The Best Thing That Humans Have

She had no idea that world can be like this. This was a trap, and she had fallen into it. The story goes back to when she had met him. His name was Sharad, a suave man in his late twenties. She was in her late twenties too, and as soon as she met him, she started weaving romantic dreams of a marrying him and spending a happy and comfortable life, for ever after as they said in the movies. Sharad was rich and good looking, and had everything she had imagined in a man. He was the man of her dreams.

They started dating. The phone conversations had started. She used to sing for him on phone, and they talked till one of them fell asleep. The relationship was going great. Only thing she did not know that he belonged to a class of people who were not like others. Sharad was not what he claimed to be. He belonged to a group of extra-terrestrial race from another dimension who were sent on Earth to rule it. Every year they needed someone to sacrifice to their God, and that person was to suffer till a time which would be eternity in human years. They did not communicate using language, as they could read thoughts of each other and of the humans.

She, a normal girl with dreams, fell in love, and that was her mistake. Her childhood friend Prasoon, had proposed her just after she had met Sharad, and she having found her soulmate, had rejected Prasoon knowing that he, in fact, really loved her. Little did she, Mahima, as her parents had named her, knew that she was just a sacrifice for these vicious extra-terrestrial creatures.

One day suddenly it all began. She was transported to a what she could only identify as the insides of a UFO, and was thoroughly checked. It was just like a dream, and then she woke up.

She was still in her bed, horrified with the experience, looking at the ceiling, when her mother called. “Mahima! Prasoon has come!” She could hear her mother calling. She got up and went into the living room. “I will make tea”, her mother said and left for the kitchen. “Hi Mahima, I don’t have much time”, Prasoon said and rubbed his fingers on Mahima’s forehead and then abruptly left.

That night Mahima again had a dream. She was sitting on a sea-shore with Prasoon and she knew what had happened. Prasoon was half-extra-terrestrial and half human and after coming to know that Mahima was selected for the sacrifice, he volunteered himself in her place.

“Our God is not the God you believe in, he likes suffering and seeing people suffer,” Prasoon said. “Sharad was just a ploy to make you do things that would make you suitable for your sacrifice.” He said as the sea roared in front of them.

“What will happen to you?” Mahima asked.

“Our God is not all cruel. I will be designated as a God on Earth and in coming years I will be worshipped on Earth.”

“Where is suffering in that?” Mahima asked

“Not much suffering, I was rewarded for sacrificing myself, and so I will just be turned into stone and kept into temple, where I would watch people worshipping me till eternity”

Mahima’s eyes got filled with tears.

“Why did you do it?” She asked.

“I am half human, what is the best thing about humans?”

“Love.” Mahima hugged him tight and wished that it would really be a dream.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

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Chitra

Part I

I am sitting in the balcony holding the mug of coffee in my hand. The morning is cold. The sun is trying to rise in the foggy sky giving it a shade of pink. I feel the warmth of the coffee mug in my hand and look at Chitra sitting on the cane chair besides me. Her face is blank but serene as always. I always find it hard to decipher her expressions because they are like codes. Her expressions are so subtle that you just can’t find out what she is thinking. I get an urge inside me, an urge to paint. I wanted to paint her with all her mystique and so I get up to fetch the canvass.

I am not a painter. I am just a boring programmer working in a software firm who paints to spend boring Sundays like today. I drag the canvass to the balcony and arrange my paint brushes. Chitra looks at me and smiles.

“Do you want to paint me Jay?”

“Yes,” I said.

I start making strokes on the canvass and strands of memories start appearing on the canvass of my mind. It has been an year since I am with Chitra. I would have become mad without Tanya. Tanya was the girl who was my world before Chitra came into my life. I really can’t blame Tanya for leaving me because everybody wants the best life. She got a better man and left me to rot in the pit of loneliness. I had almost lost my mind when I met Chitra in a fundraiser. She is a social worker and helps people in need. The days in past one year in the companionship of Chitra have been days of utmost bliss for me. My life with her is perfect, as perfect as never before.

I look at her eyes, my brush working to give the eyes on the canvass the exact shade. I love her eyes, and the contrast between her large shining black eyes and her coppery complexion. Her hairs are long and black like the darkest of nights and her lips brown like chocolate. Her brown saree draped in a very elegant manner and face radiating the intellect she has. She has many similarities to my mother and that only makes me love her more. I am feeling a sense of inadequacy trying to paint her image on canvas but then I ignore it and keep painting. I want to give it my best shot.

“See this,” I called Chitra after giving the final stroke on the canvass.

“Wow! She really looks like me,” she smiled looking at me, “just a little better”.

I wanted to tell her that nothing can be better than her.

I have not told anybody about Chitra. After Tanya I did not want to discuss my personal life with anybody. But now I want to let everybody know about her.

The first person I would be telling about her will be Ashwin. He is a doctor and my childhood buddy. He is the one who prescribes me anti-depressants for bad times. I really want him to meet Chitra. I would really like to know how the doctor and the social worker, the two most important people of my life would get along.
Part II

Ashwin was in the clinic when Jay had called him on his phone. On hearing that Jay wanted him to come over at his place he had got a little concerned. Jay was his best friend since childhood. clinic timing was over and locking the door of his chamber he was thinking about recent happenings in Jay’s life, suddenly someone patted on his shoulder.

‘Hey!” He found Jay standing behind him.

“Hi, Is everything okay Jay?”

“This is the problem with all you bloody doctors, always expecting something bad to happen to others”.

“Not everybody, just you”, he replied to Jay punching in his abdomen.

Jay laughed heartily and hugged him. “I found someone.”

“Really? That’s great! Who is she?”

“Her name is Chitra and today I have come to take you to meet her.”

They both walked out of the clinic and while sitting in the car Ashwin asked Jay,

“How long?”

“One year.” Jay spoke starting the car.

“Bastard, why didn’t you tell me?”

“You are the first person I am telling.”

Jay took out two cigarettes from the dashboard and lit them with his lighter. He gave one cigarette to Ashwin and accelerated the car.

“You know I don’t smoke much. My patients shouldn’t see me smoking.”

“Yes, and the guy who was caught smoking by the principal in school toilet is telling this. Wow!’

Ashwin could not counter this. He relaxed on the seat and both friends took a deep puff of smoke simultaneously.

After a drive of about half an hour they reached Jay’s apartment.

“So you sit and I will call her,” Jay told Ashwin pointing to the sofa.

Aswin settled himself on the sofa.

“Lookie lookie here she is,” Jay came back.

Ashwin looked, and was shocked. He couldn’t believe it. He somehow brought back his expression to normal and managed to give a weak smile.

They had a bit of chat over coffee and then Jay dropped Ashwin back to his clinic.

Ashwin opened the door of his car to go back home and he was still thinking about last one hour. He did not see any girl named Chitra with Jay. Jay was simply talking to air.

Part III

I drove back home from the clinic still thinking about the visit to Jay’s apartment. My childhood buddy has gone through a lot in his life. Since past one year I have been treating him. He was totally dependent on Tanya and when she left he couldn’t bear it and went into severe depression.

I reached home and directly went to the drawer where I keep the copies of files of my patients. I searched for the name Mrityunjay Mehta. I spotted the blue file of Jay and brought it to my study table.

I lit my cigarette and started reading the file again correlating with the life events of Jay I knew of. Within the smoke of cigarette the things started getting clear in my mind. Each incident flashed in my mind with a new significance to it.

Jay’s mother was renowned social worker who was shot in a rally when Jay was 13. His father married again and Jay was never able to connect to his new mother and family again. He completed school and then his B. Tech. degree in computer science to get a highly paid job in a reputed firm and that is where he met Tanya. Jay and Tanya were together for almost three years when Tanya decided for a better future and left him. Now six months ago Jay met Chitra and is extremely happy, happier than he ever was.

I crush the cigarette in the ash tray and light another one. There are similarities between Chitra and his mother. Chitra too is a social worker with lot of similar characteristics which he divulged to me during our talk at his apartment. The physical features of Chitra are just like Tanya.

Chitra is not real. It’s just a play Jay’s mind to save the self. It’s a delusion. I can give it a medical term called schizophrenia but it does not matter. I need to save my friend but till then I want him to be happy in his blissful world.

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash.

A Selfish Hour On A Saturday Night

He looked at the city from the bridge. It looked beautiful. The city lights twinkling from far just like stars in the sky only brighter. He then looked down in the river. The blue water looked the color of gray in the night but still as beautiful as in the day. He sat on the railing of the bridge and after making himself safe and comfortable took out his cigarette and lighter from his pocket. He liked it to come at the bridge at night. The traffic is less at night, just a few automobiles crossing the bridge and few policemen patrolling, whom he already knew. The first time he came at the bridge one of the policemen thought that he was one of those suicidal guys but then after so many days they have become familiar to him. He sees them, nods his head and gets a nod in return. Sometimes he shares a smoke with them but he never talks to them because he does not know what to talk and they to completely seem to understand. Generally policemen are not kind to people as they are to him but then he thinks he has earned that kindness and trust.

He loosens up his tie and the collar of his shirt and opens the brown packet he brought along with him and takes out the sandwich and the coffee. It’s his way of spending the weekend. He never likes the weekend parties thrown by his friends, neither the family dinner. He gives the Friday night to friends and his whole Sunday to the family. He wonders about his friends who would be drunk in the pub by now shouting about their bosses and dads. He never likes it. Some things are better kept to self.

He switches on the Radio and plugs the earplugs in. It was his favorite band playing. He chuckled to himself. He took a bite of the sandwich and then sipped the coffee following it with a deep puff of smoke. His mind was wandering different places along with the lyrics of the song. Almost mechanically he repeated the same procedure, took a bite of the sandwich, and sipped the coffee and then a puff of smoke. He continued the process with a desire that it never ends but like all good things it will also come to an end and it should.
The Saturday always marks a new beginning for him just like it marks an end of the week. The time he spends alone is like a reward to him. A reward for the hassles of the whole week. It’s like a freedom from his stupid boss, nagging girlfriend and family responsibilities. He now looks at the watch. His Saturday time has ended and the time for others has begun. He has to submit the new project report on Monday and then has to get the AC repaired, his girlfriend’s call is flashing on the phone screen. He stands up and gets back to his car. The police man waves at him. He waves back. He looks at the city again, nothing has changed but the lights seem dull. He looks at the water and finds its gray shade gloomy. It is still Saturday night but his weekend is over.

Photo by Lewis Purcell on Unsplash.

RIP

I could see her face in the half unzipped body-bag which was being carried out of the building. Apparently she had fallen flat on the her face after slipping on the banana peel and her brain had drained out of her nose after hitting. How can this happen, i don’t know. She was a good and religious woman, in the habit of praying daily. She used to feed pigeons daily in her balcony and also provided them water in a little container, but now the little container that contained her brains had cracked and the pigeon of her soul had flown away to the almighty she prayed everyday to.

I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her but then again, she had gone somewhere more peaceful so I decided to let it go. There was much police in the building, and the lifts were busy so I decided to take the stairs. Climbing stairs to the 10th floor is not an easy job especially if you are a chain-smoker since high school but somehow I am able to achieve this feat. My lungs were ready to burst and my heart was thumping like the heavy engine of my friend Avi’s new second hand motorcycle. As soon as I open the lock and enter my room I realized that I had forgotten to buy milk. No coffee today, as I realized, my sorrow for the dead religious lady increased manifold. I believe that a caffeine deprived brain is a thousand times more capable of feeling sorrow than a normal brain.

My apartment is not very big, the kitchen is the name of a rack in the room itself, and the bath barely has a place to stand. Good thing is that I get a balcony where I can sit and watch the traffic and people, and smoke my time away. On long lonely nights I sit in the balcony watching the string of cars traveling to their destinations, and people crawling the road like insects, on bad days I feel like spraying insecticide on them, or sometimes running their faces over with my car, but unfortunately I do not have car.
I was lying on my moderately comfortable bed when I started to feel hungry. I was sad by the demise of my pious neighbor, but as the elders say, life stops for no one. I decide to order samosas and coffee and in an automatic impulse I pick up my phone and order my food. I switch on the TV, look at the clock and was relieved to see that, my favorite TV series will only start after half an hour, when my samosas would’ve reached.

Finally, I hear the door bell and rush towards the door. After taking my packet and paying to the delivery guy, I make myself comfortable on my bean bag. The show had started. I dedicated my first samosa to the lady who passed away.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash.