Loved it through and through
Month: Jan 2020
You visited me again last night.
All the time,
You struggled with words
Trying and failing to say
What I could hear
In your eyes anyway.
What I had wanted to hear, forever.
Your hand in mine
Sending shivers down my spine,
You walked alongside me
Like good old days
Making jokes and telling tales.
Then you paused.
You looked at me with eyes so sad.
I knew you’re holding back.
There was a time
You could have told me things.
You lament missing that chance.
I wish you’d say it
So I can kiss you this time.
But as always, I wake up
Feeling your hands in mine.
It seems to be the pattern.
Every night in dreams you meet me.
Every waking hour, I try to forget
What can never be.
It took her two hours to accept that he stood her up. For the first time in their two-year relationship, he hadn’t turned up.
As she sat at the empty table, she had to admit she wasn’t shocked. Ever since she gave him the ‘news’ of her ‘pregnancy’ over the phone, he sounded distant. Later when she called for a date, he was too busy, which was a first too. But she insisted to meet anyway, hoping to end the hoax-gone-wrong in-person. But now, he was MIA.
She cursed her best friend for suggesting such a joke. The idiot always had a thing against her man. But even she had hoped he might consider marriage. All it did was push him away instead.
Well, she’d just go to his apartment and tell him the truth. She’d apologize for upsetting him…
That’s when she realized the joke was on her…
The first tear rolled down…
Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Sometimes, I wonder what if
You hadn’t said “Yes”.
Shattered in million pieces,
Fallen all over the place,
I would have longed for you
Like nobody else.
The gutting pain,
A constant for years.
Sometimes, I wish
You hadn’t said “yes”,
So wouldn’t be shattered
In the million pieces,
Even after years
My Scrapes with It: Part 2
True incidents from my crazy life…
I have always been a TV Aerial, too receptive to things unseen. And having lived in 25 houses means that I received too many signals.
If you think it is funny, consider sleeping in your room for several years with the constant knowledge that someone is lurking in the next room; that your house is built on a demolished graveyard and the resident will most likely visit you in your dream; or that your dog is crazily barking at the ceiling of your room, which looks like it is made of water.
Only, you can’t see him…her…them…
You can’t ask them, however politely, to move their arse away. You can’t tell them, “Hey! Why don’t you go haunt Mrs. Snubnose in the house down the lane?” You might try exorcism, but it doesn’t always get the expected results, and failure will lead to a rebellion of the ‘permanent residents’ against you.
So, you get the idea.
Whenever faced with situations like these, my first response was to run to another room where my parents or my friends slept (depending on the location of the ‘incident’). But there are only so many times I could do that without raising suspicion.
Do you think I should have told them?
What response do you expect from them? If they were easy on me, they would have brushed it away by saying, “I don’t feel anything.”, “I think you are watching too many horror movies.”, or “You need to reign in your imagination.” Or they would have put it down as me “being a woman”. But, gradually, they would have begun questioning my intelligence. In the end, if they really loved me, they would have moved me out of the haunted house into a mental asylum.
So, telling my family and friends was a strict ‘No’.
Hence, most of the time, I would sit up late at night alone and try to discern what I was dealing with.
I would usually begin with questions like ‘how many?’
I know for sure that one of my houses had at least three. One of them lived in the room upstairs and tried to strangle me on the first night (I never went to that room at night again.). When I moved to the spare room downstairs, I felt another who liked to lay in the bed next to mine quite often. The third one used to simply cross the room at a certain time of the night and, if I blocked the path by placing my chair a certain way, it would begin muttering threats under its breath (Irony, I know!).
I would wonder what they were and if they could hurt me.
But there were too many possibilities: Ghosts, Poltergeists, Djinn, Ghouls… Since I couldn’t see them, I wasn’t sure. Their powers could also differ from the time they landed the job and the practice they had. They could have been around since before my great-great-great-grandfather was born or someone fairly new at the jig.
Did they mean to scare me?
Did they get paid for scaring humans like me or did they just exist as we do, and I just had a sensory overload by their presence? Aren’t lizards scared of me? Does that make me scary? (In case you are wondering, Lizards don’t scare me–I have lived in government-built houses half of my life.)
Did they mean to hurt me?
In most cases, they seemed to be just going on with their lives. Maybe they were late for their jobs but I blocked their path by strewing my stuff around. What if they were raising their kids in the house that (according to them) I decided to break in? I slept in their beds and ate from their bowls. Of course, they wanted me out. I wonder why only three tried to strangle me, especially since I was playing Ghazals around the house (Pure torture, I know!).
After my last encounter, I realized that in most cases, I can co-exist with them like lizards with me. So, now, I carry on with my life and let the Djinn in my spare room live in peace.
The Forest Bed
The story is now a part of a short-story collection available both in print and as an ebook. I will share the links soon.
Blessed Twice Over
Giddy with happiness, she recounted how they became proud parents, “We were visiting yet another Gynecologist without any real hope. Outside the clinic, the two little orphans tugged at my clothes begging for food. They called me ‘Maa’ (Mother). We brought them home.”
Photo by Tina Floersch at Unsplash
Question I Never Dared to Ask
Why is it so difficult
For you to accept me
With all my frailty?
Why do you have to
Or Hit me
Every time I fail to please?
If human is to err,
Why do you not allow me
To be human again?
The story is now part of a short-story collection available in black-white and coloured prints and as an ebook. I will share the links soon.
When I was little…
You were always too tall,
So I grew up stretching
Trying to reach you.
You were always too smart,
So I grew up studying
To be like you.
You were always my hero.
I eventually gave up trying
There is only one “You”.
Not sure if I ever failed you, Papa,
But I always adored you…
P.S.: I love you, Papa. Wish you many beautiful year’s to come…
My Scrapes with ‘It’
As a response to Colin McQueen‘s comment on my recent post, The Poltergeist, I am hereby recounting my own experiences that were beyond explanation. I don’t call it ‘Paranormal’ because with all that I have experienced, who am I to say what’s normal.
It was regular middle-class apartment in Delhi in a 10-year old building. Only the hall received sunlight. The washroom led to two combined rooms at the back that had windows opening in an air shaft. No sunlight entered these rooms ever. Two other rooms at the back were locked by the owner for some reason.
The day I entered it, I got goosebumps. Since the earlier tenant had just moved out without a complaint, I ignored it, assuming that the setting was spooky enough to set off my hyperactive imagination. I was between jobs and spent the days alone at home feeling cold eyes on me and frequent touches on my back. A few days were enough to rattle my nerves.
The day I opened the airshaft window was when it all amplified. That night, we heard noises in the room that was supposed to be empty. We decided to invest in a good rat poison. Next night, I felt that I was being strangled. I was able to throw it away with the name of Almighty, but it continued into a hallucination about my roomy being undead.
That got me talking. For the first time, I was taken seriously and my roommate admitted feeling ‘something’ too. We huddled in the hall (the only room that felt safe) and stayed awake till wee hours of morning. Only the sound of morning Azaan (prayers in a mosque) quietened our fear.
We decided that dangerous as it may be, we couldn’t run away and accept defeat. So, we have to atleast try to face ‘it’ first, whatever ‘it’ was. So we started praying religiously (literally) every day and casting ‘prayers of protection’ every morning, evening and night.
After that, ‘it’ stopped touching me and featuring in my dreams (apparently, I was the only one ‘it’ touched). The prayers were also supposed to remove anything evil from the place. But ‘it’ remained. We assumed ‘it’ wasn’t evil, just angry because of the disturbance. So, we reduced the use of the inner rooms and moved our beds in the hall.
The Kitchen was unavoidable though and that was when I could feel the eyes on me and, from the corner of my eyes, I could see someone standing or passing by. But ‘it’ didn’t scare me anymore. I had the power that comes from an unshakable faith in Almighty and his power on all beings that existed. I would just ignore it as a silent co-tenant.
That’s when ‘it’ started moving things around. At nights, we could hear stuff falling and fridge door rattling in inner rooms. Our dustbin would often travel several feet to block the door to the inner rooms while we were in the hall or kitchen. This pattern continued for several months until our last day. That day, I prayed for forgiveness and peace of whoever was stuck in the house.
When my roommate went to remove the last of the lights, ‘it’ rattled the locks of the locked rooms for something to remember ‘it’ by.
This story is based on my personal experience in one of the modern Delhi houses I had once lived in.
She was living with me for 56 years, unaware of my existence, until someone told her. So, she decided to banish me. She invited someone who lit incense and candles, threw around some powder, said some mumbo-jumbo, and I felt I was on fire! Writhing in pain, I cut the bond between us and ran to the air shaft to hide.
I was aghast! What had I done to deserve this? I loved her! That’s why I stuck around for so long without scaring her. I never even peeped when she changed clothes. Clearly, she wasn’t worth it! So I stayed in the shaft.
Once she moved to another house, I decided to take over the place–a typical Delhi house having two rooms with windows opening in an air shaft and no sunlight, just as I like it. Still recovering from the heartbreak, I made up my mind not to share the space with anyone anymore. So, when the next tenants came along, I decided they had to go.
I started by making some noise to announce my presence, but they didn’t react. The girl who stayed home was more responsive–she shivered when she entered the place. So I decided to target her. I would stand too close, touch her back, and give her strangling dreams. The last one did it!
They went on high alert. But rather than running out of the place, they started praying everyday. Now, I couldn’t touch them. So, I began moving stuff around, clanging door locks and blocking doors, but they behaved as if I didn’t matter. They accepted me as a permanent resident!
Today, after six months of sharing their house with me, they are finally moving, and it makes me sad. I clang the locks to bid farewell.
If only ‘she’ had accepted me the same way, I wouldn’t be so lonely.
Photo by Mikhail Elfimov on Unsplash
New Year just got better! I was just notified that this blog has received 1000 likes!
I had never dreamt of reaching this goal when I started off. I had just hoped that someone somewhere might read it someday.
The best part is that there is a small but steady stream of people who read it, which is beautiful in itself.
I have also found some great friends, on WordPress and outside because of this blog. We critique each other’s work, share daily tales. I thank Almighty for bringing it all to me.
Thank you all for making it possible.
I looked at it from my late father’s eyes and I was instantly horrified.
The walls that once lovingly sheltered many generations were now infiltrated with creepers. Mould grew on the limestone paint. Holes appeared between the rocks where elements had eroded the mortar that held it all together.
The years of neglect had taken a toll.
The door still had the hole for the cat my late grandmother once had. I wondered whether any of her progeny still lived here or if they, too, had abandoned the house of my ancestors.
I pushed the door to open it but it resisted as if I wasn’t welcome. So, I pushed with all my might and the door creaked open hanging on its hinges limply, resigned at its inability to save the crumbling house’s honor from the prying eyes of the traitor–the one who had left it behind to find a better life elsewhere.
The roof that kept me and mine under its protection from sun and gale for a hundred years had finally caved in, smashing every last memory of my childhood underneath. The last reminder of my past was now past saving.
Photo by Enovate Studio on Unsplash
Our first night with the baby…
Me: (Distracted, surprised, amused and harrowed) “Google never said a baby can poop, throw up, fart and pee at the same moment!”
Him: (Accusingly) “You don’t know a thing about babies!”
Me: (Accusing back) “Do you?”
Him: (Sigh) “How do we clean her now that she is covered with muck all over?”
Me: “Bathe her?”
Him: “But it is 3 am and it is cold!
Me: (Sigh)“Let’s ask your mom!”
Him: “But it is 3 am…How do we clean her?”
Me: (Sigh) “Let me wipe her.”
Him: (Sigh) “You try comforting her. I’ll wipe.”
-Dedicated to all parents who brave the uncharted waters, including mine
Of all the pressure I bore being a woman born in India, the pressure of being ‘fair’ has been the weirdest.
In India, fair skin means white skin. I was born a Marwadi Hindu, that translates into skin the color of soil…
The soil used to grow cotton…
My mother, who is not Marwadi, is far ‘fairer’ and spent several years scrubbing me up but I was my father’s daughter through and through.
As a child, I never cared about it. My cousins dabbling with ‘fairness’ creams were always mystery to me. These people were less admired, less loved and least preferred in marriage–second-class citizens. I wondered why? Is it our slave mentality? After 200 years of slavery under white-skinned people, have we started believing that white skin is superior? (No disrespect intended to white-skinned readers)
As a way to show my anger, I shunned all fairness creams and lived on just soap and water…that is, until I was bitten by the love bug.
I married a guy whose family was far ‘fairer’. They were a loving family so they took it upon themselves to make me look ‘beautiful’. Their sincere attempts to hide my color under the layers of make up made me sad. I went along with it though, applying fairness creams and bleaches with no results, using a lot of make up to hide my-‘self’, until one day my husband had had enough. He told me the make-up makes me look dead and I am beautiful without it all.
Now the make up and fairness creams are lying in some landfill while I walk around in my ‘beautiful’ skin inside my happy bubble.
Photo by Brian Asare on Unsplash
The wife enters the room at night, bone-tired after the cooking, cleaning, washing and nursing routine.
Husband: Did you iron the shirt I asked you to?
Wife: I did not get time today.
Husband: Really?! You were at home all day while I was slaving away my life at work…
The Leech Who Lived
The Sonographer quietly raises two fingers and her heart sinks. As twice before, her husband asks her to wait outside while he plans to get rid of the “leech”.
Prepared this time, she walks purposefully outside the Ultrasound centre determined to outrun the murderer of her daughters.
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash
As my two-hour-old roommate called one friend after the other trying to find a suitable accommodation for me, I smiled. She barely knew me, yet she had fought our landlord against evicting me because of my religion (often labelled as ‘terrorist’) and lost.
She complained about the unfairness of it all to her friends and they were outraged as well. I smiled… because for every one person who hated me, there were 20 who sided by me.
This world still had hope!
–Dedicated to Manisha and her friends for standing up against religion-based discrimination
I love this blog and recommend to anyone with slightest interest in Art, Mythology or Humor because Ellen has mixed it all in the most delicious way. I follow her religiously and miss when she takes breaks between posts.
You can find and follow her on Facebook as well as her WordPress blog.
An ogre came up with the title for this ‘bloggut’. They can be oddly poetic when they’re not regurgitating tractors. He visited me two years ago, gifting me a rather startled mole that was trying to burrow into his ear. The mole was merely a furry pea on his finger, and has since disappeared into […]