Existential Happiness


She watched him as he lay sprawled on the couch, his muted snore being the only sound in the room. No judgment, she thought to herself. He’s here, and that’s all there is.

A few minutes later, his sleep-weary eyes opened and carefully averted her. She did them a favor by looking away and pretending to be busy.

“You’re very busy?!”, he called out to her a couple of hours later as she wiped the kitchen counter top for the 5th time. She needn’t have done so, it was already clean. But she was nervous and wanted to keep at something so that she could forget how much she wanted to sit by his side.

She let out a nervous giggle (“ugh. Do you realize how stupid you sound right now?”, the alter-ego admonished) and said “Not really, just finishing up here”. She walked over to the couch, and sat down gingerly a couple of feet away from him, smoothing her skirt as she sat. He was typing away at his laptop, his eyes focused on the screen and didn’t look up.

She watched him, enveloped in a soft halo of golden light that filtered in through the lace-curtains, and breathed in his essence: his masculine energy, his smell, his lazy physique and his easy dominance of the environment.

Tranquil beingness. That was how she would describe him.

She willed the image of him to be imprinted in her mind. For those days when life became too much for her. She would take out that picture of him in her mind then, and let these feelings bloom in her heart.

It wasn’t “love”, was it?

Love implied a right of possession. She didn’t want to possess. She wanted to let him be. Be in his element and be HIM. Because that’s what she marveled at. That’s what caused her to feel what she felt. Gratitude. Yes, that’s what it was.

Almost on cue, he looked up and their eyes met. She felt a ripple of fear inside – she hoped her eyes hadn’t betrayed her. He was saying something, narrating a story and the ripple died out. It was fine. She carefully matched the tone of his voice and it was then, just a conversation between friends. No other implication.

Her alter-ego grinned evilly.

In the after, there was a moment. She picked up the cushion that had been nestling close to him, and caressed her face with it, taking in the scent of his presence that was gone by then.

“Existential happiness”, she told herself. Happiness in that which exists.

* * *

Just if anyone is wondering, yes, this is inspired from real life :). And also this song (not the visuals, just the words and the singing):

A Cloak of Invisibility

“Make a wish!”, said her friend, as she picked up an eyelash that had nestled comfortably on her cheek and handed it to her. She made a fist, placed the wayward strand on it, closed her eyes, and whispered to herself….”I want a cloak. A cloak of invisibility”. And then blew hard so that the lash would fly away. Away…faraway, carrying her wish with it.

* * *

She stood in the balcony, looking at the many tall buildings that surrounded her apartment. It was a cool night and the breeze felt wonderful, with her curls brushing softly against her cheeks. She would have noticed the moonlight, had her attention not been captured by the golden lights on the street, and in the windows of the apartments.

“I wonder what goes on, behind those windows. How would those homes look? Cosy and inviting, perhaps. There would be a family… a mother, father, and kids. A family that eats together at the dinner table, talking all the while.”, she thought to herself. Her mind conjured up images of children laughing, and a mother who hugged them. Involuntarily, she gave herself a squeeze. As if to embrace the feelings that came out of the pictures in her head and make them a part of herself.

Out of the warmth, came a different kind of an emotion.

A part of her inner self stirred. And she found herself thinking. Of him. Was he in one of those houses that she was looking at now?

An wave of pleasure swept through her… and there were goosebumps on her arms. Just thinking of him could do that to her!, she smiled to herself.

Him. She’d been seeing him for many days now, in the park nearby. He’d come with his dog, and they’d be walking and running in the park. Oblivious to the world around him. He’d have his attention solely focussed on his companion; petting it, chiding and laughing at its peculiarities.

Her attention would be on him. It started off as an innocuous observation – there was something attractive about his face, and his demeanor. His agility. The sight of a grown man with his dog – their companionship was amusing. But after sometime, she realized that she went to the park solely to see him.

To look at him, and to keep looking at him till he left. Her eyes searched him out of the crowd, and could spot him, a mile away. There was a terrible urgency till she could find him. But once she did, she would be at peace. Watching him and moving stealthily behind him. He hadn’t noticed her yet. She was sure of that. The one time he’d looked straight at her face – and her heart whooshed down, till she couldn’t breathe – he turned his face away, never to look at her again.

She grinned to herself, “I might as well have been a ghost”.

Thinking of which, she wondered. What if she could be like a ghost? Someone he couldn’t see, but who could see him?


Invisible by choice. She needed, …an invisibility cloak. Something she could put on herself, whenever she felt like it.

She could walk out right now. It wouldn’t matter that it was late night because no one on the road would be able to see her. She could walk out on the streets, and past those buildings that she was looking at.

If she knew his home, she could walk in and see him. Now.

A shiver went up her spine.

His beautiful face would be next to her. That quality of innocence and vulnerability – she’d be able to see it up close. She could watch him, as he sat comfortably at home. She’d be able to watch him as he saw TV, and as he ate. He’d smile and she’d be able to see how his lips curled and his cheeks dimpled, ever so slightly. She’d be able to watch him go to sleep. And sit by his side, as his eyes closed and his breathing became rhythmic.

She thought of tracing her finger gently, on the bridge of his perfect nose, and feeling his skin under her touch. She imagined he’d have a musky smell about him. She’d watch him…as he slept without a care in the world. Not knowing she existed. Not knowing she was by his side. Loving him for all he was worth.

Yes. That was what she wanted. Freedom to love without being loved back. A cloak of invisibility.

At First Sight

The noon sun bore down with full force, the tarred ground glistening like steel in its wake. Warm beads of sweat slithered down her back, and she grimaced. What made it worse was sitting inside the cloistering environment of the school bus, especially one that had been parked in full view of the sun for hours perhaps. She almost felt giddy, thinking of the one hour impending journey.

The bus was parked at the side of the school ground. Sitting near the driver’s seat, she watched as the kids from kindergarten piled inside. There was much jostling and animated conversation amongst them. A couple of them came and sat next to her, looking at her with a mixture of suspicion and awe. She attempted a half-smile. Their expressions did not change much except that the suspicion probably increased.

She turned to look outside, at the ground. Her eyes fell on the huge white structure in the middle of the ground, the imposing structure’s brightness blinding her. Looking at it brought memories, of days past, and for a few moments she was lost in them, tiny frowns appearing on her perspiring forehead.

It was as if a cloud had cleared suddenly, because out of nowhere, her vision was caught by a movement. And a boy appeared as her eyes focused on the emerging form. He was tall, and … if her mind had been able to articulate just one word that would describe him that instant, it would have been: majestic.

His hair spotted tints of orange from the sunlight filtering through it, and little wisps of them moved as the wind went past them, flicking the edges gently. His walk had a lilt; athletic and supple, it was like his body was made for movement, even as all he was doing was walking across the ground. He wore the school uniform: white shirt and blue pants. Even from where she was sitting, she could make out that he was tall, for his age. He wasn’t wearing the customary tie; later she would reflect on it and think that it indicated perhaps, a streak of rebellion? His collar was open, and though his shirt was tucked, for her, he didn’t look like a school boy.  No, not yet a man, but not a child either.

As she watched him, a child of 7 or 8 ran into his tracks. He stopped for a brief moment, to avoid a potential clash. The child was inches away from him. His hand went to the younger one’s head, and with a brush of affection, the edges of his lips curved upwards and broke out into a grin. Within a second, his frame moved out of the child’s way, and he resumed his walk even as he turned for a brief instant to watch the child who was on his way.

She watched as if in a trance, unable to pull her eyes away as the tabloid unfolded in front of her. And even as she watched, the frame of another bus moved into her line of vision, and he was out of sight.

Her eyes continued staring at the spot she’d seen him last. A few seconds later, she pulled her eyes away and her consciousness returned to her environment – the heat, the babble of the kids nearby and the background cacophony of the school ground. The heat was so thick that it was almost like the air had stopped moving, and one could cut chunks out of the humidity, but she didn’t notice it anymore. Her thoughts went back to the boy.

It was weird, she reflected. That was probably the first time someone had captured her thought process so completely. Like the earth had stopped, the breath had been flushed out of her lungs and every pore on her body stood still, focused entirely on that one person.

Years later she would read about happenings like that, but for those moments, her chaste mind fumbled, unable to comprehend. She wondered how it was possible that despite the sweltering heat, one person could appear so unaffected by it. Hadn’t she seen the air move around him? Wind in his hair, and dust swirling around his feet? She smiled to herself …  ridiculous!

The sound of the bus starting jerked her out of her reverie. She felt a slow warm sensation around her cheeks. Sighing, she shook her head. Trying to get herself out of the thoughts that had occupied her mind for the last…5 minutes? Had it been only that much?

As the driver of the bus put the machine into first gear, she wondered to herself. Would she get to see him again?