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The Diary Of A Rolling Stone

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April 2016

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“Ma you take care of yourself.” Madhavi cried hugging her mother.

“You could have stayed back my child. Who will take care of you there?” Dida sobbed.

“No Ma. Anurag needs me and after all it is matter of few months now. I am prepared.” Madhavi said.

“Take care of yourself. I don’t even have the right to stop you after marriage. Though I suggest you could ask Lakhi if she is willing to go. I am more concerned about Misry than you. Lakhi would be of great help to you.”

“That will be great support Ma. I will surely ask her.”

Lakhi agreed to spend few months with Madhavi and was ready to go.

Misry too met her cousins Dia Ria and exchanged goodies. The twins were teary eyed and hugged her back.

The scene inside the house was nothing less than the Vidai scene of Pallavi Mashi’s marriage where even Dadu dropped a tear from his eyes.

It was again another such moment in the house. Whole family came out on the road and waved back at them till the cycle rickshaw, Misry’s family had boarded, disappeared out of sight.

***

Few months later

“Lakhi Mashi where is Ma gone?” Misry asked.

“She is gone to the hospital to get you a baby brother.” Lakhi replied.

“Hospital? But she had said she will get me one from the market?” Misry said.

“Oh is it? But now a day it is no longer available in the market, its only hospital.” Lakhi replied.

“I want to see the baby.” Misry begged.

“Yes dear we will go together tomorrow in the morning. Now sleep down dear it is already very late.” Lakhi said.

“But Lakhi Mashi, Daddy doesn’t know that Ma has gone to the hospital. Have you told him?”

Anurag was sent to Punjab on Special Duty few weeks back. The entire nation rocked due to ethnic violence. But men in uniform have no time to look behind for their family. Restoring peace and harmony had always been foremost for them. Salute to their wives who are so strong willed that even in situation like this they know how to take control of themselves and let their men march away for the cause of nation without any frown on their forehead.

Lakhi wondered if ever Anurag could be given the news. Though she had informed Madhavi’s parents about the same and they were on their way.

Dadu Dida will reach by tomorrow sweetheart. You better catch upon your sleep now.”

It was the first night when Misry slept alone in the bed without her either parent. It was very disturbing for her but she didn’t share it with Lakhi whom she didn’t know that well then. The little girl turned to the other side as Lakhi patted her to sleep. Tears rolled down her eyes as she felt the vacate space in the bed where her Ma and Daddy slept. It was also the longest night she ever had. But eventually sleep overpowered her.

***

Early morning

Misry felt a tickle on her cheek and opened her eyes with a jolt.  Anurag was cuddling her.

“Daddy! When did you come?” She asked hugging him happily.

“While you slept sweetheart. Now I want you to quickly get ready to meet your baby sister.” Anurag said. He was sanctioned leave for a week. As soon as he got Madhavi’s message he drove down to Delhi and took the first flight to Calcutta and after driving all night reached hospital early in the morning. After meeting his wife and newborn child he had come home.

“Baby sister?” MIsry was surprised.

Anurag nodded.

Misry dressed up quickly and went with her Daddy to meet her baby sister.

There she lay, just beside Ma, wrapped in a towel, like a small red doll. Misry was awestruck with the first glimpse of her baby sister. She looked so real, just like the Talking Doll she so much awaited. Now it was all hers. She too could show off her Talking Doll like Honey and Boney. She remembered Dia Ria and started matching the baby’s features with hers. She touched each part of the baby’s face and compared with hers.

“What are you doing sweetheart?” Madhavi asked lovingly.

“Ma does she look like me? Her hands and feet are so small?” Misry asked.

Sona, she is very small now. You will not be able to make out now. Once she is a little older she will look just like you.” Madhavi replied.

“How do you know Ma? Did God use the same mould like Dia Ria?” Misry asked innocently.

Madhavi and others present in the room started laughing.

“No dear! But I can make out that her nose looks the same as yours. Both are flat.” Anurag added.

“Ghee!” Misry grinned.

***

Few days later

“Ma what is Lakhi Mashi doing to the baby. She is crying so much.” Misry asked little worried.

“Oh! Nothing to worry sweetheart! She is just giving a massage to the baby.” Madhavi replied trying to finishing her kitchen work fast.

Misry peeped inside the room. Lakhi Mashi was sitting on the floor with her feet stretched ahead of her and the baby lay on top of it, naked. Lakhi Mashi was dabbing oil on her from a small bowl and giving her a massage. The baby was wailing like never before but Lakhi Mashi won’t stop. She massaged her legs, her hands.

“Why are you putting so much oil Lakhi Mashi?”

“Because it will make her strong.” Lakhi replied.

Misry watched her attentively. Lakhi was massaging the baby’s small belly, head and finally her face. Mashi’s expert hands pulled out the baby’s nose to perfection.

Misry asked promptly, “Why did you pull baby’s nose Lakhi Mashi?”

“So that she has a sharp nose, just like your Ma.” Lakhi replied.

Misry’s hands immediately touched her own nose.

She quickly went to the dressing room and looked herself in the mirror. She checked her nose. It was flat and Ma had said the baby’s was too. And that made them look alike but Lakhi Mashi was changing that.  No way was she going to allow her or anyone to pull her baby sister’s nose.

From that moment onwards, every time Misry found her baby sister alone she would go and press the baby’s nose a little to flatten it. Sometimes the baby cried out in pain too. The elders thought it to be sibling rivalry. Naughty as she was, they thought she was hurting the baby intentionally. So they tried to keep the baby away from her as much as possible. There was a big list of Do and Don’t for Misry that she had to follow in order to go near her baby sister. But obviously none of it was followed by the elders.

The poor girl was disheartened. She found herself too lonely in this saga. Meanwhile her baby sister was getting all the attention in the house. Even Aunties came to meet her, talk about her, cuddled her and spent time with her. That she didn’t mind much, as much as, Madhavi’s behavior.

The new mother was obviously so busy with her new born that she could not give enough attention to Misry who was more or less at the mercy of Lakhi or the Orderly. Her parents could not come down as planned due to the ongoing turmoil in the country and Anurag had gone back to Punjab a week after her delivery. So Madhavi was also not in good frame of mind and she was irritated on slightest provocation.

All the circumstances had pinned Misry down so hard that her joy of owning a baby sister, her Talking Doll, had washed down the drain. She now hated her little sister for all the neglect she was bearing. She behaved indifferently.

Later, when Madhavi noticed her daughter, she felt pity and guilty of herself. She hugged Misry and kissed her affectionately.

Sona I love you so much. You are my world and you know that.” Madhavi said looking into her eyes.

“Then why am I not allowed to sleep with you anymore.” Misry asked.

“Just because you should have a better sleep and join your school the next day. See your baby sister doesn’t let me sleep at night. Always cries and she will wake you up dear. I don’t want her to disturb your sleep.”

Misry understood and hugged her back.

“Oh my Sona. When will you GROW UP MESSY?” Madhavi murmured.

*****

Glossary*

Sona- darling

 

*****

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl.

You can read the other post in the series here.

With today’s post I have come down to the end of the #atozchallenge. It was a marvelous journey that started on the first of April and continued every day except Sundays for the entire month. In this journey I had the pleasure of hopping so many new blogs with so many new themes that it felt like a fest. I also befriended few bloggers who are there to stay on my friend list forever.

GROW UP MESSY – had been possible only because of your encouraging comments and likes.  I thank you all from the core of my heart but without these names I will not do justice to this series. Thank you Kala (http://relaxnrave.blogspot.in/), Lata (http://www.kaapitimes.com/), Richa(http://richajindal.com/), Vishal (https://vishalbheeroo.wordpress.com/),  for joining the entire journey and Inderpreet (https://inderpreetuppal.com/) for sharing this blogging challenge with me.

“GROW UP MESSY” does not end here. Catch up with her new adventure soon.

 

 

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“The house is looking so vacate. It seems just like yesterday.” Dida said thinking about Pallavi Mashi’s marriage.

“Yes Ma. All guests are gone too. It was such a grand gala for the last two weeks. Now it seems empty.” Madhavi replied.

“We will be going too by tomorrow. “Surabhi added.

“You could have stayed a few days more Didi?” Madhavi said.

Na, Re. Not this time. Your Jamaida cannot afford any more leaves. You come down if it is possible.” Surabhi said.

“How can I, in this condition? I will go home straight from here.” Madhavi said.

“Why are you girls discussing on leaving home? I am already upset with one married off recently.”Dida cried.

“Oh Ma! We didn’t mean too. We miss you so much.” Madhavi hugged her.

Sitting of the bed Misry saw the entire Ma-daugter drama. She started laughing.

“Hey you little girl! Come here and give me a hug.” Dida said to Misry.

Misry hugged her back.

“You naughty girl! What made you laugh, huh?” Dida patted her.

Dida, all Mas are the same. When their daughter leaves, they cry.”

“Not just your Ma sweet heart, you will cry too, when you are wedded off like your Mashi.” Dida said teasingly.

Nah. I will not cry.” Misry replied.

“Why?”

“Because I know whom I will marry.” Misry replied.

Ke re! Now only you have chosen the man you want to marry?”

Misry nodded with a smile.

“And who is that lucky chap?”

Ke Abar! Superstar Amitabh Bachchan. ” Madhavi revealed the secret.

“Oh My God! Misry….” Dida said teasingly.

Misry smiled shyly.

***

Sunday evening

“Come on guys hurry up. They all will turn up in a minute.” Soma said to the girls.

“But Ma. I cannot eat it so fast.” Dia Ria answered.

“Finish it now! I don’t want to hear in the middle of the program, that you are hungry. Okay?” Soma snapped.

Both the girls nodded and giggled.

The excitement was all about the Sunday movie on Doordarshan, T.V channel. Since the time T.V moved in the house, evenings were quite fun especially the Sundays.

The neighbors joined in with their families to watch the feature film together in the house. It was a similar evening and Raja’s family along with few more families from the colony had come down to watch the movie which was about to start.

Sitting arrangements were made like the cinema hall with the elders taking the chairs and the children sat on a rug on the floor.

The movie started at its stipulated time and there was pin drop silence in the hall. No, not just the hall it was the house too and the neighborhood too.

None could take their eyes off from the T.V set as long as the film continued. It was Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore super-dupper movie, Aaradhana. People were watching it on T.V for the first time. Many had watched the film in the movie theater but it spins the magic every time it is watched.

The duo had some lovely song pictuisation in the movie and the numbers are a hit even today. None uttered a word or flicked their eyes while watching the movie on T.V. Everyone was mesmerized by both movie and T.V.

Couple of hours later there was half an hour interval break. It was also the time for evening news broadcast. So more or else people were limited within the hall of the house.

Only ladies went to the kitchen to prepare some evening snacks for the guests and others.  Luckily they had prepared everything beforehand and it just needed little frying and dressing before serving everyone. Children loved munching during the interval break. Tea was also served along with the snacks.

The movie resumed in time.

***

In the neighborhood

Horiya had all hopes of laying his hands on something big today. With the winters set in people were generally indoors by early evenings and the streets deserted by late evenings. He was sure he wouldn’t have to wait till late night to steal anything.

Horiya was a thief who stole petty things like fishes, poultry, eggs and all that. He made good money selling them in the market for his livelihood. Since it was dead winters, working late nights was difficult and moreover, evenings were good enough to complete the job. That would give him enough time to catch upon his sleep at night too. And maybe he could grab something good for dinner as well.

With that in mind Horiya had jumped over the wall of Dadu’s house. His eyes were on the hen pen and the earthen pot hanging from the date palm tree. That would easily fetch him good money to live at ease for few days.

He had already decided to climb the date palm tree when he heard the song from the movie,

“Kora Kagz Tha Yeh Mann Mera……”

Die hard Kishor Kumar fan as which he was, he forgot what he had come for and walked straight towards the source of the music, the house.

He saw the music coming from a box kept in the hall and surprisingly it was also showing Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore movie. Of course he recognized them but he could not believe his eyes. He had always watched them on big screen in the cinema hall and here they were in black and white in a small box. He peeped inside and saw half of the colony sitting inside the hall, glued to the T.V.

He thought whatever that box was called, it was magic and he was drawn towards it too. He neatly spread his gamcha on the verandah outside and took his seat from where he could get a clear view of the T.V in the hall. He enjoyed the movie without anybody’s notice. He had completely forgotten that he had come to steal.

In the interval when everybody was served snacks and tea, Misry noticed that one person sat unattended in the verandah. By that time the movie had resumed.

Misry told her Dida about it who in turn thought that it must be some servant from the neighborhood watching T.V sitting outside.  The lady went back to the kitchen and brought tea and snacks for that man.

When Dadu saw her taking the cup outside the hall, he asked, “Where are you taking it?”

“There is a man sitting outside, watching T.V.” Dida replied.

“Who is there?” Dadu asked.

“Hoojor, I am Horiya!” The man replied.

“Horiya?? Who Horiya?” Dadu asked.

Horiya come to his senses. He knew if he was caught now, he would be handed over to the police. He raced for his life.

Watching him run Dadu shouted, “Thief thief!”

The men ran after him but could not catch him. They returned shortly and checked if anything was missing in the house.

Dadu was glad that nothing was stolen. They resumed their movie. When it finally ended they were all praise for the T.V for averting the mishap and Misry too for noticing the man first.

Madhavi thought with pride, “Don’t GROW UP MESSY!!”

*****

Glossary*

Na, Re- No                  Ke re- what                 Ke Abar- who else

Gamcha- traditional cotton towel

 

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“Misry leave that I said!” Dadu shouted.

MIsry looked back at Dadu and picked up two more handfuls of jujubes from the basket and dumped them in her pockets.

“I said STOP!” Dadu yelled. But Misry was in no mood to listen to the old man. She wanted the Xtra berries and no matter what she would have it.

Before she could even anticipate Dadu came up from behind her and smacked her hard on the back.

“I don’t mind spanking little girls if they don’t listen. I have given you the lion’s share yet you want all of it. No way! Give all that back. Now!” He hissed.

Tears dropped off Misry’s eyes as she handed him over the jujubes she had picked from the basket. She was very angry with her Dadu. The old man had not given her jujubes even after so much requesting. And when she turned to disobey him he spanked her.

Every year her cousins get to eat these berries from Dadu’s garden. She was visiting him after so many years yet he divided equally among them all. She deserved a cut more for her absence all these years but the old man forgot his calculations.

Dadu had a different opinion about the same. According to him eating lots of jujubes causes sore throat and Misry was very prone to it even with slightest carelessness. He didn’t want his little grandchild to suffer and ruin her vacation due to it. Hence he used to give her only few of it even after repeated request from her. But today she just won’t listen and he had to beat her. The old man felt bad but it was for her good. He was sure the little child will forget about it soon and carry on with the day with full enthusiasm like she always did.

But he was wrong. He forgot that Misry was very sentimental too and she would never forget that her Dadu, of all the people, had beaten her for her cousins.

***

Later in the day

“Misry, why are you not eating your food? Ma has made it for you.” Dida said.

“I am not hungry Dida.” Misry replied meekly.

“Hmm something wrong dear? You sound low.” Dida said.

“Nothing Dida. I am fine.”

“Hmm, did anybody say anything to you?” Dida asked.

Before Misry could answer Dadu had joined them for lunch.

“What’s going on Didibhai? What is on the menu today? ” He said sitting beside her on the floor. They had their meal sitting on the floor on a flat wooden board called Peedi.

Dida started laying out plate for him while Dadu kept chatting with Misry.

“Sweetheart I know you are upset but one day you will thank me for that. Always remember that we love you very much.”

Misry started eating quietly.

***

“Misry come on let us play!” Dia Ria called.

But Misry didn’t come out of her room. She sat beside the window watching them play hopscotch.

“Misry what’s wrong dear! Why don’t you go out and play with them?”Madhavi asked.

“Ma, when will we go back to our home?” Misry asked.

“Why sweet heart? You don’t like it here?”

“No! People are bad here. They don’t love me.” Misry replied making a sad face.

“Oh Dear! Did anybody say anything to you? Did you do something wrong?”

Her Ma’s tone alerted her. She knew if she says anything against Dadu Ma won’t listen and hold her responsible for everything that had happened in the morning. So she kept mum.

“Fine! So I suppose there is nothing to worry and you are just fine. Right?”

She nodded.

Madhavi left her alone in the room. Misry thought over the whole incident. She could not come to the terms that Dadu could beat her for asking for some more jujubes. And now her Ma was also not ready to listen to any of it. She felt very lonely and angry.

***

Next morning.

Dadu tried to do something xtra for Misry. He knew she was still upset with him and was not talking to him. He thought of surprising her by giving her a new present.

He took his fishing rod and umbrella and headed straight for the pond. He had promised Dida to get something nice to cook for lunch for his little granddaughter.

He was waiting to hook a turtle in his fishing rod so that Dida could cook a lavish dish of turtle meat for lunch today. There was no doubt in his mind that Misry won’t enjoy it. He had seen his other grand children enjoy every dish cooked out of turtle meat. Luck didn’t favor him yet he kept his patience and didn’t go off guard. As the hours went by he was tired and hungry too but he didn’t care.

But for some reasons the turtles were busy elsewhere and not coming in the vicinity. But Dadu was in no mood to give up. It would have been easier for him to go and get one from the market but he wanted to have it from his pond. Time tickled and still no catch.

Misry saw her Dadu sitting on the edge with a fishing rod and an umbrella.

“Again he was getting something for everybody else and not for her.” Misry thought. Anger flared inside her. She remembered how he had spanked her the previous day. She wanted to take revenge. She crept behind him quietly and gave him a hard push.

The old mad fell down in the pond with a big splash. The splash was heard from inside the house and everybody came rushing out to see what had happened.

Misry was still standing there watching the old man struggling for his balance. He was a good swimmer and quickly gained his balance back after the sudden jolt. He was not hurt at all. Rather when he saw everybody rushing towards the pond he started swimming.

Misry hid behind the bushes seeing them. She was sure the old man will put up a cry and will make sure she gets spanked again for her act.

“What happened Baba? Are you all right? ” Nilesh said giving his hand to pull him out.

The old man didn’t want to blame MIsry. He knew the little girl did this out of anger and if he said the truth she will be angrier with him probably forever.

“Nothing. I just dozed off.” The old man said.

“What is the need to fish here the whole day when Ranu has already bought fish from the market?” Nilesh asked.

“I was looking for a turtle for my Didibhai. I know she will love it.”

Misry heard what her Dadu had said. She was ashamed of herself. How unfairly she had thought of the old man. He was here since the morning only for her only. The tutrles were only meant for her. She felt ashamed of her behaviour and wanted to bed for forgiveness. She ran and hugged her Dadu.

Others thought the little girl was terrified to see Dadu fall in the pond and were not aware of the actual incident.

”I don’t want a turtle Dadu. I am so sorry.” She sobbed.

Dadu hugged her back. He knew the child was feeling guilty so didn’t let the others know what was actually going among them. He simply said, “Don’t GROW UP MESSY!”

*****

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here.

 

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The house was gleaming with colorful lights and laughter. Pallavi Mashi’s D day was just few hours away. Guests from far and near had already arrived to attend the numerous pre-wedding ceremonies. Misry was sharing the big bamboo bed with her other aunts who had come for the wedding. She heard all that was discussed among the women. They were talking about the gift that they would be giving to the newlywed couple. Some flaunt the golden ear studs, some the gold chain, some silk saree and many more. When it was Madhavi’s turn, she said she would be gifting a T.V set.

There was silence in the room. T.V was still a distant dream for many household at that time. Many including Misry’s cousins had never seen a T.V before. Misry got the opportunity as they had a T.V set in their Officer’s Mess where Daddy would sometimes go to watch NEWS or matches with other officers in the Camp.

“A T.V?” one of them said.

Madhavi nodded.

“Good Lord! I have never seen one in my life! Lucky Pallavi.” One of the ladies said.

“It must be Anurag’s suggestion. Only he can think about it.” Another lady added.

Madhavi smiled at them. “Actually Anurag had been thinking about it lately. So we got one for Baba too and one for Pallavi.” She added.

“Hey did you say we have two T.Vs at this very moment in the house!” The lady asked.

Madhavi nodded,

“Ahhaa…What are we waiting for. Come on let’s go and see then.” The lady said.

The room was vacant in a second.

***

“Don’t move it now. Yes, a little to the left. No …No…Just a little right. Okay!” Nilesh was shouting from the window.

Anurag was on top of the roof doing the T.V antenna.

-Good evening! The news read by ……..

All eyes were glued to the T.V. It was a different experience to WATCH somebody reading news. They were used to hearing it on radio. Everybody started clapping.  Soma served Rasogulla to everybody in the house. The news was followed by Chitrahaar and other episodes. Everybody in the house was glued to the T.V set that evening. Nobody interacted with each other anymore. They just watched the idiot box without any second thoughts. It was going very difficult for Dida to call everyone back to work.

“It is a bane than boon” the old lady thought.

Everybody was all praise for Anurag who had come down to join the pre wedding ceremonies in the house. Most excited were the children. They fought with each other to sit in the front of the T.V.

***

Two days later

Pallavi Mashi’s D-Day arrived. Since morning the house was on fire. In those days, all the ceremonies were held in the house rather than in Bhibah Bhawan. That was another reason of the house being on fire. Everybody was assigned a job to do and they were trying to do the best before the groom’s side marched in for the wedding.

Pallavi Mashi had been busy since morning with all the rituals along with the other married ladies in the house. The children never left her side. They made sure they were part of each and every ceremony in the house.

Now when it comes to ceremony, the ladies just don’t participate like that. Every occasion needed a new sari and dress up. And it was not just limited to ladies even the little girls loved flaunting their new dresses.

There was a hidden rivalry among the cousins, “Who looks the best!” They never left any chance to be near the bride and made sure all the pictures clicked had them in a new pose and new dress.

Finally evening arrived and Pallavi Mashi was all dressed up for her wedding. She looked no less than a princess in a red Banarasi sari. Bengali marriage has a ritual where the groom stays over the night at the bride’s place on the wedding night and leaves the next day evening with his new bride for his home. So the room where the newly wedded couple will take rest after the wedding is one of the main attractions in the Bengali weddings.

Pallavi’s room was also decorated that evening and so was the big queen sized bed with embroidered bedcovers and cushions. Long chains of Rajanigandha hung from the four posters of the bed in various designs making it look like a bed of flowers.

Pallavi sat in the middle of the bed along with some of her friends and cousins like an elegant princess. It was her day and everybody came to meet her there showering their blessings and good wishes for a beautiful married life ahead. This is always a big moment for any bride when she is the center of attraction. But Pallavi Mashi’s moments were short lived.

Misry came running in the room and declared she would be sitting on her Mashi’s lap. The twins retaliated immediately. In less than a second the little girls were fighting like cats, scratching each other, calling names and pulling each other’s hair. Obviously the winner gets to sit in the bride’s lap. And they were doing it right in front of the guests in the room. Pallavi Mashi was so embarrassed that she eventually agreed to accommodate all the three in her lap. The girls made sure none moved down from her lap no matter how uncomfortable Pallavi Mashi was. The poor bride had to meet everybody with the three kids in her lap.

Although she had a smile on her face but thought all the while, “When will you GROW UP MESSY!!”

*****

 

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here.

 

 

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“Did you see my kite? It is the highest in the sky.” Raju said.

“But Dadabhai, this is the third kite that you are flying since the morning. The first two had been cut down by that boy on that roof.” Dia said.

“You just wait and watch. This time I will bring down his kite.” Raju said confidently.

The kites tussled in the sky and again it was Raju’s kite that was brought down. The winner kite flew higher in the sky challenging all the others kite flyers.

“Dia Ria! I don’t believe this. Who is that guy?” Raju was shocked.

“He is Raja, the bully boy of our school.” Ria answered. “He is very arrogant Dadabhai and always teases us. I wish we could teach him a lesson.”

“We will teach him a lesson. Just wait and see.” Raju said. He got another kite and this time he chose the “Manja” carefully.

This time it was a good kite fight. Raju had really managed to give the other guy a good fight before his kite was cut down again.

The three were really pissed off this time. There was no kite left. Raju asked Dia Ria to buy kites from the colony shop.

When Dia Ria returned they were in tears because Raja had teased them again and tore down their kites. Raju was very angry. He went out to teach a lesson to Raja.

Raju was an outsider and Raja, although couple of years younger to him, was popular among the boys in the colony. Raju was no match for the bunch of boys. He returned home battered. But that didn’t stop him from cussing them. He promised to return and bash the boys badly.  Dia Ria dressed up his bruises.

Misry had just returned home when she saw Raju. Dia Ria told her the entire story. The tomboy, as she was, was all ready to avenge her cousins, no matter how big the other boys were.

***

Misry bought a kite and started running on the road outside Raja’s house holding the kite behind her. It blew up a little against the wind as she ran. Raja watched her from his roof top. He did not understand how to react.

Here was a girl almost half his age trying to fly a kite in his province. Should he allow her or treat her same fate as her cousin’s kite.

“ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” Misry ran from this end and back with the kite behind her ignoring Raja completely.

Raja was irritated. He came down to the road and warned her.

“Who are you to stop me?” Misry said.

“Only our kite flies here. You better go home to your cousins.” Raju mocked her.

“I do what I please. You cannot stop me.” Misry said.

“Really!” Raja was amused at her daring. “What will you do if I stop you?”

“Just wait and watch.” Misry hissed.

The warning was more than enough for Raja to lose temper. He clenched the kite with his fist and trampled it under his feet grinning at her. This was what Misry had been waiting for.

She pounced upon him like a cat and scratched his face with her nails. He cried out of pain and kneeled down on the road.  Misry attacked him with her fist and kicks. She held him by the hair and pulled hard. Then she tore off his kite to pieces and ran from there.

The boy for few minutes didn’t understand what had happened to him. Then he and his friends ran after Misry to teach her a lesson.

Misry didn’t go home and ran as fast as she could. She turned from this lane to that lane till she was completely out of sight of the boys.

When she finally stopped, she didn’t know where she was. She sat down and relaxed for a while. She was thirsty and hungry but the fact that she had lost her way home didn’t make her nervous. She was happy that she was able to teach Raja a good lesson. She rejoiced her victory.

***

Seconds passed into minutes and minutes passed into half an hour.

Misry was really uneasy now. She came to her senses that she was lost and the worst part nobody in the house knew where she was. Unfortunately she didn’t even know the name or number of her Dadu’s house nor his name. She got up and tried to retrace her path but everywhere the lane looked the same. She had not even seen the surroundings when she ran. She just ran blindly. Now she wanted to return home. But how?

She looked around. Luckily it was a residential area and there were several houses just like her Dadu’s. She entered the first house and knocked the door. Nobody came out. She knocked the second door again no body responded. It was lunch time and probably most of the people were having lunch inside she assumed.

But she didn’t give up. She knocked the third and fourth house and finally the fifth house. A lady responded.

She was surprised to find a little girl at her doorstep all by herself.

“Aunty, can you take me home?” MIsry asked without wasting time.

“Home? Are you lost?” The lady asked.

Misry nodded.

“Oh! Wait I will take you home. Tell me the address.” The lady said.

“I don’t know!” Misry replied.

“What? Lane number, house number, your father’s name. Anything?” The lady asked.

Misry thought for a moment and said. “Ma’s name is Madhavi.”

The lady knew the child lived somewhere nearby and lost the way. She asked, “Oh that won’t help! You have to tell me her full name. Then I can see the address nearby.”

“But we are visiting our Dadu’s house. It is my Mashi’s marriage. You can see the pandal from outside.” Misry replied.

“Oh! But child, it is marriage season and there are lots of Pandals in the area. Can you recognize the pandal of your Dadu’s house?”

Misry nodded.

The lady locked the door of her house and picked Misry up in her lap and went out in the street looking out for Misry’s Dadu’s house. She would wait in front of every lane and ask Misry to see if she could recognize anything including the pandal.  Some of the lanes had more than one pandal and Misry would look for clues to recognize.

Finally they reached their Dadu’s lane. It didn’t take Misry a minute to recognize her Dadu’s house. She ran indoors and found the whole family anxiously waiting for her.

“Where have you been? It’s so late?” Madhavi snapped.

“Ma I lost my way home. This Aunty helped me reach here.” Misry said.

“Oh! Thank you so much! Please come inside.” Dida said.

The lady told the whole story and said, “You Grandchild is pretty smart. What I liked about her was she wasn’t nervous at all. Rather she brought me here. But I wonder how did she travel that far alone?”

Her cousins looked at Misry and said in chorus, “GROW UP MESSY!”

*****

 

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here.

 

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“Eat it, Sona.” Dida said lovingly to Misry.

Her favorite Maach Bhat lay untouched on her plate while her cousins were licking their fingers and almost done.

“What happened, dear?”Dida asked looking at her still full plate.

“I eat only Ma’s hand cooked food, Dida.” Misry replied.

“Oh! Is it! But I am your mother’s mother. I taught her cooking. You can tell me what you want and I can cook that for you. You will find no difference in our cooked food, sweet heart. ” Dida assured her.

“I don’t eat spicy food.” Misry replied.

“Oh Okay! I will give you something special then.” She disappeared inside the house and returned with a small aluminum can. She opened the lid and served two spoonfuls to Misry.

Misry licked a little. It was awesome. She had never tasted it before.

“Hmmm. Very tasty Dida. Can I have some more?” She asked grinning.

The old lady served her two more spoonfuls and said, “Enjoying?”

“Never before Dida. What is it?” She asked still licking her fingers.

“It is Morcya Gur, from Bangladesh.” Dida said.

Just then Madhavi entered the kitchen. “But Ma, how come it is available here?”she asked.

“One of your Baba’s students got it from there. Nice chap.”

“My God Ma. It is still so tasty. I can never forget its taste. Bad that it is not available anywhere else in the country. ”

“You know what. The chap also owns a sweet shop here in the market. Sometimes this variety of Date plam gur is available there. Though it doesnot last more than few hours. Since this variety of Date plam jaggery is not available anywhere in India, so the guy is very particular about whom he sells it to.”

“Oh Good!”

By the time their conversation ended Misry had already finished her meal. Her plate was clean as if unused.

The ladies laughed.

***

Later in the afternoon

Madhavi had fallen asleep but Misry didn’t like taking afternoon nap. She tiptoed out from her room and headed straight for the store room in the corner of the house. The room had a small temple and was the ware house of utensils, stored food grains and other food items.

Misry tiptoed inside looking for the aluminum can containing jaggery. She didn’t have to search much. There, right near the shelf, it hanged in a nylon bag. Misry ensured that no one was watching her. Then she tried to take out the can from the bag but it was at a little height and her hands didn’t reach it.

She pulled an iron bucket, used to draw water from the well, and turned it upside down very carefully so that she made no noise. Then she climbed over it and inserted her hand in the bag to take out the can.

Very carefully she opened the lid without making any noise. Her nostrils drew in the aroma with her eyes closed. When she reopened her eyes, right in front of her was one of the dogs wagging its tail. As if it was asking for a share in the theft to keep its mouth shut.

Misry understood that it meant business so she didn’t take any chance. She dropped few drops of the jaggery on the floor and she herself licked her fingers full.

Once, twice, thrice.

Done for the day.

She replaced everything in place and was happy that she was not caught. She went out of the room unnoticed.

Over the week, this had turned out to be regular attempt and the only witness to her crime was the dog who made sure he too got the share unless Misry didn’t want others to know about it. Over the days the theft was not restricted to jaggery alone. She had discovered lot more in the room specially sweets. On occasion of Pallavi Mashi’s marriage, there were lots of sweets stored for the guests. One of them was the Nolen gurer sandesh. Misry didn’t hesitate to clean her hands on that too. Over the time she was confident that she won’t be caught with so many people in the house but she forgot that the depleting quantity of the item will automatically raise brows.

In no time her theft was discovered by Dida. It was not difficult for her to figure out who the thief was. Adults could not do it and the children never did it before. So that points out to Misry alone as she was the only child visiting them after so many years.  But the lady was fair enough to her grandchild. She didn’t tell anybody and quietly refilled the packs. Later when Misry saw the cans full she was surprised and felt guilty for her act. She felt ashamed that even after getting caught she was not penalized.

From that day onwards she never stole food from the room again. But Dida didn’t stop there. She knew Misry had stopped stealing but the child craved for food in the afternoon when the entire house slept. So she always kept the supply of sandesh and  Morcya Gur for her without anybody’s notice in her room and Misry loved the old lady even more for that.

***

One day in the market

“Children don’t hesitate at all. Remember you are with your Dadu today. Shop whatever you want to. No one will say anything to you.” Dadu said getting down from the rickshaw followed behind by his gang of grandchildren.

The children were very happy for the opportunity. Dadu was the only person in the family who was always tagged as the miser as he never parted with even a rupee. And to their amazement he had taken them to the market and even declared that they could pick up whatever they wanted to – no budget. Smile never left their face.

Raju, Dia and Ria had quickly started making the list in their mind. Dia and Ria wanted a beautiful dress complete with accessories for the wedding, Raju wanted a complete suit for himself and leather shoes to go along with it. Misry was still blank. Her mind could not tell her clearly what she should look for.

“Are we ready children?” Dadu said.

“Yes Dadu!”

“So tell me which shop?”

“The Big Family Shop.” The children sang in chorus.

“Let’s go then.”

They entered the big showroom and went to the respective section to make their choice. Dadu too went to gents section to look something for himself. All were busy making a choice while Misry stood back in the reception counter.

After about an hour all of them came out of the showroom each carrying a bag in their hand. But Misry was still empty handed.

“What happened Didibhai? Didn’t you like anything?” Dadu asked little worried.

Na Dadu. I don’t want to buy clothes.” Misry replied.

“Tell me dear what do you want? We can go to another shop if you want too?” Dadu asked.

Dadu I want Misti.” Misry said eagerly.

“Oh Misti! Yes why not! Here take a look which one you want. We all can have something to eat.” Dadu said entering the big Sweet Shop owned by his student.

Raju and his sisters had already made their selection while MIsry was still looking through the glass pane.

“Didn’t you get what you want Misry?”

Misry shook her head.

“Okay tell me, what do you want?”

Morcya Gur!” Misry said longingly.

Both the shopkeeper and Dadu started laughing.

“Your grandchild is very smart, Sir.” The shopkeeper said to Dadu and handed over a small earthen cup to Misry. She licked up till the last drop.

Back at home when everybody came to know about it they laughed out loud.

Madhavi thought ,”When will you GROW UP MESSY!!”

*****

Glossary*

Dida – Mother’s Mother

Maach Bhat – Bengali Traditional fish curry

Morcya Gur- date plam jaggery in semi liquid form available only in Bangladesh during winters.

the Nolen gurer sandesh – a type of sweet made of date palm jiggery

Dadu- Mother’s father

Misti – sweet

 

Patali Gur Or Khejur Gur Or Date Palm Jaggery – The Queen of All Flavors and Taste

 

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here.

 

tora-eco-resort-life
Google images.

Misry opened her eyes to a different world, a world of cozy living among the nature with numerous trees making up the view from the small windows in the room. She was sleeping on a bamboo bed big enough to fit in four or five adults. She heard the animals outside, all different sounds. She jumped out of her bed and Lo! Her feet touched the mud flooring. She had never seen that before. The previous night due to no electricity she didn’t had time to inspect much. But in the broad daylight everything here seemed so different.

Rather UNUSUAL too because she could now see two differnt girls with the same face peeping in the room from two different windows. She turned to Madhavi who was unpacking her bag.

“Ma who are the girls, peeping in the room?” Misry asked.

“Dia and Ria, your cousins.”

“But they look alike?” Misry asked.

“That’s because they are identical twins.” Madhavi replied.

“What are identical twins?” Misry asked.

“When God makes two people from the same mould, they become identical twins.” Madhavi replied.

Misry started thinking of the mould. She had seen Ma use one such mould  to bake cookies. They all looked the same. She looked back at the girls and again asked her mother.

But how will I know who is who?” Misry asked.

“Even I am confused. You should ask Raju. He will tell you.” Madhavi replied.

Misry looked back at both the girls. They wore the same color, same pattern and same design frock. Even their pony tail looked the same. Misry was surprised.

The girls came over to her.

“So you are Messy! Raju told us about you. You don’t know swimming and cannot climb trees.” They sang in chorus.

“Who says? I have learnt it now. You want to see?” Misry answered confidently.

“No Ma will beat us. Girls should not climb trees. You can hurt your limbs. And those scratch marks will remain forever. Even on your Wedding Day.” The girls said.

Misry shrugged. “But who is getting married now?” She asked.

“Why, don’t you want to get married one day like Pallavi Pishi?” They asked.

“Yes but she is so big. And why do you call her Pishi. She is Mashi.” Misry corrected them.

Jah! Father’s sister is Pishi and mother’s sister is Mashi. You see our father is your mother’s brother. So your mother is our Pishi too.”

“Good! I am learning new things here. Thank you. So what are your names?” She asked.

“Dia Ria” They replied in chorus.

“But who is who. You both look same to me.”

The girls laughed. “Everyone says so but you know we have lots of difference. See I am Dia, the elder one, she is Ria the younger one. I love chocolates, Ria doesn’t. I can hold my breath for long time she cannot. I can make good sketches she cannot. I love dogs she doesn’t.” Dia said.

“I love hot n spicy food she doesn’t, I love reading comics she doesn’t, I love singing she doesn’t and I love cats she doesn’t.” Ria said.

“That’s fine, but you look same. How will I know?” Misry asked.

We will tell you the secret, “Ria has a mole on her right hand. I don’t have.” Dia said. “Other than that it is very difficult to say who is who. Even Bapi gets confused sometimes.”

“I also have a secret.”Misry whispered. “Ma is getting a Talking Doll for me very soon. I think it will be my lookalike.”

“A talking doll! Wow! We have never seen one before. Will you let us play with it?” The girls said.

Misry thought for a while, “Hmm. Okay! But you will be in my team always.”

The girls nodded.

“You have to cross your heart and swear.”

“We cross our heart and swear we are in your team.”

“Great! You can now play with the Talking Doll whenever you want.” MIsry replied.

“Yeahhh! But when is Pishi bringing the talking doll for you?”

“Very soon, she had said. I will ask again.”

“Fine you can play with our doll till then but it is just a simple doll.” The girls said.

“That’s Okay! Let’s go then.”

***

Later in the day

Misry was taking a tour of her Dadu’s big estate. She loved to see the greenery around and so many animals, the rooster, the chicks, the ducks in the pond, the cat sleeping all day and the dogs following her everywhere. She saw Dadu working in the garden with Runu.

Didibhai see what I got for you?” Dadu said to Misry.

The old man handed her three four jujubes. There were quite big and very sweet to taste. She quickly finished them all and asked for more. Dadu gave her few more and he packed the rest neatly in his basket. Misry saw that and knew that the rest were packed for the other stake holders. A spark of jealousy ignited within her.

She continued to follow the old man. He took her to two date palm trees and showed two earthen pots tied on top of the tree.

Didibhai see that? Tomorrow I will give you an excellent drink that you have never tasted before. It is date palm juice.” He said pointing to the pot.

Misry nodded. Aware that the excellent drink will be evenly distributed among all the stake holders again.

Then she visited their hen pen. There lay couple of eggs. Dadu showed her how to differentiate between the duck’s and hen’s egg. She was thrilled to know that even duck lay eggs.

“You eat omelets today and taste the difference yourself,  Didibhai.” Dadu said lovingly.

She went to the pond and saw Pallavi Mashi and Raju swimming.

“Messy! Wanna join us?” Raju shouted.

Misry shook her head as she knew she can’t swim. But the water was so tempting. She thought of giving it a try. She ran home to bring her towel and clothes.

When she returned, Dia and Ria were already in the water. Misry felt bad as she was the only one who couldn’t swim.  The spark inside flamed a little more.

***

Later in the evening.

“Come on we are already late for Kapil Mama’s house. Don’t forget there are four more houses to cover in the same lane.” Surabhi said.

“I am ready.” Madhavi declared. Misry stood right beside her. They were waiting for Soma and her girls. “Here we are.” The girls declared in chorus.

Misry was dazzled to see the girls. They were looking so damn cute in the pink floral frock, their hair neatly done in a pony tail with a pink floral hair band and a pair of matching La ballerina shoes to go along.  As if that was not enough they also carried a small vanity bag across their shoulder. They looked every bit picture perfect beauty compared to the tom cat look of her.

For the first time in her life, Misry faced the self esteem crisis. All these years she had befriended mostly boys and met girls who were tomboyish just like her but here she was meeting two beautiful girls right out of picture postcard. She looked for place to hide.

The entire trip she was glued to Madhavi to avoid seen with them so that nobody dared compared her with them.

Madhavi wondered what was wrong with her and prayed, “GROW UP MESSY!!”

*****

Glossary*

Bapi- father               Didibhai – Grandchild

 

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATT00008
Howrah Station at night. Google images

“What? You haven’t left your office yet? When will we go to Baba’s house?” Surabhi, Raju’s mother, was angry with her husband, Abhijit.

“I am stuck up, Sona. Don’t worry! Whatever be the time I shall take you guys there tonight. Please don’t be angry. ” Abhijit pleaded. But Surabhi had hung up. He knew he was going to have bad time at home.

***

“I don’t think we will make it today. Your Jamaida is still in office. I don’t know when we will start for Baba’s house?” Surabhi said little worried.

“Calm down Didi. When he had said he will take us there, then why do you worry so much?”Madhavi replied.

“Oh! Tham toh! You and your Jamaida. You guys are made of what, I don’t know. It’s already 4.00pm and we have still not started yet. Do you know what time we will reach there?” Surabhi said.

“Hmm. Around mid night or so? But we have already told Nilesh that we are coming today. So what is the problem? If not all, he will be awake to open the gate of the house.” Madhavi said.

“I am not worried about the gate dear. I am afraid of the area. It is so deserted after 8:00p.m only and imagine we will be reaching there by midnight. Will it be safe for us to carry so much gold ornaments along? What if we are attacked?” Surabhi shared her fears.

Bah Re! If we don’t wear ornaments in marriage, then when will we wear them, Didi? We have to take them along. Don’t worry we will be safe.” Madhavi assured.

Durga Durga!”Surabhi chanted.

In Madhavi’s family her elder sister, Surabhi, was always anxious and worried of even little things. And if she had nothing to worry about, then it would be her biggest worry. So the family teased her and nick named her as Chintamoni.

***

“It is my Dadu’s house, why would you go there?” Misry asked angrily.

Duth Boka! It is my Dadu’s house too. You forgot we are cousins.” Raju explained her.

“So Dadu will share the goodies and stories with you too?” Misry was bewildered.

Her Daddy had not told her about that. She had imagined she was the only grandchild who will own the sole proprietorship over her Dadu and his love. But she was meeting one stake holder here.

“Yes and I am not the only one. Dia and Ria are also there. But Dadu loves me more than anyone else as I am the eldest grandchild.” Raju laughed on her face.

Misry was speechless. She had heard of Ria and Dia but were they stake holders too? Oh My God! What will be left of the shared goodies then? Daddy didn’t mention that too? He only spoke of fun she would have with her cousins there. He didn’t mention anything about sharing.  She was little worried now!

The seed of rivalry was already sown. It shall be reaped when the time comes.

***

“Surabhi! Come on be quick we will be late.” Abijit said waiting near the Taxi.

“Look who is talking.” Surabhi replied checking the lock on the gate for the sixth time.

“How many times more will you check? You have locked the gates yourself and mind it is Harrison lock! So don’t worry. Please board the taxi now.” Abhijit teased.

Surabhi made a face at her husband and sat down in the Taxi.

The taxi drove them straight to the Howrah railway station.

“Raju ! Don’t leave Misry’s hand and Misry don’t leave Ma’s hand. Okay?” Abhijit instructed.

Misry nodded.

Jamaida, we have too many luggage, let’s take the help of a porter.” Madhavi said.

Aaare! Don’t you worry when your Jamaida is here!” Abhijit never left a chance to flatter himself in front of his sister in-laws. And they enjoyed it too.

He asked the ladies to move on and started picking up the luggage all by himself. Raju extended his help but Abhijit was all showing off and refused to take help. By the time they boarded the local train, Abhijit was badly panting but he didn’t want to show.

The train moved towards its destination.

Misry sat near the window watching the platforms, people, city, field and everything passing by. She was very excited. Luckily the compartment was more or less vacant, other than passengers there were few food hawkers too doing business. Raju kept himself busy, eating whatever came his way right from sweet candy, Jhaal muri, badam etc. Surabhi was alert as usual clutching her handbag tightly.  She sat occupying the entire seat making sure nobody gets a chance to sit beside her. Abhijit sat across Madhavi chit chatting all the way. Their topics moved from politics to film fare. Both were screaming in less than ten minutes. It was typical of them. Putting across their views and getting it accepted was more important for both of them rather than listening to each other’s view. This time their agenda was what was on the menu card in Amitabh Bachchan’s house party and they fought hard with their verbal blows as if they both had attended the party.

***

“See! Didn’t I tell you it will be deserted as hell? Durga Durga!” Surabhi was already panicking getting down in the small station of the sleepy town where her parents lived.

Oh Didi, Tham Toh! See if we can get any cycle rickshaw to reach home.” Madhavi snapped.

“You guys wait here. I will see.” Abhijit said.

The platform was deserted. Other than few dogs and beggars sleeping on the platform there was not a soul to watch out for and the big clock on the exit gate showed half past midnight.

Misry was very sleepy and cold too.

“Ma when will we reach Dadu’s house?” She asked yawning.

“Sweetie just few minutes more.” Madhavi replied.

“Few more minutes? Not less than half an hour and if we don’t get a cycle rickshaw then God knows what will we do. It’s all because of your Jamida.

Offf Didi Tham Toh!” Madhavi hissed.

Abhijit returned in a short while. They boarded two cycle rickshaws to ride home. The lanes were deserted too and dimly lit as the rickshaw paddled all the way to Dadu’s farm house.

Finally it stopped in front of a very narrow lane off the road. It was pitch dark around. Other than the small lamp burning on the handle of the cycle rickshaw there was no light. They got off the rickshaw but had to wait on the road. The narrow lane leading to the gate of the house had ditch on the either side, so it was dangerous to walk in the dark.

Mama Mama O Mama!” Raju yelled from the road.

Slowly, the house lit up with lanterns. The gate opened and an old man came out with a torch light in his hand.

“Come my children come. Here see the light be careful! There is no electricity at the moment. Just watch your steps.” He was chirping cheerfully, behind him stood the entire family to welcome them.

Baba you are still awake?” Madhavi said touching his feet.

“Awake? I have made three trips to the railway station already since the evening for you guys. Where is my Didibhai?” The old man asked looking for Misry.

Misry appeared from behind her mother and looked up at the old man. He looked so very different from the photographs in the album back at her home. His silver hair was replaced by milky white hair, he was tall and lean and his teeth were missing too.

Ki Didibhai, How are you? Do you remember me?” Dadu asked giving her a toothless smile.

Pranam Koro.” Madhavi softly instructed Misry.

Misry quickly bent down and touched the old man’s feet. He picked her up in his lap and tried to kiss her cheek. Misry backed off as Dadu’s unshaven white beard tickled her.

He laughed and took her inside the house. Others followed behind.

Misry kept changing laps from one person to another. She was visiting them after a long time. Everybody was so excited that the house was suddenly alive in the dead of the night.

“What would you eat Misry?” Dida asked. Though it was very late at night rather too early in the morning, the old lady knew the child must be hungry.

Before Madhavi could say no, Misry expressed her desire to eat chiwda Bhaja.

The old lady didn’t wait for a minute for any help. Since their kitchen was at the other end of the courtyard outside the house, she lighted a stove in the living room itself and quickly made the dish for Misry.

When she handed a bowl full to Misry, the little girl ate it to her fill.

Madhavi thought, “When will you GROW UP MESSY.”

*****

Glossary*                            Baba- father

Sona- darling            Jamaida- Sister’husband                 Didi- Elder sister

Tham toh – just stop                                      Bah Re- Good                     Duth Boka- fool

Dadu – Maternal grandfather                            Mama- mother’s brother       

 Dida – maternal grandmother

chiwda Bhaja – Deep fried rice flakes.

 

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here.

 

 

 

“Daddy where are we going?” Misry asked.

“We are going to your Mashi’s marriage.” Anurag answered.

“Pallavi Mashi is getting married?” Misry was surprised. “To whom, Daddy?”

“I don’t know yet sweet heart. Your Ma will be able to tell you. After all she received the trunk call.” Anurag replied.

“You sound jealous, my dear husband. After all your, only unmarried Sali is getting married!” Madhavi teased.

“Jealous? Me? Nah. Good for your old father, to load off his last burden to another innocent man like me.” Anurag replied.

Pat came the answer from Madhavi.

“Burden!! We sisters? Never. Our father is proud of us and we never failed him. You are fortunate to have a wife like me and you bet that.”

Anurag knew if he didn’t stop right now Madhavi will continue the saga of her family which he had heard umpteenth times since his marriage and that comes up afresh every time he teases his in-laws.

Daughters will be daughters he thought. He was happy that he had one too.  Misry will also fight for him after her marriage, just like her Ma. The thought made him smile.

“How can I ever forget that sweetheart?  You are my Jaan and you know that.” Anurag said sweetly.

“Hmm Jaan. And you are leaving your Jaan alone for a month in this condition.” Madhavi complained.

“Come on sweetheart! You know my job. Duty is foremost. I have to go. I can’t take you with me to Ludhiana in this condition. Therefore I am sending you to Culcutta. You will have company there. Moreover, Pallavi’s marriage is another reason you got to go.”

Misry was quietly listening to her parent’s conversation. She heard all but understood some of it.

“Daddy you are not coming with us to Dadu’s house?” Misry asked.

“Not at the moment sweet heart. I will join you guys later, in your Mashi’s marriage.” Anurag replied.

“Oh No! Daddy! This is not fair.” Misry reapproved.

“Sweet heart I want you to take care of Ma when I am not there. She is going to get you a Talking Doll soon.” Anurag said.

“Talking Doll for me! Ma really!” Misry was excited.

Madhavi nodded shyly.

“Yeahhhhhhhhhh!” Misry started jumping of joy.

Madhavi and Anurag laughed out loud.

***

Train to Sealdah, Calcutta

“Misry don’t jump from one bunker to other. You will fall down.” Anurag advised.

“I am Hoolook Daddy.” Misry answered.

“No. Don’t be now. Come and sit with me, here.” Anurag said.

“Hooooooooo!” Misry jumped and sat beside her Daddy.

Anurag took it as an opportunity to educate the girl regarding her Dadu’s house. Since she was too young when she left them she didn’t have much memory of the place. Her Dadu owned a big farmhouse in a sleepy town on the outskirts of Howrah, in West Bengal.

The farmhouse has two cows, hens, ducks, dogs, cats, a small pond and numerous fruit trees surrounding his beautiful house with big verandah, huge courtyard and a small kitchen garden at the back of the house. Interestingly, the old man himself maintained the entire estate. Since his retirement as the Dean of Botany Department in Burdwan University, the man had dedicated his life to the upkeep of his farm house. Now he loved doing everything that he always wanted to do. Earlier he could not do due to shortage of time but now his hands were always full.

From mending the fences, catching fish, plucking fruits, maintain the kitchen garden, playing poker in the club he did everything. His day started as early as 4.00 am with Pranayam and ended by 7:00 pm with All India Radio News. The entire day the man kept himself busy with work and hence was able to maintain good health even at the age of sixty five.

Misry’s Dadu lived with Dida, his dear wife, their only son, Nilesh, his wife, Soma and their two children, Ria and Dia about same age as Misry and of course Pallavi, whose marriage was due shortly. There were two servants also, Runu and Lakhi, husband and wife, living with them in the house.

Anurag was little worried about Misry because she was very naughty and he feared that Madhavi with her present condition won’t be able to take proper care of Misry. Though his in-laws house was full of people and he had nothing to fear but his absense for a while around his little daughter, made him little worried. So he wanted to tell Misry everything she should know about the house and behave properly.

The train moved on and the father daughter shared several stories till they arrived at Sealdah station the next morning.

Misry was terrified to see the crowd in the station. It was the first time she was visiting Calcutta. She had heard so many stories about the place but the crowd here offended her badly. She clutched her Daddy’s finger tightly as they moved toward the exit.

Once they boarded the yellow ambassador car, the typical of Calcutta, Misry was relieved. The car sped past Dharmatala, one of the most happening places of Calcutta, towards Tollygunge, where Madhavi’s elder sister, Raju’s mother lived. Since Anurag had to leave for Ludhiana in the evening he thought of leaving Madhavi and Misry at their place for the night. Next day the sisters can leave for their parent’s place together.

On the way MIsry saw Tram for the first time in her life. The slow moving coaches resembled the trains so much and it surprised her to see that it actually ran on tracks on the streets just like the trains. She was very excited.

Just to escalate her excitement Anurag advised the taxi driver to drive the car behind the tram so that Misry could enjoy more. The taxi driver did as he was told.

But Misry was terrified to see the car driven on the tram track.

pic-4

“Daddy we are on the Tram line, we will crash.” she shouted.

“No sweetie, nothing will happen. You just enjoy the ride.” Anurag said.

“Noooo we will crash. We should be on the road not the tram line.” Misry was begging.

Anurag was amused looking at his terrified daughter. She was all ready to jump out of the taxi if need be rather than smash in the tram. She clutched her Daddy’s index finger tightly for her safety.

Just then the signal went red and the taxi had to stop. Unfortunately it was bound to stay on the tram track at that time with vehicles on one side and divider on the other. The tram they were following had already gone ahead while they waited for the signal to be green.

To her horror, Misry saw another tram coming from the back honking repeatedly. She screamed thinking now it will crash their taxi just like the movies. She started crying aloud.

Madhavi held her tight across her chest and shushed her. Then she pointed towards the tram that had stopped honking and was moving very slowly.

Misry lifted her eyes and saw the massive locomotive crawling like a serpent on the street coming to halt right behind their Taxi. She could even see the driver sitting inside. It looked anything but destructive. Smile dropped on her lips and she waved at the driver. The driver waved back at her. All her fears vanished. She now wanted a ride on the tram.

Anurag smiled at her and thought, “Oh you crazy little thing. When will you GROW UP MESSY?”

*****

Glossary*  Mashi – maternal aunt

Sali – sister of wife                  

Pranayam – a type of yogic breath awareness and regulation exercise designed to help control one’s vital energy.

Jaan – darling   Dadu- Maternal Grandfather       Dida – Maternal Grandmother

 

26 stories in 26 days. I am attempting very very short stories series with GROW UP MESSY – The sweet sour story of a 5 year old girl. Follow my blog for the next story of Messy.

You can read the other post in the series here.

 

 

 

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