Its amazing how time flies by. You keep running and running to keep up with the churning of your daily routine, you get lost many times in the trivial intricacies of the mundane, that you fail to notice how far you have come from where you began. It is when life puts a sudden break in the motion, that you are jolted out of the monotony, and turn back to be taken by surprise – at how the scenery around you has changed while you were running, and how slowly, but surely, your life itself has changed too. Continue reading
This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 44; the forty-fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
Another sheet gets torn off the daily sheet calendar. The hand that tore it, crumples it without a thought, and discards it to the ground, even as the mind ponders over the day that is to come next. 12Th of July, the day she was born, thirty two years ago. Adjusting the strands of hair that refuse to remain put, she tells herself, “There is going to be nothing.” There never has been anything in the past five years she has lived with him. No surprises, no gifts, no thrills. A small greeting, that too after she reminds him, and a reluctant trip to a restaurant, where food along with silence is shared between them. Nothing else.
How she would have loved to receive a gift from him, or a romantic gesture. She is a sucker for romance. All through her growing up years she fantasized her man to be someone who would spring up surprises at her everyday. Small tokens of love, small gestures of affections. A kiss on the neck, a rose after a long day at work. A diamond for a birthday, a holiday for an anniversary. She had dreamed, and dreamed a lot. Through all those lonely nights she lay in bed, wondering how it would be for a man to touch her, and wishing almost desperately that she had someone who loved her.
Some people find their own special someone, a person they love, and then decide to live with them. And some, they first decide to live with a person, and then try to fall in love with them. She had all life wished to be in the first category, but fate had already reserved a seat for her in the next one. She didn’t whine, though. She accepted stoically, and even with some enthusiasm, the life that was laid before her. The expectations though, they refused to evaporate, and kept ebbing high and low with each occasion that came and went. Tides rising and falling to the pull of moon.
He did not, not love her. No. Love was never a problem. Though they had been brought together by others, she knew he loved her. She knew he greatly appreciated her presence in his otherwise empty life. She knew she was someone who had changed his life for him, in a lot many ways. She had known that on the very first day he held her hands, at that cafe in her hometown, on the eve of their engagement. One of those rare display of gestures that had been between them. And at that moment, she had decided that he was the one for her. And she had not regretted that decision at any point in these five years.
The problem was in the expressions, or the lack of them. He said he didn’t believe in special days, and did not like to celebrate them. He forbade her to wish him on his birthday, or buying him any gift. And it never struck him to give her a gift or sweep her off her feet with surprise. Yes. That was the problem. He did love her no doubt, but he was not the person who would sweep her off her feet, like in her dreams and fantasies.
In the initial couple of years, the disappointment that came with each occasion had led to a great many squabbles. Deluges of tears. But how long can one continue to cry anyway. The tears had gradually lessened, if not dried altogether. She looked forward to nothing, and pretended to go through those special days as just another day. She had begun accepting the fact that sweeping was not going to happen in her life. Not of the floor, no, that happened each and everyday, but of her off her feet. She would as well wait for the Earth to start rotating around the Moon. Nowadays she was teaching herself to not expect. Desire, though, still peeped out of some small hole in the heart, with eyes full of yearning, every now and then.
He, for his part, tried his best to do something to make the day standout from the rest. Which was mostly, a lunch or a dinner date, off late with the toddler too in tow (which made it more of a task than a date), with a spattering of conversation, and mostly silence. Not an uneasy or an uncomfortable silence. Not a hostile or cold silence. Just natural, simple silence. For that was how he was. She knew that he knew that she hated that silence, but then, how can someone possibly change their personality of thirty five years overnight? So they went about their lives, each with their singular personalities, sometimes cruising smoothly together, sometimes locked in a head-on collision. Some sparks, some snow. Some laughter, some silence.
The alarm clock sings loudly, making the little one cry out in annoyance. Her hands quickly find it and switch it off. She tries to sit up, but the weight on her head seems to be pulling her down. She realizes that she is shivering. Her nose and eyes sting. She tries to call out to him, but her voice is buried under the caverns of a sore throat. She falls back on her pillow, willing herself with no success to get up.
After what seem five minutes, she opens her eyes and sits up again. A glance at the clock tells its been an hour. This time she is able to steady herself. Slowly disengaging herself from the kid, she totters to the bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, she makes her way to the kitchen, planning woefully the meals for the day.
He sees her and smiles. He walks towards her, takes her hand and makes her sit at the dining table. He goes again and arrives with a small tray. Placing it in front of her, he waits, smiling. A glass of milk, toast and omelet (her favorite breakfast), a rose and a small envelope. Return tickets for the three of them to Maldives, for the dates between which her favorite literary event is going to be held there. The one that she had dreamed of attending, but never dared to due to lack of time and finances. And because she could not leave the toddler alone for so many days. He has combined the holiday with the conference, made a celebration out of a dream. A dream, that is about to come true.
She looks at him with wide eyes. Happy Birthday darling, he says. She manages a raspy I Love You, before her arms encircle her man into her soul and her being. Expectations are not just meant to be met; they are meant to be exceeded. And patience, as someone once said, is a virtue.
The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 13
My friend is going to be married soon. However, trouble has already started brewing for him. His mother is leaving no stone overturned to establish who is the primary woman in the family. The bride had chosen a designer sari to be worn for the reception, as do all girls normally, and as have his sisters done during their marriages, but the to-be-mom-in-law shot down the plans by declaring that the girl should wear the silk sari that she has got for her, no arguments, even as the bride gulped down her disappointment. When the groom tried to reason with the mother, she responded with a, “This is my wish and this is how things are done in our family. I won’t say more than this.” Poor boy, was all I could say.
Read the whole post at Parentous.
That frail guy from Mahabharata, who was strong enough to bestow five sons on Kunti, but left his mortal coil out of sickness before he could warm the throne. He was the one I remembered first when I heard the word ‘Pandu’ uttered anywhere. The creator of Pandavas, and one of the main reasons Mahabharata happened, had such a unique name which I thought no one else shared. Before anyone of you starts thinking that I am going my friend Jairam’s way, let me tell you, I am not. Mythology interests me, but not today. Today I am all focused on Pandu, and Pandu alone.
So coming back to my center of attention, I thought Pandu was Pandava’s father only, till I heard that word in Bollywood movies. Especially those movies where people shot each other with guns as if they were playing Holi, and which mostly were shot in dark alleys with everyone testing your hearing abilities to the fullest, and whose posters read ‘Directed by Ram Gopal Verma’. It was here that I learnt, that Pandu also meant a cop. A Mumbaiyya cop, probably a constable, in particular. It was a delicious name to call a cop with, I thought – the commANDing pANDu. Whenever I heard the term in those underworld themed movies, it brought on a smile to my face.
But no, I am not here to talk about that Pandu either. My focus today is on another Pandu. A Swiss Pandu, if you will. This person came to haunt my life a few days ago. I was going about checking my mails one day, when I saw a mail from him, ‘Pandu’ in my gmail inbox. The subject read ‘Kids’ and it seemed to be a genuine mail, not spam. So I opened it, unaware of what I was letting myself into. “I am happy that our kids are fine…” it began. I was flummoxed. I looked around. Was this some kind of prank my husband was playing? I checked the mail id again. It looked nowhere near to my husband’s id. What was going on?
The mail went on to say how Mr. Pandu is sorry that he did not talk to our ‘kids’ when I called him. I assumed me for a second because he addressed the mail to Dear Yamini. But neither is my husband names Pandu (not even in our fiercest fights or our cuddliest moments) nor do I have ‘kids’. Not in plural anyway. My eyes darted to the To field of the mail. There were two ids there, one mine, and another almost similar, but with an year appended, which gmail linked to a Yamini with a different surname but starting from the same letter. Probably, the guy had been confused as to which was his former wife’s mail id, and decided to use both!
Now apparently both the sender and the intended recipient were couples once and are currently going through a rough patch in their lives, and the correct thing for me to do was perhaps stay out of it. And that I did, ignoring the mail. Pandu, however, doesn’t seem to have the intention to keep me out at all it seems. After he stormed his wife (and me) with a couple of mails, she must have replied to him. She is certainly a smart girl, for she just ‘replied’, not ‘replied all’. Then Pandu responded to this reply, deliberately adding me back to the chain! Apparently he did not want me to miss the fun!
I know it is improper to make someone’s life a joke, especially when it is on rocks. I did think long and hard before writing this post. Did I want to do this? Was this the right thing to do? Then I decided. Whatever! This guy was irking me so much with his mails that I had to sound off. And if he was trying so hard to earn his wife’s forgivance by shooting mail after mail at her, he would have to do better to remember her proper mail id, instead of pulling some random stranger too into the loop.
’38 Missed Calls,’ the screen read. All in a span of ten minutes. He wondered what was going on. A look at the phone time and a small mental calculation told it was afternoon in India. Surely she knew it was just over midnight for him. She always kept tab of his timings, and timed her calls accordingly. That is, when they were still together, but that was more than three years ago. Why was she calling now? And in such a frantic manner?
Ratan sat up in his bed and reached for the water jug on the head board. A gap in the curtains revealed a thick sheet of white outside. His heating system was keeping him warm and comfortable though. Looking at the way his sheets had spread out he realized he had been lying across the bed. Not that it mattered to anyone, for he was the only one who slept on it. In fact, he had wondered many times, why did he need a king sized bed at all. Did he fancy that one day she would come and sleep in it? Well, that was out of question, and he had no intention on someone else occupying that position yet. Maybe he thought buying a king size bed will make him feel like a king. Duh! Whatever! He had bought it in a moment of inspiration, and it was helping him to freely sprawl whichever way he liked, so no worries.
He took up the phone again and looked at the missed calls, wondering what he should do. Should he call back? Maybe she was in an emergency and his was the first number she could think of. If that were true, Ratan thought with a mixture of joy and worry, she still thought about him, despite being married. Or had she accidentally revealed some dark secret about them to her husband? He knew she was quite capable of making such a slip, and then go all frantic about it. His greatest fear had been, what if during the intimate moments with her husband, she ended up moaning, “Ratan,” instead of the husband’s name. That would spell disaster to her married life. Sweat broke on his forehead as he sent up a silent prayer wishing nothing like that had happened. He could almost hear a smirk from his Puja room. “You should have thought of that before breaking up with her.”
Well, what choice did he have? She was elder than him, and his parents would never agree. In retrospect, maybe they would have after some persuasion, but he didn’t want to go through all the struggle. He just didn’t feel like it. So after making her wait for nearly two years, one day, he told her in the plainest words possible – I cannot marry you. There is nothing in this relationship.
He knew it had shattered her in the worst way possible, but was glad that in some way, it also toughened her up. Still, he also realized that there would always be a part of her that would think about him. As would be a part of him. But she cannot know that. She should not know that. He had maintained as tough a stance as possible during the breakup, almost heartless. And then he had put in as much distance as possible between them.
So now, across all that distance, all those years, why were there so many calls? He fingers were itching to hit ‘call back’, but his mind held him back. He understood then how Hamlet felt when he said, “To be or not to be…”. What if his call gives her the hint that he still cares for her? Would she want to get back again? That would open up a whole new Pandora’s box, and he was not ready for that. Still, 38 missed calls in ten minutes?
He unlocked his phone once more and hit ‘call back.’ His tongue feverishly wet the lips as the rings went through. After more than ten rings, when he was just about to end the call, she answered it. “Ratan! Is that you? What a surprise!”
Surprise? Who in her right mind thinks a call back after 38 missed calls is a surprise? “Err.. Hi Leela. I had a lot of missed calls from you… so thought of checking if everything was fine. Is everything OK?”
“What? Wait let me check…” There was a long pause at her end, while he waited, thoroughly confused and wondering what this was all about.
“Hey Ratan! Sorry man! It was my kid. He is not even two but happily goes about clicking all possible buttons on my phone. He must have dialed your number by accident and played with it. So sorry again. I hope he didn’t disturb you.”
If he had been searching, rather hoping for a sign of the former spark, he could sight none. All he could hear in her tone was a completely harrowed but a happy mother of a two year old. And she seemed to be in a hurry to end the conversation.
“Err… no… no problem. I was just sleeping….” he said, feeling foolish.
“Oh! Is it night there?” She seemed distracted. “Look, sorry again Ratan. Can I talk to you later? The little tyke has moved on to the TV now, and is trying to pull out the wires.. gotta run!” And the call ended.