Monday, November 28, 2011

Call of the Wild


Old habits die hard especially traits that are hammered into our kiddy frames by our persistent parents.  Even after we are done with growing up, working our arse off, paying instalments for home loans, changing diapers of our wailing progeny - we can never say NO to them.  We are hardwired to obey our parents.  So one fine evening, when you are flopped on the bed after a hard day’s work,  your Mom calls you only to announce that we are all going to Jim Corbett next weekend, you instinctively say YES to her.  Of course you have the rest of the week to repent, worry about unfinished chores, incomplete reports.  Ahh...I’ll manage, somehow! 

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My Mom has a special fascination for animals, the wilder the better.  In fact just a few months back, she and Baba went all the way to Kenya to see lions, zebras, hippos and their sundry cousins frolic in the Masai Mara forest reserves.   In the 90’s she had yet to acquire an international taste and was content with desi forest reserves, especially Jim Corbett.  So every time she was feeling low, high, bored, restless we would all rush off en masse to the resorts in the vicinity of the wildlife reserve.  

When my parents say they are taking a break, they do exactly the opposite.  As kids whenever we took a vacation, we would see them mutate into hyperactive kids ready to scale any peak or crawl under cobweb infested caves all in the name of sightseeing.  Since we had no choice but tag along with them, we (me and my brother) would feel like hapless prey caught in a Venus Flytrap.  Once when I refused to accompany them on a trip to Kolkata, my brother came back with a look of betrayal in his eyes.  Listening to his endless stories of torture – of being dragged around in hot and humid Calcutta (as it was then), forced to gorge on the much hated maachh and mishtee – I giggled in relief.   

Even after I had been married, the memories were still fresh in my mind; so I had enough history to support my unusually low enthusiasm about the much abused word break

Clark Kent needed a phone booth to transform into Superman and all my Mom had to do was sit in a car packed with suitcases and voila she would be ready to fly with her brood in tow.   Since she has always a great believer of conservation, five of us (my daughter was still a thought) would stuff ourselves in one car.  And just as we were getting in the mood to snooze, our limbs resting not so gently on each other, she would take out a thermos full of coffee like a rabbit from the magician’s hat.  Puhleez Maa not now!  But does she give up? Nah.  So whenever we stopped for a loo break – I am so hungry break – Wait, aren’t those guavas, they look so fresh break – Maa would triumphantly take out the thermos and threaten to pour out coffee for us.   

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Luckiest Woman Alive - Part II

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Lavanya had been married for over five years when she discovered she was pregnant.  Not in a long time had she felt such joy – the kind you want to share with the rest of the world, the kind that makes you want to shout from rooftops and your heart suddenly feels inadequate to contain it.   They had been trying for years but in vain and Harsh had started getting impatient.  She had almost started dreading her monthly ritual of shedding eggs, his look of disappointment – as if it was her damn fault!  When the lab reports confirmed her worst fears, Harsh threw a massive fit.  What an irony, a man who sported his virility like a badge of honour had sperm so weak that they couldn’t even finish the race.   

Whether it was medical science, their persistence or simply a miracle, Lavanya would never know, nor did she care.  All she knew was she had a life blossoming inside her.  Someone who she could call her own... on whom she could lavish all her unspent emotions...  She wanted to fill that void in her heart with love, she wanted to heal and God knows how long she had waited for that.  

Lavanya was in the second trimester of her pregnancy, when she got that strange phone call.  First silence and then sounds of sobbing at the other end of the phone – not the soft, sniffling one but a gut wrenching one – the type that fills your heart with dread.   She was Sumita, PR officer in Vardhaman industries.  Harsh had been sexually assaulting her for months...he would call her to his office, take her out for official dinners, insist she accompany him for out-of-town tours.  First it was fear of losing her job and then shame that had stopped her from discussing it with anyone but now she’d had enough!  Could Lavanya help her out?
Strangely Lavanya took the news rather calmly – she felt neither anger nor loathing for her husband.  She had never loved him to feel let down.  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Luckiest Woman Alive

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You are such a lucky girl.  The last few months this expression had been following Lavanya like a pesky fly. That she found it annoying will be putting it mildly. Lavanya wished she had a giant roll of duct tape to seal off those mouths that were busy telling her how she should be feeling.  Fine, no one had bothered to consult her before making the biggest decision of her life but at least she had the right to be left alone to wallow in misery!  Imagine being woken up one fine morning only to be told that your life is about to change forever!  Not even being given a minute’s notice to bid adieu to dreams that you have nurtured for so long. 

 Lavanya felt cheated out of a life she could have had. 

Her face slathered with fruit pulp, body glistening with turmeric-mustard oil paste, Lavanya was getting beautified for the most eligible bachelor in town.  She felt like a marinated fowl ready to be thrown in smoking oil.   

Having just given her civil services examinations, she was waiting eagerly for the results.  A student with a brilliant academic record, Lavanya was confident of cracking the exam.  Ever since she was a child, she had wanted to be an IFS officer and travel all around the world.  “Maa! I don’t want to get married now and that too to a complete stranger.  Couldn’t we have waited a few more years?  “
“It’s not every day that a middle class girl gets a marriage proposal from one of the richest families in Delhi.  Do you realize how lucky you are! “  

Her parents had just clipped her wings and she was expected to erupt with joy. 

That evening the women of the house tired her out with the constant fussing – should she wear a Bandhej or chiffon in a wine shade? Will she look better with her wavy hair left open or should it be tied in a bun to show off her cheekbones.  Lavanya couldn’t care less!  When she finally came face to face with the man she was expected to spend the rest of her life with, she felt no emotion. When he looked her up, his eyes lingering a little longer on the curve of her breasts, she felt a shiver of revulsion run down her spine. 

Yes, Lavanya was the luckiest girl alive.  Harsh Vardhan, the multimillionaire, debonair scion of the Vardhman empire had chosen her over thousands of women ready to swoon at the mere mention of his name, women whose sole ambition was to be his soul-mate.  How ironic that he had handpicked a girl who had no interest in his stature or wealth.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Pursuit of Eternal Happiness..


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The wind played a soulful symphony as it tousled his hair.  Black, wavy, it glistened furiously under the moonlight.  Suvo was surprised at how stunningly beautiful the city looked from the terrace of his building, where he had spent some of the most eventful years of his life.  The street lights that looked like gems strewn on an inky carpet, were winking mischievously at him.  The roads looked like a crazy zigzag… the sounds of lives in motion – a distant echo… the worn out mountains in the horizon – mute spectators to life and death, happiness and sorrow – it all seemed so surreal.  All he could hear was the sound of his laboured breathing, sweat trickling lazily down his forehead despite the chill.  He had to use all his will-power to curb the urge to wipe it off, but didn’t.  Tonight of all nights he should be above such frivolities. 

The last six months had been the happiest in Suvo’s life.  Not that he had been unhappy before.  At 38, he had everything a man could ever ask for – successful, rich, devilishly attractive, happily single and never short of women ready to mingle.  After a wild night of partying to celebrate his promotion as Vice President of his company, he stumbled upon a realization that took him by surprise.  Suvo Sarkar had finally achieved all that he had ever wanted and oddly that did not fill him with elation but a strange sense of emptiness.  Why? Is it because I have nothing left to pursue anymore?  

When he presented the Board of Directors his letter of resignation, they were shocked.  When he told them that he wanted to live a life as if he’s never going to die – they were convinced that he had gone bonkers.  Are you okay? I think you need counseling; do you want me to fix up an appointment for you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

I’d rather be a Bitch!


All through our lives we are confronted with mysteries that play hide and seek with us.  Some reveal themselves in boring Science chapters, while others unravel with age.  

Let’s take flirts.  I was in my early teens when I first heard the word (no, I am not kidding, I was a tad behind my times).  They commanded so much respect that my friends would speak in hushed tones while discussing the exploits of this alluring species.  Not being aware of their mysterious ways, I was intrigued.  I would look at my friends with puppy eyes and implore them to explain what one has to do to earn this elusive title.  They would hem and haw and try to fob me off with vague explanations but nothing was good enough to satiate my curiosity.  I finally got enlightened when someone tried being one with me, but I was too embarrassed to deal with it and far from being deliriously happy at the revelation.    Now, in this information fuelled era even a 12 year old can give a lucid explanation of what flirting means while the elder brother will readily part with helpful tips on sexting. 

But there are certain mysteries that prefer to remain in hiding – Do football matches have a hypnotic effect on men, does cricket induce coma among its spectators, when a baby smiles – is it gas or is it love – and why we prefer calling certain type of women a bitch!  

I actually happen to like dogs.  They don’t sulk, rarely throw tantrums, are fiercely loyal, undemanding and brimming with love.  The female of the species is no different.  Agree it can be quite a pain to keep her suitors off her trail but that’s not really her fault is it?   So when they call a woman a bitch – is it meant to be an affront to the canine species or insult women who have fine tuned meanness into an art? 

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