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Those small joys

spicy saturday blogs india

Ajji came in disturbed, mumbling to herself.

‘What happened Ajji, why are you so disturbed?, I asked my grandmother who had just returned home after dropping my younger brother Vinay to school.

‘Shailu, I had read in the newspaper that depression is on the rise. It is true’, said Ajji.

‘Why do you feel so Ajji’, I said.

‘I saw a man talking to himself. A young man, Shailu in his 20s. I got so upset. Chee chee, such a young life wasted. And then I saw another woman shouting at no one in particular that the report has to be submitted today….’

I started laughing

‘Why are you laughing. You should feel pity for these young lives wasted’, Ajji said.

‘Ajji they were talking on their mobiles’, I said

‘No, no, she said, ‘I didn’t see any mobiles….’, she said

‘They must be talking on their handsfree…’

‘What is that’, she asked

‘We cannot hold our mobiles in our hands while driving Ajji so we have our handsfree or bluetooth or earphones’, I replied showing my earphones to her.

‘Ohh, so they were talking on these’, she said

I laughed. Poor ajji,she was finding everything so new. Ajji never used to go out. happy at home and with her chores at home. The maximum that she went out was to meet relatives. But then recently we came to know that she was Vitamin D deficient and so the task of dropping and picking Vinny to school was assigned to her. So that in that way at least she would go out and soak in some sun.  But every day now she was seeing and learning something new and it was fun to be witnessing with her.


My friend Preeti came in one day and we were busy. No, not studies we were goofing around trying on new combination of clothes and clicking pictures when Ajji came in. ‘Huhh, Preeti, what happened to you….You fell down…your lips…why are they swollen’, she asked. We laughed till our stomach ached. ‘Why, why are you laughing like that’, she asked.

‘Ajji’, I said holding on to my aching tummy, ‘It is known as a pout, we are just posing for some pictures’.

‘Huh’, was all that my innocent ajji could say.

‘Come, come Ajji, pout like me’, said Preeti and posed. Ajji imitated like her and it was fun.

Ajji was just like a kid soaking in everything new.

‘Is it fun to ride’, she asked me one day when I was parking my Activa.

‘Oh yes’, I said, ‘I love it when I feel the wind. It makes me feel so free’.

‘Hmm’, she said, ‘will you teach me how to ride’.

‘Ajji, no, I can’t do that… I mean at this age…..if you fall down….’, said I

‘See, Shailu when I was young I learnt to ride the bicycle without my father’s knowledge but then one day he came to know and he stopped me. Those days it was not acceptable you know. Today it is. Won’t you teach me Shailu. Before dying I want to feel the wind too’, She pleaded

I just couldn’t say no.

And from then on, Ajji would sit pillion and we would go to the nearby ground where she would learn to drive.

When the first time she had driven from our complex gate to our home my father was shocked.

Obviously at her age ( 71 to be precise), we could not allow her to drive on the road but yes now and then she would drive in our complex.

One day on my return from college I noticed a group of children huddled in a corner near the complex gate. I ignored them thinking that they must be planning some mischief..

At home my mother was grumbling to herself. ‘what happened amma’,I asked.

‘The maid didn’t come in today that too without notice’, she said as she threw the doormat in a corner and continued, ‘And your ajji….instead of helping me, she has gone off to be with the kids.’

‘Ohh, is it she with them’, I said.

‘Who else’, she said as she banged the broom down.

We both looked at the group. Someone had said some joke and all were laughing heartily.

‘Let it be amma. She cannot do all these work anymore, isn’t it. Let her do what she can’, I said.

‘Yes’, said amma softening a bit, ‘The next door neighbour is having a migraine and was complaining about the din the children were making. So she took them aside,’ amma said.

‘It is good that she is keeping herself active….let her do whatever gives her joy’, I said. Amma nodded.

‘And now’, I said, ‘let ME help you’. And I took the broom from amma’s hand.

Causatum of a lost key

‘Ding, Dong’……….’Ding, dong’…’knock, knock…..’thud’ thud’……………….I ran towards the main door; who was in such a hurry to ring the bell and knock simultaneously.

‘Aunty’, a woman in her 30s looked at me. She was obviously in distress.

Her distress didn’t stress me. The word ‘aunty’ did. I mean I am not that old that people in their 30s could call me ‘aunty’.

‘What happened?’, I asked

‘I am locked out’. She said. ‘I came to leave my son and got myself locked out’

‘You can use my mobile to call your husband’, I suggested, ‘He may be having a spare key, right’.

‘No, he doesn’t. We have only one key.’ she said. ‘Give me your key, maybe it fits’.

‘How can it fit’, I said

‘Pleaseeeee’, she pleaded. I gave. Obviously the key didn’t fit.

‘Give me a hairpin’, she said. Obviously she had seen too many movies. I gave. No luck

‘Come and sit inside’, I said.

‘Aunty what will I do now’, she said. I flinched at the Aunty

‘I will call the landlord maybe he has a spare’, I said.

15 minutes later we were all set. The landlord had a key which he was sending with someone. He had also advised me to keep a spare with one of the neighbours in case of emergency..

We sat talking. She spoke about her son and husband. I spoke about mine. Now she was calling me ‘akka’ . i often use the trump card of telling people that I have a ten-year old son. People on knowing that I have a ten year old assume that I am not that old.

Some time later the neighbour was back at her home maybe telling tales of her key adventure while I was lost in my thoughts.

How easily we assume someone fat as one who overeats. Or someone who has less hair as old. We may say that looks don’t matter but looks do matter especially when you meet someone for the first time.

Don’t we deck ourselves on special occasions or smartly dress for interviews.

But it is not looks that bother me. It’s the assumptions we make or rather the judgement we pass in a second. Our conditioning is such that we don’t take time to think, analyse or process. That is one ability which we all should try to cultivate.

Think, analyse, process and then jump to conclusions.

 

DAY’O’DAY

Today is Monday. What so special about that, you may ask?

Well a number of things. While most part of the world are having Monday blues, it being the first day of the week, For us in the Gulf it is a happy day. For Monday means that already three days of the week are over and three remain for the weekend to start.

But then this post is  not about Monday. It is about ‘Days’. I have been searching the internet to know what day it is. I mean each day is a ‘Day’ isn’t it. Yesterday was ‘Yoga day’ and Father’s day. There are mothers day and friends day and what not. And it is essential too isn’t it? Like you and me are individuals and have unique identities, so why shouldn’t each day be a special day,

Oh there, see I got it, one of the sites tells me that today is National chocolate eclairs day and it is also National Onion Rings day. Fantastic isn’t it? (Now don’t ask me which country is meant by the word national. Does it really matter? Aren’t we all global citizens).

So come on have your fill of chocolate eclairs and onion rings. Have it till your teeth start paining of all that chewing and your breath reeks of onion. You can do that much to ‘celebrate’ can’t you?

I came to know yesterday that from last year August 13 is celebrated as The great Khali day in one of the states of Mexico. Isn’t that wonderful? I wonder what people do that day. I just hope that the wrestling matches are confined to the  outdoors.

I wonder if people will celebrate a National boredom day or maybe rename it as Bhagyashree day. Wishful thinking, eh?

But then like all other people I have to wind up this post and start on my chores. The kitchen sink grins wickedly while the kitchen seems to say, ‘Everyday is my day’. Yeah, true…everyday is Kitchen day; no doubt about that. Sigh…!!

Big and small

Enough of TV go and play
then come back and study, I say.

Enough of your orders
I’m a big boy, don’t you dictate, he says.

In that case can you wipe the dishes
and while you are at it; just clear the table.

and after that, the husband chips in
maybe you can help in cleaning the car.

the boy begins in joy, then slowly gets morbid
as the ‘jobs’ increase

can you please clear the table

it’s dinner time lay the plates

‘Enough’ he screams, I am still small
‘Or else I will scream child labour, he says
The husband and me hide our smiles
the big boy bug has been wiped out
till another time

and another ‘exercise’.

We are like this only…

About to enter my building, I met an acquaintance, ‘Hi dear, how are you?’, she asked. I blinked and then adjusted. You  may wonder why. I had met  her just twice before, so I did not really know whether I was really dear to her or not.

We spoke for about five minutes and then I went to my apartment. As I sipped on my lemon juice, I decided to check on my whatsapp. ‘Darl, how are you doing? Long time no see’, read a message from a school friend. I racked my brain for possible explanations for darl until it stuck me that darl was a short form for Darling. I know I am a Dumbo. But then I am quite daft. Neither is my English that good nor am I good in my vocal skills. And that’s why maybe I am being used by my family. ‘Rekha, can you please type my report’, says the hubby. ‘Ma, please check my time-table and see if I have missed out on something’, that’s the daughter. ‘Ma, wake me up at 8 sharp tomorrow I have football practice’, says the son and so on. I have become a maid for everyone in the family and only because I don’t speak this ‘hep’ English and throw my weight around. NOT ANYMORE. I had to be this modern woman like my friends, who know what to speak and where and who looked just perfect all the time.

‘Ma what have you made today’, screamed the kids when they came running from school in the evening and stopped short on seeing me. I was in my jeans with makeup and hair loose with my nails all painted.

‘Oh my dears, how was your day’, I said while hugging them and kissing the air.

‘Ma, you are fine  na’, asked the son.’

‘Absolutely, baby’, I said.

‘Baby which baby, I am eight years old’, he quipped.

‘What is there to eat’, asked the daughter.

‘Hmm you can munch on some cookies or have some chocos’, I said.

‘I don’t want those, ma prepare some bhajias na, ‘said she.

‘Sorry darling I can’t. If you want though I have some soup mix, you can prepare some and have it’, I said.

The children shocked, settled for some chocos and milk.

‘Rekha, compile some data for me tomorrow’, said the hubby.

‘Sorry luv, I am busy’, I said.

‘What are you doing’, he asked.

‘Well our colony women are going to the nearby slum to distribute some old clothes’, I said.

‘That will take you the whole day’, he asked.

‘No, after that I have to supervise the maid, read the newspaper and follow the election news on TV’, I said.

He got the shock of his life.

And while I navigated between the darls and dears and luv’ the other three fumed. I heard the daughter saying to the son that I was going through a mid-life crisis and then I also heard her asking her father whether I was menopausal.

And while my skin glowed and the nails shined, the home looked as if a hurricane had hit it. Books were thrown here and there, clothes were lying in a heap.

‘Rekha, don’t you think you should do something about this’, the hubby said pointing to the devastation in the children’s room. ‘Darling, it is their room, let them be as they want’, I cooed.

‘Rekha….errr. this darling business looks a bit odd. I mean we are married for about 17 years now. …’, said he.

‘I thought you liked it’, I said.

‘I do …in our room. Not in front of the children or when we are in a gathering’, he said observing me closely, checking my reaction.

I just fluttered my eyelashes.

It was a Sunday. I had not been able to sleep the previous night. The result a splitting headache. The children were playing some loud music and I felt as if my brain would pop out. No body heard my pleas. I darled and deared but ho one heard until I could not take it anymore. I barged into their room opened  the door and screamed, ‘Can you shut that music and what is this. is this a room or a hog house, clear everything in five minutes or you are gone’, and then I banged the door shut. The boy hopped and skipped to his father, ‘Pa order some food, let us have a party, ma is normal again’

No we are not refined people we belong to the dark ages, you might have guessed that by now.

*fiction

 

Me and my brother

wpid-wowbadge1Idiot‘, he cried while I glared at him.

Fights between me and my brother are usual. Separated by a gap of three years but sharing the same room gives us enough room to disagree on most matters.

Presently I had tipped a glass of water on the study table.

‘But it was your fault, why had you kept it here in the first place’, I screamed.

‘And where should I keep my glass of water’, he screamed back.

‘You both are studying or fighting’, it was mom.

We both presented our side of the story.

‘If only I had means I would construct another room now itself and put you both in different rooms’, was her logic.

‘Whenever you build one, that room will be mine’, said I.

‘Why you, it will be mine. After all I am the elder one and I am going to be an engineer and I need more place’, added he.

‘No me’, I said.

‘Me’, he said.

Mother ran out of the room.

Now you get the gist of how our relation is like.

Evening saw him rummaging amongst the books in the bookshelf. I knew he was looking for the bottle of perfume. The same bottle which I had opened yesterday and dabbed some while going to the school. But I didn’t think he would come to know that it was open.

‘Shikha…’, he screamed.

‘What?’, I yelled back.

‘You opened this, didn’t you? It was a sealed pack, but now the seal is open. How could you Shikha?’

I felt bad but would I admit my mistake, no, so I took a different approach. ‘But what will you do with a ‘feminine’ perfume.  Want to gift it to your girlfriend, haan?’, I said in an attempt to dilute the situation.

‘None of your business. You have spoiled everything. It is her birthday tomorrow, what will I give her, I do not have any pocket-money left’, and he left the room overburdened with sorrow.

I felt guilty. Maybe he was talking about Aarathi. Yes, it must be her, he wasn’t either friendly or interested with any other girl. Then I had an idea and started working towards it.

It was late evening when he returned from the library. His mood had not improved and he just nibbled at dinner.

‘Are you sick’, asked mom.

‘No, someone killed my appetite’, he said glaring at me.

‘Bhai’, I said when we were in our room.

He looked at me. there are only some days/ occasions when I call him bhai.

‘What?’, he asked.

‘See I made an audio CD of some romantic Hindi songs right from 1960s till date. You can gift her this. If you like it, I will prepare a label too’

He brightened up but would he show that he liked, no.

‘Okay do it then, as such there is no time left nor do I have any money’, he said. And after you finish that get me some rotis from the kitchen, I am hungry’, he said.

I complied this time. After all hadn’t I killed his appetite.

Next evening I found a Dairy Milk kept on my bed. I knew it was he who had got it for me.

‘She liked it?’, I asked.

‘A lot’, he said still his serious self.

‘You didn’t have money na, then how did you buy this chocolate’, I asked.

‘On loan from the nukkad shop’, he said.

‘I deserve it, don’t I?’, I said.

He looked at me and grinned while I divided the dairy milk into two and gave one to him.

Mom had a headache that day as she couldn’t digest the peace in the house.

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This post is part of the Write over the Weekend, an initiative for bloggers by Blogadda. This time the post had to include the three words; idiot, perfume and CD.

Random Ramblings

The past few days have been busy but then festive seasons are like that. It has been a time when personal pursuits have been pushed aside.  But this year has been unique in many ways. First of all I didn’t worry myself on cleaning the home for Diwali. My modus operandi being to clean the house every now and then and decluttering before it clutters up.

Secondly I didn’t cook up a storm. The other two lose interest in whatever snacks have been made by the end of two days. Which meant inches being added to my already overburdened waistline. So this time the bhog offered to the Lord was minimum. Also Damodar  month being on, we visit so many houses and sample so many sweets that for the next two months at least I am sure I have an aversion for anything with sugar or jaggery in it.

We had Damodar at our place too. Around 20 people were invited. Now cooking for Damodar is something which I enjoy a lot. Though I still get tense that maybe the food will not be enough or maybe the salt will be more but I feel such fulfillment cooking for the Lord that I cannot describe. Already two days are over but the euphoria continues.

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An old friend who had left the island returned some months back, I was so excited to be with her once again. We met, we spoke and then I realized that we have changed. The old connect was no longer felt. I was sad and I mourned over it for days and then when we met on the day we had Damodar at our place I realized it was not her but me who has changed.  Shallow talks, moving aimlessly do not interest me anymore. Was I hurt? Was I upset? No, I was not. I was happy that I have finally grown up and it is the right time to put another giant step ahead.  Now what is that giant step….Keep guessing. 🙂