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“The cover couldn’t have fit in more perfectly with my concept” – Deepti Menon.

Today in the blog guest post we have with us the author who hones many feathers in her cap besides being a writer. She is a teacher, journalist, an army kid and later an army wife

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Deepti Menon

too. Her first novel, Arms and the Woman, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa publishing house in the year 2002. Today she will be sharing with us her new release, The Shadow in the Mirror, published by Readomania.

Q : The cover is so compelling that one would always like to know what is the book about? Please share how did you conceptualize the idea of this book.

Deepti: Paromita, thank you so much!

The cover is special, indeed!  Let me come to the second part of your question first. The story originated from a tiny seed of an idea, which I wanted to put across to my readers, and it is from there that the whole story evolved. The narration kept getting more complex as the threads were woven together in separate patterns, till they all came together in a tapestry that, hopefully, shines forth.

The book begins with the death of a young lady named Nita, and numerous other stories come together, seemingly unconnected, till the denouement where the mystery is solved. My biggest hope was that no spoilers would pop up and ruin the suspense of the story.

The cover couldn’t have fit in more perfectly with my concept, and the full credit for it should go to Dipankar Mukherjee. We sat down and looked at numerous options, starting from a charcoal sketch, called ‘The Chaste Kiss’  that was done by an Army friend of my father’s, a absolutely brilliant sketch. However, it was all in greys and whites, and would not have looked as effective as the cover of a book.

So then the search began for the perfect cover, and finally Dipankar and his designer came up with the present image in four different covers. The blue looked riveting, with the red bindi in stark contrast and that is how the cover came into being.

More about the author

Deepti Menon has always believed in the power of the pen. Having done her post graduation in English Literature and her B.Ed. in English, she had the option of teaching and writing, and did both with great enjoyment. She started writing at the age of ten, long before she acquired a Diploma in Journalism. She also had the advantage of being an Army kid, and later an Army wife, and loved the idea of travelling around India, meeting new people and acquiring new skills. She firmly believes that much of her personality was honed during those travels.
In 2002, her light hearted book, ‘Arms and the Woman’, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa Publishers, Delhi. This was written mainly to reveal the warmth and camaraderie within the great institution. She is now working on her second book that is a work of fiction, and not- to-be divulged yet!

Follow the author

 

Shadow In The Mirror 

by

Deepti Menon

 
Publisher: Readomania 

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The Story:

It all begins with a death. Nita, a pregnant woman falling from her balcony becomes the string that unravels the plot. Her death casts a shadow over many lives; her heartbroken father, her husband and Vinny, a young journalist, drawn in by the whiff of foul play and murder.
What follows are stories within stories, eras and worlds colliding with each other, leaving behind splintered relationships and mesmerizing slices of lives that appear to be drawn together and driven apart by the whimsical threads of destiny.
As events cast their shadows ahead to link the stories of Vinny, Kavita, Roma, Krish and Nita in an unrelenting knot, a journey starts to uncover the truth. What is the secret that links Nita’s death to the other characters? Will Vinny be able to unravel the mystery of Nita’s death?
From intimate diary entries and letters, to bantering over a meal and sharing memories while spring cleaning, this novel de-familiarizes the ordinary, presenting a kaleidoscope of our own pasts, broken edges and pulsating hearts.
 

Grab your copy @

 

Amazon.com| Amazon.in | Amazon.co.uk

 

Also Available on #KindleUnlimited 

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Hey its a pre-Independence Day bash with my book, Shamsuddin’s Grave.

Here is your chance to read my book and also win fabulous gifts.

What the readers say about the book-

“the ending of the book was still a surprise and left an impression on the reader”

– Rashmi Aswin.

a book that will whisk you away to a foreign land, to read as if it were happening to you. A book from a genuine experience. To love and to weep. This is it.

-Jody Ellis

being a fellow Indian i was never aware of the plights of the millions residing in the rural areas of Assam and the kind of ordeals they have to go through.”

-Merril Anil,

“Some books have the potential to make you connected with them. You can learn some valuable things from that book, you’ll be emotionally attached to the main protagonists and the book will leave a deep impression on you.”

_Arpita Dash

Blurb:

Latika’s wrecked personal front leaves her completely shattered. So when her ailing father reveals his desire to go back home, she doesn’t think twice and moves to her hometown. She joins an NGO and comes across a teenager rape victim. Much against her TL, Debjyoti’s wish she sets out to trace the girl with Shamsuddin’s help. Will she succeed or end up in big trouble?
Shamsuddin, a daily labourer, somehow manages to thrive in the city. Meanwhile, flood devastates his house in the village. His family takes refuge in a relative’s place where his wife has a tough time resisting to the advances of her brother-in-law. Can Shamsuddin arrange for an accommodation before it is too late?
Set in Guwahati amid the backdrop of flood and ethnic turmoil, “Shamsuddin’s Grave”, is the story of migration towards big cities for a better life.

GRAB YOUR COPY AT

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After walking for about two hours they came across their first halt. A small tribal village on the slopes of the Mikal hill.

Neha had completely forgotten that she was tired. Her camera just won’t stop rolling. She had been capturing images of everything she came across so far in her trek and here, in the tribal village, she had dig gold. Everything about this Stone Age village was worth capturing.

Ritesh had gone with Shankar to take a tour of their home stay while Neha was busy with her camera shots. Suddenly her camera lens caught hold of a veiled tattooed lady in a black robe.

She was sitting alone under a tree. The piece of cloth just hid her private assets and her whole body was nude, displaying tattoos in various forms. Like all the other in the village she was dark complex too and her hair more milky white than silver. She wore a pair of big silver ear studs the name of jewelry which was very prominent in her body. But unlike the other women she wore the minimum jewelry.

Neha adjusted her camera lens to take a picture of her. The lady suddenly unveiled her face to which Neha jolted in dismay. Never in her life had she come across such a dreaded face. It was the face was of a very old woman, the wrinkles were the clear evidence of it. It was the face that had lived its life and seen many ups and down. What remained today was just the tattooed criss- crossed skin over the skull. She was blind or partial blind for her eyes were complete white with no pupils.

This excerpt is part of my upcoming #paranormal book based on the jungles of Chhattisgarh, THE JUNGLE SERIES, a collection of short stories. The tag line is- GET READY TO BE ASSAULTED.

***

Chhattisgarh is a newly developed state of India with Raipur as its capital city. The state is well known for its bastar arts and Kosa Silk. Chhattisgarh is also home to many tribes and communities who thrive in the jungles and still practice their age old tradition and culture. You can know more about it The Erotic Rock Carvings of Chhattisgarh
Join me  to know more about this virgin destination that has so many stories to tell.

My Last Love Story 
by 
Falguni Kothari



Blurb 


Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before You, My Last Love Story is a heartbreaking and poignant tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

***
I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul.

I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible.

I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story. 

Grab your Copy @
or grab this book free at #KindleUnlimited 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 


 Falguni Kothari is a New York-based hybrid author, and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful and cultural threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media and loves to connect with readers.

My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.

Stalk her @

               

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“How are you feeling now Mam?” Shankar asked little apologetically.

“I am fine now. It’s just the heat nothing to worry about.” Neha replied.

“Great so that means we can go ahead with our activity then.” Shankar replied.

“Of course! I don’t want to miss anything after coming here.” Neha said.

“I won’t let that happen Mam. We will be heading straight to the village haat. Today being Wednesday, it is the time for Weekly market here. Many people from the nearby village come to attend it as it is one of its kind in the entire locality. Otherwise people have to go to Kawardha or Bhoramdeo for their needs.

”I hope they will have no problems if we visit the haat.” Ritesh asked.

“Not at all. As long as you do not interfere with the locals much. They are different tribal community and love to be themselves. Though they know me but they don’t like intrusion by foreigners. Just a request every time you want to click a picture, please ask for their permission first. They are very shy, specially the ladies. Though they won’t say no but it is always better to ask.”

 

“Oh, surely we will take care of it.” Ritesh replied.

“Also I must inform you that this hatt is also a dating place where the man and woman choose their partners for marriage. So as the hours go by you will find the men dancing and singing around with girls and it is celebration time for them. So they drink Mahua, a local alcohol. If they like you they will offer you too. Please! Don’t say “NO” and don’t throw the drink in front of them. It will highly offend them. If they ask you to dance, don’t forget to acknowledge it. It is their way of showing love and respect for you.”

“Phew! As much as I want to I will take care of all the information. Thanks Shankar.”

“And last of all, remember I am a local here so I will behave the same way with them. If I drink Mahua, please don’t assume I am drunk. I know my limits and responsibility. You guys are safe with me.” Shankar added.

“Alrighto!” Ritesh showed a thumps up. Neha smiled.

***

This excerpt is part of my upcoming #paranormal book based on the jungles of Chhattisgarh, THE JUNGLE SERIES, a collection of short stories. The tag line is- GET READY TO BE ASSAULTED.

*****

Chhattisgarh is a newly developed state of India with Raipur as its capital city. The state is well known for its bastar arts and Kosa Silk. Chhattisgarh is also home to many tribes and communities who thrive in the jungles and still practice their age old tradition and culture.
Join me  to know more about this virgin destination that has so many stories to tell.

4X1=4 11182440-A-man-with-a-pointer-vector-illustration-Stock-Vector-teacher-cartoon-male

4X2=8

4X6=32

4X7=36

“Misry! ” The teacher snapped. “Why can’t you concentrate? You are wrong again. This is the fifth week and you are not able to learn the multiplication table of even number 4 that is usually taught in the lower classes. All the students have already covered till 10 but you don’t seem to take any efforts.”

Misry heard her teacher quietly with her head down.

“Tomorrow I want to hear all the tables till 10. Understood?” The teacher said.

Misry nodded.

***

Next morning.

“What happened? Why won’t you go to school today?” Madhavi asked.

Misry ducked her head under the blanket and said, “I don’t feel like Ma.”

“What happened? Tell me. Are you not feeling well? Come here, let me see your temperature.” Madhavi was worried.

“I am fine Ma. I just want to be at home today.” MIsry pleaded.

“Okay then, let me tell Honey and Boney that you will not go today.” Madhavi got up to go.

Misry held up her hand and said sweetly, “Can I sleep some more time?”

Madhavi nodded.

***

Next morning.

“Misry come on get up now? You have to go to school today. You had enough Masti yesterday.” Madhavi said pulling her out of the blanket.

“Ma I don’t want to go to school. Pleaseeeeeeeee.” Misry pleaded. She was almost in tears.

“Whats wrong my child?” Madhavi was anxious.

Misry looked for excuse. “Ma its stomach ache today.”

“Let me see.” Madhavi checked out her daughter’s belly with her hand. “Does it ache here….here….here”.

Misry nodded.

“How can you stomach ache reach your chest sweetheart. See you are lying to me.” Madhavi caught her red handed.

“What if it pains in school?” Misry replied seriously.

“Will it?”

Misry nodded.

“Sure?”

Misry nodded again.

“Okay, skip school then.” Madhavi said at last.

Misry was all smiles.

***

Next Day.

“Now, you have a new excuse today?” Madhavi asked.

“No. I don’t want to go to school.” Misry said plainly.

“That I can see, but I want to know why?”

“I don’t feel like Ma. It is bad school.” Misry complained.

Anurag heard them both and came in the room. “Misry I heard that you have been skipping school? What’s wrong dear?”

“Daddy I won’t go. It’s bad school. ” Misry replied.

“Did anything happen sweetheart?” Anurag asked.

Misry was tempted to tell him the truth but she skipped.

“Nothing much Daddy. Just that I don’t feel like going.”

“Fine! Take rest then.”

***

Later in the evening.

“Misry! MIsry! Come here!” Anurag yelled.

Misry came running and stood in front of him immediately. Madhavi too had come to see what the matter was.

“You didn’t tell us that your teacher had asked you to learn the multiplication table?” Anurag asked.

Misry was silent.

“Multiplication table? What are you talking about, Anurag?” Madhavi asked.

“Madhavi your daughter is making fool of us. I went her school today and met her teacher. He said that Misry had not memorized her multiplication tables yet while the entire class has already done it. She is the only student lagging behind. And when he asked her to come prepared the next day, she stopped going to school. Tell me if it is not true, MIsry.”

Misry stood with her head down and didn’t answer.

“I want you to stop, whatever you are doing, immediately and by heart the tables now. I will ask them. Okay?”

“Okay.” Misry gave a meek reply.

“Now go and memorize it.”

Misry left the room.

After about half an hour later, Anurag called her again.

“Have you done it?”

Misry nodded.

“Okay tell me the first table you have learnt.”

4X1=4

4X2=8

‘4X6=32

4X7=36

“No! No! You are doing it wrong. 4×6=24, 4×7=28. Come again now.”

4X1=4

4X2=8

‘4X6=32

4X7=36

“What’s wrong with you. I just corrected. 4×6=24, 4×7=28.  Say correctly from the beginning.”

4X1=4

4X2=8

‘4X6=32

4X7=36

“Misry! Misry! What are you doing child. You are making mistake. Listen carefully. 4×6=24, 4×7=28.  Now go again.”

4X1=4

4X2=8

‘4X6=32

4X7=36

“Stop it I say! I can’t believe you are repeating the same mistake. That means you are not concentrating. I am giving you tonight’s time. Do it with full efforts.”

***

Next morning.

“Great so you are going to school today?”

“Yes Daddy.”

“Now before you go to board your school bus I want to hear the multiplication table of 4.”

4X1=4

4X2=8

‘4X6=32

4X7=36

Anurag kept his cool. He didn’t utter a word till she completed her table. “Fine. Now listen you know very well that you have not memorized your lesson.”

Misry stood still looking down on the floor.

“I want you to go to school today and sit in the immediate lower class, not your class. Once you learn your lesson then you can come back to your own class. Is that understood?”

“Understood.” Misry replied in a whispered and left quietly.

When she reached school, Misry didn’t go to her class, instead she went to one class lower and sat down there. The younger students looked at her in amazement but she didn’t talk to them.

When the class teacher came he asked Misry to go and sit in her actual class but Misry replied that her Daddy had instructed her to sit there until she learns the multiplication table.

The teacher called Misry’s class teacher. When her class teacher came to take her she denied going giving the same statement. The teachers went away and came back with the Headmaster. But Misry won’t leave the class and gave the same answer.

Seeing her adamancy the children started laughing. At last the teacher had to leave and Misry spent the day in the lower class. The news spread like wild fire in the school and whenever the students had free time they would come to take a sneak peek at Misry sitting in the class. The child became a laughing stock. But she didn’t give up. She continued sitting in the lower class and faced the humiliation till she learnt her tables.

On the third day, she walked into her actual class with pride and took her seat. When the teacher came she gladly announced that she had learnt all the tables and he could ask her now.

The teacher nodded.

Misry said all the tables correctly and the students clapped for her. The teacher was all praise for her.

Later, when Anurag came to know about it his heart cried out. His little daughter will abide by his orders so strictly, he was never sure of it. She deserved a better Daddy, he thought.

But Misry came home and hugged him saying, “I love you Daddy. You know even the Principal was all praise for me. And it’s all because of you. Thank you.”

Anurag kissed her and said softly, “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.

 

 

13076966-Illustration-of-girl-cycling-white-background-Stock-Vector-cartoon-cycling-bike“Honey, is this your birthday gift?” Misry asked eyeing with envy.

“Yeah!” The boy said taking pride on his new bicycle.

“You see, Messy! My folks say I have grown up now and hence should not ride kid bicycle anymore.”

Misry looked at her kid bicycle with contempt. But she didn’t give up. She too wanted a bicycle like his but knew well that Daddy won’t buy unless she showed him that she was old enough for it.

“But can you balance on the two wheels? I don’t think so.” She said mockingly.

“I may not know now but will soon learn it. So what?” Honey replied with attitude.

“We will see.” Misry laughed.

Honey paddled his bicycle but could not keep up the balance and fell down on the road.

“You will need my help Honey!” Misry said indifferently.  “I can support your bicycle from the back while you do the balance.” Misry offered.

Honey thought about it then agreed. So Misry kept running behind pushing the bicycle while Honey brushed his skills on balancing on the two wheels. But the poor fellow kept falling down.

Misry made a suggestion. “Honey I have an idea. Why don’t you practice in my bicycle? It has side support so you will have no tension of falling down.”

Honey thought of it as a good idea. He gave her his brand new bicycle and started practicing in her worn down kid bicycle. Nevertheless it helped him making balance on two wheels without the fear of falling down and getting hurt.

Misry meanwhile got the opportunity to take a ride on the brand new bicycle. She rode it in such a way that her feet touched the ground and she was actually walking the cycle rather paddling it. This way she didn’t had the fear of falling down and she was riding the big bicycle too. She was happy doing that.

Meanwhile Honey tried his luck on her cycle and lo! He lost his balance there too.

“Messy! I think I will be better off on mine. After all it is better I practice on my bicycle.”

Misry quickly got off.

Once again she started supporting his cycle by running along. This time Honey covered a good distance and gained confidence. It continued for few hours and Misry kept running behind.

She went home very tired that day.

***

“What happened Sweetie? You are sleepy so early.” Madhavi asked.

“Ma I have been practicing cycling today.” Misry lied. She didn’t want them to know that she was running behind Happy’s cycle all the eveing. She also didn’t want then to know of her intentions buying a new bicycle.

“Okay dear. Go to bed then.”

Misry waited for her Daddy to accompany her to bed. It was a routine she followed. She had the habit of hearing a bed time story from Anurag. And Anurag took it as spending quality time with her. He would give her lessons on morality or grooming along with storytelling sessions.

Anurag went along with her but before he could complete his story she was asleep.

“Strange the girl didn’t wait to hear how Feluda found the thief.” Anurag said to Madhavi.

“Yes. She looked very tired today. I wondered what game she played in the playground.”

Being the only daughter Misry surely enjoyed lots of liberty but her parents were very strict when it came to make demands. Anurag made sure his little girl was well versed with her needs and wants, like in this case, she might want a bicycle but she wasn’t really in need of it.  Anurag and Madhavi taught her to earn things rather than make demand.

Next evening also the same thing was repeated. She was pretty tired and went off to sleep early. Anurag and Madhavi were little worried now. When she woke up in the morning they asked her if she was not feeling well but she was chirping like a bird and looked fresh as morning air.

A week passed and Anurag could never complete his bedtime story. The next day was Sunday and Anurag was free in the evening. He thought of finding the truth behind Misry’s tiredness. He followed her to the playground without her knowledge.

He saw Misry and Honey with his brand new big bicycle. Honey started paddling and Misry ran behind giving support. Honey fell down, then got back on the seat and started riding again. While all the time Misry kept running behind supporting the balance.

Anurag’s eyes were wet to see his daughter struggling so much. But what he didn’t understand was what was she getting by doing this? She could have easily rode her bicycle instead and have all the fun. He didn’t have to wait long.

Mrs. Singh called for Honey and he went home immediately. His bicycle was with Misry. As soon as he left Misry rode his bicycle and that too without falling down. She had been practicing it whenever Honey left the bicycle with her.

Since she was doing it stealthily she knew she had very limited time and that too until Honey returned. Once he was back, she had to run after his bicycle. With sheer dedication and focus she quickly learnt balancing on two wheels without support unlike Honey, who took easy. She took full two rounds of the play ground before she saw Anurag.

“Daddy did you see that?” Misry shouted excitedly.

“Yes dear. I am so proud of you my girl.” Anurah shouted back.

“Daddy now I can buy big bicycle?”

Anurag nodded. “Whenever you say dear!!”

Next day Anurag and Misry went to the market and bought a new big bicycle.

In the evening, she rode her bicycle to Honey’s house and shouted, “Honey!! Want to go cycling!!”

Honey came out of his house and was zapped to see Misry’s new bicycle.

Later at dinner table Anurag asked Misry why she had not told him about the bicycle earlier.

Misry replied, “I wanted to make my WANT my NEED Daddy.”

Madhavi looked at her daughter with pride and said, “You have GROWN 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.

 

“Ma, Wow! What is this arrangement all about?”Misry asked excitedly.

“Your Daddy’s friends are coming over sweet heart.” Madhavi replied.

“Do they have children?” Misry asked.

“Misry! Didn’t I tell you not to put up such questions sweet heart? It is so embarrassing.” Madhavi reminded.

“But Ma. You told me not to ask any Uncle and Aunty. I am asking you.” She was correct.

“Sweetie, they do have children almost your age but they are not bringing over their families. So maybe next time you can meet their children.” Madhavi answered.

“Too bad Ma. All my friends have one or two siblings to play with, and me? I have none. Even the visitors don’t bring over their children. So mean.”

“Misry you will be very disappointed when you have one.” Madhavi said.

“Disappointed? Why?” Misry asked innocently.

“Because you will have to share everything with your sibling. Even me and Daddy.” Madhavi replied.

Misry thought for a moment then replied, “I don’t mind as long as it is a Talking Doll like Honey’s. I know she will listen to me and play with me. Will you get me one, Ma?”

“You started again. Did I not tell you not to say such things? We will think over. But you got to behave first. Promise me.” Madhavi added.

“I swear Ma, I will listen to you and behave myself.” Misry promised.

“Hmmm. I will see to that.” Madhavi said.

***

Later in the evening.

The arrival of the guests was the call for the party. Bottles opened, glasses filled, ice added and CHEERS! The boys got busy with their man to man talk and Madhavi kept the supply of snacks running. Later she too joined them. No, not for drink but conversation. Their topic kept changing from one subject to another and finally rested on music. Dinner was delayed and the mehfil was set for some gana bajana.

It was an era when the TV was not part of life. People entertained by watching movies in the theater or at casual drink parties at home and clubs. And if it was a Bengali home then the causal drink party would eventually give way to singing sessions where even the non singers would sing in chorus.  It would start with Rabindra Sangeet followed by Hemanta and Manna Dey songs mostly.

Misry always loved these sessions. Since her childhood she had watched her family spend time together in the evening singing their favorite songs. Now that she was a little grown up she too joined them. Madhavi was a great singer and so was Pallavi . Daddy had always been a bad singer but that did not stop him from joining them.

So that evening too, they had a singing session with the two gentlemen. Luckily one of them was a professional singer with All India Radio and knew to play harmonium while the other was a Tabla maestro. So this time Misry had the opportunity to croon along with the music.  It was a fantastic evening and finally ended at the dinner table.

Madhavi’s lavish culinary skills and hospitability had won the gentlemen’s heart. They wanted to gift something to Madhavi and Misry. They were very apologetic for not bringing anything along for the two lovely girls.

In the end it was decided they will go to the market and buy something for Madhavi and Misry. Although it was pretty late at night yet they insisted on going. Anurag had no option but to listen to them. Since dinner was over, Madhavi too decided to join them.

They reached the market that was twenty kilometers from the camp in Anurag’s service jeep. They got off on the main road near the market place while the driver drove off the jeep to the parking.

Misry walked with Anurag while Madhavi walked with the Singer. The other guest quietly followed them behind. Since it was already late most of the shops were already closed or were closing down for the day. Few road side hawkers were still looking for business.

They finally zeroed down to one shop that sold women garment and accessories. The Singer asked Madhavi to make her selection while he went off to pick something for his wife. Anurag had to buy some cigarettes so he excused himself. The other guest was not every keen on purchasing garment. So he moved out to another shop nearby.

With all the adults busy Misry was left to fend on her own. She had watched the other guest leave the shop. To keep an eye on that guest she stepped out of the shop. She watched the guest purchasing something from the hawker at a little distance. He was standing with his back towards her. Then Misry looked for Anurag. She found him purchasing cigarette in the corner pan shop.  A red balloon tied to the pole caught her attention and she watched it sway in the wind.

A little later, she looked inside the store where Madahvi and the Singer were making a purchase. She didn’t find them there. She asked the store sales man and he showed her the rear exit gate through which they had left just a second before. MIsry peeped out of the rear gate but the lane was dark and creepy. So she didn’t take a chance and came back to where she stood earlier, outside the shop.

She looked for her Daddy but he too was not there anymore. She turned her attention to the other guest. He was still there making his purchase. Misry ran up to him and called him. When the man turned to face her she was surprised to find some other man and not her guest uncle.

It took her some moments to realize that she was alone and lost. Nervousness gripped her and she wanted to weep. But then she didn’t lose her sanity. She kept her cool. She knew at this hour of the night asking for help would invite bad people and she had heard enough of them from her mother. She didn’t want to be captivated by them.

She threw off the cloud of uncertainty and made a game plan. As she was a B.S.F child, uniform was something she was pretty familiar with and she would not hesitate to ask help from uniform clad people which at this moment would be easy to find on the main road. She knew the way out of the market as she had been here many times before with her Daddy. She figured out all she had to do was to get hold of a traffic policeman and she will be safe.

Without any fear she retraced her path out of the market towards the main road. She knew if she walked alone she will invite trouble so she followed a couple to the main road so that people will think she was with them.

Once on the main road, she saw their jeep parked across the road. Since the road was busy, she knew she could not cross it on her own. She had to ask for help. But whom to ask? There was no traffic police in the vicinity. Standing alone by the side of the road at this hour of the night was not good for children and she knew that.

Finding her alone a cycle rickshaw driver asked her what the matter was. Though she had seen her class mates come to school in cycle rickshaw yet Misry eyed him suspiciously. But the man looked anything but bad and she felt she could trust him. She showed him the Jeep and asked him to help her cross the road. The poor man didn’t ask any question and got ready to help her.

***

When Madhavi found that her daughter was not with Anurag, as she had assumed, she started weeping. Handful of people and few shops were still open on the four road crossing in the marketplace. Apart from that most of the shops were closed and the lanes deserted. Madhavi’s heart was praying to the almighty every second for her daughter’s safety. She didn’t know what to do.

When Anurag didn’t find Misry in the few shops he started thinking from the child’s perspective. He had a hunch that Misry would not wait here for them if she were lost. She would definitely go towards the main road looking for uniform clad people whom she was more familiar with. He asked few hawkers and they confirmed watching a little girl going towards the main road few minutes back. So he left Madhavi and others in the market to continue their search while he ran towards the main road.

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google images

Once on the main road he saw his jeep parked across the main road. He was sure Misry might have seen it too and will go there. He was waiting to cross the road when Misry unknowingly bumped into him.

“Oh Daddy!”Misry hugged him.

Anurag thought the poor man had helped his daughter come all the way out of the market so he rewarded him with a hundred rupee note and thanked him from the core of his heart. Then he picked up Misry on his lap and hugged her back.

A little later, Madhavi too joined them with the two guests. She was weeping bitterly. And when she found Misry in Anurag’s lap she rushed to the child.

She could not hide her agony and started scolding Misry instead. MIsry didn’t utter a word and hugged her mother.

Anurag taught her that in situation like this she should keep standing where she was left so that when people come back to find her she is easily traceable.

Later when Misry told her story everybody was amazed to see the kind of intelligence the young girl had showed. Madhavi thanked her stars for taking care of their little angel. And Anurag thought how blindly he had trusted his hunch.

When things finally lightened up they all said, “When will you GROW UP MESSY!”

*****

Glossary* mehfil – s a gathering or evening of courtly entertainment of music or poetry

gana bajana- to play or sing songs

Rabindra Sangeet – songs of Rabindranath Tagore

Tabla – Indian musical instrument

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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“Misry! Have you kept your Tiffin box?”Madhavi asked from the kitchen.

“Yes Ma.” Misry replied.

She ran to her mother and planted a peck on her cheek before going to board her school bus. Madhavi watched her from the verandah. Her little girl had grown up.

Misry had started school. Luckily she got admission in the same school as Honey and Boney. It was the only English medium school in the city and most of the children from the campus went to that school.

The school was in the city about twenty kilometers away from the campus. The Head Quarter had allotted a vehicle which served as the school bus and ferried the students to the school and back. Interestingly the vehicle was more like the police van used to ferry the convicts. It had iron grills on both the sides to serve as windows and had only one exit and entry gate at the rear of the van. The children sat facing each other inside the vehicle.

Misry had the habit of befriending children older to her and that too mostly boys. This had a plus point as well as a negative point too. Plus point was, she was always part of the gang. And negative, she being the youngest was always looked down upon. Quite often Misry had physical fight with the boys. But most of the fight she lost as they were stronger than her. With lots of brain storming she found a very easy weapon to win the fight and that too without using blows and kicks.

She used her spit as her weapon. The moment she found she was on the losing side she would spat on her opponent. The guy would not dare come any closer after that. He would either be cussing her or crying aloud. Misry would be happy for her win. Children complained to Madhavi about it and she tried all the fundas to stop her daughter from this bad habit, but with no success.

That day in the van she was sitting opposite Honey, who was her best friend and he took very good care of her in the school. It so happened, that Misry had a physical fight with a guy sitting next to him. They were on their way to school when sometime happened between the two and they started exchanging blows and kicks. The other children were having fun and clapping watching the two fight. Misry and the boy were on the floor of the van and having a good fight.

Misry knew she could not win the guy and now she had to use her powerful weapon against him. She got up, took aim and spat. But she missed and it landed on Honey’s uniform.

Honey who was sitting quietly in his seat looked up at Misry with angry eyes and said, “See now what I do!!”

Misry didn’t apologize and went back to her seat quietly. She didn’t speak to anyone after that and was angry with Honey too for saying this to her.

When they reached school each of the children went off to their respective class and nobody spoke about it anymore. But Misry was hurt. Her dear friend too had not taken her side. He could have understood that it was by mistake. But then he had challenged her.

Whole day in school Misry could not concentrate. It was a bad day for her. She had her lunch alone and kept to herself most of the day. In fact, she had not befriended any of her classmates for that matter. Whenever she had time she would sneak up to either Honey or Boney. But today, there was no chance.

The last bell rang and the school was over. Each student made a line to board their respective school bus. Misry was also in a line to board her van when Honey called her.

“Why should I come? The school is over now.” Misry rebuked.

“You have to come. Principal Sir is calling you. NOW!” Honey replied sternly.

Misry followed him. The Principal was a short bald man wearing a blue suit. His perfectly pinned green color tie on his sky blue shirt spoke aloud of the mismatched color combination. Nevertheless he looked at the little girl who was the main accused of Honey’s complaint.

“Is he saying the truth, Misry that you spat on him?” the Principal asked.

No answer.

“Tell me why did you do that?” The Principal insisted.

No answer.

“You can’t stand there MUM! You got to answer me! I heard that it is your regular practice. Is it true?”

No answer.

“Is it true Misry. Tell me!” The Principal’s raised his voice a little.

No response.

“Alright Honey. You may leave. She will stay back in the school today. ” The Principal said.

Their van was the last one to go and was honking for them. Misry felt very angry. She despised the Principal and spat on him. It landed on the Principal’s green tie. The Principal was furious. He ordered Honey to bring a rope to tie Misry.

Honey ran to bring a rope.

“You will spend the night in the school store room with your hands and feet tied. I shall also inform your parents not to come looking for you.“ The Principal said angrily.

By that time Honey had also brought the rope to tie her up.

Now Misry was in tears. Till now she was confident that the Principal cannot do such thing as it was only her parent’s job to discipline her. But here, this man was as angry as her Daddy.

“Tie her and go home.” The Principal said.

Honey started fitting the ends of the rope.

Misry wept aloud and begged for forgiveness.

“You have to promise me that you will never do it again then only I will allow you to go home.”  The Principal said.

“I promise.” She sobbed. “I cross my heart. I shall never do that again.” She added.

“Now say sorry to Honey.”

“Sorry.”

“Okay you can go to your van now.” The Principal said. Both the children turned to go.

Misry turned back and said to him, “Sorry sir.”

That day was a big lesson for Misry. She never spat again.

When Madhavi came to know about it she was happy to know that her child was in good disciplinarian hands. What she could not change the man had done in one meeting. She smiled and thought, “GROW UP MESSY!”

*****

 

This is #day12 of the AtoZblogging Challenge throughout April.

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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