The Night’s Entry

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The doors of the night,
Nudging the day’s lights out.
Blaring horns, the quick steps;
And the rapid flutter of wings.
Clouds lulling the sun to sleep;
The moon raring to glitter.
The remnants of a hot day,
Blown over by the wind’s kiss.
The dark clouds echoing
The stillness of the heart;
Vermilion sky cutting through,
Painting a canvas of hope!

The Retribution

She delivered a judgement of death by hanging for the four accused in front of her and smiled wryly.

She wanted to see them in her chamber. Alone.

When she removed her glasses, and looked at each of them in their eyes, they felt an uneasy chill. When she showed them a photograph of her much younger, their eyes showed terror.

Twenty years back, those hungry wolves had ripped her body apart. She survived. But she was different and did not stay low. She had vowed then to exact revenge on her molesters.

Retribution left her heart leaping with joy.

Sunday Night Thoughts

Looking into the past through the dusty cobwebs of the mind, you see how far the cycle has journeyed. Be it a subtle spin or a somersault, always hang on to it. One of your most cherished memories may be drifting away from you; the turns are not random. The mind is perspicacious – it knows very well what it is doing and by that yardstick, it will lead you to your destination. When that cycle reaches its pinnacle, you will be witness to a most beautiful sight unfolding – your dream turning into reality. You will revel in the beauty of it all and probably be awed by what is happening. At that moment in time, life becomes whole.

The enticing mix of flowers, rain and love

When you come to think of it, there is nothing quite like a father-daughter relationship. I cannot vouch for the chemistry the relationship evokes as I have two sons. But when I see my niece and her father together, I envy it but feel extremely happy as well. There’s that inexplicable bond, the invisible pull to it which only a father and daughter can explain and experience. I recently read a short story that captures the beauty of this. The story appears in an anthology – ‘Shades of Life 2: The Love for Colors’ in which yours truly has also been extremely lucky to be a part of.

‘Malligai’ is a story bursting with colors. The best color is of course the one which Selvam and Malligai give out. A relationship is tested the most in the face of adversity. How that test unfolds is what the story is all about. A combination of malligaipoo, kanakambaram, rain and love is something not to be missed at all. With the interesting style used for the narration, there’s plentiful drama of which I’m not going to reveal anything. The writers have done their homework well in using this style.

The characters have been very well drawn that they are perched in the branches of your mind long after you have completed it. The story tells us quite loudly that the people we meet in our lives have a role to play. It doesn’t matter if iis minuscule or large or if it lasts only for a few hours or for the rest of our lives. The role is forever stitched into our hearts – an imprint to carry to our graves.

The imagery is top-notch. Right from start to finish, it gives you a feeling that you are alongside the main characters watching them go through their exasperating ordeal. I think it is very important for a short story to keep the reader engaged throughout and this imagery is one thing that really gets you hooked on to it from the first sentence. At the end of it all, you realize with a smile that true love and true bonding remains taut despite all that life throws at you.

‘Malligai’ is one exciting ride – one which I truly enjoyed taking. A few days back as I saw my niece cuddled with her father, I couldn’t help recalling Malligai and Selvam. That’s the kind of impact the story has had on me. Vinay Leo and Bhavya, kudos for the story you have created together. And I’m giving you a rating of 4 on 5 for this beautiful tale. I leave out one mark because perfection is always a notch higher.

The Heart’s Song

The drums of happiness
At the dawn of a new day;
Dreams ascend towards fruition.
The hum of her favorite tunes
Echoing through her lips.
The respected one summons;
Her pith growled ominously.
Disrobed and monstrously used,
Feeling the prick between legs;
Her wailing sounds suppressed.
She hastened out distraught;
Hopes dented and mutilated,
Her heart’s candle extinguished.
Finding solace in darkness,
She sang her heart’s song;
Disdainful of life’s games.

Book Review – ‘Mystic River’ by Dennis Lehane

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The past is like a rain long gone. There are remnants of it here and there, sometimes in an idle state, fearful of poking its ugly head out. Sometimes it gives you its smell, a sweet fragrance at one moment; at other times a kind of smell which is intense – you can feel it in your nostrils but there is seemingly nothing to suggest it. Even when you move on to the present and then the future, there are threads of the past that keeps coming back at you – reminding you of where you come from, like a sentinel of your life.

The lives of three boys playing on a street in Boston are changed forever with the abduction of one of them. He returns apparently unhurt but very emotionally scarred as we find out 25 years later. Now grown up men with families, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus and Dave Boyle are apparently not the same ‘friends’ they were years back. A tragedy strikes in the form of Jimmy’s eldest daughter’s death on the eve of his second daughter’s first holy communion. A bored Dave saunters the bars of Boston but returns home covered in blood. Sean is now a policeman and just returns to duty after a suspension. He is assigned the case along with his Sergeant and the investigation progresses even as Jimmy is worried sick about his daughter and is devastated when he realizes she has been murdered. Dave’s wife Celeste is equally worried about the blood on her husband and doesn’t really believe his account of the night. Several missteps, misgivings and misunderstandings later, the story concludes quite unexpectedly leaving you with a heavy heart and thoughts about the mystery that is the past; posing ‘what if’ questions which struggles for answers.

This is a novel that has been crafted very delicately. You don’t really feel this is a murder mystery but you rather feel that this is a lesson on the roller-coaster that is life. Even though Dave and Jimmy continued their friendship from boyhood to adulthood, there is that air of discomfort when Sean, Jimmy and Dave are together after a quarter of a century. The presence of Sean was kind of acerbic to the whole meeting – probably because Sean had the air of a cop and Dave held a secret. Then there is Annabeth – Jimmy’s second wife but a loving step-mom to the daughter that passed. Jimmy and Annabeth are shattered but somehow hold the pieces of their broken hearts together – I got a feeling they were a worried lot about their two little daughters Nadine and Sara. And of course, Celeste, who practically tears her hair out to figure out what’s happening with Dave. Dave and Celeste’s son Michael remains a sorry figure among all the debris that life throws at them.

Man’s biggest shortcoming is his inability to understand others. Even when you know what happened in the past, you struggle to fathom if that could leave an indelible mark – so much as to erase the persona into something totally hazy. The past is the key with which you can unlock the present. Realizations are a result of the mistakes you make in the present because you did not understand or reveal what happened in the past.

That’s ‘Mystic River’ by Dennis Lehane – mysterious and deep and one which leaves you with a host of emotions – agony, anger, sadness, apathy and even relief to name a few. There may be other wordless emotions as I found out when I completed reading this. A very engaging read with insights into life is this different murder mystery. I’m giving a rating of 4.5 on 5 for this novel which has also been made into a powerful motion picture.

The Proposal

The clock struck 2 PM. Sejal looked up and scratched her head. She sighed, albeit a loud one. The next thing she knew, her friend Donna was looking at her with a cold stare.

“What?” Sejal asked.

“That’s the sixteenth time you’ve sighed the past hour,” Donna remarked.

“Don’t you have anything else to do?” Sejal was now irritated.

She turned away and walked towards the kitchen. Her mind was racing faster than Nico Rosberg’s car. She jumped at the sound of the doorbell.

“Donna, can you see who it is?” she asked a tad nervously.

“You won’t allow me to sit and read, will you?” Donna got up hesitantly and opened the door.

A florist was outside with the most beautiful rose bouquet she had ever seen. She let out an audible gasp.

“Flowers and card for Ms. Donna Rose,” the florist announced.

“Wow!” she exclaimed as she accepted the flowers and card.

Donna was jumping for joy as she patted the soft red roses and began reading the card:

Will you marry me, Donna with just the moon and stars as witnesses? – Sejal

Donna looked up and saw Sejal looking back at her. With teary eyes, she mouthed, “Yes”.