A47. To Writer, From Paper

Dear Writer,

I know that if I’d ask you now if you still consider me your friend, you’d say “yes”. However, I wonder if you’d be lying because you do not hang out with me anymore. I’m sure that you’d tell me that you miss me but I do not see you making any attempt to reach out to me and to spend time with me.

I miss you dearly and I’ve made a few attempts to reach out to you but whenever I come to you, you ignore me and give all your attention to your new friend: the one that you now prefer over me. I’m not jealous of your new friend though because I understand that he’s just a new interest of yours like I once was.

You know, I’ve been through this numerous times already. People come to me because I’m a good listener, they tell me everything that they’ve in their mind. I do not interrupt people when they’re talking with me and I never judge them. Actually, most of the people talk at me instead of with or to me. But I allow people to open their heart to me and feel light.

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I can see why you prefer your new friend over me. He can entertain you and he gives a lot of his attention to you. Excuse me for being blunt and straight but I think that your new friend is only spoiling you with all the attention that he’s showering on you. Your new friend is like caffeine or nicotine: you’re addicted to him and eventually you’ll regret being with him. You’d want to leave him for your own good but it’ll be really very difficult for you to live without him. I sound a bit jealous now, don’t I?

You know, Friendship Day is not very far. Let’s meet. You can bring your new friend with you: your gadgets.

Lots of Love.

Regards,

Paper (or, as you like to call me, the dead corpse of trees!)

 

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A46. What Should She Do?

She resides in a palace of illusions.

The crown that she wears is imaginary.

 

He breaks her glass walled Kingdom.

He’s extending his hand to invite her into a new world;

He’s asking her to step out of her comfort zone.

He’s calling her to a world where she shall have no identity;

Without an identity, she shall be free.

 

He’s inviting her to explore what she’s never explored.

A world in which her jewels shall be her scars instead of diamonds.

A world in which experiences shall be her teachers instead of books.

This world will amaze her just as much as it shall scare her.

Here, she’ll be closer to the truth than she’s ever been.

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She stands there, wondering if he can be trusted.

Her’s is a world she knows and thus, it does not excite her anymore.

If she stays in her world, she shall be safe.

He looks like an adventure she’s always read about in books.

Should she hold his hand and enter an unknown territory?

 

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PS: This is probably the worst poem that you would’ve ever read. I do not write poems. Why am I posting the poem online when I know that it’s not good? Ah, well, this is one of the few poems that I’ve ever written and thus, good or bad, I’m going to take pride in it anyway. 😉

A43. Even a Healer needs Healing

As he parked his car in the parking lot of the Hospital, a crowd, which had been standing outside the entrance of the Hospital for several hours now, came rushing towards him. He stepped out of the car, with bloodstains on his white coat, and a bloody arm. He was shivering on a sunny day, sweat drenching from his forehead. An old man grabbed his bloody arm, he cried in pain but the old man ignored.

Someone in the crowd said, “Doctor, you’re here. My daughter will be saved now!”

Another voice said, “Doctor, my wife’s been sick for over a week now!”

A child pulled his shirt and said, “Doctor Uncle, my father is admitted in your hospital. Please save him.”

The voices didn’t keep quiet. He ignored them all and started to walk towards the Hospital. Everyone paved the way for him for they all wanted something from him. As he reached the entrance door of the building, a beautiful lady opened the door for him and said, “Doctor, my mother…” She started to cry and the Doctor walked ahead.

A nurse came rushing towards him and he took a sigh of relief. He thought that she’d clean his wound and eventually stitch it. He assumed that she’d relieve him of his pain, that she would heal him. As she reached near him, she said, “Doctor, everyone has been waiting for you. Please come with me to the operation theater, you need to take care of numerous patients today.”

The Doctor followed the nurse, ignoring the voices of people around him, constantly staring at his bloody arm that everyone was ignoring. As he entered the operation theatre, he attempted to tell the nurse that he was injured but she paid no attention to his words. He was handed over several tools and was expected to perform a surgery. He told himself, “Your wounds can be healed later, let’s take care of the wounds of others at this moment.” After thirty minutes, he exited the operation theatre after successfully performing a surgery. A man in his mid-thirties came rushing towards him and expressed his gratitude.

He was thirsty but he was pulled into another room where an old woman was lying on bed, waiting for medical attention. He checked her body temperature, read her pulse and prescribed her certain medicines. He was again pulled into another room where he was expected to perform another surgery. His arm kept bleeding, his pain kept increasing but he kept telling himself that he can take care of his wound after he takes care of the wounds of others.

After being pulled from one room to another for hours, he was exhausted. Every time someone touched his arm, he cried in pain but everyone ignored his pain. He was frustrated. An old man pulled him by his sleeve, attempting to take him to another room to take care of another patient. He pushed the old man away and looked angrily at everyone around me.

“I’ve been working for hours now. I need rest.”

A voice in the crowd said, “Who do you think you’re? Get down from your high horse!”

“I’m injured. I need medical attention.”

Another voice in the crowd said, “You’re so egoistic!”

“I cannot heal the wounds of others anymore until I heal my own wounds.”

Another voice in the crowd said, “You’re selfish!”

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The Doctor rushed towards his cabin and locked the door of the cabin from the inside immediately after having entered the cabin. He sat down on the floor, his back against the door. People on the other side of the door kept knocking the door. Everyone abused him, judged him, and misinterpreted him. The Doctor kept sobbing, hoping that someone would knock the door to help him instead of to ask for his help.

When he got tired of the voices criticizing him, he shouted at them, “Can you not understand that sometimes, even a Healer needs healing?”

The voices on the other side of the door got quiet. The Doctor took a sigh of relief. After a minute, a voice said, “You’re only manipulating us!” and the voices resumed to criticizing him.

 

 

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A31. Soul Mate

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Yin to My Yang.”

He was going to meet her today after years. A decade had probably passed since he last saw her. She was carrying a heavy carton to her car. He was on his way to school. She called out his name when she saw him but he was still angry about what she’d told him. He had noticed that her car was filled with luggage. His parents had told him that she was moving with her family to Bangalore.

With time, he forgot why he was upset with her. All he remembered was the fun that he had with her. He was a geek and so was she. Their obsessions were the same. He didn’t have many friends and she was bored of the conversations that her girlfriends were interested in. He loved her taste in comic books and she loved his taste in animated cartoons; this is how his obsessions became hers and her obsessions became his.

The first time he had interacted with her after she moved to Bangalore was 5 years ago. The social media is infamous for connecting old friends and thus, he took the aid of Facebook to connect with her. Neither of them talked about the fight that they’d had as pre-teens. He would message her whenever she would be online and she would leave messages in his inbox whenever he was offline.

In their late teenage years, she would bore him with her stories of how her boyfriends were and he would irritate her with questions about how to impress women. He was studying to be an Aeronautical Engineer even though he wanted to be an animator instead and she was studying literature. She would send him comic strips, poems and short stories. He would send her animated science-fiction video clips.

When her grandmother died, he had stayed awake with her and had consoled her by talking to her over the phone. Much of the time he had stayed silent on the phone and had listened to her sobs. He tried his silly jokes on her and though she didn’t find his jokes funny, she giggled because he was trying to make her laugh.

When he could not gather enough courage to tell his parents that he wants to be an animator, she stood by his side like a pillar and had pushed him enough to make him do what was necessary for him. When his mother objected to his career choices, she had made her mother talk to his mother to persuade his mother to allow him to chase his dreams.

He was eagerly waiting for her. They’d decided to meet to watch an animated movie. She was running late. He was impatient and thus he entered the cinema hall without her. She entered the cinema hall 20 minutes after the movie had started. When she sat next to him, he didn’t even look at her. Perhaps, he was engrossed in the movie. She placed her hand over his and he was taken aback.

He looked at her with surprise and she laughed with delight. The two sat before the cinema hall screen for 2 hours, not watching a movie but talking about random stupid things; after all, they were meeting after a decade! On their way out of the cinema hall, she announced, “You, my friend, are my soulmate!”

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He laughed. The two spent hours at a café talking about random things. She remembered why he was upset the day she was moving to Bangalore. Apparently, she had told him that his favorite superhero looked like one of her Barbie dolls. She was just teasing him then and that had lead to a quarrel.

After having dinner, at 10, she dropped him at his house. He stepped out of the car, bent down at the windowsill, looked into her eyes and said with a nervous smile, “I don’t know about soulmates but you’re certainly the best of all the friends that I’ve ever had!”

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A30. …that’s all that love could buy

She was sitting in a coffee shop with a book on gender inequality in her hand. A layer of dust had left its mark on the white hardcover of the book. The edges of the hardcover were slightly bent and the sides of the pages of the book looked pale yellow. Even though the book was old, she took good care of it. The book was probably dear to her; perhaps, she’d borrowed it from someone. She kept nodding her head as she intently read the content of the book.

He was sitting across the table. He was desperate for her attention. Ever since he’d entered the coffee shop with her, she didn’t utter a word except when she placed an order for a glass of water. He insisted to buy her at least a cup of coffee but she was reluctant to have anything other than a glass of water. His phone was on the table and he kept checking its screen time and again. Someone or perhaps some people were blowing his phone with tons of messages. The phone kept ringing until he switched it off on noticing that the sound of his phone’s ringtone was irritating her.

“You promised me that you’ll spend an hour with me.” There was authority in his voice. She looked at him and he said hesitantly, “You’re spending that time with your book instead.”

She placed a bookmark on a page that she was reading for 17 minutes, closed her book and neatly placed it on the table near but not too close to her glass of water. She picked up the glass, gulped down much of its content and placed it neatly on the north-east side of the book. She looked at him and smiled for the first time ever since she’d entered the coffee shop.

“Now, tell me why we’re here.”

He was unprepared for this question. He looked blank. He looked at his phone and then, again at her. “We’re here because I want to tell you how much I love you.”

“But,” she plainly said after a pause that lasted for 3-5 seconds, “you barely know me.”

He hurriedly replied, “I don’t need to know you to fall in love with you, do I?”

She giggled. “Okay. Tell me about your love for me.”

“I …” there was nervousness in his voice. He hurriedly replied, “I love you”.

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“You’ve been telling that to me from one day after you met me for the first time almost 2 weeks ago.” She removed her wallet from her leather bag and started to walk towards the counter.

He hurriedly walked towards her. “Wait!” He looked puzzled. “Where are you going?”

“I need a cup of coffee.”

“I’ll buy it for you. Sit down and allow me to be a gentleman.”

“Gentleman, this lady pays for her expenses.” There was authority in her voice and she walked up straight to the counter. She handed over some cash to the man behind the counter and placed her order.

He stood behind her and later followed her to the table as she sat down on her seat with a bill in her hand. He was about to sit down when she asked, “What is love?”

“It, it’s an emotion.” He was nervous again. “It’s the purest of all emotions …”

“Oh, is it? How do you check its purity?”

“Ah, I don’t know.”

“I’m very cynical about love. You shall never be happy with me.”

He looked at his phone again. That was an indication of his poor social skills. A waiter kept a cup of coffee on the table with a spoon, a tissue and two packets of sugar. She took a sip of coffee, tore a packet of sugar, emptied its content in her cup of coffee, stirred the spoon in the cup and then, enjoyed her coffee with delight.

She was gazing at the glass wall of the coffee shop. She was a combination of three deadly elements: elegance, fashion and style. Her wit and intellect could seduce even an asexual nerd.

He intently looked at her, “I’d rather be sad with you than be happy with someone else.”

Her chain of thoughts was unaffected by what he had just said. She was still gazing at the glass wall. She took a sip of coffee and placed the cup on the table, on the north-west side of her book. “Did you say something?”

“I …” her confident smile made him nervous. “I said that I would rather be sad with you than be happy with someone else.”

“Stranger, and yes, that’s what you’re to me: a stranger, just a stranger! With time, your love for me shall fade away just like my skin will decay with time. All that you’re attracted to today may annoy you tomorrow. Even if your love for me survives until your heart pounds for the last time, it shall not be able to stand the anger that you shall be possessed with when I will not succumb to your authority. The delusional world of your emotions cannot compete with reality. Eventually, you’ll hate me for making you unhappy. You’ll not even hesitate to cheat on me and someday, you’ll divorce me. You’ll throw me away like I’m a rotten egg.”

Under her thick skin was a layer of insecurity. She sipped the leftover coffee in her mug, collected her belongings, walked up to him and patted him on his back. “We’re done with the one hour that I promised to spend with you. Now, complete your end of the bargain; never message me again. Goodbye.”

She stepped out of the café with her head held high and got lost in the crowd. He sat there in bewilderment. He switched on his phone and looked out of the window to check if she’d gone. As his phone turned on, it kept ringing to notify of the messages that he’d received during the time for which it was switched off. He gulped down the content of her glass of water: that’s all that he could get of her; that is all that love could buy.

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A29. “Alas! I can still feel something; I’m still a human.”

He removed a glass of wine from one of the drawers in the kitchen and wiped it with a dark blue silk cloth. He placed it on a small glossy wooden table in the living room next to a bottle of wine and a music player. The lighting in the room was already dim and the night was gloomy. He removed his overcoat, unbuttoned his suit and sat down onto a leather covered dark green sofa chair with his back straight and legs crossed. As he looked outside the window of his apartment, his eyes caught the glimpse of an old man crossing the road with his beloved old lady.

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The ache in his back made him slide down and he allowed the back of his head to relax on the soft surface of the sofa. He slipped his fingers through the smooth surface of his trouser’s pocket and removed a pen drive that he had found in the mud near the dead body of one fellow named Dr. Smith. He plugged the pen drive into the music player, poured some wine into the shinny glass and relaxed on the sofa with his eyes closed. After a few seconds, while his eyes were still closed, he pressed a button on the music player and his hand reached out for the wine glass. As the side of one of his finger rubbed against the familiar surface of the glass, the music player giggled. He picked up the glass and rested his arm on the arm of the sofa chair. A lady said, “You’re fond of my taste in music and thus, honey, this is a collection of some of my favorite songs for you. Love, Zara.”

While the music player was playing the kind of songs that he despised, he wondered if Zara was someone Smith was lately sleeping with. Zara’s taste in music could depress even a man who’s on Cloud 9! As he gazed out of his apartment’s window, he saw the night getting darker and the crowd on the street getting thinner. The wine slowed down his thought process and the sad songs about lost love only bored him but he was feeling too lazy to even shut down the music player. As the clocked kept ticking, the wine in the bottle kept decreasing.

The night was cold. Eventually, Zara had her effect on him. The wine, silence of the night and the warmth of the burning wood only made him feel lonelier than he ever felt! As he kept listening to the love songs on Zara’s collection, he tried hard to remember someone he could miss while listening to these songs and sipping wine. In this moment, he wanted to miss someone; he wanted to feel something for someone. But he could remember none who had flicked his heart enough to be missed on such lonely night. Apparently, he was the renowned detective who was known for having no emotions.

He recalled how one news reporter had once asked him if he even has a heart. He walked towards the burning wood, bowed down and placed his finger in the fire. As he did so, he pulled out his finger immediately and sucked it to soothe the pain. Soon, he giggled and said with a sarcastic smile, “Alas! I can still feel something; I’m still a human.”

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A23. The Tar Making Factory

He impatiently pulled his father’s jersey with one hand while pointing his right hand’s finger at a man standing in a corner, “Dad!”

The father, standing on the footpath holding several plastic bags, looked down at his three year old son.

“Dad, what is been manufactured in that factory?”

“That is not a factory” the father giggled, “that’s a man!”

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“No Dad. Jack told me that only factories emit smoke.”

The father saw that that man was smoking a cigarette. “Jack is indeed correct. That’s a tar making factory.”

“Oh. But … What do they do with the tar Dad?”

“Well, they produce poison for their personal consumption.”

“What does that mean?”

The father moves his fingers through his son’s hair, holds his hand and starts walking. The boy turns around and sees the tar making factory holding a lighter and burning some raw material that he has just removed from a packet to emit some more smoke.

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