Platinum Day Of Love

He cradled me in his arms. I cooed. He threw me up in the air. I laughed. I knew he would catch me; never let me fall. On result day, he never returned home without a bar of Cadbury for me. I waited for him, for my most prized treat. He would willingly loose those Sunday afternoon Scrabble games. I broke into a war dance of victory. He watched the news with rapt attention. I imitated, not making head or tail of the reportage. He listened to old, slow, soft and somewhat melancholy melodies. I ruthlessly remixed and sang them in some self-composed high octane. He would laugh at my silly attics. I ran up to him with my henna adorned hands and feet. He smiled indulgently. To the world, I was bride-to-be. For us, I was still his little girl. Daddy. The first man in my life. The man I was in love with even before I knew what love meant. The man against whom I measure every other man who makes his way into my life, even today. As with every relationship, even in this one, there comes a point of intense realization. I found mine after 28 years… I was heavily pregnant. 8 months to be precise. Excited about the newest addition to the family, nervous about the added responsibility and scared of labor… I remember the day so vividly. The beeline of visitors had left. I enjoyed all the attention and the lip smacking delicacies they got for me, but the socializing had left me exhausted. Finally there was only mum, dad and me at home. Dad had a dry cough and while his throat irritated him, the incessant coughing bugged me. I turned on my left and lay on the sofa. Dad sat on the sofa beside me and gently patted my head. It’s a seemingly simple act but the love and warmth that emanated from it was so intense. I suddenly felt peaceful and cared for. It’s true. Sometimes a million words cannot do what one touch can. That evening I felt that touch. I felt the love in its purest form. It touched me for sure, tugged the strings of my heart. But it also reached the little one growing inside me. A love that passes down generations. A love, which, like platinum will stand the test of time.

****

The second man in my life… One with whom I share childhood memories and grown up dreams. We grew up playing pranks, sharing jokes, fighting with each other… Sometimes, we were all set to slit each other’s throat. Yet, one wouldn’t last without the other. It’s what most brother-sister relationships are like. For me, he is a brother to fight for and to fight with. Mum says, when he was born, I was the first one to hold him. Ever since, I’ve been fiercely protective of him. He knows all my secrets; I think I know his too. He is all grown up yet he is my little brother for me. 3 years 3 months ago when I got busy shopping for him and packing his bags, I was proud… My brother was going abroad to study. With a 3 month old incorrigible infant in my arms, I smiled and managed to do my bit to make his trip comfortable. Life moved fast, there was no time for whispering advice or sharing some quiet time with him. Yet, when he took his step outside the door on that night of August 15, I felt a surge of emotion, a pang of pain in the depth of my heart. He was going far away. Until then, I was the one who went from home. This was the first time he would go, and that too across 7 seas. When would I see him next? How would he manage? What if he needed something? Yes, we have a huge family where he is, but still my brother is ‘my brother’. At that midnight hour, love raised its hood for the infinite time and showed me again, that he is a friend to the spirit, a gift to the heart and a platinum thread to the meaning of life.

****

True love in the morning sun

Life is amazing. The way it works, brings people together and the way loves meanders its way through, weaving us into a relationship. Some years ago, this man walked into my life. It wasn’t exactly like waves go dashing into each other or like new blossoms touch each other and spread wild fragrance. It was like meeting just about anyone else… may be at work or a party. Never once did expect my heart to do a cart wheel… and to that effect I was right. I didn’t shy, didn’t blush, no super-fast heart beats… just nothing to bring an indication of what was to come. And then, within a few minutes, a relationship was formed, a bond set and a new phase of life opened. It opened quiet so fast that I couldn’t exactly figure what was happening, except that I was smiling all the time, spent very less time at home, had no inclination to work, wrote innumerable emails and then somewhere down the line, said the three magical words… and even when we exchanged those, it wasn’t like a hurricane of emotions… but was more of a solid grounded feeling; like I would have said it sometime sooner or later. It was his birthday and I had lined up many surprises for him. Late that night I got him to drive half way to a jungle, he of course had no clue where the destination was. His eyes gleamed with joy when we drove into the beautifully landscaped resort. We checked in and walked hand in hand. Inhibitions, fear, shyness had long made their way out of our lives… On that star studded night, walking on a cobbled pathway below a canopy of trees, the moonlight pierced through the thicket and illuminated our path. A whiff of breeze brought with it the heady scent of rose and love filled the air. It was serene, calm, beautiful and romantic. We were at peace. When I suddenly picked up a ruffle behind me, at that late hour, in that deserted place, the noise scared me and I clung on him. He turned back and put his arm around my shoulder. It was reassuring. There was a truth in his eye that said he would never leave me. The touch of his hand said it would hold me if ever I fall. We shared an eye lock, saw each other’s souls and were swept by a strong torrent of emotions… emotions of love, of longing, of adoration for each other. Unspoken words made promises of sharing our lives, of sharing togetherness, of being there for each other. We had found the love we yearned for… As precious as platinum, as pure as it too.

****

Every relationship has its day of love. A moment of realization of the love so deep and pure. I found mine over and over again in these three relationships… Each as pure and true as the other. The three most important men in my life… I wouldn’t last a day without you!

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The Sun Shone Through

My first attempt at historical fiction-peacock brooch

The sun was setting upon the rustic landscape; it’s stretched rays, attempting to tickle the river that gurgled on. He sat cross legged with his spine erect in this glorious sunset. The silken folds of his turmeric yellow dhoti fell carelessly on the well-toned limbs. His upper body was bare except for the sacred thread supported on his left shoulder drawing a line diagonally across his broad chest. A gentle smile played on his lips. The man bun on the crown of his head was adorned with a line of fragrant night flowering jasmine. A little behind his seat, rested his khadau’s. On his left lay his bow, decorated with a hundred gold bosses and radiant ends. On his right was a quiver full of arrows, bearing a mark of the clan he belonged. Aditya, named after the Sun, protector of all life on this planet- lived up to that name. He led a warrior’s life, safeguarding those who came seeking help. He was an archer who never missed his aim, a fearless warrior, a student who never lost focus and a dutiful son.

As night fell, the thicket of the forest threatened to take everything in its fold. The incessant chirping of birds had died down and buzzing of fireflies took over. A small clearing with a handful of circular cottages; straw thatched roofs and mud walls adorned with vegetable dye motifs. Remarkably clean but extremely simple. That was the Gurukul. The yagashala, was their pride and the epicenter of all activity.  Diagonally opposite was an open furnace and large earthen utensils- their kitchen.

Behind him, seated neatly in rows, were 20 young boys. All bald with a long lock of hair tied up at the back of the head. They wore orange cotton robes and gazed on as the cackling fire hungrily devoured large chunks of firewood. He had eyes for none of these. He didn’t hear the babble of river as it rolled on, or the various night creatures. His very being was alive with anticipation. His focus was the cushion made of dharbha grass placed beyond the fire. The kitschy footfall told him that his moment of joy was arriving.

Immaculately dressed in a crisp white dhoti and a light shawl draped across his chest, he sat on the cushion laid out for him. The untrimmed ends of his grey beard flew in the direction of the breeze. His forehead donned the scared mark of sandalwood paste starting from the hairline to in between the eyebrows. He wore rosaries made of rudraksha beads. Rishi ji exuded peace and strength. His eyes twinkled with joy on seeing the sight before him. The smile that played on his lips was unmistakable when he set eyes on Aditya. The boy had shown promise that none other had. In his 50 years of running the gurukul, none had the spark as bright as he did. Yet, as every good teacher must, he too had to let this student move on, to fulfill his destiny, to bring peace to a land torn with strife. There would be time for all of that and more. Now, more pressing matters had to be attended to. It was time to help him move out of student hood to another phase of life. It was time for his heart to open up, to choose a companion in the journey of life. Rishi ji closed his eyes. Tonight he would talk about Love.

****

Aditya was shaken out of his vivid recollections of the night at the gurukul. Rishi ji had spoken about affection, love, marriage! Ever since, his mind had wandered into unknown alleys. He quickly placed his bow on his left shoulder. As a warrior lack of awareness was almost criminal. He was the best student, he knew it. He imbibed fast. Yet, what Rishi ji had shared that night, his last night as a student at the gurukul, was unfathomable for him. None of it made sense and his heart was surely restless. Unknown to himself, he walked into a garden of fragrant flowers. The various shades of green were contrasted by bright yellow, pink and white flowers. The orange marigold played hide and seek behind thick tree trunks. He adjusted his golden armlets. They bore the mark of the sun with delicate rays flowing of it. In the distance he could see the glittering towers of the palace.

At a far end of the garden, delicate anklets tinkled. The dozen bangles clinked noisily, the golden nose pin twinkled naughtily and she laughed in pure joy. Her heart radiated love. Her eyes shone in ecstasy. The pomegranate pink dupatta flew in gay abandon as she meandered through the flower bed. The red bindi on her forehead contrasted with her fair, smooth skin. Speaking in chaste Sanskrit, she and her friends went about collecting flowers. Sweet-smelling jasmine was braided in her waist long hair. She wore a silk ghaghra with intricate kashida embroidery and gold jewels almost half her weight. She carried it with effortless ease. She was a warrior princess of unmatched beauty. The world was hers to be and she lived up to it. At this moment, however, she was looking for her favorite ornament.

Aditya stepped on a red and green peacock shaped brooch. Even as he picked it up, he heard trinkets and bracelets. He stood himself erect and saw the most luminous doe shaped eyes lined with kajal; luscious pink lips and a shapely figure that stood radiant in the morning sun. Standing before him, she looked an epitome of grace. While Rishi jis words from the night before were gaining new meaning and his heart was engaged in a somersault, he was surrounded by men in armor, spears pointing to his heart. Love had found its way, now he had to find his.