Saturday, April 16, 2011

Everything I do, I do it for You!!

The entire restaurant was full that day. All the tables were filled with the guests enjoying their Saturday evening, but not one sound came from any of them. Neither the usual chatter nor the clanging of the plates and spoons. Even the waiters were standing on the side with ready dishes in a tray, but not moving to serve them. The only sound emitted in the hall was that of David's and that of his piano. His fingers moving elegantly over the keys, his every motion producing a melody that totally enthralled each and every human being in the hall. No sooner than he finished his last track for the evening, the entire hall echoed with claps and cheers for a repeat performance.

Acknowledging the crowd, David bowed down before them and politely got off the dais. As he passed through the crowd, there were a flurry of compliments from the various guests, a few handshakes and some promises to give him a chance to perform at big concerts by some of the big-shots in the room. He accepted all of them with a smile. He knew that most of the people would not remember his name, let alone his face the next day. The manager greeted him with a smile and took him aside. 

"The boss wants you to play one more song tonight." he told David.

"If I am not mistaken, I get paid only to perform till 10 p.m.. Extra work would cost more than the meagre stipend you guys give me." David replied curtly. It was true. Those promises by the regular guests to give him the opportunities of a lifetime never took form, and he just about managed to live with his paltry earnings, what with the alimony he had to pay to his wife as a part of their divorce settlement.
"The boss knows it, David. He is offering you the same amount that you get for the 2 hour performance for just one extra song. Your earnings for today would be double the usual. He has left this note for you." saying this, the manager slipped a piece of paper in David's hand and went away. One song for twice the amount. Not bad, thought David.

At that very moment, David saw his boss enter the restaurant. Anil Mehta, young, smart and an aggressive businessman who had set up the restaurant chain and tasted success at a very early age entered his territory accompanied by a lady who looked to be in her late 20's. As they came closer, David could see both more clearly, and what he saw made his heart skip a beat. It had been 8 long years since he had last seen or met Shirley, and there she was, as beautiful as she had been then and even more graceful now. 

His mind wandered to the last time he had been alone with her at the lake. It was when he had told her that his family would be moving to Delhi from Kolkata. He was 23 then when his father made that decision. There was nothing left for them in Kolkata, their company had been bankrupt and all the property seized by the banks in lieu of mortgage. His maternal uncle had managed to find his father a job in Delhi, and so they were about to move in a week.

"I'll miss you terribly." he told her.

Shirley just looked down at the ripples her feet made on the surface of the water, silent, as if she was sitting all alone. A tear drop ran down her cheek and fell into the water.

"Don't give me this silent treatment. Please say something." he begged of her.

"Is there anything left to say?" she asked him back. "You won't stay back even if I want you to. You will go to Delhi, make some new friends and carry on with your life. I'll try and do the same with mine."

"Promise that you'll write to me. You have been my best friend all this time."

Shirley got up and started walking. David stood in her way.

"I'm sorry Shirley. But this isn't really in my hands now."

She looked up at him, her eyes red and filled with tears. Their gazes waited upon each other for several moments. At last she broke eye contact and gave him a quick hug before running away.

David was woken from his reverie when a waiter nudged him and pointed towards the table where Anil was sitting with Shirley. Anil winked at him and David signaled with a thumbs-up sign to show that he was ready with the song. Just then, Anil received a phone call and he left the table to attend to it, apparently from a guy he was doing business with. Shirley motioned David to come to the table.

"Long time eh?" she said softly. "I thought I would never get to see you again."

"Yeah, and look at you." he said. "You seem to have done really well for yourself."

"I guess so. What about you? Where have you been all these years? There is so much to catch up on."

"I'm just somehow managing to survive. This divorce has turned out to be pretty expensive for me."

"Oh. I'm sorry." 

"It's alright. I am getting used to it now."

"You never wrote back to me..........." 

"I couldn't. Life had gone all topsy turvy for me. There wasn't one good thing I could write to you about. And when the time came to get married, I could not break the news to you either."

"You too?" Both he hands were clasped on her mouth. "You could have said something that day at the lake."

"I was too scared. Just too scared of losing you. You didn't say anything either."

Both looked at each other, filled with thoughts of what might have been if.........if only!!!!!

Anil arrived back after finishing his call and arrived back at the table a mike in his hand. David was back on his piano playing a very familiar tune.
"Ladies and Gentlemen." Anil announced. "It's a very special day today for me. It has been exactly 3 years since I met this lovely lady sitting right in front of me for the first time, And haven't those 3 years been great. Right here, right now, I want to post a question to her, with all of you as witness. Dear Shirley, would you like to make the rest of my life as amazing as the last 3 years?" 

Anil was down on his knees. Shirley was thunderstruck with tears of joy rolling down her cheeks. Unable to speak she silently nodded yes and both of them hugged while the audience was thundering with applause.

David was quiet, he could just see his piano. He couldn't dare look at the centre of attention for fear of breaking down. He was just playing the song that had been requested by his boss to be played at that very moment, the words striking a chord with every human being present in the hall that night.

Look into my eyes - you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart - search your soul
And when you find me there you'll search no more

Don't tell me it's not worth trying for

You can't tell me it's not worth dying for
You know it's true
Everything I do - I do it for you 

Later that night, as he was having his 4th beer in his cramped apartment he received a message on his cell phone.
"David , I know that things haven't really worked out the way we wanted them to. But I would like to give it another try. What do you say? Do you feel we can give our marriage another chance? -- Love, Clara."

He laid back on the sofa, his eyes closed. Maybe life wasn't so bad either, he thought and gulped down what would be his last drink for that day.


You can view the original song sung by Brian Adams @

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Beloved

Hi folks,

This is not a new article, but in fact one of my early ones. It was with this write-up that I really kick-started into writing and till now it is the only one of mine which has been published (in our college magazine Srijan). Hope you like it.

The alarm was ringing its head off in order to accomplish a task which many people had failed to do in their lifetime. The task was waking me up on a cold winter morning But today was different. Instead of its usual time (ie 7:30 am) the alarm was ringing an hour and half earlier. My droopy eyes struggled to open themselves, my body unwilling to leave the warmth of my rug. It was then that it suddenly struck me why I had set the alarm this early. Damn!! I had to get fresh and set off fast. The day was December 13. How could I forget that. It was her birthday and I had been planning to surprise
her early in the morning.

As I was brushing my teeth, my mind walked down the memory lane. I cant remember the first time I met her. Now this could be due to the "wonderful" memory God has gifted me with. Our early meetings still fresh in my mind, I remembered the joy I got walking hand in hand with her in the evenings at the park. Her soft hands and loving grip always made me feel important and wanted. The twinkle in her eyes when she looked at me, even now it makes me forget all my worries just to look into those beautiful eyes. The way she shed tears of happiness when I first told her how much I loved her and the way she hugged me after that.

Ouch!! So lost was I in these memories that the razor cut my cheek. This took me back in time again when I offered her rose on Valentine's day and the thorns tore into my skin in the attempt. Her soft kiss on my fingers was all it needed to vanish all the pain that I was experiencing. Oh!! What I wouldn't have done just to make her happy!!

All cleaned and bathed I opened up my wardrobe and confusion gripped me again as to what I should be wearing. Would I look good in the Tshirts I usually wore or would it be better if I had some formal attire on. In the end I chose a blue shirt she had gifted me last year on my birthday also because I wanted to see if she remembered it. So dressed up in black cotton pants and the blue shirt I looked at myself in the mirror. Yeah!! This was how I looked when she had said that I was the most handsome person she had ever seen and given me a peck on my cheek. The thought itself made my face go crimson.

As I descended down from my apartment I collected the bouquet of her favourite flowers I had ordered the previous day from the florist at the ground floor. The flowers smelled just like her. She had told me once that it was her dream to receive a bunch of flowers of every colour under the sun on an occasion. I took that as a hint and had specifically told the florist to include flowers of all possible colours he could catch hold of. And my good friend had done a tremendous job with it. Placing the bouquet carefully at the passenger seat, I started the car engine.

This reminded me of the first time I had taken her for a ride in the car just after I got my driving license. The terror and nervousness on her face still makes me laugh when I imagine it. Her sweating palms had continuously gripped me throughout the drive. The only time she opened her mouth was when I sped up a bit to overtake a bus in front of me. Her shrill scream rang in my ears for several minutes.

What made her special in my life was the fact that she was always there for me whenever I needed her. Whether be it good times or bad ones. And I always tried reciprocating her love. We shared so many secrets among ourselves. Our telepathic connection was such that many times we left people in a fix as to what we were signalling to each other.

With these thoughts in my head I pulled my car over to the building where she resided now happy in her own bitter sweet world. Taking extreme care so as not to disturb the flower arrangement, I climbed up the stairs that led to her flat on the first floor. Nervous and excited I rang the doorbell waiting for her to open. And as if to mock at my excitement she took her own time to open the door as though she expected me. But when she did open it, I could still see the same twinkling eyes and the smiling face of the woman I loved more than any other... she was my beloved mother!!!!