Sunday, December 08, 2013

What happened to Sita?

A Work of Fiction


She had always wanted a daughter but now… as she reminisced about her life, she decided to change what she wanted.

She came from a family where girls were brought up with respect, were educated and despite most other kingdoms from around, were taught to speak their mind and be part of decisions being made in the family.

She was a miracle, they said, when she came in to her father’s house. She was a blessing, they said. She was the apple of her father’s eyes, they said. They gave her the status of a Goddess. As she grew older, her father sat her down and pragmatic as ever had said “You my lovely daughter who goes by the name of Sita, Maithili, Vaidehi and Jana­ki, do not let these names forget who you are. Deep inside, you are the one who chose to be saved, so you can make a change. Our land is filled with people who despise women, who don’t hesitate to kill little baby girls, even their own daughters, in the desperate attempt to bear sons. You my little one decided to push through the earth and hold my hand. You are destined to reach out to the souls of people, now and for centuries to come, to wake them from their deep slumber and help break away from distinguishing children even before they are born. You, the one with the gentlest of gentle souls, will guide people to be human first before they give themselves or their children any tags.”

She was too young to understand what her loving father had said on that sunny afternoon but today, as she was on the brink of motherhood, she understood it all. Irony had brought her in to this family, a family known far and wide for being just and right, yet a family that had encouraged all means to justify one end; that of having a male heir so their family name may continue to prosper.

Her husband, though a gentle soul himself, was born only because his sister gave her life for him and his brothers. His sister was never spoken about. No stories were told about her great sacrifice. She had drifted into the unknown – unspoken and forgotten.

“I will bear you sons. Sons who will remain unmarried, because no mother’s daughters will ever want to marry them and become part of this family. It breaks my heart as a mother to know that my sons will never know the joy of a woman in their lives, neither their mother nor a wife or a sister. But this will end the cycle here and now. You, my great husband will be known as a legend, as mythology. But alas! Your family name will not continue because the family that does not respect its daughters will only bring sadness and negativity around it. People will need to forget that this family was ever real. They will be content in the belief that yours was a great story and you a great ruler, a great king, a God even.”


And so she bore two sons and left them in their father’s care as she jumped into a crevice caused by a great earthquake… silently forgiving her parents who showed her the path to the underground the day she was born.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Moment of Nostalgia

As the drums beat,
The jal tarang sends a silent note;
In her world, the sound of the drum
Is all she wants to feel.

Her soul stirs, as the crescendo
Of the drums reaches her heart.
A drop of tear, she sheds,
Into the pool of emotions.

She remembers the beat
From many moons ago...
When the sun had risen daily,
Casting his rays on her,
Shimmering on her skin;
When innocence prevailed.
She longed for that comfort...
The comfort of not knowing.

Today, she is wiser.
Today, she is stronger.
Today, she is happy.
Today, she is loved.
Yet...
A drop of tear, she sheds,
Into the pool of emotions.
A sigh passes her lips,
As she gathers herself up
For life... again.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Honest Open Smiles

Can it be this tough?
Wearing masks all day long;
Passing by the universe.
Every day. Every night.

Needs. Wants. Desires.
In that order please...
Make mine with
A sprinkling of soul dust.

Rains feeding streams,
Leaves leaving trees,
Cups upturned in sinks,
Music. Laughter. Life.

Let the cookie crumble.
These cookie cutters 
Were made all wrong.
Honest open smiles,
It isn't this tough!

Firewood gathered,
Hunting done,
The roasting begins!
On this Friday noon,
Dream up your dreams.
It ain't tough at all...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Humdrum

Humdrum, a word I love...
It paints a picture of buildings and nests
Of pathways and forests.
Why it plants this tune in my mind,
I can't say.

On this Thursday eve...
As twilight threatens to disorient the mind,
Humdrum, just plain humdrum.
Why this world seems all right,
I can't say.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bushaka Loves Mangoes!

You all know Bushaka, the little lion cub with adventure in his heart and a shine in his lovely big eyes! This is a story of how Bushaka met Sundari, the Bandari. Since it was a bright and sunny day, Bushaka thought it would be fun to go on a picnic with his beshtesht lion friends Shimbuka and Kashimbu.

They each got something to add to the picnic. Bushaka brought along his favourite juicy mangoes, Shimbuka's father made delicious dosa rolls, Kashimbu's aunt packed two jars full of Kokum juice. The three of them, with tiny little picnic baskets in hand headed off to a mountain with tall grass laid out like a really, really thick carpet. Being lions, they loved to hide themselves in the grass.

They had a big colourful bouncy ball which was red, blue and yellow! They played the "Jump over the right colour" and the "Bounce with the ball" games for hours together. After a while they were all thirsty so went to the spot under a Peepal tree where their two jars of juice and all other yummy goodies were kept in the shade. 

Bushaka gulped down two glasses of juice and suddenly realised that his basket with the juicy mangoes were nowhere to be seen. "Kashimbu, Shimbuka, where are the mangoes? It's not here!" he cried.

His friends came over to him and said that they can all look for it and asked Bushaka to "Please stop crying."

"But... they... are... my favourite..." he said between sobs and the tears left tyre like marks on his cheeks through all the dirt from all that playing they did.

Both Kashimbu and Shimbuka hugged him and Kashimbu said "Don't cry Bushaka, it will be here somewhere. You sit down here and we'll look for it."

Bushaka sat down and tried hard not to feel like his heart was heavy, tried hard to stop crying. His friends were jumping around all over the place looking for the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it.

"Tee... heee... heee... heee..." a sound came from high up on the Peepal tree. Bushaka looked up and what did he see??

Why? A little monkey sat on a branch and was laughing at Bushaka's friends who were jumping around looking for the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it.

What do monkeys do on trees? Let me see if you can show me...

"Hey you! Up there! Why are you laughing at my friends?" asked Bushaka.

"Tee.. heee... heee... heee... you cry baby!" replied the little monkey.

"I lost my mangoes a while ago and was feeling sad. That's why I was crying. My name is Bushaka, not cry baby. You can call me by my name if you want to talk to me. What's your name?" said Bushaka feeling all strong and ready to stand up for himself.

"Mangoes? Yummydelicious! They are my favourite too! Now I know how you felt and why you were crying. But your friends do look quite funny from up here, jumping around like that!" came the monkey's reply.

"Well, they are searching for the missing mangoes. You still didn't tell me what your name is." said Bushaka, getting up and dusting himself off and wiping the tears off his face!

The monkey came down to a lower branch and whispered, "I will tell you my name but promise me you won't make fun of it? A lot of others who are not in my family always laugh and make fun of my name..."

"I promise!"

"My name is Sundari, the Bandari." she replied.

"That is such a lovely rhyming name. Can we be friends, Sundari, the Bandari?" asked Bushaka.

"Why, thank you. I think so too. And off course we can be friends. To prove it, let me climb up to the highest branch on this tree and look for your mangoes." and off she went climbing up swiftly swinging from one branch to the other as she went higher and higher.

"It's a little picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it!" shouted Bushaka so she could hear him.

He heard Sundari, the Bandari's voice like it was coming from so far away, "I can see your missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it!!"

And then she yelled out some directions like, go left, move right, keep going straight, jump over the rock and some more confusing directions. Bushaka shouted out the directions to Shimbuka and Kashimbu till they found the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it with some mangoes fallen out of it.

They brought it under the Peepal tree and all four of them attacked the mangoes and ate them all up in no time, because by now, Sundari, the Bandari had become their friend too, you see. By the end of it, all of them had mango pulp all around their mouth and Bushaka had some over his nose and ears too!!

And so, it was that Bushaka met Sundari, the Bandari who could climb the highest of the highest branch on any tree and had very sharp eyesight that could spot the missing picnic basket with juicy mangoes in it!

Sundari, the Bandari became such good friends with Bushaka and his friends that she even goes for an adventure to India with him... But that story is for another time!

P.S:
Bushaka was born in 2007 as a playful little lion cub with adventure in his eyes and an attitude to make new friends and create fun games all the time. He was born to make my daughter's (Vedha, then 5yrs old) life a little more exciting than it already was. :)
A couple of Bushaka's friends, besides the new friend Sundari, the bandari introduced in this story, are Moshu, the cat and Kakaraku, the frog.
Bushaka's early year stories are written as a read-aloud story for little kids.


Monday, August 12, 2013

The Streets of Venice and Crete

This is a poem written by Vedha on 9th August 2013, as I was busy making Biryani to celebrate Eid. She wanted it posted on my Blog so she can be "world-famous" according to her! :)

There's someone I want to tell you about,
I might as well shout it all aloud.

Since there's no one around me,
I might as well let it all out,
So here goes:

We walked up the streets -
Of Venice and Crete.
We went to a place,
To get something to eat.

We talked and laughed,
And we hugged and loved.
As huge as a heart,
We sat by the hearth.

- So that's what happened
In Venice and Crete.


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Wonder 'O' Machine

This is a story written by my daughter, Vedha in 2012, when she was 10 years old (she is 11 now). I found it very interesting and full of adventure so with her permission, I am posting it here on Vedha's behalf. Please note that this is typed exactly as it was written except for a couple of corrections in the main character's name to maintain consistency! :)

"No!" said a person in the village. He was surfing at the beach when he noticed that the water at the beach was flooding! Soon, in a few weeks that village was submerged into the sea. A few million years later a new gadget was made. The new gadget was called The Wonder 'O' Machine. Now, the Wonder 'O' Machine was built in different types, one for land, one for water and the last one was for the air transport. But it could go to outer space and meet their friends from Mars.

Now, this story is about the Wonder 'O' Machine which was the one for water. Now after a few years people had to use the Wonder 'O' Machine (of any type). There was a marine biologist and her name was Suzanne Markman. She had the gadget for water since she was a marine biologist. Soon she had read the headlines of the 'Daily News'. It said, "WORLD'S AQUA ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE BETTA, WAS KILLED AND ONLY ABOUT 30 BETTAS LEFT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD." Suzanne was shocked by this and the Betta was her favourite aqua animal!! She grabbed her vehicle which could fold into a small miniature car when it wasn't in use. Once she reached the beach, she pressed a button on the miniature car and soon it transformed into the vehicle. She got inside the vehicle and clicked another button and it moved forward into the water and then she pulled a gear and a voice from the speaker said, "YOU HAVE NOW ACTIVATED THE SUBMARINE." and the vehicle which was short for the Wonder 'O' Machine sank into the water. An hour went by and it was time for supper. Suzanne pressed a button and said, "dinner" and a small tray popped up with delicious Tacos!

She had put the vehicle under auto driving and started eating when something caught her eye. She saw a very shiny thing so she went close to it, but she still couldn't understand what it was so she went even closer. Soon she noticed a lot of skeletons. She got very scared, but she wanted to explore so she looked around. A few hours later she noticed that this thing she saw was a village! She could see remains of the houses and all other buildings.

She used her phone and called her best friend Lilly. "Lilly I want you to come to East Coast Beach with your water vehicle and get into the water at the shallows. I need to show you something really awesome and don't forget to bring your movie camera" she said to Lilly. So after that call Suzanne went to the shallows to pick up Lilly. Soon both of them were back to the sunken village. "Wow! What is all this Suzanne?" Lilly asked. "This is the Island which sank because of a great flood in 2012" said Suzanne. Lilly had taken some pictures to put on the news and on the computer. But Suzanne had a different idea. She took out a book with blank pages and started writing this story, but no one has ever solved the mystery of how old age people lived.

Author: Vedha
Year: 2012

Sunday, July 28, 2013

To Listen Was to Hear

She stood in the rain, at crossroads with herself.
'Should I move straight ahead or follow the fallen leaves?'
She closed her eyes and continued to walk.
The path was chosen, she felt it with her bare feet.
She smelt the air and followed the mixture of scents calling to her.

A week passed by as she continued walking,
Seeing nothing, for her eyes were shut.
She heard every sound, 
From the distant rustle of birds on a tree,
To the blade of grass stepped on by beasts.

Something, somewhere caught her attention.
Was it a sound, a smell or a feel on her bare arms?
She couldn't say.

She knew she had to stop, for this was her calling.
This was where she had to wait till she grew a new tree.
She dug the earth deep and sowed the little seed.

Bushaka Learns the Kakaraku Hop Game

One day Bushaka, the lion wanted to play something different, a new game, may be even make a new friend. He went to his lion friends Shimbuka and Kashimbu and told them, "Let's go for a walk in the jungle. We'll make some new friends and play some new games."

Shimbuka and Kashimbu said "roar... roar... that's a good idea, let's go!" They knew that Bushaka was always great at finding new things to do and they were so very excited.

So off they went, for a walk in the jungle. They ran a little, walked a little and looked around for other animals to play with. Finally they saw a frog.

Can you show me how frogs move?

This little frog went... Hop! Hop! Hop!

Bushaka said "Hellloooo! We want to play with you... can we play with you please?"

"Croaak" said the frog.

"I am Bushaka and these are my friends Shimbuka and Kashimbu. What's your name?" Bushaka asked the little frog.

"Croaak" replied the frog.

Kashimbu and Shimbuka burst out laughing "roar... roar... ha ha ha... his name is croaak."

What sound do frogs make?

The frog looked at Bushaka and said "My name is Kakaraku. I'll play with you if you ask your friends to stop laughing at me just because they don't understand the Croaking language."

"OK. I'm sorry." said Bushaka and told both Shimbuka and Kashimbu to stop laughing at Kakaraku.

"So, what game are we playing?" asked Kashimbu all excited.

Kakaraku replied "Here goes... I will hop thrice and the three of you try to catch me."
"But... if I land on a leaf or a branch by the third hop then whoever is trying to catch me is out."

Bushaka jumped up and down saying "That's an interesting game!"

"There's one more thing..." said Kakaraku, "you have to catch me in three hops and if I don't reach a leaf or a branch in three hops then I am out."

So they started playing. Kakaraku counted "1...2...3..." and off they ran behind Kakaraku as he leaped into the air... Hop!!

Shimbuka almost caught him and Kakaraku went HOP for the second time away from Shimbuka even before he knew what was happening. As Shimbuka tried to pounce on Kakaraku for the second time, Kakaraku went HOP and landed on a big leaf.

"Yay!" shouted Kakaraku, "Shimbuka is out! Shimbuka is out!"

Then there was only Bushaka and Kashimbu. So once again Kakaraku said "1...2...3..." and off they ran to catch Kakaraku. HOP! and Kakaraku escaped from right under Kashimbu's nose as he tried to catch him. The second time Kakaraku went Hop! Kashimbu pounced and lost balance falling down with his face landing in the mud and dust... Kashimbu's face was all brown and all you could see were his big eyes trying to search for the fast little Kakaraku. The moment he realised that he was close to Kakaraku, HOP! went Kakaraku the third time high up in the air and landed on a branch.

"Yay! Yay!" shouted Kakaraku once again, "Kashimbu is out! Kashimbu is out!"

Kashimbu stood there looking all confused and dusty. Shimbuka was rolling and laughing "roar... roar... ha ha ha" looking at Kashimbu.

Both of them stood under a tree and watched with full interest as Kakaraku and Bushaka continued the game.

"1...2...3..." and off ran Bushaka to catch Kakaraku. Kakaraku jumped high Hop! and Bushaka missed catching him. Then Hop! went Kakaraku for the second time, this time to the left of Bushaka. Bushaka almost caught his own tail!

Finally, for the third time Kakaraku took a deep breath "CROAK!" and jumped Hop! just as Bushaka pounced on him but Bushaka missed him once again. And Kakaraku was high in the air... and landed plop! On the ground and not a leaf or a branch.

So, Bushaka ended up winning the game and luckily Kakaraku hadn't got hurt too. Because, you do know that lions are so much bigger than Kakraku that he could have gotten hurt if any of them had pounced right on to him?

"Phew!" said Kakaraku, "nice to meet all three of you. I have taught you a new game but I have to go home now. Next time may be I will teach you the croaking language so you can understand my language."

They all said bye... bye... and Kakaraku went back home.

Bushaka made a new friend and also went back home with Kashimbu and Shimbuka. The three of them taught all their friends the new game and had lots of fun. Off course none of them could really go HOP! like little Kakaraku but they somehow managed to play the new 'Kakaraku Hop Game."

Can you show me how high you can jump?

Bushaka, Kashimbu and Shimbuka became experts at it because after all they learnt it from the expert hopper, Kakaraku himself!

P.S:
Bushaka was born in 2007 as a playful little lion cub with adventure in his eyes and an attitude to make new friends and create fun games all the time. He was born to make my daughter's (Vedha, then 5yrs old) life a little more exciting than it already was. :)
A couple of Bushaka's friends, besides the new friend Kakaraku, the frog introduced in this story, are Moshu, the cat and Sundari, the bandari (monkey).
Bushaka's early year stories are written as a read-aloud story for little kids.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bushaka, The Lion

Bushaka, the lion was sad. He had forgotten how to roar. 
How do lions roar?

He walked alone through the jungle with big sad eyes. A wild cat, Moshuu, was playing with a hard round fruit, in fact, it was a Wood Apple! She looked at Bushaka and said "Meaaaow... meaaaow... what happened? Why are you so sad?" meaaaow... meaaaow..."

Do you know how to meow like a cat?

Bushaka replied, "I've forgotten how to roar. All my friends are laughing at me. sniff... sniff" and cried. Moshuu said, "Ah! Come let's play together and I can teach you to meow like me... meaaaow... meaaaow..."

Bushaka was happy and played for a long, long time with Moshuu and learnt how to meow by the evening. Then he went home and stood in front of all his friends and said very sweetly "meaaaow... meaaaow..."

But hearing him, everyone was roaring with laughter.

ROAR! HA HA HA... ROAR! HA HA HA...

Bushaka ran away, feeling sad.  His mama saw him running and went after him "Bushaka, stop! What happened? What's the matter, tell me..."

Bushaka cried (tears down his cheeks and gookie down his nose, which his mama wiped away) and he said "Mama, all my friends are laughing at me..." sob sob he continued, "because I have forgotten how to roar... but... but I met a new friend today, Moshuu and she taught me how to meow"

"When I showed my friends that I can meow, they all started roaring and laughing at me. waaa..."

"Oh wow! You know how meow like a cat?" said his mama, "Will you get your friend to teach me how to meow too? We'll go tomorrow to meet your friend and you both can teach me how to meow."

The next morning, Bushaka took his mama to Moshuu and his mama also learnt to meow and purr too. She sounded so beautiful!

Bushaka and Moshuu had another fun filled day playing Opposite-To-Me and a whole load of fun games. His mama had packed a nice little lunch for them which they had sitting on a swinging branch of a BIG tree. What fun they had!

When they went back home in the evening, his mama taught all the big lions and lionesses to meow and purr and the next few days all the elders in their pride went about meowing and purring sweetly for a change instead of roaring loudly.

All of Bushaka's friends came running to him and begged him to teach them to meow like the big lions and lionesses. Bushaka took them to Moshuu and by the evening all of them were meowing and purring happily. They too became friends with the lovable and playful little Moshuu and her friends.

And so Bushaka taught all his friends a new thing and was happy with all his old friends and new.

P.S:
Bushaka was born in 2007 as a playful little lion cub with adventure in his eyes and an attitude to make new friends and create fun games all the time. He was born to make my daughter's (Vedha, then 5yrs old) life a little more exciting than it already was. :)
A couple of Bushaka's friends, besides the new friend Moshuu introduced in this story, are Shimbuka, Kashimbu and Kakaraku, the frog.
Bushaka's early year stories are written as a read-aloud story for little kids.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Open to Empathy

My words to you will be none...
My feelings for you will be many.

I listen to your troubles
When you speak;
I cry with you
When you shed those tears;
I feel the rage
When you share your anger;
I experience your loneliness
As you spin tales about solitude.

Oh no! Your troubles are so huge!
Why do you cry so?
How dare they treat you so?
Don't worry you won't be alone for long.
I won't say none of these...
I won't claim I know any of this.

My troubles are bigger than yours,
My tears more genuine.
My anger runs deeper,
And... my isolation more terminal.
None of these will be words I utter,
'coz today It's not about me...
It's not about me...

I'm here for you,
With empathy in my thoughts,
In my actions and in my eyes.
I promise I will learn
What it means to be empathetic.
I promise I'll pass the word around.
I promise I'll pass the word around.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Comparisons

Today the poetry is lost in me
The words flow yet there's no poetry
Pardon my grammar and ignore the
Lack of punctuations.

I am as happy as you are
I am as sad as you are.
Don't read my words with envy
I won't listen to your music with envy.

My thoughts lay out bare
While you protect yours.
Read between these lines
I will see beyond your perfect world.

The world seems normal
Despite all the chaos.
Do you see the chaos
Can I see the calmness?

These words need to stop now
I might just add to your chaos.
The calm in your mind
Is the calm in mine.
The chaos in yours
Is the chaos in mine.
This universe is balanced...
And will continue to be.

Friday, July 12, 2013

These Are The Good Old Days

Tomorrow you will be happy,
Tomorrow you will cry,
Tomorrow you will be full of fear,
Tomorrow you will soar high.

Can't guarantee you any of that...
Today is what it is,
Can say this to you my dear;
These are the good old days.

Yesterday was filled with toys,
Yesterday was all about friends,
Yesterday you made your mistakes,
Yesterday you chose your path right.

Don't know anything about that...
Today this is where you are,
Can say this to you my dear;
These are the good old days.

Today you are jumping with joy,
Today you wake up to tears,
Today your voice trembles,
Today the music fills your soul,

Won't judge you by any of that...
Today is your day and mine,
Can say this to you my dear;
These are the good old days.

Monday, July 08, 2013

As The Moon Saunters Along

Many moons ago, you sat in solitude,
Heading towards the unknown...
A strand of hair sweeping past your face,
The shine in your eyes, barely visible.

'Defining moments, these...'
You whispered to yourself,
Seven days a week,
Four weeks a month,
Twelve months a year,
Many years a lifetime.

The silent waves from the womb
Of the Universe swept past -
You, me and everyone around.
Taking with it the solitude,
Bringing with it blessings, sorrow and joy.

Wake up! Look past the moon,
The waves and the days...
The infectious glint in your eyes
It spreads humour and laughter; Hope and joy...
To me, you and everyone around.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

A Concept of Simplicity

Sun dried tomatoes and olives in pasta
These my dear are a thing of the past.
Waking up to the silence in the soul,
Listening to the calm of the mind
These are what I look for now.

The sun hides behind dark clouds.
The moon revels with the stars around.
The rains that kiss the ground,
The path that is lit for me to walk,
Today is that day, now is that time.

Sinking into the earth, bringing forth new life
As the navel of the universe lights up...
Yet again, yet again.

Mastheads of sailing ships in the horizon
Fifty feet high waves rise up.
Come into my arms, let me take you to the top,
Beyond the waves and past the sailing ships.
Life, laughter, tears and sorrow - 
All become one, all become one.

Monday, July 01, 2013

The Music And The Signs

Stars above tell their stories...
Though you don't lend them a ear,
They sing out in all their glory!
Stories of every smile and every tear.

As you walk your walk,
The wind caresses you by.
Carrying with her, every little rock,
Every little tale, of 'morrow...
And of yesteryears.

The paths that you trod...
Oh! So mechanically,
They look up at the sun and nod,
Crooning about the other path.
Urging you to choose the road,
Lying just around the corner.

The mountain that stands
Majestic and tall...
As you scale him, he smiles
And trembles, moving
Every boulder, big and small
Hoping you stumble,
Yet stand up and look about.

The stars, the wind,
The winding roads and the mountain,
All tell you the same story,
All sing out the same song.
Listen to them oh lonely one...
See the signs they work hard to show.
While all the time you curse them so
"Stop casting these dark shadows in my path!"


Friday, June 28, 2013

This One's For You...

With words in my head,
Laughter in your heart; 
I'm hoping you'd have read 
Everything that I've said...

In our lives we're similar 
As disparate as we may seem.
No matter who's greater,
It is with you that I most dream!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Romancing the Rain


Down the pavement, she skipped along
With a song in her head, a smile on her lips.
As large drops of heaven came slowly down,
She couldn’t help but gently sway her hips.

Barefoot and wild, she swayed away.
Heels in one hand, an ice-cream in the other;
Innocent as a child, lest your mind goes astray.
Never once did she look for cover.

A lick of the ice, an upward glance at the skies;
Memories of yesteryears - Her eyes brightly shone.
A flash of pain but love quickly rescues...
And keeps her no longer alone!

The ringing of a bell, the heaving of clouds above.
He opens the door, lets her in...
Towel in hand, eyes filled with love.
"I knew you'd need this" he said, with a grin;
And just a hint of envy 
At the heavens, that had caressed her hair
And driven her, Oh! so crazy.
But he knew this was just a short-lived love affair.


Inspired by and written for the "Romance In The Rains" contest conducted at Atta Galatta for the book launch of Nandita Bose's The Perfume of Promise.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Life Goes On. A Living Has To Be Made

He was all of 11 years old. His life consisted of playing till the sun went down, and then some more, going to school and ensuring that his parents were asked to visit the school at least once every month and apologise for his antics, asking for and getting all his favourite food and pretending to study when the date for his examination drew closer.

He was the youngest of three children and he knew his mother would do anything that he asked for. Life was good since the universe revolved around him. He left for school that morning rather late and was dropped off by his father after the constant pleas by his mother lest he miss his classes and worse get punished for being late.

His father, usually the epitome of silence told him "You don't realise what a comfortable life you have, son. Don't take things too easy because life has a way to jolt us and force us to learn lessons that we choose to ignore." He sat pretending to be sullen and sorry for his behaviour while he thought to himself that as long as his mother was around, he could do anything and no one in the world would be able to harm him.

That evening he was out playing later than usual. His sister came looking for him and he tried hiding from her for as long as he could. However he heard a certain desperation in her voice that he somehow couldn't ignore. Something in him urged him to get out of hiding and go to her. She didn't yell at him like she normally would and in fact didn't say a word. Just "Come home."

He didn't like the silence between as they walked home, her pushing her cycle while he walked by her side. He tried to break the silence with a "Is papa mad at me?"
No response.

Now, he was anxious and could feel the butterflies in his stomach. May be this was the day he would actually get a solid whacking like his older brother usually does. May be he should just run away. Mother will anyway find him and bring him back home safe. May be he should try to get his sister on his side with some inane story that he was studying with a few friends and so didn't realise the time. As his mind raced with multiple things that he could or should do to avoid what ever unpleasantness awaited him back home, they were closer home. His sister was still mum.

There was no car at the gate, so well at least his father wasn't home yet. He relaxed a bit. As he enters the door, he shouts out towards his mother "Mama, didi embarrassed me in front of all my friends. Why did she have to come and get me? Now all my friends think I am a little baby!"

To his surprise his mother didn't say a word. She sat silently on the easy chair by the window and stared out blankly into the darkness beyond the window.

The anxiousness and the butterflies in his stomach were back. Something was wrong for sure. His mother had never ignored him in his entire eleven years of existence. "What happened mama? Why aren't you talking to me?" No response.

After a few fleeting seconds that felt like an hour to him, his mother said almost in a barely audible whisper "Go change your clothes and wait in your room."

Something told him that he should just do what was asked off him. He sat in his room, having changed his clothes waiting impatiently but fearfully for he didn't know what to expect. His eyes fell on a can of mosquito repellent spray and he thought may be he should just drink it up and then they would rush him to the hospital and all will be forgotten. His mind wandered off with images he inspired by movies he had seen. An ambulance speeding to the nearest hospital with him inside. His parents telling him how sorry they were and that everything will be alright. His sister getting a shouting from his parents.

Suddenly, breaking his reverie his brother came in to the room and told him to stay at home with their sister. Mom and he will be back home late at night or only in the morning. He heard himself ask what was wrong and his voice was shaking. He didn't recognize his own voice... devoid of any arrogance or rudeness it sounded like someone else's altogether. Mother came in and hugged him... "Your papa is no more." she said and burst out crying. The eleven year old put his arm around his mother and said in a voice that was unnaturally calm and cold "That's OK mama. Life has a way to jolt us and force us to learn lessons that we choose to ignore."



Sunday, June 02, 2013

No, I am Not Writing This Today

No, I am not writing this today
Come what may
I am jut not writing this today
Or any other day!

Some days words just don't flow out as easily as others.  Stories stay stuck in my head and refuse to be born. It's after a day like this that I don't sleep so well at night. The stories in my head make for delusional dreams. It's not a writer's block, no. It somehow is just not time yet for these stories to be told. On days like this, I just let the universe take control of my day and give my angels some more time to set things up right for me.

Saturday was a day like that. I began writing this post yesterday but somehow things were just not meant to be. We were to go away for the weekend to a place with water sports and loads of activities, but as it turned out the plan had to be cancelled at the last minute. I was to get myself a Vespa yesterday after months of deliberation and planning but as things turned out, I did buy it but didn't get the bike yet. Under such circumstances I would have been highly strung that things were not going as planned. However a few months back in a +Paulo Coelho book I read that if things are not going your way, stop and take a few moments to relax, your angels are working hard to set the right time and circumstances for something good to happen to you. Give your angels the time they need instead of making them work even more harder setting up obstacles to curb all the rushing around that you do.

So, NO, I couldn't have completed this post yesterday no matter how hard I tried just as I couldn't get away for the weekend break or get the bike yesterday. But here it is, with Blog-A-Prompt word NO, this sure was a tough post to complete. There's no beginning or end to this post, it just is.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Disaster Strikes When you Least Expect it!

The dictionary definition of disaster is 
noun: a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.

This is a story of a woman whose hardship may or may not have been classified as a disaster. You, the reader decide.

Let me warn you that this story begins as abruptly as it will end...

She was stranded at a cross road on a Friday evening. How she ended up there makes for another story, suffice to say that here she was. It was close to 9 PM and there was a threat of rains. She stood under the bus shelter with a number of other girls who had just finished their shift at a mall close by. She wasn't one of them but there was always safety in numbers. A couple of men were at the shelter too. All waiting for the right bus to board.

The first bus stops by and no one gets on to the bus. The same with the second and the third buses. However, by the time the fourth bus leaves the shelter the numbers dwindle to 3 women and 2 men, not including herself.  The fifth bus stops by and the numbers left at the bus shelter is now 2 women and 2 men, this time including her too.

She looks at her watch and realizes that it is just about ten past nine. That's not too late for a city that bustles with activity even at 3 am, she thinks to herself and stands closer to the other woman, trying to look more confident than she felt.  She rummages through her bag, pulls out her cell phone which only she knows has a dying battery. She pretends to look at it, all busy when suddenly...

She notices a figure walking in her direction. A smartly dressed short but well-built man in his 20s walks towards her smiling. He asks her still smiling "Does this bus go to..." followed by a common destination point. She gives him a cold glare and steps back closer to the only other woman at the bus shelter. In the five minutes that followed before the bus arrived, all the new arrival did was smile at her... with an almost psychotic demeanour. She ignored him while keeping her eye on him discreetly.

The moment the bus arrived, the "psychotic" stranger was the only one who ran and stopped the bus before getting on it.

By now, she had decided to take a bus to the same common destination point from where she could choose to get home almost definitely without much trouble or any more waiting.

She got on to the next bus that came, found herself a seat, pulled out a book and before she knew it, was lost in the book. Suddenly she jumped out of her skin because she heard a commotion... something about a lost pass. The voice was unmistakably the same. The "psychotic" young man from the bus shelter earlier. He was being asked to produce the pass or get off the bus. He tried to smile and talk his way through the situation. She felt goose bumps on her neck and decided, enough was enough! She spoke out aloud and mentioned how he had made her uncomfortable at a previous stop and she said that she could guarantee he didn't have either a pass or money for the bus.

He was promptly asked to disembark from the bus. As he got off the bus, he looked straight in to her eyes and said "I am not lying". She looked away, glancing at her watch... it was a quarter to 10 now and she really needed to get home without any more incidents. She reached the destination fifteen minutes later and as she began crossing the road, her eyes met a pair of eyes. The psychotic gleam in them were unmistakable. The world as she knew ended right there...

Like I said earlier this story begins as abruptly as it will end.

Disaster, I feel is something that happens to you when you are not looking, when you are not aware, when you are complacent, when you take things for granted, when you are so sure about your world. 


The dictionary definition of disaster is 
noun: a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.

This is a story of a woman whose hardship may or may not have been classified as a disaster. You, the reader decide how this story might have ended.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Loneliness and Paranoia in a stranger's city

As she sat at the edge of the bed all alone in a strange but plush hotel room, her eyes fell on the  single bottle of water at the side table. She was thirsty but then her mind wandered... what if she drank up all the water and was thirsty in the middle of the night? This was a boutique hotel with no 24 hour room service. Where will she get more water to quench her thirst? What if she were to die of thirst in the middle of the night all alone in a strange city, in a strange but plush hotel? She could read the headlines in the morning papers "Woman found dead under mysterious circumstances!"

What would her family think? May be she should change out of her shorts to track pants so the photo of her dead body doesn't cause the least bit of embarrassment to her family.

Oh! But she didn't want to die of thirst. She did want to drink that water though. But once again her mind wandered... If she were thirsty again in the middle of the night, she might have to crawl  to the basin in the wash room. And once again the headlines in the morning paper were glaring at her "Woman dies under mysterious circumstances!"

Again, should she change into more presentable clothes? And so she spent the night staring at the bottle of water, never sipping from it and never sleeping. Until it was daylight and in moments she was fast asleep. At least there was room service now! She will not die of thirst...


A Treat at Jungle Retreat!

On Monday, 27 May 2013, I was to write about colours as part of a Marathon Blogging group that I am part of. I couldn't write this on Monday because I was bitten by the flu bug. However, here I am writing about what colours meant to me on this particular Monday.

My morning began with a plethora of dark coloured-clouds looming heavily above my head. My mind was filled with dark clouds after a night of fevered and delirious sleep. As I awoke, in a resort next to my daughter, my first thought was of breakfast. Through the haze of the dark clouds, I thought of a sumptuous breakfast and some quick-working pills to clear my head so my daughter's vacation weekend doesn't turn out to be dark and grey!

Come breakfast and a paracetamol, I was ready to push myself just that little bit more so I could add more colour in to my daughter's expectant eyes. We were off for a 45 minute walk around the property and the colours we managed to add to our day were many...

Different shades of green foliage, cactus fruit oozing bright red/pink juice that stained fingers, tongue and teeth, wild mushrooms with orange netted webs on the stalk, a black handsome Ram, a bright green Malabar Pit Viper, a bright green Malabar Tree Frog, Brown, Black and White Giant Malabar Squirrels, Bright Pink Lotuses and a whole lot more!

As we left Masinagudi that afternoon, the colours in my head were bright and happy colours and  I thought to myself, if I could stay on here, I would stay on forever! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Disappearing Money and a Short-cut Through Life


2nd in the series - Stories from Traveling by Public Transport in Bangalore

Day: Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Time: 5:30PM

Avoid short-cuts through life at any cost, some would say. I agree and to reiterate this let me first share with you something that happened before my travel by public transport on this particular day.

I was to leave office a little early, to help the daughter revise for her exams. However, this was not to be and I was running late by a whole hour and a half. At this point, when a friendly junior colleague offered to drop me to the bus stop (a 800m walk) on his thundering bullet, how could I say no?

So, I went along. About 50m into our journey, this friendly colleague decided that he could drop me further ahead (2kms now instead of the 800m). Once again, counting the 1.5 hour delay, I gladly accepted. That's when it began... A short-cut through life!

Instead of the regular main roads that give one a comfortable feeling of traveling on the road often traveled, this polite creature decided to take a deviation off the road, climbing through a steep mound of mud and stones. Without exaggerating (though it is very tempting to exaggerate this part), this was a 45 degree angle slope! In spite of the adventurous blood that runs through my so-called Rajput, Kshatriya veins, I was tempted to tap the gentleman on the shoulder and propose that I walk till the ground is more lateral. I resisted, to avoid making him feel ill-equipped to handle, what but a slope on a thundering bullet!

The steep was cleared, albeit after some "oh!" and "ah!" from the rider himself.

The sight that awaited me on the other side of the steep slope was breath-taking (more like lung choking but we shall continue). On the left of us was a largish water body and a mud path running along the bank of the water body that met a rivulet feeding the water body. The picturesque scene was marred by the fact that the rivulet was the outlet of a sewage drainage and the water body was well what you get when you feed a land dip with sewage water! I held my breathe since there were a couple of people walking along the path and even a couple of bikes ahead of us passing through as though it were a regular scenic route that you can only be stupid not to enjoy.

The bike now had to cross the rivulet (yes, pass through the sewage water) and the couple of bikes ahead of us crossed it without neither incident nor reason to doubt that it just may not be possible. Just when our turn to cross the rivulet got closer, one of the voices in my head tried to sound an alarm. But once again, I resisted saying anything so my very polite and helpful rider would not have to go through the emotions of one whose very ego is hurt by questioning his ability to ride through what two others rode through.

The bike began crossing and the next thing I know, I can hear the rider say "Oh no! Oh no! Oh shit!" and the bike tilted 45 degrees to the left, like the slope that it had just so proudly conquered a few seconds back. My left foot was swimming in dark, sewage water and I think I might have felt some things moving, had my 'Fight or Flight" instincts not kicked in. I jumped off the bike and jumped ashore before any more grime got to me, my clothes et al.

The bike was almost down and the poor boy struggled to get it upright, which was when (in my defence, having realised the scene I left behind) I went back into the little stream and helped him get the bike back on its wheels.

NEXT SCENE

Having been dropped off thereafter (without further incidents), I climbed into the familiar comfort of a 500C Volvo that would take me home safely for sure (Couldn't really say the same about other vehicles on the road that the bus would pass by on its journey).

So here I was, my mind too shaken up to read or write anything and instead just trying to focus on how to set the right question paper for my daughter once I got home. At the next stop, two women boarded the bus - one of whom sat diagonally opposite me while the one slightly older than her sat right next to me.

The younger girl seemed very energetic and was talking incessantly. She addressed the one next to me as Ma'am. To continue the narrative, I shall call the younger woman P and the older woman N (Note: These names are purely fictitious and have no resemblance to real people either living or dead, etc.)

From the first few seconds of the discussion, I quickly pegged them as government employees (or someone who worked in a highly bureaucratic organization). Mind you, I was minding my own business and trying hard to get over my "near complete fall into the great water-like body" and focus on exams instead.

And P went "And ma'am we have to manage 5 ATMs with wonly 2 officers"
"They can post 2 more officers but where is the place for them to sit? Paapa they can't send people without any place wonly"
"We will still need 4 officers at least to maintain 5 ATMs"
"I don't know waat they will do wonly"

My ears perked up, what with my own frustration earlier in the day with a bank I have banked with for over 11 years now! I thought to myself, this conversation may help me understand 'the bank's side" of a story and may be I could be a little more empathetic when I have conversations with the voices on the other side of the bank support phone lines.

P was by now smiling mischievously and my reading into it was that she had done something or had knowledge of someone having done a mistake at work that day. She goes, "I made the entry ma'am. MICR entry correctly I put 50 thousand rupees. Then that M made the ATR entry. Only few minutes she did ma'am work. That time wonly she put 30 thousand rupees for that cheque."
Wow! Now the conversation was definitely worth following through on.

"I don't know how it escaped when I was checking also"
"Paapa ma'am that cheque is going back. Bank charges also 22 rupees 5 paise is there. I tried to reverse charges and delete that entry but it asked password" 
"I asked sir, he you know no ma'am, he said no, let it go"
"We can actually reverse it and make it one more entry but then that email will come and they will ask why you people are doing like this. We can manage that also but he did not do. Paapa he is also being careful now after that RO meeting"

At this point N, sitting beside me asked "what is the customer name?" to which P gave it LOUD and CLEAR for all to hear "B........"
The girl sitting opposite me caught my eye and smiled nodding her head in what clearly meant "No wonder, we have such problems with bank"

And so P continued "Aiyo, his cheque will go now back with the reason also it is given - number and words not matching" "but it is matching ma'am. That M wonly she did it in that few minutes. Paapa that customer, he will have to pay the bank charges also because it is cheque returned to ma'am... what we will do?"

And then she went on to describe in more indepth details on how the bank worked, releasing money (no less than 10L) based simply on a phone call, by her, since an RTGS request hadn't come through.

By now I had forgotten all about the short-cut in life and the exam paper I had to set once I got home. My thoughts were more on the lines that your money is probably safest spent or at home in sacks! 

On that note, I shall end this post and wish all of you, my lovely readers a fabulous weekend...
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