Sunday, November 28, 2010


" Vinitha, are you aware that Neeraja eloped with her lover last evening? "asked Viji

“How come, she seemed good and was hardly married for a year.Her husband also looked decent,”said Vinitha to Viji.

“How do I know,she must have been compelled against her wishes to marry by parents”said Viji

“Once married, should she not cut off her relations with her lover,"inquired Vinitha

“Who cares, I have seen him visiting her on a few occasions.All old values are changing topsy turvy,”lamented Viji

Vinita said in a hushed tone, ”I must concede one thing.Her lover looked very handsome like Tom Cruise while her hubby looked so ugly.Had I been in her position I would have also run away from such a hideous guy.”

Viji laughed saying,“Do you know Neeraja was carrying? Whose child it could be, I wonder.”

“Oh my god,,I hear a horn,my husband has come.Sorry Viji..I will have to make coffee.I am dying to hear the rest..I miss the serial after the recent scam.My husband is glued to the only TV we have.”

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Taming of the shrew

Sharmila was standing last in the line at Enquiry counter in the post ofiice.There were about half a dozen people ahead of her.The clerk in the counter was slow.Just then a well dressed young man sauntered towards the counter ignoring the line and tried to catch the attention of the clerk.The others kept quiet though annoyed.

Sharmila shouted “Mister, Don’t you see the line.Please come and stand in the line behind me”

He turned surprised and said “I have not come to do any business.Just wanted to enquire about some address in the area”

“Do you think we have come to exchange pleasantries with the clerk in the counter.We also have some enquiries to make.Please fall back in the line”she said curtly in an angry tone.

“Sorry, You can tell me softly.Why do you have to raise your voice.Others have not objected” he replied even as he came back and stood behind her.

She then noticed that he was a tall handsome guy with chiseled features eminently suited for hero’s role. He did not look at her evidently unhappy with her rude outburst.She felt remorse for she is a gentle preson not given to such rude ways.Some tension and the urgent work at home must have triggered her temper.

She looked at him and said “I am sorry.You wanted to know some address.I live in this locality and can tell you about the roads.please tell me which place you were wanting to enquire”

“How sweet of you.I am new to this town.I landed at the airport just an hour ago.I have an appointment at a house in 3rd cross,21 st Avenue.Would you be knowing the place?” he asked with a smile

“Any land mark for the place given by them?”

“Yes, they said there is a KFC outlet at the corner of the main road” he replied.

“Surprising.It is just a stones’throw from here..I live in that road. I can take you there” she said

“Just tell me the route.I am required to go only at 3pm.I will have my lunch meanwhile at a restaurent ”he replied.

“Go straight about 200 yards and take a left at the signal.That is 21st avenue,then turn right on the third street and that is 3rd cross.Which number?”she asked

“Sagar apartments.I think the number is 22.”

“OK it is the 4th building on the right side.” She said in a tremulous voice.Suddenly she left the line in a hurry as if she had forgotten something to bring.

At 3pm when Nirmal entered the apartment, he was greeted by en elderly gentleman.There were a few well dressed ladies and gentlemen.After the pleasantries, an young girl entered with a tray of coffee annd snacks.Her father said “She is Nandita and is with Oracle after her B.Tech.”

When he looked at her he was very much surprised.He smiled at her and asked “Nandita, did we not meet at the post office a couple of hours before?”

Startled she said”No, I never went out today.” Her father and others present were intrigued by such a question.

“How could it be? You fought with me and raised your voice objecting to what you perceived as my jumping the queue.How can you forget so soon?It is really funny”he said

Her father then called “Sharmila, Sharmila” When another girl entered the hall and saw the bewildered young man looking at her and her twin sister Nandita, she could not suppress her giggle.

Her father asked her rather loudly”Why are you giggling? Did you go to Post office this morning and had an exchange of words with him”

When she lowered her head, Nirmal said “Yes this is the one I met.The two siisters are very much alike.I am sorry, Nandita, for my confusion.”

To her dad’s surprise Nirmal said with a mischievous smile ”Sir, I have a score to settle with Sharmila.If you have no objection I seek her hand.I can wait till Nandita is married”

Nandita laughed and taunted her sister “Serves you right Sharmi.We have got the right man to tame the shrew. I am happy.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

55 Word fiction

He made sure to see her thrice daily.

Her blue eyes, the way she spoke and her smile made her his obsession.

She never knew his love for her.

She talked a lot but never to him .

She just ignored him.

He hung on to her words till his mom switched off the TV

Monday, November 22, 2010

Aruna’s faux pas

The telephone rang. Aruna was busy in kitchen.Madhav had gone to gym.

“Is Mr Madhav there? I have been trying his mobile.It is switched off”asked a young lady’s voice
“He is not at home.Who is calling?” asked Aruna

“Tell him that the meeting at the Neelankarai resort is on.He should be there by 8am.Tell him I will be there

”’Does he know about this and the place? What is the purpose of the meeting?”Aruna wanted to know

“You just tell him what I told you now.He knows. We have discussed about this already” the lady at the other end replied

“Any objection in revealing your identity?” Aruna asked with some acerbity in her tone

“None.Tell him Miss Shalini rang”

“Oh, does he know you? Have you met him?”Aruna asked

“I have met him a couple of times at my place” Shalini replied

“What is this meeting about? “ Aruna asked with some curiosity
“Madam, we do not disclose our client’s personal matters.Sorry.”she answered back

“I am his wife. I think I am entitled to know about my husband”said Aruna.She didn’t like that voice.

“Many husbands keep things secret from wives and reveal only when the time is opportune.I cannot divulge unless specifically told.It is professional etiquette” Shalini curtly said

“What is your profession, may I know?”asked the angry Aruna

“I am sorry.Just pass on the information.I would not be able to talk to him again for the whole day.He would be eagerly waiting for this news.We have been trying for long and it could materialise only at this late juncture for tomorrow's meeting.Bye bye” she disconnected.

Madhav and Aruna were married just a year ago.The day after tomorrow is their wedding anniversary..Though they loved each other they were different in many ways.Madhav was a handsome man with a smile at the extremities of his lips.She had to her chagrin observed most females turned back for a second look.He was an extrovert and talked easily to all strangers mostly good looking females in Aruna’s thinking.He had face book account and chatted with many unknown women..

She was a very shy type and reticent by nature.She never befriended starngers and had no facebook account.She would chat only with her parents, sisters and cousins.She had no male friends.Initially she was worried and suspicious whenever a lady rang for Madhav.There was however nothing specific to trigger a doubt.

She somehow did not like this Shalini a wee. bit.Her drawl and unctuous voice irritated her much.She didn’t like the secrecy she tried to invest to the meeting planned for the next day.She believed that office meetings were held in offices or five starred hotels and not in a secluded private resorts.Shalini had also said that she had met him a couple of times on her own admission.Something fishy Aruna felt.

It was past Madhav was watching TV. He pulled her towards him.But Aruna pushed him away and went out.Soon she brought a tray with two large cups. “I wanted to have hot horlicks.I made a cup for you too”.. She did not mention about Shalini’s phone call..When she got up at 6am she found him in deep sleep.She switched off his mobile and kept the receiver of landline off the hook..Aruna smiled with satisfaction when she saw him snoring heavily under sedation. When the clock showed time past 10 am, she kept the receiver properly and switched on his mobile.He woke up at 11am.Being an early riser he was very angry with himself.for being late.

During lunch he asked her whether there was any call.She said none since morning.He tried to ring some numbers. He became pensive and kept quiet.It was around 5 pm he had a call on his mobile and after the call shouted “Aruna, Did Shalini call yesterday and asked you to convey some information.Why didn’t you tell me?Do you know how important it was to me? You have buggered up a good chance.”

“How do I know how important calls from different ladies are to you?.There were three or four calls and most did not reveal their identity when I said you were not there.This Shalini said that you know everything about your meeting at a secluded resort and that you two have also met.She didn’t tell me the purpose of the meeting despite my asking.Why should I facilitate some rendevouz for two love struck people? That is why I added a sedative to your drink"Aruna exploded

“You fool, Do you think Shalini is my secret lover?.Shalini works for a tourism company that owns a private beach resort. I had asked her to book a suite for us from today morning for three days to celebrate our wedding anniversary quietly away from the city and near the beach.All the rooms were booked .She had promised that if there were any cancellations,she would book it for me .I had asked her to keep it a secret as I wanted to surprise you.I never knew that it will misfire like this.You blew it all by your stupidity and suspicion” Madhav spoke in disgust.

Aruna was devastated by this revelation and felt very sorry for suspecting and drugging him.She apologised profusely..Madhav hugged her and pacified her saying that he was only upset for missing the opportunity.

It is a different matter that Shalini could find a room for the couple to celebrate their anniversary.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who did it?

“Amma, I am always feeling that someone is talking to me and telling me to do this or that.Even when I am in the school listening to the teacher, I hear someone talking to me.I am scared amma” said Anasuya to her mom.

Her mom with a concerned look put her arms around her shoulders and said softly“Don’t be worried.It is just a mental fear, a hallucination like.I will take you to a tantric and he will tie a rope on your wrist.The fear would vanish immediately”

“Amma, it is not only someone talking.I always feel somebody standing by my side always.I can even feel the warmth of his breath.It is scary.i did not tell you all these days afraid you will think I am getting insane and get scared.But it is unbearable.”the girl said amidst sob.

“Anasuya, do not sit alone.Be always in the hall.Watch TV and tell some prayers. I will ask appa to take you to a doctor for giving some tranquilisers.Have this vibhooti (sacred ash) on your forehead” said her worried mother though she put up a brave face.

“It is not when I am alone.Even now when I am with you I can feel someone nudging me” she said

“Where, nobody is here” said her mom as she waved her arm around the girl.”I think Pinkoo your cat you are fond of is always with you most of the time snuggling by your is that only that gives you such a feeling. Appa will be a little late from office today.I will ask him to take you to aTantric and doctor tomorrow.Don’t be afraid.Sit by my side in the sofa while we watch TV” she comforted her

The clock struck nine.”Amma, I am feeling sleepy.Let me sleep.” Anasuya said

“Why don’t you sleep with me?I will ask your dad to sleep in your room tonight”her mom said

“No, no.I am alright.Pinkoo is also by my side.Don’t worry”the girl said.Her mom covered her with bedsheet and put the night lamp after adjusting the fan.She slightly closed the door and left her to sleep

When Anasuya’s dad came later her mom expressed the urgent need to take her to a doctor.She said “I am worried about her hallucinations.There is a scared look in her face.You must take her to the doctor the first thing in the morning.”

It was 6 am there was a scream from Anasuya’s room.Her mom and dad rushed in to see Anasuya shrieking like a mad girl.The bed was soaked in blood with a kitchen knife stuck deeply on Pinkoo.When she saw her mom she came running to her and clasped her and started crying and telling her “Amma, Please do not look at me like that. I did not kill Pinkoo.It is the someone who I told you was always around me.He is not there now .I think he has run away like a coward”
"How did the kitchen knife come here"asked her mom
"I kept it with me for use in case someone touched me"replied the girl

Her dad gently put his arm around Anasuya and said “Come, let us go to see a doctor”

“Appa, I did not do anything.Why do you take me to a doctor?”she cried

Her mom was sobbing inconsolably as her husband dragged the unwilling child towards the car

Swarna's encounter

The departmental store was unusually crowded today .Swarna had actually left office 30 minutes before closing time to buy the groceries she urgently needed.She stayed alone in her one bed roomed apartment and the shelves along with fridge needed to be replenished.She had been putting off doing this chore for the last three days.She had picked all her requirements and was in the long line with her trolley at the billing counter.

She saw a tall and handsome fellow with a trolley containing hardly three items standing behind her.A shock of hair fell on his well chiseled face making him more charming.He had a twinkle in his eyes. How lucky his wife should be, she thought.It was then he smiled at her and said Hi.She mumbled back a faint Hi though her heart started pounding faster and pretended as if she was looking at the line before her. It was moving very slow and she did not mind it.The other counters too were crowded.As she came near the end with just two persons ahead of her, she suddenly remembered that she had forgotten sugar and cheese. She looked behind anxiously about her place in the line if she moved away and saw the tall guy looking at her with amused interest.

“Would you mind if I fetch two things I had forgotten.I will be back before my turn comes”she said

“Please do not worry.I will hold the fort till you come.Take your time.I will not budge.” he said with a smile.

She ran back to the shelves.She could not find the cheese easily till a sales girl pointed out the new shelf where they had been stacked.She collected them and hurried back to find the guy placing all her things on the table for billing.She was overwhelmed by his gesture.The billing clerk after punching the items said Rs.401.She rummaged in vain her bag for one rupee coin and said “Sorry I have a 50 rupee note.Will it do?”

Before the billing clerk said no, the young man behind her put a rupee coin on the counter smiling at Swarna.She thanked him and started moving towards the gate.As she went to parking lot to her car,she found her mobile missing.She talked to her friend while in the store.Wondering where she left it, she decided to go back to the store after putting things inside the car.

It was then the young man came running towards her shouting”Hey, you seem a girl in a tearing hurry.You have left your mobile while you were searching for one rupee coin.Luckily I noticed it when my billing was done.I was worried you might have driven away.Luckily I could get you.Do you live far away?”

“How sweet of you and I have no words to express my gratefulness.I am Swarna and work in KT Technolgies.I live in uttar mantri close by” she said

I am Durgesh working in the adjacent building to yours.How come I have not met you even though we are so closeby”he replied

“I came to Pune just a month back. Glad to meet you” she replied

He gave her his card with his mobile number.She said she had no card readily but gave him her number.”Can I call you or may be meet you to collect the one rupee I advanced” he said with a mischievous guffaw.

“Sure,you can.I do not want to die a debtor” she said with a smile

Even after she reached her home, his smiling face lingered in her mind.She was not dating any one.In fact she had no friend.She felt she was a little fat for her age though she was tall and it not show.Nevertheless she was reticent to make new friends and was with drawn.A couple of men suggested by her parents who had seen her did not evince interest.She told her parents emphatically not to look for any one and that she was not contemplating a marriage soon.

It was then her mobile rang and a voice said “ Durgesh here,your creditor.Can I come over to collect my dues?If it is ok with you we can have a dinner at the Chinese restaurant close to your place.”

Her heart beat fast.She could not believe that he would follow up after the meeting at the departmental store.”Give me 30 minutes.I will be ready.Apartment 504 on block B.”

It was a leisurely Chinese meal.They shared lot of information about each other and were impressed.At the end she said “Frankly I did not expect you to give me a ring.I thought you were just being chivalrous to a lady.I was surprised when you did call”

“Why were you not expecting me to call you.Tell me the truth’’ he asked

“I am a fat woman and this has put off many men whom my parents had approached” she said
“To be frank, I hate skinny and lean people.You are perfect and also very beautiful” he said with a wicked grin.

She smiled back shyly when Durgesh asked “Where is my one rupee?”

She coyly replied “I would like to remain permanently indebted to you.”

When they left the restaurant hand in hand, theyfelt they had found their soul mate in each other.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Annamalai chettiar's kindness

I drove along the narrow road in that village.Things had not changed much.Except for a few brick houses the thatched ones still remained.The walls pasted with cow dung in the form of pan cakes gave an unpleasant odour.The stray dogs and hens running hither and thither under the wooden carts parked on the road were typical of an Indian village.I felt thirsty and wanted a coke.I stopped at the only grocery shop but also selling bakery items and vegetables.The coke was not cold.The shopkeeper said the fridge was not working and that he had no money to get it repaired. I then found the shop was almost empty with most of the shelves bare.The various drums where rice, pulses, sugar and many other items were kept seemed almost empty.There were clear signs of the shop being in doldrums with the prospect of being shut down permanently.

I asked the elderly unshaven ragged man who was sitting on the stool beaten by age and worry.” Do you know of Annamalai chettiar who owned the shop two decades back?I think this is the same shop as the well opposite to it is still there.”
"I am Annamalai.The shop has not changed hands.May I know who you are?” asked the old man.
“Oh, used to look young and healthy then.I see the ravages of time and worry on your face.I remember your shop used to be crowded early in the mornings with many villagers buying their small requirements from here and you were doing good business.Why, what happened?You seem to have fallen into bad days.”I asked“
You have not said who you are”persisted the shopkeeper“
I will tell you later but I used to live in this village in my younger days”
Annamalai chettiar after a sigh started telling.”My wife fell seriously ill.I could not attend to the shop and her simultaneously.I employed a boy known to family but he swindled money and never took interest.I sold my land and the house to meet the debts and mounting medical expenses.But she finally died.With no money I could not buy the provisions to stock in the store and improve the business.People do not come to me these days. I am afraid I may have to call it a day and pull the shutters down”
“How much minimum money would you need as working capital to bring the store back to normal working” I asked“
Who will lend me money?I am a pauper.”he said with a wry smile"
“Tell me.We will think about it later.”I said“
I would need Rs25000 to buy the various provisions.I should not send a customer away saying I do not have the thing he asks for.I need to have a good inventory.I would need another Rs.10000 to repair this shop as it leaks during rain and spoils the goods “he said
“Never mind.Here is my card.please come to the next town and visit me.I will advance you Rs.50,000 from my bank”
“What are you talking about? I have nothing to pledge except my honour.Loans are not given on honour” he laughed loudly.He added “Tell me why do you do all this to an unknown stranger?Are you making fun of me, seeing my miserable condition” he asked in a choking voice
“Chettiar, you may not remember me at this distant date.But I remember you as the guardian angel coming to our succour everytime we approached you.I am the son of Singaram.My dad Arunachalam was a drunkard and spent whatever little he earned on his liquor.He only knew to beat my mom daily at nights.He later deserted us. My mom was sick and yet she worked as a farmhand.We starved on many days, me and my sister.But my mother spent her money on our education.There were countless days when she would retire to bed on empty stomach.It was then when things became unbearable and we approached you for some rice and essential provisions on credit,you unstintingly gave us without the slightest demur despite the huge old dues.I suspect now that you gave us the food items more as charity than as business.Your kind act time and again had kept the hearth burning in our hut.My mother was ashamed to approach you for help but would send me when she saw us hungry.But for your munificence, she would have committed suicide after killing us .We owe our lives to you.
Today I am in good position.I can help you.It need not be charity.You can pay back to the bank whenever possible.I will stand surety for you and see it is sanctioned.Come and see me tomorrow itself.” I replied
Tears flowed from his eyes as he said”Yes I remember your mom and how she struggled with her alcoholic husband.She was like my younger sister as we grew together in the village.I think your name is Mani.Am I right? Where is your sister?”
As I drove back I found that my thirst had vanished despite the warm coke.But my heart was suffused with happiness and I switched on the recorder for the music.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A secret well preserved

Mahadevan had four sons and two daughters.His three brothers were IAS officers and retired from high government positions.One son is an IAS and working as joint secretary .Two sons had done B.Tech in IIT and have obtained management diploma from IIMs.They were recruited in the campus by top notch companies and working in managerial positions.Talent seemed to run high in his familiy with two daughters being doctors with MD,DM to their credit.Only one thing has been worrying Mahadevan.His youngest son Suresh did not evince much interest in academics and after his commerce degree entered in stock broking profession.But he showed keen acumen in business related areas and became highly successful stockbroker.He had no interest or knowledge in any matter other than stocks and movement of prices..

He was also different from his other children.He was fair and tall unlike the others with their medium height and dark complexion.Though income wise he did better than his other siblings ,Mahadevan would have liked Suresh also in high government or private service.But he was discreet enough not to give vent to his disappointment.

It was then he went to Mumbai to attend a wedding of relative’s son.There he chanced to meet his old friend Mansukh bhai of Bangalore days.They were so happy to see each other after more than two decades.Mansukh insisted on Mahadevan visiting his home to meet his family members over a lunch.

When Mahadevan went the next day to his sprawling apartment in Sion, he was received with great warmth.When both friends retired to a separate room after the lunch, they exchanged the happenings during these long years.Mansukh had made big in his family business of coal trading and his sons save the last were in it. Mahadevan came to know that Mansukh also had a large family of three sons and three daughters.The daughters were married off to rich business families.The first two sons after graduation took to business like a duck to water.The last one Ajit however was bright in studies did his IIT and obtained a doctorate in aeronautical science.Mahadevan had already observed that Ajit was different from his brothers and sisters being dusky in colour unlike his fair and tall brothers.It did not fail to strike Mahadevan at the similarity in the two families with one child being very mcuh unlike the others.

As they were conversing Mahadevan pointed out this odd feature to his friend..It was then Mansukh suddenly asked “Maha, when was your youngest born?”

“Why do you ask?It was in Feb87, 16th “ mahadevan replied

“Oh my son Ajit was also born on the same day at Kamaladevi hospital in Bangalore.You had also visited our home after a fortnight”

“Could this coincidence be possible.Suresh was also born at the same hospital on the same day around 10PM” said Mahadevan

“Oh oh, Ajit was born at 9.45pm. I am pretty sure now that they had mixed up the babies.I lshifted to Mumbai after a month to look after the business when my dad died.It was too early to notice the difference.” said Mansukh

Mahadevan said”Let us not rake this up at this distant will create only mental trauma.Let the secret die with us, my good friend.”

“I agree with you totally.Luckily both the boys are healthy and doing very well in their fields.Let us accept it as God’s will” agreed Mansukh bhai

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chotu’s liberation?

It was Children's day..The minister spoke passionately amidst applause on the bane of child labour and wanted a relentless war on it

It was midnight when he went to bed.His legs were aching much.Chotu was massaging his legs till 1am when the boy fell asleep involuntarily.Bang came a slap on the ten year old.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kokila's cool

Kokila had an early dinner afraid that with the incessant rain the power may be cut any time. She had the candles ready on the dining table. Luckily her fears seemed unfounded as there was no power cut and she could see her favourite serial till the end. It was 8pm. There was a knock at the door. She wondered who could call on her at this time. After her husband’s demise, she continued to stay alone in this house. Her only daughter who was abroad had come to visit her old mom and left only the previous month. Kokila opened the door keeping the safety chain intact to see a young lady of about 35 standing there drenched in rain. Her clothes were completely wet with hair dishevelled.
When she saw Kokila she said “Sorry to trouble you. Can I stay in the portico till it stops raining? I should have left my office a little earlier.”

It was dark outside and she saw the lady alone. Taking pity Kokila said “Please come in and dry yourself.”

The lady smiled with profuse thanks and entered the hall. Just as Kokila was about to close the door, there was a lightning and she saw in the glimmer of light a car parked outside the gate. She immediately felt she had made a mistake in allowing a stranger inside but did not reveal in her face her thoughts. She gave her a towel asking her to wipe herself while she made hot tea. She started making tea and decided not to betray her scare. In the rain no one in the adjacent houses would hear her scream for help. News papers were abuzz daily with the news of old people who were alone being mercilessly murdered for monetary gain and warning against letting strangers in when alone.

She gave the hot tea to the lady who was comfortably seated on the sofa. She looked strong and a big built woman. Kokila’s mobile was on the dining table. She wanted to get it but did not want to create a doubt in the lady’s mind. Instead she chose another sofa a little away from her.

“Thanks a lot. Do you live alone? Any servants staying with you? I do not see any. Any children living with you?” she asked softly.

“I am not alone.I have a cat to give me company. I think the rain is almost gone. Do you have far to go? Did you come by walk?” asked Kokila wanting to test whether she would tell her about the waiting car.

“I came by walk and will presently leave in a few minutes. I have a question to ask? You don’t know me. You are old and alone. How could you trust me and let me in?” she asked

“Your face looked innocent and your bearing indicated that you are from a decent family. You were completely drenched. I did not think about anything then except to make you comfortable. I think I have not made any mistake in my judgment” she said with a laugh.

“Oh, I am sorry madam.You were not wise but you have been very nice to me.I would not like to hurt you.You are like my mom. Please hand over the cash and valuables without any protest. Any attempt to draw the attention of others would invite immediate death to you. I hope you understand.” she said like a snake hissing.

Kokila did not lose her cool. She said “Please do not do any physical harm. Whatever you want take it. Let me get up and fetch the keys after a few minutes. The shock makes my head reel. Please give me just five minutes. I will cooperate with you fully.”

In three minutes they heard the shrill blaring of sirens from police cars and one screeching to a halt outside. The lady was struck with fear and asked whether any exit is available by rearside
. Meanwhile there was loud knocking on the doors and voice over mike that the house has been surrounded by police. As Kokila opened the door, a constable with a gun in hand walked in and asked in an amiable voice “Where is our intruder?” The young lady was promptly hand cuffed.

When the young woman as she was being led ton the car turned towards Kokila with hate and anger in her eyes Kokila triumphantly smiled at her and showed the hidden buzzer on the side of sofa to the shocked woman.The wicked woman did not know the security arrangement Kokila had made already with police.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Speak in haste,regret in leisure

Lavanya rested a while as the crowd had thinned down.She worked as supervisor in the perfume store in the mal.When she was pondering whether to go for lunch to the restaurant,she suddenly saw Abilash entering her store.They were together in college and were very close friends.She loved him a lot.He looked handsomer, even a bit taller and with his hair well groomed than when she had last seen him four years ago.He too loved her.It was her mistake in forcing him to marry her immediately when he had pleaded some family commitments and wanted some time.She accused him of lacking in sincerity and commitment and used harsh words.He left her without one word.Later she regretted her foolishness and wished to express her regret.But sadly he had left the town to another city for higher studies.There was no contact thereafter.

“Hey Lavanya,I came specially to meet you.I knew you worked here.I came to this city last evening.So how is your anger towards me?” he asked smilingly

“Abhi, how sweet of you to have remembered me.I am extremely sorry for my silly behaviour that day.Since then I have been looking for you to express my regret.But you had left leaving no address.”They shook hands warmly holding one another for long.

“Oh it does not matter.I really had some pressing family responsibilities and could not propose to you then.Much water has flown under the bridge since then.Are you married?” he asked

There was a flutter in her heart.She still had the same attraction for him and hoped he had come to express his also.She then saw a tiny parcel in his hand from the jewelers adjacent to her shop.

She said “No,I have not married. Are you married? What is that parcel you have.?”

“No,Not yet.I want you to see the content in the box and tell me whether it is nice and you like it” he replied

When she opened the tiny red velvet box, she found a cute diamond ring with one stone sparkling in blue colour.There was a palpitation in her heart and the warm blood rushed all over the body.I Is he proposing to me after the long wait, she wondered

“yes, it is very cute.I love it” she could hardly speak

“Thank you,Lavanya.Just wanted to make sure that the ring is appealing”he said with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile in his lips

“Is it for me,Abhi? she asked expectantly

“Sorry, it is for my fiance.I thought you would not wait for me after that quarrel and your insistence that day.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who is the mad beggar?

I had been recently to a temple in Southern India.The entrance was as usual lined with beggars entreating with pleas for giving alms.I normally give them some coins on my return after the prayer at the temple.When I entered inside the temple this day, I saw a man in a dirty safforn dhoti that covered upto his knees and a small towel swathed over his back and his shoulders.He must be around 40 years old, lean and lanky, a bit dusky in complexion..His dark hair matted in some places hung up to the nape of his neck. When I walked past him,I heard him muttering something to himself and smiling.He made no demand for alms and his eyes shone brightly..There was a tiwnkle in his eyes.His face was unshaved with an unkempt beard and mustache I lingered a little thinking him to be a beggar different from others.He was sometimes dancing with his hands on his hips and sometimes singing with his fingers of both hands playing on a non existing drum.He even gave me the impression of a man gone soft on his head.

As it was closing time for the temple I hurried to have the darsan of the presiding diety.Luckily there was no crowd with hardly two or three devotees in the sanctum.The priest enabled a good darsan of the God and His consort explaining in detail the specialities of the temple and the benefits of praying Him.I prayed to the God with my usual shopping list of desires that included the well being of my children and grand children.After doing the rounds(Pradakshinams) of the temple I came out.

When I saw the ochre robed man still dancing and singing, I stopped and proffered a ten rupee note.On seeing my extended hand he moved away quickly waving his hand exclaiming”Go away ,go away”.

He then laughed hysterically and said loudly “Oh Lord, look at this person giving me a paper thinking I am a beggar.Am I a beggar? Yes I am a beggar, the worst beggar.You know what I beg of You”

He turned to me and asked “When you went inside what did you beg of the Lord.You too are a beggar but a mad one at that.”
I said “I am sorry I thought you were also expecting some alms like others as you are here along with them“

“”Answer my question.What did you beg Him for? Did you really beg Him for one thing He is there ready to give? I am not a mad man.You are a mad beggar asking for cheap things like wealth and happiness.You don’t even know what to beg for ” he admonished.He then started jumping in ecstasy making wild motions with his hands towarsd the sanctum and imitating as if he was playing a drum or a flute .

It struck me then that I had squandered the few moments before the God in asking for material possessions for my children and grand children and never sought His grace to bestow me with true knowledge to deliver me from this earthly bondage and give me the wisdom.I had failed to invoke the presence of God in my mind.There was no humility in me by shedding all my pride.My mind was wandering hither and thither...I failed in His presence to surrender totally unto Him.My prayer was nothing more than sheer beggary and a fake devotion..

I realised then that the dancing person is no beggar and that I am the real mad beggar asking for foolish blessings.When I looked at him, I found he had totally ignored my presence and dancing feverishly thinking of God. After this unexpected encounter with this starnge man I was humbled, chastened and made a different man. I was very uncomfortable there after. I felt sure that the strange man must be an evolved soul nearer God teaching by his attitude those who cared to observe him.He truly awakened me from my deep slumber atleast for a shortwhile.