Thursday, June 20, 2013

.....about spellings

It is my 6 year old son again....he misspelled cave as kave in his class dictation and his teacher gave homework to write it five times. It was my, the mum's, task to take up the arduous work of making him do it. I laid out his copy and asked him to do the corrections. My son took one look at his copybook and refused saying, " Explain why it is cave and not kave."  I looked at him with no answer to offer. He went on saying, "and you make me write mi in mice and then you make me write my in my and first you decide how it should be written. Other day teacher marked me wrong when I wrote craud and made be write crowd. then then you say crow (that black bird). What do you think confusing a little boy like me!"  Honestly, i have no answer. I tell him,"Look the English do many things which have to rhyme or reason and it is not only their language!" He seems to agree on the language front.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Boys will be boys

This morning I was taking my children to school...on the way my nine years old daughter saw a picture of a Japanese girl and expressed her desire to draw it. My son, six years old, tells her, " Edom thik kore akish kintu."( draw it properly). My daughter is already looking a little indignant.  I suspect a squabble brewing and tell him, "you also can draw it." He says, " Nah! I'll draw and excavator and hmmm a zoo."  .... boys will be boy I was about to think when my son asks, "and what was that?"
" What was what?" I ask.
" Thaaaat," he says again. I look out of the window and try to spot a bird or a tree. "You have to explain to me how it looks so that i can tell you," I tell him.
He just points at the road see through the windscreen, "That," he says pointing at the striped little upheaval on the road ahead, " Oh!" I say with a smile,"that's a speed breaker."
"So, tt could be one bump, or two bumps or three bumps or 5 bumps or 10 bumps," he was babbling to himself I thought.
" So when does a speed breaker become a rumble strip?"
" What's a rumble strip?" I am actually clueless.
" When there are five or more speed breakers together they become rumble strip."
Is it? It's their mom's turn to learn now.... boys and their interests!!!!!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

This year i have been terribly terribly lazy...not a word on board and it's almost mid year. How fast time flies and only yesterday I was young and strapping ( don't laugh..well almost strapping....ok let's settle for young and energetic, Happy?).  Now the little grey roots that keep appearing  on my head which tells me I am not that young anymore. And that back  which creaks slightly every time I  try to get up. It's just a slight creak though.  All those LBDs are not my cup any more. The lovely dresses that hangs on the shop windows on svelte mannequins will not suit me anymore. Sigh! Settle for something more forgiving  for your frame, my head tells me... double sigh! And I thought all the time there is time....but suddenly realise when did all the time pass? ( To be contd;)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year!

Yes, I need to write something on new year!   It's 2012! What are our hopes? What are our fears? How do you want our lives to change? Or do we want our life to change at all? Soon it will be 2013 and we will be asking the same questions all over again.
Guys, its just the year that changes...... we don't.  Happy new year! have a great 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nira’s night out, A Short Story~Sudz

( A short story this time)
Nira’s night out
Was published on 20 December 2010 in the 8TH DAY, The Statesman.
Short Story~Sudz

The winter seemed like an unsteady lover, sometimes very intense while at others just playfully banteresqe to the extent of being indifferent. Thus carrying a shawl was as mandatory as it was unnecessary. Nature was at its paradoxical best that made one crave the subtle warmth and the chill. “Yeah! I’ll take the sweater today,” said Nira as if in answer to the reproachful look of her mother, as she held out the sweater to her. This was the bone of contention every morning. While Nira refused the extra luggage, her mother insisted in seeing her properly draped. “I am bound to oblige you,” she said, taking the sweater with a smile. 
   “Thank you, your highness for your small mercies,” said her mother looking pleased. Nira hugged her as she readied her bag for work. Being a journalist was fun despite the hard work. She had a party to cover that evening. “Maa,” she said cautiously approaching the topic, “I’d be late today. Boss wants me to cover a late night event. I’ll be back by 10.”
   Her mother stopped and swung around... concerned, a bit disturbed. “Why don’t you quit this job? You don’t heed my advice and your dad’s not in town. Your company doesn’t give you a car. Give me your boss’s number; I’ll talk to him,” she raged. “Don’t worry Maa(Mother), I’ll ask Sujitda to accompany me back.” 
   “The same guy who saw you off last time you were late?”
   “That drunkard who had to he escorted back by your dad!” 
   “Try to understand Maa,” reasoned Nira. “If I don’t go I’ll lose out on contacts.” Besides, Nira really liked attending events partly because of the attention she got. She was young, still new in the profession and attention gave her a new high. But such things never really featured on her mother’s priority list. So she just said, “This is part of my job Maa... accept it.” 
   “Do I have an option?” 
   The party ended well past 11 o’clock that evening. Sujitda, Nira’s so-called escort, couldn’t be traced. She took a cab and all would have gone off well had the taxi not broken down in the middle of EM Bypass leaving her stranded on the deserted road. “Wait for a bus,” suggested the taxiwallah  as Nira ventured out grumbling. EM Bypass was definitely not a safe place for a young woman like her at that hour. But Kolkata was still a safe place, she assured herself, as she walked towards the bus stop. 
   The place was empty except for an individual who seemed lost in thoughts. His clothes could have been branded but the casualness with which they were worn gave her a feeling that either he was indifferent about how he looked or had to do a lot of hard work in course of the day.  “One of those insipid creatures,” thought Nira and did not even bother to look at his face. He, too, didn’t seem to be the interfering type. Nira stood waiting as the minutes rolled by.
   Nothing came.   A car packed with revelers sped down the road and Nira’s heart suddenly missed a beat. She crossed her fingers as her first prayer, in many days, passed her lips. For the first time it dawned on her why her mother insisted she quit the job. A few minutes later, a car stopped by the bus stand; the door opened and a middle-aged man gestured at her. Nira was stunned. She pulled her sweater sleeves tight towards her, ignoring him even as the man stretched his right hand full of notes. Hot tears streamed down her cheeks and she drew back with a start. She was almost preparing to run when a grave voice from behind her said, “Leave her alone, she is with me.” 
   “Oh,” the man banged the door shut and ordered the driver to move on. 
   Nira turned to look at the “insipid creature”, her savior. Was he her savior? She hoped he wouldn’t take advantage of her situation. “Oh god!” She prayed. “Let this man be a nice guy. Even if he is not, change him by your benign power. Think of my mother. She has never harmed anyone. Even though she may not have the best daughter in the world, she would prove hard to console if something happens to me. Help me for her sake. God, please…”
   “Though it’s no concern of mine, you should not be out so late,” said the man nonchalantly. “It’s almost 12.” 
   “I know,” she said apologetically and started explaining. 
   “You mean you don’t keep such weird hours, today’s an exception?” he asked, smiling. Nira guessed he didn’t believe her. “Look,” he continued, “no point standing here for a bus. There wouldn’t be any to take you home at this hour. Let’s start walking home,” he said as he started walking down the footpath, at a distance from the bus stop.  
   Nira had no idea what to do. Should she go with him or stay put? Waiting for a bus alone wasn’t a safe bet either. Should her worst fears about the man come true, she could just hit with her bag and run. 
   The man had almost walked 15 steps when he stopped and looked back at her. “In case your home’s this way, you could come,” he called. The man still seemed suspicious to Nira. 
   Right then a car stopped a few yards beyond the bus stand. It was slowly backing up towards where she was standing. Could beggars be choosers? Between the devil and the deep sea, she almost thought audibly, sprinting up to him.  He seemed to be quite a fast walker.  Nira had to break into a trot at times to keep pace with him.  The exercise left her quite breathless to talk much. “ You are not much of a walker, are you?,” he noticed at last lessening his pace and offering to carry one of her bags which she was carrying. 
   What it appeared, that through the main road Nira was quite far from her home, but a detour through the alleys and lanes could land her home much faster than she thought.   Of course, this was not her own discovery. Nira barely had the inkling how to take on those alleys and by lanes.   “I will show you the way,” he offered.  What if some of his accomplices were waiting in one of the corners, thought Nira? She rummaged her hand bag for the deo spray and kept it handy. She would just spray it on their eyes should the occasion arise.
   “What is your name?” asked Nira at last. (Just in case the police would want know his name)
   “Abhay,” he answered. He did not even bother to ask Nira her name.
   “I am Nira,” said she nonetheless.
   Abhay just shrugged.
   “What were you doing in the bus stop at that hour of the night?”
   “I generally return late from work,” he replied.
   “And you are a..?”
   “I am a no one. It doesn’t matter, does it?” his abruptness seemed to stun Nira.
   “I just asked…I..I..I think you are quite rude!” said Nira, unable to control herself.
   “Tell me something I don’t know,” he said rather impatiently. 
   They walked in silence through the silent streets deserted except for a few dogs.  
   At last it was Abhay who spoke, “Your house should be few more minutes walk,’ he disclosed, “Ummm…who all are there in your house?” he asked. 
   Nira had almost forgotten his snub when she started, “Mom….dad is….” she trailed remembering, “It doesn’t matter, does it?” she  returned. 
   Abhay smiled broadly this time. For a moment Nira forgot everything to notice how good he looked when he smiled. Nira shook her head as if in rebuke to herself.  Just clear your head, missy, she told herself, next turning and you might be finding this guy attacking you. 
   When she came out of her thoughts she found Abhay looking intently at her. “Yeah?’ she frowned.
   “I was precisely waiting for you to come out of your reverie,” he replied, still smiling, “Whoever, is there at your home must be sick with worry by now. There is a phone booth still open round the corner and I think you should make a call,” he said. 
    “How do you know about this phone booth and do you know them?” asked Nira. 
   “Look, the choice is yours. I was just trying to help,” he said looking the other way.   
    “Why are you trying to help?” she asked looking straight into his eyes. Their eyes locked for a moment. Something in his eyes told Nira she should not have broached on this topic. Abhay then said abruptly,” Fine, then, that's it! You are on your own,” he quipped walking away. He had gone a half a meter when Nira saw him returning. Smitten by my charms, smiled Nira to herself, as she saw him approaching. Nira actually was a good looking girl.  
   “You are right, why am I trying to help you? Why did I help you at all?” he said, slamming her bag which he was carrying into her hand. With brusque steps, Abhay turned the corner and disappeared. 
   Nira now stood on the empty street.  She almost called out to her night knight beseeching him to return. But her pride came in between. As she turned the corner she noticed the telephone booth by the side of the road. It was actually a room of a house where an old woman was preparing to close the window which served as a counter.   Nira did not make the call she just walked on letting her intuition take its course.   Down the road she saw a crossing. Nira knew it. Two turnings down that road was her home. “Huh! Mr Abhay..I am home,” she said. But no sooner did these words leave her mouth; she saw two figures emerge from out of the darkness swaying gently as if by the breeze of the winter night. Nira knew they were drunk. As they approached her, of them stopped her and asked, “Aije madam, May I have the honour of your company just for a dance.” Nira tried to ignore and keep walking but they kept coming her way asking her for a dance.  “Let me go,” she pleaded.  But such pleas at these hours of the night went unheard by people in their senses, what could she expect from mindless drunks? Just then she felt a hand on her shoulder almost chaperoning her out of their clutches with an order, “keep walking.” Nira knew that baritone voice.  With a relief in her voice she could only say, “Thank you.”  
   In two minutes Nira was standing in front of her house. “Is this your house?” asked Abhay. “Yes,” was her relieved reply. The blazing living room lights told her, that mother was still awake. That was natural!  So, like Maa, she smiled warmly. Abhay was after all not a bad guy as she had thought!  He was only trying to help, Nira thought with a smile. Maybe he will ask me for a cup of coffee tomorrow. Not to mention I will agree. But first let me thank him… 
   Nira turned to Abhay. But where was he? There was no sign of him. Not now… not ever. Nira did not even get to tell him thank you! An opaque winter fog seemed to envelop everything around just leaving behind a trail of that winter night walk and a faith that still existed a few good men. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
It’s 24th night. The Christmas tree is dressed and ready. Socks have been hung. Letters to Santa Claus have been written. It says something like this, “ I have been very good for the whole of last year, well almost. It is hard to be very good that long. But at least I have tried. And so has brother. Please ignore all his naughtiness and give both of us nice gifts. He also deserves it, really.  Please have the cookie(the cookie was cut and then cake was written it it’s place).    A piece of cake has been placed on a plate along with a glass of water.  Sohini wanted to keep cookies (Chocolate chip Cookies, in fact)  but I (their mother) said we had run out of them. I offered thin arrowroot. Both Sohini and Rohin looked hurt. “How could you give Santa something which we so grudgingly eat?” they tried to reason. I smiled within...memories of my childhood were flooding in. But looked  at them sternly. Later of course, they were allowed to keep a slice of Dundee cake. Both are extremely excited. Sohini wants to keep the front door open. “Now, that we don’t  have  fireplaces anymore, how will Santa come in. Besides mama he is a old man it is difficult to climb up the window. Let’s just leave the front door open.” Rohin wants to stay up and bargain a better gift in case Santa  chose to give him something he did not like. “What if he gives me a girlie gift, mama?” he cautions.
 “ He knows you are a boy and a very naughty one,”  I inform with a laugh.
“Say he chooses to give me a doll or a word game and I am there I would tell him then and there Mr Santa, Sir, I am a boy so please give me a drum or a gun or a football. He would have it all in his sack. He would just have to change it.”
I just start laughing. But papa Claus looks quite cross. Its freezing outside and  he has to smuggle the gifts in from the car dicky. “ I am not fetching them if you don’t put them to sleep right now,” he warns.  It is an absolute Ho Ho Ho situation at home. I imagine myself having to go all the way down from my seventh floor apartment to the parking area. Brrrrrrrr....
“Children Santa won’t come if you don’t go to sleep right now,” I hurry the kids to the bedroom as I hear a slight creak in the door.  Within minutes they are in their dream world.....dreaming of Santa Claus.
Papa Santa had the hardest job. But he too is back within minutes and tells me the gifts are in their assigned places.  “And don’t for get to eat the cake in the morning,” he reminds, “I am too full now.”
“Don’t worry I will,” I tell him setting the alarm at 5 o’clock.
I slept badly waking up in fits and starts and scampering up every now and then to reach out for the watch. I almost ate five slices of cakes in my dream. Thank God it was a dream or else I would have felt really giddy having eaten so many of those Dundee cakes. Actually, I really had a bad taste in my mouth when I eventually woke up. Every time, I would wake up and go to sleep I would  dream of myself stealthily tip toeing down the living room and reaching for the cake.    I first woke that 1 o'clock and then at 2.30 and then at 4. Ah! there is time, I said every time settling back to sleep and then eating another slice of those cakes. At five o'clock when the alarm really did go, I reached out for it and switched it off and told myself, waking up in a minute. 

When I woke up it was 6:30. The children were up and I could hear the squeals and shouts of joy coming  from the living room. They had found their gifts. I smile and settle back into the bed only to realise that I had not eaten the cake. I rush up to the living room. The children are ripping apart the wrappings around their gifts. "It's a drum," shouts Rohin while Sohini just hugs her Kitchenette. She has moon in her eyes when she says, "He read my mind. He knew I wanted just this."  But I am frantically searching for plate the cake. My eyes fall on the empty plate and I slump back to the couch in relief. "All of it was not a dream after all," i told myself," I had actually woken up and eaten the cake." I hug the children and wish them Merry Christmas. "Merry Christmas, Mom," they shout in unison. Only papa Santa looks a little grumpy, I feel as I served him tea. 
" So?", he asks when we are alone, " How was the cake?" he asks. 
I new something was wrong and kept my silence.
"Trust you with a job," he says refusing the biscuits with his tea,"The cake, the cake, you talked all night in your sleep not letting me catch a wink. And, here I find the cake sitting nicely on the plate and you snoring away."
"So, you ate the cake?" I asked, "and I was thinking I  must have eaten it." 
"I gobbled it at the nick of time," he informed,"Couldn't let them down."
"I know," feeling sad that I couldn't play my part.

" And Santa ate the cake," I see Sohini peeping from the playroom, "that is why I was wondering what was that tinkering sound at mid night. It was Santa!" she exclaimed. 
"So, you heard him?" I ask.
" Yes, I did," tells my little girl.
"He also said Ho, Ho, Ho, in my ear, I think," tells Rohin.
" which ear?" I ask.
"Both ears," he tells. I am laughing already.
"How is that possible?" questions her elder sister  unwilling to accept Santa doing something better to her bother.
"Everything is possible with him..he is Santa," argues Rohin.
 While Sohini is looking extremely angry and skeptical I settle down into another reverie of my own childhood where there was similar excitement over this  extremely lovable old man in a red suit with fur trimmings. 

 Sometimes I feel that the children will soon out grow this world of make belief where there  are pixies and fairies and gnomes and Santa Claus and that little pink fairy in Sohini's school bag who sharpens her pencils every night and the little brownie in the children's cupboard  who looks after their toys.   They would laugh at the whole idea just like we do. But,  thank God there was a Santa Claus who made us look forward to Christmas. The cold winters were much more tolerable because there was a fairy round the corner of the street. The old toys were so lovable because it spoke to the brownie every night. And lastly, it was after all the pink fairy's fault and not the forgetful mother when the pencils were not sharpened in the morning.  

To end, on this cold winter morning my mind races back to my childhood where mama would be busy preparing breakfast and she would  call us and say " Go out into the sun....the fairies  are waiting to see how you are today."  I now know it was maa and pa all the time and their love and made that wonderful world of make belief possible!  

Friday, September 9, 2011

ektu Bangla hoye Jak!

Hotath likhe phellam koyekta line......

 Metho path,
Dheno path,
geche eke beke.....
eke geche beke geche.....
geche koto dure.....
 Dure aaro dure....
bohu dure geche beke....
eke geche beke geche.....
geche koto dure.....
shei dike chokh jai....
mon jai ure......