Love

Kiera Knightly in Pride & Prejudice

Image © Focus Features

I have to keep myself from you. I have to keep myself from you because I see change coming. You sit there on my bed, reproaching me for staying away; yet, I cannot devour any more of you tonight. I will not. My head is full of thoughts of you. Your words, your ideas, your scent, these things go wherever I go even when I leave you behind (and I always leave you with a heavy heart).

You have enamoured my mind, do you not see? This is why I keep myself on a tight leash around you these days. Sure, it started off as a mild fascination but as I spent my hours with you, you took over me. Your words, your words would not leave me, and I did not want them to. I began shrinking away from society to be with you. I bared their disdain bravely when they did not understand why you mattered so much to me. I remember, this was the height of our passion. I spent every waking moment either with you or dreaming of you. But now, now things have changed. I see myself losing you. Your days are numbered. I can no longer spend the entire night in your company knowing you’ll have enough to pleasure me the next day as well, because you won’t.

 I have to control myself now. Instead of nights, I can take only hours from you. But that doesn’t mean I forget you after. Nay, if anything I think of you more now that I know we will end soon. Your words, they haunt me. They inflame my imagination, they pry emotions from me that I never knew I could feel, and they leave me craving more. Always. We go back and forth in our dance, I hold you, you take me away. I let you go, you pull me back.

But, I have to be the way I am to prepare for our inevitable parting. You will soon leave me but your words will not. Your characters, your storylines, your ideas, they will become a part of me when you are no more. And yes, there will be others after you but that does not mean I will forget you. You will, you have already changed me. You’ve helped me, made me better, made me see clearer, brought me joy, brought me sorrow, and above all, you’ve brought me comfort. I will remember you. Always.

PS: If you’re currently in love with a book (and I hope you are), this is for you.

Tales in my Head: Origins

Image from TumblrI started this blog because I wanted to write stories for girls like myself. I wanted to write about love and life, about loss and sorrow, about unbound happiness, about hopes and dreams, about the dread of growing old alone and the struggle of overcoming the fear of loneliness, about find your purpose in life and knowing that a job is just a part of life, about complicated relationships with food and clothing and shoes, about loving your parents and being annoyed with them, and about all the other issues that keep girls like myself awake at night but we deal with better by reading how there are other girls like us going through the same thing. 

I fear I have not covered much ground but I know I have made a start, and for now perhaps, that will do.

This post is a response to the Daily Prompt: Why did you start your blog?

Kindness of a stranger

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt: “Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?”

It was the summer of 2010 and I was at university in St Andrews, Scotland. My parents had decided (after much convincing from my side) to come down from India to see me, and I was ecstatic. Summers in university towns can get pretty lonely, what with almost everyone going home for the holidays, so I was very much looking forward to this visit.

Now here’s the deal with St Andrews, it’s tiny, and remote. To get there from Pune, India, you have to travel four hours to the Mumbai Airport, catch a nine-hour flight to London, then an hour-long connecting flight to Edinburgh, and then you have to drive for another hour to get to here. But trust me, the views are well worth the trouble.

One of the many beautiful views in St Andrews

One of the many beautiful views in St Andrews

My parents were due to arrive at around half past ten at night and I’d gone out earlier that evening to get some take away for them (I assumed my dad wouldn’t like the airline food), and some flowers for my mum. As things would go, they arrived slightly after ten, so I had to rush to get into a cab to make my way to the hotel at which they were staying. In my hurry to meet them, I forgot the flowers. This is where the “stranger” part comes in. I explained to the cab driver how my parents were visiting from India and how I forgot the flowers I’d got my mum, and as if in a movie, he immediately turned the cab around, stopped the meter, and radioed to his head office, “We forgot the flowers, we’re going back for the flowers”. Those were his exact words. I ran up to my apartment with a grin on my face, and ran back to the cab. “All set?”, he asked. I “okayed” and we were off again. Upon reaching the hotel, I was short on change, and being the excellent person that he was, the cab driver waved me off and told me to go, have fun with my parents. I was overjoyed! I thanked him profusely for his kindness and went on to over-excitedly greeting my parents.

Now, the story doesn’t end there. It would’ve been a great story if it ended there, upon the kindness of a stranger, but unfortunately, life isn’t as movie-like as you’d hope. Many weeks later, a friend and I were taking a cab into town, and we got, what seemed like the same kind cab driver, but I wasn’t sure if it was him. He didn’t say anything himself, perhaps he was waiting to see if I’d remember him. Only about halfway through the ride was I actually sure that this was the same person who’d helped a kid out on a cold Scottish night. By then I felt too awkward to bring it up, so we just spent the rest of the ride in silence. I wish I could tell you that I said something to him at the end of the ride, but I didn’t. I just thanked him excessively for this ride he’d given us, hoped he understood what I was actually thanking him for, and got out of the cab.

It’s been three years since that summer and I still wish I’d done things differently on that second ride. Maybe I’ll return to St Andrews someday and by some mysterious coincidence run in to that kind stranger, and thank him properly for his niceness. But until that happens, I’m going to try to be very aware of the nice things that people do for me, and make sure I thank them.

Misunderstandings

“I always thought you’d go for the intelligent one”

“Huh?”

“You know, when it came to dating, I thought you’d choose the intellectual-type, because, well, you’re the intellectual type. But I understand the fascination with aesthetic beauty, it bewitches us all. I suppose, it’s just that some of us are fixated temporarily whereas others are transfixed for longer.”

“You’re talking like you’re on Frasier again.”

I smile. “So how long has it been?”

“A few months now. Five months to be more specific.”

“Wow, that’s a long time. How come you didn’t tell me earlier?”

He looks down and hesitates.

“You thought I’d judge you.” I say.

“Well, see, that’s what you’re doing right now!”

“Judgement is a good thing. I still maintain that. For some reason, the unfortunate word is associated with negativity but I believe otherwise. Judgement is good. It helps us set parameters for our personal tastes in right or wrong, good or bad, and other such things.”

“Thank you for sharing your opinion, doctor.”

I smile. “Hey, as long as this is what you want, I’m happy for you.”

“I want to say thank you but I know you don’t mean that.”

“You make me out to be some sort of wench. I assure you, sir, I am no wench. I understand that people I am friends with can want and choose different things than me. Put simply – to each his own.”

“See, that really doesn’t sound like you’re happy for me. It just sounds like you think less of me for doing something you would never do. We can’t all be high and mighty like you, Jess, I’m sorry. Some of us are just human and we don’t want to over-think each and every thing. We allow ourselves to feel and follow those feelings.”

“I’m going to go.”

-

It’s 3am

and I’m wide awake

I want to sleep

but I’m in a state

I’m tired, I’m blue

But I am

I still am without you.

I drown in drink

but you won’t go away

I light up

but you’re still there

I look around

It’s just me

It’s me without you.

I write down words

they don’t find sense

I try some verse

it only rhyms less

I want to stop

I want to be

Me. Without you.

Inspired by Austen

“Stop. I must beg you to stop. I urge you to no longer continue paying me such attentions as would have once been so dear to my heart. Before your actions and indeed, mine as well, cause sincere pain to either of us, I must reveal to you my present heart.

I fear I must tell you that your affectations and countenance no longer determine the course of my happiness. For a while now, I have stopped thinking of you as the one man I could truly be happy with. In fact, I have stopped thinking of you almost entirely. I fear that certain incidents of consequence, and time, have worked at lessening the effects of your charm upon me.

In vain, I had suffered, it will not do. You must allow me to tell you how totally and completely I am no longer in love with you.”

An urge to write

It was a day to write. The uncontrollable urge to write had taken hold of Jane and refused to let go, much like an annoying girlfriend who wants to ‘talk’ when all you want to do is grab a beer, let your belly relax, and watch sports.

Jane knew she wouldn’t be able to rest unless she penned something down. But what? She was uninspired. She tried watching a movie, it barely touched her imagination. She listened to music but couldn’t focus on any of the lyrics. She read ten pages of a new book but couldn’t remember a single word afterwards. She went outside to take a walk, all the faces looked the same to her. She looked around to admire beautiful architecture but saw only monotone. She visited the park, the leaves looked dead. She sat at her favourite cafe, the coffee tasted weak.

Disappointed and still restless, she started to head back home. She was almost at her apartment when she spotted an adorable little kid walking towards her with an even more adorable tiny corgi pup in her hands. The kid was so little that she almost seemed to be the same size as the pup. Her mother (Jane assumed) was standing next to her talking to someone. It was an endearing sight – the pup kept trying to escape the little girl’s tiny hands and she kept hoisting it back up each time it succeeded. She giggled with glee at each attempt the pup made for freedom and with even more joy when she had him back in her chubby little arms. The pup seemed to be having the time of his life too, wagging his itsy tail ferociously.

Jane smiled. This was it. This was the reason she tried so hard to write even when she was uninspired. Muse kept evading her but it brought her pleasure to try. As she walked past the kid, Jane give her a quick wave. The little girl responded by sticking her tongue out. Jane continued smiling and made it home.

She sat at her desk and started on random ideas one by one. Most of them went into the trash can but a few stayed in the ‘work on it later’ pile. Jane smiled again. Perhaps her magnum opus wasn’t in today’s work but she could resolutely say she was a step closer. And that restless feeling? It was gone for now, but she really hoped it would find her again tomorrow.

Rigmarole – Final.

Continued from: Vol VIII

Mikros, Twerp, and Colorius (née Half Pint) mustered up all their courage and continued walking towards the castle. There, outside the main castle gate, the Wizard of Ounce was waiting for them. Draped in robes of stunning magenta, overflowing with stars, his powerful staff by his side, he made quite an impressive figure. A line of other wizards was standing at guard behind him.

“I have come to ask for your help…. father”, said Colorius, courage growing within him with every passing second.

“I banished you from this land, told you never to return. Did you not understand me?”, questioned the Wizard of Ounce.

Colorius looked down, shook his head, and sighed. “I request a private word with you, fa- oh great wizard.”

Twerp and Mikros watched as the Wizard of Ounce remained silent in thought for a long time.

“Alright”, came the answer. He made a gesture with his hand and the line of wizards turned away.

The Wizard and Colorius walked away from the rest.

“I know you’ve been waiting for me, you’ve been watching me, father. I knew the minute I reached the Impenetrable Circle. How else would you have the Wizard Council assembled by your side? I know they do not gather without prior indication. You’ve been watching me since I left the village. You’ve probably been watching me in the village as well. Am I not right, father?”

The great Wizard’s expressions softened, his shoulder’s fell, he sighed and said, “I am the most powerful wizard in this realm. I have magic enough to last not one but many life times. I have defeated armies, conquered kingdoms, created endless wealth but I have failed in one aspect. I have not been able to harden my heart against my wayward son. I had to banish you from the land, my child. It was expected of me after your behaviour. But I could not banish you from my heart. I have always kept a watch on you. I have always made sure no harm ever came to you.”

Colorius smiled but before he could say anything, the Wizard continued, “However much I love you son, I cannot show it in front of the Council. They will consider it a sign of weakness. It burdens me to say this, but I cannot let you back into the kingdom.”

“I have not come to ask for that, father. I am happy at my village. The quiet life there suits me. However, as your son, I have come to ask for a favour for one of my friends.”

“What is it that you need me to do?”

“You see that giant over there? His name is Mikros. He should rightfully be the next king of his land but due to his size, his father will not allow it. It is almost like a parody of our tale. However, even though ours cannot end in unity for now, I urge you to help Mikros by making him taller. That is the only way his father will accept him.”

Without a word, the Wizard made a small, almost invisible, hand gesture and a tiny vial of golden liquid appeared in his hands. He leaned in, put the vial in Colorius’ hands and whispered, “Make the giant drink this once you have left this town.”

Colorius looked at his father with gratitude, “Thank you father.”

“Do not thank me. I can never do enough to undo my disservice to you. I only pray you understand my position. And you forgive me.”

Colorius looked into his father’s eyes, no more words were necessary. He was about to turn around but stopped, “I have to ask..”

“I’m sorry son, she is married to someone else now. She has a family, she is happy.”

He smiled, turned around, and walked back to Mikros and Twerp. With the vial safely hidden in his pocket, he spoke in a loud voice, “I have tried to beg for my father’s forgiveness but he will not let me back into the land. Let us leave.” The Wizard Council, still with their backs turned, nodded in approval at this.

Before Mikros and Twerp could object, the Wizard cast a powerful spell and sent them just outside Mikros’ village.

Without wasting time, Half Pint explained the happenings to his friends and made Mikros drink the golden liquid. In an instant, he became twice his size.

“Well, they’ll have to give you a new name now”, said Half Pint with a grin. Twerp just smiled.

As you can imagine, the Giant King was very pleased to see his newly enlarged son. He sent one of his best rainbows off with Twerp and Half Pint. And Mikros? Well, he couldn’t express his gratitude enough.

With a rainbow above their heads, the journey back to the village didn’t take very long for our two heroes. As they approached the outskirts of the village, they could make out distant outlines of houses, cattle, and trees forming themselves.

“Look, the village is re-appearing”, said Half Pint. “Wait, Twerp, once we enter the village again, will you return to being, well….. incoherent?”

Twerp smile, “No, I don’t think me or anyone else in the village will have many problems now that we have a rainbow with us.”

“Good”, said Half Pint. “One more thing, you never told us about your father, Twerp. You met my father and saw how he wouldn’t accept me back. Is your situation similar?”

Twerp looked at Half Pint. Sometimes, when you take certain journeys with strangers, you emerge as not just friends but trust-worthy, long-lasting friends, and this was one of them. He told his friend, “My father refuses to acknowledge my existence. My mother called him ‘Pervertous Magnus’, but he’s better known as King Henry.”

Half Pint gasped, “Our King Henry? King Henry of the village in whose court I am housed?”

“Yes, him. My mother was a chambermaid at the castle many years ago and had a thoughtless affair with the King. When she tried to tell the King about her pregnancy, he refused to accept responsibility. He told my mother that if she could have an affair with a married man such as the King, who knows how many other affairs she was having and it could be any other man’s baby. My mother tried her best to plead with him but he denied her any help and threw her out of the castle. After that, she was left to fend for herself and me on her own. When I was really young and her shock was still fresh, she would take me to the castle walls and tell me of the many evils she had seen the King commit. She called him ‘Pervertous Magnus’ because that is what all the chambermaids would call him. Turned out, she wasn’t his first or only mistress. I still have nightmares of those stories but I don’t blame my mother, she was young and didn’t know any better. As time passed, she became more responsible and we stopped talking about him. So, that is my story.”

“Why don’t you tell him now? After we bring this rainbow back, he is sure to reward us handsomely and he might believe you”, suggested Half Pint.

“No, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be associated with the King. I still cannot forget how he treated my mother. I am content with knowing that I have served my village. I do not need any more reward.”

“Will you not even accompany me to the castle to deliver the rainbow?” Half Pint asked.

“No,” said a smiling Twerp, “I am sure you will do a good job of that on your own. Besides, I must get back to my house, we’ve been gone for a while, and there must be lots of cleaning up to do.”

Half Pint smiled and looked at him with admiration, “You are quite extraordinary, Twerp.”

By now the village had completely appeared before them. Twerp quietly slipped away to his small house. Initially, the villagers were confused but soon news spread that Half Pint had saved the day and he received a hero’s welcome from the villagers and the King. He was promoted to the King’s chief council and given gold beyond his desire. Over the next few months, he spent a lot of that gold in sending gifts to Twerp. He ensured to dine with him every week without fail.

And as luck would have it, Half Pint even fell in love with the King’s daughter, a fine young Princess with a big heart. Till now he had honoured Twerp’s wishes and never told anyone of his heroic deeds but he could not keep the secret from his Princess. And with the telling, she also started admiring Twerp just as Half Pint did. Many a times she sneaked out of the castle to join Twerp and Half Pint on their weekly dinners.

A few months passed and the King died in battle. And as it was always written in Half Pint’s destiny, he became King. Along with his fair Queen, he ruled his village justly. The Wizard of Ounce learned about his son’s new achievement and was able to use it as leverage to gain the Wizard Council’s trust. King Pint (yes, he liked to change names, and this one was better suited for a King anyway) and his Queen were warmly welcomed to the Kingdom of Ounce.

One day, news came that Mikros had taken a new bride. He sent another rainbow to the village to show his happiness and ever-lasting gratitude. The village prospered even more.

With time, King Pint finally even managed to convince Twerp to take up chambers within the castle. Twerp started spending time at the University within the grounds. He learned about history, arithmetic, astronomy, and everything else. But his strongest suite was philosophy, and he eventually went on to write a great many books on the subject and became one of the most respected philosophers of his generation.

All was well.

Not Yours

“Mine?”, she looked up at him longingly and asked, hope shining brightly in her brown eyes.

“No, Sloan, not yours”, he told her sadly as he pulled her away, her little hand pressed tightly in his.

She looked back at that puppy till they reached the end of the street and turned the corner. Silent tears streamed down her face. She was only three, she knew she’d get attention if she cried loudly but I think she was too sad for it. I think that was her first heartbreak. She’d only just seen that puppy but feel in love with him instantly. But no, she couldn’t have him, he wasn’t hers.

And here she was, twenty years later, sitting at the window table of her favourite coffee shop on a bright summer’s day, and that same voice said, this time in her head, “No, Sloan, not yours.” So she just sat there, holding back the tears, coffee getting cold, and heart being broken again.

She loved him, this boy. She was mad at him for not loving her as much. She wanted to tell him that he’d hurt her, she wanted to tell him he’d made her cry, she wanted to scream and shout. She wanted him, as love, not a lover. But no, she couldn’t have him, he wasn’t hers.

There was no one to pull her away this time though, so she tried pulling herself away. She was unsuccessful the first time, and then the second time, and then the third time, and then? And ‘then’ is a story for another day.