Thursday, 17 January 2013

Broken (Flash Fiction)

Amrita’s son, Rohan, was soon going to turn five years old. 
“Mummy, can I please come with you and choose my birthday present?” begged Rohan.  Amrita agreed but only if he promised to choose one toy out of the many that were there in the store.

After he pinky-swore, she took him to the toy-store which was at the corner of the street. Rohan was delighted to see the various toys that were there on display, and he jumped up and down with excitement. Amrita reminded him once again that he could only pick one toy out of the lot so he should look around and choose wisely. Rohan scrambled around the whole store and finally came to his mother.
 “Mummy, I know what I want for my birthday!”
He dragged her to the shelf and Amrita was rather surprised to see where he was pointing. Rohan had not chosen any car, action figure or toy-train set. Instead, his finger was pointing at a big doll, wearing a pretty purple dress.
“Are you sure you want this, Rohan?” Amrita asked.
“Yes, Mummy, I want her! She even opens and shuts her eyes!” exclaimed Rohan.
Amrita looked at his earnest face and, without another word, she bought him the doll.

As they were waiting in the lobby for the elevator, Rohan ran into two of his friends. He was smiling and he beamed as he showed them his new precious possession.
“Oh my God, Rohan has got a doll!” his friends exclaimed. “Rohan is a girl! Rohan is a girl!” they chanted and teased him.
Rohan’s eyes immediately welled up with tears as he looked at his friends and then stared at his doll. As soon as he was home, Rohan burst into tears. Amrita tried comforting him but he was inconsolable. Amrita, then, decided to just let him be and she went inside the kitchen to prepare dinner. After a while, finding the house to be unusually quiet, she came out only to find that Rohan had cried himself to sleep and the new doll was lying on the floor – her head dislocated from the rest of her body.

Amrita sighed as she realized that once people are broken in a certain fashion, they can never be fixed. Unfortunately, no one had told her this while she was growing up, as she struggled to give up her boisterous ways to meet the expectations of her parents that their daughter could conduct herself in a lady-like manner. Even today, she was surprised each time she saw people in her life break one by one. The role of being the eldest son had broken the care-free nature of her husband and transformed him into becoming a short-tempered person, always burdened with responsibility. He did not even seem to have the faintest memory of the kind of person he once used to be. She had always worried about the day when Rohan’s turn would come, and today, her heart felt heavy as she realized that it had already happened, perhaps a little too soon. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Freedom (Flash Fiction)

“She is stunning,” he thought as he looked at her intently. “Bright blue eyes, rosy cheeks, luscious lips…She could get anyone!” He remembered the large swarm of boys in his class who had had a crush on her. She wasn't a head turner but she was the cute girl next door with whom every guy wanted to be; and of all the men standing in line to be with her, she had chosen a brat like him to spend the rest of her life. She wanted his love, care and attention. He bestowed upon her insults, injuries and rebukes. Finally she could take it no more and decided to walk out of this loveless marriage. She wanted to be free. He granted her wish. He could see what he had done to her. Her rosy cheeks had become pale. Her luscious red lips were dry and her bright eyes had lost their luster.  In the spur of a moment, he raised the knife and dug the blade into her back. She gasped with her eyes wide open as she was released from her suffocated existence. He bent down to close her eyes. She had always believed in the best of everyone yet she had experienced the worst for herself. He had murdered her today but he had raped her dreams and her life long ago. Each day, a part of her was dying a tiny death. Today, he had ended it once and for all. He wiped a tear that was about to surface on his face. With a grim look, he dropped the knife. Without giving her another glance, he just walked away from the house, now, in search of his own freedom. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Boy On The Plane

I recently came across this Parle-G advertisement reminding grownups that childhood is the most educative period of development for children and curiosity is their best teacher. I really liked the message because I believe it to be so true! I have worked and interacted with children in abundance; and as a counsellor and special educator I have found that children are, very often, discouraged for asking a lot of questions, and frowned upon when they try doing things out of the ordinary. As adults, we forget that children are still to learn the ways of the world and it is our job to allow their creativity to flow freely.

As an adult, I still feel we can learn a lot from children. The Boy On The Plane is an article I had written some time back and posted on my Facebook page. I am just re-posting it here and I hope you enjoy reading it. 


I am not a big fan of travelling by air. I find flight journeys to be rather tedious and boring...Had it not been the fastest means of reaching any destination, I don't think travelling by air would ever have been my first preference.
Although I always insist on sitting by the window-seat, there really isn't much of a view for the eyes to feast upon. Of course sitting on the window-seat has its advantages - one is not endlessly disturbed by the co-passengers who always seem to want to get up and go to the loo or to grab things out of their bag; and if some co-passenger is not interesting enough, one can always rest one's head against the edge of the plane and pretend to catch up on a few winks of sleep. The latter is sometimes applicable in my case for I've had my share of creepy co-passengers who've attempted to strike rather weird conversations with me!

Flying back to Mumbai from Kolkata, I wasn't in a very good mood. Not only was I leaving a day earlier than I had intended to (thanks to the proposed Bharat Bandh) but I hadn't really got the opportunity to enjoy my stay at home with my friends since all of them seemed busy preparing for exams!

Despite arriving late at the airport, I did succeed in getting hold of the last window-seat. Thank God for small mercies! I only prayed, now, that I did not get stuck with some creepy person sitting next to me. Once I boarded the aeroplane and was seated comfortably with a book to read for passing time, a flustered mother with her five-year old boy, came and occupied the two seats next to mine. The boy was sitting in the middle row while his mother occupied the seat closest to the aisle. He was extremely noisy and fidgeting a lot. "Oh no!" I groaned inside my head. I had no wish to get stuck with a young, talkative boy! Don't get me wrong - it's not that I hate children but I don't like having them around all the time!

He glanced at the book I was reading and blurted, "This book has no pictures! Why would you read something like this?" I sighed. I was reading Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. I wonder what meaning he would have made out of that young boy's statement, I mused. I did not know what to reply so I merely smiled at him. I think he mistook my smile to mean that I was willing to listen to him, unlike his mother who appeared to be rather bored and was scolding him constantly, asking him to behave himself. "Hello! My name is Deep...This is my first trip by plane! I am going to my maasi's house in Bombay. Are you going to Bombay too?"
"Deep, do not ask stupid questions! This plane is going to Bombay - so all of us on this plane are going to Bombay," his mother reprimanded him. "And do not disturb Didi...sit quietly." She, then, turned to me and apologized, "I am sorry. His name is Debashish..Deep is his daak-naam." I gave her a polite smile and assured her that her son was not disturbing me.

As the flight took off, Deep (or Debashish) started giggling. When his mother gave him dirty looks, he told her that he could feel something funny in his stomach as if things were tossing and turning inside! Despite myself, I grinned at his statement. Here I was fervently praying that the journey should end soon and this boy was savouring each and every moment!

Since I was sitting by the window, once the seat-belt sign was off, Deep unfastened his seat-belt and started staring at the clouds. He started visualizing objects out of the different shapes of the clouds and asked me to join him in 'discovering' more things! I was, at once, transported to my childhood days - I remember I used to sit on my terrace and do the same thing (I still do it sometimes!)...I joined him, and, together, we managed to identify a rabbit, an ice-cream, a triangle, a teddy bear and even Doraemon!

It was an evening flight and once the sun set, the blue canvas of the sky was strewn with beautiful splatters of pink, orange and purple hues. As Deep and I started admiring the view, he yelled at his mother, "These orange and pink shades are not there in my crayon-box...There are so many colours! You will have to get me a bigger box with all these colours!" He pestered me when I was not able to name all the different shades of colours that could be seen at that time (I now understand the plight of some of my friends who fail to understand what I mean when I say 'coral red' and 'delphinium blue') and although I was irritated with his constant questioning, I was awed by the wondrous Mother Nature and her beautiful creations.

As we were descending and the landscape was in aerial view, I pointed down to the rivers that could be seen below. "It is in the shape of a 'S'!" exclaimed Deep. "Yes, " I replied. "When you grow up, you shall learn that this S-shaped pattern of the river is called a meander," I continued. "Wow! Ma, did you know what a meander is?" Deep asked. His mother gave me a rather cross look. She did not seem happy about the fact that I was encouraging him to ask more questions! I was thoroughly enjoying myself so I ignored her expressions and I continued to show off a bit of my geographical knowledge as we saw hills and water-bodies.

It soon, grew dark and as we approached Mumbai, the City of Dreams, greeted us with its well-lit roads and we could make out the cars that were stuck in traffic on the road and some that were moving. Deep was very happy to see this view from the top and his face was glowing as if someone had installed a 1000 watt bulb inside him. When we landed, his face had the same delight it had had at the time of take-off. "Ma, this was brilliant! We shall only travel by planes from now on...Bye Didi!" These were his last words as we got off the plane...

I had enjoyed a flight journey thoroughly after a long time...Perhaps, it is better to see things from the eyes of a young child in order to view life with rose-coloured glasses. Only the young, innocent mind truly appreciates the wonders of the natural surroundings. As we grow up, we tend to start taking most things for granted...No matter how old one grows, one should never let the child in them fade away - That would lead to all of us having a mundane existence. Although I have never succeeded in becoming a prim and proper adult and there are times when I still am mesmerized by the things around me, I needed Deep to remind me to experience each and every moment with the same degree of amazement so that I can indeed live life to the fullest! I hope that through the narration of this incident, even you are inspired to just look out of your window, stare at the sky in front of you and just bask in the glory of the great world that lies in front of us always!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!

I always look forward to celebrating New Year. Although I believe that one does not need to have a particular day to engage in festivities, the New Year is symbolic of a fresh beginning. Most of us look for that 'perfect moment' or that 'right time' to bring about a shift in our daily life and get out of our ruts - perhaps that is why people try to make resolutions...

2012 has been quite an eventful year for me at a personal level. In 2012, I earned my Masters' degree. I started my first job, realized that it wasn't something that I wanted to do and quit. 2012 also turned out to be lucky for me because it made me understand what my true calling really was. I got a lot of interesting, useful insights into my own personal world which, to a large extent, has enhanced my growth as an individual. 

According to me, 2013 is a year of gratitude. Even though I am not someone who really makes, keeps and therefore never breaks resolutions, this year I resolve to be thankful for all the wonderful things that happen to me. 

Today, I visited the Liverpool F.C. ground where I got this piggy-bank as a souvenir. The idea is not to fill this piggy-bank with money but to keep storing it with notes of anything positive that happens to me. This year I intend to make note of all the good things that come my way and preserve them in this piggy-bank. At the end of the year, I intend to break open this bank and read out all the notes that are stored inside. It is important to remember and celebrate the good things in life and these notes will serve as a reminder of those moments that made me feel wonderful. Of course, it could also help on those days when I am feeling especially dejected or morose. I have the freedom to open the bank anytime and read some of the things. Hopefully, that will make me feel better and get my spirits up again! 

I wish everyone a Happy New Year 2013! May this year be one where all your dreams come true! May you get everything that you have hoped for and much more...Cheers!