“Hey, must you never smile every time I clicked you”, he smiled but he couldn't have done without the insinuation. He didn't want to hurt my feelings. To the best he tried. But he needed the boost to keep on going. Something must get reflected back to him. That's fair also. The love unrequited nobody deserves that. But the way the transactional world explains various things the cost-benefit could only take us so far. And thus, love is simply wasted on me.
The usual course of action on my part was a sassy retort. My eyebrows were already raised and head tilted a little towards the right. Like a stream of electricity would petrify the life out of you, the deja vu hit me. I was suddenly transferred to a time in the past. Similar setting. But instead of the rocky, white colonnade it was the rocky slopes and forests. The tuberose were in full bloom. The flat surface of the lake had finally convinced the lilypad to let the buds show out. He would look upon every flower and I could swear he knew about them like a biologist would know his backyard. But never ever would he leave my hands while he would go on along his monologue. It would be fascinating for me to see how much he cared. The patch of grass around the lake were already strewn with the primrose and anemone. He had tried to pull some off to make a grand gesture. But I had succeeded in rapping below his knuckles. It had meant to let them be; no destruction. Followed by us looking back at each other. Nevertheless he was thankful too.
The bloom season certainly had been going on for months now in the valley. He would show me the musk rose, and the little white flowers. “You know those turn into strawberries”, he would sound fascinated with nature’s skills. I would just smile listening to the only voice in the valley.
I felt a sudden cringe inside me. A pit in my stomach probably but this time it felt like something broke inside me. But unlike the crushed glass pieces which would stab my insides to the sorest of the pains, I felt a chafing pain cutting into muscles and then pulling itself out. Just to repeat it to the rest of my insides. It was painful. Even more to bear it because I was not allowed to express it. I couldn't allow myself to let it show. He can't know about it. “Let him not know about this. Please God please…”
“These… time… don't...”, I knew he was talking. But I was more worried about my thoughts. “Hey, where did you go?”, he looked back at me. He seemed more distressed by the fat chance that he may have hurt me by that one statement. He almost shook me. “Yeah let's go to the slopes and the meadows, the banks and the forest. I cannot stand this. I need to show you the difference between the red rose and the wild blue rose", how could have I made sense to him. His brows were furrowed.
Nothing else was similar. Their appearance. The way they talked. The way they would light up when our hands would graze each other. I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't cheat. Who was I explaining to? “I must go now”, I almost shirked off his hands. Yet my scruples were tolling off the charts. “Would he know I didn't push him away because of him. He must know that”, I turned back to look at him. He had hung his head down. “No no he must not know what I did”, I just made a decision.
____________________________ Prompt: The emotion prompt to show not tell - "shame".
इस बज़्म-ए-दुनियाँ में सब खिलाड़ी हैं
सब महज़ खेल और लोग खिलाड़ी है
बस जीत ही रह गयी ख़्वाहिश जो सबकी
हार कर जीतने की खुशी का मलाल शायद सिर्फ़ हमें है।
मलमली बातों की फेहरिस्त में जब आया मेरा नाम
थोड़ा शरमाये थोड़ा भरमाये थोड़ा नसीब पे मुस्काए।
ख़ुद को बयाँ करने की ज़रूरत न होगी
क्या डूबती कश्ती को सहारा मिल गया था।
रह न जाये कोई शिक़वा सो कर दिया ख़ुद को बयां
वो आप थे जो इल्लत गिना लाइलाज छोड़ गए मेरे हुज़ूर।
रोक दो मेरी हर ख़्वाहिश को मेरे ज़हन में ऐ खुदा,
जो आँसू बन वो निसार हुए तो उनके कदमों तले रौंदे जाएंगे।
बातों का क्या है बातें तो बहोत होती हैं।
बातें तो वो हैं जो बिन बोल समझ ली जाती हैं।
कभी इक़रार न कर पाए कभी इक़रार कर भी न पाएं।
पर कसम उस ख़ुदा की तुम्हारे इश्क़ पे यकीं न कर पाए।
"Did it feel like a demon was coming out of you maybe to defend you?", she quizzed me. I looked at her confused. My face must have been staring at her blank. I could feel a giant spout pointing at her nose.
It was mundane and generic but no less scary. I was still not used to it.
"No, that was not. A demon. No.", I had only one friend then and it was that.
"Why would you hate yourself then?", I was so confused at the bombardment of questions.
"I don't hate myself. I just don't stand... Can't stand them who wouldn't wait to even listen to me", I needed to lie down a little and chat with myself over the regimen I have been carrying out.
"Are you scared Em?", this felt like a burn through my metaphorical kevlar. Ofcourse I was. I always am.
"Ofcourse I am not. Haters don't deserve my attention. "
"Hmm...", she tapped her pen twice at the sheets she had in her lap.
"And why is that?", I muffled an almost cowardly shriek on hearing it.
I had once read to deny to accept ill towards you means they stay with the ones who wish them.
But caught in the situation often I feel a split inside me. One seems unfazed. Mostly. And other comes out to defend the fadest fazed composure. The latter distastes its existence.
"Do you really want to know?", like a reservoir which just reached its threshold, I spilled over, "It is hard to continue the fight to protect yourself. All by yourself."