The Bleeding Heart

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As the night wears on, sleep deludes her. She thinks of watching a movie or reading a novel, anything to distract her restless heart. She ends up lying in bed, listlessly staring at the rotating fan. Of late, she has been doing that quite often, staring at the fan. A dog barked somewhere outside. She looked out the window and saw the pathway by the side of her house lit by a forgotten porch light. She could see faint lights dotting the horizon and felt somewhat reassured. There are others out there who are up in the middle of the night, she was not alone. She felt a kind of solidarity with those strangers, though distant, who shared the night with her. Picking up the Ruskin Bond book, she leafed through it, only to keep it aside again. Plugging in the earphones, she scrolled through her playlist and realized she wasn’t in the mood for music either. Tired of waiting to fall asleep, she switched off the light in the hope that darkness would tempt Morpheus to descend but alas. The dining room’s light spilled through the crack of her door, filling the room with a soft glow. Her brother was up, watching football matches. She enjoys watching them with her brother sometimes but not this night. Accepting that tonight is going to be one of those nights when she won’t be getting any sleep at all, she went out to her balcony. She sat still, letting her mind go wild, aching at the chaos inside. The chaos all around was calmer than the chaos inside her mind. She knew. She knew why she was sitting in her swing, at the dead of the night, instead of getting a good night’s sleep. She knew but she was not ready to acknowledge it. She felt weak admitting, even to herself, that after all these years, she was still carrying old hurts, still stuck in first love, still holding onto lost memories. Try as she might to forget, he was always there, just out of reach, veiled in the closed chamber of her heart. And at nights like this, with the wind whispering and the moon shining, he often haunted her, making solitude unbearable.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/chaos/”>Chaos</a&gt;  The Bleeding Heart

 

Reminiscence

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Gauhati University Campus, Guwahati, Assam, India

It has been a while since I took a stroll through the campus, a place I don’t stay at, anymore but will be my home, always and forever. I looked out the window as it has been raining every now and then for the past few weeks. Though the rain has stopped, it will come down again, soon. The sky was still a grey blanket with the trace of a soft breeze drifting. After contemplating for a few seconds, I stepped out without an umbrella and on a last minute whim, I ditched my cell phone too.

Walking by the road, I exulted in the wet smell of the earth brought up by the rains. Touch of the monsoon can be seen everywhere. The leaves are not dusty any longer, the gardens are over brimming with myriad colors of blossoms and little puddles lay scattered along the path. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds, shooting its rays out in glory one last time, before twilight took over, turning the sky a pale lilac. The trees, tall and graceful, made a canopy of silhouettes against the evening sky. The houses, the broken fences, the roof lines, the gabled windows, the strewn leaves, the homey porches added their own beauty to the canvas. I devoured every detail like a hungry child, imprinting them on my mind, as now I hardly get the time to come here.

My childhood, my adolescence, my first crush, my first love, my heart-breaks, my happy tears, every first of my life has started from this place. And as I came to the cross-road near our school, I stopped awhile in front of the community Puja Ghar, standing strong against the tide of time. Even in my late twenties, the excitement and anticipation for the approaching Durga Puja days are filled with childlike enthusiasm.

The vivid images floated past my eyes. I was the carefree kid again having the best time of my life with my brother, my best friend and my gang of buddies. One by one, all of them have gone their ways, leaving the campus rich with memories. I, too, had relocated after Deuta’s retirement. Now we rarely meet, seldom talk.

As I stood there, lost in the past, somewhere a train whistled shrilly, breaking my reverie. Two kids walked past me, huddled under an umbrella, chatting animatedly. A gust of wind swept away their umbrella and they chased it giggling and laughing. I smiled at their joy. As I turned, homeward bound, it began to drizzle softly but I was in no hurry. We may get drenched in the rain from time to time but how often do we savor it? How often do we get to stroll through the place of our childhood?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stroll/”>Stroll</a&gt; Reminiscence

A Night beneath the Stars

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Majestic hills and dramatic cliffs, vibrant flowers and quiet fields, quaint little houses, neat gardens, and the night I spent in a cozy cottage.

Unlike the stifling city life of Guwahati, Shillong is a sleepy town where night descends early. You can lie in the warm embrace of your love or you can cozy up in bed with a book or, if you are a bit of a dreamer, you can spend the night at the porch steps, watching the lights go off in the distance and soak in the tranquility of solitude. It is a perfect weekend getaway for rejuvenating oneself.

The night of my stay was windy, with a hint of chill in the air, not much for warm clothes but enough to give you the goose bumps. I could see the stars twinkling, the moon spilling its light over the grey clouds. The distant hills stood vigil against the sky. A hollow sound echoed as the wind drifted past the trees. The swaying leaves made different shapes and shadows by the tiny yellow light, above the porch.

I stayed at the Royal Heritage Tripura Castle which had suites with gabled roof, bay windows and tiered backyard garden. There was a white wall, to my right, flanking the garden, with vines snaking through it. On my left, a green picket fence ran the length of the lawn, broken at places by big and crooked trees. Lights dotted the carpet grass at intervals and two chairs sat just in the centre, beneath a large tree. The picture looked straight out of a Nora Roberts story.

I felt a pang of envy. How good it would be to come home to such surroundings, everyday. To sit at the porch and enjoy the sights, all the day’s tiredness melting away, inch by inch. I remember lying on the steps, beneath the stars. At one point, I thought I saw a wishing star and my heart skipped a beat. Oh, the legend of wishes coming true, wished upon a wishing star still manages to thrill me. Normally, wishing stars just zoom away even before you could conjure up a wish. But, this one was passing by, in its own leisure. I lay there for some time watching its progress, my mind giving the verdict that it was an aircraft but my heart making a wish anyway. There was some magic in the air that night, a subtle intoxication that played with my senses.

I don’t know for how long I sat there, just gazing. But it was one of those times when you feel connected to your own self, when the world seems to blur away, when you get a new perspective on everything that has gone by, everything that is and everything that will be. Such moments are what keep us sane, don’t you think? With the hope of many more such instances, I went back into my room and to the life I had kept aside for a few days.

Marry-go-round !

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Disclaimer: This article is strictly for the girls who are single, of marriageable age (whatever that is) and are more likely to go into an arranged marriage, although harboring the hope of finding love. To the girls, who are in love, lucky you and congratulations! I do not have anything against arranged marriage or marriage, for that matter.

Recently I came across an article of Suhasini Mulay, theatre artist, marrying at 60. The way she broke a stereotype garnered my immense respect for her determination and perseverance. She did not marry because she is of age, not because if she crosses a certain age, she won’t be able to bear children and obviously not because of what society will say. She married because of the right reasons, love and compatibility and because she WANTED to get married.

In our country, people get married for umpteen numbers of reasons but love is seldom one of them. Shouldn’t marriage be a union of two people, not only physically and socially, but also mentally and intellectually? Many factors rule marriage in India but companionship is not one of them and hence, to some it becomes an obligation, something to be-get-done-with so that everyone would just stop nagging and leave us in peace. The most prevailing factor here, for the girls at least, is age. I did not realize that we, women, come with an expiry date, 30. If you are not married by then or at least engaged, Heaven help you. People will behave as if you have contracted some disease. Wherever you go, to some family function or public gathering, people will whisper behind you, some will doubt your character, some other will pity you while some will taunt your parents. And you, my dear girls, somehow conditioned from childhood to believe that marriage is the ultimate goal of a girl, will start feeling guilty and consent to marry just so that society does not ridicule your beloved Ma and Deuta.

Sometimes I feel like girls are born just to get married and carry on the family name. We do not have any other identity. I mean, in my late twenties, where on one hand, my male friends are planning to take their career to the next level, maybe go for higher education, we are waging a war with our family, trying to explain marriage may not be the top priority for us, too. The ones getting married left, right and center, some of them are genuinely happy of course. But most, they are compromising, all the time bickering in front of us, the friends, how frustrated they actually are.

Why are we Indians so judgmental? I become a bad girl if I don’t behave docilely and agree to marry according to the age-old system of marrying in our twenties. I am, of course, influenced by the many Western movies and books that I go through which have messed up my head and made me illogical. Compatibility, I am looking for compatibility, how more ridiculous can I get! If the guy has a steady job, a good family background, doesn’t drink or smoke, that is the perfect guy. What am I looking for more, right? Wrong!

Every Tom, Dick and Sally (or Harry) lectures me on my high expectations and advises me to come out of my fantasy dreams. Reality check everyone, I and the likes of me, do not want a prince! We do not want someone outrageously good looking. We want someone compatible, someone we are comfortable with, someone we don’t have to hide ourselves from. Is it so hard to understand? Or is it such an impossible thing to want?

When I read or watch those silly romances, I don’t expect happy-ever-after for myself. Yes, I drool over the guy, go “awww” at the sweet moments, sigh wistfully at the kisses but at the end of the day, it’s just a story, a fantasy of someone’s mind and I do not forget that. But, yeah, I do want something from them. The click, I want that click, that perfect fit of two puzzle pieces. And don’t tell me it does not exist. Because it does! I have seen it with my parents, with some of my friends, and between many others.

You can put forth the argument that all of them have made compromises and adjustments. Of course they have. A relationship is never easy, it needs loads of work. And there, compatibility again creeps in. If you care for the person, genuinely love the person, the compromises and adjustments wouldn’t weigh you down. You will have fierce disagreements but immense respect too. You will not resent each other.

So, ladies if you are gloomy because you are causing pain to your parents, remember that it is just temporary. Think that if you are compromising, bowing to social pressure and stigmas, you will be inviting unhappiness for your lifetime and pain for your parents’ lifetime, because no matter what, parents always want our happiness. Yeah, sometimes you might need to fight a little harder to convince them where your happiness lies. I just saw one of my close friends agreeing to marry just because everyone expects her to. And now witnessing her daily inner struggle, her frustrations, saddens me.

Compromise, adjust but in the relation, not in the choice of your partner.

Tangled

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For long they have hidden their passion. But not anymore. Tonight, they will dance,  consumed in a torrid desire. The moon, regal in his full form, seduced her with his raw power, wrapping her in his silvery shine. The rain, sensuous in her curves, taunted him with her soft touch, drenching him in her icy heat. The night simmered and sizzled, as they cast a spell, captivated in their steamy tango while the world slept blissfully unaware.

Holy or Hollow !

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Marriage is a sacred institution or so I have heard. Marriage is the union of two people, not only physically but mentally, emotionally, intellectually and in every other aspect or so I believe. If I go by my belief, then the custom of arranged-marriage teeters on the edge between absurdity and abominability. Still, before I hurt the sentiments of the many straitjackets, I state that it is only my opinion and I am not always correct. And the stereotypical society will be only too happy to denounce that the likes of me are never correct. But then again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, eh! For me, marriage is the natural successor to love, and if not, then it is just an empty abyss, a shackled confinement.

Perseverance

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To all those dreams that lay in wait, many a time has gone by blurring you out and many a day has dawned illuminating you sharp. But no matter what, I can always feel you rushing through my blood, I can always sense you pulsing in my heart, a constant throb, an ever-present beat. Like a horse galloping or a snail crawling, each day has me, inch closer and closer to you still.

Austen Fever

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How can a girl settle for less when the first ever book she read introduced her to a hero like Mr. Darcy!

Though a fictional character, how can the heart dare not hope that such a person cannot not exist!

All his arrogance, his pride, his weaknesses make him all the more real.

All the great many imperfections of his, designed to vex a woman, becomes his very perfections.

From the then-silly-innocent heart to the now-battered-somewhat-mature heart, the hope remains steady and strong.

What with the world full of Mr. Collinses and Mr. Wickhams, somewhere a Mr. Darcy must be out there too!

Ruined for life…in love…romance…marriage!

Tamasha

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Imtiaz Ali. Ranbir Kapoor. Deepika Padukone. Piyush Mehra. A R Rahman. Irshad Kamil. Production design by Acropolis. The result had to be spectacular and the artist in me was not disappointed. Two years back, this movie would have shaken me to my core. Today, I could relate to each and every moment in the film. I have been through all of them in the past two years. Imtiaz Ali has done it again. He has concocted all the innermost yearnings and feelings that everyone carries around and shown us the mirror. People say movies are fictions and we are fools if we are infulenced by them. But this movie showed me that I am on the right path.

“Sawaalon ka safarnama
Jisey dhoonda
Zamaane mein, mujh hi mein tha”

Now everything is about the ‘safarnama’.

Mask

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She acted breezy and everyone believed that she was immune to all the usual hurts and disappointments. He knew she was not. He wanted to hug her tight and tell her to let go of that control for once. But that would just get him a punch on the face, not a hug.