The half crumb cake

How I decided to cheat, through a half-crumb cake.


As my cup of chai steamed, I sat there, with my hope in front and baggage on the side.. Window.. vast, clean, honest.. trying to hide a little, and failing miserably.. just stood there staring at me the same way I stared at her.. Her? Who would call a window ‘her’! Maybe none.. maybe some.. maybe I. My wait had stretched from 1st cup to the 4th, and a half eaten piece of cake – as dry as those eyes, staring into forever. I usually loved that cake.. not this dry one though.. but I still loved it.. and after a wait of 4 cups, I was beginning to rethink my decision to.. to wait.. to save that half a piece for her. Because she loved it.. not the cake.. but how I always saved some for her. And always, my wait for her was shortened from 5 cups to 2 when I told her that a cake, and not me, was waiting.

Except for this time..

Reluctantly, and knowing somewhere deep down, I broke a small piece off that dry sweet shit. Thought twice before savoring it and thrice after.. It almost felt like cheating. But who am I to define cheating.. she knows better. She always did. She knew, She decided. She taught me how stealing a kiss with your best friend was not cheating.. but an affection gone wrong; how making love to a complete stranger was not cheating, but a moment; and how lying about her love for me and her apathy for my money was not cheating, but a choice. Yes.. she defined it for me.. she taught me all.. And I believed her. Rather, My love believed her. My love, not ours.

She also taught me how I was cheating when I hugged my friend, crying uncontrollably upon her brother’s death, or when I took a bite from her share of cake.. like just now. Thank god she’s not here yet.. maybe I should order another one for her.. a fresh one. Maybe I’ll ask the guy behind the counter, yes, that one with more lines on his head than his palms, to make it afresh.. soft, and warm, like her winter skin. Maybe i should ask him to not make it yet, but when she is about to reach.. Maybe.. I should.. Maybe.. I won’t. 

Because.. maybe she won’t come. Because maybe she can’t..

Just like how she couldn’t because of her leg twist when I met with the accident. Or how she had an ‘exam’ at the club when my mom died. Just like.. I am sure it’d be something important, just like always. Otherwise she’d come. Because how else will she buy that same necklace as Neha, making sure nobody beat her.. either at fashion or love.

That last piece stared at me. Smirked.. then burst out laughing. Yeah.. he knew, I wouldn’t do that.. I couldn’t cheat. I wasn’t allowed to.. you see one of us had to hold the beacon of uprightness and morality.. And who but me? Because that’s what I always did.. the right. I loved, helped, forgave and loved again and forgave again and loved her once more. I always did the right thing. And so.. I stared back at him. What right he had to mock me! What did he know about… I looked away.

My 5th one had now gone from steaming to a barely warm pitiable liquid. Just like me. Maybe the wait will stretch to my 6th.. maybe she’ll get through the traffic by then. Or Maybe she’ll.. not. Maybe she can’t.. maybe.. because she doesn’t know. And even if she does.. who know..

At last, it was too late.. I picked my bags and left, to never return.

At last, I ate the cake.

At last, I cheated.


Budapest: a turn

When I had the first glimpses, I won’t deny..  I was disappointed. After the uber-elite and art-ified Vienna, the modesty of the grey and brown buildings here was quite a contrast. It almost felt like I have reached back the home country, except for, of course,  more cleanliness and single line traffic jams. Through the chugging industries and smoky terrains, our bus slowly moved. What was amazing was the place’s contrast with Austria and similarities with India.  The train and the trams are open,  as in not air conditioned. Both move using the same 1.2-1.2.3 rhythm that is synonymous with our trains. Dimly light,  and stuffed with people,  both carry the life through the city.  But what caught me most was the tiredness in all eyes. The drained and weary- as if all the color has been washed away. The bent posture,  saggy eye bags,  wrinkled foreheads and the empty eyes. As if another battle lost.  And it wasn’t just one, every other one rather. And when that drooping lost head rises up and meets your eyes, there is the split second in which they tell all about themselves, and then look away..  As if turning away from a wrong stop.

But sometimes, when they meet yours,  you take a step more. You smile. And what you receive in return is priceless. You get to see the empty eyes fill up. You find that deep down in the person,  the war’s still not lost. You see the colours returning. And then when you walk away,  it’s like departing a friend. Even if not correct, this intermediate was one maybe worth the stop.

Anyways,  struggling with 3 and a half bags,  huffing and panting (because metros had no escalators or elevators. Yes,  couple places it’s that primitive) we reached our apartment. Our host was downstairs to welcome us. He is an amazing artist and a really warm person. Peter’s life story is so much like an average Indian kid. Son of a book-keeper and an engineer,  he was pushed to science and stuff till one of his teachers figured out how he was meant for art. He helped us a lot to plan our 2 days in Budapest. He also had 3 bikes in his apartment. So we biked through both Buda and Pest, early morning,  by the river. Told us quite a few things about budapest,  what places to eat.. I still remember, for one high end place he said “This place food is good but too costly.  So you only pay smiles and walk away.” That’s the great thing about people here. They have more life to themselves. They are more open about their expressions.  I loved just sitting on the train platform and see people carrying out their clockwork tasks. Somebody’s getting late for an exam,  somebody having hard time bidding good bye to the loved one,  somebody’s lost in the hopes while somebody trying hard to find one.

That’s what I loved here..  People. Their warmth, genuine love. Their struggle with the smiles.

That’s how, Hungary started turning for me. People.. Emotions.. Honesty.. And Love.



21314696_1430885213693130_7684119535256182236_nThis mask..

Borrowed? Or owned?

If borrowed, where is the owned?
If owned, why mask?

Borrowed? how different from the owned?
Owned? hid the borrowed where?

Borrowed? from whom.. And why?
Owned? lended to whom.. And why? 

Borrowed? how long will you keep it?
Owned? how long can you keep it? 

Borrowed? Isn’t your skin enough?
Owned? Is your skin enough? 

Borrowed? How deeply?
Owned? How shallow? 

Borrowed? How long til’ you start owning?
Owned? How long til’ you start borrowing?

Borrowed | Owned


It..  The Light.. 

They were there.. 

They saw it..  Heard me..  

Heard how i looked at it.. 

Saw how i felt it.. 

Touched it..  

Pined for it..


The light.. 
And when they could no more.. 

Hear.. Feel.. See.. anymore

They did it.. 

Vouched up..  Moved around.. 

Stealthily in the night’s dark.. 

Quietly from the moon’s arms

They grabbed it.. 

Stole it.. 


The light.. 
They stole it.. 

And gave it to me.. 

Saw my heart return.. 

Heard me get filled.. 

Felt as i took it all in..  

And followed as i swayed..

Swayed by it.. 

Led by it.. 


The light.. 


She waited.. and waited..  and waited..

The altar will tell you that..

And so will the eyes.. but to the one.. who never came by.

And she hopefully so stuck to the innocence..  or ignorance rather..

of the truth she chose to see not..

Or maybe it was the truth that chose to hide in the heat of all that love that remained..

And still remains..


untaken by..