Social Issues are something that trouble most of us. We read about so many things that happen almost every other day around us. How many of us are actually in a place where we can do something about it? Not many, right? This was troubling me from the last few weeks but unable to do anything about it since the ‘society’ doesn’t allow us to voice our concerns. So, we write about it. At least, in this way, it will reach the ears of someone, and maybe someone will do something about it.
There is a boy who is living opposite my house and he’s just three or four years old. He’s mischievous just like most boys his age. Well, his misfortune is that there’s nothing he can do about it. So, his parents’, knowing fully well that corporal punishment may affect the child; instead opt for a time out. Now, most of us may not know what a time out is. It is a discipline method for setting boundaries to your child. Read more about time outs and other effective methods here.
Getting back to the little boy; his parents’ definition of a time out is putting him out in the balcony for hours together. The little child’s cries of plea fall to deaf ears as the parents’ believe this is the most effective form of punishment for this child. Little do they know that the cries of this child pierces through the entire building and the neighbors wonder, what kind of cruel punishment is being meted out for this poor soul. This is done a few times in the day by the way and sometimes even at night.
Our calls to the watchman and the parent’s themselves are of no use as the parents’ are least bothered about the effect it is having on the child. This kind of behavior from the parents’ would only make the child more aggressive growing up. Looking at this horrifying spectacle does break my heart at times. Though being the terror of my family, my parents’ never took it upon themselves to hand out such punishments for my naughtiness. They would tell me what is right and wrong and whenever I fell into a pit, I would remember their words.
Unfortunately, our society is such that if we call or complain to the police, the whole neighborhood would be upon us in an instant stating that this is a matter of the house and that we should not interfere in other people’s matter. More so is the worry that should we say something openly, a ritual may be performed on us for bad luck. I don’t believe that such things exist, but my mother does and so, I can only write about it. Hopefully, I won’t have to hide this for long because somebody will step up and say that ‘enough is enough’.
I’m sure love stories like these have been told before and will continue to be told in the years to come. Then again, all love stories aren’t the same. They may or may not have the same happy ending as some of you reading this may have had; but it’s a love story nevertheless and it’s worth telling.
A couple was walking hand in hand on a small street; their love for each other visible for everyone to marvel at. It had been a few years since they were married, yet they couldn’t resist stopping in the middle of the street and sharing a kiss or talking in animated voices. Old couples who would pass by them would whisper a silent prayer to always keep them together.
On one of the weekends, while they were walking past a row of shops, the wife’s eyes swooped down on a glittering ring made of diamonds. Immediately, she prodded her husband to look down and said “I want that”. The husband replied, “It’s way above our budget and moreover, why do you need a diamond ring? Don’t I provide you with enough and more? This is just a silly craving, nothing else”.
The wife would hear none of it and rebuked him saying “What nonsense is this? Are you saying that you love me less now? I want this ring at any cost and I don’t want to hear you saying no to my demands. If you aren’t able to purchase it now, It’s fine, but I will be expecting this as a birthday gift” and with that she walked on ahead.
Many weeks passed and it was the wife’s birthday. The wife was growing mad with anticipation with the thought of receiving the diamond ring as a birthday gift and so, when her husband arrived from work, she rushed into his arms and gave him the biggest of hugs. The husband, knowing exactly the reason for the hug said nothing and handed her something small wrapped in a beautiful package.
She stared awkwardly at the package for a while and then, slowly unwrapping the cover, she brought out a small Bible with her name embossed in gold lettering at the top. She stood motionless for a while and then with a glaring look at her husband yelled at the top of her voice. “Is this a cruel joke that you’re playing on me? I asked you for a diamond ring and not a Bible and that too, a Bible with my name embossed in gold. Is this your way of showing love after all these years that we’ve been married?”
The husband tried to make her understand but she was overcome with rage to listen to him. In the next thirty minutes, she had packed her clothes and stomped out of the house leaving her husband and their life. She didn’t want to hear from him ever again and she had decided that she would never forgive him for the grief he had caused her.
Years later, she had made a name for herself and found love again. They were married and had all the happiness in the world that they desired but the love she shared with her second husband was nothing like the one she shared with her first. One day, while she was reminiscing about her first husband, she receives a letter saying that her first husband had perished in a plane crash during his business travel on his return home.
She was struck with grief remembering how she had walked out of their home and their lives. She collected herself and proceeded to read the rest of the letter which said that her husband had willed all his possessions to her making her the sole owner. She couldn’t believe what she was reading and wondered why his behaviour towards her hadn’t changed after she had walked out on them all those years ago.
Knowing that she had to be present to ensure that all the matters were taken care of, she went back to her first home. Walking into the hallway, all those memories came rushing by of the happy years that they had spent with each other in this home. On the table was the same Bible that he had gifted her on her birthday. Though the cover was peeling off slightly, she could still see her name embossed in gold lettering.
With tears dripping silently, she opened the pages of the Bible to the page that he had marked for her to read. When she neared the end, she noticed a small cut on the top of the Bible like a little flap. As she opened the flap, a small package fell out of it. Shaking uncontrollably now, she opened the small package to find the diamond ring intact and still glittering as the day she first laid her eyes on it. On the inner circle of the ring, was an engraving on which the words were written, ‘Love you always’.
This is a modified work from the article that appeared in Bendor so Talo, a Mangalorean weekly newspaper by Patsy Britto. You will find versions of this story over the internet as well. To see a few, click here and here.
As a disclaimer, I would like to state that this is not a copied work from any other source but a story that has been told over the years, though, through many different versions. This is my version of it.
Dedicated to all my friends and Aswini for all the mental madness we went through together.
My life means a lot to me.
Not because I love my life,
But because I love the people like you in my life
The world says they are called ‘Friends’
I call them my ‘WORLD’
Friends; Pick up any dictionary and the meaning states ‘associates, acquaintances, links or contacts. My set of friends’ did not feature in any of the categories above. They were my FAMILY. We lived together, fought bitterly, made up after that and still love each other fondly.
We all have friends. It’s very rare for someone to not have a friend. Even the loneliest of loners would admit that they have had at least one person come up and talk to them in their lonely life. Friends make you do things that you wouldn’t have thought of doing yourself. They also bitch and make you do things that you feel ashamed of later.
I have managed to have a good set of friends’ right from my childhood days. The ones that were inconsequential were slowly erased from my memory as I grew older. However, I attracted a unique set of friends from all walks of life, castes, gender and levels of madness. The first group I’m going to talk about is what you would call “Chaddi Buddies.”
Pampers, powder, petting and puff. The 4P’s for toddlers. At the mention of these words, fathers get up and running, searching for the stuff that sound more like Greek and Latin otherwise. I had the fortune to be introduced to some of the lovely young mothers who cuddled me non stop. My mother sensing my discomfort relieved me from one of the young mothers and we left the nursery as one happy family.
I grew up in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) in a colony with a lot of kids. My memory is not that good to remember those early days of childhood but soon enough when I was three, I moved to a nice area called Andheri (E). My fondest memories have been over here. My first friend in this new place was a small little boy who looked like a little monkey. His name was Yogesh.
Being the son of a Police Officer, he was brought up in strict discipline, but adhering to the rules laid down by his father never bothered him. The two of us would climb water tanks, heckle at the security guards everyday, fight with the kids from the other compound and at six in the evening, go to the temple next to our colony where the Pujari would give us Tamarind (Imli). Those days were fun.
We would play cricket in the field next to our house, swim in the gutter to fetch the ball, get back home black as coal and listen to our mothers’ about the dangers of the gutter water and the hazardous things in there. We weren’t bothered about that. We enjoyed each and every day together without a care in the world. Along with us, there was another kid by the name of Dheeraj with his elder brother Ramesh. We would play football in the mud during the monsoon season too.
When I moved to Bahrain after staying in the colony for 3 years, I had tears in my eyes. I did not want to leave this place which had given me such a memorable time. There were dreams of a new life for me elsewhere. My father sensing my sadness assured me that we would always come back to our house every year during summer vacations so I could enjoy with my friends once again. With those words, I bid adieu to my Chaddi Buddies and moved on to my next group of friends – “School Friends.”
My schooling years passed by very quickly without much thought. There were only a few people out there who really made a difference. Few of the people who I had a good bonding with were Paul, the twins Floyd and Fletcher, Githin and Godwin. The six of us used to move around like a small rat pack. Always up to no good and rarely getting caught for the trouble we created. I say rat and not wolf because we could squeak away without being noticed after our usual bouts of madness.
Our formative years were involved in the constant talks of video games, movies and technology. Each day would begin with the talk of a new application that came out in the market and our collective opinion would be taken on how the market would react to it. Neither of us earned enough pocket money to go and buy any of those applications but we dreamed big.
I was the only one among the rest who had friends of the opposite sex yet, the fun that I had with my rat pack was a whole lot crazier and I could never compare it to any of the girls that I had spent time with. I miss these guys a lot when I think about them but all of us move on right? During this time, I also had another set of friends and these are my “Bus Friends.”
When you’re bored of the madness in the school, the school bus is your throne, where you reign over the less inconsequential ones and administer all types of punishment on them. Now, I’m not as bad as I sound, but my best friend Tapas and I did rag (bully) quite a few of the gullible ones in our bus. We were kept away from each other for a good reason by the teachers in our bus and for a good reason it was too as we kept plotting on who our next victim would be. Over time, we kept talking new things and doing new things that people used to keep blasting us.
There used to be people counter plotting against us but they could never match up to our genius. This time spent in the bus, from home to school and back was some of the most wonderful times we spent. The only time we would shut up was during the exams when all of us would be busy studying, trying to cram every bit of information that we could before we were sent to the gallows. It took me a good few years of enjoyment before school life was over for me and I was led to the gates of a college to forge a new chapter in my life. And thus, enter, the “College Friends.”
If you’ve thought that you’ve had fun all this while; you’re wrong. The fun is just about to start mates. And it gets crazier every minute. I would love to go on about this in detail but that story will just have to come out another day because it’s that special ;). My three years in college were a mixture of so many emotions that sometimes it was quite overwhelming for me. My college life was over and I was swept into the corporate world wave and this is where I met a unique set of friends who I’d like to call, “Work / Extended College Friends.”
Work / Extended College Friends:
When I was small, I used to see dad coming back from work stuffing his briefcase to the side and rubbing his temples while mum prepared a nice hot cup of tea to soothe his aching nerves and I used to wonder, that maybe, work is cut out for only the parents and no one else. It had a kind of prerequisite to it; you need to be married and over thirty to work etc. Little did I know that I would be twenty-one and start to work at a place with people of my own age group. Nice!
It was a whole new level of Wow for me since I thought that I would be totally sad about college getting over and I’m not going to meet my friends ever again. Now, I was going to work with some of them and this was going to be one hell of a ride. Nothing changed between us friends. We rocked the work and rocked even harder on the weekends. It also became my second family as I was spending close to 9 hours a day with them every day.
Life after Work:
This can be a painful phase to tell you the truth. Some people treat work as their bread and butter, while some, their passion. I treated it with passion. But somewhere down the line I knew that in order for me to proceed further in life, I was going to have to sever some ties to build new ones and I cut off the umbilical cord binding me to my work. I was never going back there.
For those of you, who’ve spent a good part of their lives at work, you will be able to understand this perfectly. For others, no matter how much you work hard at your job, there will be a day when you will have to stand face to face with it and ask yourself if you and job is progressing together. If you both aren’t on the same level, then amendments need to be made. Fast! When Life + Work = Happiness, it means, you’ve achieved what you’ve been looking for all along.
Hopefully, you’ve still got friends to call your own when this day comes. I’ve been blessed all my life with friends like these and I wish the same for you.
I keep dreaming at times about missing a certain train. I don’t know where it’s headed and why I’m running towards it. But yet, the image of that train is still quite vivid in my head, banging against my temples as I fight the urge to get rid of that thought.
Somehow, I have a feeling about where I’m supposed to be going. Somehow, I can see the path ahead of me, yet I’m afraid to step onto that path because it might change me into a different person.
Do I willingly want to change? No. Am I being forcefully pushed into something that I’m not sure I want to do? No. Well, in all fairness, I do want to be a better person. But does change have to drive a person to the edge of the cliff, not understanding what is going through him all the while?
Sometimes, it’s easier to wake up than dream about reality.
Life. A four letter word that has different meanings and yet, all of us strive to find that piece of happiness and joy in that four letter word everyday. We get up in the morning and we know what we want for breakfast – eggs and bacon. Lo and behold, you are looking at freshly baked panpales (neer dosa) and chutney. Yuck, I would say but can’t. I do not want to hurt Mama’s feelings. So I have these panpales and think, maybe its time I bought a new shirt or a new pant and lo and behold again, Dadla has something in store for his ‘little rascal’. Shona fights with me to get hold of the TV remote while I’m watching an amazing show (F.R.I.E.N.D.S – if you must know) and lo and behold, Dadla and Mama already have plans of watching something else. Well you try and try and try to change them but you should face the fact. They are not going to change. They are your family and no matter how small or how old you are, you will always be a ‘Sonnuboy’ to them. But it’s fun. Life without those three other people is not life at all. It’s another four letter word – ‘Hell’. Now this four letter word is the total opposite where Mama makes eggs and bacon (while you’re on a very strict diet and there are no cornflakes in the house) and Dadla is just sitting idle not even talking to anybody.
When you sit down and analyze what life has taken you through, you realize that you have left so many things behind. Things that you have wanted to take seriously, things you should have had when you’re young. People, are some of the most important things that we tend to overlook in our quest for happiness. We leave them hanging dry and low and is this our fault? I’m not so sure. Let’s face the fact. We know that sometimes things change, situations change but the chance to make things right is never quite there. You strive to be a better human being but you tend to hurt sometimes the people you love or who love you. What is the cause of such irrational thinking? Call it a mistake of the youth or teenage delinquency. ‘YOU’ are the cause for this. Not anybody else but ‘YOU’.
Now that I have given you a brief description on what life basically is let me demonstrate the essence of what this means. It may be hard for some people to believe that life can truly be beautiful and enjoyable. Although, some cynics may say that life can truly be a monstrosity of crimes viz the sex, murder and drugs, I say ‘to hell with that’. ‘Let there be Rock’ in the words of AC/DC. God made the earth, the stars, the moon and then he made life. He made everything so beautiful in this world that there are very few who would stop and smell the fresh air, see the flowers blooming in the night or see the lake and wish that the world had been a better place. I have wished for such things. I have longed for such things. But it is hard to find happiness 24/7. No one can.
Which is when I started doing some research on where I’m currently headed on with my life and what is stopping me from getting there. I’m not a bad person. I love life. I love life so much that I’ve left so many people behind in my quest for happiness. There are some things I truly cherish in this world and one of them is friendship. Remember the time you had so many things to do and yet you could not accomplish that because you just did not have the motivation to go through with it? Well that’s when friends become helpful. They get you back on track. They make you do things that you probably did not know you could do and they are on your side whether you have made a mistake or not. This is called friendship. This is called life. So if you have to live life, then be a normal person and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But if you want to love life, do what I did. Get an amazing set of friends and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Life is a like a funny deck of cards. Here you are sitting and wondering what you did wrong. You try the various permutations – combinations, but you just don’t seem to find the right set of cards to get your stacks in the same order. At times, you come out all aces;hitting everything on a high.
You play cards like you play with life. When you’re happy and confident, there’s nothing that can stop you from doing what you want and your cards say the same. True, a lot of it has to do with lady luck but most of the time; it’s just you that’s deciding the fate. You can never go wrong with whatever you do. Your hand keeps burning the others’ fate.
It’s odd, but I feel like this is happening to me quite often. I try and play with cards that are never meant to be with me and end up losing more than what I bargained with at the beginning of the game. I’m going through what you would call an unlucky hand. I try and fight my way through, but the luck just doesn’t seem to favour me at all.
Hopefully, this turn runs out sooner than later. I’m tired of this game. Maybe I should try Blackjack for a change and see if my luck changes for the better. I could do with a lady blowing into my hand for good luck.