Sunday, October 18, 2020

One black coffee

She pulled up the glasses to her forehead and wiped the sweat with a half torn face napkin. As an immediate reaction, she checked her face on the dark mobile screen and plucked out the shreds of the paper that were stuck on her skin.

“Here ma’am, is there anything else you would like to have ?”, the waitress placed the cup of black coffee with utmost skill.

Waft of freshly brewed coffee’s decoction hit Mira’s nostrils, and she fell into a state of transcendence.

“No..Thank you…”, she stuttered continuing to inhale.

The waitress smiled, and trotted to take the next order from the only other customer apart from Mira.

Her state of wholeness was suddenly interrupted by someone calling her name. And the voice shook every neuron in her head. But, her emotions were neutral. This surprised her.

“Mira, Is that you? Whoaaa…how are you?”, he quipped, genuinely startled.

‘Damn..why is he here? Why is here? Why is he here?’

With no one offering, and out of habit, he pulled out the chair opposite to Mira settling comfortably.

“It has been 6 months! I haven’t heard from you. Whoa! You have lost lot of weight. And you look great”, he continued without a pause.

‘It was deliberate weight loss, and self love , you asshole’

“Thank you! So, how are you?”, she asked, deliberately not returning any compliments.

“I am ok. Neola is fine”, he said reading her face for emotions.

But there weren’t any. Mira had worked on herself for the past half of the year. And it seemed like it was to respond to him at this moment.

‘There was no need to bring her name in the first line of conversation. How did I put up with someone so disgusting for past 5 years?’

“That was the most insecure reply, ever heard”, he muttered under her breathe.

“What?”, he asked acting innocent, though he had heard her.

“Nothing, how is work?”, she asked. But, he shifted his focus on the cup.

“Hey! That must be black coffee. Right ? And you are waiting for it to be luke warm. I have always known you. So does it have 2 cubes of sugar?”

Mira rolled her eyes. Even her helper of 6 days knew this better.

“No sugar”, she replied back lidding her anger.

“What?!! No!! Don’t tell me you are doing this no sugar shit, you always loved the sugar. Don’t change that thing. It makes you”, he told her while he plopped two cubes of sugar into the coffee.

Mira stared at him for few seconds. He needed to go. She needed that closure.

She needed to end him in her way, once for all. He was the guy she had planned her life with, though he had always given her half confused answers. Her intuition about him had always been the same – they will not end up together. There will be no forevers, or togethers. Still, she hung on to the faith of his words, and emotions. To the world, her relation wasn’t toxic, but to her it was. She has wasted her energy loving him for four years, giving it the best in very sense. It was time that was lost, and more important, she had lost herself in the process. It just took him 2 days to move on, telling her that it was never meant to be. She had no idea if he had cheated on her behind back, while she was living in this delusion of love.

“Sugar is bad”, she said.

“Come on Mira..you can have it…”, he butted in.

“I haven’t finished!”, she glared at him.

“Ok ok..” he said raising his hands. She sensed that he was shocked by her assertiveness.

“I am like this black coffee. Strong. Sensational. Simple but”, she said looking at her cup which had sugar pieces that were bloating. “I always liked the coffee that way. Bitter, awakening, and a reminder that it is the best thing to start the day with. But this sugar is quite addictive. I know it is not the sugar that makes the coffee, but it always gives you the sense that coffee is missing something. It gives you this illusion that coffee is not complete. You understand?”

He nodded his head, quite perplexed.

Satisfied, she continued.

“So every day, this sugar comes into the coffee, giving this false perception of sweetness, making the coffee seem good. Coffee forgets, what makes it so unique. We forget why we loved the coffee in the first place. It definitely wasn’t the sugar.”

She placed her glasses on the table, giving the pause for him to comprehend.

“But, sugar is bad. It is empty calories, with nothing to hold on to for itself, making everyone addictive and sick. The end result of sugar is always negative”

She looked him straight into the eye.

“And you are that sugar. In my life of black coffee”

He shifted his position uneasily, not saying a word.

Mira felt light. She felt her heart pounding in happiness. She smiled to herself. Every ounce of faith she had in herself was restored.

“Lila! Can you please bring me another cup of black coffee?”, she shouted out to the waitress who nodded.

“And Lila, make sure there is no sugar in it”, Mira echoed pushing the cup of coffee with sugar towards him.

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Jasmine - final Part - For the closure



Read Part 5 here

Begin the series here

*******


Flower blooms atop the thorns,

All in the perceiver's eyes,

Now, tell me what is beautiful,

And, what is otherwise ?

Jasmine stirred from her exhaustion to the bright sky, which was blurred at places by white clouds. She discerned with the smell of the soil that she was still in the forest. Her man was slumbering next to her with his hands wrapped around her arms, as a baby would do to his mother. She skimmed through the nearby trees and deciphered that Abu and Cipha had left them. Unbothered by a bird perched on her, Sahari was feeding on some dry grass.

Jasmine took this moment of peace to ponder on her thoughts. The scene of the fight played in her head. Jafar wasn’t just evil, but he was smart too. Of all the magic he could have obtained, he went to the Goddess of death.

'Can he be killed?'

She knew he wasn’t immortal; only that Nephthia chose to side him.

'What does she gain by this ?'

She settled that Jafar must have given her something which was her weakness.

Jasmine was lost in her thoughts for almost an hour. She was making rationale decisions in her head. Whether they would work or not, only time would tell. But, she had to do something better than lying down here in the forest.

'What could the worst be ? Losing the kingdom ? Death? Leaving the subjects under the wrath of someone evil like Jafar ?'

She shuddered at the last line of thoughts. She wasn’t exactly competing against Jafar, but Queen of death.

She felt her right side of the neck turn numb, and to stretch it , she pulled her neck at a right angle. In the line of gaze , she saw Sahari still feeding on the leaves.

She looked on, making certain pronouncements in her head.

When the pieces of decision aligned in her head, and a determination awoke within her, she shook Aladdin gently.

"Mmm..", he murmured in his sleep.

"Aladdin, do you know how long it has been since the fight ?", she shook him again.

Aladdin opened an eye and squinted at the sky.

"Seems like late afternoon", he answered.

Jasmine had to return to meet Jafar, but she knew this would anger Aladdin. Whatever his emotions were, he needed to just trust her on this.

"Do you know what happened last night ? How many were hurt ?"

"I don’t know, but I assume lot of deaths, while Jafar is still breathing."

'She always thinks of her people'

"Aladdin, didn’t you go and check on those people?"

Aladdin was exasperated by her question. He was fully awake at her insult.

"Sorry, I have been taking care of you. In case you didn’t notice". He swallowed the last line.

Jasmine bent her torso, and he helped her sit , balancing on a stump of a tree.

"Can we go back? I want to talk to Jafar?" , she asked finally after minutes of silence.

Aladdin gasped in shock.

"Are you out of your mind ? That man was ready to finish you, and you want to make peace with him ?"

"Will you trust me on this?", she said slowly looking into his eyes.

Aladdin didn’t trust her on this. She may be the ruler of the land, but decisions like this weren’t hers to make.

'Didn’t she think of him?'

"You know, it is not a fight with Jafar that we must pursue, but with the Goddess of death", she said.

"You want to fight the Goddess. Of. DEATH? ", he spoke emphasizing on every word.

'Oh! The irony'

" I know I am not the decision maker, but I understand that this is not a great idea. Unless you have obtained some favours from God of life, we aren’t going to be able to do anything here", he told her as he held her hands.

" My people are dead, the heart of my love bleeds to see me like this, future is bleak, but we must do something, Aladdin. There is always a way to this. You are thinking like a warrior, while I am thinking like a Queen of this land. I am responsible for anything that happens to anyone"

"But, to face Jafar and the Goddess, eye to eye, and give some lecture is not going to do the job"

"I am not going to give a lecture", she said.

Aladdin was perplexed. "Then?"

She explained her plan.

After long hesitation, Aladdin tied Rajah around Jasmine's waist and mounted her on Sahari. He lifted the reign of his horse, and walked both the animals through the forest to the war zone. They did not speak a word. Aladdin was trying to make intelligible conversations in head, but it was always distorted with his emotions.

'There is no way of convincing her. What happens if it fails? Can he strike at the right moment? Can he save her?'

When horses halted, Jasmine realised that they were in the zone of combat, except nothing of it was left. The land was much more barren than they had seen. Most of the soldiers were still seated in their war clothes and grieving.  Corpses were being burnt, smoke and ashes roared to the sky.

Few of her soldiers recognised and ran towards her.

"Queen , thank all the heavens. Allah be praised. Are you fine? You are hurt. Sorry we couldn’t protect you. We are ashamed of what happened to you", each of them spoke through the clutter of voices.

She dismounted from the horse slowly. She raised her hands to silence them.

"I am fine. I am sorry for asking you all to come into something that is mine. Mine alone to fight."

One of the oldest soldiers stepped forward from the crowd.

"No no , Queen. We are equally responsible for this land as you are. We have protected your families for ages, for all the love and mercy you have on us. You are kind, so were your forefathers. It is an honour to serve you"

"Not at expense of sacrifice", Jasmine said coldly.

Some of the soldiers were going to talk, when she raised her hand again to silence them.

"Ask Jafar to come here", she demanded.

Everyone was confused, except Aladdin. His head was turned down, and he didn’t make any noise.

"But, Queen, Jafar…"

"Call him here, while I wait", she ended the soldier's sentence.

The soldier bowed, and left the place to call Jafar.

***

Jafar was dressed much more royally than his usual attire, and his face was gleaming with happiness. Though he was confused at the need of this meet up, he was prepared to take over the kingdom on the same day. He had been too proud to even bring any weapons with him. He was guarded by two large soldiers on either side. He looked on the other side, and was greeted by soldiers who were torn badly by the fight. Among the crowd, their Queen , who had taken a blow last night, sat on a small rock.  He licked his lips in joy.

'This is the end. The fruit of all my labour. My conclusion. I will be the Sultana of this land. My desires will be appeased'

Jafar did not move from his place, after all, he was going to their king, including Jasmine's.

Jasmine took few deep breath and placed her hand on Aladdin.

"Take me closer to him"

Aladdin helped her balance on himself and they went near Jafar.

They were only an arm's distance from Jafar. She looked at Aladdin, and he let go of his hold reluctantly. She looked at Jafar with sharp eyes, and his eyes were glistening for the lovely words.

Under the roasted sky of ashes, in a single draw of the sword,  Jasmine pierced Rajah into the heart of Jafar.

Jafar whimpered in pain, but gave her an evil laugh. He placed his hand on the sword in weakness, while his soldiers stepped forward. Aladdin drew out his sword, and skilfully slit their throats. Now, it was Jasmine, Jafar and Aladdin.

Jafar lowered himself a bit forward before speaking up.

"Jasmine Jasmine Jasmine. I knew you were always brave, but your actions are always without thought. You see, I can sense the pain, but I can't die till Goddess of death thinks I need to. And for now, she is on my side. If she resides in me, I cannot be killed."

Jasmine didn’t react to his words. Without removing her gaze on him, and still holding Rajah , she knelt down in front of Jafar.

Her eyes beamed of respect and confidence. She beheld straight at Jafar.

The lights of the sky brought a circle on her eyeballs, that looked like she had acquired a new power. She spoke loudly for everyone to hear, in morality and respect.

"I am Jasmine. Queen of Agrabah. Sincere to my subjects, protector of all forces within grasp, and the rightful heir of this soil. This man, Jafar , who we trusted with our blades, betrayed my father and wants to take over what is lawfully mine. My Queen, Goddess of death, you are the mercy for our kinds. We seek you in our utmost peace. We express gratitude towards you for coming here on earth. We are blessed to have you here, but as a woman to another woman, in the blood of sorority, I wish to claim what is mine. In all humbleness, I ask you with my head hung in request, please Goddess, to leave his body , so I can finish what he started"

Jafar looked at her in revulsion and awakening. She wasn’t talking to him, but the Goddess of death.

Nothing happened for a long time, but Jasmine stayed kneeling. Her trembling hands were still holding the head of Rajah. Aladdin stood in anticipation and calculating his steps of action.

"Please. Goddess", Jasmine whispered.

A black horrifying silhouetted smoked figure rose from Jafar. It collected near Jasmine's face and shrieked in the loudest noise. Jasmine remained unfazed at the horrendous figure. It looked like their eyes were locked in unison, and words were exchanged in agreement.

"You are brave and respectful, and our paths shall cross", the figure said as it was turning into a definite shape of a woman. Shadow of Goddess of death held her hands into the air, and a ring of fire was formed in space. She pulled something out from the ring, and placed it front of Jasmine.

"This is yours to keep. It was his Cobra staff", she said.

They nodded at each other in understanding.

"Thank you", Jasmine affirmed her feelings.

 Nephthia darted straight into a ring of fire in a flash.

When Jafar knew that Goddess of death wasn’t on his side anymore, he was beginning to extinguish, and the pain in his chest was excruciating.

He began to choke in his own blood and fell on the floor with a thud. Jasmine let go of her sword's handle, and closed her eyes.

Aladdin seated himself next to her, and they didn’t speak a word. They were yet to grasp on the incident that had just occurred.

Jasmine turned towards him, and their eyes met.

She blew air out of her mouth in relief, and chocked on her own tears.

"Aladdin, my man, love and heart. I don’t have the words for you, but my heart is filled with your love. Will you marry me and be the King of Agrabah? "

Aladdin moved his head with a yes and they kissed passionately.

'He wasn’t just a street rat any more. He was a royal one.'


*******


The end






*******

While we are here, still a Vijay Deverakonda fan . To help with the COVID-19 situation, his team has started a Middle Class Fund, which aims at providing the basic necessities to middle class families. The team has been very transparent in their work, and you can watch the behind the scenes on Youtube (link here )

Last time when I had tweeted about VD, I saw a lot of fans comment on my post, so I felt I could use (my so called writing) platform to make people aware of the foundation. You could donate, volunteer or just spread this message around.

More details on the foundation can be found here

(Also, if you absolutely hated my writing, please feel free to let me know, and I will donate to TDF :D )

*******

Jasmine - Part 5 - Connection of a kind

Read Part 4 here

*******

World reckless at its end,

Follies, miracles and unpaid dues,

Love passed along through ages,

How much of it can be saved though ?

Jasmine felt a throbbing pain in her stomach when she opened her eyes. She exhibited the pain with an expression on her face. She was welcomed by two sad eyes, looking at her in worrisome. She relaxed her mind.

"Aladdin", she whispered.

"Jasmine, please don’t move. You need the rest", he said pushing her head back with his palms.

Jasmine scanned the surrounding with a small roll of her head and saw she was in the middle of the forest. Massive figure of Abu was sitting in the far end of the corner looking at her, concerned. Another spectator who wasn’t showing the same enthusiasm as others, was her mare, Sahari.  She failed to identify the last person , with the back turned towards her and doing something over the fire.

Taking a cue from her V-shaped eye brows, Aladdin explained to her.

"She is Cipha, the one who is trying to help you get better soon"

On call of her name, Cipha turned to Jasmine and smiled across her wrinkled face. She held a small vessel with a cloth tied around it. She brought it closer to Jasmine's mouth gesturing her to drink. Jasmine obeyed her.

The drink was very bitter and dry, but Jasmine didn’t complain. She was full of gratitude towards Cipha and Aladdin.

She recollected the last night's fight. She rubbed Aladdin's cheeks and he kissed her palms. She touched the bandage that was tied tightly around her waist. There was surprisingly no pain.

"This is tied very tight and in expertise"

"You just need to drink these another 2 times, and let the wound heal on its own. You are young, my dear, and you should be back in great health in no time. Don’t let your worries, and ambitions get in between", Cipha said to Jasmine, while she patted her arm.

She then looked at Aladdin.

"Can you get some neem leaves?", Cipha asked Aladdin.

"Yes", he said stroking Jasmine's hair.

"I will be back soon", he whispered and placed a kiss on her forehead.

With Aladdin gone for some time, Jasmine tried to sit up. Cipha came forward and helped her.

She saw stains of dry blood on the clothe tied to her abdomen.

"How long have I been unconscious?", she asked Cipha who returned to cooking the herbs.

"Not for long, Queen", said Cipha, not looking back.

"You knew I am a queen ?"

"Cipha knows everything", she said under her breathe.

She felt heavy breathing on her back, and realized Abu was closer to her now. She couldn’t turn to him.

"Come on this side, Abu", she said caressing him on his chin without turning behind.

Abu turned towards her. She saw sadness in his eyes.

"It's ok, Abu. Thank you for saving me"

Abu brought his head on the stretched palm of Jasmine and rubbed his head over it.

There was a complete silence except for the boiling of herbs.

"Do you live in the forest?", Jasmine asked Cipha.

"As long as I have known"

"Why don’t you come with me to the palace? My people can make use of the herbs you prepare,"

"Is that a demand ?", Cipha asked turning her head, but still not looking at Jasmine.

"No no, Cipha. It was a request. I…", Jasmine was cut off before she could speak.

"Then , you don’t say, come. You need to learn to use the word 'please' "

Jasmine's pride was hurt by this. She had always been a disciplined and responsible child. She never threw air of royalty around her people.

Cipha brought another drink towards Jasmine.

"Men are to be loved, and women respected", Cipha told in decrypted words.

Jasmine just pondered over the sentence while she drank yet another bitter dry drink.

"Take some rest, and you will feel better already".

She suddenly heard hooves clunking on the ground, and it dawned on her that she had ignored Sahari. The mare was standing under the tree with no ropes tied to her to keep in a place. Sahari was the wildest animal in her father's barn, and it took Jasmine a year to tame her. Jasmine loved Sahari because she saw herself in the animal. Wild, free spirted and hard to tame. When she rode her, it gave an essence of freedom and independence.

"Come here, Sahari", she called out

Sahari shook her white mane, which indicated that she heard Jasmine, but didn’t move.

"This is not the time to be arrogant, Sahari, Come here!", Jasmine shouted sternly.

The animal still didn’t move an inch from the place.

Jasmine heard Cipha snort.

'Men are to be loved, and women respected'

Sahari, will you please come here?, Jasmine requested.

The animal trotted towards her.

"See my Queen, all you had to do was ask nicely", Cipha quipped as she picked her stick to balance herself.

"But this is only an animal", Jasmine explained

Cipha inched towards her with the balance of the stick on one hand and bundle of herbs in another.

"Any woman, be it a queen , animal or a monster. All it takes is respect", Cipha enlightened.

Jasmine continued to just look at Cipha who was now stroking Sahari.

Aladdin showed up from the bushes with the herbs and some fruits. He handed over the leaves to Cipha, which she returned to him.

"Just make a paste with the herbs I gave you earlier, and rub it on the wound till it is healed completely"

Aladdin nodded in understanding. Cipha smiled at Jasmine.

"Your man has a good heart. You both have my blessings. I believe you will rule Agrabah in fair and kindness"

"I don’t think I am the queen anymore", Jasmine retorted placing her head back. "Jafar has taken everything from me"

Cipha didn’t console her, instead, began to walk to the dark green barks of the forest.

"Men are to be loved, and women respected", she murmured and walked on.


*******

Read Final part here





*******

While we are here, still a Vijay Deverakonda fan . To help with the COVID-19 situation, his team has started a Middle Class Fund, which aims at providing the basic necessities to middle class families. The team has been very transparent in their work, and you can watch the behind the scenes on Youtube (link here )

Last time when I had tweeted about VD, I saw a lot of fans comment on my post, so I felt I could use (my so called writing) platform to make people aware of the foundation. You could donate, volunteer or just spread this message around.

More details on the foundation can be found here

(Also, if you absolutely hated my writing, please feel free to let me know, and I will donate to TDF :D )

*******

One black coffee

She pulled up the glasses to her forehead and wiped the sweat with a half torn face napkin. As an immediate reaction, she checked her face o...