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)

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!

 

The Lucky Star

“Twelve”

She counted on her tiny fingers, tracing the paths she had just taken in the villa. It was the most spacious thing she had come across in all her 10 years of life. The rooms were like cities, wide, alarming and drool worthy in all its architectural status. She called the big villa as her castle.

“Twelve, it is” she reassured herself and said it aloud, biting her lips, crossing her fingers and anticipating a broad smile from her new teacher.

“Are you sure, young lady? For If you must be wrong then you need to write 21 horses and their talks a hundred times.”

An old man with the receding hairline and graying beard eyed her with a hidden smile.

“Yes Teacher, it is 12, 2 in the hallway, 4 on the way to the biggest rooms in the castle and one each in all the six rooms” She had to be right. She shuddered at the thought of the 100 times she was to write the 18th-centuryfiction, short story, inspiration, writers, authors, oneshots poem.

Mr. Goving Aarya rose up, towering the tiny girl. With his glazing brown supporting stick and a well-tailored suit, he tried to look young but none of them did the charm except the pride that was now dancing on his face.

He had caught her.

“There are thirteen turquoise blue Italian jars dear, you forgot the one in this very room, there on the highest shelf” He held her towards the expensive jars and found her face drop in a second.

” A hundred times it is” She sighed.

“A hundred times it is, dear” He smiled.

Heaving a sigh of relief and studying the retreating shadow of the girl, made his face glow with a shine, a kind of shine one gets to see when someone knows their bright future.

He was preparing a gem for the literature world.

Having published 20 books and a few accolades in his name. His skills had only sharpened as he had outlived his peers. A divorcee at 30 and kids in far away lands, none had inherited is writing skills. And deep down he knew he was the reason for it all.

His fame had him under its spell and that is why commitment was just a fun word back then.

But the raging time promised him the graying hairs, weakened knees, shivering lips, trembling fingers and sleepless nights.

He would barely write now, with creativity at bay, he longed for his family but it was too late. That was when he met her.

The girl on the streets, begging, trying to read articles out of scrapped papers, stolen glances to the textbooks of the wealthy school going kids. Govind had noticed her on his way to the park for his morning walk, intrigued by her commitment and interest. He once took her to the library and her sparkle in the eyes assured him of the hidden potential in her.

From then onwards, there was no turning back. He adopted the orphan, fed her with literature, put her to sleep singing Shakespeare and triggered the writer in her. He was on a mission., to carve out the best diamond from the nugget.

“She would remember me for this or maybe she will forget me one day like my kids but my heart is finally at peace.”

He retired to his cane chair, lost in thoughts while the future writer crooned on the long chair writing the poem a hundred times, savoring the intelligence of each line, lost in a world that her young mind imagined!

“I will always remember you for this punishment teacher” She yawned…

She just didn’t realize how her lucky star had brought her to her bright future, YET!

The Forgotten Window!

It felt fresh as the long night descended with a crisp of winter morning breeze. It whooshed its way through the broken glass of the forgotten window.

With my withdrawn eyes from the habituated look at the Ganesha idol on my table, I drift to the old teak cupboard situated at the north corner of my dim room. It was flaking brown, a bit of dampness at the back of it spoiled the edges of my neatly ironed shirts.fiction, one-shots, inspiring story, old-age, generation gap

A smile lit up as I knew they were never to be worn again, I was going back in time, flooded with memories of my childhood as the stream of morning light hit my light brown eyes.

My grandfather was still alive and healthy until I was seventeen. With the budding new mustache, there was a new love budding in my heart. Back then, every girl sporting long hairs and a bright smile were meant to be made for me. I smile at those days of daily crushes. And my grandfather was my guardian!

He was more a friend than the generation gap could define. He wrote letters and had me cycle my way near her house. He knew the art. After all my grandmother had fallen for all his efforts and still used to blush whenever she was reminded of it.

The cycle was a priceless possession for it came to me at the age of thirteen and I had cycled my way through the dense forests and roads bereft of people. The clink of the cycle gave me a strength that could have me face the fears of the silence in my world.

He fulfilled all the duties that my father thought was unnecessary. The same cycle took me to the barber shops, it took me to the Gemini circus where the monkeys had snatched my popcorn, it had taken us to the river banks that had crocodiles. My grandfather was an adventurous boy. Yes, a boy.

The best were the crisp night walks that we took after our dinner. He helped me break window panes and run like the little kids would. Even at the age of sixteen.

Then at the age of eighteen, I lost him and it was never the same again. I grew up and married. It has been so many years and he still stays alive.

As I look into the mirror, I smile for I resemble him. My grandson is sixteen now and it was time to meet him. For the first time.

They are settled in abroad and my son along with his family are to be here tonight. My wife departed a week ago and my son is arriving tonight!

I sigh, deeply hurt by the raging timeline!

But I promise that I will give the rest of my days to the grandson who has never met me. I will let him feel what it feels like to be adventurous and happy. I will let him know that the broken window panes give much joy than the seamless streaming of games online.

I will show him a new world through the forgotten window and things are never going to be the same.

I took my old camera, this will do the rest! I smiled as I drifted to a new dream!


photo credit: akigabo Longing via photopin (license)

Sparkle- A Shade Of Narcissism

Sparkle.

I named my new dog Sparkle. When my brother grimaced at my choice of the name for a ferocious looking german shepherd. There was a grin on my small face!

After all I had a reason to name him that. As I stood in front of the long mirror examining the woman I have grown into. Well defining features, authenticity in my being, the absence of the usual dove-like feminine features. A smile that could conquer a crowd. A perfect height and a dusky beautiful Indian skin-tone.fiction,one shots, motivational post, inspiring post, narcissm,

I might sound a bit narcissistic but hell with the society norms and the ideal pages from history. It is time to rewrite how we look at ourselves. Yes, we need to appreciate the beauty and we are skipping all the skinny, fair standards the magazines and the glamor world defines. I want everybody to look upto themselves for the beauty is authentic, it is formed and defined by the fights you fought, the tears your pillows embraced, the punches your punching bag silently took, the bruises that faded without notice, the smiles that enriched your life, the falls that taught you to pick yourself up.

Yes Everybody should have a shade of narcissism in them when it comes to how you look to the world. Create the world you want with whatever you have, however you are. Because you are not mere bones and muscles and skin tones, you are made of experiences and survival stories.

My survival through my ordeal had come by as a present in the beautiful package, yet there was something missing in the perfect reflection.

Yes.

The sparkle.

The bright sparkle in my eyes was lost surviving the ordeal. Hence I named my dog sparkle to remind me to embrace and regain the lost sparkle in my eyes and to light the world around me.

I was sure of the birth of the sparkle in my eyes as sparkle came running towards me and licked my legs!

Weed In The Lucifer Garden

There wasn’t much chaos in the city that day, everything was on a regular scale. People laughed. People boarded buses, little crowds involved in their own little worlds of disconnected lives.

Well, two days earlier, the same normalized streets were filled with crowds. They had slogans blaring in the air and traffic halted with much consent. There were rallies and silent prayers. Few of them threw stones at the public transport. The crowd was agitated, angry and most of all hurt.

Every other news channel telecasted a show on how the most upright policeman, Mr. Raghavendra was hunted down and slaughtered to death. This man was the real hero to the most of the city. Be it the hour before sunrise or that scary moment after midnight. ACP Raghavendra was always for the city.

Twitter garlanded him, the state government gave him laurels and Facebook gave him all the publicity. But the tiger was always focused on its prey. With his leadership, most of the illegal activities reduced down in scale. Murders and kidnaps were rare. Burglars became bankrupt again. And that is when everybody planned an assassination.

For the record, they weren’t petty roadies who hunted him down. But the media portrayed so. He wasn’t into any drugs, yet the postmortem doctors described it so. He wasn’t into any gambling and drinking yet his close ones portrayed him so.

Being a journalist myself. I couldn’t handle the wrong information the powerful media was spreading.

I had the proof.fiction, oneshot, short story, policemen, society

It was the government itself which had him eliminated. He was a weed in their Lucifer garden. Many of you have heard it. I will conclude it. Yes, there is a black government that runs after dusk. All the illegals meet, plan, target and eliminate people.

ACP Raghavendra was one of the many targets. The video file in my hard disk still lay in my backpack. But I’m still an intern. Will I be able to convey the real truth in comparison to the two-headed false new the society has accepted?

I clenched my teeth, for my own father was into the media, one of the best journalists ever. But anger seethed in me as I realized his true colors last night. An anonymous person had emailed it to him, and he chose to ignore the truth. I have vowed to deliver only the absolute truth, but here I stay as a witness to the crime. I am a greater culprit if I stay a witness and keep my mouth shut.

I reached office early, to redeem the truth. To set free a pure soul and protect his real identity.

“What are you doing here?” Mr. Madhavan. The best journalist in the whole world, to me.

My father.

” Nothing, just working on ACP Raghavendra’s case” I bluntly threw it on his face. Something I had never done. All these years I had great respect towards him.

“Sindhu! Stop it and give me the files” His voice growled. The first time in years.

“Oh, so you know! How can you do that dad” I confronted him and rushed to my cabin. The faster I upload it, the better chances for it to reach the crowds.

10%…20%…40%….

………………..

It was another day, and there was another weed to be eliminated. The evening newspapers carried the news of a love-struck young journalist who had jumped from the seventh floor of the Tony Media companies. The daughter of the legendary journalist Madhavan, who seem to have lost his mind and admitted to the asylum unable to withstand the loss of his daughter.

The truth was buried again!

What Sindhu never knew was that she was monitored the minute she entered the building. Her killer, the watchman, man from the lucifer garden!

And there still remains many such lucifers in the society. Should we ignore the atrocities or be another Sindhu!

In a dilemma, the new generation strives!

The Mid-Summer Stranger- OneShots

The mid-summer sun promises of much exhaustion, but that day. The Bangalore roads were traffic free. The reason, Bharath Bandh, so it wasn’t just Bangalore who had the benefit of crowd free roads but the whole country celebrated a moment.

But, there is a man with a story. He doesn’t catch anybody’s attention, his attire, simple and dirty. He could come by as a homeless traveler. The authentic cotton white hat adorned his head barely giving away his receding hairline. His long silver beard is dusty with the pollution in the scorching sun. As he crossed the road teary eyed, he coughs twice least bothered about the city etiquettes of covering his mouth.

He wipes off the shining sweat beads off his forehead and drags his way with all the weight his torn bags are carrying. He crosses the road a bit limping and weary eyes cautious of the speeding vehicles.

“Rajajinagar?” He tries stopping a rickshaw with a tired tone.

“Bharath Bandh”  a group of aggressive Patriots shouts slogans along the road.

Every shop was shut down, every mode of public transport was temporarily at a halt, and every other middle-class citizen had a problem with this.

I sit inside my AC filled car as I dodge the reclusive heat of the sun. All the designer wears on the online shopping venue doesn’t catch my attention as the struggling stranger does.summer day, bangalore, traffic, story, fiction, writer, blog, author

With a punctured wheel, I await the return of my driver who has taken ages to search for a garage that could replace my wheel and get me home to my loving family.

I observe the man as he struggles to find a way to commute.

“Madam, can you give me a lift. It is an emergency, and none of the buses are in movement” He narrated his state that  I was well aware of, in his broken Kannada language.

“Where to Sir?” I ask him, trying to quench my curiosity.

“Water madam” He almost begged. I withdrew my curiosity instincts and fetched a bottle from the back seat.

He gulped it down like an animal. I made him keep the bottle.

“Where to, Sir?”

“Rajajinagar” He squeaked

“But that is two hours away from here, and I’m not traveling that way” I made sure he understood my Kannada and gestured him the absent wheel of my red swift.

“Oh, how can I help you, madam.” It was a spontaneous reaction that fetched him the respect he deserved.

“Sir, It is ok. Let us sit under that shade of the tree until we find help” I lead him to the only tree on the roadside in the next 50 meters.

“The place where I come from has lots of trees and cleaner air to breathe. We have bullock carts that help us commute. But Bangalore is like abroad for us” He smiled as he reminisced his village.

I nod my head in an assertion.

“I came here to see my daughter who is in this city. I have her address as well. It has been ten years since I saw her. See. Also, I came here to give her these” He opened his dusty bag to fetch a three football sized watermelons.

“Why doesn’t she come home?”

“She married a Hindu, and I couldn’t forgive her for that. Allah Maaf Kare” He silenced with a prayer

“I can understand Hindi, and it happens. You realized, and you are going to meet her. That is really a good thing” I smile at his acceptance.

“I am too late madam. Today is her 23rd birthday, and she is no more. She died a few weeks ago, and I never got to know. I heard she has a five-year-old daughter. My grandchild. I’m taking these for her. She is my Sabha now” He gulped down his tragic story.

I sit there with a shiver on a sunny day. Here was a father going to visit his dead daughter after years and there is a kid who has never seen her maternal grandfather. Will they accept each other? Do ego and religion come in between any relationship, any blood bond?

As I gazed into the oblivion, a car stopped in front of me. Chandini, a friend of mine from school, got down for the customary reunion hugs.

I ask her a favor to drop the old man to Rajajinagar, the place where she resides. A few minutes later, I still sit there wondering how time flies and what we lose. We need to acknowledge people around us. We need to tell them how much we cared, loved and sacrificed for them.

Essential as it is to tell, more needed is the heart to forgive and to forage out our own imperfections and move on in life. With love, with gratitude and a smile that can make memories live longer in the hearts and not just in the camera rolls.