I was walking in the drizzle. High pitched roads with the euphonious music playing from my headphones made the walk more pleasant. The dark sky seemed to seek for eternity; so did my misery. The vintage textured leaves had already fallen from the trees and the new leaves had already covered the branches. My phone rang breaking the enormous silence. I disconnected the call. After a few minutes it beeped. It was dad asking me to come back home. I had left the home in an increased heart beat and clenched jaw. I sat on the bench near the aesthetic dark-green tree.Suddenly, time seemed to freeze. I couldn’t believe that my eyes were focusing on a bullet coming towards me. I remember the bullet entering my lungs disintegrating my ribs through my chest.I explained all this. I am desperate to know what happened next on 20th of Jan.
She is smiling as if I was reciting a story or a joke. I don’t know what’s going on. There is no scar on my chest or any part of my body. I want to go home! Her smile melted my wall when she shared her most captivating smile.I don’t know the whereabouts of my headphones or my phone. I am in the same grayish blue hoodie and trousers. I take her hands away from me and run towards my home. I see mom in a dark red sari with grey hair. I had never seen my mom with ‘grey’ hair. Dad comes towards mom and he compliments her. Mom chuckles. I am right in front of them. They cannot see me! I ran towards mom and hugged her. My body feels lighter like the air and passes through hers. I ran towards my room.
I was lying helplessly on the hospital bed, the pain in my soul was competing with the excruciating pain in my womb. Hospitals have always made me anxious. Ever since I had the unfortunate surgery a few years back when I almost lost myself, I have always feared the idea of visiting hospitals. Every time I had an appointment at the hospital, panic set in, the moment I stepped into the waiting area of hospitals. Probably it is the last place I want to be on earth ever. But often, I ended up being there. And there I was that day, fighting the anxiety, pain, and fear of losing myself again. The nurse who wheeled me into the radiology was standing at the end of my bed and the doctor was seated beside me on his chair clicking the buttons on his computer. The doctor looked at me and said that he was going to insert the tube inside me to see what was going on. I knew what was going on… I was almost sure of what happened inside me…. But a tiny ray of hope was still there, somewhere hidden, that kept me from breaking down. For the first time, I wanted myself to be proven wrong, wrong about what I believed and what I was thinking. I would have given anything in the world to hear the doctor say that what I thought was wrong. I startled as I felt the tube inside me. The doctor spent a while moving the tube inside me trying to figure out what was happening. I looked at the ceiling, my hands clenched in a fist trying to keep the terrible pain inside, to keep myself from screaming. I could feel the tube being pulled out and heard the most heart-wrenching words ever, “I can see the fetus but…… I can not see any heartbeat…. You have lost the baby.”
30th of May 2020.
It was past five in the morning and I was awake, unlike any other morning when I usually slept until 7. My husband was fast asleep. My heart was racing, and my shaking hands were tapping on his back trying to wake him up from his slumber. I was excited, scared, happy, nervous and what not! Eyes half-opened, he turned towards me, least interested but still managed to ask what I was up to early morning. Nervously, I held it in front of him, the reading screen on his side, which read…. Pregnant, 3 weeks+!!!!
I was at the end of my first trimester. I had excitedly booked the next sonography appointment as I could not wait to see the little human being inside me bouncing in my womb… those little hands and feet…. and that little beating heart. I had spent days surfing the baby and motherhood websites, curious to learn about how my little one was developing each week inside me. Checking baby wears in the internet had become a part of my daily routine. As I was nearing the end of first trimester, I decided to sort out my clothing. Soon enough, I would start putting on weight and those lovely dresses I bought last summer would not fit me anymore. I made a mess of our bedroom that day, after he went to work, and spent hours putting away the dresses I adored and packed them in a suitcase.
Luckily, I had some oversized dress to get me going for the next trimester. I never felt so happy tucking away my dresses. I packed away my heels and pumps knowing I had to be careful with my footweartoo. Then comes my bedroom pantry, where I store my chocolates, the pineapple cruiser that I love, and the candies. I removed the chocolates and wine from the shelves and stacked fruits and nuts instead. I kept telling my husband that we had to remove and rearrange the stuff in our bedroom to make room for baby bedding. I had checked baby beddings online and had already chosen a few. I knew it was too early for nesting, but I could not wait. I was just too excited. We often discussed the gender of the baby. Though it would not make the slightest difference, from deep inside I wished for a baby girl. And deep inside, I knew he wanted a baby boy. More than that, having a little one with us, no matter boy or girl, was more than enough to make us happy. We both were excited for the next sonography as it was likely that the doctor would be able to tell us if the baby was a girl or a boy…. But sadly, that day never came!!!!!
One of the days, I was having cornflakes for breakfast as usual, and he asked, “Is it good for the baby?” and he quickly asked for an answer, as always, with Google. And that was the case every day, every time, before I ate anything. One of those days, he put away the bottle of honey saying that it contained toxins that could harm the baby, I said nothing. He constantly kept track of what I ate every day and made sure that I go for a walk every morning. He had always wanted a child. We kept putting off our plans to have a baby for various reasons…. Life was not so easy, and we wanted things to turn better before we planned a family and finally it did.
I remember having the first ultrasound at 5 weeks. Just that tiny little bean-shaped being with a beating heart filled the entire space in my heart…. Made me a mother instantly. We were over the clouds as the doctor said that the baby was positioned in a good place and everything was normal. Little did we expect then, that our happiness would have a short life!
Weeks passed, one after the other, with the little one inside me growing little organs, filling the space inside me. I looked at him every now and then, and realised how happy he was, knowing that he would be a proud dad soon. Though the world around was going crazy with the coronavirus spreading around, with thousands of people infected and dying, there was so much of happiness in my little world…the joy of welcoming a precious little bundle of life filled our lives with so much happiness. I confined myself to my home and stopped going to work. I had to be careful and keep myself safe and away from the infection spreading around. I spent hours every day planning the days ahead of my pregnancy.
17th July 2020.
As usual,I finished my daily chores… I finished a bit of cleaning in the kitchen. There was a dull pain on my back which I thought was normal during pregnancy and hence was not too concerned. After a few hours, I went to the washroom and realized that I was bleeding. I was terrified. A chill went down my spine and panic set in. I had read somewhere that it was normal to bleed during pregnancy at some stages. I was worried but still convinced myself that it was nothing to worry about. An hour later, the pain set in… mild and lingering pain in my womb, and soon after, I started bleeding heavier than before. My womanly instinct told me that I had lost the pregnancy. I could not stop the tears flowing down my cheeks.
I texted my husband instantly and updated him. He said that it could be normal and told me not to panic. He left his work earlier than usual and came home. We both were worried but convinced ourselves that everything was alright. The whole night, I kept tossing and turning; the cramps were getting worse with every passing hour. More than that, the thought of losing the pregnancy was killing me from inside. I could hardly sleep all night. I remembered telling myself some time back that I was not ready to bear the pain of childbirth. I was happy but scared to confront that ultimate pain I would have to go through to bring the baby into the world. And now at that moment, I realizedthat I would give anything in the world and bear any kind of a pain to have this baby……. I idea of losing the pregnancy had started breaking me.
It was morning and the pain was getting even worse and the bleeding did not stop. I called the doctor and explained my condition. She told me not to panic but also, she told me to be mentally strong as she believed that I had lost my pregnancy. I was in tears…. we immediately went to the ED in the hospital and I was admitted. The place that I had always dreaded to be, and I was there again, doctors and nurses around me, those white-gloved hands, the medical equipment, and the awful smell of the hospital that I always hated. The nurse gave me some painkillers and I was lying on the bed… eyes upon the ceiling…. Dreading the moment… tears rolling down….
The nurse came and checked on me every 5-10 minutes. She asked if the pain was better. I said no. It was not getting any better. The nurses took my blood samples and told me they could not say anything until the reports were back. A lady doctor approached me and told me not to worry. She said that though I was bleeding, there are chances that the baby could still be safe…. Deep inside, I knew I had lost it but hearing the doctor say that, a tiny bit of hope sprung inside me…. and of course, miracles happen every now and then.
I spent hours staring at the white ceiling… with tears rolling down with the awful cramps that set in every 3-4 minutes… I got so used to it that I started feeling nothing. A grey-hair doctor approached me after a while and said that he would perform a quick ultrasound from the outside. The nurse prepared me, and it started…. I had no idea what the doctor was looking at on the screen… it was out of my view. At a point, he turned the audio on, and I could hear a planewhizzing sound…. no heartbeat…. I was still hopeful as the doctor left without saying anything to me and I heard him telling the nurse that I should be sent to have detailed sonography. Half an hour later, a lady arrived with a wheelchair and I was wheeled towards the radiology…. and I was lying there, staring at the ceiling again, my eyes fixed at the nothingness of the white ceiling…. and all I had at the moment were an ocean of tears, a happy soul that had been shattered and cracks in my heart that would never fill up ever again……
I would have given everything in the world,To feel you growing inside me,To feel your little kicks,I would die for those dizzy mornings, the sore feet and body,The mood swings,I would give away everything and endure everything to keep you safe inside me,Until the day you were ready to meet me outside in this world,I did not get to hold you in my arms,Or shower my endless love on you,I did not get to hold those tiny fingers and kiss those soft lips,I did not get to hear your first cry or see your very first smile,Your first baby steps and the first word you speak….I would have given everything to spend those sleepless nights to attend to your needs,And clean up your mess every day,I still had not picked up your first outfit,And your tiny little shoes,Your bottles were not filled yet and the bed was not set,I did not get to see your eyes shine,I wish I had a choice, a chance, a wish that could bring you back to me, If only god would ask me what I wanted most of all,My baby, without a second thought, I would ask for you,You may not remember me, but I will never forget you!
***Dedicated to the one who was too precious for this earth***
– 1975 I wake up to the sound of the salty ocean breeze hitting the rocks. I can feel the damp coolness of the sand underneath my skin. I open my eyes as the sunrises from under the water and sets fire to the sky. A bleeding sky in flames or orange and red as the sun slowly detaches itself from the ocean to tear apart the night sky as the dawn breaks and the sky bleeds. And so does my heart. I can feel the wave wash over me and I taste the familiar salty taste on my lips, on my face. The saltiness of the tears and the sea brings with it the comfortable numbness. I turn 30 today Agnes. Remember that promise we made? That we would get married if we were both alone at 30. Well here I am 30 and alone but Agnes, my rose, where did you go?
I force myself to get up and as I get up I realize how lightheaded I feel. Agnes, is it possible to feel so lightheaded and so heavy at the same time? I can feel the heaviness of my heart dissolving into the sand beneath my feet as the cold leads way to hollow emptiness. As the rays of the sun touch my skin I can feel your gentle warmth, Agnes. I see the emerald white shell again.
It was you wasn’t it? You saved me, again. The first time I met Agnes was on this very beach, the day she brought me back to life. Before I met Agnes, my soul was tired, my body was tired and so I decided to go rest inside the water and let the waves wash over and consume the numbness inside of me, to let it consume me. And so I let go. I closed my eyes and let the cool waves put off the black fire inside of me.
That was when I heard a muffling sound and someone carrying me into the beach. The first thing I noticed was her beautiful hazel eyes as they worryingly bore into mine, asking the same thing over and over again. “Are you okay? Can you hear me?” A sigh escaped from my lips and I saw her bewildered eyes searching for something in my face. “Thank you, but I was just trying to sleep.” She just sat there awestruck as I got up and started to walk away.
I could feel her running behind me to catch up with me as she grabbed my hand and those hazel eyes bore into mine again. “Hey, are you okay? You almost died. Where are you going? Let me drop you home please.” “You have beautiful eyes”, I said as I walked towards the house on top of the rocks where I lived. That night, I saw her again, she was on the beach running with a brown Labrador. I walked towards her auburn hair, shining and dancing in the moonlight running behind her. She saw me walking towards her and her hazel eyes spread warmth inside me, one that I had not felt in a long time. “Hi.” “Hi. What’s his name?” I asked petting the small brown pup. “He’s called Kafka and he loves hugs” “As in Kafka on the shore?” “Something like that”, she said as she laughed, her laughter echoing the sound of the crashing waves.
Agnes was a writer who had shifted into a beach house recently “in order to get closer to water and away from humans”, as she put it. The first night I held her in my arms her hazel eyes reflected the moonlight in the sky. “I want your naked soul. I want your chocolate eyes to smile that smile like pearls shining in the moonlight”, she said as she removed an emerald white shell from my hair. “Please be naked with me, I want your soul to touch mine.” You said as we drowned in our ocean, our bodies intertwined, the saltiness of our tears and the sea until we became whole. The sea, Agnes and me. We talked of the world, of everything and nothing.
Agnes completed me, she my shining emerald and she made me whole. Every night we would drown into the ocean of our love and discover the secrets of our universe. Our mornings would start every day with the sound of Leo’s bark, the smell of the ocean breeze and warm coffee, the warm sun on our skin, and the sound of her turning pages. I bared my soul to her. “Please be naked,” she said, but what about you Agnes, where were you hiding? Where was your naked soul? After 3 months, Agnes had to move out of her house on the beach and go back to the city to publish her book. I didn’t see Agnes for another 5 months after that. The last letter she sent me was attached to her book, “The Emerald Rose”. “To my muse, my emerald, to the girl sleeping in the ocean. You taught me how to drown and to float, you taught me how to sink and to fly. I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. I miss your naked soul and your chocolate eyes, your skin like the warm sunshine and your smile like the green emerald in the damp sand.”
They found her in her room, in a rose in her hair, and next to the rose was the gunshot wound. Her lips and dress the color of the flower in her hair. As I rushed to her house I could see her pale body surrounded by the ruby-red blood the color of the rose. Were you so scared of the ocean Agnes? Wasn’t it where we went to wash our wounds away. Why did you drown then Agnes? Like the bleeding sun that sets into the ocean, you sank in your rose-colored dress and your bleeding chest.
When I think of her now, I don’t know which memories are real and which ones I made up, the ones I wish happened but actually did not. I am starting to forget the sound of your laughter Agnes, and so I stand here knee-deep in the ocean hoping to remember the sound of your laughter like the waves crashing against the rocks, your smile crashing against my skin, but Agnes, I don’t know what that sounded like anymore. It takes me longer than it did to picture your face, but your picture is engraved in my heart in rosy red ink. Rose, like your favorite flower, like the ones between your fingers when they buried you. Rose, like the color of your lips, rose like the color of the dress that you were wearing when I last saw you. Isn’t rose supposed to be the color of love Agnes? And all that love you gave everyone around you, you couldn’t save up enough to give to yourself. The thorns were too much for you to bear and you succumbed to the choking of the thorny roses and the love you could not give yourself. How did you hide it, Agnes?
How did you disguise your thorns? But I guess, that’s how it goes, the petals of a rose are blindingly beautiful, so much so that you don’t see and completely forget about the thorns. “I want to go back and be reborn as a rose. Hold me like I’m yours my love” The last letter you ever wrote to me is still in my wallet Agnes. You taught me the meaning of life, you were the first and the last woman I’ve ever loved Agnes, your love saved me, and yet I could do nothing to save you. You’re gone but you’re in every part of my soul and body. I’m lost and I don’t know why I cry every single time I see a rose, every time Agnes. I’m lost and I don’t know why Agnes, I don’t know why. You were my sunshine Agnes; you were my warmth.
I saw you as the yellow bright ray of light but you were the bleeding sun that burned in the flames of orange and red. Every bleeding fire gets washed away and the bleeding sun too eventually has to go back underwater and rest among the waves. The rose-colored dusk smells like you, my love. You never let me drown but how could you sink Agnes? Was your soul tired too? As I stand here today Agnes, where you and I became one with the sea looking out into the sinking sun my eyes still long for you. Each ebbing wave slowly drains me out. And so I lay down to rest my tired soul, lay my body and my mind to rest inside the water and let the waves wash over and consume the numbness inside of me, to let it consume me. And so I let go. I closed my eyes and the first thing I see is your hazel eyes.
Have you guys ever heard of phobia? Of course you might have. I also have a phobia, a phobia of old man. My parents and relatives always teach me to talk to old people and to respect them. But i don’t even look at them. You might be judging me but it’s truth. And for every fear, there is always something attached to it.
March 19, 2011 – the day of holi. The reason of my fear and the reason why I still remember this day is very terrifying.I was then nine, studying in grade 3. My parents belong to a middle class family, both teachers of a secondary school. My parents had to pay house rent monthly. And I was a little younger daughter of my parents.
Here comes the another character of the story, our neighbour, a family of four. Husband, who worked in foreign, a house wife and two daughters, Samayara and Jaya. Jaya was in grade one and Samayara in grade four then.Now the interesting part comes. My parents, who never permitted us to stay at our friend’s home, were surprisingly convinced by Jaya’s mom to allow me and my sister to stay at her mom’s house as it was holi. We went. When we reached there, I could see an old man who was acting abnormal.
It was Jaya’s grandfather. He had drunk more than enough. His breath would stink when he came closer.It was Thursday. And we all played with different colours. Now it was dusk. Jaya’s mom and other elders had gone to market except that old man. Samayara, Jaya, my sister, me and that man were only at home. Jaya’s grandfather was looking at me like a devil.
Then he was able to take me to his room, shut the door and throw me in his bed. I didn’t say anything as I was told before to keep quiet and not to mind if he would do anything since he was drunk. He slowly came onto me and his right hand approached between my thighs and left one was on my mouth. I didn’t know what was going on. I had no idea what he was doing. But now I can say that was masturbate. He kept on doing for like five minutes and each minute, he would speed up his hand.But all of a sudden, he stopped, got up and took a deep breath. He let me go. I still can’t get why he stopped all of a sudden; why he didn’t insert his penis inside my vagina.Was his mind able to think what he was doing? Or his so-called ‘ humanity ‘ woke up??
Luckily, I was not bleeding but I was in pain. And I was afraid to say this to anyone. Till then, this incident remained with me and him. Nobody knows about this incident, not even my parents. And because of this, I am still afraid of every old man.
PS – It’s such a disgrace to hear of incidents like this happening in our very own society.Please raise your voice against such demons. If not your parents, let at least someone, know about it if you get treated by someone evil and culpable like the one mentioned here. We must make sure the girls and womens in our society are taught on how to fight back and teach such lecherous people a life-long lesson –one that they won’t ever forget.
The local-level social organisations should be pro-active in fighting things related to this. They should be the ones to take necessary steps and punish and prosecute such inhumane RASCALS.
Have you ever got so many calls from an unknown number that it scared the shit out of you?
It was the summer of 2016 when I broke up with my ex-girlfriend after a five-year-long relationship. The complications began about half a year before. We used to call each other but it always ended up with a bad conversation. Since then, I had a fear of getting phone calls.
I always panicked as I got calls from any unknown number because I always hoped that it’s still her. Yet, I never wanted to pick those up having the fear of fights and unhealthy conversations.
I took a break from every social media and those were the days I used to get even more calls from the unsaved numbers of my friends. They then used to think that something was surely wrong. I bought a new phone and got myself a new number.