Thursday, September 27, 2012

The family, The share

The bus stop was quite empty save the blind beggar who sat in a corner, requesting passersby to increment their own good karma by offering him some alms.

Bus No 110G turned right at the signal and stopped with a screeching noise.

Murugan alighted. His shirt was nearing its eighth anniversary and had now evolved into a permanent dull brown from its initial white. The worn out rubber sandals offered as much support as they could to his tired feet.

As he started walking, the bus sped off , fulfilling its role in maintaining the impurity levels in the air and leaving him in a puff of smoke.

He walked in a slow gait, his forlorn face fixed on the ground below.

As he neared the slum, the voices of his boys made him look up. They were fully engrossed in a game of marble with the other kids. Muthu, ten and older of the two was about to strike and was fully concentrating on his fingers while the younger Kumar, eight , cheered on.

Murugan got reminded of his marble ventures as a kid. He managed to give himself a slight smile despite the heaviness in his heart.

When he entered their hut, Kanaga was folding the children's clothes and piling them neatly in a bamboo basket meant for storing them.

One look at his face was all she needed. She understood. The building contractor had not given him any work today as well. Murugan was a construction worker. The past month had been really tough. Sudden increase in prices of cement and concrete had made the builders stall the work for some time.

Murugan lay on the rope cot and covered his eyes with the back of his arm. He was exhausted . Within minutes, sleep overcame his troubled mind and he drifted into a deep slumber.

Kanaga opened the rice drum. Lighting the stove, she proceeded to boil all that was left of the rice.

The boys were sent to the government school partly for education and partly for the wholesome noon-meal program. These days, they were also giving them an egg per day. That was two meals down from their expense list.

When Murugan woke up, it was very late in the night. He saw the boys curled up their usual places in a corner of the hut. Little Kumar had his legs on Muthu's which the latter kept trying to push away .

"Go wash your hands.Lets eat" Kanaga said seeing that he was awake.

When he sat down to eat , he saw the quantity of the rice in the bowl. In good times it would not be enough for even one of them.

He let out a sigh and sat down crossing his legs.

"Has Mani eaten?" he asked.

Kanaga smiled and said "When has he eaten before you?"

She served one portion for him, and one for herself.

Then she placed a handful of rice on the floor.

"Mani! Mani" both of them called in unison.

A brown colored dog came running from outside the hut and came and stood near Murugan, its tail wagging fervently. He let out a small 'Woof' and looked at him with soulful eyes.

There was a small cut behind his ears and it was slightly bleeding. Murugan chided "Have you been fighting with that white dog again?"

The family  began eating in silence.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Deception in Hierarchy

Indifiction Workshop is a story writing workshop for bloggers interested in fiction. This was initiated by 'The Fool' who blogs at and C.Suresh who blogs at

Detailed plot will be given. Everyone has to tell the story using their own narrative style. Different narrative styles will be evaluated by fellow participants and judges.

The plot for the first exercise as part of the same was authored by TF. Link to the plot:

My version of the plot...

“Ma, I‘ve had a really long day. Don’t get started with eating my head about this whole marriage business, please!” Meghna almost barked on the phone.
“I don’t care what that astrologer says” she continued. “Have to go now. Will call you tomorrow okay. Love you.”
She hung up and looked at the clock on the wall. It was 9.50 pm. The grumbling in her stomach reminded her that she had not had anything since her evening coffee. In another ten minutes, she had to join a teleconference with her team to review the slides for the presentation scheduled for the next day.
She quickly stuffed the chapathis on the table into her mouth simultaneously opening the ppt file on her laptop and logged into the call.
As she was getting connected, Meghna got reminded of her mock presentations at IIM Ahmedabad ten years earlier. “What an amateur set of presentations we used to come up with!” she mused and smiled to herself.
The call started and Meghna assumed a strictly business-like demeanour. She had put in more than fourteen hours since morning. Yet, her concentration and attention to detail were impeccable. This kind of diligence in her work combined with her die-hard passion towards her career had catapulted her to her current position as Vice President, HR at F&T Pte Ltd, an FMCG company and she directly reported to the CEO.
The call lasted for an hour and Meghna’s eyes were a little droopy by then. She stood up, stretched her limbs and got a glass of cranberry juice from the refrigerator. She sat on her bed, and lowered the AC temperature with the remote. She placed her pc on her lap and turned on her bedside lamp after switching off all other lights.
It was time to become Eleanor! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A conversation and dumbfounded!

During conversations you sometimes get a little stuck.

There are moments when the response of the person you are talking to leaves you a little dumbfounded and your mouth remains open for a brief second. Then you end up closing it after a couple of futile attempts to bring out your voice.

This can sometimes happen when you are in the company of some souls who have been on this planet for less than three or four years, the first of which was predominantly spent in the comfort of their cradles.

Today I went down to the play area in my apartment with my little fellow.

There were a few 3 to 4 year old kids playing and I tried engaging them all in some fun activity together.

All of them screamed out the answers to my questions with a lot of vigor and enthusiasm.

I did not remember that the New moon had gotten over just a day ago.

'Where is the moon?' I asked. They looked up at the sky and told me

'Its no more!'  Okay!! May it rest in peace!

'K for?' and I heard 'King, Kite, Kangaroo' in chorus and in between I heard  'Elkkkkkkk' . Elk is a kind of deer that comes in some of the story books these fellows are exposed to.

'E for?' and I heard 'Elephant' . This time they were all in agreement .

'Is the elephant a big or a small animal?' I queried.

All of them screamed 'Big' with their hands spread wide except one little fellow dressed in a cute yellow TShirt.

'Is the elephant small?' I asked rolling my eyes.

Pat came the reply, 'Its a baby elephant' and he ran off to pick his toy! That makes sense doesn't it?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A No Is A No is a No! - Really?

I just received an email in my inbox from one of the blogs that I follow and it was a contest entry for Indiblogger.

I thought that contest was past the deadline. Have they extended it?

I quickly jumped to the contest page on Indi and realized that the last date was 14th and not 11th as I had thought.

I am not submitting any entry for that contest, I had resolved.

“It was my love for writing and the passion to create magic out of my words that brought me to blogging”. Hmm, if someday someone prods a mike into my face and interviews me on television I might say that he he he…For now, let me be honest! it was boredom that brought me into blogging. I started to blog purely to while away time. Slowly I started enjoying writing and also connecting with people through the blog. It was fun.

When there is no contest involved there is a route my posts take. Something I see or hear or do sparks an idea, and a villainous glow forms on my face, ‘Wow! That’s a new way to torture some more souls ha ha ha‘and I set to write.  

Then there are these contest posts. You see the topic and think ‘Hmm, I can write a post on that!’ and then you kick, prod and beg your intellect to get out of its deep meditative hibernating state and get the creative water, juices or whatever its made of , moving if not flowing. And you eat ladies finger because your grandmother said that it helps!

And it does not end there.

Okay, Post written, Submission Done.

When are they closing this competition?

Ok, now the contest is closed for entry. When are they revealing the results?

There are ones where you know the date of the results. So you try to pretend to your own self that you are nonchalant about the outcome, but the fact is you are not.

‘I just participated for fun. Participating is important’

 ‘Hey results out, and no, that’s not my name there. ‘ Sigh!

‘Oh yeah! There is this other one. That one I definitely stand a chance!’

And it goes on and on and on.

There are the ones on Indiblogger where nobody knows when the results would be announced

I have never won anything on Indi so far and so I do not know how the winners will be intimated. Mail? Indimail? Post? Pigeon?

Everyday one goes and checks the contest page; Then Indimail; Then email;

And of late I stick to checking the forum coz I feel that if the results are out, the concerned topic on the forum would be suddenly super active.

And its not just that, most of the posts you read are also topic specific. Of late I have been dreaming a lot about Dove and Love marriages and Melbourne of course. I mean literally. I go to sleep and these blog posts appear in my head dancing and spinning.

So this time, I decided. Soak No More Jaish. Its enough. These contests have started engulfing you. No ! No ! No! Get out of this cycle! And this newly made decision starts bubbling inside my head like the molecules in the Surf packet.

And I close my eyes. And then I slightly open one of them and peep into the contest page open for quite some time on my Internet Explorer. ‘Hmm, I am not going to participate. I have decided and that’s it. Now what were the prizes again?’  Oh, Apple ipad! ‘WHAT???’ ‘APPLE IPAAAAAD?’

Hmm, it would be nice to have one of those eh?

‘But Jaish, you just decided that all this is enough?’ a version of yours truly in a flowing white dress with a halo on top questions me from inside.

‘Hey ! Shhhh!! You go ahead, darling!Dont listen to her! Apple Ipad! Wow!’ another version red in color with two ghastly horns screams from the other side.

This is Kal Yug  and people are supposed to be greedy about materialistic things. Who am I to stop the flow of world’s destiny?

And here I go.

Now when is this contest getting over? And what was that second prize? Ha ha ha!

And now I need to add something...."This post is part of the Surf Excel Matic Soak-No-More  contest at Indiblogger" ha ha ha again :)


Monday, September 10, 2012

Janmashtami Celebration - Kutti Kal Kolam and Uppu Seedai

On Saturday Sep 8th, it was Janmashtami a.k.a Sri Jayanthi i.e Lord Krishna’s birthday.

‘Saturday? Was it not over a month ago?’ I can almost see all those eyebrows going up dubiously.

Well, it was celebrated in most parts of India a month ago and Facebook was teeming with pictures of little ones dressed up in dhotis and peacock feathers with tilaks on their foreheads. But for a selected few sects in India, including mine, Janmashtami was on Saturday. Now how can the same deity have his birthday on two different days that too a month apart? Well, I guess  only the deity Himself can answer that perplexing question. Anyways it was celebrated at my place on Saturday, period.

As soon as V got up in the morning, I told him , ‘Hey its Krishnar umaachi(God in toddler’s dictionary)’s birthday today.’ He thought for a second and responded ‘Birthday?Cake,Candles?’ Hmm, not a bad idea!

With a lot of enthusiasm I started my preparations for the evening pooja.

Task One I assigned to myself was a herculean and a very arduous and dangerous one. ‘The making of the Seedai’,  a savoury made of rice and urad dhall flour. Basically small balls of dough deep fried in oil.

Even experienced hands of twenty to thirty years can goof up when it comes to seedai.  On one hand, for various reasons, there is a high probability of it bursting while frying. The kitchen(it belongs to my landlord anyways) and my face (now that’s more personal) were at risk. Every recipe for the same would be accompanied by various tips for avoiding this explosion. On the other hand, if improperly cooked they can become so hard, that without a second thought they could be shipped to dentists all over the world. Tooth Extraction Made Easy!

Anyways I belong to the group that gets inspiration from Vijay films …’Once I decide, I don’t listen even to myself’ (Wanted has a similar dialogue I suppose).

After doing some research for the recipe(my maiden attempt), I prepared the dough strictly as per instructions.

Rolling the dough into small balls....Boy!  That was tiring….It seemed like an endless task which I somehow managed to complete. Someone please invent a machine for that!

Anyways, some sweet soul on the internet had mentioned that, if your pierce the dough balls with a needle they would not burst.

There is a section of the brain called ‘Stupid Idea Zone’. This section has the habit of disguising itself as the ‘Eureka Zone’ and ends up giving really dumb ideas which the remaining grey cells accept after a standing ovation. This section suddenly said ‘Hey, Y needle? You are the symbol of East-West fusion. Use a fork to prick them’. I took out this huge fork and pricked the balls making sure that three four proper holes had been made.

I said a small prayer ‘Look, I am making them for you. So please don’t let it burst!’

Then I started frying them and Wow! They were a darling bunch of seedais that came out perfectly. A beautiful golden brown in color and the lovely smells that came while frying made me nostalgic.  

The thing about the festival is that you get to taste what you have made only after the pooja got over in the evening.

I could not wait that long to display and telecast my pride and so wasting no time, I showed them to my husband with a perfect display of bragging and informed my mother-in-law back home that my seedais came out perfectly without any untoward occurrences.

It was soon evening and pertaining to the tradition I started drawing small feet patterns with rice flour paste on the floor (ezhai Kolam)starting  from the entrance and culminating at the pooja area. This is a tradition that symbolizes Krishna visiting our homes.

As I was doing so, V went to the kitchen, carried the mop much bigger than himself to the hall with all his strength and started vigorously rubbing off the kutti kaal(tiny feet).
’One is not supposed to dirty the floors and should clean it up in case something spills!’ After listening to this innumerable number of times, he could not reason out why mommy was bent upon making the floors untidy.
Finally it was pooja time and once done, I could hardly wait to taste the seedai of my success. 

My husband being an ardent fan of this savoury , quickly popped a few into his mouth.

I waited with an eager expression on my face like those participants of Master Chef awaiting the judges remarks. ‘Hmm, its nice and tasty but not very crispy or kara-kara’ was the verdict. ‘ Ideal for people without teeth’ he added with a wink.  I put a few in my mouth and they tasted like pakodas and vadas that had fallen into water…No crispness at all…and it required an imitation of the cud-chewing of cows and buffalos  to mince them before sending them down the food pipe!

There are moments in life when the memory section of the brain starts flashing proverbs and sayings. ‘Appearances are deceptive, Appearances are deceptive.’ A voice like that of Superstar Rajinikanth repeated in a punch dialogue fashion in my head.

My poor husband tried pacifying me saying that except for that the taste and smell were close to perfection. Anyways, lessons learnt.

1)      Don’t keep referring to the internet for tips

2)      If you do, follow them religiously. Don’t tweak them with your own ideas

3)      If you do that as well, don’t blow your horn, unless you are absolutely sure of the outcome.

Jai Shri Krishna! J

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Congrats Girisha!

A lot was said when the Olympics was going on.

About the lack of infrastructure in India. About the attitude of the players. About the politics that exists in the Sports arena in the country. About the lapses in creating eminent sportsmen. About the hype that exists only around cricket.

Well, I came across this news a little while ago.

Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda  has bagged the silver in the Mens High Jump event at the Paralympic Games in London.

The hype or the noise is definitely lesser!

Photo COurtesy

Here goes a huge salute to EVERY INDIAN

Who motivated him
Who gave him the opportunity
Who gave him the required infrastructure
Who helped in his training
Who encouraged him
Who moulded him

I dont know what happens in the preparation for Olympics. But I have country men who have toiled for a physically challenged person to prove his prowess and shine in the eyes of the world. HATS OFF to all who contributed towards this achievement!


Sunday, September 2, 2012


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 31; the thirty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'Strangers in the Night'

The computer monitor cast a glow across Sandhya’s cheeks as she tilted her head to look at her jottings before proceeding to enter the data into the system. She stopped for a second and glanced at the panel next to her desk to confirm that the night arrangement of lights had been turned on.

As she opened her bottle to take a sip of water, her mother’s words from the evening phone call replayed in her mind. Siddharth wanted to take up extra coaching for his board exams.  She wiped her lips with her fingers and thought ‘The bonus should come next week, Appa. Please make it happen’

A beep and a flicker on the call-for-assistance panel indicated  Bed 3. ‘I will check’ Sandhya gestured to her colleague and proceeded to the cabin, her white shoes making soft noises against the cold hospital floor.

Bed No 3 at the Intensive Care Unit of Bharadwaj Hospital was occupied by Divya, aged fourteen. The last thing she remembered was walking back home from school on Friday. Her science project had been selected for display at the Inter school meet and she had been eagerly looking forward to sharing the news with her parents. Divya could faintly recollect the speeding van, screeching of tyres, blaring of horns and being thrown into the air. When she opened her eyes she was in the hospital bed. The casts on her legs were very heavy and a weird looking instrument prevented her from turning her face to any side. ‘Urinary….urinary tube…hurts aunty’ Divya uttered in a feeble voice. Sandhya gently lifted her hospital gown, readjusted the position of the tube and said in a soft tone ‘It should be ok now, sweetheart.’

After giving her a benevolent smile, Sandhya proceeded to bed no 6. Mr Krishnan’s eyes were wide open, unperturbed by the tubes that made their way into his body through his mouth and nostrils. Four days ago, he had been sitting in his rocking chair on the balcony of his two bedroom flat, observing the vehicles that endlessly cluttered at the traffic signal below. It was his first evening after retirement. Moments in his thirty five years of service zoomed past in flashes. He had toiled all along and every rupee he earned always had a need even before it reached his pocket – his brother’s education, his father’s debts, marriages of his sisters, his housing loan, expenses for his children; He reminisced how selfless his wife Sharadha had been. A feeling of intense love and affection crept through his mind as he thought of her and he promised himself that he would spend the rest of his retired life entirely with her and for her, fulfilling her little wishes. Suddenly he became aware of a discomfort in his chest. What seemed to be a minor throb gradually evolved into a sharp pain. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead as he started gasping for breath.’Sha…r..adha’ his voice trailed off and he collapsed.

‘Unable to sleep Mr.Krishnan?’ Sandhya enquired as she checked his intravenous drip to verify the flow.   Despite the high dosages of drugs that were administered to his body, he could not get any sleep especially at night. With the ventilator depriving him of speech, he could only silently observe his surroundings – which held nothing save the equipment connected to his body and a wall clock. He mutely followed the minute and the hour hands as they chased each other, simultaneously pleading with his body and mind to drift into sleep. He would storm through a myriad of thoughts; throught the past- glorious days, happy occasions, memorable moments, family quarrels, arguments, deaths, a few insignificant moments and then through the future - worries about his health and his family. He would look at the clock expecting a huge change while he was rummaging through the scenes in his mind. Only ten minutes would have passed. His boredom and loneliness seemed to torture him more than his physical predicament. His only solace was the half-an-hour visitors time every evening when his family came to see him.

As Sandhya walked back to her seat she lifted the curtains outside cabin 6 and took a peak inside. Dilip Chandran was sleeping soundly, his chest rising and falling in a rhythmic pattern. He  had been brought that morning in a very critical condition. His business ventures had gone totally haywire and he was immersed neck-deep in an ocean of debt. Seeing no means to recover the lost money and repay his loans, the only route he fathomed to escape from his moneylenders and their henchmen was to end his life. He had consumed poison. The emergency unit at Bharadwaj had spent three toiling hours to rescue him from the fatal claws of death.

Sandhya returned to her seat. “Who are these people?” she brooded, “They would have had no knowledge about the mere existence of one another so far. Today they have huddled together here within these white walls; Should I call it destiny?Each of a different age and from varied walks of life bound together in their common struggle; A fight against the odds for survival ;A fight for life; Each clinging on tight to an invisible rope – Hope!”

She closed her eyes and started reciting some verses in an inaudible tone. “Om Namo Bhagavathe” – Dhanvantri(God Of Medicine) slogam(hymn) that Appa had taught her  as a kid. As a nurse she did all she was taught and was supposed to. The prayer was an additional effort from her end as a human being, a practise she had stuck on to from day one. She believed that it helped, that it made a difference, though miniscule, in their route to recovery.

Like a reflection in water struck by a stone, the scene around her at the ICU began to vaporize. Divya, Krishnan, Dilip – they all disappeared one after another.
Darkness crept in. A blue hue engulfed her entire vision. She heard a hysterical voice, very feeble and distant.

“Siddhu, Look! Can you see that Siddhu? Her lips are moving, she is saying something. ” It was a woman’s voice muffled by sobs.

“Yes ma, yes.  We will get Sandhya back ma, I promise” a man’s voice followed.

Dr.Siddharth held his mother tightly, as tears streamed down the woman’s face. He looked at his sister’s frail body nested in the white frame of the hospital bed. Sandhya was in a coma. He desperately longed for the day when he would see her again the way she was – confident yet kind, fun-loving yet level-headed, soft yet strong. So far,there had been absolutely no response from her. Today for the first time in two months she was showing some signs. As the faint green glow from her monitoring equipment caressed her face, she was reciting a prayer; A prayer for the strangers in the night in the mazes of her sub conscious mind.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: C.Suresh, Participation Count: 4