How i became a writer-Chapter 2

She opened her shirt and studied the bruises on her chest. They looked like a haphazard version of lunar phases of the moon. If the bruises’s color were a rainbow, then it would have ranged from light purple to a dark smokey black. The skin around her bruises had turned green.

She looked like a defeated urban goddess. Her black curls fell on her shoulders, she picked up one lazy strand of hair and started twirling it in her fingers. The eyes were a pool of sadness, remorse and yet blank. She studied her reflection in the mirror, removed her pants and lied down on the bed.

Her mind went back to the last time she visited him. She remembered the tone of his voice “be here at 11,my room mates are not there.” He was not doing a favor to her, she was doing a favor to him.

Those 30 minutes of intense love making sessions, were actually the only time they were close. They were fierce, gentle, aggressive, entwined in their own world.

The distance hovered between them, once they made love.

“Stay away from me, don’t touch me. ” he said once they had a shower together. “Don’t make me impure by touching me. ” he said again, when she tried to touch him playfully.

“go now, wear your clothes and leave.” he tossed all her clothes at her.

The human mind is full of paradoxes. “How can you be so distant” She thought. She quietly wore her clothes and walked to the door. He was standing far away from her.

“I love you.” she whispered. “yeah yeah..this is what you say to everyone.” he said and laughed.

“Leave now, before anyone comes.” he said. She looked at him one last time and closed the door.

Benafsha stared at the ceiling of her bedroom. She closed her eyes and hot tears were streaming down on her cheeks.

There was nothing much to say..In Befnafsha’s life, she was used to pain and every heart break felt new. But this deep, dark love with Aditya had bruised her soul.

 

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Doodling & other idle thoughts

On a fine work morning, when i am sitting in my open cubicle and staring at the false ceiling, my mind easily drifts into this never ending land of fantasies and idle thoughts.

Drawn & inspired by my own idle thoughts, i decide to doodle, i took out my ink pen and kept on doodling, until i got bored and was tempted to take a cat nap right in the middle of the day at work.

I have always felt that the air from AC freezes  my mind to such an extent that i am actually numb & can’t even comprehend a simple thought.

doodle

Never mind, i don’t mind the frozen mind, as long as i get my daily dose of humor, tea breaks & hot cup of coffee…Aye, what else does a (wo)man need…

But creative writing at work also makes me feel guilty. It reminds me of a George Saunders interview, where his boss admonished him for using “corporate resources” at work. So in a way, George Saunders & me are sailing in the same boat, the only difference being i have zero talent.

On this artificially tube lighted sunny day at work, my frozen mind remembers the memorable fictitious trip account by Jerome K.Jerome “three men in a boat.”

“George goes to sleep at a bank from ten to four each day, except Saturdays, when they wake him up and put him outside at two.” – Jerome K.Jerome “three men in a boat”

“It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours. I love to keep it by me: the idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart.”- Jerome.K Jerome “three men in a boat.”

And now my dear readers, i go back to work and doodling.

Au revoir.

Story of Lopamudra

Lopamudra river gently flowed purifying the land around her. Near the fertile land, where she flowed, a majestic palace hallowed by her presence was built by the kings of Vishnuprastha.

The old king, sat in his chamber after a bath in the river. It was the only chamber in the palace, which was not visited by anyone except the king. And in this chamber he contemplated, think & meditate upon the problems of his land and people.

He sat on the tiger skinned mat, closed his eyes and was lost in the current turbulents in his kingdom. Nearby Devprastha kingdom was claiming its stake on Lopamudra river.

The two kingdoms were at the brink of a war on how to distribute the river beneficially to both the lands.

Years passed & just like some legacy the dispute was passed on to the descendants. They fought , even when the river had turned into a thin trickle and could only hardly fertilize both the kingdoms.

A learned sage and his  wife Kaveri had recently moved into Vishnuprastha Kingdom. Due to turn of certain astrological karma and the goodwill of sage & his wife, subjects of the both the kingdoms had revered the pious couple.

After endless discussions, the learned parties of both the kingdoms finally came to an conclusion to appoint learned sage as their advisor to solve Lopamudra dispute.

The learned sage finally found a solution to end the conflict between the two kingdoms.

On a beautiful, auspicious morning, everyone gathered in Vishnuprastha kingdom to hear the long awaited solution.

The learned sage then suggested to both the kingdoms to distribute proportionate water to both the kingdoms, based on their irrigation, agriculture and annual rainfall. The final conclusion of the solution was that a significant part of Lopamudra river’s water would be given to Devprastha Kingdom.

King of Vishnuprastha Kingdom and other ministers felt that this was injustice to their kingdom. They secretly waged a conspiracy against the sage and staged riots in Devprastha kingdom.

Sage’s wife Kaveri who was on an annual piligrimage to Devprastha was killed in the riots.

Hearing this, sage was engulfed into grief. The grief then turned into seething anger and he cursed the subjects of both the kingdoms- that the dispute will never resolved.

On that eventful day, the heavens above teared themselves into a never ending torrent of rain. Lopamudra was filled but the curse stayed on.

PS- This story was probably written in the form,as if a news reader is reading out news without any emotions. It might look documented but perhaps it is.

 

The alternate life of uncrowned prince

I have always seen him being everything else, rather than what he is right now.

There are interesting dinner conversations about this and we do have a good laugh, we do also feel little sad about the lad.

Unfortunately, he has to carry on a legacy of the first family. Which only germinates into more occasions where he makes the subjects laugh, but at the cost of his own sorry reputation.

I wonder, how would it be if he were given the choice of choosing anything of what he wanted to be. He could have been a hotelier or businessman or actor perhaps…

Now that would have a been a first one..from someone whose sole occupation is to champion and fight for other’s rights to right under the lime lights ..From Real to Reel..From a superstar to another superstar.

Perhaps he can be the perfect ambassador for those parents who force upon their children to take up their career choices, instead letting them to chose the career they want to have.

Or perhaps he might have just led an obscure life, away from the limelight, just like a common man. Or perhaps, and this would be interesting..he might have been a stand up comic, that would be role reversal, the world laughing with him rather than at him.

He could have been a pilot or a writer, or a stylish, suave breeder of horses. He is the uncrowned prince after all, he might as well married a princess and settled down somewhere.

He could have been happy.

And no, this is no sympathy vote for him. These are just my thoughts floating into never ending germinating thoughts land and ricocheting to and fro.

I quote Kahlil Gibran

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

Enough said and much thought process to be churned.

Peace.

PS- it was really tough for me to ignore the word politics or politician. Thanks for reading.

Short Story

The phone call disrupted her thoughts. She tried to prop herself on the pillow, but couldn’t. Her daughter, Nishtha ran over to her bed and helped her to get up.

“Ma, sleep for sometime please.” Nishtha said. “no” her mother said firmly. Her mother, a waif of a woman, struggling from a 3 fold world existence of – residing in an old body, in a hospital & the illusionary world of Alzheimer.

Nishtha’s mother was finally admitted in a hospital, when she was found happily sitting among street kids at a railway platform. Today was her last day at hospital, where the doctors had declared, that Nishtha’s mother was in an advanced stage of Alzheimer and she would be much more comfortable and happy at her home, rather than in a hospital.

The old woman gingerly packed her one small duffle bag, put her rubber chappals inside, smoothed her wrinkled cotton sari and dabbed her face with baby powder .

“how do i look?” Nishtha’s mother asked her. Nishtha looked at a 75 year old woman, her mother for last 40 years, her powdered wrinkled face, mapped with years, experiences and madness. “you look good,ma” Nishtha said. She held her mother’s arm and they walked out of the hospital doors into the bright sunshine.

Today was a good day, Nishtha’s mother recognized her daughter from last 12 hours and didn’t mistake her for some caretaker.

They stepped inside a taxi, absorbing surroundings around them. Suddenly Nishtha’s mother asked Nishtha- “Will i meet Nishtha when we go home?”  There bursts the bubble, Nishtha thought. “Ma, i am Nishtha” Nishtha said. “Really” her mother replied back.

She looked at her inquringly, not recognizing her own daughter & Then after a moment’s thought, she continued looking outside the car window.

“We stay at the same place, don’t we ..near Jhelum Nivas” Nishtha’s mother began again. “No,Ma” Nishtha interrupted.

“I have been to Kashmir, you know” her mother said. “really when ?” Nishtha retorted back . “When i was young, younger than you…” The conversation came to an abrupt halt, as the taxi pulled up outside their apartment.

“I have been to Kashmir” Nishtha’s mother started again, as soon as they were settled in their home. “Ma, if you have been to Kashmir, then i have been to Switzerland..Forget Kashmir, we have never been to Lonavala..Kashmir is different planet for us.”

The old woman continued looking at her daughter for a few seconds and went to sleep. Nishtha cleaned up her room & rummaged through her mother’s belongings, looking for lighter winter wear to keep her mother warm during sudden bouts of chill and fever.

Nishtha looked around her childhood home and at her mother. Nothing much had changed actually. There was the same musty smell in the home, bottled lined up by their genre ayurvedic & Allopathic. Its strange that how when one grows old, your best friend changes from a human being to a medicine.

Somethings have still not changed. Mother was still a good story teller, wonder where she got the kashmir bug from, Nishtha thought. She looked around her mother’s room, the old cot where her mother was sleeping, the bedside lamp. Wall cupboard and an old battered suitcase & a vase filled with plastic flowers.

Night fell upon the silent evening, as the two women were engrossed in their own separate worlds. The daughter immersed in her virtual world and mother in a world of  lost memories. Disease and Digitalness does strange things to mankind.

“Aye, Nishtha” her mother called out. Nishtha went up to her mother’s room and looked at her mother propped up in bed, reading an old magazine. “Arey, do you remember that Saroj, she had gone to Kashmir last year no, tell her to give us some kesar & walnuts..What good is a neighbour if they don’t bring you goodies.”

“Ma..”Nishtha began half heartedly..Her mother probably didnt remember, thanks to Alzheimer, that Saroj died in a car accident in Sangli. “right i will tell her, ma”

“Achha, come sit beside me. I want to tell you about my friend ,Noor. She was from Kashmir and we were classmates. Every 2 years, when she visited Kashmir she used to bring for me kesar, walnuts and once she even brought me a shawl..It had this beautiful delicate embroidery..”

“Ma..” Nishtha interrupted. “Lets talk tomorrow, please..You seem to be tired, please sleep, i will go out and bring your medicines and some dinner.”

Nishtha switched off the room’s light and went out. Where did the Kashmir bug came from, Nishtha thought. Ma thinks more about kashmir than the politicians. Must be somewhere in deep dark lair of her memories. But who was Noor ? Nishtha wondered.

They had always talked about her ma’s childhood..but no one named Noor had popped in conversations. Does Alzheimer encourage imagination too? She  made a mental note to talk to the doctor and her brother Amar.

Nishtha fed her mother dinner of khichdi Kadhi and sent her to sleep. Night had descended upon the evening. Nishtha’s mother snored her way to deep sleep, while Nishtha tossed and turned in her sleep. Suddenly, there was a loud thud noise from Nishtha’s mother’s room..

Nishtha woke up and ran to her mother’s room. She was nowhere to be seen. The dull yellow light was filtering from the bathroom . She opened the door and stepped inside it. The flickering light  greeted her and she saw her mother bending behind the flush tank & trying to scrap out the tile from the floor board. 

“Ma..What are you doing ?” Nishtha asked. “Nishtha” her mother began..”I had hidden a gold earring here, my friend noor had given me…” 

“ma..”Nishtha interrupted. “You are in a bathroom..you will not find anything over here..Please go go sleep….”

“ok, can i have a bath then ?” Nishtha’s mother asked…Suddenly feeling dejected..Nishtha sat on the bathroom floor and looked at her Ma. Under the yellow bulb light, her mother looked liked a frail fallen angel hunting for some treasure trove behind the flush tank. 

“Ma,we’ll look for the gold earring tomorrow..please go to sleep now..promise.” Nishtha got up and held her mother’s hand at the elbow and gently led her out of the bathroom. 

She made her lie on bed and gently closed the door behind her. Nishtha drifted off to a broken sleep, disturbed by thoughts and mindless dreams. 

Morning arrived and her mother had not yet woken up. Nishtha wondered, her mother being an early riser, was always up before her. And now when the Alzheimer had finally kicked in, she got up early and went to the kitchen and prepared tiffin boxes for Nishtha and her brother Amar. The world had came to a stand still for Nishtha’s mother. 

At 11.00, when Nishtha’s mother was still sleeping, Nishtha went up to her mother’s room. 

The bed unmade, she was not there. Panicked, intuitively Nishtha rushed to the bathroom. Her mother was lying unconscious on the bathroom floor, blood drying on the floor and forming crusts between the tiles. A deep cut wound was there on Nishtha’s mother’s head. “Ma” Nishtha screamed. She rushed to her and tried to lift her. She somehow picked up her frail body and led it gently on bed. 

Recovering for a second, she called her brother and their family doctor. 

“she has suffered from concussion.” The doctor said. 

“But what she was doing in bathroom?” her brother Amar quipped in between.

“Looking for gold earrings.” Nishtha said dejectedly. 

“will she be ok” Amar asked. 

“She will be fine.”the doctor said. “just don’t let her out anywhere on her own, She might be a little unstable” 

Nishtha’s mother drifted from unconsciousness to consciousness and then finally to slumber land. 

Nishtha and Amar rested for sometime, after the humdrum of doctors, medicines & of course their ailing mother. Both were lost in their worlds, unable to converse. They missed their mother, the way she was, fiesty, witty. And now she was the antonym of all. 

Late in the night, when was all quiet, Their mother suddenly shouted and called for them both . She seemed to be in her old spirits and was sitting up in her bed. The bandage around her head made looked like some aging rockstar. 

“how was your school today?” Mother asked. Nishtha and Amar looked at each other questioningly and agreeing in silence that Alzheimer had shown its horns again. 

“School was good,ma” Amar said.

“Noor had called yesterday, my school friend from Kashmir..Remember ?” their mother said. “yes Ma ” the siblings chimed in. 

“Shall we go there next summer, we’ll save money and i will take you to the cottage where we went. And of course we’ll bring home walnuts, kesar, it will be fun..”Their mother clapped her hands in glee and looked at them with hope. 

Amar & Nishtha’s mother was a born storyteller. A woman becomes a mother bearing kids, their mother had became a story teller. It was ok to forget to add salt in dal, but it was a ritual for them to hear story every night during bed time. 

Nishtha & Amar’s mother was spinning story perhaps for one last time and they would let her do just that.

“if you open that suitcase” their mother continued, pointing her hand towards the battered suitcase “you will find a box of kesar and walnuts.” 

Nishtha & Amar had checked that suitcase infinite times, but other than moth ball smelly sweaters, old cotton sarees , there was nothing in it. 

“we’ll look for it tomorrow, ma..go to sleep now .” Amar said

“you need to clean the house, you know..You kids are good for nothing, Nishtha clean your shoes before leaving for school tomorrow ..” their mother said.

“Yes, ma” Nishtha said . 

“Tomorrow, i will tell you how i met a colonel from Kashmir..” Their mother said. 

Another story coming up, Nishtha thought. “ok ma, tomorrow is your day.” Nishtha said. 

They gently closed the door behind her. “we’ll take ma to kashmir next summer” Nishtha said. “yes we’ll.” Amar quietly said and they parted to their rooms. 

Morning ascended on them and it quietly changed their lives forever. Nishtha & Amar’s mother passed away quietly in her sleep. She looked serene, her wrinkled skin smoothed out. Perhaps death was the ultimate age-defying solution.

The days after that passed in a daze. the constant ongoings of relatives, the onload and offload of various emotions running through Amar & Nishtha’s mind had drained them out. 

It was only after a few days, that they had the home to themselves. The home devoid of their mother, seemed empty. The medicine prescriptions, the meticulously lined up bottles. Why did Ma never forgot to take her medicines, Nishtha wondered. 

Amar & Nishtha finally removed their mother’s old suitcase and opened it. the contents were still the same. Moth smelled sweaters, old sarees, few old family photographs. This time, however they discovered an inner lining pouch sewn into the suitcase. It seemed a bit heavy & they finally opened the delicate muslin pouch. Out fell out yellowed delicate pages, a small wooden box carved with intricate design of flowers and old B&W photographs. 

The few delicate, almost brittle pages were letters . Nishtha read out one letter aloud. 

“Dear Roshni,

Hello, How are you doing ? I miss you a lot. Our vacations in Kashmir seem so empty without you. But its beautiful over here. Its heaven. 

And the food, you would’ve loved it. I wish you were here. We could have gone out for picking apples, drinking kawa  and watching snow capped mountains everyday. 

I don’t want to come to school anymore. All i want to do is sit under an apple tree and read books. And No, I am not Newton, you know i don’t like science. 

Ok, i will have to go now. Mummy is calling me for dinner. 

With this letter, i am also sending a small box of kesar. You will love the delicate strands and aroma. 

Pray that one day we’ll spend our vacations in Kashmir together. 

Yours,

Noor. 

PS- I just realized that even our names have the same meaning. I told you we are soulmates.”

Nishtha sighed. “Ma was right, Amar” She said “And we never believed her” She continued. 

“This was not a story she was weaving, for once it was truth. ” Amar replied. 

“i wonder where is Noor now. ” Nishtha said. 

“Who knows, may be in Kashmir.” Amar Said.

“Hmm” Nishtha said. They checked the bathroom, but that was figment of Roshni’s imagination. Only broken tiles and the yellow bulb greeted them. No hidden treasure of gold earring.

They took the suitcase out and locked the room. 

sometimes people can lock out on you, rooms too but not memories. Memories never break apart. 

“Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin ast” –  If there is ever a heaven on earth, its here, its here, its here ...

How i became a writer-Chapter 1

Disclaimer- Truth which is twisted and retold is called fiction. This part is almost fiction.

Epilogue

She made the coffee and sat on the chair beside the window. From the window, distant sea could be seen. The vast land of concrete jungles, swamps  & slums were a part of her daily world.

Bombay in a way was a universe on its own. And no, she couldn’t get use to saying it Mumbai. Bombay was intimate, Mumbai a bit distant.

But perhaps today was not about psychology behind the cities. Today was about a phone call about to be made, the triumph after a long time.

If all heartbreaks were so inspiring & life changing, she would have chose to  have her heart break all the time.

But such is the case with time. It heals and it hurts.

She hold onto the coffee and mentally prepared her conversation, before dialing the number.

“Hi, how are you ? i just wanted to let you know, that i have bagged a small book writing deal..Listen i know, that’s its over between us,but i  just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for indirectly motivating me to write. I still miss you a lot..

She dials the number. An automated voice talks back “The number you have dialed does not exist. Please check the number again.”

Ps-I will update this story regularly. Thanks for reading.

All the cows in the house say..Moo ?

I stay in India, where cows are revered. I stay in a city, where cows form an integral part of everyone’s life whether one likes it or not.

Lately, thanks to the monsoon Cow&  others undetermined factors, the owner of the cows and other like wise bovine creatures, free their cows for the day and in the evening the holy, innocent creatures return back to their sheds.

Its a wonder, that all the cows have this inbuilt GPS System. But today we are not going to discuss about the bovine super qualities, we are rather going to talk about the sorry fate of the commuters & walkers who face the wrath of the cows day in and day out.

Anytime during the day or night, the cows and their families sit on the road. Right in the middle of the road. They don’t sit at the side of the road, they don’t sit in some abandon area, they only want to party right in the middle of the road.

Also, just like no one likes to parties alone, cows and their group lounge in the middle of the road, like its their own private party hub. Few of the cows sit so delicately and elegantly, that you almost feel as if you are encountering an elegant woman..a bit fat though.

Its a strange sight though, but as an Indian commuter one gets used to it. The whole herds of cows, buffaloes, oxen..just about everyone.

And these cattle are screaming with attitude. They clearly give the message that no matter what happens, we are not leaving the road, this is our cow”hood”.

Apparently if you stare at them, its not going to help because they will stare back at you with their big doe eyes, flutter their amazon eye lashes, swish their tails and move their horned heads and almost say”Move it”.

The commuters, Riders, bikers and drivers of big vehicle almost fight their way out through the herd, driving to get through a puzzle with surprising twists and turns of cows and buffaloes ready to greet them.

The walker though, has more of an nearer problem when he walks on the footpath or the road. The gentle livestock, will be lounging on the road as usual, immortally chewing on something and the walker will have to maneuver through all and reach their destination, without getting hurt by their horned heads or sharp, swift of their tails.

And if its not your day, then you might just step into big heap of warm, stinky and earthy cow dung.

So much for the menace, perhaps the cattle have outnumbered the street dogs too.

For the parting shot, here is a poem about the cows (courtesy-google) –Cow by R.L.Stevenson

The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.

(complete poem in the link)

Forgive me for the long post, but the cows have consumed my mind.

Au revoir.

 

the sad side of a comic

Disclaimer :- I am not a stand up comic nor i am funny. But i am prone to sometimes rare moments of witticisms and sarcasm.

When life gives you lemons, and if you are in India during hot summer make pickle with those lemons and not lemonade. They taste good and last long.

On this sunday morning, when life gave me emotional jolt, i was at my wits end on how to deal with it. I wanted to sit down and cry, but i was in a crowded mall so i shopped and went home. A bit of crying smudged my make up, and i ended up looking like a panda but not cute.

All the sadness made me think, what do comedians when they are sad. Do they still make funny jokes and bury the pain.

Or may be..

A comedian walks into a bar and that’s it..he walks into a bar, drinks and goes home.

Or if a comedian is a gourmand like me, he walks into a restaurant, eats pizza and goes home.

We are not funny, we are not happy and we are not sad all the time. Thank fully life is mixed jar of pickles, they taste good and last long.

Till we meet again..

What do we think & Why

This is just my attempt to write something because a) devoid of any work, i am idle b) the blog has been laying idle for a long time c) getting bored.

So, for my far, few and almost negligible readers..

I finally came to a conclusion. Our mind is a room, a huge room which is rent free and mind is filled with every single thought, word, wish. Its a small universe, quite content to live in a shell made up of bones and encased in lush texture of hair or may be not. But that is what brain is, a highly active organ soaking every single thing in the universe.

Imagine the chaos in head, thousand voices garbling all the time. May be that’s why we are all partially insane, due to the constant chattering in our head. Imagine the mind being silent, devoid of everything i think that’s being sane, perhaps its the silence we are all searching for..

Or perhaps i am just hungry..

I will leave this thought here..i am going to sweep my mind, some cobwebs which are hanging on to the ceiling of my brain, some thoughts to clean and make room for some new thoughts, new ideas to sink in.

Bye.