Friday, July 24, 2009

The Impatient Soul – Part II

She circled around him ... once, twice and so on. They say seven such circles complete the quest for the life partner. But she didn't want that tonight.

Why would she leave him married now? Why would she do it when he couldn’t even sense her?

Another circle and she flew around … in a jest that was so like Tara, the unbridled soul.

Vishal tried to look around, eyes vague as ever. He did notice a movement. The curtains flew and the table lamp vibrated … the bed sheet appeared to flap its corners.

Is it the wind?

Vishal felt as if he was not alone in this room. For some reason, the room smelt as if Tara was inside. He could sense something unusual … other than ordinary.

Has she come back … for once?

She teased him … gave his couch a gentle push. Vishal looked back … felt a movement, but didn’t find a grain of life. His body had developed a nagging ache … something that may have resulted from days of not eating, and his living off the bottle.

He got up … and hesitated to open the laptop lying on the table.

Why would he look at the last e-card Tara sent before leaving office? He tried his best to get up … but his feet felt numb.

Was he paralyzed waist down?

Something alerted him … but not before he got this push again from behind. He got up … and tried to stand on his feet. She laughed again, this time louder than before.

Vishal sensed the longing for Tara. He muttered, ‘Tara … are you here? Please come back … I need you’ his voice choked.

Tara’s spirit stopped for a moment. Did she expect her lover to be so weak at heart?

Wasn’t he man enough to take that in his stride?

Poor men, she thought. They seem so strong yet are so weak from inside. Sensitive creations of God, she thought … but let him grieve. At times, the distance did bother her too. She was free to roam around. Still Vishal couldn’t romance her anymore.

The laptop was switched on. While it booted, Vishal could sense that the room had slowly been filled with a known smell … as if Tara was there … right beside him.

Vishal signed on his internet, and opened his mailbox. In the last three days, there was a bunch of mail that piled up on his neatly maintained inbox. But Tara’s last e-card stood out, the one that he didn’t see from Wednesday.

He didn’t want to then, but today he was longing to see her final message:

Sweetie, now you smell me right? Keep longing for me … and when you return to your bed tonight, feel me as much as you can. Watch out before I make my first attempt to visit your kitchen. Beware, naughty birthday boy! ... Mmmuuuuaaaah

She did sign off … but she never got to enter his kitchen. The meal she had planned had passed away with her. He remained unfed … those candles were never lighted.

Tara’s spirit looked at him from behind the half-opened cupboard door. Vishal had closed the mail … and she kept looking straight at his wet eyes.

His hands reached for the glass. He poured a few drops of raw scotch into his dried throat. His eyes twitched … the face made that cryptic sign of gulping the rough, rugged drink on the rocks.

He looked back at the inbox. Somewhere on the top, there was another message with the subject – ‘get well soon, Vishy’. The sender was Anuja, his best buddy from work. He hadn’t noticed it earlier … and clicked to open it.

‘Dear, love is a journey that unfolds tragedy at every step … yet the passion remains’, she had put just a single line.

Vishal paused. He seemed to get a subtle hint from Anuja’s message.

Anuja expected him to understand her growing affection for him. He thought for a moment … his vision blurred. From behind the cupboard door panel, he could see a darker shadow move swiftly towards the window.

Before he could sense the movement, she erupted in a demonic laughter. This time, the sound echoed around all corners of the bedroom. The curtains shivered, the table lamp shook and the bed sheet seemed to fly away from the bed. Vishal sensed an eerie break in silence as he fumbled to close the mailbox and shut the laptop down.

Vishal clasped his hands, in an act urging forgiveness from Tara. He never meant to read this message. Anuja was far away … much farther than where Tara used to be.

Within seconds, her spirit made one hurried circle around him. The room trembled as if there was a tremor … the glass window panes crackled.

And then it rushed out violently through the window.

Never to return again.

Click here to read The Impatient Soul - Part I

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Impatient Soul – Part I

She may have come through the window, as curtains fluttered in the south westerly monsoon winds. Her entrance was dramatic, most certainly unexpected for Vishal to comprehend.

Down from her destination up above … straight into his bedroom, the spirit of Tara knew no bounds. Already this was the third night after she left, and she was feeling restless.

Why shouldn’t she? Does love die like humans do?

She seemed possessed last Wednesday evening. Vishal had requested her not to leave her office in haste. After all, she had this habit of being possessed by her mind at times. These were tough times, as none could alert her and her actions defied everything.

But it was his birthday, and she had just sent another e-card to his mailbox. Nothing extraordinary, she had this habit of sending him e-cards every hour on this day … to be followed by that paper card and the gift … and a grand dine out.

This time, she wanted a change. She planned the dinner at his apartment. For the first time, she wanted to cook the dinner and have it with him. She wanted the quiet candlelight dinner … away from the restaurant crowd … just with him.

‘No, I want to come … why do you stop me?’ she had asked

‘Dear, why create tension? I will come and pick you up after work, can’t you wait?’ he had argued

‘I’m no kid alright … and I need to cook tonight … right in your kitchen’ she continued

‘That’s fine … but why do you rush?’ Vishal questioned

‘I don’t rush Vishal … I just need you tonight … I need only you … and I have to start now’ she whispered on the phone and hung up. She had made up her mind.

Such times Vishal felt so helpless. She had grown to possess her love like she never possessed before. And that proved fatal.

That was Wednesday … as her lively body so full of earthly love came under the heavy wheels of the charging bus. She was in a rush … crossing the road during peak hours, almost being unmindful of the traffic. Her living soul breathed last … only to be set free as the non-living … high above this earthly atmosphere.

But she did come back … didn’t she?

As though she kept her promise, she smiled looking from behind her veiled face. The silk curtains from Vishal’s bedroom window had been fluttering amidst the monsoon breeze for the last three days. He had refused to shut them … he had got himself into an ethereal monotony.

Tara was his soul … he was her life. It was for her that he left his family to settle among the crowded Delhi life. And today she’s no more.

Is she?

Her spirit smiled looking at Vishal’s tired body that lay on the couch … his unfinished glass of whisky left uncovered on the table.

Is he drinking? Lost love … Devdas … she laughed loud. The sound reverberated … Vishal quietly opened his eyes only to see the dark cascading cloud hover around the window. He didn’t see her … but she did.

Somewhere among the many memories of Tara, there were moments of touch. He felt for Tara’s body odour … so was her sense of feeling for his lips. Vishal closed his eyes again.

She circled around him … once, twice and so on. They say seven such circles complete the quest for the life partner. But she didn’t want that tonight.

Why would she leave him married now? Why would she do it when he couldn’t even sense her?

Another circle and she flew around ... in a jest that was so like Tara, the unbridled soul.

To be continued …

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Bag she lives for

A man is known by the company he keeps.

How’s a woman known?

Never thought of that? well, that’s a safe bet. I kept thinking about this question from the time I came across the proverb. Whether you curse or admire me, blame my idle mind.

In my less than a half-century existence, I have tried all possible ways to know women. There were failures and half-successes … and in case I am a dignified person (which I have grown to suspect), there were other notorious attempts to inquire.

One of which bought me to this – a woman is ‘known’ (should I write this word?) by the bag she carries.

Yes, the bag … you read it right, and even with all my senses intact, let me repeat – the bag. These lovely pouches she carries as her favorite pet, possession, passion and sometimes a panacea – an all-purpose magic box to supply everything she needs.

Countless ladies, and their million choices to carry or hang around their shoulders – be it the shoulder bag, the hand bag, the clutch bag or the wallet … and so much more.

Once she carried a vanity bag – the cute, elegant looking dangler a few inches from her elbow. Her saree pallu was short, may be they were lesser in terms of what we get today. Those bags weren’t stuffed, almost dedicated to the show of vanity more than anything else. This was the ‘hip-hop’ lady of seventies, one who loved to party and show off status equated with the status of her executive class hubby (or her rich dad).

Cut to the woman from today, with those designer bags hanging from her shoulders, this time barely a few inches below her armpits (you would know if you have been looking around the right areas). Their bags dazzle, but with the tiny size, one would only expect bare toiletries inside. They have grown jazzier yet portray the materialistic woman, who prefers money and the ‘status’. They may look elegant and dress fashionable, but I have always felt them a few yards away from me!

Carrying a jhola-like big bag on the shoulder could be the sign of a lady who seems to be a down-to-earth person. I remember a lady friend of mine from college carrying an extra pair of slippers, just in case, inside such a bag!

Such women are usually decently independent, and a conventional carry-all practical person … often you see them as successful students, executives and housewives.

But beware. Some of those big ‘bagwaali’ pros are often known to carry their lunch boxes outside of their bags. Or the laptop, in some cases. This makes me wonder that though these shoulder bags have a lot inside, some items are a definite no-no. Hence the extra carry item. May be signs of the organized soul, don’t you think?

The tiniest member could be the clutch bag or the wallet. I believe these wallets are mostly relied for comfort. A wallet is small to carry, and cool … and perfectly romantic. This clutch bag, in case colored with a metal fastener behaves like a purse, and can even belong to the celebrity. Mostly filmy ladies are photographed in page three with these bags. Need I say more?

I have admired young ladies moving with their wallets and mobile phones tucked away in their palms as if they are mini icons of freedom. No real fashion here, I presume, though I haven’t seen their older compatriots donning these handy purses, which gives me a queer feeling. Are they a bit too modern?

But have you seen a woman go out on a date with a big jhola-like bag? I may have, but very rarely. The question arises whether a wallet proves the perfect fit for such rendezvous.

Somewhere between the big jhola and the cute wallet, lies the most popular ladies bag. Among women, they are the prized possession for many. They may adorn petite shoulders or appear clutched inside soft palms. Whatever the season, and for whatever reason, this bag is the object she lives for … and you can’t imagine her leaving that.

Want to know more? Keep watching the bag next time you meet her. I promise, you can continue to learn more about her.