Posted in relationships, short story

The Soliloquy of a Differently Abled Woman

I woke up bobbing my head to the theme song of ‘The Big Bang Theory’, my favorite show. The sun was yet to rise and after just three hours of sleep, I was ready to start cramming again. Today was the most important day in my life.

An hour later, I decided to take a break and look out of the window. I spotted early morning joggers and mothers whisking their kids away to school. A few kids were off to play football or cricket or whatever new games are introduced in schools these days.

I sighed and got back to cramming. I could never play sports even if I wanted to. How could I? It didn’t matter though. Or did it? I really don’t know. Mother always says, you can’t have everything. You are good in academics, a few others are good in sports. That’s how it is. I always shrugged it off.

I yearn to go out there and kick the ball or play badminton with my friends. Friends? What friends? Do I even have any? Or is it because of pity that they talk to me? How I wish I could know! Mother would tell me, “If they are there for you even in your difficult times, then they are your true friends.”

This is a difficult time for me. I’m appearing for an important entrance exam that will decide if I’ll become an astrophysicist or no, and there are no friends to help me out. Mother would laugh if I tell her this. She would say, ‘Of course they won’t come, and even if they do, what will they understand about the kind of physics that you are learning?’ And I would argue, ‘But, they can at least call, say hi, or whatever.’

Oh crap! I need to stop these thoughts and get back to revising. And I also need to see father, seek his blessings. I doubt he’ll bless me though. He doesn’t even acknowledge my existence. Only Suraj is important for him. His beloved son. I’m just a mistake. Why was I even born?

Every single day I watch him talking to my younger brother. He spoils him so much. Whatever he wants, he gets. Sometimes I hate both of them so much. But mother consoles me. She says, “You are very special, my child. Do not feel bad. Cheer up. I’m there for you.”

I know that. I know she’s always there for me. It’s because of her that I’m independent. Ambulatory albeit with crutches. And ambitious. She never let me pity myself. Never.

But, I can’t help it. I do hate my father though. He did not bother to give me something as basic as vaccines! Every child receives it. It’s given free of cost in government centers! So, of course out of the millions of kids in this country, I had to be struck with polio. And that too a vaccine strain. I read all about it. And I can’t believe my luck. I don’t know why mother still stays with him though.

Sometimes, I crave for his attention. I crave for that pat on my head when I do well, or a consoling hug when I do not. What can I do so that he would shower an iota of his love on me?

It would be difficult for mom, I know. Without any financial help. And he’s a good husband to her and a good father to Suraj. It’s only me that’s the problem. I wonder why they named me Sneha. How ironic!

I have to clear these exams and go away from here. Build a new life for myself. May be go away in space. Mother would throw a fit if I told her that. I won’t tell her, lest she doesn’t let me appear for these exams. It would be a year wasted. Mother writes beautiful poetries though. Every time I’m upset about something, she comes up with something rhyming. It feels like rhymes have started flowing in her blood now!

“Sneha, what are you doing? Come on, freshen up and come for breakfast.” Mother’s here to get me out of my train of thoughts. I smile.

“Give me a few minutes, ma.”

I grab my crutches and head towards the bathroom. After I’m done with my business, I get dressed and go to the kitchen for breakfast.

“So how are the preparations, considering the examinations?”

I burst out laughing. “That did not rhyme, ma!”

“Oh yes, it did. Have some idli and dosa with this. The chutney is spicy and the sambhar is hot. My dear Sneha, won’t you have the entire pot?”

“Ma! Stop it. It sounds more like a rap than a poem.” I laughed.

I felt good. My spirits soared instantly from all the dark thoughts that had consumed me a while ago.

“Ma, dad’s there?”

“No, he left with Suraj. Suraj has wished you luck though.”

I rested my crutches against the dining table and took a seat. It didn’t matter, I consoled myself. I need to crack this exam and shine. I need to live my dream. I just HAVE to.

“Sneha, look at me.” Ma said.

“You are my little shining star,

going out to live your dream

I’m here for you, if not in person than from afar.

Good luck to you my little girl, it’s time for you to gleam!”

She continued, “I know that it’s very difficult for you to face this everyday living under the same roof. He’s a hypocrite. Your father. But remember, he’s not the center of your universe. You have the world to see yet, you have to reach the skies. Do not do anything to make HIM love you, do only what would make YOU love yourself even more. Do what makes YOU happy.”

She hugged me tight, and I cried. I cried for the father’s love that I craved for. I cried for all those races that I missed. I cried for the looks of pity that I got. I cried and cried.

“Now, now. That’s enough Sneha.”

I took a few deep breaths, washed my face and waited for a while. So that I could calm down. I needed to be level headed for this exam. It would make or break my life.

Just as I was about to leave, ma gave me a paper.

“Read it in the cab as you go towards your exam Centre. And all the best!”

Excited about the contents of the note, I opened it as soon as the cab started moving.

You are one strong girl

Full of love and warmth

Achieve your dreams with a twirl,

For nothing can stop you to perform.

Acheive your dreams with a twirl,

For nothing can stop you to perform.

Head to that exam hall my girl,

And with the stroke of your pen, bring about a storm!

-Love, Ma.

I re-read the poem a couple of times to soak in its beauty. Oh, ma! I love you so much!

I was determined more than ever to crack the exam and live my dream.

Pic courtesy: lea from unsplash.com

This post was one of the shortlisted entries for the Muse of the Month, (March) event by Womens Web.

Posted in health issues, mom's life, relationships

Age is no bar…

Payal reached the eight floor of the high rise and stood outside the intricately carved wooden door. She admired the nameplate fixed on the wall on the right side of the door. ‘Behram P Irani’, it read. She touched the nameplate lovingly and was about to press the doorbell, when the door opened and out walked a bunch of grumpy teenagers.

“Better finish off that essay before you step inside the house tomorrow.” Came an authoritative voice from inside. One of them shouted, “Yes Shirin aunty!” And the others did not even glance back and rushed towards the lift.

Payal watched the scene before her in amusement. Just then, the septuagenarian lady came to shut the door. She was surprised to see Payal standing there. “Oh! Mari dikri… come come…”

Payal grinned from ear to ear and hugged her, “How are you, Mummy?”

“I’m absolutely alright. See.” She twirled herself like a little girl in front of Payal and said, “All fit and fine!”

Payal laughed at her mother in law’s antics and dragged her suitcase inside the house. After she got comfortable, she took in the ambience of the house. It was exactly the same as it was when she had last visited, about a year ago. Not a thing out of place.

Shirin got her a glass of water and broke her reverie. “I wasn’t expecting you until at least two hours later.” She remarked.

“Yeah, Mummy. The checkout was really quick and the traffic was surprisingly clear.”

“Good. How’s Cyrus? And how are things in Edinburgh?”

“He’s good mummy. We are all doing great. But we are very worried about you.”

“Ah, no need to worry about me. I’m enjoying my life. Go, you freshen up and then we’ll have lunch. I have made your favorite patra nee machi. Chalo, hurry up.”

Payal did as she was told and soon returned to the dining table feeling refreshed. The table was set. Her mother in law always surprised her. She was an extremely agile woman, even at this age. And always impeccably dressed. Crisp cotton sari over the Sudra and Kusti, and her silver hair in a tight bun.

They both relished their lunch and talked about the one common thing that connected them. Cyrus. Shirin’s only son and Payal’s husband.

Suddenly, Shirin stood up from the table and said, “How dare you talk to me like that?” Her features were morphed in anger and Payal literally felt shivers run down her spine. What happened all of a sudden? She thought. They were talking or rather bitching about Cyrus, laughing together and now this?

“Mum… Mummy, what happened?” Payal finally managed to say.

Shirin maintained the angry face for a few seconds before she burst out laughing.

“Oh Dada Hormuzd! I really need to practice more.” She exclaimed.

Payal was totally puzzled. “Mummy, what are you talking about?”

Shirin took one look at the time and gasped. “We’ll talk in the evening. Its 3.30 already. I need to reach my drama class. Will see you later, Payal. You take rest.”

“What drama class?” Payal stood to go after her, but the old lady had banged the front door shut and was already in the lift before Payal could ask anything more.

“Drama class, seriously?” She said to herself.

Shrugging, she went back to her room and decided to take a short nap. In spite of the jetlag, sleep eluded her. She decided to watch TV instead. But she couldn’t concentrate on that either. She thought about the last one year. How tumultuous it was. The sudden passing away of her father in law was a shock to all of them, but more so, for her mother in law. She stayed with them in Edinburgh for six months after that but she missed her own house. So they had decided to let her stay here and be happy.

The initial few months were difficult for all of them. Cyrus and Payal were concerned about her. She was living in the very place where she had spent the maximum time with her husband. No one knew how she would cope with it. And their daily video chats hinted nothing. They just spoke for the sake of it with neither revealing what they were actually going through. But since the last two months, Shirin had been exceptionally jovial, not that she wasn’t before, but it was such a drastic contrast from the earlier months that both Cyrus and she thought that something was wrong. So she decided to visit and kill two birds with one arrow. An upcoming company project and to ensure the mental wellbeing of her mother in law.

Payal got so lost in her thoughts and coupled with the background noise from the television, she did not realize when she fell asleep. She woke up to find a blanket draped on her, but she was so tired that she simply dozed off again.

The next morning, a strong smell of coffee woke her up.

“Good morning Payal.” Shirin greeted. “I’ve made coffee for you. Come eat something. You’ve skipped dinner too.”

“Morning mummy. Yes, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

After they were done with breakfast, Payal said, “Mummy, you said something about a drama class yesterday? What was all that about?”

Shirin laughed heartily at that. “Oh yes dikri. I have joined these drama classes to polish my acting skills. It’s close by. I walk and go there. It keeps me fit too. I’m the oldest student in the class, but age is no bar for learning something new right? And you know I can really give those youngsters a run for their money. I’m very good. Even the instructor says. I’m good in my prose and voice modulation. I need to work on different expressions and the only thing that I’m not able to get right is the angry expression!” She said in a single breath.

“Wait a minute, mummy. Breathe.” Payal iterated. After a few moments, she continued, “Who said you cannot do it right? I had shivers down my spine when you pulled that one on me yesterday!”

“Oh… sorry about that…” Shirin said, looking sheepish.

“Why suddenly this drama thing, Mummy?”

“Oh, you know, I have always been very good in acting and all. Back in my days I used to do very well in dramatics in school and college. Then I got married. And I got busy with Behram and after two stillbirths, I finally had Cyrus when I was almost forty years old. I gave him everything with all of my being and my dream,” she shrugged, “well, it remained a dream.”

She continued, “After Behram passed away, I was so lost and disillusioned that I had absolutely no idea what to do. Then you both took me with you, but trust me I was miserable. I came back here and decided that enough is enough. I need to live my life. And I started first by shifting my room. Our bedroom was so full of his memories that I simply couldn’t think clear if I stayed in that room. Then when I was cleaning my stuff, I came across this book that had some handwritten scripts of plays that I was a part of back in college. That’s how my dream got rekindled.”

“Mummy, didn’t Pappa know about your acting skills?”

“He did. In fact he encouraged me to pursue it. But I wanted him and Cyrus to live their dreams. And I made sure that there were no hindrances in their paths whatsoever.”

“Oh mummy, I’m so proud of you. You know we thought that you’ve lost your mind!”

Shirin brushed that off by saying, “Oh those were all my acting skills.”

Payal gawped at her mother in law. She beamed seconds later and said, “I’m really happy for you mummy. Let’s see where your dreams take you.”

“I don’t know where my dreams will take me, Payal. But I feel good now. I have a goal to achieve. I look forward to each session and try to give my best. It keeps me occupied. I don’t get time to think about the past, about what I’ve lost. That’s the beauty of having an aim in life. It takes you forward, tests your limits and makes you excel at whatever you are doing in a bid to achieve that aim.”

They were both lost in their thoughts when Shirin cleared her throat. Payal looked at her and saw her waggling her brows. “You know, I might bag a role in some play really soon.” She said.

“That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? It would be so exciting to see you on the theatre stage!” Payal exclaimed. And as an afterthought, she asked, “Mummy, what were those teenagers doing here when I came yesterday?”

“Oh those rascals! They will come now in some time. I give them English tuitions. Teach them proper words. Not the slang which you millennials use these days. They end up writing that way in their exams too! Imagine that!” Shirin chortled.

“Mummy, since we are talking about our dreams, I have something to tell you.” Payal said grimly.

“Yes, dear, please tell me. I won’t judge you, promise.”

“Mummy, you did not turn out to be my dream mother in law.” Payal said in the same grim tone. And then she burst out laughing.

In between bouts of laughter she said, “When I first saw you, I thought that you were a harridan. And add to that all the crap that was fed to me by my relatives and friends regarding mother in laws in general, I was very scared. I would get nightmares about my evil mother in law.”

Payal sobered and continued, “You’ve proved everyone wrong. You are the most loving and caring person that I’ve ever met.”

“Chalo, don’t make me cry now.” Shirin said. “Let’s get working before those rascals ring the bell.”

Payal chuckled and heaved a sigh. She dialed her husband to fill him in about his mother’s escapades!

Pic courtesy: Google images

Posted in relationships, short story

The Choice

Avni arranged her luggage beneath seat number three in coach S5 aboard the Bandra-Udaipur Express and waited for the arrival of her co-passengers. She wanted to exchange her seat, as hers was on the top berth and she felt very uncomfortable up there. The train started and her co-passengers boarded from the next station. A young woman who looked like she was in her early twenties was the occupant of seat number one.

“Excuse me?” Avni asked that woman. “If you don’t mind, can you exchange your seat with me? Just for the night. Please.”

“Sure, I don’t mind sleeping up there.” She said pointing to the seat above.

“Thanks. I’m Avni. I’m going to be really grateful to you for this.”

“Oh, it’s alright, Avni. I’m more comfortable upstairs anyway. By the way, I’m Meera. We have a long journey, let’s catch up in the morning.” She said.

“Sure,” replied Avni. “Good night.”

After a restless sleep, Avni woke up to a cacophony of kids playing and shouting. She yawned and saw the time. It was 7 am. She got up and found Meera awake too.

“Oh! Thank God, somebody is awake. I was just wondering how anyone can sleep with so much noise? I want to pee. Here, take my purse. I’ll be back in a jiffy.” Meera hurriedly climbed down.

Avni smiled, took the purse and had a good look at the kids. They looked so fresh. One girl with cute pigtails was fascinated by the scenery and she was happily pointing to the trees and fields outside. Another pair of kids were playing ‘Uno’ with their parents. A toddler was jumping in joy and in sync with the movements of the train. They looked like a big happy family.

Avni sighed and saw that Meera was back. She too went to relieve herself. When she came back, she was happy to find the middle seat back to its normal position. All her co-passengers were awake now. ‘Good!’ She thought. ‘At least I can sit properly.’

“God! These kids…” Meera said, annoyed, the moment she sat beside her.

“Looks like you don’t like kids.” Avni said.

“No, it’s not like I don’t like them… But look at their energy levels so early in the morning. I mean they just got up from sleep right?”

Avni laughed at that and said, “Well they are kids. We have to match their energy levels with ours, and most of us fail to do that. And no, they did not sleep here. They just boarded from the last station.”

Meera made an ‘o’ with her lips and huffed, “That explains the noise.”

Avni just nodded and removed a small diary that she always carried with her and wrote something in it.

Meera was curious and tried to take a peek. But before she could take a glimpse, Avni shut it and kept it back.

“So Avni, what do you do?”

“I work in a corporate as a financial analyst and in my free time, I also volunteer in a school for the differently abled.” She smiled proudly as she said that. “What about you, Meera?”

“Wow, that’s impressive! About me? Nothing. I’m a commerce graduate. I got married two months back. I had come to stay with my parents for a few days. I was missing them a lot, you know. And now I’m going back to my husband’s place in Udaipur.” She continued. “Are you travelling for work reasons?”

Just then the chaiwala came. “Will you have tea?” Avni asked looking at Meera.

“Oh yes, two cups.”

They got their tea and Meera offered some biscuits to Avni which she gladly accepted.

“Just curious to know, what did you write in your diary?” Meera asked.

Avni laughed at her antics, “You must be the gossip queen back home, no? You want to know every little thing as fast as you can.”

Meera pretended to be hurt and sulked against the window. A small diary was then kept in her lap. She turned with a huge smile to Avni.

Avni said, “There’s nothing special in here. It’s my bucket list. Things I’ve always wanted to do in my life since I was a child. I write them as and when I feel like doing something and then put a tick whenever it’s done.”

“Oh, nice. I’m so excited to go through it.” Meera said as she opened the first page.

‘Find someone to call mom and dad – check’ was scrawled in cursive writing. “What does this mean?” Meera asked wide eyed.

Avni crossed her arms on her chest and said, “I was abandoned in a dustbin as a baby. Then taken to an orphanage. I grew up there until I was eight years of age. And this was my first wish. I was adopted a year later by this couple whom I now call as mom and dad.” She smiled through her tears. “That was the day when I decided that I will write whatever I wish to do in this diary and then make sure that I end up doing it.”

“I’m sorry about what happened. But you are really lucky to find them as your parents. And you know what, you are like my elder sister. Even she has a bucket list.” Meera said. And just like that the somber mood was lifted.

She started to read the other entries.

‘Get pregnant – check’

She raised her eyebrows and said in hushed tones, “Oh! That’s why you were so eager to exchange seats.” Meera smiled. “Which month?”

“Fourth,” replied Avni.

“Great. Congratulations!” Meera continued to peruse the diary.

‘Trek to the valley of flowers – check’

‘Road trip to Leh-Ladakh – check’

‘Travel solo in train – check’

“Awesome! You like trekking? And travel solo in train, achieved today, right?” Both of them laughed.

Meera continued, “And you still have to trek to ‘Har ki Dhun’ and you want to climb ‘Mount Everest and learn scuba diving…. Wow….”

Meera sat staring at Avni. Avni giggled and said, “I know I won’t be able to do all of this until my baby is born and maybe at least a year thereafter. But still, I will try my best!”

Meera still continued her staring game. “Now what? Will you stop doing that?” Avni cried. Meera laughed at Avni’s exasperated state and said, “You are really weird.”

“I know. My husband used to say that. And I always used to tell him that ‘I’m not weird, just a limited edition.’ And we both would laugh a lot at that. But I like the thrill of adventures, you know. And my husband is totally the opposite. He will not even sit in the rides of the amusement park!”

Avni got lost in her thoughts at that and when Meera prodded her after a while, she suddenly said, “I’m going to my parents’ home in Udaipur.”

Meera was a bit confused at her sudden change in mood, but nevertheless, she said excitedly, “Great… I’m going to my husband’s and you are going to your parents. How many days are you planning to stay? We can meet again!”

“Yes, sure we can meet as many times as we want. I’m staying with my parents forever.”

Meera was shocked at her response. Why was Avni going to her parents’ home forever if she’s pregnant? She wondered whether she could ask her.

Avni took a good look at her and said, “I know you are dying to ask me the details, so shoot.”

For a second Meera couldn’t believe that a stranger like Avni was ready to share the details of her personal life. But, she somehow did not feel like Avni was a stranger anymore. She felt a strong connection to her. So she asked, “My dear adventurer and mind-reader, what the hell happened?”

“A few days back, I had been to my doctor for my checkup. My in laws somehow managed to find out that I’m carrying a girl. And my ultrasound also showed a slight abnormality. So they gave me two choices: Abort the baby or leave the house. So, here I am.” Avni gestured to herself and the train.

“Abort because you are carrying a girl, NO!” Meera cried. “That is ridiculous! But, what about the abnormality?”

“My reports showed a slight increase in the nuchal translucency. That is one of the indicators of the baby having Down’s syndrome. But, my blood reports are normal. So that could just be temporary. When the doctor was explaining all of this, my in laws assumed the worst. And they are just not ready to listen!” Avni said.

Meera sighed, “Yes, then you are right in doing this. But, what about your husband? Doesn’t he support you?”

“He’s given in to his parents’ pressure. Five years of our marriage mean nothing to him. We were trying so hard for a baby; and now when I’m pregnant, he wants to kill the baby for something that we are not even sure of. And I’m fully capable of taking care of her even if she turns out to be Downs Syndrome. I’m not going to abandon her like my biological parents did to me. I have made my choice and I’m going to stick to it.”

Avni wiped her tears and Meera hugged her, “yes, I’m sure whatever will happen will be for the best. And you deserve the best, weirdo!”

After that, they had lunch. They had tuned off the remaining passengers, being oblivious to who got down or who boarded. They laughed together and spoke about their dreams and ambitions. And in no time they reached Udaipur.

“Finally, our destination is here.” Meera said happily. “Make sure to keep in touch. We are in the same area.”

“Sure, Meera. Take care and see you soon.” Avni replied.

Meera helped her with her luggage and with a final goodbye they parted ways. Avni sighed. Her destination was definitely here, but she had a long journey ahead of her. A journey which she had decided to choose. But she had no regrets. She was determined to overcome the obstacles and emerge victorious at the end of the day.

Posted in Married life, relationships, short story

Trapped!

Shraddha was sipping hot tea in the balcony of her plush two bedroom apartment overlooking the landscaped gardens of the complex where they resided. She was so lost in her thoughts that she did not realize when Sagar, her husband, left for work. This had become a routine thing since the last month or so. They hardly talked, and when they did attempt to communicate, Shraddha would lose her temper and the end result would be a nasty fight. It felt like both of them were treading over quicksand. A single wrong step and both of them would be caught in it with no one to save them.

Shraddha was constantly wondering that what went wrong in the seven year marriage of theirs. She wanted to try, and she did feel that she was the only one trying to save their marriage with no effort from Sagar’s side. The only force that kept her going was their five year old daughter, Aadhya. She din’t want to give up on her marriage just because of a few bad days.

She just could not understand that why the once madly in love couple had become so estranged that they couldn’t even be together in the same room without arguing. Both of them spent extra efforts to not talk to each other in spite of living under the same roof. In the mornings, Shraddha would make breakfast, send Aadhya to school, finish off her kitchen work, pack her lunch and leave for work. At work, she would deal with the problems of her clients and staff. During lunch time, she would pick up her daughter and drop her home with the maid and return to work. Her office, Aadhya’s school and their home was just a few minutes away from each other which was very convenient for all of them. Then, after a stressful day at work, she would be back home. In the late evenings, she would spend some time with Aadhya, cook dinner and later both mother and daughter would be off to bed. Although she had a maid at home, she preferred to cook her own food.

Sagar had a very different routine. He would be the first one to get up in the mornings and head for the gym. He would come home when Shraddha would be in the kitchen busy making breakfast, and he would spend some time with Aadhya, help her in dressing up. By the time he would freshen up, Shraddha would have left to drop Aadhya to school and he would have his breakfast. And when Shraddha would return, he would be getting ready to go off to work. He hardly had dinner at home since the last few days. Both of them were avoiding each other to the best of their abilities. On weekends too, Sagar would go to his office or go out with his friends or sometimes take Aadhya out for a movie. He would ask Shraddha too, whether she would like to accompany them, but she always refused.

Both of them were at a dead end.

But, Shraddha did not like this state of hers. She was feeling trapped with all the emotions bottled up inside her. She wanted to share everything with Sagar, but the fear of rejection from him was scaring her. She was overwhelmed with what was happening. She couldn’t take it any longer.

That day, when she was going to drop Aadhya to school, she saw a grandfather granddaughter duo walking in the park. Looking at them, she remembered her grandfather. How much she missed him!

Of all the family members, she was very close to her maternal grandfather. She would always go to him whenever she had any problem and he would solve it at the drop of a hat! “Where are you now, grandpa? My life is a mess, I need your help more than anything else now” she thought and started crying. She only had memories of him now, for he had passed away when she was eighteen.

Back home, as she got involved in the mundane tasks, she remembered her teenage years when she would be reprimanded for almost anything that she did by her parents. She never understood why she was being yelled at, or lectured for, because it was her normal teen behavior. Her grandfather would always listen to her and at that time he had told her something. Those words had always helped her overcome the hurdles that she faced.

“Life is an exam where the syllabus is unknown and the question papers are not set.” Her grandfather had told her. Those words had always given her hope and the power to conquer all her fears.

And then the sudden realization of her current state dawned on her. That’s when she decided that she wouldn’t give up on their marriage so easily. This was like an exam for her. She would fight for it until she passed. She wouldn’t be trapped in this state forever.

“First things first,” she thought. She sent an email to the HR department in her office saying she would be taking the week off. She felt a sense of relief as soon as she sent the mail. Next, she went to the salon and got a haircut for herself. “It’s high time that I do something good for myself” she thought. Then she took Aadhya to the park in the evening and later they had dinner in a restaurant nearby.

That night as Sagar came home early but exhausted, he was dreading to face Shraddha. He was confused by her mood swings. Initially he thought that maybe she was having premenstrual symptoms, but then they don’t last so long! She would not answer when he asked something and when he would press the matter, they would end up fighting. He just couldn’t understand what wrong he did.

Meanwhile, Shraddha came home with their little one and was surprised to see Sagar early. “Oh no! She thought. “I haven’t made dinner for him and forgot to get a parcel for him as well.” Mentally chastising herself for this silly mistake, she sat beside him on the couch as their daughter went to her room to play.

She held his hand and he looked at her and said, “You look nice.”

“Thanks for noticing.” She smiled through her tears.

“I’ve always noticed you, I thought you’ve forgotten about me these past few months.”

“I don’t know what changed, but let’s promise ourselves to make more effort from now on.” Shraddha urged.

“Yes, we should. I’m really sorry if I have hurt you intentionally or not.”

“Likewise.” Shraddha continued. “Let us go out of town for a few days. I think we need this family vacation. What say?”

“How can I say no to this wonderful proposition?”

They hugged, made their peace and were released from the imaginary trap of emotions that they had entangled themselves in.

We often face such situations in our lives where we feel that our partner doesn’t care anymore. Or he/she has fallen out of love. But, in reality, there’s nothing like that. Instead of trapping ourselves in our imaginary misunderstandings and playing the blame game, it’s better to let ourselves free and communicate. Talking with our partners is the key here. It may not solve all the problems, but we need to start somewhere, right?

Author’s note: This article first appeared as a Featured Post on Women’s Web.

Posted in Married life, mom's life, Personal, relationships

Hope and a few dreams…

I was merely twenty three years old when I got married. And I felt like I had suddenly been transported to a different world altogether. Being in courtship for almost a year and half, I had the feeling that adjusting to my future home shouldn’t be difficult. But then reality struck.

Staying with a family that is almost like a stranger to you was really tough. My in laws had a very laid back kind of lifestyle. And I was totally the opposite. I was literally struggling to get all the work done before I left for college (I had a few months of my internship left), but it just wasn’t working. That’s when Hope held my hand and told me, “You are more than a wife and a daughter in law in this family. Don’t worry about everything so much. Relax, let go. Things will be fine.”

Those words were like a breath of fresh air. I instantly felt lighter and happier. I concentrated on completing my internship and finally got my degree.

It was a dream of mine to study further. But, I was in a dilemma. Whether to study further or start a family. Husband had left the decision to me. He would support me in whatever I decided. I was stuck. That’s when Hope stepped in again. She said, “Live your dreams dearest daughter. Do what your heart desires.” Those words motivated me further to complete my post graduation.

Then my husband and I embraced parenthood. Each day, since then, has been a roller coster ride. I have my moments, some days happy, some days irritated to the core and some days I’m just in a la la land.

Hope has always been with me during my entire journey and she always encourages me to do more, to be more. When I was at home for a few months post my second baby, she encouraged me to do something that I love instead of moping around. That was when my dormant passion of writing got activated. And it has been blooming ever since.

Over the last few years, I have become aware that there’s so much more to my personality other than being a mother. Every day I see a new facet. Today, I’m a doctor, a home maker, a blogger and most importantly, a dreamer. I dreamt and tried my best to live my dreams. And I can’t thank Hope enough for that. She supported me enough so that I could live my dreams. I feel really blessed to have Hope in my life as my mother in law.

Now, it’s my turn. I always encourage her to do things that she loves. It’s not too late to do that either. There’s more to her too than just being a mother, a mother in law and a grandmother. She wants to be a fitness enthusiast and take up her hobbies of crochet and stitching more seriously. And I keep telling her, “It’s better late than never!”

What is your #MoreToMe facet? Do share in the comments section below.

Author’s note : This post first appeared on momspresso.

Pic courtesy : Google images

<a href="Suddenly“><a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/suddenly/”>Suddenly</a&gt;

Posted in mom's life, Parenting, relationships, short story

The perfect mother (a short story)

It was a routine day for Pooja, who worked at an old age home in the heart of the city. She worked at the reception for six hours and also helped in the accounts and inventory later. It had been a month since she had started working there, and she knew all the forty five residents of the home pretty well. She had just finished her graduation and wanted to do something in her free time. This old age home was a perfect work place for her. Within walking distance of her house and flexible working hours. She liked it’s architecture too. It was an old brown building with ground plus two floors with a small garden on the backside. Each floor had fifteen rooms with an attached bathroom. There was a mess on the ground floor adjoining the garden. There was also a TV and a carrom board kept in the mess. They had enough nurses and care takers to look after the residents. They also had a doctor visiting them every week. Although the place was in the heart of the city, there was a sense of calm when she entered inside. It felt very homey. Her desk was directly in front of the entrance which was flanked by rooms on either side. .

She was particularly fond of Jaya aunty, an octogenarian, who would talk non stop and entertain her from all the gossips of other residents. Jaya aunty had voluntarily left her son and daughter who had settled abroad and made this place her home. She always said that she could never fathom the western culture and so she came back to her motherland and decided to stay here as it was difficult to stay all alone at this age.

Then there was Sudha aunty, Ashok uncle, Joseph uncle, Laxmi aunty who were other gossip mongers; and others like Sarika aunty, Pradeep uncle who preferred to keep to themselves. There were many others who were in their late seventies or eighties, some of them came voluntarily whereas others were forced to. They all stayed like a big happy family.

Pooja had noticed a particular man called Sagar, who would come everyday even before she came and he would leave by 9am. He was always impeccably dressed in suits and always carried a laptop bag. And on Saturdays, a woman whom she assumed was his wife would accompany him. They would spend a good two to three hours with Sarika aunty, who was staying in the last room facing the small garden on the ground floor.

Being new to the place, she did not know the health problems that any of them had, but the ramblings of Jaya aunty had kept her updated. Today, curiosity got the better of her and she thought she would take a peek at what Sagar was talking to Sarika aunty. As she stopped by her door, she heard Sarika aunty laughing at something that Sagar was showing her on the laptop. Then he turned to her, took her hands in his and told her, “Aai, mi aahe, Sagar. Tumcha Sagar. Mulga tujha?” (Mother, it’s me, Sagar. Your Sagar. Your son?).

Sarika aunty looked at him and said, “Ha Sagar, majha mulga, tula kasa visarnar?” (Yes Sagar, my son? How can I forget you?)

Pooja felt that she was intruding on a very private moment and she decided to leave. As she was about to leave, she heard Sarika aunty saying, “Aapan kon?” (Who are you?). Pooja was frozen in her tracks as she thought Sarika aunty had caught her listening to their conversation. But when she turned around, she saw that she was asking the question to Sagar. A stray tear escaped Sagar’s eyes, but before he could say anything, Sarika aunty started laughing at something she saw on the laptop. And Sagar’s eyes met with Pooja’s as she mouthed ‘sorry’ and went back to her desk.

When Sagar came out to leave, he was met with the curious eyes of Pooja. She din’t want to sound imposing, and so she did not ask him anything. The next morning, Sagar came with a cup of tea and instead of going to meet his mother he sat with Pooja in the mess.

“She’s my mother.” He began. “Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years back. It’s worsening with each passing day. We used to stay together, all of us, my wife, my twin sons and my mother until last year when it was too risky to keep her alone. She would lock the main door from inside and forget how to open it. Sometimes, she wouldn’t let us inside our own house as she wouldn’t recognise us and think we were theives. At times, she would keep my car keys in the refrigerator and we would end up searching the entire house. So, for everyone’s safety and more importantly her’s, we decided to bring her here. She’s been here since a year and sometimes she recognises us, sometimes she doesn’t.”

Pooja’s eyes had turned glassy on hearing his story. She said, “She’s a very quiet lady. Hardly talks to anyone. I was surprised to find her so happy when you come. I’m sure deep down she knows that you are her son. It’s not your fault that she doesn’t remember you.”

“I know it’s not my fault. But every single day, I feel sorry for myself for the way I have always treated her. She wasn’t very fluent in English, and when I grew older, I have always ridiculed her for that. I used to be embarrassed when she would come to school. I used to tell her that she’s not my perfect mother. She doesn’t know anything. I used to yell at her, tell her to leave me alone. But she would always smile at me and still cook me my favourite dishes. I was never thankful to her. I hardly expressed my love for her. But when my sons were born, I saw my wife struggle raising them. I would help her, but not that much. My mother stood by her, and we sailed through. But I was too busy with my career to even acknowledge her for that. And by the time I realised that how difficult it is for a mother to raise her kids, it was too late. Today, when she doesn’t recognise me, I feel broken, but then I think that I probably deserve it for the way I have treated her. I visit her everyday for a couple of hours, I show her videos on my laptop of whatever place she wanted to visit but now cannot. I show her videos of my sons growing up. I feel very happy when she recognises me even for a few minutes. I tell her everyday that she is my perfect mother and how much I love her! And she smiles, she always does.”

With that Sagar left to move on with his day.

Pooja couldn’t grasp the emotions she was feeling. She just started sobbing, but realising where she was, she went back to her desk. Later in the evening, when she went back home, she hugged her mom and told her, “You are my perfect mother. I love you. Always remember that.” Her mom laughed at that and told her, “I love you too, you are my perfect daughter”.

There’s a perfect mother in spite of all the imperfections.

Dedicated to all the mothers

Author’s note : This post first appeared on momspresso.

Pic courtesy : Google images

Posted in fatherhood, relationships

From a father to his son

Dear son,

You will be turning 11 next month. And then your phase of adolescence will start. So, before you embark on your journey from a teen to an adult, I would like to tell you a few things. I know I can tell these things to you personally, but chances are that you may not sit for a long time to hear them or even if you do, you may not remember most of it. So, I’ve decided that I’ll write you a letter which you can read again and again and at your own time.

The first thing that I want you to learn is the value of money. I know that until now, your mom and myself have looked after all your needs and given you things accordingly. We have started giving you pocket money from this year onwards. So, anything else that you need other than school related things, you’ll be using your pocket money. And how and where you want to use it is entirely your decision. Whether you want the latest Xbox or the latest smartphone or you want to eat out with friends or go to the movies; you save from the pocket money and use it. You may feel that your parents are very strict, but believe me it will help you in the long run. And consider yourself very lucky that you have that privilege of getting pocket money, because when we were teens we never had that privilege. Our parents have struggled a lot to make us what we are today.

Secondly, I want to tell you something about being independent. In the coming years, you will keep demanding us to give you independence to do what you want. And we surely will. You don’t have to demand it. It’s your right. But, if you want to be independent in the real sense then you should also learn to do your things on your own. Learn to iron your clothes, pack your lunch box, keep your dirty clothes in the laundry bag, learn to cook. You should know atleast a few basic things like making tea/coffee, noodles and deep frying those ready to eat stuff. If you do your things on your own, we too, wouldn’t mind giving you a bit of freedom. It’s a two way thing; you give and you get.

Thirdly, follow your dreams, son. You will realize in the upcoming years, where your heart lies, what your passion is. Feel free to follow your passion. You just need to reach out to us. We will help you and guide you in achieving your dreams. Sometimes, things may not go your way, but don’t worry. Don’t give up. Remember, you just need to reach out to us.

And last but not the least; you will undergo a lot of physical, emotional and hormonal changes. One day you will feel absolutely useless, on the second day you may feel fine. Sometimes you may feel rebellious, sometimes your friends may be more important to you than us. You will want your privacy. We understand that. You will experience different changes in your early, mid and late adolescent years. All this is normal. As much as these teen years are new to you, they are for us too. We too, will be parents to a teen for the first time. We will be trying our best to make this phase easy for you. You need to give it your best too. Remember to reach out always.

Looking forward to meeting a charming and mature young adult.

Your best friend,

Dad.

 

Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.