Thursday, January 21, 2016


They took my husband at the darkest hour. A hand covered my mouth. I was blindfolded. They did not disturb the sleeping kids. It was over in five minutes. After they were gone, I reached out and felt his warm space go cold.
I reported it to the police. They did not conceal their irritation. What could they do? My parents and siblings dropped by. His stayed away. A few neighbours watched from behind curtains, some closed the windows; it was as if we were in quarantine. I won’t blame them. I would do the same. When the first one from our area was taken, a few months back, I told my husband to keep a low profile. He did not listen.
The media stayed away. It isn’t news anymore–‘Another goner’, on page seven. It wasn’t like that when it started. There was outrage against extrajudicial rendition. Even the gossip columns speculated–love trap, suicide, financial mess, what-not. Then, the tone changed and they reported justification–anti-national, global security, sedition, risk. Finally, someone classified the lot as ‘goners’. That said it all.
The kids adjusted. Grief gave way to determination when the financial situation seemed fine. Initially, I shied away from the public eye. One day I said to myself, let them pry. Let the spy-cams roll, let them read and watch everything, let them think I am dangerous. It was easier after that. Days went by. He was missed, not forgotten; but, we had lots of other things to think about. A colleague proposed marriage. Another suggested sex. I was too tired to act offended. There was just too much on the plate.
Then, he was returned; again, silently.
That too has been happening. Not news, is it?

Before & After

The minimalist version is: they met; they copulated; they parted (did they?). It took a while, though.
They met as mere acquaintances; partied with mutual friends; progressed to date as a couple; enjoyed each other’s company. He thought of sex. Did she think of that? She must have but one can’t be sure. One can wonder if he thought of that right from the start. He might shrug and say, “Why not?” One can also wonder if he thought of only that. He might smirk, “I am not a frustrated pervert.” Not that one thinks that of such guys; at least, not clinically. He struggled for a long time with his thoughts–first, whether he should; then, about how he should. He knew that a wrong move could end in disaster. He decided to allow time to present the right opportunity. He hoped she would assist time. What she thought then remains unknown. It was a frustrating wait but that part ended well.
They had a quiet moment. They touched each other, kissed, made love, or had sex, if one prefers it that way. He thought it went exceptionally well. She too seemed to think so. She could have faked it. One never knows.
The situation after is less clear. They were kind, gentle, caring. He did not do anything stupid, like shouting, “Encore!”  He wanted to be stupid though. He even thought of a long-term commitment. In fact, once or twice during the act, he had to stop himself from blurting out, “God, I love you, woman!” He did not want to push his luck. The last thing he wanted was to be a guest who suggests to a host, after a great party, “We should do that again.” He smiled, she smiled. He did not roll his eyes, or be juvenile. She on her part acted mature, and did not give a clue as to how he should proceed. Were they back to square one? He decided to let time figure it out, again.
Whatever, it will take a while.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Beautiful Morn

The hotel is on a hill and offers a grand view of the river and the town. The best point is by the railing bordering the courtyard, right next to the pool and the lobby. It is not a spectacular view but for him it is. He is in his mid-forties, greying, looking tired, lonely with his thoughts, a fighter past his prime, but eager for one last bout in the ring.
He took in the rain-drenched roads, the first young ones rushing to their posts; the early morning sun threw colours at the sky and the river, erasing with increasing brightness; the green-brown river lazed reflected, the bridge stretching waking over it, the fishing boats scratched its top; even the rust on gaudy casino ships add a nice touch, he thought.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he muttered to himself.
“Yes, it is.”
He turned, mildly startled. He had not heard her approach. She stood a few meters away. Not spectacular but lovely, he thought. She kept her eyes on the river; dark brown eyes, gentle eyes. She was not smiling, but it was there in those eyes and on that face, he felt. He should turn away, he told himself. He kissed her with his eyes, on her neck, cheeks, lips, lower to the top of the yellow blouse.
He moved closer.
“Thank you,” he said. He turned to the river, “thank you.”
He stood near her, hands on the railing; one curling around it, the other one next to her with upturned palm.
“Will you hold my hand?” he asked.
She placed her hand on his. They stood there, hand in hand, studying the work of art before them.
His wife had come to the lobby, ready to join him for breakfast. Her husband stood by the window in a first-floor room looking down. They watched the two at the railing.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Other

Beautiful girl
On a beach,
I'm sorry, girl,
Anywhere else
I would love you,
The sea, blue sky,
You can't beat.