Saturday, 13 June 2015

City Mental Asylum – Room No. 3

This post has been published by me as a part of Blog-a-Ton 55; the fifty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. In association with ​Rashmi Kumar, the author of Hooked, Lined and Single and Jyoti Arora, the author of Lemon Girl. .

“Avaya, c’mon, give that to me.”

“What? This?

Nope! Never!

Come rain or shine, but I won’t.”

“Dear, you know when you see that pic an insane urge attacks you. I dunno from where.”

“What? Come again.”

“No, nothing .”

“I said, come again Avinash.”

“No, it’s nothing Avaya. I said nothing.”

“I don’t want to hear that again. Do you get that?”

“Okay. Great. I’ll zip my lip forever, if that’s what you want.”

“I can’t fancy speaking anything that makes you go nutters like this. In fact, I haven’t said anything at all.

Now, give that picture. Giving or not?”

“Get lost. That’s mine: forever. Did you get that?” Said Avaya, tears leaking from her eyes.

In next to no time, there’d be a downpour.
 
And there it was. She was gone.

“Avaya, open the door. Damn it! Open the door, I said.”

“I will. Just give me a break. Will you?”

“Nope, I can’t take this anymore. Come out now or I will break in.”

Avin… er… Avinash, can you just shut up and go away. Give me a minute at least.

Okay, fine enough. I am out.

Avinash, thought for a minute, how nice it would have been if he could simply transfigure into Avin forever and embrace Avaya’s pain?  Avin was the world for Avaya. Avinash ranked somewhere down the priority list for her. He was probably no more than a stupid, slimy scumbag for her now. But then there was no getting around the fact that, Avinash’s heart ached for Avin a hundred times more than Avaya. But then he could never work up his nerve to tell her that. Never in his life, at least so far, could he stick out for himself. 

It was he who Avin loved the most, given that he was father-friend to him – played, panicked, partnered and pacified him whenever needed. He was always around him, unlike his mother who had other agendas on mind so so often. Probably, that was the reason she could never overcome his going away.   
So now, there was just one thing that was eating away their lives now. Grief. He was trying hard to get over it, but Avaya wouldn’t let him.  The rains brought memories fluttering back to her mind year after year and she’d start behaving oddly.    


Now, at least, the best way to skive off this situation was to leave her alone for some time.   

                                      ###############################

The milieu outside was no different. It was pouring. His heart suddenly grew lighter.

As if the rain gods got a clue of his mind beforehand and acted promptly.

Avinash never minded the rains. It was his only source of joy in life, though Avaya had a diametrically opposite opinion. She hated rains from every single fiber of her being.

He enjoyed them. He enjoyed them because he could cover his overwhelming emotions easily under them. If it was not for the rains, his heart would have literally burst out from his body. He couldn’t show to the only love of his life that he equally is vulnerable. But then he had put up a strong front before her. He wouldn’t allow himself him to go into pieces in front of her.

This was first rains of the reason. The mango tree out there seemed unhappy too, instead of swaying happily as it usually did, it stood there lifeless like a dead tree. It hardly bore mangoes now. As if it had given up its will to live forever. It was just biding its time.

Then a sudden burst of understanding dawned on Avinash, doesn’t Avaya hold us both responsible for her sorrow? No wonder, the tree looks so grief-stricken. It too had developed an inordinate liking for Avin, until that fateful rainy day, when rain Gods imperiously conspired against both of them. Of course, the rain Gods had made up their mind that time. As they thundered down in full force. Suddenly, there was cloud burst backed by a deafening roar of lightning. Avinash's stomach had lurched. But then instead of running in, Avinash had lingered around the mango tree with Avin. Avin faced the brunt. Avinash still couldn’t believe it…the rain God had turned himself into a Grim Reaper and had come fully prepared to ambush Avin.   

                                         ############################


“Come on in,” Avaya shouted, suddenly breaking  me out of my reverie, “I am preparing breakfast.”

Avinash made his way slowly, amidst puddles of water, to the stairs, and towards the living room.

And waited there patiently, patting himself clean, and hearing to his hearts' poundings;

The sky outside seemed to be in a murderous mood today, he thought.

There was a loud burst of thunder followed by lightning, and he stood there fearing: What next?

And sure enough, he could hear Avaya sobbing. And he knew in his hearts of hearts that the entire scene would get repeated once again. She would start crying hard and yet again he would have no control over her. Yet again he would have to take refuge in rain.

But then she was not wrong in her ways. She had every right to hate him and the rain gods. She had forewarned both of us 5 years back, that was.

                                                  ######################

“It’ s raining heavily. Can you guys simply get in the house? But then, I and Avin had a special affair with rains. It’s one of those bewitching seasons that I and Avin simply couldn’t think of missing.

“Let your mom keeping shouting at the top of her voice and bring down the roof as well if she wants to. But we will keep enjoying.” I had shouted at Avin from somewhere behind the tree, as thunderous downpour blinded our visions completely.   

“Stop it and get in,” she shrieked at the top of the voice.

“Just 10 more mins mom and we will be in.”

But there was no stopping Avin. He went round and round the tree playing with me. Then in a moment there was a flash of lightning and our lives where changed, of course for the worst, forever.

He lay there on the ground, turning blue. I couldn’t take it. My only son… the why of life…

Our next-door doctor, hearing the commotion outside our house, rushed in to our compound.  He too was drenched by now, though his sprawling bungalow was just 10 steps away. He checked the pulse of my boy immediately. I could see right through him. He was sure…the boy…my boy…nope…nope…nope…

“How could you play in such heavy rains with a six year old kid Avinash that too around a tree?”  the doctor gave me highly questionable look and blurted out, “you really are an irresponsible father?

The entire blame felt squarely on me. I looked up at the tree in disbelief. It was there when things happened. Probably, it was equally responsible. But as a father, my responsibility towards my son was not tad, but thousands times more.  

                                          ###########################

“Chop it down, I said. Did you hear me, Chop it down, or I will bring an axe and do the job myself.” Avaya shouted at the top of her voice.

 “Nope, don’t do it. I and Avin have too many shared memories here to chop it down so ruthlessly.  How he enjoyed swinging from its branches. Then he also loved climbing onto the tree and making space for himself amidst those dense branches savouring  delicious mouth-watering mangoes. How could you just forget that. This tree is not just a tree. It was his best friend Avaya,” Avinash was trying his best to make Avaya see sense
.
“Please Avaya, understand. It was accident. I know, I shouldn’t have let him played in such heavy rains, but then I am really sorry. If you hold the tree responsible, then what’s your opinion about me?

“Nope, nothing I would hear. Chop that heartless tree down now,” she thundered.

                                                     #################

But then, I was not too ready to obey her commands. The memories of Avin were fresh in mind and both the tree and Avin had a special relation.

The fresh showers had brought back fresh memories of Avin alive. It was same fateful day, 5 years back when Avin bade goodbye to us: forever.

Avaya has never been normal since then. Our relationship has not been normal since then. She had lost her only kid. I understand. I, his father was construed as the culprit so I didn’t have the right to cry as well.
I too have been driven on the verge of insanity since them, my own guilt feelings and Avaya’s accusations on top of it. Thanks to these rains, I can pour my heart out, at least once in a while. I simply go and embrace the mango tree and start weeping. We have been partners in crime. Both helpless in a way. But it was time now. 

They both couldn’t take it anymore. A world without Avin. Both equally missed him.

The fresh rains have come as a blessing in a disguise. Yet another lightning struck.

This time it took two more down.

                                               ##########################
Avaya stood there speechless.

Who killed them she kept on asking herself . “No I didn’t, no I didn’t.”

And then let out a wail that would have the brought the roof down

The inmates of the hospital gathered instantly and put chains around her hands and legs.

Now she was tied to bed, where she writhed in pain crying her heart out.

This time the intensity had just doubled; it was raining hard and fast outside.

But what she never realized was that it was never the rain Gods that had wreaked havoc in her life, her past was catching up with her. Had she ever taken her family for granted?
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 04. Image Credits: Monsoon by Yann (Wikimedia Commons). Shared with GNU Free Documentation License CC Attribution-Share Alike.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Yummilcious Mornings with Kelloggs



The mere mention of momos can make my Aryan go week in his knees. So, there have been days when i have literally got up in between 1 and 2 pm in the night to steam momos, so that my family could wake up to the fragrance of this lip-smacking recipe.  Yes, life is a struggle and i am struggling full-on, though not always, to keep up with its gradually accelerating tempo. With a full-time job and a toddler who demands continual attention, some mornings arrive with a crude awakening that it's already 5.30 am. Kitchen is out-of-bounds for me now. Why? Because, my Ayaansh is up by this time.

So, there have been several mornings when my elder son goes to school without having anything. If i get up early, he has his fill or else, he goes off with a glass of milk. I feel guilty and make it a point to get up as early as possible. But then we are humans, not machines. There are days when we love to spend some more time in the bed and relax. It’s during these days, a quick fix breakfast recipes like aloo poha or vermicili upma comes to my rescue. Aloo Poha is my Aryan’s favourite. For a change, i even give chocolate corn flakes flanked by apples for breakfast. The biggest plus is that he savors them. Sometimes he has it dry with no milk. Such quick breakfast recipes are literally a saving grace for mothers like me who are always fighting against time. Yes, these are extremely easy to make.  Breakfast recipes without breaking a sweat. 

And how can i forget? With MIL as a great source of support, for she does all the cooking, things have always been easy at my end. But then roti and sabji becomes too mundane and too boring sometimes. You crave for change. That’s were my momos, theplas, pastas, pohas, manuchrians come into picture. Idli, dosas, hot samosas are yet on my to-do list. But then, they consume a hell lot of time. How i wish my family could make a visit to #KelloggWaaleGupjaji's home at least once in a week and taste Mrs. Gupta’s quicky corn flake recipes. Oh!!!You do not know of them, just check out https://www.facebook.com/anaajkanashta and you will be surprised to know that Mrs. Gupta can whip up a whopping 100 yummilicious breakfast dishes from Kellogg's Corn flakes. And why wouldn't she? Kellong’s has come up with detailed recipes for all 100 dishes. There’s Best Tiffin Wala Nashta, Passing the Parcel Wala Nashta, Nakhara Wala Nashta, First Crush Wala Nashta, Jagah Banaa Wala Nashta and much, much more. There’s one receipe for every reason and season.  So, just read them up and welcome every morning, with a very big Good Morning.

Hmmmm. My hubby won’t mind any other woman, apart from his own, rustling up a corn flake recipe. He’s sure to go gaga about it, I know. And probably will lick his fingers after he finishes his bowl. Nope, i cannot make them, for he hates the smell and taste of milk. However, that’s not the case when he goes outside. His polite mannerisms are in full display. And you won’t believe your eyes when he gobbles down those cornflakes recipes without a whimper. But then, my Aryan’s loves them too. Hope even Ayaansh takes after him.



Saturday, 14 March 2015

Attacking Kitchen Together On A Weekend With Hubby




I and my husband have been sharing the same roof together for over 10 years now. “What so magical about it? Every husband and wife, more or less, share the same roof,” you might ask.  hmmm...Our case is a lil unique for we've being not being able to stand each other for quite some time. Tu, Tu, mein, mein keeps happening all the time. I and my ego and he and his ego have bandbajoified our marriage. And, what takes the cake is the fact that we stay in a joint family, and it has only added more cracks in our marriage, or probably that's what I love to believe. 

All said and done, we together had our share of some good old memorable days as well. Bunking office and going for a Vidya Balan movie, followed by lunch at a renowned restaurant, and then enjoying a short stopover at the roadside tea stall for a quick cuppa. (Why Vidya Balan movie? Because, she’s my favorite and I can swoon over her sarees forever.) Okay, I am digressing here. What I was saying is that all these outings, though it happens only once in a blue moon, have forever cemented their place in my memories. No one dare erase them.  And this reminds me, that we need to do this more often, given that it acts as an oxygen for our married life…It keeps our marriage live and happening.

However, the most memorable day was the day(which happened a few months back) when I and my hubby got together to ruzzle up a delicious chicken briyani meal for the entire family on a weekend. My MIL was in the office and I had a day off, so for a change, we had the entire kitchen at our disposal. Both of us spend some good four hours in the kitchen chopping veggies, cooking rice, frying chicken and then assembling together with loads of patience and a thadka of a nervousness - whether it will turn out well or not, after it was our first try. But since he took over at the crucial stages of cooking: by ensuring the rice is properly half-cooked, that chicken is fully cooked, and the right quantity of colors and dry fruits are being used, I knew the biryani would at least be eatable. The result: the whole family enjoyed the meal and I loved it too. Yes, the end result was surprising to both us. It was for the first time we had undertaken a biryani project and it turned out successful at the first attempt itself...Hip Hip Hoorah!!! Hopefully, going forward I could do something similar for him, on my own and that too with loads of confidence.

Final Thoughts:

After a time period every relationship gets stale and empty and so one needs to invest a lil more in them to bring back the lost magic.  Even cooking together is one of the best ways of doing it. Hope, you agree with me.

The blog is part of http://housing.com. The prompt: #Together.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Starting A New Life As A Wannabe Cook

2004

What's Cooking? Heck. I will learn it some other day, but not today. Cooking is not my type. But then i got married that year.

2015

It's been over 10 years of marriage and i am still leading my life as a wannabe cook. With two kids in toe and a food freak hubby who keeps salivating at the mere mention of sweets and other delicacies, i feel at loss today. What if i had learnt cooking before marriage. Now, i would have been a professional cook, whipping out malai koftas, mutter paaners like celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Hmmm...(And with MIL doing all the cooking, i hardly get a chance either. On top of it, she cooks well. Her south Indian recipes specially make you go ummm...)

But one day, i'll have to pull up my socks. So, today, i made gobi manchurian for my elder son's lunch. Didn't turn out as expected...all soggy and mushy, though I found it eatable enough. But then my hubby looked the other way. And that made me a little sad. Yes, my hubby is the best sounding board for me. He loves good food and can easily make out from the looks of it, whether the recipe is a disaster or a success. And yes, he can cook as well. So, the long and short of it is, i have to give the best shot, whichever recipe i am making.

I made cake once. And it turned out too good. My Aryan went ga-ga over it. Second time, i made it, and it was a colossal disaster. Fine. I will try again. Let's C. And yes, the first time i made idlis, it turned out well. It was 5 years back. This year, i tried again, thanks to my mother's prompting, it was somewhat okay. Not a total disaster. Again, my hubby looked the other way. "Too soft. The content wasn't right," hubby darling quipped. My confidence level took a beating. I decided never to try it again. But my angel mother advised: never give up. It only through mistakes that you learn. You will have to keep trying everytime...or you will never be able to cook. So, i am going to try again this year. And won't wait for 5 more years to gather back my lost confidence.
Mistakes are the stepping stones to perfection, they say. Ain't they.

I regret my past. For cooking was never on my to-do list. It was always studies and sports. Come to think of it, most of the woman don't cook before marriage. Fortunately, or unfortunately i was one among them. And since i was full of myself, i didn't learn much from my MIL also. So, here i am, learning, unlearning, my cooking skills through cookbooks and online cooking sites. By the way, isn't self-learning, the best learning.

Final Thought: Like all skills, honing your cooking skills is equally important. It doesn't matter whether you are man or woman.  Depending too much on outside food could lead to heart ailments and all. So, better late than never. Start cooking now, if you really value life.


This post is part of Housing.com  The prompt was: Start A New Life.

    

Thursday, 5 March 2015

An Accidental Writer




Numbers were never my favourites. In fact, I was a big zero in them. But then I had to prove to the world that I had something in me that could make the world sit back and notice. I would put in all the donkey work that is required and do Chartered Accountancy course at all cost. My father warned me against it. My mother warned me against me. And even my aloof brother gave me his piece of mind saying that CA was not my cup of tea. But then I knew, I will put in all that is required and some more to clear the exams.

When the exam days came closer, I knew, I hadn’t prepared well. But then how could one prepare those subjects that one hates the most? And so during the exams days, I sought shelter in our old house. I used to leave the house at dot time and then make my way toward our old house. I would jump the boundary wall, unlock the keys and sit there  in the hall amidst dirt and dust. Nope, I din’t have the nerve to flunk the exams, but being absent was OKAY with me.

The results were as expected. I got A in all subjects. Buddu, A,here stands for absenteeism. I had lost all hopes of studying ahead. I didn’t know what to do. As a result, I decided to work for an NGO that worked for both Hindus and Muslims.  It was year 2004; yes the year when Godhra riots happened. I too was caught in the midst of it.  The biggest plus of this endeavor was that I got to represent my NGO in one of the biggest camps set up for Muslims in Shah-e-alam area.  There were several rape victims, burnt victims, injured victims, orphan victims and victims covered every nook and corner of the camp. Little wonder, journalists started swarming the space. Journalists from  NDTV, Aaj Tak, Times of India, Indian Express and all became frequent visitors. I was in awe of them. The camp refugees were in awe of them. (As journalists become the cynosures of all eyes, NGO workers were sidelined.)  I could sense the partial behavior of the camp people and then I decided to be one like them. Eventually, I resigned from my position as Project Manager of this NGO, and  joined a course in Journalism.  


Once the course was over, I joined The Asian Age Newspaper.  The raw wounds of not completing CA began to heal. I had found my true calling… writing. I was not much of a writer earlier (if you consider me one). For me journalism was all about adventure. But my stint in the newspaper taught me that to be a good journalist you need to communicate well – both through writing and speaking.  Thus started my long journey towards reading and writing. Without reading, writing is not possible. Today, I live in the world of Harry Porters and Hobbits. And I  am happy. And I feel fulfilled. Now even my elder one has developed a penchant for reading. And that makes me a lot more happier.  

 This entry is part of https://housing.com/lookup stories. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Adding a dash of colour this Valentine’s Day



http://www.quotesvsfun.com/
Come Valentine Day, I hope my parents- in law could take a break from their hectic schedules, and fly off to Kerala.

 Why?


So that I could have all the time in this world with my sweetheart hubby and the house for myself. So that I could dress in a seductive way and sweep him off his feet once again. So that I could bake creamy cakes for him once again. So that I could decorate my room with red heart shaped balloons and teddies once again. So that I could fill the house with the perfume of love ---over and over again.

I will have:


Candles to illuminate the decor
Cakes to whet his appetite
Continental to tease his taste buds
Candies to sweeten his tongue  

I know this will be all hard work. But then this is a once in a time opportunity to win over the love of your life once again. So why not slog a little. Bend a little. Sweat a little this Valentine’s day. Trust me, it will be worth the effort.

People move heaven and earth to be with the love of their lives. I just need to spend some time in the kitchen heat.

It’s been like ages I and hubby have not spent any private time together. This is the the best of the year. So why not make the most of it.

Oh!!! I forget about kids.


I’ll pack them off to my sis’s place, Let them spent some quality time with their cousins.

I know this will be all hard work. But then I wish my hubby knows that I love him. Time waits for no man. Within no time, we’ll grow old and all this celebrations will become meaningless. If we do it right now, at least we will have some sweet memories which we can reminisce about when we are in the twilight of our lives.

I’ve seen my parents grow old. No doubt, there are an epitome of sacrifice and love and spent all their lives loving each other and leading a contended life. But then, they never had a life of their own. They never lived for themselves. No doubt, they are inseparable and love each other, but I do feel they lead a drab, dull life with no adventure and entertainment of any sort.

No doubt they are great and i admire them a lot, but i promised myself to add some colour to my life. And to lead a little more loving life with my hubby dear. People come and ago, but your sweetheart stays struck with you forever, come rain or shine.

Valentine’s Day is a day of love. Come let us share this day with our better-halves and make it memorable. 


This post is part of  Indi-happy hours contest held in association with close-up. For more info visit: http://cupidgames.closeup.in/.

I agree to your diktat of not altering this post for a full year.