For as long as I can remember, Amma had a secret special box on the kitchen platform which was always tantalizingly close but was just out of reach. When I was five years of age, I’ve always wanted nothing more than to open the box and see its mysterious contents.
Nothing seemed fancier to me. Neither the blue flames erupting from the stove nor the sharp knife glinting under the harsh tube light. Even the colorful display of various cereals and pulses didn’t draw my attention as much as this box drew me towards it.
In reality, there wasn’t anything unique about the way the box looked. It was just like most others. A little steel utensil, plain and unobtrusive. However, it was inconspicuous to everyone but me and so I wanted to know everything it possessed.
My fascination started when I was four years of age. I still remember returning from the hospital after a vaccination. I was bawling and the horrendous hospital smell was everywhere adding to my woes. I was red and misty with chocolate smeared over my round face. It was my parent’s last-ditch attempt to pacify me.
Even after Dad was wiping my tears and carrying me around to divert my attention, I was screaming. Until I smelt a wondrous aroma which made me silent.
When I asked my Dad to take me kitchen suspecting it to be the aroma’s source. As usual, Amma was at the platform cooking something which sizzled. There were various vessels placed around the stove with a tray filled with chopped vegetables. I couldn’t find the source for the aroma but my father noticed that I was silent and he let me stay there for a while.
It’s not like the aroma was a new experience. I must have smelt it many times while I passed the kitchen. Yet that was the moment I realized its true taste.
Even to this day even after twenty years of spouting words and yapping about anything and everything. I’m still unable to describe the aroma that took my breath away and more importantly stopped a tantrum from reaching danger alert levels.
I kept entering the kitchen after my first experience even after my mother denied me from doing so paying her flimsy and random excuses. All I hoped for was to smell the heavenly aroma again.
As the days passed by, I started inquiring my mother about the contents of each box in the kitchen until one day I did arrive at the special box. I knew the rest of the contents didn’t make this aroma possible based on the little knowledge I had about them.
I had an inkling that maybe the contents of this special box were the cause for my happiness and to my disadvantage, the box was always jutting out of reach and my mother denied to reveal its contents noticing my undying curiosity and a worrying concern about me harming myself.
In time, I could always see the top lid of the box from my low vantage point. If I stood on my tiptoes, I could even see the special box in all its glory. I could even touch the box by stretching my hands. My fingertips could feel the cold steel after a little effort. With my mother refusing to tell the contents, I wanted to know more about them to know if it is the source behind my heavenly experience.
After being denied for years, I reached an age when I could get a hold of the box myself. After many failed attempts, I held the most curious thing I have always wanted to explore. When I opened the lid, I could rejoice the scent for a moment before noticing that it was nothing more than a spice box.
A box with compartments to hold commonly used spices like turmeric, cumin, paprika among others. A commonplace and bland box present in every household. A box that wasn’t particularly special except for my fascination. Thought it felt anticlimax exploring the contents, it gave me a gateway back to my childhood. A meandering walk down memory lane, a shot of nostalgia back to simpler times, a reason to smile when cutting onions, a silent hope for the trampled inner child in me and even after all these years, Amma’s special box will always be more than just a spice box for me.
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I sat in the airport staring at the bracelet with a lot of disappointment in a huff style. Slowly staring at the glass before me, I slipped into the moments of bliss of her laughter, her silky hair, her eyes and even her beautiful fingers with that pink nail polish that made her even more adorable. All of this reminded me about Eshita. At that very second, I heard an elderly voice interrupting me. I turned to him annoyed asking "What do you want old man?”
He replied "I’m not an old man, anyway please take away your bag. I need to sit.” pointing at my bag in the seat next to me.
I said "If you are not an old man, try lift my bag" with my entire attitude. He shrugged his shoulders and picked up the bag and sat beside me. After five seconds he turned his head and said “Whose bracelet is that?" I was frustrated and answered “Old man, why do you need to know everything…?"
"Come on! Don’t call me old man, call me Sharma. As I can see you are a young man, you will certainly have a story behind it, which may pass out my time for the next two hours. Anyway my plane is delayed by two hours "
I said "You mean the plane is two hours late...?”
He replied "Yeah! Obviously"
“Oh! Alright then, can you get me a cold coffee please?" I said to the waiter, who was passing by. In return he gave a nod.
I told "Ok, old man don’t make me story teller now. I don’t have any story regarding this."
He answered “Then you wouldn’t be staring at it for nearly half an hour. I suppose if you haven’t got anything…"
I got frustrated and threw my purse at him thinking he would see the picture inside it. He was taken aback but did not touch the purse. He then replied “I see! I am sorry; I seriously don’t want your money. You can keep it"
I gave a weird look and said to him "Come on! Look at the picture; She is the cause of everything.”
Having realized the logic behind throwing purse, he responded "Oh.... she looks pretty... and is she your girlfriend?”
"Yes, she was. She looks pretty doesn't she, and she is witty too... "
He asked "What does she do?”
I said "We were classmates, for now I don’t know what she is doing."
He asked “I see, what is her name?”
I replied "Eshita"
He asked "Where does she live?"
I replied "She used to live in my heart, but now I don’t know any details of her"
He smiled and said “Okay, I am very curious. Can you please tell me your story?"
I started after a deep breath saying “When I was in my first year of engineering. I was so addicted to cricket that I used to play it all the time and bunk classes. Being good at studies, no one took a chance to drive me out of my passion and I was called Mr. Indivertible"
One day while I was playing cricket in the ground, I saw a beautiful innocent looking girl walk by. I just stood there staring at her forgetting everything until she went out of sight. I don’t know how much time passed and I was mesmerized by her. After three days, I saw her in the canteen again. She was serene and calm. I gazed at her like a shining diamond that I just found. To my pleasant surprise, she came with her friends to my table to have her lunch. Though I wanted to speak to her I couldn't, because she was my senior. With this different relation, I got the perfect time to break my Mr. Indivertible tag. While I was staring, she noticed me but for some reason she did not call me.
One day she called me and questioned me why was I following her ?
I replied like a damn fool saying “Madam this is college, I need to do my work"
Being dumber she said "What’s your work?"
“To study mam” I said and continued “Anyways, you are lovely mam”
As soon as I said that, my friend took my collar and pulled me out. That day onwards I was completely out of my ways. I started to speak to her all the time. As time went by, we became friends and I also confessed my love to her.
As expected she disagreed only to the reason that I was her junior.
Still my heart ran for her and she treated me as a friend.
We spent hours chatting mostly nonsense, but whenever I asked her about her family or details she is used to divert the subject of discussion. We became close. To be frank we just did not speak like lovers but both of us were in love. We happened to be in our bounds but with lots of love in it. We happily spent our two years of time but we never expressed our love. I still remember the last day I saw her.
She came running to me. I stood in the corridor looking at her decent blue cotton dress in which she looked stunning. The last thing I said to her was "I think it's time for you to go for interview". She nodded with excitement in face like a small girl saying "Yes, wish me luck"
I smiled and said “Yeah! All the best"
After she left, I could see her bracelet lying on the floor and that is what I have with me now. I waited for long time and went back home. I tried calling her in the evening but the phone was switched off. I repeatedly called her but was left with no response. Next day in the college I could not find a sight of her. I also tried enquiring but was given no details.
Waiting for her days went by, in fact without her life became dry. I couldn't find a physical sign of her but she definitely left her sign in my heart. I couldn't live without her company in my life. I roamed near premises of locality but I don’t know where she lived exactly. I cursed myself for not asking her minimum details. As much as I strived to see her, I ended in morbid state. After she left, I suffered one and half year of hell. Frankly I don’t know how it went by. However finally I got selected in a company, with a very good package. I don’t even remember what efforts of mine got me selected. Anyways I became complacent.
My work place was good and after three months I got a chance to go to Australia. One fine day while I was sitting in my cabin, my team leader stepped in and said "So are you ready to leave India?”
I nodded my head in all directions...
She said “Hey you must be happy to leave!"
I sighed saying "No, I am not…”
She said “Don't be insane to lose this opportunity.”
I said “Yup!"
She was about to say something but she swallowed it and went away. I turned and kicked hard my table. My system got disconnected. For me there were many questions that were unanswered.
Why did she do like this? Why did she play with me the love game ? Why she left me...?
After all those questions crossed my head, I kept cursing her for the way she acted. Later I thought of the opportunity to go abroad in search of her and changed my mind a little. After a week, I went to my team leader. I told her "I was interested to go to Australia with the team." She disagreed as she already made a list. She demanded that I had to wait until for next opportunity if any. This incident made me hate Eshita even more because it was due to her I lost my chance in the first place.
That evening I sat outside of my office near the Chaiwala (Tea vendor) asking "Bhaiyya (brother), ek (one) special strong tea." Arun bhaiyya was famous for his tea and most of the employees would be at his stall for tea after work. He gave me a tea and I sat on the small wooden bench which was a part of his stall. While I sipped my tea, I remember the day she and I had tea on the beach road. For me it was my first time.”
I had a smug smile over that situation and carried on with my tea. I saw a mad person who was in his twenties with ragged clothes. He was giggling and shouting for no reason. I called Arun and asked him who he was. He told me that he was an employee of the same company I am working for and his lover expired in an accident and this man turned mad. I nodded to the reply and left.
That night I hardly slept and I woke up with a doubt whether Eshita is alive ? I don’t know why I got this thought but it made me both uncomfortable and senseless. Just then I got a call from my team leader Shivani saying that “I got an opportunity to Sweden” and that I should fly within a week. As a friend she motivated me to divert from Eshita but it didn’t work. Shivani kept me busy the last week with office works, finally I was ready to leave India and here I am.
Sharma was a bit emotional. He said “It’s going to be okay. Anyway, I hope you find her.”
I was happy to find out that even he wished me luck.
After the discussion they boarded the airline... and later he (our hero) fell asleep. After some hours, bracelet from his hand slips down... Sharma catches it and keeps it safe. After some hours the aeroplane lands and they both get down.
The climate is cool in Stockholm; the time would be around 8:00 pm.
Sharma asked "Where are you staying?"
I said "I would stay at Mr. Lee hotel which was booked by my company until I find a room"
Sharma told "I am on that way you can join me."
I nodded and got into his car.
He surprisingly took me to a house and I questioned him “Why is that you brought me to this house?” he replied "This is my house and you can join me now for some time here until you find a room. I am sure it is better than a hotel"
I did not know what to say. I could not just reject an Indian’s invitation.
For courtesy's sake I said "No". Later as expected I was convinced to stay. While I brought my luggage from the car he knocked the door. As soon as I got near the door I saw someone opening the door in a light pale green modern dress. The girl looked fantabulous, my heart treaded fast. She was none other than my Eshita.
I got flabbergasted and shouted "Eshita!”
Caring about nothing around me I just hugged her tightly. I lost all my anger on her with just a hug. After few minutes I was back to my senses I realized we were being watched. I immediately questioned her "Why did you leave me?”
She replied "I left you to meet you again” My face scorned for a moment but I then comprehended Sharma's presence.
I flatly questioned him “Why?”
He explained saying "Eshita is senior colleague to you Mr.Achal and she is the one who wanted you here and…”
I was shocked to find out that he knew my name. He continued saying "and I am her father, the very stupid fellow who separated you both"
I sat down on the entrance step just thinking. In few seconds she came and sat next to me and kept her head on my shoulder. Then I asked her "With in the span of three years, I have seen many girls but why did I love only you?"
She replied “Because you are Mr. Indivertible"
And we all laughed...
I said come let’s go in. I have many questions to ask… she smiled as we walked in...
In a dense forest centuries ago were the only life that existed consisted no brains and has got no idea what they were doing. Yes I was speaking about the age of dinosaurs and also “The Phoenixes’ ”. As these flying dragons a.k.a Phoenixes’ were always on the move above the ground as they had to search for their food, but soon they were into something that is doubtful about their existence because the dragons are on the move around the globe for occupying place and live with their families. One of these phoenixes’ when was on its search for food was attracted to a white ball kind of stuff that was stationary in the middle of a huge burnt land. It has immediately made that white ball as target and immediately went towards it, but to its suprise he found it to hard to eat so he grabbed that in his claws and flew off towards home. He then drops it off in the land of phoenixes’ and just doesn’t take any interest in eating it.
These dragons are the on the move towards taking land and they get into a community of incognito species who are large in number. These beasts the dinosaurs have entered their territory to live and had a huge fight where they have unleashed their ability to blow fire through their mouth. This power has defeated the entire troop of an incognito species.
Meanwhile in the land of the phoenixes’ the egg has just hatched and these phoenixes have not killed the dinosaurs but helped the dinosaur even cause they did not know that the dinosaurs were going to come and get over their lives by killing them, they did not know that their routine is about to vanish, they did not know that they were about to get beaten down by this mighty dinosaurs, they just know nothing.
Slowly the troop of dinosaurs were fast approaching the phoenixes’ and were fierce enough to blow any anything that comes their way. They get to have a look over these phoenixes and they huddle up to blow these up and suddenly they see a dinosaur in the group of phoenixes’ and they get more angry cause they felt that these phoenixes have captured their member and they blow off these phoenixes in one breath. When the whole fire comes to the end the dinosaur belonging to the family of phoenixes’ sees the ashes of his beloved ones and he gets angry and tries blowing the fire towards them and starts attacking them hard and these dinosaurs dodge these fires and try to convince him into theirs but he is reluctant enough to get back. Then the troop decides to get this dinosaur down as they feel that he is not belonging to their group and tries to attack but at that point the dinosaur holds back the attack.
But why would he have stopped his attack? He has stopped his attack because a body rises from the background of this dinosaur. A black misty shade of a phoenix rises and slowly all the bunch rise and attacks the group of dinosaurs and they stand tall with their head held high facing the sky with pride and power rising from the ashes of theirs they put down the reason for their ashes with out any chance for rising up against.