Padmavati – The Queen tells her story

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Take a break, read something nice and enjoy a whole new world of literature!‘ Thus exhorts @Readomania.

I did so and read ‘Padmavati – The queen tells her own story‘.

This epic tale has been superlatively penned by Sutapa Basu, who has a thirty-year old professional career as a teacher, editor,  author, poet and publishing consultant. Sutapa Basu describes herself to be a compulsive bookworm and an irrepressible story teller.

Most of us have read this story in our childhood. When so much is known, yet unknown about Padmavati, how far can a spinner stretch the same, within the fettering limitations? That too, without letting the readers’ interest sag? Sutapa Basu manages this difficult feat, adroitly.  Her infinite writing experience, comes to the fore, in making this literary outing, a tour de force. The tale is peppered with intricate details. With its vivid imagery, the setting almost becomes a fourth protagonist along with the loving king and husband Rawal Rattan Singh and the depraved Khilji.

For example: ‘An oval emerald, snugly nestling in tiers of frothy white lace, floated in the crushed silk of turquoise seas. It was the enchanted island of Singhaldweep, off the eastern coast of Bharatdesh.’

‘The fort of Chittor was laid out on its escarpments. Roughly oval in shape, it looked like a fat fish.’

The sensitivity with which Jauhar has been handled, gives the reader, an ample hint of what to expect.

In the centre of all the chaos, only one figure remained serene and motionless. As the gold, saffron and blue blaze made rings around her, rising higher and higher, slowly enclosing the New Queen, she was like a sculpture, absolutely still. Nothing seemed to touch her; not the torment, not the grief, not the fear. It defied all principles of logic. Where did a girl find such strength, not garnered even by the meditation of ascetics, to tolerate the torture of being burnt alive? Her dark silhouette, in lotus pose, palms folded, was a sublime sight.

Though Sutapa says her novel is a work of fiction,  Padmavati’s psyche has been explored so deeply, that she breathes out as a gentle and thoughtful soul.

We live in troubled times, where anything and everything could be termed as offensive and an affront to dignity. That’s why it makes more sense to read this, where the writer stretches at her creative horizons and yet remains true to the saga, adding a veneer of intellect, blended with divine grace to Padmavati.

Therein lies the beauty of this tale.

As Sutapa Basu says,

‘The jauhar took hardly a few minutes to extinguish Padmavati’s living mortality but gifted her with indelible immortality; a significant niche in the history of India. Time could not dim her charisma nor age wither her stunning beauty. For centuries to come, the supreme sacrifice of this legendary Queen of Chittor would attain a place of undying pride and honour in the hearts of all her country’s people.’

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The tale is narrated to Mrinalini, a cynical journalist who doesn’t believe the stirring saga – Will she come away convinced?

This question forms the crux of this absorbing tale. 

Wouldn’t you want to do the same? Find the Answers?

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Look Outside Your Window

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Dear Diary,

I am sitting near the window of my room and watching the traffic opposite. I’m waiting for mummy to come home. She went to the hospital today morning. I will tell you why.

As you know, mummy has been becoming fat.

Her tummy is growing too. So much that, she cannot see her toes also. Now I can paint her nails, as I like. She sits on the bed and holds her back. She is in pain, you see. Poppa gives her a nice massage. But only after closing the door. Poppa says, both grannies will feel bad, if they see. I don’t understand why? Mummy never closes the door when she presses Poppa’s back. Then Granny feels very happy!

I see a car coming in. It is not Mommy. It is the Aunty upstairs. She waves at me, I smile.

I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat. Didi made pasta for me. But without  Mommy’s stories, food tastes so bad!

I told you Na, Mummy went to the hospital today. She told me, she will get a new baby with her to play with me. I was so happy. I told Mommy, I will be a good girl and share all my toys with the new baby. I asked Mummy, if she will bring back a girl or a boy. Poppa smiled and said “Surprise”.

I like surprises.

From my window, I see Golu jumping in his garden. Golu likes playing with water. His house is decorated and he is dancing with Bosky, his dog. It is Golu’s birthday today. But he said, he will have the party on Sunday. I said ,”Ok and I will get the new baby too”. Golu’s Mommy laughed so much and kissed me. She gives such wet kisses.. But I don’t tell her that. She will feel bad.

Bosky reminds me of Granny. Granny doesn’t like Bosky. In the afternoon, when I was sitting here, trying not to cry, I saw our car coming in. I ran outside. Poppa had come to drop the Grannies. He hugged and told me, Mummy will come tomorrow with the new baby. He then went to collect Mummy’s clothes.

Both Grannies were so happy. They smiled and said, “ Pari, you have a brother! Thank God, not a sister.”  They went into kitchen to make kheer.

I didn’t understand only. Why ‘Thank God?’

A sister would have played with my toys na. Now we have to buy new boy toys.

There, I see Golu crying. He has fallen down and Bosky is licking his face. Let me go and help my friend.

I will tell you tomorrow about the new baby.

Bye for now.

Pari

 

Song of Life

“Doc? What do the reports Say?”

“Sam is suffering from Alzheimers Sree and you know that, it is a downward descent from here”

“Yes Doc. I knew his family history, never thought Sam would test positive so early in our lives.”

“Well he is nearing his sixties! Need help?”

“Not really, kids are grown up and settled. Thank God, we had them in quick succession! Will have to tell them too. Obviously things are going to be tough but I will manage, Doc.”

“Keep in mind, my suggestions and get Sam for regular check-ups”

“Will do Doc!”

*********************************************

“Hi Sree, I am sorry but the prognosis isn’t too good. His condition has deteriorated real fast. You will have to go in for a full-time nurse now. You cannot leave him alone. Inform the children too.”

“What is the point Doc? Even if they come, they will see a mere vegetable and not their loving father. It is heart-wrenching really. He has forgotten us all.”

“Sree, please don’t give up, having come so far!”

“Not to my dying day Doc! I keep showing old photos, talk about good old days, even though there is no response.”

“Don’t worry Sree. Take tomorrow off. After all, it is your birthday! I will cover for you, the least I can do for my dear dear buddy Sam!”

“No Doc! Without Sam, all days are same!!”

********************************************************************

“Good Morning Sam, This is your wife Sree. Remember me? Here, let me take you out in the Sun, where we can sit and read the papers while we have our morning tea! Like the good old times”

“What is it Sam? Why are you holding my hand so tightly?”

“HaaapppyyyyyBuddddayyyyy Srrrrrrrrr”

And Sam closed his eyes….And Sree crumpled in agony!

While Phil Collins hauntingly crooned somewhere nearby.

How can I just let you walk away

Just let you leave without a trace?

When I stand here taking every breath with you,

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

How can you just walk away from me

When all I can do is watch you leave?

‘Cause we’ve shared the laughter and the pain

And even shared the tears

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now

Well there’s just an empty space

And there’s nothing left here to remind me

Just the memory of your face

Ooh, take a look at me now

Well there’s just an empty space

And you coming back to me is against the odds

And that’s what I’ve got to face

I wish I could just make you turn around

Turn around and see me cry

There’s so much I need to say to you

So many reasons why

You’re the only one who really knew me at all

A Blessing in Disguise

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

“You will have to do this for me Rupa! For the sake of our friendship! You know, I consider you, more of a friend than my cousin, right? Moreover, I cannot trust anyone with this. I haven’t told any about Raj. You know, how conservative everyone around here, is!

“Still, Simi Didi, asking me to go and tell your boy-friend that you have moved on and are getting engaged today to a hotshot NRI, is a bit too much to ask of me. Why can’t you do it? Call him, break the news and cut. Then clean up your digital footprints.”

“Arre Rupa! It is not that easy. Raj can be very clingy. He is an emotional sorts. He might even come home and create ruckus. You know then, what tsunamis will be unleashed. And I kind of like this hotshot NRI. I will have a much better life in LA. Then I will find someone for you too. For that to happen, the old ties have to be broken. Please help me Rupa.”

“I don’t need any of your matchmaking skills. Where should I go? And how does he look? Show me, his pics at least, Simi didi!”

“Arrey, I just cleaned my phone.”

“What about FB/SnapChat/Viber”

“Uffo! So much cleaning! Forget all that, I will show you on fb, before I unfriend and block him. Please make sure he is OK, na. Don’t want him to hurt too much. We are supposed to meet today, at the Starbucks, in Mega Mall, at 6:30, in the corner booth. Today is Friday right? He will be in Red. Tall, wavy hair, well built..”

“That is most of the men folk Simi didi. Show his pics!”

The bedroom door opened and Mother burst in, cooing excitedly.

“Simi! The groom’s party is here!”

“Already Mom?”

“Their Pundit told the Boy’s Mom that the auspicious hour will be over in the next ten minutes. Thank God, you are ready” Mother then grabbed Simi and marched out, while Simi gesticulated to Rupa wildly, to go and do the deed!

Rupa sighed wearily and walked out.

***************************************************

She soon found the corner booth, with its occupant. Wonder of wonders, reading a book! With his mobile on silent, savoring his coffee, in a Red Polo. Rupa took a deep breath and found her courage.

“Raj?

“Yes?”

Words gushed out of Rupa’s shapely mouth, in a breathtaking pace. The man in question, looked at her stupefied, which Rupa mistook to be stricken.

He then gesticulated for her to sit. This time Rupa, took her own time,  conveying the grave news, all over again, all the while, patting Raj’s hand, giving comfort. Over cups of coffee, they talked.

**************************************************

Raj never told Rupa, that he had been sent, by the original Raj, to convey the news to Simi. That the Original Raj had found his golden girl who was loaded. And that the original Raj was getting engaged that very same day.

The Duplicate Raj had found Rupa so enchanting, that truth got a quiet burial. He simply confessed, he was a different Raj.

What a blessing in disguise, that mistaken identity turned out to be!

Today it is their tenth anniversary. They are the ideal couple, who fill in each other’s sentences and worlds.

Paradise!

Mum’s the word

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

Dear Diary,

Today, I have a big secret to tell you.

Shhh! Don’t tell anyone. Promise?

There is someone in this house, who knows everything. Nothing can be hidden from her.

Even when she is watching the TV, she will know, I am eating cookies in the kitchen.

When I come back from school, she knows that I had a fight with Sam. I swear, I haven’t even opened my mouth. Just by my angry face!

I don’t tell her, but she knows that I have got my Maths marks.

Sometimes, I go to the bathroom and cry, she will know. Then she will make Maggi for me, to cheer me up.

She even knows, I haven’t finished my dabba, even before I take it out from my bag.

I pour my Bournvita, into kitty’s plate and she will scream from the bedroom. “Are you drinking your milk or giving it to Kitty?”

She gets up before everybody and sleeps after everybody. How does she get the energy, I don’t know!

She knows what I like, what Pappa doesn’t like. But never tells me what she wants.

She will hold my best birthday parties and drives me to classes.

And when she starts telling a bedtime story, I am already asleep.

But she has one problem. Actually two!

She worries so much!

She worries when I go to school or go out and play with my friends. She no longer sends me to the market. She makes me repeat GTBT, everyday. Sometimes, I get very scared then. But I don’t show. She stills knows. She gives me a big hug and tells me, everything will be alright. 

And then she tells me not to waste my time and study. But I’m still a kid no? I hate these classes that she keeps driving me to. Then she will ask what did I learn there? I can’t say, nothing. Because, she will call my teachers and find out. Funnily, they all are her friends. They tell her everything.

I think she has X-Ray vision. She must be the Hulk’s cousin or must be SuperMan’s secret sister. Or Both!

You know who, I am talking about no?

Mummy!

More tomorrow,

Love

Pari

Life

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

“Life is like a box of chocolates, we never know what you’re gonna get.” So said Forrest Gump’s mom.

Is it really?

Life is a bouquet of flowers for the romantic, a multi colored fragrance 

Life is a classroom for the teacher where lessons are given and exams taken.

Life is a crossroad for the policeman where incoming and outgoing traffic need to be regulated

Life is a hospital for the doctor where sugarcoated bitter pills are given smilingly

Life is an empty canvas for the painter, to be filled with his riotous colors.

Life is a puzzle for the angelic child, trying to fit all her pieces in.

Life is a nonstop race for the mother, acing at all her trials

And for me, Life is a…I’m just a mere bystander and a floater, soaking in the atmosphere.

Here today, Gone Tomorrow!

Love Lives on

A dashing young captain meets a beautiful young lady in one of the Army get together’s, falls head long in torrid love. The young girl reciprocates. The stuff of movies!

They face the usual parental opposition -The girl is cast in 24 carat gold but caste is different – After heavy Bollywoodian drama, they tie the knot with all round albeit reluctant blessings.
The infantry captain gets posted all across India – Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Siachen. Wherever possible, the new bride follows him. Life is a breeze, when you are in love! Nothing is insurmountable!! In due course of time, they become doting parents of a bonny boy.
After a while, they set up home in Delhi.

The by now Colonel, goes for a Sunday Golf Session with his buddies, sets the ball on the Tee, just bundles up and faints. Friends rush him to the Army hospital where his ECG and pulse are found to be normal. The attending doctors give an aspirin for his throbbing headache and ask him to go home as all the vital-stats seem to be fine. The wife begs for a CAT Scan, in fact, gives it in writing. Sunday Stupor I guess, overruling her, they send him home saying ,” He is sitting, so he is fine!”.
He goes home and has a massive seizure in the afternoon and collapses, never to recover. They rush him to the same hospital where he is put on a ventilator. He is already brain dead but rest of the organs are working fine. They try to revive him with industrial level steroids & machines.

After the sixth day, the devoted wife is asked to do the needful..

Switch Off the Ventilator as there is no chance of her husband reviving..
In those utter grief-filled moments, she thinks of ways to make her love live on..
5 simultaneous operations are done – to give his heart to a man on the death bed, his kidneys to a 13-year-old girl and a sailor, pancreas to someone else, and so on..
The Colonel is given a full ceremonial send off. The grieving widow picks up the threads of her life, wins a landmark judgment against the hospital, gets into her hobby full time, making it a lucrative venture and brings up her only son, to be dashing, empathetic young man.
This is a real life story. The lady in question, was my muse for one of my short stories..
I salute this brave heart, on this organ donation day.