Are You Afraid Of The Dark? 

It was past midnight. I was sitting on one of the half-broken benches in this deserted alley. Not a soul, but me, was to be found in this abandoned place. I was sitting with my legs crossed and stroking the fringes falling over my forehead when I heard a deep voice echo behind me. The voice would have scared the life out of any person sitting here alone, but me, because my imaginative mind realised that this voice just didn’t emerge out of nowhere; rather, it crept up my mind and whispered into my ears, “Are you afraid of the dark?” 

I sat still for a while. I don’t know how a normal person would have reacted to this question, but, an evil smile slid across my burnt face. I looked behind me in the direction of the voice and called out boldly, “No.” 

The Voice of the Dark must have been taken aback at this reply because it took some time to get composed before asking me yet again, “Aren’t you afraid of the dark?” 

Keeping my calm, this time, I whispered back to the Voice of the Dark in a soothing tone, “No, I’m not.” 

“Why? ” came the thundering peel from behind me.

 I had perhaps wanted to be asked this very question since time immemorial. I didn’t need to ponder over this simple question for a long time as would any other person have done. My quivering lips formed a pattern of their own even without my realisation. From deep inside of me, deep down from the core of my subconscience, an angelic voice whispered back, 

“I have stayed both in the hours of the broad daylight and the hours of the ghostly darkness. 

The daylight has always judged me by my outward ugliness while the darkness, unable to see my tattered face, has judged me by my inner beauty. 

The daylight has constricted my imagination by presenting a painted picture before me while the darkness has laid out its jet black canvas for my imagination to make it look stunning with the unseen colours. 

The daylight has made me feel lonely amidst the chattering laughter that has always excluded me from the merry conversations while the dark has helped me analyse my happiness by finding peace through introspection during embracing my loneliness. 

The daylight has made me helpless with its enormous trouble and over-confident with the trivial ongoing. By presenting the obvious obstacle along with the expected victory or defeat, the daylight has taken away my zeal to fight back. However, the night has thrown unknown challenges at me and let my courage and my determination decide my fate. It has taught me what it feels like to fight the unknown and the unseen. It has taught me to hide my strength as my ultimate weapon and use my weakness as my ultimate strength. 

So, in one sentence, the darkness has prepared me for the life ahead.”

The Voice of the Darkness stayed numb. A deep sense of remorse and regret overpowered it. It thought that it had pushed me into the painful core in which it itself was agonising. 

Right then, my lips quivered once again, and, this time, it got transformed into an angelic smile and whispered to the Voice of the Dark, 

“Those who had never been out of the broad daylight into the pitch darkness don’t know how beautiful the dark is. ”

The Voice of the Dark stood dumbstruck with a tear rolling down its unseen eyes… 

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Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Right in the bang of the night, 

When my heart was fluttering low, 

I popped up with a question in my mind – – – 

If you’re my friend or foe… 

Igniting a fire that no one can douse down within me, 

You had changed me for whom I had been before, 

Transforming me into a character so strong, 

That I recognise myself no more. 

Slaying every wound that comes my way, 

You’ve protected me like a nurturing seed, 

Neither letting me get burnt under the scorching sun, 

Nor quenching my thirst with more water than I need. 

Hammering me like a hot, iron rod, 

You’re now shaping me into the mould 

That would emerge victorious at all phases, 

Turning every metal with a hue of gold. 

Illuminating my heart and soul always 

You’ve made me your Angel, come what may, 

So, I’d like to thank you on this auspicious day—

My dear Phoenix, wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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The raindrops kissed the earth and said, “We are your homesick children. Have you forgotten us? We have come back to you from the heaven.” 

Just when almost the entire city had fallen into a deep slumber, my searing pain made my eyes fly open in search of help. I threw my arms around, but, yet, I could not fight the pain. Even though my throat was dry because of my fear, I managed to scream out in utmost pain only to remain unheard. 

I was all alone in the house. My husband had been sent to Pakistan a week ago to resolve the enmity as far as possible. As a loyal officer serving under the Indian Foreign Service, he had left his expecting wife all alone with a promise that he would be there in time for the delivery. Alas! It seemed that, this time, he would have to break his promise. 

Wasting no time, I somehow strangled myself up from bed and reached out to the bedside table. I had heard somewhere that taking a long and deep breath really helps in combating a difficult situation. Trying to do the same, I swiped through the glowing screen on my phone and dialled the first number on my phonebook : AMBULANCE. 

It seemed that the road outside was waterlogged because every number I dialled simply refused to come to my rescue despite my helpless condition. No! I wasn’t helpless! As an IPS officer, I had faced enough critical situations and had emerged victorious too. If I could fight against all odds even some months ago for the safety of my nation, I could do so for my own child as well. 

With this new light of hope in my eyes, I pulled myself up from bed and groped my way to the kitchen in search of a knife. With the knife in hand, my shivering legs could not hold my weight any longer and I let myself collapse on the floor. I writhe in pain and shrieked out at the top of my voice!

After almost a quarter of an hour of unbearable pain, when my body was beginning to lose hope, a warm, familiar hand removed the knife from my loosening grip and held me tight. I was not strong enough to listen to his words as my ears had turned deaf by that time. His moving lips filled me with a zeal I had never experienced before. I don’t know what had gotten over me, but, the last thing that I remember is that I yelled like never before and pushed with every force I had ever had in my body before a shadow was cast over my reddening eyes and my body became limp. 

I don’t know for how long I was unconscious. When I opened my eyes slowly, the golden rays of the sun lit up the entire room I was lying in. Just then, I realised someone, very tiny, lying close to my bosom. As I was about to slowly shift my weight towards the sound of the soft breath, he lifted me up and helped me sit up against his warm chest. With a quivering hand, for the first time, I held my little baby in my arms, and, my eyes immediately swelled up with tears. Not only was I happy that I was now a proud mother, but, I was also touched because my husband had indeed kept his promise. We locked eyes with each other for a moment before he made my forehead wet with a soft kiss, hugged me tight with our baby in my arms, and, whispered into my ears, “My strong and beautiful Angel, our cute, little Princess has finally arrived.” 

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