Tag: story

Finish that jigsaw puzzle.

Two children had an early morning today. They decided not to disturb their parents and played a game of jigsaw puzzles between the two of them.They couldn’t even complete the game, it was time for school. Grudgingly, they left the game half completed, on their dining table, and left for school. Their mother smiled at them from the door, reminded them to finish their lunch which she had prepared like everyday, so lovingly.
But then, they had an early night as well. Hours before night was to come. It is 5 pm. They are not back yet. The jigsaw puzzle remains unfinished. The only difference-they’re a little wet, and very salty.

*****************

Today has been tragic. A school of Peshawar, Pakistan was attacked by some ruthless, heartless, vile militants. A hundred children died. For nothing. A hundred stories like the one above. A hundred early nights. Way too early. Let this not be about a school, a city, a province, a country, or a religion. Let this be about those children. Let this also be about their teachers, about the people who died trying to save them. Let this be about bleeding hearts. Let this be about dead little humans, and about alive little humans. Let this be about this tragedy. Cry. Be remorseful. Depress yourself. Let everything be gloomy. Let the sun vanish, let the clouds go grey, let the dark prevail.
And then think of those children. Think of their rosy cheeks, bright smiles, colourful eyes, beautiful lives. Let that colour your life. Breathe it in. Breathe them in. For their souls are now all around you. Let that colour seep in, absorb it. Then make their deaths worthwhile. Finish that jigsaw puzzle.

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who took everything seriously. She was the epitome of a good girl. She was very intelligent, and confident in her social skills. Everyone loved her. She sometimes did outrageous things, and was chided for them, but most of the time she was a well-behaved girl.

In school, she was known for her extraordinary intelligence. Her teachers loved her. She always topped in all of her classes. Her school was satisfied with her performance, her parents were happy, her friends respected her, almost revered her. Then came a time when everything changed. Her school changed, teachers changed, courses changed. Her home changed, her friends changed. Everything she knew was no more. So to cope with it, she changed as well. The epitome of a good girl changed, and the change didn’t work out for her so well. Her performance in school lowered, her parents worried about her, and she had no friends to call truly hers. She needed to feel something other than disappointment in herself. Her company lured her to new ways, ways which distracted her from life as it now was. She was no more a good girl, she did things she would have formerly been ashamed of. She had her first crush, and wrote her first love letter. Her love letter was found out by relevant authorities, instead of the intended recipient and she was in trouble. She was ridiculed by some of those who got to know of it, and some others sympathized with her.

She felt very lonely at that sensitive stage of life, and was even more disappointed in herself. She began to hate her new self and wished she could be her old self again, but she couldn’t remember who she used to be. So, knowing nothing better and being very confused, she fell into her first depression. She was still a school girl, she was too young to be depressed and to know of depression. Her performance at school and at home depleted, she constantly felt like she was falling, or being sucked into an abyss and she wished she would hit the bottom of the abyss quickly. At least then she would get some stability in her life. She used to do this all day. She became a robot. She went to school in mornings, attended lessons absent-mindedly, returned home and went to bed. She thought of herself, her shameful acts, her disappointing performance everywhere. She thought of people, their sharp tongues and judging eyes. She thought of life, and slept in disappointment.

Then one day her depression lifted just a bit, allowing her to think with slight clarity, without judging herself. She went to school that day with resolve to live again. She found a confidante, poured her heart out and asked for help. And the confidante helped her to her utmost powers. Slowly, the girl regained power over her life. She began to ease out of her robotic life. She lived again. Her performance improved, and she felt lighter, happier. Barely a year went by before tragedy struck again-this time in form of repressed memories. The girl had flashbacks of forgotten ugly events from her childhood. She had new flashbacks every few days and knew what she was now remembering was the truth. And so she fell into a new misery. She knew what caused the memories to be unleashed, she had enough knowledge of human psychology. What the flashbacks reminded her of, was too big, too ugly, for a girl so young and naive to deal with. She fell into her second depression. This time, she was reluctant to get help. The memories repulsed her. She felt disgusted by her own self. Yet she knew she was innocent. And still, she hated herself. She stopped taking care of herself, and her health along with her performance at home and school, deteriorated. One day, her old confidante summoned her and asked her what was wrong. The girl just shook her head and left. She couldn’t let anyone know. Everyone would hate her, as she hated herself. She couldn’t bear more. At least in this depression, she had friends. They didn’t know what was wrong with her but she did get short periods of relief and light laughter with them.

An event at home, and several chidings in class one day, decided her future for her. She went to her confidante and told her everything. Well, she told her almost everything. Her confidante almost cried with sympathy for the girl. She promised the girl she would always be there for her, that she need have no qualms about coming to her about anything. She assured the girl that whatever happened was in no way the girl’s fault, that she needn’t feel such repulsion to herself. She told the girl her secret was safe with her. When the girl left her confidante’s room that day, she felt like a new person. She felt as light as a feather. Once again, she began living. Her performance improved, she became a happier person. The flashbacks did not stop, and the girl did occasionally get depressed over them, retreating into herself, but she always dealt with them in a braver manner and was soon herself again.

Time flew swiftly, and school ended on a happy, memorable note. The girl had deep memories associated with her school, she was sad at leaving, but she had learned everything came to an end. That was probably the happiest and the saddest fact of life. The girl went on to college, and made new friends. New friends had new ideas of friendship and one idea went wrong. It went so horribly wrong that the girl fell into her third depression. This one was more discreet, more concealed than the others. And it went on throughout her college years. This time, she couldn’t go to her confidante. But this time she had bigger help. She had faith. A wavering faith, but one that the girl held onto for dear life. She also had her confidante’s advice, and faithful friends. She had experience, and she knew what to do. So she slowly pulled herself out, and life went on. Her depression ended, leaving her stronger than she was before.

All this while, the girl grew as a human being. She had her dreams and aims. She had ideas on how to make the world a better place. She had a passion for fixing people. She had talents which she wanted to put to good use. Her dreams were a bit far-fetched, but the girl saw possibilities that others didn’t. Her life had taught her valuable lessons. The girl knew never to give up. So she carried on, and hoped for a good ending. Her story didn’t end there, but then, not every story has to be complete to be completed.

The story of his life

A tiny presence in the womb,
he listened to her voice
and fell in love
at first hearing.

He heard her and felt her
and tried not to hurt her,
and waited patiently
for nine whole months.

His happy days
began and ended
the day he breathed his first,
and his mother breathed her last.

The story of his life continued,
first love never forgotten,
second love never known,
third love never owned.

Beliefs, hopes and expectations
confused him as everything did,
he yearned and yearned to make ends meet
but never quite succeeded.

His dreams floated
in the river of his Future
where it met his Present
and passed his Past,
like unrequited love.

The boy deprived of love,
finally found love
when he stopped looking for it
in humans.

His dreams then ascended
from the river to the sky
and met with reality
colliding with bliss on its way.

Thus went the story of his life.

~Moniba.

“When Nothing turns into Everything”

I wrote this story in early 2013, to enter into a competition held by Oxford University Press. A few days ago they sent me these pages and informed me that the story had been selected and published in their book “I’ll find my way” which is to be released on 7th February 2014.

“Don’t cry, mommy…”

She was here just a minute ago. And now she’s gone.

I called out for my little girl. But got no response. She had a habit of hiding from me, whenever I left her alone even for a little while. I never understood that. I looked under the sofas, but I knew she wouldn’t hide anywhere that obvious. She was clever that way. I checked in the kitchen cabinets, but there was no sign of her there either. I looked out of the window, but couldn’t see her in the garden. She wouldn’t go there anyway, the wet grass bothered her. I didn’t look for her outside, because I was sure she wouldn’t go out. She never did feel comfortable out on the streets. She was never the adventurous type. Then I looked for her in her own bedroom, but she wasn’t there. I checked her favourite hiding spot in the wash basket, but she wasn’t there either. Now I was starting to get worried.

She’d usually giggle from her hiding spot, just for the fun of it. But today, I could hear no giggles. I’d looked in every room, and every one of her past hiding spots. She was only six. Where else could she hide?… I called her name again, and again. And then rechecked all the rooms. Seriously worried now, I ran to my room to call my brother. And just when I stepped in… I saw her, getting up from the very tiny space behind my bedside table. She was rubbing her eyes, and not looking at me. I called her name, she still wouldn’t look at me. She never avoided or ignored me. Circumstances hadn’t allowed her to. But she seemed lost at that moment. As if she was looking for something, but had just realized that she would never find it. My little girl looked so lost… I knelt in front of her, and forced her to look at me. She just stared back. It was a very mature look for a six year old. I asked her what was wrong, only to be met with silence once again.

I looked at her carefully for a long while… And then hugged her tight. I wanted to comfort her, to take away whatever was troubling her. She wouldn’t tell me what it was, she had gone mute. But I saw it. When I hugged her, I saw her hiding spot behind her. Behind the table, lay a picture frame. Her father. The little girl had hidden behind the table, and that photo had fallen on her. The photo of her deceased father. Tears rushed to my eyes. I hugged her tighter, this time more for my benefit than hers… I pulled back and looked at her again. The troubled look was no more there. She actually smiled at me, “Don’t cry mommy, I’ve cried your share too…”