Fiction – Horizons (Part – 1)

The sunlight came streaming in. Khyati, half-awake tried to shield her eyes. She turned the other side to avoid the sunlight altogether. The air conditioner hummed peacefully. Kedar snuggled close to Khyati playfully putting his arm around her waist. The memories of last night came flooding back to her. She woke up and sat upright on the bed. She had felt an inkling of guilt last night. She had brushed it aside then. Now the guilt overwhelmed her. The enormity of the situation struck her. For a moment she was too dumb struck to act. The next moment, she got up from the bed and started packing her things.

She rushed outside leaving Kedar asleep. Kedar could check out later. It was around 6 am. There were a few autos plying on the road. Khyati stopped an auto and got into it. She asked the driver to drop her at  Model Town market. The fare least bothered her. She knew the auto driver would charge her double the actual fare at this unearthly hour but it hardly mattered. She just wanted to get away from this place fast. As soon as she reached home she rushed into the bath. It was almost as if she hoped the water would erase the past. Khyati emerged from the bath 15 minutes later. She was somewhat in control of herself.

Nothing happened… Nothing happened… Why am I worried? Her mind raced as she tried to calm herself down. She glanced at her cell phone. There was a missed call from Kedar. She dropped a message.

“Hey, will talk later. Take Care”

She made herself a cup of cinnamon tea. Tea was a drink she could have anytime, any number of times. She remembered her tea sessions with her mom. They would gossip about everything under the sun. Being the only child, she had been pampered. However, her mother had ensured her feet stay firmly on the ground. She took huge gulps of the tea. Her mind wandered back to the time she had newly moved to Delhi. Desperate for a place to stay as the company only provided one week stay at the guesthouse, she had hunted high and low for a single bedroom apartment in the Capital City. Finally she had responded to an advertisement on her company portal and moved in with Priyanka, a colleague from office. Priyanka made the most awesome ginger tea. Today the tinge of ginger brought back memories of care free times spent in gossip and fun. She sighed and took another gulp of tea. She wished time could rewind and move back. She had messed up for sure…

Where on earth had things gone wrong? She had always been on the right side of things. She had never cheated in exams, never stayed out late, never gone for late night movies yet today she had done something unthinkable. If her mom came to know, heaven knows what would happen. Khyati shuddered at the thought. She tried reaching Keshav but his phone was switched off. His flight would not have landed yet. And moreover, what would she tell Keshav. Thoughts clouded her mind. Khyati was unable to react. How did I get into this mess?

She heard the front door open. It had to be Keshav. He always opened the door in a distinct style. 

“Hello dear, surprised you didn’t I? Oh my my, you look all ravishing with your hair wrapped in a towel dear”.
For a second, Khyati froze, she had not expected Keshav back so soon. He was assumed to come back only day after tomorrow. The next instant, she composed herself.

“Hello, Wow, you are back…. So your meeting wrapped up early?”

She ran forward and hugged him. She did not deserve a guy like Keshav. Her consciousness ridiculed her.  Do you even remember where you were an hour or so back Khyati?

Keshav was a bit taken aback.

“Hey, calm down Shona. I have only been away for a week dear. If I had known, you would be so lonely, I would have never left my darling wife for some silly business conference. Let’s get inside. We don’t want the whole neighborhood commenting on us. Keshav held Khyati by her arm and gently walked her inside. He sat down on the sofa.

“Looks like you missed me too much, Cheer up dear, I promise I am not going anywhere for the next six months and even if I go, you are coming with me” Khyati managed a smile.

“Why don’t you take a shower? I will fix some breakfast? Would you like some bread omlette or a parantha?”

Nah… Parantha it is… Just make me some plain parantha namak ajwain daalke. We do have curd na.

Yes Yes…

Cool, Don’t bother about unpacking. I will do it later,

Khyati  remembered an article, the gist of which was that one should stop feeling sorry for whatever mistake one has done and should start making amends. But would she ever be able to tell Keshav the truth? Unwilling to think about this issue, Khyati decided to get busy making breakfast.

An hour later Khyati cleared away breakfast. Keshav had dozed off. He had insisted on dropping her to office but she had refused. The last thing she wanted was to meet Kedar in office. She had decided to take leave today. Khyati dialed her friend Vaishnavi, a colleague from office. But then her nervousness got the better of her and she disconnected the call. She would straightaway declare that she had violated the codes of conduct  and would probably expect her to tell everything to Keshav at this very moment. She so much needed to tell everything to someone but then everyone would judge her. Khyati felt suffocated. She dialed her mom and made small talk  for around 10-15 minutes. However, the restlessness within her failed to subside. She remembered how as a college student she had very few friends. She had always been a loner with her nose in a book.

When did I walk the distance? From being a loner to getting sloshed and spending the night with a 3rd person, when did I become so bold? Hare Krishna, God, I should tell Keshav. He will probably kick me out but I ought to tell him. Hare Krishna, God I messed up. I messed up real big. Khyati unwittingly spoke out aloud?

Why should I kick my very life out? Khyati turned to find Keshav standing in the passage.

“Oh dear” Keshav exclaimed “Who are you trying to kick out now”. Come on now, I know you have a problem sleeping during the day. Why don’t you watch some movie while I catch up on  some sleep.

Khyati felt a bit relieved. Keshav had not heard her. Nevertheless the guilt still remained. It was a constricting feeling which got worse every minute.

“Yeah, I guess I will do that” She managed to reply
“Did you talk to Mom”?
“Yeah, Just did” Mom has just come back from the temple and is busy preparing breakfast. Papa is also back from yoga and busy with the newspaper now. She smiled a bit remembering what her mother had told her. Apparently her father remained stuck to the newspaper the whole day leaving her mother to grumble and take care of everything else.

Keshav smiled. He knew the first thing Khyati did each morning was to call up her mom. He had seen her chatting away to glory with her mom. she would often tell him “My day does not start without a cup of tea and dose of my mom”

“Do you want some warm milk? What would you like for lunch“? Khyati peaked in an hour or so later
“Make anything you like” Keshav mumbled and dozed off.

Khyati walked back to the kitchen. She tried reasoning with herself. There is no point mentioning anything to Keshav. One can never be sure with guys when it came to such matters. He may be alright today and then pounce on this topic 10 years later. No, this would not work. I will have to take some drastic steps and handle Kedar also. Nothing can be done now as Keshav is home. Tomorrow once he goes to office, I will try setting things right.

The next morning Khyati woke up early. She quickly set about making breakfast and lunch. Keshav liked roti subzi for lunch. She kneaded the dough and set it aside. She quickly chopped some onions and tomatoes for a basic tempering. Keshav would get Roti with Paneer for lunch today.  She wondered how she could remain so calm and normal after what had happened. Quickly, she brushed the thought aside. I cannot sit and ponder on this now. I will think about this in office.

After a quick breakfast, Kedar dropped her to office.
I will pick you up by 5:30. Is it fine?
Yup, Its fine.
Is there anything you would like to do today?
No, nothing specific. I just wanted to go to the temple near our home.
Chalo, we will do that and then I have a surprise planned for you dear. See you in the evening.

Saying this, Kedar drove away. She stared at the road for a long time before going inside. She had purposefully kept her cell switched off. In fact, she was dreading switching it on. Keep calm Khyati. Handle things  tactfully.

Forgetting mistakes.

Have you ever made mistakes? have you ever acted in a foolish manner? Have you ever spoken words  you never meant. Well, I have done all that and much more.

A person is known by his words and actions. But what do you do, when your words and actions are both wrong. You know you have done something wrong. You feel that deep sense of guilt. It is as if every second you suffocate for breath. There is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. There is no point telling you near and dear ones as it will hurt them. Your words and your actions come back to haunt you at weird times. Happy times, family times and suddenly your mind races back to how you acted. The moment is spoiled forever.

I still occasionally read “Enid Blyton”. Her books are “Happy Happy” comfort books. They are perfect for light reading. In the “Faraway Tree” stories a character remarks “The only way you can forget a bad deed is by doing a hundred good deeds. Then also, you will always remember and feel guilty for what you have done. But, you will be able to handle the pain and the guilt”. This is not a verbatim quote but the gist remains the same. Well, I really do not know if a hundred good deeds will help but then maybe it is worth a try, What do you do when you want to forget something?

A letter to my father

Dear Papa

I love you Papa. You know that don’t you. I have said that so many times to you. Mostly, just after we have fought. I get bugged over the silliest of things Papa and I really don’t know why we end up arguing so much.

I do remember all the sacrifices you have made. I will not list them out here because I will probably run out of space.  Things go perfectly well when we speak on the phone. But if we meet, then probably we will end up arguing.

I read somewhere that saying Sorry is not enough. You have to treasure the relationship and ensure useless arguments are ironed out. I will try Papa, try to live up to your high ideals. I will try to not get bugged when things do not go my way. I need to accept randomness. Everything cannot happen just as I wish.

I am sorry Dad and I really love you. I just hope you will be able to actually believe what I am writing some day. I really do mean this. The last time we argued, you mentioned I could never change. I could never control my temper. I hope I can prove you wrong. I hope I have the strength to stick to my resolve.

Love you loads

Take Care Dad 🙂

Random Thoughts

There are so many thoughts going around in my head. I thought I would do a bullet post and hopefully gain some clarity at the end of this. By the end of this post, hopefully you will know a bit about me.

  • I want to do everything at once. Learn Astrology, write a book, shed some weight everything has to be done now. At the end of the day nothing is done and a day is lost. This is the story of my life.
  • I think I am coming down with a cold so maybe that is an excuse to not exercise today. Then again, maybe it is not. I think I will do some light jogging today, Wish me luck.
  • As mentioned in the previous posts, we have kept “Thakur JI” at my home. Sometimes when we offer some prasad or curd, I have this urge to taste it. I just feel like tasting the curd at that very moment. This happens even though I am not hungry. There is no self control at all.
  • I love reading books. i have been known to read all night just to finish a book. however, i cannot understand the story in half the books written today. They all sound so similar and half baked. Chetan Bhagat please note.
  • I do not like sweets. None at all. I am happy skipping the customary dessert. In engineering hostel, I would happily pass my share of sweet ( One piece of Jalebi/Gulab Jamun every Thursday) to my room-mate.

I will share more in the next post. Till then please take care and enjoy.

You are unsafe

So we have it again. another story for the media to highlight, talk about, give live updates of and then gradually forget and may be forgive. People will carry on their day to day activities. There will be movies to watch, onions to peel, books to read, gossips to be made till another “rape” case is reported by the media. The circus will resume again only to fall silent over the course of time.

We have seen this again and again. There will be candle marches, posters, call for stricter laws and what not. The ground reality will remain the same. The bottom line :- You are unsafe. Let us take a brief look at the situation

The Ground Reality

I am not talking about the city. Please do not fool yourself thinking “Mumbai” is safe or “Bangalore” is comparatively safer. It is the same with all cities. It can be Delhi or Mumbai or Bangalore or even the dark lane right beside your home.  Rape can happen anywhere.

The Problem

Now comes the question, what can we do about it?The answer often lies in the much harped about fact, stricter laws, better enforcement, better security and so on.  So what on earth is stopping our government from doing something like this? Well, the reply remains the same. Lesser police personnel, general patriarchal attitude.

I sincerely believe the  problem is of attitude. What on earth can explain the fact that the police  personnel (while on duty) ask the accused’s neighbor to cook for them? (http://www.news18.com/news/uttar-pradesh/i-have-been-assaulted-an-upset-yadav-told-his-wife-on-the-day-of-rape-655391.html) What can explain the bizarre fact that we have “solved” the problem by banning cabs? What can explain the funny statements we hear from our ministers everyday (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indian-state-minister-ramsevak-paikra-says-rapes-happen-accidentally-9508427.html).

The attitude is the reason there is no change at the grass root level. It is our lack of interest and mind set that we can absorb the rape of a 5 year old so easily. I believe first of all we have to train the nation to actually respect (Yes, I mean respect) women. Bowing your head in front of Durga or Kali is not enough. We do not want to be treated as goddesses. Please let us live as fellow human beings.

This mindset does not recognize that a girl walking on a street at 9 pm is not asking to be raped. He has probably be seen the “importance” given to his sisters or cousins. He has grown up believing women are no where near the hierarchy ladder. Their only job is to reproduce. He probably visualizes the girl as easy game. a soft target. Well, that she certainly is…. And to top it all of, if the girl reports the crime, she will probably have to endure countless questions. What about the guy? Well he just gained exclusive bragging rights on the whole ordeal

Well, I have vented too much here. In the end I would just like to say be careful, be alert and take care.

My fitness and exercise story

I am trying to maintain some level of exercise in my daily routine. As mentioned earlier, I am trying to lose some weight.  I used to attend a badminton coaching camp at school. We were taught basic yogic asanas to build up endurance. Usually I practice Yoga for 15- 20 minutes and try to spend 20 minutes on the elliptical. I follow this routing for 4-5 days a week.

Some days I find the entire routine very boring and tiring. Other days I manage to stick to it. Its hardly been a week or so. I will try increasing the time as I go along.I am thinking of adding skipping to  my set of activities.

I have been “Googling” with terms like “How to lose weight” and all that. I basically do know there is no short cut to losing weight. But I still end up doing so, hoping for a miracle exercise. :).  So lets see how my weight lose journey comes along.

Astrology

Does anyone believe in astrology or do you dismiss it is a random science. Astrology has always been very interesting for me. In fact I have always been interested in such things. By such, I mean occult, witches, ouija boards, ghost stories, past life re-incarnations. I mean I am not crazy or “into” these “sciences”, but I am kind of curious about them. No, I have never actually “played” with a ouija board. I believe those things are dangerous and should be examined from a distance.

Astrology however is different. I believe it can be as exact as a science. I also believe that provided you have the right details i.e. date of birth, time of birth and place of birth, a true “jyotish” would be able to predict a number of things. I did try learning astrology but then I do not have the patience to go about it. Maybe, someday I will actually learn it. It would be quite something to go of predicting stuff.

Thakur Ji

Many north Indian families follow a custom of keeping “Thakur ji” at home. Thakur ji is basically a small idol of baby krishna. The baby krishna is kept on a small swing or jhoola in the day time and on a small bed at night time.

This is basically a means to show devotion or complete surrender to baby krishna. Customs differ from family to family. Some families just keep the Thakur ji and do daily seva i.e. prayer or worship. Others keep Thakur ji with strict rules like no non-veg or onions/garlic usage in the house. Some also follow daily customs of feeding baby krishna milk/curd/ghee.

All these are basically rituals done out of love or devotion to baby krishna. Some families follow the same customs but do the same with a photograph of baby Krishna.

This is definitely an interesting custom and shows how in India, religion has permeated our day to day life.