Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finnale.. (Last Part)

(This is the last part of the short story series. Hope you guys like it. As usual do leave your feedback and comments. They definitely inspire me :) )

Please read the 1st, 2nd part, 3rd part, 4th part and 5th Part also.
Part 1 - Back to Home

Part 2 - US Syndrome

Part 3 - Get up..Grandpa..

Part 4 - Married Life

Part 5 - Lost Forever

Meera placed her hand gently on Arul’s shoulder. He wanted to comfort him. She knew that he would break down and that’s why she had left him in the first place.
Arul wiped off his tears and looked into those beautiful brown eyes. “Can’t we do something about it?”

Meera just nodded her head in dejection. “I have been getting treatment for last 6 years. Perhaps I may not live long”

“Six years. Shit.. This bloody cancer.. Why does it have to be you?” Arul's voice nearly choked.

“Arul, I have asked this question to myself for many years now. It’s just better to accept the reality now. Dad lost his life thinking about my problems. Mom is nearly half dead. I don’t want to hurt anyone more”

“Your dad is dead.. Why didn’t you tell me?” Arul demanded. He damned himself for being away from his sweetheart for all these years.

“Arul, just forget the past. I met the doc today. I have about a month to live and I want to live happily. I just want to spend a week with you for whatever we have missed.”

Arul looked mesmerized by her words. He would have been overjoyed, had Meera told him that six years ago. But now he had his own problems to handle. His first priority was to get back his wife.

“Tell me one thing first. Why did you leave me in the first place?” demanded Arul.

“I didn’t leave you. You left me” came the reply.

Arul heaved a huge sigh. I guess that's the absolute truth. He had left her in the middle of their relationship.

But he was not ready to accept that it was his fault alone. “You.. You went out with Ajay to Pizza corner and held his hands”

Meera was a little stunned by the accusation, but she soon recovered “God.. Arul, he was my friend. That was the day when I got diagnosed and I was in such bad shape that I wanted to share it with someone. So I and Ajay spoke and during the conversation I just held his hands for support and comfort”

“Why didn’t you tell me about your problems then? I could have helped you”

“I didn't say because of this" Meera pointed towards his tears. "I knew you would break down like this. I didn't wanted to hurt you. I would have never told you this now also. But I just wanted to spend my last breath of my life with the person whom I loved more than my life”

Arul’s eyes became moist again. He tried to control his tears, but he was doing a terribly bad job and soon was sobbing again.

“Listen Arul. I want happiness.” Meera demanded. “I have not come again into your life to see you cry. I want to go on a drive to Mayajaal like before. I want to watch as many movies as before, have all flavors of ice-cream, go to dance classes, sit along with you watching the first rays of sun on the Marina beach and definitely go to as many temples as possible”

“That’s a long list” Arul laughed as he wiped off the last tear drops off his face.

“That’s my guy” Meera hugged his hand. Arul hugged her tightly. I wish I could spend all my life with her.

Arul knew that everyone there was watching them. He gently let go off Meera and promised her that he will meet her at 9 am at her place.

For all things that happened that evening, Arul completely forgot to meet his wife. He took his seat in the PTC bus back home and decided to meet his wife two days later. He wanted to spend as much time as possible with Meera though.

As Arul purchased the tickets from the bus conductor, he saw a couple sitting in front of him. The boy in front offered the girl a beautiful red rose.

The red rose reminded him of his beautiful relationship with Meera. She had been a real tough nut to crack. She just refused to accept his love as she always thought of him as a good friend. But Arul knew that the winds of fortune would change directions soon.

It was precisely that day that everything changed forever - February 7th… Arul leaned on the window and drifted into his past as the breeze whiffed past his face.

It was a beautiful morning and the terrace was quite lit up. Arul had been waiting hours for Meera and was so happy when she came up. She had been avoiding him for a long time now. At last he could hope to convince her.

“Arul, please don’t make me say this” Meera paused hoping that Arul got her message. “You are my best friend. Please don’t bring love into this”

“Meera, I love you. Please understand”. Meera puffed, crossed her hands. Arul realized that this line of strategy was not going to work. “Meera, tell me what is love?”

Meera was taken aback by the question “Well, it’s a.. feeling for your close relationships with people”

“Care and affection” Arul added in as Meera nodded her head in affirmation.

“But love with guys is different…” Meera spoke as Arul lifted his eyebrows questioning her. “I have to marry a person whom I like and live the rest of my life with him”

“Hmm.. Don’t I have care and affection for you?”

“Yes Arul.. but love.. is..”

“It’s is not different Meera. Love is just another word for affection”. Meera was not convinced at all.

“Meera, just come out with me for a month. If you don’t like me, I will never trouble you again” pleaded Arul.

Meera looked surprised. How could anybody fall in love in one month, she thought. But unknowingly, she fell in love when she had just accepted his proposal to head out and their relationship continued albeit past many small fights. Arul gave her a beautiful red rose on 7th of every month.

As Arul's mind breezed through the past events, he could not help but wonder that the next day was a 7th. He sighed and shifted back on his seat on what strategy to use to bring back his wife.

I bet Anjali will like this. Arul held the big bunch of roses close to his heart. They smelt 'fresh and pure' like his love for his wife. He had a great day with Meera yesterday and he was happy to spend some good time with the departing soul.

He jumped up the steps in the hostel building. He really had a very tough time getting past the watchman and the management to meet his wife.

He knocked on the door twice. A small girl opened the door and then called out for Anjali. Arul could see Anjali knotting her hair and walking towards the door. He smiled at her but instead he got a hard glance from her as she stood near the corner of her room with her back to the wall.

He walked into her hostel room and could see various women accessories strewn all over the place. Arul started feeling very uncomfortable, but still he sat down on a couch and handed her the bouquet. He was shocked to see that she threw it casually on the couch.

Arul was pissed off and tried to control his anger. “Still angry with me?”. Anjali looked away.

“What do I have to do, Anjali? Please... Let us stop the fight and get back together”

“Together like what?” shot back Anjali. Arul just spread his hands as he didn’t know what to say to cool down Anjali.

Arul got up and went near Anjali. “Together like this..” Arul tried to hug Anjali.

“You hug a woman on the beach in front of thousand people and now you want to hug me. What kind of person are you?” screamed Anjali. Arul looked shocked!

I have dug my own grave. Arul thought that this relationship is done and over and stomped out of the room.

Anjali shouted at him as he left the room. She stood near the window of her home and saw him walk angrily out the building.

Suddenly out nowhere, Anjali could see Mridula run upto Arul and hug him. She spoke something to him and they both got onto his motorbike and left the place.

Anjali was so damn angry. Arul was not just having a relationship with another woman but also with his sister. Damn it!!

“So do they know me?” shouted Arul.

Mridula could hardly hear Arul’s voice in the sounds of horns. She just nodded her head.

Arul stopped his bike at a nearby lane, asked Mridula to get down and parked his bike.

“What is happening here?” Arul demanded an explanation.

“It’s a long story” sighed Mridula.

“I have all the time in this world” scorned Arul.

Meera started her long story “You know Mari right?” Arul nodded his headed. "He proposed to me in my college" Arul nodded and asked her to move on as he knew that. "Though I didn’t like him at first, I later accepted his proposal just before your marriage. Mari’s father is a big time MLA and wants to get his son married to another MLA’s daughter. And so you can guess why he wants to eliminate me”

“Eliminate you. Oh god!!” sighed Arul. "One more problem..."

“Why? What happened?”

Arul told her the whole story about Meera and how Anjali was angry with him and that he felt the relationship all but over. He however skipped the hug on the beach part.

“I have an idea. Why don’t you take care of my problems and I take of yours” suggested Mridula.

“I certainly guess that mine is definitely the tougher one. I really don’t know how I am going convince a person who has sent men to eliminate you”

“Well, that’s the trade-off if you want to live with my dear sis” smiled Mridula.


“So have you solved Mridula’s problems?” asked Meera.

“Yep. Just one call to Mari and all problems are solved now” replied Arul. “That’s the power of love” Arul made sure that he stressed a lot on the last word. Arul looked around to find just a few people taking their afternoon nap in the Natesan Park.

“I am sad that today is going to be my last day” spoke Meera.

“Last day? No buddy. I will come and meet you in Bangalore”

Meera looked at him affectionately. He gently moved her hands to his cheek and rubbed it. “Arul, my last wish has always been to peacefully die in your arms”

“Oh Meera! Please stop this talk or I am going to cry again” Arul tried to cheer her up. His heart was beating faster. A strange of fear gripped him. Perhaps the end was near.

“No Arul. The time to tell some more truth has come. The doc had given me a week’s time. I wanted to desperately meet you. Perhaps today is my last day”.

Arul moved his hands to her lips to stop her from talking more. He gazed into her beautiful eyes. She gently closed her eyes and never opened it again. Meeraaa....

“Mridula.. Hello..” shouted Arul as he could hardly hear the voice at the other end.

“Hey Arul, Mari just now spoke to me. He ..”

Arul interrupted her “Mridula, Meera is dead…” His voice choked. He had no strength to speak any more.

“Can you come to Apollo hospital?” spoke Arul.

“I will be there in half an hour” came the reply.

“Come fast guys” Mridula pushed them to walk fast.

“Meera.. age 26.. admitted now” Mridula questioned the receptionist as she paused to take a deep breath.

As soon as she got the room number, the three of them climbed up the stairs to the 3rd floor. Mridula eyes searched for Arul. Finally she saw him standing at the corner of a corridor looking out of the window.

On hearing the footsteps, Arul turned around to see Mridula, Mari and Anjali. The next second, he looked away from all of them and stared into the crowded road.

Mridula placed her hand on his shoulder “Arul, are you alright?”

“I have lost everything Mridula… everything” spoke Arul without turning back.

“Arul, I am sorry. I didn’t know what problems you had. Let us forget everything. Let us be together forever” spoke Anjali.

Arul looked at Anjali “I am sorry for all the problems also. Please forgive me”. He hugged Anjali and both of them started crying. Mari and Mridula hugged them.

“Hello Meera.. Where are you?” whispered Arul.

“I am here” Meera ran and hugged him.

He lifted Meera, threw her up and caught her. “I love you, my darling”

Just then the doorbell rang and Mridula and Mari came in and smiled at Meera.

Anjali came from the kitchen to see them “Welcome home sis”

“The father and the daughter are the best couple together” spoke Anjali to Mridula.

“They surely are..” spoke Mridula as she winked at Arul.

Hope you liked the story. Do leave your comments

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lost Forever (Part5)

(This is the fifth part of the short story series. Hope you guys like it. As usual do leave your feedback and comments. They definitely inspire me :) )

Please read the 1st, 2nd part 3rd part and 4th Part also.
Part 1 - Back to Home

Part 2 - US Syndrome

Part 3 - Get up..Grandpa..

Part 4 - Married Life


Amma shook her head vigorously at Arul as she was about to hang up the phone. She suddenly thrust the phone at Arul who was standing close by. Arul was a little surprised but took the receiver from his mom.

“Where is my sister?” threatened a voice from the other side.

“That’s precisely the question I want to ask you” Arul shot back.

A deep sigh followed from the other side. “I guess she must have gone somewhere nearby”

“I hope so too. I really don’t know why she has not taken her mobile with her” complained Arul. “Hope she comes back soon”

As soon as Arul finished speaking, the door bell rang. Arul’s mom sprang to the door and opened it. It was just the newspaper boy. Everybody let out a collective sigh.

“Mridula, I will call you when she is back. Thank you” Arul hung up.

As Arul’s mom was about to close the main door, a voice called out for her. A beautiful woman crisply dressed in a bright green saree walked in.

“Here she is.. You made such a big fuss” spoke Arul’s mom.

Arul walked up to her. He was really angry, but somehow Anjali looked like an angel to him. He had never seen her so beautiful.

Before he could speak, Anjali spoke up “I am so sorry. I went to the Kasi-Viswanathar temple. It is pradosham today and there was so much crowd at the temple. Your city is always crowded”

Arul could just muster a laugh as his anger evaporated. He tried to hug her gently but she pushed him away “Dirty hero, first get a bath”.

“Call her home and tell that she has arrived” spoke Arul’s mom.

“You called my home?” Anjali questioned Arul.

“Anjali, you were not there and so I…” Arul voice trailed off.

“You thought I had gone back to my home after a small fight?” Anjali shot back getting a little cross.

“Relax Anjali. It was just mom’s idea” Arul tried shifting the blame on his mother.

“It was only you who could have done it” Anjali wagged her little finger on him.

Arul just laughed out. His wife knew that much about him. “Enna di.. over shouting” Arul lifted Anjali despite her protest and carried her inside while his mom reached for the phone.

“Just breathe more and relax”, Arul gently pressed his wife’s hand.

“I just hate these airplanes and the long flights” complained Anjali.

Arul just shook his head; she must be the only one complaining about going to America.

Arul led his wife into their small home. Anjali was exhausted after the long flight but she had a more important job. She ran to the room which is perhaps the closest to heaven.

“What type of toilet is this?” Anjali came out complaining.

“Have you never seen this?” smiled Arul.

“Disgusting place..” came the reply.

“Anjali, relax. Every new place has its own charm. Give it some time and you will definitely get adjusted. I suffered more than you here. So trust me.. just relax”

“Well you suffered here and now I am going to suffer. What’s the point of all this?
Let’s go back” pleaded Anjali.

“You better get adjusted darling” Arul tried to mock hug Anjali.

She pushed him away and he fell back on the sofa. Arul just smiled at her and picked up the remote next to him and switched on the TV.

‘A special report on reverse brain drain happening in US: Back to India’ blared the reporter.

Anjali laughed at him and mockingly pointed two horns on her head. Arul sprang up from the sofa and chased Anjali down.

“Don’t you dare touch that” hissed Anjali.

“Dear, this is just beer. So chill!” Arul protested. The party for Anu’s birthday along with plenty of drinks and balloons had lighted the whole atmosphere.

Anjali glared at him. “So you mean to say that you have drunk many other things also?”

Arul opened his mouth to speak but on second thoughts decided keep his mouth shut.

“If you expect me to come to my best friend’s birthday party and not drink, isn’t that pretty cruel?”

“You should have told me about it before marriage” protested Anjali.

“Would that have made a difference?” Arul was getting angry now.

“I would have never married a guy who drinks” Anjali shot back.

Arul was about to shout at his wife when Anu came in “No fighting in my b’day” Anu winked at Arul as she lead Anjali away to her other friends.

“Crazy girl” Arul muttered under his breath. He decided that he better keep away from her. They hardly spoke for the next two days with Anjali even rebuffing Arul’s offer to make peace.

It had started to snow pretty heavily that season and the forecast for the day was pretty bad. Arul had an important job to do and decided to drive to his office in the bad weather.

Arul came back to desk after five consecutive meetings. Things had piled up on his India trip and he was desperate to complete it soon. As he sat exhausted on his chair, he loosened his tie and looked at his watch. He pushed aside the window curtain and could see the heavy snow downpour. Arul opened his drawer and took out his mobile. He usually left it there for his meetings for he didn’t want anybody to disturb him.

Five missed calls from Anjali.. Should I call her back? wondered Arul. He decided to call her little later but completely forgot about it in his work.

After a few hours, Arul stretched up in his seat. He looked at his watch and froze. Shit, its 11pm. He immediately called Anjali. The phone bell rang for a whole minute before Anjali picked up.

Arul could hear Anjali sobbing. “Can you please… please come home fast?” she pleaded.

“I will be there in 15 minutes darling. Please don’t cry” Arul hung up and picked up his coat and ran towards his car.

As he was about to start his car the security personal ran up to him.

“Sir, you cannot leave now. You have to wait till morning” he politely spoke up.

“What do mean?” shouted Arul as pretty tensed thinking about Anjali.

“Come and look for yourself sir” the security personal led Arul to the main road.

Arul could not believe his eyes and stood paralyzed in shock. Even though the snow storm had stopped, the snow had piled up to height of his knees.

“It’s the biggest pile over I have seen in years sir” security guy shook his head.

“Can you get me a cab or something?” Arul voice changed to a more polite tone.

“No sir. There is no way you can drive anywhere in New York. All transportation is closed.”

Damn it, Arul cursed himself. He dialed Anu’s number.

“Hey Arul” replied Anu.

Arul quickly filled in Anu about the situation he was in and asked her if she could drive to his place and give Anjali some company.

“Arul, all roads are closed. There is no way I can reach your home man. Wait till morning and catch a cab back home. Anjali will be safe and I will speak with her”

“Thank you Anu but I have to reach my home now”

“I really don’t think that’s possible and neither is it safe”

“I guess so. Anyways good night” Arul hung up and sized up his options.

The security personal understood the situation and went to his cabin and got a long leather jacket and a big walking stick.

Arul found the idea pretty crazy but realized that his options were severely curtailed. Arul wore the over sized coat and started ploughing through the heavy snow cover. Shit.. It will take atleast 4 hours to reach home.. He loved Anjali more than he had thought.

After a 3 hour struggle through the dark and empty roads he reached his home. It felt to him that he would never reach his home and it was his desperation to see his wife that gave him the hope to walk. He gently opened the door and switched on the lights. He could see Anjali sleeping on the couch. Her face had swollen up and she was looking pale.

Arul touched her, Oh my god.. She’s damn cold. He looked around and saw that the heater had not been switched on. Arul gently lifted her and took her to the bedroom and slipped her under the soft blankets. He gently ran his fingers through her hair and rubbed her feet.

He got up, switched on the heater and slipped into his bed.

A huge cry woke Arul up. He looked around and he could see the first rays of sun kissing their bedroom. He was pretty confused as to where he was and he could feel the pain in his legs from last night’s adventure.

He found Anjali sobbing heavily in her bed. Arul got up and hugged Anjali. Perhaps she is afraid.

“Thata died yesterday” Anjali spoke up.

“What??” Arul jerked up from his bed.

“He died yesterday and that is why I called you so many times”

“Oh my god! I just cannot believe this” Arul stood up and placed his hands on his hips. “You didn’t miss me. You cried because some idiot who literally stopped our marriage, died”

“Mind your words” Anjali shouted back. Her mind was already tensed from the sad demise of her grandfather.

“You know what.. I slogged three hours through the snow walking from my office to home to see you and you tell me that you called me because somebody somewhere died”

“It was not somebody Arul, it’s my grand-dad” she completely forgot his long walk in the heated situation.

“My foot.. you and your grand-dad.. crazy family” Arul raised his voice.

“Stop calling my family. You are crazy. You have caged me in here” Anjali voiced shrieked.

“Go to hell.. Go back to your parents. Keep hiding behind your mom’s saree” Arul was bursting with anger now.

“Don’t you dare speak one more word. Leave me forever” shouted Anjali.

The war of words had got pretty ugly. Arul jumped on to his phone and booked a ticket to India through his agent.

The airport was buzzing with calls for departure of airplanes. Arul felt sad that this was the last time he would see Anjali. He had quickly lost his anger and desperately tried to catch her attention, but she was in no mood to forgive him.

He finally broke the silence, “Listen Anjali, I am sorry. Please don’t leave me”

“I am sorry too..” Anjali spoke as Arul’s lips broke into a grin “that I have had to live with a person like you”

Arul clenched his fist in anger. This crazy girl and her overbearing pride. She is a… he could not find a proper bad word to scold her.

Arul had handled many of his angry clients and he knew that he had to keep himself cool. He had lost a lot by getting angry yesterday.

“Anjali, I am not a bad guy. I know you like me” Arul tried to push the conversation.

“I still like you, but I don’t love you anymore” Anjali picked up the bags from Arul and moved in to the security clearance area.

It was not the first time he had heard those words. Arul stood there speechless, shocked and snubbed as he watched his life walk away.

“What do you expect me to Anu? Beg.. fall at her feet” Arul was literally screaming and banging the table.

“Nothing. But I don’t expect anybody to book a ticket to India just because one has a small fight at home” replied Anu.

“It was not a small fight. I walked three hours in the snow to reach home and beside her” protested Arul.

Anu smiled and gently leaned towards Arul and spoke “What did I tell you the other day? Stay put in office and that Anjali will be alright”

Arul eyes gazed down. He slowly nodded his head. “What do I do now?”

“Do your work and she will miss you and call you” replied Anu.

“Hmm.. Hope she misses me” spoke Arul dejectedly.

Anu patted on his back “I am sure she will dude. Cheer up!!”

Arul could not do anything properly. His personal and professional was getting too depressing. Perhaps the influence of a person whom he loved on life was way too much and also he had been around with so many people in the last 3-4 weeks that he found his previous peaceful ‘lonely’ life pretty disgusting now.

He just could not stop thinking about Anjali and the beautiful moments that he had with her.

He dialed Anu’s number “Anu, I am going to India”

“No Arul, wait for some more time. Call her from here and see” suggested Anu.

“I tried but could not reach her as she is staying in some hostel in Chennai”
replied Arul.

“So when would you be coming back?”

“I am going permanently da. I somehow miss India, my parents and Anjali a lot” grieved Arul.

There was complete silence for some time. “I understand your position. All the best
for a new life” replied Anu.

A cool breeze in the terrace firmly pushed brushed past Arul’s hair. Arul had never thought that he would be coming back to Chennai forever. Perhaps it was destiny’s choice for him.

‘I like you but I don’t love you’ the last words from Anjali stung him hard. It was not that those words really hurt him but he had heard it for the second time in his life.

Meera had hurt him before and now it was Anjali’s turn. Somehow Arul could not stop thinking about Meera. Only if Meera was here with me…

Trring.. Trring..
Arul picked up the phone. His father had called him up as he had some visitors who wanted to see him and he had sent them to the terrace. Arul turned back on hearing some voices and he was shocked to see some familiar faces.
Mari and Mridula stepped into the terrace from the small attic. He shook hands with both of them and enquired about Anjali’s parents.

“You should talk with Anjali. She gets very angry sometimes” spoke Mridula.

“I will do that soon” replied Arul.

“I want to tell you something more…” Mridula paused and then continued explaining something Arul. Mari moved a little away and could see Arul vehemently shaking his head. Hope he agrees.. thought Mari.

“Why did Mridula come to meet you? And who is that person with her?” Arul’s mom always liked to combine two questions and shoot them.

“She just came to meet me to give Anjali’s address and Mari is her friend” Arul replied.

“Friend??” quizzed his mom.

Arul had enough problems and did not want to get into Mridula’s problems also.

“Yes, just friends”

“When are you going to meet Anjali?”

“I will go today evening and perhaps take her out for dinner, if possible”

“She will come. Don’t worry. These fights happen in all relationships. Can you not see how our marriage has survived?” joked Arul’s mom.

Arul just hugged his mom and tears flowed down his eyes. Moms are always the best!!

Arul knelt down and concentrated in his deep prayers. He always visited temples whenever he had a problem in life, but this was a place he always went to whenever he had the life changing problem in his life. He found peace in god’s home and he loved this Velankanni church.

“Praying for me?” spoke a soft voice.

Arul opened his eyes on hearing the voice. He literally fell off his position but quickly re-adjusted his stance. He got angry and clutched his fist and then gradually loosened remembering his promise to Anu that he would never get angry again.

“Meera.. “ Arul’s voice trailed off. Meera gently smiled at him. Arul could see that Meera had grown quite old suddenly and strangely she had lost a lot of hair.

“How are you?” Arul barely managed to squeeze a question.

“I am good” replied Meera. “Can we go for a walk by the beach beside when you are done?”

Arul nodded his head and they were out on the beach ten minutes later.

“How are you doing?” Meera tried breaking the silence.

“Fine”. Meera did not like the mono-syllable reply.

“Still angry with me?” questioned Meera.

“What do expect me to say, Meera?” Arul shot back.

“Arul… I..” Meera paused. “It’s tough.. Leave it”

“Tough on me, Meera. Do you know how much I suffered thinking about you?”

Perhaps he doesn't know how much I am suffering everyday thought Meera “That’s why I don’t want to say anything” replied Meera.

“Say what Meera? That you and Ajay…” Arul let the words hang loose.

Meera looked up at Arul into his eyes. He had misunderstood her completely. Perhaps the time to tell the truth had come. She told Arul everything.

“Noooooooooo” Arul buried his face in his hands and cried uncontrollably.