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The Sentence: part 3

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   The one who was 

Drip-drip. pitter-patter, drip-drip, pitter-patter. The sound of falling rain on the roof of the building creates such a soothing rhythm. It’s lulling me to sleep. I could have left for my quarters and the comfort of my bed hours ago but I decided to stay back. The university is going to celebrate its Centenary next year and as the Dean, I have a lot to take care of. However, I just cannot focus. Here, I am now, at my office, sitting at my table and staring at the computer screen. The bluish light begins to hurt my eyes. I turn it off and saunter over to the lone window behind my table.

As I stare at the falling rain, my eyes fill with tears. I am only aware of it when I feel the wetness on my cheeks. Instead of brushing them away, I let them fall. The tears are a tribute to the one I loved, the girl who loved to watch the rain. For hours. She is no more. Maya.

When I first met Maya after her preliminary interview, I had noticed the magic in her easy, effortless smile. As she shook hands with me, the touch of her hand on mine was a soft, warm sensation and made me break out into a boyish grin. I was surprised. I am not one to smile easily. Especially, when I am about to interview a hopeful applicant. Usually, it’s a curt nod in my nod… may be just a hint of a smile I am quite against becoming too pally with the people who work under me. In fact, I am known as a stern task-master among the staff. It’s not that I am not fair or unreasonable, But it is a veneer that I have to don and it is appropriate to my status and position at the University.

Maya came in like a whirlwind, like a gushing river in the monsoon, eager to overflow its banks and sweep everything away in its path. She was almost half my age but that did not stop me from falling in love with her, her entire being, the sensuous woman that she was. She was not a breathtaking beauty, but her smile was benign. She had a certain generosity in her which is hard to come by in today’s world, a kindness that emanates from empathy and a willingness to forgive the entire world for its sins.

Maya did not belong to this world, she belonged in a world which would understand her gentleness, her talent at touching hearts and turning complete strangers into friends. When she came into my life, she seemed very carefree, happy-go-lucky… like  a pretty, little bird that has just been given the permission to fly out of its nest and explore the endless, blue sky. She had just begun to spread her wings, ready to take flight, when the unthinkable happened. I remember warning her a couple of times that she shared too much of her soul with others. She was too much of a giver. Maya would just laugh it off. She probably believed she was on a mission to heal the damaged on this earth. And see where it led her to! She had to pay for her folly with her life, a budding, vibrant life of which she had just seen twenty-six years! His betrayal killed her, an unworthy person who neither deserved her heart nor her compassion.

Maya loved a man who would not love her back, ever. People here say she died of a broken heart but I call it a murder. Her foolish love for Anton murdered her and we were all witness to that!

As I said, I loved Maya, in spite of our age difference, the positions we held at the University, in spite of the fact that she looked up to me as a mentor, a father figure. After my divorce five years back, I took up this role and have always been comfortable living my life in comfortable seclusion, immersing myself in my books and enjoying the company of my beloved German shepherd, Buzzo. I did not really crave for human company. Maya changed all that.

The rain outside does not show any signs of abating. Restless, I pour a cup of cold water down my throat. It does not help! A scream is building up inside my chest, yearning to get out. I clench my fists as my mind takes me back to the morning when, sitting at this very same table, I was glancing through the email I had received from the Italian Professor. I liked his profile immediately, His credentials and accolades hinted that he was an ambitious achiever. I had no hesitation in inviting him over for a few months.

He seemed to be a gentleman with a pleasant disposition, much younger than I was and spoke with a heavy accent. I remember welcoming him and showing him around the first time we met. I was quite impressed by all the background information he had gathered and the research he had done prior to joining us. I sensed a spark in him which, coupled with his sense of humour must have made him quite irresistible…. to Maya, at least.

It was a classic case of opposites attract. Maya, a young, exuberant assistant lecturer who loved Literature and Art. She loved to lose herself in the pages of the books that she read and always tried to seek others who would participate alongside her in her magical journeys. She believed in people and in their words. Foolish, really.

I could see that they had befriended each other in a matter of days. Most of the staff members were all praise for the foreigner, about how polite and helpful he was and lauded his vast reserves of knowledge in not only Mathematics and the Sciences but also Literature and world cultures. He was reticent about his personal affairs but not unfriendly, quiet but not unpleasant.

Thinking back, this might be the very place where they had first seen each other. My office. As Anton sat before me, discussing about how he would like to conduct a seminar about the logical properties of random graphs, I suddenly recalled that he had received the Young Researcher Award at his university last year and questioned him about it. I noticed he loved to talk about himself, though he tried his best not to sound pompous. As his boastfulness was effectively masked by his witty repertoire, I was quite happy listening to him. However, with my worldly knowledge and experience, I knew that I would not trust him with a lot.

Anyway, as I listened and nodded, I heard two loud knocks on the polished wood of my door and, before I could reply, Maya barged in.  All other staff members including the senior most would have thought twice before doing this but not Maya. Maya had somehow seen through my stern facade and established that she would remain her exuberant, playful self with me. May be she knew I would let her.

So in dashed Maya, beaming as usual. I brought on a severe look and shook my head from side to side in disapproval, but my eyes were indulgent and Maya saw through it at once.

“Mr Shekhawat, you know what I was thinking… about independent scholarly work to support….”

I raised my right hand in a mock serious manner, asking her to stop and gestured towards the foreigner.

“This is Professor Antonio Palazzolli from Italy,” I said with a tiny smile, “he has joined the Math Dept. as visiting Faculty and will be staying and working at our University for a few months…”

Maya stopped short and turned to face the Professor. He stood up politely.

“Professor, this is Maya, from the Department of English. A promising, young associate lecturer.” I smiled at Maya but she was not looking at me.

Anton moved up a few paces and extended his hand. “Nice meeting you,” he greeted with a smile and a slight tilt of his head.

I expected her to reciprocate but she seemed to be at a sudden loss for words which was not like her at all. He was still standing with his hand extended when she suddenly blurted out in a voice which was unnecessarily loud, “I so hate Math!”

Taken aback, I was about to chide Maya gently for her uncharacteristic rudeness when Anton gave a solemn nod.

“Oh, I often get that from beautiful women,” he chuckled pleasantly.

I noticed his amused eyes were still on Maya. I also noticed the faint blush creeping up her neck.

 

The Sentence:Part 2

 

shallow focus photo of pink ceramic roses
Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

 

Antonspeak 

It is midnight. I have slept for less than an hour. I had just come to bed after working through a very difficult formula and I remember how proud I was of myself! And with a good reason, too. This had been bothering me for the last couple of days and I could finally nail the mind-boggling question. No one in my Department has been able to solve it, yet! Smiling and smug, I tried to wake up Rebekah but she is sleeping like a log. She usually leaves for work early, (yes, seven thirty in the morning is pretty early for me) which means I will get to share the news only when I see her after work. She’ll be glad, she does dote on me, after all!

To say that Rebekah is beautiful would be an understatement. Her looks are extraordinarily attractive, to be honest. A perfect body, coupled with ravishing Middle Eastern facial features; she would be a prize catch for any man any day! And yet, here she is, for me, laying on my bed, her hair framing her oval face, her porcelain skin so delicate!  She is a trophy to be shown-off, put on display, polished and show-cased. I am quite happy doing that.

It’s also very interesting, the way Rebekah and I got together. But that can wait. I need to sleep. My eyelids are heavy, I spent too many hours grinding my brain for the answer to that formula.

But I was sleeping! What made me wake up so suddenly? It was a strange sensation… not a dream, really… but strange! It was like a voice… a hushed, almost inaudible voice. What was it saying? I can’t recall but I think I heard my name… twice. I know that voice very well.. I recognized it at once.

Darn that email! I am not going to lie, I was stunned after I read it…I mean, who would have.. I never would have believed….Maya is…… was so young! And darn that Dean! Why did he have to send an email to me? Like I was responsible or something… It’s been almost a year that I have been gone from there. That is a phase of my life that’s over, That quaint, old-world town where life revolves around one University… the one I was a guest lecturer at, the people who belonged to another world, another culture but still they did their best to accept me as their own, that tiny, old house I had rented which overlooked the sea… and Maya.

It’s like  a chapter of a book that I have already read and moved on to the next, with no wish to re-read or recall any part of it.

I touch Rebekah’s bare shoulders. She shivers a little, my hands are cold. She smiles in her sleep, she knows it’s me. I love to stare at her sleeping form, so supple, so alluring.
Something stirs inside me and I feel the urge to wake her up, with a kiss. I know she would be happy to oblige, to satisfy my needs even though she needs her sleep, She adores me no end.  That is what she is here for, isn’t she? But I drop the idea, I am too tired as it is.

And she is brilliant too, brilliant in every other way. She is just thirty but when I look at all that she has accomplished by now, am quite awed. Not that I have told her though, she hears enough praise for her beauty without me having to add to it. What’s the best part is that she gives me everything I need from her without any hesitation.

I like this girl, not just because of her looks and intelligence, I admire her spirit and independent streak. She is quite the diva and her eyes are so deep, it seems you can almost look down into her soul….

Soul…. ‘Soul mates’ ‘together for all eternity!’ All that useless ramble. And she was into it, too deeply into it. Maya was the most unrealistic, impractical person I have ever known! It got unbearable, so unbearable that…

Anyway, she is dead and gone. May her soul (it’s her favorite word) rest in peace. I need to rest too or I would have a hard time focusing on all my colleague’s jealous faces tomorrow. I just hope no one else was able to solve it tonight, as I did. I can’t help but smile..

Maya had a lovely smile, filled with wonder, almost child- like.

///////////////////////////////

She is at it again. ‘Love’, ‘soul connection!’ Dear Lord! She gets so annoying at times! Besides, I was working for this very important seminar I have to speak at, next month! She does not even understand the gravity of the situation! Too immature…. Young, yes, but too immature!

Her arms wrap around my neck and she pulls me towards her a little. My head jerks back slightly and I sigh resignedly but I smile as I look up into that smiling face. I plan to finish as much as I can at the University, there’s not much hope of getting it done with her around.

“See for yourself! I always knew this was true…” Gushing, she thrusts her phone under my nose. I have no choice  but to look at it. I read the heading: ‘Twin Flames and their Destinies.’ I have no clue what it’s about, but looking at the dancing light in her eyes, I know she is bursting to tell me.

“What is this?” My voice is laced with bitterness, I just want to get on with my project.

“You and I! Twin flames….. How can you not remember? I told you about this article last week….” Her nostrils flare a bit. “You always forget all that I say!” She accuses, drawing away and stomping over to the open window. It’s still quite early and the light outside seems soft, cleansed. The gentle breeze is playing through her locks now, just as its playing among the thick, green foliage of the tress outside. I can hear the soft murmur of the leaves.

I am ready with a biting retort but decide it’s not necessary. Instead, I walk over to her and press my body against hers. I feel the tremor that I cause in her. Her breathing is faster, I can tell. I grin as I thrust my face in her inky black, shoulder length hair. She smells of wild flowers, a bit floral, a bit mysterious…

“Maya?” I whisper, breathing on her collar bone. It causes a tingle and from experience, I know most women love it. Maya is no different. She giggles like a little girl, all traces of anger gone in a moment. This is something that I really love about her, the sound of her laughter…. It’s almost musical. She turns to face me.

“Do you love me?” She asks, for the umpteenth time. The look in her eyes intensifies. I turn away, flustered.

“Say you love me, Anton!” Her petulant lips add to her exaggerated frown. Everything about her is so dramatic, it’s almost comical. I choose to remain silent, knowing what is about to come next. And I am right. In a few seconds, those black eyes fill with tears and the tip of her nose turns reddish. Such an adorable picture of innocent anger. I open my arms and she nestles her head on my chest. Sometimes I wonder whether this woman’s brain is any different from a thirteen year old’s.

“I hate you!” She whispers in mock ferocity.

I nod silently as she gazes up, her eyes smiling now,  eager, hungry. Her lips upturned. Her lips are always a soft shade of pink. I can see the colour rising to her cheekbones. I wink knowingly as she draws closer, her eyes still open, still staring, brimming with trust, staring at my face. I want her to close her eyes! Her eyes are transforming…. into the eyes of a… a dead body. It’s a horrible stare, still, unblinking! I hate those eyes!

/////////////////

The next thing I know is I am soaking with sweat My t-shirt is clinging to my torso and I am heaving. I can hear Rebekah’s anxious voice, she is asking if I am alright. I don’t know, my mind is disoriented. I do not feel strong enough to move my limbs. What happened?

I was in that cottage, with Maya. It was a dream. I can now see Rebekah running out of the room and returning with a bottle of water. The bottle is chilled and the tiny droplets are clinging to the sides for dear life. Just how I like it. Rebekah does not like chilled water. She gets a throat infection immediately.

I never noticed if Maya drank chilled water.

Hell, what am I thinking! She is dead! DEAD!

I pull Rebekah into a fierce embrace. She is frightened, her heart is racing but she comforts me just like my mom would, perhaps. I notice that Rebekah’ s fingernails are painted dark brown or black. I can’t tell in the low light. I hate black. Black, to me, is the colour of mourning.

Is Maya’s family still mourning her loss? The email did not mention..

(To be continued)

The Supply

IMG-20191116-WA0010Amidst the din of the city that
Never seemed to sleep at night
There walked a silent maiden fair
One who rarely saw daylight.
‘Nightqueen’ they mocked her for she was a creature of the night.

As her tired body climbed the steps
Nearing her shabby, run-down lair
Timid, scared, her eyes did dart
On hearing footsteps.. that unnerving stare.
Touched by fingers icy cold, gasping, her throat she bared.

A night owl screeched, as if to warn
‘Now run!’ She thought, ‘its worth a try!’
“Too late!” He sneered, “Now you’re mine!”
Once more, she raised a feeble cry
Nail-sharp, his teeth claimed their supply.

A bright sun rose in a bloody pool
Nipping breezes started to pry
Through the single window that
Opened partly, peering at the sky
Nothing but his marks remained on his mangled, dead supply.

IMG-20191119-WA0007

SAUDADE

 

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Photo by Jack Gittoes on Pexels.com

It’s that time of the day again…. I sit back, close my eyes, and a deluge of memories descend upon me.

Memories of you…. my ode to you.

‘Saudade ‘ a beautiful word in a foreign language… if you only look it up, you’d know….

‘Saudade’, my feelings exactly… but how to explain feeling to one who shuns ?

How to show my soul to one who laughs at that reckless passion?

What do I do… except….  walk away.

Or so I think!

‘Saudade’ haunts, and I was never any good at calculated indifference
If I could only wrench those backdated feelings out of my core..
But then… I wonder.
If I did, who would know the difference between you and me?

‘Saudade’ might make me weak but I will last
Like a rock, unwavering, steadfast…
Like spring that waits for winter to retreat
Like the voice in your head, deafening but discreet.

And that voice speaks to you, if only you’d hear
For its that one call you eternally run from
Yet I see it crystal clear, like the light of day
That I am the shield to your every fear.

I will be repose when your tired soul aches
The light in me will shine so bright
Dispelling the darkness in both our beings
Give me ‘you’; and the world would seem just right

And if some day, say, ‘Saudade’ beckons you
I will still be where you left me.. still fierce, still true….

The Light Shines through

blue-moon-lotus-kate-hungerford

 

The lotus stands alone, forlorn, in the dark waters of the lake
The black night around her, densely packed
With the chirping of critters, adding to the eeriness of the place.
But does the lotus care? She is pre-occupied, staring steadfastly at the dazzling moon
She strives to reach that silvery orb, she hopes, sighs and hopes again.

 

For she knows that the moon cares not for her existence
Yet, she adores his light, it soothes the restlessness in her soul
When his beams cast their magic on her quivering petals
She starts to shimmer, feeling his touch all over her being
She dances with delight, gently swaying in the playful breeze
Her grateful heart whispering a serenade as she worships her unattainable..

 

I ask the lotus, “Are you not a fool? Why waste your youth on the faraway moon…
That neither cares for the purity of your ardour, nor for the virtues that commit you to him?

 

Amused by my ignorant probes, she softly laughs and answers
“I adore the light that brightens my soul, I bow before that, it makes me who I am..
My beauty, my virtues, my passionate love
Soar toward him, as a silent prayer
He listens, he knows, he understands
And though the moon seems oblivious to you,
He answers my call when his light shines through.

 

The Message…

‘Reached safely and off to bed,’ his message said.
She read it again, those few words, again and again
She smiled, delighted, and once more she read,
‘Off to bed now,’ the message said.

Closing her eyes, she could see
A solitary figure, fatigued and in great need of rest,
Unlock the front door and plop wearily on the couch
Now his shoes come off and he tucks them neatly away
Taking off of his travel attire, he heaves a sigh
He just wants a pillow to rest his head
But gently smiles, for there’s more to do yet
And picking up his phone, he types instead
‘Reached safely and now off to bed.’

He knew he needn’t, he knew she would know,
He badly needed sleep, it was already very late
But he wanted to assure her, he wanted to show
That he cared so much and sleep could wait.
‘ Goodnight my love, I miss you so,’ he wrote,
He laughed at his exuberance and shook his head,                                                                       For a moment he thought, then those words he erased
‘Reached safely and sleep well’ was all he said.

His words hugged her in a soft embrace
Her eyes welled up, they were miles apart
And as she changed, she stared at the screen
Then sank in her bed, all satin and lace
‘Reached safely, off to bed’ she read, as she pictured
His lips forming those words, only for her
Hugging his words passionately to her chest
She closed her eyes, trying to rest.

Two people asleep in countries far
So distant, yet so very near
Bound by the magic in their hearts
That would not allow them to part.
One is ‘home’ and the other seeks
One is ‘need’ and the other gives
Who is which, they do not care
For an unusual bond they gratefully share.

For she lay peacefully now, in her bed
Lulled to sleep by mere words she had read
How had he known that she had quietly
prayed?
Why else ‘Reached safely,’ had he said?

Healing

Have you ever paused to watch
Twilight that plays among the clouds?
Ever marvelled at what treasures lay
In Nature’s lap; its sights and sounds?

Ever wondered how the colours spread
Before the pall of darkness falls?
And how it calms your dejected soul
When it answers the creator’s whispering call?

The rush of day is almost done
And weary feet drag down the lane
On a whim, the eyes look up
And your weary heart forgets its pain.

For there’s magic in the view around
Such magic that is true and pure
The creator’s hand that holds the brush
Has strokes that can all ailments cure.

So if you ever glance up and see
Pinkish hues smeared across the sky
Believe its Him and His hand up there
You’ll feel His love in you if you try.

Your eyes may well with sudden tears
That threaten to spill down your chest
Let them flow for He forged you strong
He knows you will pass His every test.