Categories
Poem Thought and Reason

I wonder at possibilities (Poem, Indus Ladies contest)

Folks,

As I grow older, and a little wiser, I observe vast disparity all around me. Sometimes it sickens me. Sometimes it just makes me numb. Thinking about this, made me realise, that I believe what CAN make a difference to situations, to destinies, is education. Not that all educated people are sensible or sensitive. Still, I believe education empowers. So this is the topic I have chosen. Here is my entry to the Indus Ladies contest on Women’s Day (P.S: Been tagged by Shail).

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I WONDER..AT POSSIBILITIES

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Sometimes I wonder
If I were the girl who delivers milk at my door
What would I have done?
..Borne silent testimony to
..The brutality of a man who hit me?
..Toil endlessly day after day, only
..To donate it to the local liquor store!
..Walk my children barefoot on scorching roads?
..Hoping they, at least, would lead a better life!

Sometimes I wonder
If I were the girl who irons my clothes
What would I have done?
..Been a speechless spectator
..To baby clothes that morphed into designer wear
..And peers who eventually flew high
..While I gazed from below, Resigned!
..Wiping away an endless stream of sweat
..Amidst fumes from a hot coal box!

Sometimes I wonder
If more girl children
Could go to school, rather than
..Skip around potholes
..Oblivious to the heights I scale
..Or sweep or swab my home
..While I whistle in a cinema
..Or skilfully balance a brick wall on the head
..As I crib about glass ceilings!

I wonder at this wonder
This creature – smart, practical, beautiful
Who is just like me
..Only we live worlds apart
..Because I am empowered,
..I have read widely
..About how life CAN be
..About basic rights that belong to me
..And about infinite POSSIBILITIES

I wonder, if she were educated
Would she too, learn to believe
That destiny CAN be changed?

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And now, I have to tag three people.. hmm.. and that would be (1) Roop (2) Pixie (3) Piper

(Thank you, Pragya, for reviewing this at such short notice!)

Cheers..

Categories
Incidents

Lost and Found

Ok…I lost the Mother’s Day contest. But I won a 166 votes, and a huge huge deal of self-confidence.

I just want to THANK everybody who voted for me. Friends from school, college, ex-work place, blogosphere, Orkut and Facebook (!!)…friends of friends… friends of colleagues… colleagues of ex-colleagues… everybody really!

Thank you for your really precious vote.

Thanks for making me stand 5th out of nearly 60 entries.

Thanks for reading my story, thanks for appreciating it, thanks for goading me on!!

And thanks, for giving my self-confidence a much-needed boost ūüôā

Cheers..

Pallavi

Categories
Incidents Short story

Made it to the Top Ten – Thank you!!

Hi Everybody,

Thanks a million, for taking the trouble to vote for my short story (submitted for IndusLadies Mothers Day contest)!

I have made it to the Top Ten. Yippee! Thanks again.

The second round of voting has started in full swing, so I need your help again.

Please cast your precious vote at   

http://indusladies.com/partners/poll1.php

OR

http://poll.fm/xuom

(Ofcourse, in¬†favour of my entry: ‘Pal of Crocodile Tales’ :-))

as soon as you can!!

The original story is here, in my blog, its called ‘Nanny Maa’.

Thanks a lot, in advance.

-Pallavi

(Phew…now I understand why Indian politicians are all so corrupt… campaigning for votes is such a difficult job, therefore the poor guys are forced to resort to underhand methods ;-)).

Categories
Awards Short story

Nanny Maa (short story for Indus Ladies Mothers Day contest)

 il_votebanner-120x240

Thanks a million, for taking the trouble to vote for my short story (submitted for IndusLadies Mothers Day contest)! I have made it to the Top Five!

The second round of voting is underway, so I need your help again.

Please visit    http://indusladies.com/partners/poll1.php

and Vote for my entry: ‘Pal of Crocodile Tales’ as soon as you can!! Thanks a ton!

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Reema watched the children¬†play quietly in a corner of the room. They built castles from building blocks, and painted vibrant colours using their fingers. They giggled as they enjoyed their¬†‘Messy Play’. ‘I wish Monu were here’, she thought wistfully. Her three year old lived with her mother, while she worked as a nanny in London.

It had happened all too soon. The recession, Rakesh losing his bank job, the looming loan installments on their¬†apartment. She didn’t have an option, but¬†to resume work at the nursery she had been employed with earlier.¬†She¬†winced at the irony of not being able to afford the same nursery for Monu. ‘He will be looked after much better in India. Family, school, friends…’ Rakesh had assured her.

‘Reema, its potty time. Could you take the toddlers please?’, Meg called. Reema first took the girls into the toilets. Then came the boys. ‘It burns…’, cried Mick. ‘Don’t worry. We’ll ask Mummy to take you to the doctor’, she replied. It seemed to soothe the boy, and he hugged her. As she held him for just a second, she remembered the last time she had hugged Monu.

‘Mamma! Look! Granny sent me a present! And she’s got lots more. IN INDIA!!’, Monu cried excitedly. Reema looked at the train she had bought yesterday, and¬†had signed: ‘Your loving¬†Granny’.¬†‘I’m so happy, Mamma! Can we meet Granny ? Plllleeeeeeasssssseeeee… I want my presents’. She hugged him in a tight embrace. She felt choked. Her plan was working. Her heart was breaking.

A series of gifts of Thomas and Roary toys, colouring books and pencils followed that week. By Sunday, Monu was all set to meet his ‘loving grandmother’. In a home miles and miles away from home.

Rakesh didn’t lose much time. He booked tickets on the same Air-India flight on which his friends were¬†travelling. ‘Look at them, Reema. They don’t even have an option! No jobs, three kids.¬†¬†They start from scratch…’ Reema didn’t let him complete. She had heard this often enough in the last month. She slipped into their bedroom and sat by Monu’s side, stroking the mop of black hair and kissing his soft, tender forehead. ‘In two days, my little angel…you won’t be with me. Oh God! What have I done to deserve this?’. Hot tears streamed down her sunken face and dropped onto her track pants.

‘Aw…I’m sorry’, cried Mick. ”That’s Okay, dear’, she replied, wiping the drops of paint that had fallen onto her trousers. Her favourite Dorothy Perkins,¬†bought from her first salary. She had cried miserably that afternoon, hiding inside the toilet.

‘Lunch!’.¬†¬†The nannies cleaned the room, quickly transforming it into a dining area! Today was ‘Soup day’, which meant, a day of struggle! The¬†toddlers pushed around¬†the bland leek and carrots, while the infants unabashedly dribbled it out.

‘Let’s go for a nice walk after lunch, alright?’, the assistant manager came around, trying to cheer the children and staff alike. The former nodded¬†excitedly, while the latter suppressed¬†disapproval at the thought of having to dress and chaperon four children each!

The nannies strapped one end of the wrist-link onto three girls and a boy, and tied the other end to her own wrist.

They strolled leisurely around the sturdy bridge across the River Thames. Little Leah shrieked excitedly, ‘Boat! Boat’! The other children immediately looked in that direction. ‘Hey! Its Ducky!’ cried Mick. Before Reema realised, he started to run towards the steel barricade, so he could get a better look at his favourite¬†black and green duck, that was bobbing away on the surface of the glistening river. ‘Slow down’, Reema cautioned.¬†Mick quickened his steps towards the water. Reema tugged at his wrist-link. It was too late.¬†The link snapped!

Thrilled at his new-found freedom, Mick ran¬†as fast as he could on those little feet. ‘Noooo! Come back!’, cried Reema. She had to stop him. But she couldn’t just let go of the other three children. She quickly glanced around for help. The other nannies were chatting amiably, the children in tow. ‘Somebody help! Meg!! Meg!!’ she screamed.

Mick was now¬†leaning precariously through the lower rung of the barricade. Another tilt, and he would fall into the river. There was no time to lose. Reema tied the wrist-links in hand to the rim of the dustbin on the path. ‘Stay here!’ she shouted to the baffled children. ‘God, please, please save him! Keep these children safe!’ she muttered, as she¬†ran towards the barricade. The other nannies finally noticed, and quickened their pace. ‘That’s Mick…he’s falling through the barricade!’, cried one. ‘Oh Gawd! Hurry!’ screamed another at the children who trudged behind, blissfully unaware that this was their last outing from the nursery, for a long time to come.

That evening, when the shutters went down¬†at the nursery, everyone was in a state of shock. They were still unable to digest what had happened. Mick’s parents had been informed immediately. Reema had been temporarily asked to take a few days off. There were to be no further outings until ‘the incident’ had been ‘thoroughly investigated and necessary measures put in place’. The children continued with their daily activities of rhymes, colouring and increased sessions of Messy Play. Occasionally, someone asked for¬†Reema. But they soon forgot.

A month passed. And another. Six months now.

‘Rakesh, I’m sorry!’, Reema whispered into the phone.

‘No…’

‘I really am. I shouldn’t have left’

‘Don’t worry. How are you?’

‘Okay’

‘How’s our apartment?’

‘Looking great, with the new Italian flooring’

‘Wonderful !!!’

‘Monu’s enjoying his new school. I think he hated the Government school, where Mummy sent him earlier. He loves this one though. Huge playgrounds, friends..everything, really!’

‘Fantastic! This is all because of you, Reema’.

Silence.

‘If you hadn’t saved that boy, none of this would have happened. What was his name? Mike? Mick?’

Silence.

‘You risked your life to save his! And his parents rewarded you. With enough to last us a lifetime!’, Rakesh said softly.

‘Don’t be silly, Rakesh. Mike..¬† Mick..¬† Monu..¬† all the same’.

Reema’s voice faltered slightly, as she reminisced that fateful day. She remembered¬†running towards¬†Mick, yelling ‘Monu…Monu…!’ all the time. Mick had turned and smiled. She hadn’t realised the strangeness of it all then. She had just grabbed him by his jacket, and yanked him back onto safe ground, and showered kisses (against the rules!), crying uncontrollably.

The teardrops fell on Monu’s cheeks, as he shifted in his sleep. Reema quickly patted his back and whispered ‘Go back to sleep, my Angel!’.

Tomorrow was Mother’s Day. She was going to buy presents. Two sets of Thomas Tank Engine. One would have to sent by courier to London.

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* Featured blog in Sulekha.com Expressions

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Guys n Girls,

I have submitted this story for the Indus Ladies Mother’s Day contest¬†(click link). Please vote for me if you like the story. If not, do let me know (so I know what to do when you participate… hee hee…just joking!!!).

Cheers…