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(Warning: Concocted contents!)

Before you read on, watch this ad.

This happened at the clinic. I couldn’t believe I was looking at the very same lady featured in the given ad.

She looked worn out. The already size-zero figure had been reduced to some subzero size. What might have happened to the euphoric girl there? Somebody cast an evil eye on the happy family? I admit I had felt a bit green, but evil eye… no, never!

I was curious. I created an opportunity to talk to her while we were waiting for our turn. And what she told me was discomfiting, sort of.

This is the dismal side of my life these days as opposed to what you see in that ad.

When I opted for an easy clean paint for our apartment I had only one squeaky-clean intention: to safeguard the walls from the onslaught of a hyperactive father and son. The walls constantly exposed to their activities had been slightly shabby with the graffiti, murals and pardonable splashy games.

But with me around, they tried to be nice. Sometimes I felt sorry to see them restrain from their favourite games in my austere presence. So I approached the retailer in the hope of a permanent solution. The attempt was fruitful, or that was the impression I had, soon after the painting. And in the ad, you see what happened on the very first day we moved in after the paint was dry.

That was perhaps the last of my happy days. Sad that our loved ones often take our connivances for granted. What followed were dreadful scenes reminiscent of pandemonium.

Being a person as good as my word, I could not break my offer to be indulgent. As a result the games became more and more impish and unpredictable– splashy, squeezy, sprayey, what not! Without a break I have to keep on my heels cleaning the coffee stains, sprayed colours, drawings and all the possible techniques they could think of to mar the poor walls. Things get out of hand when they miss the wall and end up soiling my expensive carpet or wall hangings, which do not come under the cover of easy-clean technique.

Splashing his daily glass of milk on the wall is my son’s favourite game. He too has grown thin (like me) and become calcium-deprived. See, he fractured his hand yesterday.

The paint is darned-good. Of course cleaning has become easy, but at the cost of my leisure, my peace and my life!

They don’t love me…

The misery of a century reflected
On her pale, scared face
When she said, “They don’t love me.”

And thus goes her story:
“I wash my clothes,
I make my food,
I help my mother
I am big enough
And know my duties.
I try to study well,
I am not naughty,
I never tell lies,
I obey my parents,
But they don’t love me,
I don’t know why!”

No dear, they love you.
(She had no evidence to believe so.)

I am not their child
Even yesterday my mother told me
“You were bought from the market
For five bucks.”
She repeatedly tells me,
“Go get yourself run over by some vehicle
You bitch, you wretched creature.
You were not born to me!”

She used to fry fish for me
Nowadays she does that only for my brother.
She flogs me with a hanger,
Burns my skin,
Curses me daylong,
Sometimes makes me sleep in the kitchen.”

But why? WHY?

I sometimes get poor marks.

So study well.

But last day I got 10 on 10
Then she said, ‘You cheated.’

What about your father, dear?

When he returns from work
Mother reports my performance
And he ‘whips’ his share
Using his belt!

I don’t want the school to be over
I can’t think of going home
I prefer week days to weekends!

She was just nine.
She was the only daughter.
They were her biological parents.

Then why……?
I have no answer,
Neither did they.

Interventions helped.

Happy ending.
Hope it lasts.

Dear teachers,

If any one of your students is often found unusually gloomy or naughty, take him/her aside for a little heart-to-heart talk. She may be a victim of child abuse. And you can be of some help.

(100% true story from the city where I live. She is just as old as my girl, whom you see in the picture.)

I am not going to school.

(Adapted from a kid’s thought-diary, after her first day at school)

My sister is responsible. She, who lured me into the idea of going to school, seemed to enjoy a lot of privileges: a special dress called uniform, a large bag full of books, pencils and even coloured pencils, the freedom to use them anywhere according to her whims… School must be a wonderful place – that was the impression I was drawn into seeing her deeds and expressions. Oh, my God what a trap it was!

I had been eagerly waiting for the day on which I too would go to the magical place called school, like my sister.

The initial stages went on well. A new bag, a few colourful books and other stationery, lunch box – the day papa bought them just for me, I strutted around for my sister to see. (Pride goes before a fall!)

I had made two conditions to my parents about going to school. 1) I wanted to go to school in a bus. 2) My sister should be teaching me. In reality: I was made to walk to the school in the neighbourhood. And my sister was nowhere around!

Rest of my dreams got shattered, one after the other, the minute I stepped into the premises of the dull building. It didn’t take me much time to surmise that ‘school is an eccentric place not at all suitable for people like me!’ You too would agree if you consider the following facts about the place:

  • There are so many rooms but I am always asked to go to the same room. Wonder why I am denied the freedom to explore the other spaces! The rooms are all arranged in rows – looks really childish.
  • Throughout the day I have to be glued on to the same chair. You might know, at home I have never remained in the same spot continuously for more than two minutes.
  • The most awful part is the character called ‘teacher’. Her words are all Greek to me. Surely she can speak like my mother, but for  reasons unknown she abstains from that. If I stare into her eyes bewildered, she will repeat the same sounds, more loudly the second time. Stupid lady. Does she think I am deaf? The whole day she indulges in similar meaningless deeds.
  • I should write on the pages, and on the lines, and the way she prefers! At home I could even write on the walls (though my mother makes faces about it).
  • A lot of other children in the class scream their head off in the midst of their struggle to escape from that dreadful place. I don’t understand why they need to make so much fuss about it. Silly people! I have better plans. 😉
  • We usually eat when we feel hungry, right? However school has indigestible rules about that too. I should eat when I am not hungry, and when I really yearn for some food I have to remain hungry.
  • To ‘shooshoo’ I should make some funny signal to the teacher. (Don’t know why at school I felt the urge often. Yeah, honestly.) The teacher would then send me to a horrible aunty who does not seem happy to take the children to the toilet.

More such oddities are there.

Anyway, I have had enough. After a day at school I have picked up my first lessons in life:

  • Life, Reality – both are bitter!
  • There is no place like home!

So, I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL, come what may!

(Hope school won’t blow out the enthusiasm of our little ones.)

STOP cooking, for heaven’s sake!!

 “I used to have apartment neighbors who were Indian, and they constantly cooked. So my apartment smelled of heavy oil and curry — non-stop!”

This comment appeared below a blog post on ‘disturbing neighbours’. [In camera: The comment, instead of offending me or rousing my patriotic fervour, generated some vicious delight in me. Reason: It gave me – the kitchen-lazy – one more reason for often abstaining from heavy cooking.]

If she decides to write a letter to her neighbour, it might
look something like this. Perhaps I can produce this letter to my husband next
time when I smell the demand for a spicy/oily dish. 😉


Dear Indian neighbour,

I am your apartment neighbour. I live with my husband and son in the apartment right above yours. We have never met face-to-face and I don’t want such an encounter to take place anywhere in the near future. Getting perplexed about what I am up to?

Hope you are fine and have had your lunch. The latter part of that sentence was absolutely irrelevant and could have been edited out because I actually KNOW you have had it. And I KNOW you had an equally elaborate breakfast too, early in the morning.

Don’t mistake me for a spy. I don’t peep or eavesdrop into the privacy of the neighbours. Nonetheless, believe it or not, ever since the day you moved in, I have felt your presence, day in, day out – through the smell that leaks out of your kitchen invariably before the mealtimes.

I have some doubts which, I hope, you would deign to clear.

What do you people incessantly cook – fry, roast, pop, sauté, and that sort? Why does it always have to smell of oil? Do you add spices liberally to each meal – even to your breakfast? Don’t you ever go out for a meal?

Sorry to poke my nose (yes, nose!) into your affairs, crossing all the limits of propriety, but can’t help it. These are genuine doubts, because our breakfast is never more than toasted bread, scrambled eggs, boiled vegetables, fresh juice, milk etc, none of which lets out any sort of smell.

Of late I have encountered some serious problems because of your gastronomic endeavours.

  1. I have started confusing my apartment for some Indian restaurant because it (literally) smells like one.
  2. My curtains, sofas, bed – everything transports me (figuratively)
    all the way to India, through the ‘spice route’.
  3. My guests seem to take a whiff of that lingering smell the minute they step in and I know they too can’t feel ‘at home’, just like me.

I feel I have to write to you at this time so that hopefully we can resolve this
matter and it does not have to go any further.

 “Going any further” means:

Unless you invent (asap) some technology to suppress that offensive odour that emanates from your kitchen daily, I will have to SUE YOU FOR POLLUTING THE NEIGHBOURHOOD AND DISTURBING ME CONSTANTLY!

Hope you got my point.


Thank you.

Tormented Neighbour.

Do you feel your cooking is actually posing a nuisance for your neighbours?

This is what I feel: One man’s food, other man’s poison pollution.

Solution: Invite your neighbours at least once to savour the exquisite Indian cuisine (of course with less oil and pepper, please). Then watch ‘pollution’ transform overnight into irresistible ‘food’!