Text within a text

I’m bored mom, I shouted from the love seat right outside the changing room in Nordstrom while my mother tried the dozen clothes that she had taken inside after spending literally an hour searching in the section that had tacky neon and electric pink posters with Sale printed in curly fonts.

I was an 8 year old and an impatient one at that. My mom walked out and handed me a ten dollar bill on which Alexander Hamilton looked away, smiling (more like smirking)

“You can go to the bookstore next door on one condition” she said

“Don’t loiter around, stay in the section for kids” I mimicked in my mother’s accent” (I had finally perfected it).

She smiled at me instead of shouting at me for misbehaving in public, that’s what shopping does to her.

I entered the bookstore, bewildered as ever. One of the women who helped there who remembered me from my previous excursions came to me with a wide, white-toothed smile.

“How can I help you?” she asked sweetly

“Can I go to the kids section?” I said

“Of course love” she replied, catching hold of my hand and guiding me to one of the back aisles.

She took a seat at a corner while I rummaged through fairytales and picture books, graphic novels and comics, mysteries and encyclopedias.

I had a daughter, who looked just like you; she had deep, dark grey eyes, a forever-plastered smile, a crow-like nose, and wavy blonde hair, just like yours. 4 years ago, when she was 7, I was driving her to school. It was just like any other day, my ex-husband called up and shouted, “You’re over Meredith, your happiness is soon going to be taken away and then you can drink as much as you want, drink away to glory.” I retorted, “Shut up you drunkard, go and immerse yourself in your work and bottles of whiskey.” the line was long dead. I cut his call and looked up, staring into the bloodshot eyes of an obviously drunk truck driver.

SMASHHHHHH.KABOOOOOOM

My car had been split into two vertical pieces. The part where I had been was intact but the part where my daughter had been sitting was in such a bad shape. I could see her hand reaching out to me from underneath the door, I tried to reach out but before I could make a call or save her, her hand went limp.

I ran out of the bookstore on seeing the woman crying, I ran to my mother, crawled inside from underneath the stall and howled like I used to when I was 4.

My mother shrieked first but realizing that it was I, she looked at me, patted my back and pulling me close to her said, “How many times have I  told you to stay away from those horror stories, look at yourself, you looked so messed up sweetie.”

I didn’t say a word, just hugged her frail frame and hid my face in her pink fluffy shirt, which had a price tag hanging off the shoulder.

Something Exchanged

She came up to me, running, out of breath, excited with gleaming eyes that shouted. I looked at her with interest, observing her carefully I said, “What is it Peyton, why that funny look on your face?” She looks at smirks, shrieks and blurts out loud “Its here, the one thing that is bound to make you happy is here.” I think of chocolate and ice cream, good grades and a new laptop but not even once does the actual thing cross my mind. “He sent something, his friend Jamal just handed it over to me” she says, smiling.

He sent me something. WHAT. NOWAY.

I look at her, making sure that my expression is a straight face, not giving away my keen interest or excitement or shock and I say “OH!” That’s all I say, I don’t shriek or start jumping around which I should have done considering how ecstatic I was.

Peyton hands me over a small package; I take it from her and stuff it into my bag.

“You aren’t opening it” she says bewildered.

I raise my left eyebrow to make my 3 year younger sister buzz off.

She raises her hands in surrender and says, “Okay, okay. I understand, you need your space, its your life, you don’t want me to see what’s in it”, “Also, you don’t want me to tell mom and dad about it”

I smile at her contentedly, “You are getting smarter by the  second little sister” I say.

She smiles back at me, understanding my sarcasm. “See ya soon big sista who is obviously in love with Omar,” she says.

I hide my scarlet red face by turning around

(When you move around while blushing, the blood from your cheeks starts flowing throughout your body, so you are no longer red, hence MOVEMENT IS MANDATORY.)

As she walks away, jamming her fingers on her phone, typing away noisily, I proceed towards my realm, my room.

I lock the door behind me; sit on my bed, facing the package, apprehensive and freaked out.

Should I open it or not, it could break my heart but nevertheless I choose to open it and deal with the result later.

The package consists of a Black Diary which has Omar’s journal written on the jacket cover. (I’m a little more hopeful than I should be)

Backflips, butterflies and somersaults seem to take over my stomach and controlling me completely.

I slowly open the Journal, reading it carefully, word by word, page by page and then faster, flipping through the pages, flying through them till I reach the last page.

I stop.

Am I ready to know the end to this unbelievable story?

Maybe/maybe not.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath and heave a sigh.

LETS DO IT.

I read the entire page, holding my breath, in one go.

There is a wide grin on my face when it ends, I look into the mirror and see the smile lighting up the corners of my eyes.

HE LOVES ME. HOLY SHIT. HE REALLY DOES.

CRAP.CRAP.CRAP.

SHIT.SHIT.SHIT.

He wrote an entire journal about me, how he stalked me everyday, how happy he felt when he saw me, how I made him feel stuff that he hadn’t ever before.

I felt like a princess, I mean it isn’t often that you get a gift that is not materialistic and has more value than all the materialistic gifts in the world put together.

I close the journal and hug it closer to myself and notice a note sticking at the back.

“If you feel the same way about me, come and meet me behind the school auditorium tomorrow morning at 7am, really hope you come- Omar”

And that is how the fairy-tale of a lifetime began, with the exchange of love, the exchange of feelings, the exchange of that black journal and hearts.

What lies in a name?

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Everybody has a name.In my opinion,even anonymous is a name!Some names fall in the ‘short category’ and some in the ‘long category’ and there are a few that are ‘stuck in the middle’ and just like my height, my name too is stuck in the middle.

An unusual name with various pronounciations which are all acceptable cause its a proper noun, my name is Raina.

It belongs to the Persian/Arabic origin and means Queen-which I’m obviously NOT but like every other girl, would love to become.

I won’t mind hijacking Kate Middleton’s life and marrying Prince William, in fact it would be a beautiful dream coming true.I would attend balls,galas and benefits, roam about in Limousines,Lamborghinis and Aston Martins and be the much ‘hyped’ talk of the papparazi.

But all that is secondary, even oodles of money can’t match the feeling of being a ‘Royal’ , belonging to a family with the richest heritage,longest of lineage and deepest of culture.

You might find this funny, think of it as something a 5 year old might want but in our heart we all will always be 5 year olds wanting to become princessess like Snow White or Rapunzel, marry a handsome prince and have our ‘Happily ever after’.

The Disappearence of Scarface

Ziya had grown up as an outcast.She had always been the black sheep in her family.no one cared about her and her house was a living hell but this did not stop the mysteriously scarred girl from becoming a bully in school.She could eat from anybody’s tiffin box,swear at anyone and steal anyone’s money without being threatened because everybody felt like a coward in her presence. She had an undefinable aura and her face was proof that she had suffered much. There was only one person who could stand up to her without blinking an eye , and that was her ‘so called’ friend Aayan.

And then one day, out of the blue Ziya disappeared.No one knew where she was.Her forever drunk father had been out since 3 weeks and hadn’t returned. Her careless mother had left the house, saying that she was going out with friends for the weekend but that was 5 days ago, and when Ziya didn’t show up in school for 4 days in a row Aayan got tensed up and suspicious. Moreover, Ziya wasn’t even picking up her phone. So, Aayan decided to pay the Shah house a visit.

The Shah house looked as though a hurricane had hit it, wrecking havoc. There were pieces of broken glass on the floor, the house was stinking and hadn’t been cleaned in a month. But Ziya’s room was like a contradictory statement to the rest of the house.

It smelled of tube roses, though a bit rotten. The room was very meticulously maintained and had stars painted on the walls which had faded and there were chapped parts which were unsuccessfully hidden. The only oddities about the room were that the contents of the cupboard had been hurriedly messed with and the bedding had creases,and looked as though it hadn’t been made since a week.

These peculiar findings were pointers to the fact that Ziya had left the room in a hurry. Which brought mind-boggling questions to Aayan’s head about Ziya’s sudden disappearance. Had she been abducted? Was she alright? Had she eloped? He shrugged away the last question on realising that Ziya would never do that, she was not a coward. But her being missing suddenly brought tears to his eyes, and he broke down… astonished that he had done that, and that was when he realised that his best friend Ziya completed his life, made him feel secure, made him feel loved.

What Aayan didn’t know was that the very brave Ziya had actually run away, having no other option left. She had discovered a fact that was heartbreaking. She had been lied to, well one wouldn’t if their entire life was a lie, if their existence was a lie.

The very thing that made her an outcast was not a mistake but a very carefully planned plot by her father. The scars that covered her burnt cheeks were not due to the hot tea that she spilled on her face as a kid but had been given to her when her father had tried to murder her alive as a kid by shoving her face into the fireplace.

Ziya was a strong girl and could have handled it because she had always doubted the story about the spilling of tea but the woman whom she had grown up referring to as ‘mother’, was actually her father’s partner in crime. They had together killed Ziya’s real mother because she had refused to kill Ziya, as her father wanted a boy rather than a girl. To show his rage and fury, he had killed Ziya’s real mother.

And reading all this through a well hidden diary in the attic made matters worse. Her brutal father had written it as though he had done a good deed which deserved a reward. The brutal man had made her suffer so much that being dead would have been a better option especially sitting there alive in the creepy darkness of the attic with a single ray of light coming from the torch in her hand.

Ziya had lost all hope, she had lost faith, her life turned into a joke, a very cruel one. Emotions engulfed her and she started weeping, weeping for herself, weeping for her dead mother whom she had never known, weeping at the cruelty of her father, and more than anything else she wept as she was struck by the fact that she did not have a place called home, but just a house.

Then the thought of Aayan, with a perfect family, who loved him and would do anything for him came into her mind and she felt not a pinch of jealousy but remorse. And that was the point of time when she decided that she had lost the little that she had. Ziya then and there made up her mind that she would never return to misery. And then without another thought, she picked up a backpack , stuffed her bag with a few things including her teddy bear. And then she put on her jacket’s hood to face the harsh weather outside. Ziya stepped outside the house, looked up to see the stars twinkling and wondered which one of them her other was, then she ran, ran from life, ran to relive life…. ran… ran… ran never looking back.

My teens on the edge

I think I might be in love. Maybe. Maybe not but nevertheless, I’m outrageously attracted and infatuated for now. Maybe it has something to do with his huge doe shaped hazel eyes which twinkle with delight at the very sight of me or his little nose. And how can I forget his long body, which reminds me of those sumptuous hot dogs which mum used to make when I was little, his voice, ah!  His purring, is anything but cute and that forever wagging tail of his is one thing that can always make me smile. ALWAYS! Have you ever heard of inner happiness, contentment, joy? Well those things are what I feel while sitting next to him and patting him on his soft brown coat. This is where I always want to be, right next to him, stroking him and hugging him close to myself so that he doesn’t feel cold in this frigid climate. I’m sure this is love, that true eternal love which Shakespeare and Blake talk about.  
I’m ashamed at myself, at my behaviour or more specifically misbehaviour. How could I have even thought of doing something so bad  to Frank.
It all began 2 months back on my then-bff Ziya’s birthday. It was the 23rd of August and the memory is still fresh in my head. Well why won’t it be, that day changed me or should I say brought me back to my senses after a very long period of being recklessness.
Both of us along with 5 more friends of ours had gone to a disco. I know that’s not a big thing but maybe if you knew that we were in class 10th you’d feel a bit shocked and if I told you about our fake id’s you’d have your mouths hanging open a little larger. All this was normal for us, this was the way we lived our life- young,wild and free. Like all parties Ziya was as ever the crazy hot girl dancing in a carefree manner in the middle of the dance floor. Not that all of us weren’t having fun but well for Z, it was always melodramatic-extreme-insane enjoyment. That day things went beyond every body’s control. All of us got drunk. No, drunk is an understatement- we were HIGH. Intoxicated way beyond the usual. The last thing I remember was slapping anybody and everybody like a lunatic. After that my memory is pretty blurred. The next thing that I actually do remember is standing outside my house’s gate staring hard at the 4 doors instead of 1 in front of me, trying to figure out which one to choose. That moment was worse than what happened with Alice when she was all alone trying to find her way in wonderland. I felt like pulling at my hair and puke my guts out. I turned around to see a car speeding away at practically 180km per hour. It wasn’t just another car, it was Ziya’s Merc, that black car with the 1211 plate was something that I could recognise even in my dreams. 
I turned around to see that the door was open now, on walking inside I came face to face with my mother who on looking at my drunken state slapped me hard, not once, not twice but around 10 times, I lost count after that. She walked back into the house locking the door after her, leaving me standing in the middle of the garden silently crying with a face smudged with kohl because of the continuous waterfall of tears.
Then I did something that I regret from that day and will regret up till I die, I searched through my cross body bag and found my blackberry and called up my mother, she picked up on the second ring and said nothing, I could hear her sniffing, probably holding back tears but all this was trivial to me, in a single breath I blurted out all of the abuses I know and instead of scolding me,threatening me,asking me to leave the house or coming outside and thrashing me for my ill-manners, she very calmly said “You are the worst daughter anybody could ever have,you have no respect for your parents and never listen to what they tell you to do, that little pup in the kennel is more responsive and loyal than you”.
 Hearing this, I cut the phone and ran towards frank, that little nonsensical brat that my parents loved more than me. I slapped him, beat him with a stick, threw whatever I could find from flower pots to the small showpieces. I hated him because my my mother preferred him to me, she thought he was more obedient, more responsive, more loyal. How could she have possibly compared me to a stupid animal that could not even speak.  He had started crying and purring in pain by then. He was hurt, and I couldn’t be more glad. Mum came outside on hearing his whimpering and came face to face with me, I ended up puking on her feet. She took him into her arms, and quickly drove away,  not even saying a single word to me, so I ran inside and up the stairs to my room, shut the door and wept like a maniac into my pillow, my only companion. I didn’t even know when I fell asleep, I awoke the next morning, it was almost noon and my parents were sitting on my bedside, whispering.
 On seeing me awake, my father said ” I don’t have much to say to you, so don’t think I’ve come to give you a lecture. If you’re old enough to booze, I think you’re old enough to chose between right and wrong. Your mother and I have decided that we won’t say a word to you. You’re big enough to make your own decisions”. Saying this he walked away, leaving behind a credit card with my name on it. Unlike normal people, his words didn’t inspire me but in actual they hurt me like a thousand thorns, slowly but painfully. I decided that it was time to retaliate and retaliate is what I did. I bathed,dressed up and went out to have a few glasses of beer. I called up Ziya and asked her to come as well, while sitting there and sipping beer I told her about everything and she sympathised  with me, she then called up one of her drug dealers and told him we needed a bit of stash. He told her that he would be there in a jiffy, and she gave him our location. This was new to me, Z told me to chill and enjoy the comforts and luxuries of life with my newly acquired credit card or in her words, the best lifeline ever. That day was wonderful and so were the 2 weeks that followed, filled with enjoyment,getting drunk,smoking pot and dancing till our feet hurt. I’d started ordering a lot of drugs, and hiding the packets at home or in other words I was addicted. 

But after a week of getting stash home, I realised that my packets were going missing. I was scared that my parents had found them and feeling helpless, I started searching for them. It was after two days that I saw that frank was burying something in the ground which looked a lot like my packets. On closer observation, I discovered that my doubt was true and it was my packet. I was angry, outrageously enraged in fact. But then my mind went into flashback, I remembered the times I used to eat excessive amount of chillies and how frank, then a little pup used to hide them. He was one whom I could count on when I dad used to scold me or when mum was upset with my marks. He used to greet me with a wagging tail every time I came home after an exasperating and exhausting day in school. He was the anchor that used to stop my ship like life from sinking in the middle of the chaotic ocean like life. And that was the day that I chose between the glamorous life and frank. And I bet you must have guessed my choice.

 

I wrote this short story a few months ago for a competition and am still awaiting eagerly awating for the  result.It’s purely fictitious. 🙂Image

 

On Mothers’ Day :)

You are like the sun,
Bringing light into my life,
You are like the stars,
Guiding this little girl who is anything but naive
You are like the clouds,
Giving me shelter,
You are anything but a clone of someone who loves me,
Who saves me from being lost in life’s helter-skelter,
You are like the rain,
With precise knowledge to heal my pain,
You are MY mother,
Like whom there is no other.

love you to bits and pieces mum :*