Cupertino Effect
And so all of us in relationships ( with men of course ) would have no doubt at some point agreed with John Gray and applauded his brilliance for discovering that Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars and together they dwell on Earth. The real inhabitants of Earth then are those in no relationship with the opposite sex. That discovery of the true nativity of our gender at some point helps relieve the frustration of the relationship we are so eager to start and then so tired of trying to understand.

Now how great would it be if the Cupertino effect was extended, by a sweep of some celestial magic wand, ( well the sweep of a genius wand would suffice too) to our Venusian and Martian existence instead of being restricted to Microsoft applications or smart phone messages. Like how cool would it be if we could be forewarned before we made a predictive mistake. If you actually think about it we do make gender specific mistakes , all of us , in spite of knowing it subconsciously, in spite of having seen others make them , in spite of our better judgement. If only we had our own correction wand giving us an oral caution or a physical knock on the head before we went the wrong way.


So what are the mistakes we women wish we could quit. The things we do over and over again to the point of insanity and yet refuse to realize until the ouch factor comes into play and its too late to do anything. Until of course we get into the next relationship and start all over again. These are those turning points or staunch beliefs where I would personally like to have my correction wand ... telling me to auto correct.

1. Thinking that getting a boyfriend or a husband will solve all our problems for us. Knock 1 - No one can fix our lives for us. Period.

2. Waiting for someone to find us instead of going out there and finding someone for ourselves. Knock 2 The world out there is huge and so interesting ... get out there and explore and have some fun doing it too.

3. Dropping our friends when we find love. Knock 3 Ladies you need the Venusian in your life at every step of your journey. They define you and you need them when things get tough ... which they obviously will after the proverbial honeymoon.

4. Using the Silent Treatment. This one requires a double knock. He will be clueless about what's wrong unless we suck up and tell it to him. And no dropping hints don't work either. It has to be spelt out literally.

5. Thinking our partners must be interested in everything we do, think and say. Knock 5 When it comes down to it, we freak out when men talk about gadgets and rough sport right ? Having a best friend or gab partner outside a relationship is a better thing.

mistakes 4

We are half way though ... and yes there are more ...

6. If you're mad at him because he ate your last piece of favorite chocolate carefully hidden in the fridge, tell him you're mad at him because he ate your last piece of favorite chocolate. If he offers you the last bit of your favorite food don't refuse it expecting he will insist you have it and then raise issues of commitment when he gulps it down. Freud got it right with this one. Knock 6 - communicate your pleasures and the lack of them even.

7. Checking his Facebook and Twitter activities or worse still Hacking into email or phone looking for suspicious messages and then yelling at him for the "k thnx bye" text he sent to his female co-worker two months ago. Knock 7 - Privacy and Individuality in relationships is a good thing and it works both ways . "k thnx" is not code for "hot steamy sex." (Is it?)

8. We grew up on fairy tales and happily ever afters. Putting so much energy into the idea of a fairy-tale romance that we're disappointed with anything less. Knock 8. Expecting a prince on a white horse to fill our lives with nothing but happiness isn't realistic. It take a lot of constant effort to get some sane levels of perfection in a relationship with a martian. Just thinking about it will not do.

9. Over-analyzing. There's analysis and then there's over-analysis. Wondering why the fiance didn't call once during his bachelor weekend in Vegas? A legitimate case for analysis. Wondering why he only called twice and not three times during a guys' night out? Not so much. Knock 9 There isn't much analysis to be done on this one.

mistakes 3

10. Thinking we'll never get over him. Knoock 10. We will. Three months of movies and sad songs and several ( and I really mean SEVERAL ) powdered donuts later with our BFF ... we'll feel better. Its written ... Umm somewhere.

I also know there are a lot of mistakes the martians make and that I wish could be
auto corrected too. But perhaps I will keep that aside for another prompt.

mistakes 2

Till then I shall continue to do what we women do best ... waiting ... waiting for things to start, things to happen , waiting for things to change , for things to pass , things to end .... WAIT ... or better still wait for the auto correct wand to knock its way into my life and stop the blundering.

( This is my attempt at tackling the prompt for Week 24 of Lj Idol - Cupertino Effect. I am submitting it for the home game - No pressures of surviving ... just expectations of some Concrits. They are always welcome you know. )

Crossing the T's and Dotting the I's
I suppose the telephone rang for quite a while before I actually heard it. That's the thing with wake up call requests in hotel rooms. Always promptly on time. I had slept at 3am last night.... wait ..... wasn't it this morning actually ? I had requested for a wake up at 5 am, which means I had woken up even before I started to sleep. But that is exactly what I am paid for I rued as I watched myself in the mirror that cocered the entire length of the wall of the wash basin. Darn those dark circles. I will have to spend extra time off the schedule trying to conceal them. I walked to the balcony. This is as fresh as fresh air could be. Early morning when the world is just getting ready to face it and the air is still largely untouched. I spread my arms out, palms open in front of me and took deep breaths - in and out. I had found this to be one of the most effective ways to bust the stress that hounds us. Letting go of everything instead of holding on to them with a tight fist as we normally subconsciously tend to do.

The bell at the door announced the delivery of my pot of green tea. I poured out a cup and took out my planner. Being a wedding planner is no easy task. From as early as I can remember I have always been fascinated with weddings , the decorations , the songs , the pandal/ stage , the beautiful blushing bride, the handsome dashing groom riding his way into her life on a white horse , the baraat ( the traditional bandwagon announcing the arrival of the groom to the entire neighbourhood ) , the customs, the actual ceremonies ..... everything about it that really makes a big fat memorable saga.


The next four days starting today was going to be dedicated to Aarohi and Varun's wedding. Every wedding has its own story , as does every couple bringing in their own style and personality to the union. As I said, ordinary Indian weddings are by itself a grand fiesta. The country is so rich in terms of variety in terms of communities, and their attire, customs and traditions. And then if the wedding is cross community .... God bless the families and ofcourse me - their wedding planner. Aarohi came from a Bengali business family in Mumbai and Varun belonged to a Tamil brahmin family well settled in the capital city in Delhi. Love across the whole length and breadth of the country whose seeds were sowed when they met during their post graduation days in the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. They became close friends and by the time their respective courses were over their relationship had melted into deep love. It took them a while to convince their respective families ..... Cross community unions scare the families .... though it is gradually gaining acceptability with families enjoying the gala festival the wedding turns out to be. The customs and rituals of both families are followed to the T and the result is opulence. This is where I come in .... a wedding planner is supposed to bring in some order to the immensely possible chaos.

I looked at my planner for this event. The wedding card itself was amazing. It was in the form of a video tablet given to all guests. A union of opulence with technology, of royal charm with modern elegance. Add to it the couple insisted on creative themes and jaw dropping decor in the backdrop of the magnificent Aamby Valley City - the location chosen for the wedding ( for a dream fairytale wedding.

I had to quickly run through the schedules planned for all the days. The last 2 months this has been my major and only job. Adding to the list, deleting from it, altering it and planning and re planning.

Day 1 - Today - Sangeet, Haldi Kumkum Ceremony and Mehandi Ceremony -

The day was technically the wedding eve with lots of music and dance. ( family and friends of the bride and groom gather. Aarohi and Varun combined the day with the traditional haldi kumkum - ritual where the bride and groom are smeared with turmeric paste by members of the family. The mehandi ritual too was scheduled for the day. I quickly ran over all the arrangements needed to be done and finally ticked them all. The seating,the music and entertainment, the decoration, the drapes, the flowers , the supply of mehandi , reminding the families to bring the haldi, the bride's dress .... all checked. The theme for the day was Red, Black and White. The food was Mughlai and Hyderabadi with its fair share if vegetarian and non vegertarian dishes. I sopke to the caterers, and confirmed the menu. Check.

Day 2 - Tomorrow - Traditional Tamilian Wedding in the morning and Traditional Gujarati Wedding in the evening.

For the Tamilian style wedding insisted upon by the groom's family , both sides of the family were to be attired in traditional heavy silk sarees. The theme chosen was Pink for the women and Off White for the men. I had been given the traditional list of items required for the ceremony. I called my secretary and confirmed the availability and delivery of the items on time. He confirmed he would be at the hall in about and hour to confirm the arrangements. The seating of the bride's and groom's family were of utmost importance. The positioning of photographers and videographers needed to be overlooked so that the guests could enjoy uninterrupted viewing of the entire ceremony. The ceremony was to be solemn. I searched my bag for the toe rings that Varun would put on Aarohi's second toe. One of the symbols of her marital status. Check.

cream stage

The traditional Gujarati Wedding was planned for the evening. The theme was ethnic royal with heavy reds and gold. Again the bride's family had provided me with a list of items needed for the function. I must not forget the sindoor ,the red vermilion powder which Varun would put on Aarohi's forehead to mark her a married woman. I checked my luggage and fished it out. I kept it on the console at the entrance lest I forget it tomorrow. The function planned was to be fun and colourful. Check.

red and gold

I could not believe I had it all tied up. Even the caterers were well in sync.

Day 3 - White wedding.

Aarohi and Varun were unanimous in their decision to have a white wedding complete with the exchange of vows, nieces as flower girls, friends as best men and brides maids, the long flowing gown and veil .... her fairy tale wedding from the stories she grew up listening to and reading. The theme was obviously white. The flower girls in blue and purple. The brides maids in dreamy pink and the best men in royal blue. Everything was planned and arranged. The ceremony was to capture the effervescent romance of the Western Wedding. I checked my bag for the vows written by Aarohi and Varun respectively. They had done this on their own and would be surprising each other with their words. I had a copy with me just in case. I once again rummaged through my bag for the platinum rings that both of them were to exchange. Aarohi's gown had been delivered yesterday and was hanging in my closet. The Menu for the day was continental. The music, seating, decor and all were planned in advance with a detailed drawing. Each table had a name plate so that guests could be comfortably seated. The champagne and wine were to be checked. I called the caterers and everything confirmed to my satisfaction.

white stage

Day 4 - Reception at Delhi.

This would wrap up the festivities. The theme of the evening was rich purple and magnificent blues. The chairs and tables were to be draped with purple and gold bows. The drapes on the stage and the backdrop in the same colour would give it a magnificent look. I raised my head and caught a glimpse of Aarohi's scarlet and green lehenga ( Skirt ) for the function. The rhineston and swarowski crystals made it a dream attire. I was sure she would look beautiful in it and end the four day sojourn with grandeur and start her new journey with beautiful memories and all the ingredients for a happily ever after. I crossed my fingers. I called to make sure all arrangements would be made. I was to do the recheck day after tomorrow again. Check.

I closed the planner with all its designs and drawings. I was relieved and comforted by the fact that everything was going on schedule as planned. I took out my check book and wrote out a check in favour of the destitute home for girls. Ten percent of my income went in as a donation to help fulfill the dreams of under privileged girls who had no one to turn to. I had finally crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's.

( This was my entry for Week 2 of Last Chance Idol. As luck would have it I didnt cross all the T's for submission ... However if you think I have crossed all the T's with the writing please do read and send me some comments or concrits.... It might just make my day :) )

And so we believed ... or maybe we are Be-Lie-Fed
Have you ever wondered how as children we almost always believe everything we hear. We have no doubts about Santa Claus giving us the presents we want, if we are good the whole year around. Well didn't we spot him chubby and smiling and all at the local store year after year. Easter bunnies ??? ....Of course they existed. And tooth fairies who leave money under our pillow , how often did we try and stay awake to catch a glimpse as she came in through the window. These beliefs change over a period of time. We would have been disappointed to have seen two Santa's at the same time at the same place, but the truth came to us. The older kid at the park must have revealed the reality of Easter Bunnies. We would have one day seen mommy walk through the door and tenderly slip the money under the pillow and then realise mommy was the fairy after all.

While many of the childhood lies get buried with exposed truth there are however other beliefs that do not really get replaced as grow older. Boys/Men don't cry- they complain and have excuses but cry they do not. Men don't normally wear pink and it is weird if they do. Girls / Women are the fairer sex and hence the weaker sex too. Size zero is the size to be. Man is the provider and women the caretaker and roles are not meant to be reversed.

On a personal note as a woman there are so many of these that mushroom in my subconscious. These are lies we carry around inside us. Usually they’re so familiar we don’t even pay much attention to them. Pause for a moment and consider some of the lies you’ve believed about yourself and some of the lies we have been told by others. Somewhere in the beginning of my teenage years I developed the need to be perfect. I had to be good in everything I did. In patriarchal societies, women are supposed to be nothing less than perfect - Anything less than that - perfect daughter, sister, wife, daughter in law , mother, aunt, grandmother - would spell doom for the family. And thus, Ms. perfectionsism began to dwell inside me.Perfect in what I did, how I l looked, what I spoke, How I behaved. I didn't even realise how exhausting it all got until a couple of years back. I packed Ms. Perfectionism off with some truth learnt late. I was good enough as I am.

Looking more inside I realised the next thing lie that lurked in the shadows of my insides was the need to compare myself with everyone around. Women were created by God to be inherently relational. This means we’re always checking in, asking ourselves, “How’s she doing? How’s she doing? How’s she doing?” I couldn't be confident with who I was. So the same couple of years back I realised my story was my own - my strengths my own as was my weakness. It didn't depend on anyone else. The revelation was a big relief.

Another lie that confronted me was that I had nothing to offer to the world or my family. And whatever I had with me if at all was inconsequential. When my heart or life didn't measure up to my expectations, I hid my abiities. But what if someone would be blessed by what I have to share and they miss out because I hide it? It took a great friend and a lot of cajoling to get me go out and explore my capabilities to the full. LjIdol is one such attempt when I took to writing after my high school years. I developed an interest in photography and somewhere the appreciation from people around the world lets me know I am good in some way. I hone my drawing skills too in small ways as and when time permits. Things I didn't realise I could give the world.

The next thing I dug out was more major. It took a while to dig out and proved to be cumbersome to push out of the door. In some ways I am still pushing it out of the door ... Its seems to be stuck at the foyer refusing to budge getting pushed out at times and pushing it self back in at others. And so the battle with trying to be what others want me to be continues. Many of us tend to accept what others say about us or expect from us to be the absolute truth about us. The truth is that the question to who we are is never actually answered. We are evolving as long as we live until our last breath. It would be a shame to stunt that beautiful growth of our being by cast in a mold built by expectations of friends and families. Getting out of the clutches of others opinions takes time and it may feel awkward and uncomfortable and is tiring.But the truth is we are all unique as we were created, as we have grown and we need to hold onto that piece of truth.

So where did all this begin. The lies we believe. When we women fight we normally take up the battle against ourselves. We are not good enough, we have to become skinny or we have to turn super mom we have to change to be acceptable. Or we rant against the society.Any good soldier knows the value of reviewing the battle. So when did the assault on our self begin? What was our first clue that doubts and insecurity had us in sights? I think we can trace this fight all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

I have no doubt that Eve was beautiful and perfect. She was the birth of femininity. Her form was created by the very breath of God. And to top it all off, she was the only woman in creation. There were no supermodels or midriff-bearing pop princesses to compare her to (though I am convinced that they wouldn’t have measured up).

The serpent recognized her beauty - inner and outer, and he slithered in to undo God’s work.

‘You will not surely die [if you eat the fruit of the tree],’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves" (Genesis 3:4–7).

Did you catch it? The first lie.

"You will not surely die, " the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of [the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4–5, emphasis added).

"You will be like God." "What you are isn’t enough." "You need to be more like someone else." These are the foundations of this lie. Eve had all she needed and could desire, but as she looked around and noticed that God possessed knowledge she didn’t, she let her heart play the comparison game (aren't we familiar with that game we play ourselves so often), and a nibble of sin followed shortly after.

And just like that, with one big lie followed by one little bite, Eve became ashamed of her being, her beauty, who she was. She rushed to cover up what God had made, and among the other things we inherited is the struggle to accept our worth. The first lie was said to Eve in the garden, and women have continued to believe lies ever since.

( This is my entry for .. In the garden - First topic for Second Chance Idol. If you believe in the truths I have said please do vote for me. )

Face the music
" A birthday is a great day for a new beginning ". Said the thinking balloon as Ivy got off the train and onto the platform. A slight breeze caressed her face, wiping off the tiredness of a one and half day journey, rejuvenating her briefly.She turned around to see if there were any coolie's around to help her carry the two grossly out-of-shape and every-inch-used bags that were carrying her stuff. " Help yourself Miss", she muttered and dragged the bags in question out of the train.

She managed to get into a taxi after two unsuccessful bargaining attempts and a successful third negotiation and took in the sights of the big city. " Finally made it " she thought to herself. small town girl on threshold of turning into a big city woman. She was excited. And that was just putting it plainly. The drive to Aysha's place took an hour and a half instead of the 20 minutes that the GPS promised. " Thank you Bangalore traffic " she whispered as the taxi driver didn't return the balance when she paid him Rs 30 more than the negotiated price, quoting the traffic.

Aysha and music greeted her at Aysha's apartment. Music was what bonded them at college 7 years back.

" It was the perfect day.
What I'd give if I could find a way to stay
Lost in this moment now
Ain't worried about tomorrow
When you're busy livin in a perfect day..... "
Lady Antebellum crooned as Ivy got ready to face her new life. She had managed to secure an internship at one of the most reputed hospitals in Bangalore after two years at the local hospital in her home town. A year of experience here would move her that much closer to her dream job of nursing abroad -The US of A , London , Dubai, Singapore .... all the big cities seemed to beckon her. She could do it. She believed it.

Six Months later .......

Ivy was waiting impatiently at the office of the consultant who was helping her prepare her papers for submission to the US consulate. As she entered the cabin of her designated officer , she lost all composure , albeit for the briefest of time. " He's so good looking " was the thought dancing around in her mind as he looked through her file. His identity card named him ' Sam Mathew '. Religion won't pose a problem for the families she surmised. She looked at his fingers as they turned the pages of her file and a sigh of relief escaped her mouth when she found no ring on his 'ring' finger. The tap of his fingers on the desk brought her out of her reverie. She blushed bright pink as she found his voice deeply masculine and hugely attractive even as he said" You seem to be highly distracted today Miss ... " he looked into her file and continued , " Umm Miss Ivy. How about we schedule a meeting next week so that it gives me time to go through your file? "

Ivy left the office feeling different and weird. How could she actually mess that up. She took out her Ipod as she got into the bus and plugged the ear plugs into her ears.

" Yeah, I'm ready to feel now
No longer am I afraid of the fall down .... "
The lyrics seemed to resonate her feelings. She couldnt understand what happened to her in the office earlier. Ivy made a long distance mental prayer to her family church and promised to light 10 candles if she didn't goof this up.
" So come and find me
I'll be waiting up for you
I'll be holding out for you tonight "
the singer continued. Images of Sam crossed her mind again.

" I guess I'm ready, I'm ready to love again "
Lady Antebellum ended the song and Ivy started her thoughts, wondering if her heart had really taken a hit after all these years.

The next day on the way to work, she received a call from an unknown number.
"Hello.... ", she dragged into the phone.
" Hello , Am I speaking to Miss Ivy ? ", she recognised the deep masculine voice of yesterday.
" Yes ... ", she trailed off in a voice which embarrassingly turned dry and sultry at the same time.
" I am Sam from the travel consultant office. I have just gone through the papers you submitted yesterday. There are some points which need to be discussed..... " He paused.
" I can come over after lunch ", Ivy offered.
" Perhaps we could meet for lunch then ..." , he suggested.
Ivy's thought balloon sent deep red alerts of " Date " flashing above her head. "Yes. I ...I could manage that ", Ivy confirmed. " What time and where ? ... ", she asked.

And so the lunch date was fixed. The first of so many to follow.

Six Months Later

Ivy and Sam had their first fight as a couple. And the reason as always was nothing worth remembering and fighting even. It had been two days since she spoke to him, both of them held their ground refusing to take the first step to reconciliation. She had begun to feel miserable and had turned from being the sweet and lovable nurse at the hospital to the distracted and crabby nurse. At lunch break she took out her Ipod and tried to change her mood with some music. She played with the cheesy baked shells and broccoli on her plate, her thoughts wandering off directionless , when she suddenly knew what she had to do.

" I know that if we give this a little time . It'll only bring us closer to the love we wanna find. It's never felt so real, no it's never felt so right .... " Just a Kiss by Lady Antebellum reminded her that she didn't want to mess things up with Sam. No she didn't want to push too far.

After work she took the bus to Sam's apartment. She waited till it was time for him to be back from work. As he saw her at the lobby, the familiar lopsided smile she so loved spread across his face. She walked towards him , took his hands and led him to the elevator. He pressed the 6th Floor and she continued to hold his hands.He opened the doors and let her take him inside. It was her first visit to his house and yet she was able to naturally lead him to the bedroom as if this was her home.

Ivy pressed her hands against Sam's shoulders, pushing him gently until he was lying back on the bed.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Whatever I want to.”

Sam arched his eyebrow at her, but he didn’t complain. He held perfectly still as her nimble fingers moved down the front of his shirt, undoing each button and exposing the expanse of skin beneath it. Her palms ran over his skin, relishing the feel of his chest hair tickling her hands. She leaned forward, letting her tongue glide along his collarbone, and then she crept down his body to the button of his jeans.

“Your hair tickles,” he said.

Ivy gathered up the long, wavy strands of her hair into one hand and swept them over her shoulder. “Do you want me to stop?”

“Not on your life,” he said between tightly gritted teeth as her fingertips brushed the edge of his waistband.

“That’s what I thought,” she said with a smile. “Now, stop complaining.”

Ivy settled between his legs, resting on her knees as she unbuttoned his jeans. She tugged at his back pockets, pulling his jeans down the length of his legs and throwing them out of her way. She moved back over him doing the same with his underwear, which thankfully, this time, were a pair of charcoal-gray boxers. They slid easily out of her way, leaving nothing between her and her goal.

She leisurely traveled back up his legs. Her fingertips gently brushed along the puckered pink scars of his calf and across his kneecap. By the time she reached his upper thigh, he was nearly trembling. Ivy wasn’t sure if it was with anticipation, emotion, or pain.

His hand reached out and snatched her wrist as she moved higher. “This hardly seems fair,” he said. “You’re wearing entirely too much clothing for me to be wearing so little.”

“Who’s doing this? You or me?”

Sam acquiesced and released her hand. He crossed his arms behind his head, giving himself an excellent vantage point for overseeing her activities. “You are, ma’am.”

“That’s right. Now are you going to keep critiquing everything I do, or do I need to put something in your mouth to shut you up?”

A wicked grin crossed Sam’s face as he looked at her. “May I offer a suggestion?”

“I have several ideas of my own,” she said with a glint in her eye.

The next day she moved in with Sam.

A year later

Ivy had slowed down the paper work for her work Visa. Sam had proposed 3 months back with a beautiful diamond ring. He had gone on a two day trip to visit his parents. The sunday was hot and humid. She was in the middle of cleaning the apartment when the door bell announced the arrival of an unexpected guest. She opened the door to find Mr Kumar, Sam's boss looking agitated. He asked for Sam and she told him he was away and would be back that night. He was sweating profusely and she asked him if he was alright. He replied that he would like something cool to drink just before settling down on the sofa. Ivy brought him a glass of canned apple juice and bent down to serve him, when he looked her in the eye and plainly asked her " Can I have sex with you ? "The tray slips from Ivy's hands as she straightens herself and takes a step back , all at the same time. Mr Kumar then attacked and brutally raped a shocked Ivy. Her screams unheard as the player in the hall plays It ain't pretty , it ain't pretty when a heart breaks. Sam found her bleeding, bruised and unconscious on the bed when he returned. She was admitted to the hospital and when she recovered from the physical bruise she was adamant to file a case against the animal who attacked her so violently. Sam told her he would be with her through her decisions and said they would finally decide once she was home and felt better.

Two week later Sam had taken her shopping. She was waiting outside while he went to the basement to get the car when two men came to her and asked if they could check her bag. She asked them who they were and they flashed their identity cards identifying themselves as officers of the Anti Narcotics Wing.They whisked her bag and fished out two small unfamiliar sachets. They escort her to their van. She looks around , trying to find a familiar face to call for help. She sees Sam come out with the car. Briefly their eyes meet before he drives away and she is pushed into the van. A kid walks by staring at Ivy, the music player in her hand playing a song out loud -
" Nothing more to say, nothing left to break.
Nothing more to take , nothing left to give.
I keep reaching out for you ... As you turn away....."

Ivy painfully realises she had been set up. Sam set her up.

A year and a half later

Ivy looked at herself in the mirror. Her lovely mane had been bobbed. She ran her fingers through them. The deep black had now been coloured brown. The determined blue eyes that stared back at her was getting familiar since the last six months. She bent over to take the lenses off and look into her black eyes. These spoke nothing but of pain , betrayal and humiliation.Ivy had gone for a total makeover in appearance and had insisted that she didn't want to be physically reminded of the person she had been. And nothing did except when she looked into the black eyes in her bathroom mirror at the end of each day. She looked at the visiting card on the counter. Sam Mathew - Managing Partner , Blooms Model Agency Mumbai. She had sent her profile and had been invited for a photo shoot next week. Mr Kumar had 'mysteriously' died of Cobra poison in the swimming pool of his house. The same day Ivy shifted base to Mumbai, the city of dreams. She winced at the dreams that had been shattered and regained composure thinking of the plans she now carried with her.

She walked into the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee. She put the earplugs of the Ipod into her ears ...

" I wish I was cold as stone ... then I wouldn't feel a thing " Lady Antebellum sang to her as she sipped the coffee and walked to balcony. She remembered Zubeida - her cell mate at the central jail and all the help and contacts she gave her. She remembered the single advice that was given to her. " You have to take care of yourself. No one loves you more than you love yourself. "

Two days later.

Ivy walked into the posh apartment block. The call from the agency said she was to meet Sam at his apartment at 10 am sharp. Sam opened the door and she walked in. He was still so good looking in casual shirt and jeans. He took her to the siting room and brought two glasses of apple juice and placed it on the table before her. He then walked over to the bedroom and came out with a file. Her profile - Rose Victor the name on the file read.

He sat down and opened to look at the file. Both of them reached over to take their glass and take a sip. the silence was uncomfortable. She looked around the house as he continued to look through the photographs and finish the juice.

" You still are so god damn beautiful ...", he said suddenly and paused before continuing ".. Ivy ". She lost her composure for a brief moment. He always had that effect on her. She now realised he always would. " What is with all the change Ivy ... Did you actually think I wouldn't recognise you ? " he smirked.
" The change was necessary Sam. I had after all changed. I am not the person you knew."
He walked towards her and sat on the arm rest of the sofa she was seated on. He traced a line across her cheeks and stopped at her mouth " You haven't changed Ivy. You are still a mere woman ", he said before pulling out her lips with his hands and bending over to take them in his. With the other hand he puled her hair back and forced his way into her mouth. She suddenly pushed him off her and he tumbled on to the floor.
" That's what Mr. Kumar thought too. He changed his opinion a couple of hours before he died."
" What ... You .. How ...." he questioned and then squinted his eye ..." So is that what you have in mind for me too ? " he asked.
Ivy didn't say a word. She just kept looking at the glass he had put down. He followed here eye and yelled 'You Bitch ... " and lunged forward to attack her.

A few hours later

Ivy stood watching the beach from Sam's balcony attached to his bedroom. She heard him wake up and walked into the room. He was groaning and tried to get up when he saw her walk in. He couldn't. His hands were tied. He couldn't move - not his hands, not his legs nothing. All he felt was a sort of numbness all over his body particularly on the area around his hips.
" What have you done to me ? " , he groaned.
" A very simple procedure Sam. A penectomy."
" No .... " he wailed. " You are lying aren't you ... come on tell me you are lying ... you bitch " he countered crying as he did so.
" I don't lie Sam. Never have and never will. " she replied feeling a wave of calmness and relief spread through her. " It's your life that is a lie ... and that again Sam is the truth - whether you understand it or not. "
"I believed what we had was the best either of us could have. But you wanted more. You were blinded by money and establishing your male supremacy over 'mere' women" , Ivy taunted.
" What I lost is just someone who cheated me. What you lost Sam, is someone who loved you ... " she said. She picked up her bag and looked him over " and then ...", she trailed off looking pointedly at where his hips wold be under the blanket.
She walked towards the door.
" I loved you too " ,he called out.
"Maybe ", she replied without turning to face him.
" Are you going to leave me to bleed to death Ivy ? "
" You aren't going to bleed to death Sam. The blood that is collecting is just the bad blood after the surgery. The other bag collects your urine. As for the pain I have administered sufficient pain killers intravenously. When your maid comes in tomorrow morning you can take the tablets kept on the table. I have tied you up just so that you don't feel the need to fiddle with the operated part. " , she explained and proceeded to open the door.
" I am going to come after you woman ... " Sam said with a faint smile on his lips. He understood what he missed.
Ivy turned to look at him " I will look forward to it Sam... as long as it takes."
Ivy closed the door behind her and walked towards the lift. She got into the car and instructed that she be driven to the airport. She looked into her bag and clutched at her passport and ticket. She took out the Ipod , lay her head on the back of the car, closed her eyes and put it on.
" Yeah there's something about a woman that's a clear blue sky. Ain't found nothin better that'll get you high. You're the colours of the sun at the end of the day .....There's somethin 'bout a woman "

The music made her do it. The music was her constant companion. And yet somewhere love remained.

Week 20 - Intersection Week

( This has been my entry for Week 20 of Lj Idol where 4 prompts was given to us for intersection with a participating writer. I chose Shibusa and was honoured to partner with the creative and wonderful eternal_ot. Her entry on InterSubjectivity ,which forms the second part of our Intersection Effort can be found here - Concrits as usual is always appreciated as are the votes. )


The day was one like just another. Not to be confused with an ordinary day. My days are anything but ordinary. I am Charley, personal stylist and owner of – Tress Pass, Unisex Spa and Saloon. My love for the mane grew up with me. As much as I loved my mother’s weekly massages that she assured, would give me bountiful growth of hair on head , I also loved listening to her talk with aunts, cousins and anyone who passed by as we sat by our verandah for the weekly routine. People and their problems and the possible solutions that came up during such spontaneous conversations intrigued me to great lengths. And somehow the love for conversations ,my interest in being a good listener , my mind’s ability to come up with suggestions that seemed like plausible solutions to people’s problems , the magic that my hands seemed to create on peoples head, all conspired together for the formation of Tress Pass. It has been 10 years and I would be very very modest if I said the business is booming.

And so on this very ordinary day in walks Aleesha Menon. The very typical indpendant, uber chic, single, working woman. She had moved from being driven and passionate at the beginning of her career to increasingly bitter and unforgiving as the demanding team manager - Unduly hard on her team, to meet her exceptional high demands and standards. The Bitch in High Heels was what they called her behind her back. But nothing stopped her or deterred her ambitions. She was proud of her work ethic and determined to go places as far as work was concerned. An unfortunate accident had given her a forced break from work and along with it breathing space for her team mates. Her last visit to the saloon was a month back. During that visit she was in total despair after a forced look at her life – empty, friendless and with no real interests outside work.

So how do I know so much about her? Hush… that is a secret. The moment I touch someone’s head , I can read their inner thoughts, their troubles and their worries, matters on their mind , what is making them happy , what are they looking forward to that day , what they have lost. And what do I do with the information I so gather …. I just offer solace and suggestions which in most cases have helped calm and relax them. Coming from my seemingly impartial and non-judgmental mouth – they are grateful and relieved for having made the visit to Tress Pass. My trespass into their head remains my secret.

Moving on to Aleesha Menon … today she carried with her a sober demeanor.

As I walked towards her to greet her , she rushed in to give me a air hug and some air kisses.
“ Charley , It seems like forever , since I have been here.”
“ It has been sweetie”, I replied taking her long beautiful wavy hair into my hands. “These need to be pampered today and their ends are craving for a snip. “

She laughed gently , the sound of her laugh melodious and soothing like those wooden wind chimes on the balcony of the saloon. She seemed more beautiful than before , there was something about her that had changed , a twinkle in her eye and a dance in her walk. I couldn’t wait to get my hands into her hair and her thoughts into my head. She settled comfortably into the grey chair after changing into the eggplant purple coloured saloon gown. She looked around as she always did. The interiors had been greatly influenced by the East Asian design elements. There is nothing more comforting than when you have assured that the yin and yang of the premises are perfectly balanced and in harmony with each other. The decor was done mostly in earthy shades with Golden Yellows, Grass Green , and Orange being the highlights of the palette. My visits abroad had given me curios with a lot of texture and irregular forms that was simple in spite of its complexities. The decor grew on you as you got accustomed to it. Just like A. R. Rehman’s music. I knew what she wanted and dug my hands into her luscious mane, washing it as her thoughts poured out …..
That vase is so beautiful , subtle and yet intoxicating. I must ask Charley where he got it from. I need to get something similar for my home too.
Looking at the clock she sighed. Its my game time. Am sure Rahul must be wondering where I disappeared off to.

Aah … So there is finally a guy spicing up her life. I smiled as I dried her hair. I was subtly eager for more. I took the crème and started applying it carefully onto each of her strands and Aleesha was soon transported into her magical world … enjoying the trip and the massage.

Life was so drab without Rahul in it. “ She then remembered the first time they met – online. The accident had kept her indoors and she picked up on her favourite word game Scrabble. The world of internet was fast growing and she realized there was an online version of the game where she – a faceless thing in pajamas feeding on junk food and otherwise lounging in front of the television could enter into a war of words with other faceless things across the globe. And on one such day she Word Junkie engaged in a faceless conversation with another faceless thing on her screen named Word Warrior. She didn’t normally engage in such casualness. She was challenged to a war of words in the chat box.
But that day was well different and destined maybe.
Word Warrior put in their first word MIND. Aleesha would never forget those first casual moments. She had got the gut feeling that Word Junkie was a definite XY Chromosome. She countered his challenge with ZONE. She typed – “ Be prepared to be annihilated. “
“ Whoa that’s a formidable challenge issued to the warrior ….” Came the reply with a scared smiley before playing FROWN on the board.
And so had begun their relationship. Scrabble fanatics trying to playfully out do each other at first. Then it turned into playfully getting to know each other as they played the game and multi tasked by chatting. It had been less than two months since he tumbled into her life as an adversary and less than a fortnight since they realized how integral they were to each others life.

She fished out a chocolate bar from her bag and munched on it as I finished the hair strands and worked on her scalp.
She smiled as her thoughts of him swept in and wiped everything else away.
He loved coffee as much as I loved chocolates. It’s a classic combo just as him and me. I need to find something that brews a good marriage of these two in the kitchen. An interplay of smokey and sweet with bitter and rich.
Her phone buzzed – Rahul TCS the display indicated. She ignored it and continued her reverie.

I could not help but gasp at the name. It was so familiar. I could not immediately place it but it was so eerily familiar.

I finished Aleesha’s massage and placed her head under the steamer. I hear the chime at the door announce the arrival of another client. I turn around to see Surbhi Mehta one of my favourite client breeze in.

I decide to attend to her while Aleesha had her hair steamed. Surbhi wanted a full facial for a special evening tomorrow. She opted for a Radiant Glow Facial using my special oxygen capsules. I set her up with the basics before I returned to Aleesha and led her to the basin.

Aleesha adjusted her neck to fit the dip of the wash bowl as I ran the warm water. As I began working the shampoo into her hair her thoughts began playing in my head as it formed in her hers.
Charley seems to have taken it upon himself to do everything for me himself today. Good for me . I need not worry about the quality of service. The girl in the next room had a chirpy voice with a great smelling perfume. I must ask her what it is without sounding over intrusive.

“ Hello, I am sitting in the chair next to yours. The perfume you are wearing … Umm its lovely … “ Aleesha trailed. I smiled at her curiosity, her thoroughness and her search for perfection. She was a natural with spontaneity being an added asset to overall beauty. Her rough edges in her professional outlook was a cover for her softness in her personal life. A real shibui if you could call her that.
“ Its Classique by Jean Paul Gaultier.” The faceless soft voice replied.
“ Thank you. “ Aleesha replied courteously.

I must get one for myself before I meet Rahul tomorrow. Not that I would need it to entice him but a sweet smelling lover would no harm. Aleesha blushed as the thought of the meeting crossed her mind.

“ Aleesha there has been so much changes in your life the last two months. Would you let me try something different for your hair ? “ I asked expectantly.
Aleesha smiled, “Sure. Why not ? Change is always good isn't it ? What do you have in mind ? “, she quipped.

I took two ends of Aleesha’s hair and held them against her jaw. “ We start with the length ….” I began. The razor flew. Darting. Teasing. Snipping. Straight lines.
I just know tomorrow is going to be special. Rahul hinted it would be. I will finally see the Word Warrior's face after being exposed to his mind and heart for the last two months. And a special day warranties looking good. Doesn't it ?

When it was finally done , I dusted bits of hair off her and let her look at herself. Aleesha smiled. She liked the woman she saw in the mirror.

“ Thank you Charley. I loved it “, she cried jumping off the seat before giving me a air hug.
Aleesha paid the dues and tossed the extra long bang curving onto her right cheek as she turned to walk towards the door.
“ Charley , Do you know from where I can get a vase just like this one here ? “ , she asked pointing to the chocolate and coffee coloured vase at the door. It had a tinge of grey to it.
“ Right here Aleesha .” I replied picking up the vase and handing it over to her. ” It’s a good blend of the elements of Shibusa. Simple, Modest, Everyday normal, and elegant perfect with its imperfections. Just like you my dear. “
“Thank you Charley. That was so sweet. The next time I come, I may share some happiness with you. Fingers crossed.” She said before walking out the door.

Shibui piece with shibusa art

I wish Aleesha manages to find her balance with this guy. What was his name by the way ? Playing with my chin somehow helps me remember and doing so I turn and walk towards the sweet voiced face of of Surbhi Mehta.

Life with Jon

The book was old but beautifully bound in brown leather. The sides had begun to wear off and the pages had turned yellow. The book was opened to the first entry -


The first time I saw Jon was the first time we made eye contact. He was walking out of the basketball court just as my class was getting in. The year we took the Olympics gold medal in basketball and the year it was cool to be playing the game. He was a sophomore and I had a year to get there. We passed by each other and that was the moment I believed in love at first sight. Something tugged at my heart , a wind of recognition from some distant unknown past brushed past me - sending shivers through the whole length of my body - even as the mercury had risen to its possible peak in the school corridors that day. It was the briefest eye contact ever and yet the biggest in terms of impact. I could do nothing but look away to escape the magnetism of his deep blue eyes.

The next day he passed by my language class,tossing the basket ball in his hands , his eye scanning the room while his ears was given to his friend who was continuously talking. I turned my head before I could make that eye contact again.

Jon was one of the most popular boys of sophomore that year and he could very well have any girl he wanted. It was ridiculous to even imagine that he would have the slightest of interest in me. But the next few days I found myself looking for him in corridors, in the playground and even in the canteen. And I found that I could never look at him without him knowing it as he would be looking at me too. I was too nervous to be excited even. He was by far the most charming boy I had ever met.

And then one day I just wanted to know. I went to school that day with love in my heart and determination in my eyes. I knew I may regret what I was going to say - maybe even for the rest of my life. That was a possibility. But if I didn't say it - I knew I would definitely regret it for the rest of my life. And that was a surety. And so I waited outside the basketball court , literally biting my nails as the clocked ticked on. He came out and there I was right in front of him. If my presence unnerved him for a moment - he recovered soon enough to hide it.

" We need to talk ", I stammered.
He came close , too close for comfort really. The blue eyes that I had come to love was deep enough to drown me.
" Ummm .... Well .... you know ... ". I couldnt believe I was mumbling gibberish. And before I could think clearly , he had placed his index finger on my lips.
" I think I have a serious crush on you. If that is what you want to know. I do. " He said it with so much confidence as though it was the the most natural thing to feel and say. He bent down his mouth so close to mine , I could feel his fast paced warm breath on my skin. He hovered his lips gently over my eager mouth, tantalizingly before settling for a soft kiss on my cheeks close to my ears. A spark was kindled that day.

We were together all through school and for a while after that. My year book has a caption " Is Jon here ? " next to my photo. While we were together it didnt matter to us that we were just kids.In the fourth year of our relationship Jon moved out of town looking for a job. When he came back that summer, stories of his city girl had spread like wildfire. It was just a teenage romance and I realised he had grown outgrown me. It didnt matter at the time that I had truly given my heart to him and could never ever take it back. We went our separate ways after that. It wasnt easy for us back then with letters being the only practical way to communicate. And when you didnt want to write - It was just so easy to lose touch.

A few pages were turned ......


Life was far different from what I had imagined. Life was with a different person. Marriage to Dave and 3 kids had not removed Jon from my mind. He visited my memories occasionally and we took trips together back to those days when our world was just us. Life was not perfect but I knew it could be worse. And then one day Gods must have decided to have some fun at my expense when they decided to take Jon out of memories and drop him straight back into my life.

One of our favourite teachers had passed on and all ex-students had gathered for her funeral. I did want Jon to be there but did not dare expect the impossible. But it was just one of those days when life's lessons was taught to you. Nothing is actually impossible in our lives - because that day my eyes finally made the eye contact that I had secretly desperately sought for so many years. Age had caught up with Jon as it did with all of us. Well into his late thirties, he had aged beautifully and gracefully. If men could age like that. The strongly marked greys at his temples made him more charming than I had ever imagined. We didnt get to talk much that day - for one it was unusually awkward and second the setting certainly wasnt seem fit for catching up with an ex-flame. Seeing Jon again after so many years had taken the carpet off my floor. The life that I had been slowly and steadily building seemed shaky enough. I felt compelled to put my arms around my life to keep it from crashing as much as I wanted to feel his arms around me.

A few days passed and the hurricane I had been expecting seemed like a false alarm. Cell Phones were becoming a necessity and Dave had got me one to keep us connected. It was an unusually bright summer day when the phone beeped with a call from an unfamiliar number.

My 'hello' was answered with a husky " Hey Amy ". His voice was as seductive as all those years back, if not more. It had all the power to make my knees go wobbly and head giddy like a teenager.
" Jon ? " , I whispered.
" Don't tell me you could forget this voice ", he taunted.
" I couldnt even if I tried Jon , neither the voice nor the owner of the voice ", I replied.
A brief silence ensued with the only sound transcending the distance between us - being the faint sound of our breathing. It let us know that both of us were alive at the other end and had not been knocked out as yet.

Jon had taken my number from a common friend and contemplated for a few days on what would be the right thing to do before he made that call. Once the initial inhibitions were shed we began talking like we had never stopped. We have that kind of relationship with some people - the ease of picking up from where we left off. Jon was married with a son. Life was good and while it could be better - like me he also knew it could have been worse. The 90's were times of transition. The world was becoming smaller with handy mobile phones, internet and emails entering our communicative channels. It was a time for personal transition too. Jon came back into my life with a bang. It was purely platonic at first. We would discuss our work, family, music, movies , politics. We could comfortably talk and discuss on any topic under the sun. I soon realised why it had been so difficult for me to get over Jon - I could never connect with anyone as easily as I did with him. The spark had been rekindled and it was fueling a flame burning so bright.

It was almost two years since Jon came back as a friend and we had not met inspite of the daily phone calls. It didnt seem important at first and then as time passed by it felt dangerous. The spring of 94 saw Dave leave for an official assignment spanning 2 months. Fate also created an opportunity for Jon to visit town for a conference. He decided to extend his stay over the weekend and we finally decided to meet. We agreed to meet at the local diner for lunch. I took my time to dress up - I was doing so after a long time. I looked around the diner as I entered and there he was smiling his killer smile with a twinkle in his eye. He still had that effect on me irrespective of all that had happened to us in the years in between the time we fell in love and now. He hugged me as soon as I came near and quickly whispered , " Thats an intoxicating scent you have on."
A blushing 'thank you ' was all I could manage to say.
We took our time with the lunch and surprisingly it was quite a silent affair. The hug and the proximity to Jon had left me unnerved. Everything else was forgotten - it was once again just me and him even if it was for a little while. We parted too without much words and without any further intimacy other than holding hands across the table. I came back home feeling highly restless and confused. The day passed with the feeling continuing. The children were in bed by 9 pm and I kept wishing the phone would beep with the familiar number flashing on the screen. By 9.30 I had settled in front of the television changing channels aimlessly while my mind went on a rewinding trip on its own. Thoughts about what we could have done and didnt do - thoughts about what could have happened and didnt happen - thoughts about what we ought to and should do. The door bell rang shaking me out of my reverie. Jon stood outside with a lop sided grin.

"I had to check if you were really as tiny as I felt you were - earlier during the day " , he grinned. He came closer.
" I haven't changed much " , I replied taking a step backward.
" No you haven't .... its just that I don't remember you being so small. " he whispered hoarsely very close to my ears. He pulled away looking at me " Or maybe I have just gotten bigger ", he quipped with a wink.

I quickly pushed him away , locked the door and turned to walk into the living room. The brief intensity of the moment had thankfully been wiped off by his witty self analysis. He had gotten bigger in terms of height and weight. We settled on the couch , the television playing an old classic. That was one of the other things we shared ... old movies and old songs. Feeling him so close to me brought out mixed emotions - I was as comforted as I was terrified. He must have sensed that and took my hands in his. " Your hands are small too ... " he whispered taking them to his lips. A shiver went through my spine. It was one of those times when you instinctively knew and your guts confirmed that the moments that followed would be life changing. One of those moments which could be presenting you a second chance at life or possibly tempting you to cross the threshold into a mistake that would prove costly. My whole body ached as if there was this empty hollow inside it. I was more conscious of Jon next to me than I have ever been of anything or anyone else my entire life. He moved forward and flexed his mouth. with one hand he untied my hair, let it lose and began caressing it. Those blue eyes boring into mine weren't helping in anyway. With his other hand he touched my cheek and held my face exactly where he wanted it before bringing his mouth onto mine. I closed my eyes. That was how it was with Jon. Any proximity with him always made me close my eyes and open my mouth. The kiss was slow and cautious. He was taking his time to explore the area he had wanted to for so long. Within minutes we were breathing faster and I knew if he hadnt held me as close as he did ... I would have fainted with dizzyness. He held me so close that I was so suremy body had melted and become one with him. My body wasnt mine to feel at all. All I could feel was his muscular torso , his really cropped hair and the taut neck muscles behind his neck. We drew apart after a few minutes of what seemed an lifetime.

He carried me to the bedroom upstairs with so much ease that I felt like a feather floating in heaven. Jon put me on the bed and began undressing me slowly ,taking his time and enjoying the whole process. " I have waited for so long Amy " he said. " And as much as I want this , we will go ahead only if you wont wake up with regrets in the morning. I for one would treasure tonight for as long as I live" , he added. I looked at him with tears in my eyes " I do not know what will happen tomorrow Jon. All I know is NOW, with just you and me in it ... All I know is I love you , have always loved you and will always love you like no other." I replied guiding his hands to my body. We made love for the first time after that. It was awkward and more of a process of discovering. We slept in each others arms soon after. A little after the clock timed midnight, I woke up to see him look at me. " Didnt you sleep ? " , I whispered , running my fingers through his hair. " I did for a while, but I didnt want to waste time - I preferred watching you sleep, and knowing that you could be so comfortable with me. I love you Amy Sanders more than I have told , more than you would know. " We made love two more times that night. The last time was with a heavy heart. I knew he would have to leave soon.

Jon left home before the sun rose and with it my children. That was the last I saw of him. That day we spoke and came to a decision - We had our stolen moment , our passions rekindled - But this life was not ours to share - we had to give it to our respective families and our children. What was the happiest and one of the most beautiful day of my life ended up being the most heart wrenching day with one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make.

Turning a few more pages .........


It has been two years since Dave passed away after a brave and strong fight against cancer of the throat. The years since we discovered his stage 3 tumour had been tough on the entire family, but the family put up a strong fight. The Autumn of 2012 brought with it an evening where Jon came back into my life. Jon was divorced and his son was living with him. He had heard about Dave and came to see how I was holding up. Seeing him at the door, with the bright orange of the setting sun highlighting his frame, just brought back so much memories , so much pain and he immediately took me in his arms. We sat at the kitchen table and talked about our lives since the day we last saw each other.

" We've been through so much Amy. " he said at the end. " I know this isnt the right time to say this. But I have been thinking about this moment for ages. He got down on his knees and pulled out a red ring box from his pocket. I hadnt expected this at all. He opened the box and took out the ring studded with the most beautiful diamond, " Will you marry me Amy. My life will be blessed if you agree to spend the rest of your days brightening the rest of mine. I want to spend the rest of every living day loving and cherishing you -Will you let me do that ?
" Yes Jon ", I replied , the tears in my eyes making it impossible for me to clearly see him slip the ring onto my fingers.

Jon then moved one arm around my waist and pulled me closer to him and kissed me with hunger and passion unleashed. I raised my arms and wrapped them around his neck. One hand moved slowly to run their fingers through his hair while the other moved to his face and caressed his cheek, feeling the light stubble layering his jaw, even as I gave myself in to his demanding mouth. I felt the rapid beat of his heart and he felt the rekindling of the flame. This time for keeps I knew .


Jon closed the book hearing Amy call out to him. The cover of the book had been printed with " Life with Jon ". She loved keeping a memoir of everything that was special to her, every day, every moment and he loved reading how beautifully she wrote it. She came to the room with two cup of hot coffee just as he liked it during winter evenings and smiled seeing him with the diary. " You never tire of reading this do you ? " she asked. " Not Really... I would be reading them as long as you keep writing them . And I wouldnt tire just as you never tire of kindling and keeping the flame of passion alive in me no matter how old we are " he replied before kissing her.

( This entry has been my fictional take on the prompt kindling for week 19 of LjIdol . If the entry does manage to kindle some emotion, some longing long forgotten, some life enhancing passion kept aside, please do vote for me. Concrits as always are welcome or I believe they help kindle the writer in us. )

The "Thinking " man gets a-musing !!!!!
Once upon a time ..... really long-long long ago , man's life was not complicated , his woman was not complicated. Life was simple - Period. Then man learned to walk straight and began venturing out of his cave forced by the then 'only' complications in his life - how to start a fire and what to eat. When men got out of the caves, the women got out too , albeit to interact with other women and that was the start of man's problems.

learnt to make a fire

Things were even manageable post the caveman era , during the middle ages and even upto the early 20th century. Barring a few 'feminist' women who went about burning their undergarments for ' who knows why ' reasons , most of the women had the coy ' My Hero ' look in their eyes when they saw us , the same that Jane had when she saw Tarzan.Then women started going out , they started getting 'worldly' wise. They started wearing our clothes even and worst of all started 'talking'. Even that wasn't so bad until they wanted to talk all the time.

teach her to talk

Man was 'MAN' after all and while we reveled in our 'manly' behaviour, she turned around to refer to them as baby-ish and needing her constant 'hands-on' attention. The plates were left on the tables, the towels were on the bed,the toothpaste cover was always missing, the chocolate wrappers and Uncle Chips covers were tucked away safely between sofa covers waiting to be found - either by her or by ants whoever were more efficient, yesterdays smelly socks that were always left in the foyer on the way to office ....the list of her complaints is so endless. Didn't she do all this in the early years of our marriage - pick up my plate so lovingly and wash them with her dainty hands, watch me with love as I got dressed up and pick the towel to hang it in the bathroom once I was done, Cuddle up to me on the sofa while I watched cricket and look at me with the innocence of a 'puppy dog ' when her probing fingers found the empty wrappers and covers among other things, and did her nasal sensitivity actually peak up after all these years ? What changed in between ???

you wouldnt understand

While she cribbed about 'mothering' me , I actually joked with the guys about her constant (s)mothering. Why does she have to remind me of things I did 5 years back at the exact time I sit down to watch the Cricket World Cup Quarter Finals. Doesn't she know after all these years that when it comes to me and sports on television ... it actually just becomes just the 'two' of us. All the sounds she makes in the background is just a 'buzzing noise' in the background. A sound that gets angrier and angrier till it erupts at the end of the match with accusations of insensitivity, lack of love and understanding and her misfortune. As I stay 'wonder'struck , wondering where all of this is coming from , she hurls the next bomb about how caring Mr Sharma is for making the morning tea for his wife every morning or Mr Gupta for taking the garbage out everyday. I tell her that the smell of Mrs Sharma's Exquisite Biriyani tickles our noses every sunday even though they stay the floor above, and Mrs Gupta makes sure they both go for their daily gym regimen to maintain her lovely figure and his good health. She gives me the injured party look before storming into the bedroom and locking the door behind her. I am grounded for a week atleast ....Damn Mr. Sharma and Mr. Gupta. All the re-charging with the television viewing ended up being for nothing.

emergence of language

These days I am searching for an instruction manual that will help me 'decode' and 'operate' her. It is like she has so many buttons that go off and on automatically with the slightest of triggers and worse ... sometimes with no 'obvious' triggers. Long back, ( I dont remember how long ago but I do remember it was FIFA 2014 ) I was on the sofa watching the World Cup Football matches which were at really odd times in India. I needed beers to keep me company during those 3 am matches. The match got exciting and my poses kept changing and one random goal had me so excited the beer spilled on the sofa and the rug. I hadn't realised until she pointed out to me the next morning along with a release of all my so called 'misdeeds' till date from her data bank. One shopping trip with her and I am left exhausted for a month. The amount of energy that she spends on walking aimlessly in the huge shopping malls can only be matched by her energy in the second best thing she does - ranting at my 'bad habits' on the phone with her friends. She doesnt tire of telling those 'stories' any number of times.I have to confess I am turning bald with trying to understand why she cries during movies and gets maniacal when I forget to pick her up from the movies. If she went all by herself why cant she come back on her own ? While I look in the mirror and fret over my losing hair , she rants about the drain being clogged with 'my' hair. To add to the decaying situation , in comes Facebook, Whatsapp and many other applications in the guise of social networking or 'relationship hacking' rather. It supplements her memory, boosts her ego , gives her a stage for venting out and provides her with a hearing base for the same. I have started my own facebook profile to keep tab on her activities and thoughts. A lost case , an attempt in vain - I soon realised. She says one thing and actually means the exact opposite of what she said.


Being someone with a narrow focus , tunnel like even , I find it difficult to keep up with her 20 posts, within the same time I manage to post a single update or within the time I manage to read 10 updates for the day. It is complicated for me to comprehend how someone can multi-task and remember so many un-related 'unnecessary' things at the same time. Its like women have the brain of an elephant who can at a time , I read , keep track of 30 elephants at a time. Way to go - Super Elephant Mom. I innocently make a mention of this discovery at the dinner table and she says " So you think I am an elephant ??? " I sat there flabbergasted - I dont recall having ever 'said' that , much less thought of it in that way. Wasnt my vow to love her as long as she had 'ample breath' and love all of her 'amplified breadth' ? She just didnt understand.

and he doesnt realise

Last night she was in one of those random good moods. She was giving me a good shoulder rub and ALL I could think of was that she was standing 3 feet away and working on the 'wrong' side. And then reading this I am surprised she has made me think so much more !!!!

Truly isn't the 'fairer' sex terribly (un)fair.

chauvinist corner

( This has been my entry for Week 17 of LjIdol. The prompt given to us was "Scare Quotes " and I have attempted to portray a male POV incorporating the 'scare quotes' wherever possible, adding a touch of humour and some 'intended' pun. I am a woman who has her share of frustrations with the opposite gender, and this was an attempt to see how we might look to them. If you do find it good enough please do vote for me and as always Concrits are always welcome. )

All the images used herein were taken off the www ...I have no right whatsoever on them and have just used them to accentuate the point I was making .... hoping I havent infringed on any copyright matters !!!!

Lights, Camera and Conversation .....
I am moderate movie freak and I watch all kinds of movies - the good ones, the bad ones and sometimes even the ugly ones. In case of the latter two categories I do wonder in my postmortem thoughts - how did the script writer come up with such hideous dialogues , what was the screenplay guy seriously thinking of , where did the director leave his skills before arriving on the set ... and sometimes yes even why have the good actors even think of acting in the not so good movies or sometimes even in the downright terrible ones.

The last of these thoughts sprang to mind after watching a recently released Hindi ( Official language in India, in addition to English ) Movie. It starred one of the bigger stars of the Hindi Film Industry - nicknamed Bollywood being inspired by its counterpart in the US of A. Now the film in question didnt need anyone but the hero .... after all it was made just for the fan club of the hero in question. However what actually surprised me was that it had a superb supporting cast with well known character artistes playing really dumb roles with nothing more to so than act stupid and look like fools in front of the all powerful and all knowing hero who fills the screen for more than three fourth of the movie time. What a powerhouse cast and it could easily have been a terrific offbeat movie and yet they were all just satellites around the hero. Ironically one of the scenes even had the hero on a bridge looking at one of the other character actors on the street below and saying " You will always be beneath me ". It made me wonder why do actors take up roles that would obviously do nothing for them.

That was when I realised there is more to it than that meets the eye. For us in India we are very passionate about our movies and our stars. And when we see a good actor in a bad movie it shocks us. This happens with actors alone though. We do not think twice when a famous lawyer takes on a case that doesn't deserve his expertise, or drop our jaws when a renowned painter takes up a cartoon commissioning.But with actors we end up wondering " why did he even act in such a crappy movie ? "

The probable answers to this rhetoric are -
(1) The Obvious - Acting is what he is supposed to do ain't it ?
(2) The Realistic - Making money is what he wants to do ... Don't we all for that matter ?
(3) The Pessimistic - Maybe he wants to keep himself from getting rusty or going mad waiting at home for the perfect script that almost never comes or hasn't been written yet.
(4) The Optimistic - Acting in the so called B-Movies would help him get recognised , make contacts, get a foot in the door of 'camps'
(5) The Unjustified Maybe he is just having Fun ...

Is this an Indian Bollywood phenomenon ? My research showed me otherwise ... much to my relief. Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars - Episode 1 gave me such thoughts. So did Cate Blanchett as the campy villainess in Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Cate Blanchett was coming off playing parts in movies as Little Fish ( a heroin addict ) , Babel ( bad marriage, dead child ), the Good German ( a jew in Nazi Germany ), Elizabeth : The Golden Age ( beleagured Royal ). On hindsight it makes us see why she wanted to go " skull hunting " while bellowing in a Rraaashan accent .

At the other end of the spectrum you have actors like Laura Linney in Congo. The movie had reviews that said - " .... Its all about Good Gorillas meeting Bad Gorillas while human beings search for treasure " To make some sense of this good actor's role in this far from good movie ( which ofcourse has its so-bad-it's-good moments ) we have to consider the movies that followed herafter she decided to take off to the African Jungles with a vengeance. It was a question of visibility and what followed was - Primal Fear ( with the oh so hot Richard Gere ) , Absolute Power directed the quintessential Clint Eastwood and ofcourse the Truman Show.

The best wisdom in this matter was probably delivered by Michael Caine - to whom apparently no movie was low enough to be refused. A year after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in " Hannah and Her Sisters " he dropped our jaw by starring in Jaws -4 : The Revenge. When asked about the film - this was what he had to say " I haven't seen the film, but by all accounts it is terrible. However I have seen the house that it built and it is definitely beautiful "

( This has been written for Week 16 of the LjIdol series-9. The prompt given to us was " ... and a terrible beauty was born .... " If you do find beauty in this attempt please do vote for me .... and yes as always concrits are welcome ... even the terrible ones. Good Luck )

(no subject)
Emraan had been careful to time his plan. But her presence caught him by surprise. He had been clocking her movements for the last one month and she never returned home before 9pm on Fridays. Looking around the room , he just couldn't understand why any woman would have so many pictures of herself scattered all over the walls of the entire house.It was eerie but he however didn't have time to ponder over the apparent narcissism of the woman, whatever kind it maybe. It didn't matter anymore. She lay bent at an unnatural angle on the bathroom floor.

He hadn't meant to kill her. That was never an agenda. He wouldn't have studied her for more than a month if that was what he was going to do. He knew she was never back home on Fridays before 9 pm. Her tennis practice was scheduled meticulously every Friday for the slot of 8pm to 9pm. That was what startled him. Seeing her in her bathrobe , barefoot and bent over to check the temperature of water filling up in the bath tub. He swung his satchel - filled with his tools, as she turned around to face the door, aiming directly for her head. She flew sideways to his right and hit her head on the sharp corner of the dresser just before she slumped to the floor with a sickening thud.

He had never killed anyone or anything before. In that respect he was confidently non violent by nature. A shiver passed through the length of his body as the impact of what had just happened hit his consciousness. He glanced furtively at the body before hurriedly closing the bathroom door behind him and walked into the adjacent bedroom. The room was decorated in Victorian Style with a 4 poster bed, a 4 door wardrobe and a chest of drawers, all in white. He opened the bottom drawer and rummaged through the contents and moved his way up. It was amateurs who opened the top drawers first and then wasted time closing it to move to the drawers below. He knew more than to waste his time. His work had always been precision based. He found 2 jewellery boxes and some ornaments in the drawers and dumped them into his satchel.The woman's picture above the bed had her pointing her finger at him .... an all knowing smile gracing her lips. An enormous sapphire ring adorned her ring finger. He hadn't found that yet. He turned away, the presence of the woman in the bathroom still gnawed at his guilty inner being.

He knew he ought to give up this job. It wasn't a job for Gods Sake. Atleast not anymore. As he gained experience the frequency between two hunts reduced a great deal. His cash reserve from the last hunt had dwindled considerably and the the prospects this case resented him was hugely attractive to lure him for the kill .... now literally he realised as he walked into the next room.

Working as a bartender in Quark's, the regular grill and bar in town had given him ample solid leads to follow. A quiet listener to the numerous conversations that fill the place every night made him privy to a lot of classified information. His main source was Albert Fernandez ,the trusted insurance guy by day and habitual boozer by night, who fired talks of his success and his clients without licence. Most people didn't take his bullets ... Most except One. Emraan got a lot of information from Albert. On some good days he could even manage a peak at the client file complete with Polaroids of the layout and details of the security system. It was more than a month ago that Emraan was unofficially introduced to Ms Annie Johnson. The successful vice-president of Sphinx Systems who lived in Club Terrace, an upscale locality two hours away from his town. It was shared that she had just insured her life and home. There were no relatives other than one Ms Stephanie - no husband, ex-husband or boyfriend. She lived in a home that at a time carried around two hundred thousand worth in cash and jewels at the minimum. Her house was alarmed with a good security system which he confidently knew he could decode. As with spinsters in general , she had a fixed schedule that was rarely altered day after day, week after week.

And so he began tracking her comings and goings. He knew she worked to clock - 9 am to 5 pm. She reached home at 6pm on all evenings except Fridays when she would reach only by 9pm. That seemed ideal to him. By then the sun would have down and the neighbours wouldnt notice his prowling. He would break in 10 minutes , finish ransacking it in 50 minutes and be out well before she returned. Which was why he was still surprised by her presence in the house. Emraan shook his head trying to forget all the events that led to his current tenable situation. He reminded himself that he needed to finish and get out. He couldnt leave until he had got all the cash and everything he could pawn. He realised he would have to leave town immediately. He tried to focus on the temptation of cash rather than on the guilt rising on account of the body in the bathroom.

The photos - so many of them continued to spook him as he moved from room to room. It was like the dead woman was watching his every move.

He finished the second room also done in the similar decor but in teal instead of the white of the first. He went from one room to the next collecting guilt ridden physical treasures. At forty minutes past eight he finished the top floor and at two minutes past 9 he finished with the downstairs. He's made quite a haul enough to disappear from town for a long time. Maybe forever even. He crossed to the foyer from the living room and was startled by the turn of key in the main door. Annie Johnson never had surprise guests and nor did she give her keys to anyone else. Not to his knowledge atleast and he was so sure he had known every single thing about her.

When the woman stepped into the foyer and turned on the lights Emraan came face to face with the dead woman. He stood his ground unmoving and gaping..... eyes widened like that of a deer caught in a car's headlights. Annie saw him and instinctively swung her racquet connecting with his face and sending him flying backwards. Just before he landed he caught the photo through the corner of his eye .... two sisters ... twins ... Annie and Stephanie. He hadn't known. Darkness filled his eyes.

The community mourned the tragic death of Stephanie Johnson the next day - renowned portrait photographer blinded by a cruel car accident six months ago.

...... Maybe its Intuition ... But somethings you just don't Question .....
There's no rhyme or reason only this sense of completion ....
And in your eyes ... I see the missing pieces ....

- Sourced from I knew I loved you before I met you ... Savage Garden

( This has been my entry for LjIdolweek 15 - where the prompt was Chekov's Gun. The prompt primarily means that nothing ought to be written or said for that matter if it has no significance or is not meant to have any. As a writer every single word in the writing should contribute to it. For an individual everything that we do or say should have some purpose and well if that isnt clear to us immediately ... it will be with time. Nothing happens or should happen without a reason ... that's the rule of nature. If you do find the story does justice to the topic do vote for me and concrits are as always ... Welcome .... I mean that )

(no subject)
Last week, I decided to take the three younger of my 4 children to the movies. The older teen decided to meet up with friends. The husband was away as he always seemed to be and the younger two had been having Amazing Spiderman 2 on their wish list for what now seemed like ages to them. And so Mommy decided to finally go on the webbed adventure. I was standing at the booking counter while the boys aged 10 and 6 stood near discussing their school activities,about how much fun the coming week would bring with the football match coming up for one and the school play for the other and the 6 month old sat perched on my hips trying her best to pull out locks of my hair. I glanced at the crowd gathered , most of them families and some college students. It was always fun watching the young crowd and most of the times it makes me feel like I have landed on another planet altogether. Even though we may always not understand their attitude or way of dressing or behaviours and tantrums .... If we arent putting up with it at home its a fun planet if I may say so. The couple in front were rather silent , not saying a word to each other or their kids. They looked so unhappy. I wondered what was going through their heads. They were focused on their mobile phones which seemed to provide them more than ample distraction as they got through the queue. Their kids were jumping and running around in circles playing their version of ' catch me if you can 'and throwing pop corn at each other. Screaming and yet neither parent stepped up to put an end to the chaos that was being staged.

It brought to mind if nearly every marriage hits that point. Where neither adult wants to be the adult. Neither wants to be the bad guy. Finally, the youngest of the two bumped into a teen and managed to dump his drink onto his cool messaged tee shirt. That finally got DAD to look up from his mobile , caught hold of the two children after muttering a couple of sorrys to the irritated teen and we finally heard him in a FIRM, under his breath voice, “Now stay still, quiet down and straighten up, you ought to know know how to act when we are out. Clearly your mom, like always, isn’t going to step up and show you that she has expectations. Damnit Preethi, why do I always have to be the disciplinarian?”

First I don’t agree with down talking the other parent in front of kids, but I’m going to pause what was said next because I felt this guys pain. So many years, I felt like I had no help from my husband. I did the cleaning, the cooking, the laundry, the errands, the shopping, the school runs, the homework, you name it…. all the shit that has to get done. I know the complete bottom, (right before you crack), from having way too much on your plate from physically doing it all. Yes I know this is what all moms have to do but my husband seriously felt like his role was to get up go to work and come home. End of story. He was earning money for his family, which was great and deeply acknowledged but I worked too... at home and away from it too. I just felt familiarity in the mans words.

And then SHE said what she said. She said, “How about you go ask Maya to help you. Seems like she knows how to help you with all your other stresses in life.”


Soak that sucker in. Did that hit me below the belt or what.

Guess what. I’m Maya.

Well not … HIS Maya, but I’m a Maya.

I instantly felt for this guy. Oh Yes, yes I felt for her too, because she was obviously hurt by choices her husband made and maybe her depression from his affair caused her lack in helping I don’t know the whole story. I felt her pain briefly for a couple of second, (I still feel bad about what I did to HIS wife).
BUT, I understand first hand, my needs, not being met and doing, (or feeling like you do), everything alone. A spouse can be right there in the house and then, not really there even as they are. I just personally have the husband that emotionally and sometimes physically WASNT/ISNT there/here. I bet somehow he met Maya innocently, (or maybe not), but either way you don’t walk up to someone and pull your manhood out of your pants and she lays down on the floor, and an affair starts. I hate to bust your bubbles but that definitely isn’t how it usually starts and I’m pretty sure most spouses don’t have affairs with hookers or giggolos. What happens is conversations occur. Laughter happens. There isn’t loads of laundry needing to be done and a spouse yelling from the bathroom that he has no clean boxers and its your fault. It starts sooooo simply, I can’t even express. A door being held open for a woman, who’s husband has dropped the door in her face everyday when they leave for work to car pool together. A woman touching a mans shoulder asking if he had a good weekend on Monday morning! Even plain simple eye contact. Couples can’t even look at each other half the time.

Or it could be a man making a new pot of coffee at work, (because he took the last cup), and a woman thanking him for doing so. Its amazing what five seconds of kindness does for someone whose cup is empty and life is empty as well. Thing is, sometimes that conversation over a coffee pot every morning at work becomes wanted … needed almost. That coffee leads to a innocent invite for lunch. You think its okay, you’re working, he’s a coworker so you go. And for a moment lose track of time and even who you are because get this! YOU ARE HAVING FUN! You go back to work and you can’t focus. You had never noticed his eyes before . Or His smile. And That Voice. You look down and you have a text message on your phone. Its from your husband it reads: " Can you go get Pranav from daycare - he is throwing up !" Your mommy instinct kicks in, and you get up to leave and your car won’t start. The problem with the car is that your husband has promised he’d look at it for two weeks in a row that it has been stalling on starting, and he still hasn’t. Football and beers with the guys had been more fun. You call your husband to say that the car won’t start and he starts yelling at you like its your fault. You call the daycare about the sick kid and she informs you that its okay and she will see you in a bit and then mentions that your husband hasn’t paid her yet. You told him three times NOT to forget to pay her but now you have a late fee.

You look up exasperated and exhausted as you almost always feel these days and the coffee guy is walking to his car. He comes over and asks if everything is okay. You explain the situation. He looks under the hood, jumps your car, shuts the hood and hands you his brother’s business card who is an auto part owner and mentions it probably is just the battery. You go to daycare, don’t turn off the car in fear of it not starting, get your little boy , drive to the battery shop, get the battery at a killer price because you know 'somebody' and drive home. You walk into your house, and its a bomb, there is a message on the home phone that your oldest kid, embarking on his teenage years, didn’t show up to three of his classes. There is water on the floor that the puppy knocked over and your husband is sitting on the couch watching CRICKET. You realise that you forgot to book the gas, and get frantic on how and what to cook for dinner, even as your 7 year old walks in tells you that a major project is due tomorrow and all you can think about is coffee with coffee guy today. You try and start a conversation with your husband about buying the battery and the car working now and he gets all butt hurt that you didn’t let him do it, like he said he would and adds " how could you trust a stranger in these times of violence against women" Regardless of you being stranded at work and him never coming to help. And just like that you hear a ping. You look down at your phone and its a text. “Got your number from the work employee book, glad the car battery ended up working. Hope you have a good night! See you at the coffee pot, bright and early tomorrow, can’t wait!”

Can’t wait? Why can’t he wait? OMG What is he thinking? And just like that…. butterflies. And just like that… it starts.

Now I’m not saying that normal life crap and drama cause affairs. It does not have to and it should not. However I am saying no help and needs not being met, (emotional, sexual or just simple help) will lead to people finding ways to having those needs met. Someone doesn’t just hold a door for you and you jump on them undressing them. I just realized at the booking counter then that if this man truly didn’t have help at home and she never did anything, after awhile that adds up, takes a toll. I’m not saying its right to have an affair. I’m not saying that is how you handle a loveless, helpless, sexless marriage. I’m saying this situation makes it easier for someone to step out, if even to shortly gain their sanity. Marriage is 50/50. There are times its 80/20 but you better catch up on your 80 next week when the other is having a 20 week because it gets old and lonely being the 80 all the time.

I snapped out of my reverie .... true that my brief escape into another world , just now and a few years back were behind me. It was good while it lasted and I was on cloud nine that someone cared. But how long does one stay u there in the clouds. Getting back to earth was inevitable. Now those days and feelings were just memories that stung as much as it pleasured. I had painfully exited the fantasy world and got back into reality sooner than later. But yes I was HER for a long while.

( This is a fiction entry for Week 13 of Lj idol based on conversations with a couple of friends who had been having troubled marriages and one who sought refuge outside her marriage. It was a free topic week . Marital issues and affairs seem to be getting quite rampant in our otherwise traditional and conservative society these days. Its ironical that in a world where people seem to be getting closer with technology ... they seem to be drifting apart in their homes. I know I have touched upon a taboo topic but the intention is to let couples know what is missing .... and urge them to get the missing pieces back.... sooner than later. Criticisms - Constructive or Otherwise are always welcome and Votes ... well I hope you do vote for me too)


Log in

No account? Create an account