Sunday, July 24, 2005

Readymade or Selfmade? - II

Thumping sound of bike was a welcome distraction to Radha. Having bookmarked the page, she carefully placed the book which was in her hand where it belonged, and waited in sofa for Rohith to come.

Dressed in blue t shirt and black jeans, a bad combination in general parlance, Rohith looked reasonably good, while Radha observed him having a pensive mood. He sat beside his mother, calmly drinking the cool lemonade. As though the lemonade had done a great magic of pacifying his inner fighting, he looked relaxed.

‘My visit to refugees’ camp was a real eye opener. I fuss a lot about many a things, say over a not so good plate of food. What this poor helpless refugee can do? In an alien environment, with hopeful eyes to go back to their country, fearing harsh treatment by their surrogate shelter, with every morsel of food they eat, they feel insecurity. Though I personally disagree with their permanent settlement in our country, I feel sad for their pathetic state. How lucky we are amma’.

‘Yes Rohith. It is by looking at those who are less fortunate than us, God makes us know how fortunate we are.’ Radha gave a long pause. ‘ now dear, put all ur thoughts in writings and let me know how your day was. I bet that your magazine is surely getting one of the best articles this week from you.’

He went inside his room, closing the door. That means a strong indication that he is not to be disturbed. Of course though there was no warning as “Do not disturb. Journalist at work”, it was all implied.

The output was wonderful. So nice, that a worse critic like Radha found nothing to point out. That is how a writer writes when he decants what he feels.


‘Leela, check out whether moon shines outside’, commented Deepthi, in a remarkably sunny afternoon.

Leela was confused. ‘Mr. Moon is not going to honor us by his presence as he fears the company of Mr. Sun, dear’, she giggled, thinking as if she uttered something terribly jovial.

‘ That is very much possible today. I see rohith devoid of all his cheerfulness. He is so lost and agitated that he comes out from Editor room for the fourth time and every time he comes out, I see him aggressive. God knows what the problem is.’ said Deepthi.

As she was saying this, Deepthi noticed Rohith all ready to leave for the day, while it was hardly 12.00 P.M. ‘What happened yaar? I do not see the usual vibrant Rohith. What makes u so agitated?’

He tried to pose a happy look. ‘Nothing Deepthi. Nothing to worry. I think I need a break and I do not feel well. We will meet tomorrow.’ Giving a warm smile, he left.


Radha had to pacify him. He poured out. ‘my whole day’s visit to refugee camp and a satisfying write up that followed is not slotted to be published this week. You know what that idiot is planning to publish in that space? A terrible junk. George managed to get an interview from that half nude actress, and this pleased my invertebrate editor so much, that he decided to give a first preference to that cheap writing. And he says that is what people want. Who the hell he is to decide what people want? For all the 6 months I have been here, I saw him and he is such a fool who knows nothing apart from spell checking the journalist’s write up. He is devoid of ideas and lives solely by selling his pride and self-respect to our boss. He is a yes man. He says that my article will be published a week after. ’

‘Why I am placed in an alien environment in which I cannot cope up? I see my colleagues who are adaptive. I see my friends placed in a more friendly and democratic magazines. Even ours is a revered magazine. But the bureaucracy is so irritating that only a Government office can beat it in its laziness. I cannot succumb, when I know that I am right. But u know, most of the times I am forced to. And the mental agony I undergo when I succumb is terrible.’

Radha watched him calmly. It was usual for her ever since he got the job. ‘My son, u have to learn a lot. All agonies u undergo is to make u mature. Observe my son. Do not react. U cannot change the world. Change yourself.’

Agitated Rohith locked himself in the room, questioning the happenings around him. He started questioning about everything, and atlast questioned the God and as usual got no answer. He fell flat on the bed, as if only sleep can give the peace he needed.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Readymade or Selfmade? - I

Weird noise came from little Rohith’s room. Trepidation caught Arundhathi and she was ready to trouble herself to see what her little grandson was doing. As she was about to dislocate herself from the arm chair, Radha came near and pacified her mother in law.

“Amma, ur grandson is playing with his strange toys. Machine guns, toy robots and all nasty sound creating electronic stuffs are his favourite playmates and his father is not hearing a word of mine.”, complained Radha.

Rohith, just five years old, was now out of his room, dragging the toy robot by its hand and placed it before his grandmother. She embraced him tightly, showing all her affection. Though he badly wanted to free himself, he would not. All he wanted was a new toy machine gun which was a far superior model than what he currently owns. Knowing that his pranks would yield no result with Radha, he expected Arundhadhi’s support.

But Radha was stubborn. She could not see her child loving those odd objects for she feared those would distract her child and make him ruthless. Had it been someother time, Rohith would have get things done through his father. But now that his dad was out of station and was expected only a week after, he was left with no other go.

Radha always proved to be a challenge for Rohith, as unlike other moms, she would not melt soon and stick to her principles, which were forcibly thrust on him too.

Rohith almost gave up and was looking for some interesting distraction. Just then, Arundhathi went to pooja room and was busy praying before the Almighty. “Why do u pray patti?” asked Rohith.

“To please the Lord my dear”, said patti, as she could not find any other simple explanation. “What will He do if we please Him?” asked Rohith. Thinking it a good chance to instill some noble thoughts into that young brain, Arundhadhi told that God would grant whatever we wish for, if we prayed to Him.

“I see”, said Rohith. Saying this, he went and kneeled down before Lord Shiva’s portrait. “Oh God, make my mom to say yes when I ask for that Bingo Bingo gun. We plan to shop today and I need to show that gun to Munna today evening. Grant this for me please and I promise to share the sweets I get today”. He stressed “today” too much so that Shiva could hear it properly and do the needful. He was now satisfied. Having made whatever he could to get the toy that day itself, he comforted himself in sofa.

But the after hours of shopping did not leave Rohith a happy kid. Stubborn Radha did not budge as expected and was trying to console him.

He was lying on his bed, hugging his grandma. “Patti, why God did not grant my wish? Did not I please Him sufficiently? Was He not ok with my deal of sharing sweets? Were u not correct in telling me that I would be granted whatever I like? Or was it wrong to ask for the toy?”

Arundhathi tried consoling him, giving some hazy explanation which hardly impressed Rohith. He slept thinking about his unaccepted prayers, hardly realizing that this question will haunt him for his life.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Hell found me

Note: The challenge was, writing a story starting with hell found me. I tried my best.
Hell found me when I thrust that 10 rupees note in to that old beggar’s feeble hands. Thoroughly astonished, he viewed me with suspicion, checking the note. When he really gained confidence and thought of giving that thankful look, I was already away from him by few feet, in a hurry to catch the bus to Kottaiputtur.

Yearning for shade, I settled down at the bus stand, checking my belongings. Though the day was not too sunny, the long walk made me tired. Unaware of the remorseful moments I am going to undergo, I thanked the Almighty, when the bus came unexpectedly earlier and halted with a jerk usual to any state transport vehicle.

Like any other individual, immediately after entering the bus, my eyes searched for a comfortable place to seat myself. Alas, I had no choice. Except for a two seater in which a fat lady was sitting, the rest of the bus was already occupied. I got perplexed. Will that lady mind me sharing that two seater? I just cursed myself for being a man now. But I was in no state to think of all that stuff and continue standing carrying my heavy luggage. Also the lady looked older than me and won’t mind if I sit, I thought.

I went near her and parked my luggage and sat on the seat. The lady did not like my presence. Her gesture showed it clearly. But I pretended as if I noticed nothing. Only after sitting did I realize that I did not fit properly in the seat, as most of it was occupied by the lady herself. But this position was comfortable than standing. So I adamantly stuck to my decision.

My grandma always tells me not to sleep while traveling. But u see, it is really difficult to control your eyes, especially after a heavy breakfast of a typical Tamilian. I succumbed and never knew how long I slept.

I was romancing with Aishwarya Rai, when I heard a wild scream. Shaken, I woke up and witnessed the lady screaming frantically and to my misfortune, she was pointing at me and grumping to the conductor. Just then I noticed that, I was leaning on that lady’s shoulders. Struck by natural embarrassment, I distanced myself and made a pathetic face and looked at the conductor, solely craving for his support.

But my trouble chases me all along and the conductor was terribly irritated. He saw me as though seeing a womanizer, and yelled at me to vacate the seat. As a meek creature, I collected my baggage, and went to other side of the bus.

Still, the lady did not seem to shut her mouth. She shouted to stop the bus and hand me over in the nearest police station as she wanted to complain against me for eve teasing. Even in that dismal condition, I thought of laughing. She imagined herself too young to be eve teased, while I knew that even if her daughter were in her place, I would not have done that, for she would not be worth of that much energy, assuming she resembles her mother.

But gender gives all advantage. The grudging conductor came near me, demanding for the ticket. To add fuel to the fire, I realized that I did not bother to take the ticket till then. I told that, making all possible attempts to win his confidence. The conductor grew too suspicious, adding to my agony. Now he asked for my destination and gave me the ticket. I searched my pockets and was greatly relieved to find that 50 rupees note. As everything went against me, I doubted that it would be difficult to find that only currency note placed in my pocket. But I was fortunate enough to get it soon.

The sight of 50 rupee note enraged him once again and he demanded a 10 rupee note which was all the ticket was worth. Once again, I cried that I had no other money but for this silly currency. Grudgingly he took that note and the greatest disaster happened then. He noticed a hole, large enough for my little finger to sneak in and I immediately found that note thrashed on my face.

Now the conductor was all convinced that he should go by the fat lady’s words. He stopped the bus, and I found myself in police custody. The bus took off leaving me to my fate.

Tremblingly, I stood in a corner, thinking of spending next few months (or years?) here. A seemingly kind hearted policeman came near me and said, "Young man, u seem to be a decent guy. How can u resort to this sort of issues? And that too misbehaving with a lady of ur mother’s age? Too bad.". After a long time, I found someone talking to me giving me atleast the least respect a human being deserves.

I never knew that I could cry. I broke down, telling how fair and innocent I was, and begged him to release me.
Atlast my efforts bore fruit and he allowed me to make a call. Now I remembered my friend Anand who works as SI in a nearby station and rang up.

True to the proverb, a friend in need is a friend in deed, he made the best efforts for my release and finally we came out of the station.

I cancelled my trip, and just wanted to go home. He dropped me in the bus stand where I started my journey and bid farewell.

As I walked home thinking about the dreadful experience, I thought of that beggar. He was the scoundrel. If only I had that ten rupees note, I would not have lost my dignity.

As I went past, I saw him sitting in the same old place, eagerly opening the briyani parcel, and gulping it so greedily, that I immediately repented for what I thought. My heart filled with satisfaction, and now as usual with full energy, I went towards my place, to tell a twisted version of this story to my wife.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I am not to be blamed

Ramya is to be blamed. The devilish idea of writing a story came to me after reading her blogs. Bharath added fuel to that, and he is planning to write a sequel. The long planned unimplemented wish is now fulfilled. This is just a caution and the risk averse can safely go to other pages.

Am I free?

Morning dews were still on the flowers. At the stroke of 6, Anupama got up. Let me make the day special, she decided. After all, today is the day to celebrate. Her birthday.

Sekar was still lying in bed, expecting his morning coffee. He did not greet Anupama. Because, he was absorbed totally in daily chorus, that he forgot his better half’s birthday.

Anu was used to it. Her five years of association with him had taught her well not to expect. But friends are the real relievers. Her mobile was almost crying for rest that very morning, making her feel special.

"Oh, so today is your birthday? I totally forgot. Anyways, many more happy returns of the day." , uttering these words, Sekar returned back to newspaper. She endured.

She should focus. That alone could bring her out from this vacuum. Vacuum due to lack of love and care.

That was a long wait. Almost for an hour. While her boss was deeply discussing Anu’s promotion prospects with another superior. She skipped the morning coffee, aimlessly gazing at the computer, having no idea to work.

She never thought half a decade of association with a dry person could change her personality so much. She was never a person expecting results. Vibrant Anu demanded results for she always performed. When the results were otherwise sometimes, least she bothered, for she knew how to isolate herself. But now, she begs for success. To forget the vacuum in love life, she needs success. She feared she will break if she does not get it.
Fate is not always harsh with humans and sometime or other one has to feel happy for existing on earth. Also, Anu deserved and returned home with good news.

Excited Anu, came home to announce her career advancement.

"Well, I hope they will provide u with a car. And remember we have bought only one parking space in which my Santro is parked already. And those extra few thousands with ur promotion will fetch us nothing big though. My congrads" said Sekar. She endured.

"Marriages are made in heaven", she laughed heartily on hearing this proverb. "I think God missed my marriage. "

Her marriage has taught her to be patient. But she wondered why she should be. "What I gain in this association? I kept on enduring for past 5 years, to see no change in Sekar. My life had been routine all these years, and my matrimony did not even give me a good friend, leave alone a good husband. I care about the society, which least bother about me. I care about the neighbours with whom I hardly interact. Earlier, I was bold enough to speak my mind caring very little about the world. I was accountable only to my conscience and to no one else for my actions. I was proud of being myself and felt that I have a liberated and free soul. I felt pity for those who feared their parents, colleagues, superiors, friends, neighbours, or what ever little creature on earth. Never had I thought, I will be one among them."

Having an American boss gives a unique experience. That too when she happens to be a female, curious to know about Indian customs, nothing more can delightful than to spend a few hours with her. Anu was accompanying her boss and after all those official talk was over, Susane was in a mood to switch the topic to something unofficial.

She spoke about her husband. Present and former ones. She said how considerate and supportive he had been. Contrasted him from her earlier husbands who were selfish and narrow. She spoke about her first husband who forced her to learn everything in which he had interest caring least about her literary talents. And about the second one who was inconsiderate to all her feelings. She was positive about Joshua, and was willing to settle down for her life with him.

For the first time, Anu thought about the righteousness of a westerner in changing partners frequently. It is a search. A wrong decision do not make them handicapped for their life. Marriages are made in heaven, only if we humans liberate our self from rectifying our old mistakes. We have an incorrect interpretation in India, she thought.

"But do I have the courage to get rid of Sekar? Can I manage my little kid Asha without him? Or can I seek a new partner? No, No and No. The answer seems obvious. Realty is always different from my dreams. After all I am not the only one with unfulfilled dreams. I am surrounded by thousands of others who sacrificed their dreams and still smiling at the world. After all, an indifferent husband does not make world that much a worst place. I have endured for him for these many years and continue to do so for the rest of my life. Yes, I lack courage. I am not free. Neither I wish to. For the sake of my daughter, for the sake of the society and for the sake of my parents."