The Princess.

What is it that makes a fairytale so memorable? Is it the Characters? What about the plot? Location setting, maybe? Probably not. No, what makes the fairytale memorable is the magic. The storytellers seem to possess this innate ability to make people believe that the stories they weave out of the recesses of their minds are genuine, that they lived through the eras themselves and have survived thousands of years just to recap the moments of wonder they have encountered. If that isn’t magic, nothing else is.
Once upon a time, in a land that was relatively closer than you think, there lived a Princess who was delivered into the world with a silver spoon in her mouth. Though the princess was born into royalty, there was no dearth of admirable qualities that would make her fit for ruling. No, she did not want to rule over the entire land she was brought up in (even if the thought had crossed her mind). All that she asked for was a few loyal subjects, company to keep by her side. A simple human desire she needed to be fulfilled. And that is exactly what she got.
Among the remarkable traits she possessed, one trait that kept the Princess true to her soul was the need to explore. She understood that no matter how vast the land that she belonged to was, she knew that the world outside the walls of her castle held much more promise than what her land could offer. A feeling that admittedly wasn’t shared with the Royal Highness. That reaction, in turn, brought out the rebellious side of the Princess and simply increased her determination to leave as soon as she could. The world outside was waiting for her, and she would delay them no longer.
As the Princess left her mighty castle for an adventure, she chanced upon like-minded individuals who were undergoing quests for their own purposes. Individuals who the Princess knew would protect her and keep her well. She christened them as her subjects, for she would serve them as they serve her. In the history of all fables, there would be no other band of travellers as loyal to each other as they were.
Word had spread through the faraway lands that the Princess was of age and ready for marriage. This announcement, in turn, rallied the Knights who longed for the Princess’ hand in unison with their own. There was potential; like the White Knight, whose heroic tales were known to each and every living mortal that lived or the Golden Knight whose armour was the envy of all the other Knights of the Roundtable. The Princess fancied both of them, but could not promise her heart to either of them. This was the way of life for her, for she was not ready to guarantee her love to either of the knights. Maybe one day, but for now, there were much more adventures for her to explore.
The Princess was aware of the role of a storyteller. She had hoped that once she was done with her fair share of quests, she would sit down and spread the tales of her conquests. Hence, she set out to be the heroine of her own stories. If she was to live up to her destiny, she had to be her own woman. The path has been laid out for her and so, her journey begins now.


The Gemini Theory.

Ask the right people and they’d say that to live life as a Parsi is to be breezing through life with your stars aligned at every step and all Gods, old and new, keeping their watchful eye on you. You’d receive money at every minor yet joyous occasion, you belong to a large extended family with cousins from other sides of families you’ve never heard of and to top it off, you celebrate two birthdays in one year. The irony of the Parsi species going into extinction is almost like a dark humorous contradiction to everything good about them.
This year was to be no different. A bit of shopping, head out for dinner and retire early for office the next morning. He missed these quiet yet private moments he shared with his family. Then came the sibling with a mood so foul, it threatened the sanctity of his roj nu birthday. The sibling’s frame of mind affected his own temperament, spreading the negative feeling around. The same took place every year, the sibling always had a way of ruining the high spirits, whether intentional or not. Was it too much to ask for this unbearable loop to be discontinued?
His blood never used to boil this fast before. From the very start, once the sibling had entered his life, he had been instructed by his father to take care of his sibling as how a man would want to keep his valuables. Treasure his sibling and make sure there was no harm done. It was no obligation; it was the very first sense of responsibility trusted upon him. One he happily accepted. Who wouldn’t want a baby brother you had to take care of? There’s no good answer for that. 
As the years sped by in a flash, they shared everything from belongings and food to a near infinite amount of ideas and fascinations to keep themselves company. The sibling developed quite an obsession with Greek mythology at an early age, and thought himself as Poseidon, Lord of the Seas while his big brother would rule over the skies as Zeus, king of the Olympians. It wouldn’t be observed until much later how fitting it was, considering who they named themselves after. Being the King of the Gods, Zeus had a responsibility not only to the other Gods, but oversaw the universe as well from Mount Olympus. His rage was legendary, an inhuman fury raining down upon the world with no care about life. The irony of such similarities between the King of the Skies and the big brother hadn’t gone noticed by the sibling until many years had passed and his true wrath had been brought out. 
The big brother, on the other hand focused his sights on understanding how the future could be predicted simply through the position of the stars present in the sky, and wished to study everything about the star sign he belonged to. Gemini’s were notoriously known for their nature, almost as if two halves of a soul shared one body, each a unique yet complete contrast to the other while residing in perfect harmony and balance with each other. The chaotic aspect of their nature was kept hidden for longer durations and hence, would make the most of its opportunity to wreck as much havoc as it could. It was perfect how the big brother wound up belonging to the Gemini star sign, only he and he alone would decide how much order or chaos would be needed along the path of his life.
Growing up, the big brother strived to be better, motivated by his family and pushed to become the best of himself. That in turn dug up a competitive edge he never knew lied within himself. Soon enough, bets were made between the two to see who could outdo the other during daily activities. Gaming sessions would turn intense, each one trying to prove to the other their higher supremacy. You know the myth about video game violence in which parents believed that it could percolate into the very behaviour and characteristics of a person playing the game, especially children? Well, that myth turned to reality for the big brother. Lashes of rage would be released at any moment without the slightest inclination, inflicting damage to all sentient life present who could comprehend the pain.
Fast forwarding to a better time, he learned from his mistakes and found a way to redirect his urge to kill everything in sight. No, he never bothered meditating, he simply gave his anger purpose. Nothing too righteous either, he’d simply fight for things he firmly believed in. Whether it be about a favourite character in a movie or playing his favourite song next instead of someone elses. He had help with it too, the sibling was never too far away when he needed to gain his sanity back. No one was rushing him either, he’d have years of practice before he could finally attain the balance within the dual aspects present in his spirit. The responsibilities piled on, but he’d welcomed them all. He was just going to sit back and enjoy the benefits of being in his prime.

The Withdrawal from Reality.

Bringing along the Tinkle Digest was her easiest path to the lane of nostalgia. A distraction only she could fully appreciate. In a state of trauma, people tended to revert to childhood memories, where they would experience moments of true happiness. Happiness unaffected by the truths of the world, where all physical laws were limited by the dimensions of her imagination. She was aware of all this, of course. Why else would she carry a Tinkle Digest along for her train journey when she could have easily brought along works of fiction that carried a more serious/mature tone? 

Snapping back to the present moment she belonged to, she heaved a heavy sigh as her train finally got her to her destination; the city of dreams. That particular action wouldn’t have taken place had it been a little while ago, when things worked out in the limited control she had over her life. With mixed emotions, she stepped out onto the platform and took a deep breath in as the city welcomed her back into its arms.
Finding accommodation was easy, even though she resisted the urge to stay with her uncle as she had before. Her friend in the city resided in a rented flat with two others, and was willing to add her into the gang, even if it was just for a few days. Thus began the shortest week spent in the city.
First were the visits to the food joints she checked out when she was plotting her visit to the city. Food was inarguably the best thing to happen to a human being, both physically and emotionally, and she definitely wasn’t going to disagree with that. Then, she decided to meet the few people with whom she managed to stay in touch with even after leaving the city a year ago. And finally, after unnecessary delay for which none of it was her fault, she’d finally meet her best friend with whom staying in the city a year ago made so much more memorable. 
The moment they started talking face to face, it was as if they just saw each other the day before that. His words carried flattery, wit and humour; and it was just what the doctor ordered. It was almost as if he was the sole purpose for her to visit the city, instead of what she truly came for. Minutes became hours as they carried along into the evening, with nothing but the breeze carrying them along. She even played therapist to try and root out the issue of his anger, granting her a sense of normalcy that hadn’t been there for quite a while. 
This is what she preferred doing, sorting out the problems of the people in her own little world instead of her own.  However, when he tried asking about her own issues, she erected steel walls around herself, making it obvious that it wasn’t something she’d rather bring up among their conversations. That’s when he noticed the crack in her mask, the opening that she deemed weak and vulnerable. Why would she want to show herself that way, when all she has been known for was being strong? She’d rather not break that illusion, and keep him thinking that she was the same as she had always been. Though, by then, it was already too late. 
He had a knack for being able to see things that others would rather not show, and to him, that was already more than enough to know how truly broken she was inside. But he kept to himself, only out of respect and admiration for her resolve to stand up to her negativity, temporary as it was. As the evening progressed, it became more obvious how much she truly held back. How she still held “HIM” in her every thought, how her heart ached for him and expressed it as teardrops in her eyes. The worst was that she still wasn’t willing to accept that it actually happened, lodging the shock of the event even deeper into her gut. 
There was only so much that he could do, and what he could do had already been done. All that was left was his standing assurance that he’d be there with her whenever she’d need it, which she willingly accepted. The visit was over, and the time came for her to return home. A journey she dreaded, now that home would remind her so much of “HIM”. She needs to move into the city permanently, and she needs to do it soon.

The Maelstrom of Desolation.

The ring of the doorbell brought him back to his reality. In gratitude, he stood up and walked over to the wooden frame, looking through the peephole to see who in their right mind would come visit him. There wasn’t anything. Hallucinations were starting to get worse. Not like he could do anything about it, he was given fair warning long ago.

He followed through on every word that came out of his brother’s mouth on how to get back into the world. And for a while, it did work. He made new friends, became popular again, the teachers endorsed him for events, he smiled. And that was enough for him. It couldn’t really matter much to him because he still had his mask on. And he wouldn’t ever take it off. Not again.

It was the lonely strolls through the streets that he truly cherished. Just him and the TRON Legacy soundtrack playing on. Solitude, as portrayed in his comic books.  The lights would always keep him fascinated. Keep him distracted. Hold back the flood of memories that were just waiting to burst through. Atleast for an hour or so.

It pained him to keep secrets from his brother. His ‘new friends’ could sense the negative vibes coming off him. They’d ask, voices overfilling with concern. He’d give the same reply to them all with a faint smile on his face, doing a bang up job of convincing them. How could they not believe him? Practice did make him perfect.

There had been several times when his mask broke, when the heartache used to go past the limits he set for himself. Not that he didn’t take the efforts to talk to someone about it. He was just exhausted with the continuous sympathy. It was that, or they’d consider it too insignificant for him to hold on to. How could no one else be as emphatic as he was? After a point, it had become redundant for him to burden anyone with his pathetic drama. They’d always be first on the priority list over him.

Days turned to months. Not so suddenly, the places themselves represented the ghosts of his own past. The college they attended, the private alleys they’d walk and talk through, the bedroom they shared for evenings on end. Of course he’d welcome all of it. Constant reminders of a failed attempt. He’d make up for it one day. For now, that pain would have to do. Just for a while.

New day, new sunrise to look forward to. Performing all tasks solely based on muscle memory. Keeping the maelstrom of thoughts in a separate corner of his mind. Maybe he could give it a chance? How much more damage could he cause that hadn’t already done?