The Call

March 1, 2006

The door swayed slightly ajar and even before he could think it, he knew.

Without looking up, he asked, “When?”

“In about six months,” came the reply without so much as a hint of surprise, as if the question was expected.

“That soon?” he had expected it, yet, he was taken by surprise.

“Can’t help it. We need more people out there. I thought you, of all people, would surely understand. After all, you are a manager in a big firm, aren’t you?”

Did he detect a hint of a smirk in his voice? Or was it his imagination? He tried thinking for a few moments and then gave up.

“I need some time to settle some things here.”

“I have been given to understand that six months is more than enough.”

There was no point in arguing. He mutely nodded his head and the salt-and-pepper hair bounced gaily. A few moments later, (or a few minutes or a few hours, he never knew) he looked up.

He was gone.

A pain shot up through his chest and came to rest in his temple and left a vein throbbing in his temple. It went a little higher everyday.

Well, he had six months, at least.

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The Park – The Final Part

February 8, 2006

The story until now…

A simple whine resulted in introspection. She was forced to think about things in a totally different light. As she encountered newer situations, she began to realize that the simplicity of life was not as simlple as she wanted it to be. The light began to dawn on her, even as it began to get darker…


They came to another section in the park – the Kids’ Section. He stopped there momentarily. He turned to look at her. She said nothing. Apparently, she had not yet recovered from the previous shock. He turned to look at the park. Kids of various ages were playing on the different amusements the park had to offer. The see-saw, the slide, the merry-go-round and the swing; all of them were occupied.

A young boy, aged not more than seven, sat on a bench near one of the swings. He watched the swings go to and fro and laughed in glee, clapping his hands every now and then. It looked like he was egging his brother on, who had occupied the swing.

“Why don’t you make that boy try the swings?”

“But he can’t see me!”

“Do you really think so?”

She knew better now than to ask any question. She silently went up to the boy and sat beside him.

The boy had a sunny disposition that could make anyone smile. And she was not an exception. She felt the warmth of his smile and instantly returned it. The boy returned back to egging his brother on.

She made an attempt to strike up a conversation.

“Hi.”

The boy looked at her, unsure of whether to reply. Eventually he did.

“Hi.”

“Why don’t you have a go on the swings?”

“I can’t?”

“Why? Why can’t you?”

“Oh it’s too much trouble getting me on the swing and then getting me off it. I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun. I am better off watching them.”

“Why is that? I don’t think you’re too short. You can easily reach the swing.”

“Oh I am tall enough, alright. But that’s not the reason. It’s this.” He smiled and pointed towards his legs.

She took one look at his legs and realized what she’d just done.

“I am sorry” was all she could manage and she almost ran back to where he was standing.

He said nothing for sometime. They came back to the bench on which she was sitting before and sat once again. It was to be sometime before he spoke in a clear, calm voice.

“Now, do you understand?”

“Yes, I do. And I am sorry. It won’t happen again.”

He smiled at her and she returned it. She stood up and spread her wings. With one smooth push of her feet she was away soaring high, into the sky.

Gabriel looked at the diminishing figure in the sky and sighed.

Well, there had to be one in every lot.

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The Park – Part III

February 3, 2006

The story until now…

She was sitting in the park unhappy and tearful, blaming him for not understanding her plight. He understood that he had to provide her with some answers…
The first two responses she received left her stunned, yet contemplative. Surely, this was not the way she was expecting her question to be answered. But they are answers nevertheless, and she must find the meaning. Soon…


(contd. from The Park – Part 2)

They kept walking until they reached the Fountain. People of various ages were sitting with their feet immersed in the clear, cold, blue water of the pool beside the fountain. He turned to her and asked.

“What do you hear?”

She replied hesitantly, “I hear the sound of gushing water. The most beautiful music that He could ever create.”

He smiled and turned to look at the people. Without looking at her, he asked again, “No really, what do you hear?”

The sounds of the world diminished to nothing and a new babble of voices broke out, rising in its pitch slowly until she could take it no more. She clamped her hands over her ears to stop the sound from blowing her eardrums. He laughed at this and said, “You can take your hands off now. It’s okay.”

She cautiously removed her hands and was relieved to find that the voices had died down to a murmur. “Now tell me what you hear,” he asked again.

She strained her ears to make sense out of the large plethora of voices that was the crowd. She shut her eyes tight hoping against hope that it would help somehow. And slowly the voices began to make sense.

‘I wish I could enjoy this peace everyday…’

‘I wish he would understand…’

‘I love my husband.’

‘I love her husband.’

‘My baby…’

‘Why can’t work ever be so relaxing?’

‘Man, she looks amazing!!’

‘What does she think of herself?’

‘Why did you have to leave me?’

‘How long is this pain going to last? I wish it would be over once and for all…’

This last statement particularly caught her attention and she started to search for its owner. She scanned the faces in the crowd hoping to find a clue.

She found a face contorted with pain and immediately moved towards him. As she drew closer she could hear him swearing. No, it wasn’t him. She looked around again. Every time she thought she had found the source of the pain, she realized that it was someone else.

She finally gave up and returned to him looking defeated. He asked her, “Would you like to see the person who said those words?”

She was surprised he could do that. But then again she knew he would do that. She meekly nodded in the affirmative. He began to walk and she followed.

He stopped in front of a clown. The clown had gathered a crowd and was entertaining it. Sure enough, she had overlooked this portion of the crowd. After all, there was no pain here, only joy. But as they drew nearer to the crowd she heard the voice grow stronger. She frantically scanned the faces in the crowd. That was when she felt a tap on her shoulder. He pointed a finger to indicate the direction of the source of the voice.

She followed his finger and her eyes came to rest on the one person she had never imagined to be the source – the clown himself. She stood with her mouth agape not wanting to believe, yet the evidence forcing her to do exactly that.

“He was diagnosed with a fatal disease last week. The doctors have given him a month. And he’s decided to make the most of it.”

With that, he walked away, leaving her to contemplate. She stared at the clown, wondering whether he could see her. He remained blissfully unaware of her presence and continued to entertain the crowd. She walked back silently to where he was standing. And they moved on.

(To be continued…)

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The Park – Part II

January 30, 2006

The story until now…

The Park sees many people come and go. So do we.
A girl is sitting on the park bench. She feels the world has been unfair to her. And she’s complaining. But who is going to listen? The one person she expects will listen, is not in the mood to listen. Or…?


(contd. from The Park – Part 1)

Nobody said a word for sometime. She was still letting her tears get the better of her self-control and he was letting his self-control get the better of him. Maintaining the stoic face, he walked for a couple of minutes until they reached the Couples’ Corner of the park. He stopped and turned to face her.

“What do you see?”

“Is that a trick question?”

“No. Seriously, tell me, what do you see?”

“I see people. In love. Sitting beside their beloved. Knowing that they will be together for eternity.”

“How many of them will really be together for eternity?”

“I don’t know.”

He smiled. He pointed out to a couple sitting across the park. The wife (presumably) was happily knitting away for a near-future arrival (presumably). The husband was watching her intently, with a look that was somewhere between admiration and awe.

“Only they will be together for all eternity.”

“How do you know?”

“It’s my job to know.”

“But they are not even talking to each other!”

“Someday, when you are old enough and wise enough, you’ll understand that communication does not need words. Tell me what do you read in his eyes?”

“I don’t know. I can’t see them from this far.”

“Then go near him and read his eyes. Go now.”

“But what if he sees me? What am I going to say to him?”

“Go now.”

She hesitated for a split second and started to move towards them. Thoughts had begun to flood her mind. Was he testing her? Or was it all a joke? Was he serious? What if the husband caught her looking at them? What would he think? Would he question her? More importantly, what was she going to tell him?

As she approached closer she could feel her tension rise. But he made no apparent move to acknowledge her in any manner – hostile or other wise. Somewhat puzzled and somewhat relaxed she decided to push further, until she was virtually sitting beside him.

She could hear the faint strains of humming. She looked around and found her; humming away as she wove the woolen strands into a concrete shape, thread by thread, knot by knot. For a moment she forgot what she was supposed to do and listened deeply to her humming. Then she remembered why she was there, and she turned to look at him.

He was now leaning back with his eyes closed and his hands behind his head. She waited for a few moments hoping he would open his eyes, so she could read them. But he did none of that. A few moments later, he opened his eyes and moved over to where his wife was sitting and put his head in her lap and closed his eyes again.

Those few moments were all she was waiting for. And what she saw chilled her to the very core.

He was blind. He had only the whites of his pupils where his eyes would have been.

She hurried back to him. He looked at her. She was shivering like an autumn leaf. He said nothing, but smiled. And he walked on.

(To be continued…)

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The Park

January 19, 2006

She sat morosely on the park bench unaware of her surroundings. She did not notice him coming. Not that she would have noticed it any other day.

He came and sat besides her making no sound or attempt to announce his presence.

After what seemed like an eternity (but was actually a few minutes) she saw him. But even then, she made no attempt to acknowledge it. She just sat there teetering on the verge of bursting into tears.

Finally, she looked at him and asked the question she already knew the answer to.

“Why are you here?”

He looked straight into her eyes. She made no attempt to look away. Rather she continued looking into his hazel eyes. Unable to take it anymore, he looked away and spoke.

“I just wanted to make sure you were alright.”

“What difference would it make to you?”

He was surprised, rather shocked, at this accusation. He had half a mind to leave but he restrained himself. This had been a long time coming. He had known it was coming. He said with all the calm he could muster.

“It would, wouldn’t it? Or else, I wouldn’t be here.”

The sarcasm in his voice wasn’t lost on her. She opened her mouth to deliver a repartee that would shut him up and closed it instantly. That was the last thing she wanted. Today she wanted him to talk. And talk he did.

“It isn’t that bad, you know. Things could have been worse.”

“Oh, really?? You keep saying that all the time? What do you know?”

“You could take things positively. Really, it could have been worse.”

“Oh, yeah? And what do you know, what’s been happening with me? Or is it one of your standard lines that you throw at damsels-in-distress?

“Why don’t you tell me what’s troubling you?”

“Why? So that you can throw me more of those standard lines? I thought you’d have known by now…”

“I can’t read minds, you know.”

The tears she’d been holding back welled up in her pretty brown eyes and clouded them. There was no use fighting them back now. And she started to cry.

It wasn’t the first time he’d seen a woman cry. Nevertheless, he was flustered. He wondered if he should reach out and comfort her. Or if he should stand back stoically and wait for the flow to ebb. Before he could transform his thought into actions, he heard words between sobs.

“Why? Why does it have to be me?”

He knew it was better not to answer that question. There was no answer to it, really. He waited for a few moments trying to decide the best course of action (or inaction, rather) But he was saved the trouble of having to make a choice, because she continued.

“I am not asking for much, am I? Tell me, is it really that difficult?”

There was no escape now. Although, he knew better than to answer the question he had no choice now. Still, there had to be some way out.

“Did someone insult you?”

“No.”

“Did someone tease you or taunt you?”

“No.”

“Did someone -”

That was as far as he got.

“Shut up, will you? I am not asking for an analysis of my mental state here. I am not asking you to counsel me. Nor am I asking you to cajole me. All I am asking is an answer to a simple question. Why is appreciation so difficult?”

He looked at her. Her big, pretty brown eyes were now red due to all the sobbing. And the decision was made.

“Come. Let’s take a walk.” And he stood up and started walking.

(To be continued…)

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Hello, World!

January 13, 2006

Testing WordPress.

I like the elegance. It makes me want to buy a domain name for myself. :)

Watch this space.


Wants & Needs…

January 5, 2006

Last night while I was reading I suddenly realized this:

“I don’t know what I want, but I know what I need…”

Is that what is causing all the trouble?

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