Jasmine

‘Isn’t it beautiful’, she asked me.

‘Yes dear, it is indeed’, I replied her. There was sunshine on her cheek glistening like a river between beautiful meadows, coming through the small pores of semitransparent festoons near the gate.  The flower she held in her hand was a jasmine, a dead one but full of perfume. And, yes, whenever I pass through the garden of Mr. Shah, I can’t ignore the fragrance of jasmine in his garden. It reminds me of her. She was a jasmine herself. Beautiful, like the midnight sky, full of mysteries yet so enchanting.

Two years of our friendship changed into an inseparable bonding the day I put a ring into her glass of beer. She was surprised. She was somewhat amazed, little confused. However, she jumped into me as if she too was longing for this moment. She kissed me everywhere with tears in her eyes. ‘I knew, I knew baby, this moment would come, and I used to dream of it. I never wanted more than this, dear, nothing more.’ smooching into my cheeks she was crying. It was a moment one would feel just like when the sun comes out for the first time after month-long clouds and overcast. Nothing was more appealing than this moment. Everyone wishes this moment at least once in their lifetime.

‘Love has limits, limits that makes us harder and weaker or limits that makes us softer and stronger. I chose to be softer and kinder, be like a soap or like a butter.’ She would terminate every one of her lecture with a giggle. We met in a bookshop, where we both turn out to be purchasing the last piece of the same book. Well, I let her take it but she insisted that she would pay half and I ought to pay another half so that we could share the book. We agreed to meet every Saturday in a coffee shop nearby the bookshop.

It was midnight and I was about to start a new book. It was my two hundredth book. She had already finished three chapters of the book. She had a bookmark in the book; it was a jasmine but all dried up. There was no any fragrance in it. It was dead. I couldn’t think more than our meeting. I could not start even a page. She came in a blue kurta salwar with a side bag. She was looking nothing like old nineties Bollywood actress but more like a serene nature where there are trees, a sun, clear sky, river, and flowers. A perfect art. ‘Here, take it. It is nice. Loved the start.’ She handed me the book. She sat in front of me, put down her bag. I ordered coffee. ‘I don’t have any money right now.’ She said. This treat, on me. Next time you pay, ok.’ I said. She smiled. We sat there for one hour and talked about books, about war, about politics and everything that was going around but we forgot ourselves.

It was Saturday again and I can’t even finish a page this time. Every time, I opened the book, I was lost in her thoughts. ‘Hey there, how are you?’ she was already there. ‘Hello, I’m fine, thank you. And you?’, she was looking gorgeous. This time, she came in a frock. Frock !, I mean who would wear frock in those days, they were out fashioned. She had very bad taste in dress. I handed her the book. She opened it. She looked me as if I had committed a big crime. ‘Sorry, I couldn’t finish, or just say I didn’t even start.’ I apologized. ‘No, it’s not about how much you read?’ she pulled a long sip of coffee; it was served the moment I was staring at her and I had just realized that there was coffee to drink.  ‘Then, why are you angry?’, this was my expression and she got it. ‘You folded the page, how cruel can you be !’ she replied and I couldn’t resist my laugh. ‘Better than your bookmark. Seriously, a jasmine, a flower?’ I just want to win over her argument. ‘No, I found it on the road, is there any better place you know to keep it other than the book. You are such an…, leave it, I’m going.’ She put the book into her bag and we got out of the coffee shop.

There was a rush outside the coffee shop. ‘The army captured three rebels.’ An old man was talking to the shopkeeper. Most of them were closing their store and it was just two o’ clock. ‘Peace is still undefined. Isn’t it Rupesh? You try to hold it in your fist but it slips in between the war of your fingers. Our futile dreams are the reason for everything. Politics trade our dreams for peace and peace cannot exist without war. What an irony! ’ She giggled after she finished saying everything.

War was at its peak. Nothing was interesting. No late night parties, no outing, nothing was there to do for us. Even the TV was filled with the war updates and the pessimist news. Therefore, the best thing we could do were the books. Now that I had met Nikita, everything seemed good for me. ‘We had to do nothing with the war. It will end when each side will exhaust.’ I used to say.

We continued to meet. When the world around me was suffering from worst of its nightmare, I had my most beautiful dream. Nikita was my dream. When the world around me was declining its hope, I was inclining up towards hope. The times of our visits multiplied. We started meeting regularly. We shared books, moments, smiles, tears and above all, compassion. We were friends, friends forever, but for me, she was more than a friend. A year full of war, hate and tears was the most blessed year for me, all because of Nikita.

It was just like our regular visit. We sat down for coffee. I talked of war, politics, books but Nikita was silent that day. She rarely uttered a word. ‘What’s bothering you? Are you fine?’ I asked her. She didn’t reply. She had tears all over her eyes. I could see her face. She was trying to be strong holding her tears but the damned tears, she couldn’t do anything. ‘My father is kidnapped by the rebels. He is a correspondent for the local newspaper. It’s been a month. We haven’t heard anything from him. And this was from today’s news.’ She wept out everything. She showed me a newspaper. I could do nothing. I didn’t even find proper words to say to her. A few days later, I heard the death of her father. I did everything to support her thereafter. But I lost the courage to express my love towards her. Still, we continued to meet.

Mr. Shah who lived next door to us had a garden full of flowers but jasmine always intrigued me. I find Nikita in the fragrance. ‘Mr. Shah, would you mind if I could take some jasmine from you?’ One day I asked him to gift Nikita. ‘What’s it for, boy ?’, a  lonely retired old man asked me. ‘It’s my secret Mr. Shah, but I can assure you, it is for someone beautiful.’ I told him. ‘Then my boy, you better show her the garden instead.’ With a grin on his face, he told me as if he knows every little thing about this earth. ‘How do you know it’s for ‘her’?’ I asked him. He just smiled and didn’t say anything. I brought Nikita in Mr. Shah’s garden. She was very happy. Mr. Shah pulled out a mattress, brought two-beer glass and a bottle of beer. He put them near the jasmine plant over the green Chinese grass. ‘Look after my house until I’m back, my boy’ he asked me. ‘Ok Mr. Shah I’ll’, I nodded.

‘Isn’t it beautiful’, she asked me.

‘Yes dear, it is indeed’, I replied her. She was looking at the jasmine with a dead jasmine in her hand. I put the ring on her glass of beer. Two years of friendship and I was proposing her between the most perfumed places on earth. She was my girlfriend now, officially and I was the happiest man. It was getting late and asked her if I could walk her down to her house. However, she denied. She kissed me, then took her lips near my earlobe and whispered, ‘I learned happiness from you. Thank you.’ She bided farewell.

I waited all night in Mr. Shah’s house but he didn’t come home. I slept there that night. Next morning I went to get the newspaper and the news tore me apart like a paper, ‘A girl died while saving an old man in a crossfire… An old man is in ICU and no hopes for him.’ Happiness never comes alone.

Mr. Shah is dead. I still sit in this garden, pass through this garden, look after these jasmines. I am still waiting for something I don’t know, caring garden for him and for Nikita.


Previously published in https://pwnbhtt.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/jasmine/
Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. 

When Beauty Disappears :(

By: Monica Pana

Last year I’ve presented to you the Tulip Symphony from Herăstrău Park. A Splendor in the Grass. A beauty that takes your breath away. A joy to the soul.
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mopana-tulip-09
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mopana-tulip-04
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mopana-tulip-02
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This year I present you nothing. Because it no longer exists. Because nobody is interested in anything. Because in their pursuit to death, people forget to enjoy and to enjoy others.
Because… what is beautiful… always disappears 😦
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It’s a shame!

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Please visit her site, look around! to read more of Monica’s fine work!

Redwood Summer Part I Chapter 1

By:- Robert Kirkendall

For Mom and Dad

The ball I threw while playing in the park

Has not yet reached the ground

-Dylan Thomas

 

SAN JOSE, CA 1990

Was it all just too good to be true? Jason was in the passenger seat of a work truck as he reflected on the life changing events of the previous few months.  He looked out across the austere expanse of Silicon Valley, one and two story concrete tilt-ups in a grid of pavement, as the truck passed one building after another.  I had a good job with room to grow, Jason recalled, I had all my friends, Christine and I didn’t have a care in the world. How did it all change so fast? Jason lamented, then wondered if all the good times were gone.  The morning sun was above the eastern Mount Hamilton range and shone across the late autumn sky.  The faceless buildings cast shadows on half filled parking lots and dry landscaping.

“So what do you think about all this?” Hal asked from the driver’s seat.

“Huh?”  Jason was knocked off his train of thought.

“You know, what’s going on in the Persian Gulf.  They’ve been talking about it on the radio all morning.”

“Oh, I guess I wasn’t paying attention.”  Jason once again noticed the news talk over the radio. He was a little annoyed at the interruption, then wondered how long his mind was somewhere else.

“Don’t you follow the news?  This is going to be major.”

“Of course.  I was just thinking about some other stuff.”

“We may soon be going to war,” Hal emphasized.  “What’s more important than that?”

“Look, I hear ya,” Jason agreed, “but I got other things on my mind right now.”

“More important than what’s going on?”

“Maybe not, but it’s important to me.”  Jason sensed Hal’s waiting for an answer. “You know, personal stuff.”  He tried to hold onto the series of memories he was thinking of as he waited for the intrusion to end.

“Okay, I won’t pry. But you might want to start paying attention to what’s going on. I’m too old to be drafted, but you aren’t.”

“No one’s been drafted in years,” Jason replied. “I’m not worried about that.”

“Well if things gets worse, you’ll hear about it,” Hal warned.

“No doubt,” Jason said reflexively.  They drove along further through the maze of nondescript structures.

“Well, maybe it’ll be good for the economy.  Wars usually are,” Hal pointed out.

“Yeah, as long as you don’t get killed.”

“Serious.  Look around this valley, all these tech businesses, they were built on orders of the Defense Department.  And with the Cold War over we need something new to keep the wheels turning.”

Hal continued to talk as Jason looked out the window in thought.  He tried to focus on the day and the job ahead, but the past kept drawing him in.  When did it all start to change? he wondered, the year started out really good, every weekend was a party, I was working toward my A.A.  Jason then remembered how credit card bills suddenly piled up at around the same time the rent on the house he was sharing went up.  When was that, he pondered, April? May?  He then remembered how his parents let him move back home so he could pay off his debt quicker, and how he told himself, and everyone else, at the time that it was only to be temporary situation, and everyone agreed.  But he also couldn’t help but be bothered by the idea that it was a step backward.

Jason leaned back in his seat and rested his arm on the window frame. Did my life already hit its peak? he worried, and does that mean all downhill from here?  His memory searched from the beginning of the year onward, then focused on a company meeting at his last job, not long after he moved back home, but when life were still happy.  That was a good day, he thought. They said everything was looking up, and the future was only going to get better. We were true believers.

Jason thought back to that day.


The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. 

Redwood Summer is a novel by the author Robert Kirkendall,  which takes place in the Silicon Valley during 1990. Stay connected for more chapters and updates. Also visit his wonderful website for his further creative works.

Message to the Despondent (SOC)

By: Jonathan Noble

You have been uniquely and wonderfully designed
Into an individual person of which there is no other
Nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be again;
And your self is of inestimable value
And immeasurable worth right now;
Do not give in to despair and despondency this day
Or any other day . . . God loves you
And someone else loves you, too!
Chances are you are valued by many people, in fact,
And you don’t have to change your face or language,
Your skin color or height, weight or sound of voice
To be the amazing person you are already as you!
And if you need to change your heart,
Then grab hold of love, peace and joy,
And especially hope and allow these to transform,
But don’t allow yourself to think you are a mistake
Because that in itself would be the worst mistake!
And whether you can quite see it right now or not,
You have meaning and purpose in life in this world,
A genuinely unique purpose no one else can fulfill;
Yes, you! The ‘you’ who you are, bright shining star!
And enjoy the world around you;
After all, it was finely crafted for you to truly enjoy,
Along with so many, many other people in your life!
No, don’t hide yourself away in some darkened hole;
Breathe in the Spirit and awaken your soul this day,
And begin to soak up Life in all its amazing grandeur!
You are worth it! Yes, you … You’re worth fulfillment!

Sad … But It’s Easier to be Icy

By: Monica Pana
 
“Spiritual diseases are no longer treated with hot teas, but with cold showers.”
 
I do not know exactly who said this, but he’s right. Often we are cold, we feel insecure and it’s hard for us to give a hug. Maybe age is to blame. A child is much warmer and more affectionate. He feels the need and he expresses that by simply offering.
 
We always want warmth, a good thought, a few words of encouragement. We need to hear and see. Although it is a paradox, despite the fact that we can hear, see and speak, we are largely deaf, blind and mute. We do not hear cries for help, we do not see the sadness that occurs behind a crafty smile, we do not console thru words the wounded hearts.
 
We do not want to treat a broken soul. We look with an icy and lost look to those around us without making them understand why. Angel eyes hide a demonic mind. A broken heart, bandaged in a stone of confusion. We produce in them doubts about their own existence. We forget them and then we need their warmth. But, eventually… human nature is cold. We live with disappointments, we disappoint others and, after that, we give up the need for warmth.
 
Sad… but it’s easier to be icy and to protect yourself than to risk and be fulfilled.

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Please visit her site, look around! to read more of Monica’s fine work!

Memories Are My Enemy

By: Monica Pana

I want to let a desire with minimal intensities to master me, thinking that I will not be led by my mind. I want to let the time follow its path without me in its way, but I let the past determine my future without knowing why.

I want to feel any feeling. Because when you feel something, it is more than an emotion, it’s a proof that you’re human.

I’m sick of everything I ever thought that can grieve me. I never thought that the greatest joy is the greatest sadness. That what I love will destroy me faster than people… I never thought that memories are the greatest enemy of mine.

Things are changing and everything goes away and you wait, but you don’t ever know what or when it will come. Why would everything you want come to you? How can you afford to have everything when you really don’t know what you want?

We are born with desires, we die with hopes. Hope dies the last, but we die hoping. Is there any reason to hope when you know you hope in vain? And when everything you do is against you? All you can do is to say “sad” and to go on with your gaze forward and your heart behind.


Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Please visit her site, look around! to read more of Monica’s fine work!

Student Athletes Emulate the Pros in Abusing Painkillers

By: NewsUSA

Sometimes we’re so caught up in all the pro sports stars whose lives have been wrecked by misusing prescription painkillers that we forget the problem extends down to the amateur level.

And, yes, that does mean college and even high-school sports.

At least one study put the number of college student athletes who’ve used prescription medications to enhance their performance at as high as 53.3 percent. And another recent study on high school athletes, published online in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, reported that 12 percent of male seniors and 8 percent of female seniors admitted to abusing painkillers.

To former ESPN.com columnist Gregg Easterbrook — who wrote about painkillers in his book The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America — it’s no surprise that the largest percentage of those young abusers play football.

“Youth and high-school players see an example that appears to be of men so tough, they laugh at pain,” he wrote. “The message sent is that young players should use their own bodies recklessly.”

So what’s a concerned parent to do?

Well, if your child is experiencing neuro-musculoskeletal-related pain from playing sports– spinal pain, say, from too many tackles or strained soccer kicks –first know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last March began urging physicians to avoid prescribing opioids for chronic pain in response to a record high 28,647 deaths involving the highly addictive drugs in 2014.

Know, too, that the most popular non-pharmacologic alternative to routine care is drug-free chiropractic care.

“Doctors of chiropractic play a key role in sports health care by providing hands-on care that help improve range of motion, flexibility, muscle strength, and other key performance factors,” notes the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress  Sherry McAllister.


Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.