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Safe Home

What if the only way the heart feels at home is when you are there?

What if there are tattered bits and pieces of her scattered here and there?

Endless thoughts and commotion,

Endless wrong doings; irony- fingers are just in one direction.

Sanity makes no sense,

The struggles- none seemed to have sensed its presence,

Words have started to loose essence,

She is curling inside her; people- they are nothing but pretence.

Those precious pearls lost in the way,

Lost is their story and will always stay.

Voices- muffled and are hushed down,

She is but not more than a clown.

Heart here and soul there,

That which she would call her ‘Safe Home’,

She wonders-

An illusion or a safe home is even there?

Is a safe home even there?

©Arpita

That ‘Me’

A part of me wants to let go and move on,

Yet-

A part of me cries to keep clinging on.

Thousands memories and endless flashbacks,

A thousand tunes that chain my lifting soul and hold me back.

That which was once bright,

Is now but a fading smile.

A thousand roads to wander and heal,

Yet, none now pumps in that zeal.

Curling into this opaque shell with each passing hour,

That little voice in the subconscious now falls deaf to the ears.

Surrounded yet desolate,

I am all but dissociated.

A glass of whiskey and brooding on endless moments,

I realise-

A part of me still cries to cling on,

A part of me still longs to cling on.

©Arpita

I Don’t Know

I don’t know what is worse..

The hope of seeing light at the end of the tunnel,

Or..

The unending efforts to reach to the end of the tunnel.

 

I don’t know what is worse..

That constant feeling of dejection,

Or..

That unwanted voice that just keeps going on.

That looming feeling of desolation,

Or..

Those feeble attempts to escape the situation.

 

I don’t know what is worse..

That camouflaged smile,

Or..

The pretence that all is fine.

The unheard screams in an empty room,

Or..

The struggle that is unknown.

 

I honestly don’t know what is worse..

The hope,

Or..

The hope that there is still a hope.

©Arpita

Dreaming…Was I?

I woke up to a searing pain in my chest today,

I wasn’t thinking of anything whilst I fell asleep or was I?

Gasping for breath, I couldn’t make sense of the parody.

Hands cold and goosebumps all over,

The room was pitch dark; I remember trembling with fear.

A hissing sound and ragged breath at the back of my neck,

Hysterical laughter echoing through the darkness and the smell of rotten breath just made me shiver.

I struggled to move, it was as though I was paralyzed,

That pain in the chest kept intensifying,

And that whimsical laughter-

It echoed through the room without stopping,

It felt as though within a blink my heart would stop beating,

It seemed none could save me now or hear my screaming.

A loud jolt at the door and I saw a figure frantically speeding in,

For a brief second, it felt as if I was  hysterically shaking.

Eyes were now wide open, 

All I could see and hear was mom’s panicked face and my dog barking.

The smell, the laughter everything had now disappeared,

Mom said she heard me loudly screaming,

Things somehow weren’t just adding.

But that ragged breath? That laughter?

Everything I felt.. was I only dreaming?

That whimsical laugh – I just couldn’t stop thinking,

Could it be that I was only dreaming?

Could I be just dreaming?

 

©Arpita

The Cycle

This morning the cycle repeated again,

Anger took control and anxiety crept in.

Teardrops, a wet pillow and muffled screams,

An array of endless thoughts kept spiraling,

Am I really good for nothing?

  Maybe, I am just overthinking.

What if this is the truth I keep running from?

What if I am meant to be alone?

The voices in the head keep getting noisier,

My limbs are wobbly, I am scared.

The voiceless screams resonate through my veins,

Gasping for breath, is this the end?

A jolt of pain is what I feel at heart,

It makes me feel alive, is that sane enough?

Here I lie staring at the empty ceiling,

Ragged breaths, I hope this is it,

     I hope this is the final ending.

©Arpita

 

 

The Thunderstorm..

It was the month of January,

The air had this dead coldness, pretty much scary.

Life around seemed dull and stranded,

Seemed at a graveyard I had landed.

The cold breeze cut through the veins,

A sense of eeriness in me seemed to reign.

Dark clouds hovered in the sky,

The restlessness in me seemed to just multiply.

The thundering clouds signaled a storm,

My brain seemed to transport to that closed dorm,

Memories of which I have tried to ignore for so long.

The scene was terrifying,

A stool, a loose rope, a body, and lots of hue and crying.

It was back in college time; A deep breath and now I am sighing!

Room 404 was closed that day longer than expected,

We thought this is normal and were least affected.

It was raining profusely and also thundering,

Her roomie broke open the door and fainted screaming,

Within moments, there accumulated a gathering.

She was hanging from the ceiling and her wrist was bleeding,

And her eyes were there wide open from the asphyxiation.

There were immediate investigations and lots of blaming,

The truth never surfaced and till now the family is lamenting.

She was more than a friend and the scene was heart wrenching,

Depression had its grip and my condition kept deteriorating.

Changed college, left the city,

None seemed to work and all others felt was pity.

Been 12 years since she is gone,

I have embraced rain but I am still afraid of a thunderstorm.

I cannot still face a thunderstorm.

©Arpita

The Pricks

 

“Emotions- especially too much sensitivity sometimes leads you into a vicious circle.”

Ira was a modern-day girl who believed in defying social norms and breaking stereotypes. She believed in ‘equality above all.’ But then is belief only enough?

She faced criticisms and was every other day schooled at home to live by the norms of the society and not act like an outcast. She always used to question back- ‘Who set these standards? Who decides how I live my life?’

She was a born rebel until that unfortunate day. A day that turned her confidence into insecurities. A day she wished she wouldn’t have had to face. 

She was at a friend’s place discussing some projects over drinks. Well, that friend was one of those who believed in speaking out for what is right, irrespective of whoever is in front. But guess, things do change when it comes to loved ones.

The mother-son duo was arguing about something she couldn’t really make out. All of a sudden, a summon was sent for her to be downstairs. They sent a kid upstairs to call her stating that work can be done later and she needs to move downstairs immediately. She had sensed by then that things weren’t going to be all glossy. But then she knew that her friend would speak out if things went wrong.

She reached downstairs, greeted aunty. Her friend followed suit but aunty was furious and asked him to leave. She then blurted out something that I am sure no girl would ever want to listen or go through. She molded her words a bit stating that she has given her son enough freedom to do things he wants but that wasn’t working out. She simply without a second thought said- Moving forward please DO NOT come to our house. You might work at your own place or get a room for whatever you both want to do but don’t come here.” Her friend only managed to say- ‘We’ll see to it.’ And tried to change the topic in a different direction.

An angry rebel who yells out at all the wrongdoings only managed to say- ‘Sure Aunty.’ This wasn’t because she had nothing to say, but because she didn’t want to disrespect an elderly woman. And moreover, she had expected her friend to speak up.

She quietly went back upstairs, sat there for some time, and left early. She was out of nowhere simply made to feel like a ‘slut’, as though she was there for some other business and not work. She couldn’t believe her ears and kept wondering how a woman manages to demean a woman and then talk of being of an evolved mindset

Her friend continued with explanations that she was angry with him and took it out this way and that he did speak up. He even said he doesn’t bother about relationships when things are wrong. But where were these ideologies when a firm stand was needed? Do these even make sense when the damage was done?

Words- no matter how little, can break a soul.”

It has been some time since the incident. Ira has started to believe that she was at fault. Maybe the lady was right, maybe she should have never gone. The words keep ringing in her ears. Her beliefs are shaken and she has started to question her own ideologies. She still cannot understand the theory behind aunty choosing to call and demean her when she had issues with her son. Aunty has a daughter too and if we swap places for a fraction of a second, did she ever wonder how her daughter might have felt if the same kind of treatment was done with her? She has always tried to be there for her daughter and son, but if this is the reward of being there for the family, she now feels she is better off alone than with people who degrade her. Even more, what do we call a friend who cares to come to give you explanations and claim to understand how you feel but chose to stay mum when the wrong was done? 

Maybe…maybe.. because it was his mother. But would he have stayed silent if it was his sister? He knew the hardships and struggles Ira has had in her life and still chose to let it happen. Probably Ira expected too much of a friend. And maybe that is why today she is so shaken that she questions each of her beliefs and values.

It is to be seen what turns Ira’s life takes and whether she would be able to overcome the morbid feeling she is going through.

“Some words just scratch the surface; while others strike and shatter the soul.”

 

The Tattered Diary..

A collage of our favorite pictures, a room decorated with roses, candles and balloons, a bottle of champagne and glasses, two rings, dim red lights and two beautiful souls…

This must have sounded like that perfect scene from some romantic Bollywood movie, isn’t it? Well, at least the plan is to make it our day.

            ~Pankhi, 28.05.1997

Shimla, 31st Aug, 2005: Vivan and his family had purchased a brand new villa in the outskirts of Mall Road sometime ago. With Vivan’s father, now retired, and Vivan an established entrepreneur at a mere age of 26, the family decided to quit the hustle and bustle of city life and retreat to the mountains and live there. 

The villa that they purchased, was owned by some Mr. D’Souza. The locals say that Mr. D’Souza used to live there with his daughter. One fine day, the neighbors woke up and found the house empty. No one knew what happened or where they vanished. Vivan bought this villa with the help of a broker. With the house abandoned for over a decade, it definitely needed some renovation and fixing.

Vivan usually is always on the road. However, this time, he decided to get everything settled for his parents before he travelled again. He sought help from an interior decorator for the renovation and the work started in full swing.

After an entire day of hustle, that night, Vivan couldn’t sleep. He stepped out of his room and nonchalantly roamed about the house. The view from his rooftop was absolutely mesmerizing. He lingered there for a while and was returning back when something caught his attention on the second floor. 

It was a room..a locked room. Vivan was curious as all other rooms in the house had no locks in it. He went closer. The door had a rusty lock. He gave it a thrust and was able to break the lock and open the room. The room was absolutely dusty and covered in cobwebs. The arrangements in the room seemed as though it was the room of a girl. There were paintings on the walls, books covered in piles of dust on the book shelves. It seemed as though whoever stayed here might have left in a haste leaving all their belongings behind.

Vivan switched on the lights. The room had deflated balloons and ribbons hanging from the ceiling, burnt candles on the floor, glasses and a bottle of champagne there. It seemed like people who stayed here might have forgotten to clean the room after celebration. He inched closer and picked the bottle of champagne, checked the date and then took a few sips from it. 

With the champagne bottle in one hand, he took a few steps forward towards the closet. Vivan had an eerie feeling by now but he shrugged it off and opened the closet. The dresses, files, documents everything was still there in the closet. He slowly opened the drawer and found a picture of a couple there. He took the picture and when he was just about to close the closet door and leave, a tattered diary fell over him from above the closet. He picked it up, closed the room and retreated to his room. It was almost dawn. Vivan reached to his bed and fell asleep immediately.

He woke up late in the day. The workers’ had already arrived and were working. Vivan took a cup of black coffee and was flipping through the pages of the newspaper, when he suddenly remembered about the diary. He rushed back to his room and grabbed the diary to have a look at it.

The diary was tattered. He carefully opened it. It had the name ‘Pankhi‘ written on it. He thought maybe she would be the one from the picture he found last night. Vivan slowly flipped through the pages and was hooked to the diary. Each page described different shades of Pankhi’s life, right from her childhood, her first day at school, her first crush and more. Vivan felt as though he knew Pankhi from ages reading through the diary. The more Vivan wanted to stop reading, the more he grew curious to find out more about her.

Pankhi had described her first meeting with the man of her dreams in one of the pages. How they started as enemies and became good friends eventually, how he was the one for her? Vivan was now almost at the end of the diary. The page had scribbles from Pankhi about her plans of proposing to Jacob on the night of 28th May, 1997. It had mentions of ribbons, balloons, champagne and rings. Vivan couldn’t control himself and rushed to the room upstairs to look for the rings. To his utter disbelief, he was able to find both the rings decked under the bed of dirt on the floor. Vivan flipped to the next page but it was empty. He frantically searched through the diary to find if there was something else written. But, Alas! It was empty.

Vivan was restless. He just couldn’t stop thinking about Pankhi and Jacob and what happened to them. He needed to find answers. All this while through the diary,he felt connected to Pankhi and now suddenly, he was at a dead end. He had to find out about them. He decided to ask the neighbors about them, but none had much to say about them. Most of the families in the area were new and not from that time. They all had seen that house empty and had no clue.

Vivan had covered all the houses in that area and was now at the end of the street left with the last house. He had lost hopes by now to find any information about them. He mustered the courage and knocked on the door. An elderly lady answered the door after a few knocks. He greeted her and showed her the photo. To his surprise, her eyes had welled up with tears. She held him and enquired about the whereabouts of the photo. Vivan told her about the diary and pleaded with her to tell him about Pankhi.

Pankhi and Jacob grew up right in front of my eyes, my son- said the elderly lady. Anyone could see them and say from a distance that they were head over heels in love with each other. Honestly the whole town knew it apart from those two idiots that they loved each other- she chuckled. 

They did realise after sometime that they were inseparable. Pankhi was a hopeless romantic and decided to propose to Jacob for marriage. She decorated her entire room all by herself and was beyond excited to meet Jacob that night.

Vivan: And then? What happened that night? Did he say no? I found the rings in the room too..I now own that house.

The lady took a deep breath. That night..that night was the darkest night of all our lives. Pankhi was at home all dressed up waiting for Jacob. Jacob usually came to meet her at 7 pm in the evening. But that day, he didn’t arrive. His phone was not reachable as well. When it was about 10 pm, Pankhi started panicking. Amidst all these, Pankhi’s phone rang. She immediately picked the call thinking it was Jacob. Somebody said something from the other side and Pankhi froze on the tracks. I was right there. I rushed to take the phone from her and put it on the speaker. The man on the other side said- “There has been an accident near the Suicide point. We traced this number from the emergency contacts listed during the car registration. We need you to come immediately.”

Pankhi’s father, I and Pankhi rushed to the spot. The area was crowded and the corner of the street was covered in blood. The car was gone, Jacob was gone. The police were able to recover his purse and a locket. Those were handed over to us as his only remains. We knew Jacob was dead by then. What we didn’t know was that we would lose Pankhi too. She took the locket from my hands and opened it. It had a picture of Jacob and she. Maybe Jacob too was planning to propose to her that night. Pankhi wore the locket, walked towards her father, looked him in the eyes and hugged him. And she was gone..

Vivan: Gone? What do you mean? Gone where?

In a flash, she jumped into the trench and was gone. She spread open her hands and let herself fall. The people around, even the police didn’t get a chance to react. Just within a second- she left all of us and embraced death. Mr. D’Souza saw his daughter slip away right in front of his eyes. He turned around and left and has not returned till date. We don’t even know if he is alive or dead. The proposal, the plans, the couple- all gone in just one night. 

I don’t know if there is an afterlife, but if there is, I only pray to Lord that these two souls unite there, that they find their peace there- said the lady.

Vivan was in tears. He wanted to find out what happened but not in his wildest of dreams, did he expect to unveil such a tragic end to that half finished story from the diary. He hugged the lady, stood up and walked back to the house. He straightaway went to Pankhi’s room. He cleaned and decorated the room just as she described in her diary. He placed their photo on the table and the rings in front of them. He got a name plate from his decorator and hung it on Pankhi’s door and locked the room. The sign read- “Jacob & Pankhi”. 

Vivan dedicated that room in the memory of Pankhi and Jacob. He decided that the room would stay just the way Pankhi wanted that day for forever. Vivan tried his best to find Mr. D’Souza for a long time but couldn’t.

It is ten years now since Vivan’s family moved there. Vivan is a married man now. Pankhi’s room still stays the same way as Vivan promised. Vivan believes that maybe in the late hours of the night every year on the same tragic day when they lost each other, Pankhi and Jacob still visit the room and relive that day that they had both planned for each other.

 

It is Everything. Being in Love, I Mean.

                         –Ricky Gervais

 

©Arpita

 

 

Save Thy Rebecca

Far when I am in the clouds,  I won’t sense the pain anymore!

Rebeca was born in a lower -middle class family in the outskirts of London. Since childhood, she was different from the rest of the world. Rebeca suffered from a rare disorder where she struggled to form words. She used to go to the same school as friends of her age. However, she struggled to fit in and always found her alone. She was constantly bullied in the class because of her disorder and that took a toll on her.

One evening on summer break Rebeca and her family were supposed to visit their Grannies. Everybody was ready apart from Rebeca. Her mom reached to her room and knocked at the door several times. When Rebeca didn’t answer or come out of the room, after several unsuccessful attempts the mother started panicking and called her husband. “Peter.. Peter….. Can u please come?… Rebeca is not opening the door”… Peter rushed towards the room and banged the door a few more times but there was no response. Panic shook the family to the grit. They broke into the room and froze on the tracks. They were in complete shock as their daughter, Rebeca was hanging from the ceiling. She chose to take her life as she couldn’t bear the humiliation anymore. Peter found a note on the table Sorry, mom and dad, I Love you both but I cannot go through all of these for the rest of my life.”..

The neighbours called the ambulance and informed the police. The police took the body for autopsy, and then handed over the body back to the family after 24 hours. 

It was an open and shut case of suicide. But was it really? Rebecca’s parents knew there was more to it and they were determined to find out. The devastated couple needed closure, a reason for the chaos which led their daughter to take her life.

Rebecca’s parents found few disturbing scribbles and pictures at the back of her notebook. When they visited her school, to their utter disbelief, they found out that there were several kids in school who bullied her every single day. Further to the investigation they found that Rebeca had complained about the events  multiple times to management, faculties and to the Headmaster as well. Everytime, her complaints went unheard and she asked to ignore such things. The faculties always dismissed her saying those were her fellow mates and we’re just playing with her. She was told she was overthinking it. None acknowledged her suffering and the practice of bullying that was happening in the school.

Had everyone at school not taken this matter so lightly, it wouldn’t have cost Rebecca her life. Rebecca’s mother wanted the bullies to be punished and she registered a case against the students involved and the ignorant management.

It is 3 months today since Rebecca left all of us and the case is still going on with no conclusion. With no substantial proof, the court cannot take any actions and unfortunately, there isn’t any apart from a suicide note which clearly did not mention any reason. Rebecca’s case was weak and it is only a matter of time that the case would be closed with probably a mere warning to all parties involved. 

But will justice be ever served to the young life? Rebecca’s parents are devastated and seeing the case close will break them all the more. They cannot fathom what their little girl might have undergone all this while and knowing the fact that she never took the courage to come speak to them would kill them all the more each passing day. Rebecca’s parents now feel that they failed in parenting. And it is obvious to feel. Had there been that level of communication and life lessons imparted, had they spent time with her to find out about her life, the situation would have been different. The ignorant faculty would keep the same course and the bullies would roam freely again and who knows, probably weeks down the line, there would be news of another Rebecca at some street.

Yes, raising a kid isn’t easy but imparting life lessons, responsibilities, etiquettes and the difference between right and wrong are the responsibility of us adults as parents, guardians and teachers. We all have to come together to bring the change. We all have to save our Rebecca’s!

Bullying is never fun, it’s a cruel and terrible thing to do to someone. If you are being bullied, it is not your fault. No one deserves to be bullied, ever” – Raini Rodriguez

©Arpita

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