Archive for March, 2013

View outside my window

View outside my window

I wasn’t getting any sleep yesterday night. It had nothing to do with stress or tension. Just that sometimes your body doesn’t need rest. And why would it? I hardly do anything other than tapping at a keyboard! So, I had to do something.  Write? Read? Watch movies? Paint? Too much hard work. I decided to just think. But then, the thought of thinking about big things put a lot of stress on me. So, finally I nestled into reflecting back on my past. 27 years is too much data to process and so I decided to concentrate only on the highlights from my high school times to now.

The memories are hazy in some parts and crystal clear in others. Some have mixed up so I can’t remember which happened when. So many events, so many people. So many good and bad times. The times I thought were the best in my life, have been superseded by so many more best times, that the word best loses its meaning. The worse times also don’t seem that bad anymore. Slowly, one by one, memories come to me. Little games like ‘truth or dare’; me, always selecting ‘Dare’ over ‘Truth’. Not that I had anything to hide, but the truth questions were stupid and boring. And the gossips and teenage girly bitching sessions. Falling in love, and doing the most crazy, stupid things that only teenage love can make you do. Laughing over spilt tea and the tail of a cow with my best friend. In the summers,  lying down on the back and holding a popsicle over our mouths and waiting for it to melt and drip on our lips. Every little thing would warrant a fit of giggling. Well, it doesn’t make any sense now, but it did then with her. Still gets me giggling.

By now you must be thinking why am I rambling. Well, my thoughts were random and incoherent and hence the content of this post.  And with a request for patience, I will babble a bit more.

I remember the playing of cards in the hostel; only four could play at a time and the seats were coveted. So, all the cell phones would be piled up in the no-network area, so that boyfriends or relatives do not disturb between the important games. The running around the hostel corridors to save oneself from the mock molestation by the others in our gang. Trying to cook noodles with the tiny electric immersion rods, which always turned out half-cooked and watery. The blowing up of the fuse, while experimenting with these cooking stunts and the resultant batch punishments. Playing box cricket in office when guys used to wait for the girls to bowl or bat. The memories come haphazardly. Some here, some there.

Each year has seen a very good friend, a gang of close friends and that one guy who likes me. I’m bragging! The ‘guy who likes me’ didn’t happen each year, maybe just a couple of years in college. There have been so many good times, most of them over tea, bitching about someone or bragging about ourselves. Discussions and gossips about other girls, guys and teachers when in school and college. Complaints and gossips about girls, guys and managers when in office. Arguments ranging from politics, astrology and paranormal stuff to romance, movies and books, the list is endless.

Looks like I spent most of my life gossiping. Well, what can I say, I love to talk. Not for nothing, that I used to get a ‘talkative’ comment each year on my report card in school. I digress…..again! I should conclude my jabbering speech now.

I sat there in the dark at 1 AM in the night, looking out the window and staring at the trees and the tiny river, not actually seeing them. I marveled at the rich content of my life, the journey until now and the scores of people who have made up the bits of my life.  So many people I learnt from. So many people I took advice from and many more I gave advice to.  So many people affected my decisions thereby affecting the course of my life. So many people inspired me and so many repelled me. The places, the towns and the cities don’t matter, they are all the same. Only people matter. They all made me what I am today. But the most surprising revelation was that these people who, at those times, felt like the closest people in the world and couldn’t be done without, are mostly conveniently forgotten now.

Big sister little brother

I was heart-broken when my first-born died. She was only 3 years old, and she fell off the first floor balcony. I still miss Katherine; Kate as we used to lovingly call her. My husband took it hardest, his dearest little Angel. He still blames me for letting her go and play in the balcony and the climb up the balustrade. I never thought she could climb it. I was pregnant with Mike then. When Mike was born, he looked so much like our Kate, that my husband believed she had come back to us as Mike. Our pain has subsided with time, but it didn’t go away. It can never go away. As people say, your first-born is the most loved.

Mike is 2 years old now. He can talk basic english, but cannot yet form proper sentences. He plays on his own with his toys. He plays with some imaginary friends like all kids do at his age. We bought new toys for him. We removed Kate’s toys after she died and kept them in the attic. It was too heartbreaking to see them around the house.

A week before, Mike sang a nursery rhyme in his broken, stammering english. I was heartsore and my husband, ecstatic. It was Kate’s favorite rhyme. She used to sing it whole day. We didn’t teach Mike that rhyme. Neither did his grandparents. My husband told me in his most assured, victorious tone that Kate had indeed come back as Mike. He was on cloud nine. He encouraged Mike to sing it and taught him a bit more. I didn’t like it. I just felt immense sadness and a deep, dark void inside me.

Yesterday, Mike came up to me while I was cooking in the afternoon, and asked me to get the other toys. I brought the other carton full of his toys. He said he didn’t want them, but the others. I told him he didn’t have more toys. He frowned and asked me to get the toys in the attic. I didn’t tell my husband about this.

Today, I went to take a peek in his room to see what he was doing. He was sitting there, playing with his toy cars. He was probably playing with one of his imaginary friends as usual. I stood there watching him, feeling the love well up inside me, when he suddenly cried out “Kate, dun play wif my caa”.

Kate? Did he just say ‘Kate’ ? Is it our Kate playing with Mike? Is my child still stuck in here? Wasn’t she freed of this world and taken to heaven? What should I do? I would do anything, God but please free her soul and let her rest. Please!

I can’t talk about this to my husband. He wouldn’t believe it. And if he does, it will break his heart further. It is, after all, my fault. I was not watchful towards her on that fateful day. I am the reason for the tragedy, and I know I will have to carry the burden of this truth to my grave.

*************************************The End*************************************

Water colour painting - Pond and trees

Water colour painting – Pond and trees

Inspired by the earlier sketch I posted, I got myself a box of water colour tubes. And produced this. I am averagely satisfied with the outcome, as I did not have very high hopes from myself. Of course, the disclaimer goes as before – painting after a really long time, 10+ years, so please bear with me. I am probably gonna dole out some more immature stuff like this in future too.

Sketch – Leaves

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Paintings & Sketches
Tags: , , ,

Leaves

Tried pencil sketching after almost 12 years. I have completely forgotten how to sketch and shade and therefore, the finished product is not as smooth as I would have wanted. But this is a try after a really long time and I didn’t expect much. Maybe if I keep practicing, I will get better.

Love

Read part 1 here : https://essdeeauthor.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/first-blush-of-love-part-1/

Darian didn’t understand why the new girl Maria was so interested in him. From what he had heard from the other guys in the school, she had recently moved to the county from New York. She looked pretty but he knew not to trust beauty. His own mother was very beautiful, he being almost an image of her, and she had been unfaithful towards the very people who loved and needed her.

Darian had been a loner for a long time, but he was a happy child before that. His mother had left her family and eloped with a French guy when he was just 7 years old. He was old enough to remember her and hate her for leaving him. His father had not been able to bear with the infidelity and had turned to drinking. Darian grew up being abused and beaten-up by his angry father, developing a deep mistrust towards women and relationships in the process. But he didn’t hate his father for the abuse but rather accepted the punishment as a way of emotional release with the physical pain. He had sworn to himself never to get involved with any girl and go through the same heartache as his father.

Darian had been noticing for some time that Maria would ogle at him many times during the classes, and smile if their eyes met. He thought she was trying to bewitch him. She could too, being as dainty as she was, but he knew better to fall into the designs of a pretty woman. He tried to avoid her in every way possible, and even behaved rudely when she tried to talk to him. He thought the insult would do the trick and she would start to dislike him, but that didn’t happen.

After a couple of days of their first encounter, Darian got to know from other guys that Maria was asking questions about him. This angered him. Didn’t the girl know better to mind her own business? What did she want from him? He decided he had to talk to her and make it clear that he wanted this nonsense stopped. He walked up to her one day after school when she was walking back home, and asked her to stop snooping around and let him be.  Her smiling face fell, and she turned red. She looked very embarrassed and mumbled an incoherent ‘sorry for the trouble, won’t happen again’ and ran away.

After that incident, Darian kept checking for a few weeks if Maria looked at him during the lectures, but she didn’t. Not a single time did she lift her lashes to even peep at him. Maria had turned quiet and blue after that day, not her usual smiling self. Darian had felt happy in the beginning at his accomplishment, but that feeling was fading away fast and regret was taking over. He didn’t quite understand this new emotion and attributed it to the fact that he had made an unfortunate girl even more sad, getting to know of late that her parents had died a few moths before. He started empathizing with her for having lost her parents and repented his outburst at her. He decided to make amends and walked up to her again one day after school and called after her. She turned back and looked shyly at him. She looked frightened and at the same time, so beautiful that he forgot what he had come to say. She waited but words completely eluded him. Finally when he got his grip, he babbled his apologies for his earlier behavior and that he didn’t mean to hurt her but only to protect his privacy and so on. Maria offered a quiet ‘okay’ in reply when he finished and walked away. Things had changed.

When Darian saw Maria at the school next day, he smiled at her, but she hardly noticed, never actually even looking at him. He realized it was due to his stupidity that the tables had turned. Days were moving by and Darian couldn’t stop thinking about her. He yearned to talk to her. He knew this feeling was only going to bring heartache and disaster for him, but he couldn’t stop himself. He tried to concentrate in studies and worked harder at the farm but that didn’t help much.  He didn’t know what to tell her to make her talk to him again.  Should he say he just wanted to be friends? Or should he tell her he liked her? He himself wasn’t clear on what he wanted out of the whole thing, but he knew he had to do something before she drove him crazy.

*******************************To be continued**************************************

love4

Maria Albert was just 16 years old. She couldn’t be expected to take care of her family! Not like this, suddenly, without any training or experience!  And how much help were grandparents going to be? They were old, and she would have to end up taking care of them too. This wasn’t fair at all. But she didn’t have a choice, did she? She took stock of her situation, understanding that life wasn’t fair and cribbing about her bad fortune would not change anything.

Maria’s parents had passed away a month ago in a car crash leaving her and her two kid brothers orphaned. Her younger brothers, Ted and Frank, were aged 10 and 4 respectively. Ted had been sulking since the accident, not talking to anyone, as if the death of his parents had squeezed the spirit out of him. Frank was very young to understand what had happened. He thought his parents had gone for a vacation, leaving them in their grandparents’ house. He was busy chasing squirrels, and running after butterflies in their grandparents’ garden. Maria was devastated too. Every now and then she would burst into tears remembering them. But youth allows you to bounce back like never again. After the incident, her grandfather asked them to leave school in New York and come and stay with them in the small town of West Orange, Texas.

Maria enrolled herself in the West Orange-Stark High School in the sophomore year. This was the first time she was changing school and didn’t know what to expect on her first day, having grown up with the same friends in the same school in New York. Will the other kids look down upon her? Well, they can’t, can they? She was from New York after all, a big city compared to a small place like this. Or maybe, being jealous, they would make fun of her for the exact same reason!

She arrived at the school, with a satchel containing just a notebook. She stood in front of the gate with a look of uncertainty on her face. She looked beautiful in a quiet sort of way, with big blue terrified eyes, rosy, tender lips, a shock of red hair, and almost pink complexion. She would not be considered a very forthright person, but rather as timid and shy. She would rather voice her concerns in private than before a group of people. She knew she did not stand a chance if the kids at the school behaved nastily towards her. With misgivings, she entered the school.

She went to the principal’s office. He welcomed her, expressing regret over the demise of her parents, and hoping that she would like this school. He handed her a school curriculum which she checked for her first class. It was history. She headed towards the class, but unable to find it, hovered in the area. A girl, tall and smart-looking with thick glasses, enquired as to what Maria was looking for. Hearing Maria’s reply, she introduced herself as Rita Thomas, adding that she had history as her first class too. Maria introduced herself, giving a little background as to the reason of joining this school and they both went into the class together.

Inside the class, Rita introduced Maria to the other students. The teacher had not arrived yet, so some of the students flocked around her. They introduced themselves and asked her about New York and how she liked it here. When the teacher walked into the class, everyone raced back to their seats. The teacher also asked for her introduction, which she gave, again. She could not remember the last time when she had to speak so much. Maria had already begun to like this school. It was not bad at all. It was, in fact, very good. The kids seemed nice and sensible and down-to-earth, not at all like the snotty kids in New York. And they were very nice to her. Maybe, coming to live in West Orange county was going to be very good for her.

There was one guy in the class, Darian Hudson, who did not speak to her. At all. He was a very good-looking guy, tall and athletic, with nice cropped hair and a handsome face. Maria wasn’t the type to talk to anyone first, but she made a daring exception for him. She said a soft ‘hi’, to which he nodded curtly and left. This surprised her, as she knew she looked okay, and she did have a few admirers in New York. Why would he ignore her then? She was intrigued, and because he was a combination of both good looks and mystery, she felt attracted towards him. She hadn’t seen him talking to any of the girls. Was he shy of girls? Or did he have a secret past? She couldn’t rein in her imagination, thinking Darian might be a vampire like Edward Cullen of Twilight series. How cool would that be? She decided she would find out more about him before curiosity drove her mad.

************************************To be continued********************************

Beyond life!

Posted: March 11, 2013 in Short story
Tags: , , , , ,

ghost

How many of you have felt the presence of something unexplainable, something weird? A cold touch, or a quiet whisper, a foggy form or perhaps a figure walking through walls? Or maybe have seen dead loved ones?  Some will say, they have and the others will just laugh at such a suggestion. I belonged to the second lot.

I was always the scientific type, to negate the presence of souls, to argue, armed with scientific data, with just about anyone who would dare to claim the same. But all that changed one day. I still don’t know how to explain it. It doesn’t frighten me anymore. In fact I was scared for just one day, unable to believe my senses. And scared not because of seeing a ghost, but more of being laughed at. I was the one laughing at people’s whimsical fantasies, and here I was, about to be added to the same list. It was just preposterous. I was angry that I should be the one to see him, rather than the scores of other lunatic people I could laugh at upon hearing the story.

A colleague of my dad, also an amateur astrologer, had, sometime before his death, predicted that he would die in a road accident. I used to call him Uncle. He used to live on the same street as us, just a bit further up on the road. One fine sunday, he was supposed to buy paint buckets, early in the morning, to paint a newly constructed room. He didn’t feel like going, so he lazed away till the afternoon. After lunch, he went for a nap but abruptly got up and started to leave to buy the paint. His wife pleaded with him to not go as it was too late to do any painting that day, but he was adamant. And away he went on his bicycle. All this, we got to know later.

We received the news of his death the same night. He was hit by a truck while coming back home with the paint buckets on the bicycle,  and was dead on the spot. Everyone was sad, even me as Uncle used to greet me every time we met on the road. Funeral was done, and I forgot all about it as I was in college then and madly in love and therefore did not have much time to think about anything else.

One day, just like every other day, I got down from bus and was walking back to my house. And like every other time, Uncle rode up in his cycle and greeted me in his usual style. Clear as crystal. I greeted him back just like always. I reached my house, warmed the food and was about to have it when suddenly it struck me like a bolt from the blue. I was scared like hell. It just didn’t make any sense to me. I picked up my bicycle and hurried to my maternal grandfather’s place. They heard me out and said it was just a figment of imagination, and that according to them, I was very disturbed by Uncle’s death and had therefore imagined him on the road. I knew I wasn’t all that sad (forgive the callousness of youth). But I could not explain it in any other way. So it stayed that way, an unexplained page in the book of my simple life.

But that episode changed me in some way. And I started thinking that maybe, just maybe, there are things we do not yet know, which science has not matured enough yet to find out. Just the way we didn’t know the earth was round or the earth revolved around the sun at some point of time, maybe we do not have scientific instruments to actually measure the presence of a soul. Or whatever, I don’t know. I just know there are things we can’t explain just yet. And until we can, there would be believers and there would be those who laugh at them. And I can’t say if I am glad or otherwise for having made the transition from the latter to the former.