Friday, 16 October 2015

school chale hum

School chale hum
Games played in school have a great nostalgic value. First game - kitti kitti. I am sure no one from this generation has even heard about it, let alone played it. It was played with full abandon and enthusiasm by the current boyish denizens of facebook who are grouped under IES group . A boy stood bent against the wall and the other boys would then come running one by one and jump upon the first boy followed by the next who jumped upon the following boy. For some time this pile would be very unstable and all types of screeching and laughter would be heard. I don't remember clearly but I think the dreaded question was asked to the first boy, "kitti kitti" and the boy guessed the number of people in the pile. Immediately on guessing the pile disintegrated into peals of laughter and that denoted the start of next round. Everyone was sweaty and happy.
Another game involved one boy carrying another on his back and lot of such teams pushing and shoving the others so that the opposing team should fall. This too was enjoyed with much enthusiasm.
And who can forget cricket played with paper balls and notebooks converted into bats. This was played with the same seriousness as a ODI between India and Pakistan, and the sledging was much more intense. The paper ball hitting the opposite wall of the classroom was a six which was enjoyed with high five's and lot of cuss words and many times the paper ball had to be retrieved from the maze of benches in the room. And the batsman strutted around like a Virat Kohli on hitting those 4's and 6's.
And last but not the least was the kabbadi matches played out in the classroom corridors. In that restricted place there was lot of pushing and pulling to overcome the raiders. A real game of adrenaline spike.
I am sure you all enjoyed those games and am sure that this small piece has put a smile on your faces.

Thursday, 15 October 2015




She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf...the day’s events, especially those of the last few hours, flashed before her eyes. Aruni’s eyes welled up with tears, as she recounted the horrifying ordeal.

Aruni stayed as a paying guest, with Mrs. Desai, who was a widow in the distant Mumbai suburb of Borivali. Mrs. Desai was a jovial woman who was very motherly towards Aruni. As usual, Aruni got ready for office in a hurry, hardly eating her breakfast, as the minutes went by. “Eat your bread, Aruni. Don’t be in such a hurry, if you don’t eat well, you will invite acidity”, Mrs Desai said with concern in her voice. Aruni just laughed and gulped down the last piece of bread, with water. After all she had made up her mind to confront her boyfriend, Prakash today, with more courage.

She was now sure that she had made a bad choice in Prakash or maybe it was just her karma. She had fallen for his bad boy image in the first flush of excitement on meeting a boy who wooed her by following her on his motorbike as she made the daily trek to the railway station in the morning. Him in his aviators and the leather jacket which made him look like a movie star. When he asked her whether he could drop her to the station one fine day, she could not refuse. The first few days were a breeze as she was caught up in his stud image and could not look beyond his manly swagger. But soon, Prakash started showing his true colours. He was extra possessive towards her and did not even allow her to talk to her male colleagues. His behaviour towards her started deteriorating and now occasionally he started getting violent for the flimsiest of reasons. Yesterday was especially bad as he had choked her by grabbing her neck, as he felt that she had spent too much time on the phone with one of her male colleagues. As soon as she felt his grip loosening she had pushed him away and rushed out of his room.

Today she had decided that she will end the relationship with him. The whole night she had planned out on how she would break the news to him. She wore her black silk shirt, which gave her a sense of power and paired it off with beige coloured trousers. She picked up her blue silk scarf on the way outside and wore it around her neck. She locked here room, put the keys in her handbag and was soon outside to face the world.

She reached her office, located in Andheri by train. She was the life of her office as she greeted everyone from the peon to the Manager with an effervescent smile which lit up her face. Everybody knew her as a woman who was gentle as well as friendly but who could equally forcefully fight for her voice to be heard and who did not like to be taken for granted. The first thing she did was to tell her Manager about her plan to leave early at @4 pm. which he was gracious enough to grant. She then called up Prakash and told him that she will meet him at @4.30 pm. at his house. Prakash was profusely asking her for forgiveness for the events of yesterday and was more than happy to meet her again. She went about her office chores mechanically, waiting for the clock to show 4.00 pm.

At 4 o’clock she left the office and reached Prakash’s house in a taxi. She rang the doorbell and waited. She didn’t have to wait for long since Prakash opened the door immediately and once she was inside, he picked her up and sat her down on the sofa, as he kissed her, took her handbag from her hand, and kept it on the side table. She accepted his kisses without passion and soon Prakash stopped. “Aruni, I know I hurt you yesterday but I am sorry for whatever happened. I don’t know what overcame me, please forgive me”, he said. “I promise to improve my behaviour and not hurt you in future”. Aruni sat impassively as she had heard this before from Prakash and was sure that she could not expect any improvement from him. As he offered her a glass of water, she said “Prakash, this has to end”. Not understanding her fully, Prakash accepted that he will end his violent behaviour. “Prakash, I don’t think you have understood. I am ending this relationship, Prakash. I am not able to handle this”, she said, as she covered her eyes. Prakash was shattered as he stumbled back two steps and leaned weakly against the table near the wall. For some time all was silent as both of them came to grips with what had just been uttered by Aruni. As she opened her eyes, she saw in a blur, his hand coming down, as he slapped her across her face. A shriek went out from her, but Prakash clamped his hand over her mouth to muffle it. All the time, his other hand was striking at her, and his face contorted with anger, he hissed, “How dare you think of leaving me? Do you think you will be able to live without me? I will not let you live!!” Saying this, his hand started grabbing at her throat. As she felt his hand on her throat, she felt the terror and something told her that this time, Prakash would certainly kill her. Desperately she scratched at his eyes and face but Prakash was too strong for her. Bringing the last ounce of strength, she kicked at his groin making him loosen his grip. But in a flash, he was again throttling her and pushing her. She fell against the table, as he held her in his vice like grip, his hand grabbing her neck. She felt breathless, as she desperately tried to find something on the table to strike him with. As she scattered the things on the table with her flailing hands, she felt her handbag. With shivering fingers, she managed to open it, and as his grip on her throat tightened, she had got out her protective knife from the bag and in a flash, with all her remaining energy, had stabbed him near his heart. First Prakash didn’t feel anything except a sharp pain in his left side but soon his energy was draining. As his grip on her throat loosened, he saw his own blood flowing in a gush from his body. The shock of seeing his own blood flowing in torrents and then the dishevelled but determined expression on Aruni’s face was the last thing he saw, as he blacked out and collapsed on the floor.

For a while, Aruni too, was in a shock and shivering from what had just transpired, the blood stained knife still in her hand. Looking at Prakash, she hoped that she had not killed him and had just made him unconscious. With shivering fingers she felt for his pulse; there was none. Her legs gave way, as she too collapsed on the sofa with exhaustion. After a while, as she recovered, she picked up her handbag and scarf, which had come off in the scuffle, and wrapped the knife in the scarf.

She made her way down, and entered the Starbucks café, across the road. The people stared at her dishevelled figure but then got down to their own business. She ordered her favourite cappuchino and she sat there, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf... She then called the police and told them what had just transpired.

In a short while, the police had come and taken her away. That evening, the grisly scene was played out in all details on the news channels, with the media making out all sorts of stories about her & Prakash. The police did their investigations and Aruni also cooperated with them. She admitted her guilt but at the same time she was vehement that all this had happened in self-defence. When asked to explain the presence of a knife in her handbag on the day, due to which the murder appeared pre-meditated, she clarified that she had always carried the knife in the handbag as a self-defence tool, since the time of the terrible rape which had happened in another part of the city. She found jail life very taxing, with the mosquitoes making it even more difficult. She shared her cell with one other inmate, Ragini. For the first few days in jail, she was quiet and withdrawn and could hardly sleep. All kinds of thoughts crossed her mind and she contemplated suicide. One day, Ragini put her arms around Aruni and said, “Aruni, you have to talk. If you keep everything inside, it will simmer and one day you will just collapse. Please share with me”. Finally Aruni broke down and shared all with Ragini. Hearing everything, Ragini said, “Aruni, I might be poor girl and not very well educated but I know one thing - No matter how hard things may seem at present, there is always something good coming around the corner. So Aruni, keep up your spirits and don’t let yourself down. Be strong to face this test and I am sure, one day you will overcome all the obstacles to be again free and regain your life”. Aruni gave her a weak smile. She was indebted to Ragini, who, though a stranger to her, had given her a positive outlook, even in the grim situation, which she was in right now.

And then, just as Ragini had mentioned, her destiny started changing for the better. Within days of her arrest, four other girls came forward, girls who had identified Prakash from his press & TV photos, with their own stories of exploitation by Prakash in the past. He had been a womaniser always, and had exploited girls, extorted money from them and then left them, always abusing them physically. These girls came out in total support of Aruni on the media and soon the media and the common man was taking out candle light marches in support of Aruni. Her one pillar of support outside, Mrs Desai, used to bring her the best home cooked food. It was she who informed Aruni about this support. This was certainly a morale booster for Aruni and she then made up her mind to face the courts with courage. Her Lawyer used the self-defense angle very well and finally the courts ruled in her favour and Aruni was out of jail in 6 months.

When she came home, Mrs Desai took great care of her, and helped her come out of the depression and egged her on to live life once again. Aruni was not yet ready to face the world and used to remain confined to her room. But Mrs Desai told her, “Aruni, you have to go ahead and now start your normal life. Re-join your office, you will forget all your current worries and I am sure that you will find better people to take care of you, whom you really deserve”

With the great support of Mrs Desai available to her, Aruni started taking her first tentative steps and re-joined her office, and over a period of time, she was able to repel all her demons and soon she had let go of her past and embraced the present with full vigour and confidence.

Written by,

Yatindra Tawde

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


Swimmie was swimming in the small globular glass water tank. That was her whole world. She would go round and round taking in the sights of her immediate surroundings. The sights and surroundings never changed but since fish have short term memory she treasured her ever changing world. The only thing which was a fuzzy memory ; twice a day rain of its dinner from the horizon of water world and the air world. And she used to instinctively know when it was coming. Nobody knows whether it was the dark shadow approaching the tank or whether she could sense the sound waves made by shaking of its food source. Whatever it was, swimmie was drawn towards the horizon with her mouth opening and closing in rhythm and her tail making beautiful trails as it moved in the water. Sometimes she got little extra food and sometimes she didn't get it at all. And whenever she got little extra she also got the potty a little bit more which settled down well at the bottom of the tank. The water in which swimmie lived changed its properties the moon which waxes and wanes every 15 days so did the water. Suddenly one fine day it used to become very clear when the visibility was 100% and then over a period of time it deteriorated to darker and darker shades of haziness. Swimmie loved it when it was at the brightest. But before the water turned bright, swimmie had to go through very tense moments...suddenly a big dark shadow used to approach her world...a big blue coloured animal which never closed its mouth would approach from the horizon and it would start drinking up the murky water in which swimmie lived...the space for swimmie to swim would get lesser and lesser...and then suddenly the big blue animal with the open mouth would start chasing swimmie till swimmie was trapped in its mouth. Then swimmie would feel herself being lifted out of her world and in the animals stomach but only for a moment...since the animal vomitted out swimmie into the still larger mouth of another huge animal...but swimmie could still survive and even swim in the stomach of the larger animal. With great fear and shaking all over, swimmie could hardly swim and she was frozen with fear and got rooted to a spot inside the stomach. Some moments passed like this when swimmie was gripped by the horror of it all . suddenly the first big animal with the perpetually open mouth again dived into the stomach of the larger animal and started chasing swimmie again. However hard she tried to escape, swimmie finally lost and was back again into the open mouth, but again for a few moments since she was discharged back into its tank world but this time the water was very clear. Suddenly swimmie was fresh and would start zipping around her world with a renewed vigour and zest. Thus lives swimmie in the water  in our house
Yatin Tawde

Sunday, 4 October 2015

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