Happy New Year 2017

Okay, I am going to try and keep this as short as possible. But knowing me, my short is definitely the opposite. I can ramble on for pages and pages, whilst calling it short. So I will try my best to stick to the universally accepted definition of short!

See what I did there? I rambled on about rambling on…

Moving on, though — I am probably a few days late, but I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Everyone includes my fans (if I have any), my friends (if they even check my blog), my mother (because she is the only regular visitor I have, I am sure), my extended family (even though they don’t really know much about my blog) and anyone who has stumbled across my blog by mistake or by chance.

For me, 2016 has been a roller-coaster ride (does anyone get reminded of the Dhoom 2 song at those words?), as always. I have had my share of ups and downs the past year and frankly, it has been a wonderful journey. Of all the years since I was born, 2016 was one of the most eventful.

This was the year I co-headed a small committee in my college (as the Assistant Literary Secretary), it was the year I managed to organise a small, but exciting event called ‘One Frame Story’ in my college fest, it was also the year I got placed in a good company that I wanted, it also happened to be the year where I faced many challenges while experiencing the above and at every turn, I have done by best to give my all. This feeling, this raw feeling is something I had the chance to appreciate in 2016.

2016 has been a turning point in my life, a point where I now know that my childhood is over. 2016 is when I turned 21, an age you cannot go back from. I am now an adult! No, not a young-adult. Not even a “near”-adult. I am a grown-up adult. And unfortunately (or fortunately – we will see which), 2017 will be the year I have to start acting like one!

And hence, I fondly look forward to 2017, the year of change! With might and eagerness, I look forward to my transition from a college student to an employee of a company with a proper job. I look forward to handling my own shit, and meeting my responsibilities to the best of my knowledge and abilities. And above all, I look forward to 2017 being one of the best years of my life (just like the years before), even if it is wrought with difficulties and sorrows.

I wish you all the same.

Happy New Year 2017, folks!

-K


As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images or from my own personal collection or other sources which will be mentioned if and when, unless stated otherwise. Contact me if you want it removed.

 

Moving On

Moving On
by Kunal Nayak

The little salvaged cubes of vegetables danced maniacally in the boiling water. Vee extended her hands, inches away from the old vessel. The warmth was blissful. It made her forget all her problems. The fire that danced below the vessel was very pleasing. Even the cold could not deter her now.

She waited as the vegetables continued to boil. They would sleep tonight with food in their stomachs. It would be a sleep of peace; especially since she had found two moth-eaten but perfectly fine sheets of blankets from her work place. She smiled at the thought.

As she waited in the dead of the night for the dinner to cook, her mind wandered. Perhaps it was the cold, or perhaps it was the warmth. But old memories stung. And they stung hard.

It seemed like an eternity now but back in her youth, Vee had been rich. Filthy rich. Miles and miles away, she was sure that her old family, the lying and manipulative backstabbers, were comfortably enjoying their feasts. No pity for their only daughter, no sense of resentment… only shame.

She liked the fact that she was homeless now. Yes. She absolutely embraced it. She had no money; she had no friends. She had no conniving parents, no selfish siblings to scheme behind her back, no abusive husbands to leave scars on her body… she was happy. For once, she was happy. And for once, she felt protected.

She fidgeted around until her old, ragged but still good enough hoodie was covering all of the marks. They still hurt, sometimes. No, not physically. These were not the purple patches her husband had left behind. They were the scars that she would bear mentally for the rest of her life. And she would do it proudly.

She still thought back to the day, when she had left home. The hell house. This home was not the one where she was born, but the house where she had died. A place, where she had been driven nearly insane by controlling mother-in-law, her ignorant husband and their perfect son. The perfect shining knight that was supposed to make her feel happy and safe. The same son who was also a Dark Brute when she was with him alone.

She had promised not to cry. She had always told herself that she would move on. In spite of all the bad things, she had forgiven her ex-husband for all the problems he had given her. But somethings never changed. Be it the warm confinement of her bedroom, or the harsh cold night on the streets-tears still welled up in her eyes.

She had finally mustered courage and slapped her husband goodbye. It had been a wonderful day. She had paid, of course. But she had also left him behind. She had stomped on her husband’s foot and left her in-law’s in awe when she had run away. But she did not like calling it “running-away.” She rather called it as Moving on.

She had rushed home, and with a firm determination she did not know she had, had relayed the truth to her home. She was finally relieved, for the first time in months now that she was truly home. The same home where she had grown up, where she had been pampered. The same home that were now blaming her for her failed marriage.

She sniffled, but calmly controlled herself.

Her parents had yelled at her for leaving her husband’s home. They had refused to let her in. They had already called her horrible in-laws. Her siblings, her two younger brothers stood behind her parents, not giving a crap. They stood there, saying nothing. Doing nothing. Just standing, bored and cold. Her heart shattered into two. Her soul retched. She ran once more.

But where would she go? She had no one. Her friends, those “Selfie takers”, those humans that wore a façade, had abandoned her. But then again, her husband seemed like a golden boy to everyone but her. He had been the centre of social circles. He had always been the ideal husband.

Now here she was.

She had left the city. She was now on the streets. She felt lost. There was only one reason she had not gone back. But she still felt helpless. Her life was officially screwed. So what was she supposed to do?

She had no official degree in education. “Why study when your husband is there to provide?” or “Why worry when your father has all the money in the world?” were her mother’s automated responses. It felt foolish now.

She checked the vegetables for rawness, and they still felt undercooked. So she added more wood to the fire. It roared, providing her with waves of warmth. She closed her eyes to feel the heat on her face. Then she lost it.

She dare not scream on the outside, but her insides were burning. Her face was red with a mixed sense of frustration and sorrow. The step she had taken, of abandoning her family, her families, had been a big one. She had always known that there was no going back. But the warmth disappeared. Suddenly, just like her life, the heat had withered away. She could still see the fire, a perfect energy in front of her. But it gave no peace. It was a cold fire.

For a moment, she yelled. It was a soft yell that did not carry. But still, it made her feel light. She wanted to go back. She wanted to apologize. She did not want to live this life anymore. This freedom that was supposed to taste sweet was in reality bitter and unfathomable. She wanted her life back. She wanted it all back.

“Why should I not?” she thought to herself. The vegetables danced, the vessel steamed. “What does it matter if they hurt me? I can learn to not feel the pain. But at least I will be safe?”

She got up in a short moment of epiphany. She would learn. She would lead a miserable life, but at least she would be comfortable. At least she would be well fed and warm.

And then she realised why she couldn’t go back.

Her daughter, a four year old with an angelic smile, came running towards her. She had her three year old brother with her. They were laughing. They had just come back from playing with a couple of other street kids.

Her frown vanished. Her inner turmoil was wiped off. She could only see her kids. The same kids her two families had not cared for. The same angels that her husband had not bothered to take from her. The same kids she had run away from home for.

They had never known their grandparents or father, because they had been too small. But even though they did not have a roof over their head, even though the only thing that would be in their stomachs was a couple of carrots, potatoes and peas, they were safe. They were loved. They were her anchor.

She smiled at them as she served them dinner. They sat around the fire, prayed to God, and dug in. Vee knew now why she would be just fine.

As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images or from my own personal collection or other sources which will be mentioned if and when, unless stated otherwise. Contact me if you want it removed.

Back to India [Short story]

By Bleeding Mahogany

By Bleeding Mahogany

Hey Bleedsters!
It has been a while and I return with a story, a story of a man returning back to India after a long time and that too at an auspicious time of the year. I have tried my best to portray in short what it feels to return back to your roots and why India is so much better off with festivals that bring people closer. Just a heads-up that since I didn’t get time to proofread this, the story might have some silly mistakes. If it does, please ignore them!

Hope you enjoy it. Also, HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI from me. Enjoy this day with your family. Let the big guy shower you with blessings and wisdom. He is pretty cool that way. I am sure he will. 
Love,
Kunal.

Back to India
by Kunal Nayak

The MAN wouldn’t have been there, if his wife from California had not forced him. He would perhaps still be working on his major project in California. It was just Wednesday and he still had time to go back all the way from Mumbai to CA to work on it. But he knew he couldn’t.

The MAN was in a cab. An air conditioned UBER that he had ordered for himself using his mobile app. After multiple counts of mugging, thefts and robberies on the news, the MAN no longer trusted the local cabs that one could get from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. All he wanted to do was reach his home in peace, do the deed and get over with this ordeal. No matter what SHE had requested, he would simply NOT wait for more than a day.

The cab came to a halt, quite suddenly. The MAN looked about, searching for a reason. The music playing inside the cab (on his request of course) was drowned by a loud beating of drums. The drums were rhythmic and strangely familiar to the MAN. He saw from his windows a procession. People were dancing merrily on the roads, with music being played by a band of traditionally clothed men walking slowly behind them. The young women and men, little kids and some other folks danced with zeal and energy in front to the beats, almost as if in a trance. Behind them stood older men, holding a murti.

It was an idol of a child with the head of an elephant. A jolt of tingles made the MAN realize from his cab that it was the idol of Ganapati, the Hindu God of Wisdom and Intellect. It was a strangely familiar sight for the MAN. He recognized the small golden chariot that had been artistically made, yet the old men had chosen to carry the idol with their own, bare hands.

“What is all this commotion?” demanded the MAN angrily, “How long is it going to take?” he asked in the local tongue. He confessed to himself that his local tongue was clumsy and raw.

“Sorry, saar but there is a huge traffic jam in front. Tomarrow is Ganesha Chaturthi, saar,” explained the cab driver. He looked helpless but he said it with a smile. That annoyed the MAN even more.

A sudden downpour of heavy rain drowned the music inside the cab completely. It was thundering, too. And lightening. Great.

The MAN noticed some people running for cover but a majority of them were still dancing while the music still played. The procession he had been seeing was still going on, with only a slight difference of the murti being kept inside the protective chariot now.

Why is a small procession creating such a havoc? He asked himself.

Then, the cab inched forward and now he could see the actual commotion that was creating the traffic jam through the small space between the adjacent cars. Another fifty procession.

The MAN decided that there was no point in the music inside the cab now, so he requested the cab driver to switch it off. The driver complied.

And now he could hear and see everything, which brought back an onslaught of his childhood memories. As the cab inched forward a bit more, the MAN slid down his windows, finally agreeing to ignore the air-conditioning inside and basked in the memories that took him over.

The scene was truly beautiful.

The air was rented apart with different kinds of musical songs clashing with one another. While one song could be heard faintly, another would take its place stronger and more rhythmic than before.

Some people were cheering, others were dancing, some singing along, many doing all of it together. Wherever he saw, the procession was the same. The younger folks danced in front, in the rain in sloppy wet clothes while the older folks carried the chariot or fancily carved seats with the idol of Ganesha on it in the back, looking on with fascination. The band of musicians seemed to be oblivious to the rain or the traffic jam that was created by them.

The MAN also noticed a huge truck in front. Surrounding the truck was a load of people. It seemed like a large scale version of all the procession behind it. As the cab sped ahead, finally making a difference in movement, the humungous version of Ganesha came into view. It was the biggest idol the MAN had ever seen.

The idol was adorned with a golden crown, jewels of different kinds and ornaments sparkling along with the thunder overhead. It was protected too, by a chariot’s umbrella and it was clearly well lit. It was easily the best of them all.

And the music. Instrumental versions of Old Bollywood songs played on the huge speakers in front of the truck. Kids danced in the rain, even those that weren’t a part of any processions.

Before he knew it, the MAN found tears trickling down his cheek. He wiped them away silently, checking if the cab driver had seen them. Of course, the cab driver didn’t even look behind.

It reminded him of his own childhood. In a sudden flash of images, he saw his parents, he saw his brothers and siblings, and he saw his cousins and relatives… He saw everyone.

What seemed like a lifetime ago, he had been once a part of such a procession. He had been always the youngest one and would dance with his cousins in front. The younger aunts and uncles would also dance with them while his parents and elder relatives would carry their idol from behind, whilst keeping a keen eye on the kids.

The MAN remembered claiming loudly, “Ours is the best one!” to everyone and anyone who would hear. It had surely been true. His own great-uncle had owned a shop where they sold the best idols in the city at Dadar, Mumbai and he remembered choosing the prettiest, most colourful idols of them all with his siblings. It was the one time he had been in agreement with his cousin. It was the one time his elder cousins had ever listened to his opinions.

The MAN smiled at that image.

As the cab sped through the city, the MAN basked in the light. The heavy downpour had transformed into a light drizzle now and the lightening had almost stopped. Empty thunder clapped now and then but it too was a few ‘Mississippis’ apart now.

The MAN was looking at the idols as he sped through the city. Each idol was different, and each idol beautiful. Each idol, the MAN realized, was intricately crafted and painted on beautifully. He saw the procession progress at various traffic lights and realized quite suddenly something.

He thought back to a particular year of the procession of his own Ganesh idol. He remembered how of all the days, those five days had been the only days he would surely see his cousins.

He recollected that as time moved on, the relatives decreased. The older ones died, the younger ones turned into the older ones and the kids grew up. Joint families often could not stand the test of times, the MAN thought, and as the family split into smaller ones, he saw them less and less until he too moved abroad.

But he remembered the Ganesh Chaturthi day. Everyone, the lost cousins, the busy relatives and even the conservative senior members of the family would huddle around the idol as they carried it through the city. Another smile adorned the MAN’s face and the cab driver noticed it this time.

“We are nearly there, saar” he said in his heavy accent.

“I know,” said the man simply as he realized the one important lesson a simple cab ride had taught him: never forget your roots.

He realized how his busy life had given him a plethora of problems like depression, stress and sadness and also how his job had given him a lifetime of illnesses along with the money. He also remembered how with his job, he had forgotten, for a while, who he really was and where he really was from.

With a jolt of realization, the MAN got out of his cab with the luggage and knocked on his door as the cab sped away behind him.

He was home. The MAN was finally home. And for the first time since his move to the US, the MAN was free of all the problems.

The door opened to a scene of his family; the same family who had grown apart from him, huddled together around the murti they had just brought into their home. He smiled and hugged each of them and he had never felt better.

As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images or from my own personal collection, unless stated otherwise. Contact me if you want it removed.