diwali : this year was on nov 5th.we were heavily jet lagged and that totally worked in our favor !! family, food and fire crackers throughout the night, with a view of the fashion institute in navi mumbai was perfect !

diwali with family

shatabdi : mumbai to bharuch  is about a four hours train ride. we boarded in the early hours. the train is clean, they serve quality food (a lot) and the seats are perfect for obese mammals (leb)..!!

shatabdi, an express ride from indian railways - obesity friendly

we chanced upon a  mumbai sunrise…!!

sunrise in mumbai from within the shatabdi

breakfast: is the most important meal of the day,  and on some mornings,… best with an antacid !!

breakfast of the kings - with no acidity issues

dam : damn, …..the sardar sarovar dam and narmada look awesome !!

colors at sardar sarovar dam on the narmada

at any hour of the day … !!

sunset on narmada at sardar sarovar dam

crows: do not remember seeing even one of these in all my years of stay in the americas

oblivious of their vocals

tirupati: is always crowded and busy with tirumala devotees.we found a place to stay, close to the bus stand, with a view of the hills !!

tirumala hills in the early hours

sunrise ‘n’ sunset : is probably when the day looks best, no matter which part of the world !!

sunset in chittoor - andhra pradesh

photographs : all the photographs were shot with a 8.1 mp digital camera and there was no Photo Shop editing done to enhance quality. If you liked the photographs and would like to use any of them, please be kind to acknowledge the source.

This is the first day of the rest of my life”, I thought as the tires touched the wetness of the concrete. And I reminisced – “I had left this country at an hour when India was fast asleep. I come back to this country, as India is getting ready to start a new day.” Almost a decade back, I had packed my life into two suitcases and landed in Detroit, which was then fondly popular as the Motor City. It still is, just that the fondness has given way to sympathy.Sadly.

Welcome to America. Enjoy your stay” – she had said from behind the plexiglass. My good friend and his faithful Marlboro Lights had greeted me as I stepped out to a chilly fall afternoon.That was my first ride in a Ford. I was naive and excited, about everything that was to be. There was the factor of the unknown, about how life would shape up to be, in the next few years. First came the University, the jobs followed and then getting married, and then our child. And finally came the “decision“. The one which we had talked about for years. To move back ! But when it really happened, it was too surreal. It swept us off our feet. Into the air.Literally.

Namaste Sir. Enjoy your visit. How long are you staying?” he asked from under his neatly trimmed mustache. “For a while”, I beamed under the neon. “We are back for good, at least for the next few years”. We dragged our bags into a pleasing Bangalore air. And before I forget, let me tell you. The airport is beautiful.And wonderfully maintained. And so is the Mumbai airport. From the time we landed in India, I have flown through a lot of airports. Let me correct that. I have been flown by the most obliging pilots. And I have loved each one of them. And let me tell you, all those flights have been on time.Technically.

There has been so much that I  have experienced in the last few weeks. Couple of them are most impressive on the memory. Like how, I got to smell the smoke, from the noise of crackers during Diwali, laughing out with D in his Navi Mumbai high rise, as we put away some cold beers with freshly grilled kabobs. Our baby, soaked in tears as he lost all his silky hair under the skilled razor of the pundit in charge at Tirumala. And the warm air as we sped in awe on the wonderful – NE1 from Vadodara to Ahmedabad.Really.

As I wait for my PAN card and hopefully get employed with any company that has a loaded cafeteria, it is but most understandable that my LDL will be duly entertained by samosas,dhoklas,pakoras,pani-puris,medhu vadas,paneer puffs,khakras,mysore paks,gulab jamuns, and a few others. As I do justice to all of them , I should be able to catch up on my blogging and primarily with following my favorite fellow bloggers. If you still remember me, please do visit again. If you are  here for the first time, welcome to my world of reclosion.This is the beginning to a new journey and would love to have you with me.Truly.

Note : This narrative is inspired by real life incident(s). All characters appearing in this work are real. Any resemblance to real person(s), living or dead is purely intentional. The author takes full responsibility for consequences (if any).

~ x ~

He turned around and hit her one more time. This time with more force. Right across her belly.You could see where, because it left a mark. Almost like a scratch. She looked down at the red splotch on the vinyl of the kitchen floor and wondered if it was her’s or from the empty ketchup jar that she had been holding. This was not the first time. It was almost two years now !! And somewhere within all this time, the every day blows and kicks did not seem to hurt anymore.She had made peace with herself. She thought about her life and related to that of Chand’s. Their lives were so alike and yet so different, in a humane sort of way. They were both in Videsh (foreign land) and yet Chand’s was a performed tale while her’s was playing out, right in front of her own eyes. Every day !!

There was no love !! And, not one moment of rest. From the day they had brought her home, she had been put to work, right away. No one  had spoken to her or asked her how she felt. She had taught herself how to blend in, to a corner of the kitchen. No one seemed to care, which corner it was, so long as she was not in their way. It was winter, almost a year ago,when they moved to the new place. She liked it here. She liked how the kitchen was bigger and people were not bumping into her. And, she wished that some day they would treat her like a real person. Like one of their own. And she would no longer have to spend her nights alone !!

She was never allowed to be alone with him. The family was always there. Some days when he was in a lighter mood, he would rush into the kitchen. Almost like he was getting ready to say something. Maybe, to touch her. She looked forward to those moments, when he would be standing next to her.She liked how the little drops of sweat built up on his nose. He smelled good, almost all the time. And then like his shadow, the mother would be there, behind him. And he would quietly walk away.With a childlike smirk across his face !!

And like today, there were days, when he just lashed out at her.Without any mercy. Like he just did not care or know better. These were the days, when she yearned to cry out to the mother. Hoping she would pull him away. Some days she did. But it was always a few minutes too late. By then, he would have hit her, hard enough to make her puke out the little leftovers that get thrown at her, after every meal. As she lay there on the kitchen floor, the little bugs would feast on the sourness of her mouth.

And today, just like any other day, her aching reverie was sliced by the shrill warning –  “Pattu, kuppaithotiyi thodathey !! ”  (“Darling, stop playing with the trash can”) !! She looked up to see the mother kiss and carry him (the two year old) away from the kitchen. Her eyes found the father, copiously typing away on his computer. And she told herself – “I, refuse to be treated like trash !!”.

~ x ~

Foot note : This post is a mere attempt at humor and does not in any way condone the distress of domestic violence. My apologies, if as a reader, your sentiments have been hurt in any way.

This post is an entry to the “Emotional Atyachaar” contest hosted by IndiBlogger. If you know any one of the judges, 😉 please click here to vote…..for me !!

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Dear Sir Naipaul

You probably do not remember me. Correction. You definitely do not remember me. Unless I am mistaken, it would be truthful to say – you do not know me. Not in the least. But like so many readers of your literary genius, I am a huge fan. Which brings me to believe that I know you. I remember the very first time that I saw you. You were in a tweed jacket, strewn across the center page of Sunday(India), holding a glass of wine. Correction. It was not you, but your photograph in the stead. And clinging around it, was your interview. One which I cannot remember much about, except that it was not well received by the aam juntaa (the common man). As you will notice, being an aspiring writer myself, I have (rather discreetly if I may add) begun the use of colloquial words in otherwise routine sentences with no specific direction. And I digress !!

The reason I am sending you this note,  which really is a letter of apology is because of a collective feeling of guilt, emptiness and delight that I have experienced in the last few weeks. These emotions were dispersed over several sporadic instances. While some of these outbursts were set off  by a complete lack of control on my part, others were in fact well anticipated. As I write to you, I feel within myself an urge to bring out what has been inside, for days. I am ashamed for what I have pampered myself with and this is my confession !!

Forgive me, Sir Vidiadhar  for I have sinned ! I have spent several hours reading your books. One after the other. Most of them notable affiliates of your non-fiction empire. And during this time, (that is when I was soaking your words in), I was most comfortably situated in one corner of my humble abode. The corner that houses a white commode. Every day (and sometimes every night), as I commenced with the business of natural evolution, my eyes have devoured your writings with the speed of a high power evacuator. There was no stopping me, if you know what I mean !!

I know, that most your books have found their place in numerous academic syllabi. They have been provided with the highest form of ambience. And I wish to assure you, that it has been no different with this wonderful piece of masonry. The respect for your work is firm. For whatever it is worth, I do have an explanation. You see privacy has been a rarity since I immersed myself in matrimonial bliss and natural parenthood. Till the day, when I devised a way to transform my stay in the lavatory to what I like to call mini-vacation. True, it did induce some curiosity and a lot more concern from my spouse, who was used to my lightning speed visits for purposes of (for lack of better word) – Number 2. And for this I apologize !!

All fed said and done, I do wish to conclude this rather boorish correspondence. As far as my reading habits are concerned, I know it is not the best of the times. But believe me when I say, it is not also the worst of the times. Specially after a heavy dinner. I do believe that somewhere you will find in yourself the heart (and maybe the stomach) to forgive me. I would be relieved to know that you value my desire to experience gastronomical and intellectual ecstasy with equal density and spontaneity !!

Warm regards

Your ardent follower – (from the times when M.J.Akbar  changed the face of newspaper journalism)

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