Saturday, June 13, 2009

To Neil & Dororthy

marriage is a union of two life
makes one a husband, other a wife
The Good times and the bad times
one is delight, suffering is another
To be closer, shall you endeavour
But always, ever stand by each other

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Wakeful Dream

The phone call was unexpected.

Prabodh leaped from his chair and frantically tried to locate his manager to seek permission to leave the office earlier than usual. Prabodh informed his manager that his father was seriously ill. He could breathe his last any moment therefore he needs to rush home as soon as possible. Without wasting a moment he left office immediately.

He felt as if his blood froze, his mind blacked-out and his whole body immobilized in this situation. After his mother’s death, a couple of years ago, this came as a severe blow. He didn’t mind walking in the rain as his sole objective was to reach home at the earliest. There was no autorickshaw or a cab in sight, so he decided to go by bus hoping it would arrive soon. He looked at the dark sky and felt hopeless about the situation. At times, the rain disturbs the routine of life, as it brings to a halt the expected orderly schedule one follows. In order to reach the bustop, Prabodh had to walk across the busy traffic junction or use the Subway. Now being in a hurry, he decided to cross the lane as he saw two buses approaching towards the bus-stop. The traffic light blinked red.

The bus was unexpectedly empty considering the peak office time. Sparse amount of people occupied the seats in the bus. Prabodh managed to board the bus with considerable ease without much effort. And he also managed to find a vacant seat near the window. He looked out and saw that at the traffic signal there was a huge group of people gathered around something. This was indeed a bleak day, he thought. It was a long journey home that took around forty-five minutes.

He looked out of the glass window which was shut due to rain and he couldn’t believe his eyes.
It seemed that his past was sailing along which made him wonder if he was dreaming. Firstly, his memories of his early childhood flashed brightly which he did not remember very well. Then the days of his early teen and adolescence along with his friends, parents and other people he met and that seemed to be too good to be true. Those were days, when he enjoyed his life the most. And then some of his recent memories, primarily those cherished moment he spent with the girl he loved.
All those good times and the days of adversity brought his mind to a halt that derived at a conclusion that life is strange and beautiful yet a mysterious dream that does not confirm whether one is dreaming in a conscious state or if it’s a state of consciousness in the sleep. The bus was nearing its destination however it had to cover distance of fifteen more minutes.

From his seat, Prabodh saw an old man board the bus from the front door. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief and realized that it was his father.
He rushed forward and greeted him and enquired, “Father, where are your going? I thought you were ill and not in a state to move out of your bed so I left office in a hurry to see you.”
To this his father replied, “I couldn’t wait any longer, so I came looking for you.”
Prabodh was perplexed.
His father spoke again and said, “I wanted to speak to you earlier but you were busy with work and other responsibility due to which we hardly had any time to sit and talk. I just want to say that, you are a good son, a brave one.”
Tears rolled down father’s cheek but he continued, “I never lived up to your expectation. I could not fulfill many of your desires. You sacrificed a lot just for the family. I ask for forgiveness, son.”

Prabodh replied, “Father you did everything within your means for the goodness of our family and never cared about your own self. I remember mother said you crushed and buried your own dreams for our sake. You are a good father, I look up to you. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

The bus halted at the place they had to alight. Prabodh’s father said, “Come on son, we need to reach home quickly.”

The streets were lit in the evening and rain had stopped. As they neared the house, there was huge gathering of people. They crossed the front gate and walked towards the house. Prabodh noticed that an arrangement for funeral for two people was being made. He was confused but his father looked calm as if nothing has happened. Then he saw his aunt trying to console his younger brother and sister. He decided to ask his elder brother who was crying, sitting next to someone who was laid on the floor. He looked carefully and realized that it was his father who had passed away while he was enroute home. Still that did not clear his confusion as he had accompanied his father into the house until a few minutes ago. Strange thoughts ran past his mind about some incredible phenomenon which was utterly inexplicable to him now and suddenly his brother’s phone rang.

Prabodh’s elder brother Sushant took the call but was barely able to utter anything.
Prabodh stood behind him so that he could listen to his brother. After listening for a while, Sushant hoarsely replied, “Mala Aunty, Prabodh died in a road-accident while returning from his office. We’re still waiting for his body to arrive from the coroner.”

Friday, August 8, 2008


After a tiring day at work, Madhav returned home in the evening. He saw his five year old son was playing with his toy car which looked like it was in need of repair due to countless unintentional accident. His wife was preparing the dinner.

Nachiket came running towards his father and gave a gentle hug. He said “Father, tomorrow is my birthday; I want a new toy car as the old one is broken.” Madhav looked at him with a reassuring smile and replied, “Yes I will get a new toy car for my son.”

Madhav’s wife looked at him with surprise because she was aware of the fact that he would not be able to fulfill his promise to his son.

Madhav received daily wages for his work which helped his family to sustain a hand to mouth existence. There was no opportunity for luxury, but survival seems the greatest gift.

Yet, he never gave up on himself and believed some miracle would relieve him from the misery of poverty.

While returning from work as usual, he was passing the market street which was lined up with all the shops. He paused in front of the lottery shop and thought of buying a lottery ticket. He
was also aware that spending some money from the part of his wages would mean less food to eat for his family. He thought, even with all the odds of losing yet there was some probability of winning. If his ticket could bring forth the magic numbers for win, through sheer stroke of luck then he could afford to buy a new toy car for his son. His son’s happiness meant everything to him. So he decided to buy one lottery ticket in a hope of a miracle.

Next day was Nachiket’s birthday. Madhav wished his son and left for work in the morning with a reminder that his son was expecting a gift from him. Whether he would win and would he be able to buy a gift for his son, weighed heavily on his conscience the entire day.

The day was done and he was on his way back home. He completely forgot where he kept his lottery ticket and believed it has been misplaced. Soon he neared the lottery shop and trudged towards it. Then, he checked his pockets of his trousers again and felt a piece of paper stuck inside. It was the lottery ticket. He thanked the Almighty for returning it to him.

The lottery shop-owner Nilamber was Madhav’s childhood friend. He knew Madhav never indulged in anything luxurious so found it unusual that he had purchased a lottery ticket. Madhav asked Nilamber, “Nilu, can you please check my lottery ticket and confirm if it has won any prize?”

Nilamber replied, “Your ticket has won the last prize though not a decent amount.”

Madhav stood expressionless, not knowing what to think or say. He returned home.

The prize money could only recover the cost of the ticket. Madhav entered his house and found Nachiket waiting for him in a hope of receiving a gift but soon realized that his father came empty handed. Madhav looked at his son, unable to say anything. Nachiket broke into tears after realizing there was indeed no new toy car for him. Madhav could bear that sight, yet he was helpless.

Next day, while returning from work, he headed towards Nilamber’s shop and asked him,

“Can I have a lottery ticket, please?”

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Blue Lotus

The river Kamali ran silently along the banks of Nalagiri, a village separated from the main land by the river. One could either travel by bus which, would take more than two hours, or cross the river on the boat.

Jagat was very proud of his boat, Jalapriya, because he was the only boatman in the village. He ferried people to the mainland that connected to the city. The village, the river and his boat were his sole reasons for existence. That also meant he had utmost respect and reverence for the Mother Nature which provided him with everything.

One afternoon, he was lying in his boat which was moored to the bank opposite to Nalagiri. He decided to doze off since there were no passengers to be ferried. After a short repose, he realized someone was watching him. Indeed there, was a boy of nine or ten years old looking vacantly towards the river.

"Are you searching for something or waiting for someone?" enquired Jagat.
"No" the boy replied.
"Do you want to cross the river?" asked Jagat.
"May be, I don't know yet" the boy replied with a smile.

Jagat was not of a curious disposition, still he decided to communicate with the child to know whether the boy has run away from his home.
"What is your name?" asked Jagat.
"Aniket"replied the boy.

Now he carefully looked at the boy and was sure he didn't look like someone who had left his home or lost his way. Anyway Jagat was won over by his blue penetrating eyes. For some time they were engaged in a conversation as if reunited after many years. The sun was slowly departing so Jagat decided to return to his village. He bid farewell to Aniket and prepared to leave.

Aniket asked Jagat, "I've nowhere to go, so can I come with you? Since it was growing dark, Jagat didn't want to leave the boy alone on the river bank; he decided to take him along.

They sat at opposite ends of the boat. Heavy silence reigned between the two for a while. Aniket admired the water as if it was alive and talking to him. Then he looked above at the sky which was turning dark and glittering.

Finally Aniket broke the silence and asked Jagat, "Why does the river look blue?"
Jagat understood the curious mind of the children and answered "The blue sky reflects in the water and causes the water to turn blue but, in fact, the water is colourless."

Jagat beamed with joy but Aniket was unsatisfied. So he asked another question:"Who painted the sky blue in colour?"
Jagat replied, "God painted the sky, earth heaven and the entire universe with his imagination to personify everything that was good and bad and yet perfect to the core."

Another question was posed which was both mysterious and irrational.Aniket asked, "Why did God choose to paint the sky with blue and forget the water?"

Jagat sat speechless, rowing the oar and unable to think for a reply.

Jagat was perplexed. No one had asked this question before and he himself never thought about it. He looked bemused and stared back at Aniket without any reply.

The boat sailed through a maze of beautiful lotuses. It looked like lamps that shone on a festival night. This stretch of the river was known for its lotuses. But no human dared to pluck them from nature but everyone admired them. Among all the lotuses, the ruby- eyed, blue lotus stood out. No eyes could escape it, nor pass without its presence felt.

The folklore said the Blue Lotus descended from the heaven. In the past, due to nature's wrath the village of Naligiri faced severe hardship because of the river. It was on the brink of flooding and would render hundreds of people homeless. The villager's petition to God was answered on the condition that no human would disrespect, defile or desecrate nature.
The village was saved by divine mercy; soon after blue lotus appeared among the other lotuses. It was considered as a deity. The villagers believed it could take any form and appear before anyone who deeply desires. Some people thought it's a make-believe story to frighten the people and confirm their superstitions. Baring a few, no one cared about the blue lotus. They thought it was only an exotic flower worthy for exhibition.

Jagat firmly believed the folklore and decided to narrate the story of blue lotus to Aniket. Suddenly, Aniket raised his hand and pointed it towards the blue lotus. It had grown dark and silver beams of the moon floated in the river making it look very celestial. He saw the blue lotus everyday while he returned home; yet today, it was different. The Blue Lotus shone unusually bright like the rays of a thousand suns. It sparkled like an overgrown amethyst, radiating bluish flame in the sky. The river was frozen under its spell and every living and inanimate object was in rapturous delight. What a sight to behold!

Jagat was confounded at this sight and stood in awe. He forgot everything as if reeling under the bout of delirious fever. His ecstasy knew no bounds and he cried in joy. He yelled to call Aniket to view this marvelous spectacle. When he turned back, he was alone.