Health n Fitness MommySpeak Short story Thought and Reason

Past Promises, Forgotten Futures (Fiction)

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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!


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!!


To read more fiction, please click this link.

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

Incidents Thought and Reason

New Year Resolutions and more

I am never one to make resolutions. I find it utterly silly. As if a New Year means anything. Well, until now, that is.

Last night, as we sat hogging Chinese food at a friend’s place, I suddenly realised I was seated amidst 25-year-olds. And I was ..ahem.. just beyond 30! So, as I sadly realised that I was halfway through Life itself, I resolved … to LIVE each day with enthusiasm and gusto.

So these are a few of my resolutions:

-To DO some of my favourite things…be it shopping or exercising (heh, who’s kidding! That’s NOT one of my favourite things!!)

-Invest in good clothes to seemingly look fit

-Buy some mini-chandelier earrings, in the hope of looking younger than I am 😉

-Feed my sonny boy with tonnes of good books (toys and strawberries too)

-And finally, give away lots of stuff in charity

Aah…that’s enough resolution for one day, I suppose.

Pliss to share yours…..

Cheers..and a Very Happy ’09 to all of you.

– Pallavi

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, 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 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…”