A Tiger’s Walk

The monsoon had just begun. The constant drizzle and patter of rain had made the forest lush and green. Sitting in the open safari jeep I could hear different sounds: the bark of a cheetal, the challenging hoot of a langoor and loud chirping of cricket, filling the silence of the jungle in perfect harmony.

The road was wet, muddy and slippery. The guide had just taken a turn in one of the narrow roads, hoping to spot something wild for his fellow passengers. Another jeep came back from the opposite direction and halted in front of us. Some communication was exchanged and before we could gather what had happened, the guide had swiveled the jeep around and sped in another direction. He hastily explained that he had gotten an intell on a spotting of something rare and exotic in the forest in the middle of monsoon season: a tiger.

We came to an halt in front of a man made lake,which was couple of meters away. And we waited. Silence ensued to prevent any startling. There was an occasional clicking sound of the DSLRs that every enthusiastic photographer had pointed at the ready. Everyone’s eyes and lenses were at the lake, waiting to spot the tiger. So were the passengers in the jeeps ahead of us.

But the tiger took its own sweet time. It did it’s own thing. It continued doing whatever it was doing. Unfazed by the onlookers. It was as if, the world ceased to exist after the lake where the jeeps stood waiting.

Mintues passed by.

The impatient city dwellers started clicking their tongues. The girl next to me zoomed her camera and started scanning the lake area, using her camera as a makeshift telescope. We were still unaware of the Tiger’s exact whereabout. So we waited. 

Suddenly there was a yelp. An indicator for everyone to look in the direction the finger was being pointed.

The tiger was on the move. This majestic beauty, in its grand splendor…

It walked slowly, in its own pace. Patient and in peace with itself.  Unruffled and unmoved by the countable eyes that were piercing on it, trying to look at it’s every single move. But, it just kept walking and crossed the road till it finally disappeared in the greens of the jungle. Unaffected. Peaceful. Content. Maybe these were the Tiger’s state of mind.

This was the majestic Tiger’s walk. Teaching me, silently. Answering me, subtly.

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Is Everything Fine?

He had seen it. It was supposed to be an unmentionable incident. Yet, he reached out to her and asked her, “Is everything fine?” 

She ignored his question, doubting his concerns. Avoided him at all cost. But his persistence to know couldn’t match her will to stay aloof and she broke her silence and said a feeble, “Yes, thank​ you for asking.” It only took her three days to look him in the eye with the answer on her lips. Even if a white lie, which he knew, he seemed to let her easy.

Maybe, he really did care. Maybe he just wanted to know the story. Her mind raced again, overthinking on full swing. This and the incident. Taking control over her and her mind. Her heart raced. That familiar unease. The familiar irrational fear gripped her.

She reached out for that tiny pill in her bag and popped it in her mouth. Waiting for the med to kick in. She closed her eyes as it slowly took over and eased the anxiety that had gripped her soul. Unaware that he was still watching her.

His voice steady he asked, “Promise me you’ll not take too many? Promise you’ll never abuse it?”

Startled, she opened her eyes. 

Calm. She assured him and realised he really did care. Warmth seeped in her heart. The effect complete. Sealing the trust in the growing friendship.

Everything was certainly fine.

Her Time Turner

She sat up staright, took his hand in hers and grasped them tight. She looked straight in his eyes and asked him with a hopeful tone, “Will you take me back? Will you remind me who I was? Will you help me find the pieces of myself? Will you help me remember? Everything we did and how we laughed…”

Her voice trailed away, wondering if he could understand the urgency in her voice. The unbearable loss of control over her memories. The slow decay of her essence. The first signs of Alzheimer’s beginning to show.

He pulled her close, and wrapped his arms around her tightly. And he began, “Remember that day we went to the beach, and you insisted on…”

“He can fix anything”, she thought with a smile as she closed her eyes and listened to her stories with him. His voice bringing out the faint memories. “Maybe, he can bring me back too.” 

He was her relaxant to her anxiety.

He helped her breathe.

A Raging Battle with that Black Hole

Regardless of whether you care or you don’t about this situation of yours, do not let yourself get sucked in that pitiless black hole. 

You don’t have to take one day at a time. You don’t have to do anything that everyone asks you to do to climb out of that black hole. 

Do what you’ve got to do.

But, don’t ever give up. 

Don’t you dare.

Keep fighting. It’s going to be worth it.

Everything is going to be ok.

That Goofy Face

There’s always this boy. I had a minor crush on him. Then we became, sort of, friends. Every time he opened his mouth, I would always feel that I like him lesser. But then, no matter what he said, this tall boy, when he would smile his full goofy smile at me whenever he passed me by, I could feel my heart do a double somersault no matter how hard I suppressed it. His smile was big and always seemed​ to reach his eyes. 

I would avoid his eyes every time we passed each other by. Especially if it was more than once in a day. Because he smiles his big smile every single time! Even if he was annoying and taken, his smile was contagious. His smile would leave a smile on my lips which would pass on to the next person passing me by. 

He is unaware and it will stay that way. It will be my little secret corner in a small room in my head: He’s that goofy faced friend, who notices it all, and makes me smile unwittingly ever time he smiles. And my day gets better.

Standing Out

There was this constant chatter of confusion rattling inside my head. A constant question bouncing, asking myself everyday, “Who am I really?” Though uneasy, it felt relieving to speak out my opinions and feelings without being afraid of being judged for the wrong reasons. But still, the question remained: how much of me can I risk being shared? How much of me felt comfortable in my own skin?

And as an answer, while waiting for my shuttle in the evening today, I saw this white hibiscus inhabiting in between this wild growth of leaves. I had to double take to notice it, but I did. The white beauty stood out brilliantly when I encouraged it to step out of hiding. 

And the best part was: I loved it even more when it was standing out with its own elements. It didn’t hurt my sentiments one bit. Just like that, it felt natural to accept the white in between of dominating green.

Nature answered my agitated mind, and helped me take a step away from the anxiety of wanting to please everyone arould myself by becoming into a version they liked. Losing my essence in the process.

I’m at peace with all of me at every moment now. Most importantly, I’ve begun accepting myself the way I am. At least a little more than yesterday.

Mindnight Lullaby

The room was dark. She had just closed her eyes in an attempt to fall asleep. But suddenly there​ was a gush of strong breeze. The curtain rose in the air, sending the wind chimes in a tizzy. And then she heard someone jump. Startled, her eyes opened with a start.

She consoled herself that it was her mind playing dirty tricks again to steal her sleep. Stopped the anxiety before it burst out of control.

The breeze blew again bringing a relief on this night of hot summer. The wind chimes tinkling in a rhythm. Lulling her back to sleep. 

Her eyes drooped shut.

All was silent again.

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. 

Her Adventures with Mismatched Socks

She was meticulous, organised and obsessive about perfection. She was diagnosed by her friends as a specimen with a mild case of OCD. She refused and claimed to be healthily obsessed. It was just her fond love for symmetry and unblemished perfection.

Accepting the unsymetry wasn’t tough, but it made her nervous. One day, she decided to brave it, and she wore two different socks to work. Grey on the left and black on the right. Since she wore ballerinas, they were pretty much visible. 

She glanced at her feet every now and then, but then the day went by without anyone pointing her flaw out. Rather, no one noticed it at all. There was this vague feeling in her head of being watched, scrutinized and judged for her mismatched pair, when everyone around her were busy feeling the same about their mismatch and living in their own heads.

It was impossible for her not to think of the mismatched pair the entire day, but it was not that difficult to accept the mismatch either. It was as simple as that. Acceptance.

She chased the perfect symmetry in life so furiously, that she had missed seeing the beauty in the other powerful but ignored things. Like: Her mother’s love. Her mother silently listening to things she wasn’t speaking out loud. Her accomplishments. Her aging parents. Her own self.

If accepting this unsymmetrical mismatch could, if not silence, tone down the restless voice in her head and let her get going the entire day, why not the same with the mismatched unsymetry in herself?

This was her first step towards being a little adventurous, in her own little way.