I haven’t told you,
But I noticed….
To find my mojo, anew
How you persisted…
You stood by my side…
Insisting I decide…
You pushed me through the door,
Fly solo you said, go explore…
I notice your efforts umpteen…
To make me know my greens!
For the dreams that I care,
I’ve seen you say a silent prayer….
When my eyes threaten,
To spill that tiny little tear…
I have noticed how you despair…
At times I whine and brood,
You cook and clean…just to lift my mood…
Yes, I have noticed…but haven’t told you
I can see the weak protests that you do….
But then you go and splurge…
My little whims you do indulge…
For my triumphs and each new stride,
I’ve seen you swell up with pride….
I haven’t told; but I noticed your eyes twinkle,
Your face light up in smile…
I haven’t told you but I gloat and soar…
And I notice your passion and ardour…
O honey! You definitely are
My knight in shining armour…!!
There is a popular saying among the men in armed forces the ‘faujis‘…. “We work hard, we party harder”. What the others might not be aware of is that these men in uniform are big pranksters too!
One such prank not only showed me the lighter side of my husband but also reiterated that he meant the world to me.
Married to an Indian Air Force Officer, I was welcomed in ‘fauji style‘ into the folds of unit posted in Srinagar in 1999. Kargil war was fresh in my ‘civilian’ mind. The terrorist activity was also at a high in Kashmir Valley…. Jhelum flowed with her waters red..
The day I landed in Jammu as a new bride, there had been a fresh attack on the military base in Srinagar and there was a high alert. Men in olive-green army fatigues armed to their teeth could be seen keeping eye on every nook and corner. Deserted roads and closed shopping areas all were reeling under a pall of gloom. The tense atmosphere had already registered in my mind…and I was quite visibly disturbed.
After an overnight stay at the army transit camp, we flew to Srinagar. We were received by two officers who were the part of a prank that awaited me in the Air Force Station. Those two officers appeared very sad and quiet. Later in the evening one of them arrived at the door of the room we were putting up in…The prank was taking up its form. What I did not know was that my dear husband was also a party to the larger prank…!!
We were informed about a terrorist attack and that all hands on deck needed to report back to duty. Aby, my husband played along and psyched me further. He went away leaving me fretting in the room of Officer’s Mess. Late night I sat at the residence of Commanding Officer of the unit still worried. And then one officer walked in ….heavily bandaged, blood on his clothes, dishevelled, limping…. He told us that due to a landmine blast all in the vehicle were seriously injured particularly Aby and he was fighting for his life in the station medical centre.
I was totally shocked…. The other ladies were also a part of prank but they showed a concern causing me to panic. We all rushed to the hospital where the doctors scared me even more… I saw Aby lying on the table with blood over his chest, hands and eyes. As I sat near him shaking like a leaf, the doctor tampered with the wires of ECG machine. Soon enough the machine started showing a flat line denoting that there was no heartbeat !!
I had totally lost my cool and screamed for the doctor. The doctor did come and played the last cards of the prank. He very seriously informed me that I would have to resuscitate my dying husband by administering a mouth-to-mouth respiration!!
Without giving any thought to the doctor’s suggestion and not wanting to waste a single second, I complied though I had no idea how to administer a mouth-to-mouth respiration. No sooner I bent and my lips touched my husband that everyone broke into claps and Aby woke up from his supposed serious condition laughing….he kissed me back right there with everyone shouting “welcome to the Air Force”
With relief flooding me, I too joined in the laughter. With a loud “I love you” he folded me in his arms sealing our love.
I remember the evening as if it happened yesterday though it has been sixteen years now. We still laugh about the whole episode and he teases me no end.
And that moment of love and laughter and the twinkle in his eyes still tugs at my heart.
Book: Forbidden Desires
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Author: Madhuri Banerjee
The educated Indian women are slowly but surely beginning to reclaim their voices which were being repressed since many centuries now. They are now being vocal about their likes, dislikes, emotions, desires. They are no longer crying behind closed doors and silently bearing the ill behaviour meted out to them by their own spouses. They have become bolder and are not afraid to walk out of a stagnating relationship. They know what they want and are working towards having it.
The ‘Forbidden Desires’ is a story of such women who at some point of life have realized that they have been betrayed in their relationship but instead of wallowing in sorrow, they free themselves and dare to find someone who understands them, reciprocates their love and stands by their desires to follow their passions.
The story is of Naina who gives up her passion of having her own restaurant to plunge headlong into taking care of family in the process losing the vivacity of her marriage and is betrayed by one whom she loved most. This is the story of Ayesha who never got an equal commitment in her marital relationship yet kept trying to find sanity in her marriage. This is also the story of Kavita who despite being a successful working woman could not find enough love and respect within her marriage. And story is about Kajal who dares to break the society’s rules by desiring a married man, fighting for her love and yet choosing to not tie herself up in a marital bond.
These women walk out of their marriages to find a new love and follow their dreams. Their lives are entwined. They realise the futility of hanging on to a dead relationship which binds both the partners.
I will not deny that marriages do not go through a rough patch when you doubt whether there is anything left worth saving but honestly speaking I haven’t yet met women who have dared to give up on marriages… May be there are women in similar situations as the characters of the story in reality too but who still are afraid to call their marriages a farce…. Or it is possible that real women have not met a character like author’s ‘Pinky’ who sets up the situations and fixes the meetings and forces the person to behave in an out of ordinary way when they are at their emotional lows.
The bold step taken by the women of Madhuri Banerjee seems like a fantasy among the women I know. The story has a little glimpse of “Desperate Housewives” with the wives here being Indian.
I stopped being an active architect since the birth of my daughter and now I am a ‘housewife’ since last twelve years. Do I miss being a working woman? Yes I do…sometimes… Has it changed me into a wife with suppressed desires? I don’t think so… Most of the time I am pretty happy being at home indulging in my writing, painting, cooking and other house chores…. Has it driven away my husband to a more younger carefree woman for a wilder sex… Well I can safely say an emphatic no…you see he too has grown older and calmer and his physical fitness has also taken as much beating as mine ;p 😉 But then the book is not about my story!
The book has forced me to think what if I face any of such situation…What would I do? I believe women should take charge of their lives and not suppress their dreams but in real life how many women take any drastic steps? It is not easy to break the shackles of society and swim against the flow. And more importantly is it always right?
Madhuri’s women want more magic and more romance in their monotonous life. There are small snippets from life of each character which many of us might relate to in small doses. The book makes for one spicy mix of stories so well woven that I found it difficult to put it down. As they say gossip about other people always make for an interesting topic…and I enjoyed peeking into the juicy life of the four women and their affairs(now I understand why women are crazy about Ekta Kapoor’s serials and their hideously painted women)
Being a screenplay writer for Hindi Cinema, the author has belted out a crowd-puller of a story. It would not surprise me if the book becomes one masala movie.
Read it if gossip is your tea…
Book: The Best Seller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramaniyam
Publishers: Westland Books
Having heard about Ravi Subramanian and his financial thrillers I never made an effort to buy his books because once years ago when I picked up a book by John Grisham, my young mind refused to comprehend all legal jargon and the courtroom story after first few pages. Since then I have steered clear of thrillers which deal with subject I barely understand and that implies lawyer talk and finance…..The only financial thriller that I have read is Tom Clancy’s ‘Debt of Honour’ just because it was always there on bookshelf at home.
Since this was the first book by the author that I read so I had not much clue of what to expect and yet the tagline at the book cover ‘soon to be a motion picture’ gave me a fair idea that the story might be ‘one masala mix‘ like our movies!
And sure enough with the story revolving around a banker who also is famous author, a wannabe smooth-talking ambitious B-School graduate beautiful girl and a little detective-story-like twist almost at end, it is one crowd puller. The lead character and some events in his life have a strong resemblance to one certain popular Indian author. I couldn’t help laughing when the protagonist of story agrees to be a judge for dance reality show on TV and his wife comments:
“Don’t be so blinded by the arc-lights that you make a fool of yourself”
Now only the authors concerned would know better whether the comment was just a friendly jibe or not!
The story, basically about love, betrayal of trust between friends, between a husband and wife and coming back to senses of strayed man to reunite with wife is however very predictable; a famous much married banker turned author who falls for a sexual charms of a good-looking girl, his ardent fan and cheats on his wife. How the lead character gets into some sleuthing and resurrects his broken marriage is the little twist. Even though I could guess how the relationship would play out as soon as ‘Shreya’ the attractive fan started interacting with ‘Aditya Kapoor’ the author yet I loved reading the story with the backdrop of publishing world nuggets.
There have been many similar stories and many such movies so I did not find anything fresh except that the character was IIM graduate, banker and author. The few sexual scenes were not enticing enough and at times story dragged a bit. With all the promotions and hype surrounding the book, story is quite ordinary.
There are quite some inputs about the way publishing world functions. Using names of Anurag Kashyap and Nirav Sanghavi of BlogAdda also seems like a very into your face advertisement and again gives a glimpse of behind the scene requirements in the business of book publishing.
In all, the book was a nice package and with some sizzling song dance sequences thrown in would make one mass pleasing movie. With no heavy philosophy and no moral preaching, book is good bedtime read for young readers.
This article has been published at HuffingtonPost India titled “An Independence Day for Women”
I am one of those fortunate few who was born to loving and educated parents who did not find it a burden to raise two daughters when everybody around them was hoping they would plan another pregnancy to beget a male child; who sent their girls for higher education and made them engineers; who let their daughters choose their life-partners irrespective of religion or community; who taught them to stand up against any injustice; who did not believe in paying dowry for ensuring their daughter’s safety and respect….
But for the majority of women, the time stands still…. Honour-killings still happen, female-feticides still snuff out the innocent life, education is still denied, wife’s consent to sex is still disregarded, courts refuse to discuss marital rape issues, people in power still blame women for the crimes against them, forgetting that a nun or the five-year-olds do not behave in a way to entice or lure the rapists, lawyers defend the molesters to dodge punishments….
My daughter is growing up in today’s world. Soon she will be old enough, refusing to be chaperoned at all times… She would want to see the world and explore all opportunities before settling down in a career or selecting her partner. Even if I as a parent grant her all the liberty, will the so-called moral guardians of the society let her be?
After 68 years of Independence, shouldn’t women be free of the tyrannical male and his rules? What does it really mean for us, the women, on this 69th Independence Day of our country?
I believe true independence would be when all women have FREEDOM from:
- Being aborted…when birth of a girl child is also considered a blessing and brings equal joy to parents…when people stop wishing for birth of their ‘heir’ …that would be freedom.
- Being judged for clothes they wear…all girls in skirts or shorts are not ‘asking for it’. They are not immoral. If men looked in the eye when speaking to a woman and not stare at her chest or bare legs….that would be freedom!
- Being attacked or punished for thwarting advances of a lusting perverted man… women are not sex toys…when a girl or a woman steps out of her home without the fear of being attacked by acid, being raped or beaten for refusing sex….that would be freedom!
- Being killed for falling in love…. When caste, religion, language, community are no longer hindrances in choosing a life partner…when no woman is prescribed death for marrying outside community… that would mean liberation for women.
- Being banned from religious places for having periods. Puberty is a gift from the Gods to women to nurture future life…it is neither their shame, nor punishment and definitely not anything impure.
- Being denied higher education. When every little girl can dream to become a teacher, a pilot, doctor, engineer…when people stop assigning kitchen and four walls of a house as the only domain of women…when women can opine about financial and other matters at every home… that would bring freedom.
- Being punished for Dowry… When ‘Arranged Marriages’ will do away with dowry…when all that a marriage ceremony would mean blessings and love only…when the mother-in-law, being a woman herself, will stand by her daughter-in-law at every step in her new beginnings…when brides won’t be burned or forced to commit suicides…that day would be a free day.
When women will not be the birds with clipped wings, but kites soaring in sky with gay abandon into the winds of change….that would truly be the INDEPENDENCE DAY!!
“Shoma, meri zara bandook toh lana( Shoma, bring me my gun!)”
I distinctly remember her words which sounded funny even then, back in 1984-85 when I was a 9 year-old who was witnessing violence among Hindus and Sikhs, in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Houses of Sikhs were being attacked and burned by Hindu youth and Hindus were being killed by young Sikhs who roamed with bare swords in their hands. One such Sikh man reached our door step while my parents were away on their duties as doctors in the government hospital at Ghaziabad. My grandmother stood near the door and shouted for me to bring her imaginary gun as me and my sister giggled inside the room hidden from the view. The perpetrator scooted off without getting a chance to harm us!!
Whatever little fearless spirit I have is passed on due to my strong Aaji. As far as I remember, this woman, my dear grandmother addressed as ‘Leela Aatya'(Leela Bua) by all and sundry even her own sons, always had silver hair, wore white soft cotton saris, pearl ear-drops, two light gold bangles in her wrist with a small safety-pin hanging in one of the bangles and a thin gold chain. She had this coin sized depression on her forehead…a reminder of a childhood injury.
I never knew my grand father….he died when my father was a mere 14-year-old boy. All the responsibility of four young sons fell on his wife… my AAJI.
She was one hell of a brave woman. When whatever property she had inherited from her deceased husband was lost in gambling and to the money lenders by her brother-in-law, instead of crying and feeling helpless, she shifted to her brother’s house in Gwalior for providing better education to her four sons. But she did not burden her brother with expenses, instead she completed her high school and trained as health-worker and mid-wife. She shifted to Nagpur and taught as primary school teacher for few years but later shifted back to Gwalior and worked in hospitals as health worker. By then my father had joined a medical college and could support his brothers and mother by taking tuitions of small school children after college hours.
Once when she was travelling along with a six-year-old me in second class sleeper via Kalpi, a small town in Uttar-Pradesh, some one tried to snatch her only possession in the dark of the night…her gold chain. She held on to the chain and did not let the thief get away with it. The thief had to release the chain when the train started moving again and pulled away from the platform. Her palm had a deep gash from holding on to the chain and I realised of her injury only when she woke me up the next morning on reaching our destination!
In another incident in 1984, when we had recently shifted to a new house and new city Ghaziabad, three men attacked our home when my parents were on duty. The thieves hit her on head with pistol butt and stole whatever they could lay their hands on. The fearless woman, locked me and my sister in the house and with the bleeding head in a heavy rain, walked to the main road, reached another doctor’s family who had a telephone at their house and contacted my parents!
Years later, in 2003, when my daughter was born, in spite of poor eyesight and failing health, she stitched frocks for the baby fashioned out of her soft saris! She even massaged the baby, cradled her to sleep and sat near me telling all sorts of do’s and don’ts of upbringing a baby.
My grandmother died when my daughter was three years old. Her memory had failed her and she was bed-ridden with many body sores. It was painful to see her in last few days of her life because I felt helpless as she lay in bed unable to recognise me… But her sloppy smile and a faint recognition that lit up her eyes on seeing my three year old daughter is the most important memory that I cherish….I feel satisfied that during her last few days my daughter could bring a little smile on her face.
Memories of her time spent with me and my sister are many…times when she pampered us, scolded us, protected us, made sweets and her special treats, feigned her annoyance, let us do her hair, told us stories, scolded our parents for scolding us…..
Her continuous struggle in life is an inspiration to never give up…stand up against adverse situations and take troubles by the collar….
I wish I had half her courage, I might have been more successful in life I guess……..
“How deep is your love…how deep is your love? ‘Cause we are living in a world of fools…”
Bee Gees crooned on the radio station when I tuned in…..
Yes…How deep was my love, really?
And how do you measure love? Lengthy odes? Letter written in blood? Tears….? Do these measure love to the fullest?
I arrived back at home after a very fulfilling and enjoyable month-long vacation bursting with excitement to share with the world the stories of my vacation, only to find that our precious “Buddy” passed away few hours before our arrival. He was in good health and good care while we were away ……yet he breathed his last in our absence at the age of 6 1/2 yrs.
What thoughts must have passed in this four-legged creature’s mind while he took his last breath? Despair? Hopelessness? Did he have a heart-break? Was he confused about why we left him? Do dogs shed tears? Did he give up on us?
It seems so easy for us humans to fall in and out of love…. Arguments between a couple….solution: break up, ego problems….solution: break up, unfavorable behaviour….solution: break up, long separation…solution: break up and a new partner……
How do these canines love so wholeheartedly….we call ourselves the master of a pet but these simple creatures simply love us as family….
Buddy…..just loved and loved. Whenever I was annoyed and scolded him he would lower his eyes meekly and crawl under the bed…but a slight wave or smile on my face would bring him out wagging his tail, barking away his demands of a pat or tidbit or a hug. He would then sit contented just outside the kitchen door and see me work. Every time I walked back to bedroom he would follow and then back to sitting outside the kitchen. I would talk to him through out the day. He would snuggle up near my feet while I sat reading some book or newspaper. Having made sure that we all were in the house…he would go under the bed and go off to a fitful sleep loudly snoring away to glory without any worries.
He was a little jealous baby…..Whenever I hugged my daughter, Buddy would bark and seek attention by raising his paw …” pet me too!!”he would say. He was an impatient child….though he understood the “sit” command but he couldn’t control himself for more than few seconds when his food was being served. He would sit when told to but bark incessantly till his bowl wasn’t given to him. He was a naughty brat….when playing with his ball he never fetched it instead he would sit with ball in his mouth ready to leap away. He expected the ball to be snatched from his mouth and thrown again for him to play. He would run away with my bathroom slippers… He was sometimes very dumb….He was not aware of the magnitude of his strength and would sit feeling helpless if his leash was stuck on a moulded plastic lawn chair not realising that with his single pull the chair could be easily dragged to anywhere he wanted..
As a pup he claimed rights over a bean bag and dragged every biscuit and every bite of his dog food on the bean bag. As enjoyable as it was to watch him show annoyance if pushed from beanbag yet I took away his throne one day to wash and put away. He was quite upset but soon took fancy to an oversized stuffed toy and would sleep with his head resting on the toy.
All he ever wanted was a pat, a hug, food and sweet words and he made us his family ….his dog family. Even though he was over enthusiastic to meet every new person but it was us who he loved most. He never ever however was angry at us….never!!
He had never stayed separated from us for more than ten to twelve days. This time however he waited for a month……Was it a wait too long for him?He hid his anxiety well from everybody else and put up a brave face ….all the while waiting for us to turn up. And then he gave up!!
If only he knew that we were away only for a vacation…we hadn’t left him…we did love him and we were coming back to hug him again, to pat him, to feed him to say loving words to him….
His love for us was so so deep that he couldn’t bear the separation from us…..but how deep was my love? Did I take him for granted? I feel guilty……..of making him lose hope, of his despair, of his heartbreak, of him feeling unloved and alone…
Had I known the extent of his pining for us….
Why did I not call? Would he have lived after hearing our voice? Would he have waited for us? Would his heart become whole again? If only I could show him once how much I loved him…If I could touch him once more….If only he had seen us once before closing his eyes….
If only I had not made him wait this long…
कितना आतुर हो जाती “मैं दाना चुग लाऊँ” कह कितना उत्साहित हो जाती मेरी कल्पना की , वो नन्ही परी…… आँखों में अनगिनत सपने लिये दूर दूर कहीं सैर कर आती सात दिशाओं में उड़ आने के, कितनी योजना बना लाती “मैं जादू की छड़ी फिराऊं” कह संसार बदलने की जुगत लगाती मेरी कल्पना में कभी , वो कली, कभी तितली बन जाती, कभी शान्त रहती ,कभी मुझसे ही लड़ जाती, कभी समझती तो ,कभी जिद पर अड़ जाती, कभी बाँहों में भरलेती ,कभी गोद मैं चढ जाती, नए अनुभवों की ड्योढ़ी पर खडी, वो मेरी चौकस नजर देख खुद निडर हो जाती वह मेरी जीती-जागती कल्पना वह मेरी सबसे प्रिय रचना…. मेरी प्रिय कृति
Kruti (also pronounced Kriti) is a Sanskrit word which means creation. It is what I named my daughter. This poem is for my daughter. She is my little bird, eager ever to explore, help around the house, my little fairy who wants to wipe out all pain and misery of the world with one swish of magic wand. She is a dreamer who plans to travel far off lands, wants to take us to places which we haven’t seen. She also fights with me, gets annoyed but senses my moods to and comforts me. When in doubt, she looks up to me and if she sees me keeping an eye out for her then she is confident that nothing bad can happen to her….that is her faith in me. She is the best of my creation….. my Kruti.
Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built for the queen Mumtaz Mahal( and hence the name “Taz Mahal” – Palace[mahal] for Mumtaz,) by the Emperor Shah Jahan of the Mughal dynasty. The construction began year 1632 and it took almost 22 yrs to build with material sourced from not only India but also China, Tibet, Afghanistan, Persia and SriLanka. The queen died during the birth of her 14th child. The king was devastated and ordered the best of engineers and designers of Persian origin to design an out of the world resting place for his beloved wife. So great was his sorrow that he took to drinking and spent days lamenting for his love. His son Aurangzeb took advantage of his sorry state and rebelled. He killed his brother Dara, the chief contender of throne and a favorite of their father. He imprisoned the mourning emperor in fort of Agra to crown himself and shifted the capital to the Red Fort, Delhi. Shah Jahan spent his remaining days in captivity gazing at the Taj Mahal which was in direct sight of line from the bedroom window.
There is no greater love story and no man-made structure to compete with this masterpiece. Couples from all over the world make a beeline to get their picture clicked with this symbol of eternal love in hope that their love will be as everlasting.
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