Raise your ‘Hood’

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Once, during a rainy day, I was sitting on the window sill holding my coffee mug mulling over life in general.

Nothing was going right. Finances were down. I am an interior designer working with my husband. We have a small firm which does interiors, landscaping etc.Business was good. We got a lot of contracts, advances were paid upfront but though we finished work on time, the balance payments took months together. In some cases years.

My father in law needed regular dialysis. Son’s fees and other activities needed money. EMIs were due and I was depressed.

We are both straight forward people. We do not understand how shrewd people can be. Clients come and show as if they need their home/office interiors to be done. They show so much interest in our work, they pay advance so hurriedly but then once the job is done, they disappear. Don’t they understand that we have a home to run that we have families too. Our team too suffers because of delay in payments.

It’s at that moment that my mobile rings. It is Hitesh, my friend from college. We exchanged pleasantries….talked for some time and then..’Avanti, whats the matter? Why do you sound so low?’

Me in a choked voice,’Nothing.’

He; ‘Don’t lie, I can understand from your tone’

And then it all came out, the tension, the frustration, the pain

‘Hmmm’, Hitesh said, ‘I will tell you a story.’

I was astonished. Here I was on crossroads almost on the verge of bankruptcy and here was he telling me a story.

‘I will just tell the story. You draw conclusions and the inferences’, he said, ‘There was a cobra who lived in a pit. That pit was near a road. Whoever came near the pit, he bit them. Narad muni was once passing through the path. He saw the snake and felt sad. So he gave a sermon about karma and how each one has to pay back. He advised him not to bite people unnecessarily. So saying Narad muni left. The muni’s words affected the cobra a lot.

After some months Narad muni was going through the path again. So he stopped to meet the cobra. What he sees is a battered snake.What has happened is though the snake has become non violent, people do not know that. So when they see the cobra they beat him with sticks. Then Narad says “I asked you to be nonviolent but I didn’t ask you not to be defensive. When people come near you, you can raise your hood and scare them.”‘

That was the talk that I had with Hitesh two years back.

Today again its a rainy day. I sit with my mug of coffee but today I am happy. Our home is now our home. My father in law had a successful transplant. All is well at least financially.

How you wonder?

We just raised our hoods

We start work only when we receive an advance-substantial advance. Often we tell the client only to buy the ‘raw materials’. We don’t finish the work until the payment is paid even though the client is well-known, a relative or tells us sob stories. Some of the old balances are still pending but for now we are doing alright.

Some advises are just brilliant.


This post is a part of Write over the weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

This weekend the prompt was, Once during a rainy day.

#fiction

 

 

 

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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.

 

Broken dreams

Ginny hops and skips across the street. My eyes follow her, wherever she goes. Presently she holds some flowers in her hand and hops towards me. ‘For you’, she says and skips away.

I am a young lad of some twenty and five years, waiting by the medical college holding a bunch of red roses, Aashus favourite. She comes out and sees me and then she sees the flowers and her eyes light up. 

‘Ajja, ajja.’, Ginny says, do you want to go on that side, lot of kids playing over there’, she says. I nod. She takes me near the ground where some children are playing football whr=ereas some younger kids are just running around.

Aashu holds my hand and we go to the nearby cafeteria. It is our habit to go to the cafe, the day I get my pay package. Other days of course we cannot afford to eat out.

The ball hits me I shrug, a boy comes running up and says, ‘Sorry ajja’. I smile and wave him off.

Aashu jokingly pats my back, I feel her slender fingers, the warmth of hers touches my heart.

The children play, I enjoy looking at them, their energy fills me up, my only joy of the day when suddenly a boy cycling loses his balance and falls….

 We are crossing the road, the road was empty but suddenly there is a roar of a bike. Aaashu is hit, she is falling, I try to save her…….

Appa, appa’, cries Chetan my son, be careful……take care of yourself first Appa, children fall and get up but if you fall…..’ says he as he holds me and makes me sit on the wheelchair again. I look at him with glazed eyes….how do I tell him I was trying to save my broken dreams.

 

 

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.

Ruminations of the motherly types

As we stand waiting for the car to pick the son up for school; there is a bunch of boys. Some 15 of them, all school going. Their school is about 300 metres away. I can hear the assembly in progress but these boys…..they are yet to reach school. Before that they have more important chores to finish.

Like pulling each others legs. Like pulling stuff from the dustbin and throwing it on the road and most important, getting the first smoke of the day. Young boys some as young as 11 or 12 look at me and draw a puff in. And I become desperate. They pass a cigarette to a boy who is maybe 9 or ten and I can hear my blood boil.The  mom and teacher in me wants to go right ahead and give them a tight slap. One which will keep ringing in their ears for days together. But today is not the place. I have two young children with me. I have to look after their safety first.

My anger shifts to the cold store fellow. ‘How dare he sells cigarettes to juveniles?’. But then I understand him. He is an Indian. what can he do against the locals. He must be worried about the safety of his staff and his shop. So he has put this sign on the front’ no sale of cigarettes to juveniles’and has done his bit.

I think of going to the school and talking with the administration but I don’t think they will be able to do much. I remember once the school timings were extended because the portions could not be completed as they had had too many holidays during the academic year. Some boys had created havoc. Security forces had to be brought in but to no avail. The boys just climbed the high fence and ran away. From the next day extended hours were for those who were ready to attend.

Yes, it is a government school. For these reasons only parents now opt for private schools. But not all can opt for private schools. Private schools may or may not have local boards. Which means the kids will have to go for British boards which means they will need extra tuition which means additional expenses.

And it is not that the government schools are not equipped. They are. They have the best infrastructure possible. Also the best facilitator. But what lacks is the environment and the lack of dedicated students. One rotten egg spoils the rest. Or in this case some spoilt brats spoiling others who in turn spoil some more and so on.

Both as a mother and a teacher I keep an eye on ‘my children’ constantly seeing that they don’t fall into bad association. But it is so tough particularly in this age with our dependence on gadgets.

In my class mobiles are banned except to attend calls from the parents who knowing me generally give a  miss call to inform that they have come to pick them up.I am strict but I stay with them for just about 2 hours and what after that.

When I see young kids spoiling their life, I get a dull ache in my heart, how do I make them understand, how can we nourish their lives.

I wonder…………

 

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

I am unique

I am a housewife

and I am proud about it

and no no one forced me to be one.

In case you wonder what happened to me suddenly, let me put it straight; I am fed up of the Women’s day messages. Yes, I am a woman that too a housewife, But I have not sacrificed. I mean every other message that I get talks about the sacrifices that woman make. Maybe I have but so has my husband. Most of the time, he is the one, who holds back his wishes, his wants for our sake.  My sacrifice if any must be minimal. You may say that I am lucky. Maybe I am. I have not been abused, my wishes have not been sidelines,  my voice has not been subdued, And I do not think that my rights have been subjugated.

We just lead ordinary lives. Each respecting the other and adjusting to the numerous demands of life.

Yes I am the first one to wake up and the last one to sleep. So is it a sacrifice? I don’t think so. It is just that I can take a nap when I am free. The rules of time do not apply to me much. When I decided for marriage, when I decided that family will be my prime responsibility, it was my choice. A choice that my husband did not get.

Yes I am lucky. I haven’t faced discrimination. As a youngest child, my parents had gathered enough experience to understand that I was an individual in my own right. I was given the same opportunities as my brother got and sometimes more. The only restriction that I had was that I had to be home before dark. Well I never had the need to stay out late for that matter.

As a wife my opinions are valued. As a daughter in law I may have faced prejudices but my family has always stood beside me providing the moral support which I needed.

Today when I balance my home, my child’s education, seva I don’t feel I am sacrificing anything. Because whatever I did was my choice. A decision which I took with my eyes open and a heart full of love. I wanted to be the backbone of the family, the one whom the others could confide in. I wanted to be there when they wanted me most. You may say that it is in my gene…the slavery, the ready to be ‘the doormat of the house’. I don’t think so.

Whatever we say it is the woman who makes up the home, she is the caregiver, she is the planner, allocator, and in many cases the one who looks after the financial planning too. The men may be the bread winner but it is the woman who runs the show.

Then why brand woman as people whose rights have been compromised or the ones who don’t have a voice. Many like me don’t run offices nor climb mountains but we build lives. And no we don’t yearn for a day or some declaration. We are just happy looking at the values we have built up.

 

Yes there are many who face odds. But for those; is it necessary to cry out and declare the entire human race as one who compromise on womens rights and needs. Is it so necessary to circulate the sob stories. Is it necessary t brand the males as predatory?

I am unique. I am special and no I don’t need a day to tell me that