Categories
Short story

The midnight visitor (flash fiction)

I tossed around in my bed, sweating profusely despite it being winter! I was only 6, and looking for my favourite toy. Only, I couldn’t remember what it was! I searched every shelf, every cupboard.

I wish I knew what it was that I was looking for. I wish I had someone to tell me. Daddy? Grandma? My friends? I looked around. They stared at me with a blank , almost confused expression. When I could bear it no more, I burst into tears. Or was I crying already? I couldn’t make out.

It was then that a hand touched my hot forehead, smoothening out my non-existent wrinkles ever so gently. I knew who it was. Only, I could not remember what she looked like. I looked all over my room  – a photograph? A souvenir from a holiday maybe?! I just couldn’t remember. I tossed in my bed, kicking away imaginary demons!I

The hand gently caressed my forehead, lovingly touching my cheeks, tapping the tip of my nose. Just like when I was a baby. I smiled, relaxed and in peace.

And a soft, gentle voice said ‘Darling, It’s OK to forget’.  I nodded, and reached out to kiss the hand. It was gone. ‘Yes, Mum’ I whispered, my eyes still closed. A tear rolled down my cheek.

Categories
Short story

Last Letter Written (fiction)

It wasn’t until late December that I found the envelope. It was addressed to no one. It bore the seal of ‘Vrindavan Home for the Aged’. That is how I realised it (perhaps) belonged to my father.

Before you stand on high moral ground and fire me for having sent away my old (and ailing!) Dad to the Home, do try to understand, and if possible, even believe that I truly did not want to send him there. At sixty, he was fit as a fiddle. We used to fight over the TV every evening, and would both finally lose to my son, who decided that Ben Ten was the right programme for us. So we, the boys of the house, would sprawl on the sofas and watched the inane aliens fight gory wars.

I digress. Like I said, the envelope, slightly yellowed and crushed, was addressed to no one in particular. It just bore my address. I assume my Dad had written it for me! Which made me curious, as he was not the sort of person who would write letters! If my memory serves me right, he was particularly not fond of reading or writing. So this was special. I didn’t quite want to open it. The last two months had been rather painful. First, the agony of losing him. Second, the fact that I had left him to die alone. I can never get over it. Ever. And third (perhaps, the most important reason) – I was afraid… of what the letter might contain!!

It was my birthday. In no mood to celebrate, I decided I would open the letter after all…

My dearest,

You know how much I hate to write!

Bang on! This was definitely from Dad!! My lips curved into a smile.

I want to let you know something… its been on my mind ever since you left me.

I stiffened. It was not like I left him! It was HE who decided to leave us. Vidya and I pleaded. So did little Prithvi. But he had made up his mind.

Home away from Home

I like this place they call ‘Home’. Its spacious, airy, the nurses take care of me. I have no complaints.

I visited him almost every Saturday. I would take his favourite food. Sometimes, Vidya and Prithvi came along, at other times, they didn’t. Dad would always recognize Prithvi, no matter what! The moment he saw his chubby little grandson, his wizened face would break into a smile. I felt relived that he liked the Home.

But you know… I want to write this before I can forget everything.. before my traitor of memory fails me. Sometimes I cannot even remember your face. At other times, I feel like you are standing right next to me. I know you are there. Its just, I don’t remember who exactly you are ..  or at times, who I myself am!! I have to confess that part is a little scary.

Lost (image courtesy healingwithnutrition dot com)

So that was why he wrote the letter!! When he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it had come as a brutal shock to all of us.

On most days, he was very normal. The same old Dad who steadily picked his nose as he sat in his oversized armchair, watching children play cricket on the street! On other days, he would turn into a complete stranger. He would just stare at the ceiling. At times, he would simply grab the nearest object and smash it into the wall. He would walk down the street, to buy a packet of chicory, and wouldn’t return home until dark, when one of us would go in search of him, only to find him sitting on a broken bench, looking dazed and confused.

Finally it was he who suggested being moved to the Home. We wanted him around. He, however, was adamant. He left a day after Prithvi’s fifth birthday. We had a great party. He joined in the fun. I almost called the Home to cancel the move. But the next morning, he woke very early, bathed, and packed a little holdall with a couple of shirts and bare necessities. He did not give us any opportunity to try and persuade him against going. Before he left that morning, he blessed us with wishes for a ‘long and happy married life’, and said, very simply, and as a matter-of-fact, ‘Tell Prithvi I love him the most!’

When Prithvi returned from school that afternoon, he searched for Dad in every room of the house! And when he didn’t find him there, he cried himself to sleep.

There’s one little person I always seem to remember. A lovely cherubic little boy. Let me try to recall.. Preetham.. or was it Prithvi? Yes, I think it is Prithvi. My darling little angel. He visits me often. I can’t often remember his name, but I know that he is part of my soul.

I fought hard to blink back the tears. Dad wouldn’t be kind to anybody who cried at the drop of a hat!!

So, my dearest, I had better finish this letter quickly, as I might just not remember about it in some time.

Very often, nurses wipe tears rolling off my cheeks. Sometimes, they say ‘tut..tut..’ and walk away, cursing (in a rather filmy style!) my ‘supposedly wicked’ son who they think has left me here.

Little do they know, that these, in fact, are tears of joy.

Joy at a life well lived. This is the happiness of a husband, who found a good and loving wife. The pride of a father, who raised a strong and caring son. And also, the yearning of a grandfather. Whose only (albeit greedy) wish was that he had a few more years to spend with his grandson, frolicking in the park, or sneaking away from the watchful and loving eyes of his Mummy, to lick an ice-cream cone. But then, I’m just being ungrateful.

I could have lived with our children. But you know, much as I hate to boast, I think our son adores me! So does Prithvi. I want them to remember me as their Hero. Not as a senile patient who couldn’t recognize them! No. That wouldn’t work for me.

So, this is my big secret. I want you to know, my dearest, that every time I remember us, and cry, it is only to say that I have lived a very happy life.

I think I will see you soon.

Dad’s last letter. It had not been written for me. Or for Prithvi. But for Mum. I was stunned, at how Dad never let us see how much he missed her. I hoped they were together again.

To me, the letter had a cathartic effect. I don’t know if I can ever stop feeling guilty, but this day, I felt a little better. He knew what he was doing. And he did it not just for me, but also for himself.

I guess he was right afterall. When I think of Dad, I only recall a tall, strong man, who would throw Prithvi up into mid-air and catch him as he fell squealing with delight. I remember him as a level-headed counsellor, who simply declared that every workplace had its share of politics, and it was upto me to handle it or steer clear! Vidya remembers him as a loving father, who would make her a cup of ‘straang filter kaapi’ when she returned home from work every evening.

And Prithvi.. well, he does not remember much of him. When we happen to mention Dad, he perks up, curious to know more about his childhood friend. We cite him examples of how Dad used to pretend to be his Horse and ‘giddy up’ as Prithvi ordered him to! Prithvi chuckles shyly when we mention such incidents.

Often, he walks into Dad’s old room (that has now been converted into a Study) as if looking for something.

Sometimes, I follow him, and find him gazing at a picture of Dad’s. At other times, I find him dozing in the big arm-chair.

Well, whatever it is he is doing (or not doing!), I get the feeling this room is his favourite haunt. He seems happy here.

As for the letter, I placed it back in its envelope, labelled it as ‘First Letter Written’ and tucked it far, far away inside my wardrobe. I could perhaps give it to Prithvi when he is grown up enough to be deceived by ‘Success’ manifesting itself in the form of money or fame?! Will it make any sense to him, I wonder…

Or perhaps, I will simply start writing a letter of my own…. hoping that I too, can be a Hero to my son, as Dad is to me.

—————

To read my other pieces of fiction, please click here. Thank you!

Categories
Book review Thought and Reason

A real treat – Palace of Illusions

(Apologies for having to bombard you with this – but *** A gentle reminder : If you liked my earlier post titled ‘Past Promises, Forgotten Futures’, then please Vote to promote it on Indiblogger, here:http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=34664 *** Thanks :-) *** And again, do vote for a post, ONLY if you like it)

After having read the review of Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni at Smitha’s blog, I ordered the book from the local library. The thickness of the volume, however, put me off. Until this morning.

I picked up the book, and only a few pages into the story, I could not… absolutely could not.. put it down. I took a couple of ‘essential’ breaks 😉 but was otherwise hooked onto it completely.

The book is the narration of the Mahabharatha, seen through the eyes of Draupadi.

I’ve always loved reading mythology, Indian and otherwise. To me, reading this book was like a flashback of a movie seen in childhood, but this time, in technicolour 🙂

It isn’t boring, I assure you. And for once, I have read a book that has left me with absolutely no words of criticism or nit-picking!

I love the way the author has humanised (is there such a word?!) the characters. She turns a mythological Draupadi into a living, breathing woman! In this character called Draupadi, you will probably see a piece of yourself. Or others you know.

It makes one realise Draupadi was not an average person, specifically a woman, whose life revolved around cooking, keeping house and breeding!!

Draupadi is beautiful, confident woman, with higher aspirations, but is typically trapped in a man’s world. She is intelligent, fully aware of both her ‘desires’ and ‘limitations’. She realises ‘a woman’s place’ in this world, and abides by it.

I loved the way Draupadi beseeches to Arjun, to stop her from being ‘shared’ by his brothers, and where he subsequently redirects his fury and frustration on her, as if she were the culprit, not the victim!! Isn’t that exactly what happens even in the modern day world? In the case of rape, the first reaction is that the victim must have done something, to provoke it.

What shocked me though, was that since Draupadi was to be ‘shared by her five husbands’ – one husband a year, Vyasa ‘blessed‘ her with a ‘boon to become a virgin every time she went to her next husband‘. I almost felt the bile rising in my throat, as I read this. Draupadi or Divakaruni (the author) rightly says, this is a boon, made very conveniently, for the men, and not for Draupadi.

The delicate relationship of mutual mistrust between Draupadi and Kunti is described in such a simple, practical manner. It makes one realise why MILs and DILs co-exist the way they do 😉

Draupadi herself is a survivor. She does not simply make her mark in her household. She tries her best to not allow any adversary into ‘her’ palace, where SHE is the Chief Queen.

I enjoyed the way Draupadi tried to make amends to Karna, for her insult to him at the Swayamvar, but where he refuses to be mollified, and yet, he does his best to protect her from harm, when the court broke into pandemonium!

There is a brief moment where Draupadi (in this book) admits to not being very maternal. She says being a wife to five men, and stately duties sapped her, and she was more than happy, to have her nanny take the children off her hands. Why are ‘women’, specifically in Indian society expected to ‘want’ to take care of children? Why is it not a choice? If a woman does not enjoy feeding her child, does that make her a bad mother? Do we, as a society, have the maturity to realise that a Mother is also an INDIVIDUAL who might simply yearn for more in life, than mundane chores?!

I’ve encountered very severe reaction from a couple of friends whom I sometimes call to watch a movie or something over the weekend. Their reaction is one shock – ‘How can I leave my family, that too on the weekend?’ Its not like I’m asking them to elope!! They feel guilty to even ‘want’ to dedicate some time to themselves. Earlier, I used to feel sorry for such women, who ‘constrain’ themselves. Now, though, I feel sorry for the handful of ‘Draupadi’s that remain, for wanting ‘more’. Strange as it may sound, it is they who are constrained by their wants!

Nevertheless, what struck me most, was the fact that despite being foretold her future, she did not stop it ‘because of the circumstances’.

Arjuna's deadly attack on his half-brother Kar...
Image via Wikipedia

Draupadi could have chosen Karna over Arjun. She did not. (Which by the way, makes the reader feel really bad for Karna, who was always the subject of unfair treatment. In colloquial language, Karna got a bad deal!)

She could have given up her life, rather than be a Queen to five Kings. She did not.

Krishna could have stopped the Great War if He wanted to.

There are just so many instances.

Which made me wonder, is Life about Destiny or about Choices? All my life, I thought it was Destiny. Today, somehow, I think, it is probably not as simple as that.

The book isn’t without humour either. There is a reference to Yudhishtra being ‘blissfully unaware’ that people could mean them harm. And to Bheem’s plate being piled higher than the other brothers. It all made them very HUMAN. There is a Yudhistra in each of us. A Bheem too. Some brave ones even have a piece of Arjuna in them.

There were some extremely distressing moments as well. Like, the murder of Abhimanyu. Or that of Karna. Both these ‘hunks’ 😉 were killed unfairly. What really moved me, was the description of young Abhimanyu staring in ‘disbelief’ at the the unfair play by those whom he had always respected.

Caution: This book is not for the judgemental reader. You read, you nod either in agreement or disagreement, and you move on. If one were to start judging any of the characters as moral or immoral, cowardly or brave… then, IMHO, it defeats the purpose of the book. Any book, perhaps.

This book, is the life of a woman. Of her aspirations, her boundaries and her will. One cannot help wondering how similar it is to the story of a woman in today’s world. Not much has changed over the centuries, has it??!!!

I leave you with some snippets from the book…

– This one: ‘Between Yudhistra and Krishna, a woman cannot even enjoy being in misery!’ LOL! I loved that line!

– Or this one: ‘There is a strange freedom in realising one is not that important!’

– Or this: Krishna says to Dhritharashtra: ‘If you had believed all (Kauravas and Pandavas) were YOURS TO LOVE, this war would have never taken place’. Isn’t this exactly what we need today? Look at the Ayodhya issue. If only we believed we were truly ‘one’ – would there ever be bloodshed?!!

The book is filled with glorious and inglorious incidents from the past, but in that, one can clearly draw references to today, and even to the future!!

I hope this inspires you enough to grab a copy of the book!!

===============

 

Categories
Humour Incidents MommySpeak

A for appal, B for ball

R’s school serves the kids a few pieces of fruit every day, at snack time. Milk too, which R promptly pours out into some other child’s tumbler! Fruit, he eats, I presume!

Every day, I ask him the same question: ‘What did you eat today?’ And every day, he gives me the same answer: ‘Appal‘. Today was slightly different. This is how:-

Me: What did you eat today?

R: Appal. A for Appal.

Me: Wow! (Clearly impressed, that the school is teaching him to relate alphabet to objects)

R: B for Ball.

Me – excited, wanting to hear more!: Well done! And ‘C’ is for…. ?

R: C for Cider!!!

***@@@%%% WTH??!!!!***@@@%%%

Categories
Humour Incidents MommySpeak Movie Review

An afternoon with Giri

An afternoon with Handsome Giri, is what this title should actually read.

Yeah, now do not get ideas. ‘Giri-giri Peck’ – the dashing Gregory Peck (as my lovely little sister adorably named him once upon a time, when we – my sister and I – were both children).

Now, this week has been pretty busy, and with school re-opening today, I decided at noon (yesterday, that is) to ‘enjoy’ what was technically the last ‘holiday‘ for the term, by spending some quality ‘me time’.

Lucky for me, this is what we stumbled upon. And I say ‘we‘ because the brat refused to nap, and insisted on watching the movie with me, sitting ‘quietly’ on the other sofa!

As the curtains unfolded, I grabbed a mug of hot chocolate (Sigh! In reality, all I had was a plastic throw-away cup with some plain old water!), and curled up on the sofa. To watch the movie I’d last seen about two decades ago 🙂 with my mum (who had this huge crush on Giri-giri, which – at that time – I found utterly silly!)

Scene 1 – Dainty Audrey Hepburn (I’m sorry I only managed to find this video from Youtube and didn’t get the direct scene from the movie)

As I watch the movie unfolding, grinning stupidly, I am interrupted by this…

Lovely Audrey

‘Is she a Princess?’

I am amused by the brat’s interest. I reply ‘Yes darling’ with a huge smile. Yay! My son and I can actually enjoy a movie together!

‘Why is she removing her shoes? Is she naughty?’

I grin again. My sweet little funny, silly boy.

Wicked Witch??!!!

‘No, she isn’t naughty, her feet are aching, so she wants to take off her shoe for a few minutes’.. I venture to explain.

‘Is she trapped in a palace? Is there a wicked witch? Is that woman there the witch?’

I turn my head away from the TV, squint at the brat, just to check ….

Nah! Can’t be. He’s hasn’t even turned four. He can’t possibly… he can’t actually be doing this on purpose… !

‘No, there is no witch, now let’s keep QUIET and watch the movie’, I mutter.

A few seconds of golden silence. The spell is broken by this:

‘Why is she crying? Why? Why?’

‘Because SHE WANTS TO RUN AWAY from the palace… ‘ I say rather loudly, emphasising the ‘RUN AWAY’.

An innocent: ‘Why?’

‘Because she wants to enjoy life irresponsibly – like you – but cannot’ – I say, scathingly.

A few sober seconds. He watches TV. I watch him.

Next, the scene where Audrey Hepburn actually manages to run away from the palace.

The barrage of questions resumes. Reinforced.

‘Has she run away now?’

I refuse to answer.

Please speak! Has she run away?’

I give a cursory nod.

My eyes are now glowering, smouldering.. whatever.. at the little nuisance.

THE GLOWERING LOOK

Now, THIS look is going to keep him quiet. If this doesn’t, I swear I will change my name.. to.. to.. Oh sod it! Let’s just see if he can shut up now!

My brat looks uncertain for a moment. Then, he replies – BOTH to the nod AND the look, by a simple (and unflinching) – ‘Wwwwwwhyyyyyyy?’

And I’m thinking WTFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙄 😦

The brat didn’t let me reach even this scene… that has been made, and re-made without shame, into every Indian language available.

So, guess what I very wisely did – turned the TV off, and took the brat outside instead!

Sigh! So much for an ‘interesting’ afternoon with a handsome hunk!!

I leave you to watch this: (well, if your children/grandchildren/neighbour’s children.. ANY children allow you to watch!)

Finito! The End!
Categories
55-er Short story

The boy who never smiled – 55-er / fiction

Clothes, chocolates, gifts – nothing satisfied Akaash. Ungrateful, resentful child.

Yesterday, I offered left-over pastry. He glared!

‘What the hell do you want????!!!’ I screamed, frustrated.

He replied quietly – ‘My mother. Please send her home? Tomorrow’s my exam’.

Behind me, Kanthabai waited nervously.

Both, pleading in silence.

‘Go!’ I whispered.

For the first time, Akaash smiled.

Categories
Thought and Reason

Reason to smile

Found this article on the Rediff website and felt a ray of hope 🙂

http://news.rediff.com/slide-show/2010/may/25/slide-show-1-these-little-aids-orphans-have-a-reason-to-smile.htm#contentTop

Do read it 🙂

I found some of the claims hard to believe, like the Doctor being able to change the behaviour of the children in just 6 months time. Also, many of the links are outdated, from several years ago.

Nevertheless, I think this is an extremely noble thing to do. May there be more people like Dr.Manorama around. The world will certainly be a wee bit happier 🙂

And, I hope that we too, contribute in some way or the other, to those less fortunate. And help them too, to relish this beautiful world 🙂

Categories
Short story

The old armchair – fiction

[Warning: Very long post ahead!]

=============

‘Aunty-ji, Aunty-ji, open the door!’. Loud shrieks woke Mrs Marathe from her daily siesta. She hobbled slowly from the airy balcony, back into the sparsely furnished hall. The clouds were looming into darkness, although it was only 4:00 pm on a hot summer afternoon. By sheer force of habit, Mrs. Marathe peered through the faded looking glass. Satisfied that it was indeed the girls, she unlocked the chains that held the door.

Lavina and Priya barged into the hall, and dashed into their room toward the rear end of the old apartment. Mrs.Marathe followed them but stopped just outside. It was her policy to never enter the rooms of her paying guests, though the children did not mind her gentle presence. ‘Arre, what happened? Sooo arly today? College bund (closed)?’, she enquired.

The girls had pulled several outfits out of the small wooden cupboard and thrown them onto the bed, all quite breathlessly. ‘Sorry Aunty-ji, we forgot to call and tell you earlier’.

‘We are going away!!’ – they yelled in unison. They looked at each other, their cheeks burning pink with excitement.

Mrs.Marathe stood as still as a statue. She looked at the two glowing faces. Of all the paying guests she had had over the last ten years, these were the only girls who had managed to carve themselves, a place in her heart. The others had come from good families too, had had excellent upbringing, but had always treated her as only a landlady, a stranger who hailed from several generations before!

Mrs. Marathe lowered her gaze to the ground, as if to examine the grey-black speckled tiles on the floor, for the first time. At 80, she had finished living almost her entire life. She had married well, had three children, two of which migrated to foreign shores, leaving her behind in their ancestral home. The third had been prompt enough to sell that beautiful house, and send her away to this apartment. ‘This is a residential area, Aai, you can relax here’, he had said. True, this was a beautiful locality in the heart of Pune. Green leafy trees, wide roads, and to complement the stillness, a neighbouring college that buzzed with the lively banter of youth – the sound of distant chattering voices that kept her company through the otherwise quiet day.

Lavina and Priya were students of that same college. Both were in their late teens, came from middle-class backgrounds, and were studious, respectful and very friendly. They had spent many an evening, chatting over a cuppa, in that balcony, Mrs.Marathe sunk in one arm-chair, Lavina perched on the arm-rest, Priya in the other arm-chair.

‘Oh, theek’ Mrs.Marathe whispered slowly, and exited to the balcony. For two reasons. First, it would allow the girls to pack. The second, and real reason being, she did not want her eyes to betray her emotions in front of them. Her eyes had been accustomed to seeing people leave her. Her parents, her husband, children.. infact everyone she had known ever! Except for a handful of friends who, like her, were supposed to enjoy ‘retired life’ in the same neighbourhood. She knew, that at 80, she was supposed to be more ‘in control’ of her emotions than the two teenagers who were at that very moment, excitedly stuffing clothes and shoes into their bags.

‘Rent is high.. I can reduce..’. ‘They want telephone? Or come home late!’ She was already thinking, quite involuntarily, of why the girls were leaving, and how she could convince the girls to stay.

Her life was an empty page now. All the work of rearing her children now finished, she had nothing to do, but ‘relax’. How she hated that word! ‘You’ve worked so hard all your life, Aai. Time for you to take rest now’, they would always say to her. That she lived all by herself, with her nearest relatives living four hours away in Mumbai, hardly made a difference to their stance. She had been too hurt to argue with their logic.

She had gracefully surrendered before the war could even begin. Retired to her little shell, and sported a content smile. Always.

Her three sons would faithfully call her every Sunday. The same, standard questions.

‘How are you, Aai?’

‘How is your health?’

‘Are you taking care of yourself?’

‘We will come to visit you soon, Aai’.

They were loving boys. They had always respected her and her late husband. Always ensured she had a steady source of income.

But they hardly came to visit.

In the two years that Lavina and Priya had lived in her apartment, they had never seen her sons. Never heard of her going to meet them in Mumbai or Dubai either, where they now lived.

‘Arre, I am too old to travel’, Mrs.Marathe would always say, when they broached the subject.

‘Too old’, Mrs.Marathe thought to herself, and stifled a laugh. She laid a wrinkled palm on the jaded edges of the arm-chair and thought to herself.. ‘People envy my restful lifestyle. My slow-paced life. My indulgence in books. The rare afternoon tea parties I have with acquaintances from two generations before them! And whenever I want to DO something.. GO out.. play with my grandchildren here, they say ‘Relax, Aai. Don’t stress’. And I continue to plough through this lonely, lonely life.. this .. this curse’.

Suddenly, someone hugged her knees. Mrs.Marathe looked down to find Lavina crying in front of her. ‘Please don’t cry, Aunty-ji, please don’t’, she pleaded. Priya walked behind her arm-chair and gently placed her arms around Mrs.Marathe’s frail shoulders and gave her a peck on her cheek.

Mrs.Marathe smiled, and touched her cheek. How she longed for her own grandchildren to give her a kiss like that! She touched both her cheeks again, this time. They were wet. Tears were streaming down her pointy chin, and had made her green cotton sari damp where they fell! She instantly covered her face with her knotty palms. And let go of all the emotions that had been binding her heart, like a thick rope around a brittle vine. She shuddered for a few seconds.

‘I don’t want to Relax. I want to Live!!’ she cried.

Lavina and Priya held her close. Suddenly, they were the parents, and Mrs.Marathe, the child – desperately seeking solace.

In about fifteen minutes, Mrs.Marathe had calmed down.

Priya rushed to fetch some cold water. ‘Feeling better, Aunty-ji?’ Lavina asked softly.

‘Yes, my dear. I am sorry! For crying like this. You got frightened?’

‘Not at all’, they cooed. Priya gently stroked her silvery hair. Lavina massaged the frail legs.

Mrs.Marathe looked on at them. What relation were they to her? Neither her children nor grandchildren had displayed so much affection towards her until now. She was suddenly exhausted. ‘I want to take rest’, she whispered.

The girls supported her carefully, into her bedroom, fluffed up her pillows, and eased her onto the bed.

‘Aunty-ji, by the way, will you be OK when we go?’

Mrs.Marathe blinked hard. She suddenly realised, this was what caused the outpour after all. The girls going away from her. The tears had however, drained her of both energy and emotion. ‘Yes, don’t worry’, she replied and smiled faintly.

‘Its only for a week! You know, there was this sudden announcement in College, about a fully sponsored training programme, an entire week – in GOAAAAA!!! And guess what? We BOTH got chosen!!’ The girls looked at each other and grinned. Lavina clapped her hands like a child, who had just been given a lollipop! Priya let out a low whistle.

Mrs.Marathe smiled. The enthusiasm was infectious. Suddenly, she realised. ‘Then, you will come back?’ she asked with barely noticable a tremor of excitement.

‘Ofcourse Aunty-ji!’, they chanted happily.

‘This is our home’, Lavina exclaimed. Mrs.Marathe squinted.

‘She means, like our home’, Priya added quickly, not wanting to irk their already distressed landlady.

Mrs.Marathe laughed. She stretched out her hands towards the girls. They held her palms tightly. Almost as if they were afraid to leave her alone.

‘This IS your home, children. For as long as you want’.

The girls enveloped her in a gentle hug, and rushed to get on with the packing.

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[Another para left – will be completed tomorrow 🙂 ]

[P.S: Had written this quite some time back, and was too bored to read and edit… so I leave the job to you 🙂 There must be a lot of language/syntax errors, please do help edit this!]

Categories
55-er MommySpeak Short story

Un-forgiven (55-er)

‘Why do you hate her, Sumi?’

My new bride kept silent.

‘Did she abuse you in any way?’

She looked down.

‘What IS the problem with your mum?’

A tear drop rolled off her beautiful kohl-lined eyes.

‘Problem is…

Same spirit, same zest, same frustrations…

I see myself in her.

And I cannot stand it!’

Categories
MommySpeak

Mommy speak – Fussy eaters

Okay… most of you, my regular readers…are going to find this most boring! Still, I wrote it for an e-friend today, and wanted to post it here. You know, just in case some other Mommy needs it too.

So! This post for MOMMIES – who are struggling to deal with children who are fussy eaters. Here are a few tips that have worked for me and my child.

1- INTERESTING SHAPES
Eating is a task. A boring task, if you ask a child (well, most children, really). So try to make it an interesting activity for them. Nothing like a few shapes on the platter!! Examples:

a) Toast: Cut into strips and arrange it like a track or star or rectangle…you get the idea… something that your kid likes!
b) Chapati/Dosai: Again, make into numbers, alphabet, star-fish, eggs, snakes(!!), whatever.
c) Pasta: Try shaped pasta or tricolour pasta. Or serve it with a plastic fork, and see how your child enjoys eating by him/her-self.
d) Cheese: You could always roll a cheese-strip into a cylinder / cone, etc.

2- DISTRACTION
This works excellently most of the time. When I feed my kid, I either make him do some painting / puzzles / Aquadraw/ or resort to a favourite TV channel. Either way, it really helps, when the kid is focussed on doing SOMETHING rather than only eating.

3 – COLOURFUL FOOD
Definitely helps when the child sees lots of colours on the plate. For eg, if you are making rice, add some chopped carrot, beans and peas, to add colour.

4- INDEPENDENCE
Try eating along with your child, and use a spoon/fork each. I think kids feel grown-up, independent and happy too. You would be happy too, if you could ignore the mess that he/she is making around the table 😉

5- GET SET, READY, COUNT!!

While giving fruit (eg., orange), make it a fun counting game and hand out pieces of fruit while counting. That way, the kids learn numbers too.

As far as I know, the food also needs to be served at the right temperature, and not spicy either.

So that’s about it, really!

Mommy bloggers, do add your valuable tips.

And daddy bloggers, you could always be of help to the mommies, you know (not the ‘mommies you know’ but the ‘mommies, you know’ 😉 )