Another year has passed…

Another year has passed…
And it still feels like a new beginning.

With two years gone, there’s much that has changed.
Two years ago this time, after much thought; the wheels were set to roll.
Like the almost negligible crunching of pebbles that is heard on the ground
when a cart starts to move,
words were scarce, ideas shallow and scattered few and far between.

Gradually, just like the cart speeding across the road, crushing the bigger stones,
burying them further deep inside the earth,
more concrete ideas were born, hurling behind the fears of failure,
burying them in sands of time,
walking the route walked by many, the same road, the same land.
Learning. Improving.

And another year has passed…
And new acquaintances, leading where, no one knows, were formed.

Image Credit - Pinterest

Image Credit – Pinterest

So many people met, so many more forgotten and many not yet known.
New friends, equally passionate about walking the same road with you,
maybe not hand-in-hand, but word-by-word, kept clutched to the heart.
Some others perceived as more, chose to walk away.
Yet, learning, growing by conquering boulders in the path that once made you to stop, divulge; almost quit,
are no longer boulders, but a part of what is left behind, just traces.

And another year has passed…

Living through everything you face and feel, transforming them into words, is not easy.
But a pinch of inspiration peppered with confidence and bounty of love, is all you need to keep you going!

Nothing is as hard, nothing as difficult as taking that first step when you began.
But nothing gets as wonderful as the memories you make, once you’ve begun.
Phase of uncertainities will leave; what made you live through those times, will live.
Times will test, but sticking by what you desire is all that makes the difference.

And this is still just a bit from the pot of gains you’ve treasured through time.
Because although another year has passed,
it has left behind marks.
It only reminds of all the good times that are yet to come and
so will follow more love, more happiness and more worded treasures.

Turned around the corner and my blog is another year old. 

This is a dedication post to all those bloggers out there who have helped me make it big.  

-Asha Seth

The Silhouette

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Image Credit: Pinterest

Someone passed away recently. A school mate. Someone I didn’t know well. And yet he appears in my thoughts.  A silhouette. As crazy as it may sound but I think about him. Every so often. He gave in to cancer. I’d heard from friends. After three years of tiresome battle. A battle to live. A fight against death. If only he’d won…

Visiting his family was one of the toughest things I’ve done in my life. I have never been one to take departures subtly. Well, I guess no one does. But I’m talking about even those whom I’ve never known and they yet tend to stir some feelings deep inside, just knowing that they are gone.

Somehow I’ve always believed that people who leave us, don’t actually ever leave. They are still around. Only invisible. Looking for us. Protecting us. Around us. As a child, dad made me believe this. It was meant to pacify the state of hysteria funerals caused me. But the idea only caused towering fear. Having someone invisible around. All the time. Well, it can get scary. It still does.

Traveling for three hours through trains and buses, wasn’t as distressing as the atmosphere in his house. I hadn’t seen him beyond school and a picture on the mantel shelf from his graduation day caught my attention. This is what he must have looked like. A face I could barely recognize, let alone remember. He looked happy with his mother at his side. Unaware of the evil thing inside him, living there and killing him.

Sitting with his mother, surrounded by solitude, I realized it’s so hard for words to come out when you actually want them to. She sensed it and forced a smile, dripping with the pain of loss. Her eyes were moist. I could tell she had hurriedly wiped off the tears when she received me at the door. She asked me how I knew her son, an attempt to end the dragging silence. I knew him from school was all I could muster.

We sat forcing words out, in bits and pieces. About family and work. Things that meant nothing to her. Not anymore. After her world had shrinked to herself alone. I knew she had lost her husband. Her bare hands missing the bangles and the partition of her hair missing the vermilion weren’t hard to notice.

It was since the moment that I had sat down next to her, holding her hands, I knew she wanted to say something. Something she was fearful about, that if kept inside it would die away, the silence would kill it forever. That maybe repeating it to anyone and everyone, would keep it alive, in her heart, in her mind. Had I known, what was coming, I would have prepared myself well. I would have practiced what to say; only to lift up a mother’s sinking heart.

Eyes focused on the floor, on her fidgety toes, she whispered that the memories of his final moments are the ones that will remain truer than anything else. She said, he’d known. He’d known that the next morning would never come. Never for him.

And the last night, when she was retiring from his hospital room, he’d called her. He’d asked her when the last time he’d kissed her good night was. To which she’d replied, just the other night and he’d smiled. Knowing she was lying because it had been ages. And through dried lips, he’d kissed her on the cheek. The warmth emanating from his body had burned against her skin. She’d cried since she’d known there weren’t many days he’d able to do just that.

I saw she was reliving the moment, her eyes shining with large beads of tears. She admitted something that broke my heart in a thousand pieces. She said she hadn’t slept since her son had passed away because he’ll never kiss her good night again.

I was tearful too while I hugged her. Hugged her long, believing, it’d help force out some of her grief. I held her till her breath stopped racing, till her tears dried. Some more minutes passed and I decided it was time to leave. I looked at the watch and it showed merely 40 minutes had passed. But in those 40 minutes, I’d lived another age.

At the door, I gave her the only thing I could bring. A photo album I had put together since school days; a collection of class photographs taken every year. I don’t know if I needed it more than her. And I gave it to her. She opened it and following her scanning eyes, I realized she’d found the one face she was looking for. Then another page and another.

I don’t think she heard when I said the final goodbye. I don’t think she saw when I turned and walked down the street.

It was only later while traveling back home; I pondered over all that I’d learnt about that silhouette from my thoughts. I could now replace the shadowed figure with an image. The image from the photo on the mantel shelf.

-Asha

Looking in your Eyes…

Looking in your eyes, I know, there’s nowhere else I want to be.
I know there’s nowhere else I want us to be.
There’s nothing else I want to do this moment but be lost in your eyes.

Every dream I ever dreamt somehow seems possible, and I want to realize those with you.
For I see those thousand dreams come to life, the minute I look into your eyes.

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Image Credit: Pinterest

Being in your arms, I want to hold you like this forever.
Your face so close to mine, your breath mingling with mine,
Difficult to distinguish, the place and the time.
A solemn moment passes before I feel your fingers pressing on my waist.

And looking into your eyes, it’s hard to negate what I see.
Glazed with longing, written in bold letters is what your racing heartbeats scream about.
The desire to hold on like this forever, the want to never let go.
I can feel it as that’s exactly what I’ve wanted too.

But before I know, you blink it away.
Denying me the comfort by erecting that wall.
Retreating to that space I so wish you had not.

 

I don’t know what’s right. I gave up thinking what’s wrong.
Because looking in your eyes I know you are all I’ll ever want.
That you see your plans irrefutable is a vague impression to me,
because when I look in your eyes, I see the possibility impending, a possibility; you and me.

You’ve never admitted, always denied when asked.
Looking into your eyes, I see that’s false.
I see the hidden regrets, I see the melancholy smiles.
Your eyes; sometimes too chirpy, sometimes as dry as flame.
Looking into them, I see they are tired too of playing the games.

All these years, you’ve masked it too well, too perfect to be true.
But looking in your eyes, I see a web of self-tormenting lies.
You’ve held too long the pain, the untold secrets, that have nothing but killed you inside.
And they stop you; they still do, from accepting what’s waiting this side.

You refuse to stir, you have your reasons.
But for once, I want you to know, I’d do anything for us.
Because, looking in your eyes, I see how it’s supposed to be, how it’s meant to be.
I get a glimpse into the future, a still of you beside me.
And I wonder if you can see it through mine. The many memories I wish to make.

Drawing a long breath, you slowly pull away.
Still holding my gaze, ‘We aren’t meant to be, we are worlds apart’, you say.
I am shattered by that ungiven chance. Broken by the unlived medley of odds.
My heart missed a beat, my eyes began to burn.
And I’m sure you wouldn’t have said this.
You’d have known you want to be with me too,
Had you, for once, looked into your eyes.

-Asha

Losing Faith

How do you hold on to faith when your world is falling apart? Know what I mean? When you are almost always pushed at that edge where you start questioning everything you’ve ever believed. How do you stop yourself from losing faith?

Kevin and I, did our schooling together while we attended same classes in ninth and tenth grade, we always spearheaded academic and curricular activities, whether it was the science club or the volleyball team or a debate meet or a skit performance. Over the years, we lost touch and happened to meet only recently when I learnt that he had left the country right after school. We agreed to meet over coffee one evening. An evening that will leave a lot to think about!

Meeting old friends after what seems like ages, unearthing the past is a usual affair. But filling the gaps, closing the distance is all well and good only as long as the talk is on pleasant grounds. And then there are those moments when you opt mute smiles. There are certain grounds where you reach a dead end even before you’ve reached the turn.

The conversation over coffee drifted to the past, from work to college to school, and from colleagues to friends to family. I was greatly delighted to learn the heights Kevin has scaled in all these years that he was away. He is not only employed with a reputed and an all-desired firm but has been equally successful in acuminating his talent in painting which was his hobby since before I’ve known him.

The casual talks led me to realize that he had not forgotten what I would otherwise term ‘little things’ and that he remembered my habits and interests with such definitude all too perfect to be true.

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Credit: Google Images

Surprisingly, touching over the surface of talks, I gathered he isn’t much of a religious person which I don’t know if he ever was. The fact that he is an agnostic did not disturb me as much as the fact that he is an acute atheist. That also was not the end of my disappointment. It was rather the manner in which he almost mocked about how I always was an ‘overly’ religious person. Right since those early school years. He jeered with utter travesty at the religious practices that I followed and was flippant enough in mentioning how he thought that my observing fasts was beyond a certain point of ridicule and proved only how much more weak it portrays us. Besides, there’s nothing ever like pleasing the Gods.

Slowly, the conversation ambled from one point of religion-mockery to another and I started to believe that it might never end.

You must be wondering why did not just cut him short if I am a person of God, why did I not argue and make him see how wrong he was, or why did I not just walk away?

But amidst the rather grim conversation, I had had a glimpse of something else. A lurking question that I needed an explanation for. Kevin’s words although coated with deepest contempt convinced me that there was an underlying reason. What I saw on the surface was only half the story. There was more than what met my eye. And only digging further into the ground he’d dug, I could find the answers. And I had to do it his own way. Not mine. Debate. Arguments. Convictions. Explanations wouldn’t help me. And pretty soon I discovered what it was that had made my dear friend so loathsome at even the mention of God.

Kevin had had a rather troubled upbringing as a child. With highly ambitious parents, none willing to sacrifice their ambitions or successful careers, Kevin grew up in the supervision of his sometimes present old grandma and an always present nanny.

He hardly ever saw his parents as they lived in separate towns, traveling the globe more than half the year, the percentage of their attendance in his life was much lower than the very many board meetings and presentations they attended. Finally, it reached a point when there wasn’t one day when he could see both of them together. Attending school plays and report days with his good old granny became a routine and gradually, the fading bonds between his parents resulted into a dissolved marriage. Today, while his father runs a successful business with wealthy clients overseas, his mother is the dean of a reputed university in another country.

Until that day, each living moment of his life was spent struggling to get his family back together. He frequented churches and prayed that they come back. It was neither the fortunes they were making nor their growing careers that stirred any interest in him. It was only the family he so wanted, the love he so missed that he had begged for on bent knees. He held onto his drifting faith that they will come back, that they will see how much he needs them. But he realized it was too late. That he was mistaken all these years. It was not their careers that were meddling with the family but the family meddling with their careers. This not only tore his family apart but shed to bits every tiny thread of faith he ever had.  It just became too easy for him to believe that what is not there cannot give you what you ever ask for.

Well, what could I have said that would have lessened his pain? Were there enough words to unburden his heart? Actions to restore the lost faith? I mean, you reach that point when you learn there is a lot of shit than what you see, shit that kills. Especially, when its killing people you deeply care about.
How do you keep yourself from losing faith then?

True, I got my beliefs. True, I got my faith. I also have my own share of challenges and disappointments which make me apprehensive. But had I been in Kevin’s shoes, after having fought with every ounce of my energy and hope left, and yet watching my world fall apart, would I be able to stick by my faith? Not sure!

-Asha

Count your blessings

It doesn’t take a scientist’s brain to comprehend basic conversations. Yes, sure! But when it comes to sarcasm, I guess it takes way more than that, especially if you are someone like me. Well, it is not that I am a dim-wit or anything but I have a penchant to dig for goodness even with sarcastic spears.  So, with me, most times, efforts employed on sarcastic grounds pass unnoticed.
Yes, go ahead, call me WEIRD!! That’s not the point though.

Now, my less-than-smart brain has discovered that people have the tendency to say the weirdest things exactly when you least expect them. And all you can do at times like such, is remaining seated with pursed lips and may be at the most add some nods, because you do not know what would a justifiable response be.

A spare weekend took me and my friend to an orphanage to spend some time with little orphan girls raised by a married couple. These girls are taken in at the age of eight and are raised with every possible facility that can be provided. We were astonished at the efforts the happy couple is investing in doing the great job that too with least assistance from independent parties or government. The girls are well-mannered and are being raised with high standards under personal supervision and observation of the couple.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Image Credit: Pinterest

In the few hours that we spent talking and chatting with the girls, I became overly fond of most of them since they are all so polite and pleasant. However, I noticed one girl of about 15 who was aloof from the gang of girls. She would barely talk and was on her own since I time we were there. I was surprised that the other girls who were otherwise so close to each other never once checked on her.

I had learnt this from the caretaker lady that new girls who joined the house took some time to mix up with the other girls and I convinced myself that she must be trying to adjust with the new surroundings. Very soon, I learnt that she was staying with the family from the age of 8 and had been different from the family ever since.

Now, she did appeal to the best of my curiosities and in no time, I was sitting next to her, trying to strike a conversation. It was clearly evident that she was least interested. She not only made me repeat everything at least a few times before I could extract a reply from her but she made it even more difficult with her single-word replies. Surprisingly, in 20 minutes time, she had uttered only few countable number of words whereas as I had almost constructed a mountain of loose talks!

 

After about 5 or so minutes of awkward silence, she asked me, “do you count your blessings?” Now, this totally threw me off-balance. While I was happy that she was finally opening up with me, I was clueless as to what I should say to that.

I don’t remember her name, for she never helped me with it, but I so wish I had forgotten what she had brought up. Now, this is why I always prefer books over people. Books tell you things only when you are ready to take them unlike people who will bring up things at most awkward moments.

She kept looking away so I could not figure if she was being sarcastic or plain rude. She asked again. Well, now, we sure do, don’t we? Count our blessings, I mean. Appreciate what life is despite the hardships and challenges it brings. Thank God for his mercy and love. But then it is not the first thing we talk about!!

Sure, I do, I replied. Just what you mean when you ask me this, I asked her.

Not all do, she said. Maybe. Maybe not, I said. Why do you ask anyway? I asked. And what she replied was bizarrely sad and left a void in my heart, that I doubt will ever be filled.

You should count your blessings because you have everything that I don’t. You’ll never know what that feels like. I was still searching for a reply and she went on. With that far away look, she said, I hate to come back to a family that isn’t my own. I hate to accept someone as mum and dad when there are 30 other kids your age calling them the same. I hate that I cannot seek the affection that I would get from my own parents and that I cannot be the one child that I would’ve otherwise been, she paused.

I hate that no one cares enough to come and talk to me. That I have to think so many times before asking for anything, maybe a dress, maybe something for school, maybe a chocolate. Anything for that matter. Because then they will have to bring the same for every other girl here. I hate to talk to these girls here and I absolutely hate of being reminded every time that I am supposed to consider them my sisters and behave like one.

I totally hate that I cannot ever feel normal among people like you. I hate when my teacher asks me twice but asks others only once before moving on to next topic. I have lost my parents, I am not mentally retarded. I hate to be treated like one, she added dejectedly.

I hate all the sympathy. That you’ve come to talk to me while I lament. That you get everything that I too deserve. I hate that you will go back to a family that is your own. I hate that you have friends, normal ones whereas all I have is these girls to talk to, she said enviously. I hate my life and I hate everything about it. And most of all, I hate God, if there is anything like that, to have let me suffer like this, she finished.

It was like a flood of emotions that had unleashed itself after years of self-agony. Like a tornado of pain that hits you so bad that you stumble without control. I do not remember how many seconds had passed before I could utter a word again. She didn’t bother disturbing my thoughts. It’s like I was transported to a different world. A world where there was only misery and loads of anguish, an ocean of pain.

Coming back to the present, I failed to understand if the other girls were right in accepting their lives the way it was or this girl was right in lamenting over her life. Was I even the right person to judge?

Something about her sullen outburst turned my senses numb. I wanted to talk to her. I wanted to say something that would make her feel better but didn’t she say that she hated sympathies? I wanted to be angry with her for abusing everything God had blessed her life with, no matter the past. I wanted to make her see sense, to drive out the negativity, to see a solution, find one. Most of all, I wanted her to look at the other side of the coin which was begging for her attention. And that thing was happiness. I so wanted to talk to her. But all I did was get up and walk away.

At the door, I turned just once to look at her and she did too. In all those 20 minutes of being together, that was the only moment our eyes met. I saw she was crying all this time while I thought that her words were quavering with anger. The tears now dried had left her eyes moist and cheeks pink. Her face emotionless.

Although, I had no words left to justify her arguments and accusations, I am sure; my eyes conveyed what I was thinking at that moment. And that was although I do count my blessings, I was not sure if she did!

-Asha

In that moment…

I asked again, you again denied. And there was silence, all over again.

Why do you do this each time, asking me what’s going on? You’d said. I didn’t know what to say.
I am tired of this, you said, almost angry. I failed to understand what that meant.
Tired of what? Was it me or was it us? Say it. Oh, I so wanted you to accept rather than killing me each day.

Sitting next to you, on the cliff there, with feet dangling off the edge.
Watching your hair blowing in the wind. It seemed almost romantic.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Image Credit: Pinterest

And yet, everything was hollow, just like my heart. Turned upside down.
The last traces of something that used to be there, was dripping away. Was love there or it wasn’t anymore?
I was sure once, but right then, I was not so sure.

You looked at me suddenly. Like nothing was ever wrong. Like everything was just the same.
But tell you what? I didn’t tell you. I didn’t tell you that it was too late.
That I knew now what you’d kept from me. That I knew where you went.

Each time, I’d believed when you’d said, you couldn’t come. I’d believed when you’d said, please.
I was a fool to not see it then. But how could I have when it was so perfectly concealed.

I saw the look that said something, eyes not so betraying as your words.
I saw what he meant to you, and I saw it right through you.
I wanted to know, if it was me you were thinking of or him, while you were sitting next to me.
But those smiles always mislead me and it deceived me once again.

Your fingers were placed just inches away yet so distant they seemed to me.
I reached out my fingers to feel yours but somehow you knew because that’s what we always did.
And I couldn’t stop but watch how you slowly curled your fingers away.
Taking away what little was left of me.
I wish, I could hold them for the last time, in that moment, that day.

You looked at my face then studying those features as though you’d never seen me before.
Your gaze halted a little too long on my lips before returning to my eyes.
In that moment, I swear, I so wanted you, to kiss you, hold you and make you stay.
But you turned away just the instant when I moved a bit close.
I could feel the pain of losing, in that moment and so I cried.
It was not just you that you took away, but a part of me that you ripped apart.

Sitting there, sitting right next to you. I was thinking for the hundredth time what could’ve gone wrong.
We were so in love. But I guess it was just me, holding onto something that was long gone.
We were together, for twelve years, and for a hundred and twelve I’d dreamt.
Right then, a matter of twelve minutes seemed like ages to bear.

Without looking at me, you’d said there was another, I couldn’t see if you were happy or sad.
The words had not a pinch of pain while my eyes almost flooded with tears.
I’d watched you get up and walk away, leaving me angry and mad.
Not a reason, no explanation was given, none that I could ask for.

I’d lived a million memories in that moment and I knew that was all left.
And no matter what you’d said or done, but, in that moment, I swear I wanted you back.

-Asha Seth

And a year passes by…

And a year passes by…just like that!

Sometime last year, around this time, it was a new beginning. It was a time, after much thought; the wheels were set to roll.
Like the almost negligible crunching of pebbles that is heard on the grounds when a cart starts to move,
the words were scarce and the ideas shallow and scattered, least to be noticed. hourglass
Gradually, just like the cart speeding across the road, crushing the bigger stones,
burying them further deep inside the earth,
more concrete ideas were born from hurling behind the fears of failure,
burying them in sands of time,
walking the route walked by many, the same roads, the same land.
Learning. Improving.

And a year passes by…just like that!

A sea of acquaintanceship, leading where, no one knows.
So many people met, so many more forgotten and yet many not yet known.
New friends, equally passionate about walking the same road with you,
maybe not hand-in-hand, but word-by-word, are kept clutched to the heart.
Some others perceived as more, chose to walk away.
Yet, learning, growing by conquering boulders in the path that once made you to stop, divulge, quit
are no longer boulders, but a part of what is the sands of time.

And a year passes by…just like that!

Living through everything you face and feel and transforming them into words, is not an easy task.
But you also have learnt what wonders a pinch of inspiration and a bounty of love can do!
Nothing is as hard, nothing as difficult as taking that first step when you began.
But nothing gets as wonderful once you’ve begun.
Period of troubles will leave; what made you live through that period, will live.
Times will test, but sticking by what you desire is all that makes the difference.

And this is just a bit from the pot of gains that you’ve treasured because although a year has passed by,
it has left behind marks.
It only reminds of all the good times that are yet to come and so will follow
more love, more happiness and more worded treasures.

Sometime around the end of the month of July, I, as a blogger, turned a year old. Unfortunately, I do not remember the precise date to celebrate it. So I thought it better to do a random post this month.

This is a dedication post to all those bloggers out there who have helped me make it big.  

-Asha Seth

 

Beautiful Juxtaposition…

Asha:

I love the way thoughts are transformed into words so brilliantly by those few among us who are just so good at it. This one is for J.

Originally posted on Book to the Future:

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~*~

Silence pervades the cold dark night, in this peace…

I think of you.

I gaze at the stars and their associated wonders.

I think of you

~*~

The last email of my day has flown across the ether,

A sense of melancholy at the broken connection.

A new day beckons, I cannot contain myself,

I should sleep, though it seems a waste when you are in my world.

~*~

I sit alone and smile

I think of you.

I dare to dream of realities unrealised

I think of you.

~*~

Sensual beginnings to a day’s end, a beautiful juxtaposition,

A wondrous sense of magic flows in me, ancient and unknowable.

Is this what others understand?

No, not like this…nothing can be like this.

~*~

I think of you.

~*~

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Nightmares in the Day!

What do you see?” probed my mother with a worried look on her face, a look she failed to hide.

It’s been weeks and I have grown tired of seeing things in the day time. Yes, day-time. The remnants from my nightmares born from fragmented pieces of sleep, becoming nightmares in the day. And I drag myself through the day just like I have been doing for so many nights. The withering pictures linger in my mind every minute during the day and I catch myself lost in the ensnaring nightmare.

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Image Credit: Pinterest

As a child, I used to have nightmares, memories of which I could never forget.
After a period of time, the nightmares stopped. I guess that’s what bothered my mother.
What do you see?” she asked again with a look of concern. I pressed hard not to remember anything from the faded pool of memories that start haunting me as night slowly walks in. I looked at her and realized I had to make up a story soon. I had seen that troubled look many times.
Quick! Quick! I told myself. So I recounted a totally different dream to her. A lie. That I saw shabby houses and screams all round, of little girls and women being tortured, of men being violently hit, furious mobs around and things being burned down.

There! She seemed satisfied if not really happy.

Guess she expected the same old story.

About a woman. In a dark brown saree. Falling, from a height what must have been about 15 meters. From a building. First slowly, then faster and then being thumped on the ground. Chest on the ground. Face sideways. Hair still the bun dangling over her face. But all she is now is a mass of scattered flesh, a pool of blood. She’s dead. There’s no doubt about it. I stand watching this as though she was someone I know. Horrified and tear-stricken at the same time. Suddenly, she raises her blood-stained face, her hair obscuring most of it. Looking me in the eye. Her eyes, I notice, are darker, empty, nothing but wearing a heart-tearing pained look.

And then before I can understand, her lips move. I am horror-struck. Tears that were flowing in full-force until now have slowed down.  Did she say something or did I just imagine? And before I can even blink my eye, they are taking her away. I try to stop them. Hoping she is still alive, hanging onto the last bits of her dear life. But I am pushed away, ushered in a corner. “She’s dead” someone says and I yell “No, not yet”. And I would end up screaming in my sleep and waking up half of my family.

But I wouldn’t tell my mom that. I couldn’t tell my mom that.

For a very long period of time what must have been years, I used to conjure up things that the lady from my dream was trying to say, coming up with self-made stories and filling my parents with dread of something that wasn’t there.
That’s when I guess they made it a practice to make me recite prayers, certain anti-evil religious spells that gradually filled up the void in my mind that had housed that nightmare. They made sure I slept with an object of iron under my pillow, mostly a key.

“You still say your prayers at night, don’t you?” She inquired. Sometimes I wonder how parents know exactly which nerve to press and make you feel even worse. To be honest, no I wasn’t. But I didn’t say as much to her. My silence answered it for her.
“It was easier to make you understand what we thought was right when you younger. You would listen. Now. Well now, we expect you to understand and not being made to.” I didn’t know what to say just then. “I hope you haven’t -” started my mother when I had to cut her short. I knew what was coming like those numerous other times. “No mum, I haven’t given up faith. I do believe in God”, I completed. She waited for more but I chose to remain quiet.

“You were three and a little more then” told my mother without meeting my eye, “when it started. You would wake up screaming and sweating in bed at nights”, she continued. She kept her eyes fixed at a point on the knife she was chopping the carrots with.
For a long time, she did not look up. She was afraid I would see the fear that had been a permanent tenant in her mind back from those years of my life. I gathered, whatever memories she had of me from back then, must be real terrible. I was still wondering how she knew I was spending sleepless nights, lying awake upto five or six when she threw something really unexpected and maybe, weird.

“Is it because of the books you read at bed-time?” and before I could defend myself she concluded, “Yes, that is it. How many times have I asked you to not read those sick murder and crime stories at night?” That’s when I realised that maybe she was trying to convince herself more than convincing me. I intervened. “Mum, I have just been busy and too exhausted lately. Nothing more. It’s not the books, I know. I will begin to pray. I sure, will”, I promised her. Now, I have never been an anti-God person. I do believe there is THE ALMIGHTY sitting up there. I do pray – Thanking God for everything gained. Mourning a little on every little loss. But lately, I haven’t been the-pray-before-you-go-to-sleep girl. But I will try. I assured her.

It was only later I would learn that my mother had found my diary on the bed-side table while I had slept over it. Only later I will find that the mad scribbling I have been doing for days, filling pages with the gory details of the nightmare were already read by her while I constructed a lie when she asked.

It made a lot of things clear.

Why I couldn’t find my diary as though it had disappeared in thin air?
Why did it have to appear in my bag when I left it at the bed-side table?
Why did mum have to come and sit with me at nights since the past week?
Why had she adopted a standard coming-home greeting – “How was your day? What did you do?”
Why did she have to come to check on me at nights when I pretended to be asleep?
Why did she call me on my phone frequently these days while at work?
and Why did she almost force me to tell her I was spending disturbed days and nights?

It explained to me the dreadful look in her eyes, the creases of concern on her face.

Such a rush of shame engulfed me for having lied to her. But I was quickly taken-over by rage for having my privacy breached.

I didn’t know what to do. Should she have done what she did? Was she right in invading my little space like that? And was I the right person to decide that? Didn’t I lie to her?

I spent days of avoiding any possibility of the slightest conversation with her.
I avoided looking her in the eye for whatever brief moments our eyes met. She knew and I could see it etched on her face. It only made me feel worse. For not having control over myself, my emotions. For being tactless in handling my issues and concerns. For making my worries, hers.
But in the meanwhile I had also learnt that I had to mask my expressions well. I still don’t know what  caused the nightmares to return but I promised myself of not letting her know about the growing panic and the constant state of dread.
Not showing the weariness in my eyes, the darkness caused by the limp figure covered in red while I struggle to live with the nightmares in the day.

- Asha Seth

A Letter in the Mailbox

Often, days seem long and my patience starts to wear off.  It’s never like this the days when you are home. I keep myself engaged in chores and leave your thoughts at bay. Attending to them only when they seem restless. Hours seem like minutes and the hands of the clock are ticking away. Slowly, I drift into thoughts of you again.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

I find myself sneaking out the window.  Just one last time I say. And the wait prolongs as I see no movement, no progress other than the day speeding away. Through the creeks of the wooden doors, I look for signs. But I only see the entering rays of the sun getting thicker, denser with the hour reminding me that the day is about to end.  And I peer down the street, and then back up the arch and through the dense shrubs for
a letter in the mailbox.

Getting back to work seems difficult due to the continuous distractedness of my heart. It is a condition that is bound to stay. Today again, the post doesn’t arrive, I know it won’t. It is a week more before the post will come, bringing your whereabouts and my lost smile too. I collect my scattered thoughts just like I collect the clothes you’ve left scattered on the floor. One by one, imagining and feeling your presence in them. I smile to myself as though it is some deep secret that only we share. There is a rush of memories, a nostalgic feeling follows. I leave the pile of your clothes and things on the floor and rush to the bed-side table. I open the drawer which is a collection of letters from you in all these years.

I open one of those letters and stare at curled words just a little longer. The world comes to a halt and time gradually stops. I read while I let each word sink. Myriad emotions take hold of me and I reminisce about us. The words feel like a whisper. And I let it soothe the urge in me. The urge to see you, feel you, hold you. I read them, all of them, again. And that’s what I do each time while you are gone.

Keeping your letters back; I resume work, counting in my mind; the days remaining before I will see you walk home again from the front door. Until then, I wait. I wait for another week for the post to come. And I glance out the door once more while I wait for a letter in the mailbox.

-Asha Seth

Writing Simple

Well, being simple is most difficult, isn’t it? Being simple, living simple, thinking simple, writing simple. Especially, when it comes to writing, I feel, it’s furthermore difficult. Let me tell you about my writing experiences so far. Like every other person when I started to write, it wasn’t just the fear of rejection that clouded my brain. It had more to do with my quality of writing. Now, since I am not from a literature background academically, I find it difficult sometimes to write down my thoughts without changing the meaning of the script.

In school, at all levels, I was fairly good with English language. I always out-stood in essays, grammar, spell-bee contests, and speeches compared to other students. Thinking about it now, I guess, I used to be a lot like Hermione from Harry Potter movies. One who always had her hand shooting in the sky every time a teacher asked a challenge question.  The only difference being I wasn’t ever an all-rounder like Hermione and consequently, you would find me overly active only in English classes. I was always either jumping in my seat for a class-reading chance or restless about solving a grammar challenge on the blackboard. Well, yes, let me admit it – I was quite a pain for certain peace-loving students of the class.  It felt good then to always score the highest marks. English language was always my favorite subject.

My love for the language was a major reason to try my hand at writing. And before I knew, I had entered into the world of blogging. I found WordPress the most user-friendly and followed the instructions and started to write. I have encountered myriad challenges since that first day. Majorly, my writing skills based challenges as I found writing simple very difficult. I have always tried to develop my nascent writing and take it to the next step. The constant struggle with thoughts is one thing I need to master and this I very soon realized. There are things I’ve learnt with practice and close observations. Experience is the best teacher and it is 100 percent true. I learnt mostly by observing the style of fellow-writers. Their experience has been a kind teacher to me. I learnt that while writing is important, writing simple is utmost important. There are many of us who might have recently taken up writing; here is something I would like to share with you. Now again, while this has been a brilliant help in improving my writing skills, I cannot assure if these suggestions will prove to be of same help to you. Thank you for reading through anyway.

Few things

i)                    Avoid use of complex words –

Keep your script as simple as possible. Try and keep your writing free from complex words. This I learnt from Stephen King’s novel On Writing. For example, when you want to express a confused state, just simply use the word ‘confused’ rather than using words like bamboozled, bewildered, flummoxed etc. While using complex words might be easy to understand for proficient writers who have a fairly well knowledge of the language, it only plays on the feeling of being ignorant in writers like me who are yet only learning and starting to write. It also helps give a trimmed look to your writing making it effort-free from understanding what you’ve intended to share with your readers.

ii)                   Avoid long sentences –

Long sentences can be real killers sometimes. A personal experience on that front. Let me tell you this. When I started writing, my sentences would end up being very long with about 28-30 words and hell lot of commas and semi-colons. This made it difficult for me to retain the meaning of the sentence as by the time I would finish reading it I would forget what I started with. Worse even, sometimes, the former part of the sentence would be in no way related to the latter part. This is annoying from a reader’s perspective as one might have to re-read the particular sentence several times in order to know what was spoken about. Hence having short sentences helps keep your writing simple. If a sentence is too long, try to break it into 2 shorter ones taking care of the grammar, especially clauses.

iii)                 Use live examples –

If possible, always provide live examples to support your writing. It helps explain your point better as readers can easily relate to it. I, as a person, like to imagine situations when I read one and having personal experiences as examples in the text makes my chances of reading the complete script double irrespective of whether it is a 200 word or 1200 word content. Therefore, I feel its advisable to try to get into the habit of including live examples whenever and wherever possible.

iv)                 Keep it short –

As much as possible try to have your writing short and crisp. By this I don’t mean you need to end up your script in 150 or 200 words. No! But always make sure you write only what is of interest and importance. Unwanted content only degrades the quality of your writing. Also, I feel it is imperative to remember that not all like to read lengthy scripts unless it is some interesting story or matter of experience. Keeping it concise, short and precisely up to the point might help you get into the habit of writing simple.

v)                  Be the reader not the writer –

Last but not the least; be the reader not the writer when you write. I have learnt this and I try to bear this in mind each time I sit down with my pencil and notepad. I write only what I might like to read as a reader. As writing is just once, but reading the same thing happens a lot many times by a lot many people. Now, let us not over-rule the fact that when we write we do expect our readers to read what we’ve poured over the pages. Hence, blending our script with a pinch of wit and humor always does the trick for our readers to keep them glued right till the last written word. Think of it like this, would you like to get bored with reading what has been written? Would you like to abandon it half way? No! Then why would you want your readers to feel that way about your writing? So, always be the reader and not a writer when you write.

These are certain lessons in writing that I’ve learnt in my writing expedition so far that I wanted to share with you. And of course, all this will only come with practice. And that will happen only when you write and write a lot. I haven’t used any research material to support this post since I wanted to write it based purely on my personal experience. I’ll consider this worth the effort even if it helps just one person to write simple.

So, what are your writing experiences? Share your ideas as they are precious. Also, do share your thoughts and inputs on the above write-up. I’m sure you can help to make it hell of a lot better.

- Asha Seth

Forgive and Forget

6fd0bd77729ebbe80d8d338d89236c6fIsn’t that what all our religious scriptures ask us to do? Forgive and Forget.

Gita, Bible, Quran all of them lay emphasis on the divine act of forgiving. Right since childhood one is taught to be forgiving. That forgiving is an act of kindness.

One should forgive others for their wrong deeds, sinful acts. Forgive and forget is one learning that is etched in my memories right from the time I took from crawling to walking.

I still remember, as a kid, my good old grandpa always stressed upon imbibing the virtue of forgiveness. It was as he used to call it, the key to happiness, to which I always wondered what the lock was. It was not until later that I realized what he really meant. Everyone deserves to be forgiven no matter what.

The girl next seat in class abuses, do not counter-abuse, forgive.
Someone pokes a pencil in your skin, do not repeat the act but forgive.
Your lunched box is snatched away, do not cry but forgive.
Someone’s being beaten; forgive (even if it’s not you who is being beaten).

I mean, it had turned into quite a law. My grandpa, I must tell you, was a lot into the forgiveness thing, always. And what’s more, not just forgive but forget too. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
Forgive and forget. Do not curse, do not retaliate, but forgive and forget.

Growing up to a certain age, I realized it did help. A lot. Trust me. To keep from getting into troubles. To avoid fights. Keeping silent does ward off a lot of things. I mean, when you are on the way to salvation with biggies like forgive and forget and all, you are considered something of a sage. People do not bother you much. Heck! They won’t even notice you much. For some, you are practically invisible, non-existing. For others, you are something between a coward and a spooked rat.

There, grandpa’s law did help me quite a bit. Atleast in earning a few names, ‘dumb’ being one of my favorites. So, I stopped bringing school issues at home. I mean, you wouldn’t want a sound forgive-full advice at home when actually you’re notebook pages were shred to pieces since you denied finishing fellow-student’s home assignment and you’re the one who ended up getting punished along with those others.
I always wondered if those students even knew that all that while I was graciously forgiving them for everything they did. Because that’s the last thing I’d want to live with if I am going to be around them for another decade and more.

Amidst being nice and dumb at school, I asked grandpa what good did the entire forgiving thing do to me? I was the one suffering, right?
On this he said,
Don’t worry about the hurt they cause you, child. They don’t intend to, they are just kids. Besides, someday they’ll know what they did was wrong. And remember, God sees all.”
Well, it must have been too much advice to process in an age like that. He always said that it’s for everyone’s happiness that you should learn to forgive. And even when you’ve forgiven someone, forget that they ever wronged you. Do not ever hold grudges against them as it only poisons your soul with bad revengeful thoughts. Therefore, forgive and forget helps to keep negativity at bay and your heart at peace. And that’s what God wants too.
Yeah! Like, at that age, I really cared about what God wanted.

Grandpa’s gone. It’s been years. Sometimes, I feel those years were good. It was so easy then than now to stick by rules and laws made. As years have passed, I have only grown to realize how unrealistic it sounds – forgive and forget.
I’ve found myself to deviate numerous times from that one path grandpa had laid. And even now, I find it increasingly difficult to follow that one advice, to forgive and forget. I think it to be such waste of time and faith.
Okay, so I am not an anti-forgive person. I am not. I do forgive people. I almost do. But I can never forget what they did. Even at the slightest memory of them, every little detail surges back to me like a tide and I find myself cursing them inwardly. So then does that mean I did really forgive them? Sometimes, I don’t even want to forgive some people because I feel they don’t deserve to be forgiven. And that’s not because forgiving them is not going to do me any good but because I know they will still do the same thing. They will still hurt someone else. They did not care enough then, why should they now?

I know deep inside that my dear old grandpa would never approve of my attitude if he was around. But if he were still around, I’d like to ask him something.
And it’s this – Do I still forgive and forget when someone tries to ffhurt me in an irreparable manner? Do I still forgive and forget when they force themselves on me or on anyone I love in a way considered inhumane by nature? Do I still forgive and forget when someone, for their personal and material gains shreds humanity to pieces by their unlawful acts? Do I? And even if I do, will that not leave a destructive impression on my mind and heart forever? Even if I forgive and forget, will it help me live normal? Forgive and forget, will it help me restore my lost faith?

So my question for you today is this – How can you forgive if you can’t forget?

-Asha Seth

What to Write…?

Do you sometimes feel that your head might burst dispersing thousands of words in the form of thoughts in the air around you? Do you come across this state when there is so much you want to write, so many things at once that you just don’t seem to be able to concentrate on other tasks at hand? Are there times when there is an eager urge to drop everything and set out to writing?

And when you finally manage to sit down
with a pen and your notepad, you Writing-writing-27456811-1277-955hardly get past a couple of lines. Also, when you re-read the rough draft you realize that you not only did scrape something largely deviating from what you actually meant to write but you scripted a jumble of ideas which seems nothing but a sort of maze from the outside.

Well, I’m not certain about you but I’ve been doing this awfully lot lately. I sit down with a pack of ideas to be constructed in a train of thought but I end up filling pages after pages with random thoughts pouring out my mind. Sometimes, I don’t even spare the margin areas. I keep frantically scribbling until I feel my head is light and empty to house new thoughts. And I get a feeling that even the rashly scribbled pages stare back at me as though trying to make sense of things I scribble.

So while I am already doing so much of writing, you must be wondering why the title. The problem is I’m barely being able to concentrate on what I want to write. Time is one permanent issue. Dedication another. But it is not the lack of time but the lack of dedication that’s the real issue. Atleast that’s what I feel.

Now-a-days, I feel I do not anymore enthusiastically write the way I used to. I’ve noticed a change in the pattern I write. And it is this. I never cared much about what I am writing except that it should be grammatically correct with simple-to-understand content. Off-late, I am overly concerned about what my readers like to read or rather what my readers might like to read and that’s one of the major hurdles in my literary endeavors. Now you must be thinking why is that? It’s positively alright to be concerned about your readers likes and dislikes when you exact a work of literature. But I was never concerned about this side of writing earlier. I started writing because I liked to write not because I wanted what I wrote to be liked.

Now with this change in pattern, suddenly, I feel there is so much less to share and consequently so much less to write. A state of restlessness engulfed the blogger all the time.

I shared the same with Radhika, my colleague-turned-friend and a blogger herself. Radhika has been a real motivation in my literary journey so far. She’s been a never-ending flow of motivation and sound suggestions which I love her for.  She said, Maybe you are pushing yourself a lot to see perfection in what you do. Over-straining yourself to rise to best standards in writing. But perfection will come with time not with you trying to match the taste of your readers. Remember, there are a lot of able proficient writers out there. They’ve reached there with time. While you, You’ve just started.”

It did make sense. Hell lot of sense. It is practically impossible to suit to everyones tastes. For the past few weeks, I have wasted nearly all my time in just pondering, re-crafting, and correcting the few lines I manage to write down. I just want everything to be so damn perfect. Not a word, not a feeling amiss. But that has only narrowed my writing bandwidth. What to write, I constantly muse about.

Well, I guess for now, I’m just going to try to be less perfection-obsessed and write as much as I can. Just write. Hoping it helps to fade out this gloomy phase. But how about you? Do you ever go through similar writing obstructions? What do you do to tackle it? Or do you yet sometimes wonder, What to write?

-Asha Seth

What I didn’t Say…

Last night, you were angry. Mad at me again. Yes, I know that look in your eyes. One that means business. Damn serious one. No fooling around, I say to myself. And then the cold stare. How bloody angry! And it wasn’t the first time. But it also wasn’t the first time I entered home late. Late enough for half the world to be asleep. I dreaded the moment. I knew I was at fault. The house was engulfed by creepy silence. All were sleeping but not you. The minute I saw you, a fear crept into my veins. My head yelled, Now face the consequences. You looked at the clock. I followed your sight. Half past one. Oh God! Was it really that late?

Where were you? Not a question that demanded answers. Calm but hostile. I couldn’t look up. Couldn’t muster the courage to reply. I stared at the floor. Look at me. I did. I don’t know what I saw there. Fear. Anger. Pain. Resignation. Hopelessness.

I dare not argue. Like I always do. It was just the other night. I can see that you’re growing tiresome with my stupid stubbornness. Endless arguments and debates that I commence. But tonite, it annoys me to know that you won’t give in. I fix my gaze on the floor again.

And then the endless stream of questions.

Where were you? Out with Friends. What friends? Silence. Why are you home this late again? We were partying. Kevin’s promotion bash. Dinner and Drinks. So you drink? No. Not me. And this is when you plan to return home – 1:30 in the morning? Silence, anger is building up. Did I not ask you to be back home by 10, everyday, no matter what? Angrier. Answer me?  And then the outburst. Shouts. Yells. Back-answers.

I won’t stand this in my house. No, means NO late-night parties. But all my friends go. They all stay. Except me. Their fathers never restrict them. Why just me? No more questions. I shout, I don’t take it. You can’t do this to me. Then I’m forced to ground you. Noooooooo.  I make rules around here, not you. And they are for your own good whether you like them or not. Slow heavy sobs. But I got a life too and I wish to live it my way, not anyone else’s. Silence. I’m your father. Silence. I tried getting you to understand the mellow way but you don’t seem to get it. Please. This is final. Anything else? Yes, I hate you. I so hate you for doing this. I never will talk to you again. I turned to go and looked at you. You looked, paralyzed. And there were tears pooling your eyes. Did I smile inside? Heartless, I thought. I walked away. Not realizing, it was me who was heartless not you.

You were the first I laid my eyes on when I first opened them. The first who 69594756712544884_ftDe1SyA_bheld me in your arms. And I know I am your sweetheart, your little baby. Have always been. I know. I can see how much you love me. I can see it in your eyes. Even though you never say it in so many words.

So many years have passed and I’ve grown up before your eyes. With every passing year, your love for me has nothing but increased. When I was little, you held my tiny hands firm, tight within your grasp. After all these years, you still want to hold me secure, close to your heart, within your sight is where you always want me to be. When I’m gone, it makes you restless to not know when I’m going to be back. What with the cruel hideous crimes happening around. You keep worried like all fathers do. I continue being carefree like all daughters do. You’re being protective and I know that while I’m being resistive. After-all what father would want his daughter to have the fate the other unfortunate girl did. Abused. Tortured. Raped. Abandoned. Dead.

All I do is care. Yes, that was the look in your eyes last night. My self-defensive stubbornness made me see only your fallen face. The dejection in our eyes made me feel victorious. But how blind could I get? Thinking about it now, I know I’d pierced your heart with my harsh words. I’d left you bleeding inside. I’d said I hated you but do I really? I showed I didn’t care but do I really don’t care? How I wish I could take those words back!

I was angry too, dad. Thought you’re being unfair. Being suffocatingly over-protective. I pretended to not understand. Unwilling to accept your concerns. My doggedness didn’t let me see reason. I don’t hate you, dad, how can I ever?

And it was anger that made me say what I did. I did not mean it. What I didn’t say is, I know you care for me and so do I. I love you dad. I always have. But I didn’t say this. I said else instead.

- Asha Seth

Side Note: This is pure imagination with no element of reality. Readers might have distinct notions of the idea depicted in the work. With all due regards, respect is advanced towards sharing of personal views on the same.

A note of heartfelt thanks to Rachel and Dipesh for helping me craft it. You guys are treasured.

And I Think Of You…

157837161911455644_T8p2Voyh_cHappiness is short-lived…so was my definition. Something I always believed.
Until you made me see
what Happiness really is.
Happiness lies in little things
not always in king-size dreams.
You’d always say.
And my definition changed.
Not just for Happiness. But for my life too.
And ever so gently,
you gave life a new perspective.
A new meaning.

And I think of you,
every morning, I see the sun up high in the sky
as you made me see how it wins over nights.
A hope to see past dark times.
And I think of you, each time, a face smiles at me,
as you made me realize the miracles extending help can do.
And I think of you, every time, I see a look of contentment
when I feed a starving stomach.
And I think of you, while I remain true with all as you showed me
that God is where Truth is and so is peace and happiness.
And I think of you, as this is what you’ve taught me.
The jewels you’ve adorned my life with.
Your principles. My virtues. Dear Mum.

But did I tell you this?

And I think of you, each time,
I see a little girl walking down the lane
with her mother, holding hands.
And I think of you, when on the TV sets,
I see a mother adoringly kiss her daughter’s forehead.
And I think of you, when I see a mother hugging
her teenage kid on her first day at college.
And yes, I think of you,
when I wish I could come back home to you.
And I think of you,
when I unlock the door and wish that
I could walk into your warm hug,
not the cold lifeless door.
And I think of you, while my tears dry on my cheeks,
the ones you so tenderly kissed.
And I think of you,
each day, when I wish that I could kiss you,
not the photograph of you.

I think of you, I do.

And I think of you, even today.
When its been nearly a year.
a year that you’re gone.
But with every passing moment,
I still smile
And I think of you…..

-Asha Seth

Just Half A Step Back…

fvfdbvToday. I walked and walked.
And never stopped.
Although, my legs hurt I didn’t slow down.
There was a need.
Not a sudden one.
One that has been building up.
All these years.
All these days.
All these hours.
Spent with thoughts of you.

I do not know why. But today, I just couldn’t stop myself.
From thinking. From wishing.
That I had you by my side.
That I walked next to you.
Measuring my steps with yours.
Linking my little finger with yours.
Staying close to you. Feeling the way I do.
In a world. Just Me & You.

Yes, so I am dreaming again.
And I know its not possible.
And there’s a weird hollowness. A painful sickness.
And I feel sorry for myself as I cannot even
tell you how I feel right now.
Because I know what you’d say.
Just like you’d said then.
“Please don’t say that. We’re FRIENDS.
Just Friends. Nothing more”
.

And I know what that means.
Bury your feelings deep inside.
Deep from where they cannot come back.

And I have done that once.
And I have struggled to live with it.
To move on.
Accepting what you meant when you’d said.
“Just Friends, is what we are”.
And yes, I know what it means. Just like I knew then.
To keep longing for you.

But even after all these years.
I’ve always dreamt to be with you.
A dream that might never come true.
Can I ever tell you this? That I want to be with you.
Every minute of every day. Till I live.
But it breaks my heart to see that it is just a dream.
One of my vague dreams. Nothing more.

That day is still fresh in my mind.110823tekbokeh12
I remember looking into your eyes when
I confessed how I felt about you.
A look I’ll always remember.

Your smile had faded by just a bit.
The gleam in your eyes faded by just a bit.
And you took half a step back.
Just Half a Step Back.. Suddenly!

Creating a distance between us.
To get away from me.
And it hurt. It hurt like shit.
But had I known how much distant
you were going to get with that half a step?

And Yes, I’d merely stared when you’d said that.
Merely nodded. Yes, I did.
But I wanted you to see. And how could you not?
That I’d hummed a low agreement because
I didn’t want to see you go.
But you did!

-Asha Seth

Writer’s note: This work is based on pure imagination with no element of reality

Hope

It’s been 25 years. 25 years now that I am associated with this word – HOPE. A really long time if you ask me. The other day after my 25th birthday my mum said

It’s hard to believe that you are now 25 years old.  Seems it was just yesterday when I and your father celebrated your first birthday.

Well, what can I say?  Moments like such leave you wanting to say something. Anything. But what?

Over these 25 years, I’ve seen the world around me changing right before my eyes.  I changed. People around me changed.  Parents changed. Friends changed. Habits changed. Hobbies changed. But one thing did not change and never will. Something that will remain with me till my last breath. And that’s my name. ASHA.

It wasn’t long before I figured what my name ‘ASHA’ meant. It was in the earlier years of life. I do not recollect exactly but I must have been in kinder-garten. Or maybe 1st grade or 2nd. It was the first day at school and for homework, the teacher asked all the students to find out what their names meant. Somehow I am sure that at that age it must not have made much sense. Thinking about it now it seems as sensible as hell. It is imperative to know oneself before starting to learn life’s lessons. And our names have a life-long impact on us. On our personality. On our behavior.

Back in that year on that day, I learnt what my name meant.

Asha. A small four letter word. Simple. Sweet.

Hope. A small four letter word. Simple. Sweet.

Did you just notice a similarity in pattern there?

Asha means Hope. Hope means Asha(when translated in my national language – Hindi).

At times, when fate has been hard on me, when I have started to lose patience and feel that it’s the end now, my name itself has been a boost of faith and self-confidence. A vast supply of positive energy to face days ahead.

This little word has imparted a deep unmoving meaning to my life. The faith I hold. My beliefs. My courage. My strength. The HOPE for good times.

My name is like my natural refill of HOPE in life. Like my personal sanctuary of positivity that helps me live through myriad of tricky situations in life.

There are times when there is nothing left but HOPE. A thread of hope if held securely can lead you out of various unnerving difficulties. It doesn’t help lessen the trouble and pain but definitely makes them seem weaker. It makes you believe in having FAITH when the going gets tough. HOPE is all one should hope to have when everything else seems to have lost. Makes life much easier and simpler

Given a thought, I guess that’s all one needs. When everything else seems to end, there still is HOPE. Always.

So, the word ASHA is a word which is not just my name but a word linked to each and every one of us. In the form of HOPE.

-Asha Seth

Save Gaza! Pray For Gaza

Originally posted on The Voice Of A Teenager:

I am here writing this post not as a Muslim but as a human being first. Things that are happening between Palestine and Israel are just so not right. Secondly, being a Muslim it’s obligatory for me to raise my voice for the Muslim brothers and sisters who are being killed for no reason.

What is happening in Gaza?

There has always been tension there between Israel and Palestine. The recent cause of the issue is that three Israeli teens, one with American citizenship were kidnapped and than murdered in the West Bank (WB). They were kidnapped on the 12th of June and were found dead on the 3oth of June. The Israeli government believe it was Hamas (a Palestinian political group) and so arrested more than 300 Palestinians mostly from the Hamas group, many of them were killed and many pirate homes were raided. On 30th June Gaza launched barrack of…

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The Oscars for Bloggers

Okay, so, the other day it was all quiet, a peaceful afternoon, I, on the couch, balled up with legs dangling off the arm and fingers tapping away on the laptop. My sister was enjoying some nice music amidst mouthfuls of some flavor of ice-cream. So, it happened to be a peaceful noon until I started jabbering away about something that my sister found to be a mixture of Spanish, Latin, German with quick fills of Hindi and perhaps, English. That way she can get real weird. But it wasn’t her, it was the topic that I was blabbering over of which she had no knowledge at all.

Running through the Freshly Pressed posts on WordPress, I suddenly blurted something that sounded like -

How do you get freshly pressed? I mean, really, what do you have to do to get that blue badge?

My sister who, of course, is not into writing, never follows my blogs and hardly knows about WordPress, felt I was talking gibberish.

Not knowing it was irritating her, I repeated myself almost about 10 times in a couple of minutes only to realise I was distracting her from listening to her favorite rock music.With one last I-had-enough-shit look, she snatched her phone, her tub of ice-cream and fled to the other room.

Couldn’t blame her, I do get real annoying at times.

But seriously, its aroused certain amount of interest in me since quite some time. I mean, what exactly do you do to land one of those Oscars for bloggers? Are there some rules to follow or some tenure to achieve before you qualify for it? Is it that you are supposed to have a certain high figure of bloggers who religiously follow you or that you are expected to have a flood of comments on each post you put together? Are you supposed to be an expert at writing and get your audience swooning all over your space? One of the posts that I’d read some time ago even had grammatical errors. I was left wondering. I mean, what is it?

Quite honestly, I think more than the advantage of getting recognized in the blogosphere, I fancy the blue badge. I’d feel mighty pleasant to show it off in some corner of my blogging space. I secretly envy those who have their posts shining up there in the WordPress sky.

Having said all of this, I still haven’t the slightest clue as to how one’s post gets freshly pressed? Have you?
All you biggie bloggers out there, can anyone tell me how do I lay hands on just one of those blue badges?

And till the time, I figure this out, I am treating myself to one of Backstreet Boys hits – Inconsolable.

-Asha

Maybe We Were Never Done…

I don’t know what happiness is. I don’t know what being content is. But I can hardly say I’m resentful anymore. When I think of the past, I think of everything that wasn’t. I think of everything there is now. I see the roads I’ve trudged and the ones I did not. I feel the deep disappointment that followed me everywhere I went and after a point they stopped. They came when you left. They’ve gone when you came back.

When you returned, I started to spin a tale almost beyond me. I was skeptical, more unwilling than wanting to accept you again. I barely wanted to open that jam-padded door. Thousands of what ifs. What if you walked away again? What if you hurt me again?

I still very clearly remember the night 2 years ago when I spoke to you again for the first time in 7 years. And as soon as I hung up, I asked myself, “What does he want now? What can he possibly want after all these years?” I was beyond me. Shocked than surprised. Almost immediately, I smiled and answered myself, “Maybe this time over, he has what you want.” “And what could that be? I don’t think there’s anything I want anymore, not from him.” And the reply was there even before I asked myself that. “Maybe you do.”

Almost 2 years later, walking this road together, I’ve come to believe things I never thought were possible. Unlike Alice, there aren’t just six impossible things, there are many. And I don’t think of them at breakfast alone, but all through the day and the night and the next day and the following day and so on.

I have come to believe that,

  • It’s okay to not have some dreams come true.
  • It’s okay to not expect to be loved back when that’s all you’ve ever wanted
  • It’s okay to accept rejections every now and then
  • It’s okay to leave things unsaid and undone
  • It’s okay to break down in a crowd and walk hazy eyes and maybe stumble and fall
  • It’s okay to scribble pages and empty your mind
  • It’s okay to spend sleepless nights
  • It’s okay to come to accept the one killing truth, he’s not meant for you, no matter how perfect it seems

And most importantly,

  • It’s okay to let go

I always thought these were impossible to do. Now, I see, how much more possible it really is. Leaving that boat sailing on dreams and stepping on land with gravel crunching under my feet, I realize it’s time to see the truth than spinning my own fairytales. When I walk, I feel the stones dig into my skin, it pricks, and it hurts. These stones are similar to those memories that could’ve been. That they won’t ever come true, hurts.  But no matter how much it aches, the realization is better than walking on clouds and falling from a height that’d hurt inexplicably bad.

So, now, I know, why after all these years, you had to come back. I’d never let you go; I could never let you go. But now, somehow it seems possible.

I was totally wrong. Maybe we were never done. Maybe we were meant to be together, just not the way I’d thought and this is why you are here. To show me it was easier to forgive. To show me I was still capable of loving with all the broken pieces of my heart. To show me the places I was to be perfected – anger, grudges, sourness.  To show me I could still be happier even after having given away my best possession. And most of all, to show me I am stronger than I thought I was.

-Asha

A Matter of Choice

When I was about seven, my father suffered his first heart attack. Although I barely knew what a heart attack was, I’d made up my mind that I would become a doctor who checks people’s hearts and keeps it fit. Well, I guess, ‘cardiologist’ would have been too complex a term to remember at that age.

At about 13 years of age, my father gifted me ‘Wings of Fire’, an autobiography of one his ideal Indian personalities, Dr. Abdul Kalam. The great Indian scientist’s life was so awe-inspiring that I instantly knew that I too wanted to be a scientist. All science projects, exhibitions, workshops in schools saw a keen student excelling with outstanding results. Practical labs could hardly keep me out. Consequently, I opted Science in college but as time progressed my aims still kept shifting and after 5 years of college, I graduated in Chemistry.

By the time I left college, I’d realized that I had profound interest in working with the numerous chemicals, the very many odors and flames had lit a spark of a renewed interest. I could imagine working with test tubes in a chemical factory, testing, analyzing chemicals, acids, bases, pH factors, the benzene chains, etc. I did have a very vague idea of how I wanted life to be.

Then, sometime after graduation, when I received the first mobile phone of my life, I couldn’t help being glued to the radio channels. What fascinated me most was how easily the jockeys could talk and bring a smile on the faces of listeners as I myself smiled to their voices so many times. Many nights, I would fall asleep with the earphones plugged and wake up to some song yet playing or some morning jockey trying to wake up the city with his vibrant mood. So, there was my next big interest, being a radio-jockey. After having auditioned for a show of about 30 minutes, I realized that day wasn’t far when I would be bored doing this too. I never made for the second round of selection.

Amidst all the skips and jumps, the only thing that never bored me was reading. I never gave up reading. I still found myself coming to a book at the end of a sad or tired or happy day. It was sometime before I started to blog and lookout for freelance writing opportunities. Fate favored me once again, and I was writing, doing freelance assignments. Then the big turn came when I received a chance to work as a content writer for my firm. So, here I am, writing/editing/proofreading for an MBA college where I initially, started as a College Placements Specialist.

I enjoy my days, because I love my work, and I love my work because it involves a lot of reading. So, it boiled down to this. Reading and everything surrounding reading was what got me. Now, I had most certainly never imagined myself as a writer but I guess it was just a matter of choice.

I could go all along placing college graduates, contacting MNCs, or being a RJ or maybe a scientist, had I not accepted what fate brought on. It’s a matter of choice and not chance that I write today. You may get a lot of chances, but that you make the right choices is what is important in the long run.

These instances in life also drive my attention to a less-favored fact – Not all that turns out unplanned is heartbreaking. Sometimes it’s adventurous, it’s way beyond satisfactory. Sometimes, it’s for your own good. And, I must say, I am happy, I am happy writing. After all, how many of us can really say they do what they love to do?

-Asha

Writing at Dawn

Here I am, writing at dawn, while the world is sound asleep, deep in slumbers.

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Image Credit: Pinterest

I hardly have sleeping problems. I just keep waking up too often.
Tonight again, as usual, I woke up amidst a dream.
A sudden impulse made me not get back into bed
but take out my diary from the bedside table and pick up the pen and begin writing.
So, here I am, half-awake, rubbing my eyes, perched on the window-sill, writing at dawn.

It is 4:00 am. 4:13 to be precise.
And I wonder if it means anything.
Being a horror movie buff, I remember 3:00 am is a peculiar time
of night when paranormal activities are known to occur, or so is believed.
So I know, it’s only me and the slow ticking of the clock
that I should expect. Nothing disturbing.

Looking out the window, I feel, the night is quite like any other night.
A typical winter night. Quiet. Deserted. Cold. Starless stretch of sky.
Through my window, I see only a vast expanse of towering buildings and
shadowed black blocks that mean tight-shut windows.
And I wish for the umpteenth time if I could rather be facing a sea or a wide-spread garden.
One of the many reasons I hate modernization.

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Image Credit: Google

Gazing in the far distance,
I see radiant colored lights appearing hazy from the window panes
that I think are perhaps, the Christmas decorations.
It renders such an appealing look and I almost cannot take my eyes off it.
Almost immediately a thought crosses my mind.
Why do we shut the windows at night?
There is so much more out there that calls for our attention.
Somewhere inside my mind,
a voice answers – from fear of robbery, from cold,
for many so reasons.

I have never liked shutting down window panes or pulling curtains at night.
Why barricade the beauty of the night from entering your world?
But then the point also is that do we really have the time to sit back and think on this,
to look out at the sky and bask in its enormity?
Aren’t we the busiest of souls on the planet?
And what about me? Of all these years, I think about it only this night.

With the festive season just around the corner, there is soaring
tranquility in the air which is otherwise missing.
The steady wind and the chillness in the atmosphere nothing but
adds to the beauty of the night.
The wind tickles me in the exposed areas of my neck and in the
hollow of my ears which are left uncovered by my loose hair.
There’s something sickly sweet about the chillness of the wintry night
settling on the bare skin of my hands and face.
I can’t avoid but feel something magical about the solitude nature of the night
which is so quiet yet alluring, encompassing all and everything.

Somewhere far away I hear dogs howling, an argument of sorts (rather barks) follows.
The constant bark-commotion draws closer.
It feels mighty unpleasant about the stillness of the night being thus disturbed.
I can’t see the pad foots from where I am seated.
Suddenly, Alfey joins me trying to peer out on the street and all at once ready to growl if need be.
Just then, a biker speeds past them, enjoying the quarantine road devoid of person or pollution.
It is all hushed up again.

I enjoy the furry feel of Alfey’s presence while I rub below his ears.
He peers into the darkness.
Unlike me, he not once does blink his eye. And I think.
What does he see? What does he feel?
Does he know what it feels like to be thus enticed by the calmest face of nature that is night?
Does he also feel what I feel at this moment – my heart and mind enveloped by the immense peace?
Does he also see the picture that I so ardently paint through words and that would remain
in my memories for long yet to come?
What is he thinking when he glances at me, what thought does occupy his mind?
Perhaps, I may never know.
Except that both our hearts are at sync with the moment,
passing through the same set of feelings.
He slowly puts his head in my lap and drifts to sleep.

In the distance,
the midnight hues slowly change to the shades of faint amber.
It’s past five now. Almost dawn.
Soon, the first streaks of sunlight will burst in the sky.
I rehearse the upcoming day in my mind.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is going to occupy most part of it.
I feel excited. Oh! For how long have I wanted to read that book!
But presently,
I wish I was a painter and could arrest this moment in oils.
But instead, I capture the passing minutes in words while I sit writing at dawn.

And before I take leave,
there’s someone here who would like to wish you a belated Merry Christmas
and hopes you all had a splendid time.
Well, better late than never, right?

alfey

Alfey wishes Christmas!

-Asha