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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mothers #1

Audio blog: Click on the play button and you will hear the blogpost in my voice. It may be used as a read-along style aid/enhancer.

Note: First part of what I plan to continue as a series of posts. VERY Loosely based on a real story. Followers of Indian politics will know who I am talking about. Completely imaginary in terms of the interpretation.


video
The day dad was arrested, news channels repeated the video footage over and over again. Our TV was, however, off.

Mom cooked khichdi that night and served it in four plates as usual. When me, my sister and mom sat to eat, I looked at the fourth plate and then at my mother. Her eyes gripped mine and said to me, "He'll be back."

We managed to down only a morsel or two when mom got up and walked to the basin to wash her hands.

"It's time for both of you to sleep." mom said, in a never-before assertive tone. My sister who often argued with her followed me silently to our room today.

Through the latched door of my room, I could hear my mom cry out - it was a cry of a woman horrified with what fate had brought for her. It was a cry of a wife in her house with only her children the day her husband was arrested. It was a cry of a mother who had left no stone unturned to make her children stay away from what had happened.

Through the slit of the door, I saw light kept on in the other room the whole night. I heard my mom crying out several times over - she was on the phone. I even woke up once and tried to console her. Her red eyes did not shed a tear in front of me as she almost pushed me back into my room.

My mama arrived the next morning and took us away to his place.

A few days later, while still at mama's place, I saw my mom on a news channel. She was no longer the weak housewife cut out from her in-laws because her husband had murdered his own brother. In the video, I saw a brave woman with not one sad streak on her face walking into the court - ready to face whatever was in store for her, head-on.

My mother packed the fourth plate of khichdi that she made yesterday in a tiffin. She took it for dad in jail. When he sobbed like a child, my mom placed her hand on his and told him firmly that she was with him through it all.

As we walked out of the jail, there was one drop of tear accumulated in the deep dark circles under her eyes. In an oyster in water lies the capacity to form a pearl and to keep it tightly concealed in its shell... My mom has kept every sorrow of hers deeply concealed in herself.

Meanwhile, the fourth plate still gets served for dinner every day.

Blog: Second Spell

A hundred year old tree was about to die. Its bark was dry and the tree was leafless. With its convoluted branches, it actually looked like mummy with its arms stretched out.

Among the closely packed branches was one branch which was slightly green. There was a tinge of life left. This one branch wanted the tree to live. It slowly grew towards the earth and thrust itself into the root of the tree. This branch had now replanted itself. By the time the older branches started falling off, newer branches had grown from this new stem of the tree. The mummy that the tree was, had sprung to life.

************

This blog recorded my crests of joy and bouts of depression in the last two years. In my first post, I called it my mirror - a mirror that reflects everything that it sees. Even if you ignore the mirror, it still continues to show you what you are. My blog truly was a friend who stayed among the many who left.

With the dormance it saw, my blog feared if it was its time to say goodbye.

My blog wants to live. My friend does not want to die. I will save it. I will be the branch that will be its new stem. My blog will now see a second inning - a spring where it will prosper and be laden with greener leaves. My blog will overcome the fall season...

***

To my blog and to all of you who are feeling low the way my blog must have,

Autumns don't kill. They only cleanse and ready you for a spring...


-Aaditya Joshi

******

P. S. : WHAT'S NEW?

Audio clips : A narration of my blogposts in my own voice is what will mark this new spell of blog. I hope you all like listening to the audio clips as you read along.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deaf, dumb and blind

I hear none.

I see none.

I speak none.

And I realize that the reason is not my sensory organs...

...it's my mind.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jodha's Krishna mandir

Note: The inspiration of this blogpost is not Ashutosh Gowarikar's 'Jodhaa Akbar' but a scene from K. Asif's 'Mughal-e-azam' and historical findings on different websites on the internet.

Note: An original work of expression like all my blogposts. I try to explore different sides of one germ of an idea.

Disclaimer: I am no historian to make historical claims. I hope the readers appreciate the idea I am trying to put forward.

The year is 1930 - not to add the old-age charm but to plainly pacify the readers who might claim that the content of the writeup is no longer relevant.My claim, however, is that though the social setting has changed, the situation hasn't to a great extent.

The waada* was surrounded by tall stone walls - two pieces of stones sticking to each other. This twenty-feet tall boundary had a small wooden door that was so heavy that it would need two servants to close it. Less than a couple of minutes ago, the servants had closed the door.

Saraswati looked out of the window and saw the full moon sieving through the tree behind the mansion. Once in a while, memories peeped into her mind like this moonlight through the dense leaves and branches.

Saraswati remembered the waada* in the neighbouring village - the house she had grown up in. She could visualise her brother getting her tamarind for her. They would sit on the floor nearly the doorway sucking on the tamarind pod. She remembered playing with her friends in the small patch of grass outside of the mansion. She remembered sitting with her legs on either of her father's shoulders and moving around the house. She felt like a king on an elephant - to her, her father was no less than the mighty, the all-powerful elephant.

The leaves rustled in the breeze and Saraswati came back to the place where she was. She was now the eldest daughter-in-law of this house.

She now carried the name that her husband had given her and the surname of the family she was now in. Her duty, her loyalty was towards this family that she was married in. She was to look after the daily chores of the family though she had some maids for help. She was to participate in the family events like marriages and prove to be a well-behaved and a good daughter-in-law.

She was proud that she was doing all that dutifully...

But somehow, she could never stop her mind from lingering into the past. From sneaking out of this house and going back to the house she had grown up in, from being concerned about her brother's now-failing business, from being worried about her father's dwindling health.

She had heard the story of Akbar's queen Jodhaa who had a Hindu temple constructed in her palace. That corner of the palace was a Krishna mandir, Jodhaa's place of worship. Saraswati realized that the Krishna mandir was also Jodhaa's memory of the life she had left behind her, the life with her parents and their family.

The waada* stood strong and tall in the dark of the night as the moonlight sieved through the window of Saraswati's room. The time that had flown by had come back to Saraswati's mind. It had reminded her of the life that she had lived and the life she had given up the moment she got married.

There was no rebellion, there were no questions. There was no self-glorification by calling what she had done a sacrifice.

She was happy and peaceful. But she could not deny the fac that with the memories of the family and the house she grew up in, Saraswati had her Krishna mandir intact in her mind...



waada* - Marathi word for a mansion. Pronounced as "waa" as in "waah" and "da" as in "dark".

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wake up Sid- Review

The film opens with a disclaimer for the audience regarding the 'Mumbai-Bombay issue' and the theatre become noisier all of a suddden. People on either sides of the line talk about the issue with the person next to them - except the ones who have come alone, I think.

The movie is young and fresh. As it would be clear to someone who has seen the promos, the movie traces the transition of Sid from being a young brat to a responsible person. Like Nagesh Kukunoor movies, the movie has a four sentence storyline but the breezy screenplay takes you through with ease. Some scenes are slow but the dialogues make up for the slow speed. Some songs are good - 'Iktara' rocks!

Konkona Sen Sharma looks good and has performed well too. She reminds you of Kajol - a subtle version as far as acting is concerned. Ranbir has done a good job. It's the first film of his that I saw and I think that except for some scenes where he overacts, he is generally good. Anupam Kher and Supriya Pathak as Sid's parents are good - especially Supriya Pathak. Atisha Naik and Kashmeera Shah as the neighbours are endearing. Ranbir's friends Rishi and Laxmi are like the buddies who always stick around.

The movie is not 'amazing' per se but there are some good things about the movie (apart from the ones mentioned above.) Both Ranbir and Konkona have someone trying to get close to them or so you think. You keep guessing that there would be a love triangle and some nok-jhok due to that. It's interesting to know that that is not the case. The scene where Ranbir leaves his home is good but you don't feel bad for him at all for he has been too rude to his parents. But that's what the story starts with - a thankless, irresponsible boy. The examination hall scene where Ranbir sees people talking to him is interesting to watch. The climax is quick, predictable but candyfloss.

Overall, a good candy floss movie. Definitely entertaining..

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tears at the lakeside

Disclaimer: The imagery is imaginary, the situation is not. Quite vague



The stars are shining on the surface of the lake. I sit on the banks with my legs folded. My naked feet are on the moist ground - I know I am going to leave my footsteps behind when I get up. I look at the highway far away and the tiny specks of light that move as the cars do.

As I sit the lakeside, I hear silence in my eyes. I have a drop of sweat moving across my forehead. I am looking into the lake at the reflection of the brightest light on the highway. It is the brightest light perhaps that has lit up my eyes too.

I am smiling. There are times when you think everything in the world is perfect. With my sweaty brow, muddy feet and hunched back, I think the world indeed is.

A dream that I have seen for so long forms its image, it comes to life like the specks of car headlights reflecting in the lake. The dream becomes the brightest speck in the lake.

The dream now shines in my eye as a large drop of tear. Why am I crying when I see a dream realized? I close my eyes and the tear rolls down. The drop continues to shine on its way down.

I smile at the lake.

The stars shine in the sky. The reflection of the headlights shine on the lake. My tear shines too...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Changing into a tshirt

The t-shirt lay on his bed, neatly folded.

Chinmay ran to the drawing room, picked up the phone and dialled his mother's number.

"Mumma, where are you.... But when will you come back.... Mumma, I have to go to the gymnastics class... I am not going now.... You know I can't wear a t-shirt myself Mumma...", a drop of tear slowly reached his lower lip.

"I am not going to the.... But Mumma, you know I am scared to wear a t-shirt. How am I going to do it without your help... Mumma, please Mumma.... my hands will get stuck inside the t-shirt... I can't do it Mumma...", a second droplet pushed the first down his chin.

"They don't allow us in a shirt... We have to wear a t-shirt only.... Mumma, why did you have to go!!" Chinmay turned red, "7 o clock?! My class is at 5! Aaji* is not well, I can't ask her to help me wear my tshirt..."

"I am not going to talk to you..", Chinmay banged the phone down and returned to his room.

He sat on his bed and wiped the tears with the lower portion of his tiny palm. He looked at the t-shirt with the name of his gymnastics academy written on it.

"Last time I tried to wear a t-shirt, it was tight and my hands got stuck inside. I felt so scared... I always ask Mumma to help me wear a t-shirt. Why did she have to go out today! I want to go to the gymnastics class....", he thought to himself.

He picked up the t-shirt by the stitch where the sleeves were connected to the body of the t-shirt.

"No, I can't miss the class today", his chubby cheeks turned red like an apple.

He closed his eyes and pulled the t-shirt over his head. He stretched out his arms. His hands frantically looked for the opening of the sleeves. He put his hands through the sleeves the moment his hands located them.

It was in three seconds that he was standing in front of the mirror with his cheeks red and his lips broken into a smile.

He had changed into a t-shirt all by himself....


He realized that what he feared was too small to be feared. This was a lesson that Chinmay learnt for life.


Aaji* - The Marathi word for a grandmother

Remembering Gandhiji

Dear Gandhiji,

It's your birthday today.. we are remembering you on all news channels today with special feature segments named in the sensational manner that is typical to the news channels.

We are remembering you in schools and colleges with speeches that are repeated every year.

We smile when we read '2nd October - Gandhi Jayanti' in the holidays list of the year. We remember you with joy.

We have forgotten you otherwise.

When we get a currency note larger than the regular size, we look at the number - preferrably wanting to see a 1000 over a 500 or a 100. We do not look at your smiling face adjacent to the number.

We lie, we fight, we abuse.

We give bribes to a government employee just to get rid of the work as quick as possible.

We are so safe in our 'grihas' that we do not have time for 'satya' leave alone 'satyagraha'...

You are a revered person in the world, the face of India for many outside India.

"The land of Gandhy" is what many of us are greeted with when we say we are from India. We smile in response and say how proud we are. It is then that we remember you Gandhiji.

Regards,
Just someone

P. S. : Is it Lal Bahadur Shastriji's Jayanti today as well? Was he the one who gave the slogan 'Jai jawan, jai kisan'? Or was he the one who gave the slogan 'Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe azaadi dunga'? He must be a freedom fighter, right?! Please tell me more about him, Gandhiji....