Daddy’s little girl…

http://www.creativeadawards.com/hurt-girl/

You lug yourself forward, it hurts in places you did not know existed, until now. You drag yourself ahead; your body is heavy, panting like a dog in a desert. You are all alone, but that is a relief. You don’t mind dragging yourself to the bed stand, you don’t mind using the dying strength in your arms to slowly lift your upper body, and plop it on the bed. You don’t mind being alone; in fact you are positively relieved in your solitude. Because the alternative, the alternative to being alone propels you into tears of dread, misery and frustration.

You know that for at least another three to four hours, you will be alone. That time would help you lick your wounds, huddled in the corner of your bed. But before that you need to check, check your body, check your bones, check your face. No cuts, no visible wounds, no broken bones; that is your first priority; because the last thing you want is for people to notice. Your abdomen screams in pain, so does your nine months old daughter, she screams in hunger. Your abdomen can wait maybe, but not your daughter.

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How Maa beat cancer’s butt…

Every time I think of my Maa chasing her cancer away, I always imagine her running behind a pesky rodent with a “cheemta” (tongs) in her hand. And what is a rodent compared to the indomitable spirit of a woman. And like any woman who finds her home invaded by a tiny rodent, Maa went about the task of cleaning up her body off cancer with the single-minded grit and persistence of a really hungry feline.

It all started when I was in Mumbai, and she in Bangalore. I think I have always somehow been in Mumma’s girl. I love her almost as much as I love bitching about her. And one day on our daily calls, she confessed that something was wrong, that the doctors had insisted on a biopsy of her left breast.

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Of course, the doctors were wrong; my mom couldn’t have cancer, she does Pranayama every day! At least that is what I thought until my confidence came shattering down, when I realized that unstoppable forces of nature also pause, and Pranayama moms also fall.

We were on a call, when she said, “Bas ek mastectomy ho jayegi. Theek ho jayungi.” I smiled at the courage it would have taken her to brush it off like your everyday dental filling.

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The family outing

Take your hands off him!

 “I am sorry. Did you say something?” ‘The woman’ turned around and looked at me. Her green eyes wide, almost seeing through my soul.

“Nothing…just that you look really pretty today.” I said, plastering a fake smile. She went back to holding Sammy’s hand and walking ahead. Tall, taller than me, she made me feel smaller than I should have.

We were on a family outing, an experiment suggested by ‘The woman’, a step in promoting harmony, for Sammy’s sake. And I had to keep reminding myself to behave, to keep my emotions in check, to maintain dignity and class. But all I could feel was my entire existence falling apart. The simple act of putting one foot in front of another became increasingly painful. Breathing became a chore and my breaths came in raspy successions.

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“Are you alright?” A male voice beside me asked. Perhaps genuinely concerned, I couldn’t say for sure with the loud ringing in my head that seemed to be eating me alive from inside.

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Hard candy for Diwali

I knew I was going to regret today the minute I woke up. A strong cloud of foreboding hung over my head and after almost a year I found myself craving for a Chocalate Ganache. My stomach tore in desire as I searched my fridge for anything, anything fattening or gluttonous or sinful. All I found were ragi flavored breakfast bars.

I stuffed the bar in my mouth and flakes of bland ragi dropped on my white tee. How did I ever eat this shit for 365 days? I thought. I kept stuffing not one, not two but three of those bars down my throat and simultaneously dusting off the big flakes off my clothes.

Bam, at the stroke of noon my mobile shrilled with Meghan Trainor singing that it was all about her base. The call was from mummy. She was demanding why I was not at her place helping her with all the cooking and other shit that always needs to be done.

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By the time she was done yelling at me, which was exactly 15 minutes, I was in an creased red chudidaar with a torn dupatta. I knew I could cleverly conceal the tear if I wore the dupatta right.

Another fifteen minutes of almost empty roads, I entered my parent’s home. Some may call it a mansion, I called it the fancy house of terrors, mostly because my mother lived there. As I entered the drive way I saw a red santro that belonged to my sister and her two kids. There was another that belonged to my widowed aunt and finally Munna uncle’s land rover, my mother’s younger brother.

I groaned, loud enough that the mansion’s watchman jerked towards me, twisted his head and gave me the “Are you alright, lady?” stare.

The living room smelled like a strange concoction of diya oil, motichor laddoos, marigold flowers and the stench of cigarettes. One sweep across the room and I took in my mother screaming at my twelve year old niece to be nice to Munna nanu, my sister screaming at mummy to leave her alone, my father screaming at them to take their bickering elsewhere because Arnab was debating about the steel flyover, my six year old nephew crashing into my pelvis and my aunt, who sat knitting sweaters in Bangalore with a glass of red wine.

In that instance I knew the reason for my daylong foreboding, this family, these people who I had managed to escape for last three years, working abroad. With a sinking feeling I realised I was back where I started.

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The day Pikku disappeared

I make myself believe that I clearly remember the day Pikku disappeared. I remember the bright rays of sunshine that shone through our windows. I remember the smell of pancakes wafting up through the steps into our room. I remember mummy and daddy talking loudly, about something, something inconsequential to the memories of that day. I remember Pikku lifting my blanket and peeping inside, grinning. Her front two teeth were missing. All I saw were pink gums, bright blue eyes and flushed cheeks. Her brown hair fell in ringlets around her chubby face as she tickled me and ran down the steps giggling. I ran behind her, laughing loudly, “You chump, you absolute chump, I am going to get you.” I shouted. This was our weekend routine.

It always took me a while to settle into the skin of an elder brother, a whole two and half years older. Now that I am an adult, I realize how easy it is for a child to forget, forget that he is growing up. Continue reading

“The Pig”

You walk steadfastly through the corridors of the old school. Your footsteps echo throughout the abandoned building intruding a comfortable silence that reigns.

What was it like? You wonder. What was it like when I studied here? Garish laughter, childish screams, pitter patter of tiny feet assault your memories and a loss of the days long gone envelops your being.

Your foot steps slow down and you can almost hear the clanging of bells just like it did for lunch break. Another ten minutes, that is all it will take. You tell yourself. The huge sack you carry on your back weighs you down.

You hear a light giggle from some where behind you. You turn around, your heart rate shooting up and sweat trickling down your forehead.

“Who is it?” You ask. Loudly. Louder than you actually meant to. “Who is it? Who is it? Who is it?” Your voice echoes through the empty corridors mocking you. Your own voice reverberating, ricocheting off the walls, reminding you that it is truly YOU who is the intruder here.

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You wait for the echoes to die down and shine your torchlight all around you. All you see are tiny rodents skittering about in search of another rodent to eat.

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A cocktail dinner at Mt. Olympus

The spotlight zoned in on my mother, after all she was Hera, wife of Zeus. And it wasn’t like mom wasn’t used to the spot light.

She stood there, a Cosmopolitan, swirling seductively in her dainty hands, nonchalantly laughing at a joke she devised out of her clever, witty little head. Her posse of similarly dressed friends, yet not as grand as my mother; laughed in sputters. Unsure whether it was a joke, and what was it that even made it funny.

I laughed loud, snorted, pretended to choke on my own bile and back slapped my mother garishly, in affectation of support at her pointless humour.

“Eris, what un-lady like behaviour is this?” She smiled sweetly at me. A smile that did not reach her eyes and promised threats of cutting me off my pocket money.

hetairae

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