Category Archives: love

A thought for today, a reality for tomorrow.

We see a makeshift children’s ward. We see little kids who are barely past five years having bandages on their frail bodies, crutches by their bedsides and gloomy looks on their young faces. No parents to soothe them when their tiny faces twist in pain; no one to hold their hands and tell them that their return to a safe household is just a matter of few days.

Then we hear the voice of a little girl; sad, faltering but flickering with hope.

“I think about the generations
and they say they want to make it
a better place for our children and our children’s children
so that they they they know it’s a better world for them
and I think they can make it a better place”

As you might have guessed already, it is the opening scene in Michael Jackson’s song “Heal the World”. 
All of us say that children deserve a better world. Some even go forth to say that they deserve the best. We say that they are the future of the world, the hope of the nation.  Yet, do we restrict those hopes to mere sayings?

Today is children’s day. First proclaimed by the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in 1925, it was established universally in 1954. Back in school, this was a day we looked forward to because it meant one fundamental thing- TREATS! Unfortunately, time flies and I’ve become a person to supply treats for a couple of years. (Sigh!) But I can look back and say that I got my fair share of treats and most importantly, a happy and blessed childhood. I’m grateful to my family, school and all the others involved in that massive task. However, I know that not many can say this because of the suffering they had to undergo as a child. War, famine, family issues, poverty and many other causes can damage or even take away the life of a child.

The day we address these issues efficiently, children all over this beautiful planet can
heave a sigh of relief. Only then will October 1st be a happy children’s day, a day when we truly celebrate the future of the world.
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NOVELLA


A red moon raised a tide of blood against the rocky shore. It tore away at the edges of the cliffs and beaches from the great ports of Musuri and Arikamedu, all the way to the eastern reaches of the great kingdom of Kamboja. His mind raced through its paces as his lungs screamed for air. This crimson storm had engulfed his dear Madurai! Hopes and dreams swelled towards his arms, but he could not grasp them to defend them against the swirling current. Bubbles floated towards the surface as he struggled to breathe; grasping at his throat, he fought to get to the surface. He was no longer clad in armor, but his sword was still with him.
But it was not metal that made his body so heavy.
Something else was dragging him down.
But not to Madurai.
The mighty spires of a great city rose out of the swelling sea of red. The heavily carved and brightly painted stone towers of a mighty kovil were slowly pulling themselves out of the muck of the abyss. The recognizable form of the Rajendra Chola Madil, the titanic outer walls of the great capital of Gangaikonda, was fast approaching. They powered through like a battle cruiser slicing efficiently through the waves of the ocean, ready to disgorge its bloodthirsty warriors onto a new land.
Gangaikonda Cholapuram!
He had been there so many times! Now, in this accursed aquatic hell, it towered over Madurai as the demonic goliath Kumbhakaran had over Lord Shri Ram during the long- lost glory of the Treta Yuga, thousands of years ago when the gods still walked on Earth. His dear hometown shrunk away under the shadow of the all-consuming behemoth. He slashed at the figures adorning the huge kovil, but the steel could not cut through the stone monster.
Tears rose in Rudran’s eyes, and a thunder called Heartache rumbled in his chest.
His eyes turned into floodgates that spewed forth their contents as his head spun. He was dizzy to the point of vomiting as the images of blood and death spun around him. The arms of Madurai struggled to hold her citizens and he could hear her screaming in agony as she disappeared down the throat of the advancing giant.
From her tanks and wells, blood shot forth instead of water, polluting her streets as she blindly rushed into the gaping maw of the predator.
No words came to his throat and his grip on his sword was almost loosened.
“My lord Vishnu…I beg you…stop this nightmare! Release me from this suffering, please!” Even his prayer felt like the trembling stammer of an old beggar, dying finally of the plague that poisoned his blood.
The only other voice he heard, was one that hovered above him. It was deep, but did not sound cruel. It was merely a knowledgeable one, one that sounded truthful and powerful.
“My friend,” it told him, “you are more at home with us than in your own house. Don’t deceive yourself, my dear man. Please don’t. Come back with me, take my hand. We can become conquering heroes one day once this is finished.”
“No…”
“We can go to the far east. To Sri Vijaya, where the greatest sailors and fighters once existed. We can be free to travel the world, my dear friend…”
“No…”
“Why else did you join?”
“NO!!!”
Rudran struggled  and fought fiercely as he attempted to rise from the bed. He cast about wildly, clad in nothing more than his loincloth as he gasped out, bathed in a shower of cold sweat.
“Rudran! Sir, are you alright?”
“Show yourself!” he yelled, suddenly leaping off the bed.
“I heard you scream, Rudran. Are you alright?”
Rudran groaned as he saw the person at the door.  “Vishaka…”
He cussed under his breath on forgetting to lock the door. “There’s nothing wrong with me. I just got a bit startled, that’s all.”
“No, tell me.” She pushed him to speak, at which he groaned in anger. “Are you alright? Because this is the fourth night in a row. What’s going on?” He tried his best not to glance up at the kind, motherly face of Lankan beauty who tried to talk to him. But the light from her candle alighted in his eyes, as gently as a compassionate kiss. He could sense the air heating up as he tried to cover his near-nakedness with his sheet, the same heat pulsing through his own body as he attempted to avert his gaze.
He stared at the tiled floor.
A small crack had appeared on the ceramic surface of one of them, but all he could still see was her beautiful reflection within them. His heart wept silently. Yet her angelic warmth enveloped the room, as his ears strained to hear her gentle voice.
“Forget it Vishaka, please…and, look, I’m sorry if I sound rude. But my past is none of your business. If the gods want me to suffer”-he shot her a rather stern, but still haggard look-“let them! I’ve given up, and so should you.”
Another shout came from inside the house.
“Mother! Mother, what’s going on?”
She turned suddenly to see him at the door too.  He looked strangely exhausted, sweating just as Rudran had been. “What are you doing out of bed? Please go back to sleep, Jayampati. I can handle things here.”
“Oh, right,” the boy snorted, “the great soldier with night terrors. Look, why don’t you wake up already? It’s already the crack of dawn, plus you’ve just been leeching off us for the past week. If this was my own house, I’d”-

“He’s our guest!” chided his mother. “Rudran,” she continued, changing her tone. “I’ll be having some priests over tomorrow. Why don’t you talk to them about your nightmares? I’m sure they can help you. Anyway, I think it’d be good for you to talk to someone, and there’s nobody better than the bhikkus at the Mahiyangana Temple. You know, you could even talk to me if you want. I know what a soldier’s mind is like, I mean, I’m…married to one…” Her smile waned slowly as she blew out her candle. “Never mind. If you want to sleep in, it’s fine with me. Son, don’t make a fuss. You brought him here, so it’s our responsibility to see to him.” 

Being Peter Pan

I spoke on the topic “Lessons from my kids” for the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the Speech Olympiad at my university. Before the reader makes any wrong assumptions, my “kids” are simply the students I’ve come across during my teaching ventures. One “lesson” from them is apt to be shared on this blog- the lesson of “genuine outbursts of affection”.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/55591376622271351/

My kids are experts at this. For example, one of my youngest kids said “I go mad with love when I see you teacher!”, and then there was another who declared “you are my angel.” They teach us that anytime is a good time to show that we care.

When you were a kid, remember how people asked you how much you love them? Then you would stretch out your hands as wide as you can and say, “I love you this much!” To kids, expressing affection is a natural occurrence. Once upon a time, you and I were kids too. We were quick to love and forgive. I believe that all of us have this spirit of childhood dwelling inside us. It maybe be hidden under layers of formality, but it’s certainly there.

Of course, being Peter Pan in public could be risky. I do agree. However, think for a moment. When do you show affection to your family members? Do you wait for special events like a birthday or New Year to lavish gifts upon them? Leave gifts aside, a simple hug or a word of appreciation could mean so much to them. As Mother Theresa said, “Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our own families.”

ECHO

(All photos are the property of Sarah DeAnne Peterson-http://busybeesarahd.deviantart.com/gallery/38676872/Photography- and will not be re-used without the artist’s prior permission)
 “I love you.”
How many times had she uttered those words into the empty air with hopes of salvation? Nobody responded. Maybe the God of her neighbours had abandoned her in that house. She couldn’t find any reason to believe in Him anyway if even her idol did not answer to her prayers and nightly cries.
The thought of him filled her with that familiar rush of heat, that his warm, tender body was pressed against hers. No winds could shift them with their airy, prying hands. Now that made even the hot shower seem like a mere spark in comparison. No heat could penetrate her, not even the hot, wonderful kisses of the hundreds of droplets that raced towards her through the cold evening air.
The water coccooned her and she felt fingers resting against her breasts, eagerly exploring her as she once had been, not what she saw when she looked now into the bathroom mirror. The misty glass felt her gentle hand pressing against its firm surface as her face morphed into his perfect, trim chest. The tumbling rollercoaster of emotion and the soft moans added weight into the air around her. Steam rose from the tiles.
Hands ventured across the hills and valleys of her body, pausing excitedly at her soft belly. She had no clue why this little mound of flesh stuck vulgarly out of her. Not noticeable at first but she miserably gazed down at her body. Thus arose a tide of feminine questions. Should she lose it? Why was it there?
After all, she fed on nothing more than love.
Yet the hot shower too felt like a solvent acid, digesting her in the bowels of a colossal beast.
The thought of him was engulfing her as his fingertips brushed against her body.
Like a boa with a hare, she was being devoured whole.
Resting in his embrace was the pleasantest sensation to her, his lips kissing her neck, hers kissing his.
The sea of blankets was disturbed by the throes of pure love as his beautiful body kept appearing and disappearing between her arms. Soft cotton waves crashed against the shores of their bodies, yet they still swam together through the turbulence.

“I love you. I love you,” she sand gently to the glowing angel whose back she straddled with her legs. He smiled down at her, flickered and solidified as her senses became a white blur. His glacial blue eyes, velvet lips and slim, supple body screamed for her love. A red rush of warmth journeyed the length between her thighs and the peaks of her nipples. She wanted to sink deeper into the luscious coccoon, to never spread her wings and escape his glow, which always blinded her but which always told her that there was such a thing as faith. Oh, what a luxury it would be to drown in that crimson sea of sex and love!
But she could not…
A terrible hook was tugging her out of her reverie, and she gasped for breath on the shores of her fantasies as she was cruelly beached.
Where was he?
Did the bedroom mirror give her a clue?
The flat pane of this glass compass always pointed at her true north whenever her breath misted it. She saw once more her sweet beau, his face marvelling at hers as their eyes broke together through the abyssal depths of the glass. Her reflection had drowned her many times and his beautiful face always rose towards her at dusk. Her kiss left a mere red stain on the hard, colorless sheet.
Kneeling beside the mirror she wondered if the mirror was truthful, or whether the wall was. His pale perfection would rise from the dark uncertain realm beyond both honest mirror and dishonest wall-or was it vice versa to her? He came to her only when her eyes were filled with tears anyway and the air around her felt like a leaden weight dropped onto her chest. The mist against her eyes reflected his sweet and painful aura and drew her towards him as his face appeared again.
If she touched or even kissed the beautiful vision she would be pulled down the tunnel of reality and the pain would make her bleed again.
She did that well enough.
One cut on her forearm for every time she cried.
She looked at her painting for salvation. Everything made sense when she touched the warm canvas, his lips smiled at her, his smooth hips beckoned her to kiss them and pleasue him deeply.  She moved like a ballerina beside the never-completed portrait, working with the kind of ease and power she knew he had whenever he made love. In this warm room, she-nude and sweaty-was a divine queen, and he was her noble young king with whom she would share her life one day…a day that seemed too distant for her to grasp.
Silence was her lady-in-waiting.
Her paints were the powerful knights that quested in their search for him, directed by gentle quick strokes of her hand.
The anthem, “I love you,” rang through the room. He gazed at her through the deep, rich realm of the canvas, half-asleep and half-awake. Her body ached more as her angel explored her with his eyes…then he looked rather cross. A tear on the canvas? What blasphemous act could do this? Violently she grabbed the painting and ran her fingers down the crack.
The crevasse was widening as tremors shook the picture, the crust coming away at her hands.
Her deathly shrieks reverberated through the room, the poisoned air of sorrow trapping her inside. Her false god lay dying on the floor.
The black curtain of confusion and horror had been draped over her, and it was darker than the falling night.
What had she been doing? Bones and muscles lost their memory of movement as her mind spun around at a hundred miles per hour. Did he truly love her the way she did, or would he offer his body to the next person who walked his way?
Would he laugh from his heavenly abode while she wept for him, and worshipped him from below, chained at his feet? It stung her chest. Every beat of her heart was an angry drum which summoned forth an army of hot tears which streamed into the void between face and floor.
“I love you.”
Her chorus felt meaningless and foolish to her.
“I…love…you…”
Her voice grew to a dry whisper.
“I…I…I…”
Her altar to him was destroyed in a single diabolical action, and she had seen the darkness within his wicked young heart. The house had shifted into the heavy belly of a black behemoth, and a single fickle beam of inch-wide light cut inside to reveal the mirror to her.
Her had been swallowed up forever.
Not a ripple would taint the surface.
She only saw a broken, pallid ghoul from a gothic novel. Dry hair framed her face, and her naked salt-white body shook as a terrifying chill surrounded her. The blade of light too was now sheathed. The dirty maroon scars on her forearm were all the color she had. Sunken breasts that once were large and firm, cried for his love. The once shapely hips-supposedly made for childbearing- now looked as if carrying a child between them might kill her. A stench rose from the inside of her thighs as she slipped to her knees.
Cold iron locks chained his still exquisite figure in her heart. Perhaps he had resided there for too long, a lovely but malignant parasite who was devouring her essence from within. She was a nightmare angel who served to nourish a murderous god.
But she knew he had to be there.
She tried to see the ripple against the mirror, but none came to her.
All she saw was an ashen mockery of a marble Venus, with eyes half-blind from weeping.
Her voice grew hoarser as she breathed, until the night drew away one final, desperate breath:
“I love you.”

NARCISSUS

(Because there is such a thing as loving yourself too much…)

(All photographs are the property of Yannis Belkhir; photographer/model-http://yayaartpop.deviantart.com/  http://instagram.com/yayasexdreams/ and will not be reproduced without the photographer’s prior permission)

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

The words shot around through his mind as he bared himself to it.
In this place he was a king, four walls closing his heart and organ unto none but himself. A vortex of pleasure spun about him as he ran through the words once more.

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

He saw himself inside its glassy depths.
His form had drowned in it a thousand times, as had his wicked heart and his sinful soul. The mirror was now weeping for him, blinding itself for his beauty was too great even for the Lord of Truth.
For how long did he stare into it? What could he see within that he thought was so easy to love, that was so beautiful? Or was it mere passing habit to look upon a tall and smooth body that walked that fine line between masculine and feminine, icy blue eyes and brooding lips? Lips that could bring anyone to their knees with the faintest breath, or the slightest kiss.
The only one he could kiss now was himself.

The mirror.

He was drowning himself in it.

He was in the mirror.

His eyes blinked for a split second, eyelashes brushing past an intrusive housefly. The blue glacial spheres inside the flat glass had an inner glow to them. The perverse sunlight was eyeing him with joy, touching his bare back with its rays and feeling the length of his marble figure. Each touch however could not warm his soul. Both the one he looked at and the one in his body were now untouchable to the drifting gentle flame. A greater blaze was burning inside his body at the time, and his soul perspired with pleasure.  The eyes in the mirror had been fixed there as if by an adhesive, never to move away, never to cry. His would well up. His god’s eyes never would.

This was the sweetest truth in his young life.
Four concrete liars surrounded him, hissing under their breath at the writhing soft flesh beneath them. These walls had many patterns dancing across them, floating delicately across the solid canvas. To him they were solid dead behemoths with no souls. His soul was not there, his figure was not within it.
In this, he had seen whales course across the clouds and birds dart through the waves. A black sun, a technicolor moon.
False shapes and hues.
Two hours with a wall was unlike two hours with a mirror. He hated the wall. Why was he restrained in his own home? His deepest wish was to live in a hall of mirrors, to live with only his truth surrounding him. But he moved from mirror to wall. The odyssey from Altar of Truth to Walls of Falsity was hard on his heart and he paused to breathe, heart thundering inside. But the bed beneath him was the comfort he needed now to feel more  beautiful.

Silence reigned, except for his beating heart, a drum of creation and destruction of stimulating thoughts. Breaths pulsed through him.
His hands ran down his body, running from his chest down to the dimple of his navel and to the inside of his graceful, firm but soft thighs. His head spun out of focus in that instant, dizzy with heat and excitement. Drowning in the feel of his nude vulnerability was…

“I love you.”

The voice shook him violently, feeling like rusted steel scraped across his spine. He felt for blood on the sheets. Was he bleeding? No…But the feminine voice coils around him like a malign, bloodthirsty mist about to constrict him in its shapeless monstrosity.
“I love you.”
It was suffocating him and he gripped the bed, shivers rushing through his body. An anguished moan tore past his lips. His open palms flew up to his head, whacking against his skull with a resounding thud. Eyes looked up at the wall in horror as the venomous voice ripped through his veins. The untrue wall was now a wall of flesh, the girl who had run after him, a hungry beast in the body of a beauty. Beauty and beast all in one, just like him…but loving him too much. It was like a plague to her. A bane to him, the reddened lips only said, “I love you.”
Her eyes looked straight at him, sorrowful but gleaming with want, a goddess of famine about to put deep desire and hunger into his heart. She was making him want her more, but how could he touch her now? Why should he?
The words came back…

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

…but they were back in a meaningless wave. His sobs shook him as she pushed out of the wall, reaching towards him suddenly, grabbing at the air, screaming out her curse. “I love you! I love you!”
He attacked her in a blind rage. The blood rushed to his face, reddening his pale skin. His knuckles met her-met the wall-with a terrifying explosion of pain and anger as he roared through the process. Crying was all he could do, crying and clutching himself. Naked and small, he crouched before the rising succubus on the cold floor, and she advanced upon him, laying beside him, touching and kissing him-but was it himself?

The air in the bedroom felt like jelly, and he was seeing a bloodied blur swirling around him.
He had lost all sense of place…the gorgon’s breath was hot poison against his skin, melting him away….

It is dark.

He wakes up with a terrible scream. Drenched in sweat, spread out on the bed, slimy wetness clinging to his thighs, and sheets cast about him, this is his reality now. Nightmares are such strange things, it seems. Love is so strange too, so he muses. He has been created to feel the heat from himself and live within a world he has made for himself. Nothing else is for him. Thus he turns to the glass god, his salvation on the polished wooden altar. Inside the mirror he feels ripples, something rising up towards him to consume his body and soul…rising, rising up from the colorless waters…something would come, maybe SHE would, or maybe something else, something indescribable would.

The mirror always tells the truth. It is an unforgiving eye that glows glass-like upon the blank wall. The eyes in the mirror are the windows to the soul of Man. Thus does the mirror tell us the state of out souls….

A FEW MORE PETALS

(A story about personal evolution and the hope that comes with change)

                                         (Photo by Sakuna Gamage. Do not use without the photographer’s prior permission)

The drumming of mingling voices old and young, was resonant thunder against the petrified coldness of the concrete square. A rough hide of armor sculpted with cracks and crevasses was this forbidding entity. It had lived on, standing strong through the years of weathering. 
The gentle roar of voices was never over.
They were inconstant as the moon, tones changing, mouths changing, death and birth an eternal cycle. Footsteps came, footsteps went away from the dead behemoth. Shadows fell on it, darkening its ashen hue with another wash of hard color.

The thunder continued again, clouds insatiable brown mammalian physiques that shifted to and from other places.

Aerial thunder is the herald of more rain-blooms of all breeds start to cheer, smiles of color shooting across dehydrated lands which become verdant with every sip of nature’s airborne blood. So is the vocal thunder the rain that one flower looked forward to.
A small flower.
A little wallflower, seeing all but seen by very few. His was something of a strange time. His roots dug forever into the stony beast, miles beneath what anyone could detect.

More voices thundered gently.

He opened rosy petals, angelic and delicate to welcome-if he could-the fluttering, muttering butterflies-the social butterfly, a species in his own who would dance up to an open blossom and make his petals fall. He was still waiting.
White blended carefully into the lightest baby pink by the gentlest of all artists with the softest of brushes, his petals were light and warm as they stretched out. But the wall kept calling him back. His roots must not be pulled from the wall, from the welcoming heat of the ancient concrete.

Not noticeable, invisible, omniscient, knowing, inquisitive, innocent was he.

Whenever he was home he looked in the glassy pane before reaching back to his old, powerful guardian. Fifty kilograms of five foot five or five foot six-he had forgotten which, for who would care?-intelligent mammal, round of face, a skeleton thinly draped with taught and young skin. The guardian was nowhere as he sighed and stared at the smoothness of the concrete around him, fresh and green.

Here he was beautiful.
Here he was a monarch, here innocent in ignorance.

But what else was he but a little wallflower?
Why, he would think sometime later, was he unlike the others? Something none else were, was the wallflower; they did not embrace the protector’s power. Flowers of all breeds. Roses, jasmines, bluebells and snapdragons. Forget-me-not, lupines, rhododendrons and orchids. The wallflower was the rarest breed.
What a strange little blossom was he!
He wondered in his kingdom of the home, why was he not the beautiful one to the others? More sweat and more breaths, sighs through skeletal chest rattled out of him. He, the wallflower, was still so beautiful, so…beautiful….

Wallflowers have the queerest life.
They go on life with no change, misunderstood and unseen by the other beautiful, soft flowers in the field and unseen by the flirting, rainbow-dashed wings of the butterflies, extravagant lips kissing and touching the hidden hearts of these others. But the wallflower’s nectar is the sweetest, a godlike gift, water from the heavens which needs to be searched from the heart of the blossom. He knew at his heart, his weak gaunt heart was nectar, but what butterflies would take a sip? None he knew but he cried that his heart did not belong.
He wept rivers when their petals fell as the butterflies kissed his field-mate flowers. They were digging away from the wall, angrily releasing roots, gentle cascades of petals falling as a carpet onto the emerald grass, moss and sod.




                            (Pic by Banuka Athuraliya. Taken from http://www.androdollar.com/. do not                                                          use without the photographer’s prior permission)


The rains of change swept past.

Broadened back and chest, fuller face, twelve glorious solid kilos later in his prime. He stood stronger now, more than some but less than others. He paddled the midmost stream in his path. New. But as he looked at the wall, he saw the butterflies flitting closer.
Tears swelled no more within, but a glow of the purest gold showered from his heart, ethereal arms gently and strongly lifting the pools of divine nectar to the rim of his heart.
Where his feet were, petals formed a sweet and smooth rug. Rose-white. His petals.
Only the stubbornest held on, claws still digging angrily into his heart. Their grasp was light.
They would fall.

Wallflowers are a strange breed. They are beautiful in their hearts and minds, and feel the ringing pain in others. Innocence makes the flower’s heart ache and beat when the other heart aches and beats. Paddle evolution’s pristine creek though and they find beauty beyond their hearts could ever know.

NOVELLA

(In the absence of any other posts, here I carry on work with the historical.)

He got up and stood by the window, leaning heavily against the sill. The Brihadisvarar Temple’s vast tower seemed like a distant giant to him, looming over the misty morning sky. It was chilly and he promptly put a cloak over his shoulders.
Then he felt warmth flooding the muscles of his back, as Minakshi hugged him, running her hands down his torso, gently drawing his cloak off.
He breathed deeply, “Thanjavur is covered in this wet, cold blanket.”
“I know. Come now my dear. You told me you liked…a certain type of women with a certain type of power…well,” her eyes glinted naughtily as she turned his head slowly towards hers to kiss him, “let me be that woman for just this morning.”

“Please no. You’re not that type of woman Minakshi. And you’ll never be.”

“What is with you? I mean, does that mean we’re now over?”

“When we married, our love was real, untainted,” he replied gravely, “but now there’s something else. You have to move on from me. Just…put your clothes on for now, alright? There’s nothing you can do to make me stay. She has put a manacle around my ankle, and her powerful chain is beckoning me! It’s a spell! I can’t live a day without seeing her.”
Minakshi’s look darkened as she sat on the bed, legs crossed, hands firmly over her breasts. She bit her lip so hard that she bled, and almost teared up. Yet she fought back all sense of feelings of the pain of separation. Brahmarajan saw her body shivering, but he battled the urge to touch her. Minakshi promptly covered herself with her the sheets and looked at him with the corner of her eye.

“We are both in power when we make love, and…”

“Shut up for just a moment, would you? If you want so badly to see this woman, why don’t you get out at this moment?” she snapped, crying. “Just….go to her without rubbing in my face the fact that our relationship was doomed to fail! Get out! And don’t tell me you and she have a child”-she glanced briefly at him and he looked away-“oh damn you! How long have you been doing this?” Minakshi was screaming now, voice at a fierce, shrill pitch as she bared her teeth and her eyes glowed with anger.
He shouted, “Three years, alright? I met her three years ago! And now, a month ago you became pregnant with our second child! But no, I’m sorry I won’t be around to see it. And I won’t be around for Sivapalan. I must leave so that I can be there for my new family. Let me go Minakshi! If you really love me you’ll let me go.” She was stunned. So this was what love was, to love a man, to be with him and to have a family with him.

Were all men the same?

Were all…people the same?

This was not the Brahmarajan she knew. She felt a slight glow of warmth shining through the mist covering the city. The Temple’s spire dominated the skyline, somehow calling her back to it, to immerse herself once more in dance and permanent devotion to gods she didn’t even believe in. She covered her face with her hands as she sank into heavily onto the bed. Her own deity, her beautiful Bodhisattva, had been no help at all.

Minakshi didn’t say a word  all through the morning. She did the daily tasks even after her husband had left. She tried to be the proud, fierce and powerful woman she knew herself to be as she lifted her head away from the steam of the cooking fire on the clay hearth.
But the chickpea masala-the meal for the afternoon, which she felt like making now to distract herself-felt to her like something out of time. She saw no sense of beauty in it, the rich tang of spices that her maid had brought in when she came to work in the morning. Thus Minakshi stared eternally into the pot, and then remembered something.

Sivapalan!

No, he had been at her brother’s house.
The ex-Brahman priest.

“So we’re all giving up something in our lives,” she mused as she dropped the black peppers and cardamons into the pot, sprinkling them liberally over the chickpeas. The same way that the memory called Brahmarajan used to have them.