Sunday, August 18, 2013


A thin film of the cold breeze began to settle down on the soft cotton of my pajama. The sheets that covered the bed grew colder with each wave of breeze that entered the room, my toe poked around the foot of the bed in search of the blanket, on finding one laying orphan I pulled it over my head and lay still within the walls of the blanket.
The blanket has always had reassuring warmth to it, as a kid growing up I have always felt safe hiding in the darkness of the blanket.
Within the walls of the blanket it felt like a comfortable world, the familiar sounds of my breathing, the rhythmic beats of my heart, all reassuring me that I was still alive, the fear of monsters eating me alive, fell asleep within those blanket walls. 
In the distance I could hear the howl of the street dog, Sheeba was on a mission to keep me awake the whole night. 

Tossing and turning unable to fall asleep I finally gave up and sat in the edge on my bed and looked at the open window shaking my head I turned to see my wife, Sanjana deep in sleep inside the warm folds of a thick blanket. As I closed the window, the creaking sound from the old iron echoed loud in the silent room.

“Why are you closing the window?” I heard her soft voice from the bed
“You want it open?”
“It is hot in here, leave the window open.”
“You have such a thick blanket over you throw that away if it is hot.”
“At least switch on the fan please.”
“No it is okay I will leave the window open.”

I propped up the window open and secured it with a latch. I looked at Sanjana, there seemed to be a hint of a smile on her face, her sparkling eyes now shut, soft fair cheeks resting on the fluffy pillow, she looked peaceful in her sleep.
Love at first sight it was for me, the word beauty for once had fallen short of describing her smile.
I sat looking at her the baby pink shirt she wore missing a button and revealed to the world her fair bosoms. I bent down to place a soft kiss on them, moving my fingers gently over them I hoped from one to another. Softly pressing with the tips of my finger on them, I bent down for another kiss.
Pushing my hand away, she spoke
“Not now Arjun, I have an important meeting tomorrow.”

I struggled to go back to sleep. Desperate for a warm touch, I turned to Sanjana, but my brain tried to communicate the importance of her meeting to my confused heart.
My eyes adamant to close shut I got up and sat on my bed.
My dry mouth requested for a sip of water, pushing myself off the bed. I walked out of the room slowly towards the dining table.  
Seven years it had been living together but we were yet to master the art of keeping a water bottle close to our bed.

Walking up the stairs towards the terrace I could hardly fight the need for a cigarette in the middle of the night. Slowly stepping past the line of flower pots decorating the parapet wall I brushed my finger against the coarse clay of the pot. Reaching into a plant less pot filled with broken mugs and small pieces of metal pipes I pulled out a small plastic bag with my cigarette pack hidden inside it. Sitting on the parapet wall I looked down at a 30 feet fall to the ground, holding a cigarette in my hand I looked around before lighting it. How I longed for a puff, the desperate feeling to drag in a cloud of smoke into my lungs, I could hardly explain to Sanjana.
Letting out a cloud of smoke I felt at peace.
I never understood the fear in my heart I had for Sanjana, was it out of love? I wondered.
Hiding from the world, fear of getting caught playing in my head, I smoked my cigarettes in the dark of the night.

Lifting my head up I looked at the night sky, the moonless sky with sparkling white dots spread all across the common sight always left me amazed.
I often thought could there be someone sitting in one of those sparkling dots, looking up at their sky, and thinking
“Is there someone out there? Are we alone?”

Pulling my thoughts back to the ground I pulled a last drag at my cigarette.
Carefully dispatching the cigarette butt deep into the mud that filled the flower pot, I turned to look at my neighbor Zoya’s house.
The lights turned out, but the window open, I could see her curtain swaying to the steady waves of breeze.

“My love and my love both think alike.” I smiled looking at the open window.

“You are not going to office today?” Sanjana walked into the kitchen dressed sharp for her meeting.

“No, I am going to work from home today.”
“Again? You hardly go to office anymore are you sure you still have that job.”
“Guess I have gotten too comfortable at home.’’
“Don’t get too comfortable we have payments remember.”
“Don’t worry I am a Manager not an office boy I know what I am doing.”
“Okay Mr. Manager, don’t forget to tidy around the house today, remember my dad is visiting today.”
“Oh, how can I forget that.”
“He is not that mean now, is he?”
“Ya right!”
“He is visiting us here for the first time, Arjun, so please don’t get into a fight with him.”
“You should tell that to your father, Sanju.”
“I will talk to him but you don’t do anything to get him angry.”
“He does not need a reason to get angry with me.”

“You don’t think too much, he respects you. I have to run now I don’t wanna be late for my big meeting, you take care sweetie.” She had kissed me goodbye and walked out of the door before I realized she had reduced me to an office boy in one second.

He respects me, I almost laughed when she said that. He never wanted us to get married he hated me for pulling her away from her family and corrupting her with my idea of life. He always accused me of not letting my wife pursue her dreams. We had almost come to blows one day, if it hadn’t been for my wife I would have ended up killing him that day. Shaking my head clear of such thoughts I walked out.

“What took you so long, babe, I have been ringing the bell for almost five minutes.”
“Sorry sweetie I was in the shower, I thought you were coming a little later.”
“I need to run back home quick.”
“What happened?
“My father in law is coming today.”
“Oh, are you worried, nervous…”
“Me worried! Nervous please, I am not…”
“Come here you sweetie.” She walked up to me and hugged me tight as I felt her warm body against mine. Zoya was my work from home she had become my life now, ten years younger to me with her I felt the same old excitement I had for Sanjana years back. Holding her tight I knew it in my heart that I had feelings for her but she was an addiction, a habit now. I veered off my home path just for the excitement, the spontaneity that she brought with her. I often tried justifying the affair with Zoya to myself but deep down in my head I knew that I was there only for the attention she showered me with, I could grab her and kiss her without worrying would she kiss me back or push me away for not doing the dishes.       
Holding her fair white cheeks with my palm I slowly pushed myself towards her and softly kissed her lips, I knew it then the dream was coming to an end when she pulled herself back and said,

“Do you have to go now cant you stay?”
“I have to go now but tomorrow I promise I will stay the whole day.”
“But you will have to go back in the night, what is the use.”
“Let’s not talk about that now, babe.” I tried to pull her close.
“I hate this, Arjun. I can’t live like this hiding from everyone. I broke up with my boy friend so I didn’t have to hide from anyone. We make each other so happy why can’t we be together?”
“I am married Zoya…”
“But are you happy there?”
“Which is precisely why I don’t want to move fast with us. I don’t want the same thing to happen to us…”
“How can you compare what we have to her? Don’t I make you happy?”
She came close and held me with her hands brushing my hair.
“Yes Zoya you make me very happy, now let’s not talk about this please.” I pulled her close and kissed her for the first time thinking if she would kiss me back. The dream had come to an end. I could not break ties with Sanjana our relationship extended beyond the rooms of our house there were families with whom I had forged a bond. I had pushed too far with Zoya I had ended up giving hope of a new life to her. It had to end soon but I knew it then looking into her eyes I would not be able to wipe her away as easily as I thought, her smile had trained my mind to relax, her jet black eyes had cast a spell over me.     

“One second, I think my phone is vibrating.”
“Oh, it’s my wife let me take this in your room.”
“Sure go ahead I am going back to the shower.”

“Hello Sanju, what happened?”
“Nothing just wanted to know where you are?”
“Why what happened? Where are you?”
“I am still on the way to office, are you at home or you are out?”
“No I am still at home I have some emails to send first…”
“Okay, okay I called to tell you don’t forget to get apples for dad, you know how much he loves them.”
“Yes don’t worry I will stock the fridge with apples. Hey I thought you took your car to office but I see it parked on the road?” I asked her looking out the window of the room.
“No I have that client meeting today afternoon so I am going there with my boss and then I will take the auto direct home from there.”
“So what time are you coming home?”
“I should be there by around seven.”
“What time is your dad coming?”
“He is reaching around the same time too.”
“Okay, that gives me enough time to get his apples I will see you at seven bye.”

“Arjun no.” She resisted as I slowly wrapped my hands around her and pushed my lips up her neck.
“Arjun no, you are going to get you clothes wet.”
“That is a good point I should just take them off.”
“No that was not what I meant.” Her voice lowered into a moan as I kissed her ear and let my tongue play over her long neck.
Wrapping her in a towel I stole her off the ground and into my arms and walked towards the room. Putting her down on the bed I pulled out the towel to reveal her fair body, running my hands around her curves I felt the warmth of her body run up my veins.    

“Where are you?”
“I am at home, where are you?”
“I am going to meet dad, he wants me to go with him to meet an uncle of mine, so I called to tell you we will be a little late.”
“How late?”
“Not much we should reach home by nine.”
“What about dinner?”
“Let’s try that new Chinese place.”
“Okay you do one thing both of you come there directly I will meet you both there.”
“Okay sounds good, did you hear about Sheeba, our street dog.”
“No what happened?”
“Apparently someone smashed its head with rock, it was found dead today early morning. Mr. Iyer had the corporation guys clear the body.”
“When did you get to know, you did not mention anything today morning at breakfast?”
“No Mrs. Iyer had called just now to tell me something and she mentioned it.”
“Long live the guy who killed her.”
“How can you talk like that, Arjun?”
“I hated that dog I wanted it dead.”
“I have my doubts now, Arjun. You did not…”
“Are you crazy, Sanjana?”
“Okay lets not talk about it now I will see you tonight.”
The scene of Sheeba lying in a pool of blood in a dirty ditch brought a smile to my face. How much I had prayed for her death, a painful death. My only regret was that it was not me who had smashed her head.
Putting my cell phone down I glanced at the screen to see the time, it was half past four and I had a good four hours to myself before the dinner.

“It is better you call before coming, Arjun.”
“Why what happened?”
“Suraj was here, he is taking the whole break-up very hard. I just hope he meets someone soon, I can’t take the crying and begging…”
“Why do you entertain him so much, Zoya.”
“We were together for six years, Arjun. I can’t just break away so easily from him.”

So easy it was for me to remove Suraj, the love of her life for six years from the picture. It was ego that wanted him out but now with things turning serious I was forced to regret my mistake. She had broken her relationship with him in hope of a new life with me but how could I tell her it was for a few hours of bliss she provided that attracted me to her house.

“You forget about Suraj and come here and hold me.” She reached to hold me, pulling herself up, she softly kissed my lips, holding my hand she led me into the room.

Lying by her side I felt my heart still racing. I wiped off the sweat on my forehead turning to her side I watched her sleep. Lifting the soft white sheets that covered her, I looked at her body in the dusk light that crept through the drapes that covered the window.
I was about to gently wake her up when a loud knock on the door startled her awake.
“Zoya, I know you are in there with him. Open the door.” I heard a voice shout out loud.
“It is Suraj, you just stay here in the room I will go out and talk to him.”
“Why don’t we…”
“Why don’t we, what?”
“No nothing, it is best you talk to him.” I watched her pull a night robe and walk out of the room.
My immediate reaction was, why don’t we call the police but I realized immediately that I would have to end up explaining than him. For second I contemplated hiding under the cot or the cupboard but instead found some courage to stand by the room door to hear them both speak.

“Suraj, you are drunk.” I heard Zoya shout in disgust
“I know there is a guy in there, you are sleeping with him. I will kill that bastard…”
“Don’t you dare come near me, get out or I will call the police.”
“You bitch you were sleeping with him when you were promising to spend your life with me. How many guys have you slept with, you whore!”
“That’s it, I don’t need to put up with this kind of nonsense.” She banged the door shut and walked towards me.

“How dare you walk away, I will kill that bastard and I will kill you too.” His threats were followed by a loud noise of a bottle smashing against the door.

“You don’t worry Arjun I will call the police, they will take care of him.”
“No wait how do I get out first?”
“What do you mean ‘You get out first’ There is a guy standing there threatening to kill me and all you can think is to get out of the situation.”
“I didn’t mean it like that you know I can’t be seen with you.”
“And do you want to know why he is threatening to kill me, because I left him for you and you are worried about being seen with me.”
“Stop talking you know it is complicated, I have a wife to answer to and frankly she will not think twice before killing either.”
“If you are so afraid of her how can I trust you to leave her and come to me?”
“I will do it, I just need some time.”
“Time, I didn’t need time to leave the guy I spent six years of my life with for you and you need time.”
“I love you I don’t know how I can prove it to you but I really will leave my wife and spend the rest of my life with you.”
“I know how you can prove it, I got these divorce papers from a lawyer, sign them and prove it.”
“I can’t just sign them, Sanjana will also need to sign them and I am talking to my lawyer, you don’t need to worry.”
“Can’t you just sign them for my satisfaction?”
“You are being silly here Zoya, I promise I will take care of everything.”
“I don’t trust you, Arjun, you are trying to get away I can feel it.”
“Stop talking rubbish and check if your boy friend has left I need to leave soon.”
“You sign the papers and I will take care of Suraj, you will not need to worry.”
“I am not worried about Suraj and I can’t sign some random papers, stop acting like a kid.”
“Why can’t you sign them for me?” She fell to her knees crying out loud.
“Don’t shout now.” I bent down to hold her.
“What are you afraid that the neighbors might come or Suraj might come breaking the door?”
“No I am not.” I lied to her as my brain still worried about Suraj and the neighbors.

“Okay give that stupid paper, I will sign it.”
Immediately getting up to her feet she walked into the room wiping away her tears.
“Are you happy now?” I looked at her after signing the paper.
“Very, all I want is to spend my life with you.” She jumped over me and hugged me tight.
“It is late I need to leave.” I pulled myself away from her.
“Wait let me check if Suraj is still out there.” She quickly ran out of the door.

“Is he still there or can I leave?”
“No he has left but I saw this disgusting old man staring at me like he has never seen a woman.”
“What old man?”
“I don’t know I have never seen him before, he was sitting in a fancy black car parked outside.”
“Must be some guy visiting the neighbors.” I walked out of the house and caught a glimpse of the black car as he drove into the darkness.

Things had clearly gotten out of hand I had passed the phase of breaking up with her. Disgusted with myself I walked to my car still clueless of how to handle the situation. If I could somehow remove her from my life, I wished sitting in the car, may be Suraj will do it for me, I hoped for a second.

“How long have you been waiting?”
“No I just reached now.”
“Where is your dad?” I asked standing by her side looking at the pretty girl taking down names for tables in the waiting area of the restaurant.
“He is on his way.”
“I thought you two were coming together.”
“No he wanted to meet a friend so he took off early from uncle’s house.”
“Should we wait outside does he know the place?”
“Ya, we could wait outside, anyway I have given them my number to give a call when our table is ready.”

We stood outside in silence watching the cars zip past on the road, she looked away and watched the road with an expressionless face.

“So, how was your day?” I asked her
“You know how it is with clients.” She shrugged
“How was your day?”
“Not bad, I had some urgent requests from my manger you know how it is with managers.”
“I am a manager.”
“Oh but you are the best manager.” I tried to hold her hand but she pulled it away.
“What happened?”
“No Arjun, we are standing on the road and dad could come anytime now.”
“Ya but it is not like I was going to rape you.”
“Please let’s not talk I don’t want to get into a fight in front of dad.”
“Ya right!”
“No nothing.”

We went back to watching the road but with irritated expressions taking over our face. I was about to turn away when a fancy black car came to halt by our side and to my horror out walked my father-in-law from the driver seat.

“When did you get this car?”
“No hello, no how are you, can’t you teach your husband some manners, Sanjana?”
“This is my friend’s car I have borrowed it for a couple of days.”
“Why did you have to take your friends car I could have lent you mine.”
“Yes I know you have taken to staying at home nowadays.”
“I am working from home, sir.”
“Okay you two please don’t get into a fight now I want to have a nice peaceful dinner.” Sanjana walked into the restaurant leaving us behind. I was about to follow her when her father spoke
“You better clean up your act soon or I will make your life a living hell.”

I stood in horror trying to help myself understand his threat. Was he the one watching Zoya? Did he see me walk out of her house? Questions flooded my head as my legs felt heavy incapable to move. Slowly pulling myself I dared to step into the restaurant to find them sitting at a table. With no option I had to take a seat opposite to her father as he watched me with his eyes filled with rage. It was quite clear he knew about my secret, it was time to wipe her out or end up taking on the old man. I was in position to take on the old man well connected politically he was a man of power who could move worlds to get his way.

As I sat covering my face with the menu I searched my brain for a perfect plan to wipe Zoya out. Suraj had made things easy for me all I needed for a perfect weapon that could be traced back to him. The neighbours would testify against me, they had seen him threaten her on numerous evenings. I sat there lost in thought my brain racing against time plotting a perfect plan.

“What happened? Why were you upstairs all this while?”
“No I had some emails to send out. Where is your dad?”
“He just went to bed.”
“No I said, ‘good’. He shouldn’t be staying up so late at his age.”
“We were just talking.”
“Talking? What were you just talking about?”
“No nothing in particular, just this and that.”
“What this? And what that, were you talking about?”
“Why are you so curious, you should have joined us why did were you hiding in the room?”
“I don’t need to hide from your dad, why do I need to hide?”

“Can you please cut me an apple, Arjun?”
“What are you hungry?”
“No I just want an apple, just cut me an apple.”
“Okay don’t shout you will wake your dad. Where is the knife?”
“Must be on the table dad was using it.”

Picking up the knife I sliced through the apple, it was clear her father had not told her anything. Carefully removing the seeds with the tip of the knife I found myself enjoying the sharp surface of the knife slice the fruit.

“Here you go.”
“I am going to bed now, what about you?”
“I will be up in a minute. Before I forget try that homemade wine dad brought from his friends place, it is really good.”
“Okay let me try some.”

“This is good wine, it is a little too strong for my liking but it is a good wine.”
“Glad you liked it.” She smiled as she turned away from me.
“Arjun, Arjun.” Sanjanna shook me up as I woke up startled
“What happened?”
“Get up it is ten already.”
“I am so sleepy let me sleep for another hour.”
“The whole neighborhood is up I am sure you are the only one sleeping.”
“Why is the whole neighborhood up, tell them all to go back to sleep.”
“There is some commotion out infront of Zoya’s house lot of police walking into her house, the whole neighborhood is shameless watching it like some show.”
“Police in her house, what happened?” I immediately jumped out of the bed.
“I don’t know what happened her boy friend must have hit her or something.”
“Let me check, give me my shirt.” I walked out of the door towards the crowd.

“What happened? Did you find out what happened? Does she need any help?”

“Why are you not replying to me, what happened!”
“What happened to you, why do you look so scared?”
“Zoya she… somebody killed Zoya.”
“Murdered her?”
“Yes murder, where are you going?”
“I am going to her house, maybe I can help call her mum.”
“Are you crazy, the cops are all over that place, don’t you dare step out.”
“Why are you shouting, it is not like I killed her.”

Before I could stop her Sanjana had already walked out of the door.
Worried with beads of sweat covering my forehead I sat trying to digest the news, I was happy but nervous. Someone had done the job for me, I was free now…

“The cops want to talk to you.” Sanjana walked into the room
“Me? Why do they want to talk to me?”
“They are talking to all the neighbours, I guess they are trying to figure out who could have…”
“Do you know if they have any suspects?”
“Next house Sid told me they have taken the boy friend in for questioning.”
“Oh okay, yes he could have killed her, I have seen them fighting. It is better I tell the cops about the fight may be it will help them build a case agains…”
“Against him?”
“No it will help them may be question him. Where are these cops, who should I talk to?”

We had just walked out when a bulky man with his well fed gut sticking to his uniform shirt walked up to us.

“You are Mr. Arjun, right?”
“Just the man I was looking for, we will need you to come down to the station…”
“Station, why should I come to the station?”
“We just wanna have a chat with you.”
“I don’t wanna come to the police station, I have nothing to do with all this you can’t drag me to the station, I know my rights.”
“Mr. Arjun we have a witness that puts you outside Zoya’s house on the night of the murder, you could do this the hard way or the easy we just want to talk to you about that visit.”
“You were in her house last night?” Sanjana jumped at me
“No I was not, this man must have mistaken me for someone else, it is fine with me officer I will come with you to the station.”

I sat in a room with no windows, across the table sat an empty chair, with each passing minute it felt the white walls were closing in on me, I got up from the chair, I felt like I could not breathe, I stared at the walls that have heard more honest prayers than the stone pillars of a temple.

“Why don’t you take a seat, Mr. Arjun”
“I have been waiting here for more than 3 hours, can someone tell me what is going on?” I sat down on the chair facing Inspector Arul.
“How well did you know, Zoya?”
“She was a neighbor we were cordial nothing closer than that.”
“Something tells me you are not being honest with me, come on Mr. Arjun, I can help you.”
“I don’t know what you mean but I don’t need any help. I have done nothing wrong here.”
“This is your last chance to confess, Mr. Arjun”
“I am not guilty, I did not do it.” I stood up in frustration.
“Sit down, we are just getting started.” He gestured to take my seat.

“Do you recognize this?” He passed me knife in a placed in a polythene bag.
“I have never seen this.” I spoke with trembling voice, my hands now weak held the knife that I had used to cut apples last night.
“Really? Your father-in-law confirmed that it belonged to you.”
“If he recognizes it that well then he must have killed her.” I threw the bag on the table. Things were getting clear now my father-in-law had decided to put me away for life.
“He would have been my suspect if we had not found your prints all over the knife and he also confirmed that you were out the whole night and only came home early morning.”
“My prints?”
“Remember your DUI, you are in the system, Arjun.” He sat back with a grin on his face, it was probably the fastest he had ever closed a case.
“I need my lawyer.” I closed my eyes, the world around me had come crashing down, I wanted to scream but breathless I felt my voice die in my lungs.

As I watched the Detective walk out, a pulse of rage hit me, my father-in-law the cunning bastard set me up well, he knew it from the start, Zoya paid the price with her life but it was her who started it all. Frustrated I stood up and paced around the room, shouting in rage I punched the wall. My finger against the concrete snapped I howled in pain as I broke down and fell to the floor.

Three days had passed since my arrest, I sat on the cold concrete floor I stared at the blank wall that potraid my fututre. My lawyer had no arguments, in his eyes I could see my destiny, repenting I could not stop my brain from thinking “If only I had…” I had a beautiful life, a lovely wife.
I did not how I would face her again, I had cheated her and now left her to die alone. How I missed her smile, her touch, within those walls the moments we shared.

“Arjun, you have a visitor.”
“Who is it?”
“It is your wife.”

Wiping my tears away I stood up, a sense of joy seemed to fill my heart. I never imagined she would visit me. I walked fast, life seemed to have given me a chance to explain myself. As I walked past the door I had my confession ready, I screwed up and now I am paying with my life for it.

“How are you?” she asked me as I sat down.
“Crappy.” I put my head down in shame.
“How are you?” I softly managed to ask her.
“Good, I feel great.”
“Please don’t be sarcastic, I am extreamly sorry for…”
“No I am being honest I am actually feeling great.”

Folded hand hiding my face from her I spoke
“I had nothing to do with it, you have to trust me. I screwed up I had an affair with her but that was it I did not kill her.”
“I know.”
“You know?”
“Do you also know that it is your father who is setting me up.”
“My father? That man does not have the balls for it, it was me who killed her.”
“Why are you so surprised, Arjun. You expected me not to kill her when she waived the divoce papers on my face, seven years we have livied together and you were going to leave me for that bitch. Do you have any idea what all I have done for you?”
“Sanjana, how could you. I was never going to leave you…”
“Oh yes I believe you.”
“Bastard, you have the guts to go behind my back and have an affair, who are you? Do you remember what you were doing when you met me, I made you the man you are, your job, car, house, and you planned to leave me.”
“I was going to get rid of Zoya, we could have atleast had a talk Sanjana.”
“Talk my ass, I went to her to have a talk, she thinks just cause she sucks your balls so you will have a happy life together.”
“I have handled all your irritations and I have spent my life making you happy, Arjun, do you remember Sheeba.”
“You did not!”
“Yes I did, just for you I smashed her head and watched her die. What did you do? Made plans to leave me with that whore.”
“You are a physco Sanjana, you need help.”
“Arjun, finally I am feeling great no more convincing myself that we have a happy marriage and you are getting what you deserve, I don’t need help Arjun, I am doing great.”
“I cant believe you are doing this to me Sanjana, the sight of your face sickens me.”
“Oh well yours does not do any magic to me either. I am going to leave now, enjoy your time, the rest of the few days you have before they kill you like a stray dog that you are.”
“I am going to fight this, Sanjana.”
“Go for it, but don’t mind if I freeze all your money and don’t pay for a good lawyer.”
As she got up to leave, filled with rage I pounced on her. The gaurds attacked me with blows to my chest and leg. On the ground restrained by three gaurds I watched a guard escort her away,
 “This is not the end, Sanjana, I will kill you one day.”

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Once Again

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 27; the 27th 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. The topic for this month is 'Once Again'.
Once again I find myself sitting in front of the computer racking my head to come up with a post for Blog-a-ton. This is my 10th Blog-a-ton so by the end of this post I will be a Veteran Blogatonic, the word veteran I am not that fond of it makes me feel old. I remember my first Blog-a-ton, I was very new to the blogging world my blog had just a couple of comments hardly any posts on my blog.

The topic for the Blog-a-Ton was “The Indian Dream” I had spent an entire evening thinking of a story but could not write a word completely blank I got up from my chair to take a break as I walked away I lifted my hand and pretended to bowl at some imaginary wickets

“Howazzat” I shouted at my chair where stood my imaginary umpire

“Another hat trick for Harsha, the cup looks to be heading India’s way.” The commentators in my head shouted out loud and that was when it hit me, what better story than the great Indian dream of winning the world cup. I ran towards the computer and hammered out the story in 30 minutes, on finishing the story I read it out to myself by the end of it I just couldn’t stop smiling. I had done it I had created a winner it was perfect, the first prize was in my bag.

Almost 35 comments and all of them applauding the story, I just could not erase the smile off my face. The whole house had come to the conclusion that I had finally lost it and it was time to take me to a specialist. But only a blogger knows the joy one gets in reading those comments it is simply an incredible feeling there is nothing like it.

A week later the results were announced as I scrolled down the list of winners it hit me like a splash of icy cold water on a winter morning not a single vote.        

Growing up during my school days I just had one dream, to come first in the running race I just wanted that shinny gold medal but every year I would come 5th or 6th and even last on one instance. Dejected I would plant myself in front of the T.V my mum would come to me with some juice pat my back and say
“I am proud of you, good job.”
“Not a good job very bad job.” I would shout at her disgusted
“Participating is important not winning.”
How stupid, how can someone think like that I would think to myself.

After looking at that winner’s list there was just one thought in my head
“Participating is important not winning.”
What my mother could not teach me in 12 years Blog-a-ton taught me in a few minutes.
I closed the website opened my story patted on the screen and spoke out loud
“Participating is important not winning.”

I scrolled down to read the comments again, Guria, Madhu Rao, Shilpa Garg, Shruthi, Avada Kedavra, Sojo Varughese, Aativas, Shutter Bugs, Karthik, Pawan, Grace, Sid, over the week that I had spent reading their blogs without realizing they had become a part of my life, it has been three years now I have never met them but they are still a part of my life I enjoy reading their blogs each one so unique and so creative master of the art churning out post after post it has made me realize that there is a world outside my computer.What took me by surprise that day was the ability of us bloggers to appreciate from the heart the work of a fellow blogger, I have never seen such honest appreciation is any other forum. I started writing regularly after some encouraging comments I received at my first Blog-a-ton, appreciation always makes one feel good but when it comes from our own kind the feeling is special.

After that first experience I took part in 8 more Blog-a-ton events never won not even a bronze but what made me come back each time was the opportunity to meet some amazing people. I am here once again at my 10th Blog-a-ton with a huge writer’s block in my head but hoping to type out decent post and looking forward to read some amazing posts.

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.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

When Journey Meant More Than Destination

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 25; the Silver 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. The topic for this month is 'When Journey Meant More Than Destination'.
“Sir you want AC or non-AC?”
“What is the difference?”
“Non-Ac bus has no AC sir, AC bus…”
“I know that, what is the difference in price?”
“Sir, AC bus is 100 rupees more.”
“Book non-AC, I don’t see a good reason to pay a hundred more for AC.”
“Sir, summer has already started you sure you want to travel in non-AC?”
“It’s okay if I feel hot I will open the window. I want a good seat I will not travel in your bus if you give me a seat near the wheel.”
“No sir, the entire bus is empty, it is the exam season and middle of the week the few people travelling back have all booked the AC bus, you are the third person to book a seat in this bus, sir.”
“Only three, wow! What time is the bus?”
“It leaves at 10:30 and it will reach Bangalore by 6:00 am, sir”
“That’s good.”
“You still have about 5 hours sir you can go to the beach it is a nice place to spend some time, sir.”
“Ya I have been to the beach I will come back at 10:30, thanks boss.”

I have never quite enjoyed travelling and the bus journey of them all has been the most painful. Walking down the road towards the beach, I felt it would be apt if I bid goodbye to Mangalore and the Sunday watching the sun go down the horizon.
The cool breeze from the sea, aroma from the chat stalls, shouts of kids playing along with the roar of the waves splashing the beach filled the air.
Walking towards the waves I looked at the sea, the horizon dotted with ships foreign bound, the setting sun that looked to have sparked a fire setting ablaze the water and the sky, sharing the sight with me stood a few couple hand in hand looking at the sun and then at each other only to blush away with a smile plastered on their face.   

“Sir you are early, it is still 10:00 pm.”
“Yes, I know I will wait here.”
“You can come and sit inside sir.”
“No it is okay, you said only three people had booked how come so many people are waiting?”
“No sir these people are waiting for the AC bus, it leaves at 10:15”

Nodding my head I walked away from the booking office to wait by the road, as I stood looking at the lights passing by I heard a voice of an old lady,
“Please my dear can you exchange seats with me?”

A little curious I turned in the direction of the voice to look at an old lady talking to a girl who stood with straight hair tied into a pony that fell onto her back. Slowly I moved to catch a glimpse of the girl, soft fair cheeks, lips with a hint of rosy pink that parted ways to give raise to a beautiful smile, black eyes and think curled eye lashes, slowly she filled my eyes as I stood there watching the most beautiful I had ever seen.

“The booking fellow tells me that my seat is right above the wheel but I have a very weak back. Can you please exchange seats with me?”
“Okay aunty here you can have my seat.”
"Thank you my dear, you remind me of my grand daughter, thank you so much."

I would have never done that I smirked as I watched them exchange tickets I wanted to turn away but her smile I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
Walking away from the lady she stood a few feet from me, cursing my rotten luck and my cheapness for opting for the non-AC bus I turned away with a heavy heart.

“Excuse me.”
I heard a sweet voice call me out as I turned to see her standing by my side with a smile, trying hard to control but with a huge smile pasted on my face I spoke,  
“Hi, you wanted me… I mean you wanted to talk to me?”
“I just wanted to know if you were in the 10:15 bus.”
“No I am in the 10:30 bus but please tell me what can I do for you?”
“I just wanted to know what time the bus is coming. Those guys at the booking counter don’t seem to know a thing.”
“Ya I know these lazy guys have no track of time I tell you my bus is at 10:30 and I am already here waiting, these people don’t even bother to…”
“Ya… can you please ask them what time my bus is gonna be here.”
“Yes right away.” I turned to walk away it was like I had 
suddenly contracted a flu of stupidity, pearls of stupidity is all that seemed to fall out of my big mouth. I had not walked a few steps from her when the guy from the booking counter ran up to me,

“Sir, I wanted to talk to you. We are upgrading you to AC bus we have only three booking for non-AC bus we will go into a loss if we run a bus for three people.”
I looked up immediately to see if the God’s up above were smiling down at me, thoughts of hugging the guy and dancing had flooded my mind when he spoke out loud,
“Don’t worry sir you don’t need to pay any extra.”
Quickly turning to see if she heard him I saw her smiling at me, smacking my forehead I spoke
“No I will pay the extra it is okay, what time is the bus coming it is already 10:10 even madam is waiting.”
“Don’t worry sir the bus will be here sharp at 10:15.”
“Are you sure about that?” She walked up to us to join in
“Yes madam, don’t worry at all.”
“Sir but the seat that is empty is right above the wheel but you don’t worry I will get it exchanged with someone later.”
“No it is perfectly fine, I actually like sitting near the wheel.”
“But you said…”
“No I enjoy sitting near the wheel.”
“Oh… Oh okay sir.” He winked at me and then looked at her with a sly smile.

“What was that all about?” She asked without a hint of a smile on her face
“Not sure these guys often get confused they meet so many passengers, I actually never spoke to him about anything and he just got confused. It is quite surprising…”
“It is quite surprising that you can speak without breathing.” She smiled as I shut my mouth to smile back at her.
“It is a bug I am taking pills for it.”
“Sounds like a big one when did it bite you, it sounds very new.”
“Yes just this evening.” I smiled as she turned away with a blush
“I am Arjun I didn’t get your name.”
“Priya, that is a beautiful name.”
“I don’t think so.”
“No it is I think it is a really beautiful name.”
“I hate it and I also hate people who say they like my name. I think it is dumb.”
“Now that you say it, it is okay but you are so beautiful so anything associated with you automatically becomes beautiful.”
Immediately she burst out into laughs
“You mister, I was trying to pull your leg but you are very good with words.”
“Well when I am in company of excellence, the best comes out of me.”
“Okay I think you should stop now, you have my attention.”

Looking at each other we shared a smile. Nodding my head I looked at the ticket the guy had handed me,

“What is your seat number, Arjun?
“Why are you smiling, what happened is 21 a bad number?”
“No nothing it is just that I exchanged seats with an old lady and the now my seat number is 22.”
“Okay, I don’t know if I have to feel flattered or afraid by that smile on your face Arjun.”
“Flattered of course but only till the lights go off.” I broke into a loud laughter
“Not funny Arjun I think I will get my seat exchanged.”
“No, I am sorry it is a bug I tell you it is a bug I am taking pills, it is so painful.”
“Ya I know you told me already and it is not so funny the second time around.”

In silence I stood not knowing what to talk looking away from me she looked at the road. A dull yellow painted bus slowly came to halt by her side. Pulling my bag over my shoulder I walked towards the bus to join her.

“Do you mind if I sit by the window, Arjun.”
“Yes sure no problem at all, how can I say no to you, please the seat is all yours.”
“Remind me later to introduce you to the simple ‘Yes’ reply, one word says a lot.”
“No, Yes I will remind you.”
“You know I have to give it to you, you are funny in your own stupid irritating way.”
“A compliment and a slap it sure is my lucky day.”
She broke into a laugh and spoke
“You are cute…”
“In a sexy way”
“No more like a puppy dog way.”
“Well, take it as it comes and it is not every day I get complimented by a beautiful girl.”
“Okay…” She turned away hiding the smile that lit her face and the cheeks that turned pink with a blush.
“I don’t talk to strangers and never have I gotten so close so quick to anyone you are just…”
“No not special, God you never give up.”
“Hey my mum thinks I am special.”
“Well she has to console herself somehow.”
“And there we have it right on the cheek.”
She broke into soft laughs as she watched me mock a slap on my cheek.
“I am just glad you are here to talk to, I just hate travelling in the bus.”
“Me too, I just can’t fall asleep in a bus.”

“Arjun, Arjun.”
“What? Where?”
“I thought you said you could never fall asleep in a bus.”
“No I just closed my eyes for a minute.”
“A minute? You have been asleep for four hours now.”
“Really four hours it felt like a minute, I am so sorry.”
“I guess I can’t blame you it is okay but I am surprised you slept through such bad roads.”
“I am really sorry I was a little tired, but what were you doing for four hours?”
“I was just watching you sleep and getting…”
“You were watching me sleep, I don’t know if I have to feel flattered or afraid…”
“Ha, ha, ha not funny Arjun, I was getting irritated watching you sleep.”
“Hey, why aren’t we moving?”
“I think the bus had broken down or something a couple of people got down but I am not sure what the issue is which is why I woke you up.”
“Wait let me check.”

“What took you so long?”
“No nothing it is just a flat but they will take at least 20 minutes to fix it.”
“Why did they have to switch off the AC it is so hot in here.”
“There is a cool breeze blowing outside you wanna step out?”
“Okay, but I am only coming out with you because it is too stuffy in here.”

As we walked out to the road the cool breeze greeted us, walking away from the men filling the air with smoke we wandered into the full moon lit road with an occasional vehicle zipping past us.

“It is such a beautiful night.” She smiled as we stopped by a mile stone a few yards away from the bus.
“Yes and your smile just adds to it.”
“Ya, ya.”
“So other than hopelessly flirting with girls what else do you do?”
“Hopelessly.” I smiled as she turned away with a smile
“I don’t know why I am smiling it is just…”
“May be it is just a bug.”
“Smart ass.” She slapped my hand softly.

“So Arjun Sahib what do you do for a living?”
“Well, I am the lord of cubicle number 133 in a software company. What about you?”
“Me I am just a lowly interior designer.”
“And I thought I had the worst job.”
“Hey my job is fun I get paid to shop and I get to tell rich ladies that their taste is not…”
“Good enough for their own homes.”
“Yes sort of but a little sugar coated.”
“What do you do when you are not decorating other people’s homes?”
“You mean like a hobby?”
“Hobby, I stopped using the word hobby after 10th standard.”
“Oh 10th that was a fun year, I filled so many slam books with a different hobby in each, things were so silly back then.”

“I remember my 10th standard I filled all the slam books with the same, my hobby is: Watching T.V, listening to music. To think of it I was a lamest kid in class it was bad enough I mentioned T.V and music as hobbies, I would later go on to defend them with anyone who mocked at my hobbies. I would ask them, what do you mean by hobby? Things you do when you are free, right? I watch T.V and listen to music in my free time so they are my hobbies.”
“I am sorry I am not laughing at you but that is so…”
“Then there were a few who filled collecting stamps as their hobby, there would always be that one jack-ass who would comment ‘It is not collecting stamps it is called Philately, it is bad enough you are collecting worn out stamps that no one wants anymore and now you give it a fancy name.”
“Hey I used to collect stamps.”
“It is philately Priya not collecting stamps.”

We both burst into laughter as she spoke
“God I miss school, things were so simple back then.”
“I miss school too, you could do the most foolish of things and your friends would still sit laughing with you.”
“What was the silliest thing you have ever done in school?”
“Me not many, I was one of the smarter ones.”
“Ya right, come one Arjun.”
“Sir the bus is ready to leave.” The conductor shouted out to us
“I am not letting you go you will have to speak after we get to our seats.”

“The silliest thing I have ever done, huh.”
“Yes, the silliest thing Mr. Arjun has ever done.”
As I searched for a right one through the hundreds of memories that filled my head, she sat with the most beautiful smile on her face and eyes filled with excitement in wait for me to speak. Before I opened my mouth I uttered a small prayer in my head hoping this journey with her would never end.

“Okay, there was this one girl who was new to school very shy type but she was so prett…”
“What happened? Why did you stop?”
“No, so there was this very okay looking girl who for God knows why I wanted to talk to…”
“Oh, Arjun you are so stupid. Continue, there was this pretty girl and.”
“Okay if you say so, there was this very pretty girl who I wanted to talk to but I never could get past Hi and homework. It was Feb already and my chances of getting to know her looked slim so I came up with this brilliant plan. I walked into class one day with a Slam book in my hand and announced to the class that I was moving to another school for the next academic year and I wanted everyone to fill the book. I went up to each one personally and got them to fill it up.”

“Oh that was so cute Arjun.”
“Yes but it soon blew up in my face.”
“Did she refuse to write in your slam book?”
“No she was sweet, we started talking and became friends but my best friend he came home that evening to give me a gift, my mom had sent me to buy milk, she saw the gift and told him I was not moving anywhere and all that was just a silly prank. He wanted to outsmart me and told the whole class the next day.
God I was so embarrassed when I walked into class, at the end of the day I really wanted to change schools.”   

She burst into laughter, looking around at the sleepy passengers she spoke
“What happened to that girl you still in touch with her?”
“At first she didn’t want to talk to me her mum had told her to stay away from liars and pranksters. But later on I won her heart with my charming ways and yes I am still in touch with her.”
“Oh, Mr. Charming is still in touch with the pretty girl from school do I smell a special relation here.”
“No Madam she tied Rakhi when we reached 8th and she is happily married in America now. “
“Too bad but that was a very cute story Arjun.”

“One thing I hated about school was Rakhi; the minute a girl gets to know you have a crush on her she would be ready with a Rakhi in her hand the very next day. Every Raksha bandhan I would come back home with Rakhis tied up to my sleeves. My best friend, Pradeep would often go hide in the toilet on Raksha Bandhan but the girls would get to him too somehow.”
“Sounds like you made a lot of sisters in school.”
“Every single girl I had a crush on…”
“Not every single girl.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean not every single girl you have had crush on wants to be 
your sister.”
“I didn’t get that.”
“Oh God forget it.”
“Thank God we are in a bus and there is no one selling Rakhi here.”
“Ya I would have tied two on both your hands just to be on the safer side, moron.”

She looked away from me and closed her tired eyes, I knew what she was hinting at I could feel the spark too. I looked at her as the moon light that crept through the window lit her face up, all I had was a single prayer in my heart ‘God let me not say anything wrong to piss her off, please.’ I felt like I was diffusing a time bomb here one wrong move and she would just walk away.

“What are you thinking?”
“You can talk to me Arjun, what are you thinking?”
“You have been asleep for the last four hours I thought you hated sleeping in a bus.”
“I said I hated travelling in a bus not sleeping mister. Now tell me what were you thinking?”
“No, I think we have entered Bangalore. I was just thinking why we had to reach so soon.”
“I know it has been such fun Arjun.”

Fun? I had spent the last four hours planning the next 30 years with her. The most beautiful night for me was just fun for her? The biggest mistake we guys do is falling in love too quickly and start thinking she is the one but her typical of a woman, have fun and move on…

“Actually, okay I can’t believe I am saying this but it has been more than fun. It was one those journeys for me where I could have cared least about the destination. I really…”
“Love you?”
“No, love is a really strong word for now.”
“I will settle for like.”
“You never give up, do you?”
“Try try but never give up. No wait that doesn’t rhyme. Try try but never cry.”
She smiled as she slapped me softly.
“Rajajinagar 1st Block, 1st Block.” The conductor shouted out to wake everyone around.
“Okay Arjun this is where I get off. We should…”
“This is where I get off too. Where do you stay?”
“Just close by.”

Pulling out the bag from the overhead compartment we walked out of the bus, we stood in silence for a minute not knowing what to say next,

“So… Is it okay if I call you sometime Priya?”
“I think it will be not okay if you don’t give me call after this journey. Give me your number I will give you a missed call so you can save my number.”
Breaking into soft laughs we exchanged numbers as a few auto wallahs hovered around.

“Priya, where do you live I will get you an auto?”
“I live close by, what about you?”
“I live close by too.”
“Liar, your smile just gives it away.”
“I know.” Holding her hand softly I spoke,
“Priya, do you want to continue on this beautiful journey with me?”
“Arjun, how do I say this, you are sweet but I just think you are moving too fast too soon.”
“No I just meant do you wanna share an auto with me.” I burst into laughter
“Jack-Ass.” She smacked my arm.
“Let me get an auto before you kill me.”

“Hop in Priya and…”
“Let us continue our journey ahead.”
“Oh Priya you never give up do you, you are sweet and all but I 
just think you are moving too fast too soon.”
She smacked my arm hard as we both broke into laughs. Before I could open my mouth she spoke,
“Well you know what an ass-hole once told me, Try try but never cry.” 

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.