Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
the messed up balance in this world,
I see him fight with all his might,
but the force of the wave brings him down,
on his knees he lies,
he pleads to the lord to save him,
he finds a way to his feet,
he strives to climb the ladder so steep,
until he is pushed down along the way,
his faith stifled,
his strength drained,
he still staggers along the way.
How much longer will he last,
without divine help.
How much can he do all by himself.
This world has tons of judgments and tons of talk,
it has ways to put you in your spot.
He wonders if he depends too much on these signs,
he wonders if he will always be left behind.
When will he run along side, forget ahead of his peers,
when will his worst fears stop turning real.
The world's voice has gotten too loud,
the world's ways have gotten too foul.
When will he get what he deserves,
When will the sun light up his path.
Time will reveal the truth,
And I hope the time has come,
and I hope the time is now.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
He approached her from behind. She didn't know what was coming and she did not expect that attack. He ran from behind and stopped few feet behind her and growled. She did a sudden turn and she growled bravely. She didn't hesitate. She barked and he inched back. She barked loudly and continuously. There was the patter of paws from behind. In a jiffy there were around four more four legged fur balls by her side. They stood like the Great Wall of China. They howled, probably calling their friends. Before I knew it, more were there and the line up was ready to wage war. The opposition was outnumbered, one to 8. He made noises, calling his kind. They scampered from across the street and by lanes to be by his side. Mothers, children, fathers, brothers and sisters whom he knew and who just responded to his SOS were all there for him.
I stood on my terrace watching in awe. They stood by each other in times of need. They answered the calls with such immediacy it was magnificent and moving. I wondered if I stood out outnumbered on the road and called for help if the response would be half as much. I have grown up in a place where dog vs. monkey fights were always omnipresent. I notice how the war was never one sided. The war was always fought in numbers and fought with pride. It is probably a hallucination in my mind, but animals are aware of the united we stand policy. How I wish we humans learnt it. How I wish.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
We drive in utter silence, quite normal conversation for us both. However, today his eyes were doing all the talking and more. They shone with resolve. He seems set on giving me that urge to believe, to make me see through his eyes. He did give me strength. Naturally, I doubt how long it would linger before being blown out by my cynicism. He seems more positive than me and it was apparent in his cheering smile. His emotions had come to the fore clearly and it shook me up. He believed in me. He believed I could do it and that it would be me who would be victorious.
Unfortunately, I give in to my fear too often. I get muddled in what ifs and what not and all my hard earned vigor comes to a staggering halt. We continue on our journey, still in that silent daze. I didn’t need to close my eyes to see his eyes radiating hope. Our drive finally comes to an end, so I turn to him and smile. He gently pats my back as he drops me off and solemnly wishes me luck. My smile broadens as I step out of the car. He never came to watch but he never failed to drop me off. It made him too nervous to stay and watch, I assume.
I walk in with a tiny bit of confidence, shaking cause of my nerves and place my bag down. I sit down and pull out my running shoes. I change into them and stay sitting on the ground for a while, still swamped by my anxieties. I need some movement I realize. I get up, warm my body and stretch a bit. I see the other girls doing the same with thrice as much confidence. I must look quite hopeless. I feel like it at least.
Soon I hear the announcement in a gruff male voice demanding the attention of the women in my section. I jog up to the reporting stand. On checking the names I find mine right on top. “Great”, I mutter to myself. I jump to calm myself, start walking to give myself a run up, simultaneously preparing myself, mentally for a few practice jumps. I steady myself, start running, step on the plate and jump. They obviously don’t measure these. I repeat my routine twice more before they are ready for us. “Under-17 national selections for Long jump girls. 12 candidates but only 2 will be selected”, the voice booms through the speakers.
We had all practiced hard and waited in baited breath for this day. And it all came down to three jumps. “Nina Lawson”, the speaker literally roars. The sound of the go whistle follows my name, indicating its time I give it my first shot. I jump up, close my eyes for just a milli second and I see a vision of my dad’s eyes. It gives me a sudden boost of energy reeling me into my most confident state of mind.
I set my eyes on the pit as I run as fast as I can, step on the plate before flawlessly taking that huge leap and land in the pile of sand with a sigh. They measure as I walk back for my run up. Though my name followed by my jump resounds through the air, I pay no heed as a gear up for jump two. I just repeat my routine again and again.
6.43 m; I am later told is my best out of the three. These three jumps are probably my best jumps till date. Not just in length but the emotions enveloping them. It was like a leap of faith. And it felt just perfect.
Even if I hadn’t made it to the national team, today would have been one of the most prized days of my life. After the years of practice and hardwork invested in it, along with the hours of brooding over it, it all came down to that look in his eyes. The one that simply stated, better than any language probably would, that he has faith. Pure unwavering faith in me.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I sit up straight in my bed. I am sweating a tad more than the usual. I rummage around on my small night table for my glasses. I put them on to see that it is just about sunrise time. I look around for Cindy, my beloved wife. Not seeing her anywhere, I presume she must already be at church. She had an early morning mass routine that despite age and sickness never shifted. I slowly get out of bed and reach over for my walking stick by the wall. I stick my hand into my glass of water and plop my dentures into my mouth before I make my way to the bathroom. The early morning businesses needed my fleeting attention. I was never much of a fan of brushing, flossing and cleaning. But Cindy would through a mad fit of rage if my dentures didn’t look their shiny best and I do not like to make her angry.
I feel more disturbed than the ordinary today. I stare at my reflection in the mirror while I grip the basin with one hand. A few more wrinkles I chuckle to myself. I concentrate hard to recollect last night’s dreams. But considering how disturbed I feel it was probably a nightmare. Unfortunately nothing concrete visualizes. I hope my routine morning walk will spark things up. I hurriedly make the bed, fluff the pillows, turn off the fan before grabbing the keys and wearing my shoes. I pull the door behind me and stagger off down my driveway.
Cindy and I will be married this spring for 60 years and we have lived in the same house all through. Our kids have walked, fallen and run on this very driveway before growing up and going places. We have come a long way since our initial years of crazy love and parenthood. Fond, warm memories of Cindy come rushing back to me as I coincidentally cross paths to the church.
I walk on past it tapping my stick along to a well known rhythm in my head. I finally reach my rejuvenation spot, a bench in the nearby park. I land myself on the bench and I am left gasping for my breath. My old age is really catching on and I better admit it. I look around at the sun rising, the early morning breath of pure nature is breathtakingly energizing.
The park is pretty deserted except a couple of lone joggers, some brisk walkers and a sprinkle of pregnant mothers all getting in some exercise before the sun makes itself comfortable in the sky. They all seemed pretty charged and probably had only just arrived a while before me. The park is one of my favorites because of the lack of noise and the sensible crowd of adults that trickle in. It always ensures my bench experience stays pleasant.
The trees looked to be shedding their way to autumn. I gaze at a nearby tree, its huge astounding charisma regardless of the age and the present nearly dry state. Beneath its mighty branches is a small pile of brownish yellow leaves. However, the tree is still bearing a couple of piles more. As I watch the tree a small breeze blows, few more leaves detach and drift to the ground. It all reminded me of the ever constant change. Change in my life over the decades, change in this tree in the past few minutes, change. It happens to everything and everyone I deduce. But dealing with it has never been easy, for me at least. I watch on as the tree faces the steady change of season as it persists standing tall with its eternal beauty never reducing. The tree embraces change making it seem so effortless and conquerable.
As I pick up my head, still swimming in these thoughts I see Cindy walking towards me in her familiar flowery gown and smile lit face and I realize the strength she brings to me with her overwhelming presence. As she sits down next to me and our smiles do all the talking, I am just left feeling glad that we, Cindy and I, lived on and grew old together. Despite every change and the storms of time.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
It was 6 years ago. Even today I cannot forget that walk. The longest, most thought filled walk of my life. What if I could go back in time? Would I do any of it differently? It was the most difficult choice. I admit I had not thought things through and it was all finally just an impulse. But 6 years later my life is not everything I hoped it would be. I can barely recognise myself. My name is Mark (probably the only thing that has remained the same) and here’s the story of an impulse that changed the pulse … the very beat of my life.
6 years ago…
Every step shapes the future and… you.
I work at a big law firm when I get called in to the boss’s office. It is just 3 years into my job and they want me to shift departments. Shock number one. My law firm handles murder cases, divorce cases, copyright cases basically anything and everything. I have done many copyright cases, numerous murder cases (a fair share of both victims and convicts), but that’s about it. Apparently we are running short of divorce lawyers and they want me to explore. Shock number two. Walking and thinking is something that eases my mind and my racing heart beat. So I decide to take a walk. I leave the office with my bag in hand and thoughts looming over my head. Less than a minute after I start walking the walk turns into a slow jog.
At 11 in the morning on a cool winter’s day, in
But being a lawyer in
Bates (my boss) had said that our divorce cases are 4 times our other cases all put together. My firm is one of the biggest in the city and housing over 35 top class lawyers each handling a minimum of 2 cases at once. So we must be receiving a large chunk of the cases. I do hope. Or else the number of divorces is just plain alarming. Shock three?
Till then I was so lost in thought that I had not taken in any part of my surroundings. I look around me. I notice a lot of teenagers enjoying the beautiful morning arm in arm. The look of fondness in their eyes. Sights of pure immeasurable joy. And even the rare smiles at strangers. A lot of love in the air I think. It makes me wonder then why all the divorces? I slowly take in this unblemished feeling and hold onto it. The wonderful feeling of belonging which I remember from years ago. It brings a tiny smile to my face as my long and reflecting walk neared its end. I have to meet the client now I think. Yet I have not reached any decision and if possible I am more confused. I slow down to close to a crawl. The parting words of Bates come to mind, “this requires a whole different approach. A more sensitive one, Mark. But I am sure you will handle it just fine.” Saying this he had handed me a paper that I had hastily tucked into my pocket. Remembering it, I frantically dig around in my pockets for it. I find the chit at the same time I reach the café. I read out loud. “Lauren Waterston. 23. Wants a divorce. No complications. Just unhappy. Brunette. Short. Will be dressed casually. Mostly denims and a tee. Hint: Go easy on her. She is still fresh from her decision.”
I walk into the café ‘bleu’ and scan the room for her. The overwhelming smell of food takes over me. As I walk in I realise how hungry I am from my strenuous walk. The smell of muffins and eggs waft to my nose. I stand there in the doorway paralysed by these delightful smells. After what seems like an eternity, I snap myself out of it. I look around the room. It is a quiet place with blue wallpaper. Typical I think. There is a soft murmur in the air. Slow melodious music playing in the background. Combined with the wallpaper it had a calming effect on me. The waitresses are all dressed in ‘blue’. Mostly middle aged women with smiling and approachable faces. Lots of couples laughing. Two friends sharing a deep moment over drinks. A man eating something that looked simply delicious, alone in a corner. A woman with a book and a coffee, alone in another corner. I shoot another glance at the paper in my hand. I look at her again. It is her. On second thought she did look sad. Very sad.
Young. Impressionable. Bruised.
I wake up in bed stressed and restless. The same feeling I have been waking up with for weeks now. The same sleep I have been sleeping for weeks now. Stressed and restless. What was I thinking? I was 20 when I got married. 20!! Honestly it just doesn’t make sense sometimes. I could barely decide what to have for dinner. But this decision I had to make in such a hurry. Trust me to make big decisions rashly. And think forever on tiny insignificant ones. Smart really.
But in fairness I was in love. And what a feeling that is. So pure. A feeling of joy, elation and endless hours of staring into each others eyes. Walking arm in arm always. Sipping the same cold drink with a single straw. Sharing a bar of chocolate. Surprise visits at work. A bunch of flowers on a warm summer’s day. Hours disappearing over repeated refillings of coffee. Ah that mindless feeling of a brand new love. The tingling sensation of a first kiss. The spark of the million kisses after. No doubt it is probably the best feeling in the world. Was I a fool to think it will all last? Just then my phone burst into its loud jingle interrupting my thoughts. I answer it and say “hello?” “Bates and Hermann”, the female voice on the other side said. I reply “yes...” “Ms Waterston, your scheduled to meet your lawyer around 12 o clock at the café bleu. He/she will recognise you. Preferably please be dressed casually”, she continues almost breathless. I nod in approval then let out a hasty “oh sure thing” realising my stupidity. I hang up barely managing a thank you. Looks like I’m going through with this I think.
After all, James and I have already been separated for 6 weeks, 3 days probably 12 hours and definitely counting. The last I heard from him was 5 weeks back when he left me that message on my answering machine. It was aloof, blunt and hurtful. Maybe necessary. He had said it was over. He had been losing interest in me for at least 6 months now. Maybe even longer. Maybe I just didn’t see it before. Probably just didn’t want to. Mostly the latter. Everyone says the first year of marriage is the honeymoon period. Everything is rosy and bright. After, you will be faced with challenges and troubles. You can either face them or flee. No doubt from where I am now what he chose to do. All this could just be sour grapes. I wanted to stick it out… he clearly did not see the need. I let go of as much of my hostility as possible with some deep breaths and decide to get to the café early and calm myself. Before the heart wrenching procedures begin. I pull on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, grab my backpack, stuff a book and my player inside it and brace the winter’s day with a meek smile. I switch on my player that has upbeat music and tune out all the negativity swarming my head. Well, I try.
In less than 15 minutes I reach the café and look down at my watch to find it is only . Lots of time to spare I think. Might as well get something to eat. I stuff my player swiftly into my bag and walk in. I can’t help but smile. The place is bustling with smiles and everything is blue. Just like the name. The waitresses seem joyous to be bringing you your food. Adorable I think. The place smells mouth watering delicious. I find myself a table in a quiet corner and collapse into the comfort of the arm chair. A beaming waitress approaches me and I order a chocolate croissant, a blueberry muffin and a cappuccino. She nods in agreement and bustles away. I pull out my book and drown myself in the words. Within 5 minutes my order arrives looking more sumptuous that I expected. I put my book aside and dig into my food. Each bite into the croissant was another piece of pure heaven! Yummy…
Having relished it and indulged to my sweet tooth, a bubbly waitress clears the table and brings me my cappuccino. I sit back in my chair and sip on the coffee. I enjoy and savour every sip. Coffee is an essential part of my day. Actually the love for coffee was one of the first things that sparked the romance between Jamie and me. I live alone and work at a PR firm. He is a software consultant. We have barely anything in common except we both had met at a local film appreciation club. So typically, our first few dates were spent either watching movies or talking over coffee and sometimes both. Looking back at it, I am reminded fondly of all the times we laughed, joked and talked. Our relationship was not even one of those superficial ones that can be easily forgotten. It has left a lasting impression on me. One that I cannot forget or even begin to forget in a hurry. Though, over a period of time into our marriage we had lost that spark. He and I both began spending longer hours at work. Voluntarily or involuntarily. Then over time we drifted apart, living together. Finally when we sat down and discussed it, there seemed nothing left to rekindle.
I still remember his almost cold stare. His walk out that door. His last attempt at a smile. The sound of the door closing. The end of us. Back then I didn’t see it that way. Now, as I sit here, miles from that spot, a lot less in pain, I see that door as a sign. There was no option left. This divorce will be a chance at living again… maybe even love. Will give me a chance to finally shut that door and move on. Not just stare at it. Every once in a while I go back in time (in my head itself obviously) to make sure it I had not just imagined it all. Then the image of his eyes, where I had often found comfort returns to me. But now only leaving me with a cold shudder. The sound of his voice, which usually calmed me instantly. Now just reminding me that it is all over. Is it possible to retain any good feeling post a divorce? Is it possible to not regret having gotten married in the first place? Will I ever feel that top-of-the-world-insane feeling again?
Questions nag and haunt my every step. So much that I didn’t even notice the clock strike 12. Neither did I notice it slowly turn to . I was snapped out of my distant and quite mournful thoughts when I heard someone say “excuse me…”
Innocence can hurt.
“Hey… I’m Mark Mathews… Lawyer…” I manage as our eyes meet. Words escape me the minute I see her. She is young, very young. Yet there is a stunning maturity in her face. She looks heart broken. Her eyes look drained and teary. She has absolutely no make up on. She looks fit. What I could see that is. She looks like a little lost child facing the demons of the world. I decide to shut my thoughts out and sit down. She says in a low tone, “hey… I’m Lauren Waterston”. I reply “yes ma’am.” She quickly adds, “Please call me Lauren.” I manage a tiny smile, “so do we get right into the details or you want to know something about my background?” I ask politely. She smiles softly. I notice she doesn’t have any dimples as she says, “No, this will really be an open and shut case. I just want to keep the house… he can…” she stops to give out a huge sigh and then continues to finish her statement “walk away a happier man.” I respond with a quick “okay”. This statement of hers reveals a lot to even an ignorant mind, an insight to their story to even an absolute outsider. All my thoughts are instantly replaced by the case in hand. This lady is clearly not fully satisfied or for that matter even okay with her decision. It makes me wonder what pushed her to make this decision in the first place. Something drastic I assume.
I muster enough gumption to say “want to talk business or…?” my voice trails off. “Business please…” she replies, her voice barely audible, over the soft music and the café ambience together. But I didn’t have a doubt in my mind as to what she had picked. She looks weary from all the thinking probably needs a break anyway.
A waitress just then makes her way to our table. I order a latte and look over at Lauren and say “any suggestions for food?” she replies with the broadest smile I had seen all morning, “the croissants are a delightful treat.” I turn to speak to the waitress “make those two croissants then.” I tilt my head towards Lauren and the waitress promptly looks at her, patiently waiting for her to order, still smiling. Lauren says “Another cappuccino for me will do.” As the waitress nods in approval and walks away. I tell her, “I took the liberty of ordering you a croissant.” We both share a short lived laugh.
I take out my file from my bag and my note book to take notes as we walk through the full scenario. She slowly eases up and starts talking, “We have been together 6 years. 3 of which we spent married. We started dating when I was 17 which you must have calculated by now. A lot of this must be irrelevant but…” before she clams up again I smile and say “go on... it is all part of a flow.” This encourages her to talk again. She continues still very subdued (as expected), “his name is Jamie Wilson and he is 3 years older than me. About 6 months back we mutually agreed to separate. I was in denial for maybe 6 months before that itself. It was a bomb waiting to explode for a while; I just chose to ignore the loud ticking. About a week after I got a call from him saying it was definitely over and when I am ready we should…” her voice stops suddenly as she catches her breath and probably also replays that message in her head. Then after several minutes of silence that I didn’t dare utter a word in, she finally is able to find the words. She finishes her statement with “… get a divorce.”
Her eyes fill with tears. I offer her a tissue. She takes it without looking at me. Our order chose to arrive right at that moment. The waitress smiles a sympathetic smile at Lauren before leaving. I wait a while and watch her sip on her large cup of coffee. Then I slowly pop the question “Has he sent you any papers? Or are you taking the first step?” She replies with a shake of the head, her cup still in hand. I respond with “did you sign a prenuptial agreement?” She put her mug down and replied, “No… we both had not thought of it.”
She bends over, picks up her bag and begins to dig inside it. She produces a red file and hands it over to me. She says “this should cover all my legal details, my records and even my financial situation.” I nod and take the file from her. I open it and glance through the sheets inside. After giving it a rough read, I close the file and say, “this will be safe with me, it gives me all the information I will need.” I give the case talk a little break while we gorge on the delicious looking croissant. She was right. The croissant is a delight, like a tiny bit of heaven. Delectable and exquisite. Several minutes pass without a word being said. An aura of gloom, doom and anxiety surround us. A mix of them from both of us. I get through mine a little before her. I open my mouth to say something, anything. But words and thoughts just didn’t connect. So I promptly just shut my mouth.
What can I say to her? I barely have my next step figured out. I’m in no position to dish out advice. Let alone to a heart broken 23 year old, who has a fresh, probably a less cynical and more lasting memory of love. I should be honest with her about my uncertainties. But I haven’t even discussed it with Bates. Actually forget Bates. I haven’t discussed it with me yet.
I pick up my head and look across the table. There was this innocence about her. Her eyes I realise. They look fed up yet hopeful. I have this sudden urge to rescue her from this doom and land her safely on the other side. It is an irrational yet a very alpha male feeling. A feeling of being the one that rescues the woman in distress. I then find the courage (if that’s what courage is) and say “Give me his number. I will fix an appointment with his lawyer. We both will go over the details of the agreement. We will fix a date for the hearing. If all goes well you won’t have to see him till the day you sign the agreement.”
I probably took her by surprise because she seemed at a complete loss of words. She nods a solemn nod. She takes a handful seconds before she says “You will find the number in the file.” A look of gratitude had crept into her eyes and face. I smile a meek smile at her. I say, “So I can meet you again this week for us to go over the agreement that I will draft once I get back to my office.” She says “you can just mail it to me if it is too much trouble to come down to see me again.” I just smile. And then say “We can work that out.” I pick up my hand requesting for the check. In the mean time we make small talk about the weather and just follow it up with nervous jokes and more nervous laughter. The tension in the air had reduced but only barely. In the middle of all this our check arrives. I quickly take it and pull out my wallet to make the payments. She says, “But that won’t be necessary.” I reply, “You are paying us a hefty sum to make this happen already. This one is on me.” And then I heard her laugh. For the first time since I had met her she laughed a laugh from within, an almost carefree one. Almost. It was only temporary but it did make me smile to see her that way. We get up, picking up our belongings from all around the table we are seated at. I walk behind her and open the door of the café for her. We stand on the footpath as the cold
I raise my hand and call for a cab. One stops almost instantly. I say “Bates and Hermann?
Harsh reality of today. Or?
There began my saga of a divorce attorney. I went on to get Lauren her divorce and her house without her ever needing to be in the same room as him. Even to sign the papers. She did move on. She is going steady and in no rush to get married. Happy things worked out for her. She is really a nice kid. She says she is just living in the moment. Those are her words exactly, actually. I share a funny sort of relationship with her. The only client of mine in 9 years of practice I have stayed in touch with. So, definitely the only one I have befriended. We do meet up for that occasional coffee and croissant.
But in fairness I met her at a crucial part of my career. I now practice at “Bates, Hermann and Mathews.” And this big promotion didn’t exactly fall into my lap. The past 6 years have not been easy. They were tough, challenging, involved lots of hard work and obviously a large number of victories with a sprinkle of the inevitable losses. I had began working nearly 18 hours a day. With no personal life whatsoever, it was easy to accomplish. And since I continued this, there was no prospect of a commitment of any sort. Two years ago, I got the biggest promotion and was made partner. Maybe a little early, many would think.
So as of today, I am probably one of the most wanted divorce attorneys in this city. I am rich and basically famous. Safe to say that puts me in demand. I am however 44 and unmarried. Yes, still. Career has become the centre, basically the crux of my life and my existence. Now, I specialise in divorce cases and copyright cases (of course). My personal favourite. I take some up by myself from time to time. When all the others are busy or if it is temptingly challenging. But usually just end up allotting cases to junior lawyers and guide them wherever necessary. Soon after my promotion I moved to real estate paradise in
But the fact is that I come home to an empty house. On a regular busy day, I can barely make it to my room with both eyes open. But on other days I know something is missing. On those days,
But each time I look back I am nagged by the same question. If I went back in time would I do anything differently? If I went back in time would my life have taken that turn? Would I have ended up somewhere else all together? But the harsh truth of reality is I cannot turn back time. I probably will never find out how my life could have been.
What if life is just a play of words…? A twist of fate…? A spark of irony…? And what if my irony is that I didn’t get life’s pun and I missed that blessed turn of the road…