Saturday, April 30, 2016

Indrayani Diaries - Part one

Indrayani Diaries – Scroll 1

Like a blooming flower with fresh morning dewdrops, with wet droplets shining on her hair ends was she. No, they were pearls freshly hatched from oysters. She stood unfazed. The moist lips were luscious, so delicate and feathery. She kept on admiring herself with her tresses let loose in front of the golden mirror in her room’s wall. The mirror hung perfectly opposite the east facing of the room enough to let the light of sun enter. It was early morning and the sun had risen very early that day. The lights filtered the drapes and fell on her hair. The hair shone like a thousand stars blanketing the clear night sky. She wore a golden blouse and very thin see through blue sari. She looked like a mermaid enveloped in silk like fabric. She was ready to pull off the sari from her supple untouched skin. Was it untouched or inhumanly touched? She could not fathom. She touched her neck, face, and her lips. And she felt cheated all of a sudden. The sorrow surfaced slowly and a darkness shrouded in her eyes. The tears no longer felt warm but it became ice cold. She saw herself with those expressive eyes. Those eyes where one could easily drown and would not be able to get up. It was a bottomless pit.
She was Indrayani. A girl who equated pain with pleasure, hut with laughs, mornings with nights and curse with gift. What were her thoughts and disappointments in her life? Who was she? What bothered her? Was she married? Was she a virgin? Was she an independent working alpha woman? She was a culmination of everything yet she was in no man’s land. She was an embodiment of beauty. She was a woman of dreams, desires and hopes who loved to be content. She had so many men behind her yet she searched for one person who defined love. The love which will take her breathe away. The love which will make her connect with herself. The love for which she was waiting for.

Indrayani Diaries – Scroll 2
The night was silent and calm. The silence disturbed her. She opened the window to see if her husband has arrived from his workplace. With no hint of arrival, she closed the floral curtains and switched off the light. She couldn’t sleep and turned and twisted. Indrayani got up and leapt from her bed. She opened the chest of drawers and rummaged through the papers and sheets that were carelessly kept inside. She was searching for a letter from her dear friend. A friend who kept on sending her letters but got no reply from the other side. Indrayani did not write to her because of the past which caused a tumult in her heart. Vindhya and Indrayani were best friends right from childhood. They always confided in each other and had stood with each other even in the times of adversity. Especially when Vindhya’s father lost his job and finding very difficult to make the ends meet, Indrayani quickly asked her father who is an industrialist to offer her friend’s father, a job. Vindhya‘s family were forever grateful for Indrayani’s perspicacity and kind heart. Hours and hours pass in a jiffy when they are together and both did not find any need to make any new friends. They were content with each other. The news of wedding came as a delight to Indrayani’s ears. The boy was well educated and of good background and loved her very dearly. Vindhya too was very happy and excited with the arrangements and happenings. For once she thought all this was tantalisingly beautiful and she was in a state of incredulity. Indrayani was with her side throughout the event and stood as a maid of honour for her beloved friend. Everything went smoothly and both the families hugged each other in merriment. But a quick turn of situation arose and the friendship of Indrayani and Vindhya started to take a rough path.
Ashok, Vindhya’s brother has an eye for Indrayani. She never liked him more than a brother and often politely dismissed his thoughts with a smile or a laugh. But he pursued her with all his might. Vindhya noticed the two of them and her brother’s thoughts and chided him saying that Ashok should not trouble her by going after her and he should focus on his medical career. Vindhya had high expectations from his brother and hoped one day that he would become a respectable doctor in the whole town. Vindhya tried with her polite talk and being an elder sister, she even reprimanded and asked him to behave properly but Ashok knew his mind. He wanted Indrayani badly and he loved her and lusted for her. But Indrayani tried very hard to convince him that he meant nothing more than a brother and cannot revert to his feelings. She pitied him sometimes but more than that his ill-mannered ways roused her with anger and frustration.
One day, when Indrayani was sitting alone and waiting for Vindhya in Vindhya’s marital home, She dozed off. And that’s when Ashok entered. He saw her in the sofa. He made advances on her and tried to molest her and assault her. Indrayani’s temper flare and she made a tough attempt to escape from the monster. He was drunk and was not in his senses.
After reaching home, Indrayani locked herself in her bedroom and cried profusely. She was aware of his wayward ways but did not expect him to droop to this level. She was flabbergasted and bewildered, all at the same moment.  Cheap. Holy shit. Non sense. She spew curses on Ashok. The thoughts of his act came to Indrayani like waves. One by one gushing heavily and sweeping her dignity in a second. She thought she will narrate the entire incident to Vindhya.

Present day:

The memories haunted her lie a nightmare. A thick, dark cloud formed in her mind everytime she thought about that day in Vindhya’s house. Storm came the very next day in the form of Ashok’s suicide when he left the note saying how he loved Indrayani and how her wish was not answered. All hell broke loose when Indrayani got to hear about it after she herself suffered from a major trauma of Ashok making advances on her. The incident left a acrid taste on her heart and mind. Vindhya got to know from her and she thouroughly understood and heard everything in equanimity. But Indrayani took every blame on her. Vindhya lost her brother but slowly she was losing her best friend to the guilt that she had not committed. Indrayani shut herself from Vindhya completely and came back to Mumbai after marriage. None of the letters were answered and calls were received. But today, as she was flipping those letters, the words and expressions brought back to her the feelings unknown. She tightly pressed each and every written word on the pages and took in the moist feelings they once shared.  She was swamped with the surge of sadness and happiness by seeing those letters. The handwritten letters had that effect that it could stir even a stone hearted man.

She took out the paper and pen and started writing a detail letter to her friend. She spoke about her life, family and her desires. The happiness which she was searching was not mentioned as she does not want to disappoint her friend. 

Part 2 coming soon

Friday, April 1, 2016

Summer Vacations and the gifts to my students

                  The month of exams have started and is making a huge rush in the blood stream of both students and teachers. Assignments, revisions, reviews, test series and what not. We all wait for this deadly month to get over and wait to welcome the spring of April and the months ahead till June. You know why? To talk about summer vacations is super fun indeed. The way the exams unfold and get over, the way the new month brings in more possibilities, opportunities and wishes. I, as a teacher, crave for this 2 month super fun where only the list of fun activities have a special place. Some children love to travel, some join few activity and skill development classes, and many others stay at home and enjoy the sunset and sunrises. Whatever it is, the calmness and soothing experience of the vacation cannot be unmatched to any other fun in life. Nowadays, technology has taken a priority over anything and children don’t want to get out of the zone of computer, videogames and mobile games. I really miss those days when we used to play outdoors, go to the woods, read library books, tell stories to each other, sit on trees and eat grapes. Such were our days. But the children have forgotten the act of playing outside and want to get trapped inside within the walls that technology has built.

               I even remember when I asked my student that what she does at home as her parents are working. Does she go out to play after school hours? Or does she invite her friends at home and play together? She said I don’t do any of those things as I like being alone. Now this is a serious disorder that our young minds are developing. In this tender age, they want to be alone and feel comfortable with the virtual world. Alone means they are only physically alone but there are many virtual games and friends who keep them engaged. The human to human interaction and being one with the nature have lost their game already. The text and social networking world have tied the young minds and adult minds so tightly that they feel comfort in this new form of captivity. But I don’t want to digress from the topic I thought to write.

Summer vacations give one an opportunity to explore different set of books. The bibliophile find it a best time to indulge in more and more amount of books. The book exchanges, writing blogs on those read stories, building a piece by yourself brings in more fun to the table. So every year as a set tradition by myself, I purchase books for my students. This is a small effort from my side to encourage them to read and involve their time productively. The fiction world is super awesome when he or she feels it. You can travel to many places at the same time, know many things, think new perspectives, and talk on those things with your family members or your peer group. Such is a beauty of books. So this year I chose to give ‘Little women’, ‘To kill a mockingbird’ and ‘Sudha murthy’s short stories.’

There are books which talk of human literature in a humorous way and there are some which give a serious thought to our grey cells through a plot based on children. So I would like to talk about these books which has an interesting theme and all these are plotted differently with a great style.

1.       Little Women – Louisa May Alcott:

 Author Louisa May Alcott has written this novel with a purpose of bringing out her own childhood story. The story is based on a family called March. The family which consists of 4 daughters and a mother and father. The mother takes care of the 4 children while the father serves the army. As I told this story is loosely based on the author herself and her three sisters, the passage from childhood to womanhood is strongly depicted with some sorrowful moments in between. The four daughters are special and talented in their own way. While one is a great and budding artist, the other sizzles in playing music. While one is a bibliophile and immerses and finds bliss in the company of books, the other is a dreamy eyed with a profession of governess. They all get into fights and little wars but manage to get through skilfully. The ending can come as unexpected as you might have expected a different end to the theme but you will not get disappointed as author has mixed drama and reality with elan. Author narrates a gripping tale and values comfort, literature, and the beauty of natural world. Some of the learnings that Mrs. March provides them with speaks the reality of the outer world. Some sorrows bring a sense to their existence and they become a strength for each other like Beth’s illness and the bird’s death. For a writer in me, I find the following quote amusing and inspiring which is I want to do something splendid, something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I am dead. I think I shall write books.”

2.       To kill a mockingbird – Harper Lee:

Another one which I gave my students is this yet another brilliant novel which went on to win Pulitzer prize for Harper Lee, the brilliant author of all times. This is set in a sleepy southern town and throws a light to the southern literature. The author draws a parallel between compassion, idealism, and conscience and portrays a novel mixed with childhood, drama and serious element. I love the character Atticus and how the character has a deep seated meaning in this whole novel. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. The above said quote hits a nail and talks more on empathy. In fact the whole novel which talks about how to kill the notion of racism and other social evils that has stuck to our blood and flesh goes beyond the word empathy. Mockingbirds spread joy and are not to be caused harm is a thing which we always knew. An undisputed classic with a message is what this this novel is and surely can qualify to find a coveted place in your book shelf.

3.       How I taught my  grandmother  to read and other stories – Sudha Murthy:

Having gone back to classics and discussing serious aspects, we come to an easy read of a well-known and established author of this generation. This book has total 28 stories and portrays the tiny aspects of humanity and its importance. It is a book written keeping in mind the likes of children and also serves a good company for adults. Here she stresses on hardwork, humility, and sacrifice. The stories which I loved are “Hassan’s Attendance problems”, “Who is Great”, “Gowramma’s Letter”. All in all, an inspiring book for the younger lot and a thought provoking aspects for the older lot.
As everyone knew this that we all are judged by the books we read and the company we keep, the books shape our life and our mind set as does our friends do. Summers are the best way to pamper ourselves with fun, laughter, friends and immense reading. So a tiny motivation from my side to my students and future torchbearers always have helped them to connect with me and their minds at large.