Quote for the night.


Dear women,

This is for all those strong ones that are going through some personal hell. Do not worry. Gear up. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. Just like, after every night, comes the day, after every storm comes the calm.

And while in the storm, brace yourselves up. Because, God is there with us and, He helps those who first help themselves.

Love yourself. Respect yourself. Strengthen yourself.

Because, you are transforming into the butterfly you were destined to become 🙂

God bless.

Amen.

bb

Call a spade, a spade!


Why do bad things happen to good people?

Are some people born evil?

How is it possible for good people to get attracted towards darkness?

Or, does guilt play the big role in building the bridge into the Devil’s realm?

The mighty fall, they say….. and, how!

I will never get answers to these annoying questions. But, that doesn’t stop me from digging deep into the very root cause of these questions. Not because, I seek answers. I know, there is no answer that I will understand the right way, now. But because, I want to know my own thoughts better.

Sometimes, when I question way too much, I am calmed down by elders in the family – “You cannot come to a conclusion without hearing two sides of a story. Even though questioning the wrongs is important, the ground for questioning it becomes baseless when you are not in possession of all facts”. Agreed. But, that is not my point. I am not seeking a conclusion. What I seek, is just an effective action at a particular moment that demands courage but is not effectively supported. Sometimes, I sigh. Sometimes, I get used to the impasse. Sometimes, I rebel. Sometimes, I transform into a vigilante in my head and, devise ways of voicing my thoughts on jargons like justice.

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Justice – what an overrated word. Isn’t it? Did Nirbhaya get justice? She almost got and, then it was snatched away from her posthumously when, the juvenile escaped the conviction and, is now leading a quiet set life down south somewhere, probably with little remorse.

And yet, we feel a gleam of hope because people stood by her, if not in her bad time, but by her in her death. Why? Because that Nirbhaya could have been anyone that day if not her. And then, there were some less unfortunate ones like Ruchika Girhotra and Sonali Bose. However that is not why I began to write this post. We discuss so many issues with our big mouths. We preach on the confident upbringing of girls and, a kind one of boys. We also tend to advise each other on the do’s and don’ts of religious beliefs and rituals. And, in all this madness, we have suddenly lost the voice to speak when, some relations go astray in the confines of our own home!

And, it is at such delicate moments, the voice never comes out. It just never does!

I heard about an incident from a loved one and, it shook me. To the core. Because, when something as sad as this can happen to a beautiful balanced and a matured couple, then I guess, the world is heading towards a place where it should not go to.


The past few months have been uphill in terms of emotions and life. It all began with the demise of my dear maternal uncle. And then, the untimely demise of hubby’s course mate hurt all the more. A few weeks back, my granny passed away. However, her demise did not wound me as she had been severely ailing for a year. Her passing over was a spiritual one and, it gave her freedom from her body that was plagued with countless health issues, one of them being severe asthma. But, the void she has left behind is still sinking in. Well, it hurts, because grandparents are angels on earth. Mine has gone back.

And even as I was just trying to accept the fact that I do not have grandparents in physical form any more, I received yet another news, a distressing one rather. It was no demise of an individual. It was a demise of a relationship between two elders, an uncle aunt couple who have been married for more than 30 years. This was more surreal than horrible. Truth to be told, I felt my gut flip!

I am yet to accept that this couple that we know, who were known for a strong marriage, balanced mindset, two beautiful children and, now a grandchild too, were separating because of a third person, a woman, a family friend and an, ex-relative.

How cliché? Right?

My heart went out to this sweet aunt who never imagined that someone out there was evil enough to wreck her boat! My eyes cried for her when I heard her story through a loved one, especially the agony of having seen a partner transform into something he is not. My gut wrenched when I was told about the lines she said– “I do not want a dime. I just want him back.”

Although I have met them just a few times in my life, I felt the pain of this dear aunt through every vein in my body, as a wife, as a mother and, importantly as a woman. The very fact that she was betrayed by a friend is what hurt her the most – “I allowed her into my life and now, my family is torn apart”.

However, this incident did churn the pit of my stomach for yet another very important reason. I wonder, why none in the family intervened when they all knew about the issue for three long years. I wonder, why people she trusted as her own in her partner’s family did not take a tough stand by favoring her. I wonder, where is the spine, the spine to stand up for the right and, object to the wrong?

And, how is it ok to sit and watch a woman in pain, in a situation as this? It is towards the old age, companionship matters the most. And, at such an age, when a woman has to face such a situation, it is a big slap on the faces of the elders who have claimed big about how important families are!

How is it ok to turn a blind eye to her issues and, act as if everything was normal? Such kind of acting is pathetic! I feel sorry that I am even associated with such relatives by blood. It hurts me to see how much the elders in the family are filled with such apathy.

Would these elders be sitting quiet should such a calamity fall on their own children, or even on them? How is it ok to let a daughter/daughter-in-law of a family suffer, pray tell?

They say – It is never serious until it happens to you. This is probably the most painful reality we all have to deal with. Why people shy away from a hexed situation, assuming it is none of their business when, the people concerned are related to them, is completely beyond my understanding. What will happen if we intervene? Someone might say – “None of your business! Buzz off!”, or maybe, “You don’t know anything!” But at least, one can sleep at peace with the knowing – “I raised my voice against something wrong! So what, if it did not make a big difference? At least, I tried.”

I sincerely pray that this couple comes together again. May their dreams of growing old together with lot of love, companionship and affection come true. May the Sun shine bright on their lives and, may their nights be protected by the Moon’s pure gaze. May the stars bless them.

Having said that, I have absolute faith in God.

Dear God, deliver them, us and every living from all evil.

Amen.

To stand up and speak for the one that needs your help-

“What is wrong, is wrong! Fight the wrong! Tolerate no more”
To say a few words to the one that is hurt, betrayed and wronged-
“Don’t worry. Everything will fine soon. We are with you.”
To extend that listening ear to the one that is pained, without saying a word -. (Silence)
What does it take? For the empathiser – Nothing. 
What does it give?  For the pained one – a cord of hope and faith. 
If people in this world believe in the ‘not my problem’ misnomer, then we are already miles away from spirituality,  again a term that people often use to their advantage by treating it a getaway from their own struggles without even trying to battle them. 
We don’t need spiritual gurus. We need more of simple, uncomplicated and rational humans who can call a spade, a spade and, will stand up for what is right and, NOT side with what is wrong because some ‘spiritual guruji’ said so!

Snakes and Ladders


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Snakes and Ladders. I never played this game much in my childhood. On the contrary, I played a lot of Chess, Business world and Badminton. My Summer vacations were all about my three picks on the games and, yes some swimming also happened. And after all these years, after decades of ‘adult-ing’, I was tempted to buy this game after the son (who has joined the primary school this year) spotted it at Big Bazaar. Yet, I held back. Knowing my son’s tendency to clutter the home with his stuff, I refused the son politely. And then, the next time we were accompanied by the wise granny (my mum)………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The snake and ladder game came home, with Ludo on the other side accompanied by a robot named The Terminator!

The Robot or, what it appeared to be once upon a time, has now been disintegrated into parts I cannot believe, were once a part of the terminator that was shooting its way through every nook and corner of my home. So, after the terminator’s disintegration, it was time for Snakes and Ladder! But for some reason, this game was allowed to live.

My mum taught both of us the basics of the game. The basics have evolved over time and, now there are many variations to the game. We followed a combination of the old and the new.

  • One – to enter the game,
  • A one and a Six – to get a second chance (In improvised versions, one is not counted for second chances any more. But we applied it, nevertheless 😛 )
  • A triple six – back to one,
  • A chance to climb the ladder assures yet another chance.
  • Step on the snake’s hood and you slide down (feels more like the free fall in real life)

I was pleasantly surprised when the son picked up the game in the first go. Besides, his counting skills were being honed in the process. Son won the first round. Followed by me and then, by my mum. The game seemed to have no end. After subsequent wins, the son had his first brush with diminishing luck. After all, who can decide how the dice shall roll. So it was the seventh round of game and, he could not even enter the game, given the elusive 1 that had, for some reason decided not to unveil! A few more rounds of defeat deflated his motivation and, inflated his anger by leaps and bounds. He threw the dice and the pawns on the ground and, walked away. A while later, I saw him facing the wall in anger with the tears that just won’t stop!

For some reason, at that moment, I became more a sibling and less a mother. And, I flew in a rage and growled – “Arjun! You aren’t sportive at all! We also lost the initial rounds. Did we get angry and cry like you? What is wrong with you?!!”

My mum instantly took me aside and calmed me down saying, “What are you doing? He has not even turned six years yet and, you are treating him like your sibling. What you said is right. But, the way you said it will have no effect. Because, at the moment, he is not in the grid where he can listen. Give him time.”

The day passed slowly. The son was not talking with me. My very first win dented his chest of ego. I wasn’t surprised. I had behaved far more unreasonably when I lost a game of chess to my mum at his age. Like mum said, I gave him time to lick his wounded verve. After he came back from park, he decide to play with my mum. Granny won. He lost, yet again. But this time, he was far more composed and, played yet another round. Round 2 was a win for him. He wanted to play more but, my mum gently explained about the cons of addiction. And, he listened quietly. He relented.

Then his tantrums stopped while my mum played. However, they escalated when I went ahead of him. I slowly sensed the feeling of competition my son was harnessing within him towards me. Although I am a sibling mommy (a mommy who reprises the role of a sibling), given that I am single child, this time I decided I will let it pass. Later, my parents had to go back to the hometown for a short while. So, it was me and him again. Hubby is away on work and, the home alone saga was not the vision we had in mind, again. Nevertheless, we played the game almost everyday before sleeping. And, he slowly went back to phase 0 where, winning mattered and, winning was all that mattered. We played two rounds of the game everyday. And, I let him win most of the time for two reasons:

  1. One, I was dead tired towards the end of each day, with absolutely no mood or intent or the energy to tackle his vigor filled with rogue electrons!
  2. Two, my mum tells me that a child must go to sleep at night in a happy state.

So, his winning spree continued. Most times, in the right way and sometimes, due to my self induced complacency. I was in touch with my mum everyday and, yesterday I mentioned about my parenting woes, in a passing comment. It was then she said something and, I realized I had to undo the wrong I was doing.

 “Narayani, game is a game. You cannot bend the rules all the time for a child. It is like opening a cocoon even before the butterfly has developed its wings. A child’s mind is like the wet mud on a potter’s wheel. Once shaped, nothing can be done. Even though it is just a game, it is a very serious thing. You cannot let him win because he will throw a tantrum if he doesn’t. And, the very game you are playing teaches you this – Life is full of snakes and ladders. So, if he loses, so be it. He has to learn to deal with failures. And, you have to let him do so, by himself. What I told you that day was the same – Use the right words to explain to him. And you, knowing how to play with words shouldn’t be asking me how to draft such an important message for your child. Right?”

Right. I thought over for a long time before hitting the bed, yesterday. And then, I had an idea, a vague idea that shall take a form the next morning.

So, today that happened to be a lazy Saturday morning started with the game, unusually. The son was motivated and charged. But before beginning the game, I told him that I will play with him only if he listens to a story from me. The expressions changed slowly and, he sat with folded legs on the bed and, looked intently at me. After some pause, he charged – “What are you waiting for? The story please!”

And then, I began,

“Somewhere in the year 1968, a young girl of 12 was studying in a municipal school in the district of Coimbatore. Municipal schools of those days weren’t exactly the part of elite schools team. They were for lower and lower middle class families. All the children did was, play, play, play! It seemed fun to this girl too. However, her father thought differently. He suddenly decided that she must go to a better school and, hence put her in an elite school. The admission test was writing a simple essay, which the girl wrote. Although teachers had reservations about taking her in sixth grade given her poor foundation in English, the principal felt there was some hidden verve in the girl and so, she was taken in.

The girl on knowing she was going to a different school broke down for two reasons:

  • One, she was being separated from her friends. The realms of familiarity had ended for her.
  • Two, fear of unknown.

But, she was her father’s daughter. And since, her father meant world to her, she proceeded with the decision. The first day felt like being blindfolded and let in a jungle. She did not understand a word being taught in class. Besides, she was bullied too. Since, English was never a medium of communication before, she felt traumatized by the words and tones of this foreign language”

The son now looked at me intently and asked, “What happened then?”

“Well son, the first two weeks were a nightmare. But with a little help from a kind classmate and a lot of encouragement from a kind teacher, she discovered the essence of hard work. She came back home one day and began to study an English lesson. Having come from a Tamil Medium school that had no subject of English, the first day felt like reading gibberish. She understood nothing. It felt frustrating. Her teacher encouraged her – “Try and try and you will succeed”. So, the second day she tried again. Again, no results. A week passed like that. And then, gradually she started reading with little fluency. The teacher too helped her in school. Yet another week passed. She read with a fewer pauses. As weeks progressed, the first unit test came and, she fared just ok. For her though, it felt like having taken the first step of the run in the long marathon! A few more weeks progressed and, it was time for quarterly exams. She studied hard, very hard indeed. She kept herself awake through the night and, revised in early mornings. And, during the exam time, she revised again.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The results came. And, the girl had topped the class.

The son’s eyes gleamed with joy. He exclaimed – “YAY!”

“Now son, do you know how many times she stumbled before reaching the pinnacle? Countless times! But eventually, she aced her test. Now, why did I tell you this story? Because life is also a test like that. And, this game is one of the chapters in the test.

When we play a game, we either win or lose. When we win, we are happy. When we lose, we become sad. But a failure comes with a hidden cookie – “the chance to do it again!” So, if you lose in this small game, what is the big deal? You again have a chance to dodge the snake’s head, right?”

Suddenly, the son’s eyes twinkled as if he understood where I was getting at. And, he candidly replies – “Ok! I will not cry if I lose. This time you will win.”

I corrected him – “I am glad you will not cry if you lose. But at the same time, you must not give up. Begin with the thought to win. And, end with the hope that if you lose, you will strive for better next time.”

And then, we played for an hour in which we both had our wins and flips. But this time, the defeats were not a scene of howling/yelling/crying/cajoling. It was rather a scene of acceptance that came with the hope – Next time shall be good.

As we ended the game, I asked my son – “You did not ask me who that little girl is?”

The son suddenly looked into my eyes – “You know her? Where is she?”

I said – “You know her too. She is none other than your first girlfriend – your adorable grandmother – Seetha paati, your favourite Bajju Paati, my mum :D”

Lessons learned for both the mother and son:

Life is full of snakes and ladders. Sometimes, you fall. Sometimes, you rise. Sometimes, you get the chance to try again. Sometimes, you are forced to take a pause. Sometimes, you win and, you feel elated. Sometimes, you lose and, you feel dejected. But all the time, there is one thing that you do – Keep doing what you do. Don’t stop your journey. Keep going. After all, 

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After all,

When the father and the son converse……


…..the mother sits back, puts her feet up, sips a cup of tea and exudes her trademark attitude – “Ha! Let the games begin!”

fs

A long telephonic conversation between the hubby and my son (who studies in grade 1)…..

Hubby: How was your school?

Son: Yeah..fine…

Hubby: Did you have lunch?

Son: Not yet…

Hubby: What did mum give you in tiffin?

Son: Bread jam…

Hubby: hmmm…How was your race? It was today, right?

Son: hmm..I ran well….

Son promptly hands over the phone to me.

Hubby: What happened? Why isn’t he talking? He was answering in monosyllables. All fine? Did he do something today, again? Any comments from teachers? Is he fine?…..no, wait – Did you scold him? See! I knew…why do you have to scold him before I call him up?

Me: Have you finished? Because if you have, I have to sit down with him for homework after lunch.

Hubby: ok….

Both of us hang up.

10 minutes later, post lunch –

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Son: Mum, I have to speak to dad.

Me: Why? You spoke to him a few minutes ago.

Son: Yeah. But, I have to speak. Please dial his number.

(Was this a strategy to escape home work, I wondered…) Nevertheless, I oblige.

So, begins a conversation full of crazy stuff! ENJOY 😀

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Son: Pa, are there birds in your area?

Hubby: yes..a few…..why do you ask?

Son: Are there parrots too?

Hubby: no, not spotted yet….

Son: Why?

Hubby: I mean, I haven’t seen one here, yet. Why do you ask?

Son: Do humans eat parrots?

Here, I could actually visualize a tiara of stars circling over the hubby’s head!!

Hubby (clearing throat) : ehhh…err……ummm….no…

Son: How can you say that? My friend yohan says that some humans eat parrots too!

Hubby: seriously?

Son: You don’t believe my friend?

Hubby: eehh…errr….ummm…well I do….maybe some humans who live in jungles may be eating parrots too…

(quickly sensing the need to change the topic, hubby proceeds)

So, have you got your home work today?

Son: I have to check. Only then, I can tell you. Pa, I have to ask one more thing.

Hubby: Yeah son, shoot your question!

Son: How did humans come on Earth?

Hubby (a bit flummoxed at the sudden flip in topics): God created everything, including humans…

(And, I was like – Yeah, my love! Blame it on the creator!)

Son: How do you know?

Hubby: Yes, God created everything.

Son: Then, who created God?

There was a pause! I could sense the desperate call for me here. But, I was clearly enjoying this! Sorry darling, you have to deal with the questions by yourself!

Son: hello!!

Hubby: Yes, I am here.

Son: I know that. But, who created God?

Hubby: umm…..God was always there.

Son: That means you don’t know.

Hubby: I do know!

(I felt like barging and telling my son – “Dear son, it is complicated! God created man. And, man created various versions of God…” But, I was in no mood today to let go of the fun!)

Son: So?

Hubby: I will answer it later. First tell me, what is for lunch?

Son: When will you answer it?

Hubby: I will. But first, ask the same to both your grandfathers. And do let me know what answers they gave. Don’t forget to ask your granny! She is the most intelligent homo sapien among us, right!And since they are elder to me and mum, they will know the answers better. They came before us, right?

Son: ok…..

—————————After some more random conversations on Earth and earthlings———–,

Son: So, is there any water body near your place?

Hubby: No, Why do you ask?

Son: Then, how do you get water to drink?

Hubby: We get it. There are water treatment plants everywhere.

Son: What is a water treatment plant? How does it work?

Hubby: Is mum around? I need to speak with her.

I took over the phone.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Hubby: What was that? His questions don’t end! Where does he come up with such crazy questions?  Our little man never ceases to surprise us!

Me: Weren’t you complaining a while ago that, he ain’t talking much? And, for the surprise part – it is not us, just you! I am the self proclaimed, self certified encyclopedia here, remember? The one who gets these questions everyday……

Hubby: I concede defeat, milady! You are doing one hell of a job there! Am so proud!

YES! I waited to hear that last line! And so am I, my love! Proud of you….because you answered the son’s questions way better than I could have! And, let me tell you dear husband, you got the tough ones!

We unlearn to learn again……or maybe, learn to unlearn!

#JoysOfMotherhood

#JoysOfFatherhood

Jayam paati – I knew her, I knew her not.


With age, there is one thing that tags along persistently. Fading memories. Isn’t it surreal? I mean, can you precisely remember every day from your school life that happened decades back? Can you remember how you spent every second of your summer vacations? Can you remember how many times you fell from your cycle while trying to balance on the wheels?

Precision eludes me when it comes to recalling memories. That is also one of the reasons I blog. Because, someday when I sit on that rocking chair with silver grey hair and a cup of tea, I want to remember the people who have been a part of my life and, have made it so worthwhile and, so magnanimous with their blessings. And so, this post – which I dedicate to my paternal grandmother – Jayam pati who ascended to the higher realms of the spirit world on 26th April ’17 at around 9 AM.

She was running towards 90 and, the Almighty felt it was time to relieve her off her ailments and, embrace her. I am good at remembering certain phases with her. And yet, I do not have a precision factor associated with it. I did not have the privilege of having her in near vicinity in my growing years. However, there are some things I remember about her vividly and, those memories are the ones, rather the only ones I have of her, when I used to visit her with parents during vacations.

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Her silver white hair tied into a bun, the way she used to drape her 9 yard saree (the quintessential ombodugajam), the one time when she taught me and one more cousin about the tricks of the game – Palankuzhi, the way she used to make the chakris (murruku) and she used to do it so swiftly and flawlessly (the one time I tried when she had visited us in Bharuch and, I ended up making a mess), the seemingly free flowing fingers that weaved a bag out of plastic wires and, the smell of sandalwood talc she used in early years (a brief period when she stayed with us in Bharuch, the time when I was in college) now emerge as the beautiful patch of unbridled memories waiting to be revisited. The last I spoke to her was on my anniversary – 5th February and fortunately, hubby was in station and thereby, got a chance to speak with her. “Amogama Irrukanam, nanna irrukanam” was her trademark line that used to make me feel good every time she said it. And, she used to say it after she completed every sentence.

I have not had her around while growing up. However, many of my cousins have been blessed with that privilege. In fact, some of my cousins were raised by her. Today when I read their testimonials about how she was famous for her Kal dosai and, how beautifully she stitched uniforms for her grandchildren and how, she was a gifted story teller, I realize with a heavy heart that, I have been quite unaware of a major part of her personality given the distance and the place. And today, I profusely thank my cousins Shobana akka, Chitra akka, Lakshmi akka and Suja akka for giving me an insight into the life of Jayam Paati of whom I knew and yet, I knew not.

The eulogies from my cousins made me well with tears. After all, they were raised by this wonderful lady, my granny. Their grief at the moment is far greater than mine and, I can definitely feel the pain, the void has left behind. Perhaps, the one consolation that we all have as a family is, her demise was absolutely spiritual and that, she passed over peacefully with little pain. After all, God is kind and, Jayam Paati has earned her place alongside the stars above.

My father, her second progeny had this beautiful ritual of speaking with her twice a day. I used to overhear them talking about religion, politics, the unpredictable weather, the seventh pay commission, theBhajanais that were conducted in her presence and much more. However, after 26th April this year, I am not sure how he shall feel about those times windows he dedicated for his mother, to talk about the daily grind and, sundry. He has definitely dealt with a blow this time. I cannot possibly fathom the mixed emotions he has been dealing with since her demise. The day before my granny passed away, my father and I had a prolonged chat about her. He told me how her ailments have increased with time and how, the asthma that had been following her like a shadow for decades had only increased her health woes. She was on a limited water intake and, could not walk much around as she had earlier. I could only sigh in concurrence. And, when he did receive the news the next day, I could see his eyes trying to conceal the grief from me. For my father, she was his creator. And, her demise did take away a part of him. Although my father is the most balanced, practical and calm man I have ever met, I could sense the emotions brim over his serene demeanor this time. After all, a mother is a mother, be it 7 years or 70.

A demise of a loved one is a jolt. Having witnessed three in the past few months (one of my maternal uncle, one of a good friend – hubby’s course mate and now, my granny), I feel powerless at the moment before the Almighty. Every demise chips away something from us, a part of us ebbs away every time a loved one departs. But then, what destiny takes away from us, it also replaces those dented patches by giving back some more strength, some more courage and some more conviction to take life forward.

I am sure, my dear paati is in a happy place now, having joined her soul mate and her two sons who departed long back. A mother to eight, a grandmother to 14 and, a great grandmother to 16, Jayam Paati has lived a supremely blessed life. And, I am sure she is up there watching over us.

Amen.

Butterflies and Bees ~ Fiction


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Varda sat there with a blank look. The frame above the fireplace held the photo of a handsome man with a strongly built canine by his side. The man in the frame was the first living being she fell in love with. She recalled the first time when he had held her as a child against his chest, while she was just a few months from turning one. She recalled the warmth of his hand over her tiny head. His touch had healed her insecurities and fears. They were to become the best father daughter duo soon!

She even reminisced the moments when he would take her out for those long drives with the cool winds of that tiny hill station caressing her long tresses. She loved it when he made her favorite Chicken sausages on Sundays. The long walks, the cool beats that played on the audio during long drives, running along the rugged forest trails during Spring, the musicals that played on the old gramophone at night, she missed them all. And, she missed him terribly. Especially, the mere physical presence…….

………………………………………………………………..4 years ago………………………………………………………………..

Varda was barely 5 months old when Wilson, a 50 year old widower had adopted her. Rather, he had rescued her. The feisty little hybrid Indie faced her first brush with death when she ran wildly towards the other end of the road chasing a beautiful polka dotted butterfly, oblivious to the peering headlights and the blaring horn that was heading her way. The butterfly disappeared into the mist. But, it was just too late for Varda to comprehend that she was hit and almost run over on her leg by the speeding car. She shrieked in pain and, winced for three hours till her eyes began to droop and, her voice had become weak. But the pain did not last. Perhaps, the pain went numb as her eyes were closing. She probably had visions of polka dotted butterflies and, yellow and black striped bees that was later followed by an excruciating pain. She opened her eyes gently and peered into that empathy filled face of the man she was going to know as her master soon! And then, her eyes closed again although she heard a lot of noises for a very long time. After an hour that seemed like ages, she opened her eyes again to find herself on a table and, a pair of hands with a needle. The world went blank after that.

A few days passed by. Varda drifted in and out of consciousness. She heard some muffled voices intermittently. “The medicines are doing their job. Her foot will heal. It is surprising that she survived such an accident! And Wilson, your faith is like a rock! When I looked at her mangled lower body, I had given up on treating this malnourished pup! Your faith actually got me through, here! That said, she will take a few more months to heal completely.”, said Dr. Sharma.

And what the silver haired man said after etched into her memory for a lifetime – “Common Sharma, In my time, I have seen the best fall and, the mediocre rise like phoenix. Somehow, her heartbeat assured me that she is a fighter! Had Shirley been here, she would have been on cloud nine…..” (Silence)

See, she is listening! sharp girl…..Varda!

Sharma swayed his head from left to right with a grin – “right! After the storm, Varda eh?”

It would take three more months for the Varda to realize how her life was about to be filled with sunshine after that stormy night!

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Wilson had been married to Shirley for about 30 years. They were the perfect couple who had raised good children and, discovered a deeper love for each other with age. However, his plans to globetrott and, spend his post retirement life completely with his soulmate came to a deafening halt when Shirley suddenly passed away in her sleep one fine day. The void hit him so hard that grief now became a part of him. After retiring as a Colonel from the Indian Army and post, Shirley’s untimely demise, he went away from the crowd to lead a quiet life in the serenely calm hills of Kalimpong. His children had studied well and, were settled abroad. They would visit him once a year and at times, he would go and live with them for a few months. However, Shirley’s absence could not be filled even while his children and grandchildren admired and loved him unconditionally. He was still an affectionate parent and a grandparent. But, he kept his aloofness at times, intact. And after 10 long years of grief, that late evening walk brought in a change in his life, a change he never imagined. Varda, the storm had arrived in his life with her agenda of ‘butterflies and bees’!

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Over the period of four years, they were together, they became the perfect master canine pair. Varda was a quick learner, given her strong genes from the great Indian Mastiff. Besides, having been born a stray, her adaptability to environments was amazing. She learned the tricks of fetching and hunting with the retired veteran. She loved running through the forest trails while the old man would yell – “Go girl, go! Run with the wind”. She even helped as a runner and fetcher when they went for long treks and expeditions wherein, Wislon would set up tents at night. They went fishing together in the small lake nearby on Sundays. After all, swimming was Varda’s favorite sport!

From a flustered and scared pup, Varda transformed slowly and steadily into a fiercely loyal and, an extremely vigilant canine. Wilson’s children fell madly in love with Varda’s charm when they visited their father. And, so did their children and, so did the children in the neighborhood. Life was good until….the fateful night of 11th April.

They had gone for a long drive as usual, which was always a part of their daily drill. Somewhere in between those bouts of joyful barking and laughter, somewhere in the middle of those mindless banter of how the world had gone from bad to worse, the incessant talker and the good listener missed the board of – Work in Progress, while they drove on, into a route towards the unfinished bridge covered in mist, that would later seal their fate.

When the hit happened, Wilson and Varda had looked into the face of death for the first and last time when the jeep hit the boulder and, tumbled into the river. That moment was too deep and too short and yet, too loud. And then, everything was calm. Deafeningly calm.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Varda looked up at the frame again. It had been four days since her master departed. And yet, she could not accept that he was gone! Although the short four golden years of her life felt like a a drop in the ocean of uncertainties she faced in the first few months of her life, that precious drop of assurance also made her believe in the fact, that there was enough sunshine in the world for everyone.

As she looked up, she saw the crowd paying respects to her master. It was then, she saw Marissa – Wilson’s granddaughter place a small toy near the frame and say – “Will miss you too, Varda”.

Suddenly, there was a blinding light at the door. Varda saw the familiar face and, barked with joy! None heard her barking. But, he did. And, she took the joyful leap into his outstretched arms as he said, pointing towards the sky – “Come girl, I know a forest out there…with so many butterflies and bees…..and we have a lot of exploring to do….”

————————————————–Butterflies and Bees———————————————————

mn2

P.S: The above post is my humble attempt at writing fiction.

Responses and Reactions


Do you know who Marina Abramovic is? Nope? Neither did I, until an article with disturbing images of a woman cropped up on my FB timeline.

I read the article. It showed a performance artist standing still for about 6 hours. This was a social experiment in which there was a table with 72 objects of pleasure and pain, open to the public. The experiment was conducted to show the swing of extremes in human nature, while men and women alike chose their objects for the ‘subject’. In the course of 6 hours that followed, the performance artist was made to sit, stand, be humiliated, pricked, cut, stripped, molested, groped and even, was subjected to a coup de grace stance!

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After 6 hours, she walked towards the very people who did bad to horrible ‘things’ to her and, in return she received averted gazes. The perpetrators walked away from her as if, they momentarily had lapsed into an alternate world some time back and are not aware of what had happened. This show was termed as Rhythm 0 and, was orchestrated in the year 1974. And the lady who underwent the humiliating 6 hour ordeal was Marina Abramovic, a Yugoslavian performance artist. As an artist, she has touched the forbidden realms of art and, I salute her for such a performance. To even engage in an experiment as that requires some kind of unreal courage. Given her disturbed childhood and, her channelization of energies into the field of art, I get why she even chose the topic of human depravity.

But again, the experiment as per me, was a doctored reality. It was a staged experiment. Someone out there knew this was an experiment. Imagine the same scenario in real world. Which woman, pray tell will throw herself at a pack of wolves, willingly?

Now, almost 4 decades later, the article highlighting this disturbing social experiment was floating around like a recent happening. Someone has taken time to dig it out and, share! Well, we are living the technological dream and, everything is just available to everyone. So many articles, so much of information, so many versions of facts and, yet so many judgments! So yesterday when I had shared my resentment on why such kind of social experiments must not be shared in such a reckless fashion on social media, I found myself engaged in a very healthy discussion in which a couple of friends mentioned about why they should be. Yes, they had a point. We cannot un-see evil in the world. We cannot ignore the wicked ways of people and, pretend that all is well on God’s planet! I agree to that point. Only to that point. And, I agree to disagree on the way the information was being shared with the disturbing images.

While, we all reached a kind of truce on the importance of helping our children sense the kind of energies around them, I suddenly recalled an article I had written for a website on psychology, 6 years back. The article was on Determinism psychology that essentially states that the cause of events is a predetermined facet of time and that; we have little control over the triggers that initiate the chain reaction. However, this psychology also emphasizes on the kind of determining factors that govern the cause for the events such as,

  • Environment
  • Laws of nature
  • Human instincts and desires
  • Logical thought process
  • Genetic make
  • Fate

And then, there is free will psychology too wherein, the assumption for the study is – you always have the free will to decide what you want. And, you will be held accountable for your own actions. Now, this unlike the determinism psychology lets the concept of regret take form. Say, you missed a train for a meeting unusually makes you feel the regret that, you could have clearly avoided missing the train, had you reached the station on time. However, both psychologies have one thing in common and that is, the consequence of the action. Whether or not the cause is predetermined, whether or not the chain of events have already been charted, the consequence is a reality that has to be borne by the individual, good or bad. And that is the only thing that matters – The consequence. The end result. The dot effect!

So when Marina gave such a gut wrenching performance out of free will and, let herself be violated by the crowd that went from passive to active aggression, she gave out a message – Humans have a tendency to cause harm to their fellow beings if the subject is placed in a defenseless state. To an extent, I agree. That is what adults do when the propensity of their wickedness is unchecked.

However, this social experiment actually ended up generalizing an entire human race. Now, this is where I fiercely agree to disagree! Now, ask yourself a few questions, very simple ones!

  1. When you take a walk in your neighborhood and find a wounded pup in the middle of the road, what do you do?
  2. When a women laborer comes to your doorstep with a dirty bottle and asks you to fill it up with drinking water, what do you do?
  3. When you are returning back from your walk and, you see a teenager losing control over her bike and, she falls on the road, do you rush forward to help?
  4. When you buy something from a grocery store and, on your way back, see very small children selling pens and, asking you to buy them too, do you buy those pens?
  5. When summers arrive, do you mind keeping a few buckets of water in your backyard for animals, or small bowls of water for birds?

I will stop the questions here. If you even attempt rescuing the pup by removing it from the middle of the road, if you give water to the thirsty laborer, if you even attempt running towards that young girl who is wounded, if you even think about buying those pens and, if you do keep the water resources ready for the birds and animals, let’s say you just had that genuine thought……Dear friend, you are still a human with a good heart! The seed of goodness is still there. Humanity has not died yet.

My mother narrated to me an incident that happened during her teenage years. She has studied in a girls school through out. So, I had asked her if eve teasing was prevalent in those days too. It was then, she shared this incident –

“We were a group of 5 to 6 girls who went to school walking. Our uniform then, was a saree in a blue and white combination. So, every time we passed through a particular street, we could hear some boys singing a few romantic songs in the alley. Sometimes, they whistled too. But, we used to walk fast. There was absolutely no trouble beyond the usual singing and occasional whistling. And then, an incident happened.

One day while we were walking back, we heard a lot of commotion. A bull had gone rogue and, it was out on the streets, mad and running aimlessly. And, we froze at that second when the bull began heading towards us. The boys who whistled at us, sang songs while we passed the street jumped in the fray, held the bull by horns and said – “amma tayee….neengu aathu ku pongo….naanga pathukarom!” (meaning “Dear sisters, go home! We will take care of the bull!) That day, we realized how fast we could run. And, it was only after I reached home it dawned on me that I did not even look back once to see whether they were fine. The next day, on our way to school, we saw them, bandaged. But they were back to normal. They were back to singing and whistling. Only now, we knew that they did not mean what they were doing so aimlessly. We never spoke to them as usual.

Now, why I told you this incident is to let you know, that sometimes what seems to flow on the outside may not be the whole picture. We judge people too soon. There were umpteen occasions before that incident when the boys could have done something wrong. But they never did. Which meant, they did certain things out of fascination but never crossed over to engaging in unlawful actions.”

This conversation happened way back. But even at that time, it made me think about our perceptions of people around us. Until a few decades back, the world seemed bearable. Because, we did not really opine about everything. Sometimes, when things did not work in our favor, we did not create a ruckus. Sometimes, when things worked out beautifully, we just thanked our stars. However, today we have become slaves of social media. Every action, every thought and every perception is scrutinized. This is not freedom of speech. This is restriction of thoughts. Every opinion will have a million haters. Every dialogue will have a million followers. Every tweet will have a million trolls!

It is a wrong assumption that we are all fighting for freedom to speak. Actually, we have lost it. We are indeed abusing this freedom of sharing information in a very reckless manner, forgetting that the good deeds being done in the world, the good men working 24/7 for women empowerment, the good women trying to reach out into villages to transform them for good, are being ignored.

Disturbing realities are shared. I do not have an issue with that. Yes, we need to be aware of the harsh realities in this world. However, dissing the entire human race, men and women alike is fundamentally wrong. This world is made of all shades of characters. But remember, no human is born bad. Environment and social conditioning has everything to do with it! A majority of criminals (not all) come from a troubled background. The first time offenders with no criminal records may have had a very weak support system. Suffices to say, weak roots! That explains why there is always a trigger point in a crime. Somewhere, someone was not paying enough attention.

Talk about child abuse, it is by no means on a decline! This may not be a first time news but in many cases, some of the child abusers may have been abused as children themselves. Has portraying movies on rapes and murders helped? Pray tell, how much did the documentary – India’s daughters help in creating ‘awareness’? Rather, rapes and crimes against women have only increased steadily!

What surprises me is how the fact that disturbing images/videos will only have a far worse effect on demented minds, has been ignored. Rather, no one wants to discuss about it. Hours before the Nirbhaya rape happened, the perpetrators had been watching porn, is what some of the news channels said. The issue with our country then and now is, no one discusses the trigger points, the reasons, the cause. But, everyone enjoyed, cried, emptied buckets of tears discussing the gruesome manner in which the rape happened. Is that the solution?

Now, there can NEVER EVER be sympathy for any kind sexual abuse. Such broken individuals must be given the toughest punishment to send out a message, a strong message to the society. And that is what brings out the pertinent message – Broken adults cannot be repaired.

What Marina Abramovic had demonstrated in Rhythm 0 is that, evil breeds in cohesion. And, evil spreads faster than the good. As they say, engaging in sins is, by nature, an easier path than, abstaining from it. If you have watched the movie – The Devil’s Advocate, Al Pacino puts Lucifer’s point of view in a brutal fashion –

..let me give you
a little inside information about God.

God likes to watch.

He’s a prankster.

Think about it.

He gives man… instincts.
He gives you this extraordinary gift,
and then what does He do?

I swear, for his own amusement…
his own private, cosmic…gag reel…
…He sets the rules in opposition.

It’s the goof of all time.

Look, but don’t touch.
Touch, but don’t taste.
Taste, but don’t swallow.
And while you’re jumping from one foot
to the next, what is He doing?…..”

In the movie, Kevin the protagonist kills himself later understanding that shortcuts in life come at a price.

The very reason, God may have designed human in such a complex way is to perhaps test the strength of human minds. I have known men who despite having been surrounded by people with every bad habit, have stayed unscathed by their influence. I have also known women who have been extremely guarded about their beliefs and lifestyle, succumbing to the vices of life. So you see, it all comes down to how well connected you are with your own self. Because, if you are, the Devil will never approach you in the first place. The movie is a masterpiece and, the one message it gives loud and clear is –

The Devil comes to those who chase vanity. After all, “vanity is his favorite sin!”

Sometimes, it is not even about God or the Devil. They both have their roles to play. But many a time, it is about you and me, the humans. Our responses to incidents are conditioned by our reactions. Our reactions are molded by our thoughts. Our thoughts stem from the conditioning we have received in our childhood. Essentially, our own Karma is more or less a souvenir passed on to us through generations of upbringing. An honor killing in Haryana may not even seem to be a crime to the perpetrators because that is how they have been raised. It is unfortunate and sad. But, can you educate such adults? NO.

Sometimes, to spread awareness, we need good stories. We need stories of hope and faith. We need those stories where victims have turned into survivors. We need their stories to tell our children that even when the world treats you badly, you still can battle the demons and come out victorious. You can still reign supreme despite having seen the bad phases in life. Even when storms destroy our world, there is always the subsequent dawns that will help us build ourselves again! For raising strong children and, helping them become responsible adults, we need such stories, good stories! ONLY GOOD NEWS.

good news