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Friday, February 18, 2011

Young Love! (Part-3)

Morning sickness has starting rising for her and she is feeling wretched again today! This has been the second consecutive day and she is alone by herself! Her husband has been away for his tour since 3 days and is expected to be back, only on Sunday! Her mind first wanders as to what could have spoiled her digestion……the Chaat she had at the roadside stall,  beside the Tailor shop where she had gone with her sister-in-law previous day or the sour curd she had thinking would not do any harm!
She is contemplating whether to go down for meeting everyone or stay a while more in bed. The scene of yesterday has not been forgotten, when the mother-in-law scolded her for being in bed for so long. Usually the temper of the old lady is not bad, but yesterday due to the spilling of milk by Ramu, she had been upset which burst out on her. She had first thought of telling about her state to her Mother-in-law but decided against it after the reproach in the morning!
Remembering the scene, she quickly takes bath and goes down to make breakfast. The old lady is perhaps still in bed, and coughing terribly. She quickly heats some water to give her, but as she comes out of the kitchen, her head starts reeling and she faints before she can reach the old lady. A muffled cry comes out of her mouth and then all blackouts.
Next thing she remembers is being on her bed and her husband looking worriedly into her face. A faint smile comes over her lips and she is glad to be awake in his arms. A doctor overlooks her; checks and asks her husband to follow him outside. She notices that the room is filled with roses; red her favorite color!
The care needed for a pregnant lady begins at home. She has to stay at her Sasural for initial 3 months and then she can go to her mother’s place for rest of her gestation. She is fed with her favorite foods, right from Golgappa to Lemons! But her hubby dear is very particular to make her consume appropriate amounts of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. He has also put off his tours till she is at home. Every morning a single red rose greets her with a full glass of milk! Milk! Yuk, she has never liked it but he says that it would do her good, so she quietly drinks it every morning! And to be frank, surprisingly she has started liking the taste of Milk!!!
Sitting one night on her porch on the swing, she is watching the moon. A week before today, it had been so tiny, and today it has grown to half crescent. She has come to her mother’s place and is enjoying the fresh air of the night after dinner. Her mind is on the phone is just about to ring as her husband comes home after office. All of a sudden, she feels a kick inside her; she is surprised but yet again the same movement is felt. The moon suddenly has a meaning for her! The child within her is also growing rapidly as the moon in the sky. She is filled with a warm feeling inside her, her face glows and she smiles to herself………..Is this Love????       

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Buffalo Boy

Holding a stick in my hand, seated high on my favourite pet buffalo, Kajal , I am off to the deserted grasslands on the outskirts of our village and then to wash my buffaloes of their grim and dirt in water. The grasslands are the remains gifted by the river Son (Yes, there are other rivers in Bihar too, apart from the great Ganges!). The river is all dried up, but it proves a boon to the people who grow their crops in its basin. When the river was fresh and young, I used to take my buffalos to its water to have bath, but now I have to take them to the village taalab (pond). I think it is the dirtiest place in the village. All sorts of activities can be seen happening here; women washing their load of clothes, children with their pets (Cows and Buffaloes, like me!) and men with their bare bottoms! It amazes me that women wash their clothes with the same water as men wash themselves with! More so, the green disease which can be seen increasing its hold from sides towards the centre of the pond; doesn’t seem to perturb anyone’s mind (but mine it does!).
Coming back from the pond is always a feast for the eyes (and sometimes the stomach!) The Jalal sweet shop which I pass on my way back home, makes the best jalebis in the world, I can bet on that! Jalebis you know? (I believe the city dwellers eat them too) The round hollow sweets made up of either dal or maida (I am not sure, what batter) which are filled with sweet syrup. They come in various shades, but I like the brightest of orange ones! As a kid I always thought that they are filled with syrup with the help of injections but now I see that Halwais dip the hot Jalebis in sugar syrup instead. It still amazes me that how the sweetness is imbibed by the Jalebis so well? Wish this sort of imbibition process of sweetness can be done by our religious leaders and politicians too, who only have sugar syrup sticking to their tongues!
My mother always asks me to bring Jalebis (When we can afford to) from Panditji’s shop since he is from OUR RELIGION, but I like them more from Jalal kaka’s shop (he even gives me one free of cost, when he sees me eyeing them with awe!) It makes me wonder how religion can affect the taste of the Jalebi?
I stay in a hut near the village temple. My house (People make a home; this is how my mother told me) is made up of mud and bricks-not the kind you see in the city (I know this because I went to city with my father once when grandmother would not stop coughing) You have to really bend low and enter through the door, otherwise you would bang your head. The thatched roof gives me bouts of sneezing, so I often get to sleep outside in open. But my sister is never allowed to do so. She is just 5 year old but already begun to feel the difference in conduct that a boy and a girl get in a small village as mine (Is it different in the city?)
Apart from taking buffaloes out for grazing and washing, I love sitting near the school wall in our village to watch children study. I have heard there is a scheme called Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan which says all the children should study in school, but I guess education has more to do with changing the mindset of our elders who still feel that studying in school would do us no good. They often tell me even educated do not get decent jobs in today’s world (I am still to find out if it is true!)  Moreover I am not allowed inside the school on pretext of being one from the lower caste. I understand how work can define your caste (as done in olden times, as told to me by my grandfather) but how can birth do so is still a mystery to me!
Earlier I did not want to go for grazing out the Buffaloes lest I become the same all my life; but then my mother told me about Lord Krishna who used to take Cows out for grazing. He became one of the finest and most loved Gods when he grew up. Does that mean even I can become a God by taking cattle out for grazing?

Ripples in water

The ripples in water disturb the stillness of the large pond side. They weave different patterns on the surface of water just as life weaves new paths and destinations for us. It was a solitary moment for me, with just being with myself. I had bought the precious moment of peace-Rs 5 for visiting the Makbara of Sher Shah Suri in Sasaram District, Bihar.
It is a place visited by local people, not outsiders I guess! I could see the board for preservation of monuments set up, but what followed further was a different site to behold. We, Indians have a very unique habit of doing what we are told not to do! Do not write on the walls, do not stick posters and do not throw garbage in the pond, somehow escapes our eyes. You can almost always see vehicles parked in front of the board of NO PARKING.
The Makbara as it is called, is built on a huge expanse of land, surrounded from all sides by water. A narrow path takes you to the Makbara where the complete family of Sher Shah Suri is buried. It is a place quite so visited by pigeons, and of-course they leave their marks as on all monuments in India.
The late afternoon sun seemed to glow in beauty and give a wonderful aura to the surroundings. The huge red sandstone structure (46 metre high) is built on the main road to Sasaram (between I wanted to share that Sasaram has a FOUR LANE road to Kaimur; and it is a wonder in Bihar for me as I have been travelling in rusty old village roads till now!)
The ducks and birds from far off have flocked in the pond (whatever sorry state it may be in) reminding me of Sukhna lake of Chandigarh; one of my favourite places from my childhood. The sad part was that the filth and dirt that humans have made in this wonderful place cannot go unnoticed. Even the birdies refuse to flock at the places where they is garbage.
Another amazing thing that I saw today was that the left half of the pond was filthy with garbage where as right side was clean. How was that possible? The water on the left was still.
Our lives are same too, when we come face to face with some difficulties in life and our life becomes still, we tend to gather dirt and filth. In order to keep ourselves always clean, we need to keep on move (I am literally doing that, travelling to far stretched places!). Unless we move on and let go of our feelings of hurt and grudges, we cannot grow in life. The ripples must continue to be there to let a new beginning come in life!