A Stamped Love Story – Part 2
If you have missed the part 1 of the story, please read the begining of the stamped love story here
Thunder woke me up from my daydreaming. I made another cup of tea and opened the letter without damaging the stamp. China was a nice addition to my collection.
Am back! As promised, the stamp from China is delivered. I wonder why you still chose the snail mail over face book. Anyway, China is too crowded for my taste and one can get lost in the crowd.
I had an accident yesterday. The cat is out of the bag. The whole family knows about you. Alana, the little magpie would not keep her mouth zipped and I am being subjected to 20 questions from everyone, including Mom. Her mind is as sharp as it was when she was 30.”
He was still the same. His letter brought life to words. He would never understand that ink and paper had a strange way of arousing emotions. Facebook would mean that he could track me electronically. The letter was routed to me ….no one would know.
” The secret is out…. am not gay!” I laughed at his declaration.
” They have confirmed that you are a lady friend and not a guy! So much for the plan!! Everything had changed. The stakes are high. They are planning a huge Christmas party at Bangalore with prospective brides. Come and rescue me.
Please save me from that fate and say yes. Your voice still lingers in my ears.
Say Yes Jenny
I remember the first call asking if I was Jenny. A strange thrill traveled from my feet to the tips of my hair at the sound of his voice. I loved his voice. I remember our conversation like it was yesterday.
* * * *
” Jenny, did you like the stamp?” he asked.
“Which one?” I whispered as I looked around cautiously.
” Yes, thanks Jac.”
” Are you scared?”
I wanted to say No…” Yes, if dad sees me on the phone, I will be spanked.”
“What is your dad like? Mine died when I was 10 yrs old. “
” I thought your Dad was alive”
” I mean my real dad is no more. He was a great guy.”
” Mine is strict. He is a business man. Reputation is everything. If I am caught talking to a guy, he will be ashamed….”
” I don’t remember mine being strict. Mom re-married when I was twelve. My step-dad is a great guy. But no one can replace my Dad. I miss him”
I felt sad for him. I had no clue as to who was on the other side and yet that thought did not scare me. As a worry wart, I worried about everything. What people thought of me, my father’s reputation, why people would talk to me…yet this stranger made me feel safe. I trusted him.
“My grandpa says Heaven required a lot of lovely people at different times. Am sure your Dad is in a good place.”
“After my Dad died, I used to be angry. I hated everyone.”
“I don’t know. I felt hurt, I guess. When your letters came, they made me smile.”
There was a smile in his voice. I could feel it then.
“Is that why you called me special?” I wanted to hear him say it.
“You are special. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.” He was so sincere.
” Why am I special?”
I bit my lip. Silence stretched.
” Coz no one makes salty cakes like you do!” his voice cracked with a laugh.
I burst out laughing.
“Jennyyyyyy, where are you? Who are you talking too?!”
My heart froze in fear. It sounded like Dad was walking up the stairs.
“I got to go!” I whispered frantically.
” No you can’t! You have to give me a number to call back!”
“Then promise me you will call back!”
” I will try!”
“Jac..Dad will be up any minute! Please!” I begged. I could not put the phone down.
I was exasperated, ” Look, I promise to call you.”
” What if you don’t?” he asked coolly.
I was stumped. We had kept each other a secret for 5 yrs….one wrong move and Dad would have me punished. I would be humiliated. He considered me responsible.
“What do you want me to do?!”
” Meet me face to face.”
I could hear my mother calling….”Jenny…. Come down.”
I resorted to begging” Please… I got to go…”
“Ok…then promise me….” He whispered.
Even while I was stressing, it gave me a strange thrill. “What….” I whispered hiding by the curtains near the phone. I prayed no one would notice me.
“If I don’t receive a call from you before I leave, you will meet me…”
“I can’t call you! This was the only time…”
” Ok, then I have your address…I will come down to meet you!”
” Promise me…that you will meet me and I will keep us a secret”
” That’s blackmail! “
“Nope. Promise to meet me and I will honor my promise”
” When? When, do you want to meet me and where?”
” There is time…say, next year, 16th July? I shall tell you the place.”
I could hear my mother calling….”Jennyyyyyyyyy…. Come down.”
“No,” I hissed ” let’s meet around Christmas…” I could not believe I was saying that. Christmas was far away but it would give me enough time to plan.
At this point I saw my mother’s face and panicked. I wanted to run away and said the first thing that came to my mind before slamming the phone.
“Yes, I promise. Meet me for Christmas”
* * * *
Promises were made to be broken…..
To be continued…
Love at First Sight and Other Stories by Deepak Karamungikar
Author: Deepak Karamungikar
Publishers: A S Arts
Deepak considers “”love at first sight & other stories” as a memorable selection of his very own choicest blog posts that have been a apart of his “Stochastic Chronology”. The blog that claimed the attention of several online blog readers ran from February 2009 and ended in July 2010. With applause streaming in from all corners, the man behind the show had to preserve some of the eye catches in the form of a book. It is a great initiative- to write a book for the sake of keeping art alive, so as to say.
Penning down poems is easy, for if you have the thought running inside you, if you have the power to assemble the prodigal words, scribbling in out becomes a piece of cake with a cherry as a topping- with assorted pouring out?- voila! That’s like a creamy punch! The same unfortunately cannot be said for novels, shorter- novellas- shorter- short stories (keeping aside 55 flash fiction –the newest Twenty-twenty member of the fiction world. Looking for mystery, illusion, intrigue, fun and conceit- Deepak assembles all of it in each of his masterpieces. You have characters turning into ghostly apparitions, gamble hub frequenters avenging each other. Elite socialites living starry existence and as readers, you can just marvel at it with awe. Having said this, at one point of time, they end up revealing their murky façade. Foolery and champagne follow in abundance, until you reach the remote nooks of civilization, where New Yorkers end up throwing their life at stakes of belle apparitions, and serial killers throttle beauties in confusion.
“Love at first sight”- comprises of unique selections like “Love at first sight”, “The Gambler”, “The Prince of Vijaypur”, “The Third Life”, “Summer of 1999”, “The Painter”, “The Fling”, “The Disorder”, “The Rebel” and“Alighted Doves”.
I would say, it is a good pick, the cover will make you think, but the stories will keep you rooted off your mind. Please don’t expect vampires and mermaids peeping from the pages, it is simply about real folks living among us, it is not a growing up series of shorts- if you are trying to learn how to sum up a story line in a couple of pages- BookMark “Love at first Sight”- for your book shelves.
About The Author:
(This was taken directly from the author’s website, on the request of the author.)
“I’m Deepak Karamungikar. I was born and brought up in Hyderabad, India where I now live with my parents, wife Bhavana and daughter Akshata. I like Pink Floyd, The Doors and Led Zeppelin in that order. I’m an MBA by accident and a writer by choice. I like narrating stories and hope to capture the reader’s imagination with every sentence I write. Other passions include Al Pacino, Ram Gopal Varma, food, beverages, gossiping and humor.”
Fb profile: Deepak Karamungikar-Ledfloyddoors
Email id: Deepak.email@example.com
Link to book: eBay- Love-First-Sight-OtherStories-Deepak-Karamungikar
my ratings: 3.75/5
Are you a writer? Publisher? Want to get your books reviewed here? Just write to us to get reviewed. Write to sip[at]gingerchai[dot]com or contact us here
She looked at him beseechingly from the other side.
“…I missed you… Why did you leave me alone?”
“I didn’t…You went away…too far”.
“They say it’s never too late. So…?”
He sighed, “They’re wrong. It’s always too late to undo whatever you’ve done”
And God disappeared leaving her in the purgatory to repent
- 55Fiction by Mani Padma
For more about 55 fiction click here
Both of them craved for a touch.
He looked at her. He could see the longing in her eyes.
It was hard for both of them to fight the sweet desire that had overwhelmed them now.
Before she could blink, he lunged ahead… and grabbed the last piece of the cake.
- 55Fiction by Gayatri
For more about 55 fiction click here
Tempted by cake? Check out our easy to make Eggless Chocolate Coffee cake visual recipe HERE.
The Secret Admirer
“I’ll get that mom” said Adrianna running to the main door to answer it. She was hoping it was her new friend Sam from the library. To her surprise, she found a box with her name on it. She looked around to see if the person who dropped it was around. But she just saw the delivery van from the nearby courier service.
“Hmm so weird” thought Adrianna as she doubted anyone would send her a parcel. She took the box inside, closed the door and was heading with it to her room. Normally her mother would have asked who was at the door, but after her dad died in the plane crash, she seemed to not be interested in anything at all. It was like as if her dad took everything human about her mom with him when he died and just left her emptiness. She hated seeing her mom this way. She wished her mom would get over her dad soon enough like she did. She never cared much for the man.
“Well why should I cry over someone who never had time to spend with us at all.” thought Adrianna.
She found her dad to be more of a house guest who used to come home rarely to pay a visit, get them some stuff and leave within two days. She had no real father-daughter relation with him at all. When she complained about her dad to her mom, her mother was always defending him. She said that her dad loved her a lot and that when she was a baby, he could never get enough of her.
“yea right…pffftt!” thought Adrianna aloud while trying to tear away the cover on the box.
She opened the box to find beautiful flowers with a note saying “for my princess.”
“Hmmm that’s odd. There is no name or address of the person who sent it to me.”
She wondered if it would be Sam. But they jus met each other once and if he actually sent flowers to her, then sure the dude was creepy to do it this way. She figured it couldn’t be him since he didn’t look that retarded to her.
There was no other guy whom she could think of who would send her flowers. She thought of letting it go for the moment as she really had no wise guesses, and decided to wait to see where all this would go.
The following day at school, she found a note in her locker which read, “Good morning! You look lovely today.”
Adrianna smiled. She loved that someone was noticing her.
“Hey what’s that, Ade?” asked her best pal, Duncan. She handed the note to him and he had a wicked grin on his face, “O o o o o … someone has a crush on Adrianna! Who gave you this note?”
“Honestly I have no idea. Yesterday I got a box that had flowers in it and a note but no name or address.” replied Adrianna while walking with Duncan to class.
Duncan couldn’t take his eyes off her pretty face. He had fallen in love with his best friend.
The history class was so boring, thought Adrianna. She took a quick scan around the room to see if anybody was noticing her or looking at her, just so that she could have a heads up on who was sending her flowers and leaving her notes.
She actually liked it, and was waiting eagerly for her next note. She couldn’t wait to go to the school library during the break hour. She secretly hoped to see Sam and even though it would be really lame if he were doing all this, she really hoped it was him because he was really cute. She met him at the library and he asked her for her phone number and asked if she wanted to get a bite sometime.
She was thrilled! “Maybe it is him after all!” exclaimed Adrianna to her best friend Duncan while heading back home.
“naa…I don’t know Ade..I don’t think it is him. He comes totally off to me. Just something about him. I don’t know.”
“Yea right. You hardly know him. He is a great guy” said Adrianna pushing her friend around. Duncan hated Sam now. He hated having competition.
“Maybe I should just tell her how I feel” thought Duncan looking at his dreamy best friend.
That evening Sam took Adrianna out for dinner. She put her favourite dress on and tried some make up on.
“Wow Ade! You look gorgeous.” said Sam on looking at his new friend. But Adrianna did not respond. She was staring at the same type of blue flowers that she had gotten the other day in the parcel.
“Oh in case you’re wondering, yes, this is for you.” said Sam to Adrianna who was acting quite strange on seeing the flowers.
“Ohh umm thank you so much” said Adrianna pondering over all the questions in her head “could it be him”, she wondered.
The evening went great and Adrianna grew more and more inclined to feeling that Sam was the one who sent those gifts and notes.
However there were no notes for the next two days and she was quite disappointed. She felt that perhaps Sam stopped it after their one evening together. He had been acting aloof lately and he hadn’t called her after the date. She felt bad about it.
“ohh forget it Ade.he wasn’t that great either.” said a happy Duncan.
“But I was so sure that it was him, Dunky” replied Adrianna rather sadly.
“Hmm after you told me about your date, I had that feeling too. You know maybe it was him. He wasn’t interested anymore and that’s why he stopped sending you notes. It kinda adds up, Ade”said Duncan wondering if this was the right time to swoop in and get his best friend.
“Anyways you know, Ade I think your really great and you deserve someone else who loves you a lot and would do anything to prove it to you just how much you mean to him.” said Duncan with longing in his eyes.
Adrianna felt like there was something in his words there, and also at the way he was looking at her. It looked like as if he wanted to kiss her so badly standing there. She hadn’t thought that way about Duncan at all.
“Get back to class, both of you. Break time was over 10minutes back!” yelled an annoyed principal to a pissed off Duncan who spoilt his moment with Adrianna and to a rather relieved Adrianna.
At dinner, she was telling her mother about school and constantly talking of how she got selected for the school play and about the audition for it. Her mother seemed to be in another world altogether and Adrianna stopped talking, picked up her plate in a haste and left it in the wash and left the room.
“Adrianna,stop. Im sorry. Tell me about it...”said a troubled mom.
“Save it mom, I’m tired of putting up with your drama. He’s not worth your pain.”
“Come back here right now. I told you not to talk like that about your father.”
“He’s not my father. Leave me alone!!” replied Adrianna and banged her room door shut behind her.
She burst into tears in her room. She loved her mom a lot. She wanted to help her but she couldn’t. She hated her father even more for making her mom this way.
Just then her eye caught something glistening in the dark. She switched on her room light to find a shiny stone on the ground. She picked it up and found two others right behind it. It was leading somewhere and right out through her window. She saw many more lying like a trail outside her window. She got scared. She didn’t know whether to go behind it. But her curiosity got the better of her and she decided to follow the stones. She climbed out through her window and once she got down, she saw a note under one of the stones right where she stood.
It read, “Don’t worry. I’m right next to you, just follow the stones.”
Adrianna looked around and she called out, “Hello, where are you? This isn’t funny anymore. Is it you, Duncan?”
But she got no answer. She followed the stones down a narrow path. The only sound she could hear was of her heart thumping wildly inside her.
The stones stopped in front of a tall bush. She realized she had to go through the bush and so she went through it, moving all the leaves and branches to find the most beautiful sight she had ever seen. The bright stones made a huge pattern of her name in a heart. It glistened so spectacularly in the moonlight. Adrianna had never seen such a beautiful sight ever before. She couldn’t believe someone loved her so much to actually go through the pain to do this for her. She had tears in her eyes and a smile on her lips at the same time. She had the most amazing feeling and love for the person who did this for her. She went back home in a dazed feeling. She was on cloud 9 and she couldn’t stop smiling. She had to find out who was doing this and when she would, she would hug him and tell him to never let go ever. She wondered if Duncan was behind all this because of what he had told her earlier in the day. He did mention about her being with someone who would go to any extent to prove his love for her.
She kept getting more parcels from the courier service day after day. Most of the time it would be flowers or small mannequins or her favourite chocolates. She knew she had never told Duncan about her favourite chocolate, the mystery of the admirer kept getting more mysterious.
To worsen it all. she bumped into Sam at the library one day.
“Hey ade!whats up?”asked Sam.
“Nothing much. I got selected for the school play and so just busy with that. You can come watch me if you are free next Saturday.” replied Adrianna hoping at least someone would come there to watch her.
She was sure her mom wouldn’t be interested at all to come since she still acts like as if her father passed away yesterday.
“Oh shoot,I don’t think I can. I got plans with my girlfriend. Anyways catch you later,Ade! bye” said Sam and checked out of the library with his books.
Adrianna was shocked that he had a girlfriend but at least she knew he wasn’t her secret admirer. She wondered if it were Duncan then, since Sam was clearly out of the picture but she had no heads on for it. She wanted to go check out the courier service building to get some details about her secret admirer but she had no time as she was always preoccupied with rehearsals for the school play. It bummed her out a lot that she didn’t know who he was. But the thought of her admirer always brought a smile on her face.
The day of the school play flew by soon and Adrianna was nervous. Everyone in the cast of her play had someone or the other coming to encourage them and reassure them and watch them play. She had no one to come and watch her play. In a desperate moment, she went down to the kitchen and asked her mom.
“Mom, today is my school play and I would really like it if you could make it. It starts at 4 in the afternoon. I am really nervous. Will you come to see me play?”
“Oh darling, you know how I feel. I am too exhausted from working and everything else in my life now.But I will try to come if I can.” replied her mother.
“I’m sure you won’t come, mom. You know what, just forget I even asked you to come. You were never like this before. I have nothing or no one who cares about me anymore. I don’t want you to come to see my play at all” said a broken hearted daughter to her mother.
With that she ran out of the house determined to find her secret admirer. She needed him the most now. She went to the courier service and told the man in charge about the parcels she has been getting and asked if he knew the person who has been dropping them. He said he goes by the name of Frank Thomspon.
Adrianna was left speechless.
“What??!! You have made some mistake that cannot be. Check again.”
“No mam. There has been no mistake.It is Frank Thompson.”
“Do you know him?” asked the man to Adrianna whose eyes were filled with disbelief and tears.
“Yes. I do. He was my father”
“Ohhh he always used to mention about you to me. I know him from a very long time. He comes here whenever he comes back from working on the ship to have a nice long chat with me and send out couriers. I was surprised too when he asked me to deliver the parcels to his own home. I figured there might have been some problem at your home and didn’t want to remind the poor man by asking him.”
“My father died in a plane crash 6months back, mister. I guess you never heard of it”
replied Adrianna to the man who thought she was crazy or playing some kind of joke after hearing what she said because he saw him frequently to come give out parcels to his daughter.
“That can’t be! I saw him. It’s no a good thing young lady to lie about such things” said a positively irritated man.
“Oh then I guess my mom and me are just paranoid for arranging my dad‘s funeral and actually seeing him dead”replied a heavily shaken Adrianna.
Adrianna left for the rehearsal without going back home. She didn’t want to see another note from “the beyond.”
Before the play could start, in the dressing room, she saw so many kids’ parents hugging their children and encouraging them. Adrianna started to cry.
“Hey Ade!! I got something to give you.” shouted Duncan from the other side of the changing room. Adrianna quickly wiped her eyes and went to meet him.
“I got this from Tom. He told me some guy gave him this, to give it to you. I thought it might be your admirer dude, so asked him to give me a description.”
“Tall guy with sandy hair and green eyes?” asked Adrianna describing her father
“Hey yeahh Ade.How’d you know?”
“I always knew Duncan. Now go, I need to get ready.” said Adrianna
“Sure Ade…best of luck!” replied Duncan.
Adrianna nodded her head and went back inside. She was afraid of what the note contained and she wasn’t sure whether she should open it. Then she remembered the beautiful stone pattern her dad made for her and with tears in her eyes, she opened the note.
“Dear princess. I wish you didn’t find out about me this way but it was inevitable. I want you to know that I have always loved you, my precious daughter. I was so preoccupied with my work and never had the time to spend with you. I’m so sorry for being such a disappointment in your life when I was alive. I wanted to make up for it after I died. I want you to know that I am so proud of you, princess. I might not be there with you physically with you but I will always be watching over you, my baby. I could never come before you because I know you never forgave me. I hope you can forgive me for what I did, princess. I love you baby so much.”
Adrianna burst into tears. She felt so comforted like never before in her life. She forgave her father with all of her heart. She didn’t feel alone anymore. With all of her courage she went on for the play. She entered the stage and she froze when she saw the huge crowd in front of her waiting for her to perform. She lost all her confidence. She panicked and couldn’t open her mouth to say a word. Then among all the faces, she saw her dad walk in and stand there right in front of her eyes. He smiled at her and she could hear what he said in her ears like as if he were standing next to her, “You can do it princess. Just look at me only in the crowd and no one else. I know you can do it.”
Adrianna felt a burst of energy and confidence. She was no longer panicking or scared. She did a hell of a show and the audience stood up and clapped at her performance. She saw her mother amongst the clapping audience. She hadn’t noticed her before as she had been looking at her father throughout the play. Her mother was happy and looked so much better than she ever had. Adrianna was wondering what caused the sudden change and thought maybe dad had come to her too. Adrianna smiled at her mom and turned to look at her dad, but he had gone.
She received no more notes or no more flowers from him and she hadn’t seen him after that but she knew that her dad was watching over her all the time and every time she thought of all that he did, she smiled and knew that he would be smiling back at his princess too.
“What do you see?” she asked in a quaint and innocent voice.
“Oh, tell me fast what you see down out of the window” she couldn’t hold her excitement any longer.
“Ha ha calm down, calm down my dear sis, whatever I see it’s beautiful” replied her sister Clara.
“Hey you cannot tell a bride on her wedding day to calm down silly, and now you are going to kill your lil’ sister if you don’t tell her how is everything outside and then you’re going to be chased by cops as the official bride killer ha…ha” mocked Liz.
Clara and Liz always had this sweet and sour relation. They were five years apart but were like a twain. Always supportive, always understanding, they enjoyed this sisterhood since its very beginning. Best friends, best advisers, best partners-in-crime, they were anything and everything one could imagine…sometimes even like a mother and daughter.
Clara was thirty two years old and was married for seven years. She had three adorable brats: two boys and one girl. Liz was always the one to spoil them royally. Clara was a strong person, she always had been, right from the time their mother died when they were kids. In spite of her father, she felt it was required of her to take the lead for her baby sister. If it hadn’t been for Clara, the relation between Liz and herself wouldn’t have been this smooth and comfortable and a joyous one too.
While Clara was the older one, Liz enjoyed all her liberties and privileges of being the youngest. Smart, beautiful, confident, fun-loving and yet she had that peculiar and complacent nature that distinguished her from the rest of the crowd. She was as innocent and appeared as fragile as an angel. With a soft countenance, she was the type that required to be handled with care. Forgiving was her nature, but only to some extent. She made her own decisions with a little help from others but it was her heart that made decisions of her life more than her head.
“OMG! and then your doppelganger will haunt us all (considering it won’t be so easy to kill you after all) haha” chuckled Clara when Liz spanked her head.
“Ouch, that hurts. Ok, ok, my lil drama-queen, I see something really beautiful and magical outside. It’s perfect. Just like you wanted it to be. I see a lush green lawn sporting an emerald green colour overlooking a serene and rejoicing lake. I see long draperies in hues of golden and red flying effortlessly from the tall golden roman pillars ( I guess all we require now are some ducks and hens and the poultry effect will be complete haha ).”
“you jealous old woman”
“Haha and oh! the aisles are intermittently decorated with clusters of Asian lilies, sunflower and orchids just like in fairy tales. Guests in different shape, size and costumes are chattering with each other and (ha ha) oh I see your lovey-dovey down there too.”
“Hey why don’t I get to see him ”
“Coz you’re the bride remember. And now after browsing through the floral settings, my eyes finally are reaching to your much-awaited gazebo in white decorated with blossoming orange roses. Oh Liz, everything is just like a dream. I’m so happy for you (that you’re FINALLY moving away from us)” and Clara juggled between expressions of laughter and shedding tears.
“Aww Clara, it sounds just like heaven, and c’mon don’t cry (and laugh too), I won’t be that far after all to haunt ya” and she found her sister and hugged her after wiping her tears off.
“Well, on a serious note, there is something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
“Yep go ahead.”
“You are sure you want to do this, right? I mean with your current condition, your eyes, your health and everything? I’m sorry I’m just a little worried Liz. I want you to be happy, really happy after all that you’ve been through.”
“I know things haven’t been quite the way they normally should with me, but maybe this is the way they were supposed to happen with me and that might not be normal for others but it is normal for me. In fact it’s more than perfect for me Clara. This is what I want. This is what I really want...”
And she trailed off at the approach of footsteps. It was Charles, their father. Both Clara and Liz stopped talking. Their father wasn’t a big fan of Jason. To top it more, he didn’t even trust Jason with his low financial status, his small house and everything and him striving to become a writer of which Charles didn’t approve of.
“When will this writer of yours start writing for good and start earning something huh Liz?” he used to often say because Jason was still a struggling writer. And it were these very reasons that made Charles oppose the wedding from the very beginning, but who would go against Liz ?
“Hey dad” Clara said.
“Hey kids, so Liz how you feeling?”
Liz looked in the direction of the voice and with an awkward but warm expression replied that she’s feeling good with a mixture of wedding jitters and fully loaded excitement.
“Not getting cold feet are you?” he asked with the obvious pretense of a joke, but everyone knew that he secretly wished for Liz to get cold feet and she would re-think her decision.
“No dad, not with this one”
Her dad looked away, he didn’t have much to say, especially after the epic quarrels battled in the past with this wedding and Jason, it was awkward for him to say anything more. He could no more see Liz go through another series of troubles.
“I’m happy dad, if that’s what’s worrying you. I know you don’t like Jason and you are just worried what the outcome might be, but I want you to let go off your worries now. Jason is not perfect, no one is, but together we, him and me, we are perfect in our own way and that is what counts, isn’t it dad?”
“I know sweetheart, but it’s very difficult for me to give you away to someone whose future doesn’t seem so bright. How will he keep you happy Liz?”
“Dad, for once try to see Jason as I see him. Try keeping all the materialistic factors at the side for a moment and look at Jason for the man he is, for the man who knows how to live his life to the fullest. He loves your daughter very much dad in spite the fact that she has almost lost her vision now” and a roll of tear left her fragile eyes.
“Dad, I am happy and it’s Jason who makes me so happy. Even though he doesn’t have much wealth but he’ll never be poor. He will never be poor, dad, because he has stocks of love, respect, warmth, care, affection, understanding and trust in his heart for everyone. Where can I find anyone like that who makes me feel special in spite of my disability? Where can anyone find a person like him anywhere who raises your self-respect and worth every time you are stuck in a fall? I love him dad and I want you to at least try to get to know him without your pre-conceived notions about him, without you being bias and judgmental about him. It’s still not too late. At least for my sake, dad.”
“Jason, hey since when have you been standing here? Its bad luck to see the bride before the marriage” said Clara in a mild shock and Liz composed herself too.
“Uhm just the part where Liz spoke up in my defense. Hey, Mr. Charles how are you?”
“How can a father be at this time, Jason?”
“Still the same. Mr. Charles I want you to know that I will keep your daughter very happy.”
“That is what they all say, but who knows the truth.”
“Dad” both Clara and Liz shot up.
“No he’s right Liz. A father can not be too sure about his son-in-law if he marries his daughter who has a disability. It’s but natural that he will always fear and be concerned about her, or if her hubby’s treating her well or not otherwise why else would one marry someone who cannot see when the guy can get any other girl. Maybe the guy has ulterior motives. Is it the wealth then? Or what could it be, isn’t that right Mr. Charles?”
“Well, finally I see something sensible out of your mouth huh.”
“Yeah well your daughter has been of utmost help to me in that department. Uhm can we talk somewhere in private?”
“Yeah sure,” and they left the room and headed towards the guest room.
“So what is it, let’s get this over with,” said Charles.
“My feeling exactly. So coming to the point, life is too short to make the wrong decisions especially when it comes to love. All you see is me marrying your daughter who has lost her vision. But what you don’t see (or rather don’t want to see) is I am marrying your daughter for what she is in spite of her vision. I understand your concern for Liz as a father whose daughter is getting married, but what I don’t understand is your incessant doubt about this relation. I don’t know why everyone is making a big deal about Liz’s vision when for me that does not even reside in the same vicinity as my love for her.”
“I respect Liz for who she is, I love her for what she is. I’m not marrying her out of pity but because I have known her in and out and that is what I love about her. I never wanted to give this explanation to anyone because for me, this wedding does not require an explanation. Why should I explain? But you have been persistently pushing the envelope so far that I had to justify myself time and again. Liz is the most amazing person I have ever met Mr. Charles. She is incomparable. She makes me feel alive, special. She instills positivity, faith in me. She showed me what it’s like to love, to support, to care. I see my best friend in her. That best friend with whom I can share anything and everything and with whom I want to spend the rest of my life with. You can keep your wealth Mr. Charles because I really don’t care about it. But because of your doubts I don’t want to lose my Liz because losing her will mean losing myself and I can’t afford to do that. I believe in raising mountains if you have love, but I don’t believe in raising wealth if you don’t have any love. We have been through these discussions many a times and there is nothing more that I can do to make you believe and trust in me but to let time unfold my words in reality. I have tried every way to make you believe in my words, in my feelings because you are really important to Liz and I wouldn’t want her to get hurt if you are not happy with us. I LOVE your daughter Mr. Charles and I will really like it if you give her away today with some satisfaction and content in your heart. That will make Liz happier than your expensive Harry Winston necklace and these grandeur gifts. I won’t take any more of your precious time and wouldn’t keep you waiting to meet your daughter. See you at the wedding” and Jason left with a muffled smile and a disturbed expression
“What happened, is that old-filthy-rich-always-opposing-dead-man still causing troubles?” asked Jason’s cousin in the hallway paces away from the room he came out from after observing the whole scene.
“Hey watch your language Larry, there’s no reason for abusing and name calling. He is Liz’s father and I want you to respect him.”
“But he’s never been nice to you.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s not nice. He’s just worried for his daughter and that’s justifiable. Now enough with the argument. You are not abusing him and that is final. I’m going down to meet the guests. See ya later.”
“How can you be not angry with him but save his image Jason ? You’re one weird guy” Larry said to himself after Jason left.
The scene was set, the bride was ready, the groom awaited impatiently. The band started playing “You and Me” by Lifehouse. It was this song by which Jason had proposed to Liz. Jason stood there smiling to himself and muttered, “this is our song Liz” and almost as if Liz could hear him from the end of the aisle, she replied, “Yes it is, just you and me,” and she continued walking the aisle with her father.
They reached the spot where her man was waiting for her and she turned towards him. Everything was good…till now. The bridesmaids and the best man were all pretty and smiling. The priest welcomed the guests and asked if anyone had any objections to this union? Jason, Clara, Tim (her husband), her kids, aunts, uncles, all but Liz looked at Charles expecting him to object just like the usual. Instead, Charles smiled and nodded in denial and surprised everyone. The vows were read and it was time to exchange the rings.
“I, Jason, give you, Liz, a piece of my heart in the form of this ring as an eternal symbol of my love and life to you. Please handle with care and don’t knead dough with my heart hahaa” and they chuckled and exchanged rings and the priest announced, “you may now kiss the bride” and both Jason and Liz sealed their love and union with the eternal kiss.
“You are smiling. So, is it safe to say that you’ve had a change of heart?,” asked Clara in a teasing manner when she found her dad seated and admiring the newlyweds dance happily.
“What, I’m not smiling; I’m just, you know, just just…”
“Just happy. So what brought about this change dad?”
“Well, as much as I would hate to admit, but your old man might have been just a stubborn ass after all. Maybe I now see what Liz meant by weighing Jason not by his bank balance but by his heart. Just noticed an incident with Jason and Larry, that’s it. There maybe a lot to know about Jason I guess. I hope I’m not too late.”
“No you’re not, dad. Better late than never what say “and they both hugged each other just when the newlyweds came to take Clara and her dad to the dance floor.
“I’m happy for you, and for him too. You both have my blessings” Charles whispered in Liz’s ears while dancing with him. Liz smiled with gratitude and affection and hugged her dad.
“Hey, what’s a dance without the family” jumped in Jason and started dancing with them.
“Is it too late to make a fresh start Jason ?” blurted out Charles loudly in the loud music that was playing.
“Nope you’re still on time…dad” and they just hugged each other with Clara, Tim and the kids joining in too.
“Who wants the bouquet?”
“Me, me, I, me, me” came the chattering replies.
Liz threw the yummy and colourful bouquet behind her, only to find it caught by a well deserved recipient standing away from the crowd, her father.
“See ya at ya wedding dad, ciao” with laughter Liz and Jason left in their “Just Married” blue car…
Lost… Are we?
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;”
Quote from Shakespeare’s ‘As you like it’..
If the entire ‘world is a stage’ and the stage is our life, ‘merely players’, who come into our life play their part in making a difference to our lives and leave memories either good or bad before exiting into oblivion once their part is done.
Everyone might have a player who left behind some memories….just like the one that I want to share with you.
Lost… Are We?
Youth festival is the season of fun, colour and cultural extravaganza in the life of every college student. Our University Youth Festival used to take us across the state to various colleges to compete in all forms of Arts, music and theatre competitions. It was period of high emotional dramas. Tempers rose high, tears flowed, and laughter echoed in the front and back stage. All who were present were ready to entertain and to be entertained. I loved being a part of College team, not on stage, but behind the stage as a college representatives or as we called it then, ‘Team Leaders’. Our job was to lead each set of performers to the venue and make all required arrangements, including paper works.
At one such festival venue, the stage and dressing room were in two different buildings and it was a 2 minute walk across an open pathway to reach each place. I was leading our team of Kathak dancers from the changing room when, halfway through; one of our participant’s costumes became undone on one side. There was no reason to fret; only another few more minutes of readjustment and the girl could have performed without a hitch. But as fate may have it, a group of boys seated on their Motorbikes nearby burst out laughing, passed rude and embarrassing remarks that were loud enough for other guests and participants in the area to notice the mishap. The poor girl ran back to the room crying and refused to come out for her performance. No matter how hard we all tried, she would not calm down. The rest of the dancers had to do perform without her, resulting in our perfect group dance number to receive no medals. Of course, when the blame was passed around, I had a finger pointed at me for not ensuring… ‘God only knows what!?’.
The whole evening, we drowned ourselves in disappointment at the outcome. A huge amount of money, efforts and patience was spent at perfecting the competition item. If anything went wrong, there were lot of answers and even more questions that got thrown around. But, the Show must go on. I continued with my assigned duties.
The next day, at a different venue, I was standing with another couple of contestants for their turn , when I heard some more snide remarks from behind us. When I looked around, I noticed that it was the same set of boys, who caused all the trouble the previous day. I was not yet over the previous day’s foul mood and seeing them again got me fuming all over. I was worried. If their comments discouraged our already tensed participants, I was going to be in big trouble. I glared at the boys.One of them, a tall dark broad built guy, who looked like their leader responded…
“OOO…the body guard lady is going to beat us up….I’m scared…mummyyyy”….. A roar of laughter erupted from the group. That was it… I lost my temper.
“Oh yes I would!! If you boys think you are being heroic by teasing us, then you do need some good spanking……”£$ %&*?@>”
I don’t remember what I said after that point. But I do know that once I got my entire anger out of my system, the whole hallway of the venue was quiet. The Chest number of our college was called and the contestants went in. I turned away from everyone and stood facing the ground outside. For the entire event, I stood like that, trying to control the tears that were threatening to ruin my tough performance. It was very rare that I lost my temper, but when I did, it would end in tears.
Thankfully by the time the participants came out, the boys had left, sparing me another round of whatever would have followed. The day went ahead uneventfully. Lucky for me, my performance was not publicized, so I was spared from the wrath of our convent sisters.
In the evening, the Clay modelling competition had only one participant from our college. The venue was in the lab building of another area. It was in the far out corner of the huge Campus which spread out in about 3 acres of forest woods and the buildings were spaced out by a few Kilometres to each other. It was not possible to walk from the main building/venue to the lab building, where the competition was kept. We were dropped off by the college van. The van had to leave for commuting other contestants from various other venues, and we hoped to catch a lift from the host college representatives. The competition was scheduled for 3.00pm in the afternoon, and we hoped to leave by 5.00pm. However, the event got delayed by nearly two hours. The contestant’s father was present with his scooter to take her away as soon as the event was over. Clay modelling was a messy affair and she was almost half covered in mud and clay. I was not worried as there were plenty of people at the venue and a painting competition still in progress. It would be easy to catch a ride to the main gate. I went up to the top floor to finish the closing paper works, as was my responsibility. There was a queue to wait out. I was the last to finish the paper work. Since, it was nearly 30 minute ride back to our accommodations; I stopped to use the wash room.
When I came down the building, the area was deserted and it was quite late, almost 7.30pm. The street lights were spaced far out barely showing the way out. It looked eerie. I tried to call a friend from my mobile; there was no range in the area. I cursed myself for not having sent a message with the contestant itself. I was wondering on what I should do, when I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around, thanking my stars for having someone else around and then I froze…
“Well, well…..Lost … Are we? He smiled. My heart sank.
To be continued……..
The clock was ticking towards 2’o clock, and I was staring at the door, listening for footsteps or any sound of a car parking at our doorstep. My 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter were fast asleep. I considered waking them up, but what was the point. He had been late before, but not this late. I tried his number again… I heard the operator’s voice on the other side “The number you have dialled is currently switched off or out of range”… I cut the phone…
Earlier in the evening, I had called up his office; I was told he was attending a conference on behalf of the company in a 5 star hotel. When he didn’t come home till 9.00 in the evening, I picked out the hotel number from yellow pages and called in to enquire if the conference was over. It was over at 8pm itself… Where is he?
I started pacing. I tried not to panic, but try as I may, I could not keep out horrible thoughts from coming into my mind. Car crashes were so common…Some drunken driver…or unruly youths in fast cars… it may not even be his fault. Should I call the police and enquire, No, I am getting simply hyper. I should just be little more patient.
I am not usually this hyper. I am used to his work schedules. It has been 10 years since our marriage, and he has always been home, sharp at dinner time. He did not like being disturbed at work, I called only when he was not home by dinner time.
Ten years, sound like a really long time, but these years just passed in sheer bliss. Ours was a typical arranged marriage. I was 22, working and independent. During my youth, I wanted a love marriage, or at least marry some one I knew. How do you live with a person you met for few minutes? How do you decide who is the right? Does asking a few typical questions that came to mind at that insane second help you to judge?
I argued, day and night with my parents and the elders. The only reply I got ” You will know my child, when you meet the rite person” Yeah, Right!! … Kuch kuch hota hai version … typical….. So, I waited. And prayed for the Cupid to strike me and say here is THE ONE!!
After a zillion Proposals, fashion parades in saris and tea trays, his proposal came.
I still remember the day, coz it was so funny. I was at a good friends’ place, with plans to spend the day out till late evening. Her marriage was already on the cards and she wanted a spinster party. We decided on a Girls day out, I was excited. As we were about to step out of her place, my parents called up. They wanted me home immediately. A new proposal had come; the boy worked outside and was travelling today, his family wished him to see me before he went. They were already on their way. I tried to argue, but failed immediately. Irritated to the core at the inconvenience caused and postponed the party plans, I travelled back home on my scooty. I had to drop off another friend at her place. I was purposely riding slowly to delay my arrival. Who wanted to parade in front of another family, I was so sure that even this was not going to work. I had to comply with my family’s wishes.
I reached my friends place, and we stood outside chatting. After few minutes a Red Maruti Suzuki stopped beside me, the tinted window by the driver’s side rolled down with a good looking chap looking perplexed.
“Excuse me ladies, could any of you tell me where the 37th street is?
“Sure”, my friend volunteered, “go straight, take the 2nd left, then the next right and then left… and then third right.”
The guy looked at her as though she had just spoken Latin, I giggled, and chided my friend,” You might as well have told him to go around entire colony till he finds the 37th street, stupid…” I could hear laughter from inside the car. The car was full of people; I caught a few faces looking out through the dark panes.
Deciding to be the Good Samaritan, I volunteered “Boss, I am headed in that direction, why you don’t just follow me.”
He smiled and nodded” Thanks, that would be really great!”
”Bye, see ya later, got to get ready for the moron who is coming to see my fashion parade” I said as my friend wished me luck. I zoomed off in my bike making sure that the car followed me. I rode carefully keeping them in sight. On the way, I waved to my neighbour aunty, called out to the kids playing cricket and responded to snide remarks from the local youths. When I reached the mouth the 37thstreet, I stopped. The car stopped beside me. ” The 37th street begins here” I said as I waved at a grandpa next door. The driver thanked me before I shrugged and moved on.
My house was the last one at the corner of the street, just before the beginning of the next street. My mom was waiting at the entrance, all red faced and fuming. I ignored her and casually parked my bike, humming a tune. “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA, HOW MUCH TRAUMA I WAS GOING THROUGH TILL NOW. DO YOU WANT ME TO GROUND YOU TILL YOUR WEDDING?!”. “ Sure, sure… if you want me stay single for the rest of my life” I responded.
“Go inside and get ready, FAST! They will be here any minute now!” She muttered as usual, under her breath, “This girl is becoming more and more unmanageable by the day; I don’t know what she will do in another house….”
Her qualms will never end, I sighed. When I was in diapers, she was worried how I will fare in school, when I was finishing school, she worried on how I will fare in college, then it was how I will do in my work and now this… her worries just got bigger and bigger.
So, I locked myself up in my room and relaxed in my bed. Barely a minute had passed, when my mom softly knocked on my door, “Are you done, they are already here”. I jumped up from the bed shocked,” What, already?!”
“Yes, come out fast” she hissed. I hurried through my lipstick. There was no point in changing. What they see, is what they get! In less than five minutes, she was rapping on the door again.” Coming mommmm!” I said taking deep breaths trying to calm myself.
As I entered the hall, I froze, and then nearly ran back to my room. Seated there was the Direction Guy with the same people who looked out of the car. I stared; I had called him “A Moron”. He looked surprised and then amused at my discomfort. A small smile was playing up at his lips and one of his eyebrows arched up. Why didn’t the earth just open up and swallow me alive!! I was surely a worth candidate for it!!
I stood rooted to the spot; I had gone red in face and could feel my heartbeat race. I looked around once and then stared firmly at the floor. His family looked amused. His younger brother, who looked like a school goer, was grinning from ear to ear. My dad was surprised at the sudden change in atmosphere. Something was amiss. Everyone was smiling, like they were sharing a secret that he was not in on. He slowly asked, “Err, are we missing something?”
His father, whom I had seen sitting next to him in the car replied, “No, it is just that, we had met your daughter on the way here. She had so generously showed us the way. Since we had not seen pictures of her, we didn’t recognise her”
My Mother looked like she would faint; I was wearing one of my most fashionable attires, tight jeans and a cute top with deep neck and body length that stayed above my waist. I was all dressed up to freak out with my friends in city hangouts. Decent for me, indecent for my family. The boy’s family had seen me in that! This proposal was already being disposed or written off already in her mind. Poor mother. I was waiting for her to swoon.
I continued to stare at the floor; unable to look at anyone in the face, there was going to be hell and more to pay for this after these people left. The dressing sense was surely considered moot by the old folks. Good bye freedom!
Small conversations continued between our families. I could feel heavy stares directed at me, but I continued to stare at the floor, still red at face. Nobody asked me anything, so I tried to calm myself instead. Its ok, it ok, relax, relax…I chanted in my mind. I was about to finally relax for a second before my father asked, “So if your son and my daughter would like to speak privately, they could move to another room”. NO!!! I screamed silently. I silently led the way to another room. My heart began to beat in double speed and my face was all red again. There was absolute silence for few minutes; I was again trying to calm myself. I could not look up to his face and I could feel him staring up at mine. He was probably waiting for me to speak; I didn’t know what to say. I was trying to think of someway to start a conversation. But I could not remember any questions that I had used on my suitors before.
Finally, I conjured up enough courage to look up at his face and ask something. His expression stopped me short, it was not amused. I was rewarded with an understanding smile, like that of a mature man who looked on at the attics of a mischievous child. He took a deep breath, “I am a person, whose career and ambition keeps him out of the house and on his toes all day. I love my family and love to spend every possible moment with them. It is difficult for my parents to understand my passion and it is difficult to live with me without understanding my freedom. But an independent person like you … would probably understand my life style. Do you think you can handle me… as a life partner??”
The clock struck 2 am, waking me up from my reverie. I went to window looking down at the empty street below. Few cars passed at this hour. I tried his number again, no response.
It is good thing tomorrow is a weekend, at least I don’t have to go for work, else I would be yawning away in office. He never encouraged me to stay awake like this. He would always say “Please don’t play typical orthodox wife. Eat when you are hungry and sleep on time. My work spoils my health; I don’t want your health also to be spoiled. So whenever I am late, I will manage my own dinner and will sleep when I am done. You don’t have to stay awake for me”.
If only he could call and tell me how late he is going to be, I would have relaxed a bit. Initial days of marriage had been as difficult as he had warned me on the day he came to see me. We had shifted to the place where he worked. He tried his level best to reach home on time and spend some quality time with me. Everyday was a new revelation for both of us. Each day we learnt something new about each other. Some good things and then some bad. After all, no one is perfect. I found myself a job thereafter, and then it became easier. I spent majority of the time in office and when I reached home, I would finish off housework, before he reached home. And when he came, we would sit chatting away, for hours till midnight, relating each other’s office experience and problems. He was a person with whom I could share anything, and I found his experiences fascinating.
I have heard of friends becoming life partners, but for me my life partner became my best friend.
We were gifted with a son and then a daughter. Life was perfect, with a few fights and arguments over the order in the house and cleanliness. Some days were even more difficult than others. I had good job and money was getting good. Days became shorter to get all the work done and chores got bigger and worse. I would return after a tough day at work to find broken vases, dirty clothes strewn on the floor and a relieved maid hurrying to leave the house. I wouldn’t have enough time to finish the children’s homework and cook a special dinner before he reached home. By the time he was home, he would be even more tired than me and finding our house in a mess would initiate cribbing, “Is this house a garbage dump or what?” “What is all of THIS?” he would bellow. His temper was really explosive.
He would then throw whatever he would find into the nearest garbage bin, while we would be running around to pick and save valuables from under the sofa or behind the curtains. If spotted during the cleaning parade, they would be lost forever. When the temper had ridden its course, he would inevitably retreat into the bedroom. We would noiselessly retrieve all valuables from the dustbin and arrange it neatly in proper places.
Dinner was always on time. Two things that I learnt foremost about him were that he wanted a clean house and a hot dinner ready when he reached home. Absence of any would ensure a lost temper. When he was fully fed and satisfied, he would be his good jolly self. Best friend for the children and a romantic partner for me. It was always fun to watch him playing with our children, he was closer to them than me. They would sit and relate all school stories for the umpteenth time and he will listen patiently. Some days, when I am exhausted with work, I would doze off in the living room itself only to find out that he had put the children to sleep and carried me to off to bed.
I missed him when he was not there. Our home felt empty when he went for his business trips? Even the kids would be gloomy when dada was not home. He tried not to be away from us for long. I couldn’t understand what was keeping him today. Was he hurt? Should I call the police? Did I miss a call? I debated mentally
The phone rang…I jumped to pick it up…”Hello? ” a male voice spoke on the other side.” Hello, Madam, I am calling in from the traffic Police. Is Car kl-4-25368 your husband’s car? “.. My heart stopped beating” Yes”, I whispered. “Your husband had an accident…..”.”Nooooooo”
I woke up with a start…. It was 2.30am. I had dozed off on the sofa; it was only a dream… I was sweating.
I heard the door close behind me. I turned slowly. My husband was standing at the door, with his coat and tie and suitcase in his hand. One minute we stood staring at each other and then I ran to him headlong nearly knocking him on the floor. “YOU MORON….WHY IS YOUR PHONE SWITCHED OFF…WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL ME IF YOU WERE GOING TO BE LATE…WHY ARE YOU SO LATE?! YOU DON’T EVEN CARE !! SOMEONE LIKE ME IS WAITING FOR YOU AT HOME…”I rated as relief set in and tears poured out.
“Shh…shhh…sorry, sorry…My phone went dead in the afternoon, no battery, I forgot my charger in office when I went for the conference and on my way back, my car broke down….at a deserted place…..no place where I could call you… had to wait for 3 hours before I found someone for me lift…. so sorry… I didn’t realise you would be waiting for me….sorry love….” He pacified me….I was crying heavily into his shirt, but we stood there like that for few minutes…till we heard my son call out…” Dada…Mom…Where are you…” all my screaming had woken up the kids …
“Rite here baby” their dad called back…and he pulled me slowly into the room with him into the little perfect part of our wonderful Life…
Moment of Surrender
‘Don’t worry, will reach home in 5 mins’, I kept on telling this to myself. Today was definitely hard on me, not that I had any better days since last year. But everything would be fine once I go home … back to my sacred space.
Can hear Bono sing “Moment of surrender” on the radio… aah! the story of my life!
Finally I am home. ‘Home’ – I don’t even know if I can call it that now. Things have changed… a lot. I feel a pang in my heart as I look at my brother’s picture on the table.
No, I need to stop thinking about all of this.
I know what could help me. I open the drawer and reach out for it. This would help me sail through.
Soon I am transported to my perfect world. A world which actually existed till a year ago.
‘Colorful, wonderful world’ I say aloud. My twin used to say this a lot. My sacred space reminds me of him… the times we spent together.
I shake my head, no this is not working right, I need more. I reach for it again.
I can feel my pain fade away.
The room is turning dark. Very dark.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
He was already dead by the time the ambulance arrived.
For the city, it was just a case of drugs overdose.
For his parents, it was their second loss to 26/11
The Pangs of Separation
She could feel her heart beating faster,
The pangs of separation had begun to rise within,
When she felt its effect on her,
She let herself free to get immersed in what gave her pleasure like love of her lover would,
It was pitter patter of raindrops that soaked her skin and touched her soul!
Written in 55 Fiction format.
For more about 55 fiction click here
- Guest article by Pallavi . She calls herself a Delhizen and proud of the fact that she belongs to that city. To visit her blog click HERE
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