Category Archives: memoirs

Down Memory Lane

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“Thud!”

The sound of a mango falling to the ground woke me up from my reverie. My leg willed me to run but my body exhausted from the chores of the day refused to budge.

“Thud!”

There falls another one I thought to myself. This time I could not hold myself back. I ran to the rear courtyard and searched for the two. There they lay side-by-side partially hidden by a fallen coconut frond. I picked them up and without a thought rubbed them on my saree and dug my teeth deep into them. Sweet juice oozed out transporting me to those days when I was just a kid…..

Lazy summer afternoons at grandma’s……

A big house filled with aunts, uncles and cousins, summer vacations were fun. Lunch over, the ladies would spend the time in the front veranda reading the day’s newspaper or a magazine, talking to each other or just lying down while the kids would spend time on the ‘kolaya’( narrow veranda running throughout three sides of the house excluding the front) yarning stories, playing hopscotch, skipping, etc., etc., All would go well till…….

“Thud!”

Little feet would grow wings. Scrambling, falling, getting up and running eyes would scan the undergrowth below the big mango tree till……

“Hooray!”

All would jump to grab the fallen fruit. In the scuffle that ensued, the smart one would grab the mango and bite deep into it…… The trophy (juicy mango) would be his/ hers. Once someone had dug their teeth into the mango none else would dare grab it. The winner would then dust the mango against his/ her dress and gorge on it. No question of washing with water. But then in those days I believe, the immune system was too strong to crack just by the consumption of a few grains of dust.

The rest would wait a few more minutes looking up at the mango tree with pleading eyes or return to the ‘kolaya’ to resume what they had left mid-way.

“Thud!”

Returning to the present, I once again began my search for the fallen mango.


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Image Source: Pixabay

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge

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#BOOKREVIEW: OF RUMORS LIVED AND TOLD

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TITLE: Of Rumours Lived And Told
AUTHOR: Andrea Correa
PUBLISHER: Platinum Press (An imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.)

THE BOOK

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BLURB

After a lunch of succulent pork and chilled beer, Andrea, a literature student, settles down for a lazy Sunday afternoon chat with her uncle and aunt. Family reminiscences remind them of Akkai, a Roman Catholic nun and Andrea’s great-aunt, who died under mysterious circumstances. This gets Andrea thinking about the lives of the other nuns in the family – like bold and brassy, salsa-dancing great-aunt Deidre, who left the convent to be the Principal of a college; others soft and steely like Akkai and the don-like Stella Marie, a nursing superintendent. Andrea realizes these women have played a large part in the architecture of her childhood in the Mangalorean Catholic community of Bangalore.

As she talks to family members about the nun-aunts, Andrea unearths some peculiar and quirky aspects. Through whispered stories in the family, she comes to appreciate the porous convent walls the nun-aunts and the family navigate. However she also encounters unexpected reticence from some of the family, whose memories of the nun-aunts are somewhat differently textured.

This richly human memoir tells the story of how a young girl finds her way through a flood-tide of recollections and emotion to navigate the tricky shoals of family ties, in an effort to bring closure to the family past.

MY TAKE ON THE BOOK

CONTENT : A memoir as the blurb states, the book deals with the author’s family especially the ones who take a vow to serve the Lord. It gives an insight into their lives as well as the mystery that shrouds the nunnery.

I took up the book after reading the blurb purely out of curiosity. However, once I started off I felt that there was a lot wanting. The way the memoir has been put together, leaves one confused at times. The flow is sadly missing. I personally felt that the book does not do justice to the intrigue that was built up by the blurb.

I felt that the memoir would have been an interesting one if efforts were made to bring in a little more clarity regarding the characters, their background, their life in and outside the nunnery. Also a little more finesse in the style of narration will make the book more interesting. A smooth transition of reminisces of events will help set the flow right.

LANGUAGE & PACE: The language is simple and crisp and the pace is fine.

EDITING: With a little more effort on the editing part, the book can be made more enjoyable. It can do justice to the blurb.


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BUYING LINKS

amazon.in II pustakmandi II rediffBOOKS

amazon.com II flipkart II snapdeal

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ANN CORREA

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THE AUTHOR

Ann Lynn Correa a PhD scholar at the Department of Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal University, loves to pen her thoughts in the form of poems, short stories and memoir pieces. She hopes to capture in her stories the strife and confusion inherent in people’s lives. The themes she has focused on deal with the strange lives of Roman Catholic nuns in her family, the roots and effects of youthful bravado and angst, the crushing dawn of reason in young adulthood, and coming-of-age tales, precociousness in love and friendship, anxiety and ambition. The underbelly of cities fascinates her, as does the mundane middle-class penchant for drama, good marks, neighborly gossip, rumours and caricaturing the lives of smothered souls.

Ann was long-listed for the Toto Funds Arts, Creative Writing Award in 2015, for her short stories. Singing, painting and badminton remain her hobbies.

 


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It’s always a pleasure to know others views books and reviews. Do leave your views on the book and this review in the comment box below.

Hand that wielded the stick

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Geeta-Nair

“Whack!Whack!”

Heads turned, eyes wide open people looked on at the scene unfolding before their eyes, in amazement. Time stood still in the stationary bus.

Twirling the hockey stick in her hand, eyes blazing, she gave him a piece of her mind and stepped out.

“Come on girls, let’s move,” she said.

The small contingent moved ahead in silence. Of and on a girl would throw a furtive glance behind afraid that the victim or his goons may be following them. But she moved ahead, head held high, an epitome of grit and guts. She was none other than Mumtaz Begum, my friend and classmate, the captain of our college hockey team.

Wondering whether I too was a member of the team? No. Hockey and me? No way. I was never the tough type. But Mumtaz was. A troubled childhood had made her rough and tough. Not one afraid of calling a spade a spade, this wonderful lasso of nineteen knew how to handle a rogue.

Now if I was not in the team how did I come to know this one ‘little’ incident? What was it that made Mumtaz wield the hockey stick off the field? Here’s the story-

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It was a cool winter evening in January 1981.Dusk had set in. Sitting in my hostel room, deep in my books I did not notice her enter until I heard a loud guffaw. I turned around to see her doubled up on my bed, squeals of laughter escaping her lips. Finally spent, she looked up at me a mischievous smile curling her lips. My eyes met hers questioningly. She tapped her hockey stick. My eyes widened in horror. “Oh no, don’t tell me you’ve beaten up a rival on the field,” I said.

She gave me one of her sweetest smiles. “No, don’t worry. The situation did not warrant any such aggressive reaction.”

Worry lines writ large on my forehead I asked “Then what? I know that smile of yours. You’ve been up to something I’m sure. Come on, out with it.”

“Tap, Tap.” There was someone at the door.

“Come in.”

A bunch of six stepped in. A look at them and I knew they too were in it with it with her. Suddenly she sprung up and with one deft move swished the hockey stick with full force. Then leaning against the side of my desk she said, “The guy will think twice before he meddles with a girl in future.”

“Which guy? What have you done? I hope you have not invited trouble,” I said.

“Hey, stop fretting like a mama- hen. Calm down it’s nothing serious, just a little practice session in the bus.”

“What? You’ve been wielding the stick in the bus?” My eyes once again widened in horror.

Placing her hands on my shoulders she narrated a tale of guts.

Mumtaz Begum and team were returning after a grueling match. Sunset was fast creeping in. The first bus that arrived was full. Yet the team decided to board it not wanting to get late entering the hostel. The first half of the journey from Calicut city to Malaparamba was uneventful. The bus being jam- packed, the team was standing in the aisle. Slowly one by one with each passing stop, the commuters started getting off. Half – way through the journey, a young chap of around twenty five or so entered the bus and stood near the girls. The bus gained speed. Suddenly, Mumtaz who was standing behind the others noticed one of the girls squirm and move to one side. A few seconds passed, another girl let out a small yell. The man moved away and looked the other side pretending to be unaware of the cause of uneasiness of the girl. Nothing happened for the next five minutes or so. The man shifted position. One hand came to rest on the girl’s back. Suddenly she turned around, eyes blazing in anger she mumbled something below her breath. Mumtaz who was a mute spectator till then, took a step forward. The bus came to a halt. It was time for the team to disembark. They trooped out one by one, Mumtaz making up the rear.

Suddenly there was a movement. A hockey stick was raised only to come down with full force. The man let out a yell as the stick came into contact with his legs. Taken unawares he doubled up in pain. The stick was raised a second time. It landed on his back. Then without a word the ‘Mardaani’ of the team got off. The bus sped away carrying with it a man who had maybe for the first time, faced the might of a girl.

It’s been over thirty three years since this incident took place. Yet it is still is fresh in my mind, as fresh as the morning dew. Graduation over Mumtaz and me parted ways. The last time I heard of her, she was working in a bank.

Today when I think of her, I feel proud to have had her as a close friend and at the same time feel sad to have lost contact with her. Now as I narrate this incident I am tempted to salute her and others like her who do not give in to fear but stand up and fight against crime perpetrated against women. In honour of these brave souls I pen the following –

They come, they think
She is hapless, she is weak
Forget they
She is power, she is steel

She cries not out of pain or fear
She cries out of empathy and love for a dear
She is no weakling nor loser is she
She is a fighter, a winner is she

But for her, the human race would be a story long forgotten
She begets, she raises, she is patience personified
Love her, respect her, she’ll stand up for you
Tease her, trample her, she will hit back at you.

BEWARE OF HER. SHE IS WOMAN POWER. SHE IS ‘MARDAANI.’

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This is written as a part of I am Mardaani activity exclusively at BlogAdda.com for Indian Bloggers.

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Please leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.

A man of steel, a true warrior

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Image courtesy of anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I took the first steps on the slippery surface cool, looking into eyes encouraging, inviting.
I wobbled, I fell and I cried and cried. Arms strong scooped me, held me tight.
Coaxed, cajoled left once again to try, I fell not only once, nor twice but umpteen times.
Each time the eyes encouraged me to try. Finally I guffawed in delight.

I dangled on his arms firm in the belief he’d scoop me up should I have a fall.
I bicycled on knowing he’d steady me should I wobble and fall.
I ran a race knowing he’d not laugh at me should I lose.
I drew a face knowing he’d love the thought behind the sketch.

I shared with him my fright, my dreams knowing he’d understand
I shared with him thoughts penned knowing he’d not laugh nor make fun
I looked up to him when in need of advice or when I was down and out
I knew he was always there to hear me out.

He was a pillar of strength, an embodiment of honesty, integrity
Ambitious by nature, sincere and hardworking
A self made man he learnt life’s lessons the hard way
Each achievement, each success he yearned, he earned.

Ambition apart, he was a family man
In parents and siblings he found souls to be loved
In wife he saw a soul mate, a motivator great
In children he saw a spark for the future bright

Even in pain, he found the strength to smile
To spread cheer all around, not a tear to the eye
A man of steel with a heart soft as butter
A man to reckon, a man of principles

A father, a friend, philosopher, mentor and guide
A man to cherish, a man to pride
A man who lived in the hearts of all around
My Father, my Hero he was, no doubt.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is a tribute to the first man I ever loved, my father. A man of steel, he fought pain for 20 + years with a smile on his lips. He was often quoted as saying that he drew strength to fight the battle against pain offered by a leaking heart valve and cardiac asthma, from us his family. But the truth was that we drew strength to bear the sight of his suffering from the way he carried himself even in agony. The lesson we learnt from him is, “Don’t be a weakling. If you are strong mentally half the battle is won. Leave the other half to …….. Fight to the end.”

An ambitious person he was an epitome of success. Interview after interview he battled it out with gold medalists, people more educated than him, younger in years, ‘sharper in brain.’ Yet in the end it was him all the way. His treasured assets, hard work and experience won him the day. His pang for success he ignited in us. Encouraging, motivating, inspiring he showed us the way.

The evenings he set apart for us, his beloved, listening, teaching, sharing and caring. The teacher in him was a strict disciplinarian. Answers we sought, answers on our own we found. He had the knack to make us delve in ourselves, find answers to questions we thought we never knew. He taught us to have confidence in ourselves. According to him there was nothing like, “I don’t know.” Search, search and search, the answer is there right in front. I learnt this lesson while writing school essays on odd subjects. Every time I went to him with a difficult topic, he would ask me to hand him over a piece of paper and pen. Then he would prod me on to open up and speak what I knew on the subject. The discussion would slowly gain momentum, have me fully engrossed saying point after point. Finally when I would be out of steam and further stuff, Dad would hand me back the paper with all the points I had said saying, “Take this. I think this should be enough for you to write on the topic.” The best part was that I would have held at least 95 percent of the discussion without being aware of it. He knew how to make one think.

A man who respected the fairer sex, he made it a point to see to it that his better half had the first tea of the day made by his very own hands. This was his way of expressing his love, his gratitude to her. A man who acknowledged the lengths to which women went to keep the home and hearth running, he was a stickler for timings, one who made it clear that men could be away till late in the night but not at the expense of a woman’s sleep. A man not ready to mince words, he was once heard telling his nephews that if they intended to reach home late, they must be prepared to serve and have supper on their own. The ladies could do with some proper sleep.

A man loved by all, he was the heart of every crowd. Friends, acquaintances, peers, subordinates all loved him, respected him. His popularity among his staff could be assessed by the fact that once, when news of his accident spread, the hospital was flooded with people anxious to know his well- being. Heaven was flooded with prayers and appeals for his safety. Though tough on the erring, he was fair to the core. Hence he earned a lot of goodwill.

But what set him apart was his sense of sacrifice. He sacrificed his chance to higher education so that his siblings could enjoy. He sacrificed his chance to rest so that his children could survive. Yes it is another thing that he did not give up his thirst for learning but continued it when the time was ripe. That thirst he passed on to us his daughters, too. He was in every sense a soldier, a true warrior who did not put down his arms when the going was tough but fought it out only to win. Even today though he is no more in our midst, I turn to him when I feel lost and troubled. The locks open up one by one. The light is revealed to guide me on. He is my key to ……..

Miss you Dad, my hero, my role model.

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I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com.

By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.

Will power

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I rushed into the room, flung my bag down on the table and shouted,” Mom, I’m hungry.”

“Yes beta, wash your hands and come along. The gajar ka halwa (a sweet dessert pudding made with grated carrot) is waiting for you.”

“Oh! No, not again,” I groaned.”Mom, I want something chatpata ( Hot and spicy). What about pakoras ( fried snack or fritter)?” I said.

I knew what was coming. “No. You know you cannot have that. Wait till you are well. Once the Doc. gives the green signal, I promise you I will make you all that you wish. But till then no salt and no chilly.”

A tear trickled down my cheek. Yuh! I wondered, “When will this gajar ka halwa business stop and when will I be able to have something spicy.”

It was more than a month since I was on a no salt diet. The very sight of the bland salt free food served day – in- day – out was enough to put me off. There was a time when gajar ka halwa was my favourite. My mouth used to water at the very mention of the dish, but not anymore. I went to the kitchen half – heartedly and gobbled it down silently.

The next morning

The sun shining on the window panes pierced my eyes forcing me to open them. Slowly stretching out my arms I looked at the clock. It was seven. But I was in no mood to hurry. After all it was a Sunday, the only day in the week when I was permitted to get up a little late. I lay there taking in the beauty of the day. The shadows created by the branches of the gulmohar tree ( Royal Poinciana) on the panes set my mind working. I tried to figure out what the shadows looked like. Suddenly my nostrils flared up trying to take in the smell that wafting through the air, reached me. “Ah! Something familiar,” I thought. “Now what can it be?”

Slowly getting up I tiptoed to the kitchen. There on the table lay my favourite aloo ka paratha ( Potato stuffed flat bread). I looked around. Mom was not to be seen. I walked out. The sound of running water in the bathroom caught my attention. “Taking a bath,” I thought to myself.

The smell of the parathas was inviting. I felt myself drawn to the kitchen once again. My mind told me to stop, but my heart and my taste buds pressured me to move on. Slowly as if in a trance, I went to the kitchen. The parathas beckoned me to taste them. I was tempted to do as they said.

I took a plate and removed the glass lid on the casserole. A paratha found a place on my plate. I looked at it with guilty eyes.

“Oh! What’s wrong in a having a bite or two,” I said to myself trying to crush the guilt that welled up within me.

“There’s nothing wrong,” a voice said. “But, what if you have a relapse? What if your kidneys fail?”

“Ah! Now don’t tell me that a few morsels of this stuff can lead to a relapse,” I protested.

But the voice was not ready to give up.“Don’t you remember what the Doc. said the other day? Salt is poison for you. You have to wait till such time your body befriends it, is ready to accept it with open arms,” it said.

“Will such a day ever come?” I asked with tears in my eyes.

“Sure. Just have faith in yourself, your Doc. and the Almighty,” the voice whispered.

Tears rolled down my cheek first slowly, then in quick succession.

“Now, come on don’t tell me you are a weakling,” the voice said.

“You are strong. You know there is something I’ve always liked about you.”

“What?”

“Your will power,” it said.

“This is not the first time I am hearing that,” I replied.

“Oh! Is it?”

“Yes,” I said, a smile curling up my lips. I remembered Dad having uttered those very same words the previous day when I gulped down the bitter gourd soup mom had made me, without throwing a tantrum.

I put back the paratha in the casserole and walked back to my room. The guilt gone I felt light and happy.

A few months later

“You are a lucky man,” the Doctor said addressing dad. “You know when you came here with her I did not have any hopes for her.”

Dad looked at him with grateful eyes. “Thank you Doc.,” he said.

“No, not me. Thank your daughter and God,” he said. “She has been the perfect patient. Had she not co-operated with us and followed our instructions wholeheartedly we would not have been able to do anything for her. I admire her will power.”

Dad looked at me and smiled. I on the other hand gave him a sheepish grin. The “aloo ka paratha” incident still fresh in my mind.

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend , an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

This time we had to write a post containing,’I was tempted.’

By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.

Sharma Aunty

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“Hi! Is it Geeta?” A distant voice asked

I wondered who it could be calling me up at this unearthly hour. Half awake, half asleep I was on the verge of giving the caller a piece of my mind.

“Hello, can you hear me,” the voice at the other end asked.

“Yes, well who are you?” I asked

The anger, the indifference in my tone was conveyed so I felt because the very next moment the tone was apologetic.

“I am really sorry, I did not realize it is night there in India,” the caller said. “Anyway I will call you up tomorrow.” Before I could say anything the call was disconnected.

Wide awake by now, I was curious as to who the caller was. No cue. I racked my brain trying to identify the voice but finally gave up and went off to sleep.

Next day 8.30 am

The phone rang incessantly. I ran from the kitchen but before I could pick it up the call was disconnected. I looked at the number. It was the mid- night caller. I went back to my job in the kitchen but with the phone well settled in the pocket of my dress.

Exactly 10 minutes into my roti making the phone rang once again. The same number flashed on the screen. I picked it up.

“Hi! Geeta, this is Tarun speaking.”

“Which Tarun?” The words left my mouth before I could hold them back. “Oh! Did I sound rude,” I asked myself aloud not realizing that the call was connected and the mobile kissing my ears.

“Oh no,” The voice at the other end said. “I don’t blame you for being cheeky. After all it’s more than forty five years since we last parted.” That had me curious. Ears cocked up I waited for the caller to speak further. He read my mind.

“Hey! Don’t you remember me? I am Tarun your erstwhile neighbor, the one who used to always pull your leg, Varun’s brother.” Ah! Now I remembered

“That thin wiry boy with golden hair?” I asked

“Oh! So you remember me?” He asked

“Of course, how can I forget you and Varun, two devils in human body?” I said

Now for a brief introduction

Tarun was my neighbor of two years when I was just five. He was of the same age as me. His younger brother Varun was my sister’s age. The two ruffians gave me a tough time. But then as always it was my lil’ sis who protected me from their clutches. They dared not touch me when she was around. Her nails were sufficient to draw the blood out of their skin.

So here I was talking to Tarun the ruffian of yester-years, now a successful engineer in the States. After exchanging notes over the phone we disconnected promising each other to keep in touch. The roti and tawa were the victims of our long and excited blabber.

Throwing the remnants of the charred roti in the dustbin, I put the red hot tawa aside. I turned around to find mom by my side. The happiness and excitement on my face made her raise an eyebrow as if to ask me the reason for my sudden burst of excitement. I told her about Tarun. In the next half hour, the two of us relived those days when the Sharma’s were our neighbours.

Sharma Uncle was in the same office as my father. In fact he was my father’s subordinate, reason enough for Sharma Aunty to see red. Now Sharma Aunty was of the same age as my mother but except for that there was nothing similar between the two. She was on the heavier side while mom was slim and trim. Always sporting a scowl, she was the most unpopular lady in the locality. Her acid tongue and “I told you na,” attitude undid any virtue that she might have been blessed with. We children tried to keep out of her sight as far as possible. But I must admit here, that Sharma Aunty did have lovely eyes. Eyes that could keep you mesmerized. But the sad part was that those eyes were often on fire thereby forcing the beholder to cower. If only they were calm and serene, heads would turn I am sure.

“Mom,” I asked. “Do you remember how Tarun dropped that brick on my toe crushing it?”

“Sure, how can I forget that? You were so scared that Dad would take you to task for being careless, that you sat in the bathroom washing the wound for about half an hour. It was only after a lot of coaxing and cajoling that you were ready to face Dad and get the wound dressed.”

That incident reminded me of Sharma auntie’s reaction when mom confronted Tarun. She was red with anger, would not admit that Tarun could do any wrong until the cat was let out of the bag by none other than Varun and that too in front of mom. Hand raised she was about to give Varun a piece of her mind for having humiliated her in front of us. But then mom quickly took charge of the situation and asked us to take Varun away. She assured Aunty that she was not angry with Tarun but only wanted to know the reason for his misdemeanor. Matter settled, mom invited Aunt for a cup of tea which she willingly accepted.

There were many such khatta- meetha incidents in those two years we lived side by side. But as usual it was always mom who took care not to let the situation go out of hand. The able administrator, the simple soul in her got the better of Aunt’s temper and acid tongue. It is another thing that Sharma Aunty got along only with mom. The other neighbours looked the other way whenever she was around.

“Do you know mom what we used to call her?” I asked “Kanjus – makhichoose.”

Mom looked at me admonishingly. I laughed. Mom knew the reason for the pet name. Sharma aunty was a miser in every sense. But what put us children off was that she never fed her two devils proper resulting in their often siphoning off the delicacies mom placed in our lunch box .

“Mom, remember the day you met with an accident and Sharma aunty decided to have us in since you were in hospital?” I asked. She nodded.

“You know what happened. She served us only two small rotis for dinner. My, how hungry we were. Do you know what she said when we asked for an extra helping? ” Reminiscing the incident, Mom smiled.

Chote` bachhe do roti se zyada nahein khate. Badhazmi ho jayegi (Small children should eat maximum two rotis only. If you eat more than that you will land up with an upset stomach).”

Mom laughed and said, “And you retorted, meri mummy kehti hai chote` baccho ko bhar peth khana chaheye. Tabhi to takat ayegi . (Small children should have stomach full. Only then will they be strong.).”

Letting out a loud laugh I said, “Not one to give up easily I told her your nuskha for badhazmi. You remember that lemon and sugar one.”

“Yes I remember that. Mummy kehti hai ki shakkar mein nimbu ras lene se badhazmi chalee jayegi. Takat na hone sei padhayee ka hee nuksan hoga. (Aunty, an upset stomach can be treated with a mixture of lemon juice and sugar. But lack of sufficient strength will lead to fatigue which in turn will have an adverse effect on studies).” Mom mimicked the child me.

“You should have seen Sharma Auntie’s face when I said that,”

Even till this day I remember the look she gave me. Stumped by a six year old, she had no words. She quickly got us to finish off dinner and retire for the night.

“But inspite of all her flaws, she was a kind soul,” I said. “You remember that year’s Diwali,” I asked mom

“Yes,” she said. “Your grandfather had expired and dad left for his funeral. Since you were having classes and train reservations were also not available, we stayed back. That day when the whole world was celebrating Diwali we were in mourning.”

“And you would not allow us to wear the new clothes you had stitched for us nor light diyas in front of the house,” I said

“And both of you were weeping because I would not let you do so.”

“Then Sharma Aunty came and convinced you to allow us wear the new frocks. She said it was a day of happiness and that our grandfather’s soul would be sad to see his tiny darlings sad and in tears. You finally agreed.”

“She dressed you up and then took the two of you to her house. That day the mother in her overtook the miser. She loaded the two of you with a lot of chocolates and sweets. That night I discovered another side of hers.”

Breakfast ready, the two of us sat together and ate in silence. It was only after the meal was over that I broke the news.

“Tarun is coming over to meet us in two weeks time. Sharma Aunty is also coming along. Tarun said she has been speaking of you only, since the past few days. It looks like her life has stopped there. She remembers only those days when we were all together in Kanpur. All the rest is erased.”

Is it a tear I see rolling down mom’s cheeks? I am not sure. But the very next moment mom was her old self excited with the impending visit. Planning started; she rushed me off to the study room to get a diary and pen.

Mom has been suffering from exhaustion since the past few weeks yet what I see here? She is infused with new energy. Sharma Auntie’s impending visit has recharged her sagging health. She once again seems to be her old self – energetic, enthusiastic and bubbly.

Two weeks later

Sharma Aunty came as promised, accompanied by Tarun. Mom rushed to the door to greet her with open arms. But what struck me as Aunt stepped into the hall was the change. Gone was that stout, plump, aggressive woman I knew. Here was a frail and smiling lady. Gone were the embers in the beautiful eyes. Calm and serene eyes met mine.

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Roti – Indian bread made from stone ground whole meal flour, Tawa – Flat griddle made of metal,

Kanjoos- makhichoos – Miser, Khatta- meetha– Sweet n Sour

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Do you love chocolates? Then let me just tell you, I had one just before I sat down to write this. Helped tickle my brain.

Written for the contest “Condition Serious Hai” on “Indiblogger” in association with “Cadbury 5 star”

Inviting you to also visit my other blog i.e. CANVAS

By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.

My earliest memory

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Courtesy: Write Tribe

It’s celebration time at Write Tribe and we a strong contingent of 20 bloggers are celebrating our earliest memory with a relay. The relay started at 3 in the morning. Ever smiling Suzy who blogs at Someday Somewhere set it off with a wonderful post. Passing through 11 strong hands it has finally landed up in mine.I received it from movie buff and super blogger Kajal Kapur who blogs at Rainbow Hues.

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PAIN, SHAME ,TRIUMPH
This post I dedicate to Mrs. Jane my kindergarden teacher, a really sweet person.

Sheee…!” The sound set my tiny feet sprinting to the kitchen. Eager to tuck in the yummy crisp dosa that mom was preparing, I grabbed a plate and plonked to the ground only to let out a cry. Mom rushed to my side. My knee was red and burning. The hot spoon on the plate kept on floor was the culprit. My knee had come into contact with it. Cold water and ointment were no solution. I ended up with a bandaged knee..

Next day

I sat on the steps of the nursery school watching my friends play. The bandage on my knee prevented me from taking part in the outdoor activities. So immersed was I in the goings around that I did not notice Mrs. Jane our teacher approach me.

“Now who is that sucking her fingers? “She asked. The thumb suddenly left the mouth and the eyes were lowered in shame. Feeling humiliated, I took a decision. That night as I crept into bed I asked mom for a piece of cloth.

“Why do you want a cloth?” She asked.

“To tie it on my thumb,” I said.

“Why?”

“I want to stop sucking my thumb,” I said. I told her what had happened in school.

Next few days

I was restless. My sleep was disturbed. Yet I stuck to my decision. Night after night my thumb was bandaged with a cloth. Finally I got rid of the habit.

In hindsight, the burn on the knee was a blessing in disguise. It tested my grit and my determination at the tender age of three and I am glad I came out with flying colours. Pain and shame gave way to triumph. The scar on the knee is there till this day, a trophy of my triumph.

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I am now passing on the baton to a great motivator the wonderful Corinne who blogs at Everyday Gyaan. Hope you enjoy each one of the 20 posts. Who knows they may remind you of your own childhood or of someone long forgotten.

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Inviting you to also visit my other blog i.e.CANVAS

By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.

People I met on the way

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Moving ahead on life’s journey
I came across teachers innumerable
The first teacher, my mother
Loving, caring yet stern

Lessons in morality she taught me
Right or wrong I learnt to know
My friend, philosopher and guide she is
A woman of substance, strong

Dad was another wonderful tutor
A man who helped me overcome my flaws
The timid me drew strength from him
Learnt to fight and stand on my own

Teachers there were many more
All great, intelligent, loving
Yet some I must make mention here
A tribute to them I owe

Afternoons in second were a delight
Sleep we were supposed to do
Yet restless we could not help but chatter
The tongue would not rest for long

Sr. Magda a wonderful Italian
Class teacher of second would bribe us with ‘pudding’
Silence and sleep would follow on hearing
‘Pudding’ (chocolates) ready, mouths would open ***

A lady fine in Mrs. Edgar we found^^^
Understanding, loving, witty no doubt
Geography a pet she made of ours
Welcome she was always in class

Mornings we went early to school
Sleep insufficient we had to choose
Mrs. Edgar would suddenly call out aloud
‘Goodnight my dear’ as a yawn was let out

Inquisitive eyes looking around
Trying to spot the Mrs. Edgar’s ‘dear’
Failing in mission we’d all return back
The ‘dear’ was always a mystery for us

Miss Bella, the Physics Ma’am tall and thin
Dark ,beautiful with flowing hair
Soft in speech and heart she was
Physics she loved and made us love too

Many more there were I must say
Many more there are even today
In each person I meet a teacher I see
Child, youth, adult, aged whoever they be

Life is a world teeming with millions
Millions all humans entirely different
Each a teacher in his own very way
And a student too no doubt, I must say.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

*** ( Sr. Magadalena would pop in a chocolate each in our mouth. That was her’pudding’)

^^^(Mrs. Edgar was an adorable person. Aged yet beautiful. She had something about her that automatically pulled us towards her, A magnet she was.As soon as someone in class yawned, she would wish the person ‘Good Night’, not sarcastically but genuinely. But except for the person concerned no one else knew who she had addressed. It was always a mystery for us.Once when we were in the X std. she got one of the girl’s who was literally falling off due to sleep, to go to back of the class, put three chairs together and sleep. A truly adorable person she was.)

In fact, I must say that all my teachers in Kindergarden and school were adorable. Stern they were, yet loving too.Each one of them was a gem. The rod was never taken up. No sort of physical or mental punishment was applied. The erring got away with a simple imposition. Was lucky to have them as my teachers in the days when my character was shaped.

I also fondly remember all my lecturers and professors in college. Each one of them contributed in one way or the other in shaping my mind and intellect. I owe my personality to all I met on the way right from my birth till this day.

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Inspired by the theme ‘People.’

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013 at Write Tribe

Inviting you to also visit my other blog i.e. CANVAS

By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.

Catch them young

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A December morning in 1988, a mother holding the hands of her little girl of two and half years walked into a local book stall in Kannur, Kerala with the intention of buying some magazines. Half way through her search she felt a tug on her saree pallu. She looked down and said, “Wait Ammu, it’s almost over.” She continued her purchase. Again a tug. The mother thought, “She is restless.”

“It’s over dear,” she said. She opened her purse to pay the bill. Again a tug at the pallu.

“What Baby, are you hungry. Wait let me pay the cash then I’ll get you something to eat.” The girl looked at her mother and lisped in Malayalam, “Ammae, ammayude aduthu paisa undo” (“Mom do you have money”)

“Yes, I have. Why did you ask so?”

“Then can I have that book,” she asked pointing to a colourful magazine. It was ‘Amar Chitra Katha.’

The mother knew the child was not old enough to be able to read that book on her own. Yet she bought it and gave it to the child. On reaching home the child started ‘reading’ the magazine aloud. The mother was wonder struck. Here was a story taking shape. The child’s very own interpretation of the picture she saw.

Then week after week the mother made it a point to buy the ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ and other kids magazines slowly adding books in the line. The mother read out the stories there till the child was big enough to read on her own but what intrigued and pleased the parents and neighbouring elders was the child’s interpretation of the pictures she saw. She weaved stories on her own. She dished out some really wonderful stuff.

As time went by her hunger for books and magazines increased. The first thing the mother did while planning a trip to a far off place was to buy and stack sufficient books and magazines for the child. She knew that was the only way to keep the restless kid in bounds or else the whole journey would see the kid lamenting, “I am feeling bored.”

The kid never asked for a toy. She was happy with the toys her mother had played with as a kid. She just wanted books and books and books.

The kid mentioned here is none other than my daughter. I still have her complete set of ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ magazines stacked away safely in a loft. Maybe one day I will pass it on to her kids.

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Inspired by the theme ‘Books’

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013 at Write Tribe

Inviting you to also visit my other blog i.e. CANVAS

By the way don’t forget to leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.