December list

It’s that time of the year:

When there is a chill in the air.

When Christmas Songs play all day long.

When the spirit of Christmas is on the loose.

When giving is a joy, sharing is a blessing and receiving means being loved.stars

When stars are hanging and trees are shinning with lights.

When fun, feast and family all come together.

When loads of sweets, chocolates and cakes are gobbled by the watch.

When I turn deaf and blind to: stay fit and healthy.

pineWhen I get to wear red and green together like a Christmas tree.

It’s that time of the year, when I get to celebrate Christmas.

We believe in them

balancing scale a Google image

Politicians’ efforts are always included in the making of a country. They take an oath to serve the country and its people, and they serve. Involuntary or voluntary they are adorned with: money, power and fame. They serve us in many ways. We believe in them. We, believe them.

And then there are other people like bus drivers, fire fighters, plumbers, rescue workers, mill workers, waiters, labours, farmers and many more who are also involved in the making of a country. They take no official oath to serve the people of the country and yet, they serve. Involuntary or voluntary they are always deprived of money, they don’t have power and fame is not theirs to own. They serve us in many ways. We believe in them. We believe them.

The 3 o’clock Massacre at Phillies

Mr. Figaro named me Missy.  He sometimes called me Australian cat. Why? I had no idea. It didn’t matter as I had no recollection of my real name.

I had started working for him when I was thirteen. I didn’t have to prove my loyalty to him. He just knew that I was loyal to him. To solve my mystery of working for him is simple. I ran away from home when I was nine.

From the very little memory that I have of home, I remember my grandmother saying, “Your ma shot your pa ‘cause he cheated on her. Deserved what he got.” After that she ran away with her bf Billy. No one knew where to….

Granny was gentle and kind to me. Too bad, she died and my good days turned in horrifying memories – memories that I don’t want to remember now. I was left upon the mercy of my uncle and his wife. It turned out, that I was a slave to their commands. Inspite of working for an entire day I got only two loaves of bread to eat. One night there was a fire in the barn and I ran while everyone was sleeping. I ran as fast and as far as I could. I just remember jumping on a ferry.

I had no understanding of geographical locations and obviously I could not read and write. There I met Mr. Figaro and he seemed a gentlemen to me. His experienced eyes could read my story at a glance. He said, “Would you come with me.” What options did I have… so I said, “yes”. He educated me and also taught me some kind of kung fu. Seems like all that was not for free; I had to work for him.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942. Public Domain

I was a smart kid and quickly understood that except for his white suit everything related to him was black. My job was to maintain and keep away the black from white. Easy huh!

Today, I’m suppose to collect something from someone. The dark stillness of the night sky seems… too perfect. It reminded me of the night… when I ran away. Things had changed since then and I was no longer afraid of consequences.

It is routine for me to be at such local diners at odd hours of night and today was no different. I had never paid for the sandwich that Jim offered me but today I’ll have to pay…for something bigger than a sandwich.

“Did you get the message?” I asked Ron, who was sitting next to me as I chewed the sandwich.

Ron cleared his throat and flicked the ash off the burning cigarette over the ashtray.

The next thing I see is a small piece of paper under my coffee mug.

I covered the paper piece with my palm and reached for my wallet. I quickly opened the wallet and put the paper inside. I took out a lipstick and a mirror.

I looked at the mirror as I applied the red lipstick. Also my way of checking if I had been followed or not. I relied on my institution most of the times which suggested that someone was hiding in the opposite building across the street. I was not very sure and it was now that I noticed another man sitting in the bar on the stool.

At the first sight he didn’t seem strange. He behaved normally. He was drinking coffee. His body…relaxed on the stool, his face…calm. Except for looking at his watch every 10 seconds there was nothing unusual about him. But why was he looking at his watch. Was he expecting someone but no one had turned up till now. He had finished his first cup of coffee and now was sipping the second one.

My senses all alert, wallet by my side. Inside was a revolver…hidden, a gift – on my first kill – from Mr Figaro.

Jim asked Ron, “Should I fix you a drink.”

Ron just nodded.

Jim had never been that quick. His hands under the table as he asked Ron, “ Do you want today’s paper.” Mmm! Ron mumbled.

Now in exactly one minute things would change.

Jim in some frenzy had a revolver rolled in the newspaper. He threw away the paper and shot the man on the stool. The man reached for his gun but too late for him. His gun goes off and the bullet hits Ron. Ron dropped like a domino by my side. My gun triggers and the bullet hits Jim.

I was just trying to anticipate the occurrence that had just past by, when I hear another shot – loud and clear. Seconds after, I could feel a burning sensation in my chest. My red blouse was all wet. Thick red liquid oozing out of my body.

All kinds of thought were hovering above my head. My dying wish, “an encounter with my killer”. My heart beat…pumping slow, my body…losing sensation, my eyes…flicking like a fused bulb. Everything soon became chilly cold.

“The 3 o’clock Massacre at Phillies” became the next days headline of each and every national newspaper.

He knew only one kind of love

His black blazer was kept on the bed along with a light blue shirt and a multi coloured tie. They all were arranged neatly side by side. Jacob came out of the bath and aimlessly threw his wet towel on a chair.

This chair was the only piece of furniture in his bedroom. His idea of this chair was – a companion. He was never a lucky man when it came to companions. The last time he thought of a companion, it was Lucy – a receptionist at his hotel.

Lucy was the exact opposite of his mom. Smart, shrewd, organized, outspoken and witty. He used these words to describe her, when he spoke to Richard about her.

Richard, was one filthy rich guy, who also happened to be his friend. Richard also liked to be called Rick or Richy instead of Richard. He thought it suited his millionaire personality.

Millionaires are of two kinds, only two, thought Jacob. They are either born or made. No third kind existed between the two.

According to him a lot of things didn’t make any sense. He thought that the maid should go on a leave every Sunday instead of a Monday. He thought that he could only tip at a road side eating joint as the waitress needed the money more than the waiters at his hotel. He thought the valet of all the five star restaurants were thieves. He thought that his gym instructor had some connection with the CEO of Google.

Google had dominated a part of his life. It was Google that helped him with his chatting, face book, YouTube and searching for and later translating most of the profanity in all the languages possible.

Profanity was used habitually at his home. Somehow it didn’t touch him when he was a kid but now it turned out to be his favourite pass time.

Passing time was never an option for him when he was growing up. His father died when he was only eleven. Mom stitched buttons in the denim jackets while he saw each blue jacket with lustful eyes.

He decided to work to have money that could help him give whatever he wanted. Wanted was a simple term for him. It meant – more than he needed. Need was…money, food, a nice pair of shoes instead of torn ones, able to read and write. What he wanted was a job, two meals a day, leather boots, education and the list kept on increasing each year.

Education was his primary goal till he became fifteen. For education he worked day and night. He did all that he could and went everywhere that said “Job, Available.” He had learnt to read and write a little when his father was alive. He knew what ‘job’ meant; although, words like available, vacant didn’t make any sense to him. Sometimes he got the job and sometimes he didn’t.

Slowly and steadily he grew to be a man with some money in his account. As a boy he started as a shoe shiner then sold flowers at a local market after which he took a job at a bakery and then he started delivering newspapers. After that he started distributing magazines to the stalls near the big offices. He was fascinated to see the people young and old all dressed in formals – coats, ties, blazers, suitcase, silver watches. He learnt quickly and progressed much quicker than he had anticipated.

He reached to a place where his anticipation had turned into a reality – from rags to riches, he said. He had a few degrees and knew a lot of people. He said, “Work can make a person but not knowing the right people in the business could break a person”. He occasionally came up with such one liners.

He loved one liners. He knew when to give what to the people. He also knew in what quantity and that’s why people loved him.

But he knew only one kind of love – love for his work. He looked at his adverts with loving admiration. The eyes that were filled with true love and passion – for his work.

What started as work for him, blossomed as an art and now had strengthened as love.

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”.

Lyra and the lucky red rose

The sky was a black canvas where lightning made a terrorful entry with the rumbling sounds of thunder bolts. It seemed the gods were at a war. A thunderstorm was about to make its presence in the silent city of Sabethville. Phones were ringing at the work places and homes, people were queued in booths to check on their loved ones.

Lyra was packing her bag and like all the other staff members was moving towards the exit. This would be her first thunderstorm experience away from home. The distance between her work place and home was not very far. She was walking hurriedly making her way into the crowd. Her coat was a cheap material that could barely protect her from the weather; however, she wrapped it around herself tightly.

As she was passing a booth she could hear a woman’s voice. “Hello, where are you?” Ok, just stay safe. And don’t you worry about me or children. We’ll be fine. See you tomorrow. Love you. Bye.” The woman kept the receiver.

Lyra saw people running to reach their homes before the thunderstorm really started to burst its anger on human race. Last time, the thunderstorm was responsible to bring flood which destroyed atleast a dozen lives and uprooted the buildings, houses and roads. It had a horrifying effect on the people of this small city. The life had come to a standstill and it took months for the people to get back to their normal lives. People were strong enough to cope with the pain then and this time preparations were made in advance to have less causalities.

Lyra reached her building. There was no difference between the chaos in the streets and her building. All she could see was people running in the building’s stairway and hallway. No one greeted anyone. Everyone was in a hurry to lock themselves up in their respective homes.

She opened the door and looked for the switch.But her action to bring light into the apartment was futile as there had already been a power cut. She carelessly threw away her coat as it landed on the sofa. She was looking… not outside but something that was in her hand. It was a rose. It was- the red rose, a symbol of love, given by a boy who worked with her in her office building. She kept looking at it, not because it was a love symbol but because it looked very attractive to her. Outside was darkness and chaos and inside there was a sense of calmness and a power cut that enveloped this silence. The velvety red rose was a contrast to the darkness all around it.

The street light was flickering which was a signal that it could go off any moment and her room would be in complete darkness, so she quickly looked for a matchstick and a candle. The street light died as soon as the candle came to life. The candle glowed gently on a table by a vase. All the things in the room were mere shapes and were glowing in the candle light, but the red rose was living, it was the only thing that was breathing life.

Suddenly a squeaking sound made Lyra turn her head. Her concentration was disrupted and she became aware of someone else’s presence. Her eyes were moving, wanting to hear the sound again. The rose still in her hand; after a minute’s silence she could hear the sound again, it sounded like a mouse nibbling at books under her bed. She kept the rose and reached for a torch and bent down to see if it was certainly a mouse or a squirrel had mistakenly found its way into her room. She saw the mouse. It jumped and then made a run for its life as the torch’s light flashed on it.

“Oh! My god I’m so hungry,” Lyra spoke to herself and went to open the fridge door. Just when she was about to open the fridge her eyes darted on a pastry box kept on top of the fridge. This part of the room was partially filled with light. She eagerly took out the pastry and took a bite. The bite followed the action of chewing and she realized that Tom had packed Chocolatine a French pastry instead of a Baklava a Turkish pastry. Anyways, she had taken a bite and didn’t mind eating it all.

“Silly, Tom he did it again. Now tomorrow I’ll have to buy something extra. Seriously, does he intentionally do it to make me buy extra or is it an unintentional act.”

“Now I feel much better,” Lyra rubbed her tummy and went near the study table. It was a normal 3ft by 4ft table. The table’s dark coffee brown shade appeared darker than usual in the dim light of the candle. The table had a few books, a pen stand that had many colourful pens in it. There were two magazines that were lying on the table. One was closed and had a picture of “Carribean Islands” on its front cover and the other was open with a pencil in the middle. Just then she saw a card which was peeping out of the magazine. She pulled it out. It was a wedding card. She pulled the card and started reading it, “so now faith, hope, and love abide…Lauren Peters and Jason Knight request the pleasure of your presence at their marriage…”

“How could I forget,” Lyra shouted. “Oh! Lauren and Jason I’m so happy for you two.”

She looked at the card again to check if there was a dress code or something, thankfully there was none. She went to the cupboard with the candle in her hand.

“I’m not going to buy a new dress. Let’s see if I can find something to wear for the occasion.” There was nothing that was appropriate. She sat on the bed with a grumpy face. After seconds her face lit, “yes, I’ll ask Jenny if I could borrow her dress. Problem solved.”

Nothing had changed outside it was pouring heavily and the street had water running through them. Suddenly Lyra again spoke to herself, “What about the gift? I haven’t got one. I’ll have to buy one.”

She grabbed a note book and a pen and sat down to make a list of gift items.She jotted down 5 gift items: a camera, watches, photo frames, a crystal vase and a bottle of champagne. She glanced at the list for a while and played with the pen…click,click,click,click…. The pen’s noise made a beat with the rain drops that were making a tap,tap,tap noise outside. She just stopped and the rain was still playing its beat. She ticked in front of the photo frame and a bottle of champagne.

Outside the rain had subsided and the wind had come to a rest. The clock on the wall stuck 10. She remembered four hours ago everything seemed chaotic but now there were signs that tomorrow the life would return back to normal. She took out the leftover meal from the past day. One half of the plate was served with mashed potatoes and on the other half was some chicken salad.

She started to eat. The street lights were coming back to life.

“Oh! The street lights,” her voice echoed in the house like a small child. She went to her window; looked up at the starless sky. Her face glowed in the street light that was now entering her room. The candle had been burning for a long time and had lost much of its life in the battle against the darkness. For some reason Lyra didn’t blow the candle. The rose was now kept by the bed side. Lyra looked at it and smiled at it. She took it in her hands and said, “goodnight”… kept it back. The candle started flickering after a while when Lyra was already in a dreamy state ready to hug sleep.

My five nouns are: The squirrel. The thunderstorm.The mouse. The red rose. The French pastry. The wedding. Hope you’ve enjoyed it.


Past Remembrance

Christmas is the time of joy, celebration and leftovers. I like this kind of leftovers; they are tasty, delicious and I can have them all.

This leftover object that I’m going to talk about is nowhere close to being tasty. It is not edible at all; although it is durable. When I started working at least seven or eight years back I had saved some money. I wanted to invest it into something good and worthy. After a lot of thinking and gathering friendly opinions I finally wanted to buy a cross trainer.

I have no idea how I thought of investing my hard earned money into something that was not even me. I’m not an athletic person, never was, never will be. But I still went ahead to buy a cross trainer. The only fitness equipment that I had seen at home was a heavy dumbbell. That was my father’s. It was quite heavy and I could not lift it when I was fifteen. I think I took the inspiration from there. It is not a sin to have a body in good health and shape after all. Would you not agree with me?

When I got it I made sure to utilize it. So I came up with a workout routine. Everyday for fifteen to twenty minutes I used to exercise on it. I started with early in the morning before breakfast. With time I started to lessen the number of days then the time and finally I just would say hi to it. I really enjoyed spending time with it because I didn’t need a trainer or someone to help me and I was sure about the results too as I used to feel quite energetic.

Since I was happy with the results I got motivated to use it daily without fail. I was using it daily and churning out my extra body fat with all the enthusiasm that I had. Then we shifted to a new city. It was difficult to move it and I was recommended to part it away. It was not the fear of parting away with this piece of machinery it was the money that I had spent on it that struck me first. Lastly it was the feel of being athletic and having a healthy body. Because of all this I didn’t want to part away this piece of equipment.

Finally it did arrive with me to a different town. Somehow everything changed here because of too much work I started neglecting it. Very soon it started catching dust sitting at a corner of the house. Then when I found the time my knee was hurt and I could not use it. So all in all it has stayed as a masterpiece at one corner of the house for more than five years now. There is some hope that I would start using it although it will not be the way I used to in the past and that keeps me from selling it.

I’ve found another use for it now that I don’t exercise. It is serves as a masterpiece and whenever someone comes by a point is made not to hide it but showcase it. It is good to see their curious and sometimes excited looks. Once I was asked to sell this by my friend. Of course the answer was no and always will be. Now and then I’m advised by my family members to sell this as it takes up space. But I can’t, it is not only an object; it is a masterpiece for me. It is not only a fitness equipment but a remembrance of my past. It is not a lifeless metal object; it shares memories with me and I will not part away with it. It is a leftover of a place and a part of my past that I would always love to cherish and remember.

The Night Warrior

In the beginning was nothing and…. But how can that be possible, there has to be something. In the vastness of darkness was something or rather someone. He had no form or rather no one had seen him to say that he had some form.

He was the warrior of dark. He looked dark; he was formless. His duty was walking through the infinite darkness and so was his form-infinite; dark or light no one knows, no one has seen. One day he got bored with the silence and so he took out a bow from his quiver and shot it in the darkness.

The bow was harmless and just like a fire cracker sprinkled the space with dots of light. He was happy to see it. Due to no gravity and freezing temperatures the sparks refused to vanish and so they stayed. They stayed like hanging lights. Some sparks were like mini bulbs and the others were clubbed together, they defined no shape. So, the warrior took out a flute from his quiver and like a glassblower blew air into these cluttered sparks. They were now inflated. Now a shape could be defined, they were round and somewhat circular in shape.

He moved covering the space from white ball to orange ball, from orange ball to yellow and finally he stopped at a blue ball. It looked very attractive; so he gazed at it. He took out his flute and started playing the sound of life into it. Very soon the blues got separated into two parts- sky and ocean. The waves danced at the notes played by the warrior. The warrior saw them happy and shot a bow right into this blue ball. There was gravity and the sparks did not stay and fell down. They were scattered all over the ocean. They were shinny, sandy, muddy and formed parts of land. He was happy and wanted to assign a protector to all this. He took out a conch from the bed of the ocean. He blew into the conch and since everything was so happy and the waves were dancing and there was breeze…the sound got transformed into green trees. They were planted everywhere. They stood deep rooted and with their branches joined together showed respect to the warrior.

There was one tree that looked very attractive. It stood firm, had good thick branches; however, unlike the others had no leaves. The warrior could see him in it. He called at it to get a closer look. But the poor tree could not see and fell down with a big thud. Right where it fell was a large ball of mud. The warrior placed it right at its center. He plucked three leaves from other plants and placed these three leaves on this ball. Two were placed horizontally in one line and the third one in between these, a little below. Now the warrior asked it to get up and walk. He was walking and fell into the ocean. There was complete silence. The warrior thought he will not see it, but then something came out. It was not the tree and sure looked different and new to him (can say looked handsome). It was thankful to the warrior because it was his creation. The warrior name it-HE and made him a protector of this land. He was pleased and said this is a land of magic and blessed him and all that was there and went away.

The warrior still moves from one dark space to another. He keeps moving, creating and shooting in the open space with his bow. It is very difficult to say what he would be creating…NOW.