Swimming pool of chai

Imagine this scene: you are on your comfy bed, wrapped up in layers and layers of blankets and in their warmth. Your worries are nowhere to be found. Next to your bed is a tall, ornate frame of window, separating you from the outside. It has been left a crack open for you to enjoy the snug atmosphere. Lashing against the window, making therapeutic sounds of melody is the rain. You are oblivious to the rhythmic chaos outside that the sound precedes.

In your hand is your favourite book, a book that creates an aura of safety and comfort around you. A small reading light brings clarity to the words on the pages in your hand, even as darkness engulfs the pedestrians outside. You sigh in bliss; there is no way you can get more relaxed than this… unless… someone brings in a hot bowl of Maggi for you. That someone happens to be your mom. Piping hot, the bowl warms your hand, while the steam wafting from the bowl mingles with the cold breeze that the torrential downpour outside has created. The aroma of the masalas lifts your spirit, it satisfies your soul… and stomach.

And now, finally, you are in heaven.

Loving it?

Now imagine you are on the other side of the window.

Your shoes are wet and your socks are soggy, soaked with muddy water. They are making a distinctively irritating pachak-pachak sound with every step you take. Your umbrella is inside-out because of the strong winds. Your hair is a mess; sticky and moist, it sticks on your face and smells awful. You have something in your left hand, something else in the other, and your shoulder balances the umbrella that is doing a poor job of keeping you dry. The one thing it is supposed to do, and it can’t even do that properly.

There is no way to cover your arms. They are exposed to the chilly drafts of air that graze you, tickle you and make your nipples pointy and sensitive. You might be getting sick as well, and the hunger that is starting to build in your stomach only adds to the shitty-ness of it all. You have to reach your destination, a few kilometres away, and the only way to get there is wading through brown, lumpy water that reminds you of roadside chai.

And of course, the rain has put a stop to all kinds of public transport. So you have no choice but to walk – oh sorry – swim through the swimming pool of chai (but we all know it’s not really chai…) trying to go where you want to. And then you happen to drop your deliciously sexy phone you were desperately clinging on to, from your right hand. Of all places, it happens to fall with a dull plonk into the muddy puddle. Yay you!

Dreading it?

Good. So you are just like me.

Because today, in a span of a couple of hours, I happen to experience both… while I was sick, tired, hungry and sleepy!

But more on that later…

Heya Bleedsters!
A short post for you guys. If there are any regular readers left, that is. Those in Mumbai, stay safe from the rains!


The Urban Hill

Clicked by me!

Sometimes in life, and I know this might sound very typical, you get lost. You look around, and everything seems different.

Its weird in a way because things look familiar, they sound familiar, they even taste familiar. And yet, they don’t feel the same.

Friends do not feel like friends. You start seeing them in a different light. All the things you relied on for support seem to not work anymore. You feel confused and overwhelmed. And you say to yourself, something has changed.

You look around, and desperately try to find the reason behind this change. You analyse your life, you analyse the people you interact with, you wonder whether you have done something wrong…

You introspect your personality, you doubt yourself, you try to find someone to blame for your problems. You look for comfort in the comfort zone. You look for some kind of familiarity. You try to find some hope to desperately cling on to.

And it doesn’t work.

And then, you find yourself wandering through the streets of Pune, alone and deep in thought, thinking – why has everybody changed?

And then it hits you harder than a punch in the face: you are the one who has changed.

Of course, by now, you must know that this is all about me. Not you, not him, not her. Not the reader. But about the writer. This writer, in particular.

It wasn’t all that bad, but it was something new. The feeling of being lost, truly lost, was something I had never faced. I had faced feelings similar to this, but not completely like this. And recently, I had the pleasure to finally do so.

And as a result, I found myself on the Urban Hill.

It was a cute little hill, carved out of a sea of mountains. At the edge of Pune’s urban boundaries, it lay quietly and delightedly. Poised at the perfect location, it stood welcoming and tall, yet comforting short.

Bhakti Shakti, it was called. They had turned the hill into a park. A beautiful, clean, nice and simple park. From afar, it seemed like any of the hills and mountains you see while passing Lonavala. But as I came closer, I saw the fine, intricate pathway woven into its grassy skin, the tall statue of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Sant Tukaram and the tall flag pole. I sat there, in my own thoughts, oblivious to the beauty around me, at the start. I was so lost in my own thought that I did not notice the bronze sculpture.

Behind me was one of the greatest Kings of all time. Behind me was also one of the most popular saints in India. Behind me was Bhakti and Shakti. And all it took was a selfie flash of some school going girl, to make me turn and marvel in its beauty.

Now, I could lie and say that the statue is what made me realise the true nature of life. I could claim that somehow, the towering frame of Chatrapati Shivaji bathing in the glory of the melodious Sant Tukaram was what brought me back to my senses. And made me realise why I felt lost.

But it wasn’t.

All the statue made me feel is more lost! Because by looking at the statue, the real complexity of life hit me. I sat there in the cool breeze, with the pointy grass making my ass itchy, just staring. And only when I turned away did I finally realise what was going on.

That one feels lost in a strange new world. But one has to carve out a new way in this new and unknown world. One has to change, one has to adapt and one has to grow to survive in this new world. Thinking about past, stewing in your own thoughts or thinking on and on about why, how or when, will not help. You need to focus on the what. On what you are going to do about it.

You need to accept the fact that while everything and everyone around you feels brand new, it is only because you have changed. And you get to decide if this change is for the better or for the worse.




Part one: White – Inside

I am surrounded by walls.

They tower over me, spreading darkness. One of my five senses are dampened by these walls, rendering me blind. I can only feel, smell, taste and hear.

Tasting my way out of this place is not an option. I only smell the reek of my own making. So that leaves hearing and feeling.

I take care not to alarm anyone outside. I listen closely, trying to understand where I am and who my captor is.

This is probably something I should have asked myself a long ago. You know, when I was put in here. But I feel like I was too young. Like an infant. Now, I am like an adult and it is probably too late. But this is not my end. This is not where I give up. I am going to get out.

I can hear something outside, it’s an annoying noise. Kind of like a child, playing. I wonder why, of all things, I hear a child. I should hear my parents, or my captives, or terrorists. I should hear a deep, dark voice. Almost sinister. I should hear laughter, growls and evil plans being concocted about my fate. I should hear madness. Chaos. Infinite doom.

Instead, I hear a child. Is this psychological torture? Is a child my infinite doom?

There is a sudden shake. The whole room moves. It’s like an earthquake. The walls are shaking, I am falling all over the place inside the room. In the darkness, I see nothing. I can barely feel a thing except my surroundings. I feel my smooth, milky skin. I feel the grimy, metallic walls. I feel the smooth floor. I feel trapped.

Another shake. Another earthquake. I find my heart in severe palpitation. I panic.

I want to scream, I want to shout. But what will that do? I will probably be killed. Or worst, tortured.

So I keep quiet and try to find out what is happening. I listen. Silently.

A chuckle. This chuckle is also shrill, and childish but a little more pronounced. This chuckle seems to originate from an older child. It was saying something.

“… I have one too,” says the second voice. The older child chuckles once more.

“No! You don’t.” says the first voice and suddenly, there is a yell. No, a scream. The child seems to be calling for its parents.

Can they be my captor? Is this my chance?

Footsteps. “Leave it alone,” says a third voice. I can’t quite figure out who it is. Is it male? Is it female? Is it young or old?

I cry. Silent, of course.

I feel a million years in my tears. It’s as if this captivity has made me mature.

I think of ways to get out. I know there is only one. The hole.

You see, my first week here (or was it a month?), I was chilled out. I thought this would be just a fun, temporary place. Kind of like a game. I never thought I had been captured. It was more of a peekaboo kind of deal.

Then, slowly it dawned on me: I had been kidnapped. I couldn’t remember who I had been before. It was like my whole constitution had been changed. I was no longer who I had been before the capture. Now, I was different.

They had experimented on me. They had injected me with things. And now, they had confined me to a dark cell. Probably for eternity.

Once realization dawned, so did the immediate desire to jump to action. And so, I felt around. And when I did so, I felt it. A hole.

It, at first, seemed like a depression in the ceiling. Like a chimney maybe? But circular and without a column or a fireplace. It was soft. The whole ceiling had been made of a metallic sheet but this small hole like area was made out of a soft material… Like felt or cling film. It didn’t make sense. What was it purpose?

But then again, what was mine?

I was waiting for the hole to magically open up. I was hoping for a ladder to descend down to my rescue. And that some detectives would be my rescuers.

But that day had never come. And now I was here. The earthquakes. The heat. I was no longer chilled out. I was boiling in this hot, dark room.

I waited and waited and waited. It was all in vain. My mind immediately jumped to the worst (and the most probable) of the outcomes: I would probably die and wither away in here. I would just wait here, as my body would turn into worm food and then I would probably die. Peacefully? Or in pain? Would the hunger kill me? Or would my expanded bowels? Would my bladder explode? Or would my skin curdle like sour milk.

I wanted to cry more, but was too tired to do anything else. I knew there was no hope because, now, everything had — OH FUCK!


Part two: White – Outside


Sweet sweet freedom.

As sudden as I had been captured, that is how I was released as well. One second, I had been contemplating death, the next second I was thrown out of the room by some magical force.

The ceiling had been ripped open by some kind of a storm, and the sun had been too bright for me to see outside.

But the smell of fresh air was nothing compared to the damp and moist room. I was free, free for the first time. And I had light. I could see. I could use all my 5 senses. It felt otherworldly, almost magical. For the first time, I had tears of joy in my eyes.

I felt myself fall flat on the road side. It hurt.

It was scalding hot. There was no wind. The storm was nowhere to be seen. And I knew not of the force that had thrown me out of my confinement.

I tried to scramble away from the road. I knew my captors must be on my tail. So I tried to get up and run. But I couldn’t get up. My legs had turned to liquid.

I realized what had happened just then. I had been thrown from a height. Such a height that it had broken me.

Cars passed by nonchalantly, as if they couldn’t see me. People walked by, not giving a damn. And I just stayed there, spread out like butter.

And then a smell. It was the worst smell I had ever had the pleasure of in taking through my nose. And it was coming from me.

Had it been the smell of shit, I would’ve not cared. But it was not. It was the smell that accompanied curdling milk. Was I rotting?!

I fainted. I would never get up again.

The last thing I felt was a tongue lashing over my almost dead body. And whiskers.

Part three: Peach Outside

It was a cute family of four, walking along the skywalk.

The lady wore a beautiful red saree, an ice cream cone in her hand. She seemed happily chattering with the man beside her, holding her shopping bags and seeming equally entertained.

Her husband, the man with the bags, had one eye on his wife while the other on his kids. Two children, Jack and John aged 5 and 8 respectively , were giggling and laughing and jumping. Jack seemed a little frustrated but John seemed content.

While the parents walked behind, the mother oblivious while the father wary, Jack groaned. He had not been allowed ice cream. But it gave him pleasure that he had been allowed to consume one white tetra pack of something. Jack, being 5, had no idea what was inside. It seemed new. And his brother, John, was also holding one pack.

Jack felt proud of himself. He was a big boy now. He had been allowed to walk by himself. Below him, cars sped by. Vroom.

“I have boo boo, you don’t” Jack teased John. Despite of being the younger one, Jack still was always the one to taunt his brother. But John was the calm of the two.

He simply said “Of course not. I have one too.” John was chuckling now.

“No you don’t!” Jack retorted, screamed for his mom and lunged for John’s hand.

“Leave it alone!” said their father. He was rushing to get hold of Jack. Jack had, in process of lunging on John, dropped his tetra pack. Its contents were now all split on the road below them.

“There goes your cold lassi. I told you to be careful!”

The mother took hold of one kid, the father the troublesome other, and together, the family of four walked home.

Below them, a cat purred softly. On the sidewalk of the road, she had found dinner.

Heya Bleedsters!

It has been too long since I flexed my creative muscles. So I decided to use them. And, the result, is this. This crazy, confusing, crappy story.

You might probably be dumbfounded by the purpose of this story. Well, a friend of mine gave three random words (heat, skywalk and cold lassi) and asked me to weave a story out of them.




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