ERUPT -VII

Standing by the French window of her plush apartment on the 24th floor, Reeta was sipping her ginger tea. Yes, ginger tea was all that she needed again to jump back to the real world. What had happened in last 24 hours? Reeta was numb, her head was pounding. Alcohol had done no good to her.

Who was Rex and why did he get her arrested? Who was that boy who left her on the road? And why was she even in the pub on the night of her wedding anniversary? Wasn’t she supposed to be with her husband celebrating (so called) love? Reeta was wondering about all these while rubbing her temples… but it was not helping to subside the headache. Was it a headache really or a different kind of hurt?

Having lived the the life she did for the past 15 years, no kind of hurt was new to Reeta. From forced physical pleasure to domestic violence she had timidly taken all. What else could she do? After all she was married to one of the most popular politician who had won all hearts except her. With no siblings and dead parents, she had no choice but to be with her husband. Or that is what she chose for all these years. It was never like this initially. Jay was a very nice husband. But when money and fame walked into his life hand in hand, his mind started to get corrupt and devilish. And Reeta, his wife became the object of his pleasure, his game, not love.

Now, she wanted to stop it right away…  She was yearning to break free. She wanted to break the shackles of deception of love, she wanted to put down the pressure of being famous and she wanted to live a normal peaceful life. Just like the random people she saw on the road. And yesterday was her first attempt to do so! What better day to escape from the grip of a monster than the day she married him. Hence, without thinking too much she let herself go wild. But it was a mistake. Her monster was far more powerful than she could imagine. He made arrangements to bring her back anyhow.

Reeta put the empty mug on the corner table and looking herself in the mirror said “You can do it Reeta. Plan better next time. These are the last wounds Jay can give. Not any more.” Reeta broke down looking at her bruised face and body even though she knew that was what would happen once Jay gets hold of her after her stint of running away.

There was a soft knock on the door.

Come in…” She said.

A servant came in and placed various tabloids on the table and left. It was a routine. Jay would ask to read all the news paper and tabloids every day to keep abreast with the current affairs. Reeta wiped her tears and picked one of them. She was shocked! She picked another, yet another… but all were the same. It was all over in the news that, the would be health minister’s wife was found drunk. It was not only that but there were many stories fabricated around it. Some tabloids said she slept with someone on the beach, some said she was found drunk on the road… But out of all these news items one particular headline caught her eye – “Would be health minister shows concern for the health of the state but couldn’t care for wife’s mental health

Reeta started laughing hysterically. She didn’t mind that she was being judged as psychic but instead she was ecstatic for reading something against her abusive husband, Jay Kapoor. After all, he really never cared for her! Why would she!

After sometime she took a hot water bath which calmed her down. She had also called for food. While she was setting her plate for lunch, she thought of the brunch Rex had made for her. He had taken such good care of her, a stranger. He treated her with grace, spoke to her with lot of respect and more importantly did not take advantage of her unconsciousness and vulnerability. She was filled with gratitude when these thoughts cleared the clutter in her mind. She couldn’t remember when was the last time Jay had treated her that way.

Life is funny you know, sometimes what you crave for from your closest people, a stranger is able to give you that effortlessly! Who was this Rex? And why and how could he be so nice to me? Reeta again lost in deep thought as she felt a strong urge to go back to him with a small present as a token of her gratitude but she immediately waved away the idea because she didn’t want to put him in trouble any more. However, that kind man, Rex refused to leave her mind!

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(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

On the other side of the city, that man kind man Rex, was sitting all alone by  the window of his cottage watching the waves of the sea. He held his mug of hot chocolate and laid down the broken pieces of his wife’s mug on the table beside him. He had saved them all from the dustbin, just like he had saved all her memories for so many years. Hot chocolate and watching waves crashing to the shore was their daily ritual. He held one of those broken pieces on his palm, felt it as if it was Mary herself, he kissed it and gulped down the hot chocolate roaring “Cheers!”

I DON’T SHED TEARS BUT I CRY…

A lot has been spoken about men not being allowed to cry, gender bias related to it and many other things. I personally feel that even though there could be a social pressure on men for not shedding tears, it is more of a choice and poise of the man.

How do we define crying? Crying means expression of grief and pain with or without tears. So, is it that men never feel the pain or they never grieve? (Please don’t quote the filmy dialogue “Mard ko Dard nahi hota”). I have seen men in my life cry, like really cry with tears in their eyes. And no single person ever shamed them.

The first man I saw crying was my grandfather. He cried his heart out when his first daughter was going away with her newly wed husband to start a new chapter of their life. My father did the same when I got married, though in a lesser intensity. But he did cry!

I have seen my husband cry quite a few times in these 10 years. I have seen him grieving when my father in law passed away. He was crying so bad that his whole body was wobbling. I have seen him cry with me when I was in tremendous pain because of losing pregnancies before we had Aarnav. I have seen him cry when he saw me going through the medical turmoil that I had to just to conceive Aarnav. I have seen him cry when we made a wrong decision of chucking a job before having another one on hand and then later facing unemployment for a long time. Every time his crying was not accompanied by tears, but I could see he was crying within.

We have a tradition that someone from the family accompanies the new bride to her new home, makes sure she is comfortable in the new house and then return. I remember my maternal uncle had accompanied me to my new house. At the time of “Grihapravesh” I turned back one last time just to feel assured that he is around and yes, he was there, with a heart full of happiness and eyes full of tears that his little niece is stepping in to a whole new world and will be on her own.

In spite of the fan fare of this social pressure, do ask yourself if men don’t cry ever? I am sure you have seen men cry too and there is no big deal about it. Earlier generations many have set standards for shaming men for crying but hey, we can change that, can’t we? I tell my son not to cry. Yes, I do, but NOT because boys don’t cry but because instead a crying he must learn to tell what is bothering him and what can be done about it.

Next time you see a man or a boy cry, just let him be. Don’t think what society will name him. Don’t suggest him whether he should cry or not. Just let him be. Instead, try and identify many other men who cry within. Do something to shed their grief. Do something to make them comfortable.

HOW TO HANDLE EMOTIONS AT WORK

By nature, I am an extremely vulnerable person who can feel the emotions a little more in depth than required. I have often ended up in emotional mess because of this sensitivity. When I was you I couldn’t reason why some thing could hurt me so deep or why some small things make me happy. But as I started growing up a little self retrospection helped me understand.

It’s very easy for people like me to build relationships. What is difficult is to recover from the hurt if these relationships don’t work. I can quote plenty examples.

My first love, some of the friendships and some professional relationships too. We talk and hear a lot about heartbreaks and how to come out of it. Hence today I am going to talk about feelings and emotions at work.

In a corporate environment we often get overwhelmed about how to maintain relationships with peers and superiors. From my professional experience so far, I have learnt a lot about professional relationships and I have made some rules for myself. Sharing the same, it may be useful to you too.

1. No romantic relationships at work. A STRICT NO.

2. No friendships at work. Well, friendships do happen but not the ones that I may want to keep life long. Most of the friendships are need based. They are over when the need is over. I have suffered a lot with this before when I was a novice in this big bad corporate world. Slowly I learnt the tricks of the trade. But to be honest, my workplace has given me 2 beautiful friendships which are an exception to this rule.

3. No sharing personal life details in depth neither asking them to others. Often times, we speak volumes about our personal life with the person whom we trust at workplace but I have had experience when it turned a boomerang for me. I can do an entire separate post of this point 😎

4. No feelings towards anybody at workplace. When I say no feelings, I literally mean NO Feelings at all.. no jealousy, no anger, no attachment, no love, no hate. The only two feelings that I allow are respect and empathy. Lot of times, you may not respect a person, but you must respect the designation. This situation is a hard nut to crack. But not getting emotionally entangled often makes lot of things easier.

5. Just fix it in mind that you cannot take along all your relationships along with you till the end of your life. A person is surrounded by circles of relationships. Closer the circle to you, more important is the relationship. Now just imagine how difficult it will be to accommodate all the relationships in the inner most circle. Similarly, accept the fact that you can’t stand in the inner most circle of many. This point is difficult to accept and that’s exactly what causes emotional stress.

Hope these tips are useful. How do you deal with emotions and feelings? What challenging situations you have encountered and how did you deal with them? I would love to hear from you.

IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE CHILDREN

Ask a mom what her priority is and pat will come the reply, “My children!”. No mom is an exception to that. Once a mom,always a mom and it’s always about the children. ALWAYS!

I have seen this with my mom and my mom-in-law too. How much ever me and my husband grow up they still think we are their babies (which we are honestly 😁) and I get this fact just too well after being a mom myself.

After having Aarnav life has changed. Motherhood has curated me into a different person altogether. I no longer worry about dressing up and rather give that time to dress up my son, make his meals ready and do anything the he would need while we step out. I don’t mind staying up for him the whole night when he chooses to sleep in his mama’s lap rather than his bed. His comfort comes before mine. I don’t mind the dark circles I have which clearly highlight the sleep deficit. All that matters is whether Aarnav eats well, sleeps well and is happy. His well being comes first.

I no longer have my own plans, everything thing is planned as per Aarnav’s sleep schedule. There are days when I don’t even comb my hair but hey, who is complaining? I am a mom! And it will always be about my son! Don’t ask me to prioritize between you and Aarnav, you will lose because my son will always be my FIRST priority. I tell that to everyone, even my husband.

Well, let me be honest. There are days when I crave some ME TIME. There are days when I feel stressed for not getting enough rest, for not being able to care for myself, for not looking great, for not having my body in great shape, for the stagnation in my career but all these thoughts come and go. The only thought that stays is Aarnav and his well being.

In the end, all that matters is the twinkle in Aarnav’s eyes, smile on his face and the love he holds in his heart for me. All the worries and insecurities are washed away when he hugs my with his tiny little hands and kisses me on the cheek. And I will never trade that for anything in this world.

If ever I have to make a choice, it will be what is best for Aarnav. I am not me anymore, I am now Aarnav’s MOM and this new identity shall rule all my choices and preferences. Because,for a mother it’s always about her children! Dont you agree?

ONE LAST TIME

He puffed a cigarette and exhaled a circle of smoke hoping to see her on the other side with a pinched nose and her hand waving to break this smoky cloud.

He wanted to hear her say one last time, “Sweeto, I am telling you I will really dump you if you don’t quit smoking.”

But it was too late, she had quit him before he could quit smoking. She had quit this world and vanished into the smoke that rose from the dead.

Life may not give you a second chance. Be good and do good.

DO IT NOW.

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – XIV

…She looked at Pragya who was sleeping like a log. She smiled and closed her eyes shut.

She no more feared the dream that kept haunting her since God knows when. The dream of having a boring routine of being alone, dressing up in cotton sarees, carrying a jute jhola, cooking for just herself and having no family. She no more feared of having to grow old without having a companion or having to call the kids playing in society garden her own. She would love to buy them candies though, but no other part from her dream bothered her anymore. She was sure that she wants to fall in love all over again. She had let the guard on her heart lose and now her heart was reaching out to someone. Who was it?

Happygolucky checked Radha’s reply and he couldn’t stop smiling. He was used to girls falling for him. His personality and nature always did the trick. You know, some people are so good at showing light to a wandered soul and he was one of them. He had inherited this quality from his dad. He shut down his laptop and looked at the watch. It was 1:00 am. “Oh no… less than 5 hours of sleep! Chalo, doctor Sahab so jao, counsellor bane firte ho. Itna hi shauk tha to psychologist hi bante, Orthopedic kyun bane??Happygolucky cursed himself under his breath.

Next morning Radha was up much earlier than her usual time. The morning seemed beautiful. She could hear birds chirping, she could see beautiful hues of flowers adorning the Gulmohar tree outside her balcony. The pleasant fragrance of Mogra from her balcony lifted her spirit high. She was wondering why she had failed to notice all this before. Well, love does its own magic, doesn’t it? Radha took in a deeeeep breath and said it out loud, “come on life, bring it on! I am ready!

Just then the doorbell rang.

Who is it right now? Its too early for the milkman or the newspaper vendor too” muttered Radha and rushed to the door.

When she opened the door she literally shrieked. She called out Pragya as if she had seen a ghost.

Pragya… Pragya… come out… jalllddi…

Pragya came running at once. She was clearly worried. “Hey Rads, what happened? Are you alright?“…. and even Pragya couldn’t believe her eyes. However, couple of moments later, she gathered herself and said, Good morning guys! What a pleasant surprise. Please come inside“.

That’s when Radha realised her hyper reaction and apologised too, I am sorry uncle, I must have scared you. Hey, Dr Akash! Morning. Please come in.

Pragya and Radha were shocked but happy to see the old man and Dr. Akash happy together.

Beta Radha, I can’t thank you enough for having cleared the air between me and Akash. I forgive my son and I will be moving to USA with him soon. We want to make up for all the years we lost.” The old uncle looked at Akash with tears in his eyes and hugged him hard.

With moist eyes and still holding his dad close, Akash said, Pragya, thanks a ton for your advice. If I had returned to USA that day, this day would have never dawned. Thank you for helping me get my dad back.”

Oh I am so happy for you both. Please dont thank me. I just tried to do something good and I am glad it worked for you. You guys have a wonderful life ahead.” Pragya wished both of them.

Uncle, we will miss you so much!” said Radha but her heart also noted that she was going to miss Dr. Akash too!

Uncle, why don’t you take Radha along with you? Who will give you ice at 11 pm otherwise?” Joked Pragya and mischievously winked at Radha.

Radha froze in her tracks. How did Pragya know that she was getting attracted to Dr Akash when she didnt even know about her day out with him. Well, BFFs know a lot you know, sometimes they know even that which you don’t know about yourself.

Laughter and cheer filled the room. This moment called for a celebration. Radha made adrak wali chai and Pragya ran to fetch Inder bhaiya’s samosas. Acche din wakai me aagaye!

Lot of times we lose lot of years sticking to our fears or massaging our ego. But life is not always the same. After storm comes the rainbow. So be easy on yourself. Set your heart lose. Shed your ego. Go ahead and say I Love You to the person you really love. Say I am sorry whenever required. Life is beautiful and life is simple. Do not complicate it. Cheers!

A NEW BEGINNING! 

AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – I

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(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

Radha’s fingers were trembling before clicking the “Publish” button on her blogging site. She was a leading blogger and wrote mostly about love and life which naturally drew lot of followers to her blog. Her blogs were often short, simple and oozing with emotions. Her followers would wait for a post from her and today was no different.  She took a deep breath and hit “Publish”.

BOOM… went the post live.

Can Love Happen Twice?

I didn’t think I would ever fall in love again. I know that everyone says that after a heartbreak, but the difference is that I’m not heartbroken. I’m not cynical, or pessimistic, or sad. I’m just someone who once felt something bigger than anything else I’d ever felt and when I lost it, I honestly believed I would never have that again. But… I was 22 then and life is long. And I’m feeling things right now that I haven’t in a long, long time. 

Should I or shouldn’t I?

It was 4 pm – the time when most of her posts would go live. Then she would unwind by plopping herself on a bean bag in her balcony with a cup of masala chai to sip from. She would normally spend an hour in the balcony watching kids return from school, senior citizens stepping out for a walk and looking at the mellowing sun. Not a word said, not a word thought!

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Image Credit: Google Inc.

After an hour she would freshen up, dress up in a crisp cotton saree, take her small purse and jute bag and would go out for some fresh groceries. She would always buy some candies on her way back and give it to children playing the society’s garden. All children adored Radha.

In a way, Radha had no family, but in a way, there were so many people who loved her. 10,000+ followers to her blogs, children from her society and their parents as well! She was a friend, guide and philosopher to many but girlfriend, wife, sister, mother to no one. Such was her life!

She would quickly fix the dinner for herself after she returned from grocery shopping and catch up on some saas-bahu sagas on TV. How all ladies love those typical serials and Radha was no exception. Somewhere around 10.30 pm when she is done with all the chores for the day, she would go back and check her post. This was a ritual. Like we say good night to our partner or family before going to bed, she would read the comments to her blog from her followers. It was some kind of assurance that someone in this world is there for her.

However, today she was hesitating a bit. After all, she had posted something very personal on her blog and she was not sure if she will be looked down upon for it. She was curious to know the reaction of her blogger friends and readers to her question but at the same time she felt very vulnerable, she had never opened herself to anyone, never after her heart was broken at 22!

Radha couldn’t reason as to why she had such feelings for someone, but there was very little that she could do, her feelings were honest and deep. She wanted to let the person know what she feels for him but she feared rejection. Not the rejection from that person – but the rejection from the society. After all, her love story was a bit odd indeed. It’s not every time that one falls in love with a person who comments and likes each post that you publish.

Radha had tried to reason with herself innumerable times. She had tried explaining herself that what is the guarantee that the person she has fallen for is a good person? Will he be same age as hers? What if he is goon? Who knows if he has a family of his own and many such thoughts but it was all in vain. She often tried not to think about him for wait for his comments but that never really happened. Radha felt a strong connection. Was it love really? And even if it was, how was it going to materialize?

Radha was scrolling through the comments hastily to find that one comment from that special person.  There were many comments like…,

 “Great Write-up!”

“Go for it Mam”

“Next part of the story please”

“All the best, listen to your heart”

……………………………….
And many more but Radha’s eyes were looking for the one comment from someone special. As the comments were approaching the end, she was a little disheartened that perhaps that special person has not read her blog yet. But wait, that never happens, he is the one who normally comments right in the first hour after the blog goes live.

Just then, a notification popped up. “You have received a new comment from “happygolucky”. Radha’s eyes lit up, a smile adorned her fact and just when she was going to click on the notification…..

Ding Dong, rang the shrill doorbell the moment Radha had gathered enough courage to check her today’s post.

Arrrrgh….!!! This old man!” spoke Radha to herself. She knew it was none other than the old man who stayed in the apartment on the next floor. Radha would get annoyed with his daily requests for ice at 11 pm but never denied because she pitied him really. He was all alone, old – must be around 65 yrs. His wife had died 25 years ago and his son had left him alone after he moved to the US for higher studies. He never looked back, never! Did not even invite his dad for his wedding. The only help he offered some years ago was to put his dad in the old age home where he can be taken care of. This had completely shattered the old man but because he was the man of mettle, he chose to live on his own. He didn’t mingle much with other society members but he would often seek help from Radha in the form of some ice for his daily drink.