Wednesday, May 4, 2016

* Word with myself *



Remember,
1>You are one in a million!
2>You are the best!
3>You have got a motive and you need to achieve it!
4>There are so many people who love you!
5>You have got so many things that make you a special child!!

Today I just spotted this old Card from one of my besties during college days. After a very bad mood swing, I was upset for no reason and slept off without talking to anyone. And in the morning I found a card on my table with a long letter written inside. The lines I shared above are a few from the letter. 

The ones who knew me closely perhaps did have inkling about my low self-esteem. I am a person who will always doubt herself; I usually don’t do fault finding in others but when it comes to my ownself, I seriously have some kind of trouble of putting myself down for the smallest of things.

Though, times have changed me, atleast, to some extent. Times have changed as well. My once upon a time close friend isn’t so close anymore. No, not that anything went wrong between her and me; it’s just a matter of time and distance sometimes. Coming back to myself, I surely do not have a very high self-esteem even now; but now, I guess, I don’t care much about being loved. May be, that there actually are people who love me; but now I have started believing that it really does not matter if there are plenty or handful or just a few or even none at all. I have found my own peaceful world surrounded by the love of God. Whatever happens; at the end of the day, I have God, that one source of comfort and bliss; and why should I need any other. I don’t make any efforts to make people stay in my life. If anyone wants to, they are welcome; else I am good by myself.

I don’t know if I am the best or even good for that matter. I don’t know if I am a special child or one in a million. I don’t even know if I have got any motive or not. All I know is that I am; I just am. It’s my being that is one truth which can’t be denied. I don’t know if I can change the person I am and I don’t even feel the need to do so. I might be weird, I might be a little socially awkward, I might be boring; but today I accept myself the way I am. I might be anything but evil and that suffices my expectations from me. I try my best to never wrong anyone. I might not be an interesting person but nevertheless I try to be good at heart.

I have messed up many times and sometimes, I still do; I have lost faith many times and sometimes, I still do; I have felt the pain very deeply and sometimes, I still do; I have gone wrong many times and sometimes, I still do; I have gone through the feeling of getting left behind, and sometimes, I still do; but isn’t that precisely what being human is all about.

To err is human!
Yes I have erred but I try to understand and improve. I am on my very own journey on this planet. The people may not understand my journey and I might not understand theirs. But nevertheless, all of us are headed somewhere or the other. Keep going and keep learning along the way is the only rule I would like to follow in my life.

Thanks for dropping by,
Much love to everyone who just read this piece of me and myself. <3



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review - PANORAMA


About the Book:

A turbulent relationship between a mother and daughter takes a sudden turn when the daughter takes a sudden turn when the daughter stumbles across a past that she never knew.
The golden period of a professor’s life is tainted by questions about his purpose until one night gives him all the answers he needs.
Desperate times test us all but when hunger drives a girl to do the unthinkable, her life changes forever.
Woven around the lives of the people around us- the shy girl on the metro, your domestic help, your neighbors and perhaps even you- this collection of short stories will take you on a bittersweet journey that explores the spectrum that is part of any human relationship and all the complexity and chaos that secretly dwells within the homes and heart of India.

My Review:

PANORAMA (A Collection of short stories) is an anthology of fifteen short stories by the Debut Author Shilpi Chaklanobis. Each story is unrelated to the other; and still each story has a common element of striking the chord with the reader.
The stories range from tales of the struggle of poor for the simplest joys of life to the tales of dilemmas of rich despite every material comfort. Some stories lend perspectives into the most mundane things happenings around us which we forget to take notice of; and some of them are based on the happenings which are not very common. Each character and each person in your vicinity may have a story to tell and PANORAMA is very much like a collection of these everyday stories.
“Wok” is my personal favorite among all the stories. Sometimes, even the fate can play satires on the poor. The story is s touching narrative with simplicity of expression.
At the end of the story, you just feel like counting your blessings and being grateful for everything you have.

About the Author:


Shilpi Chaklanobis hails from the beautiful city of Kanpur and has spent the majority of her adult life in Delhi. She currently heads the Digital Marketing division at an MNC. She has a knack for writing and she aims to translate her experiences and understanding of human relationships into stories that not only move people but also resonate with them. PANORAMA (A collection of short stories) is her first endeavor as a writer.

Buying Link PANORAMA

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Author I love!

Image Source: happycamperproject.wordpress.com

Of all the authors I have ever read or I am ever going to read, this one man can’t ever be replaced by any. I am talking about Paulo Coelho here. More than the stories he narrates, it’s the way he sees the things that makes me love him. Whatever turn a story takes, whatever direction a character is led towards and whatever convolution the emotions got tangled in; the man never lets you end up without hope, faith and love.

These three words HOPE, FAITH and LOVE are a representation of the man PAULO COELHO. You may be anyone situated in any part across the world mired in any kind of struggle, mundane or an intricate one; when you read his books, you feel hopeful. There is a magic in his words which makes you believe that despite of your flaws and your shortcomings; you have a place in this world, you belong despite your eccentricities because you are human, you are capable of doing wonderful things and in fact everything you do is wonderful in a way because you are the very YOU no one else can be. You may fall but you will rise again; this is what I have learnt from his writings. You may fall out of love for a while, you may feel lost; but the faith in your heart will never let you get lost forever. You lose yourself to find yourself again. You may feel like giving up sometimes, you may feel weak and wasted, but the faith and love in your heart will take you further to the places where you will discover the beauty of your inner-self.

HOPE, FAITH and LOVE- the three things make PAULO Caelho my favorite author for now and for forever.

This post is written for #Indispire Edition 113 Which fiction author's book/novel you like most? Why?#MyFavouriteFictionWriter  


Image source: designbump.com

Monday, April 18, 2016

*A Tale of Two Hearts*


This story was written by me for Write India Campaign, Author Durjoy Datta's Contest. Read on and let me know the feedback in the comments section :)

Image Source- jwms1.wordpress.com


 ‘Do you take David as your husband, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?’

Rhea stood there wondering, how the dynamics of relationships can change so suddenly, taking completely unexpected turns. And how, the least significant of things, can sometimes lead us to the most significant decisions of our lives?

***

Rhea’s mother had tried to change her daughter’s decision in every way possible and she had failed.

'Are you sure, Rhea?' asks my mother. 'Of course I'm. Survival of the fittest, mother. I'm not going against Darwin. Also I don't want unnecessary scars on my body.' It's a known fact that we are all born to die. And frankly, I don't understand why it has to be made into such a big deal. If it were not for my mother I would have said that to the bunch of people outside my house, some of them with young kids, shouting slogans, waving placards, literally wanting me to cut one of my beating hearts out. "Save A Life. Donate!" they shout. For someone who is one in billions, 7.125 billion to be exact, I expect to be treated better. Scientists are still befuddled regarding my condition that gave me two hearts in my mother's womb. But years of research and sticking needles into me have led them nowhere, and they have labeled me as a freak mutation. It's so rare - literally one in all humankind - that they didn't even name the anomaly (as they call it, I will call it awesomeness). I wanted to name the condition myself, something on the lines of Rhea's Heartsawesome but the doctors aren't thrilled with the suggestion. Instead they want to cut one of them out and save a life. Huh? An IQ of 180, increased concentration, exceptional athleticism and a phenomenal metabolism rate - are just the few boring benefits of an increased blood circulation. Why would I ever give that up?

No sooner had Rhea finished her mental rhetoric than David entered the room…

When, my cynical mother, would stop being so impossible? She very well knows my inclination to this fanatic grey haired cardiologist. God save me from his assertive ways of pushing his opinions across the table. No! Damn him! I won’t budge in the slightest.

Your mother told me. So, you already made a decision? You know, it’s not your decision that troubles me, but the underlying reasons. How can someone with two hearts be so heartless? You refuse to save a life so that you don’t lose a few athletic races of your life? Of what use would be your IQ, if you don’t have an EQ? Successful people are balanced people, Rhea. If you choose to have no regard for emotions and feelings, you will only end up being a HEARTLESS robot.

Indeed, fervently he talks. But, No! This time he cannot play his word game. I have to hit him back. My words should pierce through him; so that, he dares not come back preaching to me.

Oh yes, Doc! But you talk on merely a superficial level. There is more to it! You know, I am the only one of my clan with two hearts. I belong to a superior human race! These lesser mortals want to destroy my whole race! They call me a wretched human being when they have lost their morality. How moral, after all, would it be to destroy a whole clan to save one odd life? Even the doctors have lost their mind; but I would not give up my
identity. I would see the future unfold with my two heart baby and its descendants.

Nor the grey haired figure, who was almost twice of age than Rhea, would give up so easily. He had a great understanding of human psychology. And with Rhea, he had a long association, since her birth itself.

What morality you talk about; when you don’t know the morality of having a pure heart free from evil and sin. You call the entire human race lesser mortals on what half informed basis? You, the proud owner of two hearts, is unaware of tapping the potential of even one of it. It’s not the pumping of blood alone that a heart is capable of doing. The heart is the centre of emotions and feelings. Of what use is it, if you refuse to have an iota of feelings in you? You talk out of sheer conceit and vanity.

Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Says the Lord to Samuel in the holy Bible; revealing the importance of having a heart free of sins.
To cater to the emotions and feelings, is what a heart should be capable of doing. Develop your heart, it is repeatedly said. Develop compassion and love in your heart, for otherwise, it does not matter in the least if you have one or two of them.
Darn this curious feeling, this Doctor always incites in me. I hate his ways and yet, I know, I can’t stop paying heed to his goddamn ideas. What kind of discomfort he’s capable of pushing me into! Wait! Why don’t I hate him? Why, Am I, sort of, fond of him? Phew! If he does not leave, he will make me mad.
Your kind advice has been listened to with a great patience. Now, May I, with all due respect, ask you to leave?
Of course! Just one favor; if you can manage to oblige; just once, visit that lifeless woman lying on hospital bed counting her last breaths.

Rhea shook her head in exasperation and signaled the doctor to leave.

***

Being a winner at every single race is the sole motto of my life; until I become the only name in the field of athletics. The name Rhea would be a cult then. And that philanthropist doctor tells me to give away my own dream to save someone else’s. All his preaching loses its charm, when I hold this curious little piece of glass soaked in shiny metal; and contemplate the glory that would be reflected back, with more and more radiance, into my being; as I would keep walking closer to my dream, year after year. The world would watch Rhea walk up the aisle of fame and success.

A pair of eyes stared back at Rhea from the mirror. It was the reflection of her own face; but the eyes were of a ravenous vulture; dead cold eyes gazing at its prey on the other side of mirror, ready to take on it, any moment. Rhea looked in awe; her mouth was wide open with terror; even as she witnessed the changing texture of her skin, as it transformed into the slimy skin of a dreadful snake. The mirror dropped from her hand. She cried in horror, “David! Save me, please. Will you?”
The ghastly dream woke her up in the dead of the night. She switched on the bed-side lamp and walked across the room to grab the mirror. Her heart was thumping with a feeling of dread.

Thank God, I just look fine. What a terrifying dream it was! But why, On Earth, I called out for David of all the people? Why this strange feeling of fear taking over me? I feel a strange pull, as if someone is calling out to me. Why I can sense a gloom in the air? Should I call David? Not at this
hour. May be I am over-analyzing. I should rather go back to sleep. It was just a dream, after all.

The force of that pull penetrated a few kilometers in space.

David opened his eyes; he was trembling with a curious feeling which was a mix of fear, excitement, intrigue, anticipation and loneliness.
He was sitting by a lake; throwing stones into the water, every now and then, to watch the ripples forming. After sitting there for a few hours, he felt thirsty. So, he went near the water. His eyes met his reflection in the crystal clear water of the lake. He observed himself closely and a sudden shriek of pain came through his mouth. His face had become wrinkled and skin behind his eyes was puffed and hanging. He had lost his teeth. Nerves of his hands were bulging out. Suddenly, the crystal clear water turned into murky green. His mouth was becoming drier and he was dying of thirst. He was all alone; there was no-one to be seen in the reach of his eyes. Words escaped out of his mouth, soaked in misery, “Rhea! Save me! Please.”

There was an element of mystery, in the way, the two dreams, despite of their separate individual nature, intertwined into each other; As if one was needed to make the other whole. Both David and Rhea dispelled their unknown fears and pushed the dream into a distant corner of the brain, rendering it insignificant.

***

Though Rhea was determined at not changing her mind, yet, she decided to see the woman in need of her beloved heart.

I don’t know what came over me to visit this obnoxiously beautiful figure of flesh and bones. It appears as if her long slender fingers have already given up. They look withered and dry. Why, there is no other sound in the
room barring the annoying tick tock of the clock? The quiet in the room is agitating. Her golden hair remind me of the color of setting sun. I would hate to admit it; but I feel pity for this senseless figure covered in white sheets already. I wish I could help her live, but, to part with my heart, is too big a price to pay.

***
Success and more success, fame and more fame, May be such things alone are the key to happiness. I am not sure if happiness is the word. Well! May be the word is fulfillment. Why I am so unsure of my choice of words today? Is it the fulfillment of heart or the ego I talk about? Why, am I getting such strange thoughts? I did not even meet the bewitching Doctor today. Then, why am I thinking so unlike myself?

As Rhea struggled with her thoughts, the image of the golden haired petite figure, lying motionless on the hospital bed, kept reappearing in her mind. As she walked restlessly across the room, her eyes met the dressing table mirror. It was a déjà-vu moment which reminded her of her strange dream and unsettled her deeply. A thought just flashed across her mind.

Success and fame may give a person a sense of purpose in life; it can act as a driving force, but it can’t bring peace or a feeling of wholeness. It can’t fill the void.

***

Rhea’s mother was taken by surprise when Rhea told her about her changed mind. Rhea was herself quite unsure of her reason for doing so. It was hidden somewhere in the layers of her sub-conscious; a certain feeling of admiration or fondness, for David; or may be, for his ideas alone. 

I can hear my heart beating in the body of golden haired woman. Her withered fingers seem fuller now. Her long eyelashes curl outwards. I feel a strange surge of affection for her. Her heartbeats are in synch with mine. I have no clue about her origins; yet, I feel a curious connection.
David enters the room for check-up. I experience a mystical feeling of being able to read the mind of the lady; Sunanda, she is called. Suddenly, I don’t feel the curious fondness for David as had been the case in the past. But, I can feel the rhythm of my other heart, which now rests in Sunanda’s body, getting out of synch from mine. I can feel the nervousness building inside her; I can feel the subtle fondness for David in her heart; or rather mine, as it once used to be.
David tells me to go back to rest. I silently oblige, too stunned to experience the kind of feelings I am starting to have. Are there any side-effects of the surgery I was not told about?

***

I surf on the internet. I can’t find any kind of information on the side-effects from the surgery. And then I land up on a page. It talks about the research of a Doctor. I don’t understand much. It talks about the concept of heart-brain. The research has been rendered as unscientific, as it lacks the evidence of experiment.
It says that the cells of heart have a memory of their own; it is similar to the idea of soul resting in the heart. It talks about the heart as a store-house of the abstract knowledge and emotions of a person. It reminds me of the myths from the religious texts which David once had narrated to me.
I wonder if it could have happened that a part of my abstract emotions have been transferred along with my heart to Sunanda. Is this the reason I feel a kind of energy building between Sunanda and David? And how intriguing is it that I have felt the similar kind of energy between me and him, which has suddenly vanished after the surgery.

***

David’s first wife had divorced him after a year of their wedding. Since then, David had absorbed himself in work and social service. He hardly allowed himself any free time lest he should feel lonely. Rhea had been his patient or rather his subject of research for many years. David adored Rhea despite her eccentric and egotistical ways. He even felt responsible for her. But, after the surgery, David felt something had changed. He stopped trying to regulate Rhea’s way of life. He felt drawn to Sunanda. Sunanda was a woman in her early forties and a divorcee like himself. The chemistry between the two was building into a deep bond gradually. One fine day, when David was unwinding himself, sitting in a pool of water in the bath-tub, he suddenly remembered his dream.
By the next day, he had already decided to bid a goodbye to his solitary life and he proposed Sunanda to be his wife.
Rhea was the first person to whom David broke the news of his wedding. Sunanda requested Rhea to be the bridesmaid. Rhea kept laughing through the whole thing calling it all too melodramatic. Nevertheless, she was happy for the two.

***

The Duo said their wedding vows.

And Rhea wondered if it is actually destined that someday, at some point of time in eternity, we meet the split half of our soul.

She wondered if she too would have such an extra-ordinary love story someday!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

And I held her hand

This story was written by me for Write India Campaign, Author Ravinder Singh's Contest . Read on and let me know the feedback in the comments section :)

Image Source: shutterstock.com


It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.

I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend's wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batchmates. But what I didn't know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.

I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell. Four years was a long enough time to move on, which I already had or so I guessed. I found it a little strange that my heart started pounding at her mere sight. By the time, I could figure out what to say, she was already standing by my side.


“Hi, Ayaan! It’s such a pleasure to see you. I mean, you know, actually, it’s kind of unexpected!”
She was almost stammering while trying to find right combination of words for initiating a conversation. So, I took the charge “I had no idea that you were coming! You have been pretty much off the social space; I mean, hardly anyone knows about your whereabouts. Anyway, it’s nice to see you, Smita! …” My struggle to find some suitable words was luckily interrupted by the passenger standing behind me in the queue. He nudged me to keep moving along with the queue. So, the two of us became quiet and waited for our turn.

The time after check-in was a little awkward initially. The flight was about half an hour later and both of us were in a strange situation. A situation where you, actually, have so much to say that words just evade you.
“So! When are you planning to get married? Any Boyfriend?” I winked at her trying to clear the air of awkwardness between us.
Whenever she used to hide her nervousness behind her smile, her nose twitched a little bit. Ah! It was that very smile, “Umm.. Actually I did not get anybody as nice as you”, she gave an evil grin and after a moment’s pause she said, “And what about you?”
“Well! I guess! I am at my parents’ disposal now!”
The next half an hour was spent reminiscing about the memories of college time.

****
Tanay in his golden sherwani was all set to take a ride on the horse. All eight of us batch mates were so much infused with energy that the ground beneath us could have literally got some cracks. Nobody’s feet were stopping. Smita and Pragati had taken the lead and six of us guys were behind the two girls. Tanay was himself making a few moves while sitting on the horse. Smita was looking ravishing in her black saree with golden border. I was stealing a look at her after every few minutes. I wondered if she had grown more beautiful with time!
Tanay was basically from Amritsar but his family had settled in Bangalore. Though his wife Sakshartha was kannada, the wedding was arranged mostly in Punjabi style.
The wedding vows were chanted in both hindi and kannada. The knots were tied and soon our dear bachelor friend became a married man.

****
The next morning, everyone was ready to leave. Pragati and Kunal were leaving for Mumbai and rest of the guys were headed to Pune. My flight was in the evening and it turned out that Smita was travelling via the same flight. What could be a greater coincidence!  Anyway, after seeing everyone off, we decided to visit our college before heading to the airport.

The wedding had kept us all busy; it had been almost an entire day since I had a cigarette. Smita was well aware of my smoking habit since college days. Initially, she used to lecture me and we used to have disputes over the issue. But slowly she got accustomed to the fact. And anyway, I did not smoke too much; just one or two cigarettes a day. So, I just asked her to excuse myself for a minute so that I could smoke. I thought I was mistaken when I heard her asking for one too. “Sorry! Did you just say that you want a cigarette? Well, did I hear it right?” I was perplexed when she reiterated the same thing. Was it the same Smita who was completely anti-smoking once upon a time? May be I was thinking too much. People do change with time. I handed her a cigarette; it took me by surprise the ease with which she was smoking it.

We roamed about for a while. There were so many memories associated with that place, it was making me nostalgic. The life inside and outside of the college was completely different. Smita had become quiet all of a sudden. It felt as if I was walking alone. Her face had a tired look. I wondered what she was feeling.

****
We headed to the airport after an hour. I was seated two seats ahead of her. Usually I am not the one to swap seats in flights, but, that day I felt an urge to be seated near to Smita. The lady sitting beside her agreed to exchange seat with me and that’s how I got seated beside my ex-girlfriend for the next two and a half hour.

She had closed her eyes. So, I was under the illusion that she was asleep until she suddenly started speaking.

 “You were surprised at my smoking a cigarette. Weren’t you?” She took a brief pause to let out a sigh, “It was after a few months of passing out from college. I was still searching for a job in Delhi. My CGPI was not helping me much in getting a descent job. It broke my heart to keep asking for money from home. Everyone around me was happy with nice jobs and a nice career ahead. Slowly, I started feeling out of place among friends. I deactivated my facebook account, deleted my whatsapp and slowly, I started pushing myself to anonymity. In a span of six months, I attended some fifty interviews and yet I could not clear a single one. My self-esteem was lower than ever, I was going into depression. I could not break my parent’s heart by telling them what I was going through. My mother, sometimes, gave subtle hints to me that may-be I should consider giving up and coming back home to Moradabad. I was putting unnecessary financial strain on my father. For a middle-class family with only one earning member, ten thousand bucks per month was a substantially large amount. With a small salary of a primary school teacher, my father had done everything for me and my brother. We were never denied anything. Whenever, I would think about his struggle and how his face never showed any sign of grief; my heart would become full and my eyes welled up with tears. It made me feel so worthless to think that the entire amount he invested in my engineering education had resulted in no returns for him; as if everything had gone down the drain. A year was enough to shatter my spirit and create a void in my soul which convinced me of my worthlessness. I decided go back home. Before going back, I had one last interview to attend at The Dexterous Technology Pvt Ltd. It was a small IT services company. The results of this one took me by a nice surprise. This small achievement was like a silver lining in the dark clouds which had overshadowed my life.”

I called back-home in a super-excited mood; but, before I could say anything my mother’s trembling voice said something from the other side of the phone, which created a hole inside my heart. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer; in third stage! My father took the phone from my mother and consoled me that it was nothing. The man was made of iron indeed. I told my mother to come to Delhi so that we could start his treatment immediately. He was not willing to shell out a large amount of money on his treatment. Somehow, we had to convince him that his health was the first and fore-most. I had a job to take care of the routine expenses of the family. So, we admitted him to Appollo. His surgery was scheduled for the following week. Doctor had apprised us of the fact that he may not live more than a year; hope alone was our last resort. He had started to lose weight but his spirit was unbreakable. Soon, after surgery, his chemotherapy sessions were scheduled. In a span of five months from the start of his treatment, the bill amount had already crossed a figure of ten Lacs. The only time when I saw my father’s face shrink was when he looked at the bills. His entire savings were almost exhausted. One day, he became very adamant about quitting the treatment.   He did not talk to any of us.  My mother kept trying to feed him, but he would not look up. Little did we know that the end was supposed to be like this. He died without saying one last word to his family…”

Saying that she erupted into tears..
I was staring at her like a lost man with no idea of what to say. I was left wondering was it the same girl who was dancing like crazy a few hours ago. I hadn’t the least idea about anything she had been through in all these years. I grabbed the water bottle and offered it to her.

She kept sobbing for a few minutes and continued again, “It was after eight months of being diagnosed when he left us all. With him gone, all the responsibility of our family was on my shoulders. My brother was supposed to go to college after a few months. His college fee, my mother’s expenses, my own house-rent, every small and big expense was to be taken care of. Almost all the savings of my father had been used up in his treatment. At that time, I realized how important this job and its timing had been for me. My brother has always been a brighter student than me. He cleared the entrance exam and got selected for NSIT Delhi. Though my father’s savings could meet his tution fee, the hostel fee and the other routine expenses were on to me. I worked very hard at job to create an impression for myself. It was a small company, so good work meant getting acknowledgement and appreciation from every corner. As they say, time is a great heeler; the life seemed to be back on track and the feeling of loss kept fading away. I was doing good at my job and my brother was doing good at his studies. I asked my mother to come stay with me, but she preferred staying with the memories of her husband in Moradabad.”

“It was all going fine, until, six months back; a client meeting came up in Mumbai. My Boss had been happy with my work. I had a lot of spot awards, appreciation letters and certificates to my credit. So, he decided to take me along for the meeting. He is a middle aged man almost touching forty. When the meeting was over, he asked me out for a few drinks. The man had a rapport with me and there was no way I could have assumed something to be fishy. But, it’s a cruel world; you can’t be sure about anyone’s intentions. It was only in the morning that I realized I had been taken advantage of under the effect of sedatives which were mixed in my drink. I was extremely annoyed, I decided to confront him. But, I was a needy woman who could not afford to lose a hard earned job at this point in life. I was weak, I am weak, I kept quiet as if nothing happened; I am still working in the same place under the same man. Every time I look at him something boils inside me, and yet I choose to move on with life. I put on a happy face for the world, I don’t show my pain to anyone but I am not strong. I did not want to complicate my life or that of my family. I don’t want to be judged for things that were beyond my control. I have had enough and I don’t want more. So, I silently smoke away my pain and agony.”

“Next year would be my brother’s last year at college. Once he joins a job, I will be relieved of my responsibilities. I want a break from this life, Ayaan! More than ever… ”

Her sudden pause made my heart beat faster as I was no expert in handling such situations. I had no advice to offer her and no words to console her. All I could feel at the moment was a feeling of veneration for the lady who was sitting beside me; lady who once was a juvenile girl, who loved to play with heart shaped balloons; the lady whom I thought I had known and yet I was completely ignorant of what lied beneath the poised layers of her existence; the lady I had known to be a dove but who just surprised me in her avatar of a Phoenix. She was broken, but she was beautiful.

When we had broken up on the pretext of the notion that a long distance relation hardly works, I had no idea I would hold her hand again and in this way.

She was not weeping; but the feeling of pain had taken over her entire soul which was visible on her tired face. She broke down, perhaps, because, she had not done some real talking in a while. The pressure had been building for quite some time, and it was just released. In that moment, as I looked into her eyes, I saw the depth of an ocean. The depth of her soul made me fall in love with her; yet again. May be the love had always stayed. I don’t remember which precisely was the moment when I took her hand into mine. The only thing I remember is that, in those few moments, I had decided to never leave her hand again. In that two and a half hour flight, my ex-girlfriend became the ever-lasting love of my life.

****
After a few months, my company was having a referral drive; I referred Smita. She switched her job eventually. When her brother passed out, she quit her job. She went off to Nepal for two weeks to soothe her senses. When she came back, she told me that she had got it figured. The coding and decoding, the hectic schedules, the corporate etiquettes and the tight deadlines did not excite her anymore. She wanted to experience the world through a pen. It’s where she wanted to put all her energy. We got married soon thereafter.
This is the back story of Ayaan and Smita’s Happily-Ever-After.  I am happy to share our journey with all her readers. 
  
With love,
Ayaan : )
Ayaan finished writing the note which Smita wished to insert as “Note from My husband” before the starting page of her first novel which was going to print in a matter of few days.