Your task was simple. To get as many people out as you can from the place where the moon was tilting into the earth and causing chaos.
It was somewhere in Bangalore, where I was standing with my family, watching the enormous moon in the sky, tilting. I was transfixed when I looked at it, but couldn’t be for too long because the buildings around me were crumbling into pieces. I had made peace with my death which I thought was inevitable because the people on earth couldn’t survive the moon falling on them.
While pieces of it continued to fall, I clasped my sister’s hands and we ran into the subterranean paths. The places where chipped pieces of glass and concrete would not lacerate us as the inevitable approached us with a rushing speed.
I saw you, then. You were guiding people into ship-like structures. Few scattered planes. Herding them like they were cattle. I refused to sit in those structures. They’re of no use; can’t you see the tilted moon? Look at the sky! You gave me a look. A look I’ve now come to recognize as exasperation. Clenching of your jaws, the movement in the nerve on your cheek, the fire in your eyes when you believe I’m being difficult. It is endearing and annoying at the same time.
Will you come with me? I asked.
No. You said.
Perhaps I didn’t need an explanation. The people gathered were already looking lost without your calloused fingers pointing them into the vessels that would deliver them from certain death that I felt rushing towards the entire planet. I feel like I’m in a sci-fi movie, I mused and took my sister back into the underground pathways. I wanted to keep her safe for as long as possible.
The moon did tilt all the way, but I was far too busy hugging my sister tight as the earth I was born into covered us completely.
A year back my doc had diagnosed a benign cyst in my intestine.
Do you dream? She asked.
Vividly and often. I answered.
Do you remember your dreams?
Almost always. I responded.
Digestive problems often cause dreams. You may want to consider removing it.
Will I stop dreaming so vividly?
It’s likely. She said solemnly.
My dreams are a part of me just as anything else. It tells me a lot of things through stories…what I subconsciously think about someone, decisions I’ve already made but didn’t verbalize, sometimes just happiness that seems to percolate through every fiber in me for no apparent reason except that I’m in the dream and I wake up with a smile.
Sometimes these dreams have you. Sometimes they don’t. Few times I’m not there, even. Just the perception of me in a strange land with familiar people. Whatever is causing it, I’m not ready to have them disappear from my every day.
What do you say to a person if their friend has passed away suddenly?
I give "the hug" - the one to convey your understanding of their hurt and reassurance. A touch, a caress of the hands, to convey that you're here if they need you. A pat on the back to convey your empathy. An arm around the shoulder to convey your support.
I rely so much on physical, non-verbal communication that when in this particular instance, I received the news over text messages and the blunt "I don't want to talk" message, I wasn't sure what I could say that could convey anything.
I typed and deleted half a dozen messages. "I understand". "I'm so sorry". "I'm here if you need to talk". "How did it happen?"
Anything you say isn't enough. Suddenly, the words are inadequate.
Thanks for the kind words, putting up with my midnight worries, comments on the post and the general curiosity showed in seeing the completed story!
My entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, has been shortlisted for completion into a short story which will be subject to further shortlisting for publication. Delightful as it was to see the 'Congratulations!' email in my inbox, trepidation has set in to complete the entire story. As always, I would love your comments/thoughts/views on it. I'll post few more excerpts from it, so watch this space! YAY!
story is about the love that two unexpected people found for each other,
sharing the same office space. It journeys through the friendship, respect and
eventual love that they had for each other. Relationships; fragile as they are,
found its frailty tested through this couple’s love as well. Careers, families
and eventualities took a back seat as they discovered a more fundamental block
in their relationship – their natures.
The story weaves through the
complexities of love, where conversations are trickier as the relationship
progresses; insecurities and past catches up. In this contemporary tale of
love, where ‘dating’ may well be a term loosely associated with having a cuppa
and discussing the common interest in music, pop culture and friends; how they
kept themselves engulfed in each other and what becomes of them, forms the crux
of the story.
What Makes This Story ‘Real’–
Office romances are often called short-lived or
short-sighted. This is a portrayal of a story that is inspired from real-life
office relationships with its beauty and pitfalls alike. It has elements of
brutal truths, questions that every couple struggles with and individuals
She saw the green dot alongside his chat window,
tantalizing, tempting. She pinged him hesitatingly. There was a lot on her mind
and the reassuring kiss in the elevator did not seem to take her mind off it.
S: I was
thinking...we both aren't gonna elope, and there are many 'roadblocks' in us
living together. But I want to put a 100% into this relationship.
not asking for a lifetime of commitment, but u want me to believe that we can
face them together, right?
I don’t know if I’m dreaming or awake since you have been
away. I dream about you disturbingly often. Walking to you. Always to you. I
stare at the million criss-crosses in my palm and hope one of them leads me to
I recognize the hunger I feel for you.
Like I would starve if you weren't here. Sometimes I wonder if that was why you
left - because I was too vulnerable.
I must live with your shadow present everywhere. Breathe
you in like my life depended on it. If I must, I must love another, because who
can live without love? But my spirit will be broken into two. A part that is
under my skin, speaking your voice.
I wish I was numb. I wish I was able to shut it out.
Instead, I'm startled when I see fresh goosebumps on my skin like your fingers
ran through my skin.
"I'm miserable without you, baby.
When I was with her...eww, I don't want to
listen to that!
But then, I've always been a big fan of solitude. My family doesn't understand it. They call me non-pliant, unrepentant and immovable to adjustments. Somewhere in this space I'd once written I don't do mediocrity, settling and compromises. My tryst with solitude is something like that. In a time and space that doesn't have any time and space is where I can be utterly naked.
People and their spaces are legendary. "Give me some space!" "I need space" and "Why the hell won't you leave me alone!" are statements I hear. Yet, when solitude is mentioned, it is mentioned as an expletive, something to be hidden and buried. That cannot be whispered into the ears of unsuspecting patrons of togetherness.
It has mystical properties, this solitude. An allegory of litanies that you may have, the narcissistic indulgences, desolation, redemption. In that time, you are invincible.