Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Killer's New Year Resolution

So another year is all set to welcome us. I should have written this note earlier. But I am often consumed by procrastination. Someone who procrastinates on New Year eve is really crazy. But I take pride in being known as a crazy one in a land of crazier people. So here I am on a beach in Kochi. People surround me. They are all ready to paint the town red! 2016 was a year that literally shook our country. Demonetisation! I have never been familiar with the jargon of economists. But my profession certainly involves monetary deals!
I haven’t slept a wink for last few weeks. Trust me I am not exaggerating. It all began when I was assigned to kill a billionaire somewhere in Bangalore. Yuck! Yet another story of business rivalry. I did the job neatly and got paid decently. My client left a good amount in my money bag. Ten million rupees. So on a cold night I set out from my dwelling to pull out some cash. A light pocket is a heavy curse. The ATM in my locality had a small queue outside its door. I waited for my turn. I got into the ATM counter after five minutes of waiting in the cold air. I secretly pressed the four digits to dispense ten thousand rupees. Twenty crispy, fresh 500 notes came out as if the ATM gave birth to twenty infants. An ant cried when I stamped my foot on him out of excitement while getting outside the ATM. Poor soul!
‘A whisky, on the rocks,’ I screamed at the waiter at 7 Nights. The green dimly lit walls of 7 Nights were adorned with LCD televisions in each corner. The minute hands of the clocks were pacing toward midnight. A white bearded greybeard appeared on TVs and addressed the country. He was grave and sounded polite.
‘My beloved countrymen,’ he began his speech. I didn’t bother to listen to his weak rhetoric. Who else on Earth wanted to listen to an old man’s speech in the dead of night? I asked the bartender to change the channel. The greybeard on TV was replaced by semi-nude blonde girls on Fashion TV in a blink! And genuinely it felt better.
The bill arrived in four digits. The four digits that could feed a family of empty stomachs. The four digits that could buy the toilet papers for the rich. The four digits that could force a farmer to kill himself. The cashier at 7 Nights threw a greedy glance at me when he saw the crispy notes emerge from my wallet.
‘I am afraid we can’t’ accept the currencies you gave,’ said the cashier.
‘You have pretty other things to be afraid of in this city’ I said gripping my pistol.
‘You just saw that on TV right? The PM slams the country with demonetization,’ he said.
‘Demon..what?,’ you can’t just understand such terms when you’re dead drunk.
‘We can’t accept the notes you gave,’ he shouted. It took a bullet to silence him. I fled the scene. The last sight I had was the fountain of blood emerging out of his head, thick and red.
‘MAN SHOT DEAD IN BANGALORE’ said the newspapers. Well, some filthy journalists misspelt my name. Some even went on to the extent of digging the rivalry between the killed and killer. The truth in news might have sensationalised to death. My reputation tarnished. I ran and hid and ran and hid. I reached Kochi after a few weeks. I don’t know why I killed the cashier. Had my clients been aware of this low-profile crime, I would have been out of their A list. Disguised as Santa Claus, I strolled along the narrow lanes of Fort Kochi. The place fascinated me deeply. It is the best place for a person living with an ocean full of mysteries. Children approached me for gifts, smiling. I gave them what I could. Books. The pages that bore tales of betrayal and vengeance. The pages that bore flesh and life. Let the children grow. They no more need lullabies. Neither do they follow the twinkling stars. Youngsters thronged Fort Kochi beach to witness the burning of papaanji . Also people were also queuing up to dispense cash from ATMs. I hate seeing ATMs since that night. Maybe that’s the only time I felt aversion towards myself. A trained killer claiming a common man’s life in a sudden gush of anger, driven by alcohol. It sounded cheap. It sounded mediocre. I am not meant to be known like this. A boy had been noticing me. He was following the killer Santa. He might have been mistaken. I was not his kind. The sun dropped into the sea. The festive air was fortified with the pleasure of celebrations. The boy was still a few steps behind me. I caught a glimpse of his face. Perfect for lullabies!
People gathered around papaanji to burn him down and greet the New Year with flames of ecstasy. I took the Santa mask off my face. The boy approached me. He gait was stern.
‘Are you the man I am looking for?’ he asked me. A lightning struck.
‘Who do you think you’re?’ I hurled a question at him too. The flames caught papaanji .
‘Your attire and tone are contrasting. I have never seen a Santa like you before. A Santa who gave books as gifts,’ said the boy.
‘Why can’t Santa present books,’ I asked him, sipping tea.
The crowd cheered in distance. The police had a Herculean task managing the crowd.
‘I am not a bibliophile,’ he said.
‘Okay. Then what do you like?’
‘I want to listen to Santa's New Year resolution’. papaanji was now burnt to ashes.
I thought of a New Year resolution. Finally I resolved to take a bold, somewhat foolish decision.
‘Let me live peacefully,’ I chanted my resolution to his little ears. But I knew it sounded grave.
‘Means?’ the boy asked me, confused.
‘I had a habit of killing mosquitoes in one blow. Now I won’t kill them anymore,’ I said and pondered over my strange decision.
A sharp, incisive thing pierced into my flesh. It went deeper. I was backstabbed! To kill a killer isn’t easy.
‘I would like to tell you what Caesar had told Brutus. But I hate Shakespeare.’ I stammered.
‘Let it be a mosquito bite!’ Whispered the boy. The beach was abandoned. In my fading vision I saw him disappear into darkness. My heartbeats dipped. The Inner Me disembodied and followed the boy. He was sitting beside a framed photo, panting.
The photo bore the face of a mosquito I shot. The cashier! My murder was justified. My soul still keeps wandering and would share this tale with anyone it came across. Still I am in queue, dead and decayed, in the hope of dispensing fresh notes from ATMs, unable to avenge my death! My soul, in pursuit of the greybeard who shattered my life.

Friday, 8 January 2016


This is night, dark and wild
Stars hugging and panting in the sky,
Birds chirp and sing blissfully of their
Man finds peace everywhere
The peace that limits in conference rooms,
The peace that uses missile crackers to enchant kids,
The peace that suffocates women
in the balloons of pseudo manliness,
And there stands a witness, still and cold
Like a statue
Who he is, asked the stars,
"I am man," howled an animal.

Monday, 28 December 2015

ചാര്‍ലിയിലൂടെ ഒരു യാത്ര ...

ചാര്‍ലി എന്ന സിനിമ പ്രേക്ഷേകരിലേക്ക് എത്തിക്കുന്നത് ഒരു cinematic experience എന്നതിലെക്കാളുപരി ഒരു യാത്രുടെ അനുഭൂതിയാണ്. ചാര്‍ലി എന്ന മനുഷ്യന്‍ കാറ്റുപോലെയാണ്, എന്നാല്‍ അയാള്‍ക്കുള്ളില്‍ കടലോളം കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ ഒളിഞ്ഞിരിപ്പുണ്ട്. ചാര്‍ലിയുടെ കഥാപാത്രനിര്‍മ്മതി സങ്കീര്‍ണവും സൂക്ഷമവുമാണ്. ഉണ്ണി ആര്‍ എന്ന കഥകാരന്റെ തൂലികയില്‍ പിറന്നവനാണ്‌ ചാര്‍ലി, അതിനാല്‍ അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്റെ സ്ഥിരം theme ആയ eccentricity ചാര്‍ലിയിലും കാണാം. ഒരു സമൂഹത്തില്‍ വളരെ കാലമായി നിലകൊള്ളുന്ന ചില 'സംസ്കാരിക ചട്ടമ്പിത്തരങ്ങളോട്' കലഹിക്കുന്നവനാണ് ചാര്‍ലി. അയാള്‍ ഒരു ഭ്രാന്തനാണ് എന്നു നമ്മുക്ക് തോന്നിക്കും വിധമുള്ള ചിത്രീകരണം സംവിധായകന്‍റെയും തിരക്കഥാകൃത്തിന്റെയും ബോധപൂര്‍വമുള്ള ശ്രമം തന്നെയാണ്. മറ്റൊരു തരത്തില്‍ പറഞ്ഞാല്‍ 'അവനു ഭ്രാന്താണ്' എന്നു പറയുന്ന നിങ്ങള്‍ ഇത്ര കേമന്മാരാണോ എന്ന ചോദ്യമാണ് സിനിമ നമ്മളോട് തിരിച്ചു ചോദിക്കുന്നത്. ചാര്‍ലിക്ക് തങ്ങള്‍ കഥയില്‍ കൊടുത്ത വേഗതയും സൗന്ദര്യവും അതുപോലെ തന്നെ തിരശ്ശീലയിലേക്ക് പകര്‍ത്താന്‍ സംവിധായകനും തിരക്കഥാകൃത്തും ശ്രമിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. സിനിമയില്‍ ചാര്‍ലിയുടെ ഭൂതകാലം പ്രേക്ഷകന് മുന്നില്‍ തുറന്നു കാട്ടുന്നത് വളരെ 'dynamic ആയിട്ടാണ്. ഗ്രാഫിക് നോവലിന്റെ രൂപത്തില്‍ അയാളുടെ ജീവിതത്തെ ചിത്രീകരിക്കുന്ന രംഗം വളരെ convincing ആയിട്ടു തന്നെചാര്‍ലി എത്തരക്കാരനാണ് എന്ന വ്യക്തമായ സൂചനകള്‍ പ്രേക്ഷകനു നല്‍കുന്നുണ്ട്. തന്‍റെ ചുറ്റും കാണുന്ന പ്രശ്നങ്ങളോട് 'creative ആയി പ്രതികരിക്കുന്നവനാണ് ചാര്‍ലി. അയാള്‍ നൂറു ശതമാനം കലാകാരനാണ്, സമൂഹത്തിലെ കാപട്യത്തോട്‌ നിരന്തരം കലഹിക്കുനുവനാണ്. താന്‍ നേരിടുന്ന പ്രശ്നങ്ങളെ creative ആയി നേരിടുന്നിടത്താണ് ചാര്‍ലിയെ ഒരു ഭ്രാന്തനായി ചിലര്‍ ചിത്രീകരിക്കുന്നത്. അയാള്‍ പ്രതികരിക്കുന്നത് ശക്തമായിതന്നെയാണ്. 'തട്ടം കൊണ്ട് മറയ്ക്കേണ്ടത് പെണ്ണിന്റെ സ്വപ്നങ്ങളെയല്ല' എന്നു പറയുന്നതിനേക്കാള്‍ 'IMAPCT ഉണ്ട് അത്തരം ചുറ്റുപാടില്‍ ജീവിക്കുന്ന പെണ്‍കുട്ടികളുടെ മുന്നില്‍വെച്ചു തന്നെ സ്വന്ത്രത്തിന്റെ പക്ഷികള്‍ വീടുവിട്ടു പറക്കുന്ന ചിത്രങ്ങള്‍ വരയ്ക്കുമ്പോള്‍. അവിടെ അയാള്‍ നിലകൊള്ളുന്നത് എന്തിനാണ് എന്നു വ്യക്തമാവുന്നുണ്ട്

ഇത്തരം നിലപാടുകളാണ് ചാലിയുടെത്. അയാള്‍ ആരോടും ഒന്നും പറയുന്നില്ല, എന്നാല്‍ ശക്തമായ ഒരു സന്ദേശം convey ചെയുന്നുണ്ട് താനും. വള്ളത്തോള്‍ കവിതയായ 'മഗ്ദലനമറിയത്തിന്റെ നേരിട്ടുള്ള ചിത്രീകരണം പോലെ തോന്നും ചാര്‍ലി വേശ്യയും എയിഡ്സ് രോഗിയും കൂടിയായ തന്റെ സുഹൃത്തിനെ കടല്‍ കാണിക്കാന്‍ കൊണ്ടുപോകുന്നതു കണ്ടാല്‍. അവിടെ അയാള്‍ ആഴിക്കു മീതെ യേശുവിനു തുല്യനാണ്. മനുഷ്യന്റെ മനസ്സാണ് ഈശ്വരന്‍ എന്നു പറയാന്‍ ഇതിലും നല്ല സന്ദര്‍ഭം വേറെയില്ല.

പ്രത്യക്ഷത്തില്‍ അയാളൊരു ബൊഹീമിയനാണ്, അതുമല്ലെങ്കില്‍ ഒരു ഹിപ്പിയാണ്. പക്ഷെ അയാള്‍ടെ നിലപാടുകള്‍ക്ക് ശക്തമായ അടിത്തറയുണ്ട്. ചാര്‍ലി സ്വാന്ത്യത്രത്തിന്റെ പ്രതിനിധിയാണ്, കാമുകനാണ്. അതിലുപരി പച്ചയായ മനുഷ്യനാണ്, പ്രകൃതി ആവശ്യപ്പെടുന്നവനാണ്. ജീവിതത്തിലെ സുഖങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് കറന്‍സിനോട്ടുകള്‍ കൊണ്ട് നിര്‍വചനകള്‍ തീര്‍ക്കുന്ന സമൂഹത്തിനു അയാളൊരു സ്വപ്നമാണ്!

PS- വാ പോകാം പറക്കാം എന്നു പാടികൊണ്ട് രണ്ടു ശലഭങ്ങള്‍ യാത്രപോകുന്ന സിനിമ പറയാന്‍ ആഗ്രഹിച്ച നിലാപാടുകള്‍ അതിനെക്കാള്‍ മനോഹരമായി പറയുന്നുണ്ട് ചാര്‍ലിയില്‍

Thursday, 24 December 2015


“So, I am going to be more responsible. From today my name would be tailed with that of my better halfJ
Her status update greeted me  on Facebook. Yes, that was the day she had been waiting for years. I was sitting in the balcony of my room at the Lavender Palace Kochi, a seashore resort with five-star hospitality. I looked at the ocean that roared with anger hidden in its waves. I was disturbed. The gigantic bed and Italian cuisine seemed uninteresting. No luxuries in the world can make you happy when you are “really” down.
“Why didn’t you tell her your feelings? She would have loved you Samir” My heart interrogated me. The fear of losing a friend stopped me from telling my feelings for her.  However, my heart didn’t listen. It kept questioning me. It enhanced the intensity of my depression…I closed my eyes to escape from the harsh reality and journeyed back to the past…

I was a young boy then. My father wanted to see me as an engineer while my mother dreamed her only son becoming a doctor. However, I wanted to pave a different path. Therefore I chose arts stream.
It was at the college I met her. She stood different from others due to her eccentric characters. Students tagged her as “weird”. However, I did not find anything strange with her. She was just thinking different unlike all others. I found it interesting. Sorry, I forgot to tell you her name. She is Neha, a beautiful girl with blue iris. She had long hair strands that would touch the ground and they could broom the floor. However, she did not display it as she dressed her hair in a particular way. I still do not remember the exact day we started our friendship. We became best friends and shared every little things happened in our life. It was the only time I drank tea without sugar and had ice cream without chill. Yes, I overlooked everything when I was with her!
She wanted to become a writer and we used to devote our free time in library, reading classics and modern works. I had nothing to do with indigestible works of our classic writers. They wrote about everything in a complex language. Critics called it “great” while I tagged it as “circumlocution “. Yes, classic writers don’t know how to simplify things. Nevertheless she had a great interest in reading classics. I flipped through the pages, containing the pictures of half-naked actresses in the film magazines while she gave her heart and soul to Shakespeare and Tolstoy.
I don’t know when, but it happened. I fell in love. Truly it was a never before feeling. The entire universe seemed dull under her absence. Life was fascinating when she was around. My heartbeat rose for reasons that cannot be clarified. My senses gained sharp sensitivity whenever she spoke.  I started reading the eternal sonnets on love by Shakespeare even though I was not able to understand it. 
 “You have changed” She used to say whenever I talk about classic writers and their works.
 I picked a good day to share my feelings with her.  It was a Christmas eve. We had come to the Barista coffee house to have a good time. I had ordered a bouquet of roses from the nearby flower stall without informing her. I wanted to astonish her. The boy at the flower stall had told me that the flowers would be arriving within minutes. Meantime I tried to start the most difficult conversation I had ever encountered. Every hard-nosed one will melt while revealing his love to his girl. Same was my condition. I cleared my throat and searched for words.
“I…” She paused me when I was about to start. She gestured me to keep quiet and started to speak.
“I have a surprise gift for you.” She said.
“Gift? Don’t be formal” I smirked, covering my amazement.
“Yeah, It’s a gift with cute face and deep eyes” She said, leaving me puzzled.
“You are confusing me” I resisted.
“I am giving you a priceless gift” She said and whistled instantly. The whistle was the signal for the gift to arrive. It was a young handsome boy.
“Neha, what’s happening?”  I asked her, scanning the gift. I felt annoyance at her odd way of talking.
“Meet Tony. This is my gift” She said in an excited voice. Tony smiled at me to show his friendliness. I didn’t smile back.
“What’s this all about?” I yelled at her.
“Let me explain. Tony will be your good friend from today. I love him.”
 I felt a lump in my throat when she stopped .The last sentence broke me. She introduced me to Tony. His handshake crushed my bones and I felt great pain. I stood still, cold like an ice berg. She hugged me as I approved their relation. For the first time I felt immense grief when she hugged me. A gentle tear ran out of my eyes.
“What happened?” She asked.
“I am very happy for you” I said wiping my tears. I excused myself and rushed to the flower stall while they sat to talk. The boy at the flower stall was packing the bouquet when I reached there. It looked wonderful. To charm the effect he had decorated it with golden papers that reflected every light rays encountered it.
“What happened sir? Your gift will be ready within a minute.” The boy said when he saw me. I was glad that he recognized me.
“Sorry, I am here to cancel the order.” I said.
“But you have already paid no? We cannot refund it.” The boy said in a gloomy tone.
“Never mind. Give it to your love.” I said. He looked happy then.
“What happened sir?” He asked.
“The springtime of my life has passed away…” I said, fighting tears. My poetic dialogue seemed strange to him, but it came from the bottom of my heart .The boy stared at me with a blend of amazement and sadness when I walked away, leaving my dreams behind…
I woke up instantly from the sleep that gifted me shattered dreams of past. The night had deepened. I looked around. My PC was still on, showing my Facebook profile. I had numerous notifications, mostly from my audience. They praised my new movie, my fifth directorial venture and declared it as a hit. I opened my message box and came across with Neha’s note.
“Good work Sam. I watched it on the first day of my wedding. Can’t believe? TRUE! Liked it. Missed you deeply today.  But I know that you are busy. Idiot, you haven’t called me to any of your films yet. You have forgotten the promise you made when we were in college. I am still beautiful  J ! Lots of love J
I read her message. She is still around me as a very good friend. She calls me twice every week and comes to meet me whenever I am around. I thought. I checked her profile updates. She had changed the cover photo. It was a snap of the bride and groom dressed in beautiful wedding attires. She looked beautiful in the white gown. Tony wore suit and he too appeared handsome. The relationship status was updated into “married”. Those seven letters were hurting. I messaged her back.
“I am going to announce my next movie soon. You are doing the major role. Consider this chance as my wedding gift. A bright future is awaiting you…Also wishing you a happy married life…May GOD bless you”
I sent the message and looked at her photo for a while. I “liked” and “shared” her photos and status. A tear, made with a mixture of feelings came out of my eyes when I changed my relationship status from “single” to “it’s complicated” …

“Some things in life are better when kept as secrets” I consoled my heart…

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Pluviophile's Journey

  ‘This journey was there… in my every heartbeat, the journey for which I was born…
And most importantly the one that defined my life…’  

I was lying on her lap at that starry night, counting the stars scattered across the sky like a vast ocean as she smiled like an angel, giving me an impression that the millions of glittering souls reflected on her face and I couldn’t stop looking at her.
‘What are you looking at?’
‘You…only you.’
‘Do I look beautiful?’ she asked caressing my hair.
‘Shall I ask you something?’
‘Yes, go on.’
‘Why did we meet?’
‘Destiny or maybe god’s mischief.’ A raindrop grounded on my face when I said it. She wiped it with her shawl and planted a kiss on my forehead.
‘You’re right, it’s god’s mischief,’ she smiled. We climbed up the hill to see the misty trees rich with violet apples, a special fruit Bel Seilo was famous for.  Soaked in rain, she prayed to god, ‘More rain!’ The night didn’t lose its charm even though it was raining .The starry sky was shedding tears of bliss. The mist blanketed everything around us as we stared at each other’s’ eyes, glimpsing the vast world of love within us…
I woke up to reality when the bus frequently honked as it reached Bel Seilo. The rain, as I always loved, was pouring down to wet the shrunken earth.  My journey, that started off without a well prepared itinerary was indeed a decision taken by my wildest desires.  This is what you call madness, but I believe a constant wanderer like me couldn’t live without a feeble amount of insanity. To be a traveller all you need is madness. However I had a purpose in this journey. To meet someone. The one I lost long ago.  I came along the snaky roads to reach the misty hills of Bel Seilo, a small village that lied above the Hemanth Peaks.  
The bus I was traveling heaved a sigh as it halted near the Prosper Public School or PPS. The scent of wet soil and the freshness of the morning mist shook my senses again after years.  The place was no more familiar to me as the school was renovated completely, the only scar of reminiscence being the old library building that lied adjacent to the bell tower of St. Xavier’s church.  I fondled the letters we carved on library building and once again read those eternal words.  
‘I will follow you across the sky and beneath the ocean...
We will be together…forever!’

I recollected the days at PPS.  The story of two orphans who grew up together.  I was an introvert, who spoke only when needed. Contrary to my nature, she was an extrovert who spoke continuously about almost everything.  The only thing we had in common was our unknown origin. We explored everything in Bel Seilo. Unlike other villages in Hemanth Peaks, Bel Seilo was an enchanting place where nature was at its best. It was our habit to spend our leisure time exploring everything in Bel Seilo.  There was a monastery, inside the woods, about two miles away from our school. During holidays we cycled to the woods to see what all things were carried out in the monastery.  Once we met a nameless monk there and he told us that he was two hundred years old. When asked how it’s possible, he smiled and said, ‘just love your life passionately, and then everything will be eternal.’
When we were cycling back, it was raining and we halted near the Robinson farm, the largest vineyard in Bel Seilo. Robinson, the owner of the vineyard offered us his special wine as we sat together beside river bank, watching the river embracing each rain drop into its depth.   
‘What are you thinking?’ I asked her. 
‘About the monk, how could one be eternal by simply loving one’s life?’
‘I don’t know. It has nothing to do with us anyway.’
She fell into silence. She sat there, staring deep into the river, pondering over the magic of the monk.  Her hair was soaked in rain, but she remained oblivious and still like a lifeless statue.  The rain never stopped as it bought prosperity to the land. We were lovers of rain and we didn’t allow a drop to touch the earth without caressing us. After savouring the rain for an entire day we retired for dinner at Christopher uncle’s house. Father Christopher was the vicar of the St. Xavier’s church and we shared a close intimacy with him.  We told him about the 200 year old monk in the monastery.
‘Children, someone has bluffed you. I have been living here for years and never heard of such a person before,’ Christopher uncle chuckled. We regularly visited the monastery inside the woods to see the 200 year old monk again, but we couldn’t find him.   
‘Uncle is right. He might have bluffed us,’ she finally said in a gloomy voice. But she became happy when drops of monsoon fell on her forehead, wiping out all her worries.
 Years passed without hesitation and came our final year at PPS. The transience of life is its most fascinating feature; it makes people live each day with great enthusiasm. And we were two enthusiastic souls flying everywhere in Bel Seilo. We would walk to woods every day after school hours and would lounge on river bank sharing our dreams.
‘What would you do after school?’ she asked me one day.
‘I don’t know. Future is uncertain.’
‘Aha! Why do you think like that?’
‘I don’t want to leave Bel Seilo.’
‘You don’t have to confine your life to Bel Seilo.’
‘You want me to leave?’ she remained silent.
‘You will come back, won’t you?’
‘What if I won’t?’
She didn’t speak. Instead she insisted to go back. We walked in the rain holding our hands.
‘I am sure that you will come back,’ she said, ‘Like this rain you will be here to prosper my life.’ She smiled out of bliss as I took her in my arms. ‘I love you,’ I said as my voice excelled the pitter-patter sound of the rain.  Our love manifested in the lap of nature, amidst the thick greenery of Bel Seilo as we kissed.
She carved something on the library building in that rainy evening.
‘I will follow you across the sky and beneath the ocean...
We will be together…forever!’

I left Bel Seilo immediately after school to make a good fortune and she remained there with some charity works headed by Father Christopher. The world opened its wide horizons to me and I was fascinated by the fast-paced life of people. Gradually Bel Seilo had become a faintest dream in my life. I started to forget things, my life seemed to achieve a different pace as I travelled round the world and came across many people. I had had many sleepless nights when I saw a girl’s picture in the nightmares. The conviction that I had made a big mistake even elevated me to the status of a great sinner. I was thrown into the storm of reality all alone. And I ran behind comforts like an animal, bedding numerous forms of seducing creatures every night to share the desperation of solitude. Bel Seilo was overlooked by heights of skyscrapers.  Years later a sudden urge to visit Bel Seilo shook me. So I decided to go back to find my gem.
‘Who are you?’ A little voice asked me, shattering my past recollections. It was a girl aged about five.
‘Alex …,’ she seemed happy when she heard my name.  
‘Alex uncle…! Are you Aani’s friend?’ she asked in an exciting voice.
‘Yes!’ I was on cloud nine.
She led me to a well-built small house near the church. In its poorly lit room I saw Father Christopher reciting the Bible before the garlanded picture of a beautiful woman.
‘Uncle…!’ I called him. He turned around. He had lost the old charm and his eyes were grief-stricken.
‘Alex!’ he exclaimed ‘Where have you been son?’ I stumbled for words as he embraced me tightly.
‘Uncle, what happened to Aani?’ My voice trembled.
‘She is no more. It was a sudden cardiac arrest.’ Christopher wiped his tears as I collapsed on the floor.
‘Aani waited for you all these years. She wasn’t married. She had a conviction that her only match was you,’ Christopher said when I became stable.
‘Who’s that little girl?’
‘It’s Sera, an orphan. Aani adopted her when she was an infant,’ I looked at Sera. The innocence in her smile, the mischievous eyes and dimpled cheeks were as same as that of her stepmother. She was watching me from a distance, hiding behind the curtain. I gave her a bunch of fragrant roses which I had bought for Aani. ‘Thank you uncle,’ she smiled at me hesitantly.
‘You know something?’ I said stroking her dark brown hair, ‘I am your dad.’
‘Uncle, how could you be my dad?’ she was confused.
‘Because I know magic!’ I replied instantly, ‘Come with me let’s go somewhere.’
I walked with her along the leafy path to the woods. The luxuriant aura of nature was adorned with rain drops as clouds were shedding tears of ecstasy. I remembered the word of that monk when I saw Sera’s smile. Life is ageless, only our thoughts are mortal. I watched her dancing in the rain, her tiny form moving in synch with the rhythm of rain… 
‘I love my life…’ I whispered. I couldn’t save Aani, but fate had given an alternative way for salvation. It was Sera.

‘I will follow you across the sky and beneath the ocean…
We will be together…forever!’ Sera sang blissfully as I watched her in silence. Birds stopped chirping, trees listened attentively, the wind ceased to blow and the nightingale was amazed.   
‘More rain…!’ I prayed like a pluviophile.