Saturday, December 27, 2014

On One Sunday Christmas Eve

He looked at the white sheet spread over the pine. It looked dreadful dull but it also made him happy about the festivities it brought. It would be dusk and his mother would be searching him. He turned after absorbing the last of the sunlight shimmering as it fell on the white crystals. He turned into a sprint. The lights were visible from far, like some twinkling stars on earth. The village was usually solemn, it was the festival that gave color to it. As he neared, he gazed and admired the small lamps that lit in the windows of houses, small and big. A few rich had a Christmas tree before their door, these partly covered with snow and at the end of the branches were hanging apples and other fruits. It was only on this festival when he and his friends saw the fruits, rich brought from the market. They would look at these from a distance to avoid beatings if anyone caught then touching.

He heard his mother calling him. He started towards his hut. He met his mother on the way, she had her old rag around her, stumbling in the little light of the lantern in her hand. She smiled at him and exclaimed, “A Christmas pie is waiting for you dear”. The pie brought twinkle in his eyes but as they started walking he wondered how she managed a pie, it must have cost her something. It made him sad.

After eating his supper he went to his bed. As he lay he looked outside. It had started snowing and the lights of their rich neighbor that flashed between the soft white fall made a good sight. He hobbled to the closed window and sat on the covered hot bricks admiring the sight.

*

It was completely white and he heard some wolves howling somewhere far. The snow was falling soundlessly as he stood in it buried till his knees. The sound alerted him. A swishing sound was approaching him. He guessed it was some sleigh. He was not carring lamp and panicked that it might now him down but he was too buried in the snow and pulling out his leg itself exhausted him. Fear rose in his heart and his eyes grew wide as he saw the sleigh driven towards him.

*

He was holding the reins of the sleigh and the reindeer were running speedily up and down the snow hill. He looked down and saw he was wearing a red dress and a black belt was around his waist. From a ragged boy he had turned into a Santa! Ho Ho Ho! he heard himself exclaim. His sledge came to a stop at a small village. He hopped down and went down the frozen lanes. There were socks hanging in the windows. As he passed each window a voice (which he suspected was his own) whispered in his ears, of the wishes of the kid from the house. “I want apples, lots of them” “New clothes” “New shoes” “New lace for my dress” “I want Christmas tree just like Ross” “I want new sledge” he chuckled at the wishes. Boys! he exclaimed soon realizing he was one of them. He put his hand on the sack and pulled out apples. He went on placing gifts on the window sills. As he moved towards his sledge a thought passed his mind, what would I, Ryan ask, what do I want this winter. He saw a small house secluded, and the question repeated itself in his mind. “Boy, what do you want, Santa is asking”. As he stood before the house he realized it was his own home. What do you want, Ryan?

“I want money!”, There was aggression in the voice that surprised him. 

“Money? Santa can’t give you money. Ask anything else”

“Everything else means nothing”

“What will you do with the money?”

“I will buy happiness”

“Happiness can not be bought with money, my child”

Through the fog, Ryan appeared with hands forward. There was a pie in his hand half eaten. “This is half a pie, I saved for my mother. She says I should have it tomorrow. We can not afford a Christmas pie. She sold her old overcoat for it and she has nothing but a rag now. What good are your gifts. Can you give my mother happiness?”

“If money is you want, I have no money. I am poor too”

“You are poor too”, tears flowed down Ryan’s eyes. Even if he is Santa, he would remain poor. 

“Poor..Poor..Poor!”, he cried.

*

When he opened his eyes, his mother was shaking him worried. “Poor? What happened son, did you see a nightmare?”

He shook his head and a smile appeared on her face. “Come, let me show you something”. She took him to the kitchen. There was pie, big as a pot. Beside it were two overcoats and gloves. He looked at her puzzled. She took him to the door. “A miracle, son”, she said. He noticed the whelming emotions in her voice. When she opened the door, he saw a sledge tied to the wall.

“A sledge! we can go the market and sell our bread. Isn't it a miracle? Jesus is kind”, she said kneeling before him. There were tears in her eyes and his too.

He looked around and cried, “Thank you…” louder he yelled, “Thank you!!...Merry Christmas” Somewhere far he could hear some wolves howling as if accepting his greetings.

Written for Prompt - 'When I stepped into Santa's shoes' by Wings Of Change.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Delivery

It was charming. Charming and majestic, one she never expected to see in her life. The white floor was perfect and was implanted with gold, silver and bronze mosaic. The chandeliers twinkled and she almost tripped herself while looking up at the fresco. The corridor was long and grand. She felt blessed to be in the middle of it. She jumped, in happiness, taking in the truth that this grand property was transferred to her name. It had been closed for years till today, her luckiest day, 25th of December 1890, when she opened the door to the black coat. She’d called them, the lawyers, black crow for their greediness until today, when with the property transferred letter looked the most handsome man. She almost had jumped and kissed him thinking the grand life that awaited her.

Standing in the corridor, the question peeped up again and she sat down on floor. Why? She had asked the lawyer but he had shrugged. Why? She repeated sitting in the middle of the corridor. She realized the corridor was long, very long. She looked up at the chandelier as she tried to work out the reason, Why? Somewhere far a telephone rang...tring….tring..tring.. 

Telephone? Who would call this place? It rang again. Morine should pick it up, What is she doing? … Tring.. suddenly the lights started flickering… tring.. the chandelier flickered and went out… tring.. it was dark, “What”, she heard herself say. She strained her eyes but it was too dark. Suddenly she felt the air growing thicker and a stench raised around her. The telephone was still ringing but it sounded very far. She called for Morine but in shock the words stuck in her throat. She was starting to panic, as the silence was consumed by sound of running water. Water? she thought when she felt the wetness on her feet raising up her feet slowly. Morine, she called, this time her voice reverberating the corridor, perhaps it will reach out to the guard. 

She kept shouting and stopped when she heard something. She covered her mouth fearing she would scream and concentrated on the sound. Footsteps. A hope lit in her mind but the next moment a fear rose in her mind, the footsteps, dragging, with faint sound of dangling metal. They were nearing her. She realized it was raining and when she looked to her left where she assumed to be colored windows at the end of the corridors, there was a lightning flash followed by thunder. Within that second, she realized she was trapped. The lightning showed her not the colored windows or mosaic floor but dark stone dungeon. 

She gasped at the sound to her right. There was another flash and she saw them.. filthy drooping bodies wet in dirt and blood. One..two...there were more and walking towards her...then she saw him...the black crow..yes it was him.. covered with blood… there was thirst in his eyes… then it dawned.. No Inheritance.. she was a delivery…

Written for Prompt - 'The long corridor' by Wings Of Change.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Fall


She gave way to the men as they moved the furniture out to the truck. They gave a look of disapproval as they passed her. She did not blame them for it. She looked at her husband. Hair disheveled, with stubble around his cheeks, he looked tired and frustrated. When their eyes met, she felt a shiver. There was fire burning in his eyes. He shrugged in helplessness. “Useless, these guys”, he muttered. She thought different but did not dare to voice her opinion. It would do nothing good to his already sullen mood, so she nodded with a slight smile. “Don't worry. This will be done soon. And…”, she tried to support but he had already stepped out of the house. She watched his back, taking in the stumbling walk, the shoulders drooped under the heavy burden of the lost battle. She saw a hint of fatigue in his every move and her heart went out to him.

When they were out, he asked the truck driver to follow their taxi. In taxi, she felt as if the harshness of silence would tear her off. She wanted him to talk to her. But when she sneaked a peek at him, she realized, be it success or fall, she had no place in his heart. For once, she wanted him to forget everything, even himself and be a husband. Would it be possible?

When she saw him come down heavily on the men as they moved their belongings to the new apartment, she knew the answer. He does not approve, does not accept, the fall, moving to a smaller place, nothing. She feared things would turn worse, this was just the beginning. Off late, he was losing temper easily over petty things but even so, he had never abused her. But..he also never held her, way she would love, with feelings. Maybe things wouldn’t change for her, maybe she just had to play the role of wife whenever he would need her, like until now. She sighed in grief.

She was thankful that the apartment was fully furnished. When the work was done and the men moved out, she made coffee and took it to their bedroom. He was standing at the window. “Coffee”, she said without going near to him fearing his rage. He turned to her, she noticed his red eyes. Her heart were beating faster and her pulsed increased. She placed the tray down on the bedside table with shivering hands.

“I lost everything”, he muttered. Though low, there was rage in his voice. He took few steps towards the her as she stumbled back. “No”, she muttered. “I lost everything”, he repeated as he collapsed at the foot of the bed. Surprised, she gulped few breaths and sat next to him. She would have consoled him, held him close, but she did not dare. Instead she sat next to him like a silent lifeless doll. She felt sorry, for him and for herself. She knew he would win everything back, but what she had lost was for ever. She had turned to a breathing rag doll. She could not hold herself any longer and tears started flowing out, she sobbed.

“Nitya”. She heard the voice, same yet different. She gasped as she looked up. He was looking at her, his face wet with tears. Her eyes were wide with anticipation. “I am sorry”, he said to her with trembling voice that dug like a dagger in her heart. 


“No, please don’t cry”, she said, “You have always been a winner. I am sure soon we will move in back to our home, bigger than before. I am sure...you”, she muttered between sobs and looked if he was still beside her. And there he was, looking at her intently. 

“You never cried before. You say I have not failed. Yet you cry…….I am sorry”, he said, his voice drenched in grief. 

“Please don’t say so”, she feared but took his hands in hers, “I have failed you. I am your wife, yet I could not console you, I could not bring you out of this grief, I have nothing to give you confidence, what good am I?”, she cried. She saw her words changing shape in his eyes, and realized she had surprised him.

“And how good am I?”, he asked. “Can you forgive me?”, he took her face in his hands, her eyes still looking down.

“Will you?” he asked. “Are you afraid to even look at me?”, he asked. Tears rolled down her cheeks but she couldn't look at him. Confused, she couldn't make of him. He needs me? Is that a new role I have to play? I always wanted him to be with me. What am I waiting for?

His voice was trembling, “What I have turned you into, I took the life away from a vibrant person like you. Monster, that’s what I am”.

“I never blamed you”, she managed to murmur unable to accept nor reject him.

“If that is so, please give me some time”, he replied. He needs time to make himself love me. Her face fell. “I will need time to make myself worthy of you”, he replied. Her surprised eyes met his.

“We can achieve our dreams together”, he said as they looked into each other’s eyes. “Yes”, accepting she said.

“Together”
“Together”. They vowed.

She smiled even as fresh tears rolled down her cheeks. He smiled and pulled her close in his arms. She sighed feeling the warmth of the embrace she waited and heard the words of treasure for the first time, “I love you”.
 

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Home

He looked up at the sky. It looked like a bowl with white cotton floating. He always liked to watch them, lying down on his back on the green grass. When the sun started to turn soft and golden, the parent of the kids came and took them to their homes. Nobody ever came to get him however. Earlier he used to watch them go, bidding him, some with smiles and some crying to let stay longer. But they never stayed back. It was always him standing alone in the field.
 
The sky was turning into a mix of red, purple and many other colors. Colors, he liked, they warmed his eyes and heart. They were his companion. However soon they would disappear and the sky will turn monotonous black. He lied on his back, watching the colors getting warmer and filling his heart. The clouds took different forms and the flock of birds made a beautiful sight. The field turned into haven of voices, of animals and chirps, of birds returning back to their homes.
 
Yet he stayed there in the field, lying, smelling the earth under his body. There was still no one calling him, searching him. A butterfly glided on a yellow petite flower next to him. He got up and caught it between his fingers. It was fluttering, trying to escape his grasp. He smiled. He felt an urge to crush it, his heart beating faster. He yelled, his sound reaching the sky, the tips of the branches, the cliffs and the flying birds. Yet as the breeze passed him, it was just the same, as it was a moment before, empty. He collapsed as a cry slipped his lips, the butterfly escaped, as the tears started flowing.
 
Yet he got up and dragged his feet towards his house. It was dark now and the crickets were out. He looked at the house standing crooked at the end of the field, a lamp shining at the veranda. He saw a silhouette at the door. His eyes grew wide. Was it her? He gasped. He ran and ran. Tears flowing. Mother, he cried running, and stopped at the foot of the house. It was her, standing before him. “Come, my baby”, he heard her, her voice trembling. He ran and sheltered himself in her arms. They huddled, cried, together. Their words croaking.
 
She fed him with her hands and sang him lullaby. When he closed his eyes, her soft face melting, he dreamt himself playing in the field. They were all laughing and shouting when he heard his name, he turned and there she was. His mother, smiling. He smiled. He was ready to go home. 
 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Love

Running behind the shadows
That goes round the mountains
Thats what my life has become
When it was meant to be fun

You were the genius
The rightfull among us, the great
Genius to fake all
And make it look it like a mistake

Love is a piece of art I thought
That brings out the colors new
Yes I saw your colors
And it only made me blue

With you Life felt like a dream
I thought it was a beginning
Never I thought it was all false
A nightmare, and closer crept an ending...

Written for Wings Of Change Prompt - Beginning.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Ghost Diary

Deluded, I swayed over the stairs. Though brought up under very protective care of a orthodox ghost, I stole chances to read about fantasy and horror, specially about Humans (a secret I am keeping from my mother). It was these books how I came to know about humans. And so I can recognize a human world, one where I was now floating, it had a peculiar smell, of flesh. It was an elongated space. A hollow that seemed to stretch upwards forever. Apart from a red cylinder hanging to side, the place was empty, hollow, and with a queer construction that gave me shivers. To my left I saw a sign, which I immediately recognized, Fire Exit. I have read about it. Fire, something humans are afraid of and can die, Die, whatever that means.

I heard some noise above me. A laughter. Human presence. The softness in the voice made my white skin creep. However, being a curious ghost, I started floating up. As I swam up, the sounds got louder. I saw two human figures. A man and a woman, as they are called. Shocked, I floated a little down, to observe them. They were very queer, nothing like ghosts. I saw their feet touched the earth and they seemed to talk forever, not that I could understand them. But it must be somewhat pleasant as they seemed to enjoy it and laugh every other minute. I started moving closer to get a better look. Were they beautiful for a human? I was thrilled to see human though I realized I should be afraid. But I was not, maybe because it dawned on me that I was invisible to them.

Soon the laughter died and the woman began whispering to him. They moved closer, like wrapping each other. They were up to something. I moved closer to understand what was going. Perhaps I could enter her body. But the woman suddenly became alert and started shivering. Was it my presence? The man was shivering too. Before I could experiment, they both looked around wildly, shaking. The woman’s  eyes were big as if would pop out and she started asking something to the man, grumbling, she made my skin shrink. Before I could make another move, they opened the door and entered another space, walking faster looking back. I followed.

This space was another hollow object and there were doors to both sides. I was more confused than afraid or happy. I saw them open a door and enter. So these were where humans live. I wanted to explore more, my curiosity was to its peak. Humans! I floated to the last door. There were voices coming from inside. A little socket adjustment and I could see through the door. To the other side was a very weird human. I want to make special mention about this human. It was not as big as the other two I had seen. This one was plump and had big round eyes, that looked everywhere frantically. Perhaps these are the ones they mention in the horror books. It was running around non-stop, stomping, jumping and making loud sounds. I wasn’t sure whether to maintain a safe distance or venture into this unknown world. But I gathered courage. My skin was thumping, my tail shivering while I sway inside. Just when I moved a point forward across the door, this human did a most frightening thing ever. It jumped towards me and shouted BOO!! Oh! My skin crept and stuck into my hollow inside.

That day I swore to myself, I will not enter the queer human world. But now I can say, I have seen a human!

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

Prompt for the week is ‘If humans tell ghost stories to scare each other, share a story that ghosts would tell to scare each other.

P.S: This post was a counter to one I wrote earlier – Dangling, one of my favourite.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Poetry of Sorrow

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 49; the forty-ninth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

[From her diary...]
Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt
The most devoured expression of mankind is sorrow. You would disagree and question my statement. I agree that the Vedas and The Universe (or anything on those lines you believe) all ask us to follow the path towards bliss. There may be more self-help books on achieving happiness than the actual problems of life.

But, the truth is, human looses self identity during happiness, while in sorrow, finds it's unmatched ego.

Sorrow is beautiful, one could feel his complete self, literally. The soul realizes it's importance in it's presence. The things hidden down the memory lane, as if finding a new life, starts breathing. One could hear the heart beat and weigh its heaviness as it goes.. dub.. dub... While most of us gets upset when fallen in sorrow, the beauty of it could be felt by very few of us. And though it is painful to sustain, once you understand it, you love wailing in it. It is the awareness (which is otherwise fleeting) of the inner self, although toiled, that the sorrow brings to you easily and addicts you.

In this sorrow, the songs that you played on your playlist randomly start to take a form and you could connect to it as if they were words dripping from your heart and licked up by your soul. You become a bystander. You could listen to the cars running, wheels spinning. People doing their daily chores gets accentuated and you, who then, otherwise passed the lane like a robot, would now observe the world brimming in life, as a watcher with submerged awareness.

While I am sure this awareness has nothing to do with the spiritual awareness, still, the detachment you feel from the world around, cannot be just shrugged away. It's not only the body and soul that supports you, but the brain too becomes your companion of suffering. Prose and poetry just flow like sap from a tree oozing and giving you some awkward satisfaction.

These dark words are motivation for myself and some might pick the color of depression in them. But these are words of honesty and beauty. To me, the poetry of sorrow is as poetic as the song of happiness.
 
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 18

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chapter Fifteen - Facing the Fear

Team: Wings of Change
 
Context - Blogadda is conducting a contest (Game of Blogs) where it chooses 10 random bloggers per team to write fiction based on 5 character description it provided. Each blogger has to continue the story from where the previous team member left off. 
 
Read the previous part of the story here.
 
 
 
 
Chapter Fifteen - Facing the Fear
 
When she first heard about the client she took over from Megz, she had discarded the coincidence of the name with nonchalance. But when she took the file and read the complete name, she couldn't believe it. She did not know if it was just chance or there was a higher purpose behind. Otherwise how can someone explain such a overwhelming coincidence? But there was nothing she could do. After wasting lot of time she explained to herself that the whole situation was in her favor. If her stars are good, she might see her child again, and possibly more than once. This made her mind stable and cheered her a little. She was now looking forward to the meeting.
 
The only fear was Mr.Dutta. Her only contact with the man was his last and only call to her. There had not been any contact after that but she had gathered he was a man of kind heart. On the other hand she herself had not shown any trait of a mother. She may have tried her best to be around the child but that was all in unawares to Mr.Dutta. To them, she was just a woman who had responded emotionally on a phone call after which never cared to call back. The thought made her tizzy. She sighed. She could do nothing. The ball was in his court now and all she could do was wait and watch.
 
Shekhar scribbled on the notepad as Roohi played in the swimming pool. He was watching her but his mind was engrossed in the magnanimity of the sudden turn of events. Who would have known? The woman who they have tried to stay away from was brought back to them by the fate. He tried to connect the dots but it was beyond logic. However, the writer in him was mesmerized by the randomness that converged their destiny. What was he supposed to do? He knew nothing of the woman. He did not want to cancel the meeting with Jennifer as he had accepted the decision made by the higher, to bring them face to face. But his mind kept whirling, What kind of mother Jennifer was? She didn't care to even call back....he watched his little girl, and thanked God repeatedly to bring the child to them, she deserved better care, and Tara and he would give Roohi their best.
 
Finally it was the evening of their meeting. Shekhar sat shifting weight as he watched a woman approaching him. "Hi, How are you?", she spoke first. Shekhar even though a freelancer, wasn't an uncommon face, his articles getting published regularly in leading People's magazine. They smiled artificially and greeted each other. Each of them noticing the hint of uncertainty in the greetings exchanged. They had agreed to meet at a beachside open restaurant. Silence lingered at the table as they took in each other and the reality of the meeting. Shekhar cleared his throat and took the initiative. "Jennifer, I don't know what to say (pause) But I would appreciate if we jump in to our reason why we are here." Jennifer nodded, she had expected it. When she had arrived, her eyes had searched for her daughter, even though her mind plodded her with the reality. Holding herself together she nodded. "Yes", she said.
 
Shekhar began explaining, "I believe you have the transcript of my article. I am planning to release it in parts. I am in touch with the planned magazine. Sorry I cannot give you the details until it is finalized. I actually had a discussion with Megz and we had decided about the approach. I am not sure how much of it has been transferred to you. But I am okay with discussing again and listening to your ideas".
 
Jennifer nodded. He continued after a silence, "You are native of Kerala. And I have seen your work. And I must say I am impressed."
 
Jennifer nodded. This time she took over, "I have read your transcript and have talked to Megz. I understand you had decided to show the story in progression of the local industry. However I feel, in case of Kerala, it's about people. It's their dedication and their tenacity to hold and flourish the culture is what makes them special. What I feel is, instead of showing the Kerala cultural industry in terms of periodic progression, why not add it a human perspective. Why not capture how people saw the their living and how they and their culture evolved"
 
"I like your idea. But how exactly would you want to execute it?", Shekhar enquired.
 
"I have a lot of friends and families who have started from zero and are now a big name here. They might have some old pictures. I know they would not contribute to my work but they would certainly compliment my photos of the new era of Kerala. It would add a dimension to our portfolio and make it complete. Besides I know Kerala in and out. I can take you to places less known but not necessarily less valuable, be it beaches or industries", she answered.
 
After hearing her, Shekhar was confident Jennifer would do justice to his article. He smiled. She acknowledged with a smile and the tension in the air turned a bit lighter. For the next thirty minutes they made plans on the places to visit and their approach. By the time they were done, the coffee they ordered was cold. With business already discussed, the sullenness returned to the table. There was no question they would spill a word about their personal life. Each had a thousand questions to ask the other but they held it inside. Fear lingered. After looking at the watch, they both got up in unison calling it a day.
 
He watched her as she walked away. A decent woman. What could have ...? his mind mined questions and doubts. He was a non-judgmental person but today with his daughter at stake, his mind questioned and judged the woman, walking away, who called his child as hers...still watching silently, saw Jennifer turn.
 
To her, the business went well but there was still something incomplete. Thousand of questions mixed in the dizziness of emotions in her mind. She felt a bit unsteady. She wanted to ask him. She turned around and looked him into his eyes. "Shekhar", she mumbled. "Would it be possible....?" she held her words as she saw his eyes turn wide. She shook her head and walked away...
 
Shekhar stood watching her, his heart now beating faster...he almost thought she would ask him but she didn't. He collapsed in the chair and watched her. Would he call her selfish or a figure of strength?
 
Continued here.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.
 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Beginning - Chapter three - Sleepless nights

Team: Wings of Change
 
Read the previous part of the story here
 
Jennifer looked at the red circle marked on the calendar reflected in the mirror. Only five days to go. Nine years had passed and it wasn’t once that she slept free of turmoil of her past. She was a successful woman today and had handled every situation thrown by life with courage. She was strong and independent and was ready for future.
 
But past six days were more than what she could take. She had never felt so desperate and helpless. It had started after the call from the adoption agency. Jennifer had found herself collapsed when she heard she could meet her child. The new parents were ready. She was shocked. After all these years! She felt minuscule and happy at the same time. ‘Roohi’, she whispered. That’s what the adoption agency said the parents named her. It was a beautiful name. Indeed. ‘Only five days to go’, she whispered again.
 
Should she tell this to her husband. Kumar was gentleman. She had not kept her past from him. ‘I want to be your present and future. Your past does not worry me', he had said. He was a gem, someone to have more than she deserved. He was her present and she was extremely happy to be with him. She remembered the time she confessed. She almost asked him if the day comes, when she wants to be with her child, would he be ready for her? She had almost but had stayed mum instead. Probably it was too much to ask from him on their first wedding night. Or probably she was afraid of the answer.
*
 
The breeze was blowing and was bringing in the fresh salty air from the sea as Shekhar and Tara cuddled in each other’s arms. Mumbai had been lucky for them. Each had found their niche in their career and most importantly they had been gifted Roohi here in Mumbai. How much they love her. Tara knew Shekhar was very emotional about Roohi and he was totally unaware of the circumstances that will follow the meeting. The question remained, how would he tell a child what is adoption. She looked affectionately at him as he talked about Roohi with twinkle in his eyes. It was as if he had found the meaning of life with Roohi. Tara felt a sting of jealousy of the little devil.  But Shekhar looked adorable as a father. It was when Shekhar sensed the passion arousing in her and pulled her towards him that they heard Roohi behind the door, banging and crying violently. Shekhar ran to the door and pulled her in embrace.
 
‘Please don’t leave me, papa’, Roohi was crying. ‘Papa is not leaving you, Roohi. I am here, mama is here’, he assured her but Roohi kept sobbing, occasionally stopping to catch breath. Shekhar looked at Tara and she saw his eyes wide with concern, a question. ‘Probably a nightmare’, she whispered to him. He took the child to the bed and held her close and sang lullaby until slowly she slept off.
 
He laid Roohi between them on the bed. They had not yet revealed Roohi about her birth. ‘Of all the time, now? How did she sensed? It’s not that we would be leaving her, but how?’, he sighed. ‘She is not ready, Roohi’,he whispered. ‘Probably it’s not a good idea for her to meet her biological mother now. You were right’, he replied.
 
‘But we are a little late Shekhar. You have already contacted her biological mother. And did you hear the yearning in the woman's voice, to meet the child, after all these years', Tara replied. ‘That doesn’t matter. What if we don’t tell her when we reach Kerela’, Shekhar fought back.
 
‘You messaged her mom's address, Shekhar. That woman is probably counting days. On the day, she is going to be at our door, be it the end of the world’, Tara answered trying to bring to him the complexity of the situation. He gave an angry look to her, his mind judging, What kind of mother is she. But then she isn’t. Tara had adopted Roohi… He had too. But.. their father-daughter relationship were like blood relation. Why she couldn’t understand. He sighed. ‘Well in that case we are not going to Kerela.’ He retaliated.
 
Dissapointment creeped in Tara's voice. ‘I would be meeting my mom after years. ‘So what do you want? Do you want to hand over the girl to that woman who abandoned her?’ he yelled at her. ‘What has happened to you, Shekhar? Listen, I am not saying anything like that. It was your decision to meet them up.’ She replied. She had never seen him like this. Just a child’s dream could do this to him?
 
But then sighed and crossed Roohi towards him. ‘Listen. Nothing’s going to happen to Roohi. She just had a nightmare and would soon forget it. She won’t even remember it when she wakes up tomorrow. Believe me’. She held his head in her arms. ‘We can take help of a counselor if you want. Or if still you don’t want to go ahead, then we have to be honest to the woman. We cannot keep her in dark. We will have to call her and tell her that Roohi is not yet ready. Don’t worry, baby. Everything will be fine. Roohi will be fine… With us.’ He looked in her eyes and she could see he had relaxed a bit but the thin film of tears in his eyes was a warning to her. Roohi was his life. A reason to live. She wiped his tears and hugged him tightly. He felt relaxed. They glanced at the little girl. She looked peaceful in her sleep. Tara pulled him closer and hugged him tightly untill they slept off in each others arms. 
*
 
Jennifer unable to make peace with sleep, tossed and turned in bed. Then giving up, she sat up. Passing her hand over her stomach, she felt the years coming back to her cursing her for abandoning her child. How cold was she? How could she do it? Was her heart dead? All the rational and circumstances then looked sham now and she just felt drenched in guilt. Does she have the courage to meet the child? Does she have the answer that the child will ask? Thousand Questions! Thousand curses! She might have been stone then but if so the stone was now melting. It was late but not too late. Was it? She has to meet Roohi. She has too. Passing her hand over her womb, thinking of the child she gave away, she closed her eyes and whispered, Just five days to go’.
 
*
 
He was standing by the door for the past fifteen minutes but could not make up his mind. Then he heard footsteps above. If he doesn’t act, one might mistake him for threat. He took a step and rang the bell. As he had expected, the man opened the door. ‘Yes’, he said. ‘Uh?’, Cyrus stammered. ‘Yea..hi.. I am Cyrus. Uh….actually I wanted to talk to you. About…about…uh…’, no matter how much he had prepared he saw himself weakening. His legs were giving up and he thought he might fall down. But thankfully they were still holding up his body, but his mind might fall to pieces anytime now. Then suddenly he heard the voice. ‘Papa, papa’, came running the small girl. In the frill frock. With two pony tales. Roohi….his lips synced the name but ..’Yes, How can I help you?’ the voice brought Cyrus back to reality.
 
When he looked up, a woman, probably his wife, was beside the man. Both looked puzzled and waiting for an answer. ‘Uh?...I am sorry’, Cyrus mumbled and fled. That night his mind was a whirlwind. Years had passed. But he was still the same chicken. Wary of commitments. And how much he hated himself for it.
 
Continued here 

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.
 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Calcutta Chromosome, a book review

I am a big fan of Amitav Ghosh and if there is any reason for being so drawn to reading, maximum part of the credit goes to him. My first read from his books was 'The Glass Palace', I was so drenched in his writing that I wished the book could just never finish. I read it slowly, feeling and reeling every word written. Most of his work emphasizes on people and history. He has a magical way of bringing the history to you that you can vouch for seeing the whole trade firsthand.

The book 'The Calcutta Chromosome' is a variation from his work. It is an attempt in futuristic science, a mix of mystery, history and science. It has received mixed review on Goodreads, with both kinds, praises and criticism. And as I complete reading it today, I think I understand the arguments in both parties.

The Calcutta Chromosome: A Novel of Fevers, Delirium & Discovery
From Victorian lndia to near-future New York, The Calcutta Chromosome takes readers on a wondrous journey through time as a computer programmer trapped in a mind-numbing job hits upon a curious item that will forever change his life. When Antar discovers the battered I.D. card of a long-lost acquaintance, he is suddenly drawn into a spellbinding adventure across centuries and around the globe, into the strange life of L. Murugan, a man obsessed with the medical history of malaria, and into a magnificently complex world where conspiracy hangs in the air like mosquitoes on a summer night.

The book draws you into the story right from the beginning. It educates you with the history (it is part fiction except for the multiple characters, rather scientist and the dates) of Malaria and it's cure. The story is such that it demands that the author has to take us through the future and the past, urging us to pick the clues and to understand the mystery. With moving back and forth in time and multiple characters with their own stories, the plot thus gets complicated and at times you find yourself scratching your head. But by the end of the story you put one and one together and the mystery is solved, except that some (who are in the critics side) are not satisfied. The issue is that the ending seems a bit far fetched. My argument here is that, since it is a science fiction, why do we need an ending that is meaningful to our current intelligence. Let it go beyond our understanding.

The book frequently brings forward philosophical ideas of Silence and Experimentation. Though we believe that we understand the the idea of experimentation and experimenter presented in the book, I am sure there is more to understand the real meaning behind the metaphor and the direct expression. The author has rather kept it open for the reader to interpret it. Overall I think The Calcutta Chromosome is more than just a science fiction, and I am obliged to give 31/2 stars.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Shackles

Those eyes that look at me
They hold me ransom
Unlocked but still not free
Clawing my body and soul

I wake up frightened
If it's you by the door
I stay mum looking calm
Eyes stuck to the floor
 
Inside its shrieking hum
Red stains and cuts I hide
But they are thrilling
Like a hungry tide
 
It's not good they tell me
There are places beautiful
For once I should set free
Run. I run as fast I can
 
But it's just inevitable
I am in his arms again
Is it him or is it me
The mind can't free
From this enticing captivity

Thursday, July 31, 2014

East Himalayan ‘Dream’ trip

One of my dreams is to travel all the beautiful places in Himalayas. I got the pleasure to visit Shimla, Kullu & Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh. All of these completely beautiful. With Himalayas stretching over as many as five countries, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Pakistan, I wonder will that take a lifetime?

I love the mountains, specially The Himalayas, however contrary it may sound, but I love to plan the itinerary. So when Skyscanner in collaboration with Blogadda came up with this amusing contest of planning a trip with a kitty of Rs. 1 lakh, I jumped at the prospect. Even though it would be just an itinerary with an imaginary trip, it sounded so tempting.

If I have this credit of Rs. 1 lakh, I would take a step towards my Travel Himalaya dream. My plan would be to travel part of Eastern Himalaya. That is travelling to Nepal & Sikkim starting from Sikkim.

The itinerary will look like following -

Day
Date Cost/day Description Hotel Description
1 04-11-2015 Rs. 3,043 Mumbai to Bagdogra Flight    
2 04-11-2015 Rs. 3,000 Bagdogra to Gangtok Helicopter    
3 04-11-2015 Rs. 3,000 Travel Gangtok to Singhik Rs. 2,000 Singhik Tourist Lodge
4 04-12-2015 Rs. 3,000 Visit Gurudongmar lake & return to Singhik Rs. 2,000 Singhik Tourist Lodge
5 04-13-2015 Rs. 3,000 Return to Gangtok Rs. 3,600 Netuk House Gangtok
6 04-14-2015 Rs. 3,000 Gangtok to Ravangla Rs. 1,800 Queens Regency
7 04-15-2015 Rs. 3,000 Ravangla to Pelling / Yuksom / Uttarey Rs. 1,000 hotel garuda
8 04-16-2015 Rs. 3,000 Uttarey to Gangtok Rs. 3,600 Netuk House Gangtok
9 04-17-2015 Rs. 3,000 Gangtok to Bagdogra by Helicopter     
10 04-17-2015 Rs. 3,905 Fly to Katmandu. Visit Patan Rs. 2,900 Marcopolo
11 04-18-2015 Rs. 7,200 Fly to Pokhara by Buddha Air Rs. 800 Hotel Diplomat
12 04-19-2015 Rs. 5,088 Fly to Pomsom to Muktinath Rs. 1,000  
13 04-19-2015 Rs. 5,088 Muktinath to Pokhara Rs. 800 Hotel Diplomat
15 04-20-2015 Rs. 7,200 Pokhara to Katmandu Rs. 2,900 Marcopolo
16 04-21-2015 Rs. 7,380 Katmandu. Enjoy Mountain flight Rs. 2,900 Marcopolo
17 04-23-2015 Rs. 10,257 Return to Mumbai    
    Rs. 73,161   Rs. 25,300 Total: Rs. 98, 461.

The deal was to plan for trip of Rs 1 lakh. I have it in Rs.98,461. A little change in the pocket wouldn’t sounds bad.  

Now the above itinerary may look simple and plain, let me assure you that it took days and lots and lots of effort. Visiting forums, wikitravel, took lot of my mind peace. In the chaos, simplest was to plan the transport and hotel bookings which took 10% of the entire effort. Thanks to Skyscanner. The Itinerary now completed, I am happy with outcome. I hope it would turn to a real trip some day.

I am tempted to give some of the highlights of the trip :-

Bagdogra to Gangtok helicopter service: Fly from Bagdogra, West Bengal to Gangtok in just 30 minutes and guess what, fly in helicopter. Now I have never been into a helicopter (I bet most of us haven't) and with such a terrific start, the trip cannot be better.

 

Singhik:                                                     

Catch beautiful view of ever beautiful Kanchenjunga mountain range.   A small and picturesque hamlet, Singhik is located around four kms away from Mangan. The popular Singhik View Point offers the most magnificent view of Mt. Khangchenjunga & Mt. Siniolchu . Surrounded by lush green hills, with the Teesta River flowing below it. With the surrounding pitchursque mountain ranges, I bet the sunrise and sunset will be a lifetime experience.

 

Gurudonmar lake: 

Situated at a height of 17,800 feet, it is a fresh-water lake is located northeast of the Kangchenjunga range in a high plateau area connected with the Tibetan Plateau.

It is considered one the most sacred lakes by the Buddhists and Hindus alike.

The beautiful and awe inspiring lake (190 kms from Gangtok) remains milky in colour throughout the year.

 

Ravangla:

Ravngla is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Sikkim. At an altitude of 7000 ft, located on a ridge between Maenam and Tendong Hill, Ravangla offers unmatched views of the Greater Himalayas.

Ralang Monastery, a Buddhist monastery of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism is located six kilometres from Ravangla. Ravangla attracts a lot of Himlayan birds and is a bird watcher's paradise.

 

 

Pokhara:

Pokhara is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurna area.

One of Nepal's most beautiful spots, Phewa Tal is surrounded by a combination of monkey-filled forests and the high white peaks. The reflections in the mirror-like water in the early mornings are something you must see at least once before you die. Hire a boat and row yourself across the lake (or hire a local to do it for you - there are some fine times to be had on this lake, even in the middle of the night!)

 

Patan, Katmandu:

Patan is also known as Manigal. It is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts. It is called city of festival and feast, fine ancient art, making of metallic and stone carving statue.

The city was initially designed in the shape of the Buddhist Dharma-Chakra (Wheel of Righteousness). The four thurs or mounds on the perimeter of Patan are ascribed around, one at each corner of its cardinal points, which are popularly known as Asoka Stupas.

The most important monument of the city is Patan Durbar Square, which has been listed by UNESCO as one of seven Monument Zones that make up the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site.

 

Katmandu Mountain flight:

And the most amazing experience would be the Mountain flight. The captain will fly you at eye level for the perfect viewing experience. Everyone gets their very own window seat.

The plane visits all the nine major peaks that every Himalayan trekker better be able to pronounce, within the span of a Nepali hour.

   

Well, above were just few of the gems of the trip. As I waded through the photos and forums, sometimes mesmerising and sometimes overwhelming, planning an itinerary was getting tougher. More than deciding the destinations, the selection of Hotels and travel routes & flights can be very consuming. But a perfect companion to me in helping in this bigger task was Skyscanner.

imageI am not being biased here but what I liked in Skyscanner was the response time of the query. It is much faster than most of the sites that I am used to.

Also one major plus with this site is that there are no multiple popups or screens opening on your laptop when you enter your search which is so very irritating.

 

image

The user interface is very easy and helped me in planning the flights and hotels very conveniently!

There are other options like car hire & buses on the site which I bet would also be very helpful and handy for travel.A hands-on on the site and you will find much of your interest and help.

Happy Travelling!


This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at BlogAdda.com