The tides

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She’s sitting there lost in thoughts, the milk she had left to boil is spilling over, and the food she had wanted to eat is untouched just like all the meals before. The silent tears she wipes have no cries and no echos.The doorbell rings and she’s conscious of her state, hurriedly she cleans up the mess that’s outside, as if that could miraculously change her mind. She reminds herself that she, Samunder has to be strong for Chandini her sister is at the door.

Chandini’s face lights up as she opens up the door. Looking at her is like facing the mirror, they would look identical to any passing stranger, but only Samunder knew that she was the older one with a difference of 3 whole minutes.” Is Jeejju home?” she first asks, hugging her like a mother would hug a child, breathing an ounce of life into her. Samunder weeps with gratitude just for this. They clasp hands like they have never been apart .she walks into the bright and yet so cold house. Chandini eye glance around the entire house with a familiarity that wasn’t necessary. “Oh, you brought a new lounge chair! “She exclaimed .Samunder looks at her, smiles and says” yes its quite old now, we brought it last year because Puneet said a lounge chair was a must need for an architect “.

There are so many things unsaid in that one statement, Chandini realises.” Time has definitely made her weary, but does she know?” she wonders. Hoping that some secrets remain secrets like never before. She sits on the one particular lounge chair, just as if she would mark her territory while Samunder disengages her hands and moves to the corner of the room, where that kaleidoscope lamp they made a few decades ago still shines. Are memories like these always going to haunt her? Will she ever break this power play and make something on her own? She thinks silently, her face masking all these thought with a silent smile. “Tell me everything? “ Samunder says…” how is life in Spain? Have you found your Antonio yet? “

Chandini laughs and says” I will tell you everything tonight, but first let’s make a coffee” .she wanders to the kitchen making herself at home.” there is so much I have to tell you” Chandini remarks superficially with a laugh to make it all like the old times. Samunder understands this and says “ of course you have been gone away for a long time and Skype calls never make the conversation like eye contact does “ . Chandini turns her head and starts measuring the coffee powder, small talking her way through about amma and appa .they sit together with the coffee, feeling like strangers in a room with this eerie silence admits the small talk weighing down on them, just like the shadows in this bright room. “how is that we always have so much to say to each other when we are away but words fail us when we are together?” Samunder asks. “I don’t know, it is strange to know that you know everything and yet you want me to say it out loud “Chandini replies with a stoic seriousness that is very uncharacteristically of her while looking at Samunder dead in the eye.

The hurt that fills her mind is unbearable, “she’s not even repent full, she thinks, have they taken me for granted on that level? have I become such a push over? “She angrily swipes at the tear that had the audacity to betray her, as if the people around her haven’t betrayed enough. “He sure does enjoy the dynamics between us .ripping us apart while keeping us together “she says and falls silent…along with everything else in the room.

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The jasmine garland

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The water here reflects ones thoughts they say.. It make a gurgling sound that syncs along with the ringing of the cow bells. Her worn out anklets make some strange music of their own. She sits there ,her feat in the cool stream , looking at the reflection of the trees that the morning sun has brought .Lost in the dreams of childhood all the while idly stringing the jasmine flowers together. The breeze here is rustling the paddy that is soon to be harvested. There is an anticipation that is building up, like the wait for the storm to come, but Anupa seems oblivious, because for her this wait has been too long. She remembers the times when she would swing and dunk into the stream on hot sticky summers with her friends and sister. Her sigh is almost a whisper in the cocoon of her thoughts and trees.
She mentally lists the chores that are yet to be done.

The sun is peaking at the horizon; her mother would have finished her rituals around the courtyard tulsi this morning and would be on her way to the Devi temple on the hillock. She should have been with her today, but akka’s favourite attic hadn’t been cleaned yet .Akka, she would be full of stories from her travels everywhere. Akshaya Akka had always been so excited about those cities she would go to, ever since the days they used to go to school with Sarita and Mangala. She always was the smartest and the funniest. They would hide in the attic, secretly light the lamp so that amma wouldn’t wake up .Then they would dress each other up in the old sarees of their grandmother that were folded and stored .The attic was full of trinkets that have been thrown away. Her favourite was the three legged stool around which she and Akshaya would sit and laugh at all those silly love letters Sridhar would write to her. While Akshaya chose to live her life vicariously through all those fancy books Appa used to get her from the city, Anupa lived her life through the eyes of her Akka. Was she ever envious of her sister? There were times she wished she was more like her, but like amma would say, she was daughter of her father while Akshaya was the son.

The thunderous roar of the bullet that her father drives nearing the stream brings her back from her wandering memories. She runs to her father and hands him the jasmine garland that she was stringing together all the while, “is Akka here yet?” she questions barely able to contain her excitement “no Anupa”…. “is your mother back home? “Her father asks with the annoyed expression he always gives her whenever she asks about Akshaya .His patient tone would disconcert her, appa and amma sometimes treated her like she were crazy .

“I don’t know appa ,she was supposed to be back in half an hour” Anupa says ,a frown forming between her brows ,her brown eyes slightly crestfallen .She wished Akshaya was here already…she had so much to talk and a short weekend trip would never be enough. Her footsteps take her home and she doesn’t know how she got here. Her lapses in this memory no longer disturbed her. She had made peace with it; at least she remembered the important parts of her life. She opens the door and walks into the room which she once shared with her sister. She scans the house in search for her mother; amma sits in the puja room, silently weeping as always. The jasmine flowers she stringed together are on the one photograph that she doesn’t look at anymore. Her mother puts a kumkum on her forehead and weeps,” look Anupa look!…it’s been a year since she’s gone! Gone never to return.”

Uselessness.

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The walls staring down upon me ,
With the seamless gaps that pass me by,
reading the unfinished circles around,
painting a vision ,
with numbers down.

In a whirlpool that’s away,
listening to footsteps that echo in a crowd,
growing on the edge,
ready to tumble down
wishing for the dripping hail never to fall,
Easier to walk on water than,
to swim against the crowd,
For seeing the stars is always associated with the churning storm.

Stirring up the foundation of the unknown ,
Dreaming to look for the clouds in a fog ,
I drift ,I look in seven directions,
But just this void is always enough .