The little girl and airplanes!

20161110_164636When Zafirah was small, under the winter sun of every 26th of the January month, her father use to take her to the terrace of the house and show her flying planes, the fighter ones. Since then the flying planes in the open blue sky and sound of it has always fascinated her. She smiles whenever she sees the one in sky!

Today, standing on the terrace of her office, amidst all the noises around, she could hear only the airplane sound. It made her smile! She reminisced those days of watching the planes; clapping and jumping with happiness. She has grown up now and doesn’t like to let the eyes of people around to fall on her by over reacting but inside her heart there is still that little girl alive who jumps and claps with the sight of planes. She is the little girl and airplanes under the open sky still give her immense pleasure.

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Zafirah And A Stranger!

Zafirah was waiting at Mumbai Airport to board a flight for home to Delhi. She had gone through the security check and was waiting for boarding signal for her flight. She never travel alone! She always have a loyal company of a book with her. Taking a seat in front of the notice board where flight schedule was displaying, she made herself comfortable and took out a book from her bag, “Forty Rules of Love”. The more she reads, more she gets drowned in Shams words and his rules. Not noticing a stranger by her side, she kept on turning the pages of a book.

_DSC0041“Hello”, said the stranger. Bringing book down from her eye level and looking with amusement at stranger! There was a tall, fair, slender man with unkempt hair. He belonged to a foreign land!  She said, “Hi”.  “Going to Kochi?”, asked Stranger. No! I’m traveling to Delhi, replied Zafirah. Later realizing her mother’s words of not giving any details to strangers. He is a foreigner (she thinks), Mom said to be careful from strangers from India. She laughs on her thought and starts reading again. “What are you reading?”, asked stranger. Ohh! It is Forty rules of Love by Elif Shafak, replied Zafirah. Hmm! Another love story!, stranger mumbled. “Oh no no! It’s not a love story. I mean, yes it is a love story, but it is about eternal love.”, said Zafirah. Aah! “Eternal Love”, said stranger laughing. “Where are you from”, asked Zafirah. “I’m John from Land of Midnight Sun, Finland”, replied Stranger. Wow!, exclaimed Zafirah. Her little eyes filled with excitement. She wanted to know more about Finland, but kept quite instead. She didn’t want to show her excitement to John.

“So what all places you have seen in India?”, asked Zafirah. Oh! I have seen Delhi, Agra, Hampi, Orchha, Gwalior, Amritsar, and many more. I’m in India from last 6 months on a spiritual rejuvenation, replied John. Zafirah was impressed with John. She wanted to ask him about his travels. While she was thinking of ways to continue her conversation with John, he asked her to join him for coffee. Today God is listening to me (she looks up and smiles). Two cappuccino, John ordered as service boy came to take the order. How do you know I like cappuccino?, asked Zafirah. Well! you like books. And readers have old connection with cappuccino!, said John. Ahan!  I see (quite impressed).

I forgot to ask your name, said John. Zafirah, she replied. Za-fee-raah! I liked the sound of it. So tell me what do you think of love?, asked John. Zafirah laughs and after pause of few seconds, she says – For me love is a feeling which fills a person with kindness and purity. Love and life exists in everything on this universe. The outer beauty may lose its charm with age, but love will only grow with age. Nice! Do you love someone? You can ignore my question if you think it is too personal, said John. I have a wild dream of seeing the world and I don’t have time to get into a relationship. When Zafirah was replying to John’s question of loving someone, she had only one name on her mind.

Announcement for boarding for Mumbai to Kochi was made. John paid the bill and got on his feet to board his Kochi flight. He leaned towards Zafirah and mumbled in her ears – You are a girl with a dream and you need a man with a vision. He then left, waving his hands, and saying Good Bye to Zafirah. Zafirah stood frozen there, thinking about John’s words.

Love and Chandratal!

It was 09:00am and scorching sun of May was above already. Zafirah lazing in her pajama, reluctant to get out of bed, reaches for her phone and check notifications. Her eyes suddenly pop out when she sees an event of Astro Photography to Chandratal Lake. She immediately calls Kabir.

“Trin trin”,

Hello, speaks Kabir.

What’s up Kobi? (That’s what she call him as for her love for Tagore and Kabir both)

Kabir still in bed juggling to get up says, “Any normal gray collar working guy at this hour of a weekend would be sleeping peacefully in his bed until he has a little demon like you in his life”.

There’s silence for few seconds. Kabir instantly senses the awkwardness of the moment and asks Zafirah about the matter.

“We’re going on an Astro Photography tour to Chandratal”, says Zafirah.

Kabir didn’t ask any question from her as he trusts her traveling plans and says OK for it.

Finally, the day of the journey came, they both boarded bus from R.K.Ashram Marg to Manali from where they were suppose to travel in a tempo traveler to Chandratal.

Monsoon makes everything around look beautiful, especially the cool breeze that touches the peeping face from the bus window. The journey from Manali to Chandratal was mesmerizing along with Kabir’s amazing playlist that he had played in his mobile. They managed to reach Chandratal in morning when the reflection of the blue sky, clouds and mountains looked so surreal that tears rolled down from Zafirah’s eyes. Kabir held her hand and put her head on his shoulder, drowning them in the beauty of Chandratal. Zafirah have always loved these kinds of moments of silence with Kabir and he knows it. Understanding her calmness in her silence he says, “Chandra is just like you, Zafi”. There are very few times when Kabir speaks his heart out. Today is one such day, thinks Zafirah and asks him what did he mean? Kabir held her hand tightly, brought her closer to him and said –

Chandra is beautiful, Zafirah! Just as you.

Everything about her, its color and hue

Reminds me only of one person, and that is you

You have the calmness of it in you

The emotions as deep as her that carries the tenderness of love

Dreams as wild as wild daisies around her

Hope as high as its mountains

The blue color that carries the look of a well mannered lady

And reflects her love for nature around her

Onlookers admire her beauty in awe

But when touched, create ripples around

Chandra is gentle, Zafirah! Just as you.

Chandra is beautiful! Just as you.

 

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Beautiful Chandra!

Zafirah was in utter silence now and not knowing what to say just turned to Kabir and hid her in his arms. Kabir kissed her forehead and both spent hours together sitting there absorbing the mountain sun and Chandra’s beauty.

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Starry Night at Chandratal!

The sun had begun its fine descent into the unknown, and the distant sky was flaming orange, when they both started walking towards their tents. Within no time, the bright milky way was on their head with trillions of stars. Having simple rice and daal and taking astro shots with fellow photographers they found a desolated place for them to sit and bask in the light of stars. Zafirah said, “Kobi, we’ve been told since childhood that people who leave us become stars in sky. Is it true?” Kabir knew exactly what was going in Zafirah’s mind. He said,”Zafi, Let’s find three most beautiful stars out there in the sky”. Zafirah didn’t say anything but tried locating fourth little star too that went unborn. Somehow she was at peace because she knew all the four stars were watching her from above and were with her.

The planning that started from scorching sun of May ended with smiles under starlit night of Spiti and love blossomed between them. 🙂

Little by Little

Every morning, she gets ready for office. Unwillingly though! Not because she doesn’t like to work but she fears from the after effects of being judged wrongly at office. Zafirah is a fun loving girl! But she has her own definition for fun loving. She is talkative but loves to be quite most of the times. There are things that go in her mind and she keeps contemplating on them unaware of her surroundings. She tries to stay calm but bursts sometime regretting later and apologizing for her act. She wants to be good and kind and helpful.

Recently, she has been going through turmoil of emotions. She has lost three very close people from her family. “Death rephrases the life of everyone who’s near”. At this time she wants someone to just embrace her quietly and say nothing, someone who understands her and her silence, who can just hold her hand and pamper her like a lost child.

Life is not being fair to her. From losing people to not finding a new job and finding herself daily in a choking environment, she is dying little by little every day. Everyone has a different motive and a different meaning of life. The motto of her life is to travel as much as she can and the meaning of her life is to see her parents happy. This isn’t too much to ask for, she often thinks. She wishes someone could just see her weeping heart and her tears that she has been hiding from world.

Zafirah isn’t good in expressing her anger to anyone. So she stays quiet, letting the time heal the pain. That pain may be unnecessary, that she has created for herself as a result of her over thinking. But after all, a pain is a pain. You cannot stop someone to over think about a situation because that’s a nature of a human with which he/she has been raised.

Solitary

Courtesy – Google Baba!

She has been taking in the unwanted shit so much that little by little she is now exhausted. The arguments, the explanations, the reasons, ifs and buts hurt her too much. She rather takes herself in her own world of silence where she tends to ignore anybody that tries to drag her to pool of questions and arguments. She has never been so cold to her surroundings especially the human race or rather the known human race. She has become more open to strangers and introvert to the people she know.

Mistaking her silence, someone criticized her of being sad all the time. But that is all she has become little by little. Socially awkward she has become little by little!

An Empty Kiss!

It’s 9:00 pm! Zafirah has just returned from work. Dinner is not ready yet. She decides to surf internet as her mother prepares dinner. She logins to her facebook account. She checks her mails. As she scrolls downs on her wall on facebook, she sees a link “First Kiss”. She opens the link. There’s a picture of a girl and a boy, drowned in the moment of kissing with a sun in backdrop. There’s a long text with that picture. Writer has poured every feeling of the moment. She didn’t read the text. She first closes the link and then the browser. She gets disturbed after seeing it. She is pondering over something. Zafirah! Zafirah! Her mother calls her twice. She is so much lost in her own world that she didn’t hear her name. Mother came angrily to her room. Zafirah! I have called you so many times why don’t you reply? Where are you lost? Come for dinner. It’s getting cold. She doesn’t say anything and starts walking behind her mother.

She is quite on dinner table. Her mother is calm now. What happened? Why are you quite? Her mother asks her. Nothing! I’m feeling very tired today, says Zafirah. They quietly finish their dinner and walk to their respective rooms for night’s sleep. The clock ticks 12 in midnight. Tired Zafirah is unable to sleep. There are only two words in her mind – “First Kiss”.

Courtesy @ Google

Courtesy @ Google

When Zafirah learned about love, the touch, the kiss, she imagined her first kiss in her mind. Zafirah and the boy are holding each other. Rising sun in the backdrop! The moment just before the dawn breaks. The hour of silence! The orange and deep blue color of horizon brings them close. They start kissing with the first ray of light. And end when sun is up. The light has taken the place of darkness. She always thought that she is crazy to imagine her first kiss to be like this. But she is like this. She believes not only in love but the purity of thoughts and selflessness that comes with it. She enjoys watching rising sun along with the chirping of birds. And this is the reason why she imagined her first kiss with break of dawn and not with the retiring sun.

It is few months back. She had gone out with Kabir for some work. It was a three days trip. On the second night, Zafirah went to Kabir’s room and asks him to accompany her to visit a nearby fort for sunrise. Kabir knows her craziness for watching sun and stars. He agrees to it and they decide to meet at 4:00 in the morning.

Next day, both are ready by 4 to walk to a nearby fort and see the rising sun. It is still very dark, says Zafirah. So shall we go back? Kabir giggled. Very funny, says Zafirah. And both started giggling. Zafirah is very strong but deep inside her sits a little fear. Only her close one knows about this little fear of hers. Actually, only Kabir knows about it. No one has ever been so close to her as Kabir. Anyways! They held each other’s hand and walked towards fort. Crossing the narrow alleys and climbing the steep slopes of the town, huffed and puffed they reached the outskirts of fort. You seem to be tired. Let’s take a break for five minutes and sit here, said Kabir. Zafirah was breathing fast. Not saying anything she just sat with Kabir. A guard who was nearby told them that fort will open at 9:00 in morning. What? They both screamed and looked each other. And giggled again! The silence of the hour was broken with their laughter. Zafirah has always loved the small talks with Kabir. Kabir doesn’t speak much. Though Zafirah is not a jabberer but she loves to speak with Kabir. They reached near the parking area of the fort and sat on a wall, just few meters away from a lamp post. There was little light of the lamp on the wall. They could see the city lit up with lights. I’m feeling sleepy, said Kabir. Zafirah offered him to sleep on her shoulder. Kabir preferred to lie down keeping his head on her lap. This was the first time Kabir came so close to her. But she liked it and remained silent. Can I play some music, asked Zafirah? Hmm, said Kabir. With stars moving over their head, Zafirah plays some soft music on her mobile. In the silent hour of the day just before the breaking of dawn, she imagines her first kiss with her boy. Kabir! See, sun is about to rise. Get up, said Zafirah. Not annoying her, he immediately gets up. Rubbing his eyes, he first sees vast horizon and then look at Zafirah’s eyes. There’s so much similarity in the vast horizon and her eyes. Both are full of hope, he thinks. So, sun is about to rise. How do you feel?, asks Kabir. Shhh! (Keeping her finger on his mouth) don’t say anything and try to listen the silence of the hour, says Zafirah. She knows Kabir understands her craziness. Sitting next to her, he held her hand and put her left arm on her neck. The sun rose far away, between the houses. The orange and deep blue color filled the sky. The birds started chirping. The lit up houses now began to be little visible to eyes. Not losing the moment. She turned towards Kabir and kissed him hurriedly. Kabir too supported her and soon they were drowned in the moment of kissing with rising sun at backdrop. Exactly the way she has imagined. They stopped when sun was up and light has taken over the darkness of night. Zafirah smiled but she was shy. Kabir looked at her and said – Let’s go.

Zafirah’s first kiss was exactly how she has imagined – “with her boy, moment full of love”. They decided to stop at a tea stall before heading back to their rooms at hotel. It was my first kiss, said Zafirah. I could feel it, laughed Kabir. She got more conscious about what would be Kabir thinking. Her kiss was right or not. Many questions were popping in her mind from nowhere. This was making her uncomfortable. Kabir sensed it and said – “Relax Zafirah! It was need of the moment”. What? Need of the moment. Just need of the moment. She was shocked on hearing that. Yes, said Kabir. But I thought…Kabir interrupted Zafirah and said – “Hey! I don’t love you. It was just the aura of the place that made us flow in that moment. That’s it. I can’t imagine that you thought I love you. Hahahahhahhahahha” For the first time Kabir’s laughter was disturbing her. Hiding her emotions, she said – “Of course not”. But her heart was broken. Her “first kiss” was ruined. It was not full of love. It was just a need, like lust.

She used to have sleepless nights, imagining about her first kiss. Now she has sleepless nights, thinking about her first real kiss, which was empty. No emotions, no love, and only need. Her “first kiss” was an “empty kiss”.

F is for Fernweh!!

Today’s word is “F” and here is a short story for today’s A-Z challenge.

FShe took out two shirts from her wardrobe – a red shirt with sequence and a white plain top to team up with her navy blue jeans. Confused what to wear, she calls out her mother. Ma! (Hindi version for mother). Why are you shouting Zafirah?, says her mother. Ma! I’ve to go to meet Kabir today and I’m confused about what to wear. Please help me choose from these two shirts. Her mother picks up her white shirt and says, I’m fed up with your behavior Zafirah! Ignoring the scolding of her mother, she goes to get ready.

It’s not that Zafirah will be meeting Kabir for the first time. She knows Kabir from 5 years. They first met at her previous working place and have become good friends with time. But she gets excited whenever she is suppose to meet Kabir. It’s because of the freshness of exploring the world together. This brings newness in every meeting.

Anyways, she reaches the decided meeting point on time. Kabir was waiting for her. As they walked inside the restaurant, they started looking for a window seat. Zafirah loves to sit near the window, and look at the outside world while having a peaceful time on the other side of the window. (Handing over the menu) So what will you like to have?, asks Kabir. You order today, says Zafirah. Ohh!! I don’t like doing that, you decide and order, says Kabir. This was the start of conversation every time they met. So what’s up?, she asks, as she places the order. And the conversation went on.

Zafirah had a soul of a traveler and she always dreamt of far off places. She was bitten by a travel bug. Kabir knew of her dreams and accompanied her in almost all of her trips. They both had common interest of exploring things around them. They both loved to listen to each other. Though Kabir was an introvert, but he had opened up with her with time. She found a great companion for traveling and exploring in him, and he had found someone to share his loneliness.

You remind me of “Fernweh“, says Kabir, as he pays the bill for food. Fernweh!! sounds good, but what’s that, asks Zafirah. Find out yourself, says Kabir. Please tell me na, she insisted like a child, but Kabir was adamant. They hugged and said goodbye for the day.

Courtesy - Google

Courtesy – Google

Zafirah boarded an auto to her place, hurriedly opened Google to check the meaning. The net wasn’t working. She grew more impatient. Bhaiya jaldi chalo (Drive fast) please, she says to the auto driver. As she reaches home, she rushes to her room to access laptop, before she forgets the word. She types Fernweh, she is happy to see its meaning. Fernweh is a German word which means ” a crave for travel; to feel homesick for a distant place you’ve never been”. Kabir knows me so well, she thinks and smiles.

*Zafirah is an arabic name which means victory.

A Hug!!

Safirah is a single child, raised in a joint family. Though she is a pampered child but she has been raised into a strong spirited girl. She had a carefree childhood and joyful adolescent years. She always had many people around her but deep inside she longed for a brotherly love.

Recently her eldest cousin got married. They have not talked much in recent years as he has moved to US. This is her favourite cousin; for two reasons. One, he is the eldest and secondly, he is the simplest.

The mere thought of traveling excites her. She is super excited today, with a big smile on her face, as she is going for a short trip. She packs her bags, gets ready and goes to the newly married couple to say bye. She hugs her sister-in-law(which is more like a sister now). Her brother comes forward, gives her a tight hug, blesses her by keeping his hand on her head. Tears roll down from her eyes. For a moment, she wants to cry out loud. But as of her nature, she controls her emotions and says bye with a big smile and a flying kiss.

Her longing for a brotherly love is satisfied with an emotional hug. Her heart is full of love.