Midnight Dilemmas

There was something about her on which I couldn’t really put a finger on that didn’t let me sleep for nights at length. It was the good times that we had spent together that came in rushing like a wind and brought down my wall that I had built with so much difficulty to keep her away.

No, it was not my fault. Yes, she was the one to free our knot of love and friendship. But yes, she still, to this day wrecks havoc in my mind.

There’s something about her that keeps bothering me. Making me relive all the times we lived together and all the conversations we had and the secrets we shared so I could find one place where I must’ve gone wrong.

But this empty, horrid void stares back at me with numbing nothingness, painted with her recent carefree smiles. I plunge again into the darkness hoping to find a way out of this mind-jail.

I go through every detail again, one by one by one.

Maybe it is the sound of my entire heart shattering to bits and pieces that prevents me from putting a finger on that something, or a simple yet foreign fact to my understanding that some people can burn you piece by piece and grow gardens out of those ashes and build their happy castles on where your grave lies.

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Letters to Love

Dear love,

Would you still remember my birthday like you remember that of your girl best friends’┬áif I didn’t take you out shopping just days before my birthday, with so many excuses?
Would you still remember our anniversary if I didn’t make my friend deliberately slip her tongue just a day before?
Would you still remember to visit my parents every time they come in our town if I stopped mentioning how much they adore you?
Would you still let me go out with my male friend if I didn’t keep reminding you of our distances time and again?

Would you still cook if I didn’t keep eating the terribly cooked food without a word?
Wouldn’t you come and kiss me goodnight in the middle of your match?
Wouldn’t you feel sorry for bursting out your anger on me for no apparent reason?
Wouldn’t you let me know if you are to spend the night out?
Wouldn’t you pick the pieces of shattered glass that broke while you hurried to leave for office?

Would the little things still matter like they did back when we were like two young birds in love? When nothing mattered more than the shells I picked while walking on the beach, or the imperfect yet perfectly crafted handmade cards you gave to me on my birthdays, or a soothing ice-cream after hours of our endless chatter.

“If you get closer to someone more than you should, you drift away more than you can bear”, they say. Is that what happened to us? Is it because we talked day and night and kept in mind all the minute details, that we now barely talk the random chatter and observe the least about each other? Or is it because we gave too much attention to each other while being teens that now we can’t really get our minds off our daily works? Tell me it’s not because we enjoyed our carefree days so much that we now stay serious most of the times!

Uncontrollable laughter has turned to made-up smiles, everyday walks have turned to monthly drives, happy, chirping meals have become long lost memories.
Seems like growing up got the better of us.

I wonder at times if you still notice that I got myself a different haircut, that I now fit perfectly into that once undersized black dress, that I changed the arrangement of our room. I wonder if you realize that we’re growing old and in a decade or two, all we’d be left with would be each other and this house. We don’t need money to fill this house with memories, we need time and moments to make memories.

So, I take this moment to say that I still love you with all the madness within me, that the smell of your cologne still sends chills down my spine, that my heart still skips a beat when I lay my eyes on your broad jawline, that I still feel butterflies flutter when I see your face after I wake up in the morning, that the crazy bike rides and the long silent walks are still afresh in my memories.

Tell me love, how did we grow apart? How did we not remind ourselves of the promise we did to each other that we’ll always be the same? How did we forget to appreciate the little things?
Tell me love, how did we come to this? How?

Love,
Aa

Equals

I open my eyes to the scattered sun rays entering my room through the giant windows. I get up lazily and look around and my gaze falls on the date marked on my calendar. “24th June” is encircled with a red marker. I suddenly recall that it’s Bhaiya’s birthday today!
I hurriedly get out of bed, take a bath, and get dressed.

I come out of my bedroom to find Maa and Papa chanting the morning prayers. Maa then puts a red mark on Bhaiya’s forehead. Bhaiya smiles back like he always has. I smile looking at his charming smile that never fades. After all, pictures never change, do they?

I still remember the war to which I lost my most prized possession – my Bhaiya. It has been 2 years since his death, and I still can’t believe that he’s no longer with us in person. Maa says that he’s with us in every smile, every laugh, every joy. He had always had this passion to protect his country from all the harm there could be. He always stood for having peace in the country. He wanted to spend his life defending the country that had given him so much to live for, so much to die for. He believed in peace, he believed in bringing people together with love.
I have grown up under the shade of his selfless love and maybe that is why I have come to see people beyond societal divisions. Thinking about Bhaiya unknowingly brings a smile on my face.

I go out for my afternoon walk, and when I roam around on the street, my smile fades away. I see people fighting with each other over issues that don’t matter so much. On one side of the street I see a girl being made fun of just because she is oversized, on the other I see a kid being looked down upon just because he cleans tables at a local restaurant. I hear about racism still clawing at the fabric of our society, about people fighting over lands that aren’t theirs, about religious disputes that take away so many innocent lives, and it just breaks my heart to know that the things Bhaiya fought for are the things that are no longer valued by the people he fought for. He defended the borders day and night from outsiders that intended to cause bloodshed; what he couldn’t realize was that it is the country’s own people who are poisoning rivers with each other’s blood, and are most responsible for conflicts just because they can’t make peace with the differences between people. His ideals, his values, even his existence has been forgotten by his very own people. Now he just exists as a picture of a smiling young man hung on the wall with a garland around it.

I sigh with disappointment and head back home. It is a camping night so I grab the necessities and drive with Maa Papa to our ancestral fields on the outskirts of town. It gives me some peace to drive away from this cluttered town for a while and chase shooting stars on a moonless night. Tonight, the stars are shining a little brighter than usual. It is Bhaiya’s birthday after all, how could he not make it special just because he cannot be physically present here?

I park the car in the fields while Maa cooks for us. The whiff that escapes from the kitchen’s window waters my mouth. I climb onto the hood of my car and lie on it, blank. I gaze at the beauty of the sky, so effortlessly magnificent. Its vastness makes me stare at it in awe. It has no starting, no ending, it just holds our little world in its womb. In that moment, I realize, that it doesn’t matter how many wars we wage against each other, or the number of boundaries we build to bring distance between countries, or the divisions in society we create to discriminate against those originally cut from the same cloth as us. It really doesn’t matter.

Why?

Because when the sun sets, and the world plunges into the pool of darkness, we all share the same blanket of a starry night sky that covers each one of us, equally.