Coffee or Tea?

httpswww.chowhound.comblog-media201608header2-bellahousewares.png
Source: httpswww.chowhound.comblog-media201608header2-bellahousewares.png

Disclaimer: Completely fictional.

“Did you pack your-”

“Yes, I did.”

“But you didn’t even let me complete my sentence!”

I sighed. “Fine, I’m sorry. What did you want me to pack?” I asked.

“Never mind. You know all anyway.”

“Mom!”

She left the room then. I rolled my eyes and sighed again.

A strange lack of emotion, a blankness engulfed me. My actions felt mechanical.

“Tea?” she called from the kitchen.

“Coffee?” I answered a question with a question.

“We are out of coffee.”

Silence.

I looked at the door of my bedroom. I hadn’t lived in the house for years. The room hadn’t changed much. It was still a sort of a shrine to me. The perfect daughter of the house – who never really was on her best behavior with her Mother.

I knew she would cry at the truth of her own statement. I knew I had to be her strength in these times. And yet, there I was, exhausted at the thought of having to keep it together, leaving, to get away. It had been a very trying month at home. I had not thought I would be coming back home to this but one can only accept the fate presented.

My Mother and I never had the “confidant” relationship. That was always my Father and me. I loved my Mom, certainly. Her pain was my pain; if she had something to say, I’d always listen. I was always proud of her, like she was of me. But I was more like my Dad. Even though practicality and strength were my forte, two main attributes I could ascribe to my Father and Mother, respectively, the practicality came across strongly and stole the limelight.

I walked into the kitchen to see her strain the tea. I could see the fresh batch of tears glistening on her cheek. I shut my eyes momentarily, overcame the strong urge to cry myself and said, “I’ll speak to Uncle and make all the arrangements to get you to America for a while. I think that will make for a good change.”

“No.”

“What?”

“No!”

“Mom, please.”

“No. You have just begun working and me coming there will add to your expenses and come in your way. It won’t help both of us.”

“I can’t leave you here, alone.”

“I’ll stay at your Grandmother’s and I’ll be fine. I need company. I need the kids. You’ll continue being a ghost and me, more of a burden than I already am.”

“Mom, will you stop it? I never said anything like that! I don’t know why you keep calling yourself a burden!”

“This is the only world I know and you know how I fear change. America will be way too daunting for me. You know that! Why do you want to subject me to it without..without..”

And she began crying again.

“You know it is difficult for me, too,” I whispered. “I need you to get over everything, the same way I know you need me.”

“And to stay apart is the right way to do that, my dear.”

I was always like my Father. I had never seen strength overpower practicality. But I knew those words required a lot more strength than sense.

We looked at each other. Two sets of chocolate brown eyes staring into the depths of each other. And I felt a lot like my Mother suddenly.

“He loved the perfect combination of bitter and sweet – his coffee, you know? Piping hot,” she said and smiled.

“I like it just bitter.”

“Yeah, well, you were never sweet,” she said and chuckled.

“Mom!” I said and rolled my eyes.

She took her cup of tea and left the kitchen to sit in the living room. The television formed a slight murmur, dimming the ticking clock. Time had passed, as it always does.

My eyes scanned the platform. I picked up another cup and poured tea into it. I took my cup and went to join her.

There were always two coffee drinkers at home. There always remained two coffee drinkers, even after I left home. Perhaps no coffee was the moment of truth, of acceptance. Perhaps, that is the beginning of change, of moving on. Her way of bidding a Bittersweet goodbye. My way of helping her through it.

                                                                                                     Dhwani Hariharan

P.S. Yes, two days in a row! Wow, I do miss writing! Happy brewing, happy reading! 🙂

Advertisements

The Black Screen

httpsresources.matcha-jp.comarchive_filesjp201502p1312204.jpg
Source: httpsresources.matcha-jp.comarchive_filesjp201502p1312204.jpg 

Disclaimer: Completely fictional. Not intended to hurt anyone. Inspired from “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova.

The silence that greeted her at 6AM every morning was the one she had always loved. The morning birds chirping, the ocean that hit the shore and cascaded away, all became prominent in the calm silence. True, this was always evident during the late night walks along the beach, but her attention then used to be directed toward the hand that held hers, with all else becoming the romantic music, embellishing the regular to fantasy.

Today, she sat there, in front of the glass wall, beyond which lay the silent ocean. She had her laptop perched atop the desk, with a blank document open, waiting for her to type out the beauty she saw. She looked at the screen, then looked up. Someone walking down the stairs caused her to look around. She saw this beautiful man walk up to her and say, “Good morning, darling.” He gave a small peck and checked the screen. His small smile turned forlorn and he sighed, deeply.

“Why do you like the beach?”

“Why shouldn’t I?”

“What if you get sand in your device?”

“Hahaha!” she couldn’t help but laugh at his innocent, child-like remark.

“I’m serious, Zoya.”

“Alright, I shall take you seriously. I don’t know why but water has always been an inspiring source, I suppose.”

“Why not use a book? And a pen?”

“Have you seen my handwriting? Even I wouldn’t be able to understand what I write!”

“Oh, come on!”

“Everyone is allowed hypocrisies, so stop judging!”

“What do you want to write about today?”

“How about I write a chapter on you?”

“And have me published, with all my flaws? No thanks.”

“I love your flaws. I love you for your imperfections. They make me feel secure. I could use them as leverage later when I  grow old to be fat and ugly,  you know.”

“I will stand by you, come what may, Zoya. I promise.”

The promise echoed in his own head, years later today, as he looked at her, her “device” propped in front of her, the beach she so adored with the waves crashing at the shore, just beyond the glass wall.

She looked at the man. She felt oddly secure and yet didn’t really feel much. She didn’t have anything to say to him and even if she did, she didn’t know how. Just like she didn’t know what to fill the blank document with.

“I think I have writer’s block. It hasn’t lifted in days now!” she complained.

They were at the new beach house they had bought for her to get away from the hustle-bustle of the city during the summers, to write. Her next deadline was approaching and she hadn’t written much. The publishers weren’t threatening to drop her yet but she was still becoming anxious.

Her favorite spot was the desk which was strategically placed in front of a huge glass wall. The ocean was right in front of her and the sound of the waves gave her the perfect background score to type out her thoughts. On some days, her husband would play the grand piano, adjacent to her. This never disturbed her. The music and lyrics always went hand-in-hand. This was one of the ways she sprouted symphonies – many of which were published.

“How do you want me to console you this time?” he asked.

“Well, remind me that I do know how to write, considering I feel as though this is my first attempt, my first book, all over again.”

She sat down and curled up against him. She felt a little sick.

“Hey, you are my favorite author in this whole world. You pulled Graham Greene out of the top spot and sat there with the very first sentence you spoke to me.”

“I want to write a book which will pass through generations, have people breathe in the paper to travel several worlds with a sniff and feel the touch of those they could never feel,” they chimed together.

“It was the most crazy and weird start to a small talk I had ever heard. You just had me then and with the book you are about to write, I know you will have me all over again.”

She looked up at him and smiled. She didn’t say anything. Neither did he. The laptop made a sound which caused them to look toward it.

“I’ll get the charger,” he said and left her side.

He shouldn’t have. It caused her to flinch and her smile faded into dread. She stood up and moved away from him when he returned to the room. He realized that something had gone wrong. He began to approach her but stopped in his tracks soon. He noticed the dread turn into fright.

“Hey, it’s okay. It’s just me. You were working on your laptop. It is about to die. I just brought you the charger. Or do you not want to work anymore?”

“I..I..uh..can..not,” she mumbled.

“Well, that’s okay. You can go upstairs and rest then.”

“No. Write…I can’t,” she said.

He looked away then. He couldn’t look at her anymore. “I’ll send Vanessa. She’ll help you go upstairs and rest.” He walked away. He was finding it difficult to contain his tears.

“I won’t be the person you’ve always known. The person you’ve spent twenty-five years with. I won’t be the same. I won’t be able to speak, write, anything. I’m sorry..” she said to him one night.

She had been surprisingly strong since the diagnosis. She was more worried about his life, after her.

“Will you stop it? You are just fine! You are how you’ve always been. Please, stop it,” he begged her.

“All the things that made you fall in love with me will fade away. One morning, I’ll wake up and look at you, unable to recognize this face.”

Her strength and indifference to the painful words she was speaking scared him a little. He realized that she had accepted her fate and he hadn’t.

“Who knew it wasn’t writer’s block that kept the words away from me.”

She looked at the back of this beautiful man. She wanted to respond but she couldn’t. She didn’t know how.

“I’ll send Vanessa. She’ll help you go upstairs and rest,” she heard him say. He then walked away. She felt helpless. She had so much to say but she just didn’t know how. Her frustration streamed down her cheeks and she broke down completely. She couldn’t recognize this man. She didn’t know if she could trust him. Was he trying to help her? Who was he? A chapter in her life she couldn’t write? She just didn’t know anything.

“A book to remember?” he asked. “That’s a nice definition of a book one would remember, always.”

She was surprised that her random rant would be met by eager ears. She smiled at the beautiful stranger.

“Yes, even those who have a tendency to forget! Haha,” she said and they laughed.

The laptop beeped. The blank document visible for a moment. No words would ever be written by the same hands on that blank screen. It was almost as if it knew. It allowed the room to see it momentarily and then it went black.

Dhwani Hariharan

P.S. I know it has been very long since I wrote something. So here goes…Happy brewing, happy reading! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Time

whatsapp-image-2017-01-04-at-00-45-49
New Castle, NH, USA – Jan 1, 2017

Time is all you need;
Time to become, time to be,
Time for you to find somebody.
Be the women you aspire to be.
Be the woman you want to be.
Even if based on a movie or series,
Be the woman, they dream to be.
Ambitious, are you not, think thee?
But you are! Even if based on else, somebody.
The sand isn’t the same,
The waves crashing on the shore aren’t the same.
Then how can you immutable be?
Time is all one needs.
Be happy, be content,
You have a long while to go,
The year has just begun, even it isn’t anybody.
Change your view to January.
Look! It’s going to be a handful of twelve months, baby!
Things will work out or go wrong.
You can’t blame it on nobody
Time could take the blame but
It asks you to take it in your stride.
Time has control over everything
Time is somebody.
Time is the main being.
But time who?
Who we created ?
Yes.
Were you asked before it was created?
No.
So are you somebody yet?
No.
Will you be?
Absolutely!
Work harder, expect less.
Then one day, you will have time in your hands.
Goals in sight.
Don’t be ruled by emotions.
Like the waves which crash and forget.
Let it out.
Out of your system.
Out
All your desperation,
All your weaknesses,
Your sadness,
Your worries..
Let it out and let the waves wash it all away.
Away
And take them all far away.
Away
And you’ll feel light again.
Let time and water do the work.
Be like water.
Even it isn’t bound to the shore!
So should you mustn’t be.
Be such a woman;
The one you aspire to be.
Calm yet?
Yes.
You won’t be soon. What will you do?
I’ll let time do it’s work.
I’ll do what time would do.
I’ll do what the waters do.
Take it in my stride.
Engulf it.
And swallow it all.
And let it be taken far away.
Like the waves do, crashing and retracting from the shore.
That’s how one should live their lives.
Why doesn’t one?
Be unbound.
Be time.
It passes.
It changes.
And so does the sea.

-DH

P.S. Letting it all go in the previous year.

Gone

Conversations in my head

the present
the present

I do not remember the last time I had a conversation I didn’t want to end. It has been too long. A person for whom a good conversation is the perfect food for thought, a person who craves it to the maximum, I am yet to have an invigorating one in Boston. Sad. I have friends but none to speak with. Frustration has ensued. I am having conversations with myself. Maybe I will revert to being the introverted kid who had imaginary friends. Maybe I should think of imaginary people who challenge me in thought, in words, who want me to think, who make me think, who ask for my opinion on things, whose perspective I could change, who themselves could provide me with the “Aha!” moment. Sigh. Double sigh. Triple sigh.
Sitting here, now, at this coffee shop, I am trying to have a one-sided conversation with my computer screen. My actual expression suppressed, my animated gestures oppressed. Suffocating? Well, it shouldn’t be. I am writing. It is a mode of expression. Perhaps I am worse than I thought, or perhaps my writer’s block is worse than I anticipated. If I am unable to express well even on a screen, then makes no sense to continue.
The problem, though, you see, is that it is all the more suffocating if communication with the screen stops. It is some outlet, after all, isn’t it.
It has all faded, unfortunately. It all just has. There were times I had a lot of time and also people to talk to. Say, my Dad. He is my replica in thoughts. I miss the conversations. They have always been fun. The topics would change from one to the other. Our talks, never ending. But now, I have reached the point where I have no time and if I do, I have no one to talk to. Finding solace in my talks to cabbies, but for how long will that last? For how long will I, who craves good conversation, be able to cope with this sinking feeling with just small talk?
Finding myself at a loss for words isn’t a new feeling anymore. I am getting accustomed to it lately. I haven’t had the opportunity to put them to use recently anyways.
No one gets it. Waiting for the one who could get me out of this. Anyone. One good conversation. One lasting conversation. A plethora of topics, words. One long talk which could go on forever. Can’t wait. Frustration mounting every day.
Patience, dear writer. You have made it this far, the road ends in a beautiful cul-de-sac soon. Contradictory, right? As much as I would like the end to come sooner, to find the one long conversation, I am just as scared that that won’t change into many new long conversations. But that is most unlikely. On the other hand, what if it does so for the other and not me? With all my quirks and wishes, I must admit, even that isn’t acceptable to me. Sigh. Double sigh. Sigh Sigh Sigh!
Nevertheless, puzzling though it is, how I have written today, I did write. The faded conversations shall come back. If not, new ones will emerge. Patience my dear conversationalist. Patience. Until then, the blank screen beckons you to have your conversations with it. Sitting in a coffee shop, listening to music and having what you want, in your head.

P.S. No words. Happy reverie 🙂

Faded

For the heart that melts like the chocolate it craves…

For your 2-day birthday!!!
For your 2-day birthday!!!

So it all began in the month of July (if I am not wrong) of 2007. It has been 9 years now.. That’s a long time! Oh I was terrible to you! I don’t know how you put up with me all these years!! I swear! You came into my class in VIII and I was the only one who had no partner to sit with. Yes, sad.. Well you did and you did so the whole year! Unflinchingly! I was terrible, introverted, intolerable, obnoxious and what not. Well I kept to myself and trust me when I say this, you are one of the first who brought me out of my shell. No one can believe my transformation and I owe it to you, big time!

Everything that we have been through, together, I can’t even begin to encompass it all in this tiny post. It has been an era and will continue to be one! The long walks, the long talks, the studying Math and English together; the Orkut, the Hi5 and Facebook! You had messed up my gender while signing me up…remember??? The crushes, the heartbreaks, the quarrels at school (you know which one I am talking about) ;)… the foooood, the Handwa, the Esselworld trip!! Oh, the innumerable memories! The powercuts, the late nights (yours), waking up when you slept (Apoo’s and mine); the missing of school (ALWAYS you), the constant stomach and headaches!! The singing together, the choir, the music room, the farewell preparation! Teaching others to sing! haha…the bitching, the gossip, the enacting scenes! Oh I miss the 1730-1930 of standard X!!! Such good, studious girls we were!

It has been 9 years…how can I even attempt to sum up almost a decade into a tiny post? I could try, but I’ll surely fail..

Help me see the changes now… I don’t remember the last time you slept till 1100 in the morning, I don’t remember when you last took a leave from office..don’t know when we last took a walk together..simply call? Naah, so busy now that they have to be scheduled (receiving  your automated messages are always fun)! You are so tired and exhausted that you feel sleepy at 2100! You are so responsible now that you bought me a gift from your salary…waking up to eat your food (happened just once, don’t know when it’ll happen again..) I don’t remember when I sang with you, when I watched a movie with you, spoken my heart out to you (ok, I did this, but still!)..

We have come a long way, evolved together, grown up together..the two soul sisters, who weren’t so while sitting on the bench in VIII B, are now sitting miles apart, eager to see each other, one of them eager to wish the other “A very happy birthday”…another birthday I couldn’t be there…like many more to come…

But when I feel low, when I miss you and all you guys, I read your letters. I recall the last time I saw you all in person, hugged each one of you. I’ll never forget the “Bye Dhwani” at the airport. I’ll never forget how easily you get emotional and melt, how easily you express your feelings, at least to us. Even your silence is indicative of what’s happening, Daachu, you don’t know, but we do. You are emotional and yet the strongest, the warmest person I know. Selflessness comes naturally to you. What can I say to describe the person that you are? Anything I say won’t do complete justice, babe..

When I say I don’t do enough for you, I mean it, because I feel it. I have never made a paper collage for you just because you happened to mention that you like the sound of pages turning. I have never given you anything from my salary (hai nahi, that’s another story altogether), never made food for you, never said that you are more important than food to me, never complimented you as much as you compliment me..never let my tears flow as I write this..I’m a lot more vulnerable than you Daachu and will keep learning to be strong, get back up, brush the dirt off and keep moving forward, from you..

Yours is a life which is improving everyday and I am so happy, so proud of you! You are chic, sweet, and a force to be reckoned with! You remember “What’s your Rashee?”, you might not directly behave like the Libran they described, but that’s all you, but you are a lot more!

I actually could keep going on but I should close this now..Happiest Birthday to my sweetheart, my sister, my babe! It’s a 2-day birthday for your 22nd! You are forever 21, forever 18. I love you, miss you and am virtually hugging you right now!!!

Shitloads of Love,

Dhwan

 

That wonderful day!
That wonderful day!

P. S. This was originally meant for August…the month of Farewells…but alas, time (not exactly using it as an excuse) has been a thief of my expression (pardon the cheesy lingo). Happiest Birthday Darshana!!! Happy smiling! 🙂

Gone are the days…

Disclaimer: Mostly fictional.

“Mommy! Mommy! Can I have another?” asked the little girl, jumping around her Mother, at the Cafe. I caught myself staring at her. She reminded me of someone.

“Oh, sure, honey!” replied her Mother. The little girl wanted another sweet. Her Mother bought another one for her.

I smiled in their general direction. Generous, I thought. My Mother would never have relented so easily. Of course, that was always just a momentary no. If I ever needed something and was denied, she would put it under my pillow, if small, or under my bed, if big, that very same night. She always made sure that I was happy.

I looked down at my poached egg; my hunger had suddenly abandoned me. I had to think before I spent now. I was away, far away from home, where a tantrum would get me what I wanted.

The smile I had had on my face just seconds ago, vanished. All that remained was a ghost of a smile, if at all.

I left the Cafe without eating anything and rushed to College. Lectures dragged on the whole day. I had no time to think about anything else.

So there was a study tour coming up, and the girl sitting two rows ahead was very excited about it.

“Well, obviously, the true reason we are going on this trip is to see the place and have fun! Who cares what the “tour” has to offer! I’m all packed already but I might shop a little more! I’ll probably have to get another bag to stuff it all in! Too much work, don’t you think!?” she kept chatting, incessantly with her girlfriends.

I looked at them and looked back down at my tattered, used copy of the textbook. I can’t go for this trip. I can’t pay for it. I was already working two jobs to help me through School, a trip was an expense I could avoid.

I couldn’t travel in reality but I could travel down memory lane..

“We are going on a holiday, my dear!” said my Father, as soon as he came back home from work that day.

“Yes!!! When, daddy, when!?” I shrieked, running to him and hugging him.

“Next week sounds good, right? Is your schedule all clear my busy little daughter??” he asked me.

“Let me check my Diary, Daddy! Hehe” I giggled, pretending to check an imaginary Diary. “Yes! I am available! Let’s go!!”

That had been a happy day, I thought, coming out of my reverie. I too had been in a position of not bothering where the money came from. I too had been happy once, excited and looking forward to the next day. That just seemed like a long time ago. All that remained was a ghost of that excitement, of years ago.

After classes and the shift at the library, I walked back home. A home, away from home. My responsibilities and the cruel realities weighing me down, making it difficult to walk. The day had reminded me too much of my carefree childhood; reminded me too much about the stresses I face everyday; of my demons, lurking around the corner. When my friends tell me to be content in the small things and that this too shall pass, I agree with them. But it is easier said, you see. As a child, I would dream big. About things I would achieve, do. Places I would see. People I would meet. But I found myself walking home, alone, a home, away from home, thinking how only the next day mattered, at the most. There was just worry, exhaustion now. The dream had faded away, and all that remained was a Ghost of it, if at all.

P. S. I guess I put a little too much of my current state of mind into this protagonist.. I guess that is just separation anxiety talking. Happy mind-clearing! 🙂

Ghost

For my Egg!!!

DSC_1319 IMG_20160716_022319

 

 

 

What can I say, that I haven’t said before,
Every day I just love you more!
I can’t write better than you,
You who’d choose azure over blue!

Our bond, 8 years strong,
No part of it, ever felt wrong!
Even stronger since yesterday
Our mischiefs, never at bay!

The girl who can do it all,
Though difficult to get on call,
But when you do, all your lows
The crying, to hell it goes!

High on life is she,
Never deterred she be!
Whether good times or bad,
Exemplifies strength, this lad!

My Arian sister,
We joke, following her may give a blister!
But yours is the opinion that matters,
You are the leader, we’d follow for starters!

Halfway through this I am,
This is terrible, so terrible, damn!
But Apoorva, you’d be the one to say,
Don’t regret, keep at it every day!

My penguin she is, she is my egg,
She can take a stand, albeit not on the keg..
I’m going to miss miss misssss her,
“Stay back”, “come along”, our spirits whisper!

She has taken me at my worst,
Made up my days, which were cursed.
When elated I am though,
She puts me on seventh heaven, bro!

Honored I am to be your friend,
I take, not only your souvenir, but you till the end!
I hope I have been the friend you deserve till date,
I shall continue to improve, I promise you mate!

I really am bad at poetry, you see..
This is only my bestie’s forte be!
Haven’t read one of hers for long,
So I thought to write this, to move her along!

P. S. Just for you!!! Happy poem-ing! 🙂