The Poor Old Beggar 

One day,my grandfather (then a young and strong gentleman)was walking down a road. He saw an old and poor man sitting there and begging for some money. The gentleman was handicapped and his face was grotesquely disfigured. One could hardly make out the eyes in the filth ridden face and it was plain that he had faced a lot of hardships and difficulty. He had a nasty gash on the forehead which was bleeding profusely. 

People cringed at the sight of him and talked about how mankind and humanity were mere names which held no meaning. Nobody responded to his pleas and calls for help. It was obvious that he was in anguish and suffering but none even thought of aiding the poor man who was reduced to begging at an age where he should be leading a life of self respect and basic comfort. 
My grandfather was more sad than repulsed to see this poor man’s plight. He helped him up,took him to the restaurant where he was an employee and fed him. When the man had eaten to his full,he took him to a doctor and had the bleeding gash stitched up. 

The old gentleman blessed him saying that may heaven rain down many joys upon the person who had given him a new life. He went his way,happy and satisfied.

He had to work extra for a year to pay off the debt of his employer,who had allowed him to feed the old man and the doctor who had agreed to give treatment. 

He led a very successful life in terms of love,company,children and family. He was contented and never yearned for more. However,the happiness I saw on his face when I heard him tell me the tale was ethereal. 

It was pure joy at having been able to help another human being. He confessed that he had been selfish when he had aided that gentleman. Serving others gave him a satisfaction which could only be imagined and it was so different a feeling from any other that he couldn’t help but do it again and again. 

He used to always tell me that the sun will set on his time some day. Sure enough,it did. Before he died,he told me this story which had transpired in his youth,which had changed his life. This was a last lesson he wanted me to remember. 

Even today,many years later,whenever I see old and poor people,I try and help them to the extent I can. True enough,these small deeds give me immense happiness. They wipe away any regrets I have and give me peace and tranquility. If we stop aiding such unfortunate humans in our own small little ways,then mankind and humanity will truly become words which have no meaning. 

<a href=””>Cringe</a&gt;


The Illusion I love 

I thought that she was alive again. 
I could scarcely believe it when I heard her bark. It was such a welcome sound,one I had missed for so many years. 

So often,we appreciate what we had only when we lose it. I had taken her presence for granted. I had lost the chance to tell her that I loved her. By the time I realised my mistake,it was too late. 

She never wasted a second to tell me how much she loved me. Her wagging tail,wet tongue and enthusiasm when I came home conveyed so much more than actual words could have done. 

This was the one regret that I lived with-that never did I give her the love and attention that she deserved. I loved her,yes,but I never thought it important to let her know. I never spent that much time with her. I never believed that one day I would get up and she would be gone.

Now,today,she was calling out to me,just like in her youth.She was bounding towards me,beautiful and healthy once again. We went on long walks. I talked to her and she turned her intelligent eyes to me once in a while,as if she understood every word I said. We ate mango ice cream together. I watched as she enthusiastically licked up the remnants of the ice cream. I patted her silky golden brown head,laughing as she barked in delight. We played catch and throw with the old ball that she loved.

That night,I listened to her heart beat as she brought up a paw to hug me. I heard her sigh in contentment and I closed my eyes,the steady rhythm of her beating heart lulling me to sleep. 

 I opened my eyes to face the dull grey ceiling of my room. It was a dream,an illusion which got shattered every single time I woke up. It broke my heart each time. It was the one dream that I never wanted to wake up from. It was the one illusion I never wanted to shatter. It was the time I cried when I woke up.
 Sometimes,illusions are just so much more comforting. Reality seems all the more harsher when I wake  up. 

I bought  some flowers from the florist near my house. She loved roses. When she was alive,she would arrange them in her corner of the house and lie down amongst them,as if to say that they were hers.
I went to the cemetery and laid the flowers on her grave. I talked to her,told her about my illusion. I don’t know if she ever listened,if she could even listen. This was the only act which gave me enough peace and strength to face the harsh reality of the world  again. To face the fact that I needed to live without her. In some ways,those illusions gave me strength. Even if only for a night,they made me believe that I was with her again,that I was safe and happy again.

<a href=””>Illusion</a&gt;

She Wrote Me A Letter 

Dear Thea,
It has been so long. 

I still remember those fun times. I remember how we enjoyed in our school days,how we used to pass each other notes in class,how we would bunk boring lessons to go for a movie,how we used to laugh at the same lame jokes time and again. 

I remember all of that. I remember how it felt to be around you,like everything was warm and sunny. You made everything so much better. Your optimistic perspective was what delighted me the most about you,apart from your steadfast loyalty,of course. 

Then,one day,I left. Not a word,not a note. I just left. I wonder if,all of these times,you’ve been thinking about what made me leave? What made me distance myself so much that we lost each other on the way? 

You may not believe me,but I had to. Those rumours and all that ragging at school? It was pure evil. Everyone and everything was against me. It’s never a pleasure to be surrounded by animosity,Thea. It was eating me up on the inside.

 As to why I didn’t give you a heads up? It was heart breaking,that’s why. I didn’t want to leave you yet I had no choice. 

You were always a fighter. I was always a runner. So I did what I was best at. I ran away. Today,we are old women. You must have given up all hope for communication from me. 

Today,I realise the futility of the decision I took all those years back and I realised that you bore the brunt of it. I apologise. 

It was one of the dumbest things to do. I am not very brave and I suspect I never will be,but I know a mistake when I see it. You deserved an explanation. I just wasn’t thinking straight.

I’m not providing excuses. All I’m saying is,that I’m an old lady now and I’m about to die. Before i do,I just want you to know that I have always cared about you and about our friendship. Bearing grudges has never been your thing. I don’t think it is,even now. So forgive me if you can. 

Also, did you notice something? I wrote it out on paper. Brings back memories,doesn’t it?One more thing- happy birthday! I never forgot. I just couldn’t bring myself to face you before. Now that I’m dying though,I May never have to. A coward to the last,ain’t I? 

Your forgiveness will be my solace. You don’t need to say anything. Forgive me from your heart and I will know. 



I walked as fast as I could to a drawer,my rheumatism making it all the more difficult. I took out a small,faded piece of paper,the writing so faint that you could hardly comprehend what was written on it. It said “I’m sorry that I shouted at you. I’m sorry for my behaviour. I miss you. Let’s be friends again?” She would always write me a letter,every time she wanted to apologise. I burnt all of them when she left. I couldn’t burn this one. It was her last to me,a memory of our friendship.I would imagine her sad,stricken face every time. I could never find the heart to do so. 

Today,despite all the new fangled gadgets which people used to communicate with one another,my best friend had written me a letter. A letter using paper and pen,just like old times. 

A tear rolled down my cheek. She wrote me a letter. That spoke volumes of our friendship and its bond,which tied us together till she left the world,peacefully. 

That was the last thought in my mind when I saw her,lying  on a hospital bed,almost as if she were asleep. Her face was calm and serene. There was an understanding on it as if she knew,even though I couldn’t reach her before her eyes closed forever,that I had forgiven her. 

<a href=””>Paper</a&gt;

The one time I was happy that I had meddled in someone else’s business

The boy next door seemed a shady and suspicious character. There were rumours about him at school that he was slightly touched in the head. 

Someone claimed that he saw the receipt of a psychiatrist in his bag. He did nothing to refute these rumours. He went about morose and sullen,ignoring everybody and everything. 
Sometimes,I wondered if he really even existed in this world. Most of the time,he seemed to be in some space of his own. 
One evening,through the blinds of my bedroom window,I saw a police officer knock on their door. My interest piqued and I watched quietly as the boy opened the door. He invited the sergeant inside. 
When the clock struck ten,I realised that the sergeant hadn’t come out of the house. As far as I knew,the boy’s parents were at work and didn’t return till late into the night. Coincidentally,I was all alone at my place so I couldn’t confide my fears in anyone. 
I was very concerned about the well being of the gentleman. Horrible thoughts about the boy’s madness started circulating through my brain until I knew no peace. 
Finally,I decided to check it out. I armed myself with a mop (do not blame me,there was nothing else around) and headed to their door. I rang the bell and waited like a frightened deer,ready to run at the slightest hint of a struggle. 
Imagine my shock when the door was opened by the police officer himself! My mop fell with a plonk on the door step as I suddenly lost my grip on the handle. He looked quite surprised to see me and asked the boy if he had invited someone over. 
The boy mutely motioned with a shake of his head that he hadn’t. Then started one of the most uncomfortable cross questionings that I could ever imagine. I hung my head out of embarrassment and shame. I came out with the whole story. 
I had expected shock,rage,anger,infuriation and a complaint to my parents,at the prospect of which my heart quailed. What I DID NOT expect was for the boy to start laughing. 
I never even knew that he was capable of doing so and that shocked me more than his response to the present predicament. He found my muddle headedness and opinions FUNNY. I thanked god that the fellow had such a queer sense of humour. 
The police officer was the boy’s relative who waiting to meet his parents. As for the boy’s funny behaviour at school- he explained that he was not demented,he was just absurdly shy. He was still chortling when he accompanied me to the door. 
Next day morning,he was standing on my doorstep,offering to accompany me to school. Today,he is my best friend. That was the first and the last time I was happy that I had meddled in someone else’s business! 
<a href=””>Meddle</a>&nbsp;

I was relieved to be out of the water 

I couldn’t breathe. The water swamped around me,choking and suffocating me. I could only see a swirl of blue. My eyesight dimmed as I frantically struggled to get to the surface. My lungs were bursting and I was getting tired of holding my breath. I stopped struggling when my body refused to cooperate. I thought I imagined some blurred shapes swimming above me,diving towards me. Maybe it was a face? My eyes closed and I blacked out as the last sliver of hope I saw disappeared. 
I woke up,coughing and spluttering. I tried to open my eyes and winced at the chlorine which made them burn. I saw anxious faces and blinked furiously,but they wouldn’t fall into focus. I saw a doctor and maybe a nurse? I was too tired to enquire where I was. Too tired to notice,even,that I was breathing. I was still in the panic mode,wondering about the swirling blue,the breath of life,so far away that I couldn’t reach it and the horrible brush with death due to drowning. 
I came to in a hospital bed,immediately struggling to sit up. The nurse held me down and somehow the reassurance she gave me comforted me. The door opened and my family rushed in with anxious enquiries about my health that made my head hurt. I could remember very little. Just how I had got cramps,how I couldn’t swim,the cold feeling of the creepy hand of death closing upon me… I shivered. I refused to think about it. I was a good swimmer,a champion at that. I had learnt it at a very young age. Water was like a second home to me. This suffocation,this fear,it was something I had never been able to comprehend before. For probably the first time in my life,I was relieved to be out of the water.
Months after the .. incident(as I like to call it) I still couldn’t get into the water. Some irrational panic caught hold of me. It was building up walls of fear in my mind such that the very thought of water made me want to run screaming in the opposite direction. It was some mental block which made me unable to move a muscle. The underwater breathing that I would do so easily,became more of a dream to me. I never associated myself with swimming anymore.It was like a book of life in which I had skipped one chapter. It seemed like a dream. I was always relieved when I got out of the water,even if it was the shallow end. My swimming career ended there. I could never ever enter the pool again. 

<a href=””>Relieved</a&gt;


<a href=””>Friend</a&gt;

Friends are an absolute necessity to make any journey in life fulfilling and complete. The fun lies in the companionship,the enjoyment and the laughter people share with one another more than reaching the actual destination. I have been fortunate enough to have a best friend who has known me for 13 years now. She’s been with me throughout my school life. We have had our ups and downs but never for a moment do we regret our strong bond. There is a comfort we find in our friendship which makes even our imperfections perfect. 

With her,I feel that I can be myself and that she won’t judge me. She knows my insecurities,my faults and loves me all the more for it. I have spent ten years of school life with her by my side- bickering,making it up,eating lunch together,competing for ranks in the class. It all seems like a dream now. Today,we have finished a milestone in life called tenth standard. Today,we end one journey and start another. This is a crossroad where we must part,where we must take the path which destiny has paved for us. I feel stripped of her constant companionship and love,which was a reminder and a consolation that she was there for me no matter what. 
She’s taking science and I’m doing commerce. Already,our communication has become restricted. As compared to the years where we always had one another,there has come a time where I crave to turn around and find her by my side,eagerly waiting to hear all my opinions and thoughts,but to no avail. The time we spend with one another is very little compared to what we had earlier. I never appreciated these blessings and I took time for granted. Today,those good days have passed. We stand at different doors,knowing that they lead to a better future. We are still reluctant to say goodbye to those happy times of friendship and companionship but it must be done. I only hope that years later,when we meet,she remembers me and our bond. She remembers the friendship and the memories we have shared.13 years is a long time but I don’t want to end it there. Regardless of where life takes us,I want to know that she is happy and smiling. I want to know that she will be there when I need her. I want her to know that my affection and admiration for her can only increase as time passes. 

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it to you when you have forgotten the words. 

A Hilarious Occurrence 

We set off in the silence of the early morning. The atmosphere was tense and forbidding as we got into the car. I grumbled to myself as my brother started whining for the umpteenth time. It was time for him to start a new journey in life called boarding school. My father was a man of ideals and according to him, boarding school helped one to be self dependent and nurture one’s talents. I had been at a  boarding school for two years and had found it to be a different and enjoyable experience. However, my sentimental younger brother, was unwilling to leave our mother and go to a boarding school. That explained the stony silence in the car.     

 I sighed in exasperation as he sniffled yet again. I knew that my father was exercising all his self control to prevent himself from giving my younger brother a piece of his mind. My mother was comforting him while I dubiously stared out of the window. I knew that there was no point in all the melodrama he was creating because my father was not going to relent for anything in this world. He was a strict military man and one could bank on the fact that he stuck to his word. 

 I couldn’t bear the incumbent atmosphere of the sorrow of separation in the car. I requested my father to stop near a beautiful lake. I got out of the car and ran towards it as fast as I could. The cold, clear air that whipped across my face helped to soothe my fraught nerves. However, in my sudden bid for freedom, I had opened the door of the car a tad too fast. I saw my younger brother’s football bouncing towards the lake. It fell into the lake and bounced up and down on the waters. I was aghast when I heard a mournful howl. My brother had an unhealthy obsession for footballs. The one that was currently “drowning” – as he put it, was by far his favourite. I cursed silently as his howls increased. My father realised that he would refuse to enter the school premises without the football. With a huff of annoyance, he walked towards the lake with a stick that he had picked up nearby. 

He stood at the bank and inched the stick slowly towards the ball, but it always seemed tantalisingly out of reach. Finally, he gave in to temptation and throwing caution to the winds, leaned out a bit too far. I watched everything as if it were in slow motion. I was mesmerised by the scene. One moment my father was outside the lake and the next, he had fallen headlong into it. I gasped when he emerged. He was covered with mud and slime. What looked like weeds were falling from his hair and rivulets of water ran down from every nook and cranny of his previously neat and perfectly pressed suit.

 I was astounded to hear a peal of laughter. I realised that it was my brother’s voice. I gazed at him, dumbfounded. I only understood his mirth when I looked back at my father. His muddy state was enough to bring tears of laughter to my eyes. I snickered quietly and tried to give my brother a warning look to indicate that the joke had gone far enough. He was so lost in his infectious peals of laughter that he paid me no heed. After my father cleaned up, we got into the car and started towards our destination. 

 Every now and then, my brother would give out a few giggles looking at him. I thought that having seen his oh-so-strict father behaving like a school boy and falling into the lake must have proved to be a very hilarious sight for him. Needless to say, he headed off to boarding school quite cheerfully. He gave my father a sudden bear hug before entering the school premises. He and my father had displayed affection after a very long time. Usually, my brother was too timid to approach my father in the carefree, friendly way that he did now. Remember that proverb -every cloud has a silver lining? I think my father also saw the silver lining this time. Even though he had weeds in his hair and mud on his face, he looked far happier than I had ever seen him before.