The posts on the other blog shall remain as it is, but I will be updating new work only here. It feels so good to be back!
Aayush's head throbbed with a piercing pain as he curled to a fetal position on his comfortable bed. The sound of the incessantly ticking clock didn't help either. He wondered why his parents were so cruel to each other and to him, at times. Their continual mood swings irked him to unimaginable extents. Often, they fought even when he was around. Their Argument began with trifle things and almost always became loud and verbally violent. When he was younger, he'd sit and stare at them - numb, unable to comprehend why they fought like they did. Sometimes, he had aberrant memories of his parents throwing inanimate day-to-day things to express their anguish. As he grew old, he had learnt to live with it.
Aayush's grandparents were the only people who Aayush liked speaking to. He always looked forward to going to his Daadii-Daada's house in the hillstation. It was the only time, he looked forward to. The other times, he spent looking forward to that time. As the clocked now bluntly made sounds, he realized it was nearing four in the morning and he hadn't caught a wink of sleep. He was reminded of the apple orchards and the fascinating flowers of the hillstation. He didn't mind the cold weather either, as he had grandparents' warmth to look forward to. However, it was going to be a long time before his parents would take him to visit his grandparents. The thought made him sink deeper into sadness, as the truth that he'd have to survive many more days, all alone, dawned onto him bitterly.
The only thing he hated about his grandparents' place was a black Saint Bernard that they once owned. The dog was usually a silent creature, gentle enough to be kind when strangers walked in, but brutal enough to take charge if he suspected anything abnormal. Aayush remembered the Bernard and how it haunted his dreams. He remembered that day in the garden, when Waffle, the Saint Bernard leapt onto him, as if inviting him to play, only without warning. He was only six back then and after that, everytime he slept unhappily, he was reminded of the black furry coat and razor sharp claws. It was a recurring nightmare. It always was.
Aayush's Grandparents defended Waffle and told him that it was the only time that the Bernard acted like it did. Then, later, Aayush avoided Waffle and always kept a distance from him, with a morbid fear, even though Waffle wagged his tail apologetically each time he saw Aayush. Later, when Waffle had passed away, it was only then that Aayush had come to spend the time at the hillstation with the same joy that he did earlier.
A psychologist when told of Aayush's fear of dogs, even of small puppies, told his parents that Aayush was Cynophobic. That the nightmares were a psychosomatic reaction to the phobia and there was little or no chance of him overcoming it. Aayush even took a longer route from his way back home, as he was afraid of few homeless dogs wandering lost in the cold. It got to him everytime. Any mention of the canine and he would break into cold sweats and scamper for safety.
One thing was common, Aayush noticed. Whenever his parents fought, which for the past few years had happened almost thrice in a week, he had recurring dreams of Waffle attacking him, of him pouncing on him, clawing him and then, he lying on the ground - helplessly, too stunned to even scream for help. It always was the same dream. And it gave him chills.
His body finally gave up at about four thirty, as he involuntarily slipped into sleep. Just a few hours later, he woke up and went to school. School was just school. He had no particular friends, he didn't like mingling with them and they bullied him, which made matters worse.
He finished his homework and started playing on his playstation, when his father walked in. Drunk. It was only seven in the evening and still his father thought it was wise to be slurring away with a teenage kid in the household. Aayush's mother didn't take this lying down. She gave him a piece of his mind and a grand old fight erupted again. This time, it was more severe. The choice of words, and his father pushed his mother away, she fell down. She picked up a flower vase and threw it onto the ground, which shattered into tiny pieces. Then, his father slapper her. The whole atmosphere was too much for Aayush to take and he ran to his room. He pulled the blanket over his head and he could still hear muffled voices of their argument which refused to simmer down. He never felt so abandoned ever. He always thought of his parents behavior and he was perplexed as they behaved in such a ghastly manner. He never understood it. He felt as if, he was the reason for their fights and that his existence bothered both of them. He decided that, it had become too much for him and he decided to leave for his Grandparent's place. Pronto.
Finally the voices died down and the dysfunctional family of three had dinner together at the table, silently- as usual. After his parents slept, Aayush stealthily filled his backpack with all the clothes he could fit in and broke open the box, in which he saved money. He was low on cash, but he thought of going somehow, as he couldn't stand to stay in his house and that room for even a moment longer. He tip-toed out of the room towards the main entrance, as he successfully closed the door, without waking his parents up.
He took an auto to the railway station and stood in the queue to take a ticket to the hillstation. As his turn came and he stood at the counter, the ticket-rendering officer informed him that the money wasn't sufficient enough to buy a ticket for his destination. Dejected, he silently came out of the queue and sat on the portico of the railway station, unable to understand what to do.
The thought of going back made him dread with fear as he had no choice but to proceed further. He took an auto to the bus stand, but then he was informed that the last bus for the night had already left. It made him hapless and he wondered what lay next. He was seriously running short of cash and he was shaking with fear.
He waited in the bus-stand for few hours, before it was day break and he looked weary from a serious lack of sleep. He felt terribly hungry and he rushed to a hotel to have his breakfast. After coming out of the hotel, paying the bill, he realized he had very little left to spend and the only way was to buy a bus-ticket back home. He contemplated on various ideas, but he was unsure what to do. He walked away from the bus stand and towards the highway, where he though, he could hitch-hike a ride to the hills.
He kept walking in vain, as back home, his parents had discovered that Aayush was missing since morning and even filed a police complaint with the local police. His mother was sobbing, while his father was comforting her. They initially played the blame game, but then, they realized the bigger problem at hand.
As Aayush wandered aimlessly, he soon got out of the highway and into some alien location, where he was afraid of the place more than anything. He found a place, near the bark of an enormous tree, where he put his back-pack down, lay out his towel and slept on it. His stomach growled, as he started to feel hungry. He was nearly starving, but, somehow he managed to sleep. For the first time in many days, however, he slept peacefully, without any hindrance.
It was evening when he woke up and realized there was not a soul in sight. The place was an abandoned farm and was rarely frequented by anybody except by a few farmers perhaps. He began wandering deeper into the fields, as he was nearing exhaustion, depraved of food and water.
Finally, he saw light flickering from a long distance away, it felt like he found the road again, as hope dawned on him. His parents and the police belligerently continued to search every nook and corner of the town, and even his grandparents had been informed.
Aayush started to walk towards the light, as he felt something follow him. It was a small dog! Aayush started running away, as soon he saw the pup and yet, it followed him with wobbly steps. Aayush hated the pup that very instance, but it refused to give up. He stopped running and looked at it. It was only few days old, the pup, Aayush knew, it was tiny and yet, an irrational sense of fear clouded him.
Aayush walked away from the pup, the little blonde furred creature, it refused to give up on him. It was perhaps small in size, but it made up in its over-zealousness! It followed Aayush, and it kept following him. He was scared of the pup, but he couldn't make it go away. He even tried scaring it with a small pebble, but the puppy tilted his head sideways and gave him a stare. That's all it did. It was so young that it hadn't even learnt of an emotion called fear.
As he kept walking, Aayush realized the flickering light was pretty far indeed. He had made an error estimating the distance. As he found that he was barely able to walk, as his body screamed for rest and yet, the tiny little pup kept following him, not tired even once!
Finally, Aayush found an old shop, near the flickering light, which was perhaps the only place of human inhabitation in the entire surrounding. He walked upto it and boy, wasn't he hungry!? He bought all the things he could buy with his money and started partaking them without any thought. When, he was midway of eating, he looked at the puppy that stood near his leg. It was running around, making wobbly steps around, happily playing around him, with not a care in the world and he looked at it. For some reason, he stopped eating and went to the shop, asking the shopkeeper for a packet of milk, he made a makeshift cup out of a small paper container he had and poured the milk into it. The puppy lapped up the milk and looked at him with twinkling eyes, an insurmountable look of gratitude.
That was when, it struck Aayush. The pup was abandoned just like him. Left in its infancy, with no one to look after, with no one to care for, with no one to cater to even its basic food. Maybe, it had wandered out of its litter, maybe it had been scared off, but one thing, however, Aayush had an striking epiphany. Its undying attitude and its eagerness and the zest to live life, hadn't been bogged down one bit!
After the puppy finished drinking its milk he held it in his hand, scared and nervous. Overcoming his phobia took him a while, but when finally did it, the pup licked his hand. That moment, that very moment, he felt bliss. He felt all his worries were inconsequential.
He walked upto the shop keeper and asked him to make a call to the local police station. A constable arrived after a while on his bike and took him to the police station, where his family were waiting for him. Aayush saw that his grandparents were also there. What hit him the most was, his mother and father, they hugged him and promised to him that they'd never ever fight. He kissed them and he showed them the puppy, which he had christened 'Hope'. He had given up on hope, but hope never gave up on him :)