Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Examination

5...4...3...2...1...and the bell rang. The time was up. The examination was over.

I stared at my blank sheet, exasperated. When the teacher asked me to hand over my paper, I didn't resist like Akshit or Ramya who were still penning down the last few words in a desperate hurry. I just didn't feel anything at all. In fact Mrs. D' Souza was quite puzzled to see nothing on my paper. With closely knitted eyebrows, she whispered to me, "Is everything alright with you?" I nodded feebly. The room was full of sounds. From cries of happiness to anguish, from the sound of pencils and pens to the click-clack of pencil boxes, all girls and boys were talking loudly, verifying the answers they had written. Some had their eyes closed, with a word of thanks on their lips. They had managed to ace the paper after all. But nobody looked at me. Nobody asked me if I had answered it well. After all, I was repeating the grade. I was "the" weak student, the rotten apple of the class. I silently exited the examination hall, collected my bag, readjusted the locket with Lord Shiva's picture on it, and headed downstairs.

Anxious parents had already arrived way before the end time of the exam. They were yelling excitedly at their wards. As I pushed my way through them, I felt insignificant, too small, like a speck of dust that could be blown away miles without any notice. There was no one waiting for me though. I had to trudge back home with heavy steps. I did not wish to take the bus today. Didn't want to hear anything about school, syllabus and exams. As I walked a few blocks away from school, all I could hear was muffled voices... "What! You didn't answer this? " "How did you solve this sum?" "How could you forget it?" "Did Rajan get all his sums correct?"

It was 4 p.m. I was hungry. I walked to the nearest bench alongside a park. I took out my tiffin box. It contained a packet of biscuits. I tore it open, and fished out the first biscuit. I took large bites of it. Its tiny crumbles hung onto the corners of my lips. I relished it. The breeze was quite cool today. The summer's heat felt no longer scorching. The rustling leaves and the cawing of the crows made me feel at peace. Made me feel like a different person altogether. So who was I ? I was a student of class 5 who couldn't add or subtract, who failed to memorize equations, who had no idea about the rise and fall of Indus Valley Civilization, didn't know the capital of Indonesia etc. etc.  In a nutshell I was dumb, dull, and what my mother called "a good-for-nothing" chap. It was not that I didn't try. I had tutors for every subject. My parents took turns to help me understand my lessons. But my brain was like a bucket with a large hole. No sooner did information seep in than it would drain out. My parents feared that something was wrong with me. At times I feared it too. My classmates laughed at me. My teachers either pitied me or scolded me so hard for being clumsy, that school days were really not the best of my times. But then what was I really interested in? Nothing. I loved doing nothing. I loved staring at the wall. Once I had stared at the wall for three hours straight!

I was munching my fourth biscuit now. I was thirsty. I sipped into my water bottle. Life was good on this bench. A stray dog sat himself before my bench. It was a lean-framed brown and white dog. He had noticed the biscuits and was looking at it with hungry eyes, with its pink tongue hanging out. I threw a biscuit at him. The dog sniffed at it and looked at me again. I didn't understand? I didn't have anything else to share? Stupid dog. Doesn't like good quality biscuits. Biscuits are healthy. They don't make you fall sick like the oily parathas and the butter laden butter chicken. Chicken..perhaps the dog was craving for meat. Stupid dog. You don't always get what you want. Stupid dog. Stupid dog.

And then as I kept on wondering at the stupidity of the dog, I caught him gently wagging his tail at me. Somehow the dog seemed to be less stupid to me now. It was not barking at me. It wasn't growling at me. But there was some kind of affection for me in those brown watery eyes. All for what? A biscuit, which he didn't even touch. Perhaps the dog wanted to talk to me. "What is your name stupid dog?" I asked, squashing a mosquito biting into my thigh. The dog woofed and sat up on its paws. Hmm. So he did understand me. And in his doggy language, he said that his name was 'Woof'. Hmm. Interesting. "OK Woof, what do you want from me? I have no more biscuits to give you. " "Woof", came the reply. I was not understanding. Did he want to play, did he want to eat? I was all confused. Mother said that I was too dumb for anything. The dog didn't know that perhaps. Just as I was about to put forward another question, a stone came flying by and hit the dog's head. Frightened and terrified, the dog yelped to its feet and ran away. The stone was thrown by a young man holding the hand of a pretty girl, with her hair braided in knots. "Ha ha ...stupid dog!" said the man, while the girl looked at him in an expression of mock-anger.

I couldn't fathom the reason why the perfectly intelligent young man stoned a stray dog. I couldn't fathom the reason why the girl was going out with this young man. I couldn't fathom why the young man was stealing a kiss of the girl's rosy lips right before my eyes. The world around me was too complex. I couldn't fathom anything at all. Not addition, not different civilizations and capitals. The blue of the sky was now crimson red. A red ball had appeared in the sky. The birds we twittering back into their nests. I threw the wrapper of the empty biscuit's basket in a dustbin, and adjusted my uniform. I had to walk back home. It was getting late. Perhaps Mother would be angry. Perhaps Mother would be worried. Perhaps Mother would want to know what I had written in my answer script. I had to think of a way to avert the scolding. Stupid me.

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

The Night Circus: Where dreams come to life

"The circus comes without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

The opening lines of this magnificent book "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern had held me captive right till the end. It is not everyday that you come by a book which is steeped in fantasy and carefully balanced with reality. The opening chapters may seem a little befuddling but it is only a matter of time when the reader is drawn helplessly into the fantastic world of Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair. And then there is this circus, this beautifully scripted enchanting circus- where everything is possible, where the tricks never fail to confound the spectators, where magic meets scientific logic...The Circus...Le Cirque des RĂªves ...where dreams come true.

The outline is simple. Two great schools of illusionists put up their players against one another. The contenders haven't seen each other. They are educated, groomed and raised to fight each other in a venue. The Circus. But there has to be a victor. There is no time allotted for the completion of the challenge. Who'll be this last person standing? Or is the challenge not as simple as it seems to be?....

 Well, at the very onset of this blog I would like to declare that this isn't any book review. I am terrible at reviewing books. The excitement and thrill that I experienced while reading this book cannot be aptly put in words. It just opened up a whole different world to me.It also sort of reminded me of my memories of circus as a child. When I was young, a circus was synonymous with joy and a day off with friends and family. And popcorn. Those days popcorn wasn't easily available in our locality. I remember holding onto my Grandpa's fingers and walking with little steps to a large tent which smelt funny.  It smelt of sweat and dirt and animal poop. But the odor was exhumed by the loud gasps of spectators at  the sight of men walking on tight ropes ten feet above the ground, the trapeze artists where young girls and boys flung each other off like a ball, the fire-eaters, the clowns who were either too large or a dwarf, the lions and tigers jumping into the loops, the monkeys cycling across the stage. Yes, it was fascinating. And there was always popcorn and cotton-candy to hold on my interest.

But today in the year 2013 I don't come across that kind of circus at all. In fact, a circus rarely comes to our town. People have lost their taste for it as every extraordinary feat can be digitally mastered. Why waste time watching cheap theatrics? There are no takers for that unusual talent. And the idea of a live-show now remains buried ten feet into the ground till there is some 'scoop' involved.Here is where I loved the book. The book recreates a circus which is not caught in the web of the sameness of tricks. It creates something different each time you visit it. It doesn't take place in a large tent but several tents are set up in a large piece of land. It is like a maze and one cannot be to sure to have seen the whole of it, as there is no one to assure you of the same at the exit.The description of the circus was similar to Life. Life is a circus and at every corner we come across something new, something exciting, something that may startle and astonish us and probably even exact a a little gasp of disbelief. But nevertheless, we carry on and at the end when it is time to make our Exit, we don't fully realize if we've seen the all of it, if we fully comprehend the whole of it. The enigma mystifies our senses. That is why we hold on to our lives. Not because we love it, but because we love to explore its hidden possibilities.  

The rest of the fiction is of course conjured by the magical realism, where you seem to take a ride on the bewitching carousel, with your hair gently blown by the soft wind smelling of caramel and an exotic essence. "The Night Circus" is simply a story of love camouflaged with layers of magic, unprecedented circumstances.It is the reality that we feel everyday, but are scared to admit. It is a celebration of words melting into sensation. It is "like stepping into a fairy tale under the curtain of stars".

This book made me fall in love with magic all over again. The love, the passion, the pain is felt by the reader each time you flip through its pages. It makes you fall in love with Circus once again, in fact you yearn for it once the book is over. It has been a week now but I have failed to get past this book. It has altered my perspective about life. "People see what they wish to see. And in most cases, what they are told that they see." It is really weird to realize that the entirety of our perception is controlled by the society. That there are things beyond our comprehension, existing by our side, unraveling their mystery right before us yet unknown to us. The idea is both exciting and frightening. Yet it makes you live your life large and go beyond the pettiness of routine and walk into the circus of whose confines one feels more real and closer to life. But then again, one must not lose the grasp over the Real for it will only drive us mad, insane, burn our insides with the pangs of curiosity.  Yet "the finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones" and I hope to dream on, live on and await the arrival of The Night Circus. 

Will you?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The story of humanity

'Honesty is the best policy'
Many a times we've heard them say,
Yet how baffling a travesty
We live, to see opposites hold its sway.
While true words are swept under the rug,
Headlines circled by the rings of coffee mug,
Incidents lie distorted, disfigured and maimed,
Debates ensue with no solutions gained.
While bribes are ripe, and justice blind,
The innocent thrives in a time unkind,
No cloud is marked by a silver lining,
The hearts are crushed, left forever pining.
As puffs of smoke darkens the core,
Crimes see a rise, with more blood and gore.
With philosophers of yester-years all proved right,
Homo sapiens resulting in his generation's homicide.
But does after the dark come the light?
The hope we harbour,the despair we slight,
Is it enough to make a wrong a right?
We strive, we believe and we fight
Day and night, to restore balance
To a civilization hanging precariously on chance.
As the dying century's death knell
Is heard closing the rotting generation's gamble,
Faith evaporates and Love bids farewell,
Nothing at all is well in this Hell... 
But...can the present put the past behind?
Can we still preach that forgiveness is divine?
Can we still slay greed and lust?
Can we not our morality turn to dust?
Can we rise like a phoenix after the fall?
Can the lusty youth hold up promises for all?
Of a mind lit brightly by the red of passion?
Of noise bathed solemnly in the calm of silence?
Of a reign of Honor, Compassion and Integrity?
Of a world where Honesty is still the best policy?
We dream of a change to alter the events...
Till then... we live and die, continue our existence.

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

Pre-marital blues

"'ve got to buy this saree too...It's a part of the ritual where you have to place this on a plate adorned with flowers and a little sandalwood paste..and.." and my friend's voice droned on.

She had been married a year back. A modern pseudo-feminist otherwise, she has a surprisingly traditional take towards the institution of marriage. What is marriage? It seems to me now that it is a ceremony strengthened by lots of 'niyams'(rules). Non-compliance of rules isn't taken well by the in-laws(supposedly). Personally, I have never really bothered much about rules and regulations. I am more of a free spirit, difficult to be chained. Hence, when it came to the choice of a partner, I chose a like-minded fellow. But somehow, all free sprites turn mellow when it comes to marriage. I have no problems with adhering to a few rules. After all, rules at times add color to life and trying out something new doesn't harm...does it? But an overdose of rules is nauseating. More so when it is more emphatically enforced upon you by your friends.

Take this for example. "You need to gift your husband a suitcase. Buy only a branded suitcase. A V.I.P is a must. You must give them the 'pranaamis' in decorated plates called 'tatwas'. You ought to be very diplomatic with your in-laws...Say this and not that... You must buy many good sarees to wear after can't be wearing your regular sarees after marriage.." and many more. I understand my friend's concern for me. She wants to 'prepare' me for life, cast me in the mould of help me blossom into the perfect 'bahu'. But I am not she. I feel suffocated under the pressure of dos and don'ts. I am ME. And this 'me' is not a doll, does not enjoy dressing up , is casual about her style and cherishes the idea of a simple marriage and not the hullabaloo of The Grand Indian Wedding. And how on earth am I to explain it to them that it's my life, my wedding...which will happen my way?

In saying this, let me point out that owing to my radical views I have always been an outcast, at times even publicly humiliated by my so-called friends for not wearing a decorative outfit to an event celebrating their happy union (and not mine). But then again, at times I feel that I am too short-tempered to see the higher good of everything around me. Marriage after all is a social gathering, where families come together to celebrate a happy occasion. The conventional desire of every bride looking like a princess has been embedded so deeply in our minds that it is difficult for a mediocre-looker like me to uproot it and endorse everything simple. With marriage comes fanfare, and an array of everything loud and robust. This results in a show of extravagance, for it is strictly believed that it is a one-time affair, so one needs to put his whole into it.

Life is bitter sweet. One understands that better when one stands at the threshold of marriage. The bitterness of zillion rules overpower the sheer bliss of the concept of marriage. To me, marriage is not bondage but it is liberation. It is not conforming but paving way for a new life, a new beginning with the one you love and trust. It reasserts the moment when you made the choice, to share your life in health and sickness with this special person. This lovely feeling cannot be outweighed by number of 'tatwas' and sarees. It is a feeling that goes beyond the layers of bridal make-up. It is a day when our search for a companion concludes. It is a day when we move from "I" to "we". And that is a moment one needs to treasure.

I don't know what life has in store for me. But the fact that I will be getting married is sinking in gradually. It is indeed a necessary evil. Although I am not enjoying shopping for it unlike girls of my age(more so because my bank account statement is nearing a big zero), I am looking forward to the day with utmost the day when I officially become a part of his life..for at heart we are already one...

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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Wedding Night

A strange feeling engulfs my soul
As I listen to the departing steps.
With soft giggles and a gentle caress, 
I am ushered into a room, where 'am put to rest.
Here I am to metamorphose,
Here I am to live the change,
Here I am to endorse
My new identity, my new surname.
What has changed in me today?
Do I cease to be the girl I was yesterday?
My thoughts are interrupted by the hushed tones
Of the flock outside awaiting the groom. 
Adorned in red of fine silk, with palms reflecting a deep maroon,
I sit and wait...wait for the anxiety to abate.

The stillness is broken by the fan's dreary drone,
The buzz of mosquitoes ring in a melodious tune.
The exhaustion I wear weighs me down,
The jewellery seems jaded that I unwillingly adorn.
The flowers lay scattered, my will broken,
I lower my eyes and offer a quick prayer to Heaven.
I hear the door open and close behind,
A sudden fright takes control, leaving me cold.
A strange figure, tall and turbaned takes my side,
My self quivers, while I try to remember what had been told
To me of such a night as when it would come,
Of mixed horror and pleasures, that it would summon.
I wanted no adventure, nor desired any thrill,
I was only a child of sixteen,wanting to live her share's fill.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kuch waqt tanha...(a Hindi poem)

Kuch waqt tanha, kuch hum berukhe,
Kuch bheega sawan, aur hum jode umeedein,
Kuch hum yahan, kuch tum wahan,
Kuch lamha mayus, kuch hum muskarane chale.

Kuch khoye aashiyanon mein khoye se sapne,
Kuch bikhre se rishton mein dhoonde apne,
Kuch mann ke sukhe panno ki adhuri khwaishein,
Kuch aalam bebasi ka, kuch palchinn suhaane.

Kuch ankahi baaton mein khilkhilati zindagi,
Kuch bhoole bisre kahaaniyon ki meethi si dhwani,
Kuch kam, kuch zyada, woh kaanch sa waada,
Kuch humne tode niyam, kuch dagmagata iraada.

Leelao ki vibhinnata se pare hain aaj hum,
Chintan ki peeda se katraye, gum sum,
Mitti ki chuppi khalti hain, jalti hain angaaron si,
Kuch jwala ki aas mein khade, kuch bujhhe aangare hain hum. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Those were the best days of my life...

Its very memory triggers a whirlpool of emotions,
With a quiet lingering smile evoking tingling sensations.
They escort me back to the years now half-remembered, 
When Friendship itself was a religion to be revered.
Life meant only school, and school meant friends alone,
When outdoors stood for running little errands for our home.
When school was for mischief : harmless and juvenile,
Where like-minded chaps were befriended with a smile.
The backbenches livened up with our muffled giggles,
And the recess saw us devouring each other's tiffins.
'Twas a place where secrets were sealed by a swear of faith,
'Twas a time when there wasn't any room for jealousy or hate.
A friend's win was our win, a friend's foe was ours too,
It was a time of high-fives, of sharing life in a classroom.
But then time flew past, we grew up... alas!
Simplicity took the back burner, remained sulking in a corner.
Responsibility became our priority,
Serious became our demeanour, 
With no space for frivolity,
Innocence was lost for ever.
Those little laughs were smothered,
Swept back in a chest without a key,
With experience the child got murdered,
In the healthy view of diplomacy.
Yet in lonesome hours,
Through a mistaken glance,
When I come by some children holding hands,
I wonder to myself where my friendship now stands...
The euphoric sight of ceaseless laughter and delight,
The satchel-laden boys' entering a mock fight...
Fills me with questions,
Fills me with pain.
For I realize all that I have sacrificed,
The friendship's lost in the bargain.
Today the ice cream cones have run dry,
There's no one to push our swings high.
The slides are dusty and moss covered,
The familiar voices are long forgotten, and muted.
There is no one to share a stupid laugh with,
We are 'grown-ups', and we have got to live like it.
While we ping or poke to revive the estranged chords,
A day like today gets us lost in sepia-hued thoughts
Of the moments we shared, of our spontaneity and fun,
Those were the best days of  my life!..that'll never return...

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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The phone call


The phone rang.

I dreaded phone calls. Phone calls portend work. Working the tongue to engage in the sameness of the ordinary chit-chat or an intimation of work that needed to be completed within a mentioned deadline. I didn't want to engage myself in any of those.I didn't want to work this weekend. I was tired...of everything.

It had been a busy week altogether. In the midst of the alternating dry and wet weather, I had been racing against time to complete my work within the given schedule. What do I do for a living? I am a teacher by profession. Yes, a boring and uninteresting person stuck in the job meant for grey-haired folk who teach for recreation and not out of the passion for something exciting. Most people presume that it is one of the easiest professions to opt for. We have seen hundreds of parodies of teachers either dozing off in the class or struggling to stay awake in the middle of street-smart and mischievous students. But all that's rubbish. Far from the truth our clan survives everyday. I need to get my lessons ready,employ innovative techniques to add zing to the dull chapters, assign loads of homework(which apparently proves how serious I am about my work) and correct them carefully too. Around 200 copies get corrected every week. Red pens turn into a fearful weapon, inking the fates of hundreds of hopeful students. In the manner of gossip mongering old ladies, the time when we are free(usually the 20 minutes of recess), we leaf through the brown-paper covered copies and wag our tongues by way of multitasking, discussing either the way a particular student misbehaved or how bad our current education system is or The chatter insipid, the days weary..I feel tired by the end of the week. Teaching today has turned into a thankless profession, for all demand a show of work....parents and administration alike( and nothing is very noble about that).Nobody really bothers about the quality of work till the quantity(equal to copies corrected and students passing the examination) is sufficient.

And then the phone rang on..and on..It wanted to put my reverie on hold and probably scream something important. It wanted to shake me out of my numbness. It trrrringed its way to put my limbs to action, to answer the phone and get it done with. The quiet had already been broken. The stillness of the room had politely taken its leave. I tossed and turned in my bed and took a look at my mobile phone once again. An unknown number flashed on the screen. I lost all the remaining will to receive it. It had to be either one of those telemarketing calls or a crank call. I finally did answer it and put the ringtone out of its misery.


"Hello....Miss? I'm Manisha...Do you recognise me?"

"Aaaah..yes are you..?"

"Miss...I am fine...We miss you here a lot...Nothing's the same after you left school...Miss you were the best..Please come back Miss...Miss where do you teach now?...Come back please Miss..." and it went on for sometime.

Well, it is not everyday that one is appreciated for his or her hard work. It is not everyday that one gets to create an impression on the mind a child. It is not everyday that you are given an opportunity to shape the thinking mind of a young one, trigger his or her imagination, challenge the child to think out of the box.
And it is not everyday that you're told that you are the best, that all your effort was not in vain.I smiled to myself after concluding that phone call. A pessimist might have said that this girl was simply oiling my heels to get the better of me. But then, had the pessimist heard the excitement so obvious in her voice?  To me at times my job appears to be dull and monochromatic. But it is this very 'me' again who can turn the tables around, and make my life worthwhile. Good things just don't happen, but one has to make them happen.

That phone call gave me that much-needed push. That phone call made me rediscover my lost self again. It made me rediscover the reason why I had taken up this profession. It made me relive my love, my passion for teaching.

It brought back colors to the jaded routine of my life...and those colors have not faded since then.

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Love over a cup of coffee

...And I blushed!... Soaking in the wordless praise,
How such acts of admiration set my heart ablaze!
The man that I had so long in my mind had chased,
Now seemed to reciprocate my passion, unfazed!
This gentleman I had come across in a forgettable cafe,
He was engrossed in his laptop, sipping an insipid latte.
While I observed him with keen eyes, discreet and unsure
Of my instant likeness for a man, who to my friends seemed a bore.
A gentle smile, through the unkempt beard, played in an occasional interval,
At other times, he only gazed deeply into his dog-eared novel.
The sudden spark of a long-forgotten memory sent him in throes of euphoria
Yet the eyes, I observed, had a distinct stillness, speaking volumes about his persona.
I wished I knew what he was writing, if it was a letter to his beloved...
For he seemed like a man thriving in romance,(not a rookie wasting ages discovering it.)
A strong tension built up,as a silent attraction took place,
As I yearned for him to cast his eyes on me..just that single once!
A queer tingle deep inside, my emotions running uncontrollably wild,
I felt my good senses getting numb,
And I could definitely feel a distinct lump
Down my throat, as my palms got clammy,
Yet my eyes stayed fixed on him, my world was so topsy-turvy!
But then, out of the blue, he looked straight into my eyes,
My heart jumped into my mouth
 He acknowledged my curious gaze, without a seed of surprise,
His smile was my escape route
From all binding inhibitions,
From all my insecurities,
From all exhausting tribulations,
From all mundane trivialities.
That smile,that half crooked smile, charming and alluring,
That faint nod, those merry eyes, brilliant and sparkling.
Revealed so much of him to me yet it surely meant nothing...
After four years of marriage, of courtship and clandestine meetings,
I now realize that lingering smile, had chalked out 'our' story's very beginning.

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

...Ant yet again, this post was adjudged a WOW post...This time I topped the list (it may have been a random selection..but feels great on topping the list of WOW entries)....Am super happy...


What hurts more than a look of despise?
What brings tears to those frosty little eyes?
What causes the tremor in the aching heart?
What has a sway on emotions from the start?
Words, ah! simple words:
A mysterious temptress.
Arresting people far and wide,
In its silken waves of unfathomable delight,
Defining and outlining our earthly existence,
Rendering silhouettes and shadows solid substances.
Forging and strengthening ties, new and strong,
Shaping and creating history all along.
What would we ever do in its very absence?
How would be survive without airing all our grievance?
How would we surmount strictures, paint beautiful pictures
If the mind's canvas was stark, groping in the dark?
How would one profess one's sincere affection
Without songs and rhymes revealing one's undying passion?
Words, ah! simple words:
The miracle of the universe.
Stringing a pearl of thoughts so rich,
The wise lay besotted, weilding its power which
Can bridge the gulf,  bringing in equality,
Can liberate the lost souls of its dreadful drudgery.
Words of love and words of hate,
Words of wisdom and unending debate,
Their pacifying power withstands the climes curdling in rage,
If chosen carefully, they delineate our Fate.
Empowering and enriching,
Enlightening and bewitching.
A harmless play of words,
The cornerstone for all absurd.
More than ever,
In the midst of deafening laughter and chuckle,
The somnolent indifferent people buckle
Up for an era where there isn't any place for a healthy retort
(For these are times when the trove of words fall short)
Paving way for void and vacuum
"The death of words": walking into our doom.
So, ponder and reflect and regroup the alphabets,
Let us form a Word that'll salvage the wreckage
Of a civilization blinded by emotionless emoticons;
Remember words once lost, will be for ever gone.
Speaking without expressing is not effective communication,
Let the rainbow of letters result in our race's resurrection.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Death of a Pen

O mercy! O mercy! my vein is running dry,
I breathe my last, my time has come, alas!
The death knell's been rung, the mourning's begun,
With the final parting sigh, it's time to bid goodbye.
Confounded with grief, I beg your leave,
O White Lady, me... I plead you to forgive.
The promises we shared, the dreams we bred,
Today lie shattered, and brutally battered
In the hands of time, echoed (in vain) in this fruitless rhyme.
You'll forever be in my heart, here we'll never be apart,
Our love and affection, will in certain find rendition
In the songs of bards, on your lips as words.
Yet a pain so intense, fills the final hours of my existence
With memories and regret, of the words I couldn't correct.
The blue goes dry, an emptiness is alive
With the final blot, that your white does clot,
I announce the demise, of a Pen once wise. 

Are you visible enough?

When Griffin turned invisible courtesy all the medical concoctions in the famous novel by H.G Wells, the world let out a gasp debating if it could be a near possibility where human beings could alter their refractive index, and merge into the thin air,unnoticed. Some said it was impossible. It was a mere work of fiction, debunking facts, playing with our imagination. Then came Mr. Ralph Ellison who had a 'colored' perception of one turning invisible. The margins were drawn and the intellectual debates on the question of identity rolled on. Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility turned into a prized possession for every creative mind. It was Harry's tool as it helped him unveil secrets galore in many of his post-bedtime adventures. Moreover, as youngsters we have often been told and re-told stories of disembodied spirits and ghosts, who are 'invisible' to naked eyes but their existence can nevertheless be denied.

"If I were invisible.." is a common topic to nurture writing skills in creative and imaginative children of all ages. What gets me amused is the answers I receive as a teacher. Imagination runs wild as children quench their desire for adventure and fun in their well-written essays. If one decides to plunder a chocolate shop, the other wills to spend a quiet time in the library hidden from the view of critical eyes. Another yearns to quench her longing for travel to countries afar by gaining admission in a flight unseen by the attendants. Being invisible is such a boon to these young minds. It can make their dreams come true, can help them perform the unthinkable, unleash their naughtiest side and still not get is the route to freedom and bliss, the same which are denied in actuality, curbed by norms, destroyed by morality.

Yet, even though we dream to be "invisible" are we visible enough in the current state of affairs? I would like to share an incident that took place recently in a public bus. The fare was six rupees. I was not carrying adequate change. The seats were full, so I had to stand my way to the next stop. While trying to balance myself and coping with the multiple road-bumps, I managed to fish out a ten-rupee note. The bus conductor was visibly in a bad mood. He started hurling abuses at me for not carrying the exact change. With some remarks being too offensive to bear, I joined the war of words, desperately beseeching the other passengers for help. It seemed that every soul in the bus had lost both their senses and voice. They looked out of the window, indifferent to the hooliganism demonstrated by the conductor. I was shocked and hurt. Hurt by how my co-passengers chose to behave. Hurt that they chose to remain invisible.

Scene 2. A busy thoroughfare in a metropolitan city populated by the literates and the educated. A truck collides into a car driven by a a gentleman in his mid-thirties. He is accompanied by his young daughter of five.The gentleman suffers a fatal head injury due to the tremendous impact. He lies unconscious, with blood trickling from the sides of his forehead, turning his pale cream colored shirt red. The child with tear washed eyes pleads for help from the passing vehicles. She needs to save her Daddy. Her Daddy is lying still and motionless. No help was extended. No generosity shown. The father breathed his last in the city peopled by invisible men.

So what makes us invisible? The sameness of our lives? Our self-centered nature? The desire to avoid trouble at all costs by leading a 'safe' life...a life where there is no room for 'unwanted' disputes and aggression? Or perhaps all of them. We live in a society where all people turn stone faced in public but share winks and LOLs in the virtual sphere. It is a dog-eat-dog world, where survival of the fittest attains new parameters. "Your problem is your problem, and my problem is yours too" is the attitude that defines us today. Anonymity is a part of us and we inhabit the anonymous.So basically, we don't need a cloak to envelop us in secrecy or a pill to guarantee our invisibility. In being what we are today, we are invisible (and not invincible, as many would choose to believe). A reason enough to celebrate, eh?

With witnesses turning hostile in corridors of Law, and Justice seeing the light of the day after decades, I wish we decided to be visible for a day, and fought back our complacence, be passionate, feel alive to each moment of our lives. I wish we took an adventure down the common streets by standing up against the wrong and backing up the right, by finding our voice and behave rationally (for a change). I believe, that at present, turning invisible is the simplest thing that one can do, but turning the visibility button on demands  courage...and a lot of it.
Enough of receding to the background as a wallflower, 
Awaiting the wheels of fortune to turn in our favour.
It's time to be the change we so long desire,
Let go off our inhibitions,and kindle the fire.
Set minds ablaze with a passion so strong,
We need to be visible... to right our wrong.

So, as a teacher, my question to you is if you were given an opportunity, would you embrace invisibility with open arms (and savour a part of yourself that you already are..) or would you decline it and choose to be visible instead (and save yourself and posterity)? 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Opposites attract

You break my heart each and every time,
You flip and toss it like a coin.
You say you love me yet wound me bad,
Your head full of arrogance simply drives me mad!
You never listen when I try and explain
Why I obsess over something, while you cast a look of disdain.
Every conversation with you is a struggle of its kind,
With you it seems, it's useless exercising my mind!
When the dinner lies untouched on the table,cold,
You continue to bicker on the orders, new and the old.
You cry buckets when we break up
But ignore my calls the day thereafter,
(You forget how we were set up
In the midst of merry banter!)
You forget my birthday, even the date of our anniversary,
The flowers you sent a month later only adds to my misery.
You dance a dance which I detest,
You fight a fight which I protest.
You are the wrong to my right,
You are the darkness to my light.
Yet why do I love you head over heels?
Your smile makes me realize how strongly I feel
For you and your stupidity, and all the rest you do,
For love sees no reason: it's only companionship,sublime and true.
When you say nothing ...nothing really at all
You say more than you think..Silence speaks volumes after all!
With all love and hatred you're still mine.. (silly brat),
Finally I understand why people say that opposites attract!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In search of Muse

"On a rainy day I wished to..." Riya stopped writing. She put her pen down, stared at the written words on a new crispy white sheet of paper. There were deep furrows between her eyebrows. She closed her eyes for a moment, scratched out the words and angrily crumpled the sheet, making it fly off into the nearest bin. Why wasn't she getting the inspiration to write something beautiful? Something that would not be forced, something that would echo her thoughts and emotions, something that would be a part of her and still be more beautiful...something that would be perfect! Well, probably Riya was thinking too much of the outcome and not of the matter. She needed to focus and draw inspiration from her surroundings. She needed to think harder...

Meanwhile, as Riya was immersed deep in her thoughts, the sky was darkening outside. The distant rumble of thunder and a strong cool breeze was received with cheer by the urchins on the street. The hawkers were assembling all their goods inside large polythene bags. The pedestrians walked faster. They didn't wish to be stranded in the midst of a thunderous shower. The branches were swaying menacingly from side to side as if uttering a mystical chant, beckoning the drops from Heaven. The red of the sky was now replaced by a dull grey and growing black. The howl of the winds drew every soul back to the shelter of their houses. Demands for deep fried snacks were increasing steadily in every household. After all, what is rain without a warm cup of beverage and a plate of steaming hot 'pakoras'? While people outside were busy readying themselves to witness God's miracle, Riya was oblivious to the excitement outside. Her heart was tormented. She had to submit an article on 'A Rainy Day' by the very next day. Her English teacher would be furious if the work was not completed. Riya was sitting in a closed room, with the doors and windows shut tight. She could barely see the outline of the city now getting blurred by the strong gushes of rain. All she could feel was the tension building up as time was ticking away and she hadn't written anything on the topic. She still needed to think harder...

As the thirteen-year old chewed on her pencil's tip for the umpteenth time, she grew nervous. Her mother wouldn't like to be told by the teacher that she had failed to do the homework. (Mrs. Mathews was a grumpy old woman who took the submission of tasks seriously and non-submission of tasks even more seriously.) She really couldn't ask anybody for help as the phone lines were dead, thanks to the storm outside. With no network coverage and Mommy out of home, she had to battle the demoniac article all by herself. Mommy..Mommy always arrived home late. She was forever busy at office. And Daddy..was always out of town, out of the radar of family-life yet smiling happily through all photo albums. But Riya couldn't afford to spare a thought about her miserable life. She had to complete this assignment as soon as she could and then move on to prepare for the horrifying Maths test for next week. After all, she was a good student. She couldn't let her image get tarnished on account of a failure in a silly article. Yes, silly. When Mrs. Matthews had given the topic, it had sounded very simple, a child's play. But Mrs. Matthews wanted a personal impression on the topic and not a generalised essay. That was very challenging indeed...for not many could understand their emotions, let alone penning them down at this age. She struggled hard to invoke her Muse who could guide her with the correct words that would make the teacher happy. But the Muse was failing her. Her mind was drawing a blank. All she could feel was the heaviness of her eyes, and an ache down her shoulder. School bags these days were so heavy.

Riya didn't give up hope. She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate more and more on her topic. But all she could hear was the muffled roar of winds outside, with raindrops lashing against her closed windows. It was 6.30 pm by her watch. Her mother wouldn't be home soon. She slowly raised herself from her chair and walked towards the window. She was going to do the unthinkable. She was going to let the rain in. She had never ever done that. She had never danced in the rain like her friends in school. She had always been the perfectly disciplined girl leading the perfect childhood( though, at times, she asked herself if her life was perfect at all!) With two working parents earning bucket loads of money, being a part of a good school, in possession of a neat academic record of straight As in every subject, she was living a dream of many young girls of her age. But what about Riya's dreams? She was still a child, she too wanted to jump into the dirty puddle of rain water without a care in the world. She too wanted to get dripping wet in the rain, shout with glee and cuddle up to her parents at night being read a cozy bed time story... Well, this wasn't the time for her disappointments to surface. This was the time of joy. She took anxious steps towards the window and flung it open with a racing heart.

The strong gust of wind and rain drenched her in a matter of seconds. Her loose sheets of paper were flying all over the room. The pencil case lay on the floor with pens of different colors peeking outside. The calendar on the wall was about to cut lose. No divine picture could confront the power of  Mother Nature. But was Riya scared?  Her heart was beating wildly. She had kept her eyes shut. She didn't wish the dust particles accompanying the slanting rain to blind her. But strangely, she felt no fear. She felt at ease for the very first time of her life. Her hair was flying all over freckled face. Her skirt was swishing to the rhythm of the pitter-patter. She could feel the cold of the rain on her body and the warmth which followed, as her soul absorbed it with joy. She felt happy...happy and pleased...happy and...

Her thoughts were obstructed by a blinding flash of lightning accompanied by the clap of thunder. She let out a loud yell and hurriedly shut the window. She was breathing heavily now. She didn't know why she had given into the madness of impropriety. This was so unbecoming of her. Her mother would be back home in no time. How would she react about the mess? What possible explanation could she give Mommy to pacify her anger? ....

....Perhaps she could say that she had been touched by the Muse. Perhaps she could say that she had had the taste of liberty. Perhaps she could say that she had experienced something heavenly..she could say that it was a one time opportunity, not to be missed. And then suddenly, just like that, in the manner of the blinding flash of lightning, words struck her mind and flowed on the empty sheets creating a symphony of language..

"On a rainy day,
I wished to play
And feel the water on my lips.
On a rainy day,
I wished I may
Dance to the the drip-drop beats.
On a rainy day,
That is today
I am forced to stay inside.
Do my homework,
Put in all my effort,
While others make merry outside.
On a rainy day,
With great dismay
I put forth a question to my elders:
When best things in life are free
And all we seek is happiness for our family,
Then why put us in fetters?"

 And this was the end. End of innocence....for she had been touched by the Muse now...

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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

So still is the night....

So still is the night and dim is the light,
I can figure out the right in the dark starry night.
I can sense no trouble, no cause to grumble,
I feel ready to travel through life's joyous miracle.
It's the joy and the cheer in my mind's rusty corner,
That makes me recall distant memories with a tear.
Oh dear, dear, dear! I had so longed for this cure,
Not criticize or compare but cherish all that's here.
The simple joys of today, I value all the way,
With so much to say, I dare simply wish and pray.
Pray for this small little world battling demons of disarray,
Pray to the stream of Poesy from meandering away,
Pray to all the twinkling stars shining above,
Pray for the sinners, to be very gently touched by Love.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On breaking the loop of Plans...

At times I wake up with a real dead feeling inside me. I don't know exactly why do I feel so stressed and drained out early in the morning. It may be a sign of sickness or excessive work pressure. Perhaps it may be the result of nothing working according to my plan. Plans...plans are some very dangerous tools provided to children early in life. A plan gives one the fake assurance of well-being and there is always that deadly undercurrent of probability associated with it as "things may go wrong" and then, we need to save our souls by reverting to a different plan. So basically, all our lives we are drawing one plan after another. Some work, some fail, and that is how life goes on silently. Finally, before we meet our end, we measure our success by determining the success rate of our plans. We do it unconsciously, never deliberately. Doing that calculation deliberately would make us feel terrible, but once we allow our subconscious to guide the unconscious mind things run pretty smoothly...A life of no regrets, as there'll always be a plan to salvage our lost hope. (At times praying for a miracle may be a part of a large plan too. After all being the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, we are forever up to something edgy.)

Now, my point is, in my life of twenty-seven years I have devised many such plans for myself too. Since childhood, I had been encouraged to push harder in academics and secure 'good marks' in all subjects. No 'good mark' however was that good enough and I was eternally hungry for more. My family believed that I was cut out for something great, something spectacular. In the hindsight, every family has the same story to share. Everybody is unique and everybody is running off to coaching classes to get that something 'extra' that'll give them that cutting edge...that'll empower them to be triumphant against all odds. That is the common plan.  But somehow gradually, I realized that perhaps I was only an average and not a brilliant student or a prodigy. I failed to meet the high standards of expectations at times. I turned sad, depressed and soon felt dejected, thrown into the dark abyss of hopelessness. The monumental decision of choosing between Science and Arts arrived before me after ICSE exams. While it was unanimously believed by my teachers that a good student should always prefer Science, I believed in the latter. I made a choice. A difficult one indeed. My life, my future, my career stood right before my eyes. While Science could offer me temporary respect in society, Arts could offer me the peace of mind, my true calling. Without a moment's hesitation I deviated from my original plan, of entering the medical field, and embraced reality. Arts became my reality. The choice paved the way for my liberty.

 I still remember the first day in my classroom where the apparently 'dull-minded', weak students had huddled together. 'Dull-minded' because we had voluntarily chosen Arts over Science. The students in the Science stream scoffed at us, mocked our subjects and claimed that it was all too easy. We ignored their jibes believing that they were too foolish to understand anything. Those jibes were followed by more hurtful remarks by their parents who said, " So, why didn't you take up Science? Is it because you couldn't cope with Maths? How badly did you score in ICSE? ..." And the questions ran on endlessly. "Arts has no future" became the oft-repeated statement in all conversations. I still chose to ignore that. But the problem arose when our class teacher looked at me and said on the very first day, "Oh! Neelima. I'm surprised to see you here. You've taken up Arts? Why? Are you sure you don't want Science? I had always considered you intelligent." This really shook my confidence. It got me thinking over my choice again and again. But all that mattered was the voice that spoke to me from within reaffirming all that I believe in. Today eleven years later I have never ever regretted my decision. I ended up being the topper of Arts Section from my school in class 12 in ISC examination. I took up English Honours and completed my Masters from the most prestigious university in Calcutta. And now I'm in a profession that I enjoy the most. I'm a teacher.

But how would have life turned out for me if I had chosen the otherwise? If I had followed the PLAN? I don't know. I never will know. And frankly, I don't desire to know. Today whenever I wake up all stressed early in the morning, battling to discover the reason why I'm miles away from home, living in a foreign place, in a job that most consider 'boring', I tell myself that I am the reason behind this choice. And I am proud of it. I couldn't have asked for anything better. I enjoy teaching young children, being a part of their 'whacky' world, teaching and learning new things at the very same time. I have shaped my Destiny with my very own hands. I am the master of my own Fortune. No tarot card or parrots sitting by the dusty lanes have outlined my choice. All that matters is I have had the courage to make my choice and believe in it. I have dared to pursue it endlessly. All that matters is now I have the courage to live my life on my own terms, to fuel my dreams, to live my passion. After all, we have just one life, So why waste it on unnecessary plans and rue over it when its execution fails?

One usually lives under the assumption that plans determine true happiness in life. Negative.

I believe that being able to make mistakes and learning from the same is blissful.
I believe that being able to choose our paths in life on our own is blissful.
All that matters is what makes us happy.
If we're happy, how long will the world outside remain unhappy?

And if everyone's happy then nothing really matters actually...

This post is written as a part of 'All that Matters' contest at in association with INK Talks 2013.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

East or West: My daddy's the best!!

‘I am writing ‘10 life lessons I learnt from my father’ at'

From the very first moment that we learn to steady ourselves and learn to grab the first object that comes our way to the moment when we are hungry in our pursuit for success, grabbing every bit of opportunity determining a professional high, we are always supported, guided and counseled by our parents. The mothers are forever more vocal about the things they like and dislike, more expressive by way of emotions whereas the fathers are the quintessential symbol of Man and how all men should behave in society. We look up to our fathers and marvel at their ability to calmly sit through the mother's barrage of rebuke while they gently take us in their arms to render life's important lessons quietly, without any fuss. Personally, I am indebted to my parents for teaching me everything about life and it would be really unfair to single out the lessons taught by one parent alone. But as we celebrate Father's Day on June 16, I also do realize that I get an opportunity to express my gratitude for all that my Baba has done for me throughout, expecting nothing in return. 

Here follows the 10 life lessons I learnt from my Baba :

1. As a child I hated being bullied by the elder bullies, who seemed to scold me for apparently no reason. At times I would return home crying, not knowing what to do. I didn't want to answer them back fearing that it would be rude. But the insults were too much to take. That is when my father used to tell: Treat people the way they treat you. If people misbehave with you, don't go soft but oppose the wrong. As Bhagawad Gita says," It is wrong to commit injustice, but is a greater wrong to suffer injustice in silence."

2. In one's childhood one faces innumerable disappointments. And every next setback seems bigger and more frightening, even insurmountable. But my father always believed that when Life punches you straight into your face, one should not be rattled. 'Bad days' is just a phase which will soon drift away. So, fight back and never lose hope.

3. Friends are always an integral part of life. Being a social person by nature, I always ended up being friends with almost everyone in the class. But I always had a hard time understanding why my friend never called to speak to me when I fell ill, or later failed to secure good marks in a subject.That is when my father imparted me life's most crucial lesson: There will be many friends surrounding us, offering us advice, promising us that they'll be with us till the very end when one is a comfortable space of life. The number grows thinner in the bad days. The ones who don't leave our side in the foul weather are our true friends. Treasure them.

4. A young girl wants to be the best at all she does. She wants to be popular and known by name amongst all her juniors and teachers. At times this leads to foul plays and unhealthy competition that distracts us from the most iportant thing, i.e the task. So, Baba always told me : Do not long for popularity. It is transient. Pay greater attention to the quality of work you do, every day, each moment for these moments'll pass by quickly, never to return again.

5. I remember the day when I wasn't awarded the prize for scoring the highest in Hindi in class 7 due to a technical glitch. I had cried buckets that night. I thought that I had failed everybody in the house as I was so sure of winning that prize. That is when my father comforted me by saying: It doesn't matter if you win or lose. All that matters is you've given the task your cent per cent effort. All that matters is you believe that you're the best. 

6. How often do we get impatient when things don't run according to our plan? I used to lose my temper every time when my 'perfect plan' got delayed or stuck indefinitely owing to some problems. Baba however made me see the brighter side of things always. He said: Patience is the key to success. When coupled with hard work it will tantamount to life long prosperity.

7. As I grew up I learnt to be vocal about my feelings, especially the bad ones. At times I used to end up in terrible fights with my best friends and would return home annoyed, irritated and disturbed, My father would always readily lend a patient ear to my problems and then say: Nothing can be won by violence. If one resorts to aggression and abuse, one will end up only harming himself. It will not pave way for peace and resolution of the conflict. Be reasonable and logical even when you're angry. Do not keep your mind aside while you unleash the animal in you. And
today I spread the same message to my students as a teacher.

8. Since childhood I was never interested in dressing up. I was forever comfortable in casuals and hated when my mother dabbed powder on my face saying that it would make me look pretty. Thankfully, Baba always supported my protests in this case and didn't put any pressure on me to dress up like a doll for occasions. In fact there were times I refused to buy new frocks for Pujas and purchased books instead to read! The words of my father has stuck with me till this very day: Don't be ashamed of being yourself. After all, that is who you are. You don't need to be someone better as you're already the best being you. 

9. There were times when on the day of exam our driver would absent himself from work owing to sickness. I would stare teary-eyed at my father saying that without a car I would never be able to reach school and appear from my exam. But my father would rubbish it and say  that if I needed to get my work done, I must be independent. I couldn't always depend on cars to offer me a ride wherever I wanted. He would take me to the nearest bus stop and would let me pay the fare to the conductor under his watch. Thanks to him, today I understand that one needs to be independent in life. Nothing should chain her down to a hole. The solution is always right there before our eyes. We only need to see it. 

10. Finally, my father believed that the blessings we receive from our elders is invaluable. It helps us in becoming better human beings. So, we should always respect our elders and obey their wishes under all circumstances. After all a family is all about love, faith and respect, none of which ought to be compromised ever. 

With all things said and done, I would wish to say that I am imbibing  lessons of life from Baba still today. The list can go on and on, and I don't intend it to draw to a close. I am my Baba's pet and I am proud to state that. And nothing that I do will ever be enough to show how much I love him. East or West, My Baba's the best. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Demon

"I have something to tell you...!"

The little girl shifted her gaze to the window. It was raining heavily by the normal standards. Rittika detested rains unlike young girls of her age. She detested the rumbling cry of thunder, the howls of the wind. She said that it made her feel that God was angry, really angry with somebody. It reminded her of the smacks that she received when she failed to answer the sum correctly at her tuition. It always scared her, left her feeling mortified. Yet as she was looking at her mother through the eyes of a six-year old, she knew that she wouldn't be really happy to receive the news she was about to break in. After all, her mother was a single parent. Her father had died a long time back in a car accident. No, he wasn't driving the car, but the large vehicle had vroomed over his body of flesh and blood, smashing his intestines, crushing his bones. The onlookers had said that that he had tried to seek help till his last breath. But the public was too scared to help him. They were mortified too. The killer car was after all driven by a minister's son and his drunken pals. Nobody wished to get into trouble for some dead body, whom they didn't even know in person. The man's time had come. He was safer in heaven..probably would be even happier.

But Rittika's mother was a strong woman. She knew that the world wouldn't stop for her loss. She needed to pick herself up again and continue to live for her only child. She needed to give her a good life, good education. She needed to be both her father ad mother. Rittika was too young to realize what she had lost or who she had lost forever. It really perplexed her to see her mother crying her to sleep at night. She didn't understand when relatives flooded her house to offer condolence. Rittika was too young to understand anything. And that turned into a problem. You see, Rittika's mother wanted to give her the best education possible. After all, the least she wanted was people reminding her that her husband was no more to support her. She did not wish Rittika's grades to get affected in any way. But with one loss weighing down her thin frame of shoulders, she had to brace up for the office job that she had taken up lately. She needed to earn. She needed to earn enough to keep the fuels burning. But with all the wolves pouncing on her in the world outside, she was too tired to help Rittika understand that 5X5= 25 and not 26. So, like all busy people, she took up the next best possible alternative. She hired a tutor. This man had been highly recommended for his efficiency by the neighbours. In fact it was said that under his tutelage even a dumb student could crack the IITs! Well, all was well with the hyperbole and Rittika's mother was nevertheless assured that he could teach her dear daughter the tables to pass her examination. However, there was one problem. The tutor had to step inside her house in her absence as she usually worked late at nights in her office to fetch the overtime money. The willing neighbour, one Mrs. Singh, gladly came to her rescue and offered to babysit Rittika at those times. Nobody knew one thing. Mrs. Singh had the reputation of dozing off for hours at the slightest given chance.She could well put  a certain Kumbhakarna to shame.For the same reason her own husband never trusted her alone with the house. But Rittika's mom didn't know this. And how could she?

Well, everything was fine initially. Rittika was frightened of her tutor due to some reason but she managed to score decent marks at Maths every time. But gradually, Rittika had been subject to illusions, it may seem. She complained of a demon living inside her room, who visited her in the dark, and caused her a lot of pain. Now,Rittika's mother was fighting demons of her own back in office where vultures in suits and ties were swooping down on her from every corner to ask if she was 'available'. So much for all talks on gender equality. However, Rittika's mother left no stone unturned to coax her little child believe that demons don't exist. Demons existed only in our mind, in the bad people we might come across. But her room was  the sanctum of the divine which would never allow her any harm. Yet all her attempts seemed fruitless. Rittika looked scared every time. Scared of anyone touching her. She had never been so quiet. Her eyes were always on the look out of the demon. And she still hated her tutor. Rittika's mother would often enquire Mrs. Singh about the tutor's behaviour with her daughter. The seventy-year old woman would comfort her by saying that he was always polite and cordial, trying to be friendly with the girl..but the girl never strangely reciprocated the politeness."It's so typical of children to hate their tutors at times. After all, they give them additional homework and make them do stuff that they don't like...i.e studying."

Days crawled by. And then came today. Rittika's mother had come home early. After all it is not everyday that it pours cats and dogs in a manner of drowning the city. She feared that if she wouldn't hurry, she would be left stranded in the lonely cubicle of her office.She took the bus home and reached her apartment in about 20 minutes. It was 7pm. The rain was devouring the roads,hindering clear vision. She could see from  the distance the lights in her house. Rittika  was in there with her tutor. She could never really understand why Rittika disliked that middle-aged man. He was not handsome by way of appearance but he had a charming smile. And then he was really dutiful and helped Rittika do well in her tests. "Kids are confusing", she thought to herself. She took the elevator and in no time she was standing outside her door.  She rang the door bell once. No answer.She rang the door bell again. No answer. "Strange" . Se called out for Mrs. Singh, tapped the door and rang the door bell again, and again and again..till finally there was that familiar sound of unlocking....

"What is wrong with you? Why didn't you...What's all this red on your it bloo..." She couldn't wait to finish her sentence. Her little darling daughter was standing right before her eyes, covered in someone's blood. She could see the figure of a large woman slumped into her armchair, facing television on full volume.She could see a few books lying on the table across. She could feel her room circling all around her. She was sure that she was dreaming. She sank to her knees. She did not know what to say.

It was still raining hard. Rittika detested rains. She gazed at the window. "I have something to tell you...! Ma..." She put her hands behind her back as if she were to recite a poem. She was looking down at her pink shoes, spotted with drops of red. "I have killed the demon." A lifeless body of the middle-aged man was lying in a pool of blood with a knife plunged deep in his heart. And then it dawned upon the child's mother.."Make them do stuff that they didn't like..."

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

And this post was adjudged a WOW post ......