Hope

 (This is an old story which I think fit quite well with the new Weekly Writing Challenge on writing a Descriptive Piece)
There is something special about the morning today. The warm sun envelopes her like a soft blanket and discourages her from getting out of bed. The chirping of the birds sounds like a sweet lullaby to her sleepy ears. But she does not let this dampen her plans for the day. She soaks in the tub for a good hour or so, acknowledging the aromatic genius of the bath salts. The freshly laundered Turkish towel feels like cotton wool against her cheeks. Donning her favourite skirt and blouse, she is off to the beach for the ritualistic walk.

The air tastes salty. She can feel silken sand caressing her naked feet. The waves create a beautiful symphony as they crash along the shore. The gentle wind blows about; whispering sweet nothings in her ears. The seagulls call to one another in the far off sea. She imagines young couples walking hand in hand with slow lazy steps. There will be the older children making sand castles and the younger ones parading as sentinels to prevent the destruction of the castles. There is the sound of laughter and merriment coming from all directions – everyone seems to be reflecting her happy state of mind. A hot lemon tea reinvigorates her to the core and she gets back the zing in her step.

Wrapping a jacket tightly around her, she proceeds to her favourite restaurant at the end of the beach. The smell of roasted corn kernels wafts through her senses, creating a tantalizing effect. Without referring to the menu, she orders for the usual. The spluttering of the oil as the bacon rashers sizzle in the pan, the sound of the eggs being gently cracked to make a fluffy omelette, the smell of fresh scones being removed from the oven – all promise to deliver as well as always. She takes a moment to take a deep breath as the food is placed in front of her before digging into the gastronomic pleasure. As a celebration for the advent of this wonderful day, she decides to order a beer instead of the regular dose of raspberry and banana milkshake with extra cream and cherries. The beer tastes like drops of sweet poison sliding down her parched throat.

She is aware of everything going on around her but nothing is successful in perturbing her today. The cars seem to be honking in a weird sort of melody. The clashing of pots and pans, clinking of cutlery, water droplets from an open tap falling in perfect rhythm in the bare kitchen sink, the whirring sound of the radio being tuned, the drone of the ceiling fans, the constant bickering between the waiters and the kitchen staff, the well-timed snoring coming from the adjacent table and the occasional pop of a beer can being opened – all seem to be contributing to orchestrate a perfect harmony.

The way through the fields to the church is her favourite part of the town. The grass swishes under her feet, still wet from the dew last night. Many church goers wish her on her way to the church, and she politely returns the greetings. The church bell gongs and startles her for a moment. She thanks God for this wonderful day and the promise it brings to fulfill her hopes and desires. The sanctity among the church walls calms her, as if asking her to be patient for just a little while more.

She walks to the old age home that she visits every week and spends the afternoon with the elderly. No one fails to notice her excitement, flushed cheeks and the radiant smile. They all are extremely happy for her – she has been waiting too long for this day to arrive. A quick lunch follows and she is on her way back home, after a stopover at the bakery. She purposely takes a longer route across the bridge over the creek. The croaking of a lone frog indicates the arrival of monsoons. She bites into a delicious brioche, strolling through an apple orchard and over a small hillock, where she used to sit for long hours till her mother would come to pick her up after work. But she does not have the time to sit – there is good news waiting to be delivered to her and she does not wish to tarry. She wants to stand on this very hillock and scream out the news to one and all – it is going to be the most memorable day of her life.

On reaching home, she is so deliriously excited that she begins to shiver slightly and has to be helped by her mother to put on the seat belt in the car. Each minute of the drive stretches for what seems like hours. She continuously fidgets with the hem of her skirt as she waits for the verdict to be delivered. The long wait has been extremely excruciating and she knows she surely deserves this chance to happiness.

She can hear her mother’s voice whispering softly and the raspy voice of the other person, as she impatiently walks up and down the corridor; but nothing is audible. By the time she hears her mother approaching, she is shivering so badly that she has to hold on to a chair to steady herself.

“C’mon mom, spill the beans”, she blurts, unable to contain her excitement.

“I’m sorry honey, the doctor said there wasn’t a match. Probably there will be a donor next year……”.

But the next few words by her mother fall on deaf ears as she tries to make sense of the situation. For six years she had looked forward to receive a favourable news, but the unfair world comes crashing down on her head. She wants to scream and wake up from this awful dream. But a sudden hush sweeps over her and she regains her composure. “Yes mom, I’ll get a donor next year”, is what she manages to feebly say.

Once again she is left to fight this darkness alone. Dejected, she steps out of the hospital wearing her large black sunglasses and back to where she was…

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I Chickened Out

The last week of October was a busy one for me. I had a novel to write.

 

A brief background of what I am talking about –

Last year, I found a few of my fellow bloggers waxing eloquent about NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It is a competition of sorts where you write a novel of 50,000 words (or more) on any topic/genre of your choice in a matter of 30 days. Random ramblings or serious script writing, it doesn’t matter what you write. The point is to write. I was so kicked about it. Unfortunately I was too late to participate last year and decided that I would get set and write the next time definitely.

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Opportunity presented itself when I found NaNoWriMo updates for the month of November. I promptly registered myself and began thinking about a plot line (which involved scouring online articles for story ideas). How difficult could it be? You just had to connect finger to keyboard and type away to glory, keeping a daily/weekly word count in mind, There are writer forums and discussions and tips and all sort of material floating around that can help one have an awesome novel writing experience. I had a couple of plot lines in mind and couldn’t wait to start writing.

On the morning of 1st November, 2013, when I was officially supposed to begin writing, I paused. Erm,..maybe I need to refine the plot line a bit more. I’ll start writing tomorrow.

On the morning of 2nd November, 2013, I obviously couldn’t write. It was Dad’s birthday and I had stuff to do.

On the mornings of 3rd & 4th November, 2013, I couldn’t write because It was Diwali (The grand Indian festival of lights, sweets, firecrackers, merriment and family get togethers).

On the morning of 6th November, 2013, I deleted my NaNoWriMo account, Who was I kidding. Enough of excuses.

 

I’ve been wanting to write a novel. I don’t care if it stays collecting dust in obscure shelves of unknown bookstores. I want to feel the satisfaction of having completed something that has been at the back of my mind for so long. Someday I will – sooner than later.

 

Maybe I’ll keep signing up on platforms like NaNoWriMo and never completing what I set out to do. Years maybe, if I can resist the temptation to write for that long. Maybe I’m right when I think I don’t have it in me to write a novel. But how will that be confirmed unless I START writing one. I think I (mis)judged myself too soon. I ought to give myself a chance. Once in a while.

 

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Nothing in life is easy. But that’s no reason to give up. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. After all, you only have one life, so you should try to make the most of it.

– Louis Sachar

 

It is a horrible feeling to know you have failed even before trying. So go ahead and do what your heart tells you, and give that cross-questioning brain a much-needed vacation. It is ok to fail after having given your best shot. You’ll still be happy for having tried.

 

Note to self: Read the last two lines every time self-doubt raises its ugly head.