Kissaa Kahaani

April 17, 2013

Why Do I Love Malls!!!

I love malls. I love being there. It’s a colorful menagerie, vibrancy, people, life and what not! The lives in malls are always on move! And why do I love malls?? The other day I went to one such grand mall with my husband for dinner – allow me to narrate the beautiful sights I witnessed there, and you would know why love malls!

The moment we entered we were greeted with a welcome chaos, an organized anarchy. People skipping the queue for security check, being a weekend the whole place was crowded. I saw a daughter-in-law in traditional garbs, covering her head with pallu and her mother-in-law guiding her on the escalator. I saw a young pretty person in hot pants and hand-in-hand with her companion who was leaning in to whisper sweet nothings on the same escalator. I saw a tiny boy, scared and curious at the same time, he was trying to step on the escalator, cheered on by his father. The lad was soooo happy that when he actually stepped on the mechanical moving staircase,  his face reflected the victorious emotions as if he was the winner of the Mumbai Marathon! His father was equally proud when his miniature version turned and triumphantly shouted, “Dadda! I made it.”

And on the third floor, while sitting and whiling away time, we saw a super cute scene! A little girl (may be little more than 2 years old) was harassing her father. Let me try and recount the conversation verbatim.

Daughter to Dad, “Daddy I wanna ride a horse!” “No Kiddo, there are no horses in this mall, we will ride horse some other time.” Dad cajoled. With a tearful scowl and pouted lower lips, the daughter insists that she doesn’t care, “Be my horse no daddy! Juss for two minnets ride! Pleeeze, puhleeez, puhleez Daddy.” A resigned sigh resonated from the Dad’s throat and also the soft muttering, “You little blackmailing toddler, you take after your mother!” and then loudly, “Okies, common, just two minutes and no more!” The exuberance on the face of that little manipulative girl was a wonderful sight, she was jumping and skipping and laughing and finally the dad went down on his knees put the daughter on his back and was then on all fours. The horse and the rider started the chanting, “Chal mere ghode tic tic tic!” The two minutes went on to 10 minutes and both were unaware of the stares, smirks, wistful smiles and laughter of the fellow mall-goers.

As we sat down to have a pure vegetarian Rajasthani dinner (I somehow had the craving only for the vegetarian that day, though my husband believes that a Restaurant not having any chicken dish in the menu  is not worth being called a restaurant) and in come five, no. Ten, no. Thirteen people to have dinner. A Traditional Rajasthani family. Women in ghoonghat and men in kurtas and pagdis. Four tables were joined together and women sat near the wall, kids in between and then the menfolk.  The dinner commenced and criticism too. Eldest lady says, “I cook better, they call this Rajasthani Thali! I told you all not to waste money”.

A stroll to a home furniture store brought even more smiles.  Beautiful furniture assembled together to give a feel of one’s future dream home. Beds and sofas and dining tables and couches and night stands and kitchenware and furnishings. As we ooh-ed and aah-ed over various pieces, I saw one more couple doing the same in front of a display bedroom. They were looking at the stuff presented beautifully and I could see the beautiful desire in the guy’s eyes and dream in girl’s.

Yes I love malls. They sell not the merchandise but the dreams, the ambitions. Malls are not just a market place, an assembly of random shops; it’s a place where parents buy wedding trousseaus for their daughters. Malls are places where boyfriends buy a ring and propose to girlfriends. Malls are places where housewives escape cooking for a day and enjoy. Malls are place where break ups happen and make-ups happen. Malls are places where kids see the whole range of diverse colors- good and bad- and learn. I love malls, because I get to see so much of life there. I love malls, because I see so many emotions fleeting on the faces of mall-goers. I also love malls because I get to empty my husband’s pocket there!

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April 4, 2011

A Beautiful Story

I read this story a long long time back; years ago. I don’t even remember the author. The story was in Hindi. And I don’t remember much, I just remember the gist. I will try to present this story in my own way, since I don’t remember the characters’ names; I am using my own way here… Bless me.

There was a rumor (or was it a rumor?), that the village graveyard had a unique scent to it since last week, as if someone has put incense stick which was divine. The source of the fragrance??? No one knows, they just know that it was her grave which had this pious feel to it.

So much so was the effect of the scent that slowly and slowly, the whole village seemed to be washed in that scent. The Trees were scented, so was the fruits; the fragrance of the flowers were lost and instead these buds also had this divine scent, the rotis which amma cooked, and the sevai– everything smelled like that. And when wives swept the floor and their chunni’s slipped by, their bodies had that beautiful fragrance. The water in the Village well had that fragrant, and that laughter of the girls had that sweet essence as well. And when mothers hugged their babies, there was no baby smell- instead there was that redolence… Not a single person, not a single object retained their own fragrance, they were now one- the scent of that grave united them.

Days passed by and the fragrance increased in intensity. They wondered what her husband; Nadeem has to say about the whole scenario. And Nadeem’s soul was tortured over the happenings. He was sick, high with fever and lying on his cot, oscillating between past and present. His mind took him 21 years back when he first saw her; she was an angel, a fairy- so beautiful. And so many handsome people courted her. He, being of ordinary looks knew that he has no chances. His bhabhi saw him staring at her and asked if he would like to marry that girl, she is a relation only, two cousins removed. Nadeem was skeptical; he said that a girl so beautiful can never be a good wife. She will be flocked by the guys and she might be tempted to have an extramarital affair. But his sister-in-law and mother knew that his heart was set on her and they knew that the girl was virtuous. And with-in a fortnight Nadeem was wedded to her.

Was he lucky or was he lucky, the girl devoted her everything to Nadeem. Nadeem became her God, her Khuda, once she entered his home, she never bared even her nails to another man; she dedicated her being to him. Such selfless love, such unconditional love. And he was not even a good looking man. They said that she had a fault. She was Baanjh, barren. She could not bear him a child. Her mother-in-law said that her beauty, her virtue is of no use, she is fruitless. She never talked back, never retorted.

And after a journey of 21 years, she left him; she finally left that dull life she had. And she departed to the Home of God. She died peacefully in her sleep. And since then, Nadeem was never himself. He could not bear her death and was sick now all the time. Today, he was missing more so.

Syed came to meet Nadeem, he was curious as to what was the reason that Nadeem’s wife’s grave was so fragrant. He was not the only one curious. Whole village was. Syed was there to tell him that Village elders have decided to go to the root of the situation and with required permissions and authority they are going to dig her grave. Nadeem was out of his mind, how dare they disturb his beloved!!! He ran past Syed to protect her resting place, but by that time, it was too late. People were standing around the open, dug grave and some wiping tears, some praising Allah, some simply in shock- looking at what was inside. She lay as peacefully in the cradle of earth, as if she was a princess having her beauty sleep. One month ago she was buried, but there was no tell tale sign of that, she was 42 at the time of her death and she looked 18 in her grave. Wonder of wonders!! A most exquisite, most beautiful flower was sprouting from her mouth. And that was the source of the divine scent. People, apologized to Nadeem and to the departed one, covered back her grave and one by one left the graveyard. Nadeem who was shell-shocked remained their and remained there. And suddenly he broke down and wept and wept. The inhuman howl which he let out, forced Syed to run back to him, who held him and consoled him.

Once Nadeem was calm enough, he told Syed, that his wife was Goddess and Allah wanted her to be acknowledged as such and that’s why this divine intervention. As Nadeem said, “You see, she was with me for 21 years, and she was most beautiful one, she could have had anyone she wanted. But she remained with me, she never cursed her life, she never did raise her voice, she never strayed, she never complained. Syed, I was born impotent and remained so throughout her life and will remain so throughout my life”

March 7, 2011

The Unfaithful

(The story i present here is based on the song ‘Unfaithful’ by Rihanna)

She was putting on her lipstick, a bright red one on her luscious full lips, sitting in front of the mirror. She was proud of her lovely looks; she was above attractive, if not extraordinary. Even at 37, she radiated a glow of youth. Her face was full and heart-shaped, perfectly arched eyebrow with widely set, midnight black eyes which were eternally moist. She had this adorable habit of teasing her lower lip with her teeth; she knew the devastating effect this had on men. And her best features were her jawline, sharp and perfectly angled. Her body was that of a heavenly nymph, at least if we believe her husband.

She was getting ready to meet her man, the man who made her feel alive; not the man who was her husband. This is her life, her story. She strove throughout her life to reach, to achieve, what was right. While she continued to feverishly pursue what she conceived to be ‘right’, it always eluded her. She did not have a ‘right’ set of parents, nor did she have ‘right’ and worthy siblings, never a ‘right’ and proper teacher… She thought she will at least marry right. Oh! He did seem right. He did everything in a most proper, most right way. Even his love-making used to be so right that it seemed methodical to her…

Wait! She reflected back at her reflection. She married him because he was, he is right. But after eight years of ‘right’ness and extremely boring life, she realized that it was actually ‘wrong’ which attracted her and to escape this ‘wrong’, she gravitated towards what she thought as ‘right’. She smiled sarcastically at her confusion between wrong and right.

He loves her so, her husband. His world starts and ends with her- the total Romeo Juliet Cliched love. He considers that colors of this nature are because of her, the days are bright and nights are dark because of her, the sun rises and sets because of her… And she is aware of this demand-less and unconditional love of his. But she just couldn’t be true to him, to his love. This love suffocated her; however grateful she was for his company, for his presence in her life, for his love, all and much more, he still stifled her. And she felt her eyes getting much more moist than usual. She wiped her eyes at the core; she couldn’t let her tears escape the boundaries of her eyes, can she? It will smudge the kohl and mascara.

She stood up and selected an Oscar de la Ranta for the evening- A short red dress with scooped neckline which will enhance her figure and give her an edge. She knew that she would look irresistible. She looked at her semi-naked body in the full length mirror and knew that her firm body had so much more to offer than any lithe teen goddess who could never match up to her. She smiled. And then she was sad. She knew that he knew about her misadventure and she knew that her unfaithfulness is tearing him apart, eating him alive, her actions were hammering the desolation, the death in his heart. He knew that even with his devotion, with his love, he can never, never make her happy as she could never be happy with him- She chose to be happy with her man, the ‘outsider’, that third member of their marriage. It was an open secret, and they both knew that.

She felt a prick of tear again and a pain in her heart. She never wanted to hurt anyone. She was not venomous. She wanted to free him, free him of their sham of a marriage and his love. But she was too dependent on him- not for her happiness, but for a balance, for stability. She knew that every time she stepped out of her home, he had this uncertain look on his eyes- was this the last time she was going out? Will she ever come back again to him?

She wore the dress and she decided to pull her hair up for this evening- a new hairdo; her lover loved to free her hair and play with it- an enticing hair fetish, he called it. She let a strand of hair lie just like that, kissing her left cheek. She picked up her handbag and slipped her delicate feet in Jimmy Choo. She headed toward the main door but paused to consider something and turned and smiled at her husband. She walked towards him, leaned and gave him a kiss which displayed her gratitude and her guilt. She brushed his cheek with her thumb and looked in his eyes and with genuineness still residing inside her she promised to come back home soon, she had to go out you see, she promised her girlfriends an evening of fun and frolics quite a long time ago and now she cannot back out, it won’t look good on her social credibility criteria. He smiled and nodded at her saw her turn away, it seemed that his eyes remained on the door for a long times as he saw his life going away.

He knew that there was no girlfriend. He knew that she did not want to hurt him, but she had no self restrain. He could never be angry at her. He was not sad, as long as she was happy. He just couldn’t bear to see her in dullness and nor could he tear their bond away. He was as dependent on her as she was on him.

He turned and administered his chair in the direction of balcony and wheeled himself toward the outer railing just in time to see his wife getting in car with that ‘outsider’…

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