Category Archives: Childhood

Escape Velocity


It’s almost an hour.
I am speaking to her.
Trying my best
to get to the core.

Discuss, motivate, encourage,
beg, empathize, sympathize,
agitate, provoke, admonish.
But nothing cracks through.

She’s so calloused.

About to give up,
Desperate,
One last question
out of the blue!

Voila!

The escape velocity attained.
Tears, disclosures, confessions.

Two souls
Over the moon.

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Experiment


She is in the lab
Doing an experiment
For the first time
in her life.

She is confident
Yet, from time to time
she cross checks
With her Guru.

The powders measured
like gold, with utmost care,
since she fears
Even the minute variations
may affect the final outcome.

And it is ready !

The testing –
the tasting.

The verdict –

Aha! That’s my cup of tea!

[That was my daughter making her first cup of tea for her father, just now! 🙂]

Now I know what’s wrong with those doctors


(STORIES FROM THE SCHOOL – III)

Unit: The Road Not Taken

What’s your ambition?(The same old innocent question)

I was pretty sure of the statistics for the answers.

As usual one-third of the class proudly claimed they want to be doctors. What kind? No idea. That’s fine.

Each one of you loves to be one? What’s the main attraction?

Yes!! Money!

And the prestige?

Yes, yes, of course!!

So that means you would ‘love’ to be with sick people all your working hours? How many of you – now?

*

*

*

To my utter dismay, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM!

Oh, what did I do? Did I ruthlessly eradicate a batch of doctors? Sorry, that was not my intention.

Wait! There were two – but one,  a wannabe politician and the other a wannabe journalist. But a politician… and a journalist… and the sick…?

Think of that teacher who doesn’t want to be with students, that salesman who doesn’t want to be with customers, that vet who doesn’t want to be with animals…

Now I know what’s wrong with the doctors these days.

Now I am thinking what I can do to help (at least some of) my wannabe doctors to be REAL doctors.

SOS


(STORIES FROM THE SCHOOL – II)

Girl 1

She couldn’t answer –
Today too!

Meet me later.

What is the problem, dear?

I’m sc..a..r..ed..

Hmm… no more questions.
Let me know when you are ready.

Girl 2

She was late again-
Third day in a row.

Why?
No reply – as usual.

Her shabby uniform,
Skinny frame,
Terrified looks
Were no good signs.
Time to poke my nose.

Waiting: Story 2


Occasion: School assembly – World Environment Day .

Anchor: Coming up next, a group song by H and party!

Well, that would be a relief. We were intrigued too – environment day… song? Soon H and ‘party’ were on the stage – H in the middle and two girls each on her either side. H had on many previous occasions entertained us with both her solo and group performances. And it began –  another typical school group song. The main singer, H, started with a song that did justice to the topic of the day. Her open, bold voice was a sure entertainer. Thus it went on.

So far, so good.

But soon the song ceased to ‘entertain’. H was still singing, but ALL ALONE, yet to be joined and supported by the chorus. It was almost half way into the song, but there was no sign of it being a ‘group’ song. We could no longer pay attention to H’s song. The other four girls stood rooted, perplexed, like the audience who by now were impatiently waiting for the other four to open their mouths. After all why were they there? What was their role? Were they simply accompanying H? Or did they forget their lines? Did they suddenly give up their plan to sing? Was it some kind of a sweet revenge on H? Was it the ultimate WE Day prank?

Within minutes the group/solo identity-confused performance was over. They were courteous enough to thank the patient audience before leaving the stage. Mesmerized by the nature of the performance, even the grade one students (most sincere applauders) forgot to applaud.

*   *  *

I knew the answer would come my way, and it did, shortly afterwards. H and party dropped by with the explanation. Yes, it was actually supposed to be a group song. They had all learned the lyrics. But due to lack of time they could not get a rehearsal together. The poor chorus had no idea when to take out their lines. And thus it ended up a solo! We had a good laugh.

Ever since, the English teachers of the school are found to be using this example for the Third Conditional (Gr.):

If the girls had practised the song together they would have ……… 🙂 

Waiting: Story 1


“Good! Next, you there, read out your answer, please.” F stood up and started preparing to read. Everything looked just fine, so far, but nobody knew those were the initial peaceful minutes of a slight thriller. Seconds passed by, and she was still preparing to read. A chuckle started to spread all over the class. The busy teacher became curious, and before losing herself to anger, confirmed F had been (physically and emotionally) all right. The friends had no evidence to prove it otherwise. F grew more pathetic and looked at her neighbour helplessly. The teacher, holding on to her last vestige of self-control, tried to encourage her to read. But alas, nothing happened! F was alarmingly quiet as if someone had accidentally pressed her mute button. She miserably gestured something to her friend who failed to decipher it. Already about five precious minutes from those final periods of the Term had been spent in anticipation of an answer that seemed infinitely remote. The  chuckling had by now given way to a perplexed, uneasy silence. Ms. J. , unable to take it any more, stormed out of the class passing this verdict – “Call me when you are ready!” The confused class almost let out a cry, shocked by the disconcerting turn of events.

***

Ms.  J. was at sea. Unlike many previous occasions, that day there was no homework defaulter, leaving no reason for the girls to worry about, or the teacher to take out her vehement sermon the nth time in two months. What must have gone wrong?

As Ms. J. sat there in her room, they arrived – F escorted by the beneficent school leader who of late had been sincerely carrying out her role as the helping angel for the ill-fated ones. “Teacher, she will read it.” Ms. J. readily agreed to the compromise. The angel was asked to leave. F looked desperate to let go the only shield against the  likely onslaught of the annoyed teacher. Having no time to risk that favourable twist, F was released too.

***

No other story might have had a smoother ending. The teacher got back to the class, F read out her answers and the teacher continued from where she had stopped as if nothing had gone wrong.

But Ms. J is still waiting – for F to explain it all to her, someday.

Happy Birthday, Papa!


“Bindu!!!!” Papa’s calling! What went wrong this time? I shuddered each time the furious call rang through the length of our house (such an elongate house indeed). I was not a very naughty child but still there would always be something to rile the precisionist. I had never had the nerve to face up his wrath. (I’ll meet the raging of the skies, But not an angry father.”—Lord Ullin’s Daughter)

That was long, long ago. ‘Time eases all things’. Now he is no longer the Papa I was used to.

Papa and me

Papa and me

Tomorrow he turns 78. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the whole family came together to celebrate his 50th birthday?

Apart from the scary image of an austere father, he possesses a lot of rare qualities I admire – systematic, organised, punctual, and perfect!

At the remotest corners of my memory are two scenes – the way he sharpened our pencils with his special little chisel and covered our books during our school days. It was such a pleasure to watch him meticulously perform those tasks. Now when I sit with the books of my kids or when I seek a knife to sharpen their pencils I find myself mimicking my father.

I used to boast to my friends about my father’s artistic skills. Carpentry being his hobby much of the furniture in the house was his creation. The duties of an accountant never prevented him from pursuing his passion. His workshop housed a perfect collection of tools, machinery and knickknacks, enough to make any professional carpenter green with envy.

The workshop was (it is still there intact) such an amusing place walled with shelves of compact racks. The place contained a world. You name it, you find it. The restricted place which suggested TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED held enough magic for the curiosity cat in me. The minute the ‘Giant’ stepped out of the house the workshop would be all mine, to explore. In spite of the intricacy of the place it was never difficult to locate an item because they were all neatly labelled and arranged. I was pretty well acquainted with the place. But he was shrewd enough to smell the intrusion had a single item been misplaced. Needless to say I was very cautious and mindful whenever I encroached.

He has been a hoarder too. Coming from a house without a sq. cm. of free space I have made up my mind not to be a pack rat. I do collect, but I can get enough nerve up to throw them out too (instead of letting them gather dust), when they start cramming my tiny home. Space is freedom, comfort, relief – I now realize.

He taught himself a lot of skills. That inspired me to pick up a few skills myself. I always tried to learn something he was not so good at – say, drawing, stitching, versification etc. leaving no scope for the critic in him. Rarely did he commend our skills. That’s why when he chose me to press his clothes (after he stopped giving them at the dry cleaner’s) I considered it a token of appreciation from him. Each time it was a test and the smile on his face was my trophy. (On a lighter note: After I left for my higher studies I once asked him who did the job for him. He retorted, ‘As the pennu (maid) who used to do it has left, I have to do it myself these days.’)

Above all he is a wonderful narrator. Even a trivial incident would be woven into a fabulous story with a dramatic introduction, suspense and climax. He knows how to hold his listeners with the spell of story-telling.

Thank you Papa, for what you have taught me to be and not to be.I feel proud when Mummy says ‘she takes after Papa’. I am imperfect in my own ways. And as I grow older I realize we are more or less the replicas of our parents. Let it be so. It’s all in our genes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wish you peace, health and strength!

My village


P1100149

P1100169

rubber close

P1100192

P1100191

Jack fruit 1

banana

Jathi

P1100186

Pulhi

wildflower

Bamboo

Rapist Manifesto


The prescriptions by various political, religious and social leaders in the wake of the Delhi incident have enlightened us, unveiling the mindset of the rapists. And this is how one rapist may speak to you.

Dear sisters and virtuous women,

We are writing this for the sake of all women who wish to safeguard their honour, virginity and life.

You know we don’t rape every woman out there.

  • We are very selective.
  • We are not barbarians or beasts who pounce upon every woman we come across.
  • We have our own criteria, rules, and even scruples.

But before we explain that, you should acquire some insight into the stuff we are made of.

We have strong bodies but our minds are weak and uncontrollable, at times. Of course we are made of sterner stuff. Unfortunately, we lack control over our emotions especially sexual. The moment we set our eyes on the beauty or the contour of a woman we are turned on. So you may be wondering all the women who have been raped were not noted for their beauty. Yes, but we have the power to imagine the beauty even in an ugly one (just like we morph certain pics). Above all, there is no distinction between the pleasures the bodies of the beautiful and ugly ones could offer. So we compromise on external beauty, looks, size, age.

There are a few kinds of women we prefer/choose/must have to rape. It will be beneficial to you so that you can wipe out such traits (1 to 5) from you if you wish to go unharmed and live a  peaceful life.

  1. The bold: There are certain women who never hesitate to blurt out their opinions, claiming that they know a lot, trying to outsmart men. Blame the modern media and the undue amount of education women are receiving these days. Such women can be tamed down only through rape. After that they will realize how fragile and worthless they are. Keep in mind that we have nothing to lose.
  2. The fearless: These days many women dare to step out of their houses even after nightfall. Isn’t that obviously a challenge to the men folk who monopolize the world at that time? Women are supposed to be afraid of darkness. What business do they have on the streets at night? We know what they expect and we are too happy to administer them what they are asking for.
  3. The independent: They believe they can survive without the support of men. We just want to prove them wrong. If they start defying men and writing them off as unnecessary, what will be the future of our society? Hope you get our good intentions.
  4. The lonely: This is a variation of the third group. They don’t mind travelling around alone. What are they trying to convey? “We are not afraid of men”? They definitely need an experience to correct their misconceptions.
  5. The immoral: (We are not talking about the prostitutes.) Some try to blindly imitate the western culture by using makeup and wearing revealing clothes. We enjoy watching our favourite sexy actresses in such accessories, but what will an ordinary woman have to do with that sort of things? Some move around with their boyfriends at odd hours. Even many of you are against such immoral girls and will be only too happy if we teach them a lesson. And no decent woman would roam about in the street after 6.00 pm. Those who are there don’t mind us using them for our entertainment because that is what they come prepared for.
  6. The retarded: They are damaged goods, who are not in demand in the marriage market. So what is wrong in using them for our pleasure? They rarely complain. If they have no complaints why should others bother?
  7. The kids: The kids are pure. They will keep quiet. So if we are not lucky enough to get grown ups sometimes we will have to adjust with the tender ones. (6 and 7 are used usually when we are bereft of chances to satisfy our needs or when they are easily available.)

We are sure you would agree that rape is the best solution to tame down women 1 to 5. Acid attack is effective too, but not as ‘good’ as rape. Our goal is to conserve the family and the patriarchal system in our society. If women start raising their voice the society will soon be headed for its extinction. So sisters, understand this and do follow the given instructions:

Remember, you are too weak to save yourself (from us). You are supposed to be under the protection and at the beck and call of your husband, father, brother or son. We will take good care of you if you are willing to limit yourselves within the constraints of your house. Your desires (food, sex, kids, clothes and ornaments) will all be meted out. Never interfere in our affairs or question our deeds. Never ever demand a trip to the dirty world outside where we will be busy teaching those immoral ones some valuable lessons.

 Note: In spite of all these precautions if someone assaults you, chant this mantra: Brother, please let me go. He will immediately melt (thinking of his sister) and comply with your request.

 

 

First-borns – Guinea Pigs?


Yesterday my first-born turned ten. And we (claim to have) successfully completed ten years of parenthood.

Has she been lucky or unlucky? In my opinion, for her it has been a combination of both.

How is she lucky? Usually the elder ones are the centres of attraction; they get all (or too much?) the attention from the parents and from the relatives too, if they are the first ones in a generation. They enjoy a lot of privileges – too many toys, dresses and other accessories. In fact it was we who were celebrating our new designations as papa and mama! Every achievement or turning point in the eldest ones’ lives is exaggerated and celebrated with all the pomp and vigour.

When it comes to the second one, the excitement would be slightly less. The parents have already been there and for them it is merely a repetition of the first episode. But sadly they are too busy to remember it’s the very first time for each of the younger ones. Being the second-born I have been through it all. (Eldest ones out there, I can read your thoughts.)

And there are a lot of health benefits too. They will be made of healthier and better components of life. The later ones are born to older and more tired parents.

[The given link will enlighten you more on the topic of birth order.]

But here I am more bothered about the seamy side of the first-borns’ lives. For the naive parents it is a time to experiment upon a hundred new things, certainly out of their love and eagerness. I must admit that bringing up my big girl I have committed a lot of parenting errors, mainly in the two crucial areas – health and education.

As tyros in that new phase of life we were naturally over-concerned about each and every aspect, especially her health. We surmised that every sneeze, cough or runny nose would end up in pneumonia, and rushed to the doctor who was only too eager to administer heavy doses of antibiotics. The recurrence of the ailments taught us some valuable lessons equipping us better for the second one. It made me bold and taught me how to resist temptation to grab the medicines each time.

And the second most fatal mistake I committed was the over-enthusiasm about her studies. When she got confused with P, b, d and 9, or when she flipped over certain letters, (at the age of three!) we often freaked out as if she was going to be doomed. When she could not discern the basic differences between numbers and letters, faltering at the questions like “Which is bigger – 2 or 7?” we seemed to be anxious about the Board after ‘12’ years!!  While we were passionately carrying out our duties, for her it must have been hell!

After her last PT meet (grade 5) as I was proudly looking at the 100% score in her Maths paper, I once again realized the benefits of intruding less and leaving everything to her. It was the fruit of her own hard work.

At times my younger one has to be satisfied with the used toys and dresses. However she enjoys a happier and more carefree childhood – only because her parents’ attention is divided and she has an elder sister who was already ‘guinea pig’ged!

Happy birthday dear! Thank you for all the great lessons you taught me in a decade’s time…