Last Resort

Her thoughts were all swollen and dark,

She mutters “Oh! Is this all there’s left to see?”

Since yesterday she has been asking strangers for kindness

“No good can be achieved if there’s no good done”

Has she not been the bad girl for a while now?

Playing around with feelings and emotions:

When her demon left taking a vow, since then, since then she has been alone.

But she found peace, a place to rest her thoughts,

In the horizon where the good and bad emerge,

There’s an end to her journey.

Time has stopped, everything is still,

She closed her eyes to see the one she longed.

Darkness, plain darkness,

No one is there; no one wants her back once she’s gone.

Poor little girl never thought this day would come,

They pass her by ignoring her existence.

“One familiar face, just one will do; someone please recognize me”

“This is the Last Resort child, have you someone to call?”

With bloodshot eyes and dried lips she whispered –

“I can’t go back; I’ve lost all my emotions and feelings”

…It’s better to have felt the pain than to feel nothing at all.

By Anamika Dutta©

I Lost a Lot of Weight But I’m Bald…

[Claire is really happy today; after such a long time she’s genuinely excited. She had been looking forward to this day. Today she’s going out with her girlfriends; they have planned to spend the whole day together. First a movie, then lunch followed by shopping and last but not the least dinner to end the hectic day. She woke up with a faint smile, “John has already left for work? Oh! These pills make me so tired, I can’t even think properly…but not today, today will be the best day of my life, I shall be cheerful, enough of being my cranky own self…Oh! Would you look at me? I look great”, she looks at her reflection on the mirror. She hums her favorite song as she gets ready for the day, “…to take the time. I, I saw that you couldn’t care less about what you do, you couldn’t care less about the time, and you couldn’t find the time to cry…”

After finishing the breakfast in a rush, she gets the car keys and goes out to the front yard, all ready and pumped up for the best day of her life.]

“Oh my God, you are so skinny, I’m jealous. You have got to tell me how did you manage to lose weight Claire?” Asked Laura (one of her friends). “Well that’s a secret”, Claire smiled politely. “Oh Come on tell us your secret, I want to try as well, jeez you look fabulous”, said Paige (another friend of Claire). “I highly doubt that.” Claire said in a low voice. “What was that? “ Laura asked curiously. “No, nothing, come on you guys, let’s get going”, Claire rushed them. “By the way your hair looks amazing, did you do something new to it? It looks too good, almost too good to be true” Laura made a slight remark. Claire looked a bit unhappy with the statement but she calmly confessed ‘it’ to be a ‘wig’. “A WIG?!!! Why a wig?” They asked. Claire remained calm and explained how she was losing her hair rapidly so she decided on getting a wig. “Well we should get one too because that thing is damn fine”, they all laughed.

Claire was perhaps right about the day being the best day of her life, she looked attractive; she behaved gracefully as she had always known how to be a lady but it only lasted till she reached her limit of keeping the whole act together. As they reached the diner, her strength gave up and she fainted a little which caught attention of a handsome young fella, most probably in his late-20’s who was having dinner perhaps with his colleagues. He held her in his arms and asked if she was alright; she nodded to give a positive answer. It was a scenario Claire was not familiar with, handsome young man holding her into his arms but soon she came to her senses, “What am I thinking? What about John? That man gave up everything for me, I shall be faithful to him; I do love him very much…” After the dinner Paige raised the obvious question “Is there something you are hiding from us Claire?” “Hiding from you two? No, not at all”

“Please tell us, we’ll help you in any way possible, I thought you looked great, you still do but now I have well it’s a bit of an intuition, you seem to be sickly, just remember we’re all with you”, Laura added.

“Huh! With me, you say? You two backstabbers ruined my entire life, even after knowing that I had feelings for Adam, Laura you went ahead and married the guy and Paige I know that you used to make fun of me behind my back with the whole group, but today is my day, I’m beautiful and you two are jealous, just jealous. You both are nothing but pathetic hypocrites who feed on misery, do you actually expect me to tell you guys the truth? So you guys can pity me, my situation; like I’ll ever make the same mistake again, I confessed about my love towards Adam and what did you two do huh? Never again. I’m fine, hell I’m DAMN FINE!…” Seeing her silent that way Paige placed her hand on Claire’s shoulder trying to sound more considerate “Are you all right Claire? You know the way you quit your job all so sudden that worried me.”

“Yes I’m fine, was a bit dizzy back then, it’s been a while, gals we’re getting old, whether we like it or not, ain’t we?” Claire replied politely. “Old? Who are you calling old? We’re still young, come on we’re in our mid-thirties; we can’t call ourselves old” Laura sounded cheerful.

Claire tries to gather the memories of the old days as she sat down on her bed “…Ah! The bed feels so good after a long tiring day, I feel relaxed”, she looks at the clock and murmured “John is not home yet”, as she lays back the flashbacks of the past come running to her head, the day when she met John for the very first time, it was a bit awkward at first; she was still getting used to her bold bald look and John just came out of nowhere in the supermarket saying “Hey, stop being so self-conscious, I think you look great, it’s kinda badass”, John’s happy face, his happy-go-lucky characteristic always kept Claire going, she believed in his words and he always said “Miracles happen you know…”, till the day Claire had been waiting on a miracle to happen. She came out of the trance as she heard the door. “It’s probably John”, she tried to get up but decided against it as she realized she was too tired. “How was the day with the girlfriends, did you all have fun?”

“Yeah”

“You were okay?”

“Well I kind of fainted a little; by the way did you have dinner?”

“Fainted? We need to talk about that tomorrow, is the appointment still on schedule? And yes I had dinner at the office.”

“Hmm…”

“You should get some sleep now, good night”

“Good night…hey John, you know that I love you right?”

As he came by the bed, tears came rolling down her cheeks, he slightly placed his hand on her forehead “Of course I do”, he wiped off the tears with his hand. Claire held his hand in hers as tightly as possible and started to kiss it franticly, she couldn’t control her tears “Just know that I’ll always love you John, even when I’m not here”.

“Don’t say that, I tell you every time, miracles happen, everything will be alright”

“No John, miracles might happen but I’m probably not worth it. I lived my whole life being scared; I’ve chickened out from every good opportunity that I came across. I could not stand up for myself, to my bullies, to the abusive professor at college. They made fun of me and I let them, I didn’t do anything even at the workplace, Oh! How hard it was to be me, myself. My two childhood friends ended up betraying me; elementary, middle, high school and even college; being fat was a curse…”

“You can’t blame yourself like that Claire, you always helped people regardless how they treated you, you saw the daughter, that miss goody good at the medical center, she had an abortion, no one but you in the world knew that but you decided not to tell that jackass bloody braggy abusive piece of shit whom you refer to as ‘professor’ who was so proud to be her father and because of you, only you that dumbass Paige even has a job, getting kicked out of her own house that meth-head, she came to you and you gave her a new life. You always treated everyone kindly Claire, you’re a good person.”

“But being good isn’t always enough John, I should have been tough, I should have been outspoken…but now all my life is about shoulda, woulda, coulda as I’m going to die soon…”

“We are all going to die eventually, you can’t say things like that Claire, remember last night? When you were talking about how happy you were that you were going to meet your friends and have a great time?”

“Yes because now, well now look at me, I’m skinny as hell, I feel like a Victoria’s Secret model in disguise except I’m bald and ugly but this is beautiful, my body is beautiful, I look fabulous as Paige said. I’m attractive, for the first time in my life I feel ‘wanted’, it’s a great feeling”

“What do you mean by that? Did I not ever make you feel that way?”

“I didn’t mean it that way, I meant being wanted by the world is a different feeling you see.”

“I can’t believe you can be that immature Claire, you do understand that being wanted in that form is all about what you look on the outside, not the inside right? I loved you for who you are, bald or fat or skinny or long-haired, you are you Claire, you are my Claire who inspired people to come forward to help people who have Cancer, you and me and all the members of the ‘Cancer-free World’ are trying to gather funds and it’s doing great. We are progressing in a healthy rate. You quit your job to make the organization bigger. You should be proud of yourself. After your diagnosis you are not that same Claire who chickened out, you are much stronger, you are more brave and you inspire us.”

“What’s the point John? My good days are behind me, I’ll never be a teenager again, I’ll never enter college again, I’ll never get a chance to go to the prom and dance with the guy I like, I’ll never get my childhood back; it’s all bitter, bad memories…”, she broke down crying out loud.

“Stop it Claire, don’t do this, I have been with you, to this day, I’m worth nothing to you?” John said angrily “Claire be strong, you’ll live to see another day, make the rest of your life, the best of your life.”

After 7 Months

“…This is absolutely heartbreaking to inform you that Brain-cancer survivor for 2 years, the chief-associate of ‘Cancer-free World’ local, our very own Claire Hoffman has passed away today at 13:34 eastern time. She was the founder of the organization ‘Cancer-free World’ which helped various cancer patients and continues to do so; she was also one of my colleagues as she worked for TV7 for 6 years. Her long-time boyfriend John H. Underwood has confirmed the time and the place of death. We have also gathered information that Ms. Hoffman’s daily journal which she kept along the years will be published by ‘Cherry-tree Publishing House’ as said by Mr. Underwood. We pay our respect, ‘Today In Memorial”, thank you for joining us, this is Paige Watson reporting from front-desk for TV7”

“Some people live gloriously, some glorify Death” – Extracted from Claire Ruby Hoffman; a Memoir

By Anamika Dutta©

His Jasmine Scented Girl (Part i) ~ A Short-story by Anamika Dutta

 

“What have you been thinking?” The lady wearing a beautiful floral dress with silver stilettos asked the man standing in front of his office window; gazing the clouds in the sky, he seemed to be lost in his own thoughts; hearing her voice he turned his face towards her; looking at her, the man answered “I was building our own universe; look at the sky, it’s beautiful today”

The lady looked to be in her mid-thirties but exceptionally beautiful; her brown skin-tone with dark eyes and long dark hair in the back floating in the mild air caused by the air-conditioner poured kind of a jasmine smell into the whole room creating a mist of lust and desperation. Her sparse arms could be seen as she wore a sleeveless summer dress; she was a tiny lady of not more than 5 feet with a complementary figure; she carried a silver handbag with herself which matched her shoes. The man himself looked to be in his late twenties; charming with white complexion; firm arms with a height of about 6 feet. His brown eyes looked so innocent and pure; filled with affection, he kept looking at her but she decided to take a seat so she pulled a chair out and put her bag on the table and sat with her legs crossed.

“We cannot do this anymore Omair; I cannot do this,” she said in a careless manner looking at a magazine which she had picked up from the table.

“Do you not want me anymore my love?”

“You know I want you, I have always wanted you but things are not simple anymore”

“Then why are you here?”

“What do you mean? You asked me to come by”

“Yes I asked you to come by if you wanted to but you’re only here because you pity me”

“Pity you?” The lady raised her voice up a notch “Do you understand what it means for us to continue?”

“Don’t shout Priya, it’s my office, not one of those hotels,” he said the words quite arrogantly.

The lady said no more; she looked at him for a few seconds with furious rage in her eyes; later stormed out of the room. He tried to hide his pain by pretending to check the papers in a file which was lying on the table but inattentively he kept looking at the door expecting her to come back any second.

“So you’re not seeing Priya anymore?” A young fellow of about the same age as Omair asked him as they sat facing each other in a little coffee shop; both sipping Mocha; seemed to be friends of each other.

“No”

“Good; she was never meant to be with you anyway,” he tried to sound considerate.

“Nikhil what do you think, did she ever love me?”

Nikhil seemed to be a bit reluctant to answer the question “Man I don’t know her that well but come on dude she’s too old for you and married; that never would’ve worked out you know”

“..But they’re getting a divorce” Omair replied quickly.

“They are?” Nikhil asked in a very surprised tone.

“Yeah, why do you sound so surprised? Don’t you know? Nikita hasn’t told you yet?”

“Nikita said they went to Goa for a trip but nah nothing about the divorce”

Omair didn’t seem to be interested in further conversation so he got up from his chair and said “I’ve got to run; have a meeting with the new clients. You enjoy your coffee”

Nikhil nodded his head. Omair went out of the coffee shop in a disturbed mood. All the way to the parking lot he kept thinking about what Nikhil said; “They went together, it only means that Priya lied to me…” After reaching to his car he searched all of his pockets for the keys “Darn, I left them at the café,” he murmured. He turned and went back to the coffee shop. Nikhil was still there sipping his coffee; a young girl had joined him. Seeing Omair by the door, he arose up and waved.

“I knew you’d come back for them; here they are and meet Reeha; she’s new in town and she works in the nearby BPO,” as he mentioned her name she smiled and forwarded her hand to Omair saying “Hi Omair, I already know your name; Nikhil told me”

Omair shook her hand and smiled politely but he had the least interest to talk to her any further or getting to know her; he realized it was only Nikhil’s plan to set him up with her.

“Hi, nice to meet you,” Omair greeted her lazily.

“Same here,” Reeha replied quite promptly.

“Well I’m running late so see you later which I’m sure I will; all thanks to my dear friend Nikhil,” Omair said it with a sarcastic tone in his voice but Nikhil accepted it graciously. He gave a big smile and said “Ahaan”

An idle Sunday afternoon; raindrops sliding down the window pane; Omair was sitting in his room watching the rain pouring in; he was thinking about Priya; the first day they met with each other. Omair was at an Art-exhibition and Priya happened to be one of the visitors; they talked for almost an hour in front of that black and white portrait of the old lady. Omair fell in love with the painting instantly and he bought it later; it also went quite well with his drawing-room décor. He and Priya talked about Art but mostly about how the painting reflected emptiness of the inside such as themselves. She was 35, married with no children and he was 28, a successful business man yet single; they went along well with each other with one mutual factor – Loneliness. Priya’s husband was too a businessman who barely made time for his wife; deep inside Priya wanted to be loved by a man like Omair; how much she missed the touch or a passionate kiss on the lips.  Omair was the perfect man for her as they shared the same interests and mutually they were both vulnerable for a little bit of love in their lives. He had a hard time finding a match for himself perhaps he wanted his lover to be just like Priya; although their religious differences took a toll on their affair in the beginning but somehow they were destined to be together. The affair lasted for about a year and the relationship in between them grew stronger with time. Priya was ready to divorce her husband Pradip who happened to be Nikhil’s sister Nikita’s close friend. Everyone knew about the affair perhaps Pradip did too but he never paid much attention. He neglected Priya’s extra marital affair with Omair as much as he neglected his marriage with Priya. Their marriage was an arranged one as Priya came from an orthodox family. Pradip himself had several affairs but he provided well for Priya. She wanted to reveal everything to everyone but her parents’ beliefs and insecurities caused her to keep their secrets to themselves although she was absolutely honest with Omair; she loved him deeply; there was not a single doubt about that. After almost a year, all of a sudden she decided to break up with Omair; it definitely came to him as a shock; after spending several sleepless nights Omair still couldn’t figure out what changed her mind.

There he was, alone at last, abandoned by his beloved. He longed to see her face; to hear her voice; “What if we could get away? Is it our religious differences that she fears; is she afraid about the society; about what will the people say,” suddenly these thoughts in his head provoked him to dial her number. She didn’t pick up; “Does she really want to leave me?” He asked himself but failed to find an answer to that question because he believed that she loved him truly and it couldn’t have been otherwise.

The phone was ringing; the picture of the caller made Omair rather excited; Priya was calling.

“Hello”

“Omair, you called?”

“Yes, how are you my love?”

“Are you okay? Is there anything important? ”

“I’m fine, I just wanted to hear your voice; can we meet?”

“No we can’t and we can’t talk anymore, I’m hanging up”

“Wait! Priya what if we go away…far away from here? Are you afraid of the people or your parents? They’ll understand eventually”

“Look, I told you we can’t talk; don’t call me anymore,” she hanged up. He kept looking at the screen in a dilemma “Should I ring her?”

A week had passed and Omair didn’t hear from Priya; he didn’t want to bother her as he decided to let her go and to live just with the memories of the times he had spent with her but as the days passed without being by her side made him realize that life without her was insufferable so he was ready to take one last chance. He wanted to know about exactly what happened that caused their separation; he was ready to fight it.

“Meet me today at 4 by the Old Bungalow Road for my life’s sake,” he texted Priya; in return he didn’t receive another but he decided to leave it all up to fate; it was a risk ought to be taken.

It had been an hour but Priya didn’t show up; Omair’s faith was dying inside; he grew impatient and kept on checking his phone more often; still there was no sign of her. He got outside of the car and started to move about the area; a reddish aura was all around; the sun was about to set. He was startled by a car’s engine noise; he turned and saw the silver Toyota pulling up by the road. As Priya got out of the car his face lit up with happiness. She wore a pink sequined sharee; full-sleeves traditional blouse leaving her hair untied. She walked up to him.

“For your life’s sake? I expected more from you my dear,” Priya said politely.

“Tell me what happened Priya? What went wrong?”

Priya hesitated to speak up, perhaps uncomfortable with the truth. She sighed; turning her face away from Omair she said “I got pregnant”

“What?” Omair was in awe; he didn’t know how to react to the news; pulling himself together he said “Well isn’t that good news? It’s our baby, we can start a family together; let me take care of you both”

“What is wrong with you Omair? That can’t happen, what will I say to Mum and Dad? That I am pregnant with your child?”

“What else are you going to say? It’s the truth isn’t it? You cannot hide the truth, you have to tell them”

“Have you gone completely insane? They’ll never accept this, I can’t hurt them”

“Well then you should have thought about it earlier, before starting our relationship; before playing with my emotions. No one was there for you Priya, I was; I made you feel like a woman again, what do I get in return? Betrayal from you? Is that my price?” Omair said the words a bit rudely.

Not paying any attention to his tone Priya said very calmly “Forgive me, I am truly sorry but we cannot be together anymore”

“What if it hadn’t happened? You would have continued spending time with me huh?”

“What if we hadn’t happened Omair? We could live our lonely miserable lives and that’d have been okay for the people, they don’t care about us; they don’t care about me; they don’t care about our love, they don’t understand it”

“What do you mean Priya? Tell me what are you going to do with our baby?”

“I’ve already taken care of it. I’m moving out next week; I can’t tell you where I’m going for your own good but we must never see each other again”

“No,” his shriek caused her goosebumps; her pain too could be felt as her eyes became watery but she pretended to be the stronger one holding back her tears.

She stood there like a lifeless carcass; a smile, a small gesture or a warm embrace could do the job but she decided not to fool him with her essence. Her long hair created a labyrinth of despair which also filled the air with the smell of mild jasmine; used to be her scent to him. She turned away and moved towards the side of the road where the car was parked; with one last glimpse of him she went inside while he dropped on his knees throwing his hands up in the air; he uttered “Allah, don’t take away my reason to live,” he was sobbing; tears running down his cheeks. The car passed him blowing his memories in dirt while she murmured inside “I’m a coward, a selfish coward”

*The End*

man_mood_boy_girl_love_silhouette_sunset_3800x2550

By Anamika Dutta©

Love On The Rocks ~ A Short-story by Anamika Dutta

“Ever wondered how you ended up here when you could be anywhere, you could live the life you have always wanted but why here? It’s only a joke that God played on me. Every day I wake up and I wish I could just go back to sleep and pretend that my whole life has been a dream and I can start all over again being who I want to be and people won’t judge me for that; you won’t understand how I feel Rishabh, you aren’t me,” Avantika said in disgrace, she stormed out of the room after uttering the words. Rishabh could do nothing but gaze the doorway; all he wanted was to make her feel comfortable. He sat on the foot of the bed holding a picture frame which had his and Avantika’s wedding picture in it; both smiling in bliss.

Rishabh and Avantika had been married for almost two years leading a ‘happy married life’ as referred by all of their close friends and relatives but all of a sudden their lives had become nothing but a misery and it did love company; with Avantika’s excellent hospitality skills misery had decided to stay a little longer; perhaps had overstayed its welcome.

After a while Rishabh got out of the room and saw Avantika serving dinner; after noticing him she said “I was going to call out, it’s getting late; we have work tomorrow so let’s just eat” Rishabh said nothing in reply. As they sat facing each other over the dinner-table, both kept quiet and barely looked at each other to avoid eye-contact. To break the silence Rishabh opened up “Let me do the dishes tonight, you go get some sleep.”

Avantika smiled grimly in reply.

Rishabh had no plans to do the dishes that night but he was almost desperate to give Avantika all the freedom that she required. As he approached the sink all the memories started displaying over his eyes, it was a flash back of the past.

Rishabh met Avantika on a matrimonial website. They were both from New Delhi and had most things in common as mentioned in their profiles; even the site thought they were perfect for each other, almost everyone thought the same. They decided to meet each other one Sunday afternoon, after a whole month of chatting and talking over the phone; they mostly agreed on each other’s views. Most people would say ‘adjusting is a part of marriage’ but not for them, they didn’t have to adjust anything. They were merely puzzle pieces which fit each other perfectly. They got married within six months of their first meeting and the ceremony was a felicitous one.

Avantika had been working as a columnist for a national news-paper, she had several degrees in Literature and in her free time she worked on her beloved Blog titled ‘Avantika’s Imperfectly Perfect Life’. Her Blog was one thing that she nurtured maternally; it was mostly about ‘Love’ and the ‘Nature of Love’. She posted poems by her favorite poets and sometimes articles or poems by her own. Rishabh had been a fan of her work and so were her thousands of readers.

Rishabh had his own travel agency and the business was good. A 3BHK apartment in South Delhi, 3 mid-ranged cars; he had done well for himself. Most people would raise their eyebrows on the fact that Rishabh needed the help of a matrimonial site to choose a life partner; in all cases the proposals from the opposite sex would have just poured in; they did too; Rishabh was a wanted bachelor in town and women wanted to win him over not because they wanted to fall in love with him but they wanted to spend his fortune; he didn’t want someone to fall in love with him over his success and money; that’s why he hid his actual profession on the site. Avantika was the woman who couldn’t care any less about his bank-balance or the number of cars that he had, she married Rishabh Paul the person not the rich guy.

They went to Tokyo for their honeymoon. Avantika had picked the place, she always wanted to visit Japan; it was on her bucket list. They had some fun time there together; the pictures of them wearing ‘Kimonos’ were all over the refrigerator. Rishabh was looking at the pictures dreamily thinking about that time. He moved his way over to the sink to wash the dishes. He smiled a bit remembering how Avantika won his heart over when she said “I don’t believe in having servants, we’re going to be on our own; if you don’t agree then we cannot be together” Rishabh agreed and there they were together but still so far away from each other. Something distracted him; it was his cell-phone which was ringing on the dinner-table. Rishabh went to pick it up but decided against it when he saw the caller-ID; ‘Rita is calling’. For some reasons he didn’t want to talk to Rita. His expression changed and it was quite clear that he didn’t like that particular person as he seemed disturbed. Rita had been Rishabh’s friend for quite a long time. He introduced her to Avantika as well and they also became quite close. Rishabh switched off his cell-phone and went to bed. Avantika was sound asleep. Rishabh felt in peace seeing her innocent face.

The next morning the sky decided to get a bit moody. The Sun didn’t want to expose itself so it stayed hidden behind the clouds. The gloomy weather affected everyone including Rishabh and Avantika. It was a day begging for some laziness at home. But eventually they had to go out to finish the day’s work.

“I don’t know what she wants from me, why does she keep calling me?” Rishabh murmured seeing Rita was not in the mood to leave him alone. He put her number in the reject-list. After a while Rita texted him “Meet me at the Plaza at 4pm, we need to talk. It’s about Avantika” Rishabh couldn’t ignore the last word.  Rita knew his kryptonite. He decided to go.

Sitting at the Café Plaza Rishabh was growing impatient. Rita was late. Rishabh couldn’t wait a second more so he dialed her number “Where the heck are you,” he uttered as soon as she picked up.

“Sorry bad traffic, give me 5 more minutes and I’ll be there”

Rishabh disconnected the phone without a reply and started looking around him. It was a pleasant place to hang out; the place reminded him of the old times spent with his wife. The café was where they met for the very first time. Soon he saw Rita making her way through the crowd wearing a Black laced sharee with a pair of red colored heels; that was her usual sense of dressing. Her long dark hair was tied in a tight bun and she carried a small red purse which matched her shoes. She took the seat right next to Rishabh.

“So what is it?” Rishabh couldn’t wait to get over with it so he started the conversation

“Aren’t you going to ask what I’d like to have?”

“This isn’t a date Rita and I don’t really care”

“Well someone’s had a bad day,” pang of sarcasm felt in her tone.

“I think we’re done here, goodbye,” Rishabh got up to leave.

“Hold on there; sit down, how is she?”

Rishabh sat on the chair unwillingly.

“Fine,” he said.

“Come on; she’s not fine, you’re not fine; it’s on your face. Look whatever happened we didn’t intend that to happen,” Rita said politely.

“I don’t care, it’s ruined. Whatever we had is gone and I’ve lost her” Rishabh said being disheartened.

“Not yet, you can still get her back; I’ll help you” Rita held his hand in hers and tried to make him feel comfortable.

“How can you undo the past?”

“No I can’t but I can mend the present. Look, before I leave I want to fix things; now go home and do as I say; receive my calls and reply to my texts from time to time”

“What if she gets to know about this?”

“Well it’s your responsibility that she doesn’t. It’s your job to take care of that.”

Rishabh nodded his head. From the look on his face it was clear that all he needed was a boost up and he could use pretty much anything to believe in as long as it involved the matter of getting Avantika back.

Rishabh didn’t feel like going back to his office so he went home and decided to do something special for his Wife. Nothing said love more than a home-baked chocolate cake. Although Rishabh never baked anything in his life before but he was ready to take that risk for the love of his life; he opened up his laptop and searched for “Chocolate cake recipes” on Google. He followed the most voted recipe on a cookery website step by step and the result wasn’t too bad. Rishabh himself was quite surprised. By the time he could make a chocolate dip to go with it someone rang the doorbell and Rishabh was sure of it being Avantika; it was about time. He was so excited that he couldn’t wait to open the door and so he did.

“Who ordered pizza? I didn’t…” Rishabh was quite surprised seeing the delivery boy from the ‘Pizza Hut’.

“Ma’am called”

“She did? From her office? Let me check on that,” Rishabh took out his phone and called Avantika

“Did you order pizza?”

“Yeah, I texted you”

Rishabh forgot to check the notifications in excitement and felt ashamed of himself for going too far with the cake and thinking about the dip. He hanged up and paid the delivery boy. He had lost all hope. “Maybe we’re never getting back to normal,” he said in a deep voice. He threw the chocolate cake in the dustbin and waited on Avantika to get back home.

Avantika used her key to the apartment to enter while Rishabh devoted himself to the sweet melodious voice of Alicia Keys in the bedroom. She could overhear the lyrics and it did sooth her heart as well, “I keep on fallin’ in… in love with you…”

“So what’s the story with the cake?” Avantika asked Rishabh while entering the bedroom.

“When did you come?”

“A while ago”

“I made it”

“You made a cake? Why?”

“Just felt like it”

“Why did you throw it away then? Didn’t it taste alright?”

“You ordered Pizza”

“I’d have preferred the cake over pizza you know; why didn’t you tell me?”

“Avantika can you be honest with me?”

“Have I been anything but honest with you?”

“What happened to us? Can we fix it, are we broken? Is it me? Because if it’s me I’m ready to do anything to fix it”

Avantika said nothing in return. Rishabh had never seen her eyes so lifeless; dull as if someone had sucked all the happiness out of her. She remained still; gradually she turned to Rishabh and asked “Have you ever been in love Rishabh?”

“What kind of question is this? Of course I’ve been in love; I am in love with you,” Rishabh answered promptly.

“How does it feel?”

Rishabh wanted to answer her question but decided against it and turned his head away from her towards the balcony. A perfect moonlit night without any clouds; the moonbeams entered their bedroom as the balcony door was open. The stars never looked so bright or perhaps Rishabh had never looked at them the way he was that night. It all felt so empty as if someone had taken away all the pieces of his heart and he was only left there all by himself; alone searching for answers of Avantika’s childlike questions. He prepared a well-thought answer in his head and was ready to express it; turning his head back to Avantika he saw her crying silently looking right back at him. That look almost pierced through his heart; those cold eyes filled with tears running down her cheeks. Rishabh held her in his arms; as tightly as if he never wanted to let her go.

The next morning the sky remained clear just as the night before but their hearts were filled with an obscure feeling. They both went to work as they used to. Spent the day losing track of time; trying to keep themselves busy in work so that they would not have to deal with emotions for the day. When it was time to head back home, Avantika was quite early; she had reached before Rishabh. The clock struck 7’O clock as she started preparing dinner. She wasn’t paying much attention to the time but it had been quite a while and Rishabh hadn’t reached home. It was half past 10 and Avantika started getting a bit worried so she dialed up his number but the phone was switched off.

A mild sound woke Avantika up; she fell asleep on the couch; the TV was on mute so she looked around and saw Rishabh dragging his way to the bedroom.

“Rishabh are you all right?”

Rishabh was in no mood for a conversation so he didn’t say anything in return.

“Rishabh are you drunk,” Avantika shook him up. As he opened his mouth to speak, his breath reeked of alcohol which assured her of his state of being inebriated. She put Rishabh to bed taking his shoes off afterwards. That night Avantika cried herself to sleep.

“God I feel like my head was hit by a hammer,” Rishabh murmured while opening his eyes. Avantika was sitting right next to him. After coming to his senses he realized what exactly happened the night before and being terribly ashamed of himself, he couldn’t look her into the eyes.

“I am so sorry,” Rishabh got up fixing his hair.

“Yeah me too,” Avantika said looking right into his eyes; she also added “Look, I don’t know what you want exactly but this isn’t what I signed up for”

“Signed up for? What do you think Avantika marriage is only a deal that you sign up for?” Rishabh raised his voice.

“Don’t shout please, I don’t want to make a scene. I’m getting late for work and I think you are too so get up and try to make yourself look at least presentable”

As the days passed Rishabh and Avantika grew apart from each other; they barely talked or made love; not even an embrace or an affectionate kiss on the lips. Their relationship was on the edge of being broken.

It was a regular day just like any other; while Rishabh was getting ready for office his phone rang; Avantika stopped herself from picking it up; seeing the name on the screen her whole body shivered; Rita was calling.

“Why is she calling Rishabh? What is going on in between them,” thoughts started to gather in her mind.

Not thinking too much she asked Rishabh “Are you still seeing Rita behind my back?”

Rishabh remained silent which was a sign of acceptance. Avantika grew furious; she started throwing the things around her in rage causing a scene. A few concerned neighbors knocked on their door asking about what happened but all they were interested in was the drama. Afterwards they started spreading the rumor of Rishabh and Avantika getting a divorce; which was probable but not confirmed.

Almost a month later Avantika and Rishabh met each other in their divorce-lawyer’s tiny office-room; both didn’t want to talk to each other; they were eagerly waiting for their Lawyer to bring the papers.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Rishabh asked his better-half.

“Yes I do”

“What are you doing these days?”

“I’m going to Dubai; have got a job there and we’ll stay there together”

“So you picked her over me”

Avantika paused for a while before saying anything more “Rishabh you are lucky enough to have felt what it feels like to be in Love, I want to feel the same; she makes it easy for me when I’m with her I’m comfortable. I don’t know about others’ views and I don’t care much; I’m a grown woman and it’s time for me to think about my own happiness. You know why we got married? Because I was tired and when you introduced me to her on our 3rd date I found peace; finally someone I could share everything with, my thoughts, my body, my soul…”

“Oh stop it Avantika; I was never enough for you? You only lured me in this just so you could be with her and you could still stay protected from the society’s judgmental views; so clever of you Avantika, I never expected this from you; you only used me, you never loved me. All you ever wanted was her but you were scared to tell the world…”

“Yes I was, I admit but not anymore; I’m tired of running around and without her by my side I can’t think of even spending my life. She’s going away, I have to go away with her or else I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life. You know I wanted to believe that I could make it without her but I can’t Rishabh; I told you not to contact her anymore but you did, you brought her back in my life. I’m in love with her and I’m not ashamed to admit it.”

“Excellent! I can’t believe this, I didn’t contact her, she did; she said she could mend the present. I did it for the sake of us. You know what, if this is what you want then go with her to Dubai or wherever you want to but you need to remember one thing, you destroyed my life; you destroyed me. I truly loved you Avantika, what was my mistake in this?”

“Do you still love me Rishabh?”

“I can never stop loving you”

“Then please let me go, I’m sorry for lying to you and everything that I’ve done but I deserve to be happy too don’t I? I too want to be in love and I want to do that without feeling guilty all the time. Whenever I look at your face it just makes me feel how wrong I was to ever lie to you; you’re a good man and you deserve so much better than me.”

“Yes you do, you deserve all the happiness in the world. It’s just sad that I couldn’t make you happy. Anyways I wish you all the best for your future with Rita”

“Thanks and I don’t want anything from you other than your good wishes. When I first met you I knew you’re the man who will sacrifice his happiness for the sake of mine. I was tired of the reality and that’s why I decided to join the matrimonial site in the first place; I thought the virtual world is so much better than the real one and I found you; I am the luckiest person on Earth to have found you and Rita both…,” before she could finish her sentence the lawyer entered the room with their divorce-papers in his hand and he looked quite happy. He told them where to sign and for the last time Rishabh and Avantika looked at each other being the better-halves; they signed the papers and the lawyer said “Congratulations Ms. Avantika Moitro and Rishabh Paul, your mutual divorce is now a success; you two are free birds now.”

After coming out of the room Rishabh and Avantika shook hands and smiled at each other.

“We had a good run,” Avantika said.

“Yeah but you see I won,” Rishabh seemed enthusiastic.

“Yes Rishabh you won and I am happy that you did; no one can love me as much as you did but no one can love her as much as I did yet you’re ready to let me go; you’re the true selfless winner here whereas I’m the selfish one; once I got to know what it feels to be in love I never want to let it go”

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By Anamika Dutta©

The Journey

 
The Journey 
Cold was the night we talked for the last time,
As cold as it gave me chills; which I never felt while making love to you.
Scary was the night you left me forever alone,
As scary as I felt inside that closed room.
I looked up, the sky was clear but the stars never shined,
They looked gloomy as they could feel my pain;
I wanted to move ahead leaving your essence behind.
Sunny was the day I had a little glimpse of you,
As sunny as the day we went out to the park, had our first kiss.
I failed trying to recall what you gave me on last Valentine’s;
I think it’s this blue scarf I’m wearing or I bought it from that shop, downtown?
My memory is fading or you are fading away from my memory?
Although it’s been a journey, one hell of a journey;
We’d fall & get up & fall again.
I heard something which broke the silence, a melody.
Melancholy was the sound of the bird’s song,
As melancholy as the little boy who has just lost her mom.
I was shivering through the night,
The false alarm woke me up & I realized I was drowning in my own tears.
I had a dream, it was happy but I cried knowing it was just a dream.
I felt empty,
As empty as it gets from selling your soul to the devil.
Did I have a soul? Even before I sold it? I think I fooled the devil,
He took something away but it wasn’t my soul;
It’s you, it belongs to you, he took you away.
Now I see you everyday, we look at each other but don’t talk,
You are polishing the gate of hell & me, the lock.
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By Anamika Dutta©

What Lies Within Us…!

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”

Introduction:

“Dust thou art, and unto

Dust shall thou return.”

This biblical concept teaches us how we are nothing but empty from inside, being born from the dust and at the end of time will go back to where we came from. Whatever happens in our everyday life is just a reflection of our actions within. We feel ourselves at the moment of Anger, Happiness, Pain, Affection, Redemption and Fear thinking they might leave a mark on the inside. We don’t understand that what we have inside is much stronger than we think it is. It’s Holy, Spiritual and powerful giving us strength in our hardest times of life. We are keeping ourselves busy in the everyday matters. Yesterday’s pain and tomorrow what we might gain, these thoughts are chasing us like a wild beast. The power of our Conscience, our soul is being neglected by us every single day.

“We born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through Love and Friendship can we create the illusion of togetherness!” – By Malcom X

The quote tells us how we are recreating ourselves in every single moment of life. We believe what we’re seeing, the depth of every part of our deeds remain unrealized. We see the light within but fail to understand the power of it. We’re losing ourselves in this rat race of life. Death comes to all. But at that time we think about all our mortal achievements not our spiritual realizations. The almighty as we believe in has all the answers. He has enlightened us by giving all the answers to the unknown questions within ourselves. We fail to seek and capture the essence of it. As we’re all running out of time, going towards the path of death, we stay incomplete. Our souls don’t belong here. It has more meaning to it than our hearts can ensure.

By Anamika Dutta©

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Poem ~ I Have a Dream

 

I have a dream, a vision, a crystal clear collision,

With reality mixed in illusion.

I have grounds. Occasionally I fly,

I hear the sounds when angels cry.

I have a heart, a soul, an aim and a goal,

I have left my longings covered in glitter on gold.

I have no shame, no fame;

Crying out loud in vein.

You have a speech, a persona that can reach,

People and their families with different dreams than mine.

 

They say, pray Life sometimes betray,

But I have gone away, astray.

Love exists but only in dreams, my dreams.

It’s ironic and delusional,

It’s platonic also conventional

What do you have to say,

About my visions? Different than others you say?

I answer to none.

Be practical said the man to the woman,

What’s the harm in letting her believe in what she wants?

 

By Anamika Dutta©

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