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=””>Chaos</a&gt;  The Bleeding Heart





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=””>Stroll</a&gt; Reminiscence

A Night beneath the Stars


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.