Diseases of My Life

Beautiful idle thoughts…

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1

I had scarlet marks on the shoulders, so I wondered if I should be worried. The reason I was reminded of those was that I was half-naked, sweating in my chair, observing things so that my brain doesn’t collapse into dysfunction. The fan had stopped due to power cut and my Samsung Galaxy J2 had almost slipped into unconsciousness. It was sweltering hot and I started following my sweat beads out of boredom. Then, I noticed the marks. Red as molten prenatal daggers. Then, I decided to use up the remaining 11% of my phone’s charge and as I was flicking through the web, I googled my symptoms. 
Five signs that you have cancer – It said. 
Fuuuuuck.

It’s still okay – I thought, at least it’s not in my testicles. Yet. I don’t have a problem with cancer, but I’d rather not have it. There’s nothing romantic about cancer unless you’re kissing Shailene Woodley in front of 50 people in Anne Frank’s house. 

Talking about cancer, my mother would probably take that deal. Once she got a 6000 buck test and the reports declared – everything‘s normal. She was so disappointed she went for a second opinion which costed another fortune and gave the same result. 

She then called Goldy’s dad, who is a chemist but who my mother has more faith in than she has in a doctor, and asked if there was, by any chance, a teeny tiny possibility of her having a disease. He said no, but my mother insisted so he asked her to take pomegranate juice twice a day.

“Didn’t I tell you? There was something wrong with me. “She told us later. 

Anyway, I dismissed the very possibility of cancer. Why?
2. 

I read horoscope. There are only so many things you can do while taking a dump. I used to listen to radio, but since the birth of jio, I usually browse through news and stuffs. I read horoscopes too. Horoscope of today, of the year 2020, and which career suits my personality, and if a Sagittarius, by any chance, is the ideal match for a Capricorn. It never mentions death. Never says – Blah Blah Blah, and oh, maybe you’re dying today. It talks in hints. A few years ago, the newspaper horoscope asked me, for a whole month, to be careful on the road. Then, there was this Facebook post that promised to foretell exactly how one was going to die. The person had to type his name along with a few random letters and post it as a comment. 

When I did it, it suggested accident as the cause of my death. 

I have been so careful on roads since then. I avoid busy roads and walk on the extreme left of the footpaths. Sometimes you’d even find me in the hedges by the sidewalk, hacking my way through, plodding carefully to avoid any truck that might be running in the bushes. With trucks, and Salman’s driver’s car, you can’t take any chances. A National Highway runs through my city and the newspapers often publish the reports of entire huts getting trampled by insane trucks, killing everybody inside. Imagine you are cooking Biryani in your home and an 8-wheeler drops out of nowhere and squashes you like a lemon. That’s a nasty way to die. At least you get to see a hospital in cancer, and your body remains intact, in a single piece. As my stars suggest, when I die, I’d probably be lying in pieces, bloodied and cold. 

So I had to dismiss cancer. 
3. 

When I decided I didn’t have cancer, I felt kind of lonely. I am so single that even a disease won’t go out with me. Roads reminded me of Heer, and something crossed my mind, and this was the funny thing. I would always ask her to get on my left when we were walking. I thought it would be safer for her. The bikes would often graze my sleeve, and I’d almost wet my pants, but I’d keep her on my left anyway. 

Things you do for love!

Thinking of her made me even sadder. I needed to eat. When I’m sad, I eat in tonnes. I wanted to be locked with food, and AC. 

I was drenched now. Delhi is a shitty place, I tell you. And if you ever build a house make sure you don’t build it like my apartment. The heat was unbearable, so were the memories. 

I thought about Doctor and all the possible dots on earth where she could be. I was bored so I typed her name on Google and clicked search. It talked about the word origin and its meaning and NGOs by her name. I memorized the names and purpose of a few organizations. 

Things you do for love!

♥The Notebook♥

A story. A secret. A notebook.

The rain crackles like a log fire. I sit in the old brown armchair with her notebook on my lap, half shut and half read, peering out through the drenched pane. The citylights are colorful fuzzy specks on my window glass, and the city itself, the lively, incessant, immortal city, a quiet frozen artwork on my door glass. I watch the torrents, and I think about the book and about friendship and love and about her and me and us, and that’s when it all starts to come back, the downpour of that monsoon….


We used to be the oddballs of our class. Me, an arrogant over achieving dork, and she, a quiet lost underdog. She wasn’t the most beautiful girl you’d see, nor was she the dumbest. Almond eyes, oval face, and hair done in ponies, always in ponies – she wasn’t a cindrella or a Snow white, yet something about her hooked me right from day 1. The brown bag that was the same shade as her irises, the slow relaxed steps of her walk, the way she said ‘electrolysis’ – I don’t know, but there was that something which you never understand but always feel. 

I was in my IITJEE phase those days. It was the exam I lived for. Computer Science from IITDelhi, get a job at microsoft or google, MBA from Cambridge, earn till 40s, settle in Paris, live the dream – it was my plan. I knew I could do that. Piles of certificates on my shelf would say that. I didn’t have a girl or a love story in my bucket list. Love – I’d made myself believe that – was an over secretion of Dopamine. 

It was the morning of July. It was falling in buckets. The sky roared like the day of apocalypse. I walked out of the house 40 minutes before the Assembly bell, knowing most of the students would not come. As I reached the classroom, there she was, slouched over her desk, scribbling something in her notebook. She shut that as soon as she saw me. 

“Is that a secret diary or something? “I asked. “Are you working for ISIS? “I joked, wondering if she even knew what ISIS was. I had a sudden hankering to teach her the whole Islamist history that I read on my train journy to Nainital. 

“Nothing. “She said.

“Are you always this quiet? ”

“Are you always this talkative? ”

“Just Curious. ”

She thought for a while, turned her eyes sideways, as if to check it was a safe place, and said, 

“A story. ”

That’s all I could know. We talked, dated, fell in love, made out, but she never told me what’s it about. Everytime I asked her about the notebook she had the same answer – a story

I got into IITDelhi. She had 68.2% in XII board. For once in my life, just for a tiny moment, I didn’t want to get into IIT anymore. I wanted to stay around this girl, who did crazy things with my mind and wrote a secret story that nobody knew. 

We kept talking and it was going okay. But studies kept me busy and the conversations started to become monotonous. Then one day, it stopped. The calls went unanswered and the messages didn’t come back. I didn’t try much either. 

The notebook arrived this monsoon. Swathed in a turquoise wrapping paper whose shine had faded away with time,  and the ribbons flanked by dust, it seemed like the old treasure you recover from your storehouse. It’d been 3 years of our separation, and I never went home (projects, internship, seminar, workshops) and all I remembered about her was her bag, her slow relaxed steps, and the way she said ‘electrolysis’. And the notebook. 

The notebook it was. 

Nothing romantic. No diary with details of her fetishes, no love letters to shiny armoured knights, no poems of tragedy or love. 

It had one line accounts of her days. I flicked through the pages, looking for some letters stashed in between, but all I found was one sentence on every page, till the half. 

I didn’t know what to do with it, and why she had sent it after all this time. I also wondered if she was okay. Oh! How I missed her after seeing the notebook!

I thought maybe she wanted to get back into a relationship. I had no problem, I just had to find her number. 

I dialled her number and it said unavailable. I asked my schoolfriends and they asked theirs and nothing came out. 

I started reading the notebook. 

My mother died when I was 2. ‘The first page read. I never knew that. I knew she was dead but never knew it was so early. My heart shook all of a sudden. How much of her did I even know? 

I started reading it. The sentences, and each of those, revealed something I didn’t know about her. It may have been a story, but it was so real. 

I shall go to Paris once. 

I wanted it to rain longer today. 

His smile is infectious. 

Life’s good. ☺



And that’s it. That’s the half of the notebook. 

I look back at it, the smiley beside ‘Life’s Good’ and wonder what’s coming next. 

The next page says

How are you

And the rest of the notebook is blank…

♥The Last Walk♥

When you can’t say farewell…

♡♡♡

Its 5:45 pm and it’s drizzling. Probably. I’m buried inside my blanket and my room is locked. I have to meet her at 6 o’clock. She leaves today evening, 9:25. 

For the last few hours, I’ve been pausing and replaying the moments of our short-lived togetherness inside my mind, over and over. I want to etch every bit of us in my memory; I want to remember every little detail; I want to store every tiny trifling moment my brain. I want her to stay alive in my consciousness, bring a smile on my lips every time I think of her. I want to keep her for life, till I turn blue and they declare me dead. Sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? But have you ever fallen in love?

I also prepare a short farewell message I’ll be speaking to her. I’ll talk about the evenings, and the sheer bliss of walking by her side, of watching her through the corner of my eyes. And I’ll do some cheesy poetry; I’ll tell her what I have written so far, I’ll tell her her eyes shimmer like stars, and she always keeps me on the edge of my seat, and with a wink, she triggers my heartbeats. I’ll ask her to stay, for the sake of the story. Maybe she’ll hear me out and she’ll stop. Maybe Gods would go kind and cancel her train. Maybe the world would end we would die in each other’s arms. Maybe…

At 5: 50, I jump out of my bed and race out of my room. The world outside is foggy, damp and cold. The sky is veiled and the roads glisten from the mild wash. There’s no noise – no vehicle with blaring horns, no woofers with ear-deafening items, no hammered lodgemate howling – nothing except a dreadful, engulfing serenity, only invaded occasionally by birds chirping in the distance – melodic, rhythmic and beautiful. The air is icy, the kind that gives you a red nose if you race your bicycle against a motorbike, and every time it caresses my face, memories sweep through my mind like a gentle, glistening tide of a full moon.

I pace up and down at our meeting spot and think about her and the time ticking away, and I feel this twinge – the jabs in my head, and the stabs in my heart. How I wish calendars to stop and clocks to freeze

She arrives twenty minutes late, as usual, and I wonder if girls have a different way of reading clocks. For boys, 6:00 pm means 6:00 pm, for girls, it means 6:20 pm. 

“Hey. “I wave at her. Clad in yellow, she looks the same as she did the day I saw her for the first time. Thin, very thin. I watch her curls, and the smile that’s just leaped on her face. She’s perfect. 

“Hey. “She says, and it starts to rain.

“It’s raining. My hair looks terrible. And I lost my gorgeous white top. I am very upset. And it’s raining! “She yammers. We run for a place with a roof and halt at the entrance of St.Xaviers. She wants to get in, but there’s a guard in the distance and he looks like an old grumpy man who never returns the cricket ball to the neighborhood kids. 

“Maybe you should go back. You have to travel. “I suggest, half-heartedly. To tell you the truth, I don’t want her to go. I want her to stay with me, amidst this downpour, talking and laughing and staring at me with that piercing, curious look, as if I’m a mystery to her. 

“Shut up. I’m not going anywhere. ”

We watch the rain, the one million drops that fall and implode and make ripples; we listen to the soft music of endless taps, and the silence in the background. We look at each other, sometimes. 

We start walking again as it stops, only to run for a shade a few seconds later. Today’s the day of surprises, shocks and separation. She says we should go to Spring City, and I wouldn’t really mind, though I’d prefer NOP, but anyway, we walk and she turns towards NOP. Surprise!

On the way, she makes some very good attempts to push me to the ditches – her idea of fun – but I skip over every little pool of muddy water, and this constant battle of goodness and evil ends with her sandal getting splashed over with the mud, and even though I feel like laughing my stomach out, I’m afraid she’ll incinerate me with her looks. She finds a broad leaf, and wipes her sandal and then rubs her hands on my jacket. It isn’t exactly romantic  (even though I think I’m going to keep the jacket forever) but it’s still better than getting thrown into mud by an angry goddess. So I say nothing and listen to her as she talks about her lost top and her messed hair and her mother who’d kill her for losing the top. As long as shes talking, lifes good.

The Harry Potter lamps are yet to glow, the day yet to end, and the farewell words yet to be spoken. As I try to match her steps, I wonder what I should be saying, or if she would understand my silence. 

“I can’t believe I lost my top. And my hair is a mess. I look like a witch. “She grumbles. I’ve already told her a dozen times that her hair is perfect, and curls are the best things to have on your head when you are a girl, but she says I’m flirting. I tell you, girls should be included in DU course material, they are stranger than String Theories. 

We revisit the place we went to on our first meeting. The ambient settlements of a township. It’s dimly lit and there are only few people around. It’s cold and it’s our last day of togetherness. I don’t know what to say. I’m quiet because I really don’t have words. I mean I had them at 5:50 pm. We sit for a while on the cricket ground. Her quiet eyes gaze into nothingness, as if she’s thinking about something, something which she wouldn’t tell anybody. Or maybe she is just bored. I pluck dried grass blades and snap them into smaller pieces. I hear the chirping of crickets. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to look her in eyes, my emotions are unreined horses. I don’t want to speak either. I don’t want her to leave, however selfish it might sound. I want her to stay and talk to me, to take a million evening strolls with me, to plod through the street with Harry Potter lampposts, recounting the stories that sound interesting just because she’s lived all of them. I’m already missing her so much, even though she’s a hand away. 

Tell her, you idiot. Tell her how much you crave her. Tell her about her eyes and the winks that trigger your stupid heart. 

We leave the ground and plod through the colony. She says I look better when I’m clean shaven and I tell her how facial hair is a man’s asset, in response to which, she retches for a minute. I can’t believe I’m talking about hair on our farewell walk. 

“My hands are so cold. “She says and presses the back of her palm against my cheek. Her fingers feel like frozen chillies. I wonder if she’s a vampire. She puts her hand in the side pocket of my jacket, and we carry on like that, our steps slow, steady and symphonic. A few pedestrians watch us sometimes, and she pulls her hand out, but keeps it back once they’ve passed. We walk to NOP where she buys chewing gums and then we enter Shyamli. 

“Where’s the road you posted the picture of on Hike? “She asks. 

“On the way. “I say.

I take her to the road and as we pass the Community Hall and a gang of (according to her) hot,  shaven teenagers, we slow down at the dead dark street in front of us. 

It looks like a place you go to and never come back, the kind of place where witches hang from the trees and axemen hide in the bushes. A place where even still air sends shivers through the leaves. There are no stars above, only a giant spider web of withered branches, and the occasional spooky quakes through them. There’s no streetlight. It’s dark as hell.

“I’m scared. “She holds my arm.

“Don’t worry, I have six-packs, a black-belt and three toothpicks in my chest pocket. I can handle one. Or two. ”

“Haww! And the rest of them? ”

“You can run, right? “I ask. She clutches my arm tighter. 

“I’m scared too. “I confess. She tightens her hold.

“And my arm is frail. It can break. ”

She doesn’t listen, and we walk briskly through the ghostly lane like two stupid people in a horror movie. This is not the kind of darkness I appreciate. 

She doesn’t let go of my arm until we see some lights. I secretly wish she hadn’t left my arm. She suggests we should go to the park. We walk and I mistakenly mention a hot classmate on the way, which proves to be a blunder as she instantly stops talking to me and instead, puts every cell of her oral system to the unproductive task of blowing balloon out of the chewing gum. 

“Why are you not talking? ”

“…..”

“What did I do now? ”

“…..”

“I’m sorry. ”

“…..”

“I’m really sorry. ”

“…….”

“This is not fair. ”

“…..”

“…..”

She offers me the chewing gum, without words.

“No, thankyou. ”

“……”

“……”

“Where’s the park? “She asks, and I heave a sigh that could demolish a colosseum. Her silence is a disaster, it just wrecks my world. 

“There there. “I say.

We reach the park and enter through a break in the fence. 

As she sees the swing, she bursts with excitement and races towards it. I’d run only to a strip club with that speed. I follow her, baffled, blinking furiously to check if she’s a real thing.
She takes up one of the swings and I take the other one. It’s pretty childish. I feel like I’m Nobita.

 “You know you could totally kiss me right now. “She says, and I am almost thrown off the swing. 
See, that’s why you shouldn’t watch porn. You start hearing voices and making up things.

She looks at me in an inquisitive manner. 

“Umm…”

“You’re a wuss. “She declares, and I don’t know what to do so I just push my feet against the ground and think about her lips. 

“If you don’t kiss me now you’d never. “She threatens. A thousand questions leap out in front of me. The first one is – how do you kiss? Not that I don’t know the theory, for I could write a thesis paper on the mechanism of kissing but I have never kissed anyone before. I notice her and the feeble cheers of children in a distance and this dim lit corner in the floodlit park and the gorgeous foggy shimmering night sky above us and all I am thinking about is how beautiful her lips are and then everything shatters into shards because it’s our last day. 

“No. Some other day. “I say. 

She doesn’t reply and goes back to enjoying the swing. She moves with it, leaving me and all the emptiness down here, in the melancholic stillness of losing something precious. 

And then, it starts to drizzle, again. We don’t leave the swings. As the droplets fall all over me and all over her, I begin to think about the farewell message. I had it all planned out. I had to say everything that I couldn’t. I had to tell her how she has been the best thing in my seventeen years. But I haven’t spoken any of that yet. I tell myself that I’ll tell her just before the goodbye, but I don’t believe me. 

Ill. Ill say it all.

We go to the seesaw. I’m stronger than her, so I lift her up. She tries her best to press herself down and send me up, but – didn’t I tell you, I’ve six-packs? – she can’t. Actually, sitting on a seesaw is potentially dangerous for a man’s balls, especially when the person on the opposite end is hell bent on tossing you up miles in the air. I figure that out soon and tell her to umm, maybe walk around a bit and leave these amusement tools for children. 

We exit the park and walk through the street, taking a right into one of the forks. We stroll along, circling the park, she talking about the exams, and me, checking the time left. Our steps are in sync, and her fingers are wrapped around my arm.

“I’ll miss you. “She says, all of a sudden. I can’t think of a reply. She would never know how much I’m going to miss her. I don’t say it out loud, but I feel everything. I feel her presence and I feel her absence, and even though it’s ending, I know she’s the best thing in my life.

Spit it out, you moron. 

“Why are you leaving then? “I ask.

“Because I have to. ”

“No you don’t have to. ”

“I will miss you. ”

“Hmm…I’ll miss you more. ”

“No you won’t….You shouldn’t. ”

Ill. “I look her in eyes, and they hold; the connection between us momentary and yet so endlessly ethereal. 

“My hair is a mess. “She frowns. 

“And you’ve lost your top. “I say in a singsong voice. 

“Yes, how could I forget! I lost my top, my hair is a mess, give me a hair band. ”

“I don’t have one. ”

She tugs at the lace in my jacket. I pull it out. She ties her hair with that. I like her untied curls though, but I am tired of remimding it to her. She always thinks I’m flirting. She pulls the lace out and begins to tie knots. 

We turn into another empty, faintly lit street. It’s 7:14 pm. 16 minutes left.

Okay. I’ll say it. I can’t wait anymore. I’ve to ask her to stop. I’ve to….

“Listen….”

“Yeah. ”

“…nothing…. ”

“Tell me. ”

“Nah! You’ll feel awkward. ”

“We discuss porn. It can’t get any more awkward. ”

She looks at me for a moment, her face a blend of reluctance and hope, her eyes vacant and lacklustre, and says,  

“Can I hug you? ”

 Seconds later, we are wrapped around each other like a cocoon. Yet, I feel her slipping away. I smell her hair and her ears and her skin and I want to inhale every last unit of her scent and store it inside me. 

“Can’t you hold me tighter? ”

I do. I hold her like we were one. Her heart paces up and she digs her fingers in my back. Every nerve of mine craves her wildly, and yet I stand here without words. The farewell message, the things that could possibly stop her – all those got erased somehow. I feel like a fish trapped on land. 

I hear her breathes, and I don’t now how, but suddenly, the final strings snap. I know now she’s not getting back. The spaces between us are full of bricks, and the love has begun to evaporate. The uncertainty of her future and the stupidity of my actions have ended this for her. I wish there was some other dimension, where you could listen to each other without hearing them. I don’t want to stop her anymore. I don’t want to speak the farewell message. She’s going, and I don’t want to make it tough for her. I’m not John Tyree, but I know this – somehow, she’s better without me. 

“I know. It’s okay. “I say and rub her back. 

“Thanky…”

“Shhh….”She cuts me off, and we stay in the embrace of each other for a while.
We leave the place at 7:26 pm. She points out that our steps are matching, and I like the fact that I’ve finally learnt to slow down with her. But it doesn’t matter now, our walk is almost over. We trudge back, and after eating Gulabjaamuns at Manju Shree, make our way to the last street. 

I wish it was a movie where people get happily – ever – afters in the end, where you don’t watch your life trudge away from you, never looking back. I wish we had more time, more chapters in our story, or maybe a sequel where everything becomes right. I wish we didn’t have to be scared of our demons. I wish we had more courage. I fight back this loneliness as I watch her go, and as she vanishes from my life, the bitter truth dawns upon me – our little infinity comes to an end. 

I don’t know about her, but they were the most beautiful evenings for me. Every moment I spent with her is a memory to cherish. And no matter what the future brings to our imperfect story, I’ll always remember our tiny forever, our little infinity

Song of the Broken Pieces: Agar Tum Saath Ho 

The background is shimmering with pink, yet the moment couldn’t be any sadder. Both of them are choked up, their eyes wobbly with tears, their faces creased with pain, their lips uttering words in muffled voices, their words fighting with each other and their voices with their own selves. Ved is hurt, and so is Tara. He wants to run away but she won’t let him. She holds his hand and promises to make things alright. Ved tries to break away from her clasp. And in that very moment, the soul shattering music stirs to life. 

Tara clutches onto Ved with every bit of her soul, (pal bhar thahar jao, dil ye sambhal jaye…) and Ved, after some resistance, gives in. The music, in that moment, acts as the background to a beautiful silence, that erupts from Ved’s momentary surrender. 

Pal bhar thahar jao…dil ye sambhal jaye…

Kaise tumhe roka karun… 

Meri taraf aata..har gum fisal jaye…

Aankhon me tumko bharoon…

Bin bole baatein…tumse karoon….

Agar tum saath ho…
(Stop for a moment….so that this heart gets steady…

How should I stop you….

Every sorrow that’s walking towards me shall slip away….if I fill you in my eyes….

I’ll communicate with you without speaking…if you’re with me…)



Tara has a lot to say, but her dreams are punctuated with IFs. This is indeed what every love story is – Beautiful dreams punctuated with ifs. She is trying to say this to Ved, throughout the movie. All she wants is for him to stop for a moment and communicate with her. But Ved is lost in his own web. 

The song is sad-sweet till now, however, once the male voice (Arijit) sets in, it just pierces through the heart. 

Teri nazron me hain tere sapne….

Tere sapno mein hai naaraazi…

Mujhe lagta hai ki baatein dil ki…

Hoti lavzon ki dhokhebaazi…

Tum Saath ho..ya na ho…

Kya fark hai….

Bedard thi..zindgi…bedard hai..

(Your eyes have your dreams…

Your dreams have ire…

It seems that the talks of the heart…

Are THE BETRAYAL OF WORDS…

No matter if you’re with me or not…

Life was ruthless…and is ruthless now…)

There are two voices of Arijit in these lines, both high pitched and low pitched, running simultaneously, reflecting the contrast in the character, the conflict which goes inside Ved till the end of the movie. This shows the true genius of A.R.RAHMAN, who created an immortal metaphor in a song. The two broken voices

Irshad Kamil has to be the hero of this masterpiece, the lyrics he has woven is beautiful and haunting. It just hits the right strings. Everybody who has loved and lost relates to the lyrics. 

The communication, which is Tara’s panacea, is just “betrayal of words” for Ved. Tara has painted a whole world where every dream begins with “If you’re with me….“, and Ved ends his message with the shattering confession, underlining the insignificance of her company, the futility of being with each other, and how it won’t change things for him. Ved can’t be helped, his battle is against himself. 

The whole movie revolves around this theme which has been composed into this unforgettable melody. It reflects the discord between the lives of two people, the contrast between dreams and reality, the distance between two separate worlds. 

The last few lines are of Tara, and those are still punctuated with Ifs. Ved, after repeating his words, has turned quiet now. The music ends with If you’re with me, every sorrow shall slip away…

And then Tara’s voice fades away, leaving a possibility that Ved finally understands the yearnings of Tara. 

Or maybe they’re still singing two different songs…

♥An Inch Apart♥

Some distances are immeasurable… ☺

It was a lovely cold night. Patches of galaxies smeared up in the sky, stars twinkled in poetic rhythms, and the moon gleamed over the chirps of crickets with a perfect halo of silver. 

Their lips had three inches of space between them, their fiery breaths engulfing each other already, their smouldering eyes fuelling the flames inside their hungry souls. 

The tides would be roaring now, he thought. 

The trees would be glowing now, she thought. 

They had known each other for some time. It was a shared feeling of loneliness that brought them together. The oblivion, the anonymity, the insignificance, the hardships of being almost invisible. 

He was a doctor. She was a designer. He loved her art. She loved his stethoscope. She would spend hours lying in his arms, the earpieces slotted in her ears as she listened to his heartbeat. It was her song, the pulsating rhythm of his existence. 

For him, she was a resplendent canvas. A confluence of eternal beauty and unfading spark. Something he couldn’t stop wondering about. He’d stay awake and watch her innocence unfold as she slept, and as she woke up. 

It was an almost perfect love story. 

It started as friendship, over a pot of coffee. They talked about songs and art and life, and found each other complementary in some strange way. There was a quenching composure in their friendship. But tonight was the night of sparks and fire. 

Their lips were two inches apart. 

Emotions are so much like kites. You think you’ve got the spool tight, but in the end, it flies where it wants to. The wind of love drives the kite of emotions, and we just stand at our roofs, trying to hold on and save ourselves. 

Somehow, amidst this endless universe, their kites got tangled. The occasional accidental touching was slowly replaced by holding hands and entwining fingers. The hugs of sympathy were replaced by hugs of joy. The kiss had to be the second last nail in the coffin. 

The last persons they had kissed were still alive, and their spouses. 

His wife was an actress and her husband was a spoiled drunkard. She was flying in the skies and he had sunk to the trenches. Both were decaying behind their glossy masks. And both were hated. Almost.

But things had started out perfect, like they always do. He met her in the college fest, sparks flew, they screwed each other, and that’s what they had been doing till now, however, in a completely different sense. 

She met him through a mutual friend. He was the best guy then. They were perfect. He used to be so romantic and caring, and so…so…someone else. 

No matter how unvaryingly the clock ticks, time is never monotonous. Grief always follows the bliss. That’s the theory. 

She thought about her seven year old daughter, about the last page of her notebook where she’d drawn three people. Her family with her mother on her left and her father on her right. Even though the father had a bottle in one of his hands and he was kind of staggering, he was clutching her daughter’s fingers with the other hand. There was something symmetrical amidst this tragic assymtry. 

He thought about her nine year old daughter, about her birthday cake and how she wanted both her parents to cut it together. They were so happy that day, all three of them. It was true that the love between the two had whittled away to a meagre scent, but despite everything, there was something he owed. Trust. 

Their lips were an inch apart. And yet, they never met. 

The Strawberry 

She was smiling through the shattered glass…

The papers flew away from the force. The glass broke into a hundred pieces. The inkpot tumbled and drenched my song with a deep blue. Specks of ink stippled my bruised hand. Yet another lonesome night, and yet another epoch of silence, broken by my impulsive response to all my tragedies. 

She was smiling through the shattered glass. Her long wavy black hair smelled of strawberries. The peach top reminded me of all her madness. She was irresistible, both in life and in picture. I tried to pick her up, but a splinter pierced through my finger and my hands dropped the frame. 

Stupid me. Stupid Stupid Stupid me. 

You don’t go picking up broken frames. 

It had been years since we broke up, but I was still writing the first scene of our story.  Ridiculous, right?

We were good, like two stupid lovebirds are supposed to be. We’d hold hands and talk through the evening, watching the dusk as it melted away. The terrace was always so full of love that we didn’t even mind mosquitoes. We’d watch the stars, our bodies so close that our cells would start to fuse together. We’d laugh and talk and savor the silence between the words. I’d pretend to be a palmist and tell her that she was going to marry me. 

“It’s written. So clearly written. You see this line here? This is it. We are getting married. ”

She’d pout her lips and say,

“Umm…actually, you’re holding the wrong hand. ”

My love story was amazing. It had everything – humour, suspense, lust, thrill, love. The only thing it lacked was tragedy. 

Her dad worked in a shitty department which kept transferring people for fun. The day the transfer letter arrived, we watched the dusk through tears. But we were confident we would survive. I mean wasn’t this the best love story of all time! It was supposed to remain despite all tragedies. 

She gave me a number the next morning. 

“Call me. Everyday. ”

I looked at her and realized this thing in that instant – if ever was I going to marry somebody, it would be this sixteen year old girl. And I’d write our love story and it’d be a record breaking bestseller. 

We were inseparable after that. I called her everyday and told her how much I missed her. She told me that she missed me more and then we had a fight over who missed whom more. She always won, because why shouldn’t she. I was sure we’d make history some day. 

Then, one day, her number went busy. And half a month later, she was dating someone else. 

I don’t know what happened. But that was just the prologue to my story. Real shit started happening after the breakup. I could not forget her. You can’t ever erase the existence of someone you loved from your memory. 

I tried writing about us, but I could never finish the prologue. I always thought it was incomplete. So I sat at my table, at the dusk of every weekend, and tried to scribble my tragic melody on paper. It’s a sad life, trust me.

The frame lay there, covered in shards. Her cheeks were covered with blood, and yet she was smiling, unaffected. That’s the moment I got to know – she’ll never understand my pain. No matter how much I cry, whine or write, she’s always going to be smiling. She’s just a picture. That’s all that remained. 

The maid swept the room the next day. She asked if she should keep the photo on my table. 

“Nah. Drop it in the trash. “I said. 

The strawberry in my room gradually whittled away. 

I Like You, But Only as a Friend. 

Since girls don’t have nuclear weapons, they invented Friend Zone. 😑

Friendzone has to be the word of the century. It summarises the love story of half the humanity in a two syllable noun. In fact, it reveals about human behaviour more than any of those brobdingnagian jargons they throw at you in university lectures. 

I have a great fondness for this word, the kind girls usually develop for I-pill while dating condomphobics. A lot of it has to do with history, and also with constant updates in my UC news portal where celebrities constantly deny rumours of their affairs by labelling the relationship as friendship. 

Since I don’t have a girlfriend, I spend my time thinking about my friends’ girlfriends. No, not in a raunchy way mind you, but in an inquisitive manner trying to figure out their behavioural pattern and mechanism. Why do they do what they do? What motivates them to make a choice? Do they compare their boyfriends’ dicks in free time? 

One trait girls of all classes, societies and sizes display is the tendency to friendzone a guy. Of course, it’s not always a girl friendzoning a man, sometimes prospective  lesbian relationships are ruined too. And sometimes it’s also guys friendzoning girls, but like the case of dowry extortions, it’s more commonly observed in a specific gender. 

So I did a really elaborate research on this topic, which means going through a Wikipedia article, and found out that there are a few reasons behind this problem. 

Generally, the girl is not sufficiently attracted to the man. Which is a cue for nerds to go to a fuckin saloon. Girls find men’s hairstyles repulsive, or their buck teeth ugly, or their inability to converse in English a sign of intellectual vacuum. Feminists would now accuse me of labelling women as shallow objects, but I don’t really care. I do believe that women are shallow, and so are men. Humanity is really a raven in  macow’s skin. We do judge people on petty scales, and then pretend oh we don’t do that. It’s fine to reject somebody because of his looks or appeal, and it’s completely digestible. 

The next reason is miscommunication. This is a serious problem. Men are always looking for cues. They try to find pussies even in victory signs. So a gesture not meant to be interpreted as an invitation, is usually misunderstood by the guy. A peck on the cheek might make a boy wonder if the girl wants to have kids with him. Men are always on the lookout. A goggle-wearing buck teeth is as likely to fall in love with you as a chiselled greek God. And both suck at decoding mysterious girlese symbols. 

The third reason is they are already in a relationship. Well, ouch!

See, it’s okay to not like somebody. It’s perfectly fine, trust me. If everybody liked everybody, I’d be producing kids with my landlord. The problem is their inability to reject a proposal. 

They could have said, “I don’t like you. ” but they choose a rather ambiguous idiom – I like you, but as a friend. That’s where it becomes complicated. Because if you were looking for friendship, you wouldn’t find my profanity, cheapness and shabbiness a turn off, and you wouldn’t want me to behave in a certain way that appeases you. Friendship is more liberal and pure, please stop using it as a cover. 

And this is where I think I’ve started being incoherent, so I’ll take off. 

Bye bye.