Ufff! That Smart Lady!

lady
A philosopher friend always preaches: ‘It doesn’t matter who you are but how you see yourself.’ If you ask me, I would rather chirp only after consulting the wife.

Nonetheless, I see myself as a brave, bold man. Yes, I do. When I look into a mirror, my biceps and triceps grow out to octaceps, and my protruding belly doesn’t resemble a piglet’s, as my friends often remark, rather it is a multi-packed assortment – way ahead of a gym instructor’s six-packs.

However, last month I had a very peculiar experience. No, not that I had to part with a hefty sum of my hard-earned money, but a sweet, intelligent lady outwitted my smartness, and cracked my pride. The only fact that still haunts me is that I had never known her before I received that phone call. But what an angel she was! I tell you!

If you trust my sense of judgement, she was 5’6’’; had long, black hair; pointed nose, and wore an extra large Bindi. And she had that slurry, deep voice that could make a man yearn for a mug of whiskey.

And she had that slurry, deep voice that could make a man yearn for a mug of whiskey.

I picked up the unknown number.
‘How are you, Sirrr?’
O, that rise and fall of the syllables! I thought it was someone I’ve intimately known in the past, but I couldn’t remember.

‘Who is this?’
‘Sirrrr, this is Sheila.’ [The identity of the caller has been intentionally revealed because there is nought a chance that Sheila would sue me.]
‘From the I See.You See.We all See bank.’ She added.

‘Ha…Hi….Hi, miss Sheila. What a fine day!’ I responded excitedly. For that lady, I tell you, had greatly stirred me by then.
‘Sirr, I just checked in the system and your credit card has been blocked. All right sir?’
‘Funk!!! When did that happen?
‘Let me check the system, sir. Can I put you on hold for a minute?’
‘Sure, sure, miss Sheila!’

And then a soothing symphony was played while the butcher sharpened her axe.
The line came alive after quick two minutes.

‘Ya, sir. Was it last Wednesday you bought something worth 5000 at Toys & more?’
‘Right, right!’
‘And then you paid 1535 at the Ghazal Bar?’
‘Right, right. So what do I do now?’
‘Ok, Sir. I’ll help you out.’ she added. ‘Tell me the number on the front of your card.’
‘Hold on!’ I immediately ran and fetched the credit card, for lovely miss Sheila. ‘Yes note it…’
‘Thank you, sir.’ She remarked. ‘You are kind!’
‘Mmmm… ya, ya!’

‘Now the three digit on the back of your card, sir’
‘But I’m not supposed to give it to anyone…?’
‘But you surely can give it to the bank na, sir?’
‘O, ya, ya. Note it….’

And a flurry of messages flooded my cell phone.

‘Wait! Sheila! Why’s money getting deducted from my card?’
‘It’s normal sir. I told you, there is some error in your card. Don’t worry, the amount will be reverted within next 72 hours.’

Then, two three transactions later, lovely Miss Sheila started laughing heartily. And then the line went dead.
I have been calling that unknown number since, but it is still switched off.
I’m confident it is cell operator’s fault.

Sorry, I Sneaked into my Daughter’s Diary

Sneaking

Yesterday I was relaxing and daydreaming about my life many years ahead, and I could conjure up startling things. And I thought why not utilize this short-lived blessing and future-sneak into my daughter’s diary. Here is what I got to read:

‘Funny Daddy’
Date: 06.Sept.2022

I have a funny dad. No, not that he cracks jokes all the time, or has a funny face, but he is funny due to peculiarity in everything he does. But, be warned, he is a serious kind of man who would wail warm tears if he knew I had flunked in social studies, or have a boyfriend; though, I have none.

Now I’m going through this family album and, look, here, in this photograph dad is standing on a hillock with a stick in his hands and looking pensively towards south-east whereas the photographer had been pointing at him from south-west.
You got my point? No?

Let me show you another photograph. No, not this one, because here he is posing in a fearful grimace squatting next to a black dog, and I don’t like it.

Here it is!
A photograph of mom and dad together. Both seated on a sandy beach. Mom smiling full-faced at the photographer, whereas daddy pensively looking down at the ice-cream melting onto his hand, giving an expression that he could have bought other flavour instead.

In fact, if you go through our entire family album, my dad never seems to have fun. He never seems to enjoy life.

In fact, if you go through our entire family album, my dad never seems to have fun. He never seems to enjoy life.

Nowhere in the entire album he could be seen jumping high into the sky with all his limbs outstretched as far as possible, or skydiving with a raised thumb, or making those rockstar-fingers at the camera. Everywhere he is like a hard boiled egg dropped out of oblivion.

But the truth is: he is humble, yes he is. Like when we have a guest at home he would yell at my mom, ‘Get one tea!’ and continue the conversation with a confidence that my mom would meekly obey and bring a nicely brewed tea. However, when we don’t have guests around, he would ask mom, ‘My dearest, could you please make a tea for me?’
So you see, he is humble.

And he is honest. Like yesterday morning he woke up and went straight to the mirror and started feeling his teeth with the tip of his finger. When I asked him what he was up to, he replied, ‘Nothing, just had a fist fight in a dream last night.’ So he is honest, too.

Then he is fun loving. Surprised? But he is. I swear! Like only yesterday he came slouching into the drawing room and told mama something in the ear and she started laughing like a drain, and daddy sat there glancing foolishly at her. And when she didn’t stop laughing, he got up and said, ‘It wasn’t a joke!’ and fled the scene. So you see, he is funny. Isn’t he?

But I don’t care how he is. He is my daddy, and that is enough reason for me to love him.
He is calling me, so I’ve got to go.
See ya!

***

This future-sneak into my daughter’s diary made me proud of her. But right now she is about to turn one and half, and has been working extremely hard at her writing.
Here is what she wrote yesterday:

kitz

You liked that? I knew, you would.

Ghosts by the Lonely Road

As I alighted from the bus, the chill of the night punched hard on my face. I pressed the button on my Chinese watch and 3:30 am flashed in a fluorescent glow. It was dark everywhere; more so because someone had turned off the lights in the sky. I stood there contemplating where I should go.

Ghost Road

A tiny bulb, the only light, was trying hard to light up the shelter nearby. Shivering, I moved into the shed and found a street mongrel curled over a heap of garbage. The dog opened his left eye, glanced at me, and sensing no threat carried on with his sleep for the night. I had two options then: wait for the first bus in the morning, or walk the five kilometres to my village. I found it convenient to walk those five kilometres of dark than to sit there and have canines struck all over my body.

I took the road by the left bank of the river. It was barely visible. And it twisted through gloomy trees looming on the left side and frightening undergrowth on the right. This was not my first time through it, but I had never covered it by night. The lights from the houses on the opposite bank made patterns on the calm water of the river and a grey mist drifted over it. Those reflections of the lights were my guide for the night.

Suddenly it dawned upon me how many cremations would have taken place by the river bank, for cremation ground is what it was. All the haunting stories of Dancing Pisachas, Twisted-feet Chudails, and the Aatmas crying by the cremation grounds took hold of my mind. I decided not to look at the river, as it had suddenly turned ugly from beautiful, and rather focus on the road ahead. The night was mostly silent except for the sound of the wind now and then. With the rucksack on my back and hands in the woollen jacket, I covered my head with the hood to protect my ears from those screams of Bhoot & Pisachas which were slowly building up in my head. Inside the jacket, I could feel my heart racing like a leopard.

I walked silently, making no clatter of my footsteps so as not to bother the evil things sleeping about. As I trudged the curves of the mountain road, I had a feeling that something was following me. But my courage failed me to look back. In the dark it could be anything – a white cladded woman with untidy hairs, or an ugly-faced man slurping at the extra pounds on me. The only courage I could muster was to stop for a moment and see if the thing strikes me from behind; but as I stopped so did the thing following me.

The silence of the night was terrifying me. So many wicked thoughts crossed my mind. And I could do nothing but walk faster and faster. Tiny droplets of sweat made through majority of the pores of my body, and the winter ceased to exist. I started chanting all the Mantras I could remember without caring for their meaning. I asked God for forgiveness of my sins, intentional or unintentional. As I increased pace, the evil thing increased too, as if it was set hard one me.

I had no idea when the road by the cremation grounds got over and I was soon crossing the bridge to the other side of the river. As I walked the length of the bridge, the light from the temple compound reached me through the mist. My heart rejoiced and my body regained its lost strength. I stopped, turned back, but nothing was visible except the white fog. Was the evil just a fancy of my mind?

I entered the temple and thanked almighty for protecting me. Having exhausted myself, I sat by the footsteps of the temple. The dawn had just started to break. The area, though covered mostly in fog, was glowing white. I looked at the bridge. Engulfed in the mist it seemed like a tongue of a white giant. And huffing across it came the mongrel I met at the rain shelter. A smile grew upon my face and I imagined that the dog must be the evil thing following me, or was he protecting me all the way, or…well what difference does it make?
If the night belongs to the evil, the morning sure must be of the divine. I took my backpack and walked happily towards home. Of course the mongrel followed me again.

©Image Source

The Mirror Prince

Mirror
He looked into the mirror and distinctly observed his princely features: the clear blue eyes, the perfectly curved eyebrows, the broad chin, and the sharp nose. His eyes contracted, and the curves of his lips parted in a haughty laughter. He pulled the square mirror from the wall and ran into the street to confirm his identity from the first person he came upon.

In the desolate street, in a shade of a house, a conjurer was preparing his monkey for a show.
‘Have you ever seen yourself in a mirror?’ the prince asked the conjurer.
‘Mirror? What is that?’ replied the conjurer.

The prince removed the cover and brought the mirror to the man.
He was startled…. and dejected…. for he had never seen his image before, and the monkey appeared more handsome than his own wrinkled face. He distanced from the mirror and shouted at the prince to leave.

The merriment left the prince, and he turned the mirror to check what was wrong. This time, the mirror was blank; there was no reflection in it. The prince ran home and hung the mirror at its place on the wall, but it was blank still…………….

© Image Copyright

The Freedom Song of a Caged Rabbit

Rabbit
Doing things we do, we at times are like a rabbit encaged for wool – the master feeds him with an eye on the quantity of his fur, and the rabbit sits in the wired cage marvelling at the world outside that once was his, thinking that one day, when he has no more wool to offer, he will be free – free from the prison, free from the slavery.
The rabbit often imagines how the world must be lonely and empty without him.
But has the world a moment to spare?

Winters, summers, rains and then winters again, each time the rabbit has more wool than the last, for the master never stops feeding him. He has a fear, though. Fear of beginning to like the cage, fear of things easy on his way. The day when he will be free for real, what will he do, where will he go?
This slavery is turning into habit.

He has grown fluffy and old. But his dreams about the world are forever new.
Anxiety, dejection, loneliness, he takes it all. Still, his eyes are never wet, never. For they carry his dream, his precious dream of freedom, of love, care and friendship.

Then he reminds himself: he may be caged, for that he is, but his dreams are not. He has a song, a song of hope, a song of happiness. And the song travels far. Far from the rusty rods of the cage where he is caged.

© Image Copyright

The Blood Clot

Embryo
“The Ultrasound is not clear,” the doctor told her without any expression on his face. “We will have to do a physical examination.”

“Is my child safe, doctor?” she asked with a trembling voice.
Her abdominal cramps were increasing every minute.

“Don’t worry, everything will be fine. Just sign here, and here.”
She had no intent to read the long terms & conditions; she did as the doctor asked.

“Call your husband inside. We need his signature, too,” the doctor asked.
“He is not with me, doctor. He is at Srinagar front,” she replied.

“Someone else who can take the responsibility?” the doctor asked again.
Responsibility! What responsibility? What was the doctor up to? Is the baby alright? Questions, more questions cut through her mind. She felt she would faint there in the doctor’s cabin itself.

“So you are alone…. No problem, we will go ahead with the examination. You just need to sign here, and here.”
She signed with the wet, quivering hands.

“Sister!” shouted the doctor. “Take the patient to the inspection room.”
Patient! Me? I only had a mild bleeding….. My baby is fine…. No, the doctor must have called me a patient out of habit…

The doctor’s voice, the smell of the hospital, the nurse holding her by the arms, everything came to her so abruptly that she could think of nothing. She wanted to talk to someone. Perhaps she could call her husband, Major Vipul. But she didn’t know where he was; it had been a week since she heard of him. She was sitting by the dinning table when the phone rang. “How are you? How’s my little Lieutenant?” Major Vipul had asked. Before she could answer or ask him thousand questions running through her mind, the line had gone dead.

*****

She opened her eyes. Someone was standing over her head.
Where was she? Why everything appeared upside down? She wanted to get up but could not lift her head. Her legs were tied wide open to both the ends of the bed.
“Who are you? What have you done to me? You have done something to my baby, too, I can feel it!” she yelled.

The nurse who was standing above her head walked towards her feet.
“Relax madam. You will be fine. Don’t worry. It happens.”

“Where is my baby? I want my baby, do you understand? I want my baby!” this time she was louder.
The nurse ran outside and returned with the doctor.

“What’s the matter? Hey, hey, hey…calm down. I say calm down. Listen, listen, listen…” and the doctor slapped her on the right cheek. She was silent. Tears trickled down her cheeks like water from a faucet.

“I beg you, doctor. Tell me. Where is my baby,” she pleaded.

“It was dead inside…. We had to remove it….. You had a missed abortion!” the doctor replied, still with no expression on his face.

“I want to see it. I want my baby. Please…”

“It had disintegrated. There was nothing left, just clots of blood…..,” and the doctor left the room.

She wanted to shriek out loud. But her voice got choked in her throat. She pushed hard and lifted her head, fell back on to the bed, and was asleep…….

The Name Thief

Ghalib

Mr. Ganesh Ghosh Waghmade, an eminent professor at the Outer Delhi University is known for his extraordinary work in translating the poems of Mirza Ghalib into eight different languages; one being english and the rest being the languages of the seven other plants of our solar system. When asked, Mr. Ganesh replied heartily that he wrote the other translations only to get the critics review his work as ‘out of this world.’

Mr. Ganesh Ghosh Waghmade was born to a Bengali mother and a Maharashtrian father. The arguments between his parents over significant matters impacting Ganesh’s life, like to which state he actually belonged, or what dress he should wear for the fancy dress competition where he was supposed to be an Sandwich maker, or how he should part his hairs, or which shoe he should wear on the left foot, have imbibed in Mr. Ganesh a great sense of confusion which he is highly proud of.

Though being a professor of Geology, he was one day found teaching the students of Economics which compelled the professor of Psychology to teach the students of History. Later, the principal had to call the teachers to the cafeteria to look into the matter and sort out the confusion. After four hours of rigorous brainstorming, Mr. Ganesh was asked for an explanation to which he got up, took his hand bag, showed middle finger to the staff, and walked coldly out of the cafeteria. Though startled initially, later the staff members agreed upon that Mr. Ganesh wanted to go to the loo, as showing a single finger to someone was a sign of that, like touching someones feet is a sign of respect.

To this day Mr. Ganesh has confusion over his middle name and many a times he sleeps with Waghmade as middle name only to be startled in the morning to find it changed to Ghosh. Upon asking his happily quarrelling parents, he is told that this act of indecency either must have been committed by their help Ramu or the President of India.

Troubled over which middle name to carry for the college, one day Mr. Ganesh decided to settle the thing once and for all. He decided to stay awake all night and catch the name thief.
It’s the same night he was able to decipher the exact meaning of Ghalib’s lines: ‘Unke Dekhe Se Jo Aa Jati Hai Chehre Pe Raunak, Wo Samajhte Hain Bimmar Ka Haal Achcha Hai.’
His english translation went something like, ‘I blush when I see her, and she thinks the patient is recovering?’

Ghalib was proud of his reputation as a rake. He was once imprisoned for gambling and subsequently relished the affair with pride. In the Mughal court circles, he even acquired a reputation as a “ladies’ man”. There are conflicting reports regarding his relationship with his wife. – Source: Wikipedia

Digging deep into the text and trying to read-between-the-lines, he made a startling discovery that Ghalib wrote these lines while on a ventilator in a hospital. And after thorough Brain mapping and ECG, the doctors concluded that Ghalib was suffering from Betterhalf-o-diarrhoea, a disease commonly found among the males and occurs when a man, in an attempt to please his counterpart, tries to over-eat the food cooked by her.

Just as he was about to move on to the next sonnet, he saw a rat enter through the hole in the door carrying his dad’s last name and exchange it with Ganesh’s middle name. As the rat strode silently out of the room, Ganesh burst into a stream of laughter. That night he slept really well, content over the fact that he was not the only one in the house with the name problem.