Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Call

It had been a long time since their last meeting. Every time, she missed him, she stared at the sky. After all, no matter where they were, they were all under the same sky; and they both fell asleep wishing under the same stars under the same sky they shared. People always told her that time is a wonderful healer, but she had seen how time had destroyed them – perhaps, it was too late for them to be able to salvage their situation. Time could heal, time could rip a person into pieces. But, time could not change the story. Ever since he had left, she found herself constantly swimming between two waves – the flood of letting in, and the torrent of letting go. Sometimes, she felt so frustrated that she thought it was time to just leave and turn to dust. If the essence of her life was leaving him, she wondered if she could just walk down the old path one last time, gather everything that she wanted and re-paint the entire road red. She missed the lazy evenings they spent together and wished she could just go back to simpler times. She knew there was still a chance – albeit a teeny tiny one – but she was not sure she wanted to take it. It required a lot of effort, and she wasn’t sure she could invest so much again. Besides, only a miracle could really save them, and she did not believe in miracles.

As he waited for his train to arrive, he remembered the first time he had met her. The swarm of people rushing to enter the train while she was attempting to get out had scared her. As soon as she saw him at the platform, she just rushed into his arms, and the world around seemed to have come to a stand-still. The way she’d held on to him made him feel incredible and uniquely warm. He wondered if she had ever been horrified the way she’d been that day. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea to endure the journey on Mumbai local-trains during peak-hours, and that had been her first time. In that moment, all she’d needed was a whisper and a hug. He hadn’t quite known what to do, but on that day, she’d made it clear that trust had no faces, only promises, and her vulnerability had involuntarily made him promise that he would protect her. She was the first person from whom he learnt that the world deserves to be loved; even by broken people, like her and him. As he thought of her, he realized that what they shared was beautiful, even though it had been dead for some years. Had it really been that long, or it just felt that way because time only seemed to fly when she was by his side chattering away to glory? He realized that the night did not always need to be dark and cloudy; light always shone to drive the darkness away. After all, they lived on a blue planet that circled around a raging ball of fire, next to a moon that moved the sea – who was to say that miracles don’t happen?

The time had come for change. It was time to recover the good parts of their life. Happiness was now just a phone call away, and this time he did not hesitate as he pulled out his mobile-phone and dialled her number. 

Monday, 19 September 2016

The Battle Of The Egos

He woke up early in the morning, before the sun got an opportunity to set his skin on fire, and went for a run. He enjoyed running. One day, he hoped to be able to race fast enough to finish life’s race. As soon as this thought crossed his mind, he stopped on his tracks abruptly. Why was he suddenly so interested in rushing through life instead of savouring every moment? He had never harboured any delusions of an easy life, but why was he choosing to run away from problems instead of attempting to solve them?
Deep down, he knew the answer. She had been his “problem-fixer”. All he had to do was tell her about what was bothering him, and she’d take care of everything. She had a knack for making all his troubles and worries magically disappear. But where was she now? He had no idea.
He wondered if he should send her a message. He was affirmative that she would reply. But then, he wondered, should he tell her about what was on his mind? Would she think he was only trying to reconnect because he needed her? He couldn’t just pick up the phone and tell that he missed her. Expressing feelings were her department, as was intuitively understanding what he was feeling even when he did not say a word. He had even stopped cyber-stalking her months ago. It was too painful seeing her constant updates with people who had once been ‘nobodies’. Even though she frequented places which were a stone’s throw away from his habitat, it bothered him that she never made any plans with him. She had always taken the initiative. Why should it be any different now?
He thought it best to keep his feelings to himself. Dismissing all thoughts about her, once again he began sprinting across the blocked paver.  

The never ending stretch of the sandy seashore seemed to confuse her way. The beach had become her new home, yet she was not able to decide how she felt about it. She’d been feeling this way for quite some time now. Since the last one year, she’d been tossing between choices, cities, and voices, and she could not remember the last time when she had felt like her old self.
Her old self always had a smile on the face, didn’t hesitate before greeting strangers with open arms, and always remained in a positive frame of mind. Where had this old self disappeared? Why did she feel so uprooted?
She’d always been a traveller. Shuffling places was not new for her. In fact, she quite enjoyed that part of her life. Perhaps, the problem was that he was not there with her…
Even though they had never frequented places together, having him in her life made her feel like home. He was her home – the home where she felt comfortable, where she felt safe and sheltered and where she could be her genuine self. When things went awry, as they often did, his voice was all she longed to hear. Just like home is a place that’ll always be there, not for once had she imagined a situation where he would not be around. Before him, she unknotted her burdens and he held them for her so that she could walk out of the door without the weight of her problems bringing her down to her knees. Home is where the heart is, and her heart always remained tied to him, no matter how far she wandered away. Every time someone mentioned home, her mind always led her to him.
She longed to be home again. So many months had passed. Did she dare to pick up the phone and give him a call? What would she say? What if he didn’t answer? What if the call made her realize that the picture of the home she had painted was a mirage, and in reality, her home had been long wrecked? What would she do then? It was best to wait for him to make a call this time. After all, nothing was over until it was explicitly stated so.

The call never happened. The text remained unsent.
Both clutched to hope with one hand and prepared themselves for disappointment with the other.
Ego had won this battle. Would the heart still manage to win the war?