Tag Archive | short-story

SAVIOR -Part V

For earlier part click here

Kittu whenever he came to his hometown would try to put some sense in Mohan about the importance of education but to no avail. For Mohan who had always been pampered by everyone, who had got everything easily, studying was a pain. And so Raghav thought it was better if he started working than to become a wayward.

Whenever Kittu and Harish would get some holidays they would take their bicycles and roam. It was at one of those holidays that Harish told of his family. He told of his siblings, of how they were surviving amidst odds. A philanthropic father who served others forgetting his own children; of how he and his elder brother had worked odd jobs to support their family, of his sister who wanted to study but could not. Of how lovely she was, how modest, loving and kind she was. And at that moment Kittu promised Harish that he would marry his sister-Karuna once he got a job.

 

Kittu’s troubles were not yet over. There was a slump in the market and he did not get a job as soon as he graduated. And he did not want to go back and be a burden on his brothers. So he took up a job in nearby Mangalore. A job which seldom paid him. He was taken in as an apprentice but the statutory stipend was seldom paid and so he again took up tutoring to fund himself. It was after some months that he came to know of Bhilai-the steel plant in Madhya Pradesh that was going to come up and for which recruitment was on.

He was selected.

What followed was uproar. His mother was aghast as to how her son would manage alone in an alien place. Karuna fainted. Others felt that he had betrayed his dharma. It was Harish who stood rock solid beside him.

Kittu’s possessions were little but his dreams were not. As he travelled on the wooden planks of the India Railways from Mangalore to Madras, then to Nagpur and then to Bhilai, he fixed up goals to be achieved in the coming months.

The training was tough for others but not for Kittu. Life had hardened him and made him strong. His first home was in a tent until the accommodation was readied. The first thing he bought himself was not a pair of trousers but a bicycle which he would use to cycle himself from home to the plant and to travel about.

The group of youngsters had fire in the belly and dreams in their eyes. Jawaharlal Nehru’s statement of temples of modern India ignited them.

Kittu worked hard. He and Savitri communicated regularly. Once he had accumulated enough, he along with his sister Savitri with the help of a third party bought their ancestral home from their aunt and uncle. If they had gone to buy it themselves, his uncle would never had sold it to them.

The look on Rukmini’s face was enough for Kittu. The family moved back into their home. And after a few days of holidaying, Kittu returned to Bhilai where a surprise awaited him. He had been chosen with some others to be sent on training to Russia.

He was proud. He sent message back home but there a  pandemonium broke out. The people of their community said that it was not right for him to go beyond the country, his religion would be lost. Some said that the family would be an outcast. Rukmini was in a dilemma. What was she to do whether to follow the dictates of society or let him follow his dreams?

Radha came forward then and said, ‘Amma where were these so-called pillars of society when we were thrown out of our home’

Rukmini got some strength from her words. But she was worried about how Karuna and her family would feel. True they were only betrothed but Karuna’s family may object to Kittu’s training in Russia. So she called upon Harish.

Harish upon hearing that Kittu had been selected for training in Russia, started dancing in joy.

‘Will your people have any objection?’, asked Rukmini

‘Objection, why? It is such an honour, Mayi. Why will they object?’, said Harish. Rukmini’s worries melted away.

 

Kittu returned from Russia with new vigour. The training had been good, now it was time for implementing what he had learnt. Also there was something more which he was looking forward to. His and Karuna’s wedding had been fixed two months hence. A wait of over six years was finally being culminated in marriage. He felt pride that a promise that he had made of marrying without any dowry to a girl who was good natured, intelligent and hardworking was going to be fulfilled.

 

Rukmini looked around with pride at the banner which read, KARUNA WEDS KRISHNA. The boy who had always given her trouble for food and otherwise was today getting married to a lovely lady. Even in her wildest dreams she had not imagined that the imp of a boy would strive to do something which would change the course of the entire family.

It had all been possible because his teacher had challenged him to earn his own tuition fees.

‘Ahh Rao sahib, welcome to the wedding of your pupil’, she said welcoming the visionary teacher unto the wedding hall.

———

And with this I conclude this series. If you have not guessed it yet, let me tell you that this is the story of my father. A person who fought destiny to pave his own path. He celebrates his 78th birthday in two weeks time. Please keep him in your prayers.

‘FEAR’

The room was silent. The only sounds heard were the scratching of the pen on paper. The invigilator moved from one row to row, alert, agile. He had to, you never knew what tricks the children came up with to copy.

Nisha was tense, Chemistry was not her favorite. And today the paper was tough. When the question paper had been distributed, everyone had been disappointed.

She began the third answer when her pen stopped working. Thinking that maybe the ink has run out, she picked out another pen, that too was not working, so she picked up another. But whats this.. that also is refusing to work. Panic creeps in. Beads of perspiration glides down from the nape.  She runs the pen a couple of times on the last page of the answer sheet. The pen starts working and she heaves a sigh of relief. 

But she has wasted some time and there is a lot to answer yet, she starts writing fast……..

The invigilator announces that only 10 minutes are left. Nisha is on the verge of tears, she has not completed her paper and she knows she cannot.

When the invigilator snatches her paper, Nisha jumps up…….

….and sees that she is on her bed.

Her mother sees her jump up and then notices her noticing her surroundings. Then she sees her rushing to the bathroom.

Nisha freshens herself and returns to her bedroom and then notices that there are absolutely no books in her cupboard. Instead there are bibs, powders and what not.

‘Maa, you again cleared up my cupboard. How many times I have told you not to touch my cupboard. Now tell me where are my books.

‘Maa where are you’, she yells.

Maa comes near and looks at her quizzically.

‘Where are my books Maa. It is March 1oth, exam starts in 10 days, I have to study’.

Maa still keeps looking at her.

‘What?’, asks Nisha.

Maa clears her throat. And says, ‘As far as I know you have passed all the exams that you had to  pass. You have done your degree, your post graduation. And whats more you have also got married and had a baby’. And she gestures to a bundle on the bed. Having been awake for the major part of the night, the baby is blissfully sleeping amidst the commotion.

Nisha then remembers that yes she has cleared all her exams including the delivery of her first-born and is at her parents place recuperating.

Some fears like exam fear remain with us for a long time and can even come and haunt us in our dreams. 🙂

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A real life incident which happened with my sister and is written for the prompt DREAMS.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013.

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Today is the last day of the festival. Had a good seven day of writing and basically juggling between writing, reading and housework. Hope you all had a good time reading through my posts. Thank you for being a part of this festival.

 

GREY

I opened the door and stepped out. It was a cold day and I wanted to have some sun. It feels good to have some sunrays on the shriveling winter skin.

But what do I see. The shoe rack is not as it was. It was at a haphazard angle. The shoes thrown here and there. When did that happen, I thought. Yes, a little while back, I had heard the Ethiopian girl playing in the corridor. And I had heard some noise too at that time. But had not bothered. Simply because that girl was always into some or the other mischief. Well can’t blame her actually.

She lives with her mother and some ‘aunts’.  And these ‘aunts’ keep changing. I have a suspicion that they are not legally staying in Bahrain. Maybe they don’t even own their passports anymore. Illegal immigrants keep on changing houses to escape any probe. I don’t even know what profession they are into. The doorbell ringing at odd hours give me some hints. The others staying in the building avoid them. And so do they. They mingle with their own. No doubt the girl does get bored all alone without any friends.

I look here and there to see if someone is present to sympathise with me. At that time the door opens and the mother steps out.

‘What is all this’, I ask her. There is silence in the whole building and my voice echoes.

‘What’, she asks in her unique accent.

‘Your daughter was playing here some time back, it must be her work. Couldn’t she keep everything back?’, I ask.

She mumbles something.

‘I didn’t understand’, I say.

‘You don’t know English or what’, she yells.

That irritates me. ‘ I know English very well, thank you but your accent I do not understand’, I say and not wishing to hear or say anything I just keep everything back in place and leave for my walk.

Later me and my friend have a talk on Ethiopians in general. ‘Why do you mess with them. Their occupations are not known, you know they have this animal  culture, just avoid them’, she advice.

I do follow her advice.

Some days later I am putting the clothes to dry in the terrace. Something happens and I faint.

Sometimes later I come to consciousness to find myself in the lap of one of the roommates of my neighbour. ‘Are you alright?’, she asks me.

I nod. She makes me sit in the shade while she puts my clothes to dry.

Then she helps me get up. Leads me to my flat. Makes me comfortable and asks if I need anything. I mumble a no. Then she leaves.

Later when she meets my husband, she narrates everything and asks him to take care.

So often we brand people according to their nationality or their work and so often we forget to see our own deficiencies.

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. The prompt for today People

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Disclaimer: this post is not intended to hurt any one by their nationality, profession, looks, creed etc. It is just meant to show my own shortcomings.

The evolution of Kavya

‘But Amma I don’t want to go’, said Kavya.

‘Kavya for once don’t be selfish and think about Annamma(father’s mother). She is so excited about this trip. You know your Annu(father) is not getting leave. I have to stay here to look after him, you know his diabetes needs monitoring. Just go with Annamma, after all the trip is only for seven days’, said Amma.

‘Seven days …it will be hell with all old people Amma’, said Kavya.

Amma glared at her, ‘You have enough leave , just inform your office and start packing’.

Kavya let out a sigh. Things recently were not going the way she wanted. Her boyfriend of 2 years had ditched her, the last assignment she was given at office was not that successful and now this. ‘Is this my age to go on a pilgrimage’, she muttered to no one in particular.

Three days later she was getting ready. Annamma came and said, ‘How I want to be at least 30 years younger’

‘Why?’, Kavya asked.

‘At least I could have worn a jeans and gone without a care’, was her reply.

‘You can still wear one, your figure can still make others envy’, said Kavya with a twinkle in her eyes’

‘Shee, shee, don’t try to butter me up’, said Annamma.

But it was true. At the age of 74, Annamma tended the vegetable patch, washed her clothes, went for walking and did as much community service as she could.

They were briefed in the waiting lounge of Nirmala Travels office at PVS Circle and while the brief was going on she looked around to see if there was anyone of her own age.  There was a boy of maybe fifteen years or so and Kavya’s disappointment resurfaced.

Their first stop was Palakkad and then at Palani. The greenery she saw around was mesmerizing. The green was enchanting and the moo of the cows was soothing. When she saw the steps to the Palani temple. she wondered how the oldies would climb. “will they able to… especially the women with their heavy sarees”, she thought.

‘Afraid to climb’, she heard a voice, she turned to look at the boy whom she thought was 15.

‘I am Pradeep’,  he said.

‘I am Kavya and no I am not afraid to climb, and that to climb steps; not at all, I am used to hiking, mountaineering etc, you see’.

They started ascending. And then she saw all the old people including her grandmother climb with such agility that she was ashamed of her speed. Was it their faith or the fact that they lived active lives.. who knew but the fact was that she had reached only mid way while the rest had already reached.

Looking at the rush, she said she would stand outside. ‘Come Kavya, maybe you will never get to see this again’, said Annamma.

‘And the architecture is good, if you are not interested in worship, you can always look around’, said one of the uncles. And very soon all joined and cajoled her to step inside the shrine.

Soon the group was a big happy family.

Eeshwar uncle would crack jokes all the while, Katy aunty (Katyayani) was the mother hen who looked after everyone’s needs and so on. Pradeep was the errands boy and she was everyone’s pet.

The tour proceeded to Srirangam and then to Trichy and Tanjavur. The piety of the others was inspirational. ‘What do they pray about? And in such a crowd too’, she muttered to herself.

‘That is because my dear, you are not listening to the coordinator giving the history behind each temple’ said Raghu Uncle.

Kavya was ashamed. It was true she was so bothered about her own troubles that she had not been listening much to whatever was going around.

In Rameshwaram she listened with attention and was lost in the description it was so surreal.

She now understood how important listening was. The queue was long but then Annamma started singing Bhaja Govindam and everyone joined in. She understood that ‘kirtan’  (singing)too could connect you to the superior being in a way that nothing else could.

As they emerge out of the temple she felt a calm which she had not felt since the time she had turned into a teenager

At the gates of the temple, Surendra Uncle knelt down and thanked the God for all his blessings and also that He had seen to it that his long cherished dream of visiting Rameshwaram had been fulfilled.

AT that time Kavya understood the importance of ‘vandanam‘, the importance of thanking. Had she ever thanked the Lord for her blessings.  Leave God she didn’t even remember ever thanking her parents for anything.

They proceeded to Madurai. The atmosphere in the bus had changed. The initial joking and chatting had been overtaken by various stories of the deities which they had seen or about to see. As she saw the contented looks of the others she understood that ‘smaranam‘ -remembering can be vitalizing too.

The Meenakshi temple enamored her. She touched everything again and again and she was filled with awe.

After the temple visit one of the member said that he knew one small temple nearby in which they could offer their personal puja. The coordinator and the driver were coaxed and they proceeded.

As she saw everyone getting involved in the worship, right from picking the flowers, to making the garland, to getting all the ingredients to worship. and as they washed the feet of the Lord (pada sevanam)she understood that there is a lot of happiness in doing things together and that arcanam or diety worship could cleanse ones’ heart too.

Standing in the waters of Kanyakumari she felt at peace. Was the water soothing or was it Swami Vivekananda’s special mercy, who knew. She saw Pradeep serving his grandfather, she saw Katy and Annamma talking in whispers and smiled. Both servitorship and friendship could give so much joy.

As she stood in front of Padmanabh Swamy at Trivandram, for the first time she bowed down and let her ego fly away. At that moment she surrendered (atma Nivedanam) to the Supreme and allowed him to take charge of her life.

When they returned to  Mangalore, the partings were painful. The seven-day journey had made them all a family.

But Kavya was happy. She was finally at peace with herself and was ready to take on the world again.

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. The prompt for today Travel

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Prahlad told that there are nine processes of devotional service (bhakti)-sravanam (listening),  kirtanam (singing), vishnu smaranam (remembering), pada sevanam (serving the lotus feet of the Lord) , Arcanam (deity worship), Vandanam(prayers), Dasyam (servitorship), Sakhyam(friendship) and Atma Nivedanam(surrender). I have incorporated these nine processes into this post. Hope you liked reading it.

When music unites

Mohan cringed when he heard the giggling of girls. His sister Dharini was forever bringing friends home from college. ‘Do they study at all’, he thought. But then there was silence and after that he heard a melodious voice singing, ‘Gaata rahe mera dil…tu hi meri manzil’ and he prepped up.  It was the song from the newly released ‘Guide’ and he sat in rapt attention. He loved music whether it be film songs or classical. The singer sang the entire song and then there was silence after that and once again the chatter started.

He moved towards the voices but he met his mother on the way. ‘Where are you going, Mohan?’, she asked and he returned to his room. Those days boys and girls were not allowed to mingle. But he hovered near the main door, in hope to meet the girls but no it seems they had no mood to go home so early and he had to leave for office.

‘Seems you had a nice time in the morning’, he asked his sister in the evening, ‘no studies eh’.

‘We had holiday today so we thought of having a get together and had a good time. Shyamla, sang, Mridula danced and my… we gossiped so much. Shanta even taught me a new stitch’, she said in ecstasy.

‘So her name is Shyamla’, he thought to himself. Dharini had just finished her matriculation and was now going to college.  Though it was not yet fashionable for girls to go to college, there were a few progressive families who did send their daughters to college.

And so Mohan who had lost his heart to the one with the melodious voice aka Shyamla, tried to see her and talk to her but alas talk he could not. The girls would seldom be unchaperoned and he could never ever talk.

Mohan by then was already 25 having a good job and his parents wanted him to get married. And though a number of good alliances came up he always managed to give some excuse for not marrying the girl in question.

‘She is taller than me’, or ‘she has just completed her 7th’ or ‘her voice is not good’, were the excuses he gave.

Until in exasperation his father yelled, ‘Do you want to marry or not?’

‘Yes I do want to marry to… Shyamla’, was all that he said.

There was a shocked silence and then his father asked, ‘Who is this Shyamla?’

Hi mother coming out of her reverie mumbled something in his ear.

‘You fool,……..you fool, you found no other girl’, was all that he had to say.

Later he came to know that Shyamla was the illegitimate daughter of the minister of the erstwhile King. Shyamla’s mother Leela used to live in Mandya and Chandrasekhar who was one of the minister at King Wodeyar of Mysore used to frequent Mandya. It so happened that Leela’s father had some business dealings with Chandrasekhar and during those meetings Chandra and Leela first met and then had a relationship.

Chandra was already married.

When Leela got pregnant she was thrown out of the house and she came in search of Chandra.  Chandra could not marry her but gave her a place to stay and looked after her needs.

Leela and her daughter were ostracized by the whole society but Shyamla was a bright kid and her mother herself taught her classical music. Her mother saw to it that Shyamla had a good education for she knew that getting her married was a distant dream and education would be the first step to see her independent.

Mohan grew morose. It was not Shyamla’s fault that she was illegitimate. She was good-looking, she had a good voice and had a good education, did anything else matter?

Shyamla was banned from their home and Mohan was sure that if he knew Dharini well, she would have stopped talking to Shyamla and even seen that others too didn’t speak to her.

He had to speak to her but how. He took the help of the music teacher at college Mr. Kartikeyan. When Mr. Kartik heard Mohan, his sincerity won him. Also Shyamla was his star student whom he wanted to see happy and he felt that Mohan was the right person for her. As such there was no hope of Shyamla ever getting married.

So in the pretext of some extra practice he called her to his chambers at an odd time. Shyamla came to find an unknown man. Mohan introduced himself. Shyamla thinking that more troubles would befall her, started moving towards the door.

‘I like you a lot Shyamla’, pleaded Mohan.

‘What do you know about me to like me’, she asked.

‘I have heard you sing’, he said.

‘Is it enough to lead a life together’, she asked.

‘Music can unite nations then why not two hearts’, was his reply.

‘And how will you convince your family’, she said.

‘They will have to’, he said.

‘I do not want to be the reason for a family to break’, she said.

Kartik Sir who was hovering just outside thought enough was enough and came in.

‘Why are you stopping happiness to enter your life, Shyamla’, he said. The matter was sealed between the two. They would unite but not yet.

Leela liked the young man and called upon Chandrasekhar too to meet him once.

Mohan took up another job at Bellary. There was a huge uproar at home and everyone blamed Shyamla. ‘I am going because I am getting better opportunities at Bellary. And for your information I will marry only Shyamla and no one else and that too with your blessings’.

Both waited five long years. By that time Shyamla was teaching music at one of the schools and Mohan was earning well. Dharini had already been married off. Seeing that Mohan was adamant and would not marry anyone but his nightingale, the parents finally relented.

They were finally married in a low-key ceremony and Kartik Sir gave away the bride. Chandrasekhar was not allowed by his wife to do the honors.

And so Mohan and his Shyamla started their musical journey together. Mornings began with Venkatesh Suprabhath and nights very soon spent singing lullabies

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I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. The prompt for today MUSIC

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Pakhi learns something new

The last part of the series..
Earlier parts:
Pakhi and her worries
Pakhi has a new classmate
Pakhi learns some facts
Pakhi has a moral dilemma

It was raining heavily. Pakhi was doing her homework. Her music teacher was away on a vacation, so she was tied up at homeNani was stitching something. Her son had recently been transferred to Ooty.The wet, cold climate of Ooty didn’t suit her knees and so she was staying at Pakhi’s.Pakhi finished her homework, surfed through the channels of the Television. Didn’t find anything interesting; so threw away the remote. Next she took a book to read, … Read More

via Searching Self

Pakhi has a moral dilemma

Pakhi and another episode of her life.

The earlier parts in this series
Pakhi and her worries
Pakhi has a new classmate
Pakhi learns some facts

It was a Thursday morning and the first class was science. Mrs. Singh came in and announced that there will be a surprise test and all the kids started murmuring ‘No, Miss’, ‘Please Miss’. 'Nothing doing, class, I want to see how much you have understood and how much revision you do at home. So please keep quiet and start your test’.Now Pakhi did not like science. And tests scared her. She often forgot what she had learnt by the mere mention of t … Read More

via Searching Self

Pakhi learns some facts

The third part in the Pakhi Series
Earlier parts
Pakhi and her worries
Pakhi has a new classmate

It was Monday evening and Pakhi was waiting for the singing class to begin when a chauffeur driven car stopped and a girl stepped out. Oh it’s Sheetal thought Pakhi. Sheetal was her classmate at school. Wearing a hep dress she stepped into the room and said “ Hi everybody I am Sheetal”. Pakhi tried to hide amongst the group of 6 but Sheetal had already seen her. “Hi Pakhi .You too come here. I met Aysha Dang the popstar the other day you know, an … Read More

via Searching Self

Pakhi has a new classmate

Presenting the second part in the Pakhi series

It was the first day of Standard 6 and Section B, Pakhi's section was buzzing. Pakhi sat content and smiling happy to be with her classmates again when there was a sudden hush and the Principal arrived along with their class teacher, Mrs Fernandes and a boy- a lanky boy with a lopsided grin."Good morning,class", she said."Good morning Madam", they chorused."Well we have with us Aditya a new entrant to our school. He is a special child of God so b … Read More

via Searching Self