Tuesday, November 1

Tale of A (Not So) Beautiful Morning - (2)

Click here for first part of this story if you haven't read that already. 

The very moment I decided to remove the kettle from stove, another disgraceful fact was revealed, very shameful for a proficient man of house especially in front of critical eyes of a lady. Telling you that fact implies another disgrace, but as I have set myself to narrate those events, I have no other way except disclosing that shameful secret. The matter of fact is, well, I mean the truth is that there was no handle with the kettle.

The handle of my teakettle had left the kettle long ago after a fiery quarrel over the stove. History is a tricky subject to involve in such a matters if you ask me what caused that fiery quarrel, you can partly blame me for setting flames of stove too high and initiating the battle, but you can’t blame me for their parting. I had detected the odor of burning wood within 10 minutes of quarrel and took rapid actions to prevent the outcome but prevention is not an easy thing when a kettle and its handle have decided to part! Since then, I’m used to remove the kettle from stove by gripping its spout with help of a piece of cloth, and that piece of cloth was, umm, it’s even more inglorious part of truth, that piece of cloth was often one of my shirts needing laundry!! If you are by chance a single man living alone, I expect you to sympathize with me; otherwise you can smile, laugh, grin, scowl, frown or do whatever you feel like doing and continue reading.

She noticed my hesitation and before I could explain anything, pointed towards the corner of kitchen where the shirt that currently held the capacity of dishcloth lay! “You need that, perhaps …” That’s the most accurate definition of “Worst comes to worst” I ever got, if you understand what I mean!

Normally I’m a tidy person and like to dust off my dishcloth by hitting it with shelves but you know dispersing the dust in air in presence of a lady is not a much decent thing to do, therefore I decided to directly use it but the tea gushing from spout, more horrifically than BP oil spill this summer, wasn’t in mood of letting me accomplish my mission. I had begun to get irritated by that time, such number of humiliations before a lady in a single morning is enough to make any gentleman irritated, I hope you’ll be agree with me, a very little hope I mean.

In irritation, I called forth my commando skills to accomplish this task, without caring for the hot tea gushing from spout, I held the spout tightly with my current dishcloth and removed it off the stove with a sudden jerk, kind of swift commando actions those take seconds to complete! No doubt mine was a successful one, for one moment I thought I can really storm into window of, say, a room where a meeting of mafia dons is going on and rid the world of them in five seconds with my submachine gun or whatever they use in such actions and after another five seconds I’ll be freeing a very beautiful captive, comforting her “Don’t worry, I’m her! Danger is over!”

But a loud girly scream didn’t let my joy last than for more than one moment! Girls are prefect spoiler in every situation, really! I choked for a moment, like I have really stormed into a room where meeting of mafia don is going on but before I can do commando action, my heroine, tied with a chair, have yelled loudly and angrily “Dude, where is your gun?” Recovering my senses took somewhat longer than time spent in commando action but I was able to come back to senses finally and discover my kind annoyer Sarah rubbing back of her hand with palm of other hand and two very big tears in her eyes about to drop out anytime!

 It’s most inglorious part of story, hadn’t I set myself to narrate these events honestly, I could have said she was thrilled or surprised or bewildered at my successful commando operation, but the matter of fact is, a considerable amount of drops from hot boiling tea had flown off the angry kettle during my commando action and landed directly on the back of her hand, well, you can understand well what had happened!

I swear I didn’t know what I’m doing! You can’t blame me; we are never taught what to do if we have burned hand of a girl mistakenly. School and college teachers always insist on teaching us laws of Newton and theories of Einstein those have little value in world of such practical matters and this is a sad thing. We are left on our instincts to determine our course of action and instincts are said to be left over of hunter-gatherer age so it makes pretty much sense when our actions in such situation lack civility. I mean how you can expect a hunter-gatherer to know what to do when you have burned hand of a girl mistakenly. At first hand, it’s not known if hunter-gatherer were used to drink tea (Ever before that, it’s not known if they were used to have proper breakfasts) and even if they drank tea, it’s not known whether they had kitchens and even if they had kitchens it’s not known if they used kettles but even if they used kettles I’m 100% sure they had no office to be late and worry about. For all the lack of my civility, I blame hunter-gatherer man, who didn’t care much to explore manners of dealing with girls and left us in such dilemmas in the age when education system don’t know what we really want to learn.

Before you intend to punch in the monitor, pardon me again for my wordiness and let me tell you that for some moments I couldn’t know what I’m doing but when I realized it I was about to faint with shame. I was caressing back of her hand with my current dishcloth (My shirt, in order to remind you if you have forgot) and saying “Oh, I’m sorry, it wasn’t my fault” Though I could really not answer if she had asked who else’s fault it was. If this was an ordinary situation, I could make a good story about some ghosts living in my kitchen, determined to keep me single forever but it was an emergency and you know you can’t make good stories in emergency situations; hunter-gatherer senses don’t seem to have a literary taste! I have not told you the worst part though, the dishcloth, for being in use for more than one week, had absorbed a good amount of blackness and this all was being applied to her hand like a fine boot polish, I mean, really it had a good shine, rare for blackness of kitchen utensils.  

These were moments of utmost shame to me and were supposed to be moments of great resentment to her, naturally! But, for my surprise, when I looked into her eyes where two very big tears were floating moments ago, there was something else, something that you can’t name accordingly but can guess that it’s not sort of anger you are expecting. There was a pretty smile on her lips, the typical smile that girls have when they watch boys committing a folly in their presence but there was something more than that typical. I mean, when you see something typical you know it’s typical and you need not to feel anything special about it because it’s typical but when you feel something special when you are thinking it’s typical you know there is something more than typical.

Something that can make you forget that you are late for office and you have just lost your breakfast tea! Something that takes away the regret of a failed commando action even if you have stormed into a meeting of mafia dons without gun! Something that can make you forget that you are stood in small kitchen where a very stupid stove is still lit and a good lot of unwashed dishes and a shirt that is used as a dishcloth are telling of your clumsiness! Something that can make you feel like having had best breakfast of your life without having an actual breakfast at all! 

Something that can make you feel like you are walking in a garden on an endless carpet of green velvet, flowers of all possible colors and scents are waking from their night-long sleep and morning breeze is whispering into their ears just like, ahem, I guess you have understood what I mean; butterflies, fortunate butterflies those never have to worry about being late for office, are peeping out from behind the flowers they slept in (Hmm, I really don’t know where butterflies sleep but in my dream garden they sleep in flowers, using one petal as bed sheet and another one as cover) Something that scatters all over that garden like soft and saucy rays of morning sun, making you warm and as light and happy as a bird!

I’ll not pardon for my wordiness anymore, if you have managed to reach this far in this story it means either you have enough guts to tolerate it or you are enjoying it, in both case I don’t need to excuse. I just want to tell you that this sweet feeling had immediate effects, so much profound effects that I didn’t object at all when she also took almost half of sugar from jar after taking more than one dozen tea-bags from the carton and left the kitchen with a melodious “Thank you”. I have been smiling soberly all the time, but you can imagine how much soberness in a smile is left after all this! I bet it wasn’t better than smile of Tom when he is trying to act gracefully after a black and blue defeat by Jerry but she says it was very charming and beautiful smile, almost like a celebrity, though she never told me like which celebrity and I sometimes wonder if she means Mr. Bean.

When she left, at once all the humiliation vanished in thin air and I felt a wave of happiness, a intense feeling of joy that makes you feel like all that sunshine, garden, butterflies, birds and flowers are inside your heart and you are inwardly dancing around them. I threw the dishcloth-cum-shirt aside and rubbed my hands excitedly, and smiled and sung a song that had nothing to do with occasion, until an unpleasant smell told me that something has went wrong again and I turned back to find my dishcloth on fire, I had thrown it on stove in my high spirits.

Story ends here abruptly. You might be interested in knowing what happened afterwards and believe me I was much happier to tell you if there was really something to tell. But it proved to be much ordinary afterwards. We married after a few months and in these few months, no jealous lover tried to kill me nor did any kind of ghost or evil spirit tried to interrupt and give our story a horror touch. Neither a fierce father appeared to threaten me of breaking my neck in case he saw me around her daughter again, nor any mysterious friend told me an unbelievable story about her past. Nor did she told me one day that she is a CIA agent in fact and all she wanted is to extract some secret papers buried under the floor of my kitchen, nor did I have to tell her that I have been a contract killer in past whose name was symbol of horror in underworlds and I had to leave worlds of crime after some life-changing event and I was about to commit suicide if she didn’t enter my life as a purpose to live. I mean nothing really adventurous, interesting, horrific, tragic etc. happened. We simply married and are getting along with each other since then, I have never to worry about being late for office and she have never to worry about teabags or sugar in the jar, so we can say things are going smoothly! Though I still wonder if someday we’ll discover each other in completely new faces as Mr. & Mrs. Smith did. Hollywood can spoil your mind, really, if they don’t produce some funny too for the sake of keeping you sane, that’s only serious thing about them.

In the end, let me tell what caused me to write these events after years. For many days, she is asking me to buy her a new kettle because handle of old kettle is broken. Today I went to kitchen for something and found one of my shirts lay in corner of kitchen. The blackness it has absorbed told me it’s being used to remove the kettle without handle from stove!

Aw, you are laughing again and it’s your right, I also laughed so hard that it brought tears to my eyes!

Sunday, October 2

Tale of A (Not So) Beautiful Morning

That was an absurd morning from very beginning. Let me admit this is not a good thing to start a story with, when you are starting a story with a morning, it got to be beautiful and romantic, with warm rays of early sunlight caressing your cheeks, birds singing in garden and morning breeze playing with your hairs or someone else’s hairs, in case you are bald-headed (Caution: “You” doesn’t address the reader specifically, please keep smiling even if you are bald-headed). But that was not a beautiful morning in any sense. How can a morning be beautiful or romantic when you are busy scratching an almost empty can of shoe polish with your nails, almost screaming teakettle in kitchen is threatening of a spillover and annoying accent of morning-show's host is pounding your mind like blacksmith’s hammer.

 I’m sure you have started thinking why didn’t I turn off the TV if host of morning show was so annoying or why didn’t I run to kitchen if I really cared about my breakfast. This is typical of gentlemen (and ladies as well) to take on “Why didn’t you …” attitude in advance when someone tells the tale of his misery. Someday, lonely at home and worried of being late for office (or something like an office, there is plenty of morning troubles on this terrible planet), cursing a boss (or something like a boss, there is also a plenty of after-morning troubles on this planet) you’ll be able to understand the constraints those rendered a gentleman so helpless to bear with all that annoyances in a single morning.

Among such annoyances, constant ringing of doorbell wasn’t less than a bombshell, nay, constant bombardment! Even if you are thinking it’s my laziness to blame for all my troubles, you’ll be agree that constant ringing of doorbell, as though there is some kind of glue on the doorbell button that has caught the ringing finger, is an annoyance that no gentleman can do anything about but tolerate it or call names. You can see the latter option was not very gentle one so I preferred the former and tried to imagine there was no door bell ringing.

Ah, but world of imagination, no matter how calm and beautiful, is not a place to live in when the ringer has intended to not lift their finger from door bell until a heart attack or something like this happens to you, or you stand up leaving all the mess messed up, to open the door. For example, I tried to imagine it wasn’t shrill of doorbell but song of a fairy to soothe me among these troubles but a very loud hiss from kitchen interrupted, the same way a villain interrupts in movies when hero and heroine are going to some beautiful place to spend their holidays, reminding that teas spill over when you are listening to songs of fairies, and you have to realize in the end that there was no fairy while you have also lost your breakfast tea. Realties are bitter and bitterer when a doorbell doesn’t stop from ringing and you have no more milk in the house in case you lost this tea.

I had to fling the empty can of shoe polish on the wall with as much force as one can afford without breakfast but I was glad I could finally mute the TV to relieve my grinding teeth from some of their toil! I’ll not hide from you, in my heart I had called the ringer with all possible names before standing up, therefore, when I opened the door I was empty minded and didn’t know how to greet the person on the other side!
The very first glimpse of the visitor made me immediately glad for the fact that I had called all the names already. Otherwise, all those names might had burst out the same way parliamentarian etiquette burst out in evening talk shows and that wasn’t going to be a pleasant thing at all. I mean, it’s not a good thing to burst out in anger at a stranger like a parliamentarian especially when the stranger is a female, or let me be more honest, only when she is a female. If the stranger is male, you can shout out the very first word that comes to your mind and then second and then third. But it is different case with woman, if male population of world have got something called politeness, manners or courteousness whatever you call it, all of credit goes to female population of this planet. I’m sure if this world comprised of male population only, every second word in dictionaries of world was going to be vulgar, though men were never going to realize their vulgarity because there would be no woman to point that out. Pardon my wordiness; you might have guessed by now that the visitor was a girl.

Above the shoulders covered in pink silk, the makeup-less face of my kind annoyer hosted a flattery smile. A shining smile, like the morning sun that could make your heart sing like early birds, only if it wasn’t very typical smile of neighbors that tells you they need something from your kitchen. If you are by chance a good neighbor, it’ll be not difficult for you to understand what I mean. If you aren’t a good neighbor by chance, put a hand mirror in your pocket and go ask your neighbor to lend you something, immediately take out hand mirror and see your face in it and then examine the expressions of your neighbor, you’ll understand what I mean.

Meeting a girl early in the morning, even when she has rang your doorbell just to borrow something from you, has all qualities to make a morning beautiful and romantic! Even when your can of shoe polish is empty and your tea is about to spill over and you are worried of being late to office and all this sort of annoyance.

“Good Morning Sir!” She said, still smiling. Her voice was kind of musical, a melodious delight for ears that can make a morning further beautiful and romantic if you are not worrying that this voice will ask for something that you can’t lend or yourself running out of that thing. Both cases imply a bad impression on the neighbor and leaving a bad impression on neighbors isn’t a good thing, especially when, nay, only when …. Leave it, I have already told you.

“Good Morning Miss …” I put a question mark on my face in order to know her name, trying meanwhile to not listen to voice of teakettle in kitchen that was threatening to deprive me of breakfast, like an angry wife. 

“Sarah!” She got the question mark and answered accordingly. “I live in the house third to your neighbor!”

I had to admire her wise speaking, saying the house third to your neighbor make it sound closer than house fourth to your home. The rule is, a pretty neighbor in the tenth door is closer than a rascal next door, and therefore, taking in consideration the rude behavior of my neighbors, she can be easily called the closest neighbor.

“Glad to meet you Miss Sarah! How can I help you?” I hadn’t a mirror at the time but I knew my smile wasn’t less flattery than her even though I didn't intend to ask for anything from her kitchen.

“Ah, so nice of you sir …” She didn’t seem mannered very much, I mean, wasn’t this better for her to say Mr. and stop and wait for me to tell her my name. Titles like sir immediately put you in a patron-like feeling and brutally harm the attributes of a romantic and beautiful morning but you can see the damage has already been done. “Can you please lend me some tea or teabags? I ran out of both items last night, it was my fault, teabags were already finished and I didn’t see the jar of tea leaves is also empty when I …..” She seemed to be a story teller, kind of people those can’t answer a single question without stretching it to ten lines, even when you haven’t asked any question at all, like, like, hmmm, typical like me, you might have guessed by reading this story.

I felt like refusing her sternly, we men have also emotions and by this virtue, got the right to refuse an ill-mannered girl when she hurts us. I’d have churned out a polite excuse if a long and loud hiss from kitchen hadn’t announced that kettle has finally acted upon its threat and tea is spilling over the stove. Only words those I could say to her were “Let me see …” and hurried to kitchen. She followed me without my consent, proving further her ill manners, though you can blame me too of ill manners for not asking her to come in. Tea is a serious matter anyway, you really can’t pay attention to who will say what when you are about to lose your tea at very breakfast.

Once something goes mischievous, everything else also turns naughty. While shock of being called sir in such a youthful age and so early in the morning was still tingling in my nerves like an electric shock, the knob of burner got jammed without any prior notice! I can swear it was working finely when I lit the stove but it wasn’t moving a single micrometer now, I tried once, twice, thrice but failed. I like to slap or punch such stupid appliances when they do such things, so I raised my hand to slap the stupid stove too, it was inevitably to result in total loss of my tea (I knew because I had once lost my dinner for slapping my stove) but you know you don’t care much for result when you are in mood of slapping someone.

Before I could slap the stove, she spoke up. “Hey, kettle is about to empty, remove it from stove first!” God, why we men aren’t given this wisdom, I mean, why it’s very difficult for a man to learn that cookware can be removed from stove first and stove can be turned off later but girls seem to know this innately by virtue of some genes. I wonder why scientists, always trying to separate this gene and that gene, don’t try to separate gene that teaches girls to remove a kettle from stove before turning it off. I bet if they ever separated this gene, there will be a good lot of single men willing to get this gene transplanted.

Click here for part 2 of this story.

Wednesday, July 20

Rock at the Seashore

I'm born of volcanoes
Earthquakes are my base
I'm engraved by storms
Seashore is my place

I laugh with the winds
To blue skies I talk

Lightening is my looking glass
With centuries I walk

Tempests are my trumpet
Thunder is my anthem

Knowing my temporal being 
At an eternal peace I'm 

My dear treacherous world
Go over your savage store
 What else you got to menace 

A little rock at the seashore 

Tuesday, July 19

When The Veil of Color is Lifted

When the veil of color is lifted
The fragrance shines more brightly

Leaving the abode of flower
In embrace of a new world, it finds

Welcoming, blue sky's golden smile
Opened, countless gates of possibilities

And eternity, singing in wind's insanity
Excited to absorb an ephemeral life

(July - 2010 ! Thanks to a mystery and an awe for inspiration.)


Tuesday, July 5

The Wooden Heart - VII (Last Part)

Click here to read this story from beginning. 

When lady reached home, she had got fever and spent many days on bed afterwards, burning with fever, shame and rage.

Sometimes she thought it wasn’t fault of wooden heart but her own temptations. At other times she thought that it was solely because wooden heart, she was at peace before wooden heart entered in her life. Nonetheless, she missed the wooden heart, its bruises and wounds, its beautiful design, its nonstop talking and even its silence afterwards. Her mother listened to her muttering in sleep. “That’s all because of you, why did you make a promise that you were not able to honor.” At other times she listened her murmuring. “But it’s not because of you dear; it’s all because of me. We human, we traders of vain hope and futile dreams, dealers of false promises and delusive aims; how easy it’s for us to blame everything for our misfortune except ourselves.” Sometimes she also listened her saying “This is all because of you merciless woman! This is not fault of this innocent and beautiful heart that even can’t speak. This is you to put a false hope in my and misguided me.” 

When lady recovered, she had reached a decision. “Gypsy woman was a fraud and her predictions totally false, I’ll never think about her predictions again.  

She spent weeks and months afterwards trying to live dreamlessly, assuring herself that her life is a black hole perched in endless space, for whom time and change are words of past. But she had to make another decision later. “It’s better to live painfully with a hope, rather than living peacefully hopeless.”

 It’s not necessary for hope to have a name or a face. Hopes are necessary to live but not necessarily as names, faces or things, hope can be just a feeling, a though that something will happen someday and life will be not as it is now, sometimes hope is simply a piece of wood carved in shape of a heart with a delicate etching.  Lady had missed the wooden heart since the day she tossed it away on the street where tavern was located. It had become part of her life gradually and its absence felt like a loved one’s absence in home, like absence of his father, to say. She went in search of missing heart to the street where tavern was and stood at the same place where she listened to talk of boy with his fellows in tavern. She tried to recall the direction she tossed the heart and estimate the distance at which it might have fallen. She inquired children playing there if they saw any heart made with wood there. She promised a bronze coin whoever guided her to the wooden heart or a nickel coin for each if guides were more than one.

It didn’t take children longer to find the new owner of wooden heart. One child asked to other, he spoke to a third child who told about a girl he listened speaking about some wooden ornament. In the end, it came that wooden heart was in possession of a painter living in a hut nearby tavern. Painter wasn’t an artist as some might think; he was a laborer who whitewashed walls and fences of people’s homes and gardens. Peoples said he is mad and children feared him, no child agreed to go to his hut and bring the wooden heart back from him. They told lady that they can only lead her to the hut of mad painter.

Upon entering the hut, lady noticed that wooden heart was very first thing to be noticed on mud walls of hut bare of any decoration or whitewash. Door of hut was opposite the direction of sunrise and there wasn’t enough light inside the hut, yet it was darker if moderate flames of a clay stove were not helping the eyes of newcomer. She was afraid to meet with someone not better than carpenter’s drunken assistant. But the discovery amazed her that painter didn’t look mad by any aspect, when he said “Hello” his voice was gentle.

“This wooden heart is mine” Lady said to him after exchanging greetings. “I bought it from carpenter in the carnival for a silver ring and I’m rightful owner of this”  
She couldn’t see the changing color of painter’s face due to insufficient light. She just waited for his response and then repeated her words again. “This wooden heart is mine; please return this heart to me.”

“Were that you?” Painter’s gentle voice turned into a furious grumble at once. " Were you that root of misery?"  Lady couldn’t understand meanings of this reply unrelated to her question nor why at once his gentle voice has turned into a grumble. She thought painter was really mad. Some mad people look very reasonable until you come to know their madness from close.
“I don’t understand what are you saying? This heart is mine, please return it.” Lady said, retreating by a few steps towards entrance of hut.
“You want it back?” He grumbled louder “You want it back? Ok, take it back” Painter removed the wooden heart from mud wall of hut and threw it in flames of clay stove. Waxed surface of heart immediately caught fire.

Lady screamed as though her own heart was put on fire. “Rascal, what have you done? O what have you done” She cried. “Why did you throw it in fire?”

Painter stood still, motionless, without caring to reply her question.

“Why did you throw it in fire?” Lady shouted again, tears sliding on her cheek like raindrops on glass of a window. “Ah, cruel fate, were not all these wounds and bruises enough for you to crucify me that you had threw my heart into a fire” She hurried to pick the burning heart from stove but cruel, merciless flames didn’t allow her to touch it, there was enough heat to push back her hand immediately.

Tears of woman have a magical softening effect on men’s heart, painter wasn’t unaffected by that magic. “What’s matter lady?” His voice was gentle again when he spoke. “Why are you crying for this piece of wood so badly? What’s special with that?”

“You can’t imagine how precious it was” Lady replied among tears.

“The silver ring you gave for this heart, right? I’m sorry. I’m a poor laborer and can’t compensate all your loss but maybe I could even some of loss caused by my foolishness” He said.

“It got nothing to with cost of this heart. I wonder if you can understand. It’s all about the bruises of this wooden heart; they were very similar to bruises of my own heart. Can you imagine how difficult it’s to find a heart so similar with your own heart and how precious such a heart can be?” Lady said bitterly, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Ah, lady I wonder if you can understand what made me throw this wooden heart in stove” Painter said with a sigh. “Let me admit it was really my foolishness. I get angry when people call me mad but perhaps I’m really turned mad. I’ll find you another heart like this; this is my promise that I’ll find you another wooden heart like this. That will be not exactly like this heart but it’ll compensate for your loss somewhat.”

“There can never be another heart like this, you don’t what you have destroyed” Lady replied “But I’ll like to know what you have to offer”

“Meet me here in my hut after three days” Painter said. Just before leaving the hut, lady noticed that painter’s eyes were as tearful as her own eyes.

Lady wasn’t sure if there will be anything worth visiting when she re-visited painter on fourth day but for her surprise, there was a new wooden heart waiting for her.

“My Goodness” Lady exclaimed. “This is amazing, this is magical. So similar to my previous wooden heart” She examined the heart. “Design is different, it’s simple yet beautiful but not as fancy and delicate as the previous heart but I don’t care for it. I care for underlying bruises, this is real magic. They are so much similar to bruises on my own heart, so much similar to bruises on the burned heart and same skillfully blended in the design.”

Painter smiled. “I’m glad you liked this heart lady. I’ve somewhat compensated for my foolishness, I hope.”

“But who carved this heart?” Lady asked “I’m amazed how the pattern of underlying bruises is so much same to the previous one?  Wasn’t this a very difficult thing to do?”

“This is me who carved this heart and this was me who carved the very heart that was burned by me!” Painter replied.

“Good God! Was that you? But you are a painter, how come you carved that heart? Carpenter told me that heart was carved by his assistant.”

“I’m the carpenter’s assistant, former assistant, to say” Painter replied with a smile, as readers would have recognized by now, he was the same broken hearted boy who carved that heart in darkness of a very dark night. “Now I’m a painter. Carpenter fired me one week after you bought that wooden heart from him”

“Why?” Lady inquired.

“He wanted me to carve more hearts like that. He said that was something for what rich people will happy to pay a silver coin.” Boy said with a sigh. “The silver ring you gave him had lit the fire of greed that no water of world can put out.”
“You’d have carved more fine things like that, that was not less than a magic” Lady argued. “But why did he fire you? Did you refuse to carve more hearts like this?”

“I tried my best to carve another heart like this, believe me. I couldn’t even carve a rightly shaped heart let alone etching a design on it” Boy replied. “This turned carpenter angry, he thought I’m making fool of him. He accused me of cheating and said that I wasn’t carving another hearts like this lest he’ll be rich. He called me a bad apprentice who betrayed his master after learning from him and finally fired me with the warning that I’d never think about doing woodwork in the town or he’ll put my workplace at fire.”

“Got it” Lady said. “So, was this the reason you threw that heart into fire but why did you keep it before I met you and demanded its return?”

“I was in a love-hate relationship with that heart.” Boy admitted. “You can’t imagine difficulties those I faced after losing my job. If this wasn’t for bruises of this heart those were so dear to me, perhaps I’d have put it on fire the very first day I found it again. Just when you told me this was you who bought this heart for silver ring that brought me all those miseries, I couldn’t control the rage heaped layers upon layers inside my heart.”

There was a long pause afterwards. Today, hut was not as dark as three days ago, it was late afternoon and sun was shining right in door of hut. Sunshine was roaming freely everywhere inside the hut, hugging the mud walls and kissing the straws hanging down from thatched roof. Lady began to feel a something strange but she was unable to understand or name that feeling.

 “But how came these bruises are so similar to bruises of my own heart?” Lady asked. “You say this pattern of bruises belongs to your heart while I see this very similar to my own heart.”

“I don’t know, I really don’t know.” Boy replied. “Though let me tell you one thing, for many days after carving that wooden heart, it seemed to me as every person in this world has a wooden heart squirming somewhere inside them to be carved out, to reveals its bruises and tell its story to world. I wondered if each of us could etch bruises of his real heart on wood, how many hearts we’d have seen similar to ours.” He paused for a while and then continued. “I wondered why God didn’t give everyone a piece of wood and tools of carving so they could carve out their hearts when in utmost grief. Had not I carved this wooden heart that night, the lump shackled in my throat had blocked my breath and carpenter might have found me dead on work bench next day.”  

“I’m not able to understand all this” Lady admitted, intensity of strange feeling was growing. “As I don’t know of what night you are talking about”

“There is a long story behind that, lady!” Boy replied with a sigh. “Better leave that story untold and don’t pay attention to these bruises for a while. Just look at these flowers. Didn’t this fact surprise you that I failed to carve a heart when carpenter asked me? I don’t know how I carved this heart again like I didn’t know how I carved the heart now turned ashes. This heart is not carved by skill of hand but something that rhymed with beats of my hearts”

 “I’m thankful to you for being that kind to me.” Lady said, trying to understand his eloquent speech dotted with ambiguity. “These flowers are beautiful … These flowers ….. These flowers” Words staggered on her tongue suddenyl, it was as though a lightening flashed inside her and lightening was accompanied by a thunder that has left her thunderstruck. 

“These flowers and this sun with rays on top corner of heart, my mother knit this design on my sweater. This was only design that came to my mind etching this heart, it’s not as delicate as the previous design but it’s beautiful ….” Boy stopped, he felt something strange and saw widened eyes of lady.

"It’s more beautiful than any design carved on anything in world.” Lady’s voice was trembling; she had fully recalled the second sign given by Gypsy woman that she worked hard to bury in grave of reasoning and repentance. “You’ll recognize him when he’ll grow flowers in your heart.” She didn’t need to verify that boy before him was the person predicted by Gypsy woman and wooden heart now turned ashes. She wanted to exclaim “Bruises of this heart, similar to bruises of your heart and mine heart at the same time, are most beautiful design ever existed on Earth, ask me why and let me tell you a story too.” But instead of exclaiming, in a low voice that didn’t tell the intensity of her emotional state at all, she said. “I have some broken furniture that I want you to repair. Will you please come to my home this evening to see that? Don’t worry about carpenter; there’ll be nothing to provoke him. Just some minor works that even a painter can do easily.” 

Boy, trying to understand the strange feeling that had filled his small hut with something pleasant but incomprehensible, just nodded his hand. There was something that had just made the sunshine smile and straws hanging down from roof dance. That strange thing wasn’t only in sunshine or straws, that was in eyes of lady as well and even though boy couldn’t see his own eyes, he was sure that strange thing was in his our eyes as well. Eyes with which he looked into eyes of lady and found a bright flare there, not like the last gleam of a lamp about to douse but like first ray of sun just rose above streams and waterfalls of a green valley in a summer morning. Eyes those looked the lady going out of hut, walking on street gracefully and disappearing at the corner of street. Eyes those noticed just a moment before her disappearance that color of her dress was the same that boy’s damsel of dreams wore the first day boy saw her and last day he met her. Then boy sat down and began to think without thoughts and feel without feelings.

He didn’t know, for sure he didn’t know how important those few moments of strange feeling and flare were. Great moments of our lives don’t come with beat of drums and sparkle of fireworks, they just step in silently and only when they step out softly, leaving deepest mark of their presence on our hearts and our lives, only then we realize splendor of those moments. We gather scattered memories of those moments and keep them like diamonds and rubies in our heart. In dark times of life, they glimmer like moon and stars in dark night. Then one fine and calm day reveals what these diamonds mean to us, like when boy realized the purpose of moon and star on dark blue muffler knit by his mother. When he realized red flowers and warmth of bright sun doesn’t always stay with us, sun leaves us in night and flowers leave us in autumn. Then, these are stars and moon those remind us that world is not collapsed and life is not ended, that there will be another morning after the night and there will be another spring after the autumn.

When we read a story, we justifiably expect an end. Readers might be curious about end of story so let us consider an end before we leave this story. If this was story of lady and boy, it can’t end here because there followed days, months and years of them together, making up moments those don’t necessarily make a story but make a life. If this was story of wooden heart, it finished when boy threw the wooden heart in flames of clay stove. Events before making of wooden heart and after burning of wooden heart fall in the category of prefaces and annexures.

 We can consider it to be the story of passion that engraves bruises on hearts, the passion that etches dreams on hearts, that blends those dreams into bruises and make art, beauty, poetry and life out of that blend. The passion that carves a wooden heart with blurry eyes and trembling hands in darkness of night, that makes a piece of wood talk, that burns silently in flames of a clay stove with stars and moon and reappears renewed with sunlight and flowers. Though, this story can’t end even if it’s story of that passion. Story of this passion never ends; it just takes a break from one name, one face, and one situation to appear again somewhere else with new names, new faces and new situations. This story started with first dawn of humanity and will end with last ray of life on Earth.

However, taking guidance from tradition of storytelling, we can end the story with traditional end “They lived happily afterwards.” Sparing for your imagination to fill in the answers of questions like “What happened afterwards? What talk lady and boy had that evening and what followed next?” There are never perfectly “happy afterwards” though, being human means an endless fight at battle front of life. Shortly after end of a battle we find ourselves engaged in another fight with life, there are invasions of new problems, new fronts to fight at. Therefore, we can’t say “happily afterwards” with certainty though we can be certain they never suffered with life as badly as they suffered before meeting each other. There was, at least, a shoulder for them to rest upon in weariness and a hand to hold in uncertain times. So the life goes, with its bitterness and sweetness hand to hand.