Saturday, February 11, 2012


Ragini, a 10 year old, was the most cheerful girl Mandari Village had seen in years. Everybody in the village loved her. Every morning, she would be seen coming out of a place as good as heaven, with a pot on her head. She would walk till the river, to fill water. They had a huge well at the backyard; this water was used for household purposes. They needed the water from the sacred river only for the rituals. She would wear a long skirt, a matching blouse both with zari border. She would have 2 thick long plaits, and a strand of Jasmine buds adored one of the plaits. She had a dozen of glass bangles to match with her dress. But there was one way, which couldn’t prevent anybody from noticing her. Her silver anklets, with a numerous small bells. The moment stepped, the anklets would catch the attention of everybody around.

With a pot of water on her head, Ragini playfully would walk thru the fields; greet everybody on her way towards the house. The house where she stayed wasn’t less charming. Small hills surrounded the huge house. The entrance of the house was a beautiful arch, with iron rods shaped like arrows pointing down, forming the border for the arch. There was a long corridor, adorned with classy antique artifacts and paintings. The house had a smell of fresh flowers.

It was the rainy season, as soon as Ragini entered the house with the pot of water, it had started drizzling outside. She loved the rains. She had heard stories from the elders at home, about heaven and gods. And when it rained, she would run to the backyard, and lean at the door and watch the scenery change. It looked like heaven, same as the stories she had heard. At front, the arch seemed like a waterfall, with water dripping from the arrows pointing down. Once the rain stopped, the drops of water at the tip of the arrows would shine like crystals. Ragini would try to jump and touch these crystals. She could never succeed and the guards near the house would lift her up so that she could touch them. She always told them “I will grow tall one day, and you will not have to lift me anymore”. They could only smile at the little girl’s innocence. She would then run into the house, and into her father’s arms. He would lift her up and turn her around. She would get a thrill in rotating, just like a fan on the roof. Her mother would see this from the kitchen door, smile at Ragini and her father. She would serve the breakfast and Ragini insisted her dad feed her every morsel she ate.

Years passed by, Ragini was turning into a fine young girl. She would still go to the river everyday, to fetch the pot of water. Their house was still the heaven she imagined it to be. There were just minor changes. She no longer needed anyone’s help to touch the crystal like water droplets, for now she could jump a little and reach them easily. Her father couldn’t lift her up and twirl her around. But she insisted, he hold her hands, and they make rounds under the fan. She would still like to be fed breakfast by her father. But now her mother no longer smiled at this. Instead there was worry on her face, a tear drop in the corner of her eye. Ragini tried to ask her mother, but was shooed away saying she was imagining.

Then came the auspicious month of weddings, many of Ragini’s friends who were younger than her, at the age of 13 were getting married. She would wonder at times, why her parents unlike others never worried about her wedding. It was not that she wanted to go away from her parents. But the unusual behavior of her parents haunted her. But everytime she would look at her mother’s worried face, she understood, probably mother was thinking about Ragini’s wedding, and that is why the worry.

It was a special day, Ragini would turn 15. She was dressed up in the most expensive saree and ornaments. The 2 plaits which showed her innocence, was not present that day. Instead it was one thick plait, and she looked like an elegant lady. The sting of jasmine buds, added to the beauty of her long hair. Everybody in the household was ready, with fine clothing and jewellery. There was just one thing missing, on them. The smile. Ragini was the only cheerful girl in the entire house. She couldn’t understand, why were everybody mourning. She went and asked her father if she was dead. He was holding back his tears all the while, and on hearing this question, he burst out crying aloud. For her this was a horrible sight, she had never ever seen such a sight in her life. Her father was crying.

Everybody boarded the horse carriage, she insisted, she sit with her father. She wanted to know the reason for him crying. As the carriage moved forward, she kept asking her father, why he cried. His eyes were closed, but she could see the tear drop in the corner of the eye, trying to have a leap from his face on his shoulder. She took the end of her saree and wiped off the tear. She wanted to change the mood of her father. She started talking about the trees, the animals, the river, her friends to cheer him up. Her father managed to give a fake smile to her. She was content; she had managed to bring a smile on her father’s worried face. As she turned back, she glanced the carriage her mother was in. She was crying too. All the ladies in that carriage were trying to console her, but were not successful. She could sense they were going in the same route, which they usually take to visit her maternal grandparents. She was concerned, and hoping, her grandparents were safe.

Just before entering the village, the carriages took a turn, and stopped near a huge ground. It seemed like the whole village had gathered. As people from the carriages went in, a couple came up to Ragini’s parents and greeted them. Ragini’s family were shown a place to rest, It was under a huge banyan tree. A confused Ragini, now pleaded her parents to explain the happenings. Finally her father told her about something, she was unaware in her lifetime.

She was 3 years old, when Ragini was married off to a boy. He was not more than 6 years. When he was around 10, a deadly disease struck the village, and most of the kids lost their lives. As fate would have it, Ragini’s husband parted with the mortal world. Since Ragini was still a kid, when this happened, elders decided she should live her childhood as a happy child, and not knowing about this unfortunate event which had ruined her life. Today, as she was crossing the threshold of childhood and entering adolescence, she would be made aware of her life.

Ragini was shocked, even though her physical body had grown out of the innocent childhood, her mind had not.

“Father, What will happen to me now?” was a innocent question she asked him. Before he could answer, a few ladies took her away. Her father could listen to her cries, her mother couldn’t take all this and wanted to save her daughter from the rituals, but was not allowed to go anywhere.

Within a few minutes, the beautiful, cheerful and colourful Ragini changed into a lifeless body. Her soul was taken away. Now all that stood in front of her parents, was a body, who did not know how to react to the situation.

In a few minutes, after the soul parted from her body, she was placed in the sacred fire, for a ritual named ‘Sati’. Her lifeless body turned ashes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kill To Win

The “Kill to Win” fights happened every year. The crowd had gathered in huge numbers. It was the day of the “Big” fight. The Finale. Both the fighters were experts. They had not lost a single fight. They had never faced each other in any tournament. They were brothers, hence were never allowed to compete against each other. These fights never enthused the duo. It was the pressure of the audience, and the money involved in these fights, the owners coaxed the duo to participate in the fights.

The knives were sharpened and tied to them, this could be used later. Both of them seemed to be well fed, for they looked bigger than the normal. As they took the centre stage, the crowd cheered. They were doped, as the anger in their eyes dint seem genuine. How else could the owners get the two to fight against each other? They were at their respective stands waiting for the whistle.

The whistle blew and they ran towards each other. There was a head on collision. Neither of them backed out. It seemed like none of the other parts existed. They used their head to hit each other. The knife tied also came into play. There were scratches found on both of them. The heat on the centre stage increased. Drops of blood on the stage were visible. Both of them were bleeding at many places. But the format was “Kill to Win”, so no mercy was taken. The match wouldn’t end until one of them had the last breath of life.

There came a moment when, one of them was too fatigued. He wasn’t able to respond to the blows. He was on the verge of collapsing.

Just then a whistle blew. The crowd was confused. They looked at the direction of the whistle. They were shocked to see, police vans coming in. Behind the vans was the ambulance. The stretchers came out and fighters were carefully carried on the stretchers, into the ambulance. It was a Veterinary Ambulance. The police had decided, they had to stop these “Cock Fights”, else the PETA would give them a tough time. What better time to do this, than on the final day of “Kill to Win” Cockfights.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Race

The view from the mountain top was amazing. Vikas did not know if there existed anything better in the world. This would be his first time. He was planning to jump from this point on his bike. He wasn’t supposed to take this path. It was Out of Bounds for racers. He even wondered, how he was allowed till this point, inspite of the barricades around. Vikas had taken the wrong way, in the middle of the race, by mistake, and that’s how he reached that point.

He knew he had to get back to the race, though he dint know how he would do it. There was just one thought hovering his mind at that instant, to jump from the point, so that he could reach somewhere near his competitors.

Vikas stood at the tip for a couple of minutes. All of a sudden he jumped. He had a safe landing. To his surprise, he was just 100m from the winning point. He cruised that distance and lifted both his hands embracing the win. Even though he was the winner, there was some confusion on how he reached the point. The software cleared the confusion. He had got extra point for the stunts performed, When he jumped from the tip of the mountain, he had performed the greatest stunt in the history of the race. This made him gain all the points to put him in a place ahead of his competitors.

“GAME OVER” flashed on Vikas’s laptop screen. He was overjoyed. Infact the feeling was much more than that. He placed the laptop on the bed. He sat and pushed his wheelchair towards the kitchen to have the yummy lunch which his mother had prepared.

As he closed the door behind him, a newspaper cutting stuck to the door fell down. It read “Star Bike Racer, Vikas Manchanda loses his limbs performing a dangerous stunt on the mountains”

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Love Naturally!!!

Last night, on radio, the RJ was discussing about Confusion in Love (nowadays). How Love has lost its meaning in the modern times? How people don’t care for each other? How Love is shallow these days? Worst of all – comparing what our parents had what our grandparents had, and how we don’t have it.

Girls nowadays think, would the guy be able to provide here basic needs? Will I get so much property if I marry this guy? Seriously, do girls think like this, when they want to get married. Maybe the parents think about it, to make sure the girl has a tension free life, but that’s not the basis for love. Or is it?

I overheard this or read this somewhere, only if you give a girl a diamond necklace, will she love you. How shallow a thought is that? That definelty cannot be true love. May be a passing cloud, but not your soul mate. I am sure, that guy hasn’t fallen in love.

I am not going to talk about the whole generation here. But, why can’t we think in a positive way.

For one, the situation in which our parents and grandparents were is totally different from what we are currently. During the time of our grandparents, they were married off at a young age, even before they could understand what love is all about. In most of the times, the girl was financially dependent on her husband. So at that time, did the girl not think – will my husband provide for my basic needs?

Let’s say, the husband treated her badly or she did not like her husband (for whatever reasons), what could she do? She couldn’t go back to her parent’s house, for various reasons. They had many other sons and daughters to be married off, hence couldn’t take care of her. They couldn’t fathom the idea that the guy can be wrong in any way. Or for a simple reason like – What would the society say?

I have heard stories from our grandmothers on how, ladies stuck to their husbands, not because of love, but because of these reasons too.

Nowadays, most of us don’t have these reasons; our parents want us to be happy. They are ready to hear us out, if there is something wrong in the marital relationship. Girls are financially independent; hence don’t need the husband to take care of financial needs. And if we are not happy, we probably give a damn to what the society thinks of us.

So then, why are we still with our spouses? Is it not love? It’s not for the financial need, it’s the emotional need, that we stick to each other. It’s because, we want to be with each other, live thru all the obstacles, joy and sorrow in life.

The other day, a relative said, “Oh you guys travel so much. When we were of your age, I wouldn’t dare to ask my husband to take me out even for an evening outing”. So does it mean we are bossy? No. It’s just that we have better rapport with our spouse, and we are in a better position to discuss, what both of us want in life. We are not scared of each other.

Once in a while at home, we have these discussions, where past is compared to present. I was glad, when recently in such a discussion at home, G’s grandma told him, “she doesn’t have the need to stay with you, and she is here, coz she wants to be with you. In our generation, ladies didn’t have an option; they stayed with the guy they married. Now if girls stay, it’s actually for the love and the emotional connect”. She went on to tell us, various stories of ladies of her generation, who stayed on, definitely not because of love, but due to family pressures.

You can never expect one generation to be like the other. Our previous generations think, we are spoilt, aren’t we doing the same thing? When we see kids with gadgets, or behaving rudely, we sigh – Kids, these days!!!

“When we were kids, we did this, we did that”, give them time, give them good moral values, you will see that turn out to be good too in long run. Were we never indifferent with our parents? Were we never rude to other people? Even if we never showed it, did we not nurture some hatred towards somebody? The kids nowadays are probably more open, which gives the parents more exposure to set things right sooner in life.

Guys in the previous generations, did not want to move an inch at home. It was considered the wife’s duty. Nowadays, guys help. They whine and complain, but when they see their better halves struggle, they do their bit. Its not just the spouse, some guys help moms out too. I know of some people who do help their moms, so don’t think its just for girlfriends or wives. Guys and girls are changing. For better or for worse, it depends on the situation.

I am not saying, there are no negatives in this generation. Ofcourse, there are money minded girls, there are guys who are opportunists, there are people who want to have a girl-friend or boy friend just to show off in front of others.

But trust me, when they come across a person, whom they really love, nothing else matters. And that’s when you have found true love. This doenst in anyway guarantee, you will not fight with the person, but yes, you will always be together.

Everybody has their own definition of this word – “Love”. It can only be felt, when you actually are in the feeling. This love is for any relation. You know you love a person, when you feel it. Nobody has to tell you, you don’t need to prove it to anybody.

Phew!!! Long post… and I am done venting out I suppose

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Little Guy

This was the first time he was out on the roads alone. His mother had warned him, but he was adamant. He was standing, all alone to cross the road. It was peak hour, and the road had all possible vehicles in huge numbers. He had to dodge all this to reach the other end of the road.

He kept one foot in the front, in a moment he pulled it back, just before a bike went past him. He could recollect his mother’s warnings. But he had to prove to her, he was no longer the little guy.

The next time he was careful and covered a few steps. He had just covered quarter of the distance, a car just passed by, he took a few steps back, another bike behind him, he had to take few steps forward. He was hoping he had wings to fly away. Yet, he had managed to cover most of the distance, doing this go back-come front routine.

“Look at that little guy crossing the road” a guy in the car was telling his wife.She was trying to get a glimpse of this, when she saw a huge tyre crushing the little one.

The mother, stood helpless, on the other end, not able to go near her son, after his death.

“Oh no, you shouldn’t have told me to see that” the lady in the car said
“What happened?” he asked

“What’s the use of camouflage if it can’t save you? The little chameleon is dead. An auto just ran over it” she felt sorry for the little guy.