You’re Unwelcome.

A man, who stays alone in his house, finds himself with a guest, who’s rather unwelcome.

… …

Word Art

The fan was whistling out a song in the gloomy night. Outside, in the dark, the moon was half covered by the dark, almost black clouds. The wind was humid. And the overall feeling about the weather was spooky.

He had lost his (yet another) best friend from his life and he was thinking about all the best times they had spent together. It all came to him, one after the other, making a series of episodes, a movie without a happy ending.

He closed his eyes and waited for sleep to cover his mind, while he watched the slide-show of his treasured moments with his best friend. He never knew when the sleep came over and got him mellow in its heady guise.

The cool breeze and his boredom-filled day gave him a sound sleep and he was too deep in it, but he still couldn’t ignore that sinister giggle, which accompanied a mild echo with it.. His eyes opened instantly, and he wanted to get up, check who it was. A possible burglary in his presence? Anyone outside his house? Someone not welcomed?

He got up to check who it was, but he couldn’t get down from his bed. He was stupefied, unable to move. But it wasn’t the fear of unknown. It was something else that wasn’t allowing him to move. He made a big shout and his eyes opened again. He was sleeping, and dreaming about all that. But still, he wanted to get up, he wanted to check on that laugh anyway. But he couldn’t get up this time. He was again torpefied. He was maddened due to this numbness he felt in his body. None of his body organs were listening to his commands! What was wrong with him?! He made another grunting sound and made a big push to move sideways on the bed. And he opened his eyes again. Yet another dream, inside a dream. He was sweating like a pig now on his bed. He was worn-out, panting frantically. He heard that sinister giggle again. His heart froze… This time it was clearer. It was a girl’s giggle. Was this another dream or was this real? He got up from his bed and moved to the sidelines of the bed. He turned back to saw himself still sleeping on the bed, while he was up! Bewildered at the unsettling images, these beyond weird dreams, he made a big, heart-reaping cry which finally woke him up, in real.

His heart beats were racing with each other, one beat overtaking another one. His bed was wet with the perspiration and he was clenching the bedsheets so tightly that they were untucked from all sides. His cry was still echoing in his ears and he understood that even the cry was in his dream and he had not uttered a word in real world. His throat was dry. His mouth was filled with saliva. He felt as if he had been in a drought filled area for years. He wiped the sweat off his face using the sleeves of his shirt and got up from his bed. He walked towards the kitchen. He washed his face at the sink, and drank some water from the tap. He gulped the whole glass without opening his eyes. He took a deep breath, told himself that it was okay… Just a nightmare. Everything was fine now.

The wind outside was fast. The swift bash of the wind against the sliding doors to the balcony made a creaking sound. One of the door was unlatched, which caused the freaking creaking sound every few seconds. He opened the door and went outside to check the surroundings from his balcony. It was dark, the moon was fully covered with clouds and the streetlights were the only alive thing on the street.

He moved back in and slowly closed the door. The darkness and the blue film on the door window covered the vision of outside and started mirroring the insides of the house. As the door slid past his face, he saw another figure standing right behind him of his height, shadowed in the dark room mixing with the blackness of the room, but then more blacker than the rest of it. And then there was that creepy giggle again…

Temporary Happiness

Life is a journey with many destinations. Some destinations make us happy while others don’t. And there’s always a cycle of happy and sad destinations. It is for us to decide where to stay a little longer. But one thing is for sure, we will have to leave every destination in some time.

Then why does the time happiness stays in our life look very small compared to the time sadness creeps in?

… …

On a particular morning, I woke up filled with boredom, resistance to wake-up and live another day of nothingness at office, and self-loath for this melancholic feeling. Then I decided to get ready a little quickly and go for a ride. With the turning off of the engine, the silence marks way for the sadness to crawl in again.

A long, lone, silent drive lifted up my spirit and I was willing again to fight the day, no matter how hard it might become.

Another morning, I woke up with similar somber tone of my mind. The tedium was like spikes growing up on insides of my mind, hurting every time I thought. I decided to cover it with freshness through watching some episodes of Friends, any random season. That series always lifted up my spirit, helped me turn happy, momentarily. Pressing the button to switch off the TV also turns open the door for sadness to come in, almost instantly.

Similar series of events happen just another night when I returned from a long boring day at home. I was unable to sleep as that meant waking up again the next morning and going over all of this again. But then I had to sleep, eventually. To make it more promising, I thought of listening to my favorite playlist. That always turned on the ‘happy switch’ in me. I slept peacefully, for almost few minutes of that night.

So then I thought about it, ‘bout happiness. It feels that happiness is momentary, temporary. It is fugitive, fleeting right out of us when we least expect it to. All the reasons for us to be happy, be them small or big enough to throw a party, they eventually turn sore and we tend to get sad again.

Sadness on the other hand is steady, unwavering. It has to come, it will come and we know it. It doesn’t scatter away due to a few moments of happiness, it stays – calm, patient, waiting – for happiness to pass, and then showing it’s slimy face again. We feel more sad after feeling a happiness, as now we miss it even more.

Sadness knows it that happiness makes us envy sadness more. And it takes all the gain our of happiness in our life by getting stronger and bolder.

Happiness is a kid. It doesn’t understand the schemes of sadness. It falls prey to the plots of trickery by sadness. It doesn’t keep relation with different lots of it and thus is weaker compared to sadness. It is able to drive away sadness almost instantly, but it is not able to mark a permanent place in our mind like that of sadness.

And whether we like it or not, happiness doesn’t care. It is too happy to think about sadness that follows happiness.

We, on the other hand, care. We think about it, sometimes too much, this post might be evident of it. We let sadness get stronger by thinking about it even in the moments of happiness. This we should avoid, debar strongly.

Although we know that sadness is going to come, now or in some time, we must not spoil our moments of happiness with it. When we are happy, we should only be happy and ignore the sadness just the way happiness does it.

But what can we do about the temporary nature of happiness? Can we do something about the sadness that always shows up like a rainbow after a rain? Can we do something to not let it in our lives once the happiness quotient drains out? Can we fight against it with the memories of happiness that we stash up in discreet corners of our mind? Can we make the temporary happiness to last a little longer, if not make it permanent?

Why does it feel like the sand in the hourglass runs faster on one side compared to the other upside down side…?

Sorry.. Who are you?!

Who are all those people who come rushing and buzzing towards us when we find some happiness in our life, like a honeybee attracted to the fresh flower pollen…?!

… …

There was smile spread across my face, and was probably gonna stretch out of the boundaries of my cheeks. But I didn’t care. I was happy and that was all it. I strode, and strutted, almost hopped and skipped. When I entered and got a glimpse of my new car shinning in the morning sunlight, I stood there admiring its shapes and curves – the only shapes and curves that I admire after you know who’s.

“Ah! You brought a new car…! But you brought it so plain!”

I turned around and found a person from my neighborhood, I didn’t know his name or nothing for that sake. My expressions probably said a big, confused “What?”, so he repeated.

“You brought your car in a very plain, vanilla fashion.”

This time I said out-loud “What?”

“You bought a new car, but brought it in a very non-festive style. No observance, no fete, parade…”

Okay he didn’t use these many synonyms, he just repeated his earlier sentence again, but this time I understood him. By plain he meant that I brought a new car home without “sharing my happiness with others”.

So whenever we find a new happiness in our lives, people of this species pop-up out of nowhere and stand before us. Eyes popped-out of their sockets, weary, like a zombie, looking directly at us; their twisted hands, with bones tearing out of their sordid skin, extended towards us, not in attack, but in anticipation, which is almost similar to an attack; their body bent towards us, not in respect, but as their spines have corroded in expecting things from everyone. They come to us dragging their feet, brushing the dirt on the ground, with their saliva-leaking mouth open, trying to say something while spilling all their gluttony for parties all over us, which will emulsify a stink on to your body and soul…

They are like leeches who feed on people’s happiness.

You can’t run away from them. They will hunt you down even with their perverted legs. You have to face them and choose either to be good or bad, in their ever-judging eyes. You choose to be bad, they will not rest till they are able to spread various kinds of rumors about you everywhere. Some of them might even manoeuvre an evil ambush upon your pride possessions or your newly achieved happiness. You choose to be good, they will disappear almost instantly, if you’re lucky.

Some of them are so hard-skinned, they might even keep sucking out of us even after we have been good to them. They will come with questions, inquiries and desires, more expectations, which will take the toll out of you.

It is said that sharing happiness increases it exponentially. But that doesn’t mean we go sharing our happiness with everyone in this world. That’s just a poor implementation of a good thought.

Our immediate family and friends and others, whom we love and like to be around are the people we want our happiness to be shared. We can also share our happiness with people who have silently helped us in various ways. If we want to share our happiness in monetary or material form, we should choose people wisely. And if you aren’t sure about it, share it with people who don’t expect from you this sharing, but will be more than just happy if you share it with them. They will actually wish good luck for you, unlike those other species of parasites who will almost instantly disappear once they have reaped the benefits out of you.

He came close enough to me, I almost got scared of him attached his suckers upon me, I backed off.

“Let’s see. We will do some celebration once my parents, my friends come visit me. (And I am definitely not calling you in that!” I snubbed his aghast expressions and moved on to leaving from there. He started giving out his precious advises as to how I can park my car and other details, which I half- no- fully unheard.

Why should I share it with my neighborhood, colleagues or those so-called friends, who don’t care a dime about me? Unless you are gonna help me pay the EMI or clean my car every weekend, why should I give a party to you? My dealers terms didn’t mention anything about you earning a right to free food and drinks upon my car purchase…

While moving out, a kid in his skates went past me looking at my car and then shouted “Nice car, uncle.”

I smiled and yelled thanks. Then I re-heard his statement, noted the “uncle” in it, and frowned. Moving on to the gate, I saw the security old guy who keeps a watch at our possessions. I celebrated with him about my new car and he beamed of happiness, giving his blessings out to me. Yes, they were some people I could share my happiness with, not that scrounger!

To him, I should’ve just said “Sorry.. Who are you?!”

Chronicles of a 25 something Man

An essay on the life of a 25+ boy, who juggles through his changing life between almost similar choices, taking tough decisions, living up to weird and new expectations thrust onto him and trading his dreams for buying time for other things…

… …

He is sitting in his big office chamber. There are clients waiting outside for just 5 minutes of meeting with him, for which he would charge them ample sum of money, while they are willing to pay that as his advice really makes them a great deal. He has found his love of life and is happily married to her. It was life-changing for him to marry her, yet she somehow manages to keep his life as casual and fun-filled as it was before their marriage. Surely, they are great together. His parents are proud of him of achieving so much and settling down happily in his life. They are currently on a world tour, which he gifted them as a surprise for their Silver Jubilee together. He is planning yet another trip to a new country, planning to expand his services beyond borders. But right now, he has to give an inspiring speech to young minds over the web. Surely he loves to pass on his wisdom to young and aspiring students. He couldn’t ask for anything more from God, as he loves his life and his job and his family. A Pigeon comes flying from the balcony and hits hard on his glass window, breaking a crack on it…

He wakes up to find a pigeon making mess in his balcony. He lazily lifts up his leg and falls it hard on the bed again, making a huge thud sound that scares away the bird. He knows it is dawn, and that he should wake up and run the race, but he prefers to dream that dream, so he goes back to sleep. Just when he could recreate that scene again in his mind, the door bell rings. The maid’s here.

He walks to the door, opens it and pays not even a fraction of time to look who’s standing at the door. He comes back, dragging his feet back to his bed. And looks at the wall against his bed for all the time the maid cleans the house. When it is time for the maid to go, he gets up and quality-checks the whole house to find flaws, if any, in maid’s work.

As soon as the maid leaves, his daily routine starts… While brushing his teeth, he thinks of all the decisions he has to make, of all the pending tasks on his plate and of all the big habits that he has to adhere to. It gets more than mouthful, and he has to spit them all out. Both lather and tasks.

While bathing, he thinks about changing his current consuming and growth-free job and choosing something else. But he’s unable to decide onto a particular “something else” on which he can focus. The whole time while bathing, his mind is occupied with various career options available to him and also considers an option to study further, which opens up some more career options…

It’s Friday, but that doesn’t lift up his spirit like it used to a few years back; as he could wear his favorite t-shirts and jeans. Now, formals felt him safer as he had to choose from only a few (one or two) washed and ironed pair of clothes from the wardrobe, or just grab something he had worn earlier and spray it with an ounce of deo. Looking good is no longer his priority, as it doesn’t make him feel good about himself, not any longer.

He goes to the mirror and looks at his messed up hair. If it was a few years back, he would have spent a few minutes, or may be more than a few, to make his hair kempt. But he no longer had anyone to look good for, neither he have that much time now. He had start working on his task list he had prepared in the morning.

He has to choose from several totally similar looking investment opportunities to earn a better returns on his savings. He has to choose between buying a new house or postponing that idea to future. He has to take decisions about his life… big decisions, that required quite an introspection to find out what he wants from his life – something he was no longer sure since a few years now.

He gets a series of notifications from his father. They are all about prospective life partners for him. His father is hasty about getting him married, and he isn’t sure about that manner of marrige. He had always thought he would eventually know whom from his known circle he wants to marry. Choosing from a bunch of strangers haunts him, let alone his disbelief in the concept of marriage. But he has to check those profile anyway, he’s getting older and has no serious friends, no relationship prospects and no life, for that sake. He is already late, like everyday, for his 9 to 7 desk job.

He starts his bike and it gives out a groaning cry, asking for relief from its services. It has been 10 years now. He thinks about buying another bike for him, or a car as his family wants (to show to others and prospective bride’s family, and of course, for his comfort too). Another choice, which invites several series of choices, one after other. He has several brochures and options bookmarked in his wishlist. But choosing one is a task he’s been working on since several months now.

It isn’t easy to drive while your mind is pre-occupied with several things at once and you’re not concentrated on the road. But he has driven on this road for so many years now, that he knows the potholes and even other fellow drivers on the road and makes his way smoothly even without looking around on the road. More so as he couldn’t care much about meeting with an accident. He needed a break anyway, from everything.

He reaches the office and shuffles through his backpack to find that darn ID to prove his belongingness to that building, even when those walls knew him in and out. His bag had never been this messed up before, but now, he didn’t care. He had bigger things to work out in his life. Bigger mess to clean…

His phone started ringing and he woke up from his daydreaming at his desk. It was time for another meeting. He got up and rushed towards the conference room, without anything in his hands, or even mind. He had many years’ worth of experience for those meetings, they yielded nothing. All the while in the meeting, he thought about why he couldn’t remember anything from the point he was searching for ID downstairs at the gate and to the time he was daydreaming at his desk. That was 3 hours worth of time, memory, lost.

He shuffled through different notifications on his phone while sipping that sugerless coffee. There were several overdue reminders, cleaning the cupboard, a blog idea, buying the kindle in the next sale, checking out a website for new ideas… Some of them were overdue for weeks now. He crossed out the reminder about working on a new product for his start-up. No, he hadn’t completed that. He crossed it out as that product was already launched by someone else and ran successfully in the market.

He fixed that last spreadsheet for the day and sent it to his manager, replied to another list of queries from client that made no sense at all, filled up a survey about employee satisfaction conducted by the company in which he chose mostly random options as the options like ‘not aware about it’, ‘do not like it’, ‘dissatisfied’, ‘no career helps available’, or option to write your own answer to a yes/no question weren’t t available to those set of questions.

It was weekend the next day. That was supposed to cheer him up, but he was working on Saturday. Anyway, it didn’t matter as if he had not been working, he still wouldn’t have had any plans anyway. He hardly had people he could call friend, or to better put it, he hardly befriended anyone and gave them opportunity to get closer to him and his life. Sunday went without any smile on his face and he completed a few of the tasks from his long to-do list. But that added several other new to-dos in his list…

Sunset was always beautiful to him. That would give him ideas for his blog. And night was the best time to let his creativity out. And by the time he would wake up, he would have created a masterpiece of a story or a discussion or just an observation narrative. But this time, sunset reminded him of another choice he had to make today – dinner options. He stayed alone and had to eat outside everyday, alone. He skipped the decision and assumed he wasn’t hungry. The real reason was he was just bored of eating the same things everyday without any company. That night he slept bad, empty stomach does feel bad, but he knew that already.

While watching the fan above his head, he thought of a few lines and a poem formed on its own in his mind. He immediately got up and started scribbling it on the piece of paper he kept besides his bed. The start was good, but in the middle, he got lost of his idea and the words that had earlier popped up on their own. And by the time he reached its end, he had already creased up the paper to throw it in the garbage can. His mind hardly supported him nowadays.

He started thinking about the pros and cons of various choices that were available for some big decisions he had to take. The thinking continued for a long time, making an elaborate and detailed list of pros and cons, but not giving out a winner… Soon exhaustion took over him and he was lost again in his dreams, probably the only place he loves being at, but can’t. He has a life to live…

That Hide & Seek Game

Remembering that hide n seek game and those series of emotions that flowed in the hidden light of the night’s darkness.

… …

We were running frantically towards the end of the street. We had 30 more counts before he would open his eyes and would see us running, holding hands…

My heart was pounding, not just because we were running out of our breaths, but because we were running together. Without any prior planning, we both had simply looked at each other and at that second had decided that we were gonna hide together in this game.

She was holding my hand so tightly, almost pulling me along with her. Probably her excitement was more than mine, or probably her fear. She didn’t look back, towards her brother, who was counting with his eyes closed up against the tree. She was a rebel, and that day she showed it.

The count was almost complete. All of our other friends had already chosen their hiding place and were almost invisible unless, ofcourse you knew already their usual hiding place. We knew where everyone used to hide, quite easy to mark an area where each one of them used to hide. We were running towards a new area altogether.

He announced his hunt beginning with a roar, declaring that soon he’s gonna catch all of us.

I smiled. “Not us, not today.”

We took a sharp left at the end of the street and then a right and disappeared in the maze of turns, till when we reached a deserted neighborhood leading to a dead-end.

We looked for a place where we could hide, from everyone. There was an old van, rusting at the end of the street. It was dark, and probably this part of the neighborhood had no residents. Not even stray animals could be seen. Was it luck or something fishy; Mr. Fate’s prior warning before he hits hard, I thought.

We went behind the van. It was parked right ahead of a street parkbench, such that the bench was not visible in any way unless you move around the car all the way to its back.

We went and hid behind the bench. We felt like tiny people as we could easily be hidden behind the bench from head to toe.

She finally let go of my hands. Holding hands… So pure, simple, emotional, and sweaty… Uncomfortable.

I sat there rubbing my hands on my jeans, slowly wiping off the sweat of it. Just then, she grabbed my shirt and pulled it so hard that I was pulled along with it. She asked in an anxious tone “They won’t be able find us here, will they?”

I was about to shrug when she herself said “No they won’t. This is the perfect place.”

I continued staring at her. She was beautiful beyond my ability to describe her beauty. So I won’t. But yes, she was way beyond my league.

We sat there talking about various possibilities, fantasies about what could happen if they catch us here. She was not willing to become the seeker, no matter what. Almost all of her plans had me showing myself up and then taking the seeker with me, keeping her safe. So much for the game, I thought. But in the end, she will again say “Nah! I won’t let you go…”

Time passed, rather quickly than I thought (read ‘than I wanted’). She occasionally touched my hands, and I rather skillfully took my hands away. Hey! Don’t judge me! It was summer and I hated sweat. I’d rather prefer something equally emotional and direct, not involving sweat.

I think she sensed it too, as her lips had tightened and she was looking at me without blinking, from my eyes to my neck, and back. Her neck was tilted and I could almost hear her heart beats, which were risen way up above normal excitement level.

There was mumbling sound nearby and then a ruckus, and our whole gang, one after other, appeared out of nowhere in the street that we were hiding in. They were laughing at the seeker, who had been trying to find them since last half hour, but had no luck in doing that. (It was half an hour already?!!)

I saw them coming towards us, scanning and analyzing the street for some good hiding place, and then I saw her pale and disappointed face. She was looking at me, her expressions were hard to describe. But they said “Damn!”

I gave her the ‘its fine’ expression and she nodded.

We had not disclosed anything to each other yet about our desires or intentions or imaginations, but I think they would have been same for both of us. We couldn’t do what we wanted to do that day, but being 10 year old toddlers, we hardly cared. We soon blended with out friends and forgot the whole episode.

Now I don’t even remember what was it that we wanted to do that time, but it doesn’t matter. After all, what could possibly be in an innocent 10 year olds mind!?

Non-stop Series – F.R.I.E.N.D.S

What happens when you watch a whole series at one stretch, non-stop?

Let’s try it out with ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ this time.

… …

It was a big weekend, and I had no plans whatsoever with anyone alive or dead, from this world or otherwise, in real or even in my fantasy.

So, in order to stop my mind from feeling low and depressed, I started watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. One after the other, each episode indulged me to watch more and except for a few “necessary” times, I didn’t get up from my bed during the whole long weekend.

By now, I would have seen this series several dozens of times, but still it’s my favorite pass time.

But as soon as I finished all the available seasons of this series, something weird started to happen with me. I started behaving strangely for a couple of days after. It was no longer my world that I was living in, it was the world of F.R.I.E.N.D.S that I had fallen into.

All my surroundings and my behavior changed to match to some or other character from the series. And reading the following scenes, you’d surely understand it had been weirdly funny:

– As soon as I opened the door to my house, I’d announce my arrival in some funny way, expecting my friends to be present in the hall. Although, I live alone.

– I’d want to go to the coffee bar all the time with my (fictitious) friends.

– While sitting alone in my room, suddenly I’d jump up to tell something really interesting I remembered by saying ‘Hey! Guess what!’ or ‘You know what…’ but then I’d realise there’s no one around and would keep that thought to myself.

– Whenever I’d see someone appealing, I’d instantly speak up, ‘Hey everyone check out the…’ and then realise I was speaking to myself.

– Unknowingly, I’d start singing “I’ll be there for you…” Or while playing guitar, out of tune, I’d start playing the intro music, surprisingly in tune.

– I’d suddenly realise that life without real friends is so miserable and that I’d been living such a life since a long time.

– Suddenly I’d choose a character similar to me and start quoting his dialogues everywhere. Everywhere.

– I’d pay more attention to details and try to say something sarcastic, the moment I get a chance. And then smile like an idiot as no one else would have understood that. (Remembering Chandler)

– I’d make a loud expression saying “I don’t share food!” whenever someone tried to take a bite out of my plate. Just to laugh later to see other’s shocked faces. (Remembering Joey)

– I’d clean the mess out of my house every weekend and will go all crazy on people who move things from the places. That’s actually me, even without watching friends. (Still, remembering Monica.)

– Sometimes, I plan a wicked trick with my friends, let them fight with each other. Then again use some sort of trickery to resolve things between them. I love playing mind games. But then am good at heart and can’t see bad things happening to others, so I help them make better choices. But things make me hard to understand. (Remembering Phoebe)

– Sometimes, I just can’t stop bragging about things and showing off my knowledge, on topics that no one is interested in.

– Thanksgiving, or any festival for that sake, are not fun unless you have the right conpany.

– Watching from the window, checking out the opposite balconies is fun. But not so much without friends nearby or without the ugly naked guy.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S is a television sitcom, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, distributed by Warner Bros. All rights are reserved by them.

Well, Come In!

On a weekend night, Ana was dozing in front of her computer screen while watching another long, high-rated television series. When a guest visit turned her boring lonely night into a everlasting memory, probably more appropriate to call it a nightmare.

… …

The computer was turned on and she had her ears covered with the headphones with volume up to the notch. Although it was a high-rated television series, but she couldn’t take it anymore and probably felt a small nap to be a better place than her boring and lonely real world.

The episode had completed since more than half an hour now and the silence in her house was only affected by the constant rumbling of her old computer’s cooling fan.

*Buzzzzzz*

The doorbell rang and Ana got up with a jolt and hit her leg with the table. She hopped on one leg to the door and watched through the peephole to see who was it. She saw the opposite door and the empty hallway otherwise.

The doorbell rang again. She startled and immediately withdrew from the peephole. Little hesitant at first, she then opened the door to check on the prankster.

“Hello beta! It seems that my son has gone out and isn’t picking up my call right now. Can I wait at your place till he returns home again? He lives in that apartment… That one, with a laundry bag outside the door.” the old lady said pointing at the door at the end of the hallway.

Ana had never seen anyone go towards that flat and thought may be the guy must be having a different work shift was the reason for them never meeting.

She smiled and invited the old lady saying “Well, Come in…!”

The lady came in and looked around Ana’s house in amusement. “You’re pretty neat for your generation.”

Ana smiled and went on to bring some water for the lady.

“What does your son do? I haven’t actually seen him or anyone go towards that flat since I’ve been here. Does he work unusual shifts?” Ana enquired.

“I don’t know actually. We haven’t talked since a while. I live at our family house in suburbs and couldn’t visit him due to family commitments. This is my first time here in the city. He used to call everyday earlier, but then since a few months, he doesn’t call us that regularly. So I thought to surprise him with a visit.” Lady went on. “Work environment these days! Eats out your time like a leech and doesn’t allow you to spend time with the people you love. Isn’t it?”

Ana nodded in agreement, although she had ample time to spend with someone, just she didn’t have anyone to spend her time with.

The lady and Ana talked about varied topics and time flied soon. Ana talked with someone this long after a long time. She last talked for these many hours last time when she had visited her parents. But that was a long time ago.

After a while, the dearth of topics was understandable in their conversation. And the portion of silence went increasing between two conversations.

“So, you’re here to stay a while? As I had a really nice time with you Aunty, and would want to meet you again.” Ana said up brightly.

She saw the otherwise grim look on the lady’s face turn pleasant and happy to hear that. Probably she was lonely in her life too. Void of love and attention from her son, care from her other family members. Her wrinkled face seemed sore and tired of years of dedicated care-taking of her family, where her own wishes and needs had dried up like the moisture in her skin.

“So sweet of you beta. We will surely meet again if you want. Just come over to our house next time you feel like talking to anyone. You’re like my daughter, beta. I’d love to chit-chat with you.” Lady said smiling, the only time her folded face still looked beautiful.

Ana smiled and stood up “Excuse me for a second.” and went towards the washroom. She was happy to find someone with whom she could spend some time now that she wasn’t around her own family and friends. And an elder company is better once you grow up enough to get bored of the usual partying and wasting time at all crazy activities with your friends.

She came back, beaming “Aunty… I am terrible cook and you’ll have to teach me some dishes, so that I…”

The room was empty and the front door was open.

She went to the door and looked outside in the hallway. It was empty. Probably the lady’s son had come and took her home. But that was weird that she left without saying goodbye.

She went back to her couch, closing the door behind her. She looked at her computer and the boredom was returning, little faster than she had expected.

*Buzzzzzz*

The doorbell rang again. Ana went to answer the door and opened it without looking through the peephole. Probably it was the lady, come to explain her sudden exit.

It was the uncle next door. “Do you have today’s newspaper. There’s an ad that I have to check out.” the uncle continued in his usual withered tone.

“Yes uncle. One second…” and Ana went to bring the newspaper.

She handed him the newspaper and hesitantly asked him “Uncle do you know who lives in that last house, right at the end of the hallways.” Ana asked pointing towards the end house.

The uncle looked at the end of the hallway and looked back at her, his face paler than usual.

“That house is empty. No one lives there. The last tenant died in a car crash and the house has been empty since then.” the uncle answered her question, and asked with confusion on his face “Why?”

Ana was setback. “When did that happen? The accident?” She asked in a worried tone.

“Just a few months back. I don’t remember, but recently though.” the uncle said while scratching his bald head. “Okay thanks for the newspaper. Goodnight.” And he went on towards his house.

Ana nodded in reply of that farewell, but her head was filled with questions and worry. That lady must be unaware of the unfortunate accident with her son and was waiting for her son to call her since last few months. It wasn’t a surprise visit, it was  to calm down her anxiously worried heart. But it wasn’t going to calm down, not now.

Ana was staring at the opposite wall and her face was filled with worry. The uncle next door looked at her while opening his house door, and saw that expression.

“What’s up with you child? Any problem?” He asked as a friendly neighbor.

Ana let go of the staring-at-the-wall position and looked at him. “Does his family know about his death? Had anyone informed his family about the mishap?” she asked the obvious questions.

“Well of course. The story gets more sad here. The police had tracked down his family and had informed them about the incident. The body was delivered to them too for final rituals. I heard from others that everyone in their family was setback with the bad news. After all, the only son, only child to the parents died an unfortunate death. God bless!” he said while looking up, praying. “The boy was a good person. Never did we hear any complain about that section of our hallway. None from residents or visitors. Poor mother of his. They said that her mother was the most affected with the news. She wouldn’t believe that her son was no more in this world and would urge on to come visit her son here.”

Ana’s face was now all white with all these information. It was hard to digest all these facts at once.

“Her mother… She knows! Still… Where… How’s she now?” Ana asked in a uneasy voice.

The uncle replied with an even sad face “Oh she died, I hear. Couldn’t bear the pain I guess. Better that way. Than living in a pretense of his alive son. Anyway, why you ask about that family? You knew them?” the uncle asked, rather suspiciously.

But Ana was not in a position to answer that. She wasn’t in a position to answer any question for that matter. Last few hours were flashing before her eyes. That doorbell, that touch of her hand on her head when she had bent to touch her feet to ask her blessings. That whithered skin on her face. That beautiful smile, while the ever longing worry for her son. That desire to see her son in her eyes, that merriness and love in her voice when she talked about her son… What was that?

Ana closed the door without answering the uncle’s question. She didn’t bother to lock the door or to turn off the lights or to do anything for that sake, but went to her bed and lay there, her eyes closed. Her heart beating fast and with each beat, she felt that excruciating pain for that lady that couldn’t meet her son for the last time.

Her smiling face came to her thoughts and she remembered telling her that she wants to meet her again, that she liked to spend time with that lady…