Monday, October 16, 2017

Disobedience

Joe advanced menacingly towards Brett, his bloodshot eyes narrowed to slits.

“You dare to speak against me, boy? You dare to disobey me?” Joe loosened the buckles on his belt and coiled the belt around his fists. Brett cowered in the corner, with his arms around his head, flinching at the first whip on his legs.

Brett was 8 years old then.

Brett, now, is 30 years old and he has learnt the rules from his father. He knows how to tackle disobedience. Imitating his father’s actions, he loops the length of the belt around his hands, but this time it’s his wife and child at the receiving end. They quake in a corner, the same corner where Brett once, many years ago, acquired from his Pa, his lessons on “how to be a man”

Note: I’m not justifying domestic violence, because there is nothing that can justify it. But these people (both men and women can be victims of domestic violence) who raise their hands against their family have obviously learnt from somewhere that dominance is an appealing quality. And more often than not this violent psychology is a legacy that’s passed from one generation to next. Changes begin at home!

This post is written for WriteTribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. The theme for today's post is disobedience.
#writebravely #writetribeproblogger

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday, The 13th

It was Friday the 13th, but Jaya didn’t believe in these ridiculous superstitions. She was happy, doing the thing that she did best-cooking. And she was preparing her favorite dish today, Alu-Gobi. Her comfort food! She had come back early from work because they were predictions of heavy thunderstorms and rain. Jaya picked up the local newspaper as she cooked.

“Dangerous psychopath’s incredible escape from maximum security prison”. A small shiver went down her spine as she read with bated breath that the man convicted of killing his family, including his aged parents, his wife and two children, had miraculously escaped from his cell where he was serving his life sentence. The media had nicknamed him as The Ripper because of the violent and gruesome nature of his attack.

Jaya wondered what would happen if the killer came at her doorstep and felt a little jittery. She blamed it on the stormy night-the deafening thunder, the heavy downpour and today’s date had spooked her-that’s all. That was when she heard the knock on her door…

C…R…E…A…K…

Ashwin stopped typing on his laptop and whirled around in his chair with a frown on his face as the door to his study opened with a squeaking noise. He was sure that he had locked the door before starting his work. How had the door opened? He looked back at the incomplete sentence on his laptop. He was so engrossed in writing Jaya’s story that he couldn’t think clearly whether he had latched the door. Maybe he had just imagined that he had done it.

Ashwin thought it better to shut the door. Just like in Jaya’s story, the night outside was going to be a stormy one and a fierce wind was howling through the windows. He walked quickly and closed the door firmly, latching the bolt. He walked towards the windows to stare at the gloomy night outside. A sudden chill in the room made the hairs on back of his neck stand on end. He could feel his skin break out in goosebumps. He knew that there was something terribly evil in the room…

“Behind you, you idiot…”

Just as Ashwin whirled around, the knife slashed in his face and there was a terrifying scream of agony.

Jasmine paused the movie. “What a useless horror writer! Doesn’t he know that the killer always attacks when you have your back turned towards the door or window.” Jasmine pulled the blanket closer and settled snugly on the sofa. She loved watching these slasher movies and today had seemed like a perfect day for a horror movie marathon. Unlike her friends who were scared to watch horror movies, Jasmine was a horror film junkie. She was addicted to them. Today was Friday the 13th, and she decided to binge watch all the horror movies in her collection. Alone! I told you she was not your typical girl who grasped her boyfriend’s arm in theaters after being coerced to watch slasher movies.

A slight noise in the kitchen distracted Jasmine’s attention but she didn’t budge from her cozy perch on the sofa. She lived with 2 other girls and 3 stray cats from down the road. So midnight snack attacks were common in their house. But Jasmine, you’d’ve been paralyzed with fear had you known that The Ripper had broken one of your kitchen windows and was now gazing lovingly at the array of knives on your shelf.

Behind you, Jasmine. You should know better, after all you watch horror flicks, don’t you?

This post is written for WriteTribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. The theme for today was Bated Breath. #writebravely #writeproblogger

Monday, October 9, 2017

If I could...(Fiction)

I’ve known about it for some time now. But I didn’t know how to break the news to you’, Sid spoke into Maya’s hair as she hugged him tightly. The tears were streaking her mascara and drawing dark lines down her cheeks.

‘I’ve to fly tomorrow because the specialist was saying that the treatment has to start soon. You know, the chemo and all that stuff’, he made a face as he said it and that brought a fresh tide of tears.

‘Let me come with you, Sid. I know that we can both beat this thing together, baby. I want to be with you. Please let me come along with you.’ Maya pleaded but she knew that it would not break Sid. She had already asked him a dozen times to accompany him to Delhi, to his parents’ house. But Sid persisted that it was better that they cut off their relationship now. He didn’t want to cause her the pain of seeing him in battered condition, weakened, sick and in a hospital. He wanted her to think of him always as the young, spirited boyfriend with whom she had spent the last 2 years together. Maya considered her time with Sid as the best two years of her life. In fact, she had hoped that their relationship was moving forward, she wanted to introduce him to her parents, maybe move in together.

The goodbye was heart-wrenching for Maya. She couldn’t digest the fact that Sid, all of 26-years old could be diagnosed with a terminal disease- lung-cancer that was spreading ominously but unquestionably through the cells in his body. He had pulled a wry face when he said that he should have thrown away the cigarettes all those times when Maya looked at him disdainfully. As she lay beside him in his flat, sharing his bed maybe for the last time, she looked at his sleeping face and felt a tug at her heart. Did she think that she could endure the pain of seeing him suffer? Could she give up everything- her career and her life in Bangalore and accompany him to Delhi? Did she love to him such depths really? She had no answers.

*********

Sid was in a bar in New York, 3 months later, his hands around the waist of a blonde who was plastered. Sid’s life was good, in fact it was great. He had a new job, he was in a new country and he had finally got rid of his clingy girlfriend. He was living his dream life, the grand American dream.

“Yaar, she had become so clingy and she kept dropping hints of meeting her parents. I mean officially, for Shaadi-vaadi. It got to me. We had good times, we really enjoyed each other’s company and then she had to do this typical Indian girl thing on me.” He had tried to explain to Ajit, their only common friend. Maya had apparently called Ajit to ask how Sid was doing and Ajit had a shock of his life when he heard that his childhood friend was suffering from Cancer.

“You could have just said that to her. Why do this drama of cancer? You are a complete asshole”. Ajit had somehow got Sid’s new number and blasted him with a slew of expletives when Sid had answered the call.

“You know me. I didn’t want all the drama of break-up, the emotional blackmailing. I know Maya had all our future built in her mind, the marriage, the suburban house, the pets and the kids. Hell, I was not ready to settle down. I know I’m a coward, but I didn’t have any other way of escaping” Sid hated Ajit for making him feel guilty. Deep down, he knew that he had wronged Maya. He knew that Maya and he made the perfect couple, but he was just not ready for the life-long commitment. He ordered another round of whisky and started necking the blonde. He just wanted to wipe out the memories of Maya that kept haunting him.

***********

Sid was in the middle of another coughing bout. He puked the little breakfast that he had managed to force down his throat. His mother and father rushed towards him just as he saw the blood that he had coughed up. His mom looked haggard, as if she had aged twenty years in the last six months. Bloody cancer, it had finally gotten to him. Six years after his little fib.  Well, if it had been lung cancer he'd have said that Karma had been served in a platter with a sprinkle of astounding coincidence. But he had been diagnosed with blood cancer. It made no difference to him. He had, what, 1 -2 years left? Despite the forced optimism in the faces of his parents and doctors he knew. It terrified him but he had come to accept it as his fate. He only wished that he could apologize to Maya. He had written a long letter to her begging for her forgiveness. But he knew what he had done was unpardonable. He had imagined Maya reading his letter and laughing at the line where he had written his fate. He pictured her tearing the pages in a fury and throwing it away in trash. And he did not blame her. He deserved this. He let the pain wash over his body and hoped that it would redeem his sin. He let the sleep engulf him and his tired body.

#writebravely #writeproblogger

Friday, October 6, 2017

Nostalgia- Unappeased Yearning to Return

For my second post of ProBlogger Challenge I’m going to stick to the theme provided by Write Tribe- Nostalgia. How can I not? I’m an utterly nostalgic person. In fact when I’m down, I think of the happy childhood days to cheer myself up. Almost everybody cherishes their childhood days- those days of no responsibility, when the only thing expected from you was to attend school and score decent marks (of course parents then were not as aggressive about marks as now). But you know what I loved? The summer holidays and the mid-term holidays in October when (unlike now) the school was closed for the entire month of October. I used to love the days when it used to rain so heavily that the schools had to be shut and we got an unexpected holiday. I remember burrowing myself in heaps of blankets with a book in my hand and falling asleep while reading the book.

The holidays were spent in my native place, Padubidri. The house that my father and his brothers built was an old, tiled house. But for us, it was nothing short of a beautiful palace. Surrounded by vast rice fields and huge playgrounds with trees, it was a paradise for us children. I think we used to be inside the house only for breakfast and lunch during daytime. Those days, there was no television at our home. But there was one in the village Panchayat office. So we used to watch all our favorite programs (mine was Chitrahar and Ramayan on Sundays) here. Cable TV came much later so there was only one channel- the great Doordarshan, but I swear, there were so many good programs on that one channel. These days there are thousand channels but not one good thing to catch on TV. I think when I came to higher primary school, my mother finally purchased a television set, and you should have seen the sheer number of people assembled in our house on weekends to watch a movie. And then there were late night movie marathons that we watched on a rented DVD and VCD players.

What I like about those childhood days was the simplicity. No mobile phones to distract you from the endless hours of reading. And internet was completely unheard of. There was the famous landline phone and we cousins used to communicate with each other using letters. When I received a letter in my name, I was so excited. And then to ponder over what to write back, thinking how to cover all the topics within the 3 blue pages of the Inland letters.

I know it’s not unusual for a sight or a visual to trigger off a memory, but for me, what acts as a stimulant is music-old Bollywood songs to be precise. I have always associated songs with a particular moment in my life. Like for example if I listen to Dil To Pagal Hai or Gupt songs, I remember that in the year these 2 movies had released, I had just finished my tenth exams and we had moved to a new house. And the neighbours(our landlords) used to play the songs in a loop, using cassettes and a recorder. We collected tape cassettes and displayed in a row of cases. IN THE HALL. Yes, we were typical middle class ( I can imagine Maya Sarabhai disdainfully commenting on us with her nose turned upwards).

And then there were books. I don’t know if I love books because they are associated with my childhood, or if I love my childhood days because of books. But these both are inextricably linked. We used to borrow books from a small circulating library-but usually my brothers were the ones who used to go for exchanging books. So my reading was initially limited to Archie, Tintin and Asetrix. But I’m not complaining. Later on, I started using my school library, and from then on books and I have been best friends.

I’m a highly nostalgic person. Anything and everything associated to my past is precious. Sometimes I feel that I live in the memories. But these memories are my happy place, my comfort zone. I can go on and on about the olden, golden days but since I want to keep the post short, I’ll leave you with the quote below.




 This post was written for Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. #writebravely #writetribeproblogger


Monday, October 2, 2017

When The Going Gets Tough...

It’s been a long time since I have written in my blog, and I can see myself dusting off the webs on my blog and within my mind, as I write this. It feels alien to sit and type something other than an official email. That’s the only writing I’m doing these days. So, when I came across the Problogger challenge on Write Tribe, I thought what better opportunity to take up writing again. It’s just the push that I needed, that whip that will make my mind churn and give up the lethargic feeling, which I sometimes call (to fool myself) the creative block.

I did take a break from writing, but that doesn’t mean that I have been sitting idle twiddling my thumb. I now have a double degree to add to my name, a bachelors in Engineering and a Masters in English literature. Last week, I was informed by my jubilant spouse that my marks were announced on the Indira Gandhi National Open University site and I have cleared all my second year MA papers, albeit the marks aren’t that good. But that didn’t put a damper on his spirits and he did remind me that it isn’t an easy feat to work in an office, take care of a child single handedly at home, cook, and keep a house and study for five papers. Yes I did all that!

2017 has been tough taskmaster for me but I wasn’t the one to call it quits. When my husband had to travel to Germany for 3 months, I was a little jittery. I didn’t know if I could manage it alone. What if there was some emergency( I am no good at emergencies, I become paralyzed with fear and shock), what if I had an accident while coming home, what if there was a flood, what if… Once you start thinking of probable situations that may occur, then your mind loses all control and it goes into free spin in a pattern of its own. Anyway my exams were in the month of June and my in-laws were going to come down, so that they could help in looking after my daughter and I could study in relative peace.

But you know what happens when you make eloquent plans and you think you’ve figured it all? The man up there (with his sense of humor, I figure he’s a man), takes a shotgun and with a cigar dangling on his lips and his hat lowered over his eyes, blasts all your plans away to glory. Yes, that’s what happened to me. An aged, close relative, who was perilously close to his end, and had to be hospitalized several times the past few months, decided to make his grand departure just a few weeks before my exams were to begin. You can imagine the quandary I was put in; I had already paid the exam fees, had taken a week’s leave from office and had mentally braced myself for the hard toil. So there was nothing else to do, but convince myself that I could do it. Yes, it was tough and yes, there were few times when I cried aloud, frustrated and angry for thinking that I could do it. I cursed myself for enrolling myself for the course but somehow I trudged on. All those dark days are, of course, now safely behind, and the victory tastes just a little more sweet because of the realization that I totally deserve it.

Often I get asked why a degree in literature after an Engineering degree. It’s not as if it could help me progress my career, I get asked if I was planning to take up a career in teaching literature. And my honest answer is ‘I don’t know’. I love reading, I love literature, I love learning about the great poets and authors, about the history of pioneers of literature. I loved reading Chaucer, Wordsworth, Spenser, Coleridge, Whitman, and Dickinson. It was like a whole new world opened up and it was fascinating. For that I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.

I also learnt resilience and was again awakened to the fact that I am indeed a tough player in this game of life. Life isn’t smooth sailing always and let me quote the old, clich├ęd saying “When the going gets tough, the TOUGH get going”.


#writebravely #writetribeproblogger