Dusk - 55 Fiction #1

55 Fiction is a form of microfiction that renders a work of fiction within a word limit of 55 words. It is a contemporary form of expression which is greatly thriving among the neoteric writers. This is my first attempt and I hope it is worth a glance!  

“He was perched on the rocks awaiting her return. He reckoned, anything hurled at the ocean, returns with the waves. At twilight, his sleep perturbed, he had gaped from the porch, as his mother tread into the ocean. It was dusk, he still awaited her return. Alas! The waves couldn’t revert her.”

PS: This is about the bewilderment of a naïve and juvenile mind at being unable to decipher the complexities of life and innocence with which it deals with the atrocities of life.

The Avenge

This was originally published at The Writer's Lounge for
‘The Snow Filled Lounge  Contest’

It was Thanksgiving! Winter had just crept in! Father Arthur was ensconced in a corner of the Church. The pearly ivory of the snow and the festivities of the season failed to bring delight or comfort to his heart. With time he had become passive and phlegmatic to the world around.   
Tonight, when the whole world gathered with their families to thank the Almighty, he was in The Lord’s abode, but secluded and forlorn. It had been 15 enduring years since he had prayed at the altar, not because he had lost faith, because nothing was left to plead for.
In a flicker, he envisioned his lifetime, his days of youth, his integration into the Church as an Apostle, his wedding to the beautiful Sandra, and the birth of their baby boy. Everyday at the altar, on his knees and with folded hands, he prayed for his family’s well-being and complacency.

Their lives had been immaculate, .... until an opulent and imperious brat, oblivious in his carousal had trampled his family under his screeching wheels and never looked back to say a word of remorse or shed a tear . It was 15 years ago, on Thanksgiving! Their lives were shattered. Sandra had succumbed to the loss of their child. Since that day he averted himself to The Lord’s service. He had always been a man of God, he sought no revenge for he believed in divine justice.
The door creaked, entered a middle-aged man, clad in black. His gait unsteady and hands trembling. He paced towards the Confession Chamber, on the other side of the veil was Father Arthur.
“Father, I seek forgiveness, for I have sinned, for I have sinned and never lamented. Several years ago, when I was callow and frivolous, I had obliterated a credulous life on this day, before this Church. I panicked, so I fled. Ever since, I have evaded the truth. Few months ago, my 8 year old son was diagnosed with B-type Lymphoma. I had abundant money but I was helpless. He left for his heavenly abode today. I discerned, it was the God’s will.”
“Amen” uttered Father Arthur and smiled. His unspoken prayers had been answered. Today, he had revoked his consecrated values and conceded to the grieving father within him. His apathetic eyes gleamed with gratification. Finally, he had something to be thankful for. Time had avenged his bereavement !!

Word Count: 399

All In A Day's Work

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 5; the fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Life, in general, is rather banausic and dreary. What preserves and upholds the zeal, are the intermittent perks*. Most of us lead a life, but lack the vivacity.  Go to work and cling like an ivy to the computer.. retreat home and stick like a barnacle to the television screen. So what is.. a perfect day.
At the end of a day, if I sit down to draft an account into my daily dairy, I run out of words. The same happened when I wrangled to compose this post. When I ponder over any single day of my life, or my life in general, I am unable to surmise anything. Seldom something noteworthy or momentous ensues. Dawn breaks, dusk falls… everything is still tantamount. I am solicitous, when I grow older, and have a gang of young audience waiting to unfold the groovy and thrilling tales of my youth, all I would have to offer is “The Perfect Guide to playing Farmville on Facebook” or even better, “The Adventures of Amputating Mice Brains”. Would they be fascinated, I think you have the answer already.
Profound speculation only led me to ideas of how to make my or our (all my kins out there) days more worthwhile and fascinating. Life might grant only one shot at things, but with it comes a myriad of choices. It is difficile and confounding to make a choice..’to make the right choice, or the good choice or the convenient choice’. We lead our lives with a vision, an ultimate aim we strive to achieve. En route, the petite and paltry frolics and indulgences which are natural to every human are stifled and annihilated. I do not imply that we should capitulate ourselves to hedonism or trot around the world renouncing our diligence and duties.
As we trace back our steps on memory lane, we long to have the days when life was unharnessed. No deadline to meet, no assignment to submit or no presentations to make. But even now amidst all these and much more, once in a while we could still take a moment for ourselves, to tend to our inner self. We wish to relive our childhood but never endeavor to retrieve the alacrity. How often do we scoot out to get drenched in the rain, or make a paper boat and sail it in the flowing water, or sit with our grandparents and listen to the stories we heard over and over again as kids.. reckoning.. not too often.. or actually almost never.
We as adults, live within innumerable inhibitions and limitations. The harness around souls is sometimes jerked a little too hard. Every adult mind has a peanut sized child within it, which covets to come out and give the adult some rest. It is our duty to give in to its wishes once in a while. Our days are administered by timetables and ‘to do lists’. Now this is inevitable, and if we try to revoke all of it, perhaps we will be tagged as morons and end up with no job or money. But what could be done, is that the few moments in a day that we have to ourselves, after all the daily obligations, we should ensure to spend those moments the way we want, to do what makes us happy and to enjoy the little happiness and gaieties in life.
Each day we meet several challenges and impediments, the same challenges again and again.. we fight our senses to wake up on time, race against time to get ready, then battle the human wave and pollution to get to work, their we brawl against interventions by colleagues and so on. And we deal with all of it like ‘its all in a day’s work’. Then why do we add to the list of challenges by making efforts to resist our temptations. Instead, occasionally we could give in to our temptations, let our senses lead the way.
With the end of the year approaching, its that time again when people make resolutions for the coming year. Some of them consort with these resolutions, while some forget them like the gone wind. But this new year, lets make it a point,  if not an entire day, if not our whole lives but atleast a few minutes everyday, we commit to do what satisfies and enlivens us the most. Drawing, painting, flying a kite, playing cricket in gully, however frivolous, however puerile.
So reeling back to the original question, what is a perfect day.. Different people have different interpretations of a perfect day. To some it’s a day with financial gain, to some its when success comes, to some its when they meet their loved ones. To me, ‘a perfect day’ is a day spent in unconditional and absolute happiness. A day when no tear has been shred, no frown has taken shape.  A perfect day, inspite of all the work in the day :)

*perks :– refers to twists and turns :P

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.


In the back alley of the Church,
she squandered all through her exiguous life,
in frost, in fever, in hunger, in strife.
Seeking shade from wind and rain
But in despair and vain.

Clad in rags with unkempt hair,
she wandered frivolous here and there.
A tattered doll clenched under bare arm,
& in the other was her good luck charm.

Her eyes brimmed with innocence
and heart pounded in envy,
while the uptown girls giggled in a covey.
Their lustrous eyes and dainty frocks,
trendy fedora and silky socks.

The subtle gestures anguished her.
She sneered at their extravagant fur.
How she wished that their fates trade,
& blend her into the elite shade,
while the pretentious hellions frayed.

Oblivious in fury, she hurled
her good luck charm,
it rapped a boulder in alarm.
Lightening glared and resonating thunder,
The earth quivered and wobbled
like agitated lava under.

Stars and Butterflies,
 wove an ethereal cocoon around.
An elegant dress and satin scarf,
and tinker bells sound.
“The Uptown Girls sat on a wall,
The Uptown Girls had a great fall.”

Their ties with fate severed,
 ground beneath their feet wavered.
The rags and tatters graced their
haughty selves,
& egos withered to the size of elves.

Pride sparkled in her eyes,
With looks she could mesmerize.
With Luck and Fate now she was armed
She was, indeed, by the fairies in heaven,
….. CHARMED …..

PS: This is the fairy tale of a 10 year old that spends a major part of life surviving and envying the privileged ones. I wish their wishes get fulfilled once in a while and such tales come true so that their ‘faith on fate’ remains perpetual and resolute.

A Battle Lost, is Another’s Victory

This was originally published at The Writer’s Lounge for
‘The Snow Filled Lounge  Contest’

It was that time of the year again, when the world was engrossed in festive and revelry. It was the time of the year he spurned. The world draped in silver and adorned with resplendent ornamentations sparkled. Despite the dreary gloom cast by the gray sky, the incandescent smiles on elated faces rekindled the milieu.

Throughout the year, his hands to mouth existence did not perturb him. It was this time of the year when his compunctions and frailties confronted him. Inspite of striving hard, he had failed to give his ‘Little Angel’ what she wished for. Every year she hoped for a Christmas with a garnished Christmas tree and presents in a sock, and was disheartened. Today, on Christmas-Eve, perched on a quarantined bench, he prayed .. for a way.. to bestow his ‘Little Angel’ with the joys she deserved and coveted.
A tall, young man in a beige suit strolled down the archaic and bygone path. Bemused and flustered, he sat on the other end of the bench. Despite the icy evening breeze, droplets of sweat trickled down his brow. Few minutes later, he walked away abruptly. On the bench lay a chestnut leather bag. The bag was rammed with wads of banknotes and a card, on which with golden letters was carved a name and address. 

The forthright and righteous him was compelled to deliver the bag where it belonged. But his paternal instincts were transcendent. The euphoric gleam in her shallow eyes would be priceless. His prayers had been answered, a path had unfolded, to tread or not was his choice. His heart delivered the verdict. Tonight, for once, his ‘Little Angel’ would have the Christmas she wished for. On this day of Christ, his inner demons had taken over him.
He was baffled. He had never traded his values for corporeal contrivances. Abdication could cost him his career, but ceding to their demands would mean forfeit of his morals. He accumulated the cash in a leather bag and set off. With a tormented and oblivious head on his shoulders, he meandered away. He was battling his inner demons. Lost in scuffle, he walked away from a bench, forgetting his bag. When realization struck, he smiled and reckoned, perhaps the choice was made for him. On this day of Christ, he had evaded his inner demons.

One man’s lost battle, is another man’s victory !

Word Count: 399

Genes, Credence & More

Words, no matter how sumptuous and fancy, sound so shallow when they lack a basic insight. With science being in the lime light lately, certain terms, otherwise confined to the scientific lexicon, have become an integral part of common discourse. Genes, DNA, Genetics, are some such examples. Masses pick up such words from the media but fail to comprehend the true meaning and apropos avail. As a contemporary and futuristic biologist, it annoys me. Not because every Jack around the corner should be conversant in elaborate biological terminology, but because the common man in my country derives all his wisdom and acumen from the deceiving and deceitful media. Of course there are exceptions, exceptions that reflect atleast figments of reality and veracity. But a vast majority of them has mastered the art of concoction and fabrication, the sole purpose being fiscal success and public esteem.
It annoys me to see that these ‘people’ have lost the urge to question, the incentive to the quest for truth. They might quote lines from movies about DNA tests being availed to identify an assassin or disclose the father of an illegitimate child. Or gossip about the genes and genetic composition of others. But as an answer to a ‘Why’ or ‘How’, the only answer one gets is an impassive and hollow gaze. Even worse, they lack the impetus and motivation to turn a few pages in a book or log onto Wikipedia to find out what ‘something’ is and how ‘something’ works. (I don’t buy the crap about India being a backward country and not having much access to the computers or the internet, when a majority of the urban youth spends majority of their lives on Facebook, Twitter or Orkut.) What exasperates and peeves me is that inspite of having all sorts of technology and resources at their disposal, these ‘people’ fail to take advantage. Why this ignorance? Why this servitude to curbed and limited information? Why do they have blinkers on their eyes and see what is shown, instead of seeking the truth?
However, reeling back to the point, the complexities and intricacies of life have hardly ever been put into the words of the common man. In simple & rustic words, Genetics and Fate are very alike. Indeed the genetic composition of a body is its biological fate. Every physical being has a discrete and exclusive set of genes. They might be similar or imbricate for individuals but never identical. DNA is the parchment which God chose to pen down the biological fate on, wrapped it up and tucked it into our cells. The axioms of Fate are also pertinent for Genetics. The genetic composition of a body not only encodes for blood relationships and predisposition to diseases, but every minute and trivial biological event is somewhat predetermined. And just as fate evolves by our ‘karma’, the genetic fate can also be modified by our ‘karma’ towards our body, what we do to keep it healthy (or rather unhealthy), what we devour, how often we loose our temper and how frequently we tread into the fresh air.
My words might sound notably incongruous and devout at this instant. Me, a patron and disciple of science, preaching about God and his divine powers, might stick out a bit. I am a Believer… A Thinker, yet a Believer. Through centuries science has been parted from religion. People of science have denounced religion. And the men of religion have shunned science and its apostles. To me rationality is an extrapolation of ideologies. Deeper I plunge into the abysmal ocean of Science, more tenacious, vehement and profound becomes my credence in God and his celestial powers. For something as intricate and abstruse as a living being, and a world adorned with a diverse assortment of such beings, all linked by an elaborate food chain can be contrived, spawned and fostered by only ‘someone’ with inmitable competence and dexterity. Life in itself is evidence of the existence of a higher power, The Almighty!
Once again Genetics, is the biological destiny of a body. It is in part inherited from both parents but is pooled and amalgamated in such a way that it is as exclusive and unique as one’s fate. It is predestined.. but its clandestine. No one can perceive what lies encrypted and concealed inside the cells. But the secret unfolds when the time comes. Is it not Him then who delineated and conceived all of this? One may ponder if God created the world then who created God? But is The Creator himself obliged to be amenable by sheer mortals like us. Religion might not make sense and appear delusive on several occasions but pristine faith and unconditional conviction are not bound by the realms of religion. I am a Believer.. I believe in God, in a higher celestial power but I am not restrained by any religion and rituals :D 

Deviating Perceptions

This is a new generation. A new one like so many others. But it is not perpetual. It’s a generation powered by Addiction, fuelled by Awareness, angered by Imperfections, and grieved by Failures. An epoch coveting a new world, a reformed world. A generation with a dream, a vision and a belief that not the path but the destination matters. A generation striving to turn their sand castles into concrete. We are a generation armed with exceptional Reasoning and Logical Skills.
We are… YES..  ADDICTION.. personified!! Addicted not to grim inclinations or fatal drugs but addicted to the work we do, addicted to the dreams we nurture, addicted to the things we want. We are addicted to the internet, to the cell phone and our iPODs. It’s a desire for success, for achievement and a quest for knowledge which drives this generation. An addiction to perfection and contempt for conciliation is what holds us united.
It’s a generation of reason. ‘Why’ and not ‘How’ is the word of choice. We catechize, ‘What’s the point?’ We seek Reason and Logic. We don’t evade hard work and travail but we loathe and shun futile toil.  We might appear imprudent and capricious but we harbour the potential to reshape the world. We may seem lackadaisical and oblivious but once we ferret out a path, we follow it with an ardent allegiance. We are expected to abide by the rules formulated by the veterans, but we prefer to make our own. We do not hesitate to assert ourselves or reveal our perceptions, but we are apprehensive that perhaps no one but us will discern them. We do not aim to change things, as most of them have been rendered permanent. We hold a vision to start afresh, to make things new, advanced and without a loophole. “Life isn’t perfect, come to terms with it.” was the maxim before. “If life isn’t perfect, we redefine perfection.” is the motto we believe in. The veteran generations were driven by fire in their bloods which clogged their brains. We carry a cool head on steady shoulders.  
It’s a generation which is respectful and reverent but denies to accept forced decisions, a generation meticulous and nimble but not timid or scared to take risks, religious but not superstitious. We heed and appreciate wisdom but we credence to nothing without reason. We may take your advice but we prefer to learn from our experiences, not your mistakes. We are keen to adopt and learn from your dexterity and knowledge but we refuse to be led. We choose to live our lives and pursue our fantasies on our own terms.   A generation which has technology at its disposal and the ability to harness nature. The masters of trouble shooting and improvisations. We are not scared to step out of the nest and flap our wings. If we fail to fly, the wind might carry us for a while.
We behold a magical world in our minds and aim to recreate the magic in this pragmatic world. A world where the word ‘impossible’ does not exist in the human jargon. A world where everything is just a click away, where nothing remains arcane and obscure. We are determined, headstrong and efficacious with thoughts that are radical and contemporary. Money, fame and flattery are insignificant, achievement and self satisfaction are imperative and substantial. This is s generation which believes in deeds, not virtues. We speak many tongues, have many faces, but it all converges to one dream, one vision.

PS: This was one of those posts for which I could not think of an appropriate title. I owe this apt and pertinent caption to my dearest friend ‘Sonu’ who has been the sole reinforcement during awful brain blocks.


With the months, the colour of my world keeps changing. From the soothing and suave green of the summer, through the resplendent amber-red brew of autumn, the dreary and drab brown of fall to the seraphic white of the winter. Each shade of nature has its own benedictions and nuisances.
Today the first flakes of snow descended upon the otherwise pale and plebeian earth. Gazing at the drony and dreamy descend of the fluffy and flimsy snowflakes, swirling their way to the ground, somehow wanes the pace of the world around. The tiny pearly flakes landing on the shoulders and getting trapped in the hair render a transcendent bliss. The world draped in silver reflects a pristine sanctitude and tranquility. The light reflecting from the ivory of the earth illuminates the melanic gloom cast by the gray sky. The white and the gray make every scene appear like a portrait up on the wall.
I remember the first time I witnessed this exquisite phenomenon. It was in November 2005, my freshman year! An 8:15 a.m. General BCCB class! The professor, since already had some experience in giving lectures to snow-deprived morons from tropical countries who had never witnessed snow fall before for a few years now, warned us before the commencement of the lecture that in case there is snowfall anytime during the lecture, students who lack the poise and would like to run out or gawk through the window, should be dissuaded from attending the lecture. On this threat, me and my fellow brownies, exchanged a gaze which murmured “What is he talking about? Lecture is way more important!”  .. 20 minutes later… more than half of the class was at the window with eyes open wide gaping at the white fleecy flakes drifting down the gray sky. The professor simply shook his head and went back to teaching about the Mitochondria. Tonight the ground is too warm to be silver. The snowflakes that kiss the ground tonight melt away. Snowfall throughout the after hours shall cool down the earth and bring forth and ivory dawn. The streets, the cars, the roofs and the trees, all shall be clad in a snowy mask. When the fluffy flakes drifting down the sky transform into a relentlessly frigid blizzard, it is hard to comprehend. Beyond the snowflakes point, snowfall seems pretty only when within walls and under a roof.
The snow of today is the slush of tomorrow. Once the angelic descend seizes, the appreciation for the scenic beauty transforms into a smug on the faces. Walking through alternating patches of muddle-puddles of melted ice cold water and slippery patches of refrozen ice (which pose potential perils to one’s survival) make you swear between freezing breaths. The hues of the changing weather also bring about a modification in the moods. The white and gray bring along a gloom and dullness which spares none. Early morning blues, waking up rues, shower scare, all come along the package. Nevertheless, the first flakes of snow still endear me and lure me to the window. My jaws drop down and eyes become wider, no matter how many times I have perceived this pristine phenomenon.  
The white also brings along the crimson. Snow marks the beginning of the festival season in the West. The twinkle of the candles, the tinkering of bells, the hanging stars and the smell of warm wine, all together add to the festive mood. Much more worthwhile than the scenic beauty or the tropical fascination with snow is the change it brings along. The change which marks the end of a season and a new beginning, a new season.

The White Tiger

“ The creature that’s born only once in a generation in the jungle.”
“ Black stripes and sunlit white fur flashed through the slits in the dark bamboo. He was walking in the same line again and again, from one end of the bamboo bars to the other, then turning around and repeating it over, at exactly the same pace, like a thing under a spell.”
- Aravind Adiga

Anyone who has ever seen a white tiger in its cage, knows that it is hard to disrupt the gaze and walk away. The graceful curves and the perfectly cadenced & enchanting gait leave the spectator spellbound. The elegance and grandeur in the demeanor of this creature has rendered it a matchless uniqueness. It fosters great power and vigor complemented with infinite patience and judgment. He has the serenity to pace back and forth in his cage, in silence, glancing now and then at his awestruck spectators. He digresses himself by attempting to live a generic and modest life like all the other animals in confinement. But deep down he is certain that he is not a sheep in the herd. Time and again, he lets out a thundering roar which betrays the truth and asserts his edge over others. He is, indeed, irrespective of the globalization of the jungle, The King of the Jungle. He is The White Tiger.
Dreams, great and extraordinary ones, are seldom born, as seldom as the white tiger himself. They are in many aspects synonymous with the white tiger. Since their conception, they are confined to the back of our minds, swaying back and forth, lingering in silence until realization dawns. Dreams, abeyant and unrealized, in the coop of our minds share the agony of the debilitated white tiger. Bound by horizons of reality, norms of the society and the flaws of the human nature, our dreams share the plight of the powerful creature bound by the bamboo bars. They try to befit in the prosaic lives of the run-of-the-mill populace, but they founder. We become the tongue-tied spectators who stare with pitiful eyes and wonder what it would be like if the captives of our mind were set free. But most of us lack the mettle to let our dreams even let out the roar of pride. After an eternity of agonizing existence, they just perish in their turmoil with reality.
The White Tiger in the bamboo bars in different in only one way. Man, blessed with the sharpest weapon, its brain, has made good use of it and is therefore capable of restricting this creature in confinement. His judgment has conveyed him the fact that any attempts to break free from these confinements would lead to dire consequences. And since he is entrapped by forces way beyond his bounds, in reality he has no choice. However the greatest impediment the white tiger within us has to confront is us and our scare of failure. If only we could let go of this fright and make an honest endeavour, the white tiger cooped up in our mind can breathe in a free world and take the shape of reality. We would no longer be one of the rats in a swarm following the bagpiper. Thus the white tiger within us, indeed has a choice. Whether to make the choice or not is our call !

A Dark Night - II

Read The Dark Night I (first part) 
The pristine rays of dawn reflected from the old man’s rugged face. Enormous radiant eyes shone from within a frame of bones. Those luminous eyes seemed familiar. The old man grinned at him, just like he had done years ago. He was limping. There was something awry with his left foot. The queer gait, the versant eyes and the evil grin, he could never escape him. This was no mistake. His heart pounded faster and blood whizzed through his veins as he watched the feeble old man’s advent.
It had all ensued on an identical overcast and stormy night, eight years ago. His mother was away for a festival. He had stayed back to take part in a school play. It was almost nine in the evening. His father had put him to bed and settled in his study to go through some papers. He could not sleep. He tossed and turned in his bed. He overheard his father talking to someone in his study next door. He crept out of his bed and sneaked into the study. He hid behind the window to catch some action. He saw a man, about the same age as his father, with tattered clothes and unkempt hair, sitting right across his father. His father had his back to him. They were discussing something in loud raucous voices which he couldn’t assimilate. He was only eight, barely capable of comprehending the intricacies of life.
Suddenly the man seated across his father rose to his feet and his voice boomed. He had a harsh and harrowing voice. He had never seen anyone talk to his father like that. He shivered with fright. His father was trying to hush him. He pulled out a shotgun from under his ragged shirt instead, and shot his father twice in the heart. His father let out a shriek of pain and a pool of red spread all around his collapsed body. He felt giddy and as the sick stench of the claret strewed he passed out. His last memories were that of a pair of monstrous eyes gleaming with the bliss of gratification. He was sneering like a ferocious beast. There was a shadow of heinous resentment on his face. Slowly he had limped out of the house. In his subconscious mind, he was puzzled. What reason could have made such a beast out a man, lead him to slay another man and draw bliss and serenity out of it. His innocent apperception was unable to decipher the paradoxes of the human mind.
When he opened his eyes, his mother sat beside him, holding his hand. It was exceptionally silent. It had been two days after ‘the dark night’. He was treated with sedatives to calm down his nerves. He immediately asked, “Maa, where is father? Is he okay?”
“No son, he is dead.” She had replied in a nonchalant yet afflicted tone. “He was murdered by someone two days ago. We will never get to see him again.”
It was not the obvious misfortune but the oblivious apathetic timbre in his mother’s voice which had agonized him. His mother was a strong and vehement woman. She might have been docile but she had great perseverance, fortitude and virtue.
When he had divulged the truth of ‘the dark night’ to his mother, she had calmly put her fingers to his lips and said,
“Son let go of the past. The dead cannot be brought back. It will only cause you more distress and desolation.”
Just like always, he heeded her words and buried the truth in his heart. But there was discord and cacophony in his mind. He could not fathom why his mother lacked the hankering to identify the assassin. The demise of his father had stirred up the hornet’s nest. Every new day brought a group of insatiable debtors and grudging accomplices to their doorstep, squalling for money. She dealt with such daily predicaments with exceptional bravura. The grief and despair reflected in her eyes, but she maintained her poise.
She had renounced all hues and glimmer in her life. She now dressed up in crisp white Sarees. In her halcyon white attire she looked even more divine and pristine. She had followed the path of piousness She had walked the path of piousness and sanctity. She had always said “To seek revenge is a facade of the coward, but to forgive is a virtue of the bold.” He wanted to pursue in her trail. He wished to forgive, but he could neither forgive nor forget. Those ghastly and cadaverous eyes, that baleful smirk and that eerie gait kept bringing back the execrable flashback from the grave. They had been haunting him since ‘the dark night’.
For several years, he had woken up to gun shots. His mother would calm him down and put him back to sleep. Their lives were veered forever. He despised that man from the core of his heart. The mere thought incited overwhelming emotions. He wanted to hunt him down and strangle him. He had scorned that devil which had filched the peace and affluence of his family and shoved his mother into eternal suffering and agony. A widow is treated no better than filth by the society. She is looked down upon by even the lowest elements of the society. People who had pleaded before her with folded hands, now maltreated and taunted her. He could not bear such derision and disgrace of his mother. But she endured everything honourably. He loathed that man not for his deeds but for the consequences of his actions.
As he became older, he had unveiled many secrets about his father and the reasons behind his mother’s indifference towards his father. His father had not been the most righteous man. Although the proud owner of acres of fertile land, a successful steel plant and property worth many crores, he was a miser at heart. He was highly narcissistic and parsimonious. He was responsible for several immoral and nefarious deeds. The ferocious accident which had claimed several people’s life and health, was also the repercussion of his depraved actions. His mother had reckoned that whatever happened was the price that fate had made him pay for his unethical deeds. But these revelations could not dwindle his abhor for the beast.
As he watched the old man approach, those arduous memories were refreshed. The monstrous gleaming eyes were now encompassed by a skinny and eroding skull. But time could not camouflage his identity. That smirk on his face, years ago, was carved in his memory. Even after so many years, he could recognize this man in a crowd. His face was blank and his mind was crowded with emotions as he saw that man approaching him. He felt a stronger hatred for himself now than he had felt for the killer then. How could he have loved this man’s daughter all his life? She had her father’s eyes. The striking similarity was obvious now. How could he have never noticed? Worse.. even after knowing this truth, he could not love her any less. He was filled with contempt and despise for himself. He felt a burning heat on his face. He could not comprehend whether it was rage or shame.
All his life he had desired vengeance from this man. And today when he was standing less than an arm away, he peered at him palsied in laconism. The old man looked at him intensely with a scowl on his face, like he was saying something with his eyes. He turned to his daughter and asked her something with signs and groaning noises. Perhaps the disease had mutilated his voice. The voice which had reviled and slandered his father in his last minutes. He looked back at him. As he stared into his eyes, he realized, it was not the same. Instead of the satisfaction, it reflected suffering. Instead of happiness, there was redemption. He wasn’t grinning, instead his lips were drooping and cracked. At that moment realization struck, now he could speculate what had made a demon out of this man. The loss of his family and being downtrodden into poverty because of one man’s never-ending avarices was enough to arouse the beast in any man, to seek revenge. He had also been living with a desire for retribution for his miseries from a man who had done the same. He saw this man coughing, coughing until he choked.
Rage had given way to pity. Pity shone in his eyes for a man who he had condemned all his life. How this one moment has changed what he had believed in and lived for his entire life. How it had turned a man he had demonized lifelong into a feeble destitute mortal. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He saw his mother articulating the same words she had repeated so many times during her lifetime. But he had never believed those words. His mother believed in them but he considered them only as words of virtue out of religious books.
“Things happen for a reason. There is God’s will in every good or bad thing that happens to us. Therefore we should accept it with dignity and do our deeds righteously.”
“Every man pays for his own actions during his lifetime. God lets no sin go unpunished.” Now he discerned the authenticity of those words. Was God punishing this man for his sins? Is he going to meet a similar fate for treating this man as a demagogue?
A long whistle sounded! The train rumbled in and halted right in front of them. He stole a glance at her. She was engrossed talking to her father. But the old man refused to heed her. He could no longer bear the pain in his heart and the turmoil of emotions in his mind. His mother’s words were pounding on his ears. He was perplexed how his despise had transformed into pity and shame. A ray of hope for getting his love back into his life which had came into being today was eclipsed forever. He stepped into the train. The doors closed. As the train whistled again, she turned to look at him. She was stupefied. How could he leave without saying a word, without promising to meet again? The train started rumbling ..
“Aadi... Aadi..” she hollered at the top of her voice and scampered along the rumbling train. Their eyes locked for a brief second. They both got the message. They will never see each other again. He looked away, into the twilight. The train caught speed and rumbled off. He had to live with the pain. It was his redemption. This dark night had upturned his life once again. It had snatched away his love as well as his hate.

A Dark Night - I

As he stepped down the bus, he heaved a sigh of relief. The back breaking journey had demolished all hopes of getting there. He had been on the bus for eight hours now. The clapboard seat had been harsh on his flesh and bones. The roaring snorts and sniffles of the pot-bellied grumpy man next to him with was the cherry on the cake. The first few hours of the journey were unbearable. But as time passed he became more oblivious. His senses had turned numb. The screeching babies, quarrelling women and snoring men seemed faraway. His back was chafed and mind desolate. The heavy tropical downpour had made the journey even more arduous. Mud and sludge splashed around. Rain water drizzled from the roof.

He was drenched to the bones. Drops of rain water trickled down his hair. The petite reticule that he was carrying was in a even worse shape. But he was too airheaded to brood over it. It had been almost seven wistful years since he had left the city of Dhanbad and moved to the countryside. Not once had he considered retreating from the path he had chosen. The call late last night had forced him to retrace his steps.

The station, from where he had to take the next train to Dhanbad stood right in front of him. It was hardly existent. There was a single platform, meagrely covered by an asbestos ceiling. A sort of grim melancholy spread across the entire place. It was gloomy and dimly lit. On one corner was a dinghy-looking, dishevelled and dilapidated shack where a flimsy and senile man was boiling tea. Two beefy men sat on a wooden pew in front of the tea shack, discussing issues of corruption, international policies and national security. Apart from them the only other living creatures on the platform were a few stray dogs taking shelter from nature’s wrath under an decaying wooden cart. Right across the platform on the far edge, he caught sight of two obscure crouching figures. They were draped from head to toe in ragged brown shawls. On moving a bit closer he realized that they were fast asleep. One of them was a man who was coughing vigorously in sleep. The other silhouette was that of a frail young woman. He turned towards the tea shack and strolled upto it. He bought steaming hot tea in an untidy small tumbler. While sipping on it, he enquired about the train. The tea seller revealed that the train had been delayed until morning, as the tracks had been flooded due to the downpour.

Just as he was about to take a seat, a feral gust of wind blew off the brown shawl from the woman’s face. A flash of lightening illuminated the entire platform for a split second. In that fraction of a second, he caught a quick glimpse of her face. The same face which he had been dreaming of and pining for the past eight years. The same face that he had known for more than twenty years. It looked wan and ashened. Dried tears streaked her soft cheeks. A ring of darkness encircled her ethereal eyes. Even in her agony and the grimness of the night he could see her tender beauty. This face was once full of verve, spark and panache. It was radiant as the sun and bright as the stars. A jovial little girl with a flamboyant and frisky demeanour, prancing around mango orchards and chasing colourful kites along the streets. They had been childhood buddies.

But now she seemed to have lost the zeal in her life. Her incandescent smile had rekindled his days, even in the darkest of the hours. What could have commenced upon this poor soul which had drained the charm and felicity out of her. He wondered. After ‘the dark night’ she was the only confidant and companion he had. She had been there for him all along. All along until that morning when she had darted to him, in her same whimsical gait to bid adieu, to say that she was leaving, leaving forever!! At that moment his heart pined and coveted to hold her close and whisper into her ears the magic words, to tell her how much he loved her yet didn’t realize it for so long, to admit that he was incomplete without her and to plead and prevent her from abandoning him. But he just stood there in reticence and watched her walk away. She had turned to wave at him midway down the path. He had waved back. He wondered if it had meant anything. He could never fathom if she felt the same way too. They had never come across each other again .. until today. Today, so many fidgeting nights later..

He had never had anything in his life. And now after so long he had veritably come to terms with it. Why was fate playing tricks again? What were the stars maneuvering him into? Why has life brought them face to face yet again? He pondered to himself, as he lit his last cigarette. She must be married by now. Perhaps the man next to her is her husband. He took a deep drag and walked to the pew on the farthest corner. Perhaps this night would fly by and she wouldn’t discern him. Next morning they could both set off for their sundered destinations. The chilly wind was making him vertiginous and the din of the rain thrashing against the roof was like trance music at a rave party. He put out his fag and reclined. Finally his body gave in and he dozed off.

A subtle palm touched his shoulders lightly. He was startled and jumped to his feet. A frail woman peered at him from the darkness.. Her eyes were gleaming with tears of joy. Light rays danced in her eyes. He was speechless, just like that summer morning 8 years ago. Her face had regained its lost lustre. Her big bright eyes riveted him. Then her lips parted and she blurted out,

“You.. you still look the same, although somewhat ancient.” She grinned :)

His feet were glued to the spot. She went on, “Its been so long. You can’t imagine how happy I am to see you. You never wrote to me. I did give you my new address.”

Laconism continued.. He couldn’t reminisce anything she had said to him that morning after the declaration. Perhaps he wasn’t paying heed anymore. She now bore a perplexed look on her face.

“Do you recognize me? Do you even remember me at all? ”

“Y..Yeah” he stammered. His voice was shaking but he couldn’t take his eyes off her.

“Then why aren’t you speaking to me? Is something wrong?”

His mouth was getting dry. The thrashing of the rain and the thunder faded away. The melody of her voice sounded like the tinkling of the temple bells. She jerked his arm and he revived his senses like a man drowning in his own thoughts had suddenly been pulled out by a mystic force. His lips curled into a smile.

“No! I was just too amazed to see you here. What are you doing here anyway?”

Her smile faded and a grim shadow casted on her face. “My father is sick. I am taking him to the big government hospital in Dhanbad.”

“What’s wrong with him?”

“The doctors in my village say that he has TB and if I don’t take him to the big hospital, he will die. He coughs blood.”

He sighed and asked “So is that your father or..” He paused before completing the question.

“Or what?” she chirped.

“No .. I was askin’ if he was your husband.”

“He is my father. I do not have a husband. Perhaps I will never have one.” She said in a low voice. Before he could stop himself words escaped him, “Why? You’re wonderful.”

“My father has no money to pay for my wedding or dowry.” She was almost in tears. He wanted to grasp her in his arms and comfort her. Before he could put his thoughts into action she had regained her composure and a fresh smile had spread across her face.

“What are you doing here all alone?” she asked with a mischievous zing in her voice.

“You should be in Dhanbad making it big and earning lots of money.”

“I moved to a small village nearby after my mother passed away some years ago.”

“Oh.. I am sorry!! But village.. doing what? Weren’t you supposed to run the big steel plant?”

“I teach children in the village school.”

“Teach.. I never knew you were the teacher types. I always thought that you had a thing for business and money.”

“Things change.” They continued for chatting for hours. She did most of the talking. He just sat there watching her talk, his heart filled with love and admiration for her. She talked about all sorts of things, mostly about him, how she had missed him and waited for his letters. She had written to him for a few years at his old address in Dhanbad but then she had no money to buy stamps anymore. She had assumed that he was busy dealing with his fame and fortunes. Every evening she would turn on the radio to catch the evening headlines at 7 o’clock, hoping that his name would pop up somewhere somehow. But he didn’t know what to say, how to say. She had countless prodigious expectations from him. And he was nothing but a loser. He had not accomplished anything. He had lost all of his father’s assets and property, including the steel plant in Dhanbad. Last night the lawyer had called to inform him about the court’s verdict. Everything that he should have bequeathed was to be handed over to the debtors. He was needed there for some legal requirements. He had no avarice or yen for such banal chattels. He had renounced all of it long ago. But today he felt deprived and indigent. He was a meagre school teacher living in a rented room. His only possession was a 7 year old bicycle which he had bought from his salary. What could he give her other than love.. Torments and miseries of poverty which she had had all her life. She deserved better.

It was almost dawn. Their conversation was interrupted by a shrill wheezing and coughing spree.

“Father is up. Lets go. I will introduce you to him.”

Despite being friends for so long he had never met anyone in her family. He knew her father earned his living by working at the steel plant. That unfateful accident, which had befallen few months before ‘the dark night’, had killed her mother and wounded her father badly. She was barely six. She was the only child. During growing up, her father had hardly been there. He wasn’t even there on the morning after ‘the dark night’ when all the other workers had huddled in front of his house with bowed heads & folded hands. He was away for therapy. As they started walking towards the bench, an old stooping figure stood up and strode towards them. He froze. He had known this gait for years. He felt like a strong grip was choking him, pushing out every bit of air from his body. Someone had put a dagger through his heart.