Sundari and Sha

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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!

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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

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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

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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

 

Last Day in the City

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It was my last day in the city of Ayodhya.

Husband had asked me to leave, knowing fully well that I was carrying his progeny.
How easily his manhood was threatened! By mere hearsay!!

As I sat watching the helpers pack, I couldn’t even cry. The hot scalding anger, refused to flow out as comforting tears. They could pack my clothes, my jewellery.

Could they pack in my reminiscences too? Or my youth spent in the shadow of the epitome of human virtues?

My eternal love, in spite of it all?  My unwavering belief in the man? My bravery, my vulnerability, my dreams or my hopes?

Why didn’t words of anger come out, questioning the skewed justice of it all? Why didn’t anyone feel that they owed me an answer? Why this abject all-around acceptance? 
Why couldn’t I say, when I was served my sentence and pronounced guilty, “Dearie, May I be allowed to feel the same about you? Can you promise me that, you didn’t even think about another paramour?
Those questions stayed put, deep inside and I was left with this gnawing ache.

Was that due to the conditioning of generations of us – ‘the so-called fairer sex’? To accept and to endure without any questions asked? Did I do myself any favor by staying silent?
I surveyed my palatial quarters, the gilded cage of righteousness!
I heard some of the staff wondering, if I could cope with the harsh jungles. Would those be more constricting than these opulent, uncaring walls?
Soon, it was time to go. I searched for the same affection that I carried in my heart, in His eyes. I barely found any.
I then surveyed around, took a deep breath in, filled in my senses with memories and walked out with my head held high, to embrace the unknown newness with open arms and dignity.
I lived again.

Author’s note : Narrative changes often due to changing social mores. Only when faced with adversity does one find strength to move on. If she had found the strength to question, the story would have been different across generations.

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

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On a Rainy Day

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-12-26-08-amThis post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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Once, during a rainy day, my dad had this irresistible urge to eat an ice-cream. That too Nirula’s hot chocolate fudge! Mom, as is usual, thought this was way beyond silly. That too, at his age! That made my dad all the more determined to have that delectable ice-cream.
So, just to have peace, I took out his red Maruti ( Non-AC) and bundled us into the car. As we opened the windows to keep the heat out, we got drenched. Mom, now was game for some hot beverage.

As luck would have it, Nirulas had shut for maintenance. Dad’s face had become small and he refused to share the umbrella with mom as we walked back to our car. Tiny droplets of rain began to trickle down his mustache and an almighty argument started between the two.
As the dark clouds threatened to unload, the dulcet voice of Lata began to fill the air. “Lag ja gale ki Phir ye..” The song was playing on the rickety radio set of the chai-wala across the road. Dad and mom fell silent for a second to savor the song.
Mom suddenly walked across the road and muttered something to the chai-wala, who then looked at dad and smiled broadly. Dad, unable to contain his curiosity, joined them, albeit unwillingly. The chai-wala then shut the radio off, much to the irritation of dad.
Mom handed dad, a piping hot cup of chai and sang the same beautiful number.
“Lag ja gale ki Phir ye..”
And Dad? He smiled broadly, twirled his mustache, touched her wet ringlets and gave a peck on mom’s red cheeks. Chai tasted better too.
I am yet to see more romance packed in a singular moment.

I shall go on

#Blogathon #ALetterToHer,

#AFightAgainstDomesticViolence  

 

Khaab ZNMD

Dearest AJ,

It is me, your long forgotten self-confidence. It has been a while since we last met, isn’t it?

Firstly, isn’t it strange to pen a letter to self? Sometimes, when the outer world smothers you, emasculates you, you need your dormant, deep-hidden, inner-self to find voice and tell you  to hang on, to inhale and exhale. To live beyond the simple day-to-day surviving.

Now, walk to the nearest mirror and take a long look at self. Do you recognize this tired, listless, lifeless reflection? Well I don’t!

Was this the same wondrous visage that went about chasing rainbows, spread life, laughter wherever she went? How many tears have those sunken eyes shed, to lose all their luster? Why are those dry, cracked lips curved down? Where has that sunshine smile disappeared?

Dig deep into your soul and pull out that lost ‘You’. You were the one who was going make the impossible, possible. Find the strength honey, to believe, to breathe, to move on and to march ahead.

You have to remember the promises you made to yourself. Now make them a reality. You owe that much to yourself.

Rise up like the Phoenix from the very ashes of your present, to soar high and paint a much brighter tomorrow.

The pain is searing I agree! The humiliation is beyond endurance and you blame yourself for all that has gone wrong in this relationship!

What will others say?

No dear, no one gets to have an opinion on your life, unless they are paying the bills. On hindsight, not even after that! 

So walk out before even you forget that you exist. No doubt, it is going to be a Herculean task to rebuild but we both are going to do so, brick by brick.

Do read Meena Kandasamy’s latest novel, When I Hit You  http://bit.ly/Meenabk2.  It is an account of an abusive marriage and it forces one to examine the notions of domestic abuse.

I will be waiting for your resurgence.

Till then,

Yours truly

AJ