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The making

Still remember, I was at my usual place, cozy corner by the window, sipping my black coffee.  A couple was sitting outside with their coffees, hands held and gazes locked. Strong winds began blowing, flash! Clap! Down came large drops, pounding hard. They had to run. Boy tried to protect the girl with his coat, while her red umbrella lay behind. The board washed out in minutes.  The moment froze in my eternal frame. My perfect shot!

Memoirs of a sidekick
Still remember the moment, when you picked me off Macy’s and changed my life.  You had said, when I was around, you felt safe. Ever since, come rain or shine, I was there for you, protecting.
But today’s rain, along with the board over there, washed off many things.
First, it did hurt.  But I am really happy, that you found someone, ultimately. Yet, if you ever need me again, you know where the coffee shop is.

Note: These were my submissions for a 77 word fiction contest in my office quite sometime back, where you had to write a story, poem or non-fiction based on picture in 77 words….

When you are out of ideas you recycle your old stuff like I am doing here ….

Good-Bye

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“There he is! It is your chance now, just do it” hissed the sly devil. Marraine hesitated for a moment, he was quick as always but before he could reach for the whip. Bang! Bang! Bang! He slumped down to floor with a thud.

He was still breathing but life was oozing out, yet that didn’t torment Marraine anymore, she had earned her freedom.

“Good-Bye! Love!”. Marraine dropped the smoking gun and walked out of the dungeon into glowing sunrise. ‘Ouch! That was easy.’ the devil smiled wryly.

Independence

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The boy was staring at the bakery with hunger in his eyes. He had a little, half-naked girl on his shoulder and another little boy was holding his hand. All three turned around and looked at people in the bus stand expectantly. The trio approached a man with a cigarette on his lips in white spotless shirt and light grey trousers and a laptop bag on shoulder leaning on his motorcycle parked beside.

The boy hesitated and then with pleading eyes said “Bhaiyya, Char rupay denge to badi meherbani hogi, sirf ek biscuit packet bhaiyya, hum log subah se kuch nahi khaye” (Brother if u give four rupees it will be very kind of you, just one biscuit packet, we haven’t eaten anything from morning).

The man looked other way and pretended he was not listening.

The children looked up with sinking hopes and boy pleaded “Bhaiyya sirf ek biscuit packet”. (Brother one biscuit packet only).

The man got little uncomfortable, he expressed his displeasure and threw his unfinished cigarette on ground and doused it with his leg and mounted the motorcycle in order to start it.

The boy fearing more insults did not prod the man further and turned away with the other children in tow and crossed the street. The trio was loitering around the shops in the adjoining market but didn’t approach anyone else. After some time there was a little bit of hustle at the bus stand as a bus approached and waiting passengers boarded it in a hurry in order to grab the best seats. It was off peak hour so only a handful of seat got occupied. It was also the terminal stop for that bus so it was to wait there for a while before leaving.

The trio appeared from somewhere and boarded the bus the older boy made baby girl sit in the last seat and started playing with her. The other boy too joined and instantly the bus was filled with shouts and giggles of the children then the older boy started running around the bus and hiding behind the seats.

The younger boy cried out “Gopi Bhaiyya khidar ho tum! Jaldi idhar aao! “(Brother Gopi where are you, come here soon) and tears filled up in his eyes.

Gopi rushed to him and both burst out laughing.

Their little game of hide and seek continued for a while till the conductor boarded the bus. Gopi picked his little sister and got down from the bus and made her sit on the bench at the bus stand and asked his little brother to guard her.

He then boarded the bus again stood at the steps. The bus started moving ahead slowly. The younger brother started waving goodbye. Then the bus started picking a little speed. The children got scared and started crying “Gopi Bhaiyya, wapas aao”. (Brother Gopi come back)

Gopi jumped from the bus and ran towards his siblings. The little ones started smiling and felt secure again.

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As another Independence Day is almost here and we celebrate our freedom, independence with ethnic days, pot luck lunches and singing patriotic songs at our places of residence or work. Let us not forget numerous Gopis who have to “independently “fend for themselves and their dependents at a tender age when they themselves need a secure and safe childhood.

This leads me to a question what does being “independent” actually mean? Please let me know your ideas about it.


This post was first published @ N-zine.

Goodbye!

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This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

He loved goodbyes!
‘He’ or “Abhi” as his father had named him. His father had said “Not Abhi-k or Abhi-sek or Abhi-jit or  Abhi-roop  just Abhi, short, sweet without any baggage”.  Abhi’s father was in Army and would go away to the border for long periods of time.  He missed his father but the best part of his father’s leaving home for duty was saying good bye to his dad. He loved the railway stations, the ambience there, the chugging away of the trains thrilled him to no end. Once during vacations Abhi’s dad had arranged a trip to the hills where Abhi’s dad was posted. Abhi was really excited by the idea of travelling by train like his dad. But he was utterly disappointed when no one had come to say goodbye to him and his mother.  Family for Abhi meant his mom and Dad. Abhi’s parents had married against the wishes of his grandparents so their respective families had cut-off all relations from them. Hence there was no one to see them off at the station when they left for the hills.  But all his disappointments and heartbreaks melted the moment the train entered the destination station. His dad was there, waiting at the platform with a huge smile and open arms to receive them.  Those fifteen days were one of the best in Abhi’s life and while returning the goodbye was grand as his dad’s colleagues had come to see them off with a number of gifts for him and most importantly his dad was coming home with them.  That day little Abhi had decided he would join the Army like his dad and work in the hills. Dreams, ambitions and lives are shattered by war. In one such war Abhi’s dad had returned home in coffin wrapped in country’s flag. He was still very young to understand the final goodbye he had so say to his father when he lit the pyre. But seeing his mother’s stony silence he realized, that he will never be able to join the Army.
As we know life doesn’t stop or slow down, Abhi too was growing up rapidly as per the nature’s rules. In the process he had made many friends but one among them was his best mate. Sundar was a back bencher like Abhi and that’s how they became close. They would bunk school and go to the sea shore and wave goodbyes to the passing ships.
Abhi remarked one day “I envy those sailors” popping 3-4 peanuts into his mouth and passing the paper bag to Sundar.
“Yes! I wish I could be one” Sundar replied.
“To be a good sailor you need to study, study really hard, boys” a voice remarked from behind breaking into their conversation.
Abhi and Sundar startled by the voice, turned to find out the source.
An old man was smiling at them.
“Sorry boys broke in like this but take it from a retired sailor, go to school and study hard, and then one day you’ll see yourself captaining a ship into the oceans” said the old man looking far away into the sea.
The old man’s word had magical effect on the boys and they went back to school and never bunked classes again. A few years later, one day, they were back at the port. Sundar in a sailor’s uniform and Abhi was there to send him off.  No, Abhi couldn’t become a sailor, his mother was very ill and he couldn’t leave her alone in that state. So he took over his mother’s Gift Shop. But he was happy for Sundar. When Sundar’s ship set sail Abhi had waved to him and uttered “Goodbye my friend, do  keep sending postcards of the lands you visit”.
Abhi with his hard work and ingenuity had expanded the gift shop and in a short period his shop was the best in the city.  But his mother’s deteriorating health kept him concerned.  Her memory was wiping off progressively, initially she used to forget names, then she forgot faces including Abhi and finally she couldn’t do basic day to day operations. He helplessly watched her losing herself. One night she fell off fatally from her bed. Abhi didn’t even get a chance to say his final goodbye to her.
Life couldn’t be all that harsh with him. He met Suzanne in his shop; she had come to his shop looking for gift for her kid brother. Abhi helped her in deciding a perfect gift. They kept meeting often and steadily they became very close. Finally Abhi proposed to Suzanne and she accepted. They got married soon and when they were setting off for honeymoon, Abhi was overwhelmed by huge set of Suzanne’s family and friends at the railway station bidding them goodbye, as the train rolled out of the platform Abhi waved at the crowd.
Indeed he loved goodbyes!

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Rain Dance

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I

aay bristi jhepe, dhan debo mepe, dhaner bhitor poka, jamai beta boka” (come rain full speed, will give you measured paddy, but the paddy has pests, jamai raja is a fool) Tinni was uttering the Bengali limerick and dancing with joy in the rain.

Tinni, come in immediately…” scolded Bishaka.

No! Not now, so early” grinned Tinni waving one of her little hands with her other hand on waist.

Come in quickly I am telling you…Silly girl you’ll catch cold” shouted Bishaka getting worried.

He! He! He! How can I catch cold when I cannot even catch the rain…see ma” chuckled Tinni trying to grasp the rain drops with her tiny fingers.

Bishaka smiled secretly and she covered her head with her sari holding it tightly with one hand and jumped into the courtyard to catch hold of frail Tinni and picked her up and ran back to shade. …

Read the rest @ N-Zine

Escape

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This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 10; the tenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

The rain had stopped just a while ago but the little droplets were trickling down the glass of the window each making their own path to the window sill. Roma looked out of the window, she could see the crimson sun setting amidst the tall coconut trees. In the ground nearby little boys in half pants and bare bodies were kicking around the football in mud and slush. They were completely drenched in mud yet they were laughing, shouting and shoving each other merrily. Roma turned away from the window and looked around the room, in one corner was the ‘bed’ of quilts,blankets and pillows which was rolled up neatly, beside it was the harmonium, tanpura and the mat rolled up, set vertically against the wall, beside it was a trunk with a huge padlock which contained the “valuables”. On the other corner was a kerosene stove and a few pots, pans and just beside the ‘bathroom’s’ tin door was a big iron bucket with a blue handle-broken plastic mug floating in it. On the wall beside window was the small mirror and an old calendar with Ma Kali’s picture decorated with a dried, dusty hibiscus garland. Roma glanced at the clock “its time, they’ll be here, let me get ready” she thought.

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Dearest Ma,

I know this will hurt you a lot but I am left with no other option. I have to go as he is waiting for me in a taxi at the bus stand. I have thought a lot about the proposal but still couldn’t accept father’s chosen man. Ma I am leaving the ‘home’ where I spent my entire childhood to start ‘my own’ family. I am not taking any jewelery or the Benarosi you had selected for me, just taking a small chain and abundant courage which I inherited from you. I think that’s the biggest gift Ma from you.
I know I am leaving loads of insults for you, this disaster of girl eloping on the eve of marriage. But it’s not the age of playing with dolls Ma, this is life, real family. Ma you had said once that’s its hard to recognize people it’s the heart that is important not the money. Number of rich, handsome boys have tried to seduce me with their money and fame but I knew ultimately they would dump me. He is not so good-looking and has lots of shortcomings. He doesn’t have rich or famous lineage but has the courage to speak truth.
Ma I am leaving for good and will not return ever.

Your most loving daughter
Roma

Its been so long but Roma still remembers each and every word of the letter she had kept on her cot before leaving. She had left dressed as maid servant to avoid detection of her father and uncles. Anirban and his friend were waiting in the taxi at the bus stand as promised. They had gone to Kalighat directly and got married with the blessings from Maa Kali. Then they had fled to another city where Anirban’s friend had arranged a place of stay for them.Life was a picking up its rhythm in those first days. Anirban used go in search of some work and Roma would try to set-up her new ‘home’. She would lovingly sweep the floor, get water from the community hand-pump and cook. It was same Roma who actually had never entered the kitchen or done any housework in her ‘mother’s home’ because they had maids and servants to do everything. Her job was to just open her mouth sometimes even that was not required Ma would do that. Now Roma was doing everything for love. Anirban too was very nice he used to eat with a smile whatever palatable or otherwise was put by Roma on his plate. On weekends they would go to parks and gardens around the city just as they used to do before marriage. In short life was a bliss.

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“What you just got that silly necklace from your home and nothing else” uttered Anirban in frustration.
“But I never knew you were interested in jewelery, money etc” Roma was still shocked at Anirban’s enquiry of her jewelery.
“No I was not but I never contemplated the situation would turn so bad and thought you were very pragmatic … life can’t be led just on ideals, love etc. It needs food, shelter and clothing” Anirban seemingly disgusted.

Things started getting haywire when Anirban lost his day job and failed to get another job. He would do some petty jobs and bring home whatever he could but most of the times it was not enough. Roma started giving tuitions and music lessons to children in the locality and somehow they were able to make ends meet.

Roma was helped by didis of nari niketan to learn stitching and start working in the garments section of the co-operative. Meanwhile Anirban started drinking and stopped looking for any permanent job and would lie at home whole day idling or drinking. Roma tried very hard to stop Anirban from drinking by refusing him any money but he would not listen. Anirban would do some petty work and finance his drinking. If she denied him food, he would arrange his food outside somehow but would not stop drinking. He would sleep outside when Roma denied him entry to their home. Though he never created any ruckus or hit Roma in his drunken state but would not stop drinking either.

Roma watched helplessly as Anirban wasted himself away. She contemplated suicide many times but couldn’t do it ultimately as she was not that courageous to kill herself. Hence she surrendered herself to fate and continued her life by giving tuitions in morning, working for the co-operative in the afternoon and giving music lessons in the evening and kept hoping that one day things will change for better.

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PS: This is my tribute to a famous Bengali song called “Roma” by Anjan Dutta. In fact Bengali friends would have noticed that the letter is nothing but an English translation of the song. After listening to the song I always thought what might have happened to Roma after she fled, Did she have a happy ending or otherwise? As far my personal experience is I have seen Romas having both happy and tragic ends.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Fool

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This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 9; the ninth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

“Look what I have found in his drawer while cleaning his desk today” whispered Sudha nervously handing over the piece of folded paper to Vimal.
“What is it?” replied Vimal, irritated.
“Sssh… Just read it and don’t shout he’s in the other room.” said Sudha in low voice indicating Vimal to lower his voice too.
Vimal opened the paper and read it, frowned and looked at it again. He seemed to be worried too, looked at Sudha and blurted “Are..”
Sudha put her hand on his mouth and whispered “What are you doing slowly”.
Vimal lowered his voice and asked in questioning tone “Are you sure he wrote this one?”.
Sudha irked and retorted “I told you I found it in his drawer moreover don’t you recognize his handwriting?”
“Yes but why would he write such a thing.” replied Vimal and thought something.
“Had I known it then why would I ask you. Shall we talk to a pychiatrist. We need to do something before its too late. Thank God I found this one otherwise…Oh my God I can’t take it anymore…. Please do something..” Vimal hushes Sudha and looks at the paper once again.
“No! No pychiatrist. Right now we have to be very careful on this one. You know how today’s kids are we have to be very careful. I think you need to keep a close eye on him.” Added Vimal unmindfully “Another thing he  should not suspect that we have discovered this note and behave normal with him. We have to be very careful. Meanwhile let me do some enquiries and see how to handle this one..”
“Good Lord never can understand what goes on in the boy’s mind” said Vimal to himself seemingly disturbed.
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Vimal switched on the light on the table in his study. The study was a small cosy room with a large window in the left and couch underneath it, there was a table beside it with a huge shelf stuffed with books, adjoining it was another shelf with all kinds of CDs/DVDs. The table had a computer and the usual stuff. Vimal pulled the chair and sat on it. This was his place of recluse and generally was ‘out of bounds’  from the rest of the world.
He pulled the bottom most drawer and found the cigarette pack and the lighter, he looked into the packet and found there were 6 sticks in it still. He pulled out one and went to the couch and looked out of the window. The dark night sky had turned reddish and there were no signs of the stars or the moon. The winds were really strong and the wind chimes were making a strange music. “It must have rained somewhere” thought Vimal aloud. He liked the smell of the first rain and he always liked this climate specially after such super hot days but today he was not really interested in the weather outside.
Vimal looked at the chair and let out a cloud of smoke. He thought I have solved so many complex issues sitting there. That was his ‘idea’ chair. But all those ‘problems’ were solved by his mind but today he’s faced with something that involved his heart too. He took out the note Sudha had given from his kurta’s pocket and looked at it once again.
It said “I AM USELESS I AM A WASTE PLEASE KILL ME” all in capital letters as if the writer of the note was screaming. “Really Brave” he thought about his wife Sudha who didn’t panic on seeing such a note in their only son’s table but actually came to him, like she always did during tough time. So he should not panick but think! Think of a way out of this. His analytical mind started to look for answers to ‘Why?’, ‘What on earth could have gone wrong?’.
Vimal started to think about his son Vishal. Who was an intelligent, enthusiastic, energetic young boy in short a ‘super cool’ dude the ‘Bindaas banda’. Yes that’s what everybody said about their Vishy(that’s what Sudha had called her baby when she first held him in her hands and later Vishy became Vishal for offical documents but remained Vishy to all his loved ones.) He and Sudha had brought up their son very grounded so naturally Vishy was a very level-headed child Vimal thought.Then what had gone wrong suddenly?  No there can’t be any generation gap here as he had always treated his son with the respect and care a young adult deserves the moment he steps into his teens. Vimal had learnt this skill from his own father with whom he never had any generation issues. “So Mr. Vimal where is the gap?” he questioned himself.
Vimal’s thoughts kept going in circles and ending up in the same place irrespective of the fact that le he started to think from a very different angle. What happened to his ‘out-of-box’ thinking abilities he wondered. But he would not give up so easily so he started from the beginning and concluded that only way to get to the bottom of this was to get inside Vishy’s mind but How he thought. Just then a face flashed in his mind. It was the ever smiling face of Tinni. Tonima was Vimal’s sister’s daughter. They lived in same lane and Tinni was a year older to Vishy. They had grown up together and were very close. They were the bestest friends and not just cousins. Vimal felt a little relieved at the silver lining that Tinni seemed to be at that point. Vimal looked at the clock it showed 2.30AM. “Time to go to bed” told Vimal to himself.
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“Impossible! Mamu. It can’t be bhai…” exclaimed Tinni jumping up from chair after reading the note.
“I know I know beta this doesn’t make any sense but you know your brother’s handwriting right”.
Tinni didn’t say anything just shook her head in despair as if trying put the peices of puzzle together.
“Ok Tinni beta could it be he was seeing somebody and something happened there. I mean…”
“Oh mamu you know bhai, girls are the last thing he will be serious about.” Tinni a little irritated by the whole thing.
“Whatever it is, you have to help. See you are closest to him so you should try to talk to him and get to the base of all this.”  uttered Vimal and looked at Tinni with hope as if she was his saviour.
“Hmm…’ replied Tinni absent-mindedly.
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“Bapi where is ma?” blurted out Vishy looking very  anxious.
“She’s gone to the Kalibari today is Saturday remember. What is it can I be useful?” said Vimal lovingly. He thought this could the opportunity to talk to Vishy directly as Tinni had failed to extract any information.
“No Nothing…” replied Vishy and turned to rush back to his room.
“Tell me what is it maybe I can solve it for you.”
“Well then actually I have to complete an entry for a young writer’s challenge.”
“Oh great what’s the challenge about let me see if I can contribute.”
“No Bapi that’s not the problem. They had given a line on which I have to write a funny story and I had written the line on a piece of paper and I am not finding the paper now. “
“Oh how big was the line don’t you remember them.” Vimal seemed to relax.
“I wan’t the exact words you see its important. It was something like ‘I am waste I am useless Kill me’ or something.”
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PS: This is a work of fiction. I sincerely wish that every father whose child gets suicidal becomes a ‘Fool’ like Vimal and this story doesn’t
remain a fiction.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

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