Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Book Review - Sirens Spell Danger





Sirens Spell Danger is a collection of three thrillers by three amazing writers. 

The first one “Femme Fatale” is a fast paced thriller that is full of action and also my favourite.  Loved the attention to minute details, not a single scene or character seems out of place. The plot is tightly weaved and there are no loose ends. You can almost feel the excitement as the action picks up in the last few chapters.  There is an unmistakable tinge of subtle humour even in grim situations. It has the author's inimitable stamp all over it! There's no attempt to showcase the protagonists as larger than life. They could be anyone you see on the street, very realistic and believable.

The next one” Bella Donna” comes across as the best researched of the lot but it did get a little predictable. A medical thriller, with a slick execution of the story line. It may look a tad bit confusing keeping tab of the large number of characters that are introduced in the beginning chapters, but as the story progresses, it leaves you amazed at the detailing that has gone into it. Each chapter begins with a subtle hint of the protagonist’s side of the story, then climaxing beautifully in the end.

“Bellary” dwells on the paranormal and the world of make believe. There seem to be some gaps in the story and this one could have done with better handling.


Sirens spell danger is a compelling read. A great mix of three thrillers that keep you hooked till the very end. 

The book is available in a Kindle Edition
Total no of pages : 211 pages
Kindle price :   99.00




Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dreams....


Image: Pixabay.com
There’s a dark tunnel. It’s probably night time. Crisscross railway lines meander through it. Though it’s dark, I can see pretty well. I wonder what I am doing here at this hour of the night. There is some baggage with me and a couple or more kids and some grownups. I don’t seem to recall knowing any of them. But it seems they know me well. It looks like we are waiting for a train. But why here, is what beats me! Why not at the railway station? These questions have no answers.
At the distant, we can see a light. Probably it comes from a train. Yes, we can hear the whistle and then the familiar chug. The train slows down as it approaches us. I am helping everyone get in. One by one, they all climb in. By the time the last person climbs up, the train blows its whistle and starts to move. I panic. I start throwing my luggage in but it falls out and I scream for the train to stop, but it chugs away. I run behind it, but I know I have missed it.

                                                                    ***************

Image: Pixabay.com
It’s the dark tunnel again. There is a narrow spiral staircase running up in the middle of the tunnel. I am standing on top of the staircase, with the same set of people. We are late; we might miss the train if we don’t hurry up. Everyone is climbing down the staircase balancing their baggage. There, I can see the train, its approaching fast and we must hurry. The guys in front seem to be taking ages to climb down. That the staircase is narrow and spiral, is adding to our woes. We are not even half way down, when we see the train come to a halt below. We clamber down; dropping our baggage, stumbling… we have finally managed to reach down. The train has started to move, but it is slow enough for us to try getting in. Everyone climbs in one by one. The train is gaining momentum just as I try to climb in. The force pushes me down and before I can get up the train has chugged off without me.

                                                                  ***************

I have seen this dream hundreds of times before. In fact, this is the only dream that I ever remember seeing. Most of the other dreams are forgotten as soon as I wake up.  Each time there are some common factors, and some totally new ones. But the end is always the same.

I have missed that train.

I have never seen those people who are boarding the train with me in real life. Their faces don’t seem known to me. Why I am always last to board the train is a mystery. Why I let them board before me and why I don’t shove them aside to get in, is a mystery too. Why I carry so much baggage is a mystery. Why I see this dream again and again is a mystery.


I always wake up sweating when I see this dream. I wonder if it has some meaning or parallel to my life. How do I find the answers?

                                            **********************************

             I am participating in the write tribe festival of words. from 8th -14th dec.
                                This is written for the Write Tribe Prompt "Dreams"

Friday, December 13, 2013

10 types of people that I hate..!

There are people.....and then there are people that you loathe. Here are 10 kinds of people I hate and make sure to avoid:

       1. The “Negative” kinds

These are the people who are so full of negative thoughts and ideas, that if you happen to talk to them about anything, they will come up with a hundred things that will not work. Forget encouraging you, they will bring you to so much despair, that you will give up before even trying!!

2.The “Bitchy” kinds- 

 These are the people who back bite.  We all bitch sometimes, but how do you stand people who have nothing but bitchy things to say about everybody? They are the “know-alls” who have a lot of interest about everyone’s life except their own. They will not shy of concocting the damnest of stories and passing it proudly to all and sundry!


      3. The “Forever Big eyed exppression ” kinds-

Excessive flattery is their forte and you will always see them dilate their pupils and give you that “wow” look for the stupidest thing you do, show or say. Some flattery is always welcome, but these are the people who will make you feel like you can do no wrong. They will help you make all the wrong choices if you get fooled by their wide eyed appreciation of everything.

       4.The “Manipulative” kind –

These people are mean and will manipulate you as it best suits them. If you are not careful, and trust them too much, be prepared for a really bad heart break and the feeling of being treated like dirt. Yes, that’s what they will do you.


5. The “Twisted” kinds-

These are the people who don’t mean what they say. They will say something and mean something else.  In fact, they expect you to be the same and will understand something else of what you speak. If you are the kind who says exactly what you mean, and expect that they will too, you are in for a rude shock. You will spend half your time clearing the misunderstandings between each other.


6The “Couldn’t care more” kinds-

These people take you for granted and how much ever you do for them, they will make it seem like  it was your duty and their birth right. While you patiently wait for them to call you, meet you or spend time you, they are always busy. But they expect you to be there for their every need. They sap your  energy and make you wonder why you take so much trouble in the first place!

       7.The “ Dominating” kinds- 


These kinds of people dominate over you and would always have it their way. They will never let you win any argument, and will ensure that you accept their point of view. For the sake of the relationship, you may let them dominate at first, but over a period of time, it can be frustrating.

8. The “Egoistic” kinds-

These people have egos the size of a football pitch, and you never know when a slight joke, a little leg pulling or a small slap on their back can hurt them so much that you have to spend all of your next week saying sorry and pacifying them!! Over a period of time you get tired of weighing every word before talking to them.

       9.The “late Latif” kinds-

These people have the faintest regard for time, if any. They make you wait endlessly and they have a solid reason every time! You get tired of waiting for them, but no sir, they have taken this pledge of being late every single time. They neither value you nor your time and they are probably those who have given “The Indian Standard Time” a bad name!

    10.   The “show off” kinds-

These kinds of people like to show off…. A new car, a new piece of jewellery, a new something every time, and you can be sure the price they quote is inflated too! They believe they are the privileged lot and they take pride in making everyone else look small in comparison.


With everything that is bad, there also exists good….the yin with the yang….. The 10 types of people whom I love…but I’ll reserve that for another day…..!

                                            ********************************

                      I'm participating in the write tribe festival of words from 8th -14th dec..
                                     This is written for the Write Tribe Prompt "People"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A ticket to travel...


Image: Pixabay.com
If I could buy a ticket, 
where would I rather go?
To the hills, to the oceans,or the forests,
to what nature could possibly show?
These places I've been to before,
And they've thrilled me to bits each time,
But that's not where this ride will be,
oh,where do I put my dime?

Ah! I know a better place,
 I'd go down my memory lane,
Just the place I want to go,
To relive my childhood again.
I'd like to find the stop where I,
Left my innocence behind,
I'd like to know when I really grew up,
Enmeshed in the daily grind.

I want to know the station where,
My chirpy self, got off,
I left her side for a minute or two,
To be by Ms.Little Gruff.
I want the little ME back again,
That is where this ticket is to,
I'm off to find, bring her I will, 
And bid this strange ME adieu!

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I'm participating in the Write Tribe Festival of words, from 8th -14th dec...
And this post is written for the Write Tribe Prompt -"Travel"










Yeah! That's music to my ears...!!!



Daddy's heartfelt laughter, 
that rises from deep inside his belly 
and fills up his sparkling brown eyes,
that reverberates in my heart when I am sad,
Yeah! That music to my ears!

Endearing names that mom calls me by,
most meaning nothing at all,
but each one so filled with her endless love,
there's no other name I'd rather be called,
Yeah! That's music to my ears!

Each time hubby croons out of tune,
Each time he's made me laugh,
Each time he says, "I love you dear"
That is all I ever want to hear,
Yeah! That's music to my ears!

Hearing my little one's first cry,
Hearing him blabber only the way he can,
Yet knowing what exactly he means,
And hear him coo in return,
Yeah! That's music to my ears!  

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I'm participating in the Write Tribe Festival of words, from 8th-14th dec..
And this post is for the Write Tribe Prompt- "Music"

Books... (A 55-errrr?)


Image: Pixabay.com
I wonder what the words do at night,
After I close my book shut,
Do they wriggle out of the pages?
And jump down and march about?
Maybe they climb up to my pillow,
And silently sneak into my head,
That should explain why I see them all,
As I turn and toss about in bed! 

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                               I am participating in the write tribe festival of words from 8th -14th Dec
                                                  This post is on the Write Tribe Prompt- "Books"



Just some "Food" for thought....



Mantra no 1:  Love thyself!! 
Because unless you do, you cannot expect others to love you back!!




Mantra no 2: Let go!!!
Sometimes you have to learn to let go... Maybe the inability to do so which is the cause for so much grief.... be a free soul.

Mantra no 3:  Stop worrying!!!
Most things will settle on their own, if only we could stop worrying about them! It not sucks away your positivity and confidence but also leaves you stressed out and flustered. Learn to lay back and keep calm.

Mantra no 4:  There's always another view!! 
Not for nothing is it said, that there's your view, the other person's view and the truth....Face it! you may not always be the only one who is right...


And lastly, Mantra no 5: Take that turn!
When you reach a dead end, take that turn...You don't want to be stuck in a rabbit hole forever...



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I'm participating in the write tribe festival of words from 8th -14th dec...
and this post is on the Write Tribe prompt- "Food" 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Memories.....

                     Ah!    Those were the days of  pure unadulterated fun. 

                     The days before TV became a household necessity. When just a few neighbours had the privilege of owning a colour TV and would happily accommodate the less privileged ones in the homes for the favorite shows. When at exactly 5.30pm on Sundays we would hear “washing powder nirma..washing powder nirma…dudh ki safedi….” on our neighbours TV and realize its time  for the Sunday movie on Doordarshan! When we would rush to finish our chores and run to their house just in time for the movie to begin.A movie would be enjoyed over animated talks and cups of steaming hot coffee.  
When           When the whole family would wait for “Chayageet” on Wednesdays on Doordarshan with no difference of opinion over which program to watch. When siblings did not have to fight over whether they should watch “pokemon” or “tom and jerry” and then decide to watch what each wants on two different TV`s in two different rooms.

                      When we would wait to reach home after school and go out and complete yesterday`s game of “lagori” with our friends and our parents did not have to worry about watching if we were safe. When we did not need anything more than playgrounds to keep us occupied. When we could play in the rain and not worry about being scolded for the fear of falling sick. When carom boards, chess boards, ludo and snake and ladders did not gather cobwebs in some fancy cupboard but played everyday with siblings and friends. 

                     The days before there were more people in houses than electronic gadgets. When there was so much time for dads and mums to spend with their children. When they taught us virtues and good habits by telling us little stories thus shaping our thoughts and actions. When we felt listened to and important by our parents. When parents did not keep themselves so occupied with their mobiles and laptops that they could not even hear what their little one was trying to say.


                     The days when we had family get togethers and dinners and the talk would revolve around who was doing what in the family rather than meet on networking sites and discuss scams, fake swamijis, and all irrelevant details. 
Wh               When cousins would plan little events during family time, enact funny plays and sing songs, bringing out all latent talents out of the closet. When first, second and even third cousins would bond over planning and arguing who got which part to play and practicing the “script” with so much effort. When the whole family would plan picnics together, and hire a bus, carry home made food and all necessary staples for the outing, instead of just one family simply driving out to a mall in their fancy cars and eating all the junk that money can buy. When we carried badminton rackets, cricket sets and volley balls to play during our outings, not video games and i-pods. When we carried a radio instead and tuned in to listen to Amin Sayani`s deep throated voice and the latest movie songs.

                     When festivals meant, meeting families and friends, eating great food and relaxing. When Diwali meant getting up early, taking oil baths and wearing new clothes. It meant visiting all elders of the family and taking their blessings. The greatest joy was getting a princely Re.5 coin from grandma which she would have planned and kept ready for the entire army of little children who would visit her that day.
                     When entire families of our apartment would gather after Lakshmi puja during Diwali and burst crackers together. When during Holi, eating “gujiyas” and applying gulal was the most awaited event after the ladies in the apartment had finished praying and dancing around the bonfire lit to signify the burning of “holika” .
                     When Sankranti saw kite flying competitions on every terrace and the sky would be adorned with kites of every make and colour. When every lady of the house would greet her family and neighbours with til-gud and say “til gud ghya goad goad bola” meaning ,have this ladoo of sesame seeds and jaggery and always speak sweetly.
                     When Ganesha Chaturthi was far less commercial and much more fun. When dancing in the “sandall” while installing the Ganesha idol was fun and not disgraceful. When the entire society got together and sang “sukh karta dukh harta” with utmost devotion and the prasad “gopaalkaala” that was distributed was a mixture of offerings from all the houses.

                     When we could solve any problem by just discussing them with our friends while chatting on the terrace of the apartment. When no heartbreak seemed permanent, because friends would help heal the scar. Being scolded by parents did not signal the end of the road and 10year olds did not commit suicide even after being beaten by the parents, because we had friends to share our misery and give guidance.

                     When board exams of std.10 and 12 were treated as battles, where neighbours would come to our houses and wish us luck and give us gifts like a pen or a small chocolate bar , all aunties in the apartment would feed us dahi-sakkar as a good luck charm and inquire how we had written the exam after we came back. When we distributed sweets to everyone in the apartment after the results were announced, receiving advice on what we should do next. When we felt happy in others achievement and sad in their failures.

                    When neighbours could ask each other , “I am going to the market, do you need anything” and the favour would be returned without asking, in taking a sick child to the doctor or babysitting or rolling out papads.


                    These days seem like they were light years ago….I wonder what memories my children will have? What tales will they carry forward to tell their children? Will their cousins be some distant galaxies whom they might not even meet more than once in their entire lifetime? I am pondering over all these thoughts and just then I am shaken awake by an ensuing fight, and a request,

                      “Mamma, can I see the TV in your room, Chikku will not let me see “Mighty Raju” on POGO, he wants to see “mickey mouse”.”


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                                  I am taking part in the write tribe festival of words 8th- 14th december 2013                                                           Write Tribe prompt on Recalling memories

     

wr


Friday, December 6, 2013

Steamed up?

Nayana emerged from the shower enjoying what the hot water did to her tired and cold body. After a hard morning of strenuous running and working out in the chilly weather outside, the hot water had felt like tonic. She looked at the mirror in front of her. It was foggy with steam. She always had to write something on a steamy mirror. Using her finger, she scribbled on it.

I Love you.

She was about to make a heart shape on the mirror as she always did, when she noticed another line of scribbles starting just below where she’d left off.

I love you too…

She gasped.

Who’s there?” she screamed, turning all around, looking everywhere for some signs of the prankster.

No one.

She looked at the mirror.

A smiley.

“If this is a joke, I don’t like it one bit” she said. “Who’s there?” A firmer tone this time. She didn’t want to sound scared.

And then she looked at the mirror again. More scribbles.

Always the bold one, huh?” 

“Why won’t you speak out?” her voice gave away the scare that had started seeping into it, her eyes glued to the mirror.

“Fancy getting some clothes on? You don’t want to be seen like this, do you?”

She hastily pulled a towel from the hanger and wrapped it around herself. She decided that she had had enough of this. She turned the door knob trying to get out of the bathroom. The knob seemed stuck.

Pity!”

“Why are you doing this to me?” she broke down, sliding along the door, falling to the floor, tears now beginning to fill her eyes. She looked at the mirror.

Nothing.

Maybe whoever it was, had left. She gathered herself, got up and walked to the mirror. She didn’t want to be talking to someone through a steamed mirror. She picked up a napkin and rubbed the mirror furiously, till it looked free of steam. And then she gasped again. She could see Neel’s face through it. He was smiling at her.

It couldn’t be…she thought. Neel was dead.

The mirror steamed up again, and he seemed to have vanished as quickly as he appeared.

“You killed me, didn’t you?”

“No….no…. Neel, it was an accident. You...you….kn…know that…”

Liar!!

And then something wrapped itself around her neck and dragged her into the mirror, even as she struggled to break free, making a crash sound followed by a thud.










Monday, November 18, 2013

Mind matters.

I had read somewhere that,

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, either way, you are right!”

What had just been a quote to feel good about, turned true for me today.  I had been trying for quite some time, to walk for more than 20 minutes on the cross trainer. As much as I tried, I failed every time. My legs wouldn't carry me beyond 15 to 20 minutes at a time and I had given up trying too! My old trainer having met with an accident last week, a new trainer had taken charge. He made me do the cross trainer today.

 “45 minutes” he said, setting the timer on his watch.   

“Oh, no…no… no…. sir,” I protested. “I have never been able to walk for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. I’ll try to stretch it to 25 minutes today.”

“45” he said sternly.

“But I can’t!!” I was not about to give up.

“Says who?”

“I know myself, don’t I?”

“For someone whom I have seen doing  100 counts of 8 variations each in ab crunches, 10 variations in weights and 5 in jumping jacks, all of last week, this should be a piece of cake.”  

Really?  Would it be a piece of cake?

“You WILL do it today” he said, as if he was very sure of the outcome.

I will?

I set the timer on my watch too and began the walk, my heart telling me that I will walk 45 minutes today.
The first 10 minutes were easy, then my legs began to get heavier, I wanted to stop. But it wasn't even 20 minutes. It would be a shame if I didn't even clock my regular time. So I continued walking. The trainer put on some song and it felt soothing. My steps started to fall in rhythm with the song. As I continued to walk, the heaviness in my legs began to wean off and I walked rhythmically, telling myself I can do it. He came in some time later,

“10 minutes more,” he said.

“35 minutes up already?” I asked, happy that at least the previous record had been broken.

“Yep… you can stop if you are feeling tired.”

“No, no, I’m fine,” I told him, I wasn't feeling tired anymore. I was  now walking with a renewed enthusiasm and vigor.

“Didn't I tell you, you can? It’s all in your mind.” He said his finger pointing to his head.

I smiled. He was right after all. Lesson learnt! 






Monday, November 11, 2013

A Lifetime of Love....

With the changing times, we have every rhyme and reason to celebrate everlasting love.....Valentine's day, Lover's day, husband's day, wife's day and what not!! Couples spend fortunes to keep each other happy...when just a little love would have sufficed.Thinking of love brings to memory one couple instantly. Not for such kind of over-the-top proclamations of love, and I even doubt they know of the existence of such days to celebrate their love. I remember them because they stand for what such days are supposed to signify. Unending and unconditional love for each other.

Twelve years ago, Nitika had been beautiful and young. Just about 35 years of age, bubbly, vivacious, energetic, full of life. They were watching the construction of their dream house. It was almost ready, except for the painting. She had gotten Akash to promise he wouldn't paint it without her choice of colours. It was a long day in the sun, and she felt tired. Suddenly she had collapsed and the doctor later diagnosed it as stroke caused due to rheumatic heart disease. She was paralyzed neck down; their life had come to a standstill.

I had heard about the incident but distances had kept me from meeting them. Now when I was in the same town, I decided to pay them a visit. Akash was gleaming with happiness when he saw me at the door.

“Nitu, we have a surprise visitor for you,” he announced.

For a moment I thought she must have recovered in these twelve years. But nothing prepared me for when I saw her. She was now 47, the prime of her youth snatched away from her.Her beautiful face was now wrinkled and sunken, the lush black mane now all grey, the full of life Nitika lying limp on the bed in an old night gown. I could have cried. But then, I caught the glint of happiness in her eyes and smiled back. She tried to speak but I couldn't understand because of the slur in her voice. Mercifully, Akash translated it for me. I was awed by how he could understand anything at all. As if he had read my mind, he said, “Whatever a child may blabber, the mother always understands what it is trying to say isn't it?”

I simply nodded my head in agreement. We chatted on and I learnt how Akash had been looking after her for the past twelve years, tending to her every need, giving up his high profile job and starting a daily needs shop close by and bringing up his sons who were 11 and 12 years of age at that time. The kids had grown up now and they took turns taking care of their mother. I couldn't help but notice, that all this while, Akash had no regret on his face and Nitika had a slight smile on her lips. It was almost 1 o’clock, and Akash excused himself to feed Nitika .

“She tells me what she wants to eat and I prepare it for her,” he announced as he brought in a plate of chapatti and potato sabzi , little rice and dal and fed it to her with utmost love and devotion and then lulled her to sleep. I couldn't control my tears this time.

We chatted for some more time about what treatment was being given to her and how she was responding, when my eyes fell on the walls. Almost the entire house was still not painted. Akash saw me gaze at the empty walls and told me he was waiting for Nitika to get well and tell him what colours she wanted on the walls. They had moved into the house just as it was on the day she had been paralyzed. I was visibly moved. 

It was almost 4 o’clock and Nitika would be up any time now. Akash excused himself again. He wanted to make some tea for her and keep her book ‘Chimanraoanche Charhat’ , humorous short stories by Chi. Vi. Joshi , ready for reading it out to her. Not wanting to disturb them, I bid them goodbye, leaving them to enjoy their "Platinum day of love", happy knowing that every single day would be exactly this.

                                                             *************************

(P.S. This is a true account, however names have been changed to protect identities)


   This has been written for the contest "Platinum day of love" on Indiblogger

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tiny voices....

My elder one participated in an elocution competition in school, and the topic given to them was "My favourite Indian". He is a voracious reader like me and writes pretty well (did I tell you he writes a blog?) He is fiercely independent and does not like me helping with writing for him. Well, this is the exact version of the speech he wrote. It left me amazed and speechless and I just had to share it here. (the pictures are my addition....) So read on...

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When I think about Indians who have inspired me, a lot of names pop up. From great freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, and great sports persons like Sachin Tendulkar and Vishwanathan Anand, to great minds like, Narayan Murthy to Abdul Kalam. Each one of them have inspired me in their own special way.

But there is one person closer home who has been my biggest inspiration ever. She is my grandmother- my mom’s mother. She is the Indian I like the most. Yes, you heard it right! My grandma is my most favorite Indian. I have never seen anyone quite like her. She stands for everything a true Indian should be, Secular, Democratic and Courageous. Amongst her many qualities are her joy in giving, caring for everyone irrespective of who they are and treating everyone with utmost respect. While most people just go to school, she is educated in the true sense. Let me tell you why I admire her so much. I have learnt many valuable lessons from her.


Most people follow one religion or faith. But, have you EVER heard of anyone following all faiths. Yes, you heard it right. That’s my grandma for you. She is a born Hindu, but she also reads the Namaz and visits the Dargah, the Church and the Gurudwara with equal faith and devotion.  She is as comfortable when offering a chaddar at a dargah or lighting a candle at the church as she is when offering puja to the shivling. She says that all religions are the same, all God is one and all scriptures teach only one thing and that is to love your fellow human being. Reading and knowing about other cultures helps us to understand and respect everybody. She is truly the most secular Indian I have ever seen.

Once while travelling by a cycle rickshaw in the hot summer heat in Nagpur, we took a break to have a fruit juice. She promptly ordered one tall glass of juice for the rickshaw puller too. How many people can actually think that the rickshaw puller is human too?

When we visited her, I didn’t even realise that the aunty who was helping her clean the house was actually the maid. She never treated her like a maid. She believes in offering to people in need and makes no differentiation between people based on their financial condition.

I have never seen her behave like a dictator with anyone. She always listens to everyone’s opinion however small or elderly they may be. She never forces her opinion on anybody and we have the full freedom to do what we want to do. She firmly believes that children should not be hit by the elders. I can proudly say that no one ever hits or threatens us at home and that has made me confident and helped me believe in my abilities. I can also openly discuss anything with her and my parents.


She has immense knowledge of all subjects, especially of geography, history and maths. It is very interesting to talk to her on any subject as she is always up to date in her knowledge of current affairs. She encourages the reading habit in me and she is herself very well read.
She always encourages me to be honest and truthful, whatever the consequences may be. She says that being noble and being a good human being is more important than being rich, famous or successful. She also motivates me to work hard and put my best effort in whatever I do.

She is my most favorite Indian. Thank you.


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After his speech, the headmistress was quite moved and she wanted to meet his grandma.Well, Mom lives in another city so he promised to bring her to school when she comes here. 
That is kind of impression we make on our little ones, and they observe everything we do and learn from it. 

The latest news and the icing on the cake is that this speech won my son the first prize!! 






Sunday, November 3, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel....

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 43; the forty-third 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 theme for the month is "LIGHT"

                                                 This post won the Silver Batom....!!!


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 “Call me as soon as you reach Hyderabad, don’t forget, ok?” said Malini looking visibly concerned.

Sending your 18 year old daughter alone on a night bus to a city 500 kms away wasn’t so safe in these days and times. But who could ever win an argument with Shreya? Once she had made up her mind, no one could persuade her to change it. Malini had tried her best to convince Shreya to study in the city, but the young girl had her heart set on a prestigious college in Hyderabad and had worked hard towards getting admission to the college of her choice. And now she was leaving home to join college in a new city with new people, and Malini grew sick trying to think of how Shreya would adjust to the new environment.

Shreya gave her a shrug and a nod, so typical of girls her age. It was beyond her comprehension why her mom was so ballistic about her studying in Hyderabad. She wondered how her mom would react when she told her about her plans of going abroad for her Masters. We’ll cross the bridge when we come to it, she thought and smiled.

“Bye Ma, you take care, ok? Take medicines on time, eat on time and get some good sleep, don’t fret over me. I’ll be fine.” She said giving her mom a peck on her cheeks.

Her mom was crying now, hugging her daughter tightly, as if she’d never let her go.

“Oh Ma, come on now, don’t do this, we’ve discussed this a hundred times before. Now be a good mom, and give me a smile.” She comforted her mom and wiped away a tear before rushing out. “I’m getting late, ma, don’t wanna miss the bus. Muaahhhh Ma” she blew her mom a kiss just before she disappeared out of the gate.  

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14A…14A….Ah! Here it is… she found her seat, settled into it, plugged her earphone on and closed her eyes. She could feel the bus filling up, and then someone settling into the seat besides hers. She was in no mood for small talk and chose to keep her eyes closed. Leaving home was an emotional moment for her too but she had tried not to show. Nothing could come in between the grand plans she’d made for herself. Not her mom, not her emotions, nothing. She knew her mom would be all alone now, but Shalini aunty next door had promised to look after her. Her thoughts of her mom and her home coupled with the soft whirring of the bus and the gentle movement soon lulled her to sleep.

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Shreya got up holding her abdomen. The pain was severe and she wondered how she was able to actually get up in spite of the pain. Suddenly, what had seemed like a sharp shooting pain had miraculously vanished and she felt just fine. She touched her abdomen where it had been hurting and it seemed like it had been a bad dream. Something bright shone in the distance and she opened, closed and blinked her eyes trying to adjust her vision to the source.

And then she saw it.

A bright blinding light.

Seeming to come from what looked like the end of a tunnel.



Walk towards the light Shreya. A soft voice called to her.

Shreya, obeyed and walked as if in a trance. And then she stopped mid track; her attention diverted as she saw the bus.

The bus she had been travelling in.

Turned turtle, it lay in the middle of nowhere. And then there were people. People gathered around, trying to pull the passengers out of the bus. A girl in a blue salwar kameez was now being brought out. The body looked limp and lifeless. Her earphone wrapped around her neck. Shreya, instinctively touched her ears.

No earphones. Where did her earphones go?

And then she walked closer to the girl. The earphones looked similar to hers. The girl was bleeding at her abdomen. Something sharp seemed to have pierced through. Then she looked at the girl’s face.  
Image: Pixabay.com

Oh God! That’s me! Am I…?. She cupped her mouth with both her palms drawn together and froze even as reality dawned on her. 

That’s why the bright light… 

She took one last look at her own lifeless body and then turned around and began walking towards the bright light at the end of the tunnel, shoulders drawn in, and her back almost in a hunch. Her heart was overcome with grief at the thought of how little she had been able to achieve and how little she had lived. She thought of her mother, what she would go through, looking at her daughter’s dead body. She didn’t even want to think about it. 

God, why me? What did I do to deserve this?

Keep walking child; you are in my care now. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

It was the same voice. But it wasn’t like someone was speaking to her. It almost seemed like the voice was in her head. She continued to walk towards that light. As she emerged from the tunnel, she saw the bright light but now it looked brighter and pulsating with life, the air filled with aromas she had never smelt before and music so soothing that she had never heard before. Someone was walking towards her, and she thought that he looked so much like her.

 “My child, my Shreya” he said giving her a hug.

“Who are you?” she asked pushing him away.

“Bhaskar, your father.”

“No, you are not my dad, my dad’s Anil Kumar.”

The man just smiled and walked away. Then she saw her dad and ran to him.

“Dad, I missed you so much. How could you leave us like that?”

Her dad smiled and held her hands in his. “Sometimes, that’s the only option we have, child. Your mom is right about what she thinks.”

What did he mean by that? But she seldom understood what he said.

Then she heard that voice again.

Close your eyes child.

She did as she was told. Glimpses of her entire life passed by like she were watching a movie. The little Shreya, center of her mom’s world, everything her parents had done for her, the fun times, the sad times, her dad’s sudden passing away, her school life, her friends, the times she had hurt her mom, everything. When she opened her eyes, there was no one with her.

“That is it God? I really haven’t got much done isn’t it? I can’t believe you took me so soon.”

What is it that you wanted to do?

“I wanted to get a degree, go abroad do my masters, get a great job, get married, have kids, lead a good life.” 

All that is of no use when you come here. As you have already seen, you will not bring anything of it with you. Do you want to see what you left behind? Look there.

She saw herself lying on a bed in the ICU. Bandages running across her abdomen and wires running, literally, everywhere. Then she saw her mom. She was standing outside the ICU. The doctor was talking to her.

“I don’t think we can save your daughter, not even a miracle can,” the doctor was saying to her distraught mother.

What a liar, I’m already dead. Why doesn’t he just say so? She thought.

Because you aren’t...not yet. The voice.

Her mom broke down and there was no one to console her. It pained Shreya beyond what she had imagined.

Suddenly the truth dawned on her.

How she wished she could hold her mom again and sleep on her lap! She meant so much to her mother but she had only thought about herself and nothing more. In fact, she had never thought about anyone else. She had been proud, arrogant, and selfish all through.

I’ll grant you a choice, child. You can choose between coming back to life or going towards death. If you choose life, you’ll wake up in that hospital bed and go on to lead life till you come back to me again. If you choose death, you’ll be free of all your bonds and stay here with me.

“God, give me another chance please, I beg of you. I understood what you meant…what my purpose in life is. Let me go and live that life you would have wanted me to lead.”

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The electrocardiograph had started showing signs of activity again, just as the nurse was about to report that it had become blank. She rushed out to call the doctor.

“Maliniji, looks like there’s been a miracle, this is not something you see every day. Congratulations, your daughter is a fighter after all.”

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A fortnight later, Shreya was ready to go home, though she still needed to rest for some more time.

“Mom, would you believe if I told you I went to heaven and came back?”

“I’ll believe anything you tell me darling.”

Poor child, she thought, must be hallucinating from all that heavy medications and anesthesia.

As if reading her mind, she asked again, “Would you still not believe me if I told you that I met Bhaskar, who said he’s my dad?”

“What….?”

“And that the only dad I know, committed suicide? You knew that all along, didn’t you? He said you were right.”

“How…? Oh my God… Shreya….” She didn’t know what to say. Shreya couldn’t have known any of this. She had never mentioned this to anyone ever. No one except herself knew. Did Shreya really die and come back? Did she really meet her father? Maybe it was time to tell her everything.

She knew her mother believed her now. “Can I sleep on your lap mom?”

Shreya smiled as her mom ruffled her hair. Life never gives you a second chance, she was just plain lucky. The light at the end of the tunnel had shown her the way.                   
       
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