It’s bringing your vision back to me just again, this track. We haven’t spent time in any manner where we sat by or listened to music. I don’t know of your taste in music or if your idea of it is synonymous to trance alone. Listening to this track, I feel a throe of passion engulfing my state of being. I feel tempted to reach out to you.

Almost in a bio-scope like fashion, I see your face emerging in flashes. Certain memory evokes from the hides where I bury them every time this feeling passes by. I hear you say my name. I close my eyes.

I see you watching me over from a distance. The next instant you hold me… so close that I see nothing. Not even you. The time of the day don’t matter, neither does the fact that this might lead to yet another heartbreak. I seem to be inhaling in your nearness, letting my existence mellow within your essence. Your scent drowns me deep. I give in. My heart throbs in anticipation of what more could be after having you so near that my skin seem to be melting like candle flickering to keep the flame alive even though it’s only burning it down, the real craving to hold you washes over me. 

I won’t let your words dominate then. I’ll let the silence guide us. I would let your searching soul find peace in my eyes. We’ll sit still long enough…

Heart loves when heeled. You’ll someday soon. I would have moved on by then.

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The Final Destination

It was only 2pm and yet was getting dark as though late evening. The cemetery looked eerie. The thick foliage that covered the ground now seemed a bit foggy. Anywhere he looked; it seemed he was looking from behind an old plastic sheet, scrounged and with lines running all over. Colors were getting blurred and greyed out, blending into the haze of the fog. The candle lit in the wall alcove of that abandoned room was lit. The muddy walls of the room reflected golden yellow under the candle light. The road stretch seemed to be getting dissolved at a few meters away. The dissolving line appeared to be snaking towards his feet. Not much of an option was left for him other than getting inside that room inside the cemetery where the fog had not yet reached.

Would he be able to make it till there?

Would he survive inside the room till the gloom descended? Would he be able to make it out of there? Alive?

Would the gloom descend ever?

Would he survive?

“I see you”

The wall clock chimed 2 in the afternoon. Funny one liners she had recorded in place of the monotonous alarm rings that filled her study from hour to hour. “Pep me ups” she called those. Naueid was reading a horror flick. Hot mug of chicken soup tasted just about right in that post autumn; almost winter afternoon. The killer Delhi summer was taking a break. It was calm. The sky outside her study was turning grey. Reluctantly, she turned her head to left to notice the sun greying out in the horizon. Post fall, when the length of the days shorten, the sun travelled faster towards the horizon and stayed less up there in the sky. Usually, wind blew early morning onward. Today, there was none. The stillness was uncomforting. It seemed the words were jumping straight out of her book to fill the outscape.

Sitting in her light blue smock with “cows don’t do mornings” written all over with doodled black n white cows printed covered Naueid till over her knees. Her shoulder length silky tresses were half dry after having being rinsed in Pantene. She had crushed some rose petals and the resultant aroma was magical. Her hazel brown eye balls were roving over the lines of page 31 of “Unreal realistic” in urgency to complete the read…

Rrriiinnngggg! “message alert”

Naueid turned her head to left to grab her cellphone. The screen read “1 new text message”. She pressed the centre jog dial key to “open” the message.

“Chirp… crirp… chirp” went her doorbell.

The text message went unread. She flipped the pages to close the book. The soup mug was empty at the bottom with the contents decanted at its rightful place, inside Naueid’s mouth. Slipping her toes into red slippers, she thought those seemed a shade darker, almost the color of blood. Shaking her head at the absurdity of the possibility, she walked down the gallery. The words from the book were playing her mind too.

“Chirp… crirp… chirp” went the doorbell again.

“How impatient… uff!” she thought.

At the other side of the door, there stood a beautiful lady grinning at Naueid.


Naueid blinked. She was indeed surprised and pleasantly at that.

“Naueid, won’t you ask me in?” A tease played up the lady’s pinkish mauve lips.

Stepping aside, Naueid let her childhood and best friend since long, Naeid in. A little bit of acid smell trying to overtake her best friend’s favorite fragrance, Marks n Spencer Perlier dafted inside her apartment.

Naueid was beyond ecstatic, like every time she felt when Naeid came visiting her. They went on to pile themselves on the living room couch. Naueid’s living room was done up well with shells and handmade wall hangings displayed all over. Money plants sat around in ceramic vases all around to tastefully add green, making it a very lively place to sit in. One of the walls was completely glass; floor to ceiling, wall to wall. Long threads of plastic flowers hung over it. The sun was nomore visible. The weather outside was turning foggy. It was really early for that for it wasn’t even November. But Naueid didn’t care much.

“How is Taufeeq?”, asked Naueid. Her best friend was married to her childhood sweetheart.

“Oh well, we would talk to him after I speak with you. I wanna surprise him for he doesn’t know what’s cooking…”, Naeid’s face was glowing in mock humor and looked even somewhat cocky.

“hmmm”, not knowing what was coming, that’s all Naueid could manage to say.

“C’mon, you better get going already”, Naeid almost pulled Naueid to sit beside her.

“Where to…?”

“Dream destination, where else?”

Since a few years, Naueid wanted to travel off-shore and probably even settle down too. Till May of that year she didn’t have a passport, so she never voiced her desire out aloud. Her best friend knew her things a little too well for any comfort of anonymity; and hence, any requirement of fabrication to save face. The two of the friends sat down to discuss about their “flying” plans. It was already dark as though past midnight. Naueid looked out of the living room window to notice how still it had become, vividly colored from the full grown flowering trees; but, motionless, as though that were a painting on a canvass.

“Are you ready for this?”, asked Naeid.

“Of course I am”, Naueid was infact more than just been ready.

Naeid touched her friend on her knee. Naueid flinched a bit; something acidic was filling her nose. Naeid came closer and Naueid thought she was about to kiss her. A raw pain stiffened Naueid’s bones as Naeid opened her mouth large enough to swallow her best friend’s face whole. All that was left in the room was haze. The living room view was as though packeted inside a plastic sheet… blurring the outlines of the objects displayed there. The floor was snaking towards the ceiling. It was all so foggy.

Naueid’s cellphone lay on the ground. The text message was sent from Naeid’s cell that Naueid never got to read read:

Naied met with an accident… couldn’t make it to the hospital… We lost her on the way. Taufeeq.

Outside the living room window, the haze was clearing. The sun shone and the acid smell was gone. From inside the reading room, the clock chimed “Gotcha this time!”

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The Garlic Shuttle

Being a Sunday morning, my domestic- Sonia wasn’t around. I had to ready the water for coffee on my own. Some noise had disturbed my sleep. It was only 8.30am. What an unearthly hour to wake up at!

Rattle! Crack! Thud!

It’s summer already. Mornings are still somewhat bearable. Musing about the luxury of sipping a hot beverage in cold weather, I stepped out of my bedroom.

More rattling… more cracking… more thuds…

That weird noise was more pronounced in the kitchen. These 1st floor guys are so restless. Ever since they have shifted here, they’ve hardly ever been quiet. Banging almost every door at odd hours seemed to be their pass time. Muttering under my breath, I went to floss. That noise was now grown into a constant buzz!

Nevermind that! It’s Coffee time.

What the heck! Why hadn’t Sonia put the garlic bulbs in the hanging basket? One forgetful, careless and deaf woman I have almost adopted- that she is. But these weren’t there when I had sat the water to boil.

“Quick! Get into the pod!”

How could a garlic pod refer to a pod peel as the “pod”? Wait a minute; did I hear the pod talking now?

That’s exactly what happens when you watch too many sci- fi movies, back to back with extra dose of Ben 10 thrown in!


While pouring the hot water over the coffee powder in a mug, I noticed some of the pods zipping their peels on them.


I couldn’t believe that was happening again. I must be dreaming. The pods lay scattered across the kitchen table. This was certainly not how it was when I had first stepped in here. Within a few seconds the pods were assembled as a bulb. I must have lost my mind. I bet I saw the stick glowing too! The bulbs stood still on the roots which supported the garlic to stand erect.

“We are ready to leave!”

Crash, they break the kitchen window glass and fly away!


My cellphone alarm woke me up. It was set for 9.30am so I would have half hour before getting ready to watch Ben 10.

Rattle! Crack! Thud!

I smiled recalling the dream sequence. I sat some water for my coffee. The garlic pods lay scattered on the kitchen table. It seemed that Sonia indeed had forgotten to hang those in the basket. What is she upto really? Pigeons had already emptied the bird bath. I opened the veranda glass door to step out to refill their bucket.

More rattling… more cracking… more thuds…

Could I be imagining or was it really happening? My eyes stretched wide in shock. The pods were indeed arranging themselves in a bulb! I blinked furiously. Was I still dreaming? Pinching myself didn’t help. All I could was gasp in bewilderment.


One of the garlic space-ship went past my head crashing the glass of the window. Maybe, I was imagining things.

Or maybe not!

Almost at once, all the garlic bulbs started to spin over the kitchen table. Circling over the counter-top for a few seconds, those were forming a queue.

One by one, all of those zoomed past me.

(Originally published here)


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Olivia had fallen for Char Baag the very first time she was taken to, by the faculty of BCL.

The fact had escaped her mind that that was only a lounge lawn of British Council Library. But it was hard to tell that such serenity could exist in the heart of a busy metro-city, quite literally so, for Connaught Place indeed lay in the centre of New Delhi. The view was giving birth to a place in her mind, where she could lazily weave yet another fairy tale; or perhaps, sit there and let a fairy tale weave itself on its own.

She was thrilled to say the least!

The green grass blades swayed in the light breeze that blew. Soon, she was drunk in that moisture of the hanging drizzle drops. Even those fluttering pigeons were no different in shade than the ones those raided her veranda sills.

(for more images)

“What do you plan to write Olivia?”, the girl sitting next to her, wearing grey top and red leggings had asked breaking her trance.

“I thought it was a gargoyle”, had said the other one. The glass frame perched on her nose with as much poise as the salt and peppered hair she had worn on her face.

“It may be Buddha…”, had said the first one again.

“Someone enlightened with all those senses around that face…” Olivia had added trying to sound as though she herself was an enlightenment one.

“Buddha it is then”, had concluded the girl on her right, the one who had started the conversation.

“Oh well, I can go on and on about this place”, Olivia chirped pulling the thread of conversation towards herself.

“Let me try some Rowling…”, and indeed, on she had muttered about how that stone faced gargoyle was actually an opening to some other dimension. Animatedly, she had twisted her story about how it would keep leading to different worlds each time a different face outline was pressed. In her version, one would have to press the key at the far left top corner; a face with palms engraved on it. That would fit snugly transporting the seeker to…

“Could I click some snaps please…?” Olivia’s voice was mixed with anticipation and excitement.

Her trainer nodded. Flashing a wide grin, she started clicking furiously.

“That’s cheating”. Olivia turned her head in time to see a mock complaining face of that “Buddha” girl.

“Oh I’m freaking out here”, mumbled she, more like to herself.

All of that had gone swept in past by decades together; but to her, all of this had happened only a week back.

This was one such day. Raining since morning; Delhi heat had gotten killed. The suspended rain drops shone like tiny diamonds sticking on the palm leaves, reflecting the light that fell on those. The burgundy terrace umbrellas were the only hideout for the people who had chosen to sit out and talk. Passing a fleeting glance over people, she chose to sit at her usual place.

For years, she had been piling herself on the chair placed on the right side of the entrance.

Sitting cross- legged, balancing her face on the palm, while her elbow rested on the wooden table; she gazed around the wet place. She was dressed up as usual. She was wearing a bright green and lavender silk top over her black peddle pushers, with neatly trimmed short crop, her never getting smudged lipper and shapely matching long talons… everything about her was oh so charming; even her high heals, the matching Italian soles.

“I won’t be caught dressed casually even in death!” That’s how she was remembered by her friends.

The small fountain at the centre of the space was dancing wee tiny droplets of water those only got swallowed by the pouring rains. The animal shapes drawn on the facing wall, that was the left of the entrance looked little out of place to her. That reminded her of her stay in Palam Vihar, where peacocks used to sway around, their tails hung in pride like a bride sweeping her wedding gown on the ground; showing herself off to the world: her new found status and for her to keep forever…

Soon, it began to pour. People started to move in. Olivia did not.

Weather changes didn’t move her anymore.

The heady smell of the wet ground was making her go high in the head. Those creepers hanging from the ceiling dripped more drops of silver. Impulsively, she decided that she wanted to read some.

Climbing the steps…,

but her feat never touched the ground, she glided a few inches over the stone steps…;

she turned around and stretched her arms open as though to hug the view.

Nobody seemed to notice her. But nobody had ever noticed her even sitting in the library.

She was on her own like she always had been- happy, how she had made people around her believe, and ignored by everyone close to her.

Even death lay defeated to bring about any changes in her destiny.

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