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!

13-apply-to-broken-pot
(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!”

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.

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.

FIRST CRUSH BLUSH

When you step into your teens, the air around you kind of changes and so does your thinking process. It’s that age when you meet (sometimes do not) your first crush. Such a thing happened to me also. I had my 1st crush when I was around 14. It was Walter- the boy with dimples and a chocolate boy look.

Every afternoon, I used to wait for him, sometimes he used to show up and on the days when he did not,  I only wished to catch his glimpse the next day. I was so fond of him that I used to mention him in my postal letters (which was a ritual in those good old days), to my cousin sister Kuljeet. One day I was thrilled when I saw him playing a guitar and singing a melodious emotional song. I just wished I could go and meet him up. Alas, I could not!

I was his secret admirer. I knew we could never meet, yet I went head over heels for him. My fondness for him continued till two years, until he went away. He didn’t even know about my existence, because Walter wasn’t real. It was his reel name. He was none other than Rajiv Paul, playing a small role in one of the Hindi daily soaps Swabhimaan! Sad, the show was aired only for two years, but it indeed created fans like me and Kuljeet (who admired Rishabh Malhotra aka Rohit Roy).

Years later, when we sisters think and talk about it, we burst into laughter, amused by our teenage thoughts. Indeed, you end up in making a joke of yourself and laugh about it when it comes to first crush!

BEING RESPONSIBLE IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MEDIA

Hello Everyone,

Media is powerful, media can build fortunes and at the same time can bring the curtains downs on an empire.  What is Media at first place?

Definition of media:

Communication channels through which news, entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages are disseminated. Media includes every broadcasting and narrowcasting medium such as newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax, and internet. Media is the plural of medium and can take a plural or singular verb, depending on the sense intended (Source: Businessdictionary.com)

The definition of media shows its importance in the society.  It is a medium of communication that could be effectively used to create awareness, bring about a change, realise dreams, inspire thoughts, put forth the truth and everything in the wake of giving rise to positivity and spreading it across the life of an individual and society there on.

Going by the power media has and what it could do I want to bring forth certain illustrations which stand  as a mirror to how media has played an influential role:

  • Remember the 1999 Jessica Lal murder case?  Had it not been the push of media, victim’s family might have ended up just hoping against the hope.  Media not only grabbed the eyeballs but made sure justice is delivered.
  • Talking about awareness media is pushing its limits to reach masses be it polio vaccination campaigns or Swachch Bharat campaign.  Number of polio effected children has declined rapidly and more and more people getting involved in cleanliness drive prove the incredible role that media has played.
  • When I said realisation of dreams I am referring to that sector of media that gives budding talents a chance to showcase their skills.  It might be a platform of a reality show or a column’s space in a magazine.  The best I see though is KBC (who wants to be a millionaire) which rewards sheer knowledge☺.
  • When the role of media as a tool to inspire (be it a thought or a generation altogether) is inspected in detail the best example that pops up in my mind is that of Mr.Anna Hazare (revolutionary).  Putting aside the word of mouth, had not been highlighted by the media was it possible for his message to fight for truth and a corruption free country to reach each and every citizen of a country of 120 billion?
  • On a lighter note how can we forget the trends that not only received adulation but following too from die-hard fans.

Media apart from bringing about a change brings in pay cheques as well for those who are a part of it.  Be it any form of media (television, cinema, magazines, billboard and so on) provides employment to n-number of skilled/unskilled professionals.  So media is not just a source of communication but income too.

Having said and seen a lot about how media is an influential, integral part of our (democratic) society it is really important to understand that presence of a responsible media is indispensable for the uplift of the image of the country.  In this context there are certain things that need to be dealt with an iron hand.

  • Yellow journalism should be done away with.  In order to sell more number of newspaper copies or to get highest TRPs the relevant bodies of media try to sensationalize every bit of news (even if it is not meant to be).  In fact they feed on rumours, exaggeration, scandal mongering.  They are going to the extent of creating need if there isn’t any only to be the talk of the town. For example a pet dog of an actress is ill, it’s a news (sensational, mind you!). Time and again pictures of the pet along with the owner are shown with a tragic music running in background with a caption ” actress is in deep trauma these days”.  You would know the reason and truth only if you watch it. This is a technique to grab attention which is unethical and unprofessional at the word go.
  • Showcasing a human as an object: Human, I am talking about in this context is “woman”.  I fail to understand what is the need to show a woman dancing around in an advertisement  which is meant for promoting men’s product.  Be it a shavin cream, undergarments, men’s wear etc.  The portrayal of a woman as “item” in songs, to show women running for a man by the intoxication of his perfume or just because he is chewing or smoking tobacco of a particular brand is very derogatory.  It sends across a false notion.  Many people among audience form a perception that woman is just an object of desire.  I mean it, it happens.  And it is harmful for the society.
  • Publicising lives:  I understand that lives of celebrities are always under the radar of public eye. And media is a connecting pin between public and celebrities.  But does that give right to cross the line and step into private space of celebrities?  Aren’t they human like us? Don’t they deserve some private moments away from the shutter bugs? Paparazzi is a new age word given to stalking of celebrities by media literally everywhere , invading the personal space which is morally wrong.
  • Promoting clichés like fair is beautiful or handsome, loans are meant for marriage of daughters and education of sons, slim and fit would be more welcomed is totally unacceptable.

Conclusion:  Media is eye and an eye opener for public as through media it sees what’s happening around.  Media is the mouthpiece of nation, through media opinions are voiced.  Media is ear as it is the receptor of facts, concerns, emotions that matters. Ok, I won’t do the anatomy further😀 but all I want to say is being an important part of state machinery it is the responsibility of media to be responsible especially in a democratic country like ours where lot of faith have been resting in this powerful weapon called “Media”.