10 Valuable Lessons Malayalam Cinema teaches Men and Women

Disclaimer  : The post is dealing with only Malayalam cinema because I don’t have enough knowledge to extend the details of this post to the movies of other languages. But, considering that we live in India, I am sure that most of what told in the post could be generalized.

 

Lessons for Women

1) Women should not shout

It is a common and indispensable dialog in a Malayalam movie. If ever a woman shouts, then the next dialog will be a man shouting back at her reminding her that a woman should not shout. I think this dialog comes automatically from a scriptwriter’s pen. Also, a woman’s voice touching the roof of the house or coming out through the bedroom wall will collapse the house.

2) Girls should be courteous, coy, pleasant, well dressed, well-mannered, and presentable and she should know cooking

Most of the movies will have a five to ten minutes session for advising a girl to be a “girl”. This is the part where the hero gets to talk on and on about his knowledge about perfect women. The situation in the movie will be as follows. The girl will be smart, talkative and independent. She likes to wear western attires and the clothes suit her well too. There will be a positive vibes of happiness around her. She drives a car. She eats food cooked by her Mother or maid. What on Earth is wrong in that? But, then there comes the hero. He tells her that girls should be coy and demure. Girls should not talk much. Girls should wear a saree. Girls should know cooking. A girl allowing the man to drive is feminine. He would shame her either in front of her family or in front of her friends. But neither her family nor her friends would stop the hero from puking the advices. Instead, they would stand like statues. Then with a heavy heroic background score the hero will leave the scene. And the transformation happens. There she is, our heroine, standing in a saree with her neck drooped   and cheeks blushed. She fell in love with the hero.

What the !!!

3) Life is lost, nothing is lost, but chastity is lost, then everything is lost

When I hear some dialogues, I feel that the world is balanced on a girl’s chastity. A man going to jail by killing someone is still a matter of pride but a woman losing her chastity is the biggest sin. In Malayalam cinema, there are only two solutions for this problem. One; the girl’s family, at times the neighbourhood will also join the family, begs the molester/rapist to marry her to wash off the bad name on the family. The girl’s father would fall on the molester’s feet, the girl’s mother would beg and finally the wedding happens and they live happily ever after. A song will be shown to portray the transformation of the molester and then the girl’s gets pregnant and delivers a baby boy and all is well. Two; the girl kills herself and all the shame and crack in the family honour are restored in minutes.

4) No matter what goes wrong, it is always a girl’s mistake

This dialog is reserved for the girl’s Mother. And yes, Mothers are always right. If a man stalks her, it is her mistake. If a man gropes her, it is her mistake. If a man rapes her, it is her mistake. If a man gives her a love letter ,it is again a girl’s mistake. If the family business dooms, then it a girl’s (daughter – in – law) mistake. No matter what shit happens, end of the day, it is always a girl’s mistake. Why did you allow him to stalk you? Why did you allow him to touch you? Why did you walk through that route so that he felt like raping you? You must have definitely done something to attract/provoke him.

Holy shit!

5) The best way to shame a girl is by talking nonsense about her morale and conduct

Any woman could be silenced by talking nonsense about her morale and conduct. The misconduct could include travelling alone, talking with boys, going out with men, drinking/smoking habits, going to clubs, going for western form of dances(traditional dance forms make a girl divine),failed relationships or marriage, not obeying her husband or parents, and wearing clothes which are not in the list of clothes allowed for a Malayali girl. Between every two lines, the hero or any other male character would boast a lot about the culture of Kerala and if the scriptwriter include point no.2 also, then this scene will be received by thunderous applause.

6) Nirvana of a woman’s life

This scene comes when a girl refuses to get married. Either her Mother or Aunt gets this piece of dialog. The scenes teach us the importance of getting married and staying married. The dialogues are gems of life changing information that they explains how important it is to have a man in a woman’s life, and how important it is for a woman to be accepted by the in-laws. And a woman’s life is completed only when she suffers the pain of delivering a baby, preferably a baby boy so that she has somebody to take care of her once the Husband dies.

7) Education is shit!

Girl: “Enikku padikkanam” (I want to study)

Girl’s parents: Pinne,padichittu collector aakan povalle. (Oh, as if you study and become a Collector)

These two dialogues are one of the most clichéd dialogues. Any time, if the girl refuses to get married and tells the parents that she wants to study, then the parents will shun by teasing her.

Some other dialogues related to education of a girl are

  • Pennkuttikal padichittendha oru kaaryam,veruthe kaashu kalayan.Aa kaashu kondu avale kettikkan nokku                         (What’s the point in a girl studying? Waste of money. Instead spend that cash and get her married off)
  • Pennkuttikal itrayokke padichaal mathi                                                                                                                                                                       (This much education is enough for girls)
  • Veettukaaryam nokkan valiya padipponnum venda                                                                                                                                              (You don’t need education to take care of a house)
  • Veruthe padippichittu pennine vazhi thettikkano?                                                                                                                                                  (Why do you want to educate her and spoil her conduct?)
  • Valiya degree undayittonnum oru kaaryamilla,vallathum vechu undakkan ariyanam                                                                                     (Having a degree is not a big deal. You should know how to cook well)

8) A girl is the light of the house

This is the safest way to make a girl obey the rules of patriarchy without making her feel that her life is restricted within an invisible boundary. The society and the movies glorify this fact so much that this is imprinted in people’s mind. They proclaim that girl is everything for a family and then impose rules on her to fulfil the mandatory conditions to be the light, mop and mixie of the family.

9)A girl falling in love

Though recently there has been a change in real life in the way the family reacts when they find out that the girl is in love, the cinema industry is still stuck with the chaos mode. The Father will blame the Mother for not making the daughter understand the value of culture and the family pride. The Mother in turn curses the daughter and blackmails her by holding kerosene can ready to pour on her. If she falls in love with somebody of a same caste, then the chaos level is normal. If she falls in love with somebody out of her caste, then the chaos level is at its maximum with a ten fifteen minutes scene of explaining her the family’s tradition, pride and name or about the hardships which the parents had to undergo to bring the kids up. If the girl falls in love with somebody of other religion, then the chaos cannot be measured. The Father would declare either to kill the daughter or go to jail (yes, killing daughter and going to jail is an awesome act) or to suicide together as a family.

10) A family which has to survive on a woman’s earnings is shame for the predecessors

This dialog is slightly out of fashion now but the grandparents who are heading the family cannot sleep without delivering this dialog whenever the women in the family wants to go out for work.

 

Lessons for Men

1)Slapping a woman is a man’s birthright

In Malayalam movies, slapping a woman is considered as the most matured act of a man. Husband slaps wife, brother slaps sister/s, and strange man slaps strange woman. In short, slapping is considered as the best medicine a man can give a woman to shut herself. An argument goes on and instead of the third dialog, the man slaps woman and there will be roars in the theatre. Women in the theatre shamelessly nod for this telling it was the heroine’s fault and getting one or two slaps will only make her a better woman.”Onnu koodi pottikeda avale”(slap her once more) is a common dialog which male audience shouts  and most of the times, the man on-screen slaps her once more as if he has heard the audience. See, the scriptwriter knows the audience well.

2) Love a girl? Stalk her,dude!

I don’t have any hopes about this trend dying soon. Some writers are even more brilliant. At times, raping her makes her fall in love. The hero whistles, tries to hold her hands or hair, follows her everywhere, intrudes her privacy and then voilà, she falls in love. The much appreciated Annayum Rasoolum was an epitome of stalking .A stranger following you daily at night till your doorstep is creepy and not romance.

3) One of the duties of a man is to protect family’s honour

The man will never allow anybody to spoil the honour of the family. So the best way to restore the family pride is either by kicking the girl out of the house or by killing her. If the family is powerful, then they can kill the man with whom she is in love and then force her to marry somebody else.

4) He is the decision-man

He decides and he orders. He decides what the Mother should do, what the wife should wear, what the son should study, whom the daughter should marry etc. The family which runs on a man’s command is a good family and a family which runs on a woman’s command is a bad family. It is an itching for the screenwriter if he doesn’t portray the family ran by a woman as a bad one and then an angelical man would enter into their lives and advises the woman head of the family to step down. He takes up the place as head of the family and all is well. The End!

5) Rules for men

A man should know how tame a woman and make her obey him.”Pennine varacha varayil nirthuka”(making the woman obey the man without protest) is a classic art and a man who learns it is THE MAN. Obeying wife or Mother(or any other woman) is considered as degrading the manliness. Other men would advise like “poyi chathoodada”(Cant you go and die?) if they come to know that their friend listens to his wife/Mother.

6) The sign of machismo

Womanizing by getting bored of sleeping with his wife is a sign of machismo but if a woman strays then she is a whore. The hero would list out why he is bored with his wife and then nobody asks a question. Should I explain what happens if a woman sleeps with somebody else?

7) Mistakes made by men are never mistakes

Men make mistakes but every mistake made by them is pardonable even if they kill somebody because they will always have a valid reason. The scriptwriter will make sure that the man(especially the hero) has enough reasons to support him for his actions; even if he rapes a woman. In that case, the man will sob saying I lost my control, it was a mistake—Do you think I will ever do such an act when I am sober?

Bloody hell!

8) Want to take revenge?

A man has the power to spoil a girl and the girl’s family. So if you want to make another man obey you, the best way is to threaten them to rape the women in the family. Why using your brain when all you need is to open the zip? Seriously, when we watch certain movies, the plot tells it without any shame. This is considered as the easiest way to threaten or take revenge.

9) The freedom to fall in love

A man has complete freedom to fall in love with whomever he wants. Why is it so? A man has the freedom to tell about his openly but a woman telling her love is a risk. Not just in movies, even in real life, people around her would tell her not tell anybody because it will reduce her chances for “good” proposals.

I doubt whether there is any movie which tells the man not to fall in love. Why is it so?

10) Man is always right…

…even if the woman counterpart is more intelligent, more educated, smarter and more talented than him. Period.

A to Z Challenge 2014 : Farooq

Farooq slid his hand inside the outer pocket of his backpack.His fingers crawled inside searching for the tablets.He swallowed the tablet and drank some water.He pushed the lever and leaned back on his seat in the bus.Headache is his new sibling.He bit his teeth hard to relieve himself from the pain.His watch showed 2.18 AM.He pushed the curtain sideways and looked outside the window.The city is sleeping.The street lights have painted the city in a dirty yellow color. The beggars are sound asleep and the dogs wandered around making weird noises.

He still struggles to fall into the baseless chamber of deep sleep.Something ,other than headache,inhibits him from sleeping.Inhibition and fear are his best friends who have stabbed him from his front.Even this moment,he wonder why he is not blessed with sleep.He looked around and saw people sleeping peacefully.

Last time when he came to Kozhikode,he cuddled the warmth of the home and sat inside his room for a week.He didn’t want the city to see his face and neither want to see the city too.This city was his love and life,but suddenly his ego felt strangeness towards his home and people in the neighbourhood.

The boys gang decided whether birds should fly,whether dogs should howl and whether people should laugh.The gang grew day by day.Those days,being a part of the “Chullans” gang was a matter of pride.The neighbourhood hated them and the gang loved being hated.Every woman in the neighbourhood feared the gang,every Mother felt ashamed in front of others to tell that their son is in Chullans gang,every Father made a chaos at home due to the complaints from others.

The gang christened everybody irrespective of the age and gender.Schools girls feared to walk in front of the gang,school boys pissed in their pants due to bullying,older men were fed up of their “pet” names and older women hated the poems about their body parts.

The canal bridge was the conference room of the gang.There were twelve members in the gang and they were waiting for one more boy to join to change the gang’s name to ’13 Devils’.It was at that time Farooq landed in Kozhikode from Dubai.His Father had left his job and his family moved into their ancestral house.The gang saw the landing of Farooq and family. Farooq and Fathima got enrolled in a school in the city.The driver dropped and picked them up from the school. Farooq felt very superior in the school.Nobody talked English better than him,his school stationeries were class apart and his academic brilliance impressed the teachers.

Those were the days,back when he was 13;his teenage blood frothed,his growing moustache shivered and his eyes blinked in love.

One Saturday evening,Farooq and family got dressed for a wedding party happening in the neighbourhood. Fathima stood glued to her Mother and Farooq sat among them men with his Father.

“Why don’t you go and play,Farooq,rather than getting bored of our talks?”

When he looked at his Father he understood what to do next.While walking out of the men’s group,he was proud of himself upon the fact that he could read his Father’s mind.Soon he will take over his Father and become the head of the family.

“Farooq!’

He looked back and saw the gang of boys of his age sitting in a circle.They made a casual talk and bid goodbye.

During the next wedding party,he again met the gang and had dinner with them.

The summer vacation started and Farooq meditated with his new video game.The door bell rang and Mother came upstairs and asked,“Do you have a friend named Jijo?”

Farooq thought hard but still replied yes.He went downstairs and saw the leader of the gang sitting on couch with a huge smile.

Jijo started very politely,”Aunty,we have a cricket match happening and we are short of one person.We heard that Farooq is a great player.” Farooq floated in the air in happiness and pride.His Mother still wondered when was the last time Farooq played cricket.She nodded and Farooq went with Jijo.

The maids hushed,“One more!”

Farooq came late that night and his Father asked him what the matter is.”Cricket match“,Farooq made the scene lightly by lying about the stories of that day’s match.

Coming home late thus became a habit and the chaos started in Farooq’s house.Other parents told stories about the gang to Farooq’s parents.Parents of the members of the gang cried in groups.Farooq’s Class Nine marks were dropping at a faster pace.

One day Farooq’s Father called a meeting at home with other parents and heard shocking stories.He understood then why Farooq has become so silent lately.The gang watched porn movies round the clock.Some boys smoke and drink,but all of them are porn addicts.The boys had become so rebel that parents found it difficult to control them.Farooq’s Father stormed into Farooq’s bedroom and found it locked.He shouted at his wife and daughter.He lost his control and broke the knob of the bedroom door.He hysterically searched Farooq’s bedroom and found nothing.He felt relived and sat on the bed and laid on it stretching his hands and body.

“Didn’t I tell you that our son has not got spoiled?”,Mother told wiping the tears.

“Hmmm,don’t let him know about what had happened.Tell Fathima also.I will fix the lock.”,Farooq’s parents sighed and smiled at each other.

The results came and Farooq was still in top five so his parents stopped bothering.

Class 10 was the phase of tuitions and studying and more studying.One Sunday afternoon two cars came and stopped in front of Farooq’s house.Men made noises and got out of the cars. Farooq’s Father opened the door reluctantly and stood in front of it.

“Farooq’s Daddy?”,one of the men asked.

“Yes”

“Come”,the leader of the group announced and rest of the group marched into the house leaving the leader and Farooq’s Father at the corridor.The group sat on the chairs and stools they could find in the hall.

“Call your son!”,the leader ordered.

“He is not home”

“Oh!then where is he?”

“He has gone to his friend’s house for combine study.”

“Which friend’s house?”

Farooq’s parents looked each other and then looked at the leader.

“Then,I know where Farooq is”,the leader said and Farooq’s parents faintly smiled.

“He is in the car.”

Both the parents ran outside to check whether it correct and found Farooq,Jijo and two other boys sitting in the back seat of the second car.They got out and slowly walked inside the house.

“Now ask them,what they were doing last night”,Nobody answered.“Have you ever checked his room?”,the leader asked Farooq’s Mother.She looked at Farooq’s Father and stood without answering anything.

“Do you even know that your son is a brilliant thief?”

The house went upside down.The other  boys’ parents came running and the scoldings,the beatings and the tonnes of tears made the house a battle ground.

When miseries come,they come as a flock. Farooq failed miserably in the public exam.The family tried their best to relocate.He stopped going out of the house.He lost the courage to face people.Once he went to the shop and the shopkeeper said,”Son,already I am in debt.Please don’t steal anything from here.” People around him laughed and he didn’t get out of the house until they shifted to Trivandrum.

He attended many counselling sessions.His parents became old and weak in a year’s time.The family stopped socializing.

Next year,he wrote the public exam and passed with good marks.He avoided making friends in the fear of blurting out his past.Hearing the name Kozhikode made him throw up.And thus he started getting headache and losing sleep.

He pitied Fathima in her plight of not getting married.Finally when she got married,the in-laws harassed her in his name.He received letters soaked in tears.He searched for a place where nobody knew him and there is nobody from Kozhikode but he failed.

Today he doesn’t have a choice other than visiting Kozhikode. His Mother passed away last night.His Father left the world even before Farooq completed his college.

He had shivers inside his heart when the bus reached Kozhikode bus stand.He took an auto rickshaw to his ancestral house.The crowd was small and nobody received him.He went inside and saw Fathima lying on the floor and her kids playing next to her.He didn’t look at his Mother and the rally to the burial ground started without waiting for his permission.His inhibitions overpowered him.

Fathima left with his husband and in-laws that night and by 6.30 PM,Farooq was alone in the house.Nobody asked him his news.

The door bell rang and when he opened the door,there stood Jijo,Fayaz and Sandeep.He wanted to slam the door on their face but he left the door open and sat on the sofa.

The silence among them grew and finally Sandeep made the noise.

“It was Fayaz who told us that you have come home”.

Except Farooq, rest of the gang is still in Kozhikode.They all got married and some have kids too.Jijo is a political party secretary now.Fayaz has a shop and Sandeep is a lecturer.He had often wondered how come they had the thick skin to survive the guilt and shame.

“We are very sorry for that night.”,Jijo started,”we didn’t expect it to go haywire.

Farooq replied nothing and after waiting for some time,those three left.

Like the leader lamented,they were not a gang of thieves but some of them had the habit of peeping into the bathrooms and bedrooms in the night.So during the public exam study leave,Farooq finally couldn’t control his urge and approached Jijo to help him get inside Jency’s house.This was a news to the gang that Farooq and Jency were dating.Farooq jumped the compound wall of Jency’s house with Sandeep,Jijo and Fayaz.Jency and Farooq talked and did all they could do.But God didn’t help them.Sandeep and Jijo had the habit of injecting themselves.Bored of waiting Fayaz also joined them that night.Farooq tried his best to wake them up.Time was running fast and the dawn broke.Farooq could have ran away but the Jency had to save her face.So she lied to her parents and four them became theives who slept off while stealing.

He thought Jency would understand him but he was wrong. Jency’s rejection was a hard blow for him.More than the shame,Jency’s approach crushed his heart. She didn’t contact him but he never let that secret out.

The silence around him,the darkness of the night and the loneliness of his life thickened.

That night he cried out the burden he was carrying.Next day,even before the Sun waking up,he left the place.When he looked back,he saw his past smirking at him and he hurriedly walked away.

 

A to Z Challenge 2014 : Eric

The lights were dim.At times,the lights flickered.Eric ordered one more shot and licked the left over chilli chicken masala.He tried to figure out which song is played.He looked around and saw more boys and girls than men and women.A gang of ten was celebrating one of their friend’s birthday,another gang was celebrating a bachelorette party and a newly married couple was romancing in a corner couch.He got up from the seat and walked up to the smoking room.He pushed tipsy boys and girls to find a way.The room was packed but he got little place to lean on with his right shoulder.He noticed the young couple standing opposite him and smoking the same cigarette by taking turns.She wore a small black top which was up to her belly button and a micro mini skirt.Her boyfriend was enjoying the attention he and his girlfriend were getting.She took a puff and then kept her head on his shoulder and told him something.

Oops,is she talking about me?“,Eric asked himself and walked out of the smoke room.

He thought about his friends teasing him,“Hook up with someone man;otherwise what’s the point of going to the pub daily and drinking alone?”

“Yes,I am alone.I am 43 and I have no one,forget about woman,in my life”,he stumbled on a shimmering high-heeled stilettos,“How on earth are these women wearing them?”

When he walked up to the seat,there was a girl sitting in his chair and there was a guy hugging her and standing next to her.He stood in front of them for a while wondering what to tell to make her get up from his seat.

“Eric sir!”,Rakesh called out holding out a mug of rum coke.He took the mug and walked to the dance floor.

This pub has been Eric’s evening place for past five years.Earlier he used to come here with his friends.Later all of his friends got married and now they either don’t have time for him or don’t get the permission from their wives.Bullshit! Today every bartender is his friend.Bouncers greet him with a smile and there is no stag entry fee for him.Even during the most crowded nights,he will still get an entry.He leaves only when any of the bartenders asks him politely to leave.People never mess up with filthy-rich single men.

During his teens he was against drinking.He made sure he isn’t drinking or tasting alcohol even by mistake.For him the smell of alcohol was the smell of his Mom.Every night when the car horn honks in the midnight,he would run and stand at the stairway.His unconscious Mom would be in the hands of the driver.The driver would lift Mom and then make her lie down on the couch.One day,the driver smooched her only to find Eric standing in the hallway.He left hurriedly but Eric couldn’t forget what he saw.In fact there was nothing he could do then.He heard lots of stories about his Mom from the housemaids and his friends.Looks like she was an introvert simple girl when she married his Dad.Something happened between them which nobody knows clearly.But,when his Dad died of out blue,she was the happiest person on the earth.There was a rumor that she didn’t even shed a single tear when his Dad passed away.Eric was a year old then.When he wakes up in the morning,she would be still asleep and she would still smell alcohol.He dresses up alone and one of the maids would serve the breakfast.One of the drivers would drop him at the school.When he comes back from school,she would be sitting at the dining table in glittering translucent saree which showed every curve of her body.He would sit opposite her and the maid will keep a mug of hot milk in front of him and a mug of coffee in front her.She would talk sweetly to him for which he would answer in monosyllables.When the car honks,she would get up from the chair to kiss him.Every evening,there will be a patch of red lipstick on his cheeks.She didn’t notice him growing up and one night the hell broke loose.Eric still loses himself when he thinks of that night.

“Excuse me Uncle,could you please change the seat?Our gang doesn’t have enough space there.”,a boy in his early twenties sat next to Eric and pleaded.Eric smiled at the boy’s usage of the word Uncle rather than Sir.He silently occupied the other seat.He kept thinking about his inability with women.No!he isn’t impotent but he has trust issues.He trusts nobody.He trusts no woman.Wait! He had trusted one during his college days but when she learned stories about his Mom,she left him even without letting him know.He got to know about his own breakup news when his friends told him that she is going out with one of his classmates.

At times he wonder whether he has loved his Mom or not.But,he was sure about one thing.As he grew older,he started sympathizing and empathizing her more and more.But,even then there was no love for Mom.It was a feeling of hatred melting into practical nonsensical sympathy.

He had stopped waiting for her car coming home in the night.He was in Class Twelve then.When the car honked he didn’t bother about it.Later,he heard arguments downstairs and before he reached the hall he heard a thunderous slap and Mom’s shrieking cry.He saw Dad’s best friend Mahesh Uncle standing determined for slapping her for the second time.Eric ran to him and beat him up with the chair at the dining table.When Mahesh Uncle shouted *****,Eric lost all the control.He beat up Mahesh Uncle and dragged him on the floor to the car porch.He smashed the car glass and shouted at Mahesh’s driver to get out of the place.Eric was shivering in anger and went back inside.He saw his Mom crying.His senses weren’t working.All the anger which had been boiling inside him for years erupted without any control.He pulled up his Mom from the sofa and slapped her hard.He slapped her until he overcame his rage.His Mom’s nose and lips were bleeding and her face looked purple.He ran into his room and opened the bathroom door.He stood in the shower until he broke into tears.He didn’t wipe himself and fell on the bed.

Next morning he woke up hearing the non-stop knocks on his door.He had appointed one of the maids to knock on the door until he wakes up and opens the door.He made the maids satisfy his early morning sexual thirsts too.When he opened the door,a crowd welcomed him.Nobody seemed talking and he almost guessed it right.He saw his Mom’s dead body and policemen in the house.She had hung herself the night before.

After that day,he has been always alone.He fired the maids and drivers.He punched his Uncle when he and his family tried to stay over at his place.He lost lots of money trusting wrong people.He stopped college and took over the business at the age of 23.

“Sir,bill.”,Rakesh stood there with a smile and a bill.

Eric kept two hundred bucks extra and winked at Rakesh.

The watch showed 12.45 AM.He slowly walked out of the pub and waited for an auto.In front of the pub,a couple was fighting over some issue.“You cheat!”,the guy was shouting at top of his voice and the girl showered him names.

“Everybody cheats and I am cheating myself”,he sang and walked on the road until an auto rickshaw followed him and insisted him to get inside.After reaching home,he searched for the light’s switch and saw the photograph of his Mom on the wall.

“You *****!”,he shouted and fell on the couch and slept off.

Next day,again at 7 PM,he sat in the pub and ordered for another shot.

 

 

A to Z Challenge 2014 : Dev

Priya has been playing Candy Crush for quite sometime.Boredom at its best,she lamented.Nobody,including her Husband,is in town.She skipped breakfast and slept until the clock struck two in the afternoon.Still not hungry.She called up the usual home delivery outlet and ordered food.Only then she realized that she hasn’t even brushed.She was lazy to get out of the bed,so again played Candy Crush.

After half hour,the door bell rang.A new delivery boy — she smiled at him.She took the food packet and the bill and went inside to take cash.While taking the cash she thought the delivery boy doesn’t have the cliched looks of a delivery boy.

“What’s your name?”,She asked while paying the cash.

Karthik“,he answered smartly.

“Which class?”

“10th”

“Wow!No class today?”

“No class on Saturday Madam”

The conversation went on and on and before closing the door,Priya knew everything about Karthik and his family.She handed over a hundred rupee note and told him to come to her if he needs any help with Mathematics.He left the place in joy.

While in shower suddenly she realized,”Oh God! he looks like Dev. F****,how come it didn’t strike for me?”

She tied towel around her head,tightened her robe and got out of the shower.She hopped to the bedroom and opened her laptop.While logging into Facebook she searched among the many Dev and finally found his profile.

“Dev!”,she whispered in mixed feelings.

Years back,he was the dream boy of every girl in the school.He was tall,lean and handsome.His smile was heavenly.His dimples made girls blush.He talked well,he danced well,he sang well and he studied well too.Teachers and students loved him unconditionally.His hair always fell on his eyes.Girls competed to get his attention.

Priya forgot when was the first time she started noticing Dev. I think it was in Class Nine.She found the puberty period extremely annoying.She felt that she is in love with every guy whom she met.Later she found that her friends also have the same problem.Tina was in love with Aditya for a week then suddenly she started having feelings for Govind and later she was in love with Rakesh.

“Total confusion!”,Tina told Priya and Anita during the class break.

“We should not think such things.My Mother told me that it is a sin to think about such things until we get married.”,Anita took out her daily dose of lessons.

“Shut up Anita,we are just 14 and there are ten more years for us to get married.”,Priya teased.

“But,my Mother.. “,before she could complete Tina screamed.“I think I love Dev.”

“What??!!??”,Both Anita and Priya were shocked.

“I think he likes me too.”,though Tina sounded optimistic,Priya found it difficult to digest the fact.

Next day during the class Priya looked at Dev. His eyes were curious and his forehead showed that he was trying to understand what the teacher was writing on the board.That day while getting out of the class in the queue he stood before her.When he turned back and saw her,he smiled at her.He looked through his hair that had fallen on his eyes.There was a thunder bolt inside Priya’s heart.Her heart skipped a beat and she tried to smile back at him.He offered her to stand in front of him in the queue and she readily accepted.After crossing the school gate,when she looked back for him he had disappeared in the crowd.Her eyes searched for him in the crowd while getting inside the school bus.He had gone.Two days later,after lunch while washing the lunch box,Priya heard the song “Raja ko Rani se Pyar Ho Gaya“.She turned to her left and there he was singing and washing his lunchbox.He winked at her and she smiled.That day she couldn’t sleep.His smile took away her sleep.

Every morning she would look at herself a lot in the mirror until the school bus honks.It was then the tension clouded over her head.One fine morning she had pimples all over her face.Her face became pink and she was embarrassed.She applied Mother’s face cream in the hope of getting rid of them.

“Do you know Leena proposed Dev?”,Tina dropped the gossip bomb and that bomb fell right at the core of Priya’s heart.Her heart burned.She couldn’t stop not looking at Dev for rest of the day.He is always happy.Nobody has seen him tensed.Teachers love him more than any other student.He was the most popular student in the school — There are no cultural festivals or sports meets or excursions without him.And yes,Leena is the most beautiful girl in the school. Priya was undoubtedly sure about those two getting together.She got inside the school bus and chose a window seat to sit.She had no interest to play anthakshari ,so she looked outside and thought about the lost love.It was then she heard  hush-hush talks from the seat behind.She was the happiest person on Earth when she got down in front of her house from the school bus. Dev rejected Leena.She jumped in joy.

That night she went for the movie Mission Kashmir with her parents.She didn’t see Hrithik and Preity Zinta on the screen and instead she saw Dev singing and dancing with her.Her Mother didn’t like the movie but the “Soja Chanda” song and her Father was impressed with Hrithik’s acting skills.After the movie, while walking to get out of the cinema hall,Priya looked down hard not to stumble and fall inside the poorly lit hall.She held Father’s left hand and slowly walked.When she crossed the row of seats,Dev was standing at the end of the row.He smiled at her.She felt that she was dreaming.No!She wasn’t. He was standing in front her for real.She was overexcited and introduced him to her parents.That night while driving back she talked only about him .

Next day,she had every reason to be happy.She was waiting for Tina and Anita to get inside the school bus to tell the news.When they reached school,Priya told about meeting Dev in a very casual way,though her heart was beating in excitement.It was towards the end of the lunch break,when she was walking to get out of the class,she saw Dev coming towards her.

“Liked the movie?”,he asked.

“Yes,very much”,she blushed and replied.

“By the way,your new haircut suits you well.Looks good on you.”,He said this and walked away.That night Priya sat in front of the mirror and pampered her hair.Days went on with smiles and glances and school closed for the summer vacation.

“Dev’s house doesn’t have a phone.That’s the problem”,Priya complained to herself.For the first time in life,she wanted the school to reopen soon.One Sunday afternoon,she was coming back from a wedding.The wedding feast was toothsome that she ate a lot.Throughout the way she slept in the backseat of the car.She woke up when she heard noises of people and train.She sat up on the seat and looked around;the car was at the railway signal.She yawned and again fell on the seat to sleep.

It was then she saw somebody who looked like Dev. She rolled down the car window and looked carefully.Yes,it is him.

He was sitting next to the rail with his friends.He wore a bright orange lungi which had pink and green dots.His hair had still fallen on to his eyes.His friends looked malnourished and they were also wearing lungi.He and his friends were eating pan masala and one of his friends was smoking a beedi.“Does he have a twin brother?”,Priya tried to recollect the facts she knows about him.But other than his name,she knew nothing.Their eyes were locked. Dev reluctantly stood up and watched her and her car crossing the rail.

Later she got to know that he was a bastard child.His rich Father wanted him to study in a good school as he is good at studies. Priya’s heart was broken into a billion pieces.For two days she cried for no reason.

When the school reopened,she couldn’t look at Dev and she never told Tina and Anita about the incident.

Priya again looked at Dev’s Facebook profile picture.His hair has not fallen on his eyes;it was trimmed well.He has put on weight and his smile was fake.But,his eyes still sparkled with happiness.The About Me section read like he is married and he is working as a showroom manager at a car showroom.

She quickly dressed up and drove to the car showroom.She gave her car for the service and waited for the bill.And there he was standing right in front of her.

“Is there anything else Madam?”,he asked without realizing who she was.

She said nothing and smiled at him.

When she got out of the showroom she told herself,“No,his smile is not fake.It is still heavenly.”

A to Z Challenge 2014 : Cyriac

“Let’s go?”,Cyriac asked his wife before starting the scooter.She nodded.

The wedding of Paul’s son was grand and Cyriac and Molly stood at a corner watching the bride and groom.

“Hello Cyriac… What a surprise!”

“Hello John…Hello,how are you?”,Cyriac exclaimed too.

Both men laughed and talked about their old times.Three of them sat around a table for the sumptuous lunch.

“So how is Treesa?”,Molly asked John for the sake of formality.

“Good..Good..Both Mother and daughter are fine.And how is Rahul?Oops I forgot second son’s name.”

“Rohit”

“Yes,yes,Rohit.What are they doing these days?Wasn’t Rahul trying for IAS?”

“Hmmm“,Cyriac replied in a heavy tone.

“Molly,do you know?In fact years back,Cyriac and I had a plan to get Rahul and my daughter Mridula married.Even now I am fine with the plan.After all,who doesn’t like to have an IAS son-in-law.”

“Hmmm”,Cyriac again replied in a heavy tone and Molly remained silent.

“By the way,where is Rahul working now?”

“Not yet,he is still trying for IAS.”,Molly managed to sound as pleasing as possible.

“Oh!but isn’t there a limit to the number of times we can write IAS?”

“Yes,he tried thrice.One more chance left.”

“This time,he will get it.I will make sure that he gets it.”,Cyriac’s sounded determined.

John smelled something fishy and cleverly escaped from the scene pretending to take dessert.

Molly looked at Cyriac and he walked off without completing the food.

That night John telephoned Prakash and enquired about Rahul. Prakash laughed from the other end and then apologized and said,“It is all Cyriac’s mistake.Looks like Cyriac himself wanted to be an IAS officer but he couldn’t make it.In turn,he wanted Rahul to write IAS exam and become a collector.”

“What’s wrong in that Prakash?”

“Listen, Rahul is a below average student but very brilliant in extra curricular activities.He sings well,dances well,and acts well too.Now he is a theater artist and he good at it.But Cyriac was very adamant and made Rahul study commerce thinking that it will help him to reach the IAS goal.Poor fellow,he had passed Class Ten in the borderline and studying is a big burden for him.We can’t blame Rahul.He is incapable of studying. Cyriac had sent him to Delhi for IAS coaching and Rahul celebrated there with Father’s money and came back.Then after a year,Cyriac had sent him to Chennai for coaching and again he stopped in the middle and came back.Now he is acting in few plays in the hope that he might get a break in movies.It would have been better if Cyriac had sent him to some Arts school or Film school.That guy has talents in such things.”

“God,Prakash,so are you telling me that Rahul didn’t work at all?”

“Yes!”

“Oh my God!I was calculating in a different way.Cyriac and I had a plan to get our kids married.”

“Ayyo,John,Do make that mistake.”

“Anyway,thanks for updating me.”

“No problem.”

Meanwhile at Cyriac’s house,Molly burst out like a volcano.

“So,are you going to make Rahul write IAS again?“,She shouted at top of her voice.

“Yes,he is my son and he is capable of it.”

“Why are you not understanding it?He is 30 years now and you expect him to obey you?”

“I’m giving money for his expenses,so why can’t he obey me?”

“All this while ,he obeyed you and what has happened?”

“I did for his good.”

“If you want his good,then agree for his wedding with the girl he had told us.Let’s get him married.”

“Who will give daughter to a jobless guy?”

“He is not jobless.He has a good future in the theater industry.Do you remember what his Master told about his acting skills?”

“Huh!acting.He is not going to make anything out of acting.”

“I’m fed up.”

Rahul came home listening to the vague noises of Father and Mother fighting in the night.He is used to it,so opened the door with the spare key and silently went to his room.He kept thinking what to tell Raji and her parents.She has been waiting for him for quite few years.She is 28 and still fighting with her parents and relatives for him.

Later that night Molly came upstairs and sat next to Rahul.He sat on the bed and they didn’t talk each other for a while.

“What is Raji telling?”

“Same old thing.Poor girl,she is tired of fighting.”

“I haven’t never asked you this.But still,how much money are you getting these days?”

“Why?”

“Tell me.”

“13000.”

“Raji also has a small job.Altogether you both will get 20,000.That’s enough for living.Go marry her.It is fine.Don’t think too much about Dad.He is out of his mind.Already he spoiled your life,not anymore.I will make him understand.”

“Amma!”,Rahul cried and hugged Molly tight and said,“I’m sorry Amma.What will I do?I know Dad is not in good terms with me.He hates me.But,I don’t have the talent to study.I don’t know why but nothing gets inside my head.”

“I know,I know…Don’t worry.Start a life now.Everything will fall in place.”

Molly kissed on Rahul’s forehead and cried,“Sleep now.Talk with Raji’s parents tomorrow.”

Rahul smiled.

Before leaving the room Molly turned back and told Rahul,”Your Dad isn’t a bad man,just that he tried to make his dreams come true through you.”

“Then what about my dreams and the years I had lost?”,Rahul asked without taking off the bed sheet from his face.

Molly said nothing and closed the bedroom door.

A to Z Challenge 2014 : Balan

“Mom,did you see this?”,Anu held out a postcard and asked Sharadha,“Third postcard of the month.”

Sharadha read the postcard and gave it back to Anu.

“Why is Dad doing this?Can’t he just say no this?”,Anu was furious and threw the postcard in the dustbin.

Anu can’t remember precisely when she started noticing postcards in the mail box.It is during the X-Mas – New Year weeks that she opens the mail box daily.Seeing a bunch of greeting cards in the mailbox is a great joy.Though all of them are addressed to her Dad,she had the freedom to open the greeting cards.Most of the cards will be from his old/current students ,old/current colleagues and old patients.Every card will have a thanking note with a lot of emotion.

Dr.Balan — Everybody in Calicut knows him.Her teachers;friends;friends’ parents;everybody in Calicut knew him.She was ignorant of her Dad’s popularity until two years back.She was in Class Five and her class teacher talked high about her Dad in the class.She blinked through out the talk and wondered why Teacher was talking about him.Towards the end she understood that an article about her Dad has come in The Hindu newspaper.That day,after reaching home she examined the newspaper and found the article.It read …”though hailed from a very poor family…”poverty was his”…”the struggles which “…She stopped reading it and went her room.She thought,“Sheesh!How will I look at my friends?Now everybody knows that my Father is from a poor family”.That day though she heard that the telephone rang with wishes throughout the day,she didn’t feel happy. “I hate his family.”,She said to herself while going to the bed.

She pondered and found out some interesting facts.The contrast between Dad’s family and Mom’s family is very obvious.Mom’s house is big,her parents are fair and good-looking,her parents wear good clothes,her house is clean,her parents talk English and her Dad has a car.Dad’s house is small,his house is not painted,his parents are dark and wrinkled, his Mom wears a veshti,his house is always dusty,his Mom talks Malayalam and his house doesn’t have a car.

Summer vacations are boring. Anu changed the TV channel one by one and then went downstairs to look out of Mom.During lunch,she asked Mom,“Can’t you tell Dad to stop responding to these postcards?People are taking advantage of him.My wife is not well;my daughter is getting married;my son wants to go to Dubai;my niece wants to go to college;What the hell!Can’t people stop doing things if they don’t have money?And Dad is like a World Bank,sending money orders to every bloody beggar.”

“He will not listen to me.”

“Can’t we tell Appoopa* to tell Dad?”

“That’s not going to work.”

“Somebody has come at the gate.”

“Go check.”

By seeing the attire,Anu guessed that the person is from Dad’s Family.His dhothi is not washed properly,his feet are dirty,his nails are dirty,his shirt is soaked in sweat and his bag looked like a sack.Her face showed the dislikeness.She opened the gate for him.He smiled at her and extended his right arm to touch her face.She avoided the touch and walked into the house.

“Sharadha,recognized me?”,he smiled warmly.

Sharadha hid the confusion behind her face and greeted him.Anu glared at Mom for being very polite to him.

“We had met during Smitha’s wedding”,the old man sat on the plush couch and continued,”I am Sekharan — Smitha’s Uncle’s Brother-in-law.”

Sharadha faintly smiled and said,“Please sit.I will take the lunch.”

Anu trailed Sharadha to the kicthen and whispered,“For money and free lunch.Morons.”

“Sshh! be quiet.Otherwise Dad’s name will be spoiled.”

“He is not even a direct relative.Then why are you treating him nicely?”

“Sshh,he is Dad’s relative.Now go and give this tumbler of water to him.”

Anu faked her smile and gave him the water.

“Please come for lunch”,Mom’s voice echoed from the kitchen.

All three of them sat across the table and while eating he told them,“My son wants an admission in  Calicut Medical College.”

“He doesn’t recommend anybody.Hope you know it.”,Anu told bluntly.

“Oh no!not for recommendation.In fact,my son is a very brilliant student.He has got admission too.But we don’t have enough money to make the first payment.So if you could tell Doctor about this,it would be a big help.”

“If you don’t have money,then don’t send him to college.”

“Anu!”,Sharadha yelled.Anu stopped eating and stormed into her room.

“Sorry,she is a kid.She hasn’t seen or heard any of these.Please don’t misunderstand.”,Sharadha was embarrassed.

“No problem.”,he smiled sheepishly.

That night Balan talked a lot with the Sekharan and came late to the bed.

“Don’t you think you are overdoing this?”,Sharadha asked 

“When Anu tells me this,I understand because she doesn’t know poverty.Don’t you know everything?”

“But now things have changed.My Dad agreed to the wedding because he had that talent to forecast things.He knew that you will become a rich doctor down the lane.”

“Let’s not talk about this.”,Balan covered himself with the quilt.

Sunlight hit his face through the holes of the bed sheet.Smoke and Amma’s cough ceaselessly came from the kitchen. Balan removed the bed sheet and sat on the mat.He looked at the calendar and sighed.A day more  for 31st May.He went to the kitchen and sat on the stool and yawned.He drank the black tea without brushing the teeth.

“Amma,did you ask him?”

She simply looked at Balan and said nothing.He understood the answer,so went outside.He sat on the steps to the kitchen and chewed the neem leaves.

Before leaving to the mill,Amma told Balan,“Don’t be sad.There will be a way.How much money do you need?”

“One rupee and 50 paisa.”

“Ouch! From where will I get this much money?Did you check well in the application how much the fee is?’

“Hmm”

“Phew!Let me ask Marar’s wife.But already we owe her some money.”

“Don’t worry Amma.You don’t ask.I am not sad.Also,like Uncle told me I should not dream high.”

“But,you have the marks to study to become doctor right?”

Balan said nothing.

He walked to Ali’s house and whistled.Ali’s sister looked out of the kitchen and called out for Ali.Though Ali is elder to Balan and has stopped school in class five,Ali has a big respect towards Balan’s ability to study well.

“Ali,will you be having One rupee?”,Balan asked with lots of hope,“I will return once Amma gets money from Marar.”

“Ayyo,sister’s nikah is finalized.I can’t spend anything now.By the way,what for?”

“Nothing.”

“Tell me.”

“I want it for the college application.”

“Allah! Let me also check with someone.I don’t think anybody will have it.All the money would have gone for the treatment of cholera.Don’t worry,I will see.”

Balan understood that Ali is helpless.Until six in the evening,Balan went to the houses of Vasu,Rajan and Koya. Vasu has gone to his Uncle’s house,Rajan has gone with his Father in the lorry and Koya has gone to Malappuram.When he came back home,Amma was already back from the mill. Amma asked nothing and Balan said nothing.Both Mother and son have been very understanding after his Father’s death.Balan regretted for not going to Ravi’s house;his uncle has come from Dubai.

Next day Balan woke up early and went to Ravi’s house.Ravi came outside his house and both walked up to the well.

“It will be very difficult”,Ravi said apologetically,“already he is in a very bad mood as there was an argument with my Mother over the partition of house.”

“I simply asked”,Balan tried his best not to show the tension and disappointment.

“Don’t tell lies.Your face tells everything.”

Balan walked back to home.He decided to join the local college.While walking back,he checked at the mill where his Amma is working.He felt that she is happy about his decision.He crossed the brick-kiln and there was a huge man in white shirt and white dhothi standing in the middle of the road holding an umbrella.He was slightly bald and his eyes were red.His thick mustache shivered when he talked.The man looked at Balan and asked,“Is this the brick-kiln of Beeran?”.Balan said yes.Balan explained about Beeran’s untimely demise and the orphaned brick-kiln.

“Why are you looking sad?Any problem?”

Balan stood in confusion whether to tell the man the reason.Out of desperation and disappointment,Balan burst into tears.

“How much do you need?”,the man asked in his arrogant voice.

“One rupee and fifty paisa”

“Here is Two Rupees.Go,give the application.”

Balan was reluctant and happy at the same time.

“Don’t worry.I will be here around for some days.You can help me with the accounts.”

Balan took the money and ran to the application office.While coming back,he searched for the man near and around the brick-kiln,but couldn’t find him.

“Amma,I will do anything for that man.Che!I didn’t even ask his name or where he is staying?”

“Don’t worry,tomorrow morning go to the kiln early.Work as hard and sincere as you can.May God bless him.”

Next day Balan went to the kiln and there was nobody.He went to the nearby house and enquired about the man but nobody knew about him.He went to Beeran’s house and asked about the man but Beeran’s wife didn’t even had the clue that somebody was interested in their deserted brick kiln.Balan went to the tea shop and asked everybody there.Nobody has seen him.Nobody knows about him.Nobody has heard about him.

Balan woke up in the middle of the night and went to the kitchen.He opened the fridge and took a bottle of beer.When he opened the balcony door,warm wind blew on to his face.

“Why is my wife not understanding my conscience?”,He asked himself,“That day,that too on the last day of the application how did I get the money?How come,in that entire village,only I met that man?”

In the morning,Balan gave the money to Sekharan and told him,“Tell your son to meet me when he joins the college.” Sekharan smiled and blessed and walked out of the house.

“Dad,these people will smile now because they are getting free money.”,Anu’s voice echoed her anger.

Balan looked at Anu and smiled and said nothing.

 

 

 

 

*Appoopa - Maternal Grand Father

A to Z Challenge 2014 : Ajmal

He looked at all of us staring deep into our eyes. Cold wind blowing turned warm due to our tensed breath outs. Before joining the college, I did ask a lot of people about the ragging sessions in this national pride and the prestigious engineering college. To whomever I asked, for a difference, everybody told me the truth and sleepless nights turned me into a zombie by the time I joined the college. Two days, the seniors found no time to set up a meeting with the fresh batch of students. The name Unni spread like a virus among us and finally on the third day when we almost slept peacefully, the time to meet him was ticked in our fate book.

Who is Ajmal?’

Unni’s voice traveled like a bullet in the midnight hitting right on my chest.

He stood in front of me and gave me a handshake. Rest of them was told to make a circle of nearly 2 meter radius and he made me kneel at the center of the circle. Before joining the college,my well wishers had told me that for a boy(man?) like me, ragging would not be a problem because seniors would respect me for my terrific academic track record.

Tell us your intro‘, Unni commanded me.

Once I finished telling my introduction, he told rest of my batch and his batch mates that India’s brain in our college.

S.S.L.C 1st rank, 12th standard 1st rank, Kerala Engineering Entrance 1st rank,AIEEE 1st rank and IIT-JEE 1st rank. Wow!!

His batch repeated his words in chorus.

So tell us, do you study round the clock or do you actually do things which we men do?‘ Everybody laughed including the new boys.

Do you have a girl friend?

I said no.

My mind wandered that night and reached my 7th standard classroom. When I looked to my right, she was sitting there and writing down the notes.

Shalini, the heart-throb of the school.

The day when the teacher announced that Shalini would sit next to me that year, it rained inside my heart. I thanked my heavens for the new rule the Principal Madam introduced saying that in each bench a girl and a boy would sit for an entire year. The boys of my class flushed with jealousy and green vibes hit me all over.

Shalini wasn’t beautiful; she was amazingly beautiful. Her neatly braided hair would touch her nipples point. Her smile made me touch me every single night.Her fingers were long and the way she held the pen was cute.When power went off, I would wait until a line of sweat flowing down from her hair, behind her ears and then slowly flowing down her neck. During Wednesdays, I would secretly stare at her pink knees as girls wore shorts for the P.T.She talked with no one, including me. The girls in my class were equally jealous with her I guess and she always roamed alone. Few boys in my class did try to talk to her and  she faintly smiled.She was bad at studies and though teachers would tell her to take my help, she never approached me.When teachers scold,her face would turn into a darker shade of pink.My hands would want to hug her and make her feel good. But,she behaved as if she has no clue that she comes in every boy’s dreams daily.

When the school, family and the state celebrated my rank in 10th standard, all I wanted was a look from her. But she wasn’t in the crowd. Even during the tight schedules of 11 th and 12th standard, I made time to think about her. My happiness roared to heights when she shook my hands after the series of 1st ranks in Engineering Entrance Exams. Her hands were smoother than mine and felt like I’m holding a two days old fragile kitten. I wanted to kiss her at that moment.I wanted to hug her tight and share my happiness. The white salwar which she wore that day made me feel that she is an angel.

I decided to find her and propose her. The religious barriers didn’t stop me from taking a decision as I knew where my career would take me. Money beats every religious barrier. The decision was to find her house once I go home for the vacation and then talk to her. My Mother would agree because she loves and understands me more than anybody in this world.

This time going home felt very special. Love was in air and I could feel its warmth.

Phone calls were made to my classmates and nobody knew her house. One told me that her family has moved out of the town. Though I was disappointed, the urge to find her and make her my own made me study like a maniac. I wanted a good career to make her live like a princess. Imaginations made a family inside my mind and there wasn’t even a day without thinking her. My friends wondered how I still remembered every feature of her even when I don’t have a clear photograph of her except the class photographs which are kept like a treasure in my trunk.

During my 3rd year engineering, there was a school reunion happening together with a wedding reception of one of my classmates. There is no better opportunity than this, my mind told me. If it was possible to marry her at the same venue, I would have been glad to do so. My eyes searched hard to find her in the crowd and finally after trying to sound casual and normal ,I asked my friend about her.

‘Oh so you didn’t hear the news?

My heart beat faster and I asked, ‘What news?

I wiped my forehead with my handkerchief. I gasped and made myself ready to hear the special news.

It was a suicide‘.

My vision blurred, my hands trembled and tears rolled out of my eyes.

‘Don’t be so emotional, buddy’.His hands on my shoulder didn’t console me at all.

You will not feel like crying if you hear the complete story.’

My ears reddened and my face showed the determination to kill the one who forced her to kill herself.

Do you remember our lab assistant,Biju?

Yes. So?

‘She was having an affair with him and she got pregnant. Her family moved out from here and then it had come in the newspaper that she killed herself consuming rat poison.’

She cannot do so. She is fragile. She is an angel. She is innocent.She is ignorant.

The news about her is wrong; my mind struggled to believe it.

The reason to live has gone. My Mother held me close and tight until I cried my eyes out.

Going back to the college didn’t interest me at all. Friends did try to cheer me up but the blow on my life was too hard to heal.

Most of the days, I drank and slept on the terrace of the hostel. I would look at the stars searching for a brighter star which smiles at me. Friends laughed at me saying how an intelligent man like me could believe that dead people turned into stars. 

But, empty terrace, beer and billions of stars consoled me better than the human beings. At times, when I see a shooting star, I would wish that she was alive in some world. At least alive so that I can tell her how much I still love her.

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A to Z Challenge 2014 : This year,it is all about Men

I’m lazy.I have been always lazy.Last year,this time,when the A to Z challenge was happening,I happily sat back and read others’ posts.Remember,during our childhood we feel an urge to try things what our friends(enemies) do.Last year,towards the end of the challenge period,I too felt like writing about things from A to Z.But,laziness is inborn,so writing twenty posts and publishing them were a grueling task.So I made my thoughts concise and stuffed everything into one post;you can read the post here.

2014 is an awesome year for me.So I thought,why don’t I disown laziness and mood swings and then write twenty-six posts.So this year,the theme for my A to Z challenge is about men:short stories about men whom I have met,seen,known,heard,liked,disliked,loved and hated.No! this series is not about the men I fell in love with or about men who fell for me.Yes! you can find few love stories and also regular readers might see a couple of repeated posts but short stories will be mostly about so many other flavors of life.

Don’t panic.I will not be using the real names of the people.

So,watch out for the series in the coming days.Who knows may be it is your story.

 

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Love,Lust and Bubble

“Diya! You there?”,Vidya banged on the door.

“Let’s go?”, Anu pinned up her dupatta and asked Vidya.

“Diya is still not up”

“She must be tired from the trip. Let her come for the second hour. It is Malathi’s class. She will not let us in if we are a minute late. Come… Come…” Anu dragged Vidya.

Vidya again banged on Diya’s door during lunch break. Vidya stood in front of the door and tried calling Diya’s phone.

“Vidya, what happened to Diya? Is she too tired from the trip that she can’t even come for the class?”, Shalini laughed loud.

“Listen, I know it was you who spread the news about her trip.”

“Of course, it was me. Tell me one reason for not doing it.”

“Past is past.”

“Then what I had told about her is past too.”

“Diya, just open the door!”, Vidya yelled at the closed-door and banged on it.

Students flocked and they asked Vidya so many questions. Vidya gave up and told everyone that Diya is sick.

During the class, Vidya told her concerns to Anu. Diya’s phone is switched off; her parents have already called Vidya thrice; nobody has seen her after trip.

“Don’t worry; this is not her first time. Or on a happy note, may be they must have made out too many times that she is tired.”

“But still, can’t she at least open the door?”

“We will do one thing. Let’s bunk the next class and then go to her room.”

“OK. Let’s do that.”

When they reached Diya’s room, it was latched from outside.

“She must have gone to the toilet.”

“Let’s sit inside the room.”

They waited for an hour chatting each other.

“Diya’s guts! appreciated.”

“I don’t feel that she has done anything great.”

“But, again how did she make it? Aren’t her parents very pestering and strict?”

“Sigh! She told her parents that she is going to Kodaikkanal for the class trip and then went to Ooty with Deepak.”

“Whoa! She has brains to handle her parents. But still, I would have shivered to death for going on such a date. That’s why Ramesh and I date only inside the campus and I chose him over Naresh because Ramesh and I are from the same caste. I can’t handle complications. It is very difficult to sleep with one guy and then marry another one. I kinda feel disgusting.”

And Diya came holding her bucket in one hand and toiletries in another hand. She looked terribly tired. Eyes looked droopy and face looked pale.

Vidya and Anu sat straight eagerly waiting to hear the stories.”Diyaaaa”, they called teasingly.

She didn’t look at them but stood next to door opening it wide. Vidya looked at Anu and then looked at Diya.She was still standing there holding the opened door.

Shalini was sitting in the mess and Vidya purposely avoided looking at her.

“How is Diya? Her phone is switched off.” A text message flashed in Vidya’s mobile phone. It was from Deepak. She immediately called him but he didn’t pick up the call.”*******”, Vidya told herself.

Then Anu came running to mess and dragged Vidya out.

“Looks like there is some problem.”

“What?”

“Ramesh told me that there is a rumor that Deepak was just idling time with Diya.He is not serious.”

“Oh that, even I knew. I don’t think even Diya is serious about the relationship.”

“Then who cares. Let them **** how much ever they want. I was worried that Diya was cheated.”

“No, Anu. She isn’t that kind of person. She knows well that any guy would fall for her charm. So if not Deepak, then somebody else.”

“I seriously want to know the art of being a *****.Guys come and go just like this in her life. Phew!”

“LOL!!”

Four days passed and nobody saw Diya in the class. For two days Vidya and Anu checked on her before going to class but then they got busier for the cycle tests.

During the first test,Diya came to class.She looked terrible.She had dark circles.Her hair was messy.Her lips were dry.The entire exam hall looked at her but she walked slowly to her seat.After ten minutes,Diya walked out of the exam hall.Anu leaned and looked at Vidya and she looked equally clueless.

Vidya and Anu ran behind Deepak after the test.

“Hey,listen,is there any problem between you both?”,Anu asked in stern voice.

“No.What problems?”,Deepak asked innocently.

Deepak joined his friends, laughed over some boys joke and cycled away.

Vidya slightly pushed the door and it opened. Diya was lying down on her bed. Anu also got inside the room and closed it from inside.

“Diya, wake up.”

Diya got up and hugged Vidya tightly. She screamed blue murder.

“What happened?”Anu whispered.

Diya cried. She cried uncontrollably. In two minutes, there was a pool of tears on her.

“Did you see Deepak?”

“Yes, we met him after the test. He looked normal. What happened to you?”

“He has a girlfriend in Delhi.A relationship approved by their parents.”

“WHAT?!!??”,both Anu and Vidya exclaimed.

“Yes,she had called me few days back.She shouted at top of her voice.I didn’t know what to reply.”

“What did Deepak say?”

“He told me that going to Ooty was my idea.Now the blame is on me.”

“Huh!”

“Actually,why did you go with him?Anyway you were not serious and he was also not serious.”

“Who the hell told you that I was not serious?”

“So you were serious? Oh my God!”

“Of course I was serious. Otherwise why would I weave such a big story and tell my parents?”

“So, what is next?”

“I don’t know.”

“Coming for lunch?”

“No!”

Anu and Vidya walked over to the mess and Anu said, ”What goes around comes around. This is the punishment for snatching Shalini’s boyfriend last year.”

“Don’t talk nonsense.”, Vidya joked,” punishment it seems.”

Days passed and the cycle tests were over. The weekend came. Diya and Anu had gone home. Vidya was bored watching movies and sleeping over books. She went to the mess for evening tea. The mess was deserted, so she stretched her legs and kept it on the chair on the other side of the table. She enjoyed the hot elachi tea and went for one more cup.

“Is Diya going out with Ashish?”

Vidya looked back to see who it is. She smiled at Shalini.

“No. I mean I don’t know; I don’t think so.”

“Hmm”

“By the way,which Ashish?”

“Ashish — Deepak’s roommate; Rakhi’s boyfriend.”

“Oh!”

“I saw Ashish and Diya in the railway station on Friday night when I went to see off my friends.”

“Oops”

“What is she up to?”

“They must be the new friends.”

“Rakhi told me that Ashish broke up with her on Thrusday night.”

The elachi tea tumbler fell down from Vidya’s hand.

Sunday night,Anu texted Vidya — “TTE caught Diya and Ashish from train’s loo. It is a chaos here.”

Vidya looked at the text message and then deleted it.

 Next day while going to the class,Vidya knocked on Diya’s door.She was lying down and crying.She hugged Vidya tightly and cried.

“Why did you do this?”

“I don’t know.”

“Leave it.Get ready.”

Before reaching the class,Diya got a call.Both of them stopped their cycles.

“I am bunking the class.”

“Why?”

“Manish wants to talk to me.”

“Diya! Don’t do this.”

“Bye.I will come for the next class.”

Vidya said nothing and cycled to the class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabbage

Priya stretched her right hand to touch Saahil.

Saahil“,she called him pulling his hair,”Saahil,calling bell;maid“.

He rolled over to the other side and snored.Priya patted him on his bum and got out of the bed.She yawned and tied her robe’s ribbon.When she opened the door,Akka stood there with a bag half-filled with vegetables. Akka’s forehead showed the daily frustration of waiting in front of the door.

How many times have I told you to give me a spare key?“,Akka murmured and went to the kitchen.The noises of vessels falling into the sink released her irritation.

Priya went back to the bed and crawled inside the quilt.She hugged Saahil from behind and bit his left earlobe. Saahil chuckled and rolled on top of her. Priya laughed and Saahil passionately kissed her.

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

Akka,all ready?“,Priya stood at the kitchen door and asked.

Muaah! Bye“,Saahil kissed Priya on her cheeks and sipped the milk and rushed to the front door.

Lunch!“,Priya shouted.

Team lunch today“,the voice came out from somewhere down the staircase.

Akka,tomorrow buy some chicken.It has been a while.

That guy owes Rs.20.He is an asshole.

That’s OK.No problem.

Please pack my lunch too Akka,I am already late.

Then who will wash the dishes?

Don’t shout.I will pack it.

Priya went to the room and brought her hand bag.She took out a smelly lunchbox and smiled at Akka.

Sorry,forgot to wash it.

Huh!Give it.

Priya grinned.

Wait,why did you buy cabbage?Haven’t I told you not to buy cabbage?

Today,plantain was not there,so I thought I will buy cabbage and shred it.

Don’t ever buy cabbage.

Why?

Priya said nothing.

Akka,let’s go.I am already late to office.” 

Akka came out holding the garbage bag in one hand and a cloth bag on the other.”Dish wash liquid is over.Mustard and jeera are over.

OK.You buy them tomorrow.Keep this.”,Priya stretched out a Hundred Rupee note.

After driving for a while,Priya stopped the car and breathed heavily.She opened the door and puked on the road.She searched for the bottle and gulped lots of water;but,again puked.She closed the door and turned on the air conditioner.She turned the blower on to her face and swallowed air.

5.30 AM.The alarm rang. Riya woke Priya up and went to the toilet.

Riya! Did Priya wake up?“,Mom asked from the kitchen.

Priya dragged herself from the bed and leaned on the toilet door.

I don’t want to go to school today.

As if I want to go.”

“It is because of our school bus.The class starts at 8.45 AM and for that we need to start from here at 5.30 AM.

What to do?

Why can’t you tell parents to send us in public bus?Then we need to start from home only at 8.15 AM.

We are too small.

You?Small?Aren’t you in 6th standard?

But,Parents will not agree.And,yeah at least today please don’t puke.

What will I do?They smoke up the bus with foul-smelling agarbathis and I feel suffocated.”

Today also cabbage“,Riya opened the steel lid and smirked at Priya.

Amma!”,Priya shouted.

I know but what can we do.There is no money.I will tell Dad to buy something else tonight.Few more months — once our new house is built then Dad will have money with him.

Amma,you don’t know anything.Rice and cabbage for breakfast,rice and cabbage for lunch and rice and cabbage for dinner.Do you know,I vomit daily in the bus?

“Ayyo,what happened Priya?” “Riya,is it true?”

Riya said nothing and continued eating.

Yes,Amma.I am telling the truth.I feel suffocated inside the school bus.The agarbathis smell churn my stomach.This cabbage never digests for me and I puke until I reach school.Two days back when I puked,rice and cabbage came out and boys made fun of me telling that I eat rice for breakfast.Friends always tease me saying Amma knows to cook only rice and cabbage.

Amma said nothing.That day,an hour after getting inside the school bus,when Priya burped,smell of cabbage prevailed in the air surrounding her.And she knew,it is time to run to the door.The bus driver braked upon seeing her next to his seat.She ran to the nearby bushes and puked her soul out. Riya sat in her seat without acknowledging the happenings.

Can’t you tell your parents to buy some medicine to stop vomiting?“,driver showed all his disliking in his voice.

Are you pregnant?“,asked Vijay and his boys gang.There was a big laughter when Priya walked back to her seat.The taste of undigested half-cooked cabbage lingered inside her mouth for the entire day.

Madam,ID card?

Priya flashed her ID card through the car window and drove off to the parking lot.That day when she opened one of her lunch boxes,she saw fried,yellow colored shredded cabbage.She smelled it once and then ran to washroom.