Writing 101: Day18 – The Last Good bye

I love sitting on the rocking chair on our balcony. I can look at the entire neighborhood from here. And I love the sound as the chair rocks against the floor. “Khat, khat, khat”, I love to close my eyes and think that I am sitting atop a horse galloping to some far away land.

Suddenly, I hear the agitated voices of many grown-ups together. I look across the street and see that it is coming from Mrs. Pauley’s house. Mrs. Pauley is an old lady staying just opposite to our house. She makes the best cookies and whenever I visit her, she gives me one. Of late though, she hasn’t been baking any cookies. Not since Mr. Pauley “passed away” three months ago. I don’t really know what that means but Mom says that we move on to a better place than this world.

I see some policemen looking very serious bringing out Mrs. Pauley through the door. Is she crying? What is she saying to the men? And why is there a small bag in her hand? I have never seen her going anywhere ever. The only time she would be out of the house would be when she and Mr. Pauley used to go to the Church every Sunday.

I call my Mom, “Mom, come to the balcony. See where Mrs. Pauley is going.”

“What? What are you saying?”, Mom shouts back.

“Come outside now Mom”.

Mom finally comes out and tries to figure what is happening. By this time, I see some more people in our neighborhood coming out of their houses to see what is going on. I also see Mr. Smith. He is the landlord of Mrs. Pauley. He never used to come here before but lately, I have seen him many times here. I don’t like him. He speaks very rudely to Mrs. Pauley.

By this time, I see Mrs. Pauley is walking towards the gate. “Mom, where are they taking her?”

I look up to see that there are tears in Mom’s eyes too. “They are taking her away because she could not pay the rent. She doesn’t have money. I can’t believe that none of her sons helped her. Six sons and not one of them have the good sense to do something for her after all she has done for them.”

I suddenly remember the place where Dad keeps his money and start going inside. “Where are you going?”

“Mom, we can give her the money. Then they will not take Mrs. Pauley away.”

“It’s a good idea honey, but we don’t have so much money as to pay her rent. We can hardly manage ours”, Mom says in a broken voice.

“But Mom, can’t we stop them?”

“I wish we could baby”, my Mom says sadly.

Just at that moment, Mrs. Pauley looks up at me and waves sadly.

 

Three days have passed since Mrs. Pauley was taken away and it is Sunday. I want to go meet her today. I rush to Mom to remind her.

“Baby, I didn’t tell you but we can’t go see Mrs. Pauley”, Mom says very softly.

“But Mom, you promised”, I wail.

“I know but honey, Mrs. Pauley is no more”

“What does that mean?”, I don’t understand what Mom says.

“That means that she has also passed away like Mr. Pauley. They are together now.”

“Oh that is good then”, I say. Though I will not get to eat any of her delicious cookies, I am happy that Mrs. Pauley is with her husband. She was always happy with him.

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Writing 101: Day17 – Up, up and away: My fear

Sounds of laughter and fragrances of different food items somehow get through the haze of fear. I clutch the railing of the small box tightly. My knuckles turn almost white. The motor turns on with a growl and I close my eyes tightly. As if that would somehow negate the reality!

And then up goes the box and with it me and my friend Deb. Deb’s voice reaches my ear “Ayyeeee Dipsss…its awesome, ain’t it?” I look at her and try to utter something but only manage a weird sound. “Oh Gawd, don’t tell me you are scared”, she drawls.

Too ashamed to admit my fear, I keep quiet and try not to look down. Suddenly the box starts moving down with a whoosh. It seems like everything that I have eaten in the fair is churning in my stomach. My box comes down and I feel like jumping out of it onto the ground. But, my pride is at stake here. I continue to cling onto the seat and endure the horrendous ride.

Finally after about fifteen times of eye-shutting, stomach churning and Deb’s happy squeals, it stops. I rush out of the box as soon as possible. I make a promise to myself. I am never getting up on that darned ferris wheel thing again. No Sir, not even if my life depended on it.

Writing 101: Day16 – The Notebook: Lost…only to be found

She steps into the attic. It has been a long time since she has last come here. She notices that all the boxes are neatly stacked but covered with dust. She has been accustomed to seeing every nook and corner of the house absolutely clean. Her mother had been an athlete once and somehow she has always felt that her agility at getting things done results from there. But recently, her mother seems to have slowed down somehow. She had never paid much attention before because she was too busy with her job and her boyfriend and her own life. But this time, with both those things very effectively removed from her mind and life, she has not been able to overlook the fact that both her parents seems to have aged a lot. She has realized that she has been selfish and negligent with them. And the way that they have welcomed her back knowing that she has resigned from her job and been dumped by her boyfriend, has only made her feel more ashamed and guilty.

But, it is better late than never. Now that she has come home, she plans to get the house renovated at once, something her father has wanted to do for a long time. Her father has never been good at such commonplace and worldly things like money and construction. So, at the request of her mother, she has come up here at the attic to clean the place and remove the important stuff so that the rest of the things can be disposed of.

Looking through all the boxes, she notices that her mother has not thrown away a single thing that belonged to her. Every school text book, scrap book, every uniform that ever belonged to her has been neatly packed in boxes. It is almost as if her whole childhood has been preserved in these boxes. Going through the things, she feels like she is peeping back into her childhood days.

And then she discovers it, the fat hardbound notebook which used to be her diary. It was the notebook which held her every secret, her dreams and aspirations, her thoughts and imagination. She thought that she had lost it but it seems her mother had found it somewhere and preserved it here. She goes through the yellowish pages reading the poems that she had composed as a teenager, the fictional characters that she had created in the stories, her thoughts and ruminations. She remembers the time when writing meant everything to her.

That was before she understood the value of money. That was before she understood the struggles her parents had to go through to put a proper meal on the table because her father had no “real job”. He is a painter and though he is quite well-known now, it was not easy for them during her teenage years. That was when she had decided that she will not grow up to be like her father. She will earn money, lots and lots of it. And her parents would never have to suffer any more. However, the more she became involved with her career, the more she moved away from her parents. Thinking about those childhood dreams now brings tears to her eyes. Really who has she turned into? Who has she become?

Her father may not have earned a lot of money, but he has always followed his heart and dreams. He has remained true to himself and to his wife. Who has she been true to? So involved is she in her thoughts that she does not hear the footsteps of her father entering the attic. She suddenly feels his hand on her head and looks up with tears brimming in her eyes.

“What’s wrong honey”, he asks in his ever gentle tones.

“Nothing Dad”, she whispers” I just found something that I had lost a long time ago”.

“What is it?”

“Nothing much, just myself”.

They look into each others’ eyes and smile with total comprehension.

Writing 101: Day15 – An Event to Remember

In this lifetime, I have come across many important events that have colored my imagination, chiseled my thoughts and shaped my personality. But when I think of one event without which a part of me would never even exist my mind takes me back to an evening of 16th August. I was too young to remember all the details but I do recollect that I had been waiting for that day to come, the day when I would hold him in my arms, the day when I would first see my little brother.

From the day my parents had told me that I would be having a little brother or sister to play with me, I was overjoyed. I had been the youngest member of a huge family and I couldn’t wait for someone to arrive who would be younger to me. However, once he arrived, I was a little disappointed. He was so small and weak. How could he be my playmate? Also, why had I never considered the possibility that I would have to share the attention of my parents and family with him?

But, as the days passed he became bigger and stronger. He started responding to my antics by gurgling with laughter and moving his tiny hands and legs. And I started loving him as I had never loved anybody else. I still remember the time when my Mom told me to watch over him and not lift him. But, telling me not to do something always has the equal and opposite effect. So, I lifted him in my arms when suddenly the telephone rang. I was so shocked by the sudden ringing that I almost dropped him but I myself took the fall and saved him from hitting the floor somehow. I think that is when I realized that my life would never be the same. It dawned on me that I had to protect that little being. That was the day when life and my little brother taught me about responsibility.

I cannot imagine how my life would be without him. Dancing in the rain in the monsoon, getting all muddy playing football in the front yard, fighting with each other and pulling each other’s hair out, all those unforgettable moments of childhood would vanish in a second. And then as we grew up, talking about our crushes and love life, discussing our jobs, having that occasional drink when both of us would get so philosophical that we would talk about everything from Plato to Tagore, all that would be gone as well. Of course, I have a sister too. But, she is so much younger to me that I didn’t get to spend much of my childhood with her.

I often think that the connection that we have with our siblings is elemental. Imagine no other people on earth are made of the exact same elements as you and your siblings. You share the same origin, parents, family and background. Life may take you different ways during your lifetime but you are like branches of a tree having the same root and however far away you are from each other, you got to come back to the roots some time.

So, had my parents decided not to have any more children after me, I would have missed out on a whole side of my life. Thanks Mom and Dad for not taking that decision.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award: Facts about me and my Nominations

blogging-award3

Let me begin by thanking the very inspirational Luccia Gray (Rereading Jane Eyre) who has nominated me for this award. I have admired her writing since I started blogging here and I think it is something of a responsibility to maintain her very high standards.

These are the things that I am supposed to do:

1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you. CHECK
2. List the rules and display the award. CHECK
3. Share seven facts about yourself. CHECK
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated. CHECK
5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you. CHECK

Now moving onto myself, these are some things I would like to share:

  1. I am actually the female version of Clark Kent/ Superman. Nah! But, I do have two sides to me – the one that dresses every morning in the perfectly ironed formal attire and goes to office working in a managerial position in an import-export house and the other one whom you know as Urbandementria who flies with her wings of words in a world of imagination and loves nothing more than to write, read, and procrastinate. However, my duality cannot be explained by my zodiac sign because I am not a Gemini. I am a Virgo.
  2. I might be considered over-qualified by some, though I believe actual education has nothing to do with qualifications. However, I do have two Masters Degrees – the first in English Literature and the second in Business Administration owing, no doubt, to the two different sides to my personality.
  3. I have dappled with a lot of jobs in my lifetime. I have worked as an English Language Instructor, a teacher in a school, a Relationship Manager in a bank and currently an Export Manager.
  4. I like visiting new places and have stayed in different parts of my country. I was born in a very small town called Bandel, went to Kolkata to pursue my college education and currently staying in the beautiful city of Hyderabad. But, I have never travelled outside India.
  5. My love for writing started from the time when I was a student of Class Five, and my English teacher gave us an assignment to write an Autobiography of a tree. Not sure what to write, I approached my father. He explained it so well that I still remember every word of what he said. And from that very assignment began my love affair with composing things.
  6. I am an avid listener of music and am trained in Indian Classical music as a singer. However, I love listening to all kinds of music, especially rock music. I share this love with my two siblings, a younger brother and a younger sister, and whenever the three of us are at home, we love jamming together, much to the horror of my mother who doesn’t appreciate the loudness of our music.
  7. I eventually want to write and travel the whole world, meeting different people and getting to know different cultures. Yes, that is my dream.

I guess that is enough about me. Now, I want to share with you the 12 bloggers that I have chosen to nominate for the Award of Very Inspiring Blogger. I was supposed to nominate 15 bloggers but since I am new to blogging, I could manage to shortlist only 12.

  1. cyril bussiere – for inspiring me to improve my writing with his beautiful writing and pictures
  2. The Artistic Christian – for surprising me with his blogs
  3. K R Jefferson – for his fresh view of the world
  4. Journey in the Woods – for her courage to face a difficult situation
  5. Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog – for her unique take on topics and making me laugh
  6. Cogito Ergo Mum – who seems to be a kindred spirit
  7. becoming a family – who inspires me with her beautiful free-flowing writing
  8. epheMERAki – for sharing her amazing culture
  9. verbalising – because I love reading her ruminations
  10. wandering story teller – for her honest take on life
  11. That Saucy Tart – for being so originally “saucy” and being unapologetic about it
  12. Behold the Infinite – for her beautifully descriptive pieces

Each of them has a different story to tell and a different perspective of things. But, I enjoy reading their blogs and I hope you will too. Cheers 🙂

Writing 101: Day 14 – A Letter to Codes..

I was reading Dan Brown’s “Digital Fortress” and the word that struck me was “code” So here goes my letter.

Dear Codes,

Why are there so many of you? Codes of dressing, codes of conduct, moral codes, the list is just endless. You want to command me about how to dress, how to walk, how to behave, even what to say and when.

I still remember as a kid the first time I was told about you. “Don’t jump around like a monkey. You can’t do everything that your brothers do. It is the social code”, I was told.  “Why?”, I retorted. “Because you are a girl”, came the reply.

Then I started growing up. I was told that you dictate that I have to sit with my legs together because I am a girl. I have to wear clothes that will cover my whole body because I am a girl. I have to talk decently and not shout at the top of my voice even when I am ecstatic, because I am a girl.

But wait, you are not content by just dictating how I behave and what I wear. You want to dictate even my choice of career. I should ideally study in a college close to home because I am a girl. I should not choose a career in sales or civil engineering because I am a girl. I should get married by the age of 25 and bear children because I am a girl. I have to follow you in everything I do because I am a girl.

Who are you to tell me all these things? Who are you to define me? Who are you to dictate the terms of my existence? You have tried to stop me in every step of the way. But have you been able to stop me from being myself? You can be Agent Smith all dressed in black and looking grim, but I am also Neo. I have dodged all your bullets till now and will keep on doing the same in future.

So, dear Codes, I would advise you to go fly a kite, or anything else that you want to do.

Yours sincerely,

A girl.

 

Writing 101: Day13 – Finding the lost..

She moves around the kitchen like a well-oiled machine. Cooking two curries simultaneously is something she has managed to do over the many years. In fact, on the festive occasions, she still manages to cook a three course meal without any help from anyone. Trying to take out some spices to put in her simmering curry, she opens the bottle. She takes some coriander powder and sprinkles it all over her curry. Now she has to mix it with the rest of the ingredients with the ladle. But wait, where is the ladle? She turns a cursory glance around the counter. No, it is not there. She goes towards the shelves where all the bottles and spices are. She must have put it while looking for the spice. But no, it is not there as well. Looking frantically now, she starts searching the entire kitchen.

And while searching for that lost ladle, she is reminded of all the things she has found. She is lucky to have found a husband who loves and respects her, more so now after twenty five years of marriage. She had chosen a man for herself who, a lot of people thought, was not right for her. She is a practical soul, a woman who moves on despite all the obstacles, a go-getter. On the other hand, her husband is an artist, a man who lives in the world of imagination and who is apparently irresponsible and impractical. But, she knew what she was getting into. He may not seem to care about normal worldly things but he loves her with a passion that an ordinary man cannot comprehend. In fact, she herself cannot believe sometimes that such a talented man could fall in love with such a simple woman like her. Together, they have built a beautiful home and raised a wonderful daughter. They have seen ups and downs in life but everything has fallen in place.

But somewhere down the line, while being there for her husband, tending to his needs every day, giving birth and taking care of her daughter, she has indeed lost “herself”. She has sacrificed so much. Once a state-level athlete, she gave up sports on the insistence of her father. A girl is supposed to marry and become a mother. She cannot spend her entire life running around and collecting trophies. No, that just doesn’t work. Her husband gave her much happiness. But when she thinks about the feeling of freedom that she used to feel while sprinting across the tracks, the wind caressing her hair, her every muscle and instinct in tandem focused on the finish line, she feels like she is a loser. She should have fought a little bit harder. Now, the only place where she uses her skills is while juggling with the utensils or sprinting across the hallway to get to the milk before it overflows while boiling.

“Krrriiiingg…kriinnng”

The sound of the telephone breaks into her thoughts. Getting out of her reverie, she sprints out of the kitchen and grabs the phone. “Hello”, she says breathlessly.

“Hello Mom”, the voice on the other end says. It is her daughter. “I am coming home”.

Suddenly all the feelings that she has lost something, vanishes. She feels as light as the air. And she realizes that what she has found in life is far more precious than what she has lost.

Walking down in a daze of happiness after this realization, she enters the kitchen and her eyes fall on that very thing that she was searching for, her ladle. She had put it in the other bowl where the other curry was cooking. She picks up the ladle, smiles to herself and continues cooking.