She looked forward to the day. The exact time of the day, to be precise, when she would lay her eyes on him. It had almost been an year.

When he called her to announce, “I’m here!” she couldn’t hold back the bounce in her strides, as she walked towards him. And when she saw him, she hurled herself at him, and took the long pending bear hug from him.

Just the thing she needed.

He held the strings that bound her, untangled them gently so that she could slowly breathe. The first breath she took cracked the high wall of pretense she had built around her. She took another deep breath and she found herself unravel in his arms.

Her vulnerability lay bare in front of him.

They sat next to each other on the bench. Leaves crackled as they shifted their feet. The winter afternoon heat warm on their backs. His arms around her shoulder. Her hands resting on her thighs. They sat for a while. Her emotions finally found words and they flowed from her lips. The unspoken, unseen weight slowly lifting from her shoulders.

Trusting that he can take it all, she unfolded. And he did.

Though they felt stillness around them, the time kept ticking. Finally it was time to leave, with a promise to see each other soon again.

As they both walked away in the opposite directions, she walked away with strength and courage to live from him. And he, with a bit of her soul.


Tiny Magical Hands

The chapati refused to go down her throat. It just seemed dry. Even her favourite gravy that her mother made to go along with it, refused to help her swallow.

She refused to eat. She would sit, staring at the wall; speaking with silence and hugging the void. Everything, she felt, was crushing her. Her spirit and soul were disappearing in an abyss.

She just sat. Thinking and listening to the white noise in her head. Unaware of her surroundings.

Till something tiny walked by and almost pushed her off the chair she sat on to force fit its butt. There were two tiny hands and a sweet singsong voice which insisted on interrupting her state of being a rock. It said, “I want to feed you!”

Before she could answer, the hands had torn a piece of chapati, dipped it in the gravy and pushed it near her lips. She smiled and took a bite. It was easy to swallow now.

The singsong voice said, “Once more!” Till she had all of her dinner inside her tummy. Successfully.

Those tiny hands had magic to break the spell she was under.

The magic was her two year old daughter’s pure, innocent love.

Birth of Hope

The setting was perfect. The sun had just set. There was a hint of rainy clouds coupled with a light breeze. The sky was the shade of dark navy blue slowly darkening to black.

I was nearing my block, that’s when I saw them. A couple. They must have been in their late 70s. The first thing that I noticed was the way they held each others hands. She had a firm grip, maybe helping him balance. Maybe holding herself steady. Or maybe, just holding because she wanted to. He had his walking stick in his other hand. They walked slowly, one small step at a time. In perfect sync. 

I couldn’t help but smile. 

Even for a cynic, with all the distrust in the world, looking at them couldn’t help but for that moment believe that things could be as real as that couple who had grown old together and still seemed to be very much in love.

That One Kiss

She would rush around the rooms of her house, her mind swirling in turmoil. Her elder daughter’s marriage was failing. Her younger daughter refused to settle down. She found no comfort in her husband’s words, rather they flared up her temper even more. So she rushed around, busied herself in work. She overworked at her hospital as a consultant. Her patients choosing her over other doctors, because of her soft, patient and sweet nature, provided her no comfort. This success was nothing. She threw herself at the kitchen to not let her thoughts overtake her sanity. Her home was where she could be herself. Even if she held herself back, she was herself. Her impatience, her irritation and her tiredness would spill out in her tone. 

This one day when her daughters were going out together they saw her brows crossed. She had her hands on her hips as she came at the door to close after them. The younger daughter called for the lift. Neither of the daughters would dare, but the younger one pushed the door open while her mother was closing it. She looked annoyed. The daughter rushed near her and planted a kiss on her right cheek and ran off to a safe distance near the lift.

The kiss seemed to melt her bitterness away. Her brows were uncrossed and she couldn’t help herself and she gave a reluctant albeit a big smile. 

For a while, in that moment, everything was perfect and fine again. 

That Boy With A White Book

He seemed as real as the sunlight that kissed her cheeks with warmth. He stood in front of her with his signature smile, that reached all the way to his eyes. He stood waiting for her to move. He stood waiting, with a white book in his hands.

Tentative steps were taken till they were facing each other. She looked at him with all the cynicism in her eyes, and he with all the answers that seemed to stay still at his lips. But all that didn’t matter, for now. Right now what stood between them were the gaps that the years of separation had brought between them. Time had treated him well. There he stood, calm and gay. Exactly how she had found him the first time they had met.

Finally, he moved. He held out the white book with a knowing look in his eyes. No words spoken. She opened it. There it was, the comfort of his handwriting in it. Something that she had grown fond of when they were together. That is how she would touch him when he would be away for months. Her happy place. But that was ages ago. Now, it was a familiar tug at her heart which tried hard to respond.

She read them as he watched her face. There were answers. Answers he had denied her all those years. He knew he would have her attention with this white book. As she turned pages,  she saw how he had detailed out all the work he was immersed in all those years they were not together: equations, theorems, theories; all a part of him. An art that was derived out of him and thrown out to the world, in that book, in her hands for her to see.

He stood there, waiting as she read. Watching her run her hands over the pages trying to feel the pressure of the pen indenting out his handwriting. A small smile played on her lips. The years didn’t matter anymore. The answers didn’t matter anymore.

She looked up at him, as she gently closed the book and held it close to her heart.

He stood there, waiting for her to answer his unasked question. A question that had lingered in time. He waited for her to lock her eyes with him.

She finally looked up, watching all the lines on his face, all the ink in his fingernails. She finally met his eyes. And there, he found her answer. He had found his way back home.