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Lost and Searching

wpid-wowbadge1A person named Manav lost some valuable items in the by-lanes of Jeevan Society. The police found him in an incoherent state and what could be gathered from the bits and pieces that he spoke was;

That day itself he had joined his job and he found out that all his education had been  a waste. Since then he has been trying to find out what is really needed for a job.

He tried to help a small girl to climb  a tree. Her mother came and slapped him and told him never to touch a child again.

He wanted a meal but if he had a good meal, he could not eat for the next one week, his salary could not afford it.

He went to deliver a packet at his boss’s house, only to find out that the water hose was running though the garden was flooded with water. His  tenement received water only twice in a week.

Though Manav was mumbling a lot many things but the reporter could not gather more than these as she herself started searching for the things that Jeevan lost. If any reader finds any, he/she can please hand over the lost properties at the office address of this newspaper.

 

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Written as a part of Write over the Weekend (WOW) an initiative for Indian Bloggers by blogadda. The theme this week was to

Invent a hot and sensational news headlines and write a story about it this weekend.

My post may not be hot and sensational but then that is how life is nowadays with mistrust, lack of compassion or common sense etc etc. I am on this search…are you?

 

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A friend in need…..

As I was waiting for Avinash at the gates of the campus, Shridhar came and said, ‘Riddhi be careful, you can go out in groups na, why these solitary dates’.

I saw Avinash’s bikes vrooming ahead and said, ‘Shri, I know how to take care of myself’.

It was a lovely evening, we went on a long ride, had dinner and then when I asked him to drop me to my hostel, he took me to a lonely spot.

‘No, Avinash’, I screamed as he started getting fresh with me but he would not stop and then there was a pow and a thud.

I looked at Shridhar with gratitude, he smiled his mischievous smile and said, ‘Am I not your best‘est’ friend.

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Written as a part of ‘Write over the weekend’, an initiative for Indian bloggers by blogadda. The theme this time is to write a story in just five sentences which includes the word friend.

A scare…

wpid-wowbadge1As I started tying my tie, I looked at Aditi. She was applying nail polish. At that moment I envied her. Envied that she was the housewife and had the liberty on doing things at her own pace.

At that moment she looked at me and saw me staring at her. ‘What?’, she asked, ‘I have been running from Five in the morning, can’t I take some break now?’

I nodded a yes. She was right.  If she did not get up early in the morning and saw to things, we would never reach our schools and office on time.

‘And by the way’, she continued, ‘You are looking awesome but the knot of your tie has not come right.’  And then she got up and corrected it without bothering that all her nails have not been painted yet.

Those are the two things that I absolutely love about Aditi. She is always  speaks diplomatically, taking care never to criticize and yet correct and the other  was that she always kept our interests to the forefront.

As I drove to the point where our lane joined the main road, I noticed in the rear view mirror another car parked near our neighbor’s house. Two people- a man and a woman got down from the car and then started walking to our home. I couldn’t see more as my car had progressed much.

Later about 11 am I called up Aditi on her mobile, I got a message that she was out of range. I called up the home number, she did not pick it up.

She called me later, ‘Did you call me Vikram, I got a miss call notification’, she said.

‘Yes, where were you?’, I asked.

‘I was speaking to Mrs. Bhatia’, she said.

It was strange because Mrs. Bhatia lived just two doors away and the mobile could not be ‘out of range’ there.

‘Vikram could you please come early by 4.00 p.m. today. I am going grocery shopping , there are some special discounts at Mega Mart, if I go late in the evening, the stocks may get over.’

‘Alright’, I said but my mind was somewhere else. Aditi did not mention about the people who had come in the morning. And never had she gone out like this… what was the matter…

‘Vikram are you there….’, she said.

‘Yes,’ I replied.

‘You have the house keys, don’t you’, she asked.

I checked and said yes.

My mind could not concentrate on work that day. It was true that I had become too centred on my work. The whole responsibility of home, managing kids and other relatives had fallen on Aditi. Was it because of that she had found someone else.

I left office by 3.00p.m.  itself. The whole neighborhood looked deserted. Kids had left for their different classes, I think, because there was utter silence. It seemed that Aditi had left too. SO the only job for me to do was to pick up the kids from their respective classes at 4.30 p.m.

I dragged myself to the front door, put in my key and turned.

I thought of all the years that I had neglected her, all those times when I should have paid some attention to her but had not. All those times when I had dug into my files knowing well that it was our anniversary or her birthday.

As I stepped into the dark room I resolved that no I would not allow Aditi to go away from me. We were a team, we belonged. I switched on the light. As I moved my gaze, I saw a well arranged room, a table for two and Aditi in a red gown standing in a corner.

‘Knew you would come in early’, she said with a grin.

‘What is all this?’, I asked.

‘Today is the 15th anniversary of the day when we first met’, she said. ‘Do you remember that day’, she said.

‘How can I forget?’, I said. We had met in the famed local of Mumbai. From Mumbai we had moved to the Gulf, got married, had kids, it had been a long fruitful journey.

‘The way you were ignoring me, I thought you had forgotten’, she said, ‘And so I thought of this to revive your memory’.

‘Who were the two who came in that black Rav4 in the morning’, I asked unable to control my curiosity.

‘Oh did you see them..’, she giggled. ‘It was your brother Vikrant and his girlfriend who had come to arrange this room. I asked him why they both had dressed up in black with hat and all and he said it was to arouse your curiosity’.

I smiled. My brother and my wife both know me too well.

‘But why are we wasting time’, added Aditi, ‘Vikrant said that he will take care of the kids till 7.00 p.m, which means we just have some three and a half hours’, she smile mischievously.

I hugged her tight. The brief moments when I had thought that she was going far from me were hell. Never was I too ignore her again.

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This post is a part of Write over the weekend an initiative for Indian bloggers by Blogadda. This time the entry had to contain the three words, nail polish, awesome and rear view mirror.

What is important?

wpid-wowbadge1I looked out of my window. The visuals were not that bad. Having moved into this city recently, I was skeptical of everything. I had not thought that we would get a spacious flat but we had. I had thought that the neighbours would be boorish, they were not. In fact they were quite friendly. The building had long corridors which meant that Akhil my son could play even if it was raining outside. There were many kids and whats more, Akhil’s classmate Raj lived next door. With Akhil settled down. I was at peace and more adjustable to the circumstances.

Yes, I missed my family especially my in-laws with whom I had been living for the past 10 years but then some sacrifices are needed if you have to advance in your career. And so when the husband got a good offer we moved to this city leaving our home and loved ones behind.

‘Ma, I am going to play’, screamed Akhil. I was feeling bored so I followed him out. It was very hot that day and so the kids had decided to play in the corridor and then when it cooled down, they had plans to move out.

They started playing cricket. After two overs, Akhil said, ‘Wait’, I will call Raj’.

And he started banging the door and ringing the bell simultaneously.

‘Don’t make a din, Akhil’, I said

‘Another boy said, ‘Don’t call Raj, we have Summatives next week, so don’t call.

Akhil didn’t listen to either of us and kept on banging.

The door opened with a jerk and Raj’s father came out and yelled, ‘Don’t you have exams next week, go study and DO NOT DISTURB understand??’, and he shut the door with a bang.

Akhil was shaken. I did not know how to respond. The other boy said, ‘I warned you na, summatives are on next week and so Raj and his brother will not come out for the next 15 days.

I was surprised. I mean so many amends have been made so that there is not much stress on children, there are no marks or ranks given but only grades and yet……

Summatives had begun but at out home everything was normal. We both believe that children learning is a continuous process. And though we see to it that Akhil revises the day before the exam, we try and see that he is not stressed.

And so he was his normal self- monkeying around. I was taking my stroll he was cycling. We saw Raj, he was carrying a packet obviously he had been to get something from the shop nearby.

‘How are you, Raj, EVS went well today?’, I asked.

The boy was disturbed and was about to cry. ‘No, I made two mistakes’, he said and ran away.

We just stood looking at him. This was quite unlike Akhil who just comes and yells, ‘Ma, I made two mistakes’, as if it is an achievement to be broadcast.

The results were out. Akhil did reasonably well. I was satisfied. Even if I had asked him why he had done mistakes, he would have just replied, ‘It happened Ma, what can I do about it now’. So I just told him where all he had gone wrong and what all he had to improve.

I didn’t ask Raj and his brother how they had fared. I was afraid that if they had not done well, they would be hurt.

I met their father some days later and after some preliminary talks as any  normal conversations go between parents I asked him how his sons had fared. ‘Not good, the elder one got in the range of 37, 38 out of 40 the younger one got 40 in two and 39, 39.5 in two’, he said.

‘But that is very good’, I protested.

‘Oh no they have to be perfect to get good grades’, he said.

‘But is it so important? It is how you lead your life which is more important’, I said. I truly believe that it is not marks but your character, integrity, values which help you to be successful in  life.

‘Do you teach that to your child’, he said, ‘Don’t do that marks are important, getting full marks is very important’, he said and left.

I kept on looking. What was important? Raising happy confident kids or raising robot kids?

There was a commotion behind. I looked there. An old man had slipped and fallen, all the grocery items had fallen from his shoulder bag. Akhil first helped the man to get up on his feet and then proceeded to pick up everything and put in the bag.Then he put the bag on his shoulder and held the old man’s hand and lead him to his home.

Akhil many never be a topper, maybe he will never be an IAS or Engineer but I knew that his heart was in the right place and he was a winner all the way.

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This post in part of Write over the Weekend an initiative for Indian bloggers by BlogAdda.

The theme for this week, DO NOT DISTURB

I truly believe that education is a beautiful learning process and though competition is good, the quest for perfection kills the appetite for learning.

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.

The person with the scar

wpid-wowbadge1Lakshmi picked up her bag and left for her home. She hurried. Her husband Ganesh would be back soon and before he reached home, she wanted to keep lunch ready. It was not that he was demanding or would beat her if the lunch was not ready. In fact if she was late he would start rolling the rotis  himself. But today she did not want that. He had worked the afternoon shift the day before; coming home at 10.30p.m. and had left at 5 in the morning for the early shift. So today she wanted him to have lunch made by her and then take some rest.

Ganesh was a simple guy and living with him Lakshmi felt safe. Although she longed for some excitement. But there was barely any. Some day they may have a child and then their family might be complete. But beyond that there was nothing to look forward too.

She was lost in her thoughts when someone touched her waist. Taken by surprise she jumped.

The man grinned and cycled away when Ahmed the gatekeeper and generally the Man Friday of the anganwadi where she worked ran and caught him by the collar and gave him a solid whack. Lakshmi ran to where they stood and then joined Ahmed in adding her two bits. Both of them beat him nicely till he begged for mercy.

‘You go now’, Ahmed said ,’or else you will be late’.

At that time, Lakshmi noticed the tattoo. Ahmed always wore shirts with full sleeves, Today the sleeves were rolled up and she saw the mermaid tattoo. She had seen that tattoo before, if only she could remember where

It was night, After a long time they had spent some time without any tensions and any hurry. Cradled in Ganesh’s arm Lakshmi thought of the turns life had taken. She rarely thought of the past but today she did not know why her thoughts were in such a jumble.

Born of parents who worked in construction sites, Lakshmi longed to study. She knew that it was education which would make a difference to her life. To her good fortune, the builder’s wife sensed her need and sponsored her education till she finished her 10th. There was another boy whom she was sponsoring- Ratan.

Lakshmi sat up breathing heavily. She remembered everything now. Ganesh pulled her back to the bed. ‘Sleep now dear, else you will not be able to get up in the morning’, he said.

Morning she went early, Ahmed was nowhere to be seen. She came to know later that he had been sent to the head office to collect some papers. On the third day she managed to encounter him.

‘Why have you changed your name Ratan? Where had you disappeared? And what has happened to your face?’. Ahmed had a scar on his left cheek. The children who came in new, would be scared of him.

‘Ratan…what are you saying, I am Ahmed’, he replied.

‘Don’t lie, Ratan. I know that tattoo. Your father had burnt you with a hot iron rod because you were reading and had not gone to work. And to cover that mark you had got this mermaid tattoo done. I remember everything Ratan.’

Ahmed sat down with a sigh.

‘Yes, Lakshmi, I had got this tattoo made to hide the burn mark. ‘

‘Where had you disappeared Ratan suddenly after  we had passed our 7th grade?’

Ahmed started talking with a low voice as if the pain in his heart would weigh him down.

‘Yes Lakshmi, I had been so happy that day. I had topped in the whole district. I finished all the jobs and came home. My father was beating my mother in his alcoholic stupor. He saw me and pounced on me too.  I resisted him. My mom came to rescue me. He banged her head on the walls till she fell down. Then he attacked me. But by then our hut was on fire. My mother while falling down had tipped the oil lamp, the only means of light of her hut. And soon there was a raging fire. My father ran away leaving me and my mother in the fire. I tried to drag my mother out but a beam fell on me.

I awoke  the next day in the hospital. Some people had rescued me. But the scar on the left part of my body remained. My mother had not survived the fire.

I was lucky that the attendant of the burn ward took me to his home and raised me as his own son. He gave me my new name Ahmed.

When you joined this anganwadi I recognized you but thought better not to disclose myself’, he said with tears in his eyes.

Lakshmi too had tears in her eyes.. The whole of his life he had fought for an identity. And though he was such a kind, gentle and intelligent person, people would always remember him only by the scar on his face.

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This post is a part of the Write over the weekend an initiative for Indian bloggers by Blogadda. This time the post had to include, ‘He/She had seen that tattoo before! If only he/she could remember where’.

‘Missed call!!’

wpid-wowbadge1Naina sung a happy tune. She had discovered that she was in love and that was such a heady feeling. No, it was not first love. She fell in love in periodic intervals and came out of it in weeks. It was not her fault, she thought. Some men were intelligent, some were handsome but as soon as they opened their mouth or as soon as she spent some time with them; her castle in air would fall down. Some were so dumb that they couldn’t carry a conversation, some so smitten by their own good looks that they ignored her and so on. But she knew that Rohit, her current attraction was ‘the one’.

They had common interests of reading and travelling and they could spend hours just talking about the books they had read or the places they had visited too. He was intelligent too. In the company they both worked for, Rohit was thought of as a genius.  Look-wise too he was not bad either.

Naina went on singing her happy tune as she washed the dishes. Her mother always saw to it that she helped around the house. Naina may be tired and about to fall down but her mother saw to it that she did her bit even if it meant folding the laundry. ‘I am just training you Naina’, she would say, ‘when you get married, you will have to balance your career and home, isn’t it? I cannot come and do your chores for you’.

Naina did not mind washing the dishes or doing the laundry as long as no one asked her to cook. In fact she found doing the dishes quite therapeutic.

She wiped the last plate and kept it in its place. And walked to her room. On picking her mobile she found 38 missed calls in 10 mins! She wondered what was going on.

Rohit had called her. She smiled. Did it mean that he too was in love with her. He had said earlier in the day that he had something important to tell her. Was this IT. Did he want to confess his love for her? She was certain it was. Didn’t a girl knew when a boy was interested in her. With trembling fingers she dialed his number, he received her call.

‘Where were you Naina, I called you so many times’, he said.

Naina in her silken voice said, ‘Yes, 38 missed calls in 10 minutes. What is the matter Rohit’, she said with a heart that was working overtime.

‘Naina I have invested some money in xxxxx bank. And which needs me to enroll four more and I will get 75 % of  my money back instantly. Please please Naina join na, you can enroll four more and you can have your money back instantly too. I have already enrolled three, you will be the fourth one, please Naina.’

Naina sat still with her mouth wide open.

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. This time your entry must contain, ’38 missed calls in 10 mins! He/She wondered what was going on.’