Johnny Keeps Pulling My Hair

I’ve warned him many times you see
I’ve told him to beware
But Johnny never listens to me
He just keeps pulling my hair

Whether I’m sleeping or wide awake
He catches me unaware
He also never takes a break
He just wants to pull my hair

He knows it frustrates me a lot
He really doesn’t care
All he cares is the fun he’s got
From constantly pulling my hair

I’ve complained to Daddy quite often
He’s taken a beating there
Still his heart doesn’t seem to soften
Argh! He loves to pull my hair

Mommy it is up to you now
Put in his head a scare
Make him stop this thing somehow
I don’t want him pulling my hair

Let his hair grow a little too long
I think it is only fair
Let me grow a little too strong
So that I can pull his hair

Mom I Want A Pet Dino

Mom I have no bro or sis
But I’ve never complained about this
There’s only one thing I wanna know
Will I get a pet dino?

There are a lot of toys to play
But I can’t play them every day
They get boring beyond a point or so
Mom I want a pet dino

I’ll act very good you see
Only make one promise to me
To the store you and Dad will go
To get me a little pet dino

I’ll take good care of it too
This is, Mom, my promise to you
I’ll keep my room clean also
Mom I want a pet dino

I’ve never asked you for anything
Except last month for a giant sling
It’s not like I’m asking for a wild rhino
Mom I want a pet dino

Will You Swim With Me?

I’ll go swimming in the ocean
Swimming in the sea
Swimming with my best friend
Will you swim with me?

We’ll meet all kinds of creatures
From a starfish to a whale
When we see a seahorse
We’ll catch her by the tail

We’re sure to find a ship wreck
Deep down in the sea
With lots and lots of treasures
Will you split with me?

We may even find a mermaid
Or a swimming unicorn
Or an ancient mystic city
Where humans are reborn

A hundred-eyed octopus
I wish the most to see
Do you want to share the pleasure?
Do you wanna swim with me?

Mommy, Won’t You Play With Me?

Mommy, won’t you play with me?
I’m tired of playing alone
Nobody has any time for me
Mommy, won’t you play with me?

Daddy is at work all day
He never has any time to play
He always seems so busy
Mommy, won’t you play with me?

Jack doesn’t seem to ever care
He only loves to pull my hair
He’s always making fun of me
Mommy, won’t you play with me?

Granny doesn’t like to run around
She thinks my toys make hideous sounds
She only tells me her story
Mommy, won’t you play with me?

Mommy, please don’t say No
You’re doing chores, that I know
Can you spare some time for me?
Mommy, won’t you play with me?

Mommy, I think I have a plan
I’ll help you as much as I can
Then you’ll be completely free
Mommy, won’t you play with me?

Big Bounce – Part 12

Arya eased the silent tension between them, “There is another Sameer I know.”

“A friend?” a visibly nervous young man spoke.

“No, he’s a photographer and a writer and his works are simply awesome. Wait, I’d show them to you.”

The young man replied with a glint in his eye, “Oh, the blogger Sameer?”

“Yes, that’s him. You know him too?”

The young man simply chuckled in pride.

Arya shrieked much to the shock of other people sitting quietly in the cafe, “No way, you are the Sameer. I cannot believe it. Small world really!”

Sameer was too flurried to say anything.

Arya broke the silence again, “So Sameer is a shy guy. Well, what can I say? Nice to meet you. I am a fan of yours and you can give me an autograph later.”

Sameer turned more red with embarrassment, “Sure. Of course.”

“But there is one thing I don’t like about you,” Arya remembered something. “Your views on God are simply not compatible with mine.”

Sameer asked her curiously, “Care to elaborate.”

Arya explained, “You don’t believe in God, do you? It’s easy to decipher from your writings. There is a God. I have no doubt about it.”

Sameer was not going to take a differing view lightly either, “Looks like you have a proof.”

Arya explained again, “Some things don’t require proof. You just know it is there.”

Sameer disagreed, “That is so convenient to say.”

Arya continued with her argument, “Look around you, this world is so perfect and beautiful. This careful design could not have been just a coincidence. It has to be the work of someone.”

Sameer defended his view, “But what if it is a coincidence? I seldom believe in a thing without proof — my writing would reflect that too. I believe life is meaningless and we are here simply to bide our time and go away. Who created this world? I don’t know. Why was it created? I have no answer either. Until some evidence to the contrary is presented I’ll prefer to hold on to my view.”

It was at this point that a peacock began to hover over their heads sprinkling love potion over them.

Arya laughed, “I knew you’d say that. At least I got you talking. I guess we shouldn’t argue on our first date.”

Sameer laughed too, “Yes, that wouldn’t be a good start.”

“After marriage, when we look back at it, it would surely make for an enjoyable memory.”

“Arranged marriages are weird, aren’t they?”

Big Bounce – Part 11

“Arya, get here as fast as you can,” a panicky voice spoke on the other side of the call.

The bag of groceries in Arya’s hand slipped through her fingers on to the road as her heart sank. Her hand, holding the phone to her ear, trembled. She thought she would faint, but she gained composure as a cab honked for way.

“Is everything okay? What happened?” she asked.

“Nothing’s happened. All’s fine. Just get here.” came the response as the call ended.

She went through a plethora of emotions in an instant – an instant that felt like eternity. Looking at the skies, she prayed and hoped for something positive with all of her heart – it didn’t matter what, she just hoped for something good, though her mind was overladen with fear.

Cab – she had to find one quickly, but she couldn’t see any empty ones around. She couldn’t possibly wait for a bus at this point. She ran, as fast as her legs could, towards the hospital.

She wanted to call her brother-in-law again and find out the reason but something held her back. A little hope still lingered in her heart and she didn’t want it to be extinguished – not now, not later, never. She continued running.

“What did you do in school?” Sameer asked.

“What do you mean?” she replied.

“School sports. You are so bad at running. Did you ever finish ahead of anyone?”

“Who cares about running? I like to wrestle. If we were together in school, I would have beaten you up.”  Arya said as she twisted his arm behind his back and had him submit to defeat.

Today she did care about running. Today she ran like she was seven years old. Straight, fast and into everyone and everything that came her way. And she hoped Sameer had learnt a little wrestling from her and would not give in to submission now.

Some minutes later she found herself at the entrance of the hospital. She took a deep breath, wiped the sweat from her forehead and stepped in. She glanced around and found nothing unusual but this was only the entrance. Her heart rested on the third floor. She hoped it would be that way too when she reaches there.

The elevator would take too long. She climbed the stairs despite her knees warning against it. As she reached the floor, Pranav came out of the ward crying. “He’s not responding anymore,” he said as he rushed away in the long, crowded corridor.

She was numb now. She felt nothing – no emotion upon hearing those words except for fatigue from running. She slowed her walk as she made way to the corner of the ward’s other half partitioned by a pale white wall.

Her eyes first glanced at her father-in-law. He was holding Sameer’s hand and without an expression on his face. Then she turned, a little hesitatingly, towards Sameer. His eyes were open. His mouth was too.

Sameer was breathing, but barely. He was mumbling some words in acute pain but it did not seem to make any sense. When he saw Arya, he tried to lift his hand towarda her. She helped him with it and noticed the coldness of his hand. At that very moment, the pulse left his body and he turned cold forever.

Sameer’s father burst into tears at the sight. Arya remained numb and fatigued. No tears came to her. She had cried every night thinking about this. She had gone through this a million times in her head. At that very moment, she felt nothing. Nothing at all. She ran her hand on his face. It was cold and disfigured; his jaw – rock-hard, his eyes – glum, his lips – dry, his scalp – bald and scarred, his skin – ghost-dark.

“Why did you marry me?” Sameer asked.

“Ah, let me think. One – you are ugly, two – you are cold-hearted, and three…” Arya began to answer.

Sameer cut her off, “No, I don’t think I want to hear the third one.”

Arya answered anyway, “… and three – because God has written it that way.”

With knees too weak to stand, Arya sat down on a chair next to his bed and fell into an instant slumber. When she awoke, there were earthworms crawling and conversing on her body.

Big Bounce – Part 10

Last night’s screams still rang through her ears as Arya filled up the forms while Sameer was taken to his bed on the third floor of the hospital. After making the necessary payments, she seated herself next to him and watched as the nurses attended to him.

Though Sameer was the one diagnosed with cancer, Arya suffered equally. Every ache of Sameer resonated with Arya. Every time Sameer screamed, it echoed hauntingly in Arya’s ears. Every drop of tear that he shed caused a waterfall in her eyes. And now, in the hospital, every needle pierced through two bodies.

It was in the evening that his condition slightly improved and he gave off a smile or two while conversing with her.

“You know,” he turned to the nurse, “I think I must have done a lot of good in this life while my wife here must be cursed with a rotten piece of luck.”

“Really,” the nurse smiled back, “why do you say so?”

“I am fortunate,” he replied, “because I have married such a wonderful person who is taking care of me with all of her heart. I feel extremely blessed to have her by my side. On the other hand, she has married a guy who she has to tend to all day and night – a guy who disturbs her sleep, a guy who makes her skip office, a guy who is dependent on her for every little thing, a guy who can’t take care of either her or himself.”

Arya broke into tears and cut him off, “Now if you utter anything more I will kill you before any cancer would.”

“Don’t worry,” the nurse assured him, “if you are so fortunate then I am sure you will get well soon, and then you can take care of your wife and give her all your love.”

“Can you believe it?” a jubilant Sameer spoke, “We are finally married. It just seems like a dream to me.”

“I know,” Arya spoke in equally joyous tone, “it just seems too surreal. I cannot describe this feeling in words. My legs are so tired but my heart is jumping up and down.”

“You know what this also means?”

“What?”

“That you are stuck with me now,” and he gave off a devilish laugh, “you are bound to me.”

She rebuffed him, “Be ready to explain that smile when God asks you.”

“Oh why do you have to bring God in everything? You will be there to defend me there too no?”

“No, I will not be there. You will have to fight your own battles.”

“I am feeling much better now,” Sameer said as he awoke Arya from her chair, “You can go home and catch some sleep. Do eat something before you go to sleep.”

“Oh yes,” Arya rubbed her eyes as she jumped up from her chair, “Are you sure you are okay? I can stay for a while longer.”

“Yes, I am quite alright.”

“Thank God, I’ll come back tomorrow. You rest and let the nurses know in case you need anything. I’ll still tell them to keep an eye on you. Why don’t you call them when you need something? They’re doctors, not magicians. They can’t read your mind. Just ring the bell and let them know. Promise me? Great. Take care. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She got up and took her leave. Before leaving, she turned around to see him. He looked back at her and smiled as wide as his lips could allow. It was all the assurance she needed to know that he is and will be alright.

Little did she know that this was the last time she was seeing him smile.

Big Bounce – Part 9

After a few months of treatment, an appointment was set up with the doctor for his assessment and advice. They waited impatiently for the doctor to arrive. Sameer watched Arya as she paced up and down.

Arya was fuming, “The nurse informed us that the report is ready but I don’t know why they don’t let us have it. We can read it ourselves.”

Sameer tried to calm her down, “Why don’t you have a seat? The doctor will be here any minute.”

Arya wasn’t the one to be assuaged so easily, “He should have been here half an hour ago. Doesn’t anybody respect time here?”

She did eventually take a seat next to him, allowing Sameer to rest his head on her shoulder. Minutes passed like years until the doctor did arrive.

“I apologise for the delay,” the doctor said, “Why don’t you take a seat? See, I have gone through the report. So have you been feeling this pain for a long time?”

And he went on to ask a few more preliminary questions before finally giving his verdict.

“I’ll be honest with you,” the doctor’s tone turned grave, “the malignant cells have spread throughout the body and even chemotherapy hasn’t helped in diluting them.”

“Surely we could have a surgery?” Arya probed.

“There are treatments available. But considering all that, I am saying that Sameer has not more than two months.”

Arya grabbed Sameer’s hand instantly, “Two months for what?”

The doctor continued, “We could treat him but that won’t be enough. Even if we were in USA or UK, where they have the finest treatment facilities, we can keep him for six months at best.”

Arya was too afraid to turn and look at Sameer. She was afraid that they’d both break down if they looked at each other. She wanted to break down right there but she held her nerves.

“Instead of making Sameer go through any more treatment, it is my suggestion that you keep him home and spend whatever little time he has together,” so saying the doctor took his leave allowing them a moment alone.

Arya felt her blood freeze from head to toe until Sameer touched her arm, “Let’s go, Arya.”

None of them spoke a word on the way home. Arya wondered if this was the last time she was taking a cab ride with Sameer, if this was the last time he was resting his head on her shoulder, if this was the last time they were going to spend a moment together, if this was the last time she was hearing him breathe.

As soon as they reached home and locked the door behind them, Sameer erupted like a volcano in tears. Arya wanted to do the same but that was not the right time for it, “Do you believe in miracles, Sameer?”

“No, I don’t believe in miracles, Arya. I don’t. I don’t believe in anything. This pain just won’t go away and there is nothing I can do about it. I can feel it eating me every minute. I can’t bear it anymore. I simply can’t. I am too weak for all this. I am not made for this. The doctor is right. I won’t be able to survive. I can feel it. This pain has overtaken me. Please kill me, Arya. Please kill me. I don’t want to live with this pain anymore. If you love me then please kill me. I want to jump out of the window and kill myself but I can’t bring myself to do it. Please kill me, Arya. I know you are strong enough to do it. Please free me of this pain. I beg of you, Arya. I beg of you.”

Arya was too overwhelmed to comfort him. She buried her head in her hands and cried uncontrollably. “We’ll go ahead with more treatment. Miracles do happen.”

Sameer cried at the thought of having to go through more pain during the treatment. He could not decide which was worse: death or suffering. He kept crying until he fell asleep on the couch — all curled up and shivering. She put a blanket over him and then went to the bedroom to rest her aching head.

She closed her eyes and wept again.

“How can You be so cruel?” she asked. “What pleasure do You derive from making someone suffer like this? Where is the mercy in Your heart when You make a good man go through a disease like Cancer? Are we merely Your playthings that You can choose to treat us as You wish? What’s the meaning of this all? Is this why we were born? For your entertainment? Why don’t You just take him away instead of making him suffer like this?

“Take him away, just take him away now. Are You going to make him suffer like this for two months? Take him away, but don’t make him go through this, I beg of You.” She bit her lip so hard, with guilt overwhelming her heart, that it started bleeding. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t feel a thing. Meanwhile, a little butterfly fluttered across the room.

Big Bounce – Part 8

They stepped out of the clinic with heavy hearts and a light report.

Sameer wiped the sweat off his forehead, “I don’t feel anything like that. It’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s just a little pain that I am feeling and they tell me this. What has this world come to? Should we get a second opinion? Of course we should get a second opinion. I am sure something went wrong in this test. I had a hunch when they took my tests that something was not right. When the other clinic gives us a clean report, I am going to sue them for this mental trauma. This is crazy, isn’t it? How can they say anything like that? It’s just a small pain. What do you say, Arya? Wouldn’t it be right to sue them?”

Arya couldn’t look him in the eye, “No.”

Sameer was not ready to believe it, “No? Why no? Do you believe in this? Come on, you know better than I do. This is not what I feel.”

She spoke slowly but firmly, “We should not waste any more time. We should get an appointment and start the treatment as soon as possible.”

“Arya, don’t keep reading that cursed report. Look at me. Just turn and look at me for once.”

She didn’t budge. Sameer, then, got himself right in front of her face.

“Arya,” Sameer spoke in a worried tone, hugged her tightly and burst in tears. “I am worried. I am scared for myself and even more so for you. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die. I love you, Arya. I love you so much. Please don’t leave me. Please don’t let me go.”

Arya stopped herself from crying too, “Sameer, it’s alright. Nothing’s gonna happen.”

“You’re lying to me. Why are you lying? No, it’s not alright. This report is not alright. I am not alright. Please don’t let me go.”

“Listen to me. Nothing’s gonna happen to you. These are good times. Anything can be treated today. Nothing will be able to take you away from me.”

“Promise me?”

Arya assured him again, “I promise you, Sameer. If Death comes down to get you, I am going to punch him in the face. And he’ll run away if he values his own life.”

Sameer corrected her, “Death is a she, not a he.”

“How do you know? It seems like you have met before.”

“I just know.”

“Very well. Death is a she. Now stop crying like a girl and wipe your nose.”

“So what now? What do we do?”

“We consult an expert. He will tell us what to do next. Most probably he will tell us to go for a few rounds of chemotherapy. If things are good after that, then that’s it. There is nothing more to be done then. If chemotherapy is not enough then there are other treatments we will have to do. Either ways, you’re not going anywhere.”

“How do you know all this? Seems like you’ve been through this a hundred times.”

“I just know. So stop worrying about her?”

“Her? Who?”

“Death.”