Tickles of Wind - Final Chapter

The wind gushed to meet me in the station.

I pulled my shawl to hug my chest. There was none but me and the mist. A more fitting goodbye I could not have imagined.

The sirens echoed through the station as the train arrived.  As I stepped towards my prodigal return, I turn to see the Undertaker's giant edifice looming over the sky. Surreal, I blew him a kiss and bow my farewell.

As the train moved, I stood in the pedestal and willed my heart to taste for one final time this journey. As the city rushed before me, so did trailers, of the boy and the girl. Just cut moments. Too fast. Too hard.

He did not think I would remember. Defying his chimera was my memories of coffee, streets, garlands of marigold and basil, sand, sea, Lord, him and her. Overwhelmed, I hummed to myself:
But if every wish I wish went answered,
Oh wont I be the queen of your dreams...

Why did I take this journey? Oh yes, to embrace saturation with contentment. When the point finally arrives, I would smile, pull my arms forward, tilt my profile and run swifter than the wind. If I could emote the point, I would imagine it agape while it hesitates to chase. In that second, my fate and I will become saboteur of the other's will, dreams, love. It would chase me and I would defile it in every turn.

For every story must be told, and mine will be painted in circles. Endless, it would spin to illuminate the mirrors in the world.

I look out the window and see my breaths are not misty anymore. A pain, dull and throbbing, return to my knee. I lift my hand to hold my knee and feel it tepid, like a memory, to the touch. I look at my hand and see it slowly turning a crimson hue. The thought of blood hits me like an afterthought and I lift my hand in shock and see my knee covered in blood.

Oy, oy girl! Is this coach free? The old man panted as he entered. He looked at me, wiggled a finger and said, Ah, the pain of journey... I see you are already half deep in it! He laughed and dropped his bags in the coach. I looked at him speechless, baffled as he fumbled with his things. Tears, shed free of my eyes, dropped in a thread across my cheeks.

Ah, I see, he said and embraced me. Now you hold on to me and you wont be lost again. As I looked at my drying hand, he turned my palm, took it in his and smiled into my eyes.

He was old and would fit into any old person stereotype. Cuddled in his embrace, I felt a warm gush return slowly to my lungs and stomach and an unanticipated pain emanating from every muscle in my body. My knee lit my senses in a blinding pain and I gasped for air.

Ah girl, hold on, the journey is not long afar.
Hold on my dear and I will see you through.
This time, I promise, I will see through.

His words seemed to comfort my soul beyond belief. I managed to conjure a smile and studied his palms. Wrinkled, relentless with time. As the blood in our hands dried slowly, the train picked a blinding momentum. I looked away to watch the scenes rush and whispered, You said lost again. Was I lost before?

He sighed as his lungs rose and fell in tangible pain. Time had failed to heal his wounds and memories locked him in a prison where time stood helpless. Do you not remember, he asked. I turned to look at him and said I don't remember.

He laughed. As his eyes, filled with love and gratitude, locked with mine, I gasped. Humbled, cornered, I partook his gift. He cupped my chin, kissed my forehead and said Live well, my dear. 

As we moved away from our embrace, the entire train shook as it sped. Prostrate, I looked to hold on and for the first time noticed that the train was smooth without railings or hangings for support. When the finality of the thought embraced its truth, the train crashed and I was thrown headlong into the compartment.


I opened my eyes gasping for air.

I was surrounded by masked men and women and one held my shoulders to calm my efforts. As I blinked, my eyes hurt from a brilliant light shining atop my face. I slumped back exhausted. As I gasped for another lungful of air, one of the masked pricked my arm with a needle and I could feel myself drifting to sleep with almost nil effort.

As I opened my eyes again in the hospital, I could see my mother sitting beside me. She was on borderline insomnia and as she saw me, she said oh, and trembled with tears.

Beside herself, she hugged me, kissed my entire face, laughed and said oh, you were so weak, so weak, but you pulled through. Oh, you pulled through.

I grinned, not knowing why. Oh, it was so good to see her face and be loved by her.

I sat up with some effort while she adjusted the pillows to my back. As my eyes rested upon the bandaged knee, she took my face, kissed my cheek, and said, its ok dear, it will heal; and, all it will leave is a scar for you to remember.


Tickles of Wind - Part 8

The sky was an iridescent array veiling the sinking sun.

The beach itself seemed surreal as it hung on a strange silence devoid of human interference. And in the joyous peace, the waves played with the shore as if its first memory of finding returned home.

I took advantage of your moment of weakness, she said.

Not a soul shared this relentless happiness of the waves as it surged again in joy. Of course, peace would come if peace was sought, for this place is a dream. Her dream, to be precise.

I can stop, she had whispered.

He was playing with the sand grains in an effort to grant me the time I needed to recoup. His back to me, his legs crossed, he grabbed a handful of sand.

I was at a loss for words. For him, I challenged the Undertaker. For him, I would move mountains, if only he asked. To what virtue of his I hold this unwavering loyalty? Damned if I know.

The wind and sea filled our silence for a while.

She lived next door to me, he said. We were betrothed to be married, like was the tradition of those days. She and I would play and learn for hours together and we were bound by threads that we did not even know existed then.

Such was our love that even time forgot its greed to flee. So pure our love, we burnt the envy in others eyes. We were accepted, a certainty, as you see this world.

If only I knew then… his voice quivered. His eyes wept a silent tear as the wind caressed his hair. I leaned to place my hand over his shoulder.

He was yet helpless. His loss, of innocence, was painful to hold. Of his smile, that would have lit the stars, this world was bereft. His penitent heart ached and beat, but the rhythm no longer belonged to the living.

She was chosen, he continued, as the medium. It came as a shock, for she had not reached her age of bleeding then

As the medium, her duties and life belonged to the Lord and His claim would override mine.

My grandfather said, the Lord was a puppeteer and we played his calling, one and all. All perfect cogs to the whole, each of us spun our lives to his games. The story must be told, but none to witness its entirety. His amusement is shared by none and for that sorrow alone, it was kind to play with him while we lived.

He deserved empathy. Empathy that would well our hearts for any being that saw life and death, in its circle, in its futility, every day. So I danced with Him, trusted in Him and believed in Him.

He dropped the handful of sand slowly and sighed.

Belief.... does not always allow acceptance

I could not accept her loss. I could not control the pain in me, as it seemed to grip me in its arms and tighten its hold.

So I ran, like you, as fast as my legs could carry. I could not carry the moment with me, for it seemed empty of life, of happiness, of her.

And as I ran, my eyes streaming, she ran with me. Her heart pure, she wept for my sorrow. She now belonged to two worlds, and she could choose neither. In her childish innocence, she wished for both though she knew, the world so far had died before her eyes.

The wind howled like a amorous ally sharing his deprivation

We watched the sun sink slowly into oblivion.

There is no grief greater than the death of innocence, he whispered. And as we ran, as we danced, we held each other’s hand for a final time

In that moment, the world seemed like this, he stretched his hand. It was beautiful.

My eyes welled.

You now witness our dance, he continued. You now remember the truth which you will weed. Your blood runs from ours and we will help you forget.

You must now return, he whispered. 

We have kept you long in our greed.

The wind and sea filled the silence that followed

I do not want to forget, I whispered. I could be your witness, if only you wished. The Lord is alone in his sorrow for he is stone and water.

You are more, I vowed, and I will remember.

He smiled and shook his head.

She stood behind him and looked radiant in the colors dancing across her hair. I walked to her and touched her cheek. She hugged me as would a child her mother. I cupped her face and kissed her forehead. He came to stand behind her and smiled at us. I looked at them, smiled, sighed and said, I should pack.

She laughed.

And in its echo, the waves surged again in joy and rushed to the shore to greet us.  

Tickles of Wind - Part 7

So the next morning, as I opened my eyes, I could see a big wide round thing blocking my vision. The rotund thing withdrew in the shape of a conical nose. That conical nose belonged to one tiny pissed off face.

I closed my eyes and smiled.

And then a throat cleared.
Ok, I woke up to two really tiny pissed off faces.

I sat up, yawned and stretched.  She was a volcano ready to spew ash!
What are you doing sleeping under a tree for? We have the room! Are you hiding from me, cause that will NOT work. I am too good at hide and seek games. Ha! You tell her, she shoved him, tell her I am good at hide and seek games.

And he stood, tapping his feet.
You are sleeping in my spot.

I grinned at the little idiots. I stretched my wakefulness as much as I can, only to show them who's boss, of course!

That worked, until her voice turned to high squeaky pitch.

We both jolted. Slowly but surely, panic rose in our brains. It was her voice, the way it enters your brains and rings through all your senses. And so, I walked over, took his hand quite bravely from where he stood transfixed and stretched my left hand to her.

She was infuriated. Disconsolate, even. But she could not be bereft of my extremely amiable and charming nature. So she took my hand in a, lets say, surprisingly strong grip for a little puny thing.

I left him in his spot and walked with her.

Its been 3 days you know, since you left, she noted in a meek voice. I nodded, sighing. Just 3 days and half my life-force seems drained already. There was a pounding pain in my knee which I tried to ignore. She gripped my hand tightly again and looked at the verge of tears.

I looked at her and kneeled over.
Hey, its gonna be okay. I ran on a pilgrimage and not on, um, anything mom wont approve. So, we are fine. Relax. I just, need to know some things. 

What things, she questioned.

And BOOM, ladies and gentlemen, get up, wave your silks and beam your praises, for now is my time for answers.

I picked her up, perched her on a half worn-wall and cupped her face.

Answer me, I told her, because I am ready to know the answers. She nodded, clasped her hands together and waited.

I inhaled deeply, rolled my shoulders, and took a few seconds. I gently took her hand and this is how our conversation followed:

Me: are you real? 
She: *thoughtfully, shakes her head yes and no.*
Me: Is that yes or no? 
She: Yes, I am real. But not by your reasons.
*Schizophrenic* Me: Shit! I mean, damn!
She (slowly): But I am not part of your brain though. I am like you.
Me: Like me? How? I am imagining you.
She (laughing): You are not imagining me, you big bully, you are with me.
Me (not laughing): You are not real. I am not imagining you. You are with me.
She: *nods vigorously.*
(Schizophrenic) Me: *Looks around to see if anyone else is watching this conversation that I am, obviously, having with myself.*
She: *Laughs*
*Irritated* Me (also due to lack of caffeine): Explain.
She: How does this place feel to you?
Me (sighs): Quite real.
She (takes my hand in hers): Now, how do I feel to you?
Me (taken aback and shakily): Quite.. real.
She (nods): And I can feel you too. We are both real and yet, we are not.
Me: *Silent and shaken waits for her to go on.*
She:  You know when they say, the Rishi's after long hours of meditation would see God and talk to him?
Me: are you a God?
She (laughing): No, silly. But have you ever wondered why we cannot see God like them? 
Me: That's because they too are schizophrenic. A different kind. 
She: Nope, truth is they did see. 
Me: That doesnt make sense. You are assuming a lot of things. Like God exists, and that people can see Him or Her if they willed.
She (smiling): You disbelieve my wordsAnd yet you stand here, talking to me. 
Me: I dont understand. What are you trying to say?
She (sheepishly): I summoned you. 
Me: You did what?
She: I am sorry. But you have to believe, I had my reasons.
Me: You cannot "summon" someone. No one "summons" anyone, unless you employ them and even then own will prevails. Do you understand? Who are you? How could you have possibly "summoned" me?
She: I wanted you to know the story. I am sorry I took advantage of your moment of weakness.
Me (shakes my head): This is getting too delusional even for me.
She (shrugs): I can stop. You wanted to know the answers. You said you were ready.
Me: But this.. this isnt answers. I dont even know what this is. This does not make sense.
She: It will.   You have to believe me.
Me: If I do, everything I believe in so far, will be wroght to nothing. I dont know, if I have the strength to accept that.
She: But, you said it. You are ready. You just, please, have to believe me.
Me: I dont know anymore.
She (tearful whispered):  You must know. But... but I can stop.

I had not known when tears started streaming down my eyes. I pulled my hands away from her. I could not hide the sorrow in my heart anymore. My mind reeled with words unsaid and love unfelt. My heart felt crushed and I could do nothing to stop its hurt.

And in that moment of extreme loneliness, I felt like I was chained to the place where I stood, too weak to move, to weak to cry. And, in that moment of extreme loneliness, I longed to place my head in a chest which would beat undying love into my soul.

And in that moment of extreme loneliness,
where I longed to be free and loved,
I heard my mother whisper my name.

Tickles of Wind - Part 6


The whisper of immortality rang true in these streets. Crowded and rich with the smell of sweat, flowers and temples. A challenge to the stories that dream of the apocalypse.

I walk in the streets and I am welcome in their indifference. I am only a pilgrim, a customer, a passerby. My presence is lived and forgotten in a eyebat.

In their carelessness, I felt immortal.

I caressed the scent of marigold and basil garlands as I walk. The gopuram shined in gold. The majestic form of Lord Shiva, the undertaker who rose to immortality, towers over my vision.

Today, intoxicated by these garlands and incense, I smile.
I feel you Lord. I feel immortal. I could challenge you and survive.

I stood there trembling until a passerby stood next to me. He stood watching the form, unmindful of my presence. In his eyes, I saw.. humility.

The eyes that see, the thoughts that whisper, in its ideals and vision, we each stood immortal.

I shrugged and continued my walk. Today, I meant to dig and guard skeletons of my own.

I took a turn opposite the temple doors. I walked for a while and turned left again. I reached my destination and looked around.

This is where we parted last time. She said you remembered her. You know each other, only, I don't know how. 

Never mind that, today is the day I challenged the undertaker. I shall unearth your secrets.

The street is filled in two rows of at least 9 houses each. All the houses share a boundary wall. I walk along the street willing my heart to beat harder at familiarity.

The houses as I walked were at least 25 years old and almost all felt ancient and worn down. Like my grandfathers.

I heard a shout from behind and I continue walking. The shout got louder, oy, oy girl, I am calling you.

I turned and saw an old man, who would fit into any Hindu old aged person stereotype. I smile, and walk to him.

Oy, I called you many times, are you lost? he asked me. No, I said, I was looking for a boy of ten maybe, with a sacred thread and visits temple every day. I ask him if he could help me find his house. Um, no boy here lady, he tells me, I know every one of this household and no, no boy here. Are you sure you have the right street? Do you know his name? he asked me. Yes and no, I replied.

I stay silent knowing that there was a secret I was keeping. How would he react if I told him I know a young girl who knows him and they are probably in love? That the boy is wise beyond his years?

He looks at me and details every household in the street. He says most of the residents have moved out and have rented the place for tourists. But no, no long term residents and no boy anyways. Which young boys want to visit temples these days, he asked me, they are content in their little tv boxes and jeans. No, no boys here lady.

I smile and acknowledge to him that he has been helpful. I look back at the street and yet, something in me does not accept defeat.

Why, in this issue, I can trust no one. I must keep my own counsel.

I sigh and tell him I will walk the length of the street anyways. He volunteers to walk with me.

We walked together on that street. He had difficulty breathing and was slow in his steps. Lucky for him, today I covered seas and mountains with my every step. So I was glad to keep his pace.

I look at each house in the array and felt their stories. Old, preserved and forgotten. Like a beckoning that is dying to be heard.

He catches my hand and settles on a veranda. I sit next to him and ask how long he has lived here. I am a tourist myself, I tell him.

Too long, he told me. I smile because he felt that way. Like life was an unrelenting burden he carried for years without relief.

As I turned, his next words, shook the earth from my feet. Too long, lady, to see a young one die. 

I shook, trembled, and watched as the old man fought against hope to ease his burden. His face, wrought with lines, left no sign of acceptance.

As my eyes blurred, I could see the majestic form of the God beyond him.

Lord, I could challenge you today. For you are stone and water. For our eyes see, our thoughts whisper ideals and vision. We are each immortal. It is our curse. 

I could challenge you today and outlive. 

For I know I survived a young wise boy. Now I share this man's burden.

Is this my purpose?  

I look at the old man, who grips my hand to stand again. Today, I could ease his burden.

But I thank him, and walk away. For like him, today, I defy acceptance.

Tickles of Wind - Part 5

The next morning was beautiful.

We both got up early, thanked the landlord for that thing he called breakfast, gulped it down with heavenly coffee, and got out to meet him.

Both our hearts thundered in our chests.

I was dying to tell him, no, show him, that I wasn’t alone. That I belonged in this place, where I had no friends, no relatives, no past.

She slipped her hand in mine and gripped tightly. She was just seconds from breaking into a nervous laughter. We smiled at each other and reached the tree where he sat yesterday.

He was there, looking at the crowd inching to see the deity. He murmured silent prayers and moved the beads in his hands. He nodded to himself, turned around and smiled at us.

Our hearts thundered in our chests.

We walked towards him, as if bidden by a secret hand. She looked at him sheepishly and smiled. He did not, could not, take his eyes off her. She blushed and ran away towards the queue.

His eyes followed her until she joined the line and then he turned to look at me. He sighed, smiled and closed his eyes again.

I joined him in the tree, stretched my legs and smiled. Why do I feel so free? I had no answers, but I was happy and it was enough.

We sat in silence until she entered the agrahara  and vanished from our sights. Seconds passed. My happiness, piqued, now fell slowly into a tumultuous nerve of emotions. Second thoughts raged until I could contain myself no longer.

You are wrong,  I told him. I am here because I can be here. This is a vacation and I am just a tourist.

He smiled, said nothing. He then got up, and stretched his hand towards me. The sun shone brilliantly to frame his kind face. I took his hand and we walked.

He stopped near a stone set below two figures. The lady and the man was carved with their backs barely an inch from each other. Their features were remarkably neutral with the lady braving a slight tear in her eyes. In her hand, she held a flower and in his hand was a water kindle titled towards the ground.

He noted my curiosity, smiled and pointed towards the stone. In it, read:

"My mind storm in thoughts,
Ripples created by slight words,
Every lost moment,
I became what you made me,

Of ten thousand souls that wander alone,
I feel lost amidst them all,
My heart aches and wishes for a death,
Hope of mercy,
By the swiftest wind,

But if every wish I wish went answered,
Oh, won’t I be the queen of your dreams,

But my life isn’t mine,
A forfeit of choice,
One thought that changed it all,
Like the smoke from the fire,
I stand polluted,
Judged by your eyes,
Guilty by your indifference,
Condemned by your absence,

For on my death,
They will sing a song of fire and ice,
Of life unlived,
Of crows that took my heart,
While I turn in my grave,

Weeping, I pray,
Let me have a wish for the life I was destined,
Let me have a choice for one last time,
Let me seek redemption from my withering corpse,

And from where you stand,
You turn and smile,
Cruel and kind,
And nod the acknowledgement,
Of a pitiful existence alive in your eyes,

My eyes whisper shame and hope,
whilst my lips move to resurrect what was once yours,
and I pray to you thus:

Ah, but if I shall have one last wish,
Let there grow a flower, I say,
Of breeze and beauty,
That shames the gloom,

While the earth hums a lullaby,
Of curses,
Of vultures,
Of petals that are trampled,
By a heart of fire and ice.

The wind turns your soul,
And I wonder if I saw the ice burn in your eyes,
But you simply walk away,
Melt in the crowd of cloaks,
While I close my eyes,
And die unsatisfied,

And there grew a flower,
Of such beauty and fragrance,
That shamed the gloom,
Inviting whispers of songs and lore,
Of my heart that got stolen away,
For a price too high,
And laid to rest,
For a sleep that would haunt your dreams,

And yet,
Little did I know,
That the flower grew in salt,
Remnants of your tears,
That went unshed,
Whilst you carried my burden,
Deprived of salvation,
With a soul that burned,
And scarred your fate.

And so the song was sung,
Of fire and ice,
Of truth and lies,
Of hearts and swords,
Of flowers and boots,
Of life and curses,
And O my love,
Of you and I."

I did not know what to say. He smiled and stretched his hand again. Mesmerized, I walked as if in trance, guided by a hand bidding to follow.

The deity shone from a distance dressed in blue. She was seated near the agrahara alone. He took me closer to the deity, looked at me and pressed a finger to his lips. My heart thundered in my chest.

And in that silence, she sang. Her voice echoed through the walls into the hearts of everyone who stood. Her notes perfect, it pierced deep into my soul and I stood shocked. Transfixed.

Breathless, my eyes wept a silent tear as she sang the song of Fire and Ice.

I do not remember how I came to be near the lake. I sat in the sand, listening to my heart. How can a boy of barely ten years unnerve me so? How is it that my anonymity be disregarded so slightly by this city as if I just returned home? What is it about everything here that I am missing?

I sat and looked away while my mind obdurately played the tune.
But if every wish I wish went answered,
Oh, won’t I be the queen of your dreams.

Tickles of Wind - Part 4

The thunder shook me from my thoughts.

I walked involuntarily to the window. Outside it poured rage, as if held by a restraint that demanded the patience of a millenia.

In the score of lightning that followed, I could see the wheels of the vehicles slowly tread the dreadful rising of water.

The first mark of progress, when evolution itself became a mundane fact for that caveman who ran from the flood as fast as his legs could carry.

Dripping sweat, his brain would tell him of ways to survive the terror growing under his legs, threatening to carry him to what would be a pathetic unremembered demise.

And what then, did he believe?

That the wheels would move on and on until he covered the face of earth?

Or was he terrified of life itself, the change, of faces he may forget, of love that would live beyond his desire?

Did he drown in that moment of hesitation?

Or did he live to gift the wheel to a worthy soul?

What, then was the result?

Did it wither in the rains?

Was it buried under a square hole then, giving away the irony? 

The rage of gods against progress? The test of patience which can only be bestowed by a mind of pure conniving evil, worthy of ungrateful, unwavering worship?

Did the wheel fail to turn his life, unlike the ones below willing to tread the flood, one inch at a time?

A worthy ode to his grave then, this patience against rage.

The thunder shook my thoughts, again.

Something gripped my heart. Uncontrollable sorrow, that arose from a place unnerving, beyond my knowledge of existence.

I feared for myself, I have to know.

I turned around and looked at her. She was seated atop the window sill, legs crossed, her little palms stretched.

In the wake of the raw lightning that lit her face, her eyes unblinking, looking below.

As if the droplets that fell out of her hand to the ground, kissed life.

I walked up to her and stretched my palm. Our fingers passed water, together.

I belonged then.

He was wrong, I belonged. Right here. With her.

She looked at me, brushed my tears with her puny hands, cupped my face and smiled.

And in that instant, 
with her eyes as witness, 
my wheels turned.