And the six word story series is back!
Closure is overrated. Reopened wounds bleed.
And the six word story series is back!
Closure is overrated. Reopened wounds bleed.
Guide to reading : Below are, not one but, three completely unrelated short stories all bound by the one word ~ “Sea”.
He walked towards the seas. Stretched far across till where his eyes could see, only blues greeted him, shimmering in different shades from azure to teal to royal blue with hints of cyan and turquoise pitching in! This was the quieter part of the beach. Not many residents came here. And tourists? Barely. He dropped the bag and slowly moved to the edge of the rocks. As he looked down at the lapping waves twenty feet below, a rush of excitement passed through him. Goosebumps lined up his arms. He took in a lot of air, breathing deep. It would be a while before he did that again. “Whenever you’re ready,” he heard someone shout. He looked across to the adjacent cliff. Nodding, ever so slightly, he gave the clique of photographers a thumbs up and then spreading his arms like those of an eagle’s, he swooped down on the water, cold air rushing past him and all of reality a mere joke in that moment of truth!
“Mom, be careful. The baby might get hurt,” my daughter warned me, as soon as I set the toddler on the sand. I smiled at her, nostalgia hitting me in my guts! Twenty years ago, my little girl was perched in my lap eating her way through sand more than playing with it. She ran across the sands, collecting shells, screaming with delight at wriggling snails. Crabs scared her. Starfish made her curious. Corals were her collectibles. I still had some kept in one of my boxes. I scooped up the kid in my arms. “Are you stronger than your mother?” I asked him. But he was fiddling with a coral in his hand. He curiously stared at it and gurgled “Ma”, the best way he could, showing the coral to me and his mother turn by turn. “Oh well, let him out on the sand. He’ll be fine!” said my daughter, possibly reminiscing her own coral days! “But we’ll bathe him once after,” she said, as soon as I put the kid on the beach where I had raised my family and my husband’s mother had raised hers and so on. We were the sea and sand people. You couldn’t take the salts of the seas out of our blood.
He needed to talk to someone. His brain was a flurry of thoughts. Everything was going wrong. He was screwing up whatever was left in his life after having lost all that he once had. He got out of his car. He closed the door lightly. His girlfriend’s banging of the car door still reverberated in his ears. Walking along the beach, he saw a girl sitting alone. Hoping it would not be a mistake, he went up to her and asked politely, “Do you mind if I sit here?” She looked up at him. Her tear streaked cheeks glistened in the soft lights. “It’s a free country,” she said, resignedly. He sat down beside her. He cupped up the sand and watched it flow out of his hands, tears rolling down his cheeks. “I don’t want us to be running out of time,” he said out loud to his girlfriend. “And if you go away, this is all I’ll ever be,” showing her his now empty hands. “You cannot love me so much. You should not,” she said, putting her hand in his. “The sands of time will take care of us. Just let them,” he pleaded. She sighed, didn’t say anything, but let her hand stay right where it belonged.
Picture Courtesy : Devesh Lunia.
Contd from “The Ideal?”…
He re-read the letter again in the dimness of the street light streaming in through the window. There was no mention of what really was going on at their place. He liked it that way. Folding the letter inside the envelope, he put it back in the diary where it belonged. He treaded lightly towards the cupboard and kept the diary on top of it. Looking at the woman sleeping on his bed, face towards him, the light unable to flit across her face, he smiled at her lovingly. He rubbed the gashes on the knuckles of his left hand. The gashes were so old, he now referred to them as birth marks. They were signs of his father’s love.
The naive woman thought he didn’t know she wrote to her mother. He loved her for how she covered for him. She really did love him. Was that how his mother was too? Nah, she was better. She never fought back, never talked back. She was always the loving mother, dutiful wife. She didn’t even show her tears to his father ever. His wife had a lot to learn. But she would – with time. He was sure. Maybe it was time for a lesson soon.
He loved his wife a lot. The marks on her body showed that bright and loud. That was the only love he knew. That was the only love he’d ever known.
Picture Courtesy : Pinterest.
Her eyes teared up as she wrote another long, lying letter to her mother. A letter which would give away nothing of what was happening to her, which killed her bit by bit from guilt every time she thought of her mother.
Her mother had always been her best friend. She still was. But this time she couldn’t share her happiness with her mother. Or her pain. She looked at herself in the mirror across the bed. She saw her blurred self lying on the bed, papers piled up neatly on a hard bound dictionary. She covered her bosom with her saree. The red marks around her neck didn’t need a mirror as a reminder.
She was in love. With a man not her husband. She was in pain. With a man her husband.
Picture Courtesy : Pinterest.
“Oh come on, love. You know I like my freedom. But that doesn’t mean it’ll change my love for you. Well, as long as you believe in me, I know I can make it,” Brandon said, smiling at her. He wished she’d look her in the eyes. He needed her right now and he needed her fast and close.
“Oh, someone is being charming!” she said suddenly, angry that he took her for granted.
“Someone is being cocky,” he said, surprised at her sudden change in body language.
She sat by the shore. The cold water rhythmically wet her toes now and again. Some more and then no more. She inched closer to the water. She sadly stared out at the man in the water, helplessly flailing his arms around. She wished she could help him. But she’d just come out of the water for him. She’d tried dragging him to the banks. She’d tried calling out for help. She’d tried hauling him over herself. But after a while, there’s nothing she could do. She saved herself from drowning. That is all she could do. He didn’t want to be saved. Yet he wanted to live.
“Let me please help you,” she cried out. She pushed her drenched hair out of her eyes. Sand was stuck on her wet palms and legs. He didn’t reply. He struggled without making a sound. He didn’t cry out for help. Her dress was soaked. It clenched to her contours. She was breathing heavily. She was struggling to breathe as he was struggling to die. She dug her fingers in the sand and dried leaves around. She sobbed uncontrollably. Her lungs were searing with pain.
She looked up after a while. There was no one in sight. The water was rippling in the middle. The waves were becoming smaller. They would soon die. Just as he had. She stared at the water. Her tears were drying up. After a while, she got up, turned around and left.
She couldn’t kill herself over him. If she did that, his death would be a waste. After all, he had just killed himself over his love. She couldn’t repeat his mistakes.
Staring at the vast blue skies, I sit,
My wings never even opening,
The clouds call me out towards,
To frolick around in the vapours, I sigh.
I wish I was the gazelle,
Leaping about free and unbound,
Instead I am the caged bird of paradise,
To be lavished upon with praises, children and parents’ alike.
They caged me in here,
Led me to believe I was free,
Staring out into the world,
It dawns that is not to be.
I yearned to stir things around,
Called out to my mates the war sound,
But they were pre-occupied,
With tasting what we were told was freedom.
They could not afford the granduer of the Durga Puja pandals which were stretched across the length and breadth of the city. Their idol had none of the splendor associated with the city’s most festive days. They were five women praying to the strongest woman deity they’d ever known, celebrating her stories, wondering if she still existed somewhere among one of them.
Not many of them prayed anymore. Over the years, the numbers at the Puja had dwindled. She didn’t blame them. After all, how long can you fight against your own destiny and hope that things will change, tides will turn and the unthinkable will happen? But she hadn’t been able to forsake praying. That is the one thing that she had wholeheartedly learnt from her mother – to pray.
They weren’t a part of the privileged – if she could put it lightly. Goddesses and prayers couldn’t be an element of their daily living. Far from it, in fact. They lived in areas, the others called red light areas. She never understood where the name came from. She always wondered if the red light signified danger – and if yes, then were they a danger to society or was the society a danger to them?
She seemed to have lost herself in the sounds of the conch shell and the bells. The fragrance of the incense sticks devoured her into a trance. Someone banged on the door. Snapping out of her trance, she opened the door. “How much longer will you all be at it? It’s almost sun down. You need to get to work,” the lady at the door, said strictly. The lady was not a bad person, but she wasn’t necessarily good either. She was, unfortunately, just right.
“We’ll be downstairs soon,” she said ruefully.
Closing the small 10 by 10 feet spare room which housed a small idol of the Goddess of the season, the five ladies trooped to their respective rooms downstairs. Taking off her red and white bangles, she kept them carefully in a velvet clothed box. Her mangalsutra* lay beside it. She’d never worn it after her wedding day. Tears welling up in her eyes, she kept the box tucked far inside her wardrobe. She removed her red bindi and stuck it on the top of the box. They were to be used again after a long time. Slowly she took off her red and white sari, an attire which held no significance in the life she was living, an attire that was to be kept hidden away from her ‘customers’, an attire that shouldn’t remind them in any manner of the life that was awaiting them outside the red light area.
Picture Courtesy : Prashant from Just Spoken Thoughts. Thank you for coming up with the beautiful sketch in almost no time! Hoping that this post will allure you into further creative collaborations! ;)
*The black and golden beaded necklace that signifies marital connection and is a part of the married Hindu woman’s attire.
Some say the world is black and white.
Some say the world is grey.
Which is the truth? Which a perspective?
Or is truth itself just a perspective?
To him the world was white and black,
The greys he’d announced as sins,
To empathise with others he’d given up,
Sympathies he wanted abound.
He stared from a distance the lives others lived,
He announced harsh judgements about them,
Little wondering that while he pointed fingers at them,
It said a lot about him.
Always assuming he was on the right,
Pious he thought himself to be,
Faced with the woman who stole for a hungry child,
He failed to pronounce her to be a thief.
Memories of his hard childhood rushed back,
He recalled his mother in the woman,
Ashamed of how cold he himself had become,
He brought the duo back home with him.
The next morning, he found the child asleep,
The woman no longer to be seen,
His world of whites and blacks ripped apart,
The greys in fifty shades stared through at him.