Free for download only on 4th and 5th March 2020

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.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Time Guard : Awakening - Book Review

If you love suspense thrillers like me, then Time Guard : Awakening is the book that you shouldn't miss.

The protagonist Swati receives a set of envelopes. Each envelop is marked with date and time when it is to be opened. The envelopes open a new world for Swati.

The book is a unique combination of science fiction and fantasy. I loved the way the author brings on board everything – India mythology, science and socio-political scenario. What I liked is the way the author has adroitly weaved all this together to give us a blockbuster.

The success of any thriller depends on its pace and the Time Guard succeeds on this count as well. It is extremely well written and is fast paced. I am sure once you start reading it, you will be so intrigued that you wont put the book down until you have completed it. The characters are well sketched and real to life.

This is the first book in the series. I am so impressed from the first installment that I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come. Just buy this book, you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

The Woman that I am - Short Story

Komal stood frozen in front of the dressing table. Tears welled into her eyes. That's when Rajesh, her husband, called her from the drawing room. 'Komal, are you ready? How long you women take to get ready?' He had said the last line in a slightly lower voice, yet Komal had heard it. Komal wanted to yell and say - What's there to get ready? Is anything left behind? My zest for life has whithered away. I am a skeleton that is merely breathing. I have lost my love for all good things.

Realizing that even Rajesh had suffered a lot in the past few months, she somehow gained composure and ran the brush through her hair. She was terrified on seeing the mop of hair that the brush had brought along. She could see reflection of Rajesh dressed in his favourite blue suit in the mirror. She kept the brush aside and applied somesome makeup only for the sake of Rajesh. However, she changed her mind again and said, 'Rajesh, is it necessary for us to go?'

'Yes, of course. Didn't you notice how heartfelt Babli masi's invitation was? Besides...' Rajesh stopped for a while, pondered which word to use – you or yes and then after much deliberation said, 'Besides we need a change too.'
'Rajesh, believe me, I am fine at home.' Komal pleaded.
'Darling now don't be a spoil sport.' Rajesh said as he sprayed some perfume on Komal's crisp yellow Banarasi silk saree.

Komal adjusted her seatbelt as Rajesh pressed the ignition. The car revved through the porch. The venue was twenty kilometres away and the traffic took them an hour to reach. But not a word was exchanged between them. This was for the first time that they were attending any social event in the past six months. Both of them were anxious as to how to address some seemingly innocent queries that would come to their way. Both wanted to bounce back to normalcy knowing very well that their lives weren't the same. But neither wanted to voice their concerns. Each was afraid that voicing them would dampen the spirits of the other.

Rajesh pulled the handbrake once they reached the banquets. Then he slowly rested his hand on Komal's and said, 'Don't worry. You are absolutely fine now.' Komal nodded her head in agreement and then adjusted her bra strap. She moved her hands on her breasts and assured herself that everything was at the right place.

The couple entered the banquet hall with their fingers intertwined. Babli masi stood at the entrance to welcome the guests. Her face lit up on seeing Komal and she hugged her tightly. 'I am so happy that you came my child.' Komal was touched by her genuine warmth. She excused herself and went to the washroom. She looked in the mirror and adjusted her clothes again. A smile surfaced on her face. She felt accepted. She emerged out of the washroom and mingled with all the relatives and friends who had assembled for Babli masi's grandson's naming ceremony. She was happy that these people really loved her.

'Komal,' Suhasini summoned her. Suhasini was her distant cousin. She gestured Komal to occupy the chair next to her. Komal ambled towards Suhasini. Suhasini was about to embrace her, when Komal joined her hands and greeted her with a namaste.
'Oh! I absolutely understand.' Suhasini said as she placed her hands on Komal's.

They discussed about their children, exchanged recipes and bitched about some of the relatives. Komal was happy that life was normal again. That's when Suhasini said, 'I can feel the pain Komal. You were always beautiful than me. As a teenager I was envious of your curves. The day I learnt that your breast was removed, I cried for the whole night. I simply cannot imagine that. That should not happen to any woman.'

Suhasini's words fell in Komal's ears like molten wax. She felt that the padded bra which she was wearing was peeled off. Inadvertently, her hand moved towards her breasts. She could feel its absence. She discerned no matter how much she tried to cover it up, the fact remained it was not there post the mastectomy operation.

Hurt and embarrassed she dashed out of the venue. She didn't even bother to inform Rajesh that she was leaving. The moment she was on the road, she found a bus approaching. She waved her hand and the bus screeched to halt. Once she got into it the bus moved making a hideous sound.

All the seats in the bus were occupied except one, next to a garishly dressed woman. Komal slowly balancing herself in the moving bus walked towards that seat. 'Excuse me,' she said. The garishly dressed woman gave her an affable smile, lifted her bag which she had kept on the seat and squeezed herself towards the window. Komal plonked on the seat and took a deep breath.

'Do you have any problem with me sitting here?' The woman sitting next to her asked in a coarse voice. That's when Komal realised that the woman was not a woman but a eunuch. But she didn't feel any disgust towards him. She could feel the pain, for like her his body too was mutilated. Her because the dreaded disease cancer had eaten her up and his for some other reasons.
'No, you can sit here.' Komal said to him and the eunuch gave her a broad, genuine smile. The eunuch introduced himself as Radha and asked Komal, 'What do you do Madam?'

'I used to work as a teacher, but took break because of a disease.' Komal said. Radha didn't dig any further. But Komal took a pause and uttered the dreadly word, 'cancer.'

Radha closed her eyes, folded her hands and said some silent prayer. Then she opened her eyes and said, 'Don't worry Madam, we women are very strong. Look at me I am a woman without any breasts. I am a woman without any uterus. My very existence is riddled with struggles. Yet, I have no complaints. God has bestowed upon us women, the power to withstand any storm. Eat your medicines, pray to God and enjoy life. All will be well.' Radha said. 

Then she stood up. Her stop had come and she had to get down. Again she sported a cherubic smile from behind the thick layers of makeup which she was wearing. That smile, that spirit and those words coming from an unexpected source had soothed Komal. Komal relaxed in the seat and saw the world outside from the window. Everything appeared new. Life was beautiful again. 
“This post is a part of ‘The Woman That I Am’ Blog Hop #TheWomanThatIAm organized by Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul #RRxMM. The Event is sponsored by Kraffitti.”
 My Spiritual Journey Download for free only on 4th and 5th March 2020