Sunday, October 19, 2014

Diwali with friends or family

Diwali is about togetherness, good food, fireworks. The excitement starts from spring cleaning, finding lost treasures. Planning the menu, preparing for puja, visiting those relatives you only see once a yearJ
Lighting diyas, sparklers, anars, chakris, bombs. Remember those black thingies you could light and they would become snake like? The boys loved the bombs, I was not so sold on them. Ladis, the 1000 ladis were pretty though.
Rockets whizzing in the sky, seeing the rockets people from other houses had let loose.
This year, Diwali was more about the building party. I thought there would be dinner and fireworks. After togging up, we arrived to find a stage, centre table seating and a skit going on.
Kids were telling us to separate garbage. It’s good we’re raising better kids J Some lovely dance performances by neighbours followed, with those fake diyas. The rangolis were so artistic. Peacocks, Ganeshas and what have you.
Even though the rain played spoilsport, the show went on. The games were so much fun. We split up in teams and got to know each other better instead of huddling in cliques.
First, a couple of men from each team had to blow balloons and then rush where the balloon fell. Then, they had to blow it again. Their partner at the other end would be doing the same. Whoever managed to exchange places first would win.
Our team won! No one was more surprised than the participants.
Unfortunately, then we got to know that it is a trial round L But, we still won the actual round.
I ended up participating in the kids round as my team was a kid short. We played musical hula hoops, like musical chairs. I was flattered that the team considered me slim enough to slip through a hula hoop with a kid!
We were the first to be knocked out sadly. Guess what saved us? That’s right! Trial round J We still got knocked out fairly early though. A couple of tots from our team managed to come first though. Small is beautiful!
The ladies had to tie one foot each together, in partners. Then they had to try to kick a ball in a bucket. Hilarious. We won overall though.
Then there was a kids scavenger hunt. Many kids came to me, “Aunty do you have a comb or a mirror?” Next time I’ll be better prepared kids!
The food was decent too. Rasgullas, icecream, undiya, bhindi, paneer.
It was great meeting everyone. When you’re away from family, the people you live with become your family. That’s what happened to me in college too. Even if there are no diyas, fireworks, good food- great company is enough to have a blast on Diwali. What say?

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Bards of the Blogosphere- Week 3, Chapter 6: The Return

Read the previous part of the story here.

“Shekhar, my next shot will kill you if you don’t do as I say,” Ahuja threatened.

Both flinched as they heard a clatter.

Roohi had returned.

“Daddy,” she said tearfully, as she rushed to Shekhar’s side. Shekhar shut his eyes. Why, oh why, had she come back…

“I couldn’t leave you,” she moaned as she knelt by him.

Ahuja stood still, moved, despite himself, by a daughter’s love.

Shekhar looked up, a flicker of hope in his eyes. Had Roohi’s impulsiveness managed to pierce Ahuja’s armour?

Ahuja started, feeling Shekhar’s look. His eyes grew hard again. He gripped the gun harder.

Shekhar tried to push Roohi away, but she held on to him, refusing to move away.

Roohi’s fearless look made Ahuja pause, though.

But only for a moment.

“Get away, little girl,” he snarled, “Unless you want to join your father.”

Roohi only dug her heels in further.

Ahuja’s eyes narrowed. He bent forward to physically remove Roohi. Roohi tried to take a swing at him, but Ahuja caught her hand easily.

Shekhar made a superhuman effort to rise, but it was of no use. He fell back, grunting in pain.

Tara rushed back in. “Roohi!” she screamed. Ahuja flung Roohi at her. She drew Roohi to her, sobbing helplessly.

“We can’t leave daddy behind, Mom,” she said.

Tara had nothing to say. When mothers have been known to move mountains to save children, why shouldn’t children sacrifice everything for parents?

“You know Jenny’s going to get help,” she told Ahuja.

“Do you really think she’s going to leave you here at my mercy?” he retorted.

Tara fell silent. “Where is she?” Ahuja stalked around the room, unwilling to leave the safe zone, but at the same time, needing to know where the other gun was.

Jenny had no choice but to step back in the room, keeping her gun pointed at Ahuja, to show that she meant business.

Read the next part here.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at
#CelebrateBlogging with us.

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divyakshi, Priyanka Roy, Priyanka Victor, Arpita, Datta, Neeraj, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Bards of the Blogosphere- Week 2 Chapter 4- Trigger Happy

Read the previous part of the story here.

Jenny surveyed the crowd that had come to listen to the minister speak, with a photographer’s eye. She mentally composed shots, cropping stragglers neatly out of the frame. Although she was there to cover the event for a publication, she always had a weather eye out for that award winning shot.

She idly played with her butterfly earring as she cocked her head, trying to figure out which shot she should take first. Her large Nikon camera ensured people automatically posed for her, in this era of selfies.

She preferred clicking weather beaten faces, of old men and women, the ones who had lived full lives. Children were easy to shoot. Full of innocence, even an amateur could get good shots if she focused on them.

The noise was deafening. There must be a thousand persons here, she thought. The crowd moved forward, jostling for space and taking her with them. The smell of the great unwashed assaulted her nostrils. Couldn’t be helped. That was part of the job too.

Unbidden, a stray memory floated in her consciousness. Of a girl in her colony. The prettiest one by far, with full lips, flashing eyes and milky, smooth skin. She knew it too. She had dreams of becoming a Bollywood star.

So she was easy prey for that smooth talking man who promised to take her to Mumbai and put her in touch with filmmakers. She had run away from home, taking a little money. Of course, there were no meetings with filmmakers. The man and his friends had sold her to a brothel.

Jenny shuddered, scattered conversations bringing her back to where she was. Two plump aunties were gossiping about the atrocious prices of vegetables. “I sure hope this man can bring down the prices to earth,” said one to the other, who nodded solemnly. Jenny took a photo, startling the ladies, who smiled reflexively.

As she moved forward, taking care to keep to the sides, where there were less people, she kept taking photos. You never knew when you could end up with a great shot.

A baby a man was cradling reached out for her camera, grinning toothlessly. When Jenny took a photo, he squealed and hid his face on his father’s shoulder.

Just then, Jenny spotted a familiar face. She couldn’t remember the girl’s name, but knew they had met recently. She smiled vaguely and took a photo of Roohi, who was a blur in motion as she raced around, playing with the other children present.

Jenny looked around for her parents, who were keeping a watchful eye on their child. She managed to get a candid shot without them being aware of the camera.
The crowd was getting impatient. Where was the minister? Just as its mutterings threatened to become angry ones, the man appeared. Jenny took a photo of the crowd, as it craned its collective neck forward, for a better glimpse.

The minister was a showman, who took the stage as if it were his rightful domain. He raised his hand to acknowledge the crowd’s applause and also calm it. Jenny knew this trademark gesture and was ready to press the button. Click.

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divyakshi, Priyanka Roy, Priyanka Victor, Arpita, Datta, Neeraj, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Bards of the Blogosphere- Chapter 7- Shadow play turns real

Read the previous part of the story here.

“Let’s order pizza to welcome Jennifer in our home,” announced Tara when she emerged from the bedroom.

“Oh! Is that the latest excuse to skip making dinner?” Shekhar teased.

As Tara grinned sheepishly, Jennifer cut in, “My treat!”

“Nonsense,” said Shekhar. “You’re outnumbered.”

After much argument over toppings, they finally ordered the pizzas. A laughter filled dinner followed. Shekhar let out a contented burp. His wife looked at him with disgust.

“What?” he retorted. “Jennifer, these are the less savoury parts of being a member of our household.”

Jennifer laughed as Tara threw a cushion at her husband.

“I’m bushed,” Tara yawned.

“I’ll put Roohi to bed,” said Jennifer quickly.

“Would you? That would be great! I’ll put myself to bed,” Tara said gratefully.

“Nooo! I don’t want to go to sleep!” wailed Roohi.

“I’ll show you how to make shadow puppets, Roohi,” said Jennifer, cutting Roohi off mid-wail.

Roohi watched open mouthed as Jennifer deftly used her hands to make a rabbit, deer, and many more animals.

“Come on now Roohi, the zoo will return tomorrow,” Jennifer urged Roohi, patting the bed invitingly. Roohi hopped into her bed obediently.

As Jennifer turned to switch the light off, Roohi caught sight of a dragonfly on her arm. She blinked. It couldn’t be. That was the tattoo she had seen on her kidnapper! A green, evil looking insect, with paper thin wings, that she fancied was about to poison her. It had seemed set to sting, ready to jump off that arm. Her eyes grew wide. She searched her memory desperately, wanting to be sure.

Yes, she would never forget that day. The pain as the would-be kidnapper had snatched her hand. She heard the children shrieking with fear and running about helter skelter, the bad man fighting with Ramesh in the school bus.

Roohi’s heart was beating so fast that she was afraid Jenny would hear it too. She shuddered. She hadn’t even known that she had registered the tattoo, until now. She opened her mouth to scream and then thought better of it. She shut her eyes tight instead.

“I must lie still and pretend to be asleep or she will hurt me, let her think I am sleeping and make her go away, please God,” she thought frantically.

Jennifer turned back to find a ‘sleeping’ Roohi. She looked down at the angelic face, smiled wistfully and noticed that Roohi had kicked the blanket off in her sleep. She picked it up and covered Roohi with it, making sure to tuck her in nice and proper. "This little girl has restless feet," Jennifer muttered to herself while walking towards the door.

“Well, that was a breeze,” she thought as she quietly latched the door behind her.

Roohi didn’t think so. The little girl had nightmares all night, but her subconscious kept her from screaming.

Jennifer slept peacefully, unaware of Roohi’s sleepless night.

Read the next part here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of Divyakshi, Priyanka Roy, Priyanka Victor, Arpita, Datta, Neeraj, Nupur, Sulekha, Maria and Roshan.