You Should Learn How To Be Safe.

My father called me in an agitated mood one evening. He had been reading the evening newspaper. A man had been found murdered in his house. The house was in Madavaram, in Chennai, which happens to be my area also.

The reason for my father’s agitation was that the murder had taken place in my locality, during the day when the man was alone at home. I was also often alone at home during the day.

He gave me a long lecture about employing a security for my house. My father was insistent that I employ an old man from our village to work in our house as a gardener, utility man and a security person, and to be around the house all day especially when my kids and husband were away at their work place and school. The maid who came home everyday to help me with the cooking and cleaning left by 2 PM.

I promised him that I would think about it.

When my husband came home, I told him about my father’s call. He was also worried about a man being murdered in our locality and we discussed about finding some one to work in our house so that I was never alone and lonely at home.

My husband also me gave a long lecture about how careless I was about locking up and being safe.

“You should learn how to be safe…You have to know how to protect yourself.”

I do not buy an evening newspaper. I waited for the morning paper to be delivered  the next day to know the details of the crime. I hurriedly skimmed through the morning  paper to see if there was any news about the murder in my locality.

There was!

The mystery had been solved and the murderer apprehended. I laughed to myself remembering all the advice my dad had given me.

I gave the news paper in to my husband’s hands and started to tease him.

“How many watchmen do you want for yourself?”

“You really should learn how to be safe…You have to know how to protect yourself.”

My husband read the news and did not know how to react.

Yes, indeed a man had been murdered in broad daylight in our area, when he was alone.

The murderer was not any intruder.

It was his very own WIFE!!

Story By M. Written by Gulsum Basheer @ talkalittledo

Image By Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

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The Lion Of Our Colony Is A Dear At Heart.

The Lion of our colony was a DEAR at heart.

Our colony is perceptibly small and we are all, at least on nodding acquaintance with each other. Mr.Senthil our neighbour is young, energetic and a really large hearted person, jumping forward to set right any trouble in our neighborhood. He is also an adventure loving man going on treks and joining organisations that help save the environment.

We called him the Singam or the Lion of our colony.

Recently I met his wife Amritha, at a get-together and the story she narrated to us, proved that the Lion of our colony was actually a romantic at heart.

In her own words:

A few years ago, when my daughter was about 5 years old, Senthil said that we should go to Pondy to celebrate my birthday. I agreed and we packed up a day earlier and left home in the evening as Pondy was just a few hours drive away.

But he seemed to be driving through a different road, almost taking the circuitous route. When I questioned him, he said that the highway we usually drive down was under repair.

After some time I dozed off and on awakening, I realized that we had crossed Vellore which was way beyond Pondy. When questioned, Senthil said that  he had decided to go  to Mysore as there was some trouble going on in Pondy at that moment and they were closing down tourist spots.

I was actually happy about the change of plans as my mother lived in Mysore and I would be celebrating my birthday with her after a long time.

We drove through the night and reached my mom’s house at one am the next day. I thought we were going to give my mom a nice surprise.

But it was I,  who got a very big surprise.

The house was all aglow, lit with many lights and when the front door opened, I saw that  the hall was filled with BALLOONS.

My mother and my sister who worked in Chennai but had come to Mysore at the bidding of my husband, were waiting for me with a big cake and lots of lighted candles, singing the birthday song.

What a wonderful turn of events. I can never forget that moment.

My kid daughter laughing in glee, my mother’s eyes moist with tears, my sister urging me to blow the candles and make a wish and my husband excited beyond words that he had managed to pull this off.

My husband had surreptitiously made these arrangements with my mom and sister and did not breathe a word of it to me. Even my daughter, hardly five years old was in the know and had managed to keep the secret all through the drive. The naughty one!!

The day’s surprises did not end there.

That evening Senthil said that we were going as a family to Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel for dinner. Though excited about dining at the opulent hotel, I was not prepared for what awaited me there.

My dear husband had prepared another majestic surprise for me.

As soon as our car reached the hotel’s portals, trumpets sounded in a royal salute to announce my arrival. Clashing of cymbals and bells accompanied my every step forward like the  royal welcome accorded only to dignitaries visiting the palace.

At the entrance pretty maidens greeted me with the traditional Aarati and adorned my forehead with Kumkum. Rose petals were showered on me from above as I glided inside blushing like a bride.

We were carried upwards in the Royal lift, usually  used only by kings and queens . We were taken to the first floor balcony to a seating area lit with candles. There, imposing men in turbans and palace uniform, waited on us and served us some delicious gourmet delights. From the balcony we had a panoramic view of Mysore Palace’s  breath-taking beauty, aglow with the night’s lights.

I had the most wonderful birthday dinner ever.

I later found out that my husband had selected this expensive arrangement from the hotel’s Birthday Celebration Package and had paid an astronomical sum for it.

I was treated like a Royal Queen at dinner, by the hotel staff.

But more than all the fanfare of the day, looking at my excited and happy husband, silhouetted against the dancing candle lights, my heart was filled with contentment.

I got this assurance deep inside me, that I would always remain the QUEEN OF HIS HEART.

For a life time…and for EVER.

 

Story By Amritha. Written By Gulsum Basheer@talkalittledo.

Image By Hope Valiente at Pixabay

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Two Sisters and Four Babies.

It is a very sad story. But sadness is part of life , right?

There were once two sisters, who loved each other very much. The sisters got married around the same time and lived well. The elder sister had two baby girls, one after the other, very quickly, while the younger sister remained barren for many years.

The younger one became sad and depressed. The older sister, seeing her sibling’s unhappiness was very sad too. She prayed long and hard and did a lot of penance  to many deities to grant her sister a baby.

But it was the eldest sister who became pregnant again with a third child, while the younger one was not granted her wish.

“I will give this baby to you.” The pregnant woman said.

The older sister, feeling guilty or magnanimous, offered to give up her third child for adoption to her younger sister.

The younger sister, who had all but given up hope of conceiving, even after spending tons of money on doctors and various tests was happy.

But  this was not to be.

The older sister gave birth to a bonny baby boy. Her husband seeing a boy after two daughters, refused to let his wife give up their son for adoption.

The two sisters were were unhappy and a rift appeared between them. They almost stopped talking to each other.

Within a year, the older sister conceived again for the fourth time.

This time there was no talk of giving up the baby for adoption. When people asked the older sister, she replied,

“Let God’s will be done.”

The younger sister too told people who advised her to approach her sister,

“I don’t want to hope too much and then get disappointed.”

But she waited, hoping and yet not daring to hope too much.

The older sister went into labour. A baby girl was born to her.

But the mother DIED.

The older sister died at the age of thirty five, leaving behind three toddlers and a new born baby.

Family members took the wailing new born and put her in the younger sister’s hands.

A few months later, the older sister’s husband brought his motherless toddlers to his sister in law’s house.

There they remain to this day.

He went abroad on work deputation to forget his wife and earn his living.

People who talk about this happening always wonder at the working of God’s will.

Both the sisters prayed that the the younger one should get a child. But she got four at one go.

But what a SAD event that was!!

 

This real-life story was narrated by Mumtaz

Written by Gulsum Basheer@talkalittledo.

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Image By Stephanie Ghesquier by Pixabay

 

 

 

 

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Tie Up Your Camels.

This is a story of how careless a person could be, which really shocked me.

One day a relative of mine came to visit me. He had brought a bag, which he kept on the table in front of him. “Goodies from our native town,” he told me, pointing to the bag.

He chatted for a while. Even though I tried to concentrate on his conversation, my eyes kept darting to the bag on the table, wondering what sweets or savories he would have got for me.

He left after sometime and I opened the bag, expecting to find Halwa or Boondi. Or my favorite Jilebi.

What I saw there shocked me. Loads of CASH!

I counted the crisp currency notes.  There was three lakhs!

I called him on his mobile immediately and asked , “What did you bring me?”

“Goodies, yummy goodies”, he said.

“Are you expecting me to open a sweet shop?” I was angry and sarcastic.

“What are you saying?”

“There is three lakhs in cash in this bag,” I said.

“Oh my God! I brought the wrong bag, is it?” He almost cried. “Thank you sister. I am coming now, at once. Thank you so much.”

He hurried back to retrieve the bag.

“How can you be so careless,” I admonished him.

“Sister, protection comes from God,” he smiled sheepishly, feeling foolish and guilty.

But I was still under a shock. Anything could have happened. I might have told my maid to put away the sweets and snacks in containers and given the bag to her.

Or I might have just left the bag lying on the table and gone out.

“Brother, we all believe that protection comes from God. But do you know this famous  Arab proverb about taking care of your belongings?”

“What is that?” he asked

“TRUST  IN GOD…BUT TIE UP YOUR CAMELS!!”

 

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Image By 200 degrees from Pixabay

Story By Mumtaz. Written by Gulsum Basheer @talkalittledo.

 

 

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Do Parrots Have Feelings Too?

My cousin told me this story.

Her tone, her expression, her concern when she was narrating it  made the tale so poignant for me, that I had to share it on my blog. But I don’t know if I can capture the essence of the story with my words.

My cousin’s friend lived in the tenth floor of an apartment complex. She and her husband were retired and their children lived abroad.

Her husband bought two  green parrots to keep them company.

He did up the whole balcony of their flat into an abode for the birds. The man put up cane trellis against the balcony to keep the birds enclosed inside. Then he hung swings, branches and clay pots from the ceiling for his feathered friends to perch. He also kept a nice big cage for them to rest . The couple took care of the birds lovingly. The entrance to the balcony from their hall was closed with a mesh door.

It was a heavenly abode for the birds. The only thing that scared the woman of the house was that the gap in the cane trellis was a little big, more than one inch in width and she feared that the birds might escape by squeezing out through the gaps.

But nothing like that happened.  As for the couple, they loved to sit at the mess door and watch the birds.

What a lovely sight it used to be.

The birds rubbed beaks and chased each other around the hanging pots.They hung upside down from the branches and played all day long.

In fact they seemed like two newly weds in the first flush of love.

The retired couple would invite people home, just to show off their pets. This went on for a year.

Then one of the birds fell sick. It would not feed, it would not fly. Especially it would not play with its mate.

The healthy parrot did its best to cheer up the sick bird. It nudged, it rubbed its beak, it  made tender sounds against the sick bird’s head. But to no avail.

A few days later, the sick bird died.

The living bird trotted about on the floor near the dead bird for a few hours, still trying to revive the friend.

The  sad man and his wife went to bed that night meaning to clear the corpse the next day.

The next morning they woke up to a silent house. No chattering of parrots welcomed them.

They walked into the balcony. Only the dead parrot lay in a stiff pose on the floor. The other parrot was no where to be found.

What the woman of the house had feared all along had happened.

The bird had squeezed itself out through the gaps in the trellis.

It had flown away!!

My cousin and her friend  would wonder, why the  birds had not attempted to escape before. The gap between the trellis was large enough and the outside tempting enough for at least one of them to have made a bid for freedom.

Was just their love so binding that it kept them imprisoned inside their adopted home and why did the other bird leave immediately after the companion had died?

My cousin relating the story to me asked in a voice  filled with wonder, awe and so much sadness that it moved me.

“Akka, do parrots also have feelings like us? Do they also love as deeply as we humans do?”

While I wondered,

“Was the free bird safe?”

Story by Gulsum Basheer @ talkalittledo

PS: Akka in Tamil language means sister.

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Paapa in Tamil Means Baby.

This happened a few years ago when we went to get a passport for my baby grand-daughter and renew the existing one of her mother.

We reached well in time. Since my grand-daughter was a baby, they allowed an extra person, meaning me, to accompany them into the office.

My daughter-in-law was tired after having stayed up all night with her restless child. As we waited for our turn, the security at the door, asked:

“Where is Paapa?”

My daughter in law, showed her child and said,

“This is the paapa.” (Paapa in Tamil means Baby)

The man balked.

“No. Where is Paapa?”

“This one here is the paapa. We have come to get her passport.”

The man looked at her like he had a lunatic on his hands.

“No. I mean, where is HER Paapa?”

Now it was my daughter-in-law’s turn to balk.

Then it struck me that the Hindi speaking gentleman from North of India was asking for the baby’s father.

In North India, a father is addressed as Paapa, where as in South India, Paapa means a baby.

So much for our cultural differences!

I intervened and set the man’s doubts at rest and explained that the baby’s father was at work and could not take the day off.

One more thing to remember on that day, was a young man who was sitting next to us, while my daughter in law, had gone in to complete some formalities. The man, almost a boy,  told me that he had just completed his graduation and was trying to get a job abroad and so the  passport application.

My grand-daughter kept trying to pull the bike key from his hands which he was dangling before her and teasing her. I thought there was something unusual about his fingers. They seemed different. I could not figure out what it was.

When we got up to leave, he waved us good bye. Then I noticed it.

He had SIX FINGERS!!

PS: My grandmother, who lived  to be a hundred years old, used to say that having six fingers was considered to be very lucky. Hope his desire to work abroad came true.

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Twice Married Wife

I was barely out of college when I lost my father and soon afterwards, my mother. My sister had been married by then and lived close by.

I got into the habit of spending time with her, helping her in the house and later with her child. It took my mind off my troubles.

Ashok (name changed) was my brother- in- law’s friend. He would visit my sister’s house often. He was an only child to his widowed mother and often spoke of his mother with  love, fear and awe.

His mother was a school head-mistress and a strict and imposing woman. She was very tall and had aristocratic looks and a voice that could stop any student who was getting into some mischief, right in their tracks.

The more I heard about his mother, the more I began to fear her, even without having met her. But I realized that I was falling slowly in love with Ashok and he seemed to be reciprocating.

But we did not exchange a single word on the subject of marriage. Those were innocent times!

November 4th was Ashok’s birthday. My sister, brother-in-law and I were waiting for him to visit us, as we were eager to wish him in person.My sister’s husband told me, “why don’t you wear a better saree. We might go out for lunch or something.”

He made me change into a silk saree.

When Ashok came, he seemed to be in a hurry. He told us to get into his car and as I wondered what the tamasha was all about, he drove very quickly to a government building a few kilometers away.

It was a Marriage Registrar’s office.

I got out in a daze and a group of men gathered there, clapped loudly welcoming us.

My sister pulled me along to a room, quite a dingy little room, mind you. The man officiating the wedding, made us sign a few papers and the men who had clapped for us, witnessed our signature. They were apparently Ashok’s colleagues.

And we were married!

It took me a good few minutes to realize what had just happened. I trusted my sister implicitly.

Ashok left with his colleagues to his office and I came back to my sister’s house, a married woman without a husband. There was no “melam-thalam or aarathi” to welcome this newly wed bride.

My sister filled in all the details of how they had carried off this event, which she had kept a secret all along.

Ashok’s mother was very much against his marrying me. She had selected a bride for him from among her relatives. The idea that her only son was going against her wishes was abominable. Mother and son had been arguing on this subject for many months, both refusing to relent. Then Ashok had come up with this surprise wedding idea and I had not been told anything about it as I would surely be against duping another woman. I would not have agreed to this run away marriage at all.

A few days earlier my sister’s husband had taken my college certificates on the pretext of getting me a job but they had actually been submitted at the marriage registrar office as proof of my age and that I was not a minor child.

I continued to stay in my sister’s house and Ashok visited us as usual and gentleman that he was, he in no way took advantage of our married status.

He wanted his mother to accept this marriage first.

He told me that he had collected our marriage certificates and had  shown it to his mother. All hell had broken loose and his mother was consulting many of her acquaintances as to what to do to annul the marriage.

There was nothing she could, but to accept me as her son’s lawfully wedded wife.

Being the proud woman that she was, she never acknowledged the government wedding and completely turned a blind eye to it. She began to make preparations for us to get married according to religious rites.

It was on December 28th, I was married again, this time in a religious place of worship with many relatives and friends from both our sides blessing us.

My mother in law hated me, all her life.

But my husband’s love more than made up for it. Every year on his birthday, he would take out the Government Marriage Certificate and read it out proudly to our children and address me lovingly as:

“My Twice Married Wife!”

Story by S. Written by Gulsum Basheer@talkalittledo

All photo credits:  pixabay

 

 

 

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