Listen Woman, we need to talk!


Recently Shahid Kapoor’s wife Mira Rajput created a furor on the Internet by making a funny statement that ‘innocently’ compared a baby with a puppy following which she gave her preference on being a homemaker. I did not like the comparison personally. Why Mira, isn’t a pup a baby too? In fact, children outgrow your lap but dogs don’t! I don’t have a pet but I know pet parents who shower unconditional love on their pets. Somehow, her statement just brushed many women the wrong way. I, for one, understood only one thing – Mira forgot that the position from where she is speaking held more weight than her words themselves!

Perhaps, had Mira been a mediocre home maker with no celebrity status, it would not have invoked the angst of the feminist brigade. Perhaps, if she were even a budding entrepreneur who would have casually mentioned the same statement, she would not have been taken seriously. Perhaps, if she were some IT professional who in the spur of the moment may have compared a baby to a pup, not many would have heeded it. But then, she is not the regular next door woman for the society. And the minute Mira gave that interview, she forgot that important piece of wisdom.

So, when she made that funny comparison of a baby with a pup, I was amused. But then, I was more startled when the whole twitter went berserk on her comment. Just because she spoke her mind perhaps not using the right analogy, the social media pounced on her as if it was starved off its meat that is mostly sprinkled with condiments of sham and shame! The one blunder she perhaps made is by declaring that she enjoyed being the home maker citing the baby and pup analogy. No good.

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And so, her inappropriate statement has brought the home makers and ‘working’ women at loggerheads.  Now, I don’t want to get into this useless battle. But, I fail to understand the idea behind labeling women as ‘working’. Recently, when I was flipping through channels, I came across an advertisement (guess it was some promo of a serial) that had a young woman asking a man – “Aapko kaisi ladki chaiye? House wife ya working woman?” and, the man with the mustache answers in a heavily laced kathyawadi accent – “Kya antar hai dono mein? Dono hi kaam karti hain. Bas, jagah badal jati hai!” I loved the way the man thought. But what pinched me was, that kind of demeaning question was asked by a woman. Sometimes I feel, women don’t have to seek enemies in the opposite gender. We are at times our own enemies! Now pray tell, what is so low about a home maker’s job?

I have been a working woman in the past and presently, I am a home maker absolutely by choice. Intermittently, I have freelanced and was also working from home for a while, before certain health issues made me take a pause again. So, when I came across a post on social media about how the home makers can never see working women in good light, I felt stung. If women speak against women in such a bad light, why on earth will men, or for that matter anyone respect us? Fodder for thought?

This Home maker inspires me like none!

Now, there are two inspiring women I have met in life and, I would like to share about these wonderful women on this platform. The first one is my husband’s aunt from his maternal side – Padmini Maami. She is a widow who lost her husband when her sons were aged around 11 and 6. She has been a home maker all her life and yet, she is a living example of the powerful feminine force in her strung the family together with her selfless hard work towards her in-laws, children and the many other members of the joint family she lives in. She has been instrumental in raising my husband (then just 11 years old) after my mother –in-law’s untimely demise in ‘96.

Padmini Mami is not some high flying corporate woman or, some highly intellectual professor teaching in some deemed university. She is just a regular woman in a very normal saree…who you might see, walking towards a grocery store with a sling bag. She is one of those inconspicuous and seldom appreciated home makers who slogs from dawn to dusk and till night with a never ending list of household chores.

Now we all gape in awe when we read about famous and inspiring ladies (well, there are just too many famous ones). But then, there are many unseen gems who also stand at par with the famous ones in their indigenous way. Padmini Mami, is one of them.

Getting up in the morning, preparing the first of the many rounds of coffee, making breakfast, tending to her very old in laws, cleaning and mopping the home, washing clothes, making lunch, paying bills and, going to bank, buying groceries, visiting the temple and sometimes, making rangoli there and so on, and so forth are just some of the countless duties she performs during a day.

There have also been times when she used to take care of her sister in law’s children, given that the sister in law works in a university. And, maami just does her work with no complaints whatsoever. In her daily rigmarole, she also manages a power nap of 30 to 40 odd minutes after lunch. She watches her favorite serials at times, which serves her with the small bout of unreal entertainment at the end of each day. On some nights, I have observed that there would not be much for her to eat, but she would not complain. When I asked her on one of those days, she smiled and said – “Narayani, eating is important. But what is as important as eating is keeping the body parts in motion. Our body should be strong, adaptive and flexible. And, we must be self dependent.”

Today, her sons are grown up and, are independent and well raised gentlemen. While she reminisces her early years of her blissful marriage and, the dark times that befell her after mama’s demise, she leaves a long sigh….. and pauses for a while and then, says– “My responsibilities are now over. My sons are doing well for themselves.  And once my duties are over completely, I want to do something at the temple, maybe do some cleaning and rangoli there.”

This time when I had visited her, she had the ball of a time playing with our son, Arjun. While we were leaving, she passed on a precious piece of advice to me – “Narayani, family always comes first no matter what. Our children are our responsibility till the time they learn to fly. And when they fly the nest, we must let them fly without our interference.”  Despite not being the ‘working’ woman, her views are extremely liberal unlike the many known ‘working’ women who play their ‘dominance card’ in their children’s lives in extreme ways. In a world clouded by airs of status, higher education and wealth, we miss out on the many diamonds and sapphires, like Padmini Maami. Sad, but true.

This working woman commands deepest respect in me!

Now, the other woman I want to introduce you all to is, Sharada Periamma. She is my husband’s aunt from his paternal side. She is the quintessential working woman who has slogged for more than 3 decades in a government job. When the family suffered a huge financial loss in the early years, the financial burden snowballed into this iron lady’s shoulders. And, how she steered her family through the rough patches of her life is a feat that cannot be expressed in words.

She has a son and a daughter and, both are amazing individuals and invariably, my best cousins too! With all the hardships that periamma faced in her life that even included her working in some remote corner of the state, away from family, she has emerged a clear winner in the game of life. During the times when she was posted away from home, she would visit on weekends. And on her way home in the bus or train, she would utilise the time in chopping fresh vegetables she used to buy from a nearby village. And even on weekend, instead of taking ample rest, she will prepare sambhar, rasam and various kinds of chutneys and kozhamu for the family, with the thought that the first two days of the week would be easy for her husband and children as far as ‘Ma ke haath ka khana’ is concerned.

Today she is happily retired and, post retirement she went for South East Asian trip with her sister and a friend. Her children forcefully sent her and, it was only during the trip she realized how much she needed it after countless years of struggle. Recently, when I met her, I asked if she misses her work life. And she smiles and says – “No, not really. Because many of my friends retired with me. So, we all meet up once a month, have lunch outside and sometimes, go to temples together. Life is good now. Besides, age is catching up. Maybe, I will open a crèche some day. I missed seeing the early growing years of my children, given the financial strain on the family then. So, maybe I want to spend time with kids now.” And, she adores my son, Arjun a lot. Although, I feel the stabbing absence of my mother in law, God has been kind as Sharada Periamma candidly announced during our marriage that they are my in-laws.

Besides having been an ace performer in her professional life, she is also an out of the world cook! Anything she prepares is magical! Every time, I look at her, I feel so proud to be associated with her. An excellent mother, an adoring wife, a dutiful daughter, periamma has played every role with finesse. And it is here, I would like to point out that Sharada Periamma’s is an epitome of humility and compassion despite having been professionally successful all through out. I am yet to meet a woman with a heart that is more indulgent than hers!

A woman works, be at home or in office/school!

The reason I cited these examples here is to help women understand that it is not important to ‘be a working woman’ or ‘be a home maker’. What is important is to first ‘be a good human being’. In a world where judgments are passed as frivolously like passing the parcel, we miss out on the very basics of life. And that is, to be kind to people around. How difficult is that?

Why should a home maker be looked down upon? Because her job is thankless? Or, because you find her job worthless?

Why should a working woman be scrutinized incessantly? Because, she is contributing to her family’s income by missing out on her desire to be with her family as much as the home makers do? Or because, women with financial independence intimidate the crowd?

With the two exemplary women I have mentioned in this post, I have deep respect for both home makers and women who are out working in offices and schools. Both command respect in me and, both are extraordinarily performing their roles with absolute courage and conviction.

SO LADIES, PLEASE STOP SHAMMING YOUR OWN TRIBE OVER SUCH TRIVIAL DEBATES. STOP BERATING YOUR OWN KIND! 

Remember,

If you don’t love yourself and your kind, nobody will!

If you don’t respect yourself and your kind, nobody will!

If you don’t help yourself and your kind, nobody will!

Ever since social media has engulfed the world with its charm, we have become self proclaimed judges of whatever we read and analyse about feminism. But what is disheartening about the entire feminism thing is, it is mostly women who instantly jump the gun to accuse the women with a perception different from theirs. Slamming single women, shaming women who choose an alternative lifestyle different from the one followed by majority, berating women who choose to not become parents MUST STOP! Be kind to each other and trust me, if women unite as a force and give each other the shoulder to lean on during rough weather times, we will never have the need to prove ourselves to the world that we assume is being patriarchal.

Take the first step, woman. Look around. If you can even remotely help another woman by even giving her the basic comfort of being a silent listener by making her feel un judged for her situation in life, then my friend, you have already and thankfully understood what this post is all about.

Every woman is special. See the world that way. The yellow tinge clouding your spiritual cornea will disappear.

And Mira Rajput, although your words were not wisely chosen, I am with you woman! Not your fan though. But yet, I stand by you because we both belong to the same tribe! No one can refute that, right?

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Perceptions and reflections…..2017


…..Every end is a new beginning.

That is one of the core life teachings. Isn’t it?

2016 is ending. 2017 is much awaited. I have always felt a thrill every time, a year ended. But since the past few years, the thrill is not effervescent as it was before. Now, it is just another year that will come by and end too. Yes, the good part is the vacations that tag along towards the end. More family time, more bonding time and more outings with families are the perks that make the year end so enjoyable. And yes, it also includes meeting extended relatives.

So, while I look forward to 2017 as a part of the drill I have always followed, it is also a habit for me now to reflect on the years gone by. Change is so subtle and yet, so firm. It transforms you while you are oblivious to the change coiling around you. I surely felt like Mogli in Ka’s embrace all these years. But then, change is always for good. Isn’t it?

The increasing number of greys on my head remind me – “Girl! You are just less than a decade from the magnificent 40!“. Magnifique!, indeed! So, for those who have felt I speak less and, for those who prayed that I would shut up, I still continue to oscillate erratically between tranquility and cacophony.

Meanwhile, my head is becoming too loud and so, my ponder lust continues to unveil…..

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  1. There was a time, when entering an argument for me seemed like diving into a piece of chocolate truffle. Now, I am repelled by arguments. I have stopped watching new since a year and more. I sometimes even wonder if the people sitting in those studios even know what they are talking about! Maybe, I belong to a different era where people like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and George Fernandes were looked up to. Sigh.
  1. I don’t get the intolerance around – Vegans versus Non vegetarians, Traditional versus Contemporary and Religious versus Spiritual. Live and let live is not easy, it seems. I am NOT vegan and, I am NOT religious. And, I oscillate between traditional and contemporary. Just that I firmly believe in the theory of good karma and kindness. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t see through what I feel about. But I am finding my peace now. There is a great sense of contentment in acceptance of people. Yes, I have come to that stage where my father’s words resonate louder – “Accept people as they are. You will find peace.” Well, I am still learning to accept people. The process is on.
  1. Advice is a stinger. I have never liked it. And in all these years, I have realized that giving advice is as distasteful as taking advice. No one learns from the other’s experience. Self experience is the best teacher and, I totally get it now. So these days, I just observe. Being observant gains you a lot of perceptions of which some are surely entertaining. And yes, whoever reads my blog – “I am averse to taking advice, especially from people who are younger. Age may not be a big deal but, when it is about life lessons, it is!” The same reason why I feel respectful towards elders for the one reason that they have seen more years of their life than the next gen and, there is definitely something extra in their experiences.
  1. Home makers are still looked down upon. I am not happy with that perception. People have to be more sensitive and sensible. But then, maturity and wisdom does not come naturally to people. Sad, no?
  1. When hubby and I got married in 2010, we did not have inkling about what it meant to have children, raise them…. Besides, in that time window, fortunately (yes, very FORTUNATELY) there was no Barbie doll/tomboy who would have said to me – “So soon? Don’t you want to enjoy some more couple time?” Even parents were surprised (pleasantly of course as I conceived in the same year of my marriage). And, we underwent a sea of change thereafter. Because, after our son arrived, hubby and I became more tolerant towards each other’s idiosyncrasies and, were more appreciative of each other’s verve towards sustaining the balancing act on the rope called marriage. Well, I cannot explain that feeling of togetherness our son got us, in words. All I would say is that, a child does bring a husband wife closer in untold ways.
  1. Crowd intimidates me. I am not sure, why. Just that, I detest crowded places. And so, I do not like visiting social functions like marriages and ceremonies like poonal and pujais et al. I also do not take very well to hectic temple tours (temple hopping to be precise) where running around, gossiping in queues about the waiting time, getting squished between strangers and, after all those hours of waiting, getting a glimpse of the deity while the temple priest is in a hurry to shoo you off after that nano second meeting, defines ‘being God’s children’! Instead, I love to visit smaller temples where I go whenever I feel, do the pradikshana, chant my mantras in peace and, have the simple prasadam and importantly, sit in peace for as long as I want. Yes, I love that ‘me’ time where I am able to feel the silence between me and the maker – a silence that both acknowledge, a silence that makes us aware of each other.., a silence that reminds me that I will get the rope from Him when I need it. As for social functions, if I were to only sit back and watch the proceedings, I would have had a totally different take on it. But then, I do not take too well to prying questions and non stop advice on why I should plan a second child soon and why, I should be a full time working lady again. (Refer Point 4 – What makes people think that full time home makers are jobless? Only because their work is thankless?)The questions never stop. Will they? Sometimes, I also wish, we had more faith in God Himself than in the men who proclaim to be His men. Just a passing thought.
  1. With time, I have realized that I have transformed into a private person. I am not comfortable with the art of socializing much in the real world. (In the virtual world, I am more often than not, socializing with myself) Or let’s say, I am averse to the idea of sitting in a group. Somehow, I am mildly repelled by the idea of instant bonding. But then, a dear one keeps reminding me time and again – “No person is good or bad. It is the time that oscillates between the good and the bad. So, don’t get instantly judgmental” I am beginning to understand it. So, I am slowly breaking out from my introvert nature (although it is a root personality for me, I may not be able to leave it, but surely can branch out a little).
  1. Nowadays, I like to converse with old people. Something about them gives me an assurance that the world is good still. Some sound boisterous whereas, some are of the mellowed down kind. Either way, I love to hear them out as they share interesting anecdotes from their younger days. Recently, I had visited an old age home with some ladies from our station and, it felt good seeing the beautiful bond of friendship foster between the individuals who had been left there by their kin for reasons best known to them. It is only after talking to some I realized they do not crave for some fierce respect. All they want is some acknowledgement of them being a happy part of their children’s lives.  And, it dawned on me why I feel assured in life’s rugged and jagged pathways, because we have a protective shield around us, that stems from the blessings of our elders. Every time I speak to my late MIL’s mother – Padma Paati, I feel a sense of contentment. She is the silver haired great granny to my son and, her eyes twinkle with a rare insight while her pearls of wisdom invoke peals of laughter besides impacting our thoughts positively. That said, I miss my maternal grandmother a lot. Still.
  1. Years back, I would have craved for some exotic trips abroad or even, a lucrative career that assured me of added financial security. (I had my chances in abundance when son was months old) However, now I have simple wishes in life. To age gracefully with hubby and, raise the son in a way that tomorrow he has wings to fly and roots to come back! (This time, his Annual day theme was Roots and Wings. What a beautiful concept, no?)
  1. And, last but not the least, 2017 – be nice to all of us. Mother Nature, it would be shameful of me to ask you to be tolerant while, my tribe – the human kind is leaving no stone un turned in ruining your creation. I sincerely wish that the much raved about statue to be erected in one of the cosmopolitans of India does not see the dawn of the day, something that is being planned on your misery. But then, that is wishful thinking. Sigh.

And people, use social media judiciously. It is not important to share anything and everything under the Sun. Please verify what you share/tweet/post! Like a recent false tweet sabotaged the name of a fine dining restaurant in Hyderabad! (How can people take pleasure in such acts, is totally beyond me!) Be cautious and, be aware.

Also, I hope that tolerance and brotherhood reign supreme in 2017. Let the end of 2016 be a new dawn for 2017. Cheers to the new year! God bless!

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Understand what your help does for you.


In my growing years, I had never seen a help at my home. My mother had taken it upon herself to clean, dust and mop the big house that has a huge hall, a dining, a bedroom, a big kitchen, a bathroom downstairs and, the two huge bedrooms and a big bathroom upstairs. Additionally, our home has three terraces, of which we are using only the middle one. Besides that, we have a garden and a garage to maintain. While other homes around us had employed help to get the cleaning done, my mother decided to do everything herself. And besides doing the chores, she also managed a major chunk of her time from her routine to prepare students in the neighborhood for their board exams. Even today, from her extremely busy schedule, she efficiently manages time for reading novels, online shopping and even, going out with dad to indulge in retail therapy. In earlier years, dad and I have been supremely annoyed with her over her obsession with doing the chores herself. However, after all those years I suddenly understood why she chose to do what she did.

The feeling of self dependence that, we can manage our lives, our work without domestic help is extraordinarily powerful. And, the past five months wherein I had no choice but to do the household chores myself, I discovered this strong feeling. Believe me when I say, we aren’t really dependent on anyone to get our own work done. We are just made to think otherwise because of the social conditioning around. As for all homemakers out there, I take a bow! RESPECT!

But, this is not the crux of my post today.

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The seed for this post germinated when I had recently written a post on how we need to be kind to our domestic help. It is here I came across a counter comment on how helps are untrustworthy these days. I could relate to the said comment too  because I have had my share of horrible experiences with domestic helps. So, I could clearly relate to the angst behind the comment because we pay our help in good faith that they will do the work effectively. But, when that work is not done to the said standards, we feel cheated. I have been cheated many a time. But there is also one thing that remained with me in the back of my head, something  that my parents have followed WITHOUT advising me- “Never ever be rude to your help. Understand what they are doing for you even if you are paying them.” Yes, it took me one hell of an experience to understand the true meaning of those untold words.

Post marriage and, after having a kid which is more than 6 years later, I am in a place where getting a good help felt like begging destiny to throw a 24 carat diamond into my lap! So, in the current place, I have stayed without help for practically 5 months wherein hubby was away for work. So, it was just me and son. Parents and in laws visited intermittently. And, it is also in the last 5 months, I realized that maintaining a spic and span home without domestic help is practically impossible unless, you are either taking care of the home every single minute, or you have an in-house help who is looking after your home all the time, every single second. If you have gone through my previous blog posts, you would have realized how much I detest house keeping. Anyways, I did not have much of a choice in the current place.

So, me being me, I began help hunting! The first one arrived. When we had decided over the quote and every work I was to outsource to her, the lady started with her list of things that she would not do. “Memsaab, hum dusting nahi karenge!” (despite me ready to pay her extra for it), “Memsaab, hum bartan nahi pochenge….itna karene ke liye time nahi hai humare paas…”, et all were her share of tantrums in the limited conversations we had. At the time, with little choice, I hired her. But, I wasn’t remotely impressed! A month later, I asked her to leave as her work was only doubling my work.

Then, arrived the second one….I cannot for some reason forget this one as she had annoyed me to no end and so to say, to an extent that she made the  first one appear angelic! This one loved to talk all day so much that, it was all she did! In the previous place, I had a help who worshiped work. This one on the contrary, worshiped gossip. In the second week of her work, she asked me for bonus and, I made it clear that I wasn’t remotely entertained by her anecdotes or, impressed with her work and hence, I settled the accounts right away and bid her good bye! During those days, I shared with mum about my failed attempts in getting the right help. Sensing my frustration, she said only one thing – “When you don’t find help, remember Tan kayye tanaku udavi (in Tamil)!” meaning – “You have two hands in good shape and none can help you but yourself!”  

I took the cue and began with the mopping and dusting routine myself. The first week was hard. And, on the first day, it took me 2 hours to complete the cleaning chores. On that night, when I sat down I grumbled on phone– “Mum! The helps have been looting me! This work takes like 2 hours! How is that they finish it in 10 minutes and push off?” Mum was in splits! She said – “Narayani! It only means you have become a Garfield (accurately pointing out my flabs from the other end of the phone that were suddenly conspicuous to me now). To become the G-Girl who can finish work in 15 minutes, you need to get back in shape! And no, helps are NOT G-girls for you! So, do not expect them to do it the 100 percent ideal way. They have many homes to do and, they do the same laborious task everywhere. So, what you can do meanwhile is, stop complaining and start figuring out how you can do this hard work smartly.” So, I asked her – “So pray tell, how do you do that?” She remarked – “Go, figure it out yourself!”

In the first week, I remember, I had a body ache. However in subsequent weeks, I realized I was finishing up the chores in half the time I took earlier. And then, when I began working from home I voluntarily got up at 5 in the morning to wind up the work. This was one additional pointer my mother gave me – “Early to bed and early to rise, you get your work done in quarter of your time!” I also realized in the following months that I cribbed less and, my work ran smooth. The stress quotient concerning the spic and span aspect of my home released me from its clutches. No, I no longer worried about how my home looked or, felt. Because, for me it felt divine. It is now I realize the depth of those unsaid words – “Understand what the help do for you even if you are paying them.

So, after all those taxing experiences of having done every household chore myself, it dawned on me that we aren’t really that helpless as we assume ourselves to be without domestic help. Only, we are made to think so. Sometimes, we just need to regroup our priorities in life. For instance, I am NOT someone who supervises a help while she works! I just CANNOT do that! Why? Because, I would probably smash the head of anyone at work who did that to me! (Mind well, I growled at one of the supervisors during my board exams who was trying to see what I was writing!) I believe in the basic fabric of faith. Which is why, profiling your help before you hire is very very important!

Fortunately, after many failed attempts, I finally got a good help, an old lady who fit the brief of what I was looking for. As of now, she comes,washes utensils, chops vegetables and, makes yummy rotis and paranthas! I am glad, I got a good help although late but, the wait was worth it. Meanwhile, I also got a taste of the hard work the help do for us. So, the past five months taught me that I am a lot tougher and hard working than I believed myself to be, if I may say so! (pats on the back :D) Now, before we berate our domestic help, let’s understand the basics- People are never basically bad. It is the circumstances that corrupt their moral fabric.

Of the many domestic help we meet, some stick to their moral grounds whereas, others get lured into the thought of taking short cuts to earning money and perks. But all of them have one goal – to lead a good life! And in some way, their wish for a good life is also fueled by our own lifestyle. For instance, wasting good food or, rummaging through wardrobe of exotic outfits in their presence may affect the psyche of the help in a massive or minor way, depending on their social conditioning. So, if you have hired a help, make sure that that they know you as a good person but not close enough to know what you possess. After all, keeping distance may not earn you some “acchi wali meemsaab” title in their world but, might just save you from unexpected Pandora boxes.

Remember,

You don’t always need pizza or pasta! But, you need a clean home.

You don’t always need a smart phone to survive. But, you need good food and clean clothes to keep your physical and mental health, in the pink.

You can surely do without night outs, parties and sleep overs! But you CANNOT imagine your daily grind without clean bathrooms and washrooms even, if you just visit them just a few times in a day!

So, next time when you outsource the laborious housekeeping business to the help, be kind to them. At the same, keep your distance which, is very very important! But NEVER EVER be rude to them. Because, housekeeping is a thankless job! And yet, none of us can live healthily without a good housekeeping routine. Remember that!

P.S : On the brighter side of my life, I have toned down well. I was never skinny. But, I am getting slowly back to the version I was long before when it comes to muscles.

This Diwali, I gifted my maid a saree and a box of sweets. She was beyond happy. These days, she does a couple of extra chores without me having asked her to do it.

As for the other tips and tricks of housekeeping, mum had the one thing to say to me which my dad has been drilling into my grey cells for years and yet, I am far from learning it (I am shamelessly voicing my procrastination here because I am still getting there!) –A place for everything. Everything at its place! A time for everything. Everything on its time!

And please, please, please, remember – No work is low. When it comes to your home, every job is great!

Remember – 

kindness

 

Battling the demons. The fight is on.


I have been a strong believer in optimism. Certain incidents in life made me see the power in optimism. Although, the same incidents have also scarred me in an indelible way. Despite my countless shares on how optimism is a great food for soul, I too am bothered at times. Just because I share a lot of good anecdotes from my life, it does not mean I am free from pessimism. And, when I talk about negativity, it does not concern others but, myself. This storm of negativity comes in the form of panic attacks, anxiety, ennui, a feeling of going no where, and some times, feeling the emptiness when there is nothing more creative left to do. Yes, there are such cloudy days too amidst the dollops of sunshine moments. It is on those days especially, I crave for the Sun to come out of hiding and tell me –“Hey! Everything is going to be fine! After all, you are my baby sunshine!” There have been countless monologues between me and the celestial bodies while I was growing up. Yes, those were the monologues I could hear myself as much as the Sun, the Moon and the stars and all the existing planets could hear me. And I thought, I couldn’t hear them…..

But that is not what triggered me to write this post which is a cross between the rant and the vent. And, venting does a better job than ranting. Doesn’t it?

Off late, I have been going in and out of “I don’t know what is wrong with me” syndrome. Not that I am turning into a off-putting person, but I do get the strong urge to run away from reality rather than facing it. Especially when health issues crop up, panic attacks return reminding me of some terrible times I had in the past. And then, I look at the surroundings, the plants, the trees, the insects, the strays, the simians, the birds and all the normal happenings that make the everyday grind. All are perishables. But they are living the life they have been gifted with. And, so should I – says Mother Nature. And, when I look at my parents, I am awestruck! Both have countless health issues but, they are so driven by their duties and work routine that they barely get time to worry. So, am I as busy as them? Perhaps, no. But, am I as busy as I should be. Yes, I am. If yes, why am I not relaxed? That is perhaps because I have created a 100 horrible scenarios in my head and, am constantly worrying about them.

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Worry – it is a hurdle I stumble across quite often. It is quite difficult to explain my state of mind to someone who could probably advise me on how to lead a healthy life, how to be free of negative thoughts and how to keep oneself busy. The point is, I am busier than busy! I can’t catch enough time for myself. I do the household chores like mopping the floors, cleaning the kitchen, working from home (full time), taking care of son’s studies and, my own too (off late, my study part has gone for a toss).Dawn quickly becomes noon, noon quickly becomes dusk and, dusk becomes night in the blink of an eye. And, I am like a busy bee trying to find a chunk of my time to de clutter my thoughts. If someone were to ask my schedule, it is insane. It has been a while since I spoke to someone on phone. And, I turn to social networking not because I have time, but because I want to gather those tiny inconspicuous words of wisdom left like bread crumbs by people I know and, know not. Yes, I need to read. And importantly, I need to write, besides my professional writing gig.

On certain days, I dread if my work gets over quickly! Because, the moment it does, the stark reminder of how I have and had let my health fail me makes me feel miserable. It is also strange that I don’t like meeting people a lot these days. Maybe, I am seeking frequencies that are difficult to find. Should I tune my frequencies? No, I am not willing to. Something in my nature doesn’t allow it. I cannot pin point what it is. But whatever that is, I am sure, has more often than not, saved me from a plethora of Pandora boxes I have intentionally tried to open! But now, I need a bit of a change. Maybe, I just want to move away from the daily grind for a while. A vacation, perhaps? I am banking on the possibility now.

Another thing that has been bothering me off late is travel phobia. I am not even sure when I caught it. But it has been bothering me for a while now. I love to travel a lot. But, the beginning of a journey no matter what puts me in jitters, for reasons I know not. Yes, it is a fear without a reason, perhaps with a reason that stays in the oblivion.

Fear – It is the joker in the deck of cards played by destiny. How will it play for me? How do I will it to play for me? Maybe I have the choice to toy with it. Do I? I have been a strong believer in the power of fear too. Many may not have comprehended this. But, I have discovered that fear is a facade for courage. It is like the glass that gives you a choice to look through but does not necessarily propel you to break it. Sometimes, when the view gets clearer, the glass is broken. It is a gossamer sheath of terror that also becomes the trajectory of courage when that sheath pushes the self to the wall! It is a strange emotion. It is a negative emotion. But, it also gives you a choice to either dwell in it, or break the film and move past it!

And, as I write this post, I know I am trying hard to remove a chunk of my disoriented thoughts on the space assuming it would give me some space to rejoice. Every time, I look back at the struggles I had (a difficult pregnancy, a brush with a life threatening condition and, the nightmares that continue to follow of which I never spoke much to anyone), my faith is restored with the fact – “If I have come this far in life, I can still go way ahead“

And, in the cloud of darkness that I battle to disperse, I know how blessed I am to have the most understanding hubby, an adorable and loving son and, very inspiring parents. And importantly, I know now I have to be strong. That is what I keep telling myself every time. I have to be strong for my son, hubby and family. I was given a second lease of life in 2013. Now, I have to guard it against all the negativity, come what may. The path ahead could be tough. If run I cannot, but walk, I will. I am sure, I will.

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Amen.

 

This is how home work gets done from a five year old’s perspective….


You feel like the exhilarated Usain Bolt when your child finally finishes his homework! And, you know how hard the test of patience gets when a work that could get over in a matter of minutes drags on for hours with major chunks of time fillers that comprise of story telling, Nat Geo tit bits and, on seeking answers to why the king is not as powerful as the queen in the game of Chess!

This is one of the regular days from my life where I learn to master in the subjects of patience and perseverance.


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Me: Arjun….today you have to write series 251 to 300.

Arjun: Mmmm….I know…..

He gets ready for his homework and I am already in a cloud thinking mode – “He finishes the work. I get the grocery stuff. Then, there is the laundry. What will I make for dinner? Dalia should be good!” And, quips my son in the middle – Make maggi no! Oh yeah, I realized my cloud thinking was actually loud thinking! I sternly look at him and ask him to start writing.

Time 3 PM

Arjun: Mum! Is the pencil sharpened well?

Me: Yes dear…now start writing….say aloud two hundred and fifty one……and write….

Arjun: ok mum….

The marathon has begun.

The series marches up to 255 and, the first speed breaker arrives….

Arjun: Mum, I was thinking…….why is our tulsi plant not growing straight?

Me: (Wondering how ‘in the name of Lord’ did Holy Basil jump into the marathon) It needs sunlight no….plants tend to seek sunlight for their growth…..(Knowing where the conversation would lead to, I tell him)…ok! now where were you? 255….”

Arjun: oh yes! (the series continues)

The Math train is moving smoothly until the train decided to halt unexpectedly at 259…..because his highness, suddenly recalled a NatGeo moment!

Arjun: Mum…I have a question….why does the mother lion hold the cub with her teeth? Won’t the teeth hurt the cub?

Me (remembering my mum’s advice on patience and perseverance have started saying to self – keep calm…keep calm….) – Hmm…see…the mother lion i.e the lioness holds the cub in a way that the teeth doesn’t hurt her cubs….just like when I squeeze you sometimes out of affection, does it hurt?”

Arjun: No… (comes and hugs me!)

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Me: Same way, lionesses cuddle their cubs like that….now where were we? 260……

Arjun: oh yeah….260…..

45 minutes had passed………. in the series 251-260……

And, I pray to all the Gods I know – “Please! Please! I will narrate all the stories about you on weekends…just don’t let him get distracted now!”

Perhaps, God smiled and appeared to have listened to me….

The Math train caught pace….the series continued with zero hiccups until 269 arrived!

Arjun: Mum! Do you know Arnav, my friend?”

Me: Yes darling, the one who eats chalks and chews pencils!

Arjun: Yes! You know what he did today…..

Me: Arjun….why don’t we finish the series and then, we will have ample time to talk…..

Arjun: (looks at his notebook…counts the pages to be done…..) Mum, so much is there yet….if I start writing now…it will go on till night…when will I sleep?”

Me (me dreading..if the home work session was really going to drag that long…shuddering at that thought): You just keep writing….it will get over…just like how time flies when you play badminton or watch motu patlu……

Arjun: ok….. (just begins to write….270)

And then….

Arjun: Mum….dont interrupt me when I say something….I was telling about Arnav……

Me: Ok….what did Arnav do today?

Arjun: Mum, Arnav got punishment today….he was made to stand outside….

Me: That is bad. What did he do?

Arjun: He was spoiling the desk….drawing on it…..and then, he also keeps running around in the class while the teacher teaches.. and, he spills food….and…..

Me: hmmm…

Arjun: ….and mum, today he got punishment….he went out and started playing on slide and swings..then the teacher pulled him back and made him stand inside the class facing the wall…

Me: ok…… so, do you want to get punishment too, so that you also go and play around? (with a stern look)

Arjun: No! No! I am a good boy in school..I don’t even get up from my seat unless I am asked to.

Me: hmm…..so can we now go beyond 270?

Arjun: yes..yes….

30 minutes have passed since the last 45 minute lapse……

And, with some respite from distractions…the series continue…..271…..272……………….279…….

Maids are blessings! But not when she rings the bell at such an important time!

Arjun scoots off to open the door….and candidly calls out – “Mum! Geeta Aunty has come!”

Me: “I know, Arjun. I could have opened the door. Now, please sit and finish your work.”

Arjun: “Ok! 280….281….282…283…..284….285….”

Some sounds from outside….Arjun runs to the door….and calls out to me – “Mum! Monkeys on our porch!”

Me: “Even better the reason for you to come back and finish your work!”

Arjun: “Shhhh….Mum! see, there are monkey babies too!”

Me (trying to look through the thin tissue curtains.. and find a couple of monkey mommies taking a siesta on our porch with one of them on the chair)

Arjun: “Mum! Take a photo!”

The maid smiled. I obliged….

Arjun: “Mum! Share it with tatha…paati…NOW!”

I relent!

Another 30 minutes had passed by…….

Me: “Now, can we proceed?”

Arjun: “Ok! Ok!”

The series pace up….286….287…………290….291……………295….

Arjun: “Mum! You know what happened while we are coming back in the bus?…..”

Me: “ARJUN! Only 5 numbers left. Finish them and, I am all ears! PLEASE!”

Arjun (sad face): “But, what if forget what I want to tell you after completing my home work?”

Me (now, in a consoling mode): “Don’t worry! I will remind you!”

Arjun: “But, what if you forget to remind me?” (now the sobbing mode commences)

Me: “I promise, I won’t forget!”

Arjun: “No….you will forget……” (the crying continues……)

This is followed by rolling on the ground, facing the wall, walking in circles and, finally in a prostrate posture under the bed and, all included crying his lungs out…..and shedding buckets of tears! (if only tears could have solved water issues in the states out there)

The crying goes on for another 30 minutes and, I have no clue whatever happened….

Finally, I ask him calmly – “why are you crying? I did not scold you. I did not spank you. What just happened?”

Arjun: “I FORGOT WHAT I WANTED TO TELL YOU!” (and the sobbing goes a notch higher!)

I get up. Walk towards the fridge. Open the refrigerator. Pull out the vanilla block ice cream, put three scoops in a bowl and place it in front of him.

The crying stops. The tears dry up quickly. He wriggles out from under the bed. Sits on the chair and has his ice cream.

After he is done, I ask him“Now, do you remember what you wanted to tell me?”

Arjun: “Mum! You keep on distracting me when I am doing homework. I want to finish my work. Please don’t disturb!”

296…297….298….299….300…..

I put my hands in the air! I am at the finish line! Only, I felt like the damn tortoise after more than 2 hours!

After he went off to play, I grabbed a couple of cushions and, lay on the floor allowing its coolness seep in and, looking at the rotation of the ceiling fan….. Just as I was beginning to revel in my ‘alone time’, Hubby enters with a bang, looks at my frazzled look, raises a brow and asks – What happened? All well? Why are you on the floor? I need a cup of tea!”

I look at him in the eye and, he comes near and smiles – “Can I have a cup of tea, Narayani? I like it when you make it.” Then, he makes me sit with him and he continues… “I guess, Arjun’s home work sessions have taken a toll, no….You see…don’t get angry..He is a kid….speak to him calmly….Have you seen how I deal with him…” This advising session goes on until the moment I realized that I was fast transforming into a huffing and puffing five foot three inch grizzly bear! Run! Run for your life!

But, my human form filtered the animal instincts – “Karthik! Don’t. Even. Begin! If you ask me anything now – even a glass of tea, you will be taking responsibility for Arjun’s homework from now on! I want to be alone for five minutes!”

Hubby disappears from the scene the moment Arjun’s homework came into picture!

————————————————————————-

Dinner was vegetable Maggi prepared by hubby darling. Such dinners make life so beautiful……When I look at the men in my life, I feel blessed, notwithstanding how they drive me insane. And yet, I love them insanely…with all my heart, might and life…to the moon and, back!

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GOD BLESS!!

P.S: When I narrated this to my parents over phone, I for a second thought they had clutched their stomachs and rolled on the floor laughing!

Mum – “Welcome darling to the test you put me to in your childhood!” and,

Dad – “That boy is a rockstar! And, tell both the boys that they have my full support!”

The Property~ Fiction Series


There was a sudden flip in system, is all he knew. Something made him dizzy. After a few bouts of vomiting, he felt a need for rest. As he clutched the railing of the restaurant, the waiters and the owner came running towards him. His eyes started drooping and, the images blurred. He could almost feel his heart beat on his skin. What was it? A heart attack? But, he felt no pain. And then, he passed out………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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PART 1

A flurry of images played in his eyes – from the time his son was born till the present moment and, everything in between. And yet, the moment he held his son for the first time was etched in his memory. That vivid moment refused to smudge even as other memories had started becoming livid.

The day, his son was born was after all, special. A purpose to live, had returned. A verve to thrive in a lifeless loveless relationship returned. A love of a father that he got but never returned, returned. Yes, those tiny fingers, tiny toes, tiny eyes, tiny cheeks and everything tiny about the new life filled him with exhilaration. He had made a promise to the child that day – Come what may, I will fulfil all your wishes.

That was the year 1987 when Anant was blessed with a baby boy whom he named Vignesh. And now, 27 years had passed by. 27 years of ennui. 27 years of yearning. 27 years of expectations that never saw the dawn!

The reality had finally seeped into Anant – Destiny has its designs. No one understands it.

22nd August ‘2106:

On the fateful morning of 22nd  August, Anant had faced once again, the repercussions of a troubled marriage, but this time with a greater force! After having done his pujai and japam, he was confronted by his wife Neeraja on the same issue that had been culling the peace of his home for 5 long years.

Neeraja: “Why don’t you sell your Chennai flat? We need money and, you know it!”

Anant: “Really? You never liked my family despite zero interference from any of them. And when the property deal came through, I agreed because I felt we should not burden Vignesh with our monetary woes. The Chennai flat that we have got from the deal is an earning member for us. It will get us rent. How can you think of selling it? Besides, every brick of that property belonged to my father. I did not earn it. It is inherited. And, I have my sentiments attached with it. We will not speak about this. Please!”

Neeraja: But, we have to pay back the loan I took from my sister to finance Vignesh’s MBA.

Anant: Neeraja, Vignesh could have taken a study loan too. That would have forced him to stick to the job in hand. Ever since you have filled his ears with the property deal thing, he is not focusing on his work and, is busy job hopping with little inclination towards saving! Neeraja, I don’t want him to be aimless like me. I want him to take responsibility. I want him to know the importance of money. Selling a flat to get a lumpsome is the most insane thing I have heard! And besides, why would someone sell a property in such a good location?

Neeraja: Why should he take loan to understand the importance of money when people are ready to help him? Why must he suffer all that? Sell the house and transfer the property to Vignesh’s name. 

Anant: Think clearly, Neeraja – if we sold the flat like you said – transferred the property to Vignesh’s name while we are still alive, what will we do? Where will we go? What if, tomorrow he doesn’t want us staying with him after he begins his own family. Love for son is good. But, we should not go helpless to help, even if it is our own son. We will be doing the greatest harm to our child if we don’t let him comprehend responsibility.

Neeraja: My son will keep me. About you, I am not sure! Vignesh was asking again when you are planning to sell that house!

Anant was breaking away into a million pieces of regret, pain and shame from within. The harsh words never stopped. When he heard his wife implying coldly that his presence did not matter over years and now, it did not matter to either her or Vignesh, he felt like a soul struggling to escape the reality. He gulped his sorrow and, stared blankly into the portrait of his parents. And, a million possibilities arose and died a silent death in that instant!

What if, he had studied hard and, got into a stable job? (He was the most intelligent of the four with a quick wit and a sharp mind!)

What if, he did not while away his time as a youngster and, took his responsibilities seriously? (He thought about all the times when he had ignored his father’s repeated advice on taking responsibilities in life and, had meandered aimlessly with his peers)

What if, he had not married Neeraja? (He had the choice. After all, it was an arranged marriage)

What if, he had defied Neeraja and, pursued a career in Mumbai where a good job was waiting for him a decade back? (Neeraja had thrown a tantrum saying – No, why should you work? The rent money is enough!)

What if, he had talked openly about his state of mind with his brother and sisters?

What if – the two words with endless possibilities…..

He finally said – “I am not selling the house. As for the loan, I will pay the amount to your sister from the rent I get from that home. But, Vignesh shouldn’t be leaving the job now. Any job will have challenges. He has to face them! He cannot become like me!”

With a finality in his tone, he left for his work as an accountant in a small hotel. On the way while cycling down to his work, Anant remembered the countless sacrifices and compromises that had sucked the life out of him. He was supposed to attend every function at Neeraja’s place but, she would not reciprocate the same towards his folks. She wanted monetary benefits from his ancestral property, but did not want anything to do with it. She wanted help from his folks when Vignesh wanted to pursue MBA but, she would not communicate directly with any of them. A fleeting thought had crossed Anant’s mind then – What if, I had followed my heart and walked out?” What if…..

PART 2

Anant had never dreamed big in life. He had taken VRS while, Vignesh was still in primary school. It was Neeraja’s idea. Ever since Anant had married, he had felt a strange thing about his marriage. He was not allowed to think. He was only permitted to act on the terms dictated by his wife. Having been a Math Wiz who played chess like a pro and, whipped magic with a deck of playing cards, he felt misplaced. Slowly, the feeling transformed into acceptance. Things will improve some day. He had thought so.

And, Neeraja too never encouraged him to seek a better job. They were content with the mundane life they lived in Thalassery. Looking back, nothing ever seemed amiss to either of them. To an onlooker, they would have appeared to be a simple couple who maintained a simple home and, lived a simple life. And, Vignesh grew up with unconditional love from his father under the domineering presence of his mother. Yes, Anant had nightmares about his son turning out exactly like him with no aim, no voice and no verve. As a father, he wanted Vignesh to aim high. He wanted Vignesh to touch the sky. He wanted Vignesh to seek enjoyment in whatever he pursued. Sadly and predictably, destiny rolled the dice and, Vignesh grew up with the thought process of his mother, turning Anant’s worst fears into a sad reality.

Post engineering, Vignesh joined a leading IT company. It was a welcome news for the family. Anant’s bank balance was nil now. His savings had depleted after Vignesh completed his engineering. And now that Vignesh had a job, things had started to look up. For Anant, it was a ray of light that gave him hope – “Yes! Vignesh has stood on his feet. He will do good for himself!” He felt proud when Vignesh announced that he was being transferred to Chennai.  He thanked God – “Finally my son is flying from his nest. He will grow out of this aimless lifeless place. He will ascend the ladder of success by facing challenges. He will be fine, now!”

Everything was going well until 2013 happened – the year when the property deal was finalized. Vignesh had completed a year at work. His probation period was coming to an end. And, he was looking into a bright future. It was around this time, Anant received a call from his brother in law – “Anant, the property deal has come through. It will be divided squarely into four portions, each for each sibling. I know how much you need money at the moment. This deal couldn’t have come at a better time!”

For Anant, this was his father’s property. Although he had no heart to sell it, he needed money to sustain. He had no job. He had crossed 55. And, now he did not want to burden Vignesh with his monetary woes. Having faced a severe financial crisis, this came as a breather at the time for Anant. Money cannot buy happiness, says who? That is how the Chennai flat was to ease their financial pains. Anant thought – “All my worries will end now.”

Little did he know, a big curve ball was waiting to strangle him in near future.

PART 3

22nd August’2016:

A phone call put a lot of things on spin that day. 22nd August’ 2016. This day will be remembered by many for different reasons though. It had come around in the afternoon. Neeraja had picked up the phone and, the voice on the other end sounded heavy and tensed,

“Mrs. Anant, I am calling from the restaurant. Your husband just collapsed all of a sudden. We are taking him to Maithri hospital near by.” Neeraja stood there with an expressionless face as, Vignesh came out of his bedroom. He looked at his mother’s frozen eyes and instantly understood.

Meanwhile, at the hospital the doctors were trying their best to revive Anant. His ECG was normal. His BP was normal. And then, the doctor had suggested the MRI scan. Anant on the other hand was drifting between unknown worlds. He suddenly felt calm and composed. It was as if he was ascending somewhere but, he did not know where. He saw some familiar faces. For a moment, he thought he knew them, but memories were fading away very fast. He looked around to see if Neeraja and Vignesh were there. No, they weren’t.

His eyes started spewing water. The MRI scan showed a massive brain hemorrhage in progress. The blood was spilling out of his veins at an accelerated rate. The middle aged doctor took one look and knew the two possible outcomes of which one was the less painful to both his patient and the family. He wished him peace.

“Vignesh, right? Ok. See, your father has suffered from a massive brain hemorrhage. Usually, it is triggered by unchecked blood pressure, which he may have ignored. Now, I will come to the point. His survival chances are bleak. Even if survives, recovery will be a long bumpy road. And, at the moment, we cannot undertake a surgery as the hemorrhage is massive. If he doesn’t respond to the drugs at this stage, we will take the final call for surgery tomorrow.”

Vignesh sat in stone silence. The doctor could not make out what the boy felt at that moment. After all, he could only give him a hope that was not a hundred percent sure whether it would work its way out!

PART 4

All his life, Vignesh had grown in a shielded environment that was guarded by Anant and Neeraja. He remembered some of the best moments he had spent with his father around. However, what he remembered in particular were the last few days with him, that were filled with fights, arguments and stand offs over selling away the Chennai flat.

On the other side of the glass, Anant was locked in a maze of coils and wires with beeps resonating intermittently. He opened his eyes for a brief time, a few hours before the final call. He reminisced every joyous moment he had lived with his family. Although he knew he was not a valued human as a husband or as a father, he still embraced the memories of having lived a family life with warmth and grace. He did not care about what would become of his home. No, not anymore. And suddenly, he felt relieved of worldly burdens. He looked up and saw his amma and appa with outstretched arms. He heard a voice – “Come with us, son! You have suffered enough. It is time.”

Oh yes, It was time to say good bye.

23rd August ‘2016

At 11:00 AM, Anant had passed on peacefully. Neeraja looked empty but was not grieving.  She was perhaps thankful to God for not letting her husband live like a vegetable for the rest of his life. Vignesh had handled his father’s demise with elan, so it appeared to all. Relations were informed. Cremation was arranged. News of Anant’s demise spread like wild fire. Until then, Neeraja and Vignesh were not aware of how a small town was going to pay homage to the one man it adored!

PART 5

Anant may have been an insignificant human in his home. But he had a different image outside. He was seen as a benevolent human who believed in giving a helping hand to people. The many students he had tutored for free, the many unknown faces he had helped in their time of need and, his employer who had seen and cherished the honesty of a departed man, shed tears that welled from the hearts.

The shock pinched people as they came in droves to come in terms with a biting reality –

The warm eyed smiling Anant will never be seen again cycling down the road to work.

The warm eyed smiling Anant will never again be taking Math tuitions for free.

The warm eyed smiling Anant will never be a part of temple proceedings any more.

The warm eyed smiling Anant will never be able to share his spiritual richness with the people who adored him.

Because, the warm eyed smiling Anant had left abruptly and, for ever!

10 days had passed since Anant’s demise. His portrait hung in the living room with a garland of fresh flowers. Anant’s smiling face crowded the air for some reason. Neeraja had learned to live without talking with her husband for some years now. Yet, she was not sure if she was capable of dealing with the physical absence of a man she had taken for, as a life partner. As she peered deeply into the once warm eyes of her late husband, Vignesh stepped out of his room. He was perhaps getting ready to go somewhere. For a brief moment, he looked at the portrait of his father. And then, he announced – “Time to sell that damn flat!”

P.S: The above is a piece of fiction.  However, such incidents do happen around the country. We hear a lot about all kinds of misfortunes and tragedies. And some snippets find voice in the form of stories and fiction. So, let’s say this this fiction is inspired from the adage – TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION. 

SHE. ~ Fiction Series


An attempt at writing a small fiction. Hope you enjoy it!

There was something mesmerizing about her. SHE usually smelled fresh. When plump, SHE was perhaps the most seductive creation. SHE was good at turning on the feral nature in humans. Although SHE loved flirting with every human SHE met, SHE did not quite believe in commitments. But whoever SHE met along the way struggled to be associated with her. An enigma, SHE was for sure.

While every pair of human eyes on earth, gaped at her in awe coupled with sometimes greed, sometimes need, SHE on the other hand chose to be the wild stallion – unrestrained and detached. No man was spared of her magic! SHE probably owned the world. Maybe, Maybe not – SHE thought once or twice about it.

SHE

However, SHE was not wicked to say the least! Only, SHE did not, rather could not sustain in a world devoid of theater. SHE thrived on comedies, tragedies, errors and misfortunes. Strangely, SHE could be a part of happy and sad occasions with no great emotions and yet, could handle both with grace or, no grace.

So, for some, SHE was the cause of all happiness and, for many SHE was also the root of all miseries. But respect, SHE demanded from all except for a handful who did not acknowledge her existence. For the world, SHE intended to remain a mystery. Because, SHE has always been unpredictable and, a nomad who stayed true to the adage – Rolling stone gathers no moss.

Sometimes, SHE could do grace by bringing soul mates together whereas, at some other time, SHE might be just busy disintegrating a loving family. If SHE wiSHEd to harness a child’s education in some village, SHE would and strangely, SHE also became a reason for some child slogging away in misery in a big city.

To put in simple words, SHE could cause wars and, SHE could stall them too! Yes, SHE remains a powerful entity, an epitome of power and yet, prefers to be treated as a mere tool. In the hands of a good man, SHE might transform into a blessing whereas, in the hands of an evil one, SHE becomes the messenger of incomparable devilry!

SHE does not vindicate. Neither, does SHE defy. SHE is meant to be neutral, SHE believes so.

SHE does not believe in choosing owners. SHE lets the best choose her, rather! But boy, does SHE have attitude?………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

And while her million accomplishments relayed that night in her thoughts, SHE lay there near the river in the hands of a skinny man who was in deep sleep. SHE looked at him and, thought – Maybe, it is time to change my owner. The dawn had just cracked and, SHE looked forward to new beginnings. Although SHE had some dirt sticking on her, SHE was not entirely inconspicuous or ugly! Someone would look at her and, take her home.

And, SHE assumed – the normal routine of life shall continue. A new owner, a new home, a new family and, the list was endless. This was the first time SHE felt like having an upper hand over the Almighty! After all, SHE has always been the catch for everyone, immaterial of which strata they belonged to! Even in the abode of God, devotees would take a glance at her! And while SHE reveled in her arrogance, SHE sensed some movement. SHE peered into the darkness and, saw a dark figure approaching her. SHE could not clearly see in the dark, except for a silhouette that faintly formed in the mist of the dim dawn. However, SHE could hear the tinkling of bells. They got louder and louder. So, did the footsteps. When, the figure approached near her, SHE stared in horror into the deep bottomless pools of black! And then, the world went blank………………………………………………………………………………………………

It was 6 AM. The Sun was rising slowly. Bird music filled the air. The orange hues splattered across the blue skies in faint strokes as Ramnath Pandit, the temple priest opened the gates of the Krishna temple near river Bhadra. He looks around and his face beamed when he saw Amba near the gate. He looked at her and, exclaimed – “Arre Amba! Aaj itni jaldi aa gayi….? Bhuk lagi hai? Kya chaba rahi ho subah subah?”. He loved Amba, her milky white colour, her innocent eyes that exuded warmth and, her soft mooing. Amba was the temple cow and, Ramnath treated her like his child.

Meanwhile, SHE breathed her last and, in those final moments, SHE did have some lasting thoughts before the curtain call–

I am the piece of paper that rules the world!

I am the piece of paper which tests humans’ verve!

I am the piece of paper, which has never seen a dustbin in life!

But then, I am also just a piece of paper with the numeral 1000 that ended up as Amba’s breakfast!

Price‘less’.”

P.S: The above is a work of pure imagination.