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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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

 

Independence Day

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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.

 

An Unforgettable Friend

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

I carry your heart…I carry it in my heart

Thought the teary-eyed, recuperating patient, lying on his bed, in the intensive care unit.

In a split second, he was back in time and to the very place where it had all started.

They were childhood friends, who grew up with same tastes and who then developed intense feelings for each other. The boys knew, they couldn’t let the world sneak in on their secret. It wouldn’t understand with its draconian divisions of people.

So they masqueraded their affection as ‘close-friendship’ lest the hyper vigilante society separated them, punishing them.

They then decided that the first world with its more liberal outlook might be safe for them to disappear, to breathe free, to be alive.

The families definitely had no clue about this. Otherwise, all hell would be let loose.

They even acquired the requisite permits till a killer truck played the spoilsport, while they were returning from a night-show.

It is a perfect match. Both are of same age, build and height. Ravi has a chance to live if Sarath’s heart is used for implanting.”  The good doctor had advised.

Beta, I see my lost son in you.” cried Sarath’s mother, clutching Ravi.

I carry your heart…I carry it in my heart!

And in death, we are finally together, away from this rigid society’s judgements and rancor. Rest in peace, my love, my unforgettable friend. For now, I will protect you with my life” Thought Ravi, clutching his beloved heart.

A dream to remember

 

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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!

 

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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