Saturday, November 9, 2013

Under the Stars

It is a strange day. I am supposed to be happy, but I am not. All I think of is the imperfection of my life, how chaotic it is and how things don’t go the way I want them to. I decide to walk. One of the self-help books I had read long ago recommends walking as a sure way of alleviating anxiety and sadness. The walk takes me through a canopy of dense green trees. As I walk on the path strewn with bright leaves and pretty red flowers, I stop and take a deep breath. I stop worrying and then start again. I feel guilty of not worrying at times and pretending that life is good. I keep walking on, my head hung down, gazing steadily at the road. A few minutes of walking brings me to the end of the road which opens up on a beach. The sun is about to set. Twilight is the time when old memories pop up, the mind is restless with uncertainties and fears, and one dislikes being alone to face them.

I sit on the beach, my toes wriggling in the still-warm sand. It is very reassuring. I take a deep breath again. The smell of the sea captivates me and the sound of tides crashing on the shore calms my sore nerves. There is no one around.  I decide to take a break from my routine of worry and soak in the moment.  Soon the sun sets, giving way to a thick blanket of stars. I lie on my back and look up at the starry sky.  It is a beautiful symphony on the pitch black background.  I gaze at them and feel the earth slipping off. The stars beckon with their music and glory, and I am drawn toward them. As I stare into the night, I find myself relaxing. My mind is surprisingly thoughtless and I like the tranquility in my head. The Universe unfolds before my eyes and I feel silly about all the things I fret over. I smile. I came here with a trembling heart, worrying about how messed up my life was. And yet, as I sit under the stars, gazing at their infinity, I am amazed at how I am no longer worried. Every nagging thought, every anxiety is miles away. At this moment, I feel blessed. I want it to last forever.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


She remembered Appibai. Every summer when Abha visited her grandmother, she also visited Appibai, the hunch-back old lady who lived next door. She was cocky and foul-mouthed, but there was a huge mango tree in her backyard. She piled Abha with the mangoes every time she went there; and that was all that mattered.

Appibai had two sons and seven daughters. All had moved out for work and settled with their families. Abha had never seen them around the house. Appibai's spiteful tongue had a role to play, or so her grandmother would say. This made Abha wary of the old lady. She never spoke when Appibai was around. She would silently eat the mangoes, praying that Appibai would not notice the mess she was creating. After eating the mangoes, she would wash her hands and arms at the well and walk home.

"It was a long time ago, I must have been all of five then.", thought Abha. She stared at the note accompanying the box of mangoes on her dining table. Every year she would receive a box full as was bequeathed to her. "Did Granny send mangoes Mama?", squealed her 5-year old daughter in delight. "Yes love", said Abha, as she wiped her tears.