Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thank YOU!

Image courtesy: Google

As the UBC and NaBloPoMo are coming to an end today, I would like to Thank you all. Yes, you, my readers, have been my inspiration to write better with each post. Whoever has cared to visit my blog and cared to drop a line or two, to let me know what you thought about my posts, I can never Thank you enough. 

Would you believe me if I said that each and every comment of yours has been saved in my inbox? So that I can read it over and again when I need a boost for my spirits. Or when I feel drained. Or just to know that all is not lost. That is how much you all mean to me. 

The past month has been a learning curve. I have read a lot of wonderful writers out there. A lot are still pending. I promise I shall read them soon, since this hectic month has come to an end. 

I would like to Thank Soumya, Confused soul, Usha Ma'am, Red, Stranger, PeeVee, Keirthana, Reema, Vinodini, Sreeja, Shanx, Vishal for the constant encouragement and being there for me and my blog! I love you all to the moon and back. My sincere apologies if I have left out any names in this list. Please blame it on the level of exhaustion that I have reached. But please do know that you are a part of the list. Yes, everyone who reads me. A big hug to all of you!

This month has also taught me discipline in terms of writing. That if needed, I can write everyday. Even if on some days, it means scribbling just a few lines. I have never been popular for completing things that I've started off. Of course, there is plenty of energy in the beginning, but it soon fizzles out after a couple of days. Maybe because I have enjoyed writing and being read, I'm proud that I have competed the challenge and can give myself a pat on the back. 

Thank you, July 2014, for teaching me a lot of things and gifting me a bunch of wonderful friends. August, hope you bring much more surprises :) A lot of us are going to be celebrating birthdays, including me :) Yayyy!!! This definitely calls for celebration. Soon!

Lots of love,

A

This post is written for Day 31 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo





Saying goodbye to F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Image courtesy: Google

I spent the whole of my day watching the last season of FRIENDS. I had begun to watch this TV show only recently. But once I started it, then there was no going back. I was hooked to it right from the pilot episode. 

Here are a group of friends who stick with each other though thick and thin, through highs and lows. Of course, the fact that you would be laughing so hard in each of the episodes is the biggest plus. Since most of you have already watched this one, I'm sure you wouldn't want me droning about what the story is about. It is about life of a group of six friends, to put it simply. 

I have enjoyed watching and learning about each of the six characters. Rachel, though rich and spoiled in the beginning soon matures into a little more responsible woman. Falling in and out of love, making her own mistakes and taking a chance at relationships, she is a character which most of us can relate to.

Ross, the geeky, nerdy one of the group. It is hard not to laugh when he takes life so seriously. The on and off relationship between Rachel and Ross can't make you help but wish that they would solve their differences end up together. 

Monica and Chandler are my favorite couple ever. The friendship between them, the way they fall in love with each other, the way they handle their relationship, how they work their way through marriage, I mean the list is endless. How can one not fall in love with this amazing couple? Monica with her OCD for cleanliness and Chandler with his wit and sarcasm are as different as chalk and cheese. But that is what makes them so perfect for each other. Monica is easily one of my favorite characters in the show. I love her for her loyalty towards her friends and the strong woman that she is. 

Phoebe is an interesting character in herself. The fact that she is not easy to figure out and her bouts of weirdness makes her character lively. As much weird as she is most of the times, I found myself humming Smelly Cat even after the show was over. Weird, I know. But such is the Phoebe effect. 

And last, but certainly not the least is Joey. What can I say about him? How about this- How you doin'? This guy makes you crack up and you will find yourself rolling around in laughter, clutching your sides. Joey doesn't share food. This made me like him all the more! The way he is always there for his friends, no matter what, the way he puts them first (other than food), there are a million reasons to fall in love with him. 

OH MY GOD! I almost forgot about Janice! Though she doesn't have a regular appearance on the show, this woman is hard to forget. Especially after her random appearances in the friends' life right from the beginning to the very end. She had me howling in laughter and I'm not exaggerating here. 

And as I watched the last season today, I shed a few tears. Sad that it's coming to an end. Happy that Monica and Chandler finally got what they deserved. Glad that Ross and Rachel end up together for good. Happy for Phoebe that she gets her happy ending. Sad for Joey who is going to have a hard time missing his friends. Perhaps a bit more than the rest. 

Thank you, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. You have made my days a lot more lively. You have given me migraines from watching you back to back the entire day. And most times, the entire night as well. But you kept me hooked. You kept me wanting more. And lastly, Thank you for reminding me that the bad stuff shall pass. So will the good stuff. But what happens in between is what makes life worthwhile. 

This post is written for Day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

P.S. I made gulab jamuns today! It came out not so perfect and a bit burnt on the sides. But it tasted great and I'm happy :)

P.P.S. Did you know that the fried jamuns before dipping them into the sugar syrup tastes even better? Sounds odd, I know! But try it. The smell that wafts from the frying jamuns are to die for. 




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Soul

Image courtesy: Google

I felt the metallic taste of blood in my mouth. There was pain. The blood on my dress spread. A sense of floating above my body. That was when I saw her. 

My murderer. The other half of my soul. My twin sister

There wouldn't be any hurt or mistrust again. For neither of us. 


This post is written for Day 29 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

P.S. It is a 55 Fiction. An attempt in telling a story in just 55 words. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

For the Love of...

Image copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

The simplest of things in life brought me the greatest joy. Watching the rains while drinking a cup of steaming masala tea, the sound of water dripping outside the windows, greasy Chinese food, the smile on his face that made his eyes crinkle deep in the corners. 

It was on a rainy afternoon after having Chinese takeaway that he did the unexpected. As he made fun of me for the mess I made while handling the chopsticks, I failed to notice the ring. 

Looking into my eyes and taking in my ketchup stained T-shirt, he asked, "Would you be mine?"


This drabble is written for Friday Fictioneers- 25th July for the above photo prompt. 

Also, linking it to Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fearless

Image courtesy: Tumblr

A thousand doubts crept up her mind. What if this doesn't work out; or what if he wasn't the One? As she walked alone though the woods with just her thoughts for company, somewhere along the way, she made up her mind. 

To conquer her fears, she would have to face them. 

The woman that came out of the woods did not have a cluttered mind, true, she still had a lot of fights to battle, but her heart was fearless. 


Also, linking it to Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

P.S. I'm exhausted. This is the longest time that I have been posting non stop. Every day of this whole month. Still a few more to go. So sorry if I have actually stopped making sense altogether. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Only One


Image courtesy: Google

She had no recollection of seeing her mother's face. It was her Dad who had waited for her on the first day of school. It was him she ran to when she skimmed her knees falling down while cycling. Dad had been the one who told her that afternoon, that she was now a young woman, when she thought she was going to die. 

He was the one who had beamed at her from the audience when she graduated. She pretended not to notice the hurt in his eyes when she spent more and more time with her friends. While he pretended not to be bothered by the fact that his daughter was no longer the little girl he knew; she was slowly falling in love. With a guy. With life.

But the day she found out she was pregnant, she dreaded going home. Sam refused to have anything to do with her or the baby. He even questioned whether it was his. 

When Dad had found her lying in a pool of blood in the bathroom at home, she wished with all her heart that she was dead. He had held her in his hands, like he used to when she was a little girl, as she sobbed her heart out at the hospital. 

And today, as she looks across the lawn where her Dad was pushing his five year old granddaughter on the swing as she screamed in laughter, she knew that she had made the right decision. There were no confusions. Not anymore. He would be the Only One in her life who would stick by her side, through thick and thin. 

As the wind carried the sounds of their laughter, she whispered to herself, Thank You, Dad.


This post is written for Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo




The Woman with the Wand

Image courtesy: Google

I must tell you in the beginning that this is not a book review. Not even close to it. I just felt like writing about the book that I'm currently reading. I had bought 'The Cuckoo's Calling' by Robert Galbraith from Flipkart sometime last year. Yes, I admit that I bought it not just because I knew that it was by none other than the J.K. Rowling, but also beacause the blurb was interesting. I have been a sucker for solving mysteries for a long time, thanks to the Famous Five from childhood. They are the best, even now! 

I have worshiped the Harry Potter series, though it was a tad disappointing for me towards the end. Harry Potter fans, please don't give me those killer looks. And before you start to throw things on me, let me tell you that I love Harry Potter and he shall be one of the fondest memories for me growing up. 

But a few pages into the novel and it hardly seemed to move. The book starts off with the supermodel Lula Landry falls to her death. Her brother appoints our hero, detective Cormoron Strike, a war veteran. And that was all that I made it to. I mean, in my defense, I was disappointed that the story was not flowing. It was dragging on and making me feel helpless. You know that feeling, right? Like being stuck in a relationship that you so want it to work, because you know you are with a wonderful person, but the spark seems to be missing? Well, that is exactly how I felt with this book. I desperately wanted to read it, but somehow I couldn't make it to even a quarter of the book. 

I did the unthinkable then. Tossed it back on my bookshelf where it lay gathering dust for quite sometime. Till yesterday, when I reminded myself that everyone deserves a second chance. So what if it is not her best work? J.K. Rowling was the Queen of fantasy for a long time. Maybe she needed to do something different. But then again, I don't think she can reach up to the bar that she set for herself when she wrote Harry Potter. I can't bear the thought that her wand may just not be waving any more magic. 

I know it's not fair. And this is just my personal opinion. I know a lot of people who have enjoyed this one. I can see a lot of good reviews as well. I just hope I manage to read it through and see the last page of this one. What if the best is yet to come? God, do I need the patience to sit through this one. 

I owe it to one of my favorite authors and to myself. I find myself holding the book again, guiltily, and hoping to find that lost spark. Yes, I have started reading it from where I had stopped off. But still no spark. At least, not yet. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm depressed that there won't be anymore of the Harry Potter magic in my life. 

Image courtesy: Google

This post is written for Day 25 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Across the Hanging Bridge

Image courtesy: Tumblr

I am nervous
Seeing the hanging bridge
Sweaty palms,
A thudding heart,
Shaky legs..

Life held across
By the strength 
Of ropes and planks
Feeble and strong
At the same time

My step wavers
But your grip on my hand
Is steadier than ever
As we make our way across
The hanging bridge

The end draws nearer
As I conquer my fears
It no longer terrifies
With you by my side
As we cross the hanging bridge

This post is written for Day 24 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Child of Sin

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He was a child of sin. They called him a bastard. His childhood was a blur of different men and his mother's drinking binges. When he was ten, his neighbors called him a thief. And when he turned twenty, he was caught for shoplifting. By thirty, he was in prison awaiting his trial for murder.


P.S. This is my first attempt in writing 55 Fiction, a try at telling a story in just 55 words.  

This post is written for Day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happiness is Mango Chutney!


Image courtesy: Google

Happiness is Mango Chutney! No, it's not just any chutney. It's an anthology of short stories that is going to be published by Rumour Books India and my story 'Tainted Red' is going to be a part of it! So excited and happy :) It is a dream come true to see my name on print and Mango Chutney has helped me achieve this. 

Since my excitement is too high to write anything else, this post shall be dedicated solely to the book. It is a collection of short stories by 27 writers and I'm proud that my story has carved a niche in it. Our editor, Harsh Snehanshu, got the first copy in his hands today and was kind enough to send us a few pictures. 

The stories :)

It is indeed an honor and privilege to be sharing the space with these amazing and talented writers who have penned some beautiful stories here. 

And here is my story on print! It still feels surreal and like a dream. Never thought the day would come when I can see my name on print! What can I say. I'm a happy happy person today. With a goofy grin that can't be wiped off :)


'Tainted Red' by Yours truly 

The pre-order links shall be up by August 1st and I shall share it once it's up. The book launches on August 14th at Delhi and shall also be available in major bookstores by middle of August. Do pick up a copy, as it would mean a lot to me :) And I would love to hear what you think of it. 


A lot of hard word has gone into it by each one of the writers and it would be wonderful if you let us know how much you enjoyed the taste of the chutney. True to its name, Mango Chutney guarantees to leave you wanting for more. And most importantly, promises to linger in the readers' minds beyond the pages. 

Till next time :) I love you all!

P.S. The book cover looks amazing. But unfortunately, we are not supposed to share it till the pre-order links are up. Hence, the sliced mango picture at the top. It looked mouthwatering and I just had to post it :)

This post is written for Day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Monday, July 21, 2014

The 'Selfie' mania


Okay, I will go crazy if I don't get it off my chest. What is with the selfie mania that seems to be going on? Or is it just me? I do get it that some of us love to flaunt our glamorous/ cool selfies. But what is it with the pathetic selfies that I see sometimes mostly on Facebook? 

According to Wikipedia, "A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often shared on social networking services such as FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Tumblr. They are often casual, and are typically taken either with a camera held at arm's length or in a mirror."

And this what Google had to tell me - "Occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn't necessary." Google, I couldn't possibly agree with you more on this one. 

The other day, I saw this girl on my friends list (don't ask me how she ended up there, long story) has posted this weird selfie. Where she looks somewhere between confused/ weird/ constipated. And for this she gets a lot of likes and few comments! 

I would get it if it was a nice click or even an average selfie. But this one was downright oh-I'm-so-trying-to-be-cool kind of a selfie. What is it with people? Can't they just pose normally for one? Or even smiling for it would not have looked half as bad as it did. 

I'm sure she is a friendly girl and has a lot of friends. But selfies like these are simply taking things a bit too far and testing the patience of those viewing it. 

Oh yes, I can imagine what you are thinking. Why don't I just remove her from my list? But sometimes when I feel down, I take her profile, go through her selfies and remind myself that life could actually be a lot worse. 


P.S. This is just my opinion and I have nothing against selfies in general. Well, as long as it doesn't hurt my eyes. 

P.P.S. I'm generally not this rude, but this one was simply asking for it.  

This post is written for Day 21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fireworks

Image courtesy: Tumblr

It's new year's eve 
And I'm out with friends
Watching the fireworks
Light up the night sky

We were so over 
Yet why can't I stop
Thinking about you
Or your love

This was supposed 
To be a new beginning
Yet it feels like 
A final goodbye

Watching the colors fade 
The yellow, red and blue
Until all that's left is plain black
And the smoke lingering around


This post is written for Day 20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weighed by a rock

Image courtesy: Tumblr
She wrapped her hands around his neck, resting  her head on his shoulder. This was supposed to be one of the happiest nights of her life. He had proposed her with a diamond ring as they finished dinner. The size of the rock had amazed her. Set in platinum, the stone glinted brightly under the hotel chandelier. Encrusted in a sleek band with tiny diamonds all around it. The ring spoke volumes of its buyer. Then why did it feel so heavy on her finger? And why didn't her heart leap in joy as she had expected it to?

He held her with his arms wrapped around her slender waist. But instead of making her feel secure, why did it feel like he was binding her towards him for the rest of her life? She had heard stories of how excited her friends were once they got the ring on their finger. Of how magical it all was. The proposal, the dream like wedding, the sense of truly belonging to someone for the rest of their life. Then why was she not experiencing any of it? Was it just because she was nervous? She wanted to believe that it was simply the pre-marriage jitters.

Where were the butterflies that were flitting in her stomach constantly during the initial courting days? They seemed to have left her forever. Or how her heart had always skipped a beat whenever she saw him. All that was left was a big void. A sense of helplessness. One in which she felt trapped, claustrophobic. 

Maybe it first dawned on her when she caught him messaging on the phone late at night. Or was it when she found traces of a bright pink lipstick on his shirt? When confronted, he had confessed it all to her. That it was merely a mistake, 'just a fling' in his words. But she had been a fool in love. She had wanted to be his wife. His trophy wife.

So when he had asked to marry her tonight, the answer was what she had practicing in her head ever since the day she met him - Yes. But her answer was weighed down with misery. 

He rocked her to the slow music. As it came to an end, so did her inner dilemma. She had made up her mind. Removing the expensive ring and placing it in his hand, she turned and walked away, leaving him bewildered. 

This post is written for Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Paper boats

Image courtesy: Google

I watch my daughter playing in the rain with the colored paper boats; seeing her unmasked joy as I sipped my cup of steaming coffee. In her, I see myself, many years ago. So many dreams and my life had been brimming with hope, like hers now. 

But like the rain water trickling into the paper boats slowly, threatening to reduce it into a pulpy mass any moment, my hopes had been crushed like those dainty crafts. 

It cannot happen again, I think fiercely; my daughter would chase her dreams and no one can snatch that away from her. 



Also, linking it to Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Ouija board - Final part

(You can read  Part 1Part 2 & Part 3 here.) 



But the real shock awaited me a week later. I heard that Shalini's step mother went mad. The villagers said that she saw something on a full moon night. Something or someone who looked like Shalini. She has spent the rest of her life murmuring things to herself and being ridiculed by everyone. And her father? He was found dead a few days after his wife lost her mind. And what haunted everyone was the fact that the father was found hanging on the exact same tree that Shalini breathed her last.

I was a haunted man the next few months. Some part of me wished that she would give me what I deserved. That she would take away my life too, if the stories that were circulating were true. But you know what, my child? On some moonless nights, I can still hear her laughter. The sound of her laughing gleefully as she used to while urging me to push her higher and higher on the swing. Maybe in some strange way, it was meant to be my punishment. Or maybe, it was just Karma.

After a year of her death, I thought I would go mad too. The voices inside my head wouldn't let me be at peace with myself. Her voice followed me everywhere. I started getting nightmares, I couldn't sleep. And that was when I decided to end it once and for all. I had to talk to her. I needed to get some sort of closure. And that was the time I chanced upon the Ouija board at an antique store. The owner warned me about the consequences before selling it to me. But my mind was made up. I had to talk to Shalini.

Though the first rule of the Ouija Board was never to play it alone, I went ahead and broke that one. I couldn't let anyone know. Not even your grandmother. This was just my unfinished business. At first, there was nothing. But then, she came. I wanted to believe that it was her. But the spirit that hovered around me that night, years ago was not the gentle girl I knew. Maybe I had played the cards wrong. There was something malignant about the spirit that refused to leave me. Or this house. 

I ended it right then and took the Ouija board on the attic and left it there. It lay forgotten for years. Till you came along and decided to play with it... My Grandfather trailed off, looking into my eyes.

I was starting to feel guilty now. What have I done? I felt a gush of emotions then. Sadness for the girl who never had a chance to grow up to be a woman, sympathy for my grandfather who spent his entire life living in guilt, fear for my sister who was still a child herself. I felt a deep pain in my chest. What if it's irrevocable?  What if none of this could be undone?

My grandfather must have seen it in my eyes because he took my hands and told me, 'I have to do it tonight. I have to call upon the spirit once again and talk to it. Ask it to leave Riya alone...'

But the unspoken question hung in the air between us. Like a painful past. What if it doesn't listen. What if we lose Riya forever. It can't happen. It couldn't. I put those doubts in the back of my head. My sister deserved a chance at life. 

It was almost midnight as we got the Ouija board ready once again. But this time it was different, there was none of the gaiety or thrill that I experienced from it the last night. As we got the candles and the Board ready, there was just a painful, deadly silence around us. Riya sat before us, waiting. Her big eyes filled with unshed tears. We couldn't explain what was happening to her. It was best that she did not know. 

My grandfather asked me to leave the room. He needed to do this alone. Despite my protests, I stood outside. This was something which was important to him. At first, I head nothing. There was just some heavy breathing. And then, there it was, the same laughter that had terrified me the last night. I stood frozen to the spot. I could hear grandfather's raised pitch inside. But none of it made sense. I thought I heard his cries too, but it went as quickly as it came. After what seemed like hours, or maybe it was just minutes, he opened the door. I went rushing in. Riya lay on the bed unconscious, drenched in sweat. The Ouija board was tucked away safely, under his arm. 

'Riya is free. Don't worry, when she wakes up, it will be fine. This would be like a nightmare that she had. One that she can put behind her. There would be no more troubles with her. Get ready to pack your bags and go home tomorrow. I am calling your parents first thing tomorrow morning..', his voice was stern.

'But...', I started to protest.

'No ifs and buts. And no more questions. You already know too much. Let the sleeping dogs lie. Just know this, that I love you both very much. I just don't want your lives at stake here. Go home, that would be the best for everyone...', he said. 

And that was how we were packed off the next morning. Riya woke up as the bubbly girl I knew. I got my sister back. But when we kissed grandfather goodbye, there were tears in his eyes. I knew that he would miss us. The house would be lonely for him without our laughter and stories. I looked back from the backseat of our car, waving my grandparents a final goodbye. That was when I saw it. A girl swinging high under the Pala tree, laughing at me.  I blinked my eyes for a moment and the image was gone. 

Meanwhile, up in the attic, a wooden planchette twitched. 


The End.

This post is written for Day 17 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

P.S. Thanks to all of you, my lovely readers, because of whom I finished writing this! Confused soul, Soumya, Red, Seeta, Prasanth, Bikram, Usha Ma'am, Reema, Vinodini, Uma, Juhi, Remya, you guys are the best and I Love you all... I'm sorry if I left out anyone. But everyone who has reading me and been boosting my confidence for this series, you have helped me in so many ways. A big heart felt Thanks!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Ouija board - Part 3

(You can read  Part 1 and Part 2 here.) 


Her name was Shalini. I still remember the first time I saw her. She had come to our house holding her father's hand. A child. No more than four or five years old. Sucking her thumb and clinging behind her father. I still remember it so well. And her eyes. Taking everything in. So eager and full of life. That was the first thing that I noticed about her. 

She came from a poor family. Maybe that was one reason for her life to be doomed. Her mother passed away when she was ten years old. I remember her looking at me beseechingly at the funeral. She was so young, hardly a few years older than your mother. It broke my heart to see her mourn death at such a young age. The hands of death first touched her then. But her bad luck was just beginning.

A few months after her mother's death, her father remarried. The reason he told everyone was that Shalini needed a mother. She was a growing girl who needs a mother more than her father. The woman looked harmless enough, the few times I saw her. But there was something about her that made her seem like a threat in Shalini's eyes. Who could blame her? She had just lost her mother. And slowly, she felt her father was slipping away from her hands too.

Those days she used to come over here and play. Sometimes with your mother, sharing our meals and your grandmother treated her just like she did her own daughter. She loved listening to my stories. Begging me for more even when it was time for her to go home. She was reluctant to go home. Always. 

I saw a new emotion in her eyes then. Fear. Though I tried to reassure her that it was all in her head, that her step mother was only trying to help her, she never said anything. Neither agreeing nor disagreeing with me. She would just watch me. 


Once I strung a swing on ropes on this Pala tree, a swing that went to a great height. Your mother was scared initially. But I still remember how Shalini stood fascinated by it. She would wait patiently for her turn and would urge me to push her higher and higher. Till her laughter echoed in our courtyard.  

As she grew older, her visits to our house dwindled. She would come once in a while, talk to your mother and grandmother and leave. It was as though she trod around me carefully, now that she was a young woman. I heard that she was still sent to school, but her grades began to suffer. She was a bright girl but there was something that was bothering her. 

And that was when the wretched thing happened. 

I can still see that day folding in front of my eyes. It still remains fresh in my memory. If only I had another chance to do things differently, I would. I curse myself thinking back. How could I have been so stupid and naive? 


It was a cold windy evening, clouds hovering in a grey sky that threatened to fall any moment. That was when Shalini came running to our home. Eyes distraught, her clothes astray, the skin on her hands and legs bruised. She was fifteen years old now, not a mere child who could be punished physically, for whatever the mistakes she must have done. Sobbing down by my feet, she told me everything. The physical abuse that she was subject to by her step mother. How her father was merely a puppet in her hands, that he had no voice anymore in things. The mental torment she was put to, all these years.

And that evening, she had had enough. She didn't want to go back anymore. She feared she would lose her mind. Or do something which she would regret later on. I should have listened to her then. But all I did was ask her to go back home. She was not a child anymore. And I couldn't keep her here, without her father's permission. No matter how hard the decision was for me to take, she would have to go back. 

I remember how she turned to look back at me reproachfully one last time before walking home. And that was the last I saw her alive. The night was heavy with rain and thunder. The next morning, the news spread like wildfire. That Shalini was found hanging from a tree in the field. 



Some say it was suicide. That she ended her own life because she couldn't take the torture any more. Others say she was killed and hung up. The tree was too tall for her to have climbed it herself. What was the truth? I did not know, my child. I was baffled. But what I knew was this, that I gave her the final push towards her death. Yes, maybe I did not know it that evening. But I will never forget the look she gave me before she left, for as long as I live. It was hurt; that I did not believe her. Or maybe it was regret. For trusting me...

... To be continued.

This post is written for Day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Ouija board - Part 2

(This story is a continuation of 'The Ouija board'. It was meant to be a stand alone story, but since a few of you felt it ended a bit too abruptly, here is the second part. In case you haven't read that one, I would suggest you read it first. Hope you enjoy the next installment. Bikram, Confused soul, Seeta and Prasanth- hope you guys are not disappointed!)


When I woke up, the sunlight was already filtering into our window. For a moment, it felt like a bad nightmare. Had I dreamt it all? I looked on the other side of the bed, Riya was nowhere to be seen. In spite of the warm morning, I felt a cold chill on my back. Like the feeling you get when some sixth sense in you awakens, warning you about an impending doom.

Image courtesy: Google

I brushed my teeth and went downstairs. There she was, sitting and having breakfast that my grandmother made. Eating as though she was ravenous. For a moment, our eyes met. I see a cold look in her eyes, that disappeared as quickly as it came and it was her warm eyes that smiled at me. She pulled a plate beside her and beckoned me to sit. 

Even though we had breakfast together, even though she insisted that nothing was wrong when I cornered her to ask what had happened last night, I knew that somewhere, something had gone terribly wrong last night. She laughed and told me that all she had wanted was to play a prank on me, that I passed out when the wind blew out the candle. I wanted to believe her. I so desperately wanted to believe, that this girl standing in front of me promising me earnestly, is my little Riya. But the hands of doubt once it holds you, is hard to shake off.

Things seemed to be going smoothly. I had a splitting headache that was making my head pound. I must have dozed off because when I woke up, it was evening. Again, Riya was nowhere in sight. I got up and stood near the window. At first, I thought it was my imagination or my eyes playing tricks on me again. But then I saw her standing and talking under the Pala tree. I looked around to see whom she was talking to. I realize that my sister was not alone. She was talking to an invisible person, like whom she used to pretend to talk to when she was little. My parents had thought she had grown out of it, so did I. I still remember how she had gone around talking to her invisible friend all day, telling anyone who cared to listen about how special she was. 

But here, standing in this room, I know that this is no harmless friend from her childhood. I had seen her eyes last night. I had not imagined it. Someone wanted my sister. Or at least her body. And that someone was getting impatient. Restless. 

I was woken out of my reverie when I heard her laughter. There she was, laughing hysterically. I knew I had to do something. I had to talk to someone before I went crazy. I ran down the stairs, almost falling down just as my grandfather came and caught me. He must have seen the hurt in my eyes as he held me, rocking me in his hands as though I was a baby. I allowed myself to break down and sob like I had never done before. 

Shhh... It's going to be alright. Did you have a nightmare? He asked me gently. He was a strong man, my grandfather. Somehow, when he asked me that, it came all tumbling out. The attic, the Ouija board which we found, what happened last night. And I see a different look in his eyes. One that I had never seen before. Fury. This man, who has been old and meek ever since the time I could remember, seemed to grow before my eyes. 

Now, you listen to me carefully, young lady. Never meddle with things that do not concern you. That Ouija board was left in the attic for a reason. A reason which is beyond my control or yours. There are certain things which can't be grasped. It has to be left alone. It's not merely a play thing, if you must know. There is a tale behind it... He trailed off.

I pleaded with him to complete what he had started to tell. I had to know what had happened. Why the Ouija board was so special to him. Why had he kept it all these years? Guarded it fiercely like a secret that was so close to his heart? And more importantly, is there any hope for my sister? 

He sat with me on the verandah as his eyes took on a faraway look. I had seen that look before, when he told Riya and me bedtime stories when we were children. But this was not a look that was filled with happiness; it was tinged with nostalgia and regret. I knew his mind was not here. And he began to tell me a story. A story of the past. A story that would remain etched in my memory, blending in till it became a part of me...

....To be continued.


This post is written for Day 15 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo


Monday, July 14, 2014

Drenched

Image copyright: Kelly Sands

I read his message over and over again. Yet, it made no sense. Or maybe it left an emptiness as great as the ocean. It is overThree little words, but the impact it left on me was profound.

I looked outside the window, grey clouds were forming, indicating a heavy downpour soon. The tops of the pretty houses that surrounded mine could be visible from my balcony. 

As it rained, I simply stood there. Watching it, allowing it to fall over me. The raindrops mingled with the tears on my face, caressing me. And I felt cleansed. 



This drabble is written for Friday Fictioneers- 11th July for the above photo prompt. 

Also, linking it to Day 14 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and NaBloPoMo

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