Friday, July 24, 2015

If Only Things Had Been Normal........

The princess’s beautiful pink brocade dress turned into tatters. Her hair, flawlessly done in braids and beads flung open at once, scattering the ornamented beads all over. Her feet tripped as she tried to keep her balance on bare feet. Her bejeweled shoes had disappeared too and she found herself walking with naked feet on the thorny, pebbly uneven ground. She let out a scream as she saw the walls of her palace crumbling and collapsing. Her toys and trinkets were all there, about to be crushed under the weight of the mighty architecture. As if all this was not enough, some evil power snatched from her hands her most beloved doll. In the tussle, the doll flew up in the air and the princess strained her head up to see where it might fall so that she could catch it. She raised her helpless hands and let out another scream. Her fair skin was tarnished and rough. She felt pain all over her body as it started showing signs of abuse and neglect. Her stomach churned making her realize that she had not felt this kind of hunger before. Forgetting about the doll which seemed to have gone for eternity, she looked for food and discovered a morsel being taken by a mouse. She ran after it but the little creature scurried away and the princess collapsed amidst the ruins of her colossal castle, her lips parched and dry………

“Get up and get going Rani.” Her mother’s voice raised her from her nightmare. She hastened up the hard floor and rubbed her eyes vigorously. She looked around. It seemed that she was searching for something.

“You better hurry up. We will not be able to lay our hands on anything if you remain so lazy”, Rani’s mom spoke angrily.

Rani did not hear. She seemed to walk in a trance and reached the corner of the hut. She picked up what she called her ‘pitara’, her treasure box, and opened it. Everything was there as she had kept it – a few ribbons of different colors, some glossy buttons, a tattered doll, a broken bow, a torn picture of a princess, an oversized cleft bangle which would not fit her tiny hands for ages. They were the treasures she had picked while her mother collected stuff her little mind could never comprehend. She would not part with them. They were her recipe of make-believe in her world of escape - the only proof of her childhood in a life that was harsh and heartless.

“What is wrong with you?” Rani’s mother nudged her by her disheveled hair. The touch of her scabby hands brought Rani back to her senses. She closed her pitara and hid it in her place. She got up and tugged along after her mother. It was going to be a long day before she came back to her trinkets and her princess. She only thought of one thing while walking – The beautiful princess had looked so much like her. And how beautiful had she been before the nightmare began. If only things had been normal……  

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

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sunshine Award - Surprised and Happy!

I have been nominated by someone I am learning to know - Purba Chakraborty - a blogger, a poet, a novelist, and above all, a heart-warming person with a beautiful voice. It is a coincidence that I had recently finished reading her book The Hidden Letters. If you have not read the book, please do that. It will keep you hooked till the end. It raised some questions in my mind- questions about love and guilt, about pain and compassion. I have a feeling that if given to a good director, it might make a good movie too!

Thanks Purba, for the nomination. Here are my answers to you followed by my nominations:

1. When did you join the blogging world? Did any incident/person inspire you to do so?

Last year in October. It was a time I was sinking low. My brother's death had left me shattered. Add to it the fact that I could not even meet him. I remember the last conversation we had, when he said 'I will send mom to you.' I was expecting my second child at that time. Papa and Bhai (my bro) are no more. Being far away in US, I used to feel so guilty having left my mom who misses me every moment. My best friend re-located to a different state. Things could not have been lonelier. Writing helped me ease out. It was a catharsis, an escape, a new window that opened for me. Life is extremely tough, I learnt. But if we need to keep afloat, we need to build a boat for ourselves and row it too. 

Since then, mom has been my guiding light. She doesn't read all that I write but she always encourages me. 

2. What is the best lesson that Life has taught you, till now?

Don't wait for the future. Live in today. There is nothing certain in life. It is good to make plans but don't just stick to them because you planned it that way. Be flexible and learn to go with the flow. Try to spread smiles. 
Don't leave things on destiny or God. Take steps.
Love with a true heart and learn to forget and forgive. Life is too short. Don't resent. 
Have a receptive heart.

3. What is the role that blogging plays in your life?

It is my heartbeat, my lifeline. As I mentioned earlier, it has helped me find succor. It has given me peace. I blog every week and going forward, I intend to engage in it more. I have found like-minded friends too - something I yearned for in the past. The writer in me is pining to write down a memoir on my mom. 

4. If you had a time machine, would you prefer revisiting your past or visiting your future? Why?

Yes. Go back to the time when my dad was falling prey to cancer cells. Wish I could stop that. If he was there with us today, my brother would be too. Wish I could change that.

5. Which is your all time favorite book that you can never get tired of reading?

There is not one but many:

Markus Zizack The Book Thief
Charles Dickens Dombey and Son
Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot
Herman Melville Moby Dick
Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter
John Fowles The French Lieutenant's Woman
V S Naipaul A House for Mr. Biswas
Harivansh Rai Bachchan's poems
Short Stories by Tolstoy
Dario Fo's Plays
There is more in the list......!

6. Do you believe in letting go or holding on?

Hold on to love and let go of grudges. My husband says छोटी छोटी बातों का  समाधान दिल बड़ा करने से होता है  (Translation - The solution to small small things in life lies is having a big heart.) I love it when he says that and I try to follow it everyday.

7. Share a hilarious incident of your life.

I will share two incidents here.
I live in a world of my own, lost in thoughts. My brother would often laugh about it and make fun of me. Once, he came to pick me up from school. He honked. I looked in the direction. But I didn't see him. He honked again. I looked again but didn't see him. He honked one more time and I gave the same response. He had to finally come out and yell my name. And we laughed our way back home.

My husband went to the library with me six year old to get some children's books. He goes inside and asks my son where the books are. My son goes blank. They both have visited the library an umpteen number of times with me! The library is closing in ten minutes. My hurried husband picks up the books - Young adult Spooky stories for Halloween, Rhymes in Chinese, Radioactivity and Marie Curie, Steve Jobs, Learn Hebrew. He calls me and says he has picked up some books but didn't see the titles. But he is so sure they are good. When the twosome reach home and have a look, I just burst out laughing. Steve Jobs is a good choice, he smiles and says!

8. What are your thoughts about my blog?

Purba, you are a wonderful, passionate writer whose poems are heart-warming. I am sharing some personal favorites for my readers. Do spare sometime to read them. 

Thanks to all my friends who have been a strong support in my life.


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you.
  • Nominate some other bloggers for this award.
  • Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated.
  • Notify the bloggers you have nominated

As per rule, I would like to nominate a few bloggers for the Sunshine Blogging Award. 

My questions are

1) What if your life's mantra?

2) What makes you laugh?

3) What was the best piece of advise you got? Who was it from?

4) Half of the world voted for blue as their favorite color in a recent survey. Do you  groove for blue too? 

5) Do you read newspapers? Why or why not?

6) Teacher - memories that the word evokes.....

7) Is blogger the new story writer-journalist-poet?

8) If you were to share one of your favorite blog posts, which would it be? What made you write it?

Friday, July 3, 2015

True Love

I still remember the time I was a child
Born to well-educated parents
Well-educated, thus well-institutionalized
They gave me the best academically, socially, financially
No complaints to them…
They did not know anything about the 'third gender'
They did not know what being 'straight' or not 'straight' was about
They did not know homosexuality
 They did not feel homo-claustrophobia
Being heterosexuals
Being ‘normal’
They just knew what they had been taught
They just knew that man married woman
That was how it always was
Law of nature…
With good intentions, they passed it on to me
School over, college began
New thoughts sprung up
New books, new authors, new discoveries made
When Auden knocked the door of my mind
His poems sensitized me to the ‘other’ voices
Discovery of violence, injustice, subjugation
Left me in a state of shock
‘Boys don’t cry’ made me cry
As I watched the horrors perpetrated
Just because s/he was different
Why was the ‘dominant’ the ‘normal’ thing
Why was being ‘different’ a crime
As my mind opened up to new realities
I shared them with my mom
Her heart was ‘sensitized’ too
I passed on my knowledge to her
As she had passed on to me
New realizations led to new enlightenment
I sit today and write
Knowing not how and what my children will grow up to be
Being sure about one thing
They will not be burdened by stereotyped identities
They will not live as social ‘constructs’
I give them freedom to choose
Let their orientations
Lead them to true love
Let their path be free from rigidities
Let them live out of the closet
With dignity and respect
Without interrogative disrespect
Yes we all are human
Only if we are compassionate
Only if we understand
Nothing else matters….
Let all live a life they deserve as humans
Let all live with affection
With freedom

With true love.