Halloween’s Little Monsters in kindergarten

Halloween’s Little Monsters in kindergarten

Little Anu is the second born, a girl who is 5 years old

She tries to imitate and copy her elder sister, and does more than she is told

It all started when Mommy said, ”Look at your sister and try to be like her.

Eat up all the veggies and I will reward the fastest eater be it whoever.”

Anu became ready and steady as she set on her mark

But little did she know that it was a journey towards the dark

She raced and raced in every little thing

She emerged a winner in most of those things

Her teacher said she was ready for Grade 5, no need for her to wait

No need for her to be in kindergarten when she already knew tables of 8

Anu became over confident and competitive too

Whenever she won the race, her mom smiled and casually said, “Oh my daughter is so competitive, what to do?”

Little did the mom realize that it was not a virtue she was encouraging

She only created a future for her daughter, full of racing, winning and beating

But when she did not win the prize, she won a bout of anger instead

That anger paced her heartbeat and made her see little sense

There was a fellow student, he was John, a boy diagnosed with ADHD

He was hyperactive and would not even read or write if told from A to Z

The teacher lost her patience and said John should go back to KG1

He is too naughty and does not listen to anyone

Anu smirked with delight when anyone else got scolded and rebuked

She silently upped her collar, and told herself, “Ain’t I proud of you?”

She realized that someone was looking, looking at her with disgust

It was Mini, her classmate, who was also good in most things, but never came a first

Twenty-five years went by as fast as the scenes seen from the window of a train

A school reunion was planned and all those once little friends would meet again

Anu quickly popped a pill of Benzodiazepine, and straightened out her collars

She looked at the mirror with pride, and thought of her salary, worth a billion dollars

“Hey aren’t you John?” asked a slim and attractive lady to a handsome and well dressed man.

“Mini?” and he stepped down from the van.

There was excitement and fervor in the air, but Anu stood aside

Waited for someone to approach her, as she clutched her purse tight

Then she sighed and walked up to them

“Hi! Everyone,” she greeted them with a smile, as she adjusted the ring in her hand

“Anu? Nice to see you again,” greeted back John, trying to raise his voice above the banter

They laughed and joked, and then the surprise announcement came

Their class teacher was arriving soon, she was now a wise old dame

“Oh no, I got to leave,” Anu said to her buddies as she rose up to leave

“I have an important Joint venture meeting,” and a loud sigh she heaved

She listened to no requests. “I have a meeting too, “ said John

Nothing could deter her, leaving behind her friends forlorn

She rushed so fast that she bumped into an old woman with a walking stick

But Anu had not a minute to waste, to help or to pick

She reached her conference room and there she was ready, steady and on her mark

In walked the new joint venture partner – Mr. John De Park

They both were surprised to meet each other again, it started in the classroom

And a new story began in the conference, once again.

As parents, and more as mothers, we take immense pride when our child achieves something. There is an immediate and spontaneous reaction on our face. And the child sees that. What does the child see? A happy parent. So, the child knows that achievement results in happy parents.

They derive happiness in achievements, to them their achievement is making the parent happy. And they learn from us, to be happy when they achieve. When they don’t achieve, what do they see? They see disappointment, and sometimes even sadness and anger on our faces.

So, a child who has, let us assume, won a Maths competition once, does not win the second time….. will innocently come and tell his parents about what happened. He is sad that he did not win and someone else won. But if the parent gives a negative reaction, it only gives vent to the little monster. The little monster who gets angry with himself when he does not win, gets angry when others win, so he tries to win at any cost and if he does not win, he learns to blame and sometimes lie only to inflate the ego, which gets a high with a sense of achievement. And as the child grows with age, so does the monster. He takes a bigger form, till the apparition scares that child who is now a man.

As parents and teachers, on occasion of Halloween today, let us pledge to only dress our children as monsters to have fun and do trick or treat! Let us not create them.

Unknowingly or casually, we should not pass any remark that creates over confidence in one child and lack of confidence in another. As a parent, and am sure I speak on behalf of all parents, and even teachers who are parents, I expect teachers to always remember that children are very gullible. I fondly remember my kindergarten teachers and they are the ones who left an everlasting impression in my mind.

If you joke about a child’s incapability, he might start believing that. When I say good-bye to my child, as he boards the bus in the wee hours of the morning, I resume with my other chores assuming and inherently believing that at school, my child will be taken good care of, both body and mind!

As a parent, I try to tell my children, that there is no competition between brothers and sisters, not with anyone else. Try to do better than what you did last time and Mum and Dad will be happiest, for we know you tried your best.

It is important that you stop to pick up the spectacles of a classmate(if it has fallen down) during an activity or competition, than finish the task first.

Always, remember that when you are working with a class or team, there is more often than not, a shy child, who is hesitant to start or complete an activity. Helping him to pace up is more important than completing the activity first.

Talking emotions with children is something that we usually do not do. But if you tried, you will be appalled at their understanding of emotions. If there is a death in the family, help your child to grieve and let him learn to show affection towards grieving family members.

In kindergarten, the child is learning how to choose a best friend. Sometimes the child realizes his best friend’s best friend is someone else. He can be a melting pot sometimes. On some occasions, he may express, sometimes he may be cranky, because his little inner self is discovering new emotions like jealousy. All we need to do is treat him with hugs, on Halloween Day and every single day of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty with a purpose

Beauty with a purpose

Don’t we all love to judge others? Whoa, yes of course! But, how easy is it to volunteer to be judged? Tough walk all the way, isn’t it?

So far, all my blogs have had fictional characters. No doubt they were inspired by real people.

But this time, I am here to share the real journey of a very real person. Someone as real as you and me. Boy and am I proud that this is the second time, I am writing about her. Meet the effervescent, enormously talented Karishma Chawla Chhabria who has been selected as one of the top finalist contenders for the prestigious Haut Monde Mrs. India Worldwide 2017 -Season 7.

She will be shortly heading to Ho Chi Minh City to participate in a series of portfolio shoots, workshops and fitness programs as a pre-cursor to the grand finale to be held in New Delhi on August 5, 2017.

You can definitely not ignore the most beautiful curve on her, ‘her smile’! It has the innocence of a child and before you can even wonder what the mystery all about her is, she confidently introduces herself as Karishma Chawla Chhabria.

Karishma is your girl next door. She was born and brought up in Mumbai. A very simple and strong values based childhood is what she grew up with. Karishma lost her father only when she was in her early twenties. Such a tremendous loss did not shatter this young girl. She decided to emerge stronger than before. Karishma singlehandedly took up the responsibility of a child every parent would yearn for.

Karishma joined Jet Airways as an Air Hostess when she was only 20 years old. Little did she know then, what a blessing in disguise, her first job was! It inculcated in her a lifelong discipline of aesthetic grooming and nurturing one’s beauty. She has a beautiful yet very meaningful point when she says, “Our body is the temple we’ll be living in until we exist. What better than to keep that temple clean and beautiful.”

Karishma had set up her own training services providing organization, “Get Skilled”, 15 years ago in Mumbai. The fact that it seamlessly continues to be a ‘top-of-mind’ training provider to most Corporates, is thoroughly well deserving.

While Karishma has been engaged in participation and chasing of yet another dream of hers, her pillars of support stand strong in the form of Suraj, her husband and Krishiv, her son.

She is following a strict diet and work-out regime in order to achieve the milestones set forth in the pageant.

The reason why Karishma is participating in Haut Monde Mrs. India Worldwide 2017 -Season 7 is only because, she feels her story isn’t over yet! She would like to use this platform to live her other dreams. Karishma has two primary goals that she would like to focus on in the near future – to work closely with children diagnosed with ADHD and initiate and contribute in substantive ecological initiatives including reduction of carbon footprints.

I have known Karishma since 2008. And I have yet to meet another person with a unique combination of being successful and is yet absolutely down to earth.

Wishing Karishma all the best for Finals.

Please visit https://m.facebook.com/Karishma-Chhabria-Finalist-Haute-Monde-Mrs-India-Worldwide-2017-1048267245309395/ and like the page to get posted about future updates.

 

Guest Blog:The Alpha Female

Guest Blog:The Alpha Female

This blog has been written by Karishma Chawla Chhabria. She is the Director of Get Skilled Training Solutions, an eminent training solutions providing organization based at Mumbai. 

Alpha female…Wow!

Can there ever be a female who is Alpha?

I had only ever heard of Alpha Males.Until I met an Alpha female. If I had one line to describe her, it would have to be – ‘I am sexy and I know it.’

You know one when you see one. Alpha females, like Alpha males have a distinct aura and personality. The Alpha female is confident, sexy, intelligent and dominant. Clearly her description means she’s not every man’s cup of tea or coffee and is definitely an object of jealousy amongst other Beta and Omega women.

Yes u read it right.

There are Beta and Omega women too. Doesn’t it make u think who you are? An Alpha, Beta or Omega

 Here are a few signs you may be an Alpha woman.

An Alpha woman demands it’s “My way or the highway”.

She knows how to succeed and goes for it all out.

She is the decision maker who decides from a myriad of choices in life that must be made, right from which drink to next travel destination to what to do next. She knows how to get her way around and will not hesitate to use people, power, her sexuality or any other opportunity to make it to the top. She is often single because most men aren’t good enough for her. An Alpha female can only be handled by an alpha male. Rest all other men will fail. She’s the popular woman who’s often called a B**** by other Beta and Omega women.

Having said that, her right hand is often the Beta Woman who admires (secretly envious) the Alpha for her guts. Alpha women are mostly found in the Top Management of Organizations and leads places like she owns them. Famous examples of Alpha women would be Samantha Jones from Sex and the City or Miranda from The Devil wears Prada.

An Alpha Female will find herself in the most intense relationships. A word of caution here; the intensity is more often from the male. She has men wrapped around her little finger. Most Beta and Omega men will be head over heels with her. Only an Alpha male can keep an Alpha female grounded. They love fiercely and burn with passion. Mind you… These 2 are not a combination meant for marriage.. There will be fireworks and a few blasts too.. Hence very often the Alpha Female remains single. If she finds herself in marriage, she’s either the boss or she leaves someday because one clearly cannot cage an Alpha for too long, even though they think they have. This Alpha Female will Ace all her duties and responsibilities and no one will ever be able to raise a finger at her.

She is the one who you can learn the art of Delegation from.

She may be a Boss Wife; but she sure does love her off springs to death. She is a “Don’t mess with my kid” kinda mom. She is tough on her child, makes sure he/she doesn’t become a prey to any bullying. She is protective to the hilt but not a softy who spoon feeds her child. She makes them ready for the world. You see a child and you know that pup belongs to an Alpha mom – smart, intelligent, wont mess with anyone until he’s messed with, excellent with fulfilling his or her commitments and responsibilities, independent and secured. There can be only one reason for the Alpha Female being vulnerable, when her loved ones are hurt or if they hurt her. The rest of the world doesn’t matter to her too much anyway.

She ends up leading and how..

Most of these characteristics remain the same across the board of Alpha women.. unless there has been a life changing situation like an Accident, Near to Death Experience or Loss of a loved one.

In short, she is madness, insanity.. She is hell and paradise.

You maybe some of this or may be not. What is important is to watch out for an Alpha woman around you or in you… she can be both… Pride and Prejudice. She’s the Leader of the Wolf Pack… you can’t miss her in you or around you… As for me.. I’ve met one up close and personal.. do you want to guess who she is????

The Woman Factor

The Woman Factor

A very ‘Happy Women’s Day’ to everyone reading my blog and/ or celebrating this day – today or always! Agreed that its unnecessarily commercialized and too much brouhaha. And why not? With one lifetime and amidst so much of stress that we all deal with, moments like this one, provide a momentary escape into the world of ‘Feeling good – about oneself or about those around you’.

My heart bled when I read about 19 female fetuses dumped in Sangli in Maharshtra. The same Sangli which boasts to be the native place of the two best singers, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale. Lata Mangeshkar has been awarded with the Bharat Ratna award and Asha Bhonsale with the Dadasaheb Phalke award.

Irony!

The Central Adoption Resource Authority(CARA) is supposedly the nodal body for all adoptions inter and intra country across India. I have friends who have been lucky enough to adopt a child within a waiting period of 3 years with support from CARA. Between April to June 2015, child adoption centers across India received 1,241 requests to adopt a girl against 718 for a boy. Isn’t that fantastic?

But there lies the irony. While in urban areas, the mindset is broadening about a girl child, the rural areas are still under the domain of a rigid male bastion. While many couples in India are struggling with issues of infertility, Sangli could have offered many of them a ray of hope. Well, then, ‘Sangli’ is just a name…a name representing many places which are practicing the same thing.

My next question is to Rahul Gandhi. I have never been political or apolitical entirely. But what was that remark about Michelle Obama? Seriously? Had he featured in those stand-up comedian programmes on TV, probably a recorded applause would be all that he would receive. Will someone tell that M.Phil. (Development Economics) Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University, U.K. to just put a finger on his lips. It reminds me, when I was in Kindergarten Section A and my friend, funnily enough, he was a ‘Rahul’ too….he was in Section B and every day he would return with a bandage on his lips. Punishment for talking unnecessarily. How I would delight myself, if R K Laxman was alive now and created a cartoon of bandaged mouthed Rahuls, Shobha De’s….and their entire clan!

Actually there’s been too much in the news..Kangana vs. Karan Johar, Virender Sehwag vs. Gurmeher Kaur. Tiffany Trump joining an elite law school. And amidst entertaining but sometimes irritating reads, we also read about an all-women crew flight that departed on 27 February for San Francisco and returned at the Indira Gandhi International airport on Friday after flying across the globe. Kudos!

Italy is giving all women free entry to the country’s museums today to mark International Women’s Day!

Am I a feminist? Maybe…or maybe not. But I am a celebrationist. I like to celebrate the parts of life that make me smile.

Meet Dr. Shekhar Gupta. He is a General Physician in Barauni. After giving birth to five daughters, his wife finally bore a son. A male protagonist for a Women’s Day blog? Quite unlikely right? Read on to find out why.

‘Thank God!’ He sighed as he looked at his ageing mother on the wheelchair with the five girls standing by.

‘Hope now you are happy.’

‘My son. God has finally been kind to us.’ She raised her hands in the air as a gesture of gratitude to the almighty. Then she turned around and twitched her cataract affected eyes to spot someone.

‘Buddhiya, go quickly and buy pedhas(Indian sweets) for the entire colony and distribute to everyone.’ She took out some money from her secret wallet that she carried with her wherever she went.

Buddhiya was the man servant-cum-compounder to Dr.Gupta.

Four years went by witnessing the loss of Dr.Gupta’s mother, the five braided girls growing inches taller and the eldest almost being eligible for marriage. Bittu had just celebrated his fourth birthday. The lamp of the Gupta family, supposedly the heir to whatever belonged to the family. He had to be flawless, he was a son.

‘How could it happen to Bittu? How could it happen to us? You are a doctor, can you not treat him?

‘Sudha, we gave Bittu the vaccinations …unfortunately!’ Dr. Gupta sighed.

Sudha Gupta wept inconsolably. She was surrounded by her five daughters, who just stood still to make their presence felt.

‘Did you forget to give the injections on time?’

‘No…’ Dr. Gupta knew that nothing he said could make the situation better. Bittu would not be able to walk like every other person.

He stood with his head bent low. His head stooped when he worried and thought of alternatives to tackle a problem. Could a physiotherapist help? Should I take him to Delhi and get him checked thoroughly? Myriads of thoughts bombarded his mind and head.

‘How can a doctor’s son have an ailment?’ Sudha was getting hysterical and that clogged her husband’s mind. He stepped out of the room to see Bittu sitting with Buddhiya and eating a Parle-G biscuit.

Dr.Gupta tried getting his son re-diagnosed and getting the best physiotherapist to treat his son. But Bittu would walk with a limp. It was a fact that made him gulp, everytime the father thought about his son. It hit him more every time his wife passed it as a failure of his medical know-how.

The five braided girls got married and started with their own families. Bittu was in engineering college.

Dr.Guptas hair was all greyed now. It was 8.30 pm and he locked his chamber next to his house and left for home. Buddhiya had left 15 minutes before to help in the household chores.

Dr.Gupta  heard a lot of noises and chuckles coming from his house. He stepped in to find that his third daughter Meena had come over for a few days with her baby.

There were the initial round of pleasantries followed by dinner.Post dinner, the family sat down in the living room.

‘Baba, please advice me on the vaccinations that I need to take for Chunnu.’

Dr.Gupta looked at his wife. He knew that she still held him guilty for Bittu’s vaccine and its ineffectiveness.

‘Err…yes. You settle down. You are here for some days, aren’t you?

The next day morning, Meena was cleaning up the shoe cabinet.

Sudha scolded her daughter for leaving the baby alone and doing such a trivial chore.

‘But, Ma, Chunnu is sleeping. And this is till my home, right?’

Meena’s eyes went to a pair of slippers. The right seemed worn only a few times and the left worn out near the heels, due to application of pressure by the foot.

‘When is Bittu Bhaiya coming home?’ Her eyes lit up at the thought of her younger brother.

‘I hope I can tie him Raakhi this time.’

Sudha’s eyes filled up tears.

‘Make sure you consult a good doctor for your child’s health, especially vaccines, don’t trust your father, you know why.’

Meena stood up and held her mother’s hands.

‘You know Ma, my mother-in-law makes fun of Bittu and says that I have a crippled brother. He is good for nothing and that money is being wasted on his engineering degree.’

Momentary pause.

Little did the two women realize that there was someone near the door, with tearful eyes and spectacles in hand listening to their conversation.

‘I told her that he is not crippled. An engineering degree does not require bungee jumping and hurdles and relay races. It requires an application of the mind. And my brother is an ace in that. Time will prove that.’

She tried wiping her mother’s eyes.

‘Ma, Bittu’s handicap is not Baba’s mistake. I never had the guts to talk to you about this before. No parent will willingly want anything wrong to happen to the child. You are a doctor’s wife and don’t you love and understand Baba enough to know that he would not do it?

There was pin drop silence after she said it.

Then the women looked towards the door, as if there was a sound of someone walking away from it.

A minute later when Meena went to see who it was, she saw that the lamp on the study table in the adjacent room, was on. The prescription pad was open and tear drops had moistened the top page.

The next few days saw a sea change in the Gupta house. The glum was replaced by joyful merriment. Bittu arrived two days later and Raksha Bandhan was celebrated with great fervor.

It was 8th March and the rail tickets were booked. It was time for Meena to return back. Before she left, she did a customary bow and feet touching of her mother first and and then her father.

‘You were a little girl, the other day…as you stood on the grills of this verandah and said Babababa…non-stop till I left for my chamber.(Pause)Thank you!’

He hugged her tight as if she had released a big burden from his shoulders. What he could not explain to his wife in so many years, his daughter did.

He pulled out a small drawing that Meena had made as a child. On top of it, he had scribbled ‘Happy Women’s Day to my wonderful daughter’!

‘Baba, what is it that you have scribbled? It is Amoxycillin?’

‘Ha..ha…ha..ha..ha..ha’ Dr.Gupta laughed as tears rolled from his eyes.

’You know they say the worse the scribble on prescription, the better a doctor he makes.’

He pulled out a paper but seemed hesitant to hand it over to Meena.

‘What is that Baba?’

‘Well, hmm…I had made a list of the vaccinations for Chunnu. Not sure if you would like to use it, though.’

She snatched it from him and said, ‘Thank you’.

For the first time, Sudha came up and stood beside her husband as Bittu started loading Meena’s bag into the car. She looked ahead, as her hands reached out for his.

They looked ahead together. Put bygones behind.

So, you see it took one woman to make another woman see sense, pick up the beautiful pieces of jigsaws and recreate the beautiful picture of life.

But most importantly, its not as often portrayed, that women suffer alone. Men suffer too. How would ‘Women’ be without ‘men’…it comprises them. Being a woman is not being gender specific, its all about being sensitivity-specific!

Grass is always greener on the other side

Grass is always greener on the other side

My blog of February is all about food and diet. And all about love too. Have you ever wondered about the strange love-hate relationship between food, diet and love? Sounds confusing right?

Food is our basic need and so is love. We need both food and love to survive. Then what happens, when diet comes into the scene?

Diet is like a racist leader…it creates divide and rule policy among food groups. Examples are no-sugar, no-carb, no-white foods, and the list can go on and on.

It sometimes creates pre-condition for being in love, especially among the youth. Your diet is right, you look good and healthy and are attractive. It even gives you an edge in some interviews.

Allow me to introduce, the three characters of today’s story.

Character 1: Shantanu Chakrabarti aka Shaan. 38 years old and works and lives in Chennai. Married to Simran Kaur for the last 10 years. Love marriage, of course!

Character 2: Jignesh Bhai Patel aka Jiggi. Same age as Shaan and lives in Ahmedabad. Married to Bhawna Ben for the last 15 years. Horoscopes were matched to avoid horror scopes later. Arranged marriage without a doubt!

Character 3: Moatoshi aka Moa. A year junior to the other two. Hails from Nagaland and blissfully single. Now works and lives in Mumbai.

Shaan and Jignesh had registered for a course by Rujuta Diwekar. After 12 weeks of waiting, they finally received a call to meet the reknowned dietician. So, both arrived in Mumbai and after some planning through whatsapp decided to put up in Moa’s bachelor pad.

‘Hey, Bongo! You look like a soccer ball now. Don’t you feel scared of going back to Kolkata?’ Moa joked.

Shaan had a serious look on his face as he scanned the apartment. He was trying to find some space to lodge his baggage.

‘Why?

‘You may get kicked by both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal!’ chuckled Moa.

‘No buddy. I am in serious trouble. It’s been 10 years of survival with rajma chawal and there is more air in me than a soccer ball, I feel.’

‘Hmm’. Acknowledged Jiggi.

‘I tried GM diet and no carbs diet but only for part of the day. When I was not at home. Simran knows to cook rajma chawal only. I yearn for some fish curry sometimes.’

‘There is a diet called the diet by origin. It says that if you continue to eat the food you grew up eating, your body best adapts to it. A plus point of arranged marriage. My wife cooks what my mother used to. Perks of arranged marriage.’

‘Makes sense.’ Said Shaan. Still unable to decide where to keep his toiletries pouch.

‘Its more to do with marrying someone with the same food background. Could be love or arranged.’ Added Moa.

Moa empties a shelf for Shaan and turns to Jiggi.

‘But Jiggi bhai, what’s with that little potbelly? You almost look like a 4-month old pregnant Somalian lady.’ Moa chuckled again.

‘Bro, don’t ask. My business went through a major slump and liquor became my comforter. I used to travel to Daman for the weekend sometimes to indulge in drinking.’

‘How is the situation now?’ asked Shaan.

‘Business has picked up again. Put now the potbelly refuses to go. So, like one day, I read about Madam Diwekar and how she transformed Ambani Bhai’s son. And I got motivated and registered.’

‘You are one lucky chap.’ Shaan and Jiggi said in a chorus.

Moa gestured with his hands, why?

‘You are not married, number one.’ Said Shaan.

‘You can eat your Chinese food everyday, number two.’ Said Jiggi.

‘No digestion problems since most of your food seems boiled, par boiled and bland.’ Shaan added.

‘And, no potbelly which walks a step ahead of you, but with you all the time.’ Jiggi continued.

‘Ssssshhhh.’ Said Moa.

Momentary silence.

‘The grass is always greener on the other side.’

‘I have been detected with diabetes and now I make a conscious effort to eat the foods which suit my body. I engaged with a personal trainer a few months back and now I continue to follow the exercises that was recommended then.’

‘Boss, where do you get the time? When I return from work at 8 pm, my children want me to do something or the other with them. That continues till they go to bed at 9 pm. By then I am totally drained out.’ Added Shaan.

‘Perks of not entering a family life’ grumbled Jiggi.

‘Now that’s not fair. I am almost the same age as both of you. I did not get the right companion to settle down. And sometimes I miss being a family man. But no excuses is good excuse. What about the mornings? Wake up early and do some form of workout.’ Added Moa.

‘Agree with you buddy.’ Both chorused.

‘You are not your weight’ reads out Moa as he takes Jiigi’s laptop from him.

‘Rujuta Diwekar says that we should not eat oats and other cereals for breakfast. It seems we should not begin our day with boring and tasteless stuff like those cereals. And all this while, we knew that Kellogg’s cereals was the best breakfast choice.’ Said Shaan.

‘Diwekar Madam talks like my Baa. She says you should eat enough ghee everyday. Did not pay heed to Baa’s free advice, now paying up with a course fee.’ Sighed Jiggi.

‘Ha, ha! We never give importance to anything free, unfortunately.’ Replied Moa.

‘Simran is glad that I am taking serious steps to becoming fit and boy, am I glad too. I will take the prescribed diet charts and now will get poha, upma and other yummy food at home. Simran has said, she will also follow the diet…it will be our journey together.’

‘Ohho, too much, love all over again, is it?’ Jiggi teased Shaan.

‘So, guys tomorrow your life upliftment starts. Before you transform into the good-goody students of Ms. Diwekar’s health conscious class, lets smoke some grass.’ Moa suggested with a serious look on his face.

‘You still carried on our little mischiefs from back old Pune college days?’ Jignesh asked with popping eyes.

A momentary pause.

‘Hell, no. Was just kidding!’ chuckled Moa again.

‘More than anything, I remember how I was ragged and asked to treat my seniors to something enigmatic. A local batchmate suggested and helped me out. Then I took you to the joint guy. My first and last visit.’ Added Moa.

‘And by the way, Nagaland folks don’t eat Chinese food.’ Winked Moa.

The three friends laughed and joked again after 8 years. They reminisced over some drink, food and all things good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little bit of Colgate

A little bit of Colgate

Who doesn’t want to hold on? We do move on most of the times, but sometimes we cling. Cling on to memories, cling on to something, an object. Only because that object reminds us of something, or has memories of someone.

Has it not happened to you, that when you connected with an old friend after 15-20 odd years on social media, you remember those special moments, people or objects that you shared?

I am not going to get overtly philosophical anymore. Instead, introduce you to the protagonist of the following story, Ganga Prasad Shukla.

Ganga Prasad Shukla was fondly addressed as GPS by his colleagues at the SBI Meerut branch. However, when he was working, GPS did not have the more popular meaning, that it has now, that is Global Positioning System.

Shuklaji had grown to the senior most position in the branch and earned a glass walled cabin for himself. From his cabin, he kept an eye on what was happening across the bank office.

GPS was now a widower and 71 years old. He kept himself fit by washing his own clothes, cooking his own food and a bit of gardening. However, his memory had started troubling him. Sometimes, he soaked his clothes in soap water and forgot to wash them. And when the maid, Malti discovered this and brought it to her master’s notice, GPS started alleging that Malti was doing this to get back at him. Getting back for not raising her salary.

One day, when Pankaj, GPS’s son visited him, Malti wanted to submit her resignation.

‘No, Sir…..the ultimate was when Dadu(grandpa) accused me of stealing onions from the garden. He says that I did it because the prices of onions are too high in the market.’

Pankaj’s 6-year-old son, Bunty affectionately addressed his grandpa as Dadu. When Malti joined the Senior Shukla’s house for work, she started calling him Dadu too.

Pankaj signaled her to get back to work and walked up to his father.

‘Father why don’t you come and live with us in Delhi? You can share the room with Bunty.’

‘No beta(son). How can I leave all this, the garden and…’?

‘Don’t worry. I will ask Malti to come and water the plants.’

‘That thief?” GPS became animated.

‘Sssh. Father why don’t you come for a month and… don’t you want to spend more time with Bunty? He misses you so much.’

GPS softened up at the mention of his grandson. Bunty had some speech delay which was detected. But GPS brushed the doctor’s diagnosis as utter nonsense. He spent 3 months with Bunty. When Bunty had picked up words faster in those three months than the first 3 years of his life, GPS felt a sense of achievement and returned to Meerut.

Before leaving Delhi, he smirked and commented to his son, ‘Go and tell that children’s doctor that his diagnosis was utter bullshit. God knows where these so-called specialists, charging ransom and don’t know a thing, crop up from. His father must have paid donation and…’

Pankaj did not disagree with his father, as he was silently indebted to him.

‘I tell you, handling a child needs a lot of time, love and patience. And that doctor does not even see a patient for more than 5 minutes.’

‘Father, we are getting late. Do you want to miss the train?”

‘Ohh, no, no. let’s hurry.’ He quickly went to the room where Bunty was sleeping and tugged in a Rs.50 note in his hand. That was his goodbye blessing for the little boy.

‘One minute, let me check if I have taken my silver glass.’

GPS had a silver glass, which was like a child to him. He loved it, cleaned it every day till it sparkled and even talked to it when he was alone. He could not imagine a life without it. GPS’s mornings used to start with a leaf of Tulsi (Basil) and some water in his silver glass. He had even named his glass ‘Chandu’.

‘Is Bunty ok?’

GPS was wondering the purpose of his son’s invitation.

‘Yeah, he is absolutely fine.’

So, GPS decided to go to Delhi to be with his grandson more than anyone or anything else.

Cough! Cough!

‘Son, the pollution levels have gone up looks like. Haven’t they started some alternate days’ scheme…don’t think that would make much difference, though.’

‘Hmm’

GPS was greeted by his daughter-in-law, Neetu, who usually spoke less and his grandson. His face lit up when he met Bunty.

Dadu was shown his room, the kitchen and the washroom. He needed to know the areas which would feel his presence every day, without fail.

‘So, Father, Bunty will return at 2 pm. Please open the door for him. The cook would have kept his food ready for him.’

‘Oh, don’t worry.’

GPS had missed his morning Tulsi water tete-a-tete with Chandu because he was in the train.

He completed the other rituals. Cooked some khichdi and proceeded for bath and washing his clothes.

‘Big Sir, I have finished my work. Please lock the door.’ Said the Cook.

GPS locked the door and continued with what he was doing.

He was a stickler with his meal timings. So, sharp 11.30 am was time for lunch.

He always gave a minimum of 15 minutes for the initial part of digestion. Meanwhile, he picked up a newspaper that lay on the table.

But he was extremely tired from the journey. He dozed off.

He woke up startled when it was 1.45 pm.

‘Still 15 minutes for Bunty to return. Let me take Chandu out and clean that chap. He will be ready for tomorrow morning.’

GPS beamed with pride, when his silver glass shone after the cleaning ritual. Just like a father would be, to see his child, neatly and well groomed.

He unzipped his bag, took out Chandu and kept it on Bunty’s study table. Then he tried to take out ‘Silvo’, the liquid cleaning agent that he used for his silver glass. He groped every corner of his bag. Next, he took out all his clothes just to be sure if Silvo hid in between his clothes. He had forgotten that the cleaning agent had got over two days ago.

‘Sigh! How will I clean Chandu now?

Just then he remembered, that his wife used to clean the silverware at home with a little bit of Colgate.

He used the teeth cleaning twig, called ‘Daantun’ and Bunty used some fancy kids’ toothpaste.

So, GPS decided to check Pankaj’s bathroom. He found the rescuer, the cleaning agent for Chandu. Colgate toothpaste it was!

He reached for a toothbrush and happily started cleaning Chandu.

Ding dong. Ding dong. The doorbell bell did not seem to stop ringing.

GPS flummoxed and rushed to open the door.

Pankaj stood with Bunty.

‘Pankaj beta, all ok? Did you go to Bunty’s school to fetch him?’

Pankaj seemed infuriated.

‘Papa it is 2.30 pm now. Bunty kept ringing the doorbell for long. He then went to the neighbor’s house and called me. Luckily, I was in this area meeting a client.’

‘And what is this mess on your kurta?’

GPS looked at the mess he wore on his sparkling white kurta. It contrasted.

‘Papa, all I asked you was to open the door at 2 pm for Bunty. Can we not depend on you for this one little thing?’ Pankaj’s voice reflected irritation.

‘Beta, I was only cleaning Chandu in the bathroom and did not hear the doorbell.’

‘For a petty glass, you made my son wait outside for so long?’

Silence.

Pankaj walked up to his bathroom and lifted his palm to his forehead as a reaction.

GPS had used the Colgate toothpaste, but forgot to put the cap back. And worse, he had picked Neetu’s toothbrush.The grey coloured mess that resulted from the cleaning, was all over the wash basin.

Pankaj saw the reason for all the chaos and mess, sparkling as it stood on the dining table. He walked up to it, picked it up and banged it hard on the floor. Chandu received a big dent.

Pin drop silence followed.

GPS walked slowly and picked up Chandu with shaking hands.

He mustered up some courage.

‘Beta. Please book me a ticket in today’s evening train.’

Bunty walked up to Dadu and hugged him tight.

‘Dadu don’t leave me and go.’

‘Dadu has to go back. He is old now and making big mistakes.’

Pankaj had calmed down a little by then.

‘But Papa, why is this silver glass so important to you. Is it more important than us?’

‘Beta.’ Paused.

‘Chandu has been with me ever since I was a child. It nourished me with water when I was small.It still does and it is my duty to take care of it. My father, your grandfather had bought it for me. And my mother used to give me water in it every day. It is through Chandu that I feel connected to them even now.’

GPS turned his back and proceeded to the room where his bag lay. Tears rolled down his eyes as he hugged his silver glass close to his heart.

The old man stuck to his word and returned home with his silver child.