Categories
Short story

Hating apple

Fortnightly writing exercise on S & Co: The situation is as follows:
“You have been caught in a suspicion arousing, but not compromising, situation with your spouse’s best friend. Your spouse goes away, ostensibly on a sudden trip (office trip or mother’s home) but you know he or she is really bothered – maybe pissed off at you. Write a letter (assuming the spouse in question is very forgiving) and plead a case for yourself. Bear in mind that you are not sure they doubt your fidelity but on the off-chance that they do, you are taking preemptive action to bring them back into the old loving relationship. ”

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Dear Darling,

I hate apple. I Really Hate Apple. They sure are good for health, quite therapeutic, I am told. But they become more and more expensive by the byte. I am talking about the I-Pod you gave me on my last birthday. While I do love listening to my favourite songs all the time, the earphones never seem to stay in place. And with repeated falling, the left ear-phone has completely given way.

Which is why, Ved and I had our face so close to each other when you returned home that evening. Ved had dropped in to meet you, and on seeing the I-Pod, started telling me about your favourite songs in college. You didn’t tell me you (along with Ved and Raj) were so fond of ‘Summer of ’69’. Well, since I did get to know, I was so excited, that I immediately switched on the computer in our bedroom, and downloaded the song from the internet and into the I-Pod, all for your sake. And then we simply couldn’t resist listening to it. However, there were two pairs of ears, and only one ear-phone !! So we had to nearly press our ears together to catch the strains of the music. While we were tapping our feet to the music, quite involuntarily, the I-Pod suddenly slipped out of my hand, and both of us stretched out our free hand in an attempt to catch the player before it could hit the ground. (How many times have I asked you to buy the arm-band for the I-Pod!). And that was when you walked into the room.

I can imagine what a surprise it must have been for you, to walk into our bedroom and see Ved and me in such close proximity, holding hands, face seemingly pressed together. Your face reddened, and you repeatedly touched your forehead. Did you have a headache, darling, because of the heat, I mean the sun ?

A funny sight it must have been, watching two women so close to each other. But trust me, Vedalakshmi and I were just enjoying your favourite song. She was, infact, describing how you and Raj used to turn on the music really loud, and dance to the tunes inside the bathroom for hours !! Must have been fun.

How I wish you would tell me all about your college days (the fun and the escapades alike). I am all ears ! By the way, are you stil at Raj’s place now ?

And I have a surprise gift waiting for you – the latest Samsung MP3 player (with in-built speaker) – so that you can relive your college memories with some good music.

Please do come home soon, so that we can jive together.

Missing you.

Your ‘straight’-forward wife.

xx

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Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

A wasted life – Sarita suicide case

The news flashed on NDTV: “Sarita commits suicide…husband refuses to cremate her unless the policemen who had allegedly raped her are arrested…”.

Please read the foll. article on expressindia.com: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/No-news-of-accused-cops/321408/

On the TV screen…a mourning family…a helpless husband…two innocent young children…wide-eyed, not able to comprehend what is going on…the noise, the chaos, the media..and where is their mother ?!

A lump formed in my throat when I saw Sarita’s children. Those little boys have lost their mother, because of the crime committed by two policemen.

There is a game children in India play – “Chor..Police”. The Chor (the thief, traditionally the Bad Man) runs, while the Police (obviously, the good man) chases him.

But when the Policeman himself is a criminal, then what who runs and who chases ?

Or do they both run, leaving the common (wo)man helpless and battered ?

Why did they rape a poor woman ? How could they rape “a mother” ?? What kind of men were they ? Or were they bloody animals in human clothing ? They have families too…wife and children. Did they not think of them even once while doing this gruesome act ? They have been in the Police force for more than a decade..is this how they have executed their duties ? Does Power always Corrupt ?

What was Sarita’s mistake ? That she was a woman ? Or that she was poor and powerless ?

What was the children’s mistake ? Why have they lost their mother ? When they wake up tomorrow morning, there will no mother to smile at them, to wash their face, to feed them, to love them and to take care of them. For what felony are they being punished ? Because two immoral policemen had to satiate their lust ?!

Let us imagine (wishful thinking, I guess), for a second, that Sarita had lived. This is what would have happened:

– Her physical being was wounded, but on the emotional side, she was already maimed for life.

– Her pleas against the policemen would have gone in vain.

– The policemen would have the power to keep themselves free. They would have even labelled her a prostitute, and have had her arrested, shaming her and her family even more.

– The children would probably be taunted by their friends and neighbours.

– For all we know, even the husband might have deserted her, for becoming “impure”.

Sarita’s life would have been more miserable than Death.

Should Sarita have lived…I still say, Yes. Because, ‘Where there is life, there is hope’. Hope for justice, hope for retribution.

Should the policemen be sentenced to death… I say Yes. I think anyone with a charge (of rape/corruption/any sort of crime) against them, must be suspended from duty immediately, and allowed back into work only if proved innocent. And if proved guilty, they should be awarded the ultimate death sentence.

India is supposedly a poor country. So, why waste a space in prison for animals like these ? Why drain the country of resources (food/water/clothing) ? If these two policemen are found guilty, they must die. Let them be an example of ‘what not to do’ !

In every forum, we talk about the ‘culture’ that we Indians are steeped in. Why then, do we have a Scarlett and a Sarita , every other day ? It clearly shows, we have no values, no morals, and NO RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

It is said “The meek shall inherit the earth”. Really ?? When ?!

Categories
Food and recipe Incidents Short story

The scuffle..and a resolution.

A chill wind was piercing through the littered streets of the eastern part of this elite city called London. It was no wonder however, neither the wind nor the litter. The weather forecast had spelt a “bright and sunny day”, therefore the wind had to launch its attack. And the litter ? Ahem…this was the Asian pocket of the city.

Families were thronging the grocery shops (“Cash & Carry” shops, they were all named, although they did accept credit cards). Men and women wearing colourful Indian outfits (unfortunately hidden under dull coats in varying shades of black and grey) were entering the Temple. The daring ones were lingering about at the shops that sold pirated DVDs. “Sarkar Raj..only GBP 2.50”, the poster screamed. “Buying pirated versions is unethical !”, my Conscience whispered. “Now..that’s incredibly cheap ! Going to the cinema to watch this movie, even in Chennai, would cost me a fortune !”, the Intellect thundered in reply. We hurried to buy our copy and make our way to the popular South Indian restaurant round the corner. It was rather late in the afternoon, and we were ravenously hungry.

Hotel Saravana Bhavan was decorated with flowers and streamers, brightening an otherwise dull, grey skyline. Their anniversary, it seemed.

The bespectacled waiter greeted us with an oft-rehearsed “Good afternoon, Sir/Ma’am ? What will you have ?”

We scrolled down the menu card…the same card they had printed three years ago, when the Hotel was first inaugurated here. They cards had been laminated after the first couple of months, to minimise the risk of having dried granules of sambar/chutney/etc. imprinted on it by the hotel’s patrons.

The waiter shuffled from one foot to another, looked around at the other tables, and then returned his gaze to us, as politely as he could.

“Tomato Soup”, I quickly ordered.

“Two by Three”, added my enthusiastic father. This was his first visit to London, and his last bid to escape the scorching 45 degrees Indian summer. (He was still bewildered at how he had left Chennai that morning, to reach London again the same morning.)

The waiter’s eyebrows raised involuntarily. “I.. I am sorry Sir.. but we don’t do two-by-three soups here. You can order either two or three soups”.

“What ? But in Chennai, we always have Two-by-three or One-by-Two, in fact we can even have One-by-three soups!”, replied an irate ad hungry Daddy.

“Daddy..please..its not like that here…”, I started, my cheeks reddening. My gracious husband saved the situation (as he always does) by quickly deciding “Three soups, please”. The starters and main course were ordered quite blandly. And by blandly, I only mean, Daddy was already learning the ropes, and so ordered items on the Menu, and nothing else. He was tempted to ask if they served “Pizza”, but as an afterthought, decided otherwise.

While we waited for the food to arrive, we chatted animatedly, discussing the weather, the flight, latest family news, etc. I must admit that Hubby and Daddy are both terrible at sharing information. They do not volunteer the tiniest piece of gossip. It takes a lot of skill to extract it out of them. My college mates however, had been diametrically opposite. Their typical Friday night comprised a movie, beer, spicy peanuts and gossip…mostly about their delicate fellow colleagues. It had taken me quite some time to digest the fact that men enjoy gossip ! Anyway, I expected the same out of dear Hubby too, but as you can see, I was sadly let down.

The aroma of “sambar-vada” (and the tomato soup) wafted gently, making its way to our table. My mouth watered. As soon as the waiter placed our trays before us, and moved on to the next table, we jumped on the food like a pack of wolves !

Suddenly, there were loud voices coming from the next table…”Come on, give it to me…”. “No, I won’t”.

“What’s the scuffle about?”, we wondered, greedily swallowing the perfectly soaked vada.

“No no, give it to me!”, the men were demanding. Our lanky waiter looked from one person to another, his tired feet waiting for some respite from innumerable walks into and out of the kitchen. The two men continued to argue. The women smiled demurely. The babies were beginning to fret.

“This is not fair”.

“Of course it is”.

“No, we called first…its ours”.

And the scuffle went on amidst the din of clattering spoons and plates. We chomped our way through the crisp masala dosas, and started talked in low whispers. Before you misunderstand…this was not an action arising from a deeply ingrained civic sense. It just helped us hear better.

“Come on, Shekar…”, the woman pleaded. “Let’s not create a scene here”.

“OK then, Ravi, here you go…you win this time. But not the next time, eh?”

Mr.Ravi half-smiled and took the check. His eyes ran through the length of the scroll before finally falling on the “Total inc. Tax”. His eyes squinted and his mouth opened. “Eighty pounds !!! What the…”, he muttered under his breath. He slowly fished out his wallet. Mr.Shekar stepped out to make an ’emergency’ phone call, while his wife smiled at their cherubic son.

“Shhhhhhushhhh ! What a pest you are! We are not going to bring you out hereafter”..Mrs. Ravi shouted at her little daughter. She didn’t seem very pleased at her husband’s ‘victory’. A few minutes later, their table was cleared. We heard the “good-byes”. A couple of happy, high-pitched ones, and a couple of low, subdued ones.

My cheeks reddened again and I almost blushed ! “What a scene ! Ravi or Shekar, one of them should have just paid the check in silence”, I volunteered.

“Or simple enough, they could done a One-by-Two”, Hubby added, with a wink.

This time, it was Daddy’s turn to blush.

We thought of all the times we had given or received a gift. The first reaction: “No ..no ..no, you shouldn’t have…”, followed by a toothy-grin and a “Thank you..since you insist!”. Why can’t we do away with the pretence, and graciously thank the giver, “Thank you..I love it..how thoughtful of you !”.

After some discussion over steaming cups of filter coffee, the three of us made a resolution.

– The next time someone says “No, you shouldn’t have..” over a gift, we would take it back right away.

– The next time we go out with someone to a restaurant, we will avoid all conflict. We will allow them to pay, without a fight 😉

We smiled, imagining the reaction this behaviour would elicit. We could well be seeing the last of Hypocrisy !!

As we slurped the last few drops of the fantastic coffee, the waiter arrived with our check.

“Please give it to me”, said Husband.

“Of course not, this is my first day out here, so I am going to treat you”, replied Daddy.

“Daddy, this isn’t fair, you are our guest, and we must take care of you”, said dutiful Husband.

“No Ram, how can a father take money from his children?”, came the gallant reply.

The waiter looked from Hubby to Daddy, and Daddy to Hubby.

He adjusted his glasses, and sighed !!

“The scuffle continues…”

Categories
Short story

Cruel Intention

Mohit had not imagined performing such an act, even in his wildest dream ! He belonged to a very cultured family who knew the value of life, and how cruel it was to kill. But he had no choice. He was determined to do it that very night. It was a kind of retribution… to the fate his late father, the respectable Barrister Mr.Vikas Jain had to endure. “Baba didn’t deserve such a death…I will teach them a lesson…that blood-thirsty gang”, he thought angrily.

Even Sanjay, Mohit’s elder brother was not taken into confidence. There was always an innocence radiating from Mohit’s countenance, and naturally, he was under no suspicion, when he went to the attic that morning, and hid it in the secret spot. He had planned his moves carefully, and for a very long time now.

The old grandfather’s clock, now almost a collector’s item, struck six. The sun was setting, and darkness crept up stealthily, to envelope this bustling little town. Sanjay had just returned from work. A visibly nervous Mohit noisily slurped his tea, sitting crouched in a corner of the house. They didn’t exchange a word. They were always known to be thick friends, and at times, had even stood up to their strict father, defending each other in their pranks. Sanjay looked at Mohit closely, then quietly picked up the newspaper. It was almost as if Sanjay knew Mohit’s plan, and was saying “Don’t do it…”.

But Mohit had waited long enough…too long infact. He had to do this, before any more members of his family could be attacked by this heartless gang. They were hiding in every nook and corner of the town. Nobody was safe, even in the precincts of their own cosy homes. It was a common sight now, to see shutters pulled down early, windows closed before nightfall, and people sitting on high alert, ready to protect themselves, in case of an attack.

Shrewd businessmen were, of course, trying to make hay. Producing and marketing, weapons of destruction, of self-sustenance. The late barrister had, however, always believed in non-violence, and his sons were bound to follow his path. At least while he was alive. “But not any longer ! I am not a killer…but I’m not a saint either. I have to do this…this was my unspoken promise to Baba”, Mohit thought silently.

As night set in, the family finished their dinner and retired to bed. This was the moment Mohit had been waiting for. He quickly climbed up the rickety stairs and went into the attic. Nobody had noticed. Everything was going as planned. He picked it up, hid it behind his back, and walked down again. To his surprise, Sanjay was sitting on the sofa, watching TV. “Damn…how do I do it now ?!”, worried Mohit.

“Sanjay…you should sleep now..don’t you have a meeting tomorrow morning ?”, called Shikha.

Sanjay looked up, sighed and turned the volume down in a resigned manner. “Coming, Shikha”, he called out. He gave one final, glance at Mohit …”Don’t do it, don’t”. And left the room, shutting the door behind him. “Click”. Sanjay had bolted his door.

This was the moment. Mohit was left by himself. But he wasn’t alone. He felt their presence. He knew they could enter any house, any time they wanted. No walls, no locks could stop them. He knew, they were waiting to attack him too. The way they had destroyed Baba. “There’s no better chance”, he thought, and with a steely resolve, tightened his grip over the weapon hidden behind his back. He quickly fished out the match box from the cupboard, and in a flash of a second, did it. He was sweating profusely. “Thank God, nobody noticed..they might hate me today, but they will thank me for this tomorrow”.

Mohit was drained, with the mental exertion of the long day. He summoned the vestiges of his energy and hid the weapon in the darkest corner of the grandfather’s clock. “Just in case I need to attack , or defend anytime again” !

As Mohit walked out of the room, he realised the TV was still on. He took the remote to turn it off. The last advertisement on the TV was going on…”Kachua Jalao, Machar Bhagao”.

 

(We hope you liked it…

-Samba and Pallavi)