All posts by AdiC

Writing is the passion... Thoughts arise, words flow and the excitement never subsides!

Saving Grace. Part 1.

“What are we doing?” she asked, her voice slurred, barely audible in the wooden corridors of the pub’s exit. Her stilettos sounded as she took each step, holding on to his arms, his jacket warm and fuzzy. Her skirt kept riding up with every step she took but she no longer cared. She was too drunk. They both were.

“No clue have I,” he replied, holding himself together by the bare minimum of strength left in him. As he put his right foot in front of his left for the next step, he tripped, almost. She caught him before he got entangled in his own legs.

“You could have lost another one of your teeth, you know,” she said, counting his teeth for him as he stood still for a second, every alternate second. “Some tendisd, you are!”

“My patients need not know that. Shh. Don’t tell them,” he said, as they stepped out into the cold air of the early morning.

The guard saw them sternly as they stood holding on to each other on the cobbled streets. The heels of her stilettos were shaking as she tried to place them rightly between the stones. He held her by the waist, bringing her closer, and whispered into her ear, “I think I need to pee.”

She threw her head back and laughed, almost losing her balance in process. He pulled her closer, both his hands roving across her back, her tank top flimsy even against his soft hands, his face buried in her auburn tresses as they caressed her shoulders. “Come with me,” she said softly, into his ears, slowly pulling him towards the nearby alley.

She entered the alley but she no longer seemed to be holding on to his hand. “Rick?” she said, turning around. Rick stood there, hands crossed across his chest, feet steady, a sinister smile across his face. “Rick?” she kept saying, not being able to fathom why she felt a danger, an adrenaline rush, her mind crying out flight. She stood there, swaying after a while and as she fell onto the street, he rushed to break her fall, placing her hand beneath her head. He blurred out of his sight.

Her eyes closed but she heard him whisper, “You have no idea who I am, do you, Jane?”

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Graciously Yours!

Diamonds.

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” they said. I don’t know who the they here are. I don’t mean I don’t know, I just can’t seem to recall who exactly they are. I grew up listening to mothers say it, the advertisers claim it, movies celebrate it. I was brought up in an Indian middle class family. The view our flat had was of other flats, crammed up in a tower like reluctant matchboxes given a balancing act dare. I was told to dream, but within limits. I had wings which could only flap within the cages they had set up. Again, I don’t recall who the they were exactly. One midnight, that of my 23rd birthday, it was decided that I was of marriagable age. The stroke of the grandfather clock above the living room mantlepiece had magically reformed me from a girl who should keep out of talks of adults to a woman who now had to sit demurely among adults and know exactly what and how much to speak.

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Like the films had predicted, I found my knight in shining armour. He came riding a white horse, literally, on the day of our wedding. He looked wonderful. The night was even more wonderful. I was tired but he was magical in bed! Or at least, what he did seemed like magic to a virgin like me. And in the morning, he presented me with a diamond. My first, though not my last. The one I keep tucked away in my closet between the uncomfortable silk sarees I rarely wear. Now the view from my window has changed. I still overlook concrete towers but posh ones. The view came at a price, not the diamonds, no. The price was having to share my husband. That night, two years ago, he was magical in bed, indeed. The other woman claimed so too. Two years and he had never faltered. Until three days ago.

My husband is away for the week. He says he’ll end the relationship with the other woman. I may be young, but I am no fool. I may be good, but I also have my evil in place. I may think white, but I have my black too. I changed the locks of the house. I installed a hidden GPS tracker app on his phone. I hired a PI to track the woman. And I sold the diamonds. At least, half of them.

My hair tied in a side bun, earrings dangling by my round face, cheeks rosy as buns, the shimmering copper of my dress accentuating my wheatish complexion, I smiled at my reflection and thought, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, they said.’

The phone rang. The cab had arrived. This was the night I’d let my hair down.

Graciously Yours!

 

Jilebis.

— Looking for feedback. All are welcome. —

As I stood by the small sweet shop in one of the eat streets of the city, waves of hot air hit me from the stove lit ahead, as the heavy late night air settled around me. It was a hot night. The rains had been distant for two days now. It was not humid but it wasn’t cold either. Not the weather which would have been appropriate for steaming, sizzling jalebis but then you can’t say no to the piping hot, deliciously sweetened, freshly fried orange spiral pretzels. Seems more like a sweat shop, than a sweet shop, I thought, seeing beads of sweat run down the forehead of the man, as he poured out the batter from the cone over the boiling oil in concentric motions. The smell of sugar syrup rumbled my stomach. This is more than just the smell of sugar, I figured, a little puzzled.

Smell of butter melting onto hot pans wafted from across the street. I looked around to see my friend standing at one of the shops there. I tried calling out to him to catch his attention. He was fidgeting with his phone. My voice drowned in the clamour of the street vendors displaying their balloons, scarves, fidget spinners, the vehicles trying to honk their way through a mass of people. No one seemed to make way, all lost in the aroma of food, savouring the spices which hit the tongue in spots you’d forgotten existed. You know food porn exists when you see people eating while clicking pictures here, I thought, smiling to myself. I whipped out my phone and texted my friend, One of whatever you’re ordering for me too. He looked up at me almost instantaneously and gave a thumbs up before turning to the man manning the counter there to place a re-order. I made use of my phone and clicked a couple of pictures meanwhile, of the sizzling and now hissing jalebis as they turned crispy enough to savour, of the people lined up by parked cars, bikes, among the moving vehicles, paper plates and disposable glasses of various juices, shakes and tea in their hands, The ten feet wide alley was wide awake as well as sleepy – the upstairs of the residential buildings lined up on both sides seemed to have slept for the night, lights out in most of them.

“Madam, your jilebis,” he said, handing over my guilty pleasure to me. I took the plate and handed him the money. Foodgasm, here I come, I thought, rushing over to my friend across the street, the oncoming cyclist ignored.

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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : I am trying to work on my descriptive writing and if you think this is at least decent enough to garner a comment, let me know. I would love feedback, good or bad.

Why ‘Outspoken’?

The word that is doing the rounds in most of my social media accounts and now here too – ‘Outspoken’! The name of our team’s in-house public speaking forum at work.

Three weeks of effort, bonding with friends over brain wrecking sessions, hours of script editing, listening to audio recordings of speech practices at the oddest hours, reaching work early, leaving for home late – it became a habit.

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Oh shoot. Why did we begin this? Breathe, breathe.

The fright of the stage, fear of performing sub par, worrying about being a nerve wreck – not for myself, but for others. All of it so that the other people I know also feel the rush of confidence on the stage I’d once felt.

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Who’s backing out now? Will anyone even come?

Last week, I wrote about the event (a meeting for an audience of more than 80 people – we wanted bigger, better, grander) coming up. This week we are done with it. Not only did we manage to create joyous ripples of success but even five days after the event, mention of it creeps up in conversations.

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We didn’t know either we’d be so good, but thanks!

I’ve been thinking for a while now about why the event mattered so much to me. It took a lot of space on my already full plate. My manuscript editing got hampered, my work hours stretched into my sleep hours, I forgot to eat on time, I was hardly being able to compartmentalize and prioritize and these are all things that really matter to me! Then why? I thought about it – a lot. I tried explaining myself to people in a lot of fancy ways. But it is time to come clean. I have always been afraid of public speaking. I still am. I still fear I will fall short of content, or blabber too much, mostly about Elon Musk, or if I will have cold hands. Thankfully, shaking knees got chucked out of the window over the months. So yes, this is me. But I took my chances. I got pushed by a couple of people, they know well who they are, and I realized I could be less nervous and more confident. It dawned on me that with time, I could be the one addressing an audience. And I wanted the others to see, know, feel and acknowledge exactly what they and I had been missing out on for most part of our lives – the chance to let go of the fear.

I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the lives of people around me. This lets me make a difference in mine through theirs. With you, I too get better. With you, I laugh. With you, I cry. With you, I walk the talk.

And that is exactly why I did it.

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Can’t stop dancing the happy dance!

Graciously Yours!

Life Notes #13.

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I’m not the one on the stage this time, yet the test is mine.

The last life note that I wrote had to do with my entry into public speaking, with me emceeing for one of our corporate events. This one has to do with public speaking too but this time I am putting a lot of other people on the stage, wanting them to enjoy the stage just as I had on that day four months ago. Some of us at office came up with a public speaking forum so that others too got a chance to taste the rush of the stage, overcome the fear of the microphone and find themselves while letting go of the clench of the teeth, the shake of the knees and the sweat in the palms.

To be honest, I am more freaked out now than I was then. Probably because this time around, it’s not me but 30 odd people who are going to be under the scan of an audience that is almost three times the stage-gracers. This is going to be their make-or-break moment, because if we manage to break through their walls of fear together, we’ll make it! I still haven’t figured out why this means so much to me, why I am praying all goes well, why I’d rather keep my fingers crossed till the D-day than uncross them and work on my manuscript. I want each of them to go up there on the stage that day and unveil the magic of their thoughts, perform like they’ve unwound their shackles, unbound themselves from all the chains, like they’ve found themselves. I want to take pride in their efforts and see them take on the stage and world with confidence that shines like the sweat after an innings well played.

Note to self : Making a difference in someone’s life is all about the effort. It doesn’t matter if you succeed or not, though success would indeed be sweeter! What matters is that you tried. Efforts do count, even if not recounted or acknowledged enough.

Graciously Yours!

Scarred.

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I scared you. The knowledge I had of you, scared you. I became the personal diary you never wrote. You could see the ghosts of your past reflected in my eyes, each time you looked into them. I became a reminder of what you were trying to forget. My comfort with you, scared you. You dreamt of coming out of your shell, greeting the world like you used to but the fear of being trampled upon pushed you inside again. You had lost the real you within yourself. You did not want to be reminded of it. Not by me. You thought it was easier to push me away. At least, you could still stay safe in your shell then. You wouldn’t disappoint anyone again. You wouldn’t worry about hurting anyone again. It would be just you and your memories. You wouldn’t have to owe anyone anything again. That was easier, wrong but easier. You chose to hide behind your scars. You chose to leave me behind. I was you. You were me. You chose to leave yourself behind.

Graciously Yours!

Wedding Vows.

As I closed my eyes and settled in the flight seat after three long days and interspersed with possibly eight hours of sleep, I only wanted peace and a blanket. Not even food could keep me away from taking my precious forty winks. But as fate would have it, I spent half of my flight time explaining to my septuagenarian co-passenger why his phone should be switched off during air travel, why the passenger seats were so uncomfortable, and that in-flight turbulence would pass. In return, I now know his investment portfolio and that his son insisted on sending his parents on group tours to temples around the country.

But I am digressing. This post is on a friend’s wedding that I was returning back from. No matter how many weddings I attend, watch re-runs of the famed Indian wedding films, listen to our mothers and aunts recount their wedding experiences, seeing a girl being given away to the groom’s family never fails to run a roller coaster of emotions through me. As each ceremony progressed, the bridesmaids gave way to more women from the groom’s household. Conversations changed content from taking care of the bride to talking about the bride and the groom. Guests walked up to compliment the bride as I stood by making sure she’s well-fed, hydrated and stress-free. Everyone wanted a word or two with her, a note of encouragement, a word of advice, blessings for them both, or just a picture together for keepsakes. Our secrets spilled out, memories increased manifold – now we have too many jokes that only we understand, we came closer as we glided through the spotlight together – heroine and sidekick.

The red vermilion is a Hindu woman’s mark of being wedded, seeped with a prayer of long health for her husband and good health for her own self. That moment after the pheras* when the groom adorns his bride’s hair parting with red vermilion is my personal high moment – the moment of truth when the bride and groom have sealed their fates together, the climax of three days of wedding rituals, the Christian equivalent of ‘You may now kiss the bride’!

She walked in for the pheras* with her brother by her side, and she walked out with the groom holding her hand. He kept her calm, tugged at her hand when she cried, wiped away a tear or two himself as she walked tearfully through her family towards the new family who was waiting for her by the getaway car. No matter how strong you remain, the air is so heavy with the sadness of a girl leaving her parents, the happiness of seeing her off towards a new beginning in her life, the hopes of the marriage turning out to be as long lasting as forever and the blessings that accompany the newly wedded. It doesn’t matter then if you’re from the bride’s side or the groom’s. Emotions override family ties, familiarity is bred in the strangest of ways.

Weddings – the grand Indian ones or even the smallest and simplest ones are steeped in emotions in a way that Bollywood films never seem to encapsulate.

Congratulations to the newly wedded couple! ❤ May life be sunnier, happier and lovelier for the both of you, as your ‘starry summer’s dream’ comes true.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Apologies for the delay in posts! Blame it on the sister. She takes up too much of my time when she’s around 😉

*Hindu ritual of  taking seven vows of the marriage in the presence of a sacred fire