Friday, December 26, 2014

All For Nothing

Caught the three bright words
blinking on my screen.
A dream come true
for every Gen Y teen!
"Let's meet up!",
he had finally asked out,
taking our online chat
to the next level date!

A squeal I gave,
and pressed an instant Yes.
Called up my bestie,
WhatsApped the rest.
Casual or formal, how should I dress?
Make a killer first impression
or play my aces at the date next?

Midnight blue was my look that evening,
With gleaming waxed legs and blow-dried hair
All eyes were on me, I could tell.
I squinted to find my fellow sitting in a corner.
The Yellow daffodils did get him a plus,
but the week old stubble made me
sashay right out in horror!

He could go on to tell the world
that I stood him up, but dude
at least have the decency to groom up!

#WillYouShave should be an important clause in the online dating community as well. And I am tagging my girls to take this campaign forward! ;) Shilpa,Shailaja, Nabanita, Manjulika, Swati and Red.


"This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

All in a Day's Walk - Little Italy, China Town and Greenwich Village

The Delhi winters have finally arrived; the sun stayed away the weekend letting cold winds and stubborn rains take over, the only thing that kept me sane was coffee and memories. Memories of a sunny day in the buzzing New York City when I had walked about the lanes of the city, exploring and admiring the style and character that each of the little places exuded.
.
..
...
Given that hubs would leave for work by 8:30 AM, I had ample time to enjoy a sumptuous breakfast at our hotel, StayBridge Suites, which was yes complimentary, take a coffee to go and head out on the streets. It was the same on 20th August, a bright Wednesday and I had planned to explore the popular neighbourhoods of downtown New York - Little Italy, China Town and Greenwich Village.

And what a day it was! It started with treating myself to delicate and creamy chocolate cannoli at Ferraara Bakery & Cafe in Little Italy. The choice was hard as they had an endless assortment of delicious looking pastries, as you can see. You have my permission to drool over my plate :)



Like Ferraara which opened in 1892, another landmark of Little Italy is the Italian speciality food store at 200 Grand Street, Di Palo. In business since 1903, it advertises itself as the nation's oldest Italian cheese store. Smelling of old traditions, it stills cuts your pieces of cheese and slices your prosciutto the way you like it. I did some sniffing around there too.



But Little Italy is seen best at night, when the streets are closed for the traffic, Italian music in the background makes your walk seem like dance too, the tables are laid out with wine and laughter pouring out from each corner and enticing smell of fresh Italian cuisines makes way to your stomach. 


(Later that night)


Sea on a plate!

Happiness in a Cup!

Whilst in Little Italy, you cannot miss the vibrant, ethnic and comparatively bigger neighbourhood around, China Town. 


From the local morning vegetable market, to the street foods and quirky ice cream parlour, to the serene Buddhist monastery to the most spectacular sight at the Columbus park, my afternoon was filled with great moments at every turn.

From juicy green vegetables, to fresh fish to dried oysters and clams 

I was asking for directions to the Buddhist temple, when I spotted this small ice cream parlour. So glad I went in. They have a range of flavours one can't even dream of. Black sesame, red bean, ginger, egg custard to name a few. I was overwhelmed. They offered me free tasting of quite a few of these until I finally settled on a safe and yummy option, butter-cream and white sesame. If I lived in NYC, I know for a fact I would visit this delight almost daily. Oh yes!

The Original Chinatown Ice cream factory
In the midst of these exotic delights, the next place I encountered was a sweet delight. Amongst the hustle bustle of daily lives, here in the Columbus Park, the elderly had created a different world for themselves. Oblivious to the life outside, in a quaint cocoon they sat playing Chinese checkers and cards and they didn't seem to mind at all the huge crowd gathered to cheer on their game and many providing to play the referee.


I spent quite some time here, trying to figure out the rules of the game, enjoying the sun, peace and quiet, before I went to pay respects at the Mahayana Buddhist Temple.

Guarded by gilded lions, this temple is the home of a 16-ft gold statue of Buddha where Buddhist chants and incensed candles spread a warm aura inside. With a $1 donation, I got to pick up my own fortune stick, but what it meant remains a mystery to date ;)


A quick eat later, I hopped on to the Subway to my next stop, the Greenwich Village - once a home to the bohemians and artsy types.
Fish on a stick
Packed with pubs and cafes, interesting creative boutiques, second hand stores, creative souls doing their thing in the Washington Park this place, though now steep on rentals, still epitomizes the bohemian lifestyle of 'live and let live'. I certainly did live my moments here.

The below shop reminded me of the comic book store in Big Bang Theory. I purchased 4 random comics from here just for the heck of it. :)
Carmine Street Comics 
No CDs. No Tapes. Just Records. House Of Oldies specializes in out of print records from the 50s, 60s and 70s and has more than a 1,000,000 records, rock, blues, soul, you name it! How Amazing is this!! :)
House Of Oldies
Unusual and creative got new meanings here in Greenwich Village as I went from store to store. The next place, Lomography is dedicated to analogue photography and has a range of vibrant, quirky, smart small cameras.

Lomography
But my favourite place here too was the Washington Square Park. Parks in NYC have left in me a huge impression. A place where no one judges you, where artists explore the creative spaces and play/perform their creation for people who truly acknowledge their work, a place where boundaries of any sort just melts away....

A playground for man's best friend...
 A hub for artists to display their skills...

 A practice field for sports enthusiasts...

A recreation spot for tourists and travellers...
where one can join in a game of chess to jog the mind muscles too...

The iconic Washington Square Park was a perfect end to my perfect day...


Friday, December 5, 2014

Revenge

Sitting in a compact, low-lit CCTC surveillanced cabin in the interiors of the dense Boreal forests, Keisha banged her fist against the table in one jubilant stroke.

"At last!" she smiled triumphantly as she looked at the gory pictures blinking on her mobile screen.

"You thought you could keep me locked here in this hell hole, feeling neglected and sorry for myself? Hoping that I would die of starvation? Now look who is shamelessly licking his own blood, dear husband!!" Keisha hurled curses at her dead husband, licking her dry lips every now and then, tasting the sweet revenge.

*******
Written for Three Word Wednesday
Words : Compact, Jubilant, Neglected

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#TransformYourLife with #GodrejInterio

“Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” 
 - Sarah Dessen


Having lived in 6 cities and been to 6 different schools throughout my growing up years I could totally relate to the army kid now an Indian television sensation, Aishwarya Sakhuja's response to my question, "What does 'home' mean to you?" What she said could be summed up in the above quote by Sarah Dessen.

It is true isn't it? What makes a home; the people we love and the memories we make. And it is important that our home radiates this love, reflects our personality; isn't that the reason we spend so much time and effort in beautifying our homes, finding the right accessories for it.

Six months back Hubs and I shifted out of our in-laws apartment to make it on our own! I so wish I had approached Godrej Interior then! But the opportunity presented itself only last week when Blogadda approached few bloggers to visit a Godrej Interior store and interview a celebrity on how Godrej transformed their living spaces, understand the behind-the-stage process and create a memorable experience.

And that's how we met Aishwary Sakhuja on a pleasant Sunday afternoon where she sat without any airs, laughing, chatting and patiently answering all the eager bloggers' queries.

When Godrej Interior team had approached her with the idea of redoing her home, she immediately knew it was her Father's living room and dining room that had been dominated by dull whites and boring browns for decades that needed the makeover. This was also the perfect gift to her Father before she tied the knot and shifted to her new home. Comfort, Easy to maintain and a place that reflects a single army man's way of life were the key concerns that Godrej team addressed during their project. The key challenge, Aishwarya admitted was changing her Father's mindset. Seeing his beloved wooden and traditional furniture being replaced with contemporary styles, the walls of his homes being painted to a vibrant hue, he was certainly stricken with apprehension. But his happiness and satisfaction could be read from his face when he proudly showed off his transformed home to his neighbours.

Aishwarya Sakhuja's transformed living room

With Aishwarya Sakhuja
Godrej is a trusted brand, Aishwarya said, I believed in them and am completely satisfied with the final outcome. 

Established in 1897, Godrej has slowly and steadily built its name and reputation in the industry and today it is a household name. Commitment, Service and Quality is a given with Godrej products and a tour of the Godrej Interio store confirmed to me that with their range of interior decors and furniture, appealing equally to all the generations, they are here to stay.

A bright red viable Sofa-cum-bed with the headrest adjustable to five positions was amongst my favourite.

Godrej's unique model - Customers can customize their wardrobes according to the space they have in their rooms. From wall length wardrobes to just two door cupboards you are free to make the choice that suits you.

Godrej Interio - Transforming Dreamy Nights Into Blissful Mornings

Acoustica - A comfy L shaped Sofa embedded with music system with USB port. I am definitely saving up for this. Perfect for a day you want to spend in unbashed laziness :)

The Bloggers



This post is a part of Godrej Interio activity at BlogAdda.com

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Each Morning Beckons

The cool air streams from my open window,
Tickling my toes...
The warm blanket pulls away slowly,
Unwrapping my dreams...
And before I can catch them, 
the dreams disappear into the glowing light, that rises from the east.

The colours intertwine, white and brown,
the boil coming upto the brim 
and then settling down.
The smell of fresh ginger fills the air,
cleanses & rinses everything around.
Breathe, Breathe deep, I hear a whisper.
I do, feel light and let the heaviness all out.

A soft kiss and warm hug,
then rustling of the newspaper.
Conversations, a bit of tease, some play
And laughter accompanying
the tinkling tea cups. 
And You.
You.

Then like sand slipping from my hands
the clock ticks, 
The day awaits you it reminds. 
And though I wish to remain, 
I get up with a smile on my face 
and my heart beating with gratitude.

Thank you for this sunshine and another great day!

©Aditi Kaushiva

Linking to Poets United Midweek Motif-Gratitude

And also to the first Gratitude Circle, that has been launched today by dear Corinne and Vidya.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Food Over Education, Or Both? #BlogToFeedAChild



It is not uncommon that many children from the poor families dropout from schools at a young age to add to the meager income of their families. Most of our house maids who tag along their children for work are common examples to this sad situation. The children choose are made to work so as to feed their hungry stomachs rather than encouraged to pursue their education that will in the long run prove to be much more beneficial. Why?? Why choose Food over Education when we can achieve both!

Yes, with Akshaya Patra's Mid Day Meal Program, we can achieve both - Quality Food with Quality Education. What better encouragement for a child to go to school than a proper full meal a day. For many it might be the only meal they get the entire day!! Think!

In partnership with the Government of India and respective State Governments and with the support of many philanthropic donors, the program today serves food to over 1.39 million children from 10,631 schools across 9 states in India. In line with their vision "No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger", they together with BlogAdda started an initiative this Children's Day, to feed one child for an entire year per each blogpost. I am more than happy to support this cause and feel it is each blogger's social responsibilty to write and spread this cause. Taking from Roshan's cue I would like to tag Shilpa, SangeetaSulekhaMeena and Inderpreet to write one blogpost, just 300 words and help feed one child for an entire year.

Apart from this I think with a little more effort on our part, both at school level and community level we can help take this initiative a step further.

*The Delhi winters are just kicking in, but the afternoons are blessed with being bright and sunny. Have a backyard sale in your colonies/children's school and donate the proceeds to Akshaya Patra.
*You can also help collect food grains, vegetables and fruits and get them transported to their kitchens directly.
*Have a fundraising exhibition. The exhibits could be of the painting you drew and kept aside, a bake sale, the endless 'amateur' photos you have clicked or any hobby that you love.

Any more ideas? Then blog about it!

I just want to add one more thing. Like me, some of you might be apprehensive, you know since the corruption and level of bureaucracy in India has followed its way to the social sectors too. There has been a lot of criticism over the Mid Day Meal programs; just last year several children fell ill and unfortunately few lost their lives because of pesticide contaminated mid day meals. No one took accountability! Being very aware of this problem, I did my own research and went through Akshaya Patra's financial reports and FAQs and found them to be very transparent, responsible and true to their work. Kudos really!

So do join this good cause and help eliminate classroom hunger!

   Do watch this video - Hunger leads a child down a path no child ever ought to take ‘The Possibilities’ portrays various struggles a child goes through in order to survive. And how just one wholesome mid-day meal served every day at school changes his life. 


I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Slice of Joy




No ticking of the clocks, no hurried steps...
More giggles, more laughter and more late night banters...
My three days in Kolkata, more accurately in the IIMC campus were this and much more.
What else can you expect when two sisters meet!

Amongst all the catching up, reliving old memories, gossiping and discovering that my sis has turned into a tea drinker and has now an unbelievable tolerance for spicy foods, we somehow managed a day for the city.

After a lot of planning and re-planning we finally ditched aside our travelling notes, literally pushed each other off the one bunker bed that we were lazing on, squinted our eyes to adjust to the hot blazing sun and took a shared auto, then a bus and finally the taxi to reach the Victoria Memorial hall and lawns.


Built between 1906 and 1921, dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901), The Victoria Memorial hall stands majestically amidst the lush green gardens, the white marbled structure hinting of a resemblance to the Taj Mahal in Agra.






A stroll in the garden and few selfies later, we took the east gate of the Victoria Memorial to find the St. Paul's Cathedral right opposite the road.

Struck by the beautiful Indo-Gothic architecture and the stained glass windows we spent a few moments sitting inside the church in quiet contemplation.









As we stepped out we noticed quite a plethora of activities around us and realized the Winter Carnival organized by the members of the Church was about to commence. Our grumbling stomachs however ordered us to move on!

The yellow taxi is most definitely the preferred and easiest conveyance in this metro city. We hailed another one and a few minutes later we got dropped off at the Esplanade searching for the restaurant I had been dying to try!

Bhojohori Manna did not disappoint, though it did leave me sweating profusely. Medium Kangra Jhal (Crab Gravy - extremely spicy but delicious thick gravy and soft flesh under crackling bones), Shorshe Maach (Fish in mustard gravy - light sauce tweaked with fresh mustard), Bhetki Paruri (Fish richly marinated with mustard paste, steamed in a banana leaf) and plain rice was plated up in front of us in few minutes. The star of the luncheon was the desert! Nolen Gurer Ice cream ( speciality Ice cream prepared with jaggery) filled our mouths with deliciously rich flavours. Yum!

I was so tempted to try out all the listings at the menu but a revisit wasn't possible so I'll have to do with ' there's always a next time'




With content tummies we walked towards the New market area. Truly a shoppers paradise, we picked up two kurtas and a saree in Kantha textile before sitting down and having a glass of sugarcane juice whilst admiring the colonial architecture around.



A slice of this City of Joy was an experience in itself. There are still many wondrous and variant colours of Kolkata that remain unexplored. But for a day we did good! And the sunset at Princep Ghat, with the hues changing above the Vidyasagar Setu minute by minute as we sat under a tree admiring the gently flowing Hooghly river beneath us and the iconic Howrah bridge at the far opposite end, was the perfect goodbye.





Monday, October 13, 2014

How Far Have I Come?

At times it is important to ask yourself this, How Far Have I Come? It is important to focus on the good, the achievements, the tides through which we have sailed, to gauge one's happiness meter, to re-write our dreams, re-sketch our life's blueprint.

"Your views will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes."
- C.G. Jung

At core, I am a very high-on-energy, happy-go-lucky person . But there are days when I feel really low, and to claw myself back from this pit, I take to a little self-introspection.

It not only helps to remind me how far I have come, smile at the tiny feats; but also reflect on the weaknesses that I need to overcome to grow. But more than anything it helps me to pause and look at my journey from different perspectives and ask myself - Am I being true to my philosophy, to makeitbeaYOUtiful?

And when my answer is in the affirmative, I know I am in the right direction and need to just keep going.

"Take pride in how far you've come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don't forget to enjoy the journey."
- Michael JosephsonJosephson

*****

Day 2 of the 7 Days to Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove at Write Tribe. Today we 'Answer a Question'


Also linking to #MicroblogMondays

Saturday, October 11, 2014

5 Things Working on a Collaborative Project Taught Me

Almost a month back on a sluggish Saturday, I got an email from a Sulaiman Sait introducing himself as the Captian of Team #DynamicWordWeavers. The ten member team had already started working on a collaborative novel writing contest as part of BlogAdda's  
#CelebrateBlogging initiative and I was requested to join in. 

I could not say No to this opportunity where my two loves, writing and interacting with diverse people, were being offered to me on a platter. Although, I did have my initial doubts since I wasn't involved in the initial stages of setting up of team, deciding on the group's name, plotting and characterization of the story, the team logo and our FB page. I had missed out on much, but what I didn't know that the gains would be massive!


Designed by Ruchita

And so it began; after several messages on WhatsApp, editing and re-editing on the Google docs, tweaking our FB page now and then, creating illustrations for our chapters, pinging a fellow blogger in the middle of the night because you 'got an idea', the month flowed and yesterday we penned down the final chapter of our collaborative story 'Memory Intrigues'.

Working with this team has been a grateful and humble experience and whether we win or not, the lessons learnt on this journey will not be forgotten.

1. Play to your strengths - We were a diverse group, each talented and each having a different personality and we allowed each other the breathing space to come up with their creative best and make a contribution that they were truly satisfied with. While Swati strung all the chapters together with her effective editing, Kiran and I were notorious for asking questions and finding loopholes in the plot. While Sulaiman was the conductor of this orchestra band - unifying the team, setting the tempo, pepping us up from time to time, Ruchita and Ganga were the creative heads who put together the team logo and beautiful illustrations respectively. While Purba and Rajesh guided us through from their experiences as published authors, Madhavi with her cool head and cheerful persona stepped up whenever the group felt a little low.

2. Discipline is the key -  We were on a tight schedule here. Each day a chapter had to be posted and with each new week challenging us with a new twist, things would not have been smooth if we were not disciplined, both as individuals and as a team. Whether this meant sneaking in the office and writing, owl-ing away in the night or stepping up for a team member who had to leave due to unfortunate medical issues, we did it!

3. Appreciation boosts you up - Words of appreciation from fellow team mates can lift up your spirits and push you to do that extra bit to make your writing from good to great. It wasn't until a few chapters later that readers started showing their love, but what kept us going till then was team motivation.

4. Communicate - October brings not only the season of festivals but also a change in the weather that can result in runny noses and sore throat. While few of our team members were busy with the celebrations of Durga Puja and Eid Ul Adha, others were nursing some health issues and family emergencies. Had it not been for open communication within the team as to the difficulties being faced and helped cohesively to reach a solution, we would have fallen like a house of cards.

5. Value each other's opinion - "This doesn't seem to work", "I don't understand this", "I like his point of view better" We all had a different opinion at some point in time but a) we didn't shy away from raising our concerns because we knew the we all had a common goal and b) we took the feedback in positive light and made it our strength. 

Challenging as well as Rewarding, this collaborative project will always be treasured.





*****

You can read the entire story 'Memory Intrigues' here and also check the Facebook page for updates. 

Linking this to Write Tribe.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Memory Intrigues - Chapter 28

Note: This is chapter twenty eight of 'Memory Intrigues', a collaborative novel being etched out by a group of ten bloggers. 

Join our team, the 'Dynamic Word Weavers' as we #CelebrateBlogging with BlogAdda's 'Game of Blogs'

Designed by Ruchita


Read the previous part of the story here

The story so far:

Confused, Cyrus agrees to listen to Jennifer’s plan, as she explains some details.

“Listen Cyrus, now that we trust each other, our first duty is to get Roohi and you out of this mess” and she shares her plan with him. 

Cyrus listens carefully to all the details.  He picks up some breakfast for Roohi, Ahuja and himself, and walks back to the guest house.

Jennifer is not sure whether Cyrus has actually understood her or whether he is just pretending.  She feels that it is better to give him a chance before she calls in the police.  She believes it to be better for Roohi and that she is safe as long as the police are not involved in this.
_________________________________________________

“Ahuja will not hesitate to kill Roohi and implicate you in the matter”

“Ahuja will not hesitate to kill Roohi”

Jennifer’s words keep ringing in his ears; Cyrus’s ears turn hot and red and he starts sweating profusely as the proverbial double edged sword dangles above his head.  He had never meant to do any harm to little Roohi, but now not knowing whom to believe, he feels trapped in this quagmire; now he fears dragging the innocent child into all this mess if he does not get his act together fast.

Whether Jen is lying or not, will be known sooner or later; but one thing is for sure, Ahuja is surely a charmer.  Hadn’t he sweet talked his way through to Cyrus and got him involved in such a dirty situation?  “God dammit, you egg head!  What could you have been thinking of?” Cyrus curses himself as he nibbles at his sandwich.  The other two oblivious to Cyrus’s mental turmoil happily wolf down their breakfast.. 

“At least we have done something right,” Cyrus thought looking at Roohi’s smiling face.  Her blue frilly frock swirls around as she laughs and jumps animatedly, her eyes twinkling; she is so much more at peace here with us outsiders, than with her own parents, Cyrus mused.   The parents didn’t get a whiff of what was going on when their only daughter walked out of their house all alone in the middle of the night.  What kind of parents are they,” he shudders thinking about that night.

*****

Two evenings ago:

Cyrus is visiting Ahuja’s; the two are casually seated in the expensive mahogany decorated living room of the ‘struggling actor’, enjoying a neat scotch.  Cyrus has just dropped Tara home after a hectic day at work, when Ahuja in his usual jovial manner invites him in for a drink. 

“So you are working with Taraji on the memory card case?” Ahuja winks as he brings out the ice bucket.  “Two?  Three?

“What? No…I’m just…”

“Oh, you can tell me!  It’s no big secret, it’s been splashed all over the news!  Do you know what the memory card holds?  You know what it means??” Ahuja jumps up excitedly.

“It will all be over soon, like the fizz slowly vanishing from this soda leaving behind tonic water. That’s what will come out of the case, I tell you!  This is all a media gimmick.  Hand in hand with the politicians, they just want to charge up the atmosphere before the upcoming elections”

So you are telling me…you are sure…the memory card is fake?” the excitement in Ahuja’s voice recedes .

“No, I’m not saying that!  I don’t know…I’m tired!  This is strong, man” Cyrus grins sheepishly gulping down the scotch.

You know, if we can get hold of that evidence…that lottery ticket…we could become millionaires in no time.  The minister would be willing to pay anything to cover his own ass” Ahuja had let out a macabre laughter, just as the commotion from the Dutta’s house filters in through the windows and walls.

“Do these two always fight like this?  Have they no consideration for their little girl?” Cyrus peeps out of the window and panics. “Ahuja!  Look Roohi!”

They run towards the teary-eyed Roohi, her one hand rubbing her sore eyes and the other hand dragging behind her beloved Teddy.  She is carrying her flourescent pink backpack stuffed with a few clothes. 

Where are you going princess?” Ahuja asks in a silken voice.  Cyrus does not notice an evil agenda behind that gentle voice.  But he feels light in his head and lets Ahuja handle the matter.

“To grandma’s…”

You should not be going out alone in this dark.  It is dangerous.  Come, we will take you there darling…”

They drive along for a while and soon come to a posh locality of Mumbai – Pali Hill.  Ahuja opens the gate and drives down the driveway and stops in the portico of an old but very well maintained bungalow.

How do you like this place Cyrus?  I run a guest house here.  Right now there are no visitors.”

“Uncle!!  You told me that you will take me to my Naani’s house, but why did we all come to this house?” asks Roohi somewhat confused and afraid.  “Beta, let me finish some important work first and then I will surely take you to your Naani’s house. Let us go inside and you go to sleep.  I shall wake you up as soon as my work is over and take you to your Naani.” says Ahuja. 

Cyrus loves Roohi’s innocent smile.  He feels bad about the way her parents neglect her.  They are so engrossed in carving out a niche for themselves in their respective careers.  Although he is not really very comfortable with what he is doing, a little voice inside him tells him that this entire episode of Roohi’s disappearance would serve to teach her parents a good lesson.  Hopefully they would learn to prioritize her equally or above their careers. 

Shall I get you a hot pizza from a nearby place Roohi?” asks Ahuja.

“I don’t want anything uncle. Just drop me at my Naani’s place.  I don’t like this house, I am very scared,” Roohi feels distinctly uncomfortable in the new place. 

"Chalo, let’s have a pizza!” says Cyrus and walks out of the old house to get a pizza for Roohi.

Let me just get my share of money from Ahuja and I shall drop this little girl back” soliloquizes Cyrus. He belongs to a middle class family and has always seen the ups and downs of life. With this one adventure, Cyrus hopes to clear all his long standing debts and swears to himself never to get involved in any such activities again. He wants to groom himself to be a good lawyer and earn a reputation for himself. 

*****

Today, after breakfast:

“Does that tickle?” Cyrus is brought back to the present as Roohi comfortably sits next to him. “Cyrus uncle, you have curly hair all over your body!” she says with a tinkling laugh.

You two make quite a sight!” smirks Ahuja.  He pulls Roohi’s cheeks playfully, “Now run along princess, you can play with the new Barbie doll I gifted you, while we big boys talk.”

“Before you impose your plan on me Aryan, I need to….”

Hey – hey, quit that tone with me man!” Ahuja flares up and Cyrus sees his eyes take on a sinister. 

Cyrus quickly changes track, realizing that Jen could be right; Ahuja could really be dangerous!
“Friend, all I’m saying is, if we don’t get Roohi back to her parents, there could be a possibility of irreparable damage – to our careers, our lives…we don’t want that, right?”

I AM NOT LETTING THAT GIRL GO UNLESS I GET THAT PASSWORD!  It is our password to untold wealth and we will not have to think about our careers anymore.  Don’t you get that smarty?”

The sudden rage in Ahuja catches Cyrus off guard.  He nods meekly and goes around the house to the terrace. Lovely potted ceramic plants lined up at the entrance, leading to an aesthetically done sitting area, confuse Cyrus all the more and Jen’s words come back to haunt him.

“That is how he manages to own a flat and a guest house in posh localities in Bombay. Do you think a struggling artist can afford all this?”

He knows that Jen is not the saint she is making herself out to be.  She must have her own motives to save Roohi.  After all, the mystery of her sudden disappearance and her casual reappearance at the climax of this intriguing drama is a question that continues to bother him.  However, thinking of Roohi’s welfare, Cyrus has no option but to choose the lesser of the two evils. He decides to play along with Jenny’s plan and rehearses the steps in his head.

.....

Read the next part if the story here.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"Take me Home"

The house which I had called home for twenty years of my life, now seemed unrecognizable. It was as if I was standing in the middle of a map - labeled cupboards and drawers, pictures ranging from family photos pinned along with members' names to photos of day to day grocery items, emergency contacts and directions to the hospital enlarged and pasted on the fridge and near the phone; and for the first time I realized the sensitivity of the situation.

"Here", Kiera placed the steaming mug of coffee in front of me. She hadn't said a word since I had stepped in this morning, she couldn't even meet my eye. I could see she was trying hard to contain her emotions, the tears at the edge of those dim eyes. Her frantic call last night still ringed in my ears, " Sid, you have to come home. I am losing my mind. I..." and she had wailed and sniffed for another few minutes before the line got disconnected. I had taken the first flight out.

"Kiera?" I gently placed my hands on her shoulders, "Talk to me, won't you?"

"Sid, please don't judge me. But I've already called in the facility recommended by Jean. She used to work there as a nurse. They specialize in taking care and providing for people like our Mother."

She quivered while speaking, tears running down uncontrollably. I leaned in closer to pacify her and then saw how five years of taking care of our Mother, who was diseased with the dreaded Alzheimer's, had taken a serious toll on my sister - physically as well as mentally.

I was in no position to judge her or question her. The little brother - the favorite son, had abandoned them in times of need, preferring to marry money instead. Guilty, I kept quiet.

"She has become more violent and adamant too. At times she screams looking at her own reflection in the mirror.... I've lost count of how many times I've been woken up by our neighbors in the middle of the night, Mother petrified standing behind them - barefoot, in just her nightie"

"She is slipping away Sid and she is taking me along with her. I can't... I can't do it any more!"

The dejection in her voice was apparent. I nodded weakly, "Where is She?"

I walked into another labeled room, which used to be my nursery, and curled up in one corner was her. I sat next to her, caressed her bony back gently. "Dean?", she whispered, too weak to speak. She rolled on my side, her eyes searched my face and her decaying brain tried to put a name to the face. " Dean!", she said again, and again, thinking of me as her late husband.

Two nights later I again got a call from Kiera. The silence at the other end told me that Mother had passed way.

We cried, clutching our phones, repeating that we were sorry. Sorry, not that it had ended but in the way in which it had. Our Mothers' last words, before the stroke were "Take me Home...Take me Home". Strange, how her degenerated mind which couldn't recognize her own genes, knew that the white walls where she lay taking her last breath, wasn't her home.

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Blogging for a cause, together with Write Tribe.

September 21st of each year is recognized as World Alzheimer's Day, where Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Memory Intrigues - Chapter 18

Note: This is the eighteenth chapter of 'Memory Intrigues', a collaborative novel being etched out by a group of ten bloggers. 

Join our team, the 'Dynamic Word Weavers' as we #CelebrateBlogging with BlogAdda's 'Game of Blogs'

Designed by Ruchita














Read the previous part of the story here

The story so far:


“Am I doing the right thing by Shekhar   Should I leak this confidential information to the world?  Does he deserve that”?
A rational voice yells at her that very moment.
“Are you thinking of this man, Tara?  He is least concerned about your life.  Did he ask you once how your day at the new office was?  Does he even care for Roohi?  He just lives in a bubble.  Stop thinking of him so much and focus on your career.  You deserve better!
Tara knows what she needs to do.  All her doubts are cleared and she sleeps tranquilly.
_________________________________________________________________________


AB TAK – PRIME TIME BREAKING NEWS

“WHERE IS JENIFFER” & “WHAT HOLDS IN THE MEMORY CARD”

Shekhar’s face turns pale and he almost drops the knife with which he is cutting the vegetables for lunch.  A sharp three sixty degree turn towards the television set brings him face to face with the petite, bespectacled news reporter. 

What??” Shekhar screams in a voice so loud that Roohi rushes out of her room, her one shoe dangling behind her as the laces are yet to be untied and she is yet to change out of her school uniform.

Horrified, she watches as her father bangs on the dining table and growls at the TV screen, as the lady on screen continues in a high pitch, her face not giving away any emotions.

“A few days ago, Jennifer Joseph, a dynamic daring photographer from Kochi, had been reported missing!  Said to be involved with photographing a sensational picture of a Central Minister involved in a dirty business, we at AB TAK, are the first new channel to be reporting that key evidence to this case has been found!  Our confidential source has confirmed that a memory card containing this proof has been flown from Delhi to Chennai.

Stay tuned to AB TAK to find out how the mystery unfolds.  Did Jennifer send the memory card herself?  Who is this Central Minister?  Stay with us as we reveal secrets that will create thunder in the midst of the upcoming elections!"

Shekhar feels like an eclipse has suddenly befallen him.  Everything has turned pitch dark and he can only think about how this will affect Jen’s safety.  After the initial panic settles down, he starts to growl.  “How could she?”  He feels betrayed by his own wife.  There isn’t a single ounce of doubt in his mind that this news was leaked by Tara. 

Since Jen's disappearance, each passing day has only left his mind and heart feeling heavier.  He knew he was missing some angle.   Tracing Jen shouldn't have been this hard. But he feels as if he is being sucked into a maze of intrigue and every path he takes is leading to a dead end.

And now, with the frustration of not having been able to crack the password of the memory card still pestering him, he has to deal with a new soap opera at home, a volcanic one too, he was sure of that!

“That merciless, heartless woman!” he shouts.  Unaware that Roohi is watching this scene unfold through her crying eyes, he grits his teeth and hisses, “Tara, I’ll strangle you!”

******** 

Perfect weather to be in Delhi!” muses a cold, steely voice, smooth yet sharp like a freshly carved knife, while looking out of the window of the 13th floor.  The trinkets and bracelets on her hand, chime together to break the monotony of the evening as a slim silhouette picks up a steaming cup of tea and gently blowing through her plum lips takes a sip. 

I got ice in my veins,
blood in my eyes.Hate in my heart,Love in my mind.


She raps the song by Lil Wayne to match the tune of the slow drizzle outside, meaning each word, when the phone rings annoyingly.

Switch on the news channel AB TAK” says a voice from the other end without feeling a need for pleasantries.

“WHERE IS JENIFFER” & “WHAT HOLDS IN THE MEMORY CARD”

“My dear, you are fast becoming famous!  Everything is going as per the plan and you will soon have your revenge”

The two talk for a while, when suddenly the girl starts fidgeting upon hearing a name.  “Motwaniji, thank you for all your help.  I now know why my father had asked me to approach his best friend if I ever happened to be in trouble!” 

“Joseph was a good friend.  God rest his soul in peace!  Anything else Jen?”

Can I call you in a minute?  I need to double check something first.”  Jennifer takes out her laptop and furiously types the name ‘Cyrus Daruwala’.  “Why is this name so familiar”, she thinks aloud as she screens through the google searches.

http://www.cyruswrites.in/   She clicks on the first link and chuckles as she read through the blog.

A lawyer and a blogger, now isn’t that attractive in a man!”  She smiles as she reads the most recent blog post which describes an atypical day in an interns’ life.  Reading between paragraphs, her eye catches a photograph beneath the text.  ‘Old friends and new’, reads the caption and in the picture is a tall, fair man, holding the hand of a pony-tailed girl with a pot-bellied, obnoxiously happy faced man.


That must be Cyrus with Roohi and the other fatso...?  I think I know him too!” She racks her brain for a while and soon finds the answer in the hidden corners of her evil mind.  She dials Mr. Motwani’s number instantly.

She tells the editor how informative the blog has been and queries more about Cyrus Daruwala,

"Yes, he did seem gullible just by the looks in that photograph and I've heard about Roohi from her father.  She doesn't befriend anyone so easily.  So clearly this one is a charmer!"

And guess what, Aryan Ahuja is Shekhar’s neighbour!” she squeals excitedly.  “Yes-Yes, I know him, photographed the loser when he was a stand-up comedian in Delhi and I small fish!”

"The ball is in your court young lady.  Their days are numbered.  I can feel it in my bones"

“Cyrus Daruwala is our man of the hour! Mr. Editor, here is the plan...” the scheming minds and whispering voices travel across the cables through the rainy night and chalk out a plan for the Dutta family, sadly endangering someone’s life. 

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Read the next part of the story here.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us