The Pickle Jar- Part 1

short story, part 1 ,pickle jar, indiblogger

I was ten back then when I found out about the pickle Jar. Was it a boon or a curse?

It was a long way back home, dwarfed by the immense power of destiny, covered in a muddied ragged shirt. I contemplate on my journey so far. The other side of the hill was longing for my return. Two hills away is where I come from, my small village and my home, a small hut built of mud and sand, the one that often shook when the monsoon winds blew. A spare key to the latch was hidden in the creeks of the southern wall over which wild flowers grew. The light hardly made its rays persistent in that dark space inside. It was always foggy and damp but warm. Warm because in it was love. My mother’s love who would often be found preparing a meal or cleaning that tiny space off the dust.

Draped in a cotton saree and her nose ring shining through the darkness, we would find serenity in her arms. I was ten back then. When her light brown eyes brimmed of tears when she heard me run.

“I want to go” I had thundered that night. Father was still in his deepest sleep, that was when his snores would deafen our ears.

“You are just a kid, you do not the know the world outside” She smiled at first, thinking it as a childhood rant.

I knew that smile. That was never going to change. It would be foolish of me to convince her. Naren uncle had promised a better life, better home, better food in the city. I would return when I would have got everything. Being the oldest amongst the four children. I decided to run.

Back then I thought I was brave and determined.

It was a five-day journey on foot and 2 days on the vehicle. Bandra, the city, a home awaiting my arrival. So that night, I packed my bags with curried potatoes, dry rotis and left over ragi ball that was preserved for the next day’s morning ragi malt. Now for that treasure that promised me riches. I steadily walked through the small place, hopping around the sleepy legs of my siblings. My mother turned in her sleep while my father’s snore had reached the cow in the backyard. everything was in place. I climbed the walls of the hut, it was a bricky and an easy climb, at the end of the rack above was an earthen pot, the big one that would fill water for the house for two days. I clenched my teeth and drew it near me. It was heavy and bottom of which creak-traced the muddied rack above.

There you go, I heaved as I pulled it closer to me. tied a thread around the nook and slowly left it down to the floor. Is it really the pickle, a tiny voice in my mind screamed. My parents would always talk about the pickle they stored on the rack above. The one that promised us a better life. We never tasted the pickle though.

It was the money. I knew it for father always used to climb up with pennies jingling in his pocket and climbed down empty except making a grinning face of how tasty the pickle was.

And one night I heard them talk about the money saved in the pickle jar and how it would help us all in the future. The future where I would be married off and my sisters to a well settled family. The importance of it faded as the vision of the tall buildings and luxury cars raced in my eyes. I wanted them all.

Thirteen years later, I am coming back home, to where I belong. To the place that taught me to smile and to trust. The place that was showered with blessings of a smile that guarded our family. It has been a long time indeed.

To be continued…

 

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Guardians of Your Health

Living an healthy lifestyle is the most cliched topic for all families over the years. If coconut oil to your hair or a ragi ball to your stomach is meant to keep you healthy, it is the wisdom from our grandmothers. If a peg can keep you warm and healthy during the cold winters, the grandpas up for the wisdom mike.

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Health and being healthy has been on a constant roll for over the years, through the generations where our parents thought exercise will reach the necessary health criteria. The definition chameleoned when our seniors hit the gyms or the posh lady next door chose water aerobics in the pool.

But have you known a secret, of the  people who cook in the house have a power to save you. They are the guardians of your health. If they mess up on one single thing. From the vegetables that is to be washed  to the oil used that controls the cholesterol in your body. The family suffers. The ladies in the house hold up that responsibility in most Indian families.

And we all stand as an yield of the years experiment on us. The food we eat to the computer games that we choose to live in. Everything has overcome a massive change over the years.

Today, the world hasn’t remained the same and so has the beliefs or the practices carried like a mane has been so.

The dominos and burritos took over the ragiballs. The yearlong parties took over the winter pegs. The automatic vibrating machines took over the exercises. Oh right, the facebook scrolling became the new thumb trend for exercise. Phew, but we are still sane to get back to reality.

It’s all about balance.

I have a regime of my own. In a busy schedule that my day is packed with. I still find time. Defining an healthy lifestyle cannot be generalized and for me, staying fit and healthy is about balance.

A good night’s sleep and a morning walk, sometimes replaced with yogasanas for the flexibility starts my day. It is then progressed with a glass of warm milk, stealing the wits of my grandma, using a pinch of turmeric and a bit of crushed peppers during winter.

A daily routine that doesn’t glue me to the incessant calls or the frantic deadlines is something I dream of for my family memebers. To have something that can make you work without being worked up, a job that you like. Or you tend to like the job you already have, period.

You need a healthy heart and a fit body. Walk around often when you have to sit for longer times. Include raw vegetables to a quarter of the breakfast. It has been a blessing to the family. Yes, I will opt for junk foods, once in a fortnight maybe. But the veggies and greens with broccoli and eggs will be a part of the healthy diet. Not every day will be only noodles and omelets. But of the rich culture my ancestors have passed on. With a snack every day, sometimes with green tea or few more times with French fries and deep fried treat to our palates. With the right cooking oil and perfect tissue base, we eat to our heart’s content.

Then the day vapourises with laughter and merry with family and friends. A day with learning one new thing at a time. A day with some time for yourself. Maybe I will sing with my coarse voice or read a book in the shower. Or follow my passion with a bit of writing compensating with a bit of gardening.

That, my friend is a day well spent. That is a day well maintained and being mentally and physically healthy. It is all about balance. You are going to change tracks, we are all going to mess it up but we will find our balance, through and through. Balance has it all.

And finally meet one person after retiring for the day who can take all my craziest ideas and laugh at my serious decisions and put me to a sound sleep as I listen to his healthy heartbeat.

I have a last thought before falling to a deep sleep. It is about the guardians of your health. When Good brands promise you of health, accept it, trust it and use it. Because they hold the same responsibility as the person who cooks the daily food with it.

After-all, if you are healthy, so will your family be. If you are happy, so will your family be. So don’t forget to take care of yourself.

I am joining Saffola #ApneTareekeSeHealthy  initiative and sharing my ways of being healthy in association with BlogAdda.

The Fly Called Failure

failure,success,motivation,inspiring,definition

Every time in life, when I need to accomplish certain thing. It might be work of great importance to me or as simple as passing on a glass of water. The perception remains the same. I need to be there for my people. The world as such is a mirror and the more I smile, the more happiness I tend to share. But very often we are weighed down by the circumstances or twists that destiny has to offer and we meet Failure.

In this journey we will fail and I assure you that you will not be able to escape it. You go down the stairs, take a right turn and there it is. Your failure waiting to lurk in like a phantom and gobble you up. But the most important lesson we ought to learn is that, the specific place where we fall down has something great to offer us. That lesson will take us forward. That knowledge will be the beacon for the rest of the journey. So get up and start again for you can never escape failure or death. The motto here is to keep moving, just keep your head straight and keep delivering what is meant from you.

But what you need to remember is that, not to take your failures personally. Do not ever abuse yourself mentally or physically over what you lost. It was not you. It was just a stupid decision or an unplanned endeavor or even perhaps just not the road for you. But what lays ahead of you is much more important and of great value than compared to a past or the present that you are succumbing into.

It is the respect that you earn for yourself is what is important. You  must be in a position to thank your younger self. Take that you are in your thirties and hitting the gym. The fifty year old will be thankful to you for keeping his heart and liver healthy. The twenty is old will be thankful to the eight year old you to have had the guts to bunk your classes and reach out for that dance classes.

Creativity and talent are boons that needs harnessing and uplifting. If you shove it away, you can kill yourself but not that person inside you who full of energy, full of ideas and an epitome of positivism.

Fail and fail as many times you want but make sure you rise up like a fire. View the failure to be as mere as fly, let it go. Don’t hang on over it.And that, my friends is taking failure the right way. It is called success. It is all about the ability to  think, talk and do things alike. Keep a promise and deliver the promise and that’s it. For there is a saying

If you hang around the barber shop long enough, you will get your turn for that haircut.

So just don’t quit and keep moving.

” So Until Next-time”

photo credit: William M Ferriter Failure is Overrated via photopin (license)

An Activist and the Last Rain

agriculture,social evils,sacrifice,activist,rain,superstitions

The curtains yielded flowers, white, yellow and red but anything beyond those drapes only had barren brown to offer.

The earth is cracked and dry with no rain to heal. Sometimes lush green is a temporary illusion. It has been three years since it last rained. Children of my family have shrunken with bones stuck out and eyes bereaved of moisture.

The ladies walk miles everyday for the water. It was the worst drought of the decade. And I still think I’m lucky for none in my family have ever complained about it. But today my oldest daughter came in with a face that spoke of drained energy, ailments and dreaded life I pushed them into.

“Father, can’t we leave this place and go find a job in the city?” She pondered.

“And what skill do we have to survive there, my dear? I know how to yield, plough and gather weeds. Nothing beyond it.

“Mother and I can weave,” She sighed and picked up the clothes for cleaning the floor.

I took her near me, she was merely ten, her deep brown eyes had lost the moisture to even cry. Her dusty hairs weaved a story of strong winds and dusty land. Her darkened shrivelled skin made me wonder if she had grown older than she is.

” Where shall we live then, my dear. We have no relatives who would help us. There is no land in the city to plough, only tarred roads and plenty of vehicles. But there, it rains!”

We both knew that we understood life beyond it offers us the chance to realize. But I had to instill the lost faith in her. We were waiting, waiting too long for the last rain. It would make them believe again. Of miracles and life and the moisture in the eyes.

My beloved wife prayed day and night while I stared into the vast skies. And one day, there was a new sparkle in my family’s eyes. A sparkle that was lost. I hurried outside to see if it rained. No, but my family said they heard of a rumor. The rain god had asked for a sacrifice or so the village priest said.

I was taken aback. A sacrifice? For the rain. Pitying their false hopes. It was a social evil.

“Whom are they to sacrifice? A chicken, a goat or a sheep?” I asked her as I munched over the last morsel of rice and potato curry.

“That is to be decided tomorrow, at the panchayat” She smiled.

I felt something fishy. An urge to move out of the village occurred. Later that evening another rumor spread. The family that the gods decided for the sacrifice was ours. It seemed so that we had sinned. The gods came in the dream of the village head-priest. Both our families were rivals from decades.

I  had to leave. It was time. I packed the rugged clothes, picked up my three year old son, woke up my wife and my two daughters. They were all in musky in their sleep. We fled that night.

I had set my own home on fire when I left and put in some bones of the goat that I had sacrificed.

Now that the sacrifice was done, not of my child but of the whole family in their eyes. I fled to the city, where superstitions and sacrifice were dormant. There we made a living. My girls weaved while I helped in construction.

Now, over the years, my first daughter is an activist against all these superstitious beliefs and she stages street plays in many villages. My second daughter whom I spent more time with opened her own classes of organic farming to the city folks. My son helps me in the market, selling seeds and pesticides. My wife was the change.

She met an activist when we fled to the city, and since then, she tried educating my kids, not on the various subjects of physics and mathematics but on what is essentially required to sustain and enrich lives. I fell in love with her again for I had never come across her beautiful and brave mind.

The last rain did occur in my village. It has rained since then, sometimes like a wrath, sometimes soft on the petal. Today my family are returning. My daughters with their powerful voices to change minds and my son’s tactic to a better agriculture will save us. Finally I hold my wife’s hand, she smiled beckoning my thoughts. And I knew, for an instance that I have won in Life:)

That one activist changed the way we live and how we perceive our lives else we would have been weaving on roads or spent my old-age being a mason on construction sites. She was barely seventeen and she worked for the society. Hoping to meet her again, the one who inspired my daughters to fight, the one who filled my wife to stand as our biggest support. Let her live in peace!

photo credit: roseannadana P6030012.bwsm via photopin (license)

The Flight

Not once did it occur to me,
A myth so profound to be true,
Flipping past the dreams, once dreamt;
Accepting a sanctum that never was mine.
Secure I was now, in their eyes;
Disturbingly insecure, in mine.


Not once did the wise old society deter,
While shoving me into the daily regime.
Dragging through the infinite circle,
Knocked in the monotony and a soulless journey,
Sophisticated I was now, in their eyes;
Disturbingly retarded, in mine.


Not once did the magnificent currency,
Nor the custom-tailored suits free me.
Strangled by the company tie and a huge bonus.
Fingers mine, set to last on the keyboard!
Fortunate I was, in their eyes;
Miserably unfortunate, in mine.


Not once, did a small flutter leave me,
Resilient through the polemical thunder.
Colors defined me, Art never left my side.
Slowly from under the shadows, A light found me.
Crazy I was, in their eyes
Finally sane, in mine.


The Flight was taken bereft of the compelling chains!

Born In My Heart- Adoption

adoption, mother-daughter bond,short story

I heard a whimper at the corner. A silent cry. She wiped away her sparkling tears as they strolled down her pink cheeks.

“Mom, I scored a C minus this time” She scratched the floor below and handed over the progress card.

“Is dad going to be mad at me. Please tell him not to put me into boarding” Her squeaky voice melted my heart. She was adopted when she was four. She doesn’t know that. I will let her know but her tears now had to be wiped.

Not through an ice-cream nor a hug. She needed a letter for a lifetime.

So I made her some hot chocolate milk and smiled at her marks. It was time to grow, to accept the truth. I sit down to write a letter while she sloppily drags herself into her room.

Dear Rithi,

It’s ok, how should I tell you that it’s ok to be imperfect. It is ok if you are going through a bad phase in life. It’s ok to shut yourself up and do nothing. It’s ok to cry.

It’s ok to fail as long you know that you can try again, that you will be able to cross the hurdle.

It’s ok to cry as long as you know that your face would brighten up with a sweetest smile.

It’s ok to fail as long you have faith in yourself to bounce back, brighter and higher.

It’s ok to be imperfet as long as you know that everybody is same as you, imperfect in their own ways, pretty in the most unique way, trustworthy with time and embedded with flaws, as same as you. It’s ok to be imperfect for none in the whole world is perfect.

As long as the truth is known, nothing can be hidden, nothing can be taken away. What is yours will stay so. What is written in your destiny will be fulfilled. And in our destiny was written a beautiful angel. Dear, you weren’t born to me. I didn’t raise you for nine months in my body, but you were born in my heart. We share a bond. You were adopted when you were four and you are the best thing happened to me.

It has come as a shock to you but give it some time and you will see, with that little hope that you squandered under the bed. Life decides to surprise you with the only thing you have always longed for in the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways. You were that most beautiful thing that happened to me and your dad at the most dreadful times.

And your C minus is just a grade and I know you are capable of more, or much more any field that your heart chooses. Just one more thing. Come-on, we aren’t going to send you to a boarding school. Who put that idea into you? I need answers lady!

So gather up all the courage and stand back, lean to a wall if you must but just promise me that you won’t give up. Know your stances, make genuine moves and take alll the little things with you, your courage, your sparkle in your eyes and the fear beating in your heart.

There is a new ice-cream parlour that opened up today around the old church. Ditch your old sweaters and put on the new blue ones I have kept for you! See you there:)

Your Mom!

 

160 Drafts

There was a flip of the pages in the calendar. The month of June showed a colorful paper aircraft  flown over the garden, a message of creativity and nature go hand in hand. How fast the time flew, I reckon it to be a  magician, capable of healing, hurting, reminding, forgetting, creating, destroying absolutely anything, anything in this universe. AND probably the person who can control time is whom I call GOD.

Have we met him then, the controller of time. Even the myths and the holy books says that even god abides by the Horrendous time. Having heard of time machines and time travelling. If that were to be true. I bow to the creator. But why is it most of the times, that we age on earth and time acts differently in other parts of the universe. It sure is a uncertain entity to be defined.

I would go mad in just attempting to solve this entity.

So I would rather not and be awed by the mysteries the nature has to offer. It is almost end of June. And I’m still uncertain of what tomorrow has to offer and what today was all about. In this infinite circle, I slowly pack my bags, unpack it, flip it over and again get ready for the journey. This is going to be a lame post, a small voice squeaks at the back of my mind. But it matters little to me now. With 160 drafts staying unedited and unattended to, leaves a scar on my dreams!

So, as long as I try, as long as I fail. I am on the right track. But being on the right track and sitting like a log will have any train run over me!

So this is an effort to keep going! Thanks to my friends and family for sucking up all my moodswings and still say that I can do it!

Somebody once told me that if you encourage a person with his positive sides and so subtly inform him about the drawbacks. He will rise like a strong tide.

And so this week is all about getting back, writing anything and everything  and having the nuts to publish the same.