The Brothers

Through the darkness they could see many doors. But there was no exit.

They huddled together waiting for some food and water to quench their ever-growing thirst for freedom. The tiny prison could barely fit five bodies. Their mother sat in a corner tired with her fourth child. Mother and son shared a stronger bond. While the remaining three brothers found solace in each other’s embrace. That was the deal. Through the torture, through the tears and through the hunger they all had to stay together.

One day some door was going to open. And when it did, the three brothers were going to make a dash for it. Until then they had to be obedient, do as told, and fight over food. So, all they could do in this moment was wait patiently to either die or survive.


Dubai goes into a lockdown starting March 2020. My writing studio is sealed off. I am home bound. I walk in circles in my house like a caged lion. I can feel my old patterns trying to find their way back into my consciousness.

I have been bankrupted twice before. My relationship with money has been very volatile. I have had to fight some very tough battles that were the direct result of my own bad decision making. That makes me even more angry as I can’t blame anyone else for the mess. I came to the Middle East with nothing in my pockets. But I managed to build an incredible life with the most amazing man in the land of sunshine and sand dunes. After years of aimlessly going in circles, I finally grew roots. We bought a home. I planted a champa tree. I fell in love with cats. I discovered life.

And then the world crumbled in 2020.

Everything is good with me and my family. I am ok.
And yet, any sign of chaos throws me into a whirlpool of panic. I hate ambiguity. I love control.

I am not able to see that the learning is to lose control. I don’t realise that chaos is needed before clarity. In the past every time I have faltered, a door has opened for me leading me into a garden full of blooming gulmohar trees. I need to believe that the same will happen again. I don’t see any doors opening now. That scares me. 

I don’t know but somewhere in the universe a door is being built; just for me.
Sometimes not knowing is the biggest lesson of all.

The Brothers

The three brothers are not feeling well. They have urges that they can’t control. They have worms crawling inside of them. They are starting to die little by little every day. They wonder if it’s better to die once and for all and be free from this hellhole. But nothing is in your hands when you are a prisoner.

Their bodies are behind bars, but their minds are free. They hug each other tightly. Somedays they are poked and beaten. Some days a kick is gifted to them along with some leftover bones. They embrace it all. They know that living in the moment is the only way to live. Even through the pain they are living the best life they can.

Stars are born into darkness so that one day they can light up the sky.
Acceptance is their learning, and they know it.


I allow COVID to get to me. I go through the days reading and worrying. Mortgage and bills need to be paid. Though my husband assures every second of the day that we are ok for the next one year, the old fears of losing everything bubble up like froth on a cappuccino.

I stop writing. I am edgy. I am unsettled.

I can’t see that I need to adjust my thoughts and expectations. This time is needed for my journey to start. I don’t understand why all this is happening to me again.

I am grateful for one thing though, that I have cats to keep me company. I find solace in the embrace of my furry friends. I discover how slowly life crawls on their whiskers. I am amazed by how centered these creatures are in the midst of the chaos. They spend hours in deep slumber, almost attaining nirvana.

I am so blind that I can’t  see the answers that are right in front of my eyes. I remember what my father used to say – “you will only see what you are meant to see in this moment.”

My moment is here, the writing is on the wall and I have chosen to close my eyes.

The Brothers

The brothers know something is up. Through the stench of urine, they can smell death today. They feel the tension in the atmosphere. A garbage bag is summoned by the man who has been ripping their souls apart since the day they were born. There are loud noises around. The bothers know what is coming. The door opens and they try to run. But they are caught. Their frightened mother and brother are left in the cage. The three boys are stuffed in a garbage bag like unwanted trash. Their bodies are fighting hard to tear the bag. Their screams are drowned in layers plastic.

The brothers hug each other and make a wish. They don’t want to die. Not today. Not like this. They have never seen the blue evening sky. They don’t know how lovely wet grass feels. They want to hear the birds sing a lullaby. They are reaching out. To be heard. To be noticed. To be loved.

Soon the bag is dragged outside the house near the oversized municipality garbage bin. Boys know that their end is near. Something bad is about to happen. This is the end of the road. Their bodies will be buried under a pile of garbage and hatred. They will never be found. No one will know that they had an ocean trapped inside their hearts. No one will ever find out that they had something to give. No one will know they existed. Their souls will disperse in the hot summer air. 

They finally stop fighting.
Their colourful dreams are nothing but a giant black canvas.
They have resigned.
They are waiting to die.


The brothers don’t know that someone somewhere has heard them.
I am unaware that I am about to learn the most important lesson of my life.

Our paths were meant to cross.

We were meant to meet.

But did we? 

More to follow……..

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Shivani Adalja

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