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ERUPT -VI

Rex stood there perplexed, looking down at the passed out woman who was turning into a nuisance with every passing minute. Maybe he had bitten on more than he can chew when he decided to rescue her from the beach. She seemed ungrateful and pretentious and not to mention insensitive. He leaned down and picked her up once again with an exasperated sigh and laid her on the sofa. He tried to rouse her by calling her, ‘Miss…’, several times but she won’t stir.

He lit a cigarette, wondering what to do with the unhinged damsel. She seemed wealthy, educated, sophisticated yet rogue, unruly and demented. He decided he didn’t want her to be in his home anymore; neither did he wanted her mess. He followed his instincts and called the cops.

The cops knew exactly who she was and told Rex to hold her there until they come to pick her up. The police were almost grateful someone tipped them off about the missing woman’s whereabouts as her powerful husband was making their lives a living hell since last night.

They had already been warned to find her by morning or face the consequences. They called Jay Kapoor at once and gave him the good news.

“Sir, we located your wife. She will be home within an hour.” The cop said on the call, relieved to have Jay Kapoor off his neck finally.

“Good, be as discreet as possible while handling this. I don’t want any mess at this time of my career at the hands of my wayward wife.” He said in a commanding voice and hung up.

Meanwhile, Rex smoked another cigarette, wondering who this woman was? The cops were more than happy to pick her up, and they told her to keep her safe until then, but they never mentioned who she was.

He put out his nicotine stick in an astray and emptied the full astray in the bin where he saw the remains of the broken mug lying at the base. He sighed and closed the bin. There goes his dead wife’s coffee mug, thanks to Miss Trouble.

“Hello again,” she said, and he turned to see the woman in the ruined little black dress sitting up on the sofa, pushing back her slovenly hair. He fixed her a piercing gaze.

Reeta could tell his earlier courtesy had vanished. He seemed stoic now. She swallowed and scratched her neck in embarrassment.

“Hello there, Miss….?” He let the question hang there in between them.

Reeta knew it was the time when she has to tell him the truth or let him think she’s a no-good miscreant. She chose the latter; the former option was absurd right now.

“Miss Gone!” She said, getting up from the sofa and extended her hand towards him. “Thank you for everything, I think I have been enough trouble, will leave you alone now to your birds.” She chipped in with a casual smile, a frail attempt to make an uneventful exit.

He didn’t take her hand and added, “How will you go? You have no money and no car; I think you need help with that. Let me get my car keys.” He played along.

Saying this he went out of the room and noiselessly locked it from outside, somehow his instincts told him she would make a run for it.

Reeta didn’t want a lift. As soon as the door closed, she tried to follow him out but found he had locked it shut. She panicked. Why would he lock her in? She attempted to open the door a few more times before she heard tyres screeching in front of the house, followed by voices.

She understood he had called the cops on her. No, she couldn’t go back. No more of that. She looked around the room and ran to the window overlooking the deck and opened it wide. She was about to jump out when a muscled arm held her wrist and handcuffed her. She turned to look at the cop and gave a shrill scream.

“How dare you!!!???”, She shouted, trying to get away, but the cop held her other hand even harder and cuffed it too.

“Let me goooo…” She cried as two men pulled her back into the room and outside.

Rex watched it in horror. She tried hard to break free crying, “Let me go; you will be sorry for this.” but the cops made her walk to the nearest cop car.

A light flashed and then another. Someone was clicking pictures. The cops looked around frantically for the source of the light while they dragged a resistant Reeta into the car and pushed her in, head first before locking the doors securely.

“Take her to him.”, The officer said to his junior, “I will look for the photographer.”

The junior officer got in the car and drove it away, but not before Rex could see Reeta crying bitterly in the back of the car like a trapped animal. Her state made him wonder if he had given a lamb to the wolf for sacrifice.

The senior officer came to Rex and shook hands with him, “Thank you so much, Sir, we have been on the lookout for ser since yesterday night. You have been a responsible citizen by helping the police; we are grateful for your help.” The cop said with a sincere smile and Rex merely nodded.

“Officer may I ask you a question?”, Rex said.

The officer avoided Rex’s gaze and nodded his head in a yes.

“Who was she? What has she done and where have you taken her?” Rex was blunt and point-blank.

The officer’s amicable smile faded and was replaced by a tight-lipped smirk.

“That’s three questions,” he said pointedly and added, “The less you know, the safer you are.” with these dark words the officer left in search of the man who was clicking pictures.

Rex found it to be disturbingly curious; he also felt a sense of wrongdoing. All night he tried to brush the guilt off and sleep but couldn’t. The woman was on his mind; he felt responsible somehow. Trying to get rid of those thoughts he got up early and picked up the newspaper from his doorstep.

All his questions were answered on the front page with huge headlines and coloured photographs.

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ERUPT – V

The bird-watcher, Rex, as he had introduced himself later, had a modest cottage of his own just by the sea-shore to which he had carried the inebriated Reeta this early morning around 4:30 AM. He laid before her a generous brunch – sweet potato pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs, fruit salad, an assortment of nuts, a glass of fresh orange juice and a jug of water.

“Have you made all of these?”, Reeta asked.

“Yeah! I’m the lone king in this castle, you see. And, I’m a foodie. I’m always this generous to my guests”, said Rex with a grin pointing towards the food on the table.

“Thank you!”, said Reeta forcing a faint smile for her saviour of the day. “Won’t you join in?”

“I had breakfast already . . . It was almost morning when I carried you in. And now, though its almost time for lunch, I thought a little light food would do you good before you decide to head homewards to have lunch. I’ll give you company, though. Just fixing myself a hot cup of ginger tea”, replied Rex who was dressed in a loose white t-shirt and grey baggy pants with a cowboy’s hat on his head.

“In that case, if you don’t mind please make two cups. My head is aching terribly and I think ginger tea is just the thing I need right now”, sighed Reeta turning her gaze out of the open door towards the sea outside. She was unusually calm. No one who had seen her the previous night or in the wee hours of the morning would believe that she could indeed be so calm. A complete contrast to the noisy sea outside!

“Sure lady!”, said Rex with a smile.

The cottage was sparsely furnished. But, she observed that the tiny kitchen was well-stocked with food supplies.

She took the cup of tea from Rex without a word and sat sipping the hot beverage as she continued to the stare blankly at the waves crashing on the shore.

“So Miss, you were a bit high last night, weren’t you?”, quizzed Rex.

“I wish I would really have been”, Reeta replied absent-mindedly, her eyes still fixed on the waves crashing outside.

“What! You had already passed out when I spotted you. There was no one around. I caught sight of you when I went out for an early morning stroll hoping to spot some birds. I didn’t want to leave a beautiful lady lying unguarded for human or animal predators to pounce on. And yet you say, you wished you had passed out? Huhh!! I think you have had enough partying last night and it’s time you went home. Your folks must be pretty good worried by now. I’ll drop you wherever you want me to”, said Rex placing his empty cup on the table.

“You see those waves crashing on the shore? How emphatically they keep surging forward across the sea! But, the sturdy rocks and rugged cliffs restrict them. And so, they crash! C…RRR…AAAA…SHHH! They lose all their strength and lie low – broken, forlorn and lost! The gorgeous gallopping waves lose their existence. They leave the rocks and the sand wet. But, there remains no trace of them. No trace whatsoever”, whispered Reeta audibly tracing her fingers in the air as if she was painting the whole event in the limitless canvas before her.

“That sure is an amazing level of thoughtfulness! I mean, I see the sea and the waves almost everyday that I’m here in my cottage. But my interest lies in birds, you see. I had never spared much thought for the waves. Are you a poetess? Usually poets see meaning in every occurrence”, said Rex sitting down (he had already got up with the intention of leaving after finishing his cup of tea when Reeta started off about the waves).

“Ha ha ha . . .  ha ha ha . . .”, Reeta broke off into a wild hysterical laughter. Much to the chagrin of Rex, she did not stop. She went on laughing as if she was insane, pounding her right fist on the table rhythmically. As the intensity of her laughter went on increasing, the furious pounding of her fists kept on gaining speed. Suddenly, she banged the table with a loud thump.

Before the bewildered Rex could utter a word, the cup which was in Reeta’s left hand cracked and fell onto the floor. The crashing of bone china broke Reeta’s ominous spell. She had momentarily remembered the happenings of the last two days as she saw the waves. And that had once again caused a flurry of emotions to upswell within her. The whirlpool of anger, hatred and self-pity within her had gushed out electrifying waves of current into all parts of her body. Her dainty fingers transmitted the current onto the empty tea cup as it crumbled under pressure and fell on the spotlessly clean floor.

Rex stood up with his mouth wide open . . . unable to utter a word.

Her spell now broken by the clanking sound of the broken cup, Reeta looked onto the floor and then at Rex apologetically. She closed her eyes shut for a few seconds, took a deep breath and sprang up from the chair on which she had been sitting for the last forty five minutes without a movement.

“I’m sorry. I’ll clean up. I’ll pay for the damage too”, she said without much emotion evident in her voice.

“You may clean up the mess, but you can’t pay for the damage”, muttered Rex slowly.

“Excuse me! What did you just say? I heard it clear enough. I CAN pay for the damage. Do you know who I am?”, said Reeta looking straight into Rex’s eyes.

“Never mind, lady. You won’t understand. I’ll drop you home as soon as you finish cleaning up the floor as you desire to. Meanwhile, let me catch up with the headlines of the day before heading out”, said Rex rolling her eyes, as he turned towards the television unsure of how to react further. He wanted to flee out of the cottage to spot some bird and unwind himself by observing its movements. The events from last evening till then were beginning to take their toll on his mind.

‘Minister Speaks’ – flashed the title of the programme which was just about to begin. The shrill confident voice of the journalist filled the small cottage room as the introductory prelude music came to an end, “Today we have addressing the press conference the yet-to-be-sworn-in Minister of Health and Family Welfare. We know that the health and families of the people of this nation are in safe hands, now. Although the swearing-in ceremony is still a day away, our Minister-designate has already embarked on fulfilling his election promises to the citizens. This is his first press conference after being allocated the portfolio. Let us hear what he has to say to the people. Over to our correspondent for Live updates of the press conference being addressed at the moment by Mr. Jay Kapoor.” It was a repeat telecast of the press conference that had happened earlier in the morning.

Reeta was almost done cleaning up the mess without paying any attention to the television programme, when the last word forced her hands to stop. As Jay Kapoor appeared on screen and started speaking, her vision blurred out and her head started spinning as she soundlessly fell down on the floor that she had just wiped clean.

Rex continued to watch the programme unaware of the happenings behind him.

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ERUPT – IV

The car was literally going out of control. It was a new car, bought a week before and the boy had brought it to the pub for a show off to his friends. He had never expected to be in such a situation. He wanted to quickly get rid of this woman to save himself from the police and save the car. But before he could think anything he was out of the car and his car was heading aimlessly with an uncontrollable speed. While he was looking here and there to hide himself from the police, he heard a big thudding noise. He looked at that direction and found that the car had come to a halt after hitting the cemented slabs lying on the footpath on the left side of the road.

He didn’t wait even a second but ran towards it. Reaching the car, he pulled open the door and dragged the female out of it. What a woman you are? A rowdy woman…” He shouted as he saw her bewildered and confused appearance. But he could not have afforded more time shouting at her as the police van was closing in soon. He quickly pushed her away towards the road and got inside the car. Turning the steering wheel, he drove away disappearing into the darkness before the police van could reach there. 

Oh man, we missed that scoundrel and could not note down his number as well… we will find him soon… But who’s that… see there’s a lady on the road.” One police man came out of the van while talking to the other as it stopped there. They both rushed to the lady and tried to pick her up as she was continuously scolding that boy using all the foul languages that she knew.

Shut up, you drunk…! Stand still and come with us to the lock up…” The policeman said as the other switched on his phone flash light to see her face.

Arrre bapre… She is Reeta Kapoor… Take your hands off her, Shambu,” one policeman literally screamed at the other as he released his hands off her, saluting her…

Yeaaaassshhh…I am Reeta Kapoor, take your hands off me… I am the would-be minister, Jay Kapoor’s wife…” She hysterically laughed and pushed one of them and leaned back on the van.

We are sorry Ma’am… We can take you home, Ma’am.” Both of them pleaded together as they felt a bit scared.

Home… what is it???” She again laughed mockingly when she heard the word, ‘home’. The previous day’s incidents flashed in front of her eyes and she clenched her fists in a fit of anger and frustration. They kept engaging her in conversation while they called up the secretary of Mr. Kapoor and informed about Mrs. Reeta Kapoor. They were instructed to remain  wherever they were waiting, instead of bringing her home in the police van.

But as soon as she overheard that her husband was coming to pick her up, she started to run aimlessly even though her feet were unstable… “Enough is enough… I really can’t take it any more…”, she thought as she kept running. She let herself be lost in the darkness of the night letting her popular-famous-rich-respected-people-conscious husband worried and panicked. Her frustrations, her hurts, her disappointments were making her bitter as she ran like a carefree girl on the spongy sands, while tears rolled down her cheeks in pain and anger. Years of hurts simply burst out all at once after the night’s incident. And to her advantage, she slipped off the ridges of the road rolling down to the sandy beach below. The policemen frantically search for her and wondered where she vanished in the darkness.

When Mr. Kapoor arrived at that place, he found two helpless and scared policemen. Mr. Jay Kapoor could not speak in anger but he just asked his secretary to go with his people and search for his wife and bring her safely and secretly to home as soon as possible.

“Oh… my image… will surely be ruined today because of this silly, foolish woman…” He thought, gritting his teeth as he kept avoiding his people and walked back and forth on the road before returning back to his house. He kept dialling her number relentlessly but there was no response as Reeta was not in a condition to even hold her phone. She was unconscious and lying on the spongy sands in the cold.

In the morning, Jay could not help but went for a very important press conference ignoring about the previous night’s happenings. He really couldn’t afford to search his stupid wife leaving all his important arrangements for which he had been working day and night, trying to keep up with different government officials, compromising with his values.

When Reeta opened her eyes, she found herself on a bed which didn’t look familiar to her. She held her head with her hands and tried to sit up when she found a man entering the room. She didn’t like what she saw, in fact a fear swept through her. Squinting her eyes, she looked at the man and opened her mouth to ask when she was interrupted by him.

Don’t worry Miss… I am a bird watcher and was on the shore. And when something lying on the sand caught my attention, I ran towards it. I found you there lying unconscious. I rushed to my car with you in my arms.” The man explained in detail what had happened without her knowledge. She checked her dress involuntarily and found she was in the same black dress with sand still sticking to it.

Trust me… I haven’t crossed my limits in anyway, Miss. I was waiting for you to wake up so that I can give you little food and some juice to strengthen you. You need them right now.” He replied again politely.

Thanks for all these…” She nodded as she appreciated what he had done for her. She was terribly hungry. Without wasting any more time, she walked up to the dining hall and ate what he served on her plate.

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ERUPT – III

The boy was about to snatch the bottle from the lady’s shaky hands, but was interrupted by his ear-piercing phone call. He immediately reached for his phone and answered the call. The boy was alert not to get into any sort of mess with this drunk lady. So he tilted towards the edge of the seat while talking to his friend. “Dude what is it? I’m in the middle of something, wait for my call”, the boy whispered loudly. 

Meanwhile this lady could faintly hear a strain of music coming from nearby. Although she was off balance, she managed to get down from the car in search of the music. She somehow managed even with bleary watery eyes, occasionally making wide sweeping gestures with hands. Finally she located that in a distant right end, there was some sort of party going on. She could see three four windows that opened towards the lane, revealing the interior of the room which was decorated in reddish-pink party lights. She was curious to know what exactly was going on in that place and hence decided to move closer in order to have a better view.

She had taken nearly eight to ten wide steps and now the music was somewhat audible to her. She was about to proceed further, but the moment she heard the song, she froze in her place for few seconds. It was the bekhayali song.

“Bekhayali mein bhi tera hi khayaal aaye,

(I think about you even when I am not thinking)

Kyun bichhadna hai zaroori? ye sawaal aaye,

(Why is it important to separate? A question arises)

She was determined not to proceed. The singer’s husky voice texture brought out the vulnerability of stirring lyrics. The track depicted the extreme frustration of a lovelorn Kabir, weaving the narrative into a zone of angst and pain, as opposed to the otherwise soothing song. But then it was… it was her extreme curiosity that forced her to take those steps forward just to see what was going on in there. 

She took few steps forward and noticed that there was a black sedan abruptly parked diagonally. This was a blessing in disguise for her, because the room and its contents perfectly reflected in the rear mirror of the car. The lady slightly bent her knees and she could see a couple. The girl had turned her back to him and the guy was trying to explain something. The guy was offering the girl a flower bouquet and she was constantly shoving it aside. The lady straightened herself and smirked the couple.

She was about to turn back, but something caught her attention. She bent again and rubbed her eyes for a better view and noticed that in the right corner of the room was a heart shaped cut piece which read “Happy Anniversary”. The lady jolted and straightened up. She forced two three large gulps from the bottle and turned to leave. 

She tried to walk hurriedly down the street, but her legs are telling otherwise. They were swaying – left and right. The harsh scent of drink could be smelt of her. She was struggling to keep her balance. It was like some sort of outer body experience. Her legs didn’t work as she told them. Neither did her hands. Nor fingers. Somewhere, deep inside she knew her brain was sending signals telling her what to do. Whether or not her body was listening, was a different story.  

She continued to take large mouthfuls of the drink and burst out into peals of obnoxious laughter.
Bekhayali mein bhi..,” she uttered clumsily followed by the peals of obnoxious laughter. It was followed by an abrupt pause. She took another mouthful of the drink.

Tera khayaal aaye…,” she uttered in a muffled voice followed by a loud abrupt hiccup. And again burst into peals of hysterical laughter.

Teraaaa khaayyaallll aayyeeeee…,” she repeated and the laughter followed. It was a high cold cackle, piercing the cold smoky air. Her breath came in quick gasps in between her uncontrollable laughter. But deep down she could feel tears gather in the corner of her eyes, threatening to spill over.

She kept repeating the lyrics in a muffled tone and made her way towards the car and that boy. She was almost near the car, and noticed that the boy was seated at the edge of the seat and with a fuming look. As she was about to reach for the handle, they heard the siren of the police van. The boy pulled her inside the car clumsily. “Are you of your mind? Where had you been? Well, I doubt if you have a mind!” he roared harshly at the lady. He was about to settle in his seat and shut the door, but the lady shoved him hard. He fell off his seat as he was off balanced. And the lady shut the door abruptly. “You mad woman! Let me in! Police behind”, the boy screamed from outside and banged the door. 

But the lady didn’t bother to listen, neither did she change her seat. She sat in her seat and without knowing in what gear the car was, she sped off in a zigzag pattern. The scene between the couple and the background song was constantly dancing before her eyes. She was constantly rubbing her eyes, as if she wanted to erase them by rubbing them off. 

The boy, was petrified. The police van was fast approaching and the lady had taken off. He was frantically looking here and there. He could feel his heart thumping loudly. He could not decide what to do. He could hear the siren approaching him in a lightning fast speed. He was frantically looking, but could not find a place to hide. Meanwhile, he heard a loud thud…

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ERUPT – II

As the constable approached and was almost at a one hand distance she sprayed the colour in her hand which she was shaking vehemently as if she was ready dampening the clothes of the constable and leaving him baffled, fuming vigorously, determined on catching this miscreant.

She dodged him as if she had a spring in her stride.  She was setting the mood of her night and clearly didn’t care for the consequences today.  She wasn’t sure though  of how long she would be able to remain abreast in this chase as the constable already made his way towards the jeep signalling with his whistle.

Every fraction of second she turned her head and checked the status of the chase as to where is the constable. She saw him getting into the jeep and directing it towards her and suddenly she was taken aback by the screeching wheels. “Come on get into it” a voice urged.

Teens-and-Driving-at-Night
(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

She didn’t care to see who it was and jumped into the car straightway, “Go Go Go!” she exclaimed in excitement as she hurried up the driver as her eyes were still fixed on the constable and party who were now in a mouse and cat race with this lady and the new entrant into the scene.

As the car accelerated and the lateral distance between the two machines increased the driver started the conversation “are you out of your mind or too high to have lost senses? What are you up to?”

She finally turned her head and got a glimpse of who was at the steering. It was the same boy who jeered at her and called her “aunty“.

 “Oh! You didn’t leave? Wanna be a part of my adventure or what?” She asked him with a pinch of taunt instead of thanking him. He didn’t answer her question and focused on the road.

Do I look high?” She fixed her gaze on him as she pulled him closer to her by his collar and exhaled sharply. Their gazes were locked instantly and for a moment he lost concentration from the track and was about to hit a barricade.

And they were back, a bit jolted.  By this time they left the police jeep far behind as they already jumped red lights and successfully fooled the chasing party.

“Tell me mysterious lady what are you up to?” He asked again, ” what’s your name?”

Lady: “From auntie to mysterious lady! Gear shift, I see. And my name is of no importance if you want to know ME“.

Boy: “So who are YOU?”

Lady: “I will let you know only if you can tell me how shall I pass out tonight, get really high that I can feel it or shall I say feel nothing. Will you help me?”

As she was saying this she pushed off all her inhibitions, fears to the backseat. There was pain in her voice which she tried to hide in her peals of obnoxious laughter.  She was with a stranger but she cared less neither for her reputation nor for her life for she was only alive.

Lady: “Will you?”

And the car was stopped in a dark lane and the boy stared at the smokey eyes which seemed alluring in the dim lighting of his car…

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ERUPT – I

She stood there, can in hand, head reeling as though she were drunk.

Am I drunk?

She tried counting the shots she had downed since she entered the pub. 11, 12… 15? She wasn’t sure. But she wasn’t drunk, she was sure. Excited, maybe. Yeah… excited. That’s more like it! She knew she couldn’t get drunk, even if she drowned herself in a vat of liquor. Of course she’d never tested that belief. She was too good to ever do something as crazy as that. At best, drinking would just make her sleepy. She had always been proud of how she was born in a sophisticated family, was brought up with such high values, a pure vegetarian, teetotaler, had held her drink well when she was introduced to it by friends. But now, her tolerance to it had become an irritating matter. Because sometimes she wanted desperately to get drunk, and couldn’t. Like at flashy parties, or after fierce bedroom fights, or family blame games, or when she felt lonely. Drinking could never give her that false sense of peace that others craved.

Then what was the point? Why did you drink? 

She knew why. It was her Anniversary today.

(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

That’s why she was dressed in black, teetering on stilettos too high for her to handle, pouting with scarlet lips at the first group of twenty somethings she had found in the pub and recklessly befriended, as if they were her homies. She wanted a date to remember. It had to start with drinking because she wanted to test her limits. But damn these tiny pubs and their closing time. So the twenty-somethings suggested that they should do something stupid and crazy. And they dared her. Which is why she was staring at the stark white boundary-wall of the Courthouse. And because this night was all about testing her limits.

They were jeering her behind her back,  “Oh, I know she can’t do it…. She’s too tame. Too old for fun!” said the twenty something in the crew cut and slashed-at-the-thighs jeans.

The girl in the red slacks hissed, “C’mon… Before someone sees us!”

But that’s the point… To get noticed being bad, or else what fun is there in doing bad? 

Let’s start with it.

She shook the can in her hand, and approached the wall. With one firm hand she pressed a hand on her nose, and with the other, shaky hand, she pressed the nozzle on the spray paint can.

Pzzzzzzt!

A red mist began to form patterns on the wall. She let her imagination guide her hand as she painted the one word that came to her mind – Erupt!

She painted that one word over and over again, at several places on the wall. She wanted to remember this sensation, that word and what it meant to her tonight.

At last she stood back to look at her handiwork. She was still shaking, but now with excitement and pride. For the first time in years she felt alive. The loud hooting from the over-excited jackasses behind her was nothing compared to the gush of blood she could hear coursing in the veins of her ears, throbbing with an intensity that made her head ache.

“Oh my my, Auntyji, you’ve done it! Ha, you’re something!” That came from the guy in the bomber jacket, the one who had been eyeing her all night long. He was now right behind her, she could sense his warmth right through the gauze of her dress. She looked back at him, he looked down at her with a lewd smirk, and she said, ‘back off‘, in a tone so sour it could curdle milk in an instant. That wiped off his grin and he took a few steps back. Thank god he wasn’t that stupid.

Just then, the shrill sound of a whistle pierced their bubble of excitement. The twenty somethings started running, but she stayed glued to the spot. The guy in the bomber jacket made a last ditch effort at earning brownie points with her, “What are you waiting for? That’s a police constable. C’mon!” He stretched out a hand towards her.

She turned the other way and started walking towards the police constable

EVERYONE HAS TEAR GLANDS AND SO DO MEN

This famous toothpaste ad pops up onto my children’s favourite channel frequently. It’s an ad where some boys are playing football and a girl comes in. One of the boy says- “Ladki hai, chot lagegi to rone lagegi” (She’s a girl, if she gets hurt, she will cry) . 

If any of those 7-10 year olds get hurt badly, they will cry for sure. What’s the point in giving a statement like it’s the birth right of every girl to cry! And making it air on the kids’ channels so that the gender fights begin from childhood only is just ridiculous. 

It’s a very common notion that is imbibed in most of the boys- “Mard ko dard nahi hota” (Men doesn’t feel the pain) or Men don’t cry. 

Why? Does the pain comes only to girls? 

Doesn’t every child cry the moment it is born?

Does the pain sees the gender first and then decides – “Ok,  it’s a girl, so let me hit her”? Ouch! 

If the God hasn’t reserved the crying part for the girls only at the time of birth, then why is it so that as the children grew, there are such statements in many homes- “Don’t cry like a girl” or “Boys are strong, they don’t cry”. 

Well, really? 

The answer is NO. Boys do cry and so do men. It’s just that as the boys grow up, they start hiding their emotions because of the social stigma and don’t shed tears, at least not in front of anyone! 

When you are a child, crying is easy. As soon as you grow older, you realise that crying is a big no-no, at least in front of anyone. Obviously, when an adult cries, something seriously is meant to be wrong, that’s what I felt as a kid. When our mom used to have wet eyes in a movie, my brother and I used to laugh! And now look at me- I cry during movies or watching my sons perform on stage or even when I am mad with anger, as I mentioned in “Let them fall”.

Men tend to get emotional which is perfectly normal. Otherwise the feelings will vent out in anger or abuse. So, tears are always better. 

My dad skips every “Vidai” function after marriages, just because he can’t see the bride and her relatives crying as he can’t control his tears. Though he couldn’t skip my ‘vidai’, he cried his heart out. And the person who made me cry during childhood, courtesy sibling rivalry, was weeping loudly when he hugged me as he bid me adieu after my marriage! 

Our society doesn’t lack stereotypes who believe that dolls are for girls and cars are for boys. One of the psychological column that I read mentioned that it’s important for the boys and girls to be introduced to every kind of toy, not being gender specific, as this improves their creative and problem- solving skills and develops empathy. I realized this when my elder son went to play at her cousin sisters house, where he found all sorts of dolls . He was amazed on seeing and holding Barbie dolls, their dresses and shoes. When he came back, I asked him if he liked playing with the dolls, I will get him one, but he refused and wanted a kitchen set instead. 

I bought him a kitchen set and obviously faced statements like- ‘why did you get him a girl toy‘, etc. Trust me, he enjoyed playing with it so much and now my younger one also likes to play with it. I got them a miniature pressure cooker and they now want me to add more cookware to their kitchen. In real life, they watch how their father helps me in the household work and so they also eagerly lend me a helping hand in drying the laundry, unloading the dishwasher or even dusting. My elder one loves to prepare tea (under my guidance) and younger one rolls a Chapati when he wants to. My younger son has a ‘Masha’ doll from his favorite show Masha and the Bear and both of them fight over aeroplanes, lego blocks, cars and plush toys too. 

The other day my sons and my husband were playing in-house cricket when suddenly the game had to be paused as the latter had to attend a call and said- “Play with mummy now.”

 “But, she doesn’t know how to play Cricket,”  my son said confidently.

And what makes you think so?” I asked. 

Because girls don’t play cricket“, he said. 

My husband laughed and said, “They do and our country’s women’s cricket team is a strong one.”

Really! Then why don’t you play mumma?” My son asked. 

Because I don’t like it too much. I hardly played cricket when I was young. I preferred skating though and learnt that on my own. No game or sport is specifically either for boys or girls,  just like colours. My favourite colour is blue which doesn’t mean that I am a boy.” I replied in a hope to make my sons unconventional.