Category Archives: stories

Part4: The Contrast

If you have not read the previous part of this series then I would suggest to click the following link and read:

https://rishabhagnihotri01.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/part-3-the-hope/

But if you are just like me and dont giv a fuck, well then go on 🙂

Rita lay on the gazing at the clouds in the sky, peculiar things that seemed to take a different shape each and everytime she tried to look at them . The sound of the waves hitting the shore is profound as if the vociferous sea would cut into the land and proclaim its farfetched triumph. Ram sat looking into the distance.

Rita shook his shoulder and broke his chain of thoughts.

“Tomorrow is the last day of my college”.

“Ïf anything flies, its time and it seemed to fly at a great pace” Ram thought to himself and nodded his head.

“For a farewell we are going to meet at zodiacs for a treat, get-together sort of no big deal”said Rita.

“So now, bidding goodbyes is celebrated in coffee shops, the idea seems ill conceived and preposterous to me ” Ram smirked and threw a pebble into the sea which made three bounces,

“hmm not bad ” said Rita as she got up and sat beside him. She picked a pebble and  tried to repeat the same feat, failing once again.

Maybe you should come with me and should see how preposterous it is, really now should I call you an antisocial worm but that is a little too rational for you. Maybe one of these days I can see you do a single thing differently than how do you do it every day” she said and raised her hand as she elaborated her point.

Hmm”, Ram sighed as he saw the sun going down and the same route and exactly the same way as it does everyday how can I get bored when all that he does every day is rise in the morning and set in the evening.

The regularity and the fixed pattern that governed his whole life now was a concern for his sister. The daily work and then evenings at the beach were the elements that pretty much constituted the major part of his moribund life.

The clocks have turned and it seemed to have shaped up the personalities of both the siblings quite well. To put in one line

“For him a good day is the one that started well, on the other hand for Riya a good day was the one that ended well.”

But that was 5 years back and they were still together in parts for each  other and in parts because of each other……

Part3: The Hope

If you have not read the previous part of this series then I would suggest to click the following link and read:

https://rishabhagnihotri01.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/part2-the-winner/

But if you are just like me and dont giv a fuck, well then go on 🙂

They ran with all their might. Initially the power, pace and the will is comparable.The tenacity of droplets rushing down the sides of the cold glass withers  as the distance increases. The trail left behind the drops contains just too much water to make the flow lose its pace. Her legs begin to ache after a few well run meters and the beads of perspiration clog her vision. The destination blurs and she opens her mouth to take in a gush of air that is a last ditch attempt to gather some momentum hoping to last for just a few more miles. He is amazed at this sudden determination shown by his competitor. He has been winning these races since as far his memory goes. Right when they used to run for the chocolate offered as a bait by the father. Today neither the father nor the chocolate remains but for him winning is his legacy. Something he offers as a tribute to his father. Prospects of losing today to his sister are profound and if it is true he will not entirely be sad. At last after a few attempts at trying to make it to the finish line she gives up and she stops. Bended and holding her knees she gasps and looks at her brother who will hit the sea any time from now. The brother who will win one more time and the brother who will be the receiver of one more chocolate and ultimately the brother who will be celebrated by her father.  She raises her head towards the heavens and looks with longing eyes which say “Not even once God!”. She cries and calls him from behind. “You always start ahead. This is not fair”, she says in exasperation. “If you don’t stop I will, go back to home”, saying this she sits on the sand and looks at his reaction. She reprimands herself for being such a whiner. If As he losses the sound of footsteps behind him he knows he is going to win. Winning one more of these races is not such a big feat for him than the legacy which he revers. He hears faint cries of his sister. The prospects of spending a lonely evening by the sea was an idea enough to scare him and lose his sight of the finish line so he turns and looks at the figure sitting on the sand with her head in her palms. He sees the exasperation and the dejection in her eyes. For him, winning was no more an act of defeating your competitors anymore and if that competitor happens to be his sister than it is all the more irrelevant. The idea of having his sister win races of life was not too far- fetched. He stops and retreats. After all  the last words that his mother said to him were “Whatever happens, You don’t give up on your sister”. So he returns to his sister with the determination to make her win races and competitions, to keep all the little that is left at stake. He sits beside her and looks in her eyes moist eyes. He wipes  the small tear on her cheek and says “You know tears are special”. “Hah funny, now you will philosophize the tears too”, She smirks as she knows what is coming is one more of her brother’s weird analogies. “Yes after all that’s what I do best”, says he haughtily. “Yeah go on come out with it. The analogy”, said she appearing to be disinterested yet lending an ear. “They are special because they always create their own path”, he said “Now don’t start with the be a self-made person shit, I have heard it many times” “No there is more, the peculiar thing is that those paths or trails dry or are wiped off so that no more tears can follow suit.  The bottom-line is more tears new paths. So what I want you to do is create new paths and wipe away those trails”, he said and he knew he was bang on the point. “That was new. Lets see how many tears can create new paths now”, said she. They both laughed at the moral that seemed too simple and well cheeky but they both understood the meaning clearly. They sat there for sometime chatting and looking at the setting sun. But that was 10 years back when “hoping for the best “was just what they clinged on to…..

Part2: The Winner

If you have not read the previous part of this series then I would suggest to click the following link and read:

https://rishabhagnihotri01.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/part1-the-innocence/

But if you are just like me and dont giv a fuck, well then go on 🙂

“Let’s race and see who touches the water first”, said Ram as he turned back to look at her.

“No” she screamed “You started first” and then stopped running. He still ran with all his might hoping and now determined to win the race.  He felt jovial and was full with the anticipation of the win that was about to come his way. He was closing in on the beach, at his destination. He looked back one more time only to make sure that the distance was enough between him and the little sister who was now sitting on the sand with her head in her hands and legs folded upto the chin. The waves of the success are too strong to be stopped by the tiny pebbles of tears. The rush of achievement can even break the chains of resilience. Winners are seldom dithered by the dejection of the losers.

He looked ahead once again and raced as has as he could until the blue water touched his feet and a gust of wind felt through his hair. He spread his hands to acknowledge the wind and screamed at it to come fast because success apparently is an incomplete feeling. It gives happiness only when someone appreciates or “If someone loses”.

But that was 15 years back and winning was his motive, the sole motive…

Part1: The Innocence

“Who wants to go for a swim”, said Father.

“I will”, said the boy already down to his blue beach undies.

“But don’t go too far into the sea”, remarked mom passing an order in the guise of a suggestion.

“Yes Mother”, echoed both father and son and ran towards the sea that seemed to welcome them with open arms. The blue waters shone like pearl in the late afternoon sunlight. Somewhere a ship sounded an alarm signifying the return of the fishermen with their catch for the day. Mother spread a bedsheet on the sand and after putting all the eatables on one side she looked at the two enjoying in the sea, she wanted to capture this moment in her eyes, this was priceless, this was uncorrupted. Her daughter sat beside her on the sand in her little frock making castles in the sand. She was quiet as the sea and thoughtful as a mountain. She would do something good thought her mother. With these thoughts in mind she lay down and looked at the cloudy sky. The weather  made her hum a soft tune “If I had a choice, I would”, beautiful lines that defined this moment. She did not know when she slept and by the time she woke up the father son duo was back from the sea. They both were drenched with water and were hungry. But before food she gave them a towel and fresh clothes to put on. Ram sat behind his sister Rita who was looking at the sea, expressionless. Seeing this, father gave them a plastic black ball to play with. Rita took the ball and threw it with all her might towards the sea. The ball fell into the water and danced on the waves as if it was shaking a leg to the melodious song sung by the white foamy waves. They went and picked up the ball. They took turns to throw the ball into the sea as far as they could. Rita laughed everytime the ball danced on the waves before hitting the shore. The entire process of the ball fighting against the waves and ultimately giving up and hitting the shore was enough to make her giggle. Her brother was the storehouse of energy for her the ultimate winner and protector. To see him struggling to throw the ball against the strong winds was surprising and a source of amazement for her. No matter how high or how far he threw the ball always returned back to the shore.

“Bhaiya, Will it always return back to us , no matter how far we throw?” She asks.

“Maybe Rita , it looks like yes”, and shrugged at the silly question.

They went back to their mother who was calling them to eat something. After a fun day at the beach the family retreated back to their abode. Father holding the girl on his shoulders and the mother holding onto the son. The sun was packing to leave the horizon and the waves were dancing to welcome the night.

But that was 20 years back and life had not thrown much at them…….

1.0 Rocks And Waves

A few days back someone who holds just as much importance in my life as before and with whom I had no contact for quite sometime now  accussed me of being partial to “men” and “boys”. That someone read all my blogs and found my stories soft on male. She texted me “Is it your sordid past you write about mister or are you really that selfish, if it is so stop accussing and prophesizing your sorrows. I wonder if you would ever tell the other side of the story”. So here it is, first time I am trying to write a story with a women’s point of view. I Hope it does justice to her thoughts:

The story begins:

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She walks back towards her house in the uptown area of New York. The weather is good and summer is what every New Yorker looks forward to after a harsh winter. She decides to walk towards her house which is 6 blocks down from the next right from the upcoming signal. The gentle breeze blowing across her face forming swirls on her perfectly ironed skirt as if caressing it with a gentle pace that is not too fast and not very slow either, just perfect so as not to destroy the pleats formed on the front clothe. The momentary pleasures tend to wither away as soon as they are formed like a lover’s touch or the early morning glow of the rising sun, which leave you longing for more. Today she was in no mood to go home early. There is nothing expecting her at home at this hour anyway the kids won’t be back from the evening tuitions until an hour and Ric had already called that he would turn up late. So she decides to make the most of this opportunity today which is hard to come by her. She used to be a regular visitor to the beaches during her post graduation years at the NYU until her kids and husband took the better of her.
The gentle wind was threatening to gather some speed, with the met department already sounding an alarm of an approaching storm she knew the timing cannot be perfect. Coincidentally she found her legs turning towards the left instead of taking the right which was her usual way to home. A force pushed her towards the direction that she had stopped taking since that fateful day 16 years back. She knew she had to turn back from here, the way to her home was not so sandy, it was hard. It can’t be so irregular after all New York doesn’t have space for irregularities, here people and things are alike, perfect. She wouldn’t have been where she was if it was for the irregular. But today it was different, she thought. She stopped thinking right there “let me see where this force takes me“, as someone from her distant past echoed “you need to go with the force , at least sometimes, you always try to be so very hard“. Maybe she was hard but hardness was the weapon of a woman, a woman can’t succeed if she is not hard because this is the only attribute that God did not bestow a woman with, He made her soft and supple so that she could be caring and loving. “She” made herself as hard as a rock and pointed at the edges so as to succeed and make her mark. In her mind she knew she had succeeded after all her life here at New York was a testament to that, but what about her heart, well she never cared about what her heart felt as long as the mind had a control over it. She kept walking until the sounds of the violent waves hitting the shoreline rang in her ears. She found herself standing at the perfect spot, for others it was a rough weather but for her it was a perfect time to visit her favourite pastime of those childhood days of her life in Cochin, India.
She stared at the vast expanse of the raging Atlantic that was hitting the rocks with all its might. She stood at the little opening of rocks inside the ocean just when a shower of sea water hit her face thus enabling her escape the thoughts that were beginning to overpower her and snatched her from the past, the past that was grim, a past that was not so distant as the date suggests it to be. She lies down on the rocks and looks above towards the sky. The night was falling on her in the form of little coloured openings from the sky . Even the sky has openings that are only visible at night, she thought. The sun had set down and it appeared as if the orange was the new black. A little strand of hair was hindering her vision of stars and the. She does away with the involuntary thought of removing it and kept her gaze at the place beyond the dark among the stars and the memories of her sordid past begin encompassing her her vision , her mind …………to be continued

26 September

It is pouring outside. Keshav looks out of the window and sees the cloud that had blanketed the whole city. He remembered the day today “26 September” and is filled with a flood of feelings. His red diary is opened on the table beside his bed . He knew the clouds are here to stay and anyways there was no office today. So he begins turning the yellow pages of the diary looking for an entry from a particular day 8 years back……….

Kolkata

9:52am

26 September 2014                                                                                                                                                    

 26th September 2010, I remember it correctly. It was 4 years back this very day when I for the first time ever put my foot down, braced myself up and took a decision. A decision to chase the dream that was a consequence of a failure and a legacy. The legacy of a girl I ever loved. I never knew that decision would change me so much take so much and offer so less in return. But I soon found out the journey that I started with a companion, a journey that I had embarked on for the search of a better life for her, if not for the first few steps I would have to tread the entire journey all alone.

I had no idea if my decision to leave the thing at hand and start preparing for exams once again would bear any ripened fruit or at the least any fruit at all. That night I remember telling my father on phone “Father I want to prepare once again, I want to stand on my feet, shoulder my own burdens, give you back at least a piece of the future that you ever saw for me”. The next day I packed my bags and was out once again in the world where the competition was fierce and for each engineering seat at a coveted institution there were thousands of contenders. My father had warned me “Son, The competition out there is rising exponentially every year. When you couldn’t do it last year do you really think you will make it this year?”. Yes he was true the competition rose dramatically no doubt but so did my determination, when you combine determination with love you have a person who sees everything through a single perspective. That’s when your cognition goes out of the window and nothing can convince you to leave your stand neither father’s advice nor mother’s persuasions. Same happened with me.

Anyhow I did what I wanted, I went ahead on my decision only to find that my inspiration would leave me high and dry in the middle not offering even an explanation but just a “GOODBYE! It’s  just not meant to be” card. At that point everything came crashing like a house that a person builds with so much care and affection is turned into rubble within seconds   when the tornado strikes. I kept looking at the ceiling, with every deep breath I felt myself give away. But all this never made me regret my decision I collected whatever was left of me and told myself “buck up”. I made a promise not to love anyone but my parents and sister. I decided to be passive to everything from there on. I took a lifetime oath of being my only friend, and be as tough as a mountain not swayed by anything, I decided feelings will be only the last of things that I will base my decisions on and that’s when  I embraced CHASTITY.

While coming to Kolkata for counseling, my mother was sitting beside me in the flight, after the flight took off she dozed off, deprived of sleep but not of determination to see her son get a seat in the college. I looked at that freckled face, eyes that drooped under the weight of my failures, a heart that asked me “life has come full circles,  when will you hold the arms that had carried you and support us . It’s high time to start giving more and demanding less.” When she woke I told her “mother whatever branch I get I will take it.” I promised myself to be true to the core to myself, to never betray my parents.

 Today exactly 4 years after I made that decision in Delhi , I have achieved what I promised myself and my parents. It’s not even a tad bit closer to offer anything in return for the times of distress, regret and bereavement that my parents went through for the whole of one year because of my decision that was the legacy of someone who had left me after just a first few steps.

 In the College I refined myself constantly. My sole motive was to be good to everyone, to be near everyone but closer to no one. That is why when I write this excerpt from my life I have a glass beside me “celebrating my success to no one but myself and saying cheers once again 🙂 ”.

-Keshav

His lips curved upwards and he closed his eyes for a few minutes, trying to come out of the past memories. He shut the diary and got up. It was still pouring outside and he had a lot to do today.

Know your options in life

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“ I am done with this large equations and complex formulas” said Sameer using both his hands to shut his arithmetic book.

The loud thud startled his mother who was preparing the afternoon meal in the kitchen. She came out and looked at his father who was by now looking towards Sameer. He shot a glance towards the mother as if trying to decode what the future has in store for their son, because if not studies then how would Sameer fend for himself in this breathtakingly fast and ultra-competitive world. The same age old roti kapda makaan and yes car too, after all a car is a must have “zarurat” these days, question haunted them. Sam’s detest towards arithmetic was not something new, it was a topic as hot as a furnace and as steamy as the yummy chennai idli sans the yum part of course, in their 3 bedroom house. It all had been perfectly fine till Sameer’s choices and decisions were taken by them but as he grew bigger in body, God forbid his mind also somehow gained a few kilos thus prompting him to do what any Indian parents would never want their children to do themselves, yes folks sameer started thinking and making his own decisions when i say making it is no way similar to taking because that luxury is entirely his parents prerogative. Sam walked away from the dining area and stood at the window in his room overlooking the main road crisscrossing through the city not knowing where it will end or stop. After a few miles turning into a black line disappearing among a herd of cars and a fleet of people. He was over his bad mood by now and started to contemplate, which was what he enjoyed doing, he liked to reflect on things  be it the rising sun, the blooming flower or a sparrow feeding it’s children on his window sill everyday. He laughed at mankind and always thought ” what if we have reached the moon, conquered the skies but ultimately technology the subject that his father wants him to pursue has  taken away childhood away from a child who is bespectacled and hooked on to a tab the whole day. It has replaced mother’s lullaby with dick sized thing blurting shitty songs that make small children’s sleep, it makes parenting so very easy.” Man made cars to shorten the distances between places, unsatisfied he made aeroplanes only to further shorten the distance all this while polluting the environment. So the new past-time is controlling pollution and so summits, reports, protocols and what not to reduce the pollution entered into the scene. Maybe technology has a solution for this too, but how far are we ready to go in order to satisfy our ulterior motives and make life easier. We create problems and then find their solutions which only give rise to more problems and many more solutions.  A person is intertwined in so many things that ultimately running behind pleasures becomes his sole motive. Although Sam did not know what he wanted to do in life, but he surely knows that he would not be a part of this “pleasure seeking, self-destroying” herd. He looked once more at the road and now the black line was a bit clearer or at least he could look farther anyway.

 

So the bottomline is don’t be plagued by the question of what you want to do, because that question seldom has one concrete answer, try picking out things that you will surely not do in your life. At the dusk of life when the stars are twinkling and the moon is shining you will know that all this while everything that you did was all that you could have ever loved and enjoyed. That will make the night less dreary and more starry.

Sacrifice

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“Sacrifice, what’s a sacrifice mother” enquired Keshav while trying to completing one last question before he was headed for his daily one hour playtime. Mother engrossed in churning out ghee,  smiled at the question which raised a wave of thoughts about the types of sacrifices that all make at some point whether its as big as for a women quitting her job for her family or is it as small as for a father offering the last pie of food to his son and pretending that he is full, so she said to her 7 year old “its an act, the last time your 4 year old sister asked for your share of chocolate and you were so forthcoming, that was a sacrifice

“Really mother, that’s it, so this was the sacrifice that our English teacher made a big deal out of in todays class while teaching us the topic “Bheeshm“- giving up his accession right over the  kingdom for his step brother. Huh!! Anyways i was full that time that’s why sister got my share otherwise the only place that chocolate belonged was the intricacies of my stomach” said Keshav licking his lips.

Mother laughed at the innocence of her child and gave him a light pat ” haa! Do your sum” and she returned to stir the “kadai” lightly, while the child returned to his world of tricky “problems” and simple “solutions”. The aroma of ghee was slowly spilling into each and every corner of their 2 bedroom flat in the suburbs of Mumbai.

Years rolled by and while many suns went down in the marina beach Keshav grew into a teenager of 18 years, 5 ft 10 inched broad shouldered, he was now a student in one of the good b.com colleges. But as they say everyone in life has his fare share of penance and grief, so did Keshav but may be his penance was a tad more , so thought he. He was standing near his mother’s tombstone offering flowers, with father beside him. Its been 6 years since he had lost his mother to the deadly leukemia. Since then he and his father had shifted to Chennai,a city of beaches and south Indian delicacies, here Keshav found solace in roaming at the banks of river cooum or spending those after college hours sitting on the marina beach staring at the huge waves that formed a white foam on the water every time they hit the shore,  gently forming white foam in water, 6 years had formed a clot on his wound but still every thing seemed to relate to her in one way or the other but the difference was that earlier these resemblings left a trail of tears but now just a half grin. Same feeling different emotions, “time is a cunning deceiver”,thought Keshav.

“No auntie, one more morsel and I feel my stomach would burst” said Keshav to Madhav’s mom

“Its your exam eat well, someone has said even soldiers did not fight on empty belly” said mrs.Khanna while coaxing him to have one more paratha.

Keshav smiled at the soldier analogy and ate the last “paratha”.

Then as was the custom both he and Madav bowed before god and mrs. Khanna offered them a spoonful of curd as a good omen.

Both Madhav and Keshav left for college with Keshav driving and Madhav sitting pillon.

This had been the custom since the past 5 years. Madhav’s father was a subordinate in Keshav’s father’s firm. They were introduced in one of the office dinners and stuck a chord immediately. Keshav had become Madhav’s best friend and mrs.Khanna’s second son.

Keshav in turn respected mrs. Khanna as his mother and Madhav was a precious asset that life had offered him and he had accepted it with both hands. Thus time gave him a second family. What a cunning deceiver the time is, surely.

3 years of college life passed. Keshav and Madhav’s friendship grew as strong as the binding between stars, invisible yet there. Now it was a time for placements and like everyone else they both were aspiring for one of those big companies. Many companies came to the campus but Madhav wanted to get placed in this particular company named ‘ignite’, both friends had to attend the interview the next day. Keshav faced a certain dilemma, he knew that his yearly scores were better than Madhav’s and if he attended the interview Madhav would stand no chance of making it to the final list. He had to make a small choice, either he could attend and get selected have a good life or he could choose the otherwise and let his friend realise his dream. He looked out of the window. The sweet shop opposite to his apartment was opened for the day and the cook was warming the frying pan, he remembered the day he had asked his mother about the meaning of sacrifice and his mother had replied ‘ its less of an act more to do with the feeling’ , today he realized the depth of her words, the thought brought a wet half smile on his face, the aroma of  ghee being fried in the pan was slowly spreading into the air.

Sunset at the sea

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The evening breeze was blowing caressing their face, the time was well past 6 in the evening and the red line of sunset had appeared on the horizon. The white boat was in the middle of the ocean now slowly drifting towards its goal.

”For how long” asked Jessica

“let’s see! I am super excited” answered Anuj, with this he left for home to complete the unfinished packing, his childhood dream of studying “film-making” as a professional course was to take flight the next day.

Jessica and Anuj used to sit by the sea for hours every day and watch the boats disappear at the horizon. The horizon to her was like a dream that existed only while it lasted, things that lost their essence just like a beautiful thought that engages you for a while and leaves you wondering

The time beside the seaside appears to have somewhat slowed down in pace just like the the strong wave stroking the sandy banks. The boat at the horizon slowly heading towards its goal  where even the mighty heavens are waiting to embrace it in its arms. But what does a boat at the tethered to the shore  know about this embracement, it is merely happy to be safely battling the waves.

Jessica smirked at the thought the analogy was too persistent to deny.

The white boat appeared as a dot on the big sheet of horizon.

Jessica’s father worked at the dock as an engineer. She came from a middle class family where your needs are fulfilled and wants are subdued where studying is not a hobby but a need. Her parents wanted her to complete her education and “settle down”, and in this case completing education meant “becoming an engineer” because according to them that is the shortest and the easiest way to lead a fulfilled life, it was her passport to a “settled life” which according to her father is the priority or rather should be the priority of everyone. Owing to her father’s concerted efforts, she had always been a top grader in her class thus fuelling her father’s engineering” ambitions for her to greater extents.

From the time immemorial she had been taught to answer the same thing whenever someone  asked

“What would Jess like to become when she grows big like daddy?”

And without any hitch the reply was “An Engineer”.

Her knowledge about being a grown-up had been confined to eating unlimited chocolates and stashing umpteen number of cola bottles in the fridge at will. She was admired for being so career oriented at such a young age, and this made her proud and won her chocolates and was more than a reason  for her to stick to that answer.

She was the son that her parents never had she was their only daughter and that made her the sole point of their attention and to sum it up means by which her father wished to live his unfulfilled dreams.  This was all when she was a kid, now she was a grown up and on the verge of choosing a career path. For her it was no more about eating chocolates or earning accolades, but her parents still harbored the same ambitions and aspirations for her.

The thing about dreams , aspirations and hopes is that they are good until they become an obsession and unfulfilled dreams are worst because they can never be achieved by the current means that’s why they have been termed “unfulfilled” in the first place. But people relish them in their future and want to burden their own young ones with them, parents supplement this with a phrase “After all, If not you who else”? And this made Jess feel obliged as if it was the little she could do for them for being their daughter.

Yesterday as was her habit she was watching the sunset on the sea shore. While the sun went down each day at the same time, but that day she saw the blend of colors that accompanied this act of nature from blue to red, then orange and then a tinge of green as if nature was filling its canvas with beautiful hues and with each passing moment the old color dissolved into a new one and ultimately the blackness. It was as if someone had dropped stone in the unusually calm waters of her mind that had created ripples. She was transfixed, and pondered over what her expectations with her selves are and what does she want to end up being. She thought everything is changing constantly. Even the beautiful patterns formed in sand change with time, no matter how good they are or how artistic they are everything lives its course and is replaced by a newer version, so like everything else why doesn’t she have the muscle to change her decision of becoming an engineer, after all it wasn’t entirely a decision but a submission on her part. Like every time else this time too the answers were not very conclusive either she did not hear well or her inner voice had been subdued so much for so long that now even lending a deliberate ear to it received silence. Either way she failed to comprehend the sanctity of the realization. Night had come over, a black blanket printed with stars surrounded the earth.

A voice calls “its dinner time Jess, come home!” it was her father.

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Jess  tries to catch a glimpse of the sailing boat but by that time it was already out of sight owing to the “darkness” and the “distance”. She gets up and saunters towards her home.

1.Choice: A short story about a decision

Its still dark, the sun’s rays haven’t still dispersed the darkness as he rubs his eyes and looks out of the window by his bedside, it’s time to leave. The silence outside captivates him for a moment it feels like yesterday. Was it last month or was it last year, the memory has surely blurred maybe he should really go back to his old habit of having walnuts regularly. It seems age has really caught up with him or is it the memory so blurred and nascent that he shudders to think about the times gone by.

He takes a deep breath and rises from the bed. It has been his routine for the past few years, the first thought in the morning isn’t about the meetings, work or children, it’s a question that is as unanswerable as “the life on mars” it’s the question “What if he had made a different choice 20 years back?”

For him life was not about relaxing, waiting or looking at nature. These were the things he used to scoff at, he wanted to reach the pinnacle, run as fast as he could, grasp every laurel and cherish every success. Yes he wanted to be a tycoon.

He wears his “chappals” and gets ready for his morning chores. By the time it’s 5 he is already in his running gear. This habit of running is more of an addiction for him. At first he used to run ahead of life, that was a run for marks, concepts and big scores, then he ran from choices he made be it choosing career over love or the choice of shifting to USA the place of his dreams away from his parents and the past that reminded him of her, and ultimately after 20 years that run has become an addiction that coaxes him to run until his legs can take no more.

The run gives him a high, a high that addicts crave for and smokers smoke for, something that makes you drift away towards a mirage of bliss. After one hour he comes back home does some yoga. Yoga gives him a feeling of completeness, that was forged and knitted in a cocoon of success and aspirations, long back, and it gives him some time with himself. After a quick shower, he eats his cereal and starts to leave.

Just when he is about to embark on another of those long days of work, his wife gives him a kiss on the cheek and his children give him a hug, he surely has a nice beautiful family for whom they have so much to offer but for them he has so much less. He ,makes his mind to take them on a holiday this summer,  but he falls short of translating this thought into words lest he fails once more like he always had thus breaking their hearts partly because of his work and partly because he has a habit of never taking a leave from work. Marriage was a pact he had entered into at his mother’s behest 15 years back, he doesn’t remember the conditions of the pact but this bond a result of that pact has given him two little kids and a life to look forward to. If being a husband was all about being a companion and a supporter and being a father was about being a protector, he was a good husband and may be a good father too but when it came to sharing the proximity with his wife he found himself escaping. He had never imagined anyone sharing his private space with him other than her old love because he had promised ‘her’ that, and maybe ‘she’ had done the vice versa, but he still adheres to the commitment. This way he still prides in his devotion to something that was never desired in the first place, he fails to understand that true love does not have desires nor is it a choice, he is somehow clinging onto the past waiting for  something that is long lost and gone, a relation that always had perforated contours that he failed to see or realize.

His wife whispers ‘congrats ‘ in his ear and hands him an envelope with the seal of the business committee of the city. With a wry face he opens it and reads , he takes a deep breath and says ‘thank you’, he has won the businessman of the year award  and he has been invited to collect it with his family at a function this weekend. With this he turns to leave.

But while opening the door of his car he looks back, his wife helping his daughter with something she has picked up from the garden, and waving at him, they are happy for him. This makes sense may be this is the only thing that makes sense, for the past years while he has been elusive of them, they had been always there for him. He turns back and walks towards them, today he won’t go to office, he picks up his daughter in his arms and walks back inside. He had made a choice 20 years back and he has made a choice today, the only difference is he is sure of the choice made today. Be it 20 years back or now, surely choices do matter in life.

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