Dinner bells of timber

Rays of light pierced though it’s shade, igniting the stove for it’s kitchen to burn on feeding a million souls. The air fills with the element of life, inflating the hollow walls of the lungs opening secret passages for the dark knights to dart on.

The dishes of the stomach rejoice on it’s rescue by the knights, the walls of narrow streets are filled with the mark of life. Juices from the heavens fill the great baths, washing the cells free from sin.

The granaries are filled with magic beans to last the next three hours. Portions of the magic bread are traded with works of the muscle. Transported through the routes of silk, bright and dusty, narrow and steep.

The king sits on his crown of convolutions, teasing his intelligence every second. He sets out commands around the kingdom, from his palace above the atlas carefully balanced on a break point.

The ten calloused workers act on his commands without a thought of third. The kingdom grows everyday with demands increasing with time, desires slowly turning into needs.

The mighty ones are uprooted their lives ruthlessly squeezed out of them, turning them into paper for ink to bleed on.

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Remember your Milestones

Remember this achievement, this wonderful promotion. Your face glowed with joy and you felt like nothing could make you happier. Your hard work had paid off.

Remember your first day at this job, the ecstasy you felt. After years of struggling, you finally found something you’d actually wanted to spend your whole life doing.

Remember your first job, the curiosity with which you came in. You weren’t really sure whether you wanted this for the rest of your life, but it felt like you were gathering experience for something bigger.

Remember your first pay check, the excitement as you held that envelope in your hands. You had only passed out of school and started doing an internship. Here was the fruit of your labor. You felt like an adult then.

Remember your first high school love. You were in your teens and madly in love. Every poem started to make more sense and every song became one about your lover. The flowers you picked were all for her, and the dresses you wore were all for him. It was innocent, it was sweet, and when heartbreak came, it wrecked you and left you a little more grownup than before.

Remember the first trophy you ever held in your hands. You had spent hours practicing and working for this big competition and you won. It made you feel like you could do anything in the world, even conquer it.

Remember the first time you rode a bicycle by yourself. Your father was behind you and he clapped when you finally could ride by yourself without his help. With the wind, came the first rush of independence.

Remember the first time you helped your mom make a pancake. She said she didn’t need your help but you put your little hands in the flour anyway, it was squishy and it felt nice.

Remember the first time you learned how to walk. You were crawling on the floor, and the next minute, you had propped yourself up with the help of the table. You made your parents proud that day.

Remember the happy faces of your parents when you let out your first cry. You may not have noticed it then, but your mother had tears in her eyes too.

Remember your mother’s words and her sweet voice as she rocked you to sleep. It made you feel safe and sound.

Sometimes you can still hear her sing,
“It’s a great big world out there,
And there is always somebody to love you…”

The world and it’s worlds.

The high bells ring in alarm. The world is bleached red, blue skies concealed within thick impenetrable clouds of smoke and ash. Cries fill the walls of a city that once resonated with life and hope. Ravens flee to the lands of simplicity, carrying precious diamonds with them.

The waters infested with travellers from the dark trenches of Yagdrasel, they ram their way through the clustered villages like bulls on their matadors. The living pray for their lives, the dead for theirs. All is lost. The king loses his mind, like the treasury did it’s treasures. Children hide below their beds and their parents below theirs.

Fear has crept inside the minds of the people leaving the hearts vulnerable. Freezing their muscles and turning bones to dust.

 

(To be continued.)

Queen

They always judged her. For the way she looked, the way she walked or the way she talked.

She knew it all. The whispers behind her back but she tried to act strong and happy anyway.

They called her names. She just sat and then said nothing. She wished for some company but then all she knew was that people pretended. The world really seemed like a theater at this point. People could ACT so well. They pretended to care, to be friends, and then be the complete opposite behind her back.

One day, she decided it was too much. How long would she keep being miserable? How much would she keep feeling sick?

She decided to pick up a paintbrush and DO something. Her eyes saw the canvas. She splashed the dark colors in it. With her own hands, she made patterns. A hand begging for life here. A soul asking to be released there.

Her.

The moon looked beautiful that night. The stars shone bright. In the midst of the mysterious night, she stood there in a white gown;a dark beauty. Tonight her hair was down to her waist and her eyes saw hope.

The lake rippled as if it felt the energy surrounding it. The night was cold. Chills ran down her spine. But she was a woman of the night. She was a Queen waiting to be reclaimed on the throne of Paradise.

The ship came that day; on time. One appeared with the sails fluttering quietly. The ships glided over the dark waters as cautiously like a snake sneaking on its prey.

“I have been waiting,” she said. The ship remained silent.It stayed powerful and strong, yet bowed to Her Highness.

With one last look to her canvas, she touched the sails of the boat and mounted it.

It carried her away.

The next morning, the people saw her masterpiece.

A Queen sailing on a ship called Death.

She was never seen again.

xxxx

Small Big World

It’s a pleasant evening, the sky is painted with the colour of oranges, the sparrows are returning home after a long day of search. They chirp merrily as the day has much to celebrate, a treasure of twigs and a feast of worms.

A light breeze blows across the plains and the woodland trees sing to it’s tune filling the enchanting land with music.
The squirrel jumps from one branch to another trying to find it’s favourite evening nut, which it happily munches on looking at the setting sun from the highest branch of the tree.

The deers stop grazing and look at the ravine with fear bottled up in their eyes. A fat water buffalo emerges from the dark, breaking the bottle returning back the deer’s lost breath.

The mighty horned beast slips quietly into the grey pond and disappears beneath the mud filled water, it cools down and settles for a short power nap.

A tiger spies on it from a distance, inching it’s way towards the buffalo concealed beneath the thick bushes. It’s eyes glow with hunger, a smirk on it’s face flashes with it’s killer instinct. It makes it’s way to a big tree over hanging the lake in which the buffalo lies submerged. The tiger waits for a moment and then leaps.
A man 200 metres away carefully scopes on the tiger as his target, laying down flat on the ground covered with creepers. He loads his weapon and holds his breath, double checks on the wind direction and speed. He closes his left eye, stares at the tiger’s eye and then fires.

The monkeys start chattering loudly, the cries span the entire forest. They hold onto their young ones and enclose them inside a warm hug.

Their eyes glisten with a blinding bright red colour, a loud boom echoes through the jungle walls silencing everything else. The trees burn and make firewood for the dead. Everything changes into dust, the skies turn grey enveloping the land of life with darkness.

The human president takes the keys off the switch and sips on his extra dark coffee and looks at the Earth engulfed by flames. A smile of satisfaction stretches through his face.

His spaceship returns back to it’s course, off to Trappist-1.

For the Love of Harry Potter

My childhood owes a great deal to the masterpiece by J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series. It’s quite an irony (but then life’s full of them) that when I first got the ‘Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix’ and the ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ as gifts, I decided to stow it way in a cupboard considering it a drab gift. Little did I know the blessing that came with it.

‘Do not judge a book by its cover,’ or, in this case, ‘Do not judge a book by its size,’ for big as it may be, the Harry Potter books are full of excitement, fun and emotions which will never bore you (trust me, this is coming from someone who’s read the books for not less than seven times). So many people I come in contact with and who do not share my love for this, often look at me incredulously and say, “I’d never read those books. I’ve watched the movies already.”

“Movies!” I scoff. Movies aren’t even close to comparison to the books. Granted, the beginning four movies are pretty decent, but after that, the movies fail to meet the expectations and the standards of the book, which has a striking complexity expressed so simply. People who have watched ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ do not even know what happened in the movie, and mind you, that book is one of my favorites in the series. I have CRIED when Dumbledore died (oops, spoiler alert?). The movie also fails to do justice to the intricate plot, one close to being flawless.

But then again, to be fair, one cannot deny that the movies have been a sensation. Highly entertaining, with all its flaws of course, but which movie has ever fully done justice to any book?

I wish I could ask everyone to read the books, but sadly, it is their own personal choice.

I can only say, please don’t throw away this lifetime by blatantly ignoring masterpieces like the Harry Potter books. Life is too short to live without magic.

My friend asking if she should cast the Imperious curse on those who don’t want to read.

So when I do meet people who share this love with me, it feels so great because there is a whole other WORLD we share together; the world of wands and hippogriffs and Hogsmeade and magic and so much more! There is simply too much to talk about.
Which is why, my best friend and I decided, we would go to a Harry Potter themed restaurant in Bangalore, the only one existing as of now. It was not the food we were interested in (shocking considering that both of us are such huge foodies), but the love for Harry Potter in itself.

It is called ‘Two Friends Cauldron’ located in JP Nagar Bangalore. It is not big nor striking to look at, I’d have preferred a more impressive entrance, but it’s what inside that counts right?

The café is small, bright and cute (a dark setting would have suited the mystery too), not perfect, but not bad either. The entrance is adorned with the lock opening charm ‘Alohomora’, and then in you go.

The walls are decorated with either Harry Potter quotes, potions and elixirs, or the Marauder’s map.

However, it was the Menu that stole the show. Creatively named, anyone would want to try it all.

Sorry, couldn’t take a picture of everything!

The food was pretty average, except for the Treacle Tart which I did like (we had ordered Butter Beer, Lasagna and Treacle Tart), but we were hungry and all that mattered was that it all went in, including the scraps.

The Treacle Tart

But what struck me most was not the place or the decorations or the food, it was the people in the café. It wasn’t hard to see that all of them present there belonged to the fandom.

Now let me ask you a question. Have you ever been to a really pretty restaurant and you’re dying to take a picture, but you’re afraid people will judge you? Fear not, for if you belong to this fandom, no one will ever judge you for wanting to take a picture with a wand and a Sorting Hat (a stick and a ridiculous looking hat to the layman). In fact, the fandom helps each other for the same. Nobody cares how ridiculous you look because everyone is just as ridiculous as the other.

And this was how it was in the café as well. So we went around the little café, wearing hats and robes by turns, posing with wands and helping strangers pose with theirs, all the while thinking, “What a wonderful, big family this fandom is.”

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re old or young, black or white, or whatever barrier you choose to build with your differences. All of it breaks when you love one thing so fiercely, when we have shared laughter and tears together along the journey of the seven books.

We all have been there in Hogwarts, shared all of the magic and the ups and downs together, and just as Albus Dumbledore would put it: Of course it all happened in our heads, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

A proud Hogwarts alumni. Like, follow, share if you belong to the fandom!

Stuck

I bleed, watch the skies turn scarlet. Wonder in pain, the feeling is overwhelming as it drips deep within, giving rise to plants of black from just the eyes of my infinitive rain.

A hurricane rises wiping anything but me, I watch the horizon crumble like pieces of pie and blend into realities with illusions of grey perfectly like a wizard at play in an ingenious ordinary, captivating everyone in close sight. I can smell the rain hitting the ground casting me hollow.

I’m petrified, nor do I breathe neither do I blink. I just stand still and watch the skies change it’s hide to all of it’s infinite shades leaving me in a state of befuddlement and a lifetime of deciphering the unknown. Seasons change and tables turn leaving me, here always.

Just like Old Times


It was a beautiful day out. She was wearing a white floral dress embroidered with red flowers and was hopping around with sunshine in her hair. He was dressed smart and handsome as always, with his shirt sleeves rolled up and his hair slick and tidy.

The two of them made a pretty picture as she put her arm around his and he whispered something in her ear to make her laugh. Her laugh was like a jingle of bells and his smile stretched right up to his eyes, his youthful face lighted up with happiness at the sight of her.

And then, she woke up. Right in the middle of the night, she woke up from her bed with tears in her eyes. She put her head down and cried.

It had been this way for a long time now. She couldn’t get her mind off him. How could she when she knew that he was out there somewhere fighting for his life?

A type of rage took over her. Damn you, she cursed. Damn this war. Damn you and your patriotism, she thought, but it was a weak accusation for she could never get angry at him for long, and although she missed him, she knew it would have been selfish for her to tell him not to go to war, for had she been given the chance, she would have done just the same.

She peeped out from the curtains. The sky was grey and dismal and even the day smelled of war and death.

Sometimes troops came into Yugoslavia marching on, and they rested there. Vanida knew it well because she would often go to the mountains to look at them, searching for him in the crowd. It had been six months already, but never had his troop come in.

“Promise me you’ll forget about me,” he had said, always being the selfless hero that he was.

Bullshit. As if she could do a thing like that.

But could he? She bit her lip. It didn’t matter anyway. Whether he still loved her or not, she was one hell of a stubborn girl and she wouldn’t let go until she was absolutely sure he didn’t want her anymore.

She had a piece of bread, she made sure to save some, because food was always hard to find in times of war. She then marched out as usual, towards the mountain trail. She didn’t need to take water (she had scarcity of that too) because there would always be trickles of it running from the mountains.

One hour and a half later, she had reached the familiar barbed fence. The army had set up tents there and her eyes very quickly surveyed the ground, she had done this every day for the last six months, without any luck, but love raged furiously in her heart and refused to be extinguished by time and routine and the dark villain called war.

And there, her breath stopped.

She could have recognized him from a distance, anywhere, anytime.

His broad shoulders, clad in the army uniform, boots dirty, a cap on his head. He was turned sideways, talking to a troop member. His moustache had grown and his face was covered with black dust. He looked tired and a lot more serious, but this was still the man she loved.

For a moment, she just stood there, soaking it all in, his movements, the twitch of his hands, the seriousness in his face, the shape of his cheekbones. It was as if he knew that she was there, when Klahan sharply turned his head and saw her across the field. A thousand emotions flitted through him. For six months all he had seen was death and war, and the sight of her was pure love and beauty. He had dreamt of her, every single night as the sound of bombs reminded him of what lay ahead the next day. Sometimes during the war, he’d see her, clicking her tongue at the sight of his blood, putting a bandage over his wounds and scolding him to be more careful. Although the blood still bled, he felt better just at the thought of her. Then sometimes he’d wonder about whether she had forgotten about him. He hoped she did. She had always deserved better, at least that’s what he thought. And now, he was too wounded by war to ever come back.

All of this just lasted a second and reality set in. She was here. What was she doing here? It was not safe for her. He frowned and then quickly turned and walked away. Perhaps, she had come to see him, and she’d go way once she saw that he wasn’t interested in talking to her.

But, he underestimated how fierce and determined she could be. As soon as he turned away, a kind of a reflex movement caught hold of Vanida. She had seen the look on his face when he’d seen her. It was one of pure longing and helplessness and it was at that moment that she knew, that he hadn’t stopped loving her. She lifted her long skirt, jumped over the fence and ran across the field until she reached up to him.

He turned quickly for war had made him alert, horrified at the reckless thing she’d done.

Panting, she reached up to him. He immediately caught hold of her arm and brought her inside his tent.

“What are you doing?” he whispered furiously at her.

“Oh please. It’s not as if this is the enemy troop. No one will harm me. I think, I’m much braver than you, even though you’re off to war,” she said proudly.

She had a point but what she didn’t know was that the Captain had given strict orders that no visitors would be allowed inside. But she didn’t need to know that.

“Of course you are,” he smiled, letting her win without letting her know, like always. “You’re my fierce little bull.”

She smiled too, and this moment was so beautiful that it broke her. She fell into his arms and cried.

“I miss you.”

“I miss you too, every single day.”

“When will you come back? Please come back,” she whimpered as he took her in his arms and stroked her hair.

“Soon, I promise. As soon as the war gets over.”

They stood that way for a while, embracing each other, until Klahan had to unwillingly break the silence.

“You have to go now. It’s not safe here.”

“Why?”

“These are drunk, angry soldiers, Vanida. Enemy or not, there are no friends here. And for a pretty girl like you, it’s especially dangerous.”

“I’m not afraid. Not when you are around.”

He smiled and stroked her chin. “I know, but you still have to leave.”

“Are you chasing me away?” she pouted playfully, just like old times.

“Ah, never in my life,” he played along graciously as he carefully drew her out of the tent. They were holding hands, and for that moment, both of them felt that they were home, in a world full of chaos.

“Come on,” he walked her through the empty field, thankful that no one was around. Her bright imagination drew flowers in the empty field, the sun in the dismal sky. She imagined wearing a pretty dress and she imagined walking past the beautiful field of daisies as her lover escorted her back home. Just like old times.

They reached the fence and he helped her jump over it.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you too.”

They leaned in for a kiss, warm, soft and passionate. One they’d remember for eternity.

He stroked her hair.

“Come meet me whenever you can,” she said. “Tonight, if you can sneak out.”

“I’ll try.”

“Do you know where I live?”

“I’ll find you, love.”

“Write me letters too.”

“I will.”

From a distance, he heard some shouts.

“Quick, the boys are out,” he said.

She nodded, gave him a peck on his cheek and smiled. He smiled too, her favourite kind of smile, the one that reached his eyes.

As she left the place, she knew his eyes would follow her until she disappeared. That would be his way of making sure she reached home safe.

His heart swelled up with love for her, and when he walked back to his tent, he found his strength renewed.

*

Almost an hour after Vanida had left, the troop was called to order.

“There’s a war we must go to,” the Captain bellowed. “The British have invaded Poland, and they have sent urgent messages for us to leave immediately. They need our help.”

Half an hour later, the troop was ready with everything and they started their march forward to Poland. Klahan was among them, and he marched with a heavy heart.

He imagined her walking by his side as they marched and he promised her that he would meet her soon.

*

Back in home, Vanida hoped he would come that night. She cleaned her little cramped up place of a house, wore the best possible clothes, put on the earrings that he had given her that she had carefully kept inside her drawer. She even risked to go out to fetch some butter from the local salesman who’d carry out his business secretly in the ground floor of a nearby building.

“Lovely day, isn’t it?” she chimed, buying the butter even though it cost her a fortune.

He looked at her as if she had gone mad and she left the place, with a skip in her steps.

Then she waited. She waited till hours ticked by. And she waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

The next morning, she woke up with a neck cramp. She had fallen asleep on the table. The bread had gone stale, the butter was still unopened.

She quietly put the plates back to their places again. She undressed and took off the earrings, put them back in the drawer.

Something must have come up. Maybe that was why he couldn’t have come, she consoled herself.

Then she rolled herself up into a ball in her tiny bed and stared at nothing. Everything was quiet, and death chose this moment to whisk her away. It came dressed as fire and a loud noise. At one moment, everything was quiet, the next, a bomb had landed, turning the town into dust, and her heart into ashes.

A hundred miles away, he promised her that he would meet her soon.

~*~

Beauty in Imperfection

His overgrown hair filled with knots of simplicity and ignorance within them. Small strands of them scattered over his face, marking coordinates for bombs of sweat to drop on during the day. A cupboard exploding with small things, a few tasked and others with none. Dusty frames with fresh memories captured within, some with fungus flooding on them, drawing new streams of parasitic rivers on the deserts of time.
The dinner plates on the study table lie desperately unattended with hardened remains of the soup and bread crusts, a usual supper from last night.
He wakes up wiping the perfect dream off his face and splashes the cold waters of reality on the eyes. A toaster with black taped wires, leaking electricity like rumors lies shattered and defeated, blackened with heat on the kitchen counter. He plugs the two pins hanging threateningly, like a cobra’s fangs ready to strike into the half burnt socket. He turns the smashed switch on and the magical device sparked to life, the cold white washed lanky slices of bread hop in and transform into hot strong tanned ones.
He carefully takes out his precious bottle of butter from his old empty fridge, he twists the lid open and a very sweet fragrance fills his stomach with satisfaction. He spreads the butter carefully, not using anymore than required (one extra small scoop for every two slices.). He takes bite and a smile of satisfaction and simplicity marks across his face, one so pure and genuine. He savors the meal and empties a cold glass of water at one go to finish it off. He then closes the butter lid very tightly with all the might in him, like it held treasures inside.
He looks at the mirror and put on his clothes, a very thin shirt one aged with time and a dirty jeans with holes as work rewards in a few places. He slip his old tired feet inside the muddy boots and looks at his humble house, one he could call his entirely. He smiles at himself with pride, strokes his long moustache and marches off to work. The Room awaits him patiently as it’s master walks forward to reality.

Writing words

When words breathe, writings come to life. To write is to leave pieces of your mind in pieces of paper, blots of ink on machines. To write is to expand your filter of thoughts and invite the readers into the abyss of your mind. To write is to chase the horizon without truly reaching the oasis of the transparent translation of your feelings into words.
Yet, to write is to live through words for words are immortal.

So when there are people special enough in my life, to whom I want to express my feelings so fluently it blows them away, I fail. I fail, because in spite of my incessant trials, I cannot express more than what the words allow. I fail because the words made from the twenty-six letters in the alphabet are not enough to explain the zillion feelings and sensations and colors in the magnificent creation. I struggle like an amateur trying not to drown, or a person trying to wriggle out of metal chains and coarse ropes, and yet I fail.

And here is where I find myself helpless for I am nothing but a slave. A slave to the master who was supposed to be my servant, a slave to the crippling cage that limits me and won’t allow me to meet the people I love as a totality of who I am.

Sometimes, Actions come to my aid. When words fail, Actions point at me and beckons me to come by its side. “Look,” it says, “here’s a rose for your lover,” or, “See, here’s the empty kitchen to make food for your mother.” Actions are indeed very dear to me, so powerful, buzzing with energy; raw, strong and bold. I quite admire actions, for when words fail, as the phrase goes, actions do speak volumes louder than words.

Because you see, just when I feel my emotions swelling up like a tide at its peak, almost drowning me in its waves and I want to let it out, let it flow like rives, crash like waterfalls, lakes and oceans, words leave me in a dry desert, the oasis still very far away. Words abandon me in a land of drought, and I collapse defeated in the powerful arms of Actions, for words may be sweet but actions define us better.

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