Monday, December 1, 2014

Kaveri

Disclaimer: All the Characters and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance of the characters to an actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. 

28th September, 2004

“This university is proud to award this honorary doctorate to Dr. Kaveri in appreciation to her exceptional contribution to the welfare of women suffering from domestic violence”, read out the chancellor of Nalanda University.

21st August, 1979: 19.55 hours

I was waiting outside the bank after winding up his day’s work and was looking for Sevalai. Sevalai is a 24 year old rickshaw puller who used to drop me back at my residence every day after work around the same time. Sevalai was thin and dark complexed with an average built. His body was toned and was physically fit as he had been pulling rickshaw since 12 years. I am Sridhar and I moved in to Chennai a couple of months back as the General Manager of Indian Bank and I hail from a small village in Karnataka. As my father had agricultural land to take care of back home, I moved here alone. It was slightly drizzling that evening and I had just pulled out his umbrella.

Sorry for being late sir”, told Sevalai on holding my bag and placing it safe in the rickshaw. He guided me to board the cart and got me seated comfortably. He opened up the roof of the rickshaw which was tied at the back and made sure that the drizzles didn't fall on me. He normally doesn't wear shirt and I’ve has always seen him wet. Today he was not just wet with his sweat but also with the little drops of rain on him. When he spoke, I could sense that he had come from the toddy shop as usual. He mentions that he drinks toddy as it was the cheapest drink available and it helps him overcome the pain of rickshaw pulling.

7th January, 1980: 11.35 hours

“The court after hearing the petition from Kaveri and after thorough inspection, it has been clear to the court that Kaveri has been a victim of domestic violence and has been tortured by her husband under the influence of alcohol. As per the section 304B, 406 and 498A of Indian Penal Code, this court accepts the plea of Kaveri for divorce and grants the same to her. The other clauses for the divorce will be granted to both the parties officially through a final verdict in written”. Read out the judge before moving to look into the next inquiry.

Kaveri was briefly happy that the result was in her favor. She never wanted to be in this relationship and now officially she has been set free to do what she wanted to.

21st August, 1979: 20.13 hours

The drizzles slightly gathered its pace to transform into a heavier rain while the pace of Sevalai dropped down as he wasn’t able to pedal the rickshaw against the wind. Sridhar urged him to stop the rickshaw on a side and by the time they stopped, the rain had gathered full momentum and the downpour was at its peak. Sevalai looked so tired and was a little dizzy. He seemed like he was about to faint. I saw him fainting and held him from falling down. As it was raining heavily, the water droplets which fell on his face were keeping him awake but he was slightly unconscious. I have always advised him not to drink toddy in empty stomach. As the rain started to slow down, I held him on my shoulders and walked to the rickshaw. I put him on the back seat and pulled it on my own. I had a fair idea of the area he lived in but had no idea of where his house was. As he was partly awake, I asked him for a little guidance but he wasn’t able to respond properly. Once I reached his area I inquired for his house and with the help of the other local men there, we finally reached his house.

It was a small hut with thatched sheets on the top and was in a very tiny street. The place outside was so filthy and the door was a thin tin sheet. When knocked a young beautiful women pulled off the sheet to look outside. It was almost close to pitch dark but even in that darkness her face was shining. I have read about angels in book and have always believed they live in heaven but for once, I realized that angels doesn’t  existing and only this young female does. She was Kaveri, Sevalai’s wife. I fell in love with the girl the moment I saw her and was so worried about her fate. I didn’t have an eye contact with her as she was so shy and she helped in getting Sevalai inside the house. She said thanks before I departed.

7th January, 1980: 12.15 hours

Kaveri and I went around the chamber to collect the papers while Sevalai was waiting outside the court premises. While handing over the documents to us, the Judge looked up Kaveri and asked her, “What is your qualification?” “I have done my PUC sir”, responded a confident Kaveri. It was very evident that Judge was impressed with the way Kaveri had fought and responded throughout the case in getting her divorce. “Why did you do this Kaveri?” asked the Judge and she held her head high up and said “Love sir!” I believe that “Love is something which can overcome anything and is beyond anyone’s understanding” said Kaveri. The judge could see the confidence in her eyes and was speechless.

10th September, 1979: 20.15 hours

Sevalai was on cloud nine seeing a Johnnie Walker Red Label brand premium scotch on my table. His face had so much brightness and happiness that day which probably he would have had while marrying Kaveri. “Sir, seema sarakku sir” [Sir, Foreign Liquor sir], exclaimed Sevalai. I said him that this is all his and I’ll also give him 2 more bottles. All I needed was a thumb impression of him on return. He was uneducated and was happy to offer what I had asked him. He drank all his life out on that night before returning home.

12th December, 1979, 10.30 hours

The local police men arrest Sevalai on a petty theft case and the circle inspector rang to inform me that Sevalai has been arrested. It was a part of my plan to get him in so that I can use this time to rescue Kaveri from his house. I also had arranged for a marriage certificate between me and Kaveri with the help of the Sub Registrar as he had his bank account with our branch. With a lot of happiness and with a sense of relieving Kaveri from a disastrous life she was going through in that filthy slum I went to her home. When she saw me, she was crying to me that Sevalai was arrested by the police. She had now known me better as I kept visiting her once in a while with Sevalai after the day I first met her. I consoled her and asked her to come with me and took her to my house.

She refused to eat and drink anything. While I was surprised about her worry, I asked her whether she was happy living with Sevalai. She wept and said that she was deeply in love with him and he was her guard right from her younger age. While Sevalai wanted to get her married to a well educated person she was the one who insisted him to marry her and she elaborated the way their life had progressed and the amount of love she had over Sevalai.

I intervened to ask her,” Sevalai drinks a lot, doesn’t he beat you when he comes home?” and her response was, “He never ever touched me with hatred till date and how much ever he drinks, he maintains his humanitarian ship”. She kept on adding a lot about her love over him through the incidents they had come across which made me look tinier and tinier in front of Sevalai. When she finished I was ashamed of the fact that I had made such an effort to not only separate them but also to abduct Kaveri.

I told her the truth and also told her that I had wrongly assumed her interactions with me during my visits to her place and felt that she would be interested if I propose to marry her. She was shocked to listen to me and I pleaded her to hear me out completely before reacting.  I promised her that I will put in my effort to get Sevalai out of the jail and also legally apply for a divorce among us and advised her to file a complaint against me for using domestic violence on her. She felt it a little confused but agreed to follow whatever I said after convincing her that I am now helping her in getting Sevalai out.

7th January, 1980: 12.35 hours

“The court after investigating thoroughly rules that Sevalai is a victim of suspicion and has not been found guilt over the charges against him. He is freed from the charges and the court orders for his immediate release”, read the judge before moving to the next case.

While I was waiting outside the premises for Sevalai, Kaveri asked me not to disclose anything that happened to Sevalai. Sevalai walked out with pride and also joy towards me and thanked me. He was eagerly looking to see Kaveri and asked me where she was? I said that she was just around and we both were looking for her. I told him that probably she would have gone home to give you a warm welcome and advised him to head home.

7th January, 1980: 14.15 hours

I was looking at the files which were lying on my table with a little bit of contemplation on whatever happened. Suddenly saw Sevalai rushing towards my desk. For a moment, I was threatened as if he had known what happened and is coming to hit me but when he came closer, I could see his face was full of tears.

“Sir, Kaveri fled away”.





Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ஒரு மழை மாலை...


ஒரு மழை மாலை...

அன்றொருநாள்....

அந்த ஆளுயர ப்ரெஞ்ச் ஜன்னலின் அருகே இருந்த குறுகிய மேஜையின் முன்புறமுள்ள ஒரே நாற்காலியில், இருமயிரிழைகளின் தூரம் அமர்ந்திருந்தோம் நாமிருவரும். ஜன்னலின் வழி வந்த காற்றின் ஒலி உன் முகம் தழுவி என் மீது படர்ந்து செல்கையில் அப்படி ஒரு பரவசம். உன் வலக்கையில் பிடித்திருந்த தேனீர் கோப்பையில் உன் இதழ்ரேகை பதிந்திருந்தது, அந்த கோப்பை புன்னகைப்பதை போலவே இருந்தது... தேனீரில் இனிப்பு இல்லை என சலித்துக்கொண்டாய்... உன் கைபிடித்து கோப்பையை இழுத்து நானும் அந்த தேனீரை அருகினேன்..உன் இதழ் பதிந்த இடத்தாலோ என்னவோ எனக்கு தேனீரின் தித்திப்பு அதிகமாவவே தோன்றியது.... அடித்த சாரலில் ஓரிரு துளிகள் காற்றுடன் கலந்து வந்துன் இடக்கன்னத்தில் அமர்ந்தது... உன் கன்னச்சருக்கில் வழிந்தோடிய அந்த துளியின் அசைவு கூசியதும் அதை உன் இடப்புற தோள் தொங்கும் துப்பட்டாவில் சாய்ந்து உன் இடக்கன்னம் உரசி நீ துடைத்தபோது உன் காதில் ஜம்மென்று ஆடிய ஜிமிக்கி என் கன்னமுரசிச்சென்றது... இப்பொழுதினில் உன் கையில் இருந்த கோப்பை சரிய தேனீர் உன் உடைதனில் சிந்தி உன்னை அபிஷேகம் செய்யும் பேறு பெற்றது..
.
நேற்று அதேபோலவொரு மழை மாலை பொழுது...

அந்த ஆளுயர ப்ரெஞ்ச் ஜன்னலின் அருகே இருந்த குறுகிய மேஜையின் முன்புறமுள்ள ஒரே நாற்காலியில், நான் மட்டும் தனியே அமர்ந்திருந்தேன்... முன்னே மேஜை மேல் தேனீர் கோப்பை. அடித்த சாரலில் ஓரிரு துளிகள் காற்றுடன் கலந்து வந்து தேனீர் கோப்பை மீது வந்தமர்ந்தன.... அவை அக்கோப்பையில் மேலிருந்து கீழ் வழுக்கி இழைந்தோடுவதை பார்க்கையில்... உன் இன்மை உணர்ந்தழுவதாகவே புலப்பட்டதெனக்கு!..எனக்குத்தான் பாவம் அழத்தெரியவில்லை!...

Monday, July 21, 2014

ஹார்லிக்ஸ்


இந்த கதையில் வரும் சம்பவங்கள் மற்றும் கதா பாத்திரங்கள் முழுக்க முழுக்க கற்பனையே... யாரையும் குறிப்பிடுவது அல்ல...

17 ஜூலை 2014, வியாழன் மாலை 7.30 மணி 

துருவிய தேங்காயை மிக்ஸியில் போட்டு அரைக்க துவங்கியதும் வீட்டினுள் இருந்து கயலின் குரல்... . என்ன சொல்கிறாள் என்று கேட்கவில்லை.. ஆனாலும் கத்தினேன்.... 
"கொஞ்சம் இரு கயல்... நானே அங்க வந்து கேட்கிறேன்".
கயல்விழி  என் 9 வயது மகள்... கேள்வி மட்டும் அவ்ளோ கேக்குறா இந்த வயசுல... பின்ன இப்போ கேக்காம எப்போ?... 
அரைத்து முடித்ததுமே அறைக்கு சென்று என்னவென கேட்கவும், கயல் சொன்னாள்.. 
"அம்மா அம்மா.. நானும் உன்னை மாதிரி டாக்டரா ஆகணும், எனக்கு ஹார்லிக்ஸ் வாங்கி தருவியா?".. எனக்கு ஒன்றும் விளங்கவில்லைதான்... 
"என்னடி சொல்ற?"என்றதும்.. 
"நீ கொஞ்ச நேரம் முன்னாடி வந்திருந்தா டி.வில பாத்துருக்கலாம்மா.. ஹார்லிக்ஸ் குடிச்சா டாக்ட்டராக முடியும்"...
ஏதோ விளம்பரம் பார்த்திருக்கிறாள் என புரிந்தது....

26 டிசம்பர் 1984, புதன் மாலை 9.00 மணி 

கொள்.. கொள்ளென இருமியவாறேதான் வீட்டிற்குள் வந்தாள் அம்மா. வந்ததும் கையிலிருந்த பொட்டலத்தை என்னிடம் தந்து..இதை சாபிட்டுட்டு இரு நான் அஞ்சு நிமிஷத்துல சோறு வடிச்சிருறேன் என்றவாறு அடுப்பை மூட்டினாள்.. அம்மா தினக்கூலி வேலை செய்பவர்...நிரந்தரமில்லாத ஒண்ணுதான்..ஏதேனும் வேலை இருக்கும்.. ஒரு நாள் பூராம் வேலை செய்தால் 15 ரூபாய் கிடைக்கும். நானும், அம்மாவும் மட்டும் இந்த வீட்டில் இருக்கோம்.. கூரை வேய்ந்த குடிசைதான்... மழை பெய்யாத வரை எங்க வீட்டுக்குள்ள தண்ணியே வராது... குடிக்க கூட.. 

3 நாளாகவே இருமிக்கொண்டிருந்தாள்.. "ஆஸ்பத்திரி போனியம்மா?" என்றேன்...
"போனேன் மேகலை, டாக்டர் மருந்து எழுதி குடுத்தாங்க... நாளைக்கு வாங்கிட்டு வரணும்" என்று சொல்லிக்கொண்டே தட்டில் சோற்றை வைத்தாள்... 
"நீ பள்ளிக்கூடத்துல என்ன பண்ணே என கேட்டாள்".. தினமுமே கேட்ப்பாள்... 
"டெஸ்ட் வச்சாங்கம்மா..நான் 5வது தான் வந்தேன்" என கூறிவிட்டு சாப்பிட துவங்கினேன்...

"ஏன் மேகலை ஒரு மாதிரி இருக்க?", என்று கேட்டாள் கூதுகலமில்லாத பதிலால்..
"இல்லாமா, 5வதா வந்தா டாக்ட்டராக முடியாதாம்மா?" என்றேன் 
"யாருடி சொன்னா அப்படி?" எனக்கேட்டவளிடம் 
"பார்வதி... அவ எப்போதும் முதல் மார்க் வாங்குராம்மா... எப்படி இவ்ளோ நல்லா படிக்கிறே பார்வதின்னு அவட்ட கேட்டேன்ம்மா... அதுக்கு அவ ஹார்லிக்ஸ் குடிக்கிறதா சொன்னா.. ஹார்லிக்ஸ் குடிச்சா நல்ல மார்க் வருமாம்மா?.. நீ எனக்கும் வாங்கி தாயேன்".. என்று கேட்டேன்.
"அவ்ளோதானாடி,நாளைக்கே வாங்கி தர்றேன்" என்றாள் உற்சாகமாக.

அடுத்தநாள் பரபரப்பாக வீடி திரும்பி காத்திருந்தேன் அம்மாவுக்கு.. நேரம் ஒரு 9.30 இருக்கும்... கொஞ்சம் தூங்கி போயிட்டேன்...அம்மா வந்து கதவை தள்ளும்போது கேட்ட கிறீச் சத்தத்தில் முழித்தேன்... கையில் பொட்டலம் இருந்தாது... ஹார்லிக்ஸ்... என் முகத்தில் ரொம்ப மகிழ்ச்சி..நாமளும் பார்வதி மாதிரி இனி நல்ல மார்க் வாங்க முடியும் என்ற மகழ்ச்சி!... அம்மாவின் கையில் இருந்து வாங்கி அந்த பாட்டிலையே உருட்டி உருட்டி பார்த்துக்கொண்டிருந்தேன்... அதில் எழுதி இருந்த எல்லாவற்றையும் படித்தேன்..

அம்மா சாப்பிட்டவுடன் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் தருவதாய் சொன்னால்... அவள் இருமல் மருந்தை வாங்காமலே வந்திருந்தாள்.. என்னாச்சு என்று கேட்டதற்கு மருந்து கடையில் இல்லை எனவும் நாளைக்கே வருவதாகவும் கூறினாள்....
"மருந்து ஒழுங்கா சாப்பிட்டா தானேம்மா கேக்கும்.. வேற கடையில கேக்க வேண்டியதுதானே"..என்றதற்கு, 
"அதான் நீ சீக்கிரமே டாக்டராயி என்னை குணப்படுத்துவியே" என்று கூறினாள்...

வெந்நீர் காய்ச்சி அதில் இரண்டு ஸ்பூன் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் கலக்கி தந்தாள்... மிகுந்த உற்சாகத்துடன் குடித்தேன்... அவ்வளவு ஒன்றும் சுவையாக இல்லை என்றாலும் மருந்து போல கசக்கவில்லை...நான் முதலில் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் மருந்து என்றுதான் நினைத்தேன்... 
"நீயும் குடிம்மா" என்றதற்கு.. 
"அடி போடி, எனக்கு ஒன்னும் நிறைய மார்க்கு வாங்க வேண்டியதில்லை" என்றாள்.. சிரித்து கொண்டே படுத்து உறங்கினேன் 

17 ஜனவரி 1985, காலை 6 மணி 

அம்மா எழுதிருக்கவே இல்லை... நேற்று இரவு முழுவதும் அவள் இருமியது மட்டும் கேட்டது...அம்மா இறந்து விட்டதாய் சொன்னார்கள்... அன்று நடந்த வேறெதுவும் அவ்வளவாய் நினைவில் இல்லை.... அம்மா இனிமேல் இல்லை என்று மட்டும் உறுதியாய் தெரிந்தது... ஒரு வேளை அம்மாவும் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் குடிச்சிருக்கணுமோன்னு தோணுச்சி... அந்த பாட்டிலில் இருந்த கடைசி ஸ்பூன் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் எடுத்து அம்மாவுக்கு குடுக்க முயற்சி பண்ணினேன்... அம்மாதான் சாப்பிடவே இல்லை...

11 ஆகஸ்ட் 1999

இன்னிக்கு எனக்கு டாக்டர் பட்டம் குடுக்குறாங்க... ஒரே ஒரு குறை மட்டும்தான்.. அம்மாவுக்கு வைத்தியம் பாக்க முடியலையே!... அவள் இறந்த அன்னிக்கு தோணினது "ரு வேளை அம்மாவும் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் குடிச்சிருக்கணுமோன்னு".. ஆனா இப்போ தெரிஞ்சுது.. அவள் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் குடிச்சிருந்தாலும் ஒண்ணும் மாறி இருக்காது... ஒரு வேளை நான் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் வேணும்ன்னு கேக்காம இருந்திருந்தா அவ அன்னிக்கு மருந்து வாங்கிருப்பா.. ஒரு வேளை அவள் உயிரோட இருந்திருக்கலாமோன்னு...

17 ஜூலை 2014, வியாழன் மாலை 9.30 மணி 

கயலை தூங்கபோட்டுடு, யூட்யூபில் தேடினேன்... அவள் சொன்னது சரிதான் ஹார்லிக்ஸ் சாப்பிட்டா டாக்டர் ஆகலாம் என்பது போல ஒரு விளம்பரம் இருக்கவே செய்கிறது.... அவளுக்கு நாளைக்கு ஒரு கதை சொல்லணும்....

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mission Kavya!


Disclaimer: All the Characters and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance of the characters to an actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Tuesday, 15th December 1992 : 13.57 hours, somewhere near Zoji la

“Major. Rajesh, after a momentary pause, Major. Rajesh… address your radio”, said Capt. Iqbal to me. That was when I realized that the radio tied on my waist was alarming for my attention!. I picked the wireless to address and it was from our high command who asked us to locate ourselves.  We had by then just reached on top of the Zoji la which was uphill from Sonamarg and the only possible route to Kargil. Getting on top of Zoji la during early December was a near impossible task.  Me and 4 more of my boys were determined enough to complete the task given to us and had reached on top. We were destined to reach peak 7196 via Kargil. Though I was in contemplation and confusion over the recent fights with Kavya back home, I had to lead the boys without any hindrance.  Kayva and I got married a decade ago. We’ve had wonderful time together but in life things never remain the same throughout. Partly I thought that I hold the responsibility over  the recent developments of the cracked space between us but then ego never allowed me to admit it to her.  I always found fault on her and she did with me.

“Major. Rajesh, we may need to camp somewhere around here for the night. We can probably reach Dras by the evening and we can camp at Brig. Sharma’s regiment. I’ll send out information immediately about our arrival. I hope Brig. Sharma knows about the operation” mentioned Capt. Iqbal.

“Yes, he does Capt. I too feel that we need to camp at his regiment. Do the needful”, I ordered him.  Brig. Sharma was one of the most respected personal across the regiments during our time. He was so charming and has always been a role model to many of us. I do remember some of my (g)olden days when he was  my mentor in my earlier days in army. I thought it was a good time to meet him because I was so also very disturbed and the operation needed clearer thought process from me. We reached Dras half past five.

“Major. Rajesh, Brig. Sharma would meet you at his residence at 19.30 hours”, said Capt. Iqbal. We had just getting settled at our camp there and I had one more hour before meeting Brigadier. I had made plans for the next day and instructed Capt. Iqbal to organize the itinerary.

Brig. Sharma was all the same. 6 years since we met but nothing had changed with this man. He carried the same Charisma. After a brief session on catching up with the happenings in each other’s life, we discussed briefly about our mission plan. Brig. Sharma did notice that I wasn’t at my normal and he asked me about my problem. I spoke about Kavya and the recent development of internal war between us. Brigadier smiled and said that these kinds of problems exist in almost everyone’s life and ultimately it’s us who allow the problem to grow up rather than seeking immediate solution.

After an hour long debate, he turned to me and asked only one question, “Do you love Kavya?”.


After a brief pause I said, “Of course, Yes Brigadier”.

“Then tell her everyday that you love her. Tell her that the she is the most beautiful thing that had ever happened to you in your life. It’s that simple. I do that with my wife and we never fight with each other”, winked Brig. Sharma.

I wasn’t greatly convinced with what he said but couldn’t disagree as well. I did love Kavya and if I am correct, she did the same too. When I reached back my tent at the camp, I recollected that Kavya had kept a box in my bag before I departed. I didn’t open to see it till date but now out of curiosity I opened it to find a small note “Be safe and come back soon. I love you!”.  I thought that how foolish I had been of not evening bothering to open the box since I departed. Had I opened it I wouldn’t have contemplated so much throughout the journey. I realized that Brigadier was correct. We humans have the tendency to allow the problem grow bigger before we put an attempt to solve it. I now felt like meeting Kavya as soon as possible. Wanted to hold her face and look in to her eyes and tell her that how much I loved her!.

It took us 3 more days before we completed the mission in recapturing the peak 7196. I believe that the small note helped me gather all my energy and made me fight with a greater zeal.  I would completely dedicate this victory to Kavya. It was mission Kavya for me.





Friday, April 25, 2014

Rest in Piece

Disclaimer: All the Characters and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance of the characters to an actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Friday, 13th April, 2012 03.22 hours

The car was speeding at 120 km/hr on a national highway with a little louder music. Sarah sitting adjacent to Aravind was half asleep. Aravind pulled out the last cigarette from the box and lit it. Disturbed by the smell of the fumes, Sarah in an irritated voice said, "Stop smoking cigarettes while driving Aravind, these fumes are really disgusting"... Aravind turned toward Sarah and said, "When will you stop fuming, Sarah?" and before completing the statement... trash.... Aravind ran the car over a guy crossing the road as he lost control with the cigarette in one hand and a diverted attention in responding to Sarah's question..... The splashed blood covered the entire wind shield before Aravind hit the brake..... Holy shit!!!..Shekar woke up from his bed to realize that this was just a dream. That was Sarah again, he contemplated... he couldn't rest in peace these days!...

Shekar works in a mortuary as a post-mortem assistant and is someone who is undisturbed by blood as he faces it on a daily basis. For him everything is flesh, be it a human body or an animal. He consumes a lot of alcohol to overcome the smell around him at the workplace but in principle he has been a very clean and honest person.

Wednesday, 4th April, 2012 16.45 hours

Dr. Vivek entered the post-mortem room looking for Shekar. He found Shekar lying on a table deep asleep. He also found a half emptied local brand alcohol bottle placed adjacent to Shekar. After spending a couple of minutes in waking him up, he asked Shekar to urgently arrange for the post-mortem room. Shekar though was unconscious knew the process by heart and was meticulous in preparing the room. Dr. Vivek mentioned Shekar that he'll also help in getting things ready as he found Shekar over drunk and the case was a little urgent.

Wednesday, 4th April, 2012 06.23 hours

"Aaaahhhhh".. Screamed Kavitha the moment she entered Sarah's room. She found Sarah lying on the couch with a part of her body and cloth completely drenched with blood. The circumference of the blood layer was wide and the texture of the same was scary on the white bedspread on which Sarah was lying. The blood had come from Sarah's left wrist which was cut deeply and Sarah was holding a knife on her right hand. Kavitha, the maid immediately called Aravind who was working overnight that day. Aravind was shell shocked hearing this and rushed back home. While driving home he was contemplating over the recent fight he had with Sarah, but still wasn't convinced that Sarah could commit a suicide. As soon as he reached home and saw Sarah, he broke into tears. A couple of hours later, Dr. Vivek and circle inspector Hari were there consoling Aravind. Dr. Vivek was a good friend of Aravind. Hari arrived there at the spot as soon as he had the information over the phone. After preliminary investigation, Hari requested Dr. Vivek to take the body for a post-mortem. Aravind was still in a phase where he wasn't conscious of what was happening around him. It was hard for him to believe his life Sarah had just taken away his life along with her!. He was trying to recollect the argument he had with her the earlier evening and that was the reason why he left to office!.

Friday, 13th April 2012 09.30 hours

Shekar was extremely disturbed by repeated dreams of Sarah, he has been getting such wired dream since the day he did the post-mortem. As he had consumed too much of alcohol, he wasn't able to recollect anything he did the other day except for the so peaceful face of Sarah and Dr. Vivek helping him. He felt that Sarah didn't deserve the death at this early age when he was cutting across her!. He tried to recollect the process and was worried by the repeatedly haunting dreams in which Sarah appeared every time. He was also aware that Aravind was arrested under suspicion because the post-mortem report had concluded Sarah's death as murder but still the motive of murder was unclear among the network. He also was aware that inspector Hari was handling the case and decided to talk to him about his repeatedly haunting dream. Suddenly something stuck at his leg as he didn't notice the rod lying in the corridor while walking with thoughts. He lost his balance and fell down and while he fell a silver bracelet fell out of his pocket. 

Tuesday, 3rd April, 2012, 21.05 hours

Dr. Vivek entered the post-mortem room looking for Shekar. He found Shekar lying on a table deep asleep. He also found a half emptied local brand alcohol bottle placed adjacent to Shekar. After spending a couple of minutes in waking him up, he asked Shekar to urgently get him a stretcher to move a body from the ICU ward. Shekar also went along with Dr. Vivek and helped him move the body from ICU ward to the Ambulance. Shekar went to sleep in the mortuary room itself after helping Dr. Vivek. The next morning he woke up to find the stretcher kept back at its place but also found a thin silver bracelet on it. He took it kept in his pocket to hand over it to Dr. Vivek. 

Friday, 13th April 2012 09.34 hours

Shekar cursing himself for not noticing the rod also picked the bracelet and reminded himself to go and meet Dr. Vivek to handover the bracelet. He straight away walked to Dr. Vivek and handed over the bracelet to inform him that this was found on a stretcher. Dr. Vivek collected it and after a brief observation looked up to Shekar and said, "Thanks Shekar, this is Sarah's, where you got this?. Is it from the stretcher on which Sarah's post-mortem took place?". Shekar was confused as his mind went blank and he just nodded his head . He immediately wanted to get out of there and meet inspector Hari. He left the room and walked quickly across the corridor, while crossing the reception, he could over hear the receptionist who was on her phone. "Yes Dr. Vivek, we'll send across the receipt of Mrs. Sarah Aravind to your cabin in a while for her check up on 12th April".

Shekar now walked at an increased speed towards the road, he found Sarah on his left with a serene smile walking along with him! Now he felt that he could rest in peace!
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shalwaar Kameez!

Disclaimer: All the Characters and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance of the characters to an actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

January 28, 1974 08.15 AM

“Tell your dad that the Tiffin is kept on the dining table and ask him to take curd from Sharma ji’s shop”, said Shakuntala to her younger daughter while rushing out of the kitchen. My daughter was quick to respond, “You both will be going out together, why don’t you tell him mom”.  I could hear this from bathroom. I am Aravind and I am a government employee. I got married to Shakuntala a couple of days after our country became independent. We live in a government quarter at R.K.Puram which was recently allocated to us. Things between me and Shakuntala for the last couple of months weren’t normal. We used to have small fights in between but after our marriage this was the first time we hadn’t tried to compromise between us since long.

Shakuntala was in a red saree when we walked out. She looked great in the red saree with the woolen sweater on top of it.  It wasn’t very cold that morning like what it normally used to. I pulled out my scooter out of the shed and tilted it to allow the flow of petrol before I kicked to start it. A few rises of accelerator to make the engine warm and I was ready to go. Shankulta walked to the scooter and sat behind with legs on one side and caught the ream at the backside of the scooter.  Normally we used to talk a lot during our ride to work.

After dropping Shakuntala at Nehru Place, I progressed towards my office which was near Gurudwara Bangala Sahib. After parking my scooter while walking into the office I realized that Shukhlal ji was already there. Shukhlal ji, my colleague was a shop of advice and that too for free.  Generally I used to find him annoying just because he hops on to me with a bundle of advises every time whenever he would like to have a cup of filter coffee at my house. Being a south Indian couple, it was an obligation as well.  After nodding to his greetings I sat in the seat to carry out my routine. At 11.00, Chintu placed the tea glass on the table. The vapors arising out of the tea was just spreading its ginger aroma in the small room. When I picked the tea, I saw Shukhlal ji sitting in the other side of the table sipping his tea.

As usual Shukhlal ji started the conversation and today, he was specifically interested in knowing my problem saying that he has been observing me being dull these days. How long can I keep retaliating?.  I said him the issue that was going on between Shakuntala and me. After hearing it out, with a little smile he said, “Will you mind if I give you an advice?”. Of course, I would read my mind but with a little hesitation to state it I nodded my head as a signal stating no I wouldn’t mind an advice.  Shukhlal  ji said, “Sir, in our daily lives, we keep on adding things on ourselves like responsibilities, work, wealth, health, anger, tension, etc., however, with time we fail to add more love to our life by adding all other things. We give less priority to love in the process. Why don’t you try adding it?. It’ll work. After all it’s just some simple ego between you and bhabhi ji”… At that moment, I felt that Shukhlal ji is not just an advice bhandaar, he has some stuff to sell as well.

February 7th, 1974, 8.15 AM

What is this parcel, picked up Shakuntala from her wardrobe? Opened it to pluck out a small piece of paper  which read “I love you”. After unwrapping the complete cover she pulled out the dress to realize that it was a Shalwaar Kameez. She very wanted to try wearing one for herself since long but from being an orthodox family from down south; she kept on neglecting her wishes. She also once said that her colleague had 5 different varieties of Shalwaar Kameez with her. It was her favorite red color as well. I could see her smile through the mirror placed hanging on the wall to her left.

Today, there was lot of conversation between us without uttering a single word. Shukhlal ji rightly said, we need to keep adding love by doing simple initiations. I walked out to take my scooter watching Shakuntala’s smile and picked the vehicle out and tilted towards me to allow itself a smooth flow of petrol. After kick starting and warming up the engine, I found Shakuntala sitting on the bike with her legs on both the side and holding on her arms on my shoulder. I felt like pulling of my sweater but it was a little more chill than normal.
When I stopped to drop her at office, “She leaned on my back to whisper in my ear, Shall we go for another long drive?” At the age of 52 I felt like a child. The only ingredient needed was innocence.