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Finding roots

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The flowers beckon me. It’s a new place….everything is new but the tree makes me feel at home. Growing up in a small town with lots of greenery all around, my mind had always yearned for a place where I could stretch out of  my balcony or window and touch a leaf.

past month has been hectic. I have left the place I called home for the past 15 years and moved back to  my motherland. A land which has transformed drastically and now has little resemblance to my memories. But still is a place which is my own.

As I take my son along familiar routes and explain to him. He looks at me and says, ‘You love India a lot don’t you’. And though I pride on that; I know how he feels. He has left the only place which he called his home and is struggling now to find his roots. My heart aches for him but i know that one day he too will feel the same love that I feel for this country which is ours.

Bidding adieu

Yesterday someone asked me for the name of some book….I tried hard to remember it but could not. Maybe age is catching up but then I remembered that I had mentioned it in my blog and so came down here and started browsing. And then memories came flooding by. How active I used to be. I remember there used to be at least a 100 posts a year.

Yes, priorities change. when Searching self was born, I was doing just that…’Searching self’. But then when I found my true calling the writing reduced or rather it moved to other avenues. But when I read through my old posts I was inspired. Am I a narcissist….who knows; maybe.

But then there are people who have been writing blogs for quite a long time. I really admire them. Consistently writing for a long time is really an art. Some of them have evolved into professional writers; maybe that helps.

2016 is about to end and a New Year beckons. Personally there will be a lot of changes. I just hope that everything happens smoothly.

So here is wishing you all a Very Happy New Year and hopefully lots of writing in 2017

Right or not

‘Now sit here quietly, thinking of nothing, till you become normal’, said my mother, making me sit in a corner of the kitchen. The kitchen had a ‘courtyard’. It had a big guava tree. One which my brother and father climbed. Yes, we sisters never tried climbing it. Before you jump to conclusions about our patriarchal society and how girls are not on par with boys, let me inform you that no one stopped us from climbing that guava tree. We were just interested in the juicy fruits, the climbing part was left to the boys.

I sat in the corner fuming and fuming, till all the steam sizzled out. No one came to pacify me. No one bothered to ask anything. Like a pressure cooker automatically cools down, I did too.

‘I am hungry’, I said. ‘lunch is ready’, she said. And that was it. No mention of the incidence to anyone, no violence, no drama.

In case you wonder, what had happened……I had just learned about ‘rights’ the previous day at school. About how we all have rights, how to exercise them and how to demand your rights. My teacher Mrs. Choudary was a wonderful person. Each point she made would be etched on our minds. I still remember her teachings some 30  years later.

And so my experiments with ‘rights’ had started. I demanded that food was prepared according to my liking because having nutritious food was my right. I demanded that I get a good book to read because getting a good education was my right. And so on. All was fine until I demanded a hair cut. Mother said no. In her opinion it had to grow a little more so that it could be cut evenly. That was it, ‘ I started my monologue on how my hair was my property and it was my right to get it cut. My mother had had enough of the nonsense and thats when she dragged me to the corner of the kitchen and made me sit.

I tell you sitting alone without thinking or doing anything can be therapeutic. It calms you down and lets you think.

Moms know best they know how to handle their child. My mother knew how to take care of me. She had various ways to handle me. If I cried too much for petty things, she would wait till it was dusk and then lock me out in the courtyard. No shouting, no beating. 5 minutes and I would be normal. She stopped teaching me when I was in second standard. She just said, ‘It is your life. If you want you study or you can always become like me’. I looked at her routine. She got  up at 6 not sleeping till 11 in the night. She was our cook, washerwoman, data bank, cleaner everything and decided that studying and getting a job that paid was better. She sure knew how to deal with us.

So the rights issue was withdrawn. I had a good meal and a good nap and peace reigned.

Next day, Mrs. Choudhary began the class with a ‘so we learnt in the last class, what are rights, today we will learn about our duties. For there are no rights without any duties.’ And she again gave a wonderful class about duties, what are they, why we should do out duties and how without doing our duties, we cannot demand our rights. And I was filled with remorse.

Over the long weekend, I had demanded my rights but had I done my duties. Had I helped around the house? No, Had I studied? No. I asked many questions to myself and the answers were mostly No. Then did I have the right to demand my right?

 

Today when I see various people demanding their rights, I feel pity for them. for they don’t have a mother like mine or a teacher like Mrs. Choudhary. No demanding rights is alright but how many of us have done our duties?

We all demand but what do we give back. Apart from taxes that is. Do we throw that wrapper in the dustbin. Did we answer a question by our fellow traveller politely?  Did we say sorry with a smile when we occidentally stamped someone? Society is not just by others but we are also a part of it. Be the change to demand the change.

 

 

Viewpoints

Somedays back a boy confided to me that what he was studying was not his choice and had been forced by his mother because it fetched a good salary. it devastated me. I mean the boy is laidback and I am sure if his mother doesn’t force him, he will not do anything in life. He is one guy who wants to have fun without any responsibility. So does his mother have any option but to force him? On the other hand, what he is studying presently is not his cup of tea He does not have an aptitude for it. Tough situation rght? How do you show a path to someone who does not want to do anything? How do you stop a mother from being bossy to such a son?
I remembered then this post written some five years back about perceptions of different people of the same family. Do have a read.
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Searching Self

Anuj Anuj sat in a foul mood. He and his father had had an argument early in the morning which had left both of them in a rotten mood.
He was starting his Tenth Board exams the next day and the first paper was Maths, a subject which he loathed. It was such a pleasant morning that he wanted to go out and sing. But his father was always after him to do well in studies especially maths because it was scoring. And said that music was alright as a hobby but not as a career.
But being an engineer would maybe earn him money but not satisfacion, but would his father understand that?

Mr. Mishra– Mr. Mishra understood what Anuj was going through. In his youth he too loved to write, he had even joined a weekly but the pay was so pathetic that he was not…

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‘Open the can’

No, you can’t have that’, I said snatching the packet from the son’s hand.

But I want it’, said he.

NO, I said

‘Who said I have one kid’, mumbled the better half who proceeded to go down on his knees and explain to the brat why one more Super  Lego was not allowed to him.

I never remember the Man ever going on his knees for me ever but that’s another story.  But then He never proposed to me.

The brat agreed. The man gave me a ‘look’

I shrugged and carried on with my shopping.

A lady passed by, her trolley piled up high. I just stared at her. The Man nudged me and I came back, ‘Must be her monthly provision’, I said.

‘Must be her weekly,’ he remarked, ‘that’s dependence on processed foods’, He said.

I nodded and carried on. My mind conjured up images of how free I would be if I just opened up cans. How much time I would have to sit on my laptop and publish posts after posts…..

‘Why are you smiling like that’, the man said.

‘From today we too will live the open can way’, I said and began popping cans into my cart.

**********

I was busy typing when my friend Trisha popped in. ‘What are you doing’, she drawled.

‘Oh writing’, I said happily.

‘I am hungry, what do you have …..’, she began

‘Would you like some pizza, I will just defrost some’……

‘Pizza? You didn’t make any breakfast’, she said.

The hubby had some baked beans in tomato sauce, the son had some toast, we could have some pizza’, I said

She made a face, ‘I was hoping for some idlis in hot sambar or some rice noodles….’

‘I have a life too…who has tome to cook’, I said

‘oh yes ….you have to type out posts which nobody reads any ways.’, she said rolling her eyes.

‘Excuse me’, I screamed,’ You can look at my stats….it is booming’, I said.

‘Alright. I am going to have some breakfast at Sangeetha’s. Care to come?’, she asked

Visions of Sangeetha’s mini tiffin loomed in front of my eyes, those mini idlis and masala dosa, the sheera , the sambar…….

‘Are you’, she asked loudly.

My pride, ah my foolish pride…’No’, I said.

I felt hungry and so I took out a pizza. I defrosted it in the microwave but it felt lumpy. Processed refined flour is no competition to hot sambar is it? As I stuffed it inside my mouth I felt morose.

I checked my stats. It was not much of a change. In five days I had posted five posts and the comments received were…five….in total.

Visions of Sangeetha’s mini tiffin still loomed in front of my eyes.

 

 

It was almost two pm when the brat and the hubby arrived. The brat sniffed and said, ‘Hmmmm something nice…..what ma, what have you cooked’.

‘methi malai mattar and some paratha’, the MAN replied. I tell you he must have been a police dog in his previous life.

I beamed.

‘Yay’, the boy yelled, ‘finally some good food after eating out of cans for a week’.

‘just five days’, I corrected.

‘Come lets tuck in’, the man said, ‘before another season of ‘opening the can’ begins’, he said.

And we sat down to eat.

Well I am a writer but we need food to eat, don’t we. And for us at least we need proper cooked food, no can for us, none at all.

* fiction

Churmuri

I skipped reading the main page of the newspaper. Since Mangalyan’s success two days back, the only news the newspaper carried was about it and I was seriously fed up. As I turned the page a picture caught my eye and I turned it back again.

The picture was of the female scientists involved in the Mars mission. And one lady looked very familiar. I peered more closely. Yes it looked like Kamakshi’s mother. But then Kamakshi’s mother looked like that some twenty years back. And what was she doing in this Mars mission? And also she was a housewife, when did she become a scientist?

And then it stuck me. This must be Kamakshi herself!!

  *******************

I was having a grand time in Mysore. It was the first time I was living away from my family and I was having a grand time. Yes, I did miss my mothers cooking and my fathers pampering but I was happy that I was far away from the iron discipline of my granny.

And my classmates were kind too. Most of them were day scholars. While one brought some books to read, another brought me home food and so on. While we were busy having a good time, there was Kamakshi. It was obvious that she came from a lower middle class family as she had just two sets of clothes which she wore alternatively. Her hair used to be oiled every day and plaited very neatly into two. She always brought her tiffin and whats more always got something for me because I didn’t get to eat home food. The food was a simple citranna(lemon rice) or uppit(upma) but always very delicious.

And while we would scamper away to have a churmuri(bhelpuri), she rarely did. Obviously the seven rupees a plate was expensive for her. It seemed her father who was a clerk in one of the offices was the sole breadwinner for a family of ten. So it was but natural that the seven odd rupees were a princely sum to her. Sometimes I would force her to come and have some churmuri with us. At that time she would just have soutekayi churmuri which was about five rupees. I suppose it was a bit easy for her to swallow her pride for five rupees than the normal seven rupees churmuri.

I had been to her place a couple of times. Once was during navratri and another just like that. They treated me with so much love that it brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of home.

But after that Kamakshi became distant. Reason being that she started giving tuitions. Her younger brother was a slow learner and needed some extra coaching and it was either his education or hers which could be financed by her father. Kamakshi decided to finance her own education.

One day when she was looking very weak and it seemed she would just fall, I forced her to have some churmuri with me.

‘Hey Kami’, Meena said, ‘When will you treat us, it is always us who treat you’. Meena was the one who always came second while Kamakshi was always first. Meena was obviously hurting at the fact that in the recent test, again it was Kamakshi who had come first.

Kamaskshi’s pride was hurt. While the tears hurt her, she quietly ate the soutekayi churmuri pushing it down with large gulps of water. I pounced on Meena as soon as Kamaskshi left. ‘Didn’t I say the truth, she is a free loader, isn’t she?’, said Meena

After that she became more distant. I would see her walking to college and back. Why she didn’t come by bus, I could very well understand. Maybe she had lost some of her tuitions and so was walking to and fro to save money.

After about three months she stayed back after college, came towards us and said shyly, ‘today is my birthday’

As we gathered to sing and embrace her, she announced, I want to treat you today with some churmuri, And while we protested, she took the ten of us to have some.

That day the shurmuri was extra special for it had the taste of her sacrifice.

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

I picked up the phone and called Datta Uncle. Datta Uncle had been my father’s PA and now was my PA too.  ‘Uncle just find out from the picture in the front page of today’s newspaper, if the lady in pink saree is Kamakshi. If yes, find out her phone number and address’.

I got the reply in the affirmative some two hours later.

I picked up my mobile and dialled her number. ‘Care for some churmuri’, I asked.

*fiction

 

The Eavesdropper

Reblogging an old story

Searching Self

Mithila was parading down the hall when her husband Awadesh entered the house and stopped . On seeing him she too gave a provocative pose and said, ‘So how do I look?’
Mithila and Awadesh had been married for about 2 years now, She was an engineer with a telecom company, while he was an investment banker. Both were dynamic and hardworking. For now they had put any ideas of expanding their family on hold and were just having a good time.
‘Yeah it looks good, but why a ‘ghagra choli?’, he asked.
‘Arrey its Rupali’s wedding na, so I will be wearing this for one of the functions,, she replied.
Rupali was Awadesh’s cousin and her wedding was supposedly to be a grand affair as she was the youngest among the cousins. ‘Oh like that’, he murmured.
‘And then I thought….’, she continued
‘What?, he asked.
‘I thought I…

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