Bride #FridayFotoFiction

Forever Bride

It was a new day but with some old beginnings

As she peered out the window she noted that the garden needed tending. She examined her looks in the mirror and pushed a stray hair away. The lace dress was Jack’s favorite. He had picked it up himself and she still remembered the way he looked at her when she first wore it, she found herself blushing.

It’s considered a bad omen to see the brides in their wedding dress. She wondered if it had come true as she tried not to think about the day of their wedding five years back when Jack survived a terrible accident but with short term memory loss.

As she walked towards Jack with a posie in her hand, the love in his eyes made her realize that she might not have a happily ever after, but she will definitely live a lifelong romance.

I am writing this story as part of #FridayFotoPrompt by Mayuri and Tina. This week’s prompt was Bride

Tina Basu

 

Theme Reveal Post for A-Z Blogging Challenge

When I first read about this challenge on BlogChatter, I was super excited and decided to give it a go. It was rather impulsive of me to click on participation link. Super excited at first, the amount of work slowly dawned upon me and that made way for fear! Not afraid of writing but fear about leaving it incomplete. Questions like “What if I can’t manage everything?” What if I just put up random posts to get done with the alphabet? What if I put up half baked stories just because I need to get done with it?What would I write about? such thoughts tormented me and I had almost decided to quit even before I started.

While my emotions overwhelmed me, it hit me, that is what I want my theme to be! I believe stories are to be felt more than read. You could use the most tongue twisting, exquisite words, but if they can’t touch a chord somewhere deep within, it just remains a well written text or narrative. Using the opportunity provided by BlogChatter and A-Z Blogging Challenge I want to explore those emotions with my nanotales. I want to see if I can bring to life the emotions felt in a situation.

Tales of emotions via nanotales

Read a line recently “Everyone has a story to tell, some are written in books while some are confined in heart” by Savi Sharma in her book.  It resonated with me and moved me. I always look for stories around me and this is a great way to bring out those stories and the emotions that gripped me. I hope you enjoy this emotional roller coaster with me!

A-Z Blogging Challenge

Down the memory lane

We were back after two decades in those familiar surroundings

Much had changed, yet nobody felt out of place

Such was the charisma of ‘College Reunion’ that nobody was too busy to miss.

The once loved faces and figures were transformed by wrinkles and pot bellies

Yet, no one felt the need to hide or a reason to point.

The evening that had started with an awkward ‘hello’, soon gave way

to loud laughs, nostalgic memories, back-slaps and continuous chatter

The college queen of yester-years was today a chic kitty party diva

The secret crushes of yesterday, shared a hearty laugh and swapped family mantra

The first benchers seemed disenchanted in their secure governement jobs

The smart ones shared their corporate growth with anyone who cared

And it was the back-benchers who spoke about investment, entrepreneurship and profits.

The bitter foes of past had patched up and once passionate lovers were amicable strangers today

Yes, much had changed, yet today was special.

Coz, the unforgettable past and the beautiful future converged on the borders of today as we took a trip down the memory lane

Linking this up with BlogChatter prompt of the week

Capricious and brutal temptress -Stress

A capricious and often brutal temptress

She is frail, with no strength of her own.

Everyone ignores her, and don’t take her into account,

While her parasitic nature, hides behind a vulnerable exterior

She tiptoes into your life, while you are running behind your dreams, and suddenly takes over,

Nobody believes they are susceptible, but she can make the mightest of them bow

She toys with young and old, toddlers and kids,

She spares no one, she loves no one.

Such is her grip on life that

She lives a veiled existence yet people dread talking about her.

If undetected, she gets her friends depression and anxiety

Together they slowly choke the life out of your well wishers- joy, drive, inspiration.

By then, it’s too late, all you can do is watch in helplessness or list help and fight.

Yet many are ashamed to agree that they are in her cluthes

And prefer a silent death over a simple solution

It is better to talk and than be sorry.

stress

Linking this post to #ClickandBlog a story #Week5

ALL ABOUT THE WOMAN

Facade

In the crowded city of Bangalore stood an old theatre. The facade wore a look of neglect, while the inner auditorium and stage were in a dilapidated condition. It had been a popular theatre in its prime and had been built during the colonial times. There was a time when shiny cars stopped at its entrance and Britishers or the Indian royalty stepped out with their families to enjoy an evening of grand theatre. Today, Triumph Theaters was a forgotten name on the busy high streets of Bangalore.

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It was a usual Sunday evening and the shops around Triumph Corner, (ironically people continued to remember the corner) was busy with shoppers. The morning newspapers had carried a small article in City Beat that the old Triumph Theaters would be torn down to build a new mall in the shopping heaven of Bangalore. Not many noticed this piece. The current generation hardly knew where it was, after all the Britishers left India around 70 years back!

She was walking slowly in a burqa towards Triumph square, a street vendor held his perfumes towards her “Real cheap and good quality, you should try this.” he said, but she just waved him away. She stood in front of Triumph Theaters while taking a long look at it. She was lost in her thoughts when there was a tap on her shoulders. She turned around to face Sameer, “I knew you would come.” he said. They sat there under an old peepal tree that was just outside the gate of Triumph.”Other’s will come too. They still have their day jobs and families to care for.” he said quietly as they sat next to each other looking at the derelict building.

Slowly as the stores closed and the streets started getting quiet, a group of 10-15 people joined. They looked as if they had come to mourn. Sameer led them to the back of the building, where the fence was cut and they all quietly walked into the theatre. They went around the complex quietly, as if soaking in every word that the rickety theater had to say. They gathered near the stage and she removed her burqa to reveal a clear face soaked in tears. Her perfectly manicured hands ran over the stage. Just then they heard some voices and as they turned around came face to face with a bunch of teens. They gasped looking at her. After all, it was Nagma that they were seeing in front of them. The superstar of celluloid, one of the highest paid heroines of Bollywood.Sameer, brought the kids near her and said, “This would have been the third generation here, sadly their dream will be short-lived.”

Nagma remembered fondly how they had stumbled upon the open fence while trying to retrieve a ball. All of them had been the children of street vendors around Triumph Corner.While the parents were busy selling products to shoppers and tourists, the children went into the Theater and acted out scenes from movies or created their own scripts. Over the years, this had been a fantasy world, that opened just for them. A world, where they could be anything they wanted – a king, a hero, a rich and beautiful heroine, glamorous villain, action hero. Hours spent here offered them a happy facade that hid their stark reality.

Nagma had nurtured her dream to be an actress here and she had even fulfilled it. Many of them today worked around theater and film industry in different capacities, but everybody knew it was Triumph where they had learnt to dream. Tomorrow Banglore will lose a forgotten landmark but for this group, they will lose a place where dreams were lived and the teens will lose a grasp on dreams that helped them put up a happy facade in the face of grim reality.

via Daily Prompt: Facade

Nightmare

She woke up with a start. Beads of perspiration dotted her forehead. Clutching the covers she glanced around the room, but everything was calm and quiet. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep but in an instant the many occurrences of eve teasing, the purposeful brush against her ill-formed breasts, the quick pull at her skirt, the quick rub against her thigh, the sickening glances, the attempts of molestation, filled her head.

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“Why am I dreaming it?” It was a nightmare actually, she corrected herself. A nightmare she had lived while growing up. Travelling by a public transport, walking a dim lit street, reaching school, college on her own over the years had given way to such instances. She was deeply hurt by each such instance, but the shamefulness or the helplessness that arose from it was frustrating. She had been angry with herself. Every time she had coaxed herself that there was nothing to be ashamed of. She hadn’t done anything wrong, but the feeling wouldn’t go. Even today she couldn’t talk to anyone openly about the incidents. As time passed, she learnt a few hacks that kept such perverts at bay, however, she never really got over the hurt or pity that she felt for herself and she was might upset about it. The nightmare, once again had proved it! She was still stuck in that time warp and even thinking about it brought tears of helplessness to her eyes.

As she got back in her bed, there was a soft coo from the other side and she saw her 8 months old daughter smiling back at her. Her heart was in her mouth, just looking at the innocent face.

She held her daughter  close to her and realised, it wasn’t just a nightmare, it was a warning. She had to prepare her daughter to face a world that wasn’t just or protected. But she promised herself one thing, “I will not restrict my daughter’s dreams to avoid such incidents in her life. I will equip her with better skills and will never let her feel inferior to anyone.Never will my daughter pity herself.” She knew it was this resolution that will help her get over her own helplessness.

This story was created in response to the story prompt from DailyPost.
Nightmare

Loss… and a life beyond

It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. Anil was gone. And, soon, this bedroom, the house in whose eastern corner it sat, and the tiny garden outside with its gnarled old red hibiscus and the half-grown mango tree they had planted together, all those would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever. But, she knew it had to be done.Her bags were packed and ready to go in the corner. She made her way to the kitchen, looking at the many photographs that lined the walls of the corridor.

Just walking through the rooms brought back so many memories. The pictures on the wall, the marks on the furniture, a wall piece or a painting reminded her of the many things they had done together. They had very lovingly decorated their house. Nothing was just a piece of furniture or décor, it held special meaning to it, a memory. The many laughter’s that they had shared, seemed to echo in the rooms. These memories always felt like a warm blanket on a cold winter night.

She kept her kettle on the gas, and as the water shimmered, Maya thought back about that day. She still remembered the day vividly, as if it had happened just yesterday. It was their 35th anniversary. Maya had been sitting in their garden that morning, sipping her tea, as she usually did, waiting for Anil to wake up. However, when there was no sign of him, even after she finished her tea, she went looking for him. Anil was still asleep. Maybe he is not well, she had thought to herself and quickly touched his forehead, but it was cold. She checked his pulse there was nothing. She shook him wildly as tears started welling in her eyes calling out his name, but there was no movement. She ran to get her cell phone and called their family doctor, asking him to come urgently. She sat at the foot of the bed, staring at Anil’s calm face. He just seemed to be in a deep sleep. Her phone rang, she picked it up and heard her son and her grandchildren sing “Wish you a very Happy Anniversary Maa”, but with tears rolling down her cheek and a trembling voice all she could say was “Anil is not waking up.”

Everybody was shocked at Anil’s sudden demise. Maya was beyond stunned. She continued as if she was in a trance. She felt hurt and broken. Her biggest anchor in life was gone. She didn’t know how to react. She didn’t remember much of anything that transpired after this. She had been mechanical in her response. Today Maya knew she had been in deep shock and at the onset of a dark depression that had gripped her for more than a year.

After Anil’s death, Maya had believed that she could lead a normal life alone and had refused to go to USA with her only son. How wrong she had been! As days passed, Maya had became withdrawn, a recluse. She hardly cooked or cleaned. She just spent her days laying in the bed. Maya would just open the door for the maid and go back to bed. Earlier she usually had some regular social talk with her daily. Maya hardly spoke to the maid now. She always appeared to be in some deep thought. At times she would speak with Anil’s belongings or pictures as if he was still with her. The maid had been in their house for a very long time. She first thought Maya would tide over this. But when nothing seemed to improve even after 6 months, the maid got worried.

Earlier Maya and Anil would talk to their son every week either on call or Skype. Lately, Maya would never be online to chat with him. The son was getting worried with the increasing frequency of unanswered phone calls by his mother. He started connecting with their neighbours and they in turn, got in touch with the maid. What they heard from the maid shocked them. Maya had always been an independent woman, a professor for 20 years and a strong willed healthy woman. Everybody knew at once that something was terribly wrong. Things moved quickly after that. Maya’s son came back and took her to a local hospital. She was diagnosed with depression and quickly put on medication and grief counselling. Today after almost six months of intense therapy and medications later, Maya was feeling more like her old self.

Maya and Anil had a love marriage. As both their parents had lived all their life in a rented house and worked at the mills in Bombay, owning a home had been important for them. After marriage, they had worked very hard to ensure that they had enough savings to own a house. From the moment they were working, they started putting aside some money, to be able to buy a home of their own. They didn’t mind a small place, but they wanted a nook to call their own. Maya had always found a strange support in the house and after Anil’s demise, she had believed that the support would be enough to tide over this grief. But she had been wrong.

Today she knew that she needed the people who loved her and cared for her more than the memories the house held. She had agreed to move in with her son in the USA. She knew it would be a constant battle and the future could be overwhelming, but she knew she could conquer her fears only if she was with her loved ones. Maya was finally ready to let go and make a new beginning.

This is an edited version of the story submitted for a story prompt by Jaishree Misra for TOI’s Write India contest.

 

Coincidence or God Send?

Madhuri quickly packed up. It was getting late and she had to reach the other end of the city. Madhuri hated travelling for work, and monsoons made it even worse. Her plans of leaving early had fallen flat with a last minute meeting in office. As she was wrapping up for the day, she peeped through the blinds to check the weather. It was pretty cloudy and looked like heavy rains were about to lash the city. She fastened her pace to catch the office transport, but by the time she reached the stop, the last office bus had left.

Cursing her luck, Madhuri made her way to the city transport bus stop. “Now I just hope I get a bus before it starts pouring down.” She said to herself. She paced up and down the deserted bus stop while waiting for her bus. Her cell rang and she saw it was Rishabh, her husband on the line. “Are you on your way back? It has started drizzling here and it looks like, it’s going to be a long rainy night,” Rishabh said with concern.  “Yes, I totally agree. I just hope the bus comes in the next 15 minutes. Things should be fine then.”

“Just let me know, once you board the bus.” He said. She agreed and put the phone back in her purse. She had been pre-occupied and did not notice the old man sitting at the far end of the bus stop. Now as peered out to see if there was any sign of the bus, she noticed the man. His clothes looked dirty, but he seemed to come from a good family. She was surprised to see him at the bus stop, as this was an IT Park and there were hardly any people at the stop except for office goers or allied staff. The closest residential area was around 5km away.

She walked up to him to try and ask about the next bus, but his eyes looked lost. He had a faraway look on his face. Madhuri wasn’t sure, but nevertheless she tried making a conversation with him. “It looks like it will be raining heavily today, where are you going in this weather.” He turned at her, but his tired eyes were listless. He did not answer. Madhuri tried again, “Do you like close by? You might want an umbrella if you are planning to go far.” He looked at her again, this time his wrinkled face gave a sad smile and said “I don’t remember where I live.” Madhuri was taken aback with this revelation. She went back to her seat. She didn’t know how to react and what to do. From the corner of her eye she saw the old man again. He had gone back to staring out aimlessly. He didn’t seem to remember anything.

 

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Image Credit- Pixabay

 

“Should I believe him? she wondered. In the world of what’s app and mass message sharing systems, it wasn’t rare to receive messages about some duping gang and robbers who used similar pretexts to rob people on lonely stretches. Now, Madhuri was really scared and all she prayed was for that wretched bus to arrive. She looked around nervously, to see if there were any partners in crime lurking around but everything was calm around her. Just then she saw the bus arrive. Her joy knew no bounds. As she picked her purse she saw the old man. He looked scared and genuinely lost. In the spur of a moment, Madhuri made her decision. She boarded the bus holding his hand. She took the tickets for both of them and sat down. The seat beside her was empty and she gestured the old man to sit there. He quietly obeyed and sat down.

Madhuri asked him calmly, “Do you remember anything that might be helpful to locate your address? Any landmark, family members name, phone number, office name, anything that might help?” As the old man replied in negative, Madhuri’s heart sank. “All I know is that I have been walking the whole day. I even went to a police station, but they didn’t know what to do. They gave me something to eat, water to drink and clicked a few pictures for records. I sat there for a long time and then left.”

By now, the bus conductor and the few passengers that were there in the bus got curious. As Madhuri explained what she knew, the conductor suggested that there was an old age home close to Madhuri’s stop and leaving the old man there would be helpful. Everybody including Madhuri and the old man thought of this as a good idea.

Someone on the bus gave the old man some fruits to eat.  Madhuri decided to try another way, she clicked a few pictures of his and shared the details that she had along with the pics on all her social media sites and what’s app groups. All the people on the bus agreed to do the same. She just hoped that the message could somehow reach the old man’s family.

By now it was pouring outside and she felt happy that she didn’t leave the old man alone at the deserted bus stop. As she filled in the forms at the old age home she realized the old man looked peaceful and for the first time she saw him smile.

Two days later, as she was getting ready for office, she got a call from the old age home. A young woman was on the other end of the line. She was choking as she spoke. “I can’t thank you enough for what you have done. I am the daughter of the old man you rescued. We had been running from pillar to post looking for him when one of our family members saw your post. You were a god send to us. My father is a retired Army Major and suffers from Alzheimer’s. He is never unattended and he usually has an introduction letter with him. Sadly, he misplaced his letter that day. Your quick thinking helped me find my father.”

After listening to her, Madhuri had tears in her eyes. She thought, “Was I really god send? Had it turned out this way, if I had left the office early, or left by office transport? Is this what you call coincidence?  But all she could say out loud was “You are welcome.”

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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