Driven by Ego

8 years of marriage has played havoc to their relationship of 12 years. Back in college, everyone thought their relationship was impenetrable to any of those petty things that may cause a relationship to fail. Smart, go-getters, energetic, successful, and devoted to each other. They both were and are all of these but devoted to each other.


After marriage, they both decided to build their careers before building their family further. Every year one of their impending promotions shelved the idea of having a baby for one more year. By the 6th year, they both had conveniently forgotten about the idea of a baby. They were further engulfed in their own career and the gulf between them deepened. Initially, they didn’t notice and when they did;  they pretended not to notice. But it became apparent when she was promoted as the Vice President of the company she was working. That evening when she triumphantly announced the good news to him, instead of congratulating her he smirked at her. His own inability to rise to such a position had aroused the green-eyed monster in him. He said, ” Oh! that’s one of those fancy titles corporate world endows on women. In reality, these don’t mean a thing. Compare our positions. I have more power and influence than you sans the fancy title.”  The response irked her not to a small extent. In her rage she blurted out,” Let’s not talk about fancy titles or power or influence. We both know I get paid more than you even before I was endowed with this so-called fancy title. If you haven’t made it to where you wanted to be, don’t take it out on others.”

That was the starting point. What started as a spark rapidly turned into a wildfire fueled by burgeoning ego. Things started falling apart and reached a point where they could not and would not stand each other.

One day, he demanded for divorce thinking that she would break down hearing that. She never expected that but she was adamant she wouldn’t give him the chance of seeing her vulnerable. She consented to it even when she didn’t want it. Even he didn’t want a divorce. It was only to frighten her but he hadn’t expected her to give consent so easily. Now, there was no going back. Neither of them wanted it but they soon found themselves giving petition for a divorce by mutual consent.

She hoped against all the hopes that he would say let’s forget this and get on with our lives together. She had decided if he makes the first move she would bury her ego and mend things and even give up her career. But he should say it and to let him know her mind, her pride wouldn’t let her.

On the other side, he wanted to hold her and say “I don’t want any of these, all I want is you”. But lacked the courage and his ego wouldn’t let him do that.

Finally, the day arrived to put everything down on black and white. To sign the papers and end it all. Both of them signed and when coming out of the court they both looked at each other, the mask of ego fell off. They couldn’t betray their true feeling. Both looked devastated but their ego held them back. They got on their respective cars and drove off to opposite directions.

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The Girl Who Killed the Shawshank Redemption

This was roughly 6 months ago and I’m still  fuming over it. I haven’t dated anyone after that. I’m a medical laboratory technologist. Being in this line of work it is not easy for me to meet interesting people. But I chanced to meet someone interesting. A young literature student. Intelligent and beautiful. You see, this combination is very hard for me to find. My dating statistics is very numerable. In that history, she was the first one of this combination.

She was well read, which did not come to me as a surprise as she was a literature student and was as pretty as the girl on the cover page of a fashion magazine. I would have been quite nervous around her hadn’t we engaged in conversation about books. I’m not much of a reader but I like discussing characters, plots. I never had the patience to go through an entire book. To compensate that I watch movies. I like analyzing the plot, the characters, and the narrative style. Talking to her was a like reading a book you cannot put down (an expression I borrowed).


I was on cloud nine until we decided to go for a movie. As the plot of the movie slowly and yet dramatically unfolded, she kept asking, “What is going to happen next?, Will she tell him?” I thought she didn’t  understand that I too haven’t watched the movie, even though  I was the one who suggested her that we go for it. As quietly as possible, I told her that I too haven’t watched the movie. Already we were inviting glares in the darkness of cinema from other spectators. I thought my clarification of the fact that I too haven’t watched the movie would put things to rest. I was mistaken, she kept asking me, “Will she? Won’t he? What is going to happen?” By the end of the movie, I was at my wits’ end.

But when we emerged out of the movie, she was innocently talking about the movie, that my madness melted away. And I realized she was more beautiful than the girl in the movie. I told myself that a pretty girl like this can’t handle so much suspense and I should have suggested something lighter.

Things went smoothly until we decided to go for a movie again. This time it was a romantic comedy and I was sure this time I wont face similar problems. As the movie began, so did her chatter -” Will he? Won’t he?” It was simple mindless comedy with not even an element of suspense. By then I was angry, so were the rest of the people who were sitting next to us. By the end of the movie, I was mad. I decided to broach the subject that had bothered me for a while. I asked her nonchalantly, “Why do you keep asking what is going to happen in the movie, when we both don’t know? Aren’t you spoiling the fun of the movie? ” She looked quite surprised and said, ” No.” That was it. I didn’t feel like pursuing the subject any further. I decided it is probably the best that I avoided watching movies with her.

A month went by and we were in the most comfortable place of our relationship. One day I asked her to move in with me. She laughed and asked me, ” Isn’t it a little too early?” I had to convince her that there is no such thing as the right time and finally she nodded yes. After a week, she moved in. She had more books than clothes and that impressed me because that’s the kind of girl I wanted in  my life.

One evening, I was going through her collection of DVDs and she was telling which one is her favorite and about the direction, script and so on. Until I came upon The Shawshank Redemption. She said it was her all time favorite and was surprised that I haven’t seen it yet. She urged me to watch the movie. I made lame attempts not to watch it. But she was adamant and I thought to myself what danger can it have as she has already watched the movie.

So we began watching the movie, she lying on my lap. By the second half the movie, I was completely engrossed in the movie. It was then, when I least expected it, she jumped in and told me, ” You know what happens next. Nah, you will never guess it. He….” and she revealed the suspense to me. I turned to look at her in surprise. She had a face of an innocent kid but that didn’t register my mind. I asked her to pack her belonging and leave.

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Potato skin

It is her routine, every afternoon, to mull over and decide tomorrow’s menu. That’s one of the most important decisions she takes everyday. She has complete monopoly over the decisions. But at times she gives in for the demands of the kids.

After a lot of consideration, she decides and she is excited. She hasn’t had Masala Dosa in a long while. The idea of it excites her. She gets up from her chair and goes to the kitchen to see if she has the necessary supplies. Finding that the supply of potatoes is too short, she decides to go for grocery shopping, which being one of her other important decisions of a day.

That evening, she keeps the dosa batter ready. Next day, the enthusiasm has not cooled off. She checks the batter to find it nicely done and ready for dosa. To make the masala, she picks the potatoes from yesterday’s purchase. She remembers of having two left over from the previous supply. She picks those two. Though the potatoes are not rotten, they look wrinkled. In fact, those are from last month’s supply. She looks at the old potatoes and the new ones. Then gently run her fingers on the wrinkled skin of the old potato.  It was like hers. Once smooth and fresh but now wrinkled. Suddenly, her enthusiasm is completely swept away. She no longer wants to cook. She sits on the couch with a heavy heart.


It’s breakfast time; her husband and children are at the dinning table waiting for the breakfast. When they see her sitting on the couch, they ask why the breakfast is not yet ready. Each person voicing his or her own concerns – I have a meeting, my school bus will come, I have a debate at college… She doesn’t hear anything properly but she knows that no one has asked her what happened to her.



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The Violinist



I’m a photographer by profession and a loner by nature – that’s me in a nutshell. Long back, for one of my photography assignments, I had moved to the countryside; rented a cottage for couple of months. Mostly, I was on the fields chasing the sun and nature through my lens. On one evening, I heard a melancholic rendering from a violin. It was breathtakingly enchanting yet heart-wrenchingly melancholic. It was coming from somewhere near by. I listened to it, till it lasted, tears streaming down my cheeks. I don’ t remember when was the last time cried. I don’t remember. It must have been ages. All my bottled up pain was washed out. I remembered about the losses I suffered and the heart breaks I survived.

Slowly, it became my routine to long for the music in the evenings so that I could chew on my past. Soon I started longing for the creator of that music. I wanted to know about the creator.

Next morning, when my driver came, I asked him about the source of the music. He told me, ” Oh! that’s Eleena. A very lovely and talented girl. Comes from an aristocratic family. Her parents were musicians. She knows how to play more than 15 instruments and has made her own instrument as well. Her parents had a tragic ending. All they left her were a huge house with lot of musical instruments, a legacy of music, and loans and mortgages. She sold everything to payoff the debts. But she managed to salvage some of the musical instruments. Now, lives here in a cottage with an old woman and teaches kids music.”

With this much information, I was bend on trying to meet her in person. One evening, in the pretext of taking photographs, I went near the old cottage. There she was standing in the grass field pouring her heart through the violin. The lighting was perfect, the dusky sky, the golden field and a solitary girl with her violin. I clicked the moment. As if from a reverie, she came to life. I was at loss but soon I regained my cool and introduced myself and told what I was doing there.

Within a month, we became good friends. One day, I asked her, “What is so special about the violin? You seem quite attached to it.” She looked at me as if trying to see through me  and then said,” Violin is the most human of all musical instruments. A good companion and a shoulder to lean on. While playing the violin you literally lean on to it and pour out your heart, and in return it sings with you voicing the same emotions you feel. “

What she said remains in my heart and to this day,  when I see a violin I remember her and gently place my head on it and I feel  like I’m leaning on her.

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Love on Sale




On a lazy afternoon, she walks through the not-so-busy street browsing through the shop windows. Suddenly, one sign on a shop catches her attention – “Love on Sale!!! Hurry,  only till the signs of love last”.

Curiosity gets the better of her and she soon finds herself in the little shop. The shop has lot of greeting cards, gifts, soft toys, and so on. Basically, it is a small gift shop. She smiles at the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper returns her smile and says, ” Ma’am, pick any item with a sign of love and you can buy it at flat 50% off.”  ” Flat 50 % off”, she beams and enquires why love comes so cheap. The little man understood the sarcasm  in her tone and replies, ” Ma’am, Valentine’s day is over. The season of love is over. My warehouse cannot carry so much love till the next year and nobody wants the love that looks worn and torn. That’s why love is on sale.”

When she leaves the shop, she feels happier. For she is carrying so much love to be taken home.

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Fellow passenger

I was irritated. Well, that would be an understatement to describe my current mental disposition. My life was and is still surrounded by my mom’s ubiquitous pieces of advice. While growing up, I thought it is just a phase, which eventually would fade out. But I was mistaken. Now, a mother myself and she has not stopped it. In fact, she has renewed giving advice afresh with a new vigor. As though she is convinced that I, a child myself, cannot manage another child. I’m a 30 years old, still tearing my hair to shreds to keep my sanity intact at the superabundance of advice that I receive from my mom.

Today, the plethora of advice is more than I can handle. I’m travelling alone with a 6 month old baby. Mind you! the baby is mine. My mom is sure that I cannot handle things. She kept asking me “did you take the diapers?, what about the baby food?, I hope you have not forgotten her medication?, did you keep a change of dress in her bag? and don’t leave the baby in the stroller and roam around. ” I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes in frustration. I wanted to tell her, “Mom, chill it’s just a one hour journey”. But I didn’t dare. That will start a new conversation with a new set of instructions and advice.

Somehow, I grabbed my bags and baby and escaped from there. I didn’t get much time to fret. I was busy managing my child while getting the boarding pass, getting past the security check, and finally boarding the aircraft. As I settled in, the fight attendant came and briefed me the security precautions to be followed while flying with a baby. As instructed by the flight attendant, I thought I should feed the baby during take off. I started looking for the baby bag. I didn’t realize until then that the seat next to mine was already occupied by a good looking gentleman. He asked me, ” Shall I help you?” and without waiting for an answer from me he took the bag and pulled out the feeding bottle and handed me. I thanked and returned to attending to my baby, who soon  fell asleep.

Now, I turned my attention towards my fellow passenger, who clearly was in an elated mood. He caught me giving him a side glance. He smiled and said, ” You have an adorable baby.” I smiled in return and realized that he looked very familiar. He asked couple of things about where I was going and about the baby. Usually, I wouldn’t have indulged in such a conversation but he looked very familiar. He then introduced himself saying he is  Ryan working for an MNC and is currently going to his home town to marry his sweetheart. I congratulated him and introduced myself. Hearing my name Amaya, he asked me which school I went to and in which year I finished my schooling. When I gave him the details, he asked me, “Did you go for Math tuition to one Mr. Thomas?” I said, ” Yes.” He said, “I  too went there.”  Suddenly, it dawned on me why he had looked so familiar. It was the same guy from my Math tuition on whom I had a huge crush. He seemed to have changed a lot in these years. The funniest thing was I never knew his name until now. I used to keep gazing at him during the boring class. I couldn’t hide my smile thinking about it but managed to hide the fact from him. It was silly but I was excited that he knew my name.


We talked a little about our current lives and didn’t know when the flight landed. My baby was fast asleep all thorough out.  He helped me with my luggage and the time came to bid goodbyes. I wished him the best for his new life and asked him to convey my regards to his bride-to-be. When we reached the exit he in turn told me, ” It is strange. I have an interesting little anecdote to tell my girl. Something I had forgotten for quite a long. I will tell her that today I met my high school crush and her beautiful baby and for the first time in my life, I talked to her.” I was dumbstruck. I didn’t know how to respond and then my husband came running towards me. I introduced them to each other. Then, we said goodbyes to each other and went our separate ways.

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Fighting like cats and dogs

Fighting like cats and dogs- it took a literal turn when Ajay and Tina discussed what to get  their little angel a.k.a the little monster (for those who know her true nature) for her 4th birthday.



Like most of the parents of this era, Ajay and Tina are career-driven, ambitious and enterprising folks, who have everything in the world to gift their child except quality time. So, every year Ajina’s birthday is one occasion to purge their guilt-ridden souls on not being there for her all round the year. They throw a lavish birthday party and gift her what she loves ( or rather what they think she loves).

This year, Ajay felt that it would be a nice idea to gift her a puppy. Being a dog lover himself, he felt that a dog can watch over his child and it will be loyal and a good friend to her and secretly hoped that having a dog will teach her to care for other living beings and stop harassing them. Tina who had the perpetual habit of refuting any suggestion put forth by her husband, did not fail to jump in. She voiced her thought that a cat is a better option for Ajina. She reasoned that cats are affectionate and at the same time independent. Ajina needs to learn a lot from cats and not dogs. Ajay could not believe that Tina would refute his suggestion by bringing in a feline creature known for its selfishness. To strengthen his argument he said, ” A dog is man’s best friend and it’s been that way for years”. Now, it was Tina’s turn. She said, ” Do you know that cats out number dogs as domesticated animals? In these changing times, we need cats.”

And thus the war began. They fought ferociously like cats and dogs until their neighbor, Mrs. George called in.  She barged into the house looking very furious and said ” It’s your daughter again. This time she crossed the limits of being a little girl. She took my poor cat by its tail and swung it around like a key chain in her hand before flinging it across the lawn…………….” And the accusations poured on and on.

Now, it was Ajay’s and Tina’s turn to drop the idea of getting her a pet for her birthday.

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Under the covers

They are into the 8th year of their marriage but some things have not changed. It bothers him to the core. She still remains a closed book for him in many ways. Everyone has their idiosyncrasies but she somehow drags it to another level.

She is very particular about certain things. For instance, she shares a bed with him but insists on having separate blankets. If by mistake, he slips under the same cover with her, she gets annoyed in a strange manner. Also, every night she slips under the cover completely.

One day he asks her, “Why? why do you have to pull the blanket over your head and why can’t we share the same blanket??? ” She looks amused. She is smiling because she knows he cannot get over the fact that they can share a bed and not a blanket. She also knows that the blanket is not just a blanket for him but a metaphor for the closed chapters of her life.

She smiles at him benignly and asks, ” Darling, what are you afraid of ? Are you afraid that I will turn into a mermaid and slip into the depths of ocean when I slip under the covers? He looks at her astounded and thinks , “Can she read my mind???”

She smiles again and says, ” Honey, just go to sleep”, knowing that he cannot sleep.


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The Florist


A florist – that’s what  I am. But there are times, when I feel little hesitant to reveal that identity and during such times I intelligently mask the florist part and call myself an entrepreneur. Technically, I’m both so there is no denying about that. Oh! please, don’t misunderstand me. I love my job and I’m passionate about flowers. But people somehow don’t get it. Being a male specie, they think I should be doing something manly.

I  hate going to family gatherings of any form – be it weddings, funerals or birthday parties. But being a florist I can’t avoid it. My business thrives from such events. Be it any occasion, here is a snippet of what I typically would encounter.

” Aunt 1: John, these decorations are breathtakingly beautiful.        

 Aunt 2:  It must be such a delight for his girlfriend to receive flowers everyday. Oh! dear look at him blushing like a peony. (Pun heavily intended)

Aunt 1: Don’t you know??? John doesn’t have a girl friend. He is a florist. Which girl would prefer a florist boy friend? Any girl would want a manly guy and not someone as delicate as a flower. 

Chorus : Hahahahaha”

I feel bad when I hear such jeers because flowers make me complete and strong. This is not something that started recently. It started from the time I can remember. I always wanted to be a florist. My mother loved flowers so my dad used to say and every Sunday I used to get different flowers to lay on her grave. I do that even now. Boys of my age at school wanted to be pilot, doctor, astronaut, president etc. I was the odd one out, who wanted to be a florist. Most of them did not become what they dreamed of. At least, give me the credit that I was man enough to follow my dreams. These arguments are always inside my head. When my friends pull my leg, i just give in.

Usually, the usual sneer and jeer starts with no girlfriend fact. Maybe if I can get a girl friend. Things would change. But that set me about thinking. Every girl wants a guy who is an Investment Banker,  a Doctor, a Scientist or a Footballer.  But let me tell you something. My business is doing well. I usually bag most of the decoration orders in and around the city. And all I need to do is  find a girl who loves flowers, who can understand what it is to spend time with flowers, to water them with tender affection and to nurture and to be nurtured in their lovely fragrance.

It was around the same time that I spotted her. I don’t know her name. Everyday, around evening after work, she stops in front of my shop and looks at the display I have kept in front of the shop. Maybe she wanted to buy something. As soon as I approached her she fled from the place. She had that tenderness in her eyes. Yes, she loved flowers. Maybe I should ask her for a cup of coffee. She is been coming to my shop almost daily for past two weeks. Why does she come? To check out the flowers or me? Since, I don’t have experience with  girls…I’m actually working on my opening lines.

It’s Thursday, I’ll ask her on a Friday and she might be free on Saturday, so she wont be able to turn it down. I was calculating that all along looking at her. I failed to notice a guy next to her. He asked her something and she just smiled. He called out to me and said pack these flowers for the charming lady here, pointing at a bunch of red roses. After the purchase, I saw them moving towards the coffee shop nearby.

All she wanted was flowers…I could have offered her a garden. Now, I know. I’m waiting for the next girl who loves flowers.


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The Decoupled Couple!

The decoupled couple – that’s how I nicknamed them in my mind.



I have known them for years. They are my good friends. For all these years, I hated spending more than couple of hours with them.

Recently, I was on a conference and I happened to be in the same city as they live and they asked me to stay with them, instead of staying at a hotel. I dreaded the prospect of staying under the same roof with them. I didn’t know a polite way to turn down the offer either. As it turned out to be inevitable, I accepted the offer with a heavy heart.

The much dreaded day finally arrived and they welcomed me to their newly bought house. It was beautiful. I uttered that aloud and to no one in particular. Though, later I regretted having said that. That statement triggered them to indulge in taking potshots at each other.

Tina said, ” Thanks to me for finally narrowing down to this. Otherwise, he cannot decide on anything. Moreover, men do not have any taste when it comes to interiors.” Now it was Ajay’s turn, ” Yeah, that’s why we have such huge bank loan.” ” Had we settled for something I chose, it would have been a prudent financial investment and not a financial debacle like this. And Vikram, do you know the current financial situation of this country?It’s..” Before he could complete Tina barged in with her argument,”Oh, please Mister. Don’t talk about financial prudence. What happened to your last time’s prudent investment? I warned you many times. And forget about our country’s financial situation. You’re not running it, are you? And don’t you talk to an economist about financial prudence and debacles….  The whole night it went on like that. I don’t know when we moved from living room to dining room for dinner and finally back to the living room. I had come after a long tiring travel. I was in no mood for their verbal combat. I started reminiscing about their marriage. They have been married for 15 years or is it 16? Anyway, that’s not important here. What is important is that most of us  thought their marriage would not last this long. They fought with each other with such vengeance. Their views were bipolar in nature. But they were and are still glued together.

Sometimes…mostly when I’m with them and try to keep my focus away from the warfare and keep my sanctity in tact, I imagine that it is a staged drama and they play along to keep their guests engaged. Taking potshots at each other; was it their playful way of loving each other or else how can they be together???

The night wears off in the background of their verbal warfare and I retire to my room finally and they to theirs. Peace is restored for the day.

The same routine continues for the next two days. I, being, a silent spectator in the backdrop. And, finally the day has come when I take leave from them…as I’m about to get on the taxi, both of them together in union say – We enjoyed having you here.  Visit us soon!

As usual that’s the only view they seem to have in common.


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