Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bleak House

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community Bleak House

She willed herself to not check her phone to see if he had replied. It had been about three days now. She hated that she was constantly checking his 'last seen at' status and yes, he had logged in just five minutes ago. Yet she couldn't stop herself. This sinking feeling to find absolutely no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost torturous.

And then, just as she sat down in her chair, her phone vibrated. With her heart thudding in her ear, she unlocked her phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message.

But when she opened it and read it, she nearly stopped breathing. She didn't know if he was joking or not. What was this?
No. He cannot be joking. He is not a person of jolly temperament to indulge in the harmless fun of playing pranks on friends or family members. Does she not know the man she is married to for more than twenty years?
Yes. He must be serious. He definitely means what he says. She sat in a daze. Her senses numbed, she sat staring in front of her.
This was just waiting to happen - the message he had sent. Only she was too gullible and hopeful. Her favourite quote was Alexander Pope’s words:”Hope springs eternal in human breast.”
Whenever she had reason to suspect something foul or fishy in his acts she hastily hushed her intellect and blindly hid behind her sentimental trust. The writing on the wall which she refused to see all this while now glared at her with stark reality.
She was engulfed in awe at the sight of all the puzzle pieces falling into place and completing the picture. All the little gestures, short utterances which had looked insignificant then are discovered now to have specific, clear meaning and purpose. All the odd behavioural changes in him which she had brushed aside as figments of her imagination were real she recalled now.
She found it difficult now to recognise the man who was her husband for more than twenty years. She cannot believe she had been living under the same roof with this complete stranger. It agonised her to see her partner in this new light. The revelation was cruel. A chill ran down her spine as she witnessed her dream castle tumbling like a pack of cards.
Overwhelmed by a bout of nostalgia she recalled the happiest moment in her life when she first met her Prince Charming. He came to her college on official duty when she was in the final year of her postgraduate study. She was an outstanding student in the college excelling both in studies and extracurricular activities.
It was love at first sight. They fell head over heels in love with each other. After a short, heady courtship they got married. Ground realities loomed before her soon after the cloying joy of honeymoon was over.
His tantrums at first upset her very much. She cried inconsolably. He remained unmoved and unchanged. In course of time she got resigned to the taunts as the habit of a spoilt brat who is used to having his way.
She was shocked to find their tastes and thoughts diametrically opposite. Being an intelligent woman she consoled herself by remembering the fact of opposite poles attracting each other. But unfortunately she felt in a vague manner she no longer attracted him.
There were other issues too in the home front. She was disappointed when he behaved like most of the Indian husbands refusing to give credit to her management skills and unwilling to entrust important responsibilities to her. He did not lose a single chance to remind her that he wore the pants in their house and that he was the boss.
The servitude he imposed on her, the subordinate status assigned to her irked her to no end she having been brought up on ideals of gender equality. Having enjoyed full freedom so far this unfair, unexpected serfdom devastated her completely. She has had least respect for male chauvinistic pigs. What a cruel irony it was that she should end up in the clutches of a classic specimen of the species!
Her woes did not end with being crushed by the tyranny of male supremacy. Her sorrow knew no bounds when he began to show another vicious aspect of his character. He was a very suspicious husband. The first evidences of this symptom were not taken seriously by her. She even felt flattered for having a doting, possessive husband who hated her male acquaintances. But very soon her concern grew and her pride winced when he atrociously trampled on her freedom of speech and movements. He shamelessly hurled malicious accusations at her in the most obscene language possible. The verbal attacks when resisted callously progressed into physical violence. Reeling under constant ominous threats from the wretch she clearly saw the signs of a pathological condition of an incurable psychological malady. Bewildered by the mousetrap she was caught in she tried desperately to dispel any feeling of insecurity or inferiority he might be suffering from. All her attempts failed miserably.
Marital bliss had disappeared into thin air and she had become a mental wreck. But an educated, self-respecting woman has to maintain pretences of normalcy and not let out the secret of the inferno she had fallen into.
She wore a bold front and bore it with grit. She had to. Any other woman would have walked out of the squalor she was in. Certainly she possessed the stamina to face the challenges awaiting a single mother. But because of her peculiar reverence for the institution of marriage she chose to remain in the hell she was forced to live in. She had adopted from her tender years the sterling values of a bygone era and dared not to put on the mantle of the modern, emancipated woman who has happiness of self as her priority. She believed she and her children can live with honour only under the banner of a united family.
Her heart ached for her son’s and daughter’s sake who were not lucky to grow up in a happy, healthy, loving family atmosphere. The despicable man continued to turn the home front into a constant battlefield. The children were helpless witnesses to very ugly domestic scenes.
She gulped her personal sorrows and began to focus on nurturing the children’s natural talents. Both children were gifted with extraordinary brilliance of brain and heart. They were her main sustaining force enabling her to pull on in her drear life. The son had entered the medical college, a burning passion for the profession making him the achiever he deserved to be. The daughter studying in high school had dreams of proving to the world the pen is mightier than the sword. Her mind was set on becoming a freelance journalist.
While trying to save her sanity doing creative activities and helping the children shape their future she had not failed to notice the growing coldness. She strongly suspected him to be indulging in liquor consumption. He knew very well how much she hated drinking. She was powerless to control his activities outside the house. But he had no chance of indulging in such activities inside the house under her nose. She noticed with a disturbing feeling some strangeness in his behaviour. It was a strong intuition. But her noble nature and gullibility prevented her from suspecting any sins perpetrated by him.
She moaned in secret at the mysterious changes in him which her womanly shrewdness noticed. His countenance was steadily losing the colour and candour it had when they first met. She was mystified by the very obvious facial “darkness”. She was not kept in suspense for long.
The revelation came as a bolt from the blue. A medical test conducted after an unusual illness he was infected with bore witness to his moral depravity. He was unshaken by the revelation. No guilt. No shame. No remorse. She wept inconsolably. She never expected him capable of such brazen infidelity. She was heartbroken.
The incorrigible rogue had the audacity to add insult to injury. Since the cat was out of the bag he decided to live his loose life to the full defying all restraints of social, moral and personal responsibility.
The poor woman was totally unprepared for this. For long she knew her marriage was dead. But she proudly kept the pretence of it being kicking and alive. Such a drama was of paramount importance to her. In spite of her higher education and enlightenment her spirit was immersed in old time values and virtues. In spite of her modern lifestyle she held on dearly to old-fashioned ideas of honour and respect. In spite of all that he had done to her she swallowed the indignities and wanted to continue the show of family for the sake of honour. An absolute rarity in this twenty first century! Utterly unbelievable! Laudable or not is debatable. But she remained stuck in her beliefs.
The dissolute fellow planned his escape to uncontrolled lechery with speedy manoeuvres. His unexplained absence and silence kept her on tenterhooks. She was torn between pride and honour. Being born with a silver spoon in the mouth finance has never been her problem. Her only fear was the family’s tarnished image in the eyes of society.
She believed in the sanctity of marriage. She saw marriage as the pinnacle of mankind’s civilisation. Divorce was anathema to her. She could never bring herself to accept the defeat of walking out of the holy vows. Had she not valid reasons to sever herself from the lifetime contract she had entered into with devout ardour and affection?
The blows and insults her noble womanhood received at the hands of the wretch of a husband all these years never for once made her entertain thoughts of separation from him, legal or otherwise. As far she was concerned forced widowhood is the worst infliction of pain a woman can suffer from. Natural widowhood status befalling a woman after her husband’s death has nothing ignoble about it. But widowhood thrust upon a woman by separation from the husband who is alive is by no means an enviable status. How can a court annul a sacred contract made under the auspices of an assembly of kith and kin?
Being the sentimental fool she was she shuddered at the horrid prospect of a bleak future indicated by the short message she received:”Let us divorce”.

(A contest entry for TOI –spinning a yarn around a given passage from another author.)

To marry or not to marry

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community To marry or not to marry

Rishaaan as a rule was a very practical man not easily given to sentimental feelings. He had learnt from his boyhood to take everything in his stride. Some of his associates saw him as an insensitive person incapable of experiencing soft emotions which are eternally celebrated in all arts and literature the world over. Extremes of sorrow or joy were unknown to him.
He accepted whatever that happened in his life with astonishing equanimity. He remained unruffled under all the stormy waves of untoward incidents in his life. The few friends he had regarded him with awe and admiration. They recognised an ascetic’s stoicism and maturity in his poise and composure. It cannot be said with surety whether it was in his genes as an inherited wealth or just a unique characteristic of his personality. Christ or Buddha or Mohammed with whom he shared a resemblance of nature is a rare birth with rare qualities.
He was unafraid to face challenges life frequently threw at him. His admirable sense of acceptance of all the blows that fate dealt him endeared him to all his friends and relatives. He was a role model, an inspiration to many. He made bold decisions and wise choices refusing to be crushed by adversity which visited him in various forms.
He was the only son of very wealthy parents who were also well educated and highly cultured. He was only twelve as his twin daughters Kaira and Diya when his father suddenly succumbed to massive heart attack. His mother silently and efficiently shouldered the double responsibility of managing his father’s business empire and preparing him as its next successor. She excelled in both being a lady with grit and dignity.
After took over the business responsibility she chose a wife for him suitable in all respects to their family. When the twins were born the family’s joy knew no bounds. But his marital bliss was cursed to be short-lived. Even as the couple were happily watching the little girls grow up with sparkling beauty and brilliance fate reared its ugly head on the tenth birthday of the daughters.
After the birthday party was over his wife Thara complained of severe headache. Paracetamol tablet and a good night’s sleep failed to relieve her as everybody expected. When the nasty headache aggravated and became unbearable she had to see the doctor. A series of elaborate tests taken revealed the presence of a full-grown tumour in her brain.
Rishaan was stunned by the news. Even before he could fully grasp the gravity of the situation he saw with a sinking heart his beloved wife slipping into coma. The diagnosis of the disease received in its advanced stage left little hope or scope for any medical treatment.
Can we call it God’s mercy that Thara had never become aware of the knowledge that her days were numbered and that she was going to leave her dear family very soon? Living in the lap of luxury, watching the beautiful process of two lovely buds blossoming into radiant flowers of pride and glory, filling her days and nights with colourful dreams of adding more and more glitter to her golden life, expressing her creative imagination in ever so many ways, Thara was rightly delighting in the feeling of being on top of the world till that awful onslaught of a headache. Her life was a brimming cup of joy. And exactly in that state she had gone into coma except for the brief consciousness of excruciating pain caused by the headache. What a blessing it is to die without the slightest taste of any disappointment, disagreement or disillusionment!
She was also spared the anguish of seeing her dear kin suffering the pangs of sorrow at the imminent tragedy. In this hour of family crisis Rishaan’s mother rose to the occasion as usual and stood as a pillar of concrete support to the family. Rishaan swallowed his sorrow and remained at her bedside with utmost devotion. Thara passed away peacefully much earlier than the time the doctors had allowed her malady to take away her life.
Unlike Rishaan his daughters Kiara and Diya were shattered completely. The impact of the loss of their doting mother was devastating. No amount of father’s love or grandma’s care could alleviate their grief. They were hysterical and struggled to cope with such a huge tragedy. Time seemed to take time to heal them.
Rishaan’s mother resorted to the only age-old solution in such a situation. She convinced her son of the necessity of his remarriage. He trusted her sagacity. She used her discernment again to choose a bride for him. Sona, their distant relative living in Goa was her choice. The elders had come to an agreement about the alliance. But it was a very delicate and difficult matter to make Kiara and Diya see the advisability of this arrangement.
 About to enter the portals of teenage the precocious girls were a bundle of mood swings and temper tantrums. A herculean task it was to make them believe the vacuum left by their bereavement can be filled only by the entry of another woman. It was impossible for both of them to imagine another woman in the place of their dear mother. In the midst of their peeves and prejudices the little girls did not fail to realise the fact that their grandma ruled the roost and her decisions were final.
Kiara and Diya were identical twins. They looked alike and dressed alike. But the similarity ended there. They were both very different in their tastes, temperaments, attitudes and reactions. At times they behaved like the most affectionate sisters on earth. Very soon they would be at each other’s throats fighting like fierce cats. It was highly unpredictable what might spark off sibling rivalry.
Thara had been a wonderful bridge between them and she beautifully sorted out their differences. The girls were very fond of her and obeyed her implicitly. They missed her so much that they felt blinded by a pall of darkness which made them grope pathetically to find a way to come out of the emptiness filling their hearts. Desperately they looked upon the remaining parent to alleviate their pain.
After they were told about their father’s remarriage they turned more aggressive than ever. They vehemently resisted the move. The very idea was odious to them. They found it impossible to come to terms with the prospect of sharing their dear father, the sole remaining parent, with a new woman who will be vested with unlimited authority over them all-father and daughters.
Irked by the proceedings hastening towards the next horrible misfortune in their life both the girls evinced their feelings differently. Kiara became more possessive towards Rishaan and literally clung to him like a vice. Diya, on the other hand, glowered angrily at her father and kept aloof. She drew herself away from him in vengeful hatred. Rishaan being the matured man that he was easily understood the feelings of the little girls and spared no effort, missed no chance to show his unchanged, unchangeable affection for them.
By way of paving the way for their amicable acceptance of Sona into their home Rishaan’s mother arranged for a meeting between Sona and the girls. From his knowledge of Sona Rishaan was hopeful of her winning over the hearts of his rebellious daughters. So he boarded the plane with the girls with optimism in his heart and tried his best to spread cheer. But the clear manifestations of their rancour filled him with trepidation. He was increasingly conscious of growing ill-feeling from the way they behaved.
In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go to the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat. And with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the seating arrangement changed. With 20 minutes still remaining for the flight to land, a sleep starved Kiara took another power nap, this time holding Rishaan's right hand more firmly. Rishaan's other hand, though, nervously moved to touch Diya's. Her heart skipped a beat. Diya pulled her hand away. But a defiant Rishaan held her wrist again, this time firmly and more reassuringly. The changing behavioral dynamics between the three perhaps gave out a foreboding of what was to come in Goa.

When the flight landed at the Dabolim Airport, Rishaan felt uncanny...his excitement seemed replaced by an unknown fear that he found very difficult to decipher. Nightmarish scenes of his jealous daughters coming out with all fangs, claws, nails and teeth to injure Sona flit across his mind. Was it unwise on his part to take the grieving girls to meet a woman in whom they saw a potential enemy? He was horrified to think of the possibility of ugly scenes taking place in Sona’s house.
Rishaan who was a nonpareil manager in his business world felt diffident of the success of his present mission. Was he underestimating the force of antagonism burning in their bosoms? While one wanted to be glued to him the other recoiled from him. Though paradoxical was the exhibition of their animosity it was unmistakably there deeply rooted in their hearts.
Will his positive outlook and sincere involvement conquer the negative vibes and war signals his daughters sent? It is no wonder then that a strange sense of foreboding swept over the father flanked by two live dynamites ready to go off any moment.
The signs of emotional trauma the girls showed were ominous. What fiendish drama was waiting to be played? Are we not all puppets in the hands of Fate? Is there anything anyone can predict with accuracy in this world? The supreme suspense continues to kill with thrill.

(A contest entry for TOI –spinning a yarn around a given passage from another author.)

Thursday, January 14, 2016


IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community கை நிறைய காசு புரண்டதுமே
ஹார்மோன் செய்த சேட்டையிலே
வாலிப வயது வேட்கையிலே
வித விதமா அனுபவிக்கயெண்ணி
கலர் கலரா கனவு கண்டேன்
காலாகாலத்தில் வந்த ஒரு
கல்யாண ஆசையிலே நான்
கிறு கிறுத்துப் போயிருந்தேனே
உறவுக்குள்ள பெண்ணிருக்க
வேண்டாமுன்னு உதறிப்புட்டு
நாகரிக பொண்ணு வேண்டி
நாலு பக்கம் தேடியலைஞ்சி
பட்டணத்துப் பாவையை
படித்த மாமேதையை
பதமா கைபிடிச்சேன்
பாங்கா வாழவந்தேன்
சின்ன இடையில் சென்ட்டு மணத்தில்
நளினமான நடை உடையில்
நுனி நாக்கு ஆங்கிலத்தில்
தேன் குடித்த நரியானேன்
நாளாக நாளாக குடித்தனம்
பழகப் பழகப் புரியுது
பல விஷயம் தெரியுது
ஆழமான கடலிது
அரைக்கால் டிரெளசரும்
தொள தொள பனியனும்
கருப்புக் கண்ணாடியும்
காரிலே சவாரியும்
பவுசாத்தான் இருக்குது
பாத்த கண்ணு வெறிக்குது
பசி அதுல அடங்குச்சா
பதில்தானே தெரியல
பாவிப்பய அடிமனசில
படிஞ்சி போன ருசிகள
புரட்டிப்போட முடியலியே
பழசயெல்லாம் மறக்கலையே
நூல் நூலா நூடுல்ஸ
முள்ளு கரண்டியோட வைக்கிறா
நொந்து நூலா போனேனே
நாக்கு செத்துப் போனதே
கல்லு கல்லா இட்டிலி
உப்பு உரப்பில்லா சட்டினி
மஞ்சத்தண்ணியா சாம்பாரு
நல்லாயிருக்கான்னு கேக்குறா
வேகாத தோசையைப் பாத்து
நாந்தான் வெந்துபோனேனே
பூரி சுடவும் தெரியல
கிழங்கு வாய்க்கு விளங்கல
வாயால தாளிச்சா போதுமா
கடுகு உளுந்து பொரிச்ச வாசன வரல
எள்ளும் கொள்ளும் முகத்துல வெடிக்காம போகல
என்னை வறுத்து எடுக்குறா
என்னத்த நான் சொல்ல
மெல்லவும் முடியல
முழுங்கவும் முடியல
முடியுமா இந்தக் கொடுமை
சுள்ளாப்பா புளிக்குழம்பும்
அரைச்சு வச்ச துவையலும்
ஆத்தா உன் கைமணமும்
நினச்சு நினச்சு வேகுறேன்
உள்ளத சொல்ல முடியுமா
யுத்தம் வெல்ல முடியுமா
பங்கு போட வந்தவளை
பகைச்சுக்கொள்ள முடியுமா
சொல்லிக்குடுக்கக் காத்திருக்கா
சுமந்து வளத்த பொம்பள
ரோசம் ரொம்ப பாக்குறா
சுமக்க வந்த பொம்பள
ஆம்பளயில்லாம புள்ள பொறக்குது
ஆம்பளக்கி புள்ள பொறக்குது
மாறிப்போன கலிகாலத்துல
மாறலியே பொம்பள புத்தி
இருந்தும் இல்லாதவனானே
கைக்கெட்டியது வாய்க்கெட்டலியே
நாக்கை வளத்துக் கொண்டதால
வந்ததிங்கே வயித்தெரிச்சல்
முள்ளில் விழுந்த சேலையா
முட்டாளா முழிக்கிறேன்
முழுசா பிழைப்பேனா
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