WELCOME TO MY PARADISE

Viewing the sky from my office seat, my eyes gleamed. Hurrying to shut down my laptop, I sanitized my hands and put on my mask, it was going to rain anytime soon and I could hardly wait to reach home and enjoy the weather. As I frantically enter my cab, it rains. Gazing out of my window seat, watching people in motion wearing colorful masks, was what I enjoyed viewing, on my way back home.  

Dinner was wholesome, tonight. Sipping my lemon tea, I move towards my balcony. The view from here is something I cannot afford to miss before hitting my bed. I see lights everywhere, vehicles honking with their headlights blinking, the warm yellow streetlights, lights coming from the apartments and so many other lights. What beautiful chaos to view on a cold night. Finally, I head towards my bed to sleep with my thoughts where my vivid imaginations, cluster together to create my very own paradise. 

The view here, guided me through the route to enter the gate of my dreams, tonight. I visualize myself, counting the lights. But wait, I felt like I was missing something. To reconfirm, I open my eyes and rush to my balcony. Scanning every corner, I hear saying to myself, “No, I haven’t missed a single piece”. Nodding my head, I move towards my bedroom, yet my mind provoked me to rush to the balcony again. In frustration this time, my eyes slowly moved towards the sky, and oh dear, I missed the Moonlight. 

My heart ached to realize this. He stood there all night watching me from above, waiting for my glance and I forget to count him in. Wow!!

We all are so lost, amidst these lights, like the people who can blink in and out of our lives.  We are so trapped in their artificial glow, not knowing that they can put us in the dark when their time isn’t right. They can be replaced anywhere and at any time, they come with a bill and we pay a price.

And, when these lights dim, we look up to this moon, to share our sorrows, our secrets, our tears, and our fears. He is like a person, who will wait to hear from you, spilling the truth. No matter the times, we forget him or ignore him, he will never whine. He is irreplaceable and needs no electricity to be fed, to charge you, and thus he becomes that person who will continue to burn himself/herself like a candle in the dark to give you all it has. 

The next day when I woke up, I rushed to hug him with tears flowing down my eyes. He, my father, the moon in my paradise.

I AM AN AGGRESSIVE SWAN

We were busy with our preparations, the festive mood was so on. There was hustle and bustle all around. Some were doing mundane chores, some were specialists, some were chirping in pearls of laughter while some were making faces for no apparent reason. In short “A Family” was there in its raw elements. 

But someone is missing from the scene. I was searching frantically who was the missing face in the group. And every time my eyes leave a face and move to the next face my heart sank bit by bit. At the end of the exercise I zeroed in who was missing – My Kids!

Where are they? They left with you, isn’t it?” Shock stricken me, I asked my husband who was as cool as cucumber and said “I don’t know, must be around” as he was unaware of the truth.

His words stirred up fear in me. Before he could react, I ran alone, barefooted in search of my kids. Raided the entire city only to be left high and dry in depression. As I drew my feet towards home I saw my kids standing at a nearby shop surrounded by people. They were about to drag my son and my daughter was witnessing all this and was crying helplessly.  And suddenly that mob was interrupted by a meek mother.

Please stop, don’t hurt him. He is my son. What has he done?“. A booming voice from the crowd “he was trying to steal food from the shop“.

No it is not possible, he must be hungry, he is nonverbal, can’t express himself. Have some compassion people” I was no meeker as I embraced my kids and enveloped them in my arms. I was up there ready to take on anyone who would and could possibly hurt my kids just as a swan who could get aggressive if she senses any danger around her nest.

And in the next moment, I was drenched in perspiration and got up only to find I was on my bed.  It was a dream, rather a very bad dream. I double-checked the room next to ours, kids were in blissful slumber. It did pacify me but a raked in the question “What after and without me?

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME

I heard the calm sea even before I tasted it. Yes, I relished the moist, dense, salted air with mouthfuls of breaths. And there was that smell, that raw, seaweed aroma that brought with it another kind of scent; a scent too familiar, too nostalgic—the fragrance of my fathers’ heady cologne.

I opened my eyes; a seven-year-old me was holding my father’s hand, the ankles of his trousers rolled up to his calves as he held my hand while I pulled him towards the sea. I laughed as the waves rolled under my feet, and the soft sand slipped, squishing between my toes, creating an illusion of the moving Earth.

Papa laughed along and picked me in his arms, taking me back to the resort, where the Flamingos strolled around the lagoon. I look at him and sulk, making a pout he adored.

You have been gone so long, why didn’t you call. I have been waiting.” I complained as he put me down by the lagoon, pointing to a pair of pink flamingos that made me squeal with delight.

Papa, will we come here again?” I asked him as I tried to near one of the pink, exquisite birds.

He nodded with enthusiasm and kissed me, “Every year if you like it so much here.” he said. I needed nothing more. I looked around for my mother, who was approaching me with a camera in her hand. She tried to take a few pictures with the flamingos and me in the same frame.

I clapped, and just then I slipped into the lagoon, sinking lower and lower into the depths of the water. I struggled to breathe, flapped my arms to get to the surface but was drowning fast, and when I thought this is the end, a hand grabbed my shirt and pulled me out.

I woke up from my dream struggling for breath, covered in sweat as I looked around madly for my father. He was not there; he was nowhere, but in my thoughts, in my memories and my heart.

I went to Fishermans Cove, a resort in Mahabalipuram with my parents as a kid. On the same trip, I drowned in a swimming pool, and my father pulled me out. I had seen flamingos for the first time in my life there and had believed we would visit it again and again. I know I won’t go there ever again, and flamingos will always bring back a slight smile to my face.

The days I miss my father too much, he comes to visit me in my dreams. I guess the only lesson here is that those who die never really leave us behind. A part of them lives inside us, forever.

 

PHYSICS, MY DEAR PHYSICS BOOK

Magnetic effects of Electric current. Reflection and refraction. Centripetal and centrifugal force. Oh man, I haven’t even read these topics once. I’ve Physics exam tomorrow.” Thought Deepa. 

Then out of nowhere a book of Physics comes flying and falls on her lap. She finds herself in an open area that is full of book racks loaded with books. She’s sitting down on the grass and when she looks up, she can see stars twinkling and the moon shining down on her. On her sides, there’re two book racks extremely tall, which seems to be touching the sky. She cannot see the top end of the book racks. 

She opens the Physics book and finds Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice inside it. 

No, this is literature. I need Physics book”. She shouts and feels the panic rising inside her. 

Another book falls on her hand again. It says – “ICSE Concise Physics – Class 10, by RP Goyal and SP Tripathi”.

She sits down on the grass again, opens the book. It has only one chapter – Stars and the Solar system. “This is class 8th Physics book. Where’s my book? I need to study Reflection and refraction. I’m going to flunk”. She starts crying and feeling terribly helpless. 

Can’t you hear me? I need my class 10th Physics book.” She shouts to the sky. 

Another book comes flying to her. This time it has to be the right book. She opens it quickly and to her relief, it’s her own Physics book complete and intact. She’s relieved, as she opens up the page of the chapter – “Magnetic effects of Electric current”, she feels something on her legs. She ignores it, after all, she has to prepare for her exam. Slowly, she feels something tightening around her ankle. She looks down and there’s a black snake circling around her leg, crawling up her knees. 

In an impulse, she throws the book up in the air and as soon as the book is out of her hands – snake disappears. She looks around for the book, then for the snake – there’re none. She frantically looks for the book again on the book racks. She finds all other subjects of all other classes but not her Physics book “ICSE Concise Physics”. 

The book racks are infinitely extending in all directions. She kept walking looking for the book. Suddenly, all the books start flying in the air hitting each other. She tries to save herself. There’s one book that’s ready to hit her on her head. She starts running for her life but while running she manages to read the title of the book – “ICSE Concise Physics Class 10”. 

She wakes up sweating and panting for breath. It’s twilight already. Her clock reads 5:58 am. Her alarm will go off in 2 mins. She has her board exam in another 3 hours and her Physics book is sitting silently on the table. She smiles at the book, picks it up, and hugs it. “You’ll never hurt me ever I know, my dear Physics book”.

A BOAT OF HOPE

I didn’t have a bad day. In fact, it was a nice day, having fun with my cousins and friends. Why then, I see clouds all around? Is it a dream, I’m seeing?

I saw darkness hovering around me and I screamed in my thoughts, “Ah…where am I? Why can’t I see myself?” The dark clouds all around me made my vision obscure as the bright light that I was seeing a minute ago almost faded away.

Then an intense sorrow pierced through my spines, my flesh, and my bones. The dark despair within me made me walk through the hidden lanes of my life. I felt ashamed of myself. I hated myself. The rotten scent of my sinfulness broke me into pieces. I saw a defiant me, standing and asking questions about my own creation… as I found myself to be a weak, neglected and a rejected piece of morsel thrown on a pile of garbage.

A gripping fear and a distressing agony engulfed me when I saw the raging sea waves approaching me and I just tried to duck down my head to let it pass but I could not do. I tried again and again but all my efforts seem to be in vain.

I realized my inability to rescue my own self. I understood I needed someone else to bring salvation, and restore me from this chaos.

Lo and behold! I soon saw a boat glimmering in the middle of the sea.

I had lost all my hope but a ray of hope sparked within me when I saw the boat. That boat, to me, seemed like a piece of leaf for an ant floating away in the water. That boat reminded me of my God, the Saviour Himself and I remembered His assurances, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for YOU are with me; YOUR rod [to protect] and YOUR staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.”

I could not feel whether I swam through the waves or not but somehow, I reached that boat and found myself on it, cruising through the waves, going beyond the clouds of darkness.

This may not be a dream that I saw in my sleep, but I have seen it many times in my life and still see it even today. I’ve walked in close proximity to death. My life has never been easy but the good thing is, I always found myself being consoled and reassured with the promise of that small boat of hope at every dark situation of my life.

I know, God has been and will be the boat of hope all through my life, even during this pandemic situation… till I enter eternity after my death.