Ignorance and Vanity

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 Mrinal was en route to the airport when her smartphone rang .Her mother's number flashed on screen and despite her nervousness of flying alone to a new city for the first time , she smiled. 
Moms are worrying. Always . 
Just like fathers are busy. Always.
Despite herself she felt her mouth turn bitter at the thought of her father. He was never home, a blessing, considering the way he used to treat her docile mother. Being an illiterate girl from a poor family was the biggest sin of her mother whose beauty and the planetary positions of her birth-chart tempted Mrinal's famous and rich astrologer grandfather to handpick this gem for his foreign educated lawyer son.
It was a sad and loveless marriage full of disdain, contempt and scorn at one end, and duty, agitation and perturbation on the other with two daughters working as a weak bridge. 

She took the call. It was her sister mumbling something amid sobs about an accident ... of her father.

She missed the flight.

                                                                         ******
Years flew by and she never got another reason to fly. Today once again en route to another airport in another city, memories of that fateful day came back rushing in. She was surprised to find  them to be so vivid, stored somewhere in the realms of her mind in such a well preserved and pristine condition.

                                                                     ******

That day ,on reaching home she had received the rude shock of her father's murder faked as accident. He was a barrister reputed for his honesty and justice. It had paid .

A few weeks back, Mrinal had topped Kumaun District college and had secured a seat in a reputed PG college in Delhi. She could have got admission anywhere but her artistic temperament pushed her to be amid Delhi's Art and Literati circuit.She was hoping to enter the NSD and like her ideal Girish Karnad dreamed of a career in writing and theatre both. 
But on that day it all changed. Unable to leave her timid mother and a 9 year old sister, she joined the local college and started giving home tuition as a means to pay the bills.
The distant relatives were even more distant during her father's last rites. And the near ones turned strangers after learning that Barrister Shamsher Pratap's sprawling  bungalow had to be sold to clear the debts acquired due to his honesty and snootiness.

Mrinal  had noticed everything ... including .... that Samar was there on the funeral day .
                                                                  ******
Eight years have passed since college but on looking back it still seem so silly and .. so sweet . Like a dream.

SamarDeep Singh, the quintessential  herat-throb of her college , in fact of their entire city. He had just shifted to the city .Girls were crazy for him and boys felt proud to be seen talking to him.He was intelligent and attractive . Even Mrinal felt his charm but that was that. Genius or not, Casanovas were never her type.

Though she had felt his eyes on herself quite a few times but he had attitude enough not to talk unless talked to and was decent enough not to drop hints. At All.
He was a silent guy letting his deeds speak for him.Just like Mrinal. So the ice was never broken except an occasional Hello! until a writing competition  brought them closer and they found out how similar and contrasting they both were. He expressed his silent love for her and she accepted as he was indeed, a guy with a heart of gold, a harbinger of hope and happiness in Mrinal's stern life. 
But his flirtatious ways were a problem . Mrinal did not want their relation to become public while he insisted to be 'seen with' her - the 'most beautiful and sweet girl ever'. Without Mrinal's open support Samar was unable to shoo off the pestering girls irking him. She felt this as spineless and weak of him. Mrinal wanted them both to focus on their carriers so that they can live happily ever after while Samar was the one for living in NOW.

Being the girl she was, Mrinal took the call and one fine day simply stopped seeing him.  Being the boy he was, Samar never asked for a reason nor he pestered her. It was as silent a breakup as their love.

Soon the college went rife with the news of a 'hot pair' Samar and Pooja . Deep in her heart Mrinal knew this to be sham, a passing phase. She knew Samar too well to know that Pooja was not worth for even his infatuation but she could not deny their proximity. Samar was always somewhere in her viccinity. Rumour mills were working overtime churning titbit of their romance .Today he gifted a branded watch to her, her sisters were calling him by nicknames. Phew! 
Pooja's well timed smiles and false blushes were adding fuel to the fire of all imaginations except Mrinal's. She knew her Samar's choice too well . 

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She sighed a deep sigh of part gloom and part relief. From tuition she had started her own coaching centre, then purchased a school frenchise in another city. Rising fast,within three years now its a college she is looking forward to. She was young, energetic and focused. The brand 'RockFord' was extremely happy with her work and it was for finalizing this deal that they had picked her from her home with them in their sedan car all the way to the capital. 
And now, after the successful meet Mrinal is flying back to her mother and sister.
Going to airport for the second time in her life. Alone.

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The Autumn Trees : Image Credit 
 Her last meeting with Samar was the day before that flight which she never boarded. He had called her almost after a year from 
their mute break up and she could not say No. 
All he said was "Mrinal, I can see that you know I don't love her.I am thankful for it." Despite herself , it brought a smile on her lips. That was a day when autumn was setting in the valley. The day when the burnt amber of the falling leaves turned Mrinal's cheeks crimson, a shade darker than the blushing dusk and the white swirls of the mist rising from the Himalayas engulfed their first embrace from the world. For an eternal moment they lost themselves but the spell broke and two different roads they opted for.

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 Airport was two hours away from her host's home.The deal was going to be a milestone in her career.She was pleased but contentment evaded her.As always she was restless. Despite the November chill she rolled down the car window. Opening her laptop,she wrote a verse in one go at her blog and posted it to the writeup cafe.

When we were under that pine tree
I pinned my hopes to a star
when we were soaked by mountain rains
I asked a favor from the mists afar

And how they helped me through out
by guiding me in every dark
and shielding me from prying eyes
when my loneliness was stark

Oh! when we were under that autumn moon
I whispered 'stop' gently to the night
when we were vinous with ecstasy
I asked the moon to be less bright

They listened to me thus, till date
that nights are so long and cold 
the moon never shows its face to me 
but as silver-drops on grassy folds ....

almost immediately she got a comment from 'The W' and as always it was just apt. She smiled.
                                                              *******
Writeupcafe was a site where Mrinal was not known as one of the youngest achiever of Kumaun but once again, Mrinal of her college days - a writer, silly, emotional and passionate. 
She was herself there. It was her lifeline to sanity, to her dreams and desires where number crunching pragmatic Ms.M. Pratap took a back seat . 
Writing by her pen name 'Kumud' she was at peace when she was at writeup cafe. She had a small but ardent following there. Her smartphone beeped.
It was a notification from one of her friends at writeup cafe. A few days back they have decided to meet in real as a few of them were apparently in the same city that day.They were meeting at a cafe near the Airport.

Mrinal got down from the chauffeur driven car and moved towards the venue. It was built much higher to the ground within the airport premises. She crossed the arena and was climbing the broad steps when she froze. Standing at the door was Samar ... She reached the door as if in trance while he smiled and ushered her in as if waiting for her. Instantly she was jolted out of her trance and blurted out "You??"  She could hear the ring of happiness in her voice and it irritated her. 
Samar made her sit at a 'Reserved' table and was apparently savouring the moment it seemed . "Oh! He still had that ' all in control' attitude" she thought and her irritation grew . 


Before she could speak he said , " Forgive me for being foolish and vain Mrinal. I was young and worshiped by all except you. I loved you when I was not aware what love is.I loved you when I realized I have lost you and I loved you when I  understood what love is.
so I decided to find you back ..just to see if you are alright." 
He continued , " ...in place of your Bungalow stood a mall and your shifting to a new city did not help either. But trusting your writing inclination I found you here at writeup cafe"
Mrinal was too stunned to utter a word. Her irritation vanished and she was seeing a new Samar, a Samar which she perhaps never tried to reach up to.
She stammered, " I am sorry too Samar as I too was ignorant and was naive enough not to understand the intricacies of heart. I never accepted my feelings to even myself as I was too focused......"

"No Mrinal ," Samar cut her in mid sentence ".... you were afraid and I was laid back, easy going, getting all easily . But within few years I could sense my feelings as well as yours."

Mrinal smiled " Always in haste ,you are not changed much!"

"Yeah. " Samar replied, "I have realized my love and do not want to lose it again.Now I am a man possessed by haste " 

Suddenly Mrinal remembered about the group meet and stood up . "Samar I was here for the writeup cafe...... " Samar put his hand on her mouth saying, " I am  the one who organised this meet .. I am 'The W' , W for warrior... running a site from more than a year to find you, to be in touch with you ."

Samar never liked writing. Still he was writing about life and technology and everything under the sun at his site 'SummerVille'  ...just to find her !


Mrinal's eyes welled up and she trembled with emotion. Samar held her hands , their fingers entwined, once again they were teenagers under that pine tree on that starry autumn dusk. 
Image Credit 

The airport speaker announced her flight and instinctively she knew that the first flight of her life was just not meant to be alone.


This post is written for SpinYourStory Contest for writeupcafe

Won consolation Prize for the same.. Here  :)

71 comments:

  1. What a superb story you've weaved Kokila! I'm really overwhelmed with emotions. And, the poem...it's so touching.."the moon never shows its face to me
    but as silver-drops on grassy folds". Just superb!

    Lots of love dear. A great post after a short hiatus. Hope you're doing fine... :-)

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    1. Well soul-sis coming from you it must be good :) I am happy that it appealed to you ..and you are right , my son was ill.Now he is fine and the recovering phase is going on and vacations means even less time to myself :)
      I think I'll be on and off at blogging till the mid of June ..but am blessed to have friends like you for the love and care :)

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  2. Wow! Now that's quite a right up, one of the longest stories I have seen of yours Kokila.. A wonderful one :)..

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    1. Ah .. Vinay you are right .. it is long and I congratulate you that you survived it pal :)
      Thanks for the support as I am going through the tough times of summer vacations !
      :)

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  3. A smooth plot with wonderful conceptualization and weaving of emotions. There are indeed some touching lines. But the poem seems to be dominating the fiction. Good job (y)

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    1. Really pleased (no glad-shlad ;p)to know that you liked it and more importantly read this long one ... Thanks for the effort and the motivation :)
      And a Wow ! to the kind words Ravish .. kyonki kuch aisa yaad aata hai ki someone was saying something about problem in replying .. :) :)

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  4. a well-weaved story Kokila......loved the poem the beat......characterization is full of credibility.....looks like all of you are writing for some contest.....recently read stories by fellow bloggers....All the best to you....

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    1. Thanks Sunaina for the sweet words and the wishes dear :) Its pleasing to know you liked the story :)

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  5. I say, that's a very well spun story, Kokila! You kept me hooked...glad they found each other. Best wishes for the contest!

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    1. Thanks a lot Beloo :)
      coming from you the words mean a lot more to me :)

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    1. Hey Celestine ..thanks a lot dear ..
      PS. I am recovering from a bout of viral fever so more irregular than usual ;)

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  7. What a lovely tale that was, Kokila. Enjoyed it.

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    1. Thank you dear:)
      Real glad you liked it ....:)

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  8. Such wonderful and smooth narrration, Kokila. The poem is definitely the best part of this story. Loved reading it. All the very best :)

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    1. Hey Purba thanks girl ! :) :)
      comment-love is the best motivator, specially from great poets dear :)
      Hugs.

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  9. Very well crafted, Kokila!
    Wonderful flow...
    Best wishes:)

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  10. Wow! That was beautiful..loved reading it.. Superb!
    Good job Kokila :)

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    1. Hey Parul thanks girl.. Glad you liked it :)

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  11. Wishing him a speedy recovery, lots of love soul-sis... :-)

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    1. Thanks dear for the love and wishes...he is well now :)

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  12. You're a great story teller, Kokila. Loved it. And a lovely poem too. Indeed a double feast.
    I hope you, and your son both have recovered, and are in good health now. God bless.

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    1. Thanks a lot Kiran... He is good now and I am Aldo recovering :)
      So glad you liked this piece ..thanks for the sweet words friend :)

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  13. This is so nicely spun! You have used the opportunity so well :)
    And there is also a free poem with the story - nice bonus :D :D

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    1. He he Teny bonus is what makes anything lucrative! Glad you liked the product as well as the free goodie:) ;)
      Thanks :)

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    1. Thank you Lata for the comment love .. :)

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  15. Beautiful story. Men like Samar realize what they want eventually. Poem just took my heart away. Loved it.

    Correct me if I am wrong, it should be his charm in this line - Even Mrinal felt her charm.

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    1. Thank you Saru for the love :)
      And you have well pointed out ..it was an oversight, corrected now :) :)

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    2. See, that's why I love blogosphere. :)

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  16. Its a beautiful story Kokila for the contest. I have read the conditions but gave up as all cliched plots were coming to my mind but your take is good and different.

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    1. So glad Roohi that you liked it because for me this was the ONLY one I was able to think up, though I definitely feel for the people in it ..
      Its an imagination draught I am having I guess :) :) thanks a lot friend :)

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  17. Very sweet love story. I loved how it built up slowly with no rush. :)

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    1. Thank you Indrani ..happy that it resonated well with you :)

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  18. Dear Kokila, I so enjoyed your story. I read every word and then had to go back and read it all again. Wonderful – just like you.

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    1. Wow Barbara its a long one and that you have read it twice is amazing.. Its always such a pleasure to hear from you :)

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  19. Replies
    1. So glad to get a praise straight from the heartlilhard :) :)
      Welcome :)

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  20. I like your characters. Nobody is a villain all through life. situations and emotions tune them to do stuff that hurts or uplifts others. Compelling story. Good luck!

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    1. I have a penchant for such stories where situations make an average man a hero or vice versa ... You have eloquently said what I am struggling to say here..:)
      Thank you dear for an insightful comment.. It touched my heart ..
      Love .

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  21. Superb. Gripping till the last word.

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    1. Thank you Rajesh. Your words mean a lot to me:)

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  22. There are so many sacrifices in the life of a girl. when she grew up , she have to take care of her home in the absence of mother (sometime with her mother) , this becomes their destiny slowly slowly . you written a very long but meaningful , full of emotions story. weaving of like these words is very difficult and arrange them in a manner become tougher. These words are well suited a real life story .

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    1. Thanks a TON Yogi .. Its the longest comment of yours on my blog and am so happy to read it :) your every word is right showing reality .. Glad it made you feel so.. Thanks again for the motivation by this wonderful comment :)
      Wishes :)

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  23. Wow! You sure are a writer- your style simply superb..." The distant relatives were even more distant during her father's last rites" is just one of the lines I liked among the many in this story.

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    1. Thanks A lot Rajeev for your generous words. Its gladdening to know it resonated well to your sensibilities .. Keep in touch :)

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  24. Should read as "one of many lines that I loved in this story" -Way to go!

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    1. Its completely fine Rajeev .. I got the emotion behind it anyway :) :)

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  25. Such a beautiful story.
    Loved it.

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    1. Thank you Swati .. A pleasure to hear from you :)

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  26. Hey, wow!

    I'm a newbie here, but am impressed by your acumen! You write so beautifully! And, I mean it. The only thing I object is that, Mrinal is a guy. You should have called your protagonist Mrinalini.

    A very lovely tale nevertheless and let's not split straws. Hahaha

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    1. Thank you Rakesh ..Its a pleasure to know that it resonated well with you :)

      From many years me and the world are at loggerheads on names like Mrinal, Gunjan, Kumud and it may be hard to digest that I have these 3 as well as two (very loving and wise) Aunts Pramod mausi and Vinod mausi in my hometown !!
      So one can understand my inability to feel something amiss :D:D
      But, I can relate to you Rakesh ..Point noted :):)

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  27. That's a wonderful story Kokila!!!! Simply loved it!!!

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    1. Thank you Bhavani .. so happy to see you here dear :):)
      Hugs !

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  28. Great story Kokila...good to read the verse also in the same. Best wishes for the contest :)

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    1. Thank you Alok .. glad to know you liked this effort :)

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  29. A sweet story! Kokila for some reason whenever I read romance I end up thinking- "and they did laundry together ever after!" :D Hope you will not kill me for saying this! :D

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    1. No No Mridula .. Its most welcome as there's an incident related to it.
      Soon after my marriage I with hub in tow, was visiting my mom's place when there was a tiff between us and we both were very angry and adamant . Obviously like all great wars , the' reason' has been forgotten but we vividly remember its seriousness. When mom got the whiff of it she promptly entered in the room and said ." Children I need a help in laundry .Help me Beta "
      Sulking, we went and .... rest is history.
      SO your feeling so must have some logic dear :)
      Thanks fro sharing your thoughts:)

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  30. What a beautiful story,Kokila! It left me in tears and smile at the same time.

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    1. And its a beautiful feeling which your words have voked Moon ... So nice to know you enjoyed it :) :)

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  31. Hey Kokila

    Lovely story I must Say. Absolutely brilliant. I really liked it Kokila

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    1. Thanks a lot Yash for the appreciation ..its a real pleasure to know you liked it ,:)

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  32. Oh such a romantic story. I am a sucker for romance loved it.

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    1. Thanks A LOT Shashi ... It really means so much .Accept my apologies for the delayed response dear :):)

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  33. Kokila beautiful love story, very well written. So subtly you captured the background and girls emotions.

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    1. Hey Neha .. sorry for the late response ! Thanks a lot dear .. btw where are you girl ? Missing my Keepsakewallahs :) :)

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