23 July 2014

She ran with all her strength, her heart pumping faster than ever. She was one amongst many who were now slave to his antics, he gave them food and in return asked for nothing less but their lives. Even his footsteps gave her nightmares. She had seen with her very own eyes , the end of many of her counterparts who were brought here by him in a similar fashion like her.
                 But today was different , she had successfully escaped his area of control. But to her dismay he still was searching her. She now realised that running probably wasn't the best idea , but hiding definitely was. But hiding requires a hideout and she knew none, so she frantically ran into a house with an open frontdoor. There was no one in sight, she was tired now and her eyes started searching for a place to hide herself somewhere in the house, if just in case he finds her here. 
                 Life is strange indeed, because while she was busy looking for a perfect hiding option inside this house, she realised it was filled with bags of food materials which only assured and relieved her that at least she will not starve to death during her hideout.
                 While she sat in a corner , she heard noises of a lady and a man talking, it was him. She recognised his voice and she also knew that it was now impossible to run away. She sat there with fear infused in her eyes and every muscle of her body. She hid herself behind a cupboard and just wished that he would not find him and she would not end up where all her counterparts did.
She peeped a little from the side of the cupboard and could see him walking towards the room with a shiny object in his hands. The sun outside made the shine so bright that it almost blinded her. He entered the room and shouted as if to make a final announcement- 

" Where the hell are you hiding? I know you are here, you think you can outsmart me? This is the third time that you have wasted my time and energy and this time I am not going to forgive you"
She started getting restless and started feeling suffocated... She knew it was only matter of a few minutes before he found her and her life would find an end this time.

                  And like fate would have it , he spotted her hiding behind the cupboard. He looked at her with anger and her eyes were asking for mercy. She could not speak a word, she just screamed as loudly as she could but no one heard her plea.
He went close to her and dragged her along with him to an adjacent room where here counterparts were still waiting to find an escape route. She tried escaping even now, but he was just too strong for her. She started banging her legs but it had no effect on him , she still screamed , she still tried to escape, probably for the last time.
                   With one heavy stroke of the shiny knife he cut her throat and the shine of the knife was left covered with blood all over. She bleed to death while others in the room watched him cut her into pieces.

The room had a board outside it which said 
" Tasty Chicken Shop - Open from 10am to 9 pm" 


Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by Manali Balsara

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20 July 2014

Amongst the crowd he noticed her beaming smile, he could spot it even from a distance. Her smile was so ecstatic that it could mesmerize even the loneliest of the souls, it was pure magic. Her lips pressed against each other were creating an illusionary mystery of kinds. 
                                  It was his first visit to Paris, though it was a professional commitment which brought him to the city of romance; Siddharth sneaked out little time to immerse into the beauty of the city. It was past 5 in the evening and he had just finished his business meeting and while guiding himself through Paris, he found himself in front of the most beautiful eyes and smile he had even seen.
                                 He looked at her from a distance and moved towards her briskly, he made sure he did not stare at her right away but he couldn't help it. To his amusement, she was looking at him with mysterious eyes and a mellow smile. With a host of Italians around him, he tried looking away because he did not want to get into any kind of trouble in a foreign city.
  He looked away from her, only to realize that she was smiling at him. His heart skipped a beat; he moved around and changed his location. He again sneaked a look at her and she appeared more mystical and still smiling, now it seemed like she was kind of making a mockery of his situation; his helplessness to do anything else but just stare at her beauty. He now tried to ignore her, but that only made him miss her smile more. Siddharth found himself standing there staring at her beauty with admiration and respect.
                              Siddharth wasn't a romantic in reality, but this trip; especially this encounter had made him a hopeless romantic, because every time he looked at her, her expressions seemed to portray a different story altogether. At times she appeared relaxed and smiling, while at times she appeared mysterious.
It was past 7 in the evening and he did not realize it was 2 hours since he first saw her, it was time to reach his hotel for dinner which was more than an hour away. He got himself into a cab and reached his hotel. After eating a surreal Italian meal, he decided that the day after he will again try and visit her; the lady with a million dollar smile. So the next morning after completing his work formalities, he again found her when he visited the same street or to say she found him; again staring at her. He could not believe how someone could be so beautiful, with spotless skin and that enchanting smile; she sat there like an angel waiting to bless someone.
It was again hours and he just could not understand what it was about her exactly which was pulling him towards her, again and again. The next day Siddharth had to leave for India, before that he wanted all his friends across the world know whom he had met and fallen in love with. So he logged on to his Facebook account and updated his status –
“In love with Mona Lisa and her smile.... “

Some masterpieces make you fall in love and Mona Lisa is one of such mystical creations.

Posted on Sunday, July 20, 2014 by Manali Balsara

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14 July 2014

She stopped and looked behind with an expression of fear on her face, and she could not see them coming. She continued running , and this time took a left turn towards a narrow lane to beat their speed. Kolkata is famous for its narrow secretive lanes , and today Vrinda's secret was out in open while she had chosen to run with all her life into her legs.
                      It was a dark night and Vrinda was running into narrow lanes of Chowringhee road while the crowd chose to become a mere audience. She again stopped to catch a breath, her lungs were about to explode, but she also knew that if she did not run today she will get caged forever.
                     As she stopped, she noticed a lodge at the end of the street, a perfect place to hide she thought to herself. The problem with life is what we think is seldom the reality.
                     She entered the old building, it was a lodge named "Lolita" , while in normal circumstances Vrinda would have never ever checked into such a place , now she was standing at the shady reception begging for a room to spend the night. The receptionist was a old man with soda glasses on , all he could see was a sweating Vrinda and and like him everyone around kept staring at her suspiciously.

After a lot of begging and pleading she finally got a room to stay the night in , while she was relieved ; she was also worried about them finding her out before the sun rises. The lodge room was something a decent person never pays for when he has options, but someone like Vrinda who has no other option choose it as it provides a roof and four walls to hide out from the evil outside , at least temporarily.
                      She sat on the old bed which had unclean sheets on , and it was a total contrast to her ultra new attire which she was in. It was around 12am now and she was getting hungry but she chose not to open the room door for anyone. Her room was loaded with old furniture and a stinking bathroom, Vrinda didn't even have clothes to change into ; she made a note to herself to buy new clothes the other morning.
                     Vrinda was still scared, she looked at her wristwatch and realised it was 15 minutes past 2 am now, may be too late for them to follow her anymore. She did not even have her mobile phone with her to call someone close and inform , though actually she did not trust anyone in revealing her location at the moment. The window to the room faced a busy street , which at this time of the night was scarily quite. While she stood there thinking and re-thinking over the things that shook her life in the past few hours , she also started analysing if her running and hiding was sane. She was a strong girl after all , an 26 year old MBA in finance with a well paid corporate job, a loving family and a future to look forward to.
                        She could not sleep that night, It was as if restlessness was spread all over the room. The sun rose and lost in her own thoughts , Vrinda fell asleep on what was probably the oldest bed in kolkata.
                        The sun rose to its full beauty, the birds chirping outside was making the entire setup heavenly, when someone knocked the room door and it woke Vrinda up. Vrinda woke up jolted and scared, because she thought may be they found her. She moved closely towards the door which was being heavily knocked at and asked " Who's there ?" and the heavy voice on the other end replied
"Madam I am Ramu , the cleaner , I need to clean the room"
                         She had a sigh of relief and opened the door at one not realising that the world is full of smart and smarter people. To her astonishment they had found her , she was shocked that she could not run away even this time around.
                         Vrinda's family had found her, her cousin brothers and uncles running behind her the other night had found her and this made Vrinda more restless than anything.
                          It all started 2 years back when Vrinda's family decided that it was time for their daughter to tie the knot and settle down, while Vrinda had a weird fascination with love marriages; she was in no world ready to settle for an arranged marriage. This was the third time in a span of over 3 years that Vrinda has run away from her own wedding post her last minute realisation of how she should wait a little longer for the cupid to play his cards.

Vrinda's ideal partner might be waiting to fall in love with her even as her husband , but she wanted love to prosper in a different set up....

While running and chasing love, we somehow forget that love is a journey and it does not need a definite set up to exist. Its our own chase for love that makes it more unattainable and discreet. Either you get married and fall in love or fall in love and get married, doesn't matter; as long as you are in love for the rest of your lives.


Posted on Monday, July 14, 2014 by Manali Balsara

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5 July 2014

                            As a kid Asif really loved to play football. He used to juggle it with his hands and try to do all kinds of tricks with it. His Mom Noor was not a big fan of football and wanted her son to study and focus on becoming something in his life.
                           Asif was clever but was mostly quiet and kept to himself. While his father had deserted them when he was just 3 years old , he did not have any memory of his father imprinted on his mind. All he remembered was his face , and which Asif wanted to forget someday. Asif's forgetfulness was not surprising to anyone anymore , it had become a habit. Inspite of his forgetfullness his mother  was someone whom he could never forget.
He was mostly immobile and tied to his books. The two loves of his life were simple yet demanding - Reading & Football. His inability to move around did not affect his passiom for the game, infact at times he took it as a challenge.He made sure he did not sleep before watching all the football matches and knowing about who got the yellow card and who did not. Kolkata is anyways known for its love for the game of football and Asif was a perfect example of a true football lover. Asif' eyes sparkled even with the mention of the game, and his silence used to find words and comfort in the game.
   He loved to spend most of his evenings standing in his gallery and onlooking the football enthusiasts practicing in the alongside playground. With a cup of tea and a notebook , he was set for most of the evenings. His brother on the other hand was a Cricket fan, just a fan not a lover.
                       On a busy monday morning after watching a football match earlier night , Asif woke up and decided he would not stay tied up to his books anymore. He tried standing up on his feet , while tightly grabbing a football in his hand which was kept on a table alongside his bed. He just couldn't stand up, his knees felt weak and his heart started racing faster. In an attempt to do the impossible , Asif started gasping for breathes and fell down on the floor.
                        Hours later , a maid entered the room and found Asif lying lifeless on the floor. He had suffered an heart attack , while his hands still holding the football tightly.
The neighbours could only mourn on his demise, while some appreciating his love for the game exclaimed -
" To be passionate about something at his age was commendable..... After all at 75 years of age people give up on living , and he gave his life to the game.... "

Fact is kids and super seniors are no different; they are passionate,they are loving and innocent in their own ways, you just need to acknowledge the fact. 

Posted on Saturday, July 05, 2014 by Manali Balsara

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29 June 2014

She had been warned, but it was too late now. She remembered every word they had told her about it, they had warned her that it might hurt her; after all not all sane looking men are sane and not all who look insane are insane in reality.
                Subodh was a doting husband and loved his wife to the moon and back, and at times this very love became a battle ground of sorts. Subodh and Anita had a love marriage 2 years ago and since then they had quite a normal life apart from occasional spills of insanity.
                It was a beautiful rainy Sunday morning with absence of Subodh’s Sunday routine. Today he did not wake up late, he did not ask for his morning coffee. Instead today it was 11 am and still he was asleep, lying in his bed as an innocent soul. The sound of raindrops falling on their bedroom window woke Anita up. She moved briskly away from the bed, and proceeded into the kitchen to make the morning coffee.
               “Lag ja gale ke phir ye haseen raat ho na ho...” while the aroma of fresh coffee filled the space. Anita took her cup of coffee and slowly walked towards the bedroom again, and sat on the bed where Subodh was sleeping. She switched on the TV and tears rolled down her eyes; she couldn't believe all the ordeal Subodh had made her go through. Every morning she dreaded the moment he woke up. Every day she would be tensed on how and what she will do wrong to anger Subodh and the quarrel would begin.  
She entered the kitchen and switched on her kitchen companion, the radio which played the song
He was as innocent as a newborn baby while he was asleep; Anita’s tears had no stopping. She went near him and kissed his forehead and held his hand while he did not move an inch. She checked her mobile and it has no new messages or calls, she dialed a number and after exactly one minute she cut the call and started crying again.
                                Her face had no emotion, after an hour her doorbell rang and she moved with heavy feet towards the main door to open it. She opened the door and an army of 4 men marched into the house and asked her “Where is he?” she pointed at the bedroom.
“Mrs. Anita Mathur , is this your husband Mr. Subodh Mathur “ the man in uniform asked Anita
She cried and nodded a yes
The man in the uniform was a police inspector and Anita had herself called him up an hour ago .
“Mrs Anita, do you still confess you killed your own husband?”
Anita nodded again while a curious hawaldaar picked up a bloody knife lying embedded in Subodh’s stomach.

“Yes I killed my husband, because he killed me every day. I could not stand the fights anymore and I could not leave him because I loved him. I had planned on killing myself after I killed him but I just could not, so I had to confess. And i do not regret killing him, because if I didn't he would have sooner or later.”

You never know what changes people and when. Sometimes the ones you think will never raise a voice will raise a knife instead.

Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2014 by Manali Balsara

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24 June 2014

                                               And after a span of 10 long years Peter finally rose up. His family and close ones had given up on the idea that he will ever wake up, but he did. He looked around and all he could find was darkness and silence. He searched for a light switch but couldn't, instead he saw others like him who were waiting for a miracle that would help them rise up from the misery.        His shoulder felt sore, he tried walking but it seemed too much of work. It was as if he had forgotten the art of walking and moving around. He knew his family would be both shocked and happy to see him walk and be normal again, and so he rose up like a phoenix and how. He started walking making a way out of the dark passage, next he found himself on an empty street with street lamps which were too bright for his eyes. He looked around for an autorickshaw and tried to figure out his own exact location, and in the process got into a taxi which was carrying other two passengers.

Apparently the other two were office colleagues who were returning from their late night call centre shift. Peter looked at them but they royally ignored him, he wanted to ask them the name of the area where he got into the cab from but they just continued talking amongst themselves. He asked the driver and he too ignored his questions. As rightly said , when in need the world tries to run away from you. 

 He quietly stared outside the taxi window and awaited the moment when he could reach home and hug his mom , tell her that he can walk now on his own. Suddenly it struck Peter that before he reached a vegetative state, the last thing he remembers is sitting in a similar taxi at a midnight hour returning from his own office. He clearly remembered the accident which shook him and from that day till now he couldn't even open his eyes forget moving.

                   The taxi passed his home and Peter just couldn't understand why the driver wasn't acknowledging his plea to stop the taxi, may be he was drunk was what Peter could guess. The other 2 guys sitting next to him got down a mile away from his home and Peter sneaked out too. Before he could try and search his pockets for money the taxi took off at lightning speed. Peter's hands were still in his jeans pockets and all he could find was a old bloated 100 rupees note which he slided back into his pocket. He walked towards his home, it was past midnight and thus the lights to his portuguese style bungalow were out. His pet dog who normally awaited his arrival at the gate was missing, and the whole bungalow was looking a lot changed. The colors were different , the clothes hanging in the balcony were different , but one thing was the same; it still smelt the same. veery home has its own aura and Peter felt at home.
                   He rang the doorbell and no one answered the door. He peeped inside from the window and could see only darkness, so he sat on the porch outside till the morning sun arrived to surprise his mom.
The morning sun arrived with all its force and was shining as bright as possible.
                  Peter opened his eyes only to realise he again couldn't move even a bit. He looked around and found himself amidst silence. He was disappointed , he had reached his home, how did he come back to this place again? And between this whirlpool of thoughts , he heard his mom crying but couldn't see her, and slowly all noises again became silent. 

                  Peter's mom and his whole family was present near him , at the graveyard to mark his 10th death anniversary. He had died 10 years ago at 2am midnight , in a cruel accident between his taxi and a speedy truck.

Live your life when you can , because death does not allow you to even move... It makes you still and helpless...So fulfill all your dreams when you are alive, show love and care to your loved ones when they are alive and you too.. 

Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Manali Balsara

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8 June 2014

Walking through the busiest market in Mumbai was a big challenge in itself which I had given myself. Dadar was seemed the most crowded place today, being a sunday one could not help but notice the array of people visiting the place. The "I know everything about bargaining" aunties accompanied by their obedient husbands, the college students having a gala time shopping off streets, the elderly who are shocked by the amount of prices they have to pay for things that were available for free in their adolescence, these are some of the types of people you will find on a busy Dadar market street on any given day.
                                        Well the one walking ahead of me was a different kind altogether, the breed I detest and feel pity for the most. The quintessential ragpicker with a huge pile of plastic garbage with her. She was walking right ahead of me and blocking most of my view.

The pile of garbage she was carrying was bigger than frame of her body itself, she had a dirty cloth tied to her head and her hair was unkept. From the look of it , I can say that at least 6 months had passed since the last time she must have washed her hair and at least a week since she must have had a bath. I came to think about her life, how must they be surviving in such unhygienic conditions? They don not have a proper water supply, forget about water supply she probably doesn't even have a home to call her own. It was a sense of pity I cannot put into words. I could see her picking up the litter from the road and adding it to the already piling huge bag she had strung to her back. It made me think if she could have ever experienced happiness ? She must be devoid of the feeling altogether , she does not have a mobile , nor an internet connection , nor a group of friends probably with whom she can go out occasionally and party or just watch a movie. Once or twice I saw her face while she picked up the litter , and she did not look anything above 15. It made me feel really helpless, and in between all these emotions and in between shopping for veggies my phone rang.

                                            It was an urgent work call , I had to reach home on urgent basis and start working on submissions for the next day. I suddenly realised that Monday blues started too early for me than expected. So I had to wrap up my shopping and my sunday and return home, I was irritated and frustrated. Everyone who has had to work on a sunday will understand how it feels when your sunday is ruined. When I was about to turn, she crossed the street and looked back at me and smiled. She Smiled at me... She was right there standing in the middle of the street , with no apparent deadlines to meet, with no smartphone to connect to the worldwide or take a selfie , no facebook to be liked but she had one thing for sure, she had freedom to smile unapologetically whenever she wanted to. I never could imagine that she could smile, she did and it made me smile back at her for some strange reason. That moment I realised she had a lifetime recharge of freedom which I guess even us with the smartest of the phones can't afford to have. yes she was miles away from the material pleasures , but she was smiling and made me smile, and thats what we all should be able to do in our routine. Smile and spread a smile.
                                            Pick up the litter of your emotions and make  sure everyone around you have a clean smiling environment around them.

 In that moment I realised, its not presence of some things which makes us smile, its absence of few not so good things. We can't judge others by the things that make them happy , happiness is subjective.

Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2014 by Manali Balsara

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