Can We Give Up On Life?

Some years ago, being disappointed and disillusioned with myself and being low in self esteem, I decided to leave it all.

With some thirty thousand rupees, I left my city and drove north east from Chennai. My idea was to reach Calcutta.

Maybe drive into obscurity.

I passed through many cities, Guntur, Vijayawada, Vizag, Bhubaneswar, meaning to drive to Behampur. But at Badrak, a cyclone hit the town and I was forced to stop there.

I checked into a hotel on the high-way and waited for the storm to subside.

When calm prevailed, I hit the road again. There was this guy, who asked me for a lift.

As we drove along, we began chatting. I opened up to him and poured out my woes, knowing fully well that I would not meet this stranger again. He understood the plight and confusion I was going through. He  did not advice me or analyse my problem.

“You need the intervention of a higher being,” he said and suggested that I go to this temple town, where the residing deity would show me the right way.

I dropped him off at one exit to Paradeep, and looked up the road sign there. The board pointed to the temple town on the left and Bhubaneswar straight ahead. I took the road going straight ahead . Meeting the lord of the holy town was not on my agenda.

I climbed the flyover and after some twists and turns, I noticed that I had taken some wrong turning and my car was not heading for Bhubaneswar, my original destination. I was in fact going towards the temple town which the man had suggested.

I was jolted for a moment.

I broke into goose bumps. A twist of fate  wanted me to pay my obeisance to the Lord there and own up to Him all my fears and doubts. Who am I to go against the working of the ‘higher-being?’

So I drove on into the holy town  and checked into a hotel.

I went in search of the deity. But the temple had closed for the night.

I started to walk along the sea front, savoring the cool breeze.

As I kept walking not able to decide what to do, I landed up at a crematorium right there on the beach. A corpse was being burnt in the open and the sea breeze was flaming the pyre into a big flame. The man in charge of the cremation of the body had a long stick, with which he was beating the body as it burnt.

(Sometimes the burning body would move due to some relaxation of the muscles as they burnt under tremendous temperature. So in open crematoriums, there was always a man with a stick to beat the body down into the fire.)

Even as the man beat the corpse, he was mumbling and talking to himself.

Seeing me observing him from a little distance away, he said loudly, so his voice carried over the sound of the waves and the scream of the winds:

“However great a person may be, he ends up like this only, sir… In the meantime, look at all the mischief he gets into.”

Hearing his words, it was as if a spear had pierced into my heart.

My whole life flashed before my eyes. What dreams! What aspirations! What mistakes! Finally, it all ended like this.

Each blow on the burning corpse began to hurt me, opening my moronic mind to the bare facts of life. We come with nothing, and go with nothing. Life is the most precious gift we have been given. It was wrong to throw it away when we wish.

I stood alone that dark evening a mute witness to someone’s cremation, watching the fire burn the corpse completely till only embers remained.

I cried. Oh, how I cried. Like I had never cried before.

My sobs were shaking my body, my tears mingling with the salty sprays from the waves and my supplications rising above the flames and carried no doubt to the deity who had brought me to his portals.

I had driven too far and got this close to the exit. But the Lord had driven me to his holy town, not to die. But to find peace.

So I found peace and courage also to face life.

I thought of my wife and children who would be in horrible trouble if I went missing. I regretted what I had contemplated doing. I decided to turn back.

I returned to my hotel room and rang up my wife and told her where I was.

The next morning I paid my respects to the Lord of that holy city, who had saved me. I drove back the way I had come. This time with a destination in mind.

Back to my family.

Back to LIFE.

Image by OpenClipArt-Vectors From Pixabay

Image By Clker-Free-Vector-Images From Pixabay

Image By OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

 

 

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This Is How We Got Married.

When  I was a young lad,  I fell in love with a girl and have remained besotted with her since then. Even to  this day, even though I am more than fifty years old.

Luckily for me, she is my wife.

This is how we got married.

When I was in my final year of school, I fell in love with Mumtaz (name changed) She was a distant relative and I was bumping into her at many family gatherings. My efforts to make her take notice of me proved futile.

Once in a fit of bravado, I asked her to loan me a dress to wear for a fancy-dress competition in school. Needless to say, I won the event. I was all agog with happiness. But it was short lived, as I heard that Mumtaz had given away that beautiful new dress to a maid, as she did not want to own a dress that had been worn by me.

It broke my heart and I thought she hated me. I kept far away from her as possible.

Years passed by. Mumtaz’s father was looking out for a groom for her. My mom even told me that they had short- listed three boys and I was not one of them.

Mumtaz’s family owned a resort close to our home town and we were in the habit of spending a day or two there on vacation.

During that hot summer, Mumtaz and her family, including many of her cousins stayed in the resort. Mumtaz was an excellent swimmer and much to many prim and proper old ladies’ chagrin she would don a swimming costume and swim with her cousins, both boys and girls.

The next day, I landed up with my group and walked to the pool.

Mumtaz’s dad was calling her to come into the pool. But she was giving me surreptitious looks, blushing pink and was hesitant to get into her swimming clothes.

Her father, a man who minced no words asked her brusquely:

“Are you feeling shy to get into the pool, because THAT GUY is here?”

Hearing me being addressed as ‘THAT GUY,’ I took offence and walked away.

The next day, it seemed I was transported to the seventh heaven. A proposal of marriage was brought from Mumtaz’s house for me. Our family never expected that.

Things moved pretty fast after that and we were married soon.

When I asked my beautiful wife on my wedding night, how this came about she told me shyly:

She had always been in love with me. But was not sure about my feelings for her. Her father had come to her rescue. Seeing her blush on my arrival at the pool, and her reluctance to don a swimming costume and get into the pool with me, the great man had put two and two together and arrived at a decision.

The next day, he had called his daughter to him and said:

“I have four boys in mind as prospective grooms for you. But I personally like the fourth boy. But your choice is final.”

He had mentioned three boys whom he had short listed earlier and the fourth name he said was MINE!

My darling wife, like a true daddy’s girl, hiding her elation, had blushed and said:

“Whom ever you like daddy. Your wish is my mine.”

That is how we got married.

Two children and three grand children later, my wife has just one grouse against me.

I presented her with a skipping rope soon after our engagement. She was expecting something more romantic.

I justify myself by saying,

” I was an athlete  and Mumtaz was on the fatter side… come on folks …I was a simple innocent guy… what do I know about gifting?… All I knew was that I loved her and would love her for ever.”

P.S: Mumtaz lost a lot of weight before her wedding and after that has remained svelte and trim always.

Image By Kidaha From Pixabay

Image By Tarishart from Pixabay

 

 

 

 

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My Book Has Been Published.

My book of short stories  named  Talk A Little, has been published.

Posted in Children say the darndest things, College Capers, Indian Newly Married, News, Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Boy Who Was Not Afraid Of Snakes.

My friend Kavitha had two sons, Raju and Premu.(All names changed.)

Raju was getting into so many “situations” as a boy, that Kavitha  wonders how he grew up to manhood, without getting maimed or killed, by all his atrocious activities.

One incident which still gives her the jitters is the one concerning snakes.

When Raju was in the sixth standard, Kavitha’s family had gone to stay at an estate of a relative in Kodai, for the summer vacation.

The relative had warned them that they might spot a snake or two in the garden and the gardener would deal with them and asked the boys to keep away from all things creepy and crawly in the estate

Now Raju’s interest was kindled and his greatest desire was to spot a snake. His wish was granted soon enough, when he saw a snake albeit a very small one. The gardener was summoned and he immediately hit the snake with a stout stick saying it was a poisonous one.

The snake appeared dead. The gardener went to gather some twigs to make a fire and burn the  presumably dead snake.

Kavitha who had gone into the house, heard loud screams from the watchman and other staff in the estate,

” Thambeeee!! Put that down.”

“Throw it away. Throw it away.”

“Don’t do thaaaattt!!”

Rushing out, she saw her eldest son, holding the still snake by its tail and twirling it round and round high above his head and laughing like a killer with his spoils.

Kavitha says that her heart stopped beating for a second or two on beholding such a sight.

The gardener rushed out and made him throw the snake on the ground.

“It might not be dead. Never pick up a snake like that, even if you think it is really gone.”

Sure enough, when the gardener attempted to burn its body, the snake came to life and rushed hissing viciously out of the fire. It was beaten to death one more time and burnt till it turned black.

On coming back to Chennai after the holidays, Kavitha opened her son’s suitcase to put away his clothes.

There, on top of all his clothes was a plastic bag containing a souvenir from his estate holiday

It was the remains of the DEAD snake.

P.S: Kavitha’s mother was a woman steeped in religious beliefs and tradition. She asked Kavitha to offer milk at the snake hill in their temple to atone for her son handling a snake.

Much to Kavitha’s surprise, Raju accompanied her to the temple and went through the ceremonies diligently.

Later she heard him boasting to his class-mate on the phone.

“I went with mummy, to save her if a snake came out of the hill”

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

 

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A cute tale of a grandma and her grand daughter.

This is a story, one of my cousins told me.

It is not even a story. More like an anecdote or a reminiscence. 

She said:

My grand daughter came running to me one day.

“Grandma, draw a dog,” she said. I drew one.

“It looks like a monster.” She laughed.

“OK, then, tell me a story, about a bad boy and a good girl.” She asked.

I blinked and said, ” Darling, I am not good at telling stories. Can I read one for you from a book?”

“No grandma, your voice is very soft. I can’t hear you well. Then bake me some cookies.” she said.

“Shall I bake a cake instead. ”

“No. I wan’t only cookies.”

Something hit me hard on my head.

I can’t draw. I can’t read well. I cant tell stories and I can’t bake cookies.

Absolutely no credentials to be a good grand mother.

Then I did what I should have done long ago. Headed to art class, tailoring class and baking class.

At the age of fifty, I learnt crochet, fabric painting, tailoring, doll making and also baking.

The things we do for the people we love!

“My grandma stitches skirts, makes hair bands, purses and she can also bake cookies.” I heard my grand daughter boast to a friend who had come over to play with her.

I don’t need any other testimonial than this.

I gave myself 100/100.

Very good grand-ma!

Image by GraphicMama-team from Pixabay

Image by Cliker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

 

 

 

Posted in Children say the darndest things, Darndest Things Children Say, Uncategorized, We Indians! | 5 Comments

Can You Steal From Your Teacher?

Can you steal from your teacher?

How despicable is that.

My cousin lived in an apartment complex. There were about 45 apartments there. In one of the apartments there was a lady who was good at crochet, knitting, embroidery and different types of art work.

Every afternoon when most of the home-makers were free, she would conduct classes for them in a small room in her apartment. Many eager ladies joined her class, as did my cousin. Everyone called her madam out of respect while in class.

On the teacher’s house dining table there was an exquisite piece of crochet work. It had four swans standing on a doily. It was simply breathtakingly lovely.

That such a beautiful and intricate design could be crocheted out of simple yarn surprised my cousin.

The teacher was very proud of her hand work and showed it off to everyone who came to her class. Madam would keep telling about it to someone or the other almost everyday which showed how much she loved and cherished that piece of work.

Many young ladies would voice their desire to become as proficient as her and be able to turn out such a magnificent piece of work.

One day when my cousin went to her class, madam told her that someone had stolen the doily the previous day.

She was very upset. She had had that doily for 15 years. Her students were all her neighbours coming from upper middle class families. If that person had coveted  that doily she could have commissioned the teacher to do one for her for a small fee as madam sometimes did.

What my cousin found very sad was that madam was a teacher and the thief one of  her students.

Theiving from a teacher, that too in a land, where we revere the teacher before God.

Matha, Pitha, Guru, Theivam .

That is mother, father, teacher, God.

Image by clker-free-vector- from Pixabay

Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

Image by Elaina Morgan from Pixabay

Story by MB. Written by Gulsum Basheer @ Talkalittledo.

 

 

 

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Man Proposes And God Disposes

This is a true story of Hajarma, which makes you wonder at the vagaries of life.

Hajarma’s husband had abandoned her when she was very young. She was not a rich woman. In fact she had no wealth except a small house which her mother had left her. She worked in a nearby businessman’s house and helped to bring up her two daughters with dignity. She educated them up to 12 standard and also sent them to the religious coaching classes. These two privileges had been denied to her when she was growing up.

When they came of marriageable age, she started looking out for suitable grooms, for both of them at the same time.

Her only wish was that they should marry two brothers. She wanted the sisters to support each other through thick and thin always.

She found two brothers through a marriage broker and got her daughters married. The sisters and their husbands lived together in her house and Hajarma was very happy to see their bonhomie and bonding. A daughter was born to both of them at around the same time.

But MAN PROPOSES and GOD DISPOSES.

A quote we often use randomly for very stupid reasons. It happened in Hajarma’s life in a horrible way.

Her youngest daughter’s husband died in a road accident, two years later.

Hajarma’s only wish in life was crashed even before it began.

But wait. The story does not end there. Though poor and uneducated, Hajarma came of a proud and resilient family. She never gave up on her daughters.

She determinedly chased away relatives who suggested this or that older widower in  his late fifties or sixties with grown up children as husbands for her widowed daughter.

“My daughter is only twenty two years old. Should she live a miserable life because fate snatched her husband away?” She would tell people who asked her about the bereaved girl.

Her determination paid off.

Hajarma once happened to go in a hired auto-rickshaw driven by a young man who belonged to a sect, whose members had all vowed to marry only widows or divorcees. Giving a honorable life to down trodden young women was their motto.

Hearing her story, the driver came forward to marry Hajarma’s widowed daughter with a young child, even though he had not been married before. After much cajoling, the reluctant widow agreed to marry the young man four years after her first husband had died.

Now the two sisters live peacefully just as Hajarma had longed for, in adjacent houses.

Not with two brothers but with two friendly and loving CO-BROTHERS.

Image by Sibani Das , ManojRauta from Pixabay.

Posted in Tributes and Triumphs, Uncategorized, Vintage, We Indians! | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments