In her arms, he fell
In love with him, she did
'Krishna', she said,
'Is mine'
He smiled

'But dear', they said,
'You can't marry him'
She refused to listen

For years, she waited
'He is testing my devotion'
She told herself
'I will wait for him'
He stood smiling

She loved him so much
She hurt
She loved him so much
She had to let him go

She became an atheist
Insomnia took over.

'Daddy daddy!! Look here. I can see anna. Anna is standing right in front of me', Anu squealed on top of her voice.

Well, for any outsider, it might have sounded like a squeal, but for me, her dad, the high-pitched of the 4 year old at the sight of her 6 year old brother, sounded heavenly.

I went near her and knelt down to match her height. She was playing with the new pair of binoculars I got Arjun for his birthday.

'No kanna, Arjun is not right in front of you. He's playing in the ground on the other side of the park'

'No daddy. I can see anna. He is right here. I can see him smile. Oh and now, he is picking his nose. Bad anna. Amma told him it is bad to pick one's nose'

'Hahha. Yes, it is considered very dirty to pick your nose in public. Plus, it is not healthy to not clean your nose every morning'

'Yes yes, amma has told me all that. She told anna also. Aey anna, stop cleaning your nose daa'

Innocent kid. She thought the binoculars made her anna stand next to her.

'Anu dear, anna can't hear you da. He is far away. You will have to walk across the park to tell him that'

'But daddy, he is right here. I can even see the gap in the front row of his teeth. He lost a tooth last week remember?'

She turned to her side, facing me and asked, 'Will I also start losing my teeth daddy?'

'Yes dear. You will lose one set of teeth before you become ten. They are called the milk teeth. After they fall off, you will get a new set of teeth which you will never lose'

'Does it hurt when a tooth falls off?'

'No da. It doesn't hurt much'

'Hurt much? But it does?'

Smart child of mine. I never expected that.

'No da, it doesn't hurt'

'You are lying. I will ask anna about it. He remembers it much clearer than you do. His teeth fell off just last week. Yours fell off years ago'

I suppressed a chuckle and patted her back, as she turned her attention back to the playground.

'Where is anna?'

She wasn't holding the binoculars anymore. I pointed my hand towards the far end of the park.

'There.. Can you see the bunch of boys playing with the ball? Your anna is wearing a grey T-Shirt. Can you see him?'

She squinted her tiny eyes in the direction I pointed and took a moment to spot her brother. She looked back at my face. She looked confused.

'But daddy, anna was standing right in front of me till now. How did he go so far away so fast?'

I tried my best to explain principles of optics, convex and concave lenses in simple terms for a three year old to understand.

'See da kanna. What you are holding in your hands, is like the glasses appa wears. It helps you see things that are far away. Like your anna just now. You hold this in front of your eyes', I positioned the binocs,' can you see anna now? But anna cannot see you, because he doesn't have the binoculars with him. To you, he appears to be closer than he is. To him, you are still far away'

She nodded her head without speaking a word. I held the instrument in place till she was done looking at her anna. She gently pushed them away, and stood watching the boys play at a distance.

She looked at the binoculars for another long moment, and turned to face me again. The curiosity which I saw in her face earlier, taken over later by confusion, gave way to a mixture of fear and hurt in the end. I had to be very careful now.

'Anna is not near me appa'

'No, he is not'

'He was always that far away'

She was taking in what I said, part by part. I found myself agreeing with her.


'And these.. these..'


'.. I thought anna was actually here', she stood staring at me, with her tiny eyes welling up.

Before I could even utter a word, she reached for my shoulders and buried her head into them. She didn't need any explanation. She understood.

I stroked her hair as I closed my arms around her.

That rush of adrenaline
The heightened awareness
The energy to start every new day

All the you get, from a morning cup of coffee.

She closed the door behind her carefully, lest it made some noise; lest the wood of the door got hurt, lest it disturbed the inmates, of her empty house. She turned around to face the world, outside her house, but with her eyes closed. Face, with eyes closed? How is that – you ask? The reasoning she gave for this was that she wanted to savor each of her senses slowly, one by one. So she faced the world, with her eyes closed.

It had, after all, just rained. She knew that her senses would feast. They always did, after a heavy downpour.

The first to catch her was the sense of smell; the smell of wet earth; up her nostrils, warm and sweet.

She slowly moved forward in her porch; she felt the breeze; her sense of touch; chilly breeze carrying the warm smell of wet earth.

It was time for the next sense. As if on cue, the breeze gently pushed her hair off her shoulders; off her ears; and she heard them; the trees. They seemed to welcome her; they had sent the wind in her direction; the chilly breeze that carried the warm smell of the earth and the sound of the trees’ murmur.

She heard them; she acknowledged them; with her smile. She opened her eyes and she saw them.

The clouds above, were just parting, letting in the rays of sun, lighting up the world; the world in front of her.

The trees communicating with each other through their leaves, and passing on their message to her, through the wind.

The flowers, atop smaller shrubs; they seemed to be beaming at her; they seemed to move closer to each other, talking and giggling among themselves, while openly inviting her to join them; the way old students in a class welcome the new one.

She looked further downwards, she saw the earth; humble as ever, waiting for her to go aboard.

They were all fresh, and clean from the recent rains. Fresh. Fresh as new. It was a whole new world in her eyes. Leaves sparkling, flowers bright, and the earth soft. They were all clean, fresh, and new. And now she was a part of them. They had included her with them. She had joined them.

She got down her porch, walked up her clean driveway, step by step, with each step admiring the effects of water, of the downpour. She turned around again, to look at her house, before she left. She heaved a sigh, of relief; of happiness; or maybe she was thinking about all the things she had to do, now that she was out of house and sighed that she had to do them. But she was happy, and relieved, even if she was worried about the tasks she was yet to take up.

For she knew that no matter what she did, or how much of it she did,
if she were to wear out at the end of doing them all; or she never got to complete them, and had to drop them midway;
if she came out on top of the world for having done something right; or the whole world shattered around the her because of some minor fault of hers;
if she was happy with the outcome; or was deeply troubled by it;
no matter what happened, she could come back to the safety of this house, her house which she just stepped out of.

She had bought a new house. Her own house. Not an apartment, but an individual house in itself. It was hers, just as she was, and nobody could throw her out of it. She loved the security it provided. It seemed to motivate her to plunge into the world, and grab its opportunities. And now as she stood looking at it, it seemed to nudge her forward; it seemed to ask her ‘Why are you still waiting?’

Individual house. It stood alone. It had stood alone all these days, until she moved in. In the midst of nature's gifts excluding mankind. Now she was there. And it seemed to like that; appreciate her presence; as though it had been alone all these days waiting for her to find it out.

She knew not if she owned it, or it owned her. It was her ally, she thought. There's no ownership in that; it is mutual understanding; it is mutual assistance; neither had to answer the other; and yet they were together. And in this, was the supreme and purest form of ownership, something that was beyond her understanding. The whole building could collapse the next day, subject to nature's forces. She may have to look for a different place later. But it was there now, a house that she had for her own self and that is all that mattered to her.

She made some noise which came out to be somewhere in between a sniffle and a chuckle. She still had her fears of what may happen. But right now, a fresh new world was waiting for her outside. She had to be quick. She started walking, embracing the new world, the one that had just welcomed her. She would make her own way through it.

Everything in the new world glistened; so did her eyes.

At last, she tasted; the bitter sweet taste of hope..

She would not get up this time. He will have to manage himself. He should realise that she will not run to him, everytime such a situation arose. She stay stuck in her seat.

Was he hurt? She resisted the urge to check on him. She strained her ears for any noises - weeping or moaning from him. There was none. That meant he had not got hurt. He was probably standing there looking in her direction, waiting for her to pick him up. She would not take her eyes off the book she was reading. He had to learn, didn't he?

Her son. Of two years, almost. Fell plop on the ground, out of his cradle. He toppled out of his cradle quite often. She had been extra careful to put him in a clean place, and his cradle close enough to the ground, so he won't be bruised everytime he did this. That wouldn't do. It was time he learnt how to get back in. She had been there to lift him up and put him back all these days. But she would not always be there beside him.

She risked a glance in his direction, out of the corner of her eyes. She was the mother. And she was right. He stood there looking at her.

'Mmmm' he made a noise. He'd seen his mother look at him. He wanted her to carry him in her arms. She wanted to carry him in her arms.

She wanted to wrap arms around him and shower him with kisses. But she wouldn't. She decided not to. She held the book close to her face, the one which held an expression that combined smugness and a yearning to run to him.

He was her son, her only son. Should she go to his rescue whenever he gets into trouble; or should she let him handle it on his own? She'll be facing this dilemma, all her life, all his life. For now, it was his own problem. He was old enough to do it.

Together; Separated;
Together; Alone;

The need for it;
Its absence.

The story lies here.

Wants, needs and desires;

People, events and happenings;

Love, lust and longing.

The story is at The Need, The Effect and The Cause.