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.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Black and White

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 24; the Twenty-Fourth 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 theme for this month is BLACK AND WHITE.

“Do you miss him, dad?”

My 18 year old son asked as I stood still looking straight at my father’s grave. The darkness before the dawn had engulfed the graveyard, a cold breeze lingered around as the shouts of a crow filled the air.

“Why do we always come so early in the morning dad, cant we at least wait for the sun rise?”

His words or the crows’ shouts, I was deaf to all the sounds around me, standing at the foot of the grave I looked at the tree that stood at the other end of the grave.

“Do you miss him, dad?”


“Do you miss him?”

I smiled as I put my arms around his shoulder, looking at the grave for a brief moment I turned to him,

“I grew up missing him.”

“I don’t understand?”

“My father, he was with this company which made him travel all around the country selling some sort of electronic boards. He would visit us once in six months, stay for a week and then leave again to travel the country.”

“Wow! I wish I can score a job like that, it would be one exciting affair.”

“I agree, when I was around 10 all I did was dream of travelling like him, not just India but travelling the world would be a dream job.”

“Man, grand da sure had an awesome job.”

I smiled as I let the words float around in my head, nodding with a soft voice I spoke

“He was my hero then.”

Noticing my eyes well up, Sid spoke

“You really do miss him.”

“Ah. I don’t believe that.”

“Look at your eyes dad you are about to weep like a girl, come on.”

I smirked at his comment and turned towards the grave

“I am not sad because I miss him, I am sad because I never had him.”

“Trust me dad, having someone always overlooking you is over hyped.”

“Smart, but not quite enough to push me away.”

“Well it was worth a try.”

I turned away from Sid and stared at the grave, letting my silence take over the conversation.

“Oh, please don’t be so serious dad; you know I was just joking.”

“Humor, one of my many traits you have inherited. I know Sid.” I smiled at him and continued

“I just remembered something.”

“Waves of memories gushing in your head” he tried to mimic my voice

“Drops of memories trickling in” 

“Which one is your favorite?”

“There were too few for me to choose a favorite, but there was one day that he spent with me I will never forget.”
“I think I was twelve when I decided that I wanted to grow up to become India’s premier leg spin bowler. I spent a good chunk of my free time bowling at a single wicket in a playground near my house.”

“All by yourself?”

“Yes, all by myself. I wanted to be the definition of dedication. I would run to the ground right after lunch and practice till the sun went down.  That day was also like no other I reached the ground, hammered the wicket and started bowling.  Almost an hour had passed when an elegant white car stopped near the ground, I couldn’t control my joy when I saw appa walk out the car.

He shouted as he walked towards me ‘I think you are missing a batsman, cricket usually has a batsman.’

“Ya but there is no batsman who has the guts to face my spin”

“Smart, but not quite enough to push me away.”

“I didn’t bring a bat, appa”

“Well I brought one with me; now give me your best”

You know, I bowled my best that day; he couldn’t hit a single shot. I got him out at least 50 times that evening. Each time he got out, he would nod his head in respect and commend my ability to spin the ball. Leg spin, goggly, flipper, I surprised him with all my tricks. He finally gave up and asked me to bat. 

He bowled one loose ball after another I hit them all out of the park. I had him running all around. Finally tired he walked up to me and said

“I am just glad I got to play with the best cricketer I have ever seen.”

It was the first time he had ever played with me and I turned out to be better than him, my hero, my appa.

We walked back to car and he drove me to an ice-cream parlour nearby, I remember I took a chocolate ice-cream and he ordered a butter scotch. I never understood the reason for other flavours when there was chocolate and I shook my head in disapproval as he ordered butterscotch.

“Appa, I am going to grow up to be the best bowler in India.”

“With the way you play, you will be the best in the world.”

Nothing could stop me I thought; I had his blessings after all.

I smiled at him and spoke as we watched the sun go down the horizon

“I am so happy you came, appa”



 “But what happened to the whole dream of becoming the best cricketer?”

“Well I turned 18 one day and realized there were far more interesting balls around than the cricket ball.”

“Oh good God, did my dad just say that? Did you just say that, and I thought I was the cool teenager here.”

“Don’t tell your mom I said that” 

We both broke into laughter looking at each other and shaking our heads.

“Can we go now dad please, it is so cold here.”

 “Give me just ten minutes you go wait in the car.”


As he walked away he stopped for a second and turned back to me and spoke

“Thanks dad for sharing that special day of your life.”


“After listening to your story I am just glad I have a lot more than one such day to tell my kids about.”

“The day one can never forget in our life.”

I smiled as he walked away, I was proud of him. I was proud of myself, the greatest gift I had given myself and to him was the time I had spent with him.  
As he walked away I turned towards the grave, standing by the side I looked down at the grave, the words ‘The Day I will never forget’ bounced in my head.

I remember that day like it was yesterday, I was 28 when one day appa called me up at 4 in the morning. Thoughts of meeting him or not waged a battle in my head, pulling myself up from the bed I decided to meet him. I called him to ask him where he was only to be shocked to learn that he was waiting for me near my mother’s grave. The mind is always fast to think negative and fill imagination with images that prompt worry and fear in the heart.

Getting down from the car I walked past the unguarded gate to enter the graveyard, the dark of the night and the fear of the unknown prompted me to look back to check if someone walked behind me, finding my way using a torch light I walked to the grave to be welcomed by sounds of shoveling. My worst nightmares looked to have come true when I saw appa down in the hole digging it deeper.

“Appa, what are you doing?” I asked with fear laced in my voice

“Oh, you are here. Come here give me a hand.”

“Everything okay? What are you doing?”

“You know all those movies that have the same dialogue, 6 by 3 is all one needs at the end, none of them tell you how deep the hole should be. I am always confused.”

“I think we should leave appa, I think you are stressed.”

“Stressed? I have always been stressed.”

“Where is the guard, how did they let you dig a hole here?”

“The guard, don’t worry about him I bought his day and sent him away.”

“What’s happening appa, you are starting to scare me.”

“I wanted us to be alone here. I wanted to talk to you.”

“We could talked at home, we could talked on the road but here?”

“I have been stressed for a long time my son, tired and stressed. I feel heavy filled with guilt. I need to confess today.”

“Guilt I can understand but here…”

“Let me finish, let me talk.”

“I have been tired from the day you were born. I was not made to be a father, heck! I was not made to be a husband either. I hardly remember your childhood…”

“Well you were not around much to remember…”

“Yes, travelling around the country away from the two of you. I confess I used to feel a sense of relief every time I walked away from the house but the guilt of feeling relief would tear me apart. I hated you both for filling me up with guilt.”

“I didn’t know you called me here to insult me and my mother at her grave. You were never my father you will never be one.”

I turned away in disgust to walk when he called out

“Wait, listen to me I need to confess today. Listen to me, you owe me that much.”

“I don’t owe you anything.”

“Just listen to me, come here, whose grave is this?”

“That is my mother’s grave even you know that.”

“How did she die?”

“You know how, she had complications with her health, one of those rare moments when we both spent 
days together.”

“She didn’t die of complications son, I killed her.”

“Stop talking, just shut up.”

“Listen to me, I killed her, I killed her slowly and painfully.”

“The only reason stopping me from slapping you is that fact that you are my father. I am leaving now.”

“Wait listen to me, let me tell you a story. Wait a second let me tell you a story."

"When I married your mom she was very young, 23 or 24 I think. Full of dreams, filled with energy, her smile captured my imagination. We had an arranged marriage but we still managed to go around, movies, hotels, parks. I always held her hand, soft fingers that curled against mine, she was my angel.”
"I meant the world to her, her mornings her whole day was dedicated to me. Everything looked so perfect then." 

“After we got married, her priorities looked to be changing slowly. She started spending all her time caring for my mother, who fell sick, slowly fights sprouted  in our marriage. A kid might ease the tensions your mother tricked me one ill night. You were born and after that her world was just you. I was suddenly not important anymore.”

 “You disgust me appa…”

“Attention I wanted attention all I cared was about my feelings. I told you I was not meant to be a father or a husband.”

“I started to travel; I fell in love with my traveling. I fell in love with the ladies around me, I left you both to yourselves, but as the days passed suddenly you felt the need for me; she felt the need for me. How could I come back and forgive her, I wanted her to feel the same dejection I felt. I let you grow fatherless and her age husband-less.”

“I killed her I know and now the guilt eats me from inside. “

I stood looking down at my mother’s grave, I was too disgusted to look at my father. His words played in my head, the effect of his words filled my eyes to set rolling drops of tears down my cheeks. Rubbing my tears I tried to control more from flowing.    

“And I was a fool to think of you as my hero growing up.”

“Don’t tell me that, don’t give me any belief that I was a father to you for even a single day.”

“Do you know which is the day I hate the most, the day I came down to play cricket with you when you were young. The day I smiled, the day I laughed with you, the day I felt proud of you, the day I felt like a father to you. I hated myself for letting in those foreign emotions into my heart, I hated that day for making me feel guilty when I walked away from you.”

“How many do you think would come looking for you if I killed you now, son.”

“Don’t you dare call me son and don’t even think of it, at least a hundred will come to hunt you down.”

“How many do you think will come looking for me if you killed me now.”

“Your silence answers my question, I laughed at those fools out there back in those days and today I die alone in my tears.”

“Do you know who lies in that grave?”

“No I don’t.”

“Rose, your mother’s best friend, I used to visit her once every month. I was her world, with her eyes always looking for me and her hands entangled in mine, she spent her life making me happy.”

“Now I know why she killed herself.”

“I murdered her but she brought it upon herself.”

“Don’t be shocked, the strength one gets when your life is at stake when all hope is lost is amazing. She was alone and looked depressed to others so nobody suspected a thing.” 

“We had it all till one day she asked me to marry her.”

“Marriage I tell you don’t ever get one, but you here, you are ready to get married in a few days now.”

“How is your girl friend?”

“That is none of your business.”

“This is the reason I called you here, don’t get married son, you are my blood, my genes and you can never be a good husband to anyone.”

“That is not true, you are not my father I can hardly recognize you.”

“I was the same when I was your age, you will turn out exactly like me, a lousy husband and a nonexistent father. You can try all you want but you will never be happy married to her.”

“I am not you.” I shouted out in anger

“Shout all you want but the blood that flows remains the same. You will end up killing that girl like I killed your mother and Rossy aunty.”

“I am not you.” I shouted out in anger and in the fit of extreme rage that filled my head I hit his legs hard with the shovel that lay on the ground.

Clenching his teeth he fell to his knees, blood oozed out of his knee caps but he managed to smile at me,

“You think you are different but you are the same as me.”

I had lost control over my actions, years of anger along with the words he spoke brought a gush of hatred in me, with a hard swing to his head I brought him down to the ground.
As his head hit the ground he mumbled softly

“You think you are different I know you are too, I know you will not grow up to be like me.”

I fell to my knees as a sense of fear gripped my heart, as I went close he managed to speak again

“The day that I spent with you cherish it please, I wanted to let you take my life, I owed it to you.”

In silence I pushed him down the hole he had dug, as I buried him under the mud I started to feel what he had meant earlier, the strength one finds when your life is at stake can leave one surprised wondering if we had it in there all along.

The rays of the rising sun slowly started to hit the ground, I stood by a tree sapling that looked to be planted only that day, I watched the sun rise to bring in a new day, the light that spread around cleared any darkness that was left of the night away.     

“Thank you for coming, my son” his last words echoed in my head as I walked away from the grave.

“What took you so long dad?”

“Nothing I just remembered something.”

“Another special day?”

I smiled and sat silent behind the steering wheel.

“Can I ask you something dad?”

“Ya sure.”

“What do you think every time you come here and stand in front of the grave? How do you feel?”

“It just reminds me of the fact that a person's life can have shades of both black and white, it is the balance in them that is the secret to a happy life.”

“Wow! You should write a book dad.”

I smiled as I turned to him

“And to answer your second question, I feel a deep desire to be a better father.”

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