Psychologist by training, English Teacher by profession and A writer at heart.

A PROMISE KEPT...

Standing on the wedding reception stage, Mayank waited for his new bride, Trisha. The hall was bustling with family, relatives and all those gems of friends who had been witness to their relationship since the tender age of seventeen. It was one happy place on this earth.

While he was engaged with animated chat with his friend, everyone’s attention was diverted to the other end of the stage. Trisha was walking up the steps. Many seemed a little puzzled with the attire this new bride wore. Wearing a simple bottle green cotton saree with maroon borders, she adorned herself with minimal accessories. However, no one could ignore the joy and radiant glow which she carried with herself.

Mayank stupefied, gaped at her. His feet were stuck to the ground. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Before he realised, his eyes were welled up with tears. His face beamed with pure, unadulterated happiness.
His mind raced back to eight years ago, when they were merely eighteen years of age. Mayank after having saved up his pocket money for a whole year, on their second Valentine’s Day, gifted Trisha a bottle green with maroon bordered cotton saree. And with all the sincerity and earnestness under that lamppost, Mayank said, “Trisha, I am very serious about you. I see my future with you. I want you to wear this saree on our wedding day...”

Mayank continued, “I know it’s silly but I am giving you this now, so that you would always know that I’ll be with you forever.”

Standing in front of him with braided hair and big glasses on her nose, Trisha looked at him with flushed cheeks, barely containing her joy.

Eight years later today, Trisha stood beside him, wearing the same saree, as his wife. They found their forever...

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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It's Never Too Late...
1st January, 2020

Standing in front of the mirror, Rachna gazed at her 32 year old self. She was nothing like she thought she would be. The sparkle she once carried in her eyes, was all dried out like a drought stuck barren land. And her lips...they hadn't spread in a smile in ages.

Rachna, gently removed the scarf which circled her neck, hiding the deep, blue marks hitting marks. Those were her eight years of married life, all summed up in and around her neck, back and arms. Placing the scarf on the dresser, she removed the wedding ring from her ring finger.

Once again, she looked at her battered and tired body in the mirror. But her eyes...they were speaking a different language. Sparkling a little, they spoke to her, "Happy New Year dear! A very Happy New Year to you..."

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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You Are Beautiful...

Standing in the crowd of twenty thirteen year olds was one rather plump thirteen year old girl named Mehek. She was at a birthday party of her complex friend. Like any birthday parties, this is was full of fun and frolic. The house was decorated with ribbons and balloons and everyone wore birthday caps.

Everyone was standing in a semi-circle waiting for the birthday boy to cut the cake. Just then, one of the tall ones, commented, “Hey Fatso, don’t eat up all the cake, okay!” On this, a loud roar of laughter filled the room, including of Mehek’s so called BFFs. Getting encouraged by this, someone else commented, “Yaa man…leave something for us too, hippo!” An even louder laughter engulfed the room. Absolutely broken from inside still maintaining a tough exterior, Mehek replied, “Ha…ha…very funny!”

The cake was cut and everyone got busy singing the birthday song. But Mehek…Oh the poor girl…all she tried to do that time, was fight back her tears which were begging to burst from her beautiful, round, sparkling eyes. Still, she stood amongst them, clapped and kept singing, “Happy Birthday to you…Happy Birthday to you…”

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU...
Dark circles under her eyes, hair unkempt, holding her phone in her hand, Pooja stood listlessly at the door, ringing the door bell. It was difficult to know if she was calm or dead inside. She looked exhausted.
The door opened. It was Niharika, her best friend. It’s hard to say what it was maybe a sight of a familiar face or just the presence of another human; like a broken dam, Pooja started sobbing, big round tears rolling down her cheeks, spoiling her kohl.
She jumped to embrace Niharika saying, “You were right Ninu...you were right!! I’m so stupid...I’m so stupid..!”
Seeing her best friend like that, something broke inside Niharika. Opening her arms, Niharika just said, “Ohhh...I’m so sorry sweetie...I’m so sorry that I am right!! I wish I wasn’t... I really wish...!”
Letting go of the embrace, still sobbing, Pooja said, “I should have listened to you Ninu. You told me, ‘Stay away from married men. But I didn’t listen. I mean, how stupid could I be? No married man would ever leave their wife for a girl he met in a metro. It’s simple logic!”
Niharika, wiped the tears off Pooja’s face, she said, “Love is anything but logical sweetie...love is anything but logical.”
Pooja calming herself, with said with determination, “That’s it. I am done with relationships. Now...it’s just you and me! That is enough! That is enough! You don’t ever leave me. You promise...okay!”
Embracing Niharika again, Pooja gave a weak smile. Niharika hugged her back, a little tighter this time, her eyes staring down at her own ring finger, on which a beautiful engagement ring made it home that morning.
Niharika with a lump in her throat, just mumbled, “I promise!!”

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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Happiness is a Curse...
A bride to be in a month, Kanika lived on cloud nine. At twenty six, she had everything she ever wanted, a wonderful job, dear parents, amazing friends, a loving husband and adorable in laws. She often pinched herself, trying to make sure that this dreamlike state was her actual reality. At times, she even felt guilty for being so contented in this uncontented world. She looked at the sufferings around, and in that moment, a sharp pinch of guilt pricked her. Gradually she began getting unhappy for being happy.

Soon this occasional disbelief on her near perfect life started taking a shape anxiety… inch by inch, ever growing, overpowering anxiety. Every little happiness grew her fearful of losing it all, losing her job, her family, her fiancé, her friends, everything. She was paranoid. And before anyone could know anything, Kanika fell down the rabbit hole of mental suffering.

It is one year now. Kanika, ten kgs lighter, is single, lives with her parents, works from home and is being treated for Major Depression.

It’s unfathomable how human mind works. In sadness, in scarcity, Kanika was finally feeling contented.

Maybe it’s healthy to not have it all. Maybe having everything what one wants can rob oneself of that one thing which truly drives our lives and keeps us sane: Hope and Pain.

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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Once Again...

Standing in the hotel lobby, was Rekha a little agitated. Dressed in denim jeans and white top, both her hands were covered with henna till her elbow on which she had worn the customary red bangles ‘Juda’. A dark red vermillion on her forehead, and a diamond Mangalsutra on her neck, gave her the look of a quintessential new bride. Yes, she was on her honeymoon.

Her nervousness was growing with each passing second. She had anticipated it. She thought she was ready. She thought she could handle it. She thought she was strong enough. She was so wrong.

Standing ten steps away from her holding bags was Sudhir, her husband, checking in at the reception. In between, Sudhir would look back and smile at Rekha reassuringly. She would smile back, a fake smile, hiding her misery within.

Rekha kept looking out the window, holding back her tears, trying to put a brake on the threads of memory that rushed into her mind like a broken dam.

Fate had played its nasty joke as she was standing in the same hotel lobby where she once stood, eight years ago with a man whose only existence now remained in her life was an old photo and a blood-stained shirt.

By Priyanka M ( Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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Love Is a Tragedy...

Sitting facing each other on the dinner table, they were strangers to each other. Eating the same home-cooked meal for fifteen years now, they shared nothing more than the roof that covered their heads. They merely existed, behind the invisible walls built by them brick by brick in all the years passed, oblivious to the other.

No! They weren’t this way always. Once, passion drove them… passion for each other…passion for love…passion for life. Like any other drug, which soon wears off with time, the intoxication of the passion on which they rode, fizzed away, leaving them listless and dry.

Sometimes, the greatest tragedy of love is not when the lovers are not united. Sometimes, the greatest tragedy of love is the absolute absence of any threads which would bind them together after having lived a life of togetherness.

Sometimes, love itself is a tragedy…

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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In A Moment...

It is 5:30 the morning and the winters are here. Somewhere in this vast city, in a small one BHK apartment lives a man in his fifties, Mr. Nath. He like every other day is carrying out his morning routine. He has woken up at 5:30 am, prepared two warm glasses of water, drank one and kept the other in the bedroom. Then, he has got freshened up, has changed into his tracksuit and by 6:30 has gone for his morning walk. Around 8, he has returned, drenched in sweat, with a pack of bread in his hands.

It is 9 am now. He has bathed, has done his morning puja and is now in the kitchen, preparing breakfast. Shouting from the kitchen, he’s saying, “Today, I am making Bread Upma. I’m tired of eating Idlis. So, no tantrums, okay...” Smiling, he continued, “Do you remember that time when Mohan would ONLY eat idlis and nothing more. You would always say, ‘This boy is an accidental Maharashtrian.’ ” Mr. Nath chuckled and stated, “How the time flies na...Suju!”

“Hmmmmm…Suju... this smells really nice..!! See… I’m telling you…you’ll love it!” Saying this, Mr. Nath served the bread upma in two plates, made ginger tea, poured it in two cups and bought in the living room. Arranging the plates on each side of the table, he went into the bedroom.

After almost a minute, he came out, holding in his arms, a big framed photo adorned with sandalwood garland, of his wife, Sujata and twenty-year-old son Mohan.

Placing the frame on the table, he sat right in front of it. Eating the breakfast, he animatedly talked to the photo; stuck in the time of that fateful morning, when his wife and son decided to commute by Mumbai local to her sister’s place.

Mr. Nath laughed, cracked joked, reminiscing the life which he shared with his family. His laughs echoed this empty house. And somewhere in this room, amidst this morbid laughter and normalcy, flutters the pages of a two-year-old newspaper, with a cover story:

‘Ten people dead, many severely injured as the foot over bridge collapsed in Mumbai.’

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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Papa's Promise...

Standing in the center of the crowd with a birthday cap on her head, a plastic knife in her right hand and longing in her eyes was Ruhi, waiting for her father to arrive. A big chocolate cake with Doraemon design lay in front of her, lit by eleven teddy bear candles waiting to be cut. But she stayed still, eyes fixated at the door. ‘He promised’, she reminded herself. But it is seldom the case when adults take promises seriously.

Disheartened, she cut the cake. Everyone enjoyed the party, except her. Around same time, thousand kilometers away, somewhere in the Northern Indian border, under the star lit sky, on bedrock, adorned in Indian Army uniform, sat her father, holding Ruhi’s, two years old photo in hand and gently whispered, “I’m sorry beta. But one day you would understand…

I just hope, it’s not too late by then…I just hope…!”

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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Be By My Side...
Storming out the rusty gate of a public garden, Surekha and Rajit were fuming with anger. It was their first serious argument since the engagement. Both in their late twenties, tired of failed love relationships, had then opted for an arranged marriage. Rajit had always been the more sensible and calmer one amongst the two. So seeing him so enraged was unsettling for Surekha.
Walking on the sides of crowded Mumbai streets, she walked two steps behind him. With so many failed relationships, for Surekha fights equaled to breakups. Her eyes were moistening. But with those moist eyes, she observed something.

She saw that he despite walking ahead of her, fuming, each time a man walked towards them, he stretched his hands backwards from the sides, in order to shield her. He did this each time he saw a questionable being passing by them.

At that moment, Surekha experienced something she had never felt before. She realized for the first time that not all fights need to be ugly. Not all fights break relationships up. But moreover, she understood a fact that even in anger, one never forgets love…
She smiled as this time she knew, she had made the right choice.

By Priyanka M (Coffee_pen_and_paper)

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