Monday, May 4, 2020

Reflection-A to Z Challenge



Reflections lead to learning. I agree. It allows you to relive your past and if it has been a pleasant one it adds to your sense of well being. This is exactly what the reflection on this challenge has help me to achieve.

Years back, thanks to my niece Nisha and sister Deepika, I started blogging. Life happened and the blogosphere faded away from my life. And then came the 'Lockdown'. Once the chaos started settling I started thinking about getting back to blogging. Earlier in the week a chance conversation about A to Z Challenge at a read meet got me thinking. I registered. Just for a lark.

April 1 dawned and I had no clue what I was going to write about.  Writing fiction seemed easy and I decided to write short stories. But did I struggle? Of course I did, and how!! With no back-ups ( alright, I had 3-4 stories  which I edited and uploaded) but most were written and posted on the same day. Did I want to give up? Yes -many times. The pressure of planning, writing and editing, along with endless household chores and work commitments, drove me crazy. Thanks to the encouragement by my fellow-bloggers, I plodded. And here I am with 26 posts under my belt!

I know planning helps, but this month I realised how imperative it is  to produce good work, so hopefully next time around I will be in a better place. The satisfaction of achieving a goal as well as building the courage to share my work have been my key takeaways from this challenge. Thank you#BlogChatterA2Z Challenge for this opportunity.

I read many interesting blogs and enjoyed the journey immensely. Here is a list of my favourite bloggers. Show some love to them and hop on to their blogs. You will love every one of them. 
 Nisha Punjabi  Sonia Dogra , Noor ,  Ira Mishra,  Arti Jain Shweta Suresh,  Srivalli,  Pradeep Nair,  CRD

Inspired by some of you I have also jumped on to Instagram. Do follow, comment and share if you like it.

vignettesbyarti


Much love to you my dear readers for reading, supporting and helping me live my dream.

Do keep dropping by.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zeenia

Z is for Zeenia

Pappa has been gone for a week now. Silloo called from Toronto last night.

"Zeenia go and check the old house. See if you find the property papers there.We will need to settle . Did you find a will ?"

"No I don`t think he made a will Silloo.  He didn`t even know who he was , where he was. How would he make a will?"

"I have no option but to trust you.Check his cupboard will you ? I will call you next week again," said Silloo.

Zeenia opened Pappa`s rickety wooden cupboard. His faded white shirts were folded neatly next to a few old stained Payjamas.  She yearned for his presence when the sweet sickly smell of Ponds Talcum powder that he kept at the top shelf , hidden from plain sight, filled her entire being.She rummaged through the drawer, pushing aside a few rusted coins, dirty crumpled notes till she found the small wooden box. It creaked softly as she opened it and found what she was looking for. A huge big rusted key. The key to their house in the old mohalla.

She clasped the key and held it close to her heart as she slipped back to that terrifying day 30 years back. Mummy had collapsed and then Pappa had gone with her to the hospital in an ambulance. Silloo had shut the door and both the sisters sat huddled in a corner.Waiting. Soon it was dark and the lone bulb could do little to dispel the darkness in the house. 

"Silloo, I am hungry," Zeenia had whispered.

"There is milk." 

"Nothing to eat?"

"Maybe a slice of bread. Let me check."

"No bread also. There is a packet of parle-g. We can share."

Zeenia lips trembled as she tried to suppress the hunger gnawing her stomach.

"Dolly," Silloo whispered, Pappa will be home soon."

Tears ran down her cheeks. Silloo never called her Dolly. Only Pappa did. She knew right then that  something terrible was going to happen.

Silloo gave her 6 biscuits and a full cup of milk. But it was not enough. Never enough. She was always hungry.She wanted so much more.She finally fell off to sleep on the lumpy mattress, clutching Siloo`s hand for comfort.

It was still dark when the sweet sickly smell of Ponds talcum filled her whole body. She squinted her sleepy eyes as Pappa picked her up. She heard Silloo ask him, "Mummy is gone forever?"

"Shhshh we need to go Silloo. Hold my hand, "he whispered.

She could feel her body flap across Pappa`s shoulders as he locked the main door. 

30 years and not once did they go back. And now Silloo wanted her to go there for some property papers. How dare she ask me to face it all alone? But there was not much she could do. She shut the cupboard and walked to the window. She needed to breathe. And then she spotted Pappa`s rocking chair. She sat on it holding the key close to her heart and finally wept as she realised she was no longer Dolly. Only Zeenia.




You can read more about this family in my A2Z Challenge posts Aala and Eddie





Dear Readers..It has been a fun ride this month.I resumed blogging after a long hiatus and  enjoyed the challenge. Thank you for reading and appreciating. I will be seeing you all around. Take Care


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Yamuna

Y is for Yamuna



Yamuna was born the day she got married. Amma had hugged her as she had walked in timidly with her ghoongat  into her new home.

"You have got good luck for us Bhagwati."

You see, Ganga their 5 year old cow had finally birthed a calf. They named her Yamuna. Amma believed it was Bhagwati and her good fortune that had led to Yamuna`s birth. Bhagwati was entrusted with the duty of taking care of Yamua, while experienced Amma tended to Ganga post her delivery. Soon Yamuna became Bhagwati`s confidant. She shared all her tears and smiles with Yamuna.. Her husband was deployed as a subedar and she got to see him once every few months. By the time she would start becoming comfortable with his presence it would be time for him to leave.

 "Duty hai Bhagi. Next time I will come for a longer break."

But that never happened. His visits were infrequent and never lasted for more than a few days. So it was Yamuna who would hear about all of Bhagi`s dreams. Going to the sheher. Or buying a new saree with matching bangles for some festival. Even when during one of  his rare outbursts Baba would reprimand her for making tastless daal or kaccha chawal, it was Yamuna who heard her rants patiently. All the while chewing her cud, looking at Bhagwati with a doleful expression. She really did have the gentlest eyes in the world and the most comforting presence. Bhagwati spent all her evenings tending and talking to her.

"This is the last time I am telling you Saroj. I cannot afford this anymore. This time if Yamuna does not bear a calf I will have to let her go. Its been nearly 6 years."

"Yes I know , but even Ganga got Yamuna only after 5 years. And see, since then she has given us 4 more calves. Just give Yamuna some time."

"I have given her almost 6 years. This is the last try I am telling you," he declared firmly.
"Else she goes."

Bhagwati`s heart thumped with fear. She ran and hugged Yamuna, tears streaming down her eyes.

"Yamuna, please do what Baba is asking for, else he will send you away. I know you love me and you support me. But its been 6  long years.  What if he really sends you away?" sobs wracked her body. And then she stopped abruptly. A sob still lodged in her throat , as a thought struck her,

What if he sends me away too ?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Xerox

X is for Xerox



Xerox! You would think I am asking or telling you to make a copy of something. No I am not.

I am Xerox.

Yea that`s what everyone in my colony calls me. I have a twin sister you see.  Tapur. We are 13 now. Identical twins. Yet I am the Xerox and she`s the Original. Only difference is that she is full 4 minutes 22 seconds older than me.

 Ma is the only one who can tell us apart. Baba calls us Tapur-Tupur. For him we are one. But not for Ma. Though she claims she loves us both . Yes she does ensure we have an equal share of everything she wants to buy for us. She buys for us the same clothes, shoes, hair clips, hair-bands, socks. Absolutely same. Just a different colour. It is always Tapur in Pink or red. I get yellow or blue or any other colour. Even our school bags, water-bottles, tiffin-boxes, pencil-boxes, swimming gears are identical. Everything is identical.

Yet I am the  Xerox and she is the Original.


Why ?


Monday, April 27, 2020

Wasim

W is for Wasim


Wasim stood in the balcony of his swanky apartment on the 35th floor. The sky stretched to eternity, some parts were broken by white patchy clouds. An angry streak of red and orange  ran across the horizon. Who said gazing at the sky was peaceful? He wanted to tear out the sky, shred it into pieces,stamp his foot and destroy it completely. And then scream his lungs out.

 He did not.

He could not.

Sometimes he wondered if this crazy life was worth anything ? Anything at all? He was living his dream life in Mumbai. Or was he? He had an envious lifestyle. Did  he? Some days, like today,  he went round and round in circles trying to make sense of his life. Then there were days when he flew high with the belief that he had cracked the code. But they were rare. Very rare.

He was tired. Really, really tired of this constant movement. Like a pendulum. To and fro and To and fro and...endless. There was no stopping.

"Wasim," he heard Sheena call out to him.  "Are you going ?"

That`s when he made the decision.

"Yes," he called out as he climbed the parapet.




Saturday, April 25, 2020

Vanessa


V is for Vanessa Girty



She frowned as she looked in the mirror. She could spot a gray hair struggling to slip out from her smooth high bun. She picked up her trusted silver scissors and snapped the errant hair as close as possible to her scalp. Now there, she looked prim and proper. She adjusted the scarf around her neck, tucked her white blouse neatly into her black pencil skirt and  pulled her skin-coloured stockings smoothly over her hairy legs. There was no time to shave this morning- not after she had to spend an hour cooking lunch for her useless brother and equally stupid sister. They were quite rigid about cooking duties.  Surely one of them could have exchanged the lunch duty.She was the one who had to leave early morning. Both the buffoons left for their offices only by 9:30 a.m. They could take over  the morning cooking but as stated earlier-they were buffoons.

She slipped on her high heel shoes-they killed her knees and back -but then they were an essential part of her and played a big role in portraying her as the formidable Miss V. Girty. She wore her maroon lipstick and patted some talcum powder on her neck and finally dabbed some eau-de-cologne. It was frightfully expensive- but she had to wear it, after-all she had to smell pleasant and not like some fisher-woman from the docks!

She picked up her boxy handbag and armed with her floral handkerchief she was ready for school. She glanced at her wrist watch. The huge dial held together by thick black straps showed 7:15 a.m. She was well in time. That snake Ganga won`t get an opportunity to act smart today. He thinks he can get away with his impudent behaviour. He jolly well knew that Miss Girty held the reins of the Accounts section and was now gaining favour with Mother Superior as well. But that did not stop him from trying out his strong-arm tactics with her. She knew how to crush such creatures under her pointy heels. Today she planned to eliminate him forever.She walked into her office at sharp 7:45a.m.

Soon Ganga walked in and slid the muster on her table and she skimmed through it. Mr J. Britto`s signature was missing. The next second Mr Britto materialised in her office and drawled in his sexy voice, “Good Morning Vanessa. Apologies. Can I have the muster please?”

Miss Girty got so flustered that she nearly dropped the muster on the water jug resting on her table. She just nodded dumbly and handed the muster to him.How she loved being called Vanessa! She wanted to flutter her lashes and act all coy but that Ganga stood there grinning like the cat who got the cream.

She knew that today she would have to sign his fraudulent requisition slip for 4 bulbs again!


p.s.  Yes it is  Miss Girty from Francesca and Ganga Prasad in my A2Z Challenge


Friday, April 24, 2020

Urmi

U is for Urmi


Urmi  panicked. She could not find her maroon bindi. She dusted her saree , blouse and petticoat frantically on the bed.

Brijesh had always insisted that she wear one every day. He loved it. But now she could not. You see she was a widow.

A widow cannot wear a bindi.

She had asked the panditji who came every festival to collect his dakshina." Panditji, I don`t care about bangles or even coloured sarees but the bindi is special. Please say I can wear one for him."

"Shastra kehta hai beta,  your husband is your pride that you wear on your forehead. If your husband is gone where is the pride?"

 She had hesitantly asked him, "what if the husband wanted you to wear one everyday?"

"Urmi beta, the grief of losing your husband at such a young age has affected your brain."

Urmi found the bindi stuck to her blouse. She gently peeled and pressed it close to her heart. Just where her husband lived for her.