The little girl looked at the gingerbread house on the display through the glass walls with eyes brimming with longing. This year, she had neither a house nor bread.
There she was,
looking fresh out of the bath,
dressed in her red
the pace of my heart,
sitting at her favourite spot.
she’ll notice me today,
sitting next to her
for the nth time this year.
at the passing Porsche,
crushing my hopes.
Well, perhaps tomorrow…
Photo by Hrayr Movsisyan on Unsplash
“Maa, I’m not eating this cake. It has refined sugar. You should have used brown instead,” said my three-year-old son, and nutritionist. For the third time this week, he had declined food.
“And who gave you this health advice?”
“Granny, of course!”
“Well, she’s wrong.”
My son ‘talks’ to ‘Granny’ over the old broken rotary-dial phone he found in the attic last month. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that such phones need a wire to work. And that dead Grannies can’t take phone calls.
“Maa, I told Granny what you said. She wants to talk to you.” He held out the phone receiver to me for the fifth time in the last 10 minutes. Giving in, I took the receiver, readying myself for the fake conversation.
“Hello! Maa here.”
“Hello Honey! Why did you tell him I was wrong?” Apparently, my dead mother-in-law does take phone calls.
Photo by Wendy Scofield on Unsplash
I have been seeing too many crazy neighbours during lockdown and I am dedicating them a series.
Athena, the eagle, is the queen of my area. Most birds give her a wide berth in the sky and if she swoops lower, they rush to hide and avoid her wrath. I’m a fan of her grace. In theory, I knew she preys upon birds too. But I never saw it before that fateful day.
I was up early that morning and the world was full of twittering and tweeting. I could see a couple of lapwings (small water birds the size of a pigeon) flying towards my home, playing and teasing each other with the did-you-do-it call. Suddenly, Athena descended from the sky, grabbed one of them, and flew away.
White feathers fell from the sky as the victim struggled and surviving mate called out in a heartbreaking voice. My heroine had just separated lovers. Forever.
I knew this is what eagles do, but that couldn’t take away the resentment. I hoped the survivor will get over it soon, since he’s “just a bird”…
In the afternoon, I went to the rooftop for some chore and again heard the same heartbreaking cries, this time filled with anger. I looked up at the sky and saw what I had never thought possible.
A lone lapwing, the pigeon-sized thing that did not stand a chance against an eagle, was attacking Athena, over and over, as if he was avenging his love or, may be, he had a death wish.
Athena did not strike back. She just tried to save itself by hiding in a tree. The lapwing kept up the attacks until he was too tired to fly.
I saw the same thing after four days. Not sure, if he ever let her rest. I didn’t see a lapwing again in the area, so I hope Athena wasn’t too fed up or hungry that day or whenever he last struck.
And here I had thought that birds were devoid of ‘human emotions’; that they were…just ‘birds’.
Love was when I dragged you
to the college library
to finish your assignments;
when I forced you
to sit with me in the front
rather than with backbenchers
so you would study;
when I forced you
to attend college
on mass-bunk days;
when I gave you
quick lessons before exams
and kept raising the bar
until you could do no more.
It was love
when it seemed like friendship.
What we have
in marriage today
is an echo of that love,
where you take
and I take yours.
The pool in his estate, built on his brother’s suggestion, was meant to be decorative, until, in a drunken stupor, he tripped over his girlfriend’s long legs.
His brother ran out of the huge house at the hue and cry, and took off his expensive Rolex and Ray-Ban– dallying just long enough to ensure the ‘inevitable’–before jumping in the pool after him.
When the Police arrived, his brother was wiping tears off his girl’s face, while the Rolex and Ray-Ban lay by the poolside winking in the sun.
Image by Unsplash
I took the night bus
draped in my wedding sari,
still adorned with the jewels
my parents had scrounged for me
over the years,
breaking their tender hearts
for raising a daughter unworthy.
I sought you
and the answer to
why I wasn’t enough for you.
I hope, they wouldn’t
cremate my body
before I reach you.
Photo by @5tep5 on Unsplash