were in my brown hued eyes. The only feature I liked about myself.

With that look, I stepped out of the house, catching the bus and left for the mall.
As the journey came to an end after 30 minutes, I had made good time and reached the mall at 3:40.

I stepped into the cold air-cooled mall and with a homing sense stronger than a bee, I stepped into the coffee house it had, and to my surprise saw Kritika sitting there, rubbing her fingers above her right eyebrow while the other was holding a steaming mug of coffee.

It was only then I realized how she looked and... Oh. Fuck. I should have died before seeing this sight.

She had her hair open and falling down and her shoulders. Her ears had pure sliver studs in them and even from here I could see the warm caramel colour of her face.

She was wearing a white shirt which was tucked loosely into her black jeans which led down across her long legs which led to a a sexy black set of heels which has wires intertwined across the length of her foot. I also noticed the black bet with the silver buckle which made her look like a diva.

Damn.

I sure had a crush on her.

With a callous walkover, I dropped in the seat which was across her and spoke in a slow drawl, "Here early and drinking coffee on top of that. What, sleep couldn't be completed?" I couldn't help it and a cheeky grin escaped my casual demeanor.

And before she could say anything I continued, "Hi there. Looking hot today. Don't kill me, I don't deny when I see something nice. And as for why I didn't do it last time? Strangers. Depression. Good enough, right?"

She smiled a bit and said forlornly, "It is all your fault, you calling-me-early-waking-me-up guy. My mum didn't let me sleep because she found me awake. Because of you, you dumb head, I had only a six hour sleep. You deserve to be burned in the darkest corner of hell seventeen times."

With a faint smile, I replied, "My, that's a beautiful imagination you have here. Is that a way to greet friends?"

She chuckled and replied in a jovial voice, "Sorry there Arjun. Damn, you look hot there, are all boys of Rockwell this hot? Okay. I am high. Wanna eat a burger?"

I flashed her a quick smile and nodded. We both got up and got a burger for her and a meal with coffee for me.

We both rounded up to the table and I noticed that she was a bit more open, as if she had escaped the shell she was in when I had first arrived here.

We both sat across each other and I just sat there, discreetly staring at her taking her first bite. She looked so cute that my jaw was about to hit the floor.

Stumbling out of my reverie, I smiled and took the first sip of my cup.

Before I could say anything, she looked up with a mischievous glint In her eyes.
She spoke in an exited and hurried manner, "Arjuuunn, let's play truth and dare. I don't wanna talk. I wanna enjoy and learn juicy things about each other."

I grinned in reply and before she could say anything, I said, "That was a new way to say my name Kritika. So, truth or dare?"

Her mouth drop in shock as I had caught her with her pants down.

She looked petulant and complied, "Low blow Arjun, low blow. But, you got me. Truth for now."

I smiled and asked my query, "Simple to begin with, What is your favourite food and colour?"

She giggled and said, "That's two questions for me right there. Well, they are simple enough. Burgers and coke. White. Truth or dare?"

I smiled at how quick her question came. Taking a quirky way, I said. "Oh, variety for me. Dare."

She smiled wickedly and glared at me, as if she was going to take revenge at me for today morning. She pointed at herself and said, "You woke me up early today. I am tired. Massage my shoulders for two minutes beginning now."

I stared at her and spoke hesitantly, "In front of everyone?"

She smiled at me innocently and  nodded her assent.

I put on my game face and waved my hand for the timer to be switched on. She complied and I started to massaged her shoulders. I could feel myself drawing the stares of every single person in the room.

I steeled myself and continued to work on her shoulders, staring at how she reacted. I could see that she was was stretching in a manner which looked extremely lewd.

I grinned because I somehow knew that she was doing it intentionally. Well, I was going to do this her way and continued on the dare I had.

Kritika.

He obliged. Sheesh. Who did that in today's world?

Well, I was enjoying it for the time I was getting cared for by his ministrations. I grinned like the cat who got the canary.

Before I knew it, the timer ringed and I made a fake frown expression. Of course, I enjoyed it way to much.

He was stewing as he sat down and grilled evilly, "Miss Bansal, that was uncalled for. Truth or dare." The last few words came out with a growl.

I giggled at his frustration, and said, "Truth." with a wave of my hand.

He smiled and said, "Oh you have my attention. The most embarrassing moment of your life."

Oh. He was playing it hard now.

I smiled timidly, my inner self cursing at me for it knew the revenge was coming.

I took a deep haggard breath and said, "Well, okay. My most embarrassing moment was when I came upon my parents having sex and they didn't even notice me because mum was having an orgasm."

There. I had said it. And by the look on his face, it sure was a bomb for him. Before he could continue I intervened, "Curious?"

He nodded. I smiled and told him the reason, "I stumbled in there because no kid wants to see that sight ever. And yes, I quickly slipped away before they caught me. Now. Truth or dare!" I spoke out the last words with a ferocity he hadn't seen.

I could see that he thought we had entered the deep waters, oh well, the game was just beginning.

"T-Truth." Came his stammering reply.

I smiled devilishly and asked, "How often do you masturbate?"

Oh yes. It was private. It was none of my business. I shouldn't have asked that, but I was pissed off at how easily he had found a come back for my massage.

He smiled and said, "Once."

That left so many endings for me that I wasn't satisfied. I growled and asked, "What once, once a day? Once a week? What?!"

He grinned and replied, "Once in my life. Never again."

"Why did you stop doing it?" The words left my mouth even before I even comprehended what I was speaking.

He put up a finger and waggled it in front of me. "Nuh-uh. One question per round. Truth or dare?"

I went for the relatively safer path this time round.

"Dare." Was my curt reply.

"A movie with me today."

"Done."

I accepted quickly because this game was heading into the dangerous territory. Well, I got enough of a delay for the moment.

We quickly got up and left for the movie.

Well, this game was going to continue after the movie.

So we got up and got the tickets for the first movie we came across, and it was P.S. I love you.

Well, I shrugged, anything to prolong the next set of questions.

With that thought in my head, I entered the hall.

-x-
End of part three.

Author's Note: Nope. The game has still not ended, it will continue in the next part.

The next chapter will wrap up the set of questions left and will even gain a new insight on what is happening.

Till then, hope you liked it.






The next chapter will be up soon.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

City-Lights (Part II): The Journey of Secrets.

For the first part of the story, click Here.

Kritika.


I had no idea on why I was doing this but it just felt right. Here, I was sitting in the bus, with a stranger beside me and was speaking with him as if we had known each other from the day we both arrived on this planet.

There he sat, in his white shirt with the logo on his school, wearing navy blue trousers while his hair was tussled up with the habit he had- to run his hand through his hair. His bag lay across his lap while his tie hung loose around his neck.

His face. Damn, he had a chiseled face with high cheekbones, light yet sun kissed skin tone and his eyes were brown, which had streaks of gold. I found myself hesitating under his gaze, thankfully he never looked at me much, whereas I had already shifted a bit to look at him while speaking my story.

 

With a bit of hesitation and removing the hoarseness from my voice, I began, “Okay, so let me begin with how my family really is. Five years before, when I was a child, my elder sister eloped with her boyfriend. That had really shook up my family. They turned cold and over protective of me. They usually think that I am going to do the same thing that my sister did. There are over bearing and sometimes it gets a pain for me. Now again, why am I telling you all this?” I ended up asking stupidly and horribly realizing what I had just spoken.

Arjun fidgeted a bit and turned towards me. He looked into my eyes and spoke softly in that voice of his which made chills go down my spine. “Kritika, obviously this problem is bothering you. Please go on, remember I am a stranger and I would most probably never be meeting you after today- so let it out. Because both of us have faced a lot of crap. Everybody does, but I choose to listen. Please, I would love to know everything if that calms you down. It usually clams me down, so, yeah. You get my meaning right?”

How did he know me so well just after meeting me once? Had he done this kind of stuff before? I had no idea of that, and I didn’t wanna ask this out just in case this offended him. So, sitting there a bit unnerved and spooked, I continued, “ It is not that I don’t love my parents. I love them, but it all just gets a little bit too much sometimes – you know.”

 

He nodded sagely. What was wrong with him? Or what was right with him? That was the reaction that I expected. A reaction that expressed that he understood what I meant. Not what the other people did. No expression of sympathy or picking up some other topic. He just sat there silently, staring at his bag, waiting for me to continue.

Well, I was just getting into flow. “So yeah, where was I? My family wasn’t the same and of course, it shook me up after Anamika left – yes that is her name.

The day she eloped, my dad went out and didn’t come out for 3 days straight. My mother never came out of her room for the time my dad was out. And me? I had to handle my younger self myself. Me, a bloody 12-year-old kid had to handle the whole family myself. That should not be done, right? A kid shouldn’t handle the whole family herself.” I suddenly had a huge bout of doubt and looked out of the window. I could see the orange tinge in the sky. The setting sun sure had its benefits; it calmed my mind yet I didn’t pick up the story again. I could see the darkness at the horizon and was wondering whether we could prolong this journey long enough so that we could both be lighter with our burdens?

I felt him shift and take a breath, “Kritika” I heard him call out, “Are you all right? Do you wanna continue? Or do you want some time to yourself?”

Ah, I snapped out of my silence, flashed a smile at him and said, “Okay, I am continuing. So, when I was busy handling my family, I shied away from the events happening at school. I just didn’t care what was happening there. Some people used to come and talk to you and that was that. Most of them were guys- because they tried to make me happy, not use my life experiences for gossip. Who knew that I would be named as a slut and faceless bitch because of this? And this is the short summary of my whole problem. Of what I face and what not.”

 

There, I had said it. I had committed my self and had concluded it. I had shared my life experiences and the predicaments that used to come along with it with a random stranger.

Arjun had closed his eyes and I rather thought that he had drifted off to sleep and when he opened his eyes the fear that had coiled it’s way around my heart let out a silent breath of relief and waited for him to speak.

He looked at me and said, “And someone called you a- don’t mind me this once- a faceless bitch today? Is that what hurt you the most? Oh, I still don’t understand why did you step up on the bus when you knew that you were wrecked emotionally?” He waited for an answer.

 

How did he even come to guess that, I didn’t know. Yet, I answered his questions as honestly as I could. “You see Arjun, A girl from my class met me on the road today and called this out to me. That hurt me the most. And as for the bus? I was crying on the road and set out to see my best friend, Anamika – yes, my sister. We both have kept in touch yet never let our parents gather a single clue about it.”

His mouth opened in a stunned ‘o’ and then slammed it shut.

He nodded and said, “Now it is my turn, right?”

I nodded my assent. He smiled and replied, “It seems the bus is reaching my destination. I don’t wanna ditch you. There is a fair out at the next stop. Wanna walk and talk there? It’s a public area so you know that I am not a criminal neither have dirty thoughts which you believe every guy possess. I vouch on my honor again.” He said the last line with a cheeky grin. I grinned along with him.

I had been to the fair quite a few times myself so I nodded my assent again and he grinned happily like a schoolboy who had got what he desired.

He began, “Now begins the story of my life, one which is full of woe…”

 

And that was when I knew that this chap won’t break my trust.

 

 

Arjun.


 

She had told me her story. She had trusted me enough and that is why I guessed that I should reciprocate. I never let her gain knowledge of how I kept my eyes at her the whole time.

God, she was pretty and from the way she spoke, I somehow had realized that she had a mind which was way sharper than most of the people out there. I didn’t let her know about this for sure.

She was gorgeous. Greauty as I called her in my language, which meant “Great Beauty” it sometimes worked wonders to compliment people without any others apart from the intended person understood the meaning implied.

She had crossed her legs beneath the seat and her striped top had wrinkled up a bit while her slightly long blue and silver earrings dangled against the back of her neck. Her hair which were supposed to be in a bun had fallen down to her shoulders in an insane way which made her look like a person who had fallen off her bed- yet she managed to carry that look perfectly and looked like a perfect hip teenager with it. Her nose was short and perfect while her heart shaped lips made my gaze shift there frequently. I had to fight the urge to keep me from licking and moistening my lips.

Her skin tone was pale and fair yet had the red flushed beauty of a lively gal. I could have kept staring at her the whole day long, admiring her beauty for who she was. I would have done that- if not for my vows to my father or the way her eyes unnerved me. Her eyes, they were light brown with honeyed caramel mixed in between with a smoky and sultry pure black limbal ring. Her eyes made me flush with embarrassment because they made me want her.

 

I flushed my throat and began my story hoping that my nervousness dissipated by the end, “Now begins the story of my life, a story full of woe. But whose life is short of that, eh?”

She smiled at my sentence wistfully and I continued, “You see, my life has been full of up’s and downs. When I was five I had nicked my finger off the blade of a knife my father kept. No, this is not the problem of my life. I just needed something to begin with.” I said sheepishly.

She laughed out at that and I ginned ruefully, happy that I had made her laugh. It was a melodious sound and was like music to my ears. I couldn’t have any inkling why I was feeling happy when I was meant to be low. Maybe it was her charm that let me out of my shell. I didn’t know, nor did I want to know. I continued on with my story. “So, the real thing. When I was five, my brother was our age. Giving the competitive exams and all that stuff. When the results came out, they were devastatingly low. My brother became depressed and tried to move on. But when our dad got to know about this, he beat my brother with a belt. I am sure he must have regretted it. Whatever the case, my brother ended his life that day. He jumped off a building- or that is what my mother told me before she left.”

She drew in a breath and spoke so quickly that I had to give her all my concentration, “Left for where? Of course she did not take you like she should have, apart from that where did she go?”

I smiled wanly and said, “She left our house to go to her parent’s house. I now know that she has moved on and even remarried.”

I got up when I finished speaking that. I looked down at her- put forward my hand and said, “And on that happy note, our stop is here. Would the lady like to accompany me to the prestigious local fair of this homely city?”

She giggled and laid her hand in mine and replied, “The honor would be mine. Lead, my prestigious knight.”

 

And with that, her soft hand against mine, we stepped outside the bus. Like a perfect gentleman, I left her hand as soon as we got down and got two tickets for us.

We stepped into the fair and started roaming the muddy streets and kept walking past stalls. I suddenly stopped and said, “Gosh, you might have to contact your parents, right? Tell them where you are and all that?"

She hesitated at my question and replied, “Well, I might be able to tell them that I am out at the fair. But when they hear that I am with a boy, they will drive down here and snatch me away. And as it is, I don’t know you. I might look foolish to other people as to why I left and visited the fair with a stranger, but they haven’t stepped into my shoes nor have they realized how much better I feel after sharing my load. What about your dad, wouldn’t he worry?”

 

I shook my head and smiled wanly, “Well, that would definitely not come to pass. He usually gets home late and that too drunk on most of the days. The days he is sober- he usually hangs out at work. He never converses with me apart from providing me a home to stay in. They say some people understand the value of something or someone after it has left your life – well that certainly didn’t happen with my dad. Yeah, I have a fucked up life.”

And at that note, we began walking again. I picked up pace and continued my story again, “After that incident, my dad changed for the worse. From a jolly chap, he turned into a sadistic person who loved to go off into bouts of depression. And since them, I am living in the shadow of his ghost. And that is the end of my story. Short yet depresses me like hell. As for why I was sad today? I got to know some things about my dad and how I resembled him apart from his eyes in every single mannerism of his. My eyes are my mother’s.”

I smiled with a bit of pain evident on my face. Kritika smiled thinly, picked up my hand and said, “For the night, we both have escaped depression. We have shared our stories and obviously feeling a bit brighter and happier. Let us enjoy the night now! We are in the fair and have the cash to afford it. Let us enjoy.”

I grinned and said, “Miss Bansal. You have some wild ideas, but I like it. Let’s begin.”

 

We walked around and ended up doing some wild things. We ate pink cotton candy and she had laughed a lot when I called out this in the old name from my language. I smiled and felt happy again because I had made her laugh.

She looked like an angel with the pink sticky cotton candy sticking to her upper lip and how she didn’t take notice of that small thing. The sky was darkening around us yet we didn’t take notice of it.

I stepped there in front of her and wiped away with the cotton candy stuck on her lip with the pad of my thumb. I don’t know where I gained the guts, but it felt right to do that. She smiled and blushed and then stepped back a bit.

I smiled goofily and said, “You look better this way, and sorry if that surprised you. Apart from that, there are some photo booths, wanna have some pictures of this night?”

She nodded her approval and we both stepped inside the booth, we got some crazy pictures clicked together. Some with our tongues out of out mouth. Some with both of us pulling each other’s hair. One with both of us gaining a pink beard with the cotton candy. One with a friendly hug and the last one with me down on my knees as a knight gaining knighthood.

 

We got out of the photo booths with two copies of each picture. One for her and one for me. I just hoped she would keep her share of pictures.

I looked up at the sky and stared, hoping that this night with a new friend would go on. I heard her voice cutting through my reverie, “Arjun, wanna go up there?” I followed he finger and saw that she was pointing at a Ferris wheel. I nodded happily.

We got the tickets and sat in the car. Both of us alone and on the opposite seat. The ride started moving and we both got silent, enjoying in the view, as if it was some how liberating us both from our troubles.

Suddenly, our booth reached the peak position at the top and she said, “The city-lights seem so beautiful and peaceful from up here, as if they were carved by god and not mankind. It seems as if no problems would exist down there and it would seem like the epitome of hope for an arriving migrant and the worst city for a criminal. It would seem as if all the laws would seem to exist in this organized city and everybody would be pining just to enter this lovely city of ours.”

I was stunned beyond words at her ideology. I wanted to spend more time with her yet I replied, “And only the blind ones aren’t able to see that if it is too good to be true, it likely isn’t.”

She gave a huge sigh and said, “At last, I meet someone who understands how I feel but that bloody person has to be a stranger.”

I was shocked at her choice of words but didn’t comment on it. I smiled and just opened the door to our booth as our ride had ended.

 

We exited the fair and stepped outside at the enterance. We both knew that this was it. The end. I faked a smile and said, “So this is it, one of the best strangers I have met who happens to be the most enjoyable company I know and has the same crazy yet same mindset as mine. It was nice knowing you Kritika. I hope you find happiness in your life and find some solace in some another stranger someday. Don’t develop trust issues Kritika, as it would not suit you. You are perfect the way you are. It was nice meeting you.”

She smiled at my words, “Oh Arjun, you truly have a decent outlook towards life and I hope our paths collide again one way or the other. Apart from that, do what your heart wants to do. But before we part, here take these pictures we clicked.”

She gave me back my copy that she had kept with her. I smiled and stepped forward and gave her a slight hug and said, “Godspeed, Kritika Bansal.”

She nodded and turned around. She didn’t look back and I kept staring at her figure until she left my sight.

I sighed out loud and looked at the images in my hand. I went through them all and some tears leaked out of my eyes. Sigh, It was the worst moment in my life. I could just hope that we got back together again.

 

A huge gust of wind came and all the pictures slipped out of my hand. I snapped my head and ran across, collecting all the pictures. Only one was left, the friendship hug one. I saw the picture at one corner of the road.

I picked it up and saw something weird. There was something written on the back of that pic,

“Arjun, I had a fun time with you today. I would wish to meet you again when you want to meet me again. I hope you liked my company even though I looked horrible today. And, Lady Margaret’s students don’t believe in honor like you do, we can break the vow for our profit. So, do contact me, and after all, ‘A friend can appear and from any corner, when your hopes are the most bleak, you might find one there.’

Call me.”

She had given me her number and the hope that I can contact her once again.

The light of hope is once again alight in my soul.

The only thing I knew now was that I would be hers.

 

-Part II of City-Lights.

 

 

 

For the third part, go here

Monday, 18 April 2016

City-lights: The Beginning.

Kritika.


 

“Mom, I am leaving.” My voice rang out, clashing with the halls of our house and echoing throughout the walls. This was the very reason I hated the schematics of our house, every time someone called out, it echoed through the walls and always disrupted my sleep.

I shuffled into my prim and proper purple flat bellies when my mother came swishing into the hallway. She never seemed to walk like a normal person rather seemed to flow towards people – my dad always claimed that it was this very reason that drew him out to her.

She glanced up and down and looked at my attire, a frown of disapproval marked upon her face. With a heavy somber tone she said, “Kritika, you know that I am not fond of the attires you people wear these days. Look at you, the tight skinny denim jeans, the striped black and white top and- and what is that hairstyle? A messy bun? This is outrageous, but who am I to say?” She went on fussing over my attire and I kept smiling throughout it. After all, the incident, which had occurred last year, had shattered the whole family; I still have no inkling on how our family survived that. Anamika, that was her name- but it was still a taboo to speak her name in the household.

I stamped my foot and said with a sullen tone, “Mum, whatever happened with her isn’t likely to occur with me too. I like this attire and this is the trend which is popular these days.”

“Popular or not, I don’t like it. Yet, you are right. Go, before I change my mind.” She said with a sullen tone and I knew that I had injured her feelings- but my parents couldn’t let go of me so easily after what had happened with Anamika.

I left the house, beginning to recollect memories.

 

Anamika, my elder sister. The daughter who had abandoned the household- that was how my relatives called her. She had been my role model, but, she had ended up disappointing everyone. She had eloped with her boyfriend and had the audacity to mock our family in the face by sending them an invitation to their marriage by a timid and tiny call- that was the story according to my dad.

I remembered receiving some calls from her after she had left. I never knew people could change so easily as soon as they stepped into a new life.

 

I stepped out my reverie when I heard my name being called out on the street I was rambling across.

“Kritika, long time no see. How are you? I have been meaning to call you but you tend to loose the track of time during the summer vacations right? You get what I mean?” The cheery voice of Nikita called out.

Argh, Nikita, the girl who aspired to be the most popular one in the class. I faked a smile and my voice rang with hollowness as I said, “Nikita, my cheery girl! How are you? Gosh, you look pretty today- how do you manage that flawless look?”

She beamed out at my statement and her face lit up like a flower blooming at the first light of the day. She took my hand in hers- ugh, I had forgotten about her attitude about touching and cuddling randomly to show that she cared about us- and pulled me into a corner and whispered as a solemn look crept onto her face and her eyes turned cold, “You know what they call you out there? Faceless Bitch. Now, I usually don’t believe in stories like these but is it true that you changed overnight when your sister left and that you are going through the boys in our standard, as they are some piece of dirty handkerchiefs? Now, I usually don’t believe stuff like this, because I know you. But, I would love to know something with which I could defend you.” She regained her smile in the end and looked at me hopefully.

There it was again, the rumors and the indirect way of spilling out my secrets to a girl who loved to be the center of attention. I cringed inwardly while with a slight smile I countered, “Isn’t that what we all want Nikita? Getting popular with guys and falling in love? Sigh, I hope I had an interesting life like that. Next time, tell them to keep their noses in their own business.”

With a slight huff and collecting the remaining pride I had, I stepped out from the corner and left with my feet stomping on the ground.

 

Anger raged inside me, fire lapped up the corners of my mind; red vision stepped into every thought that I envisioned.

The lyrics of a song kept hammering inside my head, shattering my soul. Words bombarded in my head, hitting at the very corners of the chink of my mental armor. My bones felt as if it were on fire. The only thing I wanted to do was shout out loud, bawling so loudly that I would end up waking the dead. Trying my best to match my emotional state with a physical exertion to match the pain I felt inside. Rage ravaged across my brain and fire lapped across my very bones. With a tormented heart I took the first step towards the destination I had in mind when I had stepped out of my house.

I started walking towards the house of my sister and now turned best friend, Anamika.

 

 

Arjun.


 

“Is everything all right Mr. Malhotra?”

The voice of our teacher cut through and woke me up from my sonder. His voice was as sharp as ice. It was the perfect voice a teacher was meant to have. A voice, which could be soft and pleasing as a blooming flower and sharp and cold as a shard of ice.

Sighing, I glanced up warily at him and stood up, waiting for the judgment to arrive. It was the last day of our school and vacations were beginning from morrow. I hoped with all my heart that he would let me off easy and in that bleak chance of hope, I put on my most innocent face and looked at him adoringly.

That look surely didn’t melt him as his glare turned harsher and called out, “Stay after class. We need to talk.”

Fuck. This was it, something dreadful was arriving and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. Argh, why did this have to happen today?

With a heavy heart and dismal expression, I nodded my assent and sat down. CCF aka our teacher aka Candy Crush Fanatic, was a close friend of my father. Being from a middle class family background, I knew I was going to receive a lot of flak for this.

With a long internal moan, I tried to bring my mind on track with what CCF was teaching. Acting like a devout slave of his was one of the best ways to win his affection.

Why the hell was I daydreaming on the last day of our school? The thought rang out in my head. Alas, they said it true: “Wisdom always arrives when you start regretting your actions.”

 

I somehow managed to pay attention till the end of the lesson and ignored the sympathetic stares of my classmates while they all shouted around in joy, hugging each other, thumping backs and making promises to each other to stay in touch.

I glanced at them with gloom in my eyes, as I knew that I would be out there, chatting with them all and sharing happy memories, yet, here I sat despondent.

They all said their goodbyes and left, vowing to call me over when I was done with CCF.

 

I stared out of the window, waiting for him to arrive and getting lost in the vast depth of the majestic blue sky. Suddenly, I heard a clatter and he entered, waddling like a person with a heavy load on his shoulders.

 

He came and sat down on the seat beside me and spoke in his soft and caring voice, which rang like sweet music to my ears, “Arjun. Arjun. Arjun. My sweet lad, you know that we have been together for a long time as you are the son of my childhood friend. It startles me and stuns me to see the exact same image of your father in you. Yes, he has most of your mannerisms and it went against his rules if he listened to his mentor. He was usually lost in his vivid daydreams and never liked to be bound inside the classroom. Ah, he was a free bird- it sometimes saddens me to see how much he changed after his elder son ended his beautiful life.”

He picked up my hand and caressed against it. He lifted up my face with a slight pressure on my chin and looked into my eyes, “You have your mother’s eyes Arjun. Go, today you have to be a free bird. Next time pay attention in my class and come to visit me when free, all right?”

With a stunned silence, I got up, bowed and bid my goodbyes as I exited the classroom. CCF, no, Chandra Sir had said some things that I never knew about my father. I had no memories of him before his change.

 

With a inquisitive heart, I walked across the grounds of our school and exited via the main gate. I turned around and took one long look at the building that I wasn’t going to see for the next one month nor would ever vacations come back again in my life.

When I finished recollecting and reliving every fun and sad memory, I started backwards, keeping the building in my sight while my mind still wondered on the words Chandra Sir had said.

As soon as the school escaped my field of vision, I stepped onto the main road and started waiting for a city-bus to arrive as the school automobiles had already left the compound.

I stared up at the sky, while the words about my father kept ringing inside my head. I kept imagining how he would have been in his real life. I kept imagining him- without the burdens etched on his face. Him with cheerfulness in his eyes rather than the deep melancholy engraved which prevailed these days. Him with the prim and proper dress with a smile on his face. Him with my mother. She had left him and gone back to her parents when my brother had ended his life.

 

A sharp two short yet loud honks broke my chain of thoughts. The bus was here and the conductor was glaring me and mouthing some curse words beneath his breaths. Disregarding him, I climbed onto the bus and looked over for some seats.

Only three were empty, one beside an old man who had hairs sprouting from his ears. Other was beside a young lady in a striped top with some tear tracks etched beside her eyes and one beside a person who was carrying a big sack of something.

Like the obvious teen, I went towards the damsel in distress, hoping to be the knight in shining armor. A mummer’s dream, yet it always reminded me of the knights of old. She was sitting on the window seat so I plopped down on the other seat and stared at the seat in front of me while I could feel the eyes of the lady on me and her shuffling away from me.

Keeping the anticipation of striking up a good conversation out of my voice, I began, “Had a bad day?”

She looked up in surprise, expecting that I would leave her alone and with a look of wariness she replied, “Yeah, and that is none of your business.”

“Oh, I am sorry. I should have kept silent. I hope your day gets better though.”

She replied back in haste, “Gosh, Sorry. Someone just stepped on my nerves today and I am livid. I took some of it out on you. I just.. Argh, I wish I reached my destination soon.”

I understood how she felt, because a different yet similar kind of turmoil was going on inside me. I looked up and said, “Um, want me to lend an ear? I could listen to your problems and in turn I could share mine. I am told that sharing helps to calm the mind and ease of your troubles. I swear I ain’t no flirt and I swear upon the honor of being a student of Rockwell High’s senior that I will never cause you trouble.”

Without a bit of pause, she asked a question, “And do they ever keep their honor over that promise?”

Okay, she was a smart one and I noticed how she had unreacted to my earlier message, “You seem a student yourself, would you tarnish the reputation of your school if you are a part of the senior-most standard?”

I flashed her a smile that showed no guile at all and continued, “If that doesn’t satisfy you, I cross my heart and make a pinky swear. May god strike me down if I tell you lies.”

That made her smile and I could see how beautiful was in that one single moment, “Okay, Rockwell High lad, I also swear upon the honor of Lady Margaret High and as the senior of that school, I would love to share something with a stranger.”

I replied back sagely, “Strength and warmth does come from the strangest of all places, I believe that we would know each other well by the end?” I posed it as a question, waiting for her reply.

She replied back in the way I had, “Que Sera Sera.”

I gave her a questioning look and at the look of my befuddlement, she continued, “What will be, will be”

And when I heard that, I grinned, “And with a smart and witty lady I share this seat today, would she be so kind to share her name?”

With a timid smile and shyness in her eyes, “Kritika. Kritika Bansal.”

“That is one of the most beautiful names I have come across, Kritika. I am Arjun. Arjun Malhotra- they guy who won’t spill secrets. So, as a polite stranger, let us begin? I shall go first or you?”

She blushed and then straightened her posture and replied, “Me. Better to get this load away. I might curse myself for this silliness later and would hate myself. So, I begin.”

With a huge breath, she began speaking in her deep melodious voice, “Okay, so…”

 

And that was when I knew, I was taken.”

 

-End of part one of Citylights. Stay tuned for more. :)

 

Update: The part two- Continue reading →

 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Letter: Are we forgetting something?

Our life is like a car and we are driving it.

Usually, we stare in the rear view mirror, to look back on what we have passed. This mirror signifies our past. We keep focusing on what all has happened and keep wondering on how it will come to affect us in our future.

When done with this, we look out of the windshield and stare into what will come. The future which we expect will be ours is how we see through the windshield. As soon as we think an obstacle is about to hinder us, we take a diversion. We concentrate most on the future and what will happen.

This is life for us.

Oh. Uh, I guess I am forgetting something?

Yeah! The windows of a car! The present which goes past us in a flash and yet we tend to ignore it.
We only look back on it later on, when it has gone back in the past and regret our actions.






We only have one life, just ponder on this:

The activity which we are currently indulged in, will it be a cause for regret for us later on?

Yes? Then stop doing it.

No? Continue doing it and have a happy life!