Life and Breath


You are not mine anymore anyway.
But I cry, silently now.
For I know what I want will never be.
What I need will never be.
I cry silently for you.
For you to just look back this once.
For you to be beside me just once.
I may have been wrong before.
But I know with that I gained much more.
I gained a friend, a midnight bud.
But I lost my love. My only love,
I lost you, I realise with a thud.
And trust me that hurts.
I am sorry, though I shouldn’t.
But I am. For I have sinned.
Not the cardinal type. But I have.
I let you go…
Then, you let me free.
We lost the love together.
I want to re-build it.
But not like this. Not alone.
Don’t leave me like you left me before.
Stay with me, hold my hand…
Hug me, I am your jigsaw.
Kiss me, I am the one.
Smile with me, be my reason.
Hold me, I am for you to hold.
Feel me. I am yours.
Look at me. Be my vision.
Talk to me. Touch my senses.
Bring me the tingles,
Seal my lip.
Sing me songs. I am your rhythm.
Be the music. And I’ll lie in your arms.
You are my light. It’s darkness otherwise.
Be my wings. You are my destination.
Be the cold, so I snuggle into you.
Be the whisper, so I come closer.
Adore me, I am your girl.
Look at me once. And you’ll see it all.
You’ll see how we were.
I’ll love you all my life, until death.
You’ll see that it is meant to be.
You’ll know
‘cause-
You’re my life
and
I’m your breath.


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Liechtenstein

Marge heard the distant buzzing of her cell phone. She had fallen asleep on the couch itself and woke up the following morning with a thudding headache from all the alcohol she had gulped down yesterday. She felt along the floor to find her purse. Finally, she stumbled on to the bag. The cell still vibrated. With one eye barely open she peek-a-booed at the phone. It was Marc. Marc was the love of her life- well atleast till yesterday.
Yesterday; Marge walked into her room and switched on the answering machine for the calls and it was precisely at that moment that she knew. Something was definitely wrong. Phil had left a message. There a million things Phil could do to for her, but not this. It was just a guy thing. He never left her messages. He never texted her first, never. He only replied to hers and that too when he was pressed for time. And even those would be just one-liners. ‘Yes, 8’s gud’ or ‘Dinner? M famishd’ . That sort. Marge wasn’t like that at all. In fact that’s why she liked Phil. He was Italian and rich and just not like her. He made her want to be better. She used to send long texts to people even if it would have sufficed if she just said two words. She liked to read e-mails that filled the screens, she wrote letters on pink sheets, she cried while seeing sci-fi movies, she loved diamonds and surprises. She was the kind of girl Mills and Boons protagonists are like. She was the perfect girl. The ‘I-wear-stilettos-who cares-if-it-hurts’ kind of girl, get it? And Phil was the macho, muscle-man, sculptured to perfection, only protein diet kind of guy.
They were literally poles apart. He lived across the street from her place. She’d moved in January- The worst time to move, really. It was cold and it snowed and the roads were always blocked with that very snow. And all the sales were over by then. So was Christmas! Marge was annoyed with everyone at her place…her ex-place. They’d thrown her into this new place just when she’d begun to adjust to that place. Life always did that to her, apparently. She always felt victimised, she always felt spied upon, conspired against- paranoid almost. But, she was also super-confident about finding the love of her life in every street she wandered. An ardent believer of the movies, she wanted to find her man in the weirdest of moments. She dreamt of him without a face each day!
Whatever, coming back, she moved into 1245th street, Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein! She winced at the name and the thought of having to get the spelling correct each time she wrote a letter to someone. Her move was quiet by her standards but not by Philippe’s. She had ordered an entire lot of trucks to carry her clothes, jewellery, stuff toys, shoes, books and the other insignificant stuff like furniture and electronics. She created just a tiny ruckus in the neighbourhood while moving in because no one was letting her know where her house was. The teenagers just laughed, the oldies waved at her and asked her the time. She was standing in the middle of the street, staring hopelessly into a traveller’s map. That’s when Phil quit laughing and decided to help her out. He took her by the shoulder and turned her around a 180®. There it was- her house. Only, she needed to turn her tiny arse around! She felt embarrassed and felt the familiar warmth that she felt way back in 8th grade when Joshua had ignored her in front of the entire class after she confessed her admiration for him.
Though this was different. She’d grown up and held a firm belief after that Joshua incident that ‘confession’ was a guy-thing. Marge was like that. She classified, categorised and then lost the list! She had a whole catalogue for what was a guy-thing and what was not. For instance, getting drunk at a sports bar was a guy thing but not at a party. It was only a girl-thing to drink at parties and the guy’s job was to drive her home. Get the drift, right?
So, after the initial flush of red-cheeks, Marge finally croaked out her name. She did not croak because she was embarrassed but because the new place had a weather that could be compared to Micheal Jackson’s doctor and his prescriptions; the weather had gifted her with laryngitis. Phil smiled and Marge immediately fell for his childish voice. He seemed to be much older than Marge thanks to all his muscles and the winter wrinkles, but really he wasn’t. He was perfect for her. She knew that she liked him. They exchanged phone numbers, though Marge did not have a no. they still ‘exchanged’ numbers. Then after the long drawn goodbye, Marge had stepped into her new, hopefully permanent for a few years, house. She stepped into the house and the steps echoed her movements. She breathed out. The air froze in its course, Marge smiled. That had happened to her after a long time. Her job had placed her in Miami for the last few years. Make that last 4 years. It was her first job. A job she loved. She got to be with all the rich people and wear branded things, drink till she retched and stay up till 5 am everyday. It was her dream job. She’d applied for it from her friend Julie’s place just for fun and she actually landed the job! And she had the party of her life until she violated the most important rule of the company. She dated someone who was their client and then broke up him which caused significant losses for the company. So, that’s why she came to Liechtenstein from Miami. A huge downhill leap for her. But she was happy. She was confident of doing something here as well. What could be worse than a place called Liechtenstein, right?
Marge’s stuff had been delivered a day back and the cardboard boxes stared back at her. The dull brown and ugly things were waiting to be opened up and waiting to adorn the walls of her new house. ‘Home’- She said it loudly as if to make her accept it. A sigh and another quick sip of Redbull later she opened her first box. And the whole day, all she did was open boxes and arrange things. She categorised, classified and ordered everything while packing them. So it was easy enough to just open up the boxes and throw them in their rightful places. Two days later she was ready. No, her house was ready for the first ever and her only acquaintance here- Philippe. She made an effort to look appealing. She put on some make-up to hide her pale face behind the blush-on’s red.  She wore a white shirt and jeans- She didn’t want it to look like it was an effort. The bell rang and her heart leapt to her mouth. She opened the gate, welcomed him in and did the regular. ‘Hello, nice evening. Drink?’ She was a hostess by profession, well not directly, but she was the personal manager for the Rich Spoilt Brats association of the world’s super-rich men and women!
And the evening went off fine which ended with another date fixed for their next meet. Phil asked her this time, which was a good sign. She liked it when men asked her. She liked them to be in control where she wanted them to be, without being told.
The next date was at a bar. A sports bar- typical of a guy. Especially a guy like Phil who was into sports so much that she imagined him sleeping with a football by his side! Besides, she knew that Phil did not want it to look like an exact date. He just wanted to ‘get to know her’. So as soon as she walked into the bar, a waft of alcoholic smoke washed her lungs and made her cough. She looked around to search for him. She could not see even one metre away from where she stood. A Man-U versus Chelsea match was on. She wondered why Phil insisted on meeting there on ‘such an important match day’. She squinted her eyes and looked further away. He waved and called her name. ‘Marge’- It had been the first time he’d called her name out loud. She felt good. Mills and Boons had this scene exactly. Okay, maybe a little different. She felt giddy. Not because he called her name, because of the smoke actually! She walked towards him, creating room for herself amongst the sweaty men who screamed and shouted like wild hounds while Chelsea defended a goal. 68 minutes of the match were up. Just about 25 minutes were left for the match to wind up. Now she knew why he ‘gave up’ a match for her. He just timed their meeting according to his convenience. This put her off. She frowned on reaching him but he looked at her with the most gorgeous brown eyes she’d seen in the longest while. She forgot her anger and smiled back at him as she sat down. 23 minutes later, Man-U won. Drinks were on the house and that made Marge smile. She noted the name of the place and made it a point to reach there every time Man-u registered a win that season. She was addicted to Southern Comfort and could actually kill for it. And that’s what she sipped while Phil and she ‘got to know each other’.
Then followed the hunky dory things: Meeting every weekend, gifting mushy things, then the proposal. Not the best Marge had got but definitely passable. He did something utterly non-sensical really. He just asked her out blatantly like , ‘Hey, I like you, you know and would you like to, umm, hang out with me?’ It’s passable because it was sincere and well, from the heart. Or so she felt.
So she said yes. And more hunky-dory things followed. More gifts, more mush, more staring at the moon and as Phil said ‘crap like that’. But Marge was thrilled. She was living her Mills and Boons dream in a place whose name she couldn’t spell correctly!
It was June when Phil got a job in Norway as a trainer for some hot-shot sportsman out there. And he took the job. ‘Obviously darling, I have to do something. So I took it. We’ll manage US’ was what Phil said when Marge looked sullenly at him after he made the announcement. But she knew it wouldn’t have lasted as it is. He was not the man she loved. Was he, now? That day Man-U won some amazing cup and so after dropping Phil off at the airport she came to that Bar. And got mugged by someone. Lost everything. Even the keys to her house. Stranded and stolen off her money, she vowed never to visit that bar again. Her social life had really got stuck up because of Phil and her work. This was the time to catch up with Julie. Only if she had her keys. She had to break into her own house and then all she did was cry that night.
The land phone rang. It was Marc. Her –ex. What made him call? She spoke to him nonetheless. Cordially, the way one should talk to their –ex. But she still did love him. He was her MnB dream in Miami. So, she spoke more and more often. Often neglecting Phil for Marc.
Then there was the day Phil returned to Liechten-something. The day it all came crashing down. The day Marge realised what a mess she had made out of her serene life. She marvelled at her capability to de-classify, to disorganise. She cursed herself for everything she had done to Phil. She was never rude to anyone. But she had definitely been rude to Philippe. The one man who actually held her hand and stabilised things for her in the alien place she had been thrown into. Yes, he was not like her. But that was the plan right? If she wanted someone like her, she could have dated her reflection in the mirror that too without any consequences. But this had consequences. Not for Phil but for her.
Marc and Marge had grown increasingly close while Phil was away. In the initial months, Phil used to call everyday-twice. Then when Marge stopped receiving most of those calls, they diluted to around 3 a week and ultimately he stopped calling. He just left one message for her. ‘I am returning on 6th’.
That’s when she knew that she’d rid herself of him. She was supposed to feel happy. But only, she did not. Because that message was given to her on 5th July. The day she’d heard it was 8th July. Phil was still not in Liechtenstein. But the thing that was in Liechtenstein was a crashed airplane. That’s when Marge knew that she should not have played God. She shouldn’t have broken up with him the way she did. But she did not know that he wouldn’t even come back to her for that. That the real God would play such a dirty trick on her. She did not know. She did NOT.
Marc left Marge for Chloe- The newest Personal Manager in Miami. Marge preferred the ‘newest bitch’ to that.
She had nothing to look forward to. She lost Phil to Death. She lost Marc to something. She was in Liechtenstein. She could spell it now and she knew that she would have to stay here for a long, long time to come. She did not want to. She missed Phil in the house that she could see. She cried herself to sleep every single night. She felt like a stone. She’d always been that way. She was always fake. She wore fake diamonds, fake watches, rented bags- just to stay in the league. But she did not deserve this. She was real with Phil and Marc. She was real. Really. But that earned her tears and sorrow.
But that also made her realise the importance of living the real thing. She cried for Phil and herself. She cried for them. She just had to receive that call and then maybe, just maybe, he would have been alive. He may not have been hers, but he may have been alive and there with her in the world to hold her hand and turn her around, again. He would have been there to wave at her in a congested bar. He would have lived for her to dream about. But now, all she had was a distant and vague memory to live with. Forever.
Broken, breathing…

I am.

I’m the sorrow and the smile. 
I’m the strength, yet I’m fragile. 
I’m the breeze and the storms. 
I’m the creator and breaker of norms. 
I’m the joy and the tears. 
I’m courage yet I’m the fear. 
I’m the dream and I’m reality. 
I’m the present and I’m destiny. 
I’m what i need and what you long. 
I’m the magic and the song. 
I’m the trap, I’ll set you free. 
I’m what I am, I’m what i will be.


Look, Mamma- it is HIM…

So, Fiance has been complaining that I write about him, but only figuratively. The substance, really, is missing. So, here’s this one.
Just. For. Him.

Rahul. Apart from the Fiance gig and the water bottle incident(s), you and I have spent actually very few moments together. But, that really doesn’t matter. Honest.
You are this tall, monument of a person.
And skinny but despite all that I loOve those arms. Okay, no, I can’t be talking about my physical attraction towrds JUST your arms here, so…

You. I love your english. I wish I had as many words as you. And I’ll never forget all the photographs you’d clicked in Mandarmoni with Shashank. You have some very serious talent stuffed inside you.
You still have’nt given that Heart-photograph of Shashwat and me though. 😦

And, although you’re going to NID* so that you don’t have to study what you dislike*, I think you’ll be good. Really good. Design my house* after our marriage, will you?
And I like those big, jazzy, blitzy weddings by the way. So, be prepared.

Rahul Agarwal. Later in life, when I think of you, I’ll think of the video you took as a memoir, I’ll think of the things you drew (none for me) and, oh well, my bruised bottle. 😛

I’ll think of you. YOU.
Now, smile.
Nice and big…

Suitcases of Memories, Time after Time :)

She opened her cupboard and browsed through her possessions. Then Pankh glanced at her reflection in the mirror. She touched her hair and smiled. Then she peered at the sun through her windows and decided it wasn’t going to rain that morning. Pankh- Arts honours, J.L Nehru College, Delhi- she said it out loudly to herself while switching on her iPod. The door closed behind her with a thud as she walked out of her house.
Pankh- rebel, vivacious, unkempt, methodical and brutal. As she went off into her Skoda, she realised she’d forgotten her cell phone. So, she walked all the way back to her house, into her room retrieved her phone and she took one last look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were kohl-lined, just the way her mother did not like it.

She was driving down to the local park for her early morning run. This was her last run in that park. The next day, she was moving to Mumbai for her first ever job.
She switched her iPod off and turned on the car stereo. She needed music to breathe. It made her exist. It made her know she was alive. Instead of the usual Pink Floyd and BeeGees, she tuned into the radio for a change. 92.8fm was the first station she arrived at. Pankh wasn’t particularly fond of hindi songs, but this song caught her fancy.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

In music history, it was epochs old and it was a flop in its own right. But she held the sweetest memories of that movie, that song. Her best friends- Aarohi and Sadhika had spent an entire night stay sleeping through that movie! She smiled to herself while she tried to recollect who the protagonist was, it was a new girl, the heroine, she knew it… Aarohi had joined her in college, both of them were studying art- Oil painting. Sadhika had gone on to become a Doctor from MAMC. But that Christmas Eve, they knew nothing about how their future would be. Pankh remembered the 3:00 am coffee and black forest cakes they had gobbled down and felt hungry. She’d forgotten to have breakfast. But her thoughts engulfed her again. The sleepover was at Aarohi’s place- Pink walls, rainbow curtains and bridal dolls! They were a typical girl gang in their school days. Priyanka, Anumeha, Amaanika, Surabhi, Aarohi, Ragaa, Sadhika and Pankh- formidable, together, unbreakable and ‘tagged’ as the ‘goal-spotters’.
The song ended and Pankh jerked to a halt almost in harmony with the next song. The first signal of the seven more she had to cross before reaching her ‘Local’ park. She fiddled with her car-keys while taking in the lyrics of the song that her stereo blared at her. It was from some old English movie. Audrey Hepburn probably. She changed the frequency and finally succumbed to the last channel available. She cursed the RJs and the traffic. Pankh re-started her car engine and began driving. Finally, she found a song she knew and liked- Lady in Red, Chris Deburgh. She zapped back to her first boyfriend. She called him Lucifer and he called her Angel. They had a silly teenage romance on and Pankh was not the kind he’d like. Pankh was 14 at that time. They broke quite inevitably but their love remained in place. Pankh was still in touch with all her ex-boyfriends. Not that she had many, but she liked to know which girls they chose over her. But she waited for them to like her back. Always. They never did. And she had to move on.

She rolled down the window of her air conditioned car and saw a group of girls, teenagers, laughing down the road. She thought of her own- The way her entire class used to climb up the staircase and hide, so that their teachers wouldn’t be able to find them. She thought of the seemingly gay, yet perfectly straight couple. She couldn’t recollect their names- it was a long time ago. (Sorry, Devesh and Vineet. I had to do this to you). And she thought of the love birds with whom she’d had a very public fight. the one’s who called themselves siblings. Muskaan and that genius of a guy, the name she couldn’t remember either. She thought of the money they had collected by singing in the corridors of her school. It stood at 15 rupees and 75 paise. No more, no less.

The boy who always sold greeting cards reminded her of Amaanika. The card she’d given on her 16th birthday. The baby gifts and the visit to City centre. 

It all came rushing back to Pankh that day. And then, she screeched to a halt on her last but second signal. She sighed loudly. She missed her school and her friends. She missed living with her mom in Kolkata. She missed the late night chats with Kath and their ridiculous yet believable plans and secrets!
She wanted those memories to be alive.

She reached the multiplex- iMax. Spiderman had released three days ago.
Aarohi and Pankh had plans to catch it the following weekend. Spiderman- Rahul. Her school fiancé of course!  She hadn’t chatted with him for a long, long time now. She wanted to. The radio blared out some cheap, horrendous music. She shut it off and tied her hair into a bun. Then she saw her nails. Pink- shocking pink. A colour she rarely liked when she was Rahul’s made up wife. She still had the ambigram he’d made for her.

Then she remembered Pinky. What was his REAL name? She strained her memory but she was too used to calling him that! She thought of the weird stories people had created regarding them. Her mind wandered to the Ketchup inceident with Tall-boy Anant. She skipped thinking about him and instead checked the time. Already 20 minutes late. She damned the traffic. She hated Delhi. She wanted her Kolkata back.


She drove continuously, determined to dodge the next signal. She did! And she was over joyed. The breezy morning had metamorphosed into a soggy summer day. She decided against the usual running and settled under the shade for sometime. She was due to meet Aarohi at 11.30. She took out a copy of the Week from her car along with a Cadbury and began reading. But, all she did was think. She went back in time where Aarohi had bumped into her in The Bookstore (That’s the name- Crossword, really). They’d spent 3 whole hours talking about life and love. That’s exactly when Aarohi and Pankh had grown closer. And boy, was she glad that had happened.

The Cadbury- The incident Anumeha and Pankh had over it? The rubber-band incident in class 9- She laughed so hard that the Crackle almost fell out of her hands!

Her iPod was on. It played her favourite break up song- 21 Guns/ Green Day. She did not know why she called it her break-up song. Perhaps, because when Aarush had left her, she’d been particularly fancying that song. She often linked memories to life incidents.
And so, she went to the CCD where Aarohi waited for her. She went there while listening to Iris/ Ronan Keating. Yet another memory, yet another song, yet another day, yet another place.


A hurried man’s guide to who’s who:
Pankh- Ofcourse, Me.
Aarohi- Phuhaar ( I love the name and i love her.)
Sadhika- Sugandha (The S-S thing..)
Kath- Nidhi T (She writes as Kath in her blog, that’s why.)
Priyanka- Anurupa (She was gunna be named as Priyanka before)
Ragaa- Aanchal (Aanchla, Song, Ragaa. No real reason.)
Amaanika- Riddhi (‘Aman’ika. ;] )
Anumeha- Garrima
Surabhi- Srishti (When will she join Fb?)
Pinky- Shashwat 😀
Muskaan- Sahiba (Dunno why.)
The genius- Sahiba’s brother cum boyfriend 😛
Lucifer- I bet you know.
Aarush- You too.
Anant- Anant (My creativity deserted me)
The seemingly gay, yet perfectly straight couple- Vineet and Devesh. I’m so sorry, bet you don’t mind!
P.S Jha, Kush, Aakhilesh, Sahil, Pramit. Sorry i couldn’t include you here. I wanted to, but wasn’t fitting in the story, So, I put you in that picture!