Thursday, March 28, 2013

Back..part 4

Read Part3 

It had been four days since ‘Shyam’ had come back into the family and Mai was teary eyed as he took their permission to leave.

“I must go now, But I’ll keep coming back,” he promised.

“Do you have to go, Baala?” Mai wept as he hugged her son. “Bring your parents here, we will all stay together” she pleaded.

“No Mai, it will shock my mother to know all this. I promise I will keep visiting. You must let me go.” He said wiping her eyes.

“Let him go,” Baba said, “let us give him some time to convince his mother.”

Shyam was sent off with a lot of fanfare and tears. Mai had packed puranpolis and chaklis for him for the journey.

 He kept calling them every weekend to inquire after their health. A few months later, Baba summoned everyone and announced, “I have made a few changes to my will. Since Shyam has come back, I want him to get what is rightfully his. He will get a share of my property. Call him home, I will give him these papers myself.”

Mai was very happy. But Alok and Raman were shocked.

“How can baba do this?” thundered Raman. “He maybe our Shyam, but that was in his previous birth. Now he is Gopal, and Gopal has no rights to our property.”

“You are right dada, we must do something, there can be only two rightful shares of the property”, agreed Alok.

“I think, Shyam will have to go back to where we sent him earlier. Call him here; we’ll give him an action replay.” And both of them laughed together.

Alok and Raman had gone to the station to pick up Shyam. As they saw him get down from the train, they rushed to his side and accosted him outside to a waiting jeep.

“Dada, how are you? How are Mai and Baba?” he asked.

“The pleasantries can wait. Let us take you to a lovely place first.” Alok said ushering him inside the jeep.

“Where are we going?”

“You will know soon.”

They neared a dirt track at the far end of the city where it connected to the highway.

“Looks familiar?” asked Alok with a smirk on his face.

Shyam remained silent, head bowed and eyes closed.

“How dare you come back, Shyam?” thundered Alok, “didn’t I tell you last time that Baba’s property is all ours?”

“You should have known better and refused a share” said Raman, holding him by his collar, “but you greedy dog, you came sniffing again.”

Shyam lay on the road, blood oozing out, soaking him red. Kamala was thrown a little distance away. Some bushes separated them. He could see her trying to get up and walk towards him. In the distance he saw two figures coming in his direction. He tried to raise his hand and wave, but his hand wouldn't move. He tried to scream and ask for help, but his voice failed him. As they neared him, he saw that it was Alok and Raman. His brothers had come to help him. He tried to smile. He wanted to tell them to help Kamala, she was injured too, but he had no strength to speak. Alok knelt down beside him and whispered into his ear, ‘Goodbye Shyam’ and both of them broke into a monstrous laugh. They walked around him in circles talking and laughing till he bled to his death.

Kamala had crept up to the bush nearest to him when she heard Alok and Raman talk and laugh loudly. She was shocked. She hid herself till they left, and then crept to Shyam. But it had been too late . Shyam was dead.

(to be cont...)

read  concluding part  here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back...part 3

read  part 1 part 2 here

Baba was back to being his usual self once again, the grief of losing a son having suddenly dissipated. The whole family except Alok, sat around ‘Shyam’ and shared memories of the times gone by. Alok carefully watched the young boy regaling the elders with anecdotes of his younger days.

“Baba, do you remember the time when I first stole a 10 rupee note from your purse?” he asked.

“I do Shyam, You were about 10 or 11,” he said, “and when I found out that you had stolen, I whacked you till you collapsed” his voice was filled with regret.

Shyam put a knowing hand on baba’s shoulders, “You don’t have to feel bad baba. It was for my own good and taught me never to steal again.”

With that money, Shyam had brought a bagful of gooseberries and two guavas for Kamala, his childhood sweetheart. The thrashing had been every bit worth the happiness on Kamala’s face. And wasn't it she who applied a paste of sandalwood on his sore back the next day?

“Mai, do you remember the prank I played on Raman dada’s engagement?” he asked Mai, and the whole family burst out laughing.

“You were the naughtiest in the family! Where on earth did you get that thing that you mixed in your dada’s food? Poor Raman, he couldn’t sit down for a moment without having to rush back to the toilet. You always insisted it was your own idea but I was sure it wasn’t.”

Shyam looked at Alok, and suddenly, Alok who had been keenly observing the boy, knew that look. He cracked his knuckles nervously shifting uneasily in his chair.

“Trust me mai, it was my idea. Why would I lie to you? Ask Alok dada if you want to,” he said turning to face him completely, “You saw me grinding the Jamaal gota and mixing it in Raman dada’s glass of milk, didn’t you dada?” he winked.

“Eh? Umm…” said Alok surprised and relieved at the same time, “Yes, yes, I did…” A nervous laughter.

Alok ground the seeds and mixed it into the glass of milk meant for Raman. “What are you doing dada?’ asked little Shyam. ‘ Go, give this to Raman dada, and watch the fun,’ said Alok, ‘and remember, not a word of this to anyone’ he said, putting a finger to his mouth. How dare Raman slap him in front of his friends, he needs to be taught a lesson. And what a lesson it was! 

“You couldn’t be Shyam,” Alok later told him, “Shyam would have known.”

“You mean, I should have told everyone that it was you who mixed the seeds, and were trying to avenge Raman dada’s slap?”

“Shhhh…” he placed his palm over Shyam’s mouth.

Many such stories were shared over subsequent days and it left no doubt in anyone’s mind, including Alok’s, that the boy was indeed Shyam.


“Hello....Yes mom, I’m fine….I don’t think so…..he does too….I told him the Jamaal gota incident today…..hahaha…yes, he was scared that I would tell…, you don’t worry, I’ll be careful… take care too.” 


(to be cont..) 

Read part 4

Friday, March 15, 2013

Back.. part 2

read  part 1 here

On the dot of 11, the doorbell rang and Mai was the first to jump up and run to the door.

 ‘So typical of Shyam to be on time’, thought baba, but did not say that aloud. Shyam was always known to be a stickler for time. 

As she opened the door, she saw a boy about 14 or 15 years of age, looking exactly like how her son looked at that age. The boy smiled, tears running down his cheeks, and bent down in reverence to touch Mai’s feet.

“Mai, how are you? You look so frail, haven’t you been eating well? I hope you are not still continuing your upaas and vrats.”

Mai hugged him lovingly, and something inside her told her it was her son who had come back to fill the emptiness in her life. 

“How can I be well when you had left us all? But god is great; he knows how a mother’s heart weeps for her son every day, so he has sent you back. Har Har Mahadeva”, she said eyes rolled upwards in thanksgiving.

She needed no proof that he was indeed her son, reborn and back. She just knew it. She held his hands and led him into the house and he put a warm arm across her shoulder as if she she would fall down if he didn't hold her.

The boy walked in and saw baba studying him curiously. He fell at baba’s feet and hugged him crying copiously. “Baba, how I missed you! How are you?”

Baba’s eyes that had dried up after he lost his favourite son when he was barely 25, seemed to well up again. The face, the voice, the walk, the hug, was undeniably like his son. But how he could come to a conclusion so soon? He could not afford to be emotional like his wife, though he secretly wished that he could throw all the rationality in the air and just accept that the boy was indeed Shyam.

As the boy hugged his brothers, he felt the coldness in their gesture, Alok being more indifferent than his elder sibling.

As everyone cleared their throats and shifted uneasily in their chairs, not knowing what or how to question the boy, the boy decided to break the calm.

“I know there are a thousand questions you want to ask me. Let me take the load off your head. My name in this life is Gopal. I stay with my mother in Pune. A few months ago, I started getting dreams about all of you , this house and a lot of incidents of my childhood. I found that I could remember everything vividly the next morning, unlike in a dream. I started making notes in my diary…” he passed a diary to Alok turning the page to August 20 2012. 

“Your birthday…” said Mai.

“Yes Mai that was the day it all started.  I saw my 25th birthday being celebrated, there were a lot of guests in the house and you were feeding me puranpoli with love…” he stopped to wipe a tear.

August 20 2012
‘Mai fed me puranpoli, it was delicious. Alok Dada and Vahini gifted me a watch and Shyam dada and Vahini gave me a gold ring. Baba gave me a new bike.’

 “It scared me. ‘How did I even know these names?’ I thought. I had never heard about you all until then. I dismissed it as a one off incident. But the next night the dreams came back…”

“The cursed bike! I shouldn’t have given you one, my mistake entirely” rued baba.

Alok read on.

August 21 2012
I am riding on the highway with my friend, Vinod, in the new bike that baba gifted me. I picked up a new saree for mai with the money I got on my birthday. It was a blue kolhapuri saree with golden flowers. Mai saw it and had tears in her eyes. I could feel her happiness.

Baalaa,” said Mai affectionately moving her hand on ‘Shyam’s’ head, “I still haven’t worn that saree. I had planned to wear it for Ganesh pujan the following week, but….” She broke down.

“Mai…” the boy comforted her.

August22 2012
I am driving to the market. Mai wants me to buy a few things for her. A big truck is speeding uncontrollably towards my bike. I can see it in the rear view mirror. Is it following me or am I imagining things? It has crashed into my bike. I am on the road bleeding all over. I can feel my body starting to numb, and everything is a blur.

“Stop reading any further Alok,” ordered Baba choking with emotion.

He hugged the boy, “Shyam, my son, you are back, I cannot describe how happy I am. I have been living in guilt for the past 15 years, for buying you that bike which took your life. Forgive me Shyam, forgive your baba.”

“Don’t blame yourself baba, no one can change what is destined.”

“What happened then?” Raman wanted to know.

“As things began to get clearer, I could recall every single detail of my previous birth. I wanted to tell my mother, but I knew she would not believe me. And even if she were convinced, she would not let me come here. So I decided not to tell her anything and instead contacted you by mail. Surprisingly, I knew my mail id and still had access to it. And here I am. My mother doesn’t know I have come here to meet you, I have told her we are going out of station for a school project.”

Everyone except Alok seemed convinced about the boy being Shyam.  He shifted uneasily in his chair, cracking his knuckles. 'Re-birth? ha! who believes in re-birth? those are things that happen only in movies! These guys are being taken for a royal ride by this imposter,' he thought,'any one who knows our family, would know how Shyam died. How can they just trust some random jottings in a diary? I must find out who is behind all this.'

“How do you find the changes in the house, Shyam?” asked Alok, he had to find some way to trap this boy.

Shyam looked around and surveyed the place. “Dada, where’s the big swing in the middle of our courtyard? Mai loved to sit on it every afternoon after lunch and sing bhajans. And looks like our two bedroom house, has become a two storied house.”

“We had to remove the swing and put it on the terrace, and use the place to expand the house, we are a big family now, we need the space”, replied Raman, looking fondly at this boy, who he had started believing was indeed his brother.

 Something still bothered Alok. 'Must be an insider', he thought again, ' someone who knows that our house has been re-modeled, someone who has knows us for the past 20 years at least. Who could it be?' he tapped his fingers furiously on the armrest of the chair, his eyes shut, his mind sifting out various possibilities.' He wondered who it was.

read part 3 here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Back...part 1

“Another mail from him?” asked Raman in disbelief. “How is that even possible?”

“That is what I don’t understand Dada. How can Shyam come back? I hope someone is not playing a dirty joke on us.” said Alok shaking his head.

“Read out the mail to me,” said Baba, pulling a chair for himself and settling down in front of the desktop. His eyes betrayed any expression that he so stoically hid underneath the cloak of his wrinkled face.

“Adarniya Baba and Mai,
I hope you got my previous mail. I was eagerly waiting for your reply but I was disappointed to see that you had not replied. Have you forgotten your Shyam, Baba? You always told me I was your favourite son, haven’t you? You always gave me everything I ever asked for. You have always loved me more than both my brothers. These years of separation have been a pain and I long to be with you all again. Does Mai still make my favorite puranpoli on my birthday? Can’t wait to see you all again.
Pranam to you both,

 A lone tear escaped unseen from Baba’s eyes as he saw Mai wipe hers with the end of her Navari saree.

“I want to meet this boy, call him home tomorrow” said Baba.

Ever since the first mail had arrived, the Joshi family had been in a state of shock and disbelief. Now with the second mail, Baba’s sons were under suspicion. ‘Who was playing this trick on the family? What could be their intentions?’

Alok, could it be Shyam? Is he really back?” Raman looked lost.

“Dada, how could you say such things, I can understand Mai and Baba being emotional, but you know Shyam is dead, don’t you? We have lit his pyre with our own hands. The dead don’t come back Dada.”

“The language is just like our Shyam’s…the mail id is Shyam’s…. the incidents he has been writing about are all true…it is unmistakable. It has to be Shyam.”

“Hacking someone’s mail id is not a difficult job, dada, and who knows, maybe it is the work of someone close to our family and who knows all of us quite well.”

“But why now, after 15 years?”

Alok had no answer this time. That is what he had been trying to figure out, why would someone try to come back to the family as Shyam after 15 years?

“I have no idea, dada, that is what I am trying to figure out. Anyway, I’ll do as baba has asked me to. Let us meet him first.”

He replied to the mail, hands trembling as he typed Shyam’s name, an eerie feeling creeping over him.

Come home tomorrow at 11am. We all want to meet you.”

He couldn’t bring himself to write, Dear Shyam or sign his name at the end. ‘Let me see who this fake Shyam is’ he thought.

read part 2 here.

Baba- father
Mai- mother
Dada- elder brother
Puranpoli- sweet pancakes
Navari- nine yard saree

Friday, March 8, 2013

Nagpur wins top honours!!

A proud moment for Nagpurians as Nagpur wins four top except from a news article....

The best city honour was won by Nagpur

Nagpur, the best city to live in India, incidentally also beats to the rhythm of India’s heart because of its geographical location. Nagpur is popular for its oranges and has been declared as the “Tiger Capital of India.” As per the ABP News Best City Awards Research, Nagpur is also the greenest city with best health care services and public transport.

Mostly people believe: bigger the better. However, this may not always be true. The answers are not always what you expect but there will be no more disputes on this topic as the ABP News-Ipsos Best City Survey and Awards scientifically evaluate and identify the Best Cities to Live in India. 

Nagpur is India’s most Liveable City with the Best Public Transport, the Best Green City and the Best City for Health Care Services. 

A peek into the lovely city-

 Nagpur is precisely at the geographical centre-point of India and the zero mile marker is located here. The distances of various major cities which are measured from here are carved on the pillar erected at this zero mile site. Hence, Nagpur is called the zero mile centre.

Deekshabhoomi is a sacred monument of Buddhism at the place where Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism along with his about 380,000 followers on October 14, 1956.Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism is still a guidance for the masses in India.Deekshabhoomi is situated in NagpurMaharashtra, a location regarded as a pilgrimage center of Buddhism in India. Thousands of pilgrims visit Deekshabhoomi every year, especially on Ashok Vijaya Dashmi and the 14th of October (the day when Dr. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism here). A great stupa is built at that place.

 Dragon Palace Temple is a Buddhist temple, situated in Kamptee, a satellite township of Nagpur district. It is dedicated to Lord Buddha and boasts of striking architecture and picturesque landscape.Sprawled over an area of approximately 10 acres, Dragon Palace Temple comprises of a magnificent Buddhist prayer centre, which offers peace and serenity to its visitors. Enshrined on the first floor of the Meditation Hall of the temple is a colossal statue of Lord Buddha. The idol is said to have been carved out of a single block of sandalwood.

Koradi- The pride of this place is the thermal power station and the ancient Shri Mahalaxmi Devi temple, which draws devotees to its doors throughout the year (especially during Navratri).

Tekdi Ganapati Temple, Nagpur is so called because it has been constructed on a hill, and in Marathi, `tekdi` means hill. The Tekdi Ganapati Temple, Nagpur is believed to be 250 years old.

The Ambazari lake is situated 6-km west of Nagpur. It is the largest and the most beautiful lake in the city.It was established in 1958 on an area of 20 acres of land. The musical fountain, various electric rides and amusement games make this garden an ideal place to travel and children to enjoy. 

the pride of nagpur
Nagpur city is well known throughout the world for its juicy and ripe Oranges, so it earned the nickname of 'The Orange City'.

Haldiram's is famous for its world class sweets and namkeens.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport  is a public domestic and international airport serving the city of NagpurMaharashtraIndia.

The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium  is a Test cricket ground built in 2008 in Nagpur. Inaugurated in 2008, it replaced the old Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground as the main stadium in the city.The stadium is located in the Jamtha neighborhood, about 15 km from Nagpur.
Spread over 33 acres (130,000 m2), VCA Stadium features include wi-fi coverage and a capacity of 45,000. The venue also has world-class training and practice facilities

Also called Kamthikhairy Dam, Pench Dam is an earthfill dam on the Pench river near Nagpur in state of Maharashtra in India. Situated deep within the Pench National Park, most of the wildlife is found around this water-body and often visited by animals to quench thirst. During summer however, the Pench River dries out leaving behind small pools of water here-and-there that are locally known as ‘doh’ or ‘khassa’.

 The Tadoba National Park is spread over a 623 square kilometer area located in the Chandrapur District of Maharashtra in India. It is 100 kilometers to the south of Nagpur City and 45 kilometers to the north of Chandrapur Town. The Park is named after Tadoba, who was a valiant Village Chief and died fighting off a Tiger. 

Green, clean wide roads

Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMNU), formerly known as Nagpur University

Located at a distance of 8 kms from WardhaSevagram Ashram is where Gandhiji stayed from 1936 to 1948 and carried out all his activities from here. He established his residence here in April, 1936 in Shegaon Village which was later renamed as Sevagram. Since then Sevagram Ashram has become an inspiring destination. Several important decisions on national matters during the independence struggle were taken by Gandhiji from this place.

There are plenty of other places, like Ramtek, Khindsi, Totladoh, Ram Dhaam, Amusement and water parks, and plenty of other sightseeing places in Nagpur. I will take you on that journey some day soon. Mera Nagpur mahaan!! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


A pretty bloom in myriad hue,
Delicate, colourful, fragrant and sweet,
She's nourished many a mind, and heart, 
And little tummies of bees and flies,
Paying the price for all her love,
Crushed and forsaken today she lies,
The nectar dry, the colour all gone,
The fragrance in jaded memories still,
On a picture frame on the wall. 
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