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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.

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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 !!

if you refuse to be treated like trash ….please  Bookmark and Share

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Sunday afternoon is bad timing …for any kind of activity . That is ….if you are a recovering lethargy addict, who needs to take it easy…..which I believe mean the same thing.”tomar phone” ….(it is a phone call for you) heard him drag the Bata® flip flops across the mosaic floor. He retired into the corner, …..where the red receiver lay waiting to be spoken at. That was the first time …she had called to speak to him. Purely academics. But to him, it was the best phone call ever. That was the phone call that would change their lives …. (how dramatic is that..??)

From that day on…(for the next few months). …..at the same time every evening…. he would Super Glue® his left ear to that red receiver, tapping away on the redial button …….until some very amused junior (student) at the dorm would giggle out her name…loud!! They
had about three minutes to speak …..about “nothing really“.They never spoke in public. It was a secret world, that they had grown for themselves. A world of nods and blinks ….of paused glances as they crossed paths like strangers in vicinity !!

And then one day ……they finally met !! This is the part which Kukunoor narrates as…. “boy meets girl….(if you have not made the connection ….please watch Hyderabad Blues … Parts I and II). When she told him about the free counseling thrust upon her …”stay away from him..he is no good” …….his heart beat ….to a silent pride…. !! Wah Taj !! After that ….their lives took some superfluous ……and some welcome …….exits and entries…kinda like the effects of too much Haldiram® and cola…… while watching
KKHH…(…yikes !!)

A few Sundays later ….. he is still a recovering slob … she still has an apetite for books ….. and they still talk about …..nothing really !! The glances are now …..(for lack of better metaphor or incorrect usage of the English language) ….focussed … on their respective laptops !! Only and only after ….every “one” else is asleep ….PG -14 “months” !! And yes ….. he can still hear ….his heart beat …. (actually ….no) ….he is now used to a loud bang from the kitchen ……as the two feet “piece of chocolate”……. hurls the cake mix bowl onto the fake mosaic of cheap (not a figure of speech…literally) apartment flooring.

Here is my personal one (more) year warranty to Her Highness …..”complete insanity”… guaranteed!! I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr.Mani Ratnam and ARR ……for sourcing music and “reel” situations …….for our real moments of rendezvous…from several Sundays ago !!


Photo Courtesy :here

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the "sick" sense…..!!


the fore”ward” :

The balcony was her favorite place. Ever since, the day that ….they got locked “inside” their own apartment and he jumped out, to get to his meeting. It was a little cold for a summer morning.She waved to his back and then the smell of chemical fertilizer brought a smile on her face. This could only mean one thing……the maintenance guys are out working and so a call should get them “out” of the apartment. She was happy and in the process …… she threw up ……again….just for the heck of it. She was 5 weeks pregnant and loving it. They say , it is from this time …..when the protagonist (Her Highness in this case)….start to get a feel (kinda like a trailer) of how life (the real movie) will turn out to be in the next few weeks…..!!

the coup”late” :

A suicide is waiting to happen ….at the “prison” ……anytime……..he(the prisoner) may finally give in to the need of “negative” sustenance …and ….for several reasons…..

  • early mornings : conference calls…. during which Mammal Koomar keeps screaming ……from inside …his only Vimal® printed shirt ……”I does’nt knows about this new requirements“. …..and he thinks ……”He does not know about the Spoken English Refresher Course either” ….sigh
  • mid mornings: meetings with PJ Farty ……which feel like, walking down the produce aisle of Whole Foods® ……accompanied by….. a very hungry cow….. and he thinks ….”how can someone eat fruits all day??”…..damn
  • early afternoons : sudden wake up jolts (after a heavy lunch from outside of the prison)…… when Bandita Boondaram creeps up from behind ……without warning …. and whispers …..”the prosays ees vayree seem-pale, ….let me eggsplain” ……and he thinks “end of that nap” …f$%^
  • late afternoons: soul incineration (read: almost time to “break free” from the prison) due to pure mustard oil rage…… as Fakeer Gayak croaks down his shoulder …..and he thinks …”wonder how many anxious workers …..from the “spit” factory ….just landed all over the keyboard” …..disgusting
  • any time of the day (every quarter of an hour) : walks to the water filter, when Free Knee stops him with his hairy arms and asks….”house going, man ??” …. and he thinks…..”whose …..where …. wait ..did he mean …..hows it going man?“.
  • also any time of the day (every “other” quarter of an hour): coffee breaks, during which 2016 Olympics Figure (Skating) Gold Medalist – Jiyo Ji Nomore…..opens her “mouth” (read: gateway to olfactory hell) …. and he thinks …. “should have stopped breathing two seconds ago” ….puke

the in”site”:

I hit, the end of my fifth week …. at the “prison” today. And needless to say …there is a “not so great” feeling ….when I think about the next few weeks …… calls for an involuntary throw up … and I do not think …. that I may be pregnant !!

Photo Courtesy:here

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We found the shirt in the new born section of the store. My parents were there with us. We had waited for them to arrive, to begin all the last minute (few hours to be conservatively precise) shopping. Including planning for the “first drive” home. It was a white onesie (something, I never knew existed before the obvious) and it had the words “Born in 2008” embroidered in gold. “A little tacky, don’t you think….“she said from above the little mountain she was carrying around her waist. And I returned…. “so what … after all he is going to be born in Motown…we need some bling !!” He was born within a week of that conversation !!

Everything changed !! Everything !! The next one year was going to be the most important course (from life) that we were to be enrolled into and we had no clue about it. I take that back almost immediately .. though it would be easy to delete it than keep typing the unnecessary. You see …. I am sure …..on the night we relocated to the LDR (labor and delivery room…. I just thought LDR looks cool) and the doctor asked…. “how far apart are your cramps“…she knew exactly what we had signed up for…this was a non refundable deposit !! Even though we did not read a lot of books and ignored advice all the time and did whatever the hell we thought would work ……in retrospect , a couple of books and a little attention to age old advice would not have hurt. But then the thrill of the unknown would be lost and that was not acceptable !!

This would be a good time to confess…. that we are a set of extremely weak parents. Like Amitabh’s dialogue in Sharaabi …”uske ek ek ansoo …. ek ek lakh se keemti hai“.(each tear drop of the damsel is worth exorbitant amount of cash)…. we end up getting resonating effects of MithunDa saying “Ma…..”….and then … we give in to the effects of the water shed. It works every time … in his favor of course and that is just not right …..(they need to spend more money on the “what is in that child’s head” thesis) . Oh by the way …did I forget to mention … we spared each other the false promise of any attempts to drop (“lay” would be a better word…not as effective though) the minor in a crib…..located in the “southern hemisphere”(that would the space adjacent to the bed for the majors).This called for intense exploitation (without pay of course) of our respective optic nerves, in the stead of a video monitor atop the “crib that never happened”. During his visit to India, he snored to glory in the womb effect of the sari swing arrangement. Damn the dry walls in the States. There is no solid sturdy counterpart of the rusty hook thingy (in all ceilings from India).I heard about this and meekly mentioned on the phone ….”could you try and put a pillow on the floor ……below where his body is hanging“.!!

And then this move happened. Just when we were starting to plan about what we should plan for “da” day…..,we had to pack our life in four suitcases and a car seat. I shall grunt and vent about that in several later posts.Let us not digress….already!! So now we are in the middle of ….technically on the south side of this building …. facing the woods ….wait .. I said I shall complain about our current life later in a ……..!!

Let me start over. The good news is …. this “nothing’s happening or will ever happen” city ….boasts of an outlet of our preferred grocery store. (someone in the board of directors was totally not paying attention …..when they planned on locations around the country). Meanwhile …my complete lack of attention (the usual you see) to …ummmm…….(for lack of a better word) ….”behind” of a third (or fourth or what not) person, resulted in a small nudge (a brush if you may) by the jeep shaped shopping cart ..which of course, was being pseudo maneuvered by the “knee high lump of chocolate” !! I used my nerdy grin and managed to whisper …”we have a new driver..!!“.Technically that translated into a parent (that would be me …..heehaaahaaa) using his child’s cuteness (so not true….) to sneak out of (what are you talking about …) what could possibly end up in a harassment law suit !!

We ordered a “plain vanilla” cake … literally !! We wanted chocolate sprinkles on the sides …which are hidden from the view (above)…courtesy… 2D effects from my 4639.34 mega pixel camera or whatever that means.We came up with the name when we heard him cry out saying it. He must be a couple of weeks old then.And we thought nothing would look prettier on the cake that we were going to devour for the next one week than what we wanted to call him in the first place ….huh !!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful first year of your journey Onga. I know you are a year and a week old….. right now….as you sleep with your mouth open and Baba is trying to balance this “suitcase look alike” laptop. I know we did not do much on “da” day ….except dress you up in a dhoti (alone…) and take “Mallika Sharbat” pictures of your sexy self. We did not even let you drink some of the baby lotion….(especially on a day when anything is allowed) …or for that matter …let you bite on Amma’s flip flops … agreed it is unfair !! What I do not know is if Blogger will still be in business….. about ten years from now and if you can read what we wanted to tell you …. (in not so many words …. literally) !! Also …we have a feeling you may not enjoy being called what we call you … and even got your cake written on with … but then … you know what …. live with it … !! Someday …. you will look all manly shanly … sporting the “then” cool shades …..wearing the “rip off” jeans (no pun intended) ….. with the high maintenance girl/guy next to you …. know what ….we are still gonna say .. “we totally labooo ….our little onga bongs …!!!”

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As the rental vehicle cruised out of the parking lot, he held out his hand to touch her henna smeared fingers. Her other hand held on to him ..the one she was going to spend the rest of her life with. This was the first day of the rest of her life. This was the first morning, the morning after two very exhausting days. The massive barrage of rituals felt insignificant to both of them, but they had played along. It had been a spar with ignorance and orthodox conventions and they were glad that the closure worked out in their favor. But then, a wedding is a wedding is a wedding !! No matter how hurt you are, if you are the daughter, you do feel sad to be leaving your Dad and his aura….. to be swept away in the delight of a much awaited matrimony. The speed breaker catalyzed the effects of gravity ……her tears shook him back to the present. She turned to him with those eyes (the reason for this derangement of emotions) and asked him …. “you alright?”

Sometimes life is all about saying the right thing at the right time. He did not know what was the right thing or if there was even a right thing for that moment !! Instead he let out a weak smile. All he could think of, was the father who he had turned to look at …. wiping his tears. And he told to himself ….”I wish I can keep her happy!”.

In the next few years the henna began to blend with the colors of her married life. She liked to ask him, about everything. He was amused at her innocence. She blushed, about how he had been completely brazen about his emotions which in turn had induced unrest in her !! They reminisced about how the conductor (who knew about their then “clandestine affair”) always cared to warn him that the bus was nearing “the neighbourhood”. They laughed about how they would change seats, and then later the same day ….he would take the same bus back to the city. She would wave at him from the balcony as the bus went over the bridge. As the vehicle went over the bridge on that day, he had looked at the balcony. He had missed seeing her there …. and then it had all come back to him … they were together. The families had given in …. they were a couple !!

And then motherhood came, and she glowed like he had never seen her before.He wanted to take care of her even more. All the time. He called everyone from across the seven seas. The medley of information from online forums, visits with the doctor and the family beliefs took a toll and they decided to just follow what they had learnt and what they thought was best…under the circumstances. They looked forward to the images and tried to imagine how “he” would look like when he arrives. And then the day arrived and the other rest of her life began. This was the first day of the rest of her new life. She was a mom. Just like you were to her … !!!

You completely missed my”know it all” grin. You missed my ending sentences with ..”you know what I am saying?” You also missed how she fought against the whole world to be with me. You missed taking care of me when we visited home. You missed taking care of her when she carried the “extra weight around”!! You missed when she cried during her labor and reached out …..to find my hand. You missed when she held “him” in her hands and shed her tears. You missed how when “he” wakes up and smiles ..she tells me … “right there .. he looked just like her“.You missed it all….. !!!

It is not today, but every day that you are missed. We never met, but she thinks that you would have liked me…a lot (I think …). Wandu Ma (the name of love ….. that everyone called you by) ….I want you to know…. I miss ….not meeting you in person !! But I am glad that I found you, when I met your child !! I see her and I know that you must have been a great mother. I know that you know …. if not all the time ….there are moments ….when I do make her happy !! You see it is a learning curve and I am a little slow……!!

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Miss Joseph was one of those rare happenings in the village school.Most people who do not believe in destiny,…. would like to think otherwise if they happened to witness with their own eyes (that would be convenient …. I think) ……”naked” eyes (like the books clearly used to say) what I am going to attempt to consolidate from the memory of happy thoughts. You see, when the missionaries started to build these schools in the remote corners of India, they probably did not (actually there is no probability involved … it was an established truth) give too much attention to a key element of sustenance ….what would the seekers of beauty thrive on? They failed to realize that photo synthesis, fundamental rights and past participle are not…. (for lack of better word)…. attractive enough for the QSQT infected teenagers to bear the “sparrow sized mosquito” bites. They needed some thing (someone??)…… hot (…..ahem)…to deal with the pain(s)…you know where!!

They say (in all Hindi movies especially the ones in which SRK is getting ready to walk away with someone else’s girl)…..”if you want something really bad, you will get it”. Such was the strength of the male hormones……destiny clicked on “Search” and returned with an “exact match found”……..(for lack of better word) …..double dhamaka (blast) in an empty steel tank …..!!! Suddenly the ties were all up to the collars and the shirts tucked in. Ohm’s Law made perfect sense and the shoes shone like you needed shades to look at them. Each one, of those fifty guys were madly in love with one woman ….. Miss Joseph !!

Now sometime during those hot summers, the boys had learnt about “action and reaction” !! Not exactly a verbatim evolution in real life …… but something close to that happened when one of those “boys” (that would be me…..sigh) heard about what happened to our hapless “puttar” …(this right here is what we define as the “action”)!! This is also the part where things get a little out of whack. You see, if you have grown up in a Bengali family, you tend to learn and grow up (we talked about growing up already ….just wanted to stress on the fact …..that I am grown up) to a whole different school of nomenclature which resides parallel to …….what the dictionary would define. Tears welled up (the “reaction”) in empathy for “Butapaaji (respected individual…….jokes apart)….it also reminded me of “bhutta” (corn in Bengali..for sure …not so sure about other languages) …by now I was standing in a pool ….!!

Hence the prologue filled with …..happy memories ….!!

I miss the guy with the white turban who used to push the cart along the narrow lanes of the several places that I have lived in India. I am sure the face changed …. it would be ridiculous (and a little scary) ….if it was the same guy in every place ……”Aisa lagtaa hain maine aap ko pehle kahi dekha hain” (Looks like we have met before)…!!! A small coal powered chulla (clay oven) sat among the mob of the ripe corns. He would take the “longest” couple of minutes (which seemed like the wait for Manoj Kumar to move his hand from his face) as he slowly “tadap tadap ke” (slow pain) singed them to a medley of gold and black hue …and then with the coal smeared hands rubbed the “exploited beyond recognition” limboo (lime) on them before he handed them to …..the spoilt consumers !!

At the local grocery store …….

I managed to sneak away from the future Tansen (in pain)…(that would be the 11 month old)….and loaded the basket with these enormous members …(what ??)…..of the poaceae family. …….(clearly I wikied this part to try and sound biologically sound ….wait, that did not come out right). Long story ….. still attempting to be short ……after having claimed zero responsibility as a parent (at the check out counter) by looking away from the source of the scream …..I rushed back home with the other team members. This was a project that I was looking forward to !! A fired up grill, some cayenne pepper, some virgin lime, some beer to add to the twist (cut the crap …. beer just because you need it…….kinda like ….salt) ….makhkan maadke (butter it up) ….and we were biting away in glory…..action and reaction realized !!

So you see ….one thing led to another and suddenly things got real corny ……(pun intended)!!

Photo Courtesy:here

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