The Space Cycle

15.02.17

On reaching the last step, I finally looked up to see a face smirking at me. With his twinkling brown eyes, perfectly messed up hair and pearly white grin, he had the smile that made you want to smile with him. Kabir.

“Need help?” he asked stretching out his hand.

“Did that thought not occur to you when you saw me struggle at the first step?” I asked lifting up my lehenga, climbing the final step and feeling a sense of accomplishment pass as an old Hindi song blasted through the speakers.

“It was quite hilarious when you were about to trip on that ninth step,” he joked as we walked inside the magnanimous foyer. In an almost mechanical way, he held out his arm as I took it to support myself while taking off my heels.

“What are you doing outside anyway?” I shouted above the music as my hand latched on his arm while I struggled to take off my shoe. “Aren’t you supposed to be inside helping out and let aunties swoon over you?”

“They asked me to pick up the sweet boxes and bangles and come and now I can’t find my shoes,” he shouted back frowning at the shoe racks that were almost overflowing with shoes of different colours, sizes and styles.

“Are they the beige Mojaris? There are so many of them here why did you decide to wear those today!” I said scanning through the racks as well.

“No actually they’re my Nikes,” he said as the music abruptly stopped and the room went dark. “Great. This is going to make it so much easier.”

Despite the darkness, I could tell he was rolling his eyes.

“You wore Nike shoes to a temple, left them in the shoe rack? And now you expect them not to be stolen?! You totally deserve this,” I said shaking my head, exasperated.

“Ok no, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that,” I said after a few minutes of awkward silence as he glared at me. “Nobody deserves their favourite shoes to be stolen, I would also hate anybody who told me that I deserved it if my favourite Adidas shoes were stolen. I’ll just ask the watchman…”

“You’re not just “anybody”. And I could never hate you,” he mumbled in a quiet yet audible tone just as we walked into the light, our hands still entwined.

15.02.10

“Stay,” Kabir said at 2 am, after we had finished watching Blue Valentine for the second time that week.

And stayed I did.

11.11.11

“I just want to be closer to the stars,” I whined as we sat in the balcony staring at the thick layer of dust blocking the sky while huddling under the blanket.

“Is that a writer’s metaphor for ‘I need some space’?” he asked not taking his eyes off me.

“No, but thanks for that. I could use it in a breakup piece,” I said instantly fishing out my phone and making a note.

The next day, Kabir planned a spontaneous trip to the nearest hill station. He knew I wasn’t a fan of spontaneity – I needed my time to settle in and get to know the place a little.

“Trust me, it will be worth it,” was all he said. And I went along.

That evening, after a day’s long drive past lush green meadows, we were at the only park on the highest hilltop.

“This is the closest you’ll get to the stars, without needing all that space,” he said quietly as we gazed at the sunset spin into a frosty twinkling night, while swinging on the creaking swing sets.

That night I realised that someone can make you smile only a number of times before you start to love them a little.

31.12.12

He was there when I turned four. He was there when I turned fourteen.

We were always too similar. Like the same side of a coin. Twin Earth signs. When we loved, it was beautiful. When we fought, we fought with the same claws.

“Will you still love me when I am unlovable?” I had asked waking him up one night, when we were supposed to be watching Stay.

The next morning, I woke up to an empty bed, half empty closet and a single text message.

“You know, I remember the exact moment I knew I was in love with you. You weren’t looking at me. You were stargazing.”

That’s the thing about earthquakes. They don’t know how to be gentle. Most of the time, they only know how to destroy.

Boy next door

12:00 am

 

S: The moon looks beautiful tonight doesn’t it?

K: I can’t see it. Your ugly building is blocking my view.

 

12:03 am

 

K: I see it now. I don’t think I have seen the moon this yellow before.

S: It’s a full moon.

K: Your head kinda looks like the moon from the back.

K: A smaller version though.

K: Okay I was kidding. Stop hiding behind the wall now.

 

12:04 am

 

S: Look now! The clouds make it look like one of those creepy scenes in horror movies

K: Like the time of the night for werewolves.

S: Exactly.

 

12:06 am

 

S: Okay stop howling. You’re going to wake the entire neighborhood.

K: It wasn’t me.

S: Go inside.

K: Okay, fine. I’ll stop.

K: Hey look, a heart!

S: Where?!

K: In the sky, obviously. Idiot. Stop looking around.

S: I knew that.

S: And that’s not a heart. It looks more like the beak of a bird trying to steal the moon.

K: What kind of bird tries to steal the moon?

 

12:07am

 

S: An evil one.

K: It looks like a heart trying to protect itself by being really sharp at the edges.

S: What kind of heart is so huge and protective of itself?

 

12:08 am

 

K: Your kind.

 

12:10 am

 

K: What kind of person stares at a romantic text message for two minutes and doesn’t reply?

S: I forgot you could see me.

K: Answer – An evil one.

S: Are you calling me evil?

K: Mojo Jojo IS your spirit animal.

S: As opposed to what, Bubbles?

K: Hey! That was confidential information!

S: So what, your mission is to save the world from me?

 

12:12 am

 

K: Quite the opposite actually.

 

 

Reminiscing in the balcony

She sat in the balcony looking at the sun shining over the sea blue sky. It was a beautiful day but she felt malicious towards everything. Laughter of the previous night still echoed, and the empty bottles still lay around. She was wide awake while the others were still sound asleep inside. Something was bothering her but she couldn’t figure out what it was. She covered her face in her hands, her silky hair falling over her shoulders.
She remembered the previous night, when she saw him for the first time in years, possibly coming back from a new job, home to a new bed and maybe coming home to someone else. His eyes were still brilliant and heartbreaking at the same time. But that person who made her smile on the balcony, was no where to be seen. The person who had consoled her and made her laugh, wasn’t there anymore.
He made the balcony seem like the top of the Eiffel Tower in a hurricane.
But she only prayed that she would be lucky enough, to find him again in someone else.

Existent

“Dude you got laid!”
I overheard your friend say,
Clapping his hand on your back and congratulating you
As if its the best you could do.

You shush him, not wanting the world to know
Though you stand up and take a cheeky bow.
It’s your last day, you’re leaving tomorrow
And I’ll be left here, soaking in everything that reminds me of you.
I’ll miss looking through your window
And you walking with me all the way, through the morning dew.

You’re off being beautiful elsewhere
And I’m stuck here, everything reminding me of you
But she’s with you, wherever the hell you are
And I still watch the movies we watched together,
Yes, there are quite a few…

All the trips we took
And the way you looked
I had a thing for you from the start,
I knew everything about you by heart.
The way you made me smile
After making me cry
A weird pair we were,
I seemed to tolerate you, and you made my heart fly.
My mother still tells me stories of how we played
How you were the only one who stayed.

You’re beautiful you know,
It’s 2am and I still feel your glow.
And my thoughts wander across the world
To where you might be tonight
I wonder if she’s holding you right.
Is she making you wear the smile I love?
Or are you wearing someone else, someone as soft as a dove.

Some days when people ask me what love is about
I think about the times we spent, all throughout
And sometimes I choke out your name
But to myself I think,
It’s when no place or face, or nothing can ever make you feel the same.

Yes, we were beautiful in the quietest of ways
We were distant, but existent all the same.

Love lessons to be learnt from animals

Animals are happy, cute and adorable creatures. Despite facing bitter climates and deadly predators, they’ve survived generations. Different animals show their love in different ways. Try living your life like they do for a while, and you’ll notice the difference. You might even be surprised.

Penguins: For these birds, communication is the key to their love life. They are always seen with their partners and are only separated when they have to hunt or are faced with extreme winters. They spend time with other penguin couples and even take trips with their extended families!

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French Angelfish: For this breed of fish, being there with their partner is the key. It is highly unlikely you will find this species of fish alone as they are known to live, travel and even hunt in pairs. They have bonds that last for as long as they live. They even act as a team to defend their territory from various threats.

Black Vultures: These birds are very serious about their mates. The couple hangs out together throughout the year and even share parenting duties. They then form a close-knit family within themselves.

Monkeys: They express their feelings of affection in different ways. After a fight with their partner, they make peace by grooming each other. They are generally very social creatures and live in families consisting of hundreds in peace.

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Antelopes: The Kirk’s Dik-Dik doe-eyed antelope roam in groups and rarely stray. Researchers have found that the male species might stick around to cover his mate’s scent so that other male antelopes cannot track it. The female too, shows no interest in mating with males other than her partner.

Convict Cichlids: Despite its name, this fish is a considerate mate and parent. They mate and when the female lays eggs, they spend equal amounts of time fanning them and keeping predators away. Once the larvae hatch, the two parents share the burden of looking after them and if they wander off, the parents suck them back and spit them out into the safety of their home.

Swans: These birds symbolize purity and love. They also mate for life. When one partner dies, the other does not find another swan to mate with. They remain alone for as long as they live. They constantly show their love by bobbing their heads and bringing them together, making the space between them look like a heart.

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Prairie Voles: The small burrowing prairie vole is one of the most faithful animals around. Once they have paired up, they share all the parenting duties and groom other, after which they cuddle. A study showed that when these males were tempted with other unfamiliar distrations, fewer than 10% succumbed. Even when the female died, very few of them found another mate.

Cats: These feline friends have a reputation for not expressing their feelings, but they do have their own way of showing that they care for each other. They usually lick one another to groom and to bond. This is usually done between cats that know each other very well.

Giraffes: A male giraffe usually flirts with a female by feeding beside her and sometimes even taking things a little further by entwining his neck with hers!

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Hit Me With Those Grey Eyes

I slowly drove down the quiet road while looking around and taking everything in. The place looked familiar, but the changes were noticeable. The number of trees were lesser, roads wider, buildings taller, more cars parked around the place, but it still felt peaceful. The queasiness in my stomach kept increasing as I knew I was approaching nearer and nearer. Taking a deep breath as a train passed by on the tracks parallel to the road, I remembered feeling the same way ten years back; when I first came here. Making sure I had my sunglasses on, and a scarf around my neck, I drove up to the line of shops on the left side. Two of them on the left were provision stores, and a steep slope in the middle which I knew was the entrance to the house, parted them from a supermarket on the other side.

I stopped at the store just before the slope, and took another deep breath before locking the car and getting out.
“You can do this” I kept telling myself in my head. “No one is going to recognise you. It’s been ten years. He doesn’t even remember you.”
While walking up to the store, I took out the map and tried to look around discreetly as the chilly winter wind blew through my hair, completely messing it up

The man sitting at the counter looked up as I walked up to him and cleared my throat, his grey eyes piercing through mine, immediately bringing back memories.
“May I help you?” He asked in a deep, manly voice. It was nothing like how I remembered it to be. I scrutinised him through my dark sunglasses. He looked like the same skinny, lean person with thin lips and shiny eyes, except for the addition of a few tattoos and piercings. His arms looked more muscular under his black shirt, which accentuated his pale skin even more.
“Can you guide me to SJI School please? I’m kind of lost” I asked hesitantly.
“Of course” he said taking the map from me and pointing to one spot. “It’s is where’s you are now and that’s where the school is …”

I looked at him closely. His fingers, his thin hands and his eyes as he kept looking up to make sure I had understood everything he was saying. He had the same helpful nature I could remember him having. It was what I had liked the best in him. How he helped people without expecting a single thing in return. I wondered where his parents were, if they were still there. He looked tired, like he hadn’t been sleeping.

“…And take a left and you’ll reach the school” he said looking up at me.
“Thanks so much” I said smiling, pretending like I’d listened to everything he’d said. “That was of great help. Thanks” I said enthusiastically.
“You should probably get something for the road, it’s not very close” he said standing up straight. “And you really look like you could eat something”
“Um, alright then. I’ll have a Dairy Milk” I said handing him the money. “The small one” I added when I saw him picking the huge packet of the chocolate.
He smiled and handed me the chocolate with the change. I thanked him and walked away slowly, wondering what I should do now.

My mind was still hazy from all the thoughts, and recollections of the past. So I crossed my car and walked up ahead to the tracks, deciding to get a bit of fresh air before heading off again. Standing in the weed and grass, taking deep breaths of fresh air, and the sun shining down brightly on me, suddenly made me forget where I was. As I was about to take off my scarf, I remembered what I was doing.

“Just to warn you, there are a lot of cockroaches in the grass there” a voice shouted to me from across the road. Even though I was wearing full jeans and knee-length boots, the thought of them crawling around, still terrified me. I hurried down to my car.
“Still terrified of them huh?” I heard the voice question me from across my car, just as I was about to get in.
As if my heart wasn’t beating fast enough, I felt it hammering my chest loudly, making me wonder if he could hear it across the car.
“Excuse me?” I smiled politely at him.
“You’ve lost a bunch of weight, but your hairs the same. So are your hands and probably your eyes too. You still don’t listen to a word I say but pretend like you do anyway. And you still wear the same ring you used to” he said in his deep voice.

He smiled his smile, to show me that he knew. He knew me and why I had come back after all these years, and he smiled because he knew that it would make my heart skip a beat. Like it always did when he smiled, that smile.

Please let me know what you think of the fictional story, in the comments below 🙂