Tag Archive | situations. story

In search of Nimai

I saw Shreya looking at me from the doorway. I looked at her and smiled, she smiled too. She made a sign of ”aarti” and I mumbled a yes.

‘Alright children, time for aarti…so lets wind up the class’, I said. The children happily scampered away.

Only Little Nimai sat in his place repeating what had been taught to him. I sat down near him. ‘Nimai’, I said

He looked at me smiled and went on repeating.

‘Nimai’, I repeated, ‘Don’t you want to go for Narsimha Aarti’.

He raised his head and said, ‘Aarti?’.

I nodded.

He ran at the speed of lightning.

Thursdays are special days here in Bahrain and especially at the temple. Thursday evening there is a Bhagvatham class for adults. At the same time some volunteers take classes for children. They are told stories, taught some life skills, some activity and so on.

Nimai is a special needs child. He sits in the class if he is in the mood. But when he does so, he does with full attention. And though I try to remain neutral to all the children, over the weeks I have become very attached to Nimai. Maybe it is his transparency or his dedication, I do not know what but the fact is whenever I come to temple, I search for Nimai.

By the time I reach the main hall in the temple, the aarti is at the last stage. And then a voice raises, ‘Nitai Gaur Premanande’ and everyone join in with a ‘Hari Haribol’ and I smile a broad smile. Nimai may be always in his own world, but he never forgets to add in at the end.


It has been two weeks and I haven’t seen Nimai. And I am upset. ‘Ananya’, Shreya says, ‘Why are you so upset? So many people come and go.’

‘Shreya, Nimai and his parents are very dedicated. They will not stop coming to the temple just like that’, I said teary eyed.

Although married for ten years we haven’t had a baby and it has now been proved that we will never have one. I love children and I try to maintain an emotional distance from them. Often mothers get disturbed when they see a childless woman getting attached to her  child. But Nimai? I did not understand why I was so fond of him. Was it because he knew to love without barriers or the fact that both of us will never be complete?


It was almost two months now since Nimai was not to be seen and I felt helpless. It was weekend and I just took my car and went. A couple of times I had dropped Nimai and his mother to their area because it had been late. So I took my car to that place and decided to search around. I just knew the area. Didn’t know which building or flat they lived in.

The best bet was the cold store. Usually the workers in cold store know who lives where. And so I went in. ‘Oh that boy’, the man at the counter said on my description of Nimai, ‘they left this place. Their employer shifted them to Askar as some construction is going on there’

‘Askar?’ I thought. Askar is a place quite far off and that meant that I would have to resume my search the next day.

I slept heartily that night. I awoke with hope, yes today was going to be a bright day.

I left in the evening at three. I would reach there by four thirty. That meant I had enough time till dusk to search for him. I knew where Nimai’s parents worked and had inquired where the people of that company were housed.

But it was not so easy. Askar was a desert literally. There were some hundred houses. Not a cold store or a tree in sight. Where would I search. And then I saw a large place. People were going in  and many were coming out. I asked one woman what was going on. ‘Oh that’, she said, ‘it is our prayer hall, go inside you will like it’, she said.

I removed my footwear, washed my feet and went in. It was a prayer hall alright. You could see all faiths there. On one side was Maa Durga, A Shivlinga stood in one corner. Sai Baba smiled at me while on one side A sardarji was quietly fanning the Guru Granth Sahib. I felt happy. I knew Nimai and his parents would surely come here.

It was 7 p.m. and I was dejected. Night was about to fall and I had to reach home before it became very dark.

I rose and came out, ‘Where could I search for Nimai now.

‘Mataji’, a voice boomed.

I raised my head. Nimai ran from the other end came to me and hugged me tight. I got down on my knees and we both hugged again and wept.

‘where had you disappeared Nimai’, I said, ‘I have missed you so much’

‘Sorry mataji’, his mother said, Our employer asked us to relocate overnight, I didn’t have your phone number to inform you. Nimai misses you so much’.

‘Do you Nimai’, I asked. He nodded shyly.

‘You know mataji, this is the first time he is showing attachment to someone other than us and we are so happy about that. It has been because of the love you have given him and your patience’, she said.

‘Nimai will you like to come for classes again’, I said.

He shook his head wildly in the affirmative.

‘But Mataji’, his mother said, ‘we live so far off and we don’t own a car, so how…….’

‘Don’t worry about all that’, I said, ‘If you have the will, everything can be arranged’.

I went back home with a spring in my steps, my search was over, Nimai would be back in school.

* fiction


Sweet Angel III

Part I here, Part II here

Fifteen days had passed since Akhila’s mother had died. You could have money, you could have the best of medical attention and yet when death comes calling, nobody can do anything.

The bubbly Akhila had become quiet. Mechanically she went about her work with a vacant look in her eyes. My heart bled. Anand noticed her silence and one night after she had slept, summoned all of us to talk.

‘So what are your plans?’, he asked his brother.

His brother still grieving for his wife asked, ‘Which plans?’

‘Will you be staying here to be near your in-laws, will you be back to our place, what?’

‘Let me see’, he said still not ready to make a decision.

‘Anna, you have to decide soon. Akhila needs a family. Just see how lost she is….’, his voice cracked up.

His brother was lost in his own grief.

‘We are old but we will take care of Akhila’, her grandmother said, ‘How will Arun manage a job and taking care of her. Once he remarries then maybe he can take her back’.

‘But will she like it here’, I said. Her grandmother was a disciplinarian. Would the chirpy bubbly girl, like here in the iron rule of her grandmother.

‘Is there any other option?, said she.

‘We can take care of her’, said Anand hesitatingly, looking nervously at me.

In other circumstances I would have screamed at him asking how dare he take such a big decision without consulting with me first. But today I was calm. Today ‘me’ didn’t matter. It was Akhila’s happiness which mattered the most.

‘Your wife?’, said the old woman with a toothy grin, ‘She hasn’t been ready to mother your child, will she be ready to mother someone else’s?’


I am packing. Today we are leaving to get Akhila admitted to the Medical College at Manipal. I can hear peals of laughter from the adjoining room while my eyes well up with tears every passing moment.

And suddenly she comes and hugs me from behind.

‘I suppose we can take bath in your tears today’, she jokes.

I shrug her off.

‘Chikkamma, I will be coming home almost every weekend so why are you mourning’, she says.

‘You will understand only when you become a mother’, I say.

‘Really… so when did you become a mother, the day I came to stay here or the day Adesh was born’, she says.

I give her a slap on her back.

I don’t really know when I became a mother. Was it the day when she came to stay with us or was it the day when she refused to stay with her grandmother and held me tight or was it the day I gave birth to Adesh. But I know that Akhila made me see a new side of me, a side I had refused to acknowledge, that of being a mother, that of being Me.

As we dropped her to the college hostel to take her steps to be a Gynecologist, I thanked the one above for having sent this angel in my Life.


Three lives

I hummed a tune as I tidied my room. The phone rang. I felt it was not good news and my feet refused to move. Naina came in from the other room and looked at me quizzically and then proceeded to pick the call.

I listened. She kept on looking at me every now and then and I knew it was not good news.

Every now and then I get these premonitions and usually when something is wrong. I remember when my mother took her last breath, I had come to know about it even though she was 1000s of kms away. Today too the same had happened, although in the same city. My sister’s husband had an accident. He died then and there.

As I became busy with the formalities my sister remained in silence. Her son came from the US but he left soon. She remained solemn, silent. I shuttled between her house and mine. Trying to gather bits and pieces.

I looked at the insurance, paid the electricity bill, took her out for walks. But she remained solemn.


Sakhi had been a bubbly girl. Very creative and outgoing. She was the darling of everyone and so she got her own way in everything she wanted. Was that a mistake I do not know.

I looked at her, how had she become like this. A caricature of her past. A slave of routine. A small change and she was helpless. Do we get all we want, do we always have her way, and does death wait for anyone.

She did not know about their investments, she didn’t know where all they had bank accounts; she did not know where the electricity bill had to be paid. How did this happen, how did she become so dependent.

Naina admonished me. Why are you taking so much interest, she says. How can I not; Sakhi is my sister. Does she care for you, she asked. She is selfish, she said, you will only get hurt. Maybe, I said, but I cannot shirk my responsibility. I will help her as long as she allows me.



It is almost 10 months that her husband departed. There is still no change. I watch her speak to her son on the phone, ‘Com home soon, I do not know what to do or else take me with you’, she pleads.

At home I see Naina in a solemn mood, what happened, I ask. My mother had come today, she says. She wants me to send some more money every month as that no good brother of mine needs it. I know for what. He must be needing it for his clothes and parties. I refused.

What was her reaction, I asked.

Oh, she blamed for everything. How my father had wasted money on educating me, how I was not taking responsibility and so on.

We both sat in silence for some time. I remembered Naina coming in first day to my place looking for a paying guest accommodation. and what a transition she had made. From a gawky teenager to this self confident woman. Our relationship today was more of a mother daugher one rather than a owner-tenant.

So what do you plan now’, I asked. I will continue with what I am doing now and plus I will register myself in one of the matrimonial site and if I get the right guy, get married and have my own family. It is time I thought of myself now, isn’t it, she asked. I smiled at her. I loved her confidence and positivity.

But tell me why are you so silent today, she asked. Because of Sakhi, I said. She refuses to come out of her grief.

She is plain selfish, Naina said.

What, I said.

Yes, don’t you see, she is used to making people work for her. Her husband did so all these years and it is you now. Her son is smart, he ran away. Mark my words, he will never return here nor will he take her there.

I knew in my heart that what Naina said was true.



Sakhi, come we will go for a walk, I said.

I don’t want to, she whined.

Sakhi, I said, enough of this mourning. Take charge of your life. Go out meet people, discover new interests.

‘What do you know of my pain’, she screamed, ‘Do you know how it feels to be left alone, you have a career, you are independent, how will you know?’

My mind flashed back 20 years back. My husband had left me because I could not bear any child. I had just done matriculation, what could I do. But didn’t I survive. From educating myself, working odd jobs, finally getting a government job. I bought my own house and started keeping paying guests so that I could have some additional money. I worked as a volunteer too in so many social organizations.

I got up and took my bag and left her home. We all have to take charge of our lives. Some people refuse to do that and need some shock. Sakhi would have to battle her own battles from now on. And I hoped she would be victorious.

Sometimes in life you had to be very selfish for your own good. I was being one now, I just wished she would be too and stand up on her own feet.