Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My dreams. My truth

She stood on the threshold of
Deep slumber and wakefulness.
Dreams heavy on her eyelids.
Duties heavy on her soul.
She knew not though,
Which to ignore.
And where to roll.
Dreams enticed her to freedom and wilderness.
Duties adhered her to pretence and discretion.
'Mother... wake up!'
Ah! Just that one call!
She smacked the dreams off her eyelids.
Donned the garb of smile and
Walked onto the discreet aisle of life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Bee named Karma


Once upon a time, in a village named Samayampura, located in the Southern part of India, lived a bee named Karma. Karma was a very restless bee. He loved roaming around the village of Samayapura gauging thoughts and actions of the people.

One cold morning, while on his daily routine, he came across the village temple’s priest, Venkatachalam Shastri. Venkatachalam Shastri was a snob. He was very arrogant about his position. People were scared of him. That day, Priest Shastri, post his morning ablutions, was hurrying to the temple for morning prayers, chanting hymns. On the way, an urchin with a shabby dog by his side, tugged at the end of Shastri's expensive silk shawl.

Before the frail urchin could ask anything, Shastri turned around and started shouting, ‘Oh Shiva Shiva! Oh God! I have been contaminated by this boy! This is sacrilege! What will I do now? Even if I plunge thousand times in river Ganga, I will not be rid of this impurity.’

‘How dare you touch me?’ roared Shastri, his rotund body shivering and his bald pate shimmering with uncalled for sweat, at the urchin.

Earlier shivering with cold and now with fear, the urchin stuttered, ‘I.. I...approached you for your shawl Shastriji, as I and my dog were feeling cold. We..eee arre sorrry.’

‘How did you even think I would give you my shawl, you dirty pig? Huh?’ retorted Shastri with reddened eyes.

‘I am really sorry Shastriji,’ muffled the urchin.

Unable to contain his anger, Shastri shoved the urchin on to the ground and turned around to go back for a bath. The entire village stood witness to this but not a single person muttered a word against Shastri.

Seeing all this, Karma warned Shastri, ‘Shastriji, what you have done is not correct. Your actions are inappropriate as a person, leave as a priest.’

Shastri fumed at these words and shooed away the bee.

Next day, Karma was as usual on his daily tour of the village. He came across the urchin again. He looked at the boy in awe when he saw him offering half of his meagre food to the stray dog that had accompanied him the other day. He felt proud about the boy. The next day also he saw the same thing. This happened every day.

Suddenly, one day, the urchin disappeared from the village.  

Days passed by. One gloomy winter night, suddenly, everything in the village started wobbling. People, forcing themselves out of sleep, ran out of their houses, to save their lives.

‘Earthquake! Earthquake!’ shouted people. Before anyone could do anything, the entire village collapsed. People ran helter and skelter to protect themselves and their loved ones but in vain. The entire village turned into dust.

Hearing the plight of the village, people from other villages came forward to help the victims of the nature’s brunt. People who were alive were in bad predicament. One day, a very rich man from a nearby village visited the village. He came to the deserted land of Samayapura with his entourage. Among his entourage, was a handsome boy. Karma’s eye instantly fell on the boy. On a second look, he realized who the boy was. He was the same urchin. Even in this remorse situation, Karma smiled from ear-to-ear.

The rich man asked this boy to offer food and blanket to the needy ones. The boy did it happily. Very politely, he offered food and blanket to each one of them. Everyone looked at him in surprise as they realized who he was.

‘Baba, please have this blanket. You are shivering from cold,’ the boy told to a desolate, frail, old man, who was none other than the arrogant priest. He was now nothing but a ragged man with a lost pride and buried ego.’

Seeing the boy, the appalled priest grumbled, ‘You? But how?’

Karma interrupted, “It’s Karma Shastriji. His were good and yours were not.”

Shastri sobbed uncontrollably hearing Karma’s words and apologized to the boy.

The boy consoled him, ‘No baba, don’t apologize. You are elder to me.’

Curious, Shastri asked, ‘how come you are with this rich man?’

‘Baba, it’s all God’s grace,’ smiled the boy, reminiscing that moment when he met this rich man.

‘Remember the dog that used to be with me always?’

‘Yeaas,’ replied Shastri, in doubt.

‘The dog’s name is Faith and he belonged to this rich man, whom now I call Appa.’

‘The dog had lost its way and come to our village. I took care of him like a brother. One day, while passing through our village, Appa saw Faith and recognized him. He was his lost dog, whom he had loved dearly. He took both of us with him and took good care of us. And now I am here,' smiled the boy in content.

As if in chorus, the desolate people of the village sighed.

Amazed at the miracle of God, Karma mumbled, ‘Good karma grants unexpected gifts and bad karma stings. It stings like a bee.’ Saying this, Karma buzzed away.

 Photo Courtesy: Built to Inspire

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pathemari - A heart felt movie


 
I watched Pathermari today. There was a kind of emotion that I couldn’t relate to but I felt it deep. I felt it not because I have been in the same situation as Pallikal Narayanan (played by Mammootty) in the movie but because I know many such men from my family itself who have left the cocoon of their birthplace at a very ripe age of 16 and 17 with the burden of an entire family on their shoulders. My father, my kochachan, my Pradeep chettan – these are the names of few people who come to my mind. My father has spent, I think, more than 40 years in Mumbai. He was a good writer. He loved studying but he couldn’t as he had to leave Kerala to earn for his family. The only savings he has today are his wife and kids and a disease which is incurable and is gradually taking him closer to his death. My kochachan (my dad’s younger brother) has spent the best times of his life away from his wife and kids. These people worked not to save and invest but to spend on their family and fulfill their needs. My Pradeep Chettan is a heart patient but he is still working in Sharjah, after two open heart surgeries. Trust me; these people have worked in worst situations than we can ever imagine of.  Each one of these people are Pallikal Narayan, who have lived or are still living, selflessly for their families, away from them, yearning to be with them.

In earlier days, families used to be big and the responsibilities always used to be dumped on the shoulders of the elder ones. These young boys, at the age when they are supposed to be enjoying their life or at least lead a simple, happy life, slog day and night, away from their house, and send money and gifts to their families, like trained robots. Kids, today, are career and money-oriented. They won’t do anything under anyone’s pressure. But people like Narayanan, my father, my kochachan leave their village and go to big cities, not to explore their dreams but to feed their parents and younger ones. They work like a donkey, get their sister’s married, get their kids educated, fulfill their parent’s wishes. They live contented fulfilling the duties, not realizing people only look forward to their money and gifts they brought and not them. They live in this hope of going back to their native one day and living there happily with their wife, kids, sisters, and parents. But that never happens. When one wish is fulfilled, they think now I can go back to my native and live with my family. But no! another responsibility arrives. When that is fulfilled, another arrives. The responsibilities wait in line to be dumped on their shoulders. The only dream they dream, every single day and night, is to return to their village. It doesn't happen but they live with that hope.  Of course, some Malayalees have done really well for themselves outside their state. But people like Narayanan never make it. For they work only to fulfill the wishes of their near ones. If only they had dreamt of accumulating wealth for themselves, build house for them, then they too would have flourished. But no! The family never allows them to dream. It would be a sin if they ever think for themselves. One after another the sacks of responsibilities are laid upon their shoulders. Epiphany happens only when other family members start addressing themselves as I and not We. It’s my house. It’s my property. It’s my money. This is the time they wonder, wasn’t I slogging for ‘We the family’ and not ‘I, Me, Myself’? If they happen to utter a word about their hardships for the family, everyone declares them as selfish, calculative, and God knows what!

Anyway, the movie is an eye opener. It made me realize that pains of these people are far bigger than ours. They never show it. I really empathize with people staying away from their families just to feed them. I hope all the family members of these people do not just consider them as money minting machines and empathize and support them for their efforts. Don’t be selfish sluts when your brother or your sister or anybody from your family is slogging the shit out of their life to give you the best in the world.
Kudos to Mamukka and the team for making such an amazing movie! A must watch.
 Photo courtesy: Indiglamour

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tripped at Facebook


 
Nita and Sameer have been married for three months and it’s only now in the fourth month, they could manage to go for their much awaited honeymoon – thanks to the work pressure these days. Like any other girl, Nita was very excited about the honeymoon. She had imagined about all the dresses she would wear, the poses she would pose for pictures, and ah! All the covetous Facebook updates and location check-ins she would post.
This trip was a surprise for Nita from Sameer so she was really anxious to find out where he has planned the trip. On the entire way to airport, Nita was curious to find out whether the taxi is going to the Mumbai International Airport or the domestic airport. The moment they reached the airport, her face turned sour, ‘Sameer tell me where are we going?’
‘Goa,’ cheered Sameer.
‘Goa?’ asked Nita in disbelief.
‘Yes. Why? What happened? Finally we are on our honeymoon, and we will booze and chill and have fun. Three cheers to our trip. Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray! Hip hip hurray!’
‘Wait a second Sameer. I thought you would plan an international trip for us. Why Goa?’ Tears welled up in Nita’s eyes.
Sameer immediately gauged the situation and he knew he had to troubleshoot it with utmost care. He was good at it, after all he was an IT guy. Troubleshooting difficult issues and working under pressure is his forte.
Gathering his wits, Sameer moved close to Nita, in the confines of the cab, and hugged her tight. He knew this worked for girls. ‘Oh my baby! I did all this for you and trust me it is going to be fun. Virgin beaches, candle light dinners, you in your pink floral dress with a tiara on your head and sand under your feet running towards me and I standing there with arms wide open, cool breeze in my air and love in my eyes, waiting eagerly to take you in my embrace – this is all I wanted for us, this is all I wanted baby!' Sameer tried to sound romantic and sad at the same time. 'I thought you be would be happy to be anywhere in the world if I am there by your side.’ Sameer pulled her out of his embrace and squeezed her hand, hoping for his magic trick to work on his wife.
And it worked.
‘I am sorry Sameer. I never thought you had put so much thought and effort behind this trip. Sorry.’
Sameer hugged her again and exhaled.
Pulling herself out of Sameer’s embrace, Nita clicked a selfie of hers and Sameer’s in the taxi and posted it with the message ‘ feeling loved’ on her Facebook timeline along with location check in and the destination of her trip ‘flying to Goa with Sameer Khandelwal'.
In the meantime, Sameer wriggled out of the cab and heaved a sigh of relief.
The only thought that blinked in Sameer’s mind was ‘Booze! Booze! Booze!’ He was super thrilled. He missed his friends. ‘Kaam chalaa lunga,’ murmured Sameer to himself.
‘What?’ quizzed Nita.
‘Whh…a…t? Nothing!’ grinned Sameer.
Nita took lot of pictures at the airport lounge – selfies, single shots. Sameer wanted to have a beer and relax but his time at the airport was wasted taking Nita’s pictures.
‘Sameer! Take this shot. Sameer! Take this pose,’ mimicked Sameer angrily while in the washroom.
‘It’s okay. Goa is calling. If not here then there.’ Sameer consoled himself.
Sameer and Nita finally reached Goa after a series of photo sessions in the flight.
Sameer was tired.
‘Baby, we will go to the hotel and take some rest.’
‘No baby! What about our candle light dinner? You told you will take me for romantic dinner!’ snorted Nita.
‘Nita I have planned that for tomorrow night. Tonight we will rest in the room.’
‘Okay,’ murmured a disheartened Nita.
Sameer did a ‘yes’ behind Nita’s back. They hired a cab. Nita was really looking forward to a luxurious stay. On the way to the hotel, she imagined herself posting for pictures in Taj Vivanta.
‘When I will check in at Taj, Shruti will be really jealous,’ guffawed Nita, ‘How she was boasting her pictures of Thailand. Bleh!’
‘And that Tina, she even bullied me about not going for honeymoon. I really would love to see her face when she will see my check in at Taj.’
‘Nita, hotel has arrived,’
Nita looked up from her phone excitedly and was shocked. ‘This is the hotel we are going to stay in?’
‘Yes! Isn’t it beautiful?’ replied Sameer merrily, ‘They have a swimming pool; air conditioned rooms, free wi-fi connectivity and above all a television! Isn’t that awesome!
Nita broke out with a loud cry. Sameer didn’t understand what was wrong. ‘Nita what happened? Why are you crying? You are feeling sick?’
‘Nita couldn’t mutter even a single word. She cried on continuously. She felt cheated. ‘Sameer, I thought you would have booked a room in Taj. This is our honeymoon dammit!’
‘Nita, Cool down!’
‘I am sorry!’ Sameer’s troubleshooting skills were fading in this situation. He didn’t know how to make her understand.’
Now the only weapon of defense was counter tears. Sameer stopped consoling Nita and started rubbing his eyes himself. Nita looked at him from the corner of her eye.
Guilt stabbed her in her stomach. ‘I am sorry darling. Please don’t cry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I know you did all this with lot of love. I am really sorry.’
From behind the hands, Sameer’s eyes grinned sheepishly. He understood his strategy worked this time.
He embraced Nita and entered the hotel to check in to the room. He was looking forward to the football match between Manchester United and Real Madrid. ‘Tonight is going to be fun!’ cheered Sameer.
Nita made most out of the place they were in. She clicked photos near the pool, the hammock, the restaurant area, the sea view from their room balcony but she remained upset the entire night.
Sameer was busy with his football match but he saw that Nita wasn’t happy. He went to her and hugged her to cheer her up. ‘From tomorrow to next three days, we will have lots of fun. Trust me sweety.’
Sameer tried to keep up with his promise. They visited different tourist places in Goa. Nita was very happy as she got to click selfies everywhere and do Facebook updates. ‘As long as the Facebook updates are going fine, nothing to worry,’ thought Sameer.
Sameer was looking for a peaceful and relaxed vacation but it was full of visits to different places and tiresome rides in the hot coastal weather. He really missed his football matches and beers which he thought he would enjoy in his Goa stay. ‘I would return more tired from Goa than I had been while coming from Mumbai,’ grumbled Sameer.
‘Nita, we have come here to relax. And we are just travelling from one spot to another. Instead of going to all the beaches, can’t we just go to one beach and chill out there?’
‘No Sameer! We have to take pictures everywhere. I have to post it on Facebook. My friends will be really jealous,’ chortled Nita, ‘Don’t I look beautiful in that photo with a pout taken on the cruise?’
‘Yeah,’ yawned Sameer.

'What's wrong with people these days! Do they travel to enjoy or take pictures. Especially selfies, arrgh! I have started hating it. I had come on this trip to relax but the stress to take pictures is more than the stress to finish my deadline in the office,' groaned Sameer, 'a day will come when people will post pictures of passing stools as well.'
 Nita interrupted Sameer's thought, ' Sakshi was really surprised when I told her that we visited casino.'
Jolting out of reverie, Sameer asked, ‘But when did we visit casino?’
‘You just shut up. We have to show the world how happy we are, you understand? International trip is in trend these days. We didn't go for that so at least we should romanticize our Goa trip as much as possible. Otherwise how will people know how happy we are. Plus, how will I show off my newly bought dresses, shoes, and bags? You don't understand anything baby,’ Nita nudged Sameer, giggling.
‘But how will you post a casino photo if we haven’t been to casino?’ asked a confused Sameer.
‘I don’t have to post photos of that. I checked in at these places on Facebook and that is enough.’
‘Nita, you are impossible!’ moaned Sameer.
Finally, the last day of the trip arrived. Sameer was happy. He wanted to return to his office cabin and relax. Nita was bit upset but she wanted to do as much as possible on this last day. She took photos everywhere possible.
‘Nita, don’t go there. It is slippery over there. You will fall. Come back baby.’
‘Don’t worry baby. I am fine. Just one photo, baby, please.’
‘Okay, hold onto that railing. And be careful.’
Nita smiled and posed on the big rock.
‘Say cheese baby,’ cheered Sameer, happily as this was the last day of the trip.
‘Sameeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrr…’ Thud thud.. ‘Ouuchhhhhhhhh.’
Before Sameer could realize anything, Nita was on the ground. Sameer ran towards her and picked her up. Nita was weeping with pain. Sameer took her to the nearby hospital. Nita had fallen off that big rock and fractured her right foot. She had to plaster her foot. Sameer took her to the hotel worrying about their return. He knew it would be impossible for her to travel back now at least for two days. Reaching the room, Nita hugged him tight and apologized. He smiled at her and said, 'I love you!'

Nita cried uncontrollably. 'I love you too baby.'

'Now relax baby. Take this pain killer and go to sleep. I will cancel our tomorrow's return ticket.
Tucking her into bed, Sameer  went to the balcony with his phone and postponed their trip for some more days. When he came back to his side of the bed, Nita was fast asleep. He kissed her on her forehead and went to sleep.

Next morning, they both sat in their sea facing balcony peacefully. After the last four days of photo spree, this was a welcoming change for both of them. They sipped their tea relishingly, watching the lazy sea gushing against the sand coyly.  
Sameer took his phone lying lazily on the center table, opened his Facebook page, and posted, ‘feeling peaceful with Nita Rai Khandelwal.’
 
 
 
 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Dilemma of a Socially Challenged


It’s festive mood everywhere. My society too had arranged a one day function on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. Everyone was invited to attend the function and make it a joyful and successful one. And there started my dilemma. I am not really good at attending these functions. I get nervous when I have to confront strangers. Now you must be thinking how come the people from the same society you live in be strangers to you, right? Trust me.  I have been staying in the same society for the last 11 years and I hardly know anyone from my society, except for a few people who stays in my building - that too a hi-bye relation, nothing more. Sigh! Now you must have realized how socially challenged I am. But this time I was adamant to improve my social skills, so I went ahead and attended this function. You may think I am an introvert who doesn’t talk at all. But it isn’t like that. I can talk for hours together with people if they take the initiative but not the other way round. I don’t know what the issue is but I terribly fail at taking the initiative and if I do take then it ends up in a huge disaster. The same happened at this occasion as well.

I got all dressed up – dressing up for me means just wearing a plain cotton kurta and legging, this time a shawl (odhani) was an addition. See! now you know how serious I was about building my social skills. I went down all dressed up. The ambience was energetic with huge dhols reverberating through the society, people dancing insanely to the loud dhols and long slithering string of crackers exploding, deafening the ears and polluting the air. There were bystanders enjoying and clapping to the raucousness of the dhol. I too joined the bystanders and clapped to the music. The moment I stood behind the bystanders I felt bodies turning around and strange eyes settling on me. People looked at me oddly as if they saw an alien. I started sweating nervously. I felt like turning around and running away from the spot. But I stood there with an embarrassed smile on my face.  Nobody returned my smile.  Happens to me all the time. This is why I don’t take initiative to start a conversation. People are weird. Anyway, I retrieved my smile and faked a poker face. Suddenly, out of nowhere, fat Sharma aunty, who stays in my building came running to me. I felt relieved seeing her. At least, there was one person who recognized me. She forced me to go forward and dance with others. I really love dancing; especially I love dancing to the dhol during Ganpathi but never did it as I was shy. I dance vigorously at home in my bedroom when these dhols pass from the streets during Ganpathi’s arrival and visarjan. You won’t believe, my dream is to lie down on the street and dance to these grandeur beats like the boys do. Oh! How I love it! So now you understand how much I was excited when Sharma aunty invited me to dance. It was a dream come true for me. Though with awkwardness, I plunged amidst people to shake my leg with the fat aunty by my side. I tied my odhani sideways and raised my hands in a 90 degree angle and guess what? The music stopped. I stood there like a statue with people and band retrieving from my side. I cursed myself for venturing out to dance. I looked up in the sky and asked God, ‘Why? But why? Why always me?’ The band people were tired and needed a break so they had retrieved. But why at the exact moment when I got geared up to dance? Embarrassed, I recoiled my hands, removed my odhani from sideways, and strode back to the place where I stood before attempting this adventure. I could hear people murmuring with a sly smile on their face. They must have been murmuring about something else but the embarrassed I believed they were ridiculing me. Sigh!

Taking all this in a stride, I moved onto the next difficult level of the evening – The dinner.  I really find it awkward to hog food in front of people. Especially the buffet dinner is a nightmare for me. I mean how silly it is to stand in a queue, gather food and then eat it, that too standing. Bleh! I hate it. But again my rescuer, Sharma aunty, came to the scene and forced me to eat. I took a plate, went to the nicely arranged buffet, took spoon, salad, pickle, curries and when my chance arrived to pick puris, the basket lay there empty without even a single puri in it. I looked here and there for help but no one seemed to be bothered. I looked behind for a support from the people standing in queue behind me but there were none. A man from the caterer’s team came to the buffet table. I asked him for the puri and rudely he replied, ‘Madam, have patience, puri is being made.’ He said as if I emptied the puris in the basket. Groaning, I dumped the plate on the table and turned around to go to my flat. Again the fat aunty called out to me from behind, asking whether I had my food. I felt as if she is doing all this deliberately.  Cursing her from inside, I replied, ‘Yes aunty.’

‘Arre, don’t go home immediately after hogging food. Come mingle with us,’ chuckled aunty.

I couldn’t contain my anger anymore. My face reddened. Tears welled up in my eyes. But I maintained my composure and went to her with a smiling face. She introduced me to women standing near her. They were her friends. I politely smiled at all of them, now my nerves calming down. Finally, something fruitful came out of the evening. 
Naah! That was just my thought.

‘Beta, you are expanding day by day like a balloon,'   guffawed Sharma aunty.

That was it for me. The sarcasm in me could not be contained and pat came my reply, ‘Aunty, I’m inspired by you.

Everyone went silent.

Then suddenly...
All the ladies, standing around, laughed unanimously.

Fuming with anger, Sharma aunty stomped her foot and walked away. Alas! I stood there dejected, losing the only acquaintance I had in the society.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bow to the Serpent God


Image result for manarshala
Squiggled my feet

Through the dense path of the divine abode of the Serpent Gods.

Whimpering

Before the King of Serpent Gods,

Who stood there,

Silvery as the milky divine splendor of millions of pallor,

 Bright and invigorated as the cheerfully yellow and youthful sun,

Shimmering with the magnificence of emeralds stuck to the hoods,

Hissing the assurance of miracle of love

I yearned for

In the parched sandy long slithering days,

In the moonless, frozen nights of insanity,

In the dreams of togetherness,

In the crowded trails of loneliness.

Among the faces grinning with happiness.

 
My hands came together to pray,

My soul bowed before the divine bay.

My mind pondered thought,

Not negative and gray.

Still …

My love!

You are not here,

 Leaving my heart alone to stay.

 
Begged my heart before the King of Snakes.

To grant this lifetime and life after

To tread the path of green savannahs

Thorny lands

Salinized sands

With you.

 

Omen He sent

Through his angel

Accepting my prayers for miracle

In the form of yellow ashes

Spreading a grin of positivity

On the face of a helpless girl

In me.

 

Promised I

To return to him with you

In years to come

To prostrate before him

For the blessings he bestowed

On me.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Caterpillars





I had it in me
As I had my sweet little bee
With me.
The newness of it,
Though bloomed out
Afresh,
When felt I again
Two lives alive in me.

Bloomed out
The two caterpillars
From not the wedlock,
But the love galore
He decanted on me.
Every touch he touched
Was divinity personified
For me.
Blessed I am thus,
To have his seeds in me.

World knows not
Being loved how it feels to be.
Understands only they
The language of bondage and slavery.
My Caterpillars!
So,
Dreams of yours
To bloom into a butterfly,
Buzzing around
In joy and glee,
Is something mum scares to fulfill. 
Life I can promise you
Till the dusk tomorrow.
Forgive mum
For putting you through this sorrow.

My Caterpillars!
Muma’s secrets you will be.
Deep concealed.
So,
Remain you will in my soul
Like life’s unforgotten reel.

Begs mum to two of you.
Grant me a chance once more
In years to come.
To roe you,
To nurture you,
To blossom you,
Into colorful butterflies,

Fluttering around

Psychedelic flowers
Of joy and spree.