DEBIKA MUKHERJEE


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LOVE BINDS

Durga puja over… Today is the last day… Dashami morning…
Maya took off her specs, kept it aside and sipped her cup of tea which Reema served along with some biscuits. Reema is her elder daughter-in-law, wife of her elder son Satya. Both of them were married two years ago, now staying abroad. Maya’s younger son Som also got married to Nishi 6 months back and both of them are working abroad. None of her sons have any plans to come back to India, rather they are all trying to settle there only.
Maya, at the age of 67, stays alone in her 1 bedroom apartment in Kolkata. After her husband Anant left her alone, she decided to stay on her own, though her sons wanted her to stay with them turn by turn. But Maya was completely adamant about her stay in her own country, in her own home, preferring her own comfort zone. She visited her sons’ places once. Didn’t find it that interesting, rather felt too much confined and suffocating. Maya and Anant were staying separate for the last 10 years. Maya had no whereabouts of Anant, and she never tried also.
Reema’s mother was severely ill and she was counting her days. As soon as Maya came to know this, she immediately called Satya and they arranged for Reema’s visit to her mother in her last days. Luckily enough they got the ticket and Reema flew down to India. She arrived last night only and today afternoon she will be leaving for her parental abode in Jamshedpur. The tickets were all done beforehand through the net and that was a blessing for her.
Reema was obviously very upset, in a very bad state of mind. She was unusually quiet. Maya, being a mother could empathize. Reema was about to leave in the afternoon. Maya wished she could accompany her. She was reluctant to let Reema go all alone in such a crisis hour, that too in such a vulnerable state of mind…
Both of them had their morning tea together. Maya shared her tea time with someone else after a long time. She became habituated to welcome her morning hours with her cup of tea alone in her balcony, talking silently to and staring helplessly towards her pot-plants, creepers, and the freshly bloomed flowers. She was feeling good for herself yet sorry for the girl sitting beside, who was more of a daughter than a daughter-in-law. They didn’t talk much with each other, apart from some small yes-and-no’s……
Jamuna, the maid didn’t turn up. She took a leave for the day. Both Maya and Reema shared the kitchen chores together and obviously they finished them pretty fast. The daughter’s young hands were very swift compared to that of the mother’s. Maya was relaxed as she was getting tensed thinking about Reema’s departure. Whether she would be able to match all her household chores along with the ticking time, so that Reema leaves for the station on time.
Reema embraced Maya, Maya hugged her dearly and both shared some silent tears, both knowing very well exactly what was going to happen in the coming days. Maya said while wiping her moist eyes, “sorry beta.., I had to leave you alone at such an hour when you needed a strong hand to hold on to the most…. but you know if I would have gone with you, I would have been an extra burden for you all due to my own disabilities.” Reema held her hands and pleaded, “You need not be sorry for anything Maa, I know very well, what and how you feel for me. I know, you will always be there beside me, Maa. Take care. It has been a tiring day for you, please take ample rest, I had called up Jamuna and she told me that she will be coming in the evening and will prepare your dinner. She told me not to worry at all.”
Saying so, Reema left …………………..
Maya was left all alone, once again…. She lied down on her bed, with a book.
No sooner did she start going through the lines, her cell rang. An unknown number it was. She didn’t accept the call. It rang again after a few seconds. This time she picked it up. She felt, it may be a call from Reema’s home.
Maya – “hello..,”
Male voice – “hello, is it Maya there..?”
Maya – “yes, speaking… Who is it..?”
Male voice – “Hey ya, Dhruv here… remember any Dhruv from your college..?”
Maya – “Ohh my god, Dhruv…. Youuu…?? ”
Dhruv – “Yesssss….!!!! Thank god, you got me…”
Maya – “I still can’t believe I am hearing from you..!! Where from did you get my number? ”
Dhruv – “Got it from Shilpi.”
Maya – “Okay, Good… But, can’t talk over the phone like this anymore, we have to catch up very soon. Drop in to my place some day and yes, don’t forget to bring Nutan with you too… It has been long since we three met. Where are you calling from now…?”
Dhruv – “Correct you are. Sure, will bring Nutan. She is damn excited to meet you too… we’ll drop in some day and hijack you to our place then… Nutan only got your cell no. from Shilpi and forwarded me today… I’m calling from my office now… ok then, rest when we meet, take care, bye for now.”
Maya kept her cell on the bedside table. Got up from the bed, went to the balcony. Sat on the rocking chair and started to rock on it like a little girl, lost in her ‘wonder years’…

****

“What the hell is going on between my husband and that bitch?” Maya’s patience was at its lowest ebb and she was ready to burst.
Dhruv knew that she was serious. ‘Look, Maya, there is nothing between the two of them. Just a little bit of healthy flirting, I’d say.’
‘Flirting? Healthy flirting? Really Dhruv…. ‘She rolled her eyes in disgust.’ That’s what you men call it? There is nothing healthy about flirting, Dhruv, not for a married man.
Healthy flirting is a term introduced by perverted men who want to lend legitimacy to their extra-marital dalliances. Flirting invariably has a sexual connotation to it.’
She got up from her seat and walked around the room gesticulating and muttering something to herself. Suddenly she stopped, turned back, looked at Dhruv and asked, “Did my husband sleep with her? You are his friend. Did he ever tell you anything about it?”
Just then the doorbell rang….. Once … twice …
Maya got up from the rocking chair slowly. Reached the main door, opened it to find Jamuna only. It was a great relief. Jamuna entered with a big grin. Maya was not at all in a mood to smile at her. Still gave a tiny smile and went back to the balcony… Sat for a while… got up again… she was feeling terribly restless. The sudden glimpse of those terrible days were in front of her eyes again… it brought back her anxiety, her bewildered self, her trauma of losing her beloved……. She wanted to forget them, but the more she tried to set them aside, the more they appeared in front of Maya’s eyes….
Dhruv’s call, after so many years, made her feel so good but, again… side by side, it brought back many bitterly battered memories of her upsetting days with Anant. She hated the memories of those not-so-memorable moments. She stared blankly through the railing, at the sky.., at the newly planted rose plant, at the dream-filled, blushing-pink freshly bloomed rose bud.., just like a newly love-stricken teenage girl, waving Maya with the green leaves around her… as if it wanted to wipe her tears with their soft touch…….
Three days passed…
On the fourth day Dhruv and Nutan finally came to visit Maya. All three of them were college mates along with Anant. Dhruv, Nutan and Maya were missing Anant very badly, but silently within… none of them expressed.
Finally Dhruv took out Anant’s name, though Nutan tried to divert it in many ways. Noticing this, after much reluctance, Maya gathered herself and thought it’ll be better not to escape from the topic, rather to face them and help clear out the chokes from people’s throats. So she directly asked Dhruv if he wanted to know anything about their separation, the reasons and anything under the sky, regarding their split, he can go ahead.
Dhruv queried, Maya replied….. Both of them went on and on……. Just to get the gist of the split.
After their long drawn discussion on who did what, who was wrong and who was right, what happened next, and what would have happened, suddenly, Dhruv went for a long pause. Then he informed something which was somewhat shocking for Maya, all of a sudden.
Dhruv – “Do you know Maya, why are we here?? Where is your, rather our Anant these days?
Maya – “He was and may be is still your friend, you must be knowing. But let me tell you one thing, I am least interested.”
“No Maya, I think, this time you should know where is Anant, and how he is……”
“I told you, and I repeat, it’s none of my business, let him be happy where he is …”
“He is admitted in ICU in a nursing home, struggling for life and death. Do I need to wait for you now to ask about him, or you permit me to say something more about him?”
Now…….., total quietness….. Maya’s eyes fixed, without a single blink.., instantly turned pale, with a blunt look, asked, “what happened and how…?”
Dhruv – “He met with an accident last month.., doctors have left all hope. After much treatment, care and heaps of medicines for the whole month, have told us to inform his near and dear ones. He wants to meet you. Would you like to visit him once?”
Maya broke down…….. Forgot all her grudges, complaints… said, “Yes Dhruv, I will…”
It was decided that they will go immediately as it was already 4:30 pm…. All three of them headed towards the nursing home where Anant laid in a semi-conscious state. They were permitted by the hospital authority to meet him as his condition was not at all good. Maya went inside the ICU cabin. There lay her beloved, who, for the sake of another woman, left his first ‘love’, to live her life alone and lonely… amidst a strange maddening world with two teenage kids……
Dhruv followed Maya, knowing her well, she may hesitate to call and talk to Anant, after so many years of distance and misunderstanding.
He called, “Anant, open your eyes, see… who’s here…?”
Anant opened his eyes very slowly, looked at her, his eyes glittered for a second, but again closed it, while forwarding his hand gradually towards Maya.
Maya held his hand with both her hands…. Her uncontrollable tears touched and kissed Anant’s pale flickering fingers…
Anant – “Don’t cry Maya… you are such a brave woman, such a bold lady you are… tears don’t suit you,… well… just a smile for me… Please… would you please listen to me now… without saying a word dear… “
Maya – “Yes… “
Anant – “I never wanted to clarify or justify anything for any of my actions to anyone, you know that, right…?”
Maya – “yes”
Anant – “But now I want to… I waited for you for all these years, giving you the space to realize your fault and come back to me on your own, without my clarifications. I had faith on my love for you… You always thought you loved me more and in that process you started doubting me… your insecurity, your doubt took us far away from each other… Ask Dhruv and Nutan, I have never done anything wrong which may break us apart the way it did.”
Saying this much, Anant started to fumble and his dismantled words started to lose their bindings…
The doctor was called and Dhruv and Maya were told to set the patient free for that day.
On their way back home, all three were totally silent… no one uttered a single word. Dhruv and Nutan took Maya to their place. After some time when Maya felt a bit normal, she was told about the whole incident, which led to Anant-Maya’s misunderstanding. Nutan used to go to Anant for help regarding some turmoil in her marriage with Dhruv. They were having a very bad phase in their relationship which Anant was trying to resolve. But Nutan didn’t want Maya to know this. So she took a promise from Anant to keep their whole issue a secret.
On the contrary, Maya started to misunderstand Anant for having an affair with someone else, which brought Anant under tremendous pressure… His ‘love’ for Maya was terribly hurt and his ego took a vow that he will never disclose the actual fact on his own. Dhruv – Nutan’s issue was solved but they were warned by Anant that they will never ever tell the truth to Maya, or else he’ll disconnect himself from Dhruv and the rest of the world. Thus, this whole misunderstanding messed up the ties between the two and it aggravated… incidentally they got separated. Anant finally decided to leave Maya on her own and live separately.
Another week passed, Anant’s condition deteriorated… He went into coma.
Maya was left devastated after she got to know the truth. Merely a misunderstanding on her part and ego clash on Anant’s part tore them apart forever. Had she been succeeded in keeping this much faith on her love, that much respect on her beloved, this mess could have been easily avoided. She could have easily bypassed that tiny twist in their life and could have stopped it from becoming such a big issue. She wouldn’t have deprived her sons from missing out on their father’s love, staying as a broken family all these years.
Now, every day she went to the nursing home to visit Anant, sat beside his bed silently, holding his hand for hours. Again came back home in the evening… This way, as if, she wanted to make him feel her love and respect for him, that she will be with him till his last breath.
One day, early morning, Maya’s phone rang… it was a call from the nursing home. Her phone rang again and again… no one was there to receive ‘the news’… around one hour or so… neighbors broke open the door. Dhruv, Jamuna bai rushed inside the house. Maya was found lying on her favorite rocking chair in her balcony, in the midst of her flowers and plants, in their love-fully silent, ‘ever-green’ lap.
Dhruv took a long deep breath and kept glancing towards the vast blue sky, some birds flying… He looked back at her… her lively eyes wide open, yet so calm.., staring still towards a far-away white cloud floating by. He observed her subtly smiling lips, as if she had nothing more to say, or to hear, but only to wish a silent good-bye to the young pink rose-bud beside… how she wished, she could fly with the birds one day… she used to say that in a very poetic mood during their college days, which Anant often played pranks with… Dhruv remembers………..
Yes, she finally flew… quietly, peacefully, soulfully….. She didn’t have to hear that Anant had left… as if, she knew, that Anant wouldn’t leave her alone this time… as if, she knew that she would be accompanying her beloved…
Life separated them, but death bound them… eternally……

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Deep thoughts…

Hey.. Life.. How are you..??
Never ever thought of talking to you here.. Never ever imagined that I would need to talk to you here..
Thanks dear.. You are awesome. You have been so kind and nice to people who are kind and nice to you too.
Can you please help me with certain answers I am searching for years ??
The answers to some very silly questions ??
Why is it that I am so much in love with the sky,the universe,its living beings ?? The little ones.. and their innocence, the birds and everything around me ?? The space.. Its endless stories keep on mesmerizing me continuously. Hours roll… I want to feel those hours with my eyes closed..floating in space..feel the lightness and its wild darkness all around. How far is it stretched.. Where does it end..?? People say.. It has no end.. But how can this be true ??

Everything has an end.. Should have an end.. But I want to see where space stops its vastness.. I want to explore space..inside my mind..my heart.. Is it like love ?? The unending universal love.. The true love..?? Which has no end.. It goes on and on and on.. Loving all.. Forever…..


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A ‘LIFE’LESS LIVING

In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go to the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat, and with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the sitting arrangement changed. With 20 minutes still remaining for the flight to land, a sleep starved Kiara took another power nap, this time holding Rishaan’s right hand more firmly. Rishaan’s other hand, though nervously moved to touch Diya’s. Her heart skipped a beat. Diya pulled her hand away. But a defiant Rishaan held her wrist again, this time firmly and more reassuringly. The changing behavioral dynamics between the three perhaps gave out a foreboding of what was to come in Goa. When the flight landed at the Dabolin airport, Rishaan felt uncanny… his excitement seemed replaced by an unknown fear that he found very difficult to decipher.
Rishaan rang the doorbell. Fathima, their middle aged helper opened the door. Rishaan, Kiara and Diya, all three of them entered the hall-cum-living room. Rishaan told Fathima to arrange for some high tea as they all were quite exhausted and hungry. He took his own luggage with him towards his own room, while Kiara followed him with her own baggage. Diya was feeling totally blank. She wasn’t feeling like staying at their place at all. She wanted to check in to a hotel. But both Kiara and Rishaan forced her to stay at their place.
After some time Fathima came to her and offered some refreshments. Diya asked her the whereabouts of the other two members of the house, in which, Fathima informed that their food have been served in their room.
Fathima left the hall and told Diya that she would come back to collect her dishes after she finishes her eateries. Then she will show Diya her room, where she can freshen up and have some rest.
Diya entered the room allotted to her, sat on the armchair next to the wide window. Fathima kept her baggage at proper place and went away only to come back with a fresh towel. The room was quite neat and clean, well maintained. Diya desperately needed a shower. Got up from the chair, unlocked her baggage, took out the necessary things and went to the washroom. She wasn’t feeling the way she should be feeling. She was continuously asking herself… “What’s bothering me and why…??
Rishaan entered Diya’s room, and finding her in the washroom, he told her that he needed to talk to her, and went back. After 20 minutes, Rishaan came again but Diya got herself ready for a tight nap, and she refused to talk to him at that hour, when she could read her own disturbed mind very well. She knew it very well that she won’t be able to talk reasonably, if she herself was not ready from within… She has to talk to herself first, answer her own queries to herself first, then only she would be able to satisfy others queries. After all, it was her plan.
In the other room, Kiara was getting ready for an outing. Back from Mumbai, she was feeling rejuvenated all over again and wanted to go out for a fresh stroll. Her own place to roam about, her own people to meet again, her own free space to look around in her own way, her own fresh air to breath… and… her own man beside to share her life.
Rishaan was looking forward to, for this space and time, when he would get the chance to talk to Diya when Kiara won’t be around.
Kiyara: “Rishaan, come no, let’s go for a walk?”
Rishaan: “please Kia, spare me, ‘m damn tired babe. Next time, for sure.”
Kiara didn’t force Rishaan and went away while humming some tune.
Rishaan went to the kitchen to check what’s for lunch, and found Fathima and Jaggu on top of their voice and energy… talking and preparing their lunch. He ordered them to keep the menu short, simple and non-spicy.
He was thinking whether to knock Diya and talk to her now or not. He looked at the wall clock in the corridor which showed it was merely 10:00 am. Kiara won’t be back before 1:00 pm. Their lunch is usually served at 1:30 pm. So he has enough time to talk to Diya and chalk out the plans for their future actions properly with her.
He was feeling upset for Diya as he could see the rising sense of insecurity in her eyes, for the past few days. So he decided to give her some time to rest. He went to the living room, took the newspaper, turned on the television and sunk into the soft cushiony sofa in a relaxing posture… he was waiting for the clock to strike 11:30, so that Diya can complete a full course solid sleep, after which he will make her clear up the chocks from her throat forever.
“Ohh myyy goddd…!! All fast asleep …?? …and the entrance door wide open??!!” … Kiara’s voice……
Rishaan jumped up the sofa and looked at the wall clock… It was 2:00 pm already…
He found Jaggu sitting on the floor, most attentively watching his favorite television show ‘Big Boss’.
He was told to go to Diya’s room and call her up to the dining table for lunch.
All three of them joined for lunch with minimum exchange of words.
After lunch, Kiara said that as she was feeling very tired, not to disturb her beauty nap till 5:00 pm and went straight to her room, avoiding any conversation with Diya… which on the other hand helped Rishaan.
Rishaan came forward to Diya, held her hand, and asked her, “Do you want to talk to me Diya?”
“Yes”, Diya responded positively with a nod.
Meanwhile Jaggu and Fathima had cleaned up the table and went back to the kitchen to have their own lunch.
“Come Diya, let’s sit here and talk, please”, said Rishaan.
“Yes, Rishaan, I also desperately need to talk to you too…” Diya’s voice chocked.
“I know, in fact I can read that clearly on your face”, says Rishaan.
Diya: “I don’t think I can follow the plan anymore Rishi, I simply can’t, sorry to say dear, I quit.”
Rishaan: “But why? We are almost done now!! What’s the problem?”
Diya: “It’s not a game plan anymore, damn it… Can’t you see.., it’s about a life!! I can’t do this to her, which I could have never ever taken for myself. I was wrong. It will be terribly wrong if worked out as per my plan. Oh.., such an immaturity on my part Rishi. Why didn’t you stop me??”
“What? What do you mean by this now??” … asks Rishaan.
“It’s very simple.., forget the plan, forget the property, forget me…” Says Diya calmly.
“I can’t. It’s not so simple for me, as it is for you. Once we are into it, we should stick to it. It was your plan and I was there with you, only for you. And one fine day, you suddenly want to quit.”
“Please forgive me Rishi, after watching both of you for the last couple of days, I realized what I did, and moreover, what a blunder I am going to do.” Diya broke down.
“This is not done Diya.., as you are coolly saying now, that you cannot do this to her anymore, I am also telling you now, that, I also cannot stay with her anymore. Why this sudden moral policing, this sudden change in your attitude?” …asks Rishaan.
“Look, Kiara’s father is no more, and you being his own son-in-law, you are going to get the whole of his property, which Kiara knows nothing about. The only difference is, I am backing out from this property scene. So, what’s your issue?” …asks Diya.
“Your backing out from ‘my scene’ is my issue, damn it!! Why can’t you get it?? It’s either both of us, or none of us. Apart from Kiara’s property, I want you in my life too. Not that psychotic patient, that terribly filthy creature, who doesn’t even know that she is married to me, and I am her husband.., I play the role of merely a close acquaintance to her. She knows nothing about life’s sharing and caring. Neither she knows the importance to any relationship, nor she tries to understand anybody else than herself and her own space, freedom and money, she is least bothered about the fact that she can never be a mother, forget about being a mother, has she got any idea about motherhood?? Do you find ‘a woman’ in her?? Diya, we both were well aware of this fact, and that’s the only reason Kiara’s father kept such a condition, that whoever will agree to accept his mentally challenged daughter will get his entire property.”
Rishaan paused for a while, got up from his own chair, went and sat on the chair next to hers, held her hands, looked straight into her eyes and said, ”Diya.., look at me, you know very well that I am not qualified enough to get a good job anywhere. This money is our lifeline, we can utilize this money to earn a better living, live our life our own way. Why are you forgetting this… that, it was a fully planned venture which we both agreed to go for? Why feel guilty for someone who herself don’t know, can’t even understand anything what’s going around and why??”
“But”… Diya wanted to say something……….
“No ifs and buts… just keep shut… you are not going anywhere, nor will you quit. Keep yourself stable, we both will do it.”…… “Yes, and one more thing, I will love to add to your plan, only in order to make you feel a bit better and guilt free… after I divorce her and she is well off in her asylum, a fixed amount of money will be sent to her for her wellbeing. How about that…?” said Rishaan with an expectant smile expecting a positive sigh of relief and another smile from the receiving end.
Crrrrrrrreeeeeekkkkkkk…………….
A terrible sound on the road outside. A lady lay on the road, profoundly bleeding… crowd gathered all around immediately. Rishaan and Diya rushes to the spot, only to find Kiara lying amidst a pool of blood, eyeballs out, head smashed,……………………..
Was declared ‘brought dead’ in the hospital where she was taken, only to do the formalities…. Rishaan was taken totally aback by the incident, still he had to do the required formalities in the police station.
Back home Rishaan finds Diya strangely shouting “Sorry…. Sorry dear….. I beg you dear, pardon me…. Will never think of harming you Kiyaaaaa…..” while crying aloud, again sometimes laughing out loud, in the next moment saying all sorts of irrelevant junks, throwing things all around…
Finally, the asylum in Mumbai, where Kiara was about to go, Diya was admitted by Rishaan.
Life back in Goa, for Rishaan, stopped totally. Sitting on the lap of Kiara’s father’s property, Rishaan lost everything except money, money and money all around… devoid of life anywhere. He is still there, living a ‘life’less life… earned a ‘life’less living.

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THE ‘MEAN GIRLS’

                                            THE ‘MEAN GIRLS’

 

 

‘’M….o…n…u…’’                                                      

‘’Yes Thamma (this is how Bengali’s call their grandmother) ….”

“Come here….fast….’’

“Coming…… thamma…..”

(‘Monu’, as I was called by all the elders in our joint family of 13 members. Our family consisted of Dadu, Thamma, baba, maa, two of my uncles n aunts, four of my cousin sisters. I was the eldest of the lot. )

I rushed to thamma and found her waiting for me with a very serious face. My mother and two of my aunts are staring still at me… as if I have done something seriously wrong. I stood there totally clueless. Asked them the reason for their agony n those dangerous glares. Mostly I was held responsible for all the messy pranks which my young sisters dumped on me and fled. Finally I was left under the receiving end of all the scolding part, handful of slaps and a bucketful of ‘my tears’.

(I was studying in 5th std. then and all four of them… Munni, Tinni, Munai and Mini were two- three yrs. junior to me. The youngest of the lot, Mini was the most dangerous member in this ‘Gulaabi Gang’.)

 What followed next..?? Don’t worry… this was the daily, usual drama of our Mukherjee family.

Finding myself terribly insulted and helpless, as none of the elders listened, forget about believing me… ran away to my own room… as usual, kept myself away from the ‘gang’ for two-three days… enclosed myself within the four walls of my own tiny room, encircled myself with storybooks, my studies, my paintings, played cricket with my friends who came to visit my place in search of me.

Again… one fine afternoon, while our mothers would be busy with their chitchats after their whole day’s hard toil, the ‘tiny terrible team’ would enter my room sheepishly, stand for a while with their gloomy faces, utter altogether – ‘D…a…d…a… sorry…’, and quietly tip-toe out while making faces… finding me unmoved or untouched… this would continue for a few minutes until I ( … finding it hard to hide my laughter… ) would look up to them, invite them with my open arms… they would run to me, jump on my bed with excitement and sheer joy. Meanwhile, Mini would pull me, her ‘dada bhai’, on the floor, rolling and laughing out loud.

One evening, while we all were busy playing with our friends on our huge terrace, one of my friends came running and informed me that our Math tutor, Mr. Acharya has arrived. All of our bright faces started turning pale, just like a diffused bulb. Our friends consoled us saying, ‘’come-on, chill, we will again come and play tomorrow’’ and left one by one.

Quite mournfully, we all managed to march (as slowly as possible) towards our study-room. ‘Master-moshai’ said “come in, you ‘famous five’ dumb-heads”, while taking out his specs. Now……, it was our time to perform our ritual before any of our tests. There was an earthen pot and five glasses kept in the corner of the room. I taught them a technique to score well in our tests whether we studied or not. That is … we would take a glass full of water, whisper ‘saraswati mantra’ holding the glass just under our mouth, so that our lips touch the brim of the glass, and drink the whole glass of water immediately. Standing in a queue, age-wise, in an ascending order, the ritual was performed. All of us took our respective seats. ‘Mogambo’, (as we named him) was waiting for us, watching us from the corner of his eyes quietly, like a furious jackal, ready to pound on us. He showed me his wrist-watch and told me to set mine according to his. It was six o’clock and already dark outside. He distributed our respective question papers and told us that we’ll have to submit our answer sheets dot at 7:30 pm.

“Your time starts now.” …said he.

(Mr. Acharya was a very knowledgeable n qualified mathematician, suitable for higher classes. He was not at all ready to teach such junior classes like us, but being a very close friend of my Baba, he couldn’t refuse and reluctantly agreed to sit with us for an hour or so. Resulting to this reluctance, he just came to pass some time and relax, munch on whatever was offered to him and take a short nap putting his head on our study-table. With us, he behaved so rough, rude and always wore a grumpy face. Any doubts arose, any queries from any of us.., he would hit on our palms with his hard wooden ruler and would shout, “You don’t know this..??.. Your heads are full of cow-dung..!!…blah… blah… blah…” …continuous grumbling, calling our elders, tons of complaints……… create a scene and finally would leave….. We would silently stare at each other without any clue about what we did and then what to do..?)

It was nearly an hour, I was totally engrossed in my sums when suddenly I noticed that the other four were into something and little Mini was suppressing her giggles… as if something very funny was about to happen.  

It was like midnight for ‘Mogambo’, with his head laid down on the table, snoring aloud. Tinni tried to show me something near the door. I was utterly shocked to see that a thin string was tied across the door. The ‘lady hooligans’ arranged a string from somewhere around and tied its ends on both the sides of the door, very near to the floor so that it is not visible at a glance. All of a sudden ‘Mogambo’ roared, without moving an inch, “Don’t think I am sleeping, I am watching everyone…”

Some more time passed, it was 7:15 pm already, 15 more minutes left for my Baba to return back from office, and at the same time our papers will be taken off. Some of my sums, I was totally clueless about, so I decided to start my revision work. I was continuously getting diverted thinking about what was going to happen after our paper submission…!!!! I knew very well that the ‘gulaabi gang’ was about to flee after Mogambo’s submission on the floor and I was the one to be caught and beaten heavily. Didn’t have the slightest of idea that more shocks were waiting within a few seconds. Within a blink of an eye, we found Mogambo standing and roaring…”Hey, where is Miiiniii..?” We’ll started looking here and there and suddenly a soft feathery touch helped my eyes go down under our study table. Omigoshhh….!!!!!!!! She is laughing from there, hiding under the table, hinting me to stay quiet… we all remained silent, holding our breath, getting to hear our own heartbeat, lub…dub…lub…dub..

Mogambo stood up… took his ruler… aggressed towards the doorway…… Baba would be entering the house at any moment and that was the scariest part for me. I so wished, if I could stop the ticking of my watch now…

I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…”

A loud bang……..a shrill voice……. “Hoooo …hoo …hoo …ooooohh …oohoo….”

Our dhoti-clad ‘Mogambo’ was knocked down. His dhoti and chappal got entangled with the string. His dhoti tore… ‘Our ruler’, his ruler, his specs… all lay scattered on the floor with a moaning sound… chanting maa kali’s name vaguely… “Joy maa… joy maa… joy maa…” His other four pupils were nowhere around whereas I was found there standing still, scared and perplexed. Elders rushed in to the massacre spot. They managed to help him get up, tried to recover him from the shock, to make him feel at ease with some fresh air and a glass of water.

 Eventually ‘Mogambo’ left the field forever, promising aloud, never to step into our house again. At that particular moment, I was so happy that I could hear my own heart, beating the retreat of ‘Mogambo’.

Just then I heard another shrill voice… “Monnnuuuu…………..” …Baba calling.

Now.., you can well imagine what type of treatment was showered on me.

That night nobody talked to me. Those ‘tiny witches in disguise of angels’ were treated so warmly. None of the four spoke out the truth, not even did they face me. The whole family misunderstood me. The elders thought aloud… “Monu being the eldest, was the game planner for sure, the sisters just obeyed him. They are so young, they can’t play such a trick. This is the umpteenth time Monu has been warned. Now it’s high time we should think seriously about Monu and the effects of his pranks on his sisters.”

Ultimately, after their round table conference, my Dadu and Baba declared that it’ll be the best decision to send me to a hostel and yes, they meant it. I was sent to a reputed hostel, in a far away state. No, I wasn’t sad at all for I took it as a blessing. Rather I was very much relieved that I got out of those tricky little creatures, got some wonderful friends. My life, at home was in total mess, whereas my life in the hostel now, is in total peace.

 

                                                                         **************

 

 

 


7 Comments

A true life.. A story..

Each and every human being in this world is a ‘story’ by themselves.. We all have our own stories.. Each one of us add to that story every single day from our life.. We modify our own stories.. delete.. and create a new story again the next day.. But we don’t know this..

Juhi had a story too.. She was a girl-next-door with an awesome blend of her dreams and the determination to reach her dreamworld as well..
Studying in st. IX.. She dreamt of becoming a doctor.. Inspired by her father who was also a renowned doctor, Dr.Krishnamurthy. Her mother Shubha was educated, though not a big degree holder or so. She believed in the simplest reality of being a woman is to dream of getting married and that’s it..!!
Juhi’s father and Juhi had similar dreams of Juhi becoming a doctor whereas Shubha, had some age-old dreams of a typical family life for her doll.. She dreamt of Juhi’s marriage, her extended family.. Her career plans were a complete ”no….. no…..” to her.

Juhi was a very lively child unlike her younger brother Devam. He was younger to Juhi and very quiet, serious and selective about whom to talk to and with whom not to..
He played the role of a spy after Juhi who was put to action by Shubha.. Which their father knew nothing about.. Devam was one year younger to his sister and both studied in the same school going together in the same bus..and his prying eyes were always after Juhi. Whom she is talking to.. What is she saying.. Juhi’s best friend Uma knew about this as Juhi used to share each and every single details of her life, her dreams, her likes and dislikes with Uma.. She even shared that her mother doesn’t like Juhi’s friendship with Uma.. Not even her brother.. Juhi being a very imaginative and child-like by nature, had lots and lots of things to share with Uma.. They shared many a thoughts and views in common.. Any day if any one of them were absent from school, the other one’s day seemed to have gone a total waste.. While returning back home they would run to meet the other one to check the well-being of the other one.. They were like soul mates which Shubha couldn’t ever get.. She often asked Juhi.. “what’s so special about Uma that you need to call her so often and speak with her for such long hours..? Friendship is OK..I can understand, but you people are too much..stop it Juhi or else I will talk to your father..” Juhi didn’t pay any heed to it.. She was too simple to get what her Amma intended to say..

One fine Sunday morning Juhi returns back home from her tuition classes and hears Devam telling something very strange to Shubha taking Juhi and Uma’s name. The gist that came out from the whole monologue was that Juhi and Uma are not normal friends.. School fellows are talking about their abnormal friendship.. They point fingers at Juhi and obviously Devam feels extremely awkward.. “Amma, please do talk to her again..!!”

Juhi was shocked to hear this.. Now Juhi got what they were hinting and why Amma was warning her a few days back.. She couldn’t move a single step and was glued at the doorstep outside the room. She tried to gulp those lines again and again but was unable to digest the thought.. “Whom to be angry upon..?? Amma..?? Devam..?? Or the school fellows..?? What’s wrong with whom..?? Uma and me are in an unusual relationship..?? Should I cry or laugh out loud..?? Ohh.. Lord Balajee..!!!”

Two days passed.. Juhi was stopped going to school… Appa suddenly started behaving so strange with his beloved princess. Her protests were totally ignored and Uma’s phone calls were declined.. Her visit to meet Juhi was discouraged saying.. “Juhi doesn’t want to meet you..”
“Reason Aunty..?? ”
Shubha went speechless..

Juhi’s tears washed away with it all her dreams.. She was married off within two months.. In a far off country.. With an unknown aged man.. Some common friend of Shubha’s relative..

Some twenty years later Juhi meets Uma in Delhi, at a mall, all of a sudden.. Both are mothers by now.. Both awestruck.. Both getting drowned in tears.. Both speechless.. Embracing each other, their eyes spoke a lot.. No one heard them.. But they heard each other..
Juhi’s daughter.. Veena, a medical student, stood by them.. Caught hold of them tightly.. Hugged them and said.. “You were misunderstood Amma.. By your own people.. You both were true friends.. I stand here today to prove that you both win.. True friendship can never be killed.. True feelings never die..”


14 Comments

Soul Searching

 

Twinkle’s tears were rolling down… She went on wiping them… She was in severe pain.

She willed herself to not check her phone to see if he had replied . It had been about three days now. She hated that she was constantly checking his ‘last seen at’ status and yes, he had logged in just five minutes ago. Yet she couldn’t stop herself. This sinking feeling to find absolutely no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost torturous.

And then, just as she sat down in her chair, her phone vibrated. With her heart thudding in her ear, she unlocked her phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message.

But when she opened it and read it, she nearly stopped breathing. She didn’t know if he was joking or not. What was this?

Tarun left her.. yes..!! but forever..??!! She held her throbbing heart n sobbing throat.. paused for a while.. and then only she could realize.. “We broke-up..??!!!”

It was her first love.. her first feeling of the four lettered word ‘love’.. her first feeling of.. being someone ‘special’.. to ‘someone special’..

She threw the flower-vase on the mirror,. both the vase and the mirror were silently watching her from the dressing table in front of her. Yes… now she is completely shattered.. broken into pieces.. just like the mirror.. the broken pieces of the mirror glass lay scattered all over the room.. just like her..

Suddenly she hears a tap on her door. Who could that be..?? At this odd hour..?? She hurries to clean the floor and rushes to open the door,.. expecting it to be Tarun.. back into her arms.. back forever.. never to leave her..

Alas..!!!!! It was the care-taker of the one-room apartment she was living alone in. He handed her a note and says,” tarun bhaiya ne ye chitthi aap ko deney ke liye boley didiji..”

It seemed that the door was not in a mood to close her chapter now.. as if it was also waiting for someone to return back home..!! Twinkle, leaving the door open, started unfolding the note in such a hurry as if she was unfolding Tarun’s closed mind, to get in to see what was inside it..?? The door waited.. only to be closed.. forever.. !!

The ruthless note read.. “don’t wait for me.. it’s over.”

Twinkle closed the door quietly, but it banged itself silently on her heart…… She couldn’t imprint those six words in her brain. Went on repeating…. “don’t wait for me, it’s over….. don’t wait for me, it’s over……???!!!” She sat down on the floor quietly..” What was over..?? our feelings..?? Does ‘Love’ end..?? And that too.. without any reason.. all of a sudden..?? What was my fault.. you should have told me Taru-u-u-nnn ?!!” She yelled……

Suddenly her eyes opened, birds chirping outside.. it’s a dawn break..!!

The daily newspaper & her favorite magazine swept from under the main door.. her wall clock showed her that it’s time to welcome another new blue sky.. which was gradually filling a reddish tinge in it.. the fun filled fresh air with the biggest and the brightest star, the sun, is ready to rise & wake people up..

Twinkle also stood up… went near her bed.. sat for a while.. lied down. Eyes wide open, her fingers were still holding Tarun’s note.. as if she was holding his fingers,. She kept gazing blankly towards the ceiling fan.. ohh no..!! Its electricity failure.. the whole night she spent thinking what went wrong within these 6 months, that the two love-birds parted..!! What made Tarun go away so far from her.. forever..??

Now-a-days feelings are turning so fake !! ‘Love’ is mere a four-lettered word now.. no depth, no adjustments, no sacrifice, no faith, trust.. treachery and falsehood filling up the air around to inhale.. relationships are nothing but only an excitement to get the essence of novelty, a few days of fun and frolic.. and its over.. searches for a new and exciting prospect.. again to enjoy, get bored and leave..

“Maintaining relationships is the most complicated mechanism of the human mind.. whom to believe, whom not to ?? Confused souls playing with each other’s money and mind all around us..!!” .. ponders Twinkle.

….smiles to herself and says “I am ‘me’… I am happy to be ‘me’.. why to mess with myself..?? I know what I am..!! If I know, that I have not done anything wrong to anybody, then why should I be bothered..??!! Those who leave me, loses me forever. It’s their loss.. not mine..!! My tears are valuable, they should roll not for them.. but for them, who’ll choose to stay beside me for whatever I am, not for what they want me to be…..

Just then the electricity regains, the ceiling fan takes its gradual speed.. “Ahh.,. that’s it..!!” ..she thinks aloud..

Twinkle also regains her faith and trust on herself back,. She sits up, arranges her tangled hair to a rough top-knot. Opens the door to her tiny balcony.. closes her eyes embracing the newly born sun, bathes herself in its rays.. pauses for a while, looks up into the sky, and promises to herself.. “will love and love only my own ‘self’.. as I am answerable only and only to my own ‘self’.. I will question my own ‘self’, no one else..” Leaves Tarun’s note free in the air from her balcony, watching it go down and down slowly and gradually dancing in its own pace and its own free will.. She airs a flying-kiss and says, “Thanks Tarun, you helped me get my lost ‘self’ back.”

                                                               ********************************************************************


2 Comments

..LIVE.. AND LET LIVE..

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Life is all about letting others live.. then only we can live our own life.. then only we can lead our life towards a peaceful n happy living.. laugh a lot.. its full of positivity.. it spreads happiness all around us.. try to set aside the negative vibes & tears.. & only  heartful of laughter can do that with ease.. stay happy n blessed..