Categories
Health n Fitness MommySpeak Short story Thought and Reason

Past Promises, Forgotten Futures (Fiction)

*** If you happen to like my post, Pliss to Vote on Indiblogger, here: http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=34664 *** Thanks 🙂 ***

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(This is purely a work of fiction, but I believe this is what most women go through at some point in life! Some survive it, while many don’t get to ever live their dreams. I hope this post will act as a catalyst to those who fall in the latter category.)

Cngrts!’ – the phone beeped with this simple message. She stared at it, rather uncertainly. Who was this from? What were the ‘congratulations‘ for? Try as she might, she could not recall anything specific worth ‘celebrating’.

Anjali looked around her apartment… ragged grey sofa, cushions encased in faded Rajasthani mirrored covers – received six years ago as a wedding present, cream flowered curtains that had turned a unique mixture of brown and grey, over the years, toys scattered all over the floor, the kitchen sink overflowing with dirty utensils. She was not poor. Only chaotic.

It was all she could do, to not cry when she looked into the mirror. She looked a tired, balding mum struggling in her fourties. Interestingly, Anjali had turned just turned thirty. That very day, infact!

Voices from the past echoed within the walls of her mind.

‘Congrats, Anjie babe, well done!!’

‘Hey Anj, awesome.. you’ll come out with flying colours…’

‘Anjali, we are so proud of you, dear!’

Best friends, classmates, parents… they were all congratulating her on her graduation day. She had topped the MCA batch, and had the best job on campus, as Project manager in a reputed IT organization. She was to even wed the next month.

Her thoughts went fleeting past from that day of euphoria, to a year ago.

A stressed husband, two active children who drained her of every ounce of energy. Her career was now a thing of the past. Life revolved around baby-feeds, changing dirty nappies, making visits to the doctor, and arranging playdates. The only friends she had were other ‘mommies’.

‘This is it, Abhi. I cannot take any more!’ – Anjali cried reproachingly.

‘But you wanted all of this, didn’t you?’ Anjali crashed some crockery into the sink, in response.

She was tired. Completely dependent, financially. Diffident, and terribly overweight. She had even started to stutter while talking these days, and didn’t understand why. She had been so eloquent earlier. At times, she even hated herself.

‘I will change my life around. Wait and watch!’ she promised to herself. And to Abhi. He merely shrugged, ‘What’s for dinner, honey?!’

A look of steely determination flashed across Anjali’s eyes. She quickly ran to her bedroom before the moment could pass, took out her mobile phone, and feverishly typed out an SMS. Once done, she wiped away her tears, and went back to serve her family dinner.

The  phone beeped again, jolting Anjali back to the present.

Cngrts on yr new job!! Cngrts on losing wt! – Anjali’

She peered at herself in the mirror. Shabby. Unkempt. She glanced around her apartment. Ditto!

She was supposed to have hired a nanny. She was to have searched for and found employment. She was to have hit the Gym. All this, over the last year. However, none of this had materialised. Mundane chores had got the better of her, and she had lost sight of her own goals.

As she looked closely at herself, reality hit her. And hit hard. She had lost sight of the beautiful future she could have had, if only she had kept that vital promise to her past.

Anjali slowly pulled out her phone, and dialled a number. And then, two more, in quick succession. The first was an employment agency. Then, her old nanny. And finally, the local Gym that had been hounding all the residents with glossy brochures featuring ‘super-(wo)men’ 😉 with six pack abs!!

She washed her face, combed her hair and got down to revamping her resume.

It was time again, to make a new promise. One she would keep. She took out her Docomo One Touch Net phone, and typed out a new message.

‘Congrats Babes, This time, you Really did it. Love ya! – Anj’

She set the timer to a date twelve months from then. Yes, she would receive her own timed-SMS a year down the line. This time, she would re-arrange her Life – the way she wanted it!

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Folks, this is an entry (fiction) for the Indiblogger ‘Tata DOCOMO OneTouch Net Phone’ contest, which explains why I used the name so frequently in the post 😉 They boast of a feature called ‘timed sms’ which to me, sounded exciting. I assumed one could send an SMS scheduled for some date/time in the future, and wrote this story based on the assumption.

Voting begins tomorrow, so If you liked this post, please do vote!!

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To read more fiction, please click this link.

Lazy readers like me, please click this link to 55-word fiction 🙂

Categories
Movie Review

Why its possible to like ‘Pyar Impossible’

At first it was the cast that put me off. The title too. Expectations therefore were at an all time low.

So when a friend sent me the DVD, I promptly discarded it for a time when Sky TV would let me down by not airing anything worthwhile.

Lest I sound crazy, let me state very clearly (in Bollywood jargon) that this was not a ‘mind-blowing’ movie. Nevertheless, there are some aspects that I really liked. And here are the takeaways from the movie.

1- That the heroine, Alisha (played by Priyanka Chopra), comes across as such a wonderful, confident and happy woman, who struggles hard to juggle her career along with her personal life. This is so different to the heroines of a bygone era. Earlier, divorce was taboo, and the divorcee (strictly, the woman) would have to look sad, depressed and repentful, missing ‘her man’ at every juncture!

In sharp contrast, Alisha is a very happy and intelligent woman, not regretting the past, and only trying to strike the right balance. She enjoys her successful career, and is a really cool mum. Hats off to such characters, and may there be many more like them.

(A pity, though, that despite her obvious affluence, she doesn’t have much money for clothes. She seems to wear her little daughter’s outgrown shorts. And her other outfits seem like there wasn’t enough material left over to make a complete dress! Sigh! Yeah, I can see you gentlemen are resolving to watch the movie right away!)

2- That the ‘nanny’ is a man. I didn’t actually see parts of the movie, as I was multi-tasking with something in the kitchen, but yes, it was a very pleasant experience to see that a nanny need not necessarily be a woman. It can be a man too. Maybe this is lift-off from Mrs.Doubtfire, well, atleast partially. But it is good to see Indian audiences can accept this fact. There can be male nannies, there can be house-husbands, and there is nothing wrong about it. I like it!!

3- That the ‘male nanny’ did not find it ‘beneath his dignity’ to entertain the kid or to simply be a nanny! Even in the scene where he is given a long list of household chores, and cheekily outsources it, there is no indication that he thinks ‘being a man is reason enough to not do the chores’. To me, it just came across that he simply did not have a clue as to what to do / or / felt overwhelmed, and so outsourced it. That again, shows a shift in attitude and culture, as a whole. Even if it only represents one small portion of society, still, its a breakthrough, isn’t it?

4- And this song, is what actually made me want to see the movie in the first place.

The hero says ‘love’ is based on looks. For someone who looks bad, finding love is ‘impossible’. While Alisha first refutes it, she later on realises that, that is indeed true. Nobody gives a second glance to someone who looks like a geek, or is ugly. Now I partially agree with this. People (both men and women) give a lot of weightage to looks, far more than what is deserved. And many a time, love is not reciprocated simply on this count. All the same, I also believe, when someone only looks ‘average’, the love that one finds is very genuine, as it is based on something more substantial than just looks.

5- Then, I loved this line by Alisha ‘I’m not a princess. I’m an ordinary girl, but when I’m with you, I feel like a princess’. Well, what more can one say? That is what love is all about!! If your partner can make you feel special, what more can one ask for? The romantic in me loved this typical crazy Bollywood scene!

6- And lastly, I liked the character played by Dino Morea (and not just because it is played by him 😉 ). This character again, came across as a confident young man, who knows the difference between Right and Wrong, and consciously Chooses Wrong. And in the end, when ‘Truth triumphs’, he is equally sportive. He does not do any ‘dramatic repenting stuff’, and not does he ‘swear revenge’. He simply acknowledges the other’s success. I think that is a very nice trait to have. To be able to lose graciously 🙂

So, now I’m not asking you to watch the movie. Watch this song, for sure.

There are a lot of aspects about the movie that are not so good … some of the stereotyped college scenes, the little daughter being so grown-up, that there is no change at all in the looks of main characters despite the time-leap. Despite all this, though, I think the movie has its positives. Apart from the above, Priyanka Chopra looks stunning, the music is pleasant, and every actor perfectly fits the role.

So, those of you, who have found your soul-mates, congrats once again, and work hard to continue to treat them like a Prince/Princess as the case may be 🙂

And to those of you who are looking for love, all the best 🙂 I hope you will care to consider values that will last forever 🙂

Happy Weekend, all 🙂

[P.S: All pictures, courtesy the great WWW. Linked them back to the original source whereever possible]

Categories
Awards Short story

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

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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…