Tag Archives: pain

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 Late Night Talks (II)

“I’m scared.”

“Why?”

“It’s like everything, every hope is slipping right past me. I see people far ahead of me. The race has started and I’ve only barely begun walking. The goal seems so far away.”

“I can relate.”

“What’s your story?”

“Me?” he pauses a while. “Lost, I guess. Everyone around me feels that I’ve no direction in life. That I’d end up useless, probably spending nights sleeping on railway platforms and being jobless. See, I’m alcoholic. I lose my temper most of the time. All I feel like doing to sitting in some cold, empty place..and just being there. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to talk. For once, I want to disappear.”

She tilts the glass and fiddles with the cocktail onions on the edge of her glass.

“It is weird, but I feel the same way too. Sometimes, I feel as if the world is moving too fast. People aren’t bothered to spare a glance at what’s happening around them. All of  them have their eyes set on the goal and they are madly running towards it. But what after that? What happens after they reach their goal? Their life isn’t complete, is it? They start looking forward to other milestones. It’s like amidst the entire career, money, education, we are forgetting about life! Why, if life is about going to a prestigious university, having shitload of money and driving to parties and meeting business targets and getting back home, tired and lifeless, I better not live it at all. Because, that is not life for me! It isn’t about the highs always, is it?”

He shakes his head quietly.

Turning around, he rests his elbows against the metal railings and leans against it.

“It’s about the lows too,” he says. “It’s not always about the noise. The silence carries as much meaning, in fact more. It’s not about how much you earn and how much you work and how much settled you are, sometimes the very essence of life lies in going through the lows and then standing up, ready to face the world all over again. I want a story like that. I don’t want to tread down the known road. I want to get lost. I want to get drunk. I want to be clueless. And I want to fall down, cry and learn. And then, when it dawns, I want to be stronger. I don’t want to be the same person I was the other night. I want to be the person who is happy. And I want to bask under that feeling. I want to really feel the moment. Be right in it. And remember it when I breathe my last.”

She smiles.

“Isn’t it crazy that we all can talk so much about life and give advice on how to live, yet when it comes to applying the very same thing, we back away and go back to being the same people? We embrace the concept of “unpredictability” in theoretical approach. But when it comes to being clueless and not being able to know where we land up and how, we run away scared. I want to breathe.”

He nods slowly.

For a minute, neither of them speak.

They think of the dawn that is a few hours away. But it isn’t their dawn. The sunshine may wipe away their tears, but inside, they will be still sad.

“May be we are supposed to live our life this way?” she speaks again. “Scared. Confused. Driven by dreams. And then, mocked and told that reality is bitter. May be life’s supposed to be this way only? But then, why can’t I be as secure and as happy as other people when I’m doing the exactly same thing as them?”

He shrugs.

“May be life is not supposed to be this way?” he responds. “May be our formula is wrong. May be because people are scared, they don’t take another road and like a herd, we all walk down the same way?”

“I had this strange idea as a kid. I was always thinking that our life is just this crazy dream and we are aliens on another planet and we’ll wake up one day and realize that all this was a dream and then everything will be all right again,” she takes a sip of her drink. “I want to forget everything for a moment and start afresh.”

“I had that stupid idea too. And yes,” he tilts his glass against his parched lips and gulps down the burning liquid, “I want to forget everything too.”

When the morning arrived, he found himself walking down the muddy road, back to his house, three blocks away. And she found herself calling a taxi to take her to the airport.

But they weren’t scared and confused anymore. Although the road in front of them wasn’t exactly a straight road, they knew that if they kept running, if they kept chasing their dream, one day, it will be theirs. One day, the life they had dreamt of, they will be living it.

They faced the morning with brighter hopes.

Of Hopeless Tales of Hope

It had been raining for days. Days and nights.

The eternal mist had settled in front of the windows, draping a cloak of darkness for the people who wished to see the light.

To the tune of ferocious winds, the lifeless trees would sway all night.

To some unheard crescendo of a low moan, the rain would come battering down on the roofs like bullets.

The river would swell each night. More and more. Wiping away everything on its path – every bridge and every house.

Radios would chatter on evenings, coupled with feverish prayers of people.

The nights were scary. The days were as dark.

Each night, under the little light from the candle, as she’d prepare her bed, she’d hope for a miracle.

Each night, before falling asleep, she’d look out at the misted window panes and believe, deep in her heart, that the next day would be different. That it would be bright. That the rain would stop. That a miracle would happen at the dead of the night.

The next day, even though the day would be darker and the rain even worse and no miracle would have occurred, before falling asleep, she’d look out at the misted window panes and believe that the following day would be different.

No matter what, at the end of the day, she held onto the tiniest bit of hope.

No matter what, at the end of the day, she believed.

No matter what, deep in her heart, despite the thousand voices in her head that told her otherwise, she believed.

Of Twisted Tales Of Pain

She wanted to live a happy life.

But each night, after the enchanting chaos of the city had dwindled and the orbs of light blurred in her vision, she found herself walking down the narrow bridge. At times, she’d stop abruptly and lean over the wooden rails to see her reflection in the dark waters. The planks under her feet would creak slowly under her weight as she’d gaze deep into the fading reflection of herself. Her eyes lacked mirth. Her lips were always twisted, painting a frown.

At other times, she’d walk and walk until she’d reach the willow tree at the end of the bridge. Leaning against it, she’d quietly slip into the gravel road and watch the world walk past her.

As the night would slowly merge into darker shades, the tears that she’d been holding would give way and into the silence of the night, she’d scream out all her sorrow. She loved the way the night hid her pain. Never did Darkness let anyone know about the one poor girl who cried into its embrace. Alone.

When the colours would slowly start to melt and dawn would arrive, she’d pick herself up, wipe away her tears with the back of her hand and pretend as if everything with her was just all right. With that brave face of hers, she’d face every dawn, no matter how much she was breaking on the inside.

One Friday night though, when the neon lights at every club were bright and high and oven timers pierced the thick air, and she walked down the bridge, she wasn’t alone. For Darkness followed her step.

When she stopped to look at her reflection, Darkness looked down too.

“You are here, every night, without fail,” it said.

“This is the only place that never fails to make me feel lighter,” she answered.

“And you are the only person here,” it said again.

“It probably seems like I’m the most disappointed person around, doesn’t it? A broken family. Unsatisfying life. A stressful job. And when I get back home, there’s nobody to hear me out. So, I come here, thinking that someone will understand. No one does. They sleep silently, tucked inside their blankets and wake up to loud alarms in the dawn. And they face the day. As for me, each morning, I wish to go back to bed and sleep away forever.”

“It wrenches my heart, dear, to hear you say like that. How I wish I could tell you otherwise. How I wish I could tell you of the stories that hide in the light. You see people, walking straight, heads held high, their shoulders straight, and it is as if they’re afraid of nothing. I’ll tell you a different story – they are afraid. Deep inside, each one of them is a mess. When they talk, they are still thinking of a hundred different things in their brain. When they laze back in their beds, they think of the world. They have broken hearts. They are lonely people. And they hide their true faces under the bright light of the dawn, pretending that nothing’s wrong.”

“It is okay,” it continued,”to be a little sad, to a little frustrated and to be a little broken. Each one of them is. Some of them keep telling themselves that there’ll be brighter days, holding on to the minuscule glimmer of hope in their hearts; while some of them come here on fateful nights and end their stories. What you need to do, is face the dawn. It holds surprises for each one. But if you are busy grieving about the night, you’ll never relish what the dawn has in store for you.”

“It won’t make my life any better, will it?” she said.

“You’ve to hold on to hope and live yet another day to find out.”

That morning, when she walked amongst the crowd of people, she didn’t feel lost. Deep inside her heart, sorrow lingered, but just like the rest of them, she knew she had to keep going on. The very hope that she held was that, the next day was going to be even better.

Of Days Like This

Something that came loose from my diary today..just today.

Have you ever had one of those days where you felt sick and slow?

Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to fall asleep and wake up to a newer dawn?

Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to be in the middle of a crowd?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to write till the end of the world, yet you couldn’t?

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like calling someone, yet you wouldn’t?

Have you ever had one of those days when you sat in the dark, no matter how much it scared you?

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt lonely and blue?

Have you ever had one of those days when every breath felt painful?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted someone to hold you?

Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?

Have you ever had one too many days like that?

Of Tomorrows And Todays And Golden Yesterdays

“I’ll be gone,” I tell him. “In less than a month or two, I’ll be packing my stuff and leaving.”

I watch a slow frown draw itself on his face as he hears me intently. His eyes blink slowly and from the heaps of books spread out in front of him, he looks up and meets my gaze.

“You’ll leave forever?” he asks.

Shrugging, I flip a page of the ruled notebook that lies in front of me and put my pen there. Closing it, I sit back on the chair and sigh.

“Not really,” I tell myself that it is the truth, but deep inside, something hurts. “I mean I’ll return twice or maybe thrice in a year. It’s not like I’m leaving forever.”

He nods his head carefully and looks down at the fluttering pages in front of him.

“Things are happening so fast!” I exclaim. “I remember waking up to August afternoons and cribbing. I wanted to leave sooner. The boredom was killing me. Each day, I’d put my books aside and tell myself that there’s still so much time! But look, it’s nearing April already! It seems like it was just yesterday when I was waking up to late mornings, lazily sipping on a mug of coffee and whiling away my day.”

His eyes are focused on the page but he nods slightly.

“Only four years to this date, you’d be thinking about this too. You’ll be done with your school and preparing for college already.”

“Right, four years,” he mumbles. “It’s all happening too quickly.”

I nod in agreement.

Leaning further back into my chair, I think of the glorious days of the year I had spent with my family. Each night, we’d sit at the dining table and hear Mom and Dad’s events in the office. Each morning, we’d wake up amidst hesitation and grogginess, wishing the darn alarm would let us sleep for five long minutes only. Each afternoon, we’d make ourselves steaming bowls of noodles and settle in front of the TV to watch a movie.

But all that is about to change. In a few months, I’ll be far away from this home. And it filled me with utter sorrow.

“And after college, you’ll return back?” he asks.

I shake my head slowly.

“It scares me,” I tell him. “After this, home is a far away thing. You have to stand up on your own, get yourself a job, live on your own, cook your food, wash your clothes. From this point on, I’ll be so far away.”

“It sure is happening too quickly,” he remarks.

“Every tomorrow that dawns, I want to go back. I really want the clock to stop. I want time to pause. Right now, it’s running too fast and I have yet to slowly lose myself in every moment. I want to touch everything and imprint its every crevice in my brain. I want to smell that musk of the attic and trap the scents in my brain. I want to make lasting memories so that I won’t miss all this so much.”

“I’ll miss you,” he says.

My lips quiver. My eyes feel heavy. And my heart holds a profound pain.

In that one moment that is weighing me down, I can only think of a dialogue from a favourite show of mine:

It is the oldest story in the world. One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday, and then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today and that someday is yesterday and this is your life.”(One Tree Hill)

Silently, wiping the slight trail of a tear that had managed to escape, I turn around and look down at my books again.

“It’s late. Let’s study,” I say.

“One last question though,” my brother interrupts. “Is it really happening so quickly?”

I wish I could tell him otherwise.

Of Sad, Little Tales Of Sorrow

She stared at the picture for long. Her eyes narrowed as she took in the curves and lines and strokes. Her head tilted from the right to the other, taking in the picture from every angle. Yet, something was amiss.

In front of her eyes stood a work from fifteen years of experience. Around her, in rows that ran to infinity, hung every picture that she had taken over the years. They sang tall tales of glory and of raw beauty. Anyone who had stepped into the cozy little, dark and damp room had never failed to remark how peaceful the place felt like. They told it felt like falling down a black hole filled with wonders.

Colours – bright and dark; people – so innocent and beautiful – the sheets of paper felt like a wonderland of memories. The people trapped in the pictures, spoke for themselves.

Each night, she would sit in the broken, wooden chair and under the light of the red fluorescent bulb, she’d watch her pictures come alive.

Yet, today, she frowned.

It was a bad picture.

Her brows furrowed and she paced.

Beside the tall camera that rested upon the mahogany table, there lay a crumpled paper. Amidst a forest of majestic trees, stood a lonely girl. Her cheeks were sunken. Her eyes were grey. In between her thin lips, slept the lazy butt of a lit cigarette. Perhaps it was the smoke or the haze, but her hair lacked colour. The mascara was smeared. The sick, old, brown hat with its tattered ends clung helplessly to her hair.

Amidst a swirl of vibrant colours, she stood – without a trace of red or blue or gold. It seemed as if the artist had left the painting there. It was incomplete, indeed.

She walked to the far end of the room, ducking several rows of drying photographs and stood in front of the mirror. Her hand shot up and traced against the curves of her cheek. They moved down the bulge of her lips. And she gasped in horror.

Turning around, she didn’t bother to duck this time. With every step, she ripped every photo from its place. Carefully, with hesitant steps, she walked to the table and lifted the paper up. In horror, she cried.

Looking around, she saw those million beautiful pictures and then stared at the ugly one she held in her hand. It was not the fault of the sun who cast an unnecessary glare; neither was it the fault of the specks of dust at the corners of the lens. Now she knew why. She was the ugly one. She was the one who made the picture look rather incomplete. Because though she captured justifying beauty through her lens, deep inside her, she was nothing, but a void.

And like the million times before, with the picture clutched firmly in her hand, she walked to the very corner where rested a little tank of water.

And laughing and cheering in merry, she shoved the photograph into it.

As the colours faded away and mingled with the clear water, under the faint red light of the room, she saw her reflection down under.

Hers was never a beautiful picture.

Of The Boy In The Corner Of The Class

I’d like to say that it started just like that, but then we’d all know that I’m lying. Nothing ever happens just like that. I believe it began when I was the shy, last bench girl who sat in a corner, hiding away from the rest of the class… and he was anything but a stereotype.

Often, he’d lean back in his chair and throw a glance at my direction while I’d be hiding my face behind the stray strands of my hair, tucking the hem of my skirt under my knees and biting my lips in random intervals. When I’d look up, often, I’d catch him staring at me, a pencil or pen poking out of his mouth and his eyes twinkling. Those would be awkward moments and I would be lying if I tell you that it was okay for me to catch a boy staring at me, especially when the boy was him – an enigma of his own.

With a mop of dark hair, curling against his nape, a few strands plastered to his forehead, and gleaming charcoal eyes, he was the kind of boy you found between the pages of some kindergarten sweetheart novel. His lips would curl into a smile whenever he spoke to anyone and I would find a slight grin force itself on my face as well when I saw him smile. When he would climb up the top of his desk and sit there, talking aloud to his friends and clapping them on their backs, I would find my eyes follow his every move.

Even during the most boring lessons of History, I’d find myself leaning back and forth to catch a glimpse of him four rows to my front. He was the only person in the class of forty who acknowledged my presence. Growing up, I had always been an awkward kid, finding it hard to pick up conversations. I was self-conscious, nervous and a lot more, like people had often pointed out, but he saw through that. He looked at me like he knew me forever. And I looked at him like I could never figure out what went through beneath his smile.

Each day, I would pass by his seat and wish he would say something. Only, he wouldn’t. Instead, his eyes would follow me as I would fumble with the books in my hand, breathing heavily, almost melting under his gaze. But never did we, for the first six months of the semester, pick up the courage to utter a word to each other.

However, one day, he did.

In the lunch break one day, when the class was empty and the corridors were abuzz, I found him walking inside the class. His hair was messed up and his shirt stuck against his lanky frame as he nearly staggered against his desk. Almost immediately, I gasped and his eyes wandered down the rows of benches and landed on me. They held something… not pain, not sorrow, but indescribable confusion, as if something was killing him inside, yet he was helpless. I expected him to turn away; instead, he smiled.

“Hi,” he mumbled.

That was how it began – a friendship. A friendship between two individuals who had so many stories to share.

Each lunch break, I would find him in the cafeteria, sitting in the middle of the room with his friends. When he would see me, he would lift his hand slowly and smile. Amidst the loud howls from the bunch of boys and his deeper voice, I spent the best few months of my school life.

Sometimes, when I’d have forgotten to bring some money in my bag, he’d push his tray towards me. Everything with him was like a script from a slow, black and white movie.

“Hey?” Sometimes, he’d put his hand on my shoulder and stare down into my eyes. Time stopped at that moment, for I found myself lost in the utter sincerity his eyes held. They held so much pain as well, but I was too young to dig deeper.

When I’d frown and grumble at something, he would turn and ask me if I was okay. Nobody did that. He would sit beside me for long, until I would tell him what’s wrong. He was the type of boy everyone wanted as a friend. When happy, he would have instant jokes up his sleeve. When sad, he would never tell anyone. And that was what I forgot. He never told anything, so I never asked. Or perhaps, I had been too occupied basking under the sunshine that I forgot to ask him at times, if he was okay.

With him, I was not the shy, quiet girl at the back of the class and he was not the quiet, serious, popular boy. We were so much more than that, with so many infinite stories to tell.

And one fine winter morning, with one incident, instead of our stories intertwining, we wrote different tales.

“Why wouldn’t you tell me what’s wrong?” I had told him that day. Frustrated with his lack of response and careless behavior, I had stomped out of the class, balling my fists and fighting tears. He had arrived late to the class with a slight sore on his chin and bruises on his face. I had been too angry because he wouldn’t tell me what was wrong.

That day, he didn’t look at me. His eyes didn’t glimmer like they did always. His face was cold. His eyes were dark. Something about him, scared me that day. And it was perhaps why I never walked back.

“Really?” I heard a group of girls talking in high-pitched tones. In fact, the whole cafeteria talked loudly about something… about someone. There were so many people talking at once, that I couldn’t catch the train of words – of where what began and what came to an end.

“He starves himself?”

“Are you kidding me?”

“But he’s a boy… anorexia? I mean I have heard girls do so, but he?”

“That is so awkward! He always seemed so strange to me!”

“Who? He caught him in the washroom, puking?”

“You are kidding me! I don’t believe this!”

“Seriously?”

“And what?”

“He was beaten up?”

“Seniors… I don’t understand.”

I didn’t keep a track of time of how long I sat in the sweaty cafeteria, hearing loud noises all around me. I knew who they were talking about, but a part of me refused to believe. A part of me was adamant and held on to the fact that it was just a rumour, but when things started getting clearer and details appeared, I couldn’t help but storm out of the cafeteria and run to him.

“Why?” I almost cried, but not because I was sad for him, but I wanted to know why he didn’t tell me.

“As if you could make things fine,” he retorted.

“B-But-” I struggled to say something, but words caught up in my throat.

We sat in silence. He played with the edges of his shirt while I sat, motionless and cold. In a mirror world, it was seen as if our roles were reversed. He was no longer that easy-going popular boy who had a solution to everything. And I was no longer the quiet girl. Staying in his company had given me an ounce of confidence. I had made many friends by then, but he remained in my books.

But that one day, I felt confused. I felt like every bit of energy had been soaked out of my body, leaving me with an empty feeling.

“Why do you do this?” I asked.

He shrugged his shoulders before leaning back against the chair and pulling out something from his back pocket.

“This,” he muttered, passing me an old photograph. There stood a little, chubby boy smiling giddily at the camera.

“That was me at some point,” he continued. “I was fat. I was ugly. The kids in the neighbourhood wouldn’t play with me. So, I wanted to become someone who would be loved. Someone people would admire.”

“You are!”

“Because I am this now,” he pointed at himself.

When I looked at him that day, I didn’t fail to notice how his shirt pressed against his flat chest and the way his collar bones stood out against his collar. That day, I didn’t fail to notice the many things that hid beneath his smile. Inside, he was hurting. Yet, he put on his best face, just to impress the world.

“It’s so embarrassing,” he said. “I thought nobody would ever find out.”

All those summers and springs melted in the pain that his eyes held. I felt betrayed. I felt almost useless, because even though I was so close to him, I could do nothing.

My lips quivered when he spoke the next words.

“I’ll leave.”

And just like that, he left.

No one saw him at school after that. But people talked about him. They said rude things. They told how pathetic it was.

And it was too much for me to hear.

So that one art class, when the teacher had not yet arrived, I screamed against the hushed whispers.

“He is not pathetic!” I cried. A string of gasps followed pin-drop silence. “It could happen to anyone! Anyone can feel bad about how they look. It’s only human! But when they feel low, when people around us feel low, isn’t it us who should pick them up and provide them strength? Why do you think it’s embarrassing? When girls starve themselves, we say it’s normal. But heck, boys want to look perfect too. Each one of us wants to lose a few pounds so that we can fit into out favourite dresses. Each one of us wants to be in perfect shape so that others won’t make fun of us. So, it isn’t awkward. It isn’t embarrassing. It is just that when a friend was hurting, we couldn’t help him. And now that he’s gone, instead of feeling guilty or sad, you speak so dirty things about him? It is you who is pathetic! Not he! He was perfect!”

When I sat down with a thud, I was crying. Tears ran down my cheeks and no matter how much I wiped them off, they were not stopping.

My eyes wandered over the desk and I found several drawings on them. He had a strange habit of scratching the tip of his pen against the furnished ply of the desk and make small, little pictures. Every time that I passed by his desk, I had a strong urge to run my hand over them, but the ink seemed so fresh, I was sure that it would only end of messing the pictures and making my hands dirty. But that day, I did.

With wet palms, sticky with the tears, I ran my quivering fingers over the drawings. I wanted them to fade away. I wanted all this to be a bad dream. But they didn’t smear. The ink didn’t smear. It had dried up. And they stared right at me, telling tall tales.

When the class was empty and people had left for their homes, I stayed behind. Pulling open a pen out of my bag, next to the stuff he had drawn,

I wrote:

In a race to fit in someone else’s books,

In a race to look finer,

Did we forget that we looked so much better just the way we are?

Did we forget to love ourselves first?

And when the school year finally came to an end, I prayed that someday, he would see this and smile to himself.

To this day, when I’m feeling low and down, I think of the wonderful memories we had and of the many more stories we could have had.

Of Twisted, Random, Crazy Tales

During Christmas nights, when the moon was high up in the sky, she and her children would sit near the window above the fireplace, their noses pressed against the mullioned windows, waiting for Santa and his reindeer to fly through the dark winter sky. Halfway through the freezing night, their mother would find them fast asleep on their beaten leather couch, their lips curled into smiles and dreams fleeting in their little hearts.

The mornings that followed Christmas nights, they’d sigh and grumble for having fallen asleep so fast. Perhaps, Santa visited them then, they’d reason. Their mother would be standing near the corner, listening to their every talk, feeling pangs of burning pain running down her heart when she revelled in their infinite hopes. Her kids never had any gifts. They didn’t have proper mittens and sweaters. They never had pies for Christmas desserts. Yet, they would never blame Santa. They would never question his existence. Every Christmas they went by, they would take the blame on themselves.

“Santa left perhaps, when we blinked!” and “Santa didn’t visit us perhaps, because we haven’t been so good this year!” They would tell each other. Dreams never died in their eyes. Hopes lit up in them with each passing day.

“Ma,” they happened to ask one night. “Have you ever seen Santa Claus?”

What could their mother say? Her heart broke in sorrow. How could she tell her kids that she didn’t know if Santa did exist! How could she tell them that the fairytale they look forward is a mere illusion! How could she tell them the things that could only bring pain?

“Yes,” she lied.

And every Christmas after that, she watched them wait.

Until one Christmas night, when they had no roof over their head and starved. The night was vast. Snowflakes covered them in its snares. To the occasional howl of a street dog, they slept. Santa was forgotten that night. When hunger scratched their poor bellies and tears dried against their cheeks, suddenly the fairytale they had dreamed of for so long, metamorphosed into a painful reality. They realized, with a heavy heart, that the fairytale was gone. The freezing winds, the lonely streets, the hungry groans – how did they even dare to think that their life was going to be a fairytale?

“Ma,” they asked again. “Does Santa exist?”

“Yes,” their mother lied.

They slept without any food. They slept to racking shivers and mumbles. They slept without waiting for Santa. In the back of their minds, they knew they wouldn’t wake up again for another Christmas.

When the morning arrived, they found themselves in a warm house, next to the fireplace. Lavish breakfast awaited them. Without a bother, they ate and cried in joy.

Santa was remembered again.

“See! Santa gave us this, Ma,” they cried in giddy happiness.

Their mother nodded in agreement.

“Ma, Santa does exist, right?” they asked for the third time again.

“Yes,” she said. Only this time, she didn’t lie.

Of Finding A Piece Of Yourself

Have you ever noticed a person closely? Yes, they do look different; they have different tastes; a myriad mindsets… but look closer.

Inside, their souls, you’ll find yourself.

They are running scared; fighting for a place; living through each day, smiling and crying all the same. Inside, they are confused. Every time they find themselves lost amidst a crowd, they panic. They have dark days. They have brighter ones as well.

And look at you! Amidst the chaos of the city and dwindling light, you sit and watch the world go by. You are looking for your world. You are looking forward to a day when you’ll own the stage and the spotlight will be on you. When you have dark days, you are not afraid to cry. And when the sun shines bright, you rejoice.

You have goals like them. You have dreams gleaming in your eyes. You are as beautiful as the merging colours of the sky. You are looking for your moment to shine; they are looking for theirs!

Amidst the crowds that buzz past you, you take a breath and look at every person closely. You are blurring more and more into the crowd. And they are blurring more and more into you.

And as the sun drowns against the city line casting silhouettes across the horizon, you take a deep breath and stand up. Indeed, you looked closer and what did you find? That there’s a piece of you in those blurring faces in the crowd.