Category: Short Stories

What Lies Within You.

What Lies Within You.

I met a septuagenarian man yesterday during an engagement for setting up the venue for a language course that was going to commence in a few days. He was very knowledgeable, talkative and impressive. I conversed with him for almost an hour and to my surprise wanted to never get over with the conversation we were having but had to because I was running late.

During our conversation he had expressed that he loved observing people around him. He wood take the metro to travel around the city and during the course would observe the people. So he said that a couple of days back when he was commuting in the subway he noticed that everyone present in the coach had one thing in common – none of them had a smile on their face. This, I was very well able to relate to because of the similar encounters I would have when I would look around at the faces of the people while commuting through public transport.People would be listening to songs on their headphones, reading newspapers,texting or playing on their smartphones or would doze off on their seat as well as while standing! But it was very difficult to spot a smile, a very sorry scene for a city called – ‘City of Joy.’ But he said that there was this one girl who was out of this world. She was listening attentive when her friends were speaking, conceptualising what they were saying and when she was speaking it was as if her whole body was expressing. She had an overwhelming smile on her face, radiating with a self inducted sustaining exuberance. Her expression changed rapidly,adapting to the situation and it was a bliss to see a pearl amongst the hardened stones.

When I left the two storey bungalow of the septuagenarian I was somewhat congregated in emotions of joy,wisdom and bliss. I realised I needed to take a bus at the earliest to reach my destination as I was already running half an hour late. I had to wait for around 15-20 minutes for the bus to come. But this neither frustrated me nor angered me as I was simply centred in my calm and contented state. I boarded the bus and as you may know it felt surreal to be in the over-crowded over joyous blue Volvo bus! After a few minutes I noticed that I had a smile on my face and this had been there all the while since the moment I had left the bungalow. And I wanted to keep on smiling and to observe, as the man had said he did. I kept on looking all around – a girl with a tattoo on her neck was listening to music on her phone, a couple was trying to stay put by holding what they could in the hyper moving bus,a man with a moustache was just holding on the rod just next to him. The continuous influx and outflow of people was another sight not to miss out on. I was smiling and trying to make an eye contact. But the success rate was very low and when the success came it was futile without any reciprocation of the same gentle gesture. But persistent in my nature I decided not to give up. Then suddenly the bus came to an unexpected halt – a frequent sight to pick up passengers standing and waving on the road. As the case would have been, I expected the man with the moustache in front of me to shout,curse and abuse the driver. But to my surprise he was smiling. It felt like the energy that I was radiating got absorbed and was reciprocated with an exponential zeal and innocence.This was not the usual scene that you would see in this city. The man looked at me in eye and we both smiled, we did not speak but it was as though we both had said what we wanted to. It was not over as he was looking out ahead on the road, waiting for the bus to stop and get a chance to smile again, all this with a bright smile across his face.

This made me realise that how innocence and humility that we had as child could brighten each one of us. The simple thought of smiling like a little child and being innocent was all it took to get me into that role, a role that I played with much perseverance. Words can’t express the joy and bliss I could capture from that moment. The experience in its entirety was the thing that brought benevolence to my nature.

Smile that persists.

Smile that persists.

They came across each other at the intersection opposite the Vardaan market,one of the most favoured shopping destinations in town. The market is spread across two floors and one can find clothing,accessories and everything else that one could think of while on a shopping spree. After a long shopping gala time the icing on the cake is the food stalls that adores the perimeter of the market. Two food stalls none can resist even while going through the area are of Agarwal’s Paw Bhajji & the authentic Vada Paw counter opposite the Himalaya Optics shop. The Chaat stalls are spread across on the footpath in front of the main entrance that leads to the market on the Camac Street. This place becomes the hot spot for the students of the St. Xavier’s College during the break in the evening to fill up their hungry stomachs. If one walks a little more down the Camac Street one would find 22 Camac Street which houses popular restaurants and lounge apart from Multi Retail shops.

He saw her with her friends smiling and looking as beautiful as ever before and laughing louder than ever before. He could see that she was happy and that was enough to get a broad smile on his face. Even though he had been broken since the day things had ended,he was smiling still. The only reason was that all that had mattered for him was her happiness,her safety and her well being. Though it had been months,he had not been able to get on with the fact that it was over because it was never meant to.The frequent meetings in the evening,the everyday late night conversations and the long soothing hugs were not to end ever but to persist forever. There were times when they had been through difficult situations but had always eventually emerged stronger and closer out of it together. It was not as if it was a casual thing for the either but rather something so strong that it couldn’t be expressed in words by either nor they could imagine it to be experienced by anyone. There was an air of divinity when they were together and a sense of apocalypse when not.

He wanted to talk to her,ask her how she was,how she had been doing,how was her college going,was she taking her medicines on time,was she taking care of herself. There were so many questions to ask but not one he could actually ask. She slipped passed him without noticing him. He dint cry but did indeed feel a bit hurt. But then he smiled again,smiled because for him acceptance was much greater than rejection. He had accepted that what they had was the best that life could give and what she will get will be even better. There’s no hate,remorse nor any grudge against her because he had loved her way too much to fall prey to these peculiarities. For him she was an angel-divine and complete. He worshipped her,admired her,loved her but more than everything cared for her-truly,madly deeply and immensely. Asking her questions, calling her up late at night when she was out to know that she was safe and how soon would reach home were something which he could not resist even though she would get angry by it because her safety was of imperial importance for him.

He turned back and stared at her,her hair falling on the face which she put behind her ears from her right index finger. All the memories came gushing back- the times when he held her soft hands, the hard times when he pulled her close and held her up tightly in his arms to tell her he was there and things would turn better.The frequent visits to new restaurants to explore and implore different kinds of cuisines,the sudden happy coffee dates and the long never ending drives that they would go on together,not to forgot the walks they went on even if their legs hurt badly.The longer he kept staring at her the farther the world around him kept going.

He was so deeply enthralled in love that reality escaped his mind. Lost in the serenity of the moment he failed to realise that a car was coming from the back which hit him hard and threw him 20 feet off the ground. Suddenly as realisation dawned he searched around for her but there was only a flash of white light. He was thrown face up and all that he could see was the bright sky above him. He saw her smiling face in the clouds-innocent,cute and divine as always. The image in the clouds seemed surreal, the moment seemed never ending and the feeling inexpressible.

He fell on the ground,broke his ribs and legs,blood coming out from the deep cut on his forehead but his lips were an incredible sight for a man dying. You could see him smiling even though there was blood spilled all around him. For some it may have been a relief from the pain and the hardship but he was a of different kind altogether.He was smiling and feeling happy because he had seen his prized possession,the love of his life, his only companion,his soul,his everything and he had seen her happy. That is all what he had wished for since the time she came into his life and that is what he got when he breathed his last.