Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Surviving the odds, becoming the fittest ~ Entry post for BlogAdda's WOW contest

(The below post is a part of Write over the weekend an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.)

The two brothers played around with a medium sized round smooth stone that looked like a ball. As they both ran for the coveted kick, their mother signaled them to be back home. Serabi looked fondly at her sons. A single mother that she was, she had a long way to go in preparing her sons for an uncertainty riddled future that awaited them. After all, one day they will grow up and they will have to battle the challenges of this dangerous world all by themselves. 

Kumal and Sangha were oblivious to the thoughts that bothered their mother. For them, it had been just playtime and tummy time until a few months ago, when they were barely able to open their eyes. But now, Serabi felt, the sooner they learn the rules of their tribe, the better. And most importantly, she had to bring them both on the same page, considering how different the brothers were from each other. From the time they were born, both siblings were like chalk and cheese. Kumal, the first born exuded aggression. He would  go looking for trouble and dabbled in unprecedented risks all the time. Sangha, on the other hand was docile. Also, he was more cautious about venturing alone. Serabi, being the practical mother spent more time with the younger one, knowing for a fact, she had less to worry about the elder one. After all, Kumal was independent. He would survive the odds, come what may. However, Serabi had one thing to do, before she had to leave her sons, a tough decision made already. She had to prepare her sons for their lives ahead. She had to train them. She had to make sure that her sons were ready to do what the members of her tribe did best. And that was, to hunt!

Marco had been observing the life of this resilient tigress for a long time and had been documenting every detail of Serabi’s life ever since she became an adult. When she saw Marco for the first time, she was untrusting, scowling and roaring at the strange instruments that glared back at her. However, in the months to follow, Serabi exhibited a comfort level with Marco, probably concluding that he and his instruments were no threat. She rendered both, harmless and useless respectively. Needless to say, it had taken Marco a great deal of time, patience and grit to have been able to communicate with Serabi in untold ways. For instance, she would even pose for the camera if she was in a good mood. In other times, she would totally ignore Marco and lie down with her back facing the camera. Apparently, Serabi had realized that all humans don't poach and all men with a gun in hand do not hunt. Marco was one of those few living good men for her, as he advocated tiger protection. He worked with his team – Save the Tigers, hard to breed the endangered royal cats in captivity. And bringing Serabi under their wing was a big step towards achieving their dream of breeding more tigers. Serabi had given birth to a litter of four from which two succumbed to death because of medical complications. But Kumal and Sangha were born healthy. Once they were a few months old, Serabi and her cubs were left in the same jungle from where she was picked up and not forgetting to mention, their lives were monitored. She knew, she had to go back again, once the cubs were trained to become the tough, ruthless and able predators, that was expected of them.

Serabi, like all mothers of her kind hunted and brought the food for her cubs. Of course, Kumal and Sangha were very small then. And that time, she too had limited hunting stints as she was nursing them and it was dangerous for her to leave the cubs alone and go hunting. But now, Kumal and Sangha were almost adults and they were gradually showing a sense of self dependence. All she had to do was now teach them to hunt sans assistance. For instance, Serabi would bring a live fawn and leave it among them, to see if the brothers were fast in pinning the creature by the neck and biting it off. Kumal, being the aggressor always managed the first attack flawlessly. Whereas, Sangha still had to catch up in pace, stealth and aggression, all of which were prerequisites for a seasoned predator. The second time, Serabi had planned the attack on a herd of chitals, as she covered for Kumal and Sangha, where both had to grab the nearest prey, each. However, due to Sangha’s indecisiveness and lack of time precision and, the sharp hearing sense of spotted deer, the plan failed. Serabi thought over. And this time, she was planning something big, something that would bring out the ferocity in Sangha. After a few days, she prepared the young cubs for a big guerrilla attack. And this time, she raised the bar.

Serabi was planning a hit on a herd of buffaloes that were grazing on a large patch of pastures near their hunting ground. She lay low with her sons, observing the movement of the herd and trying to figure out the weakest link in the herd. She signaled Kumal to be where he is, and ordered Sangha to charge first. Sangha was reluctant as he moved behind but, his position allowed him just one thing: Do or die! His mother had positioned him near the water patch that was inhabited by crocodiles. It was a tricky spot. A slight miss in focus would make him the hunted. And then he had looked at his brother, who looked through him, as if saying, “Now is the right time! Charge!”. Sangha focused on the herd again and saw a baby buffalo drifting away from the herd towards the water patch. Yes, this was his moment. He crawled stealthily as his bright black stripes camouflaged his striking appearance midst the yellowish green grasslands. He had to take extra care as he couldn't go too near the water patch, as he had already spotted a crocodile boss also aiming at his subject. And then, that precise moment when the baby buffalo suddenly stopped drinking, alerted by rustling of leaves, Sangha charged. He grabbed the young mammal and bit his neck, bringing him down on the ground with a thud. He dragged his food away as Kumal and Serabi sprang up from their locations and made a move. The herd was alerted as they raced against time to escape the gnashing teeth of the royal cats.

The aim of the outcome was achieved. Serabi would now go back to captivity, to breed. Her sons were now ready. Kumal and Sangha looked at their mother, as she was caged in a big van and was being taken away. And then, they turned back and made their way towards the jungle. Yes, they had heard a growl. A mating call. It was time for the hunters to enter a new phase. It was time to breed more Kumals and Sanghas. It was time to balance the food chain, the right way, the only way!

P.S: Inspiration for this story is drawn from NatGeo and Animal Planet that features a lot of programs on the nature of tigers, their endangerment and their breeding in captivity. The story above is a small attempt from my side just to imply that even five sensed creatures have the going tough. They go by the rule that lets them live - Survival of the fittest! There is just no choice!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

That urge! That impulse! Those uncontrollable thoughts!

It is not the first time I am writing about this, and neither would it be the last time. Yes, that urge to respond, that irrepressible impulse to prove the other person wrong, that dynamite of restlessness that develops over giving a befitting reply, all of it are a way too tempting to resist. And, then once done, it is like having entered a maze of discussions, where one thing leads to the other, and the essence of discussion is lost in the conundrum of spats, leaving behind a lot of bickering with heaving chests! Well, I have seen this happen in every discussion forum, right from ‘The buck stops here’ of NDTV to a small discussion forum on blogging platforms! 

And it is at these times, I remember my father’s lines,

“Speak. Express. Write. It is your right. It is your privilege. But don’t forget to think before you express. Take your time. Never vent out under extreme emotions. Keep them aside for a while and know the right words. Know the right time to express them too. You will never falter. And more importantly, you will be heard.”

I believe in these lines. Do you?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Rourkee bypass ~ A Short film

Recently I watched this short film on filmcurry.com – Rourkee Bypass. And little did I know, I was to be addicted to short films than the normal two hour movies, thereafter. And why not? Short films have this amazing way of adapting simple yet profound incidents that have happened, or are happening or, are just waiting to happen in some corner of the world. And Rourkee Bypass is just one to quote here.

It focuses on loneliness. And mind well, I am not talking about the loneliness that is felt by the generation of today for whom it is more synonymous with no internet or no whatsapp or no gaming, but the kind felt by the generation of yesterday who want to stay connected with the current one in any which way possible.

The film is a perfect example of a very common plight that can be observed in the old people of today who are lonely. And needless to say, loneliness is terrible. And it is even more in old age, where heart aches for company. In this case, the young man made a promise on impulse, but did not bother to keep it or even understand the impact of such a promise on that old lady. A sad plight of today! It is important for this generation to realize that they need to stay connected with the people of yester years. They may not sound interesting. They may be technologically challenged. They may advise you on many things, on which you may even feel you don’t need it. But then, that is not the point. They need a listening ear. They want to be a part of your lives. They feel good when they are given importance. And mind well, old age is not a choice for a living. It is inevitable. It will come. And to each one of us.

So, why not call up your grand parents, grand aunts and other relatively lonely elders of your family and talk to them? And, they will be happy. So will we be.

And for the above, I would say ROURKEE BYPASS is a must watch! All you have to do is spare 5-7 minutes which must be that difficult!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

And then, the tattoo screamed.....now what? ~ Entry post for BlogAdda's WOW contest

(The below post is a part of Write over the weekend an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.)

3 months back.....

Veena was ecstatic. Her best friend Nisha had called in the morning. So, she was finally convinced to meet this guy who might just be the right knight in shining amour. Nisha was a widow. She had lost her husband Adwait, three years back in a car accident. Thereafter, she had sunk into depression. After a lot of counseling and emotional support from her family, she had finally come back to self, accepting the reality. And now, she had given in to her parents' wish of entering a remarriage. She had met Jeevan through a matrimonial website a few months back. After a couple of pleasantries exchanged over mail followed by a couple of friendly conversations over phone, Nisha had agreed to met Jeevan for the first of all times. Parents of both Nisha and Jeevan had been looking forward to this alliance and were anticipating that the first meet culminates into a pact soon. As all parents would wish, Nisha's parents wanted her to move on.

Veena was happy for her best friend. She wished her a lot of happiness. At least, she wished Nisha to get a life partner who would be the perfect gentleman, unlike her's.....and her thoughts trailed off. She had never discussed her personal life with anyone. Not even Nisha. Just when she was about to ask her the name, Nisha had hung up as she had a call coming her way. Nisha, on the other hand had then just thought about giving her fiancee's name to Veena but then dodged the idea thinking it would be better to surprise the latter when she came down to meet her. And the phone kept buzzing. Of course, it was Jeevan.

Nisha recounted her first meeting with Jeevan. Even thinking about him made her smile. They had met at Bristtos, a coffee shop that was just five minutes away from Nisha’s home, for the first time. The conversation as expected, was going just the way it should. Nisha found Jeevan very warm and jovial. He listened to her in rapt attention as she opened up in a way like never before. She had never interacted with anyone much in the past three years, since Adwait's untimely death. She found herself laughing heartily after a long long time at the funny anecdotes Jeevan shared with her. A lot indeed, happened over a cup of coffee and some cheese corn sandwiches that day! They talked about anything and everything under the sun, including careers, their likes and dislikes, about their family background et al. And it was almost three hours of intense conversation after which Nisha felt a warm gush of love and security. She had not believed that her first meeting with Jeevan would convince her of a remarriage. But now she was sure, she had found her match in him. She was in love! Cupid had struck! Nisha had excused herself for a while as she proceeded towards the washroom. She had called up Veena.

Nisha: “I don’t believe I could fall in love so easily! Veena, I think I have found my soul mate!”
Veena: “Girl, I am so so happy for you! Would like to meet you both together when I fly down to Delhi next time. By the way, what is his name? What does he do?”
Nisha: “I am not disclosing anything over the phone! Move your bum here and you will know J
Veena: “3 months for me to touch down there. So be it! And all the best, sweetie! Bye”

Present day.....

The door bell rang. Nisha woke up with a start. She opened the door to find Veena standing right outside. She was overwhelmed. The childhood friends were meeting after a span of five years. A lot had happened for both of them. They were in touch frequently. And yet, there were many things they had not shared with each other about their personal lives, over the long overseas calls they had. Both had hidden a lot from each other. Yet, nothing had changed between them. They caught up with old times, school and college days and a lot more. Over the long uninterrupted conversations, Nisha came to know that Veena had married and separated too, from her husband, citing irreconcilable differences. The friends found solace in each other's company and time flowed like water.

Veena: “Ok! Tell me about him, now! To start with, at least name please!”
Nisha: “No easy way! I have a test for you. You will know him, if you pass the test! I have asked him to come to Bristtos today at 4 PM. And I shall not accompany you inside. Let me see if you can spot him without my help. After all, no one knows my tastes better than you do.” Veena could only nod.

At 4 PM, Veena entered Bristtos. She took a quick glance around. The coffee shop was crowded as it was a Friday evening. Her eyes scoured through the crowd. And then, as destiny would have it, her eyes fell on a tattoo on a wrist of a man sitting with his back towards her. A sense of deja vu engulfed her. He was drumming his fingers on the table. A habit she felt she knew too. But more familiar was the tattoo, she saw – ‘Regret Nothing’. She had seen that tattoo before! If only she could remember where.

The words – ‘Regret Nothing’ were inked on his wrist. And listlessly, she proceeded towards the table to take a closer look. That is when Nisha jumped from behind,

"OK, girl! You got him right! Meet Jeevan, my soon to be fiancee. And, Jeevan, this is Veena, my best friend, my soul sister and my partner in crime!”

Veena almost staggered. Her eyes recoiled in horror as she saw the man. The ruggedly handsome face that she had once fallen for, only to know later how he camouflaged the dark sadistic side of him with an infectious lopsided smile, shot back a grim look that appeared menacing to her. His cool demeanor hid the ugly ill temper that surfaced when his contempt grew, feeding on the fear of his victims. And, Veena was jolted by Nisha as Jeevan extended his hand, "Hey Veena! Nice to meet you!"

The same lines that she had heard five years back, when she had met him in a conference in New York. The memories were fresh. The wounds on her psyche were fresh too, even after half a decade. For the first time, she felt stranded in a situation where she had no control. The shock took its time to sink in. Above all, Jeevan had not shown a flicker of recognition. 

Should she tell Nisha about this man who happens to be her ex? 
Should she expose the Hyde side of this Dr. Jekyll? 
Will Nisha believe her? How would Nisha take the shock of having trusted a man, she believed she truly loved, after having been bereaved of one, in the past? 
What if Jeevan is a changed man? 
What if he is playing a game?

The questions kept popping up. And, Veena knew for a fact, nothing would ever be the same again.


Winning is Everything ~ BlogAdda

"When was the last time you saw yourself on a dais, drowned in a huge round of applause from the audience for receiving an award for an achievement that is entirely your brainchild." 

Well, this question reverberated in my head for a long time after I read the mail from Blogadda asking me to write about ‘Winning is everything!’ ( If at all I won at Blogadda, how would my winning speech sound). Only this time, if I were lucky enough, the dais would be the virtual sphere of Blogadda, and the audience would be my fellow bloggers! And that thought brings a smile on my face!

I haven’t won any blogger awards till date because I have not been that regular at blogging. And more importantly, I know for a fact that people who blog here at Blogadda are way too good! But then, what is the harm in indulging in that fictional moment of pride? So with this topic to write about, I am just happy, because the thought of writing about winning itself is too tempting to resist! 

This would be My Winning Speech on being rewarded the BlogAdda Blog Award!

First things first! I would like to thank Blogadda for awarding me with this prize. Blogging is one of the most gratifying experiences I have felt until now.

And talk about prizes/accolades/awards/applause! Every blogger award is a hallmark of encouragement that pumps a lot of optimism in a blogger. It inspires a blogger to express better, each time. And, this being the first one for me, just says it all! The experience of winning this award is totally overwhelming. It just concurs with your tag line – “Winning is everything”! Indeed!

I can never thank Blogadda enough as, this space has always been the place where I am just myself, sans the various layers of myriad masks that we all put on, in our regular lives. And this award, I shall cherish forever. After all, first time is always a first time! Isn't it?

Thanks a lot, again! And a big thanks to all my readers for enjoying/tolerating what I write!

Narayani Karthik

Hope, you liked it! :)


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Of peanuts, missed calls and those ten minutes! ~ Entry post for Blogadda's WOW contest (Fiction Series)

(The below post is a part of Write over the weekend an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.)

She was getting ready for her office. As she struggled with her blackberry in one hand, and her handbag in the other that slid off her lithe shoulders each time she held it back from falling off, she pushed her feet into the brand new black stilettos she had purchased from an online store just a couple of weeks back. It was Samantha's first job as a technical writer with MediaFireWorks, an MNC. The first day, the first job, the first whiff of independence! And with an ecstatic feeling, she left for office at 8:30 sharp by the regular local.

Samantha boarded the train from Malad, where she settled down in the ladies compartment with a book in her hand. The train started moving sharp at 8:45. After some time, at Jogeshwari, a huge crowd barged in. And within a few minutes, it was even difficult to catch a breath of fresh air. A thirty something female came and sat next to her. The female was busy checking her phone every now and then and then clutched it tightly in her hand, as the train strolled forward. The cacophony increased as a string of vendors came by, selling roasted peanuts. The woman sitting next to her, bought one. Samantha too felt like having one, but the excitement of her first job suppressed her hunger. And after ten minutes, the train came to a halt at Vile Parle. A huge chunk of the crowd got down here, including the female sitting next to her. It would be only ten more minutes, before she reached her destination, Santa Cruz. And then the phone buzzed......

Samantha checked her phone. It was not ringing. The buzzing sound continued. The source was not from her handbag but was the phone lying next to her. There was no one around to claim it was theirs. Samantha was first reluctant to pick it up. But then, she followed her instincts and picked the phone. It had 38 missed calls...... 38 missed calls in the............... past 10 minutes!

And then she remembered, this phone belonged to the girl sitting next to her. She wondered what was going on! Perhaps, in all the noise and the crowd, the buzzing sound of the mobile had not been heard. And then, the poor girl had forgotten to put it back in her purse after she bought her snack of peanuts!

The phone rang again! Samantha picked it up. “Hello.”

Came an anxious voice from the other end: “Hello Reema beta! Your father has suffered a heart attack. The doctor has asked us to get him admitted in City Hospital. Can you come to the hospital directly?”

Samantha was confused. She took a deep breath and responded, “Hello! Who is this? There has been a mistake.....I......This....”

 And the voice came over the phone again....."Reema beta! You are coming na? Rishi is in college.....Raj uncle is in Delhi and all the neighbors here have gone for a sat sang program! I am taking your father to the City hospital in a rickshaw. You too reach there directly. As soon as possible!”

And then the caller hung up. Samantha got down at Santa Cruz with the phone in her hand. As she proceeded towards the exit, she stopped. About ten minutes later, she was in a local moving towards Jogeshwari, from where she took a taxi to City hospital. And then she realized, she only knew the girl’s name. 

She went over the reception and addressed the person sitting on the other side,"Mam, I wanted to know about a patient, who happens to be my friend Reema’s father. May I know which ward he has been admitted in?”

“Name of the patient please?”, asked the receptionist without looking up.

“Well....hmmm....just check......if there is a heart patient who has been admitted here within the last 10 minutes!” (She only knew the first name of the girl, after all!)

The lady on the other side gave Samatha a quizzical look for a second and then proceeded,“Let me check, mam. hmmm..........well, there happens to a sixty year old man admitted in the general ward, who just came in a while ago, complaining of severe chest pain. Mr. Alok shinde, Bed number 12, General ward.” The lady continued, “Well they need to pay the entire admission amount to shift him to the special ward as his condition is serious......The doctor will be here any moment.............Please pass on the message to them.....”

Samantha was not listening any more, as she rushed to bed number 12, general ward. There was a frail man taking deep breaths, and clutching his chest tight as he writhed in pain. The lady next to him, was in tears and desperately trying to call someone on the phone again. Samantha approached them and asked, “Are you Reema’s parents?”

The lady nodded, thinking that Samantha is a doctor. And then, Samantha further asked, “Did you call your daughter Reema on this phone, some ten minutes back?”

The lady now stopped sobbing and asked, “Who are you, beta?" 

Samantha then narrated as to how their daughter’s mobile landed in her hands, by chance. The lady sensing the good Samaritan in Samantha broke down, as she continued, “We are from a lower middle class family, beta. Reema is the sole bread winner. She is a sales girl. We have a son who goes to college. And my husband who has been a heart patient for a long time, has about 90% blockage in his heart. Now, operation seems to be the only way out. The hospital has asked us to pay about 7000 rupees for getting him admitted here, in the special ward, where the heart specialist can treat him soon. We have already paid 5000 rupees that I have been saving for the past few months. We are still 2000 rupees short of the admission amount. And so, I had called Reema....And now, she is not aware of what has happened. How will I contact her? How will I manage the remaining amount?” And the lady started crying again.....

Samantha took the lady along with her and went to the reception. She took out her debit card and made the extra payment that was needed. Then, she asked the old lady to accompany her ailing husband as he was wheeled into the special ward. One of the nurses explained to the now composed wife that, the heart specialist has come and he would take a look at the patient anytime now. About fifteen minutes later, the lady's eyes searched for Samantha but, Samantha had already left. She was on her way to her office. She was late. About two hours late now. But she was happy. Happy that her timely intervention helped in saving a man's life whose fate was unknown till the moment she stepped in. She also knew, her boss, whoever he may be, may or may not understand her reason for being late. But that did not bother her. Because, those crucial ten minutes taught her the importance of life. And, nothing can be larger than life. 

Destiny designs routes for each one of us. Only we need to follow our instincts.

Disclaimer: The above post is a piece of fiction and is an entry post in WOW contest of Blogadda. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

Starting the “garden family” ~ From an nomad's diary

As the suggestions for plants poured in, there was a slight desire in me to get hanging pots. They would add a nice touch to the outward decor of our first floor home. And about the potted plants, I just thought, may be one or two, I shall buy and not more. And until that moment, I was so sure, that I was never going to get inclined to gardening in a frenzy way. Even as I got ready to accompany my mom to the nearest nursery, it was just for her. And boy, I was so wrong!

From Google Images
When I entered the nursery, there was this 'cannot be verbally expressed' feeling that wrapped me in a cocoon of greenery and warmth. The nursery did not have colourful blooms or big plants as I had anticipated. All that greeted our eyes, were saplings of the many regular varieties that this nursery housed. Now, you might wonder what is so appealing about saplings? Well, any living in its nascent stage exudes innocence. And no worldly beauty can surpass that fresh innocence. Most saplings had a few leaves and they were just budding towards their adulthood. In short, they were growing. Healthy and strong.

And then, I asked the guy over the counter, “Which of these blooms all year round?”

Well, the man smiled as he realized that am a first time gardener. He replied, “Not all of them bloom all the time. The line of plants you see on your left are Crotons, which are show plants and the the one that is on your right contains flowers. Most flowers are seasonal. So you can plan your garden family as per season.”

Mom who was still busy studying plants, came up and suggested, "Start with the holy basil – Tulsi."

And that was my first purchase from the nursery. The first day itself brought a sea of change in our home. A freshness had crept in. And Tulsi came home as the first member of my garden family.

Taken from Google Images

(More updates coming your way.....)


This is how gardening “happened” for me ~ From an nomad's diary

I grew up in a home that has a moderately big garden. Although I was never interested in learning  the art of gardening, I sure did enjoy when my mother got new plants and used to arrange them beautifully. Mom's garden is a home to beautiful white, orange, red and pink Ixoras (also known as West Indian Jasmine) that bloom in clutters. Besides that, my mother's garden houses more than a dozen variety of Crotons (a species of non flowering show plants with exotically colored leaves). And there is a cactus corner too. Besides, we have jasmine, pink and white roses, red pink and white hibiscus and many more. The garden also contains a henna plant, banana plant and a coconut tree. We had a lemon, custard apple and a guava tree long back. But then, they were cut down as they were inviting pests like monkeys and parrots who simply created chaos not letting even one fruit in a ripe condition. For someone like mom, who is an ardent plant lover, I have realized over years, that a garden however small or how much ever big, loves you back if it gets love, care and nutrition. And our garden is one living example of my mother’s hard work, love and dedication.

And then, after my school, my college life was spent away from home. I started my career in Pune where there is not much concept of independent houses, let alone big gardens. And even if a few were spotted in the place I lived and worked in, there was no scope to grow a garden. Gardens in city are for those who can afford the luxury of spending time and money alike, for their independent homes. Well, in cities, flats are more popular, attributing to an exploding population, a result of uncontrolled migration of people from villages to cities. So for about a decade, I have not seen much of a garden, in the sense a proper garden. And owing to my little interest, I was never keen on it. But, then all of it changed on this particular year. This particular year has been a roller coaster ride for me, not the least mentioning I have had serious health issues too, from which I have thankfully recovered.

And then the spark came about a couple of weeks ago, when my mother suggested over tea time, 

Mom: “Why don’t you pursue gardening?”

Me: “Mom, I have a terrace in this quarters. How am I even supposed to be growing something here, lest alone a garden? And I know nothing about gardening!”

Mom: "Hey common! There is a small white unused basin on the corner of terrace where you can grow pudina (mint), if you get good mud. And then there are potted plants always! As such plants when grown in pots grow healthier too. And then, I will guide you. Why not give a try, kanna?”

And the above conversation set me off thinking! My family binged on pudina. Instead of buying it costly, why not grow it at home? Why not give it a try, after all? And, so started my tryst with gardening.....

(to be continued.....)


The day she smiled again (Part 3) ~ Fiction series

And since then, the chirpy twenty two year old Jennifer remains an unseen face, a faceless apparition stuck in a world where she can never again feel the warmth of her mother's kiss, or the bear hug of her brother, or the 'partner-in-mischief' winks she shared with her father or, the first blush that often came after the first kiss, a kiss that was meant to be but, never happened. She continues to stay in her room, waiting to come in terms with the fact that her death had taken away a lot from her. Her love, Peter had moved on. She was glad that he did so. What pained her most and the reason for her not having been able to go in peace, was that her own family had refused to move on and were still stuck in the memories that only gave pain, more pain and more pain.

Somehow, her presence is still felt in her home. Because, even today when the dinner bell rings, the first call is addressed to her. There is always a plate for her during lunch and dinners. And that ritual always brings a smile on her face. Her chair is unoccupied, the food remains untouched but the routine helps the family carry themselves through the incurably formidable void of having lost the daughter of the home, the star of their lives. Though Jennifer knows, her time as a living was up long back, she stoically chooses to stay with her family, waiting for normalcy to come back soon. She would give anything to want her family to smile again! She prayed hard. She prayed a lot. She prayed till she felt she could not ask anything more.

And that is when her niece, Samara quipped all of a sudden, at dinner, “Dad! Are there angels in reality?”

Aeron smiled at her and said, “Yes honey!”

The four year old chirped further, “Where do they live?”

And this time, Delia answered, “They live with the stars, up above and high in the sky, so that they can watch over us”

A thin smile came on Jennifer’s face at the innocent questions of her niece.....

However what no one was prepared for, was the next question that came from the child’s mouth, “Is Jennifer aunt an angel now?”

There is a sudden silence. The same silence that brought with it, a sheath of gloom and heart ache. There was pain etched on each face, each not knowing how to respond to that supposedly simple question. No one had even taken her name since the fateful year. Such had been the rage of pain that it almost seemed impossible for happiness to enter its forte. And Jennifer dreaded the impact. But what happened, was a pleasant surprise. The fifty year old grey haired man with a trimmed mustache  who sat next to Aeron, who had sworn a stone cold silence since his only daughter died, now smiled. Yes, the retired army officer, Col Benjamin Jacob took a deep breath. His eyes seemed to water a little bit. But the stern officer in him held the tears back. And he looked at his adorable grand daughter who was visiting him for the first of many times ever since Aeron settled abroad, replied, "Yes my munchkin, Jennifer is is now our guardian angel. She now watches over us."

Those words, those very words finally brought a closure to the mourning of six long years! Her prayers had finally been answered. They brought back everything to normal once again. Her father had spoken again.  And there, her mother who had been in a trance like state ever since, suddenly responded with moistened eyes. Her brother almost choked on his own tears. The child had finally broken the ice. And the key to it, was acceptance! Jennifer felt peace now. She now knew, she did not have to go through the pain of listening to her father’s stone cold silence or gazing at her mother’s unfathomably sad and glazed eyes that had not cried or laughed ever since! Because now, her spiritual presence surpassed her physical absence. Jennifer finally found peace with herself. 

Yes, she would be her family’s guardian angel henceforth! It was time to join the angels. It was time for her to go. It was time to move on to the next world.


Disclaimer: The story is a pure work of fiction developed from a figment of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to the characters in the plot is a mere coincidence. Nothing more, nothing less. 


The day she smiled again (Part 2) ~ Fiction series

And it has been six years now. The routine of getting up each morning and staring blankly into the sky ever since, has been the thread that connected Jennifer with her world. As she descended the stairs of her home, she stared hard at her own portrait that hung on the wall  of the living room of their home. Her parents and her brother Aeron were lighting a candle, as it was prayer time. Her four year old niece Samara put a handful of fresh tulips and arranged them in a circle in front of Jennifer's photo. Tulips were Jennifer's favorite flowers after all. Aeron’s wife, Delia helped her daughter in arranging them. It had been a routine for Jennifer, watching this sight for the past six years, on this day of each year. Because, everything changed on this fateful day. Everything. For her. For her family. This day would always carry heartache and pain. This day had lifted her hopes by leaps and bounds only to bring her world crashing down the next instant. Because, it was Jennifer Jacob's death anniversary, the day she died.

11th July’ 2006: The most memorable day of her life. She had graduated on this day. She was proposed by the love of her life on this day. She got her first job on this day too. She had a scholarship in hand for higher studies abroad, which she had not given much thought about until then. The children she taught in the slums had made her a card, as an acknowledgement of their love, for her kindness. In short, Jennifer Jacob had everything going good, just the way, she wanted. Just the way, things should have been going. She couldn't have asked for more. Life was perfect! Picture perfect!

That day, when her friend had offered her to drop her home, Jennifer had preferred to go by train. Despite the peak hours, she always loved traveling in the local trains. A book in hand and a Walkman that her father had gifted her when she was in fifth grade, gave her enough company. But that day, her mind was elsewhere. She had a lot to be happy about. She had said 'Yes' to the love of her life. And, she looked forward to good times that she believed, awaited her. She waited to share the good news with her parents and her brother. And then she had thought at that instant, "Oh Lord! I couldn't have asked you for more! Thanks for everything!" And that instant when she was dreaming about the good times that lay ahead, that precise moment when her eyes fell on an unattended Tiffin box under the seat across her, that instant when the Tiffin box exploded, that fraction of time became her nemesis. When death came, it came in a jiffy. There was no time for pain. There was no time to comprehend what happened. There was no time for tears. The explosion ripped her soul from her body as it did to three hundred odd people travelling in that train on that fateful day. And then, there was silence, a pin drop silence. The sinister silence that followed could not have been more deafening than the bomb explosion that shook the worlds of many..... 

Jennifer stood there, standing on her lifeless body refusing to accept, refusing to leave! The lines that reverberated in her head were, "No! this cannot be! This is some kind of bad dream. This is not real. This cannot be real". 

(to be continued.....)


The day she smiled again (Part 1) ~ Fiction series

It was 4 AM. It was still pitch dark outside. It had rained the previous day, The clouds had not ceased roaring. But, there was no lightning. There were no stars; there was no sign of the moon either. Perhaps, they were hiding behind the dark clouds. She sat by the side of the window of her room. The wind was cold. And as the coldness crept into the room, so came along a few drops of rain too. Or were those drops from those deep seated long lashed eyes of hers? Her lips were tight and her skin was pale. She blew out the mist on the window pane and a small smile came on her lips. It was something she did, when she had nothing much to do. But then, she had not been doing much for a long time. She then looked at the raging sky as if nothing threatened her anymore. Even the darkness was no more intimidating as it was, when she was small and when she had to keep the lights on to sleep. She cupped her hands on her study table and rested her chin on it. The dark brown hue of her eyes that once brimmed with verve, now was listless. There were no tears. Yet, there was no happiness. She just felt nothing. And, there was no longing for anything. No more.

As she glanced inside her room, her flashy wardrobe caught her attention. It had been unattended for a long time. It still had those photo clippings, a lot of cards and ribbons of various occasions stuck on them. And then suddenly, the wind gushed. The wardrobe opened slightly with a creaking sound. She got up. She looked inside. Dresses were neatly stacked. Her suits were hung on hangers just the way, they come from dry clean. And then, there was her dressing table next to the wardrobe. It always had the typical ‘girl’s best companion’ look. The mirror studded with radium on its corners, stared back at her in silence. The cosmetic box was still there on the dressing table, at the same place, half opened, with the kajal, lip gloss, mascara and some earrings, all scattered in a clumsy fashion. And then the small peg table she used, for sitting in front of the mirror brought back some fond memories of getting dressed each day for college. Her eyes further scoured around as the shoe cabinet that housed more than ten pairs of exquisite looking footwear that she often purchased from the various parts of the country she had traveled, caught her eye. Her father had served in the Army and so she had a collection of all kinds of apparels from almost every corner of the country and she looked at them fondly.

As she turned around and took a deep breath, there still was some of her regular ‘Gucci’ perfume wafting in the air inside the closed room. Her favorite one! And it seemed to arouse the olfactory senses in her, which had been dormant for a while. But, what overwhelmed her with ineffable emotions, was that family portrait that hung on the wall. It was her most treasured possession of all. This possession reminded her of how secure she felt in the bear hug of her elder brother, how soothing she felt when her mother kissed her forehead, how calm and confident she felt when her father gave her his shoulder to lean on whenever she needed it.

And then, there were other albums stacked in the drawers of her dressing table that contained dainty flashbacks of her nomadic childhood, vibrant college days and the exciting part time job she had been pursuing. She was a part time teacher who chose to impart free education in slums. And, she had taken up the job purely out of choice. As those memories came flooding back, a bout of nausea swept over her. And then, the reality jolted her out of the trance that came on her each time, she sat at her study table. The stark reality that things will never change for her, the grim reality that nothing can undo what happened in her life six years back and the forbidding certainty that there is no power in the world that could redo the sequence of events that were destined to happen in her life of 22 years, hit her like a thunderbolt. The naked truth that unmasked itself on 11th July 2006.....that one dreaded moment that changed the course of many lives......the dark fact of history that life would never be the same for many.....

(to be continued.....)


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Have you felt the child in you? ~ Joys of Motherhood

I always thought I am incapable of entertaining small kids because I cannot do the cooing and googlybooglying little children. Even today, as a mother of an almost two toddler, I can’t. But I can play a lot. Like, playing with my son is a full time job that I love to do. Suddenly, I become his playmate and mind well, when I become his playmate, I am a toddler as per him. We play hide and seek. We snatch each other’s toys and I enjoy seeing him cry, get angry, bang his tiny hands on the table and then as a last resort complain to his father or his grandparents. And then, my mother who plays the devil’s advocate admonishes me and asks me to do what he wants. And that leaves him giggling with his hands covering his mouth. I would happily become the toddler to only relish that priceless expression on his face, the expression of victory that comes after having battled hard. Some days, when I get tired of this game, he forcibly hands over his toys to me and urges me to fight! And then, he rushes to his grandparents to complain about me. These are the times I love the most, when I am treated more as his sibling than his mother. It is only in the night he rolls over to my side and gets cuddled in my arms. And that feeling of being loved involuntarily is unparalleled. My hands automatically curl around him and both sleep tight.....

Motherhood has its challenges. It starts with long sleepless nights, feeding newborn for long hours, changing soiled diapers and many physical discomforts follow suit. But it is all worth in the end when the child grows, evolves, becomes naughtier and surprises you each day with a different trick up his sleeve, imitates you, speaks to you in a mixture of languages he picks up from all the people he meets. Elders often say, “kozhandayum Deivum Gunathal ondru”. It is true. Because they perceive everyone in the same manner sans any bias, discrimination or selected interest. And from them we often get lessons for a lifetime.....
P.S: This post is inspired by the image above.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Go October, Come November ~ Welcome, Diwali!

I always love the transitioning phase of seasons. It is a marvel rather. And I love the transition specially at this time of the year when nights get starry and cold and long..........and then onset of winters always give that ‘thoda aur’ time to cuddle in comfy blankets and ‘thoda aur’ time to get up lazily and still snuggle in the warmth of bed and look outside the window just to see a dainty streak of light appearing across the horizon. And what just gives me sheer innocent delight is sipping from a hot glass of simmering filter coffee, while still nestled inside the warmth of shawls and scarves and blowing the mist out on each breath. That feeling when you are alone and still not lonely is something we all need at least once a day.

And as days get shorter, evenings crisply turn dark on 6. Roads, trees, homes and parks are illuminated with the beautiful electric lighting's that make a feast for the eyes. As the moon wanes, the lights of the crackers illuminate the sky with their deafening sounds. Traditional diyas and lanterns when lit, make the entire atmosphere so rich and comforting. It is time to celebrate. It is time to be merry. It is time to make sure that this prosperity and happiness is sustained. 

Go October, Come November! Yes! It is Diwali!

Diwali! The fiesta of lights! The festival of hopes! The carnival of delicacies! The bringer of prosperity!

Wishing one and all a very Happy and a Prosperous Diwali J

May the light of wisdom shine on each one of us, and may our thoughts and actions be noble!

Cheers & God bless...!!


The first compering experience ~ From an nomad's diary

Have you ever felt the happiness for being recognized for something that has been your brainchild? Have you ever felt the ecstasy that runs into your veins deep as that resonating sound of applause and congratulatory remarks still rings in your ears for something you did the first time? Well, the feeling engulfed me a when a few days back I hosted an event, or more precisely to say, compered for the first time, addressing a crowd for whom I was just someone who belonged to their fraternity, until the moment I  commenced with compering.

A month back, I was approached by a friend who requested me if I could compere for a station ladies meet. I wasn't quite sure and I had refused. And then, the issue was forgotten until I got another call from a senior army wife a couple of days later, who asked me if I would be interested to host the meet. I always believe in signs. If there are signs that repetitively remind you of something, or prod you to do something, I feel it is a decision made already. And this time, without much thinking, I said yes! And I had no idea about the hosting part, as I had never gone anywhere near a stage for any reason, for more than a decade. But with my husband's usual words of encouragement, “Just do what you have to, you will find your way!”, I decided to take the plunge.

And with all encouragement and guidance from unknown quarters, my partner and I prepared our script which was proof read and fine tuned from time to time. The final outcome was definitely sweet. I had those initial goose bumps about holding the stage and the attention of the audience, as all first timers are. But once my partner and I were there, there was no looking back. Well ‘no looking back’, here meant a statutory warning for us by the senior army wives who had already prepared us saying, “whatever happens, just keep the show going!”. And the event turned out to be a grand success. There was a small skit performed by us, followed by a group song by four gifted singers and a fusion group dance by four exceptionally talented dancers. When the event was over, I realized for a fact that beginnings are always those rough grounds in any project of life. They carry uncertainty with them, leaving many loose ends to be tied. But then, only when we face the beginning, the way ahead clears and the end of tunnel can be seen. It felt good to have participated, no matter what errors happened (which I came to know were not noticeable at all). But the whole experience was gratifying. The feeling of holding a stage, addressing a crowd and getting an overwhelming response from them, is totally out of the world. What more can I say? Can only thank the organization for having given me a chance to rediscover a facet of my personality, I did not know, existed.

Special thanks to my partner Saroj, who has an engaging smile, an infectious laughter and a joke up her sleeve always! And that always puts everyone around her at ease. So the first time was definitely a worthwhile experience. This experience has definitely proved that, “Hard work and sincerity always pays”. And it is a live example of what my father keeps harping time and again,

“Do your job. Let the credits run after you!”

So true!