Love with Prague

I had high expectations of Prague even before I went there. That was mostly because all my female friends who have been there recommended it vehemently to me. “Prague ki feel hi kuch alag hai!” was what I had heard. I didn’t realise that soon enough, but when I did, I knew just the word to qualify Prague. If Budapest is wild, Prague is romantic.

Yes, Prague is as romantic as romance can get. If Budapest is a prostitute, Prague is the lover. If Chain Bridge is about sex, Charles Bridge is about love. The narrow alleys of Prague, with the cobbled stones and bright-coloured houses, hesitatingly invite you to explore the city, just like a lover seduces you to explore her deepest secrets, while holding back simultaneously. But you truly have to be patient to realise this true beauty of Prague, for there are many tourists trying to woo her simultaneously. “A city is not a concrete jungle, but a human zoo”, said by our walking tour guide, kept resonating as I went through this town.

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Some wounds refuse to heal

The vast fields look over the stretch of mountains that mingle with the horizon like it’s an everyday affair. The river cutting through the fields so seamlessly as if it’s part of an artist’s imagination.

The sunlight falls on the porch, neither too hot, nor too soft, just right. The soothing wind just makes the heat right.

A cowboy sits in the chair with his hat resting on his face. All dressed up in his attire, a cigarette lit in his left hand and a old crass book, unrecognizable at first, in his right.

This soothing weather doesn’t amuse him anymore, he’s been living in these lands all his life, inheriting it from his late uncle who was the former Sherrif of the county.

The thoughts of her come and go and disturb his peace. He takes a puff, a deep puff and holds it in for as long as possible. All kinds of pain feel like an escape now, he resorts to pain when the thoughts become overbearing.

Hers used to be a happy memory, she used to be a beautiful instance in his life, he had watched her grow from a cheerful chubby little girl to the tall and graceful woman she was now. There’s was a story that used to be discussed in every household, “How good they look together” used to be on everyone’s lips.
So good, so very good, but not all good things last, not all stories see completion.

“I should’ve been fucking careful”, he mumbles as he tries to forcibly read his book. Futile in his effort, he starts thinking again about that strange day, strange in so many ways.

To find your love, being forced by someone, that strange. To shoot her mistakenly in the heat of the moment, that strange. To run away and not get caught of a crime he wanted to get convicted for, that strange. To not being able to find the man who stole the life from his love, that strange.

He couldn’t find solace past that, he attended the funeral, he talked to the police with a solemn face, in grief. He did everything a lovelorn man is supposed to do.
But, he didn’t cry. He couldn’t, he wanted to, but the shock of the moment had pushed the tears back in his eyes.
Eyes, eyes that had seldom slept after that, that always were looking for that face, that memory of the man who had shattered his life.

Every day, he repeated the whole thing in his mind, to keep the memory fresh, to keep the diluted face from washing away even more. The fear of coming across the man and not recognizing him sent a chill down his spine. It would be a betrayal to his love..

Was it love anymore? His days were spent looking for him, his nights, thinking about him, his heart was consumed by the hatred, hatred of that day, of that moment, of himself..

Maybe this was how he was supposed to live now, alone and in remembrance of her, of the promises, promises of staying together, of colluding in the dreams and ambitions of each other, of making each day better than the last….

There are pretty love stories, there are sweet cuddly moments, there is the loss of the loved ones, there is the remorse of losing them, love, it can endure all that, but isn’t hate another manifestation of love itself? Hate is not the opposite of love, apathy is. Sometimes, when love is snatched away from a person, it leaves a deep scar and the wound refuses to heal, it becomes septic, so septic that only hate can survive there.

Love in the Time of Dengue

Priya ambled lazily across the wall towards the window. She’d always peep outside, but I thought she’d never leave. I had made my peace with this intruder to some extent. The vicious attacks with bug spray and a broom that just made her circumnavigate the room had been replaced with a weary tolerance.

The first time I saw Priya was during my first week at IIM-A. Plagued by homesickness and exhaustion, the presence of this lizard in my room drove me crazy. (I wanted to say ‘drove me up the wall’ but that’s where she was). I’d frequently shoo her out, but she’d always find her way back in.

I eventually had to choose between the little breeze Ahmedabad had to offer in July and this houseguest. Professor Pingali’s indifference curves with one desired and one undesired product made sense. The need for ventilation won out, and Priya set up residence in my room.

I developed my coping mechanisms- a quick scan of the room every time I walked in to locate her, avoiding the windows at night since that’s where she liked to take naps, and sleeping with one eye open and a broom next to me every time she wandered around my bed. Priya, on the other hand, treated my room like a childhood home, traversing every nook and cranny with a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of belonging.

This dysfunctional relationship continued till the monsoons arrived. The patch of trees behind my dorm turned into a little lake, mosquito nets in S-Mart went on sale, and the emails on malaria and dengue started pouring in. Priya. This meandering of a bored imagination, however, was true, and one day Rahul and Priya were nowhere to be found. They slithered off into the sunset I assume after Rahul wooed Priya with the tales of the feasts to be found in the waterlogged IIM campus.

Though I was happy to see Priya go, I could imagine her smiling sadistically at me when symptoms of malaria presented themselves. I’d like to think she is happy with Rahul, eating bugs and possibly starting a family. Just not in my room, though, I can’t stand the little lizards.

Sneha is a member of LSD. 


Kashmir Chronicles -Part 2- Falling into it

While returning from Shalimar garden, we stopped near a woolens’ shop where the Kashmiri Chacha had opened up his treasure trove of fluffy socks and sweaters in all hues possible. That was when our first conversation ensued. Imran was a talker, he had to be, considering the extra role of a tourist guide that all drivers seemed to play. I asked him things about himself and he patiently told me all about his language, how it was imperative for him to have rice and ‘saag’ (spinach) at least once in a day, how Kashmiris loved to drink ‘Nun Chai’, which is just tea minus sugar plus salt. He told me how it felt to cycle on the frozen Dal lake, Continue reading →