We may protest and debate and reform our laws and policies… We can make an issue out of it and soon forget about it. But is that enough? Where is the root of all this?

We live in a society where the very mention of the word “sex” causes us to shy away. Talking about sex openly is still a taboo. We are taught as if it is something that has to be suppressed. We are expected to remain chaste, naive and ignorant about sex till we are married (or at least till the age of 18). Come on… One of the rapists was a minor…!!!

We live in a society where we receive little or no sex-education at school… where premarital sex cannot even be mentioned without hesitation, How is it any different from any other human sensation and instinct? Hiding it or shying away from it causes more curiosity and hence its unwanted after effects. Philosophically speaking – what we resist, persists.

We live in a society where poverty, illiteracy, abuse and violence etc. are too rampant to rear morally sound people – to produce sensitive human beings. Blaming the culprits or even hanging them is not going to solve anything.

We live in a society where an unmarried mother is questioned about her morality. Don’t we know that a male plays an equal role in human reproduction? We live in a society where there is tremendous gender bias… where we find only female feminists. Even they are looked down upon as dogs that bark for no reason. To liberate females, males have to be liberated as well. Blaming men for oppression or blaming females for accepting it will lead us nowhere.

Why live in denial?

And today I “shamelessly” write this for you to read it and be “shamelessly bold” enough to share it, only if you agree to it.

 

 

Ah! My Country Side

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Poems
Tags: , , ,

 

 

Mad rush turned me deaf and blind
A life reduced to cash and kind.
I’m running away from a sticky web
To save myself from this worldly grab!

I kept running with all my might,
Until the green hills caught my sight,
I’m running away from city lights,
To lose myself to starry nights!!!

Oh! How I’ve missed my country life,
My sweet abode by the river side…
I’ve missed falling from olive trees,
Scratching my elbows and my knees!

As I lie under the evening sky,
I see home-bound herons fly!
Beaks full of insects and pest,
For babies in their cozy nest.

Sun showered its last red beam,
Over the paddy, gold and green.
Breeze wheezed past, teasing the grass
The paddy rustled and let it pass!

Among the tall green grass I lie,
Listening to the brook flowing by.
Through woods and the stones she flows,
Somewhere none but only she knows!!!

Sky has now turned black and gold,
Stars wink at me as night unfold,
I ask them, “Where were you till today?”
City lights blinded me is what they say!

I’ve left behind the world so mad.
My soul is so happy and I’m so glad.
I wish to stay hidden here forever
None should find me, never ever!

 

 


 

 

“Rishi beta, receive the phone.” Anuradha shouted from the Kitchen. It was 6.30 am in the morning. She wasn’t expecting any long distance calls at this hour. It seemed important but her hands were covered with wet flour dough. Her husband Sarang was out with their younger daughter Asha for his morning walk. Rishi, the eldest son was brushing his teeth whilst checking songs in his new I-pod. This is the busiest time of the day for Anuradha. Cleaning up, preparing breakfast for the family of four, preparing lunch and packing lunch boxes for her husband and the kids. She doesn’t even have the time to breathe at this hour of the day.

Sarang is a Maths teacher at Kendriya Vidyalaya, in suburbs of Nagpur. He had finally managed to obtain a transfer to this new school almost a year back. Before this, he had been teaching at KV Imphal for a year. But the unrest, militant insurgence and constant violent incidents forced him to bribe few officials and get a transfer to Nagpur. In fact, it was Anuradha who coaxed and begged him to get them away from Imphal.

The phone was still ringing…

“Who could it be?” She thought “could it be Jiten.” Everything seemed so surreal… Their one year stay at Manipur and their close bonding with the Singh family.

*********************

She had heard of the beautiful North Eastern states and often curiously looked at the advertisements in Doordarshan. She wanted to visit the seven states once in her lifetime and had expressed her desire to Sarang once. Few Months later Sarang broke the news to her “You can start packing now, Anu. Your dream has come true!” he had said with a smile.

“Where are you transferred to now? I am so tired of shifting places. Once Rishi completes his 10th boards I will settle down with the children at Jabalpur at our own house… Your transfers will ruin their studies…” she rattled on.

“Come on dear, don’t be upset now. We are going to North East this time. I am posted to Imphal, Manipur.” He replied, excited.

“Really?” she glowed, but her face fell immediately. She had read about terrorism in Assam and other states, the immigration issues, unrest and border disputes in Manipur. She had read about Irom Sharmila, who is on an endless fast to end the Armed Forces Act in the state. Sight-seeing was fine but living in such a volatile place with two little children for God knows how long… It was the last thing she had ever dreamt of. She looked at him in despair.

“What? You had always wanted to go there! I have spoken to few other teachers and they say it is a great place indeed.” He tried to raise her spirit.

“That’s alright, but… Is it safe?” she inquired.

“Of course it is… do not worry.” He tried to cover up his own concerns now. He was worried too. But this was a final order and he had to leave in a fortnight’s time.

*********************

She had been to different parts of India before but Imphal was very different… More importantly, the children loved the place. Situated at the bank of a grand moat and surrounded by beautiful green hills, it was paradise on earth. It was at the amazing Mother’s market* that she had met Rachna, Jiten Singh’s wife. They bonded immediately and the two families’ attachment grew. The Manipuri family welcomed and adored the Mehtas as if they were their own kin.

Even Rachna hadn’t visited many places in Manipur and hence her husband, Jiten planned a week long Manipur trip for the two families. He also used his connections to attain ILP** (Inner line Permit) for the Mehtas so that they could visit the underdeveloped tribal regions and explore the unseen culture, crafts and resources.

Just a week before the planned trip, the fateful Manipur blockade began. Violence and insurgence became a common thing. The Highways were blocked and inflation was at its peak. Strikes and clashes followed. They decided to postpone the trip until the blockade was over.

Days became months but the unrest showed no sign of settling down. It was heights when she read an advertisement in leading Daily newspaper. It read “Buy a Sony VAIO laptop and get a LPG cylinder free”. LPG and fuel scarcity, inflation of food items and long strikes were still fine… as long as the people were safe. But Anuradha went berserk one day after she read in the local newspaper about the clashes and attacks on non Manipuris. She would not risk her family over Sarang’s posting. She didn’t care how beautiful Manipur was anymore!

She coaxed Sarang until he obtained a transfer to Nagpur. Jiten had ensured that they safely crossed the Manipur border. Before they parted Rachna and Anuradha wept, hugging each other. It was then when Jiten announced – “The trip is withheld temporarily… But as soon as it is over we shall all tour together. It’s a promise”. Sarang nodded in approval.

*********************

The phone was still ringing. She looked at Rishi. He was sitting on the dining chair, his ears plugged in with headphones and swaying to the loud music which was lightly audible to Anuradha as well. She thought of receiving the phone call herself.

Sarang entered the very moment and reached for the phone…

“Hello, Sarang Mehta Speaking…”
………………….
“Hey…. Good morning… what a surprise!!!” Sarang exclaimed “I was hoping you would call us… we are always so worried about you people…”
………………….
“I know I know… Landline was dead. How is the transportation system doing? Are they allowing vehicles from other states? How is the inflation… ”
………………….
“I am so glad, it has ended now… Pray that it lasts forever now… A year long blockade… can you imagine???”
………………….
“Kids are good. Your bhabhi is doing great too… We are all fine here… ”
………………….
“This month? Oh… I don’t know… I haven’t thought about it…”
………………….
“Is that so… sure then… we shall be there in a week’s time…. It’s a promise!!! Ha-ha… sure… Bye”
………………….

Sarang placed the receiver on the cradle. Anuradha came running from the kitchen and looked at him with queer eyes. Sarang smiled with pressed lips adding to her suspense…

“Will you tell me what’s going on? Was it Jiten?” Anuradha couldn’t resist asking.

Sarang sat on the sofa and stretched his legs… grinning widely.

“Fine, don’t answer me… I shall see who takes care of your morning tea and breakfast today!!!” She displayed fake anger.

“Well, my dear… we are going to Imphal next week… as soon as summer break starts at school. Jiten has planned a trip for us – whole of Manipur, parts of Meghalaya and Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary of Assam…. Finally the blockade is over for good.” Sarang dropped the news.

Anuradha’s jaw dropped…

Rishi and Asha had already picked up a fight on who shall take the window seat on the plane…

“Isn’t that news worth a cup of strong tea, Anu….??? And my tummy’s growling for breakfast…” Sarang added smilingly.

“Ah…. Yes… it certainly is….” Replied Anuradha… still shocked, confused and surprised… but she was happy.

“It certainly is…” she murmured and walked into the kitchen hastily to prepare tea for Sarang. She had to be quick… she had to finish everything quickly… there was shopping, packing and so much to do… for her dream vacation…!!! There was no time left to waste.
 

 

* Mother’s Market – This is an all-women market run by more than 3200 women under one roof.
** Inner Line Permit – A pass (like passport) issued to Non Manipuris (non domiciles) to enter certain regions within the state to prevent exploitation of local tribal. You will be surprised to know that you cannot enter the state of Arunachal Pradesh without an ILP, unless you are an Arunachali.

………………………………………………………………………………………
 

 

An attempt to capture the reality of North East Indian States, plight of locals and non locals. This is how people live while the center and the national news channels sleep.

Kindly comment on the content, reader engagement as well as the style… honest and sincere criticisms and literary suggestions are welcome.

 

 


 

 

Dr. Anurag was examining a patient’s medical report in his cabin when head nurse Seema dashed in without even knocking. Anurag looked up. Her worried face clearly meant – an emergency case. He rose immediately and waited for her to gasp and speak.

“Doctor, Police case… suicide attempt… ICU 4…” She spoke in broken words, catching up for breath.

Anurag signaled her to follow and both were soon walking down the wide hospital corridor towards the Emergency Wing. Even after eight years of medical practice, emergency cases still managed to shake his heart which was otherwise very strong. The faces of relatives waiting outside… teary and fearful eyes… with all their hopes resting on him… All this always touched his inner being somewhere. It definitely wasn’t a very comfortable feeling.

“How bad is it?” finally he asked.
“Very bad sir… slashed wrist and overdose of sleeping pills.” replied Seema.
“Damn… Flushed the intestines?”
“Yes. Nurse Eva is in-charge… poor little thing.” Old Seema was always full of sympathy for young female victims of physical abuse. She never called any patient “poor little thing” otherwise.
“So, not just suicide attempt. Physical abuse too?” He inquired.
“Physical and sexual” she answered.
“Rape?”
“No… Well Yes… her husband.”
“God!!!” Anurag exclaimed in disgust.

He tried not to look at the faces of the patient’s family members waiting outside the ICU. He went in quickly. The patient lay there with the Oxygen mask on. She was on the ventilator… There were bruise marks above the left eye. There were many old as well as fresh marks on her neck and shoulders.

The Nurse removed the cloth covering the patient’s body… Red and blue scars covered almost every portion of the milky white skin. The body was covered with scratches and teeth mark everywhere… as if a wild animal had tried to tear her apart.

He examined every wound carefully. There were many old scars and few fresh ones, clearly indicating regular physical abuse. He checked her heartbeat and pulse… it was terribly slow… The ECG monitor showed an almost horizontal line… He signaled the nurse to increase the oxygen supply.

After instructing few things to Seema and Eva, Anurag left the ICU.

****************

“Hello Doctor, How is the patient?” A police officer asked as he walked out.

Anurag looked around to see the anxious family members. “Well. I cannot say anything right now Inspector… it’s a 50-50 thing.” he felt there was no point keeping the family in darkness.

“Can we speak doctor? We need to talk.” The inspector asked.

“Sure… At my office?” Anurag suggested.

The Inspector and a constable followed with a bunch of paper in his hand.

Anurag sat on his chair and waited for the police officer to speak. The Inspector sat and stretched himself on the chair. Then he read out “Well doctor, patient Gurpreet Kaur… age thirty three… Where are the other fucking details?” he growled at the constable standing next to him.

“Gurpreet Kaur… thirty three years…” Anurag suddenly grew restless… the name was enough to make his heart skip and beat faster. “Gurpreet… thirty three years old… was it her? No. She might be some other Gurpreet…” he tried to convince himself. He looked at the inspector for rest of the details trying not to appear too desperate.

“Oh, by the way doctor… she is a doctor… MBBS… but never practised… her family got her married to a NRI businessman eleven years back. She told her family about all this many times. She wanted to file a divorce too. But her parents wouldn’t listen… Family honour, you know… divorced daughter is a humiliation in the society. Now see what happened?” The inspector explained…

“Gurpreet… thirty three years old… MBBS… married for eleven years…” Anurag tried connecting the dots inside his head, it is definitely her. He remembered the deep dark mole on her left wrist. Yes it was his Gurpreet. Blood rushed into his head and his heart pounded vigorously. He rose from his chair, excused himself and almost ran towards the emergency wing.

****************

“She’s better now. Stable enough.” Seema pointed at the ECG monitor and left.

He walked towards the bed as the nurse left. Tears welled up in his eyes as he stood beside her. Memories gushed in… Gurpreet… the fiery feminist. The tall, slender and unassuming girl who had thrashed a senior in front of the whole college one day. He had been stalking and harassing her best friend. Anurag was among the mute spectators watching his frail classmate Gurpreet pin down that giant fellow. He had fallen in love with her that very instant.

She was bold and confident… enthusiastic in sports and extracurricular. She was the first one to raise her voice when any injustice or bias happened. She had relentlessly pursued the management to approve publishing a quarterly women centric magazine. Gurpreet was the editor of “WeMan” and it was published regularly for next five years despite constant ridicule by boys and certain girls as well.

Anurag sneaked in the “WeMan” every three months into his hostel room and read the blazing editorial that Gurpreet wrote. She wrote about strong single women, body hair in woman, cosmetic market, portrayal of women in advertisements and a myriad of feminist topics. He used to hide it in his drawer after reading and locked it safely to avoid his roommates finding out. He wasn’t as bold as she was!

He could never collect enough courage to confess his feeling in five years. By the time he had gained enough strength to propose her, she was already engaged to a NRI businessman. She said it was her conservative parent’s final decision and she could not do anything about it. That was the first time he saw her surrendering to typical social norms – that too for something as significant as marriage!

He looked at the fair face with dark curls… she looked beautiful even with the oxygen mask on and tubes all over her body. He moved closer… stretched his hand towards her face… he wanted to touch her… at least for once!!!

Was he misusing her helplessness and unconscious state… he asked himself. He pulled his hand back.

“You love her. It is OK to touch her as long as you do not pity her. She would have hated it if anyone pitied her or her circumstances. Go ahead… she deserves a tender touch of love. Touch her with love, not with pity.” another voice in his head spoke.

Anurag stretched his hand and gently touched her face… with his index finger… He smiled at her although he knew that she could not see it. She was still unconscious. Once she gets well and is completely cured, he decided to propose her again…!

 

 

Kindly comment on the content as well as the style… honest and sincere criticisms and literary suggestions are welcome.
 

 

Life and Love

Posted: October 14, 2012 in Poems
Tags: , , , ,

 

 

What is life… a beautiful sun ray?
It will move on, come what may
Tears dry out, one or another day
Pain subsides is what they all say!

What is life… a complex wordplay?
If misread – it hurts to death, I say
Hope flourishes like a heavenly ray
To be shattered soon – a toy of clay.

What is life… tints and shades of gray?
Learning to smirk when pain in heart lay
Love never dies how much ever you say
Deep wound of lost-love shall forever stay!

 

 

Highs and Lows

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Poems
Tags: , , , , , ,

 

 

When joyous is soul with ecstasy,
She picks the brush and paints the sea,
Or sketches a life she loves to death,
Prizes solitude and silence she hath!

When happiness in heart makes her sing,
She laughs and talks like a flowing spring,
Or is immersed in her world of books,
Sways to old songs while she cooks!

When bored with the work at hand,
She rather slacks than withstand,
Surfs the net or scribbles her dreams,
Time never passes, or so it seems!

When in her heart some sorrow seeps,
She thinks a lot and silently weeps,
Finds solace in enlightened being,
Nurtures her soul to grow and sing!

But when distressed with deeper pain,
When all efforts to cheer goes vain,
When a scared heart beats and skips,
Silently she puts herself to sleep.

 

 


 

 

The buzz stopped suddenly. Everyone fell silent. Every spectator held his breath.

The final moment was here. The moment of ultimate penalty!

Every eye was fixed on Raghubir. He looked tensed. The most significant moment of his life and career.

“Please God, Raghubir should not miss this. He deserves it so much!” Lalita closed her eyes and uttered her final prayers.

Right now, she missed Jeniffer, her only daughter who was born three months after she was widowed.

“Raghubir is found guilty in rape and murder of eight year old, Jennifer. The court awards him Death Penalty.” the judge pronounced.