You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice: the ability to speak and understand any language, the ability to travel through time, or the ability to make any two people agree with each other.
Good to be back. No need for formalities; I know my way around her like the back of my hand…
This is 1945. It was April. Things were more or less set in stone. I knew how the day would proceed. The women were finding ways to slip back into their houses, praying that the men would be home in the months to come. Others knew that it was a time for payback. Soldiers decided on the order to shoot; victims plotted to avenge their loss. The place was in disarray. I watched as a General pushed a kid out of harm’s way, and in split-second, he had picked up the child and her pet. The General mumbled about how rare it was for them to not have killed an animal for food in such times. The child would live to grow up.
1980s. The General, yes, that same General, was in harm’s way. Someone was tailing him, awaiting the opportunity to put the needle into his nape. He seemed suspicious, yet lacking in vigilance, knowing that the war has ended decades ago. Oh, how the General has aged. A commotion rang through the streets behind him – an animal had gone wild in town, and was running into all the stores to wreak havoc! Startled, the follower abandoned his plans. The General saw the man slip away, and looked at the animal. How very familiar, this chubby creature that came waddling towards him.
2010s. There was a tribute made to the General, as one of the heroes of war. They didn’t talk about the story of him saving the child or her pet. They hadn’t mention his close shave in the town. I looked at the photo by the fireplace. We found a strangely-tame boar by our backyard twenty years ago, and Mother had adopted him, saying that it looked just like her childhood pet. We took a photo of that occasion for fear that one day the story would be lost, like all others…
But I knew I could revisit all of them as long as I headed back in time.
You get some incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news. What’s the first thing you do?
I looked at my phone. Who shall I write to now?
Maybe, maybe her.
Oh, right. She no longer uses that number.
I scrolled down the “Friends List”, flicked through the “Favourites” tab, and still found nobody to share this news with.
Maybe, maybe her.
Oh, right. She no longer has a phone.
Everyone around me was cheering with euphoria. I nodded and shook hands with them like I was expected to. I felt a need to tell someone how I felt – not just shout and holler.
Maybe, maybe her.
Oh, right. She is no longer around.
They say, when there is a will, there is a way. For how else would I have had this achievement?
I figured they were right.
I shall go home to say a prayer by the window tonight.
Right. This time she shall hear me even from the Heavens above.
Explain your biggest regret — as though to a small child.
Dear child, for each time you whine, “I want to play!” – know that you have put yourself before others who would one day not be able to spend another second with you.
Dear child, for each time you throw a tantrum, “But I’m tired!” – know that life has merely started for you and there is simply no way you could even comprehend the meaning of “tired”.
Dear child, for each time you think, “I can do that tomorrow” – know that you may have a tomorrow, but not everyone else.
Dear child, we have all grown up too late. If I had learnt sooner, I would have been different. Now, since you know, I pray you shall not have to repeat these lines to someone else another day.
…for tomorrow we die. The world is ending tomorrow! Tell us about your last dinner – the food, your dining companion, the setting, the conversation.
“They say the world shall end when the sun rises tomorrow.
Finally. It’s been too long.”
The moon looked just like we used to see it. Buildings have sprouted from the ground, blocking some of the view that we used to enjoy. Such is life; everything changes beyond your expectations.
“The wine’s gotta go. The water crackers and cheese too.
I should have brought some other snacks that would suit your tastes too.
How careless of me, still. Even when the world is going to end.”
The winds rattled the railings of the palace-house’s balcony; atop a hill, the world was silent – so quiet, so tranquil. Sipping the wine, I felt the crisp air of the night kiss my face. It was cold, like invisible frost.
I took my seat, wondering how it shall come to an end, sleep creeping up on me as I settle into the steel-framed sling-back chair.
“I guess it’s time. If I fall asleep and miss it, at least I know that this time the dream shall become a reality. I’ll be there, with you, soon.” I whispered at the photo, capturing the last moment we had together, tightly in my chest; and for the first time in years, let out a smile.
Too much unpleasantness in life has deterred me from writing; I missed the entire October writing prompts, some of which I really liked, and would like to get back to it. have hence decided to slip them in wherever possible … (including today) :
Describe what it feels like to hear a beautiful piece of music or see a stunning piece of art.
What are heartstrings?
Are they capable of being ripped apart?
Can they braid themselves into little knots, and in a near-asphyxiation situation, release themselves so brashly that the heart falls into an unknown vortex?
What are tears?
Do they determine when they roll out of your eyes, and streak across your face, in a morbidly-hilarious manner?
Will they cleanse the soul, or wrench it into an irreparable mess?
I’m not going to find the answers, until the music stops, and rationality returns.
No, I did not get to go. I did not get an invitation to visit this most Northern industrial city in the world. But I saw this , by Elena Chernyshova. And now I am so moved, I’d decided I had to share this – in part due to my personal fascination for the country’s history, and also for those who would read this space for the same reasons. I work at whatever I’m at, unsure if I’ll ever get there. But honestly, I doubt I could do that, ever.
Most of us probably wouldn’t have a chance to visit, much less to make a positive impact to many of these places in the world. I am thankful the the Internet, despite having complained about our over reliance on it briefly a few posts back.
So for those of you who are interested, watch the short interview with Elena Chernyshova. And hear her out, you almost never get the daylight there. The narrow corridors between buildings – that which we would avoid usually – were the very things that kept them away from the strong winds.
It’s amazing. It’s simply too amazing for words.
The notification says “Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!” and I realised it’s been three years.
It got me thinking about why I’d started writing on WordPress.
I’d needed an outlet to write, to think, and to reminiscence; I’d wished to learn about the blogosphere and the good folks that expressed themselves most eloquently in words and most creatively in pictures; I’d strived to learn about the functionalities of a content management system to effective like WordPress; more importantly, I needed a change in life.
Three years have gone by – I’ve learnt a little about the blogging environment, though I have not been most active. I had a chance to browse through some of the most amazing writers online – these hidden talents that so many have missed out while they were spending 60% of their hours purely on updating their statuses instead of discovering the wonderful world here.
But the one thing hasn’t changed – life hasn’t gotten any better since I’d started out. It has gotten worse, despite trying all things possible to make improvements. But that apart, I appreciate the convenience that WordPress has offered to us, and I am grateful for all the things I’ve encountered online. Thank you guys, for being such an inspiration, and for coming by despite the infrequent updates here. Here’s hoping that some day not too soon from now, things will change for the better…