Category Archives: Stories

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Poems are fragments of life.

In this collection, there are blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. These poems are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition.

Banyan Tree Draft 4

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Milan (A Wedding Story) Chap 5: Roka

MIlan cover 1

Chapter 4

“At last. The Dulhan (bride) is here.”

Dulhan.. Mili pursed her lips and concentrated on placing one foot in front of the other, gingerly making her way into the drawing hall of their bungalow, which was now filled to the brim with guests. If it hadn’t been for her mother’s firm grip on her arm, she’d have swung about and made a break for it; so desperate was her urge to flee.

For the past half an hour or so, she had schooled her mind into a state of detached indifference, while Kiran dolled her up. Closing her eyes, as she had so many times in the past, she had let her mind drift to a  faraway place , to help alleviate the jitters somewhat.

But they were back now with a vengeance. She was acutely aware of everyone’s eyes upon her, including Ahaan’s, as though they were seeing her for the first time. And why wouldn’t they be—her mother had insisted on dressing her up as a bride. “When will I get another chance?”

Mili was draped in an outfit she had bought for her sister’s wedding. She had forgone wearing it at the time on the insistence of one of her aunt’s, who had warned that it’d make her outshine the bride, which would have been taboo.

The dress was a light maroon lehenga  with a silver choli heavily embroidered with zari and studded with tiny mirrors. The jewelry was her mother’s own; ornate yet restrained, her luxurious midnight hair fell naturally lose around her shoulders, and it was all brought together by a touch of kohl to enhance her doe shaped eyes and a dash of maroon lipstick; she being blessed by a flawless complexion.

“Mrs. Sharma, your bahu (Daughter in law) is a Chand ka tukda (as beautiful as the moon)!” Someone exclaimed aloud.

“No, not the moon; the Sun!”

“When my bahu enters the room, everything fades into the background. Her beauty dazzles. So one could go blind if he stares too long.” Mili’s mother in law, in a white and black sari (white seemed to be her color of choice) said, with a bright smile while drawing her to sit beside her son.  “And these words are not mine, they are my Ahaan’s. You have made a poet out of him my dear.”

Mili raised her eyes to glare accusingly at her fiance and promptly turned crimson. He was staring transfixed at her, while looking outrageously handsome in a dark suit and tie. With a wry shrug of his shoulders, he admitted his guilt, though there wasn’t even a whiff of contrition in his manner. Rather he seemed to be relishing her state of inordinate distress.

“If stating the simple truth makes you color so prettily, then I will have to make a habit of it.”

Flustered and thrilled at the same time she looked away and tried instead to focus on her future mother in law, though it proved to be far from an easy task. But it seemed important because she was going to play a big role in Mili’s future, almost as big as Ahaan and it made her nervous.

She wondered what kind of person Mrs. Sharma was—stern or lenient, compassionate or spiteful. By the looks of her she seemed quite pleasant and it was obvious that her world revolved around her only son.

“Open your mouth, my dear!”

Mili obeyed and almost choked on the date that was placed in her mouth. Her eyes filled up with moisture, but she composed herself and solemnly accepted the gifts which were piled into her lap.

But the worst part of the ritual was when she was directed to feed her fiance laddoo (a type of sweet). Still quite rattled at him, she reached up blindly, and missed the target by a mile. While everyone present burst into amused laughter, he caught her wrist and guided it to its destination.

“Perhaps you should feed me dinner. It might be fun.”

Not on your life, Ahaan! Mili’s eyes flashed fierily.

We shall see about that, Mili. His retorted with the utmost calm.

This visual argument was interrupted when their parents urged them to offer prayers together at the household shrine and then seek the blessings of the elders, by touching their feet.

“Mili…I…”

“Dinner is served!” Her father announced gaily and led the party into the yard. She marched after him paying no heed to her fiance, knowing fully well that it made her look like a willful child. Perhaps she did so because it reminded her of the past; when she’d almost always exercised the upper hand or simply because she enjoyed irking Ahaan. Nevertheless, she didn’t pause to figure out.

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A Life Worth Living 1: Turn

solo man

Prologue

It’s amazing how quickly life can take a turn. It really doesn’t take a lot to do.

Life is chugging along smoothly. Things are falling into place. Love is blooming offering you the most pleasant of surprises and unsurpassed joys. Don’t you dare hit the pause button. For, if you do you’ll realize something’s wrong. You’re a sinner and karma will get you sooner or later.

One moment you are running a fifty-mile marathon without breaking a sweat, you’re on top of the world gallivanting with the best and the greatest. Nothing, absolutely nothing can stop you. Yeah right! Because soon, before you can say hallelujah, you crash land at the bottom of the deepest darkest hole.  I know because that’s where I am right now, in that hole, watching helplessly the ravenous monsters as they feast away at my limbs. Their ugly furry bodies quivering with excitement in their feeding frenzy.

They are enormous these beasts. Enormous, nasty and mean. I cry and plead with them to go for my jugular and bring an end to this horrific tale but they won’t. They want me to suffer. They want me to live through hell and tell the tale.

And then, how quickly and easily we forget these bad days. I don’t think it’s healthy. Because bad days have a tendency to recur and it’s better to be prepared.

tbc

PS: The rest of the updates will be in a private blog. This story is the sequel of my best-selling novels ‘Inconvenient Relations’ and ‘Now and Forever’ with your favorite protagonists Shaan and Ruhi.

I invite readers familiar with the above to follow along this work in progress on condition you will comment not just read. If you’re willing please respond here with your email so I can send an invite. Thanks!

 

Announcing my New Blog @momspresso

Hello readers,

In order to take my stories to a wider audience, I’m expanding my footprint. I’m spreading my wings so to speak 🙂

I’ve started writing a new blog @Momspresso — a platform that provides content for multifaceted woman of today (in their own words). I’d like you my dear readers to also be able to read the wonderful content offered there. So please visit their site and while at it kindly check out and follow my New Blog @momspresso. Thank you and keep reading!

Milan (A Wedding Story) Chap 4: Coming to Terms

MIlan cover 1

Chap 3B

The Sun announced the dawn of another glorious day outside Mili’s window. But it wasn’t just another day—today was the day of her Roka (unofficial engagement) with Ahaan.

Sitting on the bed, her arms wrapped snugly around her bent legs, she watched the Sun play hide and seek with the clouds.

To her surprise, she had slept well last night. Perhaps it was because her conflict had been resolved. There were no more concerns, questions or doubts of what lay in wait for her in the immediate future and that definitely was a relief.

Then reality sank in. She was about to lose her single status and become someone’s wife; someone’s daughter in law. But to her amazement, she didn’t feel terrible about it. Rather she could sense an undercurrent of nervous excitement. Yes, it was going to be a learning process; a new life of responsibilities and compromises. But knowing that Ahaan would be by her side made it tolerable…more than tolerable.

Damn it! She blushed. All of a sudden her legs had turned to jelly. She wanted her mother badly.

“Mama!”

Mili ran into the large living area and saw that it was already abuzz with activity. Workers had arrived to spruce the house up for the big event—cleaning, painting, repair work which would be followed by lavish decorations just like 4 years ago during the occasion of her di Sheela’s wedding.

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A Life Worth Living: Prologue

solo man

There was a patch of space on the wall. It looked just like the rest of the wall– dull, lifeless and gray. The only thing that set it apart was that it was the first to catch the sun in the morning. The first that told me I had to live yet another day. As it grew brighter it took on the hue of the sky which I’ve got to admit in my hazy imperfect view was gorgeous.

So today’s orange. What’s tomorrow going to be like?

Peach, daddy. Peach! Kash declared with an emphatic nod at which Ruhi and I’d looked at each other and laughed.

Yes my baby. Today is going to be just peachy.

Damn, I need to look outside! I flung the sheets aside and promptly fell out of bed.

“Mr. Ahuja! You should be more careful. How many times should I tell you.” The nurse helped me back up.

“I’m fine!” I protested pushing him away as he started to give me a thorough once over but he overpowered me and I gave in as usual. It had become a routine and I didn’t begrudge him anything. He was just doing his job and I was trying to save what little self esteem I’d left.

PS: Here’s a story idea I’ve been toggling with as I move ahead in my amateur writing hobby. It’s the future tale of our favorite couple Shaan and Ruhi. I want to push the envelope a little bit 🙂 

Read about their past here– Inconvenient Relations and it’s sequel Now and Forever.

 

Double Drabble: Mr. Tim

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“Alyeeee…!”

Mom’s voice whizzed past my six-year-old ears before the morning sun swallowed it up like it does everything else—the moon, the stars and dreams. I didn’t yell back a response. I had better things to do.

I was in the backyard, standing barefoot on the wet grass. I love the grass. I love the way it catches the sun in the morning and how it crunches under my feet and bounces right back up after I’ve stomped on it with all my might. But that happens to be my second favorite memory. My first is Mr. Tim.

Mr. Tim was my friend. My secret friend (you know how little kids like to have secret friends). We first met behind the giant old beech tree. No one liked to go near it, but I did. Big trees don’t scare me.

It was springtime. I know because I could smell the lilacs and the leaves were the color of freshly squeezed lemonade. The faded deck above me creaked like Nana’s old knees as I eyed the steep slope. Then, like always, I ran-skipped a few steps, then dropped and slid the rest of the way on my bottom. It was so fun, even though I knew later Mom would give me ten with her wooden spoon.

 

 

PS: This drabble is related to my prior drabble Betrayal and the short Run Aaliyah Run. Can you connect the clips? Stay tuned for more 🙂

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Drabble: Betrayal

 

Beach- lonely

Betrayal

We sat in the park. Tim was sleeping in the stroller all bundled up nice and cozy. We were like a family.

Aly. I wanted to tell you something.

I held my breath and waited.

I’ve been accepted at Pepperdine. Law. I’m excited.

I’m excited for you Zach.

I love you Aly. You’re so wonderful. He kissed me on the cheek.

I knew it was over. My pain expanded in my stomach. And spread to my chest to my arms, my head. And oozed from my eyes. I dug into my bag. My fingers automatically scrambling, searching for my crux, my pills. I found one.

It didn’t do anything for me. Absolutely nothing. I wanted to die.

~~~

PS: I’m attempting here a series of drabble; scattered ideas; snippets from life/lives. If they evoke some spark in you please give a holler 🙂

 

 

A Cup of Tea

A cup of Tea

is a fuzzy warm morning

flicking aside the blanket of night

It is a lazy afternoon

a let’s sit down

and chat for a while

It is a moment

booked just for me

to waste as I please

to brood

sit by the window

look at nothing

or hitchhike on a plume of steam

to neverland

A sample from my upcoming book of poems and short stories Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree. Out soon!