Awkward

via Daily Prompt: Awkward

She had always been mocked, made fun of by everyone. As a child, these had hurt her, she had sought solace in a world of her own… Her tears had not solved her problem, nor had her introversion. Nothing could change her awkward gait, nothing could change her birth defect.

At some point of time, she had got a good friend, a friend who looked at who she was and not her physical deformities… Her friend had taught her to smile, to laugh and to ignore all those jibes…She realised that God had made her with an awkward gait, but God had made them all with an awkward mind and unkind thoughts. She felt pity for them.

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Parallel Lines

via Daily Prompt: Skewed

The first line continued to move as a straight line. The second, when it began its journey, became a straight line parallel to the first one. They moved ahead together, not crossing each other, no conflicts, peacefully parallel.

And then one line skewed. Should the other too follow, so that peace continue? Well, no…that is not what happened… the skewed line was made to understand its mistake, and revert to the straight path… so they continued their peaceful journey…

The lines are the lives of a husband and wife… its also my family life…

Forest

via Daily Prompt: Forest

They roamed around – the last surviving species. But it was also doomed; its end nearing. Survival of the fittest had been the rule of the day, and when many other smaller beings had perished unable to cope with the increased hostile environment, one species had risen above these, preyed on all other beings and established its superiority.

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“No!”

via Daily Prompt: Rebel

 

“Not that dress! It will make me look like a baby! Who wears pink?”

“But… you bought it”

“No..Amma… not for this party…My friends will make fun of me…”

“Ah!” , Smitha sighed.

“Do these pearls look good on me?”

“Yes… they are lovely”

“No… you are lying Amma…they make me look like a 90-year old. Let me try that choker”

“O No… this looks disgusting” she replied looking into the mirror, though her mother thought that it looked good on her. But she knew it was wiser to remain mum.

“Let me try the simple golden chain with the rose pendant….O but where are its matching earrings?”

Her mother shrugged her shoulders as her daughter rummaged through her wardrobe, looking for the perfect dress and the perfect set of jewellery to go with it. Her mother watched with rising temper as her daughter pulled, tried and threw on the bed, dress after dress.

“What is this???There is nothing worthy of wearing! Amma…” she screamed and turned to her mother.

“Nothing to wear ??? Look at all the dresses lying on the floor… And yet you say nothing to wear?” yelled back her mother.

“I have decided…No party for you today… And you are to fold all these dresses back neatly into the cupboard. Is that clear?”

There was hint of steel in her mother’s voice and so she thought it best not to argue.

Few hours later.

“Sometimes mothers have to rebel too when they have a teenage daughter who rebels at the drop of a hat… They need to be taught not to take their mothers for granted” said Smitha to her husband laughing.

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: Laughter

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

Her laughter resounded throughout the building. When I heard it, a strange fear crept through me. It was not a laughter indicating happiness, rather it was completely devoid of any feelings – there was no triumph, no joy, not even hatred!

Whose laughter was that, I thought? I looked at my Uncle. He always had the knack of reading my mind. and this time too, her read it, rather precisely.

“You should see her. come with me.”

I walked with him to the interiors of the old building. It was badly in need of maintenance, but the authorities hardly cared, nor did the people who lived. The souls that existed there were the ones who had been forsaken by their near and dear ones, forgotten by the society, and they in turn had turned escaped to their own world!

A frail lady wearing a simple white saree stood before me. her hair was well-combed, and she looked well-dressed too, which took me by surprise. I had somehow expected a dishevelled looking lady.

Once again my Uncle turned to me and smiled knowingly.

“She is an interesting case. Looking at her, you would feel she is quite normal. She is indeed, to some extent. But the trauma that she has undergone is beyond words. she saw with her own eyes her two children burning to death, that too on her birthday. they had been making arrangements to give her a surprise party. it was a freak accident, but somehow she blames herself. Strangely, when she saw her kids burning, she laughed aloud…a hollow laughter…like the one you heard now… She has not moved out of that day. She is always well-dressed, as she thinks its still her birthday, and once in a while she laughs, maybe bits and pieces of that incident flash on her mind, or maybe she thinks of children. When she reached this mental institution, she was like a statue, not reacting to anything. but there is a slight improvement now, she takes effort to dress. ”

Human mind , I knew, was a really frail thing. But common man hardly ever bothers about it, he always takes care of his body, but mental peace is equally important. For in a second, our mind can snap and push us into a world of our own, away from this busy and selfish world. As a student of psychiatry, I had come across many such strange cases. But her laughter haunted me for many many days.

Smile – Weekly Photo Challenge

These lovely blooms can bring a smile on my face anytime!! I simply love flowers and gardens. These snaps were taken at a flower show in Mysore. Nothing man-made can be as beautiful as these gifts of nature….

Do you also like flowers? Please feel free to comment and let me know 🙂

 

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Who is she?

I kept checking my watch. I was about to begin a new job. Not a job that I had dreamt of, but a job nevertheless. I should have felt elated and happy at having got a job at the age of 35 with no prior experience. Having lived a life of a housewife, or a “homemaker” as they call themselves today, all these years, I cursed myself for having fallen into this trap called ‘marriage’ and felt depressed at having to work. But money was the current  priority of my family, and I was their ‘genie from the bottle’ who ought to fulfill all their wishes. So here i was going in a bus to the first job of my life!

Many a random thought crossed my mind as I was going, from very normal ones like ‘had  taken the appointment letter’ to very irrational ones like ‘what if the building had just disappeared by the time i reach there’. The overpowering fragrance of a perfume put an end to my increasingly illogical musings. I looked around and noted the lady who had just taken the seat behind me. I automatically noted that she was wearing a beautiful red chiffon saree with big black roses printed on the skirt part, the upper part had been kept plain. She wore a silver chain with a diamond pendant, a matching silver bracelet, and silver earrings all studded with stones. The whole ensemble emanated a silent elegance which somehow jarred with the crowded bus. It was only when she gave a knowing smile, that  I realised that i had been shamelessly staring at her! I gave a weak smile and took a sudden interest in the sultry images of the dry and hot city scenes that passed by me.

I kept scolding myself for having been such a fool, when my stop arrived. I got up and turned to see that she too was getting down. After the bus left, we both crossed the road and as i watched she went into a big building named ‘Olivia Gardens’. It looked like a huge gated community. I continued watching her for another minute or two, when my phone rang.

“Hello

Yes…got down the bus just now…

O… ok… will hurry”

That was my mother-in-law, calling to check if her slave had escaped. Of course, i couldn’t for she used my 10-year old daughter from my first marriage, to keep me enslaved to her son.  As  I looked around, I found the board I was looking for.

“Gyana Bhavan Senior Secondary School” , it said and pointed an arrow towards a narrow lane.

I must have walked for about 15 minutes. Many kids, small and big, passed by me, but none were wearing uniform. Though i guessed that these must be the kids of the school where I was about to join, their not wearing uniform surprised me.

The school was quite big, with 2 large playgrounds, on either side. The presence of such a spacious school right in the heart of a city astonished me.

As per the instructions given to me, I met the Vice Principal, who told the peon to take me to LKG –L section.

He walked through the long corridor and I followed him, looking around and absorbing the sights of shouting kids and teachers all around me.

“There, that is L section” he said pointing to a room at the far end.

I walked with unsure steps, wondering if I will be able to manage a class?

As I entered the class, i saw a bunch of tiny tots looking upto me with eager eyes, some smiling at me, a few howling, some running around and one or two sitting quietly and a lady shouting at them to be quiet. As soon as she saw me, she came and asked, “Are you the new teacher?”

I nodded my head and I could see that she felt very relieved on hearing this.

“Ok.. you can start the class…” she said and left.

I looked around, not knowing how or what or where to start.  As if reading my thoughts the teacher from the adjacent class popped in and said “Maybe you can start with a simple prayer, introduce yourself and get the kids to tell their names. By the way, here is your attendance register. And get started as soon as possible, for in 10 minutes, Principal ma’m will be here on rounds.”

And so began an eventful day, filled with laughter, howls, music and  scoldings from my part. By afternoon my throat was sore, as I realised that these angelic looking kids can be quite trying too. This would continue to be my routine for many more years.

I also noticed on my very first day that, in this school everything in a teacher’s life right from class prayer, to going to toilet, to eating lunch, was punctuated by the “Principal Mam’s “ rounds.

As days passed, I became more adept at handling kids, and the kids too started responding to me. With my life at home becoming more and more difficult, repeated taunts from my mother-in-law and physical abuse from my husband, I was finding solace in these kids. The school became the place I looked forward to go to each day.

The one thing that had not, however changed in my life was my fellow-traveller – the elegant lady I had seen on the bus on my first day, whom I had by now named “Rose”. Though i wanted to get to know her, never did I try talking to her for I felt too shy after the incident on the first day. But I felt we shared a strange bond. Just as one doesn’t take any special notice of the furniture in our house till it goes missing or is misplaced, similarly we had become used to seeing each other every day,

Without even being conscious of it, we looked out for each other every day,  and it had become a habit. When we got down both of us went our way, but we always exchanged a parting look, an iota of smile playing on our lips.

This saga of silent acknowledgement continued for many years. I never mentioned about her to anyone at home, not even to my daughter. I always wanted to know more about her, and where she was going everyday but my day-to-day problems kept me preoccupied never ever giving my curiosity a chance to overpower my mind and actions until that day.

It had been raining incessantly for the last one week. Many parts of the city were flooded. All schools had been given holiday. I was not sure if teachers were required to come or not, but i didn’t go. Our home too had been flooded, and we shifted to a nearby refugee centre, which happened to be a Government school. My mother-in-law and husband were quick to blame me for this predicament saying that I had squandered away all my salary and should have used it raise the height of our house. They even blamed me for the heavy downpour pounding the city!! Having heard such and similar ridicules all my life, I hardly bothered about these comments, rather I hoped that being in a public place  would help me to probably escape the physical torture at their hands, which by now had become a routine activity. But I was worried about Rose. Where would she be, and how would she be? I had this nagging thought at the back of my mind that something definitely was not right.  I knew that she was not well. All my fears proved to be correct when a few weeks after floods her body was discovered in an apartment at “Olivia Gardens”.

I read about it in the papers. Different newspapers carried different versions of who she was and her life. I tried reading as many papers as possible. As I put together the pieces, a very tragic tale unfolded in front of me leaving me dazed.

My “Rose” was known by the name “Nitya” in real life.  The death of her husband marked an end to her peaceful life, and when she stepped into a second marriage, she made perhaps the biggest mistake in her life. Her husband and family forced her to work and earn while they squandered away her earnings and tortured her for more. She was taking classes for a special child who lived in that apartment. Her calm and elegant appearance that had initially drawn my attention had just been a mask that successfully hid her agony. The police found that she had been physically assaulted and tormented, and very old marks suggested that this had been going on for perhaps many years now. The police were still looking for her husband who had absconded. Her in-laws had been arrested.

Perhaps my first day had been hers too; perhaps just like me she may not have worked for many years; perhaps that might have been her first job ; perhaps…as the train of thoughts whizzed forward, i started noticing an odd similarity, very unusual to be termed ‘coincidence’. A strange fear gripped my heart. My happy married life had been smashed to pieces by the death of my husband and the second life that I had chosen, had given me nothing but misery. Each and every printed word seemed to be mocking, challenging and warning me as to what fate awaited me.

Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction! Who was telling the story ? And whose story was it anyway ?
The words fluttered and flew in the wind.