Image Source: wikipedia.org; believed to be in public domain

Is love a primordial element of life? It depends on the lover, of course! Yet, there are few who have not smouldered in these flames.  Indeed, many have turned to cinders. For it is the nature’s trump card to ensure both succession and sanity in the maelstrom of life. Just as it is nature’s trump card to check destruction and wildness in the tranquility of life.

The Lance in My Heart is a tale of love that flowered over four thousand kilometers, as the crow flies. It is the tale of a man who went to the erstwhile Soviet republic as a devil-may-care youth. He stayed put through the turmoil of the republics as they tumbled like ninepins from the iron clasp of the USSR. Somewhere in the middle of the dust and debris of the apocalypse and the natural treasures of Donetsk, he chanced upon a rare rose. Lady luck held a beatific smile for him as she was also drawn to his candour and directness. Their paths merged despite their shockingly different languages, cultures and parents. One day, when he proposed to her under a Ukranian moon hanging in a violet evening sky, she nodded her head in ‘yes’.  Wallowing in her love, he ignored lucrative employment offers in Singapore and Europe. Having scored over the heart of the ravishing beauty rooted to the soil of her land, he set out to scale the hurdles of his own emergent country, India. But just as they say, it never rains but pours, his story held a couple of blizzards in its folds, waiting to pummel and spread layers of gray over the rose beds.

The writer of his story is stung by the pain of the flutist who sits on the bank of a rippling stream, watching the leafy trees flutter in the transparent wind. He is at his wits end trying to meld the joy of clouds dancing in the azure sky with the poignant notes of the sparrow that has lost its mate. If he has to be the wind and the sky and the clouds and the river, he has to be the bird in mourning too. He notes the inflections of his notes, pauses and begins anew. He strives to store the lightness of the wind, the mirth of the clouds, the serenity of the sky and the jiggle of the trees in the melody. At the same time, he yearns to lace the tune with the melancholy of the forlorn bird. So that, when he moves back to the sea of life he would forever remember the unbearable beauty of love as it can be and he would forever remain pierced by the pain of a grieving heart whose loss is compounded by the joy of the world. And so will be others who listen to his tune.

103 thoughts on “The Lance in My Heart

  1. Beautifully written. Best of luck with the Harper Collins. I am waiting to see your published story though. I suspect your story would cause indigestion to the Indian masses fed on a diet of Chetan Bhagat, Durjoy Dutta and the like.

    1. Thank you, my friend! Your comment seems to have come my way as a Good Omen. As for the Indian masses, never discount their ability of springing surprises upon you!

  2. If the idea and response is so gripping, I wonder what the full tale will be like. Looking forward to reading your story in the Harper Collins book. All the very best. 🙂

  3. Looks like this will be one hell of a tale going by the idea that you shared. I look forward to seeing your published story, and there is something about these love stories, ain’t it? Wish you luck!

    1. Thanks for your confidence in me, Rachna. The story will come your way either through the book or the blog here.

      I have been in a rough terrain of late. I am touched by your concern.

  4. Sometimes
    a Double Bass stiffly plucking
    soundlessly
    on the freezing rose
    on an Cyrillic inscribed stone;

    Sometimes
    undulating shehnai dirges
    rippling through
    the tropical streams,
    he watches and wonders
    how the mind-rose
    perseveres
    through
    a crescendo ,
    of
    wilful winds,
    thundering percussions
    lashing branches,
    torrential sky tears,
    and even some ,
    now spineless thorns.

    The flower
    bereft of petals,
    stands tall and stoic,
    the ground strewn
    with fragrance
    of the flutist’s plaintive music.

    The sparrow
    descends in hope,
    to collect the petals,
    one by one,
    to be dropped into the recesses
    of its mind.

    Sweetened by memories,
    Collined and Harperized,
    and preserved
    for times to come,
    as the
    Gulkand in its Life….

    1. Suranga, perhaps, this was the tune the flutist was yearning to capture! Regardless of the eventual HarperCollinification of the story, the strains of your poem will remain etched on my mind for a long, long time. Thank you for the honour.

  5. UMA sir, first of all , all the best with the publishing. I am sure it will do great, Not very good authors out there, But your articles and stories are very thoughtful and as i have mentioned earlier I learn a lot each time coming over and reading ..

    Love indeed its a beautiful emotion, but my problem is I dont know what True love is and how to distinguish it ..

    1. Bikram, I truly don’t know what I will be up against out there, but I’ll count my blessings as they come. Thank you so much for those kind words.

  6. You have already created an enduring love story…..there are many who are deeply in love with your writing….Wish you best of luck

  7. Wonderful idea. I am sure it will flourish into even more loveable tale. All the best. Looking forward to reading the tale in the hard copy.

  8. This is perhaps the best curtain-raiser to a tale — any tale. I am sure it will be among the top entries in the book. I am as usual, out of the race even before it started, but I am glad that my dear friend will be featured there. Take care.

  9. Harper Collins should be honored to publish writing of this high caliber. ‘Love remains the lone force that can make us sing and shine as well as mourn and pine.’. I am floored! Your command over the language delineate each sentiment in every sentence so expressively! I look forward to reading the whole version.

    1. Richa, that is an overwhelming compliment! Many thanks for the resounding reassurance. The pleasure of presenting the whole version will be mine!

  10. Boss , aapun ka khopadi hil gaya.. I am just amazed how beautifully you arrange the words and substances.. Smooth and silky , some gentle twist and turn.. Wow

  11. Aww..Cheating…I was hoping to read a great love story here and it’s just the introduction? Can’t wait to read the complete story. I won’t say good luck. I rather say Congratulations!! I don’t doubt a bit. Do keep us posted when the book is published too..I promised I will buy it and read..:) btw, glad to see you back after long time.

    1. I seek your forgiveness for the shortchange, Latha. But I have written as ordained by the organisers. Yes, there has been a break in the pattern. Thank you, so much!

  12. What a beautiful narration. Its quality is perfectly in resonance with your enormous talents. But I can,t agree more with the gentleman who said something about indigestion of the Indian mass readers. You stamp your class again in this curtain raiser and Harper-Collins people may have hit the gold.

    1. Many thanks to you, Sudhir. However, I wish to ask you this: when you are in the flow of your elements, imparting the best to your pupils, have ever paused for a second to consider how it all may sound to the masses? You don’t and you can’t. Does it mean that the art that you have in you is futile? I understand that it serves a specific function but what is it beyond that? Yet, someone must indulge in that very art. If it is not you it will be someone else, probably better. By the same logic, I am performing in the only way I can and I will probably break if checked. Incidentally, I believe I am a denizen of this world and I write for the humanity and I fervently hope that viewed in this light, my scope expands enormously.

  13. What an idea, Sir ji! It didn’t strike me that this would be just the idea. I was really looking forward to reading the whole story. I will hold that thought. All the very best!

  14. oh.. thought there is more there.. it is just a trailer?? waiting to read more.. all the best !!!
    ( i just realized that i might be the only one here commenting in very normal,simple English.. hope to pick up little language from ur blog too.. )

    1. Many thanks for your kind thoughts.

      Do have a look again at everyone else’s language: they have all used ‘very normal, simple English’, just as yours.

  15. I am stung by the pain of the flutist who sits on the bank of a rippling stream, wa………………………………. world. And so will be others who listen to his tune..

    breathtaking imagery.
    Can’t wait to read the whole story. Pain and Love was oozing out in every sentence.

  16. In awe as always, Mr. Pandey. The last paragraph was a master-piece. I started listening to the tune of the flute as I read it. Beautiful. And all the best for the publishing part, you are born to be a published author.

    1. Thanks for your glowing words, Akshay. I had started missing your assessments! While I am not sure about the publishing part, writing is something I would remain drawn to.

  17. Looking forward to reading the entire story (in print!). It’s going to be one rock solid venture I feel! 🙂 Best of luck with Harper Collins! PS: I did complete the series Second Chances, after our conversation during the Indiblogger meet. Would love to hear what you think!

  18. And you truly deserve a place in the Harper Collins publications. Look forward to read the full story. I wonder how I missed coming here all these months!

  19. Of course Harper Collins will be honored by publishing your story.If the trailer is so impressive then the the whole picture is bound to be OUTSTANDING.

  20. I had to read it three times to completely soak in all the magic you had offered and to make sure I didn’t miss any. There is a purity in your writing which cleanses and soothes the reader. This is a scintillating prelude to what could only be phenomenal. You have chosen the most potent emotion of all and I am sure love will look and sound even more beautiful in your words. All the very best and I am sure I am going to be buying your book very soon.

    1. Raju, I am rendered speechless by your words. I request you not to have such high esteem for me: I may fail to deliver! I remain grateful to you, however.

  21. That was a beautiful narration of a love story. The flurry of metaphors that you used have a lot of deep, rich meaning. I had to read each sentence at least twice to grab the full meaning of the words.

  22. With a deluge of all those “National Bestsellers” flooding the market and “I will love you till I find someone better” creating records of sorts …this story comes as a whiff of fresh air …Hope Indian publishing will wake up from stupor with tales like these 🙂

  23. I loved the diea, a breath of fresh air in the CB, Curjoy Datta times, but you have broken one essential rule, the word count for the idea.! It has to be 500 words! And I presume they wont ignore this in the final judging process! Well, just an error I pointed out! Mine is here http://www.indiblogger.in/getpublished/idea/248/ please read and see if it worthy of making it into the anthology!

    1. Rinzu, I don’t write within rules and I am not bothered if I have tripped over some. Let us not please duscuss merit here – it has nothing to do with your writing. Collecting the ‘likes’ will see you through the anthology. I will like your entry somtime in the day -my mobile’s browser is buggy. Thank you.

      PS: Incidentally, at the time I submitted the idea of the story, no word limit was prescribed. It is a subsequent development, as is the provision for submitting more ideas. I am touched by your concern, however.

  24. Beautiful …. as is the case with all your fiction, it conjures up images – one frame after the other. I can’t wait to read the whole thing. All the best.

    1. I appreciate your support, Panchali. Although I consider my stories already ‘published’ on my blog, I shall meet you in print soon. A million thanks.

    1. Yashodhara, I am grateful for your input and I have carried out the amendments. 🙂 However, I wish to register my protest here: it is not inappropriate to amend the rules but to do that with a retrospective effect, rendering entries conforming to previous specifications invalid, implies scarce regard for the blogging community.

      1. Protest noted and agreed, Sir. The issue was that only after going through the first 50 ideas, we were able to arrive at the need for some standardization and updated the rules subsequently :-). But you are right – it is far from ideal. It’s an evolving initiative though, and terribly well-meaning… so let’s live with the hiccups and support it as best we can!

        1. Madam, I hugely appreciate and thank you for addressing my concerns directly. Allow me to assure you that it is a privilege to be associated with HarperCollins and your editorial desk. 🙂

  25. Now this is something heavenly, your story has some out of the world touch to it, it has pious feeling attached to it. Looking forward to see it published with Harper Collins. Good luck! Do check out my idea as well here “http://www.indiblogger.in/getpublished/idea/302/”

  26. It was an honour visiting your page.. I though Love could just be felt and would be impossible to express in words, but, you made me wrong today.. All the best.. 🙂

  27. It was just bang on…my head n heart. I was flowing in the flow and as if i was considering me the girl u mentioned here. This is what the beauty of this tale 🙂 I was procrastinating my idea and lazy in my writing. U really scribbled the love story in different manner…
    My best wishes to u UmashankarJi and wish u n ur family happy new year

    –Jasmeet
    http://emotestar.blogspot.in

  28. Clean bold by your language fluidity and the poignant whiff of the trailer that you served us on the plate real hot here!! How badly I want to improve my vocabulary after reading your post. I am a first time visitor, but probably won’t shy away from coming back again and again because we all are here to inspire and get inspired. Thank you Uma Shankar Ji. I wish I get a chance to grab a hard copy of your masterpiece in the days to come. True moment of honour and bliss it shall be.. 🙂

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