Big Red Flowers.

bombax-ceiba-flowers

We were posted at Bangalore, now the weirdly spelled Bengaluru, in 1998. The last year of me being the only apple of my parents’ eyes.

I studied in a convent school – St.Louid’s. Class KG. The walk from my home to the bus-stop was almost a kilometre. Beautiful trees lined the roads on one side and houses on the other. The narrow lane was covered with fallen leaves and big red flowers, the petals of which were velvety like the cheeks of a new-born baby.

My teacher was Miss Rosebud. I always brought her a flower each day. The only teacher I have done this for. She was the only teacher in the army of unpleasant nuns. The ritual made us both smile. It helped that my father was the then lawn in-charge at the sprawling mess. The flowers were fresh and more importantly, they were free.

I had always wanted to give Miss Rosebud, who was my only and favourite teacher, one of those big red flowers from those big trees. The flowers looked exotic, much like my teacher’s name.

I never could. Once the flower fell from the tree on the coarse gravel it blackened as quickly as the burning white end of a cigarette.

Miss Rosebud couldn’t be given a rotten offering.

The other impediment to successfully procuring one of these velvety delights was a large drain separating the road from the trees. The width of the drain exceeded my entire length. It was mission impossible. My mother used to walk me till the bus-stop and I didn’t dare ask her to take the leap of faith on my behalf. I could not ask my father either. His roses would’ve gotten offended. And thus our feet would squish the bulbous flower parts every morning and afternoon. The flowers on the branches perched high above us: beautiful, pristine and unattainable.

My grandparents came to visit us. The duty of dropping and collecting me from the bus-stop went to my grandfather. He gladly accepted. This is what we did, my grandfather and I. We took long walks. Our steps would begin uncoordinated but one anecdote later we were in sync, both in gait and thoughts. He would talk to me about books, make-up poems about flying camels and falling men and always, always had candy. It was our tradition since the time I learnt walking. During our walk back home in the afternoon I told him about the flower problem.

The next morning I gave Miss Rosebud a gigantic red flower. It looked like a lobster with measles.

‘It is beautiful.’

‘I know.’

And I really did.

Of Love and Goodbye

Goodbye

 

She had given him her all,

her very being, her soul.

He did not think so.

“I beg to differ”, he politely said.

The confusion in her mind,

the slowing down of her heart,

the tears that pooled in her eyes,

made it clear to every passerby

that his words had left her wounded.

 

 

The goodbye in his eyes

and the finality of his tone

left her bewildered, alone.

Doubts embraced her mind

like shadows in the dark,

questions she had locked within

came out; bursting forth

from the deepest recesses

because the door had failed to latch.

 

 

Time, they said, would heal her.

She wished it was true,

hiding behind the facade of normalcy

unseen, she’d dance like a maniac

letting her mind, her body loose.

Eyes filled with desperate hope,

the doors to her heart forever open,

she still awaited his return.

The news that he was long dead, something she’d never learn.

Image Credit- http://friendsfromfar.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/leaving.jpg

She ran away.

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She always felt inadequate. Born into the typical Indian family, where accomplishments in academics were not an expectation but a necessity.  It was not that she was a bad student, she was second in class. The typical model child; obedient and confident, playful yet well behaved.

When saying goodnight, her mother casually asked her about her Maths result. The bile rising up her mouth kept her mute. “The teacher has not checked the answer sheets yet mumma”, she glibly lied. Entering her room, she rushed to the bag pack stowed away under her bed and checked whether the dratted answer sheet was there or not. It was.  55 marks out of 100. The lowest she had ever scored.

The next day after coming back from school she decided to buck up and tell her mother the marks truthfully. “One bad paper wasn’t exactly a career ruining move in class sixth, was it?”, she thought to herself. Boy, was she wrong!

Before the frown lines on her mother’s forehead could be formed completely she felt the resounding slap on her left cheek. The volley of insults that followed fell on deaf ears. She was already crying, confused and hurt. “One paper, ONE MATHS paper where I did not teach you and you get these marks? Disgraceful! Stupid girl!” her mother screamed.

The ranting went on for almost fifteen minutes. Fifteen agonizing and painful minutes. The answer sheet lay torn at her feet, her lunch cold on the table. The certificates and medals adorning the pin-board in her room seemed to be jeering at her. Maths, her one weakness, one enemy. She had had enough.

Her  eleven year old brain wanted to run away. It is said that a child’s thoughts turn into actions immediately. This time they definitely did. After coming back from school the next day, she packed her bag with her favorite clothes and an unread Famous Five and prepared to run. Remembering a scene from an old movie, she scribbled a note ” I love you mom and dad but i hate maths. Sorry!”  and ran away.