I really fly !

Sky is not the limit……..

“I wish I could fly….I wish I could touch the sky……

These are words from a lovely song by Seal .well guys! I FLY.

What’s the big deal? You would say. Any person with a decent income can fly in our country or abroad, thanks to all the low cost airlines.

When I said I fly, I am not referring to those commercial jets where you are seated along with a hundred and eighty other people, cramped for leg space( I travel cattle class(economy) as I cannot afford the luxury of any other class),getting dirty looks from the pretty flight attendant when you ask for the third free alcoholic drink and eating on trays which are smaller than an open handkerchief.

I am talking about flying all alone in the blue sky with nothing but the vast openness in front of you, feeling the breeze on your face as you fly like a bird looking down on the beautiful landscape below. It is a beautiful feeling which is beyond comprehension. Now I know why the birds sing! (This is not my own line. I heard this line in a serial. Gods of copyrights please forgive me.)

I am into this aviation sport called Para motoring which is one the most exciting of the aviation sports. Sports aviation includes sky diving, base jumping ,parasailing, hang gliding and paragliding .Para motoring is paragliding with the difference that for paragliding you need to take off from a sufficiently high place like a hill and you need ideal conditions like sufficient winds or good thermals to keep afloat. Para motoring can be done in any open field all because you have a Para motor on your back which can propel you into the sky and you can fly as long as there is petrol in your fuel tank. It is like owning a plane except that once your flying is done you pack up the equipment in the back of your car and drive home. The amount of freedom this sport offers is unparalleled and it is surprisingly affordable.

As in any form of sport, this sport also requires training by authorized training personnel and carries all the risks inherent any form of aviation. I learnt my paragliding from Temple Pilots, a paragliding school in kamshet, Pune.  I do my para motoring with Wings and Flights, Hadapsar, Pune, a school for para motoring and trike flying .Would you like to see me fly? I take it as a YES.

paramotoring

That is me, ok?  Swear on my mother, it is ME. Alright! all you ladies out there who do not believe me, email me your contact details and I will personally take you to the flying site, show you how it is done and we can talk about it over coffee.

Gentlemen! You have to take my word for it.

Man On The Flight

womanshadow

A man was sitting next to me in my flight home last week. A fairly annoying and talkative man. Every time I tried watching a movie, he’d start a conversation that would force me to pause the movie and talk to him. He started with “Your good-name, please?”, and then went on to ask me what I do in Singapore, how long I’ve been there, and how much I paid for my ticket home. He then proudly informed me that he was a doctor and proceeded to advise me to not bite my nails or play with my cuticles, because doing so greatly increases the risk of infection.

I have never been very open to advice, especially the unasked-for variety, so the free medical advice was the first thing that irritated me. Then the various, un-encouraged attempts at conversation turned me off. And then came the touching.

Jet Airways allows very little personal space to its passengers. So, I couldn’t be sure whether the ‘touching’ was intentional or not. But throughout the 5-hour flight, I was at edge, on my guard. There wasn’t a lot I could do at this point, except pointedly putting my cushion on the arm-rest between the man and me and keeping my knees tucked away from his side. But I kept thinking about how sad the whole situation was. Here I was, sitting next to a man who could easily be perfectly respectable and decent, but I just couldn’t convince myself that he was perfectly respectable and decent. As far as I was concerned, his elbow that was always ever-so-slightly on my side could as easily be a precursor to more contact.

I’ve been felt up in crowded markets and malls more than once. So has almost every girl I know. And because of this, I can’t trust any stranger. I’m always suspicious, always on my guard. Was the elbow that poked my ribs supposed to do that? Is his knee touching mine under our meal-tables intentional? Is he getting some perverse pleasure from leaning forward when I do and leaning back when I do? Is this man trying to make a pass at me?

The sexual harassment most women face everyday doesn’t just affect us at that moment, or spoil just one day. My experiences at the markets and malls affect how I look at strange men everyday. Every invasion of my personal space is a potential threat; every seemingly innocent touch has a deeper, uglier purpose. And every male neighbour on a flight is potentially a reason to call a steward for help.

On “Jane Eyre”

janeeyre

A conversation with a friend the other day set me thinking about Jane Eyre. I loved the book when I first read it as a teenager, and still love many things about it. Apart from the evocative prose, there is:

  1. A female protagonist who does not merely go through life hoping to be rescued by a man.
  2. A heroine who is not good-looking! She does not care for pretty clothes and is uneasy when her fiancé makes romantic speeches to her. This is rare enough now – at the time when the novel was written it must have been unprecedented.
  3. A heroine who, despite having been in unfortunate circumstances since childhood, is by no means a doormat. She is bold and has a sense of self-worth, in spite of being a poor, young, not beautiful woman. She knows her own mind and refuses to give in to the persuasions of any of the men in the novel.

Two things, however, leave me cold.

The first is the coincidences in the story, and the ‘metaphysical’ angle. She arrives by chance at the door of her relatives when she is lost and penniless. She hears her lover talking to her when he is far away. I club these two things together because they seem related: if you believe in a fate or a guiding hand that leads you to your destiny, both of these might seem possible. For the more skeptical of us though, these unnecessary contrivances detract from the power of the story.

But the most important thing that has me feeling ambivalent about the book is the end. The book ends on a conventional ‘happy’ note: the heroine marries the hero and has a family.

But this ‘hero’ is the same person who was about to marry her without telling her that he had a wife already. Granted, the wife was insane, and he had supposedly been tricked into marriage. (Boohoo. He was an adult and he made his own decision – the book doesn’t even give him the excuse of his parents having pushed him into the marriage.) He not only keeps his wife hidden away in a room so that eligible single women might not come to know that he’s married, but he hides his fact from Jane, who is apparently the love of his life. He then pressurises her into being his mistress, and she runs away to escape him.

Yet this is the man she returns to, when his wife is dead and he is blind. How can I believe that this fate is unambiguously happy for bold, brave Jane?

It makes me wonder whether Bronte had Rochester blinded in order to have him dependent on Jane. A Rochester fully in possession of his faculties might have been too headstrong or wild for Jane to manage. A Rochester blind and dependent on her leaves Jane the mistress of their house and of their lives. In those times, maybe this was the best ending Bronte could come up with for her heroine.

Sab ke man main bai


So fragile and closed, so hateful and cruel, never to open my heart to anyone, and then there was you.

So scared, so new, not knowing what was to come, I gave you what little I had left. Hoping that you would want me the way that I am. Timid and frightened, wanting to love again, and then there was you

A little relief from the beating that my heart took, trying to remember what it was like. You showed me that it was real and true, you touch so gentle, you saw right through.
All the pain and distrust disappeared that day, the love that consumed me felt so perfect and so right. Still hesitant to let anyone see who I really was, and then there was you.

Believing in me, trusting me, loving me unconditionally, letting go of all the fear, anger, and regret. Knowing that it is ok just to be who I am.Crying, laughing, talking, sharing emotions that I tried to hide for so long, All because there was you”

I came across this poem and was just thinking how apt it is for women who are working. They would definitely devote it to there maids. Though you must be laughing right now that this poem actually meant for the loved one but for people like me who actually survive because of our maids will devote it to them, according to me they are the people we are most concerned about. It is a very common topic I suppose.

Today I was neck deep in the thoughts as usual, I went to park with my daughter. I think that’s the best part of my day because I get to meet people I like and enjoy being with. I know most of the men will say yes the topics of discussion are same like bitching about someone, or how fat we look etc .. etc. So as like any other day i went downstairs to meet my friends as well as my daughter’s friends (How can i forget this 🙂 ). As I reached there I saw that all my friends are gathered in a big round circle and are discussing about something very seriously. Than I thought what can they be possibly talking about my mind started racing may be faster than a horse (hehe) and I joined them with n number of possibilities’ they can be talking about.

Yes I was right!!! One of my choices matched the topic of discussion and guess what it was about MAID/BAI. Gosh, hearing the word BAI/MAID makes me sick. Thought of bai taking off give me shivers. It’s a night mare trust me. It’s a vicious loop which eats or gulps you.

Anyways these are my thoughts but now I was more curious why this topic came up and than! I came to know that one of our friend was expecting a baby she is hiring some bai who is married but her husband left her. So my friend wants to employ her for full day but refused to keep her at night due to some personal reason. She is looking out for someone who can keep her for night that was a tough thing to find as no one would like to a person for night until and unless some strong need. So they asked me also, do you want to keep her at your place ? Initially I wanted but due to my past experience I have learnt its better to be away from all this. I really wanted to help her as she was home less but some how I have realised that we have to learn how to be selfish. Some people know just by intuition, some learn by mistake and some never. May be I m the last one of these three but as I have made up my mind not to try any more stunts I decided to let go and I am sure if that female is hard working and good she will find a good place to work, I was really tempted to say yes because that serves my purpose. May be in future I might repent it but now I have learnt that there is never ending to the world. No matter how difficult the bai problem you will definitely find an alternative.

But later on while thinking on above situation/conversation I realised that now female have taken all the important places in every sphere of life, but, bai topic will never be out of talks. No matter on which position you are on, if you have kids you will need a maid to help you around. She will be included in every small thing or issue of your life. I had so many sleepless nights when my last maid left I felt that time that this  is the end of world. Now I will never get anybody to help me with my child. I had so many questions in my mind not only questions so many doubts and worries. My last maid stayed with me for 2 .5 years. I never thought that giving comforts will turn them into spoilt brats. But alas!

Phew I found another bai and my problem was solved with lot of my daughter reluctance to accept changes and few adjustments from my side. Things have taken a better picture. What I believe in my case, if I can work is because I have a maid. So for me mantra is:

“With every working woman there is a good maid behind”

Him and Her

shadowkiss

“I’ll get it”. He walked into the kitchen with the excuse of getting something to eat, though what he really wanted was to get away from his girlfriend for a while. “What am I doing? How the hell am I going to get out of this mess?” he thought, heaving a sigh of relief to be out of the room, even for a minute. As he entered the kitchen, occupied with his thoughts, he heard her voice, though he couldn’t see her immediately. He paused and waited silently, waiting for her to say something again.

“I know, I know!” she said. “I know it’s very stupid of me. Why else do you think I’m not telling anyone? I know nothing good can come of it, I know!” She sat at the large window that covered most of one wall in the dining room adjoining the kitchen, hidden behind the white curtain that she had pulled around her. “No, I promise you. I don’t know if I can stop thinking about this, but I promise I won’t tell him. Ever”. She was silent for a while, listening to the person she was talking to on her cell, unaware that he stood in the kitchen doorway, listening to everything she said. She let out a long sigh, and started speaking again. “Listen to me. I know all this! I know it’s very stupid to fall for a guy who’s going out with another girl. Yes, especially since I live with the girl. But, in my defence, I did like him before she did, and way before they started going out.” Another period of silence.

He was very aware of his own shallow breathing, sounding so loud to him in the empty kitchen. He knew he should move, not eavesdrop on what was clearly a personal call. But he couldn’t move. He had to know, he had to.

“I’ve already told you. I promise.” She continued talking on the phone, sounding a little exasperated now. “Yes, I know you’re only saying this with my best interests at heart, but my dear friend, it’s really not as big a deal as you’re making it out to be. I’m not going to tell him, or his girlfriend, or anyone else, and I’m sure I’ll get over him soon enough. It’s not that big a deal for me, it’s not that serious, it really isn’t!” His heart flopped over in his chest, he could feel it. “Okay, you should go and get some sleep.. it’s really very late for you. Goodnight. And thanks so much for your help!” She sounded tired and worried as she snapped her cell phone shut.

She didn’t move from her seat at the window. He didn’t move from his place at the door. There was a period of silence, and then she sighed again, long. “It’s not that big a deal for me. It’s not. Only it’s bigger. So much bigger” She said, softly, clearly. “What am I going to do?”

His feet moved of their own volition. He walked into the dining room, to the window where she sat, and pulled away the curtain. She let out a small cry as she snapped around to face him. She’d been staring out the window, lost in her thoughts; the sudden interruption was a shock. She stared up at him from her seat on the ground, and she knew that he’d heard everything.

He didn’t know what to say. He opened his mouth, found no words, and shut it again. He stood there stupidly for a minute, then, abruptly, he knew what he was going to do. He knelt down, bringing his face level with hers, his grey eyes staring into her wide brown ones. They looked into each others’ eyes silently for a moment.. Then he leaned towards her, taking his eyes off hers only at the last second, and pressed his lips against hers.

 For a moment, she didn’t react. The shock of it kept her frozen in her place even as pressed her back against the side of the open window, sliding his lips across hers. Then with a deep breath, she acknowledged what was happening, accepted that she wanted it, had wanted it for a long time, and kissed him back. His right hand cupped the side of her face as he tilted his face, bracing his left hand on the window next to her head to keep his balance. She lifted her arms to his shoulders, deepening the kiss with a soft sigh.

He drew back a little, breaking off the kiss to look into her eyes, sensing her nervousness and doubt. He didn’t want there to be any doubt about his feelings in this moment, in their first kiss. She held his gaze, and then, smiled tremulously into his eyes and closed the distance between their mouths, kissing him again. This time she took the lead, tilting her head to kiss him fully, tentatively touching his lips with her tongue, letting her eyes drift shut. He made a rough noise at the back of his throat at that touch and opened his mouth to hers. His hands were at her waist as he held on to her; hers were wrapped around his shoulders as the kiss deepened.

“Did you find it?” a voice called from inside the apartment. They started, and broke apart guiltily. “Did you find the bread? You checked the top drawer, didn’t you?” He drew back from her, eyes wide and scared, taking in the implications of what he had done, what they had done. She looked back at him, doubt showing in her eyes again. After a moment, he leaned forward again, kissed her very softly on her lips, and called back as he rose. “I found it, be there in just a minute.” He crossed the room into the kitchen, found the bread that his girlfriend wanted and then paused, looking at her, sitting so still at the window, one hand on her mouth. He smiled at her, and then he was gone, back into the bedroom, the door closing behind him.

Penne

penne1

There has been no power since morning, and no water. It is Saturday, and she has a late class to teach. But how is she to make lunch with no running water, with just one bottle of drinking water in the fridge?

She rummages in the kitchen cupboard for ideas. She is hungry: all she had for breakfast was a cup of strong tea and a biscuit. She pushes aside a bag of salt and comes across a bag of penne.

It has been a long time since she cooked pasta. It has been a long time since she cooked anything not Indian: dal, rice, and a healthy, usually green, vegetable dish. Sometimes paneer or rajma, to break the monotony. She had stopped buying noodles and pasta and packs of soup powder since her son went off to college. This bag of pasta must be a remnant of his last visit.

Pasta doesn’t take as much water to cook, for one thing. Especially as she will not add vegetables and so doesn’t need to wash them.

She stirs and adds spices without measuring them. She does it all without pausing to think. It’s surprising that it all comes back to her so easily.

Her son loves pasta: she used to cook it for him at least once a week. Macaroni and cheese. Spaghetti with mushrooms. Lasagna. But what he liked best was penne, put together haphazardly, as she usually did it, but always coming out of the pan aromatic and delectable.

She sniffs now, catching the aroma rising up from the pan. She turns off the gas and ladles the food out on her plate. There was a lot of it – she was used to cooking for two – but she ladles it all out. She’s hungry.

As an afterthought, she decorates the dish with a sprig of coriander.

She wishes she had some wine to go with it. What decadence – wine at a solitary lunch! She rarely has wine now, except when she is at one of the parties her colleagues sometimes invite her to, and which she usually declines to attend except when she is afraid of giving offence. She pours out some orange juice into a tall glass.

Maybe I’ll buy some wine, she thinks. Why not? She was entitled to indulge herself. She had become too much of an ascetic. Maybe it was time to live for herself again, to put her memories behind her.

She takes the first forkful of pasta in her mouth, anticipating the satisfaction. She is sitting by the window, where the slight breeze makes the heat more bearable.

She hastily takes a gulp of orange juice. Something is wrong. She tastes a little more pasta, chewing it slowly.

There’s too much salt. She had forgotten she was cooking for one. She had forgotten how the salt would interact with the butter and cheese and spices.

It looks so inviting – cream in colour, with a sprinkle of green and red. The sprig of coriander on the side.

She takes a few more mouthfuls, washing it down with the juice.

She has forgotten how to cook pasta.

She puts the fork down. She gulps down the juice. She gets up, places the empty glass in the sink and forks the pasta from her plate to the garbage bin.

She reaches for the bread-box, realises she has lost her appetite and puts it away again. She gathers her things and leaves for work, even though it’s too early.

Just a movie ?

baghban

Have you seen this hindi drama flick called “Baghban”? You might not be even aware of this movie… it is one of those not so prominent Amitabh movies which one would really not mind missing. A lot of melodrama and crying and emotions and what not. Except for the fact that Hema Malini looks stunning even at this age, I didn’t really come out of the theatre with any take away.

But once back from the theatre, something in the movie really set me thinking. The movie depicted a modern age nuclear family of 4 children of Amitabh and Hema Malini. Amitabh and Hema were still the old generation couple who ultimately depended on the children financially and emotionally after their retirement. A very normal scenario that can occur with you and me.

What followed post that was a series of melodrama where the children scringe on taking care of both the parents causing a lot of emotional pain to the parents as well as themselves.

What set me thinking was not the melodrama… but the fact that the children treated the parents like a burden and hence it took them lot of will power to take care of the parents. These were the same children on whom these very same parents once doted and gave up their pleasures to pamper them. The thing to be noted is that these very same children want and believe that their own children will treat them better. Isn’t that strange. You are setting an example for your children by ill treating your own parents. And then you expect that your children will treat you differently. If at all, it will be only worse. Today’s children are more aware and smart. They learn by the second…

This was one of the very few Hindi movies that had an enduring impact on my mind and changed my outlook. The first time I changed my thinking was once I had my own child. I understood the pain that goes through a mother when her own children move out of the house, don’t listen to her… or for the simplest of things – don’t do things as per her expectations. The day my son couldn’t adjust to his school as well as other kids, hurt me so much. I cant imagine the pain that I will go through during more tougher situations.

This movie changed my thinking a second time. I have begun to respect my in-laws more and give more respect to my own brother and sister-in-law for the love they show to my parents.

My first Job

firstjob

I was ecstatic the day I received my letter from “my first software” company confirming my appointment as a Software Engineer at Mumbai. My joy knew no bounds. I was looking forward to a new company, new friends and new work. The Big day came by and I soon joined along with another 34 trainees. We were all segregated into a batch called “ITP Jan 99” for the next six months.

 

It was a world not very different from the college one – lots of free time, loads of canteens around (SEEPZ had a variety of food joints which were always haunted by the software folks), free email and net access. The only difference being that we were also getting paid a whopping 12K per month for all this. Forwarding emails between the group members was one of the primary things that we used to do in our free time.

 

I was not an ardent email user before joining this firm and hence email became a new passion for me. I used to even read those junk mails which used to claim that “if you don’t forward to 10 people in the next five minutes…blah blah blah” and earnestly forward it across. I clearly remember one of them — it was on an AIDs racket going on in Mumbai city; a gang goes around in public places with syringes containing HIV virus and victimizes innocent Mumbaikars leaving a public message “Welcome to the World of AIDS”. It was a very common scene in theatres, cinema halls and other crowded areas (the email claimed). I was frightened out of my life. Being a hostelite, I used to frequent movies and theatres when ever possible. Plus my travel involved an hour and a half of commuting one way to work. For the first month, I avoided all theatres. While commuting in trains, I used to be wary of people around me and try to walk in secluded places.

 

I couldn’t stand being away from the movie theatres for more than a month. So I did start going for movies again, but used to sit with my back arched to the seat, lest if someone did try to prick me with a needle from behind, the needle would not find its way to me. If I got a bruise on my body (I used to get it frequently), I would examine it closely to see whether it was due to a prick of a needle poked into me of which I was totally unaware of by a perfect anesthesiologist gang member.

 

.

 

My software firm had a compulsory medical test to be cleared within the first month of joining. So one fine day, the entire batch of 35 people found their way to “Holy Spirit” Hospital. It was like a “baby’s day out” for all of us since it was more of a paid picnic. We all lined up for a blood test and then a physical examination followed by X-rays, etc. By the time all the required tests were done, it was nearly time to head back home. The hospital said that it would send across the results directly to the company and so we need not come back.

 

A week later the medical test results did come in and my friend told me that some employees were asked to go in for additional tests for varied reasons. The employee ids for these people were displayed on the notice board.

 

Fear again gripped me while I went on to check the bulletin board. And to my horror my id was amongst the 3 people who were supposed to report back to the hospital. I found myself almost shivering. I could think of all the reasons why I was being called again “suppose the AIDs gang had victimized me, suppose I was detected with cancer, suppose I had brain hemorrhage, etc”.

 

The next day morning I went back to the hospital — this visit being distinctly different from the previous joyous affair. When I gave my employee id and company name at the reception, I was asked to see the OPD department. On reaching there, I was met by a nurse who looked as if she had come straight from an Amrish Puri movie — with a stern face and stiff jaw. She had some case papers containing a lot of details which didn’t make sense to me. She peered at me suspiciously and in an akimbo pose asked me “When were you relieved from the hospital?” I didn’t know what she is talking about but I answered her straight “I was not admitted to any hospital”. She was taken aback but she requested me to wait for the doctor to come in. The wait seemed like eternity to me though it was only 10 odd minutes. I almost chanted aloud the names of all goddess and gods that I knew. I thought of all the good things in life I would do if I escaped unscathed from this place. The doctor finally came in and took my case papers. She was a sweet looking angel (that is what I think of her now). She glanced at me for a minute and looked at my X-ray and it took her less than 10 seconds to realize the bloomer – my x-ray got interchanged with that of some Tuberculosis patient who had a hole in his lungs (or was it heart). She asked me to repeat my x-ray and within another 10 minutes I was out from the hospital.

 

I fled out of there and didn’t even bother to wait by to check on the payment for the x-ray.

A hero once again

suit

It was my first day at the new work place. I was filled with fear and excitement. I looked forward to a new boss, a new work environment and new friends. More than anything else I was looking forward to new opportunities that came my way. The office was certainly bigger than my previous one and more posh. And though I know that the employees matched the ones at my previous work place in intellect, qualification and looks, somehow the surroundings gave them a more dignified look.

 

Days turned into weeks and weeks into month. Soon I started referring it to as “my office” against the initial term “my new office”. I started feeling as much a part of it as others. A funny thought crossed my mind – a new comer would look upon me as a “dignified” employee like I thought about the others on my first day at work. I made ample of friends and soon had a close knit group. One of my close friends used to rave about how wonderful her boss was. The admiration extended to his looks, attitude, walk, talk and what not. I was eager to see this boss of hers who my friend so deftly admired. So there we were trying to catch glimpses of him in the canteen or at the coffee machine or even the wash room.

 

I was pregnant at that time and went on my maternity leave soon after. I returned back after a long span of time. It was almost 4 months that I was away from my desk that spoke of work alone, the continuous chattering in the canteen and the giggles with my office friends. It felt good to be back. Lot of things changed for me – a new desk, new project, new manager and new role. My new role was demanding and I found myself working 14 hours a day to meet expectations of my manager. One day my manager asked me to work on an extremely important presentation that was to be presented by his boss in the Director’s meeting. I gave in my 120% and sent across the presentation for review. The next day I found review comments in my mail box. I was taken aback for by the comments – it was not the comments itself but the author of the comments that surprised me. The author was my friend’s boss who she admired so much. I went ahead to incorporate the same. I closely studied the comments and found them to be very intelligent and meaningful. The same week the presentation was made by my friend’s boss at the meeting where I was also a spectator. I was simply awed by the speech, the attitude and knowledge of the person.

 

From there on, I kept a track of his activities and learnt more about him from all the sources I could deploy. I came to know that he headed an entire unit of more than 2000 people. He was responsible for 30% of the company’s revenues and had paved his way to seniority in short span of 7 years. He was married with a toddler daughter. I don’t know how exactly it happened, but he became the “Hero” for me. Everything he did was just superb or out of the world. I respected him and awed his achievements.

 

And suddenly one day I heard the news. At first I refused to believe it. I thought it was either a lie or it was someone else they were talking about. But ultimately I gave in to the fact that it was the truth and it was here to stay. My “Hero” had an extra marital affair with one of the company employees. All this was his personal life. I didn’t care about it at all, but still the image of the “Hero” started receding in my inner thoughts. It was on my mind for a couple of days. I thought about it more than I would think about some individual whose doings didn’t affect my life in anyway. Eventually the rut of life and my hectic schedule at work jolted me to concentrate on more significant matters.

 

All this was more than a year ago and I had almost forgotten about it. I would prefer to use the word “almost” since somewhere my brain (or was it my bosom) refused to believe what seemed evident to the human eye. It somehow didn’t sound convincing that a person of such demeanor and geniuses could be so weak willed and infidel.

 

And it again happened. A piece of news that was even more unbelievable and unconvincing than the previous one. My “Hero” seemed to have divorced his wife and abandoned his daughter for his lover.

 

To me marriage is like a relationship out of heaven. Only the lucky few get to enjoy the unequalled companionship and love of marital bliss. And the ones who are luckier get gifts of God to share the love in the physical form of children. So it is unthinkable to imagine a sane person giving up all this for any materialistic pleasures. I knew that “The Hero” worship that I was doing all this while will come to a complete end finally.

 

But the days that followed was a revelation to myself. Instead of the “Hero” receding away into the horizons, he was more clear and visible. I was confused. How can it be? Is it that I have lost all rationale for human relationships and respect for the righteous? Is it that I have been too plagued by hero worship? I suddenly felt a shiver. Maybe I was losing the capacity to make judgment about people.

 

It then stuck me. One of the most important characteristics that I want in my partner is fidelity. Trust forms the ultimate basis of any relationship. My “Hero” had not wanted to be untruthful to either his wife or his lover. So he had made the difficult decision and chosen one. I was happy – to have found the reason for the return of my “Hero”.

When I failed to get into the IIT!

iit

When I failed to qualify the IIT, it never stuck me what it must have meant to my mother who has nurtured me from my childhood with her dreams for me. To me, it was another of those exams that I didn’t do as well as I expected. The result being that I had to settle with a REC instead of an IIT. It was no big deal for me. But Mum was terribly upset. I just couldn’t relate to it.

 

 

I graduated like any other engineer and got into the most coveted fields into one of the most coveted companies in India. My job took me locations beyond the seven seas, something that was not very common in our family. I could see my mother swell with pride on my professional growth. But looking back, if I tried to comprehend the pain that my mother went though when I didn’t get into IIT; it was not understandable to my mature mind.

 

 

I eventually tied the nuptial knot and four years after my marriage I was blessed with a little bundle of joy. Every evening I couldn’t wait to get my priority tasks done at office and rush home to hear the adorable gurgles of my son. I had hired a nanny for him who looked after his every little need when I was not around. People would prefer to term her as a maid but I used to get very offended if someone referred her by that word. She was like a mother to my son and we respected her a lot at home.

 

 

Our little bundle of joy turned two and I carefully selected a play school for him. I would term it more of a play area because he had to spend hardly two hours there out of which the first fifteen minutes were spent in settling down, the next half an hour was scheduled for games, after which there was a lunch session. Lunch session was followed by all the kids getting queued up to use the washroom and then it was time to go home. So the last quarter hour was spent in getting ready to head home. All these activities were interspersed with prayer and poems and songs and dance. So the day arrived when I took his little hand in mine and led him to his first school. Most often, most of the children cry for the first few days and hence the teacher requested me to leave the nanny with my son at the play school for the first 3-4 days which I did. On the fifth day, the nanny was not allowed to come in and my son was left by himself at school. I was very eager to know how the day went by for my son at school. My son’s nanny called me as soon as she came home after picking him from school. She told me that he cried a lot and ultimately dozed off to sleep. He refused to play or eat there. But the teacher assured me that things would change gradually. So the next day I was anxious to find out what happened. I was waiting for my phone to ring after 12:00 noon. And it soon did. The nanny told me that the story repeated at school — my son cried a lot and ultimately dozed off to sleep. The teacher had conveyed to me that I am not ensuring enough sleep for my son during the night and that is why he is sleeping in the day time during schooling hours. Though a bit disappointed, I analysed the situation. I knew that my son slept through the night for 9 hours. In addition he supplemented this sleep with an afternoon nap. So it was something else. It then stuck me that it was the medicines that I was giving him in the morning. It is rainy season out here and most of the kids have running noses and a dry cough. My son was also one amongst them…So the next day I decided to skip the medicines in the morning. Doing this, I was very hopeful that he would not sleep during the school hours. So the next noon came and again I was waiting for the phone to ring – a hopeful, jubilant and anxious mother. And as soon as the phone rang, I jumped at it and even before the nanny could tell me what happened, I blurted out “He wouldn’t have slept today, right?” And much to my dismay, my son had slept off that day as well. My heart sank. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. It was as if someone had slapped me. I thought about it endlessly that day and through the weekend. And finally I accepted the fact that it was the first time that my son has stepped out of the security of a home and he is simply going to take time to adjust to the new environment. So I should just be patient and give him more time.

 

 

Monday came by and it was the usual day. It is normally a hectic time at work being the first day of the week. I was buzzing in and out of meetings and telecons. The phone rang for the umpteenth time that day and I picked it up expecting it to be from my senior manager asking me the status of the reports I was working on. To my surprise it turned out to be my son’s nanny. She had just picked up my son from the play school and she said that my son didn’t cry at the school today. He played and ate with the kids and while leaving the school he frantically waved good byes to his playmates. I put down the phone and found myself crying. I just couldn’t wait to share this with my husband. It was so simple – my son enjoyed his playschool now but yet to me it meant the world.

 

 

And then I knew what it meant to my mother when I failed to qualify the IIT.

Winter commences

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Winter… the word springs up different emotions in people. To some, it is marked by the winter vacations and Christmas gifts that Santa brings. To a good lot, it means getting new winter wear, taking out rugs from the attic and ensuring that the heater system is in place. To the poor, it would mean a tough time ahead with not enough warm clothes and food to eat.

But to me, winter means my “Nani” is going to be home. My Nani (maternal grandmother) as we call her lives in the north of India. During the winter, it is very cold there and the temperatures often dip to below zero degrees. Given her age and fragile bones, she prefers to spend the time at a warmer place and our home is a natural choice.

So come winter, and Nani is here. The train from Lucknow comes to Surat station almost in the middle of the night and we sit at the station waiting to catch a glimpse of the train. During the nights, the train announcements are also few and not exactly accurate. But the wait itself is a part of the time I reminisce about those times. And there we see her alight from the train with lots of luggage of all shapes and sizes. There will be just one briefcase but so many bags… each stuffed with treasures unknown. We just can’t wait to go and unpack those at home.

And in the middle of the night, rather than going back to bed after picking up Nani, our eyes eagerly await the surprises which Nani brings in those bags. There are huge varieties of namkeens and sweets, some clothes that my cousins would have sent from the north, ceramic toys that are a specialty of that place, and what not.

What follows this initial excitement is a series of days of new things being done each day. My mom used to enjoy chatting with Nani to catch up on the family gossip and I used to lie there pretending to be asleep – though I hardly used to understand the gossip since the language was a different dialect of Hindi that I was not familiar with.

My Nani loved movies and TV. I used to have the afternoon fights with her over which serial to watch since she typically preferred soaps and mythological serials.

The best part of the whole visit was the innumerable movies that I used to watch in theatres with Nani on her pretext.

I just can’t forget the sunday head massages that Nani used to give me. Some of her golden nuggets of advice which she used to bestow upon me in the form of are still precious and valuable to me till this day.

My Nani is no more. She passed away 3 years ago.

I regret not having spent enough time with her. I wish I had done a lot more for her then I actually did. I wish I held her hand and sat through when she was ill rather than saving my leaves at office. I wish I visited her more often than I did. I wish I pressed her feet while she slept. I wish I read her out the books she loved so much which she couldn’t read any more because of her poor eye sight. I wish I listened to her endless stories of her youth which I remember getting bored with.

To me winter still holds the same significance…It brings my Nani back to me.

The right way

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Sheela stood perplexed. It was as if someone had slapped her…

Sheela was a software professional working in Pune, India. She was a God fearing person who truly believed that she was lucky to have everything in the world – a loving family, good career and a high paying job. She was thankful for this fortune and always looked out for an opportunity to help the underprivileged, especially children.

She always had some ready change for kids at the signals. She used to keep biscuit packets in the car and give it away to any child she found begging. She chose to celebrate her birthdays by cooking a small meal and making numerous food packets. She would then distribute the food packets to the people sitting outside the temple when she went to pay homage to God.

But this article in “India Today” totally left her dazed. The article talked at length about how gangs of people exploit street children and force them to beg at the signals. Most of the proceeds collected by these children are seized and they are given a piddly amount for themselves. At times, children as young as 15 days old are “rented” out as “softer targets” to accompany a woman to beg; this ensured that onlookers shell out money more easily out of pity. Sometimes, children were stolen from well to do families and made a victim to this trade.

It was as if someone had slapped Sheela. All this while Sheela used to derive utter satisfaction and peace when she was helping the children. She vowed that she would no longer abet begging. She stopped giving away food. Her heart would ache seeing the children beg and she not even doing a small bit from her end.

One day, she was on her way home after work. Her mom had asked her to pick up lemons for the “pav bhaji” tonight. She stopped right outside her building on spotting a pull up cart full of lemons and sweet corn. The cart owner was a small boy around 9 years of age. There was a spark in his eye and a smile on his face. After paying for the lemons, she got on to a conversation with him. She found out that the boy was not really the cart owner but he ran the stall on behalf of his neighbour who paid him 300 rupees a month for the errand. The boy ran the cart from 5:30 pm in the evening till 9:30 pm in the night. During the day he attended school. Sheela’s heart melted away. Here was a boy who at such a juvenile age understood some of the hard facts of life – studies will take him a long way and hard work pays! She wanted to encourage the boy and give him accolades for his work. She was not sure how. Over- paying for the lemons would be like giving away alms. She thought of something!

From that day onwards, Sheela was seen at the cart every evening on her way home. Either she was buying lemons or eating sweet-corn. Sometimes, she would drag a colleague to the cart for a corn. The huge stock of lemons that she used to collect, were distributed to the neighbours. At times she used to make lemon juice and take it to work and give it to her colleagues.

She was soon known as the Lady with the “lemon” to her neighbours and colleagues.

The last good bye

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Ahmed looked lovingly at his son who was rubbing his eyes with the onset of the morning sun. The entire family comprising of his wife, four year old son and a toddler daughter were sitting in the kitchen for breakfast. His wife Salma had prepared some tea and was distributing the loaves of bread that she had got from the household the previous evening where she worked as a maid.

Ahmed was hungry but looking at the limited number of loaves, he picked up the one on his plate and gave it to his son who was hungrily finishing off his. Ahmed took his son lovingly in his lap. As soon as he did so, his daughter started shrieking loudly wanting to be taken into his lap too. Ahmed took his daughter and placed her on his lap and both the children were tugging at him. Uncontrollable tears rolled down his eyes which he managed to hide from his wife.

He remembered this time of the year five years ago. He was working as a helper in the house boats on Dal Lake owned by the big hotel. At that time he was newly married to Salma. Between the money earned by both, they managed to make ends meet. One day, he was visited by his childhood friend Shabbir whom he has not seen for many years. Shabbir had changed considerably since the time Ahmed had seen him. He had aged beyond his age and wrinkles appeared on his face on forehead. Shabbir had come home with two other friends. Salma fed them all food and then disappeared into the shadows leaving them to talk. Shabbir and his friends had come there for a mission. They talked in hushed tones about how prestigious their work is and how Allah would be pleased with them. They invited Ahmed to join their group. Ahmed was blissful in his newly attained marriage and was looking forward to welcoming their first child into this world. But he was lured by the fact that on completion of the mission he will own his own piece of land and maybe a house boat. Added to that, he will be doing a service to God and his people. Ahmed agreed to meet Shabbir next day at a designated place after dark.

Next day Shabbir introduced Ahmed to “Mir Saheb” who talked about the good work their group was doing. He formally christened Ahmed into group and swore him to secrecy. Initially, Ahmed continued to work in the houseboat during the day time and used to limit his group activities to the night or when he found time. But over the months to follow, he gave up his job at the houseboat and dedicated himself solely to the mission.

Money at home was dwindling and there was one more mouth to feed now. Salma often encouraged Ahmed to join back the work. But Ahmed behaved strangely. He used to be at home in the day time usually but go out when it is dusk or dark. Sometimes he used to be away for days without informing. On being repeatedly questioned, he used to answer “I am doing us a favour. I will soon tell you”.

On the arrival of his daughter, Ahmed looked back at his life and thought at length. His family was going hungry at times. Salma was working very hard during the day to get some food for the family. But for the past few weeks due to the arrival of their daughter, the family had to mainly rely on kind neighbours or leftovers brought home by his son from the nearby boat houses. He had a strong inclination to move back to his job and forsake the group. But as soon as he made his thoughts public to Shabbir, he convinced him that the end was quite near and they would be now “free”. This was around a year ago.

A fun filled glee from his daughter brought him out of his reverie.

He cast a loving look at his wife and whispered an inaudible “Please forgive me”. He kissed his daughter and hugged his son and left the house without looking back. Today was the fated day when he was chosen to be the lucky one to be the live bomb for the blast at Jamia Masjid.

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I am not sure about the mindset of the people who are convinced to give up their lives for destroying other people’s lives. But I am definitely sure that they have a throbbing heart with feelings of love, compassion and hope. They live a dream of being in a better world and bringing about a positive change. If such strong conviction, determination and drive could be rightly channeled, world would definitely be a better place to live in.

Men are really from Mars!!

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I am married for the last 9 years and have a son who has just turned 5.

To give a brief back ground on myself, I have been born in a totally liberated family and have a working mother who has brought me up on the “high” ideals of how women should fend for themselves and should not take crap from the male chauvinist world. Result is that I am quite independent in all ways and secretly favour women in my day to day dealings. Before you draw other conclusions, let me give you examples. The day I needed to consult a pediatrician for my son on an urgent basis and I landed up in a nearby hospital; the receptionist asked me whether I would like to see Dr. (Mrs.) So & So or Dr. So & So. I sub consciously selected the Mrs. doctor for no obvious reason. If I am at the bank I am waiting for a customer service executive to see me, I hope that the female executive gets free and calls for me rather than the male executive.

There was this moment when I was expecting my first child. Throughout the pregnancy period, I chanted the un-debated mantra “It does not matter whether it is a boy or a girl”. But my husband having been through the 5 years of courtship followed by the 9 marriage years knew that I was edging towards a girl. It took me repeated assurances to convince him that I will be as nice to our son as I would be to our daughter. And as if by divine vengeance, we were blessed with our son. And much later, when I was expecting our second kid, I just avoided the thought of “How would I handle the third man in my life”, if I have another son!

There are so many eccentricities of the male world that drive me crazy. As if one man in my life was not enough, God sent one more to prove his point. And the unexplained similarities in the behavior can only be attributed to the fact that “Men are from Mars”.

If my husband is looking out for something in a drawer (which is very much there in front of the naked eye)… I am sure he will not find it. It will take constant cajoling and finally a visit from me to that place to spot it. So now when my son keeps ranting about how his toy which was he has left in his room before going to school, is no more to be seen – I can relate to it exactly.

I could never understand the constant detailing and studying of “cars” that I have to now get so used to. I can comprehend that a sane person would want to go over each and every detail of each and every car in the market when one is getting ready to buy a car (but imagine trying to study a merc when you want to target the “Santro” segment). But talking about cars and their features all day long when it one does not even intend to buy one – just does not make sense to me. I had got used to blocking my mind with my own thoughts when my husband used to start on his “cars” ritual. But with my son, that is not an option since he has frequent questions like “Mom, which was the car we had seen yesterday?” or “Mom, which type of cars have a wiper for the back screen” and so on.

And when the weekend comes with its inevitable list of to-do’s and shopping – it is met with the same groans and grimaces from my son which my husband used to give some years ago ( After lot of hard work, I have managed to change him a bit). My son will too have the “change – agent” in his life sooner or later.

TV mania is something that comes with its own benefits. When my husband used to stare at the idiot box for hours together without acknowledging my presence, it used to be a point of quarrel for us. But now I have learnt to use it to my advantage for quietly slipping out for my personal errands when both father and son are glued to the television.

The last but not the least is the inexplicable craze about video games. The amount of time that my husband could remain glued to the computer games was definitely more than the longest date I remember going with him on. I thought I had obliterated this obsession soon after marriage by my constant nagging and begging. But it has now taken a revival with my son coming into the scene. It started with educational computer games for my son and now it is not unusual to find both the men in my lives fully drowned in a game of “Road Rash” or “Wolf 3D”.

I have resigned to my fate and when it comes to one of these “Menly” things… I just remind myself “I am from Venus…”.

A stranger who changed my life


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Suchitra is her name!!! I came to know about her from a Calcutta based agency who dealt with household help. I was at the threshold of welcoming our first child into this world and was at a loss of how to manage the logistics of resuming my job after my maternity leave. Mine is a nuclear family with parents flying in every other weekend but living their life in different cities. Hence, if I were to fulfill my dream of continuing my career inspite of a kid, I needed to find someone who could assure me that my baby was in safe hands. After a fruitless search for around 3-4 months, I was left with little choice. Hence I resorted to this agency assuming it to have some level of reliability and authenticity.

I negotiated terms and conditions with the agency and subsequently she arrived by train to my place – to a city which she had never before seen or heard of, to someone’s house she never knew or bothered to authenticate. She was around fourty though the face looked younger. She had a warm smile on her face which showed the weariness of the 38 long journey hours. There she stood at my door hugging her small bag and waiting to be shown in. I got to know later that she barely ate anything during the journey partly because she was apprehensive of what lay ahead of her and partly because she was afraid of spending off the 150 rupees given to her by the agency for travel expenses which was the only money she had. I quickly ushered her in and settled her.

The days later went by rather in a daze. I was blessed with a baby boy and my maternity leave neared to an end. “Didi” (is what I called Suchitra since that is what is used commonly in Bengali to refer to someone older) seemed to be fully ready to take up the responsibility of looking after my little one whilst I was away at work. As the days passed by, my trust in her grew more and more. She looked after my son with the care and attention of a mother. She sat through the nights with me when my son was unwell with inexplicable pains or fever. She shared my joys when my son took those very first steps in life and when he uttered those first words that are a mom’s delight. She was there to comfort and cradle my son when he felt agonized at being away from me. She used her instinct and called me at work at the first bouts of diarrhea my son experienced so that I could immediately take him to the doctor before it became serious. She sat outside my son’s school during his pre-school days when he couldn’t bear to be alone and I was unable to take leave for extended times. She shared the happy times in our lives – working hard when there were guests to entertain and the not so happy times by keeping mum and disappearing in the shadows. She planned well ahead in time to cater to my son’s demand for ‘sabudana khichdi’ by soaking the ‘sabudana’ hours before. She was always around to sneak a bowl of my son’s favourite “bhindi” at the dinning table when I was cajoling him to eat the “paalak sabzi” that was cooked. She never demanded a raise but was always grateful for the raises and bonuses she received. When she went to her village for a vacation, she cut short her trips because she couldn’t bear to be away from my son. She played hide and seeks with my son when he wanted to play, slept with him when he was scared, gave him a hug when he needed one and showered him with praises at his smallest achievements.

One day, I contrasted myself with her.

I was lured to quit my previous employer for the “Infosys” fame and the promotion that I got. Every project that I delivered to the customer’s expectations, I expected a pat from my delivery manager. I went through exhaustive trainings to help me plan my work, learn the Infosys processes, align myself with my customer and meet my unit objectives. Anything I did above expectations, I was quickly given accolades for my achievements. I had my team and my seniors to help me cover up for the mistakes I make in my work. I didn’t think twice before I fired printouts of materials that I could manage with soft copies. I expect a salary hike every single year that goes by and expect a promotion every other year. I need project parties to build team spirit and recognition for slogging away to glory.

That was the day I was humbled with Didi’s perseverance, efficiency, loyalty, meticulousness and love! I don’t understand the motivation and inner strength that keeps her going…maybe the day I understand; I will be a better human being.

My 50th Birthday

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I wake up with the first rays of sunshine that comes through the bedroom window. I look up from my bed and see my mother and father till asleep. So I gurgle once… no reaction… I gurgle again… my mother stirs in her sleep but goes back to sleep. So then I start crying loudly. Good, I now have their attention. Both of them get up and rub their eyes. My mother is the first one to realise what is happening. She picks me up and takes me in her arms. She puts me across on her shoulder and tries to put me to sleep. But I am through with the night’s sleep and I resist by trying to rise from that position. But I am again trust back into sleeping posture by my mother’s firm hand. So again I start crying. My mother then changes my position and puts me in her lap and starts rocking and patting me on my forehead and sings a lullaby in her sleepy voice. I again try to resist by trying to rise up but the lullaby only gets louder. So then I decide that the only way to put an end to this is to close my eyes and pretend to be asleep. I put it in my agenda that I will teach my family about the pleasures of waking up at 5:30 am when I grow older.

As soon as I do that, my mother kisses me lightly on the forehead and puts me in my crib. I wait patiently for their day to begin because mine began quite some time ago. It is a good 90 minutes and I am almost again dozing off to sleep when I hear my sibling (Anna as I have been taught to refer to him) come and proclaim to me “Good morning, chelli.” (Chelli means younger sister in telugu). I give him a wide smile and look forward to being carried to the living room. My father comes and gives me a warm embrace and all of us are finally seated in the living room for our morning tea.

My mother comes in with a tray with some bread sandwiches and tea for everyone and a bottle of milk for me. She goes back to the kitchen to get a glass of milk for my brother. My eyes sparkle at the sight of my milk bottle. I show my excitement by telling in gurgling sounds that I need to be given my bottle immediately. I don’t know why they don’t understand my language. I resolve that teaching them the language is one of the next things in my agenda as soon as I am older. By then, my mother comes in and thankfully takes the bottle of milk and puts it in my mouth. I feast on my breakfast like a juicy piece of hamburger. I have had more than half of the milk when my plexus sounds off and I am full. So I drop the bottle of milk from my mouth. My brother immediately sees that the bottle has fallen off, and he takes it and puts it again in my mouth. I again kick it out with my tongue. This time my father does the kind deed of putting the bottle back into my mouth. I was almost sure that I would have to repeat my morning behaviour of satisfying their wishes and hence gulping down the entire milk, when the door bell comes to the rescue. Everyone is distracted by the coming of the laundry fellow. My mother starts complaining to him about the poor quality of clothes he has been ironing and my father catches hold of the newspaper which is stuck to the door.

I am left to play by myself and everyone busies themselves in the daily routine. Mom and Dad are off to work and Anna comes to me and tells me that we will be watching “Spiderman” on the DVD player. I have seen the movie umpteen times along with Anna. I don’t want to see it again but I give in since I have nothing better to do. In the middle of the movie, I start gazing out at two sparrows that are playing in my balcony. Anna suddenly sees me straying and boxes my ears. He tells me to concentrate on the movie. Learning to box back is something that I quickly add to my agenda.

In the meantime my nanny comes and sees that I have wet my pants. She whisks me away for a bath and puts me to sleep. The rest of the day quickly passes by and my resolve to learn boxing only gets stronger.

Evening is marked by the arrival of my parents. My father remarks “How is my flower petal” and picks me up. Mom readies to take me and Anna down to the park. I ride my blue and pink pram proudly while Mom pushes me around in the park. As soon as we set our foot in the park… a hoard of kids surround me calling me names like baby, Kavya, etc. Anna takes great pleasure in shooing them all away as if they were insects. Mom tries to show me off to her friends by telling them of the new antic I picked up recently. She tries in vain to get me to do the antic in front of her friends but I refused to budge. I am no joker here. As soon as my mom’s friends move away, I start doing my antics only to get a grimace from my mother. We head back home as the sun sets.

After dinner, we prepare for bed. Mom and Dad are having a tiff over a wet towel left by my Dad on the bed. Meanwhile Anna is playing with me with my rattle. He holds up my rattle for me to catch it in the air. On the 10th try, I managed to grip it tightly and Anna is exhilarated. He rewards me with kisses. Meantime Mom comes and takes me away to put me to sleep. I gurgle and show resistance but with little success. Teaching the language is pushed up at the number one item on my agenda.

I am cradled to sleep in my mother’s lap and I snuggle and am soon lost in wonderful dreams.

I am six months old. I am not sure what my name is since I am being referred to as Chelli, baby, Kavya, Guddan, Flower Petal and what not. I will let you know as soon as I find out my name.

A Better India

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“Zoo, Zoo, Zoo… we are off to the zoo”. My older one went ranting around the house from the wee hours of the morning. He was excited to the core since the time he caught me telling my husband that “Let’s take the children out to the zoo.” His little sister who is nine months old and is still alien to the concept of zoo’s and movies and all that, could feel her brother’s excitement and jumped around with him.

So we were finally packed with water bottles and biscuits and sandwiches and loaded ourselves in the car. My older one grabbed the window seat and pulled the pane down. We were barely out of our building gates when we were stopped by the pandemonium caused by the arrival of three eunuchs. As soon as we drove by, they cowered around our car and one was quick to stand next to the window where my son was sitting. The other two crowded around my husband’s window asking for money. My older one started telling me “Aunty is calling you, Mama”. I tried my best to feign ignorance and shield my younger one from the eunuch. My husband taken by surprise was fiddling with his wallet to give out some money. He gave a tenner to each of them and we moved on.

My son was asking me “Mummy, why was Aunty asking us for money”. I managed to give some vague answer. Honestly speaking, I didn’t have an answer for him. Neither did my husband. Normally, the logic that is used by the society when someone begs is that the person does not want to work hard and get a dignified living. Hence he/she resorts to easier ways like asking alms, thievery, etc.

In this case, they resort to begging because the society makes them beg. We do not recognize them as equal and respectable members of our society. No one is ready to employ them or take the efforts to change the mindset that thrives in this land of “Akbar, the great, Rani LakshmiBai and Gandhiji”

I recollect a news clipping which talked about a couple who gave birth to a baby eunuch. The husband and in-laws spurned the baby and wanted to give it up. The mother fought back and decided to keep the baby, only to invite a divorce sheet from her husband.

India might be fast moving from a developing nation to a developed nation. We would have succeeded in sending people to the moon, and launching our own personal satellite system. But it will be truly developed when there is respect for humanity here. I am not sure how the society will reform to accept the eunuchs as an integral part of our culture. I am not sure whether I will take the step towards this reformation? Will you?