I write on my better days

Et si? –

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The grand morbier clock in the study chimed the beginning of the feast. It wasn’t just the menus upon menus of assorted delicacies and champagnes that made the invite so irresistible but the charming host himself with his irrevocable promise of the night being the only one of its kind which made the refusal utterly impossible. Standing in the balcony, witnessing the seamless ballgowns flowing in unison with the chords of the resonating motet, He smiled. Nobody would return disappointed from here tonight, nobody but him. Pouring himself a coupe of Moët, he inconspicuously shifted his gaze onto the front entrance. He let his thoughts run- as free as those carved horses in the mahogany door.  Tilting his head to one side he wondered, ‘Et si?’  –

The door was wide open, inviting everyone & anyone with a desire to quench their thirst of cloud-nine. It was however, an altogether a different matter that there were no guests for it to graciously receive anymore; at least not the one, the owner of this classic château was eagerly anticipating. Looking skywards, his gaze met the scintillating chandelier. He was trying to interpret the geometrical patterns made by it on the dome of the roof when the realization hit him. Maybe, people are not supposed to be happy.  Maybe, gratitude is all that is expected of us. Instead of complaining how things didn’t turn out according to the plan, we should be grateful that it didn’t get worse when it could have. He had his answer after all. So close, yet so far apart.

His plans deserved a genuine laugh from him. The music subsided as the morbier chimmed midnight. The feast was over and it was time to bid adieu. Shifting his gaze for one last time on mahogany entrance he reflected on the taste of his Moët; as sweet as his dreams, as bitter as his memories. ‘Et si?’  – The ticking of the antique clock was barely audible over the silence which ensued. Time passed, yet the night lingered on.

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Irony

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He wanted her to die,

So he could write her an elegy.

He put his pen to paper,

As she walked towards the gallows-

Such was his love, such was her naivety.

Divine Legacy

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He felt the nib of his ink pen scribbling against the rough smoothness of the paper. It gave him a sense of freedom. He was just another ragged entity inching his way forward into the cruel world with quintessential dreams to aspire and inspire. To the people around, his fate seemed nothing but drowning into the remote depths of the whirlpool of life with no hope of resurfacing. But to his own self; he was an immortal, a creation turning into a creator.

Staring at the starlit sky, running her fingers through the damp earth she marveled at her ability to weave words in to rhymes and odes effortlessly, she was overwhelmed with perfection.  The goddess of words, the legacy he had left behind.

The enchanting lore he wrote,

The enigmatic tales he told-

A pity, he remained no more.

Solivagant

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“It’s December.” She said.

They parted their ways, Again.

Rumination

If having great friends, supportive family and money were enough, she would’ve been the happiest person that walked the Earth but she wasn’t. She had everything but not nothing- So, she grieved for ‘All’ wasn’t in its entirety.

The Market

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A couple of years back when we still lived in Islamabad, my sisters and I used to take long walks. Going from one street to another we’d keep on talking, unmindful of the time or the people around. From those idle hours of late summer nights, I got to know much about my sisters because at home we rarely talked. In our story of a happy family, God assigned the role of introvert to me. My childhood days went by reading ‘Family Atlas’ and ‘The Night Sky’. But at nights, I used to hop along my sisters flaunting about the Great Sahara or the constellations they would simply interpret as baskets or bizarre flowers.

The sector’s marketplace used to be our starting point. That jammed up street next to the ‘muhallay ki masjid’ fascinated me a lot. Although there wasn’t much save for a few inadequately supplied shops huddled together, but that street hosted life to say the least. People going on and about their daily routines, stopping only to share a word or two on weather or politics.  The lingering whiff of crisp naan coming out of tandoor – so fresh that you could almost taste it, the snipping of the barber’s scissors – the way hair fell down, the clicking of the calculator keys – the sound of cans protesting against each other in  plastic bags. There was a perfect tune to all of it…

One night, my sister said, “Several years from now we’ll all grow up and leave this place only to come back and realise how much everything has changed. Maybe these shops get replaced by a bigger and better mall. How much different everything would be then. We might not be able to even recognize this place.”

Today standing in the same street, I realize how much my sister was wrong when she was right. Everything is the same but everyone has changed. There is no big mall; in fact all the shops are still there, but the people aren’t. For better or for the worst everybody has moved on. Even I’ve grown as a person. I recognize this place, just not the people I see. The only thing I know is that everything eventually changes even if apparently all remains same.

Beauty- A beast within

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The sun had set long ago. Even the last streaks of hue were blending into an impenetrable darkness of the approaching night. But she had no plans of heading home early. Done with her usual rounds of jogging, she sat on an ice cold bench. Engrossed in her own thoughts, she didn’t notice when someone took a seat beside her. Moments later she looked up to see a feminine face beaming at her.

‘Nice weather, isn’t it?’

‘It’s cold’, she stammered.

‘Obviously, it’s December. What did you expect?’ The lady chuckled.

She shrugged. She had never expected much from her life or she thought so. What was December to her but just another month on the calendar? She retracted into her invisible shell once more.

‘Nice hair you’ve got.’

‘Pardon me?’

‘Nothing..I was just complimenting your hair. Good texture… In fact I’d call it Perfect considering mine.’ Saying this, the lady motioned to her frayed hair bun half hidden beneath a wool muffler. ‘Anyway it was nice talking to you. I’ll leave you be.’ With that the lady buttoned up her coat and departed into the velvety night.

If not more, she was acceptable. A fine young lady- tan, slender, 5’7’’ crossing into 8’’. Her features made it easy to fit into her surroundings. Her friends, on the other hand stood out with but she didn’t mind. Complex of the sort never found way to break into her sky high confidence. She had other accolades, ones she deemed worthy of her interest and energy; a mere tag of miss pretty wasn’t among them. In her opinion, beauty was a nuisance. Like all the things in life, it also came with a price – Something she would never settle for, so she learned to do without it and succeeded too, though briefly.

She ran a finger through her hair absent mindedly. ‘Perfect’, she heard herself repeat and smiled. The ice queen was melting. It wasn’t long before the dread of losing her only perfection gripped her. Fear was the price she had to pay for what she had been permitted.