Tag Archive | life

Parvathi

The phone rang. Parvathi picked it up.

‘Amma’, a voice called. It was Shriya. ‘Amma I am coming tomorrow morning by bus. I will come home myself. There is no need for Appa to come to pick me up.’

‘Huh, but…’, said Parvathi.

‘I do not know when the bus will reach Amma, that is why’, clarified Shriya.

‘But why are you calling from a public booth, what happened to your mobile’, asked Parvathi.

‘Oh that’, answered Shriya, ‘low battery, amma, alright the bus is about to start, so meet you tomorrow’.

Parvathi stood there cradling the receiver of the phone. Shriya has not charged her mobile which is very unlike her. She is so organised with everything especially before her travel. Plus she was travelling by bus, which is again unlikely. She either comes by flight or train. Which again means that her plan to come here was sudden.

‘What happened’, a voice called. It was Karunesh, Parvathi’s husband.

Parvathi explained and told her suspicions too. ‘I think she and Mahesh have had a fight’.

‘Parvathi, why do you always have to read between lines, maybe she is homesick’, said Karunesh.

‘Maybe, but isn’t that home her home too now.’, she said.

Next morning, she woke up early wanting to finish the chores so that she could sit with her daughter and chat. Shriya reached by 10 am.

The day was spent in happy reminiscing, joking, eating.

Parvathi’s gentle probing was ignored. It was obvious that there was something but Shriya was not yet ready to divulge.

‘Amma, was Appa was like this only when young’, asked Shriya once her father had left for his evening walk.

‘This only means?’, asked her mother.

‘Was he always so gentle. always sharing the minutest thing with you, taking care of you so much’, said Shriya.

Parvathi became silent. All the events of the early years flitted across her mind like a slide show.

”Amma, amma, where are you lost’, asked Shriya gently nudging her mother.

Parvathi looked at her daughter lovingly, sat down and began.

‘I always thought that men of the previous generation were dominating and the men of mine were more liberal. It was true. But I also assumed that with me being educated, the relation between me and my husband would be more balanced. I thought decisions would be taken together whether it be family or financial. And so when I met your father I thought I had been blessed. He was nothing like my father. He was gentle and so very gracious. He would help me in  our tiny home and when your brother was born our life was perfect. I used to feel so proud of having such a wonderful husband and a cute son.

We were just married for about a year and a half. Your father was busier now that he had been promoted. Your brother was sleeping and I was tidying up. I came across some papers and too my horror I came to know that your father had bought a house for his sister and that too just a few months back. My world came crushing down. My vision of a perfect partner of one who would be open with me, who would take my opinion, who would share everything, was shattered.

I could have confronted him but ego made me silent. I kept to myself. I started noticing things. I noticed that when there were matters about his profession or about investments, he never talk to me. He would rather talk to his sisters than me.

But one day I did ask him why he had bought the house and why he had not told me.

‘What did he say?’, Shriya asked. Parvathi noticed that Shriya was sitting on the edge of her seat. ‘Aha, she thought so Mohan and Shriya are having some troubles amidst them.’

‘He told me, ‘Akka needed a house, her in-laws had turned them out. So I bought a house for her. That much I can do for my sister without consulting you, can’t I? Anyways it is money that I earned, can’t I spend on my people?’

‘I was hurt, very hurt. About his using the term ‘my people’ about his saying my money. I didn’t reply to him but the rifts were more obvious now. My father may have been dominating but he never said yours and mine. Your father did. Your father was helpful around the house, he spoke to me but did not share. I realized that I may be his wife but when his family were concerned I would always be a third party’.

‘Then what did you do Amma’, asked Shriya who by then was sitting near Parvathi’s feet.

‘I thought of going away. I thought of arguing with your father of asking my rights. But then on introspection I realized that nothing could be done, It was his nature I had to accept it.’

‘What’, asked Shriya.

‘That for your father I was his wife not exactly his soul mate. So I would always be an outsider for him.’

They spent some moments in silence. Parvathi thinking of those times and Shriya understanding that even her darling Appa was not perfect.

‘Didn’t you feel like leaving Appa and going away’, asked Shriya.

‘Yes, I did. But I was not the career types Shriya. I  wanted my home, my family. And it was not that he was  overtly cruel to me or something. He took care of me, I was never wanting for either food, clothes or respectability. So I decided to stay put. Anyways I had come to realise that no relation is perfect and no one is your best friend except the one above’, Parvathi said caressing Shriya’s head.

Shriya mulled and nodded.

Parvathi continued,  ‘I spent hours contemplating. I would make your brother sit on my lap and sit near the Altar and pray. Pray for a way out. The hurt was too much you know of being sidelined, of not being asked my approval before the house was bought.

But then I weighed the pros and cons. And the pros; your fathers goodness outweighed the bad. And finally I accepted him as he was. Who is perfect Shriya in this world. Am I perfect? No, so I accepted him as he was’.

They spent some time again in silence. By then Karunesh returned and asked, ‘So were the mother-daughter duo conspiring against me?’

‘I will get you some juice’, said Parvathi.

Shriya was silent. Contemplating on her demons.

‘I hope you have laid all your demons to rest’, asked Parvathi when Shriya was about to board her train .

‘Thanks to you, I did’, said Shriya.

‘Which demon”, asked Karunesh.

‘Oh nothing’, they said in unison, ‘just womanly stuff. Nothing of your interest’.

* fiction

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I can write stories but I have a tough time giving a title. I struggled today too and finally put it as Parvathi. You can name it other wise 😀

Truly alive

I banged the door and left. All the pent-up frustrations of rising costs,  mounting EMIs, blame game, everything was reflected in that bang.

I ran. Took a bus heading to Zallaq beach. I sat without knowing what I was going to do there.

But the sea beckoned me and I ran. Knee deep in water, soaking in the sunlight. embracing the wind, I felt truly alive.

The phone rang. ‘Thought I was dead, eh?’, I said in jest.

‘Nah, tell me where is the salt?  Junior wants some noodles to eat?’, he said in a tone which spoke relief.

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Sometimes problems just need some space; sometimes the problems are ourselves.

Fiction written as a part of Write Tribe’s 100 words on Saturday. 

100 Words on Saturday - Write Tribe
The prompt this time, Truly alive

Your call

I was browsing. A post here and a prompt there. A like here, a comment there.

And then came your call. We spoke, we became cheeky and then you dropped the bombshell.

I kept the mobile down, looked up at the screen, oh so lovingly but no, there would be no more comp time. I sighed dragged myself out of the chair and began the chores of the day.

The ‘king’ was coming in an hour. I had to make the home spick and span and the meal ready so that HE could not point a finger at me. SIGH…………

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The story of our lives, isn’t it?? I would have liked to be online always; chatting, reading but then as Robert Frost said:

I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep

😀

Posted as a part of 100 words on Saturday

100 Words On Saturday

Screen

Nita sat straight and then looked around. She was sitting in the garden bench, her favorite place. When did I come here?’, she thought.

‘I am getting old, but is 42 old?’, she thought. Of late she was forgetting things. Like sometimes she forgot where she was driving to, sometimes she forgot what she was doing…..

But to forget why she was sitting there was strange. Then she saw the front door open to welcome some guests and then she remembered. Her husband Ashish a small-scale industrialist was forever entertaining friends. He said it was a business need. And that day he had a party planned and had forgotten to inform her or had he informed her and she had forgotten?? She really didn’t remember.

And so he comes in and says, ‘What…… are you not ready? Guests will be arriving any moment?’

She asks, ‘Which guests?’ And then they argue. She gets angry and asks him, don’t they have a life of their own? It’s always his business and parties. What about her and the children, don’t they need some time too?

Ashish replies that they can argue later but guests are about to arrive. SO can she get ready and order some food from somewhere. She said she will do neither and leaves the house. Oh yes, she had taken the car and gone to the beach, so when did she return and sit on the bench?

But wait, Ashish had said that only 20 people were coming. But ….there seems to be a never-ending stream of people. Ashish………wait till the end of the party…we will have a looong talk, she thinks.

Tired of sitting out she slips in through the back door. Why is the house so silent, she thinks. Why is there no music? Anyways let them do anything, she thinks and slips into her room.

There is something in the air.  A sadness. Maybe it is my imagination, she thinks. Doesn’t Ashish always tells me to be real and not imagine. Suddenly she glances at the desk calendar. Ashish has this habit of  tearing off the date sheet as soon as he gets up in the morning. But what is this….today is 24th November isn’t it? Why is it kept at 28th? Did Ashish tear off additional sheets in an act of fury because she had left home or….has she forgotten which date it is?

Suddenly she glances at her picture taken some years back. When her eyes still twinkled with innocence and hair were jet black. But….why is there a garland on that picture??

The side table has a collection of newspapers. She glances at them to see that it is dated the 25th…headlines scream…’Industrialist Ashish’s wife dies in a road accident.’

Tarnished with time

Shiv prepared the coffee, poured it in a mug, set it on a tray and went to the bedroom to wake up his wife of 30 years. It was the first time in their married life that he was doing it and he felt very very proud.

 

‘Mekhala, Mekhala, wake up, see I have made coffee for you’, he called his wife. The mention of coffee and she woke up with a start. ‘Ramesh(the cook), is on leave today, so who made this ?’

‘Me’, Shiv said proudly.

Mekhala looked at his face, then picked up a mug and took a sip. Shiv meanwhile had already taken some sips and was marveling at the fact that he had not lost his touch. In his bachelor days, his friends used to say that no one made coffee like Shiv. Mekhala meanwhile was having trouble gulping the sip that she had taken.

‘Why Mekha, isn’t it good?’, he asked.

‘It is..but Shiv. ….I have had an aversion for coffee since I had been pregnant with Priya and have had not had it since.’

‘Really?’, Shiv said in amazement.

Mekhala looked on in guilt and then said,’ Shiv I am glad that you made this coffee but I really cannot have it’, and then watched Shiv walk away crestfallen.

Mekhala looked on. For 29 years of their marriage, Shiv had been too busy with his career. And though the management had wanted him to continue, had decided to retire at the age of 60 saying that he had worked enough. It had only been 2 days since he retired and Mekhala shuddered at what would happen next.

For 29 years he had concentrated on ‘his’ bank. Well that is what she and her children had called it-his bank. Though he had been at home in the late nights and weekends. He had been rarely with them mentally. Always busy with some report or the other, she had managed the home scene herself. Companionship, sharing, joint decisions…those had been only words for her, she had never experienced it herself. The kids had been her kids, never theirs. Even his sisters were closer to her than him. So after such a long time, how do I welcome this stranger back to my life, she thought.

 

Days went on. Shiv tried to be participative. He helped around the house until the houseboy came and told Mikhila that if he was not allowed to do things his way, he would gladly find employment someplace else. Somehow she pacified him.  Shiv suddenly found that he was interested in gardening and started advising the gardener. Mikhila saw that he and the gardener were having an argument and came into the picture and saved the situation. And so on..

Priya their daughter married and settled in another city called up one day and asked, ‘How are you tolerating Dad. He is irritating me by calling at odd hours’

Matters went to a high when Arvind, their son was getting ready to go to a concert and his father asked what how could he go when it was audit session. Arvind, a  CA got irritated and said, ‘Because Dad I am not like you. I believe in having a life and not being a slave of my job’

Mikhila shuddered. What Arvind had said was true. But she knew that it must have hurt Shiv a lot and worried how badly he would take it.

 

Some hours later after searching everywhere, she found Shiv in a nook in the garden. It was dark and damp and she worried that he may catch a cold.

She went and sat beside him. ‘Nobody needs me, isn’t it?’, he asked. She had always like him for the fact that he came pat on the subject without meandering here and there.

‘It is not that. But Shiv you have been so busy with yourself and your career that we are used to not having you around. Now suddenly you start getting interested and start interfering. Naturally anyone will be irritated’.

‘Including you’, he said and continued, ‘I had hoped to be a companion to you, to the kids but I suppose I was wrong. It would have been better if I had taken an extension’.

They spent some time in silence and then Mikhila said, ‘Why don’t we try to be friends. Unlearn what we know about each other and learn what we have become. Once that is done, you can try to be friends to the children.’

‘So you will not abandon me, will you?’, Shiv said with a smile.

‘Never. Remember the vows we took on Saptapadi. I know you are the same great person I married, it is only the outer layers that I have to explore’, she said with a twinkle in her eye and they got up holding hands hoping that better times would follow.

Behind the glamour…….

Neha picked up a burrito and pushed it into her mouth. First time she had seen of these Spanish, Mexican, Italian food etc. Hither too it had always been Indian food. Neither her upbringing nor her salary allowed her to have any of the other fancy stuff. Talking about fancy stuffs, till now she had not even seen the insides of a 5 star.

‘Akka, enough,’ Megha her sister called out. ‘How much more you will stuff yourself? You will have  a stomach upset.’

‘Why shouldn’t I? I spent about Rs 8000 for this saree, Rs 2000 for the gift. Another 500 for the saloon to get ready. And in turn my budget for this month and the coming months is badly shaken. I am going to recover if not all at least some of it’.

Megha cringed in embarrassment.

It had so happened that Neha a dental assistant had met Chandru, a handsome hunk in his struggle days. He used to come to the clinic where she worked for aligning his teeth.  Well Neha too was attracted to him and kept him in good humor. It had so happened that Chandru became a block buster star and later ‘fell’ in love with a senior actor’s daughter. And when his marriage was fixed remembered the  dentist and his assistant and invited them too.

‘Good opportunity, Neha to advertise about our clinic. I will be busy that day, so you go ahead and publicize. See that you dress best and show your shiny teeth’.

Well no one had seen her teeth yet in the reception. The teeth had been busy chewing.

‘I am going to claim,’ said she

‘What?’, asked Megha

‘All that I have spent on the food and getting ready business. And also the amount spent on the gift from the Doctor’, said Neha.

Megha groaned and looked the other way.

Later they went to meet the couple. Neha didn’t walk, she waddled. Megha in embarrassment walked five steps behind.

Chandru smiled and introduced her to his wife. Neha grinned showing her teeth(as instructed).

The new wife awed her teeth but looked at her bulge and called somebody. ‘Meet my personal trainer and my dietician’ and then shifted her attention to some other guests.

‘Why don’t you come to my gym. She 9(pointing to the dietician) will give you some tips and together we can give you a fab body’, said the trainer

‘Why don’t you too come to my clinic’, said Neha, ‘ your teeth need to be cleaned of nicotine stains….’

Megha went back further and further till she merged with he crowd.

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*fictitious -inspired by the wedding oreception of Ram Charan and Upasana 😀 😛

Amma o amma

Amma was fiddling with the pallu of her sari. Appa came in and asked,’What happened, no coffee, no breakfast and you are sitting here fiddling with your sari?’

‘Visakha has not called since so many days…’

‘Come on, she is a married woman now, she has responsibilities. She can’t keep calling you every now and then. Now go and make some coffee, you know I don’t function well without your coffee’

‘And what will you do if I die tomorrow,’ she said in anger but still got up and went into the kitchen.

‘Then I will search another like you and get married again,’ Appa said and guffawed.

Amma banged a steel tumbler on the kitchen counter.

 

Visakha had been born after a complicated pregnancy and an even more complicated delivery. The umbilical cord had been entangled around her neck and had the C-section not been in time, she would not have survived inside the womb. Her grandmother had lamented that she had a granddaughter but the moment the baby was put in her arms,  she had forgotten everything and had lost herself in the baby.

‘Visakha’, amma thought wth pride. Visakha was a dusky complexioned girl with shining eyes. Very often it were here eyes that did the talking. And her black lustrous hair….. ah…Her Visakha was a gem. She had never been brilliant in studies. So all hopes of her doing the IIT and IIM had been quashed when she was in high school but then she did Montessori course and became a teacher. And the kids loved her so much…

‘Is my coffee ready?’, Appa asked and again amma banged a vessel and then went out with the coffee.

Visakha had been very happy with her job. But four years down the line the school had to close down. A chain of kindergartens called ‘Pratham’ had bought over the school. Although the management had asked all the teachers to meet them Visakha had not gone. She had spent the days crying at the loss. Visakha had a habit of bursting into tears. Her tears were her strength and power. Until Amma fed up of her sobs had screamed at her that if she did not go and meet the new management, she herself would take her there. And Visakha thought it better to go on her own than go with amma.

There was no doubt that she would not be selected. But something else happened. The young GM of the group liked her so much that he sent his parents with the proposal.

There was no reason for saying a ‘no’. The family was good, the boy educated and cultured. And most important both had the same ambition, that of giving a solid foundation to kids.

‘But amma, I do not want to marry now’, Visakha sobbed

‘And when do you plan on getting married. Come on Visakha, he is a good guy and whats more, you can work as a team. Wasn’t it your dream to give quality education for kids’. And so after some cajoling,  Visakha agreed. But from then on there were no tears.

Yes no tears. Even the day she left for her marital home in a different city, there were no tears. And that bothered amma. Not a single,’Amma, I will miss you’ or ‘Amma, how will I manage without you’. Even if she just hugged her and shed two-three tears it would have been enough. But no. She had just taken her hand bag, waved a good-bye and left. HUH.

I mean I am her mother. She used to tell me everything and now almost 15 days are  over and not a single phone or tears…

And then the phone rang. it was Visakha. “amma”, she said in a tearful voice.

‘What happened? Did your m-i-l torture you, did your husband beat you?’, were the questions she asked.

‘No My in laws have gone to some marriage in Mumbai’

‘Then?’

“Amma, this dosa….its not coming out nicely… How do I make a dosa round and crisp’.

And her questions and her voice satisfied amma. Yes, she was needed, yes her Visakha had not changed. yes, yes…

And she began her instructions.

 

*fictitious

J & J-life’s like that?

Previously…….

When Jatin finally came to the bedroom, he was relaxed. It had been a good day. He had acheived his targets at office and at home, though apprehensive with is mother away, it had been pleasant. He smiled as he remembered Jassi cutting up roundels to make the prefect shaped roti. In fact the days had been surprisingly  pleasant.

But then he became sombre. Was marriage supposed to be like this? No he had never fallen in love, nor did he have any girlfriends,  he was not gay. Then what was he? He often wondered about that.

His parents had divorced when he was a teenager. They had been in the US for about 4 years then. When he had needed his father the most; he had not been with him. He had seen his mother defeated, yet taking his responsibility. Sometimes he had felt guilty  because if he had not been there, his mother could have been carefree, enjoyed her life alone but no. She had been in her 30′s single with a teenaged son quietly carrying on her roles as a mom.

It had not been any different when his father was staying with them. He had always  been out of the house while his mother had carried on the home front.

It seems that they had never been compatible. The marriage had been forced on them. While his mother had adjusted and accepted the situation and had tried to make a success of the marriage. His father had never been able to reconcile.

So, was his situation any better. Jatin thought. His mother had not forced him to marry Jassy. So why was he backing up now, were his father’s genes acting up now?

Jassy was in her own turmoil. Everything was so different here. Leave the outside world, everything was different inside the home too. In her place all spoke in hearty tones; cracking jokes, back slapping each other but here Aunty and Jatin spoke in such a prim and proper manner that sometimes she had difficulty in hearing them. And then everything had its place and had to be kept accordingly too. You just could not lie down on the couch or sit cross-legged on the chair. You just could not relax in this home.  And Jatin was such a mystery.  How was she supposed to live in such a place for the next 40-50 years.

And the worst part was there was no one to talk to. If only at this time, her mother had been alive…………………

 

to be continued

 

Life is not forever

On Friday evening I was watching the press conference of India against corruption in Bengaluru. It was enlightening to hear the distinguished members- Ms. Kiran Bedi, Justice Hegde, Arvind Kejriwal, Swami Agnivesh and the great Anna Hazare speak. Enlightening because I came to know a lot of what all is covered in the Lokpal Bill. I must say that I heard the entire coverage open-mouthed. Why?? I just could not believe that the BIll could really cover so many points and then the ultimate question, ‘Will this Bill ever come in motion?’

But what really got me thinking was Anna Hazare answer to a question. I am redrafting the question here as I do not remember it verbatim-Its the educated who spread corruption but how will the Bill be helpful to the downtrodden, the uneducated and those who are living in villages,

And Anna’s answer- It’s not the educated or the uneducated, the rich or the poor who propagate corruption, its propagated by those who have forgotten that they wll ultimately die one day. You may take bribes, you may accumulate wealth which will suffice generations to come but what is the use- you will ultimately die one day and leave back everything.

So very true, isn’t it? We live enjoy, we earn; all in the hope of living a better life and then we get greedy and we accumulate some more. And ultimately one day we leave everything and go away. So why this greed?

No I do not mean to be cynical. You do need money to fulfil your basic needs, to fulfil your ‘interests’. But shouldn’t we remember that ultimately we will go away leaving everything.

Life is after all momentary. Riches come and go what stays is (good) name and respect. Earn them.

All the Kannimozhis, Kalmadis and Rajas of the world, are you listening?