The Locked Doors – Continued

Sam frequently finds different doors in his house locked from the inside, without any reason. When the mystery unfolds, will Sam be able to take all that? Read on to find out.

Previous post:

https://justhokumhere.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/the-locked-doors/

He was running through the forest, veering and dodging the dense branches and trunks on his way. It was moonlit midnight. He looked back and saw the lights getting closer behind him. He must run faster, he must not get caught, they will come for him… he thought.

He got hit by an approaching branch and he lay flat on the ground, hearing the footsteps getting closer. Darkness slowly covered his vision.

A distant screech disturbed him and he opened his eyes. He stood up and jumped a few steps back in terror. He was standing on the edge of a mountain cliff. A step ahead and he would’ve fallen into a steep gorge. ‘How did I get here!’ he thought. He felt dizzy due to all this confusion.

He turned around and found himself falling towards the ground. The clouds were quickly rushing past him. He shouted for help and it all turned into darkness. He was flying into nothingness. He moved and felt nothing. He extended his arms, but reached on to nothing. Suddenly, a hand pulled him, a very warm and tight grip…

He woke up, panting and sweating. His head was pounding as if he was hit with something heavy, yet when he examined his head, there was no sign of any head injury or concussion. He dragged himself out of his bed and looked at the clock. It was Monday morning, December 18th.

He stressed his memory and could only remember his last day at work, Friday it was, a hard day, he had failed in a presentation, and Jenny had rejected… Wait! Slept for straight two days!

He walked, stumbled towards his bathroom. He grabbed the lock, and a sudden pain started to torture his head. He shouted and the pain disappeared. May be he fell sick or something, he thought, and went in for a hot shower.

He closed his eyes and took deep breaths to relax. A series of images flashed before him. His birthday party, his family, his dad’s retirement party, an evening when his mother was caressing his head while he was sleeping in her lap, his girlfriend, their first kiss, her body, their breakup, a weird set of eyes… He opened his eyes. Those eyes, those green big Bright eyes, were haunting.

A week had passed since his last two days straight nap. And he still couldn’t remember anything that would explain his stretched slumber.

On the weekend, his house broker visited him. A locksmith accompanied him and he inquired about broken locks in the house. A sudden burst of memories filled his head. Ache after ache, his pounding head started filling the gaps in his memory. He now remembered his last week and his struggle with the locks in the house. He remembered how things got out of his hands and he was forced to put hindrances all around the house to stop the doors from locking themselves. He remembered the Friday night, and the next morning, the mess spread in the house and those set of eyes. Those quirky, big, bright green eyes, staring right into his eyes, before he had been knocked out.

The internet flooded him with information, pages after pages, about hallucinations, schizophrenia, occipital, split personalities and all weird sorts of brain damage he might have. After the locks were cleared by locksmith’s examination and there was nothing that explained his recent experiences and those broken memories, those green eyes; the only sane explanation was that something was wrong with him. Probably he was taking too much tension of his work, his life; probably he was drinking too much, or may be he should stop taking those sleeping pills with his dinner as a dessert.

There were many explanations for his frenzy but not one that was convincing. He felt mad from inside but not at his fault. His mind wasn’t accepting this theory and constantly pointed towards some external angle, some external force who messed up with his head.

He pushed the front door of his house from outside, but didn’t go inside. He stayed out for a while, expecting something to happen. Nothing did. He walked in and locked the door, while slowly scanning the darkness inside the house. He stretched his hand to switch on the light but hesitated for what he might see.

Snap.

The lights filled the room and darkness vanished into the light, rather slowly than he could scientifically expect. He walked towards his room. The door was closed. He saw the knob, will it be locked, he thought. What might be waiting for him inside the room. What if that thing attacks him? He felt the cold knob in his hands for a while, took a deep breath and pressed the knob. It didn’t bulge. It was locked from the inside.

His heart beats were raised alarmingly. He was frightened deep down his nerves and sweat dripping from his forehead was blurring his vision. But he didn’t run away. He has to fight his fear. He knew none of this was true. It was all his imagination. The door wasn’t locked actually and he knew it. This will all go away if he fights against his mind’s tricks. He knew this because he had discussed this with his doctor. He just has to try again, press that knob again. This time it will open, he is sure.

Click.

The door unlocked easily as if it wasn’t locked at all. Relief drained out of his body in the form of sweat and he went directly to his bed. Just a few more days now. His strong fight against his imagination and the medication will surely give positive results. He went to sleep almost instantly. The drugs started their work, whatever it was.

Just besides his bedside table, the curtains were swayed back and forth by the wind coming from the open window. Nothing was visible outside the window or inside the room. The opposite apartment’s lights went on and a dark shadow appeared behind the curtains. It was half the height of Sam, and a little wider. The curtains took yet another flight and Sam could have seen the Green, round eyes if he had been awake.

The lights went off in the opposite apartment and the windows of Sam’s room closed themselves with a thud. The hatch locked itself and the green eyes disappeared behind the curtains, while the darkness took over in the room. The eyes were happy that Sam was slowly forgetting his memory of the Saturday morning. Soon they will be irretrievable. And soon this mess will be fixed. Just a little more wait…

… …

To be continued…

Advertisements

Good Night

A story of a man staying as a paying guest with one family and the series of unfortunate events that turn out to be direful.

A

bus came rushing towards the withered bus stand and stopped with a jerk. After years, someone was climbing down at the station Bholgadh, a place one can not even find on any map. Mehaar climbed down the bus with his two big trunks. There were no seats at the bus stand, just a wall with cracks spread all over it like a wallpaper, and a shade over it, which no longer gave any shade due to its broken shape.

Mehaar was broke and had finally accepted his friend’s offer of staying at his place for some time till he gets back on track. So, he waited at that desolated place, away from the city, for his friend to come pick him up.

A rusty car came rushing out of the woods, and came to a halt, making a thud by slightly hitting the road sign-board. Mehaar greeted his friend, Kiaan, and got in to the car. The car moved along the narrow dirt track while wobbling along the bumps and potholes on the road, which kept Mehaar holding on to the dashboard. Mehaar looked sideways with dubiety on his face, to which Kiaan replied with a laughter. The bumpy ride gave them enough time to recall their past memories and laugh at them.

Kiaan’s house was a century old mansion, two-storeyed, damaged, but with a grand appearance. The front yard was filled with mud and dirt due to last night’s rain. There was no other building nearby the house. It was surrounded by tall trees, which had grown in a slipshod fashion. One could not extend the gaze past a few meters as the trees blocked the sight.

The car slipped a few meters in the mud before coming to a halt. Kiaan got down energetically, while Mehaar was cautious about his shoes and the mud. Kiaan got Mehaar’s luggage out of the car and welcomed him to see his family.

Kiaan’s mother greeted them as they entered the house. She was an old lady, who loved to read all day while sitting in her rocking chair. Kiaan’s wife, Sana, came out of her room and was disturbed to see Mehaar in her house. But she didn’t show her agitation and welcomed Mehaar to their house nonetheless. But she must talk about this with Kiaan afterwards, she thought.

Mehaar entered the house, looking in every direction, as if searching for someone. The house was as grand on the inside as was from the ourside. The entrance hall was huge and led way to the staircase going to the top floor, lined with several bedrooms and guest rooms. From the hall, separate corners led to the kitchen, the dining area and the backyard. Only dining area was within one’s visibility from the stairs.

Kiaan showed Mehaar to his room and left Mehaar to take some rest. All the while, Mehaar was thinking about whether it was a right decision to come to his friend’s house; after what had happened the last time he was here…

Sana was worried about Mehaar staying with them as she always found Mehaar eerie. She placed her clothes in the wrong direction while arranging her drawer, and should have gotten very upset about it. She had places and directions for all of her things and wanted them to be exactly the same. But this time, there were more pressing issues in her mind.

Kiaan lifted her from the behind and gave her his kind of romantic spin. She screamed in shock, which gave him a self-assuring pleasure. Kiaan threw her on bed and started unbuttoning her shirt, while slowly kissing her. Sana tried to take control of the situation, but Kiaan’s love was deluging her. Kiaan had just reached under her bra, when she got up with a serious face.

Sana shared her fears to Kiaan, who was listening to her quite keenly after being dropped from the action. Kiaan explained to her that he wished to help his friend in his difficult times. And he assured Sana that nothing could possibly go wrong.

Kiaan’s assurance was not assuring enough for Sana, as he didn’t know about the last time… They lapsed back to loving each other, but she anyway was not going to catch a wink that night.

The night was shiny; the stars twinkled more compared to the city nights. It reminded Mehaar of something from the past. He jerked his head to let go of those thoughts and started unpacking his trunks.

While Mehaar was busy, the door to his room opened slowly. Mehaar was unaware of this and was lost in his thoughts. Someone came in, closing the door behind. Those arms started making way towards Mehaar, ready to take the better of him. Mehaar, suspicious, turned in instinct, and grabbed those arms. But soon was balled over to find out who it was.

The past that he had moved on from, the memories that he had buried; it all came up again right in front of him.

To be continued…

An Unexpected Call

He approached a dead link, or so did he think; with no expectations in return. And he had almost forgotten about it, till he got that unexpected call…

… …

While swiping through the photos, either left or right, sometimes without even looking at the pics for more than a second, he tried hard to keep his eyes open. His vision was getting blurry due to the tears accumulating in his eyes. He had yawned for almost the same number as many profiles he had visited.

He had almost swiped the profile left, when his half-opened eyes were stretched fully open. His mouth was open and he couldn’t lift off the thumb from the touch screen. He slowly, carefully moved his thumb back to the centre and the profile was almost saved from being rejected.

He skimmed through the pictures in the profile and found them very interesting. It was a profile of a person from outside this country. In the bio, she had mentioned that she was here on a holiday. And except that the profile was ordinary. There wasn’t something exceptional, a beautiful display picture or a clever bio, just a plain simple profile. But he felt some different sort of pull towards her. As if he already knew her. Or maybe something else. But he wanted to talk to her.

She had mentioned profile ID from another social website where one could find her. He promptly opened the app and found her. Quickly, he sent her a message welcoming her to this country and inviting a casual chat.

And as soon as he had pressed the send button, he felt awkward. He shouldn’t have sent the message. She doesn’t even know him. She’s not even from this country. And she’s definitely gonna swipe him left. And the message! Such a loser… It doesn’t even sound right.

He had already imagined several scenes in his mind of her rejecting him, some very insulting. And with that depressing movie in his head, he went to sleep.

Next morning he woke up with the embarrassing incident flushed down his memory. He casually went to work and sank in to the huge pile of unreasonable deadlines and undervalued appreciation. The best he had expected for the day was to find a decent place to sit alone at lunch, beside a pillar so that no one can see him existing in this world.

His colleagues never gave a damn about his presence in the office. He was a shy, weird and truthful person, who didn’t believe in pleasing people or faking expressions. And as a result, he could never befriend anyone. Some even felt pity for him for being this lonely that he used to send instant messenger pings to himself. But then it was easy to make fun of him than to offer him their friendship.

He stretched his arms and legs, while his mail was being sent. His work for the day was done and he still had half a day to pass. Today he wasn’t in the mood of continuing with the online course material. So he opened up the social site for getting a glimpse or two of his friends and crushes.

He skimmed through the notifications, ignoring half of them. But a message from someone caught his eyes. It was from her, the profile that he had checked out last night. She had replied to his message. It has to be a hate reply, like a hate mail or a bad insult; the one that shatters every last bit of self-respect.

He opened it and read the message in one quick look. Then he took a deep breath and read it all again.

“Hey there… Yes, I’m on a holiday here and am traveling to different parts of this country. And I must say, your country is very beautiful. So much more than what I had expected.

Anyway, I’ll be going to some extreme points and might not be available over web after two days. Today, I’m here at <place>. Come meet me if you like.”

It was the first time that his casual comment or approach was taken as a casual talk and was responded with such casualness. Otherwise he had only expected her to block him or to report him as a probable stalker or even an online offender, so much for saying ‘hi’ he always thought. But this time it was different. He had probably made a new friend and he definitely wanted to meet her.

So he took an abrupt sick leave and drove some 100 miles to see her. He found her exactly at the location she had mentioned. They exchanged formal greetings and she invited him over a cup of coffee to a nearby café.

Over the cup of coffee, they had already exchanged a few years of history from each other’s lives and he had offered to show unexplored places around, which she won’t find in the tour guide she was carrying. She had cheerfully accepted his proposal.

He mailed a formal leave application to his office from then and there. And they started planning her last few days in the country, shortlisting places she might find interesting.

It was an instant involvement for the two. He hadn’t expected her to even reply to his message and she hadn’t expected this unknown message from a stranger to turn into a travel expedition with him.

The two selected the best places they could cover in the limited time available and left for the first place the very next day.

After they had seen the “must-visit” sites of the place, he suggested something different to make the memories more interesting for her. He suggested to make a story at each of the place they visit and to film it with them being the characters in the film. The story could be anything, comedy, drama, adventure or even romance. But the film that they would shoot will make it all more entertaining then a plain sightseeing experience.

She found his idea weird but thought to give it a try. And then at each place that they visited, they will together make some funny, clumsy story and try film it using the front facing camera. It was difficult than they had anticipated. They were no real actors and had no cinematographic skills. But nevertheless, they tried.

And the first one was so interesting and totally funny, they spent the whole night watching it on repeat, over a bottle of beer.

As soon as they got back to the network covering areas, she started posting their creative videos over social sites, and even tagged him in her posts. Her friends went crazy over her posts. But it was different in his case.

His friends were jealous of him either for his creativity, or for his travel expeditions, or just for the fact of him enjoying with her. Some even taunted him of finding someone out of his league. But he ignored all their reactions. He had already blocked all his friends from giving any comment on her posts.

Days passed quickly and soon it was time for her to return. They both knew this that their time together was limited and probably they were never gonna see each other again. But none of them ever thought about it once. They spent even the last minute they had together with frivolity and feeling of adventurous titillation.

At the airport, when she crossed the security check, she turned back to catch a last glimpse of him. Over the last few days, he had become the most precious part of her life, but a memory nonetheless as they lived in different countries. She couldn’t stop the tears from falling off of her beautiful brown eyes. But she was happy to have met him and have spent a quality time with him.

He watched her go towards the boarding gate, tears in her eyes. But he didn’t let her tears mirror in his eyes. He fought hard to keep his tears away. He acted their favourite Robot part from one of their stories and they smiled remembering the incident. It was probably the last time he was seeing her. But he was happy that this time someone actually saw his pure intentions without blaming him with their prejudiced assumptions.

The flight took off, leaving both of them in tears, and smile at the same time, as after so many years, they both had found selfless friendship in their lives.

The next day, it all went back to normal routine for both of them…

While a beautiful story had ended, rather a little bittersweet end, the story was definitely eating for them. A story, they wanted to write their own versions to.

Bonus: *Not so interesting though*

After a few months of online chats and video calls, she suddenly called him at night. He got up from his sleep and tried hitting the green button to pick up, but instead ended up hitting the red one. She thought that he must have fallen asleep, so she kept the phone down and postponed her plan to propose him. The next day, she quashed the idea altogether.

When she called, he waited for a few minutes, saying “hello” “hello” over the disconnected call, eventually dozing off, not knowing that she was having the same thoughts that he had started to have recently. But he had always ushered those thoughts away, presuming rejection due to their differences.

Later in the next year, he had gathered courage and had planned to propose to her on her birthday. He had a ring ready in the birthday cake he had baked for her. But when he wished her birthday over the video call, her friends never gave him a chance to get her undivided attention.

One night, while both of them were staring at each other’s profile picture, both of them together thought of confessing their love for each other. And they both started typing the the words, in a race to type first before the other person’s ‘typing’ indication changes. And they both ended up proposing each other at the same time.

The Bird – The Rotting Nest

A series of stories of a bird who leaves his parents’ nest and moves on to live his life in his own way.
After three years of staying away from his family, in a perfect new nest, with enough space and necessities nearby, he still felt caged. He could not love his life and was in a constant fight with his mind over leaving the Rotting nest.
… …

Previous posts under this series:
The Bird – Finding a Nest
The Bird – Missing Someone
“Flap them harder! HARDER! Make a rhythm with both the wings, make it… No! What ARE you doing!? Oh just flap them together, NOT ONE AFTER OTHER!!” father flapped his wings in choler.
Father was having a hard time teaching him how to fly. Earlier they just used to jump off the roof when they finally came off age, but now, there were new rules for baby birds’ rights or some rubbish, which required them to first practice flapping of wings on the ground before taking The big jump.
He was just not able to sync the flapping of wings, if one was proper, he would forget to move the other. If both worked together, there would not be enough thrust to lift him up. While his dad just wanted to throw him off the roof. According to him, he would eventually learn to fly if he is thrown into a near-death experience.
Mother finally agreed to mend the rules, and they both pushed him towards the edge of the balcony. He was just a twig away from falling towards the ground, when he ran off their reach, postponing the big jump. He started acting his fear of failure. He had to. Or else, they would know that he had already learned flying by himself, practicing at nights. Mother finally gave in to his tantrums and postponed it for a few suns.
He didn’t want them to know that he could fly, as then that would be his time to leave the parent’s place and make his own life. But over time, they persuaded him to take the big jump. And that winter, he had to leave their home in search of his new home. [LINK]
It has been six winters since. The bird had found a place of his own. He had set a daily routine for everyday. However, he missed someone in his life. [LINK] But over time, his search for a companion had taken a backseat, as some other matter concerned him more.
His routine had become like a saddle of his life. He had accepted it to be a part of his being. And he could not think of a proper life without it. Just like he didn’t want to leave his comfortable space at his parent’s place, he had fallen hooked to his current routine.
The nest that he had so warmly adorned had started to smell foul day after day. His mornings were dull and he hated going to sleep at night. He wished that if he didn’t sleep, he wouldn’t have to wake up to another desolate day. Poor thing loved to live in his dreams, but was afraid to wake up, for he knew his life was nothing like his dreams. And that gave him many sleepless nights these days.
Every night he would sit in his rotting nest, juggling the pathos for his situation. He wanted to go in search of a new life. He thought that finding a new nest would give him happiness, however, he was hard to please, and was harder to make happy.
He had lived a life of pretence for a spread-eagled time. Rather, acting his delusory self in front of others for so long had started to make him believe in his own phony. Being a lost and bemused soul, he could hardly make his own choice now. It was always about what others wanted from him.
But at times, things turned out to be unconcerned for others, as it purely mattered his own self. And that was the time he would fly back to his rotting nest, hoping it to turn fresh all by itself, adjusting bits and pieces, all futile efforts.
At night, when the moon light would fall on his pulverizing nest, he would fly out of it and look around his area. He would remember the time when he used to sneak out of his parent’s nest to practice his flying. His time now is similar to that time.
He closed his eyes while sitting on the topmost branch of the tree opposite to his nest. His last view was his dying nest and he hoped to open his eyes to a new picture. A dream ran in his eyes, a dream to live… To live again.

When God met a Kid

God was unable to solve a simple problem in his world, which had now grown in to a big issue. Just then, a Kid gave him an innocent view, which God strongly felt as the need of the time.

… …

God was frustrated with the way Humans had messed up with the world that he had created with such craft and devotion. God thought that the cruel face of deaths and despair of innocent creatures will somehow touch the humane in humans, but even when it did, humans couldn’t do anything to stop the mess.

Oceans were polluted, rivers dried up, species got extinct, but people were fighting over issues made by themselves. Humans turned into savage beings, didn’t care for anything, anyone but themselves, their things and their desires. Human wants had turned into inhuman impulses.

He sat at a deserted riverside, sad, thinking over the whole architecture of his creations – wondering what went wrong. The place was devoid of humans, and anyway no human soul could see God now, as those souls were not pure anymore.

A kid came running towards the riverbed chasing a squirrel. The squirrel quickly climbed up the tree beside the riverbed. Kid got angry at the squirrel and threw a stone at it, missed it. Then he sat at the riverside, sad and crying.

God’s heart was still God’s, and He couldn’t see a kid crying like that. So he changed his appearance to a man and went beside the kid. He asked the kid about his problem, to which the kid replied, taking out a nut from his pocket- “I am t-… I am trying to give this n- n- nut to that s- squirrel… but she j- just doesn’t stop! Why doesn’t it t- t- trust me? Am I that bad?!”

God smiled at the innocence of the boy.

“Look kid. The squirrel might have had a bad experience with some other person before. That’s why she is afraid to trust you. She might be thinking that you will hurt it and so she’s running away from you. That doesn’t make you bad. Rather, your intention to give the squirrel food is what makes you a good boy!” God said patting the boy’s back.

Boy took a while to stop crying. And then said “But I don’t want to hurt it. My mom says that if I hurt someone, God will hurt me back. And will help that squirrel. Doesn’t squirrel know that?”

God said “It is true that God helps good souls. But still that doesn’t mean that good souls won’t get hurt. Sometimes, God takes time to help someone.”

Boy’s face turned inquisitive and said “But in that time, the bad guy would have done bad things. What’s the point of helping after bad things have happened?”

“Sometimes, bad things ought to happen to allow good things to happen.” God said smartly.

Boy couldn’t understand that, so he just shrugged his shoulders and said “I don’t get that. Instead, why just not allow bad things to happen.”

God said “Not everything is in God’s hands. We as people need to change for making things right.”

Boy said “I would just advice God to restart the world and make things right this time. Put only good things in people’s mind, and devoid their abilities to do bad. When I am not able to do something, I also just restart with my work, with a fresh look at it.”

Saying that the boy went on with his little world… But God sat there thinking about restarting the world. Is that the solution to his problem? Rebuilding the world, while destroying the current world? Is that acceptable? Or just the need of the time?

The Bird – Missing Someone

A series of stories of a bird who leaves his parents’ nest and moves on to live his life in his own way.

After leaving the house of his parents, the bird had set foot in the world of opportunities, which could both help him fly high or dump him right on the ground. While juggling his world with arranging his new nest and the new life, the bird feels the need of a companion, for the first time.

… …

Previous posts under this series:

The Bird – Finding a Nest

He had just returned from his morning flight. He loved flying over the town in the morning, just when the first ray of light touched the highest trees on the ground. All other birds would wake up after the sun was up enough to splash its sunlight on the ground. By that time, he used to make his trip.

He felt something he couldn’t explain in words, when the morning cold breeze and the new-born sunlight used to touch his feathers. He would just close his eyes, spread his wings fully apart and just go with the wind. And when he reached the end of his town, he would open his eyes and see the naked beauty of the sun, no buildings or man-made aesthetics to blur its beauty.

He cleaned his nest with a flap of his huge wings and settled back the twigs for the next night. Soon it will be time for going for the morning ritual – food, work, food, work and food, before it would be time for taking rest again. He watched other birds in the nearby nests. They had started to wake up.

He loved watching them wake up. It was half the reason for his early rise from his sleep. The birds around his nest used to wake each other up. Those staying alone used to show off their place and strength, in order to attract females and keep other males at bay. While some notorious ones used to invade other’s privacy by flying into other’s marked spaces. And it was just seconds that a fight would start between the owner and the encroacher.

But he didn’t like watching all that. He enjoyed watching the couples wake-up. It was an amazing sight, funny sometimes, and adorable too. One of them would wake-up and slowly caress, gently stroke the other’s head with its beak. The other would slowly open its eyes and the first thing it will see in the morning would be the his love in the eyes of its loved one. And then they would entwine themselves in the rickety ride of beak-lock, entangling their beaks and pushing each other up and down.

Gross! It used to be his first reaction to such acts of other birds. Rumbling inside other’s beak without the morning gargle! But then he felt something else too watching them. His heart used to slow down watching the scene. And a strange crunch would start out of nowhere in his stomach. Probably, he missed all this in his life.

During the day, he would think about how his life would be like if he also had a companion in his life. His early months after he left the house of his parents were hard. And he felt this dire need of being with someone. But he always pushed away those feelings thinking that he had to make his life first, and this was only temporary reaction of his mind upon leaving his parents. But then, those thoughts never stopped after more than a year from that time now.

He had met several people on his way to this town, before he finally settled at his current space in the corner of the balcony of an abandoned man-house. But none of them made him feel weak at heart. None of them were compatible to him. And he moved on easily from all the occasional beak-locks and making out times with some, he didn’t care enough to remember. But he was waiting for someone whom he would never let go. And that made him feel incomplete everyday.

In the evening, when he would return from his long flight of searching for food, having fought several fights with some annoying birds on the way, and finding his purpose of life, living his dreams, he would see the sunset, alone. He would sit on the chimney of the house, and watch the sun burn the last rays of light. He would extend his wings to touch the light as it would slowly rise towards the sky, leaving the ground to embrace the darkness and wait for another day, another morning when they will meet again. Although the sunset is always beautiful, he would feel low at heart having to watch it without someone by his side.

At night, he would arrange his extra twigs to form a structure of another bird, a portion around his side, and would close his eyes, letting his feathers feel the touch of another warm being, imaginary companion by his side. It was the only time during the day, other than the morning escapes, when he would actually smile without a reason…

After-all, the truth was harsh and he knew it. Life wasn’t all generous all the time. He understood he had to accept how things were in his case. Due to his nature, no one was ever gonna be with him forever. He wouldn’t let that happen…

The Red-light

At the traffic signal, a man used to count the time in his mind along with the displayed countdown, waiting eagerly for it to turn Green again.

Read on to find out why he used to count the time along with the timer and why once he wanted the time to stop there.

… …

He turned the accelerator knob towards himself, and trying to turn it more and more, wishing the bike to run faster. But it didn’t. By the time he could cross the puzzle of other confused newbie drivers, the traffic signal had turned yellow and the traffic police had raised his hand signaling the vehicles to stop. He was diligent towards the law and so he slowed the bike to stop at the red-light.

He was the first one at the signal. All before him had somehow got past the police and had rushed past the cross roads, some even breaking the red-light. Slowly the empty spaces around his vehicle and the crossing in front of him started to fill up with more vehicles. He hated those drivers who went past the stopped vehicles, only to stop ahead of them, blocking the pedestrian crossing area.

He started whistling. It took him away from all the noise of horns (which made no sense as the signal was red, no one was gonna fly out of their way), heated engines of cars (which made no sense either, the signal was gonna stay red till a few minutes), the cries of the kids in someone’s lap, sitting pillion to the rider (which made no sense to him, the kids, they are just stupid to cry all the time without any cause, he thought).

His whistle soon took over his mind and him away from all these noise. He enjoyed the ups and downs, the variations on the scale of the song, the beautiful tune that several sounds made when joined together, the words that he spoke in his mind while whistling. It all was beautiful, the music was.

This was his routine. But that day, someone else was also listening to him at that time. He didn’t notice. But a girl on her bike, standing right next to him, was listening to him with her full attention. She had even removed her helmet to hear it clearly. She enjoyed music too. And this was something different, yet musical and amazingly beautiful. There was a smile on her face all the time she listened to him.

The countdown was still twenty more seconds, and people had already started inching past the yellow line. Only he waited till it actually turned zero before starting his bike. He ignored the people around him, punching their horns at him, giving him angry looks. He started moving and looked to his left in surprise, someone was staring at him. He gestured her to move and went on with his way. But in his mind he thought about her all day.

The next day, the scene was repeated. But this time, he saw her while whistling and had stopped instantly. The girl gestured him to continue whistling and he had continued. He loved whistling and she loved him doing it. They met every day at that same signal at the very same hour of the day, where for one-two whole minutes they would share a musical moment.

From watching the countdown, waiting to race away from the traffic signal, he started counting the timer in his head, wanting it to run slower, wanting the time to stop. He wanted to just whitle and watch that girl give him the most amazing smile he has ever seen in this world. There were people who loved his whistle, but he had never felt the way he felt for her and her love for him whistling.

As the timer in his head reached the last few seconds, he would gracefully end his song and bade goodbye with his eyes, to which the girl would reply similarly with her eyes. They spoke nothing, yet it felt to both of them that they had an amazing conversation with each other. They went on with their opposite paths from that signal, with a smile on their faces, a rare sight for that crossing.

From loathing the signals on that road, he started loving the red-light and the traffic. He wanted the rush to stay. He wanted it to be like this forever. And the day when they didn’t meet, he felt very bad that he didn’t whistle at all that day. Those two minutes at the red-light made or broke his day, all depending on if he meets her or not.

And a similar day came once when he couldn’t see her. He was late, and would surely miss her if he didn’t drive fast. So, he went past several shortcuts, didn’t wait for pedestrians and dodged his way past confused newbie drivers to reach there on time. He was just a crossroad away from that signal. But there was a lot of traffic at that signal. People were gathered on the middle of the road and there was total chaos of vehicles.

He took a detour, and reached his signal, ditching that jam-packed crossroad. He checked on his clock, for a hundredth time now, and sighed a breath of relief that he had reached on time. But she wasn’t there yet. So, he waited for another red-light, probably she was late too. But she didn’t come, probably had taken a day off. He left for his routine, restless to meet her tomorrow. He was finally gonna ask her out, tomorrow for sure.

The next day, it was raining. He reached the spot on time. The traffic was less, and signals were empty, but she was not there. Probably she would’ve gone early today due to the rains, he thought.

The day after that, he reached the signal again on time. But he couldn’t meet her. And it was the same news the next day, and the day after that too. He felt sad and wanted to find her. But he didn’t even know her name or contact number. His days went sore and in distress, as he was helpless, unable to find the mystery girl whom he wanted to share his life with.

One such time, he was restlessly looking around at the red-light for a sign of her. He didn’t even count the timer in his mind this time. All he wanted was to see her again. An old man came riding a bike and stood right where she used to. He was bothered that now even if she comes, she won’t be able to stand right next to him. He looked at the old man in anger. He saw that the old man had a sad face and probably, tears out of his eyes. Or may be it was just due to the wind while driving.

He looked at his bike. And for a moment, he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was hers. May be he was mistaken. But that same rusty chocolate color, that lightning sticker on the side, that broken leg-guard and a golden cloth tied up at the mirror clamp. There was a newly formed dent on the front body and the side-light was broken, mirrors skewed. But it was definitely the same bike. He wished he could remember the license plate number.

He looked at the old man and couldn’t resist asking “Umm… Sir? Morning sir. If you don’t mind, may I ask if this is your bike or borrowed? A friend of mine owns a similar colored one and I am a little confused about it…” He couldn’t complete his sentence. The old man broke down and started crying right there at the signal.

The red-light had turned green and there were several horns blowing around them, telling them to move, but he was more interested in something else. He asked the old man “What happened, sir? Are you alright?” and slowly patted the old man’s shoulders.

The signal turned red again. And there were several curse-words being thrown at the pair from surrounding drivers.

“The… The bike is… was of my d… my daughter…” the old man uttered with great difficulty.

It was the old man crying, but he felt a choke in his throat. He couldn’t speak anything. He understood what had happened. He was stupid enough to not realize this earlier. The dents, the broken side light and the new scratches told him the story and reminded him of the day it happened. He knew what had happened, but he wished it hadn’t.

“It was my daughter’s. She recently met with an accident and she… she died. I am taking it to the broker… Brings too many painful memories. You knew her?” The old man asked him.

With some resistance at first, he shook his head, unable to speak anything.

The signal turned green and the old man slowly rode away. But he didn’t move. He couldn’t. He stood there, waiting for the red-light to turn back on, counting the timer in his head, and tears from his eyes…

Now he goes past the same traffic signal everyday, waits at the red-light, sees fellow riders around him, but doesn’t count the timer in his head anymore… Doesn’t whistle anymore.