THE DAY THE WAVES CAME

 If I was supposed to die today, what would I not give to not feel the desperation that precedes it

We have to get out of this alive. I looked over to my sister standing knee deep in the debris and holding on to a palm tree trunk- holding onto dear life.

I tried to keep talking to her amidst the rumble the sea was creating, almost as if it didn’t want any voice rising above its own. Half the town was being swept in front of our eyes and it was a sight that made your heart sink. The grumbling was deafening. Cars and entire houses were being swept away as if they were made of paper. That day the sea was the monster devouring everything that came into its path.

Debris laden water was rushing in, flooding the coastal town. Clouds of muddy sludge started filling the clear blue water of the pool and for a moment, I forgot I was struggling to keep myself from being swept away. Wooden planks and metal objects kept banging against my leg under the sheer force of water. But for a moment I watched that dark slurry invade the pool, like a sandstorm inside water. It moved as if a spell was cast on it, as if it was a monster feeding on that clear water. I couldn’t blink for it was such an incredible sight. At a moment like that, when destruction was all around me I was captivated by the image in front of me and you may call me crazy. But I forgot my fear. When you are staring at death, you struggle to seek that moment when you can ignore the horror of it. If I was supposed to die today, what would I not give to not feel the desperation that precedes it.

When that moment ended, I realised we had to get out of this alive. I turned towards Mahi who seemed exhausted and was drowsy. 

Hey! Hey! Hold on, okay? Stay awake. We will get out of this. I promise you we will. This is not how we die, okay?’

The Existential Dilemma

Only the faces change.

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Why must you intimidate me so?
Looming large over my speck of a head.
Standing tall and grandiose,
Only the faces on the photographs change.
You tower above the rest,
Watchful, critical.
The hands that carried you from sand to pillars lie dead,
Like monuments razed to the ground.
So fleeting, to have existed for a fraction of your history,
When you just go on.
Only the shadows change,
On your walls,
From tinted panes to rusty hinges.
Overwhelmed, I gulp down my fate in a split second.
Why is it,
That you shall be,
In perpetuity.
And I shall not.
Why only the words to the song change,
Reverberating inside your halls.
Tell me why the faces change.

┬ębewitchinglyme

Life

‘Auntie?’ , implored Ashima cautiously.
Her aunt Pamela, who was making hot chocolate for her favourite niece managed to mutter a faint ‘hmm?’

‘I am 25 now.’

Pam smiled.

‘All grown up, eh?’

‘Remember the question I asked you years ago and you told me you’d tell me when I was 25?’

Pamela handed her a mug of deliciously heavenly chocolate as she sank into her bean bag beside the young woman.

‘Of course I remember Ashi! Well, how time does fly!’

Pamela didn’t know how to begin but she decided to start with a routine query,
‘Tell me Ashi, have you been in love?’

Ashi eyed her delightful aunt with hesitation before lowering her guard.

‘On and off, I think I might have felt something bordering on love.’

Pamela chuckled.

‘And I hope that you get lucky, my dear.I hope that one day you’d be in that place where you just want to spend your life with someone, married or not. That you’d want to watch your child grow through trying times.’

‘For me, I never had that happy chance.’

Ashima raised her brows in mock disbelief.
‘You are telling me that you never fell in love, auntie?’

‘Oh, no, I did. I did fall in love so many times. Or I believed I did. In retrospect, everything is a blur.
In retrospect, everything seems a lost opportunity. At least that is what some people keep reminding me.’

She smirked.

Ashima knew only too well that Pam was referring to her brother, Ashima’s father. He had only lately resigned to the fact that his 51 year old sister was not a bitter woman who kept to herself because she hadn’t married.

‘But you never felt the need to have someone close to you most of the time?’

‘Ashima, I had my books!
I had my students. I had young, eager minds waiting to be sculpted. I did not feel the lack of a family.
Sometimes I did feel lonely. But you see, you can feel lonely in a crowd. If it is meant to be, you can drown in your own loneliness as you sit with your arms wrapped around someone.’

‘And it surely gets painful at times, Auntie?’

Pamela placed her mug on the floor. Ashima couldn’t make out her aunt’s expression as she bent but when she looked up, her gaze seemed distant.

‘I’m sorry if -‘
She began but was cut short by an impatient wave of her aunt’s hand.

‘I do not know Ashi, why the world wants to believe that I am resentful because I chose my way of life. Isn’t that wishful thinking? Like I manage to break away and you’d make such a fuss about it, and say youre sorry about my life, making me question my own choice at times.
But that is just how the world works. You ought to be a wretched wreck if you decide to do anything that they dont sanction. It gives them the satisfaction of saying, ‘I told you so!’
But you see, I have had my books clutched tight, drawn close to my chest on some nights and I cherish that.
I have had my students look up to me and that is enough.
I have this family. You are enough.
I sing and dance and draw and make friends.
This too, is beautiful.
As beautiful as walking into the sunset holding hands.’

‘And if I ever wanted have the joy of watching a child grow into a wonderful, kind person, I have had you. Nahi?’

Ashima fought hard to hold back tears. She alighted the wickerwork chair and walked up to her aunt.

Bending down, she wrapped her hands around the woman, tears streaming down her cheeks and onto Pam’s shirt and said,
‘Yes, ofcourse, yes.’

The voices are all dead,
All my head now remembers is the statistics.
Another post.
A couple of likes,
Another day,
A march through conspicuous obsession,
Over faces,
Bodies,
And kind acts.
The voices,
That made me sing when the day was rough,
Made me dance when the music played,
Made me smile on petty jokes,
I don’t know when they faded away.
I carry a frame,
Soul bereft.
There is no spark,
The mind wide shut is a place so dark,
I shudder,
At the thought of visiting it again.
Perhaps,
And I hope,
When I sit down with Woolf or Barnes once more,
They shall get me back home I am sure.

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