The Image


Of all the many things that bothered him, this was the one that had been there for the longest frame of time. It challenged him in a way that was unique, challenging and yet captivating. He had started to miss it when posed with banalities of routined life.

Trying to sum it down in number of days, weeks, months or years was a practice stopped long back. It was part of him now – a secret that only he knew, a projection that only he could feel, a conundrum that only he wanted to remain unsolved. Sharing it with others was useless, no one had the time, patience and most important the skills to even appreciate its captivating elements. He was the sole audience to the glory of its magnanimous evil wrath.

He tried sharing it with the stranger in the mirror, but that was too absorbed floating in the emotions of self-pity and denial. He knew sharing it with the people of normal race would take away the exclusivity he held. He was one of the very few who chose not to be part of this race. He had painfully tried for several years to project this image. The image had become him. Giving up on the image would defeat the purpose. Giving up on the image would reveal the stranger to him.

He panicked. He shut the door once again.

He could disinter the image he had hidden,

Still he didn’t

 The mere thought melted his pliable heart,

The image was what set him apart,

 He was ready to reveal it all,

In fear not to be abhorred by all,

 The decision was stanch and he was worried

Time to reveal the emotions hidden and buried.

~md610

In my own little world


The date was now ending after saying bye to each other since last one hour. The gotta go and bye take care were coming after each interjection of missing you. The vibes were mutual – of not letting go off that moment – the precious moment where they two were in their own little world.

Music mood : currently playing – Haare haare haare hum to dil se haare (OST – Josh)

Implications of a kiss


He was still confused. He couldn’t understand what was that that happened five minutes back. Was it a lucky streak or a sheer banal expression of affection from her?

He was holding his right cheek and trying to figure out what that kiss meant, when did it happen so suddenly and what it really implied?

(my first attempt at 55ers, a story woven in just 55 words – what do you think?)

A Sound sound


She heard the faint sound coming behind the door. The same sound came at the same time every day. She was sorting the cutlery and arranging them neatly when she realized it was unusual. The boxes bristling spoons and the shiny knives were scattered all over the counter. She closed the boxes and concentrated on the sound. The sound became stronger and she felt as if it was coming from somewhere too near. She was terrified and quickly grabbed the sharp cheese knife and started walking.
She realized she had started to sweat and also felt weaker only to realize hot pot of tea going cold over the stove and the marmalade on crispy toast turning soggy. She took deep breaths and kept walking towards it. She calculated the distance separating her from the sound and wished if it could miraculously stop even before she reaches there. She looked at the new lace curtains flying high doing waltz in her newly decorated living room. Potpourri started to scatter by the brush of curtains and she could smell some lavendar, some rose and some jasmine. She walked carefully not to crush them and continued walking. A strong blow of wind came and she turned back to notice the potpourri brutally scattered all over her precious rug. She noticed the mark the heavy marble table had left on the rug and spoilt its perfection. She shirked her shoulder and took a sigh gripped the knife tightly in her moist hands. The sound was starting to faint and she felt little relaxed, but she kept her pace and moved. The sound was still coming though slightly improved as now she could begin to identify the sound. She thought may be it was a crying kitten or a puppy but then realized it was too strong to be that of a young one. Moving one step closer she realized may be it a pipe leaking from somewhere due to overflow. The grip on the knife soothed with this idea and she bravely moved further notcing a cob web next to the wall clock. The cob web was not there when she cleaned the house last morning. She stored it in her mind ot find some good quality insect spray when she goes next to the market. She had to make friends to know the nearby good markets and places she can buy some plants for the verandah. That must be it – she thought someone watering the plants with the sprinklers. But why would someone turn on the sprinkler in middle of afternoon; you either do it early morning or in evenings. Final five steps were left when she was away from the door. Knife was gripped tightly rejecting the notion of sprinklers or kittens or puppies and the firm strength of her hand. Five, four, three, two and she touched the door knob. Honey I am home, and she lost the grip at this sound and the cheese knife fell making a bristling sound while scratching its glass hand.
She hugged him and cried while wetting his not so crisp shirt.

She heard the faint sound coming behind the door. The same sound came at the same time every day. She was sorting the cutlery and arranging them neatly when she realized it was unusual. The boxes of bristling spoons and the shiny knives were scattered all over the counter. She closed the boxes and concentrated on the sound. The sound became stronger and she felt as if it was coming from somewhere too near. She was terrified and quickly grabbed the sharp cheese knife and started walking.

She realized she had started to sweat and also felt weaker only to realize hot pot of tea going cold over the stove and the marmalade on crispy toast turning soggy. She took deep breaths and kept walking towards it. She calculated the distance separating her from the sound and wished if it could miraculously stop even before she reaches there. She looked at the new lace curtains flying high doing waltz in her newly decorated living room. Potpourri started to scatter by the brush of curtains and she could smell some lavendar, some rose and some jasmine. She walked carefully not to crush them and continued walking. A strong blow of wind came and she turned back to notice the potpourri brutally scattered all over her precious rug. She noticed the mark the heavy marble table had left on the rug and spoilt its perfection. She shirked her shoulder and took a sigh and gripped the knife tightly in her moist hands. The sound was starting to faint and she felt little relaxed, but she kept her pace and moved ahead. The sound was still coming though slightly improved as now she could begin to identify the sound. She thought may be it was a crying kitten or a puppy but then realized it was too strong to be that of a young one. Moving one step closer she realized may be its a pipe leaking from somewhere due to overflow. The grip on the knife soothed with this idea and she bravely moved further noticing a cob web next to the wall clock. The cob web was not there when she had cleaned the house last morning. She stored it in her mind to find some good quality insect spray when she goes next to the market. She had to make friends to know the nearby good markets and places where she can buy some plants for the verandah. That must be it – she thought; someone watering the plants with the sprinklers. But why would someone turn on the sprinklers in middle of afternoon; you either do it early morning or in evenings. Final five steps were left when she was away from the door. Knife was gripped tightly rejecting the notion of sprinklers or kittens or puppies with the firm strength of her hand. Five, four, three, two and she touched the door knob. Honey I am home, and she lost the grip at this sound and the cheese knife fell making a bristling sound while scratching its glass hand.

She hugged him and cried while wetting his not so crisp shirt.

Baat Nikli hai to phir duur talak Jayegi


Baat Nikalegee To Phir Duur Talak Jaayegee
Log Bewajah Udaasee Kaa Sabab Poochhenge
Ye Bhee Poochhenge Ke Tum Itnee Pareshaan Kyoon Ho
Oongliyaan Uthengee Sookhe Huye Baalon Kee Taraf
Ek Nazar Dekhenge Guzre Huye Saalon Kee Taraf
Choodiyon Par Bhee Kai Tanz Kiye Jaayenge
Kaanpate Haathon Pe Bhee Fikre Kase Jaayenge

Log Zaalim Hain Har Ek Baat Kaa Taanaa Denge
Baaton Baaton Mein Meraa Zikr Bhee Le Aayenge
Unkee Baaton Kaa Zaraa Saa Bhee Asar Mat Lenaa
Warnaa Chehre Ke Taasur Se Samajh Jaayenge
Chaahe Kuchh Bhi Ho Sawaalaat Naa Karnaa Unse
Mere Baare Mein Koi Baat Na Karnaa Unse
Baat Nikalegii To Phir Door Talak Jaayegee 

 Click here for video.

This is one of my most favourite ghazals by Jagjit Singh Ji. It is beautifully rendered by him.
The beauty of the ghazal is one can draw several parallels with it.
Read – log zaalim hai har ek baat ka taana denge//Unkee Baaton Kaa Zaraa Saa Bhee Asar Mat Lenaa, Warnaa Chehre Ke Taasur Se Samajh Jaayenge.

Isn’t it true that sometimes people keep asking us why we are upset and we feel like not sharing. But we are forced to and when we have told our things, the strong grapevine circulates our tiny emotion of heart to the world and due to chinese whisper syndrome it turns out to be a totally different thought courtesy figment of imagination of someone else’s idle mind?

Other parallel drawn is like a story that I imagine in my mind whenver I hear it – like a music video.

A woman in her fifties, recently widowed is lonely and looking for someone. Her childhood friend is there in the same hall…..standing far from her. She is sitting and looking at him asking lots of questions with her dry eyes. He wants to go and comfort her but he is scared of all the people sitting there – of all the men who are busy talking about the weather, business, politics, budget and of all the women who have just taken the woman for her bath and removed all signs of her happy and colourful life – her sindoor been smudged badly, her bangles taken out, her toe rings taken out while she kept crying inconsolably but no one to console her.

Is it really necessary to do all this? Isn’t it true that the woman is having a colorful life full of memories of happier times, her children, her laughter, her proud achievement of being a great mother and wife and daughter in law.

Why is she an outcast? Why she has to be alone while others are celebrating Holi? Why she has to dress up in subdued colours and without bindi reminding her children that they have lost their father everytime they look at her face? Why?

Tomorrow or day after, these same women might be standing in the same bath and hall as her.
Reminds me of Dor and how widowed grandmother tells her married daughter -in law that she should not hurt  her recently widowed daughter in law (Ayesha Takia) as no one knows she might be standing in the same place as her.

See how I started and how I ended this post – ‘Baat Nikli hai to phir duur talak Jayegi’. Another parallel.

Modern Draupadi


Aaliya twitched her nose and yelled -’Ammi I don’t like this color, use pink color‘. Her ammi gave her half hearted smile and got back to the pillow cover she was embroidering for the last four hours. The order was too tiring for her and she feared Usman will never give her another order in future. Usman was great help in Rabina’s tough times as she struggled with Zohar’s job loss when his pottery business declined.

Aaliya was seeing her mother struggle daily and her father getting frustrated with life and yet not doing any thing. Zohar’s friend from Palwal suggested him to come there and try his luck in nearby factories. Rabina prayed for her husband’s success this time. Aaliya requested her abba to get her a pink salwar suit from Delhi if he managed to go there too. Zohar left the house only to return in five days with bright beam on his face. Rabina saw him at the door and knew her hardships were coming to an end. Zohar told Rabina he has good news for the family. Rabina cut snapped him asking how much he is going to get from the new job. Zohar said he is about to get thirty five thousand rupees in lumpsum and he will start a small shop with the money. Rabina was shocked and asked him how he managed to dig gold in just single visit. He told Rabina to have patience and trust him and tidy the house as he was expecting some people from Palwal in few days.

Rabina tidied the house and even changed the bedsheets with her own embroidered ones. She was excited as her husband’s new shop will cure all her sadness and they will prosper again. Aaliya was asked by Zohar to get new clothes. Zohar got a confirmation that the guests will come in two days and he knew it was time for him to tell Rabina about his gold hunt. He went to Rabina when she was busy thinking what shop should they start. He told her that he had fixed Aaliya’s marriage to a family in Palwal who is willing to pay thirty five thousand rupees. Rabina was horrified at the thought. She asked him how he could do this. He calmed her down and said the money is good and they should accept it. She asked him about the groom. He snapped and said they should better sleep now as it was very late. She repeatedly asked him knowing something was wrong.

In the morning five men came to their house while Aaliya set their hookahs. The oldest man about fifty years asked her name. She smiled and replied Aaliya. The other men gave an affirmative nod in synchronization as if they were pleased the girl could speak. Rabina was still confused as to who was the prospective groom while she convinced her mind to get her girl married off and fearing what if they knew she is just 13. She concluded the family was well off and probably its for Aaliya’s best to escape from the poverty and lead a happy life with a loving husband as Rabina’s grandmother always said -‘older husbands always pamper their young wives’.

Aaliya heard a voice from the road and went out to see who it was. She told her ammi it was Usman chacha who had come to give final payment for the last order. Rabina’s mom introduced Usman to the family when Zohar was quick enough to show off that his guests own five major pieces of land in Palwal and ten cattle.  Usman asked him to introduce him to them formally. Rabina mom couldn’t hide her happiness and said- Our Aaliya is getting married in the family to……….; she stopped as she herself wasn’t aware of the groom. Aaliya went to another room and wondered whatever she heard was right or not?

Before Zohar could satiate any of Rabina’s questions the old man was leader enough to declare he is buying Aaliya for him and his four sons as their shared wife and paying good price for her. Rabina was shocked and yelled – ‘Haaye Allah‘. The old man fully aware of upcoming reactions was quick enough to say – he has calculated the market price in Palwal and nearby areas of Punjab and the price was fair enough for Aaliya when shared with five men.

Rabina was crying and didn’t know what led Zohar to take such barbaric decision for his daughter. Zohar took Rabina tightly from her arm and took her to Aaliya whose face was already swollen crying. Aaliya kept crying louder and louder which irritated him a lot and he slapped her hard across the face and poor little girl fell on the floor. He held Rabina closer and said in her ears they both are young and there is no harm now in trying having another child and luckily a boy. He told its not that he doesn’t loves Aaliya, he told her to feel proud that Aaliya was getting married to such a well to do family and it doesn’t matters if she has four or five or six husbands as long as they are getting good money for her. Rabina was lost in Zohar’s kohl rimmed eyes and felt hypnotized at the prospect of ending her sufferings she had endured all her life. Here she saw a chance of being free and lead a life she always wanted to. She saw Aaliya as a medium for her independence and remembered her own share of sacrifices for her parent’s sake. The vision of thirty five thousand was intoxicating her and so were Zohar’s eyes. She looked at her daughter’s tiny frame lying on the frame and for first time she saw her as useful.

They went out and she ate the sweets from Zohar’s hand still being intoxicated. Usman had by far heard all the commotion and knew what was happening. He looked sheepishly at Zohar and smirked if any such thing was known to him earlier he would have offered forty thousand for Aaliya. Zohar was about to smile at his sudden pot of luck when the old man and his sons got up and one of the boys took Usman’s collar and asked him to leave. Usman kept yelling forty-five forty-five forty-five. Zohar was trying to listen to the new deal being offered. Usman and Zohar kept fighting with the five men and Rabina stood their intoxicated by the sound of thirty five forty five and how they sounded as they were new hymns being sung in her ignorant ears.

Epilogue – This post is written courtesy the disturbing vibes I had after looking at my marriage certificate. It glamorously shows a column for guardian’s name if the bride is lower than age of 18 at the time of marriage.

Shocked?????  I was too. My immediate question to my hubby was- doesn’t Indian constitution says legal age for a girls wedding is 18??? He was as blank as I was. Then somewhere inside I realized its not a big thing remembering the politicians in Rajasthan who openly endorse mass child marriages and proudly donate funds for the feast. I remembered the numerous tiny pieces of reports lost amidst the big news about how a girl was married to the father and the sons courtesy the low skewed ratio of females in the states. Why are we offering young girls for sake of money? Are we going back to early man age or are we such big fans of Mahabharatha that we feel our daughters qualify to be modern Draupadis? I am shocked and feeling disgusted.

A Nation Without Women

Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women

Role reversal


Tina was asking for the fifth time but Craig wasn’t listening. He was flipping tv channels and kept biting his nails and also some cuticle skin. Tina stomped her feet and took the remote away. Craig said-’yeah you can make chicken for dinner.’ Tina shortened her short eyes and yelled – ‘I was asking about did you pay the credit card bill and you are telling me about chicken, Craig you don’t listen to me anymore. You’re always busy with your TV or newspaper. I have asked you so many times and you don’t care’. Craig knew it was time to shift his too occupied mind from TV or else Tina would have surely gone on flames. Craig said sorry but Tina kept yelling. She went to the opposite divan and threw his clothes on the floor. Craig got up and went to Tina and tried to give her a hug. Tina pushed him away and went to bathroom and closed the door. Craig could hear the faucet running and Tina babbling while brushing her teeth. Craig wasn’t getting angry instead he kept smiling -it was a normal thing for two of them in the past beautiful years of wedding.

Tina came out and she had changed her clothes and went to the bed and started reading her glossy Cosmopolitan . Craig said sorry and he knew the role reversal was in its full form. She didn’t hear his sorry and kept flipping the pages creating a weird disturbing noise. He started looking for his night suit in the wardrobe and couldn’t find it. Tina knew behind her pages of Lifestyle tips that Craig needed help but she made sure to look engrossed. He gave up and asked Tina. She didn’t reply and waited till the same fifth time and then answered that it was in laundry. By now again the role reversal was in its full form. Craig started yelling and several waves swept across his forehead. He looked out for some other alternative cloth but couldn’t find anything. Tina’s clothes fell from the shelf and she gave half glance through her magazine and taunted him to be careful. Craig was in no mood to listen anything and went outside the room slamming the door behind.

Ten minutes must have passed. Tina kept thinking why isn’t he coming to make peace and Craig kept thinking lying on the couch why isn’t Tina coming to see him. Another five minutes passed thinking. Tina came out and straightaway went to kitchen and gulped very little water. She then looked at Craig and told him to wear his old night suit. Craig got up and went to the bedroom.

Craig slept facing on the other side of bed and Tina went back to her Cosmo. Craig told Tina to switch off the light as he couldn’t sleep. Tina switched off the light declaring that why every time he has to sleep when she prefers to read and kept babbling that she is tired of his stupid habits. Craig also yelled and made his stand clear that even he is also not very happy being with her. Role reversal was no longer there as both of them were dominating their roles and no longer remembered why they fought in the first place. Tina slipped inside the warm blanket and realized she was very cold. She tried to change side and accidentally touched Craig’s warm feet. She felt warm and relaxing. She didn’t remove her feet which was touching him very lightly. Craig felt Tina’s smooth feet on his very warm feet and felt nice. He didn’t try to remove his feet. Tina coughed a bit and then more little later. Craig half turned ensuring to remain in his side of bed and asked if she needed water. She said no thanks and this time her tone was milder. Craig turned a bit more and asked her if she was fine. She said she was alright and her throat was hurting a bit. Craig then turned nearer to her and said she shouldn’t have yelled so loud. She also asked him why he behaves so ignorant towards her. Their tones were now milder. Both of them came close and Craig kissed Tina on her forehead. Tina kept her head on his chest. He kept caressing her hair and she closed her eyes.He promised to take her out for dinner the next night. Tina opened her eyes wide and asked him about the credit card payment. He said she should have reminded him.

The role reversal was in its own gear again. It was in its own gear since the last thirty years.