Pulchritudinous

Sitting in his empty courtyard watching the rain fall all around him, he closed his eyes and allowed the pitter pattering of raindrops to take him back to the last time he had ever seen her.

It had been a day much like today. Nature had been haughtily showcasing her beauty in all its glory. The rain gods were also in tough competition. And the wind, oh, it couldn’t have been left behind and kept sending pleasant gusts all day.

Yet, there had been a melancholic undertone to the pulchritude that day. He could sense that every element of nature was trying to soothe him, calm him down, embalm him before the felling of a grievous blow.

Nothing could have prepared him for her departure though. It knocked the very wind out of him. It would have been one thing if he’d seen some signs of this impending doom, if he’d been able to anticipate it. Doom, yes, because that moment had been the death of him. From then on, he merely existed instead of living. Awaiting the end of his corporal self.

He did realise later, in his forced solitude, where his fault had lain. It had been too little too late. When he had finally mustered the courage to go to her, apologize and convince her to come back, even if he had to go down on his knees and beg, he found out that she was dying. She had been fading away for quite some time, not that he’d ever had the time to notice. What tore him apart was that she was so far gone she couldn’t even recognise him when he said sorry. There was no twinkle in her, no warmth in her smile. It was as if she was being forced to meet a stranger and had to be gracious about it. It wasn’t her. She had always been vibrant. He could not reconcile this frail image of her with the woman he had known and loved, no matter how hard he tried.

He never got his forgiveness. He never got his will to live back again.

Now, even though years have passed, every time there’s a day with a weather like today, he looks back to the last time he had been able to lay eyes on her, the real her. She had looked as resplendent as the day they’d met.

If only he’d have given her happiness some thought and understood her better. If only he could have mended his ways earlier. If only he could have stopped her from leaving. If only he had not forgotten the beauty in her over the years. If only…

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From Fear to Freedom

Her biggest fear wasn’t of being forgotten. It was of becoming irrelevant. She had strived her entire life to not just be at the top of her game, but to be ahead of everyone else as well. She did it. She achieved the pinnacle of success in her chosen field. Yet, instead of resting on her laurels, instead of sitting back and relaxing, she was consumed with perpetual worry.
What if everything that she’d done was not enough? What if all the sacrifices she’d made as life passed her by, were all for nought? She understood and accepted that even great people, who had lived inspiring lives, were forgotten and eventually relegated to some distant corner of public memory. She even realised that public memory in itself was extremely short lived. Yet, being dead and forgotten was one thing, and being very much alive but rendered insignificant was a haunting though to her.
She recalled the meeting that had taken place today. Her entire Board of Directors had unanimously suggested that she step down from her position and let young blood carry forward her legacy.
Young blood, she scoffed, like she was old. Wasn’t she hailed for her knack of always homing in on the precise pulse of the situation. Isn’t that why she was the best? She always knew what people wanted, needed and dersief and she gave them just that. Can she still do it though? What if she faltered? What if she made an error and people blamed it on her arrogance? What if they pitied her for not quitting while she was still ahead like some lucked out gambler?
No, she decided. She will not let that happen. It was not the time to step back, but the time to invest more of herself in all her ventures, to exert more in getting every decision right, to be careful and precise.
She stood up, regal and tall, looking out of the glass windows providing her an unparalleled view of the entire city. She looked over it as if it were her domain. Her face set firm in decision as she thought back to the time when she’d first forayed into her field of work. She knew she still had within her the same zeal that drove her then. Now, she had another mountain to climb. Irrelevancy, she thought, was a worthy nemesis. It shall be fun to defeat all its challenges just like she’d done with every other trial that life had thrown her way.
She will retire when hell freezes over.

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Coffee, Cookies and Barista

“Is it over yet?” Sarah enquired over the top of  the menu she was only pretending to read.
“I don’t know.” Replied Liz, drawing circles with a fork on the red and white, chequered table cloth.

“Well, What do you think?” Sarah tried to pry out something more than the hundredth ‘I don’t know’ in a row.

“I don’t want it to be over, I guess. But I know it’s not going to work out.” Liz shrugged, still feigning nonchalance.

“Why, what’d he say today?” Sarah asked, slamming down the wooden menu.

“Nothing.” Liz said, absently twirling a strand of hair in her fingers.

“What do you mean?” Sarah squinted, thoroughly perplexed and equally exasperated. Yet it was nothing compared to the anger she felt in her friend’s behalf.

“It’s just that he hasn’t been in touch much lately”. Liz said with the same faraway air.

“I’ll get you a cup of coffee.” Sarah got up decisively.

“Does this mean it’s over then?” asked Liz, sipping her coffee a few minutes later.

“I think it should be. You know better than me that he doesn’t treat you right.” Came the prompt reply.

“Does anyone ever?” Liz sighed, licking away at her milk moustache and nibbling on the complimentary cookie. 

“Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold out hope. Atleast, that way we protect ourselves from the ones who don’t.”

“And stay alone?” Liz whined, trying to hide from the glare aimed at her by seeking shelter behind her cup.

“And stay strong.” Sarah pulled away the other’s cup, making her look into her eyes.

“Hmm.” Liz finally nodded her approval, always gracious in defeat. Though that did not stop her from stealing the cookie off Sarah’s plate too. She could not be blamed. They were divine.

“Hmm!” Sarah reiterated with pursed lips and folded arms, just to drive the point further home.

“The Barista is kind of cute though!” Winked Liz, with the hint of a smile threatening to form at the corners of her lips.

“Yep, definitely over! We’re switching to wine tonight.” Sarah said, grabbing her friend’s hand and pulling her along.

Laughing, with arms entwined, they left the little coffee shop. 

Vika watched them for a moment till they turned round a corner and disappeared from view. Then she sighed and smiled while clearing the table, mentally patting her back for adding her special, “pick-me-up” cookies to their plates because God knew the girls needed some sugary love.

Then, still smiling, she went behind the counter, walked up to the charmer manning the coffee machine and gave a quick, warm hug to her husband of 49 years. 

For more short stories, please click here. For poetry, please click  here. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below, I’d be delighted to get a feedback. Thank you for reading!

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Made To Be Me

Reblogging because it takes a lot of courage to open up. It takes even more to create a blog and put your words out there. Go read this amazing blog and you’d have nothing to regret. 😊

December Rose

*WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST*

I’m going to try something new today and tell you something about myself using the one-word daily prompt… Because I may only have five followers, and those only from the daily prompt posts, but I’d like to reach out and reveal myself more blatantly to those five followers.

I see the “insights”… Any time I post something without using a reference to the one-word prompt, it goes unread except by my friend, Carly. And I love her for that. But I have this blog to be discovered as a writer by other people who aren’t yet acquaintances. So I use the one-word daily prompt tags, and I get 10-15 views from around the world, and it’s super exciting, but then I realize that they are likely only reading a glimpse into how I think and see the world. Granted, that’s a bigger part of who I…

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Dreamcatcher

She woke up with flailing limbs and clothes covered in sweat, even as new beads of perspiration took form on her brow. Gasping for air, she looked around wildly, surveying her surroundings for any sign of the monsters that might have followed her back to reality.

Leaping off the bed, she ran to the window and looked out, searching for the moon to bathe her in its calming, embalming light. She sighed once and shook her head, shaking off the worst of her fears.

But the window pane glimmered as if the glass was fluid and she let out a piercing scream. This was unreal, she realised, staring hard at that surreal glitch. She closed her eyes and accepted that she was trapped within a dream.

Continue reading “Dreamcatcher”

Coming Home

So, Dhananjay Bhati decided to post the other side of my story from yesterday titled “The Celebration” (click here to read the post). Read on below to know what went on in the mind of the guy over whom his lady love had been fretting all day yesterday.
Please let us know what you think about the two stories in the comments section. We’d be delighted to have your feedback!
Thank you for reading!

Voicing the Ephemeral Echoes of Life

In parallel withThe Celebration written by Varnika Jain.

It had been five months. He kept thinking of the first time they met. With a smile on his face and love in his eyes, he thought of the five months with her. Cherishing each moment with her. It seemed as though life before her didn’t exist. He didn’t remember the world before she came to him. She was everything he’d ever need.

His mind raced through a thousand possible ways to celebrate this evening with her. But this woman, what could he get her that was worth more than the entire world. All of a sudden, he realized what he’d do. With a smile beaming on his face and heart racing wild, he turned off his desktop, grabbed his coat and left for home.

All along the way, he kept thinking of every moment spent with her. Emotions swelled within…

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The Celebration

She frowned, deep in thought. It had been five months. Not a long amount of time by any measure. Yet, for a man who’d never loved before and for a woman who’d been hurt one too many a time, it was quite a lot.

She scrunched her nose, disliking every idea that entered her head. She needed to celebrate, for him, with him. Yes, she had had longer relationships before, but none that showered her with such selfless love, unconditional support and an infinite understanding of all her craziness.

He not only gets her, but he’s got her. And that fact, to her, made all the difference in the world.

It was almost midnight now and she had run out of ideas as well as the fuel to enable further thinking. There just wasn’t anything she could come up with that was worthy of the man and his love for her. She realised with a frustrated groan that she’d polished off an entire pizza and 3 bottles of beer in her quest for finding the perfect celebratory shindig. Her Google search history could put event planners to shame.

She heard the key turn in the lock on the front door. He was home. This time she let out an even louder groan.

He entered their room to find her sitting smack dab in the middle of the bed. Surrounded by empty bottles and an empty cardboard box, crumbs were generously spread all across the bedspread. There was also a pile of crumpled paper at the food of the bed. The corner of her mouth had a tiny bit of cheese hanging on. Her messy bun couldn’t be any messier. Her clothing, or rather his old tee that she’d sneaked away a month before and claimed as hers, was wrinkled and stained with ketchup and what looked suspiciously like beer spillage but could also be drool. Her laptop was dangling precariously over her foot, where she’d pushed it off moments earlier.

She looked up at him, all pouty and with a defeated air, tears welling up in her eyes.

“I messed up. I wanted it to be perfect. I’m so sowie!” She sobbed.
He smiled at the sight before his eyes. Walked up to the bed, scooping her up in his arms. Looking into her eyes he said,

“I’d never cherish anything more than coming back home from a long day at work, finding you in our home, on our bed, as adorable as the day I met you. Thank you, for being my gift. Happy five months, darling!”

The clock chimed the midnight hour. She looked up at him, wide-eyed and wiped away her tears, finally smiling after hours. She snuggled closer. Sliding her arms around his neck. “Thank you for making it back home in time.”
Nothing had ever felt like this much of a celebration before.

Update: Dhananjay Bhati decided to pen down the other side of this story to convey what went on in the mind of the guy above. Please click here to read his take on it.

How do you celebrate meaningful moments, that may or may not be a major occasion, with your loved ones? Let me know in the comments below! After all, the internet is all about exchanging ideas, isn’t it?

For more stories, please click here. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below, I’d be delighted to get a feedback. Thank you for reading!

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Who goes there?

When you’re in the clutches of fear in the middle of the night and feel someone approaching, while you cannot resist the urge to go check for shadows lurking in the dark, it’s the most adrenaline-fueled, anxious experience one can ever have!
Read the succinctly narrated, gripping tale shared down below and relive the sensations of strange visitors knocking at our doors.

Voicing the Ephemeral Echoes of Life

“Who goes there?”

He called out. His eyes tracing the silhouette across the window pane.

“Who goes there?”
He waited for a response in the quite of the night. But all he heard were the leaves, rustling in the summer breeze.

He held on to his bedsheet. Clenching so hard that his knuckles turned white.

“Who goes there?”
He called out again. This time hearing a faint thud from the living room.

Heaving and pupils focussed hard, he got to the door. A faint night light flickering in the hall, gave a dull amber glow.

“Who goes there?”
He hears the door hitting against the frame as it does during the storms.

As he turned, facing the door, he heard a beautiful voice calling out to him. He recognized it in an instant for it was his mother.

She said, “It’s just a nightmare in the dark of the night…

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Of mountains and burdens

We’re six months into this year now. Phew! Time really does fly when you ain’t looking. I’ve been seeing a lot of people reviewing this time or putting up posts about what they’ve learnt during the first half of this year. This got me thinking. I recalled a little post I’d written in January and realised it would still be pertinent today. It is a piece of learning that is a continuous process so I thought of sharing it again with you all. It is a journey into self assessment with an empowering route to realising self worth. Please give it a read below.

Moonlighting Scrivener

“These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb” – Najwa Zebian

Who amongst us has not felt the weight of the world laying on our fragile shoulders? Oh Atlas, I wish you could see how many kindred souls you have!

It is time to jettison all the extra burden that we have self-imposed on ourselves. Yes, self-imposed. No, no, you heard me right.

I agree we live in a fiercely competitive dog eat dog world in present times. No one is spared from an ever present, all consuming pressure to perform. Right from toddlers participating in fancy dress competitions in pre-school, to high-school students scrambling to be popular and cool, to suicide attempts on failing entrance exams, to attaining promotions over all other colleagues, the list is endless. Expectations from parents, from the world, peer-pressure, everything demands of us to excel, to be beyondSuccessful. There…

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Coffee and the Wallflower

She had a coffee mug that read, “Don’t ask until I’ve had my coffee”. Very practical, very true and, of course, her favourite. She kept it at a very prominent place in her cubicle so that the message would never go unseen.

She had a scary aura around her. It was not just because she came across as stand-offish. There was this subtle kind of otherworldly tinge in her overall demeanor that screamed for her to be left to herself. No one bothered her much. No one stopped her in her path. Despite all this, she was still held in high regard and was the unanimously approved go-to person whenever someone was in a pickle at work. She will help you, no questions asked and she was never a credit monger. A few colleagues often wondered out of pure concern as to why she kept everyone at bay. She’d join them for office parties, sure, and for drinks after a hectic day at work, yet no one could say with confidence that she considered them her friend.
That’s just the way things were and everyone around had accepted it wordlessly.

Till one day, a new character entered their little drama of an office life. He was the official trouble-shooter and as such was supposed to work with everyone, without being restricted to any particular department. Further still, he was a partner. So he poked and prodded, then offered genuine advise. Soon becoming the favourite of the herd. They’d laugh and joke around him, completely at ease. If it unsettled her, this sudden change in dynamics, this new cog in the wheel, she never did let it show. She took his appearance in her stride and deftly worked around him. It did not escape anyone’s notice, however, that she’d never yet approached him.

After about three weeks of waiting, he walked up to her cubicle.

“So, have you?”

He asked nonchalantly.

“I’m sorry, what?” She asked, slightly disconcerted.

“You know, had your coffee yet?” He replied with a pointed glance towards her mug.

She was now entirely flummoxed. No one had ever dared take her up on the challenge before.

“Well, yes. Did you need something? You could have simply emailed like always.” She said while trying to get her bearings.

“So can I ask now?” He said with a hint of a smile playing at the corner of his lips.

“Wha-what?”, She was now very confused.

“I get to ask my question now, don’t I?” He smiled smugly.

“Ah, yes. Please go ahead.” She said with a roll of her eyes.

“Go out with me, will you?”

“Excuuuuuse me?” She almost shouted while standing up to pin him with a glare.

All activity had stopped around them. No one even tried to hide their interest in their conversation.

“I said, will you go out with me? Or do you need more coffee before I can ask you this again?” He enquired with all the calm of a quintessential cat.

“I, eh, well, er, umm, y-yes” was her fumbled reply. It was accompanied with a blush so deep, she had to avert her gaze and stare at her feet till the heat from her cheeks died down a bit.

“Alrighty-o then, I’ll wait for you in the parking at 7, if that’s alright with you?” He asked with the most dazzling smile. Of course, she could not see the smile because her footwear had suddenly become very interesting for no apparent reason.

“Okay” she managed to reply in a small voice after two attempts at clearing her throat.

People were staring at them with gaping mouths. The ice queen had melted in front of their very eyes. Men were internally curing themselves while the women were staring daggers.

All it took was a man bold enough to tear down her defences, truly look at her rather than what she projected and simple ask her; Voila! She was almost human again.