Defiant Soul- Flash Fiction

stock-footage-silhouette-of-a-woman-sitting-on-a-beach-at-sunset1-e1336944377218

Ensconced on the creamy white shore, I used to peek inside her soul, while she tucked in the wavy strands of hair that fluttered in the warm summer breeze. I remember opining to my friends every time that my mother was as sturdy as those rock mounds scattered formidably along the shore line, in that she could lap up the soothing, effervescent waves that streamed up to her in days that were serene, but more over, quite admiringly, could muster an inevitable amount of fortitude to stand rooted when hit by a raging tide. Little did the girl in me then know that, twenty years down the lane, she would peek inside herself and utter the exact same words.

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Wiping Away The Dust

One whole year. Unbelievably so ! A year passed by sans a single post on my blog. A year passed by with no creativity firing up my grey cells. A year passed by engulfed in the smoky mist of white coats. A year passed by trying to decipher the course of nerves, the worth of ganglia and the mechanisms that keep humans breathe with peace. A year since i embarked on my post graduation course in ENT surgery – A lot to say, a lot to share.

I wouldnt be here yet if not for two incidents that occured a period spanning the last two months. 

*  My school reunion that happened last week
*  For that wonderful, smoldering mail from The Tamarind Rice team ,letting this proud spirit know about their decision to showcase her article At The Bookshop at their literary meet ‘ Literary Lapses


School reunions always arrive carrying a mixed bag of emotions . Nostalgia mounting beyond seams can be overwhelming at times and at other times they can leave you all brooding when reminded about the good things that withered away over the time. And this time, it came as a common query – ‘ Why dont you write these days, Maliny?’ 

Oh, i missed writing ! I did. But these were months when the thought of sitting lost in a fluffy cushion typing away word after word, spewing posts felt like a luxury. 

And i am not yet sure how long away is my next post. Nevertheless, i badly need to satisfy my itch to write something this very moment and that too,with all my heart. Now that i have done it there are few words to describe exactly what i feel right now. Enlightened, maybe?

There are times when you need to sail with the wind. So that you derive as much power as you can to sail against it when your mind years for it the most. There are low times. There are duties to be performed. There are goals to be achieved. There is a time to toil. There is a time to let free. There is a time to celebrate.

Life runs a course. This moment,i realise that sometimes,it is fine to abide by the rules of fate. Sometimes it is alright to float and not to fly. But never let the spark die out. Let it burn within in the lightest of the shades. You never know. The very next minute might very well be the that perfect polishing moment you had waited for all along. 

A Call For Change

                         
                      Mahatma Gandhi – The Father Of Our Nation said , ” Be the change you want to see in the world ” . Even when the whole country is flaring up in agitation , even when younsters , men and women alike from every nook and corner of the country shout out slogans against the alarming proportion of corruption swallowing up the countries resources , i say – The change ought to begin from us ! . Here in this post , as part of the Blueprint For Change Contest organised by Blogadda , i am baring my mind of some of the atrocities that have been sharp edged enough to let their scar soaring for long.


Problem No. 1 :  Demerits Of Technology

            I happened to read an article on a journal last month which dealt with the upsurgance of technology and how the mushrooming of  social networking sites and ultra modern gadgets have almost marked a revolutionary transformation in the lives of tech savvy adolescents of this generation . In a way the change is for good , for owing to stiff competition and readily available chunks of information at a punch of the button , there is no dearth of knowledge in their lives . Having said so , i cant help but hark back those days when we , as school kids , used to go to the library with the sole aim of digging out books so that we could come up with quality matters for the presentation. Well and good that today , the children have the comfort of ‘ googling ‘ out the answers sitting slumped on their couch . It sure spares them a lot of time and maybe an  allergic rhinitis as well ! . Nevertheless , i would like to point out a few demerits of this generation of technology driven minds – 

a )  The highly satisfying and highly enlightening habit , called ‘ reading ‘ is threatening to be on the verge of extinction , blame the over indulgence in social networking sites and customised mobile phones . 

b ) The kids become the elite owners of a social profile  right from the teeny age of 13 -14 . Come holidays , they soak themselves in the heat of a laptop , rather than warming up playing in the sunny day . Gone are the days when the kids used to frequent their grand parent’s house to exploit that emotional facet of a blood relation . And so also they find it meaningless to uphold the familial values and the cynosure of the world gets secluded within their self  – result – Broken Families ! 

c ) When the focus shifts to acheiving success and fame , whether be it the number of likes one garners , or be it the possession of the most trending gadget , the children are letting themselves swallowed by a whirlpool of problems . They seek solace in the virtual world to escape the adversities , instead of reaching out to their parents for guidance and eventually succumb to the pressure , sometimes sinking into depression or suicide . 

Solution : 

a ) Make library periods mandatory in schools . They can function like book clubs too where the students have discussions, debates and assignments  on a classic literature piece . The students should be encouraged to read newspaper every day . They should be enlightened about the role reading plays in shaping their language skills for if they need to go out there brimming with zeal and skill and deal with real people , not much of their virtual chat box experience is going to be of any aid ! Infact , isnt it knowledge that holds the supreme power to cleanse the society of its vices in this era plunging into darkness day by day ? 

b ) Moral science teaching  , more than ever before has become the need of the hour . Rather than restricting the class to textbooks , the teachers can evaluate the needs for upholding principles  by elaborating real life incidents with a message . 

c )  Parents should restrict their children ( i am talking about school kids ) assessing internet by offering stipulated times every day for the same and also should encourage them to indulge in sports or reading during their free time . 
                                     
Problem 2 :   Lifestyle Diseases

      As a person who witnesses people struggling to fight against diseases on every single day of my work , i feel obliged to stress on one particular health problem so rampant that it outweighs all others – and that would be life style diseases like diabetes and high cholestrol blood profile . The clinical data concerning the same shows alarming accounts , which provides sufficient impetus to ponder on the subject , dissecting all its layers . The prime reasons leading to such diseases being – 

a ) Inadequate exercise

b ) unhealthy food habits , esp junk food 
c ) Stress , basically at work in the present nail biting scene of stiff competition . 

        People forget that such lifestyle diseases act as an alluring factor for more harmful diseases like cardiac arrest, stroke and cancer. This is one point where the individual alone should undertake the most needed intervention as once smitten the person forever remains a prey to such diseases . And the situation has become grave these recent years because studies show that such diseases are not anymore restricted to old age ! 

Solution : 

a ) Insinuate regular excercise into your daily routine . 

b ) Abstain from smoking and avoid bingeing on alchohol. 
c ) Reduce the intake of high calorie food .
d ) Practise meditation or yoga to alleviate stress . 
e ) Make it a point to undergo monthly clinical check up to ensure thatyour sugar and bloodpressure count are within limits, once above 40 years .         
                                            
Problem 3 :   Safety of Women

         Being eve teased and ogled at have almost become a part of their lives for the women in our country and that includes me . Be it in salwar kameez or in a pair of jeans the situation remains the same . Being groped at in public transport and grazed at in subways have become the price we are entitled to pay for being independent . With the massive outrage post the delhi rape case , the government promises to revise the existing laws in favour of the women . But is that enough ? 
Solution : 

        School education should focus on the fitness aspects of girls in addition to the academic aspect . Sports should be made compulsory such that they remain fit . Martial arts or karate classes can be made available to the girls . Lessons in defense mechanisms to tackle an attacker also would be helpful if providing the classes prove improbable . Sex education should be inculcated into the academic curriculum for both boys and girls , which could be dealt separately . Girls should be provided proper awareness by teachers and parents regarding sexual assaults . They should be encouraged to speak up for themselves and to react if a man touches her with a wrong intention . The girl child in the families too needs to be treated with respect by letting her speak out her emotions or outrage . The boys should be provided awareness as well by teaching them to respect their gal friends and to treat them equals . 
                                                         

Problem 4 :  Religious Insecurities

                           I happened to come across an article sometime back where the writer was dissecting the many chaos that persist in our country in the name of religion . The article illustrated the example of the Kochi , a city in Kerala district , where numerous sections of society harbour in peace and harmony . Delving deeper seeking the reason behind this , the researchers came to the conclusion that the people in that city are ardent and true believers of their respective religion , and because of that they are capable of  accepting the religious sentiments of their neighbours too in equal amounts . This points to the bitter revelation that , those goons and religious fanatics who massacre their country men do so because they are insecure in their religious beliefs . The situation is far more intense than it seems . And so also believing in the idea of secularism has become the need of the hour  esp with the recent incidents related to Vishwaroopam release and about Salman Rushdie being unacceptable at Kolkata , dominating the footages !

Solution :

     –  This might be one problem where sensible thinking would prove more helpful in tackling the situation than practical intervention . The moulding of a heart which holds onto the principle of secularism ought to incept from the family . The onus of  making it happen definitely rests on the shoulders of the parents which they should inculcate in their kids right from the school days. The kids should be taught that humanity is the strongest link that connects human beings and no religion is sharp enough to saw through it . As kids imbibe whatever is taught to them esp by their parents , chances are more that the idea would get engraved in their minds . 

   –  The educational institutions should lend their support too in that matter by letting the students organise celebrations in harmony during the major festivals of all religions , such that they are provided proper awareness regarding the strength of each religious belief . 

        

Problem 5 :   Unclean Surroundings

        I had been to my aunts house last week and on the way to their lane i was welcomed by the stinking site of garbage being thrown around the road and they lay scattered on the way with foul odour of decaying food piercing through my nostrils ! I asked my aunt how they cope up with such disgusting sight and her reply was that this has become a habit and people have become used to it . Should it be so ? Haven’t we all vouched to keep our country clean at one point of the time or other ? Aren’t we supposed to perform our duties to the country when we are adamant that we be ranted our rights ?! Is the practice hygienic especially when our country is notorious for infectious diseases ? Given that the problem is not something without a solution , its high time the citizens worked for it . 

Solution

         Its the duty of the Government to make it available municipality workers to clear out the garbage flooding up . Write to the minister to take mandatory actions to bring a stop to the menace . If there is no response , write again or give a petition . If there is still no response take control over the situation . CCTV monitoring can be undertaken by the corresponding secretaries of the streets and thereby the people contributing to the crime can be caught red handed . ( This has been proved successful in a few streets of my state ) . Paste anti littering posters on the walls of your streets warning strict actions against the rule benders . Take snapshots of the littering and publish it on newspapers with a short account on the problem so that the government would sit up and notice . Make provisions for discarding the garbage in our respective homes itself – dig a small pit to bury it up or to burn paper wastes . That way the need wouldnt arise to throw it away . 
          
            I have always felt that the officers reigning the Indian Administrative Service should be loaded with greater power to control the state . The fact that they toiled for hours mastering knowledge on the veracity of the problems gnawing our country , no one but they , are armored with the perfect weapons of moral responsibility and acumen to uproot the evil over shadowing the progress of our society . Unfortunately in the present scenario , they are belittled to the role of mere puppets while the politicians and influential people enjoy the last laugh !
                                
             Having drained my mind of those fuming problems , i feel as though i did a small part to address the need for a massive cleansing starting from the base  . As the citizens of this country its the responsibility of each one of us to strive for the best of the society . Are you up for it ?

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Image Source : Here


This post is a part of  Weekend Contest By Blogadda in association with  chanakya-s-new-manifesto

Chained

So excited to say that this post won the Gold Batom as part of the Blog-a-Ton 36 Contest ! 🙂 

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 36; the thirty-fifth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is “and then there were none”


                          

                   The irritating noise of a key scraping against the large metal lock snapped her awake from her sleep . Every shred of her sleep paralysed muscles urged her to drift back to that blissful state one time more . To her surprise , she realised that the nightmare which usually haunted her in her sleep never bothered her last night . It was the slight motion of her friend Rekha folding her shuffled bedspread onto a neat shack , that revived her thoughts back to the present . As if in a trance , Seema , jolted up from her cot and having hurried through her bedspread ,almost scampered herself down the stairs to take a bath . Held firmly in her arms was a saffron coloured saree which she had kept apart yearningly for this day.
Returning back to her room , Seema , brushed back her locks without checking herself on the mirror . Collecting her things , she slowed down her steps and stood silenty facing her friend .  
“  You are brave and you will always be I know “ , Rekha muttered in her breath while they shared a strong friendly hug .
As Seema walked down the corridor , its floor ice cold , she grazed her warm brown eyes over the small charming patch of garden packed with bright yellow blossoms  , now swaying gracefully in the morning breeze . All the peaceful hours in her past two years, she spent nursing these flowers , and looking with admiration at her garden that day , she felt as though her favorite flowers too were bidding her farewell in their own simple way .   
Reaching the office room functioning in the next building , she scribbled her signature on the ledger as instructed .
“ I have never seen you this pleasant Seema . Be smiling the rest of your life too ok “ , the lady at the desk showered her share of blessings too . 

Making sure she had no official procedures left , Seema started walking in small rapid steps to the gate . The loud alarming shrill by which the gate opened used to send a ruffle of emotions inside her . On the contrary , this time , she found herself trying hard to suppress her urge to yank open the gate in all its fervour for she knew that no amount of shrillness can disturb the state of mind she was in this day .
A glint of  joy started playing at the corners of her mouth as she stepped out into the sunny air . Her apprehensive gaze ,  in swift motions started scanning the surrounding .
“ Seema “
She glanced back in the opposite direction and her eyes fell on a familiar figure clad in a plain green cotton saree, a face she had been seeing every month for the past two years .
“ Where is she ? Didn’t you promise me that you would let me see her when I was released from prison ? “
“ Don’t feel sad Seema  . She was not in her right mood it seems . Come , let me take you to her “ .
The journey by car to see her seemed the longest she had travelled in her whole life . As if to sketch to life the cocktail of emotions gurgling inside her depth , the sky started transforming into an inky shade . Fresh drops of rain settled on her cheek to dissolve into a wet stain . It took little effort for her mind to slid back into that black hole of dark memories once again .
Two years back , one rainy day Seema as usual was immersed neck deep in her chores at her house . Worried and dismayed was she pondering on a means to buy text books for her sister for the 12th standard classes commencing the coming week .  Little apprehension , if at all any , fleeted through her mind , when her husband called out her from inside requesting a glass of water . Caught in the middle of chopping down the logs , she had asked her little sister to carry the glass to him . After around half an hour of seeing no sign of her sister , she had rushed inside frantically only to be welcomed by the gory sight of her drunk husband trampling her half naked barely conscious sister  . Before she could encourage a second thought , before she could come back to her normal sense , she had chopped her husband to pieces with her axe  .
Cringing her eyes as the torturing events that followed flashed across her eyes , she sank back on her seat . People did stand by her at the start of the trial , but as the procedure started heading the much feared way her neighbours too started shunning her . And then there were none , not even the law to prove her right .Her relentless pleas that her husband used to assault her as well during their married years fell on deaf years . 

For months she had been bogged down by a drilling question as to whether her killing her husband should have been averted . Didnt her sister’s agony deserve justice ? The man would even have strangled her sister to death in his barbarious act if she hadnt stumbled upon them .During those hours of crying softly at night in the darkness of the dingy cell , there wasnt a moment when she hadnt cursed herself for pushing her sister’s life down a horrifying abyss . If it wasnt for the kind representatives of a Mahila Mandir who promised to take care of her sister while she was in prison , she would have been left in an even melancholious situation wondering what would become of her sister during her punishment years . 
As the car came to a halt , the lady guided Seema inside the Mahila Mandir to a room at the far end of the corridor . Seema noticed that place housed an alarming number of women who , unfortunately must have ended up being homeless , maybe due to no fault of their own . A girl , around 10 years sat studying at a chair facing the window while another girl , older by a few years was engaged in cleaning small bits of cobwebs from the window pane . The place seemed to throw at her a vibe of peace and contentment. 

Seema focused her gaze on a lady walking slowly towards her from a distance . Looking intently, she realised that the lady wasnt alone . Her wide opened eyes welled up in tears as Seema watched the lady bringing along with her , the one person whom she had been yearning to see for the past one year . Folding her arms, now trembling ,Seema slowly accepted her sister’s baby onto her arms and snuggled her close to her. 

The loss of her sister in child birth one year back had devastated her already shattered life . But now , looking at the months old little bundle , the fruit of her husband’s mindless act , resting peacefully in her arms she felt a surge of hope tugging at her heartstrings .  

I will keep her safe , no matter what . ” A determined decision took form in her mind .

 But the very next second , she felt the dark silhouette of a fear over shadowing her hopes while a harrowing thought passed through her mind – 

‘ I cannot keep her safe , never when this world is cruel . ‘

The rapturous chuckle of the baby brought her back to the present . She kissed the baby on her cheek and offered a silent prayer to the Almighty . 

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Image Source :  Here

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 03


Twilight

This post grabbed the WOW Badge as part of the Write Over The Weekend contest conducted by Blogadda .
    
   The bus came to a sudden halt with no prior hint , that I almost knocked my head against the bar .

“ Are you ok , Geetha ji “ , my maid enquired , her mellow voice genuine and concerned .

“I am fine . Almost survived if I might say “ . I replied trying to sound funny , as she wrapped her agile arms around me and swayed me back to my seat .

      Travelling by public transport is a struggle in itself , worse if your age happens to be on the unfortunate side of 60 . A cold shiver shot through my body as the chilling wind sweeped through the window in a hurry . Draping my saree around tightly I flexed my arms closer to my body . The ink blue sky was in the remarkable process of giving way to the crimson clouds. Soon darkness would embrace them . Suppressing the bout of cough which scratched me at the back of my throat , I closed my eyes .

    The day was the most tiring one in months and the most dreaded . If it wasn’t for my maid who noticed a tinge of blood on the sink a few days back , I would be on my bed reciting the Bhagavat Gita at this hour of the day . The horrendous events of the day drifted across my eyes . Alarmed was I about the whole procedure , for a person in her twilight years doesn’t deserve to perch her hopes on a higher rung . But the doctor , a compassionate human being , was persuasive as he cut out a small bit of her breast tissue for the biopsy . Breast disease and blood tinged sputum ? I was confused . It might be a secondary affecting the lungs – He disclosed the assumption through his implicit speech ,  an outright revelation would have shattered me , I was sure . The benefit of the doubt would offer me solace atleast till the biopsy report comes.

   I clinged onto the bar , as the bus paused at the next stop . A lady carrying a baby in her arms entered the bus , almost staggering as the bus resumed its journey in a hurry . I watched as my maid offered the lady her seat . Settling down next to me , the lady sighed a breath of relief and smiled at me .

   I noticed that the pretty smile which twinkled on her lips failed to brighten her eyes . Is it true or is it just me , for I have always sensed people tending to pour out their minds while conversing with an old person . So did this lady , who smiled at me oblivious of the fact that it failed to mask her sorrow.

 Her name was Sakshi and she was returning after paying a visit to her mother who resided in the next town . Sakshi’s mother used to spend her days at their house till two months back , until  her husband started getting irked at the presence of an old petite woman who threatened to fall ill anytime . Try as she might , Sakshi’s pleadings to retain her mother at their house failed to pierce her husband’s deaf ears . Her mother was ousted from their house , albeit with a permission for Sakshi to visit her mother every month .

Finishing the poignant story , Sakshi  said with a gurgle of emotions stammering her words , “ My mother is sick and I miss her so much . Every bit of my heart yearns to take her back to my home and nurse her as best as i could . Unfortunately , my hands are tied .The fear of  jeopardising my family overshadows my resposibility towards my mother . Isnt my future my husband and this child ? Cruel as it might sound , I cant lose them at any cost . “ She wiped away the stream of tear that gushed down her cheeks .

I kept looking at her till tears flooded my eyes and blinded my sight . The bus shrieked to a stop once again , only that this was where I was supposed to get down .

I walked with small slow steps to the formidable building , which has been providing me shelter for the past one year –‘  Karunya Home For The Destitute ‘ , when my maid asked hesitantly

“ When are your children coming to visit you Geeta ji ? I saw them the day you were brought here , never after . Hope they will be here to take you to the hospital for the next visit . “

My heart fluttered as I answered her question with just a slight nod of my head .

 And that was when the vague doubts that have been haunting my mind for the past few months resurfaced to confluence into an answer – Maybe they never will . 


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This post is written for Write Over The Weekend , an initiative for Indian Bloggers by blogadda.com


P.S : Image Source : Find Here .