Tag Archives: sorrow

Of Tales Too Tiny

‘Mumma?’ he called.

The old woman in her worn out dress and wrinkled face, turned away from the sink to look at her little son lying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling fan. Rust had settled on its corners and the slight squeaks it caused, made her cringe in distaste.

‘Yes child,’ she said as she wiped off her hands on her apron and walked to him. Dropping down on the couch, she allowed him to rest his head on her lap.

Her heart broke as she held his feeble hands and rubbed them gently.

When he did not speak, she asked again.

‘Yes?’

His eyes met hers and all they reflected was nothingness. Her son’s eyes were blank; they held no trace of emotion and she did not know whether to be happy or sad for that.

‘Mumma,’ he mumbled. His voice shook. ‘Does God love me any less?’

Almost immediately, she shook her head and looked away, blinking back her tears. The last thing she wanted to do was to cry in front of her dying son. His body felt so fragile against hers that she was afraid a slight touch would hurt him.

‘No, child, our God is beautiful,’ she told him. ‘He loves us all the same. We are all his lovely children and He loves us to death.

‘Then why does he let other children run and jump and shout while I lie here all day?’

It was difficult to swallow the lump stuck in her throat. Her temples throbbed as unwept tears threatened to spill.

‘It is because He has something special for you! He wants you to wait so that He can shower you with all the happiness in the world. He loves you, dear child, more than you can imagine,’ she aid and ran a hand through his hair. ‘Up there, He sits, watching over all of us. He picks us up when we fall. And when we cry, He is there to wipe away our tears. Each day, He presents us the most beautiful dawns to create histories. See? He is here with us. He is all around, child. And He loves you. So please, hold on.’

The doorbell rang, filling the house with a lovely tune.

She looked down at her son who was breathing quietly. His eyes were closed in blissful oblivion. She got up and opened the door.

The mailman handed her a letter.

After he took his leave, she closed the door behind her and tore open the pale yellow envelope to reveal her son’s medical reports. Her eyes glimmered with several hundred emotions as she looked frantically at the sheets.

And then, she saw it.

‘Wake up, child,’ she said as tears rolled down her cheeks. ‘Wake up! You’ll live, child! You’ll live for long!’

He remained quiet.

Of Silent Nights

She sits alone on those lonely nights, waiting for someone who sits on the other side of the bridge. Their lives are parallel lines. But she thinks it’s no tragedy. Think about the souls who cross paths once and don’t meet for the next million miles! This way, at least she lives in eternal hope. And hope… isn’t that what drives you and me?

Of A Christmas Without Snow

(An old lady thinks about her husband as she writes this letter… To her husband, to the snow, to the winter that is slowly withering by)

I’m thinking about you as I write this.

 An entire year has gone by in a flash. The sun was out here. Autumn did cast its cloak. The winter has arrived, but there’s no snow.

 I’m sitting in this big white room. The chandelier stares down at me in an awkward stance. Everything around me is white-dull, dark white. The walls have queer shadows imprinted on them. They trap the melancholy of this place-the silent cries, the hundred thousand dreams that threaten to ooze out of this place. The white holds the silence.

 The mist has descended from the mountain. It presses against the window, whispering against the glass. It’s as if I’m viewing the world from behind a cloaked mirror. I’m trapped within the mirror. I’m looking at the universe, seeing them stare back at me without a trace of response. It’s as if I’m no longer there.

 Slightly hitching my gown up and tucking a strand of my white hair behind my ears, I stand up and walk to the windowpane. The fabric of my gown drags behind painfully. It warns me to not breathe the breeze that has started to waltz outside the windowpane. It whispers me not to get carried away by the memories. It spreads its invisible hands and tries to hold me back.

 With every stride, I feel the cold, white marble caresses my feet. The chill presses against the wrinkles and cracked skin. They make a shiver to trail upward, but, it never touches my spine. The fabric crawls along without a noise, its shade mingling with the white everywhere. Everything around me is as white as the Christmas snow. But, what I’m looking at, casts a gray glare.

 Everything outside the window is gray. Colorless. Lifeless. Devoid of any shades. The mist has tucked them under her blanket. She, probably, doesn’t want me to see the radiant shades. She doesn’t want me to call back the kisses under the colorful mistletoe. She doesn’t want the Snowman to lure me into building a cheerful one. She protects me, only by trapping me away from the world.

 As the white ceases away from my peripheral vision, I realize I’m near the window, staring right out at the world.

 Bringing my hands up, I touch the misted glass with the tips of my fingers. It blends with the chill. A vague scent of winter seems to have sneaked into the room. It teases my senses for a spell before being withdrawn by the void of the clean room.

 It reminds me of how much you enjoyed the winter. It reminds me of the time we first met-it had been a Christmas morning. You had held my hand and guided me down the aisle. Everything had been so red and green and gray. You had taken me to the fair and bought us cotton candies. I had had my teddy bear so near to me as I had gazed into your black eyes. I had struggled with the unknown emotions at the pit of my stomach. And you had held my hands when we had kissed under the snow.

 Leaning against the frosted glass, I press my face against it. I’m not looking for warmth; I’m looking for something that feels real against my skin. You.

 See, the snow is here! The silhouettes against the shades of gray are slowly starting to bathe themselves with the Christmas snow. The universe outside is suddenly as white as the room I’m in.

 A flicker of hope takes birth in my eyes. I look down from the window, anticipating your arrival. You had promised me that you’d return with the snow.

 My eyes are refusing to stay awake. Someone is calling for me. There are faint noises around me. Everyone is so excited to see you. Everyone is waiting to hear stories of the war. I’m so proud of you already. I wait, patiently.

 Christmas is here. But it doesn’t feel real. The winter is here. The snow is here. You aren’t…

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.

The Man Every Daughter Looks Up To

(Dedicated to every daughter)

“Dad, for the world, you may be just another person,
But for me, you are the world.”

There are moments when everything seems like they are moving at a snail’s pace. Be it boring rainy Saturdays when the drops of rain seem to be racing down your window at a pace that kills mood, or winter Mondays when all you want to do is get back under the duvet and sleep off the day.

And then, there are moments which take your breath away – the ones where you wish time would just freeze; and you could live each moment, oh, so slowly!

I had this thought while having a casual talk with my bride-to-be cousin. It is always an amazing experience to sit with elder cousins and ask them the life that they see after their marriage, their goals and their apprehensions. It is almost like a beautiful story – seeking perfection in the midst of chaotic randomness.

I have seen girls crying while they are sitting next to the holy pyre or standing on the decorated aisles, decked in gold chains and loads of waterproof mascara and red sarees and pearly white gowns. If you look closely, you’ll see that their faint smiles as they pose for the impatient cameramen, bring across a plethora of emotions. They aren’t always excited or happy or satisfied. In fact, those emotions are the rarest. Their eyes hold tears of pain and it is almost like an immense sadness is weighing them down – the separation from their parents.

It is rather strange, actually. One day we are ten and eleven, playing with our Barbie dolls and shying away from the neighbourhood boys. We have dreams, so glorious that they glimmer in our eyes. The world seems such a rosy place, then, with Mom who cooks us the most delicious recipes and Dad, who has always got our back. For each daughter, their Dad stands as the best man in the world. Though we never tell it aloud, we know that if there’s one person who can wipe away our tears and make us strong again, it is Dad.

And then, something changes. We are sixteen or seventeen and the phase of rebellion begins. Occasional arguments, the banging of doors, the confusion, the rhetorical questions we pose ourselves, a tad bit of lies, before it also drowns into a drone of nothingness. Then, comes a dawn where we realize how stupid we had been as teenagers. Mom and Dad had always wanted the best for us. With each passing day, you start loving them even more.

Then, one day, you find yourself walking down the aisle or sitting next to the pyre, with your Dad by your side. Suddenly, it seems like you are standing on a boat that is slowly drifting away and no matter how much you try, you can’t reach the deck. The thread that had always held you so close to your parents looks like it is metamorphosing into a loose string and withering away with each passing second.

You look at their eyes and see happiness mingled with sorrow. How you wish you could get up from there and hug them to the end of the world! How you wish you could cry endlessly and tell your mom and dad that they mean the world to you. Do they know that, you ask yourself.

The moment is intense. You want each moment to freeze so that you can stay with your parents for some time longer. It scares you – the future. You don’t know if you can stand up on your own. You need your Dad with you. You need him to hold you as you cry. For he is the one man you’ve looked up to, for your entire life and you’ll continue doing so.

You ask yourself, whose shoulder will you cry on when thunder bellows on dark night? You think of the times when he will not be there to catch you when you fall. Your lower lip quivers as you stare into his eyes that hold stories. You don’t feel like letting go of his hand.

Biting your lip to escape the tears that threaten to slip down, with an immense pain weighing you down, you tell him, “Walk me down the aisle, Dad.”

Of The Boy I Wait For

Perhaps the best part about living in India, according to me, is the people you meet here. Tall and short, fair and tanned, rich and poor – all of then blend in such a beautiful harmony that it is like watching a sunset, slowly, and without your knowing, the orange and the purple and the white and the blue have drowned into the abyss of darkness, almost magically.

Like I’ve always said, I find every person to be truly fascinating. There is a hope in their eyes. They cry happy smiles as well as sad. And even without speaking or doing any significant thing, in a strange way, they manage to reach deep and touch your heart. You remember these people. You carry their stories with you. And once in a while, when you are lost, you remember them and smile.

I do that, every now and then as I remember the toothed smile of the frail, little boy who happened to stop by my house on Deepavali.

In his eyes, shone a winter wonderland of hope, as he watched the hundred firecrackers light up around him and bursting into a million stars. He looked at them like they painted the stars in the sky.

I watched him as he cautiously made his way towards us, stepping over the stiffened grass. His eyes kept darting back and forth, fear profound in them. He had no proper clothes for winter – no mittens, no socks – he walked with bare feet. His shirt had a torn sleeve and his trousers barely fell up to his ankles. Yet, the cold didn’t bother him.

For minutes, he stood behind Dad’s car, watching us. Until, Dad spotted him and called him to join us.

I will never forget the sheer joy that spread across his face, the instant he heard Dad call him. For a moment, he looked around to see if he was actually being called. His smile was brighter than those million lights that shone in the cityscape.

He almost cried in joy when Dad offered him a phuljhari (a cracker). I had seen his lips quiver.

He watched in awe – lights, big and small, blue and red, white and dead – as if the world he was seeing was surreal.

The firework that went up at that moment – showering the night sky with showers of light – didn’t snap me out of my trance. I was too busy watching him clap his hands and jump up in joy.

It was strange – of how a thing as small as a cracker, could brighten up this boy’s life. Just because we lived a life so plentiful, did we forget to find happiness in those little things?

When the noises started dying down and every cracker was burnt, I saw his shoulders fall. A bittersweet expression clouded his face as he looked around and watched people retreat back into their houses. I wondered if it made him sad that the night was finally coming to an end.

Almost instinctively, I walked to him and knelt down before his tiny figure.

“You want more crackers?” I asked.

Slowly, he nodded his head, almost afraid.

I pushed the few packets of crackers I had been holding from the very start, into his little hands. At first, he was too surprised. Then, he smiled.

And his smile was so sincere and so beautiful that my heart swelled with joy. I remembered that there had been a few stray packets lying in my brother’s room.

“Wait here!” I told him. “I’ll bring you more.”

Perhaps I should have waited to hear his reply.

When I returned, hugging an entire box, he was gone.

Setting down the box, with scrunched eyebrows, I looked frantically, searching for him. I looked down the street but it was as empty as it had ever been. There were no noises around – no free spirited cries of the happy boy, no sound of thumping feet – no him.

To this day, I question myself – why did he leave? To this day, every year, on Deepavali, I wait for that little boy to stop by again.

At times, I think about him and find little tears prick at the corners of my eyes. At those times, I can only hope he remembers me, as well.

Of The Delusional Human Heart

She pulled out a few letters from the old, brown leather bag that she clutched weakly in her hands. The little young man, who had helped her get on the ride, had asked her to leave behind her bag in the waiting area, but she had smiled at him and told them that she needed to keep it with her.

She ran her hands over the skin of the letters, running the tips of her fingers along the crumpled edges of the hundred letters she had written to her husband over the year. There were blotches of ink on them and some letters had been smudged. Yet, she could read them like the back of her palm. She knew the contents of the letters, in her heart. Subsequently all, she was the one who had penned them with extreme care, debating her husband’s replied with every course she wrote with the drying ink.

How she had been so madly in love with him to write the letters and expecting him to reply back when he was serving the country at war! Oh, how she had been so madly in love with him that she kept on sending the letters without an address on them! Oh, just how madly in love she had been to write “To, My Husband” on top of the pale, yellow envelope and throw it into the mail box and require it to be handed over! Indeed, she had been so crazily in love with him that his loss was breaking her apart every second the ride moved up a short bit in the breeze.

The old mailman, with his several thousand wrinkles intricately drawn upon his face and a bald, shiny head, had seen those letters and collected them over the years. More often than not, he would have discarded them as they never carried an address, but something close to the letters reached him. Maybe it was the illegible writing of the solitary woman who sat near the window, waiting for her husband. He had lost his wife and he knew the grief. So he kept them in a corner of the post office.

And one day, he had seen the old lady make her way to the post box again. He had run after her and inquired her husband’s name. And he had written it on all her letters and sent them with the army men who occasionally came to their town.

Only, the letters had returned back to him as no one had claimed them. With a painful heart, he had given them back to the old woman.

The trumpets and several noises filled the town. The men were coming back from war. Instinctively, she looked down from there, thinking that her husband would be there, although she knew that he would never return.

Yet, a part of her held on to the hope. A part of her believed that the news reporter had made some mistake while reading out the names of the soldiers who had died on the field.

How could her husband be one of them?!

He had always been so strong and so bold!

He had survived several bullet wounds!

He couldn’t have died!

Oh, the pitiful, human heart!

With a painful smile etched on her face, she returned to those letters and read them aloud as the ride soared up. She read those letters to her husband who was probably somewhere, listening to her…

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 The Things We Never Tell

I don’t think I can ever forget the day when I walked into the classroom on the brightest Friday morning to see a friend of mine, fumbling with a bandage roll. As soon as she saw me walking towards her (she was my bench mate), she turned away and (secretly) pushed the roll into her bag.

‘Hi?’ I greeted her, unsure of whether I should ask if she was all right or not. Sixteen years of life had taught me one of the greatest lessons – people don’t want you to ask them anything, especially when they are desperately trying to hide something.

So, I kept quiet.

‘Hi!’ she replied back with feverish enthusiasm. Her smile was way too cheerful. Her hands came around me and pulled me into a quiet hug. And she giggled or hid her sniffles under its pretext.

‘I’ve missed you so much!’

When she pulled back, I couldn’t help but notice the streaks of blood that ran down the cuffs of her red sweater. I felt an uncanny chill run down my entire body on seeing that. Till then, blood had never made me scared. But it was a sight, so painful, that for a moment I felt a sharp pain bubbling through my nose and spreading throughout.

‘You know what-‘ she continued, least aware that I had seen underneath her pretence. Pulling my hand down, she made me sit beside her.

‘He is such a nice guy, I tell you,’ she spoke with a fake happiness. The smiles and blushes never reached her eyes and I couldn’t mistake the way she gritted her teeth every time she drummed her fingers on the table. She was pulling up a perfect game.

‘He offered me roses! And you know what? He told me that I’m the only girlfriend he’s ever had!’

Under the desk, my hands felt clammy and I clenched them into tight fists. For I knew those were lies. Lies. Devastating lies. At that moment, I didn’t know who to be angry with. I was furious with my friend as she was being such an idiot. On the other hand, I knew it wasn’t her fault for the guy gave her false hopes. And she was madly in love with him, nevertheless.

‘T,’ I interjected. ‘Can I ask you something?’

She nodded.

‘Do you really like him?’

Her face twisted into a frown. I had never wanted people to misunderstand me. It so happened between friends that often, they are so caught up in a web of lies and delusional hopes that they refuse to believe you. And I didn’t want that to happen.

‘Y-yes,’ her voice broke and at that moment I realized that something was terribly, terribly wrong.

For the next few minutes, I heard the most horrific truths. There were times when I felt like giving her a hug, but I felt so cold. It was as if I was standing there, watching all this happen to her, yet I couldn’t do anything.

He abused her. Each night. Each day. Them being neighbours, didn’t help at all. Instead, it worsened things. She lived in eternal fear that her parents might find out. And that was the last thing she wanted her parents to know. She told that she can’t let them go through all the grief and pain. So for months together, she kept every emotion bottled inside her. Hurt. Fury. Pain.

There was no one she could reach out to, for she knew people would judge. They’d blame her. And it wasn’t shocking, for both of us had seen some people doing just that. There were times, she confessed, when she wanted to give up – to slit her wrists and distance herself away from all the pain of the world. For months, she took antidepressants, and battled the darkest phases, but everything seemed to be coming back to her.

‘I don’t know what to do,’ she sobbed. Her hands clasped mine and the warmth on my wrists, snapped me out of my trance. Looking down, I rolled down her sleeves to expose the deepest cuts and scars. I gasped.

‘Why?’ I asked; demanded, in fact.

‘He made me feel worthless. He made me feel like I had no right to live.’

‘He,’ I said, ‘is no god! He has no right to decide who deserves to live and who doesn’t.’

An awkward stretch of silence followed and as I looked around, I realized the other students were slowly starting to stare in our direction.

‘Everything fine?’ another friend of mine enquired.

It took me a great deal of effort to nod. I wasn’t sure if shit could be called fine.

‘Do you hate me?’ she mumbled next to me.

‘I-I am not sure.’

Perhaps it broke her, but I knew that I was going to do anything to pull her out of the mess. I was going to do anything to walk her to the lighthouse that helped many a wandering traveller.

We are no angels. We make mistakes. Small mistakes. Big mistakes. But they shouldn’t define our future. They shouldn’t make us give up in everything and consider ourselves worthless. Each one of us has dark days. Cold days when blistery winds seem to cast a veil on the land. At some places, winters last longer. But when the summer comes, it arrives in all its pleasant glory. All we need to do sometimes is, wait for the summers. And we need to believe that they will be there, no matter what.

At times when we feel like giving up, we must not submit to the urges. The universe promises a wonderful life for each one of us. And what a pity if we don’t live it! Why shouldn’t we!

Today, my phone beeps to her message.

‘How are you?’ she asks.

‘How are you?’ I reply back.

‘You rescued me.’

And I smile in relief.

We all need something to pull us out of the mess; someone to rescue us in our darkest days.

Of Scars That Remain Behind

People are always looking for ways to get rid of scars. Who wants to carry a bundle of sad memories anyway?!

They try the best creams, visit a doctor, obsess too much over the broken skin. I really don’t understand why everyone needs to have flawless skin.

Perhaps the creams might heal the skin and a few tablets and a dash of make-up may get rid of the slight bump, but there’ll always be the ghost of a wound there. The wounds heal but they never go away completely.

The scars hold the stories. Just like a person’s eyes gives away a lot about how they are feeling, scars are like secret road maps, holding painful histories.

The scars remain behind for a good reason, though. To remind. Maybe the skin pulls up a new face with each passing year, but we still remember our scars and everything that has ever hurt us.

When we are down and the sky is dark, the scars remind us that we can live through that, for there have been darker days. They tell us to hold on, for light awaits us.

The scars remind us to have strength in our darkest hour.

They sketch blurred vignettes of our life. The painful ones. We remember where exactly it hurt and why.

And how it healed.