Guilty Pleasure

Close up of Cappuccino being made

She pondered at the prospect of cooking for self. An idea remotely familiar to her! She was considering it for the first time. Cooking for self! Her earlier preparations have all been fostered by her previous attachments. This was her time, as she sat contemplating the pros and cons of not eating. With a mouthful of reasons to eat, she decided to prepare the humble mushroom tofu chilli and chapattis.

She darted into the kitchen as a warrior but stood panicked as a lost child. Juggling with the thoughts of what, where, and how she felt like a novice and stranger in her own house. Thoughts snapped her tranquillity and restored it too. Gearing to start, she picked up onions, capsicum, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, tofu, and mushroom and kept them on the dice. First to be slayed was onion. Thoroughly mediated strokes, as though operating on a human, passed through the body of onion. She closely observed the layers of onion turn into small, thin, independent films that would add taste to the dish. Soon capsicum, ginger, and cloves of garlic, were shredded to pieces. She wondered, “how is cutting of vegetables different from ‘cutting’ of relationships, a part of one’s self, one’s identity, hobbies?” One is physical, the other is metaphorical. Former brings flavours while the latter consumes an individual, on low flame.

Thoughts poured in from a brimming container of oil, as she placed the glass pot in oven for heating. Seconds passed and a loud beep awoke her from dreamy slumber. She added finely cut onions to the heated oil and set the oven to 01:00. She quizzed as seconds fluttered, “Am I really cooking for me?” Sarcastic smile! “How often will you do it?” “It isn’t so bad, cooking for self,” she marvelled at the thought. Onions were accompanied by tomatoes and capsicum. Timer on the oven read 02:00 and she wiped her teary eyes. “If only he was here beside me to enjoy the preparation, inhale the aroma as I brought the pot in and out of the oven, compliment my endeavour, tease me lovingly on my basic culinary skills, to hold me from behind, if only he was here,” she mulled as she watched the turntable rotate at a uniform speed. Beep. Spices, waiting patiently at the corner, were introduced generously along with boiled and chopped mushroom and tofu. This time the timer read 05:00. An overwhelming sense of completion, triumph, letting – go, self – awareness, dawned on her. It was a lesson that he taught her. The lesson of life. The art of living for self. He taught her to be independent, to be alone yet complete. It was an achievement. Yes, it was a pot full of steaming mushroom and tofu. She swelled with pride as she breathed in the spicy aroma. It indeed was a treat.

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Proposal

It was friends’ reunion. College pals took time out from their busy schedule to accommodate an evening of togetherness. A sea beach resort was something that everyone looked forward to. By afternoon, convoy reached the resort, which had rooms opening up to the roaring Arabian Sea. Party began by evening. Laughter and nostalgic chatter filled the air. Other elements that caught attention were aromatic food and exhilarating wine. Love, laughter, food and drink made everyone tipsy.

There she was in the crowd; smartly dressed in a pair of long white shirt and shorts revealing her slender athletic curves. Her eyes and lips immaculately defined to highlight her features. A twinkling smile accompanied her at every turn. Endowed with right body and attitude, she made the hearts flutter. She carried a glass of red wine in her long, delicate fingers painted in red, and walked towards the beach.

On the beach, few sturdy bamboo chairs made of intricately intertwined canes were kept under the lamp post. The weave created a net like structure. It was quarter to one as she sat on the chair closest to the sea. She starred at the dark vastness of invisible roars as the water splashed against the boulders and clattered. She sat mesmerised by the sound and beauty of the night with a notepad and pen in her hand. Her legs folded on the chair touching her bosom. Under the lamp post she appeared as an apparition amidst the dark sky.

The roar outside, drew her attention to the conniving thrust of emotion within her. She had marvellously transformed her body in a stoic reservoir made up of stone walls that contained the ebb and flow of feelings. No matter how hard they dashed, splashed, thundered, roared, or whined or pained, but all in vain. There were no cracks and crevices for venting.

She scribbled, smiled and scratched. One last attempt to write, she smiled. Her body slowly metamorphosed in sand particles, piece by piece, and slipped through the pores in the chair. The strong chair could not contain her stately form and moaned as it melted in thin air.

Dawn witnessed her snow white shirt and shorts crumpled up in the chair, holding the notepad and pen. The leaves of the pad craved for attention. The last words that she managed to scribble were borrowed from the movie Runaway Bride and read:

 I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.

Flight

Bits and pieces of her emotional self

Join together to begin again

Every time they are jostled

It’s a perpetual fight between head and heart

Where none but head always wins

The norms, rules, and regulations

Binds her free spirit

She intends to fly, but they chain her hard

Holding back her passion and desire

She suffocates, but never surrenders

The fire in her blazes, ready to consume

As she spreads her wings for eternal flight

She warns, 

Do not be hindrance to my journey

You summon your ruin and end

I was but a fragment of life

Now, I am complete

Leave the way

I rise, yet again!

O Heart!

Female and man's hands with red hearts

I fumbled for words as my mind raced back and forth. Not knowing from where to begin, I faltered, as he stood gazing at me with inconsistent smile. He asked again, ‘Will you be mine?’ I hesitated, although a thousand voices screamed to affirmation. I halted. 

Can question and its answer form bonds and emotional relations? Are our lives slave to answers? Is our existence intertwined with words? I waited and contemplated but said nothing. He too, waited patiently and impatiently for an answer – for affirmation of love to build a socially acceptable relationship. ‘Couldn’t he read my eyes? Doesn’t he know about my feelings? We have spent days and nights together, nurturing the love that bloomed, but now he wants an answer?’ I thought. What form of love is it? Social love! It needs validation and reassurance. 

My heart grew silent, eyes turned dim and the thousand voices died. He left, without an answer, leaving behind the love that he brought forth to life. My inner being collapsed, defeated again by the worldly ways of acceptance and recognition. ‘There is no love,’ I recalled as I breathed the last breath of love.

Awakening

What would she do without him! Her existence surrounded him. Not only her acts but also her thoughts were drawn towards him. She was obsessed with him. He was the anchor of her life. This was love for her. True love, as she would boast.

However, he had a different perspective of love. He wanted a companion not a dependant partner. He hated parasites. He wanted fulfilling, nourishing and nurturing love. For him love was the bond that would give you freedom to be individuals yet together.

She lacked individualism. All she wanted was him. He understood her love, but witnessed it slowly turn possessive thus, suffocating for him. The result was not unexpected. He withdrew. He failed to rekindle her life. She had turned a commoner with no streak of fire within her. She lost her passion to mundane routine. She was no longer a fighter; she succumbed.

One night she received a letter from him announcing his displeasure and discomfort from the present relationship. She stood stoned as tears swelled up in her eyes and trickled down her checks. She tried her best to convince him of her love, but her prayers fell on deaf ears. He moved on.

She staggered for years until her love became her driving force and her passion, a source of perpetual self-love. She started to learn to love herself – qualities, flaws, strengths, weaknesses – unravelled her characteristic traits and set on a path of self-identification. Her process involved taking a plunge into her mysterious self to understand its complexities.

Having summoned the courage to travel inward, she started descending the tiny stairs of the long staircase passing through a dark tunnel leading to the bottom of her heart. It was the first step to self-discovery. The journey was daunting. It demanded courage to face loneliness, failure, rejection, and short-comings. Only then one could reach the seamless flow of positivity that lights the inner recess of heart – the seat of all passion and emotion. The path was transcendence from superfluous hollow light to intense darkness culminating into ocean of soft, serene brightness.

Each step was welcomed by ever growing darkness. Butterflies fluttered inside her stomach and halted every step. She quivered; dreaded her frailty. At the same time, she was led like a child by an invisible force that wanted her to overcome her insecurities and failures. Passing through that strange heaviness and screeching silence that loomed in the tunnel she confronted her ailing self. She found herself in pain which originated from her desire, wishes and expectations. They controlled the person that was her.

Knowledge liberated her. Revelation blistered her. Wounds lay open. The struggle was over. She moved on. As she passed through, she could see a faint light at the end of the tunnel. The light appeared soft and soothing. She craved to reach it faster, to end her misery. But time would not budge. It appeared heavier than lead, prolonging her desolation. 

Finally, she came closer to the heavenly light. The light that was symbolic of purity, chastity, truthfulness, kindness, humanity, love, gratitude, happiness and peace. It had freed her from all the negative attributes that made her existence heavy. As they lay saddled by the vices that she gathered on growing up, she lost the touch and feel of purity. She forgot the taste of bliss.

On moving further, she stood at the end of the tunnel, flooded by heavenly light that blinded her. She felt like one with it. All her wounds healed and she was light as a feather. Freed from the clutches of wretchedness, she could fly. She was like a white bird with huge wings filled with air ready for flight. She was washed and cleansed to the core. She looked behind her, trying to locate the tunnel, but it was not there. It had vanished in the sublime light.  

She stood there like a new born babe, fresh in body and form, fed with a great message of life. It was a new beginning. Beginning of self-love!