Meghana and Animesh kept staring at the waves, rising and falling, reaching the shores, breaking against the rocks and filling the air with noise of splash only to retreat and bring upon calmness which is not static either.

The long silence was broken by a notification on Meghana’s phone.

“Oh it’s 2:30 PM, I must go as Kabir would be home in about an hour and a half” she said getting up from her place hurriedly.  A responsible mother she is, she had to rush.

Animesh signalled her to stop and said “wait I will drop you” and got up dusting away sand from his trousers.

“It’s okay, I will manage” said Meghana in a hesitating tone, there was a hint of being formal in her gestures.

“I know you can, but today I insist” said Animesh directed her towards his car dismissing her hesitations.

They got into the car and drove towards home. Throughout the way they spoke about many things. From prime minister’s foreign visits to their interests as kids, everything was spoken about except for the issues in their lives.

Meghana felt good about this accidental meeting. Though she was talking to Animesh but his words about life were still echoing in her mind. She kept pondering over them.

Soon they reached home. She got down thanking him and as soon as she was about to close the door past her Animesh called out her “Megha! Why don’t you work out a deal with Manu?”.

She was taken by surprise “what deal? What are you talking about?” She said in a bit startled voice.

Animesh chuckled and said “give him back his old Meghana and get your old Manu”. A smile escaped her lips and she bid goodbye again and turned towards the door only to be surprised again, in fact shocked.

She saw Manu at the door trying to open it with his keys.

“Manu!” She exclaimed and continued with her volley of questions “how come you are here at this time? Are you okay? You haven’t informed me?” and before she could continue further she was interfered by Manu.

With his trademark straight face “I thought you would be in a miserable state after your appointment with the dentist so thought of dropping home early so that I could take care of Kabir” he was still continuing when Animesh came and greeted him.

“Hey brother how are you?” asked Animesh shaking hands warmly with Manu.

With a broad smile which is rare but pure, Manu replied “I am all good, how are you?  When did you come back to India?  Please come on in”.

Animesh gently declined his offer stating that he has some important appointment and promised that he shall see them coming weekend.  And he parted.

Meanwhile Meghana was searching for answers for Manu’s probable questions for not going to the dentist and accidentally meeting her friend. She had some fears about Manu’s reaction but at deep down her heart she was happy that he came home.

“So how was your appointment?” Manu asked her. To this she could not lie and told that she gave it a miss citing Kabir as a reason.

He was calm and nodded his head just saying “okay” and went on working on his laptop.

Evening passed in anticipation for Meghana. She expected the typical male mentality from Manu. Routines followed in absolute calmness as usual, no sign of fury, no taunts, absolutely nothing.

Even in the night she was expecting a question to pop up regarding her meeting. But nothing happened… Manu was absolutely quiet and reserved within himself.

This incident gave Meghana a reason to smile and look at Manu differently though she was bit worried about his change of behaviour all of a sudden.

‘May be Animesh is right. May be Manu is waiting for his old Meghana to come back to him.  May be I am unable to see him standing at the other side of the bridge. I shall cross it to meet my Manu…’ Her mind was wandering around many things as she sighed and slipped into dreams.

Continue reading the next part HERE


He let her cry. Sometimes crying is the best therapy. He didn’t pester her with more questions and a while later she sobered up, wiping her eyes on the Dupatta on her suit. She looked up sheepishly, embarrassment written on her face. Animesh understood, he might be her friend, but breaking down in front of someone like that was humiliating. He let her recover in silence as the waves crashed on the rocks at the beach, the salty sea air filling his nostrils.

“You know what I missed most when I was abroad?” he asked her inhaling deeply.

She was studying his face closely and her curiosity got the best of her as she asked “What?”

“This!” he said standing and spreading his arms “the smells that I grew up in” saying this he closed his eyes and smiled. Meghana collected her hair back and tied in a loose knot as they were caught in the wind. She was smiling, after a long time, she saw someone enjoying such a simple thing as sea air.

“You remember Animesh, the time we did that play called ‘Stop and Smell the Roses’?” Meghana asked with a faraway look in her eyes and Animesh gave her a nostalgic nod.

He turned to her “I guess that is what life is about, all theory in youth and all practical as time passes.” he said sitting back next to her.

She thought about the time when she had actually smelled a rose. She couldn’t remember, must be on her wedding anniversary when Manu got her a bouquet, but they were not Roses, they were Orchids, prettier to look at but no aroma.

Animesh signalled a peddler who was selling Bhelpuri and asked him to make two plates with lots of tamarind chutney. Meghana chuckled, he was still the same, enthusiast, energetic, lively and vivacious unlike her who had lost her battle to the many responsibilities of life and become dull, boring, lazy and disinterested.

Animesh took the paper plates and handed one to Meghana. She ate it and her mouth oozed with flavours, tangy, sweet, salty, sour and spicy. She smacked her lips and hissed as her eyes watered owing to chilly in the Bhel and Animesh laughed as he too cried happily.

“This Bhel tastes almost like life itself, bringing tears to our eyes amid all the flavours it got to offer,” Animesh said as spoke through a mouthful and Meghana looked at him to check if he was being philosophical. He was not. 

“What’s your life like Ani?” Meghana asked seeking the secret to his sunny disposition.

He gave her a mysterious smile “My life is awesome. A loving wife who is very jealous of any woman she spots with me but never complains” he said pointedly and Meghana chuckled. “An adorable daughter who is absolute Daddy’s Girl and has taken beauty from her mother and a very naughty and prankster son who can’t sit still more than one minute,” he told her with fondness in his eyes and Meghana felt a pang of jealousy comparing to her own family life.

“So where are they all?” she asked taking another bite as she sniffed.

“My wife, she has changed homes last year. Now she lives at a new address called ‘Heaven’ but visits me every night in my dreams. She can’t leave me alone in nights. Zero trust you see.” he told chewing slowly and Meghana froze as she gaped at him shell-shocked.

“My daughter is in girls’ hostel as I can’t feel safe with her living all alone in the home. Times are bad and she’s growing fast you know,” he told sniffing himself and Meghana was finding it hard to grasp his words.

“My son lives with her maternal grandmother as he needs care. He’s small and a handful, I can’t keep an eye on him all day as I need to go to work.”

Meghana had turned to stone as she tried to find the right words to say to him. He saw her dilemma and smiled, but his smile didn’t reach his eyes. “It’s Ohk Megha, you don’t need to say anything. I have enough condolences to last me a lifetime,” he said nodding.

“I am Sorry Animesh,” she said softly and laid a hand on his shoulder.

He laughed but his voice broke “Why? What For? I am not sorry Megha” he said looking into her eyes.

“For your loneliness, for your pain, for the unfortunate turn of events,” Meghana said worrying for Animesh that he has lost the ability to feel pain.

“What are all those things Megha? It wasn’t unfortunate, it was freedom, from seeing her in pain all the time. Now she is free from that pain and that disease.” Animesh said with melancholy.

“I am not lonely. I live with my parents, they are old, they need me but what I get in return is priceless. I get their blessings and their unconditional love and support. I have my wife’s innumerable memories with me to keep me company and most importantly I have a goal towards which I am working. To give my kids the best future.” He told her in a matter-of-fact tone that unsettled her.

“I am not in pain. I plan to buy a permanent home soon in India and want to call back my kids to live with me and be a family again. I learn to cook my kids’ favourite dishes so I can cook for them in vacations. And meanwhile, in between, I stop and smell the roses.” Animesh said with such simplicity that it left Meghana feeling ashamed.

Meghana, life isn’t a bed of roses for any of us, but it isn’t a path laid with thorns either. We just need to see things differently you know. Count blessings often and troubles less, smile more and cry less, give more and expect less, see the ones below us, devoid of the happiness we have and not the ones above us who are living happily ever after.” Meghana understood why Animesh told her all this.

She had one last question “Don’t you miss her presence by your side?” she asked with longing.

“I miss her all the time. Every day, every waking minute. But Love is beyond the senses of touching, seeing, talking and listening. It is present in our soul, in the knowledge that we are loved.” Animesh said with an earnestness that was so rare. “But yes, I do get to smell her sometimes,” Animesh said looking at the waves and inhaling the sea aroma with his eyes closed and Meghana did the same.

Continue reading the next part HERE


As Shikha spoke …

Meghana seemed to be lost in her own world, she was hardly listening to Shikha’s voice. Shikha’s voice echoed somewhere deep down her own thoughts. She took a sip of the coffee, pretending to listen to her. Meghana tried to push a smile on her face, yet something was pricking her mind.

As Shikha suddenly rose up from her seat, ” Am sorry, I guess it is not the right time, I shall talk to you sometime later.” She smiled and walked into the corner to welcome another guest. Meghana felt, she was rude to her, but she ignored as she was struggling with her own battle of thoughts.

Again Meghana was lost in her own hurdles of pain.

She rose and walked out of the Coffee shop. Stepping out she stood as if she was lost

Unable to choose which road to take, she stood there overlooking the street in dismay.

The streets were familiar to her, as it reminded her good old days.

The bus stop where she met Manu for the first time, where they exchanged smiles. The streets she always walked hand in hand with Manu, after their engagement. Every memory flashed through her mind.

She quickly turned to the right, walking towards the beach, fighting the breeze that was obstructing her view. Tears pouring from her eyes clouding her vision, yet she kept her head low, not to catch anyone’s attention.

As she paced her way down the street, she felt someone calling from behind.

She stopped, turned around and saw – it was her old friend Animesh.

He had all smiles on his face,  she wiped her eyes and gave a surprised look.

“Hey…..hi, how are you Megha? Where were you all along? You seemed to have vanished …..”

His words never stopped …she could feel his excitement.

It was ever since she heard someone call her Megha … She smiled and said

“I am fine Animesh, how are you?”

He just stood looking at her for a second, “You have changed completely”, he gasped.

Looking at her closely, he noticed there was something disturbing her, but he just ignored as he didn’t want her to be uncomfortable.

Meghana remained silent, still looking on to the road, rather than talking to him.

“Megha… how are Manu and Kabir? I guess Kabir must be a big boy now, long time since I met him…”  asked Animesh.

Megha was again lost in her own world, she hardly seemed to be her self.

“Megha… are you ok?”, asked Animesh

“Ahh… yes Animesh, I am fine”, replied Meghana

“I asked you how is Manu is everything fine, you seemed to be disturbed”

Meghana realized she was panicking Animesh, hence smiled at him trying to hide away the agony in her.

“Would you mind coming for a cup of coffee Megha?” Animesh asked

“Mmm…I just had, would you mind taking a walk with me instead?” Megha doubtfully asked.

To her surprise, Animesh replied, “Yes, of course, dear, come let us move then”.

She looked at him, he seemed to be so happy and delighted in meeting her. Meghana felt happier, yet, she was struggling to be herself with Animesh.

Animesh was glancing in between on her face trying to figure out what she was hiding, yet he never let her know.

“So, how are things with you? How is life?”, Animesh asked

She avoided his question and  asked him “How come you here, I thought you were abroad.”

“Oh,  just returned from a long project work, now I will be here for a while .”

She nodded “Ok, How is everyone at home?”

Animesh was suppresing all his questions in his mind, his mind wandered with his eyes questioningly looking at her, trying to understand what was going on in her mind. He noticed her teary eyes, swollen face and messed up look. He was all upset. He was trying to find his old Megha in her, but it was utter failure.

They walked silently without uttering a word.

As they reached the beachside  Animesh asked “Can we sit here for a while?”

Meghana glanced the space and nodded “MMM…”

Again she remained Silent…..

She was puzzled, as she could not speak a word to her best friend .

What is wrong with me?

Should I tell him? No, He may not understand my plight.

Animesh understood that something was troubling her inside. He looked at her as she was lost in her own deteriorating memories.

He slowly patted on her shoulder trying to bring her back.

To his jolt, she just broke herself into tears. Animesh didn’t know how to react.He had never seen her like that ever.

She wept …..breathlessly….

Continue reading the next part HERE


It was a breezy winter morning as Meghana stepped out of her house. She was fighting hard to keep her tears from finding their way down her cheeks. She hailed the first cab that she came across and got into it.

“Where do you want to go, Ma’am?”, asked the cab driver.

So frustrated was Meghana with her predicament that she replied absentmindedly, “Anywhere…to a peaceful place…a place of dignity and love…without mountains of responsibilities.”

The cab driver kept staring at her with a questionable look.

Gathering her thoughts and emotions, she told the driver of her destination and gave him the necessary directions.

It was 10 o’ clock in the morning – two hours since she had sent Manu and Kabir on their day’s schedules. She had deliberately given the cab driver, the address of a beach an hour’s drive away. As the driver made his way through the morning traffic, a flurry of questions fleeted within her.

What is robbing the charm of my marriage?

Am I not beautiful enough?

Am I not taking enough care of all of Manu’s interests?

Is my thought process outdated?

Or am I simply expecting too much?

Is it because I am just a homemaker, that Manu doesn’t think it necessary to respect me?

Do I not toil from dawn to nightfall to make sure that Manu’s and Kabir’s needs as well as their wants are satisfied? Isn’t that enough reason to get me the love and respect I deserve?

Or…or…is there someone else in Manu’s life?

Meghana’s head reeled at the thought. No…she didn’t want to permit such thoughts to enter her mind. She had developed a splitting headache by then. Her Google Map showed Blue Moon Cafeteria just five minutes away.

She asked the cab driver to stop by the cafeteria, paid him and sent him off. The cafeteria was almost empty, except for a young boy – probably in his late teens, engrossed in a novel in one corner.

She chose a seat near the huge glass window facing the street.

“What could I serve you, Ma’am?”, a middle-aged lady in the cafeteria uniform asked her politely with a welcoming smile placing the menu before her.

In no mood to return her smile, Meghana scanned through the menu and asked for a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

“I’ll be back in ten minutes, Ma’am”, said the waitress.

Not wanting to pick up her train of thoughts, Meghana looked out of the cafeteria window hoping to find something interesting…something that would take her away from her fears and worries. She saw an old woman leaning on a pair of crutches walk past, a small boy hopping and jumping happily holding an old man’s hands, a vendor trying his best to sell some articles of daily use at a cheaper price to passers by, a young couple walking hand in hand with the gleam of newly found love largely writ on their faces.

“Here’s your order, Ma’am”, came the chirpy voice of the waitress, startling Meghana.

“Oh!…Thanks”, muttered Meghana without a smile.

The waitress went away. As she uncovered the tray, Meghana noticed that there were food stuffs other than the ones she had ordered. Apart from the sandwich and coffee, there was a chocolate muffin, a cream roll and some star-shaped wafers. Underneath was a neatly folded cloth napkin with the words – “Shine as a light amidst the darkness”, stitched onto it.

Meghana waved at the waitress and summoned her to come.

“Yes Ma’am, how may I help you?”, said the waitress, whose name Meghana noticed was pinned onto her uniform.

“Er…I think there has been some mistake in serving the order. I had only ordered for a sandwich and a cup of coffee. But, there are some additional items in my tray”, said Meghana.

“Could I sit with you for a minute?”, said Shikha, the waitress.

Not prepared for such a question, Meghana forced a nod.

“My sweet Ma’am”, began Shikha, “you are beautiful. Has anyone told you this?” A faint smile formed on the corner of Meghana’s lips for the first time that morning. Her mind raced to the day when she had met Manu for the first time and he had said, “Meghana, you are beautiful – a marvellous creation of the Creator.” Oh! How she had blushed that day! She was about to break into a shy laughter when her surroundings brought her to the present. And gloom filled her face.

“What does that have to do with my order?”, Meghana retorted with irritation clearly evident in her voice.

“From the time you walked in, I noticed sadness in your eyes. I do not know the reason nor would I make you uncomfortable by asking you. But I want to share a slice of my life with you. Before that, just to clarify, these additional items are complimentaries that we at Blue Moon Cafeteria offer to our first three customers each day. And, you are our second customer for today”, said Shikha with a wide smile.

“Now coming to my story, I own this cafeteria”, said Shikha.

Taken aback by this piece of information, Meghana seemed to be visibly unsettled thinking that she ought to have treated Shikha better.

“No, nothing to worry about, my dear. I love to serve my customers along with my employees. So, I dress like them and behave like one of them. You can be at ease. This cafeteria was gifted to me by my father when it about to be shut down once and for all. Decreasing footfall of customers and dwindling coffers drove my father to such ill-health from which he could never recover. He bequeathed this cafeteria in my name”, said Shikha.  

Meghana pretended to be listening to her with interest…

Continue reading the next part HERE


The milk had boiled down onto the stove, hissing angrily onto the burner, the revolting stench of burnt milk filling the tiny kitchen. Meghana muttered tame curses under her breath. She began mopping up the spilt milk when the doorbell rang. ‘Manu! Please, get the door.’

Three seconds later, the doorbell rang again.

Manu?!’ No response.

She rushed to open the door for the milkman, paid him, slammed the door shut and ran to her son’s bedroom to wake him up. For the fifth time.

‘Kabir, beta, get up. It’s seven already, you have to be out by eight. Hurry!’ She threw his quilt back and picked up her eight-year-old in a bid to break his slumber. ‘Come on, wake up,’ she prodded him, ‘If you get late and miss the bus, I’ll have to drop you by the Metro. You don’t like the Metro, do you?’ He moaned a sleepy no. ‘Then go brush your teeth, bathe and come out and eat your breakfast.’ Off she went to the kitchen again, where she found her husband lazily reading the newspaper. ‘Manu, I called for you so many times. Where were you?’ That was more of a complaint than an actual question.

Arey baba, I was in the balcony reading the newspaper. Didn’t hear you.’ He replied, without so much as a hint of compunction.

Wah! You keep reading the newspaper, and I run around here barely managing to accomplish everything.’ She muttered.

Uff oh, stop nagging in the morning! Where’s my breakfast?’

‘Here,’ she handed him two plates of food and added, ‘Make sure Kabir finishes everything.’

She busied herself with their lunches. By the time she was done, it was nearly eight. She ran to the dining room with their lunches and found Kabir still picking at his food. ‘Kabir! Why haven’t you eaten anything? And Manu why didn’t you urge him to eat?’

No response again. She sighed and sat down on the table to help Kabir. After a few seconds she cleared her throat and said, ‘Manu, I have my dentist’s appointment in the afternoon.’

Manu humphed.

‘So, could you pick me up after the procedure is finished?’

His head jerked up, ‘What procedure?’

‘Extraction. My wisdom tooth. No rickshaws or cabs go there because it’s far. I won’t be able to talk much either. It will get difficult to come back by myself. Can you do it? Please…’

‘Tsk, Meghana. You know I hate this! I’m not going to be your chauffeur.’ He said dismissively.

‘Manu its only for today. I’ll be groggy with anaesthesia…’

‘No! Not today. Just write the address down on a piece of paper and show it to the rickshaw or cab walla.’

She stared at him, stunned. Then asked, ‘And what if he’s illiterate; because most of them are?’

‘Then don’t go. I can’t come with you today. I’m busy. Take another appointment.’ He got up and went to the bedroom to get his things.

She just sat there in silence, digesting his outright refusal and callousness. After twelve years of marriage, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to her but it did. And every time that happened she would go on a guilt trip – He’s busy. He’s got too much work. But of late she had noticed that he just didn’t want any responsibility beyond working and paying off the bills. She managed everything, right from Kabir’s PTA’s to the household chores and grocery shopping all by herself. And it was okay, really. It’s just that, sometimes, she thought, it would be nice if he could help, or just say – I’m there for you.

Manu and Kabir left, calling out byes to her that she didn’t hear because her head was muddled up. Maybe she was over-reacting. Maybe she was expecting too much. But today, she told herself, I don’t care. Anger surged over her.

I want to get away, she thought.

Forget the dentist. Forget everyone.

For just one day.

Within the hour, she was bathed, dressed, and without paying any heed to her household responsibilities, she was out of the house; she didn’t know where to, but she didn’t care…

Continue reading the next part HERE


You heard what I did not say,

But, you didn’t hear what I said.


You read what I did not write,

But, you didn’t read the message reflected in my eyes.


You thought your heart was close to mine,

But, you didn’t feel its beats as did I.


So easy it is for you to say what you say,

To do what you do and think what you think.


Without a care for my feelings,

Without considering all fervent appealing.


Put yourself, in my place, will you?

The truth will you see then, just as I do.


To hoist one’s voice obdurately,

Makes another’s eyes moist.


A failure to understand,

Leaves relationships bland.


Misunderstandings rob your peace and mine,

How can we then for God’s glory shine?


Misunderstanding, it’s just not a word, it’s a negative phenomenon that we all face not once but several times in our lives. What is Misunderstanding if I may ask? It is the absence of understanding.

It is the presence of confusion, error in expression and misconception that leads to misinterpretation. Misunderstandings are not unavoidable, they are bound to happen, but what can be avoided are the consequences if we only decide not to be impulsive and egoistic and make sure that what we made out of the given situation was correct. But more often than not we do just the very opposite and get hurt, and that hurt leads to our self-respect pushing our ego never to clear our doubts, and we tend to lose some of the most beautiful moment and relations in life.

I will tell you a small story here about Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature and the writer of Gitanjali. He was sitting on a wicker chair on his porch under the shade of a Neem tree in the blistering summer heat one day when a newspaper reporter came to interview him. He met the reporter with a smile and offered him a seat under the tree. The reporter began the interview while he felt soothed by the cool shade and aromatic breeze.

The reporter’s eyes fell on a crystal glass kept by Gurudev side from which he was sipping every few minutes. The reporter’s insides stirred and his mouth watered to see the emerald liquid with ice droplets around the glass. Gurudev noticed this and called a domestic help and asked for a small glass of the same drink for the reporter with an amused smile. The reporter was taken aback and hurt by Gurudev’s words, the thoughts in his mind read “Such a noble personality and such small heart. He is drinking from a large glass while he ordered a small one for me?” The interview went on as a maid brought a small chilled glass of the emerald liquid and placed it next to the reporter. He thanked her and took the first sip.

To his horror, the juice was bitter as hell, and he had to spit it. He looked up at Gurudev who was smiling and said: “I relish one cold glass of Bitter Gourd juice every day and I ordered the same for you but in smaller quantities, as I knew it would be tough for you to finish it.”

This story made me smile. I wonder what impression the reporter would have carried with him had he not tasted the juice. I think the lesson I got from this story is that to know the whole truth and all aspects and facets of anything said or done to you that seems unjust or wrong or partial shall first be analysed and assessed correctly and for that, you have to sip that swallow that bitter sip of your ego and pride and know the whole facts.


Many times I have been subjected to misunderstandings. Many times I have misunderstood others. I will share one such incident with you all. My brother and I were sitting in a posh, high-end restaurant and having dinner on the day he got his first salary as it was his treat. It was a candlelit dinner, and a singer was singing romantic songs on the stage and me, as per my habit were sending request after request for more gazals. Bro and I laughed and shared lots of stuff, jokes, memories as we ate through the excellent dinner when a small girl came up to us and gave me a rose and told: “You both are an awesome couple.” I held the rose as I gaped open-mouthed at her, so did my brother. We both looked around carefully and noticed that most of the people there were giving us admiring looks thinking we were a couple in love. It embarrassed me to the core, and I could not look in my brother’s eyes when he stood up and said in a loud voice with a kind smile “An applause everybody for the beautiful gazals handpicked by my even prettier sister here.” In a moment all the faces lost their smiles, and it came back to their lips a bit differently as they all applauded and I my and bro exchanged a fond smile.

That’s the thing about misunderstandings. They need to be cleared then and there before they snowball into something disastrous. My brother’s gesture saved me from having to think twice before going out with him ever again.

Remember, discuss more, judge less!