Saturday, April 28, 2012

ADRIFT- part one

He left her sitting there. Her teeth were sinking into the juicy tomato, crunchy carrots, spicy sprouts and flavorful cucumbers sandwiched between two slices of soft and nutty multi-grain. Mia watched him stand up, push the chair violently back and walk out through the tiny door, out of her life. Finishing her lunch, she cleared up the table, grabbed her carrot ginger juice and left the deli. Stepping into her car she got onto the coastal road and drove north.

The ocean on her left spread out into its vast glory with wild waves crawling up to the rocky shore. On her right jagged rocks and dark sandy mud of the mountain range extended upward as if reaching for the sky. She watched the road ahead of her and drove on full speed winding through turns and avoiding fallen rocks. He was not worth it, she kept telling herself.

First time she had seen him was from her yacht, standing on the cliff looking out into the sea. Through her binoculars she had studied him, his square and tanned bare shoulders, biceps that had worked to get their shape, a dimple on his square chin, a slightly crooked nose and eyes that disappeared under a broad forehead. After studying all of him, she had returned her gaze to his eyes and noticed him staring right at her. Through her binoculars their eyes met or so it seemed.

Docking in the marina for the night, she had hopped off to her cottage. Later that evening as she sat with her friends sampling local wines with a spread of cheeses from around the world, her eyes again found him, this time without the help of her binoculars. He seemed to be looking in her direction but he couldn’t have known that it was she who had been spying from the yacht. He walked over to their table and approached her friend, Rita who stood up as soon as she saw him and fell onto him into a hug. He planted a kiss on her cheek and blushing Rita turned to introduce him. Kris had grown up on the island across from Rita’s house and had gone away to study abroad. She had taken his hand and did not want to let go. Thirty seconds of awkward silence later, he had stepped back and taken his hand with him. Rita had sat back down with her stupid smile and star struck eyes and nodded mechanically when her friends suggested he join the group. That was then and almost a year later he had walked out on her at the deli between her sandwich bites.

Good riddance Mia thought as tears started a stroll down her cheeks, but the wind carried them away. She sped through the highway, the top of her convertible down, her shoulder-length hair fighting a battle with the ocean air. Her mind lost to the world and jumbles in her thoughts, a sudden loud boom startled her. She tightened her grip on the steering wheel with both her hands thinking a tire in her car had blown out, but the car was in complete control and behaving fine. Slowing down to look around but seeing nothing she decided to carry on at a manageable speed. Within a couple of kilometers, as she turned a bend in the road, the ocean expanse still spread out on one side and the mountain looming high on her other side, she was greeted by a shocking site.

To continued….

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thirsty River

She dropped on this land just as insignificant as a raindrop during the monsoons. Seventh child in a fleet of daughters to parents who prayed for a son, Varsha melted into her landscape as soon as she was born. A patch of shapeless birthmark on her forehead became further eyesore for her parents and a brand of frequent ridicule from other children. She grew up frail, surviving several asthmatic attacks and cheerfully followed her older sisters, meandering through the neighborhood streets without a vision of where they were going.

Several other attempts for a son had failed with stillborn male children until their mother had nothing left in her to give. One by one, as the sisters were married off, Varsha remained the youngest and unmarriageable. She looked after her unloving elderly parents without complaint and her smile made the air around her shine as if a cloud of misty aura.

Daily chores became harder as her father fell one day into a seizure and lay paralyzed for several years. Her mother’s depression grew deeper and Varsha snaked through her moods. On her mother’s peak days, Varsha surged with joy welling up the gushing delight to the brim of her heart which all cascaded down into a deep gorge when her mother’s turbulent, valley days arrived.

Her father suffered his situation in annoyance, embarrassed for not finishing his duty to marry off his last daughter and angry for not had the fortune of a son to light the fire on his pyre. He unleashed his wrath on Varsha with sharp words, blaming her for his condition and accusing her for giving him wrong medicines to increase his suffering.

Through all adversity, Varsha treaded on with a smile. She felt sad at the loss of her parents as they left her land one after the other, but she adapted to her floating life alone. Cautiously, she began to venture, taking turns into paths she had never endeavored before. One day, picking up a paintbrush, she dabbed a few strokes on her courtyard wall as the setting sun paints the horizon. Completely absorbed into this new discovery she flowed deeper and further towards the splash of colors and soon all the walls in her three room house was covered with her artwork. She discovered a thirst inside her, one that had always existed but never acknowledged. It rose as a desire to be known, a craving to be approved, and a yearning to be part of a whole.

Continuing to flow but with more determination now more than ever, she ventured to newer abodes. Word spread and many flocked to see her work or urged her talent to wash over their homes. Varsha quenched all thirsts with her serene smile and splash of her colors.

One day, a young man from far away flew in to admire her and her work. He offered her a new home and a novel life. She took his hand and flowed towards a new land. What she found there was not the whole she was seeking but the one she had always wanted.

She was insignificant no more but part of a larger family. She was not the forgotten raindrop drifting aimlessly in a river. She had found her ocean with boundless love and renewed desires as a wife and a mother. She continued to brighten everyone’s days with her colors and her smiles and the river in her continued to flow, taking life’s meandering journey in stride and quenching all thirsts.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Window of my Dreams

View through the window
       square and picture perfect,
       calm Pacific beyond
       reflecting the blue sky

lone white cloud swims by
       as birds glide with the breeze,
       their wings spread to claim the sea
       and the land across the shore.

View through the window
       clear and exhuming peace,
       the cycle of waves
       their determined crash onto the cliffs,

jutting rocks braving them
      standing ground to claim their own,
      seals, trees and birds rest
      tourists use them for support.

View inside my window
      clear as night and day,
      a cozy cottage bundles me
      with its fireplace and robes

the rediscovery of love
       comfort of security,
       inspiration from beyond
       or perhaps inside of me.

View inside my dreams
      or inside my reality,
      life the great journey
      floating as in a dream.

Beauty outside my window
      transforms to serenity,
      birds fly home
      with backdrop of setting sun

Songs of the birds
start a melody through my heart--

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Haunting Gift - PART FIVE (FINAL)

Aarti opened her eyes to find herself surrounded by several tear streaked cheeks. Her three children held her hand, leaned down next to her or put an arm around her shoulders. She stood up slowly and sauntered to her room unassisted. Her children watched her go, their arms helplessly hanging to their sides.  They wanted to follow but something in her gait held them back. They knew the only gift their mother would cherish now is the reunion with her lost child and they also knew that time was not on their side.

On the day of her 91st birthday, Aarti rose before the sun. Melancholy accompanied her as she progressed through her morning rituals. Weighed down with wet hair and a heavy heart, she stepped out of her front door but before closing it the chime of the phone called her back in. She walked in, took the cordless to her ear and sat down at her kitchen table. Rays of sunlight beamed in through the glass door bathing her with warmth and sparkle. Her son’s voice flowed through the phone, informing her that he was on his way over. She set the phone down and stared outside. Nature’s masterpiece greeted her with its colorful foliage smiling in their brightness. She watched the squirrels scurry in their haste as leaves started their journey down from the tree that gave them life onto the ground for their burial in the imminent snow.

She rested her head on the back of her chair and closed her eyes. A bouquet of fresh roses sat in a vase and its aroma travelled towards Aarti. As always, the roses took her back, back to the valley with the crystal clear water of the flowing river. She felt the cool water on her feet and inhaled the clean mountain air. Softness touched her heart and she brought her hand up to steady it.

Her eyes opened and she found herself staring at an image of her younger self. The smile on the image was wide and her familiar eyes sparkled. Aarti stood up slowly and took a step forward. She touched the woman in front of her, felt her soft skin, and ran her hand down her long hair noticing streaks of white. She blinked twice to see if this dream was real or if this reality was a dream. Tears slid down her cheeks and Aarti was at a loss. She wanted to pull her younger self into an embrace but was afraid. She wanted to sit down to steady herself but unsure if her body could move. Finally, the woman stepped forward and fell into her mother’s arms. Aarti held her close as if she will never let her go again.

The younger three children watched the reunion satisfied that they had found the perfect gift for their mother. Aarti finally let go of Prishaa and invited her other children into her arms. The group stood huddled together under the brightness of the morning, their faces radiant and their glistening eyes smiling. Aarti melted into completeness.