Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Girl In The Painting

The day was crisp and bright. It always would be; those warm lights made it look same all the year round. The gallery would have visitors walking casually from one spot to another; posing, staring, gawking and what not. 

She looked at the two pair of eyes staring in her direction. She was not intimidated; she was waiting - patiently. The expressions were too subtle for anyone but her to notice. It was a slight shift of eyebrow; tilt of neck; leg shift. She just saw and smiled. 

First pair of eyes was actually fixed upon her whereas the second pair of eyes was looking beyond her. She was intrigued to know what was behind her but she could never. It was just words that made her imagine what was behind her. Ah! Yes she felt it too - all the time. 

“The artist is gifted” she finally heard first guy’s words of wisdom. 

Ah! The typical opening sentence’ How she wished to roll her eyes.

“I agree” the second masculine tone responded in consensus.

“I mean look at the scene! What detailing! I can see the grains of sand in the air. The breeze is visible. These sand dunes are radiating the heat of sun. I could feel the heat” the first guy’s intonation was subtle.

Could he? He was standing in an air-conditioned space with a soothing music playing in the background.’ The girl wondered. 

“I am spell bound by the girl” the second was still staring the girl. “She is completely covered in black. Artist has created magic with his brush strokes.” “Her hair strands; her dress” he was still in there “He conveys such a strong message by making her hold her own hands” He paused to articulate his deep thoughts “She is holding herself together; strong and steady in conditions like this” He sighed “Her smile makes her so desirable.”

The girl wanted to blush; the word ‘desirable’ always tickled her senses. 

“I guess it is her smile that makes the entire scene so pleasant” he finally gave his closing statement. The girl wanted to smile more but couldn’t.

“Or maybe it is not so hot in there. The scene is so pleasing that she has a reason to smile” The first guy proposed his theory. All the thoughts paused in her mind for a moment. She wanted …to contradict; to argue; to speak. 

She saw them walking away from her. She sighed. It was nothing new; people coming; staring; commenting - all in days work. Even if she wanted, she wouldn't be able to - how could she? She was framed...Literally!

But she waited for a different part of the day. After a long silence and stretch of darkness, she would see a different set of light illuminating the entire gallery. It would be different from the lights that worked when people passed. This was much softer; grainy and yet soothing. It made everything look so different. The cleaning person would wipe, scrub, paint and buff the things around trying to make them look as they should. The sound he made was not very pleasing but her eyes would wander and then would fix on her favorite painting. It was not only hers but most of the visitors favorite as well. 

The painting had the bright sun; the green canopy of trees through which the sunlight sieved and reached the colourful flowers budding, flowering and withering away at the same time. Those tiny creatures fluttering above those flowers intrigued her the most. ‘How can it have so many colours…’ her wishes were unsaid; unrealistic and unacknowledged even by herself.

It was something different that morning. She was not sure what. She saw that thing. It was so similar to that painting; the small thing that fluttered over the flowers.

“Here comes a butterfly” cleaning man mumbled.

Butterfly’ she repeated. Her eyes followed that butterfly all the way up and down; sideways and far away. 

‘So many colours!’ she mumbled again. She saw the butterfly coming towards her. She was not sure if she wanted her to get that close to butterfly. But the butterfly fluttered her wings and she was spellbound; it came and sat so close to her; she was not sure if it was right or not. She looked at the cleaning man who was busy with his work and paid no interest. She was nervous; she was uneasy. Never ever in her life someone has dared to get that close to her. 

She finally looked beyond that. She looked at those wings; the colors were magical and then the butterfly moved her wings lightly. The colors dusted off on her. It was something she always desired for but never dreamed of. It was her unspoken wish that came true. She was soaked in the colors. 

The girl looked at the butterfly and then she looked at herself. It has wings whereas her hands were locked. 

‘It can fly anytime it want to and I won’t be able to do anything’ the thought was scary. She wanted to unlock her hands and hold it with her hands; never to let it go. 

Helplessness - yes she had that annoying feeling many times before but this time it was beyond bounds. 

The hue of colors was masked by her black dress and she liked the fact because she didn't want to share them with anyone. They were her colors - ‘Am I being selfish’ she pondered. 

Soon the butterfly opened her wings and took off for it had better places to go. She looked at it scattering away all the colors creating a trail wherever it went. 

The days and nights were as they were. People came and talked about many things; they even talked about her desirable looks – she listened and she smiled…

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Jack and His Beans

Fee – Fi - Fo – Fum! The devils bowed down before the Jack..and he lived happily ever after.

We all know the story of Jack and the beanstalk. How he went to sell his cow and came back with the beans and the elderly of the house was disappointed and threw the beans out of the house. Rest is history. The beans grew; Jack climbed and became immortal in the pages of fairy tales.

I have a theory about these tales – they can be interpreted the way we want to. So I always see this story as follows

Every child in this world is Jack. He has a cow which is the family inheritance he gets. Now he can milk the cow and the story ends. But for any reason he cannot milk the cow, he goes in the market and comes back with the beans. The beans are his potential. At this point an elder who can be his parent or teacher plays the most important role. The original story simply overlooks this and focuses on the struggles Jack faces all his life. What if we fine tune the story there?

So, once Jack opens his palm and shows his beans to the elder, they can -

1. Throw the beans just like the story. But not every story is a fairy tale ending. So the beans can grow or simply dry up under the heat of life.


2. They can help the child to sow the bean deep; nurture it with compassion; water it with the sweat of their hard work and make him strong enough to climb up all the way without stumbling and be strong to make the devils bow down before him. The result will be a new story written for every Jack with the ending...he lived happily ever after.

Let the child explore his potential; just guide him to nurture his passion and work towards shaping it as his future. I am sure we will not only see a happy and successful child but a better and more prosperous society.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Safe @Home

Words - mainly created to help us understand this world better. Every word has a designated meaning, which authenticates its own existence. Some words as uttered, also evoke emotions, we are conditioned to react in a particular way, the moment we hear them. For instance the word SAFE – we feel protected, secure. It soothes our senses, as we hear “you are safe now!” wow! What feeling!

Once I accompanied a friend of mine, to a button shop. As she chose different laces, buttons, borders, I couldn’t resist my temptation and bought a few, without knowing what I will do with them. Since I had some change in my pocket which sufficed the amount I had to pay, I cleared my bill and looked at her. She was busy in her treasure hunt, looking for the change in her wallet, which was open wide on the counter of the shop and a thick bundle of green notes peeking out from the opposite side of the wallet. It was the attention grabber and as I looked up, an odd bunch of people were looking at it as well, including the shopkeeper. The moment froze for the moment, while I felt the chill. Now damage was done, and pin pointing her mistake there would not only made it embarrassing for her, but could highlight it even more and create more problems. So without reacting, I waited for her to clear her bill. Although we were supposed to buy few more things, I insisted to go back home.

It was odd one km walk from that button shop to home, but I can say the longest distance I had ever felt. I wanted to sprint away from her, declaring she is not with me, but friends don’t do that. I just insisted her to walk a bit fast down the deserted alley. My anxiety was clearly reflecting on my face, she noticed and asked “stomach problem?” I looked at her, thinking of a very good reply, but just nodded so she could cope up with my speed. Every bike or walking shadow, as passed by, made me skip a beat. I was so scared that day that if any stranger had stopped me to ask the time even, I would have given him all my valuables and begged him for mercy of my life. The last thing I wanted to do was to die because of someone else’s stupidity!

Finally we reached home, and I started breathing again. After cooling down my nerves I calmly explained the situation to my friend, and she realized her mistake. May be it will help her in future, but yes, I was safe now. I was in my home. A place I have secured and I am comfortable and not scared of anyone or anything. Whether it is irregular maid, or non satisfactory service by electrician, plumber or carpenter, I can grab the collar and make him understand his mistake fearlessly, as it is my area, my home, my authority. Don’t mess with me here. Yes, I hear and read all the time, how someone was brutally murdered in their own home while they were sleeping. I have even shared the grief of a family friend who was in Dubai for his job assignment and his two toddler kids were waiting outside the play school, waiting for their mother to pick them up, while she was brutally murdered in her own house in daylight by a computer service man over a dispute of non satisfactory service. Which brings me to question “Is home really a safe place?” or is it a blind eye optimism we are living with. With time, I have realized that few things can help you avoid some unpleasant incidents, and I am practicing those. A lady alone at home is not at times safe. I am sharing it here, in a hope it might help someone:

  1. If a serviceman is entering your house – do not hesitate to check the ID card. Don’t bolt or close the main door. If possible inform your neighbor about his presence.

  2. Keep a kitchen knife or something similar handy or in your range.

  3. If more than one serviceman are there, request and permit only one to enter. If they are logical, they will completely understand and co-operate with your request.

  4. For maids, many things are suggested by police, depends on you how you judge and comply.

A few might laugh reading above. Yes most of us don’t give a sh*t till we become one. We cannot change the destiny. Anything can happen to anyone anywhere, but surely it should not be because of our carelessness or stupidity. We are safe wherever and whenever we feel we are. It is a feeling we sometimes create for ourselves and for those we love.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Other Man

Once upon a time, there was a flock of city dwelling birds. Every morning they would chirp and chatter upon trees, window sills, ledges of balconies and wires that webbed the city. They knew they would be fed for there were some godsend people who would carry a bag, off-white cotton cloth out of which each grain inside would impregnate an impression for them to see.

So, as the time bracket it was – the flock had blessing of two people who would sit all day on a bench taking out handful of grains at a time and splattering it all around on the ground till the last of it rolled out.

‘The One Man’ had the ripest and crispiest grains their beak could ever get. “The Other man’s’ grains could never ever match those yet they always tasted better. As the birds be, they never discussed or divided over this, they just came ate and flew.

Now, ‘The one man’s’ bag never went back empty for ‘The other man’ always folded it and kept it in pocket before leaving for the day. ‘The one man’ waited for the last of the flock, the greediest of them all to stay till the end and before it knew he would grab it and put it in his bag for the dinner he was going to have. ‘The other man’ went back with the thought that he would come back tomorrow again to repay the one who was feeding him every night.

Now, the flock was not that intelligent. They didn't have names, they didn't do the head count, they didn't look around to see if someone was missing.

So one evening when the flock was flying back to their destination they saw ‘The one man’ walking with a bag. It was not empty, although the sun was setting but they thought may be he was extra generous that day so they decided to visit him. As they descended down towards him, they saw that bag no longer had the impression of grains but a shadow of what looked like them. Each one saw a reflection of self trapped inside.

They no longer remembered the man who fed them each day; they were not worried for the next day that might not get them the ripest and crispiest grains they waited for. Even I don’t know what made them attack him – was it the love for the fellow of the flock or the anger for the breach of trust or the vengeance - for he was never seen in that city again.

‘The other man’ well he sat there everyday for the rest of his life. I don’t know what happened to him either but hearsay is he felt the wings of phoenix that encased him before it turned to ashes, to be reborn again.

I so wish…
~  The world was much simpler.
~  ‘As you sow so shall you reap’ worked for everyone.
~  The malice could be trapped and cornered that easily.
~  The world didn't divide over the judgement.The motive was not captioned as ‘symbiotic relationship’ or the bird deserved to die because it was ‘greedy’.
~  The world become more compassionate and thankful for what they have and gave it back selflessly.
~  Lastly, each one gets the death they deserve!

So, I wish…

Image Source : Google Images.

Sunday, 1 February 2015


A small boy in a tiny village in remote corner of the world decided to explore. So, he circled around his house; then headed towards the broken narrow dusty path. He was amused to see everything that came in his way. Finally he crossed the fields and stood midst a jungle. The sunlight played hide and seek through the canopy of tall trees. Then he saw something.

“A moving rock” he whispered to himself. The unusual oval shaped rock with an intricate pattern moved slowly. He went close and saw a pair of paws and a head peeping out for a fraction but before he could make out anything it went in and the rock was rock again.

Boy could not leave it there, for him it was a magic unwinding.

He carried it all the way home. He wanted to see what was inside. So he poked it with a stick, needled it with a twig, submerged it in water but nothing happened. He shook it up and and shook it down but finally sat down with a frown!

His grand ma was sitting on a side, watching his tricks and was getting amused.

“Amma, what is this?” he finally went to her to seek some wisdom.

“Kachhua” She spoke in hindi – “Yes a tortoise” She smiled.

“What should I do to see him come out” the boy asked

“Keep it in sun on the grassy patch and come and sit with me” she instructed and he obediently followed.

After sometime the boy saw the head coming out slowly. He started moving on his pace and the boy was thrilled.

“How did it happen?” he looked at his grandma. What his endless efforts could not do, she did it without doing anything.

“Give them a little space and warmth and they will open up” she smiled and the boy got a new friend ‘Kachhua’

Inside us there is a ‘Kachhua’ - Living in a shell trying to protect our self, refusing to come out if pushed or poked but with little space, little warmth, little trust and little compassion – we end up finding a friend for life.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Looking Through The Glass

“Nothing external to you has any power over you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

She stood there – her eyes widened. She saw this day after day yet her amazement glittered with the lights she saw. It was the same set up. She could hear a distinct Sarangi sound in her backdrop. Her eyes pierced through the tinted glass she could never dare to touch. A chandelier sparkled like so many tiny suns dangling together. Doesn't it dazzle the people in there? The question popped in her mind every time she saw it. The dull yellow walls were adorned with some canvas. The colorful lines etched on the canvas made no sense to her.She tilted her face to a side, hoping it might make some sense today but as always it didn't.

It was always lively at this time. The black and golden uniformed men with silver trays and expensive fragile white crockery maneuvered around with perfection. The speed with perfection, nothing ever broke, nobody ever bumped into each other. The food that came out of those metal doors gave a distinct white smoke; she always took a deep breath in a hope to know how it smelled.

Those tables with chairs and sofas neatly arranged; the soft fabric with intricate rich pattern and cushioned backs so that one could lay back and relax. The people sitting always looked so happy, talking, laughing. She could not hear them yet feel the vibrations through the glass. A cake appeared with sparkles burning bright and heads turned; smiles widened - all the lips moved together, hands synchronized the claps; how she always wished to know what those words were; hugging, kissing, wishing, it was always the same, the faces changed, that’s it! The chocolate crumbles were scattered on the off-white table mats. Everyone wished and settled down.

Her eyes moved to another table, the long glasses with golden bubbly liquid clanked together and everyone’s lips moved in sync with the hands that held the glasses up high. The excitement traveled through those sound proof barriers.

A couple in a corner, holding hands, A family with kids holding the menu card taller than them, everyday she saw something new in those old set ups. She didn't know what yet it was very intriguing.

A few silver haired were talking with half baked smiles, the wrinkles on their forehead would appear and re-appear. A few ladies huddled together in a group would smile, talk but she never understood why they touched other’s jewelry and why pride encapsulated that moment. Filling in between were a few busy in their own world with glow on the face; a white or a blue hue, coming from the phone which lit up their faces. They were not bothered with anyone present there; they were definitely not there. Their expressions never synchronized with rest. A few irritated gazes were passed on by the mothers who had given up running after their never tired kids to the never bothered fathers and the action to the reaction was worth not blinking!

The uniformed person would serve the food and everyone would be distracted. The shiny cutlery would now shine and people would now nod more and speak less. The hand gestures, smiles and neck movements made her understand the conversation more than before.

A hand touched her hair and she looked back and smiled. The hand with rough fingers - a familiar touch; she didn't hesitate to hold those fingers. A crumpled newspaper opened before her and she relished every bite. Someone extended her a half finished cup of ice-cream and she happily took it. Finally a cotton rug was spread on the pavement and she lied down with her head rested in the lap. The sarangi tune played once again, a soft and smooth lullaby that made her sleep. A smile floated on her lips as she felt those fingers moving in her hair.

I waited for my bill, I was suffocating; the loud music - why couldn't they play something soft instrumental. Those intoxicating food aromas blended with smoke and sweat and a room freshener failing to suppress those. I took a deep breath every time the door opened to grab my share of fresh air. Those fake smiles and narcissistic people who were judgmental about everything said and not said. Those irrelevant nods pretending to hear while their eyes were glued on the phone made me nauseous. I looked away in hope to see something beyond – and froze for a moment. All I could see was me in search of something in the reflection of the glass. Was that the answer? Look inside rather searching out.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Platter Is Served..Enjoy!

“Life is all about choices we make”. Yes, we have choices. We can choose. In this world where we live have a multidimensional kaleidoscope and I guess so has every single quote - a different dimension. Every mind has its own way of interpreting and understanding the world from its own dimension.

As a mother of two, I always chose to be mother above everything else. ‘Everything' – it meant my love for my kids was above the books I loved to sleep and wake up with, the unexplored world I dream of, the words I always loved to play with. I often had choices but I always felt that being the mother is the right choice.

The greatest lessons of life that we learn come when we least expect them and from people we could hardly imagine from. They need not rattle us instantaneously always; sometimes a soft nudge is enough to change the path.

It was the time when my son was six year old, old enough to understand the directions yet young enough to resist the temptations. His weakness for sweets made it at times tough for me to handle him but at the same time love him even more.

One fine day he came and asked for more than one dessert after his meal. He saw pastries in the fridge and knew about the laddoos I made for him.

I told him “You can have laddoo OR pastry” he nodded and went. Later I saw him enjoying a laddoo.

After some time when I checked my refrigerator there was an anomaly in the number of pastries I last checked.

So I asked if he had relished one.

He answered “yes”

It was for the first time he disobeyed me – yes it was bit perturbing.  

“Aryan I asked you to have either one but not both” I reasoned him.

He innocently replied “You said you can have laddoo OR (Aur/and) Pastry. So you only told me to have both”

I was not ready for this reply. “Aryan I meant OR – means either of two and not Aur as in Hindi that means ‘and’ ”

“How do I know that ma” he simply shrugged.

I opened my mouth but had nothing to say. It was simple interpretation.  Language was not a barrier; mind simply understood what it wanted to. I could not do anything but frown with the thought “Englis is a phunny language”

Although I made the concepts clear for him for the future but this Or/Aur conflict bugged me somewhere subconsciously. Why, I could not figure out.

A few days later it was a casual meet of the mothers in the garden area where kids,family and maids are the prime topics of discussion, rose a topic where I started ‘I wanted to do something but you know I had to choose being mother OR….

I stopped! I could not speak further. I figured out what was wrong. I had whole concept mistaken. Life is all about choices, but life has given us the opportunity to choose none to infinite. There is no lower and upper limit in choosing. We can choose nothing OR everything. We can choose this and that and the list might trail beyond the horizon.

In this world the word ‘choice’ mostly entitles us to choose between one OR another but this life has a different meaning of ‘choice’ – it lays a platter in front of us and smiles at us letting us pick one or handful – that depends on us. It depends on you - you can #UseYourOr OR #UseYourAnd

This time I chose to be a student who continued her studies and completed a two year degree with 8.6 CGPA. I chose to be a writer who always felt good after writing. I chose to be an independent person who explored the world around her on her own. I chose to be a teacher who always felt that her little contribution might make a small difference in the society. AND I never stopped being the mom I always was and will be. There is much more in store for me because this OR/AUR – has a different meaning now and I am still learning to pick my choices from the platter till my hands are full.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.
Theme - Journey from ‘OR’ to ‘AND’