Passive smoking

Taking the last breath, he had one last look. Twenty five years flashed by. What has become of all the time ? Was it the choices he made or the paths he was forced into ? At every stage of life, they were always there. Those hands that offered a cigar, the thoughts of ecstasy, money , fame and floating high above the world. Was it worth it? Too late to answer that. For now , it’s only a matter of minutes before leaving this world behind.

A group of friends, a love untold, a one night stand, a betrayal, fear and now death. ‘No’ was always an option, he just never saw it. The way out was always there, he just never looked. Not daring to stand up, the fear of rejection was what drove him to the smoke and the blood. To be accepted, to forget the worry, that was all he wanted. And now, addicted to the fumes of meth and cannabis, he has come to the last moments of his fame.

Plastered across the cover of every piece of media, fame wasn’t what he desired anymore. To have thrown away a perfect life, to have destroyed the life of a girl, to have escaped captivity was all he had accomplished.

A chance at redemption, forgiveness, no. No was what remains , now that it’s all said and done. A meaninglessness journey. And as one last attempt to escape, busting out of the prison and running back to the same people who promised him glory and took away his life, he ran. Overcome with rage, he sliced through the throats of them. The man who taught him to smoke , the man who brought him a little girl to devour, the man who taught him to steal, all of them, one by one. His one motive was to make sure that his fate does not befall another.

In the crumbling shack, he sat down. Gasoline splashed all over. At one corner, a blade in hand, he lit the match. Bleeding to death as the flames roared in. Burning away the remains of those demons. Burning away his memories, his crimes and his fame.

In a matter of seconds, the flames engulfed him. He who took in smoke to forget pain was now burning to ashes. Smoke rose high above, dark and dense, like the souls that burned.

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Tasting cyanide.

Get out ! Get out of my head ! The screaming was getting louder. Intensity rising with every shout. The one constant that has been there. In pain and in joy, the one voice that refuse to leave. Who? What ? Those questions are never answered. Never asking, never saying but always contradicting. Indecisive and completely lost, to wander was all he could. Trades he once mastered, he knows no longer. Ideas he had, now shrouded by pain. Every time he tried, a chain of thoughts held him captive. A prisoner of his own mind. A mind that once dreamed, now cloudy and filled with remorse. It was never a nightmare, even though he wished to wake up one day and be free. Who was it ? With each passing day, the picture became clearer. It was none but himself. He was forever trapped in an inner conflict with an alter ego. No more dreams. No more realism. No more ideas. No more creativity. No more trying. To give in was all he could do. The endless arguments, the yelling, the evil thoughts, lust, fear, and pain have conquered his mind.

Depression ? No was his answer. He refused to accept it. Help was offered but he was determined to not crack. The love of his life, deserved better. He would hide behind the fake persona he’s put on, the smile that hid the misery. It was the fear of being let down , knowing that he was right, knowing more than he should, he couldn’t give in. Why? It wasn’t an option. His mind was no longer his. It belonged to a part of him corrupt by anger and frustration. The agony of having to lie to one’s self and live in pain is beyond words. Alone he seeks peace. Alone was what he chose, knowing that he would hurt the other. There isn’t pressure, there isn’t a choice.

And one day, he chose to not give in. Hope was lost, he had no will. Every step he took, he knew very well there is no turning back. Atop the city, high above the world , he saw peace.

Falling through air, eyes closed and mind calm. He told the voice, no more fights. It ends here. And so it did. A silent killer took away yet another life, leaving behind nothing but the lies he made up. An entire lifetime, dreams and hope lost forever. And none to blame. None to fight.

A life’s worth.

It’s been years. Just let it go.
Waking up each day to that one thought wasn’t going to change anything. A glass of water , a word of affection was all it would’ve been needed. But, pride and teenage dreams all took over and now she’s gone. Every time her call was ignored, every time her advice was neglected, life was laughing right at myself. The woman who taught me to search for more, to seek knowledge, to know more than what they preach. On her death bead, the only thing I wished for was more time. A loyal wife, A caring mother, A wise teacher and my beloved grandmother. She was stubborn on many a front , but was the first person to talk to me about the importance of knowledge. She who told me that one should never stop seeking more knowledge.
On her deathbed , she would ask me to spend more time with her. All she asked for was more time, no more scolding, no more fights , no more lectures. Just sit by her. The last of her advice “look after yourself. Work hard. For you and not for anyone else. ” With teary eyes , I realised. Not her son’s, not their wives , not her grandchildren, nobody was there. When her savings and fortune was at question, when they fought over it , all I wanted was to take her home and look after her.
And then just like that , she was gone one day. Taking nothing but leaving behind more for every person who disowned her. And now I know, I received something special . Something nobody could fight over. Something that she shared with me before it was gone with her. Knowledge. To this day, I owe everything I know to that woman who taught me to search for more. My grandmother. Not the greatest person , but the only person I miss every time I’m lost and whose advice still guides me forth.

Like Amber.

The first step outside home, a home away from home. School. The first day isn’t all tears and crying. Not for me at least. The little classroom, all it’s colours and the wonderful teacher who took the kids inside. Tables, in a group of four. Sitting down with a feeling of loss, I noticed the one sitting across. No smiles at first, we met. And Just like that, from stranger to family , we formed a bond. From building forts with wooden blocks to sneaking a bite in class, the years flew by. Time took over. Classes apart. New friends. New interests. But never did we break that bond. True friendship prevails over time. From kindergarten to passing out of school, the transition was long, new faces became familiar, old friends became strangers. All along and still on, a bond that still remains unbroken. And now we part. Future, career, aspirations and situations now pull us apart. An hour away, a day away and across the sea. We may be miles apart but on the inside we still are family. All it takes is a call. A bond Unscathed by distance , by time. Immortalised in the words of the other, a picture that says a million words, memories that last a lifetime. Always has and always will be. In times of need, in grief, in pain and in happeniness. A face than can bring light to our darkest hour, a smile that can wipe out the pain, a hand that refuses to leave you to drown. A friend. Faliure and triumph shared equally, bound together by joy and sorrow, to last an eternity. Diamonds are forever, but friendship is priceless. Love beyond words and care beyond perception. Together. Forever. A hope , assurance that help will always come.

Not a day goes by without the memories of over a decade, the home away from home that grew up to be the only past worth looking back on. Every good bye, every hello.

And now we may part, but never a good bye. Till next time. Immortalised in our hearts. Forever on. Whatever the future holds, nothing would ever surpass our bond, engraved deep inside the soul.

A Mumbai Local.

Drizzling rain. Rumble and sway. A man was staring at me. Have I met him ? Does he know me? No. He’s definitely a stranger. Maybe he’ll look away. The rush hour commute isn’t exactly a weekend getaway. There’s hardly any place to stand, much less move away. As the next station approached, the train slowed down. Where is he? Did he get off? There was no time to look around, holding on to avoid being swept of. And again to a sudden start, the train moves on. Uh! Who was that? It couldn’t have been intended right ? It’s a busy train. Probably was an accident. And there he was, right beside me. Was it him? Why are there men staring? Is it the low cut top ? No, It’s pretty neat. The skin fit jeans ? Does it show a lot ? Doesn’t feel so.

By now the crowd cleared. Reaching up to the support bar would be a bad idea, lots of eyes. So the only option was to hold on to the seats behind. Ugh! So it was him. A man about 50 years old. He looked away the moment we made eye contact. He’s old enough to be my father. Probably has grandchildren too. Again, is it that I’m exposing a lot? No. The top is fine. So is the jeans. Maybe because I was wet from the rain? Maybe my attire aroused him? And then it clicked, why all the men were staring. There were no other women in the car. I was alone. Two stops remain and to wait was all I could do. Then it happened, he was moving in for the third time, pretending to walk past and then rub against me. Tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t risk getting off here. He just stood on the footboard. I couldn’t even scream. I didn’t shout. I didn’t react. Why didn’t I? I looked up and there he was , ready to make a move. As he took a step, my heart skipped beats. And then, from behind, this guy stood up. He had been staring at his phone for all this time. I gave way. But he stood there. Right in front of me. He was in fact standing right between the man and me. We never made eye contact. At the next stop , he led me down and went back to his phone. He must be in his early twenties. What made him do that ? Why didn’t he “graze” past me ? Why did he stand up just so I could get off ? As I stood on the platform, I could see a man. He had been standing right beside me all this time. He was busy with a newspaper. Too busy to notice a young girl who stood beside him? Too intrigued by the rape stories and sexual crimes that he didn’t even speak a word. Did he not see what happened? The ‘modern youngster ‘ stood up for a girl when the ‘civilised’ Indian refused to look up and see what happens to her on a public transport. The intensity of the situation hit me hard. Too bad that I doubted myself of being at fault. Too bad that women need a separate compartment. Too bad that a Saree, Burkha or a simple top failed to picture me human and not an object to satisfy lust. Too bad that blame is assigned. Too bad the media markets a crime against me but never asks me what I need. Too bad society labels me a slut when a little girl was raped by her elder. Too bad that I am labelled indecent and at fault for a middle aged man groping me. Too bad that we ignore. Too bad we don’t react. Too bad that I love at the mercy of another.

Too bad that I never did anything but pretend to not see. Too bad that while writing this, I know, I was that man indulged in the newspaper. Indulged in his own selfish world. Griefstruck and guilty for not having stood up.

Forging reality.

A movie, a novel, a creation. Fiction is perhaps the only genre that never fails to amuse a crowd. To be able to create an alternate reality is the most beautiful part of fiction. An alternate version of life, a made up persona, it’s often that fiction relates to one’s own self. Seldom we seek ways to escape reality, to avoid, to overcome, but at the same time escape life. Getting caught up in a fantasy world and losing yourself in the made up sea of pleasures we end up losing. Losing what is in hand. Losing the joy, the love, the life. Abstract thoughts and innate tendencies often collide within and a little push is all it takes to get you falling . And you will fall, deep into something that does not differentiate fiction and reality. And it’s a trap, one from which escape is impossible. But then again , what your mind creates, it can destroy. Mind games. Your own mind plays a trick on you. One moment you are happy the next you are angry and the next you are sad. You go from smiling at a camera to crying in front of a mirror. One doesn’t stop to think why? What happened? Why? From there it goes on to Why me? And Why now? Questions. Unanswered and abstract. The brain goes haywire. Processing becomes hard and yet again you are lost in a dream, stuck between fiction and reality. What have you just read? The mind is still processing, based on prior knowledge. No, this isn’t real. But then, why does it hurt? Truth hurts. So is the truth reality? Reality is Now. Reality is what made fiction. And every time you stop to think, you are back again in a never ending vortex of thoughts, cascading down to that deep dark corner of a mind that failed to comprehend reality. A mind that tricks you into thinking it’s real. Tricked by your own mind. Tricked into stop questioning. You are once again caught in a circle of never ending Chaos. And the only escape is fiction. An alternate reality. Sustaining existence. Immortalised. Constrained by one’s very mind. A voice forever lost, in an endless sea of thoughts.