Mask in the Mirror

Mask in the Mirror

Mask in the Mirror

Confrontation with bizarre reality…

“Mask in the Mirror” Is about the life of an Artist rather every artist who lives in the real world and simultaneously breathes in a fictional realm… Imagination works like magic it transports you and takes you away from the mundane.. Its a life in it self , where you create , out of nothing that you can touch with your bare hands and see with the naked eyes you make somethings that lives or perhaps exists ……

About the Author:
Nidhi Chawla is a Criminal Lawyer by profession, practicing in the supreme court of India. She has done her schooling from the prestigious Loreto Convent Tara Hall and thereafter, did her English honors from famous St. Bede’s college.


The process of weaving a fictional dream can be painful and also joyful path to self discovery, realizes an ordinary man when he sits down to reveal his thoughts and bring to life characters whose lives would confront and impact his heart and mind. As the people of the imaginary world open the Writer’s eyes to his own soul, he relishes his intimate sentiments and sees the color of his emotions. Caught in an imaginary fabrication where at times he basks in the beauty of creation and at moments he suffers its loneliness . There is transformation and simultaneous transition during these years of writing, the beginning commences in the cold winter and rejuvenating spring comes in the end. But the big question is will the Writer and his realm of fiction survive or both perish without the world ever reading his words and recognizing his worth. Mask in the Mirror is a gripping story of self discovery, introspection, and a touching saga of how fictional life can change the real life of an ordinary man.


“Yes, we do get tired. I get tired.”
“We do get tired but not of this life, we get tired of sadness, of pain, of loss, of suffering.”
“There is pain and suffering but life still allures. It does tempt.”
“Yes, it does and we get beguiled.”
“What does this life get in return of all this or what is its aim?”
“Nothing, it has nothing to achieve,” the man replied.
“Then, why does it run like this? Why does it toil so hard?”
“Because it has to live and living is difficult.”
“But it can stop, why does it not finish itself?”

“Because it is life and it cannot betray its own self by coming to an end, its arrogance won’t ever give up and this pride will never bend down. We may falter and we may fail many times but life gets up every time it rises. And it’s not easy to curtail itself, it will take so much time to end things, to wind up everything. There are so many countries, so many continents, so many islands, so many towns, so many cities, so many villages, so many houses. There are so many people, so many men, so many women, so many babies, so many children, so many youngsters, so many aged, so many birds, so many animals, so many plants, so many dreams, so many desires, so many feelings, and life is in the water, on the mountains, in the deserts, in the forests, in the sky, wherever you stand and anywhere you sit, you can breathe it. Life is larger than this earth, bigger than the sky. It is very thickly spread and poor death is helpless, it kills but life brings us back. Everyday every minute, every month, and every year, people die, and everyday, every minute, every month, and every year, those very same people are born again. Over and over they keep coming back, those expired souls. People die yet life supersedes, even if thousands of people die many thousands of them are still left behind. This reproduction happens at a much faster pace than we can imagine or think. This life is very swift, death runs with it, it kills so many people, yet there is no decrease, life increases manifold. We are responsible for this importance with which life lives and we are the ones accountable for rendering this death helpless.

Life, life, and life, we always want it, we always wish for it, we love it, we adore it, we worship it, and we revere it. No matter what, no matter at what cost but we want to live, even if it’s worse we do not want it to end, we pray for it to be better, and we never ask for death. When we are sad we pray for happiness not for death, when we are sick we pray for recovery not for death, when we lose we pray for success not for death, when we are poor we pray for money not for death, when we are lonely we pray for love not for death, when we are in misery we pray for strength not death. And look at me, I want death but I will wait for it. Something stops me from embracing it myself, from ending life with my own hands. I, who kills others, cannot give freedom to myself.”

The woman listened and said nothing. She did not argue or retort because a murderer had all the reasons to hate life, to blame it, to accuse it. After a while, silence regained and it was the quietness of a calm and sombre sea after enduring the storm. Words were like waves, settling down slowly. They would pacify and when they would speak, they would be beautiful, they were new, and their past had been washed away by the rage of nature. It was another birth for them as they had survived the calamity, and they were filled with joy because once again they had become waves.

The rain had stopped. The clouds had shed all their water, and being hollow now they were beginning to disappear. They were going back to be refilled. The sky was clearing and one could see tiny little stars emerging and soon they would spread all over making the night look slightly less dark.

The woman said, “The light of the stars is very less, almost insignificant. It fails to capture the darkness, it cannot even subdue it but the effort is remarkable. Every night those stars arrive shining brightly in spite of their smallness.”

“That is why we look up at them,” the man replied.
“And that is why they are up there in the sky and we are here down on this earth.”
“These stars teach us to light up the darkness and to fight it.”
“Yes, it is from them that we learn the lesson of hope.”
Hope, the man thought and felt sad. There was no hope for him or his life now. It was too late for him to hope for hope, his time had gone.
“Dreams do come, no matter how dark the night is,” the woman said.
“Yes, because they are dreams. They have to come so that reality of life can be decorated.”
“And all of us want these dreams to come true despite their delusion.”
“What is your dream?” the man asked.

The woman smiled a sad smile and said, “There were many dreams but then reality was stronger than them. It did not allow them to grow but somehow a wish has survived years of toil. It has not been able to repress it and even today it waits to see its dawn.”
“What is your dear wish?”
“Love, I want to be felt by it and feel it,” the woman replied.

The man sighed, this woman who needed and deserved to be loved was asking for it, something that should have been a part of her life was a faraway dream for her.

“Just a few moments of that blissful feeling, that’s all,” the woman said looking at the man, as if asking him to give them to her. She wanted her share, she needed her time.

“If love could be found, I will go out and search it for you. I know it would be futile but I would try to find it for you. I would collect the whole of it and put it in your lap,” the man replied.
“And why do you want to do that, why do you want to fill my life with love?”
“Because I want you to be happy.”
“I don’t know.”
“And I want you to be very happy,” the woman replied.
The man smiled, “Why?”
“I too don’t know.”

They both wanted each other to be happy but did not know why they wished for one another’s joy. A feeling in their hearts had begun to grow and they could feel this new emotion but were unable to name it or completely understand it. Their love was still hiding behind the clouds and it was slowly making its way through the mist. Their hearts had been slightly touched where affection stays and it was delightful because it had been waiting for so long, but now could see a way through which it could let itself out.
“Do you have a dream?” she asked with a hesitation.
“Dreams don’t visit me,” the man replied thinking of his nightmares.
“But still there must be something that you want.”
The man thought for a while and then said, “Now I wish for your dreams to come true.”
“Why?” the woman again questioned.
The man smiled, “Don’t know why, but I want you to get everything in life.”
“Don’t you want love?” the woman asked.
“I don’t deserve love.”
“But do you wish for it.”
“Even a ferocious brute needs it.”

The woman felt the man’s sadness and she did not like it. She wanted to change it, she wanted to evade it, she wanted to obliterate it, she wanted to discard it, she wanted it to be wiped, she wanted it to be erased, she wanted it to be eliminated, she wanted to save him from pain, and she wanted to protect him from sorrow. She wanted to stop it, abstain it, restrain it, refrain it from entering into his heart. She wanted his oppressive soul to be released for a few moments, so that she could fill the gaps and make him happy, because she wanted to see him smile, she wanted to see him laugh, she wanted him to forget that he was a murderer. She wanted his darkness to leave him, to abandon him, to forsake him, to desert him. She wanted it to depart for a while so that light could light up the sombre. His love was famished and she wanted to surfeit it. His mind was tired and she wanted to relax it. She went near him, kissed him on his forehead and took away his thoughts, then kissed him on the eye and filled them with light, then kissed him on his cheeks and made him grin, then kissed him on his neck and his voice lost its pain, then kissed him on his heart and it was calm, then kissed him everywhere as if pecking the sorrow and relieving him, and then sealed his lips with hers, inducing his love. The man took her in his arms, she wanted him and needed him, reaching out to him. Every time it had been him who went close to her but today she wanted that intimacy. She wanted him to possess her, and wanted to give in. It was her heart, her body, and her soul that wanted to be loved by the man.

The man made love to her and it was for the first time that they felt each other beyond their bodies. The intensity of feelings for each other reached deep inside, and their happiness was high as together they reached a new height, their souls soared. It was as if they had come close for the first time because they needed each other and they wanted each other. Their feelings were entirely different from the past. The woman was thirsty and the man was like the water, he quenched her. She was like a hot day and he was like a cool breeze, he calmed her. She was like the blazing fire and he was the torrent of rain, he composed her. She was like the cold winter and he was the cosiness, he warmed her. She was like the yearning heart and he was like affection, he loved her. She was like a hungry child and he was like food, he nourished her. She was like a long loneliness and he was its end. She was like the dying day and he was the beginning of a beautiful night. She was like the longing love and he was the termination of its craving. She was the crying eyes and he was its hope. She was the withering flower and he was its blossom. She was the whining sound and he was its silence. She was the lost despair and he was its way. She was like a virgin and he was like her man, he replenished her.

A night spent together in love. When love came to an end and reached its morning, it was a warm day as it had emerged from an affection of the bygone hours. The man woke up first and he felt as if something that had been amiss in his life so far had been realised. He felt complete as if now there was nothing to strive for, as if he had found the beginning of his road, as if the sullen oldness was receding and a novelty was taking its place, as if his heart had risen from the sombre depth, as if his feelings had been brought back to life, as if his soul had smiled, as if his love was happy, as if his joy had been set free from a sorrow, as if his pain had forsaken, as if his darkness had been touched by light, as if winter had come to end. He felt satisfied because he had been able to live a few precious moments of life.

He looked at the woman lying next to him and on her face he saw a contentment as if she too had found what she wanted, as if her soul was resting, as if her heart had to wander no more, as if her body was pleased, as if her soul was delighted, as if her joy was merry, as if her pain had melted, as if her sorrow had been relieved. He went close to her and slowly whispered in her ears, “Get up your day has come, the darkness is over and the light has spread. Get up, let your eyes see it and let it touch you.” The voice of man reached the woman and she liked it. She did not understand the meaning of his words, as she was still swimming in slumber but whatever he said sounded sweet and she smiled and opened her eyes. They looked at each other and there was a new feeling between them. They were the same but felt differently about each other, they were closer and that intimacy was beautiful, they belonged to each other and they had sense of togetherness. The man was with his woman, and the woman was with his man. They had their own small world where they had each other to rely upon, to trust, to share, to unburden, to care, to love. They kissed and the man left the woman with her light, her day.

The day today looked more adorable to the woman. The memory of last night and the rapture filled her heart with pleasure. Earlier men had slept with her but last night she had slept with a man, completely submitting to him, giving herself in every way, not restraining her and at the same time not stopping him. She accepted him and let him take her without any regret. She yielded her desire, she conceded her wish, she surrendered her body and she did everything with her heart. Her lust was true and she did not detest its coming but let it drown her in its space, not deterring it. And she loved that submission, through it she realised her own self. She realised the happiness that she could give and that she could take, she felt complete and completed the man.

The man had gone and the woman was not with him but they were together because he thought about her and she was near him. She thought about him and was close to him, far from each other but not separated. He lived his life but with her, and she lived his life with him. Both eagerly waiting for time when they would be free again to leave their dark lives behind and be a part of realm where they did not have to hide or conceal their own self.

A fortnight passed and those days were the longest for them because their eyes could not see each other, their voices could not hear each other, and their hands could not touch each other. And unable to hold himself any longer the man went to see his woman. They greeted each other with a silence. Words were not required to speak for them as they understood the quietness between them. A whole hour elapsed and when both were convinced that their hearts had done their talking, the silence came to an end.
“All this time that I spend with you is very precious to me. Its sweet memories stay with me when you are not around,” the woman said.
“And you too stay with me even when I am gone. Memories though illusive are able to retain their presence and revive feeling that have already passed,” the man replied.
“They have a sweet sensation which stays for a very long time, sometimes even for years.”
“Close your eyes,” the man said.
“Close my eyes, but why?”
“I want to show you something. Maybe, I take you where you have not been for years.”
“But with closed eyes what can I see, once you put the lids down light dissipates and the images disappear.”
“Yes, it is with your open eyes that you can see the outside world but for an insight you have to abstain light, to reach within, you have to begin with darkness, and then a hidden world reveals itself.”
“I do not understand.”
“You will understand, just do as I say. So, are you ready?”

The woman obeyed and closed her eyes. The man waited for a while and then said, “In your eyes right now there is darkness and you can see nothing except that black colour which has no shape or form.”
The woman saw darkness, her eyes were filled with it and she did not like it.
“Accept it and it will not harm you.”
The woman concentrated, trying to evade her dislike.

“It is the same darkness but it varies, it is unlike the one that the dusk brings.” The man spoke very slowly, his voice was soft like the touch of softness, and the woman absorbed the sweetness of his sound. The way he talked was not same and he was speaking a different language.

The woman saw and felt the darkness, and she saw it as she had never seen it before. The darkness that she had always looked at from a distance resided in her eyes and she was able to feel its presence.
“It is yours. It is very close to you.”

And the woman felt that nearness, it was not distant or faraway but near her. She was not watching it but it was touching her.

“It does not hurt you,” the man said and paused. He paused for a while after every sentence, giving the woman time to see and feel.
The woman tried to feel the pain with which the darkness pinches the eyes but it did not hurt her.
“And you are not scared of it.”
The woman smiled. She was not afraid of it.
“You are overcoming it.”
The woman felt as if the darkness was conquering her and she liked that surrender.
“You are comprehending it now.”
The woman tried to understand it.
“It has a meaning.”
The woman listened and the darkness evolved, transforming itself.
“It’s different.”
The woman felt the difference.
“It’s new.”

And the woman saw that it was new, it was not the darkness that the night is made up of.

“You have never looked beyond or inside it. What lies in the folds of it, you do not know.”
The woman looked with intent and gazed thoroughly at it.
“You have never tried to reach its depth to find out what stays beneath.”
Now the woman finds herself sinking in it and she likes that falling.

“The darkness is sombre but then it is not so dismal, and the colour black is a colour just like the other colours. It is one of them and it is not sinister but intense. It is in the darkness that the moon rises and the twinkling stars shine in that black sky.”

The thought of the moon and the stars changed the meaning of that darkness for the woman, and now in her eyes was not a black colour but a beautifully lit night.

“And they sparkle, those stars and that moon,” the man said and paused for the woman to feel that brightness.

MASK IN THE MIRROR (ISBN: 978-81-223-1118-1)

Interview in The Tribune



Review in Print Media

  1. May 12, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    VIVEK MOHAN. said…

    Hi Nidhi…u make us all Shimlaites proud by coming out with an original ‘thought process’ of yours which is thought provoking! I loved the way you’ve segregated the chapters…Some lines in between are ‘quotes’ in themselves.And above all you don’t fall into the category of ‘authors’ there who are ‘inspired’by History,fine,but lack originality.Good show…Good reading,asoul-curry’ from the Punjabi kuddi!
    August 23, 2010 11:28 PM

    VIVEK MOHAN. said…

    Hi Nidhi…a real soul-curry by the Punjabi kuddi from Shimla – original writing – loved the way you’ve segregated the chapters!Some lines are like ‘quotes’!
    An original thought which is thought provoking!
    August 23, 2010 11:32 PM


    Hi Mrs. Nidhi Chawla Verma,
    Please continue to write great books, like this one. An extraordinary book by an outstanding person. It is also good if one wants to improve his English.
    October 18, 2010 8:22 AM

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