Ek Kahaani ki Khoj Mein

Kuch kahaaniyan aisi bhi hain

Jinka har shabd ek dastaan hota hai

Ek ek panne ke aks se

Zindagi ka har pehlu bayaan hota hai

Aisi hi ek kahaani ki khoj mein hum

Nikle the duniya ki gehraiyo mein

Kya pata tha is nadaan dil ko magar

Kuch kahaaniya sirf pariyo ka khel hoti hai

Uljhan bhari raato ko neend tak pohochane ka mel hoti hai

Aur fir bas

Band aankho ke tale

Jaag uthti hain

Bas band aankho ke tale

Jee ke marr jaati hai

Khuli aankho ki sacchayi

Shabdo mein akhir kahan simat paati hain

Kuch kahaaniya

Bas kahaaniya hi banke reh jaati hai

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The Anatomy of Love

It won’t be like the novels you grew up reading

In the dim light of a torch under a blanket

Or the movies you stayed up watching

With a popcorn and a cushion for comfort

Nor would it be like the stories of yore

With promises of happily ever afters

No, you won’t get a romance for all ages

That stuff doesn’t exist

But that shouldn’t stop you

From giving love for a lifetime

Should it?

Who knows

It just might be

Enough.

A Warm, Winter Morning?

By the pricking of my thumbs

Something wicked this way comes.

It was a warm, winter morning. Not that the genial weather made it any less tedious to get out of bed. Yet, it was pleasant to wake up and find faint slivers of sunlight gently trickling into the room. I had a feeling this was going to be a good day. But not without a cup of steaming coffee first. The elixir of a working life.

I mustered everything I had to stumble out of bed and fumble my way through the morning ritual. I got ready almost robotically – my mind still dwelling on the aroma of coffee beans roasting.

I crossed the street in a hurry and ran straight into the quaint and dainty little cafe right across from home that had become my lifeline of late. There is a comforting pleasure in being greeted by familiar, smiling faces in the morning and your favourite barista knowing your coffee order even before you’ve placed it.

I knew all was well when I took the first sip of my cuppa and settled down on a couch to get a head start on the daily crossword before I step out again into the humdrum affair of life.

Ah, life! bristling, bustling life! I looked up to admire the view out of the side window and –

there you were. Your silhouette, framed against the window pane, was unmistakable. You were there, as large as life, engrossed in the headlines, standing right next to the newspaper stand. Suddenly, it became a cold, winter morning.

And just like that, the world stopped spinning. My world, at least. Do you reckon it’s fair? For you to be able to go about your business with absolutely no consequences at all? After you’ve done something as terrible as destroying a person’s life? Yet, there you were, in broad daylight, as carefree and reckless as ever. That smug grin of yours plastered firmly on your loathsome countenance.

I wondered if you could see me from there. Then, I wondered if that would bother me. Should it? Or just the knowledge of being in your line of sight will make me feel dirty, undeserving and heartbroken all over again?

Well, I guess we’ll never know – since you’re folding up the paper, readying to leave.

Gah! the wind is chilly today, isn’t it? It’s coming right at my face as I push through the doors. Momentarily losing my balance. Oops! Did I knock over the stand? Oh my, did it fall on you?

So sorry, I think, as I hurry along my way, pulling my scarf closer to cover what little was visible of my already hidden face.

I guess I’ll just be on Santa’s naughty list this year.

Love in the Time of Distances

It had been a week at his new job, the one he bagged straight out of college.

“How’s office been treating you?” She asked, sleepily. Time zone differences sure take their toll.

“It’s all great…arrgh”

“What happened?”

“Oh, nothing. It’s just that the coffee here is disgusting” He replied, still trying to spit it out.

Two thousand kilometres away, only half awake, she made a mental note to get a flask to pack coffee with him to take to office.

Two thousand kilometres away, he saw her faraway, pondering and deeply concerned expression and smiled. Knowing exactly what she was thinking, he lulled her to sleep.

Boy, does distance really come in between love?

I guess not.

The Bet

“Oh, you like me now! Give it a few months and you’d be running for the hills”, she said wearily – hiding the pain of having people fall out of love with her before.

“Oh, you shall see, I’m a sticky person,” he responded with the confidence and wisdom of one who’d waited all his life to love the right person and knew what he wanted.

“You’re saying this because we’re still in the honeymoon period of our relationship. Talk to me in 2 months!” She whined and stomped out.

Two months later.

“So you were saying, honey?” He winked.

Letting out an exasperated sigh, she said,”It’s not my fault we’re undergoing an unexpectedly long honeymoon period. Something’s wrong with you! But you wait, you just wait. You’ll see I’m right!”

He smiled indulgently, having given up on convincing her of their longevity, and retorted,”Fine, I’ll put a reminder alarm on my phone for exactly six months from now. We’ll see who wins, alright?”

With a heavy heart, she agreed. No one had ever bothered to stick around, why would he be any different. It was unfortunate, though, that she’d fallen irrevocably in love with him. It’ll hurt that much more when he leaves. She’d better start preparing herself for when the axe falls.

One morning, while he got her coffee and pancakes in bed (yes, he pampered her silly), she heard a beeping sound go off. “Why’s your alarm ringing now? You’re already up?”

Furrowing his brow in confusion, he picked up his phone to check. Within seconds, he was howling with laughter, rolling on the bed. It was only when she glared at him with her most angry expression, which he secretly thought made her look as cute as a button, did he get around to showing her his phone. The alarm read – “Tell her she’s wrong!”

She cracked up instantly too. Both falling in each other’s arms, giggling, laughing, snuggling, oblivious to the world outside.

When he teased her for being wrong for once, she said in a huff,”I still maintain something’s wrong with you! I just need to find out what it is!”

Suddenly getting serious, he looked her straight in the eyes, waiting for her to stop laughing and look back at him.

“Marry me, will you?” He said with such intensity that her jaw dropped.

She looked at him, silent, dazed and confused.

“Marry me?” He repeated.

She blushed. Giggled. Plunged under the covers to hide.

In a moment, she emerged, laughing and nodding her head. It took her a few more minutes to find her voice to say “Yes! Of course, yes!”

She was choking, her voice overwhelmed with emotions.

He was swift to place a ring on her finger lest she got inundated with doubts again. Not about marrying him. About losing him and having to live without him.

“You’re everything to me” He said, sealing the deal.

“Well, you’re saying that now. Give it some time and you’d be fed up of my crazy ass.”

“So shall I put the reminder for ten years later, honey?” He asked, with a serious face.

“Oh, don’t you dare!” She screamed and threw a pillow at him.

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The Crowns of Croswald by D.E.Night – #Book #Review

Reviewed a Fantasy/Magic Book – The Crowns of Croswald by D.E.Night – on my book blog. Reblogging the post here.

All those who love to read and are constantly scouring for book recommendations to add to that never-ending “To Be Read” list which, quite frankly, gives one bouts of anxiety, please visit and follow the book blog for constant reviews, news on new releases, author interviews, recommendations and updates. Thank you!

The Quaint Reading Nook

If you’re anything like me, you must have grown up on a steady dose of fairytales like Cinderella, explored the world of magic through the eyes of Matilda and went off to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and his lovable friends. Then during teenage years, binge watching The Princess Diaries would have been your one, true guilty pleasure.

If you’ve nodded along to everything above – and of course you have, because who hasn’t wanted to find out their true identity was a princess/prince as much as they wanted to find their Hogwarts acceptance letter in the next mail! (I’m still waiting for mine, to be honest) – then The Crowns of Croswald is a perfectly blended joyride for you.

Better still, it comes with tiny, adorable dragons in tow (that cannot be pierced by the Night’s King spear. Game of Thrones, I’ve still not forgiven you for Viserion). These dragons…

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Pulchritudinous

Sitting in his empty courtyard watching the rain fall all around him, he closed his eyes and allowed the pitter pattering of raindrops to take him back to the last time he had ever seen her.

It had been a day much like today. Nature had been haughtily showcasing her beauty in all its glory. The rain gods were also in tough competition. And the wind, oh, it couldn’t have been left behind and kept sending pleasant gusts all day.

Yet, there had been a melancholic undertone to the pulchritude that day. He could sense that every element of nature was trying to soothe him, calm him down, embalm him before the felling of a grievous blow.

Nothing could have prepared him for her departure though. It knocked the very wind out of him. It would have been one thing if he’d seen some signs of this impending doom, if he’d been able to anticipate it. Doom, yes, because that moment had been the death of him. From then on, he merely existed instead of living. Awaiting the end of his corporal self.

He did realise later, in his forced solitude, where his fault had lain. It had been too little too late. When he had finally mustered the courage to go to her, apologize and convince her to come back, even if he had to go down on his knees and beg, he found out that she was dying. She had been fading away for quite some time, not that he’d ever had the time to notice. What tore him apart was that she was so far gone she couldn’t even recognise him when he said sorry. There was no twinkle in her, no warmth in her smile. It was as if she was being forced to meet a stranger and had to be gracious about it. It wasn’t her. She had always been vibrant. He could not reconcile this frail image of her with the woman he had known and loved, no matter how hard he tried.

He never got his forgiveness. He never got his will to live back again.

Now, even though years have passed, every time there’s a day with a weather like today, he looks back to the last time he had been able to lay eyes on her, the real her. She had looked as resplendent as the day they’d met.

If only he’d have given her happiness some thought and understood her better. If only he could have mended his ways earlier. If only he could have stopped her from leaving. If only he had not forgotten the beauty in her over the years. If only…

Note: the featured image belongs to the author. Kindly refrain from sharing or using it without giving due credit. Thanks ☺️

A Heart of Stone

In his frantic attempts to find his way back to the caravan, he came across a sight that held his gaze. It looked like a formerly over trodden path which had, at some point in time, been overrun by weeds. Inviting, nonetheless. He followed the meandering path, curious about where it led while still trying to grasp how it had just suddenly appeared in front of him out of thin air even though he was quite sure he’d crossed that exact point atleast half a dozen times before since he’d been walking around in circles, completely lost.

Curiosity killed the cat, he kept reminding himself but his feet kept moving forward. It’s getting late and dark, it’s time to turn back and find shelter, not to go on a wild goose chase, he chastised himself. Yet, he could not bring himself to stray from that path.

After what felt like a mile of walking, the path took a sharp turn. As he had been walking in a daze, he could not stop before getting hit by several low, criss-crossing branches right in the middle of his face. He now saw that the path was fenced in from both sides by dense trees. Gingerly, he moved on ahead, careful to step over roots that were running through the ground any which way.

Just as suddenly as he had come across the path, he now came across a castle. A castle in ruins. A castle that had been taken over by the elements of nature. One that had been claimed by wild flowers, shrubs, bushes, climbers and creepers. The rains, however, had given tough competition to the foliage by wearing down the roofs, walls and pillars till only a few halls and rooms could even be made out anymore. Yet, he could see that the castle still stood tall. It still had about it an aura of old, like a proud king refusing to bend the knee.

As if on cue, there was a loud clap of thunder, lending further mystery. He looked up and saw grey clouds closing in. Just as he abandoned all thoughts of further exploration in the face of worsening weather, it started to pour. He was left with no option but to seek refuge somewhere inside the castle itself. He figured there would be atleast one room with a roof on top. Defeated and cursing the moment he first saw the path, he stepped a begrudging foot inside.

As soon as his other foot crossed the threshold, he felt something come alive. It felt like a surge of power or energy moving through the surroundings. He tried to shake off that feeling but there was no denying the fact that the castle was now breathing all around him.

Confused, angry, and a little scared, he started looking for a dry enough room to spend the night in. With every step, however, he was overcome with the feeling that he was meant to be here. Something brought him to this place. He had to have some connection to this castle. With his face set in determination, he decided to find out what it was.

Methodically, he went through every room, every hallway, every gallery of the place, looking for a clue, looking for absolutely anything at all actually. Yet, he was met only with resounding emptiness. It appeared like the place had been ransacked and nothing had been left behind. Everywhere he looked, he came up empty.

Just on the verge of giving up, he reached a huge doorway. Surprisingly enough, the doors were still intact. He pushed them open and found himself standing in a huge hall. It was a long one, supported by dozens of pillars and arches. To him, it looked like a throne room. Like every other room though, this one lacked a roof too.

Since it was almost dusk now, he could not see the other end of the hall clearly. However, something glittering under the setting sun’s rays caught his eye. He hurriedly walked towards it. Lo and behold! There sat the most beautiful of thrones. Encrusted with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, opals, topazs and pearls, it shimmered like a rainbow.

Yet, he was still to take in its beauty. Because before the throne stood a statue. A statue of the most melancholy beauty. It was a girl, with stony tears running down her cheeks. Her mouth open, as if calling after someone. One hand extended as if to stop someone from leaving. Her other hand, however, held her heart which had been carved out of her chest. Drops of stony blood dripped over her hand from her heart.

He stood, mesmerized. He stood, enthralled. A tear began to form in his eye as he took in every aspect of the statue. Someone had taken great pains to portray every intricate detail in this scultpure, he thought to himself. It obviously depicted someone from the royal family guessing from the tiara adorning her head. Yet, nothing could take away from the look of abject misery and sorrow that was woven in every ounce of her being.

Stirred by some unknown force, he walked up to her. He noted how in his mind the statute had changed from it to her and tried to fathom the reason behind. Before he could stop himself, his hand moved up and carefully covered her glistening heart in his palm. Very delicately, he caressed it. He noticed now that it was cracked and broken, deep ridges spanned across its stony exterior. He could feel the pain it must have gone through. He could feel her pain. The tears did not stop now as his eyes welled up. Streaming down his face, they fell over the heart. And then, the most curious thing happened.

As his tears fell over her heart, it started to come to life. He looked on in shock as he felt it beat in his palm. He looked on as it changed from stone to a deep red. And he looked on as the other hand holding out the heart took on a human tinge. Within minutes, she stood before him. In flesh and bones. Breathing.

Her eyes opened wide on seeing him. A gasp escaped her newly moistened, red lips.

“You came”, she whispered in disbelief. Her voice hoarse after years of not being used.

“How could I not?” He answered with a smile, feeling at peace for the first time since he got lost that day.

He held her heart in both his hands and took an oath. Never again will he let her get hurt. Never again will she die a thousand deaths. Never again will she give up all hope and become so unfeeling that she would end up being turned to stone.

As he seated his queen back onto her throne, the castle started to repair itself magically. Soon enough, the wilderness had shrunk back and in its stead stood a majestic castle that was rejoicing the return of life. He gazed upon his lady with all his love and decided he would like to remain lost here for life.

And, of course, he managed to get a roof over his head to settle under for the night.

Coffee, Cookies and Barista

“Is it over yet?” Sarah enquired over the top of  the menu she was only pretending to read.
“I don’t know.” Replied Liz, drawing circles with a fork on the red and white, chequered table cloth.

“Well, What do you think?” Sarah tried to pry out something more than the hundredth ‘I don’t know’ in a row.

“I don’t want it to be over, I guess. But I know it’s not going to work out.” Liz shrugged, still feigning nonchalance.

“Why, what’d he say today?” Sarah asked, slamming down the wooden menu.

“Nothing.” Liz said, absently twirling a strand of hair in her fingers.

“What do you mean?” Sarah squinted, thoroughly perplexed and equally exasperated. Yet it was nothing compared to the anger she felt in her friend’s behalf.

“It’s just that he hasn’t been in touch much lately”. Liz said with the same faraway air.

“I’ll get you a cup of coffee.” Sarah got up decisively.

“Does this mean it’s over then?” asked Liz, sipping her coffee a few minutes later.

“I think it should be. You know better than me that he doesn’t treat you right.” Came the prompt reply.

“Does anyone ever?” Liz sighed, licking away at her milk moustache and nibbling on the complimentary cookie. 

“Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold out hope. Atleast, that way we protect ourselves from the ones who don’t.”

“And stay alone?” Liz whined, trying to hide from the glare aimed at her by seeking shelter behind her cup.

“And stay strong.” Sarah pulled away the other’s cup, making her look into her eyes.

“Hmm.” Liz finally nodded her approval, always gracious in defeat. Though that did not stop her from stealing the cookie off Sarah’s plate too. She could not be blamed. They were divine.

“Hmm!” Sarah reiterated with pursed lips and folded arms, just to drive the point further home.

“The Barista is kind of cute though!” Winked Liz, with the hint of a smile threatening to form at the corners of her lips.

“Yep, definitely over! We’re switching to wine tonight.” Sarah said, grabbing her friend’s hand and pulling her along.

Laughing, with arms entwined, they left the little coffee shop. 

Vika watched them for a moment till they turned round a corner and disappeared from view. Then she sighed and smiled while clearing the table, mentally patting her back for adding her special, “pick-me-up” cookies to their plates because God knew the girls needed some sugary love.

Then, still smiling, she went behind the counter, walked up to the charmer manning the coffee machine and gave a quick, warm hug to her husband of 49 years. 

For more short stories, please click here. For poetry, please click  here. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below, I’d be delighted to get a feedback. Thank you for reading!

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Coming Home

So, Dhananjay Bhati decided to post the other side of my story from yesterday titled “The Celebration” (click here to read the post). Read on below to know what went on in the mind of the guy over whom his lady love had been fretting all day yesterday.
Please let us know what you think about the two stories in the comments section. We’d be delighted to have your feedback!
Thank you for reading!