Sundari and Sha

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-12-26-08-am

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 12.03.52 PMThis post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’ 

Naren was pacing up and down the maternity ward. After what seemed eons, the nurse walked out gingerly. “It is a girl.” She said softly. She must have been wondering whether she would get any Bakshish. To her utter surprise, Naren hugged her tight and beamed, “The goddess has come to our house in the navratras!”. He gave her some money and rushed in, to check on his newborn and his wife Suma. The nurse smiled. There were some men left in this world! She thought, as she walked back to check on other patients.

Naren called his precious, ‘Sundari’. Sundari was born in a family which wanted only male progeny. Naren had been different. Work had taken him all around the world and broadened his thinking. He stuck out like a sore thumb in his ultra traditional community, with his new fangled ideas. But he cared a damn. After a son, he longed for a daughter and his wife gave him just that.

Sundari was pampered like a princess by Naren, though the relatives often cautioned the doting parents, that she might grow up to be a difficult one. God knows about that. She definitely grew into a heavy one.

Initially, Naren and Suma, thought it was puppy fat which might get shed by teenage. As a teenager when Sundari became bulkier, they thought, by college time, she would become svelte by peer pressure. Nothing changed, only weight remained constant. Naren and Suma tried to enforce dieting, but Sundari’s pinched and hungry face would melt their hearts. Naren and Suma would put her in a gym or under a yoga instructor. Her aching body and her tired bleating, made them break into an unhappy sweat.

All the weight containing measures were given up halfway, because parental love became overloaded.

Luckily, Sundari was an exemplary student all through, winning accolades and trophies. She was the teacher’s pet and the confidant of girls and boys.  Life was just great.But in the first year, at college, Sundari, was no longer in the protected environs of home. She often became the butt of cruel jokes. She shed many a silent tears. As soon she resolved to stick to a weight loss regime, it was exam time. Over hot samosas and cream rolls, Sundari was often seen holding court, clearing doubts of all and sundry, as she effortlessly cleared her exams with top grades. And the cruel jokes stopped, as she became the Gyan-Guru for all matters.

Soon, it was time to leave college, as most found jobs and their soul-mates. Sundari was again left high and dry, with no love interest in sight.

Vexed with her alone situation, Sundari decided to check into a Spa, before she joined work. Naren and Suma agreed and prayed, that she would get whatever she wanted.

On the first day at the spa, all assembled in the main hall, to mingle and connect. In that ‘large’ crowd, Sundari spotted a frail man.

“Very incongruous” thought Sundari. After the perfunctory exchanges, lunch was declared. It was beyond frugal. As Sundari, sat staring at her lunch plate disbelievingly, she never noticed the frail man sitting next to her.

“Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry. You can share my lunch. I won’t be able to finish mine.” The frail man had a deep baritone.

“Don’t be presumptuous!” snapped Sundari.

“I’m not! I mean it. I’m Sha! Without the ‘H’ and so I’m not a Hulk”  Sha declared, flexing his non-existent muscles.

Sundari laughed at this sight, patted his flat arms and almost immediately, felt ashamed. She had been a victim of body shaming all through her life and here she was, doing the same.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude” Sundari pleaded.

“It’s Ok. I’m used to this. You are?”

“I’m Sundari. Not really aptly named am I? Why are you here? You are thin! You can have the world! You will make all of us feel ultra miserable!!”

“Really? How about you walk a mile in my shoes before you form an opinion? I have this grand name and this puny frame. So all I get, whenever I offer any serious opinion or even mundane help is, ‘be a man first’. ‘We don’t need children’! Not so funny, is it? I see my friends having wild parties, but my delicate system can’t take it. Often, I end up being alone. All the girls want puffed up men. They don’t want to be seen with a delicate darling. Enough of my story! What is your deal, Sundari? Also finish my lunch, before the staff notices!”

Sundari and Sha, then spent the entire afternoon, walking, chatting and sharing. It was a strange bond. Plus they had so many common interests.

A week zipped by in connecting, load shedding and bulking up. Soon it was time to leave. They promised to meet each other after a month, to see if this new relationship had any meat in it, or if they could still continue their health regime. They wouldn’t talk to each other in the interim period nor try the social media, to keep track.

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

It has been five years so far.

Sundari often says dreamily, “You are the Sha of my dreams!”

And Sha lovingly replies, “You are the Sundari of my Sapnas!”

Sundari, having shed weight, after a herculean effort, continues to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sha is as bulky as he could be. He is now happy and contented with self.

Naren and Suma, run a fitness centre called ‘Weight and Watch’, cautioning the parents against overloaded love.

Bliss!

Advertisements

Life

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.45.55 PM

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!

One Night

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

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-12-26-08-am

Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 11.45.25 PM

11:22 PM. 8 minutes to go before the cabbie arrived at the gate. I quickly gulped down the sticky Maggie, put some clothes, checked my purse for money, grabbed my phone.

11:28 PM  2 minutes to go before the cabbie arrived at the gate. I sprinted down, tucking my shirt in, hoping to be there at the gate, before the cabbie. I couldn’t bear his accusatory tone, if I was late.

11:30 PM Paradise regained. Rupa was in the cab and so was Sonali. In 30 minutes, it was Rupa’s birthday. I was hoping to get her nod tonight. I had spent a packet on a ring to gift Rupa and seal the bond.

Rupa smiled warmly. A good omen! Sonali smirked. Nothing unusual. The cabbie revved up. He was in a hurry. As he sped on the bustling roads, braking at will and barely managing to avoid colliding into vehicles.

Rupa became nervous. She slipped her fingers into mine and held onto them. Smirking Sonali, let go at the cabbie, who slowed down momentarily and stuck to his original speed. As we turned into a lane, BAMM! The cabbie managed to bang into a pizza delivery guy, who flew into air on impact. To avoid hurting him further, the cabbie swerved and crashed into a tree.

1:00 AM Rupa wokeup, to see the mayhem around. Air-bags had saved the cabbie. But he was unconscious. Sonali sat rubbing her head. mumbling something incoherently in Marathi. Her man, seemed to have passed out too, though fingers were still entwined. There is this persistent mooing sound. They were in a no-network patch.

1:30 AM Rupa shookher man and Sonali. The man was stirring. So he wasn’t dead. They both comforted each other and came out slowly to check the mayhem. They  flashed  their mobiles to see the extent of damage. The pizza delivery guy was no where to be found. They searched under the vehicle, over the cab. No sign of the guy. But the mooing was now loud and clear. To their utter horror, they saw one horn of a buffalo sandwiched between the bumper and the tree. The Buffalo wasn’t hurt but shocked.

2:00 AM Sonali shook the driver, who slowly resurfaced. He got down to see the bonnet smashed up. And they all heard some feeble sounds coming from the tree. As they all craned their necks to see, they could make out the outline of the pizza delivery boy. The impact had landed him on the top branches and he was moaning. Except the cabbie no one knew how climb trees except the driver, who wasn’t exactly in shape to do so. The mooing was getting stronger. The buffalo was now petrified. They all gathered and somehow managed to push the cab away from the tree, enough for the buffalo to move away. The moment it wriggled, one horn that was sandwiched broke into half and the buffalo ran away.

3:00 AM The ladies, the cabbie and the man were now petrified. What if a crowd gathered and beat them to pulp. But they couldn’t leave the pizza delivery guy, up the wall. How about shaking the tree? The pizza guy continued to moan.

3:15 AM the cabbie somehow dragged himself up and helped the pizza delivery guy down. As they all gathered, firstly they wolfed down an entire pizza and then started walking ahead. Till they found help.

As the day broke, both the cab and the scooter were towed away. Everyone got a day to recover.

And as the day ended a one horned buffalo was trending. Nobody knew what happened.

THE WELCOME  ADDRESS ON THE  9TH SEPTEMBER 2017

Inclusive India Initiative, is an effort to spread awareness on intellectual & developmental disabilities under the flagship of National Trust.     

The 1st India International conference for and about persons with Down Syndrome was inaugurated by Dr. Surekha Ramachandran, President of Down Syndrome Federation, who welcomed Mr. Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor, Mr. Yugi Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator and other speakers from around the world.

Down syndrome (DS or DNS), also known as Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. It is typically associated with delayed physical growth, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability.

This conference is intended to help those afflicted and their families.

THE WELCOME  ADDRESS ON THE  9TH SEPTEMBER 2017

It is a pleasure to welcome you all to the 1ST India International conference for and about persons with Down Syndrome

It is an honor  to welcome Mr. Ajit doval, our National Security Advisor.

Sir, with your presence here, all of us with children with disabilities, feel safe and secure. Thank you sir for giving us your valuable time.

We welcome Mr. Yuri, the United Nations resident coordinator of India. Welcome sir!

To all my friends in the Asia pacific region and the speakers from around the world, a hearty welcome to the capital city of India, New Delhi. It is our pleasure to be able to interact with scientists and researchers in the field of DS, who have travelled here to share valuable information with us.

A hearty welcome to all the advocates who have been waiting patiently for the change to happen and working tirelessly for the same…

As always, we extend a warm welcome to all my colleagues and parents who share our common interest of improving the lives of people with Down syndrome.

Humsafar parivaar walon Namaskar…

This is a landmark India/international event, as we will be for the first time, celebrating people with Down syndrome, in New Delhi  and honor their courage and optimism.

One birth –  One child – Babli! This one amazing person, instilled courage and belief in one family, The Ramachandrans, who believed that change was possible. They saw a revolution that has transformed the world of Down Syndrome in India!

Research and  awareness has broken all the myths that came to be associated with these children. Not only has it led the parents to have new hope for the future of their children, it also has brought the professional, medical people and the bureaucrats into our fold. What a positive change in attitudes! What commitment and involvement from the parents too!

More importantly, the last 30 years have seen an evolved society that believes that  people with disabilities have tremendous potential.

Life is an experience. It teaches us many lessons. However one realizes that it is from adversity that strength is gathered. The Down Syndrome Association, set sail in November 1984 and in these 33 years, it explored and discovered the magic of the world of Down Syndrome.

This voyage, exploration and discovery began with 6 children and we did not have to travel too far to unravel the mystery that has been slowly and silently transforming these lives. This has reached out to over 5200 families and is continuing its journey into the remotest parts of India.

India has the largest population of people with Down Syndrome. 1 in 750 births, is a child with Down Syndrome which means 30,000 people with Down Syndrome are born every year. To bring each one into our fold is a mammoth task.

The parents and people with Down Syndrome came out and carved a niche for themselves in the society and we have all realized the beauty of that simple yet powerful world.

How did this happen?

Very simple! The social media! Apart from the web sites, the numerous whatsapp groups, the youtube downloads, the blogs, Facebook and telegram, we are all connected. Every child born even in the remotest part of the country is identified and added to the groups. Language is no longer a barrier. Each state has an identified parent support group that is easily accessible in the local languages. Monetary assistance for surgeries and medical expertise is also routed through these groups.

What does this year’s conference highlight?

This year’s conference will draw attendance from leading professionals in the area of Down syndrome from all over the world.  The spotlight will be on strategies to highlight and focus on solutions for the various challenges that people with Down syndrome face globally.

This conference also builds upon the fact that India and the international community need to open up for inclusion of people with Down syndrome into the mainstream. We intend to deliver a program consisting of research and scientific papers delivered parallely, along with hands-on workshops for people with Down syndrome.

This Conference pledges to deliver current and relevant information for everybody who is associated with Down syndrome – parents, siblings or caretakers.

It also provides opportunities for the various stakeholders to exchange ideas on trends in the world of Down syndrome and best practices to ensure a better life for them.

What would a truly inclusive society look like? What can we do to create and improve inclusion today? How are you working towards a more inclusive society? Which doors are open, which remain shut? 

While every nation on planet Earth continues to struggle with disability-related issues such as accessibility, employment, housing, rights, and more; the nation of India, very clearly has quite a long way to go before it ensures a sense of equality with relation to people with disabilities. The fact that India has signed ‘The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ is promising. One can hope that  India will pursue the Convention and find itself guaranteeing equality in society for their citizens with disabilities.

As a society, we must still deal with all forms of division and intolerance, but we believe that we have made huge strides in bringing about a better education dispensation for all and that such endeavours will ultimately lead to freedom and a better life for all.

On this day, let us reaffirm that persons with Down syndrome are entitled to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Let us each do our part to enable children and persons with Down syndrome to participate fully in the development and life of their societies on an equal basis with others.

Let us build an inclusive society for all.  Jai Hind

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.

Rain

Screen Shot 2017-09-03 at 10.56.24 PM

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-12-26-08-am

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

It was the pitter patter sound that woke Simran up. The sound of steady fall of water droplets, on her glass window,

The rain seemed to come down in sheets. Everything was wet, washed  and the leaves actually looked fresh and green.

This particular shade of green was something she had seen, way back in time, when she was carefree, young and deeply in love.

A period of time, when Simran used to hop onto a local to Lonavala, to trek the Western Ghats along with the love of her life, Raj, and the incessant rain would caress her curves while the mesmerizing greenery would intoxicate her.

Her utterly smitten Raj would share hot cups of masala chai with his Simran as they bundled together, quivering and shivering.

Simran Verma stole a glance towards her husband, Raj Verma, snoring away, utterly unmindful of the beauty of nature, dancing right in front of him, and sighed wistfully.

Her mobile sprang to life. ” MemSaab, Not coming for work today. It is raining cats and dogs”.

The phone was disconnected even before Simran could utter a word.

“Oh these bloody bloody *&^%* rains!!”

Never Too Late

Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 9.02.48 PM

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-12-26-08-am

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

She sat on the bed caressing his pressed, crisp uniform, wiping away the non-existent tears. The tears had dried up but the searing, gnawing, ache remained like a permanent cloak, sapping all her energy and zest.

‘Is it already a year? Wasn’t it only yesterday, that the moment the informer had called, he wore his uniform and ran to attend the call of duty, promising to finish his favourite meal later, when he returned successful?’

He never kept to his promise. A definite first!

Only a dreaded call ensued, a casket clad in the Tricolor arrived  and a swarm of grieving people descended into her empty home.

‘He embraced death to give us a second chance at life’, they held her and shed copious tears as he was given the ceremonial send off.

The number of visitors reduced to a trickle as the cruel time marched ahead and she was left alone, tending to her permanent sores.

Public memory is ephemeral. If this were to be the harsh reality where everybody had moved on, while only her world had been devastated, why did he take this step? Not one remembered his sacrifice and yet he never shirked his duty. Did he even think about her or the repercussions, in his last minutes at least?

Why didn’t he leave the call of duty to others?

As the dark evening set in, the phone rang.

“Namaste Maam, we are having a service tomorrow in the memory of your brave husband. The very reason, we live…Could you please come?”

She smiled for the first time in the day.

They had remembered. It wasn’t all in vain.  It is never too late to remember your martyrs or to salute them.

She cuddled the uniform once again, feeling his warmth envelop all over her. She didn’t feel lonely now!

When you live for others…You live on…For ever