Garden of Dead Roses.

images

Her room was dark, spare the dusty corner right underneath the glass window. The curtains were only slightly parted. A thin beam of sunlight compacted in the body of a golden sword fell onto the silver rectangle she was holding on her palm. The metal glinted as if winking back at the orange fiery orb millions of miles away. As if, thanking it for the gift of the majestic glow. Her blank eyes stared at the lifeless piece of metal which had suddenly felt like her last straw to relief.

She wanted to poke her finger down her oesophagus and purge herself of all those tormenting and agonizing memories which clawed at her heart every second of her existence. The memories that toyed with her emotions every waking hour. Her dreams were hollow, murky and grey. She would see herself running after shadows which grew smaller and smaller. She would find herself walking down endless aisles of a mysterious building or scouring through dark corridors, searching for a particular aura, for even the vaguest hint of his presence. She always came up empty. Every night, her dreams would dissolve into blank inky emptiness, her forehead beaded with moisture and her breathing heavy but shallow.

I’m death and this is the story of a rose. The last rose in that garden. But she was a beautiful rose. My favourite, actually. Sucking life out of her didn’t give me the joy that all the other roses did. I wanted this rose to live. But she played the death song and summoned me against my will.

The blade felt cool against the soft skin of her arm. She began with creating tiny pits in her skin. One day since he left; 1 cut. Two days since he walked away; 2 cuts. Three days since he left; 3 cuts. Four days since he walked away; 4 cuts. A month since he’d been gone and her skin was already a labyrinth of diagonal and horizontal lanes etched deep into it. A permanent reminder of the chaos she’d been hiding from the world. The hurricane was growing and she was right in the eye of the storm.

I watched her from up above. Sometimes, I sat right across from her, on the swinging chair, gazing at her out of the dark. Sometimes, I’d dare to touch her tear streaked face. I’d sigh at the wastage of such beauty that was slowly crumbling. Her tears were like acid corroding a soft sponge. I’d touch her scars and lament with them. What a loss…

The droplets of blood would fall down on the marbled floor, looking like beaded rubies. She’d press down on them, creating a deep red smudge on the white floor. She’d then trace an outline of his name with her fingers and stare at it for hours until the blood dried. She would then wipe it out, cleaning the slate, ready for the next round.It would happen every night. Every morning she’d hide her wreckage underneath the sleeves of her shirts, looking like a happy princess to the world but feeling like a dead zombie inside.

Sometimes, I just wanted to swoop down and pull her into my embrace. The loving embrace of death, pardon the pun. But I was helpless against my growing emotions. I wanted the rose to live. My beautiful rose. And then came the final message. The death sentence. “It’s over.”

The silver metal cut into her vein, as if it was a soft bubblegum. She did not feel the sting or the pain; she was well accustomed to it. It came to her very often. She felt it as frequently as she breathed. The trail of the red fluid flowed downwards, pooling at the pit that joined her forearm and arm. Drops rained down and crashed against the white rug, colouring it a deep crimson. Without wasting another second, she cut another gash on the other wrist, colouring her skin all red, like a red arm band. She swayed a little and felt her vision go blurry. Her heartbeat ceased to a dim thrumming. Her brain went into a deep permanent slumber. Her life flashed before her like a time-lapse film. His smile, their laughter, the sparkle of his eyes, the masterpiece that was his face. It all ran through her and then it all went blank. Her heart stopped beating. It stopped feeling.

No matter how much I wanted to undo things, my rose had died. I stood by her feet, looking down upon her face, a permanent sad smile plastered on it. The blood still streamed down her wrist, pooling around her, wanting to drown her. It told a million stories of a broken heart, a million stories of a tragic end. She was so different, so colourful, with an aura that was made of a million hues. But Alas, no more. She was just another dead rose, in the garden of dead roses. I am death and I just narrated the story of my favourite dead rose. But let me tell you, I never wanted to do it. I am death but I feared death for her.

 

Advertisements

Thank you, Superwomom.

mother.jpg

17 years 27 days ago, a first-time mother was given a tiny, wailing bundle to hold. The woman held her little bundle of joy, smiling at the little thing. With every shriek, a tear of joy rolled down her cheeks. That was probably the only time she smiled when her baby cried.

Today, that wailing baby has grown up enough to type out this tiny tribute to the woman who is the reason behind her existence, her survival and her sustenance. Although no number of words will ever suffice in helping me string together sentences to express my eternal love and gratitude¬†towards the woman who has always been my pillar, I’d still colour some letters in my small attempt to thank her for all she’s done for me, for my family.

A very famous quote says, “A mother is born with the birth of her child.” What we don’t see is that with the birth of her child, she not only becomes a mother, but also opts a hundred other roles. Roles she performs like a professional. Roles that fit her perfectly. So here I am, saying thank you to my supermom, who is my role model in all aspects of life. Thank you mom, for carrying me for 9 uncomfortable months. Thank you mom, for loving me before you even had me. Thank you mom, for giving me the safety of the womb at the expense of morning nausea, physical discomforts and agony you went through in giving me a physical worldly status. Thank you mom, for spending sleepless nights, tending to a crying baby who won’t even stop. Thank you mom, for holding my finger for the first time that I learnt to hold myself up. Thank you for walking behind me so you could catch me if I stumble and for leading me to all the rightful places in life. Thank you for cheering me when I voiced my first word; “Maa”.

Thank you, for being not just a worldly but a spiritual teacher. Thank you for helping me distinguish all the wrongs from the rights. Thank you for paving a smooth road for me to walk on. Thank you for listening when no one spared me an ear. Thank you for motivating me and encouraging me when I felt like giving up. Thank you for giving me the kinds of advices that changed my life for the better. Thank you for teaching me the importance of humanity. Thank you maa, for being someone I could look up to. Thank you for being an angel, a blessing, a gift I could never thank God enough for. I feel myself the luckiest daughter in the world because I know that even if the whole world stands against me, there’d still be a lady who’d pat my shoulder and pump me with energy to stand tall. A woman who will give in everything she has for me. Maa, I might not be the perfect daughter but you are and always will be the Perfect Superwomom.

Although I know I sometimes act like a thankless brat, but the truth is that no matter how hard I try, I cannot deny the purity of your emotions. Sometimes, you feel like you haven’t been able to do enough as a mother. Maa, that has to be the biggest lie you’ve been telling yourself. You sacrificed your whole life just to give us an initiative to begin and today, all that WE have, it’s all yours. It’s all because of you. You fulfilled your part of being a mother, and are still going strong. I wish I could be half as great as you are. People ask me about the traits we have in common. Truth is, I’m nothing like you. I’ll never be like you. I might try but it all comes naturally to you and I wonder how can a single woman bottle up such greatness within her. I can never be a daughter as good as you or a sister as good as you have been. I’d feel sorry for my kids because they won’t have a mother as legendary as you are.

Maa, you are my lifeline. My support. You are my world and everything I am, I owe it to you. No length of paragraphs can explain to you how much I love you. Just stay with me forever, keep guiding me through the labyrinths of life. I love you beyond infinity. Happy Mothers Day.

In Dead Silence

images

A clock in her room ticked, its sound magnified to ten times. The wind outside howled. The leaves rustled against her window. She lay on her bed, immobile, staring at the ceiling, her blank eyes brimming with tears. She looked sideways at her phone, waiting for the telltale ring of it. Wishing for a reason to touch it, a reason to swipe the screen and look at the face she’s come to miss so much. The reason never arrived. Her screen didn’t light up, his name didn’t get displayed brightly on it neither the PING of the messenger was heard. She heaved a cold sigh and pulled the blanket over her face, so the walls wouldn’t see her cry.

He took a drag from his tenth cigarette and crushed the smoldering corner of the deathly cylinder in his hand, burning the very hand he first held her hand in. With every cigarette that he burned, he thought of calling her. But he didn’t. It was over. He didn’t want her anymore. It meant nothing to him anymore. Frustrated, he ran his hand through his hair. Cursing, he sank to the floor, hiding his face in his hands, so the walls wouldn’t see him cry.

The clock struck 3:00 am. She looked at her phone. Maybe he’d want to meet again. Just them in the dark street. Not even a bird to flap by. The walls, their secret keepers. The screen remained dark, just like her world. As she closed her eyes, it all came rushing back to her. His laughter filled the silent corners of her room, washing her like holy water. She could see his sparkling eyes, his beautiful smile. The smile that made her heart skip not one, but two beats. She could see mischief playing on his face, like it always did. She reached out to touch that beautiful face but found herself falling in a void. Dark and never ending. She jerked awake and looked around. Nothing but her and her lonely, miserable little world. He wasn’t coming back.

The smoke curled around him and evaporated. What didn’t evaporate was the sense of betrayal. The feeling of having a broken heart. That feeling of being let down. How long will this go on for? For a week, two? Or maybe a month. Yeah, that’s it. One month and he’ll be over it. Over her. She’d mean nothing then. Nothing at all. New people, new world. A new life. He’d live happily without her. Without even the idea of her. He navigated to his gallery and located a picture of them holding hands. His finger hovered over the option of “Delete”. A moment and then two passed. Laters, he thought and switched his phone off. The cigarette had died down. Just like his feeling for her were dying. He lighted another cigarette and inhaled the welcoming sense of relief.

What had she done? Why would she do that? Sometimes, intentions don’t matter, she should have known. But maybe it was poison that has been accumulating since a long time. Maybe she just widened the already widening wound. Trapped between love and her lust to achieve and grow, she lost both. Everything seemed worthless. Goddamn, it. She wanted him. She knew it. But she knew he didn’t. He never would. Not again. He’d never risk that mistake again. She was a mistake he’d regret till his last breath. But what was she to do now? She couldn’t even breath without him now. But he could, and he was.

He tried to breath. His throat constricted and his heart felt like it was being torn to pieces. Her vision blurred, the colours all dying to a bleary grey. He punched the wall, she kicked the door shut. He cursed, she called out his name. He called out her name, but it died down on his tongue. She felt the tug, he felt the repulsion. He had loved her unconditionally. She had loved him more than she thought was possible for her. He gave her all he had. She took it all but never returned. She knew her fault. She saw her fault but it was over, wasn’t it? She ran to her closet and pulled out a blue box with all the roses she had secured. He rummaged through his empty diary. A dried leaf crumbled and she cringed. No, that’s not right. Carefully, as if handling a porcelain doll, she laid the dry plants back in their safe haven. If only she had kept his heart safe. He smoked another cigarette then another. She scribbled his name on the walls. He looked at her pictures, the memories coming back. His heart ached. He ached to hold her. She ached to be held by him. Maybe once. Just this once.

He turned the key in the ignition. She unlocked all the doors and went out into the night. He drove to the same place he always wanted to be; with her. She paused outside, wanting to step into the narrow street that would forever tell the stories of their love. Short lived but so beautiful, maybe someday someone would write a book on it. He stopped his car in front of the gate and imagined her stepping out of it, in her mismatched dress and wild hair. He inhaled from his cigarette and exhaled. As she stepped outside her house and looked to her right, she saw a car leaving. Maybe just a passerby. Not him. Can’t be him. He saw a shadow. Her shadow. No, he doesn’t want her, not even her shadow. Holding her head in her hand, she wept. She cried amidst the smoke that told a million stories about his presence. She cried with such emotions, so the willows wept with her. A tear rolled down his cheek. He never cried. She hated herself for being the reason for his grief. He hated her for making him cry. He hated her for what she had done to him. She hated herself for what she had done to them. He typed his final words to her. She saw the screen light up, his face grinning at her. Her heart stopped beating. She swiped the screen. “It’s over.” It said. “It’s over.” He whispered. “It’s over?” she questioned. In dead silence, the question hung like death sentence.

Rs 50,000/-

images

She was an orphan. Her mother worked 14 hours, sometimes even more, at houses of the rich to make enough to light the lantern at night and feed her and her other sister two morsels of bread every night. If they ever got lucky, they got to celebrate a little sugar on half a piece of bread each. They wore clothes that had already been handed down two generations. Sometimes, the banker’s wife would give her mother a new dress on a happy occasion. Another time, the lawyer’s wife would buy her a new pair of shoes on Eid. Her mother would neatly wrap them in torn bubble wraps and lock them away in a rusty steel trunk. Sometimes when she complained about not getting to wear new clothes, her mother would tell her to stop talking about it. It was her dowry. What she’ll get to take to her new home. If she tried saying more, her mother would tell her that no one would marry her if she was dowry-less. No one at all. She used to wonder. Isn’t taking someone’s daughter enough? Why is a girl priced? Is it that a daughter’s such a burden that you have to demand a reward for taking that burden off the parents’ head? What was dowry? Why did it even exist?

She was seventeen. Time a poor man feels that he’s had enough of his oldest daughter. Time that a poor man has to “marry her off”. But there was no man in her house. Her mother had worked from the sweat of her brow to collect tidbits for her dowry. To at least give her something she could call hers. But right now, hiding behind the chipped wooden door of the only room in the cottage, she could hear her mother talk to her “buyers”. Buyers who only bought, never gave. “We are poor people. We don’t have anything more to give her. Please don’t do this to us.I have another daughter still left to marry off. Please have mercy.” She could hear the helplessness in her voice. She could imagine the helpless expression on her mother’s face when her father died 6 years ago leaving her mother with two little girls, one still in her arms. The tears blinded her and she had not wanted to hear more. She pressed both her hands to her ears, shutting out the voices. She never found out the crux of the discussion. Then she was married off in a week. A happy marriage, it seemed. With dreams of hearts and roses, love and affection, she left her house.

How wrong she was, she was to find out in the coming days. It began with sarcastic remarks and taunts which were rained down on her like it rained in tropical rainforests. The constant reminders of how she couldn’t bring home enough cash or jewellery or furniture were called upon her more than her name. Then came occasional beatings from the husband on mother-in-law’s order followed by getting locked up in the brooms closet and having to go hungry for more than a day with not even a drop of water to sooth her throat. She wasn’t supposed to cry. She wasn’t allowed to beg for mercy. She was bound to suffer because she was a poor woman’s poor daughter with a poor fate to accompany her life. At nights, his financial frustration mingled with his sexual frustration. His violent tirades bruised her, hurt her but her lips were zipped. Because she was poor. And poor women weren’t gifted with tongues. Maybe that’s how God made it.

That night, they pulled the final straw. The flames engulfed her blackening body, her screams uselessly echoing, reverberating back into the small cottage based on the secluded outskirts of the village, where no one could here her agonized pleas. He is the Most Merciful, then why had His people become such animals who tore at the flesh of their fellows? He is the Most Generous, then why did His people kill her for Rs 50,000/-? Was that all she was worth of? Was that all a woman’s life was worth of? Was that all her mother’s bearing worth of? 9 months, she carried her little flower, safe and secure in that womb. Today, that poor woman would wish that her daughter had never left the safety of it. Rs 50,000/-? Was that all she was worth of?

 

 

 

Maybe…

His religion was unknown. He didn’t worship the moon, neither the sun. He didn’t care if the stars shone bright or the sky went cloudy. The heat didn’t faze him for he alighted the matchstick that made the hell seem cooler. The cold didn’t bother him¬†because he was all cold inside. He never resisted the dark, he resided in it. He never plucked the fruit off a tree, he derooted the tree. He didn’t like flowers, he killed the buds before they even got a chance to smile. He didn’t like defeat because he was used to of conquering it. He never found out what defeat tastes like, because he chewed victory. He never walked to his destination, the destination walked over to him. It was not about Armani or Versace neither Gucci or Rolex. He wore himself because for him, nothing was mightier. Nother was grander. Sometimes, he’d make me wonder if he was even human but I know he was. Maybe more human than most of us. More real than most of us, maybe any of us.

Truth is, in life, you sometimes come across people who confuse you. People with two different personalities. One that you see, and one that the world sees. Just like him. He tried to conceal the softer side of him, but for how long? You can’t hide from yourself. You can’t hide yourself. Sometime, when we think that someone doesn’t care, chances are that they care more than your capability to understand. Sometimes when you think “it won’t matter to them”, it matters more than you could comprehend. Sometimes, you lose people because you don’t understand them. Just like I did.

“Diana didn’t die, she was killed.” You may disagree or agree, but the truth is, she died. He wasn’t pushed away, he just chose to leave. I may agree or disagree, but truth is, he wasn’t there. Human nature is such a confusing creation. You only realise the importance of light when it fades away. You only understand the beauty of colours, when they get overshadowed by grey. You miss their existence when they cease to appear and that is when you see your fault.

It wasn’t his fault why he never worshipped the moon or the sun. They were bound to disappear. It wasn’t his fault he never let the flowers bloom, because they still would have withered. It wasn’t his fault why he wasn’t reachable. Not his fault why he never let his heart skip a beat for someone. Because he was real. And he lived in reality. Because he feared fear itself. Or maybe, he didn’t fear at all. A Confusion in himself, I’d never find out.

Dear Best friend….

 

images

Dear Best friend, she writes.

“I honestly don’t know what I’d do if you weren’t here to help me out in the darkest possible hours.” she scribbles. “When I first met you, in the most weirdest encounter I could imagine, I had no idea I’d be meeting that one person who’ll end up being my constant support,” she continues.”I lack words to state the extent of importance you hold in my life and in my heart and no matter where we are, and what we do, and who we end up with, I’d always know that there’s someone who’d still wake up at 3:00am to answer my calls, someone’s who’d stay up till 6:00 in the morning with me, make me laugh, say things to cheer me up when I feel down. I’d always know there’s someone who genuinely worries about my health, my mood, my life.” She pauses a minute, a smile playing on her lips. “I’d always know there’d be someone to pick me up when I fall down, although after having a good laugh, but believe me, I’d do anything just to see you smile. Not a day goes by when I don’t Thank God for taking away all those who never were my friends, and replacing them with you. Because today, I wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t for you.” She takes a sip from her coffee, her iPod rings. The screen displays a picture of a teenage guy with an unbelievably huge smile. The name bar read “Bestestest friend.” A smile tugs the corner of her lips as she sees the time. 3:00am. “We are so different, yet same. When I lose my head, you keep your calm. When I leave, you wait. When I smile, you laugh. When I cry, you seem upset. If I don’t eat, you want me to eat. If I eat, you end up calling me fat. So hard to understand yet to too easy to contemplate.” Her iPod rings again. She swipes her screen only to be welcomed by a poker face stating “Where in the name of heaven are you?”. She shakes her head. “Sorry, I slept.”

She returns to her writing. “If there was one thing I’d like to give you, it’d be the ability to see yourself from my eyes so you’d know what you mean to me.” She puts the full stop., draws a tiny apple by it, shuts her diary, drains the last of her coffee and hits reply.

Aitch Two Ess O Four

images

It was a beautiful sunny morning. Her mom parts the satin curtains, letting the sunlight stream in and wash her face in an illuminating glow. Her already beautiful face looks twice more angelic. “Good morning, princess,” her mom chirps. “Up with you. Time for college.”

She gets out of her comfort zone, ready for another day. She showers, dries her long, silky charcoal black hair, combs them back and secures them with a jewelled clip. She applies pink blush to her cheeks and lines her eyes with kohl. Her big eyes look even prettier, her eyelashes like a canopy over them. She applies a rose coloured lipstick over her beautifully shaped lips. Standing in front of her mirror, she examines herself. Beautiful. Enchanting. Gorgeous. She is everything a girl wishes to be. A girl possibly could be. Smiling, she pins her “dupatta” and goes downstairs. After finishing her breakfast, she leaves for the bus stop.

It’s 3:00pm. Her mom must be waiting for her. She walks through the streets, towards her house, beaming. Life’s so beautiful for her. Suddenly, she hears the whirring of a motorbike behind her. She turns to see. It was him. Terrified, she quickens her pace and then breaks into a run. Sweat beads her forehead. Why won’t he leave her alone? Like a wolf waits for the full moon, he waits for her. Everyday. He scares her but she is too reluctant to inform anyone because she knew, the society will only blame her. It’s always the girl. The girl who attracts males to herself, like moth to flames. It’s always the girl with a stained character. Always the girl who “brings it upon herself”. She runs but can’t outrun the wolf because he is too quick, too agile. The motorbike stops in front of her, he jumps off and blocks her way. There’s a bottle in his hand. Probably water because of the heat he has to wait in. She looks at her friend, who stares wide eyed at the animal. “You hold great pride for this beautiful face of yours, don’t you?,” he growls. She takes a step away from him, he takes a step towards her. The next minute, the air gets infused with her agonized screams. The kind of screams that penetrate through your bones, curdling your marrow. The screams that pierce through your brain, numbing your nerves. The wolf runs away but leaves her writhing on the soiled road. She clutches her face, and screams. People start to gather around her, watching the spectacle. Acting as silent spectators. Someone calls the ambulance and she is driven away to a land which promises if not much, but at least a little relief.

She finds herself in a bare room that smells of antiseptics, misery and…..acid. The memories come rushing back to her, filling her up like gas fills a balloon. Filling to the extent where she feels like she’ll burst into a million shreds. Ripped and torn. Her world had come tumbling down, the sky pressing down on her, the Earth hot and….acidic.

A little rush of hormones and lust taken as love, ruined her life. She now looks at her face and turns in disgust. There’s nothing left of those beautiful eyes but deep sunken pits. There’s nothing remaining of that fair skin but clogs of burnt tissues. There’s nothing left of her but walking dead. Everyday, she tries to stop breathing. Everyday, she wishes for the sun to not rise. Every night, she looks at the moon. True, the moon had pits, but pits not this deep. Not this ugly. He was the wolf and she was the moon. He ruined the moon. No one looks at her the same way. No one envies her. It’s only sympathy and fear. Fear that this could have been them. Life feels suffocating to her. With a sharp CRACK, the mirror shatters.

She ends her pain. She ends the agony. She ends the feeling of being a misfit. The loop of rope fits her ruined neck perfectly as if it was made for her. As if it was waiting for her. As the trachea snaps into two and the air supply’s cut, she smiles her last. It doesn’t matter. She had stopped breathing a long time ago. She had stopped living a long time ago. A long time ago….