Thursday, 30 January 2014

Her Beauty.....

It is wonderful to write in response to the Wednesday Prompt at Write Tribe, which is a beautiful blogging community .
The 5th Wednesday Prompt for 2014, I / She looked most beautiful,  comes from Shiva Kapoor, whose word graffiti can be found at  Where the mind is without fear  :)

Every time I looked at her, she filled me with awe. She was a very strong lady, and the years of struggle to live hadn’t pulled her heart down, though she had been bestowed with unwelcome physical difficulties.

Yet, she was very determined.

I had always seen her dressed in white. A flowing white sari, carelessly draped over her well-built body, never fastened on the shoulders with a pin , a watch with a golden strap adorning her right hand, a small chain of rudraksha beads around her neck. And an occasional smear of chandanam or vibhuthi on her broad forehead. That was all what she was decked up with.

“Why doesn’t she wear anything colourful, Amma ?”, I once asked my mother when I was very young.

“She’s been like that ever since his  death,” my mother replied. “I’ve seen her as a young woman too, she had knee-length hair that she usually tied in a neat braid. She was very beautiful, though she usually wore simple cotton sarees. But ever since he passed away, she’s been like this,” she said, and I saw her eyes were moist.

“She’s beautiful even now, Amma”, I consoled her.

Years passed by, and we lived through many seasons.

As the child in me blossomed into a woman, she was there, troubled by her share of ailments, but always being the undefeated warrior.
She never ceased to amaze me . The radiance of her will power , the life’s stories that she shared with me, and the lessons she tried to instill in my mind, all captivated me no ends.
Sometimes, she told me, that she saw so much of herself in me, which made me proud and thankful to her.

She grew tired as the years whizzed  by and as she got admitted in the hospital one morning, we all sensed the inevitable.

I spent time with her, cheerfully talking to her and trying to absorb all the wisdom I could.
At night, my mother sat with her, as she breathed from the oxygen mask that the hospital provided.

One evening, when my mother came to the hospital with dinner and asked me to go home for the night, she was asleep. I wanted to wish her before I left, but it wasn’t proper for me to wake her up.

The next morning, she was gone.

Yes, my grandma left us, just like that, without even a good bye to me, her favourite granddaughter.

Or was I the one who was wrong ? Shouldn’t I have kissed her a good bye the previous evening ? My mistake, isn’t it ?

I went to the hospital to take her home, so that we could send her on the final journey of life.

As they wheeled her out on a stretcher and pushed it inside the ambulance, I looked at the peaceful pallor on her face.

Yet, my tears stayed away.

At home, my mother wasn’t able to talk, she was still trying to assimilate this significant loss ; so the onus of  readying her for the final journey fell on me.

I lifted her up slowly, and draped her ever-favourite white sari around her, very carefully, yet as carelessly as she used to do it herself.

I smeared some chandanam on her broad forehead.

My mother joined me ,to have one final look at her, before she went to the land of no-return.

That was when my tears broke the barricades and flowed out in a sudden rush.

She lay there, in a peaceful sleep, as I looked at her through a curtain of tears.

She looked the most beautiful to me, then.
 Rudraksha - literally ,' Shiva's eyes'; refers to the seeds of an evergreen tree, used as prayer beads in Hinduism.
Chandanam - sacred sandal paste from a temple
Vibhuthi - sacred ash from a temple.

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Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Second Chance.....

I stared at the tyre in what was a mixture of anger, frustration, disappointment and helplessness.

I had to be at the venue of the interview in an hour.  I had started quite early from home, thanks to my friend Sanya who had lent me her car, but the heavy traffic affected my time table.
I was relieved to take the diversion to the left from the main traffic signal, and this road was deserted.  The head office of the Choice Riviera Group of Companies, where I was headed to, was still fifteen kilometers away. I was being interviewed for the post of their Public Relations Executive. This was very important for me and my future.

But, half way into this deserted road, my car had decided to stop and not move further. I had got out to check what was wrong, and found the front tyre kissing the ground, much to my dismay.

Oh!! The tyre couldn’t have chosen a better time to get punctured.

How would I make it to the interview in time ? How long would I have to walk to find a garage ? How could I leave the car here ? How would I find a cab , on this road that stretched endlessly to the horizon ?
 Questions of all sorts continued to plague me as I continued to stare at the tyre, as if that would make it spring  to life.

I considered rescheduling the interview. But that was lame. I took the immediate step of pushing the car to the shade of a tree on the roadside , and calling Sanya. She didn’t respond, and I remembered she was out of town on official purpose. I sent her a message about the car and the location where it had gone to rest.

Then I started walking along the road, turning back now and then for any vehicle that might be a godsend to me.

I might have gone on for about five minutes, when I turned back to see a car speeding up towards me. Thanking God, I moved  a little towards the middle of the road, put my hands out and tried to attract attention. I hoped the driver would stop the car and give me a lift, at least to the nearest location from where I could hail a cab.

But I was in for a surprise.

Just as I waved my hand, the speed of the car increased and instead of stopping near me, it went ahead, swerved, lost control, crashed against a tree on the roadside and went still.

I stood speechless, thinking how close I had come to being hit by a car. And that car had crashed.

“ There’s something terribly wrong between me and cars,” I thought to myself as I gingerly moved towards the car, sensing no movement inside.

The sight that met my eyes chilled my bones with fear.

The driver had fallen face down on the hand-wheel, and had been knocked unconscious. From what I could see, he seemed a well-built, middle-aged fellow. Lying on the seat next to him was a briefcase and some stamp papers. Blood was dripping down from the hand-wheel. There was fresh blood on his thighs too. But what caught my attention was the backseat.

Sprawled there, with some rough cloth stuffed into her mouth, a red dupatta wound tight around her neck, eyes closed, was a young girl. She was squirming in pain and her hands had been tied with  a metal chain behind her body.

My mouth went dry for a minute. For a moment, I thought I had come straight into a bollywood movie. I didn’t know what to do.

Had I just foiled an attempt to kidnap ? Was he the wrong guy ? Or was she the bad one here ? I couldn’t decide.

The girl inside started writhing all the more in pain, and she repeatedly tried opening her eyes, even though she couldn’t keep them open for more than a second.

Something in me told me I had to do something. I couldn’t leave this place like this.

I tried opening all the doors, but wasn’t successful. I was afraid of the legal implications of breaking into the car. That was the last thing I wanted to be caught with.

I rang the police helpline. I briefed them of the situation, and gave them the location. I told them about the girl too.

Ten minutes later, the girl had managed to sit up on the seat. She was trying to spit out the cloth from her mouth, when she saw me and gestured frantically with her eyes.

By then, the ambulance arrived, followed by the police.

The police broke into the car with their tool kit, and rescued the girl, releasing her from the chain and  the mouthful of cloth, as the volunteers from the hospital transferred the unconscious man to the ambulance. The girl was given water to drink, and she too was taken to the hospital for a check-up and treatment.

“ I appreciate your thoughtful gesture, Madam. So sensitive of you, to stay back and help. Do you mind coming to the police station with us? We need to record the account of the eye-witness as a part of the FIR,” the Inspector spoke to me. I was surprised at his gentle approach to the issue.

“No issues, sir. I’ll come along. Thanks for being so friendly,” I blurted out.

He smiled and asked me to get into his jeep which I did.

The police station was nothing like what I had heard. It was neat and organized. Inspector Jagat, as I learnt his name was, instilled confidence and trust the way he spoke. Yet, he had the aura of someone
you would never want to mess with, and that reflected on the way his subordinates behaved with him.

The FIR was being prepared and I was asked to narrate how I saw the accident. I had to tell them about my fiasco with my car, my wait for another vehicle and all that ensued.

That was when it hit me. In the frenzy caused by the accident, I had completely forgotten about the time, and I hadn’t sought a rescheduling , either.
I frantically looked at my watch. I was half an hour late for the interview.
I had lost the chance, I knew it.
Disappointment clouded my face, and Inspector Jagat, who  had just returned from a phone call, seemed to read it.

“ Lost the chance for the interview, right ? ,” he asked with concern, and I nodded.

“ But you have just saved a life. In fact, more than one life. The girl was being kidnapped by the man. He’s her dad, and her parents are divorced, the mother has remarried. This man was abducting her  from there, and planned to hold her hostage for ransom. If not, he was planning to sell her off. The car is a stolen one, and the dress that he’s wearing is rented from some drama troupe. It seems he was a patient of hypertension, and his blood pressure suddenly shot up when he was driving, and that’s when he saw you. And the BP hit him hard, and he lost consciousness and the car crashed against the tree.”

I couldn’t say whether I was aghast at the details, or relieved to know the truth.

“ The man is conscious now. He confessed all this to our team. Doesn’t seem he could’ve completed the task anyway. Too much of a chicken, confessing so easily,” Inspector Jagat continued.

“And what about the girl, sir ?”, I asked.

“She’s fine now. Waiting for her mother at the hospital. They’ll be brought here to record her part of the statement soon,” he said.

I nodded.

“ Would you like to wait, Madam ? Or do you wish to go? We’ll call you in case there’s something we need to know,” he said.

I thanked him, and walked out of the police station and hailed a cab home.

I wanted to call the HR at the Choice Riviera and apologise that I couldn’t make it to the interview. At least, that much had to be done.

Just as I picked up my phone to place the call, it started ringing. I attended.

“ Ms Shivani, this is a call from The Choice Riviera, Head Office. Is this a good time to talk to you?”, the caller said.

I braced myself up for a long conversation as I said  yes.

“I’m calling on behalf of the MD. He’s asked me to inform you, that you’re to attend the interview for the post of the Public Relations Executive, at our office  at 10 AM tomorrow. Will that be fine with you?”

Wow ! I couldn’t believe my ears ! Such a stroke of good luck !!

“Yes, sure. Definitely,” I said, making no effort to conceal my happiness.

“That’s fine, Ma’m. Thank you. See you tomorrow. Have a nice day. ” The line got disconnected.

I hadn’t lost the chance after all. I had been given a second chance. And I would make the most out of it.

My phone beeped suddenly. I checked it to find a text message.

“ Hope you’re happy with the second chance. You deserve it. I spoke to the Riviera MD. He’s my friend. All the best for the interview. Jagat.”

I smiled again as I typed out “Thank You so much” in reply.

I would indeed make the most of my second chance.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
Every weekend, we give out creative writing topics for the love of writing.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The Redemption....

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 45; the forty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Amrita checked her watch. It was 11.30 PM.

She looked at Rohit sleeping , his chest moving in perfect rhythm with his breathing. He was on a high dose of analgesics.

She shuddered as she recollected the phone call she had received early that evening, when she was in the kitchen, preparing dinner.

Rohit’s motorbike had met with an accident, and he had immediately been rushed to Nucleus, the new hospital that had started functioning in the heart of the city, the caller had said.
She had rushed to the hospital, praying fervently for the safety of her son.

It had been worse than what she had been told.
He had fallen off his bike when it collided with a speeding bus. His legs had been crushed under its wheels and he had suffered severe spinal injury.
He had been administered the initial treatment and was in deep sleep when she arrived.
The special panel of doctors including the Orthopedic Surgeon and the Neurosurgeon had recommended an urgent surgery to his Spinal Cord.

She had been made to sign the documents for the same.

That was when the nurse informed her that the Head Surgeon wished to meet her. “He’s the best in the country, Ma’m. This is his monthly visit to our hospital. He just informed me to tell you, that he’d like to have a word with you, Ma’m. In his room, at around 12.30 AM,” she had said.

They were now in a special room in the ICU wing of the hospital .She looked out of the window. Against the sky lit by the dim moonlight, she could see the falling droplets of rain.
It was unusually windy for a December night.  There had been heavy winds for the past few days, and storms were expected anytime.

Storms. They always brought her the ghosts of memories.
Memories that became more and more indelible with time.
One such stormy night had changed her life before.

“No, not now, I simply mustn’t”, she admonished herself, turning to look at Rohit once again.

“I’d warned him, I had”, she thought to herself, as she tried in vain to suppress her tears.
Rohit was her life, her purpose in life.
Seeing him in such a condition broke her heart.

The faint ticking of the clock in the room reminded her that she had an appointment to keep. Closing the door, she walked down the stairs to the Head Surgeon’s room on the ground floor.

The winds outside had turned furious, and by the time Amrita reached the Surgeon’s room, she was freezing to the bones. The rains had become heavier, and there were puddles of water in the grounds outside.
Amrita read the name board.

Dr Aniket Iyer. Specialist Orthopedic Surgeon.
Listed next to that were his credentials.

She knocked gently and entered on getting an approval, relieved to be in the warmth of the room.

Inside the room, sitting at his table, with a large hard-bound book open, and a pen in hand was a young man. He looked slightly more than thirty, his dark-rimmed spectacles awarding his boyish face an aura of maturity that belied his age. Curly hair neatly combed back, with sacred ash smeared on his forehead, Dr Aniket  looked impressive .

Amrita was surprised, as she had expected someone senior in age and experience, on that seat.

“Take your seat, Ms Amrita”, his calm voice addressed her.

She sat on the seat opposite to him. She was suddenly filled with a sense of foreboding. Something about the doctor was uncanny.

“So you know Rohit’s condition, I presume ? He needs a surgery for his spinal cord to be fixed, and it will be five to six months before he can actually walk around. He’ll have to undergo rigorous rounds of physiotherapy as well, I hope you’ve been told all this ,” Dr Aniket looked at her with calm eyes and a question in his voice.

Amrita nodded affirmatively.

“ It must be hard for you, handling all this alone, without your husband to support you,” he said.

Amrita looked up at him, surprised at how he knew her husband was no more.

“ A copy of his death certificate was found in Rohit’s wallet,” the doctor explained to her.

Yes, she remembered. Rohit used to carry a copy of that with him, along with her photograph.

“When will the surgery start , doctor?”, she asked.

“ Relax, Rohit is being monitored closely. We’ll begin the surgery once he’s stable enough.”

“ May I know why you wanted to meet me then, doctor?,” she asked. She didn’t want to waste her time here. She wanted to be with Rohit.

Dr Aniket looked deep into her eyes. His quiet gaze made her uncomfortable.

“Isn’t it a fantastic weather outside? The rains, the heavy winds, the stormy atmosphere,” he said, suddenly turning and opening the windows.

“ May be, Sir. But somehow I don’t enjoy all this and never at all, in the frame of mind I’m in now, ” she said.

“Perhaps, because it reminds you of something from your past? Thoughts can be ghosts, you know ”, Dr Aniket turned to look at her, the calmness on his face hiding the emotions in his voice.

She was startled.

 Did he know ? How could he ? She had never told anyone. And she didn’t know this person. Then how?

“And you still look very young, as if you’re still eighteen,” he said.

“ I’m sorry, doctor. I don’t see how my looks matter, and I don’t quite get what you say .I don’t believe in ghosts either,” she managed to say.

“You will , after I explain it to you,” his voice was crisp, yet calm.

“ Twenty years ago, one stormy night, a young girl of eighteen, decided to get rid of her young brother . He was eleven years old, handicapped and confined to his wheelchair. They had no parents, and her lover didn’t want him in their life after their marriage. She drugged him with sleeping pills, put him on his wheel chair, and took him out of their one-room home, into the rainy, windy, night to the railway station. She  left him sleeping on a seat in a deserted compartment of a train, his wheel chair folded and tucked neatly beneath the seat. ”

Amrita felt the ground beneath her slip away. So he knew. He knew the ghosts. But how ?

“How do you know ? How ? Who are you ? Who told you all this ? ,” she shook violently as she pointed her shaking finger at Aniket.

She couldn’t face them. The ghosts of her memories.

“ Isn’t it obvious , Amrita ? I’m the very same boy, who woke up and found himself in a hospital.”

“ No !! Never !! You can’t be. He wasn’t called Aniket. You’re lying,” she  shouted breathlessly.

“ Yes, he wasn’t called Aniket. He was Anubhav, wasn’t he ? And yes, twenty years isn't a small chunk of life, is it ? "

Amrita gasped. Her knees gave away as she sank to the floor. Tears had begun to flow and soon she was sobbing uncontrollably.

“The sleeping boy was saved by an Army Doctor, Dr Hariharan Iyer,  who boarded the train, and discovered him unconscious. He ensured that the boy received treatment at the next railway station, and he adopted the helpless child. He learnt about the boy’s past from him, and renamed him Aniket. A loving home, proper care and nutrition and good education made him Doctor Aniket. Yours truly, here.”, he paused and looked at Amrita, who was now on her knees, crying, her head cupped in her hands, her body shaking violently.

“ I’m sorry, sorry….I…would’ve never….couldn’t ...recognise you....when I saw.....….”, she spoke in between sobs.

He waited patiently for a few minutes for her to calm down.

“ None of the apology is required now, Amrita. Your mistake can never ever be justified , that’s true. But that particular stormy night changed my life. To something better. And in one way, you’re responsible for my good fortune.  I wouldn’t have told you any of this, had I not seen your photograph in Rohit’s wallet. I was surprised at the ways of fate. Seeing my own nephew in front of me, waiting for the gift of life, I couldn’t hold myself back. And you couldn't have recognised me now. I've changed a lot, haven't I ! ”

Amrita looked at him, tears still streaming out of her eyes.
How selfish had she been !
She had repented for her action for many years after that. Her efforts to find Anubhav hadn’t worked out. All that she could do was to hate herself for what she did.

Now, she felt relieved. The one she had feared she’d killed was alive. Alive as a life-giver.

“I’ve forgiven you for everything. I’m mature enough to think that you would’ve been hurt, ashamed and sorry for that act of yours. I just thought that revealing the truth might help you make peace with yourself.”

Amrita got up on her feet with folded hands. She tried to say something.

Aniket wheeled his chair out of his place. He came to Amrita and took her hands, trying to silence her.

“ Relax, I’m soon starting the surgery. Rohit will be fine. I’m going in to the theatre now. I need to get dressed and be ready on my special chair, as I cannot stand during the surgery. Sit here for sometime, and then go back to your room. Be peaceful. I’ll meet you after the surgery,” saying this, he left the room and took the elevator to the Operation Theatre.

The rains outside had died down, the raging storm defeated.

The night was soon clothed in a surprising calmness that descended with a still silence.

No one would ever know that the storm that had blown inside two human minds for the past few years had been quelled.

The storm of guilt , conquered by the rain of forgiveness.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 03