The window

Window

The rain is pouring relentlessly. It is hard to drive. I stop the car close to a park to the right side of the narrow road and wait for the rain to subside. My eyes lazily roams the surroundings.There is  one small juniper tree with a twisted trunk and at the top it parts into two lateral, flat-lying branches with a little crest of green in the center. From there my eyes travel towards the wooden bench close to the tree. A lady in a lilac dress sits there in the rain. She does not mind either the rain or the cold. She sits with her hands clasped in front of her face, her two forefingers leaning against each other. “ What is she doing in the rain? She must be out of her mind! I open the car door and walk speedily with a huge umbrella and a small blue towel. I stop close to the wet wooden bench leaning the umbrella to protect her from the rain.

She lifts her heart-shaped face. Her anxious and agonized brown eyes move slowly from one to the other of their group with just the shade of questioning expressions.Through my penetrating eyes, I notice her small hands; are nervous hands that move constantly with little jerky openings and closings. Then her hands clenched tightly on her sides. Sorrow lay heavily upon her. She tries to leap forward but decides to stand quietly.   

“Hi, I am passing by and see you here in the rain without an umbrella. Would you like me to drop you somewhere?” I ask her  as I hand her a small towel.

There are days when words run away and hide and wriggle off somewhere else to be another thing. She wipes the rain water from her face, squeezes the rain water from her brown hair,but does not answer my question.

“ I am a stranger but I want to help you. Please come to my car and I will drop you wherever you want to go.” I say with deep concern.

There is a long pause.She hesitates but then decides to follow me without answering my question. In my mind the imagination takes wings. ‘ She is a very thin and frail young girl. There are faint red marks on her one side of the arm and face, as if mistreated or runaway from home. But why? She should be in school. Where are her parents?’We arrange ourselves in my car. She sits on the passenger side haunching over with her elbows propped on the side of the car door.Her chin raised staring out into the dark grey clouds. I am not a psychic reader but there is something in her eyes that speaks a fearful story. ‘ Is she in trouble?’ If she is then I will try my best to help her.’ I turn my gaze back towards the road.

The young girl settles her gaze on the stranger and feels a slight confident. She sighs and leans her wet body against the car seat.Her back and limbs are sore and aching. Since daylight she has slaved, doing the work of a full grown woman; scrubbing the floor, washing the heavy utensils, cooking, making beds, vacuuming the carpets. Her dream of going to school, making new friends seem very unreal. She wants to fly away from this dungeon, She wants to be free. She wants to hold onto her dreams. A few drops of soft tears escape from beneath her eye-lids and spatter on her brown cheeks.She wipes the tears with the small blue towel. Outside the rain has stopped. At the horizon, the clouds have parted, the promise of a better life ahead.

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A precious Possession

Pride and Joy

It happens again just like the other days. Mithee pushes her curly black hair behind her ears and bends down to look at the stitches. The stitches have to be neat and accurate. Tomorrow they will be shipped as designer jeans to Canada and USA. That is what she heard from her boss. Satisfied with the outcome she lifts her head, stretches her small hands towards the ceiling, then to the back and straightens her aching back. As she gets up from her chair the supervisor comes. He adjusts his silver framed eye- glass, bends over to the long table and checks all  the fifty pairs of  jean pants lifting one after another. He stands straight and says in a gravely, “ You have done a good job and before you leave pick up your money from the clerk at the downstair office”. Mithee counts and carefully leaves the money inside her old, overly patched small hand bag.She pushes the heavy wooden door with all her strength and steps out.

Outside, evening shadows are falling; the sun is low in the west and the breeze is soft. A few birds squat on the side of the road pecking on scraps, while in the sky a dozen sail towards their nest. Mithee walks slowly her head slightly bend towards one shoulder, her small tired hands dangling down. She is almost ten but the workload is too heavy for her. But  her eyes are sharp, intelligent and full of hopes. As she walks on the long dirt road  full of wriggling vines, trees, the causal wheelbarrow faintly rotten towards her house, out of the trail of her eyes she notices the pretty purple and white flowers in one of the dense bushes to the side of the road. She stops. A chord of delight strikes inside her.This will be perfect gift to bring smile on her mother’s face.

Just before the crossing the last street to the house Mithee stops. The beautiful sound of the violin from the radio that floats out from the stores and scatters in the air outside. Mithee stands leaning against the wall of the store, closes her eyes. She puts an imaginary violin to her shoulder and softly caresses it with a phantom bows. Through her closed lips she makes a humming noise which she vaguely imagines resembles the sound of the violin.Suddenly the music stops. Mithee opens her eyes, moves away from the store. She feels the warm sap of emotion being pumped through her body.  She smiles and continues her walk.

It is almost seven in the evening. Mithee walks into her small clay house. There is no door, instead just a long dark beige color torn cloth hangs there. She runs ,hugs her mother and presents her the beautiful flowers. A general air of happiness falls  and settles. Her mother raises her eyebrow in astonishment and touches the delicate petals of the flowers with her pale fingers in deep appreciation.“ Beautiful! Thank you. But where were you? It is so late!” Then  she  knows her daughter; her likes and dislikes. She smiles warmly and says “Go wash your hands and come to eat.”

Mithee remembers something. She turns back and gives the money to her mother. Her mother adjusts the candle. She counts, wipes her tears and hides the money in an envelope under the pile of clothes in one corner of the room.She does not want her little girl to work for money. After her husband’s death Mithee started to work to help her mother and two siblings. And her mother has high hope and determined that one day she will send Mithee to a school.

Evenings are always enjoyable for Mithee.She pulls out her small note pad and a pencil and settles herself on the floor. Her imaginations start to shuffle through her brain. She bends down and  starts writing; ‘The story of a princess’. Her creativity is her best prized possession.

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Dense Fog!

Singular Sensation   If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?

 “One moment she is here, and then she is gone again and each journey takes her a little farther from the reach”. – Debra Dean.

Amber startles and looks around with a mix of bewilderment, shock and wonder. She sits on a small wooden bench on the wet sand; the spilling waves are breaking down softly at her feet. A few sea gulls are scavenging on the sand, and one or two pelicans on the water. She held a black leather hand bag loosely in one hand, and a notebook lays spread on her lap. The scarcely perceptible wind flutters its pages at intervals. Her black dress is wet from knee down. Eyes float uncomfortably not knowing where to look. She pulls her fingers through her sticky hair. She tries to remember how she came there, why she is in the beach, and where she is supposed to go. A heavy suffocating blanket of reality began to sink in. She leans with her elbows on her knee and remains rapt in deep thought.  But everything seems so hazy and vague; it’s hard to remember anything. She opens her bag and grabs the phone and looks at all the contacts. And now she is in a dilemma on whom to call; everything seems so unfamiliar. She crosses her legs then uncrosses her legs. Her forehead is shaded with a heavy cloud; lips are sealed in an expression of unspeakable sadness and anxiety.

“Hello, is this Mason?” Amber takes a big gulp pf air as she could and held it ,then asks nervously.

Mason is surprised to hear Amber’s voice “Is everything alright? Are you done with your presentation? And where are you? Are you driving back? It is so late!” Mason’s heart is pounding at a frantic tempo.

Amber can feel the anxiety from the other end and the voice seems so familiar. She swallows and answers, “I am lost and I do not know how to answer all your questions. But, will you come and pick me up close to the beach.” She turns her head and looks around to get a name for a nearby building and she finds it. She says eagerly, “I am close to the hotel Galvez”.

“I will be there in fifteen minutes!” Mason sighs and takes a deep breath. He is glad to know that Amber is fine. He decides to take her to the doctor tomorrow.

Amber is almost sixty, and graceful woman. Her fine forehead slopes gently up to where her hair and burst into wave. Her hair is as pale as milkweed has gone from black to white, and the years of laughter and joy reflect through the crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes. She has been happily married; they have no harsh edges with each other, they ride through life like conjoined jelly fish, filling each other’s space. She enjoys every bit of her life a very active lifestyle; happy in the job, enjoys her kick boxing, Ripped, yoga classes, long walk in the trail. She loves doing puzzles, reading and writing. Amber arranges her thoughts into the most beautiful words, and tries her best to flavors her stories to perfection.

But things happen and sometimes without any reason. Amber has started to become forgetful; cellphone numbers, the lane where she parks the car, the keys to the house, important papers. Sometimes she would stand in the doorways trying to figure out where she is going. Sometimes she even forgets what she wants to say. There are days she is more confused than others. Other days she drives crazily; drives her car in the wrong lanes and runs red lights or stop signs.

Mason is very worried and consults with different doctors. The doctor has diagnosed the symptoms, as Alzheimer’s a progressive neurological disease, a common form of dementia.

One early morning in October, Amber notices the pink of the new day seeping through the lacey white curtain. Settling herself more luxuriously upon one of the dining chair she decides to spend the morning in writing. Inside the kitchen, the light reflects off the bits of chrome, sinking quietly into the granite countertops and floor. While she crunches on an apple from the basket on the table and pulls over her note pad and begins to scribble ideas for her short story. The hour passes. In the middle of writing, she stretches her arms above her head, to the back, looks away, stares at the ceilings, looks back at the page in the hope of being surprised by the brilliance of what is there. She held her chin between finger and thumb, tries to think hard, but then it does not matter, she is happy with her creation. She pushes her hairs behind her ears and turns her head towards the heavy footfalls in the hallway. Mason walks-in. “ Hi, do you want to take a break and join me on the patio for a hot cup of tea?” He knows how Amber loves to sit on the patio from where you can see her treasured rose plants, and the branches of the cherry trees hang heavy with pink and white blossoms, their petals drifting like a spring snow on to the yellow daffodils below. Amber smiles. Her pale face flushes.“Sure I will.”

Sometimes she would fall in love with me again just like she had a long time ago. And that is the most wonderful feeling in the whole world.”- Nicholas Sparks.

One Friday, as Mason walks into the house he notices Amber sitting in an old fashioned wing backed swing from this angle her face is obscured by a large sunhat. An album lays spread on her lap, she tries to visualize and the images are fuzzy, obscure, flow of things lost. Amber lifts her head. The expression of her face seems disturbed and anxious. Her lips are half open as if she means to speak, and then she draws a deep breath, her carefully tended eyebrows draw together. Smile spreads from her tightly pressed mouth, the laugh lines deepens and she says, “Hi. It is so nice to see you home early.” A big delicious smile spills over from Mason. A black cloud seems to hover over her and envelops everything. Unhappiness burrow into her soul like a winter wind whistling hollowly. Mason is determined to heal his wife, help her in this rough time. He sits close to his wife gently holding her hand. He says enthusiastically, “I want to chitchat with you, then we can go for a stroll, but first, we will look at the album together”. Mason opens up each page of the albums, and starts telling the stories on the different pictures. . They fail to penetrate Amber’s brain as if a bird collides with a window pane. It is like a puzzle and each piece held historic facts, personal memory. Amber tries her best to visualize the stories.

“Alzheimer’s is the cleverest thief, because she not only steals from you, but she steals the very thing you need to remember what’s been stolen.”
― Jarod Kintz

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  • I have a high hope for my blogs to touch other’s hearts and bring more social awareness which will be my greatest achievement.

Their Journey

Handwritten

Today my thoughts are wandering; trailing through unfamiliar places, picking up different incidents, new faces, and observing them carefully. I look around in my mind’s eye: it is like stepping onto a fair ground, everywhere life forces wanting to get out, people moving in all directions, expressing their fear, anger, sadness and hopelessness.  I am feeling myself enveloped in everything that they are going through. I pull out my blue note pad from the table to write.

“Mom! Please! Can I take my teddy, my story book and our puppy?’’ The three years old girl in a lilac dress with white ruffles stands close to her mom holding tightly to her yellow teddy bear and the story book in one hand and the leash of the small puppy in the other. She swipes her hairs from her forehead and lifts her eyes up towards her mother for an answer.

Her mother bends down and gently takes away the big teddy and the puppy from her daughter’s hand and says, “I am sorry Saben. We cannot take them with us. It is a very long road and the puppy will get tired but you can take your pretty purple rubber ball and one small pony with you.” Then her mother opens the lid of the toy box and pulls out a ball and a tiny pony with sparkles on all over its body and soft long yellow hair and hands them to Saben.“Keep these it your pocket and let’s hurry we need to leave.”

“Mom, can I go, say good bye to my friend and ask if she can keep our puppy until we return from our travel?” Asks Saben.

“No Saben. We don’t have time.”

Saben hugs her puppy and gently kisses on his furry head.Both the mother and daughter leave the house holding two bags just like the others from their town; young, old and infants. The battle ground shifts daily. First their houses were ransacked but they stayed.Then the Islamic state arrived and threatened and terrorized.They have to leave the attacks, the violence and move their family to safety. They walk through endless strings of villalges. People stand in the long line for three days to board a boat to head to the island of Lesbos. Saben is tired of standing in one place. She walks slowly; her head slightly bend towards one shoulder and both her hands dangling down. Saben leans closer to her mother and looks around. There are so many children like her; some are standing, some are sitting on the grass and playing with each other and most of the adults look very serious and grumpy. Saben wants to go back to her home and play with her puppy or share cookies with both her puppy and her best friend. She laces her fingers together in front of her and then taps her chin in one finger. She realizes that she has not seen her friend or her parents from last week. ‘Where are they?’ Seben whispers. It is almost night but they are still standing in the line. Saben doesn’t want to play any more with the littler pony.

Finally they step into the boat. There are so many people and it is hard to sit. Saben hears the crying of the infants and the sighs of the elders. She leans her head against her mom’s hand and closes her eyes. Another three days wait to take the ship to Athens. Saben does not understand this type of travel which does not involve any fun activity, but it is more like torture to sit or stand in one place. The early morning is full of sunlight and hope. Her mother opens a brown bag, pulls out a small plastic bag and hands over the last one cracker to Saben. Saben looks at her mom’s empty hand with surprise and asks, “Where’s yours? Are you not hungry? Saben breaks the cracker to half and hands one half to her mother and says “Dad used to say that sharing is always good.” Saben’s mother tries to smile and hugs her daughter. Her eyes are blank. Her voice comes out without the rise or fall, without emphasis and without any emotion.Then she bends to the other side and slowly wipes her tears with the back of her palm.

Saben eats slowly, steadily then stops not abruptly, yet with utter completeness; her jaws still in mid chewing a cracker and turn her eyes towards the shore. She smiles and murmurs, O’ yes this must be our destination. She turns back to her mother and says breathlessly, “Mom! Look, we are here and now we can stay here for some days then go back to our home.” She lifts her face and says, “Do you know mom that I am missing my puppy and my friends. My puppy must be tired of waiting for us and I hope the neighbors are taking good care of him. How many days we have to stay here, hope not too many days. Right mom?”

Saben brushes a cloud of hair out of her eyes and waits eagerly for an answer from her mother.

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Breaking the shackle

Breaking the Law

Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?

Amber enters through the glass door into the Four seasons hotel with her sleek black handbag in one hand and the laptop in the other hand. Her pigtail  swings like a cheerful jump-rope.She waves her hand to all the staffs with a big smile and walks into her office. Today is a very busy day for her as the oil and gas convention will start in a few days and  she has to stock and arrange the whole store for the International guests. Amber gently touches the petal pink peonies that spills out from the  corner vase like  a mist rising over wind-swept dunes. She walks around the store with her I-pad and takes note of all the merchandise.  She enjoys this beautiful store with decorated glass windows, white and grey marble floor, cherry wood shelves with all expensive gift items,  luxurious , earth friendly products of Gilchrist & Soames, Bliss skin care and aromatherapy products from’ Lather’ company, designer dresses, perfumes, bestseller fictions and non-fictions. Amber stretches her hand to one of the higher shelve and tries to rearrange the new books. Suddenly the door opens with a chime and Amber turns her head back towards the door to see a  man in medium height, a black mustache, with a Blue t-shirt, a jean pant, both hands in his pant pocket walks into the store.

‘Good morning’! says Amber with a smile to welcome the guest and, then remembers seeing him in the previous day in the hotel lobby.

”Good morning mam! May I look around”, he asks with a smile.

”Sure.Please and if you need any help then feel free to  let me to  know”, replies Amber then she  turns around to arrange the books. Something is not right, there is a kind of artificial, sad smile on the face of the guest which makes Amber pauses and turns her head to look at the gentle man. He stands near the stacks of magazines and just flips his fingers through the pages, but his face shows as if he is in a different world, in deep thought. Amber adjusts her eyeglass, walkssoftly towards the guest and, gently asks him if she can help him with anything. He glances up with wide eyes, then looks down, and slides the magazine back on the shelve. He opens his mouth to speak, then stares down at his hand, to the glass windows and towards the door. His forehead is shaded with a heavy cloud, lips are sealed in an expression of sadness. He clears his throat and moves closer to Amber. He asks” Are you from India?”

”Yes. Why? Are you?”

”Yes. I am, he says. Then he leans a little closer. His eyes begin to glisten. He tries to hide the tears, and looks around as if he  checks the surrounding.Then he asks, “Do you think you can help me out?”

Amber was surprised to hear that from a guest, in a five-star hotel  and clearly remembers the rules. But now she is more eager to know about this person. Amber ask the guest to follow her to her office,asks him to seat on a chair and closes the office door. She assures him that he can share his problem with confidence.She listens to his story.

‘My name is Adi and I am from a very poor family from a small village in North India. I have a  wife, four children, and  almost seventy years old parents. I looked for a good paying job but could not, he sighs. One day when I was buying vegetable from the store, I overheard the name of an agency who can provide  job. So I took the phone number ,called up  the agency , signed the contract to go to another country as a driver where food, clothing will be free, they will pay a good sum of salary fifteen days off in a year. That sounded perfect to me so  I signed the contract without telling my family. I started getting butterflies on my stomach hearing this good news. That evening after a day of hard labor, on my way to home I went straight to the market. A fresh watery evening. The turf and paths were rustling with moist grass. From the road side stall I purchased a red car, a beautifully dressed doll. That evening I suddenly fell in love with the grounds under my feet, air over the head and everything I touched. I walked back home to give the good news but my family did not want me to leave the country. They wanted us to stay together in one place. But I had to, yes I had to. I wanted to shower my family with a little comfort and  with happiness: good food, medical treatment, clothes and education for my kids. The night before I left India, I buried my face deeper under a pillow but could not sleep. I had too many wonderful dreams which were floating and taking shapes in my head. I woke up in every half an hour to check the time. Around early morning I walked slowly to my parent’s bed and sat there for a while on their side. Hopefully I will see them soon. I was a little scared too but, I am a man and I have to be brave. Next morning I packed my bags with two shirts, one toothbrush, a small tube of paste, one pant  with a big hole on the corner on the left pocket, a comb. Before I leave we hugged each other. My dad was sitting on the front porch flushed and gloomy. My wife had tears on her lashes and my children did not know what to say. I turned around couple times to look at their faces. And they were still standing at the doorsteps, wiping their tears. I was there hope, their dream. Everything was arranged and I left India.

Once I arrived there the agency took me to  a beautiful house of a rich family.  where I have been working for ten years now.  And soon I found out that I am not only their driver but also I have to do any type of job that they want me to do. There is no time to rest, they give some money to send back to home but not what they promised. I do not have any contact with my family.Even they have my passport so that I can not go back to my country. They are visiting here in business and I am here with them. I want someone to help me out. I want to go back to my country, to see my parents, my kids. Please I beg you, help me.’

Amber is speechless. Her heart squeezes momentarily with pain. She walks to standby the small window, bits her tongue hard  and blinks back her tears. This is just slavery, torture, nothing else, she murmurs. She closes her eyes and attempt to hear an inner voice. She turns around and looks at Adi.
“Let me think about this and, tomorrow I will give a phone card and a number for an attorney whom you can call about helping you in this situation.” Then Amber bends down on desk and  writes down Adi’s room number on a pad.

Adi thanks Amber and promises to see her the next say. Amber has to break the rules of the hotel. She is not allowed to , may be suspend from her job but she is determined to help Adi out.

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A Dream Manifests

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Blogging U.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”.- Anais Nin

I open my eyes slowly and turn my head to look at the clock and it is almost five.  Time to start the week. The pink of the new day seeping through the white curtains. I walk to the deck to do my sun- salutation. Some of the trees in the yard  have taken on their own personalities and paint the garden into a thousand different shades.I breathe in the cool, crisp air and try to concentrate on my routine. In the middle of the downward dog  position I notice the bright  message notification on  my phone . Guess what? That is  today’ s assignment to write’ Who I am and why I am here’. I stare at the sentence again and  like it, but it is  too early for that. I decide to write it  during my lunch break.

I grew up in a house where in every corner on the tables there were books and literary magazines. My paternal grand father owned a book store and a printing press and my father was a writer. I used to see him in most evenings writing on his desk. It was like  paradise. I did not care about food or sleep. I just wanted to read. People say it is the sign of an introvert, but that did not bother me at all. Every page of a book lights up my mind and gives wings to the soul. Even my paternal grand mother used to write stories for small children. I did not enjoy playing with dolls or  any type of toys but I fell in love with books. On every birthday  my friends and families showered me with books. I looked forward with lots of excitement to every summer and other holidays to spend my time  reading new books. Gradually I started filling up pages with my beliefs, emotions and looked at the finished drafts as my perfect creation. I love the idea of expressing myself in various captivating ways. “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wise counsellors, and the most patient of teachers”.- Charles William Eliot

As the children grew up I got more time on hand . Shopping stopped giving me satisfaction. Now, I want to have a more meaningful life, more satisfaction and fulfillment. I have decided to embrace writing again to share my thoughts through  short stories on this blog. l want to raise people’ s awareness on  different social  and cultural topics through my writing and  bring smiles, inspire, spread positive thoughts. And, have  a deep connection with readers by accepting their input and feedback.  “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader reading it, makes it live: a living thought, a stay”.-Ursula K Le Guin

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