Category Archives: Of Family

Of Sad Days

I wanted to write something happy today – something about finding rainbows beyond a cloud; about mirthful summers and early springs; about happiness. I wanted to write happy things and be happy.

But there’s a storm raining down upon my heart. Inside, I’m wrecking; breaking into several pieces. But does anybody realize that? No. I hide it all behind a sheer pretence. I laugh. I giggle. I look around at people. When tears prick at my eyes, I blink away. But on particularly lonely moments, when the streetlights no longer shine brightly, I sit down on the pavement and I cry my heart out.

There’s a storm raining down upon my heart. It’s been long since I saw the sunshine last. I’m waiting for the rays to break through the darkness and enter my house. I want to believe that yes, it’ll be there…soon. I want to write happy things until then – about hope. But there’s a storm razing inside me, shattering every hope of mine. So, until the dawn arrives, I sit and write another sad story about a sad day.

Of Childhood and Notebooks

I remember a time, back when I was barely twelve, and we lived in a small house with breaking mosaic patterned tiles, Mom never bought us those ruled notebooks. Instead, she’d buy us sheets of plain, white paper and stitch them up to make it look like a notebook.

I was always fascinated with those hardbound or paperback notebooks, though, for they had pictures of superheroes and superstars and unicorns on them. But Mom never bought us those. All I had were sheets of bright, crisp paper divided into two halves, with a taut white string holding the pages together.

With time, I learnt to make it look better. I’d paste little stickers on it or cut out pictures from magazines and old newspapers and decorate the front page with them. But no matter how much I tried, the cover page of my notebook was never as glossy or gorgeous as the ones they sold in shops. But I never gave up. I started sketching and drawing on the front page to make it look the way I wanted it to be. Often, somebody in school would stop by, steal a glance at my weird, little notebook and ask me if I had designed it. A part of me would be scared to answer because there’d always be this lingering fear in my mind whether it’d be laughed upon or appreciated. My friends would compliment me and shove their notebooks into my hand and ask me to design one for them.

Over the years, plain notebooks without factory-made cover pages didn’t bother me anymore.

Even when I had a chance to buy myself those notebooks I had once envied, it didn’t feel that great as it was supposed to. Rather, the notebooks felt too ordinary when I pulled them out from my bag and saw the rest of the class of forty students pull out the same kind of notebook too. That is when I realized how beautiful those barren, plain notebooks that Mom brought for us, were. My designs on it were unique. Yes, there was no cellophane covering on it, so whenever it rained, I had to go back home, tear away the cover page and make another one, but it was all worth. For they stood out. Stood out from the rest.

Over the years, many other things changed too. Mom stopped buying us those sheets of paper and instead bought us those hardbound, ruled notebooks. I didn’t draw on them. They looked too perfect already. The cover pages were waterproof. So I didn’t have to bother when it rained. In fact, I never bothered at all. I let them lie on the study table, collecting dust. The other notebooks carried a piece of me in them. I’d keep them locked up in cupboards like they were some hidden treasure. And my heart would swell in pride every time somebody would praise them.

I don’t know why I suddenly remembered about them. The thought arrived like a little flash of memory, bringing along with, a fountain of nostalgia.

Years have gone by. I’ve moved on from those “weird”, little notebooks to factory-made, custom designed notebooks to spiral bound ones and more. But I haven’t moved on from those memories. Be it the awkward squirming on seeing a friend pull out a proper notebook to waiting for the class to look at the teacher so that I could pull out my notebook without becoming a laughing stock to garnering appreciation for the same doodles, it’s been a crazy little ride.

A part of me wants to go back in time and find my treasure cove. I want to call Mom up and ask her if they sell those loose sheets of paper anymore. But I know the answer, they don’t. Just like me, they’ve moved on to better technology and better ways. Mom probably wouldn’t make me those notebooks if I asked her to. She is too busy. Yet, a part of me wants that and only that.

It makes me wonder of how we remember so much about the things we shouldn’t have bothered to remember. Perhaps, it is because though the moment had seemed very insignificant once upon a time, it made us into the person we are today. The miles we’ve come; the miles we’ve yet to conquer, we owe it to these tiny, beautiful memories.

Of A-Table-For-One

He had been asked to manage the reception counter for the day. Sitting lazily at the plywood desk, he answered the calls from excited, impatient people, asking for table reservations and the special menu for the night. He hated the task. He was better off serving customers in his oversized T-shirt and his brother’s baseball cap. Somehow, the tightly fitted blue shirt with its crisp collars and intricately tailored black pants made him feel suffocated and out of place.

The evening was setting in and the buzz of crowds could be heard outside.

Pulling up his plastered smile, he greeted the first people who entered – an elderly couple with greying hair and wrinkled smiles. They walked to his desk and peered at the laminated sheet of paper displaying the reservation list. Then, the woman smiled and pointed at the sheet to draw his attention.

“This way, ma’am,” he replied with a polite smile, pushing open the huge oak doors to walk into the dimly lit room with its huge chandeliers and slow music. The forks and plates had been neatly arranged over the red chequered table clothes.

Walking out from the room to his desk, he felt the transition of the aromas. The other room had been smelling of the mystic roses while the waiting lounge smelled of lavender and his own, cheap deodorant.

People started filling in, some being escorted inside while some sat back in the plush leather couches, flipping through journals and waiting. The night had set in. The music in the hall was louder. And amidst the clink and clank of cutlery, he could hear the roar of lightning outside.

But it didn’t intrude the excitement of passionate souls. They ate their dinner, staring at the misted windows and murmuring and smiling all the same. They talked and for some reason, they were happy. While, he was not.

People had started moving out too. By the time the clock had struck nine, the crowd was dwindling. Perhaps it was the rain or maybe, they had other plans, the hall wasn’t as crowded as the other Saturday nights. There were no more calls. All the people in the waiting lounge had been accommodated. He took the time to lay back in his seat and breathe out.

Just then, there was an irritating creak as the door opened and a girl, drenched in rain, clutching her beige overcoat tight, walked inside. Her sneakers dragged, screeched against the marble floors in a painfully slow stance. A mess of wet hair, with trails of dirty rain water running down her cheeks, she was everything he had never seen.

“May I help you, ma’am?” he asked in a slightly irritated tone, mentally wondering if she had entered by mistake, perhaps seeking for shelter.

“Uh,” she stood in front if the desk, her eyes wandering. For one fleeting second, she peered into the hall through the slight opening of the doors and then sighed.

“Table for one,” she muttered.

“One?” he croaked, his voice embarrassingly loud and rude. It took him a moment to gather himself. Then, he spoke again. “If you’re waiting for someone, it’s all right. There’s not much of a crowd today. So you may as well ask for a table for two.”

“One,” she said.

A strange curiosity gripped him. Why one? Didn’t she have a family? Perhaps a circle of friends? Or maybe one old friend she wanted to catch up with on that Christmas night?

Despite the mental outburst of questions, he tore away a piece of paper from the notepad and set it on the table.

“Your name, ma’am?”

She took the pen from him and scribbled her name hurriedly.

“This way,” he spoke and pushed open the doors for the umpteenth time that night to lead her in. He spotted that one empty corner in the room where the lights were not too bright and the music not so loud. Often after the people would’ve left, the boys would huddle there and sing their miseries with bottles of whisky or rum. He was afraid that the table perhaps smelled of rotten bread and alcohol, but then she had asked for a single seater and that was the only one in there.

Yet, somewhere, he didn’t want her to sit there. That corner felt cold and lonely. The flowers were limp. The candles had burnt out.

As he pulled out the chair for her to sit, he couldn’t help but ask, “Will you be okay here?”

She smiled. A painful smile. He could recognize those. Hadn’t he smiled those almost every dawn?

“I’ll be more than fine.”

“And what do you want to order?”

“A cake. A big, chocolate cake. Maybe it could’ve those little flowers on it and lots of ice cream?”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but a cake? A full cake?”

“Yes,” she snapped. “It’s my birthday! Am I not allowed to celebrate my birthday with a cake?”

“Indeed, ma’am,” he replied in a timid tone and scribbled her order on a piece of paper. “Anything else?”

“And can you just let me know if you see my group of friends arriving?” she said, almost hastily.

“But ma’am, you only told you are expecting nobody?”

She pretended not to here and pulled out her phone. Taking it as his cue to walk away, he slipped into the kitchen and passed the note to the cook.

“Who orders a full cake for one person?” the hefty man guffawed, but got down to work, nevertheless.

Though she had asked him to keep a check, he didn’t. For deep inside his heart, he knew she was living an illusion. He could see through her pretence. She was broken. She wasn’t happy. She was expecting people who’d never come. She was sitting in silence, yet her lips curled into a smile every now and then as if she was really happy. Even in the faint light, he could see her glimmering eyes. He could hear her breath hitching. He could see her trying to hold herself back when she was on the verge of breaking down.

The tables were empty by now. People had left. Paid their bills. Had their food. And they had walked out, happy.

And then, there was her who didn’t know whether to stay or to leave. She wasn’t bothered about the cake. The rain didn’t matter. The people she was waiting for, did, but they had still not arrived.

“Ma’am,” he spoke, placing the little cake in front of her, dressed with chocolate florets and berries. She gave him a little smile and looked back at her phone again. “And ma’am? Your friends aren’t here yet.”

That made her lose it. Turning away, she took a deep breath but ended up coughing and crying.

“Ma’am?” hesitantly, he put his hand on her shoulder. “Hey, are you okay?”

“I wasn’t even expecting them,” she spoke in muffled tones. “Why would they be? I’ve visited them umpteen times. Been there when they needed someone. Talked to them for hours when they were down. But is that enough?”

She refused to look at him. So kneeling down, he offered her the crisp, white handkerchief that had been tucked inside his breast pocket.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered.

“No!” she laughed. “Why are you apologizing? It’s not even your fault! I’m just expecting a lot too much from people.”

He expected her to push him away but she didn’t protest. Instead, she continued speaking.

“I remember their birthdays. Be it New Year’s Eve or summer breaks, no matter how busy I am, I bake them a cake. I make them cute little videos. I send them handmade collages wishing them. I do everything that they never bother to do. But now I wonder, why I ever did so? Why did I ever take so much pain to bake cakes and cookies? To ping everyone in our friends’ circle and ask them to make cute birthday videos so that I can compile them into a movie? To travel miles to meet them, to be with them? When I’m here, empty and sad and there’s not a single one of them around?”

Though her voice kept breaking, he could feel the pain in her words. He could understand how lonely she felt.

“It’s Christmas. They have plans. They just forgot my birthday. No big deal. They’ve been doing this for years. I don’t get the sweet cards. I don’t get the midnight calls. I don’t get those long text messages. It is as if my place in their lives is not that significant at all. It’s more like they are important for me, but I’m not for them. I woke up late in the morning. I checked my phone, thinking about the hundred messages in my inbox, but there were hardly any wishing me a birthday. I waited for them to call, waited till late afternoon. I looked out at every random car on the road, secretly wishing for them to come over to my house and surprise me. Did I hope for too much?”

He kept quiet. He couldn’t form words. He didn’t know her. She didn’t know him. Yet, it surprised him of how loneliness made people bare their soul out to strangers. She clung to him like an old friend. She didn’t mind him seeing her messy hair and puffy eyes. All she needed at that moment was someone to be there. Someone beside her, so that she didn’t feel as lonely as she already was.

“Table for one,” she huffed. “It sounds like a dialogue from a bad movie.”

“It doesn’t,” he replied. “It speaks to me about a lot many things. I can understand.”

“Everyone says so.”

He nodded. Indeed, she was right. No matter how much he tried, he would never understand her pain. He would never feel the same. His story was different. So was hers.

“Happy birthday,” he said.

“Happy, indeed,” she mumbled and turned around to the table again.

“Why the cake?” he asked.

“What do you mean?”

“It’s obvious you didn’t want the cake.”

She pulled out her phone and turned on the camera.

“I’ll just take a picture and save it. So tomorrow when they do remember, I’ll show them this and make up a story of how great my birthday was and how much I enjoyed!”

Hours later, the staff had left and so had the cook. He quietly locked the doors and walked out into the dark, empty street and slowly trudged along the sidewalks.

Minutes later, he stood in front of a dilapidated house with a broken sheet of asbestos acting as the roof. Opening the old, tin gate, he stepped into the darkness, hoping for the one voice he knew would be never there. Yet, he smiled. In his head, he heard his little brother’s voice and it was enough delusion to make him live through the night.

Two people spent that one winter night, lonely, sad and empty.

Of A Letter For My Brother

I’ve been a very bad sister. Remember when I used to steal the pizza rolls off your plate and eat them? Remember when I never saved chocolates for you and ate them alone? Remember the time when I used to hide behind closed doors and scare you? I’ve been a very very bad sister.

Remember the time I decided to go and study in another town, leaving you behind? Remember the hundred thousand fake promises I made, telling you that I’m not going faraway and that I’ll be always near you? The truth is, I’m actually far away from you. Each day, I return from college to an empty dorm room and how I wish you were here to greet me. The distance matters far too much these days. Each night, I go to bed, thinking about you, thinking whether you cry each night too. Each night, I look out from the window at the stars and surprisingly, they seem closer. Each night, I pray a million times to have you around me, to have you close.

I miss you. So much. Only I know the painful way my heart wrenches when I think about you. Only I know how much I’d give up just to be near you again. How I wish you were here, asking me your irritating questions and hugging me on bad days. I can’t wait for college to get over. I can’t wait to cone back to home and hold you close.

My college doesn’t matter now. I’ve realized that each one of us comes to a point in our lives when our family matters to us more than anything. I now realize that I’d give up anything just to be around you again.

For you are everything to me. Everything and more.

Of Forevers And Faraways

“Promise you’ll stay in contact,” I muttered. “Call me twice a day and talk about anything. I promise I’ll be there to listen. Don’t hesitate.”

“Okay, I will,” he said. “But you’re not going faraway, are you? You can always return, can’t you?”

I nodded, unsure of the promises I kept making.

“No, it’s not that faraway, I promise. You can come visit me anytime. And then, there’s Skype too! We won’t lose contact even for a moment!”

“And you’ll be there, right, forever? You’ll have my back?”

“I will.”

“Will you miss me?”

A blaring horn cut us off and the train stood in front of us. For a second, I was relieved I didn’t have to answer that question.

Will I miss him?

No.

I’ll cry on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, wishing for him to be there. I’ll buy enough snacks for both of us, and then sit down and eat in silence because he won’t be there. I’ll bring his favourite chocolates from the l store and save them so that I can give it to him when I come back home next. I’ll do everything we did together, but I’ll never bring myself to cry and miss him ten times more.

“You didn’t answer?” he mumbled. “Will you miss me?”

I looked away, blinking back tears.

Of Windows And So Much More

Misted windows. That is all he remembers.

He remembers that one lonely Sunday afternoon, when the sun forgot to shine a bit brighter and he sat by that one solitary window in his house, squinting out at the frozen glass to see the mist settling down from the hills.

He remembers the buzzing crowds – crowds disappearing into the mist and the mist disappearing into them; of blinding headlights and screeching car tyres – of the twisted picture of the world right outside his little window.

And then, he realizes he remembers something more.

He remembers the mosaic tiled floor. He remembers the rusting window panes and the wet plaster falling off from the walls. And he remembers the one, beautiful girl who stood right in front of him, her tinted cheeks pressed against the glass.

It is always silent. She knits the days away and he reads. On particularly sad days, he sits up and watches her. She rarely looks up and never meets his eyes.

He wonders, far too often, how someone can be so focused on doing the same thing for so long, but then again, doesn’t he do the same?

Sometimes, when the sun is far too bright or the sky too dim, freckled with looming large grey clouds, he forgets what her voice sounds like; what it used to be to look into her eyes and smile.

However, when the sun fades into the iridescent horizon and the winter night seeps in, with little raindrops, he remembers everything all over again. He remembers her face – as glorious as the world outside his little window. He remembers her voice – as beautiful as the raindrops trickling down his little window. He remembers how her skin felt against his – as mystifying as the first rays of the sun of those eternally dark days that he saw through his little window. He sits by the one solitary window in his house and looks out and remembers the world beyond the sun.

Slowly, with aching steps and shivering smiles, he walks to her and holds her hand. She is his little window to everything.

With a groan, he lies down next to her.

It is always silent. He remembers every little thing now. He has a slight urge to run to the window and look out at the world, but he is tired. So he stays beside her, still.

The world continues outside the window, piercing the mist and breaking the silence.

The window stands there, a sole witness to the painfully parallel worlds on either side.

Of Dad’s Advice To His Little Girl

“I know how you feel,” he said, clasping his daughter’s hand tightly.

“Scared and confused doesn’t even sum it up, Dad!” she murmured, withdrawing her hand and sighing.

“I know,” her dad says again. “I know you’re thinking that you are taking a big leap into the uncertainty. I know it feels like standing on one footstep and realizing that the staircase in front of you is actually a dead end. It’s not always going to be easy and you know that. It’s going to be a struggle from here on. But remember, everyone has to struggle in some way or the other. Each one of us goes through the same course in life in different little ways. I know you are afraid. I know you want to step back and live under the brighter sunshine. But no, my little girl, you’ve to go. You’ve to fly to discover what exists beyond the sun. And for that, you have to leave the ground. You’ve to leave this known haven behind.”

The speakers spluttered. The lady stated that it was the final boarding call.

“Dad, what if I fail?”

“You’ll never learn to fly, sweetheart, if you never fall. We’ll be there. We’ll have your back. In your darkest times, I promise you we’ll be there. When things go wrong, remember to struggle and live until the end of the day. What will matter twenty years from now is not where you reached but how you made the best of every opportunity you had with you. The next morning will be a new one. You’ve to keep faith and you’ll be fine.”

Her feet trudged along lazily. Her footsteps were heavy.

“How do you know I’ll be fine?” she cried.

Clasping her hand again and hugging her close to his heart, her father kissed her goodbye.

“You’ll be fine. You’ll be just fine,” he said.

Of Mothers and Daughters

I have always wanted to tell you a lot many things Mom. Though these things have always been in my mind, somewhere between busy days and petty arguments, I’ve forgotten to tell you about them.

Mom, I still believe that make-up is more important than the rest of the world and that you should not glare at me while I apply my mascara because I’m young, Mom, and I need to look beautiful. And no matter how many times you tell me I look beautiful without make-up, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, I need new clothes every month or two. My friends have their wardrobes lined with the latest designer jeans and I’m quite embarrassed about the pair of faded blue jeans that I have. And no matter how many times you tell me that nobody pays that much attention to what I wear or not, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, junk food is healthy too. And it’s hygienic! It’s not like there are flies everywhere. It would be wonderful Mom if we could have pizza thrice a week. Eating pizza is kind of cool! And no matter how many times you tell me that the green salad will do me more good, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, please don’t peek into my room again and again while I’m on the phone. I know you’ve work to do, but is it wrong to demand a little bit of privacy Mom? My friends are my life Mom and it’s important to talk to them at least once a day! And no matter how many times you tell me to sit with my books because talking over the phone for so much time is bad, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, I’ve grown up! Stop calling me, “Darling”, “Baby”, “Child” and “Sweetheart” in the parking lot, Mom. I can always hear my friends giggling behind my back. I’m no longer a child, Mom. And no matter how many times you tell me otherwise, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

That Friday night, she sits next to her window, with her heart broken and trust shattered. The city lights are dazzling and three blocks down, people are dancing to loud music. She has been invited too, but she chooses not to go.

Her legs swing back and forth and she squeezes her palms. She’s waiting for the phone to ring and someone to tell her from the other end that it’s going to be all right. She’s waiting for someone to call, concerned and bothered about her. She’s waiting for someone to call and ask her if they should drive down there.

But there are no calls. The little story in her head is a twisted illusion. The reality is bitter and she fights not to break down into tears.

The door opens with a rather noisy creak and her mother steps inside the cold room.

“Here,” she walks closer with two boxes of pizzas and ice cream.

They sit there awhile, silently, swinging their legs back and forth to the rhythm of their synchronous breaths.

“I’m sorry, Mom,” she breaks down, clinging to her mother. “I’m sorry!”

They hold each other between the muffled sobs. When she’s done crying and finally gets up, her mother pushes the box of pizza towards her and smiles.

“Let’s talk,” she says.

Over the night, she tells her mother of all the things that had happened back in college. After the pizza boxes are empty and the ice cream has been licked clean, she hugs her mother and falls asleep with a smile.

She doesn’t feel sad about having a fight with her friends or breaking up with her boyfriend. There’s a brighter thing she sees – the bond she shares with her mother and their friendship. In her darkest times, does she realize the truest friend she has – her mother.

This time, the letter she writes is different.

I have always wanted to tell you a lot many things Mom. Though these things have always been in my mind, somewhere between busy days and petty arguments, I’ve forgotten to tell you about them.

Mom, make-up doesn’t make a girl look beautiful. For a girl will always be the most beautiful girl in her mother’s eyes.

Mom, who cares about clothes and shopping. They are not as important as family. Nothing will ever be.

Mom, I’d eat anything happily as long a you’ve cooked it. Though junk food is a very good choice after break ups!

Mom, I feel alive every time you call me “Darling”, “Baby”, “Child” and “Sweetheart” in the parking lot. It took me a while to realize that no matter how much one grows up, he or she will still be a child in their parents’ eyes.

Mom, you are the one who has always got my back. And though we may not indulge in a lot of gossips and have night-outs and go for shopping, please know that you will always be my best friend no matter what.

Years later, she folds the sheet of paper neatly and cries without her mother. Sitting next to the window, swinging her legs back and forth, she wishes for her mom to come around. The night is eternally silent. Though it is not the type of closure she had dreamt about, she knows that it’ll have to do.

Of Dreams Small and Big

Having grown up in a middle class family in urban India, surrounded by doctors and engineers and teachers, it is no surprise when I tell people that I want to be a doctor.

Being fairly good at studies, with a distinct passion for pursuing the Biology stream, that is the very idea I’ve grown up with and if I bother to look away from it, I’d choose to be a diplomat any day.

In an one interesting conversation on a Friday evening, a family friend asked me why didn’t I choose my parents profession-banking. To which, the answer was very simple. Both of them being government employees have a tremendous amount of responsibility on their shoulders. I’ve watched them work from 9 to 6, theirs eyes glued to computer screens, meeting people, signing documents and calling their head office every now and then. Though the benefits offered in a government job are aplenty, one thing that disappoints me is that they don’t have flexible hours and they don’t have many holidays too.

For most part of our lives, my brother and I have spent weekends watching the reruns of old movies on HBO, munching on junk food and waiting for Mom and Dad to return home. Though I’ve never “hated” their job, I don’t share that much of a liking for it. For I’d prefer a job with flexible working hours in which I can laze back awhile at home and pen down a good story or two. Plus, in the competitive country that I live in, engineering and medical studies are the most preferred career options and I’d be lying if I say that doesn’t have a slight influence on my decision.

In between light jokes and munching on snacks, I asked him what he wanted to become. He was then in his twelfth grade, pursuing the Science stream.

“I want to be a banker,” he replied, rather silently.

For a second, I found myself lost. I couldn’t figure out what to say. Even before he had answered, I had mentally told myself that he’s going for engineering, preferably involving the IT sector because that is what most students wanted to do after completing their twelfth grade.

“Banker? Really?” I found myself smiling. His reply ignited something in me. His reply was new. His reply was honest. It wasn’t like he was being dragged away by the wave. He stood far away from the shore, grounded and with a firm dream.

“Engineering, what about it?” I asked.

“I don’t want to become an engineer. I know I can’t.

“Oh c’mon, you can. It’s easy.”

“No. I know I’m not that good a student. I don’t want to be a bad engineer.”

His words stayed with me for long.

His simplicity overwhelmed me. The simplicity of the dream he carried. And I suddenly felt inferior.

I saw it everyday, in every home, in every class, students succumbing to the expectations of their parents and the society. One of my friends wanted to become a fashion designer, but she didn’t have enough courage to tell her parents about it. Though she did somehow, her parents still asked her to pursue engineering and then think about fashion designing. They told her that her job won’t pay as much as engineering. In a similar case, another friend of mine who wanted to become a journalist, found herself pursuing the medical stream because her family didn’t support her choice of a career.

It makes me sad to say but it has become the latest trend among students – pursuing engineering or medical studies. Anything less, then the society feels that you are not a good student. I’ve seen people become victims of depression because they couldn’t clear the competitive exams. Of those who clear them, not many have that much passion to pursue the stream.

Little dreams get lost among the complexity of it all.

They tell you to dream big. They tell you to dream about being a software giant or the head of an MNC. They never tell you to dream of being a good person. They never tell you to dream of being a good mother or father. They never tell you to dream your dream. Be it big, be it small, somewhere down the lane, many of our dreams get lost.

It pleased me to see him holding on to that dream when the people around him were dreaming even bigger.

The little, hungry child at the end of the road dreams of having a little cake in his birthday, while the teenager in his room, surrounded by gadgets dreams of having the newest phone launched in the market. To each one of them, it is a big dream. It is a dream that glimmers in their eyes and they wish to reach out and grasp it. To the teenager, the birthday cake may look like a small dream, but for the poor, little kid, it is like the biggest dream.

The beauty lies, not in the size of our dreams, but in the simplicity of it, in its uniqueness. The beauty is in sitting back and watching a little kid talk about how he dreams of flying someday. The beauty is in watching people dream – of how their dreams know no boundaries; of how they dream of owning a chain of hotels while some dream of only having a roof over their head. Dreams big and small.

“Hold on to that dream. Don’t ever let that go,” I told him. “Even if you see your friends talk about aiming for even better professions, don’t let that persuade you into believing that your dream is small and it doesn’t matter. Their dreams may be bigger. But yours is beautiful. Have courage to hold on to that dream.”

Since that day, each time I meet a person, I ask them about their dream. It inspires me. It amazes me to hear then talk about their dreams. And once upon a while, I hear a dream like that of his and I find myself feel happy about it.

Of Beautiful Tragedies

“I can’t do this. I’m sorry. But I can’t. I can’t be the person who can lead the crowd. I can’t be the person who walks along with the crowd. I’d rather sit at the sidewalks and watch them walk past me.

I can’t do this. I can’t be the person you want me to be. I can’t be this person who the world looks up to. I can’t be this person who is instantly recognized amidst a buzzing crowd. I’d rather be one little person, lost in the same crowd, looking at others.

I can’t do this. I can’t be the person you think I’ll turn out to be. For I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be the person who has perfect grades, perfect scores, perfect job, perfect family, perfect house, but not a perfect life. Perfection is delusional. I don’t want to be this person who doesn’t have the courage to chase after their dreams and is instead driven by a crowd. I don’t want to be that person.

I can’t do this. I can’t bottle up my dreams and throw them away. I don’t want to be one of the hundred people I meet on the road everyday, who don’t have dreams glistening in their eyes. Each one of us has a dream. And happiness lies in reaching that dream..in reaching close and grasping it and crying in joy. I have a dream. And I do want to hold on to it.

I can’t do this. I can’t wake up each day and live another person’s life. The person inside me..the real person struggles to express itself each day, but I shut it out, because I’m not sure if you’d like this person. This person is scared and vulnerable. This person is clueless and driven by dreams and not by plans. This person wakes up to enjoy today and not spend the day planning for tomorrow. This person takes a step first and then thinks. This person is different. This person finds hope in the dark. This person cries and never holds back. And you’d probably not like this person.

I can’t do this. I want to be something different..something different than the facade I pull up each day. I have a million dreams. I want to stand at a crossroad and take a leap into the unknown. I want to know where that way leads to. I don’t want to take the safer road. I want to take a risk and see where it leads me. If I fall, I’ll bounce back, I believe. If I fail, all is not lost, right?

I can’t do this. I just can’t. I want to be someone different than the person you want me to be. I want to be someone different than the person others consider me to be. I want to be the person I want to be.”

There was a knock at the door, and a moment later, someone entered. In the palpable darkness, the figure moved towards the little light at the corner of the room and bent over the table to peer into her notebook.

“What are you doing?” the person asked.

“Just revising notes,” came the reply.

When the person left the room, she ripped away the paper from her notebook and went back to being the person she didn’t want to be. Back to the same person, who ran away from her own dreams.

Switching off the little light, she fell back on her bed and slept away the night.

The other morning, she wrote the same thing again in a different sheet and tore it apart before anyone arrived.

For days, she kept writing the same thing over and over again. For days, she looked for a chance to scream out her words at the world. For days, she waited for someone to hear her. For days, she waited for someone to understand without her having to say a word.

Somewhere down the lane, over the years, her habit was lost. So were her dreams. Her words were muffled. The pieces of paper withered away, the ink got smeared due to the rain. The pieces of paper were trampled on, yet some remained.

And one fine day, when the world did know about this person she had always wanted to be, it was too late. She had already become the person she’d never wanted to be.