Dear Andrew….

“They stood up from the noisy chair which eased their tormented minds in times of loneliness & hugged him close near the rusty gate of the front lawn, just to embrace the the warmth of their parting son. They searched for each other with cold shivering hands to find strength as they heard the dying footsteps slowly fading away. For the first time in their lives they felt the helplessness. It was the first time they felt the pain of being blind”
Dear Andrew,

We hope that you must have reached safely. Your Aunt Suz had dropped early this morning. She said that the train stations were jam packed this holiday season. We felt a bit worried. 

David took me to town today, your mum wanted to make some cheese cake this thanksgiving. I tried looking for a turkey , but I guess these days turkeys are born with diamond legs, so we bargained for a loaf. 

Son, it was really hard for me to say goodbye to you. I sat on that porch all day long trying to hear the sound of your ford, but I guess I was being too kiddish. Your mum was singing all day as if she was so happy today, but my son I realized all the songs she was humming were your favourites. She misses you a lot!

Every night we hold our hands & pray for your wellbeing as we sit for dinner, but sometimes I just become a little selfish & pray for your mum as well. She has never asked for anything except your well being. I sometimes feel her tears in the silence of setting evening & I always try to reach for her eyes to wipe them off. Indeed she is clever & knows how to wipe them before I reach there. 

My son, sometimes I want to take a walk through our garden & smell the roses that bloom every spring, I wish to walk through the fields of barley & run my fingers on the buds , sometimes I feel like sitting on the quiet porch & ask you was I a good father? But every time I feel like doing any of this, my stick reminds me that I have darkness in my eyes & noone to guide me back home. 

Be happy my son , with every passing day we pray for your well being. Give you children everything that I couldn’t give you & play with them. Tell them stories, hold them close, feed them properly & love them enough. Tell them who I was & who your mum was, I wish they remember us sometimes & I wish we could see them ever. 

I wish we wouldn’t have lost our eyes in that fatal accident. We regret not to be able to see how our boy looks now. I have imagined you in shadows, but I hope you shall always remember our wrinkled faces. You maybe away from us but we think of you all day long. I hope you also think of us sometimes.  Time just flies away, I sit remember you pushing off on that bicycle which I got you on your seventh birthday. The childhood birthday stuffed bears still smell of you, your orange baseball cap still lightens my eyes. Uncle Sam asks for you when he drops by with his ice cream cart, the truffles still tastes the same. 

I apologise that this time we couldn’t show you around the town. I guess I have forgotten the roads somehow but I hope to see you soon. 

We take good care of ourselves so don’t worry about us. But still try to write us back, we wait for your letters every Monday as David comes this way just on Mondays . He is a good lad he reads your letters for us. I always wanted to do so much more for you my son & we try our best  but unfortunately we are old & blind, so I hope you shall never hold a grudge against us.

Lots of love,

Roger Mathew

15/F Oakwood hills,

Minnesota 

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Dear William Family…!

Dear William family,

Sometimes you hold a pen & think of writing your own story. I guess it’s time you hear about the serenity which walked through my days of life. I always wanted the generations to know, what a beautiful feeling it is to be able to love someone. 

While I was a young theatre enthusiast in France, the Broadway’s had a elite of it’s own. The work of Jean Vigo was at its prime & on a sunny afternoon of 1962, while I watched in fascination the art on that stage, a lady entered the silent auditorium full of deafening silent audience with a greased cloth bag up her shoulder..! What a aura she had! It felt like graceful joy draped in a long linen shirt. I loved the way she faded off the darkness with that gallance in her smile. I couldn’t stop myself from striking a silent conversation with her.

Kids sometimes while you talk to someone you already get a clue how that person is going to impact your life.everytime it’s almost undescribed but strongly felt. By the spring of 1963, we had weaved our own hideout from worries. She found peace in me & I? I had already found my solace around her. The time just used to rush to dark & I used to love holding the brittle sun lights in her thoughts. 

Ha! My girl..!! She had a mystically pure soul just like the silk stretched upon the curtains of a dreamy house. A calmness which I searched yet never found. She made me fall in love with rains, the cold drops of joy which brought the child come alive in me, the fresh brewed coffee to go with the equisite blend of her words, the gallant smiles which lived in freedom from artificiality & above all she made me fall in love with her.
Children, believe me I never saw a prettier woman than that woman who used to run her finger over the cup of her coffee while she innocently sipped the soberness out of the dark latte’s. 

With the onset of summer, I married her. The joy of that summer morning still glares through my skinny cheeks as I think of her. Children, your grandma was the prettiest bride who walked the aisle holding onto her grace & hope. 

I vowed:

“I shall hold you in your joy & sorrows. In sickness & health. In worry & good. I shall be faithful to the promise of loving you all my life & growing old with you. I shall respect & protect you against all evil. Never shall I run over your desires for my ambitions & above all I would let the kid in you be alive all my life, till I die. Amen”

Kids! She held onto my belief & we just lived our life basking under the glory of each other all our lives. With flaws & without them, with worries sometimes & without them. I never felt alone till the fateful evening of 1979. That day when I saw her breath her last, I helplessly held onto her. She held your father right to her womb &I kissed him for eternity , silently holding my hand just like the day she held it on the alter & bid me goodbye. While I put her in my arms to lay her to rest, her closed eyes had a stare that ripped through my heart.After all we both vowed to be there for each other all our lives, but she didn’t keep her vow.

Your Grandma was an elegant lady & the love of my life. Your old man feels weak & alone after she left. The tunes of Beethoven still remind me of our first dance & the coffee seems so cold now. 

I might have probably died when you shall read this letter, but do remember kids, hold onto the love of your life because someday you ll have your own story to write. Just make sure it’s the best.

I love you Christina !!!

With love,

Greg William

15/A, Churchill lane, 

New Jersey

Dear Anamika….

He glared silently at the thoughtful face, chasing every frowned faded line of sigh. He stared at her face just a glance which became a memory forever. The silence between the eyes echoed in the thin air, deafening the noise of the world. He knew something had happened.

She just forced her eyes staring away as she tried to not show the obvious worry n her face.He just knew, “SHE FELT GUILTY”. He knew he was her guilt, so he just forced his feet to walk away never to fall in love again.

Dear Anamika,

 “Before God, we are all equally wise, and equally foolish”

Sometimes in life there comes a time when you can’t stand tall & look in the eyes of the one you love & ask her what had happened, as you clearly know the reason behind the irony.

It makes me wonder was our abstract love  right or was the tradition? Sometimes I ask myself can Lord be so dividing that he made me a son of a Dalit & you a daughter of a Brahmin. You know, Baba always used to tell me all these castes & creed are more of a hoax & we all are equal, I’ll go to him & ask him, why did he lie to me all my life?  Why didn’t he tell me that I don’t have the right to decide whom to love & peacefully spend my days with. You know they say I can’t even enter a temple, I guess if they are right then even God doesn’t want to be by my side , then how can I blame you, you’re just a human. 

They forget Nandanar who was rejected by the priests but accepted by the god. They forget “chokhamela”, the Dalit poet who made the world fall in love with his poetic verses. They overlook the “Raidas” Aka Ravidass whose teachings are a part of the holy “Guru Granth Sahib”. They look upto BR Ambedkar & The Mahatma Gandhi but never  believe  their enemity against casteism. I wish I could show them we are also humans &I we are just same like them.

The panchayat  has decided that I should leave the village, despite trying my best I couldn’t make it upto them. I hope you ll remember me in your best stories & read me in your poems.

I am sorry Anamika you have to feel ashamed of me, I am sorry that my caste makes you believe that you’re guilty of accepting someone who is rejected by the world. I am sorry for being born in a house which didn’t have a right to love or live. 

I can’t explain to you how does it feel when you know that you’re a mistake of someone’s life even if they are your wish come true. I’ll ask that Lord someday why did he make such a divide that every heart has to think before falling in love & every mind has to suffer while parting away. I’ll ask him let him decide whose Lord is he?  If theirs then which is my Lord & if mine whose theirs?

Goodbye. I hope who shall always be a proud Brahmin & I’ll always be a silent Dalit.


With love,

Arun Bhogta,

Rohtas, Bihar,

India

Shanti Villa, Lane 3, New Friends Colony,New Delhi

She looked upon the all the beautiful smiles well preserved within the 8×10 frames of her wedding album. She flicked each page to bask under the tale of her smiling memories trying to ignore the long telephone rings from home.

“Wasn’t I so damn pretty, “ echoed her mind as she looked up to feel the marks on her face. Her eyes too swelled to paint a picture of the days when she was promised a world of joy under the shades of dusted golden autumn leaves. Leaving her home felt like a beginning of a new life, unknown to the darkness of the person she tried to find her home in. 

To,

Shanti Villa,

Lane 3,

New Friends Colony,

New Delhi

Hello!

My love to everyone. You all must be wondering where did I just vanish, no letter , no call. Sorry I was a bit occupied here, after all settling in a foreign land isn’t an easy thing to do. Everyone is fine here & I have already started to adjust well. The sunsets are beautiful & the place is breath taking. I hope all of you are doing great.

I can’t tell you how happy I am here, Saurabh doesn’t let me do anything. He takes care of everything & honestly I feel like a queen who just keeps on ordering. Yesterday Saurabh was telling me that Maasi had called & she was worried. I wonder why was she worried. He told me that my brothers friend had told them that I had marks on my face. Dad tell them I had fallen that’s why I had those marks. Try not to call again, Saurabh doesn’t like it.

I couldn’t be more happier ever, this feels like home. My husband really loves me. Sometimes I pinch myself to realise that it’s not a dream. 

Mom dad I really miss you. Not that I am not happy but I really miss you all. I miss the way dad used to fulfill my every wish & still never made me feel he did something for me. I miss the times when I used to shout on you mum. Please forgive me. I wish I could spend some more time on that balcony with you talking about the world. 

Yesterday while going through our wedding album I couldn’t stop myself from crying when I saw those gallant smiles on everyone’s face in the family picture we clicked. I spend my days looking at those smiles & I forget for a moment that I am in an unknown land. 

My mother in law is so supportive & takes so much care of me but Maa of course  I ain’t the one she gave birth to. I wanted to send you a picture of me & Saurabh but these days he is so much occupied with work that we hardly go out and for me I have developed a strange allergy on my face so I ain’t able to click a picture for you. I am so happy with him Maa.

Saurabh is a great guy, sometimes gets angry but then he settles down in a while & never has a day come when he hasn’t made me feel that I belong to him. 

Maa you would be happy to know I have started praying so much now. Though I have nothing to ask from Lord but then I don’t know why I keep pleading him. I wouldn’t be able to come home this Diwali , He has a meeting in India so all the family from here shall travel to India & I’ll have to stay back to look after the work. But don’t worry I love it here. I’ll be fine. 

I miss you so much mum dad . Try to keep sending me letters, I feel someone still remembers me when I get a letter from home. I have to go, I think Saurabh is here. 

My love to everyone back home. Tell them I miss them all so much.
Love,

Supriya

105, Franks street,

Singapore

Dear Ellie….

“The wind seemed to arrogantly hit the shivering walls of his shelter under the never ending skies. He sat there with a cup of hot coffee in his hand wrapped under the thick layer of gloves, trying to hold that pen firm enough to pen down the betraying emotions. As he heard the wind bashing to scare, he crept silently under the warmth of calm nostalgia. 
Dear Ellie,

I did it Ellie, I conquered Everest!!

I am writing to you from a camp at 17,598 ft above sea level on the southern side of the Everest. 

Honestly speaking I never thought I’ll find a peacefully noisy corner in this part of the world to in write to you. It’s been ninety one days since I have been away. I keep counting the days as the thought of being away has started to sink in. I hope you are good & still believe that my passion of climbing peaks is what defines me well. 

I can’t put the feeling in words when I saw the world right beneath me & yet that overpowering urge to get back to that world that seemed so chaotic a while back. I realized that sometimes chaos is all that keeps the life worth living. As I saw the sun going down from the highest place in the world, all I could think of, was you. I couldn’t help myself from remembering your pale face as I drove past the dusty road of the ranch. 

Ellie, you were right. I spent my whole life trying to find my way up through the steep unforgiving terrain of a lonely mountain while I kept overlooking every glance of peace from the eyes of the people who meant so much calm to me.

Ellie now I know, “peace is where love is”.

With every step up that gripping Ice, I felt cold & lonely. I felt tired. Every time I Inched a step up I fought with myself to take many steps back. However, probably it was the promises that I had made to myself which made me kept gong. However, this deafening silence which hollows you from within made me wonder how would you have felt in all these years, being around a person who tried to find companionship in the loneliness when the joy of being together was so much peaceful. I can’t wait to get back & walk that aisle putting on my best suit & from there after live my every moment of joy & life with you. Thank you for holding onto me when I couldn’t see the world clearly under the veil of my passion. Thank you for being a thrusting force to push me out of ignorant state of dilemma.

Usually it’s shivering cold here, but last evening as the rays of Crimson sun fell on this majestic mountain, I so wished you could be here. I tried my best capturing it in my Polaroid but Sherpa says by the time I get back home the reel might be exposed. Let’s hope it doesn’t. 

Brijesh (My Sherpa) keeps on telling me tales of the mountain, he says that the mountain is sacred & it’s the mountain which decides the passage for people.  I don’t really believe in it but I can’t even deny it completely.

I am expecting to get back to Texas by 30th July. I have so much to tell you, try to get a couple of days off from work. I guess finally I believe what someone once said,

“Happiness is real , when shared…..


With love ,

Joseph 

Base Camp,

Mount Everest,

Nepal

29th June 2017

Dear God….

“They walked past the minarets of serenity within the house of Allah, they heard the peaceful sounds of temple bells for Shiva, folded hands while glancing at the Granth Sahib, nudging every wheel with inscripted chants of bliss within the temple of Buddha. Everyone had a different name but none knew the right word of God. Helpless they stopped looking for what can’t be found & found what they always overlooked”

Dear God,

I must admit I feel a bit nervous while writing to you. I have no idea from where should I start & where to put a period. Honestly I don’t know your real name, so I’ll prefer to call you “God”.

There is so much I feel like asking you but I feel scared. I feel worried. Some say if I do things my way I might burn in hell, others tell me that I might be reincarnated in some hideous animal. While some shun me off whenever I ask. So finally I thought of writing to you. Mayb I get a reply someday.

God, I wear a skull cap & in absolute ablution I bow down my head in your grace. Nothing gives me more peace. But when I cross a temple wearing the same cap, they tell me that the scripture says that you live within the form of the idol. I light up a lamp & the sound of that temple bell gives me calm. The moment I hear the carols beneath a cross, I feel alienated because of that mark on my forehead, the priest tells me that the truth of your being lies within the sacrifice of Jesus on that cross. Sometimes a turban stands for my honour & faith. 

I tried chasing away my sorrows by ruining my shivering fingers through the beats of Tasbeeh & Rudraksh. I see people walking barefoot on mountains & bathing in rivers. I see people chanting for you & I also see people crying for you.

God, I don’t know if you know those men or not, who say I am a murderer & I terrorise people because I call you Allah. I also don’t know do you know those who kill millions in a ego to make people believe that your real name is Ram or Allah. God, What is your real name?

I thought you had made me just like any other human being, but you never told me that a Dalit can’t be equal to me. You didn’t even remind me that ripping off people in explosions is a deed. 

Why didn’t you tell me that if I am poor I can’t hold my esteem in the world. God, I thought you were impartial but why didn’t you tell me what you taught all those who teach the same things to the world in your name? 

My mum keeps praying to you all the time still she remains ill, where does all those prayers go, when you ain’t even hearing her out. Why did you promise her that you shall be there when none would be.

Last evening I gave some money to a person who didn’t have a leg, he had torn clothes & a shabby frowned face. His little kid held his hand while he struggled to walk & still he lifted his hands & prayed for me. Even after so many worried he looks upto you, just you. Why god why? Why ain’t you listening to him?

I’ll have to go , mum says it’s time for prayer & she never misses any chance to pray to you. Please listen to her this time. Try to keep my letter only to you, if people see it they might term me as an atheist and lynch me to death. I am a human God, I feel scared in the absence of you.

With love & Hope,

Imran Rakesh Mathew

India

Dear Amina….

He held the steel with the strongest of his grip hoping that someday the guard shall bring him the words of his freedom. He lay there in the dark, besides the crowd of broken hopes, under the roof of silent sighs. Every night as he closed his eyes the nostalgia of the past lives through his mind. He reminds himself everyday the promises he had to keep & hopes to find waiting arms as he walks towards the dawn of freedom.

Dear Amina,

Life is so strange, today when I picked up a pen to write to you I had a grim image of your being, it makes me wonder have I been gone for too long or have you stayed away for longer? Anyways, I hope you’re fine & mom dad are also doing good. Have the children forgotten their father? Do they ask for me ever? How much taller have they grown? Aaru must be 10 already. Gosh ! I miss you all.

Amina, they say I may be released soon, after all they also understand that I am innocent however I still have a sinking feeling, because they have been saying this from the past 7 years. I tried my best to still be your Prince Charming, but the dusty walls of their jail paints my face too old with every passing day. I still survive on the aroma of your kitchen, seeped within my senses & every time I bite into a pebble in the food here I remember the laughs over our dinning table. It’s hard to live here Amina, sometimes I think of ending it up for me but then I hope to see Aaru & you all . 

The floor is too cold here but I somehow manage, somehow run my mind towards the warmth of the morning blanket that you used to put for me. I hope my Aaru knows that her dad isn’t a criminal. I hope she knows that I have her in my heart & hug her  2×3 sized picture every night before I sleep. I hope she goes to school everyday & honestly I can’t wait to hear rhymes from her mouth. 

The lines for washing of clothes are just too long so ask mum to stop weaving a sweater for me. It’s hard to wash it here. Ask Abba if he still believes in his son? My heart still skips a beat when I think that, What if they also think I am guilty. Tell them I ain’t. Does Abba still pray for me with his every sujood? Does he sometimes look down the alley searching for me when the evening knocks in the valley?  Does Mouji still wait for me over dinner? Does she still go to Mamu s place to talk about me? 

Take care of yourself. I have to go, the Hawaldar is here to switch off the lights & they broke my leg  the last time I didn’t follow the rules. Believe me the other day in the court I could sense that the judge was convinced that I was innocent, but then strangely truth had no value & evidence of truth is fabricated to make it a lie. I still have faith in him, he seems like a nice guy.


With hope & love,

Shakeel

Barrack 4, Tihar Jail,

New Delhi

19/06/2017