Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Part 13

“So how much have we done?” asked Vivek as he settled in his chair.

“Quite a bit. I made 10 slides, and need you guys to see them now” I replied while taking the pen drive out of my bag. We were at Ayush’s place this time, and his room looked like it belonged to an eccentric person. I wasn’t surprised, because Ayush’s personality agreed with the vibe his room gave off. He had painted all his walls with what he called ‘abstract art’, and had empty bottles of paint everywhere.  His computer table was the only thing that seemed to be well kept in the entire room. If this wasn’t enough, he had the quote ‘Crazy people who are productive are geniuses. Crazy people who are rich are eccentric. But crazy people who are neither productive nor rich are just crazy’ plastered on his door.

“And I came up with a concept for the chart summary” Ayush said with a quick glance at Nandita, “I spoke with Nandita the other day and she agreed with me. Just a sec”, he got up to retrieve a rolled chart paper from his art store. I guess it must be the place where he kept all his works.

He unrolled the chart and displayed it to us. I couldn’t help but stare at it, not believing that I had not agreed with this idea initially. He had painted the entire background black, and there were two fire torches in the bottom right corner, depicting ‘enlightenment’, in Ayush’s words. Two patterns that looked very much like climbers grew out from behind the torches, white in color.

“It’s..amazing”, I said softly, whilst looking at the painting. Ayush stared at me for a second, which also broke my trance.


“I thought you didn’t like this idea”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t quite picture it this way when you told me”

He grinned, “Good. Now you know when to not contradict me”, he said with an attitude that sounded bogus. I gave him a dirty look, which only made him grin more.

Before I could say anything to him, Nandita spoke up, “Naina, can we see the slideshow now?”

I curtly nodded and pursed my lips. Getting up from my chair, I made my way towards Ayush’s computer and inserted the pen drive into the input. Ayush, Nandita and Vivek gathered behind me as I double clicked on the icon.

I don’t believe in making jazzy presentations and putting in too many effects, it makes the entire presentation look very congested and rather lousy. I like to keep it simple and elegant, which is exactly what I had done with this project too. Somehow, it always worked for me.

We finished watching the presentation and discussed the minute changes. Everyone pretty much liked the way it was coming along, so we sat down and talked about our further course of action. The discussion lasted for about 10 minutes, and then we all got bored. Our conversation easily drifted towards a different topic, and the next thing we knew, we were talking about UFO’s and aliens.


It was only when Vivek’s parents called that we realized that it was 7 in the evening. He said a quick goodbye and left. Nandita, Ayush and me quickly ran through our next plan before she and I left too.
As we were walking towards my car, I noticed that there was a certain subtle sadness still lingering in Nandita’s eyes. Had I not been her friend, I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend the real emotion behind that smiley face. Deciding to break the silence, I said, “You okay?”

She blinked twice, as if being broken out of her reverie. Once she realized what I had asked, she simply continued to look ahead, knowing that I would understand what her answer was. I decided not to probe further.

When we reached my car, I dug my hands into my pocket to fish out the keys, “Shit!”

Nandita looked at me, “What?”

“I left my keys inside. Damn. Give me 2 minutes dude, I’ll just be back” I said hurriedly and started to make my way back towards Ayush’s house.

“Listen Naina, I think I’ll catch the auto. Mom has already called me thrice” she said

“Yeah but it’ll just take me 2 minutes” I replied. This always annoyed me. Parents’ over protectiveness. When will they have enough faith in their kids to simply let go? This is one department my mom ruled in. She trusted me with the freedom I had, knowing that I’d never misuse it.

“I know, but I told them that I’m on my way. Don’t worry, I’ll go, okay ?” she said with a small smile.

“You sure?”

“Yeah, don’t worry” she repeated. I finally sighed and said, “Okay Nandu. It’s your call. See you in school”
She just smiled and walked off, waving her hand to stop an auto. I looked at her for a second before turning around, hoping that she’d be okay.

As I was walking towards Ayush’s gate, I heard faint voices of music coming from the right. My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to find out where the sound was coming from. Getting closer, a small room came into my view. It stood separate from the rest of the house, and was pretty much hidden from the front view. As I got nearer, I recognized the song being sung. It was ‘Dooriyan’ from Love Aaj Kal.

Without bothering to knock, I opened the door only to be surprised by this guy again. Ayush was sitting on a small bar stool, with a guitar in his hands, and was singing. I stood at the doorstep, my mouth agape. He was slowly beginning to resemble one of those magical boxes where you find a new box every time you open a box.

He didn’t notice me, so I took the liberty to look around the room. It had nothing except of a drum set, a electric guitar and a small cabinet in one corner. His pack of cigarettes was also lying on the floor, next to his stool. My eyes landed back on him, and I noticed for the first time that he was in fact, a very good singer.
I guess he noticed a presence because he abruptly stopped. He turned around and looked at me, “You? Jeez not again! You love sneaking up on me or something?”

“I left my keys inside, when I was coming back I noticed music coming from this side. So I decided to find out, hardly my fault that you like to keep your entire life a secret” I replied.

He sighed and shook his head, “Great. I’m beginning to think that you’re some CIA agent whose been sent to spy on me”

I ignored his answer and said, “So what’s your passion? Music or art?”

“Music” he said without a second’s thought, “I love art too, but music is what really makes feel alive”

I nodded, now suddenly remembering the time when I was fond of singing too. It seemed so long ago, and I still don’t know why I stopped singing. I walked inside without his permission and sat down on a spare stool, “Why did you keep this place hidden?”

“Well, for two reasons. One, it’s my escape when I’m feeling sad or depressed. Two, this privacy sort of gives a ‘sacred’ feel to my music”

I nodded again, now unconsciously smiling at the memory of myself dressed up in a saree and singing ‘Vande Mataram’ on Independence Day in school, “I used to sing too”, I said without realizing.

“Really?”, he said, surprise evident in his voice.

“Yeah, but not now. It’s been a long time”, I replied, “Anyway, now that I know, why don’t you sing something?”

“What do you wanna hear?” he asked, grinning.

“Anything that sir Mozart would like to sing”, I replied, now grinning too. He adjusted his guitar and thought for a moment before saying, “Okay. This is one of my favorite songs. Never say Never by The Fray”

Here is the link to the acoustic version of the song:

I smiled but didn’t admit that I loved this song too. That would totally screw our chalk and cheese image.


Vivek entered his house, fearing the impending confrontation with his parents. The moment he stepped inside his room, he saw his parents sitting on his bed, with his cousins running around his room. He sighed, joint family sucks.

His parents, his grandparents, his chacha-chachi, all lived under one roof. There were moments of joy and togetherness, and then there were moments of extreme frustration and suffocation. Vivek hoped every single moment of the day to reach the age of 18 quickly, so that he could move out and live on his own.

“We told you to come early. Your mama-mami will be here anytime now. We’ve been calling you since –”

“I’m sorry, ok? I lost track of time but I came as soon as you called me up” Vivek said, getting irritated. He ignored his parents and walked towards his closet to take out some ‘acceptable’ clothing for the evening. Why the hell were they coming anyway? And even if they are, why is it so important for every goddamn person to kiss their feet?

“Behave yourself Vivek. You have no right to get fired up. It’s us who’ve been waiting, while you were having the time of your life with your friends” said his mother in a loud voice. Vivek decided not to argue, he knew it was no point saying anything.

“I’m sorry, won’t happen again”, he said with his head hung low.

“It better not”, and with that, both of them got up, murmured something like “Get ready fast” and walked out of his room.

He sighed and got back to getting ready. He had lived in a joint family all his life, but he warmed up to the institution. Freedom and space were non-existent concepts, and each and every action was scrutinized with a fine microscope. He wondered what it would take to set himself free of this bond, and once again thought of his 18th birthday.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Part 12

Ayush and I had gone back to the workshop after the mini break. He sneaked in without anyone noticing, but I had to face the brunt of my teacher's wrath. I kept mumbling about how I suddenly felt faint and so I went to the washroom. But Ms. Grumpy kept yelling about discipline and self control and bla bla.
I silently walked back to my seat next to Nandita who looked genuinely concerned. "Are you okay? What happened?", she asked in an anxious voice.

I nodded, "I'm fine. Just felt a little faint back then. It's fine now", I said, trying to give her a reassuring smile. She nodded, although she didn't look convinced.

I focused all my concentration on the pikachu after the break. Trying hard not to look up even once, I concentrated on detaching myself from the situation, the environment. Flashes of the past were ruthlessly pushing against my mental barriers to enter my mind, but I resisted them with all the force that I could muster. This was an old trick that had often helped me as a kid. Imagine yourself enclosed in a bubble, a bubble constructed by you to protect yourself from external enemies (Imagine the protego spell in Harry Potter) The enemies continue to push against the walls of the bubble, but you focus your energy and strength on keeping the bubble erect until they go away.

Strangely, I thought of how weird it was to see Ayush smoking. I deduced he had never told anyone about his smoking at school by the way he reacted. He never seemed the type of person who would succumb to peer pressure or mere curiosity to me. And seeing that half of my class smokes because the other half told them to, this was the foremost plausible reason that came to one's mind.

I unconsciously shrugged and decided that it was none of my business. Taking a glimpse at my watch, I realized that there were 20 more minutes to go. I noticed Nandita looking at me out of the corner of my eye. She had the expression that said 'I-know-there-is-something-fishy', she probably must have noticed my funny behavior and visible attempts at dissociating myself from the workshop. This was something Nandita was an expert at - reading faces. She should be a detective.

I avoided her gaze and went back to drawing. Those 20 minutes were passing so slowly that I could almost imagine myself being dragged towards the guillotine, very, very slowly.

I almost jumped when the bell rang. I let out a sigh of relief and quickly got up. The enemies vanished and I finally let my guard loose, allowing the bubble to slowly evaporate. Before I could pack my things, Nandita snatched my notepad from my hand and flipped through the pages.

"You made 8 pikachus during the workshop?" she asked incredulously.

I never realized I had made that many, "Um, well, yeah?", I replied with a sheepish expression on my face.
She kept staring at me and crossed her arms across her chest, "What's wrong Naina? Did this workshop bother you?"

I was beginning to get annoyed. I didn't want to talk about this anymore, all I wanted was to get out of this room and inhale some fresh air, "Look, nothing's wrong. Can we go now? I'm thirsty", and I collected the remaining of my things and walked out without waiting for her response.
She sighed and followed me, sensing she didn't have much of a choice.


We're sitting in our usual chuski treat stall, now having forgotten the incident in the conference room. Atleast I had.

"So what did you want to say?", I asked

She sighed and leaned forward, "I want to run away from my house"

I hadn't heard her correctly, "What ?"

Suddenly, tears brimmed in her eyes and before she could she help it, they were freely running down her cheeks. I quickly got up and sat next to her, placing my hand over hers. I realized that something was seriously wrong, because Nandita seldom broke down like this. "What's wrong Nandu?" I asked softly.
"My parents are each other's enemies Naina. There is never a single day that passes without both of them yelling at each other”, she said in a deeply pained voice.

I knew that Nandita’s parents didn’t get along well. But the rift between them had become deeper only the last year, when Nandita’s mom’s brother died in a car accident. Nandita’s dad was driving the car, and her mama (mother’s brother) was with him. They were going to some relative’s place. Her dad had lost control of the car and it crashed into a truck. Her dad survived, but her mama didn’t. Her mom didn’t say it, but she always blamed her husband for her brother’s death. It caused so much resentment that it had become difficult for them to live under one roof.

Nandita never showed it, but she was inwardly sad for the whole year. During the winter vacations, she had also slipped into depression, and it took a month of therapy to get her back to normal. She always pretended to be this happy-go-lucky girl, when she was fighting huge battles inside.

I slowly rubbed her back as she hid her face in her palms and leaned down. After a few minutes had passed, I said, “Running away is never an option Nandu. I know it seems like the easy way out, but it’s not what you want. I know it”

She slowly straightened up and wiped her tears, “What do I do then Naina? I can’t live like this. I don’t want to live like this”

I stared at her for a few moments, contemplating how to put it in words, and then said, “Nandu, I think when a relationship doesn’t work, then the two people should simply let go of it”

She turned and looked at me, “Divorce?”

I simply kept staring at her, knowing that my answer was obvious. She lowered her gaze and returned back to staring ahead, “I don’t know Naina. I don’t know”

I just continued to hold her hand. I knew it was not that easy. It was never that easy.


Ayush entered his house, thinking about how his secret was no longer a secret. Naina knows about it, he thought. But he also knew that Naina wasn’t the type of person who would spread gossip. He didn’t know her too well, but he did know that she was beyond that stage.

“Heya Bro, what’s up?”, came a cheerful voice from behind him. Ayush recognized the voice and smiled. It was his sister, Nimmi. He turned around to see his sister smiling at him.

“What are you doing here, Ms. busy-bee ?”, asked Ayush. She rolled her eyes and said, “Can I get a hug first ?”

Ayush shook his head and engulfed her in a hug. She was in her second year of engineering. A typical study-maniac, she was always one of the toppers in school and in her first year. She wore rectangular glasses, which further instilled the fact that she was a geek. After completing her schooling, she decided that she would live in the campus hostel itself. Independence was one of the two reasons that she had moved out, the other one was her mom’s death.

“So how did you get time huh? Boyfriend se peecha chhuda kar aayi ho?”, said Ayush in a teasing voice.

“Shut up. Can’t I miss you?”, she said with her arms crossed across her chest, “Aur mera koi boyfriend nahi hai abhi”

Abhi?”, said Ayush with one eyebrow raised.

“Argh go to hell”, she spat out and sinked into a nearby chair. Ayush grinned and sat across her, “How’s engineering treating you ?”

She frowned, “Bad. We don’t have enough time to eat and sleep. Engineering is badass dude”

“Yeah, who asked you to take up engineering ? Certainly not me”, replied Ayush

She stuck out her tongue and gave him a look that said ‘Screw you’. They talked for a while about general things like school and college. Ayush loved his sister, they had had some great times when they were both small kids. But after their mom died, things changed.

Nimmi moved out and neither of them ever faced their grief. They never talked about it as two kids who had just lost their mother. There was never any conversation. She hardly visited them after that. She did come on festivals and other important occasions, but rarely on a random day. Because of the disconnected bridge of communication, Ayush never told her about his smoking. They still teased each other, laughed with each other and talked about insignificant things, but there was no emotional connection.

As Ayush looked at his sister, he wondered how things would have been different if they had just talked. But they hadn’t. And she was never the sister he had needed, and he was never the brother she had needed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Part 11

Ayush paced his room. His dad wasn’t back yet and that was making him feel uneasy. He wasn’t picking up his phone either. It was 12:30 in the night and there was no sign of him.

Ayush loved his dad, after his mom died, his dad was his only family. Yes, he had an extended family but he hardly met them. But after his mom’s death, his dad seemed to have slipped into perennial workaholism. He was always late, skipped his meals alot of times, and was slowly edging towards becoming a depressive. Although they had fun despite all these problems, there were times when both of them just couldn’t cope.

Ayush and his dad, neither of them had actually overcome the grief. They had just found a temporary escape. They  had both become extremely protective of each other, and panicked when even the slightest of things went wrong. Like now.

Ayush tried his number again. No answer.

“Damn it!”, he spat out. Running a hand through his hair, he opened his drawer and fished out his pack of cigarettes. He had been trying to get rid of his addiction to smoking for a while. But it never really helped, specially in moments like this, when there was no coping mechanism. His hands shivered as he struggled to choose between the temptation and his conscious. After a few minutes, he simply gave up and balanced the cigarette in his mouth. Screw it, he thought and lit it with a matchstick.


The D day is here. We’re finally sitting in the conference room, waiting for the workshop to begin. My palms have been sweaty for the past 4 hours. 3 days of pondering and introspection, and I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to deal with it. I have a notebook and a pen with me, to note down the important things. Although I know I’m not going to jot down anything.

I look around. Nandita is sitting next to me. She doesn’t know what I’m going through at this moment, but I’m still glad to have her here. It’s like having an assurance by your side.

She suddenly looked at me and said, “I need to talk to you”

I shrugged and said, “Shoot”

“Err, not here. It’s um, personal. After the workshop? Chuski treat?”

I smiled and said, “Sure dude”

The workshop coordinator entered, along with some of our teachers, and we all were made to get up. I rolled my eyes as everyone chanted, “Good morning sir”

I could practically imagine our principal holding a gun to our foreheads and threatening us to wish the guy he paid to babble bullshit in front of us. It sort of gives the impression that the school is really concerned about our emotional and mental well-being.

I gulped as I took my seat again. “Alcoholism is slow poison” was written on every banner that hung in the room. The coordinator took his position on the podium and gave us a smile.

“Good morning, everyone. As you all know, we’ve all gathered here to discuss alcoholism amongst teenagers. I’m sure it’s no secret to you that kids of your age are thoughtlessly indulging in alcoholism, absolutely unaware of the consequences. Now, here we’re going to show you all a small presentation depicting the problems that come along with such a disease”, he spoke in fluid English.

The initial few minutes were fine. He mainly talked about how bad it was for teenagers to mindlessly get attracted towards alcoholism as a solution to all their problem. Then he blamed peer pressure for being one of the strongest factors. He talked about how teens end up loosing everything they value just because of this addiction.

I silently kept my head down and focused on drawing pikachu on my notepad. Although I was aware of what he was saying, I tried not to process his words. I tried to detach myself from their meaning so all that was really left was hollow words. The pikachu looked pretty cute. I wish I had yellow colour with me. Instead, I resorted to pencil shading.

“As you can see in this slide, childhood trauma plays an important role in shaping the child’s personality. If a kid has seen alcoholism in his/her family, or has lived with alcoholic parents, then it is sure to leave a deep impact upon the child’s mind. Children are too young and immature to deal with such problems, so they adopt the only coping method – denial, and over the period of time – dissociation..”

The moment he mentioned alcoholic parents, it seemed as though all the tight strings of defense that I had so carefully strung, snapped into two in just a moment. My hands went numb and the incomplete Pikachu became hazy. The coordinator continued, and I wanted him to stop, but he didn’t. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead and the temperature seemed to drop by a million degrees.

As I rubbed my forehead with my thumb and forefinger, I felt a hand upon my shoulder. With all the energy I could muster, I turned around and saw that it was Nandita. She had a concerned expression on her face. I quickly mumbled, “I-I think I’m n-not feeling too well, I’ll just be back”

And with that, I got up and ran out of the conference room without waiting for her response. I dashed towards the first place that came to my mind – the washroom. Literally banging the door open, I ran inside and turned on the tap with full force.

I splashed water on my face multiple times to get rid of the nervousness. Taking deep breaths, I turned off the tap and stared at my reflection. I looked as though I had just been to hell and back.

“F**k!”, I swore loudly. A sudden urge to slam my fist into the washroom mirror overcame me, but instead, I kicked into the wall, hard. I did hurt my toe, but I didn’t pay much attention to it. It was a few moments before my breathing returned to normal and my blood stopped flooding my brain. I quietly slid down the washroom door and put my face into my hands.

I just realized that I had ran out of the room without informing my teachers. Now I’m in deep shit. They’re going to give me a good piece of their mind later. I definitely cannot go back now, not until the break happens and all the students come out. I’ll go back with Nandita later.

As I was about to walk out of the washroom, I noticed someone walking across the football ground through the little window in the loo. I thought only the 11th and 12th class was supposed to come today, and they’re already inside. My curiosity got the better of me and I walked out of the loo towards the ground. As I got nearer, I realized that it was Ayush.

He slowly took a long drag at his cigarette as I reached him.

“You smoke?”, I asked, making him jump slightly. He turned around and looked at me, “You?” and then quickly threw the cigarette on the ground and crushed it with his foot.

“You didn’t really have to do that, you know. It’s okay with me. I mean, I won’t tell anyone”, I said, a little amused at his reaction. Frankly, I was a little surprised to know that he smoked, but then, looks can be deceptive. Plus I’m pretty sure half our class either smokes or drinks. I can suddenly picture my classmates inwardly laughing at the coordinator, thinking that they were going to drink that night anyway.

He shrugged and said, “Should have told me before”, and with that he picked out another cigarette from his packet and lit it with a lighter. I gave him a ‘yeah whatever’ look.

“You think authorities won’t get suspicious if they find your cigarette buds lying around on the ground?”, I asked him. We had started walking, without realizing it.

“Well, our football coach smokes. I don’t know if you know it, but I’ve seen him smoking on this ground alot of times. He never gets caught. The cleaners probably brush it away without looking”, he replied.
I nodded. It made sense. We walked in silence for a while before he asked, “Why aern’t you inside?”

“I could ask the same question”

He chuckled and said, “I got bored, so I kind of sneaked out. Will go back after the break”

“Well same here”, I said, “I,um, didn’t find it too interesting”

“Yeah, it’s pretty worthless. Our class will go and drink anyway. We’ve had numerous workshops on smoking too, but frankly, it’s all bullshit. Didn’t stop me”, he said, conviction mixed with distaste evident in his voice.

I nodded, “I know. Just paid drama”, I paused before continuing, “So, can I ask you how you started smoking?”

He just shrugged. I got the message. He didn’t want to talk about it. We resorted to walking in silence instead.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Part 10

I’m sitting in my room, still staring at the pamphlet. Broken shards of memories slashed through my mind, arising and then dying, all in a split second. I slowly closed my eyes, and took a deep breath.
People call me brave, but I know that somewhere I’m not. Had I been brave, I would have been capable of facing my past. But I’m not. I’ve always been an expert at sweeping the issues under the carpet, but frankly, I don’t know what to do when the same issues wriggle out through the other end of the carpet, and slam squarely into my face.

I broke out of my reverie as my phone rang. It’s dad, and seriously, I couldn’t have been happier.

“Hi, what’s up?”, I said, as cheerfully as possible.

“Nothing much, just on my way to Delhi”, he asked in his usual, funky voice.

I suddenly sat up in my chair. Did he just say that he was on his way to Delhi?, “How come?”, I asked excitedly.

“Have to reach Noida by 7 pm, so I thought we could have lunch together”

I almost jumped. Dad and I hadn’t met for a long time, and I didn’t realize how much I missed him until now, “Cool! Will you be here by 3?”

“Yup. I’ll be there by 3”, he replied

“Okay! See ya”

I had partially forgotten about the workshop as I disconnected the line. Or maybe I just didn’t want to think about it right now, like I said, I’m an expert at sweeping things under the carpet.

Dad and I are sitting in Pizza hut, our classic hub for lunch outings. We always hog the pizza like hungry maniacs, and never seem to eat so much in a desi restaurant. He seems to have found a new fascination with long hair, and is now carrying a pony (Remember SRK’s pony?) He thinks it looks cool on him.
“So, why’re you going to Noida?”, I asked as I took a huge bite of my pizza.

He shrugged, “Some quality issue. Actually, all they want to do is see my face and be relieved about the fact that I’m alive. My factory is alive and all the other shit”

I nodded slowly, “I see. Business really is all about making your presence known, isn’t it? I mean, who said your ‘social capability’ doesn’t matter in the corporate world?”

He nodded, “That, and other things. Definitely not education and useless degrees”

We both chuckled. My parents have never brainwashed me into believing that ‘school’ and ‘marks’ are as important as breathing. Both of them know that it really doesn’t matter how well you did in school or college, what really matters is your capacity to handle shit. Because that’s truly what’s life’s all about.

“How’s mom doing?”, he asked after we stopped laughing.

“Good”, I replied, and gave him a brief update on the status. In spite of everything, my parents didn’t end things on a bad note. My mom being the kind of person she is, didn’t really ask for alimony, but just asked my dad to give as much as it was possible for him.

During the lunch, I was briefly tempted to tell Dad about the workshop on alcoholism, but then stopped. I realized how that subject is still sensitive, for all of us. Plus I didn’t want to screw the little time I had with him, so I decided to swallow my urge. We talked about everything and nothing, I told him about the maths project, and how Nandita was trying to hook me up with Ayush. He really started laughing at that, not at the idea of Nandita trying to hook me up with someone, but rather the idea of me having a boyfriend.

“Um, you and a boyfriend?”, He said between laughs, “Right. Pigs can fly too”

“Ha Ha Ha. Very funny dad”, I replied in a fake ‘pissed-off’ tone. But somewhere he was right. I was just not girlfriend material.

He told me about his work, our dog (My dad has one) and generally about everything. We debated about whether Avatar was a good film or not (we always end up debating about something), and just when the debate was heating up, we realized that we were literally yelling and burst out laughing.

After lunch, I hugged him before he left for Noida and I made my way towards home, feeling happy. I always have a good time with dad, with him, time seems to fly. We had once gone to Bangalore together and I remember all the khoofiyapanti we did there. It was like being on an excursion trip with my best friend. Moments like these, they make me happy. But they also make me sad when they’re over.

“Okay, so this is what we can do. We can burn the edges of the poster so that it looks like those old, burnt scrolls. I think it looks really good”, said Nandita.

“Hmm, I guess your right”, replied Ayush, thoughtfully.

Nandita and Ayush were discussing the project over the phone. Nandita was the kind of person who would die to share her idea when it struck her, regardless of the time. And hence, at 11 pm at night, she called Ayush to share an idea about the poster that occurred to her a while ago. Luckily for her, Ayush was an insomniac too.

“Yeah, and you can shade it with a little brown and yellow color, if you can picture the blend. You know, the ‘authentic’ kinda look”, she said.

“I think we should paint the background black, to give it a ‘darkness' shade, you know? and then I was planning to draw two fire torches at the bottom, to depict ‘enlightenment’. It’s kind of symbolic”

“I think I can imagine that. I like it, we should do it”, said Nandita

“Really? So far everyone seems to have rejected it. Both Vivek and Naina hate it. Particularly Naina. Jeez, if there is something known as ‘Chalk and cheese’ award, then we should really get it”

Nandita chuckled, “Yeah, she’s a little different. It’ll take time but you’ll get used to her. Anyway, I like your idea. We’ll battle it out with Vivek and Naina. Don’t worry”, she replied

“Yeah, sounds good. So we’re meeting on Sunday?”


“Okay, see you tomorrow in school then. Bye”

Just as Nandita disconnected the line, she heard the noise of glass being shattered from the kitchen. Startled, she ran outside her room and to the kitchen, only to see her mom glaring at her dad, and her dad returning her deathly stare. She sighed and shook her head. When are they going to stop bickering every single day?

As if tuned in to this habit, she quietly turned around and walked back to her room. She could hear faint voices. I lost him because of you!

It was always the same.

No, please don’t fight, please don’t fight, chanted a little girl as tears rolled down her cheeks. She stood in one corner of the house, staring at her parents screaming at each other, unaware of what they were really saying. It just went on, she wanted it to stop, she wanted someone to bring to a stop...

I snapped my eyes open to absolute darkness. I was taking deep breaths, trying to recover from the dream. Jumping out of bed, I quickly ran and turned on the light. I have this inexplicable fear of the dark, I feel lost and helpless when there’s no light. It had been a long time since I had one of those nightmares, but this workshop had started to act as a trigger. It had kicked into the well settled sand once again.

I had never shared with anyone, not even myself, that my parents were alcoholics in the past. I don’t want to attend this workshop.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

To all my readers..

Hey guys, first of all I want to thank everyone who took interest in my story and left comments. It means alot to me, perhaps I cannot explain it in words, but it really does :)

My final exams have started (unfortunately) so I might not be able to update as regularly as I used to. Each part might take some time, but I really am trying to take some time out and write the next part. Exams get over on the 12th, so I’ll update regularly from then on. In the meanwhile, you all can read my main blog because that’s where I pretty much rant about everything.

I hope you don’t mind the delay and please keep following Solace! :)