The Ghouls!

Hello everyone! Recently, I had to attended a social gathering in my family…. There, I found myself nowhere because wherever I went, people were discussing about marriage, babysitting, in-laws, finance, investments, shopping and stuff that totally made no sense to me and all of them were more or less my age!!! I totally felt like an alien because all of them were those with whom I used to play hide and seek and used to discuss about cartoons! I felt unwelcome 😐. Then came a ray of hope, my distant relative’s son, who was pursuing PhD from IIT…. He then introduced me to his cousin, who was also studying…. He was preparing for the public service examinations!!! The 3 of us allied and talked, only for the onlookers to give us weird looks!!

So this blog is about those of us who are often treated as Zombies in the society!!!

About us:

We are a group of individuals, above 24 years of age, who are on the verge of achieving something in life, through education….

With dark circles around our reddened eyes, holding our coffee/tea mugs, munching random snacks, wearing randomly mismatched clothes and unmaintained hair, we appear like zombies, who avoid social gathering to avoid stupid people…

The last selfie we ever took would have been a year ago, we live away from the social media photo studios.

Least bothered about what’s happening in other’s lives, we are grouped up into smaller circles with those like us and are happy with it. We do hangout in the libraries discussing stuff related to exams, results and superhero movies…

We go shopping not for clothes and accessories but for buying books and stationery!

Sitting in a confined corner of our house, with our computers, mobiles, tabs, text books, notes and satitionery, we too live life, hidden from the society! Here is about a few of us!

  • The UPSC Zombies: We are those zombies who are found shuttling between various shifts of classes all day! We dedicate our whole productive time on studying hard! The only app we use is telegram, where we join various channels to grab all the material we get to study! Talk to us and we’d take you on a roller coaster ride from our ancient history to present day politics, from ancient poets to the youngest author, we know it all in fingertips! We prey on competition success and such books. While the world watches game of thrones and such series, we watch News (yet are updated about khaleesi being Jon Snow’s aunt) ! While the world goes on exotic vacay to various hill stations or hangs out at expensive restaurants, we hangout writing mock tests- cool, isn’t it? 😎😉
  • CA, CS Ghosts: We are the existingly non-existent ones…. Our blood is sucked twice a year – May and November, by our institutes. In between we suck in all the knowledge about Taxes, Audit and Company law acts! We eagerly await our results, no matter how good or bad we write our exams, for, we plan well about the next coaching class we would need to attend. Filled with hopes of passing in aggregate. The only forum we use to connect with people is CA Club and such similar ones. Like the other fellows of ours we don’t have a social or personal life! Our lives revovle around home-classes-institute and study rooms! Often casted out because of our weird lifeless lives, we sit and slog, no matter what time of the day or night it is, we work hard, with zero self-pity, just to save people’s taxes!!
  • PhD Vampires: In the name of survey and R & D, we fly around from one place to another, sucking in knowledge of people, in the form of questionnaires. We have a head vampire, our guide who sucks our blood, no matter how well we write our thesis, he/she somehow finds a mistake. Our phones are filled with PDFs and e-books from various countries, downloaded from random websites. Unlike our fellows, the public service aspiring zombies or CA Ghosts, we do have a social life, where we connect with our fellows, seniors and juniors, discussing on thesis and stats. We do earn a bit too, by helping out students on doing projects and giving lectures in colleges, once in a while, which we in turn spend on our books! We are good writers who write for journals and hardly get any recognition 😂😂 . For one prefix Dr. to our names, we slog day and night, with caffeine running in our brains. Look into our reddened eyes and you’d find infinite words and stats revolving in!
  • The Artististic Wizards and Witches: With our pen and hideous names, we live lives to the fullest. We imagine, create and produce art. Because of the sudden gush of creativity, no matter what time of the day or night it is, like night-owls, we put our brains to work. We don’t really earn money, but there’d be no person who doesn’t knows our work! We are well celebrated and envied by those our age, coz we do that they don’t. We love taking requests and doing favours for people. Through our art and skills, we unite people and world through art…. We live a life of any other regular person by the day but when we have that creativity gush, we get into the magical mode and do things extraordinary! We have a full-on social life, but all that we earn, we use the last pie, investing on art, photography or stationery supplies…..

Cheers,

Meenu a.k.a Aarya (A Vampire Witch 😉)

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Bai On Wheels

It was around 11:30 am, I was standing near the window of our kitchen, savouring a bowl of well diced,organic Banganapalle Mango. I have a habit of watching TV or some video or see something entertaining while I  savour some good food. Today, I wasn’t in a mood to watch TV and my mobile was being charged… my only source of entertainment was looking at the road- vehicles, people and stray dogs lazily walking under the scorching heat. My eyes, while scanning the road, looked at a lady on a Scooty, being surrounded by  a group of other women. With the way she was dressed, I understood that she’s a maid or some domestic help and around her were her peers who worked at various other houses. I was curious about what they were talking about and saw that her peers were requesting her for a lift and she was proudly choosing her pillion rider( This somehow was similar to a 10 yr old “birthday girl” who chose her partner, to distribute sweets in the school) . This seemed very interesting to me and leaving the mango bowl there, I quickly washed my hands and ran downstairs. I called one of the women who were surrounding her and inquired about the woman on Scooty. She told me a small gist of her story, which I felt was blog worthy.

Me: Ask her to meet me after she drops you at home. Tell her Iyer Sir’s daughter wants to meet her on some important work.
The Maid: Ok Amma… I’ll ask her to meet you immediately… I will go home by walk… It is nearby only…
Me: No… you go home with her… I’ll talk to her when she’s free…. Maybe today evening after 6?
The Maid: No Amma, I’ll ask her to talk to you now itself. Wait for 5 min… She will drop me and come to talk to you… Stay here Amma….
Me: Ok..Ok.. I’ll wait here….

I waited for almost 10 min and when I turned towards the gate, she sped her Scooty and signalled me to wait.

Amma… Are you Iyer sir’s daughter? My friend told that you wanted to talk to me… Do you have a child to be dropped or picked up from school? Do you have any grocery purchase or any such odd work for me? She asked me with an enthusiasm of a teenager….

Me: No… It is not about that… See, I want to know about you and your Scooty… I heard a bit about you from your friend, I thought I’ll write about you in my computer and publish it to the world…. What say? 

She: Then Amma, take my photo also, nice one, ok? See amma, I can’t read English, if you give me a copy of what you wrote, I’ll show it to Doctor amma or her sir or her children or my Husband to read and explain it to me…. 

Me: I don’t have my mobile right now, to click your picture… You park your Scooty inside my house and we shall sit and talk… Come…. 

She obediently parked her pink coloured Scooty Pep in the parking space. Under the shade of Neem tree in my house, we sat and sipping a glass of cold water, munching some snacks shyly, she began her story….

My name is Ashamma, they call me Asha… I was born in Karimnagar Dist, Telangana, to Govindamma and Ramulu who work as seasonal farmers of fruits and vegetables, under a big and rich Patel. My brother is studying degree in a nice college, I studied till 8th class, then I reached puberty. My parents stopped my education because they didn’t want to send me alone till high school and study… I studied in Telugu medium school only. I started helping my parents in harvesting crops and during free time, I also learnt to do embroidery work, stitch saree falls and I also used to put mehendi designs and do some drawing. When I turned 17, one of my distant relatives, when they visited us, brought an alliance and my parents got me married. I turned 18 a week after my marriage. My husband Sunil works at Pizza hut. He studied till 10th class you know… He speaks English well. 8 years ago, when we got married, he was working as a delivery boy there. 

My husband is not at all like other men, he never drinks or abuses me…. He’s a very nice man… Infact, what I am today, is because of him only. Even educated men are not as good as him… I’ll tell you what happened…

8 years ago, after our marriage, in a span of 4 months or so I got pregnant. Because of weakness, in a very short span I had a miscarriage when I was travelling to my native place from Hyderabad. My parents, villagers and everyone cursed me and scolded me and considered me a bad omen because my womb couldn’t even hold a child. I was thoroughly insulted. My husband got angry, fought with my parents and villagers for me and took me back to Hyderabad. He took me to a doctor and got me treated. I got pregnant again, the next year…. I faced another miscarriage…. My husband, this time sent me to his parents’ place… But this time, we neither informed about the pregnancy nor the miscarriage. We kept it all between the two of us. One Anganwadi doctor in his village suggested some tests for me and sent me to the biggest hospital in the village. There, I waited for hours together, in scorching heat, without any food or water, just to hear from the doctor that I have a weak womb and that it would take great time and patience for me to have a child. I told my husband the news. Sadly, my in-laws, through the Anganwadi doctor got to know about my reports and asked me to leave their son alone. They called up to my husband and asked him to come to the village and that they’d get him married to some other girl. 

 My husband got enraged, came to the village, fought with his parents, relatives and safely brought me back to Hyderabad. 

Sadness consumed me each day, when I’d think about my health and weak womb. I cursed myself for not being able to give a child to my husband. There were days when I even felt suicidal…. Thoughts about all the insults that happened at my place and my in-laws place added to my sorrow. 

My husband couldn’t see me this way… He did his best to motivate me. We then decided to cut our ties with mine and his families and that we’d live a happy life with just the 2 of us. If there was God’s will, we’d have a child or if we got a chance, we thought of adopting a child and raise her/him in the future. 

My husband got transferred to the pizza hut branch in Begumpet area. We shifted our house from Lakdi-ka-pool to Begumpet. We took a small 1 room house, for 2000₹ per month rent, near his workplace, near some officer’s quarters. There, I got many friends who were my age. I met a doctor amma who was in her 40s…. She wanted some domestic help, who could take care of her children as well. She said she’d pay me 3000₹ per month. I agreed to work for her, taking permission from my husband. Doctor amma suggested me to some of her other friends residing in the building, for domestic work and taking care of their children. 

Many months went by and I was earning as much as my husband did. We bought one TV and a small fridge. My husband proudly showed off the TV and fridge to all our basthi people and his co-workers. When he was off-duty, he would gather the kids in our neighborhood and watch TV with them. Those kids, we treated them like our own and my husband would buy them chocolates and snacks once in a while. That was the only way we’d convince ourselves. 

Later, my husband bought a second hand Activa. I observed that many girls in the officer’s quarters ride their 2-wheelers to college or work…. I also wanted to learn riding a 2 wheeler. One Saturday night, when my husband was in a relaxed mood, I asked him to teach me driving his Activa. He hesitated initially considering my health and weakness. I insisted and finally convinced him to teach me…. He taught me driving on days when he had no duty. Sometimes, he did day and night shifts, especially when there were cricket matches and all that. At that time, he came home late night, tired….. 

I took help from the neighborhood girls and boys who were my age or younger to me, to teach me driving… Days passed… One day, my husband was home early… I asked him to freshen up and get ready. My husband did as I said. I started the Activa and asked him to pillion ride with me. He gave me his helmet… I wore it and with him behind me, I rode almost 5km…. My husband’s happiness knew no bounds. He helped me acquire a driver’s licence, within a couple of months. 

One day, I met with a minor accident and had a hairline fracture. It was at that time that our happiness knew no bounds when the doctors confirmed my pregnancy. I was finally pregnant.. Each day, I was afraid of something untoward happening… Doctor amma and my husband took great care of me…. With their care and God’s grace, I delivered my daughter. When she turned 1 year old, I was pregnant again…. This time, I delivered a baby boy. Our house was now filled with happiness. Because of my husband’s odd duty hours, I found it difficult to take my children to doctor, work and manage home all at a time. I couldn’t lift both my kids all the way to my workplace or anywhere I went. I sometimes borrowed our neighbour’s Activa, took both my kids on the 2 wheeler. 

Days went and my neighbours now hesitated to give their Activa… I couldn’t afford an auto ride as well…. I decided to start saving money to buy a 2-wheeler. A second hand vehicle atleast. I didn’t know how to save for it because all that my husband and I earned, was sufficient for our monthly expenses. 

One day, at doctor Amma’s house, there was a birthday party. It was Amma’s daughter’s birthday and all her friends had come. Amma arranged for a mehendi artist for the girls but the artist didn’t turn up. One of the girls was crying. To console her, I took a mehendi cone and drew designs on her hands. Looking at that, the other girls including doctor amma wanted me to draw mehendi on their hands… 

The next day, one of doctor Amma’s patient, who ran a beauty parlour was introduced to me. She sent her customers to me for mehendi. I started earning some extra income this way. I also started drawing record book diagrams for the neighborhood children and children of the officer’s where I worked. I charged 50₹ for one record book. That way I earned even more. 

I saved a lot of money, enough to buy a brand new 2-wheeler. Along with my husband, I proudly placed an order for a new TVS Scooty Pep. My daughter selected pink colour. We did the down payment for it and eagerly awaited for the delivery. 

A couple of years passed, we did aksharabhyasam to our kids and decided to enroll them in a school nearby.. My husband would drop them to school and I’d pick them up…. Our kids stood unique in the school, for the reason that while all the other kid’s mother’s would walk them back home, my kids zoomed with their mother on her scooty…. 

My husband , one day met with an accident and had his knee fractured. Though his office gave him all the compensations, he was declared unfit to deliver pizza because of his injured knee. We now fell short of money and had to fund our children’s education and food…  We were thinking of ways…. I earned extra income by doing embroidery, drawing mehendi, school and college record diagrams and many such things…. 

One day, when I went to work, in the building that I worked, one of the women in whose house I cooked food, asked me to fetch her some groceries… I zoomed on my scooty and got her what she wanted. She tipped me with 30₹. The same week, one more lady asked me to drop her child to school and she too tipped me with 20₹. When I discussed with my husband about this, he asked me to make money out of this and that, he’d take care of the house and children till he recovered and got a better job. 

I slowly started making money, by buying groceries, driving the ladies to shopping, picking or dropping their kids from school or tuitions or classes… Sometimes I also give my husband’s activa or scooty on rent for some reasonable amount to the neighborhood boys or girls….. Meanwhile, my husband recovered and pizza hut called him back to work, not as a delivery boy but as a server in the restaurant…. 

It is 3 years since I bought my scooty now…. My husband has taken up morning shift job. He drops my kids to school on his way to work and picks them back on his way back. I come all the way to doctor amma who has recently shifted to your area, to help her domestically. My husband and I are planning to shift to a 2 bedroom house for 8000₹, rent per month. We are doing good as a happy couple and a happier family.


Ashamma, the slim yet shrewed lady narrated her story and Inspired me not to lose hopes and also, I learnt that with will power, motivation and right amount of love and support from dear ones will help us achieve the impossible….

Van Lavino- Heights of Love 

She woke up to the fragrance of smoked sambrani mixed with the aroma of boiling vegetables in the sambar’s tamarind gravy. On her bedside was steaming cup of filter coffee and her Amma’s recital of Meenakshi suprabhatam… She wanted to hug her amma, as she always did, but she now knew that it wouldn’t be good to do so, coz she knew that it wasn’t a joke anymore and that, her amma wouldn’t like being touched while in madi… 

I’m not a carefree adolescent anymore.. I’m married now… I have a family of my own! Reminded Kamakshi to herself. She was at her Amma’s place for a month, for the submission of her Doctoral thesis and viva voce exams.

6 Months ago she was married to Harikesh, an architect​, at Mumbai. 

Kamakshi​, you are up so early? You could have slept for some more time, it is Sunday today… 

I’m used to waking up at this time, everyday Appa! 

Harikesh wakes up late and you are up early, everyday? He makes you work all day? 

No appa, he’s the one who wakes up early… He gives me my space for everything… He also helps me in doing the household chores, infact, we enjoy this work time of ours. Whole day we are busy with our works, he in his office and me in mine. We hardly have time to talk to eachother in the morning. So we make sure to de-stress ourselves by sharing the household chores in the evening. You chose the right person for me Appa… I’m so lucky to have a life partner like him! 

I know, right… I knew he would be the one… You were the one who rejected this alliance for useless reasons!  

It wasn’t like that Appa… I had my own worries and concerns…. You won’t understand! 

I understand, that’s why I found the best match for you… 

Their door bell rang… Kamakshi, opened the door, only to be hugged by a woman wearing a hijab and a burkha. 

Rasheeda!! She exclaimed…

How have you been, Kamakshi? 

I’m fine Rashu! How are you?? It has been ages we met eachother​… 12 years almost! I searched for you in all social networking sites and couldn’t find your presence anywhere! How did you track me down? 

Arey! I’m super fine… I am not active on FB and all yaar, just WhatsApp and Skype. That too I get no time at all… My kid keeps my busy all the time… 

Ofoh! Rashu, you have a kid, already? How old is he? 

He’s 18 months old yaar… I left him with his dad, I was very eager to meet you, as soon as I got your details, yesterday, as and when I landed, I told my hubby to drop me at your place and asked him to pick me up in the noon… 

Nice re! But who gave you my details, that too, about my stay here? 

Oh, that.. I totally forgot… Day before yesterday, when we boarded the flight at Dubai. There was this guy sitting beside me… He looked tired and as soon as the plane took off, he slept. My hubby and I were calming down our restless son and my son kicked hard on that man’s nose. His nose became red and bled a little. We called the airhostess to get some ice and gave him first aid immediately. My hubby and I apologized to him and requested him to shift place if he was feeling uncomfortable. That man was very sweet, but upon our request he took the seat on the other row. My hubby struck up a conversation with him and that’s when he told that he got married recently and showed your picture… My joy knew no bounds realising that it was YOU! I collected all your details and thought I’ll surprise you. Between, here’s a small parcel your hubby sent for you… He said he wanted to give it to you when he meets you next weekend, but I insisted I’ll give it you when we meet. He agreed and sent it with me. 

Kamakshi carefully took the parcel and was shy to open it in front of her friend. After a lot of hesitation and pursuance, Kamakshi opened the wrapper. She found a note, a miniature wooden typewriter, a pair of goggles and a bottle of perfume. Kamakshi ran into her room, placed the note and miniature typewriter close to her heart, kissed the typewriter several times, placed it in her closet and came out blushing. 

Looks like your Mister is pretty romantic… Notes, miniature gifts and all eh? 😉  What’s so specially written in it that made you blush reading it?

Arey, nothing like that… I’m just happy receiving gifts from him…

Ahan.. really? You want me to believe it, Kamakshi?

Nothing like that yaar… He’s a very nice person… I never expected I’d marry a man like that… Never in my dreams I’ve thought of a person like him…

Oho.. what’s so special? Acha… Tell me how you both got married… Was it a love marriage? 

It was an arranged marriage… Arranged amidst the clouds.. on the sky….

Sounds interesting.. tell me about it… 

** 9 months ago, RGIA, Hyderabad**

Appa was travelling to Cochin with my cousin, for some function. Flight was delayed by 4 hours and they had to wait there. Appa and my cousin while taking a stroll in the airport, heard a guy talk to someone over phone, in Tamil and hearing him, appa and my cousin followed him to the coffee shop. There, they spoke aloud in Tamil, so loud for this guy to hear and all the 3 struck up a conversation​. After talking for a few min, the guy introduced his parents and said that they were indeed going for the same function as my father and cousin. 

They spoke all through their journey to Cochin and at the function, they have been talking. This brought them closer and appa took some liberty to talk to his parents regarding a wedding alliance for their son(You see, that’s a typical Indian thing) and that the bride was none other than his daughter. Appa confessed his feelings to the guy’s parents and they readily agreed to proceed on this matter. 

Appa returned to Hyderabad and showed me some selfies he took with some strangers(to me atleast) and when I asked him about them, he told me the details. He also told me about the marriage talks he did with the guy’s parents.  I scolded my father for his impulsiveness. 

That Friday, the guy’s mother called up, spoke to amma and appa and said that their son wanted to talk to me… I wasn’t ready for it! I was thoroughly irritated about it… I didn’t speak a word about it when my parents asked me. Somehow, amma convinced me to speak to the guy. After dinner and a few cups of ice cream, while I was writing my thesis, appa barged into my room, handed over his phone and signalled me to speak… Who’s it?  I signalled to Appa.  Harikesh… Appa said. 

Hesitantly, I grabbed the phone and rudely  I said Hello! 

Hi Kamakshi! He said… 

Me: Hi.. I’m sorry, what’s your name?  

He: My name is Harikesh…

Me: Oh! Hi, Harikesh… 

He: Looks like you had a heavy dinner, I can sense it in your voice… Too strong for this time of night! 

Me: Jokes aside, tell me about yourself… I don’t want to know about your work or salary or family… My appa has done enough background check and has checked all the boxes… I want to know about you… Tell me… 

 He: Omg! Your appa was right… He told me that you are a “no nonsense” person… Ok, I’ll tell you… I’m Harikesh, my parents and relatives call me Keshu and friends call me Hari… Anyway it is upto you, to call me any of these or I’m open to be called any name by you…. So yeah, I’m an architect by profession… I did my B. Arch from BITS Jaipur and M. Arch from IIT Roorkee. After my master’s, I got placed under a chief architect at Mumbai. Past 4 years I’m working there… I have some other plans about my work anyway…. Let’s keep that aside…. 

Me: Hmm… Sounds interesting… You don’t want to know about me, or are you happy with what my appa told about me? 

He:  Hey, tell me… Anything other than your PhD or your career interests… We can talk all that later… Tell me about yourself… Not all these work and all that… 

Me: Ok.. so… Yeah… I’m a writer… I love writing short notes, poems, stories… I spend time at the library and home… Don’t mistake me for a bookworm… I love reading and spending some time for myself in the library… I have a few close friends… I hang out with them only… I am a foodie and I love cooking…. Other than that, I listen to music and play my keyboard and violin… 

He: I must say, Kamakshi, you have an amazing voice… Can we meet sometime soon? I mean with the consent of our parents? 

Me: What? I mean are you kidding? I don’t think I’ll agree to this! 

He: Fine, fine, let me know when you want to, I’ll come to  your place with my parents… 

Me: Well, let it be, I’m not really impressed by you, but I liked your compliment… For that atleast, we must meet…. This Sunday, British Council library, at 1pm? 

He: Done! I’ll inform my parents and you tell your parents too!

Me: Cool!! Sunday @ 1! I’ll see you there… 

I informed my parents about this guy and the way he talked… I told them about the meeting. Appa agreed to drop me at British Council Library on Sunday. 

**SUNDAY** 

Hello, Harikesh, come to Van Lavino below the library, I’m waiting in the cafe.

I saw a 6.3′, Hulk, like looking man, take off his goggles and walk towards me.

  Hi, Kamakshi, Harikesh…  He introduced himself to me. He had flowing black beard (with a few grey strands here and there) long hair (with some grey strands again)  tied into a bun. He had a very deep voice… Abnormal for any tambrahm guy. When he extended his long arm to shake hands with me, I noticed a nice big tattoo on it. He looked very different from the regular tambrahm guys. His ears were pierced and he wore a pair of red stone studs. He had a big backpack which he placed on a chair beside him. I wondered how on earth Appa thought of this Hulk for me! 

He: What will you have? Pasta or cheesecake or coffee? 

Me: I’ll have them all, I’m hungry… 

He: I like your frankness, Kamakshi… I’ll have some garlic bread , pasta and cheesecake… 

Me: What’s there in that bag, Harikesh? 

He: Oh, that… Let’s eat… If things work well between us, I’ll tell you what’s in my bag… Till then let the contents in the smelly sack be a secret.. 

Me: Hey, Harikesh, you have a beautiful tattoo on your hand… See, I have a tattoo on my wrist too… That’s infinite love tattoo… How’s it? 

He: Suits you well, Kamakshi… Where did you get it done?  He said, adjusting the Kara on his hand. 

Me: I got it done at Joysen’s… And you? 

He : I did it at my friend’s studio… He’s a tattoo artist…

Me: Wow! Next time, take me there…. 

He: Sure.. I will… 

Our food arrived. We ate in silence for a few minutes​… I couldn’t control myself from taking a bite from his cheesy garlic bread and finally eating the whole of it… Harikesh laughed aloud…. He then told me that he’s a painter and does miniature wood carvings during his spare time. He showed me some of his artwork, that he had in his bag. We spoke for a long time, it was almost 4pm and time for me to leave. He offered to drop me home, to which I politely declined and went in a cab. When I travelled back, it drizzled mildly and poured heavily… At the traffic signal, I enjoyed every drop of water on my cab’s window and through a drop, I saw this man who was fully drenched, running his hand over his wet hair…. He adjusted his Kara and when the signal turned green, he raced his rusty old java motorcycle, turned behind and smiled…. His wet beard, uncovered his dimples.  I don’t know if my situation was well understood by the cab driver or the FM radio guys, there were beautiful romantic AR Rahman numbers playing in the background…. Man! His smile flashed infront of my eyes everytime there was a signal… I wanted to see him again…  

I danced my way home humming random songs…. I saw appa look at me sternly… I was worried, but then, appa turned to his phone and was dialling some number… I went into my room with some kind of ticklish feel in my heart… Everything felt perfect…. I somehow tasted peace with myself after meeting him… 

Appa was at my room’s entrance…  Kamakshi, tomorrow, your amma, you and I are going to Mumbai… We have to catch a flight at 6am… Pack up and be ready, ok? 

 I nodded my head and the next morning we were flying to Mumbai. Beside our seats were a family of 3. When the plane took off, the Hulk among the family of 3, got up from his seat…. 

Kamakshi, tell me to marry you, let me paint your poems colourful, let me carve a beautiful little life of the 2 of us together! 

This was for sure making me feel on top… Heights of proposing a girl (pun intended).

There were onlookers, I was thoroughly blushing and was obviously speechless. My tears conveyed my​ consent to his proposal. His parents and mine were very happy.  We got engaged at Mumbai and within a couple of months we got married…

I’m here for a month now, it is hard being away from my Hulk, but it is his dream to see my name have Dr. as a prefix. 

**Present** 

Kamakshi, looks like my little one has become restless, I need to start back home soon…. I wish you and your Hulk all the very best and very soon I wish to see baby Hulk in your arms… 

How I wish to, Rashu, my hulk will make a wonderful father… But it’ll take another 20 days for me to go home… I miss Hulk thoroughly! I’ll do a video call sometime this evening…. 

Meanwhile… 

Rasheeda was leaving and that’s when the Hulk appeared…. Kamakshi’s joy knew no bounds… She embraced him tight… Harikesh surprised her once again… 

Kamakshi, looks like you need not wait for 20 more days…. 😉 

Yeah, Rashu… Hulk is here..

Rasheeda winked at her friend, signalling a thumbs up and left… 

Kamakshi, whose hand looked tiny into Harikesh’s hand, walked into the house… Her happiness knew no bounds… 

Let’s await little hulk sometime next year! 

**Snaps fingers** hello!!! Long time, refreshed eh? Happy Summer to each and everyone of you…. Well, I’m not finding time to write and even now, I’m hiding inside my blanket, typing this story from the mobile app…. I’ll entertain you all with more such stories, everytime I find some time….. Till then, keep reading some old stories and posts of mine and walk through the memory lane… I’ll come back soon with another refresher….

Cheers

Meenu Iyer a.k.a Aarya 😁


KichaAbhirami 

Aahh… Akka… Don’t pull my hair like that, plait it loosely!! 

Adei, Kicha… You keep quiet, you don’t know anything about hair! 

Hello! Look who’s talking, my shikai is longer than your hair… See, you kept savuri, I didn’t! 

Kicha’s Athimber came running into the room, hearing his squeals, while I was plaiting his shikai and making it into a bun….  

You are not done yet? Kicha, I have to take you for Kasi Yatrai Da! Meena, make it quick ma…. 

2 minutes nna… This boy is simply shouting and making a fuss for everything! Hold him tight and I will apply this Kohl into his eyes… I’m sure the bride is ready and waiting outside…. Dei Singara Velu, don’t monkey around, let me apply Kohl to you…. 

Kicha, along with his Athimber, proceeded for Kasi yatrai…. 

Dei Kicha, this is your last chance to escape, run away… I’m telling you…. You know how much music I’m facing from your Akka everyday 😖

Ya ya, I can see the result of your concert, one on hand and one on hip… You are  a khilladi daan Athimber…. 😉

Kicha’s Athimber’s cheeks turned red from blushing….

After an unsuccessful Kasi Yatrai, Kicha and the bride exchanged their garlands thrice… Kicha blushed more than his bride while they sat on the oonjal… He looked away at my son and pretended to play with him…. Reciting along all the veda mantras, he took his bride’s hands into his and accepted the “daanam” of Kanya, his father in law gave him…. 

It was time for mangalya dhaaranam, Kicha patiently awaited his bride, who came walking slowly to the dias, wearing madisar, looking at Kicha and everyone around. 

I stood behind the bride, to tie the “pinnthaali”… While Kicha tied the sacred thread around her neck, I saw tears flowing down his eyes…. 

Meena, I told him to think twice during Kasi yatrai…. He did not listen… Now he’s crying! 

Are you mad? He’s shedding tears of joy…. I know him much better than anyone else… I know how much he awaited this day! 

What are you saying? 

I’ll tell you…… 

Flashback​…. Ting ting ting ting ting…… 

2016 September, Aavani maasam….. 

Kicha, finally you are coming to Hyderabad!!!! 

I’m not coming to see your face… I am coming to attend our thangai Sita’s wedding…. You anyway failed in keeping up your promise in your wedding…. My thanga-thangachi Sita will surely do the needful for her Anna! 😍 

Poda poda…. 

But anyway, I’ll meet my little niece, nephew and Athimber, who have done no harm to me… They’re nice, unlike one rowdy lady in their house…. 

You come home Da kanna, akka will take revenge for all this…. 

Kizhipei… 

Poda! 

Podi!!!! 

Kicha came to Hyderabad, to attend our cousin Sita’s wedding… He couldn’t meet my kids when they were born because he was busy with his studies and work….  

At the wedding, my tall, lanky thambi with a little bulged out tummy walked here and there, carrying the cartons and ushering the guests and arranging their stay… 

He was an eye-candy to all the Mamis and mamas. It was on the day of wedding that I took my revenge on him! 

Kicha, wearing a grey coloured silk cotton shirt and a veshti, with grey border, was on a business phone call… That’s when I walked fast and spoke to Ramanan Deekshithar…. 

Mama, sowkyama? How’s your daughter? Mami, how is Kausalya? How’s she finding it at USA? 

We are fine ma Meena… Kausalya is fine too, in a month we are leaving to USA for her delivery… 

Oh nice… How about your younger daughter? 

She is also fine ma… She is attending GMCS after completing her CA final… She can’t come to USA… She will be here with her paati-thatha…. 

Oh… Nice… 

We are looking out matches for her ma, tell us if you know some good boy…. 

Mami, do you see that boy, over phone call, he is Subbu chitti’s son… Kicha…. He’s a CA, CS and is now pursuing LLB… He has his own practice…. You know Subbu chitti la? 

Oh…. Namba Subbulakshmi oda paiyana? I saw him as a kid… When we lifted him, he pissed on mama’s hand…. 😂😂 

As soon as mami heard this, she signalled mama…. 

Mama silently followed Kicha and when Kicha finished his phone call, mama sat on a chair beside Kicha…. He suddenly held Kicha’s veshti and at Veshti pulling point, he threatened my brother. 

I heard everything about you.. when you were a kid, I lifted you and you pissed on my hand….

Mmaama, I don’t know who you are, why are you doing this to me? I might have pissed on your hand, please leave my veshti, mama… kids are looking at me…. I was a kid daane mama…. shall I wash your hands now? 😖😖

I am Ramana Deekshithar, Director- finances, Corona group… My wife is a music teacher. I have two daughters, Kausalya- married to an IT professional, in the USA. My maplai though an IT professional, does veda parayanam in Guruvayurappan temple, NJ. Very soon they will be parents.  Younger one is a CA, she recently finished it and is now looking out to work in a firm, while we are keen on getting her married… Will you marry my daughter? 

But why me? 😖

Because, I feel you are fit for her. Tell me, will you marry my daughter or shall I pull this veshti more? 

Kicha’s veshti was almost being untied… With one hand he held the veshti and the other hand he held his phone…. 

There, look at that side, you see that lady standing beside Sita, she’s my amma… Subbulakshmi… Beside her is my paati… Please talk to her and leave me…. 😖😖  

Mama signalled to Mami, to go and talk to Subbu chitti. Mami rushed immediately​ and within 5 minutes of talking, Mami turned around to mama and winked at him, signalling a thumbs-up  😉👍. 
Mama, didn’t leave the grip of Kicha’s veshti and pretending as if nothing happened, mama and Mami spoke to Subbu chitti…. 

Witnessing all these events, I was laughing my heart off! 😂😂😂😂

He then called his daughter,  Abhirami…. On hearing the name, my brother held Ramana mama’s hand firmly and asked him to pull it off if he wants, for, he was wearing a pair of shorts and wasn’t really worried about it…. 

Abhirami and Kicha looked at eachother and smiled… Mama and Mami, Chittappa and Chitti gelled up well and spoke about the further proceedings…. 

Ramana mama left Kicha’s veshti and held his hand…. Kicha readily agreed to accept Abhirami as his life and business partner. 

Present…tididididing….. 

The hands which were once wetted by Kicha, the hands that pulled his veshti,  presented him with a panchagajam and washed his feet….  Today, Kicha is happily married…. Only I know about the chats we’ve had… Even before knowing Abhirami, he made an imaginary character with the name and it actually came true…. I’m sure she’ll be happy with my brother…. 

So much history is there ah, behind my machunan’s kalyanam? He calls me khilladi…. I’ll talk to him during his wife’s seemandham!  

Dei, Kicha, why are you pulling my veshti Da? I’m already married with 2 kids… I can’t think of any other woman…. Bearing your akka itself is such a Herculean task… One more ah? 😝😝

Aiyo Athimber, you and akka have to drive us home for gruhapravesham…. Vaango! 😂

P.S. This is purely a work of fiction, a gift for my thambi Kicha (who kept asking me to write a blog with protagonists named Kicha and Abhirami) , for clearing his CA and CS this year… I wish him to get only one pondatty and everything else in plenty… 

Love,

His akka Meenu 😁



Her Diary 

Hey, what are you writing? 

Nothing… I’ll tell you later… not now… 

So, it has been a year and a half, we are together. You never told me anything about you….  Rudra asked her as he ran his fingers through her hair… 

Rudra, do you know, I once had nice, thick and long hair… You know what, those girls in my college envied my long hair…. I was any other girl, Rudra… Here, read this book… I’ve written everything in it… Read it later, not now! Come closer…. 

She pulled Rudra closer and kissed him….

*The Woman in Range Rover* 

Prakrithi Sharma, that’s my name… I hail from a happy upper middle-class traditional Brahmin family , from South India. 

Like any other 17 year old, I joined college after scoring an average of 67% in 12th boards. I did BBA in a girls college. 

3 years of my college, I was told by my parents  to concentrate on studies and participate in all events such as debates, quizzes, extempore, theatre arts, etc… I did as they said… In the process, I never bothered about those love proposals I received and never got into things like drinking or hookah or narcotics or anything of such sort. And because of this, I hardly made any friends in the college. I never bothered coz I felt that there’s more to life than these and things like love can happen later, after marriage, with just one man. 

3 years of college passed in a blink of eyes. I aced in CAT and joined in a top B-school in the town, in merit that too. During 2 years of my Post graduation, I only attended college, participated in the events, came home, studied and prepared myself well for the campus placements. I worked hard day and night. In the 4th semester, I got through the interview and got an offer with TCS, as the head business analyst. 

My eyes were completely on earning and buying a range rover for myself. Not that my parents cannot buy one for me, but I wanted one for myself…. 

2 years passed… My parents asked me if I had any boy friend, to which I laughed and said no… My parents were delighted and started searching matches for me… 

An alliance through a distant relative of ours was brought for me. I heard that he worked in Delhi and came from a humble family like that of mine. I saw his photo, spoke to him once or twice over phone and agreed to proceed. His parents came home and exchanged the betrothal notes witnessed by a few relatives of ours. 

I was excited as any other girl was. I dreamt about marriage, made perfect honeymoon plans, decided on the gifts I’d give him for his birthday and even pictured perfect moments between him and me. 

Funny part about this relationship of mine was, it was on a condition that he’d not see my picture till we got married. We spoke to each other over phone but wrote letters to each other in the good old fashioned way. 

On weekends, he’d call me up and we’d speak to each other for hours together… 

While we felt everything was going perfect, something happened.

One day, at office, I got a splitting headache… It was worse than a migraine. Because it was summer, I thought it was a sunstroke and rushed home… I drank some juice that was in the fridge and took rest. My parents had gone out for some shopping then. 

In the evening, my parents returned, to find me lying down weak, on the couch. My mother placed her hand on my forehead, to find that my body temperature very high. My marriage was just 45 days away and my health was a prime concern. 

They rushed me to the hospital, where the doctors suggested to admit me for a couple of days, to administer saline. 

I was advised a lot of rest. My fever reduced but headache was splitting. I felt like a nerve being pulled and strummed, on one side of the head. And when there was even a little sound, my head ached more. 

I felt something un-easy and itchy in my ear…. My mother, looking at me, shouted in shock… My pillow, to the left side was soaked in blood. My ear bled. Doctors rushed into my room and administered sedatives. They performed a lot of scans and tests, suspecting some problem in the brain. 

The reports were out. I was diagnosed with brain fever. Adding to this, they said that if the fever re-lapsed, I’d die. I hardly had a couple of years to live. 

My parents were shocked. I did not know how to accept the truth that I’d die someday. We cancelled my wedding. My fiancè was the only guy I ever loved. I went remorse for many days and found it very difficult to swallow the truth. 

I was glad that my fiancè did not see my photo.  We did not move closer to each other yet. I felt he deserved a much better life. I was happy that all this was diagnosed before marriage and that all the sorrow would just be within me and my family. 

I was sympathized a lot by my relatives and friends. My parents were already heart broken. I felt the need to take a step.  

I booked a navy blue range rover, with my 3 years savings, the next day and got it delivered in a week. On a Friday night, I ejected my mobile’s SIM card, wrote a note to my parents that I’d be leaving the house, to live life, the way I wanted. I parked my car in a drive-in and slept in it that night. 

The next day, I first cut my hair short. I shopped for a pair of jeans, few t-shirts, jackets and bought for myself a trolley-suitcase and a backpack. I then went to a tattoo studio and got my wrist, arm and back tattooed. 

I now looked like a Tomboy. The way I always wanted to sport my looks. I felt I had no need for all the traditional-desi-naari looks anymore. For the time I was going to live, I wanted to live for myself. I wanted to spend all the money of my earnings only on myself. I walked out care-free, travelled all over India in my range rover. 

During the days of travel, I never experienced any headache or fever. I ate to my heart’s content, spent nights sleeping in my car. Life alone was much fun when compared to a life amidst the society, where I was pressurised to follow rules and live for others. 

Once in a while I contacted my parents and told my whereabouts. They were happy and supportive of my decision. I sent them my travel photos, wrote mails about my travel experiences and even wrote a blog about it. 

The thought about death was totally erased from my mind. I even visited my parents twice, celebrated their wedding anniversary and left. 

I then came to Delhi. I wanted to experience the night life in the capital of my country. Though I never had alcohol or smoked, I simply walked into the pub of the 5 star hotel that I stayed in. 

I sat in a corner, enjoying the music, sipping juice, munching the fries. In a place where almost all of them were dancing and drinking, there was one man who asked me if I could share the table with him. He was dressed in formals, looked depressed. He ordered mixed-fruit juice and burger. 

I was surprised to meet someone like me, who came there for the ambience and nothig else. He was a teetotaler like me. We spoke for sometime. He extended his hand and introduced himself. We exchanged our phone numbers. It was around 3:30 am, he did not get any cab and I offered to drop him back home. 

He asked me where I lived. To which I showed him my car. I asked him if I could park my car in his building for that night. He offered a stay for me in his house. 

I hesitated initially, but later he won my trust. He ushered me to his well-organized apartment. He made me my bed and went to sleep. 

The next morning, he left a note on my bedside “thanks for the drive and for being my friend. You may stay here as long as you want… There’s coffee and breakfast on the table. I’m leaving for work now… Bye” 

“Thanks friend, for the coffee, breakfast and the offer”. I texted to him. 

That evening he came home and told me his story, of how he fell in love with a girl, his fiancè and the wedding was called off due to some unknown reasons…. 

He helped me get a small job in a NGO, where I worked for no reason, but happiness alone. 

My new friend now became my live-in partner​. We travelled a lot , watched movies late night, went for dinner dates, we walked hand-in-hand sometimes. At times we played video games, we did shopping together and even fought and patched up for small reasons.

Once, he went to Jaipur on a business trip and that’s when  I developed a splitting headache, I rushed to the hospital and cried that I wanted to live for a few more days. I asked the doctor to save me. Fear of death grew upon me. Seeing my previous reports the Doctors​ administered sedatives and performed some scan and tests on me. The reports were thankfully negative and it was just a migraine. I came back home. 

The day he’d return, I decided to give him a surprise. I cooked special lunch for him… As expected, he returned on time. He took a shower and joined for lunch. He was thoroughly surprised at the spread. 

After lunch, I went to my room, where he came in closest proximity ever possible, to me and undid my earrings. He gave me a pair of earrings which he bought from Jaipur. He asked me to wear them. He also left a packet of cotton kurtis on my bed and went to take a nap. 

That evening, I went to his room, wearing the earrings and the kurti he had bought for me. He pulled me closer to him, held me by the hip and we kissed. This was my first ever kiss! 
We made love passionately and it was the first ever time I lay naked on a man’s arms. 

I never feel guilty for, he was my first and foremost love. 

Rudra, my fiancè, with whom I pictured a perfect marital life. For whose well-being, I called off my marriage. He’s the only man whom I loved and lived for 18 months as a friend. I knew it was him, when I first met him at the pub. I wanted to tell him everything about myself but that was when he poured out his heart. I felt I’d remain a stranger to him. 

I don’t know if it was destiny that brought us together, live together and finally consummate our relationship, this way! 

Rudra, I love you from the bottom of my heart… For the person that you are, I’m sure you’ll find a great partner. I’m totally satisfied for this life, Rudra… All thanks to you… 

Rudra, I know it is difficult for you to get over all this, but trust me, there’s greater things for you in life. These 18 months of togetherness, shall remain as sweet dreams and I want you to cherish them, rather than cribbing over.

 I love you Rudra. 


Rudra finished reading the diary and kissed Prakrithi on her forehead. 

*Breakfast’s on me*  he pinned a note on her bedside and went to sleep. 

The next morning, he went to check on Prakrithi, only to find her motionless body lying down like she’s in a deep slumber. The smile on her face showed how content she was, at the time of death.

Maybe this is what Nirvana looks  like… Rudra thought to himself, looking at Prakrithi.

Rudra did weep for sometime but gathering all the courage from what he read from her diary, Rudra informed to Prakrithi’s parents about her death. 

He accompanied them to take her body to their place, stood by her parents to perform all her last rites and returned back home in Delhi. 

He did miss a pair of warm welcoming arms.

Prakrithi is around me, as nature, our love towards eachother is true and that’s why we were destined to live together. 

As Prakrithi told, there’s indeed more to love than what the eyes see or the skin feels… And our love surpasses everything humanly possible…  Rudra thought to himself , remembering her words, by looking at the tattoo that read  “Prakrithi” on his arm. 


What it takes for Me to be Me!! 

A 25+ yr old girl (coz I’m​ still 16 at heart you know), a few inches taller than 5.5′ and a few inches shorter than 6′ of height, on a healthier side of physique, with hair tied together with a jaw clip (which has a tooth broken by her niece who thinks those are jaws of a monster 😝) eyes like almonds, covered with a pair of lenses fixed in a large plastic frame bought from Lenskart in “get your free first frame” offer, wearing a flower-shaped nose pin studded with white American diamond stones, sporting an “ear-to-ear” smile and a voice of that of an​ 80s Doordarshan channel’s news reader… So, that’s how I look like…

I can’t help it on how people imagine my looks based on my conversation with them over phone…. I’ll tell you why I’m telling this…. 

Well, I was trained to be an RJ during college… So my voice naturally modulates and I have a good command over what I speak. But you know what, after a couple of telephonic interviews or conversations, when I go to attend the face-to-face interview, these Rascals HRs no, they look at some other slim girl, with open hair and revealing formal clothes, whose face is hidden inside that make-up, with my name 😑 .  Then I get up sheepishly smiling, from that plush sofa and go into the cabin. That HR with whom I spoke over phone, looks at me like as if I’ve sent an alibi of mine! 😝😝😝😝  

And then they ask me questions like “How do you speak so well, you look so traditional… Why don’t you go for a makeover?” And shit like that…. 

In response, I’m like, “you need my work or my looks, mado!” 

In the contrary, when I wear western casuals at home or when I go out, some creatures like my relatives brand me to be too bold, something else and all! 

Did I tell you, that I’m a corporate trainer by profession? 

Well, I’m a trainer for behavioural sciences. I’m a HRD professional who’s working her ass off on establishing her own name in the industry…. 

But you know what, not everyone knows about my profession. All that people know about is Engineer, Doctor, MBA working in some MNC, CA, CS, Lawyer and Teacher/Professor. None really recognises what I do and I prefer to remain private about it, most of the time…

Once it so happened that I had to talk about it to a septagenerian and get mind fucked! I still curse myself for speaking to that mama about my work! The conversation goes like this- 

Mama (for the 5th time) : So, what do you do ma?

Me: I am a corporate trainer. 

Mama: Oh! Is it? Which corporation? 

Me(thank God! He did not hear it as corporation train) : Aahn, Indian oil corporation

Mama: Oh! Indian oil corporation ah… Very nice… When I was in sarvice……. Blah blah blah blah… I know this man…blah blah blah… He fell on my feet… Blah blah… I also fell and licked his feet…blah blah… I know him so well… Wait I’ll call him up… He will give you a promotion immediately! That mama spoke and made me also speak to that old man  who retired from Indian oil corporation some centuries ago! 

 I swore to myself that I’ll tell these kind of people that I’m a professor who goes to offices and teaches the employees some manners 😂 . 

Coming to my qualifications, I have a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and I hold two master’s degrees in HRM 😝 . I hold some state-national-international certifications in the field of HRD, though my specialisation during my Post Graduation was Compensation management and Industrial relations 😝😝. 

For now, I’m a self employed person who trains on contract basis, with least or no intentions of working under some manager in some random corporate office from 9-6… For my qualifications and Work, I’ve been receiving responses related to marriage! 

While some 50+ yr old fit for nothing female said ” Don’t study more… Already you are highly qualified and it is doubtful for you to get an equally educated groom” 

Some 45+ yr old female suggested me ” work for a bank, 9-5… You can go home early and manage domestic work too… You seem to be aiming too much to establish yourself in this market.. Don’t you know, having your own firm will fetch you no husband!” 

Why do such women even exist? 

All of you know me as a writer…

Yeah, I’m a passionate writer, who has written 2 unpublished books, in word and PDF formats, eagerly waiting to see the face of world! 

I not only write but also do a bit of cartooning, doodling, photography, cooking and I secretly publish management articles for some journals 😉 in the name of  S.P (I’m not going to reveal its abbreviation). 

Because I work for none, people have a notion that I’m wasting my time on these activities and that, I should actually be working in a YemMenCee, like those my age, who are from Big Big colleges, B-schools and Ramba-Menaka University in Amerikka and Aastraliya. 

And then, there are some monstrous cousins of mine who read my blogs, make my doodles as their Display pictures, statues and speak nonsense to me… 

Once no, one of my over smart cousin and I had a conversation… It was like this 

Cousin: Hey, really ah… You write blogs ah? Seriously? 

Me: 😒 Yeah.. why? 

Cousin: But you don’t look like a writer! 

Me: How does a writer look like? 

Cousin: A writer wears khadi clothes, carries a cloth bag with note books and pens, wears Paragon rubber chappals with blue colour straps and white base…

Me: And? 

Cousin: You know, writers have habits like drinking smoking and all that… 

Me: And? 

Cousin: They carry a pen and paper everywhere they go, so that, whenever they get ideas, they write it down… 

Me: So you want me to wear these clothes and sit in the loo and write down coz that’s what where I get most of my ideas from! 😠😠

 Don’t know from which organ of their body do they think like this and end up stereotyping people! 

Oh! Thanks to Indian cinema, which has helped our people in inculcating shitty stereotypes about everything and everyone… 😣😡😠

I have a few people for accepting me for being me… 

I also have a huge fan following from the adolescents who aspire to be like me… They speak the way I do, dress up like me and want to do stuff like I do… I know it feels good to know that I have people who want to follow my footsteps… But at the same time, dearies, let me tell you, I’m being what I want to be… I’m doing things after listening to my heart (sometimes my mind also)… 

I know what I do seems cool, but only I know that I’m working my ass off on everything thing I do. 

I’m someone with no blacks or whites but several shades of grey! And it is no easy job to be a balanced​ idiot like me, who dances away only to her own tunes anyway! 😉

Cheers,

Aarya a.k.a Meenu Iyer 😁

Who’s he? 

He sat there, under a tree, warming himself by rubbing his palms over the flames of the bonfire…. Draped in an old smelly woolen shawl, with blood-red eyes while he  patiently awaited the dawn.

That morning- 

It was an unusually cloudy day, in the month of November… The heavy clouds never bothered the people of Kotagiri or their enthusiasm, to pay a visit to the Skandamurthy temple, the largest and most miraculous temple in the town.

It is said that, whomsoever visits the temple on the last day of the 6 day festival, will not only have all their wishes fulfilled, but also, will be blessed with some special powers…

Everyone, who ever comes to this temple, always gets what they want… I myself have blessed them all… Oh Lord Skandamurthy! Why is my son like this, he is way too naïve and gentle, to survive in this treacherous world…. He does Pooja to you every day… Do something for him, Oh Skandamurthy! 

It was the 6th day of the annual festival…

Sankarshana, get that prasadam’s vessel quickly… This queue is getting longer and be careful while coming, people are fighting… You might get hurt! 

Sankarshana, the head priest’s son, a master’s holder in chemical engineering, left his fetching career, to continue the family heredity, of doing Pooja in the Skandamurthy temple. Not that he didn’t want to do a job outside, but his father was reluctant to send him out of the town, because he knew that his one and only son, was very naïve and hardly had any guts to survive in the fast paced, harsh and violent society…

Sankarshana was the school and college topper in the town of Kotagiri and everyone loved him for his innocence and kind nature… Especially Aparna, his mother’s childhood friend’s daughter, who lived in the neighbouring street. Aparna followed Sankarshana in school and college, as his junior and recently walked the 7 steps of vows with him and followed Sankarshana into his house

Hahahaha Aparna, don’t tickle me this way… It’ll look very awkward…

Nothing’s awkward! Remember, we are husband and wife?

I know… I know… I need to leave now… You know your father-in-law​ better…. We’ll keep all these later at night..not now… Bye…

Bye!

Sankarashana took a quick shower and wearing his cream coloured cotton shirt, he rushed to the temple, to make arrangements for the evening’s Pooja. To match the speed of his father’s work, Sankarshana had to be on his toes…

At the temple, as the evening approached, as the heavy grey clouds started turning red, thousands of devotees from in and around Kotagiri rushed into the temple, to witness the special pooja, which was followed by the Rathotsava, during which the idol of Lord Skandamurthy would be brought on the streets around the temple, in a beautifully decorated golden chariot, as a procession, with artists playing nadaswaram, tavil, drums, groups of people singing bhajans and dancing to the tunes, womenfolk playing kolaatam, young men dancing to fast drum beats and a group of 108 Brahmins chanting Vedas….

The best part of this temple is that, there’s no difference between the rich and the poor, men and women, old or young… It is believed that everyone is equal infront of the lord.

It is a local belief that whomsoever drinks the theertham or the holy water, which was poured on the idol, would be cured of any illness or diseases. Hence, people from all over and in and around places of Kotagiri, rushed for this special theertham, which was given to everyone only on this day.

The idol of Lord Skandamurthy was made out of a mixture of some special and rare metals, herbs and chemicals. Hence, it was the rarest of the rare ones, in the world. None but a few of them running the temple knew it. Sankarshana was the one who discovered the special composition and the ratios of the components, they must have taken, to make the idol.

Few months ago, while Sankarshana was cleaning the idol, a tiny, sharp piece from the idol’s spear pierced into his hand. Sankarshana felt pain, when he removed the piece but in no time the cut on his hand disappeared! He was shocked… He pierced his finger and to his surprise, that wound also disappeared. Not only that but also, his torn shoulder ligament was healed! 

Sankarshana wrapped the piece in a silk cloth and kept it safe. That night, he took out the scrolls and read them, to find out that this idol was made a 1000 years ago, by some sages, to cure people of orthopaedic illness and other diseases as well. The chemical engineer in Sankarshana, tickled his mind to test it scientifically and when tested in the lab, it was exactly the same as mentioned in the scrolls. 

The idol of Skandamurthy was brought out to the mandapa, for the public to witness the special Pooja. The crowd gathered in front of the stage, where Sankarshana and his father, performed the Abhisheka or the holy bath, to the idol of Skandamurthy.

Sankarshana kept an eye on the suspicious looking men, who eyed him, while he carried the pots of theertham, which were to be distributed among every devotee, who visited the temple. Sankarshana was very scared looking at the suspicious men’s personalities. They were hefty, had large eyes. Their faces were covered with beard and moustache!

Everytime he carried a pot to the room, he ran as fast as he could. He informed his father of those men, but his father paid no attention.

It was time for the distribution of theertham the crowd of thousands of people was indeed unmanageable by Sankarshana, his father and a few volunteers from the Veda school. It started drizzling and people ran helter-skelter, making it more messy.

Sankarshana went to the store room to get the last pot of theertham. It was almost two hours he went and was not to be seen anywhere​!
There was a loud shriek in the temple… People ran hither and thither… There was almost a stampede… A group of men chased Sankarshana, who ran out of the temple, as fast as he could.

In the store room, was a 17 year old girl, lying almost naked, with her legs spread wide, blood trickled down her feet. She lay there staring at the ceiling, unable to figure out what had happened to her!

The crowd dispersed in no time and the temple premises was now silent. The girl who was now draped in some clothes, did not speak a word. She sat down, staring at Sankarshana’s father and Aparna, wide-eyed…

Aparna questioned the girl if it was Sankarshana who did that to her… The girl did not speak a word and cried aloud beating her chest. She then pointed out to the wall behind the store room. Aparna, to gather some clue, went there, to find out the dead body of a man, in 40s.

The news of the girl’s rape, the murder of a man and Sankarshana’s sudden disappearance spread like wildfire, in Kotagiri.

The cops searched for the rapist and the murderer. Everyone, even the cops in Kotagiri knew it wasn’t Sankarshana, for, they knew he was the most innocent of the men in Kotagiri. The cops instead, took the complaint​ from Aparna, to search for Sankarshana.

They searched all over and found a group of men in the slum area, who looked like goons in a hideout. They said that it was one among them who almost raped the girl but an unknown man killed him!

The cops booked an FIR against the men and set out in search of Sankarshana…

Meanwhile, there was a man sitting under a tree, chewing a clove, warming himself by rubbing his palms over the bonfire, the slum dwellers lit, by burning clothes and wood doused in petrol. His eyes were blood-red, staring at the happenings around.

Least did anyone know that it was him who just washed the blood off his knife, in the downpour and the bonfire was lit by dousing his cream coloured blood-stained shirt, with petrol. He was celebrated by the slum dwellers, for saving their daughters from those men who forced them into prostutution. He avenged the deaths of many a girls and women of Kotagiri, who were drugged and raped by the group of men.

The cops found out that the rape wasn’t a rape but a plan devised by the unknown man, to trap and  kill the cheiftain of the goons.

It was morning, Sankarshana stood at the doorway​ of his house….

Aiyo! What happened to you? Where were you all night? Is everything fine? You know what happened last night? Why did you run from those men? What happened? 

Aparna, give me some water first… See, I saw some men suspiciously staring at me while I was carrying the theertham pots to the store room. So instead of keeping them there, I kept them in the main temple… Theertham has to be distributed among all of them equally no, so I hid the pots. These men saw me hiding the pots and followed me… I got scared and ran away.. I was afraid if they’d beat me up… They looked so fearsome, so I went to the college lab and stayed there all night! See, my new shirt is also torn… Can you please stitch it for me? 

Aparna breathed a sigh of relief… She informed the cops about Sankarshana’s safe return.

She told him about the happenings at the temple, the previous night and how they were all worried.

Sankarshana smiled to himself reading out the news headlines, sipping hot coffee…

Is Sankarshana the saviour? Is he the one who killed the pimp last night? Was he the man who patiently awaited the dawn?

Or did he really run from the neighborhood’s men for hiding the theertham, to ensure that it was equally distributed among everyone who came to the temple, because it was only him who knew the secret behind the  theertham ?

Everything remains a mystery… But after the incident, Kotagiri town is often in news for the peaceful town that it is… There’s someone who’s protecting the town… People say it is Lord Skandamurthy himself!