The Ideal Life

Imagine yourself sitting in the world’s most comfortable chair, so cushiony and soft that it relaxes    you and puts you to sleep. Let the seat also be of profound beauty, beauty with simplicity. 

In this hypothetical situation, think that you are lying on a fresh dew-covered grassy ground.  There are multiple evergreen trees in the background, swaying in the cool breeze which just kissed your cheek. You put your feet up on the congenial stool kept just at the right distance, and you feel your every muscle relax. 

There is a large glass kept right beside you filled with your best-loved beverage, and a long colorful straw extends from it to right near your mouth, so, you don’t even have to move an inch to enjoy its flavor. Your favorite cuisine is also waiting for you opposite to the beverage. Remember it’s the best cooked and the most delicious! 

You can smell your favorite scent and can feel it’s mild fragrance going down your throat, refreshing all the cells of your body as it goes inside of you.

There is nobody around! No noise, no melody, just you!

There is no home work to complete, no competition to prepare for and no expectations to live up to.

No one will compare you to any others, no one will break your trust, none will degrade you. Your future doesn’t depend on your studies. 

Your parents don’t depend on the job you’ll attain in the future. Your life doesn’t depend on money.

There is no worry! No social drama, no ‘impressive’ selfies and no reason to be the owner of fake beauty.

No, none at all!

You are alone, but not lonely!

There is a soft light which shines on you while you are seated, making its way amidst the evergreen trees. It is the Supreme   Light, indicating the presence of the Almighty. Nobody can hurt you now! 

The glimmer in The Supreme Glow enters your mind and destroys all your tensions and worries, leaving behind just coolness that fills your mind to such an extent that   you smile.   This Light will enlighten you! 

 You are simply happy, an achiever of the greatest bliss and you need nothing else.

This is the exact form of life that I wish to live. This is the much-needed break that I want! But, I know it will never come true. Even if I get in the above-mentioned scenario, no one would be able to take my turmoil away. They will chase me down eventually.  So, I just make it up in my mind and fake myself. Oh, how I wish I could take a break!

 

By Khyati Sanger (Editor, Non fiction)

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The Storm

“Thank you,” she whispered as she took the hot chocolate from his wrinkled hands, and wrapped the blanket tighter around herself. She was seated on the floor so she could be as close to the fireplace as possible. She took a sip and stared into the fire. “So what’s your story?” The kind man asked as he sat on the armchair next to the fireplace. “Story?” “Yeah. How’d you wind up at my door in the middle of a raging storm?” The sound of the storm outside overpowered the silence, but it was nothing compared to the storm within her eyes. “I’ll tell you, but I should warn you that it’s not interesting at all.” “I’m an old man. Anything out of the ordinary is interesting to me.” She smiled at his words, but it didn’t reach her eyes. She took another sip of her drink and moved away a bit from the fire. “I live in the main city. My Dad is a pilot, and Mom is a fashion designer, so you see they’re both never really home at the same time. This week was the first time in three years that they both had time to stay at home and ‘chill with their only daughter’ as they like to call it,” she snorted, and gulped down her drink. “So we decided to go camping in the countryside. I think Mom wanted to go camping so she could reconnect with nature, and with me and Dad. I was allowed to bring my best friend, Danielle, along with us. I call her Dan. Dan has been going on camping trips since she was a little kid so she knew all the good spots in the countryside. We camped in an open ground with trees all around us and a small river about thirty feet away from us. It was a beautiful place. I wish I had my phone to show you some pictures. Anyway, the first three days were great fun. We went on hikes, tried to do fishing and failed miserably,” she laughed, but it didn’t feel genuine, “but today was horrible. I woke up and Dan was gone. I went to check at the river because I knew she liked to sit on the river-bed with her feet in the water but she wasn’t there either. I started to worry and ran back to the camp. I woke my parents up and told them that Dan was missing but all of her stuff was still there. They were totally unconcerned. I got into a huge fight with them over their lack of worry for Dan, and then I decided to set out myself and look for her, but the storm started and so here I am,” she finished her story. The old man smiled kindly and asked her, “now that this story is finished, how about telling me the truth?” “Wha-what? How-how did you-?” She spluttered with wide eyes and a shocked expression. “I’m old. Not a fool. I could tell that you’re lying from the start, but decided to humour you. How about you humour me now and tell me the truth?” She didn’t say anything and simply stared at him. After a while she looked out the window and slowly stood up. “Well the storm is over. I should get going.” She refused to meet his eyes and stared at his feet. She walked over to the front door and kept her hand on the knob but hesitated to open it. He understood that there was no point in his asking again because she wouldn’t tell him, and would probably lie again. “Where will you go?” He asked with a resigned sigh as she opened the door. “Wherever the roads take me.”

 

By Sonam Sharma (Editor, Fiction)

The Lady and the Tramp

The woman sat alone on the train of thought. Knowing nothing about the future, she awaited her destination. People used to call her Sam, but nobody knew her real name. Everybody thought Sam was short for Samantha but that’s another story. This was the last time she would be taking a train journey. It was high time she got a promotion for the work she was doing. She was consulting with an agency, if I’m not wrong. ‘How I wish to take a flight next time’, she mumbled in her head. It looked as if the agency was cost-cutting and tight on budget. I thought sitting right behind her, ‘She looks nervous as if something bad was about to happen’.
My basic instincts were all over the place and I was secretly judging her. A course in studying psychology, had helped me understand the body language of a person and premeditated circumstances it could lead to. My only worry was to write a story for my publishers, so I sketched a plot around this lady.
At first sight I thought she looked ordinary, but after making small talk I realized she was the same lady who had appeared on the missing persons page. She looked familiar enough but with a little small talk I managed to get out a story from her. Apparently, she was escaping to live in country side as her agency had warned her about the mishaps if she did not complete the assignment. My first reaction to this was whether she was working for an intelligence bureau, but then again an agent would never spill the details that quickly especially about their identity.
Seeing nothing coming out of this conversation, I took a nap. When I woke up about half an hour or so, I could not spot her anywhere near the place. I guess my first impression about her was not true. I was perplexed and waited to arrive on her seat. I could hear whispers around me about that lady creepily leaving her seat as if she was hiding something. I was imagining what could have happened, but nothing crossed my mind.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps of someone clad in a burqa coming back, with her hijab lifted. I could not make out at first who the lady was, but later I recognised those brown oval shaped mascara laden eyes. It was the same lady but in a different attire. She sat down patiently waiting. All I could think about was the secret agent story. Unfortunately, she got down on the next station and my story waited completion so I followed her frantically. She pulled out something out of her sleeve. Suddenly, she pulled out her pistol and aimed right at me. I wish I was alive to tell the rest of story. Now, that I’m resting with the Gods I realise what a wonderful piece of fiction it would seem like to my publishers.

 

By Saumya Rastogi (Editor, Fiction)

The Light of the Night

Ram did has daily beat around the housing society. Ageing yet respectable, Rama was like the society he guarded. People knew that if a thief entered, Ram could not give him a chase, neither could he lift the heavy bags the women carried after they came home after shopping, nor could he do sixteen hour duties like the  other young guards did, but the society held on to him. His grey moustache had stopped growing, it seemed, like his role in the security of the society.

During the regular nightly rounds he made, he would while the time away by whistling away his favourite tunes, watching the stars and walking briskly around the society’s perimeter. He sometimes also fell asleep in his chair at his duty post, but to be honest, every guard did that. Even if they were hailed as the saviours of the night, they also loved savouring the night. Life had been the same for Ram for the past ten years. He had seen the society grow old, the children grow old and go away. Yet, Ram was constant, always on for his night duty, whistling away some golden retro tunes.

Everybody always has an escape from the ordinary, though, and Ram had it coming anyway. Ten years is a big time. On that fateful night, though he saw a light. Literally, a source of light shaped like a little child, at best. He could not figure out if it was a boy or a girl, though. Any ordinary man would dismiss it as a dream, after all, the fatigue of the night makes people see things that do not exist. Ram could not. He could not put away the possibility that it was thief, or any person who should not have been there, at least.

He chose to investigate. Walking towards where he saw the figure moments ago, he caught a glance of the figure once again a little afar. Every time Ram reached the figure, the figure would move away fifty metres or so and Ram followed. The figurine led Ram into a residential building, nothing out of the ordinary, just like many of the buildings that made up the housing society. The night gave the building an eerie look though. Almost all the lights turned off, the occasional night lamp would cast a deformed shadow across the floor. The building had no elevator though, the builders might not have thought of needing one as the building had only four floors atop a ground floor. Ram climbed up, following the figure. All his patience and courage was being tested simultaneously. Somehow he gathered his guts and climbed.

The figure took Ram up to the roof and it disappeared. Ram was not sure as to how to react. He moved forward, looked about, saw nothing out of the ordinary, or he thought so. Standing about fifty feet from him was a boy, standing on the roof, probably about to jump off. Ram gathered all his wits about him, rushed at the boy and saved the boy just as he was going to jump off. Maybe the figurine had appeared just for Ram to fulfill his purpose, to get a meaningful achievement to his long drawn, almost unnoticeable career.

The next day Ram woke up as if nothing had ever happened.

 

By Neeraj Meghani (Head Editor, Fiction)

 

Of All Things Pretty

You made me dream
of padlocked bridges,
of northern lights,
and sunny ridges.
Of dance bars
in an island city,
of dancing peacocks,
and all things pretty.

You made me dream
of candescent seas,
of pink sunsets,
and fragrant breeze.
Of a heart giddy

on red wine,

Of cities on water,

And all things fine.

 

You made me dream.

 

By Rohan Sahni (Head Editor, Poetry)

The Mail Carrier

Ramapuram was a small, sleepy town. Full with dreamy eyed people roaming around the big banyan tree, as if it had borne the nucleus of the old town. People were happy, everyone going around for their work, everyone sustaining the small town economically. Industrialisation had left the town almost untouched, which only added to the natural beauty the town had. Letting things be as they are imbibes a certain untouched beauty to the subject, and Ramapuram, if seen through the right eyes, was a perfect example.

 

Raman was one of the many dreamy eyed residents of this town. As small a boy he was, like all other boys and girls of the town, he went to the only school the little place had. The school was a place of interest for the boys, the old thatched roof, the archaic yellowed walls, the rusty blackboards and the almost uninterested teachers. Almost as if it was an epitome of neglect and carelessness. The teachers had not been changed in years, nor had been the classrooms. The old furniture had borne the brunt of all the aimless people who happened to use it, day after day.

 

Every day would come and pass by, Sanskrit, History, English Composition and Maths. The teachers would come and drone, each more strict than the other. Perhaps if not in terms of qualifications, they competed with each other. Maybe they compensated for their lack of scientific acumen with their strictness, which eventually made the students fear them, and hence, ask no questions.

 

Yet, Raman did not mind. He had no doubts. He was certain. The day would end at the same time the train passed the school, and more certain he was of the fact that the school was not a place for him. He was considered a failure. He would sleep through his classes. Sometimes some teacher would wake him up only to beat him up, most of the times, the teachers just sighed and let him sleep.

 

The end of the school day almost coincided with the loud noise the daily mail carrier train would make as it would pass by the town. One of the many trains that passed by the town, the mail carrier was a daily nuisance to the teachers as the railway tracks were laid just opposite the school walls. This sound was Raman’s daily alarm, he would wake up to the sound of the train every day.

 

Today was a new day. He somehow looked forward to the classes. Though it seemed wrong to his gut, all down to his roots, he somehow knew he could face the teachers today. Sanskrit came, and he could correct grammar in all of the verses the teacher wrote on the board. The Gita, the Ramayana and some verses from the famous Meghdootam, he could recite and correct them all. History was cake today. He knew all the dates. The Mughal Empire, the year Sir Thomas Roe attended Jahangir’s court, the year Bahadur Shah Zafar died. He knew it all. Nobody got appreciation from the history teacher, and yet, Raman was the only one in the class the teacher heaped praises upon.

 

English composition was a breeze too. Raman could summarise every chapter of Tom Sawyer with ease. Maybe like Tom, he had rose up to the occasion when he was least expected to. Though Raman was not as mischievous as Tom, but he obviously shared the laziness. Maths was easy too. Linear algebra was easy. He did not even had to lift his hand to compute the value of x. So complicated are our lives, we keep solving equations in Maths, and one problem in our lives, and all hell breaks loose.

 

Raman knew that he had changed his life today. He was filled with a new sense of purpose, a feeling of satisfaction, and the best of it all, he was not unnoticed anymore. It felt so strange to him, as to how his life could have turned a full circle in a day, but oh yes, he was happy.

 

But maybe like all good stories, be it Romeo and Juliet or the Iliad, his good story had to end, After all, success is not achieved in a day. It is a path tread only by the hardworking, and more, the certain. The mail carrier had come to Ramapuram, and like all trains, it carried news for the people around it.

 

The train’s shrill whistle shook the townspeople and woke Raman up from his dream.The Maths teacher was just leaving. “What do I do with you Raman? You always sleep through the whole day and I presume, dream all nonsense.”

 

By Neeraj Meghani (Head Editor, Fiction)

No Homo

I have never in my life felt uncomfortable when I’ve overheard or have been told of someone loving someone. Sorry, someone of the same gender loving someone of the same gender. I would feel so confused, feel a hundred questions pop up in my head when I saw a face flinch at the idea of what is simply a human loving another human. As I got older, I saw my friends “experiment”. I saw them question themselves, question their idea of loving, I saw them destroyed. I was confused. Even all grown up, I feel confused when I see them destroyed at the idea that they might be attracted to the same gender they are. I understand the issues and problems but I still fail to understand why those issues and problems are present.

I fail to understand why mom and dad are going to be disappointed, what their neighbours and relatives would think of them, how their classmates are going to laugh at them. No, I don’t believe that. I believe parents will understand. I believe they will accept, for they must accept their child, they must love them more than their sexuality. We’re entering a generation of generations changing. I have seen some absolutely naïve, terrible people, but I do believe we can over power them and change their attitude towards many issues like this one. I believe we can, being the same species take our friends’ hands and walk them through this part of discovering life with our chin ups and smiles on all of our faces. And I do believe, it is OKAY to kiss, hold hands and hug beyond behind closed doors and dark alleys. I so strongly believe it is okay-
No, awesome, to have two dads or two moms.
Have you ever sat down, thought about what you believed in? Questioned what you believed in?

I fail to understand bullies and their inhumane acts of pulling people down about things that are so normal, should be normal, at least. I want to say that the world will soon be better and a day in the near future everyone is going to accept homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, whatever you want to call it or be. But I can’t help but think that a lot of us are going backwards. There are moments of hope, small moments.

I also fail to understand why “coming out” must be a thing. If we want our sexualities and choice of type-of-human-I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with to be normal? The whole concept of coming out to your peers, parents, whoever, should be dead and buried. Of course, when you are being hit on by a sex you have absolutely no sense of attraction to, you can be like “hey, hold up”
I loved the whole beautiful phase of influencers releasing their coming out videos for the world to see, but I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw one at this point of time and world. I want it to be normal for my girl friends to come to me and say “I met a girl” or my guy friends to say “I met a guy” without a prior warning of “I’m attracted to the same sex”.

I want it to be absolutely normal, and I find it absolutely obscene that we have to let the law dictate to us, our right to love. I find it obscene that we have to fight for something like that.

I have love and respect for everyone who has to offer love and respect. Why does it matter where that love goes? Love goes everywhere.

 

By Aayushi Khanna (Non-fiction)