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.

**********

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. 

******** 


Read the next part of the story here.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Memory Intrigues - Chapter 8

Note: This is the eighth 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


Trapped in the melancholy night, the
crickets screech with a drudgery might
Breaking past the rustling leaves, their
intermittent voice, a story they weave...

Shekhar's unsteady hand works past midnight as Tara tosses in the bed. He gazes at his wife's silhouette beneath the silken sheets...

"What had happened to them? Why had all the love drained?” he sighs. But his lack of desire and interest in his wife is the least of all his worries.

The sound of crickets brings back all the nagging memories which aren't letting him sleep, even after downing four beers. It has been two days since Jen had called. Dark tense clouds hover above his mind, every minute of every passing hour.

"What if...?"
"No! She is fine!” Shekhar taps the end of the pencil on his forehead reassuring himself to stay positive, but the feeling of unease has lately become very much a part of him.
"Damn! I hope that she is fine. Oh, please call Jen! What have you gotten yourself involved with?"

He is still clueless about the minister's scandal that Jen was referring to. He has racked his brains but is unable to single out any names, until he can get hold of more clues. And Jen's erratic calls have been of no help, neither in tracing where she is nor in finding anything about the 'sensational' story that she has gotten hold of.

"If an influential political party is involved here, Jen could be in serious trouble!!"

Shekhar starts to freak out again; gradually as his breathing evens out, his hand unconsciously starts scribbling on the notepad again. Poetry has always calmed Shekhar, secretly given him even more satisfaction than seeing his work getting published and recognized. It had been long since he had strung verses baring his soul. The monotonous circle of life had caught up with him and his ever-smiling persona had been eclipsed by Tara's increasing grumpiness.

But Jen...Dear Jenny had always brought out the best in him, and even now when God forbid, she is lost in time, it is the fear and anxiety that he feels for Jen that causes the words to pour out...

Like a lightning that ruptures a dark sky
My heart thunders and wishes it could die
A sign, a whisper is all that I desire
to soothe my burning mind, set on fire

Suddenly, weighed down by the colossal thought of 'what could have been' between Jen and him, drowsiness takes over. Shekhar drops his head on his writing desk and gives a drunken snore.

***

"What in the world!!! Have you been up all night and messing up my house?" Shekhar gets up with a jolt as Tara's shrill voice pierces his ears.

"Our house!", Shekhar corrects nonchalantly and grabs his throbbing head.
"Please do calm down Tara, you'll bring the house down with that voice! Please, for Roohi’s sake!"

Shekhar doesn’t notice that Roohi has tip-toed into their room and has already been dragged into the couple's fight.

Tara menacingly glances at the strewn sheets of paper on her husband's desk. The written words, which clearly are not meant for her, along with the empty bottles reveal last night's truth, making her quiver with anger.

"Quite a concerned father you have become overnight? Roohi, can you ask your father where this love was yesterday, when we needed him the most? When you deserved a hug after your bad grades and me some affection after my pathetic day at work?"

Without a word, Roohi runs out of their room, banging the door behind her, leaving both her parents shocked. The agitated steps of Roohi running away from them can be heard above the sniffling crocodile tears being shed by Tara.

"Can we behave in a civil manner Tara? Please get me an aspirin while I go talk to Roohi", Shekhar musters an apologetic half smile as he clasps Tara's hand.

He is disturbed by Roohi's behaviour. The naughty, chubby-cheeked little girl has turned very withdrawn over the past few weeks. He fondly remembers the cute pranks she used to play on them and her gleeful laughter. She has now been robbed of that laughter, sadly by her own parents. Shekhar feels a huge pang of guilt and gulps down his dismay as he walks towards Roohi's room…


 ***


Read the next part of the story here

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

#MicroblogMondays - Callings of the Heart

I sincerely strive to keep a promise that I made with self - to live life to the fullest, to make each moment beautiful, and to always remember that YOU are the creator, designer of your own path. This blog too had started as a means to this end.

I believe, YOU matter and so I listen to my heart carefully and let it lead. And this quote from Rumi that Vidya had earlier shared on her blog describes my philosophy perfectly,

"Respond to every call that excites your spirit"



And that is why, a few months back, even when I knew that at times I would be pressed for time, I took the plunge and started The Dance Bible along with my friend and co-dancer, Deepanshu.

And just a day before, when the opportunity to co-create a work of fiction together with nine unknown bloggers came knocking at my inbox, I knew my answer would be a YES even before I hit the reply button. 

Sometimes all we need is to say 'Yes to Life', embrace it with open arms and give our best to the Universe.




Stay with me as I #CelebrateBlogging tomorrow. As part of BlogAdda's ongoing 'Game of Blogs, ten bloggers have teamed up as the #DynamicWordWeavers and are collaborating to write a novel, one chapter - one blogger - a day, over the span of three weeks. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Three in a Row

There were three in a row,
Standing tall in defiance.
Now all lay dead.

I looked at him in horror,
as he licked his lips,
an evil gleam in his eyes.

Disgusted, I ran away
clutching my precious barbie doll.

Ugh! Boys!!

Image Source: here







Word count: 42

©AditiKaushiva

Linking this to the Fiction Challenge ‘From 15 to 50′

Bringing Out the Child in YOU

Continuing with my #NewYorkTravelTales, here again, I'll let the pictures do the talking! :)

Caution: We are entering the Fun Zone!!

Toys 'R' Us, situated bang in the buzzing Times Square is not just a paradise for kids. It is a wonderland for everybody. It was fun to be kids again and just enjoy the candies at Wonka station, get mesmerized by the life size Barbie doll house, play with the latest Hot Wheels race car and hear the 20-foot T-Rex dinosaur roar in the Jurassic park.

                                                       At Toys 'R' Us!


     My Minion :)


                                             I'm a Barbie girl in the Barbie world...


This massive Spider-Man scene was right above our heads


                                                                Hello Boys!


                                     Jurassic Park and Transformers coexisting here!




Another day, I walked down the memory lane as I picked up some legos and made myself a mini play date! ;)




                                                Fancy living here? All Lego!


                                                           Getting creative! ;)


                                     Now won't you share your Toy Story with me?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Perk it up in Central Park

Central Park.

Truly a magical place!

So everyone has been asking me what was the highlight of your trip. And a stroll in the Central Park is one of my top picks. "Park??" comes their response with a smirk. Well, my friend you have to be there to feel it!

I went to Central Park on three occasions and still couldn't walk the entire length and breadth of it. It is all of 843 acres! From 59th Street to 110 Street between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West (Eighth Avenue) there lies a soothing gem between the rushed Manhattan. Let's take a tour.

The first time I walked into the Park, I was met by Sir Christopher Columbus. This is called the Columbus Circle, one of the entrances to Central Park. This sculpture was designed in 1892, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the Americas.

Oh the pleasures of life! Lying down on grass and reading! :)

Musical notes in every nook and corner of the park. Such talent no? And what interests me more is the varied instruments they play!

Hello my three musketeers!

To see the skyscrapers from green-tinted glasses! :)

Listed as one of the Quiet Zones, the Strawberry Fields is dedicated to the world famous singer, song-writer and peace activist, John Lennon.

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace..."

With the recent Gaza-Israel humanitarian crisis, sitting in this peaceful place made me really think, WHY we are unable to understand such a simple thing and just live and let live! A melodious voice tuned in with beautiful guitar notes filled the space between these elm trees as I paid tribute to the great John Lennon.

Central Park, where Love blossoms!

Would have loved to do boating with M here! Isn't this romantic?


Another factor which makes Central Park a true New Yorker's paradise, is its people and their dogs. They have character! :)

Remember this place from a famous movie?

E.B. White had set the famous boat scene in his children's classic, Stuart Little, which was later recreated in the movie by the same name. There is a small cafe here where the onlookers can enjoy some snacks while the children have fun steering their sailboats.

Hello me!
Wandering and wondering, this title suits so well to the time I spent at Central Park! I could keep going on but next in series is the Central Park Zoo, which deserves an entire post to be dedicated to it. So stay tuned!