Day 3 – of days that go by

I have felt this incessant need to take away something or the other from every macro action I can imagine in life. Play a game, take something from it, apply it to “better” life. The idea of self-enrichment appeals a lot to me, and is something that constantly drives me. That’s why days that are just…insignificant, bother me. Well, bother won’t be the correct term, but rather leave me queasy. Uncomfortable maybe. Takes away a particular sense of purpose. But it is in times like these that I like to remind myself that it is unfair to judge a day in isolation, because that’s not who we are, and that’s not what life is. We are products of our life experiences, and each one of them counts just as much as the other. We’ll always be way too close to the picture to see the actual, larger image, and by the time we do, it would be too late to go back in time and fix the incorrigible treatment our so-called insignificant actions got. Perhaps a better way to look at it is to assign notional value to things until you can actually assign it one. But isn’t that a way of beating the system, and treating just the symptom and not the cause? Thoughts on this?


Day 2 – The Purple Giraffe

I have recently begun another rerun of my favourite television show, How I Met Your Mother. That show is the reason why I am, who I am. Sometimes I think I am outgrowing it, and that’s when I watch an episode, smile and realise that I never will. Regardless, one of the episodes (Season 1, Episode 2) is titled the Purple Giraffe and deals with a situation where Ted is trying to woo Robin, and the title is a metaphor from a situation that happens on the episode wherein a kid who is playing on a claw-crane, and on being unable to win a desired Purple Giraffe, the kid climbs in through the vent of the machine to get it.

Isn’t that what all of us are looking for in life? The Purple Giraffe? I don’t necessarily mean this in the romantic sense. Sure, that too, but isn’t that what we want? Inspiration, professional or personal, that drives us to absolutely insane limits to achieve it. Personally, I believe all of us have some purpose in life. It doesn’t mean we have a purpose, but just some purpose that drives us. It can’t be singular, because honestly, we are not the same person at any given instant. We are evolving creatures, who adapt, absorb and evolve, particularly using the world around us. In this transitionary human life, it is definitely possible to have multiple goals or purposes, but I think it is a simply human instinct to work towards one. The argument I want to press forward is that given this melee of thoughts and emotions everyone experiences, it is enthralling when you discover your current purpose, as the satisfaction that fills you when you achieve it, or even are able to work towards it, is in itself, what life is really about.

Day 1 – Love without a lover

So as part of my resolutions for 2018, I have decided that I shall be writing something everyday, a minimum of 200 words. I’ve become quite lazy when it comes to writing in the past few years, and I figured this would kick me into action. I think that’s enough of an introduction, and I’ll jump directly to what I wanted to write.

I have been experiencing a very strange feeling ever since 2018 kicked in. Have you ever felt that you’re in love with being in love, without being in love with someone. Perhaps that’s what craving for companionship means. To be honest, I don’t even know what this is. It definitely is not lust, not in its entirety. It’s not me falling for someone, and experiencing a bloom of feelings. It’s just…me having feelings of a romantic kind, towards someone. Now who that person is, I don’t know, I genuinely don’t. What bothers me is that I don’t know what to make of this. Should I be proud? Proud of the fact that I can successfully experience a surge of positive emotions without necessarily aiming them towards a particular person? Should I be sad and miserable about the fact that I literally do not have a romantic interest to share this with? Should I be terrified of the person I’m becoming? After all, it is a dangerous ability this, to experience love at one’s desire and choosing, one with tremendous potential for misuse, and with an almost insatiable ability to cause emotional hurt to oneself, and others.

As I end this, I would like to believe that there is someone out there, who is feeling exactly this, and is obsessing over what she’s going through. That thought brings a broad smile to my face.

The myopia of Desire

Strange are the vagaries of life

Driven by lust, stemmed by passion

My jibes hurt the most

Yours? Not even with a blood smeared knife


The heart thinks love, the mind craves flesh

Beat by beat I fall, thoughts collapse.

‘Veni Vedi Vici’ your voice echoes,

Iron curls in my chest, mesh by mesh


Alone in a crowd, Alive alone

Staggering, stumbling, surviving.

Drunk without drinking, intoxicated on you

Barely speaking, the chill forcing a moan


Your laugh pierces a tranquil noise

Breaking the peace of unorganised silence

I sigh, and I turn over, satisfied

Against the Death Penalty

Before you trash this article as propaganda, let me make it very clear. This is simply an article trying to openly address the question that we, as a nation, and more importantly, as a race, as a species, as a civilization, need to answer. Can we justify and, to that extent, actually kill another human being? I’m probably an abolitionist, although I confess I do not have any material research to back my opinion herein. Simply certain musings and thoughts from my mind.

The death penalty (also called capital punishment) is punishing a criminal for an offence by inflicting death. It has existed for ages, yet as of today, it has been abolished in 139 countries across the globe. The methods maybe different and include, but are not limited to, hanging from a noose, shooting, administering death inducing drugs, stoning, and passing electric current through the body.

To ease my mind of my problem with the death penalty, and with regard to this entire process, I decided to write this article, working on an assumption that death penalty is a valid penalty and should be administered. I figured if I can poke enough holes in the very idea of the penalty, I will be able to conclusively answer the question.

Here’s why I struggle to grasp this idea: Every justice system in the world functions on certain basic assumptions and human constructs. The judicial system is vested with power by society to punish an offender according to the crime he/she commits. Society as a whole is more powerful than the sum of its individual parts. This power gives it the authority to back the sanctions the judiciary deems fit. The entire construct and the subsequent systems it creates strives to create a system that is fair, equal and just. For a second, let’s keep the definitions of those terms aside, we’ll get to them later. Let’s focus on the sanctions these constructs bestow upon a system. The sanctions seem ideal until the idea of a death penalty is invoked. That’s when I personally see issues with the system. Why? Well, for starters, the idea that a heinous crime deserves a heinous punishment is a flawed analysis. Say for example X kills a person. It is universally acknowledged as a wrong, subject to exceptions, which are obvious (self-defence for one), but in ordinary circumstances, is a universal wrong. X deserves to be punished. Agreed. So let’s kill X. This is what I struggle with. Quid pro quo sounds good for commercial transactions and barters but logically, it simply doesn’t make sense in a criminal system, designed for a civilised society, which emphasises on reformation and restorative form of justice, rather than endorsing retribution. If X killing a person, under whatever circumstances, is wrong, then how is killing X justified? One may say that it was X who committed a murder in the first place, and that offers a justification, and that’s reason enough to go ahead with the capital punishment. There are a few issues with this:

How different are we from X if we kill X?

X killed the person for a reason. He had a reason for it, which he deemed enough to warrant killing. He was punished for it, with capital punishment. We killed X for a reason. We deemed it enough to warrant killing. But we won’t be punished for it as we have the authority vested by society in us. Now, let’s examine something. Does society have the power or authority to legitimise killing? Every other incident that society regulates, either through morality, religion, governments, legal systems or any other route is an instance of regulating constructs that are human-made. Life is not a human creation. I don’t mean the act of creating life, but the prolonged idea of life itself. I don’t care if you believe in evolution or the divine theory, but the fact remains that we cannot create it (again, I emphasise, that life in this particular context is not just the creation of a biological being in the literal sense, but the entire process i.e. the experience of life, participation and interaction in the environment around a person etc.) or restore it or duplicate it. We simply cannot. We take away someone’s freedom; we can restore it. We take away someone’s life; restoration is not even a possibility. The action is permanent. If X is given the capital punishment, X shall cease to exist, and can never be brought back. Now this where the common argument comes in, “if he was heinous enough to do it, then he deserves it.” “He didn’t think about the person/people he killed, ergo he deserves to die”. This is where the idea of capital punishment develops internal inconsistencies and logical fallacies. So the assumption of validity rests on the idea that we as a society, are punishing an individual from deviating from a set of ideals laid down already. For the sake of argument, I am assuming these ideals are set in stone to ensure a utopian society that is again, fair, equal and just. But giving into the argument mentioned here means deviating from the ideals of society and adopting the ideals taken by X him/herself. Confused? Let me simplify. X kills 100 people by bombing an apartment building. Our reason for inflicting the capital punishment on him/her is that he/she didn’t care about them, so we shouldn’t care about him/her either. Well, if X is getting the capital punishment for killing people without caring about them, shouldn’t we be getting the capital punishment as well for killing X without caring about her/him? What puts us up on the moral pedestal that protects us? If the answer lies behind the fabric of legal and social sanction, we effectively create a major issue. Let’s address the problem behind claiming a socio-legal backing i.e. an argument rooted in majoritarianism. I shall address majoritarianism later in this piece as well, but in this context, the risk it poses is of us being non-uniform in our justice system as reformative legislations or provisions, or pushing for changes to ensure effectively address the question of equality and discrimination, lose steam by accepting this argument as most of them do not have societal backing, in terms of number.

X should be killed because society wants that

This argument is a dangerous proposition in itself. The very idea of doing something simply because ‘society’ wants it scares me, because it is bloody dangerous. Think about it. I think all of us agree that everyone has a unique thought process. Everyone has different ideas and different opinions, and in most situations, complete consensus is an impossible ideal. So firstly, when the above-mentioned argument is raised, it stems from an assumption that the majority’s opinion is de facto everyone’s opinion. This proposition is scary as accepting it involves a blatant disregard for minority opinion/rights and leaves no room for alternate thinking. To sample a real life example, here are a few things from the past that the majority believed was ‘right’ – slavery, racial discrimination, imposing taxes on a religion that is not the ‘majority’ or ‘not in power’. These examples are proof that the second assumption, which is that the majority’s opinion is always right, is a delusional assumption. Something that directly flows here is the scenario wherein everyone (both the majority, and assuming a consolidated minority) agrees upon something. Would that make the act acceptable? I still think my answer remains no, as from where I look at it, life, or rather the right to life, is a fundamental guarantee every human being has by the virtue of her/his birth. Let’s address this argument next

X should be killed because even the fundamental right to life has restrictions like other fundamental rights

This argument has one flaw. It places the right to life as a fundamental right at par with other fundamental rights. The right to life is one which is not granted by society but which an individual possesses by virtue of his/her birth. The right to equality is a relational right i.e. it exists in a society, in conjunction with others. The same goes for other basic fundamental rights such as the right to freedom etc. The right to life is an absolute right which one possesses in isolation from everyone, and even in conjunction. The part that is in conjunction with others, deals more with the quality of one’s life, and its nature, while the absolute right is simply a guarantee of not being killed. It is not granted to someone simply because they are a member of a society or citizen of a country, but by the mere fact that you are born as a member of the species homo sapiens.

Something that I have not addressed here is the element of guilt: whether or not an accused is guilty of the offence. That is because this entire argument is based on the idea that there is no offence that warrants the death penalty, hence there is no element of guilt involved. In fact the idea of defining certain offences as ‘worth awarding the capital punishment’ introduces elements of being perfectly assured and completely sure of an accused’s guilt, which is an unachievable goal. The idea is to separate the concepts of guilt determination and sentencing. At the outset, the idea is to ensure reasonable punishment. No one is denying the guilt of a prisoner who has been convicted after due process. However, that element has to be separated from the sentencing of the convict.

Another obstacle I encounter is being confronted with whether someone from my family has been subject to a crime that warranted the death penalty, and would I argue for non-imposition of the death penalty for the accused then? Here’s the deal. Call me naïve if you want, but the very fact that we have a mind capable of understanding logic and reasoning is what makes us human beings. I know it is idealistic to say this, but there have been many situations when people have shown true humanity by arguing for non-imposition of the death penalty for those accused of committing heinous crimes against their loved ones. Again, here the idea is to ensure reasonable punishment. The argument is in favour of the maximum possible punishment, say life imprisonment, but mine, or anyone else’s conviction against the death penalty arises from rationality and logic, hence anger and rage are not factors that should be playing a role in changing it.

What I am trying to say can possibly be summed up like this – Taking life, under no circumstances, including State-sanctioned ones, can ever be legitimate. I realise this article in itself is subject to criticism and probably has multiple flaws, or leaps, in logic. But the very purpose of this article is to express an opinion, maybe an ill-informed one at that, but an opinion nevertheless, because when it boils down to the life of a person, every last bit counts.

This Unquiet Land: Stories From India’s Fault Lines by Barkha Dutt – A Book Review

NOTE: This piece was written by me for the 10th issue of Audi Alteram Partem, NLU Delhi’s college magazine.

This Unquiet Land: Stories From India’s Fault Lines by Barkha Dutt
Release Date/Month: December 2015
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
This Unquiet Land: Stories From India’s Fault Lines by Barkha Dutt
Journalism has a penchant for narratives, which are mainstream, and rarely steps into the realm that addresses the other side of the debate. However, Barkha Dutt is one of the handful few journalists who has often transcended the border between the two sides, and has given mainstream reportage a depth it unfortunately lacked. This Unquiet Land, is essentially a reflection in retrospect by Barkha Dutt, on the ground reality she experienced in her nearly 25 year long career, while at the same time, providing critical commentary on the fractures that have put India in a cast.
Primarily an on-air journalist (of course, with the occasional columns in prominent newspapers), this is Barkha’s first book, and this fact is bluntly obvious. Despite having a flair for words, the narration, or rather the flow of the book is scattered, and open-ended. Several important issues are raised, discussed, dissected and analysed by her, but cumulatively, the book fails to make a point except for a reiteration of the status quo i.e. the dark yet colourful paradox that is India.
That being said, the content of the book is riveting. Narration of horrifying events that actually occurred, without resorting to dramatization, while simultaneously breaking the walls of privilege built around the reader to expose her to the horrors faced by people, is extremely difficult and Barkha does an excellent job of the same. Covering a wide spectrum of issues that the country was confronted with, she does a stellar job hitting the right nerves at every required instance. One of the major stimulating factors, is of course the fact that she is one of the first on-ground female reporter India saw in the post-liberalization era, and that in itself provides for an unique read. At multiple instances, the book talks about unique anecdotes and incidents from Barkha’s life as a reporter, and how the same influenced her, changed her or forced her to think beyond the theoretical jargon one graduates with.
To be fair, the book also acts as Barkha’s venting zone, as she tried to subtly include replies to certain allegations against her as a part of India’s narrative on major issues, but the subtlety was lost in the harsh barrage of words against her detractors. At this point, I must express my personal displeasure at the same. Not due to the content, but due to the simple fact, that those rants lacked context. A book claiming to explore India’s fractured lines has no context for replying to accusations and allegations which are personal to the author.

Overall, I must say that I was disappointed. Not because the book was disappointing. In sum, the book is average at best, but perhaps I had come to expect more from one of the better journalists in the country, who has often also written scathing columns along the same subject matter the book revolved around. This is not a book that you have to read, but it definitely is one that you should read for a rude shock about what India really is, along its shaky faulty lines.

Click here to buy on Amazon or Flipkart

Because Love is not always Blind

The light in her bedroom went off. Praveen continued staring at that window, as he had for the past thirty years, every night, religiously and ritually. Even though her house was a block down the street, and admittedly, his abysmal housekeeping skills ensured a layer of perennial dust on his own window, Praveen could describe each inch of the window he had longed for opening. It might seem to be a feat, given his current age, but well, staring at a window that was slightly dented towards the upward-left corner since the past thirteen years, three months and eleven days, does that to you. He stubbed his cigarette as he reached the filter, and exhaled. Another night of a struggle before he could sleep. He almost smiled at the prospect. Almost. The thin lines of his mouth, ever night, cracked towards an upward curve, but always stopped midway. You see, the brain is an organ with an absolutely cruel sense of humour. For reasons known best by itself, every moment brings its cost, and every love struck human, always has the pang of sadness weighing down every chance of happiness. It was the same memory, always. The day when he first met Meera.
He was sixteen, and had just moved to the neighbourhood. His father, a district administrator, was already at his office, and his mother, a home administrator, was readying hers. As she unloaded, unpacked and arranged the seemingly infinite number of boxes into the maze of drawers and cupboards in the kitchen, she realised that she had run out of ammunition for the afternoon luncheon with their neighbours, and that is how Praveen ended up at the supermarket at ten past eleven, on a sunny afternoon in Mid-April, in the row for household spices, searching for chillies, and lost all semblance of flavour, as nothing quite tasted the same since that day. It was an innocent tap on his shoulder, and an extended arm that a small packet on the uppermost shelf which her hands couldn’t quite reach. He grabbed it with ease, a natural height advantage that he took for granted by now, and turned. That’s the first time he saw Meera Joshi. Even today, as he sees her come back home every night at 9.45 PM, she steps out of her car, waves at him with a smile, and goes back in, yet his reaction, as though frozen in the space-time continuum remains the same. A smile plastered across his face that simply refuses to leave. He had handed her the packet and she left without a thank you, and that was it. He was in love, and he never would have guessed the curve his life had taken.
Praveen, as every night, lay in bed and thought about the same thing he had thought about ever since that night, with alarming consistency. He thought about the curves of life. About its adventure, about its uncertainibility. Strange isn’t it? What if he had decided to leave home a mere few minutes later that day? What if his mother had not run out of chillies? What if he had entered the other supermarket further down the lane? The small things of life somehow influenced you and shaped you in ways you never realise until you have reached a time when you can look back and connect the dots. For thirty years now, Praveen had spent every night waiting for Meera to come to her window, and for thirty years now, Meera had not shown. He had fallen for her slowly, and at once. He fell for her, bit by bit, and for her being her, all at once. He couldn’t quite blame her for though. He had never spoken to her. The hundred feet journey had remained so, and he never had crossed it. He loved her from afar, too scared of the consequence, to scared of her reaction. Well that’s not true. He had spoken to her once, and she hadn’t replied. He had spent his entire life waiting for that reply.
It was a bustling day in the market, years ago. Sometime back in early January. He was nudging his way through to the bookstore, and suddenly he felt his breath leave his body. It was Meera, but not her sight, but rather her elbow-in-his-rib-cage as she tried to make her way through the crowd. She looked so beautiful, he thought, the slight nervousness of being in a crowd, of being a tiny person in a crowd full of humongous human beings. Recovering, he grabbed her arm, and she turned, with a look of surprise on her face, but the emotion disappeared as she saw his face, and turned into the smile that has haunted him ever since. “ An apology wouldn’t have hurt” he said with a laugh, but it apparently fell on deaf ears as she seemingly ignored it. Praveen found in him, a confidence, which he never knew he ever had, as he pulled her closer, leant in, and whispered into her ear, “ I love you”. It was as if he dispelled his courage with those words, as if they broke him. He suddenly felt empty, and he could hear his heart pounding, and his mouth went dry. As suddenly as he had gripped her arm, he let it go, and started walking away. She stood there, to his astonishment, with a confused look on her face, but not the kind he was expecting, not the kind one faces when one is expressed with the emotion of love. He halted, turned and shouted, “ I’ll wait for your answer”, and ran. Meera stood there staring after him, not realising what had just happened.
Praveen sighed as the memory of something that changed his life over two decades ago, flashed with clarity quite peculiar to beloved memories. He had held his word. He waited for her response, and still was waiting. He had never tried to ask her again, or approach her again. Love, was not something, in his ideal, that could be forced. He never understood the idea of making people fall in love with someone. How could it be love if it needed external stimuli? He never believed in love that made “sense” because in his books, it never did. He stepped out of his apartment and went down to the mailbox. It was an odd ritual this, the absurd checking of his mail everyday after his nightly smile and wave of heart-breaking love. But, he couldn’t help but feel that there was something down there, waiting for him. He went about the ritual daily, and he was disappointed daily, but he still did it, daily. Funny, how the most absurd of things are the things you can’t explain, and the things you can’t explain, are the ones that pull the strings of your four chambered monster.
No mail again. This time he smiled completely, more out of self-pity, and went back to his home and jumped into bed, and lay there thinking, and dreaming, and eventually drifting off to sleep, but at every moment, loving the word that ran through his blood. Meera.
The next day
Meera Joshi had passed away in the quiet of the night, which was strange. She had passed away in her sleep, a cardiac arrest, sudden, quiet, and deadly. Meera had no family, and had been living alone since the death of her father fifteen years ago. The usual crowd had gathered, neighbours, and friends, and of course, the relatives Meera never knew existed, except for her Aunt who lived a couple of miles away, and was reminded of her love for Meera every year only on Diwali. Praveen ran to her house the moment he overheard the milkman gossip about it to Mrs.Dey, the old widow who was the only other occupant on the floor, with the other apartment, 113, being vacant ever since Praveen could remember. Praveen couldn’t place his emotions. He had loved this woman from afar for thirty years, and suddenly she was gone. Dead. Praveen fell to his knees when he saw her body, covered with a white cloth, and cotton stuffed in her nose. He had loved her, and “why” was not a question he could answer, or even thought about really. She was his drug, his addiction, his habit, his life. It was the strangest thing, giving someone a place on a pedestal in your life, when your interaction with the person had never crossed the puny limit of ten words, and of course, the million of thoughts that raced through his mind when he saw her every night.
Musing mentally, Praveen quietly stood up and strode over to a corner. He didn’t want to talk to people, or couldn’t rather. No one should see his tears, for he didn’t know how to explain them. He slightly turned away his face, and the tears continued coming. He couldn’t particularly place a finger on his emotions. If logic had taught him anything, all that happened was that he lost a daily waving partner. He tried to stop the tears. He really did. He wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve, tried crunching his face, tried thinking about happy thoughts, but all of it failed, especially the last one. Each happy memory reminded him that he couldn’t share it with her, and now, he never will.
“Excuse me?”, a voice interrupted him, and he turned to see Ravalli, Meera’s friend, he assumed of course, as he had often seen them together. “I’m sorry, but are you a relative of Meera’s?”, she asked with what sounded, suspicion and inquisitiveness in her voice. Snivelling, Praveen replied, “ No, I am Praveen. I live in an apartment in the building across the road. You can see it from this window. We were friends”. The disjointed sentences were quite unlike Praveen, but the past tense in his last statement pushed him over the edge again, and in that moment, one could swear that every teardrop was a waterfall.
“Oh! You’re that Praveen!” she exclaimed, and started off with a rant he never thought he would hear. Meera had loved him, since Ravalli could remember, and that would be a long time, as they had been friends for decades now. She didn’t know if he remembered, but Meera had never forgotten that moment in the supermarket, when they were fourteen, no sixteen, no seventeen, Ravalli said she couldn’t remember, but sometime in the past, he had handed her a packet at a supermarket, and their fingers had touched. Meera had never forgotten it. She had always thought he never reciprocated, and had always lived with the ache that only a love-struck heart knows. She always wondered why he didn’t reply to her letters. She wrote him one every year, on 17th January, a day she told Ravalli, she would never forget. The first time he spoke to her, and it always hurt her that she didn’t reply. How could she? She had waited for his reply for years, but never asked anyone to take it up with him. She believed that love couldn’t be forced, it never could be love if people came together just because it made “sense”. Each sentence broke Praveen into pieces. He wailed, and for the first time, he thanked God for the setting, because a mourning was where that wailing belonged. Love in itself is somehow, the easiest yet the most difficult thing we do, and somehow, a little bit of heart was all that was needed to bring the two of them together, and yet ironically, that is the only thing they lacked. He couldn’t stand to be in that room anymore, the air somehow was getting heavier than lead for him. Heaving slightly, he stumbled to the door, when something flashed in his mind, and he turned to Ravalli and asked, “these letters…are you sure she wrote them? I never received any”. For a moment, he wanted Ravalli to tell him that it was nothing but a lie, and that Meera never loved him, for it is better to have loved and never had the love you longed for, than to have loved and not have had it for the lack of heart to walk up and claim the very same. Praveen prayed silently, but perhaps God is cruel, or maybe she is a playful tease, or maybe she just doesn’t exist, and a human’s prayers are nothing but cries bouncing off the chasms of the universe, for Ravalli replied, “Yes! She definitely did. She would herself go and drop it off into your mailbox. 113 right?”
Praveen ran back. His brain was frozen, and he wanted to do nothing but find a hammer and break open the mailbox for that wretched apartment. Perhaps it was luck, or sheer coincidence that he found the handyman near the gate of the building, who when told that the postman had unfortunately slipped his salary cheque into the mailbox of the abandoned apartment, immediately agreed to help, crumbling about the postman’s inefficiency, something about this being the fourth such instance this month. Poor postman, another innocent injured in the world’s oldest sport, wooing. The mailbox appeared to be full and bursting, and behold! There they were, about 25 envelopes, each ageing in its own way, but the same rounded handwriting adorning the address on each, the black ink almost mocking Praveen. The handyman quietly walked away, for in all his life, if he had learnt something, it was that if a man sobs like a new-born baby on seeing a letter, he is best left alone.
He read every letter. He wept for the two hours it took him, and some more. At 21, she told him that she had fallen for him, at 27 she told him that her office timings have changed, and she’ll get home an hour early, but she’ll still wait for him to come to the window with his cigarette, at 9:44 PM sharp, so that she could wave to him before walking back home. At 33, she told him she admired him for his schedule and his discipline, that she had never met a man who stuck his guns, and everyday, for years together, would appear at the same place, at the same time, for the same act. At 40, she told him that she did not like being alone, and she kept wondering why he didn’t reply. Maybe if he could tell her that he did not love her, maybe that’ll stop her. She retracted that at 41, saying that even if he did not love her, she would always love him. At 46, the last one she wrote him, she looked back at her love for him, and said she didn’t understand why she loved him, they barely knew each other, she wished she could talk to him, but she couldn’t. All she knew was that she loved him.
Praveen’s tears didn’t stop the entire night. He let them flow, for he had no idea how to let thirty years of emotions out. It was dawn when the last of his tears dried on his cheeks, and he decided that a fresh breath of air wouldn’t hurt. He walked down the street, ambling in his pyjamas; hair all messed up, as he saw Ravalli outside Meera’s building. His lack of courage to approach people had deprived him of a lifetime of happiness; he wasn’t going to let that happen again. He walked up to her and asked her, with the bluntness of dull hammer, and strangely, with the sharpness of a knife, “ Why didn’t she ever say anything? Why didn’t she ever speak to me? Why?” Ravalli, turned to him with a surprised look on her face, which somehow even bordered disgust and in the flattest of tones replied, “ only if the mute spoke, and the deaf heard, the world would have been a different place wouldn’t it?”. Strange are the ways of the world aren’t they? Two lovers, never united. One, for his heart never let his tongue speak, and the other, her tongue couldn’t even her heart wanted to.