Monday, June 17, 2013

Pitter Patter raindrops....

(image courtesy: Google)

There’s something so romantic about the rains!

The first drops of rain on the parched earth…just like a long lost lover gently kissing the woman of his dreams who has long been waiting for him. And when he comes she breaks into raptures. The buds blossom and the peacocks dance, telling him how much she’s waited for that moment of bliss. An all encompassing aroma lifts them to another world, and together, they sway….. to the song of love.

As I look out of my window and see the first dark cloud, it fills me with delight. The scorching summers have drained me of life. The sight of the rain cloud makes me run out into the open. I do not want to miss that first drop of rain, do I? I eagerly look up at the sky and wait with bated breaths. The moment of waiting is finally over when a tiny drop lands on my nose. Ah! He’s here, I tell myself, and wait with my arms spread wide and a smile wider than that! And then the magic happens! He pours down with all his might and I soak in his love. I breathe in the aroma that keeps filling into every cell of my body till it reaches my soul and tears flow down my cheeks. That is the kind of spell that the rains cast over me, holding me in its captive and I stay on like a happy prisoner…

I wonder if it is sheer coincidence that I was born during the monsoon, August, to be precise. Is that why monsoon is so dear to me? Could be! And the rain god makes sure to pour down with his blessings on each one of my birthdays, making it just that little extra special!

I had just finished my exams in May and no prizes for guessing when I landed my first job! In fact, I remember coming back home drenched after my first interview! It felt like the rain was congratulating me on my achievement! The rains have always been a harbinger of good tidings for me.

It was during one such lovely monsoon that I first met the man of my dreams. We got married four monsoons later! Need I mention when we got married? During the monsoon, of course, in September! Nothing could be more romantic! Our best moments have been those of going on long rides in the rain, Kishore da crooning in the background, and stopping at “tapris” or roadside tea stalls for that hot bite of the samosa and a hotter cup of ginger tea.

My best childhood memories are those of getting wet in the first rain of the season. Entire families would descend on the terrace of our apartment and the old and young alike would enjoy splashing with glee! It was considered healthy to get drenched in the first rain. One would supposedly be free of all ailments if the first drops of rain fell on you! Myth or not, we enjoyed every moment of it.

The beginning of the rains marked the re-opening of schools and meeting old friends. The excitement of wearing brand new starched uniforms and sparkling clean shoes is unparalleled. The rush of adrenalin as we entered our new classrooms and grouped together with friends is unforgettable. And it is these good old school days that I reminisce about even today when I think about the most carefree days of my life!

The rains also marked the beginning of the festival season. It starts with Ganesha Chaturti, when we would rally around for donations, help with installing the idol of Ganapati bappa, conduct the 10 day festivities and madly dance in the “Sandall” (for the uninitiated, that was our community dance without a fixed form or manner, you just needed to go all out and dance!). How can I forget  Raksha Bandhan, Krishna Janamashtami, Navratri and Deepawali that follow soon after? There would always be a little drizzle on the Lakshmi pujan day of Deepawali.  And it would feel like the monsoon was bidding us goodbye. Farewell until next year!

Sandwiched between two extreme seasons, the rains always provided a respite from the sweltering summers where the temperatures rose to a jaw dropping 48 degree Celsius and the winters where we almost froze at 5 degree Celsius! The temperatures were always right during the monsoon, neither too high nor too low.
My love with plants and gardening in general, borders on the crazy. If you are attentive enough you might even catch me talking to my little darlings! I find that these grow best during the rains. During monsoon my home garden is filled with pretty blossoms in every possible hue. And in turn it fills my heart with indescribable happiness.  

What better way to enjoy the rains than with mouth watering hot foods to tickle your palate? You can almost always smell that aroma of piping hot tikkis being made here and there, bubbling hot coffee elsewhere or tangy chats somewhere! And to sit by the window looking at the rains washing everything clean even as people walk by in colourful umbrellas and raincoats, while sinking your teeth into these delicacies is bliss!
I relate a lot to the rains because they are so much like me. A little moody, temperamental sometimes, romantic at times, lazy at other times, but never fail to bring a smile every single time!  

That’s what the monsoon means to me!!

Friday, June 14, 2013


 Apocalypto is my entry for the IBL at Write up Cafe representing Central Team.


“Do you remember what day is tomorrow?” asked Diana, a mischievous smile on her lips, and playfulness in her almond-shaped eyes.

“30th June 2779, of course.”


“You won’t let me forget this day even if I want to,” said Ishaan, holding her close and planting a kiss on her forehead. “So? What gift does my beautiful wife want on our 20th wedding anniversary?”

“Spend the whole day with me, just the two of us” she begged, nestling her head on his shoulder, gently caressing his neck.

He smiled. She knew how to have her way, even after all these years. They sat holding hands thinking of the years gone by.

The loud ringing of the STE (secure terminal equipment) brought them back from their reverie.
This ought to be urgent, Ishaan thought as he hurriedly got up and walked to the secured phone, and inserted his KYP-21 crypto card into the PC slot. His hands shook as he read the roll of paper emerging from it.

Report to HQ immediately. Impending Alien attack. Brief at 11 am at 81K alpha station.
“I have to leave, Di, call you later….bye” he said picking up his coat and rushing to the door.


But he had left even before she could react.


“Gentlemen, the Observational Research Facility (ORF) aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has spotted a large army of UFO’s hurtling towards the earth at a speed in excess of 186,000 miles an hour, possibly from Mars. We may all wake up to the sights of thousands of crosses, globes, spherical globes and rods flying above the city’s skyline if we do not act NOW.” The Commander-in-chief’s (CIC) booming voice descended like a dark cloud on the faces of his audience. 

Issac Kurzon, the CIC at the ORF on Earth co-coordinating with the ISS was an expert on Alien invasions. He had intercepted 6 such attacks in past 20 years and had successfully led a mission to avert it too. He commanded great respect from his peers all over the world.
The CIC’s from all countries had responded to this clarion call and had pledged their support to the disaster management effort.

“We have confirmation that they are out to destroy us and take over our planet” he continued.  “The landing of the space ships is expected over the Sahara desert, in the African continent, the Sun being an important factor for their survival and action.”

“Do we have any knowledge of the ammunition they carry?” asked the CIC from Antarctica.
“As a matter-of-fact we do,” replied Kurzon. “Our electromagnetic wave mapping has shown that they are likely to be in possession of weapons with a high electromagnetic charge. It might throw the projectile at such a high velocity that the friction heat literally turns the subject "molten”. Once the wave leaves their gun’s magnetic field, the projectile can hit in a straight line, causing destruction equivalent to that caused by a volcano.”

“Can we not stop them from entering Earth? Can we take them out in space?” It was the CIC from China. “We have ample stock of EM Blasters and refraction laser guns which can thwart the attack.”

A round of stifled laughter filled the room.

“Made in China” labels had still not managed to garner the respect that they had lost through years of selling cheaply made Chinese goods.

“Can we be serious please?” thundered Kurzon. The house fell quite like a class of obedient school children.

Ishaan raised his hand.


“The Mahabharata has references to warfare using incredible weapons of powerful magnitude used in the war, like, high powered lasers and other unknown rays. They also have reference to the use of technologies emitting the most dangerous rays like Gamma rays, etc which have exceptional power to penetrate. The defense is done using “Tesla shield” which could destroy hundreds of incoming weapons and make it impossible to penetrate. It also discharges electrical energy and any incoming physical object which hits the shield is instantly vaporized.”
“Is this a joke, Mr. Ishaan? We are not here to debate if Mahabharata existed or what weapons were used it the war. We are gathered here to fight an impending attack.”

“I’m sorry to interrupt, Chief, but, we have already managed to re-create these very weapons that I have just described and offer to make them available for the protection of our planet.”
Stunned silence filled the air, before Kurzon announced a break and summoned Ishaan to his private chamber.


The Sahara desert had turned into a battlefield of sorts overnight. Radiation-proof camps had been hurriedly erected and ammunition had started being transported from India. The armies wore protective shields and waited with baited breaths for the aliens to descend.
Kurzon had sent 4 rocketships to the ISS and they carried a huge stock of the weapons too. The ISS had been beaming signals of the UFO’s nearness to earth every minute.
It was 5.30am when the message came through.

One hour to impact”

The beads of perspiration could be seen on everyone’s forehead despite the coolness of the breeze. The army atop the ISS had been prepared for the attack. Tesla shields had been placed suitably to defend the Martian attack. Every hand carried either a Gamma-ray gun or a high density electromagnetic gun all held in army like precision.

“Are we ready, Peter?” asked Kurzon to his chief commander on the ISS.

“Yessssir…” came back Peter’s voice.

15 seconds to impact


In spite of their preparedness, they stood speechless as they saw a huge swarm of crosses, circular objects, cylindrical ones speed towards them. It almost looked like a swarm of locusts.

“Shoot” Kurzon’s voice boomed over the microphone.

The firing began almost instantaneously and that took the Martians by surprise. The first batch of about 50 UFO’s had become red and igneous.

“There’s no atmosphere to cause it to catch fire and reduce it to ashes” reasoned Kurzon, looking at the puzzled faces of his contingent. “They are nevertheless destroyed.”
“Whoooo…” a roar of enthusiastic fighters cheered for themselves.

The Martians retaliated, firing back at the ISS. One shot hit the chamber attached to the spacewalk, smashing it to pieces and causing the Station to tremble.

A bolt of raw adrenalin shot through Peter’s veins. He jerked his rifle to his shoulder, clenched his teeth, sighted on the incoming UFO’s and kept squeezing the trigger, “Die, you bloody Martian, die!”

His team screamed in unison “Die…Martians Die!” and madly focused on the red and green beams flying about in their direction. The Gamma rays grazed through; tearing another batch of 50 UFO’s in their wake. Suddenly a roaring wave of light that seemed like a huge flash of lightening struck the ISS and it disintegrated, destroying the station and the contingent completely.

Kurzon’s face went white with trepidation. He hoped his calculations of their projectile had been correct. He picked up his microphone and bellowed into it, “ISS destroyed, Martians expected to land at Sahara in 60 seconds. Prepare for attack.”

A loud roar rose like a wave on the hot sands of the Sahara. The Martians were more alert this time and their firing began even before the descent happened. They were on a killing spree and their targets immediately turned to smoke.

Ishaan watched the frightful spectacle unfold before his eyes even as he kept firing shot after shot. The defeated UFO’s crashed down into the Earth spiraling into pillars of smoke and ash. The contingent of his own army had been consumed in the attack and his men had been reduced to cinders in a matter of seconds. There were burnt men everywhere. The fight had been going on for more than 2 hours now and the earthlings looked defeated. The Martians looked in control even though they had lost a great number of their UFO’s. Newer ones kept attacking the now depleted army contingent.

Ishaan decided to make one last call to Diana before a shot killed him too.

“Diana, my love, happy anniversary.”

“Turn around sweetheart”

Was that Diana…? Here…?

 “What in the world are you doing here?” he was shocked to see her in the middle of this huge battle field completely suited for defense. 

“All that later. First you need to take the mothership down, because it has the power to keep launching more and more UFO’s.”

“How will I know which is the mothership? They all look the same.”

“That one”, she said, aiming her laser cannon at a distant magnificent black spear-like giant cruiser in direct line of the Sun.

The giant cruiser burst into a huge ball of flame and exploded with a loud bang.

Ishaan, Diana, Kurzon and the whole team kept shooting at the rest of the UFO’s till the skies were clear.

Exhausted, Ishaan rested his head on Diana’s lap.

“How did you..? he began.

“I came with the first Martian ship that ever landed on Earth. And then…. I fell in love with you and this beautiful planet.”


Thursday, June 13, 2013


What is the 7x7x7x7 Writing Prompt? Well I picked it up from Shilpa who blogs at a rose is a rose is a rose .
  1. Grab the 7th book from your bookshelf.
  2. Open it up to page 7.
  3. Pinpoint the 7th sentence on the page.
  4. Begin a poem/a piece of prose that begins with that sentence
  5. Limit it in length to 7 lines/7 sentences.
The 7th book on one of the shelf of my bookshelf is…Sydney Sheldon's Mistress of the game
it says......"Lexi Templeton took a deep breath."

so, here's my take on the prompt.

Lexi Templeton took a deep breath
If it had to be done, the time was now.
She took out a .45 caliber silver Smith and Wesson from his cupboard. 
She crouched behind the sofa and waited for him to come.
He walked in 10 minutes later, her daughter in tow, all tied up with a cellophane tape.
Tears streamed down her cheeks as she aimed for the center of his head and pumped in 3 bullets one after another. 
His face froze as he fell down and saw her emerge from her hideout, a smile on her sweat drained face. 

This is in response to the  Write Tribe prompt

The valuable gift....

I remember being wheeled into the labour OT with Usha. Nervous prayers on our lips and dreams in our hearts! 

We promised to gift each other’s child a pair of silver anklets.

As I open my eyes, the nurse smiles at me. “It’s a girl.”


“Her daughter’s heart now beats inside your little one.”


Wednesday, June 12, 2013


The pain. 

Feels like a hundred people trying to tear me apart. My breath seems to fail me and so does my strength. I would rather die.

And then I hear the distinct cry. I am glad to have lived. Tears stream down my cheeks.

I look at her tiny pink face. She smiles. 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Naughts and crosses - Part 3

Read part 2 here

“Shalu, I am resigning” she announced to a shocked Shalu one day. “I cannot carry on like this anymore.”
Shalu knew it would be useless trying to convince Aditi once her mind was made up.
“Did you tell Anup?”
“I haven’t spoken to Anup in ages now.”
“Won’t he mind if you quit without telling him?”
“I don't think so. At least he won’t have to think about me seeing Rohit every day, if it’s playing on his mind, that is.”
But quitting the job was no solution. Anup still seemed light years away from her. He had been working more than ever and had become quiet and withdrawn. She decided that she could not let their relationship fall to pieces like this. She had to do something to save it.
After Anup had left for work, she took out their photo albums and started making a collage. And underneath each of the pictures she wrote her thoughts in a neat handwriting.
The first time we met.
At Neetu and Dilip’s wedding. I remember how everyone commented that we actually looked like a couple, though we had just met! We were always the ‘made-for-each-other-couple, isn’t it?’ ”
Our engagement.
I am so sorry I selected one size too small for your engagement ring! But you still made sure to squeeze it in somehow! It showed me how much you loved me.”
“Our first outing together after our engagement.
You managed to sneak me away from the whole bunch of our relatives for a photo session. I thought that was incredibly romantic.”
The big day- our wedding.
People could not stop raving about what a lovely couple we made. I cannot forget how you had sneaked in fruits and secretly met me, making me eat it! Mom was so mad at me later for breaking the ritual of getting married on an empty stomach! But you knew I could never go hungry for such a long time. You worried more about me than any ritual in the world.”
The best gift you have ever given me- our son.
You couldn’t see me in labour and almost yelled at the doctor for not easing my pain. I still remember the tears of joy in your eyes as you held Abhi for the first time. I know that you have not only felt and lived my anxiety through the nine months of my pregnancy but the pain of labour too!”
Our perfect family.
Me, you and the symbol of our everlasting love-our little Abhi.”
She broke down as she wrote the last lines.
The perfect family.
 It wasn’t perfect anymore. She had ruined it all. She continued writing her eyes blurry with tears.
“There are so many other pictures that could not be in the album, because they are in my heart. The picture of the smile on my mother’s face as you comforted her when Dad was being wheeled in for surgery, the look of content on my dad’s face when you held his hands and told him you will always be there for him and for us, the gratefulness on my brother’s face when you were along with him for his college admissions, and the love on my sister’s face as you took the entire responsibility of her wedding, like only an elder brother would.
You have been my biggest support, and I want to tell you how much I love you. I promise to never hurt you ever again, please forgive me one last time like you always have."
She decorated the border and left it to dry in her room. She hoped it would remind Anup of the love they shared and how much he meant to her. She hoped he would forgive her.
Anup had stopped eating at home for a very long time now, and so she decided to carry lunch for him to office that afternoon. She made Anup’s favorite ghee rice and korma and packed it along with some carrot halwa, dropped her son at her mother’s place and went to his office. She was standing outside his cabin door and about to knock when she heard Anup talking to his best friend and colleague, Ashok.
“I have to tell you something Ashok,” he started, his voice choked with emotion. “I want to file for divorce.”
“I suspected something was wrong with you, you haven’t been your usual self for quite some time, but divorce? That sounds too drastic. What happened suddenly?”
Anup told him about the phone call that had changed his life, which had brought his life to a standstill and had destroyed his faith in love and marriage. 
“How can you take such a hasty decision, Anup? I suggest that you talk it out with her. Just keeping quiet is no solution.”
“There is nothing to talk anymore. Trust is the basis of any relationship, and when that is gone, there is no use pretending that everything will be ok. I don't know if I am feelinng angry, cheated or just sad. Maybe all of it." ”
“Have you told Aditi?”
“I will, tonight.”
Did he say divorceHe surely didn’t mean that, did he? She panicked. She wanted to go in and talk to him, beg him, not to leave her like this. But maybe she deserved this, she thought. She went to the reception and left the lunch box with the receptionist and walked away.
“I still think you should talk to her first” Ashok said, “Think about Abhi. He needs both his parents, isn’t it?”
“How will I ever be sure this will not happen again, or has not happened before?”
 “She could have chosen to keep the secret from you, but she didn’t. Doesn’t that show how much she loves you and how much she has regretted that moment of weakness? You cannot punish her for being so brave. Cross your heart and tell me, would you have had the courage to confess if you had been in her shoes? Everyone is entitled to be forgiven once, and I think Aditi deserves to be forgiven too. The last few weeks have been punishment enough for her.”
Just then the receptionist called and informed him that his wife had visited and left lunch for him at her desk.
“See what I mean? She loves you, man, and is wallowing in guilt, forgive her” said Ashok. “Life is like a game of naughts and crosses, at each naught that life plays, you must know where to add your cross, if you have to win. Remember, three naughts in a row and game’s over.”
She could not bear the thought of having to live without Anup. She took a cab and went to sunset point, the place that was witness to so many of their happier memories. It was Anup's favorite place in the world.
She had been a little too early to witness the sun god make his downward descent. She sat on a rock, unable to look at the sun still shining brightly over her head. ‘I can neither face you nor Anup’, she thought, ‘you will leave me in a few hours from now and so will Anup.’
She wondered if she had done the right thing in not listening to Shalu. A cloud of gloom and depression was beginning to descend on her and she decided that she would see the sun go down one last time.       
Anup rushed home to talk to her. She wasn’t there. He went to his room and saw the beautiful collage she had left to dry. His eyes welled up as he saw each picture and read every beautiful sentence beneath it. ‘How could I have been such an idiot’ he thought. He called her mobile and found that she had switched it off. He called her mother.
 “Did she tell you where she has gone, ma?”
“No, is there anything wrong?”
“Nothing. I’ll call you later.”
Then he called up Shalu.
“No, Anup, she’s not with me. Is she ok?”
“I can’t find her, Shalu,” he panicked, beads of perspiration starting to form on his forehead, “can you come over?”
Shalu had dialed all of Aditi’s friends’ numbers on her way to his house but without any luck.
 “Where do I find her now?” Anup’s voice trembled as he paced across the room nervously cracking his knuckles.
“I suggest we go to the police, after sunset it will be too dark to even search for her” said Shalu.
Then it suddenly dawned on him.
Sunset. Yes, there’s where she could be, at sunset point.
“I think I know where she is” he said.
He rushed to their all familiar place and was relieved to find Aditi watching the sunset.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he said walking to her side and putting a loving arm over her shoulder.
“It wasn’t until now”, she said resting her head on his shoulder, suddenly relieved that a big load had been lifted of her chest, “But now that you are by my side, it has become as beautiful as it always was.”
He smiled.
He had put his cross in the right place and knew that the game was now theirs.
                                                        *********the end************

Naughts and crosses Part 2

“Good morning Aditi! Hope your intoxication has worn off. You were pretty high yesterday!” laughed Shalu easing herself into a chair.
Aditi sobbed softly standing by the window gazing into the oblivion.
“Hey, what’s the matter?” Shalu looked concerned. She had been Aditi’s best friend since college and people didn’t call her mother hen for nothing. She had always been overly protective about Aditi.
Aditi broke down crying bitterly, “Anup will never forgive me. How am I going to face him? What will I tell him?”
“Aditi, sit down,” she said helping her to a chair and giving her a glass of water, “tell me what happened.”
“Rohit and I, we- we were together last- last night,” she replied, her face buried in her palms, unable to look at Shalu in the eye. “It was a bad moment….I didn’t mean to….I am so ashamed of myself…” she was still crying.
“Wh-What? You did what? Are you crazy? Rohit and you? Oh my god! How could you guys do that? I told you to get back to the room, didn’t I? You were so damned drunk. Shit! I should never have left you alone there.”
“I need to tell Anup everything,” said Aditi, reaching for her mobile, wiping the tears off her eyes with the back of her hand. “This is one secret I don’t want to keep.” Fresh tears rolled down her cheeks.
“No, no, no, no, no….you will do nothing like that. Get it? Don’t make such hasty decisions. One wrong decision and your life will be ruined.”
“That wrong decision has already been made, and my life is already ruined, isn’t it?”
“Come with me; let’s go to Rohit’s room.” She snatched the mobile from Aditi’s hand, pulling her to her feet. “Let me give that idiot an earful. Who does he think he is?”
He did not do it, do you get that Shalu?” she said pulling her hand away and taking the mobile back from Shalu’s hand. “‘We did it. We, as in me and him.”
“Why won’t you ever listen to me? You didn’t last night and you aren’t now” said Shalu fed up with Aditi’s attitude.
“Leave me alone Shalu. Just go.”
“Look, I know how you feel right now. But no one knows about it. It’s just the three of us, and I swear to god, no one will ever know.”
“My heart knows, doesn’t it? Anup deserves to know. My heart says so.”
“Didn’t your heart tell you anything when you were lost in Rohit’s world last night?” Shalu could be wicked and hard hitting at times.
“Shut up Shalu,” said Aditi turning her back to her friend, tears again beginning to roll down her cheeks. “That was mean, you are hurting me. Why don’t you just leave?”
“I am not going anywhere. Can’t you understand something as simple as this, you fool? You have Abhi to take care of. What if Anup does not forgive you? What if he decides to leave you? Can you think of living without Anup, without Abhi? Can Abhi live without his mother? Don’t do this Aditi, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life, trust me. And what about the shame it will bring you? Did you think about how your families will react?”
The truth, they say, is bitter. But to Aditi, it felt like poison, threatening to suck the very life out of her. She sat down looking out of the window of the hotel room, far into the horizon, and at the sun, as if by some magic, the whole time between now and last night would automatically rewind, the last night’s moon would come back and she would never repeat this horrible mistake again. Ever again.  
There was a knock at the door and Shalu opened the door, to find Rohit standing there.
“Look who’s here! Weren’t we missing you, Mr. Casanova? I am so angry that I could just slap you right across your face.” Shalu was seething with anger.
 “Can I come in and speak to Aditi for a minute?”
“No, you may not” she replied, trying to shut the door on his face.
“Shalu, look, I need to talk to her, please let me” he pleaded, pushing the door back and finally succeeding as Shalu gave in.
He walked into the room, and saw Aditi staring into space, “Aditi, I- I am sorry, very sorry.” He stammered as he reached out to her hand.
“Don’t” she said withdrawing her hand, rising and walking into the washroom, shutting the door behind her with a bang.
She filled the tub and immersed herself in it lying in it for a very long time, as if the water would wash away her guilt. The hot water felt like tonic on her skin. She cried herself to sleep in the water, and Shalu had to repeatedly bang the door to wake her up and find out if she was ok.
 “We have to pack and leave now, ok? Everything will be fine, I promise. Just remember, not a word to anybody,” she said putting a finger to her lip, “bury this secret right here, in Delhi, get me?”
As Shalu closed the door behind her, Aditi took out her mobile and dialed Anup’s number.
“Anup…” she began.
“What a surprise! How was the award function? Hope you guys enjoyed your trip?”
Felt like sarcasm. Maybe she was imagining it.
“You are reaching today isn’t it?”
“Ok, I’ll pick you up from the airport.”
“Anup…” she paused wondering how to say it, and then she took a deep breath, mustered all her courage and confessed, “Forgive me Anup,” she said starting to sob softly, “I-I was drunk and had been dancing with Rohit, then he came to my room and..” she was crying bitterly now, “….that was one bad moment, Anup, I didn’t mean to hurt you like this, trust me. Last night didn’t mean anything to me Anup, it never will. Because I love you and I always will. I couldn’t carry the burden of hiding this from you. Please forgive me Anup….”she begged.
There was a long silence at the other end, Anup trying to comprehend what she was saying. She wondered if Anup was listening, “Anup… are you there? Won’t you say something?Anything? Your silence is killing me.” And then she heard a distinct beep of the phone being disconnected at the other end.

“Didn’t Anup come to pick you? You told him you were coming tonight, right?” Shalu was surprised not to see Anup at the airport. He wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Aditi looked around to see if she could spot him. She waited for another half an hour but there was no sign of her husband anywhere.
“You told him about that, didn’t you?” asked Shalu, shaking her head, eyes wide in disbelief.
Aditi’s eyes welled up again and she lugged her suitcase walking briskly to the exit, Shalu hurrying to catch up with her.
“Let me drop you home, Aditi. It’s on the way.”
“No, you carry on, Shalu, I’ll go by myself.”
“Why are you so stubborn? Do what you want.” She could not understand why someone would be so foolish. But she also worried that Aditi may not go home, or try to hurt herself. 
“Please go home, ok, and be safe” she said before she went out and got into a cab still worried for her friend.
Aditi sat for another hour in the lounge thinking about what Anup would say to her. Would he really leave her and go away? Will she lose Abhi and Anup forever?
She finally got up, hailed a cab and reached home. Anup opened the door and for a moment, she thought he would give her a warm hug, and tell her how happy he was to see her.
No hug.
Not even a smile.
But the pain in his eyes was evident. He stood for some time, looking at her; perhaps waiting for an explanation and she stood speechless, even unable to look him in the eye. Before she could gather herself and say something, he turned back and walked away.
“Anup…” she called out, trying to reach out to him. She ran behind him, but he walked straight to the guest room and shut the door on her face. Teary eyed, Aditi walked back to her own room and stared at a picture of them taken on their wedding day.
“I am sorry Anup,” she said gently caressing his picture, “will you ever be able to forgive me?”
 Anup left to work before she got up. She called him repeatedly on his mobile, but he was either too busy with work or had not bothered to take her call. She waited for him to call back.
No call.
She went to her parents place to pick up her son and spent time with him at home still waiting for Anup’s call.
No call still.
She sent him a message.
Anup, I am sorry. Talk to me, scream at me, fight with me, but don’t be quiet, it’s killing me.
No reply.
He came back long after she had slept.
He had been avoiding her for almost a month now.
She had messed up the game. Fancy putting a cross in the wrong place! She should have known better.
                                                              ****to be cont****

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Naughts and Crosses - part 1

A game of naughts and crosses.
She had never been too good at the game. But Anup had always been an ace. Especially when life put a naught, he always seemed to know where to put his cross and win the game. Playing all by herself wasn't such a wise move.
She should have known better.

“Cheers” screamed the excited trio as they clinked their glasses looking at the awards adorning the table. The team of Rohit, Aditi and Shalu, had bagged the best team and best performer awards. Their boss looked at them with pride, even as they basked in the glory of their victory.
“You girls look great today!” said Rohit eyeing Aditi in particular. She looked amazing in a blue chiffon saree and matching blue earrings. Her silken hair was untied, falling gracefully across her face and she looked beautiful sweeping it off behind her ear from time to time.
“Find someone else to flirt with Rohit,” said Shalu. Aditi however seemed to be enjoying the attention.
“I am going to the dance floor, care to join me?” he asked.
Aditi had almost got up, ready to join Rohit.
“Not with you,” Shalu replied pulling Aditi back to her chair.
“Mother hen” he sniggered, “suit yourself.” He walked to the dance floor, hands up in the air waving, hips swaying wildly to the beats of the song being played.
“Good riddance! I don’t like this guy one bit,” she whispered in Aditi’s ear. “I’ll tell boss to put someone else in our team as soon as we get back.”
Aditi however wasn’t quite listening to her; she was swaying her head to the music being played, lip syncing the lyrics, sounding completely out of tune. She was pouring herself another drink when Shalu snatched the bottle from her.
“Go slow on the alcohol Aditi, have you ever been so drunk before?” she chided her.
“I am fine Shaloooo,” she said snatching her glass back, “You,” she said pointing a finger at Shalu, “don’t keep telling meeee,” she turned that finger to herself, “what to dooo.” She picked up the trophy from the table, “Look at this tropheeee,” she held the trophy in the air, admired it and brought it to her lips, kissing it and then bringing it close to her bosom as if it were her child. “Seeee what it says? ‘Bessstt purr-form-errr -  Aditeee Sharrrmaa’, that’s meeeeeee……and I feeeel on top of this wuurrlddd…”She sounded quite tipsy.
“I think I should take you to the room, let’s go,” said Shalu, rising and holding Aditi’s hand, trying to help her to her feet.
“No,” Aditi wrenched her hand free, “I wanna daaance, see everyone’s on the daaance floorrr” she said pointing to the group of dancers.
“Whatever!” sighed Shalu.
Aditi dragged a reluctant Shalu to the dance floor, and was grooving madly to the beats when Rohit joined them.
“Madame, may I have a dance with you,” said Rohit, in a heavy French accent, getting down on one knee, waiting for Aditi to accept.
“Surrre Monsieurrr,” she said giggling, offering her hand, as he sprang to his feet, wrapped his hand around her waist and led her to the middle of the dance floor.
Shalu tried pulling Aditi back, but her friend seemed unstoppable tonight. Having been left alone, Shalu decided to go back to her room. It had been almost midnight when the party wound up and Rohit came to drop Aditi to her room.
“Can I come in and chat for some time?” he asked as he stood at the door.
“Ofcourrrse. I had a grrreeat time today, Rohit, you daance soooo well.” She said tilting her head to one side, still swaying.
“You were amazing too, Aditi,” he said, thinking of the softness and warmth of her skin brushing against him as they danced together. He longed to hold her closer, probably kiss her if she would permit. He took her right hand in his, and looked into her beautiful kohl lined eyes, “may I kiss your hand in appreciation?”
“You mayyy,” she replied holding forth her hand, quite carried away with his boyish charm.
He kissed her hand ever so softly; it almost felt like a tease. Aditi closed her eyes, breathing heavily as an electrifying wave shot through her body. He shut the door behind them and drew her close, one hand securely holding her slender waist and the other clearing the silken hair off her neck. She did not seem to mind as he kissed her again, this time on her neck, gradually moving to her lips. She seemed to melt in his arms, and sensing no resistance, he carried her to bed.
                                                            ********to be cont**********
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