Stranded!!

It was a Monday that day too. It was a day when I was at home, at peace and enjoying my leisure time. Browsing through sites, I felt at peace when there was a knock at the door. I got up to find Shamina at the door. Shamina is an old lady about 60 + working as a maid to my  neighbour. ‘Did madam leave key with you’, she asked.

‘No, but you have a key, right?’, I asked her back.

‘Yes but I forgot to bring it….Its alright I will go back home and bring it’, she said.

‘Where do you live?’, I asked her. She mentioned a place quite far.

‘You’ll walk?’, I asked.

‘Yes, no buses ply on this route’, she said and turned.

‘Wait, I said and picked up my car keys.

She sat silently by my side. ‘Where does your husband work?’, I asked.

‘I don’t know’, she said and remained silent.

Some days later I met Sheetal my neighbour on the stairs, it was not often theat we met and so started talking. I told her about the day Shamina forgot her keys.

‘Oh, Shamina is my strength’, Sheetal said, ‘You know how often Ricky falls sick. It is Shamina who looks after him. ‘She is very silent and sad, why so’, I asked.

‘She had a daughter who was detected with leukaemia at the age of 12. eventually she died. Her husband left her soon after that taking her passport with her. So she is left here stranded’, Sheetal said.

But surely the embassy can help, if you want I have some friends in the Indian Ladies Association who can help’, I said.

But she does not want to go back to India. It seems that her family outcast her when she married against their wishes. Anyways her parents have died and her brother does not want any relationship with her, so where will she go’, Sheetal said.

Visions of people stranded like her rushed through my eyes. In addition there are those who came in the ruse of a better life but discovered otherwise. The laundry wallah who is a graduate and came in search of a job but was tricked into signing a contract for ironing clothes. By the time his contract ends he will be considered useless for any other jobs. The road cleaner who thought it will be fun to be in a ‘foreign’ country and pooled all his resources to come here only to sweep roads in scorching summers and freezing winters, for whom even a samosa ia a luxury…. The rag picker ho picks up cartons from the dustbin. He has forgotten his mother tongue or his birth place. The stories are endless.

So many stories like this all around…..

I wonder how many Indians actually live here. For there are countless, unaccounted ones…

 

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…!!

Life’s teachings

Aarti  usually went for a walk after dropping Medha at the bus stop. It was at the return when she met Mrs. Panicker. ‘How are you Mrs. Panicker?’,

Mrs. Panicker gave a lame smile and said, ‘Fine’ and carried on.

‘Someone not well Mrs. Panicker, why these medicines’, asked Aarti.

Mrs. Panicker sighed and said, ‘Sahana is not well Mrs. Mittal. She has severe viral infection. You know how it is. Her fever is not coming down. And she has been missing school for the past week. And summatives are up next week. I am worried’.

‘Don’t worry Mrs. Panicker, everything will be alright. And don’t worry about summatives, she will be fine by then. Also you can copy Medha’s notes, I will send it in the evening…..’, said Aarti.

‘NO, no Mrs. Mittal, we will manage, no need of Medha’s notes’, said Mrs. Panicker and hurried away.

Aarti kept on looking her way. From a past few days she had observed that Medha was left alone. Very few of  the colony children would talk to her. Most would keep a distance. What could be the reason?

In the evening Aarti went to Mrs. Panickers place laden with fruits and Medha’s class notes.

Mrs. Panicker opened the door but obviously she was astonished. ‘I brought some fruits and notes for Sahana’, said Aarti and stepped in. She saw a very weak Sahana sitting on the couch. And said, “hey Sahana….how are you darling, see I have brought you Medha’s notes, you don’t have to worry about studies now…’

‘Medha’s notes??, I don’t want Medha’s notes’, Sahana said and with teary eyes looked at her mother and said, ‘why did you ask?’

‘I didn’t’, said Mrs. Panicker but by then Sahana had rushed to her room.

There was a heavy silence in the room. And then Mrs. Panicker said, ‘Thank you Mrs. Mittal but we won’t be needing  Medha’s notes.’

Mrs. Panicker, will you explain to me why Sahana does not want Medha’ss notes’, Asked Aarti.

‘No, nothing like that, you know children when they are weak behave in weird ways’, said Mrs. Panicker.

‘I don’t believe that Mrs. Panicker. I have observed that from some days none of the colony children want to play with Medha. So there must be something. Please tell me Mrs. Panicker. I want to correct my daughter if she is wrong. Please I insist.’

Mrs. Panicker looked embarrassed but then began to speak, ‘Medha is of course, brilliant, sharp. Obviously her IQ is high but then…’

‘Please tell Mrs. Panicker, please don’t hesitate’, insisted Aarti

‘Medha thinks very highly of herself Mrs. Mittal and makes fun of others. You know my Sahana doesn’t speak very good English, so she teases Sahana about her accent. My Sahana is a sensitive child Mrs. Mittal and it affects her. Medha shows of her superiority in everything and that is why none of the kids like to play with her any more.’

Aarti was shocked. She mumbled a thanks and left.

Over the past few days Aarti just observed Sahana. And found out that what Mrs. Panicker had said was true. At every given opportunity Medha would boast or show her superiority and Aarti knew that, that habit of hers had to be set right.

Medha was excited. The next day was the open day at school. She wanted her parents to meet her teachers, especially she wanted them to meet Teacher Angela. Angela teacher liked her a lot and she knew that she would praise her in front of her parents.

She told her parents what to wear and instructed them to speak good english as Angela teacher spoke very good english.

It was then that Aarti had a brain wave.

The next day Medha proudly took her parents to Angela teacher. After the formalities were over. Aarti asked some questions in faltering English.

Medha was devastated and she looked around checking that no one was listening. Then she signalled to her mother but her mother ignored her completely.

The rest of the meeting went on like that and then they stood up to leave, when Aarti spoke, ‘Sorry my english is not so good’

‘Oh that is ok Mrs. Mittal. A famous person has said, Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language‘, she said with a smile and added, ‘one can’t judge anyone on their language, can you. It is the character that matters’.

Medha was thoughtful on their return home.

Aarti looked at her from the corner of her eyes. She hoped that she had learnt a lesson today. In the coming days she would learn some more.

 

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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Arjun learns a lesson

Arjun and Saket were playing cricket. Mishra aunty called them and said, ‘Arjun, Saket, It is so hot. Why are you playing cricket now?’

Arjun looked at her and said, ‘Dadi, its our vacations now and we are getting bored at home’

‘But beta, it is hot now, you will fall sick’, said Mishra aunty.

The boys kept playing.

After some time Mishra aunty called them, Saket, Arjun come, I have made some shikanji, It is so refreshing’.

The boys could not resist the cool drink and ran towards Dadi’s home

And while they munched on some biscuits and had some cool shikanji, Dadi was busy. She kept a mango in the centre of some funny apparatus which had a wooden plank with a knife attached to it. The plank had a depression in the centre. Dadi kept a mango in the depression and brought the knife down. Cutting the mango into two neat halves. Then she kept each half and then bisected them again.

‘What are you doing, dadi’, asked Saket

‘Cutting mangoes’, told Dadi simply.

‘Yes’, but for what’, asked Saket

‘For pickles. After I cut them, I will apply some salt and some haldi and keep it in the sun for some time’, said Dadi

‘Arjun, will  you help me in cutting these mangoes’, said she

‘Me, why?? I am not a girl’, said he.

‘And what do you mean by that’, Dadi asked

‘Only girls do this work. I mean all this kitchen work’, said he.

‘And what are boys supposed to do?’, asked Dadi.

‘Umm, drive cars, go to office….’said Arjun

‘Why then does you mom drive a car and go to office’, said dadi, And I have seen your father cooking sometimes’.

‘Oh that is when mom is sick or too busy’, said he.

‘Oh then why does Sanjiv Kapoor become a chef, after all cooking is a girl’s job’, retorted Dadi

All this was confusing Arjun. He had just assumed that cooking was a girl’s domain and had never thought more than that.

‘Beta, one should know or at least try to know everything. There is nothing as boys work and girls work’, said dadi.

Saket meanwhile was trying his hand in cutting mangoes. He squealed in delight as one piece flew and fell far away. After a few strokes but he was cutting fine.

Arjun’s hand itched to try tha apparatus once. But he felt shy. finally curiosity took over and he asked, ‘May I try it once’.

In no time both boys were taking turns and having a good time.

Dadi smiled. She had managed to put some sense in Arjun and whats more a full bag of mangoes had been cut for making pickle. Her work had been simplified.

Mummy hurried to make dinner, she had been late from office and she was sure Arjun must be famished. As such she felt guilty on leaving him alone the full day and if she didn’t give him food at right times she felt even more guilty.

Arjun came into the kitchen.

‘Wait son, just 15 more minutes and I will serve you dinner’, said she

‘No mama, it is alright, I came to help you. Do you need help in cutting vegetables??’, he asked

His mom meanwhile stared at him in shock.

 

 

 

 

The King

The sun seems to be in its full glory. It shines on and on, till people like me, close the blinds or shut our eyes. The tiny drops of sweat are enjoying too sliding from all places imaginable and unimaginable. The clothes are happy too. In no time they get dried to their crisp selves. In fact all seem to be happy except we ordinary mortals.

While the pigeons hide away as soon as it is 7 am and the sun rolls up its mane, we humans sweat and sweat and carry on. I do not know what the camels or the horses do. Because none live in the vicinity and I do not bother to find out about them. Happy am I with my comforts within the four walls.

While the better half and the son return home, nicely browned as if toasted, I take care not to ruffle feathers. With the temperature rising the tempers flare up too.

And while the fruits look inviting and satisfying. They are indeed saviors. Who wants to eat the carbs and the heavy masalas. The smoothies and yes, the ice cream look more inviting.

But what is most inviting is the juicy, yellow and sometimes red varieties. Indian, Yemeni, Pakistani or whatever. Who can resist those juicy king of fruits, yes….the mangoes the saving grace of summer.

To group or not to group…..

Jini moved in bed and then a hand popped out searching for her mobile. Pavan had already opened the curtains and the sunrays peeped in. ‘Good morning world’, she typed, ‘good to see the sun after the evil dust storm’. Pavan looked and sighed. Nowadays he was afraid to even speak to her lest it found its way in her whatsapp messages.

Sometime later he sat working on the report which he had to send immediately to Oman. As he switched on the wi-fi on his mobile, it started beeping. He let out a sigh. What was the need for so many messages. Often repeated on multiple groups. ‘Does anyone read them’, he murmured.

Jini  came in, ‘Hi, good morning’, she said, ‘somebody is grumpy….what happened?’

‘Does anyone read these junk messages which keep on forwarding from one group to another’, he said

‘But then some are useful’, she said.

‘Like if you drink two litres of water, your digestion improves and…..’,

‘Like you didn’t know already? And why do we have to have so many groups? There is my school alumni group, college alumni group, …….’, he said

But don’t you feel good to be back in touch with your friends?’, she asked.

‘Yes, it does but what is the need for my office colleagues group, don’t we meet everyday’

And then there is Nikita’s school parent group….what is the purpose of the group. I would rather exit that group’, he said.

‘oh no, don’t do that. That way we know whats going on in school’, she said

‘But all I see is silly messages and jokes’, he countered

And what about this building group. what is the need for that. I can just go and knock someones door if I want to ask something,’ he said

‘The owner created that group so that he can communicate to everyone in one go’, she said.

‘And what about this family group’, he began

‘Oh let it be, we all can be in touch through that group’, Jini said

The phone beeped again. Pavan switched off the wi-fi. Jini meanwhile was punching in a new status, ‘ To group or not to group is the question in the better half’s mind’

Pavan thought a little and then switched on the wi-fi, for the first time he punched in his status, ‘ I am a social animal who thrives in isolation, please don’t add me in groups’. Please…..please……_/\_