Case Closed

legal

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

“Sweetheart, wake up.”

Hmm… That’s a sweet voice. Devil’s voice? But wasn’t it my Khaki Pants who came to rescue me? Was it all my imagination? But my aching body tells me it is not. Yesterday.  What is it called, selective amnesia? I think I am suffering from that illness. There is no yesterday for me in my life. Only day before yesterday and today. The inbetween can go to hell. Did I die?

“No baby, you didn’t. You are very much alive and kicking.”

Nopes. I am definitely dead. There is no one who talks to me like this.

“Yes, there is. Me. I am here.”

Inside my head yes, but outside…

“Glad to hear that I have a place inside your head too. But, I am also very much a part of your life outside your head. At least I am going to be.”

No. You are a dream. I made you up. Like all these past months when I took you everywhere with me, when I saw you in every face I met.

“Sweetheart, why don’t you open your eyes and see for yourself whether you made me up or not?”

Have I been talking aloud again? I am afraid to open my eyes. The world inside my head is better. Safer. I don’t want to see what is outside. It hurts. It hurts everywhere.

“Indira, please, look at me, let me see you.”

It is him. My Khaki Pants. After so many months. I hate that he had to find me like that. But I am grateful that he found me last night. Tears leak from my eyes. No. This better be a dream because this dream is really too good to be true and my reality sucks. He is sweet and full of care. I don’t want to open my eyes at all, lest it turns out to be an illusion, wishful thinking. I don’t want to know what happened yesterday night and what will happen today. I whimper at the soft voice crooning in my ears, in my head. Only if he was real. I don’t want to face the world alone. I don’t want to answer the questions alone. I don’t want to talk about it at all. I want it all to disappear, wiped clean from my mind.

“Indira…”

The voice is coming from outside my head. Oh my god. This is a real voice from the real world. I snap open my eyes, only to be sucked into another pair of soft golden brown eyes. I am lying down on a bed and he is seated on a nearby chair, leaning by my right side, resting on his elbow, half on the bed and half on the pillow. He is so close that I can see the pores on his nose, his big forehead, the mole on his lips, his mustache, the cleft in his chin, the faint dark circles around his eyes. I remember thinking of him as a quarter of a God. Maybe he has gained a fraction more on that aspect this time. Definite brownie points. And his eyes. They say brown eyes are actually blue eyes with more melanin in them. I like this brown shade of blue. A lot.

“Khaki Pants…”

“Is that what you have named me? Not very creative you know…”

“You are real. You found me.”

“Yes and yes. I told you to watch out for me.”

“You kept me waiting too long.”

“About that honey, I am sorry. I was not in the city. I am so sorry that I couldn’t come to find you sooner.”

“Easy for you to say and let it go. You have no idea how much I searched for you.” He looks hurt and distant at my words. But as I watch, a wave of tenderness wash it away as soon as it surfaced and he came close. Closer than close. Did our nose touch each other’s?

“Did you now…? I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”

“When? After another three months?”

“Boy, the lady has a temper! Remind me why I am not surprised.”

Of course he wouldn’t be. Because the first time met him, I lashed at him even more severely. Is this man really for real? Is he here to stay? I don’t want to think of yesterday. I want to think that it never happened. By some stroke of luck and a jump cut later, I have landed in the arms of my mystery man. That’s all that matters to me now. I close my eyes again.

“Sweetheart, Indira, open your eyes.”

“Don’t call me things like that. Don’t talk to me like that. Don’t…”

I can’t take it. The way he talks to me makes me ache. Why does it make me sad and helpless? Didn’t I want him to come and find me? Didn’t I dream of him calling me all those endearments and more? But the way he found me yesterday in that unfortunate moment… Did I faint in his arms? What happened to Ralph? How I reached there in the first place… Now I have to explain. Now I have to tell him who when and why. Didn’t I always know that Khaki Pants deserved a better woman than me? Why is it hurting me now? I feel more helpless tears escaping my closed eyes. This is what I am reduced to now. Pathetic. Pattheettiicc. That pathetic!

“You don’t like it?”

I like it too much. Too much raised to the power of N.

“Thank god that you haven’t gotten over your habit of talking aloud,” Khaki Pant chuckles between his words.

My eyes flew open at his words. How can he laugh when I am in such a crisis? How much have I been talking aloud? I have to bite my tongue and lips not to speak aloud anymore.

He holds me by my chin and drags his thumbs over my lips and pries it open. I should be scared of him. After the physical assault of yesterday night, I should be wary of every finger that is not mine. But with this man, it seems I have neither any bell nor brakes. It’s one fearless downhill ride from steep slope where I am sure he will be there to break the fall and cushion me in his strength and warmth. It is even more strange that I should feel all this with someone with whom I have not spent more than a few hours. I don’t know his last name. I don’t know anything about him. Staring into his eyes, the details seem inconsequential. All that matters is that the feeling is mutual. The distance and time hasn’t diminished his attraction to me. No other woman has swooped down on him and claimed him. He is mine. For now.

We are still lying down close. We have been talking in whispers. Both not wanting to break the bubble we are in. I think this moment is called forever. However, like all eternal moments, a knock on the door bursts our cute little bubble and Khaki Pants moves away from me.

“No. Don’t go… Not yet…” I beg shamelessly.

He picks my hands and brings them to his cheeks, all the while his golden brown wolf eyes pierce me. They silently promise that I have nothing to worry, that this time he is not going anywhere. It must have lasted mere seconds, but I guess, it was another forever moment for me. I was liking this forever thing. Khaki Pants went out of the room and for the first time since I opened my eyes for the day, I try to take in my surroundings.

Unlike the heroines of books and movies, I am not disoriented. I do not have trouble recollecting what happened yesterday night. I remember it only too clearly. That is precisely why I am not talking about it or asking questions. There are some answers that does not bring peace to the confusions in your mind. I am not ready to face the past yet.

I look around and I find that I am in some sort of consulting room. It does not appear to be a hospital. The bed I am lying down is actually a couch that works like a bed too. There is a curtain that separates the room from whatever is on the other side. Before I decide whether to lie down more or go exploring the damages I endured, Khaki Pants enters with another man. He is the cop from yesterday.

Khaki Pants came over and sat beside me on the couch/bed.

“Indira, do you remember him?”

“Yes.” But I don’t want to.

“Good. He is Circle Inspector Kiran Vashisht, my friend and this area falls under his jurisdiction. So, you know why he is here.”

“I do.” But I don’t want to talk about it.

Kiran is young, has a friendly air, and the wisdom from not-so-good experiences give him a tougher appearance. “Hi Indira. I hope you are alright now. Ralph has been detained and is proving to be a very tough accused. I need you tell me how….”

I have thought about it but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I will say it aloud. But it was a clear decision for me, one that I unconsciously and sub-consciously made, a very long time back.

“I don’t want to file a case.”

“What!!!”

That was a booming incredulous dual WHAT from Khaki Pants and Kiran.

Yup. You heard it right. I do not want to file a police case against Ralph on yesterday’s assault.

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The Knight I was Waiting For

knight

Part I, Part II, and Part III

Ralph is behind me like a rabid dog. He is literally carrying out his threats that he will follow me everywhere, till the end of the world, till death and all the way to hell. It was this obsession and possessiveness that always warned me against giving myself over completely to him. I picked up a tool from the floor and hurled at Ralph. For once, it hits the mark and he stumbles. But he doesn’t give up. Fueled by my resistance and retaliation, he pounces on me and hits me hard. I fell face down on a pile of metal objects. He enjoys my howls of pain and smiles at my profuse tears of helplessness. He pulled me by my hair and dragged me across the floor. I can’t believe that this is the same man I have had a relationship for over seven years.

Even in pain I can’t stop thinking how he became such a malevolent person. Was I responsible for it? Did I turn him into the devil? Or is he turning me into an excuse to show his true self? I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. His hands falls on my cheeks again in a resounding slap and I am brought back to the cruel reality. It hurts, both outside and inside. I fell hard, a few feet away from him under the impact of his slap. But I gathered myself up and threw another tool, albeit small, at Ralph. The urge to hurt him back as much as he is hurting me gave me strength. I scrambled to put more distance between us and picked up another metal object and rushed to the shutter and make all the noise I can.

Ralph seems unperturbed despite the ruckus I am raising. It worries me a lot more than I care to admit but I do what I can to get away from him. He had never physically hurt me. It was hard enough to escape his words, intentions and accusations. Now I have to physically stay at least two feet away from him.

“Indira, stop, no one is coming to get you. THERE IS NO ONE COMING, you got it?” he bellows.

I scream back at him, “NO. I DON’T, I WILL NOT GET IT. I WILL NOT EVEN TRY TO GET IT AT ALL. SOMEBODY HAS TO BE THERE. SOMEONE, ANYONE.” I hit the shutters more frantically.

He laughed. He bloody laughs at me and my desperate attempt like a man possessed. He is enjoying this.

Ralph pulled and pinned both my hands behind me, crushed me in his arms, leering down in my face. Without thinking too much, I hit his head with mine. It hurt a lot but I am sure it hurt him too. As he groans in pain, I escape from his choke hold. I picked another tool and hit him hard on his chest. Did he know that this was hurting me just as much? Ralph now lying sprawled on the floor, grunting in pain and cursing me.

Suddenly someone pulled up the shutters and a group of five people rushed inside the garage. I was terrified that they were the men who chased me and I would never escape. So I couldn’t help but scream and run again in search of another exit. I was gripped by sheer panic, and I stumbled all the way, falling against broken down cars and abandoned doors and other automobile paraphernalia. But I didn’t know where I had to go or how I would go. I just kept moving forward, terrified of what was coming behind me. But I didn’t get far. A pair of strong arms caught me from behind by my waist and pulled me to a stop.

“No ,no, no, this can’t be happening. This can’t be happening.” I sobbed uncontrollably. I didn’t stop struggling and wailing in his arms. “I will not succumb to force. Never.”

“Be calm. It’s okay. It’s really okay. You are safe. You don’t have to run. You are safe.”

I still resisted but he didn’t try to make me submit to him. He gauged my strength and matched it to stop me from making it anymore damaging. He let me know that I could still break free if I wanted to, he was just making the process slower. The voice sounded vaguely familiar. Was it my way of coping to the traumatic situation? I quieted a bit but didn’t dare relax. I am still in the arms of a stranger and I have no idea how much evil or good he is.

“It’s okay. I have got you. Don’t be afraid. Shhhhh…”

It was that sshhh that calmed me down. I finally found the time to take a breath of life and I held on to him. I couldn’t let go. I wanted this support. It was then that Ralph’s angry screams reached me again.

“YOU BITCH! You can’t bear it when I touch you but strangers can take your ass? I knew it. I always knew you were a bitch, a slut. I will teach you a lesson. How dare you let him touch you? HOW DARE YOU! How many have touched you like this? HOW MANY? Tell me, isn’t this why you ran away from me? Isn’t this why you broke up with me? So that you can whore around. I will teach you a lesson you bitch… you bloody…”

I wanted to die on the spot. Even when I knew that every word he is saying is wrong, false, I died a little because of shame and humiliation. It hurts me to think that the person who helped me is also being humiliated. Every man, every single male associated with me was insulted and accused of having carnal desires towards me. Ralph has accused me of having shameless relationships with my brothers, cousins, mentors and teachers. Any man who came in contact with me came under the radar of doubt for Ralph. What I did to earn this, I do not know. It became difficult to see myself, all these people and Ralph. I hid from them. I went into a social isolation. It was my way of protecting them from Ralph’s viciousness. But I failed. No matter how much I bleed the bad blood away, traces of his poison still lingers in my veins.

I am not brave enough to open my eyes and face the world now. I can’t turn to look the man who is still holding me, carefully, tenderly. I want to cry so badly. I don’t want to see what his expression is. I don’t want to see the judgement on his face. I don’t have the strength to apologize to him for Ralph’s words. This night is only proof that you cannot run from your past. The ghost of bad decisions comes back to haunt you and it will sprinkle fresh salt on festering wounds and devastated self-esteem.

The voice and body continued to protect me. He kept saying that it’s okay, that I am now safe. These words felt like strong walls of a big fort taking the whole impact of the cannon fires from Ralph’s evil mouth. Still shivering and in shock, I let him take me out of the garage. I saw that three men had restrained Ralph in chair and another was trying to gag him up to stop the poison spilling from his mouth. Ralph was bleeding and furious. I saw vengeance glinting in his eyes. I knew this was not over. It wouldn’t be for a long time.

Once outside the garage, I saw that police has arrived. While a few cops rushed inside, a couple of them came over to me. No, I don’t want to do this now. I can’t. Please don’t ask me anything. Please… please… please…

“No they won’t. They just want to check that you are alright. We can talk tomorrow,” the voice is calm and soothing.

We? Who we? Did I just beg aloud?

“Shaurya, we came as soon as we got the call. Is she good? Do we need an ambulance?”

The body and voice belonged to Shaurya. Like the name, like the man. I am still huddled in his arms. So strange. When Ralph held me I felt like I was in filth. But in the arms of this stranger, I felt like no danger can touch me here. Shaurya… He was talking to the officer.

“No Kiran, she is good, I got her. Shocked like hell though. Can we talk about this tomorrow? I don’t think we need to make her go through this again so soon. And thanks for coming so soon man… Means a lot!”

“I am only sorry that I couldn’t get here sooner. Ma’am, can we take you anywhere? Where do you stay? Is there anyone I can call for you? Do you have a phone?”

I shake my head in negative.

“Did you lose it? Did you have bag? Did you lose it on the way?” More questions from Kiran. Go away. A whimper escapes me, I can’t hold back any longer.

“Kiran, let’s do this tomorrow. As soon as we can. For now, I need to get her cleaned up and get her some rest. She is in no condition to say anything…”

I only had a bottle of water with me and my id-card. I might have lost both while running.

I tell them the same. But my sound comes in gasps and huffs. Shaurya holds me a bit more close and I feel reassured. I try and take a couple of slightly less painful breaths. I lean my weight on this man. I can’t, it’s all too much. I am exhausted. I don’t hear their conversation anymore. I don’t listen to the night sounds anymore or Ralph’s angry grunts as he is being taken to the police jeep. I clutch hard on Shaurya arms, borrowing his strength to lift my head to tell him that I might be dying in his arms, but thanks anyway for saving me.

But what I saw took my remaining breath away.

Shaurya — my mystery man, my Khaki Pants…

From Trap to Cage. What about Escape?

violent

Part I and Part II

I felt like the door to life has been closed shut.

Every particle in me was screaming BAD IDEA in high pitch and chorus about that left turn, just like the majority of the decisions I have taken in my life. Escape, stupid! Concentrate on escape, you idiot!

I couldn’t pull the shutter down properly, so pushing it back up was out of question. I need to find an alternative way to escape. What should I do now? Think, Indira, think. Think like you actually have a brain.

Finally, my eyes adjusted to the dim light in the garage. Was it even a functioning garage? Or was it sort of a dump yard of vehicles? I am not an auto-fan, I cannot even tell the car models apart. It is entirely a different matter that I have a license and I am yet to take a vehicle on the road. So driving a vehicle and barging out of the garage was also not an option. Ah, there was also the tiny matter that the vehicles might actually work. In the minimal light, groping on the dirty walls, smearing more grease and oil on myself, I began searching for my freedom.

The garage was vast. The only thing I could identify was the place where they elevate the cars and wash it. The rest of the tools and equipment were more or less metallic junk for me. The only solace I took from the stuff strewn around was that I will always have a weapon within my arm’s reach. Everything was metal and heavy. And if I put enough strength and swung it in the right direction, I might live a little longer. That is, if I am not frozen place and can move my hands and legs. I hope it will never come to such drastic situations. By now, I was somewhere in the middle of the ball hall type garage. Man, this was actually huge! Cars with its hood open, some without proper doors and seats pulled out gave a grave yard feeling. A couple of bikes lay on the floor like fallen horses in the battle field.

At one corner, there was a staircase leading to a sort of cabin. Maybe that is the office. Somehow I managed to walk across the slippery floor to the stairs. As I started to climb up, the garage was set ablaze with blinding white light.

Someone was inside the garage and had heard me and had turned on the lights. Praise the Lord! Help at last…

Without opening my eyes to the brightness, I stuttered, “Excuse me, help, I am sorry… I was chas…”

Once again my heart stopped in terror. This time, it might not have the strength to start again.

No. NO. This could not be happening. He could not be standing there in front me like this. Not after so many years. Not when I had run all 910 kilometers away, far away from him.

“I love it when you admit that you are sorry. And you know very well that I do not accept excuses darling. You should know that by now.”

Standing on top of the stairs was my ex-boyfriend. Ex-human being. Ralph Augustine. A perfectly normal man. Good looking man of six feet height. 93kg weight. Deep brown eyes set in thick brows. A slightly protruding belly, wide chest and well maintained no nonsense hairstyle. At one glance, no one will detect the deceit in him. It will actually take years to understand his true nature. He was charming on the outside and scheming on the inside. He was smiling on the outside and glaring from the inside. He will give speeches after speeches on how you need to follow your own path and not listen to the world. But the truth is, there is no bigger moral police than this man in front of me.

“Were you afraid of those guys, baby? You shouldn’t have been … Do you think I will let them do anything to you? Nope, they wouldn’t dare. I will keep you safe. With me always.

And I know you, don’t I? All the seven years we spent together, I know exactly how your mind works. You could have taken any of lanes, love, but all of them, every single one of them would lead you to me. I made sure of that. Like all the roads lead to Rome, all your roads lead to me. ME. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT? DO YOU? It’s high time you accept this. There is no way around me baby.”

I was familiar with his talk as well. His shouts and his eerie whispers. Every word he spoke was like a transparent cable tightly winding around me, cutting into my skin, slicing my veins open and spilling blood. My feet were dying to run but I was afraid to move. I was terrified of what he would do if I moved.

“What darling, you have nothing to ask me? You make me so disappointed. You always have. You were never interested in what was happening in my life. Never asked about it. I was the one to always fill you up. You never cared! I hate you for that.”

His sing song tone! I hate that too. He was right. He did fill me up. Filled me up with absolute crap about his third-rate thoughts about others. Filled me up with explanations for his Hippocratic policies and friendships. How I landed between all this messes was a twisted joke of the destiny. I was burning with questions. Did he ever ask what was happening in my life that was not conquered by him? Did he ever ask a ‘how are you?’ Not even when I was sick, did he ask if there was something he could do for me. He laughed at my distress in illness. Was I blind when I met him? Was I deaf to not hear what he was saying? Was I denial? What on earth made me think that I was in love with this devil is still beyond my comprehension.

Ralph, who had come down the steps, suddenly grabbed me by my cheeks with his big hands, pulled me against him, stifling me in his arms.

“Mmmhhhhhmmmm… baby, the way you smell… It drives me crazy! I cannot tell you how much I yearned for you. Never again. Never again am I letting you out off from my sight. YOU ARE MINE AND MINE ALONE. You have made me run too far and too long already. You have a lot to make up for, apologize for… YOU BITCH… I am not going to let you even take a breath, because honey, I am going to eat you up. Bits and pieces and whole. Everything. EVERYTHING.”

I almost gagged at his touch. My ears hurt with his loud voice. I felt dirtier as his words rolled off my cheeks. I know I should scream. I should fight. But I have always been more hurt whenever I resisted him. I guess, I am conditioned to handle his violence silently so that it doesn’t get any more violent. I am very very scared of him. He is the worst kind of villain you can ever come across, gentleman on the outside, beast on sadist on the inside.

But I am done. Totally done. Years and years of this crazy talk, crawling whispers and screaming abuses, I wanted out. For one last time. Even if I die in this attempt, I don’t care. I really can’t take this anymore. He was planning to hurt me in ten different ways this time and he has already started with my face. No. Not again. Never again.

So push him aside and run. Ralph is caught off guard and he falls and then I open my mouth, my heart, my body and soul and scream. This might be the last time I do.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

“Help… Somebody help….”

Awes and Woes

Some dominant and submissive woes of a lady in love with words

What happens when you read too many books? And the same kind of books??

It’s simple.

You live in a world that is hundred time more emotional, sensitive and worth living than the real one you are living. Why doesn’t the real world make my heart leap out of my chest? I do not feel butterflies in my stomach when I meet an attractive person. I feel nothing. But I feel every gut wrenching emotion of the characters living inside pages. I feel like jumping between the pages and exploring the life of the fictional characters.

What is the cure for being this insufferable romantic? Do you ever grow out of it? Or do you end up losing all hope, in both real and fictional world? I can’t get enough of the love stories out there. All the love seemed to be trapped inside the pages and so less in the hearts of real people. Maybe that is why everyone is searching for affection and understanding and love everywhere. Why do we trust the love in books more than the love outside it? IS it because the love in the books never lets you down? Probably. They slip, but never ever lets you down…

In front of the awesomeness of some authors, every word I try to write falls miserably onto paper like a long dead star. I have this urge to delete every pathetic sentence and story I have written so far when I read the beautiful words of renowned authors. I want to cover up my words so that they won’t see and laugh at them. I can’t devour those books fast enough. My vocabulary is bad. I can’t really remember a lot of words. But I carry the feeling with me and give them space to breathe in between my heart beats.

I was never a talented person. Writing is the only thing I managed to grow into something similar like a talent. I do not have a hobby either, except reading. Nothing got me hooked on to other than books. Like a vampire sucking blood to stay alive, my depraved soul survives on the printed words and emotions to keep my heart beating. You might think I am exaggerating. But no, I am not. When I am not inside the pages, all I feel is anxiety and emptiness. But the printed pages awake a desire in me for love, life, laughter and warmth that I am unable to satisfy from anywhere else. This leaves me more starved and I return to the books and I suck life out of them.

This is an extremely bizarre piece of writing with no head, torso, bottom or tail. But I had to let it out. I wanted to get my average words out in order to make space for best words. It is like there is a sack full of unorganized words stuffed up and now they are tumbling out after a rat made a hole in it!

I am in awe of authors, fantasies, plots, magic of words, the immense experience and limitless but real imagination of writers. Everyone other than me.

Did my words ever make anyone feel it right in the center of their heart? I wonder…

The Trap Night

Hello guys… Its been a long time since I wrote something that is even remotely fictional. I seem to have sort of forgotten how to imagine only. So here is another attempt at reviving my creativity, if you will, and writing fiction . This is a continuation of something I wrote ages ago… You can read the first part here.  Hope you like it…


garage

I started going for parties with Ms. Hotpants. By the way, her real name is Sharmishta Chaudhary. I think now you understand why I call her Hotpants, easy on the tongue and brain. Going for parties was not all that bad you know. The real bad part was the expenses because you need to have an eclectic wardrobe that matched the varying requirements of the different parties in different locations.  It had to be brands or first copy duplicate of the brands, and they cost a bomb.

Also, there was the matter of cosmetics. It starts from eye liner to eye shadow to mascara to lip liner to lipstick to concealer to foundation to blah blah and blah.  Forget using the duplicate and cheap items you could buy on the street. It never sticks to your skin like the original products and the make-up pros who attended the events can always make out that you are running a trial and error beauty enhancing campaign. Then there were the accessories. You could say that it fell under the dressing category. But boy! It is a world in itself. Bags and clutches and potlies (really?!) and earrings (drops, studs and the chandelier type and the mini studs etc etc. I am yet to learn the names), bracelets, watches, finger rings, and arm bands. Of course the sandals — open toed, peep toed, wedges, stilettoes, 4 inch or 6 inch or bellies or flats or boots. Uh! Well, most of them hurt the feet and the spine. But eventually you get used to that too. Things had to match. There was no other way around it. Or you would stand out like a rotten sore nail among French manicured, groomed and polished finger nails.

So why am I lecturing on one of the most inane topics in the world? Because I started doing it all. All in the hopes of meeting Khaki Pants. Just once more. Only to confirm that he was not a part of my imagination. Only to ensure that I do not live in a fictional world full of characters from adult romance stories. Only to confirm that my imagination was not that good to make up a kiss like that or a night like that.

Every day and every night I re-live those magical hours. It makes me cringe at the things I thought and said about him, to him and everyone else. Definitely not my finest hours. Then I get goosebumps remembering the things he made me feel. Who was he? He never told me his name. What did we even talk? Instead he played Legend of Zorro and disappeared with a promise to meet again. I mean, who does that? He said he would bet his life on meeting again. I hope he was not intending to meet me after 16 years. I wanted to see him again after 16 seconds of leaving that resort. I was, or I still am in a pathetic situation. I want to believe him. I want to bet my life on him too. I am afraid to hope. Yet, yet being the fool I am, I search for his face in every crowd, in every face.

I imagine and conjure up names, characters, personalities and professions for him. Everything. Because he could be anything, anything at all. He came and flipped the lights on in my life, which I didn’t even know existed. Hotpants volunteered to be my comrade in this mission. But without a name or a profession or anything that could identify him, even her friends-network was useless. After three months of being a party animal and making new friends, getting dressed up and spending all the three month’s salary on things I would probably never use later in my life, I felt myself slowly falling into my old self and routine. My mind, which was burning bright since then, was starting to burn out.

Maybe it was all a game. It was not a heartfelt promise after all. I stopped going to parties. Three more months passed. Hotpants stopped trying to convince me. My Friday nights became empty once again. My cosmetics lay unused. My work hours stretched. Dark circles took over my eyes. Cold emotions conquered my heart. I was back to my very own normal. Feelings of pity and loathe once again filled my mind. What was wrong with me? Was I such a naïve fool? What was I thinking? Was I thinking at all? Maybe I was drunk. Who gets high on a single beer man! Shame. And the climax was an even bigger blunder. Why was I rhyming my words? What a sorry excuse I made of myself!  Whenever I think of how I whispered my name in his ears (God, how good he smelled!), I want to die. Shame and more shame fill my pores. And I have to shut my eyes tightly so that… that… I don’t know, so that I can face myself! How he must be laughing at me. He probably didn’t even want to hear my name. Why, Indira, why did you have to do this to yourself!

Its gets worse. But it was the best. I didn’t even know the name of the guy for Pete’s sake! And I allowed him to kiss me!

No, wait!  I am sorry about everything I did that night except that. It was beautiful and I can’t regret something so beautiful. He might have just played with all the talks but the kiss was genuine. I know it. He could not have faked that. He was very much into it. Maybe it was a surprise for him as well. Whatever it was, remembering his every caress, every touch and every look feels like thousand pins pricking my body. A pain but also a pleasure. Each contact made me feel like unfurling beauty one second at a time. The moment his lips touched mine, fireworks exploded inside me.

How was I supposed to forget this feeling? Of all the years of my existence, I felt the most alive in those hours, in his arms, in his eyes. I feel I have been ruined for life, like I will never be satisfied with anything else. How long will it take to forget the mystery man? Did my heart start beating only to go in coma? Destiny, fates, luck — none of these are in my favor.

These thoughts are my constant companion. I think them like I am breathing them. Even when I am travelling, working, bathing, and sleeping. Just like now when I am on this lonely road to my hostel a bit later than my usual ten thirty walk. Usually there are more people than this on the road. But today the lanes are empty and scary. Half the city has gone for vacations or to their beloved home towns because its national holiday the next day, combined with the weekend, the perfect time for taking leaves and making it extended holidays. Here I am stuck on a project with a code drop and release date looming larger and larger with each passing day.

But now, all thoughts of the mystery man flew out of my mind when I realized three men were following me. I don’t really need to read the newspapers every day to know that what happens to children, girls, young and old women when they take a walk in the night on a lonely road. I started walking fast and recollecting everything I knew or could to keep me safe before reaching the hostel, which was just two more lanes away. But the three men walked faster. The thing about fear is, it will make things happen faster and slower at the same time. No matter how fast I walked, the turn I was supposed to take never seemed to come. I was almost running and they kept following.

I wanted to turn and look at the men who were following me. But I didn’t. I was not sure if l would be capable of walking if I saw their faces. But before I could decide to run or walk faster, the three men broke into a run and charged at me. And that’s when I screamed and ran. I ran with all I had and ran with might and fear. Yet, it was not fast enough. I didn’t know to run farther or stop and knock at any door. But it was not a residential are. What if on the other side of the door were people worse than those chasing me? I ran and they chased, like blood hounds, just behind me. I was no rabbit who could run the fastest. I was more like a tortoise trying to be the rabbit. I hate my weight. I hated myself for lazing out all my weekends instead of going for exercise. There were no more air inside my lungs, no more blood in my legs. I was afraid I would collapse there on the road. I would even be dead from the panic they were causing me. But I have heard they don’t even leave dead bodies alone. I didn’t want to die like this. No. Not like this.

So I kept running. The two lanes to my hostel were lost somewhere, it became six, eight, ten? I kept going ahead just in the hope of reaching the main road. I kept running toward life.

I am directionally-challenged. North-south-east-west; all meant the same for me. With each step I took. I realized that I was not going toward the main road but away from it. I was getting slower, the men were reaching closer. I couldn’t run any further. I turned a left to a narrow lane and saw a shop with a nearly closed shutters. There was still space for me to squeeze in. I lay on the ground and rolled and crawled inside and pulled the shutter down with all the fear I carried and the remaining little bit of strength, but nothing happened. I left the shutter there, praying vehemently that the stalkers won’t see the gap.

Panting and heaving, my eyes tightly shut, I waited. Time was standing still. I had no idea if I had escaped or trapped myself in a bigger disaster. But I waited. Waited for something to happen. I heard my over exerted heart trying to calm. My legs ached. Minutes ticked by. I think they lost track of me. Slowly I looked around. It was a garage. Cars, bikes and jeeps in varying states were lying in the room. Grease was smeared on my dress, hands and probably my face too. Leaning on the wall, shivering and aching, I got up.

I took two step inside the garage, when suddenly, the last two rungs of the shutter slipped down completely and closed shut with a rumbling noise.

Definitely trapped.

Imprints

Hand in a cage
Branded and marked by loneliness

The cage has left its marks on my skin

A beautiful pattern of imprisonment

Invisible links that run deeper than I feel 

2018 

In response to the last Daily Prompt of 2017 : Finally

Come on Guys… 

Let’s all decide to be happy in 2018! 

(And of course the coming years as well…)

Give the best and then some more…

Come what may, heaven or hell…

Be cool and show that you are total kickass and it takes more than a few bumps on the road to lead you astray….

You have the right and capability to be happy… 

Go ahead, and make 2018 all yours… 

Happy New Year! 

Yay! Yayyiiieeeee!!!!