Two Cranes for Eternity

We were sitting on a bench by the pond. There were water lilies – pink and white – that had lifted up from the water. The gentle breeze touched their soft petals and guided their sweet fragrance to us. There were some ducks by the pond. They were busy soaking themselves in water. Ripples were added to the water as they swam.

My hands fit perfectly in your hands. Its warmth gave life to my soul. My head found a nice resting place on your shoulder – strong, yet fragile. I wished for this day to continue forever like a circle…never ending and always going.

From somewhere two cranes flew and landed by the pond. They were lost or so it seemed. But they didn’t care as they were lost…lost in each other. And all they cared for – were each other.

The sun, glowed a mild orange glow and the birds were flying back home. We got up and just like the birds started walking towards our home…our hands still tied together.

Nothing could separate us; nothing would separate us. We were at the final steps of our lives. We had seen it all and there was nothing we feared…except, for the fear of losing our souls.

Walking, we were, when all of sudden a lamppost stood in front of us trying to block our paths…trying to separate us into two. I didn’t lose your gentle grasp. Walking past the lamppost, with a soft smile on my face I said, “I will never leave you.” “I know,” he said. I could see my smile reflecting in his eyes as they twinkled with love for me. Now we were lost like the two cranes for eternity. We were lost in each other’s eyes and just like the cranes… we had no concern for our surroundings. We were locked in time and space in each other’s eyes.

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Waited for you here

What was the point in coming here today was a question that I asked myself and no matter how many times I asked… the answer was: nothing. Nothing had changed about this place. A tea stall stood at the corner unmoved by an inch for the past 20 yrs. Right beside it was a small book stall.  It had limited collection of books and few morning editions were neatly decorated in a wooden stand.

Normally this place is not very crowded, but today it seemed the entire town’s population had doubled. Our small town had been a humble population of few old people. But today anyone could see the difference as there were young children, teenagers, newlywed couples and old people who were storming in and out of the station incessantly. My old eyes wondered, “Why were they swarming like bees to this place, today?”

I felt like a roast turkey as today’s temperature was a record high 42 degrees. The shade of my umbrella was not enough to protect me from the burning heat. An announcement was made, “Royal Blue is ready to depart from platform no.1 in 5 minutes.”

I stood like an iron statue on the ground, unmoved by the sea of people. I could see my life reeling back like a film in front of me as I stood there. Me with Luit…married, waving, hugging relatives who stood to greet us at this railway station. We were married for our entire life. It was 10 yrs ago that he died. Now I was all alone and too old to venture out. But it was not for him that I was here…then, why was I here?

Above me was a metallic board with an inscription of “Greens Valley Railway Station”. Everytime I heard the screeching sound of iron wheels against the tracks, my heart raced faster than the engines attached to the trains. I was scared of the screeching noise…people pushing to make their way…trains coming to a halt…trains starting with a jolt, so basically everything scared the poor old 68 year old me. Thank god! A few trains had left by now and I could feel the gentle breeze embracing me.

I had shifted to an old age home last year and wondered how long my life’s scroll was written. I was happy in my new home. I had a couple of oldie friends. We talked, cracked jokes on each other, laughed, cooked, did yoga, played cards and chess and sometimes fought. These activities were meant to keep us busy but we seldom had mood swings and went into a lone island. When I was hit by sadness, I went on long walks remembering…visiting old places…sitting on a park bench and smiling at things and sometimes crying.

I was happy that Maggie was my caretaker. Her bright smile made my days less miserable. This was my new home and its people my new family.

Yesterday night when we were walking after dinner I laid my eyes on the super moon and stood in silence. It was not the awe that made me silent but a dark sadness. I was sad because I remembered her…my best friend …Irinee.

I know you had to leave town. I know it was not your decision as your father had taken a job somewhere else. With the address that you had given me, we corresponded without fail for three years. I wrote, you responded…I wrote again and you responded again. Suddenly it stopped. I don’t know if I was too lazy or you were too busy. Whatever the reason was, I stopped writing. You stopped responding or you stopped writing and I stopped responding. I now regret had I pushed my tiny ego or anger aside and kept communicating with you I would still be in contact with you. But the reality is you are somewhere else and I just hope that you remember me as much as I do.

I don’t have much around me but I’m still hanging around. There is something funny about the old people they are deeply connected to people, places and things. When I was young I could not comprehend their attachment with relations to people, places and things. I was thinking about the lovely relationship that we shared and was getting to understand why the old people cherished this bondage of attachment. What seemed like a stupid idea to me when I was young was now drawing me towards itself.

I desperately want to see you before I die. My eyes…are waiting to see your smiling face. I want to hug you as you stood by my side. I need to hold your hands as it filled me with courage.

It has been 20 yrs and more that I came to see you off at this historic railway station. I was happy for you but some kind of grief filled my lungs and made it hard for me to breathe. I was a sealed container ready to burst into tears any moment, but I had controlled it then. I was not sure if I could do the same now. I wonder, if old age actually makes you strong or weak….

I have been remembering you too much lately and that’s why I’m here today. I know it would be a miracle if you come but if not… this place would be a shrine to our friendship. Until then I’ll come here everyday…waiting for you…wanting to see you until my life parts away. I will remember you always, you know that, right. But just in case if you come and I’m not here ask the tea stall, the platform, the board, the tracks or anything… they’ll all say, “An old lady once waited for you here”.

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Image

Texture Palette

green grass waves crating texture

The breeze gently touched the long grass in this field and made it dance with it. It showcased shades of greens in its every fold.

 

water patterns

It’s not difficult to find the impressions of footsteps by the shore but impression created by water that had just passed away from this sandy patch made me click this. I liked the pattern created which gave it a very soft texture, one that can be created and recreated again and again.

 

relics of past

This was an old chapel building. The relics of the past,which was once new and smooth, now takes a rough and stern texture.

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Mothers greatest gifts of God

My flip flops were waiting for me outside the door. I quickly ate a slice of cake that my mom had baked. It was fresh, soft and delicious. I don’t know what her secret weapon is, but I just love it. I can have it anytime of the day. Of course, she doesn’t stop me from having it, “I’m her darling,” so I get the liberty to have it as much as I want to.

“Mothers – one of the greatest gifts of God,” I remembered a school project that I had once submitted. I don’t know who said that but I’m sure someone wise and old; even if not old but certainly wise.

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Tale of wrinkles

wrinkled face

The term “age” generally means “experience and learning” to me. For a child things are simple and original (atleast it was to me when I was a child). I remember my aunt bringing a talking doll for me when I was six or so, it was a new thing to me; I had only seen the normal dolls, blinking their eyes and raising their arms and legs, so this was new (a couple of years later she will bring a crying baby doll for my sister, that would also be new to me). Many things are new when you try to look from a child’s eyes.  The pencil with floral prints, pencil box with a musical note to it, pencil erasers of different shapes and sizes, a card that plays music as you open to read it, band-aid with colours and faces of cartoons (than just a plain one). Then you see- the age of black and white television sets and then coloured ones (they were the box that had magic in them, you turn it on you see people and things come to life, you turn it off they go away), computers (that were replacing work force. It was also difficult to understand as to how could a machine do the work of ten/ twenty or more people), mobile phones (simple, complicated, 2Gs, 3Gs, 4Gs and what not). They all were new at some point in time. But with growing age, I became wise (as it is said and believed that old are wise) to know that these things were losing its originality and value, they no longer surprised me.

We humans have a tendency to relate age with death (Atleast my grandparents and parents thought the same, so I believe it was centuries old thought, but now we have replaced age with beauty). The wrinkles on our faces tell the years of our survival and life on the planet. I remember my grandmother she had wrinkles, lots of them. But in the folds of those wrinkles were hidden life’s experiences, learnings, based on these she would tell me stories and narrative incidents to strengthen my life. They also had lots of love and hidden emotions to convey her feelings, which was difficult for a child like me to show. I only had a few emotions to play:happy-laugh, sad- cry, surprise- jump, not too many you see. But today, even I have a lot of emotions to play from my experiences in life, from simple to complicated. What do they do? Sometimes they make simple things, complicated and the other times I succeed in making complicated things, simple or even more complicated.

The rising age is suggestive to a lot of things like: more and more friends and acquaintances, life’s experiences and harshness, hoping for a better tomorrow, looking at your family tree growing with newer branches and leaves, being with your family during both happy and sad times, it shows you the reality of the world, now these could be the positive things on the list.

There is only one negative point though “your age is increasing in number” (one digit…two digits…13…25…34…48…and till you are alive). We girls don’t like that at all and will do anything to hide it at first, and then comes the knowingness that it will be futile to do so. You cannot run against time in any way possible, so you run with it, your choice to run fast or slow (I think that is fair enough at least we get that much choice to make). So, lesson learnt: you cannot fool time so we learn to accept the growing digits in our ticking age clock.

Animals grow old like us, hard to comment on their level of experience and learings though. But they show physical signs of aging as in slow, lazy, staying at one place.

Then comes the non-living things, they tell a different tale altogether.  Talk about a historical monument or any structure as a matter of fact. If you visit an old cathedral or an old fort you will be amazed to see it vastness and magnitude of the structures. They give a glimpse of a bygone era… and leave you wondering about its life and how life would have been at that place. They help you to relive and construct a past that is no longer there. It gives you the power to imagine and be a part of a life that was lived in that particular structure or a monument. Sometimes structures also tell the sad story of human life and death inside those walls. If you go to a deserted mental asylum or a prison building it will give you an eerie feeling. It will give a sad feeling making it hard for you to breathe…but it will tell a story, not of a rich culture but of miseries of those people.

So, everything catches the dust of age and they all tell stories.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Golden Years