Friday, February 26, 2010

The Never-Ending Story


She didn't like it when people called it a case of writer's block. It gave one the impression that writers weren't humans-only some pre-programmed story-telling machines who never ran out of inspiration.
Atleast that's the way she felt.
But it didn't matter. Whatever one called it she was dry of ideas at the moment.

A blank MS word document lay open on the laptop screen as Sharanya sat on her bed with eyes tightly shut-her eyebrows knitted together in concentration.
In her mind's eye she was desperately trying to conjure up an image-but everything appeared vague at the moment. She could only make out the silhouette of girl-a girl with long dark hair and startlingly brown almond-shaped eyes. But she couldn't tell whether she was happy or sad-'cause her face was shrouded in a thick layer of mist.
'That's show me your face...c'mon now.' she said to herself.
At this point her pressure-cooker let off steam with a tremendous hissing noise and the girl's image vanished in a puff of smoke.
With a sigh she opened her eyes again and made a dash for the kitchen.
15 minutes later she was back to her bedroom-looking disheveled, troubled and in a worse mood than before.
Not only had she burnt the rice yet again but on tasting the curry she found it too hot.
Now very few people knew this but Sharanya Singh Rathore, the famed romance novelist, was also an accomplished cook. She seldom messed up in the kitchen.
At least that was the case up until now.
She was an acclaimed fiction-writer who had risen to fame with her debut novel. An author of three published novels, two of her works made the best-seller list for 6 months each.Critics hailed her as the 'uncrowned queen of Indian romance'-the only romance novelist to command a decent male readership.
Her books were selling across the nation at all major book-outlets. She was reaching out to thousands of enthusiastic readers, making them laugh and cry along with her characters, restoring their faith in happy endings.....every single moment.
Now she was a public figure.
Now had changed so drastically from then...
The 'then' in which Sharanya Singh Rathore was little else aside from just another home-maker. The 'then' in which Sharanya was more than satisfied with the sole identity of being Rajiv Rathore's beautiful wife and Aditya Rathore's doting mother. The 'then' in which she considered herself to be the luckiest woman on earth for being blessed with such a perfect family.
But 'then' was a thing of the past now.

Because Sharanya Singh Rathore was only Sharanya Singh now. She had dropped the Rathore from her name ever since her divorce 6 months ago.
The Rajiv Rathore whom she had loved with all her heart was involved in a custody battle with her over their 10 year-old son.
No he never cheated.
But he never approved of his wife's new-found fame. Sharanya's growing popularity drove a wedge between the slowly that even she didn't recognize it until it was too late.
It seemed all those years she had stayed faithfully by his side during his slow climb up the corporate ladder were forgotten in a matter of months.
His job. His family. Life was always about him.
Success could only be his. Not hers.

The plush 4-roomed apartment seemed to have grown so much smaller ever since she started living alone. At times she had the nagging suspicion that the walls were closing in on her with each passing day. At other times she debated whether or not it was time to visit a counselor.
But stubborn and headstrong as she was Sharanya hated to cave in under pressure.
Although she had considered returning the advance payment to her publisher a few times she didn't have the heart to actually make that decision-somehow that would mean losing.
And for the time being she had lost quite about enough.

The tick-ticking clock on the wall informed her it was 4:30 p.m in the afternoon....only 4:30. She shuddered to think of how slowly time would pass that evening.

The warm afternoon sunlight was pouring into her room from the north-western windows bathing her in its glow. Sharanya closed her eyes in contentment and realized what exactly she needed at the moment.


A few minutes later she was locking the door to her apartment and making her way towards the elevator. After 10 more minutes she was walking down a paved path that ran through the centre of the nearest public park.
This was the only place where she could absorb some more of that pristine sunshine.

She slowed her walk to take in her surroundings...a few familiar faces, a few new ones, yellowing grass carpeting the ground, Mr Malhotra sitting alone on his designated bench, the balloon-seller at the gate....everything was the same. Even the dead deodar tree at the far south-eastern corner.
Unconsciously she started walking in that direction.
The last thunderstorm of the season had proven to be fatal for the tree which was now standing in a sort of a bent position....remnants of the broken branches were strewn at its foot and the roots were losing their grip on the soil.
The yellowing and brown leaves at the tips of the branches confirmed Sharanya's worst fears.

'It isn't dead yet.' a voice spoke from behind.
She turned around to look at a bespectacled, wrinkled old man with a clutching stick in his hand.
It was Mr Malhotra.

'How do you know?'
He smiled.
'You see those upper branches...' he pointed in the direction- 'look closely...can't you see something there aside from the dried leaves?'
Sharanya followed his gaze and squinted in the sunlight.
Her eyes widened...'cause sure enough she could see tiny green leaflets sprouting from the tip of a branch.
He was right.
'I think your eyesight is better than mine Uncleji.....' Sharanya said finally.
'Hmm........I was once a colonel you know.' he smiled good-naturedly.
'But eyesight has nothing to do with it....' he added- 'I could see because I was looking for it.
You didn't see because you believed the tree was dead.'

Sharanya blinked. The man had a knack for hitting the bull's eye.

'Ah it's almost sundown.....I better get going why haven't you been around lately?' he asked.
'Well I am working on a new novel...that keeps me indoors most of the times.' Sharanya replied truthfully.
'Write away my young lady...write happy stories....and remember to send me the first copy.' he said and broke into a raucous peal of laughter.

Sharanya smiled gently and watched the old man as he walked away. Without turning around he raised his hand upwards in a gesture of biding goodbye.
He was the same man who came to this park every day with his wife of 35 years until the day she was no more.
But he didn't stop coming. And he still laughed. And he still wanted to read Sharanya's book.

Suddenly her lips parted as her face broke into the widest smile in months.

How foolish had she been to assume that her story was over?

Sharanya broke into a steady jog down the path towards the exit.

The story of life was ever-changing, ever-evolving. It simply never ended.
As long as she was alive and long as she could feel the heat of the sun on her long as she could see Adi's smile.....she knew she had a purpose.
She had a hundred more stories to write, a thousand more smiles to spread, a million more lives to touch.
She didn't need to worry about her ending anymore.
For her story was only just beginning.


Special thanks to Nightwing of Mavericks for his valuable suggestions.

Sig 2

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's Talk About Love

The cheesiness implied in the title drew your attention didn't it? Well that was the purpose anyway since Blogger seems to be suffering from CDS (Comments Deficiency Syndrome) now-a-days with few active bloggers around who care to drop by and offer their valuable feedback.
And without a reader's opinion the existence of a blogger becomes pointless.
Anyway let's come to the topic.
To all Celine Dion fans worldwide ...I'm sorry to disappoint y'all but this is not about her famous album.
But in any case this post is dedicated to love.
The significance of this mere 4-lettered word weighs so heavily on my shoulders that I feel unsure about doing this topic justice. But I'll try my level-best nonetheless.

Now those who've been reading my blog from the very beginning would probably know of my unusual(not in entirety though)views about love and relationships. For those who are new here's a brief overview of what I think:-

Our lives are based on need and convenience. We always hanker after the things which are worthy in our opinion. When presented with a set of options we always choose the one which suits our needs perfectly.So basically when we are getting involved with another person it's either because being with that person is the most convenient alternative available(meaning it makes us happy and/or enhances our social standing) or that person is really important in our eyes. There's little or no love involved.

This is USUALLY the case.
There is of course the situation when you feel an undeniable attraction towards a particular person and your heart pines for their company. Now would you call that love?
Maybe or maybe not. The attraction for a person stems from their good character traits or physical appearance agree or disagree.
What if the person in question loses some of those qualities? Would your feelings remain the same?-The answer to that will be fraught with uncertainties.

Think about the whole institution of arranged marriage-from matrimonial ads in a newspaper column to profiles on it's all about flaunting yourself and inviting the choicest of proposals. (Unpleasantly reminds one of some business deal.) Isn't all of this about making the best bet? Where is the love in that?

Some of you will opine that in such cases love sprouts after marriage like that Platinum Day of love ad depicts. But is it really true?
Maybe being with each other turns into a habit with the passage of time and the companionship of one becomes indispensable to the other. Which brings us back to square one-Need and Convenience.

About 'love relationships' one gets to see everywhere these days...the less said the better.To know what I mean by that read this older post of mine.

Have I tortured you enough at a time when love is 'supposedly' in the air?
My apologies but this is not what I had set out to do.
Denouncing love or its existence has never been my intention. How can I reject one of the fundamental truths about life?

I had a friend once-a companion, a confidante, a partner in crime.
We laughed at the ridiculousness of things, we argued over a million topics under the sun, we talked nineteen to the dozen over a drab cheese sandwich and a hot cuppa coffee. We had prolonged telephone conversations about everything and nothing, we engaged in deathly verbal battles and although rarely, we agreed with each other at times. No there was nothing lovey-dovey in this relationship. No stirrings of the so-called romantic love.

And yet I loved him....not in the way a woman loves a man but in a way one human being loves another.
I still care for him. I want him to smile and be happy. And I don't want anything in return.
Some part of my heart firmly believes that the feeling is mutual.
But we don't speak to each other anymore. One has become invisible to the other.
I can't really say what went wrong. One moment everything was fine...and in the next one everything fell apart. If you ask me what was the reason behind I won't be able to explain properly. But I fear our life-sized egos got in the way.
He would never apologize to me and I am too proud to go say a sorry to him. But we would feel what we feel from a distance. There's absolutely no hope that we'll ever make up but we continue to wish each other well.

So what do you call such a thing? a relationship devoid of any words, gestures or any kind of communication? a relationship where there are no needs or demands, no gains or losses?
I think I know what it is....a love between friends that few will understand and most will find strange.

A mother's pride in her child's achievement, a father figure silently watching over his family, an act of compassion towards a total stranger, a friend always ready to help you out in times of need-love is omnipresent in all its myriad colors.
But we are often too blind to notice.
Love exists....not to boost the sales of diamond trinkets, cards or cute teddy bears for V-day but to make life worth living.

"Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or
conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not
resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the
truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever
comes."-quote from Jamie's Bible in A Walk To Remember
P.S: Hey hey all my blogs need to have a PS. :P
A bit of an emotional post but I had to make it anyway.
And I haven't forgotten about the story. I'll post it soon enough.

Sig 2

Monday, February 08, 2010

Silent Mourning

Lost in a sunless world-
She was walking down the path of despair.
Knowing not when she would return-
To a place where sense prevailed.

Not even a million tear-drops-
Could fill up the gaping chasm within her soul.
She wished the emptiness-
Would consume her whole.

Shadows followed her every step-
She couldn't run away even if she tried.
The good times and the bad times-
All flashed before her eyes.

Devoid of any warmth or emotion-
She was just like an ice-sculpture.
To her the world had ceased to exist-
For he wasn't in it any longer. 

P.S: This should be a perfect example of a post made in a hurry.But I'm working on a story and it should be finished by next week...given I've the time to sit down and work on it.Anyway folks do share your thoughts on this one.Till then bye bye...have a great week ahead!
Oh and yes before I leave I want to share this link to a lesser known blog-I think he writes pretty well and inspite of being short in length his posts do leave a lasting impression.Visit him if you can :)

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