Edifice to prejudice

I am taking part in the #ShareTheLoad Challenge with Ariel and Akshara at BlogAdda.

 

Ritwik jumped out of the shower and went straight to his elder sister, sitting at the table. Reya was reading an article about some new course in the town when she saw him leaping towards her. She realized quickly what he intended to do right then but couldn’t act so fast. Ritwik got around her, brushing away the water from his hair on the newspaper in her hand. She shouted at his mischief and got up for a payback but Ritwik ran away to this room, locking himself up.

Inside, he thought about what all he wanted to do that day. His mother would soon be home and he had something nice in his mind to ask her to cook. And then his father would come too, it being a half-day at work. He thought about asking some money from both of them to buy himself some small nothings and to add some of it to his savings. The festival was right around the corner of the coming week and he had bragged to his friends about a million things that he would be buying.  Surely, all of that took a lot of thought and diligence to manage on his part.

Getting dressed in his soccer uniform, he got out of the room. His parents had just bought him that one, on his 9th birthday that is, and he couldn’t wait to show it off among his peers. He moved out into the lobby to see his sister still trying to read about that course in the paper, although it was quite wet. He teased her into a ‘You couldn’t get me’ motion but she just ignored him. Soon the bell rang and it was their mother. She stepped in, keeping her bag on the table beside Reya’s wet newspaper, careful not to damage it further. She announced that her school authorities had finally declared a holiday for the next 5 days and that now, she would be dishing away all requests which she might have denied due to work those past days. She also noticed how Reya had underlined the course contents she wanted to pursue. She had hardly begun to read the piece when Ritwik cut her in between. “You had promised you will make my favourite first, I want Kadhi-Rice now”, he kept going. His mother calmed him down, telling him to wait for her to finish. But he was inexorable as he began to push his mother into the kitchen. She finally gave up and asked Reya to come with her to help.

Source

Seeing them go, Ritwik settled himself on the bean bag and switched on the television. He kept browsing through the channels, finding nothing really of interest because inside, he was just waiting for his father to come. Soon the bell rang again but he did not get up to attend the door. Reya came out of the kitchen, running her hands into his hair, teasing him as she got out to welcome her father. Once he entered, Ritwik rushed to him, hugging him and asking if he too had his holidays now. His father nodded but added that he still would have to go in between to take care of some pending work as it was a tight month. Ritwik didn’t understand a ‘tight month’ but he didn’t ask any further.

As his father got fresh and Ritwik got bored with the television, Reya got in as she placed the bowl of Kadhi on the dining table. Her mother followed with the bowl of rice and the dishes as they began settling in for the food. Ritwik loved it and so did his father, mother and Reya. He couldn’t help but notice how in between their slurps, his mother would look at them and smile, with a peculiar glow turning up on her face. Ritwik loved that glow in his mother.

When they were done, Ritwik again rushed to his room, bringing out the shoes and placing them where everyone could see them, just to give an indication that he was going out to play soon. His mother asked Reya to join her in the kitchen to do the dishes as his father watched him go about slowly tying his shoelaces. But something else caught his father’s attention just then. The newspaper article and the course that Reya had underlined. He read it through in a jiffy and went into the kitchen. There, taking the bowl out of Reya’s hands, he asked her if she was interested in the course. She told him she was to which he said, “Very well then. But you do see that the last date to apply is tomorrow right? Run away and let me help your mother with this. You go fill the application form and post it online”. Reya hugged him thanks, running out and kissing her brother while she was at it as she rushed to her computer.

Ritwik didn’t know what had happened. Just a second earlier, she was working in the kitchen and now she was more happier than he was. What had she won? A new soccer ball? Thinking that, he rushed into the kitchen to find his parents doing the dishes and smiling to each other. They were talking about Reya and suddenly, Ritwik found himself out of the picture. He heard his father tell his mother how Reya had been so hard-working and how he believed she would manage the course despite her board exams the next year. Ritwik heard all this and he felt something inside him.

When they came out, his mother told his father that they needed to get the laundry done by the next day so they could be ironed and in order before the festival holidays truly began for everyone. She asked him if he could help her out with that too. His father agreed the very second and even suggested her to take some rest and join in later. “But the pipe is broken so I would need to hold on to that till the tub gets full while you do the clothes”, she went suggesting how their good old washing machine had begun to come apart. All this while, Ritwik was listening to them and just when he heard that last one from his mother, he jumped in “I will help Dad in the laundry. I would hold on to the pipe just like mother. And mother, you can rest till then”.

“But are you sure Ritwik that you want to help? Don’t you want to go out to play soccer?”, quipped his mother.

“Arre…we will only play after the festival now”.

“Very well then, follow me lad”, said his father as the duo got about doing the laundry.

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His mother sat close, sort of reclining against the cushion as she saw the two most wonderful men in her life go about helping her in the chores. She was still wondering how lucky she was when she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Reya. She brought her lips to her ears and asked “That pipe doesn’t really need to be held right? It can be done with a stopper?” Her mother chuckled and the glow came back upon her as she replied to her daughter “Of course it doesn’t. It was your father’s idea”.

If only…

Rehan sat at the chair, looking at the two frightful gentlemen before him ready to scrape away his whole life. He handed them over a folder with his credentials and the interview began.

Only a week earlier, they had had their first exams of the semester and what a nightmare had it been. He would always have the extra pressure to first go through the entire syllabus in a day and then explain the important points to all his peers who would come to him in the evening wishing that he leaks the entire paper to them in a few hours. But Rehan didn’t mind it. In fact, being the peppy guy he was, he would always try to help them as much as he could. He was such a fantastico person in everyone’s eyes, nothing like those morons who would not tell you a single thing, probably in fear that you may end up scoring higher than them.

Somehow, they passed along and there was another challenge ahead of him. A prominent company was coming on-campus to recruit students for summer-training. There was also a navigation of the word around that out of all students that it selected for the training, it gave a Pre-placement offer to almost all of them. Rehan thus, began his preparation for the day, working hard day and night, going through all the proabables they could ask him.

Four days before the recruitment day, as he was going through his notes sitting in the canteen, Rhea came to him. She told him that she had been very weak in ‘Antenna theory’ and asked if he could help her out with it someday. Rehan instantly agreed to it but told her that he needed to brush up his basics before teaching her. It had been some time now that they had studied it and amongst exams and the recruitment drive, he had forgotten much of it. Still, he agreed to help her the next day.

As he returned from college that day, he got a call from one of his seniors whom he had been trying to contact for some days. He had been working for the same company and made his way through the same procedure. As such, Rehan wanted to know some inside secrets from him. The senior told him about a bunch of important topics, most of them he knew little to nothing about. He told him they were almost a sure shot thing and to study them by all his heart. True to his grit, he began to study those topics, forgetting everything else.

The next day, Rhea met him again in the canteen and he told her he could only help after the recruitment drive was over. She seemed to understand and as he apologized for it, she told him it was nothing and to concentrate on his work. She wished him good luck and went away.

Three days later, the process began in the morning with a group-discussion. Rehan outlasted all other candidates with his careful handling of facts and sentiments and was pretty pumped up for the PI round. As he stood outside the cabin, waiting impatiently for his turn to come, he made crude calculations in his mind- “If I perform even average in the PI then after adding the marks of the group discussion, I would surely end up in the list”, “How much weightage would they be giving to each part” and stuff like that.

After four solid and long hours, he was there. The first things they asked him were to give an introduction of himself, his fields of interest and why he thinks he would be suitable for the applied position- all basic stuff. High on confidence, Rehan gave some good answers and was even successful in defending himself when some of them tried to get back on him on a few points. Then came the technical part. And the first question the guy asked him was on ‘Antenna Theory’. He felt a wave of shock slap his face as he mumbled out some gibberish as an answer. The guy knew he had got him where he wanted and kept on coming with the same questions, even in more intricate detail. With every question he asked, Rehan would think in his head how he remembered studying the topic once but nothing else of it.

Soon the interviews were over and at night, the results were announced. Rehan didn’t make it. That night, as he tried to sleep, his mind was flooded with regret. He felt that a small neglect had had such an impact on his career. Everytime he tried to close his eyes and every time he did, the face of Rhea popped up asking “Will you teach me ‘Antenna theory’ ?”,  “Please teach me Antenna theory”.

He gave up the thought of sleeping, knowing he wouldn’t be able to and opened his book to study. He went to the index and opened the selected pages. The topic read in bold font ‘Antenna theory’ as he wondered to himself– “If only..”

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Impact of a hoarder

Once upon a time, in a land far and far away from all basic human quirks, there thrived a community. This community comprised of hundreds and thousands who used to produce all of their own stuff, produce their own food, procure supplies and live along well and merry. They would sometimes socialize with each other, by coming to meetings. They would discuss how their lives were going, what they had produced and the problems they were having. Some would tell about people who weren’t producing their own food and supplies and were stealing them from others. Others would report how they were fearful of bad elements ruining there perfect little existence. There was a small congress of elders who would hear them and hand out the necessary punishment and suitable solutions to the community. Things were going well and all people were more or less satisfied with what they had built for themselves.

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Then came hard times. It had been a harsh winter for everyone and the storms and hail left much of the fields barren. Now there was a system they followed in their community. There was no distribution of land individually for a particular person and Mother Earth was for all. Anyone who could plough his or her way by the sweat of the bro could produce as much as he or she would like. But as the land had suddenly become limited, they were having some fears for the future. A meeting was called and it was decided that they would host it everyday for resolution of problems till the harsh times have subsided.

In the meeting, there was concern over what would be allotted to whom so that everyone gets a fair share and no-one suffers. They were all brainstorming over the matter. While some suggested that the old rule of produce as per ability is followed, others suggested that the resources be divided equally among all. The elders told them that the latter would not be feasible because some may need that equal share more than the others while some may need a very small portion. In the midst of them all, there was a woman who had been sitting silent all along. Maybe she knew something but she was trying to find the right words to say it. When she was sure on what needed to be said, she went on- “Hard times have fallen upon us and it’s times like these that truly test the true nature of men and women. But I fear something. I fear that this is where our harmony would end. I fear that those who can produce more and more would try to seize control over others. She feared that they would hoard their produce much more than they needed and as such others would suffer. But the elders did not pay heed to her and went on with the produce per ability rule.

Earlier, it was all good and those who could produce more and needed less would regularly bring their stock to the elders and taking their own bit out, would contribute the rest for the community need. The elders thought everything was good but some of them still feared about the hoarding.

When the produce season was coming to a hault, some of the people who could not produce more were running out of supplies. They were helpless. Those who could produce more remained strong but there was only so much they could do for the greater good. And then struck calamity. What they had feared materialized as they came to know that while some were suffering for lack of it, a big producer had hoarded the greatest produce of the community. But he did not want to share it and so he never came forward with anything in the meetings. He had the upper hand in decisions now and he could exploit it all he wanted to. He told his community people that he was going to introduce something to them, something that would change the way things worked around there- He introduced Business- a tradeoff.

Things fell apart after this and  the once glorious, harmonious community was never the same. It had suffered a deep impact on its most fundamental of levels and all this time, it saw it coming. Guess, it was the community people’s own fault.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

All he wanted..

“your hand
touching mine.
this is how
galaxies
collide.” 
― Sanober Khan

Deep read the line, throwing his fist on the table with a thud, and wished he could have written it. He had always been fascinated by poetry, so much so that it exceeded his own enthusiasm at times. Ever since boyhood, he would find a good line lying in a trash and would spend hours searching for another. He would throw in a fantastico line from Elliot in a normal discussion among his peers and they would shoo him away, calling him names, calling him a nerd. But he didn’t mind that and he knew he would always find people like him to share his world with.

And so, when he came to know that there was a fantastico budding poetess in his class, he couldn’t help getting all too excited about it. In spite of being a shy guy otherwise, he didn’t hesitate in approaching Kavyaa. He asked her about her interests in poetry and she reluctantly answered him. He then asked if they could make meet sometime. He told her he wanted to talk about  Szymborska and Tretheway, about Sherman and Ginsberg. But he didn’t know why she freaked out. Maybe she assumed that he was a weirdo trying to lurk around just so he could be with and around her. Maybe she didn’t like him in the first place. But Deep was too passionate to think about this. What he saw was someone he could tell everything he knew about poetry to and that was just too much for him. Maybe he got over the line in trying to persuade her but at least in his mind, he did not feel so.

Unfortunately, he never got his wish and every time he asked her for it, she came up with an excuse. Then, one day, as he was browsing over his facebook feed, he got a friend request from a guy he did not know. He checked out his profile and found a mutual friend in Kavyaa . Now he was a peppy guy over facebook and he accepted all his friend requests. So this time too, he did just that. The next day, as he was undergoing the navigation of his feed, he found that Kavyaa had shared an old photo with the same guy. She had tagged some of her closest friends from her school days in the pic and captioned it ‘love birds’. Deep didn’t mind it and even liked the picture.

In the following days, Kavyaa would post at least two updates every day, tagging that guy and her friends, talking about how they loved each other. Still, Deep kept on prodding her whenever they met in class and she would always deny. Then one day, Deep got a message from that guy. He told Deep about how he and Kavyaa were in love for long. He was quite friendly telling him all that and requested him not to go about troubling Kavyaa. Deep understood then, that he had crossed the line here and gave him his word. He told him he would never again trouble her and that the guy should not worry about it anymore.

A few months passed and Deep remained true to his word. But he kept on with his poetry and even participated in a contest held under a fest. He also came to know that Kavyaa and a friend of Deep would be anchoring the proceedings.

The big day was two days ahead and he was working on his poems when his anchor friend came to his room. He had a huge grin on his face and told Deep that he had to tell him something shocking. Kavyaa had told his friend that she wasn’t really in a relationship with anyone and that she had woven this scheme just to get Deep off her tail. She had also told him that she got a best friend of hers to play her boyfriend in this drama and to talk to Deep about it.

As Deep heard all this, he gave a nervous laugh to him and went about with his poem. Stuck on the very next line, he wondered what had made her take this so seriously. That his requests would have such a deep impact on her was something unthinkable for him. All he wanted was to discuss poetry with her.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Another day

Mr. Ravi Raj  was on his way back from his office, with his wife on the seat near him, as he drove through the messy traffic. He had to concentrate on the road but in his state, he couldn’t help think about a million other things. He had just retired.

He navigated his way through a particularly busy street where vendors would stall a fantastico weekly market and where all people from nearby colonies would come for some fresh and cheap vegetables. He remembered the times he himself would be returning from home on his scooter and would get a call from his wife, asking him to bring this and that and he would be all too happy to carry everything without a bag on his scooter. But those times would hardly come now. Not that he would never buy vegetables again but that he wouldn’t do that returning from work.

They had now reached a little less busy part of the road and so, Mr. Ravi Raj could afford to look at his wife, really look at her. She was dressed in an exquisite Kanjivaram but he couldn’t point down when she had bought it. It must have been years, he guessed. As he looked at her, he thought that maybe now, he would be able to give his wife the time and empathy that had eluded her all this time. He thought of making it up to her, for all those years she had been through without ever complaining although he knew it deep-down that she was uncomfortable. He decided to change that.

They reached home and he wondered how the next day would be like. Will it be just another day or something would have changed at the core. He couldn’t wait for it and soon went to bed. But he couldn’t sleep straightway. All those thoughts kept gushing into his mind all the time and he fought them with all his might. “Is that how retirement impact everyone or is it just me?”, he wondered. Sleep must have crept in eventually but he didn’t know when.

Another day. A bright morning but he couldn’t relate with the sunshine anymore. He felt like it was different in some way. It no longer had the same warmth or the peppy feel to it that would always light up his mornings. He got up, got fresh and went out to his porch. The newspaper was lying under his car and he picked it up using a stick. He put a chair out there, and a little stool infront of him as he skipped to the Business section, like he always did. He was halfway into the very first paragraph when he suddenly stopped and turned the page away. He thought about something but even inside his brain, that thought didn’t materialize into words. Then, to his own utter surprise, he went to the front page and began to read the headlines.

“What had the world come to?”, he thought, puzzled. He read about some college where the students had staged anti-national sentiments and there had been a huge uproar against it. He disgusted at the thought and went thinking again “In our times, we knew what the world meant and understood the value of a great country. Generations since have just degraded along”. He read about a tragic news in a small column near that and his heart went out in sympathy. And then he closed the newspaper to move in. He went to his room where his wife was sleeping. He woke her up, tapping her shoulder and asked for a cup of coffee. She rubbed her eyes, got up, and went out to make one for him.

He again opened the front page and moved his head in disapproval. Soon his wife came in with two cups of coffee and sat beside him. He again closed the paper, holding the cup in his hands and took a sip. It tasted perfect as he went about telling his wife the breaking news.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.