Prelude

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Crimson roses were placed on the table next to the bowl of drunken strawberries. The sheets were changed to black satin and the lights were dimmed. The Bordeaux was chilled. He was cooking her favorite spaghetti in marinara sauce while he waited for her. This was only a prelude to what was on offer that night.
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A Cabin in the Woods

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Arjun was having a regular day at work, long meetings, frantic calls, managing his team, making good for the mistakes they made at the same time stopping them from making new ones. He had done this for more than half a day, everyday for a long time. He had gone from having trouble buying his first tie to having a collection of the best ones in a short time.

His phone buzzed again, he looked at it while answering an email. “S calling” it said. He rejected the call. “will call her back” he made a mental note and continued with his mail. It took him less than a minute to forget all about it. Somewhere between discussing the final quotes for one of the overseas deal and ordering pizza for dinner his phone buzzed again. It was a message from S, “I have reached, what time do you land?”
“will take the last flight out, don’t wait up” He replied hurriedly.

A thousand miles away, Seher stood holding her coffee and looking out into nowhere. She was startled when her phone buzzed. The silence was too loud for her city ears. She read the message and smiled.

She picked up her book and walked out into the porch.

She didn’t mind being alone in the house. She loved every corner of it. It was far away from civilization, tucked into the forest. It was very tastefully decorated. The hall had book shelves all around with books neatly placed in them. The walls were lined with framed pictures that Arjun clicked. The kitchen was a small modern unit, with everything they needed. The bedroom had large windows, with white drapes on it. The bed took most of the place in the center of the room. On the wall behind the bed hung a picture titled “Seher”. It was one of the pictures Arjun was particularly fond of. He had captured the sunlight kissing her bare back at dawn.

They had first come to the place with friends from college, fell in love with it and continued to do so at every chance they got. They had bought the place a couple of years ago. The owner of the house was surprised at the unusual transaction. The deed was made in the name of two separate individuals. They weren’t related, dating, or even planning to get married. They even saw other people once a while. They worked and lived in different cities, spoke to each other when they got the time. They did not profess love for each other or claim togetherness for eternity.
They were just together.

It was 3 am by the time Arjun parked the car into the garage. He loved the chill that he felt as he dragged his bag into the doorway. He opened the door as silently as he could and locked it behind him.
The house smelled of Seher. He saw her lipstick mark on the coffee mug next to the sink, her jacket on the chair, her book on the counter. He couldn’t wait to see her. He climbed up the stairs taking his jacket off, then unbuttoning his shirt. He stood at the door looking at her sleep peacefully. He took his shirt off, slipped into bed from behind and put his arm around her.

She snuggled into it without opening her eyes.
“I missed you” he said
“I missed you too” she mumbled as he kissed her.

The cabin was the place where Arjun and Seher met once a year. They stole time from their schedules and lived a lifetime in seven days of togetherness.  They then went back into their worlds, only to come back again, the following year.

Cross posted from http://dailybluepill.com/

The Girl Who Could Not Forget

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Lara sat at her desk engrossed in the research papers she was reading. It had been four hours since she had spoken a word. She liked the silence. It was in stark contrast of noise in her head. She looked up as someone knocked on the door
“Sid” she thought

“Hey! You looks like you haven’t moved an inch since I left” He said rubbing his hands
“I’ve been writing the paper, that I have to present” She replied
“You are working too hard, doctor. You are going to be awesome as always” he said
“Its finally snowing” He said sitting on a chair across her “I think the winters have been delayed this year”
“by three days” she said, still looking at the papers in her hand.
“huh” he smirked
Sid was a little surprised by the precise answer, but with Lara he was getting used to it. He gave her a long look.
She was a pretty girl, prettier than she gave herself credit for. Her eyes were a perfect shade of hazel, which peeped out through the thick black framed glasses. Her lips were aptly luscious, they were never left alone by her teeth which kept nibbling on them. Her hair were long and wavy, always pulled back in a pony tail.
She was wearing a red sweater, which curved beautifully along the body it was placed on. It cast a scarlet refection on her ivory skin. Her white lab coat was the only thing that was amiss.
He hurriedly looked away as she caught him staring.
“Where were you on the first day of snow last year” he blurted out awkwardly
“At the lab” she said
“That was an easy one” he continued
“Yes” she said looking away
What she didn’t tell him was that she also remembered exactly what she did that day in all details. She could even visualize the calculations she had done on the micro-tron. She was used to withholding information. She had been instructed to do so as a kid and followed them diligently.
“Are you ready to go home yet?” Sid asked, bringing her back to the present.
“A few of these need my attention” she replied pointing at the papers
“Something else also does” Sid said pointing at himself
She looked at him and smiled for a instant and then looked away.
“Go home, Sid” she said “Don’t forget to pick that suit up from the cleaner”
“I had completely forgotten about it” Sid exclaimed “you always remember, don’t you?”
“I never forget” she said blankly.

Lara had known there was something different about her, while she was in school. When kids her age had difficulty memorizing things, it was surprisingly easy for her. She gradually realized that it wasn’t just academics that she remembered, but almost everything she saw, read or even heard. She even remembered all her dreams.
She had asked her dad about her condition once. He had told her she was special and made her promise she wouldn’t tell anyone about it. He had also told her that he would explain things to her when she grew up. His untimely death in an accident had left Lara alone with the terrifying memories, and a lot of unanswered questions.
Lara had aways thought her dad knew something about her that she didn’t, and was adamant to find out.
As she grew up her brain became a graveyard of information and memories.

By the time she reached home it was past midnight. She put the pasta from last night into the microwave as she changed into her pj’s. She took her dinner to the bed, which she shared with her laptop. The email icon was glowing. She checked it as she put the first bite of food into her mouth. It was the confirmation of her slot at the World Genetics Convention. She was presenting a paper at there the next morning. She set an alarm on the phone and an auto reminder to call Sid in the morning and switched off the lights before losing herself to sleep.

The auditorium where the WGC was being held was filled with who’s who of the science world. Lara was just nervous enough as she got on to the stage.
Sid beamed as his lady in the black dress began to talk.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, My name is Doctor Lara Kapoor and I am here to tell you a theory on Artificial Genetic Mutation of the Fetus.”
There was pin drop silence in the hall as she continued to speak for an hour on how a fetus could be genetically modified to make desired changes.  She spoke without looking into the papers in her hand or even at the slides. The expressions on peoples faces changed as she revealed data and showed possibilities.

It was time for the Q and A session. She pointed at the lady in the front row  who seemed eager to ask something
“Your theory sounds possible, but its not backed up with the case study, therefore questions about its practicality arise.” the lady said
A tiny smile perched itself on her face as she replied
“A detailed case study has been done on it. The experiment was conducted thirty years ago under the guidance of Dr. Ravi Kapoor, the famous Genetics scientist and my dad.” Lara replied
“He was successful in engineering a fetus as desired. He gave it a healthy body,  decided on the color of the eyes, hair and skin. He even worked on its brain to give it an above average IQ and an unfading memory. He charted it all in his papers for all the years he was alive. His detailed explanation of the experiment and the further analysis is all present in his logs.”  She answered

An elderly gentlemen next to the lady spoke into the mike.
“The existence of a Genetic mutation log by Dr. Ravi Kapoor has been speculated for years. Do you have proof that it exists?”
Lara took a moment before she replied
“It was kept a secret because the project was too personal for my father. He had planned of revealing it eventually, but his death took that opportunity away. It was such a well kept secret that it took me years just to get to it. But now I don’t have just have proof, I have the log itself” she said walking towards her laptop.

Sid shifted in his seat as he saw the screen change.

“Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you the creation and growth of the first genetically engineered individual, LARA”

Cross Posted from http://dailybluepill.com/

Lost and Found

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Lost on road in the middle of nowhere, in an unknown country, she saw the cathedral. It seemed more familiar than it should have. The feeling eerily oscillated between déjà vu and a premonition. She fought the chill running through her spine as she walked towards it. She didn’t know if the place she was seeing was a part of her past or future, but the attraction was compelling.
She opened the door of the almost empty hall, between the candles flickering around she saw herself standing at altar wearing a white gown, holding yellow flowers in her hands.
Are you lost, asked a man who saw her gazing into nothingness
I might not have know where I was going, but I have reached exactly where I was suppose to be, she replied.

Photo credit: Poonam Thaval (she owns a piece of my heart)

Through the Viewfinder

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He was trying to capture the St. Paul’s Cathedral in his camera, when he saw her for the first time. She was stubbornly in the frame, dressed in a black dress, her hair fell carelessly to her shoulder. Unaware of what she was doing, she walked towards him busy reading a book, holding it in one hand and a coffee in the other. He couldn’t help but notice the emotions that crossed her face as she read. He could have moved out of her way but would have stopped clicking, so he didn’t. Sorry! she had said in a husky voice  just before she bumped into him. He did not get a single picture of the place without her that day.
Incidentally, St Paul’s Cathedral was also the place where he saw her for the last time. He had told her how much he wanted her to be his wife, while they stood outside the oldest beauty spot on the London skyline. They had been together for a few months before he had decided to say it. She had explained to him, while she held his hand tight that they wanted different things from life. She wanted to travel, see the world, climb the highest mountain, dive at the deepest part of the ocean. Even with sorrow blurring his thoughts he had promised he would wait for her to come back home. He knew she would..some day.
He never went back to the cathedral.

He was staring intently at a postcard while the phone interrupted his thoughts. He had a wall full of them from all around the world. Each one took her a little further away. He had smiled at what was written and answered the phone.

A very peppy voice had greeted him, then gone on to tell him how one of the pictures he had clicked was being featured in a photography magazine.
He had met her outside “The Gherkin”. She was holding a camera in her hand while the sling was across her shoulder. Hair pulled back in a pony and eyes hid behind geeky glassed, she had begun her interview. She spoke excitedly about how she was a fan. She told him how she hated that such a beautiful building had such a vegetative name. She had also told him, she loved how he captured moments. You make buildings talk, she had told him with a twinkle in her eye. He had listened to her talk while giving a monosyllabic reply every now and then.
That went on to become a habit. She always spoke a lot when they met, he always listened with, now with a smile on his face. He loved her zest and enthusiasm towards every little thing in life. He was surprised at the small things that made her laugh. She was as excited to see a flower blooming by the doorstep as she was while they saw view from platform at the gherkin together. She had dragged him all the way up once in the middle of a very rainy day to tell him how much she liked him.

He was standing at the Waterloo bridge when he got her email. I am coming back home, it read. It did not feel like he had thought it would, even after waiting for it for ten years.
He picked up his camera and looked through the view finder. It always gave him perspective. The whole of the London skyline lay in front of him. One one side stood history in all its grandeur, which he loved, on the other a modern marvel that gave him glory.  He took a shot with mixed emotions..of the St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Gherkin looking each other.

Photo credit: Ashutosh Khandkar http://www.flickr.com/photos/99126239@N04/