JOINT FAMILY

In time of test,’ family is the best.’ All the hurdles of the day are eased at the end of the day when you are back with your family.
‘Joint’ means tied together. A joint family with number of members definitely sounds more secure. We can find many solutions or many helping hands. One would definitely be in less danger if one’s own kith and kin are fun to be with.
But many times members of a joint family never really speak their minds to one another. They maintain an atmosphere of unreality. Each one lives in an atmosphere of suppressed ill-feeling. ‘Unity in diversity’ if maintained then a joint family may succeed. Having individual independence in one’s own private decision making, finances, entertainment etc and by maintaining all round unity, can help survive a joint family.
Just like India is a country with different languages, caste & religion, so also a joint family has people with different ideas & behavioral habits. If one respects & recognizes each other’s views as well as tolerate or each other’s behavior & thinking, then the fruits of a joint family can surely be enjoyed.
The strength of a man is portrayed by his capacity to adjust to the different minds and situations in a joint family. If he can adjust to the ifs & buts at home, then he can surely adjust with his outside world. Truly speaking our public affections begin in our families. No cold relation can be zealous citizen. Blood relations may be thicker but they can be nastier too. If members of a family do not open up, then a joint family may become a home of all social evils and a hell for the children in particular. A selfless member who volunteers to shoulder the joint pack selflessly may at the end find himself reading a story to a sleepy child.

Of family, love, life and tea drinking legacy

I woke up to a beautiful day, unlike the past couple of days when the sun did not wake up at all and the rains were having a ball. Not really a rain girl, I would rather laze in my warm settee than to enjoy the rhetoric of the rains.

It was early in the morning and the sun was already looking so beautiful. Series of memories visited me and made me unusually nostalgic. I handled my white and gold rim ceramic cup just filled with semi fuming Darjeeling tea with little milk and sugar. I like it with milk, I always have. Over the years, my taste for tea has changed, grown and have substantiated me. I have been a tea drinker ever since my late teens. My grandma, an addict and a beautiful heart, was the first to rise and make her and the family the first cup of tea. She only used to get going after her first cup. I, essentially being her flower child, used to love the little sips that would made me feel like her, more than anything else. Tea got me to its clings, literally, much later. I would love the masala chai loaded with sugar and milk. That was a phase which had its lovely moments. As I grew up, I found tea more enigmatic. The flavors are variant, distinctive and appealing.

Grandma left the legacy of tea drinking to me. In my family, now, it’s only my father and I, who relish the idea of morning and evening teas, teas for different occasions and weathers. We love everything that is good tea and how it is served. I believe in that the flavor changes or enhances with the right kind of serving containers. So, I stress on the right kind of cups for a different kinds of teas. My mother hardly drinks tea but has specializes on the art of making it on my insistence. I am picky when it comes to tea. My sisters and their family are occasional tea drinkers – something I appreciate. But when they are visiting us, I manage to tempt them to some relishing cups of tea. The idea of having it all together is really alluring and great fun. We serve it with lots of cookies, Indian snacks, love and gossips.

Things have changed over the years, we have metamorphosed, father has gone more bald, I have had my first grey hair sneaking out every now and then and grandma is no more. But our love for good tea is one good constant factor that has still gotten us all together to the morning tea table over a beautiful tea drinking ritual.

Unshed tears

Like dark clouds they strain,
On the verge of blue sky,
Vying to rush and drain,
The sea of her cheerless eye,
To show strength to world around,
With great effort she smiles,
For her child she holds the ground,
To protect from vile and guiles,
You left me alone she says,
To the one that parted ways,
Her heart for one thing craves,
As rough weather she braves,
Haven , where without fear,
She can let go that unshed tear.

MARRIAGE- a beautiful challenge

Bondage is never considered good but some bonds are sweet and the one is wedding. Marriage is such a beautiful and lovely thing that can happen to somebody. Yes, I do agree our life changes completely after that. Guys say we miss our tension free bachelorhood and girls say we get caught in family and lose our identity. But this is not completely true and it depends on each ones perception. Think on what it gives us. Everything has its own pros and cons, so do this relation. Why not be positive and think about pros of this relation and try to change the cons into pros too? We feel loved and needed. Our life gets a meaning and we love to live for somebody. Feeling of love can come in living relationship too but wedding carries respect with it. A person becomes more responsible, mature and emotionally strong. Not that a person who is single is not so but marriage bring such challenges with it that we explore a new person in us. We should also enjoy the sweet pain it gives. God has made everything; every person and every relation with a purpose so let’s enjoy it, let’s play all the roles he has designed for us. Why should we divest our self from a beautiful relation as this?

Every one is aware that wedding gives attachment not to only one person but several others who are attached to him. The day we accept them as our own family, everything turns trouble-free. Feel them as your own mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle, aunty etc. remove the suffix ‘in-laws’, same thing holds true for the family also, confiscate the word ‘in-law’ from daughter-in-law and then all izz well. Complaints may be from one side, either the girl may say they don’t treat me as their daughter or the family may feel she doesn’t acknowledge us as her own family but bear in mind patience do pay. It may sound philosophical yet some philosophies when applied in life become true. Keep giving your love, concern, warmth and respect and the red carpet day will come when the opposite person will become conscious and return back to you all you have given with interest. We can value bliss only when we face sorrow, trouble, so be ready to face one of the challenges of life, that’s wedding.

When we buy new dress or mobile or anything, aren’t we happy and excited? Then when something new happens in our life why not be cheerful and keyed up in same way. The way we take care of our new purchases is up to us, same way the way we take care of our new life and relation is up to our intelligence. Sounds very simple. Isn’t?

So those who want to stay single believe me there’s no fun in staying single. It’s just a pretext to stay away from one of the challenges of life. If you want to live every part of life and if you are intrepid enough to face more of emotional challenges then go for it, tie the knot and share your life, not only with your life partner but all those who reside in your partner’s heart and feel a new person in you. Feel the happiness, contentment and stability it gives in life.

MAKE A MOVE- ENJOY- ROCK IT DEAR.

Housewife are Nation builders

On this international woman’s day I would request all men and women to pledge that the housewife be given the status of Nation builders. Please let not the census group housewives in “economically non-productive” category with prostitutes, beggars and prisoners. It is an insult to the community by referring them as non-productive community. If a mother is able to give just one conscientiously sensible son or daughter to the nation a major part of the problems are resolved. I am sure there will be innumerable numbers of great sensible sons and daughters who would agree with me and help housewife the required sensible respect and status in the society.

I have an accomplished background with great respectable achievements but just for the sake of my children I have given up my profession. Rather than giving excuses everyday in office for the sake of my family and children I would prefer to stay home to imbibe the culture and tradition I have acquired from my mother. I would dedicate my life to all those high achieving women who preferred to be an housewife and work only during their leisure by exploiting their inherent talents. I have no other way to reach the community for support rather than to sit at home and start his blog.

Simpy

The Empty Nest

Shimmering moonlight peeps through the living room window. Beside, a glass bowl is dearly kept, which contains some rose petals and water, and the bowl holds the reflecting moonbeam so lovingly…as if a mother would hold a child in her arms. The peach colored satin curtains are draped affectionately emitting a sense of warmth.

On the edge of the side table sits a smiling picture frame of the entire family— hand in hand, having fun and frolic on their holiday to Darjeeling which was toured some nine years back. How young everybody appeared then, especially the two of them, sans wrinkles and the lines on their foreheads. The children too appear equally tidy; the younger one just out of college, and the elder one having bagged his first job in an ad agency. In fact the Darjeeling trip itself was accomplished to celebrate his first stint.

The day the picture was taken, it had rained in the hills. The air was crystal clear, and the clarity of this air was visible on the smiling, contented, & refreshing faces of each one in the picture. The younger one had caught hold of a “gorkha” watchman of their bricked cottage in Darjeeling, who had obliged to click for the family what now adorns to be their drawing room family photograph in years to follow.

The silent picture tells the story of the middle class upbringing of the children, and of her and his glittering eyes as they have in them some far reaching dreams they’ve dreamed for their children. The smile of the children too is very genuine. Yet the smile shows that there are some unconquerable frontiers which they still want to attain. Thus both the children had their own set of higher aspirations. The elder one had accepted his advertising assignment as a stop gap arrangement, while the younger one had ambitions to study clinical research. And so they moved up their respective career ladders.  Few years down the line, the elder one earned a scholarship abroad in Media Research; while the younger one got through an acclaimed clinical research college in an international university.

It’s been six years now, since both the children have flown away, leaving both of them with memories. They all meet quite often; they visit the children and the children too visit them. Back home, this spring he decided to build a birdhouse outside in their garden. And once birds flew in, she and he began tending them adoringly. The birds too responded well, and built their nest on the tree where the bird house was placed.

So although their own nests were empty, he and she went ahead and tended another nest.

Every other day, when they remember the children, they closely admire and examine the Darjeeling picture, and some more such pictures which are scattered over the walls leading to their bedroom. Some years back, when they read about the uprising which grappled the valley of Darjeeling, they remembered their children, and missed them more than on any other occasion. Today their nest is empty, but they have no complaints. After all, they themselves had taught the children to dream big, and now that the children were doing so, what was there to complain???

Outside, the moon is still gleaming bright. The water in the glass bowl is ripple free, and still. The radiance of the mystical moon is far reaching. In the course of the day, it will cross the seven seas and enter the slit window of the respective rooms, in the respective houses of both the children, where they’ll be fast asleep. Perhaps it will whisper to them that back home in an empty nest everything is absolutely fine; life is as usual……..

Love – an illusion!

It was dowdy everywhere, people were jostled, confused, heckled. The bleak noisy surrounding was exacerbated by the interventional hullabaloo of the negotiators. She was standing under a huge pillar of the 400 year old heritage building. The sun stared fiercely, she was dripping inside. He was happy, chatting with a friend, whom she did not know. He drank tea, inspected the mundane surrounding like an inspector who had come to settle yet another of his long pending assignments. He then walked up to the museum where the historic trials of the freedom fighters were being held during colonialism.

He came out with a complacent smile as if he was liberated of bulk of his earthly sins, the rest he would be by evening for sure. She was shocked to see him so carefree, so blithe, so indifferent, She did not want to use the term happy, it would shatter her. At about 2-30 in the afternoon, they were being called inside.

It was pretty much like the ones we see on TV. A dais where the chief sat, two wooden cubicles on both his sides, little lower was the most ordinary chairs arranged in most efficient alignment! About 100 black cloaked people had their respective chairs, behind were the settees for the commoners. They went and sat there. The chief, with a velvety black, supremo apparel, started amidst pin drop silence, one by one the black cloaked placed and argued their says. The attendant hollered 107: 2007 and two black-cloaked men walked up to the dais. She and he stood onto the left wooden cubicle.

After a few normal questionnaire, which, mostly, he answered with an eerie, untroubled heart. The man scribbled the testimonial and they were severed for life! It was that easy! She drooped down with a bleeding within, shuffled down the long stairs with heavy legs and finally managed to reach the car all alone.

She had never wanted this to happen, never in her life. It was a long, tiring, depressing, demoralising day. She was finally dissociated from her love, the love that she never had. It was an illusion!

Love is an illusion!

Arranged Marriage

He was very happy, he met her at a formal get together arranged by both the families and after coming back everybody in his family was very enthusiast in accepting her as their daughter in law. After all she was the first bahu in the family and bound to get the extra love n affection.

He was trying very hard to make her comfortable in a new environment which was supposed to arrive to her in next few months.

He even, started discussing her his deepest feelings for his family, for his friends and for her. In no way, he wanted to lose her now, despite increasing tensions between the families due to minor issues related to wedding.

She, on the other hand, had no idea that how he is trying his best in saving this relationship.

On that particular evening, he ringed her n discussed what he was trying to balance.

In next few moments, a call came to his family, and families’ ego reached at a point from where there was no turning back.

On one hand he has his family for whom he devoted his life, and other hand, he had his love whom he didn’t want to lose.

It took him quite a few days what he wanted in his life; it was just peace, even if it cost too many emotions.

He used to be a charming, energetic person by nature but this incident broke shattered him completely.

And then, one fine evening, his mailbox read,

“You are the worse person i have ever met, you don’t even deserve to become my friend, leave the life partner thing aside. This is supposed to be a last mail, if not it better be. You are a closed chapter now.”

What was that, a reward for being so trustful to a girl he doesn’t even know 2 months back?

Life is beautiful

Life is beautiful for this ten year old dark mahagony colored wooden bench placed in the public park about eight years back. It was brought here after the park opened for public, and since then it’s been around day and night, through scorching summers and chilly winters.

Over time, the bench has had many a buddies, who come and sit on it while visiting the park. But ask the bench to pick five to six of its most favorable buddies and it doesn’t hesitate one bit to describe them.

Dr. and Mrs. Kapoor are the firsts to visit the park for their morning walk at 5.45 am every day. Dr. Kapoor is a renowned physician in town, and after their walk, every single day Mrs. Kapoor inquires to him about his schedule for the day. Every now and then Dr. Kapoor has an operation scheduled. Today he tells Mrs. Kapoor he has a major operation scheduled and that he’s tensed up whether it would go well. He sits on the bench and discusses about his anxiety with her. The bench quietly wishes the doctor ‘all the best’.

Then at 7.30 sharp enters Mrs. Rustomjee and her cousin Sally. They are associated with an NGO and have almost devoted their life to service. Dreaming about a clean city is what Mrs. Rustomjee believes and fights for, day in and day out. For her mission close to her heart, her NGO organizes several rallies and drives to bring home the importance of clean and healthy cities to urbanites at large. Be it schools, hospitals or slums, they organize the awareness drives across the board to seek maximum involvement and people participation. Every day when they perch on the wooden bench in the morning, the bench comes to know how the women’s day would be unfolding, and what all chores they have in store for the day. And thus the bench feels nice and fulfilling from inside, to have such a workaholic person as its buddy.

At 8.00 am walks in Mr. Pujari, a senior citizen, retired judge accompanied by his dear friend Shri Kher. After a brief walk around the park, they settle down on the wooden bench and discuss everything there is to discuss under the sun- whether it is affecting or not affecting their lives directly or indirectly. They talk politics, law and order, about busy lives, about the changing societal patterns, about how these days even to visit a close nephew or niece they need to call up before hand and then visit, they talk about the latest books each one of them has recently read and the conversations just drift on and on till 8.30, when usually it is Mr. Kher who peeks into the watch and remarks it is time for them to get going….Sometimes the bench wonders why it is very fond of these two senior citizens and then it convinces itself that it is because of these two gentlemen that the bench stays up-to-date on the happenings and events around the country/ world at large. So in a way, the two buddies are the bench’s information bank!

As the day advances, the bench sits all alone amid the scorching heat, sulking and waiting for the evening….because it is only in the evenings, that it gets to meet three of its last set of buddies.

Jay enters the park at 6.30 pm. After a brisk round of the meadows, with an i-pod stuck to him constantly, the fellow halts for a while and perches on the bench. To the bench, he seems to be a confused guy. Actually he is well educated and all, and he has also begun work recently. But the bench somehow feels that he isn’t enjoying his job. It isn’t giving him the kind of kick and push he’s perhaps yearning for. Although the bench doesn’t know where the problem lies. And then, every single day, slowly, he dials a number from his mobile handset, only to disconnect the number….until some day he musters some courage and dials the number again. This time he speaks to the person on the other end. He addresses her as Priya, and then slowly but surely the bench comes to know part of Jay’s confused life….girlfriend, less paid & stuck up job, zero job satisfaction, rising parental expectations….But something about the guy tells the bench that he’ll someday come out of his issues and pangs surely. There is one glitter and twinkle in the eyes of Jay, which the bench is very fond of, which tells him, that this boy will surely find his path. And the bench waits for that day curiously….

Exactly one hour after Jay leaves, a lady walks in, completes her daily 10 rounds of brisk walks and silently sits down on the bench. She’s been a visitor of this park for a longer time than the bench has been around. Till as recent as the bench could remember, this lady used to exude a sense of confidence in her walk, in her demeanor, and in general in her attitude. But it’s as recent as the past year, that she’s appearing to be kind of clumsy, irritant, absent minded and angry in general. Nowadays, every once in a while she forgets something or the other on the bench. One day, it’s her purse, some day it’s her vegetable bag. And then the bench wonders how a person can age so fast and how it could affect that person’s daily life….Then one day it is from his information buddy Mr. Pujari that the bench came to know a term dementia, and then it struck the bench that perhaps the lady is precisely suffering from this kind of similar disorder. Like a tree laden with fruit and flowers on one day, and then other day having shed all its flowers and having become dry and worthless, the bench has seen the journey of this lady transform from confidence and charm to the uninviting corridors of memory loss and dementia. And the bench’s heart reaches out to the lady….if only it could help her in her agony…

The last buddy whose story the bench wishes to share is a fifteen year old girl name Meera. She stands outside the park every day in the evening, selling flowers and garlands. As the sun sets and the park becomes a desolate place, she enters the premises, and quietly perches on the bench, opens her tiny yellow colored pouch, which is her money bag and sits to count her day’s earning. The bench doesn’t know about the whereabouts of Meera’s parents, or whether she does even have any family to go home to. Because right after finishing the money count, she heads out of the park to a stall, gets herself some quick bite and continues sitting on the bench for a long time. She just looks up into the star studded sky with eyes wide open. Perhaps there’s no one to tell her any stories about stars, perhaps she wonders about the universe or about her destiny….or perhaps the bench wonders she gathers dreams in her eyes and watches the stars awestruck.  Her earnings are meager, the bench understands. It’s just herself that she’s supporting, the bench guesses. As night falls, her sleepy eyelids grow closer and in a moment she falls to sleep, like a child in the lap of the bench, under the envelope of the night sky to take care of her and to sing her a quiet lullaby. It’s been almost three years that Meera is going on with the same schedule, and then bench is more than her buddy. It’s her care taker.

So for this eight year old mahagony bench, this is life. Those who come and sit on it, all those special ones whose stories it shares heartily are its mirrors to the outside world. With their experiences and stories the bench realizes and comes to know how bad or sometimes good the world can be. Their anguishes and hopes ignite a curiosity in the mind of the bench, as it keeps on sitting where it always has, though quietly praying for each of its buddies; hoping that wherever they are, they stay happy and contented, and hoping that its friendship with all of those continues for years on….

For the wooden bench, this is life and life is beautiful, just like the scented flowers grown on the tree right beside it, the fragrance of which the bench keeps getting as seasons move on. Sometimes the fragrance is maximum, sometimes minimum, but the bliss stays etched in its memory until next year when the blossom would come back in full swing. Until then, it’s just the bench and its six close buddies.

Unexpressed Feelings

Ramesh went to the old store room, searched for a carton on which it was written with a marker “Dad’s things”. He finally found that carton. He sat on a small stool, after pulling this carton towards him and tearing its seal open. He picked up his dad’s old diary into his hands, and went through it.

“I had brought up my son with lots of love and care. I never expected that he would do the same thing in return when I grow old. I had thought the least I could expect from him was that he would spend some time with me and say something nice. Sadly, that never happened. Maybe my expectations were too much. He had become very busy in his life and never found any time for me.”

Ramesh sadly turned to the next page of his father’s diary. He found a peacock’s father between the pages. He picked it up and read the note on that page.

“As a kid, my son loved this peacock’s feather a lot. As he grew up, he had forgotten about it. I felt it would be nice if I could treasure it. It has sweet memories of my dear son playing with it.”

He looked up, touching his face with that peacock’s feather. Then he continued reading his father’s diary.

“Maybe my son loved me, maybe. I would never know his inner feelings as he never expressed much. We had become like two strangers as he grew up. I felt it wouldn’t have mattered if I had to pass away some time back.”

Ramesh had a drop of tear in his right eye, which flowed slowly down his cheek.

He had moved to a distant place after completing his studies. He had seen his parents only a few times. As he got married and had his own kids, it even became a rare thing. It was not that he didn’t love or care for his parents. But he had locked his love for his parents deep inside his heart and never expressed it to them. It was some years back when his mother had passed away.

His father was living alone in the old house. He had asked him to move into their place, but the old man had refused it. He wanted to live his last days recalling the wonderful memories of that house, where his beloved wife had stayed.

Ramesh had given it a thought to spend some time with his father, but that time never came. Soon his own children grew up, and one day his old father had passed away in his sleep.

He had seen his father’s diary a couple of times: once while he was alive and the second time after his death, while packing his things from the old house. Finally, his father’s things found its stay in this store room of the house.

Today, he missed his father a lot and he just remembered that his father used to write in a diary. He felt that he might feel closer to his dad going through it at least now.

“Life isn’t a fairy tale. Reality is too hard to digest.” His father had written in the next page.

“After my dearest wife passed away, for the first time in my life I realized how much alone I was in this selfish world. My dear son had asked me to move with him to his house. However, I refused as I knew that it wouldn’t make much difference moving to that place. So I thought let me stay over here embracing my solitude, with the sweet memories of my dear wife to cherish till my last day arrives.”

“Moreover, my wife had loved this place a lot! I wonder what would happen to this place after I am gone. Perhaps, it would be destroyed to build some thing else. Luckily, I wouldn’t be there to see something my wife had loved being destroyed forever.”

A drop of tear from his eyes landed on the page of his father’s diary. He closed the diary, kissed it and hugged it tightly to his chest.

He went inside and asked his son.

“Son, can you please take me for a drive?”

“Sure, dad!” His son said, standing up.

His son drove his father to the graveyard. The eighty year old Ramesh walked slowly with the help of his son towards his father’s grave.

“Son, I would like to spend some moments alone with my father” Ramesh said.

“Sure, dad, I will pay a visit to grandma’s grave in the meantime.” He said walking away.

Ramesh bent and placed a bunch of white Lilly flowers on his father’s tomb.

“Dad, I hope you are listening to my words wherever you are right now…I am very sorry for having neglected you when you needed me the most in your life…I am extremely very sorry for that…please forgive me…one more thing, I love you a lot! I wish I had told you this while you were around.” He said with tears overflowing from his eyes.

The wind was blowing quite strong, and it carried away his tears towards the big banyan tree, which stood near to his father’s grave. He remembered to having seen a small sapling the last time he was here.

“I forgive you, my dear son. I love you a lot too. I always did. I wish that I could hug you now, but I am helpless being this stupid tree in my present birth.” These were the thoughts of the big banyan tree.

“Dad, shall we go now?” His son came and asked him.

“All right, son” He said, walking away with him.

The wind carried some leaves from the big banyan tree, and they gently touched the old man’s back.

The Ezhumattoor chronicle

God said, Let there be light: And there was light. One day my dad said Lets move to Ezhumattoor: and I seldom saw light again!

Being a bank employee, frequent relocations was never an alien concept, not for my father or to his family. Every three years or so, my father’s office would make him shift to a new location. As a result, I have been to various parts of my country in a span of 20 yrs. Relocating from one place to another, let alone frequently, but even once, takes a physical and financial toll on you. Once you have passed a certain age you tend to become more cautious about your health, you start to worry about your future, and you decide to settle down. I am nowhere near that stage, whereas my brother believes he is almost there and as for my parents, it didn’t take them more than an evening-tea-drinking-time to decide on the affirmative. Before you know it, they were renovating a weather-beaten 25 year old structure in a one horse town called Ezhumattoor which unfortunately happens to be my home town!

Allow me to introduce you to Ezhumattoor, an inseparable part of gods own country, which has its share of scenic locales, year old traditions, rich culture, abundant greenery, irritating idiots, annoying bugs, frequent power failures, and unbearable stench! God bless the noble soul who took time out of his busy schedule to create a wiki page for this place.(If the concerned noble soul happens to be a native of Ezhumattoor please ignore the ‘busy schedule’ part). The wiki page boasts the town of having it all from provision stores to a movie theatre (which surprisingly it does, but not exactly the ones you might hope to find).

When asked ‘why ezhumattoor?’ my father was quick in replying, “I am fed up of living in this concrete jungle” clearly indicating his aversion to city life. My mother, who rarely has an opinion of her own, was quick to nod along. I, on the other hand, didn’t quite catch the good that could come from leaving the ‘concrete jungle’ and moving to a ‘jungle’ in the true sense of the word!

One cold morning, I woke up in the middle of a room full of boxes containing our stuff, all packed and ready to be loaded in a truck standing by downstairs. In just a couple of hours we were to leave the apartment in the middle of the city which we proudly called our home for the last  5 years. At about noon that day, the trucks were all loaded. I was given the keys to the house and was asked to lock-up. I took one last look at the once-lively-but-now-empty house of ours, shut the door and turned the key all the way to the left till I could hear the lock fall securely in to place. It was a three hour drive to our new home.

On my second day here, I set out to explore, maybe I can catch a movie, I thought. Didn’t do so the first day, as it was spent wholly in my room where I sat chanting the never-effective-but-very-relieving mantra “why god? why?”. The air was damp, as it had rained the whole night. The sun was still feeling a bit reluctant to shine out from within the clouds.  Its a 50mtr walk from my front door to the gate. Once you open the front door, you will find a slippery porch, a muddy lawn, a stairway which leads to nowhere, and finally a weed filled path which leads to the gate. It takes an army man’s courage and an entomologist’s knowledge to take the first step towards the gate. Once out of the house, one has to be on high alert for attacks from species which seem to have leapt right out of the national geographic channel. I pushed open the rusty old gate, which itself is home to thousands of scary looking bugs. The rain from the previous night had done enough and more damage to the road ahead. I saw my own reflection in one of the puddles out front and I noticed the wide frown I had on my face. I started jumping pot holes, which was an amusing sight for the onlookers I believe, as they had their gaze set upon me and were whispering something to the person closest to them. Or maybe they were just curious as to who this new face was, I don’t know.

Once the endeavor with the pot holes was over, i reached the main junction, where one can find a few provision stores, a bakery, a saloon and an internet café that does not have an internet connection! There was, as usual, a lot of commotion between the people at the junction. I stood in front of the bakery, sipping a cup of cold tea, trying to catch up with the latest happenings in town. A middle aged man who himself had a tea cup in hand befriended me. His focus was compromised when he was suddenly distracted by a fellow-passerby who screamed out to him, “kooooi! Entha ivide?” (Loosely translated it means “ what are you doing here?”), to which he promptly replied “chumma, oru chaaya kudikkaan”. They smiled at each other and the man again turned to me, but then I was distracted by a similar plight as I heard another man shout at the other side of the road at another passerby, “kooooi! innale kandillallo, evide aayirunnu?” and that’s when the most amazing thing about small towns and villages came to light- everybody knows everybody. No one is a stranger in these lands. If one happens to be, the locals make sure that he doesn’t remain so for long. Everyone in ezhummattoor seemed to be tied together by one common name-“ Kooooi!”!!!!!

A slight rain had started just as I was about to leave the bakery. I bid farewell to my new found friend and started towards the movie theatre which is popular among the locals as ‘cinema talkies’. The theatre, or the ‘talkies’ if I may, is an old weather-beaten structure which happens to be the only source of entertainment for the locals of ezhummattor, and also one would not be able to find another theatre in a 20 km radius. The movie that was playing, was one that starred superstar mohanlal, but one that had released in the city months ago. The theatre premises were unusually quiet for a mohanlal movie. There was no one in the ticket counter either. Right beside the ticket counter was a room where I found a person wrapped in a blanket and a scary looking machine which I assumed to be the projector, thus making it the projector room. A slight knock on the door was enough to wake up the man from his slumber. He pointed his eyeballs at me, clearly not amused at having been woken up. Coarsely he said “innu kali illa” (means: no show today), on enquiring why, I was surprised to learn that the whole theatre had been flooded by the previous day’s rain as the roof had a major leak! I made it a point never to return to the theatre whenever its raining.

Disappointed, I was, but the events of the day had a lighter side to it. I evaded the pot holes again on the way back. While nearing my house I saw a couple of people from the shops in front, staring right at my house. I followed their gaze to see if I could find out what was going on, only to find my own brother amidst the rubber trees surrounding my house, sporting a knee length trouser, a black t-shirt and a professional camera, trying to take pictures of a squirrel which in itself was a visual treat to the local folks. Then I saw my dad sitting in the porch reading a newspaper and my mom was in the terrace hanging up clothes. Then I noticed I had a smile on my face, which I realized was the first one after setting foot in this place. I realized for the first time that this electricity-deprived-lame-excuse-for-a-town is my home now…..and as they say, theres no place like home! I went in, smiling, closing the gate behind me.

It took me 17 long years!

My best pal from school was visiting country. It was unscheduled.  Her father had passed away unexpectedly and she had to come. Although, it wasn’t the happiest of times, we had a nice time together on one Sunday when she was bit free from her fixations. It was a lazy afternoon, the dim sun soon mellowed down the spirit with which we had started the day. The setting sun was soft and not-so-yellow, spreading its nostalgic wings on us. We were ransacking our sweet old memories. Transfiguring was never so sweet before! Probably, the poignant sun did the trick. We are friends since junior school and her marriage and my subsequent pre- occupations with some gross things in life had drifted us far apart geographically. She became a mom, a few years ago, and kept shuttling between the roles of the dancer, that she is, and a stay-at-home mom. I, on my part, have just begun to live. Yes, once again and happily so.

Plaques, memories, books, mementos and the scrapbook! Yes, she had dug out her scrapbook! It was a beautiful scrapbook that breathed of our school days! We were both thrilled and enlivened and why not! All those sweet, silly, some curt and snappy, some perky remarks – no wonder we were living it yet again except for the bewilderment that was getting intense with each flip of the page. How could this be possible! My page was missing! How could this be ever possible! I, being her best pal, was supposed to have the first page proudly! She couldn’t have missed me out! But my comment couldn’t be found anywhere! Aside this, another thing startled us. When each and every corner of the scrapbook was scribbled to the full, the very first page was left blank – clearly and cleanly, as if, it was awaiting my pen for long seventeen years! And guess what, we two exchanged a fleeting glance; I knew that look. I could get her right away. Darted to get a pen, got down to scribble down my thought right then, right there! It felt like I really have achieved something, it felt like I really accomplished something on earth! Yes, it felt great, as though I had completed a long pending job. And why not! It took me seventeen long years to finish this colossal job!

‘The Daily’

At 6.30 AM sharp, every single day, beating against all weather odds, one friend used to come and visit a gentleman seventy three years old residing in Gunwant Society. The man was Shri. Pabalkar, whom family used to lovingly call Appa.  And the friend was his daily dose of news- the regional newspaper “The Daily”. It was like his conversation friend.

The crisp smell of “The Daily” used to greet him at the break of the dawn. Whether anyone at home used to remember to wish him or not, one pal who used to relentlessly wish him ‘morning’ was The Daily. For thirty long years, the newspaper had outgrown to be more than a mere dose of news. It had become more than a sheet of paper; it had almost simply become a friend to Appa. And especially since the demise of his wife seven years ago, he had gotten far closer to The Daily.

That way, the Pabalkars had subscribed two to three newspapers; but they all were in English. None pertained to regional news, which would be written in the vernacular language.

The young lady of the house, Mrs. Pabalkar used to get bogged down by her son’s vernacular language studies, and she used to wonder how he’d be able to cope with his vernacular language at school. Then Appa used to give her a dosage; a quick advice of making the little fellow develop the habit of reading the vernacular newspaper which daily fell by their doorstep. But the modern mom that she was, she wasn’t all too keen on her son wasting his time reading the vernacular language newspaper. According to her, even if he musters time to briefly read the English newspaper headlines, it was more than enough. Little did she realize that one’s language skills can really develop quite well by reading text in that language, rather than merely sticking to reading the textbooks prescribed in school.

She herself used to stick to reading only the English newspapers, so also her husband. Then how can one reasonably think that their son would form the habit of even wanting to hold the vernacular language newspaper?

So, thus, day in and day out, the family resorted to reading only English newspaper, with the exception of, of course Appa, whose friend, philosopher and guide nowadays was The Daily. Every single morning, the paper used to be fallen by the doorstep, only for Appa to pick it up and get immersed in it for almost more than half of the day. After retirement, it was his only time killing factor, apart from his morning walks.

Time went by fast as it always does against the tide; until one day ‘The Daily’ became orphan…..

A prolonged illness saw the demise of Appa, and since then “The Daily” lost a true friend. For almost a month after Appa passed away, it didn’t strike the newspaper boy not to place The Daily by the Pabalkar doorstep. It had become more than a habit for even the newspaper boy. Blindly he kept on placing The Daily. The family kept mum for a month. Then one day, Mrs. Pabalkar, while settling previous month’s newspaper bill, specifically mentioned to the newspaper walla, to stop placing The Daily from the subsequent day.

Next day too, the fellow perhaps forgot to remember her instruction and placed the newspaper. Was it his negligence, or was it his carelessness, Mrs. Pabalkar wondered.

The following Sunday her husband himself waited by the door early in the morning, for he wanted to let the newspaper delivery boy know about it, clearly. At 6.30 AM he arrived with three newspapers on his bicycle- the regular two English newspapers along with The Daily. He dropped the papers by the doorstep. Mr. Pabalkar looked up and protested. He swiftly picked it up and shoved it in the fellow’s hands. With a twist in his eyes he remarked “perhaps you haven’t got the message right. We wish to discontinue The Daily. It’s been almost a month since we have communicated this across to your supervisor. I fail to understand why he’s still sending it to us”.

The fellow meekly replied to Mr. Pabalkar, “I’m sorry Mr. Pabalkar, but I cannot let you discontinue The Daily. It’s associated with your household for a long time. It’s more like it reminds me of the old man for whom I used to deliver it. He had once told me; in fact he had given it in writing, that even after I am no more, please do keep delivering it at our house. My son and daughter in law might protest. But still you do not stop. That’s the only way to pursue them to develop a liking for a newspaper of their own vernacular language”

Saying so, the delivery boy quietly handed over a little moist note to Mr. Pabalkar. It was his late father’s handwriting, he immediately guessed. And really, to his complete surprise, he had actually given a note to the newspaper delivery fellow to keep on relentlessly delivering it, even after his demise. After this dialogue, none said a word. There was just an exchange of glances. Tucking the three newspapers by his arm, Mr. Pabalkar quietly walked indoors. He silently closed the door behind him. He didn’t look back to see if the fellow was still standing outside.

Whether it was as a fond memory of his father, or whatever may be the cause, The Daily kept visiting the Pabalkar household. Perhaps it was his father’s persuasive habit to make the family read it, that today, Mr and Mrs. Pabalkar both, and also their eight year old son, make it a point to open it at least once a day and read though it.

Is it the old Mr. Pabalkar’s memories that they read, or is it the news, one is left to wonder…..

He and She

Her eyes kept straying here and there, as though searching out something, or someone. Her manicured nails were painted red, he noted, as he sat sipping his cup of coffee, from across the table. Fidgeting, she sat, lost in some deep reverie. He had the urge to wake her up, to probe what was wrong, or if at all anything was wrong. But, he did not. He was not known to be a meddler; and he did not want to start to be one now. He laid his cup down, scooped all the files and documents strewn all over the table, and started to walk out. She did not even notice him. He felt anger rising in him, and yet, he knew he had no reason to. So, he stormed out of the cafeteria in a hurry, letting the door slam shut on its own.
Shaken from her thoughts, she looked around. She realized that it was more than 20 minutes since she came in for her coffee. And not a drop of it was consumed. She lifted her coffee to her lips. Cold. She cursed under her breath, pushed the coffee mug away, and shrugged in exasperation. She needs help, she thought to herself. But who could she turn to? The ex-husband, of 12 years, who had suddenly packed bags and left, to Trinidad and Tobago? The mother who blamed her for every single mistake, every single step she undertook? The friends who never would lie for her, but would never hesitate to lie to her? Or her little boy of six, who’d ask her every night where Trin-dad-to-b-go was? Who was she to turn to? She swore filthy in her mind, for, she had no answers. Nor did she have any questions left, she realized to her dismay.
His Facebook profile stared back at him. The photograph showed him smiling away. Mockery, he felt disgusted at his own reflection. The confidence of the picture gave him creeps. He read through his self-proclaimed introduction, and he could not recognize the person who he claimed to be. Someone called out to him over his cubicle. Hurriedly he closed his profile, and turned to face his friend. “What was that dude? A matrimonial site?” his colleague asked; curious. “No No… I was just surfing some stuff” he answered, all flustered. Okay, I’ll believe it (for now), he heard his friend say, amused, as he walked away to his cubicle. Damn, he felt himself angered, though he could not place why he would be so. Soon his desk was piled up with files, new tenders to be made, proposals to be made. His mind no more had the space to ponder over human nature, or at the least, his own.
The clock showed 4 pm. Time for her little one to be picked up from school. She shut her system down, grabbed her wallet and keys, and walked out of her room. She did not care to look at anyone one though she felt a hundred odd eyes piercing her. The lift never works, she muttered to herself as she ran down the staircase. Her car lay stuck in the parking lot, and she failed to hide her frustration. Yelling at the doorman, she demanded the other car to be shifted. The watchman obliged in a hurry, and finally she was out in the open. The Mumbai city traffic never disturbed her. She loved the bustle, the noise, the hundreds of vehicles, and thousands of people around her. Everything was dynamic. None cared to look at her, or judge her. Everyone seemed to have just one thing in their minds, to get going. She felt wholesome, she felt relieved and relaxed.
“Mammaaa…you are late by 2 minutes and 34 seconds…” her son hurled his diagnosis at her. She could not help but smile. She scooped him up in her arms, and safely laid him on the front seat. After tucking the safety belt on, she said “Awww…Mamma is really sorry. Mamma had so much work at the office. I wonder if a jell-o could make you forget this.” Winking at his mom, he said “Hmmm…I guess that would be fine. But do not repeat it. Promise?” “Promise baby. Shall we get going then?” He nodded his approval and the mother-son duo drove away. Their laughter seemed infectious.
His eyes seemed to search for her. She and her once-bright eyes, and her infectious smile which had all off a sudden died away. He did not know why. Nor did he want to know. He had never wanted to be a part of her world, and still did not want to. But he never could understand why her sadness bothered him. It made him ache too. But he knew it made no sense. He heard a car drive in, and he looked down from his balcony. She was laughing; her eyes twinkled just as before. He saw her reach out to her little one. They were in another world; he smiled to himself. And then, he went back to his desk and hid himself behind the pile of files, the load of work pending.
She got back to her floor, her son safe in his crèche with his evening friends. Once again she felt all eyes on her, except one. She looked at him, wondering why he never looked He looked up. She was long gone. The office was empty. He walked over to her desk. It was shabby. It was sad, except for the couple of rare hours when she smiled, and worked, and created art. He flicked open the latest ad script she had made. It was the ad for a relaxing chair. It featured a boring man in a stingy cubicle, with a pile of files stacked on the desk. The man remained hidden from view, except for the fringe of hair on his balding head. His hands went to his hair in a reflex. No, he still had his hair. He smiled to himself and walked out. He called it a night.
The fan swirled on, and the sheets of her script flickered in the wind. Pity, he did not wait to look through till the last scene.

Old Man’s Paradise

The Prologue

“Whose letter is it?” Brinda asked her husband, Ashok.

“Dad’s. He likes giving surprises!” Ashok replied “They haven’t gone to Kasi*”

“Then where did they go?” She asked.

“Old Man’s Paradise!”

“Old Man’s Paradise? What place is that?”

“We shall find out soon,” He said “As he has invited us over there.”

***

The train was going through a place which had greenery on either side. Ashok peeped through the window of the train compartment.

“Do you see him?” Brinda asked.

“Yes, I see him!” Ashok replied, he had seen his father’s friend Dayanand holding a sign board with “Welcome to Old Man’s Paradise!” written on it.

He tried to pull the chain down with all his might.

“What the hell do you think you are doing?” asked a man, who was with them in that compartment.

“ We are going to get down the train!” He said turning back “I think it is stuck…come on, guys, help me!” He added looking at his family members.

His wife Brinda and his two daughters Priya and Preethi held his waist and pulled him back. The chain came down as well as the train came to a screeching halt.

“Who pulled the chain?” The T.C. asked, rushing towards their compartment.

“I did!” Ashok said, taking down the luggage.

“Oh, you should be that old man’s son” The T.C. said rather annoyed “You’ll have to pay a fine of…”

“Rupees five hundred…here it is!” Ashok said giving it to him.

“It’s nice to see you guys” Dayanand said with a warm smile “It is about fifteen minutes walk from here. Please follow me!”

“Dayanand Uncle, isn’t there a railway station nearby?” Ashok asked.

“Yes, there is one in the town.”

“And how far is this town from here?”

“Thirty kilometers!”

Soon, they reached the compound wall of the Old Man’s Paradise. As they entered, they saw Gulmohar trees and Yellow flame trees on either side of the path. It gave the feel to the name “Old Man’s Paradise”.

There was a pond with lotus flowers and a wooden bridge in the middle to cross it. On the other side, there was one huge banyan tree with a circular platform below. As they walked ahead, they found a big building with a beautiful spring fountain before it. The spring fountain was surrounded by colourful flower plants.

“Welcome to old man’s paradise!” Ashok’s father Kishore said, welcoming them inside.

“Hi!”Ashok’s mother Rukmini said coming.

“Why are your hands muddy, gandma?” Preethi asked.

“Well, I was plucking the vegetables for the lunch” She said.

“Plucking vegetables?” Brinda asked surprised.

“Yes, we grow our own vegetables in the vegetable- garden behind the house.” Rukmini replied.

Later, they all had lunch together on the dinning table.

“Well, hope you like the food.” Rukmini said.

“Yeah, we like it!” Ashok said smiling at his mother.

“Dad, how did you guys come to this place?” Ashok asked.

“Well, son, it’s a long story..It was long time back…” Kishore said.

“Grandpa, start it with ‘Once upon a time long, long ago..’” Preethi interrupted.

“Once upon a time long, long ago…when we friends weren’t even married…we all set out for a trip in our car. We had lost our way and reached this wonderful village…As it had turned dark, so we had decided to stay back in this village for that night. We were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful hospitality of these innocent villagers. The best thing about them was that they all lived like one big family…” Kishore started the story.

“Though they had their problems. They had power supply only for a couple of hours or so in a day. We, friends used to think that we should do something good and nice to others…which would give us joy and satisfaction in return..”

So we came back again to this village and talked to them about solving their power problem with solar energy. They co-operated with us and we solved their energy crisis.”

“Then the next big problem was that they used to waste their hard earned money by drinking, smoking and gambling. We tried to get rid of these three bad habits of these villagers and succeeded in the same, though this one took longer time to achieve.”

“The impact was so much that the person who was selling vine in vine shop was forced to close it and open a provision store in its place.” Dilip added.

“Wow! That’s amazing!” Ashok said

“Then we realized that these villagers weren’t educated and they were many times cheated in the town. So, we decided to come here some weekends and teach them to read and write.” Dayanand said.

“You guys did all this before you all got married?” Ashok asked.

“Yes, It was then your dad got this wonderful idea of buying some land over here and settling after our retirement.” Pradeep said.

“When we told this to the villagers, they were more than happy and gave us thirty acres of land in the outskirts of this village for a reasonable price. They even helped us to bring this dream place together and took care of the same in our absence.” Dayanand said.

“ But, why thirty acres?” Ashok asked.

“Well, I and Vishnu wanted to grow grapes!” Dilip said.

“I wanted to grow mangoes!” Pradeep said.

“It was my dream to grow strawberries someday..” Raghu said.

“I wanted tomatoes..” Dayanand said.

“Well, I wanted to grow sunflowers..so we needed more land.” Kishore said.

“That’s very nice!” Ashok said smiling at them. “You guys have achieved your dream!”

“Son, If you believe in your dreams, then go after them and never rest in peace until you achieve them.” Kishore said.

You’re right, dad!” Ashok said.

“As a matter of fact, they didn’t tell us too. We all were under impression that we were going to Kasi.” Narmada, Vishnu’s wife said.

They all rested for a while after a delicious meal. Later, they played “UNO” game together. In a way, the game had become like a tradition amongst them. Then they took bicycles and went peddling around the green path. They passed by the sun flowers field, the mangroves, grapes yard, strawberry and tomatoes fields.

When they were returning back, it started raining.

“It is very nice to peddle a bicycle in rain, you know.” Vishnu cried.

“Yeah!” They all cried back in chorus.

When they reached back, hot snacks and tea was waiting for them.

“It’s a wonderful place!” Ashok said very pleased.

“Yes, you won’t regret growing old.” Raghu said smiling at him.

“How about watching a movie in the home theatre?” Dilip suggested.

Krishore led them to the large hall which had a big library of books, music cds and movie dvds at one end, and a home theatre in the other end.

Kishore picked up the movie “Big Fish”. They all watched this movie directed by Tim Burton and enjoyed it.

“I have seen this movie many times” Kishore said “and I have enjoyed it every time!”

Later, Kshore gave a book to his grand daughter Priya. It was a collection of short stories. She was surprised to see her grand father’s name on the cover page of the book.

“Grandpa, I never knew that you write?” She said.

“You wrote it, dad?” Ashok asked, taking it from her and going through it.

“Well, I used to write when I was young. Later, I became busy and couldn’t continue it. Now, I had time so thought of doing it.” Kishore said smiling. “Here is my first collection of short stories!”

“I’m proud of you, dad!” Ashok said.

“Thank you, son.”

The Epilogue

“I hope you enjoyed your stay over here.” Kishore said.

“Yes, dad, we sure did” Ashok said “It was like a dream come true!”

“All this will be yours along with children of my dear friends when you guys grow old.” Kishore said.

“Thanks, dad” Ashok said.

The End

Another Rainy Day…

She had finally managed to get an off day from work, after weeks of hectic round-the-clock work at the hospital. In spite of having made plans to sleep in late, her eyes opened to the six o’clock morn. Cursing her own circadian rhythm of waking up daily at six, she sat up on her cot. An entire day with no work seemed highly appealing. Smiling to herself, she walked out of her room. The quarter wing seemed empty, with everyone still in cozy slumber.

It was still drizzling; as it had when she had gone to bed last night. The rain sprayed itself on her as she walked over to the mess. A cup of coffee and the Hindustan Times paper in hand, she got back to her room. The raindrops fell at her window sill with a clunk, a voice she loved. Sipping the hot coffee, she skimmed through the daily news. Nothing ever interested her. As always, she tossed it across the bed, and switched her laptop on. It had been almost a year since she moved into this city. Kolkata boasted of colours, vibrant culture, fabulous cuisines and rich literature. It breathed a life of its own, and it was almost impossible for her to not fall in love with it. The melancholy of the Howrah bridge and the lushness of Victoria place; she loved every bit of it. It was as though the city read her mind, toyed with her mood and made her feel overwhelmed. And it had a lot many more reasons too.

While checking her mails, she found a name flicker on her chat messenger. Her fingers reached out on their own, typing out a hello. It had been months since she had seen that name in her list of online friends. He replied back. He had known that she had shifted to his city, she found out. But how, she did not ask. He spoke of his wife and family, his work and home and friends and life as such. She told him about her new research, her endless hours of hospital duty, her new life, her husband and lot more. He sent over his wedding pics, and they spoke about married life- about the good times and bad. Two good friends were opening up to each other after a while. A long while, indeed.

The coffee had dried out, but their conversation hadn’t. She remembered the endless times she had heard him go on and on about his city, his Kolkata. She had known the nooks and corners of the city, even while she had never stepped out of Madras. The best sweet shops, the oldest of Indian Coffee Houses, where Tagore and his contemporaries used to have coffee and discuss literature and art; the dingy bookshops across the markets where first edition prints were on sale, unknown to most. She knew it all. She had always dreamed of being here and today as she sat in her room in the very same city, she thought of how ironical life was.

The entire afternoon was spent in the bank, and she felt doggone tired by the time she got back. The day had been kind of funny. She felt happy after her chat, yet a part of her bled of a hollow nostalgia. She decided to not waste more time, and began to surf data for her research. She was startled by a buzz.

“Hi. How are you?”

“I am okay.” she typed back, wondering why he asked her so.

“But I am not.”

“What? Why?” she typed out in a flash. She did not understand him.

“Everything was fine until I saw you today- your texts, the new display picture, and the new you… Knowing you are in the same city had been hard enough. I would see you online most often, but I’d always be invisible. I never wanted to let you know. Just one general conversation, and I am shattered, Yami. I know you are married. So am I; and I know I should not be carried away. I also know that I’d be back to normal in a while. But still, I don’t know why, even after such a long time, you affect me. And, that too, to such a great extent.”

She felt lost. She hadn’t wanted to bother him, or cause him any trouble. It had been so very long, that she never considered such a possibility to have existed. Her fingers traced over the keyboard aimlessly. A pang of regret stabbed at her. She should not have initiated the conversation, she realized. Somehow, it hurt her.

“I am so sorry. I never thought it would be this way. It has been a very long time. I just could not not say hello.”

“I am not blaming you Yami. It feels wonderful to know how you are, and what is happening with you. It really does. But at the same time, a part of me is reminded of what could have been, and what could not be. I am very much happy with my wife, my family, my work and life as a whole. I know you are happy and life is smooth, with your husband. I know the long distance might be hard, but at the same time, I know you are happy together. So am I. Life is good. Yet, today as you came in, fresh as ever, I feel empty. Maybe I am not as strong as you are. Maybe I never expected it, so the shock. I don’t know…”

She sat back, a lump forming in her throat. She typed back: “I understand what you mean. Just as you said, we’ll go back to being normal, in a short while. It is just a moment of nostalgia, a rewind of those memories which never blossomed. Nothing more than that. So, please cheer up, and maybe another couple of years later, we’d talk again, and then we’d feel differently…or maybe we’d feel the same…But that does not matter. What matters are the present, the daily routine and the often boring normalcy of our lives.”

“Yes. You are right. I am glad I have had those memories with you. I just have one regret. I want to see you once. Once in this lifetime. And at the same time, my mind says I don’t want to; I should not want to, rather. And I know, I would not, too. Well…it’s been a long conversation. I guess I’d get back to the life, which I left behind, the moment I saw you online. Take care, Yami. You are special, and always will be.”

“You take care too. I am glad that we both are happy and enjoying life. At one stage, I never thought you’d be. Nor would I. But time does heal a lot of wounds. Prayers, always. Until life decides to grant us a moment like this from the past, God bless!!”

“You too Yami… Wish I were as level-headed and strong as you are. You manage to move on so well. And I am so glad you do. Hope you have a wonderful life with your husband, and I hope you both get to be together soon. Take care. ”

The green dot next to his name died away. She laughed at the irony of his statements, the irony of her life. Strong and level-headed; having managed to move on with life- ah, ironical. She shut her system down, and walked over to the veranda. The rain still drizzled on. She stood for a long time watching the raindrops die away, merging with the soil.

“Yamini, what is it in the rains that hypnotize you to such an extent?” she heard someone ask. Shaken up from her reverie, she turned back to her colleague.

“I have always loved the rains. I often feel as though the droplets fall for my sake… Just for myself…As though the rainclouds delve headlong into my thoughts, and rain my thoughts away… ”

“As always, I cannot comprehend what you speak Yamini. Anyway, how is the groom-hunt going on at home? Did they finally find someone, who matches all your criteria?”

“Never.”

She said no further, turning back to face the rains. And the rains lashed on in a new fury, as though the clouds were indeed reading her mind. And she smiled at the irony of her life!

MY DEAREST BROTHER…..

Brother dear brother
you were there for me
from the day i came to this world.
Even though you didn’t share
my mother’s womb
you were my brother
from the day i know.
The steps in our house
still tell the story of
our games of ball.
The floor in the T.V room
still tell the story of
all our laughter.
The wall in the terrace
still tell the story of
the way we played madly.
Now grown so big
and you bid me farewell
to my in law’s house in tears
But still you were there
for me to fall when i needed.
Now…. i stand alone
and you are not there to hold
how can you R.I.P silently
when i am broken…………….

Mother -Nature

Oasis of love in them we find,
Ocean of differences is all she binds.
Through her every chide and simple gestures,
in all, love slowly nurtures.
An eye for beauty she gives,
A heart for the ailing is all she asks.
She caresses our feet, in dark.
One mother and nature that we have failed…..
while she endures us all….
If for her we call it duty,
isn’t it ours, to care her beauty?
saplings grow and leave….
she stays along, still more to give.
An inspiration, against the odd she survives,
while we have got on in our lives!

A mirror that reflects the past,
for chide and actions we blame,
while we forget, it is God we tried to tame.

a feeling that we failed to express……

While we run in the race of life,
it is to her we look upon in strife!

all enduring, ever embracing figure,
she ever stands…a forgotten mirror…..

to Her i bow……
in your waters I play….
in your winds i relax….
in your fire i burn ego..
to your soil i bend……
to the sky i go back…..

this for every mother, who has stood through every phase of their kids….
through every hardship of her family….who thought of her family before herself….
and yet ever remained in her poise and never changed…….

just like our nature…..
the winds which have never changed their courses since time the earth was born….
the waters which have always remained the same irrespective of where they went and came….
the fire which which burns everything…taking her kids in her own humble ways….
the sky which always looks upon us as an ever guarding guardian!!!

The Green Saree with Golden Border

She always loved wearing sarees. Saree was as though her exclusive domain- her genre; her identity she never wanted to part ways with.

Nowadays we generally see that the ladylove for sarees is kind of diminishing. It’s only for some grand occasions, that grand sarees get worn. And it’s only for some special occasions, that special sarees are worn. The rest of the time, it’s a Salwar Suit which comes in handy.

But she belongs to the former breed of saree lovers- the saree brigade so to say. And she is completely in awe of her own sarees. Sarees, which are gifted to her by friends, or by her dear husband, or which have got passed onto her from her late mother-in-law. So, needless to say, that her saree collection is mammoth. All the shades and all the materials find a loving space in her huge closet. Someone even teases her that her sarees have been with her since age eternity! She has that tendency to carefully stack up all of those. She hardly remembers any time when she had given away any of her most pricey or precious sarees to anybody. In that sense, she was dead possessive about her saree belongings.

This is not all. Her memory is so sharp- Ask her to open her wardrobe and talk about each saree- who gave it to her, or from where and when she purchased it, she’d give a complete record of every single saree—from where it was bought, or who had gifted it to her, and on what occasion. In fact, to go a step further in her saree obsession story, she’ll even have a complete account of which saree was worn by her on which special occasion! Any layman or laywoman would get totally awestruck by this, but then with her, it’s a fact.  She even remembers this. Hearing the capabilities of her awesome memory, I feel bad, as to why my memory doesn’t oblige.

Anyways, so going back to her saree story, it goes like this. So this lady was a complete saree freak. So, one day, this lady was sitting with her wardrobe open. She was cleaning up something, or so I was told. To this I reacted kind of skeptically. When a lady doesn’t even bother to give away her old sarees, and make way for new ones, what kind of cleaning must she be doing, I quietly wonder!

So as she was in the middle of cleaning her closet, she had laid down one by one, all her sarees. Her daughter was sitting right next to her. And her granddaughter (daughter’s daughter) was playing outside in the living room. She had come to visit granny for her summer vacations.

Just as this lady finished emptying her cupboard with hangers full of sarees, her six and a half year old granddaughter barged in to tell her mommy something. And what she saw in front of her eyes was like a treat to her. A kaleidoscopic spectrum of beautiful designs and shades unfolded before her! She almost forgot what she wanted to tell mom. And she rushed near granny’s treasured closet, peeping in, as to what more was in store! Then as she saw a treat already been laid out on the bed, she didn’t lose a minute to make way for herself, and perched up on the stool nearby. She looked and looked, with her little joyous eyes twinkling endlessly. She smiled at her mom, as if asking her, whether nani might be kind of interested to share one of her sarees with her.

But the fantastically diplomacy struck kids that today’s kids brains are wired; the little girl didn’t say a word to her mom directly.

But at the same time she had as if almost zeroed in on one saree in her mind, which she had liked of the entire heap, laid out there. It was a green saree with golden border, with delicate brocade work done atop, which she had already chosen for herself!  Gently she moved her fingers over that saree, and remarked in a diplomatic voice (children these days need not be taught diplomacy. It’s almost inborn!) “ Mummy, nani has such a fabulous collection of pretty sarees. Even you don’t have such an extraordinary collection, na?

And then, miracle happened. Our lady (nani) asked her “You like this saree, don’t you? Then you can keep it for yourself”.

The chirpy little girl reacted abruptly, “nani, can I make a salwar Kurta from your saree?”. To which, nani replied “Why not? Just go ahead and make whatever you want to make out of it; but be sure to use it and use it carefully”.

And so, very willingly and lovingly our lady who had so far not even been generous to her own daughters as far as distributing her sarees was concerned, in one instant, she showered her generosity on her granddaughter, and gifted her the green saree with golden border. When the kid asked how old that saree was, granny couldn’t stop blushing as she replied that it was the saree nanaji had gifted to her on her 47th birthday.

The following Diwali, when nani visited their house, the chirpy grand daughter was all decked up, looking pretty as ever, in a beautiful salwar Kurta, which was green colored with golden border. Nani was smiling end to end seeing her granddaughter carrying herself so well in that wonderful attire.

And then, as soon as she headed back home post Diwali, one day, she opened her closet and began a mop-up! – in true sense of the word. This time she was serious in her clean up act. There were many who’d line up and readily accept a precious saree as a gift from her! There were her own daughters, her sister, her nieces….the list was endless. And so, possessiveness gave way to generosity—all thanks to her granddaughter, and to the Green Saree with Golden Border.

Who am I!

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

At the doorway of most ancient mysterious mystery schools

Are these autograph – Man Know their self

The question here is – Do you know who you are?

Have you ever asked yourself – Who am I?

We all know that you are a two-legged creature

Creatures looking like you are called human beings

Do you know who you really are?

Everybody around probably knows your full name

You too know all your given names and nicknames

We all know that human beings are more than names

Do you know who you really are?

Do you know your own likes and dislikes?

Do you know what you like doing in your spare-time?

Apart from your profession, what else do you do?

Do you know your strengths and abilities?

Do you know your weaknesses and faults?

Do you know your potentials as a human being?

Do you know you were born with some natural talents?

Everybody knows their own sign of the zodiac

The question here is – are human limitations

decided and controlled by their sign of the zodiac?

All things been equal, there are good and bad people

in every zodiac sign, while there are rich and poor

people also in every astrological sign

To attribute your weaknesses and failures to astrology

is a sure evidence of fallacy and self-delusion

Do you know who you really are?

Look at yourself in the mirror

Let today be the start of your self-analysis

Your journey to self-discovery has began

A new event at India a dog realization itself.

By this knowledge it offered prayers to lord Rama.