Just Another Video Game 

I stood in my bedroom, surveying the unpacking that was going on post shifting. My parents had left for work early in the morning and I was feeling bored. My mother had told me that a wizened old gentleman lived next door who was to be disturbed only when needed. I heeded her advice and sat in my room, flicking through all the television channels, none of which managed to entertain me. 

That’s when I heard the definite sound of something falling and someone shrieking. I felt quite worried about the old gentleman next door and wondered if I should check on him. On grounds of humanity, I decided that such action was necessary. So I rang the bell and waited on the doorstep, feeling conspicuous and nervous.

Sure enough, the door was opened by a smiling wizened old gentleman who looked at me enquiringly to see what I wanted. I explained my reason for coming over. He laughed heartily and invited me inside. It was nothing like what you would expect a senior citizen’s house to look like. 

Rock music blared in one corner of the room, while a television set had a video game plugged into it. The old man told me to wait a second before picking up the controls and finishing what he started. He was amazingly quick and deft for his age. 

He made me some hot chocolate and invited me to play the games with him. I agreed enthusiastically. It took a lot of brains, guile and effort to beat him at his game. 

Soon after, we started talking. My ten year old self doesn’t remember much of that conversation but one philosophy he showed me still rests as an untouched memory in my brain. 

He told me that our generation had more perseverance and resilience than his generation had ever had. I thought that was impossible since we were so impatient and wanted quick solutions to all our problems. He gave me the simple example of a video game. If we don’t clear a particular level, we try it numerous times, in many different ways, never once losing hope, for we know, in our heart of hearts that we will find a way. Sure enough, we always do. 

I was shocked when I understood that even a toddler would relentlessly try again and again to win when playing a game. He told me that the secret to success lay in each and every one of our technosavy generation.He told me that disastrous results couldn’t stop us from trying. He told me that we just didn’t know how to use it. So, he simply gave me another perspective which changed my life. 

I had never looked at life this way. I had always seen my parents getting stressed over new projects or meeting certain deadlines etc. He taught me to treat life just like another video game. He told me to channel the perseverance I showed while playing them to my life and whatever held utmost importance at that point in time. 

That’s when I realised that the best teachers aren’t those who can teach you lessons. The best teachers are those who can teach you to teach yourself a way to live because after all, life is the biggest lesson! 

Today, I’m a big shot lawyer and permanently buried underneath timetables to follow, projects to complete, presentations to prepare and deadlines to meet. Yet, the happiness and exhilaration which my job brings me is more than anything else. Whenever I feel stressed, I clear my tables, close my eyes and think- “this is just another video game. I will find a way to win.” and hey presto! I always do. 
Disastrous
 

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Long Lost Friendships 


Long lost friendships 
Today as I stand on the threshold,

Looking back at the life that I led,

I find certain regrets that are in my heart held,

The regrets of leaving behind all those that above my life I beheld.

I remember those lovely memories of laughs and capers I shared, 

In all those friendships that can never be repaired,

When time and space separated us all to the point of no return,

When I turned taciturn.

Those once familiar faces,

Now seem but part of certain phases, 

The life that we endured together, 

Sharing a friendship which we hoped would stay forever. 

All is not meant to be,

Just as this friendship wasn’t an everlasting ecstasy,

Today I light the fire,

To our friendship’s funeral pyre. 

We have mobiles but no contact,

We have Facebook but no chats,

We broke beyond belief

The day our friendship stopped giving us relief.

We simply became a burden on one another,

The sooner forgotten the better.

Funny thing we say keep in touch 

And when they call we say “bothering much?” 

We ran after lives and careers,

For the betterment of our futures, 

But an ounce away from death, 

I still can’t get them out of my head. 

Caper

Do you think you’re alive? 


I sighed into the darkness as another sleepless night prevailed upon me. The doctors said that it was depression. Apparently, I had all the symptoms-weariness, anger ,frustration and this sudden urge to pull the blinds and keep out the light. They gave me medication, patted me on the back and told me I would be fine. I never felt fine. 
I had retired two years back. Life had a monotonous and dreary tinge to it. Thus, I readily welcomed the idea of a school batch reunion as I figured it would lighten my mood. 

 

I smiled indulgently as I looked at all of my friends. We sat at a table,each one of us speaking about some funny encounter, cracking some funny jokes. I couldn’t help but feel a bit proud when I saw where I had got in life.

 I drove up to the restaurant in a Mercedes and all of them came in an Uber. They were still the same, standing where they were ten years back. I had retired as the CEO of a multinational company with enough money to sustain a whole generation after me. I didn’t have a family so the question did not arise. 

Suddenly, they began recounting some interesting instances which I couldn’t even remember. Apparently,  one day, they bunked class and went to a lake to see the rainbow. They played  football in the rain and drank hot tea afterwards. They talked about sleepover nights during which they would lie down on the roofs of the houses, staring at the stars and remarking on how funny the constellations looked. Once, they even  jumped into a lake, fully clothed, just to see if they would drown. 

These incidents and experiences sounded kind of fun and I anxiously enquired where I had been when all of this had happened. Funnily enough, they couldn’t remember. They said they had asked me once or twice to accompany them on their adventurous escapades but I always refused on account of work. 
They reminded me how I had refused to accompany them on a foreign holiday three years ago because as usual, I was too tied up with work. I had not even accompanied them on their Indian holidays, under the pretext that I had too much work to do. 

Today, they had also retired. They were not even half as well off as I was but the happiness and contentment on their faces irked me. 

They were living a comfortable enough life. They all had the basic comforts and their children were well settled. They couldn’t afford more than one holiday a year but there was so much to do at home that they never got bored. They were in touch with all of their old siblings and friends who kept popping over for a chat or a drink whenever they were in the vicinity. They led busy, happy lives and didn’t complain of sleepless nights or of depression. 

They had come together in an Uber cab because they thought that it would be so much nicer to travel together and spend that much more time with one another. They all knew what their friends had been up to. Their conversations showed that they had had previous contact and were very knowledgeable about everything that was going on in one another’s life. I was the only one who was clueless. They told me that they had fondly followed my progress and read all my articles. They proudly told their kids that I was their friend. They congratulated me on my success but at that moment,I felt nothing more than a miserable failure. 

That night,I couldn’t sleep. I don’t think that my depression was the cause. I kept thinking of their nice and busy lives,full of companionship and laughter. They had been intelligent enough to realise that money and success would not count beyond a particular point and it was not what would comfort one in old age. They had wisely taken the decision to keep up friendships and relationships which would lighten the burden of old age and make it an all the more pleasurable experience. They did not crave for spontaneous action or excitement. They only craved for the company and love of their family and friends. 

I,on the other hand,had missed the graduation of my only younger brother because of some important meeting. I had dismissed his unhappiness as over reacting. I infuriated him to such an extent that he broke all contact with me. I hadn’t bothered with anything else except earning as much as I could and reaching the level of success that I always aspired for. 

I felt small and inadequate. I was being forced to rethink my whole life. If I was depressed before, I was positively down in the dumps now. Every morning seemed a pain, an abyss of daylight which I shunned as much as I could. Every night brought with it the promise of sleeplessness and boredom which stretched on eerily.  

That’s when I met the boy next door. He was a ten year old kid, surprisingly bold and unaffected by my stern glances and short sighs of irritation. His parents had shifted to the apartment next door and were very busy with the job in hand. 
He was getting very bored and had decided that he needed someone to talk to. He did. He talked to me about football,school and how he hated math. He told me his whole family history and all the funny incidents that occurred because of him when he was a child. 

He elaborated the thrills of getting wet in the rain and having ice cream for breakfast on a Sunday morning. He was a happy,carefree,cheerful lad and I didn’t mind a bit even when he insisted that I pull back the curtains and open the windows to let the sunlight in. I was content to just lie back and listen to his rambling. 

Everyday,he would come home after school,to tell me all that had transpired at school. He would then take me out on a walk and take me to spots which held a special attraction for him. He would even drag me to the football games he played in the colony.

 I found myself taking a very vivid interest in these games and would cheer,as excited as any of them,when he scored a goal. He adopted me as his grandfather. He would give me a card every year on Grandfather’s Day. I didn’t even know such a day existed. When I asked him about it,he said it didn’t. He had named the day he met me as Grandfather’s day. 

He persuaded me to end the fight with my brother. According to him siblings were a gift of God to cherish and to embrace. Not everyone was fortunate enough to be blessed with such bonding familial ties. 
I listened to him. I found wisdom in the words and the thinking of a ten year old. Every morning,I would wake up with joy in my heart and a song on my lips. I started sleeping well because I was so tired after all the journeys I made with my new friend. My joy knew no bounds when I saw my brother on my doorstep some days later. I had tried talking to him, tried explaining how wrong I was. Life is too short to hear grudges against the people you love. 

As he embraced me,tears of joy ran down my cheeks as I realised that the rift had healed. We had become one family again. The doctors said I was miraculously cured of my depression. I was frequently in contact with my friends and my brother. My young friend gave me the spontaneity and the excitement I craved as he invented new games to play with me everyday. 

I was fortunate enough to have found my little ray of sunshine. In a way,I think I’m luckier than anybody else. Everybody lives only once. I lived my childhood twice -the second time through the eyes of this ten year old who had performed a feat which so many medicines and doctors could not. 

All I’m saying is,this is how it’s going to be all life long. Life can either be a savage beast hunting you down, where you have to outrun it to live, or it can be a pleasant journey where one sacrifices a few materialistic pleasures for contentment and satisfaction. 

You will have dreams,aspirations. You will want to chase them to carve out a good career and a comfortable future. After all,this time will never come back. 

Do so,by all means,but remember to laugh and play too. Remember to build your own small little world- your own little bubble of peace and tranquility where all is well. Find time to do what you want,to be with the people you love. 
For some it may be reading,for others listening to musics,for yet others watching a rainbow. Whatever it is,do it. Don’t wait for a proper time. The right time is now because this time will never come back. 

You don’t need to wait to feel happy. It’s your life. Feel free to call the shots. You’re the one who has to live through it all. Money can’t buy you peace,it can’t buy you contentment and it sure as hell cannot pull you out of depression. 

You have a busy life,a very tight schedule? That’s how it’s going to be for a very long time. Don’t let your happiness and joy take a back seat just for the sake of it. Time and tide wait for none. Make use of your time while it lasts. Today,the sun has risen on your time. Tomorrow,it will set. Do all you want and everything you love. 

Snatch those moments of happiness which you get for you will treasure them beyond anything else in the world! That’s what life is about isn’t it? I think it’s so much more about LIVING than BREATHING. 

Savage

Sixth Sense 


Have you ever felt that sometimes your sixth sense sees so much more than you do? How you are subconsciously aware of what is happening around you yet your conscious self tells you it’s none of your business? 

It may be a simple thing, like over hearing a conversation, hearing the screech of car brakes, observing the traffic signal turning red even though you are walking on a footpath – just small, everyday things which we don’t notice much but we know that they are THERE.

It happened to me. I was walking on the footpath, listening to some music before embarking upon another long, dreary day at work. As I nodded my head in time to the music, I felt a little shiver run down my spine. On an impulse, I turned around and I saw a car speeding towards the main road even though the traffic signal was indicating the red light. I saw a cyclist coming over from the other side, whistling merrily and unable to see the danger until it was too late. 

The car was swerving jerkily and it was plain that it was being driven in a very careless manner. Somehow, something told me that it was important that I intervened and stopped the tragedy from happening even though it might cost me my own life. 

I dashed across the road, in a race against time, against the car which was showing no signs of slowing down. Just in the nick of time, I managed to reach the boy who was cycling and push him out of harm’s way. I threw myself towards the other side of the road with all my might to clear the motorist’s way.

At first, I thought that I had miraculously managed to survive, but then, a sickening crack echoed in the stunned silence. In a haze of pain, I realised that I couldn’t move my leg. My eyes became bleary, my vision was etched in red and tears ran down my face as I writhed in pain before embracing the unconsciousness that engulfed me soon after. 

I came to in a hospital bed where I saw my family, anxiously waiting for me to wake up. I tried opening my eyes but they felt leaden. Voices were just sounds that buzzed annoyingly in my ear and I could barely comprehend what they were saying. 

I came to again, much later, this time able to open my eyes and make sensible conversation. Although every inch of my body felt like it had been hit by a battering ram, my head throbbed as if someone was repeatedly hammering something into it and my leg ached even if I tried to stretch a little, I felt grateful that I was alive. 

I wondered why it was so important for me to prevent that accident from happening. Besides the fact that it would have resulted in a serious accident with a mangled body and possibly death, there was some other compulsion, some basic instinct which told me that preventing it from happening was absolutely vital to my survival. 

When I saw the person who would have been the victim of the accident, I understood. It was my own younger brother. My parents thanked me with tears streaming down their faces, while I tried to unsuccessfully explain that his life was important to me too. They kept insisting that I had been brave and selfless, that I hadn’t known who the victim would have been.. blah blah. 
That’s just it, isn’t it? I knew that I had to save him. At least, my instinct did. After I was well, I saw a psychologist and recounted the event of the accident as clearly as I could. I was determined to find out the reason behind it all. 

He put me in a trance (at least that is what he said he did but to me, it felt more like going into a deep slumber). When I woke up, he told me that he couldn’t help me beyond the fact that I had noticed sunglasses glinting in the sun. 

That’s when the truth hit me, so hard that it took my breath away. My brother’s sunglasses- he only had one pair and those were his favourite. He always wore them when he went on his bike and I had often noticed that they had a funny bluish tinge to them which used to be most prominent when they glinted in the sunlight. 

That’s when it dawned on me that somehow, I knew that it was my brother who would suffer. It was my sixth sense which helped me out. What was even better was that I gave into that strong instinct. Despite the suffering I had to endure, I managed to prevent a tragedy from befalling him. 
<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dash/”>Dash</a&gt;

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=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/cringe/”>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=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/illusion/”>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. 

Love,

Alicia.

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=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/paper/”>Paper</a&gt;