Cookie-Dough

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I come back from work, worn out and spent. Each night, I wake up mid-sleep, as if I had never gone to bed.

I walk to the kitchen and start pulling out cans and jars. My eyes don’t even have to see where my hands are going anymore, I remember what bottle lies on which stack just as I know the alphabet.

I follow your recipe to the dot.

The same amount of flour, a cup full of sugar, little chips of chocolate hidden amidst the dough like gems in sand.

But I could never bake them like you did. So by the time I finish, the house starts to feel very empty again, without you and your sweet-smelling cookie dough.

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Roses

blue roses photos and wallpaper

Dear P,

Do you remember that Friday? Your anger had made my tears run down like acid on my dry cheeks. I had freshly bathed, soaped and sponged my face, left my skin unmossed and vulnerable, sat in your wait by the window. You walked in the door and I looked at you, beaming. But you refused to love me. You looked at me with an utter disgust in your eyes. There was something between us that felt…soaked, parched; but not thirsty, never thirsty.

In some ways the rift between us did not want to be soothed. It did not want to become a garden; it did not desire to be filled with rain. A wilting rose, which had been new to our orchard only few days ago, happy to be blossoming, joyous to have met the world, had been withered by the lack of compassion and attention offered to it. A forever smiling face too will succumb one day when all who look at it shun it. So my heart wilted, withered, succumbed when you did not touch it, see it, call it your own.

Don’t get me wrong, dear loved. You did not cause me hurt intentionally, or harm me with purpose. Your words were not rude, only sharp. Your touch was never harsh, only calculated. Your love was never inferior, but it was never meant for me.

You might find it difficult, even strange, to comprehend how I gathered so much from one loveless glance. You might prematurely blame it on my overthinking, presumptuous self, but I hope you will move beyond it once you see the truth in it, a truth you had felt and I had come to know. I find my only solace in that glance. It teaches me to seek love everyday in people, it moves me to attach myself to persons who admire me and want my time, it teaches me to find spaces out of the reach of those who censure me for things that come naturally to me.

I have opened my own ballroom and am teaching young girls to dance. I tell them to manoeuvre their body to impress no one, but only to feel a happiness that is truly theirs. Last month I met a young man as I was walking home from the market, a florist. His name is Jo, and he calls me many endearing names. I am doing well for myself and am happy, and maybe even in love.

I hope you too will meet a young girl soon, walking down some solemn street in your mismatched shoes. And perhaps she would laugh at them, and point them out.

I think you will love her greatly.

Yours,

Irene 

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Think, My Love

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Dear Annie,

Happy Birthday. You turn into a big girl today. Post this day, you will start a new chapter of life. It will be filled with adventures, and experiences – happy and grim alike. As you set into this world, and try to make a place for yourself, I am sure you will face many challenges. I come to this conclusion not because I doubt your capacity, also not because the world is unfair, but because challenges are a big part of the world I have set you free in.

I am only sad that I cannot be with you to face them, that I cannot offer you my warm care when you come back home having fallen – failed and desolate. But as I look over you today, I am equal parts proud of the young lady you have become – independent enough to make the right decisions. There is just one last lesson I wish to share with you, love, and listen carefully, because this is the last letter I left your parents.

I was at our summer-house in Musoorie with your grandmother that summer. I had had my convocation the day before that – that was the very night I conceived you. I was anxious and scared; after all, I was just a young girl of your age. I had taken the first bus home and had come without a suitcase or a penny on me.

As I reached home, I found mother watering the roses in the tea garden in the backyard; I looked at her with a crumpled face – she immediately knew something was wrong.

Our house was on a high hill, where the smell of snow and chilly clouds reign the air like the eternal scent of ginger. I sat on the fluffed couch, and allowed myself to sink in its leathery callouses – wishing I could escape into a third space where I am shred of all my problems. I looked outside the glass wall; the yellow sky stared back at me. The dim sun – present but not too overpowering – seemed to be conscious of my inner turmoil too.

Mother came in, jingling the spoons in two glasses filled with lime soda and spice, just like she did every time. Her demeanour made me uncomfortable. She had asked no questions about my abrupt, sudden visit. She had not enquired about what worried me. She seemed to be taking her time, perhaps waiting for me to tell her.

“I am pregnant.” I blurted out after my last sip of the soda-drink. There I was – a young coward of twenty-two.

I opened my mouth to speak again. My mother hushed me with a gesture of her hand. She looked at me, her eyes misty grey behind her neat glasses. “Are you angry? I am…” I murmured. She smiled and stopped me again.

“It’s okay to let yourself think.” She said.

That is all she said.

I spent a month in the hills that June, sitting in the garden or on the hammock, doing nothing but thinking. My eyes would wander to the sky, and aimlessly follow the treacherously shifting clouds. My head swelled as a billion emotions simultaneously resonated within me; yet, eventually, I would get so pensive that I would lose track and end up thinking about nothing at all. Still but preoccupied.

Soon, I realised what I wanted. Though those moments were perhaps the toughest ones of my life, in the end, I was certain my decision was right. I had become an independently-thinking, brave woman and only because I let myself sink into my thoughts. Only because I stopped the incessant human effort to separate the self from the self. Only because, I gave myself the time to foster the courage to do things which were apparently right from the very beginning.

I am sorry, Annie, that I wouldn’t be there waiting for you by the roses when you come home fallen. I am sorry I won’t be able to console you when you are heartbroken. I am sorry I won’t be able to offer you the remedies an ideal mother does. I am sorry I won’t be there for your life’s best moments or to correct you when you make mistakes. More than anything else, I am sorry for not writing many more letters, not teaching you everything I have come to know and recognise.

But that is not what I write my last letter for. I write to you, to remind you that it is important to think about things. Often when you come across a hard situation in life, people might tell you – “Forget it”. They might ask you to move on, sail with the current. They might probe you to do the first thing your heart says. Don’t you ever do that.

When you feel afraid or unsure, give yourself the time you deserve. Have the dignity and the courage to look at the sky in the most pressing of times and ponder, and dream and question. And in the end, always stand up for that one unbroken voice that echoes inside of you, because only that voice is truly yours and because I promise, love, that that voice is right.

Your Mother

 

In Search of Absentia

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“What are you doing here?” Saiza asked Eric, who had comfortably taken the seat next to her on the beach’s sandy bed. The sun sparkled in his sea coloured eyes. His blonde hair had grown and now fell in a slick on his face – you could call him somewhat handsome. He grinned a clever amused smile, his eyes shining with the sparkle of the childish glee which comes with observing something unusual. His demeanour is just the way it was seven years ago; he seems most casual about this chance encounter at practically the other end of the world.

He furrowed through the sand near her feet, and picked the prettiest curve of a hazel tinted sea shell, embedding it carefully at the mouth of the sand castle’s gate. The young agent looked almost bemusedly at Eric, who had come and sat nonchalantly next to her, almost without welcome.

“I am happy.” He said. In a scuffled undertone which tightened her stomach.

“That’s not what I asked.”

“For a grown successful media tycoon sitting in this lonely beach building a sand castle,” he says the last two words with a certain theatrical pause peculiar of him, giving all her distant memories with him fresh life, “it is not the right question to ask.” He smirks and laughs like a teenage boy.

She takes a deep breath, almost assiduously shrugging her shoulders, and feels truly relieved. She stares at the sun set high in the pale sky, and turns back at Eric with loving, friendly, pleased eyes.

“How are you?” he asks.

“Not the right question. How have you been?” She tries to hide the pain which is sinking inside of her.

He takes a long pause. “You know we live in this bubble. All of us chasing something. A new car. A new promotion. Better love – something or the other. And as long as these wakeful accomplishments remain new – for this brief moment – we feel happy, satisfied. But then, snap, soon we are chasing after something different. I am happy with life, for right now there is this absentia. An absentia of desire…I have stopped looking for things I do not have.” He shrugs.

In his voice she senses fresh remembrance of their listless fights and baseless arguments which had put to end their unbreakable bond of friendship.

Her hands unconsciously rummaged the soil for shells. From below the file of sand that her fingers had dug, he fetched her delicate hand. “It’s time you stop the search.”

He stood up and walked away to the shore, like a fleeting stranger, a closure you can never have enough of.

February Evenings

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Aren’t February evenings a beautiful part of the day? After a long tiring day of work, when the sun has set having given us the most picture perfect closure, there is nothing better you could ask for. The sky is painted a beautiful light carroty, the colour of orange skin, and it gradually melts into brush strokes of purple and mauve translating into the blackness of the night, harmoniously giving way to the starkly virgin lights of the celestial! Ah! What beauty! The sky, especially on beautiful evenings, is like the canvas of a daring artist- offering unending possibilities.

For many, February evenings mean the right time to sit and recapitulate- pen in diaries, cook a meal to fit the mood, stroll when pensive, and make plans for the next day. While for others, it is a time to reunite and joinder with family and friends. There is the tale from office of a project saved at the eleventh hour, a metro incident, a story from the past, a joke shared and the interesting gossip about TV sitcoms. And how can I forget evening munchies! The crisp of chips sprinkled with green onion and cheese grilled under caterpillar tracks. The spoon stirring into cups full of soup and coffee only to release hot vapour the shape of dragon breath – yumminess gets immediately associated with the idea of an evening. 

Another reason why February evenings always amuse me, is the very idea that there is still another part to the day. That the end is far, and redemption quite near. That there is still unmissed opportunity to create better memories for today. It is like the clock is taking its own time to wind, and for the first time in centuries, it is savouring its passage slowly, and it is in this period, that we have the aleatory chance to do the things we couldn’t. Evenings offer much needed breaks, a time to pamper oneself and look back to what the day has given you. It has a certain adventurous tranquillity about it, a much enjoyed paradox.

But over all its perks, I love February evenings most of all for it makes people feel good about themselves. Self-indulgence and luxurious expenditure become happy ideas. The weather is bliss, the sun- a blessing after killing winters, and things fall into place for people who shudder and stumble often at January’s kick-starts.  For reasons unknown, I can always associate the month with safe pace.

February evenings fascinate me. The cool wind gushes by, and the trees sway as if they are having a picnic of their own. There is a boat sailing somewhere in the fictional river near my window. The cold of winter is sweetly waving goodbye and there is the chatter of cars returning home. And then there is the moon, pancaking and dressing itself in makeup, before it gleams in the clear night sky that the evening has given it. The money plant looks fresh as ever, and each star ray is a unique spotlight on the damp road. The world is beautiful for just a moment. And then, quicker than ever, the 28 days pass me, and the clock gets running again…  

The Paraphernalia of Memories

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Memories are funny things, and they work in their own peculiar ways. Ways, that cannot be deciphered in cakewalk. Memories are complex structures that are not bound in the conventional and theoretical restraints of science and philosophy. But in fact these memories, they are mostly just layers. Layers, that are waiting to be replaced by thoughts of things we love, objects of admiration, and thoughts that bring back vicarious pleasure. In the end, it is façade that we wear in our mind, that guides our dreams and spawns our choicest retrospect. It is all but a paraphernalia of inventible façade.

 

It is unique how the human body, can find its way to hold on to things it loves, to things it does not want to lose, and often those that it wishes not to forget. It is almost, in the same spirit, mystical, how it manifests its own mechanisms to believe in a figment of reality that is of its likes.

Has it never happened to you, that one silly mistake, one wrong moment, one embarrassment, or one loss, has occupied and tormented you  for what  was seemingly forever? But then, spack! Like the wave of a magic wand- a baby step in the direction of undoing our tormenting memories rushes to your mind and gone is the former memory anterior?

Yet after wormhole decades of sulking and skin-deep introspection by daunting thoughts, we come across needed closure, or a happy moment. A reciprocal filled with glee or success that replaces our former parasitic memories of failure and gloom. A new memory fit enough to revamp the Lego house that our most taxing memories have bravely put up behind the screen of our mind. A fresh reminiscence which like wind lifts the bell jar that locks kernels fuelling our sceptic rumination.

Like a fresh layer of icing on cake is this façade. So what if it is short-lived? It is in these guest moments of fair weather when foreign ideas take over us, we seek relief and salvation from the painful pondering, and soul-searching that holds the grapple of our lives when we are in low spirits. In moments like these, stuck in a shallow trough are we, and above us it is raining hail and storm.  The rain though, is of the fabric of unforgiving memory.

In this way, memories themselves are weak. But at the same time, they are keys to our strength. For if memory is fabricated, then reliving the joy or elation that a remembrance brings you is largely creatable. If you think about it, all the power of the world is in your hands. The answer to the riddle and the key to undiscovered treasure is within you. 

It is interesting how such memory is the birth-child of realistic logic, yet is the egg of immortal and utopic happiness. If you think about it, all you have to do is travel down memory lane and pick a memory that you want to wear. So when it rains daunting thoughts, you shall have a rain-cap at hand.