Tag Archives: college

Of Strangers At A Coffee Shop

(On Somebody’s Demand)

I liked him. A lot. As a friend. As the boy who sat in the last bench and yet managed to dig up some pretty good scores. As the boy who was loved by all; desired by all; dreamt by all. I liked stopping by his class to steal a glance. I liked talking to him. I liked scrolling up numerous Facebook conversations and reading them over and over again. I liked him.

At first, back in those high school days which now roll by in a soft, nostalgic tone with a tint of grey, I liked him. That was all it was.

But then one day, I fell deeper. I found myself lost. I started wondering if he liked talking to me all the same or not. I started questioning myself whether he cared about me the way I did. I started to delve deeper and care about how he looked at me. Whenever he did, I wondered if the stories he held were true. I knew I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t stop myself.

Then, what mesmerized me, what kept me on my toes, what made me smile giddily for no absolute reason – was not him, but the idea of who we could be.

I was in love, or so I think. To this day, I still look for something that can convince me that that wasn’t love.

Over the years, something changed – as it happens in every story round the world. Something snapped. Some feeble hope that I catered in a lone corner of my heart, withered away with the sands of time. Before I could fully realize what was happening, we were drifting far away. The Cheshire cat grins were mingling into confused frowns. Heartbreaks were no longer literal; they drew blood. Sleepless nights merged into lonely days.

I never thought that I’d be this girl – someone who cared too much; someone who felt something so strongly. I kept telling myself that this would be different.

Oh, how wrong was I!

So here I sit today, inside the very coffee shop that entraps memories of the times we spent together.

The grey and gloom outside the faintly lit café reflects my mood. Drops of crystal, clear rain slide down the glass in a painfully slow stance, painting distorted images of the world outside. Cars speed by with blaring horns, casting reflections that glisten like undiscovered orbs of light entrapped in illusions.

The red walls and chestnut tables don’t catch my interest. Nor does the aroma of ground coffee beans grunting in the old coffee machine. The squeaking of sneakers and click of heels don’t break my oblivion. How can they when you are sitting right next to me!

With another girl, though.

I look at both of your reflections on the misted window glass. It is rather surprising of how clearly I can make out your smiles, yet I can’t trace the cars that roam right outside the window. Why, windows were made to look at the outside world! Did they sometimes reflect the inside as well?

For the first time in my life, I decide to order my coffee entirely black, just the way you liked it.

I hope you notice when the chirpy waitress places the cup in front of me. But you don’t. You are smiling at her, trying to make her feel better, while I’m crumbling deep inside.

You are whispering sweet dreams of everlasting happiness to her, while I’m desperately wishing you’d turn and look at me.

But you don’t.

My vision is hazy. Perhaps, it is not you. Else you’d have noticed. Or did you move on? Quicker than my scars healed?

I push away the cup of coffee and stand up quietly. I walk away. Behind me, you push away a strand of her hair and look into her eyes and fall in love. How I wish you’d look at me again and fall deeper in love this time! Your smiles are deafeningly louder. I’m blinking back tears as I walk, rather run faster.

We are both strangers now. Nobody ever told that people who had been in love could become this. Then again, nobody ever told me that people change and you’ve to let go.

Now I realize that these things needn’t be told

You’ve to learn them.

As I climb back into my jeep and watch you flashing her a wink, I don’t feel the same pang again. For I’m starting to let go of the thread that I had been holding for long – the one that you left, long ago.

Of Confession Pages

I remember waking up to Facebook notifications.

It wouldn’t have been a surprising thing if it hadn’t been 20 notifications at once. For a person like me who has always maintained a low profile in the school, I was surprised someone or a few people even took the chance to visit my profile. I presumed the notifications were those of people liking my posts or something, but when the Facebook app finally managed to load completely, what I saw… scared me.

Mornings were supposed to have a schedule. I used to leap out of my bed, faster than a rat in trap and rush into the shower before anyone else occupied it. The usual clanking of metal utensils downstairs confirmed that Mom was busy cooking breakfast for all of us, and at occasional intervals, she’d shout to me and ask me to come to the table. Everything in the morning happened in a rush because no one was willing to wake up ten minutes earlier.

However, something was strange about that morning. Either the house was unusually quiet or I was too lost to keep a track on the drone of noises. The sky wasn’t amber but grey, exactly like how I was feeling when I scrolled through the notifications.

“XYZ Confessions tagged you in a post.”

“R commented : This is precious.”

“T commented : Check this out! That girl deserves this!”

“S commented : Lol.”

“P commented : So fucking true!”

Even before I had opened the entire post, I knew it had to be something bad, because the comments came from people who I really didn’t like a lot.

I remember my lips quivering as I clicked on the post and waited with bated breath for the post to load. A hundred apprehensions clouded my brain and suddenly, the schedule of the morning was forgotten. When Mom called for me to come downstairs, I lied and told her I was dressing up, when in reality, I was still sitting on my bed, chewing on my nails, waiting to read the post.

Every second of wait was killing me.

And when I happened to finally read the post, it killed me. Goosebumps arose on my skin when the slightest wind brushed past me. The comments started blurring and when the pain started settling across my nose, I realized I was on the verge of crying. Questions shot through my mind. Who could have written something like that? Why would anyone hate me? And why have some of my friends liked the post?

Mom called for the umpteenth time and after getting no response, she decided to come upstairs herself.

The moment I heard her footsteps on the wooden staircase, I took a deep breath and slipped under the blanket again, burying my face in the bulges of the pillow.

“What?” she asked, entering my room. “Why are you still in bed?”

“I’m having a headache. I don’t think I can go to school,” I mumbled.

“But you have a practical test today!”

As much as I didn’t want to go to school that day, I knew I had to. I couldn’t miss my practical exams. But a part of me was okay with the prospect, if it meant not having to face the students in the school that day. I was afraid that they’d talk about me in the hallways. I knew my classmates were going to have a questionnaire ready for me. And I knew I couldn’t take all that.

However, after Mom’s constant persuasion, fifteen minutes later, I sat in her car.

“Do you still have a headache?” she asked when we reached the school’s parking lot.

I shook my head and managed to give her a convincing smile. After her car had left the school premises, I walked slowly towards my class.

Yes, they were talking about me. Everywhere. Be it the crowded corridors where group of girls sneered and made dirty comments or bathrooms, where everything was discussed in hushed whispers or my class where the recent post on the confession page was as trending as hash tags on Twitter – they all talked about me. And it was tough to put on a pretence. It was difficult to behave like nothing had happened when everything written in that post, affected me a lot. I acted like it was okay with me, but deep inside, I was breaking.

Over the days, though the discussion died down, I found it hard to face someone or to talk with them, because at the back of my mind, I always had a perennial fear about what he/she might be thinking about me.

All my frustration started to build up. I lived in constant fear and doubt. Each night, before I went to bed, I thought about the people who hated me and could have posted that. Too many names came to my mind. Every minute that I was free, I whiled away my time on the Confession page, stalking every post, refreshing the page every five seconds to check if there was another confession about me.

Then one day, I decided that it was enough. I couldn’t live my entire life with my face glued to some stupid Facebook page. Once or twice, I took out my frustration on posts, commenting on how derogatory certain things on the page were and that they must be stopped, but I was faced with even more criticism. Some told me that I was plain jealous because there were no good confessions about me. Others retorted that it was none of my business.

I deleted my Facebook account. I knew it was no use talking to deaf ears. And I never visited confession pages anymore.

Until last night.

One of my friends happened to forward me a link to a post on the same confession page. The post called a girl too fat and that she must get a life. Below were several comments, criticizing the girl on her weight and making cheap remarks on her clothes.

It made me sad. Depressed. To think about what the girl might be going through.

We all have flaws. Perfection is something that can’t be achieved. So what if someone is someone, they could never be? Does it give them the right to tell her whatever they wish? Does it give them the right to bully her to a point where she starves herself to fit in someone’s books?

As I happened to scroll through the various posts, I wanted to know WHY? HOW? How could people be so rude? How could they be so insensitive to post things like this about another person?

Confession pages were supposed to be fun. But halfway through, they presented a darker picture to all of us. People started using it as a platform to post rude and derogatory comments about someone and to spread rumours. Seventh grade girls were called “sluts” and senior girls were the so-called “bitches”. Are these called confessions?

I was frustrated.

Just because confession pages allowed the confessor to be anonymous, didn’t mean one could bully someone to no extent?

And what about the people who actually run these confession pages?

The few posts I saw were pretty rude and the admins of the page were quite okay with it, even joining the line and adding a few more shameful remarks!

Amidst a hundred positive things, a person will only remember the one negative comment told about him/her. That one negative comment, destroys a life. People drown into fits of depression. There have been cases of suicide due to instances of cyber bullying. After how many such incidents, are people going to learn something?

What have we done to the social networking portals?

Is it always going to remain such a scary place?

Of What I Never Told My Friends

I’m travelling in a crowded bus as I write this. And no, it isn’t like they always describe – sweltering heat and grumbling people – in fact, though it isn’t that great an experience, it isn’t that bad, either.

Sandwiched between the metal rods of the window and a heavy woman who is reading a Stephen King book, I watch the group of teenagers in front of me. One of them, a short girl with raven black locks, in her pair of faded jeans a loose shirt, is busy pulling away the earphones from a boy who is probably one of her friends. Beside them, there is another girl who is talking feverishly with the girl who sits cuddled in the furthest corner, pressed against the window. She is hearing but her eyes are trained on the duo who are arguing over the earphones. An occasional smile lights up her pale face, causing her friend to smack her on the head and demand her to listen.

I quietly turn away from them and look outside the window where the scenes are gradually fading from ordinary reality of the town to infinite possibilities.

The crisp late February air hits my face, almost numbing my senses, but I can still hear their voices, loud and clear. Though I can’t figure out what they are talking about, the one thing that is clear is, they are happy.

It reminds me of those days when school had been a daily affair. I find myself remembering that perhaps the only reason I used to wake up with so much enthusiasm on winter mornings was because of my friends. Each day, after returning from school, I’d wait eagerly for the next day so that I could get to meet my friends again. Though very little things happened in a span of six hours, at school, I found myself talking with my friends for long, discussing every insignificant detail of the day. It was strange – of how we always used to have something to talk about, no matter what.

As the bus moves over a bump, collective groans rise from everyone. The bunch of friends in front of me make dramatic noises, and then burst out laughing at their antics. A smile crosses my lips as I remember the days when I went for picnic trips with my friends. The miles never bothered us. Hours were spent gossiping, singing like badly trained artists, pulling out pranks on each other and laughing on senseless jokes! Before we would know it, the journey would have come to an end.

I see my friends in them. I see us laughing and crying and calling each other at night, discussing boys and homework and what not!

A silly grin lights up my face and I shake my head, remembering the weird conversations we used to have.

Almost immediately, it is replaced by a frown as I remember the bitter memories I’ve had with them – when they broke my trust; when they left me alone.

The bus wobbles slightly and the woman beside me, almost squeezes me into the damp corner, but I don’t mind. I’m too lost in my train of thoughts to know that the bus has come to a halt and the conductor is calling to me.

“Madam?” he shouts in his thick Bengali accent, causing me to snap out of my trance.

“I-I am so so sorry!” I tell him as I pick up my bag and manage to make my way to the exit door.

Before stepping down, however, I turn around and take a look at the bunch of friends and find their eyes trained on my movements. A smile threatens to burst, but I press my lips together tightly and get off the bus. It would’ve been so weird to smile at a bunch of teenagers!

As I walk down the street, the gravel scratching against the sole of my heels, I remind myself never to wear those shoes again.

I cross a nursery school and the little children, loitering around the gate, wave at me and I wave back.

I don’t have schools to look forward to. In a few months, I’ll be heading for college and the entire idea of a new place, of new people, makes me nervous and afraid. Having changed so many schools, I have learnt that distance does make things worse. Your friends will start fading away and then, there will be a day when you meet each other at a shopping mall and there will be no excitement.

As a teenager, I’ve always had a problem in placing my trust on people. It does take a lot of time, because after so many betrayals and the so-called “backbiting”, you know, for a fact that making friends and keeping them is a tough job. There are times when the people you trust the most, will leave you at your darkest times. And their places will be taken by utter strangers who will come to mean something more.

Now that I think about the friends I have who are still my friends, very few faces come to my mind. Along the way, I have lost people – so many beautiful people and my heart breaks in painful realization. A part of me wonders where they are now and if they remember me sometime. Then, I find myself thinking about the friends I’ve lost to numerous rumours and misunderstandings. I hope to find them some day and ask if things can go back to being the same again.

I realize that it’s not like you can protect yourself from getting hurt. Sometimes, unknowingly, you are going to hurt others. And then, there comes a point in everyone’s life, where you sit and think about all these times and what you could have done to keep those people close. Regrets. And that’s all a part of growing up, I presume.

Mom had once told me that friends are not people who will stick by your side always, but they’ll have your back.

Amidst the share of misunderstandings and hurt and happiness, I’ve come to realize that friends not only deserve second chances but also thirds and fourths. At times, we have to take a leap of faith. At times, we have to forgive them for all their mistakes and go back to being friends again. At times, we have to trust them with all our heart.

They will disappoint us.

And once upon a dark day, they will surprise us.

Before She Died

Before She Died is my newest story on Wattpad and it speaks from the POV of a girl who is lost and confused and sad.

Synopsis:

Every day, until two long months, she wrote letters to him and

hid them in his locker. Every day, she expected him to read those

letters and try to find out who wrote them. Yet, every day, he dismissed

them as some kind of joke.

 Then, one day, she left. Frustrated. Devastated. And heartbroken.

 And he was left with a bunch of letters to cry on.

 

An excerpt from the story:

#17

Hey You,

I loved your mini-speech today. The one you gave in the English class, remember? Oh, you certainly do! How can you possibly forget?

Indeed, I prefer oblivion to the truth. The truth is harsh and bitter and it blinds you with an actual glimpse of reality. We’ve never seen the entirety of truth.

Take my medicines, as an example. The doctor tells me each day that they are going to cure me; that I’m going to be able to drive; and that my fingers are going to stop shaking and I may be able to write a tad bit better. But she knows and I do too, that these drugs are slowly killing me from inside as well.

Though we may be gratified, at first, for having known the truth, deep down, it kills us as well. Because, they are meant to be bitter.

Oblivion is everybody’s last resort.

To read more, click here.