Illusion

It had been exactly one year one month and one day since the accident.

She exhaled deeply and felt what she had been feeling all along. She looked out at the beach’s vast horizon and the setting sun. She looked up at the dark skies and saw a reflection of herself. She stared at the waves, which seemed to take every part of her with each wave. She let out a sigh.

This was the place where she felt she could be herself. And certainly not what was expected of her. Her thoughts wandered, from the canopy of trees to the California weather, and finally to the one thought she had been avoiding.

Her thoughts returned to the first day she awoke in the hospital. The white curtains, the numerous bouquets, and the expressions on the faces of dozens of people horrified her. She could tell by their actions that they were concerned about her. They tried to hold her hands, kiss her cheek, tuck her hair, and other things, but she resisted. She disliked being touched by others. She had stood there silently watching people come and go. She had no idea why she was in the hospital in the first place, and she had no idea she had so many friends and family.

Allesia inquired, “How are you feeling now?” “We have so much to catch up on,” Celyn said. “I am so relieved you are okay, Gems, you have no idea how much I have cried,” Lia said.

Gems, as they called her, fought hard. She couldn’t remember anything and she couldn’t understand what was wrong with her. None of her body parts were damaged and none was stitched. There were just simple cuts and bruises which she remembered getting while she fell. But those were normal. She had always been the kind to get herself wounded. And scratches were a part of her living.

“What happened to me?” she wondered. Her gaze darted around the room, scanning each face in the hopes of spotting someone familiar, but to no avail. She had just discovered millions of shocked eyes staring at her. She couldn’t place them. She had no recollection of the sleepovers at Lia’s house or the “girls day out” with Celyn and Allesia. The girls were now more concerned with what their Gems could remember than with her physical condition.

Gems was considered fortunate to be alive, according to the doctors. A lot of her was fixed after a lot of intensive care, which is why she couldn’t notice anything on her body. They were able to repair her body but not her brain or soul. Forgetfulness, loss of memory- Amnesia, as the doctors called it- was probably something she would have to live with for the rest of her life, if not forever. That sounded like thunder on a rainy day to the girls. They attempted to show her photographs taken with her and the gifts she gave them, but all in vain. The difficult work of remembering the past only exacerbated the situation. She used to sit all day with her head in her hands, which only made her feel sad.

A voice from behind her startled her. She returned her gaze only to see Leah. Several months after the incident, Leah was the only person she kept in touch with. Leah was invited to meet her every day after she left the hospital to talk about everything she could remember.

Her friends, family, anybody. Or about a particular object, place, or something. But Jennifer, on the other hand, couldn’t. She stopped meeting people as time passed because she had to pretend to smile at memories she didn’t even remember. It irritated her more than it hurt her because she had to smile at things that did not make her smile.

All this was taking a toll on her, and so she started to distance herself from everyone. Everyone except the person seated next to her.

“How are you feeling today?” Leah inquired.

“Not exactly the right question to ask right now,” Jennifer replied. She paused for a moment before continuing, “I keep feeling like something is missing. I know a lot of things are, but there is one major thing I am missing that I am not even aware of.” Leah gave her a faint smile and asked, “You still think there’s a Mr. X, right?”

Mr. X. She had told Leah about him a few weeks before her accident, and how he made her heart race like no one else ever did. Leah, on the other hand, had never seen him.

Strangely, Jennifer had awoken with a void in her heart, as if someone had gone missing and she didn’t know who. That void now had a name!

Slowly, her memories of him began to flood back into her mind. She couldn’t tell if he had saved her or if it was just her luck, but she vaguely remembered being pushed out of a car and having her head hit a tree trunk.

Nonetheless, she did not respond to Leah’s question. As a result, they sat side by side, watching the last rays of the sun fade beyond the horizon in silence.

“Perhaps it was just an illusion, and so you should let it go,” Leah suggested.

“Perhaps,” Jennifer said, looking up at the star-studded sky in a way she had never done before.

“But even the stars don’t shine as bright as your smile, Mr. X,” thought Jennifer, and she never let the memory of him fade away.

After all, those in love with an illusion often refuse to accept the reality (:

Visiting hours :)

She saw through the dark, clearing all the colourless smoke that obscured the view. Her feet were cold as she walked past the sick. Her expression was calm, but she was terrified. She continued walking until she came to the white door. All of the strength she had gathered seemed to be in vain. She was alone, and she had no idea why her mother was not present. She wanted to run away and hide under her blanket. However, Leela noticed herself moving forward to open the door for some reason. She grabbed the handle and pushed, finally seeing what she had been hoping to see for a long time. She didn’t move or shudder, but she cried. She cried because she couldn’t remember when it happened. She had spent her entire life in a bubble of deception.

Why would she turn her back on the object of her happiness today, when it was right in front of her?

Leela was five years old at the time. She’d never seen death before. She had no idea what it meant. But she never saw her grandmother again after that. Someone had told her that granny had been transported to a land of chocolate and happiness. Leela was overjoyed. Not that she didn’t want to listen to the bedtime stories of her grandmother, but the thought of chocolate kept her quiet.

It was only after 7 years that Leela finally realized where her grandmother was and that she would never return. All she wanted to do after that was meet her grandmother. She knew it was impossible; prayers couldn’t bring her grandmother back, but science, she reasoned, could.

What if I told you that you’re going to be the next person to die? You may go to Paris and die there because death is unavoidable. No! Not even science could bring her grandmother back.

How else was she supposed to meet her granny, thought Leela every night before going to sleep? But today was different.

“My dear, why are you crying?” inquired the elderly lady. Leela couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Was it truly her? Was she really on that bed? Had the prayers worked their enchantment? She knelt forward only to touch her grandmother’s pale skin. She quickly grabbed her fist. It was warm. Leela felt a shiver run through her body. It wasn’t fear, but rather a shock- The shock of her grandmother returning to life. And science told her it was impossible!

Leela hugged her grandmother affectionately and gently, holding her hand the entire time, just like old times. “I’ll never leave it, granny, I’ll never let you go.”

Leela took granny into her room, away from the claustrophobic environment of the hospital, and they both looked through Leela’s childhood photos. She had a lot to show her, a lot to talk about, and a lot of questions for her. The old lady felt bad for not being there for her sweet Leela every time. A tear ran down her cheek. Leela reminded her that strong women don’t cry. “Grandmother is not as strong as you believe, Leela. She has grown old and is unable to walk. “She can’t eat and she can’t speak, Leela,” the elderly lady explained. Leela had no idea what her grandmother was saying. Everything was back to normal now that grandmother was back and speaking, having walked from that white door to Leelas’ room.

Nonetheless, Leela showed her grandmother all of her dresses. She took out all of the drawings she had made while her grandmother was away. Grandmother’s heart was filled with joy with each object Leela displayed. She didn’t want to go back now, but she soon realized she’d never come. She had met Leela for a reason.

“Grandmother is deep in thought; perhaps she is considering what to give me for my birthday. Maybe I should tell her that she is a birthday present for me and that all I want from her is a promise that she will never leave me alone in this world. And in exchange, I’d promise her that I’d never cry and that I’d be a good girl,” Leela reasoned.

Leela shook her grandmother’s hand and told her about the deal. The old woman laughed and cried at Leelas’ innocence

“Is Granny laughing or crying?”

Leela was perplexed. She bought a bar of chocolate for Granny. She, however, refused. The old lady slowly moved Leela’s hands away and asked, “Leela, do you know the secret of life?”

Leela gave her a blank look, confirming that this was the right time. And for the next hour, she told Leela everything that had served her purpose in coming. She went on to describe the birth of babies, the transformation of a young girl into a responsible woman, the transformation into an old woman, and her final destination. She discussed the cycle of life and why people must die. She went on to explain why pain occurs and what remains after death so that when Leelas’ turn came, she wouldn’t be surprised by the pain. As a 12-year-old, she couldn’t understand much of what Granny said, but she got it in bits. She realized that people die and go to another world, just like this is one world she is living in. And she realized that we’d all end up in the second world at some point. But how had grandmother returned, Leela, wondered? She was about to ask her grandmother this question when she heard, “Leelaaaaa, I need you to get up quickly because I need to meet your father.”

Leela became aware that she had returned home and that she had yet to inform her mother that her grandmother had returned. What a pleasure it would be for her to hear that. She stood up and said, “Granny, please wait; I’ll inform Mother that you have returned.” Then you two can make laddoos for me,” Leela said as she ran as fast as she could. Today, her joy knew no bounds. It appeared as if she held the entire world in her hands.

Leela exclaimed, “Ouch! Mother, what are you doing here? I came to tell you that your grandmother has returned and that you should meet her. Let’s go,” Leela said. “Is Granny back? Leela, what are you saying? How long have you been asleep? Don’t you realize it’s visiting hours and I need to go to the hospital? Your father is probably waiting for you. I’m already late because you didn’t get up. Get ready, we’re leaving soon.” And, surprised, Leela jumped out of bed. “How, how is this even possible?” And then it all came back to Leela. Grandmother had been here, in her room, looking at Leelas’ childhood pictures, and just few minutes back, Leela was running like the wind, like the wild clouds.

But, alas! It had all been a dream. She finally understood what granny was saying. Granny had never arrived; it had been her soul. She recalled what Granny meant when she said, “What remains after the bodies die?” It is the soul, the soul that survives death.” She now understood why Granny had appeared in her dream, and she still held her hand, not breaking her promise. Her soul would not leave Leela alone.

“If it’s the connection of heart and love, the grandmother is still present, somewhere. If not in front of my eyes, but at least in the place where my eyes can’t see. I can feel her, her soft hands,” Leela told herself, and that was enough for her to live her life with content.

But imagine, what if the world above had visiting hours too? (:

There will be days….

Life will never be perfect, but you know what? You’d appreciate the mistakes in your life even more because you’d have so many to look back on. You will remember not only the sad memories but also the happy memories. There will be days when you’ll bleed, shatter, and cut. You’d choke yourself to death, cry, and then be sorry. Then there will be days when you’ll be driving down a nearly empty road, singing along with a song you’ve never heard before. You might think you’re alone, but when you turn around, you’ll see your half-crazy friends, with that crazy hairdo, fighting for the last slice of pizza in the backseat.

At 80 miles per hour, your car will fly and the wind will mess up your hair, but you won’t mind because no one will judge you or label you as strange. There would only be those three people who would accept you as you are. Cheers to this friendship for ten years and counting, they will say as they cling the glass together. They’ll be your family, and they’ll remind you of the days of love letters. They will bring back memories of late-night Maggi, never-ending pyjama parties, pani puri competitions, and sweet fights on the bill. Then you’ll turn and look ahead, content in your heart because you’re not alone. You wouldn’t care about the past because nothing lasts forever.

You’ll look up at the sky and see the stars, you’ll look at the lights and feel the radiance, and you’ll wonder how you ever missed the beauty of being alive. You’ll yell and laugh at the names of your crushes, and you’ll discuss your pranks with your friends.

These hundred good memories will help you forget your mother’s harsh words and the stress of being a burden on your family because you’ll know where you stand and how important you are.

You’ll have the house of your dreams someday, and it’ll be surrounded by 12 cats. You would sleep at 4 in the morning and there won’t be anyone to wake you up at 7. You’d enjoy the self-made morning coffee and no-bath days. However, you will still not have a good grasp on your life. The pieces would still be missing, and you would be unwilling to acquire them as a whole. And you’d still love yourself because you’d be strong enough to live life on your terms and pursue your dreams, regardless of what society says.

You will fall in love, and it won’t be like anything before. You won’t care about changing your appearance, you won’t stop wearing those half-torn jeans, and you won’t cry over a zit on your face. Because the man you love will see your strength and courage beyond your flaws. He will adore you for those beautiful curves you despise and the table manners you forget to follow. He’ll admire how you flip your hair and let it fall in front of your eyes. He will love you exactly as you are.

There will be days when you won’t want to get out of bed, and all you would want to do is curl up in your blanket and stare out the window at the pouring rain. You’d see the raindrops and realize that everything comes to an end, and then you’d think about life and feel sad, but then you’d call your girlfriends and vent.

Someday, you won’t have to count your money, and you’ll probably spend it on those pricey Louis Vuitton handbags and that floral dress you’ve always wanted. You’d try on 50 new clothes from your favourite clothing store, making your girlfriends wait in the changing room and almost certainly irritating them to no end. But they’d still love you.

You’d visit new places and meet new people and you’d travel everywhere possible, whichever way possible. You will touch the sky and you will touch the water, and you won’t remain stuck in an insignificant town because darling, there are footprints on the moon and blue is not the only limit to your dreams and living.

Don’t stop and fly high because birds are meant to be free…..

Happily never after….

Once upon a time….No, wait! My story does not begin in this manner. Have you heard of the phrase “happily ever after”? It is now time to read the other side of the story, i.e. ‘happily never after.’

Stories, you see, are extremely important in life. The reason is straightforward. Great stories make people feel something, and those feelings create strong bonds between the readers and the characters in the stories.

For today, I’ll just talk about two great love stories that never got completed.

Not all love stories last forever. But the ones that do, remain as examples for all lovers generation after generation. These stories renew and strengthen our love’s respect and faith in us. From Romeo and Juliet to modern Ram Leela, we’ve noticed a tragic ending to the stories because their love was never completed.

They did, however, show that true love is more powerful than anything else in the world. This is the kind of love that we all hope to find someday, but with a happier ending.

Beginning with the well-known story of Anarkali and Salim– according to legend, Salim, the son of the great Mughal emperor Akbar, fell in love with Anarkali, a beautiful girl known for her dancing abilities. Salim was captivated by her beauty and fell in love the moment he laid eyes on her. However, Anarkali, as a mere dancing girl, was considered low-born, and any relationship with them was frowned upon and strictly prohibited by society.

But love has no bounds. When the emperor learned that his son was in love with a commoner, he devised a slew of schemes to make Anarkali look bad in the prince’s eyes. When Salim learned of this, he declared war on his father and, after being defeated, was sentenced to death. This is when Anarkali steps in and renounces her love for him to save Salim.

She is then entombed alive in a brick wall right in front of Salim, bringing an end to their lovely love story. Even today, because their love was so exemplary, these two lovers are remembered and admired by lovers all over the world.

The second example is Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s love story. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had met Mumtaz Mahal at his royal complex’s marketplace. For the two, it was love at first sight, and he quickly made her his third wife. According to the records in Shah Jahan’s Iqbal Namah, the relationship with his other wives was merely a marriage status. But the intimacy, deep affection, attention, and favour he felt for Mumtaz far outweighed his feelings for his other wives.

Mumtaz accompanied Shah Jahan throughout India as his companion and trusted advisor. But she died during the birth of her 14th child, leaving the Maharaja devastated. The Taj Mahal was then built as an everlasting memorial for Shah Jahan’s love- Mumtaz. Besides, to ensure that no other living structure would ever rival the beauty of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan severed the artists’ hands, ensuring that nothing as beautiful would ever be built.

The love story that inspired the Taj Mahal is legendary and the epitome of love. This massive monument took 20,000 workers to build and took 22 years to complete. This magnificent structure is made of clean white marble and is set among lush gardens, complete with a massive reflecting pool that regularly does what no human has ever been able to do: duplicate the beauty of the Taj Mahal. This structure is still on display in Agra. Every year, 3 million tourists visit this eternal testament.

So, both of these stories ended on a tragic note, and perhaps these stories touched many people’s hearts and brought tears to their eyes. This is the tragedy’s defining feature.

What do you think would have happened if Anarkali had not died? Would she be allowed to live happily with Salim? No, because even if she lived, she would be denied the right to live with him due to her low caste. Because that ending wouldn’t be too emotional and intriguing, the story demanded a tragic ending to create a disturbing connection between the characters and the audience.

Similarly, the Taj Mahal would not have been built if Mumtaz had not died. And if it wasn’t built, ordinary love stories wouldn’t look so good, and we wouldn’t remember their love. As a result, the tragedy occurred. And so is tragedy required.

Tragedy purges some of our deepest feelings that have been dormant for a long time. After all, we all have memories of painful experiences that have left an emotional imprint on us. As a result, these stories strike a chord with our sadness. Hearing and feeling these stories is similar to taking an emotional shower. These stories are great because of love. Above all, the tragic ending is what makes these stories so powerful and memorable. These endings demonstrate that the story ends but not the love, which is the underlying message of tragic stories. Also, tragic endings are preferred because they are more realistic and subconsciously touch a part of the reader’s heart that he or she would otherwise ignore. If no character dies, it becomes obvious that the ending will be happy no matter what.

Since the storyline is always the same, the hero meets the heroine and they both fall in love. Also, as in any love story, there is a villain who causes the problem, but in the end, love triumphs over hate, the villain dies, and the hero and heroine live happily ever after.

But, unlike happy endings, tragedy deconstructs the love utopia that the readers have woven around the protagonists, which is what makes the storyline brilliant. This is what elicits their sympathy and draws them into the story.

Thus, unlike all other forms of drama, tragedy ensures that the love of separated people transcends time. And therefore, we grieve, we remember and so we believe, that love exists, and it remains for a long time, even after death, by which I mean forever.

Mother-daughter </3

Everything still smelt like her. The tinted walls, the faded red dupatta, the broken bangles, the golden maang tika, the curtains in the kitchen, the saree that she last wore, and the beautiful lamps that hung above. Those lamps? She had specially bought them for Diwali, to spread light in the house. She had been so happy that day. She had decorated the house with diyas all over and her happiness knew no bounds that day. After all, she was this type of person. She had no idea what it meant to be sad. There was not a single day when she was seen crying. Yes, Pihus’ mother was the most incredible person on the planet.

Pihu had returned home after two years of studying abroad. She swore at herself. Her mother would occasionally call her, but she would ignore her. Even if she picked her calls up, all she showed her was how embarrassing she was to her. Pihu missed all this now. She wished she could go back in time and relive those moments.

Well, time is the biggest enemy of our life. It doesn’t come back for anyone. Dead do not come back to life for anyone. Who made these rules? And why? We all have relations in this world. And it hurts to let go of these relations. Then why do our beloved ones die?

Death, people say, is unavoidable. And rather than crying about it, we should accept it; after all, it is the way of life. Is that true? What exactly is the way of life? That we are to be sent by God to this planet to do work, to form relationships in the process, and then to leave the world and let go of those relationships that we so dearly once formed? People say that we must all leave this life one day. Then why should we make love if we have to leave everything behind? Why should we devote ourselves to worldly pleasures?

The house, which had once been filled with light and people, was now deserted. Nothing remained in the house after her mother’s death.

You know when death takes away your mother, it takes that word along with it. No one can take her place. No other relationship can ever replace the mother-daughter bond.

There were no lights in the house but there was the shine in her eyes when Pihu had said mom for the first time. There were no wall frames, only the broken windows her mother had once hung. There was no colour, but Pihu couldn’t take her gaze away from the pack of bindis. There was no sound from the television, but the sound of her joy when Pihu won first place in the swimming competition echoed in her ears. And at that moment Pihu realized, she had a lot of memories to look back to. But she didn’t dare to pick up her mother’s last relics.

God’s rules for the human race are insufficiently convincing. Why do we cry when we enter this world and why do we cry when we leave? Why do we have the strength to fight for life but not for death? I suppose it’s incredible that birth is conquerable but death is invincible.

All Pihu could do was look at her darling mother’s house for the last time, the house where she took her last breath, the house where she wished Pihu would return to see her.

You see, people are always haunted by their memories of the past. There’s one thing I’ve discovered about past. You can never drink enough from the past to forget the people you’ve loved and lost.

It was not like Pihu didn’t care about her mother. She had missed her mother far too much. Her two years of not talking to her mother were her way of letting go of her resentment for pushing her away from herself. It had been difficult for Pihu to cope alone at first, but she had gradually begun to integrate into the American way of life. Though there was no match to her moms’ rajma chawal, yet she somehow got accustomed to salmon and steaks, and eventually, she got busy with her life.

The silence in the house killed Pihu. The sight of the house disgusted her more than anything else. She could not live there, she decided, and with that, she moved out of the house.

Regret. The most useless form of guilt. It always arrives too late to do any good. This feeling is one of the biggest built-up faults in humans.

 I think when it is all over; everything comes back in flashes again. It’s like a kaleidoscope of memories, the reflections of which produce varying emotions visible through the brain’s eye.

And it is then that we feel the pain because we are brought back to reality.

“You will miss me when I am gone and you will certainly discover it someday,” Pihus’ mom had told her. Today was that day. Pihu had finally discovered the truth to the story her mom always told her. She had finally learned that home is not home without mom :’)

New found love

She turned back, just to have a last glance at him, for she knew she won’t be having any for a long time. With tears in her eyes, she turned away, only to look at her newfound love as she called it. “Don’t turn back ever,” somebody had told her. She didn’t mean to follow, but for whom would she turn? There was nothing left for her. If she wanted to stay happy, she had to leave and move on.

“Please just leave me,” he had told her. His words echoed in her ears every time she would think of him. She swept them away the very next moment. She wasn’t going to think negatively now. She was going to make a new beginning.

Making a new start was not going to be that easy for her. Developing intimate connections with people was not her thing. Love was not her thing. Nobody ever had the strength to grow flowers in her garden or even incite a steady thump in her disentranced heart. But he? He was different. He could destroy her now with a single moment of eye contact or the accidental brush of a hand before she would even realize. Nobody could make her feel the way he did. Nobody could replace him ever, or so she thought.

For long, she kept walking, until finally, she reached her destination. She stood there for long, transfixed. This was not what she wanted, but she had no choice. All she had asked was for some love. She had wanted to know why he left. She had waited for long, turned over all the possibilities that she could think of, yet none of them made any sense. She wanted to scream and ask him why would he make her, both, love and hate him so much at the same time?

Remembering all those five years was the least she wanted to do at this moment. All those ‘I can’t live without you’, ‘I love you’, ‘I will be with you forever’, was long gone. Those tight hugs, gentle strokes, holding hands meant nothing. Perhaps this was the reason why he left. Maybe he never loved her. Because if he loved her why did he leave her?

With this thought, she finally took a step ahead and jumped off the cliff. She didn’t know how it would end, she didn’t know what destiny had in store for her. She had stopped believing in destiny long back. All she knew was today was the first and last time she was going to listen to her heart ever. After that, there won’t be one.

She was not concerned about the consequences that would come with it. But was it meant to end this way?

She did what she thought was right, but God had made her for a different reason. She couldn’t be free of her soul so fast.

Waves crashed over her, drowning her. She made no effort, she kicked no legs. She didn’t want to live and she had decided that. She was firm, or rather stubborn. Her grandmother always told her that. But now nothing mattered. Those words, those memories, all evaporated with that jump. She closed her eyes, only to be taken away by the waves.

In the twenty-ninth second of being closer to death, a hand reached out for her and pulled her out of the water, and saved her life. Therein she knew why she was made. Destiny had proven itself.

“I am going to put myself to love again, for a bit longer than usual. Call the time eternity.” She told him. He was her newfound love ♥