Summer Love.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2012 by madhuripratinidhi

He sat on the reclining chair looking at the early morning Sun. Wearing his favorite black cap, white overalls and flip-flops. They were all tattered here and there but he had a sense of comfort attached to all of it. He was happy and contended with the ones he had acquired for himself throughout his life. He felt the sufficiency of them and did not ask for anything excess.

A man of schedule and precision. Seconds make minutes, minutes into hours and so on was the theory he truly believed. But he seldom lost his temper. If things did get delayed, impatience and impulse was not thrown at others. A self-made man with simple needs and finding happiness in daily randomness was his satisfactory quotient. He called out for Chinoy, his daily helper when he was done with the paper. Chinoy appeared from behind, he made sure not to disrupt the cycle of constancy.

He got wheeled back into his room. Chinoy drew him a bath. The requirements here again were minimal. Normally, the Old Spice after-shave culminated the dress-up. Today, a hint of ­­­­­­­­Davidoff was added. The instructions were clear, unambiguous and easy. He had asked for his best suit to be brought out, called in for flowers from around-the-corner flower store, nothing fancy, just plain white lilies. A bunch of red heart hot-air balloons. He had pre-booked the ride, a BMW 750. At the strike of 10, seated on the back seat, he instructed the driver to roll ahead.

The wind-mills partied away. The serpentine grapevines looked fresh in the Sun. The A/c moderated itself as it got warmer by the minute. But cool as ice, he sat behind enjoying every bit of the drive-out. He handed over a DVD to his chauffer and a medley of rock and country music hit the roof. Few hours of such musical fest led to a huge mansion. Clutching the wrapped gift, he took a deep breath. It was that feeling of the fastening seat belt and flight taking off.

Driving in the front yard even broad in day light made his heart flutter. He would be seeing her in a matter of minutes. She would be readying herself for this date which he had laboriously planned. He smiled at the thought that she would be fussing over her attire and would be piling around those several dresses which were tried, discarded and some put on stand-by. But it was always the last minute thing that worked once he was down and honked. Thus, she had chosen white for the day. Descending with a smile on her face, she walked up and took a seat next to him.

When they headed in town, her eyes sparkled looking at the fair, it was this child-like quality which was most endearing about her. She laughed at the kids who were playing the giant-wheel and she got down to get some candy-floss herself. When he knew she was ready for the next stop, they continued, the car halted in front of the city-hall. Tonight, it was their favorite musical again and they had watched it every time it was up all these years. When they sang their favorite parts, it almost felt way back in time when they were 19, shy and discovering each other’s tastes.  A sense of sadness and morose hit him but the thought of dinner ahead helped him regain stability.

Curling her fingers into his fist, he gave her the present he had brought. Opening with so much fragility, she took it out. It sparkled, it shined, it was blue, embedded among the tiniest but the most beautiful diamonds, the sapphire stole heart. It still fit just fine when he helped her put it on. They raised the pink champagne glasses and sat amidst people who looked at them, envied them and wished they would be that when they would travel down the road of love and life.

The time was up, he knew. Stepping out in the night, they walked to the car. The Summer day was now a pleasant evening. The driver knew where to go. It was the cemetery. Mr. Royan took the aid of his crutches one last time for the evening. His legs felt weaker than the usual. Carrying the lilies and the balloons he walked towards his wife’s grave. 10 years ago, while driving, he had lost his lovely wife to a car-crash and now, he was left with an artificial foot and old age. The cripple which the accident had made him was tolerable than what life had made him a witness to.

Placing the lilies on the tomb, he let the balloons fly high. It had always made her happy. She thought just like the bird, the heart can fly too. And symbolizing this gesture, she flew balloons on every birthday of hers. And now he was doing it for her. Except that it was not so much the same without her around laughter. Reminiscing the evening, he sat on the ground covered with maple leaves. Once he was a millionaire, now a simple man living at an old-age centre. He sang a happy-birthday song to her silently. He did not feel left out. He traced back his path to the car holding the sapphire in his palm close raised to his heart.

A tune of hope!

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2012 by madhuripratinidhi

Ray eyed the bread crumbs on the pavement. He was an orphan right after his birth and life made him an urchin.  Yet, he was not just an innocent and naive 10-year-old. He was  street-smart and took care of himself.  The signs of early winter made him shiver already.  He saved the left-over bread in his satchel and reclined on his usual bench at the city-park ignoring the rule written across in bold red letters which read; ‘Bench meant to sit, not settle’.

Staring at the enormous apartment opposite,  he tried to understand the lives of those several kids who were safe and secure enjoying cozy fine dine every evening. But then, if he had parents constantly hovering over him, he could not live the way he did now. He would have to go to school wearing the same clothes everyday and belong to a nerd-herd? ‘No way’! he said aloud.

He looked at  Sam’s balcony but was as quickly disheartened when the lights went off.  Ray considered Sam to be his friend, a cool brother who protected him from street-thugs when Ray broke into a fight with them. And finally a teacher whom he looked up to. They had known each other for 5 years now. Saturday nights were jamming sessions. Ray worked his way through the flute while Sam mastered bass guitar.  Sam would seldom ditch Ray, tonight would be one Ray concluded. Cussing under his breath, he pulled out his flute.

From a distance under the shadow of dusk, a pair of hunting eyes gazed at Ray. Listening to Ray’s tune, this lurker went smug. Tonight was perfect timing he thought. The lurker had waited patiently observing Ray’s improvement. This kid was no ordinary he knew, but in Sam’s company he had become the diamond from the mere rock he was when the lurker had first found Ray.  He stepped out stealthily from behind the huge Oak tree. He could only see Ray’s tiny head from behind which looked like an Orange fruit thanks to the streetlights’ glint on him. Like a wolf tracking it’s prey he was just 2 steps away, removing his pocket knife he stretched his hands to grab Ray when he heard footsteps.

The tall figure was also 2 steps away from the other side. Ray got up and ran towards the voice calling out for him. The lurker disappeared in the shadows again listening to Sam challenging Ray for a race up-till the broken garage at the end of the road which they called their practice-area!

As they manned up for the evening, Sam helped his student with the latest composition.  The garage was a dirt cheap 12 x 24 feet basic space. With a ‘no rent’ proposition in exchange for a lawn clean every Sunday morning, this band could ask for nothing more. Except! The owners of this place were an old couple aged over 70 called Mr. & Mrs. Cranky, with no tolerance to sound. They called these sessions as ‘Death of Music’. Every broiling tiff was cooled off with Ray’s charming smile to Mrs.Cranky. Not only did the Cranky couple grant an extension, but also Ray ended up smuggling a candy from Mrs. Cranky. This pretty much was a normal Saturday evening for Ray.

The practice gave way to a beautiful composition which Sam found worthy of a recording. “Ray! We hold a chance here, tonight’s gig is a score for sure” said Sam. Ray just blinked, for him, this was stardom already. Being with Sam, playing flute, learning and getting better without his own knowledge was a rockstars’ life. Sam just grinned and said “You’ll see”. They wrapped up the session and shut the garage. They walked back to Sam’s apartment,  as always Ray declined the offer for a sleep-over. Sam, even though concerned, let it go as he knew he could not push Ray for anything which he disliked. And besides, he kept checking through the night from his balcony. He gave Ray a take-away dinner box and Ray could not stop grinning when he smelt is favorite grilled sandwich with extra cheese!

Ray polished off his dinner in one-go. He took out his sleeping bag, gifted by Sam again for Ray’s self-proclaimed 5th year birthday on 27th March! When Sam had asked why he had chosen that date, Ray had replied “Because, I want it to be with yours.” With that, Sam knew Ray would hold a special place in his life.

A happy day Ray thought smiling!

Ray’s hyper mind with an exciting evening was certainly not a recipe for sleep.He walked around the park for a few minutes hoping for exertion, circling the mini fountain he played his favorite tune.

Ray felt something on his back, as he turned  he saw a pocket knife dangling before his face. Run was the obvious reflex his mind came up with but his body was fastened with such a strong grip, he was unable to move an inch. He was thrown down with his face to the ground cutting his lip, gashing his eyebrow. The smell of his own blood made him nauseous. The park; his home,  resembled the dangerous woods he’d mocked while reading the Little Red Riding Hood. He admired the ending of that tale and he knew he would have one too.

Repeating it in his mind, he clenched his teeth when the gravel peeled his tender skin and the flute rolled away from him.

When the drag came to an end, he realized he was at the entrance of the park and Sam’s balcony was within sight.With all his might he yelled out to Sam!

Like the cattle, he was loaded in the rear of the tempo,even with a bruised eye, he swore to have seen the light-bulb  flicker….the rest was blurred.

For now!

Time-clutched !!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 23, 2011 by madhuripratinidhi

Friday, Dec 13 [7:00 P.M]

It was a night before the very popular ‘Giant Dance Star’ (GDS) show. Bree stood behind the massive drape. She was trying to imagine the actuality commencing from this moment. The next 48 hours would either make it or break it for Bree! She recounted her entire week and got lost in the train of thought. IF ONLY…..!

She had woken up Monday [9 Dec] morning feeling excited.  She walked out of a steaming shower and checked her wounds. She bruised like a peach. But her lean frame was almost perfect. She had lost 10 pounds easily. She was fitter than never before.She mentally worked out how much concealer she would need to hide them those wounds which were very prominent on her shin and shoulders.

She had rehearsed endlessly for 3 months now. Yet, decided to go over the entire chunk once more. Just her….no side-kicks..no music..no setting.. She danced like an angel with all her soul. And this was quite a scene by itself. Truly she was blessed. She knew her strengths and weaknesses like none else and she worked on them even before someone could flash errors at her. She was confident.

The next two hours did not prove futile. Another round of rehearsal added up to the already  huge number of zillion. Like always she felt inadequate and the urge to be the best always motivated her further. She reclined on the masseuse chair for a session of good self-therapy and looked out at life-size MJ on the wall. And what do you know! Micheal Jackson literally walked out from the wall mounted poster and this was not something new for her being a hardcore MJ fan! Bree was a thorough professional and she refused to cut some slack for herself. She heard a knock on the door and she guessed it was Tanya. She poured out Tang in two glasses and waited.

The temperature was scorching. Tanya, Bree’s best friend drove into the gate. She rang the door-bell. She waited few moments and started looking for the spare key. Both of them knew the common hides which changed every week. She slid her hand behind huge laughing Buddha’s torso and voila! She grinned at that adorable ever laughing guy and opened the door.  She had expected to find Bree prancing around like a deer. But she found her nowhere. Tanya found this strange as she had spoken to Bree about an hour ago and made plans for a quick lunch.

Merle Haggard hummed away ‘mama tried’ on the local FM station. Tanya did not bother to put off the music player. Nala, Bree’s Persian cat yawned. She was a royal and never budged for anyone. When she was picked, she almost scratched,  then looking at Tanya’s face, God blessedly did not.Tanya combed through the mansion and failed to find Bree anywhere in the house. Honestly, it was quite a task as it was a massive property. Bree had succeeded a strenuous and quite-a-drag contested litigation against unnecessary and so-called distant relatives. If not for the litigation, Bree would otherwise be the rightful owner years ago. It was her beloved grand-mother’s bequeath in her favor. Bree had lost her parents quite young to a disastrous car wreck and it was her granny who was Bree’s everything but mainly her GODMOTHER. Sadly, she could not keep up her promise to see Bree winning the ‘GDS’ although she knew it from the day Bree was born that she was meant to dance. She had even made an offhanded prediction that Bree’s feet were very unique. Good Lord! How Could someone observe so intently when the child is just a day old? And this was asked by the mystical granny’s daughter and Bree’s mother too. But mystical granny waived a hand dismissing her daughter’s question without even giving it a thought.

Finally, after climbing down their very own but dilapidated tree-house,Tanya gave up, hit speed-dial 1 and……. no response. She walked back into the house and tried again. Moments passed and she heard a faint vibration on the low-leveled wooden teapoy, Bree’s smartphone was lying at home. Was it not essential these days to be a nomophobic?  She checked  the call-log. These best friends laughed on phrases like ‘intrusion of privacy’ and swore by ‘zilch-secrecy theory’. So, couple of missed calls from the GDS organizers and a few from Andy-the-freak who was Bree’s current semi-stalker from dance troupe. The smart phone vibrated, Tan clicked open and it was Andy-the-freak again, now sending some smitten texts.Tan could not figure out a place Bree could be right now. The usually cool headed and unspazzy Tanya was jittery. She almost hit the button for cops but something held her back.

[Still Monday (9 Dec) 3:00 P.M]

Bree opened her eyes. She wondered if she had just passed out for dieting so badly. She basically felt no flesh but certainly saw blood around her. She could not locate where she was at the moment. She remembered pouring out Tang and waiting for Tanya and after that nothing. She looked for her phone to navigate, ‘Thank God for smart-phones for locationally-challenged oafs she thought but did not find it. She felt a scathing pain in her rib. She was beat, she looked around and saw Andy-the-freak’s crazy grin!

She blinked and passed out again. Now she was not coming back…. that was last of reality for her.

[The long Monday (9 Dec) 3:20 P.M]

Bree felt light. She was not in a state of whatsit called? yes! Solidity. She wanted to scream out loud but she could not. She had no voice, no strength. She saw Andy-the-freak rocking on the rocking chair and staring at her lifeless body. She did not pass out, she had lost… Lost out badly….Battling like an epic war-woman who tried to save herself from the creep called Andy. Her lip curled into a smile though as she had not let him touch her… and he wouldn’t dare now, he was far too a coward.

Bree felt bad that she could not barge in and look at Tan’s face and have a mighty laugh. She had never seen Tan’s face so dull and pale..not once! Tanya and Bree were not twin-like with ditto personalities, as a matter of fact they were totally contrasting besties, an odd set of mates. She saw herself in Tan’s face. It was her expression Tan had worn and this Bree could not stand.

She saw Tan locking the huge creaking Mahagony door behind her and driving to the Cop-house. It took 3 days to locate Bree..rather her body….

Friday! (13 Dec) [10:00 P.M]

She still stood behind the drape… awaiting….She was hoping she could find a human in whom her soul could fit in.. She was pretty tiny you know. Could someone just lend their body for just an hour? The mundane existence of ‘human body’ was now standing against her dream of becoming the top-most dancer. She did not get the logic. How thanks to few layers of flesh, they were seen and called ‘living’ and suddenly now she was “dead” ?

She saw a computer-geek re-arranging the list for the big day ahead. They cannot mess up the show even though a contestant was dead. What’s that line? Oh! The show must go on…?!  On Monday it was ‘Bree’ on the list and now that comp-geek made that into Bree. !  That was easy she thought. She saw Tanya walking into the hall. She was waiting for this moment. She knew that Tanya would be there but now she had no reason to come the next day, She bid a tearless goodbye to her hyper and crazy Tanya. She was waving but Tanya did not turn. She just turned and walked away.

Bree saw Tanya’s silhouette fading away and she proceeded too!

Billet-doux.. (part-II)

Posted in From the heart, Uncategorized with tags , , on August 4, 2011 by madhuripratinidhi

Veronica fell back on the couch. The tiny closed note sat on her lap awaiting to be opened. It weighed less than a feather. Contemplation hit her bad. That one day in Paris had such an impact on her. It came back like a rebound. Wonder… Anticipation exalted! She slowly opened it.

Hey!

I’m glad you found this. I hope you liked the painting. I’m sorry that we did not get a chance to talk.That is the only picture I ever clicked of you and now it is there with you. But your memory remains. I shall understand if you do not wish to write back to me. It’ll be a start. You know where to find me.I shall wait…

Au revoir!

She carefully closed the letter. She experienced a feeling unknown. It was joy yet sadness, it was anxiety yet relief, it was hope yet the end of tunnel. She decided to go on a drive, she thought it would maybe lead her to the right place.

By the end of that day, she was still as hopelessly confused as when she was in the morning. She had parked her car on a cliff. She gave one thorough glance around her. The landscape which looked green during day was now a shade of deep violet. The crickets chirped amidst silence. The birds glided up high in the vast sky. Veronica wanted this moment to stay still forever. She finished the last of her candy-bar and sat back in her car. She pulled around, drove back on the same road she had reached this point. No turns, no deviations, just the highway. One straight path.

She entered her room and switched on the dim light. She opened the walk-in closet, stepped inside and slid the door behind. She walked till the end of the hung clothes. It was Adam’s world. Her husband who was on a mission, he had left 2 years ago and from whom she had not heard ever since. She removed the Pilot’s uniform from the hanger. The familiar smell of Burberry surrounded her.

She had made her choice to wait. She had to go on with it. Two years had not deterred her faith that Adam would return and it would not change now either. Memories flooded back, she felt at ease again.She stepped out from there.

She took the letter and placed it back behind the painting. It did not hurt and the dilemma faded gradually.  Paris was a tiny bump which rocked her but Adam was her concrete ground.

Lightheaded, she danced away to a Kenny-G.


Billet-doux

Posted in From the heart with tags , on July 22, 2011 by madhuripratinidhi

Velib !

There was a long queue and there were certainly 20 more people before Veronica could reach the ticket counter. She saw the bald man who was getting cranky and could  hardly wait for his break. It took few more minutes and the bald man finally slapped her a ticket. She ignored his rudeness and just walked over to choose a bicycle and there it was, an over-used black cycle. She grabbed the handle but felt a shake from behind.

‘Bonjour’ ! he greeted her with a perfect French accent. That extremely charming face did not impress her, she chose not to answer back. She inserted the key and rode away.

Veronica stopped before Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. She was mesmerized by the architectural brilliance. She fell for it even before she had taken a tour of the inside. Her eyes met a treat as she walked in, so much that she could not describe nor marvel the beauty of it beyond a point.She could not decide what to memorize as every inch of the interior was breathtaking. By noon she finally realized how famished she was and decided to binge on local delicacies in a cute cafe across the street. She had a satisfactory lunch and washed down her grub with a glass of red wine. Although the wine did not make her feel tipsy, she deserted her bike and decided to take a walk.

She strolled down a narrow lane..At first she thought  it was just one house but then she noticed the similarity. It was the painters’ lane. Every house had its owners touch to it. She walked into the small gate and came to a halt.

She saw a man painting so effortlessly seated on a high-stool and his back to her. Every stroke seemed so bold and fearless.  She was bemused ! She was tempted to enter the patio instead lost herself staring at the painting. He suddenly turned back, she blurted out a hello and saw that familiar smile spread out. She felt embarrassed and utterly failed to say something sensible to explain her presence there.

He walked up to her and invited her to come inside. She almost said no but a second thought led her to a magical space. Every painting in the room virtually spoke to her and she could not hold back her compliments.
He offered to paint her on the canvas and she felt delightful and instantly agreed to it. Two hours later she saw herself on the canvas like never before. She had never realized how pretty she was until this moment. She thanked him and got ready to leave.But he persuaded her for dinner cooked by him. She confessed to him that she could not decide which part of the day was the most favorite after the meal.

The next morning, it was already time to leave city. She reached the airport an hour early. She killed time visiting various duty-free stores and picking up goodies for family and friends back home. The final boarding call was announced, as she was proceeding towards the gate she heard her name and she knew it was not the airport authorities.She looked behind and there he stood with the painting in one hand and a single lily in the other. He bid her goodbye.

Back home she was looking at the painting, she found a small sign on the right bottom corner and only then she got to know his name. As she was hanging the painting an envelope fell on the ground. She ripped it open to find a picture of hers riding the cycle. She turned it around expectantly for a message and there it was…..

Celebrated Chef ! :)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2011 by madhuripratinidhi

It was a busy morning. People were swarming in. The regulars tried their best to get seated at their usual tables. They all wanted to be served first and in less than few minutes.

Mr.Buggy, the chef at ‘8.am It’s breakfast hour’ loved this morning rush-hour. He had spent the major portion of his life here. It practically was his home. He was the host and the eaters were his guests. And this was a life he was not dissatisfied with. He was a man of contentment.

He swirled the pancake high in the air and it did not disobey him. It landed back on the pan. The toast popped out just fine and right in time. The self-created maple syrup tasted heavenly. The cappuccino he served was a hit. The chocolate-chip cookies melted within seconds in the mouth. The muffins bloated out just about perfectly. He was the creator. The dishes were his very own creations.

Buggy never had a bad-day when it was about food and cooking. Hungry souls always popped up before him. and he never let them down. Once fed, they became undoubtedly loyal. People did not forget Buggy and his delicacies. This is why he loved being the guy he was.

He retired by mid-afternoon. His shift was through. He reached home. He smelled the yummy steak and his wife appeared with a glass of iced-tea. For Buggy this was the favorite moment. The chef who fed innumerable stomachs quenched his hunger at his wife’s kitchen. The King here was a mere follower now.He relinquished his title of ‘host’ to his wife but he did not complain.

Buggy dozed off for his siesta with a smile on his face. His time of glory would be up the next morning again !

What is meant to be !

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2011 by madhuripratinidhi

The bistro was dimly lit. The walls were filled with classic murals. He sat there flipping through the monthly sports local magazine. He was casually dressed in a grey  button down shirt and jeans. He finished his coffee, it was an hour now and he knew she would not come.

It was their third year together. He had asked for one dinner and she had reluctantly agreed. He hoped to make things right. The fights had begun to turn deep. It had affected his career. He had been spared of the previous match. His coach had yelled at him for losing out on those several early morning practise sessions.

He looked out of the window for one last look and there she stood in a yellow evening dress. He smiled and thought of the sentence he would begin the conversation with.He had a hundred thoughts running in his mind. He was framing the right compliment. He did not want this to go wrong.

She entered and walked up to him. They just looked at each other. Words failed him. He was so overwhelmed to see her standing before him that he almost did not hear what she said.

‘Ryan, it’s over’ !

Lying in his bed, he was still thinking if this is what she had said.

The phone rang. The machine played it for him. It was Coach yeller in his loudest tone ordering Ryan to be back on the field the next morning.

He now knew what to chase and that was something he was good at. Unlike his relationship he did not have to think which way to run or how hard to kick to the goal. He was simply good at it. Ryan, the soccer dude was back on track !!!