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Monday, 6 April 2020

Errie


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'Why aren't you married yet?' Vinay asked.
'That is because I am yet to meet a man like you.' She replied.
Viany was stunned by her reply.

Vinay's face had flushed with embarrassment. She pursed her lips, desperately trying to control her laughter. Dressed in blue plasso pants and white T-shirt that accentuated her curves, she had accompanied him on his morning walk.

Seeing his blanched face she said, 'Come on Vinay! I was joking. You are my sister's husband. How can I hit upon you.' Having said that she looked at the greenish-blue mountain ranges that dotted the horizon and added, 'Having said that I would love to marry a man like you. Nisha moistened her rosy lips with her tongue.

Vinay stared at her while she did so. Her deep blue eyes caught him do so and she stared back at him point black. An embarrassed Vinay looked at the tree tops and avoided an eye contact.

Nisha continued, 'I mean I wish to marry a man who would retire early. Come on, life is to be enjoyed as well, and that is the reason why I am here.'
'To marry?' Vinay asked.
'No, to enjoy life. I have taken leave for a month, and will be living with you for a month in this gorgeous place on the earth. The picturesque valley, dense vegetation dotting the roads, pure air and the morning mist - I am enchanted.'

'The weather is good today, isn't it?' Vinay said.
'It is Vinay. Didn't you notice how long it took me to convince Di that the morning mist isn't bad for health. It was only when I reminded of my medical degree that she conceded.'
'Is it really not bad for health?' Vinay quizzed.
'It is... but...'
'But?'
'I wanted to spend some more time with you. I love your company. I agree Di is my elder sister, but she thinks I am still that five years old girl. She keeps on reeling out instructions Nishu do this, Nishu don't do that. That suffocates me Vinay. After Maa's demise she feels I am her responsibility. I agree. But I am a grown up now.'
'Don't worry. I will speak to her.' Vinay said standing akimbo and arching his back.

'Please don't do that. If she comes to know that I have told you about this, then I am finished.' She said and moved an imaginary dagger across her throat. Both of them had a good laughter.

Sulabha was loving and carying. No doubt about that. But she wasn't fun loving like Nisha. Though Vinay didn't have much funny bones in his system either, he didn't disapprove fun the way Sulabha did. 'She is of those yeh bechara kam ke boj ka mara serious types.' Nisha had said.

This was the first time Vinay was getting to know Nisha better. At the time of his marriage he was working in the US. He was struggling with his work and Nisha was burdened with her studies. He remembered once she had told Sulabha over the phone that MBBS demands blood. Sulabha had narrated the line to him with a creased forehead and had described her sister as a weirdo. 'That is what happens when you are the youngest child in the family.' She had added.

While in the US, Vinay visited India very few times, and Nisha who was studying in the hostel never had a chance to visit the US. They had very limited interactions until and then and that was the reason he hadn't discovered her funny side yet. But the little that he had seen of Nisha for the past two days, he had come to know that she was very different from Sulabha and would make a great company too. They shared similar tastes and likings.

'Let us sit here for a while,' Nisha said and before Vinay could reply she sat on the rock, crossed her legs and closed her eyes. 'If there is any heaven on the earth, it is here. It is here. It is here' She said hysterically.
Nisha had brought a breeze of liveliness in the house. Now there was mirth in the air. Her voice tinkeled like the chandelier which she had brought for the couple.

Sulabha had a frown on her face on seeing the chandelier. 'Chandelier. Why did you buy such an expensive gift? How many times have I told you that don't squander your hard earned money like this. Save something for your marriage.'

'Di, chill. You have bought a new house and I got this present for you because I felt like buying it and it is not that expensive. Moreover, the shop from which I got this has a no returns policy. So there is no way I will be getting this back.'

Sulabha didn't speak a word. There was an errie silence in the air. So Vinay said, 'It is so beautiful. Moreover, whenever it tinkles we will be reminded of your chirpy voice'
'Vinay, I never knew you would mouth such cheesy lines.' Nisha said with a gaping mouth.
'Yes, the fever has made him romantic.' Sulabha said.
'What is she talking about?' Nisha asked.
'Nothing,' Vinay said. Fortunately Nisha received a call on her mobile and the topic ended there.

Nisha and Vinay gaggled at each other's jokes. Sulabha who would busy most of the time in the kitchen, cooking as per Nisha's demands too seemed enjoy them. Though it is another story that she never wholeheartedly appreciated them and joined their laughter. 'Her lips simply move one centimeter apart' Nisha would say.
'Don't say that you will go in a month. I have to stay here for the entire life.'
'Vinay, you are counting my days. So bad.' She said and threw a pillow at him.
'Who is counting what?' Sulabha said as she brought the fresh batch of the pakodas.
'Nothing Di. We are having a pakoda eating competition. You make the best pakodas in the world. If you do it on commercial basis, then I am sure you would throw all those Rajasthan Bikaner shops out of business.'

Sulabha ran her hand on Nisha's head and said, 'Nishu beta eat to your heart's content. Now I am your mother.' Sulabha returned to the kitchen. Vinay had heard her sigh.
'Don't worry. She is missing Maa. She is of those senti types.' Nisha said.

The trio would play cards in the evening and would have a sit down dinner – a reminder of the good old times. 'Sitting cross legged while eating increases the blood flow towards the stomach and aids in digestion.' Nisha said.
That night after they had dinner the trio were chitchatting in the porch. Nisha said, 'Di, you remember as children we used to visit Mama's haveli in Devlali. I don't know why but for some strange reasons, this house reminds me of that haveli.'
Sulabha immediately disagreed and said, 'I don't see any similarities. Devlali reminds me of mangoes. They were sweet and delicious. I haven't tasted mangoes like that anywhere else.' Sulabha closed her eyes and was lost in the fragrance of those bright yellow, juicy mangoes.
'I was wary of visiting the mango grove. I had seen a ghost there.' Nisha said.
To be continued...
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 
 

Saturday, 4 April 2020

In the dark

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Vinay charged towards the stairs, his heart pounding with excitement. Finally, he was going to meet the mystery woman. But what if she disappeared like she did the other day? Even if she disappeared this time he had clicked her picture. He tightly clutched  his camera while he jumped on the stairs, skipping two steps at a time. He was about to reach the terrace, when his camera slipped from his hands and broke.

'No cheating.' He heard a voice say. He lumbered towards the terrace. His eyes were preening for her. Panting and sweating, he squinted his eyes and desperately searched for her. Behind the pillar at the far end of the terrace, besides the water tank and all possible places he could think of. But he couldn't find her. But she was there somewhere. He had clearly heard her say 'No cheating.'

That is when he heard a familiar voice, 'I said no cheating.' He looked down. Sulabha was standing near the porch. 'Hadn't I warned you?' She roared. Every bone in Vinay's body rattled with fear for a second. He was afraid that Sulabha had a sniff about the attraction which he felt towards the mystery woman.

'Come down! What are you hiding? Have you housed another woman on the terrace? You sneaked out of the bed while I was asleep with the same excitement of the teenager who goes to clandestinely meet his lover. What Nisha said was true. Men behave weird in their forties.' Vinay didn't know how to react. Sulabha rarely got enraged and when she did she always had a valid reason.

Sulabha continued 'I had told you, no more morning walks. There is no doctor nearby. The air is still cold. Couldn't you skip your morning walk for some days? No you wouldn't. Vinay, we are only two people in the house. If we don't care for each other who would? If something happens to you, who will look after me. How can you be so careless and behave like a reckless teenager.'

Vinay took a sigh of relief and stormed out of the terrace. He held Sulabha in a tight embrace and assured her that he would take care of his health. He prepared his special ginger tea which was always helpful in lifting Sulabha's mood and stayed indoors for the next few days.
***
That night both of them sat cuddled in the drawing room. Their bodies wrapped in the duvlet which they shared. Sulabha gently ran her fingers across his hairy chest, while Vinay aimlessly drew imaginary lines on her soft pink skin. The nip in the air, the warm touch of the skin arose desire in their bodies. Their lips met and they kissed passionately. Sulabha let out a moan, arched her back and laid on the Persian carpet. Vinay clambered upon her with their lips showing no signs of parting. Vinay  was about to enter her when there was a power cut, followed by clanging of utensils from the kitchen.

'Did I leave the window of the kitchen open? Let me check,' Sulabha said and  released herself from his tight embrace. She inched towards the kitchen. A monstrous wind blew and the windows clattered. A lightening struck the sky and it was not only  the ear-piercing sound of the thunder that made Vinay's heart skip a beat.  He could clearly see her standing by the window.  She was not wearing the benign smile which Vinay was drawn to. The frown on her face was apparent and that was scary. Vinay thought he even heard her whimper. A shiver ran down Vinay's spine. He stood up, stark naked. 'What harm have I done to you?' He wanted to ask. But as usual his mouth went dry and words did not make it to his mouth.

'Vinay,' Sulabha said with the candle in her hand. A startled Vinay twirled around. His face had turned white with fear.
'Vinay, are you alright.' She said. Then mounting the candle in to the stand, she came near him.

Both of them covered themselves with clothes and sat on the sofa. Pressing his hand with hers Sulabha said, 'I have been observing you for the past few days. You are worried. Something is pinching you. Sharing things lightens the burden. After all I am your wife. I have taken the vow to be with you in thick and thin.'

'Sulabha...' He said. The lightening struck again and snapped his word. She was still there at the window. Her countenance had changed. A benign smile was floating on her face. 

'Who is there at the window? What are you staring at?' Sulabha asked. Before he could answer, the windows rattled again. 'I had bolted this window. Who opened it?' Sulabha asked and ambled towards the window. She closed the window. She didn't notice anything unusual. Vinay thought perhaps only he could see her. If that was the case, how had Sulabha painted her portrait? Vinay was baffled. Sulabha could sense his discomfort.

'Wait I will make some warm soup for us. Will feel better' Sulabha said and went to the kitchen.  Soon she was back with two soup bowls
'Have it. I don't know how it has come out. I have made it after ages.' She said
Vinay slurped and said, 'It is too good.' He turned his head towards her. Gosh! She was seated between the two. She stared point blank at him, then winked and had a spoonful of soup from his bowl. The bowl fell from his hands. His legs scalded. That's when the power came back.

'Thank God! The soup was over. If it had spilled on your legs, I simply can't imagine...' Sulabha said as she lifted the bowl.
Vinay observed his legs. They were normal, as if nothing had happened.
***
'You didn't tell me that you broke your camera.' Sulabha said as she was changing the bedsheets the following morning.
'Yes, it accidentally slipped from my hands.'
'Don't feel bad. We will get it repaired or even better – buy a new one.'
'Did I tell you that Nishu called up late evening?'
'No.'
'How could I? After the incident that happened last night.'

Vinay recounted his scary encounter with the ghost the last night. Yes, his mind had made up, she was no longer a mystery woman. She was the ghost Vinay was scared of. Had Sulabha seen her too. Why was she referring to it as incident?

'Incident?' Vinay quipped.
'Yes, you were so scared. For a moment I too thought...'
'Thought what?'
'Thought that the pipping hot soup fell on your legs.'
So Sulabha is not knowing anything. Should I tell her? Vinay thought.


 Read the next part here
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 



Friday, 3 April 2020

Camera


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Vinay felt relaxed sitting on that wicker chair while sipping the hot tea and watching the setting sun. Admiring the crimson coloured sky, he said, 'The sky looks like a painting, doesn't it?'

Hearing this Sulabha gulped down the tea which she had already sipped and then placed back the half-filled cup on the teapoy with a sense of urgency. 'I completely forgot to tell you about it. Good that you said painting, come I have to show you something.' She said and pulled Vinay by his hand into the house. Vinay drew her closer and placed his lips on hers. He was lost in the fragrance that her body offered. 'Tell me what it is?' Vinay whispered in her ears.

'It is a surprise.' She said and took the flight of the stairs. Once they had reached the first floor she asked Vinay to close his eyes and escorted him to the guest room.
'No cheating.' She said and then covered his eyes with her own hands. Never had been her touch so intoxicating. Vinay who already had a hard on wanted to swirl around, peel off the clothes on their bodies and make love to Sulabha. He had sensed that Sulabha too was in a romantic mood. They hadn't made love since they had moved in, and hence, he wanted to take it slowly.

'Now open your eyes.' She said.
Vinay opened his eyes. His face turned ashen on seeing what lay in front of his eyes. How? He wanted to ask. But words didn't find a way to his mouth.

Sulabha on the other hand was bubbling with excitement. 'I never told you but I used to paint while I was in college. My parents didn't approve of it. They thought it was just a waste of time and I should better concentrate on my studies. So painting took a book seat. But once we moved into this house, set amidst natural surroundings, the painter within me resurfaced.'

Vinay didn't speak a word. Then she grabbed Vinay from behind and placed her hands across his chest. She rested her head against his back and closed her eyes. Holding him in a tight embrace she said, 'Thank you so much Vinay. Thank you for everything. This is a dream come true.' Then she gently bit his left ear, licked it and said, 'By the way Vinay I want to try body painting as well.'

A few minutes ago, Vinay would have dropped his clothes and jumped upon the idea of painting their bodies, but having seen the painting he had lost both his mood and the hard on.

Vinay gently released himself from her embrace. For him this was no less than a nightmare. Sulabha had painted a portrait of the same woman in white. The same dove eyes, full lips and the hour glass figure. Although, Vinay had encountered that woman only once, her image was perpetually etched in his memory for reasons unknown to him.


He gently placed both his hands on Sulabha's shoulders and asked her, 'Who is this woman?'
'You mean the woman in the painting?'
'Yes, where did you come across her?'
Sulabha laughed, straightened her imaginary collar and said, 'She is the outcome of this great artist's imagination.'
'This is not the time for jokes. Tell me where did you see this woman.'
'I am not joking Vinay. I have never seen this woman. But why are you so indignant on seeing her?'

Vinay took a deep breath and then looking at the painting he said, 'That is because I feel I have seen her somewhere.'
'Where?'
'I don't remember.' He said. The woman in the painting was smiling at him. He had not broken her trust and revealed their secret meeting with Sulabha.
***
That whole night Vinay couldn't sleep. He wanted to know more about the woman. That chance encounter with her, Sulabha painting her picture – all this was too strange to be called a coincidence. Deep in his heart he knew he had some connection with this woman. He trusted her instictively. He believed that she meant no harm to her. He wanted to know more about her. She was a mystery but now Vinay resolved to unfold it.

The next morning he got up early. Gingerly he got out of the bed. He didn't wish to disturb Sulabha from her sleep. Had she woken up, she would not have allowed him to step out of the house. 'You had fever yesterday. Don't venture out into the cold.' She would have said. He wanted to meet the mystery woman again, and he felt that she wouldn't meet him if Sulabha accompanied him.

Vinay changed into his track suit and tied his shoes. He removed his shoes and went back into the house. He opened the safe to take out the camera. While doing so he inadvertantly looked into the mirror. He admired his near perfect jawline, sinewy muscles and a flat stomach. After all he was only forty and not at all old. He noticed that Sulabha was sleeping peacefully. He slowly walked out of the room.

He stepped out of the house, not for any morning walk but to meet her. He went up to the main road. He saw peacocks, rabbits and even a mongoose chasing a snake. But that day they didn't interest him. He was interested in meeting someone else and he could feel that strange pull. He returned back to the house. He was expecting her to be waiting at the gate like she had the other day. But he was utterly disappointed on not seeing her at the gate. He lingered at the gate for sometime. May be she was late. May be she will come in some time. Vinay waited for an hour, did some stretches. All the while his eyes were searching for that mysterious figure, and then he heard her melodious voice. 'I am here.' She said. She was standing on the terrace. Vinay adjusted the lens and took a picture. 
Read the next part here
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Feeling Better


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The moment a flummoxed Vinay entered the house Sulabha realized something was amiss. His face had turned crimson and he was sweating profusely. He slumped into the chair kept near the shoe rack and stretched his legs.

'Vinay what happened? Are you fine?' She said as she gently held him by his shoulder. Sensing that his skin was warm, she placed the rear side of her hand near his throat. 'You are having fever. This morning mist is not good for health.' She said as she opened his shoe laces and escorted him to the bedroom. Vinay meekly followed her directions. He was at loss of words. His mind was still baffled. Was she really there, or was it his mind making up the things.

Sulabha went to the kitchen and brought some coffee and biscuits for him. Vinay dipped the biscuit into the coffee, but that face was still dangling in front of his eyes.
'What happened? Where are you lost?' Sulabha asked him.

He wanted to tell her about the woman in white that he had encountered. But he knew Sulabha never believed in such stuff. He knew she would make a joke out of it, the way she did of his interest in vastu and astrology. Hence, he some how controlled his desire to share that piece of information with Sulabha.

'Take this dose of paracetamol. I will call up Nisha and ask for her advice.' Sulabha said. Nisha was her sister who lived in Pune. She was a doctor and ran a clinic of her own. Vinay popped up the pill. Sulabha took the empty cup walked a little distance and then came back. 'I will keep this most prized possession of yours in the cupboard.' She said as she picked up the camera.

'Shit! Shit! Shit! I should have clicked her picture.' Vinay mentally said. He had the camera with him when he had encountered the mysterious woman. Yet, it did not occur to him that he should have clicked her picture.

Sulabha noticed that Vinay was staring point blank at the camera. She smiled and said, 'Don't worry. I am not going to rob it. I am just placing it safely. Sometimes I feel you love your gadgets more than me.'
Vinay didn't reply. He was lost in his own thoughts. Breaking his reverie Sulabha said, 'Come on Babu moshai, I am talking to you.'
'Gadgets come for a price and you are priceless.' Vinay replied. He had not made it up. The words simply spontaneously erupted from his mouth.

'Oye Hoye! I never knew that rise in body temperature had a corresponding effect on the romantic quotient of the person. Anyways, I am happy with the compliment, but now what you require the most is rest.' She said with her eyebrows raised. She gently covered him with the chequered quilt and said, 'I am going. If you require anything just summon me.' Saying this Sulabha disappeared out of the room. Vinay closed his eyes and relaxed. No matter how much he tried, he couldn't sleep. His head was buzzing with questions. Who was that woman? What was she doing in our house? What was it that she wanted to convey? Did she really exist or it was an illusion? Questions and only questions. The answers were no where in sight. He developed a mild headache. He took out the balm from the corner table and applied it on his forehead. The smell of menthol and the singeing sensation of the balm made him slip into his comfort zone. He had this habit of applying balm copiously on his forehead every night when he was about to sleep, which Sulabha didn't approve of. 'But I can't sleep without it.' Vinay would say. The balm had its soporic effect upon Vinay and he soon fell asleep.

When he woke up, it took him some time to compose himself. For a moment he was baffled as to where he was. Soon he came to his senses. He threw aside the blanket and walked out of the room. Sulabha was in the kitchen garden. She had tended it with great love and affection and mother earth was responding to her love. The lemon grass had grown tall. The ginger shoots were coming up. The curry leaves plant had gained vigour and the chilly plant was blossoming with flowers.

'When did you come? How are you feeling now?' Sulabha asked with concern.
'What time is it?' Vinay asked.
'Its five in the evening. Thought of waking you up for lunch. But you were deep asleep. So thought let it be. Will serve you lunch as and when you wake up. We no longer have any deadlines or office times to adhere to.'
'Can I get some tea?' Vinay said.
'Sure.' Sulabha said. She brought the pair of scissors from the kitchen and cut a stalk of the lemon grass.

She put the pan on the stove and continued. 'You must be fatigued Vinay. This relocation thing is not easy.' She took the thermometer from the drawer and checked his temperature. 'No fever. Do you want to go to doctor?' She asked.
'No. I am feeling fine now.'
'What did Nisha say?'
'She asked to give you ample fluids and rest. She said, let us wait up to tomorrow. We will see what is to be done if the fever doesn't subside by tomorrow.'
'I am feeling better now. No need of any further medication.'
'Good,' she said and placed the tea cups into the tray.
'Let us go into the porch.' He said.
Both of them sat on the wicker chairs placed in the porch and saw the setting sun.
'Sulabha, have made a right decision of purchasing this house.'
'What makes you ask that?'
'Nothing, a thought just cropped up in mind. We have lived all our life in concrete jungles and today we are in the real jungle.'
'Exactly, that is what I am saying. It is not in everyone's luck to retire early and live a life in the lap of nature, to breath unpolluted air and drink clean water. We are the luckiest persons on the earth and we have made the right choice.' She said and held him in a tight embrace. Unknown to them someone was watching them. 
 
Read the next part here
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A new beginning


To own a house, is a dream of many. But very few achieve it. Vinay was one such lucky chap. Vinay was an IT engineer and had worked for a decade in the Silicon valley. The dead lines, work pressure and long working hours of the IT industry had sucked all his zest for life and turned him into a zombie. 'I can't take it any longer.' He said to Sulabha his wife. Sulabha clasped his hand and said, 'Whatever decision you arrive at, I am with you.' Vinay was visibly relieved. He was lucky to have a spouse like Sulabha. 'Thank you,' He said.

From that day onwards Vinay started planning towards an early retirement. 'I wont work after forty.' He said. 'Then what will you do?' Someone would ask. 'I will build a house at the foothills of Himalayas and will spend my rest of my life sipping coffee in the pristine cool air, watching the snow clad mountain ranges. A life full of peace.' He would say.

True to his words Vinay retired at forty and returned to India. The fact that the couple didn't have any children made the return easier. But there was a slight change in plan. Neither he nor Sulabha had ever lived in the mountains. Weather in the hills is unpredictable. No doubt when rest of the country is facing sweltering heat, the climate in the mountains is soothing. But the rains and the winters are harsh. There are landslides and you are cut off from the rest of the humanity for days together. The hail storms and snow fall make life even more difficult. It was one thing to spend a few days of summer vacation in the Himalayan mountains and another to stay there permanently. So the couple gave up the idea of living at the foot hills of the Himalayas with a heavy heart.

However, that did not mean that they had given up their dream of living in the hills completely. They found an alternative – Ajara. Ajara was a town situated at about 60 kilometres from Kolhapur on the road towards Sindhudurg. It is known for three things – heavy showers, pleasant weather and local fragrant variety of rice known as Ajara ghansal.

Vinay and Sulabha fell in love with Swarg Niwas, the moment they saw it. Leaving the town behind, the winding path through the green carpets of paddy fields on either side of the road took them near their new house. Soon they found themselves on a short stretch through a thick jungle before they broke out into what was paradise on the earth.

Who couldn't fall in love with such a location. In addition, the house was comfortable and cozy. It had a spacious drawing room, kitchen and two bedrooms on the ground floor and two guest rooms on the first floor.
'Wow, until now I had seen such extravagant staircases on in the movies.' Sulabha said admiring the sprawling staircase that opened in the drawing room.

The big windows in every room ensured that there was ample air and light in the house. Also the house was facing the east. This was a huge plus point for Vinay who believed in vastu. Reading books about astrology, vastu shastra and palmistry was his past time.

Vinay and Sulabha stood mesmerized in the balcony. The cool breeze, the gorgeous valley and the scenic beauty - what more could have they asked for? They stood there for some time with Vinay's hand resting on Sulabha's shoulder. 'Let us buy this property.' Both of them said in unison. Within a month the formalities were completed and they moved in their dream house.

The investments which they had made ensured that they lived comfortable early retirement life. Sulabha loved plants. Having a garden of her own was her dream, which was fulfilled after they moved into Swarg Sadan. She had a small kitchen garden too which supplied vegetables to her kitchen. Both the husband and wife spent most of their time in the garden tending to the plants.

Taking a morning walk through the short stretch which connected the property to the main road became a routine for Vinay. Sulabha was slightly asthematic and hence avoided the morning walks. Vinay on the contrary loved the mist in the air. He would get up early, change into his track suit and jog from the house up to the main road. Everyday opened a new surprise for him. One day he saw peacock with its splendid fan unfurled. He wished Sulabha had accompanied him. The other day he saw rabbits hopping down the path. Once, he even saw a herd of bison crossing the main road.
The nature was at its best - the fog, the early sunlight, the greenery and the chill in the air - everything added to the atmosphere. Vinay started carrying a camera with him on his morning walks. Clicking pictures and sharing it with his friends became his hobby. His friends were envious of him. They longed to visit such pristine, untouched destination. They had money to buy the tickets, but what they lacked was time. 'Surely, we will visit you both sometime. Maybe after our retirement, after our children are settled.' They would say. The reference to children was uncalled for or that is what Sulabha felt. Thereafter, they didn't invite any of their friends and relatives and chose to live in blissful company of each other.

One day when Vinay was returning from his morning walk, he saw silhouette of a woman standing at the gate. He wondered how come Sulabha had rose so early. As he approached near the gate, he could clearly see the woman and she wasn't Sulabha. She was dressed in a white saree and her long jet black hair ran freely up to her waist. She serenely smiled looking at him. That is when their eyes met. Her eyes were alluring and her presence intriguing. Hypnotized by her beauty Vinay was drawn towards her. She was at a hand's distance from him and then she disappeared. 
Read the next part here
Read my short read My Spiritual Journey 

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Day 4 of 21 days lockdown


The power cuts are frequent and that is what makes Ramayan even boring. Deepika, the actress who had played Sita had expressed apprehensions about the pace of the TV series. She was afraid if the today's generation would love a series with such a slow pace and told that even her daughters had not watched it. Everything was over the top, a song broke every few minutes and the story moved at a snail's pace. Do I have to tell that I didn't watch any further episodes?

Mahabharat on the contrary was bang on. The characters in this epic are more in number and are colourful with their unique human traits that are not always ideal. No wonders it was a fast paced drama, with an interesting story. I am hooked to it. Ved Vyas undoubtedly is one of the greatest writers the world has ever produced. Even if he merely documented the history, that is no mean feat.

I could forge a relation with Ganga when she says, 'You will not ask me any questions.' I wanted to tell the same to my daughter, who kept on asking me umpteen questions. 'Why was Ganga drowning her own children?' How could I explain that too her. Are our epics violent? Remember reading somewhere that in the Jain version of Ramayana it is not Ram, but Laxman who kills or probably lays Ravan unconscious.

Enough of Ramayan and Mahabharat for both have taken toll on my routine again. I didn't write a word, thanks to the series.

Spoke to a friend from Pune. He is afraid of an epidemic, for the citizens, the people in his neighbourhood are all on the streets. Speaking of my home district, people are saying the family which brought the disease didn't quarantine themselves for fourteen days, though they were directed to do so. God save my country.

Day 3 of 21 days Lockdown


I raise at 3.30 in the morning, a time when most of my friends go to sleep these days. Every pore of my body is feeling optimistic. All will be fine, my heart says.

I surf the internet, read the news and then again go to sleep by six. I wake up by seven fifteen and Ramayan is trending on twitter. By noon, there is news that even Mahabharat will have a rerun on public demand. The memes making fun of netflix and amazon prime are hilarious.

Jal neti is not making much change. Yet, I continue with it. The temperature is soaring, no work, rather less work is making me lazy. No, I am not getting lazy, my routine is broken and so is my work cycle.

I read newspapers on the net. Corona, corona and only corona nothing more. The same goes for television. In operation MBBS the three friends have a fight. Could relate to it. We all have spats with our friends. Remembered my friend Rubina saying 'We all are friends, we fight and come together again.' Will wait for the friends to be reunited again.'

'God knows if we will survive.' A friend says over the phone. Every one is scared, yet not all are following the rules. People are out every where. The life of migrant labourers is so difficult. It is high time that we device some social security measures for them. My heart was bleeding on seeing men, women, young and the old walking on foot for hundreds of kilometres. I wondered what were they carrying in the sacks which they were balancing on their heads. A pair of clothes, some utensils, a stove – the things that make house a home. But the harsh reality still remains - how will the house run, in the absence of money that comes in the form of daily wages. May be the barren patch of land in the village and a dilapidated house, offers some security and perhaps a few morsels of rice too.

We are living in an era of uncertainity. This is once in a hundred years calamity for sure. We don't know how it will end. But still there is hope. Things will be fine.

Tomorrow is going to be a new day. My three years daughter is super excited about the Ramayan. 'When is it coming up?' She keeps on asking me again and again. 'Even I haven't seen the Ramayan.' My mother says, 'We had a TV set when Mahabharat had come up, but not during Ramayan time.' I remember catching a few episodes of Ramayan on black and white TV set of my father's uncle in the company of my grand mother and great-grand mother. But my mother was conspiciously absent. Perhaps the rule book for a daughter-in-law didn't allow her to be a part of the audience or may be her self-esteem prevented her from going to another's house to watch a TV programme. I believe it was the latter part that was true.

Friday, 27 March 2020

21 Days Lockdown day 2


'If you are called upon to report on duty, you too are at risk.' A doctor friend had told me over the phone. I was to attend my office only if any urgent work cropped up, and it cropped on the second day of the lockdown. The meagre people who were present at the office had all covered their faces with kerchiefs that conveyed the gravity of the situation. It was so strange to see the otherwise crowded workplace empty except for five people with their faces covered. Although no one voiced it, the tension in the air was palpable.

The negative sentiment snowballed for some time and all the worst possible outcomes crowded the mind. But life never stops.

Again the day was spent reading gita, exercising, talking to friends and watching webseries, reading books and writing. I loved short stories written by @DebeshiGooptu available for free on @juggernautbooks, though all her characters seem to have illicit sexual union on their first meeting itself and then move on with their lives as if nothing had happened. Yet, I loved her style of narration immensely.
The good thing about the day, the government rolled out schemes for the poor and the sensex rose by a hundred points. All was not bad afterall.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

21 Days Lock down day 1

Today is the day of many firsts. It is Gudi Padwa, beginning of the Marathi new year. One of the most auspicious days of the year. Also, today is the first day of the 21 days lockdown period to defeat covid 19 or corona virus as it is popularly called.

I decided to document my life for these 21 days for I may not come across any such situation in my future life. The posterity may not encounter such lockdown. This period has to be documented. Though we are optimistic we don't know what will happen after 21 days. That gives birth to a feeling of lingering uncertainty. The TV channels will document the incidents. But this series will document my life, my emotions. I wish this 21 days diary ends with a happy ending.

To begin with when the Prime Minister announced a 21 day lockdown, I resolved that I will not waste these 21 days. Yes, I will binge watch, sleep more than necessary, but I would also do something meaningful.

My day started with Jal neti. Kaivalyadham has suggested to start day with Jal neti. I am allergic. My guru had told me to do Jalneti only once a week. Being allergic, I always had mucus in my nose and bile in my throat. Let us see if this 21 day practice helps. Did pranayama as suggested by Kaivalyadham to build immunity against the virus. The pranayama includes three rounds of sixty kapal bhatis each, 10 suryabhedan pranayam (inhale and five sheetali. I am climbing stairs twice a day for half an hour in the morning and in the evening. Preparing to go to Girnar once things are normal. I am grateful that there is ample to eat at home. I can concentrate on other things. It pains me when I see people on the streets some out of compulsion and some thinking it of some picnic.

I have started reading the Bhagwat Geeta. Have many commentaries of the said holy book in my library. Yet, I found it extremely boring and couldn't ever complete the reading. Strangely, with this lockdown I am finding it easy to digest. I am reading two chapters each day. Its message is sinking inside me. Moreover, it is undeniably part of our culture, part of our heritage and even history.

I am writing first draft of my serialized story for A2ZChallenge. I have been writing regularly for the past six days. I can make out, both the quantity and quality of my writing has improved. The practice of years is finally yielding some results.

I have to thank the internet service provides and web streaming platforms particularly mxplayer, youtube and hotstar. Watched Badhaai Ho on hotstar. I am still in awe of Surekha Sikri's performance. The webseries that I am currently viewing on an episode a day basis are Operation MBBS and Cubicles. Loving both of them.

I am calling up my friends, most of them now have all the time in the world to chat. The disease has brought us closer. I can make out who my true friends and who will stay my friends up to the end of my life.

I am spending more time with my child and participating in household chores. I have become more appreciative of the value addition that my wife does to my house. She does lots of hard work and has loads of patience.

My mother is perpetually parked in front of the television catching the latest updates. She is particular about the age of the casualties. 'All were above sixty,' she says and then consoles herself by saying, 'They had complications like BP and sugar too.' I suggest her to step away from the television. I guess that will help. I have a friend who doesn't watch or hear news. She came to know about the lockdown this evening when I told her about it. Unbelievable, yet true.

The number of patients in my home district Sangli are increasing and the doctors who are treating them are my school friends. I would be dishonest if I say that I am not worried about them. But still the tendency of subconscious is lifeward. A hope silently sits in my heart and a prayer on my lips. Day one over. With lots of hope and a little anxiety. Let us see what the future holds for us.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

The Morning Mist A2Z theme reveal

The Morning Mist is a thriller with ample twists and turns that will keep you glued to your seats until the end. Beginning from 1st of April 2020, except Sundays, I will be posting one chapter a day of this thrilling story. To know more keep visiting my blog, and please note that it is a serialized story, so don't miss even a single post.