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Papaya Leaves

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I don’t even have Papaya as a fruit. I don’t like the smell and the memories it brings of recovering from illness.
But when you are told your child has dengue and papaya leaves are the best medicine for her-you are looking for them as soon as land is visible from the aeroplane. I was already calling my friend+neighbor who is familiar with the apartment garden, from the taxi on the way home from airport to check if we had a papaya tree. As soon as my daughter was fed and settled in bed, I went down to hunt with my best kitchen knife.
Finding a tree to climb There was no papaya tree at that spot or anywhere else I could see! My friend’s phone was unreachable, and the building gardener was on leave. Another neighbor I called was sure there was a tree but could not recollect where.
I grilled the electrical maintenance guy: “Yes, there a tree here, we cut it last month.” I had to restrain myself from using the knife on him.
I think he read my expression as he took a step back and apologized: “W…

The STORY

It is a little embarrassing-to type in random musings to be read by someone, somewhere is one thing. To be ‘read’ by people whom you know is another thing. Yet, it is so nice to know that so many of you celebrated my tiny victory.
So thank you very much for taking out the time to read this story.
The context: a short-story contest organized by TOI Books where the prompt was given by author Nikita Singh. These lines were supposed to be used ‘as-is’ in the story, within a word limit: I didn’t think I would ever fall in love again. I know that everyone says that after a heartbreak, but the difference is that I’m not heartbroken. I’m not cynical, or pessimistic, or sad. I’m just someone who once felt something bigger than anything else I’d ever felt and when I lost it, I honestly believed I would never have that again. But... I was 22 then and life is long. And I’m feeling things right now that I haven’t in a long, long time."
It would be great if you could share your feedback too –on…

Talking about Poetry

Not many people read my blog now. So it is more like the early days-a random diary which the Internet saves for you. A space to write just for the fun of playing with words. 

This one started with a conversation about one more thing I don't understand too well-modern poetry! In our days, we had to learn our poems. 

How does one do that without the cadence?
They as usual, shrug it off as another example of my ignorance.

Poetry is how Wordsworth describes daffodils, it makes you feel like the cloud o’er the hills.
Poetry for me is all about the rhyme; and the music which stays with you over time.
What makes a poem, mom, is the rhythm; the kids insist but I can’t agree with’em.
So they try their best to explain:
when you feel that punctuation is a pain, when you have words, but not the patience, to find more to complete the sentence,
You just write what you think and feel, forget the grammar, and focus on the zeal, and that is what makes great poetry. It’s the thought, mom, not the symmetry.
Oh well,…

Butterfly

To the eighteen-year old, poised to take on her flight

Do I wish for time to turn back; and live those moments once more? Or, that it just stood still a little longer; letting me hold you close and tight? Or, just feel it slip through my fingers, as your wings flutter out of their cocoon, and the glorious hues burst out,
sparkling in the dazzling light...

The Empty Chair

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Wayanad-Day 2

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(Continued after a long gap from previous the post) 

The Plan: We had decided to go to the hotel first because we were closer to Kuruvadweep, check out the interesting places nearby and go for trekking up the Edakkal caves the next day.

Reality Check 1: Since I belong to the generation which still believes in verifying googled information by asking people-we checked with the hotel manager about our proposed route. He discouraged us strongly from taking the shorter route so we ended up taking the more popular but longer route-through Sultan Bathery.
Reality Check 2: I am a map freak. GPS notwithstanding I had downloaded and customized a route map beforehand and got really upset to know it was left behind at home. 
My elder daughter took over immediately-she is sometimes the wisest one in the family-“Mom, that map is in Bangalore; we’ll manage without it. Tell me what you want” -searched online and drew the one I needed, at the breakfast table:
The first part of the drive was lovely-an empty…

Figuring out Santa Claus

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Sometimes we ended up discussing philosophy while putting my daughters to sleep. On Christmas Eve, I recollected one of those old conversations. My three-year-old was very worried on the night when Santa was supposed to come and visit.
“Does Santa Claus know we have shifted to Bangalore?” “How does he know where each child lives? “Will he be able to give gifts to all the children on one night?”
I didn’t have plausible reasons so I gently changed the topic and we discussed the next day’s plans till she fell asleep.
My six-year-old was still awake and she crept closer for the secret chat.
She giggled and whispered: “I know you buy the gifts for us. The Santa Claus in the mall is just a normal people who wears the red dress and sticks on a false beard.” "Santa Claus is not real" She was sure.
I was glad that she had it all figured out but I also felt so sad at that moment; as if a little bit of enchantment  had just left our life.
“So now that you know that there is no Santa Claus, I do…

Making Sense of an Ending

A seventeen year-old in my neighborhood jumped to his death. His parents are devastated. I, like most of the people who have known them for years, shocked to the core. I had thought I’d tell me daughters about the incident only when they came home for the holidays, when we could have a longer conversation. But bad news travel fast and it was my daughter who asked me for ‘details’.
Then I had to write to them. I write to them often but this time I did not know what to write. Why am I putting parts of it in the public domain? As a prayer from a mother who hopes that no parent has to live through this.
What happened? He jumped from the 7th Floor.
Why? Only he knew what was going on in his mind at that moment. Anything else we say would be an un-called for assumption.
What other details can I give you? His parents will be in pain for a very long time. It is like he stabbed them and went off, leaving the knives in.
We are all shocked. We, who knew him as a much loved child a friend of our childre…

Wayanad-Driving through hills, forests and a river valley-Day 1

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The Holiday Resolutions: There are too many things to do right here. I get more tired planning for and recovering from vacations. Let’s not go anywhere this time.  Ok, we'll take one small break. But this time we’ll not drive-let's take a flight, or a train, or a cab, or hire a driver…
The Reality: Driving for three and a half days through steep hills, sharp bends, lush forests and the Kabini river valley.


The Decisions: Since this was an unplanned, unintended trip we quickly decided on Wayanad because it was the only non-visited destination within driving distance. We booked our hotel after a quick Face book research, packed a few sets of clothes, filled petrol, and decided to leave early on Saturday morning.
My husband decided to work from home on Friday to ensure we pack in early on Friday evening. He was determined we would leave as early as possible on Saturday to avoid the traffic jams that happen on exit roads to Bangalore at the onset of all long weekends. I dread waking up ea…

My Story and Hers: Which way do we go?

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This is a continuation of events from my previous post when my friend and I had decided we needed to change the ‘new’ school.
My mother said bye to me as usual as I left for school. Then she stood still with shock and screamed: You are wearing the wrong uniform. You have the grey-and-white uniform now.
(She had also given away my old blue uniform, I had to borrow one from a friend and it was two sizes bigger than my size).
I told her I am not going to the ‘grey-and-white uniform’ school anymore but my old blue uniform one.
Yes, I knew I could not just walk into a school like that. My friend had spoken to the office staff and got my Transfer Certificate request cancelled. I had visited the old school, met the Principal, the admin staff and my friends. My school had changed.
My parents had a conference between each other that day and they let me continue my way; probably because of the shock factor of the drastic step.
This was perhaps the first independent decision of my life. Was it the righ…