Choices … {Part 2}

Well, on a story front, one fine evening (or morning), I suggested to Pixie that we write a story together. After putting it in the pipeline for a while, we started on a story recently. It’s a three part story (2 at her blog and 1 here) titled CHOICES, with poems for all three parts written by me. This is the SECOND PART of the series. Read the FIRST PART at the Pixie’s blog.

Pranav woke up to the pitter-patter of rain. He smiled. How much they loved the rain, Shruthi and he. They would ride around the streets of Pondicherry on his bicycle, the morning drizzle almost like a blanket around them, the fragrance of fresh jasmine coming from her hair as she sat in front of him.

That morning, the rain seemed closer than he had ever heard before. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, and saw a smoldering fire at the entrance to a tent. He could hear the thunder rumble. For a moment, he wondered where he was. Then he remembered. He remembered the day he looked back from a car and saw Shruthi’s silhouette slowly disappearing. He remembered the day he had got his orders and been sent to the camp. As he slowly crawled to the entrance of the tent, he remembered the first day he had seen the beautiful valleys of Kashmir and the mountains that rose toward the clouds. Sitting at the entrance, he felt a few raindrops slide down his arms, and he continued to watch the storm in silence.

He heard a noise, and turned around to find Alam waking. Alam was his partner, his friend, his ally in the regiment. The two of them had been sent for what their commanding officer called “survival training” and Pranav could have sworn Alam might not have survived if he hadn’t had the nous to calm him down often. Well, he had memories of Pondicherry close to his heart, and that helped him find courage even in the most difficult of training. He reached for a sheet of paper that lay folded in his duffel bag. Alam couldn’t help but smile. How Pranav had snuck that pencil and paper past the officer was beyond him. He watched Pranav write as he began to add more dry sticks to the fire, and set the kettle to boil.

“My dear dearest,

Today the skies are dark, and the rain has been falling all night. The valley though looks as green as ever. If you were here, you would love it. The flowers in are in bloom, the skies are as blue as my eyes when it is not raining. I see you everywhere still. In the night, I see your hair, left open; those few strands that fall on your face which I see in the moon. I see the twinkle in your eyes in the twinkle of the stars. I can hear your laughter in the music of a little girl’s payal. But it is your smile, the one that I see in my own, which keeps me going. My words are the beats of my heart, and they are for you. Oh how I miss you my love.

far I may now be,
but our heartbeats,
they are so near;
with you so close,
it gives me hope,
I’ve nothing to fear.

it is our love now,
that keeps me going,
so I can return soon,
be with you again,
under the sunshine,
stars and the moon.”

He couldn’t wait to get back to base and send it. He wondered if there would be a letter from her too.

* * * * *

Every morning felt the same for Shruthi. It had that anxious wait to hear the ring of a cycle bell. Before, it used to tell her the arrival of her beloved. Now it signaled the arrival of his messenger. She twirled around when it came, to find the postman looking at her with a smile as he handed her an envelope.

“Is he doing well, my child?” he asked her, but she had just taken the letter and disappeared to the back of the store. She didn’t hear her uncle answer in the positive.

Reading his words, his poetry… it was like a breath of fresh air. With each word she read, her heart seemed to beat faster and slower at the same time. She read it, then read it again. She looked out a window, and she could see the sea in the distance, hear the waves lapping up on shore. She had to write. She wanted to write so much, but most of all she wanted him to know that he was always in her heart too. She smiled, knowing what she would do. He wouldn’t expect it from her, and she could picture his reaction in her head as she searched for a pen and paper.

* * * * *

“not as good as yours,
my love for a rhyme;
but with you inside it,
my heart tries this time.

to say that I love you,
no words will suffice;
but this, my first poem,
that’s what it now tries.

like the beach we love,
like your hands in mine;
if I never forget those,
I know that I’ll be fine.

distant you are not,
but I know it feels so;
I will love you forever,
and never let you go.”

There was no dear dearest, no news from around her, nothing but a poem on a piece of paper. But the smile on Pranav’s face was bigger than it had ever been before. It was a poem. Her first. That no one else had read. It was special, more than any words could say. Time had flown by, but it was as if nothing had changed.

As he put the letter down, Alam came inside, telling him that the commanding officer wanted to see him. Pranav smiled. The call wasn’t totally unexpected. He had put in a requisition for a month’s leave, citing his marriage as the reason.

His commanding officer Singh looked grave as Pranav entered his cabin.


His face fell. Singh never addressed him on a first-name basis usually. He knew something was up.

“I cannot sanction the leave. Before you protest, let me continue. You are the best in the regiment. Your calmness under pressure, your ability to analyze the situation… all the qualities are second to none. I cannot sanction the leave, because I need you for a mission.”

Pranav listened as his commander explained the situation. And once again, he knew that he had to make a difficult choice.

oh these choices,
they break me so,
but it’s one I must,
I cannot be sure,
this choice I make,
my heart I trust.

walk away I must,
I cannot turn back
and look at you,
I must not forget,
the oath I took,
for a mother too.

When he returned to his quarters, he took a sheet of paper and began to write.

“My dear dearest,

Today, I’m very happy, but I’m sad too. Happy because my commander has decided that it is time that I test my capabilities in the field. Sad because it means I will not be able to write to you for a while. But I know you will be near me always. I’ll keep your first poem in my pocket forever. Wish I could tell you more, but I have to hurry once again.

for you, a verse,
from my heart
where you stay;
keep laughing,
keep believing,
come what may.
no distance is far,
know you know,
our love is true,
and in my heart,
always there is,
you, only you.

Beside him, Alam looked on, waiting to see him smile. But it never came.

* * * * *

Shruthi sat at the store’s counter, looking absentmindedly at the road. It had been two months since his last letter, but she believed that all was okay; just like he told in that last poem. She had written many for him too, and she waited to hear from him before she could share those. She knew he would be the happiest of all.

She looked across the road to see Pranav’s father crossing, and coming toward the store. When he entered, she felt he looked worried. He didn’t say a word, but just took a postcard out from his shirt pocket and gave it to her.

As she read it, she began to shiver. As the postcard slipped from her hand onto the floor, her tears fell freely. She wanted to forget what she read, wanted to keep believing, but the words continued to echo in her head.

“It is with deepest regret that I, Commander Sushil Sandeep Singh, must convey to you the news of Pranav Subramanian’s death in the battlefield.”

The THIRD PART will be at Pixie’s blog soon.

(25th June 2014)

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Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

36 thoughts on “Choices … {Part 2}”

  1. Finally, after a gap. I know it wasn’t by choice (oops….couldn;t help but use that pun), but i had to re-read the story on Pixie’s once again before I headed back here. Nicely executed Leo. I know its a love story, but is a tad too mushy for my liking. But overall nicely done.

    • LOL at the pun, Sid 😛 Glad you liked the piece overall. I didn’t think it was too mushy when I wrote 🙂 but will tone it down if I write another love story in the near future 😉

  2. There isn’t any good love story out there without some serious heart-ache and sadness! Perhaps that’s what makes love real. Very nicely told, Leo and Pixie 🙂 Waiting for part 3 now.

  3. The story is heart breaking, the emotions are so real, the pain is felt by the reader too. I love the way you write, love the way you convey the emotions felt by each character of yours, but you should know by now that I didn’t like the news the postcard brought.

  4. That was so heart-wrenching! Love the flow of the story! And the way the prose and verse have merged so well! Eagerly waiting to read the final part 🙂

    • Thank you, Deeps 🙂 I’m glad you liked the flow and the way the prose and poetry went together. The next part will be at Pixie’s blog soon.

  5. Loved the story, both parts. Felt the second part more engrossing, as it was delving deeper into the story build up. Amalgamation of prose and poetry was smooth. The last poem to Shruthi was touching. Looking forward to a twist.

    • Glad you loved the story, and felt my part was delving deeper into the story build up 🙂 The last part is now up at Pixie’s.

  6. Tragedy is cosmic… Nicely expressed the longing. I can relate to it being in such a long distance relationship and writing was my only way of communicating with my emotions…

  7. Gosh! It’s so tragic and love can be so sad. Gripping narrative and love the idea of weaving poems in the story, like adorning the beautiful garden with roses:)

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