Thursday, September 27, 2012

Heavenly Journey!! (Last Part)

Please click HERE for first part.

(Please do share your comments and thoughts as they really motivate small-time story writers like me. Thank you!!)


I shot a cold stare at my co-passenger who had just screamed his lungs out. All the passengers in the train were training their guns on the poor guy who had been scared by all the stares by now. I wanted to speak to my co-passenger to calm him down, but recalling his earlier non-cordial nature, I just kept quiet. The train floated magnificently through the clouds and I soon began to doze in to my dreams again.

I rudely shook my head to remind myself to not fall asleep and be a prey to my bad dreams again. I realized now, why the ticket conductor type of person had advised me against sleeping on my journey. One quick glance around me told me that all the other passengers except my co-passenger were fast asleep. Without my I-phone to give me company, I simply stared at the white cloud outside the window.

“Did I shout too loudly?” queried my co-passenger much to my surprise.

“You definitely woke me up mate” I spoke and gently laughed off his concern with a wave of my left hand.

“Hi, I am Thyagu” he introduced himself.

“I am Ashwik” I replied back.

“I guess you would have also had a bad dream” I made a wild guess realizing that everybody had fallen asleep like me.

Thyagu just nodded his head. Silence engulfed both of us as a giant white cloud streamed past our face momentarily blinding us.

“Do you remember your dream?” I questioned him. I was a very normal person, completely disinterested in other’s life and business but the circumstances had changed now. I was very sure that he would not want to know about my life and the great relationship I had with my mother and how I landed on this train.

Thyagu let out a deep sigh. “It’s a very long story” he spoke. “And we have all the time in this world” I replied with a smile.

“It roughly started about two years ago..” he started his story.


“TG” a soft voice hissed in my ears.

Deep into my holy sleep, I shrugged off the voice and rolled over to the other side to sleep on my tummy. Suddenly out of no where water droplets trickled on the nape of my neck and glided over drenching my new tee shirt. I knew who the culprit was, but was in no mood to oblige. A minute later, I could feel her soft hands pinching my left cheek.

“SD” I yawned right into her face.

“Bad fella.. bad breath” she replied making a curious face which bordered between extreme rage and forceful pity.

Her acerbity soon gave way to a sweet smile which I had been accustomed to for over ten years.

“Beautiful” I spoke mono-syllably.

“Thanks” she blushed.

“I spoke about your dress” I teased her. She gently knocked on the top of my head with her knuckles.

I just wanted to hold her, right there, and give her a ..

“Who wants some hot ginger tea?” spoke Suja Akka, as she entered the bedroom cautioning me from doing something dramatic.

Damn you akka.. I cursed her silently. Sujatha, my elder sister had been my best friend, counselor and guide for time immemorial and she always knew what I exactly wanted in life.

“Good Morning akka” spoke SD. SD or Sunanda was my best friend. Our friendship had blossomed from the first day we met each other. We played every sport known to kids, collected stamps and coins together, fought over video games and I cleared her countless doubts in mathematics, which she was least fond of. She was my best friend. But the times had changed.

“Morning Sunanda” she spoke gently as she disturbed my thoughts. Akka placed the two cups of tea a little far away from me.

“Akka..” I pleaded.

“Don’t you ever care to brush your teeth?” teased SD. I blinked open my eyes and scratched my head and shook my head and presented a toothy smile.

“SD, don’t you have your last exam today?” spoke Suja Akka finally.

“Oh shit!!” I got up startled.

“What to do akka.. I was trapped by a stupid fella’s promise that he would drop me at my college.” she spoke. I had promised her yesterday that the combined strike of the auto-rickshaws and bus drivers would have no impact on her exam schedule.

“Give me two minutes”, I spoke ashamed of my memory lapse and ran in between the plastic drums placed on either side of the bathroom, which were a grim reminder of drought times in Chennai years ago.

“Let’s go” I called out to SD about a minute later. Hygiene never mattered to me as the mouth-sprays and deos did their jobs perfectly.

“Drink your tea. We have plenty of time”, she assured me.

“It’s ok. Tea can wait” I tried to take the moral high ground.

“I make the best tea on earth and you don’t want to even taste it”, cringed Akka.

I gulped the tea as if it were some poison laced with sugar. SD quickly walked down before me and went to her block of apartments. I resided in Block F while she resided in Block A, which was close to the entrance of the OMGC colony.

As I was about to close the main door, as Suja akka came running up to me.

“The keys..” she thrust her scooty keys at me. My sweetheart on a scooty, I sighed.

“I need a bike akka” I protested.

“You will get one, if you promise to tell me the truth” she spoke in a riddle. There was not even one of my secrets that she didn’t know about.

As my eyebrows embraced together, she smiled and spoke, “Do you really like her?”

I blushed and tried to snatch the keys from her. She would not let go of them that easily.

“Akka..” I bent forward to come close to her and spoke, “I love her!


“How much?” I asked the guy selling the parking tickets. He stretched out all five fingers to the fullest extent. I searched for the five rupee coin and handed it over to him and started walking towards the ticket counter of Udayam theatre.

“Two Minnalae 5:30 show” I spoke at the counter literally shoving the people off my back. The movie “Minnalae” had just completed 75 days and was running steadily towards the 100th day.

Where the hell was she? I wiped off the beads of sweat which had lined up on my forehead. Suddenly from the corner of my eyes, I could see a beautiful girl in bright blue chudidhar. She walked with a care-free arrogance, with her back-pack juggling behind her back. Her doe shaped eyes, her matching blue bindi, her dimple filled smile and her teeth braces made me absolutely forget the fact that I had been waiting for her in the hot sun for the last forty five minutes.

Wish I could just take her in my arms and...

“Hey jumbo” she waved at me. I swallowed the saliva locked in my throat. I agreed with her that my tummy was a little over-size and combining with my short stature made me look shorter than her in perspective. But who cared..

I motioned my watch to let her know that she was late. “You are also late” she spoke nonchalantly as she dragged me into the theatre.

“Popcorn, Fanta and..” she stopped ordering and thought for a second what she wanted more. I gave her a thoughtful look.

“That’s all anna” she spoke to the guy at the counter and asked me to pay which I did grudgingly.

“You are so sweet” she pinched my cheeks as she handed the Fanta bottle to me and we both took our seats in the air-conditioned theatre.

Three hours later, when we came out, I realized why this movie would run for more than 100 days. It was an out and out love story. She adored it and so did I. As I tried to kick start my sister’s scooty, I realized a little too late that the money I had with me to re-fill the scooty petrol tank had vanished with the Fanta and Popcorn.

“What?” she spoke looking quizzing at me.

“I spent all the money that I had got” I replied sheepishly. It was her turn to get angry. She crossed her hands and gave me a look that looked somewhat like an angry smile.

“Lets walk” she decided for me.

The 25 minute walk to our apartment from the Udhayam theatre was punctuated with silence for the first 10 minutes. “Vassegra..” she slowly started humming the tune of the chart-buster song.

“Vaseegra..” I started to sing and she gave me a sharp look. “Don’t you dare sing jumbo” she spoke meanly. She had ten years of carnatic musical experience to back her claim. I simply stared blankly at her.

“So.. You liked the movie?” I tried to divert the topic.

“I loved it man. Maddy, so handsome” she stared in to the sky. I wanted to remind her that he was married but decided otherwise.

“Wish I had seen Maddy before his wife” she spoke, as I immediately applied the brakes on the scooty shocked to see that she had read my mind.

“What?” she questioned. I shook my head. “What kind of guy would you want to love?” I spoke trying to pry more information from her.

“Tall, dark and handsome” she replied. I let out a deep sigh. Not even a single match!

“Thyagu” her tone changed into a serious one as spoke my name for the first time in our conversation.

“Who is that girl?” she quizzed.

“Which girl?” I replied. I actually knew what she meant but wanted to her to ask that precious question.

“Com’on Thyagu” she spoke half-pleading. I shook my head and smiled.

“I know you really like somebody. Even Suja akka was telling me about something”. It was the second time that I applied the brake sharply.

“What did akka tell you?” I spoke alarmed.

“Actually..” she delayed her choice of words “nothing” she finished. I let out a sigh of relief. The time had not come.

“You will be the first person to know when the time is ripe” I gave her a more confusing answer.

“Ok. Atleast tell me how does she look?” she wasn’t going to give up.

She is wearing a bright blue chudidhar and walking right next to me. “She is most beautiful girl I have ever seen” I started slowly “She has doe shaped eye, milky white skin, jet black hair, beautiful bindi” I stopped trying to gauge her reaction.

She looked thoughtfully into my eyes and smiled. “I know her” she replied. “Janavi right?”

Girls are the most brilliant species. They can solve the most complicated problem and yet fail to see what’s right in front of them.

I laughed out and saw that I was confusing her more. As we reached the apartment gates, I motioned her to move ahead, lest her Hitler dad saw both of us together.

I waved her a goodbye through the dark night as I dragged my scooty silently through to my block and parked it and started thinking about Sunanda. I loved her a lot!!


“Welcome to Heaven” spoke a deep baritone voice, as I cringed hard. I desperately wanted to hear in full the love story of Thyagu. It was such a lovely story. Did he propose to her? What happened to their relationship?

The questions had to wait as both alighted from the horse-pulled train and proceeded in a single file to the main entrance of a giant dome shaped building which was quite similar to structure of the building where I had started off at first.

A middle age man with neatly combed hair took down information from each one of the people standing in queue. Nearly fifteen people stood between Thyagu and me and as Thyagu went up to the clerk. The clerk stood up from his creaky chair and started shouting at Thyagu. A supposedly senior officer suddenly came into the picture and tried to cool down the visibly agitated clerk.

What the hell was going on? I desperately wanted to over-hear the conversation but I just could not hear even a single word except that Thyagu desperately tried to apologize to the clerk. I moved through the queue with none of the people standing in front of me having the guts to question the clerk. It was my turn to stand in front of the clerk and specify my details.

“What is your name?” the clerk spoke angrily.

“Why did you shout at my friend?” I spoke quite agitated that the clerk would shout at somebody as good a person as Thyagu.

“Son, mind your business. You really don’t know what crime he has committed.” he hissed sharply trying to control his simmering anger.

“Sir, from the blue band I see on his hand, I believe he must have also lost somebody he preciously loved.” I made a wild guess.

“Yes” spoke the clerk thoughtfully, perhaps appreciating my wild guess. “But you don’t really know how he came here or which precious person he lost?”

“Sunanda” I made a wild guess again recollecting the story that Thyagu had shared with me.

“You must have discussed in the train” spoke the clerk in a more cheerful voice. “But you don’t know how he came here”

“Perhaps he must have had a heart-attack like me when he lost her” I made an even more random guess. I just didn’t know where these were going to take me.

“That’s true but not in the way you think.” spoke the clerk smiling pleasantly at me.

“I don’t understand sir” I spoke timidly.

“Thyagu must have told you that he loved the girl. Did he tell you that the girl rejected his proposal of love?” spoke the clerk.

I just shook my head. “How could the girl have rejected his love when he was so madly in love with the girl?” I questioned the clerk.

“Ah!! That is the same question he asked the girl and when, even when after repeated proposals the girl did not accept his offer, he called her to a location outside the town and strangled her to death”. The clerk’s last few words knocked the winds out of breath.

“He then cried desperately over her body and had a massive heart-attack and now stands right here, before us” the clerk finished the story as I shot a cold stare at Thyagu who had sunken low into his chair.

I gave my details to the clerk and went and sat beside Thyagu. “You didn’t tell me everything, buddy” I spoke harshly.

 “I was just about to tell you man. I really didn’t plan to kill her. It just happened in the spur of the moment. I really loved her” he tried to pacify me with his side of the story.

“Ashwik” the clerk called out as I went up to him. “Take the door to the left and keep walking straight till you find a big tree in a park.” he instructed.

 I followed the strange instructions and reached the big tree situated right in the middle of the park. The amazing tree had nearly twenty or more different types of fruit hanging from its leaves. Suddenly I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I turned around and stood gapping at the person standing in front of me.

“Amma” I spoke and bear-hugged my mother. Amma gave me a huge hug and kiss on my forehead.

“I am sorry amma. I acted selfishly and took care of my needs only. I didn’t take proper care of dad and you” I spoke fast, trying to push out my thoughts. “Please forgive me for my all sins” I begged her.

“Ashwik, you are the best son any mother can dream off. You worked very hard and sent enough money for your dad and me to have a peaceful life. I was a little disappointed that I was not able to see you towards the end of my life. But you have a family to take care off. I have seen you now and I do not wish anything more in my life.” Amma spoke with much jest and vigor.

“Can I place my head on your lap like the old days amma?” I spoke with tears in my eyes. Amma gently sat near the huge tree and placed my head on her lap and started singing an old song that she used to sing in my childhood days to make me sleep.

“Can I borrow your son for a second?” spoke a distant voice. Both amma and I were startled to see goddess Kaligambal as she walked up to us. Amma and I stood up with folded hands amazed at the sight.

“I have never seen such a mother and child relationship in a very long time” she spoke with a smile. “Ashwik, can I have a word with you?” she requested which sounded more like an order.

I walked a few paces with the goddess leading the way. “Can we speak here?” I spoke not wanting to leave my mother off my sight.

The goddess laughed again. “You are such a good child and so is Thyagu”. I cringed on hearing that name again.

“Don’t cringe, son” the goddess spoke. “He also loved a person as much as you did. While, I certainly would not appreciate the way he acted, I cannot take yours or his life for your actions of love”

“I am going to send you guys back to earth” she declared as I suddenly remembered why only both of us wore blue colored bands on our wrists. “Look there” she spoke as I saw Thyagu stand in front a girl as she repeatedly slapped him and then cried out aloud, cursing him for ruining her life.

“He certainly has repented for mistake and so have you. So it is time for you both to go back home” she spoke as I turned to walk towards my mother to give her a final hug.

“However, as you are the best son any mother can dream off, I will grant you a constrained wish” the goddess spoke in a riddle.

“You can take your mother back with you to earth..” she spoke as I jumped up in joy, “or..” she explained the other option that I had.

I stood there stunned and confused at the biggest decision I was to take in my life.


“Ashwik!!” cried out Saraswati. I felt my soul being gently placed in my body as I coughed roughly gulping in copious amount of oxygen.

“Thank God, he is alive” spoke Saraswati with a huge amount of happiness and excitement.

I turned around to find my lifeless form of my mother in the ice-box. I looked towards the entrance of the bedroom door, where two unknown people had just come in. Thyagu and the girl, who had scolded him for ruining her life, folded their hands towards me as I stood up on my feet, albeit a little weak.

I had chosen the other option of saving the girl’s life at the expense of my mother.

I slowly removed the ice-box cover and gently bent down near my mother and kissed her on her forehead and whispered in to her right ear, “I LOVE YOU AMMA!!”



Uyirum Neeyae, Uravum Neeyae,
Ulagam Neeyae, Thayae!!

(You are my life, You are my blood,
You are my world, Dear Mother!!)


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Heavenly Journey!! (First Part)

How far you would go for your loved one? “Heavenly Journey” traces the story of a young man’s journey to reach out to his beloved one on the farther limits of the known world. His co-passenger on this amazing journey has a different story but shares the same destiny. Will the young man complete his journey and reach his beloved one? Read on…

(All characters appearing in this short story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)


“Can you please move forward?” spoke an old man standing behind me.

I slowly blinked my eyes to get used to this strange atmosphere. Where was I?

One look around told me that I was not in any place I had seen or been before. I was standing in the center of a giant hall the size of a stadium with a huge dome at the top. The sun light streamed intensely through a large hole at the center of the ceiling with attractive pictures donning the ceiling. I looked back to find a serpentine line behind me. I looked down and suddenly felt my knees go weak. Instead of the floor, there was just an empty space with clouds passing beneath my feet as if I was suspended in mid sky.

“I said, move forward” reprimanded the old man again.

The people from the other serpentine queue as well as some in front of my line stared at me. I quickly took a couple of steps to move forward to join a young guy in front of me. Judging by his age, he should have been his early twenties. Suddenly I stretched my arm and looked at my clothes. I was wearing a white colored pyjama type cloth, the ones the patient would wear in the hospitals. One look around told me that everyone was dressed up in the same clothing. Where the hell was I?

My line moved up quicker than the other serpentine line to a huge grill shaped structure. I could see a young clerk with smoothly oiled hair sitting on an old rusty chair. He asked the young guy in front of me for his identification and asked him to pull out a card from his front pocket. The clerk then looked up curiously at the person in front of me and gave him a condescending look. He shook his head and clicked on the button in front of him and suddenly the person in front of me vanished in thin air.

Slowly recovering from the shook, I took a step forward and handed my identification card to the clerk.

“Ah! Another blue card” he spoke in a riddle. He looked up and gave me a gentle smile and then pressed on the button in front of him.

I could feel a strong hand pushing me on my back and I staggered on to a railway platform. I took a deep breath and looked around to find hordes of people lining up in front of an old train. It looked like a normal train but the only difference was that, the engine was replaced by eight sets of white horses ready to pull the locomotive. The horses neighed loudly, perhaps to announce that they are all set for the journey.

Suddenly I could feel a hand pat on my right shoulder. “Don’t sleep on the journey”, spoke an old man with a strange type of hat and cloak. Perhaps the ticket collector.

“I am not the ticket collector son” he replied reading my mind. He smiled gently at my stunned face, patted my back again and vanished among the crowd.

Suddenly I felt an invisible force pulling my right hand and I noticed that a blue band had suddenly appeared on my right hand. The invisible force guided me to a specific window-seat inside the so-called train and I happened to sit next to the young guy whom has stood in front of me in that serpentine line.

I quickly greeted my co-passenger but he looked away, perhaps in no mood to speak to a stranger. Suddenly a safety belt swung across my hip and shoulder. The other passengers were as curious as me to know what was happening around them.

Damn!! Where the hell is the train taking me?

“Welcome to the Journey to Heaven” spoke a person with deep baritone voice over the intercom type speaker as I sat stunned by the announcement.


The horses drawing the train neighed loudly and they tugged forward into mid-air. I quickly looked out and felt the pollution free air blow past my face. I tried hard to recollect how I had reached here and what had happened before my journey to Heaven. My head soon began to ache as my brain tried to search through my past memories for any clues. I soon gave up and stared blankly at the scattered clouds lined in the amazing back-drop of the clear blue sky.

Suddenly the train swarmed right into a huge white cloud and I could see no more. I felt a sharp tinge of the left side of my heart and head lightened up and before I knew I was into cozy dream.


“Amma” I let out a stifled cry. The wire meshed door separated my mother and me. Amma shot an angry glance at me.

“No” I screamed and closed my ears. Mom glared at me once again and then took a deep breath to regain her composure. She took an unwavering look at the target right in front of her and tightened her hands around her main weapon. She looked back at me once and gently smiled to remind me that all was well.

Hell no.. All was not well and I was the most scared kid in this world. “Amma..” I let out a stifled cry once again.

My mother being well prepared this time around was not going to be disturbed. She blew hot air at the top edge of her weapon lest it become any less useful. Her feet slowly inched towards her target and she lit the target and rushed back to me to cover my ears with her hand, over my little hands already had squeezed shut any relative sound from my ears. Five seconds later, I heard a meek blast.

She had successfully started the first Diwali I remember till date, with her bravely lighting up the traditional Lakshmi bomb. Amma gently kissed on my cheek and whispered “Happily Diwali”.


“What have you done to yourself?” screamed Amma.

The tears in my eyes flowed effortlessly like the various tributaries of river Ganga. I just shook my head and thrust the big piece of cotton wad out of the wound on my head. The blood started gushing out in copious amounts.

Amma screamed for an auto and rushed me to a nearby clinic. Our family doctor had gone out and would be back in a few minutes. His newly married wife had already earned a bad reputation for mistreating her patients. Amma looked around for magical streak of hope that our family doctor would arrive soon. Alas! That was not to be.

“What happened?” questioned the doctor’s wife on seeing my bulged up forehead. “Come in” she spoke softly as we followed her in to her room.

After nearly seven stitches on my forehead and a couple of painkiller injection that left me drowsy for the whole day, I returned home. Amma gently cradled me on her lap till I fell asleep. She did not ask one word about it and I didn’t care to reply.


“What happened?” spoke our neighboring house’s aunty who was always ready to poke into other business at the slightest drop of the hat.

Amma handed my tenth grade mark-sheet to her and started sobbing with renewed energy. The aunty put a hand around my mother’s shoulder and spoke “I still don’t understand the problem. Your son has scored good marks”

“You don’t understand” amma shook her head. “These marks will lead him no where in life. He missed out obtaining admission in a very good school because he got two marks less in Mathematics. How much ladies finger would I have fed him? How can he score just 93 in mathematics?”

The neighboring aunty had no words of consolation for she very well knew what marks her son had scored.

“Ashwik” spoke my mom and I sat beside her. She had been crying for me for the last two days and not a drop of tear glistened from mine, as I knew that these marks don’t matter anything in the real world.

“Promise me..” she spoke as she extended her right hand, “Promise me that you will not ever disappoint me in your studies and marks”.

I raised my hands and placed it on my mother’s hand. “I promise” I spoke quietly with the words barely audible. Like every caring mother, her tears dried up and a beautiful smile adorned her face once again.

But aren’t promises supposed to be broken?


I pushed open the first floor door of our ancestral home. Its bad condition clearly specified that it had not been used in a very long time now. The narrow steps leading to the first floor made sure that only one of us could stand in front of the door.

“Move on, my dear” spoke amma as she huffed and puffed her way to the first floor. She pointed the broom intently at my face asking me to move away while she swept the floor clean. Her name stood for cleanliness and she took great pride in that.

The late afternoon sun gently streamed in through the single window of the huge room. Amma sat down on the floor and I placed my head on her lap. She lazily ran her hand through her hair and spoke, “You have lost so much hair”.

“Amma…” I tried to half-protest trying to gently push her hand away. Her hand gently moved to the spot of the bulging stitched wound on my head. The wound looked prominent even after twenty years. She gently caressed the skin around the wound.

“You never told me what happened to you that day?” she spoke.

“Amma, isn’t it tea time?” I tried to change the topic.

“Ashwik” her steady voice was enough to make me realize that she would not bulge without getting her answer.

“You remember Bala?” I spoke. She nodded her head intently.

“He and I had some silly fight. Suddenly in the middle of the fight, he spoke bad words about you and dad. I got angry and pushed him away. He took a steel rod lying beside him and tried to thrust at it into my head. I just turned in the nick of time and it gently poked into my forehead.”

Amma just remained speechless. She hugged me as if I had recovered from a deadly attack.

“You are a big man now, Ashwik” spoke my mother suddenly turning a sweet moment into a serious one. “Perhaps..” she let the words wander off in thin air.

“Perhaps what?” I questioned impatiently.

“Perhaps, you need to settle down soon in your life” she completed her thought.

I immediately sat up and looked at my mom. “Amma, don’t tell me that you are serious about getting that girl married to me”

“Why? What is wrong with that girl?” she quipped nonchalantly. “You wanted an educated girl. She has done her under graduation in a decent college”

“Amma, does it ever matter to you that I should like the girl?” I shot back.

“Does it ever matter to you Ashwik, that we are getting older and want to see you get married? You are approaching your thirtieth birthday next month and you still act like a teenager, like in the college movies, where the elder-statesmen heroes are eternally young” she spoke agitatedly.

The room was filled with silence after her blast of words.

“Ashwik..” she ran her soft hands through my cheek. “All of us don’t get what we want in our life. Marriage is all about adjustment in life. Take the example of your dad and me. Have we not adjusted and lived our life happily?”

I laid back on her lap, gazing deeply into her eyes. My mom had immense love and affection for my dad which I believed staunchly, would never happen to me. My generation girls were completely different to my mom’s generation.

“Amma, what happened to the little finger on your left hand?” I questioned her knowing the story very well, as that was one of my favorite bed time stories.

“Oh! You don’t know about it, right?” Amma smiled gently.

“Long lone time ago, there was a kid named Ashwik” she started, as her talk took me to those golden times. “He loved his mother so much that as soon as he saw his mother stand on the steps leading to first floor, he jumped to hug her”

“And then?” I questioned with a sense of known excitement.

“Then his mother lost footing and rolled through the steps with him and to protect his head she placed her left hand over his head.”

“And that’s how she ended with the bent little finger on her left hand” I ended the story.

My mother hugged me again and I felt that there was no bigger happiness in this world compared to a mother’s hug.


For the first time since I had started my journey to the United States of America, I saw my mother’s eyes swell up with tears. My hurried marriage followed a host of temple trips across Tamilnadu had given my mother hardly anytime to talk to me.

She bade me to come closer to her. “Promise me that you will take care of your wife very well. I want her to be happy always”

“I promise amma” I spoke as she placed her hands on my head, blessing me.

“Ashwik, I think I will live for only a few more years. Please finish your project and come home soon.” She spoke with a deep sense of disappointment in her voice.

“Amma..” I spoke a touch worried about the words coming from her. She had always been my pillar of strength and had always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. “Why are you speaking like that?”

“I just feel..” she let the words hang in the air. The queue length started to increase near my Cathay Pacific flight counter.

“Take care..” she spoke and hugged me.

“I love you amma”, I spoke feeling dejected as I felt I won’t be seeing her in a long time.


Sars Calling.. buzzed my I-Phone.

“I am coming baby” I spoke to the unlocked phone. I was going to remember this day for a very long time. I weaved my way through the Friday evening traffic and stepped on the accelerator to meet my darling.

I was damn lucky! It was the greatest coincidence in this world and absolutely an unbelievable one, that Sars loved me as much as my mom. Saraswati was the heart and soul of my current life. I may not liked her from the word go, but her patience, her sense of humor, her amazing culinary skills and her love and respect for all the elders in the family had made me fall head over heals in love with her. I just didn’t know if I had kept my princess happy enough.

My I-Phone buzzed again. Sars wouldn’t usually call a second time unless it was very important. “What’s up buddy?” I spoke loud and clear. She was my best buddy after all.

“Where are you?” she spoke in a concerned voice.

“Why? What happened?” I spoke a little tensed up.

“It’s nothing. Just wanted to check with you” she tried to cover up.

“Sars..” I let my voice hang in the air and I swerved my car to the right, straight into my apartment. I quickly parked my car and closed the door.

Oh crap!! I opened the door and took out the parcel that had turned my day upside down. I quickly jogged up to my apartment where Sars was standing at the door. Strange…

I quickly pulled out the card and placed in it in her palm. “Green Card!!” she spoke unexcitedly.

“What is the matter?” I sounded a little dejected not expecting such a bland reaction from her. The card was the effort of all the blood, sweat and long hours of un-tiring work and it certainly was not being appreciated.

“Come inside and I will tell you” she spoke and placed the card back on my hand.

As I stepped inside she spoke, “Amma suffered a ..” the rest of the words hit me damn hard.

I felt a deep sense of nausea and my head swirled around as dropped my precious green card. I lost my footing and fell flat on my face. AMMA!!


Too many relatives outside my home could not have stated anything more explicitly. I removed my shoes and stepped gingerly in to my home. My teary-eyed cousin came running up to me and hugged me hard.

As I moved past her, I saw Amma placed in an ice-box. Her ever-smiling face wore a sullen look. The hordes of relatives moved away to make some space for me to sit near the ice-box.

“” the words would not just flow out of my mouth. I took a deep look at her.

No tears.. No Pain..

I just kept staring at her, for God knows how many hours, as I could see my father and other people convince me to leave the place a little while. It had been decided that my mother would taken out of our home in the morning.

I simply sat near my mother, while the relatives, friends and family quietly moved one after the other out of our house. In-spite of Saraswati’s repeated request, I just sat there looking at my mother placed in the ice-box. Soon night set in and the lone bulb hardly providing any light gave me the only company in the room.

“Sorry amma..” I spoke as tears gushed out my eyes. “I never took care of you. I was selfish enough to pursue my dreams.. my ambitions”, I sobbed heavily.

I placed my head on top of the ice-box. “Please don’t leave me amma. I just want to be with you all the time” I pleaded with her desperately wishing that she would push the ice-box glass over and hug me.

I stared deeply into her ghostly face, “Amma, I love you so much, please don’t leave me alone in this world.” I had not even completed the sentence, when I felt an icy dagger drill right through my heart. I could feel my heart pounding while beads of sweat ran down my cheek. I clutched my chest and could feel a strong hand literally pull the soul of my chest. I tried to resist hard but I was no match to strong hand and it ripped the soul from my body.

“Amma…” was all I could shout but the words hardly pouted from my mouth. Instead I heard a scream of my co-passenger as I suddenly understood how I had landed here in the train in the first place.

“SUNANDA…” he screamed as I woke up startled from my sleep.


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