Tag Archives: stories

Bloodied wings.

“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. … There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!” ~ Nietzsche.

 

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Out my grilled windows of opportunity, I eyed the wings hung out to dry, shining, gleaming with drops of perspiration, bejeweled with courage, preened carefully by a woman’s struggles, cast aside after a woman’s untimely and dismal departure – not that all death is dismal, some is disappointingly delayed – a woman I knew, admired. I’d hoped the wings would be bequeathed to me, be mine much like the life lessons she’d bestowed upon me, mine to wear and strut about. As I strutted in my thoughts, women eyeing me green, the same women were approaching the precious, greed gleaming in their eyes, their walk cautious, stealthy. But as soon as they touched the wings, it’s magnificence turned into hues of red, blood dripping onto the ground beneath and screams of anguish, pain and disappointment ranting through the air, of the women who’d dared to adorn the fruits of a path they had never walked upon.

If the battle isn’t yours, don’t crave the glory,” she’d said.

Graciously Yours!

The Cycling Chronicles.

What do I have in common with Lance Armstrong? Greg LeMond? Peter Sagan? Nothing at all. Except that they are some of the best cyclists humankind has known and I might probably be one of the worst. Or let me just be modest and say, humankind might see me as a person who’s awkwardly seated, desperate to un-hunch her shoulders, clearly locking her elbows and panting on inclines but cycling nonetheless!

I have only known how to cycle for about a dozen months now. It’s a shocker to most people and yes, I am still trying to respond to “What were you really doing as a child then?!”.

Of recent, I have finally gathered the courage to cycle on the main roads, albeit at light traffic hours, but it should still count – considering I’m collecting enough anecdotes to write a post about!

  • My usual morning workout includes cycling a couple of kms before I hit the gym – the snag being that the road is almost at a 20-degree incline and it is ‘oh-so-not-easy’! The burn in my thighs and the shortness of breath kill, while I dissuade myself from staring back at passers-by who would have probably walked past faster, and also because India (we have people everywhere, all the time). One of those days when I was barely wheezing past the stretch of incline, my speed faltered, a couple of vehicles overtook, distracted me and bam! Turbulence hit, brakes were applied but I still went and rammed into a garbage truck picking up its trash. Wait. Don’t jump to dirty conclusions! The truck was okay. The cycle was okay. I was okay. And no garbage fell on anyone, anywhere. I swear. Otherwise, there would have been a selfie, for sure! One doesn’t experience a lot many selfie worthy embarrassing moments in life.

 

  • Guess what happened one of those days when I parked my cycle below the gym and was happily sweating it out upstairs? Someone ran off with one of the handle grips on my cycle. Or they might have sauntered off at a leisurely pace. I will never know. What I will remember are the scratches and cuts my right hand faced that morning while cycling back due to the absence of said pilfered item. How much could have a handle grip cost them? Or was that funny for them? Haha. Not funny.
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And just like that – vandalism enters my life.
  • My cycle seems to be a pet peeve for many around. The other day someone left an empty plastic water bottle in the basket. I ignored it thinking one of the building staff might have left it there by mistake. The next day a bouquet of dried out roses were stashed there. Of course, people have asked me if it was left there for me by a “secret admirer”. But what if they were left behind by the person who stole my handle grip and then he stole this bouquet from someone’s trash and thinks dried roses can be apologetic enough? The world works in mysterious ways.
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Roses and no note? I want my note! You can take the roses away.
  • We all strive to look cool once in a while. I thought my Bluetooth earphones might do the trick for me. I put them on one morning, but they didn’t last a minute in my ears. Thanks to the uneven and pothole-riddled roads of Bangalore, the earphones kept dropping out and became more of a distracting menace than a cool kids’ gizmo! So cool of you Bangalore city, so cool. Attention on the road is more important than looking cool. I get it! Thanks.

See you around. Cycling, hopefully.

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: Also, thank you A, for literally running with me all those weeks, helping me get a hang of figure eights and u-turns and, simply, cycling.

Mugger.

He heaved deep breaths, silently. The room was lit up and the windows closed. How do I know this, he thought. He re-traced the conclusions his brain had arrived at. He couldn’t turn around but the steel mug placed in front of him reflected a light source, looked like a bulb. If he tilted his head slightly, he could see the outline of a bulb, yes. And the closed windows? The air was still and stale. He could feel the dampness of stale breath in the stillness of the room. Even his closed eyes could figure it out. His mouth was dry and his hands numb. As he sat with his head hung, fatigue trudged upon him. A door creaked open in the distance, heavy footsteps lining the carpeted floor, now an empty commercial space. He could see the reflection of a man in the mug in front of him. And that was the last thing he saw before a bag was pulled over his face.

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Graciously Yours!

Plunged into darkness.

Sudipto was driving home late one night – later than usual, at least. The clock was ticking closer to welcoming the new day. The roads, broad and empty of the never-ending stream of cars, lit with street lamps on both sides, white and blue fairy lights trailing the silver poles. There were no buildings, no civilisation laying home along this road – only roads, statues and a wide, green patch in the middle of the city, fondly called the city’s lungs. He pushed the clutch and rammed the car into the fourth gear as he approached Red Road. Parts of his twelve-year-old ambassador creaked at the engine speed falling a decade or so short of a ton. He could never drive at such speeds with a passenger at the back – they called it rash driving – but this was when he enjoyed his bread earning life choice. It was always the bus and taxi drivers who drove rashly, never the rule admonishing pedestrian or the swerving bikers and honking and overtaking private cars.

He took the circuitous path home through Red Road, choosing to enjoy the wind rather than hurrying to park the taxi in the garage. The window on his side was already open, so he leaned to the left to roll down the passenger window too. The wind rushed into the car from both sides, driving out the smells of the day – the food, the sweat, the leather. He threw open a few more buttons of his front open shirt, unzipping his pants. The sudden touch of air on his sweat-caked skin made him shiver, a rarity in the humid city.

The next right would take him towards home. As he approached the turn, he still honked on the deserted road out of practised caution. The next moment he got distracted by someone waving out from the extreme left side of the road – he saw it out of the corner of his eye. He had slowed down for the turn but his head was now craned towards the left to see if he could help the person. He saw glimpses of white and then nothing more. Just like that, there was no one there anymore. He blinked his eyes rapidly, not sure if he was hallucinating before or now. His hands turning the wheel right and legs controlling the speed, he’d made the turn and sharply looked right to check again towards where he’d seen the hapless soul but nothing anymore. He’d heard stories of hauntings before but had never believed in them. He wasn’t afraid. He dismissed the incident and looked ahead to find the lane plunged in darkness. As if on cue with his sight on the road, the car’s headlights flickered off and the engine sputtered to a stop. Now he was afraid.

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Graciously Yours!

The House That Wasn’t.

dark_ancient_house_by_sand3rr“What is it that is stopping you?” she asked. “Come on in! I am sure the place isn’t haunted.”

He stepped in. His torch was slipping from his hands due to sweat. In the eerie silence of the house, the buzzing quiet of the night outside seemed favorable. All those stories he’s heard in his life of 19 years came back to haunt him.

“Will you even move?” his girlfriend whispered.

“How did she even manage to get the keys?” he wondered. He took his first step forward and his shoes clicked louder than ever. Coherent thoughts were giving way to fear again.

“Couldn’t you wear sports shoes or rubber slippers?” she whispered angrily.

“Well, you never told me you’re going house hunting today,” he retorted, scared of his own foot step.

“Take your shoes off,” she said, “or you’ll scare the ghosts away!”

“I am not going to do that,” he said.

“Fine. Then try and be less noisy,” she said with gritted teeth.

“If you could be less nosy,” he mumbled under his breath.

She held him by the wrist and walked around. The furniture was strewn all across the floor. Cobwebs shone into the torch light, dancing around him. The musty smell of the place was getting on to him. He spotted a cracked mirror hanging on the wall ahead. He averted his eyes lest he saw something he wasn’t meant to.

She kept talking to him but not one word got through to his conscious. His mind had its own set of defenses in place. His body was tense and alert. She stepped on to broken glass. His scared jump had a feline touch. She laughed at his reaction. Her laugh echoed in the house. It was scary. It wasn’t the laugh he had fallen in love with.

Soon he’d know why. She had stopped laughing but the house hadn’t.

Fear crept in her eyes too.

Continued…

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Pinterest.

Why? Oh why?

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Often, things don’t make sense. Why does the Sun rise every day to set? Why do the flowers bloom only to be plucked by mischievous little bratty hands or to be offered at the feet of stone idols of the same Gods who created them in the very first place? Why are examinations more valued than the lives of those hundreds of young who succumb under their pressure? Why is a job position much greater than a friendship you’ve nurtured for years? Why is the money more important than the ailing parents you’ve left behind? Why is it selfish to love oneself and idiotic to love others (either ways, I’m slandered)? Why do we run after fame when oblivion is all that destiny can give us? Why is immortality a boon when you know all others around you will die? Oh and why we do we bake those immaculately beautiful and fabulous personalized cakes only to dismantle and eat them within a day or two?

I’ve diverted enough from what I really want to say out loud (or in this case, write).

Why do I hate loving you?

Often, things don’t make sense. And this is just the beginning of it.

Graciously Yours!

Image by 4freephotos.com

Sacrifice.

In the One Word – Many Moments Flash Fiction series,

Previous Word : Rain.

Brother Sister

She was bawling! He tried asking her what happened. Their mother shushed him.

“This is for you, Mary. You only get to play with this,” the mother said to her crying child.

“What happened, Mom?”

“She wants the train your Daddy bought for you.”

“Oh! I’ll get it for her. Wait.”

“No. She’ll play with her doll. Or else she’ll break both toys by tomorrow!”

“But she’s crying!”

“Let her cry. I’ll get her milk. You go and play with your train. Your friend is waiting for you,” the mother walked away, patting the boy on the head.

Quietly, he went into his room, picked up the train much to his friend’s surprise, and went and gave it to his step-sister.

“There you go!” he said, placing a peck on the three year old’s cheek, who miraculously stopped crying immediately!

***

Police

“This time we’ll go to the fair together!” he told his son, placing him on his shoulder and walking around in the house looking for his wife.

“Maa! Maa! Papa’s back!” the child shouted excitedly.

“What happened?” asked the mother as she came out hurrying from the bathroom, soap suds on arms and a semi-washed towel in hand!

“We are going to the fair together this time! I got my leave from office,” a smiling husband told his wife.

The next morning, the little kid heard his parents talking. The police force required more personnel. The father’s leave had been cancelled. They didn’t know how to break it to the son.

“Papa, we’ll meet you at the fair. And then you can buy me an ice cream,” the kid said, boldly walking in to the room.

Tears welled up in two pairs of eyes.

***

Dogs

Finally, a customer entered. She greeted the person with a bright smile!

“Would you by any chance have change worth Rs. 500?” he asked, extending a note of the same denomination.

Her face fell! She barely had 250 bucks in her cash counter! Her shop was running at a pace slower than a snail’s. She politely turned down his request. Murmuring not so kind words, he left the shop.

Soon enough she heard the dog whimper outside. Taking that as cue for her lunch hour, like everyday she divided her lunch into two equal halves. Keeping her part aside, she went and served the rest to the old street dog lying on her spare ‘WELCOME’ door mat by the side of the shop.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : The sacrifices made silently are the ones most worthy of applause, because they are least driven by it!

Rain.

Previous Word : Fire.

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As she walked out of her office, she was greeted by a gust of wind! She took her ear phones out to hear windows rattling and dust sweeping across. She needed to cool off after a long, bad day! A drop of water fell on her cheek. She saw a cab slow down. Her place was ten minutes away. She decided to walk down today.

He didn’t like rains. But he had to be home on time today. He and his umbrella were walking down the road in search of transport. The strong winds shook the umbrella like a leaf. Once. Twice. Thrice. By then the umbrella was useless and he was already wet. Disgusted, he folded his umbrella and kept walking down the ankle deep water. A car passing by at full speed on the pothole riled road sprayed dirty, brown water over him! He hated the rains.

Her boyfriend was working late tonight. She was home alone. She loved water. Sitting by the open window, sipping her coffee she felt the water droplets sprinkle across her face. The rain kept picking up pace. A lightning streak lit up the sky. It was followed by a thunder as strong! She shuddered. Pulling the curtains across the window, she went into her room to get her book and ear plugs.

He shivered with cold. The wind was getting colder. His skin was getting hotter. The tattered blanket he had was barely helping. The lights from the portico of the hotel nearby were inviting. He started dragging himself towards the hotel. There were cars coming in. The guards shooed him away. They wouldn’t even let him sit on the marble floor. He sat on the footpath, shivering, rain now seeping through his matted, unkempt hair.

Graciously Yours!