The ‘double-line’and after!

The ‘double-line’and after!

The smell of surgical spirit and the cold gel on my abdomen made me feel nervous. I was glancing at the screen at every possible opportunity through my peripheral vision. I am no sonologist. I could see nothing but patches of black, white and grey. I hate this thing about doctors. They never slip an expression, even accidentally, that might help the patient deduce something during diagnosis. I broke into a fit of giggles lying on the couch, tears streaming down my face when the doctor finally announced, “Yes. Look! Your baby is suckling its thumb!”, turning the monitor towards me. After all, the home strip test was not a hoax! “Can my husband see?” I asked and a moment later, my husband was looking at the screen stunned, while the doctor was pointing out the head, arms, legs and spine.

My efforts to hide my conception till the second trimester went in vain due to my evident change in gait and exhaustion levels. I was then exposed to regular doses of advice from aunties and their rantings on how they swept and mopped the floor when they were carrying and how girls these days are too delicate to have a normal delivery. Google was my nutritionist and coach. My mobile overflowed with pregnancy related apps. Keen on not wanting an incision on my abdomen, I walked and climbed staircase like a maniac. Had I walked with a map, I would have completed a World Tour!

I took the privilege of spewing verbal obscenities whenever I had to turn from one side to another lying on the bed, feeling like an upturned tortoise. My husband was a darling coping up with my sudden mood swings. No! I didn’t crave for ash or mangoes or ice cream. I would sit down looking at my tummy for hours to see the little kicks and punches. My son is a ninja!

I got accustomed to pain so much that 20 days before my expected date, my mom looked at my sweaty face while I was walking and exclaimed, “You look pale. It doesn’t seem like false pain”, and I delivered three hours later with no C-shaped incision, by God’s grace.

It has been four months since Shayaan was born. Zombie eyes, stretch marks and overweight don’t bother me anymore. I take it as a “Badge of Honour”. Only for the time being!

All the things that were once ugly are not ugly anymore. Once a baby is born, the house lifts its curfew on ‘unparliamentary’ words, as my mom calls them, like poop, urine and fart, uttered in vernacular language. “Why is it green?!” I would ask my mom having my son’s soiled cloth diaper in my hand. I wonder how mothers are not even mildly disgusted to examine their babies’ stool. That’s the beauty of motherhood! I have learned to eat, walking with my baby in one hand and food in another. I pop ‘Vicks’ Cough drops into my mouth one after another, to talk endlessly to my son despite having sore throat, to see him laughing, gurgling and cooing. I make funny faces, and blabber absolute non-sense as soon as I sense that my child is going to cry. My respect for my mother and all the mothers out there grew boundless after I became a mother. The sentence, “Life changes after having a kid”, seemed so clichéd to me earlier. But not anymore!

Indeed, Life Changes. Beautifully!


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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Melange


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Long time, No write

Long time, No write

When I started blogging, I made a mental note, a promise to myself that I will keep writing, no matter what. Sustenance is the key here. I hadn’t any doubt. But, it had been almost a year since my last blog post.

One might ask, “What happened?”. Well, well, BABY HAPPENED! I am glad that the smug expression I wear while I say this is not visible. That is the advantage of writing over speaking. There can always be an element of concealment, a convenient concealment, when you write. I write things which I may not utter with a gun pointed to my head.

It might sound ridiculous. But, once I was aware that I was pregnant, I stopped reading serious stuff and news. I felt that it might make the baby too serious. Indeed, it made me feel like a doofus. There were times when I used to read all the columns of ‘The Hindu’. Still, it was not my fault! Hours and hours of poring over sites like Babycenter, fitpregnancy, and netmums had put funny ideas into my head. After asking my husband whether he wants a smart baby or a happy baby, and the answer been the latter from both of us, I had conveniently considered lazing. Usually, I scribble my thoughts away as manuscript before typing it into my computer (Yeah! So old school!) after which it goes through reading, brooding, editing and drafting. All these seemed to be too much brain work during pregnancy. Comic strips were my only solace.

Climbing a flight of stairs made me either pass out or sleep like I was hypnotized with the click of a finger. Once, I slept even when I was opening the alarm application in my phone. Now you know! Reading wasn’t very easy with closed eyelids. Forget about writing!

Why am I telling you all this? I am just trying to justify my long absence. Sigh!

Now, I have got the itch to write. Again! I will be back soon.

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Posted by on July 29, 2017 in Melange


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         Ripped jeans, beads on hands and neck, glittery green “POISON IVY” sprawled across her black t-shirt and streaks of magenta on her pixie cut – anyone could surmise, by her appearance, that Sarika was either a hippy or a musician. She was a singer who sings her heart out (her mother calls it, “screaming in agonizing pain”) in her band called ‘Poison Ivy’. She had her own bohemian way of life that always delighted her.

Sarika entered the house, rubbing her stomach, exclaiming, “What’s for dinner mom?… I just want to eat the homemade delicious food cooked by my beautiful mother. The ‘l’ of ‘delicious’ stayed and lingered on the tip of her tongue a few seconds longer than necessary. Neither Sarika nor her mother heard the gleeful smirk of the old lady lying inside one of the bedrooms.

The old woman, who was Sarika’s paternal grandmother had a smug face every time she found her granddaughter cajoling her mother to get her nod for something. In fact, Sarika never did anything without her mother’s approval. She had succeeded in getting it most of the time she sought it except for a few instances. (when she wanted to go on blind dates, have random body piercings, take a ‘sniff’, etc.,)

After having a hearty meal, Sarika sauntered into the room where her grandma was lying supine.

Her grandma asked her quietly, “So, what is the mission?”

“How do you know that there is a mission?”, said Sarika eyeing her surprised.

“You are just like your father.”

“So… Can you help me?”

“I can try.”

“Listen, my band has been qualified for performing in a Music Fest in London. You know my mother and her tantrums. She needs manipulation and persuasion. And I think, this time, the chances of her permitting me is lean.”

The old lady rubbed her chin thoughtfully, “I see… So, what’s the deal?”

Sarika bent towards her and whispered something into her ear. She grinned and shook hands with her granddaughter for it was indeed, a gentleman’s agreement. Meanwhile, Sarika’s mother picked up her mobile phone which was ringing noisily for the second time then.

Before she could say ‘hello’, the voice at the other end said, “SARS…?”

She shuddered every time when her daughter’s name was deformed by her friends. She had named her daughter lovingly after her late mother and it irked her ever since she learnt that SARS is a respiratory disease.

“There is no SARS, Malaria or AIDS here!!!”, her exasperated voice ended with a bark. Her daughter sprinted towards her and grabbed the mobile, her eyes pleading.

Again, the old lady sniggered clearly amused by her daughter-in-law’s irritation. She derived a sadistic pleasure out of it.

Sarika gave her mother a ‘buffer period’ to brood.

After a while, when she saw her mother back in her good mood, she approached her. She had faced several other “walk a tightrope” situation, only, now it is a knife instead of a tight rope. Although she believed in her secret savior.

“Mother, have I ever told you that my dream is to become a big famous singer?”


“Well, it is because, statistically, pronounced dreams often don’t come true. They fail. But, now, I think my dream is gonna come true if you wish.”

“If I wish? How?”

“Our band has been selected to perform at a musical festival in London and it is huge for us.”

Sarika’s mother nodded her head sideways, her lips pursed which inferred that she is totally against the idea. But, before she could open her mouth to refuse, the old lady came running into the living room where they were sitting.

“What is it?”, she enquired.

“Nothing that concerns you!”, said Sarika angrily, without spilling a hint about the agreement.

“Everything in this home concerns me. I am the eldest of you all and my decision will be the final”, she shouted, her nose flaring. “I don’t want you to be wasted like your mother. Look at you, your hair and your clothes. You look nothing like a girl. And what is the ugly tattoo on your neck? hmmpfff… This is the last hay. I heard everything. I am not permitting you anywhere out of the house.”

“Sarika, you are going.”, said her mother calmly, smiling triumphantly, ignoring her mother in law. She liked her annoyed and derived a sadistic pleasure out of it.

Sarika’s heart did somersaults inside. “Thank you, mom. You are the best”, she hugged her mother tight who was now giving a stink eye to her mother in law who was grumbling curses.

 A day after Sarika returned from her musical tour, her cupboard was filled with souvenirs. Her grandmother opened her secret vault containing loads of exquisite, divine chocolates to take a lustful bite. All from London! Hush hush!


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Posted by on August 8, 2016 in Stories


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The Jinx

“The way you shake it, I can’t believe it. I ain’t never seen an ass like thaaaat… STOP. STOP IT! YOU FOOL!” he scorned at himself.

 A distant satanic laughter in his own voice popped and vanished as he desperately tried to stop the song in his head that has been playing ceaselessly since long now. He looked around the exam hall. He found the white noise of the ceiling fan and the page flipping noises eerie. He looked at the question paper. “Crap! This subject is not what I prepared for” said he as his eyes scanned the questions. “These seem a little familiar. I think I have studied them before! I can manage”, he thought feeling a teeny bit confident.

He gazed around seeking a familiar face, for comfort. Strangely, all the heads were bent over the paper in a similar fashion and their seemingly programmed hands moving exactly the same way as each other. Like a military parade! He ignored the odd knot in his stomach and continued writing.

The noise of friction of his pen on the paper calmed him a bit and gave him a sense of satisfaction despite the tons of nonsense he was filling the paper with, involuntarily. Words seemed to flow out from his fingers without his control like a broken faucet. He reached the end of the page …Doing Doing Doing.”  

“May I get a sheet of paper ma’am?”, he raised his hand.

The invigilator who lifted her head looked more like his least favorite aunt who constantly advised him on his career, nodded disapprovingly with every single mark he lost in exams and kept asking about his future plans. Only she looked more cruel this time – her nails long and sharp, painted crimson; her fang teeth deadly. She came to his table and sniggered wickedly looking at the paper filled with the song that endlessly looped in his mind. 

“Are these enough?”, she asked and kept sheets of paper smeared with blood. 

The scene shattered. When he opened his eyes wide, his forehead had beads of sweat and the fan rotated slowly coming to a halt. He realized that he had been dreaming again. He felt cursed with the same recurring dream of exams that haunted him almost every night.

“Drink the coffee before it gets cold!”, his wife called out from the kitchen, “And get up. It is already 9 now. How will the sub ordinates be if manager himself is unpunctual?”

His usual vigour at work remained unaltered in spite of the chronic nightmares. After his long day at work, he felt pretty sure that he would go to sleep as soon as he hit the bed. He lied down on his cozy bed and closed his eyes. 

An hour passed before a familiar voice asked, “Are these enough?” 

He took the blood smeared sheets. He felt like his hands were being controlled by a puppet master pulling the invisible strings. He saw the blue ink pen in his hand, write in deep red,



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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Stories


Living with Monster!

It is there in the house! Always.  Day and night. The delectable monster with its icy cold breath enthrals me, pulling me automatically towards it, whenever hunger digs its nails deep inside my stomach, making me commit the same sweet sinful thing over and over again. The everyday ritual of chanting that I am not going to do the same mistake goes in vain for I am so helplessly enticed by the monster, impossible to get rid of.

Here I am, standing in front of the monster with its fiery mouth open for me. My fingers tremble in a dilemma – which one to choose?!  I slap hard, the voice inside my head yelling “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips”, as I relish the bar of chocolate that the cold monster gave me as my fingers type on the search engine for the umpteenth time, “Advantages of eating chocolate”!

The monster called refrigerator wins again!

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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Melange


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The Reward

Aditi excused herself from Geeta as she left her place and took a cab back home. Several thoughts about the conversation that she had a few minutes back with her friend, jumbled inside her head. “Who was it?” the voice inside her asked in different tones and there she was in cab fidgeting impatiently to reach home and find the answer!

A few minutes back, at Geeta’s house,

She said, “It feels wonderful to meet you after so long, Aditi. All hail technology! I missed you!”

“I missed you too Geetu! Meeting school friends is the best thing ever for we spend almost a quarter of our lives in school!” exclaimed Aditi.

“How we shared our lunch boxes sitting under tree! Also, in class, under the desk” giggled Geeta, “Remember how I dreaded the maths and chemistry classes! It was a nightmare every day. Phew! Somehow I managed to pass every time despite standing outside the class most of the time”

“I loved our English teacher. She was the best! How she motivated us by sending nice little books every time you score good marks but never spoke about it! If not for her, I am not where I am now”

“What books!? What are you talking about?” asked Geeta with a puzzled look on her face.”I never received anything except for those little red stars on my exam paper.”

Aditi, after 18 long years wondered why it never occurred to her that “the teacher” always sent her books on post secretly. Aditi loved her teacher immensely. The first time she received a book in post, she opened the parcel excitedly saying, “I hope it is from my english miss! I love her!” and every time after that, the posts were from her teacher.

On reaching home, she opened her bookshelf and looked at the front page of every book she had and found written in them “To sweet Aditi, the future Author!” It struck her after so long that she shared her secret dream of becoming an author with no one but one. Her dream had come true without her knowing the person behind it.

She went inside her father’s study where he was sitting in his easy chair, his face hidden behind the newspaper. “Ahem!” she cleared her throat and her father looked up. She opened a book and showed him the front page and said “Thank you ‘English miss’!”

Her father grinned as she lunged at him lovingly and hugged him!

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Posted by on March 30, 2016 in Stories


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The Gift

The Gift

Ayesha gazed longingly at the mannequin draped in a purple and pink silk saree. The cold air from the air conditioner hit her face. She was breath-taken every time she visits such festive and gaudy shopping malls. “How many colors and hues!” she muttered to herself as she felt the lovely fabric. She looked at the rate tag and kept it back. “Do you like it mother?” she heard Adil’s voice from behind. “What?” she stuttered and said instantaneously, “No! It won’t suit me and your father won’t like it. Moreover, everything looks good on the mannequin. Let’s go get your jeans” and they moved to the “Branded Jeans” section.

Two days later, Adil sneaked into his parents’ room. The night lamp was on and the fan had muffled the musical ups and downs of the TV, his father was watching. Ayesha had curled up on the edge of the bed and was sleeping peacefully. Her face looked weary yet serene with lines of laughter. He wondered how she managed to smile always, even in times of distress. She never had demands and she never complained as far as he remembered. She sacrificed so much without even realizing that she was! Adil slipped his hand under her pillow. She twitched a little. He took out her mobile phone and turned off the alarm that was set to 5:00 A.M on repeat mode.

Next morning, she woke up with a jerk, horrified as the clock showed 7:30 A.M. Adil was ready to go to his college, while Ayesha asked him apologetically, “Why didn’t you wake me up? I didn’t hear the alarm. What will you eat for lunch now?” Adil said cheerfully, “Relax mother! Happy Birthday to you!” He hugged her and gave her a kiss on her cheeks. She had forgotten her birthday, as usual. “By the way, lunch is ready!” he winked as he left in his bike. Puzzled, Ayesha went to the dining room.

There she saw a casserole full of her favorite chicken biryani that Adil had specially prepared for her. She felt touched by her son’s gesture. Also, on the table were a glittery package and a card over it. Ayesha opened the gift slowly and she was overwhelmed when she found the purple and pink saree she loved from the mall, the other day. The card read, “Everything looks gorgeous on Angels! And you are one of the best. Happy Birthday, Ma!”

She closed the card, her eyes gleaming with unspoken words of love and her heart engulfed in happiness!

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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Stories


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