Splinter

Splinter

The rose gold tea slowly dribbled into the cup, fine china that implored to be shattered. Decorum must be maintained though, and  the loud tinkle of crockery against the floor would probably be too much for the largely veteran population of the tourist lodge, a scar on the vast forehead of the Nilgiri Hills. Her restless fingers got some respite by widening the gape of the ladder in her hose. 

Everything seemed perfect, almost dancing to a psychedelic tune, she dug her painted talons into her recently flattened abdomen for a smidgen of reality in the surreal vista. The sky was freckled with cotton puffs and the mellow morning sunshine imparted an iridescent glow to the trees; the only impediment to a creaseless visage was the stillborn that had lead to this “pity” vacation.

This was the sabbatical she had always craved for, yet now it felt like a consolation, a consolation to putrid milk that it can still curdle. The pestilent period  that had shattered her mother-in-law’s hope the last time had earned her emerald earrings, and now since a more tangible form of life had been destroyed  , she had been rewarded with a week off from her domestic duties.

Her husband was right next to her, her Firoz was miles away. The brown eyes that could once be enkindled by her smile were now fixed on the dimpled chin of the toddler at the next table, she gently stroked his wrist but his skin was now impervious to her touch. The call of prayer from the shrine nearby shuffled his stance, “Come Nazia, let us pray for Allah to give us a blessing.” These words from the mouth of a bacon eating Stanford graduate! Surely this was wicked nature at her cruel ventriloquy again; a befuddled “No” escaped her lips, he walked away leaving her with her “scrambled eggs”.

She was the kind who took everything in her stride, her father’s Alzheimer’s, her pet parrot being brutally impaled by a cat’s claw, her unfulfilled dream of studying in Paris. She was confused as to why she was being branded as “incompetent” and “incomplete” just because she wasn’t able to convert egg cells into blood and limbs.

Each night she stood in the balcony of their room, the chirping of the army of crickets acted as a salve to her chagrin. She peered down, a light flickered at the end of the steep descent to the valley, a familiar yet long lost fragrance of freedom beckoned. Each night she stood there, doing a silent calculation in her head. 

That night  the last straw was delivered with the words that making love was pointless as it bore no fruit, that night she mustered enough strength to take the plunge. He woke up next morning to find a note on the pillow where her perplexed head usually rested. He noticed the familiar i’s with their tittles an inch away, scampering away from what they had been forcefully married to. He scurried to the balcony, the parting address still clenched in his hands.

Dearest Firoz,

I am sorry you are unhappy and that I am the cause. Clearly nothing I can do will soothe your pain, only aggravate it. I can’t live like this, being forced to feel hollow and mourn about something I had never desired. 

The kind lady at the bakery in the valley has offered me a job and shelter, I am going to stay there for a while. Do not come down to meet me, I have heard the word “Talaaq” more than thrice as you mumble in your sleep.

May Allah bless you!

Yours (No longer),

Nazia.

Smoke rose from the tiny white bakery, the smell of her cinnamon brownies wafted into his nose.

A Fruitful Life

A Fruitful Life

She sat there slicing apples,

Her face aglow with sandal and the newness of the unfamiliar.

Her henna stained fingers, virgin to the stainless steel,

Cowered at the rounded edges.

Four large chunks that he hastily devoured,

Running late for the youthful merriment to rejoice his future.

The keys to his recently “acquired” ride jingled in his silk shirt .

 

She sat there slicing apples,

Her favourite spot by the sunlit window,

Where traffic drowned the hollering of her colt.

The romance restricted to emoticons on an LCD screen,

As he flew overseas, in a quest to earn the child’s university fees.

His cherubic replica rejected and spat out a bite size piece.

 

She sat there slicing apples,

The crunch of knife against fruit echoed in the empty house.

He marched away to conquer his retirement dreams,

His weapons, a fishing rod and a Nikon.

She retired to her artillery of knitting yarn and needles.

 

She sat there slicing apples,

Skillfully disengaging the scarlet whirl from the flesh.

Squashed it to a juice for his toothless taste buds,

He sipped his last, the basket was empty.

She hurried out to shop for apples for the guests.

Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony

Strongest willows bow to the pain,

The jade of the eyes conceal.

A thousand footsteps, but in vain,

Gold arches, a shine surreal.

 

Gashed marble feet make rubies shy,

Yet the lips not once resign.

An unheard, half hesitant cry,

Mourns within the sacred shrine.

 

Weary pilgrims kneel and retreat,

Before the incense fades.

The aura burns with mystic heat,

The lovelorn soul invades.

 

A rampart  for the sinning ones,

Across, the deity smiles.

A cooling fire blinds the sun,

As two realms reconcile.

Golden turquoise

Golden turquoise

In an inebriated state, at the brink of a vastness,

The shimmer of pearls beckons as sunlight invades the shells,

The bottom of an endless sea, where only dreams may dwell.

The whispers carried by the salty breeze breach the eerie perfection of  silence,

“It’s a mirage”, they scream in the ears, she stands undaunted,

The somber visage of the ocean conceals the fire beneath,

It stares at her invitingly, its glorious blue borrowed from the heavens.

The smell of camphor breaks the spell, call from a land once her own,

But the distorted reflection is purer than her face.

One deep long breath, one graceful plunge,

She is buried in the sand forever.