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Monday, September 14, 2009

redemption-the final part.

She entered his office and sat across him from his table.
“hey, there,” Ajit said,” this is a surprise.”
Without preamble she ventured,” Ajit, I know you have not been honest with me. I know about Usha.”
Ajit was caught off guard for a moment, but he recovered and said,” I don’t know why, but somehow I knew you were aware.”
She sat there silently.
“I know it does not look good, but to be honest, Sandhya,I knew what I was doing and though it may sound brutal I take blame for it but do not regret it.” he said.
“And can I ask you why you felt the need to do what you did, what had gone wrong with us?” she asked in a calm voice.
“I know I hurt you, but, damn you, Sandhya, you and your principles. Do you never feel that at times your expectation and sense of perfection is hard for others to live up to? You never needed me. or for that matter anyone. Whenever the stakes were down, you had your principles to hold you. You never ever needed me. You always turned to your principles to rule your life. You are so damned self reliant and perfect, that I don’t know what you need me for in your life. I am so sorry.” His voice broke.
She looked at her husband; she was surprised to find only pity as she looked at him. She extended her arms across the table and took his hand in hers.
“Is that what you wanted? That I make myself dependent on you? That I make you feel ‘needed’?” she asked.
Isnt that what a relationship is all about? Give and take. To be there for each other? What did you need me for? It was as if you never felt anything. No emotions at all.” He said.
“Pardon me for thinking this, but I had hoped that we would some day reach a point in our relationship, where I need not say everything in words. That you could feel what it was that I needed without me saying it. And I am sorry you felt I had no emotions. And Ajit, if this is what you felt, did it never occur to you that your worth in my eyes is so much that I needed no apparent reason to love you. I just love you without ‘needing’ any ‘reason. Isn’t that how love is supposed to work?
If we had had this conversation earlier we would have done something to salvage our marriage. I guess that is it, I am moving out of your house and life, Ajit.the divorce papers will reach you soon. Am glad we had this conversation, it just assured me that the decision of moving out is the right thing.” She finished what she had to say and made her way to the door.
There, she turned back to look at her life of 8 years. He was sitting slumped in his chair.
“And Ajit, I am pregnant. If all goes well you can have your visitation rights. Goodbye.”
Too shocked to react, Ajit watched the door close on him for the second time in the same week.

She went into labor two weeks earlier. After a 2 hour labor she brought a wailing baby boy into the world. He had an unruly mop of curls and weighed 5 pounds. And when she saw him after she awoke from anesthesia induced sleep she felt as if she was seeing heaven. Her baby boy. Her world. She named him Rishabh. Ajit had come to see his son. He cradled his baby against his chest and asked her about her health. They were at cordial terms with each other. Their parents, though disturbed about their separation were trying to adjust to it.
Her mother was staying with her to help her during the initial months of baby care. She was working from home.
Life was slowly coming back to track for her.

The doctor informed her apologetically that there was nothing more he could do. Her lifespan was minimal, she knew. And she went about slowly closing deals and chapters in her life. She knew she had one final chapter to close and that it was time to enter it.

Her mother had gone out for groceries. Little Rishi was in his cradle sleeping. Grabbing her moment of peace, Sandhya took the books and made way to the Apple tree.
She heard the front gate opening. She called out that she was in the back.
Like a scene from a different lifetime she saw Usha walking towards her.
For a few minutes they just stood there staring at each other.
Usha looked a bit strained to Sandhya, especially around the eyes. Her pallor was also a bit too pale.
As for Sandhya, Usha could not remember any other time when she had looked better. Glowing, she had an aura around her.
“I was expecting you, Usha. You have perfect timing. Anytime earlier I would have thrown my crockery on you and anytime later it would have ceased to matter to me.” Sandhya volunteered.
“I heard from Ajit. I came because I thought you deserve my apologies. I am sorry. If it matters to you, I would like to say that I never knew he was yours.” Usha said in a calm voice, but her whole demeanor betrayed that she was straining to keep control.
Sandhya smiled,” I guess, he was never mine. And though yes, it is gratifying to accept your apologies, if am honest I may just admit, that I do not blame you anymore. If my marriage was flawed, it was not your fault. If what I gave him was not enough, it was not your fault. If his expectations from me were twisted, it still was not your fault.
Love is basic. It should come as easily as respiring. If it is forced into the boundaries of twisted expectations and high principles. It chokes itself to death.
So, I see no reason for you to apologize, in this case, Usha.”
Tears filled Usha’s eyes,
“How do you do that? How can you be so perfect, as always? I am so so sorry, Sandhya.”
Sandhya took Usha in her arms.
“It’s alright, dear, calm down. You are apologizing for the wrong thing. You can apologize for giving up on our friendship. I want you to know, when I told the truth back then, it nearly hurt me to death. I don’t know what made me do that, whether it was the fact that you did not listen to me or my childish expectation that someone I knew to be perfect could also be flawed.”
Dusk was gathering. Beneath the apple tree two women reached out to each other to be healed and to be forgiven.
As Usha turned to leave,
“I do not know what to offer you, but when the time comes for it, will you accept it?”
“I will, if you promise me one thing.” Sandhya replied.
“What is that?” Usha asked.
“You are too full of life to let it bleed away, Usha. Promise me you will forgive yourself and move on in life.”
Usha sadly smiled,
“I promise. Thank you.”
“Keep in touch.”

There never was any time for ‘keeping in touch’. 2 weeks later, Usha passed away. Too shocked at the turn of events, Sandhya had attended the funeral and silently thanked God that they at least were given the chance to heal their wounds.
A month after the funeral, Sandhya got a letter from Usha’s lawyer which stated that all her wealth and fortune were written in Rishi’s name and that Sandhya was the trustee till he reached of age to handle it on his own.
Sandhya looked out of the window; the apple tree was slowly flowering again, preparing again for another season of its life.
Sandhya looked at her son, cooing away happily in his cradle.
She smiled wistfully.
life still has to..and will move on.

(author's note:as i was writing this,i realised that i didnot want to judge or label characters as right or wrong.i wanted my readers to do,if it seems a bit neutral,this is the reason.
i have also got feedback that the guy's point of view wasnt taken into consideration.
that was because,i tried and found it lacking authenticity.
i would love to hear your feedback.
thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

redemption part 3

They had been ‘best friends ‘all their childhood. From the time she remembered, apart from her books Usha had been the only person whose company she had enjoyed
Before their little minds conjured up a name for their relationship, they were inseparable friends. The lively girl and the calm one. A team. Going to school together, doing their homework together, family friends, neighbours, playing together, raiding orchards, climbing trees. All the energetic activities presided over by Usha and the mind activities supervised by Sandhya. They had fitted into each others existence easily. Though she wholeheartedly loved Usha, there were times she had wished to be a bit more like her.
Their childhood had been so blissful, until that final incident that somehow brought on such changes that could not have been foreseen.
Their final year in school. Annual examinations. Sandhya had spent half her time seeing to that, that Usha prepared too. But on that fateful day, Usha just dropped a bomb on her saying that since she was not adequately prepared she was going to copy from sheets she had stuffed in her socks.
Sandhya would have none of it. After a massive argument, they had tentatively agreed that each could do what they pleased.
Usha had brought the notes Sandhya had prepared for her.
And as time would have wanted then, Usha had been caught in the act.
Trying to save herself, she had pushed the notes onto Sandhya’s desk where they would have remained hidden amongst familiar handwriting.
However, when questioned about the ownership of them, Sandhya told the truth, by declining to accept them as her exam sheets.
The moment the truth was uttered; Sandhya knew that these words were going to scar something very precious to her. But what had to be done had to be done. She had warned Usha about the consequences. Had pleaded with her that obtaining fewer marks was preferable to dishonest work.
And after the fracas, as Usha had been led away to the headmaster’s office, she had turned back and gave Sandhya a look, a look which she could not decipher but which at some levels scared her.
Unknowing to both of them that would have being the final time they saw each other for a long time.
Usha parents were ending their marriage and moving out of town. The headmaster decided to go light on the shameful incident as the student was moving away and changing school.
Usha had thwarted Sandhya’s every attempt to meet and talk to her.
In a whirlwind of activity, Usha moved away, ending a period of blissful childhood, marred by an incomplete end.
Sandhya believed in the principles of truth and honesty. She had tried to base everything in her life on her principles. And when she told the truth that fateful day, she did not know why, what makes the character strong was so painful to the heart, why her principles had taken away the only person she had loved apart from her family.
Even now as she tried to fit her life in some principle or other, as she went about life collecting moments based on values, there were those odd moments, when she questioned herself, about her character which had not minded breaking a human heart to uphold an abstract principle.
She had bartered a living thing for a nonliving abstract.
What sort of person did that make her?

As the weeks passed, Sandhya had no idea what she wanted. She did not know whether she wanted to sort out her relationship with her husband or whether she wanted to forgive him at all. She did not know why she had still not told him about her pregnancy. Somehow, she did not want to discolor the only perfect thing in her life with the dirt of his lies.
There were times when she wanted to break half the crockery in the house on Ajit, considering how he went about his life as if nothing was wrong. She did not know what bothered her more; the fact that Ajit did not notice anything wrong with her or the fact that she did not want to confront him.
And sometimes she hated Usha; with all the fiber of her being. The envy of her childhood bloomed to full-blown hate; eventually, the man she loved had given himself to what she was not and would never be.
That had been the ultimate betrayal to her.
All her thoughts hounding and trailing her; Sandhya had taken to walking to thwart them off.
And on one such walks she had come across the house with the apple tree.
It was one of those little cottages pushed away from the main road. The ‘on sale’ sign invited her to go in to look around. She had liked the house and as she made her way to the back she came across a beautiful tree; a flowering apple tree.
Somewhere, in some book about folklore of the British Isles she had been reviewing, she had come across the fact that an apple tree was associated with choice. An incident of how land was distributed according to markings on apple fruits came back to her mind. All the plots were similar; regardless a choice had to be made.
The sun shone through the branches of the tree. It was as if some thing was being pointed out to her. Today even she was faced with making some choices, decisions which were difficult, but had to be made nonetheless. Pushing them away was doing nothing but hurting her health, which was now not her’s alone. Someone else depended on her for its well being.
She gently touched the bark of the tree; a delicate bloom danced with the wind and gently fell on her face.
She smiled whimsically as she recollected that apple trees were also associated with healing powers and love.

Usha was always haunted by those eyes; those seemingly normal eyes; but if they looked at you in the eye, you will see in them a tinge of sadness; a sadness which lodges in a person’s soul after he has seen what life can do to you.Sandhya’s eyes were such eyes; eyes which had a wise sadness in them. Usha remembered seeing the shy, quiet girl all her life until she remembered noticing her. Her perfect friend. The friend who had always been there; all through the only happy time in her life; her childhood. Though she had never understood how a person could prefer the company of books to human, she had never minded it. There had always been something so utterly perfect and peaceful about Sandhya, that with her anyone could feel that everything was perfect in their lives at that moment.
But it was eventually those very principles that made her so damned perfect, that had brutally slaughtered their relationship.
In those times in childhood when children decide the definitions and rules of friendship what Sandhya did had hurt her bad.
She remembered an incident when they were 8 year olds stealing melons from an orchard when Usha had been caught and Sandhya had managed to escape. Even at the cost of been given beatings Usha had never revealed her companion’s name. For her one of the ground rules of friendship had been loyalty.
Sometimes she wondered if Sandhya would have even had a slight doubt about the decision she made about telling the truth. After all these years; now when the incident itself seemed so trivial,Usha did not know why she had been hurt by her so called ‘trivial ‘business
But, it had mattered to her that Ajit was Sandhya’s husband.
Sitting in the hospital lounge awaiting her appointment with her doctor, Usha thought back to that evening in the room of the hotel.
Ajit was resting on the couch with a drink in his hand; she had been staring out at the sky from the balcony thinking of how to start the conversation about his wife.
“I saw your wife today”, she had remarked.
Ajit had looked up at her; she still could not fathom how looking at a person you love but can never have, could hurt you so.
“And?” he had ventured.
“I don’t know. It just got me thinking. She seems nice. Why do you stray?” she had asked boldly.
A sad smile had formed on his face.
“She is nice. I guess that is the problem. She is too nice and perfect that it makes me miserable. No one can live up to her. She is too darned perfect.” He had said.
“If she is perfect, then what am I?” she had asked.
“It’s not like that; it’s just that your sort of perfection is easier to live with.”
She did not know what had propelled her onto her feet. All she knew was something again had broken in her; and this time too indirectly it had been Sandhya’s fault.
“If this so called “perfection’ of mine makes it easier to live the deception that we are living, then I guess, you do not understand the meaning of perfection. And that’s sad, cause you have encountered it, almost everyday all your life in the form of your wife and failed to recognize it.” she had said calmly.
“It is over, Ajit. I had decided that after seeing your wife, but am glad you made it easier. Goodbye.”
She had gathered her things and walked to the door. Now thinking back, she did not know whether it was Ajit’s declaration of her ‘perfection’ or some long ago forgotten loyalty to her friend that had propelled her to act, but she had been glad she did.

She had bought the house on a loan. She had managed everything without anyone knowing .she knew her parents would not permit her to stay alone in her condition; she more than anyone knew she needed her solitude. She would ask someone to stay with her when she entered the last trimester. She had packed her belongings. It had been sad, as she packed her stuff away all alone. It was as if she had been burying the last 8 years of her life. All that remained to be done had been breaking the news to Ajit. She had gone to his office. She still remembered their conversation vividly.

Monday, September 7, 2009

redemption part 2

As the weeks passed agonizingly slowly, with the usual tests and visits to the hospitals, Usha thought back on her life. as she made her way to the hospital corridors, all alone, she found it sad that in the 32 years of her life, she had made no such valid relationship which guaranteed someone with her today. A product of a broken home, she had had a nomadic childhood. The wandering existence had left its mark. She did not call a place home, she had no roots. She had always been a free soul, right from her tender years. Before she came to understand the concept of ‘living the moment’. , she had begun living it. She had studied architecture and had managed her way through management school, which had been the perfect course for her vivacious and shrewd personality. Today she headed one of the leading architectural firms in the city, and was on the verge of further expansion.
Her ambition and love for freedom had seen to that she had no permanent relationship. A string of affairs was her personal history. And somehow she had preferred it that way. Both her parents had passed away longtime back. And today, at this point in her life, she felt the need of people, and somehow her ability to let people go did not seem too appealing to her anymore.

The week she had discovered it, she had been too shocked to even consider the notion. Her husband was cheating on her. And she had no idea how to deal with it.
To top it all, she was pregnant, finally. After many years, they had finally managed to produce a life, a child. And she couldn’t think of worse timing.
She had had no inkling or doubt about his fidelity, nor had she any suspicions.
So, it had come as a bigger shock when she finally discovered that the “Mrs.” in the “Mr. and Mrs. Ajit” checked in many times in one of the local five star hotel wasn’t her.
After the initial shock, she wanted to find out who it was that he was cheating on her with.
The numbness which finally came to Sandhya as she watched the earthy beauty clinging to the arms of her husband, as Sandhya walked across from them, unknown to them, was a relieving difference from the heart stabbing pain of realization of her husband’s infidelity.
It was as if somewhere in her subconscious she had always believed that, that particular ghost from her past to exact her revenge. And what better than to steal her husband from her. Somehow, that it was Usha in his arms seemed befitting revenge to Sandhya.

She had met Ajit when his company had approached her firm for some project regarding the building of his new office. What started as casual flirtation turned out into a full fledged affair, with them meeting everyday after their respective office hours. She found him interesting. He was honest to her; she knew that he was married and that he had no intention of making an honest woman out of her by divorcing his wife. But, that had suited her then.
As the initial thrill of the affair wore off, Usha alarmingly realized that she wanted more of him than a clandestine affair.
And in order to put across her intention to him, she had first to research his background. She wanted to see his wife.
She knew his wife was a book reviewer and at times could be found in the local library.
Hence, she once followed his wife, at a distance, across town to the library.
In order to get a closer look, she had entered the library to find her sitting at one of the corner tables engrossed in a book. The breath had caught in Usha’s throat. It was like she had waited and eventually found her nemesis in a spectre of a distant past.
The plain beauty sitting in the library was not as beautiful or accomplished like her, but as always, the quiet contentment reflecting from her still managed to arouse her insecurities.
Shaken, she had turned and left the library.

In the initial period of discovering his deception, Sandhya suffered alone. She did not want to reveal anything to anyone. She did not know whether it was pride or some twisted sense of self preservation that had sealed her lips.
She went around with her daily routine in numb automation. At points she clinged on to daily acts of mundane activity to keep her desolation from overwhelming her and at times she just slumped in some corner of her house hyperventilating and crying her eyes sore till she was too tired for anything else. The questions that arised; about what went wrong, about what was less in her, about whether her whole married life being a farce; did not have any answers.
She knew some day she had to face and answer them. But for now, she was not ready to keep her whole being on a platter to be any more trampled upon by her husband.
If the present problems were not enough, with infidelity and her pregnancy, she had to contend with memories of the past.
Usha, her competitor today, Usha her best friend then.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Redemption part 1.

The slight evening breeze gently pushed the branches of the apple tree, heavily laden with the ripe red orbs. With a cup of warm tea in one hand and a book in another Sandhya slowly made her way to the chair under the tree. She felt like the tree herself. Heavy and clumsy. She was entering the ninth month of her pregnancy and was at the stage where she felt she waddled more than walked. Settling herself in the chair and resting her legs on the little stool in front of her, she looked up at the red globes hanging there, ready to take their plunge downwards, proving time and again to the world, the concept of gravity, irrespective of the fact that they may be squashed, scarred or broken, pecked away at, by birds, trampled by foot or even if they survived all this, taken away, sold and eaten by humans.
“Impulsive little ones”, she teased them good naturedly.
She remembered another time, when she, herself, brimming with happiness, was somewhat like the same apples she teased, unknowingly, setting herself up for hurt.
She had had the life she had wanted and planned. She had done well in academics, married well, and had a good job.
She was in love with her husband and had no doubt that he loved her too.
All she had wanted was a baby. Their baby. And it seemed even that was on the way.
But somehow, it was as if, after the perfection of her life till then, it had been time to balance it with heartbreak and unhappiness, as if some cosmic balancing mechanism wanted to put right the mistake it had made by providing a single entity with so much happiness, by raining down hurt.

Usha barely noticed the breeze lifting the strands of her black tresses and playing with them. Nor did she notice the world walking past her. The world spinning around her. It was as if she was trapped in a time wrap. A time wrap which hung only on the medical report in her hands. The medical report which in simple, cold, clinical terms said that she had leukemia, in its advanced stage.
She broke out of her reverie as a vehicle honked behind her.
The last visit to her physician regarding some routine fatigue problem had led to blood tests revealing an increased blood count of white cells.
Too shocked to think anymore, she slowly made her way to her car.
She knew it was time to subtract many years from her hypothetical assumption of the time span of her life. How was she supposed to do all the things she was supposed to do in her life? More than that, how was she supposed to figure out all those things before her time ran out?
Slowly the shock wore off as tears, as she slumped against the steering.

Sandhya walked back to the house, her mind engulfed in the memories of the past. She had always loved reading. More than humans she found pleasure in the company of books. Silent, giving, reliable and faithful books. All the peaceful and pleasant memories of her childhood were related to books in one way or another. She had graduated in library sciences. Hence, her job, which she applied for after her marriage to Ajit, was perfect for her. Her profile was of a book reviewer. She was supposed to read the book and prepare a review for it. She could not think of anything better. Reading was a pleasure and writing a hobby. Picture perfect.
Even her family, her parents and her in-laws, were glad for her. The job did not require much traveling and she could conduct her work from home.Ajit had seemed happy too.
But somehow, when she thought back now, she realized she never knew what was going on in his mind. The husband whom she had come to love and thought she knew had turned out to be someone else altogether.
He had been her father’s friend’s son. After the initial matchmaking ruckus by their parents, they had finally met and decided to get married. He was a mechanical engineer by profession, who had dreams of setting up his own business.
She had been attracted to his dynamism and energy; he in turn to her calm demeanor and simplicity.
Their marriage of 8 years had also been normal, with its usual ups and downs. She had thought he was satisfied with life, and she herself had been content.
Though she did not fancy their relationship to be the epitome of romance, she had had realistic expectations of harmony and satisfaction.
Why had he then felt the need to go to another woman?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

back to back.

i know...i know..ek baar shuru..tho no stopping,eh?
just wanted to wish all my malayali,kolayalee friends....a very,very happy onam!!!
njaaaiiii....d mallu shtyle...and make all z mallus proud......

my next post will be multiseries story...which i wrote a long time back.....that will keep people who miss me i write something lethal,deadly and new.....
happy onam again everyone....mallu or not........

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

better late than never......

hello everybody......i guess i am back..though i am running low on energy and emotions and all possible unwanted as well wanted factors which make us despicably human......
yea..i was paying a visit to zombie land and so fell cynically in love with it that i decided to shift just here for a few short moments,coz i can never ever let down a friend....and especially one like our own funny girl,Shanu who actually did me a huge,huge favour by tagging me....i was seriously out on many of them being topics to blog about.......
so here goes.....

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4 –
"electrophoretic transfer also is the method of choice for transferring DNA or RNA................"
:( is one of the most used books i possess.....
2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & catch air?
translucent curtains through which silvery moonlight is filtering.....
the moonlight and the screen light are the only things illuminating my world right now....

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
if you call sleepwalking and shutting down my sense system watching spree..then i guess,it was C I D while my brother was watching it....
i don't care much about the idiot box anyways....not a question for me....

4. Without looking, guess what time it is?
7.30 pm

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
7.32 pm

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
the next door dog barking his oesophagus out.....

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
half an hour back,went for a pumping workout.....

8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at?
some old photographs.....
and realised that they need not always invoke happy memories......they can cause gut wrenching pain too.....

9. What are you wearing?
black track pants and a military green tee.

10. When did you last laugh?
cannot remember.

11. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
a lot of Raja Ravi Varma paintings,they are the baby series..every painting has a mother and baby combination.

12. Seen anything weird lately?
how the living dead can people can live out the actions of life when they are actually dead inside.

13. What do you think of this quiz?
thank god,for it and Shanu.....otherwise i wouldn't know what to is a lifesaver.

14. What is the last film you saw?
August Rush.
it is so beautiful that i had perpetually wet eyes and goosebumps....
the kid is super cool......

the story is vaguely sketched with incomplete characters..but like every lover of art has to deal with abstract..i can assure you the film touches somewhere deep within you ....pulling strings which you never knew existed or dint want to acknowledge.....places you shy away from wearing the cloak of cynicism.....

and yes...i just realised that i should be marrying a Irish guy.if for nothing else but his voice.
it is no new fact that`i am in love with Bono's voice...i fell in love with a song in this movie..only to know that the singer/actor/composer is Irish.(
there sure is something about these guys and their voices......
15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?-
a private island.

16. Tell me something about you that I dunno
i guess,there are a lot of things.....

17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
annihilate human beings.

18. Do you like to Dance?.
yes,cannot live without it.......

19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

20. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?

21. Would you ever consider living abroad?

22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
sorry,i screwed your case all along..let me make child..


well,here it is.......i tag all the people..who want to be tagged........
a special mention ...thanks a lot Shanu and BE..for your occasional word.....
felt real good...pardon me for sometime..i will surely come and read all that i missed and will comment.....just bear with me...

goodbye folks....