An Eyewitness Account

It was a coincidence.

That’s how these stories start, don’t they?

It was just a coincidence.

She just happened to be sitting there; at the right place at the right time. Or was it wrong place, wrong time? One can never tell in these situations. But she hadn’t meant to see it, to witness any wrongdoing. On any other day, she’d be thrilled about an opportunity like this. She was the type to press her nose against the window and spy on the neighbours. It was a childhood trait of hers. That’s why she had a flat nose, her mother would explain.

But that day was different. Tragedy had struck the Singhvi household, when the patriarch of the house refused to wake up that morning. And our Aneesha, dazed and heartbroken, had been staring out her favourite window. As you might have guessed, this is when she happened to see something that would make her such an important character in this story. But she didn’t know it back then. She didn’t care.

The mist floated, an opaque white, taking up half the view from her window. The other half seemed to have been painted in a grey palette, buildings and roads alike. And they were turning blacker by the minute, due to the incessant rainfall.

A man emerged from a building. This building was no different from the others, a cluster of mass-produced structures, except that a man emerged from it and ran across the road, trying to protect himself from the downpour with his flimsy little handkerchief. The handkerchief was pink. She remembered that because it had caught her eye, this sudden burst of colour in the monochrome of her view. Of course, she thought nothing about it then. She didn’t care.

But later, when questioned about what she saw from her optimal spying position, that’s all she could remember. A flash of pink floating among all the grey. It had seemed like a sign, she said. If that tiny little thing could survive the rain, she could survive this tragedy.

The policeman questioning her put on his best sympathetic face, his hands clenched tight, his foot tapping nervously on the tiled floor. He asked about the man’s face, his clothes, or any other feature that could help them recognize him. No, she said. Just the pink handkerchief. And wasn’t that enough, she wondered, as the policeman repeated these questions again and again. He wouldn’t even tell her what the crime was. And which man carried a pink handkerchief around anyways?

The policeman sighed. It wasn’t a pink handkerchief. It was a white handkerchief soaked in the blood of a dead woman from the building across the street.

Oh, she said, and would say nothing more. He sighed again, this time just for effect, and walked away. She turned back to the window, looking at the black and white view outside. After sometime she saw him cross the road, his pink handkerchief fluttering in the wind.

Advertisements

The Date

There it is again; the fluttering in my stomach. As if a thousand caterpillars have chosen this very instant to break through their cocoons and spread their beautiful butterfly wings, and are now trying to find a way out of my dark insides. My hand moves towards my stomach and lingers for a few moments, as if to soothe my body, which is buzzing with nervous anticipation. It’s a mechanical gesture, one that I’ve been doing since many years to calm myself down. Today it doesn’t work.

I look at the wall with the patterned wallpaper. An ornate clock hangs from a nail, tilting to its left. The imperfection fascinates me. I listen to the clock’s periodic clicks. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Time seems to be moving slower than usual. I will it to move faster, it refuses. I sit back with a sigh.

I have intentionally chosen a table at the back, with my seat facing the glass door of the tiny café. This way, I’ll see him when he enters. I’ll be physically and mentally prepared. I realize I’m in my head too much. I’m overthinking this.

The waiter places a tray on my table. With a shaky hand, I take a few sips of the iced coffee I have ordered. It’s probably a bad idea to order before the other person arrives. But I needed to calm myself down. The cool glass feels slippery against my palm, which has become slimy with sweat. What if he tries to hold my hand, and thinks it’s cold and reptilian? I quickly wipe the sweat away with tissues. I want to hold the glass up against my forehead, which seems to be burning hot. Maybe I have a fever. I wonder if I should use this as an excuse to cancel. I don’t. The cold glass beckons, tiny droplets of condensed water forming along its outer later. But I’m conscious of the other people in the café, huddled around their tables, deep in conversation.  What if he walks in right now and sees me holding a glass against my face? That could happen to me. I have bad timing.

I push the glass away, and my heart begins to pound. I glance at my phone to see the time. Five minutes late. ‘Why am I getting so nervous? It’s just a date. It’s no big deal.’ I repeat this in my head a few times, till I feel my throat constricting. “I know why you’re so nervous.” I hear my bestie’s voice in my head. “You like Ethan! You like Ethan!” In my mind’s eye, I see myself blushing.

I catch the waiter’s eye, signal for a glass of water and gulp it down with growing urgency. The phone buzzes. I snatch it and read Ethan’s message.

Sorry, can’t make it tonight.

As I take a deep breath, I feel my throat clearing. Must be all the water I drank.

No problem. I was running late anyways.

His message also says some other things. I ignore them, deciding to read it properly later. As my heartbeat slowly returns to normal, I feel my body relaxing.

‘What should I do now?’ I wonder, looking around the tiny café. Going home doesn’t seem very appealing. And I like it here. Suddenly I grin. I whip my phone out, and type rapidly.

Are you nearby? Are you free?

The phone buzzes back in equal haste. Within minutes, Jake is here, sitting right across me. We talk, we laugh, we binge on fries. He asks me about Ethan. I feel the familiar tightening of my muscles, and I blush. He smiles. I feel a warmth spreading through my body; the warmth of friendship, of familiarity, of Jake.

I reach home and check my phone to see Ethan’s messages. I wonder if I should be offended that he cancelled our date, but his reason seems valid enough, so I decide to play it cool. “But he cancelled on you, so let him text you first.” There’s my bestie’s voice again. I roll my eyes and keep the phone aside. It buzzes and I grab it.

You forgot your scarf in my car again, moron.

It’s Jake.

Meet me tomorrow and take it.

I smile, feeling the warmth in my body again. Looks like I’m meeting Jake tomorrow.

The Storyteller

She had loved them as a child, listening to them with unblinking rapturous eyes, and a mind that painted pictures of every word she heard. Tales ordinary and extraordinary. Stories of hunters and monsters, heroes and villains, devas and rakshasas. They lingered in her mind long after they had been told, flashes of colourful images and strings of words woven together into stories. More stories. Different stories. Her stories. She longed to let these stories out, to send them back into the universe from which they had emerged. A universe of lights and sounds, smells and tastes, a universe of narratives.

But the stories remained stuck in her mind, like jewels embedded deep into the walls of the caves, unwilling to be separated from their rocky cushion. To smash the walls apart and pull these stories out, to heat them and beat them and shape them until they shone and sparkled with her creative zest would be nothing short of a violent act. Violence to her mind. Violence to her soul.

So the stories remained in the recesses of her mind, glowing like tiny stars in a blue sky. There they ripened, infused with the flavours of her life, until they were ready to be gently plucked off. No burning. No violence.

And when the time was right, the stories came pouring out. Stories of hunters and monsters, heroes and villains, devas and rakshasas. New stories. Her stories. She spun them into gold, and spread them far and wide.

He listened to the storyteller with unblinking rapturous eyes, and a mind that painted pictures of every word she said.

A Story

She wakes up at dawn, minutes before her alarm clock would command her to do so. She rushes through her morning chores with a quiet determination. Today is an important day.

She steps out of the house, basking in the sun’s glorious light that fills her with warm bliss. She has waited fervently for weeks, months even, for this day to emerge, bright and beautiful, a reward for her patience, and her faith.

She clutches tightly to the piece of paper in her hand, reading the hymn in her mind. The words keep running through her head over and over again, and she whispers them under her breath, almost like a chant.

Ah! She has finally reached her destination. She joins a group of believers like herself, and awaits the big moment.

Finally it arrives. The moment of ecstasy. The doors swing open, and the throng of devotees rushes inside. She pushes her way through the crowd, desperate for a glimpse. In her efforts to reach the front, she doesn’t even mind losing her sacred mantra-paper. She doesn’t need it anymore.

The paper floats aimlessly in the air, before resting on the floor with a finality. Abandoned and trampled upon, the big, bright red letters printed on it are still legible:

90% discount on all products*

The Shower

She stood under the shower, with nothing to adorn her bare body except her limp black hair and her red hands.

She closed her eyes with a slight shiver, focusing her mind on the water. Hot and gentle, it fell on the back of her neck, a turbulent stream or a tame waterfall. Tiny rivulets flowing down the steep curves of her body; her back, her arms, her breasts. They gushed towards the floor, forming swirling patterns of red. She arched her back slightly, emitting a loud sigh as a waterfall cascaded down her back, giving her a pleasure that was neither sexual nor spiritual.

With a raised hand, she wrote a name on the steamed-up glass, with the pride of a scribe inscribing a slab of stone, or a sheet of papyrus, watching with fascination as the name vanished in a cloud of steam.

She gave a short, wry laugh. It amused her, this fleeting existence of her art, just to be lost in fog and nothingness.  “Just like human life. So brief. So intangible. So…erasable.”

She stood under the shower, for as long as it took for the water to wash away the blood, and with it, her guilt and her fears, her suffering and her tears.

She was free.

 

Beginnings and Ends

Every story, whether big or small, born out of one’s imagination or reality, has something in common. They all have a beginning and an end. For how would you ever tell a story if it never began and it never ended?! But do stories ever really begin? Can you pinpoint a place or a moment and say “This is it! This is where it all began!”

If the story is about a young boy who happens to witness a kidnapping on his way to school, when exactly does the story begin? Does it open on that day? Or does it begin when the kidnapping is planned? Or when the boy starts going to that school via that road? Or when the boy is born? Or when the victim is born?

Similarly, where does they story end? Does it end the minute the kidnappers are out of the boy’s sight? Or when the boy calls for help? Or when the victim is rescued? Does the story end there? At the heroics of a small boy, rescue of the hapless victim and death of the evil kidnappers? Or does it continue for years later, following a young man scarred by trauma, a victim turned into a victimizer and two orphaned children trying to survive on the streets?

These are the questions that hound me, every time I try to write a story. “How to end and how to begin?” I ask myself repeatedly, as the story disappears before it even materializes, lost in the fog of vagueness and memories.

I Dream a Dream

My eyes opened to the warm white glow of light.

I looked around, hoping for a glimpse of something familiar. My surroundings seemed to blend into nothingness; as if this place I was in had no walls, just miles and miles of white fog with a hint of blue.

I looked down towards my feet. I was standing barefoot on a snowy white floor that seemed to stretch into nothingness, just like the fog. ‘The floor isn’t cold’, I noticed. In fact, it was quite uneven and fluffy; almost like standing on cotton!! My mind jolted back to the times I had wished I could stand on a cloud. ‘But of course this can’t be a cloud!’

Lifting my right foot, I stepped ahead gingerly, if only to make sure I was standing on solid ground. I was. ‘Maybe this is a dream.’ I pinched my arm just to make sure. But I didn’t wake up. I was starting to feel a little anxious. I started moving my arms around; slowly at first, then with growing desperation, hoping that it would clear up the fog. But the fog was out of my reach.

After a few futile attempts, I gave up. I decided to further explore this snow-white world I was in. I put one foot in front of the other and started walking, only to be amazed. The floor seemed like a sponge beneath my feet, bringing a spring to my step. The more I walked, the happier I felt.

Within a few minutes, I was jumping around in joy! I would leap in the air, and the moment my feet touched the ground again, fluffy floor would throw me up higher!

Until I landed with such force that the soft floor gave way, and I was falling. Falling faster and faster towards the ground, with the wind whistling loudly in my ears. But there was no fear, no screaming. Just peace. And pure joy.

I woke up with a start and jolted upright in my bed, feeling like I was falling. As my breathing slowly came down to normal, my alarm clock rang, announcing the start of another day. By the time I got out of bed, the dream was but a foggy memory; something to be brushed aside and soon forgotten. But the feeling remained, to be felt and cherished until the end of time.

Guest Post – ‘The Puddle’

The storm is over, the rain is in the past. But in the aftermath, there are craters left all over. Puddles. At the corner of the streets, in the middle of the road, an inverse island surrounded by land.

Tiny reflections, parts of reflections, can be glimpsed at within moments as the puddle lingers on stapled to the land. It’s midnight and a scared man’s thirst is quenched as he dips his trembling cupped hands into the water. Suddenly, the sound of his shriek is absorbed into the small body of water, so sudden as if it was the quickest accidental voice heist. Slowly the blood infuses into the puddle, the colour goes a dark red as more drops hit the surface, bounce back up and then enter the water while leaving a mystique liquid fog in its wake.

The man in the cloak turns around like the moaning wind, and stomps his foot into the pool. A splashing sound echoes through the alley, half-lit by the borrowed illumination of a street light on the right side of its mouth.

Droplets of pure water fall from the sky in a haphazard manner as the strong red dilutes into a pale colour and then slowly vanishes all at once. The falling water helps clean up the thirsty man’s shirt, yet the stains are stuck on, giving a somewhat translucent clarity to the cat behind the thrash can on what had occurred in her home.

At the other end of the city it cleans up the cloaked man’s hands, his soul yet so far away from the cleansing powers of nature. The alley gets drenched with an eerie sadness and the air around the puddle gets heavier as it feels bombarded by the rain. The fresh, clean rain, with each drop into the puddle, removes the truth slowly, painfully and with sheer unfairness.

Written by Jazzyscribe

Losing Focus

It just happened.

A sudden, unexpected occurrence.

She was calmly cruising through life. Not in the kind of pace that would denote leisure, no. Only people without ambition had the time to indulge themselves so. And she was not one of them. Obviously.

There was a smile on her face, and hope in her eyes. Confidently, she zoomed past the others, knowing exactly where she was going. What she was seeking.

Ah! There it was.

She could almost see it. The small twinkling light far ahead. Since ages she had dreamed of this very moment, this very sight. And now, victory was so close. She craned her neck a little, as if to get a closer look. Then she shook her head a little and smiled ruefully. What was she thinking? Of course she would actually have to go physically closer to get a good look!

She zoomed closer to the light, a victorious smile lighting up her entire face. She could almost see herself basking in its glory; that beautiful, precious thing.

Whomp!

The force that hit her was strong, and invisible. She suddenly lurched forward in her seat. Her plane almost froze mid-air, and it was with much difficulty that she finally took control of it. When it was steady again, she saw the white light again. It was still twinkling in the distance, beckoning her.

Or was it? She didn’t feel drawn to it anymore. Like her ambition had literally just flown out of the window.

Dazed, and a little weary, Tasha turned her plane around and sped off into the growing darkness. In the search of a new twinkling light.

Supernatural: A fangirl’s point of view

I think I’m adorable.

I lost my shoe.

Idjits.

These words make any SPN fan go gaga. And how can I forget the beautiful song by Kansas – ‘Carry on my wayward son’ that has now almost become an SPN identifier!

Supernatural. A show about monsters and hunters, angels and demons. The story of two brothers against the big bad world, their only help being a runaway angel.

You may think I like Supernatural for the three deliciously hot guys; Sam and Dean Winchester, and Castiel. And you might be right.

Sam’s sensitive brown puppy-dog eyes make my heart melt, and his height and incredibly hot body makes my bestie’s ovaries melt (her words, not mine!). And who doesn’t love Dean’s cheekiness and wit, which have provided us with some of the funniest SPN dialogues ever! We smirk in amusement as Castiel tries to figure out the ways of human life.

We see Sam’s dilemma; his conscience reproaching him for going back into monster-hunting. We worry as he moves towards a fate he can’t control. We watch, horrified, as an addiction takes over him, leading to an outcome he was trying to prevent all along. We support him as he tries to pick up the pieces, to gain his brother’s trust back. We shed tears as he finally gains control, and sacrifices himself, to save the world.

And this is just the end of Season 5! I could go on and on about the characters. Because though SPN is mostly fantastical, the characters are real. Knowing their hopes and fears, seeing them in times of joy and sorrow, they become closer to us than real friends, and we learn from them.

Sure, we learn things like always carrying salt wherever we go and never ever touching a rabbit’s foot and what we consider alien abductions are actually fairy abductions. We can all recall those suspicious or hateful glances we’ve received for discussing with loud and excited voices about the beginning of the apocalypse and how awesome Lucifer is, how all the angels have lost their wings or how the Leviathans are slowly taking over the human race!

But we also learn that the world is not set in black and white. There is no right and wrong; just differences in point of view. That there are nice, misunderstood monsters who mean no harm; just as there are power-hungry, weapon wielding angels, ready to destroy the world.

But most importantly, we learn that we are not doomed to a certain kind of fate by the actions of others. We determine our own destiny. We can choose not to lead an army of demons. And we can choose to end the apocalypse.

The thing that fascinates me about SPN is how they’ve portrayed angels and demons. The angels are like workers in an organization. They are cold and mechanical, and simply follow the orders of their superiors. They do not or choose not to have minds of their own. They believe the orders come from God, the head of the organization, like a President. But the President has left long ago, leaving his company in the hands of his trusted power-hungry Managers, the Archangels.

Demons on the other hand, are scattered in the beginning. They pray to their creator, Lucifer, who is ironically a fallen angel. Later we find out there’s a King of Hell, (not Lucifer) along with Knights of Hell (who are now dead, mostly). Hell is like a Kingdom with a ruler. His appointed ministers rule the subjects. But they still have a mind and will of their own.

So the next time you dismiss us as fangirls, don’t. We love SPN for the plot and the characters. It just helps that they’re so good-looking.

Richard Bach

This is more of a ME post.

On a family vacation, I came across the book One by Richard Bach. The best book I’ve ever read!!!

And since then, I fell in love with Richard Bach.

The idea that we’re all connected to each other is an old one. But the way he writes about it in One blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Simply believing in the idea of parallel dimensions, where each time I’ve come across a crossroad and chosen one path, a parallel life begins on the other path, makes me lose all regrets I’ve ever felt.

Bad things are not the worst things that an happen to us. NOTHING is the worst thing that can happen to us.

Wrong turns are as important as right turns. More important, sometimes.

After coming back, I remembered another book of his – Jonathan Livingston Seagull. He wrote about how it’s okay to be different. Even if the people around you shun you for it. You just need to fly out on your own and find those who think like you, and you will be happy.

Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.

Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.

Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They call you devil or they call you god.

After that I read The Bridge Across Forever. But my favorite Bach book is Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. 

It’s about a Messiah who tries to enlighten people but realizes that people don’t want to be enlightened. They just want miracles.

You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.

 Richard Bach inspires me to achieve great things. He tells me life will be an adventure, no matter what, because I choose to make it so. He tells me I’m strong, and makes me believe in myself. He tells me it’s good to be different. He tells me it’s OK to be me.