The structures we call home 

Reposting a story I wrote sometime back…
Walking through the park that came on my way to home, I saw a nest that had fallen from a tree. There were two beautiful eggs in it, still intact. The nest had played it’s role. It protected the ones for whom it was created. The mother of the eggs was sitting there on the tree, crying helplessly because she had a premonition of what all might happen to the pieces of her.  I couldn’t resist myself, lifted the nest and climbed on the tree from which they had fallen. I carefully placed it on the branch that I thought to be the strongest and most sturdiest one. The bird was relieved- help came to her in an almost unexpected shape, size and form. I climbed down the tree. The bird was now happy in her nest. Suddenly, another bird came flying and perched on the same branch where the nest was now resting. Both the birds were now in a conversation. It seemed as if they were telling each other what had happened. Language looses its relevance as a mode of communication when there is grief or sadness, happiness or joy. Seeing them content I moved on. I reached my apartment, put the keys in the small container by the door and started to change into something more appealing to my body than what appealed to others. I checked my phone for any messages. Normally there would be messages from friends who wanted to meet or there would be messages that nobody listens to-advertisements, Insurance, assurances etc and etc. There was one message that captured my attention. It was from my dad. ” Hi Son, how are you? Our anniversary is this month. We were thinking of organising a get together. Your mother has asked if you could come?” A chill ran down my spine. Had I become so absolved in myself that the two most important people had become so distant from me. I looked at the time of the message. It had arrived early morning and my clock reminded me that they must have slept. I quickly grabbed a calender and searched for the date when my parents became my mother and father. There was so less time! I called my brother who had received a similar message. We decided on meeting as soon as possible. Tickets were booked, bags packed and I was there in the queue waiting for my entry into the plane. As I entered the plane, my mind was replaying all the memories. I sat on my seat and was waiting for the plane to take off. The seats next to me were empty. As the occupants started occupying seats, I came to know who were to be my partners for the entire journey. They were a newly married couple. They were too shy to talk to one another. When the husband saw me already sitting he took the seat next to me and asked his wife to sit at the corner. The wife was heavily dressed and was holding all the jewellery just like a kid who has been given a large scoop of ice cream. He does not want It to spill, does not want it to fall so he is busy balancing all those load. The ice cream is the most precious thing for him. Both of them were excited and nervous. It seemed that they were in a flight for the first time or they were traveling together for the first time. They were rarely looking at one another, but they did ensure that both of them were comfortable. 

The air hostess came at the front and started the demonstration. The wife couldn’t find the seat belt. The husband when saw this, quickly searched for the seat belt. He found it. His this achievement made him full of confidence, he had shown his wife that he was useful. His wife did acknowledge this by the smile she gave looking down at her feet. While the air hostess was busy explaining the routes for exit if the plane went unruly, my mind took me to a story of my father and mother when they first went on their trip together. “We were married for some time. Back then I used to earn less you know. But I did earn much to feed you mother full.” he used to tell us when we all would come together. He would continue ” 

One day my father said to me, son you have not taken your wife out for sometime. I command you to take her somewhere except this town.”. “So papa where did you take her?” we would ask in curiosity. ” Son you know travelling was so difficult back then. There were no luxuries that we have today and I earned enough to get ourselves an ordinary ticket. But your mother never complained.” Whenever he was telling us this story I could see his eyes sparkle, his voice with an added level of loudness and pitch and his hands adding to the enthusiasm and pride that got inside him. I was brought to the present by the speeding aircraft that was running to fly. I looked at the couple. They had closed their eyes. The wife had held onto her husband’s hand. The husband had gripped her hard. He was abiding by the promise he made to her. “I will always love you. I will always look after you. I will always wipe your tears. You are my queen and I am your king.” my father would tell my mother only to make her shy away in a smile. The plane was in the air. Both of them opened their eyes and quickly shrugged off their hands. Both of them had turned red. Their cheeks covered in the gushing blood that was flowing because of the paced heart beats. The flight was long so I thought of getting to know my partners. They were from a small town and were married a couple of days back. It was their first trip together to a new place. I quickly made friends with them and Told them the purpose of my journey. They were happy to know what I was doing and wished me luck. The end of the journey was closing in. 

I prepared myself to meet my parents. The wife of the husband next to me was still sleeping. The wife had put her head on her husband’s shoulder, the husband did not move. He was freezed in that position, wanted to provide his wife with a place to lie her head. He occasionally looked at her wife. There was this one streak of hair that was disturbing her. He was too shy to touch her but was angry at the streak because it disturbed the most important person to him that very moment. After a while when he couldn’t resist he took the streak and put it behind her ear. He was happy that he could comfort her. The pilot announced that the flight would be landing soon. Everybody started preparing themselves for the landing. I looked outside the window. The land where I was born was welcoming me, another flashback struck me. “Son, you know what all your mother has achieved, she did it when she got married to me. She did her further studies when you were still a baby. She would daily care for you, feed you, make you sleep, took care of the needs of the family and still god knows how she got the time to study. I remember I would stand outside the examination hall holding you when your mother gave her exams. When you would wake up, she would come outside, make you sleep again and then continue her exams. Your mother has done lot for us. Never ever disrespect her.” he would say. There was numbness in my feet. I couldn’t feel the ground beneath. After all those years of struggle and hard work, after all those years of sleepless nights, my parents never asked for anything. I remember my mother scolding my father for every thing that was not needed. My father would always reply to this, ” Let me fulfill their every wish. I couldn’t do it back then.” We did not realise this before, but now when I look at those times, my father gave us a life of a prince. The plane landed and the pilot welcomed us to the city- the same city where I was born, the same city where I learned to walk, the same city where I got my first medal. After the flight, I had to take a flight of stairs down to the ground. The air knew me, the ground welcomed me. I took my bags, bid adieu to the couple and took a cab to the house. As the driver drove, I could see the streets that had changed to let new birds set up their nests. They had widened, the chairs outside were now in an air conditioned environment, the food cooking outside was now covered in a veil of “class”. I remember my father and I used to go on a walk everyday in the morning. We would discuss everything except studies and I always used to get that smoking hot delicacy from around the street. ” You make this so delicious.” I would always tell the man who was busy attending his long queue of customers. ” I am glad you like it.” he would tell. That street corner was now taken by a well renowned saloon. “Development is always necessary. You develop the older so that It continues to Spell magic. We can always throw away an old thing. But new does come at a cost.” My father would always say whenever we asked him to throw away his used clothes, to get rid of old books, to get rid of the ancient. ” I have memories preserved in every thing that you see here. Your books, your clothes, your drawings. How can I throw them away? They help me remember how we became what we are today. One day I too will get old. Then what will you do?” he would say. His every word struck me like a drop of water that falls in a silent night. Every drop that falls, it touches your heart, refreshes you, gives you something to think. Continuous, perpetual, periodic, rhythmic. Everything he ever spoke was to help us in the future. 

The cab stopped at my house. It was still standing their magnificently just to tell the world that it is always there to protect the ones that live  inside. I paid the driver and thanked him for the ride. I took my bags and rang the bell. I was waiting there and suddenly I saw my school bus passing through. It stopped when I lived there. I never was ready on time and both my parents would take me as it is And drop me to the bus. I always wore my shoes in the bus. Separation from them was never acceptable to me. When I would come back my mother would be Standing there to receive me. She did not let me touch the ground. I was the son in her arms. And today I was standing there at the same house. The house that shielded us when everything was against us. My mother came out to see who had come. I could see big tears rolling down her cheeks. I ran to hug her and she burst into tears. ” Ma don’t cry. See I am back.” I tried to console her. She didn’t say a thing and took me inside holding my hand firmly. She didn’t want me to leave her again. As i entered the home, my every memory also entered alongwith. ” Don’t run in the corridor. If you get hurt get ready for more thrashing.” my father would always scold us when me and my brother would run after each other to tear each other apart. Many a times we fell, many a times we got hurt but my father never thrashed us. He was always there with his first aid kit that comprised everything iodine, sweets, bandages- both for the pain and the heart. He was always there for us standing rock solid but with a heart that melted only for us. I noticed my mother’s hand. Her grip had weakened. She was trying to hold onto her tears. ” Ma I am not going anywhere.” I assured her. At the end of the corridor, my father was sitting on the same chair he used to sit whenever he got time for himself. He would switch on the television. ” What hypocrisy is this? They are good for nothing. Let me come at their position. I can do wonders.” he would tell everybody in the room. He was there sitting, the television was not turned on. He had slept on the chair, his glasses still on his eyes and the cup of tea right besides him. My mother went closer to him and woke him. He jumped on his seat, adjusted his glasses and then saw me. ” welcome back son.” He stood up and came closer to me. He hugged me. He had shrinked in size. My father’s shoulder were the highest peaks for me. They may not be the highest now. But they still are the strongest. He was very happy. ” I am very happy today. I shall have a big bowl of sweets today.” he exclaimed. I sat there with him while my mother went inside to call my brother and bring something for me. My father went along with her to help her. I sat there and looked at the walls where I was brought up. ” Son, our house is small. It was very difficult to get here. I used to earn less. Everyday I walked kilometres to save money. I don’t know how many times I and your mother slept without food. All we ensured was you were fed fully. Your mother has burned her hands over stove, got electric shocks from heaters, fell many a times in unconsciousness. But son we never gave up. Every time we did something it was you and your brother who were in our minds. Although the house is small, but it is all that we could do. I remember when I came here, there was not even a single house. There were farms all over. When I looked at this land, I knew this is the place where my house would be built. Son, we have toiled hard to make what you see today.” he always told us this whenever we talked about him shifting with me or my brother. What is a house I thought? Initially it is just a piece of land. A piece that could have been anything- a farm, a school or may be even a temple. What makes a building a house. Is it just the bricks and the mortar that helps stand it or something more stronger? Why is that people get attached to things? A building cannot be living. I said to myself. My whole family was now in the same room. I met everybody, ate the delicious cookies my mother made and went to my room to change. ” It’s the same as you left it Son.” my mother told me. I went to my room. It was the same. The cupboard had that blue texture covering and on it my examination schedule was still stuck. There was a small note on it. “All the best Son.” I kept on watching it for long. My table was well organised. Although it was never when I studied on it. All my pens were still there. I opened the drawer and found my slam book that was filled by my friends. I sat on my bed. It felt familiar. I kept on reading the book. I fell asleep. I don’t know whether it was the tiredness of the journey or the bed that made me feel at home. When I woke up I saw my shoes had been untied and I was covered in a blanket. ” Don’t sleep here son. Okay let me take you to your bed.” my father would lift me everytime I slept on the couch and make me sleep on my bed. Whenever he would leave he would move is hands over my head, just to make him sure that I was sleeping fine. I opened my cupboard and found my old school dress hanging meticulously there on the hanger. It was like my parents wanted to preserve everything. Everything that did not mean anything to us. They were busy collecting everything that we had left back. Everything that did not fit us. Everything that was old. I took out my clothes from my bag and changed. I went to meet them. A party had to be planned! We deliberated on every thing and then decisions were made, caterers contacted and guests were invited. I saw how my parents fought over many things and how they consented on one thing. The day of the party came. Guest arrived and me and my brother received them all. We took care of all the arrangements. My parents were sitting on the atrium. They were happy to see everyone smiling and enjoying. The party came to an end and we took off for our home. We entered the house and my father narrated the incident when they arrived first time in this house. ” You know kids. When this house was completed, I asked your mother what was the things she wanted inside. You know what she said. I want you all.” We entered the house. That night we had a talk like never before. We slept while talking. The next day both of us had to leave for our work. My mother was crying hard to see us leave. She did not want us to go. But my father gathered herself together. We left with tears in our eyes. I took a flight back to my city. As i was being driven to my apartment, a thought came to my mind. What is House? A structure that is built on a land with bricks and mortar. There is use of steel for reinforcement, wood for doors, paint for finishing. Is it just the materials that make a house or much more. A house is more than a structure. It is the conglomeration of the various aspirations and desires that a man tries to fulfill, nurture over time and try to create it in reality. My mother and father always wanted to build a home where we could always stay together. They bonded the house with their love and affection, nurtured it with their foresightedness, reinforced it with their understanding and brought it into a reality with their hardwork and the respect that they had for one another. Although they fought many a times, got angry over things irrelevant, but at the end they always saw the bigger picture and helped each other grow together. Today when I see them, my respect for them grows by leaps and bounds. They created a Home from a house, they created us, they made us what we are today. As i reached my apartment I was filled with amazement how they pulled this off together. I was standing at my apartment. I opened the door and as I entered I heard some motion. I got alerted and took in my hands a bat that was lying there. I started to move towards the source of the sound like a lion approaching his prey. I saw that a window had broken due to the storm. The storm had caused something delightful. At the window of my apartment I saw something very beautiful. A pair of birds had made it their home.

Image is my first try at drawing. 🙂 

A single life….

Encourage thy soul,
The days of the dark,
Be My light,
Forever stay bright,
Help the dread,
Remember the bread,
Churn the butter,
When was it easier,
Caress my head,
The world is still left to win,
Work hard,
Get a mark upon your mast,
Break my bones,
Let it flow haywire,
Turn, twist and make me burn,
Gold is never made in the cold,
Pull me down,
Let me taste the ground,
A single life,
What’s more in hand,
Run fast to the high,
Just a reminder is what all I cry,
A single life,
Put all your might in this single life.

The Impatient Me…

Hello friends,

This is a story that has been derived from my life. Hope most of you can relate to it.

Walking down the yard I was feeling burdened, burdened from the fears that were burning my mind from inside, preventing any clarity of mind, preventing any action. I kept on thinking what will happen if I say so, what if, what then, how. My mind was playing with me and heart was injured in this process. I crossed the yard, opened the door to my red mustang, sat in it and looked in the mirror seldom used to see the ones following you, the ones that stare at you, to look behind. Flashback started, the cassette of my life reversed to the very starting.

The alarm clock set on the side of my single bed would everyday wake me up to a new day, a day that seemed like the previous day. Rise, dress, join the parade. My life was as boring as it could be. I had no surprises, no expectations, I was flowing with the flow. Nevertheless, I religiously attended the college because it was one place where I could talk with humans in the real world. My only friend Craig would meet me in the class, where he would be dying to tell what happened with him and his ‘so called girlfriend’ the previous day. I had no choice but to listen, making me feel worse inside, why can’t I talk to girls, is it so difficult?

Everything was going the way it meant to, classes held as scheduled, lunch breaks were as gossiping as before, time passed, bell rang and my journey back to home began. Just as I was getting in my car, Craig held me from behind and said” hey man, college fest is next month.” Fests are something that were alien to me because the sight of couples indulging in public display of affection in the fests would make me sick, making me realize how single I was. But my love for writing possessed me and I asked Craig for the details of only the literary events. Craig looked at me like a mother who was prepared to scold her child, like a librarian who would stare at you because you could not keep silent, like a girl who had been offended by someone of her beauty. “Brother do you even know what a fest means. It means to celebrate, to enjoy, to live.” Are you going to tell me about the events or not? I asked rudely and seeing nothing I jumped in my car and drove. This is normal with me. I usually tend to over react to situations, patience is something I was not born with and never tried developing it. I reached home and while sitting on my bed I realized that I had done wrong with the only friend I had. I called him. It is said that opposites attract, Craig was entirely opposite of me. He had dozens of friends, every weekend he was invited to a party. He took many initiatives to acquaint me with his friends but I avoided, discarded his every attempt. He picked up my call and said” What?” “Sorry man, you know how I am”, I tried to defend my case. You know what, I try so much to make you feel happy, why don’t you want to be happy? I had no answer. But, then it was the usual me, I had no answer why was I like that, why the colours seemed so vibrant, why the music sounded too loud, why every morning was just another morning, what to do with the mirror.

Ignorance is bliss

I ignored everything around me and sometimes ignored even myself.  The next day I met Craig he was completely normal as nothing had happened the previous day. He gave me a list of all the literary events along with the contacts. Thanks buddy” I said and hugged him. “Man don’t do this to yourself, you deserve better.” He whispered in my ears. After the college I contacted the people involved with the organizing and stated my inclination towards writing. They readily took me. Literature does not attract the already centre of attraction, the cool, the hot. Everything was prepared and we were set to welcome the participants at the fest.

The fest was inaugurated by the director of our college. People were excited, smiles rode the faces, happiness drove people to stalls, butter popcorn was all over the place, occasional laughter, gigs and gags, best dresses gathered eyeballs, hairstyles were all new, shades sat over nose.  We waited for our event to start. The participants started coming in and we started registering them. Then, something happened, unexpected to me, something totally intriguing. I was busy in registering the participants when I heard a voice that was the most serene, most soothing I had ever heard. “Hi, I wanted to register for the event.” The voice said, I lifted my face to see the most beautiful, divine creation of the heavenly bodies that was nurtured with utmost affection and care. I could not take my eyes off her. Dressed in an ethnic garb, her eyes were like black holes, the one you want to be lost in, the ones from where you don’t want to come out, the dimples on her face made me think of the craters of the Moon,  her hair was shining like a wood furniture that had been just polished. Immaculate, unearthly, out of the league. I was so lost in her that my other friend jerked me. I gathered my senses, ordered them to behave and continued the process. The competition started and everybody got busy. But I could not prevent myself from seeing her. I kept on looking at her and every time she played with her hair, I skipped a beat. The entire competition I did not hear or see anybody. The host announced the end of the competition. My heart broke, stop the time it said, you would not see her again. Disappointments are a part of life, I thought but this disappointment was too much to bear. She went outside the hall, I saw her leaving the room, an angel had left the place of commons. My mind, my heart, my thoughts went along with her and I took off for my home. Patience is a virtue which can drive individuals to act, sometimes prohibit action. But patience is something that could not root inside me. An impatient me, I messaged her on the phone number she gave.

“Hi, this is the organizer, quite a speech you gave that day. I wanted to ask whether you’ll be coming for the next event.” She replied.” I may not come to participate but I may come to attend.”

This response of her left me hanging by the thread. I couldn’t sleep, my mind started to make stories, whether she’ll come, what if she does not come. I waited for the night to over and day to rise. I woke up before the alarm, today I could hear the birds sing, wind rustle, trees mingle, school buses whoosh. I checked my inbox to see if any message was there by her. Alas nothing.

I dressed up for the fest, combed my hair, overshadowed my bodily aroma with the fragrance of a perfume and set for the college.

The event started, she did not come. My heart broke. But suddenly I felt a vibration; my heart was given an electric shock to revive it from the dead. She had messaged! When is the concert ? Her message read. Friend in need is a friend in need. Craig was there and without thinking I asked him about the details of the event. Craig was taken aback; he told everything to me with an excitement of a child who had just come from riding a swing and was telling everything to the mother. In a blink of eye I messaged her. Impatiently I asked her whether she was coming or not. She said, yes. I felt like I’m on cloud nine, ecstasies knew no bound. I was too afraid to meet her, thought that a girl so beautiful would reject me point blank. I was too normal, too common, not at all humorous, couldn’t crack a joke. So, I stayed away from her, let her be a lost dream, tried to forget her, let myself be disappointed. Fest had ended and the usual routine again found its way into me. But this time I had twisted and turned my routine. I never knew what to do with a mirror installed in the corner of my bathroom. After meeting the ‘Angel’, the mirror had become my close associate. I would stand hours in front of the mirror trying every dress, every hairstyle. Colours had become too vibrant, morning became blissful, music was too good. Days passed by and I tried forgetting her. Sometimes actions that are performed with planning may result into something unplanned and vice versa. I don’t know what was up with me that day; I tried searching her on a popular social networking site. Actions led to reactions and I found her profile. Curiosity drove me to check her profile. I tried to find something to talk to her about. Eureka! I found what I was looking for. She was an avid reader. I gathered my strength and messaged her about a book I had just read. “Hi, just a suggestion, you must check out Winterfell by Manners. It is a good book.” I waited impatiently for a reply. Time passed too slowly. I could very clearly hear the clock ticking, gears moving. I lost all hope when the reply did not come the whole day. I was confident that it was a bad move. I tried to indulge in other activities to ward off whatever going in my mind. My hands went over the phone and a moment of joy was born. She had messaged “thanks, will definitely add it to my list.” Circumstances were so that our chat continued for hours. Time passed so swiftly, in a blink of eye. My life had changed completely. The songs in my phone that were desperately seeking attention, made me realize that music can do wonders. The songs rejuvenated me, flowers were so beautiful, mornings were so serene, birds sang immaculately, I looked at stories with a whole new perspective. Everything was going smoothly; I felt that nothing was wrong in the world. I had changed completely and my friend Craig was the first one to notice.” Something is fishy.” Craig asked when he met me the other day. “nothing man” I explained. “ His expressions were similar to that of a policeman who would ask the culprit whether he had done a crime or not and the culprit who did the crime would reply otherwise. “ If you will not tell me about it, then never again talk with me.” Craig said. I could not resist any further and told him everything: how I saw her and how I fell for her. Craig listened very carefully. He then gave his expert opinion and told me not to rush with things. So, I waited and tried building a relationship with her, tried to know her interests, what she liked and it came out to be that she was mature than her age. Seldom she would guide me, console me whenever I was feeling low, make me laugh when nothing seemed right. I tried to make her laugh but my sense of humor never could match her comic timing. She was perfect, she was the one. Everything about her made me feel that she deserved better, that I was no match for her. Craig tried hard to make me feel otherwise. But his every attempt went in vain. Exams were to start in my college, I deviated all my focus towards them and thought that it would be best if I forget her. I could not resist thinking about her every second, every day of my life. Somehow my exams finished, I checked my inbox and saw a message from her. “ Hi, I wanted to tell you that my father has been transferred to another country. I would be leaving on 23rd. “ I checked the calendar. Today is 23rd!! It felt like that the earth was torn apart, sky had fallen down. I could not think of anything, how to stop her, how would I see her, how would I meet her. Everything stopped. Impatience amalgamated with adrenaline and I took out my car drove as fast as I could and reached her home. Her home was just like the ones you see in television commercials, just like all the other ones that were resting besides it. It was coloured red with a big yard , planted with many trees and plants of various types. My eyes noticed everything, everything including the lock that was there sitting at the door, mocking me, laughing at me. Her house was locked, she had left, I could not tell her of my feelings. I was disappointed, I started walking down the yard, I was feeling burdened, burdened from the fears that were burning my mind from inside, preventing any clarity of mind, preventing any action. I kept on thinking what will happen if I said so, what if, what then, how. My mind was playing with me and heart was injured in this process. I crossed the yard, opened the door to my red mustang, sat in it and looked in the mirror seldom used to see the ones following you, the ones that stare at you, to look behind. I was just about to leave when I saw a taxi stopping behind me. My heart started beating fast, a miracle had just happened. She was there, coming out of the taxi, an Angel on earth, created with utmost precision and affection of the divine creatures. I could not stop myself, pushed myself out of my car, sprinted towards her and hugged her so tightly that I could feel her heartbeats, they were beating fast, synced with mine. A connection was established, tears rolled down my eyes, my eyes that kept on staring her. She was surprised, could not digest what had just happened. I saw the confusion in her eyes and explained everything whatever I wanted to tell her.

“ Before meeting you, I thought that world is a cruel place, a place where the ones those who wear masks, survive, people cannot be trusted, feelings are deceptive. I thought that I can only survive if I appear tough from outside, showed no feelings, lived my life alone. But the day I met you my life has changed. I have realized that even though the world is a cruel place, people cannot be trusted, but we are the ones that can allow it to hurt ourselves. I have started to live my life, listen to songs, dress well, help people. I could not say anything to you because I always thought that you are out of my league. You were so perfect. However, when I saw your message today, I realized what you mean to me. I do not want to you to leave because if you leave you will take along with you a part of my life that has been keeping me alive since the day I saw you. Please don’t do this to me.” There was silence. None of us could speak. I turned backwards and started to move to my car. “Hey mister “ she said. I turned towards her. She was crying. She ran towards me, jumped over me and hugged me. I was relieved, I was happy, I was reborn.

In life, we find people, we meet them, we get to know them, they fade away. This is an age old process and will continue forever. Sometimes we find people who we want to stay in our lives forever and this process requires an effort that has to be initiated at the earliest opportunity possible. Opposites attract but the other opposite is special, always remember that. The day we stop the effort to keep them in our lives, that day marks the fading away of those people from our lives. So, call your friend, make a cup of tea for your special someone, do the dishes for your mother, pay the bills for your father, play with your brother, talk, sing, celebrate, live and above of all- DO THE WORK.