In The Darkness, As a Light

In The Darkness, As a Light

Aristotle says there are only 36 plots that can be narrated in stories. It is true that no stories have been told apart from these 36 plots in literature theatre, cinema, and narratives. I seriously reject his theory and I believe stories can be narrated that are fresh from these thirty six plots and one day I would love to see myself doing it. On the first hand, apart from indulging into the true false debate of Aristotle’s theory, here a deep introspection is required. To introspect just think what differences you could find between the content of Vietnam colony (1990’s Tamil movie), Avatar (2009), and Embrace of the Serpent (2016 Columbian film)

Avatar is the story about a group of humans trying to colonize Pandora, a moon inhabited by humanoid tribal alien species called Na’vi, by waging a war against them to acquire a unique resource, a rock unobtanium. To gain their trust for this a human, the protagonist is sent, with the mission of getting himself accepted by them as their own. He is given a new identity for this.

Vietnam colony speaks about a group of corporate trying to acquire a colony from its people. ‘Hero’ is sent on a mission to gain their trust, and make them accept him and finally convince them to give up their land to the corporate.

A part of Embrace of the serpent deals with an American agent posing himself as an enthusiastic traveler to a native Colombian tribe, but actually this agent is on a mission to check the possibilities of colonizing the place for its resources.

Aristotle seems to have a point, right? I fear and prevent myself from a restrictive thought, generally any thought that narrows down the liberalities of stories. I think due to the same reason great storytellers reject the concept of genres in stories. If genres become path pavers for a storyteller when creating stories then their stories will get into confinements. Genres are only for the viewer or reader to pull him in to the story. So, genres are not needed to be worried about by a writer when writing a piece. Then what they need to worry about. For this, take the case of the above three movies. These movies speak about colonization of native places by a foreign body for resources through sending an agent to earn the natives’ trust and check the possibilities of colonizing. But the differences start emerging when timeline and space of the stories come into play. According to the timeline and space, the science, geopolitics, economics and every worldly aspects change altogether to speak different philosophy of the world in which the story is happening. So, the characters’ traits, attributes change altering the thought process and eventually the motive of characters. This motive affects the decision taken by the characters at different points and course changes. Then, journey which the piece offers differs to give people different experience. That’s why the above taken movies give people varied experiences though bearing thematic and plot similarities. These worldly characteristics and characters play a Permutation Combination game to yield rhythmic narratives that are contextually different and vast to manipulate the emotions invested on it. Every art has its own rhythm but especially cinema vows much to music as both art forms, with their rhythmic nature of visuals and sounds commands the audience and embark them into a journey of emotions by tone and mood easily. Yeah, stories in novel also set the tone and mood by choice of words for a particular context, but cinema and music are much more related. Speaking about this rhythm, it gets constructed as a whole and called ‘structure’. Also, contexts do come together to choose its own medium of narrating the story that is ‘form’. Structure and Form are like amoeba, whose shape or outlook can have infinite possibilities. I think this nature of stories make them unique and vast as sky.

Generally, Form and structure are dictated by the voice or views of auteur narrating stories. To make clear this point I take the example of a recent Tamil film’ Visaaranai’. Visaaranai voices against the ‘Strong eat the weak’ instances that are happening in a democratic society. It speaks about Human Rights of people in lower spectrum with no voice of their own being exploited by people at higher level in hierarchy. Misuse and selfish use of Power, Control by a system’s higher authority lead to exploitation of those who do not adjust with the ‘morals’ proposed by the former. This voice of the filmmaker is evident in the film’s form as the first half of the movie narrates voiceless immigrants who were working day and night to meet their means [one of the character in the film works day and night, is also against ‘Human Rights’ but he doesn’t know that he is exploited for work] with no identity become vulnerable to a crime trial that they were in no way related. They were abused by the stronger police officials to admit the crime that they never committed who enjoy unquestionable power to do anything they want to solve a case. Then, the latter half explores the intricate nature of ‘hierarchy levels’ in Police department and its own ‘inside’ exploitation of power. These two prisms being thematically connected investigates the different trials that come together in film’s form and structure to serve filmmakers’ voice against ‘Strong eat the weak’ nature of the system. Try yourself by taking big epic like Mahabharata to small short stories. Then, the vastness will be understood.

What is seen is different but the form and structure with its rhythm call for an intellectual debate and makes us to get connected spiritually thus giving a transported experience. I think that’s why Stanley Kubrick once said

“FILM IS NOT WHAT YOU SEE, BUT IS WHAT YOU FEEL FROM IT”.

May be. Also, I don’t reject the concept of content or plot entirely. If Content is to be seen as the ‘Parameter’ of an art then Form, Structure and Rhythm are the ‘Metameters’ that are to be felt. I think these ‘Metameters’ are the variable for an art form to reinvent itself in evolution of mankind with changing time.

Personally, as a cinephile, this understanding of form and rhythm struck me hard by watching films of great filmmaking auteur Mr.Abbas Kiarostami.He is born as an Iranian but the whole world of filmmaking vows to him. With his stories that are simplest eventually becoming truest to life has invented the form and rhythm through his deep vision. For example, his Docu-Fiction ‘CLOSE UP’ blends the form of both documentary and fiction greatly to give an unforgettable experience. His stories are socially responsible and he had the intention not to mislead any viewer by glamorizing morally bad values. Great auteurs return to moral stories at one point of time but Abbas Kiarostami from his start narrates stories with highest sensibilities for morals. By seeing his films, I wonder if love is the universal communication and connect between different people at various parts of the world with numerous differences then stories are also universal communication and connect between people, with Form, Structure and rhythm being the medium to express. On being universally communicative, the Master Kiarostami says-

“In order to narrate stories that are Universal, you need to be rooted to your own culture”

Mother (Women) India

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Disclaimer: Not for or against to whomsoever it may concern.

“Thaaye un peyar sollumbodhe idhayathil mellisai paayudhey…” goes the lyric of a famous song about India. But the topic in discussion is nothing related to the inspirational and eternal history of the country, rather it is about the part of the society whose pronoun is used to address the country as a whole. While ‘Mother India’ or ‘Bharat Maatha’ is beginning to lose her value across the world, the ‘mothers’ and ‘maathas’ in the country have never been valued, let alone losing it. The appreciation and salutations of women have been restricted only to literature.

Hitler quoted, “Women are nothing but child-bearing machines!”. Here, the basic difference between an average Indian male and Hitler is that Hitler was brave enough to tell it out. Even in mythologies and History, the ladies who were described to be ‘powerful’ were more or less inferior to one male or another. Kannagi burnt a whole city, but she was helpless when she came to know her husband had a secret affair. So why are women projected weaker than a man? The answer is very simple, Indian society is male-chauvinistic!

When the Government announced a 33% reservation for women a couple of years back, it was a surprise for people all over the country because, we people, in our head never believed that a woman would not dare get into public and handle power. But the bitter truth is that for a decade now, even in Board exams, the percentage of girls clearing it, is more than that of the boys! And then suddenly, the country began to encourage (or more precisely, ‘hyped’) the female society. In every field, may it be sports, politics, research and even cinema, females were given more importance. This was and is the problem of our country, we either over-rate something (or someone) or under-rate them.

Old, conservative country was drastically replaced by a newer and more modern country (only physically). Women were made to wear ‘exotic’ and sexier attires to make others believe they were no less to a man (‘lesser’, attires to be more precise.) This change was accepted only by certain parts of the society. Entertainment industry and politics used it as a strategy to gain familiarity. But, middle and lower middle class found it hard to accept.

Even now, though women are given equal importance in education, the crime against women has constantly been rising. The famous ‘Nirbhaya’ and ‘Swathi’ incidents were just a sample of what’s happening in the country for many centuries now. It’s of no use talking about development and empowerment when the very existence of a part of the society is questionable.

This violence against women can be minimized only by strict laws and instant justice. That said, it is only in people’s hands to bring about a change, however trivial and philosophical it may sound.

Again, not all men in the society are cruel or evil, but then, there is a theory in statistics which states ‘The behavior of a population can be determined from its samples’ and the samples we choose determine the society. Respect the other gender and you’re already pronouncing the ‘D’ of Development!

Selfless Souls

Plato and Aristotle

Over the years, we have had one or many favorite teachers at a point of time. Even if we get stuck in an asylum-like college, there will always be one life-saving, cool teacher who instantly becomes our favorite. If you haven’t had one yet, wait-for-it.

But in all honesty, how much do we know about these people? To be honest, not much. Of course we get to know about some of their family issues now and then via some of the honest, rambling teachers. But do we really understand their feelings?

We pass out of our respective schools or colleges, partying with our friends, celebrating with our beloved parents, make the customary phone calls to relatives we meet only during family functions or reunions, but we don’t bother to even make an effort to go see the teachers who played a big part in what we are today.

We may make fun of them, criticize them and even go to an extent where we swear at them. But like it or not, we are indebted to them in some way or other. I consider imbibing knowledge in others as a godly deed. They may fail to impress you at times, but be reminded that at some point of time they taught us something. It may have been somethingwe should follow or an example of what we shouldn’t become.

I remember when I was a little boy, one of my school teachers once saying these exact words when I refused to listen to him, “You will become a teacher, this is my curse!” in a funny way of course. Although it tickled my funny bone back then, but now I understand the depth of what he said. We will never know what they go through unless we are in their position.

Why am I writing this all of a sudden you ask?

This was called for again by one of my teachers. First day of a new semester in college and I sat as usual waiting for the new teacher to arrive. He did eventually and asked us about our performance in the finals. The mundane “Not bad sir” echoed across the classroom. He then asked us if any one of us went to the respective teachers to tell them how he/she had done or informed about the results. As expected the answer was a big fat zero.

He sighed deeply and said the words which prompted this outburst of mine, “We don’t expect you to come meet us with large sweet boxes or ask for parties. All we expect is a small conversation telling us about how you fared, be it good or bad. We don’t expect a thank you. We just hope you remember us after we part ways, academically.”

Although he said all this with a small smile on his face, there was genuine pain in his words. So next time you finish an exam, go meet those selfless souls, it will definitely make their day.

I would like to quote Alexander the great here,

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.”

And do you know who his teacher was? The great philosopher, Aristotle.

As it Happened

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What’s happening in Sara’s place? I saw flashes of light this morning. Ambulance arrived.

This is something out of my control. I think it is him. He is the one for me. He is the one I was waiting for a long time exclaimed nineteen year old Sara. Yes, you are right! It is Sara that tall, bubbly, dusky … Siddhartha’s ‘Ex girl friend’. “We were strangers until my friend introduced him to me. I experienced that opposites attract is true when I met Siddhartha. We were hi and bye friends before we officially talked for a reason. ” recollects Sara.

Sara: So are you interested in playing this role in my play?

Siddhartha: Yes. Actually I like the script. It’s nice dude. Did you write it?

Sara: (he wasn’t listening to it I know that) Yes it’s mine.

Siddhartha: I need clarification in the climax. Can you please repeat it?

Sara: yeah! See the plot is like you want to go to…

(Siddhartha was just watching her playing with the pen, expressing the story in the best way through her eyes. He saw her passion for theatre. He liked her for the drama queen she had been.)

So you become what you wanted to be. Lights fade… lights off.

Siddhartha: Now I get it. When do we start practice?

Sara: Probably Monday! Okay I got to go.

Siddhartha, he is my first crush. I told you we were opposites. His favourite colour was black, mine was white. He loves and has a dog, I hate dogs. He was an automobile freak. I know nothing about them. He hates Chennai especially its traffic. I love Chennai no matter what people say about it. He doesn’t like the institution we study and as usual we were opposites. I loved the place, the people, the weather, the monsoon rains, the greenery, my department; it’s weird when I recollect saying of course I liked a few subjects. He on the opposite had no friends, made no friends, hardly talked to people and wasted a semester in FIFA, DOTA and GTA. That’s a brief introduction about us.

“Next monday we have internals let’s start at least this Wednesday” I told him over the phone. He said yes but never did. “Sara! It’s me. Hey I want your notes to study for tomorrow’s exam” pleaded a voice over the phone. I had never helped anyone in this situation instead I made them cry for not asking me in advance. But this guy is someone I could never say no to.

I liked him. He even did. I woke him up every morning after a battle of seven- five minutes he asks for before he gets up from bed. Between I get dressed up, skip my breakfast to meet him for a morning coffee and then we went to class. I sit in the third row second column and he at the fifth row third column. I started falling for him. I often made eye contact with him, took all his practical works, records, assignments and made him free so that he talked to me a little longer after college hours. I always put an extra effort towards everything. In particular, studies. “Love always takes you in the path of success and if it doesn’t it’s not love”. I read this quote in Facebook. I wanted to prove that it’s love. So I did.

We now started understanding each other well. I convinced myself to like dogs. I wear black frequently now. I also search about the release of new cars in Google. I have transformed myself to a person whom I never wanted to be. He on the other hand stayed the same. Again we were opposites. I gathered courage and confidence to propose him before he left for his 20th birthday to his hometown. He said yes the next week. Now ours has become an unusual love story with usual stuff in between. The usual long night talks, text messages under the table, frequent lunch dates at canteen, gifts, surprises and fights. But, something in me said it is not going to last long.

I was no longer able to resist being that person he made me. To be precise, I made myself for him. I started realising; apparently thinking that I have changed so much for him. On the other hand he has done nothing for me and this induced that spark of battle in our love. I often quoted this and made every petty issue big. “I never asked you to love me, or change yourself for me. Honestly I don’t love you because you are not the person I loved. It was just a mask” he shouted. He started avoiding me. I tried calling him to meet but, ended up leaving voice messages. My status said “Love stories are written to be felt, not to be read”. His status replied “I hate love stories”. When mine was “What’s more painful than being hurt by the one who loved you the most?” His read “no pain no gain!” Was this intentional? I didn’t know. I always had a smile when I thought of him. This time we are not opposites. He felt the same. His ego stopped him from talking to me. My self-respect asked me not to. And, Time separated us.

‘I saw him with his family recently in the alumni meet and I was talking to his wife. She was beautiful. She has exactly the same ideologies, wishes, aspirations as that of him. She must have been the one for him. They are so perfect together. And now I realise “opposites just attract but only like dissolves in like.” After a hard day of struggle I gained the courage to talk with him. I saw him with his friends. He was coming to me. I smiled. He smiled. Not every smile leads to a happy ending. We shook hands, said bye! And again we became strangers but this time with memories’. She cried.

Yesterday I saw him offering condolences to her family, placing her favourite white gown over her tomb, crying at her funeral. I suddenly noticed that it is the same white gown she is wearing now and my Ouija board burned to ashes.

The Invisible Anchor

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Have you even been in a relationship where you were so much in love with him that your world seemed to literally revolve around him? Where he consumed every ounce of you? Where even after all the mess that he has put you through, you find comfort in his deep brown eyes?

Yes, I have been there. Love is one of the best emotions that one could ever experience. Well, at first it is all smiles and butterflies. Then there is this crazy adrenaline rush that you get when you receive a text message. You spend most of your time daydreaming, uncontrollably grinning and fantasizing about every possible minute you get to spend with him.

It was a time when I felt life was very transparent, simple, and uncomplicated. What could possibly go wrong when you are full of love? Well, nothing. Our love grew every day. He was the man who knew me inside out. He knew exactly what I like and how I would react. He simply loved me too much. And, I loved him a little much more.

He was my wonderwall. I was very vulnerable when it came to him. He had the power to crash my universe and stake my soul. A power he cherished with my will. But it doesn’t last that way forever, does it ?

Life taught me that not everything is supposed to become beautiful and long lasting. People walk into your life only to walk out. They come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong.

Like Kiersten White said, I would have chosen him in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality. I would have chosen him if he wanted to be chosen. If he had not looked into my eyes and said that he had decided to choose her over me. If he had not been two-timing for 2 years. If he had told me about his un-defying love for her. I would have walked away and let him have what he wanted. But he didn’t, she did.

A call on a forlorn night, only to realize, how much another girl can love the love of my life. I spent almost two weeks in denial, only to hear the same story from him. A relationship that lasted 3 years meant nothing to him. I fell apart. And, just like that, my stardust burst into agony.

I spent almost another year trying to find out where everything went wrong. He fell in love with someone else while he was still in love with me. That moment it struck me , my heart clasped into two , one side was filled with memories and the other was just void.

It was not just about love, it was about my career and my plans for future. I turned back and tried to alter things but then I realized that he had changed every single decision I took. I was somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

I was in the middle of a two-way street. I could either move on and live my life or continue being a mere existence. My dreams were big and it is my calling today, whatever I am, I am proud of it .

Patience is a virtue

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A popular liquid hand-wash brand promises to kill germs within 10 seconds. 10 seconds? A speech bubble popped up-”Why? Am I going to turn into an alien thereafter?” I shared this thought with my friend but he argued that given our hectic lives, time wasted in these trivial activities such as washing hands, could be spent better. But are we really that conscious about spending our time wisely?

In our country everybody wants everything done, instantly. For example, take the clichéd case of a government office. We want our job to be finished instantly, so we bribe the official. But we never realize that there are thousands of people just like us who want the same job done, and have bribed the same official. So due to our lack of patience we end up corrupting the entire system and still get the same slow result. These days, at government offices, people rarely ask what forms to fill up, or what are the eligibility criterias, rather they ask “How much should we pay to get this job done?” We have to understand that all government processes take time; primarily due to our country’s overwhelming population and of course, depending on the process everything has certain formalities and a time frame. For instance, if we require a passport, we have to mandatorily fill in our details and wait patiently for the policemen to complete the verification. We really must be smart enough to apply for the passport well in advance and not apply just before a few days from when it’s required. Realize this, and corruption in our country will be a thing our children might study as a part of history.

Hastiness is another alarming trend growing throughout our country. This is a spin-off from the above mentioned ‘instant results’ culture. On this note, I would like to share my recent experience on road. The signal was red. It was about to turn green, with the timer indicating that there were 5 more seconds left. Suddenly, a guy in a two-wheeler with his son as pillion accelerated and raced off! I hadn’t even blinked, when I saw the others racing off as well. A mix of emotions surfaced. “What if a vehicle from the other side, hit them?” ran as an infinite loop within me. I went home and reflected upon the incident again. Another speech bubble popped up-“What on earth was he going to do, in those five seconds?” I realized how hasty, people (even the so called grown-ups) were. In spite-of endless warnings that ignoring traffic rules could lead to death, we are begging fate, to add us to the list of tomorrow’s obituaries. We not just cause danger to our lives, but to those who are proper as well. We never think of the guy from the other side that got hit because he followed the rules. Why should a guy who has obeyed all the rules get hurt for no fault of his? Is it because we didn’t have the patience to wait for 5 seconds? Just imagine how harsh it would be on him.

In the end all of this comes to a simple, but a very effective quality- Patience. Ask yourselves, “Are we really such time conscious workers? Do we really have so much to do, that we don’t have even mere seconds of spare time?”  After all, we’re from a society, which wants working hours in companies to be reduced to six hours, based on a survey which says such revised timings improve the quality of work. While in contrast, there are people in countries like Japan, who work 60 hours a week. This doesn’t mean we’ve to do everything patiently; we just need to prioritize better. Yes, some things like paying income taxes, periodic vaccinations, paying your insurance premiums and so on, need to be done instantly. Stop saying “I don’t have time!” when in reality, our lack of proper time management skills is the problem. So the next time you make a decision, always keep in mind that patience is a virtue. Remember, you needn’t always have to be the one, to do it first. Sometimes, it is enough if you be the one, to do it right.

 

Beyond Borders

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With moist and dismayed eyes, a foreign worker, in clothes mildly smeared with grease and paint, stood first in the queue, pusillanimously lost in thought. He looked like a Bangladeshi, Anu thought.

Just behind the Bangladeshi, a middle aged rotund Chinese man was leaning on the side rails with two large red plastic shopping bags placed near his feet. Oblivious to the surrounding, he was busy over the phone, thanking and laughing courteously, “Hái méiyǒu, xièxiè.”

Crawling on one of the bags was a large fly that caught the keen attention of ten years old Kani. He couldn’t take his eyes off.

The moment Anu saw her son’s eyes sparkling brighter, she knew the reason. As always she was fascinated by his interest displayed even before he had turned one. From as early as seven months old he used to look for ants and insects in the corners of the marble floor and follow them crawling on four. And flying insects thrilled him all the more. Long before he pronounced the word, “Amma,” to call her, he had learnt to say in Tamil ‘Poochchi’ (insect), which made history, becoming the first word he learnt to speak.

Eager to continue where they had left their conversation just before leaving home, Anu asked her husband, “And what did that pinoy colleague of yours exactly say to anger you that much? You didn’t tell me the details.”

Excited, wide eyed Somu said, “He had the cheek to say right on my face that without them our country will cease to function. Can you believe, Anu?”

Although the haze due to the conflagration in the Sumatran forests, seemed to have reduced to healthy levels, in about six or seven out of the ten faces that belonged to the migrants, there were several with N9 masks.

“Without the Filipinos?”

“Foreign workers in general, I suppose. I just couldn’t stand his temerity, you know. I was intensely searing inside.” She just nodded looking at his face.

His chubby face was becoming more and more rounded with the receding hairline, she thought. The black curls highlighted his already fair complexion.

As if muttering to herself Anu said, “Humans seem to push the days of the week just for the weekend, to actually live.” The queues were long.

The air at the bus interchange was filled with an erratic mixture of children shrieking, loud laughter of young people in groups, buses manoeuvring and halting, bus doors opening and closing.

Mandarin, Tamil, Malay, Tagalog, Hokkien and Bangla heard here and there were though certainly not mellifluous, but an intriguing babel. The aroma of the satay from the nearby hawker wafted along with the breeze.

The breeze bore the message of the approaching showers. The heavily gathering clouds not just dimmed the sunlight but had suddenly increased the humidity.

Being one of the first few in the line for the route number 960, getting seats of their choice was too difficult.

The Bangladeshi worker had gone straight all the way to the back and took the left window seat of the long row of last seats.

Kani slowly walked ahead keeping his sight on the fly.

“He went on saying things like they are a cheerful and contended bunch even with lower wages.”

“Lower?” Anu asked.

“Ya lah. Somewhat lower than us locals.”

“True,” she agreed.

The stout Chinese man placed the bags purposely on the adjacent seat so that the foreign workers boarding behind wouldn’t occupy it.

Watching the fly, Kani stood there blocking the way for the other passengers. Spontaneously pulling him along, “Only a common house fly, just a little bigger,” Somu hushed. They moved to the rear. Kani’s focus remained on the fly.

As the bus exited at the woodlands interchange, Somu continued, “You know, I couldn’t help telling him, why you don’t go back since you are paid low here. But left the place abruptly without saying more when he went on to say I must learn to be happy.”

“You?”

“Obviously, he meant us Singaporeans,” Somu said lowering his voice.

Near the exit, seated at the centre of the bus the three domestic workers dressed in their week end best, dolled up in all accessories, started watching videos happily, ready to thoroughly enjoy their off day. One of them answered a call, “One ang paraan, sanay maging late,” assuring their punctuality to the friends on the other side.

Seated right behind his parents, next to the Bangladeshi worker, Kani kept getting up restlessly from his seat to take a look at the fly.

When a zaftig middle aged Malay woman boarded at the Marsiling station, one of the foreign worker seated behind the driver spontaneously got up to give her the seat. The lady hesitated for a second and was about to lumber to the rear when the other guy at the window seat followed suit. Happily, she sat on the aisle seat and started looking out the window.

Looking around within the bus, Anu said, “Its fine. Not like you had feared. I can even see a few empty seats.”

“You don’t know darling. This bus really gets crowded on Sundays. We could have gone shopping next week after our car is back from servicing,” he sulked.

“Oh come on, Somu. Look at him! He seems to be enjoying the ride.”

“If not for the parking woes in Little India area, I wouldn’t choose to travel in this bus, especially during the week end,” he said for the third time.

When the fly flew to the rear, it landed on the tab the domestic worker was holding. She jumped and shooed it off with a giggle. Her two friends joined in the amusement.

Kani got excited and shrieked, “Pa, look he is flying this way!” Suddenly feeling shy for having expressed loudly, sat on his seat quietly observing.

The insect had comfortably settled on the glass window near the exit. Once in while glancing at the fly, Kani sat calmly. He shared his discovery, “Musca domestica,” tugging at his mother’s shoulder. He pointed to the fly when Anu, from the front seat, turned to smile at him.

After the first few stops, at the Kranji station, foreign workers were boarding in bunches.

Somu gave her a, “I told you,” kind of a look.

“Kani needs to see some real world at least once in a while,” Anu smiled gathering the locks of hair and tugging them behind her ears with her right hand.

There was an empty seat after the exit. A tall and slender looking Chinese woman who had boarded looked around, waved her hand with a pointed finger, “Go and sit there lah.” The foreign worker who looked like a Tamil guy, got up like an obedient student and moved to the back. With a serious expression, “Thank you,” she said curtly.

“What do you mean Anu? Don’t tell me that only crowded bus rides are real life,” Somu chided with a laugh.

“Not exactly, but in a way yes,” Anu beamed.

Many were startled when the Malay woman, in her attempt to alight at the Bukit Panjang CC advanced to the rear saying, “Cannot tahaan this anymore. Why are these people so smelly?” Right after getting off the bus, she threw an acrimonious expression at the bus from where she stood.

“Ma, why is that old aunty rankling for no apparent reason?”

“Hush, are you bored? Want my mobile?”

“No,” he said and went back to watch the big fly.

As the bus entered the BKE, most of them were getting busy texting. Most of them had dozed off in their seats. The bus suddenly quietened.

The two tall housing board block of flats followed by a few private condominiums beyond the greens, on the right disappeared within minutes.

The long terrain ride with the lush natural habitat on either sides of the expressway, as always brought a serene feeling within, Anu delved.

“Oh my God! I took the wrong set of shopping bags! I never bought these live crab,” the Chinese man suddenly jolted. He held the tied bag with a large creepy crab within.

He stood up to go near the driver. “You have to get off at the Tanglin CC and cross the road via the overhead bridge and board a bus back to Bukit Panjang,” as he said calmly, the driver smartly kept his eyes on the road.

Kani was eager have a look at the crab from near but Somu said, “No need to go all the way there. We are speeding in the expressway Kani. It’s enough to look from here. I thought you were scared of crabs,” he chuckled.

“Of course, I wouldn’t dare touch it. Just want a closer look,” he said but sat back in his seat.

The Bangladeshi worker was sincerely trying hard to look away from the young Anglo Chinese couple in secret and mild canoodle at the right end of the long back seat. He had been talking seriously to someone for more than ten minutes. Sensing the network was bound to go erratic in the PIE, he winded up his conversation smartly, “Jaani. Achchaa, thaarpor kotha bolbo, han?”

The road widening works near the exit to Eng Neo Avenue and Adams Road suddenly reminded of the city life.

“You look ravishing in this sari,” Somu whispered in her ear.

“And you say that the umpteenth time, Somu. I still can’t forget the day you stood at the shop dead against me choosing this,” Reminiscing, they both laughed to look behind at Kani.

Very much familiar with the expressway, traffic, the downtown line works along the Bukit Timah road, Kani was observing all that he could, mostly within the bus as if he might never get another chance to travel by bus.

Once at Whitley Road, louring, the urban face of the city showed. “Comes under the sub order Cyclorrhapha,” Kani bent down to whisper into Somu’s ears. The father forced a smile and looked at the fly.

Grumblingly, the Chinese man with the shopping bags alighted.

With not many passengers boarding or alighting, the bus streamlined in the Bukit Timah Road.

When the bus reached Little India, most of the commuters alighted. “Bus rides are damn interesting Pa,” Kani mused as he got down.

Not losing sight of the Bangladeshi worker who had also alighted, Kani told his parents to wait for a few minutes. When Anu pulled him, he said, “Ma, please wait just for a few minutes.”

“Can I have a few dollars, pa?” he said hurriedly keeping an eye on the foreign worker.

Taking out his wallet from his pant pocket, Somu asked impatiently, “But what do you need money so urgently for?” Kani pulled out a ten dollar note.

He pointed to the Bangladeshi standing with a lost expression on his face. “He needs to top up his ez link, Pa. I heard him cry over the phone. He is totally broke and in a dire state, Ma.”

“Don’t tell me you can understand their language.”

“Oh, I’d say I have been gleaning their language over the year,” he said. Always observing, he would smile and wave at the Bangladeshi workers who cleaned the chute and the common areas. But Anu never expected him to have picked up their language.

Kani swiftly went near the foreign worker and asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“Paya Lebar,” said the foreign worker, looking at Kani a little hesitantly.

With all kindness, Kani said softly and slowly, “You take the train to Bugis and from there you board the green line towards Pasir Ris, you understand?” The Bangladeshi just nodded shyly.

Gently, Kani thrust the ten dollar note into his hand and hopped back to join his parents. As if trying to prevent them from looking at that guy, he pulled each by his hands.

Curiously, He turned to look and was titillated to see the housefly riding on the tattered back pack of the Bangladeshi.

“Eureka! Single pair of wings! Comes under the higher classification of Diptera,” he squealed.


Jayanthi Sankar has been creatively active for the past twenty one years in short stories, novels, translation, transcreations and essays. Having written primarily in Tamil, she has authored more than 28 books, she has started writing more in English in the recent years. Several of her books have been awarded by renowned organisations. Her short story ‘Read Singapore’, published in the quarterly magazine Ceriph – ISSUE TWO – 2010, has been included in the anthology ‘The Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories: Volume One’. The same short story has been translated into Russian anthology: To Go to S’pore, contemporary writing from Singapore, edited by Kirill Cherbitski. Her short story collections have been short listed thrice for Singapore Literature Prize. After ‘Loss and Laws’, ‘Horizon afar’ is the second collection of her Tamil short stories into English. The collection her English stories are expected to be published as collection next year. Born and brought up in India, she lives in Singapore since 1990. You can reach her at her website.

When She Said her Passion is Dead

Source: alansvejk.com
Source: alansvejk.com

“What’s your passion? What do you want to achieve?” I asked her. “My passion is dead. It’s buried” she replied with eyes full of tears. “I’m a girl from a conservative family. I’ve been trying to pursue my passion right from standard 8. I love literature, poetry, and design. The education institutions I studied in ruined my passions. Relatives and parents were discouraging me. Now after ceaseless disappointments and pains, I’m working as a computer programmer. If you ask me what’s my passion, I don’t have an answer. During my childhood I was into dancing, professional dancers asked me to pursue dancing as I had a great future in it. My grandma opposed it strictly and I left dancing. I used to write English poems but when my relatives and parents read it, they asked me “for whom are you writing these? Are you in love?” There ended my tryst with poetry writing. I rarely write nowadays. I played badminton in my high school. My staff said that if I’m trained in the right way, I may excel in it. Then my parents said, “You need to build your body and stay fit for it. You can’t do it”. I locked my badminton dreams in the locker of the gym. My team started hating me for what I’d done. I studied well, scored good marks and got into a decent college. I wanted to become a fashion designer. But, this passion too failed.” She continued speaking.

“I felt lost. I felt terrible. I felt stupid. You may ask, why can’t I pursue my passion without my parent’s knowledge? I can’t, because I’m a girl. I’m a stupid girl! Now I’m earning 50,000 per month. Do you think I’m happy about it? I’m a lifeless person. Nowadays all I think is, I want to get married and settle with a good husband. That’s the only good thing I am fit to do in this society. Do you think I can simply go and ask my parents to get me married? I’m living in a world of hatred, disappointment and humiliation. Just because I wear branded apparels and good-looking shoes, it does not mean that I’m happy. I can easily wear a fake smile. Do you think I can resign my job? I need to give a peaceful retirement to my parents. For that, I need this 50,000 per month. This is the hard truth brother. You may come across many women in your day-to-day lives. I can vouch for sure that this is the condition of almost all girls born into middle-class, narrow-minded, conservative families. I’m not blaming my parents. I blame my ancestors. I blame this biased society. I blame this education system and finally, I blame myself for wasting my life. My passion is dead, but I earn 6 LPA with some programming skill I learned in my college. Wish I was born as a boy, like you brother” saying this, she wiped her tears away, finished her coffee, and checked her face in the front camera of her iPhone. “Do I look fine?” she asked me. I nodded. She smiled and it looked fresh. “My parents will start searching for a groom soon”, she said with tired eyes.

It replayed again and again in my head when I saw her photo in the obituary column of the newspaper 2 years after this incident. There was a “Mrs” before her name.

Nothing Will Change, I Promise

Coffee

Another Sunday!

Sleep, eat, roam about lazily, repeat. This, is how my Sundays go, I’m sorry, used to go. Being 25 and unmarried just ruined everything. Sundays became the time for me to converse with strangers for like, half an hour and decide whether to marry them or not. Four such horrible Sundays passed by in three months. This, is the fifth.

“Varshu! Aren’t you ready yet?” That’s Amma’s voice. A worried voice to be exact. Not only her, everybody at home were so worried. Especially, when Amma’s sister’s cousin’s daughter Reshma got married at 23, Appa’s colleague’s daughter Sanjana quit her job to go to the US with her husband and ended up successfully giving birth to a baby boy at 22 and here I am, unmarried with a successful career. Now that, should hurt a lot!

Arranged marriages are complex, already. Horoscopes and the mathematical calculations that decide whether a boy and girl can have a successful and good married life make it even more complicated. Despite the horoscope matches with the four guys I previously met, nothing worked out even in the half hour talk, forget about the rest of life. Arranged marriages don’t give you soulmates, I know that. Just to find a person who is like, tailored for me and not only my horoscope, I am doing this.

“Varshini, listen. Please tell me what you are going to talk to the boy?” When Amma calls me that, it means she is pretty serious. And yes, that question is the outcome of all the fear she has about the way I talk.

“Sorry ma! I’ve told you everything that I feel and everything that has happened to me in life. But this, no. I don’t want to get advises on what to talk to the guy and what not to. So why don’t you just trust your daughter and let her be herself?”

“All these days, I’ve let you be yourself, and the result? You’re still not married while all the girls of your age are with two kids and settled down in life. I don’t even know if you care about us when you talk something to the guy. I’m talking to you! Varshini? Look at her, she is not even responding?” she told my father.

“Till you have this stubbornness, you’re not going to get married at all!”

“Chitra, please let her be! Varshu, I believe in you. Just talk whatever you feel like talking okay? Now go, get the bike key” Appa. Someone who trusts me to the fullest and believes whatever I do will be right.

“Thank you for all the trust that you have in me, pa. Just wait for two minutes, I’ll be right back” I had to actually fight my tears on the way back to my room.

Amma didn’t mean any of those harsh words, I know that, but I had tears filled in my eyes and a sudden rush of negativity.

How can I spend the rest of my life with a person who doesn’t like me the way I am? Am I that terrible a person that nobody will ever like me? I was lost in these thoughts! I had so many questions. I know someone who would have answers to all those questions too. I logged into Skype and waited for Shravan Kumar to come online.

Shravan is my best friend since the time when hormonal changes made us adults, so basically, we know both the child and adult part of each other. Gender has never been a bar for our friendship. He knows me in and out and we share literally everything that happens to each other. We’ve discussed about arranged marriages right when we were teens. He used to ask me “How do you decide whether a person is your life partner in just ten minutes?” I mean, how right he was?!

He came online. “How long should I wait for you?” I shouted.

“Hello! I was ju… Hey wait? Were you crying? What’s the matter, Varsh?”

“Shravan, this is the fifth guy that I’m about to meet. The guys whom I met with before apparently ‘didn’t like me’. Am I that bad a person? Mom says I won’t get married till I change, I don’t know… I am just too low. I’m kind of in a complex that nobody will ever like me. It’s all bleh! Shravu, can you… can you actually come here?”

“Why do you think so much at a time? Varshini, get this straight into your head. You’re the most confident and strong woman I’ve ever met in my life! And YOU are failing to be yourself because of some stranger guys?”

“I don’t know, Shravu! I just hate this phase of my life. It’s ruining me!” tears that I controlled earlier fell mercilessly from my eyes.

“Stop crying now. This is not something that I want to witness over a Skype call sitting several thousand miles away. You shouldn’t let any situation ruin you Varsh. I have seen you face worse crises and you’ve handled them boldly. Just throw everything out of your mind and go meet him as Varshini Raghuram. For now, you are not her.”

“Okay if I be myself, you think this guy will like me?” I asked him like a kid.

“That, we can’t tell. But… ”

“Varshu it’s 5 minutes to raahu kaalam! Can we start now?” I just realised that I kept Appa waiting.

“Okay Shravu, that’s Appa. I will leave now. Can I have a hug?”

“Yea you can. Hugging and supporting you with all my might. Now stay calm and be yourself, don’t forget that!”

“Alright! You go to bed now, don’t stay up too late.”

“Yea, I won’t. You take care and ping me when you’re back! Love you dumbfuck!” and he kissed me good bye. “Love you too! Bye!” Talking to him was like a therapy, I felt so relieved and positive. This asshole should’ve been here with me, I thought as I started yet another journey to find my better half. Whoever invented this word to describe a spouse is such a legend. Appa’s bike stopped.

Okay, I’m in front of Adyar Ananda Bhavan, a restaurant which is usually suggested by my parents (I guess even that was years ago, they in fact come up with suggestions like BBQ Nation and Cream Centre these days) and Harish Rajagopalan has asked me to come here, of all places.

“Varshu, he’ll be waiting for you. Once you finish talking, come back safely in an auto or give me a call”, Appa told. I just wanted to go back home with him right away.

My eyes quickly scanned the entire restaurant to find a face at least little similar to the one they saw in SS matrimony (One can never rely on the photos in matrimony sites, they are always the best possible photographs of the person). I couldn’t see anybody like him so I called Appa and asked him to call Harish and find where he was (Tambrahm has it that the guy and girl shouldn’t exchange numbers before finalising the wedding). Looks like he has been waiting for me in the first floor.

I entered the hall and there I could see him, pretty recognizable. Harish Rajagopalan, height 6 feet 1 inch, weight 75 kilos, Senior Software Developer at Zoho Corporation, Chennai. Above all this, something that is of maximum priority, he is Bharadwaja gothram, Kadaga raasi, Poosa nakshathram.

“Hi! I’m Varshini. Harish?”

“Hey! Hi Varshini! Vaa ukkaaru (Come, have a seat)” That isn’t the way you address a stranger, I thought as he went on. Not judging, though.

“So, how does it feel with all the marriage alliance – seeking and the horoscopes and stuff? Boring isn’t it?” So that’s how you start a conversation? Not judging, again.

“Haha yea” Faked it.

“So Varshini, if I’m right, I’m the fifth guy that you’re seeing for marriage?”

“Uhm, yea?!” I stopped with that, though the voice inside me screamed ‘You have a problem with that?’

“Do you know why the four guys you saw previously rejected you?” That was it. I couldn’t stand more crap of a conversation. I mean, who does he think he is to use the word ‘reject’?

“Well, I don’t know Harish! I don’t want to, but let me guess, those guys might be as narrow-minded and drunk with arrogance as you. I am not jobless to come all the way to a place like this and get ridiculed by a stranger! You know what?! Before you say a word, I’ll just leave! Good bye!”

I entered home intoxicated with anger. “Varshu, why are you home so soon? Did you like him? What happened?” I just brushed all these questions away and stormed into my bedroom.

When I woke up it was 8 in the night! Shravan’s call woke me up! “All the best da” I blabbered in a sleepy voice. “My exam got over an hour back. So what happened in the meeting? Was the guy cool?”

“He’s the most disgusting guy I’ve ever met Shravan. Rude, arrogant, ill-mannered…” I narrated him the entire story.

I was so pissed and there was Shravan trying to ‘draw positivity’ out of this incident. “You know what, I’m really proud of you for being this bold. Before you went, you were all down and after meeting him you’re at least not low, in fact you shed all that complex shit though you are pretty angry. I should thank the guy for that.”

“Yea, right! That’s how you thank someone who insulted your best friend!”

“No. That’s how I thank a guy who made my best friend speak her heart out.” Actually, I didn’t realize that until Shravan told, I did open up, yea.

Appa came in “Varshu, you woke up? Harish called just after you reached home. He apologised to you, seems like he had a really important work and so he had to leave. Only then did I and Amma understand why you came early. Thank god, he called and informed. That’s why I didn’t wake you up!” Okay, I didn’t have the slightest clue of what was happening! Why did he have to lie to my father?

“Sorry pa! I can’t see him again. I’m done with him.”

“But… why kanna? He just apologised for leaving early, no? Are you angry for that? ”

“It’s not that pa…”

“Okay, we will discuss about this once you are done talking in the phone, alright?” He went outside the room saying this.

“There’s nothing to discuss pa!” I shouted at the void behind the open door and continued my phone call “Varsh, what was Appa saying? I heard something like the guy wanted to see you again?”

“Yea, I don’t know why he lied to my dad that he was the one who left. Anyways, I don’t want to see him.”

“Varshini, you should watch out for this guy! I think he is cool and I also feel that you never let him talk. Probably that’s why he wants to see you again. So you know what, you have to meet him again!”

“No way, Shravan! I won’t meet him again.”

“No listen… ”

“You listen! The guys whom I met before, told my parents some stupid reasons after meeting me to avoid the alliance, alright? This guy, isn’t even that courteous. He was so rude, blunt and spoke to me in such an arrogant way.”

“Varsh, hang on. Just recall what you told right now. The fact that this guy is different from all the others came out of your mouth. And you know what, he never said he didn’t like you. Even if he said so, he told it to you at your face directly right? So, isn’t he your type?”

“Don’t try to change my mind-set Shravan. I just don’t want to see him again.”

“Varshini Raghuram, if you don’t have a valid argument against my view, just shut up and listen to what I say at least.”

“No it’s not that… ”

“You’re time is up. You’ve not got a point against Shravan! Accept your defeat and agree to meet that guy. Go and tell Appa, NOW!”

“Fine. Bye”

“What does that mean?”

“It means I’ll go talk to Appa and agree to meet him, alright? Bye” He laughed and I kept the phone down.

I agreed to meet Harish again on Monday after office. This time he asked me to come to KFC, a total contrast of a place!

“Would you like to have something? To eat, to drink?”

“Krushers will do. Thanks”

“Okay I’ll order Hot Wings for me!” Hot Wings… is supposed to be chicken right? Oh my god, apparently the white cross isn’t pure white. He continued talking “I’m sorry, are you still angry?”

“Why do you even bother about all that? Please tell me why you lied to my dad and why you wanted to meet me again.” I was about to utter few more words, but he spoke like a rapid-fire, “Because I like you and I wanted to spend more time with you” Shravan was so right in telling that this guy is outspoken, I thought.

“Wh… What?!” I gasped.

“Yea! Just let me complete what I was about to tell you yesterday, will you?” our order came. “Chicken saapduviya?” (Do you eat chicken?)

“No!”

“Yea so, the question I asked you was to give a good start to the conversation, but I just didn’t use the right words… ”

“Okay, you asked me if I knew why those guys ‘rejected’ me. This, you believed, would’ve given a good start?”

“Yea, I know. I apologise for the word. I just meant if you ever thought why those guys would’ve responded in negative.”

“No I didn’t. In fact, I don’t want to think about all that.”

“Well, even if you don’t want to think about it, I want you to know, so please let me talk…” he continued. “Uhm, my family kind of did some ‘research’ about how you are as a person and all that. So… they were told you are a bold personality, outspoken, talented and everything, but they were also told that you are not a ‘cultured person’, you are quite ‘modern’, and you always hang around with the guys, you know, such stuff.”

“Oh okay, so you say that those guys would have ‘rejected’ me hearing all these? You know what, I really don’t care… I…” I… was interrupted.

“Relax Varshini! Just calm down. Will you please listen to me fully?”

“Why should I listen to what people bitched about me? Huh?”

“Because I want to let you know that I don’t give a fuck to those opinions of people.” I got bowled over by this reply, to be frank.

“What are you saying?”

“I seriously didn’t want to judge you with all these talks. I just wanted to let you know what is going on around you, considering that you might be clueless about what really went wrong with these guys that met you. And that just didn’t go the way I wanted, I’m sorry for that. In fact, I feel if there’s mixed opinion about a woman and there are people who bitch about her like this, she must be someone who follows her heart without giving a damn to what people think about her. Above all this, if you hang around with so many guys as they say, all of them can’t be your boyfriends, right?” he winked. That sentence angered me.

“Oh, so? If I had a boyfriend and I broke up with him, you’d have judged me like the rest of the people?”

“Absolutely no! I’d think that the guy whom you broke up with couldn’t just hold on to a woman like you.”

“A woman like me? How well do you know me to make that statement?”

“Well, I don’t know you much, but I would like to know more about you! Because, I personally feel that you’re an awesome woman already!” I was afraid that I would decide in haste if I stayed a little longer. So I told him some lame reason and rushed home. When Appa and Amma asked, I told I need time to think.

I called Shravan and told every word of the conversation I had with Harish. “See?! I told you he’s not a bad choice. This is why you’ve to listen to me…” he just ranted on. However, I couldn’t come to a conclusion with that meeting. Shravan suggested that I meet him again. But how, this meeting itself is ‘illegal’ according to my relatives and the elders in my family. I can’t ask my parents to meet him once again, so I chose not to tell them.

For the third consecutive day, I met him. He suggested that we walked the talk.

“Look here, Harish… to be frank, I loved the way you spoke yesterday. But, will it be practically possible to implement your views in life? I am even doubtful if they are really your views.”

“You thought I spoke all that to impress you? Well, honestly I was very careful with the tone or the words I chose, I did try to impress you as the first encounter flopped, but what I spoke, the content, it’s something that I truly believe in, yea”

“Harish, all these years, my dad has trusted me and given me the freedom to do whatever I like. I’ve seen girls of my age who had to face a lot of restrictions. My dad was different and yes, I’ve never spoiled his trust. He has been the ideal dad! All I wish for is one thing. I need a truly ‘better’ half! A person who can give me the same freedom my dad gave me and trust me like him. I don’t want anything to change after marriage. I say “Love you” to my best friend Shravan and kiss him good bye whenever I talk to him. I don’t want that to change. My job, the way I be with my parents, friends, I don’t want any of it to change because of a marriage. Varshini Raghuram should live life no different from Varshini R Xyz. Yes, I won’t remove my dad’s initials after marriage, neither will I refuse to add my husband’s name. I want everybody, I need people…“ I kind of spoke everything that I had in mind.

“What are you staring at Harish? I’m done talking!” I said.

“I’m going to tell my parents that I like you. You just think about it and let me know. ”

“What? Harish, you never told me anything about yourself?”

“What do you want to know about me?”

“What sort of a question is this? Tell me what kind of a person you are and what kind of a girl you’re looking for and all that, I don’t know?”

“The girl that I’m looking for is in front of me.” and before he continued, I got a mini heart attack!

“And what do I tell about myself? I love doing what I like and I admire and have huge respect for the people who do what they like. You’d have noticed yesterday, I eat non-vegetarian food despite being a Brahmin. I’ve not hidden this from Appa, Amma but yea, when I go for a meal with them, I don’t eat non-veg as they won’t like it. I’m quite broad-minded… uhm… not a people person, but yea it is not difficult for me to be with people either.” He thought a moment. “What else, I smoke when I’m tensed… that’s actually a rarity and I drink occasionally. I’ve not been in any ‘relationship’ but almost got into one. And yea, I’m a virgin.” He ended, laughing.

Okay, someone please call the ambulance. Varshini has fell!

“Hello? Varshini? You’ve got a problem with anything that I said?”

“Huh? What did you ask?”

“I asked if I told something wrong.”

“No! Not at all… uhm…”

“What are you thinking? I understand, you need time to decide, right? You can’t choose in 25 minutes the person with whom you are supposed to spend more than 25 years of your life. You take your time, Varshini. I can wait. I’ll just tell my mom and dad that I like you. So, if at all this marriage alliance is dropped, I’d be the ‘rejected’ one! Wouldn’t it be cool to reject someone?” He winked at me and bid good bye. It would definitely not be cool or right on my part if I ‘rejected’ such a guy.

Something in me said this shouldn’t be the last time I’m meeting Harish. I gave it a lot of thought and even asked Shravan. He was very happy and excited hearing the way Harish spoke. “Go for it Varsh” he had said. And finally yes, I decided to actually go for it.

There were six whole months between the day his entire family came to see me ‘officially’ and the marriage. Unforgettable days, they were. Roaming around the city, little meet-ups over a cup of roadside tea or paani poori, endless midnight conversations, fights that seemed cooked up just to experience the bliss of reconciliations that followed, and what not. He taught me how to live life, with a child’s innocence and an adult’s maturity.

Thinking of all this, here I am, sitting on Appa’s lap waiting for the holy thread to adorn my neck and he, was standing opposite to me chanting all the mantras. Everybody started gearing up all of a sudden while I just closed my eyes and prayed “Dear God, the smiles, the beauty, the wealth, the kin and kith, all these might not be with the both of us throughout our lives, but let the love stay forever. Not only Harish, his family and friends are all mine too now and I should never disappoint them in anyway. Let us both spread love, more love, again and forever.” With so much optimism, I opened my eyes, they were filled. Harish tied the thaali once around my neck, his sister Shalini tied two more knots and yes, I was married. I told Harish “I love you.” He smiled. He just smiled? “Won’t you say it back?” I asked. “Why should I? Don’t you know it, for you are mine now.” he said. I don’t remember a time I’ve been happier. I looked at Shravu, he was crazily waving at me and giving flying kisses to both of us. And I can’t describe in words how happy our parents were.

I dragged Harish and Shravu and told them “I want a group hug!” They both hugged me in a reflex and Harish told the cutest sentence that a husband can ever say, “Nothing will change, I promise.” That moment will be FRAMED in my heart, forever.

The End.