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IT’S ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE.

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Chaluvi was staring at the ceiling fan as he pounded her. He stopped and looked at her. She smiled, let out a low moan and hugged him tighter. He continued till he was spent. “Whom were you thinking about?” he asked as she was getting dressed. She was silent. Getting up he stood before her. He yanked her hair hard, “Answer me,” he bellowed. She looked squarely in his eyes and replied, “your father.” He impulsively raised his hand to slap her, which she caught midway. “I may be your slave but I am also the mother of your son. Remember that!” saying this she left him staring after her.

She came face to face with Shantamma outside the room whose face was contorted with hatred towards Chaluvi but Chaluvi’s eyes were sympathetic. She bowed to Shantamma as she walked away.

Chaluvi was the slave of Dodanna Gowda. He was the “Thakur” of the town. Poverty had forced Chaluvi’s father to sell his daughter off to the Gowda when she was just 10 years old. Since then she had lost count of the several times she was raped by the men of the family. As Shantamma was not able to conceive, it was Chaluvi who gave the heir to the family, Tejas was now 10 years old and was studying in a Boarding School in Bangalore. Of course he had no idea of who his real mother was.

“Take this, a total of 5000 rupees. Send 2000 rupees to Venkta and keep the rest. Ningi may need it for her check up,” said Chaluvi handing over the money to her mother.

Her mother smiled though she was sad. “How I wish to see you as a bride and end your ordeal!”

“And do what? Warm the bed of another man! Cook and clean for him? Am I not doing the same now,” retorted Chaluvi.

Ningi, her younger sister who was pregnant and had come home for delivery hugged her sister. “We won’t be what we are today if not for your sacrifices akka.”

“If not for you Ningi, I would not be alive today,” replied Chaluvi.

Ningi, who was a nurse in the government hospital, was instrumental in saving her sister’s life when she was going through a very difficult delivery.

“Maybe I can breathe a little easy when Venkta gets a job. For that he has to pass his exams, which he is not been able to for the past two years. The company of friends he keeps is not good. And if he ends up marrying that girl he is moving around with, I will end up looking after his family too. Men! And Suresha, he had to abandon us! And people still pray to have sons!” she spat.

“That is our destiny Chaluvi, wish your father was alive today, then we would not have to see any of this,” told her mother wiping her tears.

Chaluvi started laughing.

Written for The Book Club’s Blogging Community.

The prompt of this month is – Women Are Not Equal To Men.

 

 

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THE-OLD-WELL-WORN-FELT-HAT.

I had forgotten about this post. I thank Roshni for reminding me about this. This is one of the posts I am proud of…written 3 years back. Hope you all will enjoy reading this.

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I do feel a bit left out when I say I don’t have or I don’t wear many hats as many of my women friends do. 

And, then when I think of it, I do have one…well, two to be precise.

The first one is an old, worn, (well worn in fact) felt hat that has been passed on to me by the generations of women before me in my family. Amazingly, it fit everyone just fine. And, most of the time it is kept hidden or made invisible. Every woman is proud to be wearing it.

Role-playing and multitasking may not be the prerogative of women…but, we are more efficient, more adept than our male counterpart.

The way we women blend into the various roles, I would like to say we are more like ‘Chameleons’…blending with the environment and never giving ourselves away.

Okay, let me get back to the well-worn-invisible-felt-hat. Whenever, I feel I have achieved something, big or small…even teeny weenie small, I add a feather to my hat! And, I feel jolly good about it. This is how I saw my mom, my granny and my great granny. They never made any hue or cry about it…just a look at their beaming face and the feather on the hat….the whole world (household, because it was their world) would know! Hey, let me tell you this…the passing on of this old-well-worn-felt-hats is a tradition followed in every family, passed on from mothers to daughters. Such are her pleasures.

Now, for the second hat I possess. A magician’s hat…yes, the very black one!

 I put my hand into it and pull out some alphabets. They hover above and around me. I catch them one by one, string them into words, and weave them to phrases and sentences, magically transforming them to poetry or a prose! Voila!

Then, sometimes, I take out ‘a mood’ from the hat. I am a fussy cook. This ‘mood’ magically turns me into the ‘cooking mode’ and I feed a very happy family.

And, then there are times when I take out my memories – good, bad, happy, sad, some painful and some totally hilarious…the whole concoction of them. Helps me to be grounded.

It takes some balls (pun intended) everyday, from the magical hat to juggle my chores.   

I can go on and on with the things I can do with my magical hat….the best one – I take out my dreams and lay them all before me. I stuff back the ones I have achieved, the others I linger on….reminding myself that I have more feathers to add to my old-well-worn-invisible-felt-hat.

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TIME OF OUR LIVES.

 

You read something in a newspaper or watch something on a TV that catches your fancy and you make a wistful wish –“I wish I could do it someday,” you tell yourself. You visualize that for sometime and then wake up to reality and tuck away that dream or bury it in the far recesses of your mind. Life happens, you put others wishes ahead of yours and your dreams are forgotten. Except that the dream does not die. Time and again it pops up disturbing your conscience and time and again you push it down, consciously and forcefully.

A couple of friends have dreamed the same dream, years before you have when they were in college and have buried it too in their hearts and have let other things take precedence – Career, marriage, kids, responsibilities of a corporate job, staying afloat and sane, a new house, loans, parents to take care of, the list is endless.

And one fine day a friend becomes a catalyst and tells you of an opportunity that will help realize our dreams. Yet, we are skeptical. The list of reasons for not making this dream a reality is endless. The reasons or the excuses outweigh your selfish desire of realizing your dream. We women are famous in putting others needs before even thinking how important this will be to us! That is why we women exist and do not live for the most part of our lives.

It then takes a certain push and some convincing from the catalyst for us to actually come to a decision…you can say that the Universe conspired and made us all come together to realize our ‘common’ dream, which we all had nurtured for years, for as long as 25 years – a long road trip.

This dream became a reality in form a car rally for women! Times group have been organizing a Women’s Drive for the past 8 years…this was to bring about the awareness of breast cancer among women. Every year the women used to drive from Mumbai and Pune to Lavasa. This year, they included Bangalore City too and the destination was changed to Goa. A blessing in disguise? Or a higher force at work? Whichever way we want to think, it worked out for us. The icing on the cake was when my friend Nandini asked me to join her team! There was no way I would say ‘No’ for this…I would try everything I could to make this a possibility because I have waited for this too long.

And so things got rolling and we made preparations. Nandini scanned the Internet and came up with reading materials that would help us understand the rally better – This was the TSD rally.

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D – day:

We are excited and thrilled. We were tensed and nervous. The venue from where we are to be flagged off had a festive atmosphere, pulsating with enthusiasm and cloaked with fog – the whole scene was right out of a fairy tale book, surreal. We saw women from diverse professions all decked up…the cars decorated in various themes, the effort they had put in to stand out, to send across a message, every moment was awe inspiring.

We had named our team comprising of myself, Nandini and Kala – Bindas Babes, we are both Bindas and can also be babes – a combination of strong and delicate. There were various categories of prizes to be won and one among them was for the best-dressed team. Initially we had decided on “Kacche panche,” a traditional way of wearing a dhoti and Mysore pheta as our attire. Well the logistics did not work out and we ended up wearing a simple dhoti and turbans, the colors of which matched our national flag. After taking lots of photos, collecting our goody bags and breakfast packets…we were set. Our heartbeats could be heard over the music!

We were flagged off amidst cheers and shouts…so far so good. We were so excited to start off our journey that we missed our first turn! First of many blunders we would make.

From then on we never missed our route or the Time Controls. At least, we could read the Tulip Chart!

Well, we do have the credit of reaching our destination first…first among all the zones. Yaayyy!

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The take away from this rally

We did not win any prizes but we had an experience of a lifetime. It was our first car rally, the longest TDS rally in the world as claimed by the organizers, it was my first girl’s road trip and it was a thrilling adventure.

Never in my life have I understood a formula so quickly – time = distance/speed x 60. Never had math be so integral part of my life! So many numbers…what a nightmare!

Our calculations on paper were perfect, but we could not match up to it practically…a lesson we learnt. We need more practice and co-ordination and not to forget precision.

We were good as a team and if we were close as friends, we became closer. I gained a friend in Kala.

It is a popular misconception the women drivers are bad…I was stupefied with the amount of control they have even in high speeds. I could see these women zipping between trucks with ease on a National highway. And also dance away as there is no tomorrow even after driving for hours.

We all made the best of these 3 days! We were ourselves and we did what we wanted to do.

The resort we were staying in was really beautiful and the beach at night was bliss.

We did nothing and nothing was all we wanted. We talked, we sang, we shopped, we ate, we felt alive and we had the time of our lives.

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SUCCUMB. #hearthealth

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She lay there on the hospital bed kept alive with the help of a ventilator, her face calm and peaceful though pale. She was beautiful, even now…even when the end was near. The doctors had given up hope. The count down had begun.

Outside the ICU friends, family and few of her former lovers were waiting. Contemplating and remorse, each had a story to share. Each praising her NOW! They were talking about her as if she was dead. And why not, she had been dead for sometime now…albeit in bits and pieces.

She was a dancer, an exponent of Kathak and had danced till the day she collapsed. She was just 50. But her heart had aged…had been through a lot of wear and tear…emotionally. She had never compromised on her health and was very disciplined in maintaining her fitness; her art demanded it. Yet she had no control over her feelings. She had given her heart to men who had broken it; eventually…she had been heartsick with love or the lack of it.

But she never let go of a chance of falling in love, which was her folly. She could have guarded her heart, protected it and could have loved herself more. She loved with intensity, every time expecting to be loved back the same way. She would laugh at herself after heartbreak and each time she had died a little. Still, she never gave up on love because that is what she could do well…. love. She was compassionate, caring and a warm person…but everyone – her family, her students and friends took her goodness for granted. They walked all over her, and she did not complain as she could only give. And so, her heart took the toll.

“Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.”
Mineko Iwasaki

 

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Written for – The Book Club’s Blogging Community: It is all about your heart.


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SHACKLED.

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You stalk me

Even when you are with me

Words die

Stillness speak

Legs confined

I cannot traverse those two steps

A wall of morality

Built by the society

Is thick between us

Eyes meet

Sparks fly

Kindles the fire…of desire

The external forces

Are greater than

Our innate feelings,

Shackling you and me.

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AVALANCHE.

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I had locked them away

Yet, all they needed was a trigger

They had been confined for so long.

I first shivered and

Then shook as

I heard tremble in their captivity

Wanting to break free.

I heard one of them groan

The other, roar…

It was a mutiny!

They were against me in full force.

They rumbled and the hinges creaked

And in one push they burst out

I was overwhelmed with their onslaught

Caught off guard, I slipped

Was swept away by  their influx

Their suddenness paralyzed me.

Out of control, they rushed, pushed and ran amok

The avalanche of memories nearly killed me!

I let them be…

I let them be for

It was a burden ever so heavy and

In their freedom I have my peace.

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ACHE.

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An unfinished poem

An unsung melody

That’s what you are.

The words stuck in my heart

Words, I did not type

The words, I deleted….all that you are!

The smile that doesn’t reach my eyes

The flowing water which I can’t touch twice

The shooting star that disappears in the blink of an eye

The sighs,

The tears I hide

Loneliness and longing, the constant feeling….

Sadness which I wear like a cloak

And the nothingness I stare into.

The jab that passes through my heart

Miserable failed attempts at masking my feelings…

You are the wound that I keep scratching

You are the sin I wanna commit

You are the wrong I wanna prove right.

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