An Uncelebrated Heroine


Rani stayed and worked in a nunnery after her tenth grade. A few years later, she fell in love with her friend Gita’s brother. One fine day, she packed her things and moved to his house. A week later they got married. Rani welcomed her new life although she was an unwelcomed guest in the new house. She felt happy to have a place to call home.

Love faded, reality hit her. The men of the household spent their hard earned money on liquor. Rani resumed her work to meet day to day expenses. She travelled from house to house, cleaning floors and washing dishes. Soon, she became a mother of two. Despite all the hard work, every day she returned home to complaints and bad words. She spent sleepless nights but never took a leave from work.
Meanwhile, her sister-in-law Gita got married. After gifting her with two children, the man abandoned her. The drunkard absconded with Rani’s gold chain which she had bought with her own savings. Gita and her children returned home forever. Beds and mats filled the small rooms, nine people slept under one roof.

Rani often missed her own family. She was young when her father moved away with another woman. Later, her mother found another man to live with. While she tried to run away from her bitter past, her marriage did not do justice to her either. Rani lived for her children. After a day’s work, she hated going back home. Every evening, she wondered where else would she go?


Afternoon Thoughts

The cats of the neighborhood follow a route of their own and a timing that beats the clock. It’s as if they know exactly when the fish seller enters the street announcing his arrival with that startling Beep Beep noise. As I watch them walking along the narrow compound wall, they appear to me like models on a ramp wearing different colored clothes. One of them sports a pitch black skin coat and often looks at me with its shiny green eyes. So, the models ramp walk, drawing in the smell of fish probably expecting to get a head or two from backyards. Seeing the show, the kid gets excited. He observes every movement and starts formulating his train of thoughts. Then he asks a zillion questions about cats. I answer patiently. Once the cats are gone, silence takes over. At times, the rustling of split plantain leaves broke the stillness.. Irregular shadows danced on the wall when the breeze took charge. The clothes on the string looks brighter as they fly towards the sunny sky. The leaves of the jack fruit tree glimmered in the afternoon light. I sat back and mulled over waiting for my evening tea. I longed to take out the book which I bought months back, kept on the shelf untouched. Then I thought maybe I should watch a movie which I had missed. I quickly brushed away the thought, trying to figure out what I really wanted to do, because there were so many To-Do’s that I didn’t know what to do. Finally I put my feet up and wrote about the luxury of spending a laid-back afternoon at home.

Evenings at the Crow Park


Ever since the Crow park (CP) has been renovated, I go for evening walks there. The park isn’t like a usual place for me.. whenever I’m there, I feel an urge to scribble down what I see….The name is given by myself, as the park gives shelter to an abundant number of crows. At dusk, the black birds can be seen settling in on the tree tops with so much noise. The chances of getting blessings (droppings) from the birds are more during this time.

The plush green lawn in the park is surrounded by a neat paved walkway. A portion is developed into kids play area with slides and swings. Another portion is dedicated for exercise equipments. In the middle there is a new statue of a man standing on the earth, holding a creeper plant in hand… I guessed it meant something like ’embracing nature’. The park is huge when compared to other ones in our neighborhood. Hence I find the place comfortable for jogging.

After two rounds around the park, I stopped to take a breath. A lady who looked in her 60’s overtook me swiftly. She wore a salwar kameez and did slow jogging. Inspired by her spirit, I started off again for another round.

The crowd is less in the CP, which motivates me to sit back and relax after my walk/run. While I relaxed, I observe the people around briefly.. Today, a baby was sitting on the grass with her father, both of them having a good bonding time. A group of boys were busy playing some games. A few elderly people were taking their strolls along the walkway. Some determined house wives were working on the exercise machines.

I felt a kind of bonding with the strangers I met there. We were all equals, like from the same family..we came to the CP to shed off worries, improve health, cleanse the mind and be Happy. A solo bat flew across the sky, it looked as if it conveyed a silent message ‘I watch you all from above, thus I know you all’…

My iPod played a beautiful Hindi playlist. Suddenly my face had a smile, there was no reason for was a smile, a simple gesture of happiness. After some stretches, I walked back home. On the way, I tried to smile at strangers crossing my way…they looked confused. I continued to smile.

15 minutes in a Mumbai local

 Vague memories of watching Hijras (eunuchs) with fear flash across my mind when I think about my first experience in Mumbai local. It was years back, when I was a kid.

The coupon system doesn’t exist anymore, tickets should be taken from the counter or from the automated machine. The trains kept coming and going in short intervals. 

It was a sunny afternoon when I hopped into the ladies coach of a Panvel local. I didn’t want to miss the scenery I stood near the exit. It can only be called as an exit because there are no doors in a local. Another benefit of standing is, getting a much broader view of the co-travellers which serves as a way of killing time.



A lady sat on the floor opposite to me barefooted. I was puzzled because many people avoid wearing footwear during the 9 days Navratri fasting. The festival just got over yesterday. I thought maybe she has other reasons.

The ladies coach in local is always filled with sellers. They look poor but they wear moderately good clothes. A skinny woman seller moved along the coach carrying her large basket of oranges. She was chit-chatting with some travellers and finally managed to get atleast 4,5 customers. The lady on the floor also bought some fruit from her and soon started relishing one. 

As I was watching this business progress, I saw a young boy holding a box of chocolates. He calls out to the passengers seeking attention and suggests we all grab a snack, however I didn’t see anyone buying from him. I thought it unfair for a boy of his age making a living from this. But then when he doesn’t have money for food where is the money for schooling? Hardly had I taken my eyes off him, I saw a second one of the same category. He had lemons in polythene covers dangling over his shoulders like bunch of grapes. Each polythene had 5 lemons. I watched him manage his deals, pulling off the packets one by one and handing over to customers.

As the train stopped at a station, a lady with a little boy got in. The boy was holding a paper cone in his hand. Both of them settled down besides the lady on the floor.The mother, she looked tired and was in no mood to pamper the kid. She wore a small nose pin which looked like gold but had no earrings. I thought, maybe she is poor and would have sold her gold for some need. After this quick scrutiny, I found that her feet was bare too. I wondered was she on fasting too? I dismissed the thought as I saw her little boy started munching peanuts from the cone. He asked her something and she replied in a jiffy. She looked exhausted. I wondered whether the boy would have had his lunch.. He looked almost the same age of my son. He was wearing a yellow Tshirt with Pokemon print, a blue jeans and a slipper. 

As I stood there looking at this scene, the bottom of the paper cone started leaking and a few peanuts fell on the floor. I was expecting him to pick them and throw it out, but rather he picked each one from the floor and ate them all. It looked like  he didn’t want to miss even one.

 If only my station hadn’t arrived then, I would have tried to give him some inputs about hygiene. His mother however seemed to be lost in another world. In my mind, I replayed the moments when I scolded my boy whenever he gets his hands dirty. Probably these people doesn’t need any antibiotics like us, they would be immune to a variety of microbes.