She is my Business

As I looked at the woman scurrying around the room searching for something, I thought to myself about the love that I have for her. She is a sweet lady that has been my support system for a long time.

“Put down that wretched Ipad of yours and come and help me,” a shrill female voice breaking my thoughts. So much so for being sweet!

I got her when she had already passed her youth phase. Confused? Well, we are two siblings. My elder brother has been away from home for almost 10 years now. So I got the undivided stay with my mother when she was already turning into a wrinkled person and everyday would bring a new body part to pain.

I most definitely can’t say that she is a friend to me. She has never been a friend, but she has always been a mother to me. Even though I am 25 years old independent girl, soon to be married, it is difficult for her to let go of me. If we are visiting the doctor and we get seats that are apart, she’ll come and keep on checking on me time and again, or worse yet, she’ll shout my name to get my attention.(Sometimes I think she does it on purpose, like her only aim is to embarrass her kids) If I get late from office, she’ll give me calls every 15 minutes to ask if I’ve left for home or not, and if not how will I reach home as it’s already dark out there.

She’s a funny old lady, never content with any amount of food that I have eaten any particular day. Any problem of mine will magically be connected to the fact that I don’t eat enough. Like if I met with a small accident, her logic is that it is because I had not eaten properly that day and so I didn’t have the strength to stay on my scooty, or I complain about the hot weather, her reasoning will be that I am feeling hot because I do not eat properly.

In both my brother and my life, she has played a vital, typical Indian mother role. When it was time to enroll us in school, my mother had put her thoughts very clear that we will be studying in English medium school and not the regional language school. I am so grateful to her for this decision of hers. When we were kids, my mother used to make us walk approx 9kms to take us to watch animated movies in English. She used to buy used comic books for us and give us to read while having our lunch. I guess, I got my passion to read, watch and write from all this. If I get excited at the “Columbia pictures statue”, or watching the new “Beauty and the Beast” movie (Which she reluctantly accompanied me for), or love the smell of a book, I owe it all to her. I still prefer Hollywood movies to Bollywood movies, I still buy used novels than new ones. When someone compliments me on my command over English, it is because of her. These traits were formed early in life.

But now she has turned really old. Nonetheless, it hasn’t stopped her speed in work. Every morning it looks like a tornado has hit our house, she is like this insane chucking train that won’t stop till everything is spotlessly clean. I am the exact opposite of her. Lazy and really slow around house work. I still remember how I used to stand on other side of our kitchen window and watch her cook. Now I do that, while she works outside in the veranda and if needed she stands by the kitchen window peeking inside whether I put in the right amount of spices or not. (I still am learning how to cook! I still give her a hard time for it.) I remember the times when she used to comb my hair and make them school ready, otherwise I was always the wild child. Now, I am the one who plaits her thinning hair. How time changes!

Today, when people say, now that you are going to get married, leave her dupatta alone. (I still have the habit of holding her dupatta and walking in crowded place.) She is no more your business. It is the duty of your brother to take care of her. I get pissed off. This short, plump, wrinkled person is and will be my business. Now and forever.

HOT PURSUIT…

“No. No. No. I will not listen to that mom. I want to and I will do what I want to.” Shouted Rory and got up from the table.

“Rory, just listen to me for once, you can’t…” Judy tried to make him understand but Rory had stormed out of the room already.

Judy started cleaning the breakfast table, tired by her boy’s behaviour lately. But right now she did not have time to think about this. She was already late for work. This was the third time she would be late this month. Soon enough she’d lose her job if this continued.

Being a single mother was already tough, she loved every bit of the life she had but off lately Rory’s behaviour had her worried. She did not understand why he was being so tough. Rushing through the morning traffic to her work she thought, she’d take Rory to his favourite food-joint this weekend. It would be just the two of them. And have a conversation about this. Rory was a sweet boy who understood life just as it was. Putting on the apron and a smile she was ready to take orders of her regular customers. Judy had worked at this diner for about 2 years now. But she was thinking of getting another job now that her expenses were increasing, with the increasing size of Rory’s shoes.

                                                                       

“Why do you keep on coming here if you are not going to buy anything?” shouted the irritated shopkeeper.

Rory dashed from there. He had a plan. And he only had today to complete what he had in mind. But he first had to go to Mrs. Ottoman’s house to finish his work. He went there quietly, attracting minimum attention to himself. He did not want anyone to know what he was up to. It was a small town where everybody knew everyone and everyone was in each other’s business all the time. Rory did not want his mother to know what he was up to. He completed his work, pull up his jacket, and put his hands in his pocket where the cash was burning in his hands. With a smile of someone who finally got his way, he was on his way to the shop. The shop would be closed in 15 minutes and he had to get there as soon as possible.

“Again? Didn’t I tell you to go away? Why do you keep coming back to get insulted. I’ll call your mother, Rory. You’ve been nothing but a pain to me for the past week. Coming here and asking my staff the same question again and again. Go away you dumb boy.” The shopkeeper kept muttering insults at Rory.

                                                                       

Fuming with anger, Judy turned the keys to her one bedroom apartment. Rory had never given her any trouble, but she thought this was the start of it. She had to talk about it with Rory. He had never been difficult to deal with and she wanted to keep it that way. She wanted her bond with her boy to be the way it was, bond of friends. When she came in the apartment, all things were at its place. Rory was good at cleaning. He, like his mother was obsessed with cleaning.

“Rory, come out this instance.” Judy shouted.

Never had Rory heard his mother shout. Scared, Rory came out of the room with his hands behind his back.

With an attempt to keep her voice in check, Judy said “I got this call from the shopkeeper today, Rory. What is it all about?”

Rory remained silent and brought his hands forward. He had a packet in his hands.

For one moment, Judy thought that her son had resorted to theft. The shopkeeper had called and told her that Rory had been at his store regularly for a week, buying nothing and annoying his staff. He said that he thought the boy was like in hot pursuit of something.

“What is this?” She asked afraid to know the answer.

“Maa, you had seen this dress last week when we went there to buy my shirt. I saw you seeing this dress. So I wanted to buy it for you. I knew you wouldn’t buy it for yourself. So I worked for Mrs. Ottoman in her garden. Earned the money and bought it for you. I hope you like it.” Rory smiled that melted her mother’s heart.

                                                                       

Later that weekend, Judy took Rory out at his favourite food joint like planned. She looked pretty in the dress that had caused such fuss. She blushed when Rory commented she was looking very stunning in it.

Her 8 year old boy’s hot pursuit for her happiness, made her sure that her decision to not get married and be a single mother was right all along.

The Ring of Change

I’m having a hard time choosing what to believe.

It had been a crazy ride for me these past few weeks, wherein my supposedly Prince Charming came to sweep me off my feet. I didn’t have a moment’s time to get my head straight and think how my life will change forever. And now that all the festivities are over and I am back to my routine, I have a chance to think this through. All I can say is I am confused. Confused by my own feelings. How I am finally happy that I found “the one” and how I am truly sad that I’ll be leaving the comfort of my home in the near future. I am having a hard time choosing which feeling is stronger.

“Solitaire is what I want”, I had told him. I got my wish, only to realise later that the solitaire that I wear so proudly on my finger comes with great responsibility. I no longer will be the chirpy pampered little girl of my parents. I’ll now be seen as a responsible, mature woman who takes care of the home and family. This is the change people expect the girl to go through overnight, just because of a ring.

It hardly is ever. At least not in my case! Even on my engagement day I had my sporadic moments. For once travelling while on makeup and heavy clothes is really tiring. I had to travel for 2 hours to reach my engagement venue in another city. Getting out of the car, the first thought that I had was to meet him and run away. Being the minimalistic person all my life the heavy dress really bothered me. I had always dreamt of a big engagement party with all the glam and glitter. I realised it on the day of my engagement that all the dresses, makeup or gifts weren’t important to me. I couldn’t care less to get engaged in my old jeans. All that mattered was Me, him and our families being together (Yes I’ll keep ME first).

With juggling all these emotions all at one time, the only thing that made me rise to the occasion and actually putting in efforts to get dressed on my engagement day was him. I was looking forward to spend those few hours standing proudly beside him (and of course my ring). All I got was exactly what I wished for. I was jumping and hopping around my engagement party and wasn’t even a bit of the nervous shy bride that people expected to see. My new family was really happy to see me so happy and both of us so comfortable with each other.

While, my family was searching a groom for me, many people told me what to look for, what to search in a guy. I was advised that the guy should be mature, should be from a particular caste, this tall and that handsome. When I actually met him, there was a feeling of familiarity, like “Oh Hello! It’s you. It’s going to be you.” I can’t particularly say that we fell in love at first sight. I wasn’t even looking for love. All I ever wanted was a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Things will be different for both of us now onwards. We’ll have added responsibilities and duties to do and social obligations to perform. Indian society can be a bit intimidating at times. Especially during such occasions. I remember, people who could not attend the function were online on video calls to see us and wish us. All mobile phones and tabs stuffed in our faces and it seemed to go on forever. I really felt like the function turn into a social media circus. I do appreciate their efforts that they took out time and despite different time zones they were there. But by the point all the ceremonies got over I could not wait to have some quiet time with him so that I could make fun of everything cliché and laugh out loud with him.

This is actually what I felt good about my relationship. That we are equally weird and fist-bumpy types rather than the romantic couple. Every girl wants a romantic and one of a kind unique relation/partner for herself. All I ever wanted was a normal guy who got my kind of weirdness.

Now that things are settling down again, I am getting time to think of all the changes that’ll come with this new phase. It does put me in a nervous state of mind that now I won’t have my mother run around me all the time to drink that cup of coffee. Because now I’ll be the one who has to make the coffee.

I guess at every point of life, from home to school, school to college, college to job, getting married, all these events brings an uncertainty with it and thus the nervousness. Leaving something behind is always difficult, but you do it anyways. I’ll miss all that I have created here. But a New Year dawns and it brings with itself new possibilities and new adventures.

I think I’ll be able to do it.

Paint your Nails

This isn’t the regular article or post about women’s day or that how strong we women are.

Actually it’s quite the opposite. Yesterday morning when I woke up I had like 15 Whatsapp messages wishing me “Happy Women’s Day” and none today. And I sat there thinking why it is only on that particular day, that I am being acknowledged as a woman? Am I any less of a woman on the rest 364 days?

No offence to anybody, but I feel that in today’s world we have become so busy in proving that females are equivalent or greater than their male counterpart. Why can’t we just go on with our lives peacefully instead of creating such a havoc about feminism? I mean what is so wrong about being feminine or not for that matter. I myself am not that “girly” but I don’t feel there is anything wrong in being one. Why is there this constant need of labeling or categorizing ourselves? What do we really want to prove?

Recently I was going through my Facebook feed, and I saw a photo of few middle-aged women clad in sarees with a caption that they are working for ISRO and how we would have judged them as housewives based on their dressing. I thought why to define them? I don’t think these women have such time in their lives to click a selfie and post on social media sites with hashtags like, #indianclothes #workingwomen #feminism. They are simply going on with their lives, doing their job taking care of their families. It is us who are so desperate to be called feminists and that we are equal and proud to have a vagina. Others who actually work equally, quietly do their work. They don’t feel the constant need of updating others of their lives.

Gosh! If we are seriously so equal and proud of ourselves, do we really need to march around shouting that we have vagina and we are proud about it. I am also of the same “XY chromosome”, but all these feminist talks choke me. One way we say that we are equal then why do we resist getting our hands dirty? When it comes to changing the tires, why do we search for male counterparts? If we really are equal why don’t we step out of our houses without make-up?

For everybody out there, if you really want to respect your female counterparts don’t just send them a cake or card on Women’s day. In fact, celebrate it every day. Make them feel cherished and loved every day. And specifically for females, just love yourself and don’t try too hard to prove anything. Paint your nails or paint the world, it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy. Just be yourself!

The Magical Hiccup.

It was a normal day, the café bustling with customers. She ordered her coffee and sat down reading her book.

“Hey, aren’t you the writer who wrote about ‘The magic in you’?” the guy on the next table asked.

“Yes, I Am.” she said politely.

“So do you really believe that magic is real? I had heard that you had left writing. Where is the magic in that?” he asked with smirking interest.

She smiled and answered, “Isn’t magic real? The way a child looks at his ice cream or a 3 year old girl looks at her new pink frock. Of course magic is real! All you need is to believe that it is real. It can be found, bought and shared. Magic prevails in good times and in bad times, more so in bad times. Because, it is in those dark times that you at least have some hope. Hope to find that magic and hold on to it.

I for once know what magic feels like… just the way my fingers were tapping away happily on the keyboard to give words to my thoughts in the form of this novel that I am working on.

I was at a good place in my writing career. Thousands of copies sold. People knew my name. I was the local celebrity (at least, I think I was). I was happy. Content with what my life was. I was not doing any more hard work. I no more wrote for my happiness, but for the yield that it got me, for the fame.

I started losing grip on my writing. My stories no longer held soul. It did reach the mass but wasn’t accepted that much. My agent warned me about it but I kept ignoring because the projects were still flowing in.

Eventually, it so happened that due to the bad response to my writing, I lost my projects, people remembered me but as someone who used to write. It drove me insane, into the darkness. I no longer went out. I avoided any human interaction. I used to be cooped up in my room reading my past writings. It gave a bitter-sweet experience. I was both happy and sad reading them.

One day, exhausted from crying I started reading my writings (God knows for the umpteenth time). I got this insane idea of reading it from old to recent ones. I read and re-read it in the same pattern for hours at stretch. And finally with tired eyes I found the mistake that I had made. I had actually lost my charm, the essence of my writing. I read it from my reader’s perspective. I thought to myself, if I did not connect with my writing, how would the readers. I understood that lately my writing wasn’t about me anymore. It was about the fame. It shouted desperate call for fame. I started resenting myself. But I finally felt a little better that I at the very least had found the cause of my problems. The article ‘The magic in you’ particularly caught my eye. In my chasing the fame, I had forgotten about the magic. The magic I felt when I used to write, pick up a pen and write the first word in my notebook or the busy sound of the keyboard while I framed my articles.

I forgot the happiness of little things in life. How simple it is to be happy. I took time, but I did it right. I spent some time finding myself. I developed myself as a person. I indulged in reading, eating right, meditating and finally after a few days of work on myself, I felt ready to write again.

I was insanely happy when I opened my laptop to write what I had been thinking about. I called my agent and broke the news that I am writing again and that what I would be writing this time would be loved by all. He was happy and on-board with the idea I shared with him. I started writing and when not writing I spent time on myself, treating myself to the simple joys of life. But writing again was what filled my soul. I finally started feeling like a whole person. I realised it was necessary to have dark times to appreciate the light”

“So are you really okay now?” the guy asked. His smirk lost now, he was in awe by the gleam in her eyes she had when she talked about her writing.

She stood up, offered her hand to bid goodbye, smiled and said, “Completely. It was just a Hiccup.”