Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 7

Chapter 7

At the dining table at the Cruise’s, the table was scattered with papers, bent over them three heads, belonging to Jennifer, Alex and Nick. As soon as Jennifer told them of her plan, both screamed in unison, ‘No freaking way!’

Jennifer had invited Nick to her house to plan their next move. He had gladly agreed, and Jenny had started liking his company very much. He always knew the appropriate thing to say, and when not to. He cracked okay jokes when the atmosphere got too tense. He also contributed good ideas, however crappy they may seem later.

Yet, so far, they had had nothing. Each of them gave ideas which were rejected by either one of the two. And Jennifer was tired. ‘Come on guys, we can’t be hopeless?’ she cried at 7:30 evening by the watch.

‘Yes we are. Listen, it’s getting late. I think we should all sleep over it and think of what to do,’ Nick said, gathering his stuff of the table. ‘Listen, Jules is your sister after all. Maybe you can take some tips, about you know, how to do this.’

‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ she said irritated. Then seeing the expression on his face, she said dejectedly, ‘I’ll think about it,’ she groaned, ‘okay! But this one last time.’

‘Cool, I’ll see you tomorrow at school. Are you leaving too Alex?’ he questioned.

‘Yes, just five minutes. Jenny, I’ll do some research off the internet and see how this is done. I may even talk to Earl,’ her neighbour, who had stood in the city elections as an independent, ‘and I’ll call you later.’

She stood up and left with Nick, who was waiting patiently at the door.

Tired but so, she made her way her way to Jules’ room grudgingly. Her and Adrian’s room was entirely pink, pink carpets, pink walls, pink sofa, pink bed sheets. She felt as though she was entering a parallel universe which was only pink. The main feature of their room was a mirror that covered up the entire wall facing the room, and a small wooden slab that extended along the breadth of the mirror. The slab was littered with bottles of perfumes, nail polish, combs, curlers, and all sorts of beautifying cosmetics ever invented. As she entered, she saw Jules sitting on a small stool, in front of the mirror, straightening her hair. Jules saw Jennifer enter.

‘Aren’t we in the wrong room?’ she commented.

‘No we aren’t. I wanted to ask you something,’ she replied awkwardly, ‘I know we don’t talk and all, but I want to ask you something.’

‘What? Your T-shirt back? I don’t have it,’ she sarcastically said.

‘Well, I’m sorry for that. I was just irritated when you had come, and so I was bad. Listen, how, I mean, what do you do-’ she hesitated, ‘I’ll get straight to the point.’ Rushing forward she said, ‘I have given my name forward to something social. I want to know how you do that. Become popular, that is. Because what I’ve done needs public attention immediately.’

‘What have you done?’ she asked suspiciously.

‘Well, I have, um, offered my name, um for the elections in school. And this can only be done, once I am popular enough to get voted to win.’  Long silence prevailed while Jules digested this, with Jen standing in front of her, her face on fire, literally. She had already hung her face so as to avoid all the color, that had nonetheless, come. Once she felt that the danger had passed, she allowed herself to peek. Jules looked shell shocked, a frown resting on her face, and arms folded above her chest.

Finally, Jules said in an eerily calming voice, ‘You did that on purpose, right? You couldn’t bear to have me enjoy my share of popularity this year now, could you?’

Her words stung, not only because of what she said, but also because of what she meant. However, before she could dwell further on the matter, her sister ordered, and her voice as hard as steel, ‘Get out. Get out before I do something terrible.’

An assortment of emotions made themselves present while Jennifer made her way across the room. On the way to her room, she saw sprawled on the bed, watching the television. Feeling the day wouldn’t be worsened if she talked to her; she went inside, ‘Mom!’

‘Hey, are your friends gone?’ she asked nonchalantly.

‘Yes.’ After some deliberate thinking on the pretence of watching the TV, she asked, ‘I haven’t had the chance to talk to you for a long time now. Everything fine at work, at Jules’ school?’

‘Of course. In fact, things couldn’t be better at the job, and my elder daughter seems to be paying attention to what her mother is saying today, which is as good as a gift that anyone can ever give. Besides that, Jules seems to be getting her mind off the puberty changes and seems to be putting her popularity to good use. So it’s great going for me,’ she informed. After a while, she asked softly, ‘What about you?’

‘Oh I’m fine, just the usual high school drama,’ she answered vaguely, but her mind had stuck on to one sentence that her mother had said, “and seems to be putting her popularity to good use”.  She knew she had to ask. ‘Uh, mom. What did you mean about Jules putting her popularity to good use?’

‘Well, she is going to contest the school elections this year. She got herself written down today, with some Okra woman. She said there is another senior girl who has signed, but she’s pretty confident of herself. She told me that the posts for the treasurer, the secretary and the editor were the most preferred. She said that Mrs Ohra-’

‘Okra,’ Jennifer corrected.

‘- had told her that her chances are pretty high as the other girls are not like her, pretty, smart, popular too.’ She suddenly started, ‘You know, when I was your age, popularity was not important. What mattered was that how good the good was, excelling not only in academics, but sports and drama as well. There were a few things that were a must in the kids selected. Loyalty,’ she counted them off the fingers, ’team spirit, sincerity, integrity, laborious, and lastly, honesty.’ She held up a reminiscent finger, ‘Oh those were good days, they were. No responsibility, no prohibitions, no seriousness, all of us were children that time. I wish you had been there too; you would have enjoyed that time a lot more than you do this one. With everyone loving you for you who are, not who they want you to be. I admire you for that, for your uniqueness. ’ She moved back to the TV.

‘Yeah, me too,’ Jennifer whispered.


Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Jennifer woke up the next morning. She was still lying on the bed when she heard Alex shout, ‘Jenny, come down, it’s getting late.’

She jumped from the bed and made her way to the bathroom, with her eyes half closed and SMACK! She slammed into the door. The bathroom was locked. She cursed, grabbed her secret toothbrush from under the mattress on the bed and started brushing. With a calm peaceful head, she decided how to deal with this whole “Nick Issue” as she had started calling it. Once thing was certain, she would have to contest the elections, there was no way out. She had to prove Nick, Adrian, Jules and Jason wrong.

She made a quick plan. While getting dressed, she took a pen and a pad and wrote down:

Things to do for Elections:

  • Find the school counsellor. Talk about your attitude.
  • Buy school newspaper and find the Election coordinator.
  • Talk to coordinator and sign up as a contestant

She put this list inside her jeans’ pocket and moved downstairs, where Alex was sitting on the dining table with a cereal bowl in front of her, reading the morning newspaper. Jules was applying lipstick looking at a small mirror, and her mom was still in her gown, with a cup of coffee in one hand.

‘Hey there, you slept well?’ Alex asked, smiling as she saw Jennifer coming downstairs. ‘I’ll make you coffee.’

‘Thanks, but I’ll skip, I suppose. I’m not hungry today,’ she said and made her way out of the front door.

She heard Alex packing her stuff and saying, ‘Thanks Mrs. Cruise for letting me stay. I had a really good time.’ She turned on the car and honked, twice.

Alex came out looking hurried, and flushed. ‘What happened?’ Jenny asked. ‘Nothing,’ she replied, and they drove to the school in silence. Finally after they parked at school, Alex said, ‘So girl, I heard you sniffing yesterday night. What’s up?’

‘I have been thinking about it, about what Nick said,’ she said, ignoring the remark.


‘I am going to contest the school elections. And I am going to win,’ she said determined. ‘I’ll talk to the coordinator today. You want to come?’ she asked, stepping out of the car.

‘Na, you go. I have to talk to Mr. Hess about some Trig questions. I’ll see you later,’ she said, and moved away.

Twenty five minutes later, Jennifer was sitting in the counsellor, Mrs. Okra’s office. She had first taken an appointment with the counsellor specifically for the third period, English, so as to avoid talking to Nick. She had purchased the school newspaper as well and had found out, luckily, that Mrs. Okra was also the election coordinator. She could not believe she was doing this. However, she would not back out. The door opened, and Mrs. Okra came inside.

‘Well, well,’ Mrs. Okra said, ‘I was wondering when you’d come in.’ Mrs. Okra was a pretty woman in her late twenties. She had a soft, nasal voice yet, her voice usually had a calming effect on students. It was rumoured at Bowman’s that she wasn’t married but used ‘Mrs’ to keep the students from hitting on her. Presently, she seated herself across the table, in front of Jennifer.

‘Why would that be?’ Jenny asked.

‘You feature in many students’ sessions,’ she said simply. ‘Why are you here?’

‘Well, um, there’s this thing,’ she said hesitatingly.

Mrs. Okra said, ‘There is no need for you to hesitate, love. You can speak out loud. There is no one to listen to you, except me and that’s what I’m here for, so speak up.’

‘Well, I don’t know what to say,’ she finally said. ‘I have a family yet I don’t. My mom kicked out my dad years ago and since then, I hate her. My sister is too ashamed to even admit that we are sisters, because I am not popular, so it’s bad for her image. My best friend’s father is a drunkard and hits her daily and she is totally dependent on me like I am on her. A guy said to me that I need an attitude adjustment, and then challenged me to contest the elections. I have absolutely no family, friends and no social life. I hate myself.’ She sighed. ‘Is it possible to disappear from the world, without anyone noticing?’

‘Oh honey!’ she said worriedly, ‘There is absolutely nothing that should threaten you. So what if your mom doesn’t love you, you love her back. Maybe one day, she’ll realize that she did her greatest mistake is not loving her daughter. So what if your dad didn’t return. Just live with the faith that he always has someone looking over you, someone who will take care of you during the tough times,’ she paused. ‘Your sister is one of the foolish people to believe that her friends would stay with her forever. Yes they may, yet nothing would be able to replace your importance in her life.’

‘You think so?’ she asked quietly.

‘Yes of course. I feel you are an open book. You don’t like to keep your likes and dislikes in private. You’re not one of those who are all sweet and caring in front, and bitching behind people’s backs. And this is a quality that is admired by all, honesty. You are honest with your thoughts and that’s what makes you unique, unlike the rest.’ She spoke, suddenly serious, ‘As for the boy who challenged you, and said you needed an attitude adjustment, just prove him wrong. Like he said, contest. And win. Don’t get intimidated by him. This is just high school. What would you do when you enter the real world? ’

‘I had thought about that,’ she said earnestly, ‘but who would vote for a girl who’s not popular and social, and lacks friends and apparently needs and “attitude adjustment”?’

‘So what, you don’t let that trouble you. Make some,’ she said. ‘Well, I’m afraid time is running out Ms. Cruise. If you need some more sessions, you may take an appointment any time you like. I would be there for you,’ she smiled.

Just as Mrs. Okra started gathering her stuff, the bell rang, Jennifer hurriedly said, ‘Put my name down. On the list, will you?’ and rushed out of the room.

Unravelling Broken Threads: Chapter 1

Chapter 1

The girl sat with her laptop on her knees, watching the reruns of her favourite serial, One Tree Hill. She had never understood how she fell in love with it. But, yet, she was here, watching the reruns when her mother called out to her. “Jenny, don’t you ever have to study?” she shouted.

‘Mom,’ she shouted back, ‘it’s a Sunday. Would you please let me do this while I can?’

She almost snapped. Last week was the first at her school; she was starting 11th, the most dangerous class of all time. And she hated her mom. It was something that happened earlier. She didn’t want to talk about it now. Even without her family troubles, she had a lot on her mind. She had a younger sister, Jules, who she didn’t mix well with; her dad was a womaniser and left their family for another woman, Linda, four years ago.

It was Alex, Alexandra Wilson, who she loved. Alex was her best friend she had met at school. With straight brown hair, and 5”9 body, her pale skin and light blue eyes, she and Alex were exact opposites. Alex stood six inches shorter, blonde hair, with black eyes and whitish skin.

Yet, there was something, something more that friendship that bound them together. It was the love Jennifer had never felt for her sister, sisterly love. Alex had a drunkard father and her mother was dead.

One day, seven years ago, Jenny was returning from the park after her “evening walk”, which she looked forward to as it meant getting free of her crazy household. It was a cold day, with slight signs of rain. She was hunched up and moving fast, when she saw a thin, small girl, barely covered standing in front of a house. She was crying and kept pounding at the door sporadically. Jenny took the girl along with her to her house. That was the beginning of their friendship.

It still took a lot of nerve for Alex to stand up to her dad. Sometimes Jenny helped her with it. ‘What are friends for, after all?’ she said.  Since then, the two unpopular, lonely girls always sat together, in the classes, the cafeteria, and even took the ride to school and back to home together and they were happy.

Suddenly, the door banged open and her sister entered. Jenny jumped. ‘What the hell are you doing?’ she asked, surprised. ‘Wait, is that my T-shirt you’re wearing?’ she shouted as she noticed. She got of the bed and ran towards Jules, who stood unruffled by this sudden outburst. ‘Give it to me! How dare you touch my closet, you moron! I want it right back.’ Jennifer yelled again, hands akimbo.

‘Jen, I need to have this. I have, uh, to go somewhere,’ she said vaguely. Jennifer narrowed her eyes. She did that a lot these days. Her sister had inherited their father’s features, or so their mother said. It was because of that, on her entering middle school, she was very popular, always the one with hundred friends, the one who dated, who partied. Jenny despised these types of girls, but yet she envied them. She admired Jules good looks. A straight long nose, long wavy brown hair, brown eyes and a firm jaw. She had a slender body, even graceful, unlike the tread that Jenny owned, yet she was athletic and of course, a part of their school, Bowman High school’s cheering girls. And she did a good job of ignoring her dumb, unsocial sister at school, Jennifer even felt bad sometimes.

‘Don’t call me Jen. I’m Jennifer,’ she affirmed. ‘Where? You have to go where?’ she asked finally.

‘I have a date with Mark,’ Jules said, unconcerned. Obviously, the football kid. He and Jules had been spending a lot of time together. Jenny thought something had been cooking. Well, at least I wasn’t proven wrong.

‘Still, the answer’s a no. I am not allowing you to wear this. Remove it!’ she charged for her Tshirt and  starting tugging at the cloth. A raging quarrel followed, when finally their mother appeared, completely out of breath. It was clear that she had come running upstairs. Hers was a small duplex house, three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room where they dined. Jennifer had a room all by herself at the top floor, while Jules and Mrs. Cruise shared a one at the ground floor. One was kept as the guest room, often occupied by Grandma Cruise who came to stay a lot.  A small porch added to the compact surrounding, a quite contrast to the atmosphere inside the house at the moment.

‘Christ!’ she said. ‘What is all this shouting Jenny? I thought you had been studying,’ she panted.
‘Well now you know I wasn’t,’ she snapped.
‘That is no way to talk to your mother.  You are sixteen, when would you start acting responsibly?’ she questioned.
‘The day you would,’ she replied, a cold sneer on her face.

A long silence ensued. Finally after what seemed like an hour, she asked, ‘What was all this about?’

‘I wore her T-shirt without asking,’ Jules burst out. ‘If I knew it would be such an issue, I wouldn’t have touched the bloody thing!’ she shouted. Removing the T-shirt and flinging it on the floor, she marched out of the room, back downstairs.

A threatening look passed over her mother’s face. ‘This was a T-shirt. You made a mess out of it. I don’t know what you think of yourself, but you are no Queen Victoria. You are not to behave that way to neither me nor Jules, or for that matter, anyone at school as well. If you put another toe out of the line, I’ll make sure that you don’t forget it easily,’ she glowered at her, before shouting, ‘Jules, I’m coming, sweetheart!’ and left the room.

‘Talk about stepping out of line,’ she muttered. She wasn’t the least scared of her mother. She knew what would happen if she did. She would be thrown out of the house and be expected to spend the night outside. Yet she found a solution to that. Mr. John, the old baker who lived down the street was a kind man. He had no children, so Jennifer always managed his shop when he had to go somewhere. During nights like these, he would let Jennifer to sleep at the shop, without turning the heater off. Apart from Alex, she liked him the most.

Many often she had wondered if she made a list of the people she liked, where her mother and Jules would stand. But she was sure that it wouldn’t be before a hundred of two. Not that she had tried this, but still she had wondered so.

She was just making her way back to the bed to return to the serial, when her phone rang. She rushed to pick it up.

‘Alex, hi honey! I forgot to call you, it’s just that….’ She said instantly and trailed off. It was a boy.
‘Hello? Jennifer?’ he asked, hesitatingly.
‘Yes?’ she replied. ‘What do you want?’ she asked rudely.
‘I am not sure that you identify me. I’m Nick, Nicholas. I sat by you on Thursday at English.’ Then she remembered. A tall, lanky boy, with dark brown hair that often fell on his forehead, and white skin, the new boy.
‘Yeah, so?’ She was bored of his decent voice and wanted to cut the line. It, however, would look too indecent.
‘I am not sure, but I think you took my English book by mistake. So if you-’
She interrupted, ‘Okay, I will look. If I find it, then I’ll give you tomorrow.’ She cut the line.

She crossed the room and lay down. She suddenly felt exhausted. Shutting the laptop and without changing her clothes, she stared at the ceiling till her eyes welled up with tears. Remembering something, she whispered, ‘You know I loved you once, mom,’ she said, before she started weeping on the pillow, silently, and drifted off to sleep.

The Country of My Dreams


The India of my future,
Will be the best in the world.
An India of Gandhi and Nehru’s,
The young stepping into their shoes.
It would be open and free,
To every human being.
A country safe and secure,
Where every disease can be cured.
A superpower that’s corruption free.
A future that our children would see.
Constructed by our youth,
Where no one is rude, spoilt of uncouth.
A country of my dreams,
Where everyone is in peace.
No one is rich or poor,
And everyone is at ease.
Where one corrects the others,
When they make a mistake.
And everyone is sweet and true,
And no one is fake.
The country of my dreams,
Is safe for women at night,
Where everyone is equal and,
No one has to fight for their rights.
The India of my dreams,
Will be the best in the world,
A country of Gandhi’s and Nehru’s,
The young stepping into their shoes.

Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

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The arrival of monsoon is announced by
The sound of the dripping rain.
It washes away all the dirt
All the tears and the pain.

Drops of water falling down
Making puddles on the roads.
Quenching the thirst of the trees
Relieving the clouds from burden and loads.

The drops of water bring us joy.
Happy memories from the past.
Children like to dance in rain.
Till the magnificent rains last.

Coffee and pakoras compliment it.
Bring warmth to our lips.
So enjoy while the rains lasts
And the temperature dips.