Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Zora's Story - Conclusion

She was alone, but always had stacks of case files to read, letters to write, legal documents to pour over as she nursed her single glass of Cabernet every evening.  Her only break from the demands of lawyering was her insatiable appetite for good, homemade food.  It helped her a moment to think through her cases as she sliced onions, the water in her eyes cleansing her thoughts.   Many a times, the haze from her clouded thoughts about the strategy of a particular case evaporated as the steam from a pot of soup circled up and disappeared into the exhaust.
The day of her 50th birthday started out as routine.  Long day at the office, meetings with demanding and greedy clients, staring contests in staff meeting to see who blinked first, keeping a straight face as her back ached under the strain of 20 years of high heels.  It was then she remembered her new age.  The half century mark and she was feeling every decade in her low back.
Returning home that evening, she decided to take a break from the files and set about making an elaborate meal of lamb biryani with all the frills of raisins, cashews, saffron and real cream.  For dessert she baked a chocolate cake, a recipe she had not touched since her arrival in New York.  It carried too many memories, but tonight she had resolved to purge all things painful, all things past.
Sitting down late in the evening at the small table with a single candle, she blew out the flickering flame and made no wish.  The ambient lights from outside her apartment imposed on her emptiness as a sudden rush of tears invaded her solace.  She cried until she was drained and felt hollow.  Crawling into bed late and finding sleep just before dawn, she finally snuggled into a fitful slumber.  The morning brought a new day and it was business as usual.
A month went by without incident and the familiar ache visited again one evening, until it became a regular visitor gradually increasing its frequency.
Zora looked back up again at the red and yellow light through her window.  She was getting tired of entertaining this unwelcomed visitor.  People were noticing the changes as her quick wit and sharp retorts took longer and adversaries began to foam at the mouth ready to pounce at a moment’s chance.  She started looking at the faces around the conference table as if they were real men, not vultures.  She delayed returning to the apartment seeking company among friends, but she had no real friends in this concrete jungle she called home.
There was only one friend she can call on.  She was dearer to her than her family, but it had been 21 years.  Whether Diya will welcome her with open arms, Zora was unsure, after all that had transpired years ago.
The End

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zora's Story - Part One

Zora sat in her spacious New York apartment facing the three panel windows.  Red and yellow lights from the Chinese restaurant across the street flooded her darkened room on the seventh floor.  A siren blared its way through the street below, rushing to put out a fire or rescue a lonely jumper.  She felt the familiar ache in her chest, right below the ribs, as if an invisible hand had reached in and squeezed her from the inside.  There was no pain, just tightening that set in motion these new moods until her whole body became limp.  She had no desire to go out, be with anyone, or do anything.  Unsuspecting tears slowly found their way in her eyes before starting their journey down her cheeks.  The streams turned into waterfalls until she was exhausted and the rivers had run dry.  She felt utterly alone.  In this fast paced, vibrant city, Zora felt as if she was lost in the crowd.
            It all started nine months ago, when she turned 50.  Her life till then had been cookie cutter.  Out of law school into a prestigious law firm.  As investment banking business boomed, she set her mind and soul into helping large firms succeed.  Before long, Zora had reached higher ranks where only the cigar smoking, cognac drinking men mingled.  She gradually received acceptance and became part of the prestigious inner circle.  Becoming partner at her firm was just a formality.
            The journey was not easy, competition cut-throat, back stabbing, stepping on shoes to climb the higher rungs of a steep ladder, Zora was determined.  She had set out to prove to the world, her family, to herself and a certain someone, that she can make it on her own.  Armed with a mind of her own, a zeal to succeed, and a razor-edged vengeance, she set out to prove wrong all those who had wronged her.  Her physical presence that turned heads, sharp gaze that demanded attention, she captured minds and hearts.
            Men listened intently to her strong, powerful voice that carried a hint of British accent and a deep conviction.  Her professional attire offered copious amount to the imagination as she dressed in suits tailored to define her contours.  Heels added to her decent height and many average men were forced to look up to her or have an entire conversation with her ample breasts at cocktail parties.  She exuberated confidence from head to toe and succeeded in her subtle ways to coerce her customers, peers or adversaries into deals she brought to the table.

            Any out-of-line advances from men, she nipped them in the bud, the whole idea of fraternizing with that gender revolting her.  She was determined not to be controlled by them anymore, in fact was on a mission to out-power them and beat them in their own game. There were peers she socialized with, customers she shared drinks with, industry professionals she golfed with, but at the end of the day, they all went home to their families and she returned to her empty apartment.

to be continued...

Note on "Diya's Radiance" and "Zora's Story"

Both, "Diya's Radiance" and "Zora's Story" are not short stories.  They are my musings on two different characters and may become beginning of a new book.

Wanted to share these on my blog to get some feedback, so do send me your thoughts.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Diya's Radiance - Conclusion

In the wake of the storm, a new sky appeared, clear with hope.  Smoke pirouetted happily from chimneys as hearths warmed up kitchens and stoves balanced pots with water dancing in them.  A flurry of activity exploded around the tiny kitchen as the cook got in the way of the helper, who crossed paths with the dishwasher, who hindered the servers.  Diya ran from the kitchen to the dining hall to the patio, her long skirt flowing with her movements, its bells chiming to her steps.  Radiant smile followed her everywhere enhanced by the bright red lipstick, eclipsing the creases between her brows.  Her jangling bangles drowned out the sound of her gritting teeth as she hid all her concerns in the shadows, behind the fire in her eyes.
Tourists seemed to have besieged her restaurant unseasonably and she flittered like a butterfly, charming her guests.  On the patio, she heard the absence of music, only the sound of crackle from the speakers and twirled to look for Cary.  Spotting him by a table indoors talking to some guests, she walked towards him.  After several distractions, somebody needed a fork, a table had a water spill needing immediate attention, and a server had trouble understanding an accent, she finally made it to where Cary stood.  His blond curls danced on his forehead, while his green eyes remained cool even as the temperature of the conversation seemed to be climbing.  Catching a few slurs and unreasonable demands from the guest, Diya realized that Cary had his hands full.  She flagged down the new guy, currently helping out in the bar, before making her way into the kitchen.
At first sight, the scene in the kitchen appeared chaotic.  But she knew, there was order within that chaos, her team had it all under control.  Scanning around the small room, through the tight space, behind steel shelves, through the steamy haze, she looked for her baker.  She tried the refrigerator room and found no sign of the sweet girl who whipped up fabulous sweet treats with precision and creativity.   A dribble of sweat began a journey from Diya’s temple down the side of her face, which she managed to flick away with a determined flip of her long hair.  Just as she was about to go back out to the main floor, she heard the back door squeak behind her.  Her baker was sneaking in, bringing with her the odor of cigarette smoke.  Diya rolled her eyes, let out a slow breath, and walked out to face the room full of tourists and their demands.  Running right into Cary, she looked up into his smiling eyes and understood that once again, a drama had been averted.
At last, the evening began to wind down as few guests dawdled, then finally stepped out of the restaurant.  The staff cleaned and packed while Diya and Cary took a breather.  They sat at the bar, basking in the much needed success of the evening.  He enjoyed a glass of bourbon, while she nursed a cosmopolitan between slender fingers.  They raised their glasses and with a clink cheered, to the evening, to their partnership, to their love. 
Diya set her empty glass down and turned sideways to rest her left elbow on the bar.  With her head resting on her hand, she gazed into her husband’s eyes.  She reflected on their journey together, the path laden with mudslides and thorns and petals of roses.  They had trudged along, traversed together, and danced their way, hand in hand.  Their son safe and settled in college, they could finally live their dream and look ahead.  Cicadas started their music as if on cue, as the stars gazed down from the sky to admire the journeys below.  Returning her gaze back to her husband, Diya saw the gleam in his calm eyes and smiled.
From the corner of her eyes, she sensed a shadow rise behind him.  Her gaze shifted to look up over his shoulder and it froze. Cary looked at his wife and exclaimed, “Diya, you okay?”
“Zora.” Escaped from Diya’s lips as her face turned white.
the end - stay tuned for Zora!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Diya's Radiance - Part One

The island held a mysterious vein that travelled from the depth of the mountain belly and echoed through the forest.  Fluid secrets absorbed in the luminous water streamed down the mountain to be immersed into the ocean.  The excursion was short and sweet as its echo skated over river rocks that had been smoothed to perfection over centuries of flow.  Journey of each element lucid as energies mingled. They offered allegiance to the salty air and reverberated, like a song rising high into blueness of the sky.

Music resounded in the forest where the hibiscus and orchids smiled, butterflies danced around, and mockingbirds chanted.  Stanzas of confidences rang in ears of the frogs who croaked to the lizards, which slithered down to the army ants, who marched it to the houses on the edge of the forest. The inhabitants on the coast absorbed the melody before letting it submerge in the ocean to be soaked in with the sea creatures.  People danced on the soft sand and sang, with pride over their land and arrogance over their abundance, as they created more energy. 

Charges ignited in the air that even the thunder gods began to pay attention.  Soft, white clouds shoved aside, darkness began to surround as rain-laden clouds hung over the island.  All creatures looked above and humbled, retreated to the sanctity of their abodes.  A torrent fell to the earth, cleansing the spirits, making way for fresh air and new beginnings.

to be continued...