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

Independence Day

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 9.09.51 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.’

As Mother India mulls – 

I am 70 today, Old, hopefully still gold!
Going by the number of invokes,
I’m a much-loved ethos in a billion hearts!

When a child soars or when this nation roars as Mithali scores,
When a Varnika fights her stalker and the angered stand by her,
When a farmer in Bhatinda, smiles at his ready to reap wheat,
When a cabdriver drops a damsel home safe,
When a mother tends to someone’s precious, as her own,
When someone’s earthy rhetoric, sets many souls on fire,
When the diaspora is more Desi than the native-born,


You can be certain that, it was ME, who touched their hearts!

But,
As I creak under the weight of promises unfulfilled,
As I choke with the unbearable stench of human disgrace, violation and abuse,
As I ache at the injustice, affront and monstrosity

I remember that I wasn’t given much chance.
I was written off much before I exhaled.
Yet here I’m, still standing, with all my glaring imperfections and glowing accomplishments.

Agreed, I’m still a Work-in-Progress, at a sprightly Seventy!
The growing ‘Citizen-Activism’ against the widening schisms, gives me hope.
Where I go from here, is up to the hearts that hold me dear!  

Whether they buckle under or soar together triumphantly,
Will be the saga of Tricolor, henceforth”

There are many reasons to love our country. An essence called ‘Unity in diversity‘, binds us together.  Multiple religions, languages, cultures, cuisines, make India, a throbbing, pulsating, vibrant potpourri. It’s hardworking and Jugadoo Youngistan, is a treasure. These make my heart swell with pride, whenever I think of my country!

Vande Mataram

Dear Beti

sampu n I

Dear Daughter,

My heart swells with pride, as I see you bloom every single day.

I then, want to open the very world to you, with it’s myriad opportunities. I hope that, you get to live out every single dream of yours, unfettered by the rigid parameters of this still regressive society.

I so want to set you free, but the breaking news about the brutes around, puts the brakes on my enthusiasm. So I enroll you, my delicate darling into self-protection classes, placating myself that I have somewhat prepared you, for the goons around. But have I really?

You prance around in shorts, often showing your legs off. I smile in indulgence and an inner voice begins to grow louder.

Let her not get used to this skin show! Cover her. Dress her in sedate salwar kameez. The earlier she starts, the better. She will be conditioned.”

I then smother that irritant and join you in the revelry. Honey, I send a silent prayer heavenward, asking for similar indulgence from the carping crowd of prehistoric times.

One day, you will finish college, find work and make a go at this, to be super successful. That will surely entail long hours and obviously, to recharge your batteries, some days you will let your hair down. Let us hope, by that time, the thinking all-around would have progressed, beyond the usual mundane and suffocating “Kids shouldn’t be alone outside, after dark! What terrible parenting!!”

Your brother says, “Make her strong enough to protect herself. She shouldn’t need anyone else.” How true really!

So, some of the sensible gifts, that we as parents, can give you are

  1. Letting you be yourself and not stifling you, according to others’ kosher parameters
  2. Making you self-sufficient and super strong
  3. Standing by you – Always! Non-Negotiable
  4. Respecting your choices
  5. Holding onto you, yet setting you free

So live your life, dear child, while we abide with you. Sky is the limit.

 

Magic Wand

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 3.10.54 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.’

Give me a magic wand and I will make the unwilling time, dance under my tune. I would protect you forever.‘ Says that mom, who lovingly carries her baby in her snug womb, under the threat of a premature delivery, hoping for a full term. 

‘Give me a magic wand and I will make time pass by, so slowly!’  Laments that Also-Ran runner, who misses the winning spot by a whisker! By a teeny tiny, Millie Second!

Can I rewind Time? May I have such a magic wand please?‘ pleads that office girl, who misses her 8:13 shuttle by mere two steps and thus, her much awaited promotion.

Prod that relative, who has everything but time…Who has only those few months to live and who somehow, hopes to be forever alive! Wouldn’t he want a magic wand, just to prolong his time and settle his accounts – Debts of favors and loans of charity ?

Surely that father, who stares wistfully at his silent phone, showing pictures of his moppets who have grown wings and long gone, does wish for a wand, to make a long gone yesterday, a forever today!

Query that mother who waits for her son, who has gone in search of greener pastures, promising to be back in six months but years have passed by. Wouldn’t she want the wand, to change the status quo?

Some would want  the scalpel of a skillful doctor, to be their magic wand, which might restore their bygone looks. Some would wish for a flatter midriff and some, a tour of the world. Most would settle for food on their plate, a roof on their heads and threads in their cupboards. Some intrepid amongst us, would want to leave their footprints, on the sands of time.

We all want our magic wand.  What would I do, if I had a Magic wand?

Time goes by so quickly, like sand..So, I would relive my fond memories that I hold onto very dearly, that keep me warm and hopeful, on a wintry day.  Also, I would make sure, my family is happy and healthy. I would beseech the wand, to have His guiding hand on us.

The rest, will fall into place, anyways.

 

A dream to remember

 

IMG_20151110_175053

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.’

Author’s note :  It is actually surreal that this week’s Write Over the Weekend (WOW) prompt, asks us to tell BlogAdda, about a dream that has stayed on, in our subconsciousness. A dream to remember, that often makes us sit up and wonder about it’s mysteriousness. I had this dream about a year back.  I wrote this note to self, all about it, lest I forget the dream, with passage of time.

I reproduce the same  here-

It was one of the most difficult cars to navigate. A mother-of-pearl-white, gigantic Ambassador. That too for a person like me, who did not know how to drive! Against my volition, I was just thrust into the driver’s seat and asked to drive…Just like that!

The controls were all wired terribly wrong. A bus-like gear system, clutch else where, an accelerator in place of a brake and adding to this chaos was the incessant traffic. Enough to break a person.

To my utter delight, I coped beautifully. I drove slowly, avoided collisions and managed to park in a beautiful, lush green colony with happy faces and gamboling children.

Alas, the dark night came in sharply. It was time to head back. The evening traffic and T intersection seemed impossible to overcome.  I then realized with a start, that I was in the rear passenger seat.

A pristine-white clad man with the most benevolent smile, was in the driver’s seat. He navigated with dexterity and cautioned me about an open door in the front, next to the passenger seat, where my first born was sitting.  As I sat transfixed, able to comprehend the gravity of the situation but simply unable to take any action, the pristine-white clad man shut the door for me and continued cruising along.

I saw that there was a steering wheel, clutch, accelerator, brake, in front of me, attached to the driver’s seat.  I tried to use them, to no avail. As the dream ended, the meaning of this entire sequence, hit me with a startling clarity.

All along, I had thought, it was I, who did the driving but all I had, were the dummy controls!

It was all along He!  And Him alone, who steered, navigated the course of my life and who watched out for me!!

Especially when the troubles hit me, making me paralyzed with fear.

So I could hope to soar, with renewed spirit and vigor, with a strong belief that I wasn’t alone in this journey of life!

 

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.’

Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 10.57.58 AM

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